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Rob Pike: Dennis Ritchie has died google.com
1924 points by fogus  5 days ago   196 comments top 82
steveb 5 days ago 6 replies      
There are several billion people using many billions of devices every day.

From the code in your microwave to massive computing clusters, virtually all of our software can trace its ancestry back to this man's intellectual output.

I'm eternally grateful for his life and contributions to humanity.

5hoom 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is really sad. Dennis Ritchie has made an incalculably huge contribution to the tech world.

I know most here would be aware, but he is a father of both Unix and the C language, technologies which are the basis for nearly everything we as developers do. He helped write K&R, which many regard as _the_ book for C programming.

This is the passing of a legend. Sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

InclinedPlane 5 days ago 1 reply      
If you have used technology of any sort over the last few decades there's a pretty decent chance that you've used technology that Steve Jobs had a significant impact on.

But the chances are 100.00% that you've used technology Dennis Ritchie has had a deeply profound impact on.

rkalla 5 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder how many people here got to know Ritchie through "The C Programming Language", I am sure half of us have it on our shelves.

It is amazing how many lives a single person can touch directly and indirectly.

I hope Ritchie passed away knowing the unforgettable contribution he made to the world as we all move forward on a platform he set down for us more than 30 years ago.

What an awesome legacy to leave behind. Thank you Dennis.

luckydude 4 days ago 3 replies      
Any chance we could get the guy who did the Steve Jobs Apple logo to take a wack at doing one for Dennis?

I've never met Dennis but I've talked to him on the phone a bit, and exchanged a pile of email over the years, all about various Unix topics. Though I was nobody, he was always polite, always patient, always willing to pass on knowledge. I'm quite grateful to him for taking the time to exchange ideas and polish them.

bwk is the same way. We were working on extending awk to be, well, different (we made awk scripts be part of awk, so any statement could be a script and it could pipe to another script). I talked bwk about the idea and asked if I could do on top of his awk and the next day a tarball showed up of ~bwk/awk, had the source, all the regressions, the source the awk book, everything.

I love these guys, they did a lot of things I admire.

bootload 5 days ago 3 replies      

    #include <stdio.h> 
printf("goodbye, world\n");

DanielRibeiro 5 days ago 0 replies      
To remember[1]:

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie was an American computer scientist notable for developing C and for having influence on other programming languages, as well as operating systems such as Multics and Unix.

He received the Turing Award in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology 1998 on April 21, 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007.

"C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success."

- Dennis Ritchie, on The Development of the C Language[2]

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

[2] http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/chist.html

Shenglong 5 days ago 0 replies      
Black bar, definitely deserved. Thanks pg.
dgallagher 5 days ago 0 replies      
His brother was superintendent while I was in high school. We asked him to invite dmr to come in and give a speech once, but understandingly dmr was too busy and had to decline. If dmr was anything like his brother, he was a great person and will be missed greatly. RIP, you changed the world for the better.
protomyth 4 days ago 0 replies      
I learned BASIC and 6502 assembly in high school then went to college where the main language was Modula-2 on an IBM 370. I hated Modula-2 and wondered how people actually wrote those cool programs on PCs. It just seems like all the possibilities of assembly really weren't there. It just seemed wrong.

Took an optional language class in C which used the K&R C book (draft ANSI C edition) taught on the VAX and was finally able to say "Oh, I get it now". Bought Turbo C 2.0 and had a blast.

This is just a truly sucky month.

kiba 5 days ago 2 replies      
70 years. That's a long time to be alive! He was born in the middle of WW2, lived through the cold war, seen the collapse of the soviet union, etc.

Me? I was born around the time the Linux OS hatched and the internet is starting to open up.

drallison 5 days ago 0 replies      
Dennis was a friend. It is very sad to learn of his passing. We are all indebted to him for his many contributions to the field.
ctdonath 5 days ago 2 replies      
latch 5 days ago 0 replies      
I used to read The C Programming Language every year. As a amateur tech-writer, it has influenced me greatly (that and _why's work).
johnohara 4 days ago 0 replies      
For some odd reason I pulled my 1978 version of The C Programming Language off the shelf and it's been on my desk for the past few weeks.

Beneath the copyright notice it reads:

"This book was set in Times Roman and Courier 12 by the authors, using a Graphic Systems phototypesetter driven by a PDP-11/70 running under the UNIX operating system."

Probably on a VT100 with drafts printed on a DECWriter.

Quiet. Brilliant. Deliberate. Influential. Modest.

May you rest in peace.

moeffju 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just looking at the stuff on my desk, the only things Dennis Ritchie has not directly or indirectly contributed to are two photos, a pair of scissors, a screwdriver and a salami.

Cellphone? Check. Harddisks? Screens? USB devices? TAN generator? Wacom tablet? Applet remote? Mac mini? MacBook Pro? Camera? Check, check, check.

Thanks, Dennis Ritchie, for helping to create the foundations of computing as we know it.

navs 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'll have to admit, I didn't know who Dennis Ritchie was. I remember seeing his name on the Unix Haters Handbook but that was it.
Noticing the black bar, I googled and now, I'm enlightened. It's a pity many will never know his name or his contributions but if it means anything, this here Computer Science student would like to say Thank You Mr. Ritchie for all you've done.
jburwell 5 days ago 0 replies      
Two visi0naries lost in one week. Unfortunately, Dennis Ritchie's passing will not get the level of coverage of Steve Jobs, but he deserves it. Without his critical contributions, the UNIX core of Steve Jobs' great products could not exist ...
maayank 5 days ago 0 replies      
While I dabbled with the language before, The C Programming Language book was a true eye opener for me. Grokking it truly paved the way for my programming career.

RIP Dennis Ritchie.

Sindisil 4 days ago 0 replies      

That hit me harder than I would have thought possible.

The family of man is poorer for his passing, regardless of how few may know why.

Wow. I don't know if I'm at a loss for words, or have too much to say, but I'm really having a hard time putting my thoughts into a brief post.

Rest in peace, dmr.

spodek 4 days ago 0 replies      
His great works had such amazing style -- simple, elegant, meaningful, effective. I think this sentence, which he not only co-authored but also executed on, summarizes it in plain English, all the more so when you read it from the small book in your hands.

"C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book."

These words have guided my writing as much as anything in Elements of Style.

irrumator 5 days ago 0 replies      
One of the most influential people in the world whose contributions were immense. He will be sorely missed.
Hitchhiker 5 days ago 0 replies      
#include <stdio.h>

printf("Thank you for creating me\n");

jbondeson 4 days ago 0 replies      
It almost seems impossible to imagine men like Ritchie leaving us. His efforts helped usher in the modern computing age.

While he is no longer with us in person, may his legacy never be forgotten by those of use who have had the honor to stand on his titanic shoulders.

Truly he will be missed.

ltamake 5 days ago 1 reply      
Very sad. His contributions to the world were huge. RIP.
rbanffy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I noticed every computer around me, be it a laptop, a phone, a TV or a router, runs some kind of Unix.
sharmajai 4 days ago 0 replies      
C, like thousands of other computer science students, was the first language I learnt.

I have always felt that a language is only as popular as the niche it serves. For C that niche started out as OS implementation and expanded into driver programming, UI programming, embedded systems programming, graphics programming, and many many more disciplines.

There was Fortran and PL/1 before C, what made C so popular? I will let dmr's friend Brian Kernighan answer it:

C is perhaps the best balance of expressiveness and efficiency that has ever been seen in programming languages. At the time it was developed, efficiency mattered a great deal: machines were slow and had small memories, so one had to get close to the efficiency of assembler. C did this for system programming tasks--writing compilers, operating systems and tools. It was so close to the machine that you could see what the code would be (and it wasn't hard to write a good compiler), but it still was safely above the instruction level and a good enough match to all machines that one didn't think about specific tricks for specific machines. Once C came along, there no longer was any reason for any normal programmer to use assembly language. It's still my favorite language; if I were marooned on a desert island with only one compiler, it would have to be for C.[1]

If I have to pick one reason for C's popularity, it would be pointers (both function and data) alongwith type casting. IMHO this was the combination that not only gave you full control of the underlying hardware (other languages had done that too) but most importantly it enabled other programming paradigms, (functional, object oriented etc.), while doing that.

Thanks for introducing us to the wonderful world of computer programming. RIP DMR.

1. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/7035

desireco42 5 days ago 0 replies      
black stripe on top of hacker news is really nice touch out of respect
zizee 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm didn't know the man but it's always sad to see one of the greats fall.

I seem to have mislaid my copy of the 'The C Programming Language', which is a shame as it is one of the few of the many programming books I have purchased over the years that continues to be relevant in this fast changing (and exiting) field.

RIP dmr, my condolences to your family and friends. You will be missed and your contributions appreciated by hackers the world over.

srl 5 days ago 0 replies      
c--; /* to echo a sentiment expressed on g+ */
scrrr 4 days ago 1 reply      
When I was a student a professor joked that computer science wasn't really a science because all its founders were still alive. Well, now it certainly must be one.
glhaynes 5 days ago 0 replies      
An exemplar of elegance and clear thought. RIP and thank you.
peteri 4 days ago 0 replies      
I read K&R at university in 1986 and found it to be a model of clarity, spent a year supporting Turbo C for Borland when it was first released (that improved my language knowledge no end)

Biggest problem was the first Turbo C compiler folded floating point constant division back to front which makes one of the early programs in K&R (Centigrade to Farenheit conversion) fail. That got fixed fairly quickly.

He leaves behind a truly amazing legacy of C, *nix and the K&R book.

packetslave 5 days ago 0 replies      
Didn't know him personally, but his work has been an inspiration to me for nearly 20 years. RIP.
Mithrandir 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I could say I met the man, but it doesn't really matter to me because in a way I've got to kinda know him indirectly through his work; through UNIX-likes and what little I know of C.

So RIP, you crazy tinkerer.

djmdjm 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's a testament to the quality and reach of his vision that these words are coming to you via systems that recognisably Unix and written in C _40 years_ after Ritchie (and colleagues) created their progenitors. His work has literally defined generations of operating systems and languages and seems likely to continue to do so for some time. What a great...
josephcooney 5 days ago 0 replies      
very sad. I love the writing style of 'The C Programming Language'
greenyoda 4 days ago 0 replies      
Goodbye, Dennis. It's been just over 30 years since I picked up K&R and started programming in C and using 7th Edition Unix on a PDP-11/45. And C is still among the languages I program in today. You'll be missed.
jmags 4 days ago 0 replies      
While this is very sad, I think he would have wanted us to remember that working in a field so young that you have occasion to mourn people who built its foundations is inherently exciting.
simon 4 days ago 0 replies      
DMR was one of my heroes. Rest In Peace Sir.

I learned C from the first edition of K&R back in 1989 (iirc) on an Atari ST using the Sozobon C compiler. Happy memories (except for learning to combine pointers and loops and null terminated strings correctly! :-)

grosales 4 days ago 0 replies      
I still remember the first time I picked up K&R. I tried my best to devour it. The technical prose makes the book a tour de force.
Every time I write a new "hello world" program from now on, I will add a "Thanks dmr" at the end.
May you rest in peace dmr.
revorad 4 days ago 0 replies      
Condolences to family and friends. C was my first programming language. Owe a lot to this man.

What a sad week.

sajid 4 days ago 1 reply      
This has been a sad week.

Whenever I'm learning a new language, I always look for but fail to find a book with the clarity, conciseness and completeness of K&R.

flipper 4 days ago 0 replies      
To paraphrase the epitaph of Sir Christopher Wren - if you seek his monument, log in.
OctaneOps 4 days ago 0 replies      
RIP. His life exemplifies:

“Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something, or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. Sharing Knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes.”- Peter Senge

chugger 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oh god. Another legend I truly admire. :(
DodgyEggplant 4 days ago 0 replies      
RIP. It seems they are into a big project up there.
jasiek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I remember attending one of his lectures on Plan 9 back in 1996 at Bell Labs. It's a shame he's gone now.
gsivil 4 days ago 0 replies      
K&R is the only book that I have currently three copies. Two editions in English and one in Greek. RIP DR
breadbox 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very sad. RIP, dmr.
rooshdi 4 days ago 0 replies      
"I'm not a person who particularly had heros when growing up."

Thank you for being one of ours, RIP Dennis

0x12 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's a sad month.
baabuu 3 days ago 0 replies      
RIP Dennis.

I was an uninterested Computer science student bored with writing stupid BASIC programs. Then I got introduced to C which made me realize what studying computers is all about. Then I got to know Unix and Linux. I still remember the day I got my Unix login. I was the first student to get one! My college projects (Linux clusters, routers), my geek friends, my first job and my professional life - all got started by learning C & Unix in a remote university lab thousands of miles away. I'm sure this is a story shared by millions. Thanks dmr! You are a legend!

sixtofour 5 days ago 0 replies      
I still have K&R on my shelf.

Thank you, DMR.

_THE_PLAGUE 4 days ago 0 replies      
The K&R textbook is still my programming "bible". I don't use C on a regular basis, or at least as not as much as I'd like to, but still refer to it, even so. IMO, people should learn C first - teaches the right principles.
amanicdroid 4 days ago 0 replies      
Because of Dennis Ritchie I can type these words and others can read them.


1337p337 4 days ago 0 replies      
The |s, the |s are calling.
robert_nsu 4 days ago 0 replies      
RIP Dennis Ritchie.
I can't honestly say that I've spent an entire day at work over the last five years without looking at something that was either created by him or inspired from his work.
raymondh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Goodbye Dennis. You were a giant. You'll be missed.
codehalo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dennis Ritchie. Hello World. May he rest in peace.
teja1990 4 days ago 0 replies      
I you have ever used a computer or any programming language , it means that you used some thing that has Dennis Ritchie's impact.
icehawk 5 days ago 0 replies      
How sad. RIP, dmr.
just4DMR 4 days ago 0 replies      
Rest in Peace, Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie. True Hacker Knight, Shinning Armor.

This is just for you. You will be missed.

mkramlich 4 days ago 0 replies      
two weeks in a row...
giis 4 days ago 0 replies      
thanks Ritchie,for your great contribution, Without you ,I'm sure,we won't be what we are now. RIP.
resnamen 4 days ago 0 replies      
7h 1 day ago 0 replies      
i'm from russia and very bad know english...


petegrif 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is an unusually good piece.
velagale 4 days ago 0 replies      
RIP Mr.Ritchie !
kang 4 days ago 0 replies      
Father of modern software
jianxioy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Rest in peace.
stellzzz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Мир пра...у твоему, пусть земля будет пу...ом. /* Рус. /
Rest In Peace /
Eng. */
nikhizzle 4 days ago 0 replies      
int main(int argc, char argv[])
 struct passwd
pw = getpwnam('dmr');
deepinit_a 4 days ago 0 replies      
We owe You Dennis...
unfletch 4 days ago 0 replies      
berserkpi 4 days ago 0 replies      
RIP master.
cyber_lis 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really sad...
jerrysievert 5 days ago 0 replies      
kachnuv_ocasek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm far more struck by this than Steve Jobs' death.
goodnight 5 days ago 5 replies      
RIP Dennis. Now that's a guy worth mourning about.

I'll check CNN and the BBC to see their special reports, surely if they had them when some marketing CEO kicked the bucket they'll give at least ten times the amount of coverage to a man who was 100 times his better!

IOS 5's "Cleaning" Behavior marco.org
559 points by JeffDClark  4 days ago   195 comments top 36
ender7 4 days ago  replies      
Apple's in a tight spot here - either they leave things as they are and piss off developers (and, by fiat, piss off users), or they have to start forcing users to more proactively manage their remaining space.

One can probably easily imagine an interface for showing the user how much data a particular app is using and allow them to nuke the temporary stuff. It might even look beautiful. It might even be fun to use. But it's going to introduce a lot of hand-wringing and micro-managing and lots of mental overhead that Apple really, really wants to avoid.

smokey_the_bear 4 days ago 6 replies      
I write several offline mapping apps, and this is totally throwing us for a loop. We're recommending our power users not upgrade to iOS 5. Users download gigabytes of maps to their cache directory, they don't want to eat their iCloud allotment with that, or their slow their iTunes sync. But they also don't want to have to download those maps again, or find themselves in the middle of the woods without the maps they downloaded.
qjz 3 days ago 3 replies      
Apple - iCloud - Your content. On all your devices.

That is the title of Apple's main iCloud page at http://www.apple.com/icloud/.

iCloud is seamlessly integrated into your apps, so you can access your content on all your devices.

This is Apple's definition for the iCloud service. It doesn't matter what the data is, it's your data and Apple is promising to sync it between your devices, to preserve your experience.

In the case of Instapaper, the solution is obvious: Put the files in Documents. That is Instapaper's content and part of the experience that users want synced between devices.

If Apple penalizes developers and undermines the promise it is making to users because it decides to be miserly about bandwidth, then it has to admit it launched iCloud before it was ready.

pohl 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm sympathetic to Marco's blog post here, but I wonder if he's failing to interpret the two paragraphs from the documentation within the context of Instapaper's purpose.

With respect to point #1, and in the context of what Instapaper is for, the user is intending to read an article offline, and the local copy of the article was generated by the user's intent (and can, therefore, be considered user-generated even though the user is not the author of the article.)

With respect to point #2, the articles fail the "can be downloaded again" test in light of the app's purpose of making the articles available to the user when the network is not available. When the network is unavailable, the articles cannot be downloaded again. Edit: JeffDClark makes another excellent point here that the article may have originally been behind a paywall and therefore cannot be guaranteed to be re-downloadable. The same is true if the author removed the original article from their webserver.

Ergo, put them in the Documents folder. Whether this would satisfy the app reviewer is another question, but it's worth a shot to carefully explain to them how your app is not violating the letter of the law.

zbowling 3 days ago 3 replies      
Add .nosync to the file/folder name path and keep it in the home or documents directory. Problem solved.

edit: I'm shocked this thread is so long and no body mentioned this. It's been on the apple developer forums for months as a solution.

lukeredpath 4 days ago 1 reply      
Lots of people are focussing on Marco's particular use case in the comments, and I think it's a valid one, but this extends beyond simple documents.

There is a category of data that is aimed at offline use. Streaming apps like Spotify, that let you download playlists for offline use. GPS apps that download hundreds of MB of map data. You get the idea.

On one hand, this data is a form of cache. The data is always available elsewhere (on the content provider servers) and it can be restored if necessary in a worst case scenario. But the key word here is "offline". This is the kind of data that, by definition depends on being around if the user is offline and therefore cannot be easily restored on demand, when the user needs it.

Obviously, having all of this stuff backed up to iCloud and using up GBs of people's capacity is not feasible or even logical. So this kind of data does not belong anywhere that iCloud will back up. But it must be stored somewhere that is safe from being purged.

Yes, a users GPS maps can be restored eventually but that doesn't help them when they are stranded in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a weak GPRS signal and all of their maps gone.

Apple have made an almighty cockup in overlooking the "offline data" use case.

In Marco's case, I'd agree that the articles represent user data that should be stored somewhere like Application Support, which will be backed by iCloud but I think that's probably fine in this case.

sjwright 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are a number of possible scenarios for file storage, the problem is a lack of clarity or documentation about the properties of the various locations as they stand now. As a developer, I could imagine desiring the following choices:

1. Temp: No backup, cleared regularly

2. Cache: No backup, cleared when space is tight

3. Local: Local backup only, never cleared

4. Documents: Local/cloud backup, never cleared

5. Cloud: Cloud backup, cleared when space is tight

The problem seems to be that #3 doesn't exist. Yet you'd think it would be a common requirement for stuff like in-app purchases of large and essential content packs, for example, turn-by-turn navigation maps.

I'd hate to be on holiday and have a 10 megabyte podcast download automatically trigger the erasure of 1000 megabytes of navigation data.

rubergly 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm definitely at risk of running into this predicament as a user. I'm more worried about the hundreds of megabytes of podcasts I download when WiFi is available for use throughout the day when WiFi isn't available.

To avoid this issue and enjoy the benefits of iOS 5, I'm going to have to clear out a bunch of apps, music, and photos and ensure that I always have a sufficient amount of "buffer" space so the cleaning is never triggered. I cannot be alone in this, and the fact that Apple is making this kind of thinking necessary for end users is kind of ridiculous. I really can't see this behavior lasting for very long, and I'm sure Apple will address it soon; this is the antithesis to the traditional iPhone experience. The only scenario where I could see this being purposeful is if Apple is really trying to hurt offline apps to increase data usage and appease carriers (maybe for pissing them off with iMessage?).

wrs 4 days ago 2 replies      
It seems fair to say that Instapaper's version of an article can't be "redownloaded" for various reasons (offline, paywall, article removed, etc.) so it would be OK to put it in the Documents folder.

The argument against that is that you're now syncing that article with iCloud in addition to Instapaper.

But I wonder whether the correct answer is instead to eliminate Instapaper's sync feature, and just let iCloud do it. Once you have system-level cloud sync, don't you want to let Apple do the work? Sync is hard, and it isn't really the core value of Instapaper.

Edit: I was wondering about iCloud only for iOS 5/MacOS 10.7.2 devices with iCloud accounts. But that story does fall apart for people with mixed devices. So never mind.

smackfu 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand Apple's logic here. You can't reconcile the idea of "cleaning because you can redownload" with "available offline". As soon as you clean up, you are going to break offline uses.

I would guess the idea is to help enable these 500 MB per issue magazine downloads. You download a new issue, you nuke some old issue, no one cares. As long as that wasn't an issue you cared about.

jackvalentine 4 days ago 1 reply      
The first time that one of my several hundred megabyte foreign language dictionary files isn't available and needs to be re-downloaded when I need it in say, a meeting will trigger a severe re-evaluation of my use of the phone.
euroclydon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seem like the Dropbox app will have this quandary but on an even larger scale.
psychotik 4 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't NSApplicationSupportDirectory for stuff that isn't "Documents" and yet needs to be managed as app state (not in 'Caches')? Why not just use that instead? That's what my app does and it seems to be OK with iOS 5.
hernan7 4 days ago 3 replies      
I wouldn't say that the articles' metadata (URL, title, date of download, maybe thumbnail of the 1st page) is downloaded content. It's clearly user-generated, and should be in the "home" of the app IMHO.

The articles themselves, yes, send them to the cache. If the user needs to reclaim the storage used up by the articles, let the OS delete them. Then, when the user needs to read the article again, it will take some time to download. But don't get into an "all articles gone" situation. Just my 2 cents.

JeffDClark 4 days ago 1 reply      
The whole idea of an app like Instapaper (or any of the other examples presented) is that the "stuff" that is saved for later is all user-generated content. Some articles may even vanish (different location, move behind a paywall, deleted, etc...). In this case those articles would become inaccessible when the OS deletes the cache.

It seems that the argument that only the list of metadata is user-generated can apply to any type of media (music, movies, etc...). Technically speaking all of the music on my phone could be downloaded on demand. Of course this requires an always connected, fat, and cheap network connection. Which is pretty much the opposite of what most folks have.

This also breaks the user's expectations. I was annoyed/surprised when I upgraded to iOS 5 and Instapaper had to re-download everything.

j_baker 4 days ago 1 reply      
What about apps like spotify and rdio? Where do they store music if those two directories are constantly cleaned?
theatrus2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone figured out where the high water mark is? When will the cleaning behavior kick in?

This is an interesting twist especially with the 16GB devices which tend to actually be above 50%.

MatthewPhillips 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the problem is that Marco sees Instapaper users as his customers. I sympathize with this, but I think iOS is an assertion by Apple that App Store customers are Apple customers. App Store Developers are providing a service to Apple's customers. But everything that happens must point back to Apple's servers, not their own.

In the same way Apple doesn't want every developer operating their own independent payment system, they also don't want developers operating their own cloud storage services. If Apple holds the data they can guarantee its security. They likely see these problems as temporary, until developers and customers learn to adjust to the fact that iOS data is controlled by the iCloud service.

xpaulbettsx 4 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like what Marco is looking for is something equivalent to Windows's AppData\Local, machine local, doesn't get nuked, but doesn't sync over roaming profiles either
sidwyn 4 days ago 0 replies      
I develop Definition (http://definitionapp.com) and I store the database in the Caches directory as well, after receiving the email from Apple to move. This is bad news for me, the entire offline dictionary could be wiped out.
tjmc 4 days ago 1 reply      
DHH declared the solution in 2007 [1] - apparently nobody needs offline applications!

[1] http://37signals.com/svn/posts/347-youre-not-on-a-fucking-pl...

Scorponok 4 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe the solution is to make it a choice for the user? An option to "clean up documents when space is low on the device" in the instapaper options. If checked, stuff gets stored in cache. If not, in documents.

That way, the default behavior is that "download something = want to keep it on device", but users can do the other one too if they want. I don't think the option is particularly useful, but it might make the app reviewer happy?

jmcnevin 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is it possible that a user could use Instapaper to save a document that they wouldn't be able to download later, even if they had access to an internet connection? If that's possible, I think Instapaper would have every right to store things in the Documents folder, since you're asking it to create something more akin to an archive than a temporary cache of data.
nrser 3 days ago 0 replies      
manage it yourself: put things that need to be persistent in Documents. put the rest in Cache. move 'em as needed. do it automatically by download and access dates and/or provide an interface for people to manage it.

your app absolutely needs tons and tons of data to function? doesn't seem like your day. it's their device, their cloud, their decision. Apple doesn't give a shit about your day; they're going cloud. they may be wrong, but i'd guess they're going to have to find that out for themselves.

i'd assume they acknowledge this may kill some apps. i don't think they ever promised anyone a business; on the contrary, they seem to remind developers that they are there at their good grace all the time. as someone that built Facebook apps since '07, trust me, i know what this is like. start coding and start calling. best of luck.

cschep 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, people (developers) are going to have to put their stuff in Documents, and instruct users to disable the iCloud sync for their particular app, unless the user really wants to have it eat into their iCloud storage.

Would that work?

droithomme 4 days ago 2 replies      
That's pretty interesting. So, the three non-backed locations are tmp, Caches and the Application Bundle. tmp and Caches are now swept. So, if you store your real cache stuff in the Application Bundle, it won't be backed up or auto-deleted. But maybe it gets trashed when you update the app.

I wonder if OS X, in line with its trend to be more like iOS, is going to start automatically clearing the ~/Library/Caches directory as well.

charlieok 3 days ago 1 reply      
I must be missing something. What is the problem with backing up pages stored in InstaPaper to iCloud? That's exactly the behavior I would want if I were using InstaPaper.
wmf 4 days ago 1 reply      
Clearly, apps that cache data need to be modified to show the difference between having no data and having no data cached. IMAP clients have dealt with this, for example; they show a message like "the contents of this folder are not available offline".

Perhaps Apple could have made cache cleaning opt-in on a per-app basis until iOS 6, though.

zamfi 4 days ago 0 replies      
There needs to be a file storage location that behaves the way Caches did before iOS 5

I'm confused. If the goal is for documents to be available in the near future in offline form, why not keep documents in /Documents until the user has read them (or some sane amount of time has passed), and then move them to /Caches or some temporary storage?

I've never used Instapaper, so perhaps documents are only stored until read anyway?

mw1234 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is also particularly problematic for my own apps, which are offline photo browsers that sync your collection of photos. Keeping GBs of data in the Caches folder was the only way to have iPhone backups occur reasonably fast. Sure, they can be re-synced, but that will be a very time-consuming process for thousands of photos.
staufman 4 days ago 2 replies      
Could you use NSUserDefaults? I don't think there is a limit on the data stored there.
minga 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Prior to iOS 5, the system never deleted the contents of Caches and tmp, so they were safe places for apps to put data that should always be available"

Not exactly.

martinbech 3 days ago 0 replies      
I dont get it.. he get furios because he saves files he needs in a folder called /cache , and /cache gets purged when the system runs low on space.... What did you think cache meant?

Why dont you just update your app?

peterclary 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about offline web apps which are saved onto the home screen? Are they also "cleaned"? If we can't depend upon an offline web app to be there when offline then that would fundamentally defeat the purpose.

Of course, one could argue that the cleaning behaviour fundamentally defeats the purpose of a lot of apps, as already covered above (Instapaper, Offline Maps, etc.).

My iMac is packed up for building work, so I can't upgrade my iPad and check this out for myself. Sorry.

falling 4 days ago 1 reply      
He says he knew about this behavior, and he also explicitly said (on Twitter, can't be bothered looking for it) that he was not going to report bugs to Apple during the beta.

I guess Marco just prefers venting after the fact.

Lights elliegoulding.com
552 points by citricsquid  4 days ago   90 comments top 38
citricsquid 4 days ago 2 replies      
So uh, not to cause a fuss but why was the title edited? I can understand removing the word "impressive" as that is an opinion, but removing the explanation (interactive html5 / webgl presentation built with threejs) seems silly? How are users who casually browse news.yc supposed to look at this and have any clue what they're clicking? Titles that are descriptive should be more important than... well I can't think why it was changed to just "lights"? Surely the title containing some sort of description about the content is a courtesy that users would appreciate.

(For reference the original title was "Lights -- impressive html5 / webgl presentation built with threejs" and is now "Lights")

SnowLprd 4 days ago 1 reply      
For those on Mac OS X 10.7 with Safari and who are seeing a message saying that your browser doesn't support WebGL, that's only because WebGL isn't enabled by default. You can turn it on by first going to Safari Preferences > Advanced and then checking the box labeled "Show Develop menu in menu bar". Close preferences, and then under the "Develop" menu, choose "Enable WebGL". If you go back to the "Lights" page now, you should be now be able to check it out!
marcamillion 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is SURPRISINGLY mesmerizing. Something about the music and the animation and interaction just hooked me.

Plus the fact that it wasn't in Flash was a major plus. But not sure what it was...but had me going for a while.

ck2 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's amazing. At first I was like - oh shoot, how did they license the music but then I was "oh".

Try banking hard right (or left) and then when the sky starts to go technocolor pull up hard. Wow.

Works great in Firefox 7, unless I go full width (2048x1152).

Chrome seems to spaz out if I try to change the window size.

Opera fans with full OpenGL drivers can now use WebGL too http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2011/10/13/introducing-...

moe 4 days ago 2 replies      
Beautiful, but "interactive" seems a bit of an overstatement here. Unless I missed some interactivity other than popping those bubbles and steering.
5hoom 4 days ago 1 reply      
WebGL is going to be huge very soon.

Developers that are fluent with the technology are going to be in high demand once more people know what you can do & stuff like this is what everyone wants.

Time to get reading!

ck2 4 days ago 1 reply      
Try changing LIGHTS.releaseBuild = true to false.

Interesting debug data.

This must have been a beast to build, sync and debug.

I'd like to see the author post a "making of" entry.

parfe 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think I miss the point. Do I control anything happening with the music or in the scene? This link reminds me of a Winamp visualization from 10 years ago, but now I can fly through it, in a web browser.
DrCatbox 4 days ago 1 reply      
WebGL is a helluva drug.

Have they solved or answered the security considerations from letting a website issue graphics commands?

tsunamifury 4 days ago 4 replies      
FYI, the Bassnectar remix of this song is very good.
DanielRibeiro 4 days ago 1 reply      
Guess it did not get enough traction yesterday: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3102979
navs 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't care much for the track but as the environment pulsated, I found myself smiling. Simply amazing.

Running perfectly on MacBook Pro 5th Gen with Google Chrome Canary (16.0.x.x).

matdwyer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not freezing on me. Wow, very interesting.

I didn't even realize I could control where it was going till half way through. Had a blast trying to avoid the spotlights. Nice job!

gourneau 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, the last few seconds of the video are so beautiful.
voidfiles 4 days ago 1 reply      
Feels static compared to what the arcade fire did with google.


The web is a new medium, and browsers can be more expressive then pretty viz. Push the boundaries with this stuff don't just do your radio show on camera.

tomlin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am currently working on a project that indexes beats and sounds to a .json object tied with a JS library that dispatches events based on the timing of a media file associated.

Eventually, it would be nice to have all forms of equipment taking queues from the events dispatched. ie, stage equipment, lights, etc.

This example serves to show that these types of applications are coming soon.

alanh 4 days ago 0 replies      
In case anyone is wondering: In Internet Explorer (IE9 is the only desktop browser to not support WebGL, or will be once Opera 12 ships [1]), you get an error message that WebGL was not detected [2].

[1]: Source " http://caniuse.com/#feat=webgl

[2]: Screenshot " http://cl.ly/0b3W0p251C0A2t2X2934

dangrossman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish the visualizations in my media player looked anywhere as good as that.
aiurtourist 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in learning WebGL, a fantastic resource is http://learningwebgl.com/ " especially the weekly summary of "WebGL Around the Web." (I have no affiliation " I just found it useful.)
taylorlb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool. I get that the Twitter usernames come in with the lyric "they're calling me" but it might be more sticky if the usernames show up sooner. Not sure everyone would want to keep flying around for so long.
ranza 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love that none of the js code is minimized! Great use of Mr. Doob's Three.js library

For reference:



agravier 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's pretty, but it systematically freezes about 2 minutes in on my Mac with Chrome 14.0.835.202.

Also, if it's laggy, try resizing the window.

RyanMcGreal 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not working for me on FF 7.0.1 or Chrome 14.0.835.202 on Windows XP. :(
DanBC 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really nice. But whenever I see stuff like this I always wonder if it fits into less than 4k; some of that demo-scene stuff is amazing.
sandieman 4 days ago 1 reply      
anyone know the developer(s) behind this?
tambourine_man 3 days ago 0 replies      
Frame by frame animation here.

ATI Radeon X1600 256 MB, 10.7.2

flink 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, it works for me with FF 7.0.1 and nouveau on Linux. A little laggy when I go fullscreen, sure but the last time I tried viewing WebGL FF told me that my 3D setup wasn't supported.

Anyhow, cool presentation. It's impressive to see how WebGL is progressing.

jpulgarin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work on Chromium 12.0 in Ubuntu 11.04
nixarn 4 days ago 2 replies      
Says it doesn't support my browser :S Got a new iMac with OSX Lion and tried with with both Chrome (15 beta) and Safari.
kruhft 4 days ago 1 reply      
Crashed my browser, Linux Firefox 7.0.1...
spot 4 days ago 0 replies      
if you want real interaction: http://sp0t.org/videoriot
filthylucre 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thought it was great stuff.
mistertrotsky 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really well-done! This impresses me a lot more than dropping a sphere in a box of water.
kevinchen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did this remind anybody else of a cell membrane with proteins and stuff attached?
hm2k 4 days ago 0 replies      
This really impressed me.
rymedia 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looked effing amazing on my 27inch monitor
jklipton 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome.
ajsharp 4 days ago 0 replies      
RIP, dmr muppetlabs.com
552 points by breadbox  5 days ago   21 comments top 11
stevelosh 4 days ago 3 replies      
I love the `return 0;`. Something sad has happened, but it's not the end of the world and everyone continues on.
foenix 4 days ago 0 replies      
Man, I was just diving into C this week with Shaw's learn C the hard way and K & R (I'm beginning to wrap my head around pointers. Quite beautiful, really).

This snippet made me tear up. RIP, Dennis Ritchie.

ineedtosleep 4 days ago 1 reply      
RIP, Dennis Ritchie.

I love that the tribute code is short, concise and has enormous meaning.

rhdoenges 4 days ago 1 reply      
Something about C saying that is incredibly depressing.
I cried.
oracuk 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know change happens, maybe it's a function of my age but this increasingly feels like I am living in a different world to the one I started my career in. Interestingly it's no the technology that that feels different, it's the loss of people and companies that shaped the older world.
bgarbiak 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going back to this page almost every hour today and every time I get to "goodbye, dad\n" part I'm getting emotional... Excellent homage.
jgrahamc 4 days ago 0 replies      
jmagar 4 days ago 0 replies      
This marks the end of all my "Hello World!" first programs; replaced by "goodbye, dad\n"
adgar 4 days ago 1 reply      
I know it's kinda tasteless, but `puts` is more appropriate.
ryfm 4 days ago 0 replies      
nicks22 3 days ago 0 replies      
Legends like DMR don't die, they just gosub without return
Bjarne Stroustrup on Dennis Ritchie: They said it couldn't be done, & he did it herbsutter.com
393 points by ColinWright  4 days ago   34 comments top 9
toyg 4 days ago 2 replies      
"C is a poster child for why it's essential to keep those people who know a thing can't be done from bothering the people who are doing it."

Being a "can't be done" person is easy, being a "I'll do it" person is hard... but it's so much more fun and liberating. True story.

acqq 4 days ago 1 reply      
ALGOL had almost everything that C had including portable types at least 10 years earlier:


and really innovative guys, Burroughs computers had their operating system written in an ALGOL dialect:


all before C. Personally I appreciate the terseness of C and its closeness to assembly a lot, and I believe it all reflects the good taste of Ritchie, but still he didn't do anything "impossible" from my perspective.

To compare, you can read again:

"The Summer Of 1960 (Time Spent with don knuth)"


where Knuth writes an ALGOL compiler for Burroughs in 1960 working 40 hours a week in violation of Cal Tech's policy that limits the number of hours that a Ph.D. candidate can work.

mhartl 4 days ago 0 replies      
The title is a bit misleading: there's a quote from Stroustrup in the post, but the author of the article is Herb Sutter.
beza1e1 4 days ago 1 reply      

  we now have the new ISO C11 standard. C11 includes a number of new features that parallel those in C++11

Did i miss something?

groby_b 4 days ago 0 replies      
"C is a poster child for why it's essential to keep those people who know a thing can't be done from bothering the people who are doing it."

C++, on the other hand, is a poster child that just because it can be done, you shouldn't necessarily do it.

evincarofautumn 4 days ago 1 reply      
The opening sentence bothers me. “Rob Pike reports that Dennis Ritchie also has passed away.” (Emphasis mine.) As though he's just some kind of footnote in light of the death of Steve Jobs! Both Jobs and Ritchie were “I don't care if it's impossible, I'm doing it” types, but I feel that Ritchie contributed more to computing as a whole, while Jobs's innovations were mainly in user experience.
dextorious 4 days ago 1 reply      
And one by me for Bjarne Stroustrup:

"They said it shouldn't be done, & he did it".

(yeah, a joke. Humor's not only for Reddit).

andrewflnr 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a young whipper-snapper upstart with some big ideas, this is inspiring. Maybe I'm not quite so crazy after all to think I can pull them off.
pnathan 4 days ago 0 replies      
What a wonderful tribute to a pioneer in our field.
Ubuntu 11.10 Released (Online Tour) ubuntu.com
387 points by mgunes  4 days ago   111 comments top 29
kanwisher 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow this is one of the cleanest demos of any product i've seen, hats off to the web guys on this they did an amazing job. I only use ubuntu on my servers but this definitely is enticing.
marknutter 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's turtles all the way down http://i.imgur.com/4ba4w.png
selectnull 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome demo. I kinda got scared when I saw that I'm logged in with my google account, inside firefox browser inside the demo...

Until I figured it out: it's an iframe. Brilliant for a demo, kudos to the team for the idea and implementation.

Naturally, I'm posting this from inside the demo. :)

sp332 4 days ago 3 replies      
Try opening the Dash (top icon on the left) and you can browse apps. That's a really cool demo!

Edit: You can also read and write (but not send) emails in Thunderbird, and emails you write show up in the "Sent" box.

drivebyacct2 4 days ago 4 replies      
This seems like a lot of effort for something that will be unnecessary and unused in a month. I mean, it's cool, but they already have infrastructure for "demoing" remote apps, they could have demo remote instances with websocketed/vnc (noVNC, very cool).
nl 4 days ago 3 replies      
Did anyone else notice that the webbrowser in the tour works? You can enter new urls, click around - even form submission works.
jstepien 4 days ago 0 replies      
Initially I though that they're using Broadway, the GTK3's HTML5 canvas backend [1]. But no, it's all done with CSS3. That's impressive.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1935499

kraemate 4 days ago 1 reply      
Earlier, i would actively anticipate new ubuntu releases.
These days, its replaced by dreading what parts they have completely broken this time.
va_coder 4 days ago 2 replies      
An OEM laptop with 8 hours of battery life please
vacri 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very clever idea. Couple of spelling mistakes in Ubuntu One, but pretty slick otherwise.
usaar333 4 days ago 2 replies      
Kubuntu user here. I'm a bit confused on how the left bar in this tour of unity works. I see that if I click home folder, the file manager opens up. However, if the file manager is already opened, clicking home just switches to file manager (even if it is not in the home folder!). So, how do I actually launch multiple instances of a program?
s00pcan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know how to get the old alt-tab behavior back? This is the biggest problem for me since upgrading. I generally move between workspaces often and used alt-tab to access only programs on that workspace.
reinhardt 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still on the LTS but would like to give it a spin to a separate partition. Any idea if it can be installed with Lubi or other no-cd/usb method?
kin 4 days ago 3 replies      
Wow I haven't looked at Ubuntu since Gutsy. This demo certainly makes me want to give it a whirl again. Before I spend hours playing with it, can anyone clue me in on its media performance (playing flash videos, dual screen, music software, etc.)
teja1990 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome demo. Best things are the Office and Apps :)
forgottenpaswrd 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems they fast prototyped unity using web.

There are two things that I can't stand about it on a real laptop:

1)When you maximize files folders, and it seems it is default, the desktop icons occlude the links on the file browser, and is SO UGLY.

2)My laptop hangs when I try to restore compiz with --restore. I really miss the 3d cube.

So I'm downloading fedora or anything that makes it usable again.

oscarleung 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looking great! But unfortunately the unity framework is still no good. And no customization - that's not in the spirit of linux
liljimmytables 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks great! One word of warning is that quite a lot of bugs in each Ubuntu release get fixed in the first month. If you're patient, you can sidestep a lot of stabilisation issues that might not have been found in the RCs.

But in a month's time, this is definitely going on my lappy.

minikomi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Hiding the re-size icons on full screen really threw me off. Otherwise looks fantastic.
swah 4 days ago 1 reply      
Still the gamers theme, though :(
henryksarat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow props to the team.
jasim 4 days ago 0 replies      
This demo is also another indicator that HTML5 has come of age. It is by far the best desktop-like interface I've seen on the browser.
va_coder 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does Ubuntu One still suck?
nodata 4 days ago 3 replies      
The tour doesn't really fit on my 1366x768 screen (running Firefox 7). Not a good first impression.
v1nce 4 days ago 0 replies      
this is one of the coolest demo's i've seen. congrats.
rookiejet22 4 days ago 3 replies      
IMO Ubuntu is poised to make a serious dent in the desktop market share. Maybe next year is finally going to be the year of the Linux desktop :).
sebastianavina 4 days ago 1 reply      
I almost orgasmed when I saw open office load.
lukejduncan 4 days ago 2 replies      
Looks a lot like Windows 7
RIP, Dennis Ritchie, Father of Unix and C tagxedo.com
386 points by HardyLeung  4 days ago   3 comments top 2
bilalhusain 4 days ago 1 reply      
can i get a t-shirt?
OpenClassroom: Free video courses from Stanford University stanford.edu
386 points by hoffmang  15 hours ago   49 comments top 21
barik 12 hours ago 2 replies      
It seems that there is a digital divide between universities that "get it", and universities that don't. I applaud universities like MIT and Stanford for opening up education for everyone.

Other universities, like NC State and Georgia Tech, give platitudes about equal access to education for all but then fail to deliver. At the end of the day, this is because online education for them is not about equality, but rather, it is about creating a revenue stream for the institution. These institutions will charge thousands of dollars for what is effectively access to pre-recorded videos, with a Teaching Assistant that grades your work to provide that key "certification". If you just want to learn for
the sake or learning, and aren't concerned with having an official credential, you're simply out of luck.

For example, I find NC State's policy simply draconian:

"Accordingly, this policy also relates to the downloading of video lectures for Engineering Online classes. You are allowed to download a lecture and to keep it on your machine until the end of the semester you are enrolled in the class. After this time period, you must delete the downloaded files."

That's the type of contract I expect from the MPAA, not an educational institution. Contrast this with MIT OpenCourseware, which provides lecture notes, exam, and videos without any registration:


So, good job MIT and Stanford. Hopefully other institutions will follow your path.

nkassis 13 hours ago 1 reply      
After the first week of the AI and Machine Language class I'm truly impressed. I feel I'll be putting more effort into this than most of my classes in college simply due to the metrics and ease of UI for the in video question. Now they should add achievements like for the ML class, "3 perfect first attempt"... or stuff like that ;p

Also anyone knows of a good online video lecture on Computer graphics? Something with some accompanying material?

sumukh1 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Seems to be down temporarily:
Fedora Core Test Page
This page is used to test the proper operation of the Apache HTTP server after it has been installed. If you can read this page, it means that the web server installed at this site is working properly, but has not yet been configured.
ashamedlion 14 hours ago 3 replies      
I really respect Stanford's willingness to share content for free. They seem to have let go of the elitist notion of the past wherein content is worth so much to universities. This feels like they actually want people to learn.
webspiderus 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm actually taking the Applied Machine Learning class at Stanford, and I'll be honest - I'm a little disappointed that most of the content is delivered through video instead of lectures. I find it difficult to actually watch through the videos, mostly because there's no easy way for me to skim or jump around the content. I've actually ended up using the notes from the class I took last year (http://cs229.stanford.edu/materials.html) if I need to refresh my memory on the finer points.

Prof. Ng did remark that they decided to switch to videos because they saw dropping attendance rates in the past as students begin to utilize our remote learning solution later in the quarter (i.e. get lazy to go to class), but I wish that there was also a transcribed version of the videos that could be made available for people who prefer learning that way.

dpatru 12 hours ago 1 reply      
There are tens of thousands of students taking these courses. There's probably a business opportunity here. How could a startup make money by hiring, say, one hundred of the best Machine Learning graduates?
brackin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is incredible, all of this makes me think higher of Stanford as an institution. The fact they're both giving all of this away for free and that they're putting so much of it up. I was impressed after the first two but now they're adding more and making finding the courses more structured.

Khanacademy showed alternative education methods, Stanford didn't try and discredit services like this, instead they put many of their courses online too. I'll be going through these courses later.

natasham25 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is truly incredible. I have been trying to learn how to code, but am having a hard time, mostly because I'm used to the university lecture style. The Stanford Courses are amazing - the provide lectures, handouts, homework assignments, reading assignments. It's just like being in class, and I'm loving it. I have mad respect for Stanford and all the other colleges who are being progressive and opening up their education to everyone.
algorithms 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think these Stanford courses are even superior to the MIT OpenCourseWare ones. The quality of these videos along with the feeling that the teacher is directly speaking to YOU is just impressive.

I also have to say, that I absolutely love the "khan"-Style presentations

karls 8 hours ago 0 replies      
truly amazing!

about the stanford ML course (i'm not taking any others) -- i especially like the fact that i can always rewind, re-watch, pause-take notes-play, answer questions during the "lecture" without the embarrassment of getting it wrong the first time, unlike in real lectures. the forums are there in case of questions/problems. the content is presented in a clear and concise manner. and the length of each "lecture" is 10-15 minutes, no need to focus heavily for an hour straight.

for people who have not seen the ted talk by salman khan http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/salman_khan_let_s_use_vide... which, along with increasing number of online courses from prominent universities, suggests that the educational system is changing.

people who are behind this, i salute you.

Nic0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The content seems to have been removed, as it's now a 404 link. Does anyone knows if the content has been place somewhere else, or simply removed (temporary?).
I checked it earlier, it seems to have some nice topics through.
pixcavator 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd take a good book over this any day.
JTxt 3 hours ago 0 replies      
403 Forbidden

It's down?
I hope it will be back soon.

Casc 12 hours ago 0 replies      
HN now has serious go to links for anyone posting on here asking where to start in any of these subjects. This is extremely helpful, and I'm extremely excited to start. The web applications is the most comprehensive course I've seen.
Fliko 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Every release of new free classes from Stanford or MIT just makes me giddy and jealous of everyone that goes there. A lot of extra work goes into these classes and I think it says tons about the awesome ideals that these institution holds, which is very different from the ideals that the education system I have been fighting for over half a year holds.
bomatson 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Jackpot. Love all of these open learning programs, especially when supported by universities. Definitely helping me learn RoR!
sidconn 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Any idea if the database videos can be downloaded, just like the computer science lectures
sundar22in 13 hours ago 0 replies      
In order to learn from Ivy leagues, you need not get into one. OCW started by MIT early 2000 is a really good initiative, and I see that Universities which are not open are not good like open source.
amnigos 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great for open content, hope all universities adopt this kind of approach.
penetrarthur 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Just wow
The last time I saw Steve Jobs pluckytree.org
379 points by stevenleeg  5 days ago   44 comments top 11
nirvana 4 days ago 3 replies      
I've been following Steve Jobs since I was a kid, about 30 years ago. Woz was more my hero then, but I read everything I could about Jobs even then, and ever since.

I think Jobs transformed himself on a fundamental level. The young Steve seemed arrogant and self centered. Getting pushed out of Apple seems to have been a kick to the soul, and then in his 10 years away, he seems to have changed everything about him that was bad. Just check out how he responded to the insult given to him at the 1997 after WWDC session. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF-tKLISfPE

Now that enough time has passed, all the people who were bashing Jobs from 1990-2011 are back bashing Jobs again.

But I think these stories are the real guy.

I was in his presence on a couple of occasions. You can fake some things, but its really hard to fake who you are. Everyone has their good and bad days... but one thing I can say about Steve, he was always genuine.

Made him a great salesperson, too, cause even if he was wrong, he believed.

So, I am grateful for these anecdotes. I'm eternally grateful for the 2005 commencement address. He was so private, and for good reason, and until the biography comes out these are some of the few views we have to him as a person. (I think the biography is going to be very revealing, and surprising when it comes out, since he's such a "control freak" but I think he didn't exercise any control, and people will be shocked.)

tptacek 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think one of the things that made Jobs death such a punch to the gut for me was the fact that until very recently, we all had some hope that his health problems were chronic, debilitating, but not terminal (Joe Nocera had, for instance, reported that Jobs cancer had not recurred at his last medical L.O.A.).

When Jobs' death was announced, I immediately began reevaluating the little moments and snapshots we had of Jobs in the last year; his head resting on his wife's shoulder after a talk, his voice at the Cupertino city council meeting. Someone else pointed out how remarkable it was that Jobs had achieved all he had while staring death in the face. Remarkable, yes, but also very sad.

So, I'm relieved at stories like this, showing Jobs enjoying his life even as he knew it was drawing to a close.


Samuel_Michon 4 days ago 2 replies      
As I too was (and am) a nobody, who got to meet Steve Jobs on several occasions, I bring you: My first encounter with Steve: http://dailyperry.com/post/11206943414/my-first-meeting-with...
joshaidan 4 days ago 2 replies      
I like the tidbid about Jobs knowing how to focus the iPhone by tapping a part of the screen. He's one of the few CEOs who know how to use their products. What was it, Eric Schmidt never used Google Buzz or Wave?
watmough 5 days ago 2 replies      
The man seems to be an infinite source of eye-moistening stories.

Really nice, thanks.

_THE_PLAGUE 5 days ago 1 reply      
What a wonderful story. Just when I thought I had shed all the tears I was going to shed over this over this past week, it just all comes right back. He was a legend, but also a good human being. A true rarity.
philwelch 3 days ago 0 replies      
A story about Steve taking a photo, and his attention to detail in doing so, is especially fitting because of his apparent passion for photography. You could tell in his keynotes that he was especially proud of iPhoto, which seemed to be his favorite application to demo, and he is said to have served as photographer at Larry Ellison's wedding.

This story isn't about an important, busy man with his own problems stopping to have a normal interaction with naive strangers. It's about a man appreciating the important, everyday moment in life when a family asks a bypasser to take their picture to document their memories of going to a special place, and seeing through their eyes the difference his work has made.

teja1990 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's a great story.
Steve is a human being , yes humans do make mistakes , else who else will. Its the ones who change themselves are the ones to talk about, he is one of them. Steve was arrogant and cocky during the starting days of apple. Come on guys, he was still in his 20s and owns millions, all self made who wouldn't be ? After his return he was a completely different man. These days i see some posts talking about Steve's grey days , this story shows what kinda person he really was at the end. SO lets forget about his past grey days and lets try taking the good in him :)
tonio09 4 days ago 0 replies      
ok. wtf is going on. why does this story have 314 points? it's about a man taking a photo of a couple. Is this supposed to be a top quality post or what? Why does it matter that the man was Steve Jobs and not some random dude? Did you get more out of this story one way or the other? HN FAIL.
napierzaza 4 days ago 6 replies      
That makes no sense. If you are as much a fan as you bring your family there, but you don't know what Steve Jobs looks like? Has he not be on the cover of absolutely everything since 2007?
lhnz 4 days ago 5 replies      
I just started laughing after reading this article but I mean no disrespect.

It's an inane story about a man that takes a photo for some tourists.

Take a step back. I know many consider him your hero but he was a human being. It should not be surprising or interesting that Steve did normal things.

It's very interesting to me how society both elevates leaders and then humanizes them while adding modern societies virtues. It reminds me of how heroic and chivalric virtues were mixed into Arthurian literature.

I'd love to read a parody. Perhaps there could be a set of parables with Steve doing normal human things which represent modern human virtues.

Serving at the Pleasure of the King codinghorror.com
371 points by tmcdonald  2 days ago   124 comments top 26
cstross 2 days ago  replies      
If Microsoft added a feature to Windows that duplicated a popular application's functionality, developers would be screaming bloody murder and rioting in the, er, blogs and web forums

Utter rot.

This used to happen all the time in the 1980s and 1990s, before the DoJ anti trust lawsuit really got rolling.

It was most obvious in office apps (ever wonder where the third-party spelling checkers and grammar checkers went? Or the standalone mailmerge applications? Microsoft added their functionality to Word and killed an entire add-on market at a stroke each time they did so), but a load of that stuff happened in Windows too (the graphical shell that became an OS in its own right). The most flagrant late example was web browsing; the most recent one I can think of (not being a Windows user) was their antivirus/malware add-in.

(Honestly ... young 'uns these days ... wanders away mumbling into beard and waving walking stick in the air.)

DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's tragically ironic that the very thing Microsoft would have been very happy to do -- lock down windows and control all apps on it -- is what is taken for normality everywhere else but windows.

I'm not trying to defend Microsoft. It's all too clear they have been very anti-competitive. But if windows had the controls on it that apps on iOS had we'd be hearing folks call for criminal prosecutions.

I understand the gee whiz factor of Apple. I own a bunch of Apple stuff and I love their design. I also understand that if you don't control your garden, all kinds of weeds grow in there. But geesh, folks, Jeff is correct. Perhaps this is the best future we could hope for, but it is an extremely sub-optimal destination compared to where we thought we were going.

raganwald 2 days ago 1 reply      
Did I really just read Jeff complaining that Apple shipped something that duplicates third-party behavior and compare them unfavorably to Microsoft in that regard?

I won't excuse Apple for acting like a King, but I think Jeff should find another poster boy for benevolent dictators. Microsoft is famous for steamrolling third-party developers, both from their applications group and their systems group.

I think this rant would read better if it complained about ALL proprietary platforms and used Apple as an example, rather than disingenuously implying that they are the rotten fruit in the barrel.

p.s. Joel Spolsky once said that companies always try to "Commoditize their complements." If you as a developer can create something that adds value to the platform in a broad way, it's inevitable that the platform owner is going to want to commoditize it, either by giving it away or making it easy for your competition to drive prices down to negligible levels.

Building it into the platform is the ultimate commoditization.

sjs 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a long winded, and hyperbolic, story of doom.

Marco needs to get over his fears[1] and store the offline data in Documents. It is user generated and is absolutely not transient nor re-downloadable given that a core feature of Instapaper is offline reading.

Apple will get a deluge of bug reports and questions from all app devs that make apps that need to cache content for offline use - but not back it up or store it in iCloud - and will rectify the situation in some way. (I don't think Instapaper is in that camp but that's kind of beside the point.)

I know that most people hold Apple to a higher standard than many other companies but let's not forget Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." This is merely an oversight. Apple is never this hostile to the user experience, and the current guidelines make for a positively horrid user experience. It will be rectified. Is there a short-bets website? I'll make that bet any day.

[1] I think he was correct not to take chances in getting the first iOS 5 version out, but I hope that the minute it was "Processing for App Store" he had a build ready for submission that stores content in Documents to feel out the review team's reaction to it.

programminggeek 2 days ago 3 replies      
He's right and certainly more levelheaded about these kinds of issues than most, but what most don't realize is that many of the software platforms we love have had worse policies for years. Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and Sega all have/had extremely rigorous review process that was even worse than Apple's if you want to be on their game platform. Phone companies had all these build processes if you wanted to write Java ME apps to work on feature phones. And so on and so forth.

The problem is, as devs we are spoiled by the web, where you can just push out new code that says or does whatever you want it to without any consequence because the web is a "relatively" safe runtime, so nobody cares.

We are like children who grew up with a silver spoon in our mouth and we've been asked to endure plastic. Sure, it's still a spoon, but it's not silver and that pisses us off.

nirvana 2 days ago 7 replies      
It strikes me that this is exactly the position every web developer has with google.

Google can arbitrarily and capriciously exclude them from their index. When google excludes you from the index, there is no appeal, there is no explanation, and, unlike Apple, google will not publish a set of (reliable) rules. (It gives a lot of advice but is inconsistent.)

Also, like Apple, if you are not able to get in the big leagues for distribution, you can distribute your product thru other, less popular channels that are more of a hassle.

Unlike Apple, however, which give you explicit feedback on the feature that was the problem (with screenshots if needed) and always cites chapter and verse from the handbook for the exclusion, google will not tell you why, or give you any way to resolve it.

With Apple, you can resolve the issue and resubmit it. Your app will be on the store in about 7 days. With google, even if you figure out what the problem is, and you resolve it, you have no way of knowing if you'll ever be let back into the index.

nickpp 2 days ago 0 replies      
That post rings true. But then it is true about every single platform provider and 3rd party external dependencies on the market: Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Facebook, Twitter

Even big apps will eventually include features initially provided by plugins. See Photoshop or Jira.

Not to mention the strategy of web giants like Google who will purchase existing successful commercial companies and the offer their product for free, thus crippling entire markets. See Google Analytics, Earth and Sketchup.

Vivtek 2 days ago 2 replies      
1. Windows has always done this. Occasionally people complain; usually they don't. Honestly, I normally consider it a good thing - the Windows functionality is usually bland and relatively feature-free, but works perfectly. There was a time when TCP/IP support was a purchased add-on, after all. I think we all agree that's better to have built in from the get-go and consistent on every aged uncle's machine we're asked to fix on Thanksgiving.

2. The cleanup feature doesn't really support his point. If I store data on my phone and the phone deletes it all without warning when it thinks I have too much, that's not protecting me at the expense of the app developer - that's just plain screwing me and the developer at the same time. Honestly, I find it incomprehensible that any professional could possibly have considered it a good idea, and I think it's indicative of Apple's manic secrecy that it wasn't headed off early instead of being ignored until release.

I know Apple's doing really well in the market lately - by innovating quicker than anybody else, which has been fantastic for everyone. But in the long run, this arrogance is not going to be good for them. It shot them in the foot for two decades with the Mac, and it's going to bite them now.

AndrewDucker 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of the reasons that I hope Metro apps crash and burn - if the only way to get hold of them is through the MS store, with all the same issues that the Apple store has, then I just don't want anything to do with them.

I know that the Android equivalent has problems (piracy, for instance), but I'd rather have that than something completely locked down.

mechanical_fish 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did Apple really once provide a direct link to Instapaper as the inspiration for their new built-in features?

If so, did they actually ask Marco before they took that link out?

If so, did Marco ask them to take it out?

And, if he did - which, having heard Marco speak on this topic, I do not assume, but merely suppose - was that the right call?

My understanding was that an App Store developer might kill for that kind of free publicity. Could it be, for example, that Apple stopped linking Instapaper so as to avoid playing favorites? Might one of Instapaper's competitors have complained about that link?

earl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love that the iphone and ipad are locked down. I gave ipads to family members and I'm finally done with tech support. My parents, girlfriend, and brother were bit by endless amounts of spyware, spam, and trojans because they used windows. I had to reinstall windows on my gf's laptop 3 times because adobe are useless worthless fuckwits who fill flash and pdf with security holes and her computer was repeatedly infected. Every time I went to my parents house I had to clean endless amounts of crap off their computer. My brother's laptop was infected with a virus that tried to get into bank accounts. He owns a pair of pizza stores and does his accounting on his laptop, and he accesses bank accounts with significant funds in them. Using ios fixed all the above.

While in theory it's nice that people can run any application they wish, in practice, it sucks. People end up having to be experts on computer security. As a group of computer professionals we've pounded on this for twenty years and it simply isn't fucking working. If telling people to be careful what programs they run or what websites they visit worked, it would have worked long ago.

Instead, I give them ipads for casual browsing and they're finally secure. My parents don't need my help to get pictures off their camera. There finally is a way for non experts to securely use the internet and applications -- just buy stuff from the app store. It won't spam you, it won't steal information, it won't install spyware, and it will most likely do what it claims to do. If not being able to run arbitrary apps is the price we pay... well, we tried doing it the other way for 20+ years and it didn't work.

dsr_ 2 days ago 2 replies      
Even ordinary users are beginning to understand this. My sister was upset at Amazon because the Kindle app on her iPod would not let her buy books directly. After she found out that Apple was demanding a 30% cut of those sales, she changed her mind. Now she's unhappy with Apple.

I understand the impulse to look at however many millions of IOS devices and to immediately want to get into that market, but the long tail is not a comfortable place to be in a land of 99c standard prices. Having an arbitrary and capricious landlord makes it worse.

praptak 1 day ago 1 reply      
It is just the most recent (I wanted to write last, but I'm sure it is not the last) of many similar stories and articles, which can be summed up as "Do not be a sharecropper." Some previous ones:


Androsynth 2 days ago 1 reply      
So Apple pushed out it's browser sync feature at the same time it pushed out the cleanup feature which effectively broke the competition? How Microsoftesque.
michaelfeathers 2 days ago 0 replies      
About a year ago, someone asked me why I don't write apps for the AppStore. I told them I have too much self-respect.
0x12 2 days ago 0 replies      
When you are developing for a platform that is active on multiple layers (say, both OS, GUI or APP) then you are essentially validating the market for whatever you come up with. You have to calculate that in, if you are successful you will have competition, and if you are very successful the entity controlling the market will re-implement what you have already proven works.

If you develop something that is just an 'add on' or a missing feature you are setting yourself up for eventual trouble.

Such products have a life cycle and you can't reasonably expect the situation to continue unchanging forever.

dos1 2 days ago 0 replies      
These are the exact reasons that I decided to quit developing for iOS. I loved the APIs, I enjoyed the platform and access to millions of users. In the end though, I just wasn't willing to bend the knee.
adabsurdo 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think the Apple app store policies is the bigger problem, because Apple is using it to control not just quality, but content, and forcing applications to use its payment gateway; which in itself, wouldn't much of a problem if they didn't take this gigantic 30% cut (10x more than other payment gateways), and prevented you from knowing your customer.

This is truely unprecendented. Microsoft could screw you by cloning your app, but they never blocked third-party applications, nor tried to be the commerce gateway to the internet.

If Apple succeeds in making webapps obsolete, and competition cannot be strong enough to force it to be fairer and more reasonable in its app store policy, than to me an ipad/iphone app world sounds like a regression from the webapp world.

And this is why I never understand why so many Apple users want Android & Windows to fail. As a customer, you should want other platforms to be succesful, so that we don't end up again with a monopolistic platform that screws us all. Didn't we try this before??

nestlequ1k 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny how Android Instapaper (a 3rd party app) is infinitely better than the iPhone version (the official version) since it plugs right into the browser.
ugh 2 days ago 1 reply      
So Apple can never ever implement bookmark sync in their browser? Because that's what they did and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that. It's a minor obvious feature, not some big complicated thing.

You know what I also don't understand? What this has to do with the big open vs. closed debate. Apple implemented a new feature in their own browser. Google can just as well implement the exactly same feature in their browser. Open vs. closed doesn't figure into this. At all.

That whole cleaning behavior of iOS debate is just stupid. Apple screwed up. So what.

jp_sc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess Jeff doesn't remembers "After Dark" anymore.
DodgyEggplant 2 days ago 0 replies      
He is a bit unfair. Good platforms vendors paved the way for everybody. And they ALWAYS do it THEIR WAY (ask Netscape, Novel and Real).
One can argue that Instapaper is actually a missing browser feature.

But Apple is pushing the envelope: they are the first platform to break the "specific device limit".
Android competes on phones, Windows on the desktop, Amazon with content, Samsung on hardware.
But Apple is everywhere. And they are not the underdog anymore. This is Tim's Cook real challenge, and we wish him luck.

ethank 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading List doesn't have an API, so for the moment it doesn't come close to what instapaper provides in terms of instapaper and third party apps.
andrewcooke 2 days ago 2 replies      
the final image is wonderful. where did you get it from?
dbkbali 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think some good ant-trust regulatory lawyers would have a field day with this. But one would have to have deep enough pockets to pay the legal bills!
mikerg87 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nobody has a monopoly on ideas.
Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Puzzle Claimed Solved by Special Relativity technologyreview.com
355 points by dhimes  3 days ago   107 comments top 12
DanielBMarkham 3 days ago  replies      
Okay. This should be an easy one but somehow I'm getting stumped.

I understand the difference in frames between the GPS satellites and the ground, but the sats themselves are fixed to each other, right? And the ground stations are also fixed to each other. Each pair is in a separate frame.

But the measurement was on the ground, and the ground stations are not accelerating relative to each other, not from the satellites. So is this saying that the ground stations set their clocks initially wrong because of their relative movement to the satellites? If so, wouldn't this be proven out by comparing the neutrinos time to the time of a photon?

kiwidrew 3 days ago 2 replies      
But the GPS satellites and receivers already correct for these relativistic effects. Specifically:

"The engineers who designed the GPS system included these relativistic effects when they designed and deployed the system. ... Further, each GPS receiver has built into it a microcomputer that (among other things) performs the necessary relativistic calculations when determining the user's location." [1]

[1] http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps....

martincmartin 3 days ago 0 replies      
If true, this just goes to show how many effects you need to take into account when dealing with numbers that are 2 thousands of a percent. Effects that can normally be ignored because they're in the noise, turn out to be in the signal instead.
thegrossman 3 days ago 8 replies      
This is an almost trivial application of special relativity. It was be absolutely shocking if the dozens of scientists involves in the neutrino experiment didn't take this into account.
zb 2 days ago 0 replies      
This paper: http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/ptti/1996/Vol%2028_16.pdf
states that "the time rate is appropriate to observers on the surface of the rotating earth, that is, in the ECEF". I'm interpreting that to mean that the issue raised in the OP is not correct, but I am by no means an expert in relativity.

Interestingly, the paper also states ('Missing Relativity Terms?', pp. 195-197) that there has been confusion in the past caused by people thinking the time is measured in the ECI frame. It shows that the uncorrected-for relativistic effects have an error on the order of only 2-3mm for a stationary observer on the earth's surface (the same is not true for e.g. other satellites). 'In short, there are no "missing relativity terms."'

jasondavies 3 days ago 1 reply      
Link to arXiv paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.2685
daimyoyo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Until the faster than light result can be recreated in an independent experiment, I am treating this like cold fusion. Neat result and absolutely deserving of further investigation, but not definitive.
alain94040 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't an obvious test involve sending something else than neutrinos through the same path, and measure that they are slower?
ck2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why don't they have synchronized atomic clocks on the ground?
martinkallstrom 3 days ago 1 reply      
And Einstein snickers high up in the heavens, his hair as white and woolly as the cloud upon which he partakes his afternoon slumbers.
macaroni 3 days ago 2 replies      
could someone please explain this, i wish i could say i get it, but i am so confused. i don't understand, are they not using gps just to synchronize the clocks on both ends? what does it matter if in orbit the distance seems shorter or longer if observed (viewed) from the satellites (is this what they are saying?)?
crizCraig 3 days ago 0 replies      
What's the general consensus on whether or not this was actually debunked?
250x Speed Improvements with Microcaching (and No New Code) fennb.com
341 points by taybenlor  4 days ago   73 comments top 19
patio11 3 days ago 3 replies      
A national radio campaign is likely to bring hundreds or thousands of visitors spread over hours, not hundreds of thousands of visitors spread over seconds, so I probably would not take any particular action to harden a site in anticipation of it. It is a poor use of engineering resources and adds technical risk with no corresponding benefit. (n.b. Pasting code you got from a blog post, particularly code marked as kinda broken, is not a risk-free endeavor! I love nginx, don't get me wrong, but paste in snippets from two different blog posts and watch the sparks fly if you don't understand how nginx handles, e.g., location priority.)
wheels 4 days ago 3 replies      
> This is fine, up until the point where you get on HN and Reddit at the same time

Incidentally, you don't actually need much to handle that. Our web server is a wimpy 256 MB VPS and we've had (Wordpress) blog entries hit the front page of HN and Reddit simultaneously and weather the storm without missing a beat. An appropriately setup Apache + Wordpress SuperCache does the trick just fine. (Hint: The default Apache configuration isn't "appropriate".) You're not going to hit anywhere even close to 2k requests per second on the front page of those two.

nirvana 3 days ago 7 replies      
"If you have personalized pages (ie: majority logged-in users) this approach isn't going to work. "

I've considered this problem, and am working on a solution for nirvana[1]. The biggest challenge to this project has been to take a language (coffeescript) that is sequential and run it in a distributed environment, without the programmer having to know distributed programming. One of the techniques I'm applying is making a response (in this case, a web page) the result of a collection of components, which are rendered separately in the same context. (EG: The context is the headers of the request, plus the user record if the user is logged in, etc.)

So, the request comes in, the components are loaded from the cache, they are executed (in parallel) all with a copy of the state, their results are aggregated and that result can run thru templating to produce a webpage that is returned.

The idea then becomes, instead of executing the code for every component in every request, if the component has no context specific requirements (e.g.: it is the same for every user, it's a static element, or it's dynamic, and but doesn't need to be generated every time) .. then it can be flagged as cacheable. The caching would also have a staleness factor (Eg: 1m, 5m 10m).[2]

My hope is that you can have pages that are custom per user, but that also contain heavy impact results (say a graph produced by an expensive operation), where the results come form cache, the static components come from cache, but the user specific parts are dynamically generated each request.

This component approach not only lets the code be rendered in parallel, and often not even rendered, but instead pulled from cache, but it should allow for more convenient re-use of common elements and features across a site.

I hadn't considered caching for just 1s, though. Will have to think about that.

[1] Nirvana is CoffeeScript web development backed by erlang and Riak. Instantly distributed coffeescript. It will be open source, hopefully soon. Follow @nirvanacore on Twitter if you're interested in being notified.

[2] Planned. There are some implications of this that will require tradeoffs, so initially it may just be a flag of Yes/No for "Cache for up to 1 minute." or some value like that.

jbyers 4 days ago 1 reply      
Nice technique. The number of distinct dynamic pages you expect to get hammered still must be regenerated within that second. With a longer window, some wp-admin or logged-in-user detection, and a third-party comment service, I could see this being a standard nginx wordpress configuration.
zzzeek 3 days ago 0 replies      
Microcaching at the page level is of course a great idea for a dynamic app, but only works if the content being served is identical for all users - in which case why not just use static pages. Oh right, because we only know how to use Wordpress. Ditching wordpress for a static generator should be the preferred route, if possible. (use disqus or similar for comments).

The vast universe of truly dynamic apps that we write in Rails or Python or whatever usually have page elements that are specific to the user's session - "Welcome John Smith" and all that (edit: oh i see he mentioned that at the bottom). So page-level caching isn't feasible there, unless like in the case of disqus you're using javascript to inject personalized content from another server. But for a really interactive web application where coarse grained solutions like this aren't feasible, I'm still a proponent of page-component level caching, something you normally do in your app layer, not the web server layer.

mopoke 4 days ago 2 replies      
I like this solution and am definitely tempted to give it a go.

Anyone got any thoughts on the best way to do this on a page with personalisation? (and this is really simple personalisation - one section of the page changes depending on whether you're logged in or not).

My solution would probably be to have the personalised section load as an async request but then you'd need to make sure that the async request can handle the same load as the microcached content.

Any other ideas?

simonw 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really like the idea of setting a cookie that bypasses caching for a few seconds - I've heard the same technique used by Facebook, who set a cookie that ties you to the MySQL master server rather than the slave after you perform a write action so that you'll see your update without waiting for replication lag.

It relies on using the Max-Age Cookie argument though, and I was under the impression that IE doesn't implement that correctly. Anyone know what the status of IE and max-age cookies is?

michaelbuckbee 4 days ago 1 reply      
This seems pretty similar to using Varnish or Squid as a reverse proxy (though likely easier to setup).
jbarham 3 days ago 0 replies      
Given that I'm currently personally setting up a caching cluster to host www.melbournecup.com (aka "The Race That Stops a Nation"), being able to gracefully handle a huge spike in traffic is something that is very much on my mind! :)

The site itself is developed in Django and so far I'm just planning on putting a bunch of Varnish caches (behind a load balancer) in front of the Django server. I'm using the very nice Django Varnish app (https://github.com/justquick/django-varnish) in the Django instance to automatically purge pages from the cache as they're updated.

I'm deliberately trying to keep the setup as simple as possible, but the goal is to have a fast site and fresh content.

Tips from others who have handled similar traffic loads would be very welcome!

eli 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I'd rather just install Varnish than try to reinvent it in my ngnix config. As a bonus you'll get faster serving of static assets too.
todsul 3 days ago 2 replies      
The big issue here is the application type. This only works well for a very particular type of application. That is, a highly dynamic site that is NOT dependent on user logins.

1) If the site is only moderately dynamic, you can just use plain Nginx and set fastcgi_cache to a few minutes or hours. Much less load on the server. I like to keep things simple, I wouldn't even bother with Apache. Porting rewrites to Nginx is super simple.

2) If the site is customised on a per-user basis, 'microcaching' will break the site and have disastrous consequences. Every user will see the system customised for whichever user primed the cache.

My primary website is user based. That means this 'microcaching' concept wont work at all. It would be catastrophic.

That's where Varnish comes in with ESI. I really wish I didn't have to use Varnish. It's slower than Nginx, it adds another layer of complexity, and in testing, it seems slightly flaky. But what Varnish+ESI allows is caching of parts of my page that aren't user specific. I.e. header, footer, etc.

If you want to see my test results of Nginx vs Varnish, see http://todsul.com/nginx-varnish

brown9-2 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is it fair to compare those ab benchmarks when the concurrency value is different for each (4 and 500)?

Would be curious to see how the original config handled 500 concurrent requests.

ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
The only way to make wordpress fast and responsive is to bypass wordpress entirely.

You don't need to do anything complex - just install wp-super-cache, set a long timeout, and most importantly add the .htaccess rules it generates to bypass wordpress entirely and serve the cached static files directly.

crikli 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this using nginx in lieu of Apache or nginx in front of apache, acting as a reverse proxy or similar?
mike-cardwell 3 days ago 0 replies      
The few times I've been on the front page of Slashdot it has eclipsed the traffic that I've had from being on the front page of Reddit. Hacker News barely causes a blip.
splitrocket 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've been doing essentially the same thing with my wordpress install. Went from a few hundred reqs/second on a cheap linode to over 4k reqs/second. (I think the limit was the benchmarking tool, not nginx) I've got the nginx config if anyone is interested.
dangrossman 4 days ago 0 replies      
APC on its own is an opcode cache, not a page/data cache. Did you write your own code to save pages into it and retrieve them? Or is there a cache plugin for WordPress you're using which uses APC as its data store?
bbrizzi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know of an equivalent in Apache?
rymedia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very impressive.
How I live on $7,000 per year earlyretirementextreme.com
334 points by jfoucher  3 days ago   211 comments top 22
nirvana 3 days ago  replies      
I've been living on $13,754 per year for the past 4 years. (Average as of last month.) There are two of us, so, double that and you have the average cost over that period. While we've been doing it, we've been traveling full time, spent the last year in europe living in AirBNB pads, and doing our startup. We buy a MacBook Pro each year and an iPad or iPhone each year as needed, with the old one going to the other person to replace the even older one they were using. We don't live poorly, either. How good our food is depends on where we are-- it wasn't so great in england, but it was fantastic in italy.

Prior to those 4 years, I lived on about $18,000 a year, and in the 1990s, I was living on about $22,000 a year. I made much more, of course.

Starting in the early 1990s I knew I'd want to start a company at some point, and I knew that the less you spent the more profit you had to sock away for retirement. At one point I bought and lived on a boat. Living on the west coast[1] where my friends were paying $1,200-$4,000 a month in rent-mortgage, while I was paying $300 a month in marina fees--- AND I had the best view-- was pretty nice.

Like anything, it is something you can do if you practice it, and you just have to have the right attitude. I had an immediate turnaround in my spending when I started tracking my expenses. Just looking at where things went each month had a huge impact... I started buying less pointless stuff ,and cut out whole swaths of things that I didn't need, and conversely, started eating out more, because I realized it was relatively cheap. I didn't even miss the things I got rid of, because I didn't cut any of the things that were important to me.

I remember, in 1994 buying a TV thinking that I'd be using it until 1997 when I expected that HDTVs would be out, and planning on buying an HDTV. In 1997, HDTVs ware REALLY expensive, but by then I'd made the change. I kept that TV- which I'd only meant to keep for 3 years-- until 2007 when we went nomadic. 11 years longer than "budgeted". We don't do cable, but we do, luxuriously, do BOTH hulu AND netflix. And the occasional iTunes rental.

I got rid of my land line phone over a decade ago, when I moved onto the boat, and then never got it back afterwards. Cellphones were always cheap plans, and then, given up completely years ago. (Reaching me urgently means calling my google voice number or sending an email, which I get in a couple days.)

I kept my vehicle for a very, very, long time, but don't even have that now. That right there got rid of over $600 a year just in insurance. Public transportation is a hassle (except in berlin!) but its cheaper.

One thing that's really helped-- we set a budget. We have the food/transportation budget, and then we have the personal-spending money. Each month we get a bit of money that we don't have to spend responsibly, and the rest of the money goes into specific budget items. We have all of our major purchases planned out, and on schedule. Actually had to accelerate the computer purchases because we were using them past the end of AppleCare. (Traveling all the time, we want AppleCare.)

One important thing to know, to help with all this, is to understand money. I think a lot of people don't really understand money... not on a fundamental level.

Money is just a medium of exchange, right, but have you ever wondered what it is you're exchanging? It's life. Not just in the sense that you need food and shelter to live, but in that you rented your body to some labor in exchange for the money. I think people who don't think of money as valuable as that-- as literally being part of their lives-- tend to respect money very much, and so they don't keep an eye on it. Old timers called it "knowing the value of a dollar".

As for the nomad thing- yeah, plane flights are expensive (but we take relatively few big ones)...but compared to the cost of living in america, most of the world is cheaper. Europe was more expensive, but we wanted to make sure the idea worked before going places where english was even less common.

I expect our cost of living to be significantly lower this year than last.

[1] originally types "west cost", which is about how I think of it.

PS-- I've done a poor job of explaining "How", but it really is an attitude more than a method. There are probably lots of things we don't have, and don't miss, because we simply changed our priorities. Since I don't miss them, it's really hard for me to name them.

There's a line in fight club that is apropos here: ".. learn to let slide what truly, doesn't matter."

rorrr 3 days ago  replies      
Sorry, but this story is garbage.

Rent/mortgage, retirement completely ignored.

Plus he has the shittiest $82 health insurance plan he could find, and he doesn't calculate the costs of what will happen if he gets sick.

On average people after 65 spend $2,920 per year on medical out of pocket expenses (Source: http://www.newretirement.com/Planning101/Rising_Medical_Cost...)

Then his food comes from his garden, which means he has to work on that, and he conveniently didn't calculate the opportunity costs, tools, irrigation, chemicals, seeds, etc.

What about transportation costs, electric/gas, phone, internet, household supplies, upgrade of your old computer, clothing, shoes.

Then if you want to have a car (and it sucks to live pretty much everywhere in the US without a car), what about car insurance, maintenance, new car every X years?

Yeah, it's fucking easy to live on $7K per year when you own a house with a garden, don't pay property taxes, use 1995 computer, and have no safety net in case of a serious sickness.

scarmig 3 days ago 2 replies      
Depends on your goals in life. $7,000 is definitely doable. But I don't want to live in an RV. Indeed, I want to live in a walkable neighborhood with groceries, low crime, and easily accessible entertainment.

The site probably isn't a convincing case for a general audience. Which is a real pity, because a lifestyle of $10,000 to $12,000 a year is very doable, even for a single person, even in the Bay Area, even with regular outings and entertainment, and even with flushable toilets.

Abundnce10 3 days ago 1 reply      
At some point during my college career I learned about the Rat Race and was propelled to discard my desire to climb the corporate ladder and decided to live a life similar to jfoucher (How I live on $7000 per year). However, after living frugally for a couple years I saved up enough money and decided to travel the world. Fast forward to today - after witnessing first hand the lives of those less fortunate while traveling in SE Asia I realized how self-centered I was to sit out of the "Rat Race" and meander along the road of my meager existence while there were other people wishing they had the knowledge, opportunity, and capacity to live and succeed in our society. There are people all over this planet that don't possess the means necessary to make impactful changes in others' lives, let alone their own, and so I asked myself: What if I took my determination and drive (clearly demonstrated in my previously frugal lifestyle habits) and applied those characteristics to actions that might benefit other people? Would those actions then be better, or more worthy, than the actions of squeaking out a living on $7,000? Personally, I decided they would be and have since then devoted myself to helping bring about change in this world.

I'm not saying everyone should view their life this way, but I understand what the author is describing and I have went through the internal struggle of trying to decide what to do with my life. Recently, I decided to go back into the world of the Rat Race and try to make the lives of those around me and myself better (building interesting software, spreading joy and wisdom, raising awareness of certain issues, etc.). I don't unconsciously spend money on things I don't need but I do if it deems fit. More over, I don't think you need to have a garden or be a homebody to live frugally.

I hope other smart, determined people don't take the route of sitting idly by the side as hoards of unaware, materialistic consumers perpetuate a system of greed and excess.

Sodaware 3 days ago 3 replies      
The title of the article is slightly misleading in that it's $7,000 per person, so it's actually $14K in this case. I know that's a little nit-picky, but things like rent would eat a good chunk of that $7k.

Living on $14k is certainly possible, and the usual suspects can be cut to save some cash:

* Drop cable TV

* Same for cell phone - keep one pre-pay for emergency and use Skype for business/personal

* Stick to one car if at all possible (easier if someone can work from home or has flexible work hours). Negotiate lower insurance rates if possible.

* Don't eat out

* If internet is essential, go for the cheapest package available.

There are usually offers for new internet customers that give low rates for the first year. However, when your year expires you can call them up and ask to be put on a new special. This worked for my wife and I when our rates went up, and we got upgraded to a faster connection to boot.

That's really the biggest money saving tip of all - ask politely. It doesn't always work, but you lose nothing and can gain some decent savings over time.

diiq 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been living on $6000 a year for the past five years. Next year, I intend to spend 10 months in New Zealand on <$8000, including travel, room, and board.

It's very doable. I rent a very nice room in a pleasant suburb. I eat well, if repetitively. I have enough pocket money to go out somewhere nice with friends now and again. I don't make much more than I spend --- product, in part, of a BFA --- and sure, an extra few thousand would improve my lifestyle considerably. But I don't need much more, and I've been very happy and very comfortable.

sliverstorm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Takeaway: If you can score dirt-cheap rent, you've won half the battle.

He pays $250 for rent in S.F. You'd be pretty hard-pressed to NOT have an impressive budget in that kind of scenario.

gergles 3 days ago 1 reply      
The article is mistitled, as there is literally nothing in there about how he allegedly lives on 7K a year, other than what he eats for dinner (apparently every night.)
lionhearted 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some nice points, but this one is dead wrong:

> Regardless of how much I made, I think I would pick up a goddamn broom myself before I started talking about my financial struggles. The gall!

Paying someone else to do cleaning is one of the easiest positive ROI moves for your life. Not just because it frees up your time, but also because living somewhere clean and organized just does wonders for your sanity, mental health, physical health, productivity, ability to entertain others without cleanup lead time, and has follow-on effects of making you want to be better groomed, prepared, and organized because that's what happens when you live in a hyper-clean environment. Also, everyone else treats your place nicer because it's clean, and messing up a clean place is bad.

So yeah, pay someone to come clean every week. It's cheap, it's like $10 in developing countries and $50 max in developed countries. Well, well worth it. Especially if you're any sort of skilled professional at all that works from home ever on anything.

shareme 3 days ago 0 replies      
The article is miss-titled, it should be:

Leveraged Retirement....

not in the Donald Trump way but the concept is similar...now for the bonus question what is he leveraging and what benefits does he get in return for that leveraging? He did somewhat obtusely answer it..and no the previously earned and saved Six figures is not what he is leveraging..

6ren 3 days ago 4 replies      
He doesn't seem to include rent or mortgage.
ctdonath 3 days ago 2 replies      
The article comes from the same reason I'm running the A Buck A Plate blog http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com - doing it because so many think living well for cheap can't be done.
sayemm 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an amazing blog, just ordered his book - thanks for posting this.

I love the overall theme of his blog, which is that society brainwashes us, or most people, to derive utility out of life through consumerism and materialism.

Jacob Fisker, the blogger behind ERE, I think is far richer than what his finances and personal budget indicate because he's actually living life for himself and optimizing it for maximum utility (spending the time wisely to do what he really loves doing).

wes-exp 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those living in RVs, boats, and so on, can you comment on the amount of time you spend maintaining your living space?

As a startup founder, as much as I am concerned about cutting costs, I am also concerned about the opportunity cost of spending time doing maintenance. E.g., even if you fully own a house, a house can be a lot of maintenance work. Depending on how you value your time, that can reduce how much you "save" on rent.

Any comments?

tlogan 2 days ago 1 reply      
When you have kids then you really live on $7000 per year. Believe me.

So maybe when you are younger it is good enjoy a little because when middle age crisis comes (and it will come) and if you didn't enjoy when you were young all kind of crazy shit can happen. Happen to my father in-law: all his millions are worthless...

doc_larry 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's all about perspective. As physician and entrepreneur I like what I'm doing and enjoy my life. The money is a side effect that grew over time (when I started in the ER I was paid less than $200 for 24 of work).
Money isn't the objective, but creating a meaningful lifestyle, being a good husband and leave something positive behind is what really matters.
My two cents of happiness :-)
leot 3 days ago 0 replies      
You're not taxed on work you do for yourself (, yet).
Cl4rity 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was going to complain about how this was extreme, but that would be redundant given his URL. The point isn't that we all can/should live off of ~$7,000/year, it's that we can cut down on the crap we don't need, or things that will be gone or obsolete in a year or less.

However, the great thing about this article is that it reminds me to find some kind of balance. The impression I got was that the author spends nearly half his time budgeting and penny pinching, with little room to enjoy life. Or, if I could be a little more presumptuous, convinces himself that he enjoys this life so that he doesn't have to go out and earn far more money.

rymedia 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting perspective. Definitely not for everyone living that frugally though. 1 Charlie Sheen weekend in Vegas would blow the years budget :P
barryfandango 2 days ago 1 reply      
I agree with the author that there's much to be gained by shrugging off the consumerist expectation that we spend all of our income on junk. The next step in that progression though, in my opinion, is to learn to obsess over money exactly as much as is necessary, then start paying attention to what really matters in life. This guy's OCD approach to money sounds exhausting.
ahsanhilal 3 days ago  replies      
Basic economics tells you that this is not a good growth strategy to adopt especially if you have a consumption-based economy, and not savings-based one (aka China, India). In short population is going to increase over time, resources are going to decrease over time, in order to keep GDP per capita in line with an increasing population, you cannot just decrease your spending (or tighten your belt). You have to grow by increasing income levels, and thereby increasing aggregate demand.

If we only increase incomes, and dont spend, then aggregate demand goes down, leading to less consumption, less investment, which leads to lower employment opportunities, which leads to even lesser consumption, and so on so forth until we get to a severely regressive cycle, where our industries shut down.

Point is, more power to you if you want to spend less, but making everyone else adopt your way of life because it works for you, does not mean it will work for them, and in entirety would not promote greater economic growth.

PS for those arguing 'well it works for China'; well the USA is not China, and they are big structural differences which make it unnecessary and useless to adopt that model.

cnxsoft 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm also on that budget, but I don't live in California...
Introducing Instapaper 4.0 for iPad and iPhone marco.org
330 points by illdave  12 hours ago   84 comments top 17
sudonim 11 hours ago  replies      
It's great to see a one man show like Instapaper doing so well. His space is becoming more crowded yet Marco's focus and drive means Instapaper keeps delivering more and more value. The changes in 4.0 look great.

Kudos Marco. You're an inspiration to solo founders (and anyone) looking to start something online. P.s. check out Marco's show with Dan Benjamin, Build and Analyze. I've been listening while I walk to work. It's interesting and insightful.

ugh 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a brilliant example showing what great visual design and typography can do for an app. I never liked using Instapaper because I thought it looked so ugly. Now it's on par with the likes of Reeder and Twitter and I'm much more likely to use it.

I'm not sure how many people think like me but I just can't stand using software I think is ugly. It's no fun for me.

(That said, I think the actual user experience has also improved " which is equally as important.)

joebadmo 10 hours ago 2 replies      
tl;dr Instapaper is great for iOS. A Kindle + Readability's Send to Kindle bookmarklet is an excellent alternative.

I was an avid Instapaper user on my iPod Touch until I got an Android phone. Marco has publicly stated his reluctance to support Android, and the third party apps for instapaper were all pretty pathetic. So I switched to Read it Later for a while.

Until I got a Kindle, which changed the game for me. Reading on the Kindle is so much a better experience than on another glowing screen that I don't even bother to try to read long form on the phone anymore.

I went back to Instapaper for a while, using a Windows app called Wordcycler to sync, but now use Readability's Send to Kindle bookmarklet. It cuts out the syncing part (the Kindle just downloads content automatically when it has an internet connection), and I've found that it retains author and publication data more reliably.

achompas 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I've got a question for my fellow long-form-reading HNers.

I check my phone for quick hits of information, but I hate reading long-form articles on it. Do you guys know of any "Send to Kindle" apps or bookmarklets for iPhone/iOS?

I know, I know: this is a hell of a first-world problem, but I'd like to read on glowing screens as little as possible.

luigi 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I've switched to Spool:


Both text and video. First-class Android and iPhone support. Alas, no iPad support, but I don't use that much anymore.

pflats 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The way this version handles footnotes[1] looks absolutely outstanding. More e-reading software should have a pop-over like this. I'd pay way more than $5 to get this feature on my Kindle.

[1] http://www.marco.org/media/2011/10/ip4-footnote.png

Also, a footnote of my own on the search subscription: Marco's talked a bit on his podcast about people wanting to subscribe to Instapaper via in-app purcase rather than through PayPal. However, Apple won't let you have an in-app purchase that doesn't add any functionality. Putting 2 and 2 together gives you a "search subscription" that is identical to a normal Instapaper subscription.

jrnkntl 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Great update Marco! Did you work with a (graphic/interaction) designer on this update or did you do it all and maybe threw in some stock icons along the way?
naner 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Seeing those images side-by-side, the matte black with simple icons on the iPad looks clean and appealing and the glossy beveled borders on the iPhone look a bit garish. Also the type for the iPad interface is much more pleasing.

I don't think I would have noticed if they images weren't right next to each other.

devtesla 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The bad news: a change in how iOS manages files in version 5 means Instapaper's ability to store articles for you to read offline has reached something of a limit. If you get low on space iOS will now delete Instapaper's copies of articles:


This is less of a problem if you are online all the time as Instapaper will redownload them, but it still kinda sucks.

coob 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is great, looking forward to installing it. However looking at the screenshots I can't help but wonder if something other than an ellipsis would be better for indicating footnotes, especially now the voice dictation in iOS has commandeered it.
goforth 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you still have to fetch the full page view before sending to Instapaper? That's the one thing that annoys me about this app/service. Readability does it all for you. I hate getting to the end of a piece in Instapaper and realizing there are more pages, but they weren't downloaded.
avolcano 11 hours ago 1 reply      
While I love Instapaper for bringing me back to reading long-form articles, I personally moved to Readability a while back. It's $5 (minimum)/month, but it has a lot more polish, and I actually prefer the mobile app to Instapaper's iOS ones - it's nice knowing if I decide to leave the iOS ecosystem, I'll still have my articles, while Marco has refused to make official Instapaper clients for other mobile OS's (understandable, as he's only one man). I also like a handful of features in Readability's desktop web app that Instapaper lacks - scroll tracking, more options for how it looks, etc.

However, if I get an iPad, I may move back just for Instapaper's iPad app. Looks beautiful.

yesimahuman 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Of course, it looks beautiful, and I really want it.
Is there any solution for Android? I've messed with some of the 3rd party apps but I haven't had any success.
tomjen3 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Do this mean I can no longer move articles to the archive with one click?

It may sound a little trivial but I tend to remove the articles when I have read them and it gets annoying when I have to remove 15 (I tend to add a lot of articles).

timkeller 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic update, as always. There aren't many developers who'd continue updating a $4.99 app this long... not to mention that its a universal app!
wtn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Only took four major releases to get proper text encoding support.
james33 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Just another reason why I need to hurry and get an iPad, that app looks incredible!
Google Killing Off Buzz and Code Search googleblog.blogspot.com
310 points by thisisblurry  3 days ago   143 comments top 44
saurik 3 days ago  replies      
So, in 2005 I was involved in a company that thought "man, it would be great to build a search engine for source code". I even started putting together components for it, such as a model for finding text inside of larger documents that had statistical properties similar to code, auto-detecting the language, so you could find code snippets inside of blog posts.

However, by the time we got organized enough to actually do it, Google Code launched, and had this really awesome code searching feature, that everyone considered to be "more than good enough" and "comprehensive, as Google is indexing the hell out of stuff like this".

But, now, Google has now determined that that wasn't sustainable, and has shut down the project. Which means that both our company, and any other company, that thought it had a sustainable model for running such a project, and at this point would probably be "pretty awesome", never started, and we are all suddenly thrust back into 2005, unable to search for code.

This... (I now emphatically point at the previous paragraphs) is why I don't like Google very much: they have such large resources available to them that they tend to just swoop in and offer an unsustainable service at a loss, training users that "things should be so free it hurts: in fact, they must be losing money on every use of this" (Google Voice being a great example), thereby stifling innovation by people who can't possibly undercut that.

Note: this isn't even a problem specific to Google... startup companies that get VC money tend to also cause this problem. They get tons of money, offer a service at a heavy loss while they use that burn time to determine a business model, actively knowing that they are operating at a loss in order to get users as fast as possible from other people who might try to get them.

Of course, the result is that the company usually either totally implodes (typical of any startup) or, even more insidiously (for the projects that actually becoming successful, even quite popular / common), come up with a business model so ludicrous that the users actively revolt against the entire concept of the service...

... and, where do they go? To some other free service offered by another company that managed to get equally large sums of VC money because they point at that other company that had hundreds of millions of users that just failed because of a bad business model, something they will know how to fix (in a couple years or so, once they get around to figuring that part out...).

:( I liked Google Code search, and I'm going to miss it.

CJefferson 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm very disappointed to see google code search go.

It was very useful (for me at least, don't read this as a comment on the whole committee / process) in finishing the new C++ standard, and answering the question "Well, did anyone ever really write code like X?" (the answer was usually yes).

Buzz makes a lot of sense, although I imagine some users will be disappointed it couldn't be more 'cleanly' imported into google+.

ajays 3 days ago 4 replies      
I may be biased, but: I feel like Google's "geek cred" is slipping. It feels like PMs (and their "monetization strategies") are gaining control over at El Goog, shutting down anything that isn't "revenue positive".

You can't measure geek cred. You can't measure the second-order effect of services like Code Search.

So the slow slide of Google turning into "just another tech company" starts...

chaosmachine 3 days ago 1 reply      
Google Code Search has been pretty broken (for my use case, anyway) for a while. I build Drupal Code Search[1] on top of their API back in 2008, and a few months later, they stopped indexing code from Drupal.org. Since then, 2 new versions of Drupal (6 and 7) have been released, and none of the new code has been indexed, making my site largely useless except for legacy code searches.

I guess I will just shut it down completely come 2012, I don't have any way to do grep-style searches at the same speed Google's API could.

[1] http://drupalcodesearch.com/

ch 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sad to see Code Search go. I just tried a simple search for 'pthread_t' on both Koders (http://www.koders.com) and Krugle (http://opensearch.krugle.org). Both are mentioned elsewhere in the comments as possible alternatives.

Krugle found no results. Koders found results, but the response time was very large.

Both have a long way to go in being a viable Code Search replacement.

Hopefully Code Search just gets rolled into the primary Google search product.


I was just looking over the Koders results. It is tokenizing 'pthread_t' as 'pthread' 't', so the top results are not what I would consider useful. I'm sure I can change some settings to get proper tokenization for my languages identifiers, but that is more work up front.

blauwbilgorgel 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very saddened to see 'University Research Program for Google Search' go. Google's index offers an exciting corpus for linguistics and AI study.

The current search API's just don't cut it for proper research (for example: just 64 results per query and 1000 queries a day [1] and the "estimatedResultCount" being off by a factor of 10-100 [2]).

I believe spammers were abusing the Google translate API to spin articles in different languages. This contributed to it being closed down. I don't hope that Google's search API is crippled to thwart the bad apples. Because then those that follow the TOS (don't crawl Google's results) have little recourse, but to halt their research (Yahoo Boss and Bing Api give little solace).

[1] Too few for either deep analysis or learning queries like:

  "X is a *" and "X, such as *,"

[2] Estimated results for "test". With API: 257.000.000 vs. manual search 2.750.000.000

kingkilr 3 days ago 0 replies      
No! I loved code search, I'd use it as evidence when proposing the deprecation of API methods in open source projects :)
MatthewPhillips 3 days ago 0 replies      
Headline should be: Search company shuts down search product to focus on social networking.

I suppose their Blog Search is next.

bdonlan 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's too bad about code search - that was really helpful for finding example code (and linking to specific snippets of code within open-source projects!)
chintan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking of focus, we went from

"Organizing Worlds Information"


"Organizing People in to Circles"

Indeed exciting times!

spiffistan 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's a competitor to google code search at least: http://www.koders.com/

Actually, I'm kinda glad they're phasing stuff out. It shows courage to do that, a lesson probably hard learned at google. They have a myriad of products, but would probably do much better with them if they thoroughly finished them before release.

sdfjkl 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't miss Code search much if the regular Google search would understand regular expressions or terms with underscores. But it does not, and also increasingly annoys me by misinterpreting my search terms and searching for the things it believes I meant instead of the things I told it to search for.

And while DuckDuckGo has a much nicer search frontend, it's Bing-fed index sadly sucks, making it no universal replacement for Google's declining frontend.

sx 3 days ago 0 replies      
At Pattern Insight (http://patterninsight.com) we have build a source code search engine. We do not give this to our customers as a standalone tool most of the time but it's the underlying technology for our product, Code Assurance, which helps companies eliminate bugs from their releases.

We use it internally to search our code / libraries, if anyone is interested in indexing/searching his own code, especially if it's open source, I would be happy to provide a copy. Email: spiros at patterninsight.com

antimora 3 days ago 1 reply      

"Google's mission is to organize the world's information"

How is so when code search is going away? Google did excellent job at indexing the code, so why to throw away what's already working?

mahmoudimus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm actually really surprised that code search is getting phased off. It's a great resource to see how libraries are implemented in the wild -- it also exposes some common errors that lots of library authors make.

So sad to see this one go -- but I think it will make for another opportunity to allow a competing site like koders.com to iterate on building a product that developers would love to use...I hope.

tambourine_man 3 days ago 1 reply      
It never worked all that well for me.

What I want is a "curl | grep" for the web. Just something that searches the entire page, including <head> <!--> etc. I can do without fancy semantics.

But Google tries to be smart even on quoted queries. And that annoys me deeply.

kpozin 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is awful. Code Search is an indispensable tool for finding reference code and real-world uses of various libraries. I don't know of anything on par with it.
EGreg 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can understand about Google Buzz ... they are replacing it with Google+. But what about Code Search? It's like they mention it once, and then don't give a reason. I think that was useful for many people! I wonder why they are closing it...
pbreit 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised about the Code Search news. That seems to be squarely within Google's mission.
siddhant 3 days ago 0 replies      
Buzz is fine. But what was wrong with Code Search?
dustingetz 3 days ago 2 replies      
buzz was awesome for link sharing via a bookmarklet to my professional audience (compare to facebook bookmarklet for life stuff). plus isn't there yet -- plus doesn't expose RSS feeds to work with my audience's existing workflows. damn.

any word on a plus RSS api? i want my stream, and i want my +1 feed. i was looking into the +1 stream yesterday, seems like google made it as hard as possible to hit from javascript -- nonstandard http post, no JSONP = i don't know if its possible to do client-side. damn x2.

lithiumn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hate to see code search go. I always found it useful when having problems with some less-well documented libraries to see how they were used in the real world.
kpanghmc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what they mean by this?

"we will remove iGoogle's social features on January 15, 2012. iGoogle itself, and non-social iGoogle applications, will stay as they are."

Are they referring to Google Chat or are they referring to iGoogle widgets that have "social features" (e.g. Twitter widgets, Facebook widgets, etc.)?

mcfunley 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used code search just yesterday. Super lame.
plq 3 days ago 0 replies      
i don't understand why codesearch has to go. granted, it felt a bit neglected lately, but it was truly useful.

i wish there was a way for google to open source their abandoned projects. i'm sure someone would be willing to offer a similar service by basing it what the google code search already does.

cygwin98 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope Google open source the code behind Code Search. They don't have to release all supporting libraries that are specific to Google's infrastructure though. Such that those of us who actually use the service can figure out a scaled-down implementation to serve ourselves.
alanh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why I expected Buzz to be a failure, based on a cursory UX analysis & comparison with existing social products: http://alanhogan.com/buzz-is-already-dead Feb. 2010
heydenberk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also: there will always be people decrying Google's tendency to launch and phase out new products and there will always be people decrying its reticence to try new things even if they fail, and they're probably doing a good job if they're attracting roughly equal amounts of these responses.
tlogan 3 days ago 3 replies      
What is the best alternative to Google Code Search?
suivix 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google's profit margins greatly exceeded expectations for the last quarter[1]. In response they are shutting down Code Search?


iam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Now what are we supposed to use to search code? I can't think of any alternatives.
BrandonM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Louis CK (you might know him from the popular "Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy" video) frequently appears on Opie & Anthony. He makes a similar point regarding chains driving out local stores then closing up shop in this show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N95IMKRkcBw
acpmasquerade 2 days ago 0 replies      
If Google can't backup the resources required for Code-Search, then who will ?
Just googled to see if any other code search service is available. It listed one more result other than the Google Code Search. Will koders.com remain alive. It will probably be a single. Lets hope, there will be someone backing up Koders.
madmath 3 days ago 0 replies      
I could see a product similar to code search being integrated into services like github and others. Code search wasn't perfect, it basically just searched code. What if you had a product that could, like an IDE, follow method declarations and the like? That'd be cool.
heydenberk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I liked Buzz's idea of integrating a social inbox with the an email inbox, and in particular I liked Reader integration with Buzz. If Google doesn't integrate Reader and Gmail with Plus more effectively, I'll be spending _less_ time being social with Google than before.
JabavuAdams 1 day ago 0 replies      
Damn. I'll miss Code Search.
seltzered_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
does this mean google reader sharing now goes to plus? Me and a close group of friends use google reader a lot for sharing and commenting, personally more than i ever use plus or facebook.

sharing on google reader also shared on google buzz as well though.

saibotd 3 days ago 0 replies      
lost-theory 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nullege is still great search engine for python code.


johnx123-up 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone knows the reason?

I thought that it's their robot working hard (no human resources allotted for it)

antimora 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh no, not the code search!
jonutzz 2 days ago 0 replies      
That makes me sad. I use it a lot!
boomboom 3 days ago 0 replies      
rockerarj 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's what I really like about Google. A company with too many products just hanging in there making losses is a company with a low morale. I think accepting the loss and shutting down low performance products is very important.
Amazon kindle source code amazon.com
308 points by sundar22in  2 days ago   40 comments top 10
wheels 2 days ago 2 replies      
I thought it was kind of neat to that a library I'd written was one of the 45 included. I was kind of curious to see what they'd changed, but it ended up being a little boring:


It's a library for reading / writing audio meta data (tags) and they basically just removed support for several formats. What's perhaps more interesting is what they didn't remove: I don't have a Kindle, but from the code this would seem to imply that it supports Ogg Vorbis and FLAC in some capacity.

Also noted that they're using a version from early 2008, even though there have been 5 more recent releases since.

Edit: I also went back and grabbed the very first Kindle release, which contained only 22 packages (TagLib still being one of them), and there they used an even older version (meaning they do at least sometimes grab newer versions of the libs).

markbao 2 days ago 2 replies      
Like Palm's WebOS open source releases [0], this is the code of the modifications they made to open-source projects, some of which they are supposed to release under GPL.

The title should be updated to reflect this.

[0]: http://opensource.palm.com/packages.html

skeletonjelly 2 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason I thought it would be the source code for the reader component but it looks like it's just conforming to the GPL license requirements for things they've modified.

Kindle_src_3.2.1_576290015.tar.gz contains:

dfc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why did this get upvoted so many times? It has been available for years now.

I'm afarid to say that I think people upvoted this without even reading the link. I'd bet that 200+ people who voted for this thought it was the source to amazon's proprietary components. Its not, its gpl'ed code that has been available for as long as amazon has sold the kindle.

jrmg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm really surprised to see so much GPL and LGPLed code in here. Doesn't the license require that, in addition to having the source code, that it be possible for the user be able to re-compile and re-link the binaries? Isn't this impossible with the Kindle hardware?
ctz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately, still no SDK and no sign of movement. This is really sad, as I'd love access to the Kindle's market.
Achshar 2 days ago 0 replies      
yup, they have to release the code due to the license..
jasiek 2 days ago 0 replies      
For a split second there I understood that as "Kindle SDK being released today".
smallegan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Will the Fire be on here when it launches?
mih 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does this mean the community can finally add support to epub books?
It takes three years to build a business jacquesmattheij.com
284 points by swombat  3 days ago   70 comments top 20
edw519 3 days ago 4 replies      
Great post, Jacques. Thanks for your kind words.

People might even consider doing business with you, but nobody wants to be 'first' for fear of being burned.

This can also work in your favor...

It's rare, but sometimes you can find someone who does want to be your first customer. When this happens, it's solid gold and one of your fastest shortcuts. Others call them "champions"; I prefer "sugar daddies".

I have had this happen several times with great success. This is how it usually worked...

Sometimes they knew me, but sometimes I was introduced. In every case, they were desperately looking for something they couldn't find, sometimes for years. They would say, "If you could build this, you'd be my hero." (or something like that). They have offered me office space, access to their people and systems, and often an advance because it was in everyone's best interest that I'd succeed. Sometimes, but not always, they wanted equity. And all of them had peers with similar problems, so Prospects 2 thru x were already lined up.

We should all be building stuff people want. When you find one of them with their checkbook open, take a good hard look. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it can save you a lot of runway.

malux85 3 days ago 7 replies      
You're right, and this doesn't just apply to I.T. Startups. My step father (who is 70 years old, and still on the board of 6 companies) used to always say to us kids it takes "2 years" to start a company. In the article it says you break even somewhere through year two, which I think is what my father was referring to.

My own experience this seems likely too, I started my own startup about 6 months ago,( solo founder, I'm doing it all myself) and extrapolating my current customer base, and success rate, I think I will break even and then continue to grow organically at the 1.5 year mark.

On a side note here's some stats to keep you new founders going (just a little positive news to add to the mix):

- I'm a solo founder, you can do it too! It's less common, but I have determination like you wouldn't believe, I am up every morning at 4am to go for a run before I put in 3 hours of coding before leaving for my day job.

- I have invested about 500 pounds so far for the cost of the domain and hosting, that's my total expenditure (excluding my time coding it) I have made about 7000 pounds so far, in the last few months with my first customers etc.

- I consider my 'break even' part, to be when I can pay myself a 50,000 pound a year salary and can live comfortably , I think this will be about the 1.5 year mark as stated above.

Keep going all you solo founders, you can do it!

mattmanser 3 days ago 5 replies      
I thought he'd stopped reading HN?

The original guy he's talking about was just freelancing. I'm a freelancer and I made money from day one. A friend of mine quit his job 2 months back. Again, made money from day one. Difference between us and the guy in the story? We had contacts and relationships already built from working a few years.

What I'm saying is that most of this article is way off the mark for freelancing, you won't lose money the first year as long as:

1. You know how to network and get business

2. See 1

I'm not even very good at it and I still make money.

Also my old company's MD loved recounting how they were profitable within 8 months. The way they did this as a software vendor was to land a big juicy enterprise contract and get paid 30% up front. Just as a counterpoint to the 3 years thing.

There are plenty of businesses you can found which can make money very quickly. It all depends on whether that's the company you want to build, larger vision, longer lag.

Periodic 3 days ago 1 reply      
A post like this makes me question myself. How do I know when it's right to declare a business failed?

I joined another person on a startup about six months ago. We have one client and it might start expanding, but then again, we are two months past our expected initial launch and at our current rate we won't be launching until January. He has been getting more excited, but I have been getting less excited. I'm pretty sure I want to pull out because our delays seem to mostly be due to poor management by him (it was his project and is his baby) and I don't really trust it in the long run, however there are some other factors. I see our growth plateauing when he runs out of friends who he can convince to pay us, and I am not enjoying working with him.

I get frustrated when people seem to be saying I should just stick it out. Am I just a wimp who is fleeing at the first sign of trouble? Am I just getting jitters about the amount of investment? Or am I wisely investing my time in other activities that will grow my career in other ways? I don't want to invest three years of my life if the warning signs are all there.

I think my saving grace may be that we haven't formally set up a vesting strategy, so I could exit full participation and become an early investor instead. Our lack of paperwork is another one of the warning signs.

mikeleeorg 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of some casinos (perhaps not the more sophisticated ones though), where playing certain games had a higher chance of success - if you had enough of a bankroll and staying power to last.

I like the underlying premise of how businesses take time to succeed. The timing varies significantly with the type of business though. For restaurants, I've often heard "5 years" as the tipping point. For certain kinds of web-based businesses, it can be shorter. And for capital-intensive businesses, perhaps much, much longer.

But basically, you need enough of a bankroll and staying power to last.

swombat 3 days ago 0 replies      
I almost agree I actually think it takes three years to build an entrepreneur. My thoughts in more detail here: http://swombat.com/2011/10/14/three-years-business (not going to repost it in full, since it's quite lengthy).
csomar 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I started (3 years ago) I didn't know this. But I was decided: I must make it. And I didn't really care. I saw/read/knew people who made it, I didn't know how much time/work/effort they put to get to such point, but they made it anyway.

I pointed a goal, and I realized that my mental abilities can get me there. Since there are people who did it, why can't I?

I started in my dorm room, living with my family, and having no income for more than 2 years. Well, I knew little about programming at that time, so it's fair that it took me lot of time.

Now things started to move, I'm renting my own flat, purchasing my own Laptops, screens, hardward... I have one full year of savings, so I'm going to work on projects of my own.

TL;DR: Don't give up. You'll get there. Don't worry. Make sure you don't get broke and you have enough savings. Leave your job or plan to. Be Happy.

(Anyone has an idea how to have a good GF? I failed in this)

hv23 3 days ago 1 reply      
Another data point to support the three year number being thrown about, this one from the founder of Yipit writing about their early struggles: "It took us almost three years to know what exactly we had to do during those three days."


Duckpaddle2 3 days ago 4 replies      
I just have a small quibble about the statement "3 years to be exact". Having built several companies over the years, no time line is exact. That doesn't mean it's not a good estimate, just that the cliche may be taken literally.

However, how does this fit into the "fail often, fail quickly" advice I have seen so often in this forum? Does quickly mean 3 years? Just a thought...

happyfeet 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great post.

When I quit my job in big services firm, I went for advice before moving out & also to say goodbye to one of the vice-presidents (who had run his own start-up which was eventually acquired by this big services company).

His specific message to me was: make sure you have enough money to last 3 years and make sure all your partners will also be able to stick together for 3 yrs. Because anywhere between 2 to 3 yrs is the inflection point when people are forced to quit due to whatever circumstances. If you guys can successfully see through 3 yrs I am sure you'll all figure out ways to make money with your business.

He advised me to start looking at alternate channels to generate revenue right from day one: network & find training / consulting opportunities even while you are building the product. Even one or two weeks of such work in 2 to 3 months will go a long way in sustaining the business was his advice.

ja27 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm struggling with this idea right now. Some background: I was laid off recently and am torn between getting another coding job or trying to build a business. I'm a bit older, married with kids, and only have about 9 months of savings ready.

So I'd normally never consider starting a business because of this long ramp-up time, but the "gold rush" of mobile apps is still very appealing. It seems quite easy to ramp up quickly there. I know a lot of apps linger in obscurity but I think I understand social / viral marketing well enough to do some decent app launches. I don't need a big exit, just enough to support a family.

What I can't shake is the persistant question of "why isn't everyone doing this?"

FollowSteph3 3 days ago 0 replies      
I concur, it takes much more than 6 months. That's barely enough time to build the product/service, nevermind trying to build a customer base.

I recently posted my companies revenue chart over the last 8 years, and if you'll notice in the first 3 years even if there was growth (year 3 was almost double year 1), it still took a while to really get some good growth: http://www.followsteph.com/2011/08/23/landlordmax-2010-best-...

I'd say if you can do it in less than 3 years, that's amazing. Trying to do it in 6 months is unrealistic, you'd need way too much luck to achieve that.

The good news, as you can see from my revenue graph, is that once you get momentum behind you, it makes all the difference. After some time you learn what works and what doesn't, you start to get systems in place, you have a network of customers, and so on.

Btw, 6 months is barely enough time to even just do split testing on a website, nevermind trying to implement what you find and test it again. Any marketing effort takes at least a few months to really get the hang of.

I salute you for being brave enough to share your failure, that's a major step. As someone else said, you will most likely succeed in the future because you can see and admit your mistakes. But please do expect it to take more time. I agree that 3 years is a pretty standard timeframe to get a business going...

vaksel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it also has to be mentioned that you actually need to be able to extrapolate that with existing growth.

i.e. have enough realistic potential numbers to make it happen without having to rely on the hockey stick growth model. "Oh yeah this month we made $300 profit, but with hockey stick growth, we'll be making $50K in 12 months"

richpalmer2 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's tough to overstate the amount of savings you should put aside. I'd say that even if you save for "18" months - there is a lot that can happen that you wouldn't even think to put on your expense plan, both in your personal and business forecasts.

My cofounder and I quit our jobs and had "12" months saved up according to our plan. 9 months in, and no revenue yet, we found ourselves with no runway left, and needed to get contracting jobs on the side. As Jacques mentions, when you take this approach, a lot of your "good time is spoken for".

tchock23 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great post. I would add some advice to this based on my experiences... If you're just starting out and are having trouble gaining the trust of your target customers, you should consider seeking out channels through which to sell your services.

In my example, we built credibility with our desired end clients by building great case studies working through channel partners. Once we had these examples under our belt, bigger companies were more likely to trust us. Plus, the channel partner acts as your sales rep until you can get your own sales funnel working in-house.

However, I don't recommend this forever, as selling through a channel has its own set of challenges (e.g., lack of pricing controls, inability to sell into the account without approvals, potential for the channel to copy your product/approach, inability to control the client relationship, etc.).

neovive 3 days ago 0 replies      
At YCNYC the AirBNB presentation showed the startup curve and dreaded "Trough of Sorrow" (http://adam.heroku.com/past/2008/4/23/the_startup_curve/). It's definitely hard to overcome.
PonyGumbo 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you can manage to do it while you're working for someone else, it eliminates a considerable amount of risk. Not always possible, though.
brador 3 days ago 3 replies      
I think it was freakonomics that said it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert...which is pretty much 3 years full time. Could this be a universal law?
teja1990 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really good post Jack. It will help to plan your future in accordance to your startup.
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