hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    22 Nov 2011 Best
home   ask   best   8 years ago   
Mozilla urges its users to raise their voice against SOPA mozilla.org
679 points by Indyan  6 days ago   41 comments top 13
kpozin 6 days ago 3 replies      
If only Google or Facebook would use their homepage status to get the word out to the majority of the population. A blacked-out Google Doodle or a notification at the top of the Facebook newsfeed would go a very long way.
Indyan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Mozilla is rotating this call to action on its browser homepage (about:home), which is heavily trafficked.
zerostar07 6 days ago 1 reply      
Coincidentally, "Sopa" in Greek means "Silence!" [or "shut up!"]
subpixel 6 days ago 0 replies      
To explain this to friends & family, tell them to watch this video: http://vimeo.com/31100268 - or just the part from 1:08-2:31
VladRussian 5 days ago 1 reply      
the more government oppression applied to the Internet - the sooner a government oppressure resistant alternative would emerge. The current Internet is a great thing, yet it is fundamentally flawed by being that vulnerable to any whimse of concentrated political and economical interest.

While it can't be presicely described how the future free Internet would look, it is possble to imagine some modern implementation of something like the old Fido network with a set of satellites and cables/floats in the international space and waters and the next generation WiFi that will have on the scale of couple orders of magnitude greater range.

law 6 days ago 1 reply      
For all those who are interested, http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_11162011.html is the link to the hearing's webcast, which began at 10 a.m. EST.
rcthompson 5 days ago 1 reply      
If someone asks you what SOPA stands for, you can tell them it's the "Stop Online Privacy Act".

It's only a Hamming distance of 3 from the real name.

scubaguy 5 days ago 1 reply      
I can't wait for someone to post a link to the Pirate Bay in the comments, thereby providing legal justification for taking down sites that criticize SOPA.
sabret00the 6 days ago 2 replies      
I wish they would've done the same thing for the Digital Economy Bill in the UK.
mrchess 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is it too late to do any sort of petition since the hearing is today?
silentific 5 days ago 0 replies      

"The service is not available. Please try again later."


NanoWar 5 days ago 1 reply      
Are there online petitions in the US?
yuioooo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Internet giants place full-page anti-SOPA ad in NYT boingboing.net
670 points by andrewdumont  5 days ago   111 comments top 24
tomjen3 5 days ago 1 reply      
If that is the kind of ads tech giants make, then we have all lost.

This needs more Don Draper and less wall of text. It needs to tell a compelling story with a righteous underdog fighting the good fight which would be squashed if this law passes. It needs to paint anybody who support it as a traitor to America(TH).

And it needs to rebrand it the "Killing the American Dream Act" so that nobody can politically afford to support it.

protomyth 5 days ago 4 replies      
The tech industry has enough money to buy 10x more lobbyists than the entertainment industry. This would be a wiser investment than the ads.
thematt 5 days ago 5 replies      
If Google was serious they'd put something on their front page. The readership of the New York Times is nothing compared to Google's traffic.
jamiequint 5 days ago 0 replies      
There was also a full page ad in today's Wall Street Journal, same letter. http://pic.twitter.com/jisFPt4s
ck2 5 days ago 2 replies      
Where is the url in there for more information/followup? Wasted opportunity.

I don't mean to diminish this effort but just imagine this kind of response every time we decided to declare war somewhere far far away. I'd be impressed. Certainly sending people to be maimed or killed is just as critical?

mikemoka 5 days ago 3 replies      
Web companies should know how to write a readable text, it's pity they could just come up with something like that.

This text is not coincise, it doesn't draw the attention of the reader to any specific point and it shows several other shortcomings, if the message ever comes across I am pretty sure this page won't help.

skb_ 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've been thinking a bit about this and it's more a detriment to the United States than it is to the Internet. Censorship is a losing battle, especially with an educated public. There's just no way that this can work, it's a perpetual cat and mouse at best.

I feel that SOPA will pass, there's no doubt in my mind - it will just be a much watered down version, much like any other bill that passes these days. Even this so-called "anti-SOPA" ad is not really anti-SOPA, it just disagrees with certain aspects of the bill. They're basically asking for a compromise and they'll get it. There will probably be a long and expensive process in order to shut sites down. There will probably be some clauses about staying up if you are compliant with take-down notices. And there will probably be more bureaucrats added to the system, with jobs that are essentially useless and another needless expense. Ultimately, it will be like the War on Drugs, War on Terror, TSA and what have you; some far-fetched, pie in the sky plan that never had a chance of working in the first place.

The sad part is that people in Washington don't understand the consequences of what they are doing. They seem to think they have a blank check to play around with. Slowly but surely, they add things like this and the government gets bigger and more expensive to run. You can't just fire bureaucrats, they have a knack for sticking around.

I can't help but feel like I'm watching the slow death of a once great nation. I haven't heard anything lately coming out of Capitol Hill that has any semblance of intelligence.

damoncali 5 days ago 5 replies      
Am I the only one that did a double-take when I saw Zynga on there?
grandalf 5 days ago 1 reply      
If you're in the tech industry and you realize how stupid this proposed law is, realize that it's no more stupid than the vast majority of laws passed by congress, you're just better equipped to judge it.
panthera 5 days ago 1 reply      
The ad proves the old maxim true: "Everyone's a reactionary against something they know about."

Nearly all of the companies listed in this ad were heavy donors to the Obama administration. Now they understand what their donation got them.

Everyone in the Internet industry feels extreme pain when these regulations are proposed, and rightly so. SOPA is an insane example of a bankrupt government flailing about.

However, the same commentariat thinks that regulation is somehow "necessary" in medicine, law, or energy.

("<Calamity-of-the-day> could have been prevented if we just had more rules on the books! Surely the evil profit-making corporations would cut every corner they could, just to make a buck! It's not like taking it in the shorts every single day in the press will hit their stock price!")

Once you've tasted government intervention in your industry, you'll want some mouthwash.

bobbles 5 days ago 1 reply      
95% of people would look at that wall of text and turn the page.. they really needed something that would actually draw in peoples attention if they want it to get noticed
muppetman 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is great. It's just a shame the last time anyone picked up a paper was about 10 years ago. Can't argue with the sentiment though.
dmboyd 5 days ago 1 reply      
> We support the bills' stated goals "providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign "rogue" websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting"...

Why doesn't anyone just call bullshit on the whole concept of the US extending its law to apply to the rest of the world?

therandomguy 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if we can start a site called PoliticiansAgainstInternet.org, get it a lot of publicity and sway the votes away from them. It should be so popular that politicians will dread getting on that list. Maybe Anon can dig up more dirt and expose it on there?
d0mine 5 days ago 1 reply      
The irony. The giants of Internet advertising spread their message via dead-tree paper ads.
natch 5 days ago 1 reply      
A TLDR skim of this ad by the average NYT reader will see only this: We support the bill.

Yes, I omitted the words "goals of the" [edit: 's stated goals] but I'm talking about what the average reader will get out of the ad before they flip to the next page.

Not good, imho. And yes, they do care about the average reader. If they were trying to reach people other than the average reader, there are better ways to do that.

artursapek 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice. It's a nice touch that the logos at the bottom are in alphabetical order. I want a copy of this
jpdoctor 5 days ago 0 replies      
Full page ad? Big deal. Obviously they screwed up by not buying a bunch of senators and congressman.


swasheck 5 days ago 4 replies      
Well played, MS and Apple.
roxtar 5 days ago 0 replies      
Did anyone notice the missing Godzilla-head in Mozilla's logo?
baby 5 days ago 1 reply      
What is also impressive is the presence of Zynga in the internet giants club.
iradik 5 days ago 0 replies      
Huh. Google should take out an ad on its front page!

Maybe censor all requests coming from the .gov domains.

sidwyn 5 days ago 0 replies      
Besides the gist of the ad, I noticed that Facebook did not use their logo without a background (AOL too).
Igor_Bratnikov 5 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see a public stance by the internet community
The Sugru story sugru.com
593 points by aqrashik  1 day ago   78 comments top 28
ColinWright 1 day ago 1 reply      
Such a familiar story: great idea, hundreds if not thousands of hours invested, clearly a strong market, no investor interested.

Get some sales, suddenly investors come out of the woodwork expressing "passion" and "belief".

Been there. Bankers will lend you an umbrella when you don't need it and demand it back when it starts raining. So many investors are similar.

But not all. The good ones are better than brilliant.

Well done Sugru - I hope you go from strength to strength.

oz 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm not a particularly emotional guy, but something about this story just got to me - especially the part where they launch and it's sold out in 6 hours. After so much....so much slog...finally.

Ok. Time to man up.

BTW, notice how the story follows the classic startup curve?


yanowitz 1 day ago 2 replies      
Their customer support has also been great. I ordered an early batch, they discovered it had some problems and proactively notified me, explained they were manufacturing replacement batches and then sent me the bug fixed version. And I hadn't yet noticed the problem.

How I wish all companies were like that.

jrmg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I fixed a cheap plastic key fob that was snapping apart with Sugru at their stand at the Maker Faire in Newcastle in 2010. Just yesterday, after jangling around continuously in my pockets for a year and a half, and becoming a substantially worn down and different keyring, it finally broke completely.

The Sugrued part, however, is still in perfect shape, and still attached to the key ring.

lambada 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sounds fantastic, although given some of the examples (child-proof camera, and dishwasher repair) the fact it's not certified as being food or child safe is slightly disturbing.

I'd play down those two examples if it was me, until it did get certification from a reputable source.

dekz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Having "I have a voucher code" on your payment page is just a reminder that I may not be getting an awesome deal and leads to me leaving the page to quickly search, often forgetting about an impulse buy in the process.

Lovely story and marketing of the community though.

maguay 1 day ago 1 reply      
That may be the quickest a site has ever sold me on something ... I'd never heard of it before this, and just ordered a pack to Thailand, and the shipping was only £1.91 to Thailand. Now that's awesome.
DanielN 23 hours ago 3 replies      
God, why are physical product startups so terrible. I understand it's the nature of the beast. But still, it's been at least 25 years since the advent of carrier shipping and the proliferation of make-piece manufacturing throughout Asia.

I suspect there is a billion dollars in it for someone with supply chain experience who wants to make the Amazon of manufacturing.

marcusf 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is slightly OT, but if someone from Sugru is reading, the page looks weird in Chrome. The background is very jittery when you scroll (Chrome 15.0.874.121). It stays fixed in Safari and scrolls down in Firefox, and both look fine, but Chrome looks a bit weird.
nirvana 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Imagine if patents had been eliminated. They would have died once a big company like 3M got a sample back to their lab.

This company exists because they were able to patent their invention.

People say that patents are bad because everything relies on previous efforts. Well, they didn't invent silicon rubber. They didn't invent the volatile compound that allows their rubber to cure overnight. But they did invent a new thing.

Pretty analogous to software patents and combinations software-hardware patents like the iPhone's multi-touch.

InfinityX0 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Lost within the story is the amazing, powerful way they delivered the message of how they came to be. Subtle, unique storytelling that is quite unlike anything I've seen before in the way it was presented. Clearly, there's a whole heaping of talented people in there - and not just an amazing product.
bialecki 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a such a great story. It's valuable for a lot of reasons, but I like it simply because it's a story of success from having a passion, working hard and persevering. Kind of the same way I don't think I could never watch too many inspirational movies (Remember the Titans, Miracle, Rudy, etc. come to mind), I don't think I could ever read too many stories like this.

You can't read stories like this all day (at some point you have to work on changing your corner of the world), but having something like this once a week is super motivating.

niklas_a 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seems like an excellent use for Kickstarter. Too bad that didn't exist when they got started!
nodata 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shipping to Europe: £0.96. That's service!

(but please monitor+scale your buying page - it's often down)

ajays 1 day ago 1 reply      
What an amazing story!

It is interesting how much they mention "community". I have a feeling that forming such a community of early adopters and treating them well is the future of marketing. The days of "build a better mousetrap" may be numbered; now you not only need a better mousetrap, you also need a community of people who will use it and support you.

danmaz74 1 day ago 0 replies      
If someone from sugru is reading; from the about page: once it has been removed the it's packaging
jamesgagan 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I knew I'd seen this stuff before! https://www.buymightyputtynow.com
danso 1 day ago 1 reply      
I read the origin page and then immediately went to the purchase page in case the HN rush brings their site down.
jsilence 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well done Sugruonians!

Fixed the broken side brushes of my Deebot yesterday. With Sugru of course. Very nice material, easy to handle, good results. Recommend it.


sp332 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just checked, it's already on Hacker Things http://hackerthings.com/product/sugru-silicone-rubber-100109
Zirro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sweet story. A part fell of my earphones a few days ago, exposing the water-sensitive internals. I think I'll order a pack of Sugru and see if I can fix them myself :)
zeruch 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a compelling story and its well presented here. I'm a fan, as I've found Sugru works really well for extending the life of the Vibram shoes I use trail running (although it took some practice to apply it in a way that didn't leave me with a lumpy foot). They have a pretty neat product and service it well.

Good for them.

senthil_rajasek 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Why is this better than duct tape? I use duct tape for a lot of these things.
giddas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Never heard of this stuff before - ordering my first pack now!

Will be getting some for friends for Xmas.

ortatherox 1 day ago 0 replies      
I bought some the moment it appeared in boingboing, I still get asked about it now
darkstar999 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone tell me the difference between Sugru and products like InstaMorph (polycaprolactone)?
iand 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really inspiring story
gnosis 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Tell congress to stop SOPA with a physical letter sendwrite.com
585 points by colevscode  6 days ago   92 comments top 43
wallawe 6 days ago 7 replies      
Although I applaud the efforts here, as a former staffer and intern for a congressman, I hate to be the bearer of bad news...

The truth is my job as an intern, as was the job of all other interns that I met while in DC, was to take constituent calls and also open constituent mail. However, no information was ever actually relayed to the congressmen. We had a formatted response to each and every issue that the House could possibly vote on. Everything from internet poker, to any issue you could imagine. We would print out (and alter if necessary) the response to tailor it to the individual that called, emailed, or wrote a physical letter. The congressman's signature was stamped at the bottom of the letter and sent back to the constituent, giving the allusion of due diligence on the congressman's part.

I was extremely surprised and disappointed at the same time at how commonplace this was. Pretty much every intern I asked about it went through the same drill. It's just another thing about our government and "representative democracy" that really irked me. So whenever I see ads urging people to call or write their congressman, I think back to this and realize further how powerless we really are.

The best way to exert influence over your congressman is to donate lots of money and become a memorable name that can get in contact with the actual representative him/herself. Hell, that's how I got the internship. This is one of the reasons I sympathize with the OWS movement.

danielsoneg 6 days ago 2 replies      
I was briefly skeptical, but on reflection, I like this for three reasons:

First, email just doesn't work for contacting Congress. They get entirely too much, and it's entirely too easy to get lost in the pile. It's the preferred means of communication for most of us on HN, but it's just not effective outside our industry. Phone is better, but there's nothing quite like flooding someone's office with paper to convey the will of the electorate.

Second, SendWrite is one of the companies that would be hurt by the bill - being able to generate volume like this shows the reach and effectiveness of their lobbying efforts. Sacks of cash are the backup currency of Congress - Votes are still the coin of the realm.

Finally, you guys are putting your cash on the line for this - that's a powerful statement, and I applaud you for doing so.

epi0Bauqu 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'd love to send people to this site, but I worry people who have never heard of the bill won't know what is going on. Can you embed the explanation video or point to or something?

Edit: I see you just did. Thx! I just linked to it on DuckDuckGo as well as donated and sent my letter. Thanks again.

possibilistic 6 days ago 0 replies      
I know this doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of happening, but I wager if Google, Facebook, etc. were to shut down their websites for an entire day--or even part of a day--that congress would get the picture. Give the entire Internet a blank page stating simply and concisely what is at stake. Just imagine the deluge of calls.
ubasu 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is great action on the part of SendWrite.

One suggestion: since you ask for the sender's home address anyway, why not use that to scrape the contactcongress website to automatically fill in their representatives?

dylangs1030 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea. I'm sending in mail through this. Not everyone has the luxury of literally stopping by in person, but this is a fantastic alternative.

I love this, though I've held back on commenting on SOPA until now. One of the frequent comments on SOPA I see is that the original founders behind the internet believed it should be free and unregulated. While I agree, once you introduce capitalism to the internet, as most companies have, you cannot let it be entirely unregulated. What is happening in the internet now is the same process that occurred directly after the industrial revolution - first there were completely unregulated, grievous abuses in the industry. The entertainment industry is attempting to regulate the flow of information and "capital" in the same way the government had to go "trust buster" on the industrial sectors in the last two centuries.

However, while this is all good and well, as the side video explains, they already have protocols for doing this. They don't need any more methods of stopping piracy and the like. They should shift their attention to different ways of raising capital and earning revenue. The system they have isn't working, but erring on the side of regulation instead of erring on the side of libertarianism is still erring. There needs to be a comfortable balance, and SOPA does not make such a balance - it tips the scales in favor of the entertainment industry, and that is the last sector of the United States the internet should be supervised and moderated by.

chrischen 6 days ago 3 replies      
Really nice of you to have made this free. I would have paid! I wouldn't have sent this if not for sendwrite, just because the cost for me to type, print, stamp, and mail an envelope is too high.
riordan 6 days ago 1 reply      
Here's the problem: after the 2001 anthrax scare, all mail sent to Congress has become incredibly delayed (on the order of weeks) while it gets tested and radiated. What some lobbying campaigns have done to get around this is send mass faxes to congressional offices overnight. It's like having access to someone else's office printer and that person has 1/538th of control over the federal government.

The takeaway is, unless these letters are hand delivered, I doubt theyll reach their intended recipients in time.

billpatrianakos 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm impressed. SendWrite is doing good while promoting themselves and it makes an awesome first impression. I never thought of using them before. I never even visited the site, just heard of them and generally got the idea of what they do. I think I may use them now! I'm actually looking for an excuse!
steauengeglase 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just a bit of advice from back when I was sending letters over the DMCA.

If your congressman is supporting the bill, don't bother. My Senator at the time was Fritz Hollings; came from a poor district, so he was dependent on a lot of outside contributions. I recall Disney being one of his largest contributors. I received a response 3 months after it passed that more or less told me I was a enemy of commerce. I won't lie, I was a little shocked to get back such a pointed letter when I was as courteous and respectful as possible.

I learned my lesson from that one. You can send a letter to anyone and generally it is a great idea, but if they get a dime from your position's opposition, it is just pissing in the wind. It's just business.

padobson 6 days ago 0 replies      

From my letter:

H.R.3261, the 'Stop Online Piracy Act', is going to be the Volstead Act of the 21st Century. Like Prohibition, creating draconian laws like these to stop online piracy is going to do two things: 1) destroy respectable businesses that thrive on user-generated content and 2) drastically increase the number of pirates online by expanding its definition, and in doing so, massively expand online piracy. SOPA will literally create a generation of internet bootleggers.

pizza_lover 6 days ago 0 replies      
hi all,
as a chinese, let me explain what's the situation in China. maybe you already know we have a similar censorship system called GFW(the Great FireWall of China).

when the government don't want we to see the truth of something, or something may be a threat to them,they will ban it incruely, sometimes they even do it in the name of "for the children" or "for the harmony society" or give their version of totally-bullshit “truth”.

besides the baning of website, they also have some people take salaries from government and speak for the government in every forum when scandals of government officials burn out.and when scandals burns out government also send orders to every website, every press to stop talk and publishing on the scandals, the reason they give is "for the harmony of society" or "don't be mislead by the media in US and Euro" :D

what's more almost every big website/application in china has employees either hired by government or hired by website/software-company to censor the users' activities, including QQ(biggest IM in china, just like MSN), Youku & Tudou(biggest two video site, like youtube), renren(biggest SNS in china, like facebook), baidu(biggest search engine in china, like google).if you said something bad to the government, your words must be deleted, what was worse, there used to be 2 men chatting using QQ, and the owner of QQ--Tencent Compang--give their chats record to the police ACTIVELY, and the result is the 2 men was sent to prison.

so if you allow your congress to pass SOPA, you know what would happen to you all.

mschwar99 6 days ago 0 replies      
Its really great of you guys to offer this service on your own dime - thank you. Its also very shrewd marketing, and I hope it pays off for you.
sev 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea! I hope everyone uses this service as soon as possible.
daguar 6 days ago 1 reply      
Does any advocacy group (EFF, etc) have info on who the key swing/undecided/"marginal" votes are?

Knowing that we could try and focus dissemination of this to people in those districts.

curiousepic 6 days ago 0 replies      
alexholehouse 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. What's the cashflow situation here - how many donations will you/do you need (I'm aware this is obviously demand dependent, but I'm just intrigued about the general situation)
dschobel 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work guys. Thank you for doing this.
bpowah 6 days ago 1 reply      
I absolutely love the idea. I cant remember where I read it or heard it, but physical letters do get much more attention. Nothing against SendWrite, but I think even more attention can be gained via distinctive-looking enveloped letters that need to be cut open and unfolded. A stack of similar-looking postcards will have an impact in terms of volume, but will likely be sorted into a bin and never read. If you have the time and have extra company logo-ed envelopes, please consider sending one by hand as well.
prawn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Have always wondered if an online service for political mailings like this couldn't introduce some randomness to the opening, key statements and closing (Sincerely, Regards, etc) and varying the layout and style so they don't look too much like they were cranked out with the push of a button.
kschults 6 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for a great tool.

A suggestion: I'd like to be able to send a letter to all of my representatives and senators at once, instead of having to fill out the form multiple times.

jneal 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this. I wrote my letter and probably wouldn't have done so without the help of this website. This is one of the first times that a bill has come up that I feel so strongly against. If this thing becomes law, we'll all refer to the internet "before" and "after" this moment. I certainly hope it never comes to be.
gourneau 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks guys! I donated a small amount, hopefully it will pay for my letters.
mceachen 6 days ago 0 replies      
I just submitted my letters to my representatives (and donated, thanks Cole!)

To hit up your reps with different communication channels, http://www.contactingthecongress.org has voice, fax, and web forms.

gus_massa 6 days ago 0 replies      
The names in the DropDownList Control are invisible in IE8: http://imgur.com/7UIbT
101000101 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you are really serious about taking a stand on this bill, then the most impact will achieved by going to the source of it, not Congress... unless you have more to offer Congress' incumbents and the nation's economy than the industry source does.

They are a very important constituent.

If a large number of consumers stopped purchasing a certain entertainment company's products for one day, would it have a noticeable impact on their revenues? How about a week? A month?

The industry claims it's losing business to pirates. While it's probably true to some extent, it is speculative and nearly impossible to measure accurately. How many of the consumers of pirated content were never consumers of paid content to begin with?

The products this industry sells are not life necessities.

In summary, a branded entertainment "hunger strike" by actual existing, paid customers. This would cause real loss.
And, if it's a noticeable loss, it would send a very strong message.

Good luck.

alecbenzer 6 days ago 0 replies      
> Don't know who is your local representative?

I believe that should read "Don't know who your local representative is?", no?

lukejduncan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is this a one off website or based on some framework? This seems like a very powerfully general purpose advocacy tool.
lflux 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great, but I can't set an international return address without a state. I'm a registered voter in the US, but haven't been a resident for a long time.

Guess I'll just email my rep.

jjacobson 6 days ago 0 replies      
Donated, tweeted, emailed, sent the letter, etc. Cole is a baller.
MBlume 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this =)
yoshyosh 6 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps someone can change the facebook link at the top to a share or a recommend link. Those show up in feeds whereas likes only show up on your wall.
coreyrecvlohe 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea, just sent letters to both of my Senators.
traldan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Not that I don't want to support you guys for doing something awesome like this, but I wish the "Like" button showed appropriate meta-content on my facebook wall, instead of just a generic description of SendWrite. Also, donated. :)
jeremyarussell 6 days ago 0 replies      
I sent mine off a bit ago, thanks a ton for doing this. Here's to making a difference.
shmeeps 6 days ago 0 replies      
Filled out one for each of my representatives and senators, and also made a small donation. I may not be able to do much, but I'll be damned if I don't do anything.
yeison 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, but the bill will be on the House floor tomorrow.
sehugg 6 days ago 0 replies      
There's also Apple's new Cards app. I'm going through my cat pictures now.
switz 6 days ago 0 replies      
Very great for sendwrite to do this. Not only will it protect their business, but it's a great marketing tool.
dev1n 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for making this a free letter.
nomdeplume 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is this when they slip in another bill that does something even worse? While we are inundated with the news of this bill?
flexterra 6 days ago 0 replies      
sscheper 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just completed/sent a letter via your link and donated afterwords (and I rarely donate). Nice work.
Spark github.com
555 points by lrvick  7 days ago   94 comments top 26
DanielN 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is pretty cool. Unfortunately it's coupled with some of the more obnoxious documentation I have seen recently. While the docs aren't very long, I had to read through a third of it to figure out simply what Spark is.

I'm all for being cute, but it shouldn't come at the cost of a basic understanding of what the program actually does and is useful for.

Mgccl 7 days ago 7 replies      
Just did a Haskell version of spark.
It supports in 9 lines of code (exclude comment + empty line)
Double instead of just Int.
Negative numbers.


jmah 7 days ago 1 reply      
Ah, as inspired by Edward ttyfte.
premchai21 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious: is there a reason U+2584 LOWER HALF BLOCK is missing from the character set, which otherwise contains the progression from U+2581 to U+2587?

Edit: U+2588 seems like an obvious candidate as well.

scottyallen 7 days ago 4 replies      
Hmm, I get the following:

  [scotty@Scotty-Allens-MacBook-Air ~/bin]$ spark 1,2,3,4,5

I suspect this has something to do with my terminal settings, but I'm not sure quite what...

Nifty idea, regardless.

raphman 6 days ago 1 reply      
Nice: found a sparkline generator at http://sandbox.kidstrythisathome.com/louis/ :


etanol 7 days ago 2 replies      
The script is not a proper POSIX bourne shell script, as it uses arrays.

For starters, it won't work in dash (Debian and Ubuntu /bin/sh implementation). So the shebang line should be changed to #!/bin/bash (not sure if it would work in Zsh either).

spektom 7 days ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of another useful utility from the childhood:

alias updick='/usr/bin/uptime | perl -ne "/(\d+) d/;print 8,q(=)x\$1,\"D\n\""'

bch 6 days ago 1 reply      
I've quickly looked at the link, read the reviews here, and there's actually no description of what spark _is_. I gather is an UTF-8 graph generator.
adaml_623 7 days ago 1 reply      
Sparklines are cool. This is just a bar graph and not nearly as useful.
zx2c4 6 days ago 0 replies      
I rewrote it in C, so it's faster and can work more efficiently on different data sets. It also uses a prettier algorithm for determining heights. Have fun:


    $ git clone http://git.zx2c4.com/spark
$ cd spark
$ make
$ ./spark 1 4 2 8 14
$ curl -s http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/catalogs/eqs1day-M1.txt | cut -d, -f9 | ./spark

kablamo 7 days ago 1 reply      
Cool. I also like that he set up a wiki where people can contribute interesting spark one liners:


yycom 7 days ago 0 replies      
a bit more efficient, and without the comma requirement


mfukar 7 days ago 4 replies      
What would be really interesting is finding out which decent programming fonts can show block elements. I mean, beyond the DejaVu Sans Mono fiasco.
jvoorhis 7 days ago 0 replies      
I hooked this up to my homebrew cohort-analysis script and saw a gratifying terminal hockeystick :D
yycom 7 days ago 1 reply      
craigkerstiens 6 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a port of it to Python already live:


philjackson 7 days ago 2 replies      
I would rather it took a number, one per line from stdin. Great idea though.
jcfrei 7 days ago 0 replies      
had basically the same idea a while back - but would have used standard ascii characters and written it in c... still cool though!
jongraehl 6 days ago 1 reply      
cool, but:

$ spark 3,4,9


ieure 6 days ago 1 reply      
Because I want my shell prompt to be a giant graph.


Ship it.

hasantayyar 7 days ago 0 replies      
this should be utf-8 supported.
thechut 7 days ago 0 replies      
Holman never fails to impress
skeletonjelly 7 days ago 0 replies      
Blogs on swearing are so last week. This week is Holman week.

Just an observation.

sktrdie 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is sort of useless. Giving visual meaning to a bunch of numbers means nothing. It's just a bunch of numbers.
Sergey Brin gives $500,000 to help Wikipedia venturebeat.com
529 points by recusancy  3 days ago   196 comments top 26
nostromo 3 days ago  replies      
I personally would love to see Wikipedia sell ads. Nothing crazy, just one subtle and tasteful text ad per page, sold by auction. (The ads would be much smaller and more relevant than "a personal appeal from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales".)

The revenue could allow Wikipedia to take on ambitious projects to further its mission statement, similar to the Mozilla Foundation or NPR.

Unlike most publishers, Wikipedia doesn't need to worry about maintaining a firewall between sales and editorial -- so I think it's a natural fit.

benatkin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many times he saw Jimmy Wales' face at the top of an article.
benwerd 3 days ago 3 replies      
Serious question: is Sergey Brin Google's version of Steve Wozniak? He certainly seems to be chasing the less-commercial, more-interesting ideas.
scottkrager 3 days ago 1 reply      
The hundreds of millions of visitors from Google isn't enough? : )

Just joking, that's a nice donation. My wife was totally freaked out this week though...she had never seen the donation banner before.

dvdhsu 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sergey's wife, Anne Wojcicki, is mentioned.

This is interesting because Anne's mother, Esther Wojcicki, is on the board of Creative Commons [1], which is what Wikipedia uses.


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther_Wojcicki

dextorious 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Sergey Brin gives $500,000 to help Wikipedia"

Anything to keep Jimmy Wales off of my screen is good.

djtriptych 3 days ago 2 replies      
As one of the unfortunate who has had to attempt to hack at mediawiki... I hope some of that cash goes towards improving their code base. It's gotta be costing them in maintenance (to say nothing of the ability to add new features).
podperson 3 days ago 1 reply      
Unlike NPR (et al), Wikipedia could actually ask for donations and then not show the appeals for donations to people who have donated (e.g. by providing simple logins). Similarly, Wikipedia could show ads or not depending on whether someone paid a small fee. I wouldn't mind either.
DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some small areas of Wikipedia are so toxic that no-one would want to have anything to do with them.

Some areas are probably not suitable for advertising. Would an ad on "Holocaust" or "Lynchings" really be acceptable?

And so the problem then would be the megabytes of meta "discussion" about why some page should or shouldn't have ads.

leak 3 days ago 4 replies      
I think Wikipedia should get into printing & selling beautiful books from some of their content.

Maybe that will be my weekend project!

bborud 3 days ago 1 reply      
It probably went down like this:

Sergey: "hey Jimmy, how much do I have to pay you NOT to see
your creepy face on every wikipedia article?"

Jimmy: "Well...."

hmottestad 3 days ago 0 replies      
That is a very nice thing he did. Thank you Sergey Brin.
fsniper 3 days ago 0 replies      
I believe, a joint venture should be formed between Redhat, Canonical, IBM, Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and Facebook to fund wikipedia and this kinds of open source and very much needed projects with some of their yearly revenues. I named those companies because much or they are making money over free and open source projects. And this kind of venture is a way of showing good will. This could make wikipedia to survive, build more kinds of projects that could lead to more innovation and this new created innovation and brain would turn into profits for this companies. A long shot maybe, but this organisations contributors would not be harmed.
ayu 2 days ago 0 replies      
One time I applied for a software engineer position at Wikipedia. The first phone interview was with a non technical director of people or whatnot, and after a drawn out conversation of "tell me a time when..." she informed me there would 2 others to speak with.

Feels like a nonprofit.

oth3r 3 days ago 1 reply      
No love for Knol? I guess Sergey would like to forget that that venture ever existed.
capex 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wrote about this in my little article a few days ago. Wikipedia needs to raise money for the next 20 years, not for one year at a time. And then amaze their visitors with more interactive and engaging stuff when they take the money matters off their minds. http://www.adnanymous.com/2011/11/why-jimmy-wales-wikipedia-...
erichocean 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wealthy people giving money to Wikipedia is a great idea; I wish more would do it.
maximusprime 3 days ago 1 reply      
wikipedia only needs "help" because it spends so much money.
rosshere 3 days ago 0 replies      
hello-trolls 3 days ago 0 replies      
st3fan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well that is very nice of him.
napierzaza 3 days ago 1 reply      
And he wants to make sure everyone knows about it.
grigy 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think true donation should be anonymous, otherwise it becomes a promotion.
ckenst 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good for Wikipedia.

Wikipedia should consider experimenting with different business models to generate money. Mozilla makes most of it's money from Google. By placing Google.com as their start page, they split the revenue generated from ad clicks - it's around 80% of their revenue (I looked at their financial statements long ago but can't remember specifics).

$500k to Sergey Brin is pocket change.

zeruch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Basically he paid to stop seeing Jimmy's dessicated, mildly derpish face page after page after page...
ajross 3 days ago  replies      
[EDIT: could those downvoting this please reply and tell me why? I wouldn't have thought this would be controversial, but I'm looking at this post sitting at -4 just minutes after posting and am genuinely confused as to what the issue is.]

Hrm. Obviously this is a good thing, but...

Wikipedia tells me that Brin's net worth is $16.7B. Very roughly, my "net worth" (in the sense of assets required to duplicate my income) is $2M. So that's the equivalent of my dropping $59 on them.

Obviously all gifts are good (as long as you, like me, value wikipedia). And this is a big one. But it hardly qualifies as earth-shaking philanthropy. It's the gift amount Brin would be expected to give, I'd say. Obviously there's a lot of apples and oranges here; both of the numbers above represent "tied down" assets and not disposable cash, etc...

But shouldn't the extremely wealthy be held to higher standards about what they're expected to do with their charity? Why must it be news when someone like Brin does the equivalent of clicking on "Donate via PayPal".

I guess one good thing came of this though: lest I feel like a hypocrite, I went to Wikipedia and clicked on "Donate $100". So that makes me a better person than Brin, I guess?

Back to the Future Photo Project (NSFW) irinawerning.com
497 points by DanielRibeiro  3 days ago   110 comments top 22
rit 3 days ago 2 replies      
The amount of hyperbole and ranting on the NSFW angle to me on this thread over the last day is rather disappointing.

One should not think of the NSFW tag as a comment on morality, puritanism or anything else. It is simply a common part of netiquette which developed as a courtesy.

"Hey, there is some stuff in this link such as nudity, questionable content, etc which may be an issue for you if you are at work, sitting in public or somewhere else potentially sensitive. Just a heads up!"

All it is meant to do is let you know. Some people work in schools, libraries or other places where this isn't OK. Not to mention that while many of us don't have any issues with nudity, myself included, we might not want to browse it at work.

Get over the whole "Oh my god $XYZ is so full of prudes, in my country this is totally OK" and appreciate the fact that it's considered polite.

DanielN 3 days ago 7 replies      
So, I flagged this post as not relevant to HN, and normally that would be the only action I would take. But I'm kind of curious as to why this is being up-voted so much.

Is there some element of this site that is legitimately within the purview of links appropriate for HN (http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html)?

It is getting enough votes that I am curious if there is some deeper element that I'm missing other than just the ascetic interest of it.

jxcole 3 days ago  replies      
Please change the title to include the string NSFW.

[EDIT: Thanks for updating. Nudity, no matter how innocent, should probably have this warning.]

kleiba 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! The German Wall pictures are among my favorites.

In case you'd like to send your praise to the artist: irinawerning@yahoo.com

DanBC 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Maartje 1990 & 2011 Amsterdam" is going to be really tricky for people in England. The sexual offences act makes that kind of photo pretty much illegal for anyone, with narrow exceptions for law enforcement doing their job.

Maybe context would provide some kind of defence - but still the disruption to a person's life (computers seized; suspended from work; possible court cases; etc etc) are still significant.

To post such content without an NSFW[1] warning is stupid.

scottyallen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is really phenomenal. It's amazing to see how little some people change versus how much others do.
sanderson1 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very well done. My favorite is the image of the kid chipping away at the Berlin Wall and then having it gone when he's older. Things can drastically change in a lifetime (or a quarter of a lifetime)
dogshoes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just as a warning for those reading the comments before the linked article: at least one of the photos is NSFW.
Zimahl 3 days ago 1 reply      
While not professionally done (and some done much better than others), this is quite similar to 'Young me, Now me':


chrismealy 3 days ago 0 replies      
FYI, that's Billy Bragg in the Riff Raff photo
aw3c2 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is weird, the sidebar says "All Photographs © Irina Werning" but it seems obvious that the old photos were not taken by her.
danbmil99 3 days ago 1 reply      
someone is pretty serious about color matching
dudurocha 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is fricking awesome. For some reason, I really love 'back to the future' 'before and after' photographs.

One thing I noticed its how good the Argentinians age.

nomdeplume 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found the link interesting and am glad it was posted on here. If not the content itself, then certainly the ensuing conversation is relevant to HN. The fact that sexuality is so taboo in our culture yet motivates humans at the most basic level is fascinating. Others question why this link and not others get so much attention, which is another HN relevant issue. Maybe more people saw it at the same time and the sudden influx of upvotes sent it on its way.
mef 3 days ago 0 replies      
Life truism: you will get saggier.
Revisor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Being labeled as NSFW on HN is for me the more interesting part of the link.

Don't you dare visit the page. There is at least one underage girl in underwear and a pair of developed female breasts.

Also a naked toddler!

Is it SFW if you know the girl in underwear is from Amsterdam?

aMoniker 3 days ago 0 replies      
The first image is currently being used in an anti-smoking ad which I saw yesterday in the London Underground.
xbryanx 3 days ago 0 replies      
nsfw fyi
thinkbohemian 3 days ago 0 replies      
gautams 3 days ago 0 replies      
genieyclo 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is not hacker news.
Stanford to host more online classes cs101-class.org
487 points by ivoflipse  5 days ago   116 comments top 30
karpathy 5 days ago  replies      
I get easily excited about education-related topics so I may be over-reacting, but I think these classes will jump-start an educational revolution, and that people will start to fully appreciate just how inefficient traditional teaching methods are.

Some people like to say that this is nothing new because video lectures were posted on the internet for several years now (for example MIT Open Courseware etc.), but I think this misses the point entirely. There is a huge difference between low-quality video/audio recording of a prof mumbling for an hour and post-processed, perfected snippets of videos presented in a coherent fashion, and most importantly with supplementary materials that encourage people to actually apply their knowledge and get feedback. In addition, the fact that many people take the class at the same time also enhances the experience for everyone, and we've seen study groups form everywhere around internet.

Full disclosure, by the way, I'm a CS PhD student at Stanford and I am a (voluntary) co-creator of the programming assignments for the current ML class. It is a lot of work, but the way I see it, we only have to put great assignments together a single time, and thousands of people can enjoy them and benefit from them for years and years to come. That is what I call time well spent.

I hope all these classes go well, and I'm looking forward to telling my kids about what education used to be like in the old days. I have a feeling that they'll find it hard to believe me.

ya3r 5 days ago 3 replies      
Direct URL of classes:

New classes: (start in Jan/Feb 2012)

Computer Science 101: http://www.cs101-class.org/

Software Engineering for Software as a Service: http://www.saas-class.org/

Human-Computer Interfaces: http://www.hci-class.org/

Natural Language Processing: http://www.nlp-class.org/

Game Theory: http://www.game-theory-class.org/

Probabilistic Graphical Models: http://www.pgm-class.org/


Old Classes: (already started)

Machine Learning: http://www.ml-class.org/

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence: https://www.ai-class.com/

Introduction to Databases: http://www.db-class.org/

ghurlman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I, for one, am really hoping this is a start of a trend - where coursework, even if just in a prerecorded format, is available to all, with the tuition going towards the rich in-person experience and grading/certification for the student, much like the way the primary tech conferences have been trending for free content for al.
pitt1980 5 days ago 1 reply      
Since there seems to be someone involved in running these classes in this thread, I just want to throw this out there. The higher ratio of quizes per minutes of lecture the better.

I think its ideal to never go more than 2-3 minutes without asking us something, even if its trivial.

Right now I'm taking the AI classes, some of the units follow this rule and keep us paying attention through what I imagine would otherwise be some pretty dense stuff.

A few of the units (looking at you Professor Norvig) have had stretches 15+ minutes of lecture without asking us anything, just going to say, retention from those stretches was low.

Personally I really like it when they quiz our intuition of a subject before they lecture it, though it seems like other people complain about that on the reddit forum

rubergly 4 days ago 0 replies      
Arghhhh. I find these incredibly frustrating. I am writing a senior honors thesis for my university, and wanted to take as few classes as possible this year to focus on my thesis work. The ML class has distracted me this semester, and it looks like things are going to get worse next semester.

On a serious note, does anyone know if there are plans to continue these courses next year? I suppose it will really depend on how well each class goes, but I mostly feel pressured to take these because I'm afraid I'll miss them.

lambada 5 days ago 2 replies      
Although I had to drop the previous classes due to time, this looks promising. Particularly with the unified style; that is the one thing that seemed to hurt this years effort - The most widely advertised course (AI) had the worst layout and 'features'.
eliben 5 days ago 1 reply      
Will the materials for these courses (videos + ref material + assignments + solutions) be available for browsing after the course has ended?
huherto 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic. A few weeks ago Sebastian tweeted about the possibility of having an online Master's when they met with the president of Stanford. Has anyone heard anything new about it?
ramkalari 5 days ago 0 replies      
MIT OCW requires a far higher level of intrinsic motivation. Stanford has almost nailed it. While online learning has taken Space out of the equation, Time, it seems, is still a big variable. Having people do the course at the same time with deadlines is working. They just need to work through the technical glitches, which shouldn't be that hard.
lambada 5 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone know if AI-Class will be running again in 2012? The links between the 2012 courses suggest not, but that could just be down to Ai-Class being different.
rmnoon 5 days ago 0 replies      
FYI: the "CS-101" course is a really really basic introduction to computational thinking. If you want intro programming you probably want CS106A, which hasn't been put into this format yet.

101 is taught by Nick Parlante, though, who was one of my favorite profs at Stanford.

dudurocha 5 days ago 0 replies      
For me, as a brazilian computer engineering student, I think these classes are amazing. Although I study in one of the best computer schools in brazil ( www.cin.ufpe.br), my classes tend to be bad and boring. My teachers have Phd's and all those letters, but cant teach in a good and engaging way.
And my classes have old subjects, because they made the curriculum 10 years ago.

Thank you so much, Stanford, the teachers for the modern and brave choice to teach people all around the world, thanks for all the students engaged in making the classes available for everybody. and thanks hn buddies for always giving the good news.

Will enroll to SaaS and hci or nlp.

Vivtek 5 days ago 0 replies      
_Yesssss!_ I was really hoping for NLP!
brown9-2 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm taking the ML class right now and it is truly excellent - all aspects of it, the videos, material and assignments. Can't recommend these enough.

The only problem with the winter classes is I can't decide which to take!

tutysara 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is fantastic. I would also like to do some course in mathematics (under graduate level calculus, discrete mathematics ) to improve my skills. Are there any good places/resources where I can learn these things (video lectures with quizzes in between will be a nice choice). I am also ready to take a paid certified course if some reputed college is offering them online.
imrehg 5 days ago 0 replies      
Now I know what am I doing next spring. :D Sweet!

Thanks for everyone at Stanford working on this and making it possible. What an amazing collaboration between teachers and students (as the current ML, DB and AI classes show as well).

beagledude 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know when Tim Roughgarden's class will be available? Data structures and algorithms?
gabaix 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the great hidden benefits of those classes is to taste the flavor of the classes, should they want to apply to the university. I would particularly interested in the difference between Berkeley classes (SaaS) and Stanford classes (CS101 or ML)
roxtar 5 days ago 0 replies      
The SaaS class (http://www.saas-class.org/) is missing in the title. Looks exciting!
NnamdiJr 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is very exciting news, very much an autodidact's dream.

I've been enjoying crawling my way through the great ML classes by Prof Andrew Ng, and had been wondering if by any luck other classes would be provided for future semesters. Seeing this just makes me really happy, and thankful to Stanford. Not only is it the future of education but also gives countless people around the globe a chance to learn topics they may otherwise have never had access to (I am one in this category).

Signing up for NLP!

rohitarondekar 5 days ago 1 reply      
Do you get an email confirmation on signing up? Also how does this course work? The site didn't provide any information about that • although I haven't seen the 'about course' video.

Has anybody here tried this before? Are the videos webcasts or pre-recorded video that I can download/view at anytime?

Also is it open for everybody or will the sign ups be restricted?

All in all this looks awesome and I'm very much interested in the Game Theory and SaaS classes! :)

itmag 5 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone else think a startup could be built around a software platform that universities could use for releasing their content to the world?

See here: http://ideashower.posterous.com/idea-platform-that-universit...

If anyone wants to work on this, contact me :)

kaybe 4 days ago 0 replies      
So, you people have a lot of friends right now (including me). Care to make a wish from the internet to give something back? :)
ireadzalot 5 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone please explain a little about HCI? For example, how it applies to real world, types of things you learn in class etc.
eddyweb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did anyone check this link too on that page www.entrepreneur-class.org. I think it's going to be useful for startup guys
HickyAU 5 days ago 0 replies      
All of these courses look so appealing, I want to do ALL OF THEM (except maybe CS101).
gbcodr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wish they would add a course on Probability or Probability and Statistics.
romansanchez 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! I'm scheduling my spring classes around these classes.
alanav 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was wondering if taking these courses improve your resume in a general way and/or help your chances to get into a good graduate school program.
burrokeet 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nick Parlante is a GREAT instructor!
SOPA Hearing is Streaming Live house.gov
482 points by bproper  6 days ago   253 comments top 66
boredguy8 5 days ago 4 replies      
Zoe Lofgren's statements were really good, and her criticisms of the way the hearing was structured (5 for, 1 against, no engineers) were compelling. Her question of, "How many sites would you want to see taken down?" and the dodging is telling, too.

And Darrell Issa did a phenomenal job calling into question the need for the legislation because of the function of the ITC & usefulness of administrative law solutions already in place.

Wow, Dennis Ross (R-FL) apparently doesn't understand that free speech protections apply to the GOVERNMENT, not to business. "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech..." So yes, when Google takes down a site, it's not unconstitutional. When the government does it, in some instances, that is unconstitutional.

mmaunder 5 days ago 3 replies      
10:45am mountain time: Ted Poe (R-TX): "This panel or this committee is made up of former prosecutors, defense lawyers and there are even two former judges here."

Consider the conflict of interest that exists when lawyers are making our laws. In this case if this bill passes there will be more laws and legal complexity and consequently more work to go around for everyone on the panel and all their previous and current firms and law school mates.

It's like asking a team of developers to get together and vote on whether a problem is best solved by writing more code or doing nothing.

noduerme 5 days ago  replies      
This is SO OFFENSIVE!!! She gives such great, clear technical answers -- they can detect child porn by a combination of reverse image search analysis and manual checks, but they can't visually tell whether a movie or song is licensed to play. Makes sense. "I'm sure we have the technology, we have the brainpower," responds some congrasshole. What fucking idiots these people are. They don't have a right to dictate terms to people smarter than them.

After watching this incredibly infuriating thing, I hope they pass it. I hope it passes, and the economy of the US tanks, and it eats itself. Fuck these people, and fuck everyone who voted for them.

If you're the only person in the room who has technical expertise, Submit your comments in writing.

feralchimp 5 days ago 1 reply      
Chair: "I came to this meeting undecided on this bill, and hoping to make up my mind during this discussion, but this discussion is bringing up concerns (e.g. interference with DNSSec) that seem highly problematic. Can the panelists comment on whether this bill would dis-incentivize adoption of more secure standards like DNSSec?"

"We disagree." - big content shill

Chair: "If you believe these concerns are unfounded, please submit written responses to that specific question explaining why you believe that."..."I'm very concerned that these [DNSSec] experts are not part of this hearing!"

Yes bro!

feralchimp 5 days ago 5 replies      
Reps now bitching that Google's senior management is not in the room. FUCK YOU, SENATOR. Those people deliver more value per day than you will deliver in your entire career as a public servant.

Oh god: "Why not hire some whiz kids?"

What a goddamned fool.

"We have the brainpower in this country [to design a machine to distinguish copyrighted works from non-copyrighted works]."

Actually, no, we don't. Fair use is a thing, holmes.

jeffreyg 5 days ago 3 replies      
I'm listening currently (11:43a EST) and they're quoting cyber security experts about how it could undermine security. From consumer union groups about how it affects consumer safety, from venture capitalists about how it can stifle innovation.
A lady right now is addressing how it's an issue that they don't have any technical expertise on the panel.
It's not ALL madness..
feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry for not attributing all these...exchange is between a Rep whose nameplate isn't vieible and multiple witnesses, primarily Ms. Oyama.

"We have harshly criticized governments whose service providers monitor and censor the actions of their users. [...] How would this legislation affect our diplomacy with nations like Iran, for example?"

"When there are realtime events, it's important that content services allow for infrastructure to support realtime public response to those events."

"This bill hurts both large and small content intermediaries severely, but in different ways."

"We've seen Libyan officials trying to take rivals' YouTube channels out of their national internet stream."

"The Justice Department has new responsibilities under SOPA while at the same time we've been talking about downsizing government. Are we creating an unmeetable burden for U.S. Gov as well as content intermediaries?"

feralchimp 5 days ago 1 reply      
"The #1 way to decrease piracy is to increase the number and quality of legitimate content services on the internet."

Preach it, sister.

davedx 5 days ago 2 replies      
"...protect American jobs..."

"...innocent civilians and American soldiers at risk..."

Who would have thought BitTorrent was such a threat to American civilisation?

feralchimp 5 days ago 1 reply      
"We know right now that a young film-maker starting out today will not be able to have a career because of piracy."

ORLY? We know that? Someone had better tell the market, which continues to fund (and see returns on) indie films.

msmith 5 days ago 3 replies      
12:19PM central time - The chairman, Rep. Smith, was asking whether this bill would impact our ability to implement DNSSEC. He seemed legitimately concerned that it could weaken security on the internet.

I have no idea whether there's any basis for concern, but I'm sure we have some DNSSEC experts here on HN. Comments?

feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
"I object to this bill in its current form because I believe it fails to use existing tools [injunctive relief] and does a worse job than those existing tools at solving this problem." - Mr. Issa (for the micro-win)

Unclear whether Mr. Issa's alternative bill (yet to be seen, focused on empowering the FTC to issue injuctions) would allow for DNS-based remedies, whether the injunctions would take more traditional forms like fines/C+D/damages, etc.

HilbertSpace 5 days ago 3 replies      
Let's see, we're ready for another exciting episode of 'Hackers Go to Washington' or 'As The Real World Turns':

Step 1. At a fancy lunch spot on Rodeo Drive a lobbyist gets with someone in Hollywood, and they talk about a Hollywood dream law, e.g., shut down Internet movie sharing or some such, just to pick a hypothetical issue! Wink, wink!

Step 2. The lobbyist sells the Hollywood guy on an effort to get the dream law passed. "Sign your check, and we will get started from our M Street offices." They do get started and draft the Hollywood Dream Act.

Step 3. The lobbyist finds some Dumb-Dumb legislators on Capital Hill who are not very bright, not doing very well, and need some campaign donations, maybe some trips to Vegas, etc. and hands them copies of the Hollywood Dream Act and some campaign donations, trips to Vegas, etc. Maybe if we did some searching we could find a list of the Dumb-Dumbs? Ah, that would assume that Dumb-Dumbs exist! I ask you, are there any Dumb-Dumbs on Capital Hill?

Step 4. The Dumb-Dumbs hold hearings and look like they are about to get the Hollywood Dream Act passed.

Step 5. People who oppose the Hollywood Dream Act, and there is no shortage, get up on their hind legs, write checks to other lobbyists on M Street, and the battle is on. Legislators who oppose the Hollywood Dream Act get campaign donations, trips to Vegas, etc.

Step 6. The Hollywood Dream Act dies in committee or in negotiations between the House and Senate or has some killer amendments added, etc.

Ah, it was always just the 'Hollywood Dumb-Dumb Public Wet Dream Act' or 'Who Gets Screwed As the World Turns' anyway!

Net, M Street gets richer; both the Dumb-Dumbs and all the opposing legislators get campaign donations, which they don't return, and trips to Vegas, but nothing real happens. It's just Hollywood.

Naw, no one would ever do anything so stupid. That would be called a 'scam', and that's SUCH a pejorative locution! We can be SURE that M Street and Capitol Hill would NEVER engage in anything like a scam, can't we?

feralchimp 5 days ago 3 replies      
"Stealin' is stealin' and thieves are people we oughtta deal with!"

"If I had my way I'd lock all three of ya in a room and don't come out until you agree."

"As a consumer I can't tell who's a thief and who's not a thief. What can Google offer this bill that would allow Google to sign on to this bill?"

How is "Google signing on" the key issue here? Is Google the gatekeeper to basic constitutionality in legislation now?

"Google would publicly support a "follow the money" approach."

feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
"From which countries originate the biggest threats of digital piracy?"

"Is China on your list?"

"What might be the total losses due to piracy [...] any studies done on that? Does anyone have a more comprehensive solution [than shutting down websites]?"

What does Mr. King want to hear? Bomb China and Russia and Sweden because OH NOEZ PIRACY? What. The. Fuck?

"Are you aware of state sponsored IP theft? China?"

Good god, man.

invalidOrTaken 5 days ago 1 reply      
Did Mr. Ross just equate government censorship with corporate page takedowns? The difference: one is prohibited by the Constitution, one is not.
feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Is it possible under this legislation that [the largest search engines in Russia and China] could be disappeared from the US DNS system? And if so, how should we expect the Russian and Chinese governments to respond to such action?"

- Mr. Cohen

rglover 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is truly a waste of humanity's time.

Edit: Check out the guy in the back on his iphone most likely looking at some form of "infringing content."

lancewiggs 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks everyone for the stream of comments. This law has global implications for how the internet works, or does not work.

1: The real question we should be asking is the source of the SOPA text. It was pretty clearly written by lobbyists, for their clients, and its just as clear that the committee has no idea about the contents. We should be attacking/ranting at the sponsoring companies while helping the congress people to understand through measured lobbying and public action.

2: Larry Lessig's latest book covers the process of making USA's laws extraordinarily well. Congress people are trying to do the right thing, but it's hard to believe laws are made in an unbiased manner when we look at the flow of cash supporting their elections.

3: New Zealand had a similar moment when copyright legislation was debated earlier this year, and the tech community suddenly saw how laws were made. It was a rush job, not pretty and the major parties suffered for it as they took stances which often lacked logic. We now have an election on, wand while it is not a big issue, I expect we will see a lot more support for the Green party, who were the only ones crying foul.

ggwicz 5 days ago 3 replies      
Please just stop. The people/bands I download are not ones I'd pay for right out of the gate.

For example: Pink Floyd. I hear a lot about them, but don't know if I'd like them. So I downloaded some of their popular albums for free and gave them a listen.

After recovering from the awesomeness, I've since bought two of those albums on iTunes, and yesterday 3 friends and I each dropped $78 on tickets for a concert with one of the old band members.

If I could only pay for it, which is the record company's ideal world, I would've seen the $16.99 price tag on iTunes and not taken the chance of listening to it.

The people downloading something illegally are, for the most part, not the same people who'd be paying for it.

ThaddeusQuay2 5 days ago 0 replies      
These hearings are nothing more than democracy theater, and I'm a bit surprised that otherwise smart people, namely most of those posting on HN, actually believe differently. The government has already shown, many times, its willingness and ability to shut down sites, unilaterally, by simply telling ICANN to redirect where a domain points. SOPA is merely a formalization of that power. I surmise that the best way to let a congressman know that you are serious about this issue is to put a bullet in the head of the congressman sitting next to him. If you aren't willing to go that far to protect your freedom, then you are just as full of hot air as the OWS crowd. I don't expect upvotes on this comment, but I am certain that all of the downvotes will come from cowards, the uniformed, idealists, or agents of the government. DNS is broken, and needs either extreme violence to protect its existing fragility, or an awesome technical improvement that will pry the government's grubby fingers off of it for good. Take your pick as to the best route, but wishing for logic and common sense at these hearings is pointless.

EDIT: I should point out the following, for those who think that there really is no need to worry. "Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users: It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook." - http://americancensorship.org A felony is a felony is a felony. Once you are guilty of one, your life changes significantly. It all comes down to which law you are willing to break. Just a couple of decades ago, murder and treason were pretty much the only serious crimes. Now, manipulate certain bits in a particular way, and it's treated as almost the same thing. Think about how much we've already lost through our passivity, and how much more we have to lose.

click170 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a chat room we can go to discuss the stream live so we aren't increasing the signal to noise ratio here?
inmygarage 5 days ago 0 replies      
The person speaking now has pointed out that there are 5 people in favor of the bill and only 1 speaking against it. She also lamented the fact that there are zero technical experts speaking.
UrLicht 5 days ago 1 reply      
So I've been doing every google search these clueless legislators have brought up in defense of the act:

"You can search for 'free harry potter movie' and watch it for free"

"You can go type 'j edgar' into google and piracy links show up above legitimate links"

"You can watch breaking dawn online right now, and it's not even out yet"


Try them yourself as they bring them up. They're full of bullshit.

throwaway64 5 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.livestream.com/sopaproceedings re stream for anybody who is having trouble viewing it
ggwicz 5 days ago 1 reply      
Just watched a guy talk about countries who are using practices like this.

He says "the Internet is working just fine there".

One of these places is Turkey. A guy got arrested there for talking about a Chuck Palahniuk novel there on some sort of forum or similar.

feralchimp 5 days ago 1 reply      
People in the chamber are now comparing search results on their iPads. So that's something.

"Service providers do not have the technical means to do what this bill requires."

^^^^^^^^ more like that. Update: that was Zoe Lofgren again.

click170 5 days ago 1 reply      
How unfortunate.
Ms. Jackson-Lee seems to have fallen for the fallacious argument that every file that was downloaded would have otherwise been bought if piracy wasn't a viable option. This does not bode well for the future...
nextparadigms 5 days ago 0 replies      
Was there anyone from an organization like EFF invited? Or just representatives from companies? Because I could see how companies could agree to supporting a bill as long as it's viable for them, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's something good for the people, too. Who's actually protecting the interests of people there?

All I can see is politicians saying "this SOPA breaking the Internet is nonsense". And yet, they didn't even invite engineers there to testify for that.

noduerme 5 days ago 1 reply      
"If we could get Google to index those sites [iTunes over the Pirate Bay] in a way that favored legitimacy..."

Hey, duck duck go might get some real legs if they work this one out =)

libraryatnight 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's scary hearing some of this. I don't think some of these people use the internet, except to find reasons to censor the internet.
feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Nobody has this old track that I love available to buy online, but people offer it online for free. When we talk about following the money, that's pretty impractical if the business is in (for example) China. [...] Why is it too onerous to block sites after probable cause is met and a federal judge concludes the site meets the description of 'dedicated to infringement'?"

Fair enough question. When the money is all interior to some foreign country, and doesn't touch typical payment hubs (e.g. Visa), how does "follow the money" address the problem effectively?

Well, because putting DNS in the hands of any single government or financial interest is a terrible remedy.

spenrose 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you know what you believe about SOPA (and its Senate equivalent), ignore the stream, call your Congress critters, and tell them what you think. Then after the vote, call them and thank or complain. No, it's not much, but it's almost certainly more efficacious than voting. Especially since you can legally do it many times.
kapitalx 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why they are talking about counterfit medicine. Is that covered under the DMCA? OR SOPA?
feralchimp 5 days ago 1 reply      
Mr. Ross's "I think simply" folksy routine makes me want to slap a bitch.
feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
Rare well-turned to Mr. Deutch: "Follow the money" leads to Google!

Google's response: "We spent a ton of time and money to create tools to allow rights holders to identify infringing content."

feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
"This isn't to protect the big dogs in Hollywood. This is for [set builders, etc.]"

So are those guys still getting paid, or aren't they? Are movies still making money, or aren't they?

pasbesoin 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is simplistic, but I think the people who make the technology work need to (find ways to) stop providing support -- stop enabling -- the Luddites who seek to monopolize it for their own gain.

Simply/simplistically put: Unplug them. We'd all be better off.

radagaisus 5 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like an appropriate place to write this.

I'm a self taught programmer. If it wasn't for the internets I would be a pretty poor guy. Spolsky gave a nice answer on SO about teaching a newcomer how to program. He listed SICP, k&R and Code. I read SICP online and I downloaded a version of K&R. Both books had a fundamentally awesome impact on me and I just decided I should buy them along with Code.

All the tech books I've ever read I read online with the exception of The Definitive Guide to Action Script 5, which cost me 50$.

SICP is on sale for 80$
K&R is 50$

If I'm poor (or: a kid) I don't have 50$. Denying me the option to steal this books without harming anyone will just make me less educated.

nazgulnarsil 5 days ago 0 replies      
Watching the legislative process for people who claim to believe in democracy is sort of like actually reading the bible for people who claim to be christian.
feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
They need to chill with drawing parallels between child porn and copyrighted movies. It's technically distinct and morally distinct. Just...no.
feralchimp 5 days ago 2 replies      
"Would you agree that the current piracy landscape makes it much more difficult to start a new fee-based distribution model vs. a free/ad-supported distribution model?"

Good question. Piracy status quo, without some sort of crackdown, already skews the "legitimate" distribution models to those that benefit companies with Google's model (e.g. for YouTube).

tomlin 5 days ago 0 replies      
If this goes through, it is doubtful that the US will remain the tech startup mecha for very long afterwards. Just about any revolutionary technology could find itself in hot water with this bill. A sad day if this gets passed.
drivebyacct2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any silver lining here? Despite the over whelming feeling of disgust I have for these godgie old farts running this country who think they know a damn thing about the Internet, I can't help but wonder if passage of this bill would finally ignite adoption of a better success to the Internet. Something where security and privacy are baked in from the beginning and not an add-on.
sycren 5 days ago 2 replies      
So... Tech companies, feel like moving your base of operations to Europe? We really need some investment right now ;)
feralchimp 5 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting point about reordering search results to favor known-legit content distribution channels...roughly: "Can we get Google to put Netflix above TPB in search results?"

If this is still a terrible idea, it's not an obviously terrible one.

herbivore 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would rather download the SOPA Hearing video in 720p HD quality than watch a crappy cheap low quality lowres version. Offer next day 720p/1080p HD version of TV shows and movies and piracy will go down. Even iTunes HD versions are crap, not to mention Netflix 2002-era stream quality.
namidark 5 days ago 0 replies      
Mr Rogs(Ross?) statements are ridiculous and he's not giving the female (lawyer?) a chance to respond and fully explain what he's asking -- and then he switches to CP as a defense in eliminating our free speech on the internet
spwmoni 5 days ago 1 reply      
"Silicone Valley." Yep, Waters sure sounds informed.
draggnar 5 days ago 1 reply      
Cohmert just proved the point of piracy

he searched for some obscure song and found it free illegally but not on iTunes. if it was available then he would have bought it.

ajankovic 5 days ago 0 replies      
Final result of this SOPA campaign is going to show how much influence does American internet users actually have in the "Real" world.
mwsherman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Stream is working fine for me. The content makes me wish we could find a way to firewall ourselves from powerful Luddites.
sabat 5 days ago 0 replies      
"It's time to try something."
"It's time to move."

Not if it means breaking the Internet.

feralchimp 5 days ago 1 reply      
"silicone valley"

Mispronunciation win!

artursapek 5 days ago 0 replies      
I can't watch the stream, but the comments here are endlessly interesting.
sixtofour 6 days ago 1 reply      
Quality is unbearable.
veyron 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is there anyone liveblogging the proceedings?
angersock 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Google just said that content owners are responsible for rogue websites. That can't be the truth."

Yes, truly, in a free market, seller policies cannot possibly influence the creation of market alternatives.

dmauro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Finally someone is asking the right question. Thank you Ms. Waters.
shmerl 5 days ago 0 replies      
Did anyone record the stream? I couldn't see it live.
libraryatnight 5 days ago 0 replies      
"I know crime when I see it." Do you?
josscrowcroft 5 days ago 0 replies      
Jesus, the horror, the horror!
1010101001 5 days ago 3 replies      
Are these hearings that house.gov streams archived somewhere?
If not, why?
ukgent 5 days ago 2 replies      
to the UK works via media player, but at work can not test sound.

This is not looking good brothers on the otherside of the sea. What i read today is a 5to1 debate :/ and i got a horriable feeling the nervous looking girl might be the 1 against :/

werdnanoslen 5 days ago 3 replies      
stream is broken for me
y3di 5 days ago 0 replies      
The hearing is over.
Microsoft, Apple and 27 other tech companies backing SOPA indirectly thenextweb.com
479 points by bradmccarty  4 days ago   118 comments top 19
naner 4 days ago  replies      
Notice that the supporters are software companies and the opposed are Internet companies. Here is a theory I proposed yesterday[1]:

Microsoft makes the vast majority of their money selling licenses. So does the entertainment industry.

For years these industries (software, music, and video) grew to massive size by exploiting cheap duplication of digital goods and control over distribution channels. Now that further advancing technology has brought duplication and distribution to the masses they are franticly trying to regain control.

The opposing tech companies sell services and advertising. Copyright infringement largely doesn't affect their bottom-line and these proposed measures will be costly for them to implement and legally difficult for them to follow.

Google's lawyers bringing up the Wikileaks payment processor embargo as a preferred solution also supports this position. Google (and other Internet companies) aren't really trying to protect free speech or other perceived rights, they are merely trying to protect their own interests.

1: http://news.ycombinator.org/item?id=3246019

luigi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the Influence Explorer profile of the BSA:


AlexMuir 4 days ago 2 replies      
The membership of this group is basically a list of businesses that startups should be chipping away at. Let them spend their time lobbying, while you sneak up behind them and whack them on the head with your niche webapp.







Bentley Systems


Cadence Design Systems

CNC Software " Mastercam



Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation








Progress Software




Rosetta Stone

Siemens PLM Software, Inc.




The MathWorks

feralchimp 4 days ago 3 replies      
There's no story here.

The alternative to "supporting SOPA in virtue of membership in the BSA" is "leaving the BSA over the BSA generally lobbying government to enforce copyright protections." That's kind of the point of the organization.

If you don't expect AutoDesk and MathWorks and SolidWorks to leave the BSA just to avoid this kind of second-rate muckraker reporting, then ignore the fact that Microsoft, CA, and Apple didn't leave either.

Alex3917 4 days ago 0 replies      
Based on Google's congressional testimony yesterday, it sounds like even they are willing to support the bill as long as it's changed so that Google themselves aren't affected.
rexf 4 days ago 3 replies      
It was very conspicuous yesterday that Apple & Microsoft did not show up on the anti-SOPA NYTimes ad:


MBlume 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty simple. If you work for one of those companies, quit.
tzs 4 days ago 3 replies      

   Yeah, how about that. In short, Microsoft
is using a front group to throw its support
behind SOPA, while publicly saying and doing
nothing, thus avoiding our rancor and displeasure.
Well, no, that won't do at all.

Note that the article provides no support whatsoever for the claim that BSA is a Microsoft front group, or that Microsoft is using it to intentionally support SOPA.

I'm surprised this hasn't been flagged to death. Are people not actually reading the article?

billpatrianakos 4 days ago 0 replies      
Over 100 comments here and most everyone seems surprised? The reporting in that article was complete crap. I don't like Microsoft but I don't see any evidence in this article for the claim that the BSA is a front for MS. That bit was recycled from a claim Some years ago in Uruguay which also doesn't totally make it clear that the BSA is a front.

Aside from the writer's total desperate reaching for a real story, let's all remember this is the BSA. the BSA has been independently campaigning to stop piracy by all means necessary for years now. How is this any shock at all that now they'd support SOPA? It's not Google supporting it, it's big ass software companies! Come on!

So you mention Apple in the title and we're all supposed to be shocked and horrified? We're supposed to be shocked that the company that just had record breaking profits is going to support a piece of legislation that is total dog shit for everyone but huge copyright holders?

Come on now. Let's cut the crap and be real. This is a non story. SOPA sucks, I love Apple, I'm still not moved. Waste of time to read.

ZipCordManiac 4 days ago 0 replies      
I apologize if this is covered in the article, but I could not find it. Does anybody know when the vote on SOPA happens ? How long afterwords until they start prosecutions and shutdowns ?
dfc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: I am whole heartedly against SOPA

That being said I think that it is important to raise the level of discourse on this issue in the community and I do not think that this article does much to that end:

    "We can, however, show that it does. And somewhat
disingenuously, if I may."

Since when does membership/support of business alliances and/or lobbyists count as disingenious? I do not think you will see any veteran reporters on the hill write that being a member of the BSA equates with any disingenious activity; the fact that microsoft is a member is public knowledge.

andrewfelix 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was on the fence about whether being a BSA member was enough to make one complicit in support of SOPA. But I think I've been swayed...BSA's support of SOPA would add a huge weight of legitimacy to the pro SOPA supporters. It's disturbing to say the least.
caycep 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why is Apple still a member of the BSA? They might as well pull out. They aren't in the business of selling costly software licenses - they give most of their software away, ostensibly to drive hardware sales. But it seems to me there's little that BSA does that dovetails in their interest.
jvandenbroeck 4 days ago 1 reply      
Finally a list you can use as a computer science graduate to know for which companies you are absolutely not going to work.
idspispopd 4 days ago 0 replies      
This link is tenuous at best. Being a member of BSA does not mean that the BSA dictates policy for these companies. (BSA is a non profit that comes under criticism for their rather obscure 'piracy' estimates.)

It's like saying google support SOPA because they do business with the RIAA.

dmak 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am really worried for the future of the internet.
incongruity 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but wonder if this couldn't be made into an opportunity for those of us who oppose SOPA.

All of the companies in the BSA are big/high value. Nevertheless, my gut tells me that some of the companies on that list are not ones that would be ready to face the limelight of an organized protest. Real or virtual. As such, targeting a few of the more vulnerable companies on that list could make them publicly distance themselves from the legislation, if not outright oppose it.

mlinksva 4 days ago 0 replies      
BSA membership is smaller than I would've guessed, eg HP, IBM, Oracle, and SAP aren't members. Good for them.

Why are Dell and Intel members? None of their direct competitors are.

CyruzDraxs 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's no coincidence that most of the companies on that list sell mediocre software for way more than it's worth. They rob us with their high prices, yet they throw a tantrum when we rob them back. Make your software suck less and maybe I'll consider paying for it.
How I Made $19,000 on the App Store While Learning to Code nathanbarry.com
482 points by nathanbarry  6 days ago   137 comments top 30
newobj 6 days ago  replies      
Reminds me, I should write my own story of how I made $190 on the App Store while exercising 15 years of coding experience.
Breefield 6 days ago 2 replies      
Whoa, Nathan Barry was my first boss. He was 19 and designing websites"I was 14-15 writing PHP CMSs. We worked in an incredibly hot 2nd story office above a bike shop in Boise Idaho. Good times.

Glad to see you've found success in the iOS realm, while helping improve people's lives in a real tangible way.

inuhj 6 days ago 1 reply      
Amazing. I'm so glad someone coded this. The price is a bit high for our institution(a struggling community hospital with 10 ICU beds) but hopefully I can get IT to consider it in our budget. The machine we use is a one-off and rarely works properly. I'm embarrassed to say that most of the time we avoid communicating with patients that are intubated. Coding a replacement has been on my to-do list for the last 2 months and I'm happy to strike it off.
rokhayakebe 6 days ago 1 reply      
I want to see you super-succeed, and in a lot of ways you already have succeeded.

The most important part is not that you made $19,000 while teaching yourself how to code, but that you are actually making the world a better place. I would angel fund this idea (if I had the money) the minute I would read gives a voice to anyone who cannot speak. I would venture fund your product that minute I would read replaces a $7,000+ medical device that is bulky and difficult to use.

dangero 6 days ago 1 reply      
Good job. I think one of the most important things you did is you knew who your customer was before you started your application. It seems obvious, but most apps in the app store have no target customer.
Torn 6 days ago 5 replies      
What made you decide on the $199 price point?

Additionally, do you think the $199 price point might it out of reach for a lot of people who would benefit from the app but who have tights budgets?

erikb 6 days ago 1 reply      
This kind of story always reads like a financial fail. He should pay himself a normal programmers salary (something around 50k/year for a beginner might be fine, also he is not a beginner, because he knows a lot about presentation and UX design) and THEN calculate his profits. Probably this App is way in the minus.
Also you must consider that he just has around 1k customers and all of them on the same plattform. Also these customers only paid him once and not regularily. That are 4 big risks: low number of customers, no guaranty to get any dollar next month and a high dependence on one plattform and high dependence on the success of this one app.
Another risk, I nearly forgot about, is that the core feature of his app, the speach engine, is not even his own. What if Acapela decides they make their own App in this direction.

Concluding everything I think he has a low income, unprofitable, high risk business. Not the position I want to be in, when I quit my dayjob.

edit I just now see that you posted the link yourself, Nathan. Please read all "he"s as "you". ;-)

codesink 6 days ago 3 replies      
A good designer can score on the Appstore even if he is a novice programmer.

Unfortunately that's not true for good programmers that suck at design.

JoeAltmaier 6 days ago 2 replies      
This storey shows its not necessary to sell a million to make an app worthwhile.

How many other niche apps are out there? Anything where you carry a computer or clipboard around is eligible. Specific to a task, or a general fill-in-a-spreadsheet-and-email-it app would fit the bill.

larrys 6 days ago 2 replies      
Here's what I would do.

1) Get a copy of it in the hands of special ed departments at schools (for free). And the people who oversee the IEP's, counselors etc. You will then get referrals to sell the full priced product after people see a demo.

2) Lower the price of your product so it's a no brainer for parents.

Having the price so high is going to invite competition that will sell the same app at a lower price. While that can still happen with a lower price it is more likely at the price point you are at because people will be more motivated to compete (and anyway you will sell more at the lower price..)

3) Come up with a different name or buy onevoice.com. If the product is recommended you need people to be able to easily find your website. Not only don't you own the domain name onevoice.com but you don't come up (now) in any search results.

Edit: "search results" - as in when someone hears about it and they google it not the app store.

markazevedo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Money aside, it's great you've created an awesome product for a group that really could use more assistance. Thanks for building something to better the human condition, and showing others they don't need to sacrifice everything to do it!
billpatrianakos 6 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of people will focus on the money and come away wondering if they can make a quick buck too. Hopefully people don't miss the point. You made a cool app for a really niche market that had a huge need for this inexpensive tool. And you helped some people really needed it. Kudos, man.

You learned to code for iOS, helped people in need, and made a buck off it. Awesome.

phil 6 days ago 0 replies      
Cool. I've been noticing more of these apps (that virtualize an expensive custom device) lately.

Here's another example, an app that replaces whatever gadget piano tuners used to carry:

martinshen 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic. I hadn't heard of many apps that target this niche specifically. What are you planning in terms of marketing?

PS. I love the UI I see in the screens... and would love to play with it. I wonder what type of animations you're using etc. Also, beautiful and simple website.

cantbecool 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nathan, that's a great market to develop applications in. There's a general need for your application, and you're helping society at the same time.

I recently saw a short segment on 60 minutes, "Apps for Autism", which demonstrated and explained applications in your applications field, autistic children. Here's the video URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7385686n&tag=cont...

orky56 6 days ago 3 replies      
I have a similar non-technical background (UX/design) and was curious how you were able to not get frustrated and outsource the development work rather than doing it yourself. If I was in the same position, I would get too restless and want it built right away.

Any advice on how you got through that situation? Thanks.

ajb 6 days ago 1 reply      
So, why is it better than Proloqu2go? (My relatives have already bought that for their nonverbal son, so this we are unlikely to be a sale unless you're really convincing).
zeratul 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you, Nathan. I'm glad to see an application for pediatric patients. Hopefully, the price will go down in a future. You could try to advertise it among neurologists:


rythie 6 days ago 2 replies      
He's actually disrupting the market for the $7000+ device, I wonder how many the $7000+ people sell, presumably he could take most/all of their sales + a load on top who couldn't afford it in the first place.

I assume at this point the $7000+ device people think they have some better features that make it worthwhile and are reluctant to do their own iPad app. (Innovators Dilemma).

eliben 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is a really great and inspiring story, IMO. Shows how modern technology can truly change people's lives. Sure, this kicks some speciality device companies out of the market (like I'm sure was done many times now by smartphone & tablet apps), but who cares about that?
kschua 6 days ago 0 replies      
Very impressive Nathan.

I like that it is not just another one of those app products that is targeted at the masses.

Instead, you found a niche, talk to customers and found a nice selling price, which from the user's perspective is a bargain.


code_duck 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great story, and nice work! This happened because you decided to push ahead and make something you saw the need for clearly.

Sometime soon I might share the story of how I made $100,000 on the (... what to call it?) browser while learning to code.

16s 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great story. You might market some to colleges and universities that have speech pathology areas. They would love this sort of app.
gawker 6 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations Nathan! I'm extremely encouraged to hear about your success - especially since it's an application that addresses a real need and helps create value in society. I'm really inspired that you can do good in this world and make some money at the same time. Thanks so much!
pkamb 6 days ago 1 reply      
Very inspiring. Do you use AdWords or any other forms of advertising? What percentage of your sales are to people you contact personally?
nivertech 6 days ago 1 reply      
Please give us list of companies making these overpriced $7K+ devices. Any of them public?
evoltix 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great job.

Although, I'm particularly interested in how you made the decision to quit your full-time job and create a startup based on one-time sales? Is there a service behind this startup?

postscapes1 6 days ago 1 reply      
Does this work well for people who have suffered strokes as well?
ohhmaar 6 days ago 0 replies      
Seems very inspiring. Thanks.
yonasb 6 days ago 0 replies      
Asynchronous UIs - the future of web user interfaces alexmaccaw.co.uk
474 points by maccman  5 days ago   145 comments top 43
crazygringo 5 days ago  replies      
For truly trivial things like upvoting comments, fine.

But for sending an e-mail? Not in a million years. I want to see the spinner, and then know that it was actually sent, so I can close my web browser.

E-mails can sometimes be terribly important things.

If my e-mail web app always instantaneously tells me "sent!", then I never have any idea if it actually was -- how long do I have to wait to know before it tells me, "sorry, not sent after all." What if the app doesn't get back an error code, but the connection times out? What if the app doesn't implement a timeout?

Basically, if I don't get a real, delayed, "sent" confirmation, then I know there was a problem and can investigate or try again. But if I get an instantaneously "sent" confirmation, and then don't get a "sorry, there was a sending error" message, I can't be 100% confident that the data actually got to the server, because maybe there was a problem with triggering the error message. And since I'm a web developer, I can imagine all SORTS of scenarios that a programmer might not account for, then would prevent an error message from being displayed.

wrs 5 days ago 2 replies      
Ah, thick clients are coming back again, and now we've reached the point where people start trying to build asynchronous applications because they're frustrated with choppy UI.

Unfortunately, pretending the network isn't there doesn't make it so. The flakiness has to come out somewhere, sometime. Either you make the user wait now, or you explain later, after you've lied about what you did. It's a tricky tradeoff.

Let's fast-forward to the end of the movie: You'll end up with a zillion special cases that are impossible to test properly. You'll decide to restore sanity by replicating the data into a client-side store with low latency and high reliability, so you can go back to a synchronous UI that your developers can reason about. All the craziness will be in a background process that syncs the client and server stores, which will still have to cause weird behavior as reality demands it, but at least the logic is contained. (I just described an IMAP mail client, or--for a Normandy-invasion-scale example--some versions of Microsoft Outlook.)

Then a new thin client platform comes along where you can't do all that complicated client-side stuff. The cycle repeats.

jashkenas 5 days ago 4 replies      
Nice post. I'd like to briefly respond to the bit about the difference between Spine, which generates pseudo-GUIDs for models created on the client, later overwriting them if the server responds with a real id; and Backbone, which has a "cid" (client ID) for every model regardless of the canonical server ID.

The reason why Backbone provides a persistent client id for the duration of every application session is so that if you need to reference model ids in your generated HTML, you always have something to hang your hat on. If I have '<article data-cid="c530">' ... I can always look up that article, regardless of if the Ajax request to create it on the server has finished or not. With Spine's approach: '<article data-id="D6FD9261-A603-43F7-A1B2-5879E8C7926B">' ... I'm not sure if that id is a real one, or if it's temporary, and can't be used to communicate with the server.

Optimistically (asynchronously, in Alex's terms) doing client-side model logic is tricky enough in the first place, without having to worry about creating an association based off a model's temporary id. I think that having a clear line between a client-only ID and the model's canonical ID is a nice distinction to have.

patio11 5 days ago 2 replies      
I love the feeling of immediacy users get when using AJAXy applications over render-view-submit-rerender applications, and my users actually comment on this to me (not in as many words, but they say that it is "light", "fast", "easy to use", etc), but the development costs of going the extra mile to asynchronous strikes me as likely to be very high indeed. It already costs me about ~5x development time to do something client side versus server side, just because of how much time wiring up Javascript takes. (And praying it doesn't break, because Javascript is orders of magnitudes harder to test than Ruby is.) The costs for rewriting the entire app to exist simultaneously in the browser and the server, and to magically never fall out of sync even when users do something user-y, scares the heck out of me.

The whole toolchain for reasoning about stuff happening in the browser is still laging a few years behind what we have on the server, which is a related but larger problem. We have Firebug, which gets us truly revolutionary features like "output log messages... in a browser!" and "inspect the internal state of objects in memory... in a browser!" But many of the rest of the cutting edge developments from the 60s and 70s haven't quite made it to the browser yet, or they're not yet at the point where they can be used by mortals. (Selenium: I want to love you, and yet I can't actually use you for anything because you break my brain.)

gfodor 5 days ago 2 replies      
The author managed to pick the worst possible example of a site 'doing it wrong.' First, GMail practically invented the asynchronous UI, you'd think they know what they're doing. And, of course, they do. The reason it blocks when you send an e-mail is because that way you can be sure the damn thing was actually sent.
corin_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
The highlight of this article for me is:

  Amazon: 100 ms of extra load time caused a 1% drop in sales (source: Greg Linden, Amazon).
Google: 500 ms of extra load time caused 20% fewer searches (source: Marrissa Mayer, Google).
Yahoo!: 400 ms of extra load time caused a 5-9% increase in the number of people who clicked "back" before the page even loaded (source: Nicole Sullivan, Yahoo!).

Answered my own question but will leave for anyone else interested: but does anyone have the sources for those facts?

edit: Original source for Amazon stat (possibly also Yahoo, or possibly it's just referenced) is a powerpoint by Greg, downloadable at http://7303294208304035815-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.goo...

edit 2: The Google stat is from a speech at a 2006 "Web 2.0" conference, referenced by Greg at http://glinden.blogspot.com/2006/11/marissa-mayer-at-web-20....

edit 3: Yahoo stat from Nicole's presentation here: http://www.slideshare.net/stubbornella/designing-fast-websit...

weixiyen 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's something to be said about user confidence and a user's confidence level directly correlating to their productivity using your app.

I could not have thought of a worse example than removing a progress indicator from sending an email. Making an "async UI" work in a fluid way that provides confidence to the end user is much harder than simply changing the state immediately and hoping that 99% of the time, it works.

Error handing can be a pleasant experience if done correctly, and in this blog post it's just an afterthought.

Here's a better way to do it:

- I click "Send Mail"

- My UI changes as if it were sent, allowing me to do other things in the meantime.

- I receive a growl notification in some other part of the UI that tells me the email has been successfully sent.

- If 1 second has gone by and I did not receive a response from the server to confirm that the mail has been sent, I will see an indicator that tells me that the sending is in progress, where the growl indicator would have been.

- If it is an error, the indicator changes and allows me to click it to go back to the mail composition view.

The concept of providing perceived performance is not new, but the details are in the execution, and you will shoot your self in the foot if you don't cover all the little details that are required to make something like this work.

Otherwise, some company is going to implement some jarring async UI incorrectly and piss off a lot of users.

Yes, blocking a UI is bad, but notifying the user of progress and task completion is a very good thing.

azov 5 days ago 1 reply      
There's a difference between a non-blocking UI, and the UI that hides progress of an operation that actually takes time. I'm all for non-blocking UIs, sure, let me do other things while I wait. I'm not so crazy about hiding progress. Call me a control freak, but I do want to see that the action I requested is actually completed, not just appears to be.
yuliyp 5 days ago 1 reply      
I really dislike the attitude of "errors are rare, so don't spend much time on them" espoused by the article. Errors are rare in the sense that you will often miss them, but most of your users will run into them.

Let's say your AJAX requests have a .1% chance of failure. If your users perform a thousand actions each on average, then 50% of your users will have been exposed to your error flow. Hope it's better than "Sorry, an error occurred."

Individual errors are rare compared to successes. Overall errors happen all the time.

callmeed 5 days ago 3 replies      
I'm curious how SEO will play into this trend of async UIs and JS frameworks.

In 2 of the example studies given (Amazon and Yahoo!), we're talking about content/commerce sites where rankings matter.

If you reduce load time by Xms and increase conversions by Y%, your net gain could still be negative if you get bumped to page 3 for important searches and lose traffic.

Do any of these JS frameworks consider SEO and have appropriate features built-in? (I'm thinking of things like hash fragments)

Can someone who runs a content/commerce site that cares about SEO comment on this?

HnNoPassMailer 5 days ago 1 reply      

  The idea is that you update the client before you send an Ajax request to the server.

"Optimistic updating", not "Asynchronous UI". The UI is already asynchronous (regardless of UI updating order).

  "request/response model". 

"Pessimistic updating" -> i.e. update UI only after successful response

jpastika 5 days ago 1 reply      
I recently used several of the techniques described, but I carefully chose when and where to implement them. For example, when a user "deletes" an item, rather than removing anything from the DOM before the request, I hide the appropriate elements, send the request, and if successful, remove DOM elements. The advantage of this approach is that the UI feels snappy, but it is easy to fall back if something goes wrong. Being optimistic that things will "just work" is alright in a fairly controlled environment, but when mobile is introduced, a mix of optimism with a soft fallback is a good approach.
zv 5 days ago 3 replies      
Nice idea, definately not new. There is one major problem with this approach - you save document, request processing, you navigate away from page, start new work, after 30 secs your request failed. Now the code complexity for you to handle this situation is high. Multithreaded/asynchronous systems are always hard.
ggwicz 5 days ago 0 replies      
I liked this article a lot, so please don't think I'm being negative. The only thing that I sort of disagreed with was "we should optimize for the most likely scenario"

I disagree.
1) optimization is fragility
2) the extremes will inform the average

The "most likely scenario" is a visitor with a fast-enough Internet connection that a few hundred ms more won't matter.

So we should build for the extremes? Well, that's a little extreme (see what I did there?). But if you point to stats like "5-9% hit the back button...", that is not the most likely scenario...it's, well, 5% to 9% of the scenarios...

There's a documentary called Objectified that examined this with physical products, check it out. I think when developing and/or designing for speed, the "most likely" person is the least of your worries. The people still rocking slow dial-up connections are the ones who will be impacted...design and develop with them in mind.

One example from Objectified was a toothbrush. When they targeted extremes and made a handle that musclebound roidheads, people with MS, and old people could easily use (i.e. the extremes of human mobility), the "average" consumer was more than taken aware of and the extremes were satisfied.

If you develop and design for the slow browsers and the wonky old Internet connections, or at least keep them in mind, the normal folks will be more than satisfied (ideally).

Sorry to be so picky it just caught my eye and I felt compelled to chime in whilst waiting for school to end...

inopinatus 5 days ago 0 replies      
Whoop, I get to reuse a comment I made on an earlier article, almost verbatim:

"Now that the client is the MVC execution environment with the client-server interaction used mostly for asynchronous data replication, plus some extra invokable server-side behaviours, we can congratulate ourselves on having more-or-less reinvented Lotus Notes."

alex_c 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is this the kind of thinking that led to Gawker's monstrosity of a redesign half a year ago?
lkozma 5 days ago 0 replies      
This asynchronous sending of emails sounds nice but it reminds me of the times when I started using email some 15 years ago. I would sit at a Unix terminal, fire up Pine, write all my emails and hit send with no delay or blocking, go to sleep and hope that during the night some script actually succeeds in sending those emails.
fiatpandas 5 days ago 2 replies      
For me, when something loads too fast, I think something broke because my brain has been wired to learn than actions through a web browser are generally not instantaneous and take a bit of time. Even if it's just a fraction of a second.

I really like this idea, but for some reason I think my brain would be more comfortable with a ajax spinner appearing for 300ms rather than an instant page load. For instance, I built something recently which loaded images on a page via ajax calls. It happened very quickly, 50ms maybe. The loading seemed way too fast so I actually delayed the images by about 300ms. It seemed a much more comfortable delay, and a few of my non-developer friends agreed.

Is there a sweet spot, or am I crazy? Let's just ignore amazon and google's data for the sake of argument.

n8agrin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Totally agree with the premise that user actions should provide responses instantly, I was building those kinds of responsive UIs 2 years ago. But, I have a problem believing that the future of web applications is based on serializing all ajax requests and duplicating model validation on the client. Come on, this is 2011, this technique isn't new. Let's work on things that will really change the state of the art.
dpup 5 days ago 0 replies      
Gmail optimistically updates the UI in many cases, for example when starring a message or marking read/unread. Not doing so for send was a very conscious decision due to the severity of the failure cases.

That said, work has been done to ameliorate the problems and reduce the chance of data loss. Check out the "background send" lab released earlier this year : http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-in-labs-background...

hesselink 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nice article overall, but this stood out for me:

> Again, this is an exceptional event, so it's not worth investing too much developer time into.

I have to disagree here. Exceptional events are exceptionally important here, since so much progress is hidden from the user. It is absolutely critical to inform the user of what happened, so their expectations aren't broken, and to cleanly recover so the application is not in an incorrect state. I think this is the most important thing to invest developer time into in an application built in this way. Otherwise, you'll lose customer confidence do to unexpected behavior or even lost/corrupted data.

jqueryin 5 days ago 0 replies      
From reading through the various responses on this post, I believe one very feasible and worthwhile solution to asynchronous UIs is to maintain what has been referred to as a transaction log somewhere in the UI for the user to be able to see containing all requests and their subsequent status/response message when the proper event fires. This would assume that any actionable items would trigger immediate changes to your UI in favor of the "success" case. It would be up to you as to whether you'd like to revert that scenario in the scenario that a failure occurs in an event response.

This would remove the dreaded "blocked UI" scenario because everything appears to happen instantaneously, however there would be failsafes in place when something goes wrong (the infrequent scenario).

To me it seems more a matter of order reversal in how we handle AJAX calls (assuming you aren't using an async/evented system).

I can, however, think of downsides. Take, for instance, a scenario where you may have a nested tree of actionable items that may have prerequisites on the other's completion. You could chain the events, but you might end up with a queue unbeknownst to the end user. Worse, a failure might occur at the parent level which leads to failures for all subsequent calls. I myself am not sure what the good alternative to this might be in terms of non-blocking UIs.

padenot 5 days ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, GMail proposes a lab feature that enable asynchronous email sending (i.e. `Send` is clicked, and you go back immediately to the last location, while the email is sent in background).
exclipy 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is exactly the philosophy that Google Wave had, except they called it an "optimistic" UI - it always assumes that every action will succeed on the server side.

It solved all these problems mentioned and more - for example, it used the operational transform algorithm to merge your changes with those of other users on the same page and update the client state to reflect this asynchronously. It also could continue working without a network connection - it'd just keep queuing your requests, and when you plug in the network again, it'd just start working again, albeit possibly with a big backlog of changes to merge together.

These are the kinds of problems you might have to start thinking about if you want to go down this path. Remember that Google Wave died from its own complexity.

donpark 5 days ago 0 replies      
'Asynch UI' has its uses but, in case of email, I don't think benefits to users have much substance. Yes, perception is a critical design factor we must all deal with on daily basis but we shouldn't forget that 'magic show' entertains at best and offers no real value to users. 'Magic' by another name is hoodwinking and can easily induce confusion and anger when misapplied.
jablan 5 days ago 1 reply      
Stating that this is the "future of web UI" implies that most of us will have to develop duplicate logic on client and server side, possibly with different languages (as the author actually does). While he mostly talks about the validation, it seems to me that just plain validation will not suffice - we would have to keep lots of business logic duplicated as well. And "duplicate" usually meaning "almost the same, but with bunch of edge cases not behaving exactly the same way".

Am I the only one who does not like such outlook?

tlack 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have some APIs I have to call that take up to 5 seconds to return and resist caching (hotel availability, for instance). Would those delays become even more jarring with an approach like this?
jtmille3 5 days ago 0 replies      
I really appreciated this post. Everything Alex mentioned in his article I learned through trial by fire doing mobile development. Performance was critical and UI responsiveness was a must. It was then that it dawned on me that all the same techniques could be applied to a web application just like Alex mentioned. Most web developers seem to get stuck in the framework rut. All the tools and techniques are there to build something fast and responsive.

If there is one thing I can truly appreciate about what he is trying to do with spine it's the client id generation and request queueing. This has got to be the core of what makes good "AUI". Every developer dealing with remote requests should have this in their back pocket. 101 stuff.

smackfu 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know why the Show links are actually faster for me on the async version than the static? Shouldn't a "show" be instant either way?
outside1234 5 days ago 1 reply      
what are people using on the backend for apps like this? I was just starting an app with approach like this (both for these reasons and to harmonize across web and mobile clients) and I was planning on using RoR given its first class support for JSON and maturity. Thoughts?
james33 5 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone have an opinion on if Spine is the best for this as apposed to something like Backbone?
gurraman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I prefer to put the worker queue on the server. It's not as snappy, but it's snappy enough. And queued up operations will not get lost if the browser is closed/crashes.
wahnfrieden 5 days ago 0 replies      
This demo needs to listen to hash-change events so that it goes back when I hit back in my browser. It's otherwise a good example.
borismus 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great post however many things don't fit the pattern. For example, lacking precognition, your search app can't know what people will search for. There are many similar UI examples, where you can't do stuff until you get input from the user, leading to a fundamentally synchronous (from a user's perspective) transaction.
towhans 5 days ago 2 replies      
I totally disagree with updating the UI BEFORE the request gets back. It's wrong for so many reasons. They all boil down to the fact that server state is independent from the client state.

The speed argument also doesn't hold. If requests take too long to process then you have either problem with your API (doing something synchronously on server side which should be done asynchronously, granularity problems,...) or your server is freaking slow. At worst a request should take under 100ms of pure server time. Add latency and you have 300ms.

gizzlon 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if people have thought through the security problems and implications of moving state to the client side..?

Actually, that's a lie, I'm sure they have not ;)

flibble 5 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't agree more. For connected web based games this is a requirement. https://www.switchpoker.com/client makes use of asynch calls to give the appearance of an extremely responsive UI.
dearmash 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nice to see people testing out <script> tags in the demo. Also glad to see the tags instead of being navigated away from the page.

Surprised a little to see the demo is actually being edited by multiple people, presumably from yc.

radicalbyte 5 days ago 0 replies      
I did a bit of work towards this last year: the user experience is really nice, comparable to Silverlight or Flex. Only both Silverlight and Flex have a much nicer development experience at the cost of a plugin.
zachallia 5 days ago 0 replies      
it's amazing how such a small slice of time can have such huge impact. definitely excited by this and other approaches to increase perceived speed!
james33 5 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one that finds it odd that Spine doesn't do this with their own site?
nickand 5 days ago 0 replies      
If I am loading a list I want to know when it is done.
maximusprime 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ajax is so 2005. At least use Comet, Websocket or SPDY where available.
Google releases full Android 4.0.1 source code, includes Honeycomb too google.com
471 points by patrickaljord  7 days ago   113 comments top 21
pingswept 7 days ago  replies      
In the past, I've spent a fair bit of time criticizing Google for calling Android "open source", but not releasing the source. Now that it appears that they are actually doing it, let me be the first to say that this is great.

Well done, Google.

imurray 7 days ago 2 replies      
[dead] comment by cdibona:
"Please don't sync yet, it's currently in a mixed state. The 'repo for-all git push' is still running and will take some time to complete, so if you sync now you'll get some parts with Gingerbread and some parts with ICS."

(If you accidentally post something twice, be careful about deleting one. The other one may be automatically killed, but you don't see it when your posts are killed.)

decklin 7 days ago 0 replies      
There are two links to this post on the front page right now. This one, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/android-building/T4X... , loads fine on my computer and comes up in the "new" Google visual design. It completely fails on my phone (Android 2.3), displaying "Loading..." for a while and then bumping me to the front page of Google Groups with a little message saying I am now logged in (I tried several times). The other link, https://groups.google.com/group/android-building/msg/c0e01b4... , just works, everywhere, but shows the old Groups interface.

This is a really sad state of affairs. If Google can't guarantee that their fancy new Javascript-dependent links won't work everywhere, they should not be used as permalinks.

I really don't care about any arguments people might want to make about the visual redesign, or how to properly implement #! paths, or the extra effort involved in generating resilient URLs, or Google paying special attention to how the Android browser handles pages, or what evil things my phone company might be doing my my data stream, and how that's not their fault, or whatever. Permalinks should work. Everywhere. Period.

rst 7 days ago 2 replies      
Not _quite_ full source code --- some proprietary graphics drivers are supplied in binary-only form. It won't matter much for most uses of the source code, but purists will be displeased.


cppsnob 7 days ago 1 reply      
Related: how's Apple's "open" FaceTime specification coming along? Still waiting on just the specification here. Not even code.
pasbesoin 7 days ago 1 reply      
Why is Chris DiBona's comment in this thread dead? What he said is "from the horse's mouth", i.e. Google Open Source.

Comment: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3235947

Profile: http://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=cdibona

Personal site (includes mention of his job): http://www.dibona.com/

P.S. Chris, you have http://dibona.com in your HN profile, but it just redirects.

juliano_q 7 days ago 1 reply      
Google releases every source code except Honeycomb. I think the code was really ugly, released urgently to support tablets. I cant blame Google, we who works with software in big companies know how pressure and strict timelines can be a pain, but I am glad that things are back on track.
melling 7 days ago 2 replies      
Now the only thing missing is a winning strategy for desktops/laptops. :-)

Seems like Chrome OS should be folded into Android and many people would be comfortable using it at home. Same apps could run and sync on all devices.

thristian 7 days ago 2 replies      
So, the Android website is packed full of information about how to clone the Android repository and build it from scratch, but I just want to browse it online. Is there some official "gitweb" site or something that I can poke at?
blantonl 7 days ago 3 replies      
I've heard so many complaints from developers about the delayed source release, however I've never known Google to withhold source code for Android.

Could the slight delay in release simply be due to legal issues such as scrubbing patent issues and verification that OSS code isn't infringing?

shn 7 days ago 1 reply      
while I found the opportunity that many commenting and interested in this topic, let me ask a question. Can one upgrade any android phone by himself? (I do not own one), or one need to wait for the carrier and or manufacturer need to do it?
bri3d 7 days ago 1 reply      
Why don't they just tag all of Honeycomb?

If the reason is that there's no combination of project commits that can create a building Honeycomb, they should just admit to it and explain why.

The current approach seems like a weird attempt to snow something over - I understand that Honeycomb was a rushed, trashy Android release, and that there's some pride involved, but supposedly all of the rushed, trashy code is in the tree now, and hence there's no going back. The first thing everyone on xda-developers is going to do is go hunting for bad Honeycomb code anyway.

xxiao 7 days ago 0 replies      
I criticized google for holding back honeycomb, now it's finally releasing the code again. Great! Thanks Google.
cnxsoft 7 days ago 0 replies      
That source tree is huge. Over 6GB of data and it takes several hours to sync on my machine (not done yet).
tomlin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile at Daring Fireball

crickets http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8E_zMLCRNg

DonnyV 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'v never seen so many people BITCHING about getting free code. No less an entire OS that runs on hundreds of devices. Maaahhhh you didn't release it fast enough. Stop whining!!
Srirangan 7 days ago 0 replies      
Well done Google!
zobzu 7 days ago 0 replies      
'bout time !
ErikRogneby 7 days ago 3 replies      
Only the Honeycomb GPL modules are available. The entire platform source is not available. see here: http://source.android.com/source/build-numbers.html
drivebyacct2 7 days ago 0 replies      
Flash has nothing to do with Google's reasons for not open sourcing Honeycomb.
vog 7 days ago 1 reply      
Many thanks to http://gpl-violations.org/! Without their pressure this would have taken considerably longer. (Or wouldn't have happened at all?)
Nancy Pelosi, Ron Paul join SOPA opposition arstechnica.com
456 points by ajaymehta  4 days ago   76 comments top 7
LeafStorm 4 days ago 4 replies      
I don't think there was any doubt that Ron Paul would oppose SOPA. Nancy Pelosi's opposition, on the other hand, is somewhat surprising, but also quite promising.
NathanKP 4 days ago 6 replies      
Has anyone yet made a serious estimate of how likely SOPA is to pass?

I would hope that if our legislative system is so divided that they can't agree on legislation relating to budgets or healthcare, they won't agree on this legislation either.

Not that its a good thing for the legislation system to be so ineffective, but it would seem truly ironic if they agree on something that will hurt the economy, but not on things that will help the economy.

ck2 4 days ago 1 reply      
In all seriousness, all we need is President Obama to say he is for SOPA and it will immediately be voted out of existence.
cookiecaper 4 days ago 0 replies      
The real question is, "Can Barack Obama stand to sign this bill when he relies so heavily on youthful support for election?" Also, "what happens if Republican nominee comes out against it?"

I don't hear much about Obama vetoes, does he just sign everything that hits his desk like Bush?

tomjen3 4 days ago 0 replies      
That is not going to chang enuch I am afraid. We could always count on Ron Paul to vote against it but there are way too many people in the house for one vote to matter.
johnnyjustice 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is very interesting news, but I am scared that there will be a bit of a backlash against this post because of its political nature, on HN specifically.

How do people feel about Ron Paul's standpoint on Net Neutrality?

Pointsly 4 days ago 1 reply      
Love this. Thank God.
Tumblr's anti-censorship message generated 87,834 phone calls to representatives staff.tumblr.com
434 points by nextparadigms  4 days ago   64 comments top 12
OoTheNigerian 4 days ago 5 replies      
SOPA is a big deal and US will be worse off for it beacuse US based companies will be put at a disadvantage ab-inito.

However, I think the people campaigning for opposition have failed to use 'normal' words to explain how it will affect the masses. For us here that have startups and are interested in these things, words like 'infringe copyright', 'safe-habour' etc make sense.

All 90% of the masses need to know is this: If you paste that funny clip you saw on MTV on your Facebook, MTV can shut down Facebook or sue you.

If you put that image you Googled on your blog, ALL your adsense money can be seized. If you Tweet it, you Twitter account can be closed.

When 'the masses' hear this, it would make no sense cos it doesn't. We should "dumb down" the message to get it accross to the 'mainstream' populace

I just wonder why the US legislature would want to deliberately cripple US's strength on the web.

Aaronontheweb 3 days ago 1 reply      
I used this service to speak to my Congresswoman for the first time in my life. Kudos to the Tumblr team for enabling a lot of generally-not-political people like me who to make our voices heard when needed.
jcc80 4 days ago 3 replies      
While it's clear SOPA isn't going anywhere, my concern is that the "next" SOPA won't be so extreme and hence, the outrage will be muted. All they need is a foothold to build off of. Luckily they were dumb this time and tried to go big.
datums 3 days ago 1 reply      
I contacted her via the EFF site

Reply from Senator Gillibrand

Thank you for writing to me regarding S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011. I understand your concerns.

I am a cosponsor of this legislation because I believe that we must protect American intellectual property against foreign websites that infringe upon our rights. By empowering the Attorney General of the United States to go after foreign infringing websites, this legislation becomes a necessary tool to ensure that U.S. companies remain competitive in the world marketplace. I recognize that there are technical concerns with the enforcement of this bill that need to be addressed. I am committed to working with my colleagues in the United States Senate to ensure that this legislation protects the Constitutional rights of Americans and does not stifle lawful free speech or innovation on the internet.

Thank you again for writing to express your concerns, and I hope that you keep in touch with my office regarding future legislation. For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at http://gillibrand.senate.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter.

maeon3 4 days ago 0 replies      
The big companies would censor the data stream between my motor cortex and muscles if they could. But that is ridiculous, so they will settle for censoring the streams between all computers. Remember, in 50 years we will all have onboard computers integrated with our thoughts. we must program freedom right into the fabric of the net. As free as the signals between my liver and brain.
CWIZO 4 days ago 4 replies      
Can somebody explain what exactly did they do? Who made those calls?
stfu 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is great to see that tumblr is actually doing something! Putting up some ad in the NYT/WSJ is not enough.

Google could have done something similar, e.g. blacking out every first search result or something like that. In this ongoing attack on freedom and the internet in its current form it is time to flex some muscles.

rorrr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine if Google did it.
rexreed 3 days ago 1 reply      
On a side note, the graphs / charts on this page are really quite visually appealing. Does anyone know if these were automatically generated charts, and if so what tool is used? If not, probably just some data extraction and photoshop, but still, nice looking data.
ricardobeat 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a bit scared by this. Imagine if a company like Google did the same (they already have Google Voice), but supporting the bill?

As it's always been, media companies have a lot of power in their hands - maybe even more so on the internet.

SagelyGuru 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does this SOPA law include shutting down .org .com .net etc domains worldwide, based on accusations of breaking the US software patents?

I understand it is intended to achieve the worldwide shutdowns for copyright issues, using the fact that these domains are administered by US companies.

trustfundbaby 4 days ago 2 replies      
I use tumblr and while I understand and empathize with what they are trying to do, I found their approach to be a little heavy handed. All the content on your dashboard was blacked out, and for the entire day, when you went to edit your content you got directed to the "call your congressman" page. I found it very very off putting ... just my 2c.
US Bill Creating the Great Firewall of America theagilepanda.com
423 points by stupandaus  7 days ago   73 comments top 20
mmaunder 6 days ago 4 replies      
I'm worried that the approach I'm seeing to stopping this bill gives the impression that it's supporters are simply "protesters" who support online piracy.

The article on agilepanda is well written but the site at http://americancensorship.org/ focuses on website blocking, jail time if you "stream a copyrighted work" and the very general threat of "Chaos for the Internet". It's the wrong approach IMO.

The decision makers, or our target market for this if you'd prefer, are congress, the senate and the president. There's an election coming up and we have real power we can wield. So here's my suggestion:

1. Make it crystal clear that replacing the DMCA with SOPA will kill many of the job creation machines coming out of Silicon Valley and the rest of the USA. It will prevent the creation of new businesses like Facebook that can only exist through user generated content and who generate billions in tax revenue and jobs for the US economy. If a representative supports this bill they are making it clear they don't support job creation in the USA.

2. Make it clear that this is not about online piracy, but about government control of a free communications medium. It is tantamount to the US government taking control of the country's newspapers and having the ability to selectively block the publication of editions they don't approve of.

3. Call your local congressman and senator and let them know that if they support SOPA, they don't support job creation in the USA and they oppose freedom of communication. Let them know two things: If they support SOPA you will not vote for them and you will encourage everyone you know to do the same. Secondly, let them know you will contact every major political donor in the area and make them aware of the representatives stance on the issue and how it endangers American business and innovation.

If we simply "protest" by shutting down our websites or sitting in the street, we risk getting lumped with the Occupy movement. However you may feel about that, what our politicians are most afraid of is losing their jobs and losing their funding. So lets hit them where it really hurts and take the power back.

domador 7 days ago 2 replies      
Here's one form of protest I'd like to see:

Assuming Google wants to take a significant stance against this bill, they're in a unique position to raise people's awareness of its awfulness. They could put some text on the Google homepage and/or a link to a protest page informing Americans about this threat. (Google might need to set up their own page, to avoid overwhelming an external site with traffic.) Other creative possibilities come to mind:

- Changing the "I'm feeling lucky" button to "I'm feeling very unlucky" and linking to the protest page

- Posting a terrifying, yet appealing Google Doodle that links and lures users to the protest page

- Announcing and then holding a scheduled, minute-long search outage, where all search traffic is redirected to the protest page (which would include an explanation of why searches were temporarily redirected)

Technically savvy users might be aware of SOPA and the threat it poses, yet the "average" American is probably unaware of what their elected representatives are doing to their digital future. They need to know, and hold their representatives accountable.


Disclaimer: I am not an American, but feel a need to speak up, given the huge effect U.S. law has on the whole Internet.

Tichy 7 days ago 4 replies      
I am very pessimistic, because it seems governments just won't stop trying to pass such laws (the same thing is going on in Germany where I live). If this time it fails, they will just try again, until eventually they succeed.

In Germany the law is pushed under the pretense of fighting child pornography. Some people who are against it are now being described in media as people who are against fighting child pornography - even by tech magazines that should have a better understanding.

jerfelix 7 days ago 4 replies      
It's great to see the EFF, the Free Software Foundation, and other big freedom fighters opposing this bill. (See http://americancensorship.org/ ).

But are any of the big corporations fighting it? Google / YouTube? Microsoft? Apple? Come on guys! Step up! (or am I just missing their statements on this bad bill?)

I think a "Stop Censorship" black banner across the Google logo tomorrow would go a long way toward defeating this.

Aloisius 6 days ago 0 replies      
I know everyone here is busy, but call your Representatives on the phone. http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Protesting is fine. Donating money to the EFF is fine. But truly angry phone calls by constituents are extremely powerful.

zobzu 7 days ago 0 replies      
You know, they are trying to pass the same bill in France at the same time. I wouldn't doubt other countries are concerned as well.

Pretty much a censorship worldwide effort going on.

bambax 7 days ago 1 reply      
> On October 26, 2011, the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) was introduced in the House of Representatives...

Mmm, no. That may be the ultimate result (or maybe privacy died long ago) but SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, not Privacy...

philfreo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just a friendly reminder to donate to the EFF:


shahidhussain 7 days ago 1 reply      
It's intensely disappointing to see politics conforming to its stereotype, and making short-sighted decisions about this. It's wonderful to see calls across the net, led by the EFF and others, to stop this craziness.

That said - I feel like we've been here before. Bills that blindly support control of ideas and technologies seem to waft their way into Washington on a regular basis, and each time we're angry and afraid and annoyed.

What can we do to stop this happening again?

jneal 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not against trying to eliminate piracy, but I don't understand how any politicians can back this with a clear conscience. A bill that does things without having to be found guilty is an obvious anti-constitutional bill and should be destroyed immediately. We are innocent until proven guilty in this country, or so we are led to believe.
cHalgan 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think the only way how this can be fixed it that they pass SOPA since western democracies seems to be broken beyond repair.

This bill will severely affect the very last growth engine in the US (that is internet) and the US (and the rest of the world) will sunk into even deeper recession. In other words, this bill will slow down or even prevent "paradigm shift in the economy" which is needed to start recovery of the global economy.

And this prolonged deep recession will fuel occupy WallStreet and similar movements and eventually, after a lot bad things (wars, riots, etc.), the new version of democracy will arise: the democracy were the constituents are people and not corporations.

This is my pessimistic view but history seems to be on my side :(

mw63214 6 days ago 0 replies      
why not make a "one vote, one cause, one day" type of widget that can be easily added to any website( configurable to square, horizontal rectangle, vertical rectangle, etc...). Similar to the HN forum, you can create a 'cause' thread, design a logo/message for that cause, and the cause can be voted on. The highest ranked cause of that particular day is displayed for 24 hours, then reset back to 0 votes to even the playing field for other causes. Is anyone else starting to see my vision for this? Does this already exist?
wavephorm 6 days ago 0 replies      
It is truly frightening to see how far-reaching authoritarian legislation like this can get fast-tracked into law. The same thing happened with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Patriot Act, and the Department of Homeland Security.

I can confidently predict this legislation will not be stopped.

strickjb9 7 days ago 1 reply      
Google didn't help China censor the internet (as stated in the 1st paragraph). It makes it very hard to read the rest of the article after seeing this. In fact, Google pulled its services out of China because it wouldn't succumb to censorship requests. Google this --> "google pulls out of china"
einhverfr 6 days ago 0 replies      
The fundamental problem is that this is a part of a larger shift towards what is IMO an Unconstitutional government of prosecutors instead of a government of laws. These include mandatory sentencing guidelines, reductions in the discretion judges have in other areas, and the like. The idea is that the powers get shifted gradually onto prosecutors so they can go after bad guys, but that means eventually all of us can be prosecuted too.

In addition to the real problems with this act, try reading "Three Felonies A Day" by Harvey Silverglate (EFF and ACLU veterine, co-founder of FIRE)

stupandaus 6 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. I did not expect this blog post to blow up like this. I wish it was under less auspicious circumstances.

On a slightly related note, does anyone know how to fix the e-mail subscription widget in WordPress? I'm getting complaints that it is giving 'invalid e-mail' errors when people are adding valid e-mails.

Andrew_Quentin 5 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that what happened to wikileaks has become a blue print on how to deal with dissent. The demos allowed such monopolistic organisations such as visa and mastercard and the demos allowed the rest of what happened to wikileaks. We, the people, are to be blamed for not being willing to fight to retain our powers.
entrepreneur123 6 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of great comments. No action. When it comes to issues of a vote (like this), im sorry to report - we've lost our say in the matter.

Some would say "that's why we elect people, to do this for us" don't you get it? Politicians aren't out to help you. They have their own agenda. Unless your padding their campaign coiffer, your falling on def ears.

twoodfin 7 days ago 1 reply      
> SOPA puts in provisions that allows the US to control the internet the same way that the PRC does in China.

I'm against SOPA, but the idea that it would permit the U.S. government, should it so desire, to set up Chinese-style censorship of the internet is nonsense on stilts. You can take any power of the government and theorize about what could happen if it ran unchecked: "What if they define talking about Occupy Wall Street to be piracy‽" "What if President Obama declared you an enemy combatant‽"

Our laws don't work that way. For one, when it ends up in the courts, they're going to read it as narrowly as needed to accomplish its purpose (obviously, in this case, copyright enforcement). If the law is stupidly written in such an over-broad way that it can't be balanced against other rights and interests, it will be thrown out. For another, we don't live in a one-party autocracy: We have deep cultural norms favoring rights and freedoms. That permeates not just the electorate, but the people elected and appointed to execute the laws. Obviously we disagree from time to time about the trade-offs to be made, but those very disagreements make it harder for some rogue executive to go off the rails; there's always someone else ready to take his place after the next election.

This is a long way of saying that hyperbole like this is never going to win you a policy argument.

maeon3 6 days ago 1 reply      
Enter stage right the mellinum of the copyproof bit. Delete those words citizen before I taze you.
This 28-Year-Old Is Making Sure Credit Cards Won't Exist In The Next Few Years sfgate.com
420 points by olegious  6 days ago   257 comments top 32
pitdesi 6 days ago  replies      
This is interesting. I really like Dwolla as a company and the ambition, and think the are executing well, but there are some things you should know.

1) Most Americans use credit cards because they need the credit. That is something that won't be solved. Many of us also like the benefit of rewards (miles, dollars, whatever). To get payers on board, you need credit, rewards, and exclusivity (i.e. is this the only payment method available at somewhere where I want to shop). The last 2 meaningful companies were paypal and discover card. PayPal had millions of Ebay sellers using PayPal AND they initially paid people to become members. Discover card started the cashback movement and was the only electronic payment option at Sears (largest retailer in the world at the time).

2) Due to the Durbin amendment (which went into effect October 1st of this year), debit card cost to a FeeFighters merchant for the average transaction in the US is about $0.25. (http://feefighters.com/durbin). They now cost 22 cents plus 0.05% of the transaction. The reason that I mentioned a FeeFighters merchant is that most processors do NOT pass through the savings to the customer, you only get that with interchange-plus billing (which only about 10% of merchants are on, mostly big merchants).

3) Doing some quick math, that $350 million in transaction volume gets them to $175,000 in revenue per year
($350M/$500 transaction size)*$0.25 = $175,000.

Still, they have a fantastic opportunity and I for one am rooting for them. Ben has the same roots as FeeFighters (had another company, was pissed off at how much he was paying in processing fees). He chose to tackle it a different way, one that is probably harder to execute on but can make more change in the long-run. Having met him, I bet that he didn't quite say the words in that headline.

thinkcomp 6 days ago  replies      
This article was posted a few days ago. I'm a competitor.

Having built the same kind of company from the ground up, I have good reason to suspect that most of Dwolla's transaction volume does not come from mobile payments, if the $350 million / year number is accurate in the first place. Some revenue comes from Bitcoin transactions, which the article doesn't mention, creating the false impression that Dwolla is already a mobile payments juggernaut. It isn't.

Dwolla does not integrate with any point of sale systems to the best of my knowledge, which means that the title of this article is basically fantasy.

Dwolla is also breaking California law by operating in a manner that allows California users to use the service without a money transmission license. (Having an investor that processes transactions for banks does not make Dwolla exempt. Anyone who doubts this should read the list of exemptions: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fin.... If Dwolla were considered a bank it wouldn't need a money transmission license in Iowa, which it has.)

I'm not a fan of that law, so as of yesterday I've sued the State of California over it.


suivix 6 days ago 3 replies      
My parents put $2000 in a Dwolla account, did nothing with it, and two months later decided to withdraw it. Dwolla put a hold on it for over a week without any notification, and my father finally decided to call. On the phone they said 'well you know, $2000 is a lot of money'. My parents had to send over scanned photo identification just to get their money out.

Anyways, what I learned is that Dwolla's customer service is terrible. I don't recommend it to anybody.

kayoone 6 days ago  replies      
In Germany (and most of europe) credit cards arent used very much. I can wire transfer money inside the country for free, i can pay in alot of Online Shops by direct debit who get the money directly from my bank account. In stores i use a card associated with my bank account (not a credit card) to pay which also lets the merchant get the money directly from my bank account.
I am suprised that the US doesnt have a similar system, no wonder everyone uses credit cards there. Thats also why i think Square wouldnt be very successfull over here.
kahawe 6 days ago 0 replies      
While it sounds great that someone is taking a stab at making transferring money easier and cheaper, they are clearly missing a few crucial points.

First, they are complaining credit card companies charge them for their service - on the other hand, those companies do have costs for building and maintaining their systems and all costs that come with it. We will leave the question whether their prices are reasonable or fair aside for now.

Another benefit I get from CC transactions: when I send money to the wrong person or got scammed, I can just have VISA cancel it and I get my money back. In the good 10 years I have been using my own CC(s) I needed to do that maybe 2 or 3 times and it worked absolutely flawlessly. You cannot just cancel a bank transaction and get your money back like that.

Also, wiring money abroad is going to be a much bigger problem for them.

But there is a far more fundamental flaw in their logic:

> "We think, in the long term, sending money should be as easy and effortless as finding a friend on Facebook."

The reason anything money-related is so over-regulated and cumbersome and full of regulations and bureaucracy is not just "the man keepin' ya down, bro" and neither is it only stupid people who only try to come up with empty regulations to bill you.
All that is in place to fight against money laundry and help make it more difficult for worldwide organized crime to make easy use of their illegal cash. The very reason you can not just send money as easily and effortlessly as friending someone on facebook is: if you could, your first customers would be organized crime. They cannot wait for new possibilities to launder money easier and faster.

I am wondering how they can be moving 50 million a week without all sorts of agencies cracking down on them? This has got to be heaven for small and big time drug (or weapons, humans) sellers as of now.

So ultimately, it makes me sad this doesn't look like a promising replacement for the paypal overlords.

Aloisius 6 days ago  replies      
Credit cards exist because people need a line of credit and debit cards seem to offer the same benefits as Dwolla, at a lower interchange rate for the merchant. The P2P feature is nice, ACH generally isn't used directly by individuals and wire transfers/EFTs can be quite expensive.

I wish someone would make a real alternative credit processing network, but there are so may laws and regulations, I wonder if it is even possible to ever have something like a simple 1% transaction charge.

vsl2 6 days ago 2 replies      
I wish him well on his endeavor because I'm not a fan of CC fees, but from a consumer standpoint, I don't see any benefits. CCs provide (i) a line of credit, (ii) fraud protection, and (iii) rewards/bonuses. All of these can be incredibly valuable, particularly (ii) - you never appreciate the no-liability fraud protection of a CC until you discover how difficult it is to deal with situations in which your bank account is affected.

If credit cards were not already the dominant electronic payment mechanism (i.e. VISA/MC were just starting like Dwolla is), Dwolla could possibly win out because businesses could refuse CC's. Not going to happen now, at least with regards to business-to-consumers. And I don't think most B2B transactions were conducted through CC's anyways.

They seem to be doing okay now, but I don't see any secret sauce that's going to make them anything more than a fringe player in the payments industry.

powertower 6 days ago 3 replies      
At 40MM/month, with average transaction of $500, and a $0.25 fee for each transaction, they make $20,000 per month revenue... After you pay employees (12 people), other costs (including legal), and take a hit from fraud, I can't imagine there is a great upside to this business unless they start doing at least 100x more volume. Concidering the nature of the business, I don't see this happening.
tlrobinson 6 days ago 1 reply      
I did a double take when reading this line...

"The only fee would be if someone paid you. We take a quarter. We really want that quarter. It's all we want!"

He should probably say "25 cents" instead of "a quarter".

lhnn 6 days ago 0 replies      
>Can users only send money to Dwolla members?

No, you can send money to anyone. Only the person sending it has to have a Dwolla account to initiate the transaction. The person receiving it will have to sign up for an account....


In other words, you must have an account to receive money. Technically different, but that is some lawyerspeak if I've ever heard it.

ricardobeat 6 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of talk here on how credit cards trump every other form of payment, on credit lines and rewards. Americans love their cards:

* 1.4 billion credit cards held by U.S. consumers

* Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,799

* Total U.S. consumer debt: 800 billion (down from ~1 trillion in 2008)

Yeap, look at that debt, credit cards are amazing.

Let me put my f___ the system hat:

1. $2 trillion in transactions per year.

2. Merchants pay between 2-4% in fees for every transaction

Many people seem to forget about the second - "I'm not paying any fees" :/.

That means around $40 billion in fees per year. A few billion short of the national budget for the US Department of Education. I really, really doubt it's costing all this money to send and track (mostly virtual) money around. And we haven't taken into account the late fees (around $20b/year), overcharge fees, annual fees, banking fees and others.

Credit cards are just money harvesting machines.

Why exactly do we need a third-party to handle our payments? Banks own our data and most of the infrastructure. Electronic payments should be part of the basic account package. "Reward" cards are just another marketing gimmick to get you to use more cards.

/hat off

Cutting myself short, I'm extremely excited with what Dwolla/Square and others are doing. It's 2011, I want to make payments with my eyes!

underwater 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'd never written a cheque until I moved to the US; I was pretty shocked at how backwards money transfer is here. In Australia, BPAY (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BPAY) is pretty much how all utilities and services are paid for. Transactions between individuals are usually via standard wire transfer and are free, and often instant.
wmf 6 days ago 0 replies      
stereo 6 days ago  replies      
Looks like he just reinvented the wire transfer. In Europe, a lot of money is transferred like this; I can even make transfers from my phone.
yason 6 days ago 0 replies      
In Finland, account-to-account wire transfers are practically free and there are two internet buying options in general use that rely on them alone.

First, most internet shops can do what the mail order companies have done for decades: they send you the product along with a bill that you can pay with a wire transfer. These days it means you go to you internet banking site and issue the transfer directly from your account to the merchant's account.

Second, a majority of big merchants provide "internet banking payment" where the merchant's site is linked with the top ten major banks' internet services. From the merchant's site you choose your own bank and they will redirect you to the online banking services of that bank, along with the amount they want to charge and some other metadata. Now, your bank will ask you to login to your own internet banking account and use it to authorize a wire transfer for the given amount. After that's done (securely, on the bank's own website), the bank will redirect you back to the merchant's site, again with a token that the merchant's software can use to verify that the transaction went through.

Also debit cards are in high use: they are usually free to obtain as well and it costs a merchant much less to charge a debit card than a credit card. This is sort of related because debit card transactions are practically just wire transfers. Some of them, such as Visa Electron, will actually require an online connection to your bank so that the balance can be checked prior to the wire transfer.

It all comes down to the fact that Finland's banks have been historically well interconnected and they also have a long history of electronic inter-bank transactions. Wire transfers have been a commonly supported and cheap way to transfer money since the 80's: also private individuals can use them to move money to each other free of charge. Further, wire transfers are immediate between accounts in the same bank; between two different banks it takes one night to get them cleared.

nl 6 days ago 0 replies      
Only the person sending it has to have a Dwolla account to initiate the transaction. The person receiving it will have to sign up for an account, but we've been surprised at the conversion there

"been surprised at the conversion" when someone is sending you money?! I think that's pretty much the ultimate dream - one customer paying another person to sign up!

igrekel 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know about in the US but I regularly transfer money througgh email with an ING Direct canadian account. I know other financial institutions here have similar functionality.
rmc 6 days ago 2 replies      
Where we've seen a ton of transactions right now is with people paying monthly rent.

I don't understand this. Perhaps it's an American thing, but here in EU, I just put my landlord's account numbers into my online banking and I can transfer them money for essentially free. I even set up a standing order so it'll pay the same amount at a fixed day per month. I don't have to worry about paying rent. How does a landlord accept money via their credit card?

davidcollantes 6 days ago 0 replies      
When I use my credit card to pay what I normally have to pay for each month (groceries, utilities, etc) I get money back (yes, a check in the mail). Dwolla can't beat that.

When I buy electronics with my credit card, I get an extra year of warranty, and buying protection. Dwolla can't beat that.

When I travel, or rent a car, I get insurance coverage with my credit card. Dwolla can't beat that.

When I buy anything with my credit card, and something goes wrong, I lose no money. None at all. Dwolla can't beat that.

Long live, Credit Cards!

mcv 6 days ago 2 replies      
I love these kind of projects. We desperately need independence from the Visa/Mastercard monopoly over international transactions.
miles_matthias 6 days ago 0 replies      
I got the opportunity to listen to Ben speak at Startup Weekend Des Moines and I have to say I'm really impressed with him. Regardless of Dwolla's future (personally I think they will transform the industry), Ben is a shining example of working hard and being a successful entrepreneur in a place that really isn't very supportive of people who think differently. There are now a few legitimate VCs, college courses, and frequent startup events in the Des Moines area and every single person I've talked to gives a lot of credit to Ben for helping that grow. Des Moines even just recently launched one of their first incubator programs (Startup City) and is seen as a legit player in the Silicon Prairie. My team at Startup Weekend Des Moines (Fundle.co) revolved does group payment systems and Ben brought his team from Dwolla to meet us and offer their expertise for coding the backend payment processing part of it. Even if they don't kill the credit card, Dwolla deserves a lot of respect for helping to jump start the entrepreneur community there.
latch 6 days ago 0 replies      
"Our generation actually understands that when you buy sh*t, it comes out of your bank account and you have to pay for that."

Money quote. Makes me want to work there. This is our generations equivalent of Jobs' universe quote.

kin 6 days ago 0 replies      
As a customer, I prefer: http://venmo.com
Lets me easily pay my friends and vice versa, 100% free, no transaction charges.
Funds get pulled out of my credit card like a regular purchase (OR out of debit card or checking if preferred)
Funds paid to me get automatically deposited into my checking account.

Usage is effortless.

They make money by charging a percentage on transactions that businesses receive.

feralchimp 6 days ago 1 reply      
The 28-year-old in the story is a sympathetic protagonist, and gives the venture plenty of indie cred, but let's all take a moment to reflect on the fact that he's only being allowed to do this because one of his primaries is an entrenched inside player. He managed to pitch someone one layer deeper inside the onion of oligarchy, and those folks decided the glass slipper fit.

Anyway, well played, sir.

EREFUNDO 6 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe the current downturn (bankruptcy filings, closing of CC accounts)is forcing people to start using cash instead of credit. I am a cash person myself, but asking people direct access to their bank accounts would be a hard sell, at least with credit cards there are many situations where they would allow chargebacks. They will have a niche market of cash based merchants, that is for certain. But it is way too early to say that their system can make credit cards obsolete within the next few years. Credit cards are just becoming popular in emerging markets where eCommerce is relatively nascent. The real issue now is securing cross border and long distance payments, being able to provide an unprecedented level of security demanded by the globalizing peer-to-peer and business-to-business transactions.
rcraft 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm using Chase QuickPay to pay my rent. No fees for either of us and it works great, I don't even have a Chase bank account, but quickly set up an account and linked it to my BofA account. Only problem is I believe the daily limit for payments is $2,000.

From this example, clearly some banks are figuring out how to sidestep the credit card companies and provide value. How would this and other similar products like the ING product not be serious threats to Dwolla?

ck2 6 days ago 1 reply      
So why do ACH transfers take 4-5 days in 2011 anyway?
bryze 6 days ago 2 replies      
It really surprises me how many nay-sayers have posted negative comments, here. Bottom line is that, because of the popularity of paying with credit cards, merchants have to pass on the cost of transaction fees to consumers. Consumers pay. Will your reward points make up for the increased prices that you unwittingly pay? I doubt it. Even if Dwolla isn't the one to do it, toppling credit card profits is in everyone else's interest.
Ezku 6 days ago 0 replies      
Link to TFA on one page without the fluff: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/11/10/...
jaggederest 6 days ago 0 replies      
I just want to find his PR agent/agency. I've seen this story in 8 different outlets and forums over the last little while.
rcraft 6 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone out there paying their rent with a credit card while maintaining no fees for the landlord?

I played around with Venmo in the past and thought this would be perfect for this use case. Been a while, but I believe you can accept credit cards directly and pay no fees. Seems crazy, but I think the only downside is the amount limits.

Would be awesome to collect cc rewards on rent payments every month.

eduardordm 6 days ago 0 replies      
Well, dwolla is a credit card company. I'm a CTO (and co-owner) of a medium-sized credit firm in Brazil (full stack: processing, credit, gateway, etc). We offer plastic cards, iOS & android apps, NFC, IVR calls, web app, e-CPF (Brazilian electronic "social security" card) as form of payment methods. Guess what? Most people WANT the damn card. We would LOVE not to spend 1.4 U$ on every card we have to manufacture. I don't see Dwolla as the future of payments, they offer a limited solution. My company is planning for a future where there will be many ways to make a payment, fit for every social class and/or preference. In brazil, it takes 3 minimum payments to buy a smartphone. In the US, 49 million citizens are poor. Let's not deny the economic reality we are living in right now.
Airport full-body X-ray scanners banned across Europe as unsafe geek.com
413 points by ukdm  6 days ago   122 comments top 17
wbhart 5 days ago 2 replies      
Now that the rotten things have been banned, I can tell my story without fear of being locked up. I went through a body scanner on a trip within Europe about a year or two ago. There was no random selection, they were just forcing everyone through the machine (I assume it was an x-ray but didn't actually have time to check). This machine was of the variety that did not have an operator viewing the images in a private room, but the operator standing at the machine had a display mounted on the machine itself (some parts of Europe are much less fussy about nudity). When I went through, the image was indistinct but showed "concealments" all over me (I was also permitted to see the image). The guy looked concerned and started to pat me down so he could figure out what these "concealments" were. After twenty seconds or so it was clear to him that I had no concealments and he confidently pronounced that the machines actually don't work if you are sweaty. Hilariously, a full bottle of water went through the (bag) X-ray machine unnoticed in my backpack. I pointed it out and they were kind enough to accept that I had left it in my bag accidentally and let me have it confiscated instead of what ever else it is they do with someone who has bottles of dangerous liquids like water in their bags. Since that humiliating experience I have travelled by plane in Europe as little as possible, taking the Eurostar train wherever practical. I do not travel to the US any more for any reason. I am delighted the machines are unsafe and have been banned, but naturally I believe they should have been banned on grounds of them being ineffective and an unnecessary invasion of personal privacy.

Edit: I reviewed the information here: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2010/1/5/163631/3181/travel/Ful...
and I do not know which type of machine it was. Frankly, it doesn't match the description of either. There were no rotating walls, it did not take 40s, yet it was not a vertical wall. Unfortunate. It would have been nice to know.

tallanvor 6 days ago  replies      
While I'm happy to see them banned for any reason, I'd much rather they were banned on the basis that they constitute an unacceptable violation of peoples' privacy.
jashkenas 6 days ago 2 replies      
Read the original reporting at ProPublica instead: http://www.propublica.org/article/europe-bans-x-ray-body-sca...
mmcconnell1618 6 days ago  replies      
Keep in mind that there are 2 types of machines in common use. 1) Backscatter (X-Ray) and 2) Millimeter Wave (Radio) and they operate very differently.

Based on what I've read I'm comfortable with the millimeter wave system and have some concerns about the backscatter x-ray system. However, if the backscatter system operates correctly then the amount of radiation exposure is really quite small compared to the amount you'd receive on the actual flight. I still think I'd opt-out of the backscatter system until long term effects and performance are studied.

Tip: Millimeter wave looks like a circular telephone booth, Backscatter x-ray looks like a big rectangular wall you stand in front of.


danssig 6 days ago 2 replies      
A reddit user on the real reason the US is buying these scanners:


ck2 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think we need to start handing dosimeters to anyone working around the machines.

They aren't allowed to have them and will get fired, problem solved and I have zero pity.

Spearchucker 6 days ago 1 reply      
The part that annoys me is that the security clearance process at airports is invasive. It serves no purpose other than to provide the perception of security.

Policy dictates that passengers are not allowed to carry any weapons onto airplanes. The scanners and other mechanisms are used to detect firearms, knives with blades longer than 6cm, and so on and so forth.

The ridiculous part is that you clear security, go into duty free, and buy a bottle of whiskey which you're allowed to take onto the airplane.

If you're so inclined, once on the airplane break the bottle and threaten a passenger or the airhostess with it.

That makes the whole process (at huge cost to the tax payer) a complete farce.

There are other crazy things we're paying for, like finger printing, and forgoing the right not to have our laptops and phones searched. Anyone who wants to get around these measures can. It defies belief.

rmc 5 days ago 0 replies      
nobody31415926 5 days ago 0 replies      
That's because the Europeans have never had a problem with terrorism and so don't know how to respond.

(It turns out that the IRA and ETA are just cultural groups misunderstood by the British and Spanish imperialist oppressors and Baader-Meinhof is too hard to spell so doesn't count.)

lgeek 5 days ago 0 replies      
And yet they're still used in Manchester and probably other airports as well: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-15766544

> A spokesperson for Manchester Airport said: "Extensive tests by the UK Health Protection Agency and the US health authorities have already confirmed that back scatter body scanners pose a negligible risk to human health. It is irresponsible to suggest that because Europe has yet to complete its own health study, our passengers should be concerned."

vizzah 6 days ago 2 replies      
I couldn't remember seeing many (if any) x-ray scanners in European airports - it's almost always regular metal detector gates.
X-rays do cause cancer and must not be used in airports. Enough using terrorists as an excuse, there are much easier targets - but it's been quiet for a while and hopefully continues that way.
prawn 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just back from the US. Saw what I assumed to be these machines in use in LAX but couldn't understand the point as it was trivial to just pick the security lines that had the normal "doorway" scanners. I was pretty blatant in changing lines too once I'd seen the larger scanners ahead, and no one seemed to pay any attention.
techiferous 5 days ago 0 replies      
> plus the fact 300+ “dangerous and illegal items” have been detected by employing the body scanners.

300+? Needs more context. What's the percentage of false positives and false negatives? And what's the cost compared to other alternatives?

noduerme 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think I'll be donating to the ACA or the ACLU to help out the TSA cancer victims who stood next to the machines...
jamgraham 5 days ago 0 replies      
The opt-out process is very easy in America. For example: When I fly out of SFO and am in line for the body scanner I simply ask for an opt-out and they quickly take me over for a pad down. No big deal, all you have to do is ask.
wedesoft 5 days ago 1 reply      
As far as I know the full body scanners are terahertz scanners. They do not use X-rays. An X-ray scan would show your bones!
Also if you really want to reduce your exposure to radiation, you should avoid flying itself.

That said, if there is a significant increase in cancer among TSA workers, that should be a cause for concern.

bauchidgw 6 days ago 0 replies      
visit geek.com with your ipad, its such a classic example of a redicret loop. (swipeware sucks)
Welcome to the new web. whatwg.org
410 points by dkulchenko  11 hours ago   92 comments top 22
nirvana 11 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm a member of a forum for graduates of one of the schools I went to. In 2007 it was a vibrant and active forum, growing steadily, and straining its hosting account, which constantly had to be expanded.

At some point, around 2009, most of the members of this forum got Facebook accounts. That forum is now completely dead.

Facebook took all the oxygen out of the site, and it seems like a lot of other sites.

Now very mainstream people seem to think of Facebook as "the internet" and they just hang out there. Some of the bigger sites are doing ok, still, of course.

But at least for that forum, its audience is gone.

To a person, the members of the audience say they love it, and many of them say they hate facebook because "its so impersonal." On the forum they were able to share more private things with closer friends.

I think they would rather hang out on the forum, but there isn't the critical mass anymore... simply because Facebook is more addictive.

It has gotten into some sort of a gamification, or addiction loop, in these peoples heads, it seems.

I think the web is going to undergo a radical change in the next 5 or so years.

tgrass 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
As I write this there are two comments that have been downvoted to the bottom for expressing how difficult the post is to read. They draw attention to the post's textual interface, albeit perhaps sarcastically ("Is the new web better at UX than this? That was painful to look at.").

Not only is theirs a serious concern, but it speaks to the main issue of the post, for it reminds us that like web interfaces, even text has accreted arbitrary rules to interpret it. Take the apostrophe for example, it is for most purposes superflous as one can tell from context whether a word is plural, possessive or a contraction. Well, I can tell the difference, cant you?

The original post is saturated with consistent, but by no means universal and certainly not empirically-derived, pre-conceived rules for communicating textual content: the date posted is in italics; the site name is bracketed and bold; the post name is bold; links which serve a sorting function are colored, underlined and bracketed; a presumably copied email prefaces the actual post in italics with each line itself prefaced with a less-than-sign; and most importantly much of the post is composed of incomplete sentences ("A web where...").

We allow ourselves to bend the rules of grammar. And as we bend them, we adapt to the new general rule.

We are all familiar with the english teacher's common correction of a misplaced object: "It's 'He and I went to the store', not 'Me and him went to the store'". This "rule" has been so often repeated, that most days I hear college-educated individuals perform the inverse, substituting the nominative for the objective case, as in "Bob critiqued the web page with Jack and I." What is interesting to me is apparently the act of replacing the nominative with the objective also occured in the Latin language around 200 AD (and it's a common act in children). So, if we create our rules for grammar empirically and not not arbitrarily, we can look at saying "Me and Jack did something" as acceptable because it has a natural precedent.

Which is all just to say that communication as a web form or in paragraphs is subjective and organic. Differences in type should be no more surprising than differences in human ethnicity.

16s 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It's ironic that ten years ago many people (average consumers) thought that AOL was the Internet. Now they think Facebook and Google are. Ten years from now, it'll be something else and HN type people will still be doing their own thing as usual.
zdw 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds just like the old web, if you were blind and went to a Flash fullscreen website.

As much as I like the ways that sites like G+ are trying to push the envelope, if you're handling data that was created by or belongs to others it's more important to fit into the greater data ecosystem than to stand out...

gbog 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I agree with the claim in this forum post. It is annoying to have all pages javascript generated, clicks hijacked to make some special sauce, and content popping in, up, down or out whenever you hover something. It is a growing mess that will have it "let's rollback and clean this crap out" time, like Google did with its famous blank home page.

Another example: trello.com is a very nice and free card tool for small projects, but because they wanted to avoid having an "edit" button on editable text, they hijack my clicks, so it makes it painful to select text, and quite impossible to use "middle-click as paste".

But, there is a more positive perspective liked to Google+. In fact, I think the midterm result of Google entering in the SNS arena could (and should) be to force open Facebook. I mean, right now G+ is not open, it doesn't have all the needed APIs, and this is probably OK because they they need a critical mass before opening, and one should not bash them for testing, pondering, adjusting a bit more before releasing some important changes. Time is on their side anyway.

But in the end, they will go, I hope, the full good-old Google way, which means:

- Read/write APIs for posts, followers, followees, etc.

- Ability to dump all data and go away

- RSS or similar subscribing hooks

These tools will allow a much higher interoperability for social content, similar to interoperability of emails today. Users will not really care if the comments on their baby pics are written using Facebook, G+ or any other Social Content Manager, they will read and respond to them in the SNS of their choice, like we do today with emails. (I wrote a bit more ion this topic there: https://plus.google.com/104035200377885758362/posts/A9r7twSD...)

pgroves 9 hours ago 2 replies      
As much as I wish the innovations of g+ and Facebook were centered around RSS and email, this is just the way new technologies evolve. Identity management and permissions management for who can see a user's content just don't have a good standard yet. Therefore private companies are rolling their own proprietary solutions and competing with each other.

At some point, the standard techniques for dealing with these issues will become Standards. This is a well worn path. Html was a standardization of the previous 10 years of work on markup languages, plenty of them proprietary. There are other examples... ODF standardizing on XML and cloning established MS Office functionality... etc.

Real Standards that could address the article's concerns are only reasonable when NO innovation is necessary, merely choosing a methodology that has already been built and proven to work in practice. IMO, Java more or less committed suicide when it started a standards-first innovation process, which resulted in many multi-year projects doing design-by-committee of an api before anyone tried to build an implementation or an actual product on top of it.

As long as G+ is introducing features not available elsewhere, the fact that it's a currently closed system just isn't a reasonable criticism.

tambourine_man 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Listen to this guy. Nils Dagsson Moskopp, what a great post.

We are giving the web away because people can't handle email, address book and a blog.

earnubs 4 hours ago 0 replies      
We need a better, open, ways of connecting people on the 'old' web.
ms123 7 hours ago 1 reply      
To me the difference between "old-web" and "new-web" is a lot like the one between "program" and "application.

Old-web was just text and markup. A lot like the output of command line programs that could then be used by other programs to perform what we want.

New-web is about application. Programs made for the end-user. Apps aren't thought to be pipelined with other apps. Thus for a web-app, the browser is often designed to be the only supported plateform. Thus the extensive use of JS.

nbpoole 10 hours ago 0 replies      
> A web you
cannot easily read without JavaScript because somewhere in the page
header there is a „<style> body { visibility: hidden; } </style>” later
getting unset by a script that the platform owners want you to run.

To be fair to Google, that sounds like a fairly standard clickjacking prevention mechanism. It's necessary to provide protection to browsers that don't support X-Frame-Options.

lowglow 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The only power the "new web" has is the power we give it.
zalew 9 hours ago 0 replies      
it's a bit sad that in the most decentralized media, people tend to stick to the most centralized utilities to communicate with each other (I use them too). but:

> With less sarcasm: What use is this if one already reads the blog?

none. if you don't want to use it - don't. move on.

giving users another subscription channel is not a problem. a problem appears when someone uses these closed platforms as their only communication channel, f.ex. it's impossible to move a fanpage with it's community out of facebook. when people and organization treat it just as another feed broadcast (as whatwg did), everything is fine.

ma2rten 5 hours ago 1 reply      
In the grant scheme of thing, do people really think it is a big deal if a page shows you a 404 error, even if the content you are looking for actually exists? I think it's very tempting to get lost in tiny details like that.
steilpass 7 hours ago 2 replies      
So what are we going to do about it? There must be a business opportunity here.
sxtxixtxcxh 10 hours ago 2 replies      
i remember the old web, a web without RSS or ATOM feeds.
zqfm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
And don't forget: "This content not authorized for mobile devices."
Gigablah 11 hours ago 0 replies      
And apparently the old web is filled with sarcasm and spite.
evertonfuller 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Someone call the UX police. Cannot read that. Looks like it got lost from 1995.
zobzu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
this was quite insighful actually.
ChrisArchitect 11 hours ago 0 replies      
daark. I get the uncertainty and fear of the 'seedy' nature of G+ and rise of the corporate platforms...but seems like more of us trying things out, learning, so we can maybe direct change/influence the evolution of the platforms....
hm2k 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Google tried it the other way via Google Wave and unfortunately nobody bought into it.
wmeredith 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Is the new web better at UX than this? That was painful to look at.
USB Stick Contains Dual-Core Computer, Turns Any Screen Into an Android Station laptopmag.com
403 points by tilt  4 days ago   74 comments top 24
giberson 3 days ago 4 replies      
Here's the major thing that got me, when you plug it into a computer via usb, you can run the OS in it's own window. That's the big get for me. But rather than be this USB device, it should exist as a feature on all our android smart phones.

Someone come up with an APP, that lets me plug my phone into my computer via it's USB cable and then let me have access to the device with my mouse and keyboard as input devices and the screen output directed at a window on my screen.

mhd 3 days ago 1 reply      
That sounds like a nice consistent and less interruptive alternative to a bootable USB stick (not aware of any non-invasive virtualization products).

Considering that you might already carry around an android device, it would be nice to integrate that. Some phones alrady have HDMI ports and would go nicely with "dumb terminal" software like that. In an ideal world, I'd like to use the phone screen as a touch pad and let it project a keyboard (with a tablet, you could use that as both keyboard and mouse, of course).

marquis 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is where I see the operating system going: a combo of carrying something with you for physical authorization and dumb terminals that load whatever you need, where you need (whether from the net or you've got it with you on a device). Exciting times to see something like this.
bryanlarsen 3 days ago 0 replies      
How soon will Android phones have this capability? For many people, all their data is already on their phones anyways and they're always carrying their phones, so this is just an additional widget to carry. The PC part of this widget just seems like software, and some Android phones already have an HDMI port...
ukdm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Connection error, but this is the same thing I believe
untog 4 days ago 1 reply      
Fun concept. Does make me wonder about ChromeOS, though- everyone is going to Android, even for full computer devices. I don't blame them- you can install apps and do all sorts with Android, wheras ChromeOS is just a glorified browser.

Taking bets on when Google mothball ChromeOS for good.

steve8918 4 days ago 2 replies      
How does this compare against RaspberryPi? I've been waiting for that for months, has this beaten it to the punch?
6ren 3 days ago 1 reply      
Screen and battery tech advances at a slower rate than silicon (CPU, GPU, RAM).

By physically separating those aspects into different devices, users could upgrade just the part that needs upgrading. i.e. this 21g device, and a "dumb" smartphone shell.

nissimk 4 days ago 0 replies      
It looks really sweet. Here's the company website:


paulsilver 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, but note that the writer didn't get a chance to actually use it, just saw it boot up the Android environment in a window on the laptop. So, it could be great, or it could be unusable. Also the company aren't selling direct, they're hoping for someone else to pick it up and turn it in to a real product we could buy.

So, interesting, quite advanced concept, but I'd be more interested when I can buy one than it's current state.

jablan 4 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder why they went for Android instead of some light Linux distro. Not sure what's the point of having Android on a huge LCD.
nitrogen 3 days ago 1 reply      
When you plug the Cotton Candy into a Mac or PC, the Windows or OS X operating system recognizes it as a USB drive. You can then launch the software and run the Cotton Candy's Android environment in a secure window...

Wouldn't this still be vulnerable to key loggers and screen capturing spyware?

davux 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not quite the same, but Microsoft is doing 'Windows To Go' for Windows 8. Might be neat if it integrated with the phone somehow.


robododo 4 days ago 3 replies      
Too bad HDMI seems to only spec 5V @ 55mA.

I had dreams of just plugging this stick into an HDMI port (TV, monitor, whatever) and having an instant PC. Sadly, it needs external power.

emehrkay 4 days ago 1 reply      
Has the Android emulator gotten any better? If not, this may be a must have for some Android devs
cnxsoft 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nvidia has a patent filled for this type of USB computer, I wonder if they infringed in anyway.

I like this product a lot, I may buy it when it becomes available. However, for people who have a MHL smartphone and MHL TV, there is no need for the Cotton Candy, as they just need to buy a cable for the same functionalities.

6ren 3 days ago 0 replies      
Rickasaurus 3 days ago 1 reply      
This would be fantastic for working with encrypted data in a secure way.
jnbiche 3 days ago 1 reply      
Or you could buy an 8 gb USB stick for $10, load your favorite Linux distro on it using Universal USB installer or unetbootin, load all your fav software, make a separate partition for your own data, and then use the host machine's processor to run it, which will almost certainly be more powerful than a dual core 1.2 GHz ARM device. You could even encrypt the drive for privacy. All for the cost of two Starbucks double lattes.
JoeAltmaier 4 days ago 3 replies      
Can't read; get endless hover ad.
ctdonath 4 days ago 0 replies      
vs. RasberryPi?
vu0tran 3 days ago 0 replies      
shut up and take my money
xxiao 4 days ago 0 replies      
definitely interesting stuff
CWIZO 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have no use for this but I want it so bad it hurts. This is a truly an amazing gadget.
I Saw An Extremely Subtle Bug Today And I Just Have To Tell Someone kalzumeus.com
403 points by joshuacc  4 days ago   77 comments top 22
chops 4 days ago 2 replies      
While reading this article, it reminded me of an odd bug I encountered working with the Nitrogen Web Framework. I was finding that, similar to Patrick, it was losing sessions (though much more consistently), but only in Chrome and only with Yaws as the webserver. Switching to the Mochiweb server or Firefox caused the problem to go away.

Firebug and Chrome's dev tools both reliably stated that the cookie header was indeed being set. I just didn't know why Firefox was accepting the cookies and holding the sessions, but Chrome was dropping the sessions.

Oddly, it was only happening on my virtualbox dev environment, and not on any production machines.

After much time, I noticed that the expiration date for the cookie was in the past. I hadn't noticed it before because it looked right (it correctly passed my mental regex for "looks like a good date").

It turned out the problem was being caused by my machine going to sleep, pausing everything (including the clock timer in the VirtualBox instance, which I leave on for weeks or months), causing the clock on the virtual server to get behind by several days.

Then, when setting the cookie expiry date in max-age format, rather than absolute time, Mochiweb would send the Max-age expiration, which then gets handled by the browser relative to the receiving time. But Yaws would first take server time, add the seconds, and send that as the absolute expiration, effectively sending an past date to the browser as the expiration.

Firefox, apparently, saw the cookie expiration date, and just said something like "Hey, we'll hold this until the user closes the tab or something", while chrome saw the expired cookie, and immediately expired it, appropriately.

That's one of the weirdest non-bug bugs I've encountered.

Note: when I say "Yaws" and "Mochiweb", I mean "Nitrogen's SimpleBridge connector for Yaws and Mochiweb".

smokinn 4 days ago 1 reply      
And that's why you should always have great analytics. Monitoring is what found a similarly subtle bug at my past job once.

In the later afternoon a marketing guy on the traffic team came over and told me there was a problem with our trial signups. They'd dropped ~7% today for no apparently reason. We looked at the charts and today, for most of the day, compared to many other days and the past week there was indeed a dip. There were no changes to their marketing campaign or traffic levels either so they concluded it was a software bug.

But we hadn't pushed any new code that day. All that got pushed was some css changes from a designer so I concluded that it couldn't be a dev problem. I started looking from an ops perspective but couldn't find anything abnormal there either. There weren't a lot of memcached evictions, the db was doing fine, server loads were normal, etc.

I spent easily a couple of hours trying to find the source of the problem when marketing found it for me. Someone else was going through the metrics and noticed that we had the same trial signup rates for firefox, chrome and mobile browsers, it was only ie that had dropped. When filtered by ie and broken down by browser version he noticed that IE9, IE8 and IE7 were all the same as other days but IE6 had a 0%.

When you signed up to our site you signed up as a free member but were immediately offered a 5 day trial for a premium account and we had enough volume that the signup rates were predicatable and didn't vary much. When I created an account with IE6 it put me directly into the home page without showing me the trial offer page first.

Turns out the problem was indeed from the stylesheet change. The designer had not only changed a couple of buttons, he'd also added a font-face declaration. This font-face was not yet used anywhere and the font itself hadn't been uploaded to assets in production. What happened was IE6 would try to download the font-face and, when logged into our site we don't output 404 for pages that don't exist we redirect to the home page. So IE6 would get the redirect inside a stylesheet and follow that redirect in the browser. All the later IEs and other browsers simply ignored the redirect.

It was a very strange bug that would've resolved itself on its own the next day when the designer actually used and uploaded the font but it sure gave me a lot of head scratching and I never would've found it without the analytics.

laughinghan 4 days ago 1 reply      

1. Rails 2.3.11 introduced two subtle changes:

- CSRF tokens have to be included in XHR POST requests

- failing the CSRF check silently resets the session instead of throwing an exception

2. A/Bingo (his A/B testing library) checks if visitors are human with an XHR POST request. He did not notice that he needed to patch it to include the Rails CSRF token.

3. Race Condition: When the login/signup page is loaded, usually the A/Bingo human check will fail the CSRF check and reset the session, and A/Bingo will mark the visitor as human, all before the visitor logs in. The session won't be reset again, because A/Bingo will remember that the visitor is human. However, if the visitor is very fast and logs in/signs up before the A/Bingo human check goes through, it might not be until later in the session that the human check missing the CSRF token resets the session, prompting the visitor to log in again. Now that the session has been reset and the visitor marked human, it won't happen again.

4. His analytics indicated referral stats were way below normal because the referrer was usually getting reset with the session at the login/signup page. The only time his analytics libraries would log the referrer correctly was when the very fast visitors logged in/signed up before the human check missing the CSRF token reset their session.


- Race conditions are hard to track down.

- When analytics indicates something is way out of the ordinary, don't procrastinate tracking down the problem.

- Don't dismiss bugs because they (seem) irreproducible. Figure out how to reproduce them.

blahedo 4 days ago 2 replies      
tl;dr: A Rails upgrade last January caused previously valid code to reset the session (but only once per user per session). The session reset caused a logged-in user to be suddenly logged out; but most users' use-flow (and Patrick's test-flow) made the session reset happen before login, so the bug only manifested visibly about 1% of the time. Moral: race conditions are hard! (Alternate moral: read the release notes carefully before upgrading.)
butterfi 4 days ago 0 replies      
I envy the rush this developer probably got when he figured this out. Sweet, sweet, code rush... ahhh. If someone could bottle that feeling, caffeinated sodas would go out of business.
bryanh 4 days ago 2 replies      
"If my users are inconvenienced, it is my fault, always."

Good quote. I had a customer become irate with me before over untracked sales in my digital delivery product. I knew that the error stemmed from their web designer using their own button code and not our specially crafted button code, and I tried to help them fix it but only upset them more.

Its hard to take responsibility for things seemingly outside your control, but in the end it is your responsibility.

bgraves 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really like this quote:

Bingo Card Creator is not terribly complicated software when compared to most applications, but it sits on top of other pieces of code (Rails, the web server the browser, the TCP/IP stack, the underlying OS, the hardware on both ends, etc) which _collectively_ are orders of magnitude more complicated than any physical artifact ever created by the human race.

You can insert any number of one-off business applications, reports, queries, etc in place of "Bingo Card Creator" but the concept remains true.

tedunangst 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. Had a very similar CSRF problem once. Customer complained they were getting page expired errors constantly. But only one customer and only with Safari, not Firefox.

Turned out they were using an RSS reader on OS X that shared the system cookie jar with Safari. Every ten minutes it would log in with a password and get a new session cookie. Safari would then use the new session cookie which didn't match the CSRF form value.

rlpb 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Whereupon I learned that Rails 2.3.11 changed the behavior of CSRF protection: instead of throwing exceptions, it would silently just clear the session and re-run the request. For most sensitive operations (e.g. those which require a signed in user), this would force a signout and then any potentially damaging operation would be averted."

Doesn't this change a CSRF attempt into a DoS? I don't understand the logic behind this change. Why not return an error response?

spydum 4 days ago 1 reply      
Debugging this sort of issue, finding the cause, and coming up with a solution is like brain candy to me. I love to do it, and I love to read it.
mikebo 4 days ago 0 replies      
To be honest, the default behavior of silently resetting the session and not throwing seems wrong to me. It's reasonable to only store user auth information in a cookie, so resetting the session doesn't have the intended effect of logging out the user.
jwingy 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is why I feel a sense of dread every time I update versions of software I use on my stack...even if you read all the release notes diligently, and everything seems like it'll check out ok, sometimes you just never know what exactly might break until it does because of the complexity of all the intermingling code. Good thing I'm not a control freak and have a convenient memory.....:)
drm237 4 days ago 1 reply      
While not directly related to this post, I feel like it's a good time to point out how great Github is. Patrick hosts everything himself (for the SEO benefit I would assume) which is fine, but it means we can't post issues, watch the abingo repo for changes like this, submit pull requests, etc. I can't imagine that many people searching for ABingo turn into BCC customers so is the SEO benefit at the expense of a great abingo community really worth it?
mattmanser 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great post, good catch. These kind of errors are the ones that always keep me up at night when I launch a new site, you can't fix what you can't see!

The worst one I've done is when a fairly bad bug was being blackholed for a month as I forgot to delete a line from boilerplate code. Damn MS and their stupidly written yet useful templates ([HandleError] attribute for those in the know).


sofal 3 days ago 0 replies      
I got bitten by this same exact thing using Bucketwise a few months ago, but without the race condition: https://github.com/jamis/bucketwise/pull/27
rubergly 4 days ago 0 replies      
@patio11, minor editorial note I thought I should point out: the link to the Rails 2.3.10 source is broken (it links to back to the blog post itself).
timinman 4 days ago 0 replies      
You did a great job of breaking down the technical complexity, Patrick. You are a good teacher.

"So why did this never show up in development and why did it show up only sporadically in production?"
-- I've also run into production bugs that don't manifest in development; your post inspires me to keep as many details as possible in common for the two environments.

heresy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love spelunking problems like this, it's quite the rush when you finally crack it.
AznHisoka 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm probably missing something, but missed sessions in Ruby? Doesn't this affect almost everyone using Ruby? What makes this a minor bug for most people?
loopdoend 4 days ago 0 replies      
The gremlins do not exist! The attribution of causality to gremlins is likely causing problems for many people and should be avoided.
eduadecastro 4 days ago 0 replies      
Although I am just a front-dev developer, I found this post extremely interesting to read. Need to try it sometime on a Ruby backend I built earlier. Thanks!
TwoBit 4 days ago 5 replies      
Can somebody post the tldr?
Saving a Life is Easy, But I Didn't danshapiro.com
384 points by randfish  7 days ago   98 comments top 21
timr 7 days ago 3 replies      
"At the time, the only way to donate marrow was to basically have someone drill holes in your bones and drain your skeleton, which kind of terrified me. Nowadays, of course, most donations require nothing more than sitting still for a few hours with an IV watching television."

That actually isn't really true. Marrow donations still require anesthesia and a surgical procedure. In the interest of providing full information:



(Edit: c'mon folks...why in the world would you vote this down? It's important information to know if you're going to be a donor.)

nknight 7 days ago 7 replies      

To the extent it's still relevant in the modern world, our postal system really needs to work a little more like the phone system.

I can be pretty much anywhere in the US (or really, the world, if I want to pay international roaming fees), someone can dial my well-known phone number, and my phone will ring.

For ordinary first class mail, I should be able to generate unique ID numbers on the USPS's website, and associate them with any physical US address I wish at any time. Then I can keep one or more postal IDs pointed at the location(s) I actually receive mail at, and the scanners (virtually all mail is routed by optical scanners now, even hand-addressed envelopes) can just read the ID number and stamp on the current physical address.

heimidal 7 days ago  replies      
This inspired me to register, but once again I was thwarted by the US' arcane rule banning gay men from donating. The rule applies despite the fact that I've been monogamous for ages and am tested for everything under the sun twice a year.

A college frat boy who has had unprotected sex with a different girl every week for the past semester can give blood/marrow, but monogamous, healthy gay men can't. I don't get it.

danshapiro 7 days ago 3 replies      


The first site is supposed to be more current, but isn't rendering properly for me on Firefox. On the second site, Scroll to the bottom for the button to start the process.



It appears that you opt-in when you donate blood. I don't see mention of an at-home swab program.






(Scroll down to see the partner organizations in many countries)

dholowiski 7 days ago 1 reply      
Shit. Can anyone post the links for other countries (like Canada) to donate? I'm signing up tomorrow.
If you want to really affect someone else's life, this is a way better way than building some web-app.
cowpewter 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was about to sign up, but I am disqualified due to my fibromyalgia, which they consider an auto-immune disorder. I didn't think the current research still considered it one - it's more a neurotransmitter imbalance than anything else.
daryn 6 days ago 0 replies      
If any of you are in Seattle, and want to become registered marrow donors and potentially help save a life, there is a swabbing party tonight at the Rob Roy in Belltown.


davidu 7 days ago 0 replies      
I knew it was coming, but that last line was brutal to read.

Signed up!

sequence7 7 days ago 0 replies      
If you're in the UK you can register with the Anthony Nolan trust as a donor. The whole process is incredibly simple, so please do.


Alex3917 7 days ago 0 replies      
Why not just put your email address on your blog, rather than messing around with their website?
dylanpyle 6 days ago 0 replies      
A sincerely moving story. I'm already a registered donor, but this reminded me to update my address, which, like yours, was still a college dorm. If I were ever called up for a donation, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment.
bglusman 7 days ago 0 replies      
I signed up for the program when I read that story, and just sent my cheek swabs in (4 of them!) this past weekend... seems like a no brainer if you actually want to make a difference in the world :-)

I wonder if there's a decent solution on the forwarding thing with some kind of unique id as metadata on an address, so if something's important someone in possession of the old address can find you through the ID? Or maybe that's just not practical, as no one would use it/retain the info unneeded in the short term.

alecbee 6 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic Story! I always love to see people helping each other.

After a visit to India earlier in the year, to oversee development of software for my new biz, I was awestruck at the conditions people were living in. Seeing this made me want to do something to help, and therefore decided to contribute a portion of every dollar earned to build water wells in developing countries for clean water.

I will definitely look into this as well to help...

andreipop 7 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for sharing a touching story - a bit of quick digging came up with the new Canadian equivalent:


corroded 7 days ago 0 replies      

I'm quite surprised that there are no donor centers in other countries. Are there? Most of these(or all) are first world countries - it scares me to think the chances of people in third world countries if even the ones listed here have a hard time looking for donors.

bhickey 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to donate under sedation?
pgambling 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've been telling myself I would register for awhile now. After reading this, I signed up right away. It only took a few minutes, just waiting on the collection kit.
quizbiz 7 days ago 1 reply      
Why don't they collect email addresses?
ibelimb 7 days ago 0 replies      
I signed up to be a donor, and I'm gonna try and convince my girlfriend to do the same. Thank you for bringing this to my attention!
rmk 6 days ago 0 replies      
Question: Can I go to a hospital near my house and donate to the registry?
qzio 7 days ago 0 replies      
great that this(signing up as a donor) get some attention! We need more bone marrow donors!
New Arrested Development will appear exclusively on Netflix Streaming netflixstreaming.blogspot.com
380 points by amandle  3 days ago   143 comments top 20
ansy 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is great that Netflix is being bold. Netflix needs to be bold. The networks own the studios that produce all of the content and will continue to use that to keep Netflix under heel.

Arrested Development certainly has risk though. It's impossible to pick up where the show left off six years ago.

Hopefully if this succeeds Netflix will consider following up by reviving Better Off Ted. A similar, critically acclaimed, and more recent show with actors that seem generally available.

SwellJoe 2 days ago 1 reply      
I predicted this would happen when Starz pulled their programming. Given how much Netflix is paying for content, they can produce several pretty high end shows, which makes them a direct competitor to HBO, Showtime, etc. But, they have a much better delivery method, from the consumer perspective. This was a no-brainer, and good on Netflix for recognizing the opportunity that Arrested Development presents for them. It's relatively cheap to produce, has huge marketing value, and has a cult-like following that will sign up for Netflix specifically for access to these new episodes.
modeless 3 days ago 1 reply      
And for the first time, people will actually care about breaking Netflix Streaming's DRM. Anyone want to guess how long it'll last? I'm thinking it'll be up on the Pirate Bay the day of release.
chrismsnz 3 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like those outside US are reduced, yet again, to grey-market solutions.
tomkinstinch 3 days ago 3 replies      
This bodes well for Netflix and their new business model.

I hope that the programs they produce will be free of advertising.

angli 3 days ago  replies      
I loved Arrested Development, and I'm glad that it's coming back, but I'm not sure this is a good move for Netflix. If this idea picks up steam, Netflix becomes a competitor to the networks and their relationships get worse. Heaven knows they're tense enough already. It seems likely that others may pull their content, as Starz recently did, lessening Netflix's appeal. So yes, in the short run they'll gain subscribers, but I don't think this outweighs the major risks this poses in the long run.
bherms 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bold move, but also a crucial blow to cable television.
jackvalentine 3 days ago 1 reply      
I hope Netflix licences this out in countries they don't serve.
tomsaffell 3 days ago 2 replies      
p(viewer loves Arrest Development | viewer has netflix) > p(viewer loves Arrest Development) ?
joejohnson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I hope there will be an easy conduit for these episodes to appear on torrent trackers.
marquis 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is stopping Netflix from offering content internationally? I'm sure there are several layers of bureaucracy here, from Hollywood requirements, syndication etc. It would be interesting to know what steps/changes need to be taken to open this service up for the rest of us.
serge2k 1 day ago 0 replies      
The whole "US Member" thing has me nervous.

Might end up just downloading it. Not waiting if they decide to screw over Canada.

eogas 3 days ago 0 replies      
The source article appears to have been modified to imply that it will not be exclusive to Netflix.

EDIT: Other sources seem to be indicating that it will indeed be exclusive.

teyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
This isn't a good deal for the show though. By doing an exclusive it is going to kill their long term audience, leaving Netflix free to poach another show.
jasomill 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hopefully they'll buck current trends and offer episodic content for $1 or so per episode to non-subscribers. Content available "exclusively" to subscribers is a customer-hostile model, as, e.g., Apple and Amazon seem to realize.
plasma 2 days ago 1 reply      
How will I get to watch this from Australia?

We can't get Netflix here.

awolf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Deadwood, anyone?
ptrn 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the new Attested Development really takes off, Netflix will have a syndication opportunity to trade with the networks. It reminds me of the patent wars; build up your collection so you can horse-trade when necessary...
MrEnigma 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well havin just cancelled Netflix, I may have to get it again, at least for a month.
quinndupont 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be sure to watch it on pirate streaming/BitTorrent once it comes out.
http://(Type any keyword here).jpg.to jpg.to
338 points by folkster  2 days ago   121 comments top 53
korussian 2 days ago 4 replies      
I teach EFL, and this would be fantastically useful in class for matching up vocab with pictures on the fly.

The only issue is: I need a much larger rez image to put up on the big projector. Since this is doing Google Image Search... any chance for a:










garethsprice 2 days ago 2 replies      
Cute. Needs a method to return the URL as a 301 redirect so it could be used as a placeholder image. This could be in the image filename.

For example: http://kittens.jpg.to/301.jpg

Another feature could be to return a random result for that image search.

For example: http://ass.jpg.to/random.jpg

ck2 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is the "I'm feeling lucky" of google images eh?


kristopolous 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started with http://hello.jpg.to/ and was delighted by the results, thinking that the web app translated my phrase into a variety of languages and then made a stylish motif. Eagerly, I typed in http://goodbye.jpg.to/ to see, again, what looked like a totally custom image based on random text that I put in. I have to admit, I found this to be http://totallyawesome.jpg.to/ at this point, pressing F5 and hoping for other stylized generations.

After not seeing any, I decided to just try my name ... and found a football player.

revorad 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is nice. It will be more fun if you show a different image on each reload.
Nican 2 days ago 1 reply      
jpg.to does not seem to be a complete metric space. The Cauchy sequence of Pi does seem to converge to Pi.
The number of references to pi seems to decrease as the precision increases.
pluies 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's awesome :)

And it's not even limited to jpg, cf. http://drumroll.jpg.to/

edd 2 days ago 2 replies      
As 'cute' as this is please find a different API to use or at least find a way to attribute where you are _stealing_ the images from and ensure that the owners of the images are happy with you using the images.

Just because an image is on the internet does not mean you can reproduce it. I ran a couple of words I knew return copyrighted images and sure enough they come up.

hammock 2 days ago 1 reply      
Note that you can put in spaces by using dots or %2b



MetalMASK 2 days ago 2 replies      
It is the first image result on google image search. The previous comments on different keywords verified this. To amaze yourself, try "sex" and "male"

behind-the-scene technical aspect are not difficult to realize (either google image API, which is deprecated, or parse the result of http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&source=h... and get the first image url after a predefined string anchor, say <span class=rg_ctlv>), but the idea to simplify input and output is brilliant.

To deal with not-so-good image search result:
since google image search is presenting the result in a thumbnail group, it might be worthwhile to look into their ranking scheme for the result. It might be that the first one (on the top left) is not the most relevant result. It won't shock me if google ranked the relevance of result from center to peripheral. In the end that's how we look at a pile of images--we tend to start from the middle. Try a few examples, from the ones I tried the middle row middle column image is much more relevant than the top left result.

just my two cents.

kgermino 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool.

Top result in Google Images? Looks like it anyway.

Thanks for giving me something to pay with while waiting on the slowest server in the world at work :)

civilian 2 days ago 0 replies      
kloncks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not working for me? I keep getting this: Sorry, image not found. Please try other keywords.
program 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a little bookmarklet for you. Select some text in a page then run it. It will open a new window {selected text}.jpg.to.

   javascript:(function(){var A='';if(window.getSelection) A=window.getSelection().toString();else if(document.getSelection) A=document.getSelection().toString();else if(document.selection) A=document.selection.createRange().text;A=A.replace(/\s+/,'-');if(A===''||!/^[a-z0-9_\-]+$/i.test(A))A='try-again';window.open('http://'+encodeURIComponent(A.toLowerCase())+'.jpg.to');}());

not tested at all.

Zirro 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to be "that" guy this time and tell you that the IMG-element is a single tag, and should be used without a "</img>" at the end :)

Other than that, I'm liking this and looking forward to the extra parameters.

madiator 2 days ago 1 reply      
I thought this was pretty cool and so shared the link with my friend, who asked me - 'so whats the point?'. And then I was like http://notsure.jpg.to
jrockway 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://toonces.jpg.to/ works as expected.
sanxiyn 2 days ago 0 replies      
johnbatch 2 days ago 1 reply      
getting an error on http://facebook.jpg.to/
tikhonj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very simple and very amusing. Or maybe I'm just easily entertained. It got my gravatar picture when I entered my full name, which was cool.

hn.jpg.to, on the other hand, is probably not related to hacker news :)

ggwicz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like this a lot. Placehold.it features would be nice, too. so like, if I wanted just a picture of Bruce Willis: http://bruce_wilis.jpg.to/

But then if I needed a 500x500 picture of Bruce Willis, because who doesn't, I could go to http://bruce_wilis.jpg.to/500x500

Fun little app. Nice work.

wicknicks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool stuff. Interesting progression:






http://111111.jpg.to/ I was hoping to get something related to November/11/2011 here).

dylangs1030 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea, and it works. Here's two constructive concerns:

1. Can you make this faster to type than a browser extension that searches from the address bar (or in Chrome's case, omnibox)?

2. How do you account for false positives, like a picture that doesn't match the word?

alpb 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd rather prefer it to directly stream the image, not an <img src='...'/> to somewhere else. This version is not useful for anybody.
speedemin 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://crazy.jpg.to/ doesn't work for some reason.
liedra 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a cute service but doesn't handle images that are 404 :( Perhaps it should test for 500 status before displaying?
henshinger 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://meme.jpg.to/(I don't have any idea what this meme is.)
Also, I want to see the source code. I think it uses the I'm Feeling Lucky page of Google Image API, but I'm a noob, so it would be nice if I could have an idea of how you made that site.
guscost 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unbelievably, you probably want to turn off SafeSearch before letting kids explore the site...


codejoust 2 days ago 0 replies      
Winning: http://chattanooga.jpg.to/
It works pretty well, although there are some oddball results.
diamondhead 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any way to flag a photo? I just made a search for a dog type and found an inappropriate photo unfortunately...
gumba 1 day ago 0 replies      
Duqu author caught red handed.
ThePinion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wrote my first and last name (no spaces) and it showed a picture of my cat. I was thoroughly pleased :
Wazzup12 1 day ago 0 replies      
Imsy (www.imsy.com) offers this same feature in a slightly different way. It lets you send the image as an attachment in iMessage
solokumba 2 days ago 1 reply      
tzs 2 days ago 2 replies      
tathagatadg 2 days ago 0 replies      
anybody tried "hahahah" or "lala"? ... those were the first two I tried and it gave a totally wrong impression of what the service is all about :D
christos 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this using Google Image Search? Isn't it against the terms of use to access it from an interface other than Googles?
awlo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fun! It would be nice if the source of the image was given, so credit can be given to the author, if possible.
mikeflynn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool idea. I immediately tried "boobs" and was not disappointed.
dschoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
suyash 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is also very handy that I plan to use: http://www.sencha.com/learn/how-to-use-src-sencha-io/
aawc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see changes coming in as I try more things. Good job folkster!
rewiter2011 2 days ago 1 reply      
looks like a catchall apache url rewrite rule with some rewriting voodoo to corresponding google image hits, pretty lame imho

also the dns is not setup corectly to handle spaces in domains mentioned here

Neodudeman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think http://ethan.jpg.to/ is my favorite.
Calamitous 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very, very nice. :)
wahwah 2 days ago 0 replies      
leak 2 days ago 1 reply      
I typed my name "dani" and it turns out I'm a hot chic! I knew it!
folkster 2 days ago 0 replies      
e.g. apple.jpg.to
dicroce 2 days ago 0 replies      
grobo 2 days ago 0 replies      
ha..i like it. it just searches the internet for images with that search term.
Steve Jobs brainstorms with the NeXT team thenextweb.com
330 points by shivkapoor  1 day ago   49 comments top 16
AlexMuir 1 day ago 5 replies      
I recognised his trademark passionate speech (02:43) about using technology to improve education. Laden with superlatives, it's just like every Apple product launch since the iPod.

It's a great pity that education hasn't actually changed a bit in the intervening time. Computers are pretty much just used for teaching computers, as electronic typewriters and libraries, and to cut down on admin. They really are not used as learning aids, as 'simulated learning environments' or anything similar.

There's still a huge way to go in using IT in education. I think the Khan Academy is one step, the opening up of journals is probably another. We're a long way off what Jobs visualised even back in the late eighties.

Bud 1 day ago 3 replies      
Great to see this old NeXT stuff.

I still have my NeXTStation Turbo Color, and shockingly, it still runs! Other than my current iMac, it's easily my favorite computer ever. To be using a NeXT in the early 1990s truly was like being 15 years ahead of what everyone else had.

murz 1 day ago 1 reply      
The original youtube link was posted on HN three times in the past day...




Apparently reading HN is all it takes to be a breaking tech news blogger theses days =P

bignoggins 1 day ago 3 replies      
11:00 in the video is a fascinating example of someone standing up to Jobs' reality distortion field.
alexwolfe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh man the 80's were really something. This is some seriously nerdy (but great) footage. One thing they weren't short on was vision, seems like that was in abundance (along with hair) back then.
mmaunder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go to 16:50. If you ever feel like you're scrounging for pennies in the couch: everyone does it and it's part of business at any level. It's typical for startups to spend a huge amount of cash when they get funded and pay full price for everything as word gets out they're flush with cash. It takes a while to develop a culture of being cheap.

e.g. the last time I worked in someone else's startup (6 years ago) I remember looking around the room and thinking that every one of the $2000 desks that were bought from a local artist is a server we could have bought.

brc 1 day ago 2 replies      
I see a bit more stuff about NeXT getting posted around, I suspect this is because of Jobs' passing.

It got me wondering : although a commercial failure, this computer made a big impact. I wonder if, in 20 years time, all the cool kids will have an old NeXT on prominent display in their home? What other bits of hardware/software combos are going to be classics?

antimora 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting, watched every video on it and found it fascinating indeed.

A few new revelation from them: Jobs' businessman side, NeXT's email client is far more advanced and sophisticated/simple than our current email clients, and Spinning Disk Wait Cursor has originated in NeXT.

jc123 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jobs had a lot of uncertainty about what NeXT should build: very interesting part is around 15:52 where he says it isn't his job. He basically says that someone has to define it. It seems that he was just telling people to figure it out themselves and not providing much leadership. Would have been fascinating to see how it was resolved and Jobs's role: how much input comes from him versus his role as a facilitator.
yardie 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wow, in the 4th video, where he's showing off NextStep mail application, the definition of smooth scrolling has definitely changed over the decades.
niels_olson 1 day ago 1 reply      
The author's assertion that this is better than Isaacson's coverage of the same topic rings hollow. Isaacson definitely addresses the hallucinatory '87 deadline, Joanna's resistance, the "honeymoon is over" intro to the second Pebble Beach meeting. I wouldn't be surprised if Isaacson had access to this video as a source.

That said, it's a different perspective, which is nice. I just disagree with Panzarino's implicit assertion that a) Isaacson's biography missed this, and b) this gem of a video fills that purported void.

statictype 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is the guy skeptical about the software delivery Rubenstein (who later went to Palm)?

Looks a bit like him.

leak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love how the "boss" is sitting on the floor while most everyone is seated on the couch.

"...and if we can't do that, then we outta go broke"

augustl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want to know more about NeXT. Particularly interested in the details surrounding the fact that the goal was spring 1987, but actual release was fall 1988.

Perhaps the Isaacson biography covers it? Any other literature I could refer to?

teyc 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Take a really expensive technology and pull it down to a price point that is affordable". That's what he did with the iPad too.
jwcacces 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Fascinating. I'd also love to see the Lotus 1-2-3 segment. Anyone know where that is?
If you want to get rich, stop being a fucking joker sebastianmarshall.com
326 points by sthatipamala  5 days ago   281 comments top 100
bermanoid 5 days ago  replies      
"Dear Sebastian, we quit, piss off. Best, Sam, Lee, and Jon."

Seriously, this is just ridiculous.

Is there anyone here that would actually put up with this ridiculous public shaming at all, let alone from a CEO that's off in Asia staying up "20 hours" to print flyers for one of his other companies, while he bitches that you're not reneging on your teaching commitments (which I would presume he knew about when he took you on...) so that you can meet his arbitrary (and from the sounds of it, utterly unrealistic) timeline?

Fuck guys like this. I know them, and I'm even friends with a couple, and sometimes they're decent people to hang out with and (on occasion, in the right contexts) even learn from. But I'd never dream of working for them, or even usually with them, because they tend to be neither very good businessmen nor good employers.

Bitching about your people being "jokers" is not the way to speed up a product's release: cutting features is, and that sometimes requires a CEO's involvement. Learn that lesson fast, or you'll be sorely disappointed in all your future projects, especially when you're just the guy-in-charge-of-negotiating-rates-for-business-cards...uh, I mean CEO.

rkon 5 days ago 6 replies      
At first I thought this was posted by one of the email's recipients as a form of revenge on its douchebag author. Then, I realized it was posted by the author on his own blog... how embarrassing.

The whole letter/blog simultaneously reeks of desperation, egotism, conceit and condescension. He clearly craves validation and doesn't hesitate to dole it out to himself. "I picked you guys because you're the best! Now quit sucking and start being awesome like me! Money money money!"


hristov 5 days ago 5 replies      
This should be a very good read for those of you that think that formal education is not necessary for start-up success. I am not sure who the author of this is and whether he went to college or not, but he clearly needs to take a good writing class. He may actually have a good point about keeping commitments but the whole thing is written so badly, in such a meandering and repetitive way that it is a joke. And I doubt any of the recipients of that email will take him seriously and will stop going to their classes to work on his project as he requests.

The saddest part is that he most likely thinks he is working very hard and being very productive. He is writing all these pages upon pages of stuff repeating the same mantra, relating to his favorite history channel shows, etc. But of course he is wasting his time and the time of the people that will have to read the thing. Although I am sure the readers get some entertainment as a side benefit. If he knew how to write he could have written a tight passage of several paragraphs or so that properly conveys the need for dependability and the urgency of the situation without making a fool of himself or insulting his readers.

Writing is a skill and it matters. This is especially true for people in leadership positions.

angryasian 5 days ago 2 replies      
as an engineer I've worked for this type of douche idea/business guy. When doing exactly what he says, he says "somethings just not right", then I ask "ok what is it then".. he responds "I don't know its just not right". DOUCHE.

Then he tells me to take more initiative, and I do. Then I get an email like this that says why isn't things getting done, and I say.. because I'm doing things like setting up stupid accounts that he could be doing rather than writing stupid blog rants like this. Or why are we using x service instead of y service, "well you told me to do what I thought was best". He responds "Well its not what I had in mind". DOUCHE.

He promised me trips to asia, bonuses, and days off when the product is a success. He hasn't told me how much equity I have or vested, because he said that another thing we will deal will when we are successful, but its been over two years, and I'm still having to listen to his stupid rants and fake motivational emails. DOUCHE.

People like this are poison, and working for people like this will kill you inside because slowly as an engineer you'll dream, why can't I work with a real engineering team that can just write code, solve tough problems, work with cool tech and why do I have to deal with this bullshit.. when this douche needs me more than I need him. But because people like this have money, and there are always people willing to sell their services.. he may get a product out and may bullshit enough people that he has is something useful, but thats the way the world works.

wisty 5 days ago 0 replies      
Dear Sebastian,

You worked 20 hours straight. Congratulations, want a biscuit? That's about 20 hours less than what most people here have done trying to meet a deadline, or squash a stubborn bug. And that's not counting the guys who do that for kicks on Minecraft (I kid ...).

Hannibal nearly got his troops to Rome. Presumably, he knew where Rome was, and so did his men. If you want people to MARCH, they need a destination. In web apps, this is a wireframe.

So, break out a HTML editor, and get the wireframe up. Then tell the devs to push it live, put the database behind it, and get it to scale. If not, it's because you don't have a product in mind, and simply MARCHING is not going to get you to Rome, or anywhere. When people are lost, or lack a compass, they generally walk around in circles. Does that seem familiar? Of course, good engineers use the time to check out options, so they know what to do when there's actually a clear goal.

Most engineers live to fix problems. A creaky prototype that won't work is a problem that needs to be fixed. A blank page is just a chance to make scribbly notes.

onan_barbarian 5 days ago 6 replies      
Can someone provide me some concise explanation as to what Sebastian Marshall has actually done - outside of lots of blog posts, Hacker news posts, and travel?
ianterrell 5 days ago 1 reply      
Stop being a joker! Don't make excuses! Everyone has reasons! Fuck reasons!

Also, I can't do it, because I'm otherwise engaged.

nirvana 5 days ago 5 replies      
I can identify with what sebastian is experiencing here. Its easy to work with friends, or be friendly with your employees. Its easy for things to get casual. Its easy for people to start running everything by you.

Its VERY easy for the sense of urgency to just go away. Its very hard to get people highly motivated about time. It's easy to kill an entire day with BS, and let things just stretch out. Especially when you're an employee, and you're working for options. Options are so intangible. You're theoretically motivated, but on a day to day basis, do stock options get you doing 6 things in an hour instead of 3 or 4? Especially if your boss isn't there? (And if your boss is there then you're likely to be inhibited.) It's really easy to kill time by running everything thru your boss too... it lets you cover your butt, and you can read HN while you wait for him to make a decision.

I don't know how you teach initiative... but this is a good attempt.

Find a way or make one. Good advice.

Its a shame most of the comments on this seem to be reddit quality. Almost as if the people making them have never been in this situation. (and this was the situation I found myself in at my very first startup-- when we all felt we had no clue what we were doing, and tended to wait for direction, rather than take initiative.)

commieneko 5 days ago 0 replies      
Spend whatever you need to get it done, but I'm not willing to pay a top designer his normal rates even though I'm having him do a rush job at 2am. But that's okay, I'm being very cool with him and I promised him I'd recommend him to other big shots.

Well, the "top designer" is an adult, we assume, and can make his/her own decisions, but I stopped falling for that kind of bull shit 25 years ago. A good designer is worth paying good rates. Despite lavish praise as they walked out the door with "my miracle", I never once had any of those "big shots" ever show up again, much less provide me with any kind of value in return.

(Now on a side note, I've done spec work and/or above the call of duty rush jobs for customers who've done well by me _in the past_. Or on very rare occasions, I've pulled rabbits out of hat for new customers who were _refered_ to me by very good customers. Maybe that's what's inexpertly being alluded to here. But I doubt it.)

funkah 5 days ago 2 replies      
This sounds terrible. I would be very unhappy with my life if my job involved regularly receiving emails like this.
llambda 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't "fucking" understand where Sebastian gets off: "I had all the time I'd need for this project if we met our original timetables. Now, I don't have it any more because I'm working 12 to 17 hours per day on something else."

In a nutshell, the CEO is saying, "Hey guys, listen, I'm really this one kind of person who gets shit done, except for right now I can't be because I have to take care of some other self-interests (no this isn't the same as being a joker), so I need you to meet my crazy standards."

So he's unable to actually live up to the work ethic he espouses and purports to be a paragon of and as a result wants his staff to fill in the blanks while he works on "something else"; to just "get it fucking done" and not be "jokers". This is contrived and manipulative. If I were working for this guy that would be the last professional exchange we ever had. Horrible leadership.

dschobel 5 days ago 1 reply      
Good for him for getting shit done and empowering his troops but unless their financial incentives are as strong as his, he's just another psychopathic manager for asking them to sacrifice for him ("skip your classes", etc).
spydum 5 days ago 2 replies      
I certainly don't understand the context of the email or the people involved, but that seems extraordinarily douchey. Perhaps I'm the exception, but when your primary focus is on being a multi-millionare, you are missing something from your life.
tikhonj 5 days ago 3 replies      
I can't help feeling that that was written by a cross between a motivational speaker and a mafia don.

The letter had an interesting voice and was well written; however, it immediately set off unconscious alarms in my mind. It was trying to influence the reader too coarsely on too emotional a level; I do not like that sort of thing very much.

CoffeeDregs 5 days ago 0 replies      
This post represents subpop-management nonsense. People are complicated but there are, in fact, things we can do to work with each other. "Commitments" can be considered real things and we can hold each other to them. You either fulfill on a commitment or you don't. If you don't, then fuck you and you're RIFed. If you do, then you're part of the team. (An aside: why is fulfilling on commitments part of being excellent?! Shouldn't it be a criterion?!)

If you don't consider "commitments" to be real things, then you run round and round the what-are-we-doing-and-why-didn't-you-do-it circle... And then you write a blog post.

Update: freeloaders/non-fulfillers are a real thing. I'm one of them. Generally, I perform at a very high level, but I'll dial it back if I'm under the gun and a client unintentionally indicates that they're not one to assess slippages accurately. Unlike most freeloaders, I wake up at 3AM and think about how to fulfill against a late commitment.

trotsky 5 days ago 1 reply      
Telling someone not to go to their university classes so that they can crunch on your $generic_web_app should be a jailable offense.
jeffreymcmanus 5 days ago 1 reply      
You know who's a joker? The guy who "got a top creative designer in there working for a fraction of his normal cost by being very fucking cool with him, and also working out a deal where we refer him business". That's who.
JonnieCache 5 days ago 1 reply      
WTF is all that stuff about S3 doing in the middle there? Setting up S3 takes about 10 seconds. Hardly worth invoking Hannibal.

Sebastian: please seek professional help before you hurt yourself or someone else.

mcav 5 days ago 1 reply      
Write these kinds of rants. Get your anger and frustration on paper. Then, throw it out. Revisit your thoughts later. Repeat until your thoughts are coherent and your course of action is clear.
thiagofm 5 days ago 3 replies      
that guy is full of shit

check out the REAL JOKER:


In the comments section of this post, he mentions that he's going to finish the editing process of his book by 30 september

Now check this post:


He's a fucking joker!

jen_h 5 days ago 1 reply      
Coffee is for closers or something.

We like to think that having money fixes things and we can just throw cash wildly into the air while making definitive exhortations and all will be well. We will be Gods or something! But unfortunately, it doesn't, not usually. What's pretty broke without cash doesn't typically get fixed when you shove its gullet full of coinage. Every once in awhile, throwing money into a whirlpool works, and when it does, you should totally record that shit. Put it on YouTube. But not what preceded it, no way.

enigmabomb 5 days ago 1 reply      
So let me get this straight. This guy is fronting the money on his credit cards, can't do any of the work, and gets people to do things for him by "Being very fucking cool with" them?

Yeah. Keep your money. Fuck your business cards. You sound like sales guys scum trying to leverage the real makers in this project.

coryl 5 days ago 1 reply      
I can sympathize and understand with what he's writing.

I know it seems douchey and shallow to a lot of you, but when you work remote with a team of friends, things tend to get far too casual and eventually everything falls apart altogether. Suddenly everyone has an opinion on design decisions, or a meeting needs to be held on whether we should use Mongo or MySQL, and we should just think about it on our own time and get back together next week for more discussion.

Complacency is really the biggest enemy of the side project / remote team. And so making excuses becomes easier and easier as time progresses.

Someone has to step up and lead, so maybe a motivational speech is just what the team needs. The points about partying and making money might matter to his team, maybe its why they're working on the project in the first place. (And none of us can say that the excitement of making money doesn't motivate us).

So the man makes it clear where he stands; step up and get shit done, or leave and be a joker. Do you want to sell sugared-water for the rest of your life? Or do you want a chance to change the world?

tsunamifury 5 days ago 1 reply      

The guy seems to be a bit of a self styled guru selling his lifestyle brand which is abstractly focused on 'victory'.

dspeyer 4 days ago 1 reply      
Are they really jokers, or were the tasks unreasonable in the first place? The only way to know is to understand the tasks in detail, which I suspect the author doesn't.

The whole "just get it done" thing sounds impressive, but it doesn't hold up in reality. Just cure AIDS. What are you waiting for? People are dying! Get that cure finished by Monday.

Also note that there's a large border zone where things are possible but require sacrifice. They could get it done by sacrificing their leisure, their health, their social status, their unrelated duties, their morals.... It's up to them to decide how much of that is worth it. This is not a decision to take lightly.

ootachi 5 days ago 0 replies      
I really really hope he loses his best employees for this rant. We shouldn't encourage this kind of behavior. Receiving this email would be enough to make me immediately start looking for other work.
shouteagle 5 days ago 1 reply      
This incoherent rant should convince Sam, Jon, and Lee to cut their losses, if they haven't already.

Spending 20 hours over a weekend to bang out marketing materials is supposed to be impressive? How about planning ahead and using something like Crowdspring and VistaPrint to get these distractions completed.

Promising to make $10K in the first six months is supposed to motivate? You didn't share how you plan on doing that except, "I will make it happen." Have you demonstrated in any way in the past six months that you can deliver on this promise? Promises, wishing, wanting, pleading are hollow gestures.

A grand vision and clear plan on how to achieve it, a track record accomplishments and successes: these are the things that make a good leader. They are the qualities that inspire others to do great things.

tomelders 5 days ago 0 replies      
From the comments.

“A joker is someone who says they're going to do something, and then doesn't. A joker always has excuses.”


Hannibal you're back! Did you conquer Rome?

Erm no. Had no siege weapons and my men would… Oh well, I tried…

No, I don't give a fuck that you tried. Did you do it or not?

Could have.


Erm no.

Hannibal you're a fucking joker and we've got problems.



trout 5 days ago 1 reply      
For what it's worth, this attitude is valuable in certain positions. Many of the sales reps I work with have this attitude and it works for them. Basically - they will go to hell and back to get something done for a customer. They will dictate engineering schedules, beg and steal equipment, relentlessly war-dial, and make generally unreasonable requests.

What happens with their requests? People find it easier to bend to the will of the determined than convince them otherwise. It gets stuff done. It also wrecks havoc on the 'balance of things' which may or may not have an inflated importance. This is why people hate sales reps.

Conversely - customers generally love this. Customers love making demands, feeling like they're the only customer, and having faith they'll get the best they can get.

The balance is burning those cycles, because there are limits; hell or no hell. If business cards are worth destroying your sleep and weekend to have them by Monday, so be it.

larve 5 days ago 3 replies      
he's manic, and one of his friend should take him to a therapist. he's comparing himself to nietzsche, hannibal, byron. he's making crazy plans of self-improvement. he's swearing, cussing, incoherent, ALLCAPS in every blog post. he's not sleeping. he's not focusing on anything of real value. I really hope he has someone that takes care of him.
kevinalexbrown 5 days ago 0 replies      
This guy kind of seems not necessary to the whole project, aside from small amounts of funding. If he's spending 12-17 hours a day on something else entirely, what is he personally doing to advance the project?

Did he just have an "idea" and hire a bunch of engineers "find a way or make one?"

kevinalexbrown 5 days ago 1 reply      
"Find a way. Or make one."


"I'd do it myself, but I can't, because I'm doing something else that takes all my time."

wglb 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is the same dude who ripped into patio11 for not living up to his potential.

Personally, I would feel that HN can do without this tone-deaf self-importance.

rglover 5 days ago 0 replies      
I dig the anti-joker sentiment, but this is a bit much. It's good to keep a team motivated, focused, and dedicated to their work but this reads like the author got a sign from god that he and his team were inventing the "next Facebook." The big problem here, though, as others have pointed out: there's a glaring desire for money. Money is the keyword throughout the entire email. "I'll foot the bill," "I want to make us rich," "we can rent a beach house." What happened to "this idea is really cool and even if we don't get rich, I want to make sure it sees the light of day." Joker...
GotToStartup 5 days ago 0 replies      
I had a different take on the article than most of the comments I've read. It's about keeping your word. If You say you're going to do something then DO IT. If you don't want to be seen as a joker then you just have to keep your word.

I see it like this. If you make a timeline yourself and find you won't be able to keep it then you have 2 options. 1) Let the person you promised know right away or 2) "find a way. Or make one" - do what you got to do to get it done.

Sebastian is highlighting the second option because it's already passed deadlines and shit sounds like it's getting serious.

If you want to be respected, loved and an effective leader. Keep your promises. Every single one of them. (Or, in true Machiavellian form, at least make sure it's perceived that way.)

joshu 5 days ago 0 replies      
i would like to slap the author.
16s 5 days ago 0 replies      
The advice he gives about keeping your word is good advice. I try to keep my word, and I enjoy working with others who do. However, committing to do unreasonable things in an unreasonable time and then not being able to finish them is not so much about "keeping your word" as it is about being realistic. No matter how great you and your team are, you have to set realistic goals and doing that is not being "normal" or "average" it's being reasonable and having a work/life balance.
nickand 5 days ago 0 replies      
The guy who wrote this article sounds like the kind of person who wants to get everyone to do his work for him. His personal problems are leaking into his work life. He probably needs a vacation or to change lines of work. He's not a joker, he's a bitter old bastard (regardless of his age).

Advice for the inexperienced doer: Don't listen to this guy. Pace yourself. Do what you need to and make time for yourself. This guy wants to smoke a cigar in his office while you kill yourself. This is his attempt at being 'the boss man' and it's transparent. You will never be happy making people like this happy. If this kind of verbal abuse makes you feel bad then seek therapy don't work late every night. Stand up for yourself.

chubs 5 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the story of steve jobs, when he dropped the original ipod prototype into a fishtank to force the engineers to make it smaller:
'See? Bubbles? That means there's air in there. Make it smaller.'
pnathan 5 days ago 0 replies      
I work my arse off for my company/manager when the heat is on.

I know that when I commit to get something important done by a time X, I get it done or have put in all the time I could on it. So do other people on the team. My manager doesn't ask me or other members of the team to stay late unless it's important. We keep the pressure on and keep working away every weekday all day.

My manager never written anything like this to the team while I've been there. And for that, I am pretty glad.

alexwolfe 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think the author of this fails to realize that you can teach a lot of things but not attitude. You can't convince someone to be passionate about your pet project, not gonna happen. All the begging and reasoning in the world is not going to change their mind. If your so fired up about whatever it is that your doing, find other people that are fired up about it too. If you can't find those people then be more reasonable with people who are building your dream.

The whole, if you want to be rich is really strange too. How about being successful, I think that is a better goal. Success is not having a ton of money, no life, and being a slave driving prick, its about being good in all areas of your life. Believe it or not there are many people out there that would pass up the chance to be rich if it meant they would be absolutely miserable at work everyday.

And finally, no matter how hard you work, how many hours you put in, you can still fail. Its tough to realize that but it happens every single day in the tech world. Once you realize being overly consumed, frantic, and obsessive doesn't guarantee success, you may discover a different way of working, a better way. Be happy with your life dude, that's something you can bank on no matter how much money you make. Otherwise the joke is really on you.

DanBC 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's very sad to see someone with such clear MH problems and no support in place.


jarin 5 days ago 1 reply      
I actually think this is brilliant. I'm just going to pretend this email was written to me and act accordingly.
Maro 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Interview" with Sebastian Marshall:


mbreese 5 days ago 2 replies      
What was that? Does anyone have any sort of context to this? Who are these people?

Why do I feel like I'm missing a punch line?

jrockway 5 days ago 0 replies      
Jumping from topic to topic, bold, and capital letters = too badly written - did not read. What happened to normal prose, where you use words to describe things instead of bold phrases and random fragments? Seeing this has made me a bit ill...
laurent-LB 5 days ago 1 reply      
If this guy was my friend I would look for a therapist for him. This is the second time I come across this blog and the tone sounds more and more delusional and manic.
BenoitEssiambre 5 days ago 0 replies      
outch, this reads like the author is about to breakdown 'bi-winning' style.
callmeed 5 days ago 0 replies      
The thing is, you can follow all the advice and platitudes given here and you still may not get rich.

And, sometimes the joker gets lucky.

malloreon 5 days ago 2 replies      
The insightful part is this:
"What's a joker? A joker is someone who says they're going to do something, and then doesn't. A joker always has excuses. “Oh well, I tried…” -> No, I don't give a fuck that you tried. Did you do it or not?


If not, you're a fucking joker and we've got problems."

To summarize: don't talk about it, be about it.

xarien 5 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this quote: "For a rough approximation of your valuation, circa 2004, you can also use Kawasaki's Law of Pre-Money Valuation: for every full-time engineer, add $500,000; for every full-time M.B.A., subtract $250,000. "
softbuilder 5 days ago 2 replies      
How does this guy have time to blog about it?
mhewett 5 days ago 1 reply      
Makes some good points, but finishes badly. The best part is where he is going to reward his best employee with an all-expenses paid vacation with....Sebastian Marshall!
jes5199 5 days ago 0 replies      
I really, honestly thought that this guy was showing us a parody of a letter from a desperate, clueless manager on a failed project.
I guess this demonstrates some startup-kool-aid varient of Poe's Law.
kahawe 5 days ago 1 reply      
Could someone enlighten me what this is about and what is the context because while I can understand the point he seems to be trying to make (just make it happen) I have no idea who he is and what that was written for...

Oh and: he equals being "only" middle class with being a "joker" who hasn't risen to their potential but the wealthy people are the not-jokers and the ones to admire? Seriously??

> 99% of people you interact with in life are fucking jokers.

99% of all humans think that 99% of people are jokers, idiots or just dumb... very trustworthy figure.

nickolai 5 days ago 0 replies      
The caps/profanity to content ratio is way to high for my taste. Weird: usually there is interesting stuff on that blog, and the writing is Okay too.

not to self : never drink and post.

drawkbox 5 days ago 0 replies      
I know when I finish a project I call up the 'forces of hell' on my side. It's needed for that last 10%=90%.
frobozz 5 days ago 0 replies      
If I were Lee, I'd be scratching my head wondering exactly what it is he's asking of me.

If I were Sam, I'd wonder why he's decided to dick me about without apology, explanation or reward, then spend the next three paragraphs apologising to Lee and promising to "do something cool" for him.

ervvynlwwe 5 days ago 1 reply      
What did I just read?
treetrouble 5 days ago 0 replies      
The term is slacker, not joker.
ericflo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Compare this to the blog post written by Kicksend last week: http://blog.kicksend.com/kicksend-is-hiring

There is no comparison.

skurry 5 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe this says more about me than about the author of that blog post, but if I got an email like this from my "friend and boss", I'd be thinking hard about my future with this "company".
noonespecial 5 days ago 0 replies      
Its parody right? The author is actually demonstrating the point by being the "fucking Joker" himself?

I thought this with absolute certainty through the first 3/4 of the post. What a strange feeling as it dawns that this guy is serious.

This made my morning much more surreal. Its like long-form xkcd.

keeptrying 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I first became a manager, I used to push people like this. The sad truth is that finding just one more person with this kind of intensity is hard. I've only known a few people with this type of intensity.

After moving to SF I now realize maybe its unnecessary. People get burnt out working at such high intensity. If your a really effective manager then you can ensure success by figuring out what is important and asking your engineers to deliver that instead of them slaving away on shit that might not be useful later.

mattadams 5 days ago 0 replies      
tl;dr but I got a kick out of the bit on his about page that says he aims to get between 4-7 hours of sleep a night and insinuates that 8 is too much. The way he's going he'll be dead at 40. Sleep is important, don't skip it.
dasil003 5 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe this is what people need. I don't know because I don't know the people involved. I can say that what he's saying resonates and the words have poignancy because I remember times where I wasn't clearly enough focused on the end goal and such a speech might have been the right motivator. On the other hand when I'm really procrastinating it's usually because something is not right on a deeper level, either the goals, or the people, or something else is rubbing me the wrong way. It's not easy. Sometimes deep introspection is necessary. When you're talking about others it's even harder, but that's where the art of management comes in.
npersson 5 days ago 1 reply      
This type of rant is insane to me, I would never work for a guy like this. But thats just me, for others it might be prefectly fine...

Generally it sounds like he needs a hug or something.

blader 5 days ago 0 replies      
Those who can, do. Those who can't, blog about it.
christkv 5 days ago 0 replies      
I read this as fiction then I realized he was serious. Obviously in need of some counseling. Delusional ? He reads like a carbon copy of "The Secret"
shareme 5 days ago 0 replies      
I once was CTO to an idiot like this..

I walked out after 30 days of these con games..

This author is poison

artursapek 5 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of "Stop doing stupid shit," [1] one of my favorite articles of all time. This was a great read. The intensity and the trust he projects onto his friends is a good role-model for anyone working with their friends on something and making less progress than they'd like.

[1] http://jinfiesto.posterous.com/how-to-seem-good-at-everythin...

exfilmexec 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure what to think of that. He should hire an editor. Most people would not respond positively to that letter so his whole philosophy is meaningless.

Though I can sympathize with trying to avoid distractions and delays with simple problems. Micro-managing horrors.

And I also hate excuses. As someone who is on the verge of failing, I absolutely loved the Hannibal quote. Do anything to succeed mentality is good if applied to being self-critical. I believe that increasing work ethic, knowledge and skills with overall hardcore discipline is the only thing I have to logically and spiritually continue to use to fight the constant failure I've experienced.

In other words, as I was often told growing up "don't be sorry, be correct". Stop making excuses and do it. There's some chance, some method, some concerted effort that will yield an eventual probability of actual success which is only achieved by being self-critical and then improving.

EDIT - I didn't write this very well. Valid excuses are actually very good and effective. Logical reasons why something can't be done lead to ways it can. I've worked with too many people who avoid "negativity" out of some law of attraction thing. So I like when people say, "I'm stupid, your stupid, we're all being stupid but we can and should be smarter by doing X, Y and Z".

bprater 5 days ago 1 reply      
Where does the "forces of hell" reference come from?
gavingmiller 5 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who is partnered with 2 other people in business, I can really appreciate what's being said by Seb: If you make a commitment - hold to it.

We had the same situation come up this week for us. A job went sideways that was worth a month of expenses and then some. The client gave us a deadline to fix it, and if it wasn't they weren't paying.

I told my partners I would do whatever it took to fix this issue because that's too much money to lose. Long story short, our team had it fixed in two days; including contingency plans B, C, and D lined up if our first solution didn't work.

Complete trust has to exist in a partnership, otherwise it doesn't work. And this means sticking to our commitments.

newston 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why does this article get so many comments ( so much attention)? I try to read it but it is so poorly written, even the profanities doesn't work. I've tried to find out more about his achievements, but couldn't find anything impressive. What do I miss here?
wr1472 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry but this guy sounds like such a douche to work for.
circuitbreaker 5 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one here that actually liked the article? Regardless of this guy's resume, or the grammar, or the presentation, he has a point! This...

"You're all highly highly skilled, top 1% at your craft. You're all highly highly intelligent, top 1% of the population. You've all got excellent social skills, top 1% communication skills. And yet, you're middle class. Have you reflected on that? You're the top 1% IN EVERY CATEGORY THAT MATTERS, and yet, you're relatively poor.

Do you know why? Because you haven't stopped being a fucking joker like the rest of society."

ditojim 5 days ago 1 reply      
i predict the credit card maxes out in 2 weeks.
mattbaker 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why the fuck is this on HN? For the comedy?
farms 5 days ago 0 replies      
Freaking ace, guy's a legend!

Having said that, I'd rather get myself strung up in a Judas cradle than work for or with him :D

jc-denton 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Stop being a fucking joker." It is quite funny how people come up with the subjects they have the most problems with. For example we had a professor also teaching project management who had a hard time keeping his meetings, work, teaching, etc organized ;)
vog 5 days ago 1 reply      
Since most commentators seem to have missed it: Please read the very first paragraph!

> Get a coffee and some popcorn ready before you read this one. Love it or hate it, either way you'll be wildly entertained. Names and details changed, for obvious reasons.

In other words, the whole article is not meant seriously.

cnxsoft 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, but I could not read it all... I got bored after 5 minutes of reading.
oper1 5 days ago 0 replies      
Tell me this guy doesn't wear a gold chain and stink of aramis. Ever hear of a psychic vampire? Feel sorry for the people under this guy and is hard on for jokers.
mathattack 4 days ago 0 replies      
Are we sure this isn't a spoof?
cafard 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yo, Hannibal, use the ring.
harrisreynolds 5 days ago 0 replies      
This guy expresses a lot of confidence in his developers and is just trying to motivate them. This is a good thing. It is so so easy to be a joker. Everything in nature needs energy to move forward, including startups and software developers.
malik 5 days ago 0 replies      
This guy sounds like an utter penis.


jc-denton 5 days ago 0 replies      
But I somehow agree with the non-joker argument. Ever heard somebody who doesn't write code, arguing about how great open source software like Ubuntu is?
danbmil99 5 days ago 0 replies      
Haven't we all been there though?
petegrif 5 days ago 0 replies      
What a douchebag.
NARKOZ 5 days ago 0 replies      
A rich man walks into a bar. The barman says "Is this some kind of joke?"
raheemm 5 days ago 0 replies      
I loved it!
gavanwoolery 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't mind swearing, but the persistent f-bomb really adds nothing here...
ale55andro 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to be BIG then this is how you do it. You stop being a fucking joker :D

FIND A WAY. OR MAKE ONE! great stuff on there. This is an excellent motivational post.

derrida 5 days ago 0 replies      
TL,DR. Started out with an email that looked like it was written by a scammer, got bored, moved on.
masterponomo 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm confused. I'm trying to get rich writing jokes, and you tell me to quit being a joker and just get it done. But "it" is being a joker. Seb, are you going meta on me? Am I supposed to consider my professional joking to be something else, in the same way bank IT workers in the 80's were told to think of themselves as bankers, not programmers? OK, man, BAM I'm not a joker. Welp, back to work!
rakkhi 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can't help but wonder if this is going to start all the pro vs cons for swearing in posts again. It would be great if everyone did everything they said they would to the deadline but in reality the unexpected happens and if you get this draconian people just will not commit to anything
brazzy 5 days ago 0 replies      
One point: what is this bullshit and who are the jokers who upvoted an incoherent, useless rant?
JQuery Mobile 1.0 jquerymobile.com
307 points by johnbender  4 days ago   72 comments top 18
ashamedlion 4 days ago 9 replies      
I hate to say it, since I was looking forward to this, but on iPhone/iPod touch, this feels like crap to use. It jumps around, feels really slow and has some troubles responding to my taps. I really wanted to like it, but I much prefer simple mobile sites to ones that use JQuery Mobile.
lazerwalker 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm still confused why they're calling this 'JQuery Mobile' when it's really JQuery UI Mobile, conceptually speaking.

All I want is a library that gives me JQuery-like functionality with optimized mobile performance, decent compatibility with the Android browser's nasty quirks, a reduced footprint (easily doable without needing to support IE and legacy browsers), and a few wrapper functions around mobile-specific functionality like touch events. Is that too much to ask?

iamwil 4 days ago 0 replies      
JQuery Mobile is great as long as you stay within the confines of how they think you might want to layout and setup your page. But once you start needing something a bit more specialized, it felt like I was fighting it.

I'm glad to see that, at least in the docs, they got rid of the back button. There's already a back button in web browsers, even on mobile browsers. We don't need another one in the actual page.

I've come to believe that mobile web shouldn't try to emulate the fancy transitions of native apps for the request/response cycle, it should just be fast. If you're opting for client side async altogether, that's a different story.

forgotusername 4 days ago 1 reply      
Demo has unbearably slow scrolling on my (stock) Nexus One. Feels like a rebranded jQuery UI, inheriting its bad traits (bloat)
daleharvey 4 days ago 0 replies      
I built a mobile webapp recently and found jquery mobile lacking, although it follow a lot of the same idioms I was used to, the ui was just too jerky, I found hand rolling the same code reasonably easy to do to get a much smoother ui, alought I am still running against issues that I am not entire sure are solvable
pingswept 4 days ago 4 replies      
I don't know how this performs, but at first appearances, it looks pretty good. Does anyone know what the major competitors are for mobile UI libraries?

I played around with an early version of Sencha Touch, but that's all I'm familiar with.

niklas_a 4 days ago 0 replies      
To anyone that thinks this means it is ready for production: think again.

All release candidates have been buggy and slow. It MIGHT work on an iPhone 4S or the latest quad core Android phone but anything other than that it feels slow.

clemesha 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'd love to ask the hundreds of people on Twitter, and elsewhere, exclaiming "Awesome, jQuery Mobile 1.0 is out!", this one question:

Which app, that you use, built with jQuery Mobile, is excellent?

clarkmoody 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm excited about this library since I've already been using jQuery extensively for my desktop-web development and I wasn't thrilled about learning something new like Sencha Touch.

The new Theme Roller has a very nice interface as well, with a direct connection to Adobe Kuler, which I appreciate very much.

andyl 4 days ago 1 reply      
I tried to use JQM with backbone.js. Problem arose that JQM couldn't handle query params (like http://site.com/page?key=value), so I couldn't build dynamic pages that are bookmarkable. JQM devs were aware of the issue but said that dynamic pages were out of scope for JQM.

I dropped JQM and went with zepto, backbone.js and custom CSS. And wow, the performance gain was eye opening.

I think JQM is a nice tool to build prototypes and to learn about building single page apps. But no way would I consider using JQM for a production app.

exterm 4 days ago 1 reply      
They say they're cross-browser, but their examples extensively use -webkit- css properties without the corresponding -moz-, -o- or the "vanilla" versions. None of the page transition examples work in opera.
scdc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know of existing jQueryUI sites that have been converted to jQuery Mobile? It seems well documented for how to build new stuff, but if I've got an existing app with jQuery UI Sliders or jQueryUI draggables, if/how best can I convert/update it to get better touch support and/or support for more devices?
mattparlane 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's something wrong if you're getting a 30-50% performance boost between RC2 and RC3.
pablospr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have a simple question - Since it is mobile, why not do away with the animations and transitions? So why prefer jQuery mobile at all. What alternatives if I am targeting Blackberry, Windows, Palm, Kindle, etc?
RobertKohr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I built http://constantsail.com with it.
codebungl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just created a new app and found the performance was both fast and sluggish at times. Anyone else with me on this? What are you doing about it?
andrewfelix 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've built web apps in the past using JQTouch. Should I use this instead?
iusable 4 days ago 2 replies      
jQuery Mobile is certainly one the most (if not The most) optimized platform to build on right now. It offers 'depth' & 'breadth' in almost all the core areas one might expect. I have been building on it since it was in Alpha and have personally experienced the team roll out fixes upon fixes, which leave the competition in the dust.


       cached 22 November 2011 16:11:01 GMT