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Steve Jobs has passed away. apple.com
1390 points by patricktomas  2 hours ago   186 comments top 121
tc 2 hours ago 4 replies      
What Apple is going to be missing without Steve Jobs isn't creative talent or even someone capable of saying 'no.'

It's going to be missing someone who has the absolute credibility to say it.

Anyone can be a tyrant. If Steve Jobs was a dictator, it was because people thought he had the right to be.

donohoe 2 hours ago 9 replies      
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything " all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

June 12th 2005 Stanford commencement speech

Text: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

chaosmachine 1 hour ago 3 replies      
If you watched the iPhone keynote yesterday, you may have noticed this:


This shot was shown for about 5 seconds right at the beginning of the recording. Front row, center. Reserved. Empty.

pitdesi 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised at how sad (devastated?) this news makes me. I use Apple products now, but I am not at all a fanboy of the company and for many years defended the other side. I really hate the proprietary nature of many of their products and only use them if there is nothing else equivalent in the "open" world. That I own a few Apple products speaks volumes in itself.

But Steve has been an inspiration for the past decade or so. Brilliant, passionate, energetic, and visionary in a way that no one else can ever be.

I don't believe any company in history has had the 10 year record of Apple in the 00's. He's a genius in technology and business... but you can't study him like any other company. Case studies on Apple don't work. Because other companies don't have Steve.

Sidenote: You know he had a profound impact when the news of his departure slows down HN this much. R.I.P.

edw519 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"I want to put a ding in the universe."

Perhaps his biggest ding was inspiring so many of us to pursue our own dings.


donw 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I didn't think I'd be this emotional about Jobs, but as I sit here in my apartment in Tokyo, surrounded by Apple products, I'm reminded at the impact he's had on my life.

On our lives. How many people on HN own iPhones and MacBooks?

There's no more fitting tribute to the man than to throw some Beatles up on iTunes and create something wonderful.

Gentlemen, let's make a dent in the universe.

JunkDNA 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I had a feeling this was right around the corner the moment I saw his presentation to the Cupertino planning committee. My dad died of pancreatic cancer 10 years ago at the age of 46. In the month or so leading up to the end, as his liver started to fail, his voice changed and at times seemed almost "thick". When I heard Steve start to speak, it immediately made me think of my dad.

My heart goes out to his family and friends. Steve was a childhood hero of mine as far back as I can remember. The world was a much better place with him in it.

mixmax 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
dustingetz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Jobs imagines his garbage regularly not being emptied in his office, and when he asks the janitor why, he gets an excuse: The locks have been changed, and the janitor doesn't have a key. This is an acceptable excuse coming from someone who empties trash bins for a living. The janitor gets to explain why something went wrong. Senior people do not. “When you're the janitor,” Jobs has repeatedly told incoming VPs, “reasons matter.” He continues: “Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering.” That “Rubicon,” he has said, “is crossed when you become a VP.

-- Jobs (via secondary source [1])

[1] http://www.macstories.net/news/inside-apple-reveals-steve-jo...

ilamont 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me ... Going to bed at night, saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me."

- Inscription on Steve Jobs' star at the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame in Cambridge, Mass., unveiled on 9/16/2011: http://instagr.am/p/NPa4o/

kristofferR 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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

- Steve Jobs

cek 2 hours ago 0 replies      
When I was 10 I visited my uncle's factory in Michigan. He sat me down in front of an Apple II and fired up a video game. As I played Castle, I noticed the manual for the Applesoft programming language sitting next to the computer. I cracked it open and realized I could break into the monitor and see the source code.

I did just that, modifying the game to the point it was no longer playable. I had saved the file and effectively broke it. I shut off the computer, and never told my uncle.

The excitement of that moment stuck with me and was the enabler of the amazing life I've had since.

Thank you Steve Jobs. RIP.

100k 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My dad also died of pancreatic cancer that spread to his liver (he was 55). Tough disease. Steve died before his time, but in many ways he beat the odds. Five year survivorship rate for pancreatic cancer is around 5%.

His vision will be missed. He left an indelible mark on a generation of technology users, and then did it again.

cedsav 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Cancer sucks.

If you care to learn more about the disease and the search for a cure, check out "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Fascinating, scary and sobering.


gfodor 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Silicon Valley is about to go into mourning. I am having a hard time getting back to work. We've been getting more rain in the south bay the last 3 days than we have all summer, it feels oddly right now.

I think Paul Graham's post earlier today had something for us to remember as we work through this great, deep loss:

"I flew into the Bay Area a few days ago. I notice this every time I fly over the Valley: somehow you can sense something is going on. Obviously you can sense prosperity in how well kept a place looks. But there are different kinds of prosperity. Silicon Valley doesn't look like Boston, or New York, or LA, or DC. I tried asking myself what word I'd use to describe the feeling the Valley radiated, and the word that came to mind was optimism."

Here's to Steve, and his relentless optimism. Here's to the next big idea and the next person who changes the world like he did.

MatthewB 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I (along with countless other people) lost a hero today.

Steve Jobs was the person who inspired me to join the tech industry. I first really knew who Steve Jobs was after watching the (not so bad) made-for-tv movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley." I always knew I wanted to work with technology but after seeing that movie I knew I wanted to be part of the Silicon Valley culture that Steve helped create. Steve has inspired me for years and I am extremely sad about this loss. We will all miss him dearly.

RIP Steve Jobs 

chetan51 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. - Apple Inc.
marcamillion 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Walter Isascson had better be prepared for the amount of books he is about to sell - http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson/dp/14516485...

A more 'perfect' PR stunt, the official autobiographer of Steve Jobs couldn't ask for...before you start downvoting me for a seemingly insensitive comment, I don't mean that is perfect that he died. Absolutely not.

I am dealing with the loss just like any other tech-loving fan-boi.

Just pointing out that it the PR storm generated around this book as a result of his passing, will be nothing like he could have ever paid for....i.e. it is 'perfect' (from a selling the books perspective).

Perfectly sad...otherwise.

aresant 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Even the .png name on Apple's site is appropriate:


Here's to you Steve, thank you for the inspiration over my lifetime.

protomyth 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In the early 90's I was pretty sure I didn't want be a programmer anymore. I really got no joy from Windows and the Macintosh was looking like it was dead. I got ahold of NeXTSTEP 3.3 and was hooked. I remember the joy stuff like the Apple II and the Atari 400 brought me. It was just amazing. It is such a shame to know Steve Jobs, Seymour Cray, and Jay Miner are no longer with us. I should be happy to have been alive for the start of it all though.
andrewl 1 hour ago 0 replies      
He gave me a bicycle for my mind. That's a powerful gift, and I'm grateful.
diogenescynic 1 hour ago 0 replies      
He made the world a better place and he was our generation's Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, Thomas Edison, Jack Welch, and Henry Ford all at once. Revolutionized multiple industries.

He will be sorely missed.

cilantro 2 hours ago 5 replies      
My first computer was a Macintosh Plus at age ~5. Not sure what I would be doing with my life without his contribution.
pixelcloud 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Just remember this.

"You know, I've got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can't say any more than that it's the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me."
-- Steve Jobs, Sept. 18, 1995

"If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."
-- Steve Jobs, Feb. 19, 1996

The best ideas are the ones you have to force on people.

gokhan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
He was 56 years old, too young to die :(
abstractwater 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I am truly surprised at how sad I am. Even if I disagreed on some of the decisions made by Apple (App Store review process, etc) he was to me the most inspirational man alive. What a devastating loss.

A part of me can't help to think that Apple is now just a "normal" company. But I hope his charisma and vision will stick and be strong enough to live on for many more decades in Cupertino.

Jun8 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ahh, I just posted a comment about missing Steve after seeing the photos of the other guys announcing various stuff. I have never met him, or even saw him in person, but probably wouldn't have liked him personally; he was despotic and narcissistic. And people still debate various heavy-handed ways Apple deals with a lot aspects of their ecosystem.

Despite all this, sitting in my living room, I am totally devastated by these news! This is true greatness.

nhangen 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, this makes me really effing sad. What's worse is no one in my family understands, so it's like going into mourning solo. Bummer...

RIP Steve

PedroCandeias 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just adding my voice to the millions who will be mourning the man and the visionary. As someone who works with computers for a living, I'm thankful for the beautiful tools his company created. As an entrepreneur, I'm intrigued and moved by his example.
markbao 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs, you are an inspiration like no other. No one else has pushed the boundaries of modern technology, innovated beyond what we thought was possible, and influenced the future, quite like Steve. Perhaps more importantly, no one else has made us believe like Steve has. We look up to Steve because he shows that it's possible to have an incredible impact on the world with one's work and innovation. Now, we live in an era without Steve. We have to look at Steve's work and let it inspire us to build our vision of the future. We have Steve to remind us of how much of an impact we can make on the world, and to realize that we only have a finite amount of time to do so. Thank you, Steve, for inspiring us and making us believe. You made a lasting larger-than-life influence, and not even death can take that away. Your legacy lives on and will continue to inspire us.

    Reposting this eulogy I wrote for my blog.

WiseWeasel 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I grew up on Macs (starting with a IIcx in the late 80s) and bleed in six colors; this news is extremely hard for me to take.

Ultimately, this adds a sense of urgency to my own efforts to start a company and help bring a piece of the future to fruition, as I can no longer count on Steve to get us there.

Thank you Steve, for your vision, good taste, boundless drive and the inspiration you have given me and countless others. You will be sorely missed. :.(

RegEx 2 hours ago 2 replies      
A very respectable tribute, right down to the img src.


geuis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This wasn't the "One more thing..." that I wanted.
orky56 1 hour ago 0 replies      
He poured his life and soul into Apple. When his health suffered, he fought tooth and nail and stayed involved with Apple until the very end. When he left Apple (feels like just yesterday), he said it was because he truly felt he was unable to continue to lead.

I'm left with a feeling of ambivalence. I feel bad that he couldn't enjoy the fruits of his labor by retiring and spending time with his family or whatever other interests he had. At the same time, I know that he wouldn't have had it any other way.

He recognized his gift and shared it with all of us. The experiences when using his products and the emotions when hearing him speak. I feel blessed just to have been a witness to such a human's life.

scarmig 2 hours ago 1 reply      
One has to wonder what he might have accomplished with a full life span.

What he managed to do, though, is genuinely incredible, and he has much to be proud of. He made the world more beautiful.

RIP, Steve.

sabat 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
I keep waiting to hear from Woz. I think we in the Nerd World need to hear from Woz tonight.
xelipe 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What amazes me most about his life is that he revolutionized on so many fronts and his innovations have helped people of all walks of life. Pixar movies have entertained children of all ages, the iPhone market has been a great resource for educational tools to help children with disabilities, and he did so with style. (;_;)
dlss 2 hours ago 0 replies      
they took our jobs :(
juliano_q 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I am not the biggest Apple fan. I love my macbook and I have a very old iPod, but in the last few years I misliked the company attitude. Even so, suddenly I feel that the world is a worst place to live. RIP Steve.
spudlyo 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm deeply and unexpectedly saddened by the news. Recently while taking a cab from SFO into the city I monitored our progress on the iPhone maps app, and had a profound feeling that I was living in the future I had dreamed about as a kid. Thank you Steve.
puredemo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My first computer was an Apple IIE. My favorite computer is the one I'm on now, a 13" Macbook Air.

RIP Steve, thank you.

Duff 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Mr. Jobs will be well remembered. It's also sad in that his passing is among the first of a generation of pioneers in this crazy industry we all work in.

Best wishes to his family.

ww520 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is truly sad. Steve Jobs is like an iconic representation of our computing generation. In some way his passing away signifies the diminishing of our generation. Sigh.
quizbiz 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
As General Electric innovates well beyond Thomas Edison, I look forward to watching Apple continue to push society forward. Steve Jobs will in some ways live on through the Apple brand, as a symbol for so many things that resonate so strongly, I can't even express it.
bane 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
The beginning of the end of the wave of computing that transformed society like no invention since iron and the printing press. Steve Jobs was absolutely on the forefront of that revolution and will be greatly missed. Hats off to you Mr. Jobs, hats off.
dabent 1 hour ago 0 replies      
From playing on an Apple][ on middle school to typing this on a Mac - Steve Jobs certainly influenced me as a developer. So many times the world seemed to chase the designs he pioneered or pushed into the mainstream. Without his leadership and his effective counterweight to Microsoft and IBM, the world would have been much different.
mantas 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs was my idol since I knew who he is and what Apple is. He showed me it's possible to live one's dream and that it's ok to follow your heart. And that it's the only way to be happy and bring happiness to others. Furthermore, his products showed me that it's possible to create easy to use and beautiful software.

And that's what I ended up trying to do.. Thank you Steve and rest in peace.

I'll do my best to stay hungry, stay foolish.

pixelcloud 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."
--Steve Jobs - Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996
hackerbob 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't even know what to type. I'm just simply sad.
artursapek 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Is the black bar that just appeared at the top of HN a symbol for Steve's passing?
steve8918 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The first computer I saw on a regular basis was my friend's AppleII clone that his dad built somehow. I distinctly remember the case was made out of wood. The kid was a jerk though, because he would play Wizardry, and would only let me sit beside him and watch, he would never let me play at all. Wizardry, Knight of Diamonds and Karateka were the games that I most distinctly remember.
jianshen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This makes me really really sad deep inside. What an incredible journey.
amorphid 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I was a PC guy for 26 years, making fun of Apples/Macs for most of that time. Eventually Macs became so awesome that I couldn't help but love them. Jobs was able to convert me, and that wasn't an easy thing to do.
InclinedPlane 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Not a perfect man (who, even among the great, is?), but in his own way he did his fair share for the betterment of mankind. He helped people connect with each other, he helped people do their jobs, he helped people make art. We should all be so lucky.
rufugee 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'd be lying if I said I was a big Apple fan. I'm a Linux guy and never saw a need or benefit to pay the premium required for entry through the Apple gates (well, ok, I bought a Macbook for iPhone development, but I didn't enjoy it).

That said, Steve was a great force in the world of technology, and whether you liked their products or not, you have to appreciate Apple's effect on competition in the marketplace...they simply continue to push the envelope, and technology wouldn't be what it is today with Steve and his creations. RIP.

rads 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think I was twelve or thirteen when my parents bought me my own Mac. I didn't know this then, but, besides my parents and close friends, Steve Jobs was one of my most important role models. He made Apple unstoppable, but even during the hard times he had a dead set focus on making products people would really love, even if many others didn't like them. He was so passionate about his job; he loved it so much that it inspires me that one day I can start a business and have a job that I love, making things that other people love. RIP Steve.
scelerat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Yay Steve Jobs for making a dent in the universe. Inspiring.
mml 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
I told my daughter a great man died today.
Folcon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I am not an Apple fan, I say that because I own no iPad, iPhone, iPod or iMac.

As someone who is starting and striving to build beautiful software and become an entrepreneur, Jobs is an inspiration.

He has done more than few could hope to achieve.

I feel saying anything else will just sound corny, which is not what he deserves.

So RIP Steve.

natemartin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The news is hitting me harder than I expected. More than just the products he made, I feel that he directly effected my life. I wouldn't be where I am in my life today, certainly would have the job I have today, if it wasn't for the years I spent at Apple. And I wouldn't have worked there if Steve hadn't first created the company, then later on saved it.

RIP SJ. You certainly changed the world.

mwill 1 hour ago 0 replies      
He stood down from Apple less than 2 months ago, I wonder if he had any idea how close he was cutting it.

No matter how you slice it, the man loved what he did, and he did it brilliantly. The amount of people who use a device designed under his watch every single day of their lives is utterly astounding, through his work, he connected with hundreds of millions of people, and changed the game of consumer electronics numerous times.

I hope I can have a even a small sliver of his passion, commitment, and vision in my own life.

josephcooney 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Even if you're not a fan, you can't deny that Steve (through apple) raised the state of the art in industrial and visual design, and user experience with apple products. Your nice Android phone, the books you can buy seamlessly on your kindle and the slick new UI of Windows 8 all owe a small part of their awesomeness to Steve Jobs.
tsycho 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't know what to say. Even if this was expected at some point, I feel really sad.....wish there were more people around me whom I could share this with....but no one seems to care as much.
darksaga 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wow - what a day. A tweet by CBSNEws says it was wrong when someone tweeted he had died, then I scramble for hours trying to figure out if it was real, and now it has been confirmed by Apple.

When I read the news, it really felt like he was hanging on until he knew his company was in good hands and he could pass on. Just an incredible human being in every aspect. He will be sorely missed.

gord 1 hour ago 0 replies      
sadness.. Steve Jobs built beautiful useful things. This solid alu keyboard with rounded corners tells a story of someone who cared.
mitultiwari 1 hour ago 0 replies      
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful… that's what matters to me.” -- Steve Jobs. RIP.
sbochins 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Did the site layout and color scheme change because Jobs died? Or was this planned earlier?
ericd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My dad buying a Mac 128k and letting me run wild with it was probably one of the most influential events in my life. It taught me to read, it taught me math, and it kicked off a lifelong passion for computers and programming. It's amazing to me that they designed a computer that I didn't even have to know how to read to interact with. I can't believe I'm getting so emotional about a person I've never met, but I'm almost tearing up.
dr_ 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Accomplished more in his 56 years of life than many people do in a full lifetime.

Thank you for your vision, creativity and inspiration.

ericb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Pixar, iphones, ipads, macs, macbook air, the apple II, the ipod.

I am so very sad, but when I think of his life and gifts, all I want to do is applaud.

dholowiski 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Rip Steve. My condolences to his family, friends coworkers and employees. We will miss you, I will miss you. I am an unabashed apple fanboy and today is a very sad day, and in retrospect yesterday was a very sad day. Can you imagine how Tim Cook felt up on that stage yesterday?
guzzul 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
iPhone 4S = iPhone 4Steve
m0wfo 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
Apple was born out of obsession and makes some of the finest hardware around, running BSD with a touch of class that is unrivalled. But as my granny would say, there are no pockets in a shroud... poor Steve.

It's nice to have a sexy laptop, but life's just too damn short.

sneak 2 hours ago 0 replies      

I haven't the words.

vaksel 1 hour ago 1 reply      
happened way too soon, sure he was sick, but you'd think with all the resources under his disposable he'd be able to hang on for at least a couple of years...as it is it happened almost overnight
aforty 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My thoughts go out to his family and close friends. We all will miss Steve but few of us really knew him, his family and friends must be devastated this evening. Stay strong.
maxwin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It just reminds me of how impermanent life is. It's still hard for me to swallow the fact that Steve Jobs has already passed away. RIP Steve. Your inspirations will continue to live with us.
47 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs will be remembered as the greatest inventor and entrepreneur of our era.
chunkyslink 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I never met Steve Jobs but my house and life is jammed packed full of things that he had the vision to create.

I can honestly say that I think my life if better because of this. Lets hope they can continue to innovate and improve people lives to the same degree that mine has been influenced.

erreon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sad news about Steve Jobs, but I'm glad he's through the pain he must have been in. RIP
sosuke 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I didn't realize how sick he was. I wish his family well and I hope he was able to enjoy his successors first product launch yesterday and know that he left Apple in good hands. A sad day for everyone.
darkmethod 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My first experience with a computer was on an Apple ][. And I'm typing this using my iMac over 30 years later. Good memories.

My life (childhood, education, and career) have been touched in tremendously powerful way by this man and his passion.

RIP Steve.

nirav 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
R.I.P. Steve, You inspired many of us to rise above and beyond what we would have been otherwise...
lyime 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It is amazing to see that there are millions of other people that care about same person as much as I do.
krishna2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
R.I.P Steve Jobs. Thank you for Super Breakout (game) and everything else!

And that's how I got inspired to get into computer science, learn programming, to build games like that or do cool stuff with computers.

biot 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Fuck cancer for taking a great visionary from us.
_frog 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Cancer is such an ugly way to go, we lost a great man today.
MikeCapone 1 hour ago 0 replies      
He will be missed. Thank you for making a dent in the universe, Steve.
Rotor 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs said he wanted to make a dent in the universe. I'd say he achieved that, he fundamentally changed the world of technology. What an amazing journey and legacy to leave behind. Rest in peace Steve.
yojimbo311 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This really made the world a little less bright for me today.

RIP Steve. Thank you for everything you've done to bring your magic to the world. Thank you also for things you haven't done, but easily could have.

elmcitylabs 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well said by Tim Cook: "No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much." RIP Steve
plq 1 hour ago 0 replies      
the world is a scarier place now.

a moment of hush for mr. jobs.

kennethologist 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Good but never forgotten! The spirit of Steve Jobs will live on in each of our minds and hearts born and unborn. Steve Jobs lives in every product apple has and will ever create.
ubi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
very tasteful, props Apple.
mikeryan 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Thanks Steve.
hesdeadjim 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm quite sad at this loss -- both for the people he leaves behind and for an industry that desperately needs vision of his caliber.

On a personal note, if it weren't for Steve Jobs' relentless determination to revolutionize the mobile industry, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to make a living writing games for a platform I love. Thank you and RIP Steve.

danvideo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Knew he was sick, but wasn't expecting this.

The world has lost a unique and brilliant technology-business-design leader, the likes of which are few and far between.

felipemnoa 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A truly sad day for humanity. Thank you so much Steve Jobs for giving us so much.
candre717 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Even in the face of death, Jobs was a great visionary until the end. Now that's inspiring.
shriphani 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This was his decade - thanks for making the personal computer personal steve. RIP.
lewispb 2 hours ago 0 replies      
“We don't get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life." - Steve Jobs.
sharmajai 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A very sad day for humanity.
ankimal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
RIP Steve Jobs, one of the greatest visionaries of our times.
pyrmont 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I miss you, Steve.
axefrog 1 hour ago 1 reply      
He worked up until he barely had a month left. That's passion for you.
grizzlylazer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This changes everything.

RIP Steve Jobs, thanks for everything. You have been an inspiration to my entrepreneurial career.

guimarin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Personally inspired me to get into computing when I was a young child. He will be sorely missed.
dm8 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A true visionary, maverick and someone who had healthy disregard for rules and status quo. RIP Steve. You'll be sorely missed.
BadiPod 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs embodies everything I strive to be.
bond 1 hour ago 0 replies      
R.I.P. Condolences to his family.
kylek 1 hour ago 0 replies      
An Insanely Great loss. :(
channelmeter 1 hour ago 0 replies      
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.” - Steve Jobs
fosk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks Steve, thanks for your inspiration. You pushed the human race forward.
kunday 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Tech world will never be the same without Steve around. May he rest in Peace.
yoda_sl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a sad day in History
veyron 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The world lost a great industrialist ...
melvinng 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Love him or hate him, and the company he created, this man was an icon who changed the way we interact with technology. This is a sad day.
aespinoza 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is indeed very sad news....
azulum 1 hour ago 0 replies      
robert_nsu 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
RIP Steve Jobs
Sym3tri 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Bitbucket now rocks Git bitbucket.org
711 points by amitparikh  2 days ago   169 comments top 30
johnthedebs 2 days ago 6 replies      
This is great news, very exciting for people who need a nice place to stash all their private git repos but didn't want to upgrade their GitHub plans for not-that-important projects. Very interesting that they've decided to compete directly too.

I wonder if/how GitHub will respond. I strongly prefer their UI and already have a paid plan, but I find myself shuffling repos within the confines of that plan rather than stomaching the (admittedly not very big) upgrade cost since many of the projects aren't super important. I understand why they do it, but I just don't like that they place an arbitrary restriction on the number of private repos.

LeafStorm 2 days ago  replies      
You know, I actually expected that the opposite would happen: GitHub would start offering Mercurial hosting.

Because Git isn't what attracts most people to GitHub. It's the sheer fact that GitHub is frickin' HUGE and has lots of people who will show up, fork your project, and send you a pull request. I love Bitbucket, but honestly if GitHub added Mercurial support I would probably move all the way to GitHub because of the size of the community.

GitHub is already pretty firmly entrenched in the Git community. I will say, however, that Bitbucket has one primary advantage over GitHub: Unlimited private repositories, with the cost being based on how many collaborators you have. If Bitbucket really promotes this angle, I could see a lot of small development teams moving to Bitbucket, and possibly taking their talent with them. So, if Bitbucket really pushes the "unlimited private repositories" angle, then they could begin taking back market share from GitHub.

ollysb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Free unlimited private repos for up to 5 users; with competition like that maybe we'll see github improve it's pricing.
sosuke 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only reason I went with Bitbucket over Github for my own source control was the availability of free private repositories that Github charges for. Now I've got the best of both source control solutions!
mushishi 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a daily Bitbucket user, I appreciate their efforts. But unfortunately I don't see improvement on navigation. It's quite painful to browse source code via web. If I just want to quickly look at someone's repository, I will make a lot of browsing, and it's just way too slow.

Compare it to Github's slick UI: https://github.com/blog/760-the-tree-slider

But I am optimistic Bitbucket will change it for the better.

yesimahuman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use GitHub mainly for private repos. I think I will actually move my private repos over to Bitbucket.

I really like GitHub Issues though. Does Bitbucket have anything similar? I don't see it on their site.

dhimes 2 days ago 1 reply      
store every line of code you've ever wrote in one place without paying a cent

Great news (and thanks)! However, please s/wrote/written/

EDIT: I see they fixed the copy.

cheald 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm now a BitBucket user. I'll keep using GitHub for my open source stuff, but you betcha that my private repos are going on BitBucket. I'd love to see GitHub step up and compete here, but I'm really perfectly happy to use two products for two different use cases.
mark_l_watson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just signed up for a free account and already made 6 private git repos. Nice.

I must say that I wish there was a middle road between bitbucket and github pricing: I like to pay enough money to to be fair. I will eventually have about 20 small repos, most of which I won't use very often. Solo developer.

It would not cost much at all to support a user such as myself, so if the cost were about $5/month that would be better than free. That said, it is so easy to move git hosting back to one of my EC2s, that if they decide to not provide this service in the future it is only a small hassle.

Triumvark 2 days ago 4 replies      
This has probably been asked before, but is Bitbucket really unlimited?

If I encrypt my drive, convert it to ASCII, and upload it, will they host it?

MatthewPhillips 2 days ago 2 replies      
I just checked and none of my existing Bitbucket repos have a Git link, nor can I find a way to add Git support from the Admin screen. However when I go to add a new repo Git is an option.

Please tell me (frown face) that this feature isn't just for new repos....

dewiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
perhaps they should update the web site:

Thank you for signing up for Bitbucket!

You are currently on the 5 Users plan. You can always upgrade your plan to add more collaborators.

We're excited that you're getting started with Mercurial, arguably the best distributed version control system around. We've put together some great resources to get you up and running quickly so that your team can focus on building great software faster.

The Atlassian Bitbucket team

kellishaver 2 days ago 2 replies      
Definitely going to give this a go. I have a lot of repos I'd like to keep private, but they're mostly personal projects and not worth paying more money for at GitHub.

Quick question from someone new to Bitbucket:

I have to authenticate every time I push to the repo. I've added my SSH key to the account, but I assume there's some additional configuration, such as how github has you add values for github.user and github.token to your global git config, but I can't find any such info for what those variables need to be for Bitbucket - assuming that's the reason I'm still continually prompted for a password.

Has anyone sorted this out yet or got SSH authentication working with Git & Bitbucket?

j45 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I signed up for Bitbucket the instant they had git availability. I only started using Git regularly for new/small projects a month ago, after quite happily using svn for web projects.

Bitbucket gets what I need. I love the social coding of GitHub and will continue to participate in it. But I can't put my own projects there. There's too many small, private repos that I can't keep paying for.

Bitbucket's approach is good for me. I'd rather pay for storage/users than per repo. If Github is really about promoting source code control, it shouldn't be a barrier for private / personal projects. For now, bitbucket solves this. I hope Github comes around.

Until then, I'm cancelling my $7 github account and giving Bitbucket $10/month even though I'm only using 2 users. They're doing me a real service and favor.

zemanel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Atlassian (which recently acquired Bitbucket) is well known forJira/Confluence.

Could it be that if they might use Bitbucket as an entry point to their products? Perhaps with more integration.

flocial 2 days ago 0 replies      
While this is great news, I really don't need an interface for sideprojects (yet). Codeplane's been great so far for private repos.

I just backed up my Github stuff using Github-backup and added them to Codeplane. Honestly surprised nobody challenged GitHub in pricing until recently. As far as social coding goes they are the Facebook of repo hosting (SourceForge is Friendster and Google Code is MySpace).



uptown 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great news! Wish I'd seen it before I finally took the leap and signed up for a paid GitHub account this morning.
tomblomfield 2 days ago 3 replies      
I looked at this and thought "this is like Github, but not as good"

If you're even semi-serious about development, paying $7/month is nothing for the value they provide.

drawkbox 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love bitbucket for the pricing it turned out to be a more valuable tool for my private repos. Now it is even better with git.
tyler_ball 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news and I hope it helps do all that others are saying, like improve pricing.

I've had a Bitbucket account for a while and never used it, mainly because I'm more comfortable with git. But after poking around Bitbucket and importing some repos I'm seeing that you really get what you pay for.

GitHub completely trounces Bitbucket with their ease of use and toolset. I hope Bitbucket can step it up.

6ren 1 day ago 0 replies      
How is this justified, to stay free?

True, it preps users for other Atlassian products; and marginal cost of storage is near-zero these days.

daemin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I still use an installation of Gitosis on my VPS to host my small private git projects. As long as you have a unix-ey box then it's very easy to set it up. Though I would definitely upload public projects to Github, for the community and visibility aspect of it.
jaip 2 days ago 0 replies      
They announced Git support in 2009 also, but that was an April Fool's joke. Link to that post: http://blog.bitbucket.org/2009/04/01/announcing-git-support/
amalag 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was using unfuddle.com just to get a single private repository (didn't want to pay $10 a month for that on github). This is great news.
Rotor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great to see bitbucket expanding the offering.

A while back I had chosen bitbucket over GitHub because of the free private repository. And Git was not an absolute requirement, non-Git source control was absolutely fine.

GitHub still does not offer a private repo for free (currently private is $7/month), I imagine this may change at some point soon now.

heisenmink 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is really good news.

The greatest strength they have over Github right now is unlimited private git repositories (github only allows 1 private repo for free accounts), free of charge.

dahlia 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really love Bitbucket (over GitHub!), but it seems too late for me.
dirtyhand 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hopefully this is a wakeup call for the Github guys and they start working on their business instead of just the product. This is a great start: http://fi.github.com/
mtogo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Blog post by schacon trash talking bitbucket in 3... 2... 1...
rmc 2 days ago 6 replies      
Bitbucket (a popular mercurial hosting site) has added git support.

Has any popular git hosting site added mercurial support?

This shows which DVCS is winning.

FeeFighters Loses BBB Accreditation Over Investigative Blog Post feefighters.com
450 points by LiveTheDream  2 days ago   77 comments top 26
tptacek 2 days ago 4 replies      
So tone deaf. A PR coup for FeeFighters. A total PR debacle for BBB. FeeFighters could in fact give a fuck about their actual accreditation, so they had nothing to lose. BBB meanwhile looks petty, out of touch, and defensive.

You didn't need to be a chess grandmaster to see how this will play out. You barely even need to see one move ahead. What moron at BBB OK'd this? How incompetent is the rest of their organization?

aresant 2 days ago 6 replies      
In extensive conversion testing we've found that the BBB symbol is the MOST beneficial trust-symbol to incorporate into your website.

This data is across multiple markets / products and joining the BBB is one of the things that we recommend early on to conversion clients.

Consumers trust the brand immensely which is sad given the BBB's "protection money" business model.

rorrr 2 days ago 4 replies      
The original report is extremely interesting too, I don't see how it's even legal what BBB does


    Xpay asked the BBB what they could do to fix the problem. 
It turned out that all they needed to do was grease the
wheels. The BBB noted that Xpay wasn't a member
organization, and by becoming a member organization the
BBB would “look into” those 11 complaints to see if they
were worthy of being wiped clean. Xpay paid the BBB a
fee of $760 (see fee schedule). Within a couple of days
the rating had changed from an F to a C. A few days later
and another phonecall, and the rating was changed to an A-.

That's extortion.

jarrett 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just a friendly question to anyone at BBB who may be reading this thread:

Suppose someone on here happens to own a business with BBB accreditation, and that person posts a comment to this thread critical of BBB's handling of the FeeFighters situation. Would you consider that a violation of your terms?

For the record, I'm not criticizing or endorsing what happened with FeeFighters, since I don't necessarily know all the facts.

rkalla 2 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone on the fence about the claims, 20/20 did an investigation[1] of the BBB and found exactly the same thing. They worked with companies with complaints against them and low ratings that were called by BBB representatives asking them to re-up their registrations.

Without much coaxing the BBB agents clarified that the ratings could be "reinstated" or "take care of" if the signup process was completed. Once the businesses did that, in every case, the scores were re-adjusted to A or A+ for those companies.

Conversely, companies that didn't re-up would have all their past complaints re-instated on their review page and scores drop to C/D/F levels.

Not unlike the Yelp stuff we saw going on last week or the week before here on HN.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo8kfV9kONw

lpolovets 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this will lead to a Streisand effect for the BBB. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect). By taking away a company's accreditation for a reason that has nothing to do with the company's business practices, the BBB is showing exactly how objective it is.
taylorbuley 2 days ago 1 reply      
This sounds pretty scammy to me. The good news is that I found a company on the Internet that lets you report scams: https://www.bbb.org/scam/report-a-scam/
keltex 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you do lose your BBB accreditation and want it back again, all you have to do is re-register (and pay the $600 or so) under a new name and you'll be back to square one. It sounds like a joke, but completely true.

One of my clients has a competitor who had an F rating due to numerous consumer complaints. They simply did the above and presto they were back to A- again.

mkopinsky 2 days ago 1 reply      
While I am totally on the side of FF here, it's hard to call a blog post titled "The BBB is a F&#ing Scam" an investigative blog post. The BBB may indeed be a F&#ing Scam (I have gotten horribly burned in the past for reporting something to the BBB), you gotta admit that the language in the blog post is pretty incendiary.
jasonwatkinspdx 2 days ago 0 replies      
The BBB is a racket. That should be clear to anyone who thinks about it even briefly.
Bud 2 days ago 1 reply      
In a just world, there would be some sort of humorous regulatory body that would force the "Better" Business Bureau to rename themselves something more suitable in response to this story.

Lamer Business Bureau? Sycophantic Business Bureau? I leave the actual name as an exercise for the reader.

orblivion 2 days ago 0 replies      
"If you're not paying, you're not the customer, you're the product that's being sold." comes to mind. Perhaps we need more Angie's List and Consumer Reports, and less Yelp and BBB.
davidmurphy 1 day ago 0 replies      
The LA Business Journal had an article on the Los Angeles Chapter of the BBB. Unfortunately, it's behind a paywall:


Scandal May Shut Business Bureau
L.A. chapter hurt by pay-for-play revelations. // By ALFRED LEE // Monday, July 25, 2011

Here's a LA Times article: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/08/business/la-fi-bbb-p...

eli 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is the BBB even relevant?

My assumption was that its influence is quite low since the advent of the Internet. If I were looking to see for a plumber or a moving company, I'd check Yelp or Angie's List not BBB.

noonespecial 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone should make some sort of organization that objectively tracks sleazy businesses like this so consumers have a place to go to find out about it before committing to use them...
genieyclo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is that drop down in-your-face share menu a Wordpress plugin or something? Fantastic way to get your attention. I think I've seen it before, not sure where though.
jrockway 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has caused them to gain the "jrockway certified excellence" accreditation, which is, in my opinion, infinitely more valuable than the BBB's accreditation. So, I think, it's a net win.

(What's that you say? The limit of 0 * x as x goes to infinity is still zero? Hmm...)

spoiledtechie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find it wild at times that old fashioned companies like the BBB are so out of touch with the world today that they think a new company can not last long enough without their support.

It just goes to show that FeeFighters are shaking things up in both their technical field along with other business sectors. If you ask me, that is exactly what a start up should be doing!

Congrats FeeFighters for shaking things up.

AlexC04 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds a lot like the Yelp.com criticisms I've read.
innerphaze 2 days ago 0 replies      
BBB is totally useless and corrupt. Used them before with a complaint and accomplished nothing but a waste of time and effort. Great job FeeFighters!
greengarstudios 2 days ago 1 reply      
An organization that had goals similar to the BBB's would be very valuable for many consumers. What are some of the BBB's competitors? What's currently the best alternative?
suking 2 days ago 0 replies      
They are in bed with the FTC so nothing will happen to the BBB. Total bunch of scammers.
waivej 2 days ago 0 replies      
I declined to pay BBB when I started my business, but recently worked with a business that made me rethink the decision. This article reminds me of the vibe I got from the salesperson years ago.
Drakeman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I don't know anyone who really seeks out BBB accreditation as a means of judging a business's credibility (I'm talking at the consumer level). In fact, the only times I've ever caught myself viewing any of their web content was for businesses I already knew sucked.
vsl2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe there's a market opportunity for a new business accreditation site. Though you have to wonder if anything short of a government entity or extremely well-funded nonprofit would be able to maintain its integrity.

Do I smell a Y Combinator success story in the future?

andjones 2 days ago 1 reply      
On the one hand Fee Fighters is fighting the "noble" fight, but they lose points for being so ideological.

BBB is a business and their terms are well known. Fee Fighters knew them and was required to abide by them and chose not to.

I do like that Fee Fighters is bringing this issue to bear. I'm personally not a fan of BBB. Pay to play doesn't seem like the incentives are aligned correctly. That and I can't afford their accreditation process for my business.

The State of the Art is Terrible zackarymorris.tumblr.com
447 points by zackmorris  2 days ago   226 comments top 52
thaumaturgy 2 days ago  replies      
I'd like to buy Zack a drink, because all of this is obvious to those poor shmucks among us that handle the support end of things (also known as the "shit end").

I've been saying a lot of the same things for years. I'm tired of it now; I'm starting to give up, because it's obvious there isn't a programmer out there that gives a damn. You can try telling them that there's something wrong with software -- something fundamental, something in the process itself that has become horribly broken -- but they'd rather tell you why you're wrong rather than really listen to why you're frustrated.

Then if, as a user (or programmer) you complain about something, they say, "So build your own version." What, we're supposed to re-build the world? OK, fine. So you start building your own version of something. Then the response is, "Why are you reinventing the wheel? That's already been done."

But, what the fuck do I know? I spent a couple of hours in a meeting today with a client explaining why upgrading -- er, pardon, "migrating" -- from Joomla 1.5 to 1.7 wasn't going to happen without a lot of money involved. Then I went to another client and we fixed a broken Windows network stack and a handful of other stuff. Then I came home and unboxed the new laptop that I just bought because my old one could no longer run Firefox anymore -- even though it ran it just damn well fine enough a few years ago. Other than the new laptop, this is pretty much my day -- all day, every day. Well, me and the other guy in my shop.

And nobody else seems to think there's anything strange about this stuff. So Samba's documentation is a mess and Samba 4 never got around to implementing allowed_users, which is absolutely necessary in a Windows AD environment? Pfaah, big deal, so what? So Western Digital's backup software interferes with Outlook in funny ways? Psh. Who cares, who's that going to affect? So everybody's decided to abandon sane software versioning altogether and make the support end of things even more nuts? Hah! Get with the program you support idiots, you're supposed to want to spend all day upgrading software and dealing with the inevitable fallout.

Besides, users that don't like upgrades are just morons, they just don't know what they like. As soon as they get used to the new version, they'll like it better, you'll see.

All of this is stuff I've personally heard, or seen in places like HN ... and not just a few times here and there.

Software used to be fun. I remember when it was, when it seemed like most things just worked, even though they didn't look pretty. I remember when it seemed like I could just open something up and start hacking on it without having to hold tens of thousands of lines of code in my head, spread over dozens of files. I remember when looking at someone else's code could actually teach me something, instead of making me want to cry.

I really don't like this industry much anymore. I guess that makes me a bad hacker or something.

DanielBMarkham 2 days ago  replies      
...Sure, your computer can perform 10 billion floating point operations per second. But most of the time it's not doing anything at all. Just like you...

This is a great rant. Nice emotional content, lots of technical details, the author qualifies his credentials, etc. Easily one of the better articles I've read in the past few weeks.

One of the things he mentions is the pain of setup -- something I've painfully watched develop over the years. Used to be you could go from a dead stop to programming something useful in about 10 seconds. Now, as he points out, it's not unusual to spend weeks digging around through vendor requirements, obscure dialects, rumor and configuration nightmares simply trying to get started. It's crazy. We've complicated the plumbing to the point nobody knows how to work the damn shower any more.

ejames 2 days ago 4 replies      
An excerpt from an article[1] I ran across a few weeks ago seems appropriate:

"The printer was the first drum printer that I had ever seen. It would print 1500 lines per minute alphanumeric, and 1800 lines per minute when only numeric values were being printed. It cost $243,450. Its reliability was somewhat suspect. I walked through the room that it was kept in every day for a year, and the only time that I ever saw it working was at a trade show in Los Angeles. The main reason that I went to the show was that I heard that the printer was there and working. I suspect that the printer was a strong contributor to the demise of Toni Schumans' career with Burroughs. Doug Bolitho was giving a plant tour to a group of potential customers one day and he somehow had the printer printing something. Toni walked into the room and loudly exclaimed "My God it's working". She left Burroughs shortly after the incident."

It's an excerpt from an autobiography. The article as a whole originally came up because the author worked for a summer with Donald Knuth - as in, Donald Knuth of the Art of Computer Programming, the quintessential tome of accurate, elegant, academic, truth-on-a-whiteboard computer science. Presumably Knuth sometimes walked by the non-operative printer some days in the morning too. His job at the company was to write a compiler, and reportedly it was a very good one.

Success and failure in the state-of-the-art have always coexisted. I sit here - as an iPhone programmer, who has recently had to deal with annoying provisioning issues, LLVM and GCC compilation problems, and advertising networks - and I can look through the window of my office to see our printer, which is located behind the water cooler, available over a wireless network, and can accurately print a requested piece of paper the first time I send a print command from my laptop. I think it cost $200 from the office store - in 2011 dollars, before accounting for inflation.

[1] http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/B5000-AlgolRWaychoff.html#7

singular 2 days ago  replies      
Though I speak from a probably utterly uninformed + unqualified standpoint, this raises a few points for me:-

1. If x86 hardware is so terrible (and I have heard that the architecture really is bad many times), how come we don't have competing chips out there which are many, many times more efficient? I know ARM outperforms on the low-power front, but not in terms of perf to my knowledge. Do such chips exist? And if not, why not if this is true? Even with x86 backwards compatibility concerns, you could bring out a theoretical amazingly powerful chip and just port compilers to it to leverage it and gain some (possibly niche) market hold that way.

2. I think he is underestimating the vast complexity of computing, and deeply underplaying the techniques which have evolved to get us where we are. Yes, I have again heard that the Von Neumann architecture has shortcomings, but look at what computing has enabled us to do - it has changed the world + enabled amazing things which are evolving at breakneck speed. Again - if there really is an ideal alternative approach, why isn't it being pursued? I don't buy the conspiracy theory crap about vested interests holding it back. Again, you could do well in a niche if the alternatives really are that much better.

3. I think it is likely that as things evolve previous ideas/approaches will be overturned and old approaches thrown away, like any pursuit. As @deweller says, this is true of any field. Ask any professional and they will tell you how their industry is fucked in 100 different ways. It is frustrating to hear software engineers talk about how terrible immature + hackerish + crap it all is while assuming that things have some sort of crystalline beauty in other industries. I did Civil Engineering at (a good) university, and it turns out that most consultancies use linear models to model everything, then apply an arbitrary safety factor, resulting in hopelessly inefficient over-engineered structures all over the place + turning the job into something of an uncreative administrative role in some respects (with no disrespect intended for all the civil engineers out there).

4. It is my theory that any attempt to interface with the real world and actually do useful real things results in an enormous amount of uncertainty and chaos in which you still have to make decisions however imperfect and however negatively others will judge it going forward. I think that's true because the world is chaotic and complicated and imperfect, and to influence it means to be touched by that too. That doesn't excuse poor engineering or not caring or stupid decisions, etc. but it is a factor everywhere I think.

5. So change it :-) there are efforts afoot everywhere to struggle to improve things, and from the sounds of it the guy has perhaps not tried enough things. I feel go is a great step in the right direction for a systems language which removes a lot of the crap you don't want to think about, as does C# (though it does potentially tie you to ms crap).

6. Programming is difficult, solving real problems is difficult, abstractions are nice but leak, and sometimes it's quite painful to have to put up with all the crap other people hacked together to make things work. But the value is in the end product - I don't care that my beautiful macbook air runs on a faulted architecture and some perhaps imperfect software, the beautiful ease of use is what matters to me. We mustn't lose sight of these things, though again this is not an excuse for crap code. There is definitely a balance to be struck.

7. Zack Morris is clearly a highly accomplished + competent hacker given what he's done and the obvious passion he writes with (to care enough to be disappointed + upset by these things is indicative), which I think has a bearing - the deeper your knowledge, the better your skill, the more faults you notice by dint of your intelligence + competence. There is a definite curse at play here.

Anyway, just my 2p :)

tensor 1 day ago 3 replies      
The thing that the author of this rant and every other rant like it don't understand is that computer science is hard.

While tools like functional programming may indeed deliver on the promise of a 60% code reduction, they have a correspondingly higher barrier to learning. Evolving algorithms? Automatic programming? These problems become theoretically intractable so quickly it's not even funny (I currently do research on a very related problem). He wants compilers to just insert the semicolon for him? I'm glad mechanical engineers of the world don't have the same attitude about nails and screws!

Most of his complaints in truth have nothing to do with computer science at all. They have everything to do with sloppy engineering. There are all sorts of obvious reasons why computer engineering is sloppy. A few examples:

1) Developers for open source project usually are not paid. It's not surprising that documentation is weak.

2) Reliability and turn-key operation are expensive to develop and nobody wants to pay. I'm sure the author of the article doesn't either.

3) Bugs have lower impact. Screw up a building foundation and you might end up in jail. A clunky install process? Probably all that will happen is a scolding and a new issue in the tracker.

4) Things change so fast that standards can't keep up. The same goes for most other engineering frameworks that would solve many of the problems Morris complains about.

We've made and continue to make huge progress in the field of computer science. Computers have and continue to replace people in jobs all over the world. Morris should be happy they haven't replaced his job yet. Not working may sound nice, but having an income is also nice. That has nothing to do with computers.

Computers have made our lives easier. If I went back 10 years and told my younger self what I can do today with just my mobile phone, I doubt my younger self would even believe me.

The problem is not that progress is bad. It's that progress is moving too fast for engineering to keep up with. The state of the art is constantly changing.

zyb09 2 days ago 2 replies      
Painting everything a little bit dark, aren't we?

Look here's a story: We just had our national holiday in Germany and therefore a long weekend. So I decided to code an update for an iPhone app I have. The app lets the user create funny pictures, so I thought it would be cool to have an online gallery with user-created pictures, where people could vote on the best ones and have a weekly top list. Now this is far from trivial though, suddenly I need online storage, a database for users and votes, and a webservice to handle all of that. So I looked around, found Node.js, MongoDB, Heroku and S3, signed up, started reading, learning and coding. 2 Days later and the first version is done and working. How much did I know about this before and how much does this stack cost me? Almost nothing.

So where's my point with this? First, this kind of story would be impossible just a few years ago. When you realize, how it's now possible for a small developer to reach potentially tens of thousands of users, without the need of a big budget or being in control of delivery channels. When you realize, how much powerful resources are now right at the fingertips of the average developer, how you just need to sit down, read and learn, and you are able to implement even the wildest ideas - then I can't help but think these times are great!

Coding is still hard and despite advancement in technology, it may not have gotten much easier. But many things that used to be straight out impossible, can now, with the right commitment, be archived from the comfort of your own four walls.

loup-vaillant 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone who liked this article may like to know that Alan Kay and his team at the Viewpoint Research Institute are currently making a silver bullet. A real one. Of the kind that really really hurts the Complexity Werewolf. They may not kill it, but the scars are already visible.

Take a look at their work, most notably the last STEPS progress report. They can use 50 times less code than well written, useful C code (like TCP). Compare with redundant, useless, badly written C++.

The secret is quite simple: you can write your own programming languages, and good code looks like a formal spec (to the point of being one, ideally). If you can't write good code, then write the language that will let you. How ? Start here : http://www.tinlizzie.org/ometa/

asolove 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's always good to go back to the start and remember how much worse things have gotten since any arbitrary time in the past. Before complaining about this rant, go out and explore some of our history:

[1] Sketchpad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USyoT_Ha_bA)

[2] The Mother of All Demos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfIgzSoTMOs)

[3] Hypercard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-qth3mrbwc)

[4] Ward's Wiki (http://c2.com/cgi/wiki)

Then ask: what are we doing that should get added to this list?

wccrawford 2 days ago 2 replies      
People are going to look back at this as the 'golden age' of the web. Yes, things are a little screwy all over the place, but you can do ANYTHING you want now. NONE of the perfect software has been written. It's all waiting for improvement. You can do anything you want and profit from it.

And people just complain that life isn't easy enough. Psh.

dools 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the source of your frustration here is idealism. You're assuming, first of all, that things should be "better" and second of all that things could be better.

Software and technology in general is like a gigantic thriving petri dish. The natural world is terribly inefficient, too (I need how many sperm to germinate one lousy egg?!)

The simple fact is that I'm able to read your rant, think about it and reply whilst sitting in a cafe on a mobile phone. That is awesome progress.

The problems we deal with as engineers are the reason we get paid to do it. Compare this to the practice of music: the art is in the beauty of the song. The engineering is in getting 5 stoners on stage simultaneously and managing to get paid by the ephemeral promoter at the end of it. I'd rather wrangle with a broken FreeBSD port dependency in the comfort of my office listening to music of my choosing (streamed over the internet, and made by people using computers) than starve because of crop failure.

In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double.

groby_b 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, complicated things are complicated?

This sounds vaguely like one of the many "We must have a Do-What-I-Mean language" posts I've been reading since at least the 80's.

Yes, many things in the "state of the art" could certainly be better. But the belief that that is only so because the powers that be want to make money is rather misguided. Building better tools and developing better techniques is hard work.

(I'm not even going to comment on the fact that the author in the same article demands a more formal basis of our craft and at the same time thinks PHP is the best language ever. I was slightly amused)

deweller 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't any accomplished professional look at their own industry and feel this way? I can't imagine any medical doctor who would look at state of the art in health care and say, "Our industry is perfect!"

I think sometimes as developers, we need to cut ourselves a little slack.

Sure we need to continue to move the state of the art forward. But sometimes we do get stuff done even in spite of our industry's imperfections. And some people find software pretty useful even with two different versions of PNG image loading code.

pnathan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, the state of the art is atrocious. It's hack piled upon hack piled upon hack. Mind you, things weren't massively better in the 50s, 60s, or (maybe?) the 70s.

I'd like to believe that a deep rethinking of computer systems in languages that aren't C-based and incorporate the academic OS research done in the last 30 years would produce some fantastic innovation. But that requires something like a Bell Labs willing to allow years of hacking for potentially 0 return.


icebraining 2 days ago 0 replies      
Computer science has utterly failed to tackle the real world problems, things like automating jobs so people don't have to work, or working hand in hand with humans to explore solutions we have trouble seeing ourselves.

I disagree. Automation is happening every day. Your error is assuming that will lead to "people not having to work." It won't, and the reason for that is social and political, and has nothing to do with CS.

Terry_B 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yep and all of this because mostly business drives technology not ideological programmers.

And on the rare occasion the ideological programmers are in charge, you can't get them to agree.

Frustrating but that's the way the world works and I'm not sure where complaining gets you.

giardini 1 day ago 0 replies      
And the code I wrote for IBM mainframes using CICS and VSAM _still_ _runs_ today, as does the code for Unisys mainframes written in TIP, COBOL and DMS. Maybe I'll go back to using that. Hell, it runs more reliably than anything that tried to replace it!8-))

But I really miss toggling instructions and data directly into memory on the PDP-11's control panel. Yeah, the state of the art is terrible indeed.

algoshift 1 day ago 0 replies      
Similar professional experience: I go back to having built rudimentary microprocessors with diode arrays and gates; Creating my own microcode and ALU; Wire-wrapping my own computers using 8080, 6502 and other early processors; Punching in my own mini-os using a hex keypad; Rolling my own Forth-based OS, editor and applications; working with PALs and later on multi-million-gate FPGAs.

I find myself agreeing with the author on many points. The evolutionary progress in computing seems to have stalled a long time ago. The fact that we are still hand-coding loops and such things means that it is hard to move up into a higher level of consciousness, if you will. The paradigm shift we need is one where the programmer is able to think and work in problem space rather than being pushed down into verifying loop counts and semicolons every five minutes.

Back in college I experienced a mind-opening moment when a physics professor insisted that I enroll in a class he was teaching. The class was for a language called APL. I won't go into details here. Look it up if interested. That class and that language changed my view of computing and how computing could work forever. I was taking FORTRAN and C classes at the same time. The contrast between the languages was almost beyond description. While we were mired in do loops and other language-mechanics in FORTRAN and C we were actually solving real problems with APL in very short order...even writing a game or two, database applications and doing some scientific computing. Programmer productivity and the ability to express and solve a problem simply could not be compared. APL felt like it was a century ahead of anything else.

APL lets you focus on the problem space. In a certain way it is like playing the piano, you don't think about frequencies and durations, you think about expression of ideas.

As people focused in languages like C++ (which were easier to grasp and use with equipment available in those days) APL never became mainstream and, to some degree, did not evolve into what it could have become. Ironically, the machines we all have on our desks today provide an incredible environment for a language like APL in terms of available resources and speed.

I am not saying that APL is the end-all. What I am saying is that my path through this craft was altered in a non-trivial manner by being exposed to a very different set of ideas. I find myself longing for feeling that way about the tools I have to use today, particularly when hitting the pavement with languages such as Objective-C and VHDL, which, despite their many supporters are far, very, very far, from providing the kind of evolution and progress we so desperately need in computer science.

zackmorris 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hey everyone thanks for your comments, I have learned a lot today.

For all I complain about the state of technology, it's remarkable that I am using it to communicate with some of the most amazing people in the world. You just can't make this stuff up.

I think that maybe it's time to stop taking the pain and do something about it. The only part I've never been able to figure out is how to earn enough income and maintain the independence required to work on the really big problems. Heck, maybe that IS the problem.

This morning I was going to get up and fix another computer to sell on eBay because I am living month to month since quitting my job in November to make the leap into living the dream. I've called in almost every favor and in all honesty am within a few weeks of applying for jobs. Maybe I should have blogged about the process earlier!

I feel like if I can't hack it, then there must be others out there just like me. I just didn't expect this post to resonate quite like it did. I wonder how many of us feel like that friend we all know whose band hasn't quite made it yet so they couch surf. The waste of talent is staggering, and all around us.

If you are interested in this issue, I set up a google doc here:


I'm totally open to any suggestions and you can also contact me on twitter at @zackarymorris or any of the sites in my profile.

Peaker 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Because they know what you are just starting to grasp. That it shouldn't be like this. That computers have vastly underserved their users. Conceptually, mobile and casual interaction is the future of computing. But it has no formal basis."

"The good tools like functional programming and provably correct algorithms are either too esoteric or too expensive for the mainstream"

I was really with him there.

Then when he said:

"That's a reason why one of my favorite languages is php. It just works. Screw up your variable typing? Who cares. Forget a symbol somewhere? Heck you still get some output and can see your error."

Is the contradiction there not obvious?

lobster_johnson 1 day ago 2 replies      
Computing is in a bad shape partly because of momentum, and the momentum exists because of the nature of capitalism.

The momentum means we can never stop to make sure the software is as carefully written at it needs to be, and we can never stop to think of the big picture (all the other software we need to operate with).

And because of capitalism's inherent competitive nature, there is no concerted movement towards a unified goal in computing; competition leads to fragmentation, not unification. So we have a profileration of operating systems, redundant software reinventing wheels etc.

Open source is interesting in that regard. It's sort of the solution to a lot of the mess -- in theory, by making the source public, nobody should ever need to solve a problem more than once, and a specific piece of problem-solving code should evolve over time into the perfect solution -- but it's screwed by the competitive nature of people. (People don't just compete among themselves with their egos. They also compete against the status quo; what I like to call the "not invented by me" syndrome which drives people to create new stuff even though what they really ought to have done is to improve the old stuff, thus expanding the pile of legacy software even further.)

Why do we have both Python and Ruby? They are incredibly similar to each other. They are so similar it's silly. Sure, one's got whitespace-sensitive syntax, the other has runtime-extensible OO. But those are superficial differences, and nobody can objectively say that Python is better than Ruby, or vice versa. Do we really need both? And yet Matz and Guido are never going to join forces to work together on a common goal to create a single, superior technology.

Open source ought to work less like capitalism. People need to work together into creating the best, safest, most robust software imaginable.

yourapostasy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds like he is bemoaning the technical debt problem, writ large. While you can't resolve this from the gate level on up overnight, you can create your own "technical oases" that are largely free(er) of technical debt than the crud they float upon.
acqq 2 days ago 1 reply      
I suggest anybody interested to read:

No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering

for a better idea why the state of art is actually much less terrible than it appears to idealists.

"I believe the hard part of building software to be the specification, design, and testing of this conceptual construct, not the labor of representing it and testing the fidelity of the representation. We still make syntax errors, to be sure; but they are fuzz compared with the conceptual errors in most systems.

If this is true, building software will always be hard. There is inherently no silver bullet."

nerd_in_rage 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good article. The app store stuff is spot on (coming from someone who's either directly or indirectly worked on over a dozen iOS apps.)

I tried talking a client through deploying his stuff to the app store. It took about a half hour to figure out what weird setting (overridden by his target settings) that he had different.

Does stuff really need to be this difficult?
it's almost absurd.

jtchang 2 days ago 0 replies      
The part about pushing out a iPhone app is soul crushing. But the same can be said about web applications. Back then a bit of HTML, CSS, and some forms processing and you were in business. Now you need to know about server side vs client side processing, AJAX, blocking, HTML5, CSS3, and all the quirks about the browsers. Then after you actually get some version of a static page up you are busy debugging your SQL models and why your many to many joins are taking forever. Throw in the myriad of libraries you have for both front end and back end code and you are in for a nightmare.
gfodor 2 days ago 0 replies      
A good, if not great, rant. I think the one point I'd like to make is I think the iPad represents the first opportunity in a long time to really fundamentally re-think computing. Yes, it comes with a lot of legacy garbage, and it's shackled by Apple itself, but it's different enough that it might just be the thing we need to have some fresh thinking.

The tragedy will be if we are so blinded by the past that we do nothing more than project the status quo onto it. If we can get back to our roots and remember what computing is fundamentally about, extending the capability of humanity, I think we can expect to see some amazing things over the next decade.

zobzu 2 days ago 1 reply      
As much as I dislike the whole intro "ive seen it all" listing a do of common stuff, its difficult not to agree on the whole.

The state of software is sad.

I liked that one "Heck, my Mac Plus in 1987 with HyperCard was more approachable than anything today." which is very true, too.

euroclydon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to work on Clinical Trials management software. We had an IVR product written in PHP and PGSQL. Project designers would build a project workflow with a half-baked web "flow chart" and custom PGSQL function that called existing PGSQL functions.

I have a nacent dream of a language that could elegantly replace the workflow definitions with pure code that looked like Lisp or Json. I'd like to work on a program like that.

nick_urban 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are computers inefficient and software complex and unwieldly? Sure, but I suspect the sense of fatigue and disappointment is due mostly to the cause he mentions last: the irrelevance (or even hostility) of most computer applications to a life well lived.

"if your grandparents can't use it out of the box to do something real... then it fails"

The problem is not the difficulty of software, or its aesthetic decline. The problem is that the most important things for human happiness -- such as autonomy, integrity, feeling of connection to a world larger than us and love for other human beings -- are mostly ignored or eroded by technology rather than improved by it. This is not something new to computer technology, but it does seem to be focused and hastened by it.

When you're a kid, it's easy to be enthralled by the wonder of the machine. I certainly was. As an adult, you don't have that anymore. You need to feel like you're working for something worthwhile. All of that complexity would be worth managing if we understood it as part of a struggle for something of magnitude. The feeling that it's all crap comes, as much as anything, from this lack of ends.

Benjo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Software is just massively complex. Some day, someone will come along with the resources to redo large parts of the technology stack "correctly." If they do it right, it may even be an improvement. But make no mistake, the investment required will be massive.

So until we hit a major technical wall, why bother? Why optimize prematurely until we're bumping up against atoms?

commieneko 1 day ago 0 replies      
I gave up in the late '80s.

I still use computers, heck, the whole developed world uses computers now. But that's despite the way software/hardware have developed; a side effect of Moore Law making things faster and cheaper.

Unix is the big thing in 2011? Really? Nooo.... well shit!

Funny that the OP mentions Hypercard. When it came out a number of very smart people said, "Hey, that's kind of neat!"

And it was. It was little better than a toy at first, but I saw street people sit down with it and _an hour latter_ they were using it to solve problems, and were delighted. And let me tell you, in 1987 part of that hour was used to explain how to us a mouse, drag selections, double click, etc.

rbranson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Indeed. Worse is better[1].

[1] http://dreamsongs.com/WorseIsBetter.html

danmaz74 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are some true things in this rant, but I'm pretty sure about one thing: "provably correct algorithms" are never going to deliver us a computer to which "you should literally be able to tell it what you want it to do and it would do its darnedest to do a good job for you."

Natural Intelligence is the product of billion years of crappy evolution, and thinking that the application of some clear, clean mathematical concepts will be able to recreate it is very naive.

dupe123 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't really get the point of this article. Felt like he was just saying that everyone today is a moron. I find this attitude annoying. Get off your high horse. Yeah, there's bad programmers and some people are oblivious. In any profession, there are people that are going to suck at it. There's also people that are simply brilliant and are amazing programmers.

Then to act like the entire software stack is broken is silly to me. Sure there's inefficiencies. In any large complicated system, you can expect there to be room for improvement. And anytime you introduce layers of abstraction, inefficiency is bound to happen. But guess what? Not everybody has time to write code in assembly. The fact of the matter is, the software ecosystem has become so complex that people are forced to specialize in more and more specific subsets of it.

And all this jazz about "Oh boo hoo.. software hasn't solved world hunger and doesn't wipe my ass for me when I use the bathroom". Geez man. Calm down. These problems your talking about like figuring out AI are incredibly hard. Its going to take a long, long time for them to be tackled fully. Software and computers have only been around for the blink of an eye in human existence.

hackermom 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Most computers today, for all of their potential speed, are largely a mistake, based on the provenly unscalable Von Neumann architecture, controlled with one of the most shortsighted languages of all time, x86 assembly. They are almost unfathomably inefficient."

Well put, Sir.

DrHankPym 2 days ago 0 replies      
> In any given 12 hour day of programming, I'd say less than a single hour goes to writing new code now.

For the longest time I've felt guilty of this, until I started seeing my coworkers committing code that I would later have to correct. Our company is such a mess right now.

georgieporgie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent rant.

In my opinion, the industry as a whole has gotten obsessed with new hotness over properly finishing what was started. I don't know whether that's always been true.

redler 2 days ago 1 reply      
Programming, at least the fundamentals, should be taught in elementary school just like any other language, but the teachers don't yet have the required familiarity, so we should start with them.

There's much to enjoy, agree with, and debate in this essay. But this is the most important line.

rbreve 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great article, I have exactly the same feelings towards CSS and HTML. I mean why is it so damm difficult to layout a simple page.
smashing 1 day ago 0 replies      
OK, this is going to be unpopular, but here it goes.

Life isn't supposed to be beautiful or elegant or simple or perfect.

If an entrepreneur can make money while improving the parts of life (no matter how small) that others benefit from, what can possibly be the issue?

brain5ide 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kudos for a beautiful rant, I really liked it an resonated. But after it and all of the comments in here I remembered Jobs' saying: "Computers are bicycles for mind". Which means you need to pedal it to get somewhere. As much as programmers would like automation and being lazy, It's still about pedaling.
becomevocal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Now lets take that frustration and build out a solution. We're the ones that will change this all for the better.
perfunctory 1 day ago 0 replies      
In light of all these recent rants it would probably be interesting to track what Alan Kay and his team are doing at www.vpri.org. I am looking forward to see what they'll come up with.
iochannel 1 day ago 0 replies      
this is great news. b/c it means there's still (after how many yrs?) huge opportunity. think different.

code something simple (=terse) that follows common sense and just works and it's an island of consistent speed and reliability in a sea of crap and bloatware.

we need more djb-like coders, who do not mimick 1000's of other coding monkeys.

mcillroy said the hero is he who writes negative code. he's right. the world needs less not more code.

if you can't handle that, then you're just contributing to keeping the "state of the art" terrible. but then people just keep paying for this crap so that's why it won't disappear. the idiots are rewarded for their "productivity" in producing saleable crapware.

carry on.

joshu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where there's muck, there's brass.
munin 1 day ago 0 replies      
this article seems like a more educated and experienced manner of asking "mr. babbage, if you put the wrong numbers in, will the right answers come out" ...
balloot 1 day ago 0 replies      
This guy just sounds like you run-of-the-mill crappy programmer.

"I can't get things to work! It's the fault of The World - it couldn't possibly be me! I've had a game in the App Store!"

As a rule, the worse the programmer, the more convoluted his solutions to problems. Maybe instead of writing huge rants on his blog, he should re-evaluate the way he does things so the world doesn't seem so horrible. Or get a new job.

bobsh 1 day ago 1 reply      
dpe82 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sometimes it's easy to forget that software development is a fundamentally human endeavor and will reflect all that is right and wrong with the humans involved.
outworlder 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is the best "rant" that I've seen in years and practically sums it up.

It is exactly the reason why I say that Computer Science is still in the Stone Age.

astrofinch 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's true, system administration is a bitch.
FlowerPower 1 day ago 0 replies      
He has a problem with proprietary software. All of the problems are due to proprietary softawre and his examlpes with Apple produced closed software is just the tip.
zwieback 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whiner. Everything in life is like that.
Facebook claims it does not track users, but files patent to do same uncrunched.com
401 points by ColinWright  3 days ago   79 comments top 21
gyardley 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's perfectly possible for Facebook to not track users at the moment and simultaneously prepare for a future where this is not only acceptable, it's expected.

Facebook has placed a long-term bet that people will willingly share pretty much everything they do. When they file patents like this, they're skating where the puck is headed, not where it is now.

tybris 3 days ago 3 replies      
You don't patent something because you built it. You patent something because you think someone else might build it, or because you don't want someone else to prevent you from building it.
tokenadult 3 days ago 1 reply      
As Confucius said, in one of his most famous take-downs, "始吾-人也、聽...言而信...行、今吾-人也、聽...言而觀...行。At first in dealing with people, I would hear their words and trust their deeds, but now my way of dealing with people is to hear their words and observe their deeds."
damoncali 3 days ago 3 replies      
When you have less credibility than an investment banker on a cocaine bender, you've got some trust issues.

I'm still trying to figure out if anyone will care. My faith in humanity is being tested.

anfedorov 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the context is slightly different: when an employee says "we do not track users on other domains", he means that they don't record your loading of a page with a "Like" button, even though they could. The patent claim is for a system with facebook "receiving one or more communications from a third-party website [containing] an action taken by a user", which they then incorporate into their ad-serving wizardry.

This could be quite interesting, actually: imagine facebook launches a system where any third-party website can give it a stream of "actions" taken by facebook's users, and pay them based on how good the data are for predicting ad preference. Site owners would then have a financial incentive to report to facebook every single thing their users do.

Imagine if HN did this, reporting to facebook the literacy level of your comments, the speed at which you read the comments, what subjects you spend the most time reading, what you comment on, etc.

abailin 3 days ago 0 replies      
arcs 3 days ago 0 replies      
This feels like blatant sensationalism to me.

This particular patent describes the process for 3rd party sites to tell Facebook about something the user did (new Open Graph API, anyone?), which subsequently can be shown as an ad to the user's friends, i.e. "Your friend blah has bought something on This Service, do you want to do so too?" (some peer context for ads, which facebook already tries to do for things like fanning pages).

This is quite different from the meaning implied by this post, which the first 2 quotes were addressing, that Facebook tracks and correlates browsing patterns of users across the internet without their consent.

saturn7 3 days ago 4 replies      
Its getting to a point where I will have a dedicated virtual machine just to check Facebook.
orijing 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not a patent lawyer, but I tried reading the patent application (http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sec...).

It sounds like Facebook Connect/open graph, where you can Like something on a third party domain, or read something, etc. Is it just saying "You will now have an activity feed for all your likes, etc on third party websites on your timeline"? The 9/22 F8 date seems to suggest that.

But HN is a lot more skeptical than I am. Are you just worried that it may mean different things in the future? What's the deal?

It also sounds like "Don't try this, Google. It's my turf"

click170 3 days ago 0 replies      
One can't help but wonder...
Did they just get that idea from us?

"Everyone thinks we track users"

"But we don't!"

"...Well, we're already getting the PR flak for it, maybe we should?"

paul9290 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many Facebook and HN readers are using Spotify along with FB's auto-publish feature?

I used it and forgot it was auto-publishing my tunes to FB. I went back to FB and was embarrassed to see it had published a song I wish no one knew I was listening to. Since then I updated Spotify and only listen in "Private Listening," mode.

Spotify is great, but automatically sharing everything I do/listen to is out of the norm. We as humans share when we want and been doing so since well forever.

Hayes 3 days ago 2 replies      
We could use this thread to give some feedback back to Facebook. They'll hear it and might even listen. Because this isn't black and white. All the web developers on here "track users" on their websites, it can be as mild as logging for AB testing. Facebook is now needing to do this across domains because their application extends across domains. Where do you draw the line?
binaryorganic 3 days ago 0 replies      
They can certainly say they're not using the data now, but store it and change their minds later, no?
mmwako 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not necessarily contradictory. Not enough context to conclude anything.

As far as I know, if this was Google, for sure everyone would argue "they patent this tracking system just to avoid other less reliable companies to do so".

(I still think that facebook is malign, though)

chris_dcosta 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't get the anger here. Surely all of us has written code at some point that tracks what a user is doing, even if it's just to keep state.

What's the difference between that and what Facebook might (/must) be doing? The difference as far as I can see is that Fb has a public image tarnished by privacy issues, and it makes for a good story.

Of course it's a damned if you do damned if you don't situation for Fb. It's not lying, it's just what happens when PR spin and reality get caught in the same room.

rat 3 days ago 1 reply      
They are obviously asking for the patent to prevent others from using this technique.
nomdeplume 3 days ago 1 reply      
After seeing what it was, part of me was thinking "is this a spoof site pretending to be real?" while another part was thinking "this is too well written to be a joke." I wonder why they chose to file for the patent right when they were getting bad press for it. Maybe they were hoping it would go unnoticed and filed after discovery so noone else could scoop it up?
jfb 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is no entailment relation from the second fact to the first. However, nothing Facebook does in service of their goal to own people's online identity and experience would shock me.
tlrobinson 3 days ago 1 reply      
Suspicious, sure, but filing a patent doesn't mean they're actually using it.
nh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do as I say, not as I do..
dustingetz 3 days ago 0 replies      
patent registration is the nash equilibrium of the current US legal climate. patent collections are ammo in corporate wargames.

facebook does all sorts of evil like releasing full user history without a subpeona, but the OP's tone and these comments are FUD. bad.

Steve Jobs has died marketwatch.com
577 points by byrneseyeview  2 hours ago   53 comments top 28
conesus 2 hours ago 5 replies      
From his 2005 Stanford commencement speech:

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything " all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

rbranson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the first "celebrity" death in recent history that's really upset me :/

I feel like he really truly had a rare combination of drive, personality, and talent that is extremely rare, dare I say one of a kind? Our field owes him a great debt for pushing us forward, even when we didn't want to.

RIP Steve.

quasistar 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
kristofferR 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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

- Steve Jobs

andrewljohnson 2 hours ago 1 reply      
He held out for one final launch. When I think about that, I cry. His passion kept him going, passion for work, passion for life, passion to make a difference.
blhack 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Rest in peace, Steve.

While everything you built wasn't necessarily for me, god damn if it wasn't brilliant. Everybody in the community really seemed to speak highly of you, I wish I would have had the chance to experience this in person.

The world will always, always love you, and love the impact that you made on it. Thank you for that.

noonespecial 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What a strange thing. I'm actually going to miss him a little as if I had known him.

Its not going to be quite the same now that I know "the Steve" is not in his Cupertino lair working his magic.

sshumaker 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. He held on just long enough to make sure an Apple product announcement went on successfully without him.
kemayo 2 hours ago 2 replies      
One thing that he really forced down all our throats was the importance of taste. He knew what he wanted, and he made us all see how great it was.

Here's a clip from back in 1996, before his return to Apple, where he talks briefly about Microsoft, and in it you can really see his continuing obsession with making insanely great things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upzKj-1HaKw

kevinchen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks legitimate: http://www.apple.com/stevejobs/

Goodbye, sir. Thank you for changing my life.

sahaj 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I actually cried when I read this.

RIP Steve!

sneak 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I grew up with the machines he and his team at Apple designed and built.

I was four when I got my first mac, and some of my earliest memories are those of customizing my system with the Font/DA Mover app on System 6. My earliest ideas about the role of machines in our lives were shaped by things like HyperCard and MacPaint. My dad still tells the story of the time that 14-year-old me skipped basketball practice one afternoon to install System 7 from the six floppies it came on. Apple hardware and software has directly shaped who I am today, as cliche as it may sound.

I recall seeing exactly one empty seat in the town hall during the 4S reveal, in the front row, labelled "Reserved" in their iconic Myriad typeface. I wonder if that's who it was for.

A friend just suggested that perhaps he died a short time ago, and they waited until after the launch to announce it. It's not a stretch, considering that he devoted his life's work to the betterment of Apple's shareholders.

Regardless, I'll miss him. He was as much an influence on my life and development, both aesthetically and technologically, as any family member.

heyrhett 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is the present perfect tense here more correct, or should it be the past tense, "Steve Jobs died?"
marcamillion 2 hours ago 0 replies      
WoW! Just wow.

Here is to a life of unrelenting pursuit of perfection.

revscat 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a link to the "Think Different" commercial from Apple. I must admit that after watching it just now I teared up a bit.


What a life.

vga15 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Almost wierd that I feel sick to my stomach.

RIP Steve. We'll certainly miss the most important innovator of our times.

ronnier 2 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.apple.com/ apple.com is dedicated to him.
ams6110 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
Many people will have more days, but few will have more impact. Rest in Peace.
donw 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's almost impossible for me to imagine the tech world without Jobs... the world has lost a visionary man today.
arjn 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Not entirely unexpected but still sad. The end of an era. He will be missed by many.
Fluxx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The homepage of Apple right now is such an appropriate tribute. Stark. Clean. Compassionate. Human.
danvideo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For real? Sadly, knew he was sick, but wasn't expecting this.

The world has lost a unique and brilliant technology / business / design leader, the likes of which are few and far between.

pixelcloud 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs has inspired us all, through his business philosophy, through pushing the mobile landscape to where it is today, for changing the music industry as we know it, for his snappy turtle-necks, for the opportunities he has given his employees and developers on iOS.

The world lost one of the greatest business man of all time.


ashleyw 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A great man. Rest in peace, my friend.
dm8 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A true visionary, maverick and someone who had healthy disregards for rules and status quo. RIP Steve. You'll be sorely missed.
snprbob86 2 hours ago 0 replies      
abbasmehdi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I will never forget this moment.
meatsock 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't wait to see what he invents at his new place.
Node.js has jumped the shark unlimitednovelty.com
311 points by bascule  1 day ago   124 comments top 34
Spyro7 1 day ago  replies      
Am I the only one that considers all of this ranting about Nodejs to be a little bit strange?

I would have never expected a post that was obviously a troll to prompt this much of a reaction on both sides of an issue. That so many of these rants and counter rants made it to the front page of Hacker News is somewhat discouraging.

I have been playing around with node for a few months, and I have tried to stay completely out of this "conversation". With that said, I would like to contribute just a few points:

Bad programmers will be bad programmers regardless of the tools that they use. If they use node and fail to write code that is completely non-blocking, then that is what we call a teachable moment. There is no magic button, all technologies have downsides and tradeoffs.

People keep talking about how nodejs is not good for computationally intensive tasks, but v8 is not a slow environment. Am I the only one that puts computationally intensive tasks into a queue to be taken care of by a pool of seperate processes? I am only just getting into web programming, and it seemed fairly obvious to me that you would not put something like that into your main event loop.

Also, if you find that you must put something computationally intensive in your main event loop, then you should use something like node-proxy or nginx to proxy those requests to a number of "nodes".

Over and over again, I have seen that people complain that node is not a good multithreaded environment. Well, yes... That is the tradeoff of using something that is closely tied to the concept of the event loop.

If you are using node because you feel comfortable with threads and you need threads, then you are making a serious mistake. If you are a new programmer and you are using node because someone told you that it is cool, then you are making a serious mistake. If you are using node because you have a problem that can be solved or addressed with an event loop and you understand the tradeoffs inherent in this approach, then you are doing the right thing.

To use nodejs effectively will often require rethinking your approach to fit the tool that you are using.

jrockway 1 day ago 1 reply      
This article is terrible. It boils down to "Ted stirred up some shit in the node community, which I like to troll because I wrote my own programming language and see node as the enemy. As a result of the shit-stirring, people that don't know much about programming defended node. Meanwhile, I wrote my own programming language that nobody uses because nobody is as smart as me, the creator. What's up dawg?"

OK. You have to realize what the community is and isn't. The community isn't every person with a blog. Those people are fanbois; and they exist everywhere.

You've got to filter the noise out. Don't submit every article about something to HN. Don't tell your friends "hey, read this article about a guy memoizing fib, completely missing the point that it was an example CPU-bound algorithm". This is all noise, people that don't know what they're talking about talking.

So, is accidentally blocking an issue in node? YUP! Is leaking space in Haskell something you should worry about? YUP! Is passing a string to a function that requires an int something to worry about in Ruby? YUP! Should you lose sleep at night worrying about whether your Java application is leaking memory? YUP! Should you have nightmares about input data causing your C program to write to memory it didn't allocate? YUP!

Why do you think writing working software is difficult? Because we all have phenomenal tools but are just morons? Nope, we're all morons and we have shitty tools too. All programming languages suck. So you must use them for their strengths, not their weaknesses.

Node.js' strength is that it was designed from the ground up to do everything that can be done asynchronously asynchronously. This is mostly due to the standard library and a bit of C, rather than something intrinsic to the runtime or language. The problems it runs into are CPU-bound computations. People are afraid to split applications into many processes and have some existing tool "scale" them as necessary. As a result, node.js does not work for them, because it doesn't have Java-style threads, which is the hammer they want to use to drive in their screws.

Anyway, I don't really even like node.js that much, but it just feels worth pointing out that no other language solves the denial-of-service problem. If you use preemptive multitasking, you eventually run out of memory for threads. If you use an event loop, blocking starves the other handlers. If you use multiple processes, your process table fills up. The question is: how are you going to deal with it. If you write a thread-based application, you have to figure out how to collect blocked threads (and hope the OS schedules your collector thread). If you write a process-based application, you have to figure out how to collect hung processes. If you write an event-based application, you have to figure out how to ensure you never block. In the end, all three problems are equally hard. It's just that node makes it easy to make 100000 connections hang without killing your Chrome session with your blog editor in it. Write a CGI script in C, use mpm_prefork or something, hit Apache with a million connections, and watch the OOM killer annihilate your system.

Programming is hard. Let's stop blogging.

ender7 1 day ago 1 reply      
All right guys, this is getting absurd.

I am having a ton of fun using NodeJS to actually build stuff. It's fast, it's scalable, it's maintainable, it's great.

Yet another pants-on-head troll has decided that NodeJS is a crime against his tech religion? I don't fucking care.

markbao 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is the worst rant I've read in a while.

It starts with lambasting the fact that Ted Dziuba didn't intend the Fibonacci example to be the one role model of comparing Node.js and other languages, and then the Node.js community (or at least a few members of it) rallied around showing that Fibonacci was actually fast in Node. I agree with this. We should be talking about the big picture, not just single implementations.

Then, it goes on for 4 paragraphs about how slow Node.js was with Fibonacci.

Wasn't it the point that Fibonacci wasn't the point? If the point is to show that Node.js is inefficient with computation, and Fibonacci was just a dumb example, why was the rest of the article about the dumb example mentioned previous?

jarrett 1 day ago 3 replies      
It seems we now have three camps:

1. "Node is the magic bullet."

2. "Node sucks."

3. "Nothing is that simple. Learn you some computer science."

#3 is the correct answer, but I'd like to see this point explored in more detail. The current back-and-forth isn't productive. What would be productive is if we had an informed discussion of what Node is good at, what not to do with it, and how it compares with other tools and approaches.

Specifically, I'd love to hear opinions on some of these points:

* Node is opinionated about threads. Negatively so. See http://nodejs.org/#about . Do you agree with these claims?

* Non-blocking IO doesn't solve every performance problem under the sun. Far from it. But what problems does it solve exceptionally well?

* Is Node a breakthrough in computer science? Events and callbacks have been around for ages. What new ideas does Node bring to the table?

* Why exactly is Node supposed to be so scalable? Is scaling to more machines easier with Node than with other approaches? How about scaling to more cores on the same machine? Does Node provide any special support for distributing a task across multiple workers and possibly over the network, e.g. with something like MapReduce?

klochner 1 day ago 1 reply      
Best part of the post was where someone suggested he increase his heap size to 1GB to get a fibonacci algorithm to run.

   After pointing this out, a member of the Node.js
community (post now deleted) suggested I might have an
obsolete version of Node with a 1GB heap limit and that
I recompile without the 1GB restriction so that this
retarded algorithm can continue eating up all my system RAM.

jchrisa 1 day ago 2 replies      

Don't use JavaScript for numerical computation. Don't block your IO loops for CPU intensive stuff.


I've never met a Node hacker who would ever do any of those things. This post should be called "Straw man Node.js n00bs jump the shark."

I've written web apps in a wide variety of dynamic languages, and you know what, I've never done anything CPU intensive in the request response loop, ever. This has nothing to do with Node, fibonacci in PHP is just as bad an idea (although it might take you a little longer to realize it, as you've probably got lots of PHP threads running behind your Apache).

IsaacSchlueter 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Author seems to have missed that node-fib is a joke.

Ted Dziuba is clearly a person suffering from profound intellectual insecurity, and a lack of technical acumen. We should offer him our sympathy rather than enable his self-destructive behavior by praising his "previous trolling" activities.

This article, like the poor sad unfortunate Mr. Dziuba himself, seems to be combatting a strawman: the idea that Node.js users and developers are advocating that it be used for everything. It's a fun platform to use, and pretty good for a lot of tasks, but any grownups close to the project (and there are a few of us) are quite vocal about the fact that it is targeted at a very specific use case: IO-bound network programs.

People get excited about the programs they use, and want to see how well it can do things. When your hammer is fun to swing, you want to see what happens with you hit stuff with it. Ted Dziuba has previously advocated using xargs instead of Hadoop for parallel map-reduce, so I would have thought he might understand that sometimes you use the tool that you understand (if it works) rather than something else, even if that other thing might be objectively better for that particular task.

I don't know what node users articles like this or Ted's are talking about. I've been using node almost as long as Ryan, and totally love it. I don't know how we could be more clear about what node is and isn't good for.

At NodeConf, in the Committer Panel, someone asked, "What isn't node good for?" We all rattled off a variety of things. The node community is actually pretty sane. We just laugh at stuff like this, since it's so ridiculous, and make jokes like node-fib.

ntoshev 1 day ago 0 replies      
This only proves that many in node.js community and some trolls outside of it don't really understand programming at the event level, BUT insist on writing about it.

First, you shouldn't judge anything by the worst of its kind.

Second, why I keep seeing related stories piling one misunderstanding on top of another on Hacker News?

InclinedPlane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm just tired of this, it's beyond dumb.

I remember the spectacle of the Java hype machine and the dot-com 1.0 hype machine. In comparison the node.js hype doesn't even register on the meter. Moreover, I don't see a rash of people misusing node.js to the degree that is prevalent for pretty much every other web technology out there. Are some people going to misuse technology? Always. Is the node.js community out there trying to proselytize to the world, selling node as the solution to every problem on the planet for every developer on the planet regardless of whether it makes sense? Not in the least.

This is a faux-controversy.

9oliYQjP 1 day ago 2 replies      
Jumped the shark posts have jumped the shark.
sreque 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm very glad the node.js community got trolled so effectively. It's been clear for a long time that these most of these advocates are not grounded at all in reality, and it was very entertaining to have them revealed in their ignorant zealotry. Evented solutions have been available in every modern language for some time. They aren't used that often though because they have serious inherent limitations!

I understand the appeal of node.js. It makes the web stack feel much less complex, and I like to reduce complexity as much as the next guy. But in the end, node.js is just a thin wrapper on top of a simple C library. In the end, it really only excels at solving a small, narrow, niche problem.

thenduks 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hmm, sounds more like reddit is the thing that has jumped the shark :)

Most people using Node I've had contact with are firmly in the 'right tool for the job' camp. No one sane does CPU intensive tasks inside the event loop... that's what delayed job processor stuff is for.

ryan-allen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the way we talk and reason about tech has jumped the shark.

* JavaScript is a nifty little language.
* V8 is a nifty little VM.
* Node is a nifty little project.
* Isn't it lovely that Ryan Dahl had an idea and like, actually did it! He doesn't write ranty blog posts (often), he writes code for people!
* There are worse things to rant about. Things that come to mind are the GFC, the US Govt. Bailout, indications it didn't work, education, unemployment. Lots worse things than Node JS.

P.S. If you ever deployed a Rails app to production then, well my friend, the joke really is on you!

EGreg 1 day ago 1 reply      
And the point of this is?

You use Node.js for writing evented programs using Javascript. It is awesome for that. It is better than PHP, and a bunch of other solutions, for actually handling web clients. Heck, it brings us back to the days where we can handle the C10K problem without much work! And it's friggin Javascript!

All these politics are missing the point. This blog post is missing the point. Things SHOULD be simple. There SHOULD be an insanely fast evented solution to do things. And there is. Get over it.

mschwar99 1 day ago 0 replies      
Besides entertainment value doesn't all of this back and forth reduce down to the age old "use the right tool for the job in front of you"?

Node.js as it currently stands isn't the best solution for applications that will involve CPU intensive tasks. Perhaps at the outset of a project you don't know when and where those types of tasks will pop up so basing an entire architecture on it might be risky.

However, it seems to me that regardless of the above, there are tasks Node excels at and it would be silly to dismiss it as a technical solution all together. I'm building browser based games with it and love working with Node. The bulk of the logic is in the client and Node serves as the glue that allows people to play games together from different clients. Nothing I have read gives me pause about this implementation.

strags 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use node.js for long-lived connections (sending/receiving large amounts of data, or long-polling). This is a task to which it is ideally suited. Putting CPU-intensive operations inside a HTTP handler is something that is obviously not going to work in a single-process, single-threaded event-driven framework. Ted's complaining because node.js is unsuitable for something that it's not intended to be used for.

Defending CGI, in my opinion, also hurts his credibility. The "good old days" weren't so good. Spawning a new process for each request? Re-establishing database connections every time? That shit only worked because there were three people on the internet at the time.

scotty79 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a question about Node.js
I hope it's legitimate.

If I have a endless loop in some method that is supposed to generate some part of some webpage of my webapp will it stall the whole app until I restart the server?

From my tests it seems so.

What additional facilities are required to be used so that single bug won't kill the whole app for all users?

Rant mentiones putting nginx in front of node.


It seems that there is a tool called monit that can restart your server when it stalls:


Detrus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure the only sane way to implement CPU intensive tasks in Node and browsers are web workers. Not sure about the state of web worker support in Node but the resulting code should be straightforward. Even so, the speed of JavaScript is limited, so any serious number crunching will be a pain in the ass.

Node and browsers are seldom used for CPU intensive tasks for now, so it's not a priority.

There are alternatives that handle node's current warts elegantly, can do serious number crunching painlessly, but just don't have the cool factor.

jeffreymcmanus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember having debates like this about the TRS-80 in middle school. These guys need to give it a rest, srsly.
wavephorm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't see how discussions like this signify the decline of NodeJS. Quite the opposite. Lots of people are thinking about how to do this kind of computation the right way, within the context of NodeJS.

Honestly this discussion has kind of highlighted how bad almost all other platforms are and how much room for improvement there is.

jevinskie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Isn't it the point of all this madness that jumping the shark for these small and trivial problems is fun and thought provoking?
glenjamin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like to point out that by the time this article was posted, and thanks to some constructive discussion about the approach, the node-fib "project" on github has been updated with a much faster recursive approach which doesn't use loads of memory and doesn't resort to memoisation, but still doesn't block the loop and serves almost as many requests/sec.

My point here, and in writing the lib in the first place was that naive implementations are naive in any language/vm. I lump splitting an algorithm across the loop into the same band as deciding this task should spawn a thread/worker. And using child processes as workers is still an option in node.

shoo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Javascript integers can only reliably represent values up to 2^53, as they are implemented by 64-bit floats [1]. This means that fib(73) and below are correct, but fib(74) and onwards are almost certainly going to be wrong.

The one-millionth fibonacci number, fib(1000000), has 208988 digits when written as a decimal. It takes about a minute to compute fib(1000000) with python 2.6 and write it to file.

I am completely missing the point, but this does amuse me. Framework/language pissing match descends into performance benchmark battle where no-one cares about correctness?

1. http://www.jwz.org/blog/2010/10/every-day-i-learn-something-...

jwingy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Geez, so many generalizations and false arguments. Some of you could use a basic reasoning class (possibly Philosophy 201 or something of the sort).
greenail 1 day ago 0 replies      
right tool for the right job. solving real problems is hard. unix, microsoft, beos python, java, brainfuck whatever. experts tend to be overspecialized and one dimensional. pundits have their own agenda. religion closes the mind's eye. forget about your preconceptions and embrace the world around you.
PLejeck 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I decided to take it a step further and add fibonacci generation as an Express Middleware.


gersh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Huh. Just write the algorithm in say c, and have node do a callback when the algorithm is complete.
swah 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does the same criticism applies to code written with Greenlet/Gevent (see for example Brubeck web server)?
perfunctory 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't get why all these back and force rants get upvoted.
hugacow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bulldonkey. Javascript on client side will continue for the foreseeable future which means those developers would want to use the same language to do server-side. Just because it hasn't taken hold, doesn't mean it won't.
deleo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another boring, silly "jumping the shark" post
xianshou 1 day ago 0 replies      
The man is butthurt about trolls trolling trolls trolling a man who's butthurt about bad software.

All I have to say: the cycle continues.

felipemnoa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I finally decided to do some research into what Node.js actually is and it turns out that it is just another web server. Seriously? That is what all the fuss is about?
Its main feature seems to be that it has an event driven loop. Yay, an event driven loop, is not like they have not existed for a really long time.
Whomever is marketing this thing must be a marketing genius.

On the other hand, the real appeal might be that it allows a lot of programmers that only know JavaScript or that feel most comfortable with JavaScript to do sever side programming with JavaScript. Something that as far as I know wasn't available before which is why this thing has become popular.

Homemade GPS Receiver demon.co.uk
310 points by samlittlewood  2 days ago   13 comments top 7
samlittlewood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also, this article references an older project that has (for me) the clearest description of the theory of GPS:


spitfire 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wish I could upvote this several times over. This is hacker news a thousand times over, and makes up for all the dotcom, and ruby rubbish you have to wade through on this site.

Well done sir.

jgrahamc 2 days ago 1 reply      
I guess this is what it takes to get round the CoCom limit: http://blog.jgc.org/2010/11/gaga-1-cocom-limit-for-gps.html
zb 2 days ago 0 replies      
The L1 carrier is spread over a 2 MHz bandwidth and its strength at the Earth's surface is -130 dBm. Thermal noise power in the same bandwidth is -111 dBm, so a GPS signal at the receiving antenna is ~ 20 dB below the noise floor.

This is slightly misleading; the bandwidth of the entire signal is 2MHz (it's a 1MHz chip). The bandwidth of the carrier is much narrower - it is above the noise floor typically by somewhere between about 15 and 50dBHz (you can see this quite easily on a spectrum analyser). The spread-spectrum part of the signal is indeed well below the noise floor.

That minor quibble aside, this is a pretty awesome effort for one guy to do end-to-end.

caf 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cold start to lock in 2.5 seconds is pretty damn good.
Duckpaddle2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Really cool project, seeing hackers who really understand the technology makes for great reading! Thanks for sharing this!
jeremyarussell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thought this was great, will be trying to make one myself I think. Keep up the awesome work, I'm keeping your site bookmarked now. (I saw a whole bunch of other cool stuff.)
How the FRA is Regulating Passenger Rail Out of Existence ebbc.org
298 points by Symmetry  4 days ago   108 comments top 16
Anechoic 4 days ago 3 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
As an airliner, lobbying for tightened RR regulation seems like a handsome roi.

/takes off conspiracy hat

dpearson 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.


mahyarm 4 days 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if they have regulatory authority over monorails or maglev?
georgieporgie 4 days 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.
jarek 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can we add "in the U.S." to the title?
kschults 4 days 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.
rmk 4 days 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).
stretchwithme 3 days ago 1 reply      
what strikes me as odd is that one of most cost-effective safety devices, the set built, is unavailable to most passengers on buses or trains.
Ask HN: Anyone know where Mark Pilgrim went?
294 points by rileywatkins  1 day ago   80 comments top 26
mbrubeck 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This isn't totally unprecedented.

In October 2004, Mark stopped blogging after a post titled "Every Exit" which read: "It's time for me to find a new hobby. Preferably one that doesn't involve angle brackets. Or computers. Or electricity." [1] That post sat at the top of his previously very active weblog for 18 months until he returned in April 2006. Of course, that time he only stopped posting new material; he didn't delete all his existing resources. But he did disappear from online life for a while.

[1]: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Mqb93dp...

samuel 22 hours ago 2 replies      
He's OK. I don't know how to link a tweet but see textfiles account(https://twitter.com/#!/textfiles)

Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring.
The communication was specifically verified, it was him, and that's that. That was the single hardest decision I've had to make this year.

jdnier 22 hours ago 3 replies      
So check this out: Google "http error code 410" and the second hit is from diveintomark.org circa 2003.

Let's all talk about HTTP error code 410.
Error 410 means Resource gone, as in, a resource used to exist at this location, but now it's gone. Not only is it gone, but I don't know (or I don't want to tell you) where it went.
Now, there is not a lot of information about error 410... I suppose because it addresses a condition that doesn't come up very often. Also, we've all been brainwashed into believing that all resources should be permanent, which simply isn't true.
Google cache: http://bit.ly/qxdBi5

His servers are returning 410 errors but also the same very deliberate HTML:

<title>410 Gone</title>
<p>The requested resource<br />/<br />
is no longer available on this server and there is no forwarding address.
Please remove all references to this resource.</p>

Clearly Mark's invocation of the 410 error is deliberate.

alnayyir 23 hours ago 1 reply      
He's making recompense for making JDBC part of the first exercise in a Python book.

He'll return from the self-flagellation in two years after some time spent at a monastery.

I fully expect his enlightenment will bring much into the world of programming.

unreal37 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Apparently it has been verified he is alive.


@textfiles (Jason Scott)
Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring.

@textfiles (Jason Scott)
The communication was specifically verified, it was him, and that's that. That was the single hardest decision I've had to make this year.

chr15 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like one of his last tweets:

Hey everybody! Adobe has acquired another batch of awesome products that they will slowly ruin through incompetence and mismanagement!

From http://topsy.com/twitter.com/diveintomark/status/12091889959...

solutionyogi 23 hours ago 2 replies      
That's a really sad news.

He hasn't deleted his Hacker News Account yet. He last commented 27 days ago.


[I loved his blog and I wish someone has archive for it. I did not archive it locally because Mark used to write articles about long term archival of his data and I didn't think he would ever delete all his public writings.]

Bo102010 23 hours ago 2 replies      
His github account is gone as well (http://github.com/diveintomark).

This is troubling. I'm glad I downloaded Dive Into Python 3, at least.

adriand 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I really hope Mark is okay, and I'm really going to miss Dive Into HTML5. That resource had a truly unique writing style, featured a great design, and was an a absolute treasure trove of valuable information. I was literally on the site just yesterday, reading up on local storage.
sudonim 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe he and _why are in Galt's Gulch? (Any Atlas Shrugged fans?)
WALoeIII 23 hours ago 0 replies      
_why 2.0.
rdhyee 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd definitely like to know what happened to Mark Pilgrim and hope he is well. It's still reassuring to know that his websites are still archived by the Internet Archive. (e.g., http://web.archive.org/web/20110726001953/http://diveintohtm...)
andyfleming 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"Stand down Mark Pilgrim alert. Google, his employer, is on it. Thank you all. Hoping for “he's just pissed off at Internet” as outcome."

Source: http://twitter.com/#!/GlennF/status/121434638282530816

robbiet480 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Jason Scott of textfiles.org has called his local police department for a welfare check...


andyfleming 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring."

Source: http://twitter.com/#!/textfiles/status/121436177298493440

wooswiff 22 hours ago 1 reply      
As pointed out by user mikelietz on Eric Meyer's site, http://firehose.diveintomark.org/ is still up.
kyleslattery 23 hours ago 4 replies      
http://diveintohtml5.com/ seems to still be working
pingswept 22 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a precedent for this. He disappeared from his blog for a while in 2004. Check the Google cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:diveint...
esigler 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar (though not as extreme) behavior has occurred in the past:


artursapek 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Holy shit, I was just using "Dive Into HTML5" at a hackathon this weekend. It helped a ton, I loved the way that site was designed. This is eery.
nostromo 23 hours ago 2 replies      
> Is Mark Pilgrim pulling a disappearing act?

Shouldn't we respect his wishes? If he wants to pull the plug on his online identity, he should be allowed to do so without HN sending out an internet search squad.

shareme 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Respect his wishes, even his google accounts/profiles gone..

As far as I know he is still working at Google

tuna 13 hours ago 0 replies      
10/4 - never forget. the gayest day on the interwebs. everyone acting like old ladies towards a grown man. [eagle_cries]
VC Decries Airbnb's Recent Funding for Founder Control and Cashout allthingsd.com
287 points by sriramk  4 days ago   151 comments top 22
grellas 4 days ago  replies      
A few thoughts:

1. It is bad form for this sort of thing to be aired publicly. It may give us a voyeuristic fascination on something that is depicted as an internal intrigue within a prominent up-and-coming startup but this is fundamentally company confidential information that is not capable of being aired publicly without significant distortion. Who can answer the implied charges of impropriety? Those most directly affected by whatever is happening can't do so without violating duties of confidentiality. Yet what are they supposed to do? Sit by while people now start making invidious comparisons of their activities with, say, the increasingly notorious Groupon venture? Come out and declare "I am not a crook"? Start attacking the author of the email, who may have intended it as a confidential communication and not even have had a role in its being leaked? Or start to spread over the public record all sorts of confidential discussions in hopes of trying to defend their reputations? I don't know how this got leaked. But it amounts to an inherently unfair attack that is almost impossible to defend just by the nature of the case. In law, we learn early on that a one-sided story can almost always be made to sound compelling, while on a full airing it can just as easily be shown as just the opposite.

2. There is a long-time tension in the startup world between founders and VCs and, as someone who has worked closely with founders for nearly three decades, I can say unequivocally that it has not been the VCs who have tended to get the short end of the stick when the inequities arise. Now that fact does not justify founder abuse, if that is what happens in a given case (I say nothing about this case - we really don't know the facts). For decades, investors categorically refused to let founders take even a penny out of the company as they were urged to "swing for the fences" to ensure that the investors got their projected minimum 10-to-1 one return on investment. And when they missed, it was the investors who would force a merger or sale of the company, take out their liquidation preference to get a return on their money, and leave founders with a zero-equity return after perhaps years of working for little or no salary and putting in 20-hour workdays in the process. This value proposition may have paid in a big way for founders in select companies but it has also left large numbers of seriously harmed founders in its wake over the years. Today, this is changed somewhat and founders at times have opportunities to balance their risks along the way as they strike their bargains with the VCs. How, when, and to what extent they take any money out along the way is a completely legitimate issue to be fought for by founders and resisted by investors as circumstances dictate. But the overriding goal of letting founders spread some of their risk is completely bona fide. The details get resolved by the founders, the company, and the investors through private negotiation, not through a public airing. If investors choose to accept something that sounds aggressive to the rest of us, that is their calculated risk. Last I checked, they qualified as "sophisticated investors."

3. Is it good policy to have a dividend declared for the benefit of insiders and for founders to take significant cash out of a company in the early stages even while other employees may not have that opportunity? Maybe, maybe not. That is a legitimate question for debate and it should be cast as a policy debate, not as a perverse prying into the details of a particular company whose circumstances we do not really know. The traditional justification for requiring founders to ride it out to the bitter end with no prospect of any real return unless the company hit it big is that it is important that founders have "skin in the game," i.e., show a real commitment to the venture as opposed to making opportunistic short-term moves that further their immediate gain at the expense of the venture. That is a legitimate concern at all times in a startup but so too is the idea of fairness to founders. Why, when founders have the power to assert more control, should they voluntarily accede to a historic policy the keeps them in handcuffs and leaves them with basically an all-or-nothing proposition in whether they ever get anything significant out of the venture? This makes no sense and it is natural that founders would want to change this older pattern and practice. We can debate to our heart's content whether this is good for startups or not - that should be a policy debate (including over where exact lines ought to be drawn on cash take-outs), not an excuse to take what might amount to cheap shots at a founding team that certainly deserves better treatment than to have a one-sided debate carried on at its expense.

patio11 4 days ago  replies      
I must have missed the post where a VC said "Guys, sorry, love your company but I couldn't in good conscience participate in a round where the rich people get paid and the poor people are told to wait for an exit." I must have missed that post quite frequently, because that describes every VC round ever.

A $120 million investment round means that about $2.4 million in cash money just moved from the limited partners (universities, pension funds, wealthy families) into the pockets of the VC firm's partners. Not stock, not options: cash money. This is the way the system has always worked, since time immemorial. VCs get paid a management fee (about 2%) win or lose, and a percentage of the profits when they win.

Just something to keep in mind when someone mentions their strong principles in the course of a discussion over how dang expensive butter is these days.

[Edit to add: My description of management fees is slightly simplified and ignores salient things like the fact that they recur annually.]

cletus 4 days ago 3 replies      
Absolutely 100% agree.

Founders cashing out is a big red flag. I said it about Groupon. I've said it before. This really is taking it to the next level: cashing out with a dividend to retain control and ownership.

I absolutely agree that for any cash out it should be open way beyond the founders. In fact, this is a good way for larger startups to kick the 500-shareholder limit can just a bit further down the street.

I see Airbnb as a fundamentally risky business. At some point Airbnb will be large enough to warrant the attention of local and state authorities because many people offering places to stay are doing so illegally or in violation of their own lease agreements.

This woman who had her apartment wrecked is just the tip of the iceberg. It is only a matter of time before a headline about a serious physical assault or worse. Airbnb can count their lucky stars it was "only" a ransacking and vandalism.

0x12 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you don't like the terms of the deal, don't do the deal (he doesn't want to do the deal, see third and next to last paragraphs of the email).

A VC complaining about the terms under the pretense that 'the little guy is treated unfairly' is a bit like royalty complaining about the price of cake.

Nobody forces him to do this deal on these terms. He's just scared to miss out on a big hit, he'd like the ring side seats to be cheaper by keeping all the money in the company or by buying out some of the founder stock.

Too bad, you can't have it both ways.

He may have a point about early employees (a 'special dividend' that excludes certain shareholders is not very elegant) but it is not his to make, and the dividend in this case was to 'common stock' which seems to imply that anybody with vested shares participates in that dividend.

His 'concern' is about the unvested employees, but that's a nonsense argument, as long as your stock is unvested, you don't have any stock.

Options do not participate in dividends until you exercise them, they never do because they are not stock and that's a pretty clear-cut thing.

Pretty low-class to dump this email in the public domain, I think that people will remember this when dealing with this particular investor in the future.

gojomo 4 days ago 2 replies      
The special one-time-dividend to vested early stockholders seemed a little fishy when I noticed in Groupon's S-1... but maybe it's just an efficient way to reward existing value without larger dilution/valuation.

If employees with unexercised but vested options were given a heads-up that such an unusual early dividend was coming " so that they too could choose to qualify " that might address much of Palihapitiya's concern about fairness.

shawnee_ 4 days ago 1 reply      
Separately, when you look at successful tech companies, it seems that dividends are an approach used by cash rich operations to distribute excess earnings " in fact, the most successful, cash rich tech company in the world, Apple, hasn't issued a dividend and they have more than $75B in cash!

The fact that companies can get away with something like this is absolutely ludicrous. It illustrates just how far the stock market has gone from its original purpose.

Back before companies had the ability to sweet-talk investors with bulging pockets, companies wanting capital had to raise it the good-old-fashioned-way: IPO. IPO used to have the ability to allow a company to access as much capital as it would reasonably need to grow. But with the preponderance of heavily privatized companies milking both the private AND the public side of the investment machine, the value-creating just cannot be accounted for properly. Something in the gears here needs to be tweaked.

A company like Apple with $75B cash (if that's true) should have a legal and an ethical obligation to pay out dividends to its shareholders. Tight-fisting cash doesn't do anything to the wealth-creating mechanism in our capitalistic society.

rdl 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks like two issues:

1) Founders de-risking a successful but still growing company at a series b or later financing (or even a late series a). I really don't see a problem with founders diversifying their personal portfolios (otherwise, many have 100% in company stock AND debt from school, etc.). You don't want them to get distracted, but being short on cash doesn't help you make a successful product.

2) De-risking via a special dividend, vs. secondary sale of stock. Yes, it lets founders avoid selling some shares. If you're doing it at a $1b valuation, it doesn't seem like a major factor either way, but if there could be a precedent for people raising $20-50mm rounds, dividend vs. sale might be a better way to put $1-2mm in the pocket of each founder after a few years, so they can shoot for a >$1b exit.

I'm curious if this form was suggested by the AirBnB side (or their law firm) or the VCs.

tworats 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's important to note that the VC is not objecting to the founders taking cash off the table. He's objecting to the method (dividends as opposed to a secondary sale). His arguments are convincing to me - and I'm a founder so my bias is naturally for the founders.
crazyfoo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cross-posting from my Quora answer:


I have no knowledge of specifics outside of the ATD article mentioned, but my read says that the dividend will go to all common shareholders. So employees who have both vested and exercised shares will receive their pro-rated portion of the proceeds as well. It just seems that the founders must hold 93% of the vested shares (21/22.5), which is reasonable given that they started vesting years ago, when they were still in their cereal-selling phase.

Addressing the founders' decision to dividend-to-common instead of secondary selling some of their common shares:

In a typical venture financing, only preferred shares are sold, and there is a price per share that is set by the round's valuation. After closing, the price per share of the common shares/options is determined by external auditors in what is called a 409A valuation process. This process is a little bit of a game, whereby the company tries to come up with reasons (financial models, market comps, etc.) to depress the price of the common shares relative to preferred. This has the benefit of giving subsequent hires a lower exercise price on their options (and eventual higher profit upon exit.)

The price delta between the classes can be as high as 10:1, though it's usually closer to 3:1 and narrows as a company approaches IPO. However, were anyone (founders or employees) to sell common stock in the round, the common price per share would jump to exactly this new clearing price. Since Airbnb is a hot company, it's reasonable to think that buyers would be willing to pay a market price for common that's not far below preferred. And that would mean less upside for all future employees. A dividend-to-common avoids this.

Because Airbnb is so young and fast growing, they still need the allure of the upside of stock options to recruit and retain talent. Any sophisticated investor should understand this dynamic. And yet this dividend annoys them because it means there's a wealth transfer occurring that doesn't increase their ownership.

Let's assume for a second that I'm right and that all vested/exercised common shareholders will see some of the dividend. As food for thought, what if Airbnb had instead said they were going to spend $21M of their newly raised capital for cash bonuses for anyone who had worked for them more than a year -- distributed per employee via this equation: total hours worked * total value created... would the Valley's response have been less uproarious?

ispivey 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem Chamath is highlighting is not that the founders are cashing out. Or that early employees are not getting cash -- everyone with vested common stock gets a proportional amount of the cash.

The big difference is that since the founders aren't selling stock, they aren't being diluted, so the employees with unvested stock don't get more of the company.

Basically, vested common gets paid, common doesn't get diluted at all, unvested common gets relatively screwed (they'd own more of the company if it were a secondary sale).

Of course, dividend vs secondary also affects the investors' price, but I can't see Chamath making such a stink about a simple matter of price.

Hitchhiker 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Vanity of Wealth and Honor

" If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. " - Ecclesiastes 5:8-12

kposehn 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very interesting article! I do think that he makes a very good point that if you are already 90% vested, why be so concerned about dilution? I definitely think that, as founders, when we get liquidity we need to make sure the people that helped get us where we are get a slice as well.

After all, we aren't the only people that make a company succeed.

kloncks 4 days ago 0 replies      
How uncommon are dividends like these happening within a VC-round?
paulkoer 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think the interesting question here is who leaked this email to allthingsd. If the VC really wanted to give the Airbnbs a heads up (as he makes it sound in the email ... take care, let's keep in touch, etc) then I don't think there was any necessity to leak this and I am quite sure the Airbnbs wouldn't want it out in the open either.

And then... the Groupon comparison kind of sticks in your mind, doesn't it? I don't know, I get the feeling there is more behind this ...

bigohms 4 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps a rethink is needed of bringing the public sentiment into the equation by making this communique open. I appreciate that it does shed more light into the strong dilution resistant finance. However, the round particulars are private and the fair play would go privately to the guys with it.

Seems to be a lot of this going around these days.

gabaix 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why do the founders want to cash out?

It looks to me you can increase your salary to live a good life, while waiting for the big exit. I understood Groupon did this because they thought Groupon was at its peak. Is that the same thing for AirBnB? Am I missing something here?

NY_Entrepreneur 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, what a morality play -- secrecy, power, greed, collusion, dirty dealing, guilt, shame, etc.!

If HN can't outgrow the fascination with morality plays, then what hope is there for the rest of society and society as a whole?

We need a new Web site: VC_secret_confessions.com!

trim 4 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't Chamath make most of his money cashing out Facebook stock early? Does anyone remember the story about him from a few weeks ago?
pheaduch 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting that he brings up Apple as during their IPO, if it wasn't for Wozniak and his "Woz Plan" the majority of Apple employees and the former earlier employees would have been frozen out of the IPO. Jobs was very much against giving up his share of the pie.

To me, being greedy is hardly the worst trait to have as entrepreneur.

sek 4 days ago 6 replies      
A founder who believes in his business, will never cash out early. period.

He would always get more after an IPO or exit. So why would he?

I assume the founders are not stupid, they know their valuation is not justified.

An open letter to Stripe: please come to Europe handcraft.com
284 points by primigenus  2 days ago   93 comments top 33
pc 2 days ago 4 replies      
Patrick from Stripe here. We know how important that is. I personally grew up in Europe (Ireland), and 5 of the 10 people at Stripe grew up outside of the US. It sucks that we're US-only right now.

We're actually working on supporting Europe right now. It's pretty complex, and won't happen overnight -- but it's one of our very highest priorities.

If you'd like to be notified when Stripe is available wherever you live, you can leave your name at https://stripe.com/help/global. We'll also announce news at twitter.com/stripe.

tomelders 2 days ago 5 replies      
Many people may not realise this, but Europe is the largest economy in the world according to the IMF, who know a thing or two about this stuff.

Since I saw Stripe last week, I've been wondering why no one in Europe has managed to put something similar together. We have the technical expertise and the world largest economy, so what's stopping us?

Sadly, it turns out that Europe is so fragmented and disparate when it comes to banking practices that the benefits of working in the worlds largest economy are completely obliterated by the difficulties of working with all the countries involved, many of which are so fundamentally corrupt (I'm looking at you Italy) that any sane legislation is unlikely to go through.

Stripe may well cobble together solutions for individual countries like Germany, France and the UK, where there's enough money flowing around to warrant it, but the return on investment quickly starts to diminish as you tackle the smaller countries, which is not really a great incentive for Stripe to "pull their finger out". I'm not saying they wont (they've already said they will), I'm saying the incentives aren't all that great. And they're even worse for anyone wanting to implement a homegrown solution because we don't have competitive advantage of the US economy to start from.

It would be nice if everyone in Europe had the Euro, and everyone in Europe also had the same banking practices, but if you rank that possibility on a scale of 1 to 10, the scale explodes.

One alternative I can see happening however is for some savvy EU state to make it ridiculously easy to open up business accounts, with multiple currencies that anyone in Europe (if not the world) can open and run their business through, with the easy transfer of cash from country to country. Other than bureaucracy, I don't see what's stopping them.

In fact, the commercial banks could well be eliminated from the equation. The value of the digital economy is important to any countries future growth that the central banks could plausibly take the initiative here.

LeafStorm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Guys, they're working on it. It's not something where if enough people write letters, they will magically be able to set up shop in Europe. Accepting payments in multiple countries is hard, and all the pain you had to go through to get your payments to set up, they're having to go through and more. So you don't need to remind them every forty-five minutes that you want them to come to Europe/Africa/Asia/wherever.
twidlit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Damn! i was in the middle of writing my "An open letter to Stripe: please come to Asia" post.

Looking forward to a post titled "An open letter to Stripe: please come to Africa" in some other blog any minute now. :)

Seriously, this is a hair on fire problem for non-US entrepreneurs.

Please become BFFs with HSBC since they are present EVERYWHERE.

illdave 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's amazing that in 2011, launching a simple and elegant payment processor is enough to pretty much disrupt the industry. I'm really hoping Stripe can make it to the UK - I'd be incredibly happy to give them my percentage.
duggan 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's not like Stripe don't want to come to Europe. In fact, they tried to start here:

  Actually, the first bank we ever talked to about @Stripe was Irish.
They did everything short of laugh.


kanwisher 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I was working on Gucci.com, Europe was always the biggest problem for payments, each region has different tax law, different payment gateways, shipping laws. Big opportunity to tie Europe together but I don't think its something a startup can do, more intercountry commerce laws need to be made to make it easier.
TamDenholm 2 days ago 2 replies      
I dont know why the author thinks the situation is any better in the UK. Its pretty bad here too. A common requirement of getting a merchant account is to have £50,000 sitting in an account doing NOTHING, "just in case". UK online payment processors aren't much better.
timcraft 2 days ago 0 replies      
They're working on it:


I suspect it's more of a legal/business challenge than a technical one.

5hoom 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just a lone voice in the wind, but on the other side of the Earth Australia is in desperate need of rescue too!
revorad 2 days ago 2 replies      
Open letter to non-Americans: Build your own Stripes.
thibaut_barrere 2 days ago 0 replies      
Two points would have to be covered for me (and others I know) to be interested:

- handle VAT like Recurly does it (http://docs.recurly.com/advanced/value-added-tax/)

- sign Safe Harbor (http://export.gov/safeharbor/)

d3x 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe is really awesome. I started using it yesterday on i.crowdfunded.it and I have never had such an easy time w/ CC processing etc...
wyuenho 2 days ago 1 reply      
Please come to Asia too. Start with Hong Kong/Tokyo/Singapore and then go from there.
philipDS 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's sad that we live in 2011 and still have to use something like PayPal to do "easy" payment processing. Unless you process a reasonable amount of transactions, forget simple payments. Stripe, where art thou :(
okrasz 2 days ago 2 replies      
In Poland (Europe) there are plenty of Stripe-like services for several years now. They mostly integrate all online payments (online wire transfers, credit cards) but also offline, where you can pay in your local shop, post office or traditional bank transfer. Virtually all banks in the Polish marked are handled. Almost no e-shop will handle payments themselves, especially that integration modules to most of e-commerce software are provided. Therefore I wonder how can it be so different in other parts of Europe?

Some samples:
- http://dotpay.pl/index.php?content=&newlang=en
- http://serwis.platnosci.pl/home,462.html
- http://www.przelewy24.pl/en
- http://www.payu.pl/
- ... and many more

lvh 2 days ago 0 replies      
HK++, HSBC++. We're a HK company with HSBC/Hang Seng. HSBC is pretty much everywhere. I'm sure they would love your business...
kashif 2 days ago 0 replies      
If one looks at the latest FB and Google surveys one will find that one of the biggest untapped markets is India. Unfortunately, all these startups that really want to grow big aren't seeing the big picture - and I don't mean just the ones that have started recently. There are many that have been around for a really long time and haven't even tried capturing the upcoming markets.
armandososa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Forget Europe. Come to Latin America. It's mostly e-commerce virgin.

And by Latin America I meant Mexico.

jamesmoss 2 days ago 1 reply      
At the moment you can only sign up with a US address. As a stop-gap solution could they enable European addresses but with the caveat that you'd only be able to take payments in USD? This would be fine for me.
colin8chSE 2 days ago 1 reply      
If your non US based, you may be interested in Simplified Ecommerce.

We cover the entire payments stack- gateway, vault, PCI compliance, recurring subscription management and Affiliate Marketing. http://SimplifiedEcommerce.com

brackin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want Stripe for my startup. Paypal has caused huge problems for us, as we sell in 24 hour periods we get an influx in sales and our Paypal is constantly locked for a few days meaning we can't pay any merchants and it all becomes a lot of work for something which doesn't have too. There's a whole list of other reasons but Stripe seems much better. We're a UK startup though.
rayhano 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Rahul,

I definitely agree with getting better technology here… but have you seen gocardless.com?

They seem to have a much better (read effective/innovative solution).

Let me know what you think in comparison to stripe.


makira 2 days ago 2 replies      
What about Canada ? Should be much easier...
bvdbijl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Problem in the EU is that there are a lot of different payment systems, in the Netherlands we have iDeal for example which works great, but is only usable here. Dutch people also almost never pay with creditcard
james33 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm missing something, but the fees seem way too high for this to be a viable option for anything of scale. Even PayPal's fees are lower, and I get credit card fees of only 2.15% + $0.25 from a company offering a similar service. Yes, Stripe is beautifully designed and simple to use, but since I'm already setup somewhere else with significantly lower fees, I don't see the appeal. Are they specifically targeting small developers?
fastspring 2 days ago 0 replies      
FastSpring and SaaSy work with developers as well and support payments in Euros, Pounds, USD, AUD, CAD, and Yen, have order pages that are translated into 18 languages, and handle global tax management for desktop and SaaS developers.
darylteo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am slowly waiting for Stripe to become a ubiquitous global CC processor. :) Don't let me down! (Australia here)
braindead_in 2 days ago 0 replies      
And India too.
pagehub 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really hope Stripe can make it happen in Europe, we are really crying out for a full stack service!
llch 2 days ago 0 replies      
love this! now this is an awesome product/market validation.
msinghai 2 days ago 0 replies      
Come to India. Please.
Iv 2 days ago 0 replies      
DEar fellow European, please help spread bitcoin's adoption.
Wikipedia shuts down Italian site because of Berlusconi's "Wiretapping Act" wikipedia.org
262 points by nextparadigms  1 day ago   59 comments top 13
fosk 1 day ago 3 replies      
I understand this may sound inappropriate by some of you.

I'm italian, I live in the US, and I'm deeply updated on the political and cultural changes that we're witnessing in Italy.
The proposed law we're talking about is basically against any kind of interception (mostly phone calls) legally used by police and public prosecutors to arrest criminals and mafia members. This is scaring the italian government simply because the prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been brought in trial thanks to some interceptions (the sex scandals, lately).

Apart compromising thousands of trials by helping lots of criminals to not be arrested and uncovered, this law also includes a specific paragraph stating that any kind of publication publicly distributed referring to an individual (like on a newspaper, blog or wikipedia) can be deleted upon the request of the offended part without proving that his motivations are true.
Let's say that a Wikipedia article states that Berlusconi has been accused for something, he can, thanks to this law, ask the removal of the information even if they're true and he's wrong. This clearly threatens the freedom of press in Italy, and this is why what Wikipedia is doing, if put in the current italian political context, can be not only justified but also approved.

tomp 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't understand how this is supposed to make sense... Isn't it just as possible for an Italian to be offended by something written on the English wikipedia as it is on the Italian one? Why don't they just shut down wikipedia as a whole then?

Also, unless their servers are physically hosted in Italy or they have a number of employees based in Italy, I see no reason why they should abide by this law. Doesn't China lawfully demand censorship on every website? Maybe it's time they move their servers to Iceland...

I can't help but see this as a mostly a politically motivated action, a form of protest and a way of spreading information about this paragraph among the Italian public, and I cannot see how this is in the spirit of Wikipedia's neutrality...

Edit: a somewhat similar attitude is present in this post on the mailing list http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.org.wikimedia.foundation/56247

muuh-gnu 1 day ago 2 replies      
Italian editors may have done this as a stunt to merely alarm italian readers of what a law may be comming, but the "italian language" wikipedia, even if probably mostly populated by italian citizens, is in no way connected to or obliged to abide by laws of italy, the state. There are probably millions of italian speakers who are not italian citizens, they are affected by this stunt even though they are in no way affected by this silly law.

In my view, this is italian citizens effectively seizing italian language wikipedia to push their particular political interests, which apply only to italy. I also think that the foundation should not allow particular "countries" to effectively seize language editions of the wikipedia and enforce their particular laws on all readers and contributors who happen to speak that language.

bdhe 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe I'm being dense, but I couldn't gather from the notice the scope of the Italian law: Servers hosted in Italy? Publishers of said content irrespective of where it is hosted? Authors of said content? Would the website be blacklisted if it (loosely speaking the people behind it) do not cooperate with the law? Does Italy even have an internet blacklist?
civilian 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not much, but I emailed the (Honorary Vice) Consul for Italy in my city. You can find yours at: http://www.nerone.cc/io/consulates.htm
credo 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is obviously serious, but the "Wikipedia shuts down Italian site because of Berlusconi's "Wiretapping Act" title seems to be inaccurate.

The wikipedia page talks about a "proposal, which the Italian Parliament is currently debating".

It appears that the proposal is not the law (yet)

jarofgreen 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you seen Mark Thomas "My life in serious organised crime" (DVD and Radio)? I highly recommend it if you know the UK at all.

In it, he talks about "playing" with the law. There was a law in the UK saying all protests within a zone (roughly a mile of parliament) had to be licensed by the police. So he started playing with the law - never breaking it - but playing with it and generally being a right pain in the ass (at times with several thousand friends) to point out how stupid the law was. In the end, the law was removed (altho some people say what it was replaced with was even worse).

His half hour radio show is on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRGZr2m4r7M Illegally, I assume - your call)

But anyway, if this law passes play with it to demonstrate how shit it is. For starters, go through every public statement Berlusconi's party has ever issued on-line and complain if possible. Then move on to the output of the Berlusconi owned media.

I don't know Italy well, so I don't know if this would work but certainly something to think about.

gasull 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can't this be solved with Wikipedia (who is hosted outside Italy) not showing the IPs of the wikipedians in Italy?

Also, I think that these laws will move people to the darknets, like Tor. People aren't going to stop blogging, downloading copyrighted stuff, etc. Tor isn't even hard to install or use anymore.

hugh3 1 day ago 4 replies      
Now wait a minute, is this a law or a proposed law? If the former, they're complying. If the latter, they're having a hissy fit.
FrancescoRizzi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Been following the issue regarding this law for a while now. The relevant twitter hashtag seems to be #NoLeggeBavaglio (Italian for '[Say] No to the gag law") for those that wish to find out more.
This is but one blog (in Italian) on this topic and the campaign to try and keep paragraph 29 from sticking around: http://www.valigiablu.it/doc/540/comma-ammazza-blog-un-post-...
dariosalvelli 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that this is a good form to protest because most italian users use Wikipedia so they can understand the impact of the law. I write on my blog: http://dariosalvelli.com/2011/10/wikipedia-italia-chiude
uomoinpolvere 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hi I'm italian, and obviously concerned about this issue. I think this could possibly be a game changer for wikipedia. I think the principle of neutrality has been put aside. This seems to me a political move. Please don't misunderstand me: I hate Burlesquoni and this idiotic law. But I always been very doubtful about wikipedia's "neutrality". I hope this move could serve both purposes: increase italians' awareness about their kinda-fascist government and make wikipedians think deeper about "neutrality", and its limits.
Mozilla's secure coding guidelines for web developers mozilla.org
241 points by girishmony  4 days ago   65 comments top 17
pornel 4 days ago 3 replies      

    Invalid login attempts (for any reason) should return the generic error message:
The username or password you entered is not valid

In practice, on any non-trivial website, it doesn't make a difference for security.

Registration form will show a specific error when you try to register username that is already taken. Password reminder form will show error when you request reminder for an unknown e-mail. Some websites even have AJAX APIs for checking validity of usernames/emails!

Because of that it's easy for an attacker to check whether username or password is invalid. Vague error messages make it only hard for the user.

nbpoole 4 days ago 2 replies      
One interesting/cool suggestion that I think is worth noting specifically: the use of HMAC+bcrypt instead of just bcrypt for secure password storage.


- The nonce for the hmac value is designed to be stored on the file system and not in the databases storing the password hashes. In the event of a compromise of hash values due to SQL injection, the nonce will still be an unknown value since it would not be compromised from the file system. This significantly increases the complexity of brute forcing the compromised hashes considering both bcrypt and a large unknown nonce value

- The hmac operation is simply used as a secondary defense in the event there is a design weakness with bcrypt that could leak information about the password or aid an attacker

georgefox 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great resource, but some of the input validation stuff doesn't sit well with me, for example:

> Examples of Good Input Validation Approaches... Firstname: Letters, single apostrophe, 1 to 30 characters

First, I'm not sure if I should interpret letters as [A-Za-z] or something more inclusive of non-Latin characters. But anyway, why restrict this so much? What about spaces, as in Mary Ellen; dots, as in P.J.? Heck, why can't I use a hyphen or a number? Just because you might not try to name your kid Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 doesn't mean nobody else will (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naming_law_in_Sweden#Protest_na...).

Perhaps I'm not seeing the forest for the trees here, but when it comes to restricting input, it always seems there's a risk of "We can not accept that last name" behavior (http://www.cooper.com/journal/2009/09/we_cannot_accept_that....). If you're properly sanitizing/escaping on the way out, why be so harsh on the way in?

yahelc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ironically, immediately after reading these guidelines, I checked my email and had just received an email from Mozilla's mailing list service that contained my password in plaintext. Oops. (To be fair, it looks like they're just using Mailman http://www.list.org/
shabda 4 days ago 4 replies      
Whats the point of this?

> Email verification links should not provide the user with an authenticated session.

It always bugs me. The "forgot password" links only allows me to choose a new password, but does not log me, adding a extra step.

Estragon 4 days ago 2 replies      

  Ensure that a robust escaping routine is in place to prevent the user
from adding additional characters that can be executed by the OS (
e.g. user appends | to the malicious data and then executes another OS
command). Remember to use a positive approach when constructing
escaping routinges.

Surprises me that they regard sending client content to the OS at all.
What is wrong with parametrized execution using using functions like
os.spawn*, which place arguments straight into the called function's argv

qjz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Passwords must be 8 characters or greater

Half of the top 50 cracked Gawker passwords were 8 characters (and longer passwords were not exposed, due to the nature of the vulnerability). Since 8 character passwords are vulnerable to a known common weakness (in DES), this should be revised to:

Passwords must be 9 characters or greater

This will prevent your users from using passwords that are vulnerable to the DES attack if they reuse them on other sites.

mgkimsal 4 days ago 0 replies      
OT but scary: http://michaelkimsal.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Scr...

This is a financial institution.

jtchang 4 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of people want to get into web development. One thing they have to understand as that while the barrier to entry is low there are a ton of nuances that separate a mediocre web developer from a great one.

These guidelines are a good example of what web developers have to deal with on a daily basis. Certainly not trivial.

wulczer 4 days ago 4 replies      

  Example A field accepts a username. A good regex would
be to verify that the data consists of the following
[0-9a-A-Z]{3,10}. The data is rejected if it doesn't

I guess then that pg won't be able to sign up for your service... Nor will donfernandovillaverde79.

darrikmazey 4 days ago 2 replies      
Ensure the "tweet this" or "like this" button does not generate a request to the 3rd party site simply by loading the Mozilla webpage the button is on (e.g. no requests to third party site without user's intent via clicking on the button).

Thank you for this.

rickdale 4 days ago 1 reply      
this is brilliant. I am wondering if there are other secure coding guidelines for web devs? I usually refer to stackoverflow for questions about security, but often wondered if there was a set standard.
rohit89 4 days ago 2 replies      
I have a question about the password policy.

    All sites should have the following base password policy:

Passwords must be 8 characters or greater
Passwords must require letters and numbers
Blacklisted passwords should be implemented (contact infrasec for the list)

Is it responsibility of the website to make sure that the passwords are strong for the general user ? Isn't it the user's responsibility to create a good password ? I would think that the site should let the user know about best practices but ultimately it should be up to the user whether to follow it or not.

tszming 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ruby on Rails also provide a guidelines for web security: http://guides.rubyonrails.org/security.html
mcoates-mozilla 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great feedback. I'm glad to see this guide was helpful and I've made a few enhancements/updates based on these thoughts.

-Michael (@_mwc)

jroseattle 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good security practices and ease-of-use are often at direct odds with each other.
mindhunter 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love the standardisation of generic answers. First thing coming to my mind as a non-nativ speaker: is there a way to provide translated versions of it inside the wiki?
Apple's 1987 Knowledge Navigator, Only One Month Late waxy.org
239 points by planb  1 day ago   45 comments top 17
breckinloggins 1 day ago 3 replies      
Putting aside the dated hardware (and hairstyles!), this technology is still a ways off. Yes, Siri is a good start, but it doesn't come anywhere near the type of conversational fluency and contextual awareness that the virtual assistant in this video does.

Honestly, I think we're still 10 or 20 years out from that.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
That assistant looks like Bill Nye :-) I wonder if anyone showed this video as prior art in the iPad patent discussion.

Perhaps one of the most salient things to learn from this is that people with a vision, and a will, work continually toward that vision even when progress seems non-existent. A solid idea of what you'd like something to look like, elucidated clearly, can help shape products for years until what you imagine can be made real. When I saw Alan Kay talk about the Dynabook at one of Xerox PARC's lecture series I felt that here was a guy who had basically committed to this vision, and was knocking down objections one by one.

ck2 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny how someone mentioned this earlier today on HN and then someone manages to repost it as another entry.

But I guess the video is somewhat well known and any voice recognition from Apple will draw it's comparison.

Same video posted a year earlier with many more views http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WdS4TscWH8

What's interesting to me is how slow the UI obviously is - I guess they were trying to make it "realistic" for the time and therefore more believable than instantaneous (or it was a limitation of the software they used to create it). Reminds me of the "Lost in Space" movie where the UI from the future seemed too fast to them.

rabble 1 day ago 1 reply      
The video is a mix of two different videos, one from 1987, and one from 1997. The CyberDog / OpenDoc stuff in the second half is obviously not from the 80's as those projects were created in 1996-1997.
mrich 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Let's not forget that speech recognition has been baked into Android for at least 2 years.
fady 1 day ago 0 replies      
one of the best concepts i've seen from apple. yes, siri does not do all that, but, you certainly can manage most of it with all the apps available..nice find, nice find indeed!
larrywright 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I saw this on VHS when it originally came out, at an Apple user group meeting. I was 15 years old. I remember thinking at the time that it all seemed to far-fetched to become reality. I'm glad I was wrong.
kinkora 1 day ago 0 replies      
They seem to have also invented the concept of "checking-in". See video[1] at 0:38 second mark onwards where he talks about a student checking in at Guatemala.


speek 11 hours ago 0 replies      
We took a lot of inspiration from this video over at Zazu (http://getzazu.com), it's great to see this video being acknowledged by the HN community!
raquo 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's sad that we still did not achieve the level smoothness and interoperability imagined in this video. Who cares about talking to the computer. Getting things done is still a bunch of ugly hacks.
sp332 1 day ago 1 reply      
"maren" here on HN founded http://zirtual.com/ , so you can get a real human assistant while we wait for the future :)
spiffistan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Regardless of the awkwardness of this, it's still incredibly fascinating to see. It's kind of like Google Wave meets FaceTime meets Siri and an Exahertz of AI.
doomlaser 1 day ago 2 replies      
Except that Siri has been out on the App Store since 2010.

Until today that is. It's been artifically limited to Apple's forthcoming iPhone 4S, and current customers will have the service shut off for them on the 15th.

civilian 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple also predicted that moms will still be nagging in 2011! Astounding. :)
pennig 1 day ago 1 reply      
Behold, the power of OpenDoc!
shubhamgoel 12 hours ago 0 replies      
joejohnson 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's nice and all but this video is not from 1987.. 1997 maybe. The lady at the beginning of the video mentions Yahoo which didn't launch until 1995.
Ryan Bates launches RailsCasts Pro railscasts.com
231 points by illdave  2 days ago   61 comments top 23
jinushaun 2 days ago 0 replies      
RailsCast is an amazing service and I don't know if I could've ever learned Rails (and the RoR ecosystem) without it. Definitely a service worth paying for. I'm glad he's keeping the free episodes because it would be a shame if newbies shied away from trying it out because episodes were no longer free.
johnnyg 2 days ago 1 reply      
That was the easiest buying decision ever. Ryan, you are a mench. $9 a month for pro videos is a steal.
thehodge 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is awesome but I'd rather pay $13 and have him split it with asciicasts
thibaut_barrere 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think I'm going to subscribe just to say thanks for all his previous efforts.
melvinram 2 days ago 0 replies      
All I can say is... What took you so long Ryan?
cschep 2 days ago 1 reply      
This feels like a response to destroyallsoftware.com. Which is AWESOME. I'm glad the "pro" market for screencasts is getting more attention.
RegEx 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'll definitely give this service a try. Does anyone know of any other premium rails screencast sites? I recall a link to a funny rails article on HN about a month ago that was created by a guy who does premium rails cast for $9/mo (the site has a really dark background). Wasn't able to dig that up after a weekend of searching.
barrydahlberg 1 day ago 2 replies      
RailsCasts gets recommended to beginners a lot but every time I go there I'm kind of overwhelmed and have no idea where to start. The archives go back to 2007 so starting at the beginning seems likely to cover outdated subjects now. On the front page I see Draper, Spork, Sorcery, Foreman, Pry... none of this means much to me.

Any suggestions on how to attack this for a relative newbie to rails?

tomblomfield 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think we're all here saying the same thing!

Railscasts are amazing - I always felt I should be paying something for them

desireco42 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now this is a service from someone who contributed to community a lot. Unlike that textmate debacle where people would pledge money for nothing, this is the real deal and it is very reasonable. I could see how this could cost more, but I can see how with this he will probably get good following, provide for Ryan resources to continue his work.

I will be happy to subscribe to such service and to add, I would subscribe just to say thanks for years of awesome content.

gabyar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad to see an outstandingly helpful member of the rails community earn income from what has been a mostly altruistic task that must take a lot of time every week.
Omnipresent 2 days ago 0 replies      
I kind of saw this coming when I got an email from Ryan that he is cutting down on moderators for Railscasts. I was one of the lazy ones :(

Anyways, I'm going to subscribe not just for future episodes but for all those episodes from which I've gained immense knowledge.

tsycho 1 day ago 2 replies      
For some reason, RailsCasts.com is not loading up at all for me. Am I the only one seeing this?
If it helps, I am using Chrome 14.0.835.186 on a Mac OSX Snow Leopard.
abyssknight 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good for Ryan, this is a great way for him to monetize an already awesome service.
Omnipresent 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder why Ryan is not blocking access to the source code for pro screencasts on github. Other pro screencasts such as peepcode protect the source code as well.
jcapote 2 days ago 0 replies      
Railscasts are cool, but if you want something more advanced, I cannot recommend destroyallsoftware.com enough
happypeter 1 day ago 0 replies      
RailsCasts is awesome, I owe so much more then $9 per month to it.

But here in China, many young students will still think it is too much...bad bad bad, anybody can do a less pro one, and make it free?

rsobers 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so glad to see the outpouring of users who are downright happy to pay for this service. Ryan: you should add a payment option that lets people pay more than $9 per month. Let us specify the amount. I'd gladly pay more if it meant you could spend more time producing content.
mhoofman 2 days ago 3 replies      
I would guess Ryan used https://stripe.com to set up reoccurring billing for Pro.

So will we be seeing an episode or maybe an advanced episode on how Ryan set up reoccurring billing for Railscasts?

matthodan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just got my Pro account-- no brainer.
grepper34 2 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly, I wish he would charge more. I've gained so much value from this over the years that I would gladly pay a much higher monthly fee.
tomblomfield 2 days ago 3 replies      
US-only billing arrghhh
hugacow 2 days ago 5 replies      
Rails 3.x jumped the shark. It is getting too complicated for anyone new to come on easily. This is the reason that Scala, Clojure, Haskell, etc. will fail, too- complexity. I'm not a PhP guy, but it isn't hard to see why it is still wildly popular. Make it easy enough, and fun to use, and it will take hold.

So while he may make money on Rails geeks that continue on and with those that want to learn, there are fewer that are coming on and will come on now then there were.

If you like Rails, listen to Ryan. I've been doing RoR a while and really, really appreciate the Railscasts (and the Asciicasts of his Railscasts- thanks Eifion!). But if you are looking for a long-term framework to stand by, keep looking.

I own a domain that a big corporation wants to sue me into acquiring. Help reddit.com
225 points by pagliara  3 days ago   74 comments top 22
ajkessler 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ugh, it hurts to read this kind of advice. Sue! Punitive damages! You can get costs! (btw, you probably can't get punitive damages, at least from the little info you've provided, and costs =/= attorney fees)

The best advice in that thread was to seek out on-campus legal aid. At the law school I went to, there were clinics that dealt specifically with entrepreneurship and IP. Look around, I'm sure other schools run similar clinics. You generally don't even need to attend these schools to utilize their services.

At the very least, if you can't find something like that, or the deal you're working on is a little above their pay grade, some professor on campus can point you to somebody that does good pro bono work or is willing to work on contingency.

If it just turns into a negotiation, you could do this yourself, but, honestly, you're probably going to get taken to the cleaners, both financially and emotionally, if you end up negotiating against professionals. Get a lawyer. There's no shame in it. http://www.ajkesslerblog.com/hired-guns/

lacker 2 days ago 4 replies      
Their initial offer was $150. I said no, that I had put way too much money into it for that low of a price. They came back with $250.

Anyone who's bickering about $150 vs $250 to acquire a domain is not a "big corporation". The OP is being bluffed.

DaveChild 2 days ago 3 replies      
I have some experience of a similar situation, having at one point run a web dev blog at ilovejackdaniels.com, before the JD legal team contacted me ... and I'm on a new domain now.

The problem, as explained to me by a lawyer (I am not a lawyer, so don't go taking this as legal advice, as I'm paraphrasing what I was told), is that legal departments for really big corporations just care about winning. It doesn't really matter whether they are in the right or not. What's going to make it difficult for you is that they have a huge amount of resources that you don't.

It sounds in your case like they have no actual case for cybersquatting or similar. But that doesn't mean they won't sue you. And if you can't afford to be sued, then that's an automatic win for them.

You also need to evaluate what level of stress and trouble you're prepared to go to to protect the domain. It may suck, but there will be a point at which it would be better for your sanity and your health to let them have the domain and get as much as you can out of them for it.

If I were in your shoes (and I was) I would first visit a lawyer. Get some proper advice.

thinkcomp 3 days ago 0 replies      
You can always file a USPTO TTAB opposition to any of that company's registered trademarks. Or several. It's when you do several that they tend to get our their checkbook--each opposition can cost mid-five-figures for a big firm to defend, or in some cases even six.
veyron 3 days ago 2 replies      
Every time I see a story like this, I think about http://nissan.com/
sudonim 2 days ago 2 replies      
On the converse of this, someone has been cybersquatting my last name for about 10 years. Any advice on how to get it?

Details: I own the .co.uk version, but not the .com. My dad has had a company registered (not in the US) with the name in it. The cybersquatter seems to have squatted a bunch of dutch last names and isn't associated with the name at all.

larrys 2 days ago 0 replies      
He states "They've already tried going through WIPO and lost. Now they are telling me that if I don't accept a ridiculously undervalued offer they are going to file litigation against me. I am a college student and can't afford a lawyer. Can anyone give me advice? What should I do?"

Something is a little fishy about this.
It doesn't make sense that he won the UDRP without an attorney but hasn't been able to figure out an attorney that can give him free legal advice on these issues. (Ref: reddit comments) (See http://www.esqwire.com who gives free advice and has probably won the most cases). In order to respond to the UDRP he would have had to do some research and would have turned up the obvious suspects in this industry (Berryhill, Goldberger etc.)

While people have won UDRP's without a response (I've seen it happen) it is pretty rare.

rickdale 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience with Catepillar. They wanted to buy a domain I owned for over 10 years, but was just parked at the time. They offered me $1000 for the domain, I vehemently told them no. They threatened to sue me and we settled before they took action at $5,000. I always thought the domain was worth more, but at least its being used for something now.
staunch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even going so far as entertaining an offer could screw him in court. He needs an IP lawyer familiar with this ASAP.
DiabloD3 2 days ago 1 reply      
The only mistake he made was asking Reddit instead of a lawyer who specializes in dealing with boneheaded corporate maneuvers.

Otherwise, I wish him luck.

tomcam 2 days ago 0 replies      
This site may provide some help. They sold licensed fabric items on eBay that contained Disney characters. Repeat, licensed. Disney tried to take them down using DMCA and other strongarm tactics. They won against Disney using DIY
techniques--no lawyers involved! I know it's not the same situation but you would be well advised to visit their site at http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/Articles/Tabberone/Fight...
jackvalentine 2 days ago 1 reply      
This has just reminded me I need to put up a splash page with my contact information on my domain, which is myfirstmylast.com

Currently there is nothing there, but I use it for email every day - it'd be a shame to lose the domain because it looks like I'm not using it to outsiders.

0x12 2 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that they start with offering you money weakens their case considerably. That said, get yourself a really good lawyer if you want to hold on to it and you think you have a strong enough case, be prepared to pay them a lot of money.
wildmXranat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope he kicks their butt.
cynest 2 days ago 0 replies      
What constitutes cybersquatting or having the rights to a domain you purchased? When can someone who feels they could better use the domain sue?
epo 2 days ago 0 replies      
If they are trying to muscle you out of something which is not rightfully theirs then level the playing field. Get as much publicity as you can from the media, shame them into backing off or making a decent offer if it is something they really want.
pbreit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hire a lawyer on contingency and get the biggest payout you can, for goodness sake. Then set up a new domain for yourself and count your blessings...winning the lottery is very rare.
meiji 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's some good advice on the reddit thread and some poor. Making a counter offer to the company could be construed as intent to make a buck on the sale and end up muddying the water and causing him problems. Best thing in these cases is to refuse offers.
opendomain 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have never sold a domain. I have given domains away for FREE to Open Source for 12 years, but I have been sued. It does not seem that the Big Corporation has any rights in your case, but they have Big Lawyers, who can sue you into the ground. Be VERY careful
rumcajz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sell the domain name to their largest and/or most aggressive competitor.
md1515 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck to him!
tomelders 2 days ago 0 replies      
sounds like a job for 4chan.
Searching for Mark Pilgrim meyerweb.com
224 points by jlbruno  23 hours ago   61 comments top 22
haberman 22 hours ago 3 replies      

"Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring."

GavinB 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Given that
a) Mark is known by his real name, employed by a major company, and presumably has numerous friends, coworkers, and acquaintances in meatspace
b) none of his friends, coworkers, or acquaintances are stepping forward either with information or panicked questions

is it safe to assume that our interest and attention at this time is unwanted?

kenneth_reitz 23 hours ago 1 reply      
His GitHub projects have been mirrored:


Dive Into Python 3: http://diveintopython3.ep.io/

    GitHub: https://github.com/diveintomark/diveintopython3

Dive Into HTML5: http://diveintohtml5.ep.io/

    GitHub: https://github.com/diveintomark/diveintohtml5

phillmv 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Mark Pilgrim is an awesome dude.

I remember stumbling upon http://web.archive.org/web/20110724223826/http://addictionis... years and years and empathizing and feeling moved. I hope he's alright.

ceejayoz 22 hours ago 1 reply      

"Pass along - several people have called Mark Pilgrim's local PD for a welfare check, and they've sent a car just to knock on the door. #hope"

natch 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It's completely understandable that someone would ask the police to do a welfare check, given the circumstances (signs reasonably interpreted as indicators of possible impending suicide).

I'm sure he understands that he brought this annoyance on himself, probably with a good reason that's none of our business.

But, now that his welfare has been established... Let's give this Googler privacy and space. If only we could expect Google to do the same for all of us when we need it. How about it Google? Consider this a feature request: Google Cocoon, an on-request service that hides your personal information from search and perusal in special circumstances. Sounds like a can of worms, but interesting to think about.

wyclif 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Surely someone reading this thread works for GOOG, and can find out if he's still around.
firebones 23 hours ago 0 replies      
That's too bad. I checked his Wikipedia page and noted that he requested that it be deleted several years ago, only to be denied.


The talk page mentions his involvement in a computer tampering case nearly 20 years ago...if it is the same Mark Pilgrim (and the ages seem to match) then he seems to have redeemed himself with his subsequent work. I had no idea.

azulum 23 hours ago 0 replies      
my hope is that he has retired to an ashram and hasn't been abducted by cyber-terrorists bent on killing f/oss and torturing him by deleting his accounts.

or maybe he has evolved to the point that our invisible alien overlords saw fit to promote him.

be well, mark, wherever you may be.

spullara 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe he is trying an experiment to see whether it is possible to remove yourself from the Internet. Would be an interesting experiment for Google to run.
akent 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably one of my favourite Mark Pilgrim posts: http://web.archive.org/web/20110514133252/http://diveintomar...

"Do not misunderstand me. I don't think the personal web has become boring. I think I have become boring. I've spent too much time tracking statistics, living up to the meaningless ideals of others, and pontificating on matters of no importance. When I should have been writing about lighthouses."

nutmeg 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring.
varikin 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The firehose and feeds pages on diveintomark are still active.



jlbruno 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Mark Pilgrim seems to have disappeared from the Internet. Eric is searching for anyone who might know him personally to make sure he is ok.
lclaude01 23 hours ago 2 replies      
pingswept 22 hours ago 0 replies      
As I've commented elsewhere, there's a precedent for this. He disappeared from his blog for a while in 2004. Check the Google cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:diveint...
biot 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the URL from one of the comments from the Ask HN thread:


Not sure it needs another dedicated story.

sandyc 22 hours ago 0 replies      
via @textfiles "Mark Pilgrim is alive/annoyed we called the police. Please stand down and give the man privacy and space, and thanks everyone for caring."
wavephorm 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't a dude just disappear in peace anymore?
pitra 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Atlas shrugged
AndyKelley 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't get why, noticing that all his accounts are disabled, you would worry about him being harmed. If he got hit by a truck and died, all his stuff would still be online.
nestlequ1k 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Deliberately taking down such a highly seo indexed site is an act of terrorism as far as I'm concerned.
Patent Troll: Anyone Using WiFi Infringes; Won't Sue Individuals 'At This Stage' techdirt.com
216 points by profitbaron  2 days ago   94 comments top 21
noonespecial 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hams have been doing packet radio since the 70's in earnest and it's been around far longer.


There is clearly prior art. When you make this big a nuisance of yourself, clearly exploiting the system at society's expense, you should be permanently disbarred. You are a clear and present danger to the continued operation of the justice system.

Edit: Might a flood of complaints to the bar association do some good here?

waterhouse 2 days ago 2 replies      
The book "Against Intellectual Monopoly" is highly recommended reading for the question of patents (and other intellectual property). The authors make a mostly empirical survey of the effects of intellectual property laws and of their absence in a wide range of industries, and conclude that their effect is a stifling rather than an encouragement of innovation. I think it's especially appropriate because, while my own opinion on the issue comes from moral reasoning (and it's generally frustrating to try to argue that side), this book presents a wealth of stories and statistics that are just plain interesting to anyone who cares about the issue.


Bud 2 days ago 3 replies      
Leeches. Someone should destroy these folks. Legally and peacefully, of course. But they must be destroyed.
diego_moita 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is very nice!

Politicians will only solve a problem after it becomes a calamity. If the problem gets bad enough, they might start paying attention.

mrspandex 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really hope they do start suing individuals. Congressmen, and judges specifically.
fleitz 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's nice to see that Innovatio IP is focused democratizing the opportunity to license their patents. Patent trolling isn't just for the Fortune 500 anymore.
mkjones 2 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like they're going after small business owners individually, so not necessarily "any old joe." Still, this gives me hope given how hot small businesses are in the current political climate. Perhaps targeting one or two of the wrong (read: noisy and politically-connected) owners will result in an outcome at least slightly positive for patent reform?
tlogan 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is actually a very good development. This will help that even general public start understanding "patent troll" problem which, in turn, will get some ears in in Washington.

I hope that more and more opportunistic lawyers join the "patent troll" bandwagon. Eventually, some of them will not say "wont sue individuals" because they will understand that changes in IP laws are going to happen soon: make money now or never (very similar to what was happening just before the housing crash of 2008).
Then the politicians will act. Hopefully, giving bailouts and not doing reforms will not work for this issue.

Is there anything we can do to speed up this process?

pavel_lishin 2 days ago 1 reply      
> While its initial lawsuits against coffee shops and restaurants did focus on the central corporations, with the hotels, Innovatio appears to be focusing on individual franchisees. Yes, the small businesses who own individual hotels and probably have no idea how to deal with a patent infringement lawsuit -- all because they dared to offer WiFi somewhere in their hotels. To make it "easy" of course, Innovatio's lawyers will let them settle for between $2,300 and $5,000. In almost every case, that's going to be cheaper than hiring a lawyer to just get started dealing with this -- which I'm sure is exactly what Innovatio intends.

Isn't this precisely the sort of thing that can be forwarded to corporate? Someone who owns a Motel 6 would surely expect the corporation to help them with this, no?

colinhowe 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know what these patents claim to cover? "wifi" seems a bit broad
sukuriant 2 days ago 1 reply      
What is this patent actually for? I was looking up wifi, and the precursor to 802.11 came out in '91. That's well over 17 years ago.
plink 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do the descendants of Joseph Guillotin still hold the patent on his invention? I fancy a scenario unfolding in today's environment that might vastly enrich his heirs.
felipemnoa 2 days ago 1 reply      
After getting sued a good course of action would be to sue the manufacturer for loses incurred. At least that would get their attention. Somebody could start a class action lawsuit agains the manufacturer.
octopus 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not a lawyer, so my question is simple - say that you receive a citation from Innovation and you simply ignore this. What then ? They will actually take you to court ?
crizCraig 2 days ago 1 reply      
The patent is from 2004. http://www.google.com/patents?id=zi8SAAAAEBAJ&printsec=a...

I hope their greed gets the best of them. Here's a poll I created to get general feedback on this subject. It's so infuriating to me, but a lot of people seem to be indifferent on the subject of patents: http://www.wepolls.com/p/3363896/

pyrotechnick 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's about time the CSIRO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_Scientific_and_Ind...) got some money for their invention.
DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to set up a Patent Troll company and patent a bunch of processes for political methods / action / campaigning / etc.

Then start trolling politicians.

SODaniel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck with that one Trolls.
Vivtek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Surely this?
sliverstorm 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wouldn't think they could ever win anything. One of the rules with patents is you can't just kick back and wait for your competitor's product to grow and sue 10 years later.

Considering WiFi is almost 20 years old, and has practically surpassed 'ubiquity', I'd say that ship sailed.

Google's Management Doesn't Use Google+ theunderstatement.com
210 points by thisisblurry  1 day ago   80 comments top 39
Kylekramer 1 day ago 5 replies      
This thought: Further, I think it's reasonable to assume a correlation between private use & public use kills the whole article. No, it isn't a reasonable assumption. If you look at my Facebook without being a friend of mine, you get a picture of me. Five years of use and that is the only public thing I have published. And I am just another dude no one cares about. I am sure billionaire CEOs and board members who have actual reporters, normal everyday gossiphounds and even crazies caring about their personal lives have even more incentive to be private. Google+'s promise isn't that is a combination of Facebook and Twitter, it is a social network where it does what you want it to. And if Google management wants their sharing to be private, that is good. I suspect a large number of their users have a similar outlook.
Lewisham 1 day ago 1 reply      
Remember that Larry re-org'd Google into product groups, and the SVP of Social is Vic Gundorota. My understanding is that these groups are supposed to work in a more autonomous fashion, with Larry more of a Jobsian gatekeeper and guiding hand.

If you are to make some sort of conclusion based on whether the boss is using it or not, you need to actually choose the boss. Vic is the boss of Google+, and he's made 150+ posts. Seems pretty good to me.

larsberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe they all have their accounts in Google Apps and G+ is just not available to them yet :-)
lojack 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg really does use Facebook all day. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted at least 30 times just yesterday.

And, likewise, I'm sure Google's management uses Google Search on a regular basis.

hosh 1 day ago 1 reply      
This article is flawed. It is making an assumption that public posts correlates with private posts.

"Further, I think it's reasonable to assume a correlation between private use & public use: if you were constantly posting things on a service and each time you were given the option to make it public or private, surely sometimes you'd make it public, especially as a somewhat public figure wanting to help your own company's new service get going."

This is fallacy, and it is not even persuasive fallacy.

I make significantly more private posts than I do public posts. I've made exactly two public posts since using it in the early field testing days, and have many more private posts. The friends in my circle tends to share privately, not publicly. You don't have to make public posts to use Google+.

We can say for certain that Google management do not make public posts. We cannot say for certain that Google management do not use Google+ at all.

gojomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd bet Google management doesn't click on Google ads very often, either.
gamble 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nothing embarrasing here. I'm sure it's just that Google's management are very private people who wouldn't like their personal information exposed and spread about to third parties.
shareme 1 day ago 3 replies      
The author is wrong..there is a Google+ sandbox and I am told that Google management is in fact using Google+ through that from Google insiders..
j_baker 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure this is fair. Google is a large company with a lot of products. You simply can't expect top management to be an active user of all of them. I'm sure Apple doesn't require its top execs to own an iPhone, iPod, iPod nano, iPod touch, iMac, MacBook Air.... you get the idea. The comparison with Twitter is even worse. Twitter really only has one product.

The way this data is organized, I don't see any top executives not using Google+ that "should" be using it.

nr0mx 1 day ago 1 reply      
The correct title should have been: "Google's Management Doesn't Use Google+ For Public Posts". But not so good for pageviews, is it?

"Management caring deeply about their company's products and using them every day is almost always a prerequisite of making great products."

From my time on Google+, the Google+ team seems to be highly visible and doing a terrific job interacting on the site. It seems like a useful update is announced by the team - not management - almost weekly.

"Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg really does use Facebook all day."

Of course, quite obvious from the sheer volume of daily public posts Zuckerberg makes on Facebook.

It seems pointless to continue to dissect this post any further.

ethank 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably for the same reason I stopped: it's not fun.

Given I have a finite amount of time to socialize my identity online, the value proposition of a service has to extend into emotion rather than pure pragmatism.

Fun and joy: maximize this for me and my loyalty follows. If you want me to switch, you had best maximize these more than the existing player.

In Googles case, the service just isn't fun. I always feel like I am missing things, it's hard to track comments you have read and the circle interface is klunky. Facebook has the same type of issues as an information service, but makes up for it in being a fun service for identity curation. Twitter is the best for a river-of-discourse type use case.

decklin 1 day ago 1 reply      
What an utterly awful use of a pie chart.
tlogan 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really a big news because apparently 25 percent of employee bonuses are tied to the success of Google+.

The news is that Larry didn't convince his management team and the board that G+ is very important for the future of Google.

Tichy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe they have actual work to do and can not procrastinate on Twitter or G+ like the rest of us.
darksaga 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google+ was supposed to compete with Facebook and having people's salaries tied to something this big, you would expect EVERYBODY to be on board.

I'd be pretty pissed if my salary was tied up in this and articles like this come out basically saying, "Your own execs don't think this is a good enough product to use themselves."

Regardless of how private they want to be, they should be using the product or at the very least have some assistant or intern posting for them. I'm pretty certain most celebs and top tech execs don't do all of their updates. You don't have to post private stuff, just make an effort to show you're using the product.

jonmc12 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Management caring deeply about their company's products and using them every day is almost always a prerequisite of making great products"

..when management is also happens to be in the target market of the product. Quite a broad and incorrect generalization to kick off an analysis like this.

wavephorm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apparently they took one look at how Google would be using their information and said "fuck that".
dasil003 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes there might be a good correlation between dogfooding in senior management and great products, but it's not worth shoving a square peg into a round hole to meet this superficial criteria.

The reason Facebook and Twitter executives use their respective services is because that is the core product from the very beginning. Google+ on the other hand is a tertiary product. Just because management realizes they need a foothold in social doesn't mean that they should forcibly try to transmute themselves into the target market. Instead they should have people in charge of the product that care enough to use it naturally, and I think that's what they're doing.

crag 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There aren't exactly doing much for their brand are they? It's not about what they do privately.. I mean, hire some PR lackey to post "public" recipes or list your favoriate bands - whatever.

It's perceptions that matter.

snorkel 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The author is right. Those senior managers need to ask themselves why they used a competing service instead of their own.
dendory 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like Google Plus, I post many things every day. But I'm among those worried about its future. Out of over 700 people I follow, only around 30 post daily, most posted at one point (I don't follow people who never posted) but don't anymore. I think people have a use for Twitter, Facebook, but G+ is inbetween and doesn't have enough of an obvious use yet.
philipmorg 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I suppose if Google+ was a conventional product--and one could get accurate information about whether or not Google's execs actually used it--this article might have a point.

But Google+ isn't a product. It's more like an API that uses a graphic user interface to transfer personal data from users to Google. Google then uses that data to provide an actual product to its actual customers: advertisers.


epc 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Neither Facebook nor Twitter are public companies. Is it possible that Google execs are in a quiet period due to the Motorola Mobility deal?
joshu 23 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the problems with being somewhat famous and being on these things is that you get barraged with stuff from random people.

I was mentioned in an early Googler's post and I still get barraged with stuff.

ditojim 1 day ago 0 replies      
i'd be willing to bet google execs use hangouts quite a bit, which is technically google+..
badclient 23 hours ago 0 replies      
So will people believe me now that google+ is dead?
Flenser 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In the same way google has their own internal version of gmail with features that aren't publicly they will have in internal version of G+. I expect they all use that internal G+ even if they don't use the public one.
vaughan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Google+ has made a point to enforce a real names policy - no pseudonyms allowed. Surely high level executives have things they would like to say publicly or comment on posts which they see. Reading articles is one thing, but taking the time to form a cohesive argument or opinion required to make comment on public articles can greatly enhance comprehension of a topic. Responding to criticism is also a part of this.

Are we to believe that people rise the ranks to a position of power where they suddenly need not debate issues in the public sphere and take the criticism that goes along with it?

Surely not. So wouldn't it then make sense to at least allow pseudonyms?

gjenkin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The article failed to mention SVP of Commerce and Local: Jeff Huber. He's posted about 40 times. Seems pretty active.
natasham25 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is an opportunity for the Google leadership to be leaders not only in their company but outside of it by contributing their knowledge and lessons learned to the public. Unfortunately, they are not taking this leadership opportunity, since most of the posts from Larry Page and Sergey Brin are from their amazing adventures and travels, which shows that they themselves don't understand the real power of social media and how they can use it to actually contribute to the world.
RyanKearney 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Kind of hard to use Google+ when Google Apps doesn't even support it!


kragen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Larry and Sergey are probably just posting under pen names. ;)
guyzero 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm really hoping David Drummond will use G+ to tell us all about the lawsuits his staff is in the process of deposing. That's sure to happen.
speleding 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps Google uses Google Apps internally, Google+ is not yet available on Apps
gojomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why, next you'll tell me Zynga execs don't play Farmville, and TV execs don't watch reality shows!
Dolph 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Eric Schmidt was actually registered at Google+, but removed his account within the first week when it was "launched" back in jun/july
alexwolfe 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Not to worry, I got plenty of free invites. I'll send them a few.
spullara 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is perfectly normal. Carol Bartz (and
most of the executive team) didn't use Yahoo's products either...
vaughan 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Strange...Alan Eustace has made 3 public posts on October 5, 2011. Perhaps he's a HN reader.
The end of cow clicker kotaku.com
200 points by throw_away  19 hours ago   14 comments top 7
praptak 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah yes, the misaimed fandom phenomenon :)

"The writer has a vision. They've created a character who represents everything they loathe, and have placed him in a setting that satirizes everything they hate about modern society. Bring on the Moral Guardians and Media Watchdogs; he's prepared for controversy!

Only... it doesn't quite work like that."

From http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MisaimedFandom

noelsequeira 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is such an incredible article on so many counts. I stumbled upon Ian Bogost when we were in the throes of the (then acerbic) "gamification" debate, and Foursquare was the undisputed toast of the interwebs. I've been following him since, and have found myself quite intrigued by the Cow Clicker story.

For me, the takeaway from the article isn't so ironic when you look at Game Development as any of the arts. And bear with the cliche, but save the odd exception, an artists' life is almost always a compromise between staying true to one's principles and courting mainstream appeal. Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, "perhaps the biggest rock band most people have never heard of", will certainly attest to this.

bendotc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Frank Lantz, Ian's friend mentioned in the article who used to work at Area/Code and now at Zynga NYC wrote a response: http://gamedesignadvance.com/?p=2383
jerf 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Now that is some transgressive art, when the piece itself manages to ultimately affect the artist himself. And I don't mean the way any piece affects any artist or merely bringing up strong emotions, but actually changing the artist's opinions on the same dimension the work was intended to be about in the first place.
thristian 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have an hour to spare and Flash player installed, Bogost gave a talk about Cow Clicker at the Game Developers Conference, shortly before the "Cowpocalypse" mentioned in the article:


It's been a while since I watched it, so I forget whether he actually highlights his ambivalence toward the game, but it's more than obvious in the way he talks about it.

smoyer 12 hours ago 0 replies      
What a great story ... and an interesting experiment! If I had an FB page, I'd put the empty pasture on it just to honor the irony behind the game - the irony that so many people thought it was a real game and that the inventor got sucked into his joke.
sp332 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a "social" version of Progress Wars! http://progresswars.com/
       cached 6 October 2011 02:11:01 GMT