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Reddit to go dark on Jan 18 to protest SOPA reddit.com
905 points by lindowe  4 days ago   150 comments top 35
Joakal 4 days ago 6 replies      
Oh no, please stop focusing only on SOPA or lesser part of Protect IP! Those two are just two battles by anti-Internet groups.

They tried one tactic with SOPA to fool people in thinking it was delayed until next year: http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/nfrru/sopa_has_n...

There had been many anti-Internet attempts implemented and proposed: SOPA, DMCA, PROTECT-IP, COICA, CEST, OPENA, ACTA and more.

PLEASE. Demand Internet Freedom bills in place of such bills. Protect not only current and future Internet businesses, but also the future of children's access to knowledge and ability to share (Some people think the anti-SOPA are just Internet companies).

For example, making it illegal for government or corporations to shut down domains without due process. There's more potential in the SOPA by simply re-wording it to be pro-Internet Freedom.

Bonus: It'll make such Internet Freedom bills a template for pushing Internet Freedom on other countries! Especially UK and Australia.

If they won't stop outlawing/controlling parts of the Internet, then we need to fight back in outlawing anti-Internet attempts.

The war against the Internet will continue after SOPA.

Edit: I sent a message to reddit admins again (several attempts already in past). If you know any of the reddit admins, please pass on this Internet Freedom message quickly!

2nd Edit: hueypriest acknowledges the message: "We are well aware that the fight will continue long after SOPA/PIPA, and that this is just the first battle."

Mizza 4 days ago 8 replies      
How would HN feel about joining in support? I would be in favor of it.

My god.. the productive output of Silicon Valley is going to triple on the 18th!

llambda 4 days ago 11 replies      
Blacking out Google is one thing and something that I hope happens if all else fails. Now I'm sure blacking out Reddit will at least get a certain demographic in the U.S. to notice, but isn't this the same demographic that is already working to remove certain members of Congress for their support of SOPA? So my question: what kind of impact will this have? Certainly there won't be too many Congress members worked up over a blacked out Reddit...
brezina 4 days ago 2 replies      
no matter what site does the blackout, they need to run a simple web app that generates your representative's phone number based on zip code.
gojomo 4 days ago 4 replies      
Why not a smart missile rather than a nuke?

Sites should only go completely dark for those users who appear to be geographically inside the district of SOPA-supporting legislators. "Your legislator wants an censorship-without-trial kill-switch for internet sites, so we're on strike against your district today."

c1sc0 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm 100% in favor of HN blacking out. On top of that, I have another 'non-violent' proposal for how techies could protest this:

Let's create 'freedom.txt' files in the root of our servers. A simple text-file stating why the owner of the site (YOU!) opposes internet censorship.

It's a simple & geeky way to make a statement. You can do it right now and it should make it a bit easier to exactly count how many people oppose this bullshit.

Here's an example I wrote a week ago but kinda neglected promoting until now: http://fr.anc.is/2012/01/01/freedom.txt/

Sniffnoy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know what happened to Wikipedia's proposed blackout? It would be best if the different websites doing this could coordinate.
louislouis 4 days ago 0 replies      
A prime example of why money needs to be taken out of politics. It takes all this shouting from the 99% but nothing speaks to the congress members like the sweet dollars of the 1%.

If wikipedia was able to raise $20M in donations, an anti-sopa fund raised for lobbying could be quite effective, but then congress members would look utterly corrupt.

dustyreagan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to write a universal javascript plugin that would create an interstitial landing page with info and action items about SOPA. The user could then dismiss the interstitial page, and it'd roll up as a bar at the top of the site.

The javascript would be easy for site admins to add, and it would be easy to distribute.

I don't want to make this, but I'd add it to my sites if it was designed well. :)

nextparadigms 4 days ago 0 replies      
While putting up an interstitial to warn about SOPA/PIPA and get people to call their representatives would be almost as effective in its short term impact on those 2 bills, I think completely blacking out is a much more effective long term strategy.

The chance that politicians would try something like SOPA/PIPA anytime soon, if all major sites go dark in that day, is much smaller. Showing an interstitial could be a form of protest against anything. Going dark is clearly a form of protest against censorship. And I don't think any politician will want to be associated with that in the future.

rmc 3 days ago 1 reply      
I kinda wish they would just black it out for the USA only (based on IP address). Then have a message saying "The USA would lose out on the tech race"
jebblue 4 days ago 5 replies      
Am I the only HN participant who is on the fence about SOPA?
helium 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish Reddit would make their planned anti SOPA page available as a template for other sites that wish to show their solidarity and join them on the day.
The_Sponge 4 days ago 5 replies      
I use a subreddit to collaborate with team members. I know this is an extreme situation, and an odd use, but it's damn inconvenient.
cookiecaper 3 days ago 1 reply      
Assuming this spreads, I believe a potential ramification of major sites blacking out would be new laws that would attempt to make such black outs illegal.

It could be seen as equivalent to strikes in essential service industries like transportation. Such strikes are semi-regulated and governments can and have ordered strikers back on the job to maintain public order. I see this possibility as a potentially major unintended consequence of putting Facebook "on strike".

cyanbane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really need Facebook/Twitter to do the same to strike a nerve with a large demographic. Google would definitely bring attention to the cause, but the ability to broadcast oneself / status on a personal level needs to be hindered to have a meaningful impact. I almost might want Google to stay online and display information about SOPA on the homepage. a la "Why is the internet blacked out today?" .. consumption/direction to information is their strength.
monochromatic 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really don't understand the point of this on reddit. EVERYONE on reddit has been hearing about SOPA continually for the last month. You don't raise awareness of an issue by putting it in front of people who already know about it.
tomjen3 3 days ago 0 replies      
So if they go dark for SOPA, why not NDAA? that one was even worse. No point in internet access when you are dead.

Or what about a military action against Iran -- surely millions death from radiation poising would be bad, even if they aren't US citizens?

Or what about the Iraq war? Reddit was around then.

pathik 3 days ago 0 replies      
No offense, but Reddit going dark will affect only us. No one else will even notice. If something like Wikipedia goes dark, that would be something. Everyone will be forced to take notice.
zerostar07 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't it be more effective if Google and Paypal threatened to move their base outside the US, so they can't be affected by SOPA?
jonursenbach 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good for them, though I still find it odd how silent Digg has been on this matter even though it would most definitely completely destroy them.
iuguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
From this year, January 18th will forever be known as the Internet's most productive day.
molmalo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it be better if instead of going dark, every single page displays a full window message, explaing the situation about SOPA, showing the picture, name, phone number of the us representative for the area of the visitor (using geoip). And letting the user close that message after a certain amount of time.

That way, the users will still be able to coordinate their actions. If not, you are giving SOPA supporters a big help, by generating chaos between the ones who opposes the bill.

maeon3 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be taking down my site down Jan 18 as well.
Pelayo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is blacking out HN really necessary? Is there anyone here that doesn't know about SOPA/PIPA and the threat they represent?(I would ask the same about reddit but since I don't read the site I don't know if they have a broader demo)

I suppose the whole point in doing the blackout would be to draw attention to people who haven't realized there is problem.

swalsh 4 days ago 0 replies      
To reinforce the chain reaction ramifications of SOPA, Imgur, a site very dependent on the success of Reddit will also be impacted.
cl8ton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not only do I support this on Jan 18...
I will be posting links to Reddit and hopefully HN on all the non technical forums (auto racing) I visit in support!
Unregistered 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can't help thinking it's a better strategy for everyone to stay open, and use the day's revenue for lobbying. money talks.
efader 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wrong idea. Boycott companies that support SOPA. Look at what happened to Go Daddy.
drhowarddrfine 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the only thing that will happen: doing this will just piss people off that they can't get to their site. Then, by the end of the next day, no one will remember it happened at all.
gumba 3 days ago 0 replies      
So SOPA is not that bad after all.
savrajsingh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Jan 18 will be a productive day.
zerostar07 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do i smell an opportunity for competing sites? interesting...
rogerclark 4 days ago 0 replies      
reddit is a horrible hellhole
ibejoeb 4 days ago 1 reply      
@scoofy: it looks like you might be on to something. Reddit quickly adopted this proposed date.


Google, what were you thinking? co.ke
721 points by swombat  1 day ago   143 comments top 31
yanw 1 day ago 2 replies      
Google's statement via: http://paidcontent.org/article/419-google-investigating-keny...

We were mortified to learn that a team of people working on a Google project improperly used Mocality's data and misrepresented our relationship with Mocality to encourage customers to create new websites.

We've already unreservedly apologised to Mocality. We're still investigating exactly how this happened, and as soon as we have all the facts, we'll be taking the appropriate action with the people involved.

AndrewDucker 1 day ago  replies      
I am hoping that this is a rogue group of local Google employees who are about to be smacked down by Google head office.

This kind of thing is going to happen occasionally with global organisations, but Google needs to do something public quickly to make it clear that this is against policy.

nicpottier 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm curious to see how this ends up.

The upsell is the part that makes me suspicious, because that doesn't sound like the type of thing that Google would do.

My guess is this. It is someone claiming to be Google and selling a service that is actually free. That's a pretty common thing to see in Africa, in Rwanda we see people 'selling' Google Apps for domains all the time.

The WHOIS lookup does give me pause though.

Eliezer 1 day ago 3 replies      
Anyone who thinks this is an actual plot by Google, seriously, you need to notice your own confusion. It doesn't fit the modus operandi of any other way they make money.
samlev 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's a couple of reasons why I think this doesn't seem quite right:

- "Large human effort" doesn't seem like Google's style - a screen scrape for info would be faster for them, and I'd assume that they already have tools built to do that.

- If the callers are lying about being affiliated with mocality, then why can't we assume that they might also be lying about being from Google?

- Google would likely have the entire site indexed and cached already, so there's very little reason for them to get actual people to manually screen-scrape the live site.

- OK, the second wave is coming from a Google IP, but why wasn't the first wave coming from one?

Yeah, it looks pretty bad, but this type of behaviour is so atypical of Google. It seems almost laughable to make the assumption that it's anything other than scammers trying to take advantage of Google announcements to try to make a quick/easy buck by selling Google services as an affiliate.

estel 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://blog.mocality.co.ke/2012/01/13/google-what-were-you-t... clickable

Must have been submitted at least a hundred times this morning.

EwanToo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems a very odd situation, I assume the URL has been manually flagged enough times that all submissions to that URL are now marked as spam automatically.

I'd be curious to know who's flagging it though.

blhack 1 day ago 3 replies      
Oh, malarky.

Here. I set up a page at http://lab2.gibsonandlily.com/google.html

Then I ran it through google translation services. Here is the result in apache's log: - - [13/Jan/2012:10:45:37 -0600] "GET /google.html HTTP/1.1" 200 327 "http://translate.google.com/translate_p?hl=en&sl=fr&... "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1) AppleWebKit/535.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/16.0.912.75 Safari/535.7,gzip(gfe)

Look familiar? This one is tossing up windows NT, which is strange, but it doesn't seem like a stretch that some of the machines at google for stuff like this are running linux.

The scam here isn't being done by google, it's just a run-of-the-mill scammer scamming and using google's name.

Dearest mocotality. Turning on referals in apache logs and you'll see where on google this is coming from (if you care to).

Here is how:

in: /etc/apache2/apache2.conf (or whereever your apache configuration sits) change the "Logformat" option to the following:

LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %O \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" combined

and then use option:

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access_log combined

(or whatever log path you want).

mechanical_fish 1 day ago 2 replies      
Curious: If I had a Google App Engine account, a) could I open outbound HTTP connections, and b) what IP range would I appear to be coming from?

Not that I find it unbelieveable that Google, multinational megacorp, could and would do this thing, but this evidence still seems kinda circumstantial. I mean, here's hypothesis two: One compromised PC in Google's HQ, running a proxy.

alexmuller 1 day ago 1 reply      
I left this comment on the original post, but it's been caught by the spam filter there:

Hi Stefan " apologies if I've missed something, but the only solid proof I can see that this is actually run by Google is that the IP address some calls came from was assigned to Google.

Last year Mark Turner was concerned that the Department of Defense was listening in on his phone calls because of an IP address that later turned out to not belong to them at all, but (I believe) was being squatted on by Sprint. Couldn't the same thing be happening here? http://www.markturner.net/2011/11/08/why-is-the-defense-depa...

I wonder whether the scammers aren't actually employed by Google and are simply out to make a quick buck by pretending they are.

Can anyone speak to the technical aspects of his analysis? I'm not seeing any truly compelling proof that this is run by Google. Just the one IP address that's registered to Mountain View.

joshz 1 day ago 0 replies      
According to this post Google knows and will have a statement soon.


instakill 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm really surprised that nobody from Google has made a statement yet. Even if the detective work was wrong, Google has suffered a huge PR blow. This story is all over HN, all over G+ (at least the HN circle), all over my Twitter stream (which includes some top tech journos from South Africa) and is slowly being republishing on various blogs.

Google needs to respond now!

shrikant 1 day ago 2 replies      
It looks like HN auto-kills *.co.ke links.
Loic 1 day ago 0 replies      
The history tells us that Google subsidiaries have quite a level of freedom to have their own strategy to achieve the desired outcomes. You can remember the paid blog posts for google.jp for example. So, Google Kenya will be kind of banned or whatever and mea-culpa will come out, life will go on.

What I find more interesting if everything is true, is that they have cheap manual workers in India doing the scrapping manually to then cold call. It means that if their "crawlers" are not smart enough, they are ready to go "manual" to enter a market.

For me this is really an interesting piece of news and this is where I am a bit afraid of Google hegemony.

yanw 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm assuming it was flagged because the headline was in ALL CAPS.
richoakley 1 day ago 0 replies      
You don't think it is a bit ridiculous that somebody, pretending to be Google, would go to the effort of running requests through Google App Engine, just in case somebody ran a trace against the logs in the hope of figuring out where the IP address was? All evidence points at Google and the likelihood that that's as a result of some serious planning by a paranoid scammer is unlikely.
trapped123 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is what I don't like about Google. They would like to extract content from others for free and then use it for their own profit. But they don't allow others to extract content from their sites or charge exorbitantly to use their APIs. They give something for free only if they can make money by selling ads or if they can capture user behavior.
ck2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are you sure some other entity didn't just figure out how to use google as a proxy, ie. via their translator tool?
wildmXranat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, somebody will either get a smack upside the head or a raise. This is a blemish if proven to be a Google operation and there's no way subversive tactics of this kind are looked upon with good grace.
TerraHertz 17 hours ago 0 replies      
OK, now this is just exploring an idea about WHY this might have been done.

Rough details:

Google doesn't develop business web sites, but the callers were offering that service.

Obtaining their business contact database, and misrepresenting themselves, in a very un-Google way.

Since early November 2011. And the call operation switched to India when spotted.

The businesses being called were all in Kenya. KENYA - now why does that ring a bell?

Google admits it happened, but is vague about who did it. "a team of people working on a Google project"

Hmmm... You'd think if there was a clear relationship that Google could admit to, they would have. I smell something a bit more intense than mere bad business choices.

How about this:

Suppose you were a current US President, who (for whatever reason) very very strongly desired to eliminate (or 'modify') a specific piece of paper held at the Coast Province General Hospital, Kenya. A birth certificate, from 1961.
This one: http://everist.org/pics/Obama_bc/lucas_Obama_bc.jpg

Someone comes up with the bright idea to offer a document digitizing and cloud archiving service to the hospital. Just to get hands-on for that one piece of paper.

But as cover... you'd need something much more general. Like offering web hosting to all businesses in Kenya. Comes with document scanning at low low prices!
You can trust us, we're GOOGLE! And we are associates of your widely liked Mocality.

So why now? Because finally a lawsuit about Obama's eligibility established legal standing and made it to the supreme court. Document discovery begins. Stuff's about to hit the ventilators...


That and other cases have been working their way through slowly. Takes months, and someone maybe saw a need and activated some emergency contingency plans.

Just a thought. There's always a reason, and it's often not the most obvious one.

Why would any actual Google team, even rogue, offer web services Google simply does not do?

AznHisoka 1 day ago 0 replies      
As an aside, there's a good business idea hidden in this: a website monitoring service that monitors for scrapers, showing you hit rates for IPs, which countries, user agents, what pages, etc. Sends you a SMS or email when it detects a scraper and you can take action.
Andaith 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there any actual proof that it was google? It sounds to me like someone is borrowing their name for legitimacy.
ak2012 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google monopoly hard at work, its only a matter of time till we start viewing Google as the next Microsoft.
wangweij 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If Google has become so huge that theoretically they cannot enforce the "Do No Evil" motto throughout the whole company, they can remove that motto and publicly admit they are just the same as any other one.
Tichy 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are those known Google IPs? Otherwise I suppose anybody could just register something as "Google"? Just saying, WHOIS might not be very reliable.
rmc 1 day ago 0 replies      
The first part sounds pretty circumstancial, since pretending to be from a big company (Google) is a basic scamming technique.

However the second instance is from part of a /16 IPv4 block assigned to Google. It could just be a compromised proxy on someone's machine.

kenrik 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"Do no evil"

There is a saying in spanish that roughly translates "beware of unrequested affirmations"

I think it applies here..

boscomutunga 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, it will be interesting to hear what google has to say but meanwhile there seems to be a lot of people with axes to grind with google.On the other hand, what's taking so long, google should have given a statement on the issue.
billpatrianakos 1 day ago 0 replies      
No need to circumvent. This is already the top story.
linguistbreaker 1 day ago 0 replies      
Those Kenyan businesses don't represent enough money to be worth bungling into a crushing PR nightmare. That would be stupid, and stupid is the one thing that I know to be absent at Google.
I predict that Google will get to the bottom of this very quickly in order to protect their name.
How to nap boston.com
630 points by ozzzy  4 days ago   133 comments top 49
tobtoh 4 days ago 6 replies      
For those wondering how to nap at the office and not get hauled into the managers office for sleeping on the job, I paraphrase a tip from Scott Adams (Dilbert):

"Grab a handful of paperclips and find an office/meeting room. Shut the door and lie down on the ground with your feet against the door. Sprinkle the paperclips in front of you. Now have a nap.

If someone tries to enter the room, the door will hit your feet. This will naturally cause them to pause (and stops them entering), it wakes you up and lets you reach for the paperclips which gives you a ready excuse ("Oh sorry, I was just picking up the paperclips")"


nicholasjbs 4 days ago 3 replies      
I cannot overstate how much power naps have improved my life. I started doing them regularly about seven years ago and have been recommending them to everyone I can since. Napping makes me happier, more alert, and way more productive.

A shameless plug: I wrote a post about how I learned to nap here: http://unschooled.org/2011/05/how-i-nap

palebluedot 4 days ago 5 replies      
Here is a way to generate simple, wonderful pink noise (with a slight tremolo) from the commandline, if you have sox installed. It somewhat mimics the sounds of waves on a beach - I find it very relaxing.

A nice side affect (and the reason I played around with it originally) is that it helps mask tinnitus when it gets too annoying (I find that if tinnitus flares up too loud, it can make it more difficult to fall asleep).

The cmdline:

  play -t sl -r48000 -c2 - synth -1 pinknoise tremolo .1 40 <  /dev/zero

omgsean 4 days ago 6 replies      
I've tried this so many times but I just can't fall asleep in the middle of the day unless I'm seriously exhausted. Anyone out there able to beat the "can't fall asleep unless conditions are perfect" curse?
pmr_ 4 days ago 1 reply      
The lark and owl distinction has been driving me crazy since I thought about my sleeping habits. I spent about 2 years with completely self-determined sleep (I even collected sleep data) and do not even approximately fit into those schemes. I alternate between a lot of sleep and no sleep over the course of 10 days continually shifting my waking hours into the night until I reset. Some people claim that this would be unhealthy, but (measured by introspection) I felt good and haven't been sick during that time. And I have spoken to some people that feel similar.

While all this is not based on anything that can withstand analysis, it adds a strange flavor to advice when it starts with broad categories which seem not entirely correct.

jjcm 4 days ago 5 replies      
Twenty minute naps leave me in a horrid state of disarray. It takes me about an hour to recover from the grogginess, so I tend to stay as far away from them as possible. I've experimented with time and location variations, but never with any success. It makes me sad, because I know tons of people who work naps into their day with fantastic results.
juliano_q 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sadly, here in Brazil when I tell someone that I need a nap in the afternoon to be really productive almost everyone says "You are lazy" or something like that. I have worked in a single company that I had some time to take a 15-20 minutes nap in the afternoon and the boost in my productivity was simply outstanding.
danso 4 days ago 4 replies      
Has anyone ever used phone apps that purport to wake you up at the right time by using the accelerometer to detect how much you're moving in your sleep?

Example: http://www.sleepcycle.com/

I've used this but only for a few times because it requires the phone to be activated all night, which makes it quite warm in the morning. But it seemed to make me less groggy...but I can't tell if that's just confirmation bias...

I haven't thought of using it for just 45 min spans though

brc 4 days ago 0 replies      
My Dad always took powernaps and still does. He has the ability to sit down in just about any reasonably comfortable chair, and go to sleep on command. He can then wake up 5, 15, or 30 minutes later and be fully alert. Noise, light, temperature - doesn't worry him.

He laughs about it but it's got to be a skill built up over years by practicing.

The one trick he did teach me for a mid-day nap was to lie on your back on the floor and put your legs up on a chair (calf muscles on the seat, feet against the backrest). For some reason it really seems to help, I assume it's circulation related.

gnosis 4 days ago 2 replies      
There's been so much well-publicized research on the positive impact of sleep on performance, and hugely detrimental effect of not getting enough sleep.

Why do so many companies still force their employees to work with so little sleep? Why do they still frown at sleeping on the job? And why don't more of them provide cots, sofas and showers, when they can easily afford them?

For decades, some of the more enlightened companies have been providing in-company cafeterias, laundry, fridges and microwaves in office kitchens, and other amenities so that employees don't feel like they need to leave the workplace as much. You'd think these companies would recognize that providing sleeping facilities is the next logical step. Why don't they?

Edootjuh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some tips on how to get white noise.

- Obviously you can set a radio between channels, but I often don't have a radio in the room but do have a computer, so...

- In linux, if you have ALSA installed, you can type

    cat /dev/urandom | aplay -f cd

in the console, or

    cat /dev/urandom > /dev/dsp

for OSS

- On the internet, there's http://simplynoise.com/

j45 4 days ago 1 reply      
First time I'm seeing this, thanks for sharing.

Where it mentions a nap makes stage 2 sleep, I know my ability to nap can depend on how quickly I can fall asleep.

I've found meditating for 5-10 minutes even at my desk offers a similar result to napping, without the nap-hangover/grogginess.

The feeling? Like when we wake up, fresh, clear minded, focused, settled and ready to go.

lawnchair_larry 4 days ago 0 replies      
It amazes me that people can "nap". I can only nap when extremely tired, and at that point, I'm so behind on sleep that 20 minutes won't do a thing. I'll be lucky to wake up, and if I do, I'll be just as groggy. :)
danko 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm glad that this provides scientific justification for that napping danger zone between 45 and 90 minutes. Having taken naps that have ended in that precarious time span, I can attest that it feels like you're worse off than when you started.
kcima 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not everyone sleeps in the same way. After a doctor suggested I do an overnight sleep study, I found out that I often reach REM within 5 to 10 minutes.

Taking even a 15 minute nap in my car right after lunch completely boosts my creative thinking and problem solving ability.

mhartl 4 days ago 0 replies      
This "nap wheel" is useful for finding the right time to nap:


jhancock 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good info. I learned this years ago from my great-grandmother. She took a nap every afternoon for 20 to 25 minutes.

Now, living in Chengdu, office workers here are encouraged to nap after lunch time, around 2. At my wife's office, there is a chime followed by soft music twice a day, reminding workers its time for a break to do eye exercise, something they teach or at least used to teach in Chinese elementary school. Many offices in Chengdu also have a tea break around 4 ;)

BasDirks 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am lucky: I work in the village I grew up in. When I am too tired I tell my boss: "I am not productive, I am going home to sleep, I will work the remaining hours of the day at home after I wake up." My bed is then a 3 minute bicycle ride away.

On a more helpful note: I learned how to nap by having siesta when I helped someone build a house in the South of France. A mid-day nap there was common, even for those in the public sector. They reasoned that in summer it was just too hot too work.

I would do my napping where ever I'd like: the grass, a garden chair, a leather sofa. It took about 2 weeks to actually "get" it, but it did my body good. Sometimes I skipped a day because I wanted to read or w/e, but I'd still take my moment of rest.

zafka 4 days ago 0 replies      
I usually get one nap a week on Sunday afternoons for about 3 hours. I find that I feel more creative and ambitious in the period after this nap than at any other time in the week. While it is feasible to add one more day to my nap schedule, I have yet to do it. I am rather much looking forward to when my schedule will allow for a daily nap.
janus 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've found 15-20 minutes naps after having lunch, to be amazing. I can wake up really quickly and being fully alert to keep working, without any drowsiness or performance hits.

I wish I could wake up with the same mood in the morning. I find it really hard to even wake up without putting the alarm in snooze at least twice.

adnam 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of siestas. I even put my pyjamas on to nap.
thetrendycyborg 4 days ago 1 reply      
Finally! I was wondering how to do this!

On a real note, napping changed my life. And when I had my own business, it really helped productivity to have a nap in the middle of the day. Now I work for the machine, and naps are unfortunately not allowed.

jacobr 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't nap (yet), but we get relaxing 30 min massages every other week at work. After that I'm a new person, and the thought of getting only a small portion of that relaxation every day...

I have a colleague who regularly meditates, he simply grabs a free meeting room.

itmag 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why is sleeping on the job frowned upon for programmers? I asked for it once and was denied like it was some outlandish request. I thought I was doing them a favor by asking (by wanting to raise my energy levels during the midday slump).

It just reaffirmed that 9 to 5 culture is not for me.

swombat 3 days ago 0 replies      
tnorthcutt 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish this was a higher-resolution image (or text... one can dream, right?). It's awfully hard to read.
cr4zy 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I went to Bolivia, everyone went home for a 2 to 3 hour after lunch. All businesses would close. The work day started at 7AM and ended at 6PM IIRC.

Apparently, this is most popular in warmer countries. Nap aka siesta times correspond with the hottest and most dangerous parts of the day in terms of UV radiation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siesta

cl8ton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see others power nap also, I thought I was just weird.

My routine is at about 1:30 slouch in my chair leaning back with my hands atop my head with fingers inter locked.

Whats strange is that I don't really goto sleep. I can hear everything going on around me but my mind is just totally blank and not focused on anything.

I stay like this for around 15-20 min then snap out of it fully refreshed!

Archio 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've adjusted recently to have 1.5 hour naps in the middle of the day (I'm a college student), so then I can go to bed at around 1 AM and wake up at 7:30 AM, and be well-rested and awake the entire day.

It's almost like taking the nap in the middle day gives my brain a "restart" so it's refreshed and prepared to focus the rest of the night.

n_coats 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's interesting to note the immediate difference between a short nap (less than 45 mins) and one longer. I've never heard the pre nap coffee suggestions! I take naps frequently and hate when I over sleep or wake up from one longer than an hour and a half due to the groggy/grumpy side effects.

Really interesting and insightful piece!

damontal 4 days ago 0 replies      
find a nearby hotel with meeting space, usually on a mezzanine level (easy if you're in a city). these areas are often empty. find a comfy chair or couch and nap with a manilla folder or book on your lap so you don't look like a bum. set your phone to go off in 30 minutes.
kin 3 days ago 0 replies      
It takes me like 40 minutes to fall asleep for a nap. I'm much too alert during the day after a full night's rest.
deepkut 4 days ago 0 replies      
Old, but interesting. I wonder if hackers nap more often?
perlpimp 4 days ago 0 replies      
What I do to fall take a nap or fall asleep is to focus on a point just outside of my right temple, tension drops and mind rest for me faster that way.
tate 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pro tip I learned from the world of ultra-cycling (riding a bikes for days at a time):

- Drink coffee as you prepare to nap

- Take 20 minute power nap as caffeine gets in your system

- Win

jsemrau 4 days ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/just15min/id471609083?ls=1...

I wrote an iPhone app for this

blakestein 4 days ago 0 replies      
This whole time, I thought I had a sleeping problem because I couldn't fall asleep until after 12:30 a.m. or 1 a.m. and I would get irritable and tired from 3-6 p.m. Now if only that didn't clash with my work hours.
noveltyaccount 3 days ago 0 replies      
How can I use this to better wake up in the morning, instead of groggy with "sleep inertia"? Set an alarm 90 minutes before I want to wake up, plus one when I want to wake up?
davewingler 3 days ago 0 replies      
In Japan noone is allowed to nap much less sleep. I need to move.
Freestyler_3 4 days ago 0 replies      
I read that using an alarm to wake you up is not good.
The perfect sleeping rithm is different from one person to another so I can't tell people how they should sleep, there are people who can, they studied for it.
grigy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't this depend on person? I never had naps and don't feel like I need.
g3orge 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really need that. Wallpaper-ed.
agbell 4 days ago 0 replies      
According to my zeo deep sleep usually starts way before 45 minutes into sleep.
Edootjuh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I noticed that in the picture for 'owls' the best time to nap is 2 pm and ~3:15 pm, but the text says 'closer to 2:30 pm or 3 pm. Which is it?
kin 3 days ago 0 replies      
but surely you can still dream in non REM sleep can't you?
sidcool 4 days ago 0 replies      
A 3 year old infographic rises from ashes...
chjj 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love naps.
BadassFractal 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is "nap" what they call coffee these days?
Microsoft launches an HTML5 version of Cut the Rope cuttherope.ie
547 points by jkbr  5 days ago   124 comments top 41
coda_ 5 days ago 5 replies      
EDIT: Try this if it's not working for you: http://www.cuttherope.ie/?html5audio=true read below for more info)

Runs great in Chrome for me. I have the android app and this html5 version runs really well... after playing the first couple of levels, it runs just a well as the android game.

Tried loading the game in android browser, no go... also tried loading it in the dophin browser within android... no go (both just site at 00%).

Was curious what they were using for playing audio so I had a look at the code. They are using SoundManager2 (http://schillmania.com/projects/soundmanager2/) which will play audio using either html5 or flash (it's great, have used it on a few projects in the past)... I believe it dynamically detects what's available. Looking at the code though, I see they (MS/Zepto Lab) are only using html5 audio on IE9 or greater, and flash for everything else... if you want to force html5 audio, use this link:


This might fix issues people are having for browsers that don't support (or block) flash. Haven't tried in an iOS browser, but that link might increases your chances of it working there :)

Using that link I was able to get it to load in browser on Android and started the game, but couldn't cut the rope, likely cause it's not built to handle touch events. Too bad.

sumukh1 5 days ago 3 replies      
Both Angry Birds and Cut the Rope are now on HTML5 (http://chrome.angrybirds.com/)

This is starting to become a trend, but it needs a strong driver. The Windows 8 App Store may provide the push needed to get HTML5 adoption up for applications. It's a different ball game in the web, but I think we'll start to see the web playing a bigger role in the marketplace.

Just curious: Why the down vote?

petercooper 4 days ago 2 replies      
The behind the scenes writeup is good: http://www.cuttherope.ie/dev/

Although the senior developer says in the video: "Objective C is object oriented, has classes and structs. And those things just don't exist in JavaScript." .. Well, except object orientation, of course ;-)

drivebyacct2 5 days ago 2 replies      
Make sure you enable Flash. Not sure why it's necessary, maybe cross site loading?

Works really well (Chrome 17.0.963.26 dev, Linux), I got sucked in and played several levels.

Kind of sad that at the end of the "trial", you're prompted to buy the game on iOS or Android.

steve8918 4 days ago 3 replies      
Sorry for the dumb question, but when it says "HTML5" version, what is the underlying technology they are using, if it's not flash?
MatthewPhillips 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm no game dev, but wouldn't porting from OpenGL to WebGL be much simpler than porting to 2D Canvas? I know IE doesn't support WebGL, so I'm just wondering how much extra work they created for themselves.
hippich 5 days ago 1 reply      
It stuck on 00% on biggest balloon and nothing happens. Is it only IE10 compatible? (running Ubuntu so can not see what it looks like in IE
robgough 4 days ago 2 replies      
I found their framerate numbers quite staggering, with OS X lagging far behind Windows. Is this a surprise to anyone else?


ofca 4 days ago 0 replies      
the level of smoothness and playability amazes me. better run into the salt mines to brush up on html5 :)
aChrisSmith 5 days ago 6 replies      
I'm confused why Microsoft would sponsor something like this. Google going after game developers and getting them to port their apps to HTML5 makes sense, as it supports the Web as a platform as well as promotes the Chrome Web Store.

Is the plan that the Windows8 App Store feature Chrome Store-style URLs-as-applications?

yon 4 days ago 1 reply      
You have to see the cute picture they put if you try to view it on IE8
crabasa 5 days ago 1 reply      
If you're curious about some of the developer issues they ran into porting to HTML5, check-out http://cuttherope.ie/dev.
saturdayplace 4 days ago 1 reply      
The development article makes a reference to the resource loader they built for this, PxLoader (http://thinkpixellab.com/pxloader/). Are there other JavaScript libraries around that have similar functionality?
suhastech 4 days ago 1 reply      
To be honest, this game is made for multi touch screens. Simultaneously cutting the rope and pressing the airbag doesn't work very well on Chrome (or IE).
marcamillion 5 days ago 0 replies      
Love this. Guess I missed the game when it initially debuted. But this is hella fun!
andrewpi 5 days ago 0 replies      
Works fine for me on Firefox 9.0.1/Mac!
forrestthewoods 4 days ago 1 reply      
On one hand, it's fairly impressive. On the other hand it has pretty frequent hitches which for a game as simple as Cut the Rope is pretty unacceptable.

I don't get all the hype for the HTML5 bandwagon. I would never actually play a game this way "for real" because perf is too poor.

thristian 5 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't work for me in Firefox 11/Linux until I turned off my Flash blocker, then it crashed after hitting 99%.

Seems to work OK in Chrome 16, though.

obilgic 5 days ago 3 replies      
My mouse does not show up, chrome 17 + mac
eridius 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool, runs flawlessly in Safari.
switz 4 days ago 1 reply      
I absolutely love how they show it being developed on an iMac. Keep in mind IE hasn't been developed for the Mac since 2003.
kibaekr 4 days ago 1 reply      
This really does show the power and potential of HTML5. Personally, I'm really looking forward to the day where I can easily make notes and draw on any given webpage, and be able to save and share them.
msftguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Third level in proper browsers:
1. Open a JS debug console (Cmd+Option+J)
2. Set a breakpoint on window load (Event Listener Breakpoints - Load - load).
3. Reload the page
4. After the breakpoint is hit, type
localStorage.setItem('msIsSiteModeActivated', 'true'); navigator = {appName: 'Microsoft Internet Explorer', userAgent: 'MSIE 9.0'};
5. Disable the breakpoint, level 3 should now work..
diarmuidie 4 days ago 4 replies      
Anyone know why they are using a .ie (Ireland) domain? Just curious.
winter_blue 4 days ago 1 reply      
This game runs more smoothly on Chrome than on IE 10. (I have Windows 8 Developer Preview)

[In IE, balloon presses are laggy - not so in Chrome.]

nailer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Works on the Playbook, playable but at a low frame rate.
pacomerh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very well made. This year will be strong for the canvas tag and web gaming.
And of course don't be surprised if it doesn't run well on your tablet or phone. Mobile browsers aren't that strong yet.
hornbaker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Loaded great on my iPad 2, music started playing, tutorial came up, but CAN'T CUT THE ROPE. Ugh. How hard would it have been for them to add some touch event captures?

Really impressed otherwise.

wildmXranat 4 days ago 0 replies      
How is Firefox 7.01 an old browser, huh ?
alpb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does not support touch controls. Therefore probably can't be used for Windows 8 demos.
shmerl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Microsoft using Ogg Theora? That's a breakthrough.
bdg 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is what I end up seeing, chrome 16:


waterflame 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's great on Chrome and better on IE (that's why and how it was built for :))
Very addictive!
FPSDavid 5 days ago 0 replies      
Works for me on W7 64-bit with Firefox 9.0.1
kaichanvong 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly does not work on my iPad 1.
janus 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's even smoother than the iOS version in Chrome 16 for Mac. Amazing implementation.
filipemonte 4 days ago 0 replies      
When i saw the movie i feel sorry for this guys "using" IE
zsiciarz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Works flawlessly in Opera 11.60/Windows.
zupreme 4 days ago 0 replies      
On my iPad it just stops at 73%
suyash 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool work pixelLab!
tete 4 days ago 0 replies      
Haha, IE TLD. Funny! :)
Good bye, Google Maps… thanks for all the fish google.com
520 points by dlikhten  3 days ago   151 comments top 27
kooshball 3 days ago  replies      
I really wish there is a way to show more than just the domain name next to the title.

>Good bye, Google Maps… thanks for all the fish (google.com)

is simply misleading.

funkah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. After years of paying through the nose for a Google search appliance that actually wasn't very good, my company decided to replace it with Solr, and it was a really fun project. We hired the Solr project's main committer to consult with us and in the process submitted patches for bugs that we ran into.

The whole thing cost less than one year of the GSA license fee, we can search all of our content (the GSA had a hard limit on the number of documents it would index), and the search results are way better.

demetris 3 days ago 0 replies      
A similar story on HN from a couple of weeks ago:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3392851 " Why (and how) we've switched away from Google Maps (nestoria.co.uk)

jsnell 3 days ago 0 replies      
When those prices were announced, I was really expecting that they were just for show, and really everybody would end up paying way less than list price. It's bizarre that this isn't happening. Making a real and profitable business out of providing a geo API is great. Pricing it out of just about everyone's range and driving the potential customers away, less so. I can come up with a lot of theories, but none that is really believable:

1. So many companies really paying nearly list price that it's worth losing the other business.

2. Using different pricing schemes on different customers to figure out what the pain threshold really is, to maximize profit.

3. The sales people have a bad set of incentives, and are too strongly encouraged to try to make sales with low discounts.

4. ?

recoiledsnake 3 days ago 3 replies      
Charging is good since it keeps the product around, but Google's prices seem ramp up suddenly from free to way too high suddenly. First Appspot and now this, looks like their pricing is too out of line for small to medium companies. They need a flatter pricing curve.
jroseattle 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most telling part of this experience was the discovery of how good open source mapping has become lately.

While it's the money that's forcing developers to look for alternative mapping solutions, it's also unleashing a wave of interest in open source maps. Those will undoubtedly get better as time passes.

I do believe Google will look back on the decision to start charging for their map products at the levels chosen as a bad one for themselves, but a great one for open source.

jcampbell1 3 days ago 3 replies      
The maps do not show subway stop locations. That is not good when you are a NYC real estate company.
blhack 3 days ago 2 replies      
Could somebody explain to me how google charges for maps? I'm using it for http://lanmarks.com/ -- and it's not like I'm throwing an API key at them with the javascript include...
vijayr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google charging heavily for maps is a good thing, in a way - more alternatives will come up, which are (hopefully) cheaper, and not locked to one company's whims
kapitalx 3 days ago 0 replies      
> they might have bad data, and there's very little you can do about it except report it and wait

You can actually go to Google MapMaker and modify things yourself. I've fixed many things to date.

aasarava 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have any pointers to tutorials on how to get started building OSM maps? For example, if I have my own "map" of the US (a simple graphic image), how do I go about connecting that up to state boundaries and plotting lat/long on it, and then breaking it all up into tiles? I feel like that part of the puzzle is always missing from blog posts like these (though the post is helpful for the bigger infrastructure picture.)
Roboprog 3 days ago 1 reply      
The take away I got is that Google maps is a very good way to implement a map tile on your pages if you are a startup, one less thing to worry about, but if you succeed, be prepared to "optimize" the cost of that portion later. The per-unit cost is a steep slope, once you start to get volume.

Fair enough. No way would I try to make my own map at the beginning of a project.

sunchild 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how Google's new pricing affects use of MapKit in iOS apps?
ajtaylor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all the excellent pointers, some of which I knew but most I did not. I'm happy things turned out so well for you.

We recently had to navigate the Google Maps licensing obstacle course at $work. I tried getting quotes from Bing, but it was just as hard to get a number since we could only go through resellers. In the end we negotiated down a bit and reduced our map usage. But the next go around I'm seriously considering taking some time to investigate doing the maps ourselves. TileMill looks gorgeous!

ma2rten 3 days ago 0 replies      
This might just be a matter of taste or just what I am used to, but I have yet to see another online map, that looks as good as Google Maps. Do others have a different option about this?

Btw, when Google announced it's ridiculous new pricing scheme for Google Maps, I though maybe they actually just wanted to force people to become Google Maps Premier costumers. I mean, no way they really except people to pay that much. So I am really curious if their Premier program is actually less expensive. Did you actually contact Google Sales about it?

pud 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fortunately Google Maps' geocoding API limits still appear to be based on IP address. So if you do your API requests via client-side AJAX, you should be fine. That's because it's unlikely any individual user will make more than 25,000 requests in a day.
kuahyeow 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's a very overview of the current open source map technologies out there. People may be talking a lot about the price, but my feeling is that the next batch of map servers etc are catering to a major set of folks who wish to diverge from the stock standard Google Maps look and functionality.

The technology is simplifying the whole process of generating and rendering maps quite a bit - comes with it's trade-offs of course. For those requiring a step or two above a simple basic map yet wish to have more customization over what's in the map tile, it's perfect - processing times are getting less, and the technology is becoming less arcane to understand

wildmXranat 3 days ago 2 replies      
And about the price, what are the bills like now ?
rplnt 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about bing? Compared to Google Maps in terms of pricing? I think their maps are of great quality as well, much superior to OSM. In US at least.
terinjokes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Moving the map around causes it to go black here in Chrome 18. But other than that (with might be Chrome's fought), I think the maps look pretty nice.
muyuu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm starting to get worried about the long-term plans Google might have for the apps I use that I'm rather locked-in to. Mainly gmail.
dhcole 3 days ago 0 replies      
This a great overview of the open source mapping options out there. I just posted some notes the other day on how MapBox pricing works for hosting custom map tiles: http://ds.io/A12Drf and a comparison of overage fees for MapBox premium accounts vs Google premier.
vedant 2 days ago 0 replies      
Douglas Adams is rolling over at this title. It should be "So Long, Google Maps..."
7952 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see if this effects the success of the site. Despite its failing people are really comfortable with google maps.
fludlight 3 days ago 1 reply      
Where does the data for building shapes come from? Both Google Maps and the OP's website incorporate it.

What is the format? Can I download the raw data in bulk (preferably for free) for a data mining project?

mikecx 3 days ago 1 reply      
Another option, though still expensive, is to use the Google Earth Enterprise tools. They basically let you build your own private Google Maps though this too runs into some problems.

1.) Imagery, 2.) Cost for GEE ($10k I think), and the cost of maintaining your own servers to host it on.

I think it's still cheaper than going over the 20,000 free, but not optimal either.

drewda 3 days ago 0 replies      
"TL;DR: We at StreetEasy decided to build our own maps using, among other tools, OpenStreetMap, TileMill, MapBox and Leaflet, instead of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to Google. And yes, the money pushed us into doing it, but we're happier with the result because we now control the contents of our maps."
This photograph is free standblog.org
514 points by aclark  3 days ago   143 comments top 33
tptacek 3 days ago 6 replies      
Or, "How not to make money selling software: a succinct illustration of cost-based and market-based (specifically, value-based) pricing in just two comment threads."

Why can Github charge FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER YEAR for a local install of Github and succeed, impressively so, despite a small army of nerds pointing out how inexpensive it is to run one's own Git server and Gitorious? Why does 37signals have an office with walls made of 37signalsium (really, seen it, it's fuzzy) and trendy furniture despite selling software that the nerdosphere can clearly duplicate? Why does Yammer even consider publishing a $5/user/month price for software that is among every web geek's top-5-most-likely-personal projects?

Answer: they don't sell gypsum.

Cost based pricing, which works for gypsum sales but not so much for software, suggests that the price of a nice photo should be the price of the gas to get to and from the photo shoot, possibly divided by the number of people interested in buying the photo, plus maybe throw a couple bucks in there and buy yourself something nice, photographer.

Value-based pricing says, "how much it cost me to create the photo is irrelevant". YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES, say the nerds. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I WAS SAYING! But value-based pricing continues: "no, what matters is how much it would cost you to make that photo and how much benefit it brings".

How much it would cost you to make that photo: (say) $6000, perhaps divided by the number of different photos you'd take given the same setup (but then also scaled back up to account for the headcount or professional services required to take lots of pictures).

How much benefit? It depends. I could take 10,000 words listing out factors in figuring it out. Most importantly: what are the substitutes to this photo and how much do they cost? For some businesses, clip art of the Eiffel Tower suffices to bring 80-90% of the value. For others (like ad-sales print publications), comparables might also be very expensive.

Now, the extent to which the YOUR business benefit from my photo exceeds MY cost to produce the photo is MY ADVANTAGE IN PRODUCING PHOTOS (the extent to which your cost exceeds my cost is my "comparative advantage"†††, and if it's a positive number possibly suggests that I'm the one who should be doing the photos in any case, since you have better ways to put your money to use). Having an advantage is a good thing. Among other things, it's a key reason why software startups are lucrative, and why we don't all work on line-of-business software for non-software companies.

It's probably true that a photo of a sunset isn't worth $6,000. But, exclusivity aside, the value of the photo also has nothing to do with how much it cost the photographer to take each shot at the margin, and it has nothing to do with the cost to make each marginal sale. What matters is how much it costs the customer to replace that value with a substitute, and in that analysis the $6000 set-up cost, while not determinative, is relevant perspective.

The moralism in these threads is an irrelevant sideshow. Situationally, the nerdosphere oscillates between extremes when trying to compute valuations for stuff with intangible-seeming benefits. Today, the nerdosphere apparently thinks either (a) every photo is a precious snowflake or (b) photo costs should be scaled by the current price of hard disk storage. Yesterday, it was whether it's right for Github to charge per repo. Before that, it's whether it's fair to have markets for spec work like 99designs.

None of that matters. What matters is, is there a market for what you're selling, and will it clear based on the model you use to price stuff on the market. Clearly there is a market for high-quality photography. Clearly it is not a cost-based market like gypsum, or there would not exist sites selling photos with royalties attached, or photos costing hundreds of dollars --- which clearly those sites do exist. So instead of arguing about how much photos should cost --- because, again, they cost what the market says they cost, not what you think it costs to make them yourself --- think instead about how this discussion applies to your own work product. More than you think it does, is my guess.

††† (Actually this isn't all what comparative advantage is; comparative advantage says, if there's a market for widgets and a market for photos and you're better at widgets than photos and I'm better at photos than widgets, then I should do widgets and you should do photos, which is a subtly different idea, but the point stands either way.)

aspir 3 days ago  replies      
I hope everyone understands, including the authors themselves, that each author in this back-and-forth is correct. The right to give and the right to charge are inherently personal decisions that only the owner of the photo can make.

This was the main frustration that I had with the "this photograph is not free" comments, as well as the tone the author of this article takes. It doesn't matter what the commentators claim the various photos are 'worth' -- it's not their right to speculate, and just because you released your material CCL, you don't have the right to feel more privileged than someone who chose to exercise their right to be compensated.

noonespecial 3 days ago 1 reply      
All of the professional fotogs I know are paid not for photos the have taken, but for photos people would like them to take. The photos that they have taken are just proof that if you hire them to take photos for you, they will be good.

In this way, I think this author's point of view is slightly more economically advantageous than the "this photo cost $6500" guy.

miahi 3 days ago 5 replies      
Just a couple of hours time difference and it would be copyrighted[1], and not by him.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower#Image_copyright_cl...

mrgoldenbrown 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Most of all, I have realized a long time ago that in a world where everyone has a camera, a lot of free time and fantastic tools to publish stuff, there is not a lot of money to be made anymore by taking pictures."

For me that is the best rejoinder to the somewhat whiny tone of the "this photo is not free" post. The author has missed the point that certain types of photos are accurately valued at "free for credit", because it is easy to obtain them at that cost. His real beef should be with this fact, not the fact that people are asking him for photos at market prices.

We would all like to be able to charge money for things we would do anyway, but reality does not always oblige us. When my neighbor asked me for my grass clippings to add to his compost pile, I told him sure, but only if I could charge him $1000, based on the cost of my lawnmower, gas, and labor. After all, he will be able to use that compost as fertilizer eventually, and why should he profit from my hard work without compensating me? Sadly, my neighbor did not buy my argument, because grass clippings, like certain photos, are neither rare nor hard to come by.

joshwa 3 days ago 1 reply      
The comparative advantage the professional assignment or stock photographer brings to the table isn't just creating a "good enough" photograph, it's about creating the RIGHT photograph for the client.

This is why microstock and craigslist haven't completely destroyed the market, since the professional can reliably create the RIGHT photo for the assignment (or in the case of stock, consistently predict and create the exact images the target market needs).

But it does exert downward pressure. The photo editor/art buyer is always cost-conscious, and whereas she used to only have the option of professional-quality-work at professional rates, now there is a huge pool of "good enough" photos at vastly lower cost. Buyers of photography, as it turns out, aren't actually that discriminating, so more and more frequently they're opting for the "good enough" photo instead of the RIGHT photo.

And this is where the professionals start to get irked. It'd be one thing if the new competition were undercutting them with similar-quality work at lower cost. It's be they're being undercut by work that is often objectively lower in value to the client, and they know the client would be better served.

It's actually quite analogous to the issue of outsourcing: a vast new pool of cheaper but lower-quality labor supply becomes available, and many firms move operations overseas. The end-product is crappier but cheaper. Nobody actually cares about quality, and given the choice, they'll go for cheaper and "good enough" over expensive and good.

Interestingly, Apple is somehow managing to upend this paradigm by producing really-good quality product at premium-but-not-ridiculous prices through design and manufacturing innovation and exceptional marketing, and is taking back market share from the mid-tiers. I can't think of how the photo industry as a whole can accomplish this, though, since it's B2B rather than B2C, and it's an army of independent professionals and not a unified association. (There's a legal limit on how much the industry can coordinate: the major photographers' trade organization was fined for price-fixing years ago becaused they had published pricing guidelines.)

(DISCLAIMER: I worked in the photo industry for years, and still shoot the occasional assignment)

vectorpush 3 days ago 0 replies      
Photographers have a right to demand payment for their photos.

Nobody has a license to use a photographer's photos without her permission.

Photos are an incredibly cheap commodity (that span the gamut of relative price and quality, like everything else)

It is not unreasonable that photo consumers expect low to no cost photographs.

I think we're all mostly in agreement here.

davidw 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Mozilla Europe: Founder and president"

So ultimately, his money comes from Google advertisements, which are not free. He can afford to do photography as a hobby because he has income from another source, that can be traced back to a scarce good.

If all information goods were free, the power would shift to those who actually have something scarce to sell, which would likely mean fewer information goods of some kinds because some people at the margin could no longer afford to produce them if they were no longer able to generate an income by doing so.

ljf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still love the fact that on the website of the original blog poster ( http://www.johnbmueller.com/index2.php?v=v1 ) that until yesterday he was illegally streaming music by a band (Frau Frau) along with his photo slideshow. I wonder how much he was paying the artists/bands? I guess nothing as since I notified him and the bands the music has strangely disappeared... I wonder how much he owes them? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frou_Frou_(band)
bane 3 days ago 0 replies      
As somebody who pretends to make art, I think that both sides of this argument are correct and valid. If you make art, and you want to charge whatever you want for it, more power to you and good luck. If you make art and give it away, awesome!

If you just make it and keep it to yourself, just for your own personal fulfillment, sweet!

Or all put another way, if you like somebody else's art, but object to their charging something for it, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from learning the craft and producing it yourself...and you might get even more out of it then.

loup-vaillant 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yet another example of the tension between scarcity and abundance.

Our economy is based on scarcity. Which means that anything abundant tend to see its price driven down to zero. Making a living by selling such goods as if they were scarce is increasingly difficult. Donations seems to work somewhat, though.

If everything (including food and housing) were abundant, we wouldn't even need money, and making a living out of music, photography, or software wouldn't even be discussed of. But we don't live in that world…

…Yet. The way things are evolving, more and more goods have the potential to be effectively abundant. Especially those who have bounded demand, like food (if I recall correctly, there is already more than enough food to feed the planet, if only it where correctly distributed). Work is being more and more automated, such that even human labour can eventually be made abundant (an especially vivid example is self-driving cars, which can bring down an entire profession). But scarcity isn't going anywhere, so we'd better prepare for a rather long transition.

I see several forms that transition could take. (i) More unemployment, more economic problems, more people starve and freeze despite the availability of food and housing. (ii) Reduction of the hours worked per week, while keeping the salaries up. (iii) Growth of actual wealth (Not of the GDP). (iv) artificial scarcity, driven by old corporation and institutions that just won't die.

I'd like to avoid (i) and (iv), but I'm afraid we already have evidence for them right now (especially (iv), see copyright and patents). I'd like to have (ii), but I'm not aware of any reliable metric about it. The last decades clearly demonstrate (iii), but I'm not sure we have as much as we could have.

Anyway, I'm not satisfied right now: abundance and scarcity clearly don't play well together. If someone has an idea about how we could make them, that could be terrific.

noduerme 3 days ago 0 replies      
[edit; the guy didn't approve this post and it's not on the site after a few hours]

Posted: Look - if you're not in the business of doing art at an hourly rate, then you're either doing art on spec or art for fun. I've got no truck with the guy who wrote the original article, because I don't think his picture's worth much. But if he wants to charge for it, he should be allowed to. No one forced him to go out and spend $6k on expensive tools to take a picture he could publish on the internet where it's obviously going to be stolen if it's any good (but won't, because there are too many other people with the same idea). It's about the same as starting a really original band because you got a fender amp from guitar center for christmas. Good luck, dude. I love your dreams and I hope they come true. I'll even go to your show. I might buy your album. But no, I won't lend you twenty bucks for gas.

Likewise, I'd probably never stumble across your royalty-free image in a million years, as beautiful as it is, unless it was part of this ceaseless argument about art prices. Frankly, this is an argument about how art is positioned, not what constitutes it or what's involved in creating it. And so everyone in this game's a liar -- buyers and sellers. It's not about layout cost, and it's not about purchasing power, reach or recognition. It's about communication; the client pays for art to communicate something, and the creator makes a piece of art that fits the bill.

And in this case, both you and the guy who wrote that article have resorted to words to communicate what you're trying to say, over images. That's a massive fail. You should have said what you were trying to say with imagery, and so should he. Defending your art with text, explanation, litigious or liberal, is a sacrilege and proves neither one should be considered Art with an A. Art, if it exists anymore, is the process of twisting rigid, formulaic and predefined media to accommodate complex ideas in such a way that they provoke the public, without resort to words or other fame- or sympathy-seeking strategies. Basically you guys both suck as photogaphers, because neither of your photographs made me realize what you, or he, said in the addenda; forget about paying, why would I use either? Here's a picture of rocks and water; here's a picture of the eiffel tower. It's the same picture, compositionally and emotionally. Both of you don't understand photography. Yeah, you get social points for saying what you did, and obviously I'd rather go out and have a beer with you than that asshole, but Show It; Don't Explain It.

oz 3 days ago 1 reply      
So what?

You chose to make your photograph free. John Mueller chose to charge for his work. The point is that the creator gets to charge for his work if he wants. If the price is too high, he doesn't make money. If the price is too low, he doesn't maximize revenue. But it is his choice to make.

Jach 3 days ago 0 replies      
> On the other hand, it has given me a lot of joy and pride. The joy to take beautiful pictures. The pride of building the reputation of being a decent photographer. The pleasure to give away my work and see people smile. The satisfaction coming from the fact that my work is useful, seeing it's reused by others.

This is a nice sentiment. It reminded me of a quote from Richard Feynman on his thoughts about the Nobel Prize:

"I've already got the prize. The prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out. The kick in the discovery. The observation that other people use it. Those are the real things. The honors are unreal to me." ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMaBmik4VYg )

orthecreedence 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to create art and sell it, great for you. Take all the necessary steps to protect your work from theft while at the same time raising awareness for your artistry.

If you want to create art to share with the rest of the world, great for you. Do so without strings attached and without expecting anything in return.

I see the purpose behind both posts, but they seem to be arguing over something that doesn't need to be argued over. Some people like to sell their software, some like to give it away. Neither is right, neither is wrong, the only context in which the actions can be judged are when they are done so through the artist...it is up to the artist to decide whether selling something or giving something away is right or wrong.

projectileboy 3 days ago 2 replies      
The underlying attitude that bothers me in these discussions on HN is that most of us are in the software business, so what it amounts to is "my intellectual property (software) is super valuable, and your intellectual property (photos, music, writing) is worthless". Do we really want to live in a world where people can't make a living from photography or writing or music?
Samuel_Michon 3 days ago 0 replies      
From the blogpost:

"I took the picture because I like taking pictures. I've invested into a lot of money into camera gear over the past 27 years or so and never made a dime from it. On the other hand, it has given me a lot of joy and pride. The joy to take beautiful pictures."

The author is an amateur photographer, he shares his work and people enjoy it. That's great.

There are also quite a few developers who contribute to open source projects. That doesn't mean that they or others can't ever charge for programming work or software products.

Some photographers license all of their work to the public domain, most professional photographers don't. I don't feel there's shame in that. People need to respect and adhere to the license a work is published in. The fact that you had to download a picture in your browser to view it doesn't mean you have the right to republish it.

ynd 3 days ago 0 replies      
The main thing I take away from this is that he is not a professional photographer. Of course an amateur can afford to give away photos for free! However, I'm not sure he even realizes that what he says doesn't make any sense for a professional photographer trying to earn his livelihood.
davidcollantes 3 days ago 0 replies      
I strongly recommend you do something, just in case you make it to the front. Your site is crawling (extremely slow) at the moment. It is just bound to get worse.

On the topic at hand, I fully agree with you.

svmegatron 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think what both authors in this back and forth are really saying is "this photograph is mine."

One says "this photograph is mine, no you may not use it too." The other says "this photograph is mine, yes you may also use it."

So good work, guys! Both pictures are very nice. I'm glad you can do with them what you want.

Jun8 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the great photo!

Although I agree with you on most points, I think it is beneficial to have a middle road between the previous post and this one, e.g. if you had put up many more of your gorgeous photos and provided a way to make a small donation for each download (I would gladly would have paid a dollar).

noduerme 3 days ago 0 replies      
Okay, here's a better way to say it: A photographer's job is to put this shit into pictures. If it was easy to put it into pictures, it wouldn't be a job. Just like if a designer could just sit down and bitch all day about how hard design is, then he'd be an amateur, not a designer. Just like a philosopher, or an historian can't just complain about how unfair philosophy or history is.

If this is your art, DO IT, don't do a shitty generic & interchangeable version of it, and then complain about how hard it is on HN. Period.

napoleoncomplex 3 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately, pride and people's smiles are not yet valid currency anywhere, which is most likely the big issue of the author of "This photograph is not free".
This post ends with the opinion that there isn't a lot of money to be made in photography, since a lot of people have the tools to take/publish photographs. One could apply that to a number of fields, from logo design and music to coding. After all, everyone has a computer, a text editor and access to github.

Yes, these fields might not be as lucrative as they once were, or rather, they're more competitive, but there is a large step between that and giving away things for free.

route66 3 days ago 0 replies      
The problems specifically concerning works of art were put onto paper 75 years ago (probably not only then).

While this touches the discussion on HN only on certain aspects it makes for an interesting read when you have the time. And are not put off by the host name.


jjp9999 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well said. I'm a journalist and photographer by trade. Any work I'm commissioned to do, I charge for. Anything I do for fun I release under Creative Commons for anyone to use.

We need to make a living, of course, but if you hold onto everything, it will die with you. Whereas in the public domain, your work becomes immortal.

ako 3 days ago 1 reply      
In our economy value is not based on cost but on supply and demand...
dools 3 days ago 0 replies      
To be fair I think the photograph posted on peta pixel is an order of magnitude better than the photo shown here in this post.
frankPants 3 days ago 0 replies      
And here is the reason I left photography and became a programmer. It's a great hobby and a shit profession.
rikelme 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome photo !
The tower shadow angle looks odd, though.
radial77 3 days ago 0 replies      
Charge next time. You'll have money to share if you're so generous.
bjornsteffanson 3 days ago 0 replies      
jenius 3 days ago 3 replies      
I could not be happier about this article, and the fact that the two are presented next to each other. While I totally agree with @aspir in that both points of view are valid and deserve to be respected, I think this is the right attitude, and the one that will really get you ahead.

If photography is your full time job and you are not getting paid for it, sure you have a reason to complain. You are doing good work, and living on the streets. That's an injustice. But if you have a job, you're getting paid, and you are taking photos because you love to do it, I think it's the wrong attitude to try to get more money out of it. Because when you don't, it will spread, people will enjoy it, your reputation will go up, and you will end up making money from it either way.

This is the entire philosophy behind open source, and a big part of what the companies behind sopa are running up against. Don't try to stop people from "stealing" your digital stuff, offer it for free. And if you are struggling financially, or this is your main occupation, just ask them if they would give you money if they appreciate it. This model has been shown over and over to be effective on the internet. Humble indie bundle, Louis CK, Radiohead and other artists releasing albums for free, Lost Type Co-Op... that's just a couple examples.

So props to the author of this article for getting it and for standing behind this principle. Do it for the love, not the money. And if you do it for love, the money will come.

This Photograph Is Not Free petapixel.com
427 points by Brajeshwar  3 days ago   252 comments top 66
parfe 3 days ago  replies      
Well the comments here terribly disappoint me. Clearly the photographer wants to be paid as a professional, just like anyone else here.

The author should not have included any monetary figure in the article as doing so brings down the wrath of a thousand pedants with pocket calculators proving he overcharges and overvalues his work. So many people here seem to think they somehow "got him" on some straw-man price-point that clearly does not exist.

Meanwhile, the figure he calculated clearly exists to make the point that creating such an image costs more to him than clicking Save As... did to you and he wants to be appropriately compensated in dollars.

The fact the comments here seem to lack the professional empathy to jump from "How do you make money? Charge for your webapp!" To "How do you make money? Charge for your photos!" really shows how myopic the community can be. Not everyone builds a career around trying to make social network v35.0

tl;dr Pay photographers for their work, like you pay any other professional.

edit: And for a real cherry on top, the blog post itself appears to be taken in whole from http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmueller/6643032477/in/photo... I suppose John Mueller could have agreed to have his content republished but nothing indicates that to be the case and a skimming of the petapixel blog doesn't seem to include many guest contributors.

The author's real blog is at http://johnbmuellerphotography.blogspot.com/

jdietrich 3 days ago 5 replies      
The machinery needed to produce a ballpoint pen costs the best part of $10m. A ballpoint pen costs 20 cents.

Cameras are expensive. Photographs are almost worthless. Supply utterly outstrips demand, especially for shots like landscapes that have great appeal for amateur photographers but little commercial utility.

Ten years ago, you could name every paparazzo working in London. They were a small circle of time-served photogs who knew everyone, and whom everyone knew. There was an infrastructure of couriers and darkrooms to get images from film to press in time. They spent years cultivating relationships with celebrities, doormen and nightclub owners. Today, there are countless PJ students and teenagers hurtling around Soho on scooters. With a cheap DSLR and a smartphone, an image can be on the front page of dailymail.com in 20 minutes.

The new breed see their work as a more exciting alternative to working weekends in a shop. Most of them are happy to get a quarter of what images used to sell for. They shoot using the modern equivalent of "f/8 and be there" and need practically no technical skill. Rather than cultivating relationships and building sources, many of them rely on Twitter. Unlike the previous generation, many of them are happy to tip each other off and share information. It's now scarcely possible to make a proper living and most of the old-timers are shooting commercial work or weddings.

DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 2 replies      
The replacement value is actually much more than that. You could take that same equipment and shoot your entire lifetime and never get a shot like that.

The internet is not about content. It's about distribution. It costs a LOT of money to use a human -- the artist -- to "distribute" that image from nature onto his digital camera. From there it costs zero to distribute it to the rest of the world.

The answer is to tie the initial "distribution" of the data with the end consumer. So share the small image for free with whomever wants to see it, then charge a small fortune for a steganographically watermarked 10MB one. If you "sign" your images with a tamper-proof record of whom the recipient is, who you are, and perhaps a personalized message, not only can you track the image, you increase its value for the buyer. It's a good thing for both patron and artist.

ADD: As a real-world example of how this works, take my funny picture collection. (http://caption-of-the-day.com) I have a hobby of collecting funny pictures. Finally decided to put them all on a blog.

Now many of these pictures are actually web comics, or demotivators, or whatever. I want to credit each artist, but I'm just some schmuck collecting funny pictures. I don't have time to research each and every one.

But with watermarking I don't have to. Most of the times whoever made the image also put a watermark on it pointing back to their website. So instead of "lifting" the pictures, I'm actually providing free advertising for the artist. Artists compete to have their work distributed for free. Consumers become big fans of certain brands and help the artists advertise. Think of how worse this system would be if the artists controlled everything. DRM is a menace. The business models might be different, but The technology community has solved the exact problem this photographer is concerned about.

guynamedloren 3 days ago 3 replies      
The photographer, John Mueller, is absolutely amazing and deserves to be paid for the art he produces. See his work here: http://www.johnbmueller.com

Regarding the value of the photo, I highly doubt he believes a single photo is worth $6,612. He is merely trying to explain that he should be paid for his work, and he has. Arguing that it is expensive to take photos wouldn't have gotten your attention. This got your attention. He won.

Edit: I have absolutely no affiliation with Mueller nor have I heard of him prior to this article, but was bothered by the negative and deliberately ignorant comments posted here. Very unlike Hacker News...

corin_ 3 days ago 6 replies      
What utter nonsense.

> * As someone mentioned, THIS single photo didn't cost me $6,612, but if you wanted to create it, from scratch, that is what is involved. So I consider it the replacement value if it's stolen, or how much my lawyer will send you a bill for if it's found being used without my permission.*

I hope he's never pirated a film or he could owe the studio millions and millions of dollars.

He should be arguing that it is expensive to take photos, and that any sales of them need to add up to cover initial and future costs. He should also be arguing that they are paying not just for the expense of taking it, but for his skill and time.

By arguing that one photo is worth that much, he is doing neither and looks like a moron.

sethg 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I understand the point that the photographer is trying to make, but phrasing it as “It cost me $6,612 to take this photo” is leading to a bunch of tangential arguments over that specific number.

The photographer's beef is with people who want to take his work, use it in their own publications without paying him anything, and then tell him that he should be happy with such a deal because he's getting free publicity out of it. But this photographer did not get his camera, lenses, computer, etc. for free, and the people who want to use his work are doing it for an enterprise where they expect to be paid, so why should the photographer be the only one holding the bag?

The “$6,612” number is beside the point. A publisher who says “I will pay you one dollar for the right to use that picture” is in a whole different league from one who says “let me use it and I'll give you credit”, because the “one dollar” fellow is at least respecting the photographer as a fellow businessman.

mtr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is he paying Frou Frou royalties for streaming their song on his professional [1] for-profit website?

[1] http://www.johnbmueller.com/index2.php?v=v1

digitalclubb 3 days ago 3 replies      
The photographer has gone about this the wrong way - the cost is actually his experience and time.

It's like the 'Picasso Principle' where a woman approached Picasso for a sketch, he did something in 5 minutes and quoted her $10,000.

She said 'it only took you 5 minutes' and his response was 'no, it took me a lifetime'.

Full read here: http://bit.ly/A8ABL4

bad_user 3 days ago 0 replies      
The author talks about sunken costs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_costs

These are costs that can't be added in a discussion on the cost of producing the products on an on-going basis. Otherwise you need to take those 6000 bucks mentioned and divide it by the thousands of photos you're going to make with that equipment.

Which will bring the cost of a photo to something much more real (excluding on-going time and gasoline investments): less than $1

Also, in capitalism the price doesn't necessarily reflect the cost of producing something. It is rather an equation of value, supply and demand. So a much better technique is to convince me why I should like that photo. Educating readers on recognizing quality is better than analyzing the costs involved.

skeptical 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find this kind of rant rather silly. Whatever, he should be paid for his work, it's his artistic value etc.

Just like he (or any photograph with a reputation) is able to set a very high price because of his quality seal, he doesn't have the right to bitch about how much he thinks the picture worths. If you go out in the market then play by the rules. And the rules are: any product is worth whatever amount the consumer is willing to pay for it. That's what an open market is about. If you don't like it, don't get into it. Simple as that.

Ok, using it without permission is a simple legal matter. Bitching about how much he thinks he should be paid... honestly that is no one else's problem.

sirrocco 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you really go ahead and try to recreate that photo ... you must first invent the universe. And that's going to cost a lot !
aneth 3 days ago 2 replies      
Many folks would be happy to allow their photos to be used just for "exposure" or even for fun. Likewise many writers would happily allow their writing to be published for free. This is the case for both aspiring professionals and amateurs who never intend to make significant money with their hobby.

Unions often successfully pressure major players not to deal with these "scabs." There are some good arguements for maintaining a market for professional services by setting a minimum price through collective bargaining.

In a pure market economy, professionals must either demonstrate they are that much better than free or cheap amateur work. Clearly in this case the photographer is much more skilled than a typical amateur and produces stellar work. Unfortunately, in most cases, a publication can easily settle for an inferior free work without any impact on sales.

The marginal cost of a photograph these days is almost zero. Professionals are under a lot of pressure to demonstrate value. I think the good ones can, although many hobbyists produce professional quality work.

In my opinion, a respectable publication should set a minimum price for a work and pay, even of they do not have to. This improves their relationship with their suppliers and encourages better work down the line. Sadly, the economics of publishing may make such generosity infeasible.

jerrya 3 days ago 0 replies      
Discussion of fixed costs, variable costs, sunk costs, marginal costs, and opportunity costs and lots of other accounting and economics pricing models avoided.

But you should make sure your CFO can explain and your marketing department has a deep understanding.

And consider taking some accounting and micro-econ courses when you have the chance.

ESPECIALLY if you are the technical founder....

mrsebastian 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm also a photographer, and I don't really buy into this particular philosophical argument.

The problem with photography is that you're never dealing with ORIGINAL ART. When John or I give a JPEG to a magazine or website, we're not _losing_ anything. This is the same argument that the RIAA and MPAA have tried to spin for over a decade.

I sell prints of my photos, and as long as no one else sets up shop and starts selling cheaper copies, I don't see a problem with sites and magazines using my photos.

The basic gist is: You have spent $6k. You can either have your photo in some magazine, or not. You can have that free publicity, or not. The only way you are 'losing' money is if the magazine would've paid you in the first place -- but again, for a non-original piece of art that they're (almost certainly) not getting an exclusive license on... the going rate isn't very much anyway.

andreadallera 3 days ago 2 replies      
On one hand, I feel your pain. On the other hand, cost and value are not the same thing, and so aren't value and market price.

If you do something and what you do costs much more than the market value of its output, make sure it's not your job. Hobbies usually fall in this category.

Tichy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually I wouldn't be surprised if some food journalists or whatever get to dine for free in restaurants. Goods for exposure is a valid business proposition. It is valid to reject it, too, but I don't understand the fuss.

If 37signals would feature me on their homepage for a week I would probably also give them some "free" work in exchange. No offense taken.

I guess the "problem" is that he was approached by people he did not deem worthy. Reminds me of women who complain about being approached all the time, but I suspect they wouldn't complain about being approached by Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Just saying it is not the approaching that is actually the problem, it is the who is doing the approaching.

Iv 3 days ago 0 replies      
This comment is not free. Using the same weird accounting method, it cost me around 1000$ to make. So what ?

If you don't want a file to be used, don't put it on internet. Understand what IT is, understand what it means to freely exchange information. You are right, you got free exposure, for free. That's why we get your image, for free. The information super-highways flow in both directions.

ghshephard 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fundamentally - he should be paid because he has something valuable that other people want, and has value to them. The cost of his equipment, or skill as a photographer are immaterial - at the end of the day, at least in the western world, the amount that you can reasonably expect to charge for something is the intersection of what you are prepared to sell it for, and what someone is willing to pay for it. The fact that the person taking the picture paid $1,000, $10,000 or $100,000 for the resources (Training, Equipment, Time, etc...) to take the picture is completely irrelevant.

I took pictures at the Company Party last night. My EOS 7D cost me $1600. My Canon 17-55 IS USM lens cost me $1000. My MacBook Air Cost me $1600. Aperture Cost me $80. Acorn Cost me $50. My Card Flash Cost me $95. My DaneElec SDHC USB 2.0 card reader cost me $14.99, etc..

I spent 90 minutes taking pictures, 2 hours triaging and selecting, and 1 hour tweaking/adjusting those pictures - ending up with 20 out of about 400 original shots that the company placed in their event album.

I was paid $0 - because that was the intersection of what I wanted for them, and what the company was prepared to pay for them.

In all things financial - that should be the driving force as to what a transaction should take place at. If I can sell 100 megabytes software that costs $0.001 to transmit over the internet for $25,000 then that is fine as long as the buyer is will to pay $25,000 for the software and I'm willing to sell it for that much.

Suncho 3 days ago  replies      
The very existence of an intellectual property market is absurd. In my opinion, the scenarios in which person should expect to make a profit doing something creative are:

A. The person is hired to create something.

B. The person creates something that's not easy to copy.

If you were hired to design a set for a play, you would get paid for your work. If you created a physical three-dimensional sculpture, someone else could try to imitate it, but the imitation wouldn't be a perfect copy. That means your original sculpture would still have value and could be sold. On the other hand, if you, on your own time, created something that cost nothing to copy, such as--oh, I don't know--a picture of a sunset, you should not expect to profit from selling it. It wouldn't matter how much time/effort/money/energy you put into creating it.

So, what's going on with SOPA then? The government realized that they don't have the resources to police the Internet for copyright violations. Of course they don't. It's impossible. So now they're attempting to foist that impossible responsibility on website owners. I have no idea how the bill is worded, but I can't imagine a scenario where the wording could be "fixed" while keeping the intention. The intention is broken. Copyright law is broken.

Copyright should be non-exclusive. Anyone should be allowed to copy anything for free.

kghose 3 days ago 0 replies      
He forgot to add the cost of the sun. It took billions of year to make. And the clean environment. I hear that's priceless.
yummybear 3 days ago 1 reply      
I guess he only uses his camera, lens and PC once and then throws them away.
funkah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, all I can do is wish you luck with all that. I'm an amateur photographer who could never take a photo that beautiful, but I get people hitting me up to use my photos for free sometimes. I just say no (my photos are CC licensed, but not for commercial use). I don't have any illusions about siccing my nonexistent lawyer on someone who steals my photos.

But, I agree that photographers should be paid for their work. People and firms just want to get things for as little cost as they can, that's why they do this and that's why they try to get freelancers to do spec work. It costs the firm nothing but a half-hearted promise that they'll be nice to the designer later.

baddox 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's an easy way to ensure no one "steals" your photograph: don't release it as a series of bits on a huge relatively unrestricted global network of computers. You can't have it both ways: having your photograph "out there" where everyone can see it, and still claiming absolute control over every single occurrence of that sequence of bits on every single device it ever gets copied to.
tagawa 3 days ago 1 reply      
He makes a good point but his calculations are based on material goods only. The years of education and experience are surely far more valuable.
lifeisstillgood 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would suggest that the capittal cost vs marginal cost is the wrong argument. Yes, its correct but the marginal cost of a single photo is soooo low you will never make any money back (expect perhaps with massively popular photos and very good DRM systems)

ANd this approach does need a DRM and all the attendant (SOPA?) legal framework

The article does mention the solution

"You would not expect your writers to work for free"

No - but writers work for commission. If you went out without any commission and took the photo, then you dont get paid for the photo. If a beach front hotel wanted a nice shot for its website and paid you 200USD to go do it, then you got paidf - and any extra resell value you make is a bonus

So, if you are in an industry where your work can be reproduced at near zero margins, you get paid in commission of the initial creation - not the ongoing rights sales. Some ancillary benefits may acrue (credit)

As someone who gets paid to write code, and also writes code for free (OSS), this difference is clear - and to be fair it is clear also to Madonna (couple of years ago she gave up rights for music sales to more of the cash from tours.)

noonespecial 3 days ago 0 replies      
All that equipment and and gas are not the valuable part of this photo. You pay the guy for knowing where this spot is and how to get a decent photo of it.

By insisting that the photo is "expensive" because it required all of that easily duplicate-able tech actually cheapens it.

one-man-bucket 3 days ago 1 reply      
This comment cost me $2000 to write.
tjogin 3 days ago 0 replies      
He included the cost of the camera, but only the cost of the gas, not the cost of the car. Why include the whole cost of the camera equipment, but only the operating cost, and barely that, of the car? To be consistent, he should include the total cost of the car.

Yeah. I get that the photo isn't free, but to include all costs related to it is a bit hyperbolic. That's not a six thousand dollar photo.

chubbard 3 days ago 0 replies      
The money figure doesn't matter. We could quibble over the dollar amount or the fact that even if I had all that great equipment I couldn't reproduce the photo myself. All of those pedantic arguments don't matter. The Intellectual Property value of the photo does.

I think we've reached(-ing) the point where freedom for all to publish isn't as magical as it was 5 or 10 years ago. Democracy of publishing is giving away to Capitalism of publishing. The new killer app isn't enabling people to publish or get exposure. It's a platform for getting people paid for their time and skills.

ashcairo 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I don't agree with the justification of the cost based on required tools to create the image. I do believe that the main value from the photograph is the user's creativity and passion for using the tools to capture the photograph.
powertower 3 days ago 0 replies      
> As someone mentioned, THIS single photo didn't cost me $6,612, but if you wanted to create it, from scratch, that is what is involved. So I consider it the replacement value if it's stolen, or how much my lawyer will send you a bill for if it's found being used without my permission.

I get it.

He is saying that he wants to charge the other person the amount it would cost FOR that other person to create this work from scratch (to buy all the equipment, etc).

But that's just one way to look at it, and it can roll down hill fast when you start including the cost of the amount of time and education that other person would need.

At the end of the day, when someone steals this photo, they don't also steal all the equipment and software that he used to create it. That remains as-is.

He would do better to claim copyright and ask for what he would charge x 3 (penalty) plus lawyer fees.

rivo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this. Upload your image to a (micro)stock agency to sell it, then see how much it is really worth, i.e. how much people will pay for it in the free market. (Value and production cost are two very different things.) But making it available like this while claiming it's worth $6,612 seems naive to me at best.
orbitingpluto 3 days ago 0 replies      
I enjoyed the article. It's a good reminder that the act of consuming creative work is far easier than its creation.

Too many people forget this and, IMHO, thereby fail to appreciate the creative work. Waxing poetic, but the view from the top of the mountain doesn't mean as near as much if you didn't climb up it.

tomjen3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually considering that his computer, camera + lens, etc is basically a sunk cost and that in a free market the price can be expected to go to the marginal cost of producing the next photograph, he should expect to be paid $12 (since the gas isn't a sunk cost).
asto 3 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, that was a rubbish calculation! Price of the camera? Gas? Really?

The thing with any service that is heavily dependant on the person that does it, is that it cannot be priced by anyone other than the person doing it. How can you put a price on talent or skill or experience or luck or any of the non-material things that went into taking that picture? That picture is worth a million bucks if he says it is.

jezclaremurugan 3 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is with the simple word free.

Well it depends on the way the photo is used. If i just save it as my wallpaper (I'd copy it from my browser cache, etc), it is free for me. Complaining about this makes no sense, or overlaying it with a transparent image..

But, if i, having done nothing in its creation, try to make some money from it (like putting it on a magazine), then the actual creator needs to get some value from what I gain. It will be the ethical thing to do. In this case John Mueller, will should morally have the right to accept or deny my request to reshare/use it.

yogrish 3 days ago 1 reply      
weird argument. Being a photographer myself, I understand they need to be properly rewarded for their creativity, effort and more importantly time.. but this is not the way to put your point. On similar lines, any thing you are buying day to day will cost you a fortune..be it a Coffee or a candy.
tlogan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm little confused here. Yes - you must not steal some others photos and post it. But this kind of photography is more like art and the bar for making it worth actual money is quite high - it has to have soul, meaning, etc.


* Don't steal other people crap even it you consider it worthless

* Don't assume your stuff is worth something just because you spend some money making it

antrover 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some people take photographs because they just like taking photographs, like myself. If someone happened to use one of my photos, then so be it. I'm not in it to make money. I'm in it because I like the process of taking a photo, as well as editing it. After that, I'm done with it. Steal it! Remix it! Open source it!

All my photos on flickr have a Creative Commons license of "Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike". My photos have ended up on some great web sites: Rolling Stone, Yes Magazine, NY Magazine, city newspaper sites, random blogs, etc... I didn't receive one dime from them, but I did receive a link back to my flickr page in the photo credit. Even when they offered compensation, I turned them down.

Some people think that if they have fancy gear, they'll take better photos. This is not always the case. Photography is more art than having great gear. Does having a sweet ass laptop make you a better programmer? I don't have super fancy gear: A Canon T1i, and some pretty decent 2.8 lenses (Tamron 2.8 17-50, Sigma 2.8 70-200, Lens Baby, Canon 50mm 1.8). Any camera can take an award winning photo (I work for the largest stock photography company and have seen this to be true more times than not).

webmonkeyuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
This webpage isn't free.

- Served from a $5,000 web server

- Data queried from a $10,000 database server

- Traffic routed via a $10,000 load balancer

- Traffic switched via a $2,000 switch

- Read on my $300 monitor

- Browser running on my $2000 workstation

etc, etc

bfrs 3 days ago 0 replies      
This rant is very similar to Harlan Ellison's "Pay the Writer" rant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE).
kamaal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lets say I pay him $6,612 then I would want not just the photograph but also the equipment he listed in the add up to the price.

Is that ok?

If yes then it makes perfect sense to me.

rplnt 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's almost the same as when music industry seeks millions of dollars in damages when suing someone who copied an mp3 without permission. At first I thought this article is a parody of something similar in "photo industry" but was rather disappointed.
artursapek 3 days ago 0 replies      
This post reminds me of many a childhood argument I had.
fduran 3 days ago 0 replies      
" I consider it ($6,612) the replacement value if it's stolen, or how much my lawyer will send you a bill for if it's found being used without my permission."

I wonder how much his lawyer will send a bill for if someone uses 2 or more of his pictures without permission.

hristov 3 days ago 0 replies      
Poor guy seriously over paid for his equipment.
icebraining 3 days ago 1 reply      
So what if three magazines commit copyright infringement on the same photo? Does it cost $19836 now? Ridiculous.

Guess what, here's[1] 325000 photographs of sunsets anyone can use on their magazine for free. You've just been priced out of the market.

[1]: https://secure.flickr.com/search/?l=comm&q=sunset

alfbolide 3 days ago 0 replies      
Works of art can have a monetary value - there is something called art market.
The value is determined by how much buyers are willing to pay as well as how much the sellers are willing to sell.
The monetary value of a copy of this low resolution jpeg file can only be determined by the market value.
You can't use replacement value to charge theft, because when someone "steal" it from the internet, they always copy it, you don't lose your origin one and thus no replacement is needed.
dallasmarlow 3 days ago 0 replies      
this comment cost $3629 american dollars.

$2500 (map pro) + $999 (apple display) + $50 (1 month of fios) + $50 (espresso machine) + $30 (coffee)

minikomi 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has been all over my Facebook and twitter feeds..

Maybe "This photograph is not free.. But this marketing is" would be more apt now!

cabirum 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does he expect to receive $6,612 each time anyone buys the photo, or $6,612 is the total amount needed to release the photo into public domain?
kokey 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks, I'll be using it for my banner ad for a video streaming service that I advertise an a torrent site abroad.
regandersong 3 days ago 0 replies      
A Finnish tabloid's photo of the Angry Birds dress was illegally published in several places and sparked a similar discussion in Finland: http://www.arcticstartup.com/2011/12/08/world-media-infringe...
tete 3 days ago 1 reply      
If he doesn't want his photo to be seen then why does he put it online?
therandomguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
What is bothering me is that he is not adding up the cost right. How about the cost of his upbringing that made him the person he is today?
gcb 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have all this equipment for you use. And by your price breakdown i can pay your $0 hour.

when can you start working for me?

ErikRogneby 3 days ago 0 replies      
He wasn't saying that this is what he would charge you for the photo, he was saying this is what he we sue you for if you use it without permission.
ivosabev 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a rant by Harlan Ellison I saw at http://quotevadis.com/post/5897791429/does-your-boss-get-a-p...
da_n 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would always take the side of a photographer who has his/her photos misused/abused, but this is just illogical reasoning. If a grocery store has a loaf of bread stolen, it is not worth the value of the entire business.
sowbug 3 days ago 1 reply      
cost != value != price. I could buy a flawless diamond and use it to shred a Picasso. What should I be paid?
yfyf 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sorry, but his photography is terrible. Cliche, boring and not even that well produced in the technical sense.
cm-t 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I read this article, it remind me how english have a problem with the semantic of the word "free".

When he says:
"this photograph is not free"
he means :
"this photograph has a cost"
when I understand:
"this photograph has a licence witch does not allow people to share, copy, modify as wish"


alanmeaney 3 days ago 1 reply      
People want beautiful things. The art is finding a way for them to pay
angelortega 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meh. It's not that good anyway.
jonno 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, grumpy!
its_so_on 3 days ago 1 reply      
wrong. This photograph WAS not free. For you. As for me, I've just seen it, read some of your text underneath, and moved on.

Until you can actually stop USERS from benefiting from someone ELSE doing the same thing with your work, your work very much IS free.

Android Design android.com
417 points by rtsuk  2 days ago   137 comments top 31
Pewpewarrows 2 days ago  replies      
This is a long overdue but very well put-together UI and Usability Guide for Android Developers. My only qualm from reading it thus far is the very last section under Navigation [1] regarding System-to-app navigation:

"For the Back key, you should make navigation more predictably [sic] by inserting into the task's back stack the complete upward navigation path to the app's topmost screen."

No. This piece of advice is the sole reason why the back button is confusing to users. Injecting activities artificially onto a user's Back Stack based on some arbitrary and imaginary path that they might have taken to get there is horrible. If I'm in the middle of reading a book and get an email notification, and I touch that notification to quickly read the email, that Back button better damn well take me BACK to what I was doing. Don't take me UP to the list of emails in my inbox. This is where the average user will become lost and not understand why they aren't taken back to reading their book, and will just end up touching Home out of frustration.

Bad Google!

[1] http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/navigation.html

jc4p 2 days ago 4 replies      
As an Android developer for many years I was excited when I read the blog post about the site. When I went to the site, I was very disappointed. I've spent the better part of 10 minutes on the site so far and haven't seen anything other than marketing text and screenshots of what my phone looks like.

How do I make these "beautiful designs" work across all Android phones? How do I use an Actionbar on a non 3.0+ device without external libraries? How can I supply a consistent look and behavior for my application when some android OEM keyboards don't even offer the same modules as other ones?

How am I supposed to follow these guidelines when every Google application has a different implementation of the Actionbar itself?

kevinh 2 days ago 3 replies      
The website felt odd to me. It's clearly aimed at developers, given the subject material, but it felt like it was written as an ad for prospective buyers.

It listed a bunch of features and user interface methods that apps should have, but I couldn't find any resource for actually implementing what they suggested, apart from the link to the android developer page at the end.

evanw 2 days ago 2 replies      
Regarding the Design Principles page: http://developer.android.com/design/get-started/principles.h...

I love that they included the ICS home screen's "glass desktop" effect in the "Delight me in surprising ways" section (http://developer.android.com/design/static/content/principle...). It's a completely unimportant feature, but the first time I swiped past the edge of my rightmost homescreen and saw the effect, I appreciated the attention to detail.

Where I disagree is with their "Pictures are faster than words" suggestion. I completely agree that many things are best said with images, but I've had a hard time identifying the function of several features in the icon-driven UI's featured in both ICS and in new Google web redesign. In ICS's Gmail app, I'd understand the words "Mark Unread" much quicker than the "sealed envelope" icon which I had to experimentally discover.

It's also interesting to note that in ICS Gmail, Mark Unread is an icon and Report Spam is text, where in web Gmail, Mark Unread is text and Report Spam is a stop sign.

wmf 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do they have a schedule for when Google's apps will follow these guidelines?
amirkhella 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is the most consistent UI for Android so far. It still feels a bit more like a "style guide" rather than "human interface guidelines", but it's a great step forward.


adpowers 2 days ago 0 replies      
swanson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I kind of agree with the sentiment that a few others are having. I've spent the past 4 months working on an Android project and when I opened this page I was in shock.

Everything looks so awesome and shiny - but where is the actual implementation? Is this stuff just a ICS theme (I haven't used it myself as our app is in 2.2 land)?

Others pointed out to check the "Developer" link - but that is just the standard Android docs I've been digging through for months already. Searching for things like "Index Scrolling" (which would be awesome to add to an app) or "Switches" doesn't return anything useful - so what are the Building Blocks and how do I get them into my app?

This page should either a) include demos (or links to the demos if they exist already) or b) be embedded in the code docs (android.widget.GridView should show the screenshot and UI guidelines).

aw3c2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know it is silly and offtopic but that gorgeous website's navigation does not work without Javascript for no good reason.
nodata 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish they'd make this searchable. This is from Google after all.

Does a button marked "on" indicate it is already on, or that pushing the button will make it "on"? I'd like to see that standardised.

krosaen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like this bit on using multipane layouts to be flexible on both tablets and mobile:


Good advice for rich web apps too.

feralchimp 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to assume the internet has already somehow collectively dealt with the fact that the Android name for a drop-down list control is a "Spinner."
georgechen 2 days ago 4 replies      
Am I missing something? I'd like to get my hands on the templates, mocks, wirefames, etc. Let me play with those (as a designer) and I'll be able to better follow the specs and guidelines.

Note: Microsoft (for once) actually one-up Big G. here. They provide the PSD and fonts for Windows Phone 7 on MSDN + the UX Guidelines.

Also, for Apple, 3rd party made all the PSD and templates for them...

vlokshin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simply put, and coming from an Apple fan-boy, this is REALLY nicely done. I honestly think this will significantly improve the usability of the platform as a whole by attracting the right designer/developer talent.
fdb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find the "app structure" schematic (http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/app-structure.h...) a very useful visualization to see the screens of an app in one glance.

Any ideas how they made this schematic?

njs12345 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great! If apps start following this it should significantly improve the Android user experience, as well as making it much easier to design good Android apps.
alexchamberlain 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the density-independent pixel concept...
buro9 1 day ago 0 replies      
All we need now is an accessibility document for Android.

Accessibility is notably absent from the design doc.

saket123 1 day ago 0 replies      
This site is really useless. As an android developer I was hoping for more steps rather then another marketing docs. Its funny how little android provides out of the box and I have to just keep searching source to find how things are implemented and best way to implementing such designs. Sad state of affairs as I have to waste most of my time trying to understand these designs and corresponding code designs in source.

Another thing I hated about the website is how sparse it is in technical details.
If Google really hopes us to make use to these pattern why not release some of these as widgets or templates.

funkyboy 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Google, good work on the Android design guidelines, but is that enough to tame the wild west in the marketplace and the current "anarchy"?
funkyboy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally!. Isn't too late? Are OEM and carriers going to follow the same principles? Or they can build whatever skin/mess they want as they did so far?
kizza 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting how they make sure to say that you shouldn't use bottom tabs like in iOS. For my project I decided to do exactly that instead of using an Android standard action bar, because:

1:The bottom bar fits 5 items. An action bar needs to have the app name as well, which means it can't have 5 items anymore. Having a "More" option is just dumb.

2:The iOS bottom bar has text underneath its icons and the action bar doesn't. I'm afraid the icons I have aren't obvious enough without text.

3:This is a conversion from iOS so the images are already made

4:Getting an Android action bar to work on older versions is very difficult. The Android compatibility library doesn't help here, and the third party libraries I looked at were not mature enough. I'm doing this work as part of a fixed price contract so I can't waste days getting it to work reliably.

Bottom line: Android apps would look a lot better if doing things the right way was also the easiest way.

pax 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why did choose to put 2 phones on the homepage? Because one phone has 3, the other 4 buttons? Isn't that still a bit redundant. (If it where not for a design-centric page it wouldn't have troubled me)
problemspace 2 days ago 0 replies      
I tried browsing this on my old Android phone... I couldn't get past the first page. I hope "people should be able to read your content" is one of the guidelines...
JacobIrwin 2 days ago 0 replies      
For Android/Google on web, it's possibly the most apple.com-like designed page I've seen yet.
ge0rg 2 days ago 3 replies      
Utterly worthless. This looks like a web designer on crack had too much time to promote the beauty of the new Android.

However, from a developer's point of view this is almost unusable. By not providing the according XML/Java code, we are forced to reimplement everything from scratch, making smaller and larger errors, introducing inconsistency and making the look and feel not quite the same between apps.

Then again, it fits well with the current way Google is doing UX design (http://minming.posterous.com/google-currents-yet-another-con...).

astrodust 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Android Design"


It's the little things that matter. This is shameful for a company so big.

helpbygrace 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how to see Roboto font as anti-aliased in Windows7? In my windows 7, Roboto font looks really jagged and weird.
fufulabs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't ICS like just around 0.5%(or was it 5%) of Android handsets as of December 2011? This design guide is ALL about ICS and nothing about the 99% of the Android handsets used by people.
rwc 2 days ago 2 replies      
I know some will criticize this is ticky-tacky, but it's one small thing that, when added with a lot of other little details, make Android feel like it's still designed by engineers.

They've "touched nearly every pixel" and "App icons are works of art in their own right" but the contact name on their contacts icon is "Lorem Ipsum". Not exactly a warm, human feel.


The author of SOPA is a copyright violator vice.com
374 points by seanmalarkey  2 days ago   39 comments top 10
dkokelley 2 days ago 2 replies      
This really goes to show just how easy it would be to be accused and shutdown as a copyright violator. In this case it was probably an issue of the web designer recklessly searching for a Texas-y background and Congressman Smith unknowingly using the copyrighted image. Sure, it's irresponsible, but it's an understandable mistake to make.

Enter sites with untold volumes of user-submitted content. To begin, it's unlikely that the site owner will be able to police the content due to the sheer scale of it. But what's worse is that if content (like this copyrighted image) is found on the site, there is no immediately clear way to know if its use and publication is licensed or not. (I know this is basically a rehash of our old arguments.)

spodek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Which is worse: someone supporting SOPA because they know nothing about copyright or someone supporting SOPA because they know a lot about copyright?
Permit 2 days ago 1 reply      
In my opinion, when Alexis Ohanian goes before Congress, this should be something that is brought up. Just yesterday (http://hackerne.ws/item?id=3451934) we saw how Congress doesn't understand why this law would be so difficult to enforce and how broad it really is. It's something that they can actually relate to, as I imagine they all have websites of their own and having them block within the United States would be catastrophic for their future election plans.
gerggerg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think what's most interesting about this is it is a great indicator of the public perception of copyright. If even the creator of the harshest pro-greed-based-copyright legislation can't uphold the most modest of copyright provisions, I think that's a clear indicator that copyright is in need of reform in the opposite direction he proposes.

He himself can't respect the very laws he champions on his own public facing website.

kenrik 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's really easy to understand how something like this could happen. I'm sure it was a mistake by the web designer and not intentional however under SOPA he would be facing the same repercussions that everyone is worried about even though it was a mistake.

Prime example of why SOPA is so god awful.

When I was a teenager I participated in a program offered through 4H (4-h.org) every year where we would visit out State Capital and hold a mock legislative lesson over the corse of a week. Depending on what portion you had signed up for you might play the part of a Lobbyist, Legislator, Senator, Whip or even the Speaker of the House.
We would have the actual representatives and lobbyists there to give presentations and offer advice while we argued bills on the floor and made our back room dealings that would decide what bills would be killed or passed (Our advisers were not very happy when one year we legalized prostitution! LOL).

You could think of it as sort of a YCombinator of politics.

Once you understand exactly how the system works you realize why it seems that so many of our representatives seem to be absolutely clueless as to what the bills they are proposing actually do or what implications they may have.

The general gist is this:

Lobbyist: This is what I'm proposing <Insert> overly simplified explanation of the proposed legislation similar to how you would explain the inner-workings/programming of a software to your grandmother </Insert>

Lobbyist: We have a draft of the bill ready it's important to your constituents because <Insert> Three Points: from overly simplified explanation</Insert> do I have your support on this issue?

Representative: Sure send the draft to my office and I'll look it over (70% never actually will)

Rince and repeat for each representative until it has enough support to make it through committee and to the floor.

Result: 70% of the representatives only have a paragraph explanation of what they are voting on. The other 30% are the ones who actually understand the bill and will either fight for or against it.

Bill passes even if it's BAD, BAD, BAD for the State or in the case of Washington, The Country.

digitalsushi 2 days ago 5 replies      
While it's possible that he authored his own political website, I would strongly suspect this is a proxy blame. I am all for blaming Lamar Smith as much as the next guy. My issue is assigning a state to an individual when another individual performed the state changing action. The furthest it is fair to place that assignment is shared with the entire group.

edit, apparently downvoting is the same as disagreeing here too. sigh. guess this teaches me to share my honest thoughts and to continue chasing integers.

botj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great sleuthing. Now how do we get the bigger outlets to run with the story? This could cause some PR damage for the SOPA supporters.
g-garron 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody is free of sin. So, it is dangerous to permit an act like that.
gldalmaso 2 days ago 0 replies      
If someone manages to lookup the guys ip, then please do check out on http://www.youhavedownloaded.com/
sutro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any provision under SOPA with which we can somehow blacklist Lamar Smith's toupée?
Why I Hate Android parislemon.com
339 points by johns  5 days ago   201 comments top 50
Kylekramer 4 days ago  replies      
So, Google had a pipe dream about turning carriers into dumb pipes, and had to face reality when the carriers wouldn't let them. Therefore, MG hates Android.

I just don't know what MG wanted to Google to do. We all have our own ideas about how the world should be. The options for Google seem to be a hardline tactic to get exactly what they envisioned and subsequently have a dead on arrival Android OS, or work within the system. Apple had a similar grand ambition when the iPhone first launched with no carrier subsidy. They backed off when it didn't work, so why doesn't MG hate the iPhone?

I agree with MG that the iPhone wrestled power from the carriers. I just disagree that gave it to us (other than indirectly). The article relies on a viewing of carriers as absolute evil and Apple/2007 Google as beams of pure good and light. I don't. There are shades of grey everywhere. iPhone brought a great OS with no crapware, a decent update schedule, and a handy app/media store where Apple gets a say in and a cut of everything, with one hardware option. Android brought you an OS that runs on multiple devices with a relatively open ecosystem, with the drawbacks of a less smooth experience and allowing carriers/OEMs monkey around with Android. Carriers have their own set of priorities that also have a bunch of pros and cons.

Don't get me started on the logical hoops MG must jump through to view a compromise on a policy proposal for net neutrality as the ultimate betrayal while a device that requires the manufacturer to approve all software that runs on it is A-OK.

maxklein 4 days ago 4 replies      
This argument is pointless, because it's about only the U.S, which is a small proportion of phones used in the world. The rest of the world does not have the insane carrier monopolies and unusual pricing structures that are prevalent in the U.S. For the rest of the world, phones sell on the merits of their software and hardware - and that's what android should be measured on.

And when it comes to that, android is winning.

kalleboo 4 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't he wrong though? What first offended me so much about the original iPhone was just how restricted it was at the behest of AT&T.

I can take my Android phone on any carrier and use tethering. I take my iPhone, and it randomly disables tethering depending on the carrier. Apple have also disabled downloads of apps and podcasts over 20 MB on the behest of a single carrier with a poor network (AT&T), applying the restriction to all phones, worldwide. My carrier doesn't care if I happen to download a 100 MB file, why would Apple ever want to restrict that?

Google only lets carriers screw with the phones the carriers themselves sell. Which IMHO is the prerogative of the carrier. If people don't want crapware, they don't buy phones from your carrier! Apple lets carriers screw with the feature set of all iPhones, regardless of where you bought it.

untog 5 days ago 2 replies      
One of his major issues seems to be Google not coming through on the topic of net neutrality, and that his overall opinion of Android is coloured by this. But an honest genuine question (I don't know the answer)- what did Apple do to further net neutrality?

It seems like MG expected a lot of Google, and Google let him down. But what did he expect of Apple, and did they deliver? Because last time I looked Apple were championing all the wrong things.

jsnell 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Google's original vision for the Nexus One. Google intended to sell it for $99 without a contract and unlocked.

Right... Nobody in their right mind should be able to believe that Google planned to sell hardware at a loss of hundreds of dollars, in order to gain a user worth a couple of dollars a year, for a couple of years. But not only does Siegler appear to believe this, but he considers the non-appearance of that phone as a betrayal.

runn1ng 4 days ago 2 replies      
>Instead of going to the store of a single carrier and having a dozen shitty phones shoved in your face by salespeople that made commission, you'd be in total control of the process. The end result of consumers getting to choose their carriers (and phones and plans) was clear: major competition and subsequently a rush of better deals from said carriers to ensure customer activation and retention.

>Or, you could buy whatever phone you wanted unlocked. Eventually, pay-as-you-go SIM cards would pop up in the U.S. as a result.

Well, I hate to break it to the author, but in Europe (at least, here in Central Europe), that is pretty much the standard and possible with both Android and iPhones (and Window 7 phones). You can buy the locked subsidised phones here, and actually, more people are doing it now than in the past, but the most are still unlocked.

The fact that it doesn't work in US has more in common that customers don't want that, not the carriers. With the pricey smartphones, actually, more people here in Europe are buying subsidised phones than with the cheap dumbphones of the past.

I just thought it's worth mentioning.

bookwormAT 4 days ago 0 replies      
M.G. Siegler wants to get rid of the different mafia syndicates that make his life miserable. His solution is to give all the power to a single syndicate that will rule us all.

Who has the absolute control in the Android ecosystem? My cell carrier has certainly not. Google cannot even stop me from installing the Amazon market app. The device manufactuers may seem very powerful: They make and service both the hardware and the (Android-based) operating system. But even the manufactuer does not control the system more than any of the other parties. They need Google's services, they need the carriers, and they need us.

The user. We can decide if we want to buy our devices from Verizon or from Samsung or from Google. But most important, we can choose what software we install on the device.

Never before had so many users that much power over their mobile experience. The user rules the desktop PC, and now, thanks to Android, he get's to rule the mobile PC as well. We're not there, but we're getting there.

M.G. Siegler wants to replace the control of many software providers with the control of a single one. This is short sighted.

Android gave us a democracy instead: It's sometimes slow to get something done, because every decision has to be fought over with the different partie's interest. But we, the users, can vote. And we have rights.

drivebyacct2 4 days ago 0 replies      
"I hate Android because Google doesn't market/sell it how I like" ?

He objects for seemingly, what, "moral" reasons? Yet he merely argues that Apple is "more open" via a closed ecosystem because of the power the carriers currently wield? His post chronicles the truths of this situation. Google tried to sell their phones directly, that failed miserably because Americans refuse to understand how contracts work and buy unsubsidized phones. So, they tried something else. I'm happily running a custom rom on an `oem unlock`ed phone as I speak. It doesn't bother me that my friend bought a locked Android phone, he's perfectly happy too.

I don't understand this post. Did he expect Google to give up or fail for ideological reasons? The way he hyped this on Twitter and his last post at TC, I wonder if he is just a troll anymore.

And an implication that Google is going to... do what exactly, in the patent war? Somehow they're siding with the carriers and they're worse than Apple or Microsoft in the use of their patents. I honestly don't understand what is being alleged or suggested by that paragraph.

So, Google compromises with Verizon = "[Android being open] nuclear bullshit.", that's what this boils down to, right?

51Cards 4 days ago 1 reply      
Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers.

Don't think i agree here. Apple wrestled control from the carriers to put it in their own hands, not consumers. Just as any other profit oriented company would like to do... but it was no altruistic move. In fact you went from several carriers having to compete to one company calling the shots for the majority of the mobile market for awhile. Android has realistically been one of the few things that has kept the mobile market from being a monopoly (which would have been far worse than it was ).

Slimy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Summary: MG says he doesn't give Android a fair chance when he compares it to the iPhone not because he loves Apple but because he hates Google.
windexh8er 5 days ago 3 replies      
"""Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers. Google set off to help in this goal, then stabbed us all in the back and went the complete other way, to the side of the carriers. And because they smiled the entire time they were doing it and fed us “open” bullshit, we thanked them for it. We're still thanking them for it!"""

Really? Apple has put control back into the hands of consumers? Ahhh, yes - the fog is lifting now. Apple locked themselves into the worst carrier in the US which, in turn, locked their customers into bad service for a good phone. Oh, oh and wait - there's more. Apple has done the industry a fantastic favor by fueling the tipping point of the intellectual property patent war that's been oh so rightly just for the good of all humans.

Yes, yes - I see the point of this article now. Because I was told to.

But in all reality - Google took the shot, Apple never wanted to share the ball in the first place. Chew on that hate MG.

loso 5 days ago 1 reply      
A bigger question arises. Since we now know that his Android feelings comes from hatred of Google and their policies, how do we trust his opinion on the actual devices? I guess him not being a full time staffer at techcrunch anymore helps with that. But what about past reviews from when he was?
RexRollman 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Apple, for all the shit they get for being closed and evil, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers."

What Apple did was to gain control for themselves; not the user. You need look no farther than Apple's opposition to the DMCA exception for smart phone jailbreaking to see what they think of user control.

cturner 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a gap in his flow, at the beginning of the point where he goes off the rails.

"To be clear: Net Neutrality was thrown out in the wireless space because Google sided with Verizon's ridiculous and horribly conflicted stance on the matter."

There is a strong and viable position that net neutrality is bad policy. In NN government declares winners and sandboxes areas where innovation is allowed.

You might not agree, but that's besides the point I'm seeking to make.

What's important is this: opposition to net neutrality is often falsely characterised, as here, as a pure corporate marketdroid position. It's not - it's a position with a firm idealogical basis that you may happen to disagree with.

The writer here borders on conspiracy mode here, "The open spectrum enemy, turned Net Neutrality enemy, became Google's bedmate thanks to a business deal. Straight up. Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." The available evidence doesn't support that conclusion. It might be true, but the writer should hold his emotions back for things where the facts support a conclusion.

    > But I cannot respect their decision to continue
> to work on this platform that perpetuates our
> imprisonment.

It's not good for anyone to have too much power. I don't want to live in a world where carriers dominate, but neither where a Microsoft or Apple can dominate through control of the software stack. We've only just emerged from a situation of Windows being all-powerful - by some interpretations it still is. Android is a great countermove to Apple's play to dominate the next twenty years. Even if there are some tradeoffs it's good for our freedom. Think church and state.

plugger 4 days ago 0 replies      
> "All of this backstory knowledge fuels my rage. When I see Google talk about how “open” the platform is, setting it up as the foil to the “closed” (and framed as “evil”) iPhone, I want to scream and rip someone's head off. It's not only the most extreme example of being disingenuous that I can ever recall seeing. It's nuclear bullshit."

Maybe that talk is in relation to Android being open code whereas iOS is closed and encumbered with horrible shit (iTunes, App Store)? The iPhone is an incredibly "closed" device unless you jailbreak it. That's not nuclear bullshit, that's the fucking truth.

>"Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers. Google set off to help in this goal, then stabbed us all in the back and went the complete other way, to the side of the carriers. And because they smiled the entire time they were doing it and fed us “open” bullshit, we thanked them for it. We're still thanking them for it!"

Thinking the majority of consumers care about Net Neutrality or carrier issues is hilarious. The only time they care about the carrier is when they have issues with said carrier. And as mentioned above, what has Apple really done to "wrestle control" from carriers?

This article reads like it was written by a butthurt 15 year old.

ekianjo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting how someone who despises Google for not being a champion of Net Neutrality prefer Apple with its uber closed and "WE have to approve what you do with your phone" ecosystem. Android has done much more than Apple to open up the mobile space for developpers, let alone users who do not have to rely on a unique and official "Appstore".

One can prefer Apple products for a number of reasons, but taking the angle of "net neutrality" to justify one's position is hardly understandable in this case.

stitchy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've always wondered why +MG Siegler disliked Android so much. After reading this article, I find his arguments to be less than compelling. He equates Android's failed dream of turning carriers into dumb data pipes, with the worst sort of insidious backstabbing. I'll admit that I was angry when Google sided with Verizon on axing Wireless Net Neutrality, but it wasn't going to happen any other way. Does he honestly think that Google was the deciding factor for the FCC? Does he think that the FCC was going to say no to Verizon, but since Google said that it was OK, they decided to skip on Wireless Net Neutrality? I'm not defending Google's decision, but I'm confident that Apple and Microsoft would have done the same thing if they were in the same position. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

Also, what does Android being open source have anything to do with his argument? He sneers at Android calling itself open. Why? Sure, Google made a bad decision by supporting Verizon's take on Net Neutrality, but how does that make their source code less open for modification? It may mean that we can't treat carriers as dumb data pipes, but that fact makes Android less open?

fauigerzigerk 4 days ago 2 replies      
I know a prison when I see it. Paying carriers a little more than if they had been turned into dumb pipes is not prison. Having my content restricted to Apple's disneyfied subset of the world is as close as any prison metaphor gets to the real thing.
zeppelin_7 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope he knows that Android is sold world over, including countries where there is no concept of subsidy.

Also I hope he knows Android is being used for many more things than just elitist phones.

VolatileVoid 4 days ago 1 reply      
I seriously dislike vitriol like this in general. It makes it sound like Apple was entirely benevolent in wanting to wrest control from the carriers but Apple, like any other corporation, wants to make money. There is no altruism in business - it's dollars all the way down. And Apple, in bending carriers to their will, did not give control back to the end user, but rather back to Apple.

You see the "evil" behind Android because you WANT to. I see the evil behind iOS because I WANT to. The truth is, they're equally evil - which is to say, they are the yangless yings.

nextparadigms 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought he hated his commenters for their bile comments. Then why is he writing bile posts himself?
iscrewyou 4 days ago 1 reply      
The fact that he's saying that apple tried to put carriers afterwards and lookout for consumers first is total bull. ATT iPhone exclusivity. His whole essay is invalid.

Apple tried to control everything. That's the truth. Google interfered and shit hit the fan.

This guy just likes apple and hates android. Like a true apple fanboy.

tariqk 4 days ago 0 replies      
I saw this on my feed, opened the tab on the background, saw it was from MG Siegler, closed the tab.

I don't deny he doesn't have some genuine insight. I just find that the amount of work I have to do to sift past his bias is so draining that I prefer to outsource it to people who _can_ tolerate his... foibles (read: bullshit).

pratster 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sometimes folks need to realize that there are parts of the World that aren't the US


kibaekr 4 days ago 0 replies      
If anything, I think the US carriers should be blamed for the imprisonment of mobile technology. It doesn't matter how advanced the Android OS becomes if the hardware on the market can't handle it. Consumers are locked up for 2 years with outdated devices, and the OS developers need to intentionally lag themselves to suit the entire market.

I understand that the carriers are only doing their job, but I feel like a new system needs to take place - maybe sign a 3 year contract, but allow updates each year with discounts.

I don't exactly know what other ramifications such a system may cause, but I for one would love it. I don't see myself changing carriers unless something major happens, so I would be happy to sign for a longer "enslavement" for the tradeoff of being able to update my phone more regularly.

Tichy 4 days ago 0 replies      
He seems to confuse several things. What has the openness of Android to do with whatever deals Google strikes with some random carriers? They are completely separate things.

Also wondering what Apple's stance on net neutrality is - I suppose they support it, as long as all content passes through the iCloud with a fee attached first.

zak_mc_kracken 4 days ago 0 replies      
> But I cannot respect their decision to continue to work on this platform that perpetuates our imprisonment.

This sentence about Android coming from an iPhone enthusiast is priceless.

zak_mc_kracken 4 days ago 0 replies      
MG Siegler vastly overestimates the importance of the Droid deal with Verizon. There are hundreds of Android devices running on dozens of carriers around the world. The Verizon deal is completely inconsequential.
skrebbel 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain this article to me? If I understood it well, the author hates Android because Google made some deal with an American carrier. I don't exactly understand what deal that really is, he seems to imply that we all know that.

I'm in Europe, where Google made no deals with carriers that I know of, but I'm genuinely interested: should I care? Should I hate Android for the same reason, whatever that may be? I mean, right now the closedness of Apple products is the only thing keeps me away from Apple. Am I being an ignorant hypocrite?

lawdawg 5 days ago 3 replies      
it amazes me that anyone listens or cares what MG has to say. His posts are full of factual inaccuracies and personal opinions stated as fact.
etherael 4 days ago 0 replies      
I must say, after a whirlwind career of bashing android for all the wrong reasons it seems like the cognitive dissonance has reached a point where even his bullshit excuses were not acceptable to his internal meter anymore and this just comes across as a "Why I'm Still Right About Android" post.

The article even goes to great lengths to point out the responsible party for the situation with the mobile market in the US, and then fails to make the obvious leap and blame them instead choosing to blame google. The average american consumer is who to blame for the shitty situation the US market is in, and frankly that's a kind of poetic justice.

muro 4 days ago 1 reply      
> What no one knew at the time, and I only heard months later, was Google's original vision for the Nexus One. Google intended to sell it for $99 without a contract and unlocked. Yes, a $99 unlocked phone, subsidized by Google ads.

haha... that's a good one.

dgrant 4 days ago 0 replies      
"But in the case of Android, 'open' has been hijacked and wildly contorted so as to mask the shady side of what's really been going on."

I hate when people bitch that Android isn't open. I guess it depends on your definition of "open" but whatever way you look at it, Android is the most open in my opinion because it's the only smartphone platform I know of where you can build your own modified ROM or kernel and replace the one on your phone with it. So maybe it's not perfectly open but it's the most open and I like that about it.

Edit: as someone else here has mentioned, we have Android on hundreds of different phones, as well as Nook and GoogleTV devices. That's not something you see with BlackberryOS or iOS.

muyuu 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is exactly why I buy all my phones SIM-free, unlocked. Carriers ought to be treated as dumb pipes.

People who speak a lot on the phone would have to pay a big premium for this, but if you don't talk much on the phone, PAYG data plans in the UK have really cheap, sufficient broadband. I reckon here in the UK people do unlock their phones a lot and this keep the market very competitive.

It's not just carriers that dislike competition. Makers also want to artificially "differentiate" their phones. (Translate: try their best to lock you up). This is all fair and part of the game. It's users who can make the market more competitive by favouring less crapified phones and doing it clearly, or doing their best to strip their phones of crap.

mcantelon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Funny that Seigler neglects to mention what Apple did in the great net neutrality fight: nothing.
trimbo 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you hate what Google did with Android, then fork it and make a company that does with it what you believe is right.
RyanMcGreal 4 days ago 0 replies      
Apple, for all the shit they get for being "closed" and "evil", has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers.


sathishmanohar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hmmmm its interesting, when iPhone 4 was slammed for signal death grip issues, MG argued, people use phones as computers nowadays, so voice/carriers are not important. Now, He hates android, because carriers are screwing android ecosystem. I sense a contradiction here.
laconian 4 days ago 0 replies      
All emotion and no logic in that post.

MG, enjoy your slide into irrelevancy. The torrent of negative rhetoric will only get you so far in journalism.

Eh, who am I kidding? It's made Rupert Murdoch rich!

angryasian 4 days ago 0 replies      
this is neither manufacturers fault, and the blame lies strictly in the consumer. Change comes from where the money is spent. Instead of upgrading to the latest hardware , getting stuck in 2 year contracts and giving carriers passive income, for all those minutes, data, and text you don't use. Consumers do need to go with phones that work for them and prepaid. Once carriers don't have this hold any more they will have to compete on features and price. This is the real path to change.
limeblack 5 days ago 1 reply      
The title feels like link bait.

"Why I Hate Android"

2nd paragraph in, "Believe it or not, I actually don't hate Android."

idspispopd 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be appreciative to read a more informative and well-formed counter-argument instead of pages of thinly veiled attacks on the author.

I for one recognise that they're all the 'devil'. It's about time we stopped pretending that these companies are trying to do us a favour. They don't report favours and hugs in their quarterly earnings results.

felixfurtak 4 days ago 1 reply      
can you really not purchase a pay as you go SIM card in the US? I've successfully bought these in many countries around the world (UK, Australia, New Zealand, pretty much anywhere in Europe, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.) When visiting a foreign country I usually buy a local SIM as a matter of course in order to avoid excessive roaming charges. Surely this is also possible in the USA?
andersh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Matt Siegler: his wanky, self-applied moniker made me curious enough to find out his actual name.
Apocryphon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really hoping that webOS becomes a viable alternative. Come on, HP, roll out a generous license and promise to support the project already!
vacri 4 days ago 0 replies      
Low contrast text is a pain to read, and if I'm already annoyed at how you've presented your rant, I'm less likely to be swayed by your arguments, regardless of merit.
Som 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article in not about Android, yes Google lost battle. Hope they win war.
sunils34 5 days ago 0 replies      
exactly 'why i hate mg siegler'
ifearthenight 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's well past time for widespread usage of programmable SIM cards.
lucisferre 4 days ago 2 replies      
Really? I was completely expecting this to be a tear down of Androids horrible UX. Color me surprised.
My Call to Senator Schumer's Office on PIPA: It's So Much Worse Than I Thought amandapeyton.com
334 points by inmygarage  1 day ago   115 comments top 17
rgarcia 1 day ago  replies      
Startup idea: a weekly email newsletter containing a list of bills your representatives in congress voted on (or introduced/co-sponsored), along with some "like" and "dislike" buttons. Home page maintains a prominent list of representatives most "disliked" by their constituents.

This whole SOPA debacle has convinced me more than ever that the feedback loop between constituents and representatives is absolutely terrible. This would be an attempt to solve the problem (via public humiliation).

crikli 1 day ago 1 reply      
I called my Senator's office yesterday and my conversation was very different. While the Senator has not decided his position yet, the young lady (god that makes me sound old) told me that they have taken many calls opposing SOPA.

I once had an aide from my Senator's office call me to ask for more clarification on an email I'd sent them about aviation usage fees. I was probably on the phone with the aide for 30 minutes as he took notes and clarified points. It wasn't a fluff call; he was legitimately gathering information to present to the Senator.

Not all is lost; there are still Senators out there, like mine who care about their constituents and listen. Keep the pressure up.

asolove 1 day ago 4 replies      
Keep in mind, the people who answer your calls are (likely unpaid) high school or college interns, not "staffers." They are not the people who research or discuss policy issues, they likely are not very aware of the candidate's legislative positions except on issues that generate lots of angry calls from constituents with time on their hands, like Medicare benefits for seniors. They are not making official statements.
uptown 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not record a few of the calls and post them online. NY law says you can record your calls as long as one of the parties on the call is aware it's being recorded (i.e. you).


It'd be interesting to have a politician's office on the record stating they're in favor of censoring the internet.

rabble 1 day ago 2 replies      
The deadline for filing for the NY Senate Democratic Primary is May 21st. That means there is real time to find an anti-SOPA candidate to primary Schumer.

I also think somebody should think seriously about launching a PAC/SuperPAC around this. Calls help, but in washington money talks louder. Launch an 'internet pac' or 'innovation pac' with promises to put money in to Primarying or defeating pro-SOPA/PIPA politicians, and they'll start to listen. They know that the tech world has a lot of money, and can organize. We just need to do it.

wavephorm 1 day ago 2 replies      
We're going to need a new DNS system, plain and simple. A complete replacement for ICANN and one that bypasses the United States. The walls are going up around this regime and like the other authoritarian bills passed (Patriot Act, DHS etc) these bills will eventually pass. So planning needs to start now.
ErrantX 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm unsurprised people aren't calling in support; after all they don't need to campaign...

I also think people, i.e. the masses, aren't really aware yet. Most I am sure will be opposed when they figure it out, but there will be a proportion in favour.

I have seen people on Facebook posting in support.

kylemaxwell 1 day ago 3 replies      
I keep thinking this has to be a troll... surely no staff would say those things?

Somebody wake me up.

ww520 1 day ago 0 replies      
So politicians can be bought, I meant lobbied, but won't answer to constituency? Time for tech lobbying groups to fund and put their candidates on the ballots. The Swedish Pirate Party has the right idea.

Politic is the game of deciding whose money are "redistributed" to whom. If we don't band together, we will be in the receiving end of these time and again.

angersock 1 day ago 2 replies      
So, this is a great example of the system failing us.


1. Run for official office (senator, rep., pres., whatever).

2. Put up website with list of issues, allow people to vote if they add a comment per vote.

3. Put up link to opencongress or whatever to track your record on the bill.

4. Vote in office according to the trends on the website. If you vote against prevailing opinion, you are trivially found out.

5. On banner of website, post the number of votes you did following the polls on the site versus the number of times you dissented.

6. Enjoy making history.


This seems to me to be a great way of matching the existing system interface without actually giving up a democracy.

joshuahedlund 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everyone, keep calling. This is evidence that Senators are getting lots of calls opposing PIPA. Even if it seems like they are not affecting anything, they are still (presumably) recording the number of opposition calls they get, and most of these Senators (presumably) still care about re-election. I still believe in tipping points. I have to...

But thanks for this information as well. The tipping points do not seem to be on our horizon, and information about the responses from senator offices, if it goes viral, can hopefully have a much-needed amplifying effect...

jrockway 1 day ago 2 replies      
They really need to split out the "censor counterfeit products" from the "censor the Internet" part. Everyone is fine with the first, nobody is fine with the second. Let's meet in the middle.
daniel-cussen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else think we should only consider actually getting DMCA repealed as a victory?
rmason 1 day ago 0 replies      
They say money is the Mother's milk of politics. I think someone should organize a political action committee to defend the Internet. It's important to keep it apolitical and target only those trying to censor or impede the net. In Sen. Schumer's case the solution is to primary him.
rglover 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just spoke with two offices for representatives in Michigan and the basic response you'll receive is: "we'll take note of your opposition and pass it along to the representative."

I asked for a meeting and was told that I could either show up at the representative's office or leave a note.

It takes 5 minutes to do this, so please take a moment and call.

swalsh 1 day ago 0 replies      
"we are past the point where the internet should be considered a stand-alone industry."

I agree.. but it should be more than an industry. I spend more time on the internet than I do with my girlfriend. The internet is beyond a place where I work. It is a nation in a new dimension of space. As such it needs it's own regulation isolated from any individual land based nation-state.

jqueryin 1 day ago 3 replies      
This article ends with direct lines to call both DC and NYC offices of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand. She also lists a sample script. Someone, if they have the resources and money (for paying for calls), could easily create an automated Twilio script to auto-dial this number with a pre-formatted script and insert some dynamic text for a name and phone number. You could then create a website for people to voice their concerns and auto-dial with an automated message on their behalf.


Why Google And Facebook Need To Go Dark To Protest SOPA forbes.com
334 points by gluejar  3 days ago   90 comments top 24
jonnathanson 3 days ago 5 replies      
Google might be well served by some sort of partial blackout on its home page, but Facebook would need to get more creative -- and, dare I say it, more social.

A blackout of any kind on Facebook would create a minor to major annoyance for an audience that we can presume is largely ignorant to apathetic about SOPA. If, instead, Facebook released profile widget of some sort -- say, a standardized black box as one's default profile image, with a solidarity message or link -- they'd probably see better uptake. People would be curious about why their friends were blacking out their profile pictures, and they'd click to find out more. Even if for no other reason than to see what the fuss was about, or to jump on a trendy bandwagon. In this way, Facebook would be piquing interest, rather than creating confusion.

Anecdotally, I've seen friends use this tactic to great effect when promoting anything from parties, to launches, to causes. It works because it spreads easily, it's hard not to notice, and it's less easily ignored or tuned out than generic site-wide messaging. And, as the folks at Facebook know all too well, we tend to notice what our friends are doing more readily than we notice what disembodied corporate messages are saying.

ryandvm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Going dark for a day is a pretty scary proposition for a company whose continued success is largely based on habitual usage.

As a practical matter, Google search is not really that much better than Bing. Making 600 million people use your competitor's equally capable product for a day would be pure insanity. Especially for such speculative gain.

I can't believe people think Google is dumb enough to try a blackout.

untog 3 days ago 2 replies      
It would be truly amazing to see this. Reddit going dark is fantastic, but to an extent it's "preaching to the choir"- Reddit is already the centre of SOPA activism.

Google, Facebook or Twitter going dark would be a huge statement. Is there a movement for other sites to go dark on Jan 18th as well? My startup going dark by itself wouldn't have a huge impact, but if it was part of a national day of activism it could be great.

krschultz 3 days ago 7 replies      
I don't think Google & Facebook need to go dark to achieve this. Going dark is not something either company would do - the cost is enormous and it would draw real ire from politicians. But Google simply changing it's logo for a day would be enough to magnify the publicity around this issue. That doesn't impact their users or their bottom line, but it gets the job done.
cookiecaper 3 days ago 2 replies      
I posted this elsewhere, but I think it got buried. IMO it is worth reposting here:

Assuming this spreads, I believe a potential ramification of major sites blacking out would be new laws that would attempt to make such black outs illegal.

It could be seen as equivalent to strikes in essential service industries like transportation. Such strikes are semi-regulated and governments can and have ordered strikers back on the job to maintain public order. I see this possibility as a potentially major unintended consequence of putting Facebook "on strike".

HaloZero 3 days ago 0 replies      
I still believe Wikipedia going black would also make a decent statement without causing giant economic losses. They've done it before in Italy, and it worked there.
tlogan 3 days ago 0 replies      
No - Google and Facebook will not go dark and SOPA will pass.

The big internet companies such as Google and Facebook etc. will probably get some exception from SOPA (like they will not liable if they allow easy censoring tool for big production companies) and because of that they will be quiet.

Look, paying few million to lobbyists to exempt you from some legalization is much more efficient - and in parallel you can kill competition like duckduckgo.com

lhnn 3 days ago 0 replies      

"If SOPA passes, the search you're about to enter wouldn't be possible."

dandrews 3 days ago 1 reply      
Utilities cannot "go dark". The power company couldn't go dark to make a political point. The water and gas companies couldn't either.

Google has acquired (for better or worse) utility status. Interrupting service to make a political point would do unbelievable damage to Google itself.

Better to just outspend Hollywood, if Google has the will to defeat SOPA.

methodin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Google would have a lot more to lose than Facebook. Most of the posts on Facebook are not necessarily links etc... and even if the links were banned it wouldn't have that much of an effect on Facebook itself, other than people getting PO'd that the link they click on are decommissioned. Most people tend to be smart enough to realize this is not Facebook's fault.

Google on the other hand is almost exclusively driven by other content so having a sudden lack thereof would be far more detrimental.

Therefor I would be surely surprised if Facebook did something like this while I could every well see something happening on Google's side - although offsetting the money being poured in support of SOPA to counteract it would also go a long way to help.

ericb 3 days ago 8 replies      
While this would make a statement, somewhere I saw a good point--someone will be googling to see if the snake that bit them was poisonous. Google is now critical infrastructure, like power. If it goes out, people will quite possibly die.
recoiledsnake 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be a good idea to run a big black banner on Google instead of going completely dark. Or one interstitial ad that interrupts search for 10 seconds only once a day.
tsieling 3 days ago 1 reply      
My money is on the side that says they're too far in bed with politics to chance it.
calbear81 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've been following the SOPA issue on the periphery and I agree there needs to be more awareness and publicity around it but I don't find a blackout to be the most effective way of defeating this legislation. Reddit is fine because they don't have that much money to lose by going dark for a day but we know clearly that money has a big influence on the outcome of elections and political races.

Why not take the revenue that would have been forfeited to a single day blackout which would probably be about $100+ million (between Google, Facebook, and let's say 2 other sites) and funnel it towards a Super-PAC that will use it instead to fund opposition ads during election time against those who supported the legislation.

What about finding a way to influence the primary supporters of SOPA, content creators and media companies? These companies will rely on the very tech companies they may damage with SOPA in the future to be the primary channels for distribution (YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, etc.), which means that there's leverage that can be applied.

Just my two cents.

teja1990 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing Google can do instead of a total blackout is a black background google . Instead of its white zen background, if they go total black , people would be interested why this change and will read why google did this. Blocking will only make people go for another search engine.
lr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google and Facebook should remove all references to all politicians who supports SOPA, even if they are running for president.
thwest 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why go completely dark? Partially put black censor bars over most of the search results. Throw in a prominent banner to a page explaining SOPA and a button to remove the censorship. Then there is less chance of users assuming some technical problem, and a greater chance for education.
dbbo 3 days ago 0 replies      
gernb 2 days ago 0 replies      
No, if Google and Facebook went dark they'd prove the political power that they have and would immediately set in motion massive regulation of themselves by governments. It would be a small victory followed by losing the war.
baby 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google should display "Google is unavailable today because of SOPA [bla bla bla] If you still want to access google go to google.fr or any european google".
cyberroadie 3 days ago 1 reply      
They should make it go dark in Washington only, these companies are good in targeted 'advertisement' anyway.
I wonder how the government would react on a blackout targeted only at them
wyck 3 days ago 2 replies      
What about large user based content sites?

Wordpress and Tumblr account for millions of post/day.

AndyFromKC 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just Dark any Facebook/Google Traffic going to Washington DC. Not enough to cause stock/revenue/world panic... just enough to cause localized panic where the target audience can feel it.
phzbOx 3 days ago 0 replies      
I quit my high-paying job to follow my dream of launching a startup. Here it is. theappifier.com
334 points by gozman  3 days ago   190 comments top 62
BigCanOfTuna 3 days ago  replies      
Nice idea. I'd be interested to know (and if you're willing to share with the community):

1. What was your job.

2. How much did you get paid.

3. How much savings(runway) do you have to support this product.


marknutter 3 days ago 4 replies      
Kudos to you for following your dream, but I do have to say I'm fully against making it easier for people to move that which should stay on the web to native apps. We have web browsers for a reason.
larrys 3 days ago 3 replies      
You need to move this site to a host that can handle the load today. I'm getting timeouts and finally got the home page to load. I can't get any of the other pages to load either.
sumukh1 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's a cool idea with a few players in the field.
Did a quick check on a WP Blog and the application sandbox keeps crashing.

I only have two concerns. You are entirely at the mercy of Apple with this product. There isn't too much customization available so Apple may at some point decide to reject your customers apps. A lifetime membership might not help without the code for customization if you ever go offline.
The second is the other players in here. I think people are going to want a lot more customization.

Either way, you've selected a market with a lot of demand.
WPTouch and http://www.wiziapp.com/ are the main competitors I can think of. (WPTouch built into an app of course)

dan1234 3 days ago 5 replies      
Have you run this past Apple with regards to their App Store approval policy? I'd be worried about clause 2.12:

"2.12 Apps that are not very useful, are simply web sites bundled as apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected"

llambda 3 days ago 1 reply      
First, congratulations!

The site looks good and the product seems interesting and useful.

Unfortunately, you're getting hit hard with HN traffic being number one on the front page currently and thus things are slow.

However I was able to load the index page and watch the introductory video.

One thing that bothers me is I clicked on your Terms of Service link and was prompted to login: you might want to consider making as much available to logged out users as possible and esp things like terms of service which I may want or even need to read before signing up.

Otherwise, best of luck!

underwater 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't want to knock your product, because I know site owners will love it, but does anyone actually like and use these simple apps that wrap a website?
delosfuegos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Genius, I'd invest all my money into this idea. From a marketing perspective:

1. big market (a lot of wordpress sites run by small & medium businesses that would love an easy and cheap app)
2. practically sells itself (costs, ease of use, service)
3. if possible try to roll it out both ways (drupal and android)


1. What about more complex and altered WP sites?
2. What will your to-market strategy be? More specifically: target customer

Again, a great idea and a very good feel for what the market needs. Congratulations!

arpit 3 days ago 1 reply      
For those having trouble with the site, I ended up looking at Google's cached copy and then finding the walkthrough youtube video that you can watch here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/QkwDDB0I5_g?autoplay=1
jramphis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations on the move to startup life! Great looking website and nice user experience for publishing.

Posting the service on HN is one of those things I wish I had thought of a few months ago, I still have a lot to learn - thankfully a friend sent me this link since he knew what we were doing. TainoApp (http://gettainoapp.com) does all that (Wordpress to native iOS app), plus full platform support for Windows Phone 7, and Android (wrapping up Blackberry and MeeGo support as of this posting) you can see it at work here - http://goo.gl/nuZcm. So far, it seems we're the only ones that can do Windows Phone 7 - hopefully someone in the community can point out other projects we haven't heard from that already does it, so that we can continue learning from others.

We have the tech specs ready for implementing support for most of the CMSs out there (Tumblr, Posterous, and others including Tresite - heavily used in latinamerica), but decided to focus on Wordpress installs first since the install base was larger we were able to churn out an mvp faster since we were more familiar with the wp architecture.

Our focus had been on engaging one on one with customers and quietly testing out different revenue models - but this kind of torrent of feedback would have been truly welcome. It wasn't until the start of the new year that we decided to test an introductory offer for the platform - aimed at the latinamerican market first (it's google translate friendly - http://goo.gl/Y5JZL). I felt we were missing a lot of the features I wanted, so I held back from doing a public push to get feedback - that was a big mistake. Seeing everyone's comments for Appifier has been an uplifting experience - so keep at it!!! One of the toughest things I've felt is being out there and being open to scrutiny by other startups. Maybe we can chat sometime and talk a bit more about some of the mistakes we've done along the way - drop me a line at jramphis at gettainoapp dot com. Best of luck!

magsafe 3 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting idea, but can't get it to work. I created a test account and added 2 WordPress blogs to it: TechCrunch and the official Wordpress blog (http://wordpress.org/news/). Went through the steps, downloaded the sandbox app on my iPhone 4S and tried to preview them. App instantly crashes when loading both sites. Is it just that these blogs don't have the required JSON plugins (possible)? Or is it that they have too much content for Appifier to handle? Either way, an abrupt crash doesn't inspire confidence. Do you have any sample blogs we can try to test this with?
jaipilot747 3 days ago 3 replies      
Sites that hit the homepage on HN crash so often I dream of quitting my job to launch a startup whose sole service is to HN-proof your site </jest>
runjake 3 days ago 0 replies      
gozman, you are an inspiration.
itmag 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do you include the WP markup in your generated app? Or do you transform the markup into Objective-C code (so no HTML/CSS included in the app)? The latter would be much harder to implement I think.
phzbOx 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice idea! I like how it's focused on wordpress and iphone (rather than turn any website to android/iphone/etc.) Care to share some implementations details with follow HN-ers? :) I.e. Do you have a "plugin-converter"? How do you transform the "normal screen width" to a "mobile feeling"?
dholowiski 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cool! I will be using such a service several times this year. Honest question - what makes your service more special than the other services out there that claim to do the same thing?

P.S. I do like the one time charge option... I haven't seen many that have that as an ooption.

ahmadss 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the launch. I have some feedback, but a random question for you first - did you work at Deloitte in their S&O practice?

Now for the feedback - assuming your audience is a non-tech WordPress user, I'm suggesting that you do A|B testing on the use of "Native App". From experience talking to clients on the marketing team or communications team, most don't know the difference or meaning of "native app". To them, an app is an app is an app - native or not.

The key question that these folks care about is "will my app have a custom icon that represents my brand", "can i submit to the app store", and "will my customer see this icon on their iPhone once they download it?".

So, my hypothesis is that if you strip "native app" from your copy (all of your copy) and just focus "custom app", "custom icons", "app store submission", "WordPress to iPhone", your target audience won't miss a beat and won't blink at "native app".

If you end up testing this out doing A/B tests or user research, I'd love to hear the results.

jusob 3 days ago 0 replies      
http://mobilito.net/, the free website I launched this week (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3419941), could help you to promote the app: show users how their website looks awful/unusable on mobiles currently.
quizbiz 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a concept that I had a lot of fun thinking about but never had the resources to make happen. Good luck. Can't wait to be a client. Looks very promising.
barce 3 days ago 1 reply      
How is this app different one WPTouch which also turns your WordPress into something iPhone friendly: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wptouch/ I know you turn the site into a native app, but WPTouch works just fine with HTML and CSS. Is there something I'm missing?
paisible 3 days ago 1 reply      
Go Montreal ! :)
Slight issue though - I created an app, says everything went well, downloaded the sandbox, but nothing appears under "My projects". Does it take time to update ? Also, "Push composer" and "Analytics" in my admin panel link to "#". Are these just placeholder links to let users know that the functionality is coming ? Good job on shipping the product !
jeffcouturier 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure I see the benefit of converting a website into a pseudo-app, then charging for that app. Users would effectively be paying for the wrapper when the same content is available without charge via a browser. I realize this happens all the time and there are a plethora of site shortcuts-as-apps in the app store, but the fact that they are abundant doesn't make the practice any better.

I'm honestly curious about the use cases for this and what extra value this provides for the user over using the website in a browser.

tszming 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why you are using JSON API instead of XMLRPC which is more popular and enabled by default for some providers such as wordpress.com?

Disclaimer: I am doing similar thing and will launch soon..

tehwalrus 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, I know loads of people who will use this, including me if I ever have time! A couple of questions though:

How does payment/subscription work? Is there a limit to the number of apps you can publish under the monthly plan, or is there a cost per app and then a monthly fee for the analytics and push? Is there a nice user interface for push? Where can I see a demo of it all in operation (the management of an app that's out there)? :)

robrenaud 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do you have any ballpark numbers for wordpress hits day -> expected revenue from appifier?
shad0wfax 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations! I am sure its a proud moment after taking the big step in life :).

A nice concept as well (btw, the hackernews effect is slowing down/timing out your site).

On a tangential note (maybe), are you also liking running the startup (a company)? I am sure developing the product would have been an awesome experience, but when it comes to manage and run the company it calls for something else. How are you liking that?

chris123 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice demo video, although I am not sold on the idea people want or need to consume blogs natively on their phones. But, hey, hat tip for testing the idea in real time :)
brainless 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very very nice concept. Would attract so many WP site owners who want to have an app.

Please share some technical and transition stories.
Also is the homepage a little slow, or just me?

lucian1900 3 days ago 1 reply      

This looks like a container similar to PhoneGap, but more specialised to some sort of feed from the WP website, perhaps RSS.

Is there really that large a market for this sort of thing?

aaronblohowiak 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cool idea, but this is just going to make the signal:noise ratio in the app store worse =(
agentgt 3 days ago 4 replies      
At what point is it okay to post you have started a new website / business on hacker news?

Here goes my karma.
Since we are doing shameless plugs here are my two (and yes I quit very high paying jobs ... 1.5~2 times more than @gozman ...):



mikegreenberg 3 days ago 1 reply      
Typo: Sign up today and see just how quick and easy it can __free__! No credit card required.
alanmeaney 3 days ago 1 reply      
Don't stress on missing your opportunity. Your 'How Hacker News crashed my site' post will get just as much traffic
ryanb 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a neat idea. Best of luck! Looks great.
ifearthenight 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would be interested to hear how you (and others) handle the transition from salaried work to startup life...
loceng 3 days ago 0 replies      
Logo suggestion: The 'f' in the font you're using can very easily be mistaken for a T
theDaveB 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice idea but you have some competition. Won't mention sites on here, played with a identical solution a few weeks ago. Also found somewhere that is doing a WP app for a one off charge of $17, you download source code, edit it, compile it and submit it to the app store.


gdhillon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done. does it only support blog type of web-sites are can you handle more of custom wordpress sites as well? For example can it handle membership type of sites where payment processing is required via CC or Paypal?
chatreez 3 days ago 0 replies      
The word "native" jumped out at me. I wonder, for the target users you are aiming, if it's enough to say "...an iPhone app...". To me, it's the same feeling as "to kill a running app". It's common for tech people to say but doesn't have personal touch.
bsenftner 3 days ago 0 replies      
How do you handle the random WP plugn?
tobiasbischoff 3 days ago 0 replies      
risky idea. sounds good but apple just hates template-apps.
erkin_unlu 3 days ago 0 replies      
nicely done! i wish i could do the same, must do the same ; )
davidkellis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why did you choose to form an LLC instead of a C-Corporation?
giis 3 days ago 0 replies      
nice work,pretty useful for bloggers,I believe.All the best for your startup.Btw,How long did it take to launch this startup after you left your previous job?
ryen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does converting a WP site to a native app really enable more "features" than, say, WP's own mobile styling or something similarly built with HTML5?
sidcool 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bad signs, it's slowing down. It's taking more than 20 seconds for me to load. Scale it up, scale it up fast, buy more processing power from your host
marcofucci 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice idea.
With 10K people signing up for lifetime you get 499*10K = almost 5 million, not bad!
billyto 3 days ago 0 replies      
I guess WP is the first step, I'd love to see this also for Other blogging engines like blogger, posterous or tumblr.
gozman 3 days ago 0 replies      
our site is back up now. visit us at http://theappifier.com
gesman 3 days ago 0 replies      
WPtouch == 90% bang for $0 bucks + 1 minute time investment.
TheAppifier's nativization of blogs has its niche:
- for blogs that has large, religious, passionate following.
- for marketing departments who love to announce "immediate availability of mobile app".

It does not add any "native" functionality though - just save people from typing URL in mobile browsers.

sidcool 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wish you all the very best. Make sure you scale up today, as I am going to pitch for you wherever my reach is.
spicyxtreme 3 days ago 0 replies      
great idea! who do you think the target market is for this? developers that create corporate websites?
mcs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like you're coming into the same space that OnSwipe is in.
Johnyma22 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm one of the team at PrimaryBlogger and we would be interested in using this :) Good work!
spung 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice site! Glad you made the jump to follow your dreams, good luck!
avallark 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations on starting out on your own. Takes courage.
JulianMiller520 3 days ago 0 replies      
very clever logo btw. I like the riff on the established convention.
joshmanders 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't get the site to load.
timpeterson 3 days ago 0 replies      
cool idea, looks nice, thanks for sharing
svalley 3 days ago 0 replies      
Your dream was to write software to reformat Wordpress generated HTML so it can fit on an iPhone screen?
seenugadu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice idea. Couldn't stop admiring it.
japanesejay 3 days ago 0 replies      
What tools did you use to convert PHP to obj-c?
Raspberry Pi: We've started manufacture raspberrypi.org
319 points by pauldino  4 days ago   104 comments top 17
ck2 4 days ago 2 replies      
if we build the Raspberry Pi in Britain, we have to pay a lot more tax. If a British company imports components, it has to pay tax on those (and most components are not made in the UK). If, however, a completed device is made abroad and imported into the UK " with all of those components soldered onto it " it does not attract any import duty at all

Wow this sounds worse than job exporting in the USA

blhack 4 days ago 3 replies      
The people behind raspi seem really, genuinely good. If this is all marketing, it doesn't feel like it.

They're going to do what manufacturing they can in the UK, even though it would net them a lot more money to do it overseas. Awesome.

Nate75Sanders 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully some nice cases will come out. I'd like to see one with an integrated USB hub.

Additionally, as it takes USB power for the computer itself, having a monitor with USB ports would enable you to power the entire computer with only a short USB cable. You could then mount the small case to the back of the monitor, perhaps to make everything neat.

dman 4 days ago 4 replies      
The pricepoint is simply revoultionary. I intend to make a few amateur home automation gadgets with this.
noonespecial 4 days ago 4 replies      
I think they're dead wrong about the demand of the model B, vs the model A. I think most people are going to want to buy a model A for $10 less and stick a sub-$10 usb wifi onto it than run a wire.

Most of the projects I think of and don't build are scrapped for want of $50 worth of ridiculous "zigbee" wireless hardware that can barely push 250kbits across the room. The internet of things is made of wifi.

rch 4 days ago 4 replies      
It is interesting that they at least explored the idea of building in the UK, and that tax policies factored in so negatively. Does the US have similarly structured import taxes?
patrickod 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see the first 10 thousand boards lasting very long on their shelves. I can't wait to get my hands on one.
mjwalshe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm - I will be contacting a few MP's about this nonsensical tax situation.
willyt 4 days ago 3 replies      
I don't understand why Raspberry Pi doesn't have to pay VAT on the assembled imported items? Is it because they are a charity?

EDIT: added 'assembled'. Does anyone have a link to the IR rules about this?

rmoriz 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is also another interesting board project in the UK, but it's still in the design-phase:


RexRollman 4 days ago 2 replies      
I will order one once OpenBSD is running on it, which I am willing to bet won't be too long.
DrinkWater 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are some discussions about the supported OS's in the Raspberry Pi Forums. And this is what is still holding me back from dancing and screaming about this project.
Maven911 3 days ago 1 reply      
Am i missing something here, some versions of the andruino seems to be in a similar price range (at mouser.com), or is this board vastly superior to the cheap model andruinos ?
yanksrock777 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am waiting for the day I can buy one of these. Ok maybe I'll be like five. These will be so much fun to mess and hack around with. I can't believe that this is the price of an Arduino!
drtse4 4 days ago 1 reply      
The first batch will be of 10k boards. Will be sold out in a few hours...
suhastech 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, outsourcing to China is probably "charity".

Think about it. If people are working there accept such low wages, they probably don't have other options. The alternative is, lower wages?

lateral11 4 days ago 2 replies      
Not buying one until it's made in UK.
Why is C faster than Java: git vs JGit marc.info
317 points by acqq  2 days ago   100 comments top 22
ot 2 days ago 5 replies      
All the points are valid but they are peculiar to Java, not to all managed high-level languages. C#/.NET, for example, have unsigned types, value-type arrays and structs, memory mapped files and specialized collections.

As an example, the C# port of Sqlite is sometimes faster than the C version on queries, although updates are slower, despite Sqlite is a highly optimized C library.

EDIT: link http://code.google.com/p/csharp-sqlite/wiki/Benchmarks

snprbob86 2 days ago 4 replies      
I almost skipped this link; I assumed it was typical borring blog noise. It's not.

This is an insightful post from the git mailing list which shows some of the real limitations that a top tier developer hits when trying to write Java code as fast as neatly optimized C code. Definitely worth reading.

cookiecaper 2 days ago 1 reply      
Note the date: 2009-04-30 18:43:19

Many of us have already read this and it's been submitted to HN several times before. This, of course, does not mean that it's not worth reposting, but interested parties may want to dig up some of the past discussions.

wcoenen 2 days ago 1 reply      
This was posted in 2009. I think that some of the arguments are no longer valid, e.g. Java 1.7 now uses escape analysis to eliminate heap allocations where possible: http://weblogs.java.net/blog/forax/archive/2009/10/06/jdk7-d...
SeanLuke 2 days ago 4 replies      
I build fairly high-performance Java code. And get hit with three major gotchas which prevent it from approaching C code.

- There's no way to do array access without null pointer and index checks each and every time.

- Generics with basic types, and their unfortunate embedding into syntax (like the new for() syntax), are awful. Boxing and unboxing incur a ludicrously high penalty, and generics push coders away from using arrays. Unlike in C++, generics have been the enemy of performance.

- Poor quality collections classes (ArrayList and HashMap are notoriously bad)

Sure there's a few other things like pointer walking etc. in C, and Java's poor floating point, but the big three above are the killers.

njs12345 2 days ago 2 replies      
I find it kind of interesting that in Haskell, which is arguably even higher level than Java, most of these optimisations are eminently possible..

EDIT: This obviously came across a bit as language fanboyism, so I guess I should mention that the language features that let you do many of them let you shoot yourself in the foot just as easily as you can in C, and you can certainly argue that with a strong FFI you might as well just call into C if you really need that kind of low level performance..

zxypoo 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is an old email... there's been many improvements to both JGit, Java/JVM and other areas of interest.

Shawn and I gave a presentation at the Googleplex not so long ago about JGit [1]. In particular, you may be interested in the 'JGit at Google' section.

There are some cases where JGit is faster than CGit, but the benefits of JGit are that it's easy to embed. There are projects like gitblit and other IDEs that use the library. On top of that, you have crazy folks like NGit [2] who cross compile the library using Sharpen so it can be used by the .NET community...

[1] - https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0ATM14GNiXaXfZGZkeHp...
[2] - https://github.com/slluis/ngit

buff-a 1 day ago 0 replies      
More specifically, the problem of trying to write a binary compatible java implementation of a neatly optimized solution written in C. So, the program in question is executed, reads a whole bunch of binary data from a whole bunch of different files, does some calculations on that data and then exits.

The questions are, if you had to develop a distributed version control system in java: a) would you solve it the same way, b) would your solution be faster or slower, and c) would it take more or less time to write it and be easier to maintain?

Clearly you would not solve it the same way, for example it might stick around in memory as you worked. Could it then appear faster, from a user's perspective? Possibly. Might it be easier to maintain. Also possible.

Pretty much by definition, if you are writing it in C, a binary compatible solution is not going to run as fast if you port it to java.

I don't think that is a conclusion that has much value.

Yrlec 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had a similar experience when I was doing some Galois Field arithmetic in Java. You pay a huge penalty because of the absence of unsigned types. In our case we had to use long instead of int, which is extra costly, since many basic operations in Java return int by default.
rayiner 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of this is poor API design, and the product of Java's baggage as something that needs to have well-defined safety semantics for internet applications. It is not a necessary constraint of high-level languages that they don't offer the ability to get down to the metal. SBCL, for example, offers a lot of mechanisms for unboxed primitive arrays, unsafe declarations, and these days even SSE intrinsics.
willvarfar 2 days ago 5 replies      
So why do they write and use jgit at google instead of just git?
bajsejohannes 2 days ago 2 replies      
> when you do use Java NIO MappedByteBuffer, we still have to copy to a temporary byte[] in order to do any real processing

Does anyone know why this is the case?

nknight 2 days ago 1 reply      
In cases where performance actually matters, just avoid bit-twiddle in high-level languages. It sucks too much. You'll probably waste less time on optimizations by offloading the biggest bottlenecks to C/C++ with the native/extension interfaces in your high-level language of choice.

Be careful and stay standards-compliant and you can keep most of the portability and maintenance advantages while picking up some significant speed.

babebridou 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've had the issue using maps with primitive keys. I solved it by isolating the performance critical functionality and not using the Collections framework there, instead writing my own data structure for it (with heavy influence from the hashmap one).

This tends to be my general philosophy, by the way. Reuse code to get something working fast, isolate what really causes bad performances, then solve only those problems by going under the hood. If the performance issues remain, cheat by pretending it doesn't exist, by making sure we're never in a worst case scenario and handling the worst case scenario differently.

In my "IntHashMap" case, the worst case scenario was gathering the keySet. I made sure that I'd only call it when I really really needed it. The rest was "fast enough" once I had removed the underlying Integer Object on the key.

cube13 2 days ago 0 replies      
>So. Yes, its practical to build Git in a higher level language, but you just can't get the same performance, or tight memory utilization, that C Git gets. That's what that higher level language abstraction costs you. But, JGit performs reasonably well; well enough that we use internally at Google as a git server.

I think that this is the key takeaway for the entire post.

One of the reasons I generally dislike any of the "X IS BETTER THAN Y" bakeoffs is that performance is now so implementation dependent that these comparisons are pretty much moot. Given that basically any non-trivial implementation can be improved, it's difficult to say that anything is faster, especially when one considers developer skill.

Developers should not be chasing the abstract, absolute best performance. Instead, the language used should be the one that delivers performance that is good enough for their client's needs. If they can get it with something that we're familiar with, that's great. If they need to learn a new tool, that's also good. But it doesn't make much sense to throw away all the knowledge that a developer has about a certain language to chase "better performance" with a different one. Most likely, the first effort implementations on a new language won't be nearly as good as the implementations on the more familiar language.

It's generally true that optimized Java won't ever be as fast as optimized C. But for the vast majority of cases, it doesn't need to. Java's speed is enough for those cases. And in the small minority where it's not sufficient, C is still around.

malkia 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if mercurial gets rewritten in "C" whether there would be any speedup.
itmag 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember a post on here recently which said that sometimes a high-level language can be faster than C, because you can convey more of your algorithmic intent and thus the compiler can optimize better for you.

It gave an example where the compiler's knowledge that something is an immutable array means better optimization. Which you can't express in C.

alpb 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder where do Shawn work at Google and in which product they use jgit.
tomandersen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ahh, getting to the metal. Only in C do I get that feeling. For some reason even C++ just fails on that 'fresh metallic taste' test.

Most code should not be C.

verroq 2 days ago 2 replies      
Page is down?
ExpiredLink 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amateurs - they should have chosen Fortran
DuckDuckGo gets a new look duckduckgo.com
317 points by edwardy20  1 day ago   142 comments top 44
Matt_Cutts 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey Gabriel, I know that DDG promised on http://donttrack.us that you don't send searches to other sites.

This was the first time that I've seen MSN ads, so I did a search for flowers and clicked on the ad I got. I landed on the url: http://ww11.1800flowers.com/collection.do?dataset=11385&... which has the word "Flowers" in the url.

That seemed strange, so I did the search [chocolate of the month club] on DuckDuckGo and clicked on the Microsoft ad. I ended up on http://www.amazingchocolateclub.com/?utm_source=MSN&utm_... which has "chocolate of the month club" in the url.

I tried some more esoteric searches. The search [one fruit a month] returned an ebay link http://duckduckgo.com/k/?u=http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711...

It looks like the "icep_uq" parameter in the ebay link has exactly my search query, [one fruit a month]?

I know you've made "we don't send your searches to other sites" a pretty major policy at http://donttrack.us/ . With these ads, do you know whether searches on DuckDuckGo are sometimes sent to other sites?

quanticle 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does anyone else find that they've been trained by Google's positioning of sponsored links into ignoring the first few links on a search page? I bring it up because on the Duck Duck Go search page, I missed the link to Hacker News the first couple times I looked. I was so conditioned by Google's sponsored link placement, I was treating the third link as if it was the first.

EDIT: Okay, I really don't like the positioning of the "official site" result. To me, it should be below the sponsored links, not above. The reason is that when you're searching for something where DDG doesn't have an "official site" entry, the first search result appears below the sponsored links. However, when DDG knows the "official site" for your search query, it places that result above the sponsored links. In practice, this means that you have to look in two places for the "first" result - above the sponsored links and below. Placing the "official site" result below the sponsored links would resolve this inconsistency.

pak 1 day ago 4 replies      
I have to say, why such loud mouseover effects? It's distracting to have all these boxes popping in and out as I scroll through the results. I get that you're trying to show that the click area is that big, but it impairs readability--most of the time while using a search engine I am reading very quickly. Perhaps some people leave their mouse off to the side when they scroll, but many people "think with their mouse," pointing at stuff as they look at it.

I would personally tone them down to just the underline appearing on the result link (where that activates for the big click area, and not just when mousing over the link within the big click area).

underwater 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great work Gabriel. I've just switched to DDG as my default search engine. A few suggestions though:

The divider between the search and drop down buttons should use alpha-blended colors rather than dotted lines. It looks really bad in some situations, for example the :active state on the drop down button looks like it doesn't darken the divider. Edit Just noticed the down state on the front page search button is actually a pixel off. The down arrow also dips a pixel on active state.

The :active state on the more button is missing the last few pixels at the bottom.

The results don't have padding to the right. When a result is highlighted the description text can run all the way to the right border. Also see the "Internet search engines" hover state for q=DuckDuckGo.

Consider packaging your image resources into sprite sheets (check out http://spriteme.org/). There are flickers when I use some elements for the first time. Most noticeably the :hover state for the search suggestions and toggling the plus/minus button. Clear your cache to see them.

newobj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Made DDG my default search engine in Chrome today. Not because of the redesign, but just because I think it's time to start looking at alternatives. (The fact that I don't even need to qualify what I'm seeking an alternative to means I should be looking at alternatives!)
elisee 1 day ago 5 replies      
Looks like a clean, straight-to-the-point design.

The top box has some padding issues when hovering the contained links: there's more padding on the left than on the right, and the first link has more padding on the right than the next two (tested in latest stable Chrome & Firefox). See screenshot: http://polyprograms.free.fr/tmp/DuckDuckGoPaddingTopBox.png

On an unrelated note: I have a hard time taking your service seriously because of the duck branding and the DuckDuckGo name. It looks like you're doing a great job but somehow DuckDuckGo doesn't feel like a name for something I would use on a day-to-day basis. I guess I can just overlook it if the service is good enough but I do wonder if your brand is hurting your service. Maybe it's just me though!

samdk 1 day ago 2 replies      
The positioning of sponsored links makes me very sad. I use j/k/enter to navigate most of the time, and this means that I need to worry about accidentally selecting a link with a near-100% probability of being completely useless to me. (It's really annoying when it's the first link, because I can't just press 'enter' to go to it.)

It also wastes a lot of screen space on a smaller screen, especially when the zero-click info box is there. Being able to see only 1-2 useful results instead of 2-3 is annoying.

I've been using DDG for over a year now as my primary search engine, and I like it quite a lot. I understand the need to make money, but I'm going to be very sad if I have to go find a new search engine because ads have compromised the UI.

mike-cardwell 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think the "Official Site" buttons should be made more prominent and to look more like an official seal. I just pulled a random image out of Google Images to try and explain what I mean:


The golden icon in the bottom left of that image. Something like that.

peregrine 1 day ago 2 replies      
Love the new look. One thing I want to bring up is page load speed. I went 2 weeks with DDG as my default search engine for all browsers but I had to switch back because of the difference in page load speed. Its just .5-1 second slower then Google and I cannot stand it.

I would find the results to be fine, and the interface to be good but the fact I had to wait slightly longer drove me absolutely up the wall.

Wilya 1 day ago 0 replies      
For a second, I thought : "Bad choice for an example query. It doesn't even finds the real HN."

Turns out Google has trained me to scroll past anything looking like a Sponsored link a bit too well.. It took me a few seconds to spot the "Official Site" link.

duck 1 day ago 2 replies      
How do you determine what makes something an "official site"? I see it with the "Hacker News" search here, and with Twilio for example, but not with Fog Creek or Ford.

You guys keep doing awesome work Gabriel, keep it up!

huhtenberg 1 day ago 2 replies      
I am all for using really small fonts, but this is a bit too unreadable - http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/2720/unreadable.png
aquark 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the new look. I've used DDG as a default search engine on my main computer for several months now and kept Google on others.

Recently I've noticed that I am consistently missing some of DDG's features when still using Google so it must be time to switch over everywhere.

brador 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't like it.

I really hope people stop copying the Google/microsoft "big block color squares" UI strategy. Please copy Apple more, gradients and buttons that stand out nicely and perfectly rounded corners. Things which pop out of the screen nicely.

rkudeshi 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love the new design. I preferred the old color scheme (light green feels easier on the eyes), but I'm sure I'll quickly get used to the new one. Other than that, everything seems much more consistently designed and cleaner. Great job.

PS. I've been trying out DDG for a while and switched over almost completely in the last few months. I find increasingly fewer searches for which I need to jump over to Google, too. Even better, once I explained to my dad how DDG was different than other search engines, he WANTED me to switch his computer to DDG. I predict 2012 is going to be a heckuva year for y'all!

shaggy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really like it. I think it's clean, modern a nice color palette and an improvement over the previous version. Nice work DDG!
larrys 1 day ago 1 reply      
Who is supplying the sponsored links? There isn't anything on ddg that gives any information other than this:


Gabriel, how does someone purchase a sponsored link?

Edit: Appears that this is going through msn if you look at the URL that is generated.

draggnar 1 day ago 1 reply      
After using duckduckgo for a few months, as my default in chrome... the bang syntax is worth it. There are !bangs for everything!

Also if you don't like the colors everything is customizable in the settings. I switched the search results width to wide which is quite nice.

mirkules 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there any plans to implement auto-complete? It helps me when I search for technical problems to see if a) I'm on the right track, or b) if there are any alternatives to the search term that I'm looking for or c) if I'm not sure what exactly to look for

For example, if I enter "ios uiview " it will autocomplete with things like "animation", "lifecycle" etc and then select the right one.

Nonetheless, thanks for making DDG awesome :)

MrJagil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it make sense to have the zero-click info on the left side instead of all that white space? Once you realize it's there you'd always have instantanious access to both zero-click info and all of the most accurate results without needing to scroll. Further, you could have a very elaborate zero-click info box instead of the current, heavily compressed one.

Right now the center seems very stuffed.

Meai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well the main page is good but the search results are still overcrowded. The hover-effect on the search results is distracting. It just diverts attention from the results. I doubt many people really read like this: "hover mouse over first result: Not it. Ok, up to the next one: Hover mouse over second result. Not it. Ok next one."

Then of course, it bothers me that I have to pay attention to where I click, and if I want to copy paste text, I have to be exact about it, otherwise I accidentally click on whitespace that will direct me to a result page.

It's just too much "cognitive work" associated with the UI.

m_for_monkey 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best thing about DDG that it's very configurable. Many commenters here complaining about things they could easily change in the settings menu, like colors, advertisements, floating header, results placed in the middle, etc.
54mf 1 day ago 0 replies      
The new UI has a lot of really nice touches, and is a lot cleaner than it used to be. Kudos for that. The magnifying glass and menu arrow in the header are gorgeous, I love the dotted line between the two. Really nice.

That said, there are a lot of issues, in my opinion. Clicking that menu arrow pops out a really bland box with no padding and no structure to the content. The "header" text is wrapped in dashes, but the text looks exactly the same as the rest of the text in the box. Like someone else said, the mouseover effect on the individual results is really harsh. The zero-click box at the top fades in to the background, and the sponsored link is intrusive and throws off the flow of the entire page.

I hope you folks keep working, because the progress I've seen in the last couple years has really been great and I want DDG to be a huge success. Search is completely ripe for disruption - Google got simplicity right, but most of their recent updates have been boring or steps backwards. Keep fighting the good fight. And if you're ever looking to hire a UI / UX designer, let me know where to apply. :)

yaix 1 day ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, I don't like it. Not because its new, but because I don't like "position:fixed" elements when I scroll. I am using a netbook most of the time and all these fixed elements take up half of my screen (maybe not half, but feels like it). When I scroll, I do it because I want to scroll, not because I want most of the GUI to not move. Unfortunately, position:fixed seems to be the current "thing" to do for many designers :(
faramarz 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm curious why the results are center aligned? It's a very odd placement for search results.
Perhaps it has to do with the filters being on the right, instead of filling the white-space to the left side.

Studies also suggest that we are trained to read from top left.

I made two revisions for comparison

runjake 1 day ago 0 replies      
It looks clean, if a bit too Googly, but I like it. I especially like the results layout.

Gabriel, any chance we could get a "do not include results from this domain" option in the results? You guys do a really good job of carving the cruft out, but I still find no use in sites like Mahalo and Mashable.

wgx 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is there a way I can make 'typing into the address bar' search DDG by default?

If I can get this set up, then I'm fully switched.

rglover 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't entirely recall the old design, but this is really well done. Simple and to the point. A little bit of room for improvement, but that will come from further iteration and feedback from users.

Best part: infinite scroll. Google could learn something from this (yes I realize entire businesses are built on "getting on page one of Google," but this makes searching much more fluid).

simon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ok, I'll be the guy who says that he likes the previous version. :-)

I don't dislike the new look, but it's not a dramatic departure. And I fail to see the problem that the new look solves. The red bar doesn't bother me, but is there a reason why the search button switches from green to blue? That seemed visually jarring.

I still have it as my default search engine, so don't worry, you haven't lost me as a customer.

dlikhten 1 day ago 3 replies      
I love it except for the red bar on the top. Bad color choice. That is all. Keep up the improvements.
LeafStorm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Something about the formatting and typography in the "bang" dropdown just bugs the heck out of me. It appears very unpolished and boring compared to the rest of the design.

Though overall, this design does look much nicer than the previous one.

JS_startup 1 day ago 0 replies      
It looks gorgeous. DDG has become my search engine of choice over the past month; clean design, no social media or other things garbaging up results. Use it!
manifold 1 day ago 0 replies      
Edit: (search box was broken: http://i.imgur.com/Z5chu.png) Ah, it was a zoom issue with firefox. I like the redesign. Perhaps long-term you can make zoomed/unzoomed pages degrade more gracefully, or at least keep the search bar on top :)
mike-cardwell 1 day ago 1 reply      
The contents of the "More" menu would look a lot nicer with a bit of horizontal padding.
greut 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was like: “what the f* happened” when it changed between two searches…
reader_1000 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the problem with the official site result is that offical site element is smaller than the others which makes me think that it is less important and less relevant to the search. Some description text or something else should be added to official site element to make it more notable.

Also I am wondering if DDG has a plan to add suggestions to their search. I use suggestions a lot in Google search and it would be nice to have them in DDG also so that transtion from other search engines to DDG will be smoother.

simonbrown 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's the point of the non-SSL link for Wikipedia? I can't imagine someone who knows what SSL is actively clicking it.
richardburton 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just switched to DuckDuckGo as my default Chrome search-engine. Should be fun :)
realschool 1 day ago 0 replies      
very nice, much cleaner looking....
brackin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Long time DuckDuckGo user, very excited by this update. All I want at this point is speed.
_pius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is such an improvement! Great job!
mickeyckm 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love the ajax loading of results. no more paging, just scrolling. Now I wish it could be my default search engine in my Chrome omnibar.
wesley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great, now get rid of the duck.
dhruvbird 1 day ago 0 replies      
Consistent UI theme-ing in the new look! :)
New York City gets a Software Engineering High School joelonsoftware.com
314 points by apress  1 day ago   121 comments top 27
YuriNiyazov 1 day ago 5 replies      
I went to Stuyvesant HS 10 years ago, and I took all the CS classes that the school had offered from Mr. Zamansky ("Z", as we affectionately call him), and can add some more specific information as to why this was necessary.

Stuyvesant opened in the beginning of the 20th century, and there are some vestigial components that should've been amputated long ago: in addition to the standard math, science, language (English and foreign), gym requirements, it has some requirements that truly made it historically a technical vocational school. To wit:
1 year of technical drafting (1 semester of drawing mechanical designs on paper, 1 semester of CAD), and 1.5 years of technical shop (1 semester of single-period shop, and 1 semester of double-period shop). By technical shop I mean the following: you get to choose two of ceramics, woodworking, metalworking (aka jewelry-making), electronics (aka computer tech), photography and video editing.

It's worth repeating: taking drafting and shop is required to graduate. By and large, these classes are not popular with students at all, the most obvious reason being "why the hell do we need to know this outdated shit? If someone likes it, they can take it as an elective."

Over the years, Z developed an ass-kicking CS curriculum: Intro to CS, AP CS (1 year), Systems/Network Programming, Graphics, and Independent Research. They are extraordinarily popular with the students, partially because Z is a great teacher, and partially because of the support of the previous alumni who would regularly take junior and senior-level college classes in their freshman college year thanks to that curriculum.

It's worth pointing out that none of the CS classes qualify for any graduation requirement. If you take them, you are taking them on your own time because you are interested. Aside from the knowledge itself, there's no carrot, even though the rest of the world is pointedly indicating that we need more software engineers and less metalworkers.

Now, Z goes to the current school administration and says "hey, can we add CS as an option to fulfill some graduation requirements?" and for 10 years straight (not kidding) the response he was getting was a consistent "GFY". Welcome to the NYC public school bureaucracy and people defending their own turf. It's not even that he asked anything outrageous. He didn't say "Hey, can we get rid of drafting and shop?". He said "Can we give our students more choice as to what is required to graduate?"

So, about two years ago Z decided to try a different avenue - working within the structure of Stuyvesant was not feasible, so he might as well go outside of it. Someone I know connected him to Fred Wilson, they chatted, and the rest is what you see in front of you. None of this would've happened if the Stuy HS administration had a few less heads up their asses.

snikolov 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a lot of worry in this thread about the curriculum being too narrow. While I do not know how it will work in this new school, let me offer some perspective as a Stuyvesant alum.

Like many have said, it can be possible to have a "normal" school with all the usual subjects in addition to a prominent computer science program.

Take my experience, for example:

Freshman year I learned things like recursion, Scheme, dynamic programming, and cellular automata. Sophomore year, I learned basic data structures and algorithms and wrote a couple of games. Junior year I learned systems programming in C, signals, processes, network communication and wrote a filesharing system. The next semester I wrote a computer graphics engine from scratch --- all the way from line drawing to complex lighting and implementing an animation and scene graph language. I also took the independent research class where I worked on information retrieval research.

I am not bragging. This is typical (in fact, many of the projects, or variations thereof, are things that everybody in those classes does). And yet, I still took tons of math, physics, chemistry, european history, american history, classical literature, modern literature, tech shop, architecture, and many other things. This was also typical! Other kids took the same common stuff but instead of so much computer science and math they took special electives in philosophy, literature, history, economics, and so on.

You really can fit all that stuff in. Stuyvesant is a great example that you can have a serious, multi-year computer science program and still have more than enough focus on other subjects.

jrockway 1 day ago 7 replies      
I'm not sure it's a great idea to get so focused at such an early age. There's a lot to learn about the world when you're 14, and it might be good to explore a wide range of topics. (I personally took most of my "real" classes in high school, so by the time I got to college, I had an idea of what I wanted to do. After going to college for a year, I realized my needs would not be met in that way. But deciding at 20 is a lot different from deciding at 14.)
seer 1 day ago 4 replies      
I am actually astonished that this is the first time something like this is tried in the US. And I also don't understand the negative comments here in HN - most of you guys probably had a passion for computers at even earlier age and would have enjoyed this kind of school greatly. Here In the Sofia (the capital of Bulgaria) this is long established practice - we have loosely specialized schools and students decide where hey want to learn at about 13 years of age. You can of course switch schools as you like, but more prestigious ones have some requirements. The point is that I did know I wanted to work with computers and made this decision then to go to he programming school here and I consider this one of he best decisions in my life. Most of my classmates have ended up with quite accomplished careers in IT but a surprising number end up with very different professions - doctors, dentists, musicians - the emphasis on programming did not hinder their progress that much maybe even helped hem.
mathattack 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My 2 cents on the "too specialized" arguments...

1 - In high school, the people who take multiple CS subjects tend to be intellectually curious, and good at many other things. The same folks who took AP CS with me also took AP European history. I suspect it will be similar here.

2 - Similar to what folks say about Stuyvesant, I don't think there will be a crowding out effect of other subjects.

3 - If done right, the teachers can connect many other subjects to computer science: Philosophy, Mathematics, the Scientific Method... This can make those topics more interesting, not less.

4 - The rigor of learning to program is applicable in many other fields. Computer Science grads frequently go into other fields precisely because of this. This diminishes the "Let's fix the software engineering deficit" argument, but it's true that CS as a major signals ability above and beyond programming.

If I had grown up in NYC, I would have done anything to go to this school. I am glad that my children might have the opportunity to go to a place like this if they so desire.

postfuturist 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm so jealous of people who had the opportunity to take CS classes in high school (none at mine). I've seriously considered volunteering to teach intro CS classes at local high schools, just to pay it forward, I guess. I'd done some BASIC and C programming by the time I entered high school, and I would have taken any programming or CS classes in a heartbeat.
humanfromearth 1 day ago 2 replies      
At my high-school in Romania we silently eliminated religion (yeah, surprised?), philosophy, 1 lesson of geography, 1 lesson of french and maybe something else.. and at the end we got 2 cs theory lessons and 6 full lessons of coding in the lab per week. We all had a linux shell on the school's server and most used vim to code C with gcc and makefiles.

That had a lot to do with what kind of programmer I am today even if I was one of the worst students in the class.

systemizer 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love computers and I work with them everyday, but I believe the idea of a high school geared primarily towards software engineering is wrong.

Computer Science teaches you to think logically about problems. It gives you primitives to build complex systems that will later help you understand the world. In fact, most computer scientists think the same when they approach a problem.

But there are other kinds of thinking that are also important which high schools should introduce to students. Art. Music. Athletics. Each subject requires you to think in a different way.

I will always remember what Marvin Minsky told me when I was taking his class: when he approaches a problem, he first chooses how he will think, not how he will approach the problem itself. He also said that he studied how the great minds of the past approached problems so that he could think like them.

Do I want to think like a Richard Feynman or an Albert Einstein? Have you ever thought about that question and what it means? If not, I recommend you start reading books that they've written so you can try to capture that brilliance.

mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
from the article:

"Starting salaries for smart programmers from top schools are flirting with the $100,000 mark. "

By that logic, we better start churning out more doctors, lawyers and CEOs because, gosh, the salaries for those folks are flirting way way past the $100k mark. And we can't have that!

"One of the reasons the elite US colleges seem to turn out so few computer science majors every year is that they are only drawing from a narrow pool of mostly white and asian males."

Ooooh... we definitely can't have that! There's also a startingly low percentage of redheads and part-time harpists. Let's fix this, stat.

borski 16 hours ago 0 replies      
As a Stuyvesant alum and a supporter of Z (a.k.a. Mike Zamansky), I can't wait to see what Z does here.

While Stuy was immensely fulfilling and I learned a lot, it was not thanks to the general history and drafting classes. While those were (sometimes) interesting, it was the fact that I was no longer bored as I was in JHS and got to take subjects that allowed to me excel and "stretch my brain," for lack of a better term. Those were limited to my CS classes (Z's classes), the math classes, and psychology.

The CS courses I took at Stuy were on par with, and occasionally better than, some of the courses I took at MIT. At the very least, it prepared me to do very well at MIT and allowed me to take more advanced courses.

If it hadn't been for Z, I know for a fact I would have been significantly more bored in HS and probably wouldn't have done as well. Being a part of the 'Z-Team,' as we affectionally called the network team at Stuy (yes, we were lucky enough to have a network team; sadly, due to the roadblocks placed in front of Z, I'm not even sure this exists anymore) was easily the best experience of my academic career up until that point, and one I still fondly look back upon.

I truly can't wait to see what Z does with a bit of freedom to build what he's been trying to build for over 10 years.

vigilanteweb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is great. The kids who are going to be applying and accepted to this school already have the desire to pursue CS and I would imagine are already investigatingthe topic on their own time. To be able to be exposed to formalized education in a field that you're already excited about is an amazing opportunity.
blueprint 1 day ago 2 replies      
Mike Zamansky was my AP CS teacher in high school. Way to go Mr. Zamansky!

Edit: If anyone has any questions about him or his teaching style I might be able to answer.

dr_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is interesting, but I'm not certain there need be an institution with just a heavy interest on software engineering. The article suggests that there are those who may not be proficient at other academic pursuits, but may have a keen interest in software engineering.
To be honest, most of those kids are the types who will start coding/hacking on their own, not sure if a special school is needed for this.
Plus there are added benefits to learning english, the arts, maybe a foreign language - I feel all of these have an impact on the type of person you become, perhaps even the type of software engineer you become. Just like it is with medical school - in many countries you go to medical school straight from high school, but here you complete 4 years of college first. In those four years you learn certain things which med school won't cover and which you may never be able to learn at any point again - but they could have a significant impact on the type of doctor you become, esp in how you interact with your patients.
I feel the same applies to any career choice, including software engineering.
molmalo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't know if that's novel in the US, but this is pretty common here in Argentina.
Secondary school here takes 5 years. Where I did it (1997-2001), before starting the 3rd year (14 years old), we had to choose the speciality (software engeneering, chemistry, civil engeneering, media and communications, musical production, business administration, electronic engeneering, graphic design).

I choose software (while most of my friends of that time choose electrinics engeneering).
The next three years we had lots of subjects related to CS.
This is what I learned there:
- Computer architecture,
- Networking (osi model, ip stack, that sort of things), algorithms,
- Structural programming (1st year), then oop (2nd year) (with C and C++), then Events Driven Programming with VB6 (3rd year)
- systems analysis and design, database design (er model)
- internet programming (back then, that was ASP, CSS and Javascript)

And all along the final year, we had a subject called Final Project, where we had to develop (from the requeriments to the implementantion) a REAL system (mostly done for family companies or NGO's ).

When I finished high school I was really prepared to start working, so I did, while at the same time, started going to the university. I can tell that it was REALLY easy to do my grad career because of my background. Even when at University some topics where seen in much deeper detail, i did it much faster than other people, because I already had my mind used to that things, and I just needed to learn the details.

But then again, even when I keept studing CS, some of my high school classmates chose other things to study (e.g: medicine, law school, economics, etc). But I think anyway that I must have to be a good experience for them, at least to learn that CS was not for them, and dont lose their time later.

Hope it helps!

toblender 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic! This is the same thing I want to start in China someday.
feralchimp 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of my dreams upon someday achieving FU money is to found a school like this in my home town (Rochester, NY). They need it.
JonWood 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm not convinced by the idea of heavily specialised high schools. At that age you should be discovering what you're passionate about, and sampling a wide range of subjects.

The focus here seems to be more on training kids up for a job - would anyone be so enthusiastic if we replaced "software engineering" with "assembly line work" or "street sweeping"?

johnrob 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am certain that if this thing actually happens, it will spin out companies on par with any accelerator.
jilebedev 1 day ago 2 replies      
As a person who finds immeasurable delight in programming, I am immediately wary of this idea. My impression is that this HS's curriculum would be narrower than usual, to accommodate a deep focus on SEG.

If that is the case, I feel this is a disservice to young humans: we ought to be exposing them to as broad a range of human thought as possible, and not narrowly focusing on a passion. The idea (as I understand it) seems to be a recipe for producing narrow humans.

zwilliamson 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It is too bad our country doesn't care about education. All I hear about on the morning news in California is Jerry Brown making cuts to public spending on education. My wife and I put a lot of time into tutoring our daughter (1st grade) and it would be nice to know that by the time she reached the secondary education level that an option like a Software Engineering focus was available to her. I will try to stay positive and vote for government officials who support creative and proactive educational systems like this.
tomjen3 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm, won't that be a problem for the students given that the ratio of males to females is going to be far from 1:1?
smithhallam 1 day ago 1 reply      
Almost makes me wish I was born in america. I can't think of anything like this over here in England.
bri3d 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, and I would have loved to go to a school like this.

However, I wonder if the school will become a place for people who are passionate about software to expand their coding talent at an early age, or if it'll become a place for kids whose parents want them to make money later in life to slog their way through a curriculum. It seems like there's a mixture of both types even in college CS programs, and one kind is a lot more pleasurable to learn with (as well as a lot more useful) than the other.

grifaton 1 day ago 2 replies      
Could anything like this ever happen in the UK?
jamesmanning 1 day ago 0 replies      
Will they record/share the videos/lectures/notes?

It seems like it could also be a boon to many others if they can take the efforts of this school and share them out, similar to OCW at MIT, or Stanford, or even Khan Academy.

I think it would be particularly interesting because the other material out there tends to target either too high (the university material is at a university level, of course) or it doesn't have the same kind of feedback as what the students will be able to give here.

While Joel doesn't want it to just be superstars, it seems fairly likely that a good number of the kids would be the kind that already wrote their first OS and compiler before they attend, so I'm wondering if there will be a similar 'level divide' as what's seen in industry, and if so, what that ends up doing to the ones below that Mendoza line...

mikecaron 1 day ago 0 replies      
If my girls show any interest in CS, I'm moving the family to NYC. Done.
ambertch 1 day ago 0 replies      
About time!

I would actually accept a much lower wage than in industry (as long as I could live off it - which I doubt would be very low in NYC haha) to teach at such a school

Abolish the Department of Homeland Security schneier.com
305 points by nextparadigms  22 hours ago   50 comments top 13
DanielBMarkham 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I was reading along, nodding my head, then I got to this:

Hard to argue with most of that, although abolishing the TSA isn't a good idea. Airport security should be rolled back to pre-9/11 levels, but someone is going to have to be in charge of it. Putting the airlines in charge of it doesn't make sense; their incentives are going to be passenger service rather than security.

What? How many passengers can you service if the airport is unsafe? Is the author unaware of the hundreds of different types of businesses that operate in hostile environments yet manage to keep their customers safe as part of their service? Has he never walked into a fast-food restaurant on a weekend night and seen the security guards? Hell, that's McDonalds, for chirstsakes, they sell you 2-dollar burgers. Don't you think the airlines would do a bit better?

The TSA is the one department we should abolish. They have too broad of a mandate -- they think they are responsible for controlling, er, protecting _all_ transportation, not just airline travel. They have too many powers -- the ability to virtually strip-search passengers, prevent innocent people from traveling, and interfere with international commerce. And, worst of all, they've combined the military-industrial complex with a paramilitary quasi-police force. This is like an endless cold war where the people themselves are the enemy.

The TSA is a terrible mess. That's the one thing we have to get rid of. The facts are that we went 70 years without the TSA just fine. The threat has not increased so much to warrant this kind of intervention. So we have tens of thousands of "officers" harassing normal business travelers daily as part of this ongoing shoddy security theater. It's a witch hunt without any witches, but with lots of government dollars, security contractors, and union jobs. They'll just keep tightening the screws until they do find something alarming. Then they'll congratulate themselves and ask for more money (and authority.) You don't need to be a genius to see where all of this is heading.

The TSA is a monster and a menace to freedom. I doubt we'll ever get rid of it, but that's no reason to give up. Speaking out against it at every opportunity, to me, is a civic duty. I freely admit to being over-the-top in my language here, but you have to remember that the entire idea of the type of security state we now live in was the wildest fantasy just thirty years ago. I'm just trying to write something that will still be relevant in another 20 years or so. Using that standard, I'm not sure I've been over the top enough.

carbocation 22 hours ago 3 replies      
DHS is too inconsistent to be credible. The only flight I've ever missed (I was running late to a wedding), I missed because I had a tube of toothpaste in my carry-on. It was found to be small enough to be acceptable, but not until it had gone through a second round of X-ray.

On another occasion, I was equally late to a connection flight (this time, not my fault), and I got through security despite having a bottle of water, a toiletry kit (including 5" blades), etc.

Why? Well, I don't know and I don't really care. The fact of the matter is that they will give me an aluminum can on the flight anyway, so who cares how long of a blade I bring onboard in the first place? It's security theater no matter how you slice it.

DanBC 18 hours ago 0 replies      
> TSA was created two months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, when Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) [.pdf] to keep the millions of Americans who travel each day safe and secure across numerous modes of transportation.

The rise in death rates after 9/11 from people switching from safe air transport to dangerous road transport is well known by now.

So it's surprising to see TSA still saying they're spending money to keep transport safe. That is blatantly not true. One man tries to set fire to plastic explosive stored in his shoe - now everyone has to take off their shoes. Meanwhile, thousands die in road traffic every year.

I've travelled on California[1] roads. God almighty; for a nation obsessed with doing everything by car some parts of the US have an appalling road system. (I never knew why Americans were happy to drive cars with awful gas milage. Cheap gas doesn't quite answer that question. Cheap gas and bloody terrible road surfaces which need a big comfy car does.)

You can kind of forgive Joe Sixpack for being bad at risk assessment and management. But a government department, spending millions and billions of public money? It's a disgusting waste.

Flow 19 hours ago 6 replies      
I'm not a native english speaker, the word "homeland" just seems like a weird choice to me. It feels too patriotic and even a bit fascistic. I can't recall any public discussion about the name when they were created, but then I'm not from the US so I might have missed those.

Also, I'm associating the word with "fatherland", from the post-WW2-nazis-won-movie with Rutger Hauer :-/

sehugg 13 hours ago 0 replies      
DHS is the poster child for mission creep. The White House suggested last year that they could help track down "circumvention devices" such as game console mod chips. From the Office of White House's "Copyright Czar":

“[It] is illegal to import or traffic in devices that can be used to circumvent technological measures that control access to copyrighted works,” they wrote. “When DHS discovers the importation of a potential circumvention device, current law does not authorize DHS to share a sample with a rightholder to aid CBP in determining whether it is, in fact, a circumvention device. Allowing DHS to provide a sample would aid enforcement efforts.”

ck2 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Before the decade is out they will just rename it to do an end-run around public relations. Nothing will change and it's never going away because there's major money being made from it's fake foolishness already.

You really think they are going to give up the "visual response teams" for searching people at bus and train stations (and even in traffic)? That's the gold topping of security theater.

ZERO terrorists caught for all that money and other than the box cutters the original 9/11 would have still made it on the planes for all the rights violated and money spent.

The should have just secured all airplane cockpit doors and called it a day but first rule of government, why spend just a million when you can potentially spend a billion and get lots of wartime powers.

shingen 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm always fascinated when writers use the phrase "defeat terrorism." It would be equally stupid to say: defeat murder. It's the kind of jingoistic bull that led to the Patriot Act and Homeland Security.

If someone told you the price for living in the most free society possible, is that 5,000 of your fellow citizens would die annually by terrorism, would that not be worth it? I would willingly risk my life, given the threat ratio, for that exchange. Particularly given the counter-terrorism efforts are already killing that many now.

If someone wants to blow their self up, or randomly stab you in the throat with a knife, the odds favor they're going to do it. You can try to prevent it, you can deal with the outcome, sometimes you'll succeed, sometimes you'll fail - what ultimately matters is that you don't fail big (nukes). That's it. You battle and deal with terrorism, you don't defeat it. You can't argue with irrationality or insanity, and someone somewhere is always going to be willing to commit terrorism.

adamrights 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you seen this: NY Times has an article. Good friend did the research and filed the FOIA: http://epic.org/2012/01/epic---foia-documents-reveal-h.html <---EPIC - FOIA Documents Reveal Homeland Security is Monitoring Political Dissent
Revisor 18 hours ago 1 reply      
So the argument is that DHS is ineffective and wasteful? I thought the article would talk about how DHS is dangerous because it systematically dismantles your freedom in exchange for omnipresent surveillance and faux security.

Then again, I'm only watching it from the outside.

adamrights 19 hours ago 0 replies      
They also hired contractors to monitor social networks: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3463850
littleidea 21 hours ago 1 reply      
the link isn't just down, the domain is not resolving for me now
click170 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Link seems down, anyone have a mirror?
Google+ Hacker News Circle makes Search plus Your World Amazing thesash.me
301 points by thesash  3 days ago   105 comments top 35
jasonkester 3 days ago  replies      
So what do you actually need to do to accomplish this? I followed the link to the Google+ page and it's just a giant wall of confusion.

I see a circle with a link in the middle saying "Add Circle". Is that what I want to do? I would have expected to see something along the lines of "Add me to this Circle" so that I'd be part of it.

Anyway, I clicked the "Add Circle" link, and got a string of progressively less parseable pages full of people's pictures that I can presumably drag and drop places. I just makes no sense whatsoever.

So first point: Google+ seems to have a terrible interface.

Second point: Assuming that somebody here (the author at least) must have interacted with that page in a way that created some form of value to his life. What are the steps to do so?

lhnz 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is a smart move. There are many interesting directions and questions.

(1) Can we choose to give a particular search weight to different Google+ groups that are against our profile? I'd like to see what Hacker News thinks the search results should be and I'd like to see what my friends think the search results should be.

(2) Following from the previous point, I believe Google could effectively turn this into a sort of auto-generated "sub-reddit" system that does not require link submission, instead being powered by "+1". Or how about the top +1's from the group this day, week, year? The only things missing would be (a) comments by group users, and (b) some generic Google way of searching for public groups or tying these to internet communities.


(4) What happens when spammers start adding themselves to the hngp.axxim.net Hacker News circle and then when we add this circle to our Google+ we start getting sponsored search results? Can we stop this? An active profile with a high average karma seems to me like an acceptable solution for a higher quality group but I guess we can't get that information easily... I wonder if the guy who created the Hacker News circle will allow us to update our profile in the circle to include our Hacker News username?

antimatter15 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm the maintainer of the Google+ Hacker News Circle (Well, the script/cron job that makes a circle from hngp.axxim.net). I increased the frequency to every five minutes to keep up with the new growth.

It's great that you're finding a use for it, but it's still irritating that the implementation of shared circles doesn't work well since you can only share a snapshot that users have to manually re-add in order to update.

unreal37 3 days ago 4 replies      
How do you add yourself to the Hacker News Circle? I added the circle to my stream. Anything more I need to do?
richbradshaw 3 days ago 2 replies      
I added myself to this circle when it was first announced. Today I've gained over 1000 followers! Wondered why and found this post. Interesting to see that 89 votes and 34 comments leads to around 1000 people taking action. Makes you realise how big this community is!
mkr-hn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Being able to weigh results by G+ posts has made discovering new and interesting things inevitable, not just easy. Sometimes I find new and interesting things that aren't even related to what I was searching for. It's like StumbleUpon in the early days.

For example, I needed a Top Posts plugin for WordPress. I drowned in a sea of plugins, spam, and blog posts with the default search. Social weighting put the perfect plugin right on top. And it's been the same for every query I've tried so far.

brown9-2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only person that thinks that the results shown in the Google search for "jQuery" are horrible search results?

The results are:

1) a Google Plus post on "CodeAcademy teaches jQuery"

2) a Google Plus post on "15 Resources to Get You Started With jQuery from Scratch"

3) a Google Plus post on "Is there already a jQuery Plugin that provides a Google+ Circles...?"

If you were to search for just the word "jQuery", what are the chances that any of these are what you were looking for?

This really doesn't seem like an instance of knocking it out of the park.

mladenkovacevic 3 days ago 2 replies      
Thanks! This is bound to liven up my stream. I will refrain from adding myself to the HN circle though as I'm currently only a wanna-be hacker. But I do have have a fear of other wannabe hackers adding themselves to the circle and maybe polluting my stream with content that isn't as high quality as I'm used to on HN. (no upvote/downvote mechanism)
joshuahedlund 3 days ago 0 replies      
In general people seem to be finding a lot of value with these new "random" connections of people who share their interests in tech things or just "interesting" things. It strikes me that all of these people existed before, but none of us knew we "wanted" to be connected to them, we just happened to be at the right place and the right time. I can't wait for the first social network to help us connect to interesting people we don't know without us having to take arbitrary external steps. Google circles, Twitter suggestions for who to follow... these are baby steps to a future with great potential.
wmeredith 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, and now I have a compelling reason to try Google+. Well played, Google, you creepy SOB.
vosper 3 days ago 0 replies      
It says a lot about the UI and concepts of Google+ that the tech-savvy HN crowd have spawned such a long thread trying to understand how to use it.
agscala 3 days ago 1 reply      
Beware if you add yourself to this list, your phone will go crazy with google+ notifications while it processes all the people following you
clone1018 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey guys, I'm the owner of hngp.axxim.net, I kinda forgot about this project, but tomorrow I'll be adding in google authentication (to manage your visibility and stop spammers) and fix the site load speed (did someone say ajax?!) and some other neat, but needed features.
asto 2 days ago 0 replies      
The barrier to entry to get oneself added to this list doesn't seem to be much. I added part 1 of 2 of the circle and already my stream is being flooded with stuff like this -> http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/442/gplushn.png/

Information overload in a language I don't even understand!

Frostbeard 3 days ago 0 replies      
So, apparently there is a limit to the number of add-to-circle actions you can perform in a day. I added the circle and then removed it, and when I went to re-add I got an error: "You've reached the daily limit for adding to your circles. You can add more tomorrow."
sunchild 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't find this feature. I guess it's because I'm logged into a G+ account via Google Apps for Enterprise?

I find Google's rollouts for Google Apps customers a huge source of confusion. You'd think they'd get that under control by now.

Anyway, looks like a killer feature that will slowly become indispensable.

pessimist 3 days ago 1 reply      
So what happens when spammers start adding themselves to the Hacker News circle?
drinkzima 3 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't the whole point that if these Hacker News G+ results are good they should be shown to everyone and if they aren't then they should not.

This isn't a 'social' problem it's a ranking problem, right?

niels_olson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hmmm... I don't know. My Flickr account is associated with my Google account, and I have pictures of eczema on my flickr account that someone requested permission to publish, yesterday, but when I search personal results, those pictures are nowhere to be found.
caw 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can I get an additional explanation of what to do?

> "I added myself and followed the circle"

I followed the group and added myself through hngp.axxim.net/insert, but do I have to add the ~650 people to my circle, or is just following the page enough?

Osiris 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been trying to add the shared circle but it keeps telling me that people could not be loaded and fails. Has anyone else had that issue and been able to resolve it?
jcurbo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yesterday the HN circle was in the 600's, today it's in the 800's, I guess it's catching on because of this story.
andrewem 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at the linked Hacker News Circle on Google+, the first person listed in the circle is "Paul Graham", who's pretty clearly not pg. The linked Paul Graham says "wow. so many people have me in their circles", and another user suggests it's because of pg [0]. I'm curious what percentage of the people are linked to the right profile.

[0] https://plus.google.com/114939270563299965266/posts/7UHfjBcD...

instakill 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I knew how you felt, but sadly it seems there are quite a few people that don't have search personalization as an option available to them [yet?].
mkr-hn 3 days ago 0 replies      
And don't forget that if you want to keep the circle to sort later, but don't want it in your main stream, you can dial down the weight of posts from it (or remove them completely) on the circle's stream.
johnkchow 3 days ago 0 replies      
I now see the true potential with personalized search. Just gives me the goosebumps (in a good excited way). Thanks for sharing!
bluena 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great, but it's polluting my gtalk contacts
villagefool 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would rather hold on to what's left of my privacy and simply search Hacker News directly.
twodayslate 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great if you could subscribe to a circle and have it auto-update (keep adding/removing people).
aestetix_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
The feature I'm really waiting for is pseudonym support. Vic Gondotra promised it several months ago at Web 2.0. I don't feel comfortable using Google+ at all right now, given that my account, among others, was suspended.
electic 3 days ago 0 replies      
All I can say is: WOW!
joelmaat 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this!
Johnyma22 3 days ago 0 replies      
lubujackson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not seeing what's so amazing about this, sorry... Google is basically hijacking the conversation off of HN and then making that searchable by its members, so what's exciting about that?
badclient 3 days ago 3 replies      
Google's Social Strategy: (1) Destroy Google Search (2) ????? (3) Profit!!!
Schlep Blindness paulgraham.com
295 points by anateus  6 hours ago   120 comments top 32
mixmax 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I think there's a flaw in the premise, namely that one persons schlepp is another mans passion.

From the Stripe example: "You'd have to make deals with banks." - I know quite a few people who would love nothing more than the challenge of getting big banks to sign on to a new payment service. Their passion is selling. The harder the sell the bigger the challenge. Just like good hackers want to work on hard technical problems great salespeople like to work on hard sales problems.

The real takeaway here is that you should find your personal schlepps and start a company with someone who is passionate about them. If a great hacker, a great salesman and a great fraud investigator started a company they would be able to start a company like stripe. And they'd all be doing stuff they were passionate about.

corin_ 5 hours ago 2 replies      
An interesting piece, but I think a flawed one too.

I am in complete agreement with the section about "you can't start a startup by just writing code", and I think that concept could have expanded to become an entire and valid article.

But then it morphed from that into the idea that people (often subconciously) avoid "schleps" and pick easier tasks instead, which I think is both obvious and normal. I also think it is often a lot less subconcious than pg thinks.

To expand on the example of olympic athletes: I don't know about that specific example, but to expand to "professional athletes", an awful lot of people do think about being a football star, a top baseball player, whatever. But ultimately, even children with dreams have a basic understanding of risk vs. reward.

Saying that starting stripe involves a lot of schleps is one way of putting it, another way is to say that you're less likely to succeed.

Probably no one who applied to Y Combinator to work on a recipe site began by asking "should we fix payments, or build a recipe site?" and chose the recipe site. Though the idea of fixing payments was right there in plain sight, they never saw it, because their unconscious mind shrank from the complications involved.

Other than gut instinct is there any reason to believe this is the case? Those people also chose to start a recipe site over becoming journalists, or chefs, or working in fashion - nobody has ever, before starting either a career or a startup, gone through every possibility and ticked them all off, so why is it that in this case we should assign subconcious fear of hard work s the reason?

Personally I find it can often be the reason conciously, to the extent that I don't believe it has any need to be in my subconcious. Much like when I'm in a casino and think "let's bet fairly small" rather than "risk my entire savings to have a chance at getting crazily rich", when it comes to work I conciously think about how hard something will be, and what rewards it could bring.

Personally I work in content/publishing, and no it never occured to me to work on Stripe, but thinking about it now, if I could go back in time, I wouldn't try to build Stripe first, nor would I at this point in time consider a job in that kind of company. Maybe part of that can be assigned to the schelps involved, but I'm conciously deciding that.

Regardless, an interesting piece as food for thought.

edit: As a completely unrelated question that doesn't really merit creating an entire topic to ask, does anyone with showdead enabled have any idea what comments like http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3465559 are all about? I see them now and again, and can't work out any logic behind them.

cperciva 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Note: "tedious, unpleasant task" != "impossible task".

Back during the first internet bubble, I was playing around calculating Pi and drew the attention of some VCs: "distributed computing" was big. After asking if I was interested in starting a company (I wasn't -- I was going off to Oxford to do my doctorate) one of them asked for my opinion on the technical feasibility of a business plan.

My advice (which I provided for free, being a foolish 19 year old) was "it is provably impossible to solve these problems as stated without transmitting information faster than the speed of light". They funded the company anyway, and $10M later the company died having never produced anything.

Be the guy who says "this is going to be hard, but I'm sure it's possible". Don't be the guy who says "I'm sure I can find a way to circumvent the laws of physics".

chrisaycock 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Instead of asking "what problem should I solve?" ask "what problem do I wish someone else would solve for me?"

PG had another gem some time ago along the lines of:

The best startup is the one you needed at your last job.

zapnap 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Stripe is an awesome example of a company that addressed a tangible frustration / real need instead of a desire or a higher-level "want". I've noticed that companies that provide "Internet plumbing" often fall into this category:

* SendGrid (bulk email sending)

* Twilio (easy to use telephony / sms)

* Zencoder (video encoding)

* MailChimp (mailing list management)

What others can you think of? Would love to see a list here :).

kmfrk 6 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the things that made Seinfeld so successful was his insane tenacity; what he did in a year most of his fellow comedians did in five. It's not that he was necessarily the smartest nor the funniest guy in stand-up, but he was one of the people who worked the hardest. And it's not as if he didn't hone his craft while doing it.

Skills, talent, money, and ideas are a part of the puzzle, but you can also beat your competitors on work ethic.

kul 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I see a pretty big schlep involved in our business (http://www.tagstand.com YCS11). Fulfillment is an absolute pain in the ass.

The closest thing that comes close to solving it is Amazon's fulfillment services (http://www.amazonservices.com/content/fulfillment-by-amazon....), but it doesn't quite work and is US only.

A hard problem to solve indeed (and one we've discussed).

digisth 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Very good article. I think we should also consider the /reasons/ many consciously avoid "known/well understood" schleps. They have to do with the motivations for undertaking the work involved with a startup (or anything else, but startups for this argument) in the first place. Paths of least resistance are going to be taken if they satisfy the goals. Basically, the issue in the cases I'm speaking of is _satisficing_.

1) If you want to hang out with "cool startup people" and be involved in "cool startup culture" just about any startup will do. No need to do something difficult. That recipe aggregator will do just fine.

2) If you want to work on "interesting" problems, there are lots of those too. They might not serve many people (dev tools which do the same thing as many other existing dev tools and do not improve upon them) or change the world in really useful ways, they can still be /interesting/ to work on.

3) If you just want to make enough money so that you can stop stressing out every single day of your worry-filled life over having to work yourself to the bone for the rest of your life/becoming homeless/being able to afford food/shelter/health insurance, and you think just about any startup can give you that Startup Lottery Ticket, you don't need to work on the next Stripe. You just need a couple of million, then you could move into your one room studio/log cabin/pod and live the rest of your life sans the typical day-to-day worries about the basics and be just fine. The diminishing marginal utility of money seems like an excellent bulwark against trying to do those Schleppier things. If you're going to make at least as much from a RecipeAggregator472 as you would from a Stripe, the choice is easy.

As pg states, undertaking these sorts of endeavors requires ignorance for some, but I would also add some other possible useful motivators (ignorance may also become tougher "motivator" since so much useful data about failure is so readily available):

1) The need for big money for other goals. If you want to be a mega-philanthropist/cure cancer/finally solve immortality/whatever, you probably need BIG BUCKS. The number of people motivated to actually do this (or who even think it is possible) is probably not very large.

2) Fanaticism. You want to make this project happen because it's just your dream. The rewards are irrelevant. You will make it so that it's possible to create coffee from rain no matter what it takes, it's just that important to you. Probably not that many of these either.

3) Revenge. Everyone told you it could not, can not, and will not be done. Maybe they told you that you will never be the Coffee From Rain King. Whatever the reason, you live to prove them wrong and rub their faces in it. You want to get on the news and blithely tell the world about you invented this genius thing while making no mention of your detractors, but you secretly giggle with glee since you know you were Right, and they were Wrong. This one might actually be the easiest of the bunch, but still requires a delicate balance of just enough ridicule and scorn to motivate one, but not so much so that one
one thinks said thing is truly impossible.

4) Reinforcing the Peltzman effect. Certainly not a panacea either, but it could certainly help: http://www.angrybearblog.com/2012/01/peltzman-effect-why-eco...

brc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is funny because one of the first startup ideas I ever had was 'hey, I should make a webservices based site for collecting web payments, lots of people would use that'. This was back when PayPal was still principally something you used to share money between two people, and was limited principally to US accounts.

But I made the mistake of talking over the idea with someone who I looked up to at the time, who seemed older and wiser. They said 'there are already systems that do that, I would find something else'.

Now I'm not saying I had even the remotest chance of getting such a thing off the ground - but at the time, I was so ignorant that I thought I could - but the ignorance worked both ways in that I would blindly accept the word of someone else, who just highlighted the schlep involved and so I immediately gave up.

But that's just what the article says : when you're young ignorance can be a blessing, but you've got to be prepared to put in the hard work and not give up at even the tiniest hurdle. Getting that rare mix in a young person is the elusive part. But I'm convinced you can get young people to put in the hard work - you've just got to give them the encouragement to go ahead and fail big if need be.

yurylifshits 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Just a few other huge schleppy targets:

    Better elementary/middle/high school
Better voting (digital democracy)
Better government procurement system
Better prisons or prison alternatives

startupfounder 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"And schleps should be dealt with the same way you'd deal with a cold swimming pool: just jump in." (love the metaphor pg)

I did this once outside of my startup on a motorcycle trip to Panama, crossing the boarder into Mexico was a huge block for me and my riding buddy. We stayed in the US and drank beer for 2 days straight not realizing what we were doing. Then one night we had a moment of clarity, jumped on our bikes and headed for the boarder.

We just jumped right in!

In that moment of clarity I removed the fear and felt total freedom and the world became my oyster if only for a moment or two.

I think schleps are the reasons why many startups either fail or succeed, the ones that win hit the wall and learn to break through them.

tlogan 5 hours ago 2 replies      
This is pretty much chicken and egg problem.
There is a huge schlep blindess in world of VCs, advisors, incubators, etc. So many entrepreneurs are actively discouraged to do things they want and to solve the real hard problems (the most common theme is: because there is a big company XYZ doing something kinda similar like that).
psychotik 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Would the various AWS services count as the biggest, by far? Not a startup, but fits the definition.
stevenj 5 hours ago 0 replies      
pg, would you be willing to share some of the great startup ideas you think people are overlooking? (In addition to the ones on the Request for Startups list.)
6ren 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Very hopeful. pg wrote similarly in "How to make wealth" (choose hard problems; choose hard options) http://awurl.com/HLZs3Bxu7

my version: life is suffering, so you might as well suffer meaningfully. Making something tedious into something simple can itself be extraordinarily tedious. But what a great thing to have done!

A problem is an opportunity.

car 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Just a side note: like many Yiddish words, 'schlep' originates from the german verb 'schleppen', which translates to 'haul','tow','drag','carry' or 'tug'.
revorad 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I find online shopping for a lot of things to be really tedious (when you don't exactly know what to buy). That's why I'm working on a shopping search engine to make finding the right products much faster and easier. But PG dismissed my idea as a shopping guide that no one needs.

Almost every new shopping/ecommerce startup is some clone of Pinterest or a Q&A site. Those are very attractive ideas, but I believe I'm working on the real schlep, which involves combing product feeds, crawling for furniture photos, etc. and making life for the average Joe easier.

What do you think?

sown 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't mind doing tedious things. I discovered in college that I was an excellent bureaucrat when I became student treasurer.

I just wish I could come up with ideas, though. A lot of them are hard for me to relate to. I don't go out and do normal consumer-type things ( not that there's anything wrong if you do) or have any real friends, so social things are out.

I just can't relate.

nickpp 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Never tried Stripe, but what was wrong with Avangate or ShareIt before that?

Did not seem to me that accepting payments on your website was so painful...

AznHisoka 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Generally speaking, the more shlep you're willing to deal with, the less perfect your marketing can be. Find a cure for cancer, and you won't have to market it. Work on a recipe site OTOH and your marketing better be tight.

And you definitely have less competition. More shlep acts as barriers to entry. So does unique insight/expertise in a field outside of technology. Anyone can build the next Del.icio.us, or Pinterest, but not anyone can build the next software system that can help currency traders make money, or software to monitor diabetes patients. But most people just go after the low hanging fruit.

ph0rque 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The most dangerous thing about our dislike of schleps is that much of it is unconscious. Your unconscious won't even let you see ideas that involve painful schleps.

"Unconscious" should probably be "subconscious" in these two sentences...

rriepe 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Why is it too late to be Stripe?
ajju 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the money quote:

"A company is defined by the schleps it will undertake. And schleps should be dealt with the same way you'd deal with a cold swimming pool: just jump in."

It also helps to think of things like "making deals with banks", which can initially seem scary, in terms of the basic human actions they really stand for: "talking to a lot of people who work for banks". To me at least, that is both less boring and less scary.

zerostar07 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The case of Stripe is a rather bad example: most of the work is schleps, leaving very little for the enjoyment of creating something new, something unique, something that has the potential to not become an "also ran".
ez77 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"One of the many things we do at Y Combinator is teach hackers about the inevitability of schleps."

Or, as somebody wisely put it, "All good planning eventually degenerates into work."

teyc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem here is domain knowledge. Everybody understands what a To Do List is.
kkt262 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Guess the folks at WePay didn't read this.

Still struggling to see the difference between WePay and Stripe personally.

AdamFernandez 5 hours ago 1 reply      
A question to ask may be, is there a more efficient way to discover what these problems are? I know Y combinator and co. have somewhat of a pre-defined list of problems they would like to see solved that are not being addressed. For a lot startups it seems to be random. Their idea occurred to them when 'they', or someone they knew were having this problem.

I think there are many industries that many talented engineers know nothing about, and therefore don't know where the problems lie. How can we facilitate this awareness to the people who want to create startups without it being happenstance?

revorad 5 hours ago 0 replies      
He comes so close to spelling out some ideas he wants people to do, but for some reason files them under "What you can't say".
FredBrach 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Great essay with good lessons. I will work on those for sure.

By the way, can someone explain to me what's the difference between paypal and stripe? In what paypal don't fix web payment?

pnathan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the key reasons why I think the US university system is useful is it demonstrates who can do the schlepp.

And boy howdy, is enterprisey full of schlepping. Talking with my dad, who has run his own small construction business for the last 20? years, this is just the nature with work in general.

+1, pg. +1.

diego 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This essay is very disingenuous. Businesses are hard work, Paul Graham wants to invest in the next Facebook, he needs younger founders who are ridiculously ambitious and won't take an early exit.


Edit: pg, don't downvote me :)

The Pirate Bay Will Stop Serving Torrents torrentfreak.com
292 points by llambda  2 days ago   85 comments top 22
chimeracoder 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Perhaps even better, without the torrent files everyone can soon host a full copy of The Pirate Bay on a USB thumb drive, which may come in handy in the future.

I've been saying this for years: governments playing an arms race with hackers is like playing Whack-a-mole or cutting of heads of hydras. Every time you block one means of communication (starting in this case with Napster), a new, more decentralized, harder-to-combat protocol is going to emerge. Even if you're the MPAA and don't like copyright violations, you have to face that fact. That doesn't mean you (necessarily) have to throw in the towel and abandon the idea of copyright infringement altogether, but it does mean you need to start being creative instead of engaging in a direct legal-technological battle - an arms race.

I wonder how long it will take before the big players realize this and try to figure out a way to use this new playing field (the Internet) to their advantage, instead of trying to squelch any technological development so that they can cling to old models of payment and distribution. It was nice while it happened, but let's face it - we're past the point of no return. Even if they everyone hosted their own copies of TPB on their thumb drives and then they found some way to shut that down, I'm certain there'd be some hacker smart enough (like gojomo above) to come up with something that just makes things even less centralized, more difficult to track, and more difficult to shut down.

gojomo 2 days ago 5 replies      
Hey! I invented the magnet link, almost 10 years ago.

Great to see it still evolving and spreading, based simply on its loosey-goosey merits.

Corrado 2 days ago 1 reply      
This site (http://www.ghacks.net/2010/06/05/what-is-a-magnet-link-and-h...) explains what Magnet links are and how trackers have traditionally worked in the past.
atlbeer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone fill me in on the first step a client (BT) would take to find its first peers? That part is a bit magic to me right now. What would be the first IP it would query and how would it know?
stfu 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is still fascinating how resilient not only Piratebay but also others such as Demonoid have become. A few years ago it looked like they were close to getting shut down. It is impressive how they are now able to withstand all the "forces" and Governments had to shift their focus towards the ISPs.
icebraining 2 days ago 3 replies      
So, what if you don't run the client on the same machine you're browsing TPB with, like people who have torrent enabled routers or VPS/seedboxes? I suppose you can copy-paste the link to your client, but clients which had automatic pick-up of .torrent files (like rtorrent) were nice because you could just drop them on a remote directory and have them be downloaded.

I wonder if I could write a small application just to download the torrent file from the magnet link/DHT to copy it to the remote server afterwards.

ars 2 days ago 1 reply      
One drawback to magnet links is that you can not in advance see what files are there.

So if you only want to download some of them, you first have to wait for the magnet to download the torrent, then go back to it and pick the files you want.

A magnet link also makes it hard to check if the link you are looking at is a duplicate of what you have already.

With a torrent you can check the file size and compare to others.

iamandrus 2 days ago 0 replies      
They announced that they were planning on doing this right when magnet links came out. I haven't used .torrent files since I discovered magnet links and I actually find they more convenient than downloading a torrent file.
jmtame 1 day ago 0 replies      
From what I understand, DHT has a big trade-off vs BitTorrent: DHTs are crawlable[1] and copyright holders can more easily track who holds copies of what yet it's easier to duplicate search engines like TPB within hours for the same reason.

So the effect seems to be that the RIAA, MPAA, etc. will likely not be able to take down trackers; they'll have to revert back to suing their "customers" (or lobbying to pass absurd legislation for that matter).

[1] http://z.cs.utexas.edu/users/osa/unvanish/papers/vanish-brok...

Zirro 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using mostly magnet links for the past year and haven't experienced any issues. If people understand that they work just like a normal link/torrent file, this won't make the process any more complicated. Hopefully this is another win in the long run, as links are harder to stop than files.
pornel 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope that before .torrent files are gone, they (or some scraper) will publish them all as a torrent.

Somebody did that last time PB was in trouble, e.g. one of the pieces: magnet:?xt=urn:btih:4232363a47fe29acdf2c77874365a5e3368854b4&

That's a pretty interesting dataset to mine.

tomkin 2 days ago 1 reply      
For a brief moment, the title sounded like TPB was going to blackout for "stop SOPA day". Wouldn't that be funny.
GBiT 2 days ago 1 reply      
Talking about magnet links I remembered KAD with ed2k and eMule. Its almost same. Bittorrent with magnet links just have different chunk size possibility to make faster download with smaller piece size.
Fester 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that TBP just taken another step to push judge and jury's confusion during next trials even further.
"Y'know, we're trying to shut down pirates' secret base that... doesn't serve a single file!"
ward 1 day ago 0 replies      
> This is topical, since this week courts in both Finland and the Netherlands ordered local Internet providers to block the torrent site.

Is there a list of countries where this has been ordered by courts? I know it's already the case in my country (Belgium) as well[1].

[1]: http://torrentfreak.com/belgium-starts-blocking-the-pirate-b...

sjmulder 2 days ago 1 reply      
What I'm wondering is whether it's not yet possible to have a distributed, decentralised torrent database.

You could already put up a copy of the database as a torrent and distribute the magnet link, but you'd need some method for efficiently keeping it up to date.

nextparadigms 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since they are doing this big change, is there a way to make it more secure on the user side, too? Like encrypt the traffic and make it impossible for RIAA to track IP's?

Also since they say that it's like every user would have the TPB site on their computer, does it mean blocking the site would be completely useless? And since they are just links, and links are pretty much speech, I figure it would be impossible to turn it into law as well, to specifically target magnet based sites like TPB.

afhof 2 days ago 1 reply      
Don't the torrent files contain all the hashes for each piece? Doesn't that mean if a single piece is bad, the entire torrent can't be verified? Torrent files contain a lot of useful data that isn't found in a magnet URI. Is this just being ignored?
joejohnson 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does this change the process for uploading a new torrent to TPB?
sp0rus 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is definitely a step in the right direction. Not saying this is a good step to increase piracy, but there really is no need for trackers when we have magnets, and this will lead to a healthier bittorent community.
instakill 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can anyone say what the gist of this article is? Blocked from torrent sites at work.
jdefarge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pirate Bay is the BEST torrent site ever created. It's a pity they are switching to Magnet. :( It would be so cool if they provided both (Magnet and Torrent)...
Snapshot: Viaweb, June 1998 paulgraham.com
285 points by anateus  1 day ago   62 comments top 22
chops 1 day ago 7 replies      
Trevor graduated at about the same time the acquisition closed, so in the course of 4 days he went from impecunious grad student to millionaire PhD.

In 1998, I had made an effort to do the whole "once a day, learn a random new word from the dictionary". I did that for exactly one day. The one word I learned was "impecunious." Up until now, I've never, ever, seen or heard that word used.

So in 1998, independent, near simultaneous events (Viaweb being acquired, and me learning a single word) were set in motion that would culminate 14 years later in me reading for the first time an actual legitimate use of that word, resulting in a very self-satisfied grin. Consider my day made.

It means "poor" btw.

OpenAmazing 1 day ago 2 replies      
"We put cgi-bin in our dynamic urls to fool competitors about how our software worked."

Love it.

conesus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Favorite quote is from the pricing page, http://ycombinator.com/viaweb/pric.html:

    "The public should always be wondering how 
it is possible to give so much for the money."
" Henry Ford

I also find it fascinating how so many YC companies have a very similar footprint of pricing, features, and basic pages right there on the homepage. It sounds obvious that, yeah, you should be telling your potential customers what your prices are, but this is not always shown so readily.

metra 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm interested in rtm's pseudonym: John McArtyem, specifically the 'Artyem' part. This is actually a Russian name (I know because it's also my name). I wonder why rtm chose it. Maybe because attempting to pronounce 'rtm' can lead to 'Artyem'? Sounds like the rest of the pseudonym could have been influenced by John McCarthy.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artyom

joshuahedlund 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't use software that generates your pages dynamically... Currently, all search engine crawlers ignore dynamically generated pages...[1]

Alas, I am too young to remember fascinating parts of Internet history like this one.

But I do remember the hesitancy to use personal names on the public Internet. If we could tell our 1998 selves about the modern "personal branding" craze our old selves would never believe it.


tfb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very nicely done, PG. I'm amazed at how ahead of its time Viaweb was... 3 years before IE6! I agree with the other comments here that it's quite good even by today's standards. To withstand the test of time (14 years!) of web design/technologies is seriously impressive.

I do wish the test drive worked though. It'd be great to be able to really test it out in its original form!

PG, if you don't mind me asking a couple of questions (or point me to the answers if they are already available elsewhere)... how many man hours do you think went into the project (MVP and maintenance)? And how did you come to start developing it? Was it an original idea at the time or were you aware of other online store builders and decided you could do a better job? When did it all start?

jbenz 1 day ago 0 replies      
From the press release about Trevor Blackwell's graduation (linked in this article):

In addition to his work in randomness, Dr. Blackwell has also developed pioneering techniques for rapid mass deletion of potentially critical information. His original work on /usr directories at Harvard has successfully been applied to IP addresses, and also, with the assistance of his wife Laurie, to human hair (see illustration).

"It's not a Flowbie!" said Dr. Blackwell. "They're the very same kind of clippers that actual barbers use."

I salute your use of inside jokes as press releases. And I identify with it. In fact, it reminds me of a press release my company launched about a year ago, in which we promise "mondo shirtage": http://www.prlog.org/11203938-new-shirt-website-promises-mon...

It's just hard for us to take press releases seriously.

lifeisstillgood 18 hours ago 0 replies      
> His office was nicknamed the Hot Tub on account of the heat they generated. Most days his stack of window air conditioners could keep up.

I ran the servers for a whole company like that, everyday thinking that's totally unprofessional but it is effective.

After we went to our own raised floor cold room, I still never felt it was that much more reliable. Cleaner, more polished yes. But 80% of the effect for 20% of cost is usually a good deal.

Fitting out your server room from the local hardware store felt like a successful hack.

mhartl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm impressed (though not particularly surprised) at how well the Viaweb home page has aged. It's a good example of an observation from pg's "Taste for Makers" (http://www.paulgraham.com/taste.html):

Good design is timeless.

Indeed. Well done.

N.B. The press release for tlb's graduation propagates one of the John Harvard Statue's famous Three Lies: Harvard was founded in 1636 and not, as reported on the statue and in the release, in 1638. Minor error, or sly joke? We may never know for sure.

larrys 1 day ago 2 replies      
The homepage is timeless and quite good even by today's standards. It gets across very clearly what you can do, what the product is, pricing and why you should use. It contains "awards" giving the visitor confidence in using the service.

"So you can build a store and start taking orders in minutes."

cubicle67 1 day ago 1 reply      

    3. You can have orders forwarded by fax.

Not much to comment on regarding this, other than it jumped out at me. Wonder how popular this feature was and if it was automated at all

[edit: quote from http://ycombinator.com/viaweb/howitwor.html]

Timothee 1 day ago 0 replies      
Actually, the same snapshot is still live under Yahoo!'s domain: http://oldvw.stores.yahoo.net/
sambeau 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm amused to see mention of "hits".

Viamall as a whole is currently getting over 9.9 million page views per month. That corresponds to over 72 million "hits", or http requests.

Once upon a time these were the currency of the internet :)

Of course now, even page views is seen as archaic and a little cough exaggeratory. I remember campaigning at my place-of-work (in early 2000) to have this term banished in favour of unique visitors.

spitfire 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's funny, I actually like the design of the site. It holds up well to the test of time. A lot of newer sites could learn from this. Aside from the 640x480 site design it's perfectly modern.

As they say, Simplicity is the height of sophistication.

Haul4ss 1 day ago 1 reply      
In June of 1998 I was working at IBM, and wondering if I should buy myself some Apple stock since it was only about $25/share. I didn't, and I kick myself now.

I remember the web in 1998. It stunk. And every TV commercial said "visit us at blah.com, or America Online keyword 'blah'".

Ah, the good ol' days.

thesausageking 1 day ago 2 replies      
We charged a flat fee of $300/month for big stores.

Elsewhere it says Viaweb had 1050 customers. So does this mean Viaweb had < $3.8m / yr in revenue when it was sold ?

binarymax 1 day ago 1 reply      
My first client project was through an internship for a small firm that leant me out to a company called OpenMarket, in 1997 - located in Cambridge. Was this Viawebs only competitor? Were they competitors at all?
dlevine 11 hours ago 0 replies      
How many employees did Viaweb have when it was acquired?
spindritf 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wish I could read "statement on security" but it leads to http://www.viamall.com/security.html which is, obviously, not working any more.
larrys 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the original trademark application which was approved:


AznHisoka 1 day ago 1 reply      
I miss the days of 7 search engines. Get penalized in one, and the world wasn't going to be over.
Sublime Text 2 Beta released with Auto-complete and Improved UI sublimetext.com
288 points by sathishmanohar  2 days ago   149 comments top 41
jasonkester 2 days ago 3 replies      
It makes me sad that the best tools available for writing code in so many otherwise exciting languages are still resorting to text-based autocompletion. And blogging about it as though it's something to be proud of.

This is certainly a pretty editor. But at its heart, it's still a text editor. And what I do for a living is edit code.

Code has a lot more information about it than text. I can imagine looking at a line such as:


in this editor, knowing that my codebase has half a dozen classes that expose a .hide member. I hesitate even to ctrl+click on it in this editor, because I know it'll either do nothing or take me to the wrong definition.

In a perfect world (and in IDEs for statically typed languages since 1998), the editor would know exactly which .hide we were talking about. And it could gracefully send me there with a single click or keystroke.

I'm still waiting for something equivalent to appear for the Ruby/Python/Javascript portion of my world. But years keep ticking by and the best we get is text editors that try to guess by looking at text.

Maybe next year.

dflock 2 days ago 3 replies      
Anyone using this editor should install this plugin first:


It's fantastic and gives you a simple in-editor way to add/remove other plugins, direct from their github repos, without needing to leave or restart the editor. It also automatically keeps them all up to date.

Once it's installed, you can just use the command palette (ctrl+shift+p) to install any of these plugins: http://wbond.net/sublime_packages/community, plus any others that you add via their github repo.

pilif 2 days ago 2 replies      
My favorite feature (already added in an earlier development release, but now finally in the beta track): On OSX, if you are editing a file you don't have write access to and you want to save it, Sublime now asks for authentication than then saves the file.

This is very convenient and not having this was the reason for still having TextMate around.

rorrr 2 days ago 11 replies      
What I really miss in all these fast small editors is the quick-jump features that actually analyze the code and let me do things like

1) Jump the the function/method definition (even if it's in a different file) when I press Ctrl and click on the function name. Eclipse does this.

2) Quick find of the function/method definition across the whole project. Eclipse does this as well (Ctrl + R).

I don't use Eclipse that much, because it's ridiculously slow, but it has cool features.

tumult 2 days ago 4 replies      
I really wish Emacs had smooth scrolling, indent guides and that Minimap. Those are some killer features that you can't just implement in Emacs' scripting language.

edit: minimap exists! (Obviously only in GUI Emacs)

Animated sub-line scrolling probably requires hacking the Emacs source. Indent guides might be possible just in elisp, but I don't know how good they would look.

JonnieCache 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just so you know, these features have been available for weeks now in the dev builds. They get updated almost every day sometimes, the developer is an absolute machine.


mixu 2 days ago 1 reply      
My favorite feature: a dedication from the developer to fix bugs even on Linuxes they aren't personally running (Arch Linux in this case).


veidr 2 days ago 1 reply      
The great thing about ST2's autocompletion is that it is totally extensible, allowing you to hack your own completion routines.

I wrote an indexer for Objective-J code last year, that scans a set of folders (which can include the Cappuccino frameworks if you like) and creates a completion index of all the class names, methods, functions, etc. It was trivial to make an ST2 plugin that completes using that data.

The abilitity to write your own autocompletion plugins for the freaky/obscure kinds of files you use really rocks. Even without heavy-duty semantic analysis of the code, you can get 90% of the way there and it is really useful.

The main problem right now is that the UI is still too narrow. Voting this issue up could help get that fixed:


stevecooperorg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Favourite Option: When you close the editor, it just shuts down, saving all your buffers and restoring them when you reload. That means you can close the app, reboot your computer, whatever, and the edits you've been making aren't lost, and you aren't bugged for filenames.

Definitely a 'why don't all apps work like this?' feature.

hastur 2 days ago 0 replies      
No doubt Sublime has all kinds of nice features, but to me the best thing is the aesthetics. It's simply a pleasure to work in this editor. Sometimes I just like to have it sit there on the second monitor, while I do something entirely different on the first one. :)
1880 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if it's something wrong with my eyes, but with the new theme I get confused all the time searching for the active tab. Old theme had more contrast.

Edit: installing Soda theme[1] solved it!

[1]: https://github.com/buymeasoda/soda-theme/

sunchild 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is such a great editor. Each update adds things I really appreciate. (How did I ever live without indent guides?)

I've been working in XCode so much lately that I've gotten really used to this style of autocomplete, so this update is very welcome.

kellishaver 2 days ago 1 reply      
Still no block cursor. :(

I've found/modified a little plug-in to simulate it, but it's not ideal.

I love Sublime, and I'm sure it seems trivial to most folks, but as a developer with poor eyesight, this is the one feature I want the most.

At least fonts can be larger now.

duck 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you use vim be sure to check out the Ex mode package:
fletchowns 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the new look of the tabs, really nice improvement. Great to see autocomplete is built in now, I was using this one before: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3064171

The new autocomplete even has lorem ipsum in it :)

bionicbrian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sublime Text 2 is amazing. I bought it and used it for a bit. Even with vintage mode, I missed vim too much and switched back.

I do wonder if the arrival of Sublime Text 2 was the impetus for TextMate 2 development after so many years.

fullmoon 2 days ago 1 reply      
This guy has to be on caffeine, modafinil, and love for his product.
Incredible velocity here.
Brajeshwar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this just me but no-one seem to talk about it. How can I get the Sidebar to have a similar color scheme with my main theme? I like the default Monokai but the Sidebar is light. The Soda theme & Color Scheme was nice but the new UI improvement in the IDE is so good to sacrifice it for Soda.
rmccue 2 days ago 0 replies      
> If you're feeling adventurous, you may want to enable the auto_complete_commit_on_tab file setting: This will make tab accept the current completion, and enter operate as normal.

I've had this on for about a week now, and although it was initially very disorienting, it's very easy to get used to it. I'd certainly recommend it, since it allows you to add a new line even if a suggestion is there.

Dachande663 2 days ago 0 replies      
All it's missing now is a better icon; preferably not another blue one. Normally end up with this one (blue I know). http://www.designkode.com/blog/sublime-text-icon
michaels0620 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've paid for Sublime Text and think it's awesome. I primarily do Scala development and would like to use ST for it but the one thing I miss are highlighting errors in the source. Does anyone know a way to do this? I searched the ST forums to no avail.
pospischil 2 days ago 1 reply      
For those wondering, auto-complete is quite fast.

I've always avoided IDEs that offered this because they seemed to be terribly slow -- pleasantly surprised so far.

octopus 2 days ago 0 replies      
A small bug with the auto-complete update when you edit a new C++ file (I've checked this only on Mac):

When you start writing #in... Sublime will suggest you #include ... pressing Enter will actually double the pound sign. You end up with something like ##include ....

I've noticed the same pattern for int m... the suggested completion was main(). Pressing Enter ends up repeating the return type of the main function, something like:

int int main(int argc, char *argv[]) ...

Maybe this a Mac only bug or it has something to do with the way the C++ syntax is parsed by the Auto-complete algorithm.

leeoniya 2 days ago 0 replies      
primarily as a web dev, the only two things preventing me from switching from NP++ is the poor and non-customizable matching bracket styling. and the buggy html matching tag highlighting (and styling as well)

once those get addressed more fully, i'm ready to cough up the cash.

zyb09 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm confused, doesn't it already have auto-complete? Mine's been doing that for a while now. What's new about this?
Deezul 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've recently started using Sublime Text 2 for iPhone development on Windows. Okay I admit, I've been doing it for a while. Rather strange setup perhaps, but with Synergy it's a fairly seamless workflow between my Macbook Pro and Windows desktop. I keep telling myself I'll get around to purchasing a license and this finally did it for me. I wouldn't say it's purely on guilt, more of a slowly growing relationship. Auto complete is an enormous help, why wouldn't I return the favor?
tommyd 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, this is seriously nice. Never heard of it before. Just today I've been trying out Netbeans as I'm a vim addict but my colleagues keep telling me how wonderful their IDEs are - Netbeans was much too heavyweight for my liking, but this looks like just the right balance between features and simplicity/speed.

Loving the mini-map and package manager particularly. The vim emulation seems to cover most of the key ones I use too. Nice work!

cidermonk3y 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know how to display edge lines? I usually pass files through Code Sniffer before committing, so generally i try to keep lines 120 characters or less, seeing where that 120th character is; is really helpful.
notlion 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love Sublime, but I'm not really a fan of the new theme. It tends to be lighter in areas where the previous version was dark, especially in the tab-bar when using a theme like SpaceCadet.

Anyone know if it's possible to change the default tab background color for themes that don't support it?

somecanuck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has the ability to navigate via UNC been added? Or more importantly, has search/replace with regular expressions improved?

I did a search/replace of [a-z] to 0 in a 50 meg text file before as a comparison between Sublime Text 2, UltraEdit, and gVim. UltraEdit was slower than I would have liked, gVim was < 10 seconds, and Sublime crashed. That's a deal breaker.

Simon_M 2 days ago 4 replies      
How do people deal with remote files? I love Sublime, but always end up reverting back to VIM as it is so slow when accessing files over a network connection.

I've tried the SFTP plug-in, but find it really clumsy. Ideally I'd just love to be able to add a remote folder over SFTP the same way you do local ones.

AGemmell 2 days ago 1 reply      
New release looks great. One problem I have with ST2 is dragging tabs from one window to another window. The actual dragging of the tab works but if it's the last tab in the window and I remove it and put in another window, I'm left with a window with no tabs in it. Can this "empty" window automatically close please?
mise 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm torn between using a nice proprietary editor like this, or a fine open source one like Scribes, or even going further into the command line world like Vim.
cidermonk3y 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the git package, superb. Managed to write a few custom commands to tweak things to suit my requirements, haven't tried that with any other editor / IDE :)
thepreacher 2 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't the new auto complete and the plug-in SublimeCodeIntel do the same thing? One of my concerns is that say you are using a plug-in for a feature that is later implemented into Sublime, now you haven't read the what's new so you have no idea. What happens then?
g3orge 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't want to put the looks over functionality but when we are talking for a GUI application we need a good icon.
foobarbazetc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Still doesn't feel like a Mac app...
lukeman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Was hoping for some sidebar love in the new theme (file and folder icons, renaming files in place), but the changes seem good so far.
tommypalm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know how to get the Soda Theme working again?
iusable 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love the auto-complete! Keep up the great work.
maalox 2 days ago 2 replies      
Only at HN will you find people gushing about a $50 text editor.

It's totally pathetic yet oddly endearing at the same time.

Coding Skill and the Decline of Stagnation notch.tumblr.com
285 points by ekosz  1 day ago   188 comments top 22
noonespecial 1 day ago 3 replies      
There are two truths I try to keep in mind whenever I start feeling either extreme:

1. There are people who are so much better at programming than me, that I could work my entire life and never be as good as they are right now.

2. There are people who are so much worse at programming than me, that they could work their entire lives and never be as good as I am right now.

Its a continuum, a hill. Feel the gradient, walk uphill.

jiggy2011 1 day ago  replies      
Does anybody know if Notch is self taught? I thought he had a CS Degree from somewhere?

I can fluctuate between thinking I am a fairly competent developer to thinking that I am possibly the worst programmer there is. I'm not sure which is a better attitude to have, hopefully I am somewhere in the middle.

I think the issue with reading some of the discussion on HN is that you get people talking in detail about things like functional programming languages , systems with huge scalability , hardcore math problems and the finer points of memory management in the Linux kernel that you feel it is obvious that you should understand this stuff.

I have been trying to do some more book reading to improve, of course the issue is that whenever you read any book recommendation threads of HN there is always at least 30 or so recommendations of some pretty thick books and no chance I'd have time to read them all.

There is also a difference between having deep knowledge of the tools and libraries that you are using right now and having a deeper understanding of theory for example learning git vs learning graph theory etc.

pigs 1 day ago  replies      
"I still stubbornly believe the whole “private members accessed via accessors” thing in java is bullcrap for internal projects. It adds piles of useless boilerplate code for absolutely no gain when you can just right click a field and chose “add setter/getter” if you NEED an accessor in the future."

Is this a controversial stance? It seems like common sense, unless I'm misunderstanding something.

EDIT: To clarify: I assume he's saying "don't add accessors by default for all private members unless you need to, because you can always go back and add it if you really need it", which is common sense for any project, external or internal. I'm pretty sure he's not saying "don't add accessors, just use public members", which is controversial, IMO, even for internal projects.

seanalltogether 1 day ago 1 reply      
"I had to work on programming more carefully and think things through before diving in, or I'd have a hard time working in a large group." This pretty accurately describes what I went through before joining a larger organization. However sometimes larger companies train you into a mentality of working fast and letting QA sort it out, which isn't always the best thing.
alexwolfe 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Have the confidence to know you can do anything.

Have the humility to know you can always get better.

The moment you believe your the best at anything it becomes very dangerous because you have no reason to improve, your the best. Generally speaking there are very few people that are the best at anything (In fact only one for each thing). Most likely there is plenty of room for growth.

I'm glad the author used the negative comment as motivation to get better.

jb55 1 day ago 4 replies      
When watching Notch code I noticed a lot of code smelly habits, relying on inheritance over composition is one example. But my god his level of productivity and ability to get shit done is lightyears ahead of your average programmer, and you got to respect that more than anything.
switz 1 day ago 2 replies      
I died laughing when I read, "Point is, SOPA sucks."
nubela 22 hours ago 0 replies      
But. I still stubbornly believe the whole “private members accessed via accessors” thing in java is bullcrap for internal projects. It adds piles of useless boilerplate code for absolutely no gain when you can just right click a field and chose “add setter/getter” if you NEED an accessor in the future.


whimsy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think there's something to be said for starting out with this sort of confidence, especially when you're self-taught. That sort of confidence can provide some incredible motivation. If we realized how much it work it would take to become well and truly good at things like coding, would we start down the path with such fervor?

Point is, SOPA sucks.

jasonallen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting post. A couple of observations:

1. I think programming is a multi-disciplinary task. Notch is obviously among the best at "writing a lot of working code". He's pointing out that he could improve in software design. I've work with many folks who are obviously strong in one area but weaker in others.

2. I think his coding sloppiness comes through in minecraft: it's an incredible game, but I've stopped playing at times due to frustration with crashes and corruption.

...oh, and 3. My guess is that the "large US based game developer" was Valve.

richardk 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's comforting to see that other people fluctuate between thinking they're awesome and thinking they're awful.

Experience has taught me this:

Never build your self-esteem on comparison with another

And by that I mean, you should never judge your own programming abilities based on other peoples' apparent abilities. If you're programming new stuff regularly, enjoying it and listening to what other programmers have to say, then the chances are you're getting better at it, and that's enough.

bbwharris 1 day ago 2 replies      
There is no "Gospel" when it comes to programming. There is a lot of code out there that isn't pretty, but it works and brings money into businesses.

I think we can all agree that Notch didn't make any mistakes. Minecraft is a huge success.

They are called "best practices", not "the only practices". But good for Notch to want to be like everyone else.

devs1010 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think that the languages and platforms used shape the way one thinks about programming more than anything and that being exposed to different ecosystems is important. For example, working in a team of experienced developers that uses Java will probably rid one of most "cowboy coder" tendencies and instill a tendency for reflection on architectural patterns, etc, however it can also lead to over-engineering, "architectural astronauts", etc so then going to a more dynamic platform like Ruby on Rails (or at least using their methodologies in projects) helps balance this out. Programming is constantly evolving and it can be hard to figure out which patterns and processes to follow but one thing I feel is important is working in teams as it provides a good way to gauge yourself against others and help expose your own weaknesses.
methodin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reiterates the fact that the more you realize you are a terrible programmer, the better you are. Very awesome of someone with his stature to flat out admit the fact that he has flaws. Kudos!
jdost 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think the biggest thing he emphasized is the fact that you can never be "The Best Programmer" because there is always something to learn and ways to grow. That is probably one of the keys to a good developer, they know that there is still plenty for them to learn.
jseims 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are many dimensions to "how good you are as a programmer".

How you approach a 1000 line project is different from a 100,000 line project.

The best practices for a good solo developer are different from a team developer.

And most importantly, the internal elegance of your code is independent from how useful / cool your product is.

chj 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a Master Degree in CS but programming mostly is self taught by reading other people's code, good code and ugly code. I know about design patterns only enough to avoid them like shit. It is just easier to hide shit under a shinning cover. There is a saying for writers : "every word tells". My principle is "every line counts". However, this is almost impossible in a team environment, so I still think that best code is one man job.
nardsurfer 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Point is, SOPA sucks." haha, nice
leon_ 20 hours ago 1 reply      
> I am a decent programmer.

He's a decent comedian it seems.

frederico 1 day ago 0 replies      
loved reading the last comment: point is SOPA sucks.
kenrik 1 day ago 1 reply      
If (There will always be someone better or worse than you.)

Does it really matter? :Bool

Return: Nope.

gambler 1 day ago 2 replies      
I honestly don't see what about this post is Hacker News worthy. Is it just the fact that the post was written by the Minecraft developer? Or it it the (somewhat questionable) display of humility?

It's sort of like posting a long list of your accomplishments and then saying "but I don't consider myself special, and I have much more to learn". If the sentiment was true, you probably wouldn't say it, and almost certainly wouldn't say it this particular way.

Circumventing the No-Fly list in thirty seconds rodneyfolz.com
283 points by folz  2 days ago   153 comments top 25
kevinalexbrown 1 day ago 4 replies      
The first time someone pointed this out, the FBI raided his house[1] and sparked a Senate investigation. This was four years ago. I did this to one of my Southwest tickets recently, though didn't use the forged copy. Honestly, it's like they think HTML is unreadable, or, more likely, that it's security theatre designed to make everyone feel safe. I would be okay with that if it wasn't taken so seriously.

[1] http://arstechnica.com/security/news/2008/06/tsa-defiant-pas...

Edit: The Soghoian blog post about the raid:

chimeracoder 1 day ago 5 replies      
This doesn't surprise me in the least. I've been in India for the last month, and I've been shocked by two new things since my last visit (several years ago).

First, security here is everywhere.

Second, security here is pointless.

I have had to walk through security to get to supermarkets, discount stores (think Walmart), high-end shopping malls, temples, mosques, movie theaters, national monuments, airports, hotels, you name it. You can't walk into a large building and not walk through a metal detector. The ACLU would probably go ballistic if the US had even 1% of the number of pat-downs that I have had to go through daily here.

Unfortunately, it's entirely pointless. Generally, I don't take my belt/jewelry/phone off when going through the metal detector, and most of the time, it doesn't even detect that. Whether or not I set off the detector, the process is the same: they (occasionally) wave a wand over, and then send me to a second person who briefly pats me down (<5 seconds in all). Keep in mind, the exact same process is applied to those who do and do not set off the metal detector. A few times, I've set it off and they just wave me through without even checking me further. It's mind-boggling.

I can't say I'm a fan of ubiquitous security, but the only thing that's worse than ubiquitous ineffective security. Anybody who really wants to cause trouble can bypass it in their sleep - all you manage to do is disrupt the lives of everybody else, all the while accomplishing literally nothing.

LogicX 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm a very tall man (6'4") and always have trouble with a lack of legroom on flights (even JetBlue).

A few years ago I was adventurous, and frustrated -- there were no seats left on the flight that it would let me reserve online. Yet for this particular airline, it showed that the exit row seats were available, but clicking on them lead to an alert that you could not book them online: You had to do so at the airport.

I decided to look at the code making the seat selection calls, submitted my seat selection for that seat anyway -- and wallah! I was granted a ticket with that exit row seat. Had no problem going through security or boarding.
Haven't tried it since - as most airlines now charge extra for those seats, and its not such an easy hack.

narkee 1 day ago  replies      
I don't know about the US, but this definitely doesn't work in Canada.

The the gate agents definitely always check ID with the boarding pass.

mhartl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I know a girl who changed her name when she got married and whose ID still has her maiden name. She buys her plane tickets under her married name, and carries her marriage license with her when she flies in case the TSA asks about the discrepancy. But no one has ever noticed.
chao- 1 day ago 1 reply      
Poorly implemented solutions are security theatre at its best. Well, almost. They're second best to "The wrong solution for the problem" approaches. Take the school in Texas this week where one kid shot another [1]. The school's solution is to make everyone use completely transparent backpacks, nevermind that:

1. You could fit a gun inside a zippered/covered binder or expanding file folder and the backpack does nothing.

2. The school already has metal detectors, so the backpacks aren't actually adding any detection.

3. They don't even know if the edge case where their current security failed even involved backpacks.

[1] http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Teen-shot-at...

smhinsey 1 day ago 1 reply      
FWIW, I have been on two flights today and on neither of them did the gate agent check my ID. This tactic would've worked fine.
FaceKicker 1 day ago 2 replies      
In my experience, the TSA agent you have to show ID and boarding pass to at the security checkpoint also scribbles something with a marker or highlighter on your boarding pass.

But even aside from the fact that this is obviously and trivially forgeable, I don't think the person who scans your boarding pass at the gate even looks for the scribble, as I've used a different boarding pass to get on the plane than I did at the security checkpoint before (because I had printed one out at home and also printed another copy at the self-service check-in machine, and just happened to use different copies each time I needed to show it).

tnuc 1 day ago 1 reply      
This doesn't always work. You might end up arrested. You are better off with a fake ID.

When you board the plane they check the codes to see if you have been through special screening, they check the markings to the boarding pass codes.

I've made it to the flight a few times only to be turned around and accompanied back to security for the full security theater experience. At this point they will check the list and you will be arrested if they find a problem in the paperwork.

Your best bet is to change your name slightly William --> Bill etc. and play around with a middle/first initial. Computers are dumb. TSA agents are friendly when you are friendly to them and have tendency to not pay attention to their work. Social engineering is a lot more effective than computer hacking.

cpeterso 1 day ago 2 replies      
If terrorists still want to "get us", why don't they detonate some truck bombs in major urban areas? If the bridges or subway tunnels in the SF Bay Area or NYC had big holes punched in them, the economic impact would be huge.
jessriedel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not only is my ID almost never checked at the gate, the agent hardly even compares the name on the paper to their flight information. So really, you could just print out the forged copy with your name on it and use it the whole way through.
hohead 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is easy to fix. Only terrorists use DOM editors, so we simply need to check all laptops when going through security.
samwillis 1 day ago 2 replies      
Possible easy way to fix this:

Include a QR code on the printed boarding pass that holds the details of the passenger and flight along with a hash of the data, the hash being salted with a secret known only to TSA. The TSA agent then scans the QR code, computer verifies the hash and displays the data on screen for the agent to check against the printed boarding pass and ID. No database look up is needed, just a PC and webcam.

Danger is someone works out or leaks the hash secret.

snowmaker 1 day ago 1 reply      
Could you use the same trick to use your friend's ticket in general?

I've often had the situation of having an "extra" flight ticket for some reason. I've always thought that there is no way I can give the ticket away to a friend, but it seems like this could be a way to do it.

wavephorm 1 day ago 1 reply      
DHS is a giant convoluted bureaucracy and it was designed to be such from the beginning. They don't actually have to, or really desire to make anybody safer at all. That's not the point of DHS at all. It's all just a series of checklists, and forms, and initiatives... and reports... all the way down. All anybody needs to do is go down the new checklist that somebody higher up gave them to fill out.
51Cards 1 day ago 0 replies      
They not check your ID at the gate? They always take my ticket and my passport, look at both, and say "Good morning Mr. B, have a nice flight".
Shenglong 1 day ago 1 reply      
For every flight I've been on, the gate agent checks your ID against your ticket.
chollida1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does this work?

> Give the ticket with your friend's name to the gate agent who lets you board. It will match the flight information and you'll be allowed to board.

I fly 4 times a month and each time I have to present a piece of photo ID at the gate to the flight attendant that has to match the name on the ticket, ticketing computer and ofcourse me.

The above advice would seem to fail this test.

samwillis 1 day ago 2 replies      
I may be missing something but wouldn't your name be flagged as on the no fly list when you pass your ID to the TSA agent?
lambersley 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would suck to be someone whose name appears on a no-fly list. It would REALLY suck to be that same person who forges a ticket and gets caught. #oops
jvdh 1 day ago 0 replies      
This only helps you in national flights. For international flights they very often do check the match between ID and ticket.
seanp2k2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Glad we all give up our civil liberties for this awesome "security". I'm sure zero terrorists know of this method.

Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

jzd131 1 day ago 1 reply      
The boarding pass should never be shown at the gate, instead you should show your ID. The agent would then check it to make sure its real and then scan it to see if your in the database to fly that day. It is a simple solution, Someone needs to build a device that can read 90% of IDs.
Mordor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Security isn't there for the terrorists, just a scam to keep people flying.
gcb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the article. Now tsa will install another check point on each gate where you will have to show id, remove shoes, do the chicken dance ...for security
Bill Gates Gives Away More Money Than The Entire US Foreign Aid Budget alltop.com
276 points by pud  1 day ago   100 comments top 22
ejames 1 day ago 5 replies      
I think there are two important facts to keep in perspective here.

First, polls have shown that U.S. citizens drastically overestimate the amount of the federal budget allocated to foreign aid. As I recall, the average estimate is 25%; the reality is less than 0.1%.

The comparison holds mainly not because Bill Gates is so rich, or because the U.S. is indebted, but because federal budget priorities drastically favor items that are not foreign aid. Those priorities are formed in part because citizens believe that the budget is already giving away huge quantities of money, making proposals to increase foreign aid unpopular.

Second, the amount of money spent is not necessarily a good measure of the amount of aid given. On the one hand, sometimes more money doesn't help; to use an analogy that people here might understand, after a certain point in increasing your budget for paying software developers, you are limited by your ability to find good people, not by your ability to pay them. Likewise, some foreign aid projects - such as HIV eradication in certain African nations - have reached the point where the amount of monetary aid given already exceeds the capacity of local infrastructure to use the resources wisely, and any more would just sit in a bank account somewhere until someone blew it on a useless boondoggle.

On the other hand, some forms of aid or assistance given by the U.S. to friends or allies do not have monetary value, such as military assistance, diplomatic cover, or political advice... and there are material goods that are, for whatever reason, more valuable to the people who receive them than the items would be priced in the U.S. market where they were paid for.

So although this is a true and revealing fact, it's best to not misinterpret it. The reasons for the foreign aid budget being lower than Bill Gates's charity contributions are political, not fiscal; but it's likely that the more important question about foreign aid is the nature and quality of the aid, not the U.S. dollar value for which it was purchased.

roc 1 day ago 1 reply      
So if the top 400 wealthiest individuals in the US gave half their net worth to charity, they'd merely double the annual charitable giving of the rest of the United States? [1]

In other words, in four years, the United States in total will have donated more than the entire net worth of those 400 people -- net worths that typically took lifetimes and generations to amass.

If you ask me, that single factoid casts the Giving Pledge in an entirely new light. Yes, Gates and company have done some fantastic things with their charity [2]. But the rest of the country is doing far more than they're getting credit for. Year after year. And as they aren't spending down their net fortunes, it's entirely sustainable.

That's something we don't hear nearly enough.

[1] Give or take some, as I'm sure those 400 people themselves likely contribute to that total.

drewblaisdell 1 day ago 3 replies      
It looks like this is comparing the Gates Foundation's total charitable contribution in 2007 to the US's foreign aid budget for one year. Not to undermine Gates' massive contribution to humanity, but the title should say "gave away".

The infographic plague continues. Surely the author could have gotten more up-to-date information about a 501(c)(3) than five year old data.

thematt 1 day ago 0 replies      
The US does a lot that I don't think is represented in that number. For instance, the military aid that we render to foreign nations in time of natural catastrophes is second to none, particularly in terms of expediency, logistics and supplies. Haiti is the first thing that comes to mind, but there's tons more examples like Fukushima, South-East Asia in 2004, Pakistan in 2005, Myanmar in 2008, etc.
scottjad 1 day ago 1 reply      
Misleading title. From 1994 to 2007, Bill Gates "gave" to a foundation an amount slightly larger than what US Foreign Aid "gave" in the single year of 2007.

The Foundation has not given that money to charities, it has given some small percentage and invested the rest so that it can last forever.

I put gave in quotes because possibly both parties are not giving unconditionally, but rather purchasing either respect or obedience or something else.

viggity 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. The constitutional role of the federal government does not mention anything about foreign aid, and rightly so.

2. Surely this doesn't count the billions the Federal Government gives in military aid.

snippyhollow 1 day ago 1 reply      
And what about Monsanto GE/GMO crops pushed and financed by the B&M Gates foundation? http://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/monsantos-gmo-corn-appro... I took the first link in DDG, may be unfortunate, I knew from the very good http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_According_to_Monsanto
joshu 1 day ago 0 replies      
FYI Blog Spam, source is: http://frugaldad.com/microsoft/
whamill 1 day ago 3 replies      
I wonder if we'll see candlelit vigils and bunches of flowers outside MS stores when Bill Gates finally kicks it? He's long been the opposite of "cool" and certainly hasn't always been an honest competitor in the past but his altruism now should surely make up for that.
lincolnq 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in charitable giving:

GiveWell (http://givewell.org) does in-depth reviews of charities and recommends the best ones, based on things like cost-effectiveness and transparency.

Giving What We Can (http://givingwhatwecan.org) is a place where you can make a similar pledge (like 10% of your income), and community to support people who have done so.

leeoniya 1 day ago 4 replies      
in contrast, Steve Jobs decided the money was his to keep, even after death. lives NOT saved: 5,812,000 and counting.
ahhrrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
The title here is misleading. According to the graphic, Bill and Melinda Gates' net worth, $59 billion, is $2 billion more than the US budget for foreign aid. They have given away $28 billion, 48% of their net worth.
pushtheenvelope 1 day ago 0 replies      
A link to the original source which includes a note from the author of the infographic: http://frugaldad.com/microsoft/
schlomie 9 hours ago 0 replies      
He may be on the path to karmically braking even in the not to distant future if he ends up giving back all of his unethically gained fortune. That's good.
gph 1 day ago 2 replies      
Including Rockefeller and Carnegie in that graphic is poor choice if you ask me. True they gave a lot of their money away... but mostly to their own causes.When it came to their own workers they were more willing to give money to thugs who killed them than giving them equitable wages and working conditions.

And while I find it impressive what Warren Buffet has accomplished, I don't find it very productive for humanity. I'm not anti-capitalist, but the pure money makers who gather wealth without providing a service/product are not heroes in my book.

grandalf 1 day ago 3 replies      
Nice advertisement for libertarianism.

In other news, Bill Gates has created more wealth and productivity for people worldwide than any individual (or government) in the history of the world. This equates to better medicine, more fun vacations, better food, more time with family, longer lives, etc.

In spite of being attacked by government (antitrust lawsuits) Gates continues to try to tackle the world's toughest problems.

oofabz 1 day ago 0 replies      
The headline is simply not true. It is comparing Gates' total expenditure to the USA's annual expenditure.
kylebrown 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gates didn't give away $28 billion. That's the foundation's endowment, from which they "give away" the annual returns (~5% iirc).
deltriggah 1 day ago 0 replies      
He may not have taste as some would say, but he's been hacking real world problems lately. Good job.
Jun8 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you apply Gauss' Law and define a boundary around US for money, you can argue that it's not Gates' money that's leaving the country, its the money that people gave to him, i.e. it's still US originated money.
Permit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it comes down to where the United States chooses to spend its money. I'm not saying the country should feel obligated to be caretakers of the world, but your defense budget is objectively out of control. There are a number of more worthy on which some of that money could be spent.
lubos 1 day ago 4 replies      
Bill Gates is required by law to give away 5% of equity in his foundation every year otherwise he would lose charitable tax-exempt status from IRS... so yes, he gave away billions but at the same he avoided to pay billions in taxes to government by funneling most of his wealth into his foundation.

So the whole comparison between him and the government is pointless since it's the government that made it possible for Bill Gates to even do charity at this scale by sacrificing its own tax revenue.

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