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Bootstrap 2.0, From Twitter github.com
756 points by uptown  4 days ago   154 comments top 41
VonLipwig 4 days ago 11 replies      
I am going to chime in being negative against the wave of positive feedback here.

Twitter has done well releasing this and when I first saw it ages ago it looked neat and fairly professional.

However, like a pop song which has been completely overplayed on the radio it has become tired and frankly a bit annoying. It has its uses offline to quickly get a demo up and running but it shouldn't be used on a live site. At least not in its entirety.

If you have to use this for your project due to convenience or lack of design skills then do everyone a favor and mix it up a little bit. Change the colors on the buttons. Avoid the black bar running along the top of your website. Just don't look 100% like a vanilla bootstrap site.

timmaah 4 days ago 2 replies      
Last week 2.0 introduced me to the world of responsive design. Converted our current project to it. Higher ups are pleased and it saved me from creating a second "mobile" site. I am a fan.
sopooneo 4 days ago 4 replies      
Yes, Bootstrap is great. Honestly, I love using it. But where are all the people that I used to see screeching about semantic markup? Because this takes things in exactly the opposite direction.
slewis 4 days ago 6 replies      
Can someone compare and contrast Boostrap 2.0 with ZURB Foundation?

I've been using Foundation for a new project and am really digging the responsive layout features.

sunchild 4 days ago 0 replies      
The custom module building I was surprised to find, even though I've been using the 2.0-wip branch for a few weeks:


(Bonus: note the use of ScrollSpy to pin the sub-menu on that page!)

pg_bot 4 days ago 3 replies      
Some other useful css frameworks include http://blueprintcss.org/ and http://compass-style.org/, if you are interested. That being said, I have used all three for different projects and have enjoyed working with bootstrap the most.
conroy 4 days ago 2 replies      
The coolest new feature? Bootstrap 2.0 is completely responsive. This is what it looks like on different screen sizes: http://areyouresponsive.com/twitter.github.com%2Fbootstrap%2...
dkharrat 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome! Major improvements since 1.4.

Even though the main use case for Bootstrap seems to be for rapid prototyping, any thoughts on using it for a production app (but perhaps custom-themed), instead of rolling a custom design altogether? It seems Bootstrap has matured to the level that it can be used as for most projects with little customizations if any. A lot of what I read in the comments imply that Bootstrap is great at prototyping an app and once that phase is over, you throw it all out and start developing a custom design based on what has been prototyped. Why can't one just stick with Bootstrap and customize it as needed?

ericmsimons 4 days ago 2 replies      
Love the new stuff - any reason why you removed the animation effects of button presses? I always thought that was one of the coolest pieces of bootstrap
schpet 4 days ago 2 replies      
> With Bootstrap 2, we've gone fully responsive.

This would imply a fluid grid, which it lacks.


pacomerh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Bootstrap is great for tools, apps where the functionality is more important than everything, which is great and I use it. But for regular client websites where design is crucial (and I'm sure it wasn't meant totally for this) is almost never usable in my case. Clients want very customized functionality and looks almost all the cases. So I end up using only a few things. But I'm sure this wasn't its original purpose.
ImprovedSilence 4 days ago 1 reply      
Pardon my ignorance, but could someone give me a rundown of what bootstrap is, and how it works?
jv22222 4 days ago 5 replies      
My only fear is that widespread use of these kind of pre-designed frameworks might create a homogenized web.

I understand that you can re-skin but I'm thinking many folks will go with the pre-built look/feel.

Even so, this is awesome for getting stuff out quickly. Great job.

Brajeshwar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here is the SASS & SCSS version of Twitter Bootstrap 2.0 https://github.com/Brajeshwar/bootstrap-sass-scss-compass
pdk 4 days ago 3 replies      
Has anyone compared this to the Skeleton responsive grid? I like that the styling on skeleton is more minimalist, but worry that I'm missing on some features from Bootstrap.
program 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very happy to see this new version. I have followed the 2.0-wip branch since the very beginning. At my company we use Bootstrap for a lot of different project as a barebone WordPress template with few additions in order to handle the semantic classes (and id) generated by WordPress.
wallflower 4 days ago 3 replies      
In your opinion, what is the mobile equivalent of Bootstrap or what combination of JS/CSS packages can function as a bootstrap-type jumpstart?

I have a personal project that uses Bootstrap but it pains me to use it on my mobile device.

The js templating (loading JSON data into the view) that I do is a necessary part but I'd be willing to hardcode.

grantjgordon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I use bootstrap as the base for all my new projects for clients. You guys are fantastic! Thanks for open sourcing such a great project!
jonaslejon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Bootstrap 2.0 + WordPress = #win ? Anyone knows if there is any theme out there w/ Bootstrap?
mgkimsal 4 days ago 1 reply      
they seem to have removed the few sample layouts they had before which you could copy/paste to start a full page. or am i missing that somewhere on the site?
rolleiflex 4 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder why they have removed sortable tables. Not a hard thing to re-add if you need it, but why the hassle? I used them a lot as a designer as it is one of the most appreciated things for my clients from the desktop-application world who expect it as a given and disappointed when it's not available.
stevanl 4 days ago 1 reply      
On the topic of the responsive design module - when I view my project on an iPhone/iPad it shows the full screen version of the site, rather than the mobile version. However, it shows the mobile version on a samsung phone.

Is there a reason for this?

cfontes 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was using 1.4 in my site and will update tonight. God bless you guys :D
jacobr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Even if you won't use it for your project, the less source is a great source for best practices regarding browser quirks and rare rendering bugs.
shocks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me that's getting a really slow generation time with this? Previous versions took around 1.2 seconds, while v2 is taking upwards of 4.5 seconds.
Valien 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if they have a CDN like they did for 1.4? I was using it on a test site with this link - http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/1.4.0/bootstrap.min.css and it works fine but didn't see if they have a hosted 2.0 version yet.
shareme 4 days ago 1 reply      
Been using Bootstrapwip2 for a few days on http://sharemegithub.com

I wonder if we can look forward to mustache being implemented in in 2.1?

spung 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've incorporated Bootstrap 1.4 to use its styling (fonts, buttons, etc) but I'd like to get into the responsive features of 2.0. How exactly does the grid layout work, how should I layout my content? Which columns should I use and how would they adapt to changes in device max width? Thanks in advance!
jlazer 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is great and all, but anyone have a link to the old documentation for 1.4? Don't want to upgrade quite yet.
fonzie 4 days ago 0 replies      
While I think Bootstrap is fantastic and helpful, my only worry is overreliance and under customisation, thus a decrease in creativity.

I would be a little bit sad if every new web app I visited overused Bootstrap and stuck to that now increasingly popular design.

smj2118 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of the js widgets- jquery-ui is starting to look a bit old-fashioned and the design on the bootstrap widgets looks very clean. If you end up doing anything very complicated you'll end up fighting the css more than it helps you but I like that I can pick and choose modules.
DannyPage 4 days ago 1 reply      
Glad to see that Bootstrap 2.0 is out. Been following along on the 2.0-wip for the last couple days and very impressed with the new Responsive Design.

One slight problem (Chrome, Mac OSX Lion): http://i.imgur.com/SOrUZ.png

fellars 4 days ago 1 reply      
is it just me that can't find them, or is the documentation on form fields not included on v2 docs? I know they were there on previous docs.
buremba 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great if they could work with jquery-ui because the tools that bootstrap provided also fit jquery-ui.
ryanjodonnell 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice! I'll need to upgrade to this ASAP.

Anyone that's already done it - how easy is it to upgrade from 1.4?

epynonymous 4 days ago 0 replies      
this is like a non-designer's wet dream, i'm soaked.
coopersloan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bootstrap rocks!!
JuanCBenavides 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice indeed. I will consider Bootstrap for my next project. Very simple to implement.
richardburton 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. Thank you Twitter.
lostsock 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks amazing! Can't wait to add this to some of my already-in-the-works projects. Was hoping you'd release this before I had to launch ;)
akazackfriedman 4 days ago 0 replies      
That Kippt site... on Bootstrap... c'mon!!!!
Handwriting to LaTeX maths visionobjects.com
635 points by yannis  3 days ago   86 comments top 41
kamens 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is the piece we (Khan Academy) need to create a compelling math exercise experience on tablets. Playing around for a few minutes, this product seems to be way ahead of anything else out there.

If you're the creator, should I go through the contact us stuff on your website, or is there a better way of discussing possibilities with you?

(edited: @gpakosz contacted me on twitter)

gpakosz 2 days ago 9 replies      
Hi folks,

A small note on what we don't support yet:

no cube roots, no nth roots either

square root's top line must be a single line (make it wide enough up front)

no matrices

no system of equations

no corrections, no scratch out (use top left undo/redo arrows)

leave enough space between integral/summation symbols and main expression for better accuracy

LaTeX output pleases MathJax as much as possible (thank you guys for your lovely rendering library)

Hope that helps,
Thank you for trying it out.

PS: MathML seems to get little attention, why is it so?

--- LIST OF SUPPORTED SYMBOLS (encoded in UTF-8) ---


  a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z


  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Maths symbols

  € $ £ ¥ ₩ ¢ ( ) < > [ ] { }  ! # % & ? @ / \ | ∥ © ∂... ∇ ∞ 
ℂ • ℚ ℝ ℤ
+ - ± - ÷ * ∘ · = ' , . : ; _
← ' ' " " • - - ↘ ↙
⇐ ' ' " " •
∀ ∃ ∄ ∈ ∉ ∋ ∌ ∩ ∪ ⊂ ⊃ ⊄ ...
∼ ≃ ≠ ≡ ≢ ≤ ≥ ≪ ≫ ∝ ∠
∏ ' ∫∮∧ √

Greek symbols

  " " Ω α β γ δ ε η θ λ ν π ρ σ τ φ χ ψ ω • µ

International convention units (with cursive support)

  km hm dam dm cm mm µm
hl dal dl cl ml µl
kg hg dag dg cg mg µg
ms µs
GHz MHz kHz Hz

Other mathematical terms (with cursive support)

  sin cos tan sinh cosh tanh arcsin arccos arctan cot coth
min max arg argmin argmax
inf sup lim liminf limsup
ln log
dx dy dz dt

rubidium 3 days ago 1 reply      
!FINALLY! I'm very happy with this. The recognition is much better than the other similar things I've tried. By my limited testing, it seems to be accounting for the image as a whole and not the order of strokes, so should work for uploads.

A couple desired improvements:

-Allow uploading of images

-add an eraser/undo

-some Greek/Hebrew letters (aleph, beth, xi... ) aren't being recognized despite my tries... they've very similar to X's, equivilant, and ='s. Beth really should work, but isn't.

ique 3 days ago 3 replies      
This works surprisingly well! It even made my crappy writing into the correct markup. Great for when you have a big equation to "translate" to LaTeX quickly or to just look up a character you don't know the name of.

I wish there was a function to upload an image or to capture an image via webcam or something like that. Then I could write it on paper and show it to the webcam and get the markup, or upload scans of notes to have them translated.

johno215 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very impressive! The only issue I've run into is it having trouble discerning lower-case and upper-case letters. Training with my own writing style should be able to correct this however.

Is there a plan to offer this as a non-web-browser service? I would love to be able to write math out on paper, or a resistive screen tablet, and then import it into a LaTeX document.

I am faster writing equations by hand than typing LaTeX (and definitely faster compared to using a WYSIWYG equation program).

Edit: By the way, this is the perfect example of a problem I've always wished a start-up would come along and solve for me.

albertzeyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to work very well. I wonder about the technics they use.

I asked about exactly this a while ago here: http://metaoptimize.com/qa/questions/2097/ocr-lib-for-math-f...

The answers at that point were quite limited. The Tesseract OCR engine was just not made to recognize such structure. There are some other closed solutions, though.

jen_h 3 days ago 1 reply      
So. Awesome. And it works on my phone -- very sweet. My only quibble is that I couldn't get it to hack me up a per mille (this was the #1 question I used to get working as LaTeX support for a journal publisher years back).
dfan 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's pretty brilliant. I do wish I could edit the generated LaTeX in place to give it hints when it's gotten something slightly wrong.

I wonder if it has any contextual smarts (e.g., sees a partial derivative sign in a numerator, knows it should "vote up" interpretations of the denominator that start with another partial derivative sign).

bdg 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was interesting. I've recently been using latex to write math equations down but this might save me a lot of time (one I dig my drawing tablet out of the closet).

I'd be more interested in a write-up of how you made it more successful than previous attempts however, technologies used, etc.

ajuc 3 days ago 0 replies      
It just works. I've thought it will sometimes work. And it just works.


sachdevaprash 3 days ago 1 reply      
Found this ages back. It suggests options and not just one result. Works better.
impendia 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you got this to the point where you could scan a document and have it spit out latex code for the whole thing, you would have... ... a huge success on your hand. EVERY mathematician I know, most certainly including myself, would use it constantly. I have pages and pages of disorganized handwritten notes.

Since this is a forum for startup founders, put it this way: such a scanner would be of more use to mathematicians than, say, the sum total of Elsevier's output, and their latest financials show annual operating profit in the ten figures.

FOSS would of course be even cooler (IMHO). But, food for thought... :)

euccastro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny glitch: draw an alpha, get \alpha. Then draw a beta and gamma to the right, without touching or overlapping the alpha, and I get \propto \beta \gamma. I've found it shuns greek letters in general. I get an `x' from by best attepmts at \lambda.

Really impressive and useful, nonetheless.

keithpeter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just used this on an interactive whiteboard in front of a class for basic algebra. Very nice indeed, well done sir.

How about image save for the rendered formula? I could copy/paste straight into Word for a nice homework exercise.

Basically education lower down the system could use this, not just University level.

drucken 3 days ago 0 replies      
Impressive. It seems to work a lot better than Microsoft's Math Input Panel bundled with Windows 7! Though its not perfect:


alexchamberlain 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd happily pay for an Android note taking app that integrated this.
jrockway 3 days ago 0 replies      
I always dreamed of having a tablet that could do this when I was taking math in college.

Where's the code?

kmfrk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just noticed that they even have a free app in the App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/myscript-memo/id446368116.
muyuu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice. Always thought the stylus interface had a lot of upsides and this is yet another one.

Looking forward to more devices supporting both fingers and stylus, like the Flyer or the Galaxy Note.

fdej 3 days ago 0 replies      
It did -\int _{-\infty }^{\infty }\dfrac {\cos \left( \pi t+\beta \right) ^{2}} {e^{t^{2}}}dt=F\left( \beta \right)

I'm impressed.

lignuist 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome! I really hope, someone comes up with a pdf2tex tool, that handles formulas well.

Edit: is even more fun on a tablet.

ylem 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is extremely cool! I could see using this to generate input for a paper--but a mouse is not the best input device--I'll have to test this on a tablet later--but, even with a mouse, the results were impressive (no hbar yet?)
drewda 2 days ago 0 replies      
See also Enventra, works with Excel, Mathematica, and Maple: http://www.enventra.com/
rdl 2 days ago 0 replies      
This would have made university so much more fun.
gjulianm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great! But it does not recognise matrixes. Matrixes are the hardest thing to write in LaTeX, it would be wonderful to write them by hand and then having the LaTeX code without problems.
jonnycowboy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is this 100% embedded in javascript? Is the code available un-obfuscated somewhere?
toppy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure who do you address with this application. That's how real math looks like:
shocks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic work, very excited by this. A "learning" technique would be cool, if I could correct things and the system would learn over time.
cottonseed 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool, although it doesn't seem very efficient if you goal is to write TeX. It would be interesting see how well it works to OCR hand-written notes or old-timey typewritten (that is, typed on a typewriter) math manuscripts where the mathematical symbols written in afterwards by hand...
arandomJohn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh wow. This would make my iPad math game so much better. I already have handwriting, just no handwriting recognition...
baltcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
You guys have got to integrate this with teachontablo or something similar. That would be simply awesome.
gus_massa 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is incredible good.

But some formulas doesn't work (for example: $\sqrt[3]{2}$) and I can't find a feedback / suggests a better translation button.

rafeed 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic! It's actually more robust than I thought it was going to be.
deisner 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had an idea for a mobile app where you'd take a photo of a legal pad full of handwritten text and equations, and the app would generate a latex document or a PDF. Maybe this is possible now?
mattbot5000 2 days ago 0 replies      
Was anyone able to get fractional exponents to work? I tried several different ways of writing it and had no success.
ylem 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very Cool!!!!!
linuxlizard 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing. So much fun, so useful. Will be using this in future homework assignments!
sbanach 2 days ago 0 replies      
Try this (free) iPad app. Also contains a numerical solver:


sprash 2 days ago 0 replies      
I did not manage to get $\xi$ working.
pusha 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great work! Everyone else is thinking "this + wolfram alpha" == algebra / math analysis problem solver for ipad?
mohene1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Superwork! Hugs!
Dear business people, an iOS app actually takes a lot of work kentnguyen.com
461 points by kentnguyen  5 days ago   128 comments top 37
rickmb 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is a general problem with custom software, not just iOS apps.

Most businesses outside major corporations didn't start commissioning custom software until the rise of the commercial use of the internet in the late '90s, when all kinds of small and medium sized businesses wanted their own website. Websites were relatively simple back then, and the people willing and able to make them cheap. Hell, even though I was already a professional programmer for years, back in 1994 the idea that someone would pay a few hundred bucks me to make a "homepage" was just cool enough in itself.

Websites became more complicated applications, no longer something hobbyists could do on the side, and became more diverse, including apps for specific platforms like iOS. The cost of having an online presence has multiplied many times in less than a decade because of the sheer amount of work involved, and the level of professionalism required these days.

But most businesses don't commission software ever few months, or even every few years. So every time they want a new app, or a refresh of their website, they are suddenly faced with a shockingly high price tag compared to the last time they wanted something similar (or at least similar from their perspective).

And we're only just getting started. The shortage of decent developers has only begun to translate itself into higher costs. Most employers are still rather conservative in the current economic climate, and developers are notoriously bad at selling themselves.

wtvanhest 5 days ago 4 replies      
As a "business person" I need to know three things to hire someone:

1) how much did it cost other people to build similar apps (comparative analysis)
2) that you are able to build the product successfully (reducing technical risk)
3) that the price is low enough that the estimated Rev will produce a return (ROI)

If you can present those points clearly you will be in a much better position to make more money with less frustration

zavulon 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is a message on NY Tech meetup mailing list, from about a half hour ago. All I could do is shake my head.


I am seeking a telephony app. builder that can deliver a PhoneGap lie ( non-native) inexpensive app. for a telephony project.

pay is:

+ 1% equity stake in a newly formed Delaware Corp.
and 2.5% on all residuals.
possible board seat (future paid projects)

if you can deliver an additional investor, you can get 5% of the transaction on the capital raised through you contact.

algoshift 4 days ago 2 replies      
Multiple reasons for this:

First, too many stories along the lines of "I built this app for $1,000 in India and it is making me $50K per month".

Second, kids who don't know how to value their time who'll work like slaves for $2,000.

Third, bad programmers who deliver product cheaply enough, however, the underlying code is an absolute mess. They charge nothing, throw it together and move on.

Fourth, people tend to come up with an idea of what it is that they want to pay for something and try to fit that something to that number. When it comes to software that's like the square-peg -> round-hole problem. I've been to countless meetings where the other side says things like "We'd like to do this for no more than $10K" ... and then they describe an intense six-month, four-person job.

You can always try to educate. Sometimes that works. It can be painful. What you don't want to do is be the educator and have someone else walk away with the work for less (even if it is 1%) than what you would charge. So, don't invest any time unless you know that there's a really good probability of getting the deal.

waterside81 5 days ago 1 reply      
Our app (shameless plug: itunes.apple.com/us/app/little-heroes/id477247738?ls=1&mt=8) cost $15K to make by a Toronto-based developer. We were able to keep the costs that low (I think that's a pretty good price for a better than average iPad app) because (1) all of the art was done in house and (2) all of the server side functionality was done in house. Our app developer just had to wire up the various pieces. (I say just sarcastically, it was still a lot of work).

If you have to outsource the entire cost of development, and you want a good looking, well functioning app, it's very expensive. And then there are the inevitable upgrades, improvements etc.

blahedo 4 days ago 1 reply      
This problem not only isn't unique to iOS dev work, it's not even unique to programming. Any custom work, from carpentry to bespoke tailoring to artwork, is more expensive than most people expect, even when they account for custom work being expensive. For instance, I knit, and have been asked more than once if I'd accept a commission (for, say, a pair of socks)---and when I decline, and say they couldn't afford it, they almost invariably throw out a number like $60 or $80, very expensive for a pair of socks but a small fraction of minimum wage for something that could take thirty hours or more.

The problem is that so much of what we buy is mass-produced that we forget just how expensive person-time is, especially creative person-time, since for most modern products this gets amortised over hundreds or thousands or millions of units. Even user-facing software has this issue, since the programmers do their work once and then the marginal cost of each additional copy is pennies or less. But custom work? There the cost is borne entirely by the one commissioning the work, and if it's an individual, or a small business or startup that has never had to purchase enterprise or custom software, they simply have no analogous experience, with software or anything else, of bearing the entire cost of everything.

rockarage 5 days ago 3 replies      
ios is a lot of work, programming in general is a lot of work. It is 2012 not 1992, business people in all fields should know programming is not cheap. Business people who do not do the research, don't bother with them. Avoid them at all cost. I've learn the best clients are the ones who value your work and are willing to pay for it. Their is a shortage of great programmers.
mirkules 4 days ago 3 replies      
I agree with the overall sentiment of the page. A few questions to seasoned iOS devs:

"With websites, you can simply add one more page, then create a link to that page when you needed. However, you can't do that with iOS app, everything has to be set in the beginning, any changes might result in significant other changes that you might not be able to understand why."

Isn't this what the Navigation Controller is for? You just push a view controller onto the stack, and pop it when you're done.

Regarding the UITabBar: "if you want colors icons instead of the blueish tint, the change in code is substantial!"

I have been using this method, which is not really complicated: http://sugartin.info/2011/07/01/customizing-tab-bar/

You need to make images for the bar in both orientations (if you need it). The only time-consumer is the "more" button, for which you'll have to create a custom UITableView -- and still not have the handy "edit" command to rearrange the tab bar buttons.

...unless this is the wrong method to use, in which case I would love to see an example of the right way to do it.

hello_moto 4 days ago 1 reply      
Most enterprise projects don't want to pay for usability. That's the bottom hard cold fact.

Enterprises want to move fast, if they can, but they can't because of the mistakes they've done in the past were covered with more processes to make sure that 1) it didn't happen again and 2) if it happened, we can blame the process.

Sometime engineers don't understand 2 facts:

1) You will get fired if you made mistakes

2) You will make mistakes

So people tend to hide and blame "processes" to avoid firing.

CEOs are cold blooded firing squad. Just like "Businesses". What matters are profits.

Business people will wear a very thick layer of skin and try to pull unimaginably stupid statements to push the price down ranging from "I thought Facebook was done in a weekend" to "It shouldn't take a day or two to fix a 'simple' Database issue. You just go there and change the data"

Jabbles 4 days ago 3 replies      
I have no experience designing iOS apps. Could someone explain briefly why they are so inflexible?

Tightly integrated code: With websites, you can simply add one more page, then create a link to that page when you needed. However, you can't do that with iOS app, everything has to be set in the beginning, any changes might result in significant other changes that you might not be able to understand why. The way iOS codes are structured is like a breadboard, everything is hard-wired, you still can change a few things here and there, but if you change the wrong wire, the whole board might stop working. Even extremely well structured code does not increase the flexibility by a lot. Adding an additional email button to ‘About' screen might only be worth a few more lines of code, but adding a Facebook Like button on the same page is a different story, don't expect that to be done in a few hours.

sunchild 4 days ago 0 replies      
I get where OP is coming from, but I think this sort of overstates the case. A well designed app would leverage the existing APIs and UI kit.

The iOS and Cocoa Touch APIs are really robust, and with libraries like RESTKit, it's not that big of a deal to whip up an app that works well. Indeed, I've done it a few times myself.

The problem is that no one is ever satisfied with the UI kit that Apple provides. Browsing Navigation views of Tables, and doing simple CRUD to a simple backend (e.g., Rails on Heroku), is a weekend project, IMO.

I think OP is really talking about how unrealistic people's expectations/requirements are " not how difficult it is to make a working iOS app.

adelevie 5 days ago 0 replies      
So there is high demand for iOS apps (the "business people" are clamoring for them) and "50%" of the project (the backend) is a total PITA. This is the recipe for Parse/Stackmob/Cloudmine/etc for ruling the world.
jsankey 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much of this is because iOS apps are typically priced so cheaply. The thinking goes something like "If you can buy quality apps for $1.99 then how much could they cost to make?". Of course some apps make a lot of money at this price point, but it's widely reported that the vast majority make a loss on the developers' time. I suspect even the majority of non-junk apps (which rules out a lot of apps!) make a loss in this sense. If developers aren't valuing their work correctly, how/why would the people hiring them?
casca 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is completely false. Only a decent iOS app takes a lot of work. A crappy one can be done very quickly and cheaply.
ryanwaggoner 4 days ago 3 replies      
This might be a stupid thought, but I wonder if there's a psychological issue at play for iPhone apps in particular where people subconsciously think small form factor = pretty simple = pretty cheap.

Of course, the reality is usually exactly opposite.

pashields 5 days ago 0 replies      
The author hints at, but doesn't push the issue that the cost is all really in the customization. If you were to build an app using only standard apple components, the cost would be significantly less (at least 2x). Those custom components take a lot of effort, particularly when you end up hacking Quartz.

A quick example, I implemented a very good looking custom badge system for an app. The result looked just liked design, could be generated programmatically, and worked like a charm. It also took me a couple of days to implement the whole thing in quartz. If I were doing this as consulting, that's a $2-3000 feature. These things add up very quickly, particularly if someone wants to "try a few out."

mbesto 5 days ago 0 replies      
My company builds enterprise grade apps (meaning they tie into enterprise systems) and what often is missed is the amount of time (money) required to get usability correct. What often is missed is why usability is important. They think their web application or on-premise application can simply be ported over to mobile very easily.

WRONG. Mobile applications supplement existing solutions, which means they generally are a subset of features tailored to a handheld device. Enterprises generally don't adapt a lean methodology. For example they just assume that the current Facebook app you see today was birthed in a weekend...as Facebook itself was. Which, as we know all know here, is simply not true.

feralchimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
In any business where you're contracting directly with clients, especially performing technical work for less- or non-technical people, dealing with a wide variance in expectations and being prepared to (calmly, patiently) explain your LOE estimates is just as important as being able to code/design/etc.

It's not their responsibility to know the market they're trying to consume; it's yours. Be prepared to quote market rates for varying levels of experience, and have examples to explain why your time is priced in whatever tier you consider yourself to be in.

Aqua_Geek 4 days ago 1 reply      
> These APIs must be in existence before you can proceed to make the iPhone app.

I disagree. Yes, it's nice to have everything in hand when you start, but I've built multiple apps concurrently with the backend development. The trick is to isolate your networking in the model layer (a good practice regardless of whether or not the API is already done). This allows you to stub or use dummy data until things come online.

csomar 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's the same problem on Web Development. It's actually worse. As JavaScript and the DOM are quite hard to handle (cross-browser issues too) to build the simplest features and interactions.

I found out that it's not worth it to mingle with offline-small business. Their budget is usually $1,000-$2,000. That's barely enough to buy a stock template, a couple of plug-ins, setup WordPress and customize it a little.

The problem is not with small or medium businesses. You need businesses that works on the web. Their web presences is everything they are. They know how web dev. is hard and expensive and they also value it. Highly.

If you are a freelancer, find a few of them. Make a good relation. That's it. They'll make you a good salary.

16s 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think one issue is the word "app" and how it's thrown around so easily these days by people who don't fully understand what an app is. It sounds so simple... "just make an app" or "there's an app for that". While devs know that "applications" are hard to write and take much planning, design and infrastructure to build and deploy and support, business people only hear the one syllable word "app" and they equate that that word with "easy and convenient". So bringing their expectations in line with reality is a challenge.
jsavimbi 5 days ago 2 replies      
Please raise your hand if you're approached by on a weekly/monthly basis by some bright-eyed, overly optimistic, non-technical person who wants you to build them an "app", of any kind, for the quoted price of somewhere between $10K - $20K.

That's the price of a demo.

ldayley 5 days ago 0 replies      
Peoples' "Amazing app idea!" is the new "Amazing screenplay/TV show idea!".

Like creating quality TV/Film content, crafting mobile applications takes time, talent, and money and one day this will be better understood by the mainstream.

agentultra 4 days ago 0 replies      
Depends on the app and the expectations of the business stakeholders.

For example, my company focuses on building media-based apps. We have a platform and internal SDK that allows us to build these apps quickly and afford-ably (and not just on iOS -- we can release simultaneously on Android, Blackberry, WP7 and others too).

There are other services that make developing apps for mobile smartphones cheaper as well.

It's a fresh market and the consumers in this market don't know the options. Not every app is a unique, bespoke snowflake that requires a massive budget and a team of highly-specialized engineers. Once they do though I think we'll see a lot of these budgets come back down a bit.

xarien 4 days ago 1 reply      
I didn't actually read the blog. Why am I commenting? I want to share the reason why I didn't read the blog.

I judge books by their covers. In fact, I don't know anyone who doesn't outside of trying very hard to convince others they do not.

The layout of the blog draws my attention to your picture and subsequently your "download my resume" link. I clicked since I was interested in learning a little about the author, his background, and what may have caused him to write such an article.

As soon as that link opened, I knew I would not read the blog post because the resume layout rendered the content difficult to read. Why does that bother me so much? The answer is simple: it ruined your brand for me before I even had a positive impression. Right off the bat, I'd give 2 suggestions to clean up your resume a little:

1) Do something about the half bar headers you are using as it currently divides the page when viewed, this wouldn't be an issue if you actually had a 2 column design which lined up, but it doesn't.

2) Never and I mean NEVER use justified alignment unless you're publishing a newspaper.

Sorry if I seem a bit harsh, but being that you're fairly young and these are very simple mistakes to correct, I thought I'd point them out.

Best of luck!

jnbiche 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a full-stack web developer with particular strengths in server-side development, this whole discussion has opened my eyes to a whole new potential clientele: iPhone developers. Building a nice RESTful API is something I enjoy doing and that I'm good at. I never imagined that I would end up marketing my services to other developers, but clearly there is a market there. I'll have to start hanging around mobile development forums, at least until Parse.com and its competitors put me out of business.
brianstorms 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't tell you how many VCs and angels, all of whom should know better, would ask "why did it take so long to build your iPhone app" and "why did it cost so much to build" when they're not including the weeks/months it took to design it, plus build out a very complex backend of servers ingesting licensed data, all the application logic on the backend, all the API calls on the backend and corresponding API connections on the app end, and on and on. It's a big complex project.

The idea that you can whip up a very complex iPhone app "in a weekend or two" is naive and, dare I say, bubblethink.

6ren 4 days ago 0 replies      
From the referenced SO question http://stackoverflow.com/questions/209170/how-much-does-it-c... on apps costing $50-150-250K to develop.

Is there really enough money made from apps, to justify this cost?

matwood 4 days ago 2 replies      
While trying to describe a rather large system change an SVP in a large company once told me:

it's just an 'if' statement

orbitingpluto 4 days ago 1 reply      
I recently made an Android app for $150. Ad supported. Now with 1 million users. That's about 1/30th of what it has earned so far.

Hard way to learn to value my own work more.

MaxGabriel 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm learning iOS development. I won't start this now, as there's alot more of iOS to learn, but what are the main languages/frameworks are being used server side to interface with iOS apps?
slakr78 2 days ago 1 reply      
Worst. Article. Ever. Having just been in the situation of being a large corporation client trying (successfully) to hire a firm to do this, I'd like to point out that everything you've said about the prep here is just wrong.

(1) Big infrastructure needed: Seriously, if the client is not picky, you should be able to build a working basic infrastructure for the back end in a week. And that's generous.

(2) You need a way to communicate: The claim that there is no standard way to do it is just plain wrong. There is absolutely a standard way, its how everyone with a brain does it these days, and its easily supported through every device SDK - you use HTTP

(3) Design the API: No, design the app. Then determine what question it needs to ask the server, and figure out how to make the server answer them. Designing the API first is a very engineer thing to do - if you're the only user for the API its just a flat-out wrong approach

(4) Pay for it: Sure, but I'll pay for the amount of time it should take to do this. Which is a week. Engineers that want me to pay for them to sit and write 200 page requirements specifications need not apply. I want to work with the people that want to build something on day 1, and then keep tweaking it.

matthavener 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much of the server aspect is reduced with the existence of parse.com. You still have to build your model, but I would imagine a lot of the server setup and "data format" concerns are no longer valid.
SatvikBeri 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for using simple language-I found this article to be really accessible.
AznHisoka 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not to mention dealing with provisioning profiles and certificates. Creating an adhoc distribution version was one of the most frustrating experiences.
rzrzrz 5 days ago 0 replies      
I tend to agree with what you have said. But then, it is unavoidable that high costs would push businesses to other solutions (e.g. outsourcing) for costs savings.
Radzell 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you this is one of my biggest pet peeves as a developers business people thing it is so easy.
Beautiful Buttons for Twitter Bootstrappers charliepark.org
412 points by charliepark  4 days ago   62 comments top 28
Animus7 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can't count how many times I've handcoded button colors, so thanks for this timesaver.

But I'm actually more interested in a deeper aspect here: what will button colors do to my conversion funnel? So here's an idea for a weekend hack: I would pay money for a PnP button A/B testing solution that automagically converged to statistically optimal colors.

adhipg 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love the fact that the colour of the text changes depending on the Lightness of the buttons to keep the text more legible!
a1k0n 3 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful indeed, but one gripe: The mouse roll-over colors aren't sufficiently different from the button-pressed colors.
heyrhett 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks a lot for the great tool! It's very intuitive and works well!
Davertron 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Can you add sliders for size and padding?
mindhunter 3 days ago 1 reply      
Watch out! The generated code uses the wrong unprefixed gradient syntax:

  linear-gradient(top, color1, color2)

is wrong. The direction syntax changed to

  linear-gradient(to bottom, color1, color2)

I'll contact the author of the tool.

pacomerh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Handy project, one important thing though, these buttons don't look right on IE9. This because IE9 that doesn't allow to combine gradient + rounded corners at the same time. If you which to add a solution for this please check this page using SVG as a background. http://abouthalf.com/2010/10/25/internet-explorer-9-gradient...
andr 3 days ago 2 replies      
Unrelated: I clicked through to Monotask, liked the idea, but got an error when I tried to sign up for the form.
jQueryIsAwesome 3 days ago 1 reply      
2 suggestions: 1) A fallback for IE7 and IE8 (maybe just the main color without the gradient?) 2) A "generate link" button, that basically generates an URL to the current custom button.
nhebb 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice. One suggestion: add color presets. I know there are others who have commented on cookie cutter designs, but for those of us without innate design skills and a budget to hire a designer for each button we want, preset color schemes are a godsend.
pdenya 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love the bill & teds reference but I like the buttons from http://css-tricks.com/examples/ButtonMaker/ better.
patja 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very nice...but what about IE8?
v33ra 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty neat. Especially the button text color change according to the background color.

I suppose the generated CSS works pretty much with any templates, not just Twitter Bootsrappers.

Here's another tool which I use it often: http://www.colorzilla.com/gradient-editor/

sheraz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Thank you for putting that up. I'll be using that on future bootstrap projects
cgarvey 3 days ago 1 reply      
Would be nice to have numerical values shown for each slider for reference later. Thanks for this tool!
jonny_eh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Has this been tested with twbootstrap 2.0? The gradient is messed up when I hover over the button when I tried it on my bootstrap 2.0 site.
moomin 3 days ago 2 replies      
Lovely, but I'm going to be churlish. Couldn't you write this in a more "less.js" style?
mc 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. Thanks.
mk1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why is this marketed only towards Bootstrap users? This will work fine for anyone. Great tool nonetheless!
clyfe 3 days ago 0 replies      
cfontes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks very useful...
loucal 3 days ago 0 replies      
The ability to edit the HSL numbers directly, or to input a hex and have it convert would be nice. Looks good though.
kingkool68 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lickably delicious!
miles_matthias 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, thanks!
joshwprinceton 3 days ago 0 replies      
this is AMAZING
kenrik 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a nice little tool, "Slick".
However I'm not a big fan of using this type of "easy" tool as just about everyones stuff ends up looking the same.

A good illustration of this fact:
Cars, what's the difference between a 370z and a Porsche Cayman? Well the 370z won't turn as many heads because you see them all the time.

It takes time to make a nice custom button/graphic/logo but it is time is well spent!

envex 3 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe I'm just being a negative nancy, but anyone who is capable of using bootstrap would probably be able to edit the button values themselves.
haberman 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm having trouble understanding exactly what this package provides; is it essentially a website "theme?" If I use this, will my website necessarily have the same design look as this website?
SSH tricks might.net
406 points by joeyespo  2 days ago   64 comments top 24
lloeki 2 days ago 5 replies      
This talks about port forwarding but does not mention using ssh as a socks proxy, with is extremely convenient. Also, although tricky to configure ssh can also be used as a VPN with tun/tap support (although a good /etc/network/interfaces on Debian can make it as easy as ifup/ifdown tunX)

Unfortunately this guide does not mention ssh-agent to have usable passphrased keys. Tip: Mac OS X Keychain integrates fantastically with ssh-agent.

My favorite trick is transparently bouncing via ProxyCommand+netcat:

    Host target.domain
Hostname target.local
ProxyCommand ssh -q bounce_host.domain nc -q0 %h 22

Also, authorizing by key but restricting the (passwordless) key to certain commands, allowing for remote action automation. [0]

Ssh agent forwarding is also particularly awesome instead of naively scattering keys.

Ssh ControlMaster allowing to reuse connections can really improve responsiveness. Tip: start the master connection as a daemon (-f), so as not to mistakenly close the terminal which handles it, else you will close the channel for all other currently opened slave sessions. I wish ssh would fork and start the master on demand then close it when the last channel closes.

[0] http://www.cmdln.org/2008/02/11/restricting-ssh-commands/

mattdeboard 2 days ago 5 replies      
Is there a "tech blogger of the year" category somewhere so we can nominate this guy? Every single one of his posts is epic. The peri-relational metaphor for shell command composition, this one, and every one before should be required reading.
nlh 2 days ago 0 replies      
One addition:

Re: iOS -- Panic (makers of Coda, etc.) developed a _really_ nice little iOS app for SSH called 'Prompt'. It got some coverage here when it was released, and I immediately replaced iSSH with it and haven't looked back once.


sciurus 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't call these tricks, just using ssh properly.

Here is an article with some less known features of ssh:

moe 2 days ago 4 replies      
As a small addendum to "Copying files", you can also copy entire directories:

  $ tar czf - foo | ssh remote "cd /where/to/unpack && tar xzf -"

This is often significantly faster than rsync, e.g. when copying a directory with many files for the first (or only) time.

rbonvall 2 days ago 1 reply      

    > $ cat .ssh/id_dsa.pub | ssh host 'cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys'

Using ssh-copy-id is simpler:

    ssh-copy-id host

(Works On My Machine™)

nzmsv 2 days ago 2 replies      
I would add the use of the ControlMaster and ControlPath options for connection sharing, as well as keepalive settings for those cases where connections drop when idle.

The remote port forwarding feature can be very handy. I've used a combination of ssh and daemontools to set up remote access to a machine behind a particularly nasty firewall.

mike-cardwell 2 days ago 1 reply      
Only yesterday, I wrote up how I use a smart card and reader with hardware pin pad for SSH authentication. Seems relevant:


xtacy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good list of useful configuration options. I'd also like to add the "Compression yes" option that you can add on a per-host basis, and this could save some bytes sent over the wire. To see how much it saved, invoke with verbose ("ssh -v"), and it outputs the number of bytes saved after the session ends.

Another config option that has saved me a lot of time is the "ProxyCommand" option that lets you specify a command, whose stdin is used as a pipe to talk to a remote server. So, something like:

    Host inside
ProxyCommand ssh gateway nc inside 22

Would allow you to just type "ssh inside" and ssh to a machine behind a gateway, without ssh-ing twice!

Estragon 2 days ago 1 reply      
My main problem with sshfs lately has been that on a flakey connection it sometimes hangs irretrievably, often taking out the process trying to use it (usually emacs.)
pooriaazimi 2 days ago 1 reply      
The best and most useful SSH trick (for me at least) is:

   ssh -[N]D 1080 [-p 33] user@server

A SOCKS5 proxy on the go...

elehack 2 days ago 0 replies      
One more trick that I really like: using an SSH agent. On Gnome-based systems, Seahorse provides one (sometimes you have to install seahorse-plugins to get it); otherwise, gpg-agent can be an ssh agent. Pageant on Windows, and I'm not sure what's available on Mac.

SSH agents let you keep your key encrypted while only needing to enter your passphrase on first use (with the default ssh-agent, you must load the key manually with ssh-add; gpg-agent and seahorse both prompt you the first time it's needed). Add that to SSH agent forwarding (where multi-hop SSH connections authenticate using the agent on the originating machine, and your key is (A) only on the local machine and (B) encrypted when not in use.

michaelcampbell 2 days ago 0 replies      
ssh as a cheap way around firewalls is nifty, but caveat ssh-or, for sure. A colleague of mine used this to connect to Yahoo IM (or somesuch; details not important) for some totally innocent IM'ing. Nothing against the company, no secrets leaked, nothing against any of his signed agreements. (Only that he couldn't use IM.)

While corporate IT couldn't tell exactly what was going on, they did ask him why he was ssh'd to an ISP-provided IP for X hours using Y bytes. So don't try to outclever your company this way; they can still nab you on suspicion of whatever, even if what you did was non-harmful in any way.

eridius 2 days ago 1 reply      
SSH is capable of running multiple channels over the same SSH connection. In theory this means you could ssh to a remote host, then establish a second channel to transfer a file over. Why the heck does the ssh tool not actually allow this sort of capability? Why do I have to establish a second scp or sftp connection to transfer a file when I'm already ssh'd into the machine? I don't get it.
xxqs 2 days ago 1 reply      
nice summary, and sshfs looks cool.

here are my 2 cents:

Joeri 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another cool trick is setting up a script that constantly tries to set up x2x between your laptop and desktop, tunneled over ssh. As soon as the laptop enters the local network, you can use the keyboard and mouse of the desktop on it, no cable connections necessary.
jsilence 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please don't use password less ssh keys. Use ssh-agent.
delan 2 days ago 0 replies      
One good trick that the article could add is getting around NTLM-authenticated HTTP proxies, which are frequently found in schools and workplaces. First, set up cntlm or ntlmaps to run a local HTTP proxy that strips the authentication from the real proxy. This is because almost all software that can handle authenticated proxies (including corkscrew) can only handle basic auth, but not NTLM. Then, configure ssh to use corkscrew:

ProxyCommand /usr/bin/corkscrew localhost 3128 %h %p

Finally, set up the socks proxy (most of these proxies only allow outgoing connections over ports 80 and 443):

ssh -ND2345 -p443 host

I use this technique constantly at school to browse the web unrestricted and with privacy.

symkat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some more (Transferring whole directories, multiplexing etc) http://www.symkat.com/ssh-tips-and-tricks-you-need
joejohnson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Port forwarding is a good trick to know.
skeletonjelly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like this pops up every few months. But I guess I can't complain about the spread of the knowledge surrounding ssh security and pro tips.
sravfeyn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I actually went on to implement an automated file sharing service over SSH using these tricks in our college when they blocked normal protocols. You can see the software on github tailored for my college
blacksmith_tb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of good advice, but if you are using Windows Kitty is a bit nicer than Putty:


ronreiter 2 days ago 0 replies      
The most amazing thing about SSH tunneling is that it is always on, even if there is NO SHELL CONFIGURED for the user.
Facebook's S-1 Filing sec.gov
400 points by hornokplease  3 days ago   203 comments top 39
jonnathanson 3 days ago  replies      
Facebook is heavily (heavily!) reliant on display advertising, all of which is a) challenged by the switch of its userbase to mobile, and b) going to hit critical mass eventually. No matter how smart you make display advertising, there's still a cap on how much you can foist onto users before you piss them off.

IMO, Facebook's future depends on two things:

1) Figuring out how to serve up contextually relevant ads on mobile platforms in a nonintrusive and, ideally, useful way.

2) Figuring out how to serve up contextually relevant ads outside of Facebook, to Facebook Connect-backended partner sites and apps. (Sort of like an AdSense/AdWords hybrid, but based on very intelligent user-interest and browsing data).

I'm betting on #2's being the runaway breadwinner for Facebook in the long run. The longterm strategy seems to be to reduce reliance/dependence on Facebook.com in favor of Facebook Connect.

newhouseb 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the interesting gems in this filing is at the very end, it details stock grants for acquisitions so you can infer the running rate of talent acquisitions. So for example, "On February 28, 2011, we issued 681,357 shares of our Class A common stock as consideration to a company in connection with our purchase of certain assets from the company." You can cross reference these with news and correlate approximate acquisition cost based on the estimate value of price per share assuming, say, a valuation of $100 billion. So I'm guessing that the company I mentioned is Octazen and assuming a $100 billion valuation (~$50 per share), this comes out to about $35 million (assuming an entirely stock acquisition - note that Facebook spent, for example, $20 million aggregate in cash on acquisitions in 2010).
apike 3 days ago 3 replies      
It turns out that Zynga only accounts for 12% of their revenue.

"In 2011, Zynga accounted for approximately 12% of our revenue, which amount was comprised of revenue derived from payments processing fees related to Zynga's sales of virtual goods and from direct advertising purchased by Zynga. Additionally, Zynga's apps generate a significant number of pages on which we display ads from other advertisers."

It appears they would still be profitable without Zynga.

bradleyjg 3 days ago 6 replies      
They are doing a dual class offering. The class B shares (i.e. those held by Zuckerberg and other insiders) are going to have ten times the voting rights as the class A shares.

I wouldn't by into such an ownership structure, though to be fair, google has such a structure and those that bought that at IPO have done very well so far.

From the risks section:

As a result of voting agreements with certain stockholders, together with the shares he holds, Mark Zuckerberg, our founder, Chairman, and CEO, will be able to exercise voting rights with respect to an aggregate of XX shares of common stock, representing a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock following our initial public offering. As a result, Mr. Zuckerberg has the ability to control the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors and any merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. In addition, Mr. Zuckerberg has the ability to control the management and affairs of our company as a result of his position as our CEO and his ability to control the election of our directors. Additionally, in the event that Mr. Zuckerberg controls our company at the time of his death, control may be transferred to a person or entity that he designates as his successor. As a board member and officer, Mr. Zuckerberg owes a fiduciary duty to our stockholders and must act in good faith in a manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interests of our stockholders. As a stockholder, even a controlling stockholder, Mr. Zuckerberg is entitled to vote his shares, and shares over which he has voting control as a result of voting agreements, in his own interests, which may not always be in the interests of our stockholders generally.

dxbydt 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like the accountant put in the perfect round figure of 1000 million for 2011 Net Income& then backed out all the other entries :) I used to do exactly that in my Accountancy 101 exams - Q.write the income statement for Acme Corp. What do you want Net Income to be ? XXX $. That means, TCO must be XXX - yyy, R&D must be XXX - zzz, and similarly back out everything else. Not saying they actually did that, just that seeing such perfectly round numbers reminded me of those exam problems.
lyime 3 days ago 1 reply      
A small tidbit. FB paid Zuck $783,529 (3) in "other" compensation from his base 500k salary.

(3) The fine print.... The amount reported represent approximately $692,679 for costs related to personal use of aircraft chartered in connection with his comprehensive security program and on which family and friends flew during 2011.

Like a boss.

ajays 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook's revenue will eventually shift from display advertising to data selling. There will come a time when no display campaign will run without input from Facebook.

Before any impression on any online media, advertisers will make a query to Facebook to find out which of the ads should be shown to this user. And Facebook will charge a small fee for each such query.

olivercameron 3 days ago 2 replies      
Curiously, Sean Parker appears to not be on the top shareholders list[1], despite previously having a large %. Did he sell all of it on SecondMarket?

1. http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/01/facebooks-s-1-and-the-large...

chintan 3 days ago 1 reply      
<Interesting/> "Mobile" appears as risk factor in 2 instances.

- Growth in use of Facebook through our mobile products, where we do not currently display ads, as a substitute for use on personal computers may negatively affect our revenue and financial results;

- Facebook user growth and engagement on mobile devices depend upon effective operation with mobile operating systems, networks, and standards that we do not control;

moxiemk1 3 days ago 1 reply      
$1 Billion in profit => $1/(user year) in profit for 2011, correct?

That's pretty darn good money, but not a huge amount more room for user-growth. They'll grow by having new businesses/making current ones more profitable. New business would have to be monetizable (eventually, at least), current businesses would either have to convert better or become less costly to run.

Facebook is full of some smart cookies - it'll be interesting to see how they accomplish those paths.

alain94040 3 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting salary history: 100% raise over 2 years.

Molly Graham, the daughter of Donald E. Graham, a member of our board of directors, is employed by us. During 2009, 2010, and 2011, Ms. Graham had total cash compensation, including base salary, bonus and other compensation, of $98,058, $133,620, and $189,168.

zach 3 days ago 0 replies      
revorad 3 days ago 1 reply      
Zuckerberg's letter is really fantastic -http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/01/facebook-ipo-letter/.

I'm really proud of him for clearly and loudly representing the hacker way when the whole world is watching.

omarish 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious as to what facebook did to generate $382k of revenue in 2004. Seems like a great start for a company of their size at the time. IIRC, they didn't turn on ads for a while afterwards.

Link: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1326801/0001193125120...

CWIZO 3 days ago 5 replies      
As someone that lives in EU (as in, not in USA) and has no clue about stock market: what would be the easiest way for me to get a couple of hundred € worth of stocks in FB? Is that even possible?
blantonl 3 days ago 2 replies      
Per the S-1 filing, Facebook did $1 billion dollars in net revenue in 2011.

A valuation of $80-$100 billion dollars after the IPO would mean Facebook would be trading at 80 to 100x earnings.

Facebook is going to need to see some serious growth to continue to command a PE ratio like that long term. Serious Growth

patd 3 days ago 2 replies      
If you are logged on Facebook, never go on the website but still see the like-button that are scattered all around the web, do you count as an "monthly active user" ?
mwytock 3 days ago 2 replies      
Key information on revenue is on page 50. 85% of revenue comes from ads, which grew 69% Y/Y mostly driven by user growth (39% Y/Y) and showing a bunch more ads starting Q4 2010:

2011 Compared to 2010.
Revenue in 2011 increased $1,737 million, or 88% compared to 2010. The increase was due primarily to a 69% increase in advertising revenue to $3,154 million. Advertising revenue grew due to a 42% increase in thenumber of ads delivered and an 18% increase in the average price per ad delivered. The increase in ads delivered was driven primarily by user growth. The number of ads delivered was also affected by many other factors including product changes that significantly increased the number of ads on many Facebook pages beginning in the fourth quarter of 2010, partially offset byan increase in usage of our mobile products, where we do not show ads, and by various product changes implemented in 2011that in aggregate modestly reduced the number of ads on certain pages. The increase in average price per ad delivered was affected by factors including improvements in our ability to deliver more relevant ads to users and product changes that contributed to higher user interaction with the ads by increasing their relative prominence.

dm8 3 days ago 6 replies      
Wow.. $3.7 billion in revenues in 2011; $1 billion in profits. Out of curiosity, what were GOOG's revenue/profit numbers when they filed for IPO?
portman 3 days ago 1 reply      
EDGAR keeps timing out for me, anyone know of a mirror?
sp332 3 days ago 1 reply      
So what % of the company are they selling off for $5 Billion? I'm wondering what they're claiming the whole company to be worth.
gggrgraham 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Letter from mark has to be the coolest part.


The Hacker Way has grown up and lambasted Wall St.

dcaranda 3 days ago 0 replies      
I put together a really quick valuation multiples analysis based on financial info from the S-1: https://twitter.com/#!/daranda/status/164854828957310978/pho...

Disclaimer: This analysis is flawed

- Using multiples is not a perfect method to understand the valuation of a business. It's one of many. It's a proxy. It's quick.

- This chart uses 2011 financial data. Facebook is growing fast - their multiples would come down significantly if we used 2012 projections - which we don't have. If I had more than 10 minutes on this - I would use 2nd half of 2011 or Q4 2011 as a run rate.

Quick Thoughts (Not Conclusions):

- In Ben Horowitz's argument against the bubble - he says the valuations they were seeing at AH for large private tech companies (like facebook) is in line with large public tech companies (google). So just looking at the data quickly, I was disappointed that FB appeared to have higher multiples (his blog post: http://bhorowitz.com/2011/03/24/bubble-trouble-i-don%E2%80%9...)

- DAYAM FB has a crazy operating margin

- And they're getting better at monetizing each user. User growth was 40% from end of 2010 to end of 2011, while revenue grew 80% (http://allthingsd.com/20120201/facebook-has-845-million-user...)

shaggy 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really wish everyone would stop talking about mobile access like it's this entirely new thing that's never been done before. Using facebook from a mobile device is absolutely, 100%, without room for debate using "the web". Sure it's a mobile device, but it's still HTTP and it's still a mobile browser based app. Just because it's not a "desktop" version of a browser does not mean the access isn't "web".
Sthorpe 3 days ago 1 reply      
"In the first quarter of 2012, our compensation committee discussed and approved a request by our CEO to reduce his base salary to $1 per year, effective January 1, 2013."


Toddward 3 days ago 0 replies      
"We had 845 million monthly active users (MAUs) as of December 31, 2011."

That blows some estimates out of the water.

ChrisNorstrom 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many employees are going to ditch the company after it goes public. They might have stuck around just for the IPO so they can hit big, take the money, leave, and start their own companies.
rplnt 3 days ago 1 reply      
The site is really slow for me, maybe it's getting overloaded or ... something else. Either way, could someone post a summary of the filing? If I remember correctly there should be some pretty interesting figures; revenue, profit and so on.
hessenwolf 3 days ago 0 replies      
An adsense product from facebook would be really interesting, but I am not interested in adverstising on facebook.com. Do they already have this?
newguy0 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like members of the exec team (COO, CTO, etc.) will each be worth 100MM post IPO

Wonder what amt of RSUs the rank-and-file are getting?

Also, it'll be interesting to see how the culture changes when a good % of the populace are millionaires

swlkr 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with what people say about a Facebook phone. They might offer a smartphone for a heavily subsidized price and/or a feature phone for free. They might even offer free unlimited data, the catch for either model (and the data) is the that you log in with Facebook first thing, and maybe they'll restrict you to using only Facebook services, like messenger.
Johngibb 3 days ago 1 reply      
If they filed for an IPO today, how long will it be until their shares are actually available to an average investor?
taylorwc 3 days ago 0 replies      
3.711B in revenue and 3,200 employees at the end of 2011. That puts their revenue/employee numbers only slightly lower than Apple & Google, but beats Amazon. Impressive.
sek 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow look at site 54, they pushed their revenue this year to a billion in December. How are they doing this?
visegrip 3 days ago 0 replies      
Filing a S1 when business is slowing down. Genius!

Subscriber rates have fallen and the future is filled with uncertainty. Let's go Public!

Google SYWP changing the game of advertising. Panic!

Exit strategy for investors to monetize their investments.

ig1 3 days ago 1 reply      
Reading this document makes me think Facebook don't know what's happening inside their own company. Facebook from all behavioural indications have been focused on maximizing short-term spend per advertiser rather than the long term revenue per user. Yet that doesn't seem to be reflected at all in their filing.
hc8217 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just read through the entire S-1 before reading anything in the media about it. I liveblogged the tidbits I found interesting:


CWIZO 3 days ago 0 replies      
At least give context next time (I had to google for it): http://www.theonion.com/articles/facebook-to-launch-ipo,2723...

edit: downvoter ... I just wanted to provide context for others so they wouldn't wonder what this is all about. I agree that this comment (parent) does not belong here ...

collypops 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Effective January 1, 2013, Mr. Zuckerberg's annual base salary will be reduced to $1."

In the business world, we can now call this "Doing a Jobs".

Show HN: Fed up with WebEx, so we built a way to screen share in under 20 sec. screenleap.com
390 points by ttruong  3 days ago   130 comments top 59
huhtenberg 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nicely done, but there are few issues from the top of my head.

1. Security - this should really be going over SSL. In fact, the whole site needs to be SSL'd.

2. P2P - I bet you are not P2P, and you won't be able to be P2P if you keep the viewer in the confines of the browser. However, the client-to-client traffic really needs to go peer to peer. It's an absolute must. This is what keeps the cost of running the service low and this is what allowed LogMeIn to grow like a fire and eat Citrix lunch. You keep pushing all data through yourselves, your bandwidth usage and infrastructure upgrade bills will likely to kill you. Scaling a server-relayed service is a bitch of an issue, don't underestimate it.

3. Java dependency for sharing - you'd be surprised how many locked-down corporate setups have no Java (not that they are your target audience). I personally don't have Java installed either (and again, I am probably not your target user either). A fallback to Flash would make a lot of sense. Also the screen sharing on iPhone/Pad/etc would require a native app, which effectively means that you are on your way to replicate join.me.

4. Patents - I'm sure the easiest way to knock you down is through a patent litigation. Be mindful here. Try and build a bit of a defensive portfolio if you can.

All in all, good luck. You are entering a crowded market littered with failed startups... and interesting acquisitions ;)

chops 3 days ago 1 reply      
Three thoughts:

1) Can I safely assume you're working on a way to share desktop control, for things like tech support? Seems like the next semi-major logical step.

2) Out of curiosity, how do you plan to monetize this beast? Freemium, with a more feature-rich paid version (voip, desktop control, etc)? Or...something else?

3) Very cool. Great job guys!

ChrisNorstrom 3 days ago 3 replies      
Please ditch the generic stock photo of a lady on a broken laptop on the beach. It makes your site look like a cheap travel agency.

Go for a home computer setting or even an office setting.

Like one of these or something.




joshaidan 3 days ago 3 replies      
Just to give you some feedback. The biggest issue I have with the site is that I'm not sure if I can trust you.

How do I know my privacy is protected?

How do I know you're not a phising company trying to steal personal data by spying on screen sharing sessions?

Those are some of the questions I ask myself. And it's also the first impression I get when I look at the site. Also, I don't see a phone number anywhere on the site I can call to speak to somebody, or to even verify that you're a real company. There's also no real explanation of how the technology works, and how the tech could protect my privacy--if it in fact does.

I'm not trying to be harsh, just giving you my honest opinion. You have to find some way to make me trust you, if you want me to use your product.

aresant 3 days ago 1 reply      
Beautiful product, dead simple and I'd use this over Join.me which I see as your closest competition for quick screen sharing.

GOOG & Skype are also getting a lot faster on their feet in this space.

I'm intimately familiar with this landscape as we're preparing to launch our FREE webinar platform, http://www.MeetingBurner.com, in the very near future after ~1yr in beta.

Our target is the "webinar" space which includes all the trimmings like registrations, invitations, bundled conference lines / skype / telephony, analytics, pay walls, etc.

But we have a solid contingent of users that just want screen sharing 90% of the time and I love your focus on "2 clicks to start a meeting" etc.

Elegant solution and good luck.

samstave 3 days ago 2 replies      
Join.me has been my goto replacement for webex.

This operates exactly like join.me - however I like join.me's shorter URLs - I would suggest copying a format similar to theirs.

However I really like the "share whats in the rectangle" feature.

antimora 3 days ago 2 replies      
There is a Chrome extension by Google that allows quickly share screens without needing to install Java.

It works on Linux as well.

Here is a link to the extension https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gbchcmhmhahfdphkhk...

danso 3 days ago 0 replies      
So I had more than 110 viewers at one point, and also screenleaped into someone else who was screeleaping my screenleap: http://yfrog.com/z/oe15628524p

The product was effortlessly easy to run. Obviously there was a usage overload but otherwise, people were able to watch me Tweet and screenleap into other people's screenleaps in real time (and also watch me scroll through cat gifs). Extremely well done, bravo!

alexholehouse 3 days ago 0 replies      
One privacy enhancement which would be nice would be to see a list of IPs viewing the screen. Not sure how easy it would be to implement, but would give me total peace of mind to know only 1 IP is viewing (if that's what I'm expecting).

Stellar job though - no barrier to use whatsoever.

almost 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, that's really slick! Any plans to license the software for use in other products? It would make a great addition to some help desk software...
samlev 3 days ago 3 replies      
Cool, but I couldn't close the java 'ScreenLeap' dialog without using chrome's task manager to kill the java plugin.

(I'm running Ubuntu 11.10, and chrome 16.0 if that helps)

Also, I feel "No downloads, installs" is a little disingenuous - just because it's not installed as a full-time application doesn't mean that it's not downloaded or installed.

dxbydt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just tested this. Ok so it works. Very cool! Now chances of someone correctly guessing a permutation of three 3-digit numbers are 1 in 901^3 = 732 million, but still, is that the only form of security ? I can call someone over the phone & give them my screen key ie. 3 3-digit numbers. Someone else can overhear that & also go to screenleap and enter those 3 numbers & suddenly my screen isn't private anymore...
brd529 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't use this over join.me because of the compression artifacts. I use join.me to lead webinars and a professional appearance is critical.

However, I am glad to see another competitor in the space. The killer feature, IMHO, would be adding a VoIP / Telephone bridge so people could get audio either way. Webex and Gotomeeting do this, but they are clunky in other areas.

prophetjohn 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks nice. Is there any way to switch who is sharing their screen among participants? We have weekly meetings for product demos and WebEx allows us to trade of who is the presenter.
manuscreationis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to add, I just used this to show some work to a friend, and it worked really well. Had it up and running quickly, he joined easily, was able to see everything I did.

Only gripe, the window re-sizing wasn't working properly. Once I re-sized it once (width-wise), it didn't let me re-size it any more, only move it around.

Otherwise, very easy to use product

matdwyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I need these to be dead simple as I use them to help walk my Mom through simple tasks on the PC from 2000 miles away.

Thank you for helping keep the hair on my head

nodata 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice - but I can't stop sharing my screen. Even if I click "Stop sharing screen", even if I try to close the popup window with that button in it.
eps 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ah, the joy of product marketing.

The VIEWING is from any device, but SHARING is not.

Ability to view on iPad in the browser is a step up from join.me, but it appears to be the only major difference. Am I missing something? I am a long time LogMeIn user, so I am probably right smack in the middle of your target audience.

tommi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does it allow me to only share a specific applications? I don't want to show everybody my email and other stuff.
onwardly 3 days ago 0 replies      
Its like the Stripe for screensharing , I love it.

As for monetization, I think a good strategy might be something like the first 3 are free, and then you pay $5 for 30 screenshares afterwards. Atleast for me, I'd be willing to pay that and it seems like a straightforward/fair way to price it.

Good luck!

missing_cipher 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this. How feasible would a Chrome/Firefox extension be? An icon by the URL to start a share without going to another URL would be amazing(and something no one else does as far as I know).

Great product. Best of luck! :)

Craiggybear 3 days ago 0 replies      

Works well, and yes, effortless. Impressive.

emehrkay 3 days ago 1 reply      
Doesnt seem to work on my Lion with the latest Java installed
sim0n 3 days ago 0 replies      
Best/easiest screen-sharing implementation I've seen so far, great work!
lobster45 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks interesting, but I do not run java on my machines so this wont work for me.
grannyg00se 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it typical for tablet and smartphone browsers to have a java run time environment? Mine does not.
snampall 3 days ago 3 replies      
I have been using https://join.me/ and pretty happy with it.

How is this different from https://join.me/?

deltaqueue 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any chance at offering this through SSL in the future? Or does the transmission already go through SSL?
jczhang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Two things:
1. It was odd that you can't resize using the top and left borders.
2. I'm using 2 monitors (laptop + monitor) and I can't move the rectangle to the secondary monitory.
manuscreationis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Mind sharing what your particular frustrations with WebEx are? (Not that I'm defending the product, just curious)
arjn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to check it out but it asks me to download java which I already have. However the java plugin does not show up in FF for me. Any idea how to enable it and could you include those instructions too ? Thanks.
lincolnq 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is effortless and works well, just like Dropbox. Nice job.
rabidsnail 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's not safe to assume that everyone has the java plugin installed anymore.
joshbaptiste 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great product.. This disrupts all of the clunky screen sharing products I have used in my tech life. Dare I be bold and state this may be the Dropbox of screen sharing.
fady 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow. i was curious if this would work on my networked machine and it did. boom! that was pretty quick. a+ guys
cantlin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great product. Am I alone in thinking the design could use a refresh? Is this in the works? A really distinctive visual identity is what would turn this from "cool thing I saw on HN" to a solution that I'll remember long enough to reach for it next chance I get.
sachleen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just tried it. Works pretty well. I especially like the share rectangle region feature.

I have been using https://join.me/ since it allows me to control the other person's screen as well. The setup is just as simple but it requires you to run a downloaded file.

xm1994 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I hadn't found http://join.me a few months ago I'd be jumping up and down right now. This is just as effortless, great job there. I'd suggest making the two options: share a screen, and join a session stand out even more from the rest of the homepage.
joshuarrrr 3 days ago 1 reply      
My boss works in a different city, and we're on the phone all the time. The simplicity of this is priceless. I especially appreciate that the viewing side requires no setup. That makes it much preferable to WebEx or Skype when I'm dealing with less tech-savvy folks.
kvinnako 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a very usefull website with great potential. And nice and clean interface.
Good work.
pygorex 3 days ago 0 replies      
Two questions:

1. Right now my screen share app of choice is TeamViewer. You could own this space if screen control was added, very easy to setup and use.

2. Monetization strategy? Are you looking to monetize this app?

kvinnako 1 day ago 0 replies      
this is a very usefull website with a fantastic opportunity to become big...
Mcole1987 3 days ago 1 reply      
That is such a great app! I love how simple it is to share the link and there's no need to download anything.

Are there any plans to share the screen of an android phone? I think that would be pretty fun.

webwanderings 3 days ago 0 replies      
TeamViewer (free) is not bad but it times out after some time and you have to relaunch the meeting with a new code. Will give this one a try.
wesbos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome job. Screenr.com uses the same java method to record my screen and it _never_ works, this was up and running in lessss than 20 seconds. Would love to see a recording featured added.
skystorm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, worked flawlessly when I just tested it with a friend (other than having to kill the java process by hand in the end). Thanks in particular for supporting Linux!
sandropadin 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea and very well implemented. I too would like to see an API of sorts. Maybe a white-label screen sharing service. Good luck!
keturn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice! I just shared a screen from a Linux laptop to a phone with the Dolphin browser and it Just Worked. Pretty high latency though.
macspoofing 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great job guys. I love the simplicity.

How are you guys streaming the images down? Any interesting technologies or methods used?

thekevan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was able to view my PC screen on my Droid 3 stock browser.
soci 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks promising. I'll be using it in a meeting I have right now. Thanks.
sktrdie 3 days ago 1 reply      
"No installs" - first thing it asks me to do is to install a Java plugin. No thanks.
robbrown451 3 days ago 0 replies      
You built that in less than 20 seconds?!!! Damn, you guys are good.
joshcrowder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great Job!

Do you have an API?

I just dropped you an email :)

zyad 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great Product !
What about the API ? And Screen recording ?
wingspan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome, works on Windows Phone.
denysonique 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank You
jdelsman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome product!
mihaela 3 days ago 0 replies      
It requires Java. Enough said.
Facebook hit git performance issue on large repository gmane.org
369 points by kaeso  1 day ago   201 comments top 33
lbrandy 1 day ago  replies      
Wow. I was expecting an interesting discussion. I was disappointed. Apparently the consensus on hacker news is that there exists a repository size N above which the benefits of splitting the repo _always_ outweigh the negatives. And, if that wasn't absurd enough, we've decided that git can already handle N and the repository in question is clearly above N. And I guess all along we'll ignore the many massive organizations who cannot and will not use git for precisely the same issue.

So instead of (potentially very enlightening conversation) identifying and talking about limitations and possible solutions in git, we've decided that anyone who can't use git because of its perf issues is "doing it wrong".

ramanujan 1 day ago 3 replies      
This looks like it could be of assistance:


  Repo is a repository management tool that we built on top 
of Git. Repo unifies the many Git repositories when
necessary, does the uploads to our revision control
system, and automates parts of the Android development
workflow. Repo is not meant to replace Git, only to make
it easier to work with Git in the context of Android. The
repo command is an executable Python script that you can
put anywhere in your path. In working with the Android
source files, you will use Repo for across-network
operations. For example, with a single Repo command you
can download files from multiple repositories into your
local working directory.


  With approximately 8.5 million lines of code (not 
including things like the Linux Kernel!), keeping this all
in one git tree would've been problematic for a few reasons:

* We want to delineate access control based on location in the tree.
* We want to be able to make some components replaceable at a later date.
* We needed trivial overlays for OEMs and other projects who either aren't ready or aren't able to embrace open source.
* We don't want our most technical people to spend their time as patch monkeys.

The repo tool uses an XML-based manifest file describing
where the upstream repositories are, and how to merge them
into a single working checkout. repo will recurse across
all the git subtrees and handle uploads, pulls, and other
needed items. repo has built-in knowledge of topic
branches and makes working with them an essential part of
the workflow.

Looks like it's worth taking a serious look at this repo script, as it's been used in production for Android. Might allow splitting into multiple git repositories for performance while still retaining some of the benefits of a single repository.

jrockway 1 day ago 4 replies      
Yes, it's well known that big companies with big continuously integrated codebases don't manage the entire codebase with Git. It's slow, and splitting repositories means you can't have company-wide atomic commits. It's convenient to have a bunch of separate projects that share no state or code, but also wasteful.

So often, the tool used to manage the central repository, which needs to cleanly handle a large codebase, is different from the tool developers use for day-to-day work, which only needs to handle a small subset. At Google, everything is in Perforce, but since I personally need only four or five projects from Perforce for my work, I mirror that to git and interact with git on a day-to-day basis. This model seems to scale fairly well; Google has a big codebase with a lot of reuse, but all my git operations execute instantaneously.

Many projects can "shard" their code across repositories, but this is usually an unhappy compromise.

People always use the Linux kernel as an example of a big project, but even as open source projects go, it's pretty tiny. Compare the entire CPAN to Linux, for example. It's nice that I can update CPAN modules one at a time, but it would be nicer if I could fix a bug in my module and all modules that depend on it in one commit. But I can't, because CPAN is sharded across many different developers and repositories. This makes working on one module fast but working on a subset of modules impossible.

So really, Facebook is not being ridiculous here. Many companies have the same problem and decide not to handle it at all. Facebook realizes they want great developer tools and continuous integration across all their projects. And Git just doesn't work for that.

bos 1 day ago 7 replies      
Facebook engineer here, working on this problem with Joshua.

What this comes down to is that git uses a lot of essentially O(n) data structures, and when n gets big, that can be painful.

A few examples:

* There's no secondary index from file or path name to commit hash. This is what slows down operations like "git blame": they have to search every commit to see if it touched a file.

* Since git uses lstat to see if files have been changed, the sheer number of system calls on a large filesystem becomes an issue. If the dentry and inode caches aren't warm, you spend a ton of time waiting on disk I/O.

An inotify daemon could help, but it's not perfect: it needs a long time to warm up in the case of a reboot or crash. Also, inotify is an incredibly tricky interface to use efficiently and reliably. (I wrote the inotify support in Mercurial, FWIW.)

* The index is also a performance problem. On a big repo, it's 100MB+ in size (hence expensive to read), and the whole thing is rewritten from scratch any time it needs to be touched (e.g. a single file's stat entry goes stale).

None of these problems is insurmountable, but neither is any of them amenable to an easy solution. (And no, "split up the tree" is not an easy solution.)

yuvadam 1 day ago 3 replies      
While I'd be interested in seeing this issue further unfold, just the prospect of a 1.3M-file repo gives me the creeps.

I'm not sure what the exact situation at Facebook is with this repository, but I'm positive that if they had to start with a clean slate, this repo would easily find itself broken up into at least a dozen different repos.

Not to mention the fact that if _git_ has issues dealing with 1.3M files, I wonder what other (D)VCS they're thinking of as an alternative that would be more performant.

losvedir 1 day ago 4 replies      
Huh, fascinating. git was initially created for the Linux kernel development, and I haven't heard of any issues there. Offhand I would have said, as a codebase, the Linux kernel would be larger and more complex than facebook, but I don't have a great sense of everything involved in both cases.

So what's the story here: kernel developers put up with longer git times, the kernel is better organized, the scope of facebook is more massive even than the linux kernel, or there's some inherent design in git that works better for kernel work than web work?

gokhan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Large repos bring their own problems, and results in some design decisions accordingly. For example, Visual Studio itself is 5M+ files and this affected some of the the initial design decisions (Server side workspaces, for this example) when developing TFS 2005 (the first version) [1]. That decision suits MS but not the small to medium clients well. So they're now alternating that design with client side workspaces.

It's not wise to offer Facebook to split the repository. Looks like it's time to improve the tool.

[1] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bharry/archive/2011/08/02/version-co...

julian37 1 day ago 2 replies      
Somewhat off-topic, could somebody explain why

  echo 3 | tee /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

rather than just

  echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

Is it because the output to stdout lets you be extra sure that the right data was sent to the kernel?

I'm just wondering if this is an idiom with a deeper meaning that I'm not aware of.

EDIT: I'm guessing that when you run it in a script (without set -x), rather than on the command line, you can see in the log what it is you sent?

dustingetz 1 day ago 2 replies      
the obvious answer, repeatedly mentioned in comments:

> factor into modules, one project per repo

where i work we have a project with clear module boundaries, but all in the same repo. we have an "app" and some dependencies including our platform/web framework. none of these are stable, they're all growing together. Commits on the app require changes in the platform, and in code review it is helpful to see things all together. Porting commits across different branches requires porting both the application change and the dependent platform changes. Often a client-specific branch will require severe one-off changes so the platform may diverge -- it is not practical for us (right now) to continually rebase client branches onto the latest platform.

this is just our experience, not facebook's, but lets face it: real life software isn't black and white, and discussion that doesn't acknowledge this isn't particularly helpful.

sek 1 day ago 2 replies      

They keep every project in a single repo, mystery solved.


> We already have some of the easily separable projects in separate repositories, like HPHP.

Yeah, because it makes no sense, it's C++. They probably use for everything PHP i assume then. Is there no good build management tool for it?

jpdoctor 1 day ago 2 replies      
$100B company, maybe they can afford to put some people onto solving this for the open software community (and put the solution into the open), especially since nobody else in the community seems to have this problem.
dblock 1 day ago 2 replies      
Others have tried and keep throwing more and more smart people at the problem they just shouldn't have.

MSFT with Windows codebase that runs out of several labs. Crazy branching and merging infrastructure. They use source-depot, originally a clone of perforce.

Google with all their source code in one Perforce repo.

Facebook will be on perforce before we know it.

The solution is an internal Github, not one giant project.

djtriptych 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope these guys do take the route of developing a large-scale performant patch.

Git as so many interesting uses at scale as just a tool that navigates and tracks DAGs over time.

iamleppert 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can believe this working with a former facebook employee. They do not believe in separating or distilling anything into separate repos. Why the fuck would you want to have a 15GB repo?

Ideally they should have many small, manageable repositories that are well tested and owned by a specific group/person/whatever. At least something small enough a single dev or team can get their head around.


pwpwp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Git was designed for the Linux kernel, and it's simply not big: a couple thousand files, broken up into directories of dozens or hundreds of files.


courtewing 1 day ago 6 replies      
This was actually pretty fascinating to me. On one hand, I am astonished at how long it takes to perform seemingly trivial git operations on repositories at this scale. On the other hand, I'm utterly mystified that a company like Facebook has such monolithic repositories. Even back when I was using SVN a lot, I relied on externals and such to break up large projects into their smaller service-level components.

I'd be very interested to see some benchmarks on their current VCS solution for repositories of this scale.

lnguyen 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's two issues: the width of the repository (number of files) and the depth (the number of commits).

Since "status" and "commit" perform fairly well after the OS file cache has been warmed up, that probably can be resolved by having background processes that keep it warm. (Also, how long would it take to just simply stat that number of files? )

The issue of "blame" still taking over 10 minutes: We need to know far back in the repository they're searching. What happen if there's one line that hasn't been changed since the initial commit? Are you being forced to go back to through the whole commit history?

How old is the repository? Years? Months? I'm probably guessing in the at least years range based on the number of commits (unless the developers are extremely commit-happy).

At a certain point, you're going to be better off taking the tip revisions off a branch and starting a fresh repository. It doesn't matter what SCM/VCS tool you're using (I've been the architect and admin on the implementation of a number of commercial tools). Keep the old repository live for a while and then archive it.

You'll find that while everyone wants to say that they absolutely need the full revision history of every project, you rarely go back very far (aka the last major release or two). And if you do need that history, you can pull it from the archives.

teyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting social AND a technical problem. The problem for FB is that it is all too easy for them to just fork git, create the necessary interfaces and then hope the git maintainers would accept it (they mightn't) or release it into the wild (and incur bad karma and wrath of OS developers who'd see this has schism or even heresy).

They've reached out to the developers on git, and I guess that's a first step.

charlieok 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's a bad practice to keep a giant code base in one repo. Split the code base into purpose-specific modules, just as you would split any project into purpose-specific modules. In fact, those two things might well line up 1:1.

If a project depends on other projects, have it reference the other projects. Where appropriate, include exact version numbers and/or commit hashes. Gemfiles are good examples of this good practice at work.

Yes, git has submodules for this sort of thing, but after investigating that route, I decided against using git submodules. Use something independent of the VCS instead. Then git won't do weird or unexpected things when you switch branches. Also, you might want to mix in projects that use other version control systems. And really, why unnecessarily couple a project to its version control system?

If (when?), even after splitting a megaproject into manageable subprojects, these performance issues creep in, I'd certainly be interested in whatever improvements people are coming up with...

akg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think Git was designed to perform well with such a large repo. In this case, the best-practice is probably compartmentalizing the code and using Git submodules. The Git submodule interface is a little un-friendly, but I think it does work well for such large repos. I've been using submodules successfully for our development that tracks source files as well as binary assets.
redstone 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is Joshua (who posted the original email). I'm glad to see so much interest in source control scalability. If there are others who have ever contemplated investing a bit of time to improving git, it'd be great to coordinate and see what makes sense to do - even if it turns out that the right answer is just to make the tools that manage multiple repos so good that it feels as easy as a single repo.
DannoHung 1 day ago 1 reply      
Multiple people in this conversation section have asserted that code sharing is way easier when all the code is in a single repo, but from my understanding of sub-modules, it would be a fairly simple matter of setting up your pre/post-commit hooks to update submodules to a branch automatically and get useful company wide change atomicity (after all, changes should only propagate between teams/projects once they have some stability).

Putting aside the question of whether or not an enormous singular repo can be broken up intelligently into modular projects, is there something about the submodule approach that makes it a uniquely unsuitable way for sharing changes amongst projects?

dpcx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't want to imagine the actual kind of code that requires 1.3M files to run.
ctz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised Facebook and all its peripheral development has that much source. I would expect something like 5-10 million lines of code, not ~100 million lines implied by the example.
MikeOnFire 11 hours ago 0 replies      
My first thought, as suggested by some on the list, was modularization. Redstone's response (that the 1.3 million files are essentially all interdependent) terrifies me.
slashclee 1 day ago 0 replies      
These times are for spinning-platter hard drives. I wonder what the numbers look like on a modern SSD?
alok-g 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is anything known for scalability to such sizes for Subversion, Mercurial, Bazaar, and others?
loeg 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm curious what their performance numbers look like if they host the .git repo on tmpfs -- 15GB isn't unreasonable on a beefy (24-32GB of ram) machine.
djb_hackernews 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's projected growth for two of their projects. Sounds like they have something brewing...

Still amazed that breaking it up would do more harm than good when the code isn't even written yet...

railsmax 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey do you know a lot of sites with such needs? Facebook is the first, and probably all sites with such needs I can count with fingers on my one hand. I don't think it's git issue - everyone use this system and all are happy using it. This is like a new feature, but not issue.
earino 1 day ago 0 replies      
If this was the crazy size of your git repo, why wouldn't you make a tool that took your git repo and versioned it? Keep it in repos that can all be performant, since most of the time you are working with "time local" information?
xxiao 1 day ago 0 replies      
git is not memory efficient by design, i used to push about 1G commit to the server and it hangs forever, i had to abort it and push in as small chunks instead
r15habh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does Facebook really believe that because they have the most users, they should also have the biggest git repo?

Amazon and Google have already solved this problem, and the solution is to reorganize things into smaller manageable packages.

MusicForProgramming(); musicforprogramming.net
350 points by seanplaice  1 day ago   170 comments top 69
ctdonath 1 day ago  replies      
Music possessing these qualities can often provide just the right amount of interest to occupy the parts of your brain that would otherwise be left free to wander and lead to distraction during your work.

Finally - someone who recognizes that there's a curious & busy part of the brain which must be kept preoccupied during complex tasks, and mixes music just for that purpose.

"Trance" music podcasts are a great approximation for this. (See "The Vocal Trance", "Above & Beyond: Trance Around The World", "The Perfect Mix", "Push The Night", "Perfecto Podcast", "The Sound of Trance", "Shakedown Podcast")

ETA: Alas, too many managers don't understand this; they think you're getting distracted by the music, and can't comprehend that it is necessary to facilitate focus.

ben_straub 1 day ago 2 replies      
Made a Pandora station seeded from the artists in all the mixes.


mark_h 1 day ago 4 replies      
My go-to artist is Zoe Keating (layered cello, and on bandcamp as an added bonus: http://music.zoekeating.com/). She's also quite interesting to follow: she's heavily into twitter, and is quite open about her profits, dealings with labels, etc.

Otherwise though, vocal-less trance is usually pretty effective. I love all the recommendations these threads bring up -- thanks everyone!

mstevens 1 day ago 1 reply      
I used to find http://musicforhackers.com/ the perfect background to coding, but they're down, and I've never worked out another source of the sort of stuff they played.
m_for_monkey 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you use background music only for noise cancellation (crying babies, reconstruction works etc.), I recommend http://www.simplynoise.com/. It's not as distracting as even the most minimalistic trance.
MetalMASK 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is definitely one of the areas that is to each his/her own.

I found (the majority of) trance music superficial and get quite easily bored listening to them. Songs with lyrics messes with the language processing module of the brain and I don't want that kind of distraction. So I listen to classical, instrumental, OST and some techno (that are NOT tons of bass).

Example of songs I am listening to now:

Pierre Bensusan - Kourouts Nota (highly recommended)

Eric Johnson - Gem

Steffen Schackinger - On a rainy night

The Glitch Mob - Animus Vox

Klint - Diamond (OST from Snatch)

Mirwais - Disco Science (OST from Snatch)

Nathaniel Mechaly - Opéra (OST from Snatch)


In case anyone is interested, this is my playlist on Grooveshark: http://grooveshark.com/playlist/Sen+s+Music+For+Coding/66931...

Again, music snobbery is one of the worst topics of discussion (I certainly don't want to invoke it), to each his/her own.

shearn89 1 day ago 3 replies      
My absolute favourite album to code to would actually be the Tron Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk, but I've also spent the last few years at uni listening to http://www.prettylightsmusic.com/ while I code: his albums are all available for free/donation, and the genre is kind of down-tempo electronic. There's the occaisonal vocal sample, but I've found it doesn't distract me from work.

Endtroducing by DJ Shadow is also worth a listen, as although there's vocals, they're generally calm. Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32X-ieCav-M

udp 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think the site is starting to creak under the strain. Perhaps a torrent of the MP3s would be a good idea?
astral303 1 day ago 5 replies      
Atmospheric drum'n'bass is where it is at for coding. Warm lushness, yet rhythms that will help you keep your mental cadence up.

Here are two mixes you should DL & listen to:



Lush atmospherics, low-slung 29-38hz basslines, rock out to either full-time at 175bpm or half-time at 87bpm, depending on your mood.

mw63214 1 day ago 0 replies      
from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2715066

"If someone integrated a contextual playlist generator into a web-IDE and changed the music based on length of current session, degree of nesting or other complexity values, time of day based on location, etc..., I think it would be a much appreciated feature."

j45 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somafm.com has a few channels with few drums or vocals

9 beet stretch might be of interest to anyone wanting something long noise/dronescapes

saturdaysaint 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wish these were compiled in a Soundcloud - something mobile-friendly that lets you skip around in a mix without downloading the thing. And the hosting is pretty slow.
jianshen 1 day ago 5 replies      
Side question: why do you think so many coders prefer electronic music to be productive?

Based on the comments here, electronic music (whether it's ambient, trance or dubstep) appears to be the assumed genre.

DrCatbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Alpha and Omega (dub) and is the music I code by, repetitions, echos and reverb, the groove just takes you forward in your code. Example: http://grooveshark.com/s/Chantig/41T4IJ?src=5 http://grooveshark.com/s/Higher+Than+High/2JhKQT?src=5
upthedale 1 day ago 2 replies      
Whilst not music, I find listening to http://www.rainymood.com to be great for concentrating. It's a 30 minute sample of a rain storm.

It got me through my Master's dissertation, where I had it on loop for hours at a time.

Fiddler tells me you can currently grab the mp3 from here
(this was especially useful for the times I wanted to be disconnected from the internet to focus on work).

xxpor 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find that music with no lyrics is most helpful.

Stuff like a lot of post rock, such as Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Another option is Math Rock like Battles (I am actually listening to Gloss Drop right now).

domador 1 day ago 0 replies      
Got a "bandwidth exceeded" error message. Too bad.
zavulon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Instrumental classical mix works best for me. I put on Mozart or Beethoven radio on last.fm and just skip all the stuff with words (i.e. opera)
lignuist 1 day ago 1 reply      
Jan Jelinek's music is great for programming. At least for me. :)


droctopu5 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to be able to dev to any kind of music or talk, but it's gotten harder as I've gotten older. Sometimes I try to pick music that culturally matches the web site I'm working on.

- Classical: sometimes pleasant, but can be too dramatic.
- Hard electronic (dance, club, dubstep): too distracting

Minimal or ambient techno tends to be way to go when I'm trying to focus on something, but need something to keep that part of my mind occupied. Soma.FM and Digitally Imported have the best streaming stations for that, IMHO.

http://somafm.com/spacestation/ http://somafm.com/dronezone/
http://www.di.fm/minimal http://www.di.fm/chillout

pork 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, you're really asking for a lawsuit aren't you? I mean, MP3s available for download for free on a simple HTML website? What is this, 1998?
djtriptych 1 day ago 0 replies      
I pretty much just play Trent Reznor when I don't feel like putting together a playlist.

I've also really enjoyed listening to motorik rhythms lately. Something about that beat makes me feel like I'm constantly moving forward. Stereolab are the modern masters...

paulnasca 1 day ago 4 replies      
Few years ago I wrote an extreme time stretching software ( http://hypermammut.sourceforge.net/paulstretch/ ). You can use it to get a nice audio ambiance from any music or sound.
jff 1 day ago 0 replies      
I typically just listen to my rockabilly/psychobilly station, I can't handle the trance/techno/ambient/whatever music everybody else seems to advocate. A good Reverend Horton Heat track has a good beat and fast pace too, it's just a lot more fun for me.
pizza 1 day ago 1 reply      
http://comtruise.com/kc/ More Com Truise mixes
jvoorhis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was playing Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto when a contractor came for an on-site and he remarked on how it was good "design music". He mentioned he preferred ambient music whilst doing cognitively intensive work. When doing something rote, rock, pop or metal was a good choice.
larrytheliquid 16 hours ago 0 replies      
dj finny's dnb mixes have been sustaining me for years:

i can't handle the monotony of trance, and dubstep can be a bit too much. a lot of dnb also tends to be repetitive, but finny keeps things lively enough for you to pay attention to code

vishaldpatel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Buddhists often chant mantras to stay in meditation. I suspect that a steady beat / rhythm has a lot more to do with concentrating than any specific genre. It gets the rest of our minds jogging along with the thing we're trying to achieve.
moondowner 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reading through the comments, I'm glad that there are people on HN who know what good music is - from Trance and Ambient to Dubstep and what not.

And I want to say that Com Truise's album Galactic Melt is one of the best albums for me for 2011. It gets even better if you combine it with Daft Punk's TRON OST and put those two on shuffle.

tobiasSoftware 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of my favorite CDs for coding: Ecco the Dolphin. I'm not making it up, the CD by Spencer Nilsen is amazing, just perfect to code to. Also, the song "Water Ruins" from the video game Jet Force Gemini and anything by Opus III is excellent as well. Then there's "Just Hold On" by Jillian Aversa, and Super Metroid remixes on OCRemix, "Kindred," "Avien," and "Solitude." And I have dozens of trance CDs for coding too.
oceanician 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally I find music without vocals, or very familiar music in the background to be useful. Blocks out the occasional car going past. Post-rock is really good unless it sends you into a trance haha.

Actually hate working with headphones on now. Similarly using music I love to block out noisey work environments doesn't work. (Well, noisey work environments just don't work do they!).

FWIW: I'm on last.fm as rock666

glfomfn 1 day ago 1 reply      
For me they are two 'states'. When i am doing something 'tough/complicated/new etc' that needs 100% of my attention i need complete silence, no music, no sounds, nothing. When that's not the case (95% of time) i am fine with any kind of music, my taste goes from dubstep to classical and based on the mood i am fine to listen to anything.
kapranoff 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I will add my 5 cents with a mention of Qawwali music and specifically works of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustt_Mustt. This is not just a ticket to the zone for me, more like a teleport :)
jentulman 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was recently pointed to http://block.fm/ as I like to go with some beats to work with and they have some great Dnb and electronica shows.
Usually I can't cope with any words, lyrics in the song or presenters on a show, but if I can't understand the words, in this case because I speak no Japanese, it's not a problem and sometimes it's nice to have voices (outside my head) as part of the white noise.
fady 1 day ago 0 replies      
nice. thanks for the mixes. i use "boards of canada" pandora station to accomplish the same idea. you get a lot of down tempo, ambient styles.
dmoo 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've an Icelandic kick going on at the moment, some really great music coming out of there.

Try Johan johannsson http://www.ausersmanual.org/stage/ which is good but also with extra hacker kudos given the topic

Also Olafur Arnalds http://olafurarnalds.com/multimedia/

richardk 1 day ago 6 replies      
Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works?
jonursenbach 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would love it if there were Spotify playlist links for these.
koudelka 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm amazed that nobody has mentioned Hybrid yet: http://www.hybridsoundsystem.com
vyrotek 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a general rule, we're looking for 1 hour long noise/dronescapes with no (or very few) drums or vocals.

Happy coding / knitting / drawing / running / painting / writing / baking cakes!

Apparently this should really be called "MusicToGetThingsDone" :)

Karn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of my favourites:

Michael Brook - Err: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcyQISCPTTs
Michael Brook - Ultramarine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITFyP9b7ius
Michael Brook - Several Times II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK-oVQaTg_4
Cliff Martinez - Helicopter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogDj3uXLP7w
Hammock - Maybe they will sing for us tomorrow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6kKjyHrXMw

ciroduran 1 day ago 0 replies      
509 Bandwidth Limit Exceeded :-(

Guess the hacker news-dotting did it. Care to torrent the files? :-)

ggwicz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Matt Mullenweg's method (at least, that's where I first heard it) of playing one song on repeat really works for me.

I like short, simple songs. Something like a song off CYNE's album Evolution Fight works really well. For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP2ISUThbcQ&feature=youtu...

paragraft 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've found the drone music this guy does fantastic for zoning in while coding: http://zacbentz.bandcamp.com/

Particularly of note is his 8 hour album "Field Recordings from the Edge of Hell" http://zacbentz.bandcamp.com/album/field-recordings-from-the... . It's my go-to when I need to sit down and concentrate.

Rotor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally I enjoy minimal electronic music while coding. It fits nicely into the background while still sounding interesting.

This site has some good minimal mixes http://deepmix.eu/

sil3ntmac 1 day ago 0 replies      
My favorite album to listen to while I code is probably Blockhead's "The Music Scene." Gets the blood pumping.
draggnar 1 day ago 1 reply      
That Com Truise mix is nice. Also check out his Komputer Cast 4 part set http://comtruise.com/kc/
joshaidan 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think the site might be going a bit slow for me. Is there a mirror?
eLobato 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ludovico Einaudi and Max Richter put me in the mood quite nicely. Mozart, the three tenors, and similar stuff also work (but most of the time not as good as the former artists).

Nonetheless that's rara avis among my coworkers, anyone else listening to similar stuff while coding?

BasDirks 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love listening to Paul Kalkbrenner while programming.
hk_kh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Too comments. Nevertheless, I want to share, High Tone, that's all http://www.hightone.org fuck dubstep, let the old people stick to dub
coopersloan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Groove Salad has always been one of my favorite streams for coding. Lots of down-tempo stuff, tasteful choices:
tucosan 1 day ago 0 replies      
OK, the site seems down. I managed to download half a mix until i got timeouts. If anyone managed to download those track, a mirror somewhere else, or a torrent would be really nice.
Anyone care to provide us with a mirror?
mvalente 1 day ago 2 replies      
Ulrich Schnauss, System 7, Man With No Name, Art of Trance, Dimension 5, Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Astral Projection, Kraftwerk, VNV Nation...
mutewinter 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wrote a blog post about this a while back, I'll just leave that right here.


AlexCP 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always listen to http://designers.mx/ when I work, lots of great mixes and a nice way to discover new genre.
Thangorodrim 1 day ago 1 reply      
The site is unresponsive, but I wanted to recommend:

Philip Glass symphonies
Wagner's The Ring ( unless you speak German )

k_bx 1 day ago 1 reply      
leeoniya 1 day ago 1 reply      
i usually stream psytrance, works well for some reason :)
robomartin 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Pink Floyd
mrinterweb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't concentrate on programming because my brain can't ignore how bad the music is.
potomak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was unconsciously searching for this for a while!
eslaught 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is the license for this music?
eisbaw 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Röyksopp is #1!!!
pnmahoney 1 day ago 0 replies      
daft punk, daft punk, daft punk.
Void_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
ETN.fm guys.
bellbind 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wrong in so many ways.. I don't know where to start.
leon_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
this music is the suxx0r. goa trance > all
The Tesla Valve: One Way Flow With No Moving Parts makezine.com
337 points by iamwil  18 hours ago   59 comments top 14
kragen 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The whole field of fluidics is fascinating, including entire digital logic families that operate at kHz rates with no moving parts and no electricity, just air. I wrote a kragen-tol post about this in 2002 http://lists.canonical.org/pipermail/kragen-tol/2002-April/0..., when Air Logic still sold actual logic gates that ran on air, but since then Google Books has archived this June 1967 Popular Mechanics article, "How They've Taught a Stream of Air to Think": http://books.google.com.ar/books?id=jSEDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA11..., and of course fluidics has become practically very important for on-chip microarrays. There's also a Wikipedia article now: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluidics
imperator 16 hours ago 7 replies      
I'm the one who made that 3D printed Tesla Valve shown in the pictures and video. I'm currently inventing a jet engine with no moving parts. If anyone wants to ask questions about the valve's workings or about Tesla, go right ahead.
megaman821 17 hours ago 2 replies      
How Telsa came up with most the things he did are beyond me. I have always thought he was the smartest man that has ever lived.
georgieporgie 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If you haven't read Tesla's autobiography[1], I highly recommend it.


[1] I'm a bit confused as to whether it was genuinely an autobiography, or a compilation of articles. Either way, it was interesting to read, though very light on technical details.

thusly 14 hours ago 2 replies      
My late-night reading currently consists of the book "Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla; Biography of a Genius" by Marc J. Seifer. For anyone looking to learn more about the man, this seems to be the most comprehensive biography available. While only half through it so far, it's been an enjoyable and enlightening read.

The author's occasional dry humour is also quite welcome. Here's a sample:
"Due to his meager funds and general inability to budget himself, Tesla had but one suit, which had withered from use. It was the time of a religious festival, and Szigeti inquired what Tesla would be wearing. Stuck for an answer, the youthful inventor came upon the clever idea of turning his suit inside out, planning thereby to show up with a seemingly new set of clothes. All night was spent tailoring and ironing. But when one starts with a wrong premise, no amount of patching can right the problem. The outfit looked ridiculous, and Tesla stayed home instead."

damoncali 17 hours ago 1 reply      
From the comments:

Reminds me of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_tube
Another simple yet fascinating device

meric 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Just imagine the day we get cheap 3D printers. We see this article on the internet on the Tesla Valve and want to try it out ourselves, so we download the blueprint and send it to our personal printer, which prints a copy of the Tesla Valve and then we play with it ourselves. I am guessing there are so many (expired) patents out there that, just like this one, can be converted to a blue print and everyone would get to experiment with it, instead of only large companies with enough cash to customise expensive equipment for it.
stretchwithme 17 hours ago 1 reply      
That's pretty cool. The curved side channel actually pushes the main flow into the next side channel.

I wonder if a fractal version of this would work better. And what if there were side channels on the top and bottom too.

Of course, this will always pass some fluid. but if you need a complete shutoff valve, combining it with the tesla valve would allow you to use a smaller one and makes its failure less traumatic.

learc83 17 hours ago 1 reply      
From the video it looked like there was still some airflow in the reverse direction.
mikeknoop 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Is the unidirectional flow property dependent on the pressure gradient at both ends? It seems that at low pressure differences you could still get flow in the reverse direction. Yet, at high pressures I imagine you would see some leakage, too. Does it only work for medium pressures?
mrstinton 11 hours ago 2 replies      
That's very elegant. It's amazing (and a little terrifying) to think that he may very well have been able to mentally visualize the fluid dynamics to some extent. It's not like he was consciously solving navier-stokes, but it's still incredible what some human minds are capable of.

But then, he was thinking a lot about electron flow and built up a good intuition that had wider application. That doesn't make it any less amazing to me though. I'd like to be able to do that.

rbanffy 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Does it work with incompressible fluids? Can someone test one with water?
Tycho 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone post a link to the desktop version? Site is unreadable on iPad.
imperator 14 hours ago 0 replies      
1. All one-way valves depend on flow. If there is a higher pressure from A to B. And that's the direction of resistance, then in a valve with moving parts, a ball or diaphragm of some sort would be pushed against a lip, and the flow would stop. That still depends on a pressure difference where flow was traveling from some high pressure point to some low pressure point. Let's say that valve was off design for the flow rate. It may not have enough pressure to seal, and it would still be leaky. The Tesla Valve's performance is measured by its diodicity, and it has to be matched to the conditions it's supposed to exist in. If it was really well designed, it's diodicity would be very high and thus leakage would be minimized. From an engineering standpoint it still usually makes sense to use valves with moving parts on your example lox tank. As the main way of checking flow, they are well understood and very reliable. However, if you are in a situation where a moving part is a negative, like in microfluidics, a Tesla valve might make more sense.

2. Liquids and gases have different viscosity, so the Tesla Valve would be different for each fluid and flow regime. I am unfamiliar with this series-of-petals geometry you are remembering. However, it reminds me of this excellent work done on optimizing topology for different Reynolds numbers in Tesla Valves: http://www.senlin41.org/topology-optimization-of-tesla-type-...

3. One of the original intents of the valve was for Tesla's Bladeless Disc Turbine. In Tesla's time, materials were not what they are now, and thus valves with moving parts were not as reliable. Also, getting a valve that can close and open with high frequency is not always easy. The valvular conduit that Tesla designed was his solution to this problem.

Thanks for the book reference. I read "Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla" But I hadn't seen this other book. I might pick it up.

You're Overthinking It gomiso.com
338 points by mpakes  3 days ago   52 comments top 22
josscrowcroft 3 days ago 1 reply      
Upvoted just for this absolute gem:

[...] it also depends on where you are on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The lower on the pyramid your product is, the crappier it can look. If your product is core to helping people make money, pirate movies, or sell your useless couch, you don't need a designer. But if you're high on the pyramid, ugly/clunky UI makes it impossible to for people to see your vision.

Never heard this advice in reference to Maslow, but it's truth! I should print this up on cards and give it to a load of my tech and designer friends.

The entire "It's like [Craigslist/Amazon/eBay]... but with a beautiful design/UI!" fallacy falls to its knees with this paragraph.

dy 3 days ago 5 replies      
The advice in this article is dangerous for finding success and profit as an entrepreneur if your only knowledge relates to the needs of a developer. Developers are an infamously hard bunch of people to sell products to; as developers, I'm sure we've had all these thoughts:

- this is cool, but I could build something better (how many 37signal open source clones are there)

- this is cool, but way too expensive (Github complaints)

- this is cool, but let me use Google AdWords to get free upgrades (DropBox)

- this writing is great, but I'm blocking all the ads on the page (daringfireball)

Another problem is that when developers decide to do their own startup, the only domain they really understand is software development.

There are millions of people who have problems who can't code - building another bug tracker, productivity tool, email management app, GTD widget might be fun, but the economy of real "business" software that's out there is far larger and more lucrative.

markerdmann 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another approach, if you want to create something for a lucrative market but you're not a user, is to co-create your product with customers. This piece on how to identify a monetizable pain is great:


Clay Collins also advocates for a similar approach that he calls the "interactive offer":


itmag 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's also a good thing to stop overthinking it in regard to Hard Work. The schlep barrier and uggh fields come to mind.



What are some ideas that you would do if you weren't concerned about "working smarter" or something having to be elegant from the get-go?

My most successful product has been a magazine (and let me define that success: very successful in terms of contacts it's given me, unsuccessful financially). The "build process" for that has been neither elegant nor free of mountains of schlepping.

Terry_B 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's a good point but there's a huge field of potential software and opportunity out there that we programmers are not the users of. Who should build it then?
dasil003 3 days ago 0 replies      
This highlights one of my main problems with social media in general which is that popularity does not correlate well to utility. Even in a relatively niche community like HN there is still tendency towards shallower, more general articles simply because they are applicable to a wider audience so they inherently attract more upvotes. But if you're running a business, the most important thing will be domain knowledge, and the most useful information will not be something found in a blog post that goes viral, but insight and wisdom discovered by insiders who have concrete, applicable experience. Finding these people is of course much harder than popping open HN, but it's possible if you stay focused on smaller communities and networking within your industry. Keep your nose to the grindstone long enough and you will become one of these people.

That's not to say that there's no value to be extracted from popular subjects. Of course there is a lot of capitalization to be done on trends and fads, and mass markets are the biggest, but as a daily visitor to HN I think I can safely say that I could come here once every two weeks and gain almost the same marginal value, significantly less than what I'm gaining in daily work experience.

miles_matthias 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe I should write down every thing I use for a day and glean ideas from that.
tcarnell 3 days ago 1 reply      
...so how would corporate banking systems get built?

Although I understand the sentiment, and have followed it with a number of my projects, an aweful lot of companies build and sell software that is not necesarily useful for their own purposes (banking, financial, retail etc).

A better and more general rule, and one that has been stated millions of times is simply its really REALLY important to known and understand your client*.

The client could be a 'normal' Internet user, or could be a multi-million dollar enterprise, but unless you understand them, you can forget trying to get money out of them! (and if they are a multi-million dollar enterprise, the people you need to sell to are very unlikely to be the people that actually use the system and you absolutely do need a mature product strategy and the necesary resources to even make a single sale).

miles_matthias 3 days ago 0 replies      
By the way, that advice in the Steve Jobs biography isn't actually from Steve Jobs. I'm sure the OP knows this, but I just wanted to point out that it was from Mike Markkula's marketing principles paper entitled, "The Apple Marketing Philosophy"
mburney 3 days ago 2 replies      
What evidence exists that building a product that you would use leads to a greater chance of success? I can think of plenty of counterexamples of entrepreneurs that have built successful products for an audience other than themselves.
bpodgursky 3 days ago 3 replies      
Not disagreeing with the rest of the article, but what's wrong with craigslist? It's super clean, simple, fast, and easy to use. What could extra javascript/flash/ajax possibly add to the site?
EricDeb 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think there is definitely a problem with the realism that Hacker News unknowingly perpetuates. I would imagine people who read Hacker News are less likely to start companies because they are exposed to extremely intelligent people's comments on all things technological on a daily basis.

I think people forget that there are a lot of other characteristics besides intelligence necessary for successful Entrepreneurship

S_A_P 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let me just say thank you to the author. I pretty much over think every aspect of my life. Its good to have this little reminder.
mark_integerdsv 3 days ago 1 reply      
Something that I took away from this (awesome blog post) is perhaps not directly related: don't spend too much time worrying about competitors. Build your thing. Just. Build. It.

If you have innovated and not imitated you will have something that no one else has. It's really that simple. You could sit and fret about how easily Google could destroy you, you could worry about the fact that maybe Facebook offers a similar app/service/whathaveyou… None of that matters. Build your thing.

True originality always wins out in the end.

generalcalm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have gone to work at a company within the industry I have built software for.

I have enlisted other companies within the industry to use our software before it is completed, so we can get it right before release.

My job is to help them reach required outcomes in the fastest and easiest way... this process has helped me to stop trying to imput what i think it best, which only clouds what customers really want to pay for.

tdr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also really good advice:

A year into my first startup, my first major product epiphany was to never, never, ever try to build a product you couldn't be a user for

You have to have the vision, understand everything around it. Relying only on (potential) outsiders doesn't cut it. You need prioritization, focus (" means saying NO"), simplify the UX... You need to be committed. Otherwise you just get "feature creep"

cmoscoso 3 days ago 0 replies      
You must know who their users and their needs, but not necessarily BE a user.

or, you know, you're overthinking the problem. ;)

fosk 3 days ago 0 replies      
In 5 words: eat your own dog food.
ak2012 2 days ago 0 replies      
How does miso make money??
josephmisiti 3 days ago 0 replies      
so true ....
pejapeja 3 days ago 0 replies      
Only making products that you are a user of is a great advice. Vote up.
baby 3 days ago 0 replies      
Best advice in seduction also, for all those people who are reading a lot of "PUA"'s material.
Hackful - A Hacker News for Europe hackful.com
323 points by rayhano  2 days ago   165 comments top 50
skrebbel 2 days ago 3 replies      
I doubt it'll work. HN doesn't work just because it's there, it works because it has a certain traction among a certain community. Building up such traction is very difficult, and I doubt doing so by adding a link to it from a non-Europe-focused site is going to help much.

Lamernews looked real cool the first 2 weeks as well, and then it mostly died out. How will Hackful be different?

I mean, I'd love it to be different, I'd love a site about hacker culture more focused on European issues, people and businesses. But I can't see why it'll work.

Udo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Let me start off by saying that this is a great idea, and maybe we do need more HN-like sites as HN currently has a usefulness monopoly as far as my news browsing habits are concerned.

On a more constructive note: please implement an RSS feed.

Jd 2 days ago  replies      
Can I ask a simple question: Why?

I live in Europe, but AFAIK none of the places where I've lived/am regular even have an HN meetup. I have no idea we would want a splintered HN.

babarock 2 days ago 3 replies      
Passwords... Again. I can't believe I still have to create an account. Even for a website like HN that I'm completely addicted to, I would've never signed up if it weren't for OpenID. You want me to use your service? Make it easy for me to authenticate, I don't need yet another password...
sep 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have to say that I'm a bit conflicted about this.

On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with "splitting" HN, especially by geography. The main reason being that news that would interest only hackers in a specific region/country wouldn't see the light of HN's front page, as global readers just wouldn't care as much. As a matter of fact, I even run an "HN splinter" myself, for Israelis (https://bitorama.com), and I'm pretty hopeful about it.

That said, the EU is a pretty big and diverse place. Would a guy from Romania or Finland be more likely to find stories that interest him in an EU-wide site rather than in HN? I'm not convinced. Maybe a more regional approach is required.

Then again, I could be proven wrong. So best of luck to the guys running the site!

ahy1 2 days ago 2 replies      
A Hacker News for Europe would be great. A lot of the stories on HN are very USA-centric.
Currently it looks like Hackful focuses on the UK, especially London. Lets hope it expands to cover all of Europe.
geon 2 days ago 2 replies      
My only concern is that I don't think people in Europe feel very "European". There is no identity in being European like there is in being German, Swedish, or whatever. Bundling us together because we live on the same continent seems a bit artificial to me.
aroberge 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm in Canada and I can completely understand the sentiments that led to the creation of this site. However, I fear that this may lead to HN_Asia, HN_South_America, HN_Oceania, etc., making it extremely difficult to stay on top of good interesting news, and leading to a lot of duplication.

I would very much like to see instead a single additional site (HN') which would have a larger focus than simply the European scene, and where obvious US-centric post/comments would mercilessly be deleted.

sktrdie 2 days ago 2 replies      
Bad idea. HN is an international effort. No need to contextualize it by continent.

After all, we exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias...

mohsen 1 day ago 2 replies      
ok, so i've had this on my mind for some time now, and i'm going to highjack this thread in hopes of getting this out there.

Hackful has sort of shot itself in the foot by trying to use HN as a medium to expose itself. for a long time now HN has started to cross the line from a place for people to share ideas and experiences with running a startup to a place for people to link to tutorials and hot topics in the tech world, or high ranked questions from SO (i'm guilty myself). I really don't see why we do this, we have r/programming, et al for that. HN is a place to talk about statups.

look at Hackful. I ran through the first 3 pages and here are the topics. i broke them down by irrelevan, relevant, and something i call the grey area, where it could go either way. the count is very off. i could only pick 20 out of 45 posts as 100% startup relevant. or course my opinion is my opinion and i'm sure there are people who will argue that my lists are debatable, and they are, but that's not the point. the point is that it is not 100% on topic, and we need to figure out a way to fix this.

one way is for the community to have the correct mindset and get involved and fixing the issue: 1) don't post irrelevant topics. 2) if we see off topic posts - since there isn't really a way for us to stop that now - just ignore them and let them disappear. we come to HN to read about startups, if we want programming info, tutorials, etc then there are other places to go (reddit, so, etc).

another option is to go sort of the reddit-route and allow for subs. that's an option, but again we would be diverging from the original purpose of this site.

just shooting out some thoughts, and trying to make us think about where we're going with HN.

irrelevant list: (count = 11)

8 reasons for switching to Git(blog.fournova.com)

Git cheat sheet(blog.fournova.com)

How we are using Big Data to solve Social Travel(tripl.tumblr.com)

The switch from apache to nginx(news.ycombinator.com)

Top 10 IT skills in 2012(ciozone.com)

Nicnack for easy multicast testing(adventuresinfabric.posterous.com)

Only 6% of Wikipedia Readers Have Ever Edited Wikipedia Content !!(thetecnica.com)

Tech in "Hollywood Edition"(aaronklein.com)

Teach yourself Git in two minutes(jperla.com)

Show Hackful: Browser Based Strategy Game (Spoils Rotten)(spoilsrotten.com)

Show Hackful: My Digital Guidebook Startup (Artworm)(artworm.hillsbede.co.uk)

relevant list: (count = 20)

Show HF: Cubecolor, a fancy HTML5 colorscheme generator(plainas.github.com)

Dutch startup is building the most simple customer support software in the world(apo.io)

Startupbootcamp to shape up Berlin(venturevillage.eu)

Ask HE: What are the missing pieces of the European ecosystem?

15 startups from Berlin - there is more than Soundcloud, Wooga and Amen(netzwertig.com)

Who is missing from this list of young entrepreneurs to watch in 2012?(yourhiddenpotential.co.uk)

Twitter developer teatime in Berlin(techberlin.com)

Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Helsinki - We Have A Problem(arcticstartup.com)

Show HE: My first RoR-app... a platform for winning a dribbble invite.(showwwdown.com)

Berlin Startup Jobs. Marketplace For Inspiring Jobs(berlinstartupjobs.com)

Marketplace for Startup jobs in Berlin(berlinstartupjobs.com)

SEO Tool & Collectible Card Game. Boost Website Traffic - SERPs & Spyders(serpsandspyders.com)

Ask Hackful: Do UK angel groups work?(t.co)

Flagons Den Beginners' Poker(london.flagonsden.com)

EatSocial - 2nd Feb(eatsocial.net)

A local European Angel List

London needs a place for hackers to hang out

Citymapper - Find your way FAST(citymapper.co.uk)

Show Hackful: adscaped - Monetisation without compromise(adscaped.com)

Digital Shoreditch festival 2012(digitalshoreditch.com)

grey list: (count = 14)

Ask HE: Is the source open?

Hacker News

Tell HE: Hackful sounds (and looks) too much like Hateful

Hackful Team: API please?

Who registered @hackful? Can we have it please?(twitter.com)

Hackful Team: Can we have a daily roundup email please?

Is it ok to post articles in other european languages?

Tell HE: Please improve the contrast between comments and comment-attributes

Hackful Team: RSS feed please!

Founder of german ridesharing startup gives his car away (flinc.org)

Facebook S1 Filing (Official IPO Document)(sec.gov)


Longform - for lovers of essays(longform.org)


Edit: cleaned up the links

kmfrk 2 days ago 1 reply      
This looks like a service that tries to imitate Hacker News and assumes the same traffic and audience.

Focus on fewer posts on the front page; no more than 20% of the posts on it should have 0 comments, because it just serves to make the site look barren - which it probably is. You don't even have a community yet, so there is no hive mind nor zeitgeist on the site; bringing people together to discuss a few issues will make people get to get and know each other and help build the community.

Make it scalable.

fierarul 2 days ago 1 reply      
Please add some OpenID/OAuth option. I don't want to make yet another user account.
danmaz74 1 day ago 0 replies      
One suggestion: hackful.com has no linkage to the differentiating factor of the website. Why not change it to hackful.eu? This isn't a decisive factor, but it could help in the positioning...
Geee 2 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with Europe is the multitude of languages. You can't target Europe with English language, or it will end up UK/US centric. That's pretty much unsolvable problem. Of course we can talk about things happening in Europe, but that doesn't make sense.
huskyr 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't this be more successful if it would be split across countries? Stories about US-focused topics interest me as much (or as little) as stories about European countries where i don't live.

Also, for more people than you might imagine a site thats in English (and not in their local language) could be a barrier.

amac 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. I think there's definitely demand for services like this.

We have been working on a community for entrepreneurs and startups in the UK (in addition to our information website), lion.co.uk/community, we're still in the phase of optimizing things.

We've found that there's many entrepreneur and startup websites but gaining critical mass to make a useful community is another thing.

We should probably work together but then again, as others have mentioned, there's different requirements for different people. Founders of businesses other than technology and hackers for example might not have reason to collaborate.

That said, the more resources there are for business founders the better; especially in Europe right now.

user24 2 days ago 0 replies      
The domain was registered 2 days ago, so great job in launching early. You really need a strategy to keep people coming, but all I can say is good luck, have an upvote.
zachinglis 2 days ago 1 reply      
To be honest, I never go "Damn. I wish the Hacker News articles were more focused around me." Most of the articles here are universal, the rest still make a difference to me.
gavanwoolery 2 days ago 0 replies      
You need to focus on something other than nationality - I do not care if my news comes from the US or from Europe (and I think I am in the majority here), I only care if it is interesting. Maybe a Hacker News with subsections, like Reddit?
ekianjo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be more interested by a HN Asia or something. I mean, political, technological issues in US and EU are different but not that much, after all. Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, India, etc... lots of stuff is happening there and nothing much comes to the surface.
Lucadg 1 day ago 0 replies      
this will be useful if it makes access to European VCs easier.
Good luck guys, I'll read HE everyday.
newandimproved 2 days ago 2 replies      
A quick but of advice: give the site some personality - visually, I mean. It will make a difference. People will respond to it better and respect it more.

If it looks like an HN clone, that's how people will treat it. Differentiate.

lignuist 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm missing an "about" section.
mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure Hacker News can be viewed and contributed to by folks in Europe already.
antr 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great initiative. Will follow for sure
biafra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally something in my timezone!
LoneWolf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bookmarked, lets see if it goes well.
One advice, give the page some border on the sides, its pretty bad at least for me to have to look to the edge of the monitor.
v0cab 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm British and I think this is a great idea. I'm interested to read about the startup scene in Europe and the UK.

I do think that we should be trying to move away from the 'hacker' label. People are never going to understand that 'hackers' can be good -- See that AP Press article. And really, our definition is the less popular one, and therefore less correct, and it is we who should change our wording.

perfunctory 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why, why is email mandatory to sign up???
rayhano 20 hours ago 0 replies      
750users in just over TWO days and approaching 200 posts with several times more comments!
jmilloy 2 days ago 0 replies      
A more appropriate solution, I would think, is regional filtering here on HN. Label submissions with the relevant region, if any, and add one more tab which filters results by region according to a black/white list in your profile.

Maybe hackful will show us that such a feature would be heavily used.

philjackson 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks much like Antirez's lamernews.com. What's the stack behind it?
pedrocarvalho 2 days ago 1 reply      
At first I didn't liked the idea, but it could work as a way to filter out US centric posts and focus more on Europe.

I think it needs some guidelines: is English the preferred language? If this is limited to Europe, is it ok to have posts related to other parts of the world?

geoffw8 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cool. I hope it doesn't turn into an OpenCoffee mirror/spam board for events/etc. Bookmarked :)
hessenwolf 2 days ago 3 replies      
Yes, lets rule out the country that provides us with a userbase for most of our sites. Surely there's nothing relevant there?

Hands up if you have an English-language website in which the US is not the largest segment of users?

tudorw 2 days ago 1 reply      
nice, but can you fix editing comments please :)
why-el 2 days ago 0 replies      
The one thing that should really be taken into consideration is username consistency across both sites, that will help.
(And I can't have the same user name because the evil "-" is not allowed. Do something about it.)
andygcook 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think this will necessarily gain traction without a huge push to build a community.

It would be cool if a system like subreddits was added to Hacker News where it makes sense (e.g. Europe).

mike-cardwell 2 days ago 1 reply      
What is on-topic on this board?
subnetvj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't it let me sign up without entering my email?

I think when I registered on HN, it didn't make email as mandatory!! Or is my memory deceiving me?

mattslight 2 days ago 0 replies      
We are planning london.hackful.com etc. Watch this space.
samgranger 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I love about HN is that the users here are international - not just USA, or just EU. What's the benefit of having an EU only version?
rayhano 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to thank all the commenters and those who are signing up to Hackful!
olh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Without too much rhetoric: haters gonna hate.
sucrenoir 2 days ago 0 replies      
An RSS feed would be great !
lewisflude 2 days ago 1 reply      
Woo! Silicon Roundabout. :)
ortatherox 2 days ago 1 reply      
Will the source be available on github for pull requests?
marban 1 day ago 0 replies      
what about splitting HN into different sections?
xxiao 1 day ago 0 replies      
great for Europe and everyone else! love the idea.
timme 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker News for Europe = Hacker News.
I Wasn't Paid iwasntpaid.com
317 points by laurenceputra  5 days ago   182 comments top 42
patio11 5 days ago  replies      
This is not a way forward.

1). Work with better clients. You can have invoice collection problems at $50k, too, but they're much less likely than at $500 and you have much better options for... escalation methods at that point.

2). If you're not a bank, stop taking on so much credit risk. Businesses can deal with substantially sterner payment terms than you'd think to offer. If your clients balk, see #1. (Thomas has some suggestions here, too, many of which reduce to "Work for Thomas' clients and charge enough that dealing with their purchasing processes is worth your headaches rather than chasing deadbeats for Snickers money.")

3). Showing up on iamachumpconsultant.com will not enhance your professional reputation, bill rate, or client pool.

ljf 5 days ago 1 reply      
What if this happens:

I work with a difficult dev/designer for a couple of months trying to bootstap a product. In the end it's not working, we agree to go our own ways, but I keep the name of the product. For what ever reason they get shitty with me, and a month or two down the line when I'm working with someone else they post about me on 'iwasntpaid' - not just once, loads of times - they know a lot about me so they can make it look like a string of unhappy dev/designers are annoyed and I can never be sure who it was posting this.

Would the site owner let me/help me remove these? Will they be asking for proof? If not I can see them getting in some interesting legal battles pretty quickly.

I think something like: http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/ is great - but it is totally open and honest - you state who you are and why you feel you've been ripped off.

This anonymous sniping isn't going to help anyone. If someone rips you off write a blog post about it, tell people you work with, or better yet talk to the offending party in person.

This feels like bitching-meets-4chan. At least http://www.grouphug.us tries to keep both sides anonymous.

gee_totes 4 days ago 6 replies      
I was involved in the case involving Carlos 'Storm' Martinez, who is an amazing post sound mixer and a stand-up guy. I am a little perturbed to see him mentioned on the site.

The design of the site in question was good, no doubt, but it was also riddled with a stolen Neutraface2 font face and the HTML didn't validate. And there was no RoR backend; the whole site was hosted on a GoDaddy shared server.

From my understanding of the dispute, the site was delivered many months late, and then the designer doubled his price. When Storm refused to pay double for late work, the designer linked in an overlay from a file hosted on Dropbox that announced 'This site was stolen'. That was the 'kill switch'. The designer also made a few blog posts and tweets bragging about his 'kill switch', which he later took down.

This lead to a panicked call from Storm to me to move the site over to my servers until the dispute could be resolved. A few days after that, I received a very aggressive e-mail from the designer threatening to sue me for stealing his work.

What iwasntpaid.com needs is links to conflict resolution and contract negotiation books, which are important freelancing skills that the designer sorely lacked. You never introduce yourself to a fellow freelance web programmer with "Hi, my name's Jeff, and I'm going to sue you over this dispute I have with another party".

Given the designer's history of posting complaints about how he's been screwed out of $500 and then taking them down once he realizes that it might be bad for his reputation, I wouldn't be surprised of that post about Storm gets taken down as well.

Also, from my web-stalking around this issue, I wouldn't be surprised if the hours that the designer put in trying to smear Storm across the internets, billed at the designer's normal rate, exceeded the payment he was expecting from Storm.

tl;dr: Settle on a rate before you start doing work, and if it's not a flat rate, keep the client up to date with projections of the final bill.

PS Carlos 'Storm' Martinez and his team at Creative Mixing are amazing, talented people and I would recommend them to anyone looking for post-sound work. It saddens me to see the post on iwasntpaid.com

jeremymcanally 5 days ago 2 replies      
While I sometimes wish something like this existed, it seems ripe for abuse and/or open to some sort of libel law violation should it get out of control.
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 1 reply      
In general this sort of site gets sued a lot. For the exemplar site see RipOffReport which has almost more lawsuits than posts it seems. So if you run it for any length of time be sure to have a good legal team already in place.

The other thing is that there is an endless supply of bad business deals gone wrong so any individual deal that went south may make the person venting feel better (until they are sued) but they don't contribute to the overall success rate of other folks (except perhaps if they are also dealing with a specific individual or business mentioned).

Contrast this with the Nolopress (www.nolo.com) guys who, by example, provide both tools to successfully navigate what may be new territory and provide suitably anonymized examples which demonstrate the problems that you want to prevent. That is a positive outcome to a bad experience, which is shared learning and signs of things to avoid.

mgkimsal 5 days ago 1 reply      
Similar situation, but closer to $9k. Filed a lawsuit in court - still waiting 3.5 years later (NYC). I suspect it'll take a long to collect even after a judgement.

Yes, don't extend so much credit - lesson learned (the hard way).

I consulted with a number of people debating whether or not to blog about this situation with the person's name. In the end I chose not to at that time, but realized later that this person had another non-payment suit pending which had been filed the day before I started working with him. Had I researched a bit more, I might have found that (but then again, I might not have - you often don't think to do court record searches on potential clients). I ended up not disclosing his name in my blog, but did disclose the location I filed a suit. Anyone wanting to know can go check the public records and find out for themselves. Felt like a decent middle ground, and it's not irrevocably commiting myself to having been the "name and shamer". But without more naming and shaming, this behaviour by some people will continue. I found out later that this guy had also stiffed multiple other parties, who were then coming to me for advice about how to collect. "File a NY lawsuit" was the only answer I had.

Perhaps some public naming and shaming would either correct this person's behaviour or at least ward off others from working with him in the future. one person complaining about no payment can be written off as a crank. 5 devs in a 5 month period, all from different areas, would be harder to dismiss.

crag 5 days ago 4 replies      
One dangerous thing that stands out is this "kill switch". VERY bad idea. Now you are liable for damages.

The way to handle this is: When you get the judgement against your "client", slap a lean on his properties equal to the amount owed (and throw in your court costs). That inclues his accounts. All you need is an order from the judge. That's it.

That's about all you can do really. Is to go after his assets. Also I'd let the BBB and your local Chamber know. You'd be surprised how effective both these organizations can be.

bradly 4 days ago 0 replies      
ZenCash is new startup that is solving the problem the right way. It can connect with your invoicing service (FreshBooks, Harvest, Blinksale) and then they will contact the client when the refuse to pay. They work with a collection agency so now we the lone web developer can actually force someone to pay.


rglover 5 days ago 4 replies      
Not the best route to handle this. Make sure you have a decent lawyer on hand (and a good contrct) when dealing with delinquent clients. Something like this will guarantee that you'll never get paid.
stroboskop 5 days ago 0 replies      
Anonymous accusations, no verification and guaranteed reputational damage to those accused: This is a bad idea.

If you have legal claims, press charges instead of going down this road.

Edit: the first post, an anonymous accusation (by the site's creator?), disappeared shortly after the site showed up on HN. Also, now suddenly submittals are subject to review (by whom?).

fredleblanc 5 days ago 1 reply      
I agree with others on the legal view, but also, to me this site just focuses on sour grapes. As a result, I can't see anything positive of helpful coming out of it. I'm not going to search a blog each time I get a client to see if they've been written about here. And aside from that, this site will only ever tell one-side of the case.

What if the developer did really poor work, missed every deadline by weeks, or the client still says there's work to be done before being paid? All this site shows is angry developers complaining about less-than-ideal clients. For me, that's the kind of talk you have over beers at a bar " you say your piece and then you move on " not something you permanently record into a collection on the web.

ramy_d 5 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone here is saying it, anonymously calling others out by name is wrong and profesionally destructive.

This is why we pay lawyers:

dangrossman 5 days ago 0 replies      
> People who feel that they have been wrongly accused can now send in feedback that they have been wronged and we will look into it

That sounds like a bad idea. You either publish submissions through the website, or you don't publish at all. If you manually take the 'feedback' and turn it into a story, you're now the publisher and lose the legal protections of the Communications Decency Act.

Your site was a better idea, legally, before you posted that.

corywatilo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Actually collecting isn't that hard (in the U.S., at least). I won a similar case in small claims and the defendant didn't pay. All I had to do was file a form for the Sheriff's office to collect from him and pay the filing fee (I think around $45, which was then added to the amount to collect). I provided the defendant's bank account info, and when he was unresponsive to the police, they withdrew the amount from his account into an escrow account and then cut me a check for the amount owed and mailed it to me.

This can probably be a little more challenging if the account doesn't have sufficient funds in it, but I was happy to see that the system worked. It was a learning process for me (first time I had to do it, and thankfully, knock on wood, the last), but in the end, justice was done and I got paid.

itsmicks 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is basically a rite of passage for all freelancers/lawyers/service workers unfortunately. My rule of thumb: If someone doesn't want to give you at least 20% upfront for a project, you don't want to work with them. Always give yourself checkpoints in the project for partial payments instead of a lump sum at the end.
gk1 5 days ago 0 replies      
A much more useful approach would be to educate people about protecting themselves from non-payers. Eg, use an agreement or contract, check references, etc. That would be far more beneficial than a collection of libel and rambling.

For instance, the entry from Jan 31 says the person worked for _four_ months without being paid! Why would you work for four months straight without a single intermitent payment (or an advance)?

Jayasimhan 4 days ago 1 reply      
on the iwasntpaid.com site:

I was eager that the service would let me search for the client names and get reviews on them quickly. And providing a very basic template for each story for the author to enter metadata around the story. I think that would be a much better experience for readers and contributors.

gpcz 5 days ago 1 reply      
This fantastic speech by Mike Monteiro ( http://vimeo.com/22053820 ) explains how you can avoid ever having to use this site as a last resort to get your grievances resolved.
benjohnson 4 days ago 1 reply      
My Dad had a folder labeled 'Deadbeats' at this small consulting firm. It was in the conference room - anybody was free to look at it. In the field he was in, word got around quickly so there was a few tardy clients that paid but stipulated that he remove their transgressions from the 'Deadbeats' folder.
k-mcgrady 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just read the first story on the site. Taking someone to court over $1000 is a waste of time. $1000 may be a lot of money to you (it is to me) but I have faced this problem twice and you are much better spending your time on new projects and forgetting the client.

I have found the key to getting paid is milestones. I will not work with someone unless they are willing to pay 50% of the total before I start. This way if they cancel the project you are getting some money for your time. I also make clear to the client they do not need to pay the final 50% until they have the project from me. This way they need to trust me enough to pay the first 50% and I need to trust them that they will pay the final 50%. I've been using this system for the past 12 months and haven't had any problems with clients since.

There is a good thread on Programmers Exchange about charging clients (particularly for freelancers): http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/63042/recomme...

frederico 4 days ago 0 replies      
Upon reading this article I seem to think that in most cases it's actually the developers fault. Don't be retarded; create a contract for the work you do with your potential employer.

I've been doing freelance for quite some time; and did have two clients try to screw me over; however due to the contracts which I setup ahead of time, and having a lawyer send a simple note upon their threat of not paying, quickly remedied this non-paying issue.

1) Cover your ass
2) Setup a reasonable Payment schedule
3) Don't be stupid

jagbolanos 4 days ago 1 reply      
We are currently bootstrapping our startup with some consulting work in iOS and Rails. This is the process that we follow:

1) We discuss the project with the client stating our hourly rates clearly from the beginning and that we also work in our startup so we won't be a "full-time" developer
2) We then make a clear estimation of time and deliverables for the project + time for testing/debugging/QA + time for calls + time to prepare for publication to the App Store.
3) If they accept we make a clear contract with several payments and deliverables.
4) We ask for 20% to 40% upfront payment and then the rest divided by time and deliverable completion.
5) The last payment is conditioned to App Store approval (in case it is iOS)
6) We only give the source code after the last payment is done
7) We keep sending weekly updates usually via TestFlight (when iOS) and use a Google Doc for any observations that they have
8) We have discovered that some clients also want time spent so we always use toggl as time tracking tool.

I know there are still risks but at least with the upfront payment and deliverable payments you always keep healthy cashflow, the clients feel they are protected and you feel protected too.

This way it's also easier to detect a red flag, in that case you can just stop your development until the payment is done (We actually did that once now and it worked really well).

unreal37 5 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of ol' F'd Company. Can't be sued for libel if the story is true.
tomkarlo 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the big problems with web consulting and clients that don't pay is that unlike other business situations, these clients often lack physical assets and storefronts that can be used to collect on a judgement from a court. Traditionally, if you had a small claims judgement and it's not paid, you could have the Sheriff or the like serve notice or even put a lien on assets.

When a client's business is entirely virtual, there's a risk they'll simply change their mailing address or otherwise dodge a judgement, and it can be very difficult to enforce the claim (or at least not economic to do so.) I've seen this happen a number of times in recent years in situations where the amount ranged from $1500 to $10,000.

gavingmiller 5 days ago 5 replies      
Ultimately it's your fault as a contractor if you don't get paid. And a site like this does nothing to teach developers, freelances, designers, and the like how to avoid these pitfalls which is why I'll never use it.

Why is it your fault? Because as a professional you've not taken the time/money to have a contract created to cover your ass. Contracts exist to protect both parties from each other. And it is your professional duty to know what's in your contract (not a piece meal that you dug up on the internet.) You should be able to explain to your clients what is in your contract, why it's there, and how it benefits them and you.

swombat 5 days ago 1 reply      
How long before this gets sued for libel?
e-dard 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd do something about the kerning of the h1 element, it's not particularly pleasant in my opinion.
Gustomaximus 5 days ago 1 reply      
In an ideal world this is great but anonymously posted data only could increase problems with people posting one or many stories about others they just want to harm for personal reasons.

While self naming probably increases the chance of legal issues I think people should have the choice to say I am the person he did this to to help credibility. And if one have it all documented there should be nothing to be worried about.

groby_b 4 days ago 0 replies      
This strikes me as an exercise in futility.

If you can properly document that you should have been paid and haven't, go to court. Posting on a website won't do anything to actually recoup the cost.

If you can't prove that, you're setting yourself up for a libel claim.

So what exactly is the gain of posting there, except giving in to a temporary desire for revenge?

barefoot 5 days ago 0 replies      
How about making it a paid subscription service instead? I would subscribe to that.

Developers have their identity confirmed (to avoid anonymous business-bashing) and can freely discuss bad (and possibly good) experiences with businesses.

The membership agreement could explain that no emotional or biased comments would be allowed and would encourage some level of explanation of why the client did not pay along with proof in the form of bounced checks, etc...

jkolya 5 days ago 1 reply      
They should force the developers to put their names. That way people know which developers to stay far away from. Don't go near anyone that would post to something like this.
brador 5 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know what indian libel laws are like?
davidpoarch 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this issue is very significant these days, with the boom of outsourcing and remote freelance work. For scenarios with no down payment requirement, there's no guarantee the service provider will receive payment at all (and no guarantee the rest of the payment will be paid for the down payment scenario either). And for scenarios where a down payment (or full payment) is paid, there's no guarantee the service will ever be delivered to the requester. And how about scenarios where the wrong service was delivered? And how about if the service provider and requester are not in the same country (how do you go about taking legal action)?

I am a co-founder of a nascent third party payments aggregator (TPPA) called PayGuard. We are currently building our Beta, but our system specifically targets such scenarios. And with such capability, our system inherently solves the same issues with material products as well (a market PayPal currently dominates, though it does so extremely unsatisfactorily).

mikecaron 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have started to put a clause in my own contracts that's paraphrased like so: I do some work for you and submit it to you for verification. You have x days to verify it. If you fail to verify it or tell me a scheduled date for verification by that date, it goes on github for the world to see and use for free. I.E. "F* U, Pay Me."
motters 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, it's a nice idea but I think this is high risk. In the very distant past when I was young and naive there were occasions on which I didn't get paid for commercial work, so I can sympathize with that. However, naming and shaming rogue customers could just be a recipe for libel lawsuits.
EGreg 4 days ago 0 replies      
How about instead, we have a pool of customers which are GOOD CUSTOMERS but which you in the future might want to move on from, for various reasons? Other developers can pick up the slack -- and some work! They would also be able to have a transition period. This website could even make a small commission from the handoffs.

The best way to avoid bad options is knowing where to find a lot of good ones. Then the others have to prove themselves to you, and you can take them or leave them :)

joshfraser 4 days ago 0 replies      
The lesson here is never piss off someone with a blog and an audience. His name will forever show up in Google as the guy who didn't pay up.
junto 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is what nasty bad ass debt collectors are for. They'll collect (really they will) and then take a cut. Carlos won't know what hit him. Get some recommendations for good debt collectors in your local area. You are wasting your precious time trying to collect this yourself. Employ them and then you can inform Carlos that it is longer his debt to you but his debt to some burly tattooed biker.
ryen 4 days ago 0 replies      
I recommend to ask for payment at pre-defined milestones. Waiting to get paid at the very end is just asking for trouble.
dgunn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just build a kill switch into the code. If they don't pay, use it.
meapix 4 days ago 0 replies      
How about freelancers who never complete work but still get paid? it happened to me.
Simo 4 days ago 0 replies      
just for argument sake:
1 - freelancers union is working very hard to pass the Freelancer Payment Protection Act (S4129/A6698) that grant freelancers the same wage protection as traditional employees and require the Department of Labor to pursue freelancers' unpaid wages holding deadbeat executives personally liable for up to $20,000 and jail time.
2 - on the union website you can find the Contract Creator, a free tool that allows you to easily create a strong (and nationally accepted) contract to protect yourself.
My U.S. Border Nightmare zakhomuth.com
314 points by srl  2 days ago   265 comments top 57
potatolicious 2 days ago  replies      
Author seems a bit naive about international sovereignty, though I suppose one can't exactly blame him for it.

I grew up in Vancouver, a stone's throw from the border, so I suppose I take it for granted that we all learn very early on that CBP is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and everyone knows someone who was chewed out, berated, and generally treated like a criminal by them.

Seeing as how I work in the US now, it's probably fortunate that I grew up with such a cynical view about crossing international borders.

Anyways, let this be a lesson to Canadians (or I suppose more generally, all non-Americans) who want to cross the border for whatever reason: be prepared always for the worst. If you are crossing for business, always seek legal advice for your situation, and make sure all of your ducks are lined up in a row. You have no right to enter a country where you are not a citizen, regardless of what treaties and protocols your two nations have set up.

I do have a question for the author though: what kind of training involves setting up a US corp? Also, regardless of how you classify it in your head, I'm fairly certain that setting up and working for a US corp, for profit or education or just plain fun, means you're working in the USA, and would be illegal without the relevant visas.

Without knowing the specifics about his situation, it would seem to me that he was in fact trying to enter the US illegally - though he didn't seem to know this. Ignorance of the law won't help you very much when you're in a room with an irate CBP officer.

patio11 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a certain amount of sympathy given that Japanese immigration features in all of my nightmares.

That said, attempting to cross borders for the purpose of working illegally (sorry, I don't like the law either, but there is no conceivable way that YC does not count as employment) will not endear you to law enforcement. I wish they had been more polite in the course of discovering your true purpose and refusing you entry, but if they hadn't, that would have been a crazy result under US immigration law.

There's better ways to handle one's business and legal affairs tactically, but start with knowing that the US really doesn't have a visa category "People from countries we like, for any purposes whatsoever, no questions."

grecy 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm a foreigner that has crossed into the USA 25+ times, about half of those at land borders from Canada (where I live, but I'm not Canadian)

>the border guard starts in on me hard. I mean he had it out for me. I still have no idea why I rubbed him the wrong way, but he sure didn't like me.

This happens to me 75% of the time I try to enter the USA.

The best one was when I had my usa-plated motorbike in Canada, and came back into the USA with it. The border guard yelled at me, literally yelled at me for 2 hours about how much trouble I was in. "You gunna get it, boy", etc.
Whenever I politely asked what law I had broken, I was told to "shut the hell up, smartass".
(I broke no law, and was eventually allowed on my way)

Another time in front of about 40 people the border guard booms "Can you read, Boy?". To which I replied "yes, sir", as he threw my passport across the room, hitting me on the chest and falling on the floor.

A while back I was flying out from LA to Melbourne, and upon looking at my international plane ticket, the border guard said "where's Melbourne?". I was then forced to sit in a dark room, by myself for 4 hours, until another guard came along and said "looks fine to me, on your way"

>he was trying to get me to talk and contradict myself - which I have to admit is pretty fucked up.

This is the case every time I cross the border.

For the record, I'm white.

lancewiggs 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is sadly a pretty obvious case. The author was moving to the US to start a company. It wasn't to travel, nor to pop in and out to conduct business, and calling yCombinator a training program is a stretch. It might be, but it's a 'training program' that helps you start a business. A simple google would have told the agent what was what.

Blame dumb visa requirements, not the agents who actually managed to catch you out. The laws need to be changed, and Obama actually got the point in his SOTU.

In my five years living in the US during the first dot com boom first a student then on an H1B visa I knew enough not to bother trying to start a business. I've since started or helped start over 10, but none in the USA. Their loss.

Kylekramer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Almost comical in how he did everything to seem more suspect (one way travel, long undefined stay, no job, etc.). As an American who went to university in Montreal and holder of the rare distinction of being called a "retard" by an officer in front of a crowded lobby at the Canadian Border, I have more opinions than healthy about the American-Canadian crossing experience. But as the officer who called me a retard told me in the back room, if you aren't a citizen, they are under no obligation to let you in. It is just best to be aware of what they want to hear (you aren't staying, you don't have a lot of cash/booze/cigs/perishable goods, all the papers have been filled, and you don't come across as deceitful) and give the version of the truth that fits that narrative the best.
wyclif 2 days ago 3 replies      
never enter the US with an unclear leaving date

He makes it sound like this is an evil US policy. But in fact, every country I've ever visited outside the US, and I've visited a lot, asked me when I would be leaving and issued the appropriate visa. For example, if you visit the Philippines, the initial visa is 21 days. You can extend the visa, but again you must inform the government of your leave date. But if you mess around with Customs on this, you're likely to get in trouble all over the world, not just in the US.

yequalsx 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a natural born U.S. citizen from the Canal Zone (former U.S. territory). I get harassed quite a bit whenever I come back to the U.S. from overseas. The last time I was brusquely asked if I was a natural born citizen or had been naturalized at some point. I responded, "I was born in the same hospital as John McCain." The officer let me through after that retort.

In my experience the CPB is the worst customs agency in the world and I'm an American. Natural born, of course.

latch 2 days ago 5 replies      
I couldn't get through that wall of incoherent text. But from what I read, he's 100% wrong...maybe the story gets really weird though...however..

Traveling to a country which you are not a citizen of is not a right, it's a privilege. There are places where you need to apply weeks (or months) in advanced just to visit. Every country has different types of visas, and each visa has restrictions on what sort of activity you can and cannot engage in. If you are unprepared, or worse, you get caught breaking these laws, whatever happens is your own fault.

Don't like the system? Don't like how a particular country enforces its laws or what the punishment can be? Don't travel.

salman89 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think that the author is misleading his readers. YC is a far cry from a training program.

"Often this training involves setting up an American corporation for the startup activities - but I'll get to that later.".

Why didn't he just say he was accepted into a start-up incubator, and his company was being funded in exchange for a piece of the company that was being incorporated, and that they were going to make a real product and try to find customers for that product?

"We go through his whole list and at the very end, he very stubbornly says none of it matters because the real grounds for refusal are that I am trying to start a business in the US as according to the notes on my file by the Lewiston prosecutor. I refute this, explain the documentation prevents and disproves this, I explain and explain and explain and all to no effect."

What exactly are you doing in YC then...?

tkiley 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a US Citizen. I recently went through the process of setting up a Canadian subsidiary of my US company, and obtaining a work permit to oversee Canadian operations temporarily.

The process was ridiculously stressful and daunting. My company is not exactly a huge economic driver in Canada (right now I'm bringing about $500k per year in local economic investment to BC), but it's amazingly time-consuming to get all the paperwork right and get a work permit.

After going through this process to enter Canada, I am considerably more sympathetic and tuned-in to the discussion of immigration reform in the USA. Zak may have technically been in the wrong here (and the border officers may have been correct in turning him away according to the law) but I think the law is profoundly sub-optimal, and it saddens me to see that my native country is this economically backward.

jperras 2 days ago 2 replies      
As someone who, up until recently, traveled to the United States on a regular basis (I'm Canadian), this doesn't surprise me at all. The author basically committed every mistake in the book.

Generally, every question that the CBP agent will ask revolves around money: who pays your salary, in what currency, are you attempting to get in to the USA to find a job, will someone be giving you money for whatever reason (e.g. honorarium for giving a talk at a conference), etc. Even if the question sounds innocuous or completely unrelated to money, chances are that depending on your response, a follow up question would be. Additionally, if for whatever reason the agent decides that he doesn't like your story and believes that you are going to the USA and are going to be given money while you're there, you're basically shit out of luck.

> I say Waterloo (totally out of habit) and that I left my job so its no issue about the time off (just a pointer here - never enter the US with an unclear leaving date, and no paying job).

As someone who got locked up in a tiny room for a few hours because I mentioned that (at the time) I had been self-employed, these are basically the worst things that you can say.

I really do understand what the author went through, and I sympathize. But the reality of the situation is that entering a country where you are not a citizen is not a right, it's a _privilege_.

Remember: The CBP agents aren't there to let you in; there are there to keep people out.

krschultz 2 days ago 1 reply      
You need a laywer. Plain and simple. There are very good lawyers for this type of stuff - unfortunately they are not cheap and I assume the cost would eat most of the YC investment. But it can be cleared up and worked out if you want to.

Having done business across this border before I'm sorry to say this is a very typical story. Recreational travel across the US/Canada border is quite simple but both sides are sticklers for business travel. People have crossed 50 times to go skiing or visit family without a problem and get used to that process, and then show up the 51st time saying they're on a business trip and end up getting refused because they don't have the right visa.

jakejake 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would have gone much smoother like this:

Border Patrol: What is the purpose of your visit?

Liar: I'm helping my friend move

Border Patrol: How long are you staying?

Liar: Heading back on Monday.

Border Patrol: OK, have a good trip.

The problem is, well, primarily that he chose to lie when crossing the border. But, more specifically he chose the wrong lie to tell. If you're crossing the border and planning to lie about the purpose of your visit, you'd be better off making it easy on yourself and lie about the length of your stay instead.

I don't mean to suggest to anyone that you should lie at all - it is much smarter to just tell the truth. I'm just saying that if you are planning to lie because you have the wrong visa type or whatever, then at least be smart about it and think of better story. Otherwise you wind up trying to explain to a border patrol why you are entering the country with no return date and staying for 3 months just to "visit California."

bitwize 2 days ago 1 reply      
You can't go anywhere in this post-9/11 world without the potential for being hassled by the gendarmes.

When I landed in Helsinki en route to Osaka, I was stopped by a border agent because my passport was not stamped. I was led back into a downright skeery waiting area for what looked like one of those good-cop-bad-cop, beat-the-crap-out-of-the-suspect interrogation rooms you see in cop shows and movies. She also had a pistol on her hip. No mere paper jockey, this one. She had to be ready to shoot a motherfucker.

Now as it turns out I landed in France, and to the French, it seems, stamping your passport is something of an optional administrative detail that may be overlooked. So my passport was looked at but not stamped. That raised some WTF alarms when I landed in Finland. (Good old EU! A model of international cooperation!) I tried explaining this in the best way I knew how, me not knowing WTF was going on either since this was my first European landing, and waited, tensely, for 15 minutes while they decided whether to do the old good-cop-bad-cop routine on me.

Thankfully, they said I could go. But I was on pins and needles there for a while.

fluidcruft 2 days ago 3 replies      
> I still have no idea why I rubbed him the wrong way, but he sure didn't like me.

Border guards are trained to make you feel uncomfortable, because they need to be driving with you to in a reactive state. They adapt to build psychological pressure. Don't get too hung up on them "singling" you out or targeting you, a lot of it is carefully choreographed and rote.

spitfire 2 days ago 4 replies      
Two hints for easily crossing the boarder:

1. Enter via private plane. The staff at airfields handling private air traffic tend to be less stressed and way more relaxed. I've taxi'd right past the allotted space (Found it eventually) as well as made gitmo jokes with BP - they just laugh.

2. Cross by car at a smaller crossing. Again staff tend to be less stressed and more accommodating.

3. (I took CS!) Have all your ducks in a row before heading off. Really. No really, work it all out beforehand. Even if just going for lunch (Which is easy. "I'm going for lunch sir, I'll be leaving in 2 hours")

Steko 2 days ago 0 replies      
My wife works for Air Canada in the US and consequently when traveling we see both US and Canadian immigration on a regular basis. I can assure you that there are royal dicks working in both offices. And also great people. There's some skill and some luck involved in getting more of the latter then the former.

One memorable occasion: Just over a year ago I booked a ticket at the last moment, traveling one way and by myself to join my wife for New Years. I couldn't find my passport but with nothing to lose I gave it a shot with no picture ID on me except a 19 year old expired passport and a Costco card. Shockingly, through massive understanding and goodwill, I was able to pass through both Canadian and US security and immigration, albeit not without a few extra questions. Did I mention my mixed background is often mistaken for Middle Eastern and I have a scary drifter beard that sometimes causes my neighbors to politely decline riding in the elevator with me (lest they be mugged or assraped apparently).

So yeah, when I read this article, my impression is the whole story might be a little different. If you could also get the story as told by (1) the guys he was traveling with, (2) the guard, (3) the guard's wife and (4) the spirit medium well might be a cool movie in there.

tnuc 2 days ago 0 replies      
The biggest mistake made here is the inconsistency. He was invited to do business training yet has no job to go back to.

At least he didn't do anything stupid enough to get banned for ten years.

Next time: Try being nice to the border guard. Let them do their job but at the same time try to engage in some conversation that is of interest to them. Don't try to engage to much. Social engineering goes a lot further than the rule book.

Don't forget border guards know how to use the the internet and read his blog/website/Resume. Which leads to the question, if he wasn't working for upverter anymore, what exactly was he wanting to do in the US.

nonce43 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some tips for border crossings, based on my Canada to US experiences:

The border agents don't like one-way flights. My sister was turned away at the border because she had a one-way flight to visit her boyfriend and they figured she was going to visit illegally. She also had "suspicious" things in her suitcase like a cookbook: "So you're going to take an illegal food service job?"

Make sure you can prove you have enough money to support yourself. The guy in line in front of me got sent back once because he couldn't prove this.

Avoid hard-to-explain travel arrangements, such as travelling in the US, crossing the border back into Canada to visit someone, then crossing back into the US to catch a plane. My best friend got stuck in Windsor because of this, although his scary hair and beard probably didn't help either.

If you have a green card, don't leave it at home by mistake. I got taken into the little room and had to pay a $265 administrative fee because of this.

Make sure you have documentation for everything. When my friends drove through the US to a wedding, I told them to make sure they had the invitation, hotel info, etc, to show customs so everything went smoothly.

Don't have a complex story that makes no sense. I'm sympathetic to the original author, but reading his post I couldn't figure out what he was really doing in the US and I'm not surprised he got turned away.

The strangest questioning I had crossing the border: "Where are you visiting?" "What's your father's name?" "What does your father do?" "A teacher? What school did he teach at?" By this point, I was wondering where this line of questioning was leading. But then the border guard said, "I know your father. He taught me in Grade 11."

While I'm on the subject of border crossing, I've opted out of TSA body scanning several times. I've seen complaints from others, but the patdown has always gone smoothly for me.

DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm filing this in a long list of "be careful about crossing borders" articles.

Seriously folks, this isn't like walking to the corner grocery. Know what documents to have, what to say, how to act -- everything -- before you cross the border. There are lots of people who get paid everyday to "protect" their country, and they would like nothing more than to have an excuse to fuck with you.

Now you may not like that. I do not like that at all. As an American, I really wish we could be more friendly about these things. I love my country and am proud of it, but I am also ashamed about it in many ways. This is one of them. But whether we like it or not or whether we're ashamed of it or not -- you still gotta know what the hell you are doing when you go to cross a border.

I wish I could upvote this, but sadly it's just too much like a bunch of other articles.

lwat 2 days ago 2 replies      
If this guy showed up at Australia's border with no return flight, incorrect visa and everything else he screwed up, I'd wager he'd have the same experience.

Do your homework, be a smart traveler!

ajays 2 days ago 0 replies      
Things have changed dramatically since 9/11 . I remember coming back to the US via the same Lewiston bridge, after a night of partying in Canada, and on occasions not even being asked for an ID (I was not a US citizen then, and I'm not white). Maybe it was the car's registration. And a couple of times I was just asked to show my student ID (I was on an F1 visa then).
k-mcgrady 2 days ago 0 replies      
After reading this it seems like a lot of the guys problems could have been avoided and were his own fault.

Now, I think the behaviour of some of the border patrol agents seems unacceptable, but he was trying to enter the US for 3 months with no proof of ties to home and no return flight.

Putting the business visa aside, that alone is enough to be rejected. If you have no job, and do not own a house or have a mortgage, and have not booked a return flight home (and I don't believe he had any documents to prove he could afford one) you are going to be rejected.

Normally I wouldn't side with border patrol but despite the poor treatment he received he brought a lot of it on himself through poor planning.

peterhajas 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have no sympathy. This sounds like an unprepared traveller, who confused his story, and then was denied due to the suspicious nature of his story. I know, start-up rush and hustle, but do your homework. Customs and border protection are very formal, and it's your responsibility to explain your story clearly and accurately the first time.
rdtsc 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Thats right ladies and gentlemen, if I told him the truth he would fight for me, but agreeing to his truth is in conflict with my originally story, and thus I have committed fraud

Yikes. You really walked into that one. The more I kept reading the more I was cringing. The good cop, bad cop routine, letting you sit for hours, "let me talk to the supervisor" thing.

bdonlan 2 days ago 2 replies      
Ow. Please put in some paragraph breaks, it's a nightmare to try to read a long wall of text like that without some kind of landmark to latch on to.
mmaunder 1 day ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, setting up a C corp in the USA as a non-resident, which is technically legal, will almost certainly flag you for further interrogation by DHS. If they can find any reason to refuse entry, they will. It's happened to me. [I'm now a US citizen.]
vacri 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thats right ladies and gentlemen, if I told him the truth he would fight for me, but agreeing to his truth is in conflict with my originally story, and thus I have committed fraud - I believe that is called a catch-22.

This reminds me of the difference between Australia and the US in regards to the right to withhold comment. With similar legal backgrounds, there are similar rights about being questioned, but there are subtle differences.

In the US there's the good old 5th amendment that everyone knows (from TV if nowhere else). You don't have to comment, and your unwillingness to comment cannot be used against you in court. However the police can quite freely and happily lie to you to get what they want.

There are subtle differences here in Australia. You can reserve the right not to comment. You don't have to speak, but depending on circumstance, withholding comment can be used against you in court (I guess for things like "I refuse to say where I was on the night of my wife's murder" kind of stuff, I don't know for sure).

But on the other hand, when questioned by police, they have to tell you what they're questioning you about at the start of the interview. If they're questioning you about a robbery down the street and you let slip that you have illegal drugs in the house, it's not connected to their reason for interview and technically they can't use it. There are exceptions for very serious crimes like murder, of course.

It means that authorities do not have the right to go on 'fishing expeditions', though I don't know whether it applies to border control.

disclaimer: I don't follow law in much detail, just read the above from an Australian law site when I was wondering what our version of "the 5th" was...

jrmg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I always wonder about legalities when I hear of foreign nationals doing, or applying for, YCombinator or the like. I have a hard time seeing a legal route for them to do it. What is the correct way to do it? Is there one, or are they all bending the rules?
yason 2 days ago 1 reply      
So what we learn is that it doesn't really matter if you're trying to be honest down to details or enter with illegal plans to stay in the US: what matters is not appearing different, and hopefully be equipped with a rehearsed canned explanation that comes with paperwork to back it up.

The border officers ask generic questions and try to see how you respond to them. This is good because the response will reveal more than your words.

However, the caveat is that if you honestly enter with a reason that is somewhat out of ordinary then you just make it more complex the more honest details you spit out. On the other hand, if you manage to appear like the thousand other people who went across the border the same day, you can have lots of things that you never need to or want to explain.

So, it comes down to playing a role. Rehearsing answers to likely questions helps not because you'd want to learn to lie to the border officials but to keep the process smooth by sticking to its rules. Unfortunately, the same rehearsal will allow you to cover a purpose of the trip you don't want to reveal.

georgieporgie 2 days ago 1 reply      
How did this guy start a business in the US, as a Canadian? I know there are proxy services where you are a minority shareholder, but that wasn't mentioned.

If you start a business, you are an employee of that business. People who say, "I'm self employed," are technically wrong. They are actually employed by the business they started.

It's sad that the border between the US and Canada isn't as wonderfully open as it once was. I, myself, have been annoyed by border agents (particularly when arriving late at night on a bicycle, for a poorly-planned trip down the Pacific coast). However, this guy just walked into it soo badly. It's like he didn't give a moment's thought to the fact he was entering another country to conduct his business.

By the way, always arrive in a country with either return airfare or a printout of bank balances to show you can support yourself for the duration of your stay.

holri 2 days ago 0 replies      
It was easier and more fun to get into communist Hungary and Czech Republic in the nineteen eighties.
mafro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Having been born in the UK and travelled to Europe a lot, jeez do we get it easy there. You can drive across ten countries in a month and have nobody blink twice. They see the coat of arms on the UK passport and just wave you through.

The one time I did go to America was precisely through the port the OP did - from Niagara into Buffalo. I got asked some pretty awkward questions and made to feel quite uncomfortable - at the time I thought they were massive bunch of assholes.

He really didn't understand that we were just going over the border for 2 hours to eat chicken wings!

rickmb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't believe how many people are defending this because "those are the rules".

FYI: If a visitor from a friendly first world nation tries to enter your country carrying a valid passport, the appropriate response at the border should be: "welcome".

The one in a million who wants to enter the country with the intention of outstaying their welcome can do this so easily by booking a hotel and having a return ticket that is is really not worth harassing all the other visitors for.

meiji 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've never had an awful lot of sympathy for people who assume that because they know they're not up to anything dodgy that the immigration people will know too. I was married in the US and knew that when I went on my honeymoon I better have letters from my employer in the UK as well as my return ticket or I might get refused entry to the US when I was heading back to where my new wife lived. Predictably I ended up in secondary checks, they were fine and I moved on. I've had the same half a dozen times when traveling for funerals, weddings or just holidays. My wife was also interrogated by British immigration for two hours before we got married. Again they want proof that you're up to no harm and it's your job to do that.

A former colleague of mine tried to get his American girlfriend to the UK and they had massively different stories when she arrived. She got a 1-month holiday visa and a severe threat that both (he was a US citizen) would be deported if she overstayed by even a single day.

The onus is on the person crossing the border to know what they're doing. There's plenty of info, particularly on going to the US and no excuse not to prepare, especially if you're going for work not a holiday.

baby 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't get why it's so difficult to travel from Canada to the U.S.

I'm from France and I can travel everywhere in Europe without having to show any identification and without having to prove something...

Right now I'm near Toronto and planning to go to the U.S. in a couple of weeks... Heard so many stories about other students buying their plane tickets and then being stucked at the border, and now this rant, I'm shitting myself.

alan_cx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can only read so many comments, so if this has been covered, apologies.

I don't think any one begrudges countries their border paranoia. But what is utterly un-necessary is the rude, psychotic, OTT behaviour of the border people. Fine that they want to check people out, but to scream, shot, and abuse people visiting is frankly outrageous.

I've rarely left my country, and every time it was no pain what so ever. But after reading that, which confirms all the negative press, has confirmed that I will never ever travel to the USA. Why would any one want to risk that?

ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Damn this country is disgusting. For what little it's worth I apologize for those that refuse to.

Yes I know there are worse places in the world but that doesn't mean we have to be a-holes ourselves.

And stop apologizing for border guards - they don't take that occupation to do anything noble, they take it because they get off on it.

joelhaasnoot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having gotten a secondary inspection myself because of forgetting to bring a letter from my internship that I was going to, I know what it's like, but if you don't have a suspicious story or one that's easy to track down, it shou;d be fine.

Another post mentions money: they just want you to have enough till you get out and not be a burden. They asked me what my parents occupation was (they were my backers), and I did have documentation as to that (their payslips), not that they cared much.

ari_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I keep seeing a bunch of US Citizens posting here about issues they have with CBP/DHS on re-entering the US. Just a quick note + a link - you are protected by the fifth amendment and are not required to say a word to any officer at any time. You are NOT protected by the 4th amendment at the border and your consent is not required for any search.


jinushaun 1 day ago 0 replies      
I travel a lot and I've never had as much problem traveling internationally as I do dealing with Canadian border guards. Oy vey. I always seem to get pulled over. I've since learned to practice my answers in a terse cold unfriendly manner. Smiles and friendly doesn't work.
sidwyn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pardon me, but why are there so many stories on Upverter / related to them today?
goodweeds 2 days ago 1 reply      
Huh? I thought Virgin America canceled their routes between SFO and YYZ a year ago?
jrockway 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you're ever locked in a jail cell, I have one word of advice: lawyer.
kjetil 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are people in the US aware that visitors have to agree to be fingerprinted to enter the country? When I told an (American) friend about this the last time I visited the US, she refused to believe it.
rbreve 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am from Honduras and last year I spent 3 months in NYC on the DreamIt incubator program, I just told the customs officer that I was going on a 3 months workshop, he just asked me where I was going to stay, my other 4 friends did the same we all got a 6 month business visa. We got lucky I guess.
JohnGB 2 days ago 0 replies      
My girlfriend has traveled to 60+ countries around the world, and she said that the US border experience was worse than any other country she has been to by a long margin.

It's a pity that the first welcome people get amounts to "we don't want you here".

gabaix 2 days ago 0 replies      
All I can wish you is great success wherever you are. You can wait for a couple of months before coming back. Try a H1B for November 1.
captainaj 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry for the author's experience but knowledge and preparation is the key to winning the war i.e. getting in the US and/or stay for certain amount of times. I'm not a lawyer but I have filed visa applications and petitions with the US Immigration Office USCIS many times by myself and have always been successful despite the fact that my country used to be in a war with the US. The laws are complicated if you don't read ahead and prep. If you do, it's a breeze. Hope this helps someone: visajourney dot com
tluyben2 2 days ago 0 replies      
At the Vancouver to US border, when I was was on vacation, I had a bit of trouble not to laugh: all these guys were very big dudes in uniforms with glasses and mustaches. They all looked exactly alike. Anyway; it was an interesting experience.
desireco42 2 days ago 1 reply      
First, as a Canadian, you probably have more right to come here then most others. So I apologize for how they treated you. If it is any consolation, cops do that to us all the time. I don't know why, what is benefit of locking someone innocent or making people accuse themselves (remember, do you know how fast you were driving).
Anyhow, sorry, enjoy Canada, who knows why this was good for you.
Also, it is not your fault, system is rigged to be abused by everyone else who will work illegally, but you who will not.
So now I am ranting.
corkill 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's important to frame your story in a way they can understand. e.g. if you are an entrepreneur winging it to the USA. Just make sure that you frame it in terms they understand, instead of relying on your version of the truth to save you.

e.g. most border guards believe you need a 9-5 job for life and if you don't have that you are probably up to no good. So answer with that in mind. Don't include irrelevant details that don't fit what they can understand.

The more stuff you say they don't understand the worse off you will be.

seclorum 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its not so hard: get a Visa before you go to the US. Don't just assume you can cross the border like its some sort of drive-through situation. If you know you need to visit the US, go to the US Embassy in your country and file your paperwork.
floetic 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was flying to San Francisco one day at Pearson and was faced with a similiar situation. I was turned down and asked to be withdrawn. I had all the necessary paper work and even brought my degree / lawyer look over my papers.
theashworld 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow _you_ got funded for running a company? That's inspiring.
jackcviers 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it just me, or have we become the Evil Empire Reagan warned us about?
melvinng 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you are from Waterloo, presumably you went to UWaterloo. Don't they teach you what to say at the border?
Id Software Open Source releases on GitHub github.com
300 points by gmcabrita  4 days ago   79 comments top 13
bittermang 4 days ago 4 replies      
I don't think the games industry will ever be able to adequately thank or appreciate all that Carmack has done over his career.

Most of which because the man is too humble to accept any of it.

srean 4 days ago 0 replies      
The collision in namespace is amusing. For a second I thought this was about a modern open source compiler for the programming language called Id. It was an influential language with strong stress on functional style implicit parallelism and efficient array like data structures called I-structures. I would kill to play around with such a tool. (and kill double if a free CM-5 came with it)

The real deal is no less exciting. The clash in name space does not end there. Cormac is the first name of one of the developer's of a distributed memory implementation of the language called phLuid.



stephth 4 days ago 2 replies      
Id Software feels like an anomaly regarding to open source in video games. In web development for example there is such a strong and diverse community supporting frameworks and libraries under permissive licenses. Why hasn't something like it happened with video games?
cookiecaper 4 days ago 2 replies      
Carmack is in a perfect position to provide another boon to the free software world: a license that doesn't allow unlimited redistribution by every recipient.

I know this isn't "free software" per Stallman's definition (precludes freedom 2), so don't all rush to flame me at once here. I believe, however, that the GPL's requirement that all software can be resold and redistributed by any recipient has been a big blight on the image of open-source software and has caused companies to actually tighten up lest their software and work become entirely unprofitable.

Someone needs to write a license that can be easily reused which a) releases all source code and requires the release of derivative versions, b) allows derivative works by users who own a license (perhaps up to a certain commercial limit) and allows them to share their changes with other licensed users, and c) restricts distribution of the code or any of its derivatives to persons whom the recipient in good faith believes to have a valid license to the software.

Unfortunately the GPL has ingrained in people that releasing source is the same as negating your whole investment. I don't believe things have to be this way. I believe that every software owner deserves a copy of the source, but I don't believe that every software owner has the right to redistribute that program practically without limitation as the GPL allows. If we have someone to lead the way in profitable source releases, I believe many companies will follow and at least part of the free software vision would be fulfilled: source code would come distributed with every program.

Companies like id who resell their engine techs to other commercial developer studios would still be able to do so due to the commercial limitations in such a license and the requirements to own a valid license for id's particular piece of software and the code wouldn't have to wait five years to see the world. Anyone with the money to pay for the license isn't going to infringe because they know the court costs would be futile and cost 3x+ as much as just buying a license straight out. The open-source contributions could be incorporated into the commercial editions immediately (and hopefully vice-versa). I really don't think id et al have much to lose from this approach, so I hope someone would do it.

id is not beholden to a large corporate publisher and Carmack clearly has the interest and understands the benefit behind a source release. Carmack has the vision to do something like this, imo, and I really hope he does.

mikehuffman 4 days ago 1 reply      
Before Valve and Gabe-mania my first dev crush was John Carmack. His postings and .plan files where were not only shockingly open and honest, but, I guess, genuine... it was apparent that here was a very successful man that was like me...an unrepentant nerd and geek! It is nice to know that that attribute of the company in general has not changed.
program 4 days ago 4 replies      
It will be interesting to see how id (or Carmack himself) will react to eventual pull requests. As far as I know the code has been frozen once released as Free Software on id FTP server.
jf 4 days ago 0 replies      
So awesome! I know it's unlikely, but I'd like to think that I helped put GitHub on Carmack's radar: https://twitter.com/#!/ID_AA_Carmack/status/1415891465222307...
timothya 4 days ago 1 reply      
It'd be really interesting to see more game development companies from the 80's and 90's release the source code for old abandonware. I was hoping to see Commander Keen (one of my favorite old games from my youth) on this list, but apparently it's still closed source.
mumrah 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a link to the infamous fast inverse square root function: https://github.com/id-Software/Quake-III-Arena/blob/master/c...
dan00 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had to giggle, looking at the quite large interface
of 'Entity.h'. Also Carmack has to do it in this "ugly"
way. In a way that's relieving.
libin 4 days ago 2 replies      
Wow! This is a really bold move.

Thank you, Id!

pyalot 4 days ago 3 replies      
No assets released, which is a problem for the following reasons:

- Piece of history lost

- Makes it harder to boot up anything because not a complete, running application.

- Derivatives of the art are impossible

- Artists will have a hard time starting to tweak things, because there's nothing to tweak.

- Coders will despair trying to provide even a basic set of art (because we're usually crap at art) so they could start poking at the code.

Sadly, this "here you have the source, off you go" thing seems to be very prevalent, and it always irks the hell out of me.

If you don't want to release everything, alright, that's workable. But something, at least some basic art, say the first level or whatever suits you. I don't get it why that should be a bad thing. I also don't get why people seem to think that idea is bad.

aeturnum 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you feel the need to own the assets, you can get Quake 2 for $2.50 from Amazon. Though I suppose it's harder to be a curmudgeon about ID if you look for solutions like that.
Hacking the Used Car Purchase carsabi.com
283 points by dw5ight  4 days ago   121 comments top 32
simonsarris 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm surprised they didn't mention "Have friends", which can often save far more money than any of the listed tips.

It's worth remembering that you are not the only person that you know that buys cars. Often friends and relatives are considering buying a new car and want to get rid of their old one in an easy way. Make sure you let them know that if they are going to trade-in that you might be interested in their old car.

My brother's first car was a Subaru with 250K miles that our friend's family was replacing. Instead of trading it in my brother offered $50 for it. They decided to give it to him instead.

My first car was a Corolla that my uncle was going to trade in. I offered him the trade-in quoted price ($1500). Two years later I sold it for $3600 on Craigslist. I would have gladly sold it to a friend for $1500 though.

There are plenty of people that like to buy cars from dealers and do not want the hassle of craigslist and are willing to trade in. If you're in the market for a car, make sure your friends and family know!

LouToot 4 days ago 4 replies      
As someone who has been buying cars for himself for 20 years or so, and never new, I would agree with the article in part, but with some important provisos:

1. While Craigslist is a valuable resource, make sure you follow Hack #4 and #5 - there are a lot of sleazy individuals who will pass salvage title or otherwise garbage vehicles. I would add one other note to that recommendation - search via the 'by owner' listings vs the 'by dealer' ones. That cuts down some (but not all) of the buy here/pay here trash-lot stuff. Searching for larger dealer vehicles can be done via something like autotempest (which also conducts Craigslist searches too)

2. While buying via Craigslist is generally easy and definitely recommended in many situations, selling can sometimes be a complete PITA. Dumping the car at CarMax can work as well in that case. You take a bit of a hit on the sale price, but its generally less in my experience than trading it in.

3. Sometimes there is a damn good reason why Luxury cars have taken an appreciation hit. Make sure you factor in scheduled and unscheduled maintenance with your purchase plans. Some luxury brands (Lexus, some Infiniti, Acura) are easier to maintain than others, but they inconveniently don't seem to depreciate quite as much. One thing I would add here too is - If you don't care about your image too much, look into 'old people's' cars. Things like the Cadillac DTS, Lincoln, Mercury Grand Marquis, etc... Because they are so unfashionable, the depreciation hit on them is HUGE, and you can really get decent, comfortable transportation for cheap. The gas mileage might not be as good as a Toyota, but $5k in savings can buy a lot of gas...

4. Carfax is important, but its not foolproof, and its no substitute for a good mechanic's inspection. What I look for is a gap-free history with no dramatic changes in mileage, and no record of fleet ownership. Why no fleet ownership? Have you ever abused a rental car, or known somebody who has? I would never buy an ex-rental, and would have a hard time looking at other ex-fleet sale cars - the incentive for responsible ownership is very often not there, even if scheduled maintenance may have been more rigorously followed.

5. In some cities there are 'Lemon Buster' services that can travel to the dealer/owner and inspect the car on-site. YMMV of course, but I have found them to be pretty useful and inexpensive. They also give you a nice inspection report that can be used as negotiation leverage.

Additional points to make:

Financing - unless you are a very savvy negotiator, I would NOT recommend dealer financing over bank/Credit Union financing (especially CU.) Financing/Dealer Fees are a huge source of income for dealers, and they typically have some real hard-asses stationed at the financing desk. Much easier to just pay with cash from the CU or your pocket. Paying ahead, by saving money for your next car instead of making payments for the current one is a very savvy move if you can get away with it.

Used car prices are highly localized. Where I live (Austin TX,) I have found that 2-5 yr old used cars are typically about $1k more expensive than cars in larger Texas cities like Houston and Dallas. Make sure your internet searching takes this sort of variance into account. If you save $1-2k on the price, a $150 one-way plane ticket is pretty cheap. For those in the rust belt, I would not even bother with buying used vehicles past a certain age locally - why take the chance on hidden rust issues?

Rule of thumb for used car purchases - there are always more cars! Don't EVER think that the car you are looking at is a special flower and that you will never find one that's the same. ALWAYS reserve the option to walk away. I personally walk-away from most cars I look at. Don't like the lot/seller? Walk away. Not getting a good feeling from the car? Walk away. There are always other options.

Finally, I recommend the book 'Don't Get Taken Every Time' by Remar Sutton. Tons of good info on how to avoid some obvious pitfalls for both used and new car purchasing.

bryanlarsen 4 days ago 2 replies      
1: Dealers cost ~$2800 more on average, but they may also provide $2800 of value to some people. For instance, many dealers add a 6 month warranty, clean up the car. More importantly, buying from an affiliated dealer can be seen as safer because too many complaints can cause the dealer to lose their affiliation.

2: I was the impression that the standard scam for trade-ins was to inflate the trade-in value. It makes a customer feel better if they get $500 more for their trade-in than if they get $500 off the price of the new car even though it works out the same.

3: Buying luxury later does not necessarily save money. Some brands depreciate more than others. Toyota & Honda depreciate the least, but BMW is pretty close.

paulgerhardt 4 days ago 2 replies      
I recently asked a seasoned friend about buying cars off Craigslist after being frustrated with all the SEO spam I found on Google. This was his response:

Well, all states are slightly different with how they deal with car registration and ownership titles. The way it works in most places is that every car has a piece of paper that goes with it called the title. The title has all of the current owner's info on it, as well as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and when you're selling a car, there's an area on the back you fill with the new owner's info, car mileage, and seller's signature. This area on the back counts as a "bill of sale". It used to have to be a separate document that was kinda written up in legalese; "I, ______, sell this 1997 toyota corolla (VIN #SDFSLJDKLSJGD52345234) to ______ on this day, may 18th, 2008 for 42 dollars. Signed, Seller: ______ buyer: ______" But in Colorado they've integrated this into the bill of sale, so you don't need to do this anymore here. The most basic way to determine if a car is stolen is if the seller has the title that matches the VIN stamped onto the car. If you have a signed title/BOS and the car it belongs to, its kinda like a endorsed check, anyone who wants to own the car just now needs to write their info in on the title and take it to the DMV. If they don't have a title, don't buy the car. It might not necessarily be stolen, but it might be, and its a HUGE pain in the ass to get a 'replacement' title made for a car, especially if you don't own it. In California, titles may be called pink slips, which I'm sure you've heard of if you've seen any of the 3 Fast 3 Theerious series. I believe they function the same as CO titles, from what I'm reading. Here's a list of everything you need to transfer the car to your name after you have the car and title in hand: http://dmv.ca.gov/vr/vr_info.htm#BM2522

Sounds like you need the endorsed title, probably with your info on it, and a smog certification (which you'll either get this from the seller (in CO the seller is legally required to have the emissions tested before selling vehicles, but this RARELY happens), or have to find an emissions testing place and go there yourself with the car). With these, you can go to a DMV and get the title put in your name, and they'll give you plates. View this video: http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/vr/vrvideos/title_transfer/title_tran... - Shows you where to sign and everything. This is very important; if the seller fucks up his/her name on the title when signing it or something like that, it MAY void the title, and you have to get all this other shit signed and come back to the DMV and wait in line forever again and again. Bring a checkbook to the DMV, sometimes they don't accept credit cards. I think that about covers the legal parts of buying a car/registration.

As far as buying a car from CL in particular, you'll probably end up bringing cash, but leave it in your locked car til you decide you want to purchase said vehicle and see the title. Ask them if they have a smog certification or any of the previous records, if it can't pass emissions, you can't get it registered, which is coincidentally a great time for a car to be sold. Granted, most cars ought to pass emissions fine until like 200Kk miles. If the engine visibly smokes, you're probably fucked. Ideally, the car won't have been run before you see it, so it'll have a cold engine, this is the best time to see how the engine behaves; does it smoke? does it start up easily? Other major things to consider are leaks of any kind - BRING A FLASHLIGHT. An engine with no leaks is best, but a leaky engine isn't always bad; leaks coming from the top of the engine/where the headers are are bad, might be a head gasket blown. Leaks from around the oil pan area are common, and all that means is that you'll have oil stains on your driveway and have to remember to top off the oil every now and again. Check the oil level of the engine to make sure the owner isn't a jackass. Transmission leaks are the same, not too dangerous if you keep the oil level good, but generally, most people are too lazy to keep up with this shit so it gets broken. Just buy a car with no leaks. Drive the car, make sure it tracks straight down the road; if it doesn't, it might mean that it was crashed and the frame is bent, or maybe the alignment is off because they curbed one of the wheels bad. If you're feeling paranoid that its been wrecked or something, you can call ahead to get the VIN # and get a Carfax report on the car, which shows its whole history of reported accidents. Anything large enough to warrant not buying the car will be on this report, minor fender benders may not be. Make sure the transmission shifts into ALL gears, I got screwed on this once, transmisson had 6 gears, but I didn't take it to a highway or even try to put it in 6th while testing it out, and low and behold, the 6th gear is out. Listen to the engine for any abnormally loud "click" type noises - every engine's valves click a bit, but they shouldn't be too distractingly loud. Make sure all the lights/signals work. People who are too lazy to replace a blinker bulb might be too lazy to change the oil on time... I can't think of much else, and I've been typing for like 30 mins... The only piece of advice my dad gave me before buying my first motorcycle was, "if it looks good, and sounds good, buy it." Basically, look out for any red flags, but by and large, most people are legit, most cars aren't lemons, and any serious issues with the car should be pretty obvious.

Duff 4 days ago 4 replies      
I'm not sure that I agree with everything here.

Buy a used Benz - Luxury cars are great, until they aren't. Someone who doesn't realize what luxury car parts often cost will cry when they get a bill for a $750 spark plug wire kit.

Craiglist - Selling a car on Craiglist is great, except that people you'll subsequently dealing with are folks who buy cars on Craiglist. Have fun with that.

To truly "hack" the used car purchase, you need to buy the cars that nobody wants. "Honda" and "Toyota" shouldn't be in your vocabulary. If you want a Honda, get the certified used one with a better warranty than the brand new one.

georgieporgie 4 days ago 0 replies      
Selling a vehicle on Craigslist has been among the greatest annoyances in my life. I will never make that mistake again. Instead, I sell vehicles on eBay. The eBay method has a few hassles (answering questions, coordinating pickup, eBay percentage), but it is still sooo much better than dealing with CL flakes.

That said, I buy all of my vehicles on Craigslist. I wait for the exact vehicle I want, show up with a cashier's check for the asking price minus ~25%, and bring the rest in cash for negotiation. Sellers are always relieved when they find out I came prepared, and they're happy to negotiate on price to be done with the process.

ageyfman 4 days ago 2 replies      
why is everything that involves thinking is now called "hacking"? Buy from Craigslist is really a hack? Seriously? Carfax report is a hack? That's pretty lazy. Car arbitrage is a hack - checking a car's title is minimal effort.
yason 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, car purchases: the land of endless advice. So let me share my method, requested by nobody:

1) I limit my purchases roughly around to one month's net salary. This keeps me aligned with the idea that I invest in the kind of transportation I enjoy rather than something that's newer and shinier than my neighbours'. My cars are never just boring transportation vehicles: the style and feel of the car is of most importance. However, I'm perfectly happy to drive cars that is ten years old.

2) I intend to keep a car for 5-7 years. I get to pay for routine maintenance and any worn parts for so many times for the $10,000-$20,000 that I could've put into a newer car (and still pay for maintenance and replace parts, just little less of it). I'm not afraid of big rehauls if the car is otherwise sound. There's one exception to the longevity rule two years ago: I changed makes.

3) When I'm changing, I don't particularly shop for cars. I'm rather in the constant "nah, I don't need a new car right now" mode and gradually spend some time browsing used car sites on the internet. When I get interested in one I get this feeling inside. I check a few facts, go check it out, and most of the time just buy it if my hunch keeps going. I think I've never test-driven more than one car, the one I bought. Some I've discarded without a test drive. Contrary to what you might think, I've always had good, reliable cars. And I certainly don't drive the boring Toyota/Honda kind.

4) Facts include such as the ownership records and tax/MOT records, and average mileage. For example, the previous owner of my current car kept it for a steady seven years with full maintenance == good. He kept it as an investment to his transportation needs instead of a cost sink that only gets half the minimum maintenance. Also, if there are several cars of that model that have clocked hundreds of thousands kilometres, I know the engine is capable of doing it without problems.

5) I buy my cars around at 200,000km. If the car is in proper order at that point I know it's not a lemon and has been maintained. Most regularly worn parts have been changed once, maybe twice by the time. The worst cars are those that are being sold around 100,000km or slightly below: you can probably make 100,000km without ever changing oils, not to mention anything else. If so, the car is bust and it won't make it to +200tkm. Anyone who spends the effort to make the car into those figures has had it for some useful purpose.

6) I'm fully aware that I might bump into a bad car eventually. This is where 1) comes into play. The amount of money I spend is over the lifetime of the vehicle instead of up front, so that I can afford to hit an occasional bad one. None encountered so far.

I still haven't spent as much in cars in total and in my whole lifetime than my dad just spent on his latest new car. I've been driving and owning for about 15 years now.

encoderer 4 days ago 1 reply      
Be a little careful with some of your analysis. For example, you mention a Mercedes e320. There is no such thing anymore. So the last year or a previous generation vehicle is certain to depreciate more steeply than the first year of a new generation.
cjzhang 4 days ago 5 replies      
But what about the time investment needed in finding an acceptable car on Craigslist compared to finding one from a dealer?

If you're spending something like 100 bucks and 20 extra hours over three weeks checking out N more cars that don't pan out because {the guy lied about the condition of the car, the guy selling it is really sketchy, other random reasons}, then is it still worth it to save an extra 1-2k?

What I'm trying to ask basically is "but what kind of opportunity costs are involved in these hacks, and when does it stop being viable"?

HaloZero 4 days ago 1 reply      
Were the datapoints all from one market (SF Bay Area)? Or across multiple regions in the US?
guynamedloren 4 days ago 1 reply      
Better Hack #5: Be your own mechanic. Cars really aren't that complicated - especially for smart hacker folk like us. I did maintenance on my parents vehicles when I was 12 years old (brakes + oil changes) and have been working on my own vehicles since I could drive. In the past 7 years, I have only spent money on alignments and tire mounting/balancing, to the tune of $300 probably. The kicker is that I'm no more mechanically inclined than anybody else. I learn every time I pick up a wrench, with a bit of help from the good ol' internet. The experience is unbelievably fun and rewarding :)
rickdale 4 days ago 1 reply      
I purchased a used car last year. I would have to say part of buying a car is also the financing. If you can manage to get a good rate and put some cash down, thats a hack in and of itself.

As for not trading your car in... I understand you might get more $ selling it on cars.com or craigslist, but the truth of the matter is you can be stuck with your old car forever and all you wanted to do is get rid of it and on with the old one. For some people thats worth the moneyit will cost them by trading it in.

I had an experience with a honda civic. Lady said she loved the car. I was asking the lowest bluebook minus 500. It was in better condition than that, but we both found it fair. When she came to pick the car up, she saw I had dogs and panicked about her allergies and this and that. I reassured her I had the car detailed and the dog hadn't been near the car since. No deal. I was fed up and traded it in. Lost 1500, but I would have happily paid that to not deal with the lady.

tmh88j 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a gearhead, nearly everything on that list is ingrained in my DNA, EXCEPT buy luxury(and performance) later. My reasoning is that technology is improving so rapidly that every new model of most cars have made gains that are ridiculously high compared to the previous generation. Cars are my passion and the one thing that gives me joy no matter what mood I'm in, so I'm willing to fork out the extra money for the newer, better performing models.

I found both of my cars on craigslist and one of them was a steal. It was listed for about $5k less than the market with some incredible upgrades AND it was through a dealership, so I just figured they were clueless. I went and checked it out, brought it to an Audi dealer for a PPI and everything checked out. I also added on a 3 year drivetrain warranty and I still ended up saving around $3.5k compared to what similar cars were going for.

ssharp 4 days ago 0 replies      
You are using the sticker price for the basis of comparison, which is unrealistic. The appropriate comparison is final sale price.

Regarding trading in a car, I'm not sure if most people in the HN audience really think that they are getting a good deal on trade-ins. Also, trade-ins can be negotiated. You aren't going to get the market price, but you give up some money for the easy liquidity. It's going to take some extra work for you to get the market price.

Also, when you buy a used car from a dealer, you should look up the "Black Book" price, which is generally the price the car would go for at auction. This gives you information on the dealer's bottom line. The Black Book price is going to be a lot lower than Blue Book, meaning that it's well under the market price, and really well under the dealer's sticker price. But using this number, you know the dealer's position, and can adjust yours to drive value for both parties. I don't think it's totally inconceivable to get a used car from the dealer for close to what you'd get it from a private party, as long as you're willing to negotiate and the dealer is willing to negotiate.

wanderr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's my hack, that may not be acceptable to everyone: pay cash for your car, settle for whatever you can afford, pay yourself car payments. Buy something ugly.
I stared with an $800 POS and made it last for 3 years...I paid myself a modest $250/month "car payment" during that time, so I ended up with $9k in cash. Finally got tired of driving that thing and it just wouldn't die, so I kept an eye out for used cars in my new price range. It took a while because I was just searching off and on, but eventually I found an especially ugly Scion xB (bright yellow edition) that had been on the market for a few months with no interest, so they were already asking significantly less than KBB value, since I was paying cash I got them to take even less for it (after having my mechanic look at it of course).
Of course if you mind having a goofy looking car, this strategy might not save quite as much money.
dadro 4 days ago 0 replies      
Overall this is a helpful list. One of the biggest challenges with used cars is they are impossible to treat as a commodity. I spent several years working for a company that financed high-end classic and exotic autos. I learned a ton. One of the biggest tips is you really need to profile the owner if you want to get car that was well maintained.

I like luxury cars (BMW's, Lexus, etc) and over time came up with a system for purchasing used ones. Search CL and local want-ads in affluent suburbs. Eventually you will find 1 owner cars with low miles owned by people with the means to take proper care of them. Ask for the maintenance records, look at the condition of the interior and also look for clues on how the person takes care of other things like their personal appearance AND their home. It will tell you everything. I've gotten some killer deals on pristine cars following this method. Currently on the hunt for a late 70's air cooled 911 :)

xxpor 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's an old adage in the car world: there's no such thing as a cheap luxury car.

You might save on the initial purchase, but there's a lot more stuff to break, and when it does it's really expensive.

vishaldpatel 4 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR version: Buy and sell used cars on craigslist instead of dealers cuz you'll get a better deal. Don't forget to carfax it and take it to a mechanic for inspection.
phamilton 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wrote a cool script to pull a lot of data down off of KBB. I've got a post on my blog about it:


What I found interesting was comparing the rate of depreciation per mile vs time.

mountaineer 4 days ago 0 replies      
More like common sense car buying, not really "hacking". As others have mentioned, don't rely on Carfax. I sold a car that had to be almost a quarter re-built (and disclosed this to the buyer), and this was not on the Carfax report. But, it's still worth doing.
ssharp 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what effect the "cash for clunkers" program had on cars below the rebate incentive for that. It had to have a substantial effect on market for older cars.
cottonseed 4 days ago 0 replies      
I take Hack #1 with a grain of salt. The more important thing is to know what the car is worth and what you're willing to pay. You might be able to find a deal on craigslist, but you can also negotiate with dealers, and they often inflate the sticker price. I bought a used car recently. One dealer was overcharging and rejected my offer so I walked. I ended up negotiating hard and got a better deal elsewhere. Also, do your homework. From the timestamp on the google cache of an online isting, I knew how long the car had been on the lot. This turned out to be a useful bit information during the negotiation.
md1515 4 days ago 0 replies      
I said this the first time this site was posted. It is brilliant and helpful. It is actually the first helpful site I have found here on HN for my personal life.
killion 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's interesting to see how close the KBB value mirrors the Craigslist price. I'm guessing the only negotiation points are the condition of the car.

Thanks for the helpful post, I'm about to sell my car.

amalag 4 days ago 0 replies      
No mention of auctions. Among my friends it is common to buy at an auction. Only registered car dealers are allowed. I guess I am lucky to be able to go through some. They ask a flat fee of $500 and they will buy the car you want at the auction. I am not an expert at it, so I was wary and I actually bought a new car at what I thought was a good price. Next time I will have to go for the auction, especially since the 'hackers' here don't even mention it.
RobertKohr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent post. I think the most enlightening item was "Buy Luxury Later." I tested out the searches for cars that were suggested, and wow, there are some great deals on CL.
tedchs 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just learned about AutoGlance, which is a "Hipmunk for car buying": for example, http://autoglance.com/search/#Mercedes-Benz,eclass,50,29492
larrydag 4 days ago 4 replies      
I'm curious how you approach #5 Find an OCD Mechanic to a Craigslist seller. How do you ask? Is it considered common courtesy to say "Hey, lets drive it to my mechanic?"
gcb 4 days ago 0 replies      
pretty obvious advices. really. but good to see the data points.

...now make a post on how to find a decent mechanic, and then i will droll over

hndl 4 days ago 0 replies      
I bought a 2007 Honda Civic that had done 24K miles when I bought it (2009). I put down ~$10K for it. I did almost everything they mention here.
donky_cong 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thats not really hacks, thats common sense.

Want a hack ?

"Wash your car before you try to sell it"

Yale Discovers a Fungus That Eats Plastic pcworld.com
275 points by MRonney  1 day ago   77 comments top 26
simonsarris 1 day ago 7 replies      
As programmers we are always attuned to thinking about the edge cases and endgames, so I wonder:

Would be possible that such a fungus proliferated into a sort of "termite for plastic", feeding on plastic piping (in houses or cars maybe) and the like.

Of course house owners already deal with mold so I suppose this would just be another one.

The article suggests introducing it into landfills to eat the plastic. Kudzu was introduced to America to control soil erosion. The invasive vine now spreads at a rate of 150,000 acres a year, so it certainly accomplished goal A.

firemanx 1 day ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of the book Ringworld and the "Fall of Cities" - the civilization had become dependent on a particular superconductor, and wired it into everything. A microorganism that fed off of the superconductor came along and spread like wildfire. The side-effect was that it essentially wiped out the civilization because their entire energy infrastructure was built around this stuff.

Hopefully these guys know what they are doing :)

gerggerg 1 day ago 2 replies      
Any one know what the by-products of the fungus' metabolism are?
turing 1 day ago 1 reply      
One interesting thing that this article fails to mention is that the fungus was discovered by an undergraduate student. Jon Russell, the lead author of the paper, graduated last spring, and he originally discovered the fungus in Spring 2008. Yale offers a class that pays for students to spend Spring Break in the Ecuadorian rainforest collecting samples. The class also includes a stipend for students to continue their research projects during the summer following the course.
jsilence 1 day ago 2 replies      
I always thought that some day in the future we would start digging up the dumped plastic for turning it back into oil or fuel.

There is another fungus which is capable of turning cellulose from wood into diesel. A fungus which could digest plastic into fuel would be great.

Of course this fungus should not be injected into the dump sites. Better dig up the plastic and have it converted into fuel in a chemical plant.

zellyn 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm confused by the "exclusively subsists on polyurethane" and "scientists recently found a fungus in the Amazonian rainforest"... TIL there's a bunch of polyurethane in the Amazonian rainforest?
jilebedev 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are two competing methods, as far as I see: use the bacteria themselves to digest plastic, or use extract the enzyme responsible for plastic dissolution and manufacture it the enzyme responsible for plastic dissolution.

1. Bacteria:

  - Can they adapt to the climate and the ecology of their target environment? 
- Can they adapt, in particular, to oceanic salt water to dissolve dumped plastic waste?
- Overpopulation: what are the consequences? Do natural predators of this bacteria exist?
- Underpopulation: can the bacteria be genetically modified to survive in landfills or oceans? Must they be isolated in a controlled environment with plastic?

2. Manufacturing

  - If the enzyme/manufacturing process is controlled by a profit-seeking corporation, would this mean unequal pollution capabilities between the developed and developing worlds? I suspect more plastic waste is improperly disposed by developing countries - thus further exacerbating the problem. 
- Must the bacteria manufacture the enzyme necessary, or can an enzyme be chemically manufactured?
- Does the enzyme have an optimal/useful operating temperature? The Amazon rainforest is not only a freshwater environment, but also a relatively warm climate. Our waste may be captured by cold ocean currents or be present in countries simply far too distant from the equator for this to be a feasible option.

3. Process consequences

  -What are the products of plastic dissolution by this bacteria? 
-If the process is performed inefficiently/incompletely due to some environmental factors (water salinity, pH, temperature), are there any harmful byproducts?
-If the process produces simple chemicals - do these harm other organisms in the environment surrounding the bacteria?
-Would the accumulation of the products (CO2 gas for example) further global warming or pollution?

This article leaves me yearning for more details.

samstave 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd love to see if it could be waterborn.

It would be great to have something eating all the plastic in the oceans other than the fish. And we really REALLY need to start doing something about the trash gyres in the seas.

joshuahedlund 1 day ago 0 replies      
This could be great news for the 3D printer industry.
sharmajai 1 day ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of a YouTube video, I saw within the last ten days here, where a stand-up comedian talks about, how the planet does not need saving, it will find out ways to save itself. I can't find it now though.

Scientists cannot find a way to degrade plastic does not necessarily mean plastic is not bio-degradable.

I have found time and time again, that stand-up comedians are the ones who make the most serious points.

EDIT: Found it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw

brador 1 day ago 2 replies      
How would they have identified this fungus for it's properties in the Amazon rainforest? Do they just leave a piece of plastic near a tree and come back to see if anything's growing on it?
antics 1 day ago 2 replies      
Do you know why we have oil and coal?

When all those carbon-based life forms died all those years ago, there was nothing to break them down. So they persisted, and the result is oil and coal.

I've often wondered whether a similar thing would happen to all this plastic lying around. I suppose it's still sort of a toss-up, but now I'm at least sort of convinced that it's vaguely possible.

goodweeds 1 day ago 0 replies      
There was an article about something similar on Slashdot a decade ago about CD/DVD-eating fungi.


VMG 1 day ago 0 replies      
Landfills are not the problem.

The plastic waste that isn't on landfills is.

lutusp 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had hoped to craft a joke about a scientist's iPad disintegrating halfway through his presentation, but that topic has been covered. So instead I'll object to "Yale discovers ...". Really? Yale did it? Imagine a world in which that's the rule -- imagine a headline in 1905 saying "Swiss patent office discovers new theory about the universe."
mkmk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the full paper, as linked from reddit: http://view.samurajdata.se/psview.php?id=f1de9924&page=1...

The pageturn navigation is in the upper left hand corner.

Craiggybear 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sooooo Andromeda Strain.
hansy 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is the byproduct after consumption of polyurethane?
jentulman 1 day ago 0 replies      
is it edible too? Two birds with one stone(effect plastic garden ornament)
dhruvbird 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is actually huge!! However, I wonder if uncontrolled growth would lead to something even more terrible.
EREFUNDO 1 day ago 1 reply      
So if life started 6,000 years ago when there were no plastic, does this mean that this fungus was a recent creation?
kenrik 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now that's great news! I would be interested in the environmental impact of this fungus though. It would not be a good thing if the fungus turns out to cause more damage than the plastic itself.

One of the most important things we learned from early 20th century conservationist movement was that to "preserve" something the best thing you can do is leave it alone. Every time they tried to correct something in a ecosystem something else would break. They messed up a lot of Stuff in yellowstone until they learned to just let it be.

renownedmedia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Andromeda Strain!
_pius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having Andromeda Strain flashbacks.
drstrangevibes 1 day ago 1 reply      
the last paragraph is the most depressing part, just as weve found a sustainable ecological solution to problem of plastic, we learn that someone has commoditized it into a chemical solution, which no doubt has the accompanying legal patent absurdities,few if any positive environmental interactions and actually endangers a very special species due to corporate anti competative behaviour.
Irony anyone?
Inside Stripe fastcompany.com
271 points by px  3 days ago   75 comments top 28
old-gregg 3 days ago 1 reply      
Stripe has been fantastic for us at http://mailgun.net

Aside from solving the problem of dealing with recurring payments, they bring some unexpected benefits to the table. Their reporting (and the overall dashboard design) is so good that we canceled our original plans for building our own reporting completely - we just link directly to Stripe reports and customer pages from our own backoffice admin portal.

PStamatiou 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe has been amazing for us. We've even gotten emails from them (most recently Saikat!) about how we were accidentally hitting their API twice. They helped us find a bug. No other company I've integrated with us paid that close attention to such matters. We've changed our internal usage of Stripe many times (from doing lots of recurring work with various plans and invoice item adding) to just doing simple charges and it's worked great every time.

We're quite proud of our Stripe-powered CC form on Picplum! http://dl.dropbox.com/u/186198/Screenshots/t26p.png

scott_s 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have always attributed PayPal's problems to having to perform fraud prevention on a massive scale. That's where I understand most of the initial difficulty comes from in getting a PayPal account setup: they have to weed out scams and money laundering. Same with the horror stories I read: most of those people have circumstances that would also preclude them from a standard merchant account.

So is Stripe doing fraud prevention differently? Put another way, are they an entirely different animal from PayPal and Google Checkout, or are they betting that they can do a better job at what PayPal and Google Checkout already do?

thematt 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love Stripe and it's been awesome to use, but must repeat a question I asked in another thread. I wonder if that level of simplicity is sustainable for them going forward. The reason other payment providers have paperwork and approval processes is because of liability and the reality that there are unscrupulous merchants out there. Is Stripe assuming an increased liability because of the ease at which anybody can just sign up?
rgrieselhuber 3 days ago 0 replies      
We were lucky in that Stripe was made available right as we were starting http://www.ginzametrics.com. We never had to deal with the painful issues that we've seen other companies go through with their billing systems.

Their dashboard has also come a long way so that many of the back office management things I thought I was going to have to build have been taken care of. You can create / manage plans, customers and more. It's hard to believe nobody has solved this problem until now but I'm glad that somebody finally did.

jc123 3 days ago 0 replies      
What is it about Stripe that is taking Google and Paypal a long time to imitate?
Article mentioned api took tons iterations and stringent auditing, but the api is now known and auditing established companies should be relatively faster.
It seems unlikely that the first mover advantage will allow enough time for Stripe to make a dent in the market. Flying under the radar longer might be better, but congrats to the team for all the accomplishments.
miles_matthias 3 days ago 1 reply      
Stripe looks so awesome that it's got me thinking about charging for things that I might not have bothered charging for in the past. I think that's one of the unseen benefits. I'm looking forward to using Stripe.
siavosh 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can someone explain how stripe/square can get around the merchant account requirement?
davecap1 3 days ago 5 replies      
I wish it worked in Canada... Any other Canadians out there wishing the same thing?
gtaylor 3 days ago 0 replies      
We're loving it over at http://coursebookapp.com. We've been happily humming along for a few months, PayPal-free.
plasma 3 days ago 1 reply      
Please come to Australia!

I can't confirm or deny I'm working on a direct competitor.

Am I serious? Or joking, just to light a fire under you?

Please hurry! :)

frankdenbow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Been very pleased working with Stripe for one of my projects. It just feels like it was very carefully thought out. Hope they continue to make strides in the developer community.
whyleyc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can any of the Stripe team comment on when you'll be launching support for UK businesses ?
plusbryan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Micropayments support would be wonderful
outside1234 3 days ago 2 replies      
does anyone know if there is a way to transfer credit cards from Stripe to another 3rd party if they raise their rates? (I'm worried about this being a "low introductory offer")

Or do you have to solicit credit card info from all your customers again?

djtriptych 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hehe the desk shown there is exactly the same setup at http://stripe.com/jobs page. And yet none of the other workstations come with $1500 Herman Miller Embodys...

I can also identify a pair of grados in the far right. Aging SR60s if I had to guess...

neovive 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great product! Looking forward to trying it out very soon. Anyone know the ergo keyboard being used?
humbyvaldes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe is great, simple and awesome support. Once I got past the super simple first charge, I had some technical questions. I jumped into their support chat and had my question answered, plus some helpful php links.
dedene 3 days ago 1 reply      
If only they would come to Europe (or any European alternative would rise and stand up against Paypal).

They're an amazing and promising startup and I do hope they succeed soon in expanding across the ocean.

kingnothing 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is completely off topic for the business model, but how do you like the orange Embody chair in the last picture? It looks like the fabric is getting dyed from jeans, but other than that, how is the actual chair?
rosstamicah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's how my startup ended up using Stripe:
After being told by Paypal I couldnt use Paypal at all (due to my business model being a violation of their Acceptable Use Policy) and then more recently Braintree telling me I could only process low number transactions (less than $250), Im happy to say that http://www.sponsorist.com now processes payments with Stripe.
john_p_wood 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just finished using these guys for a product I'm launching next week. Great service and great support. Highly recommended.
sailfast 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a great service. Thanks for the article.

How does Stripe line up in terms of services compared to GoCardless which was up here the other day: https://gocardless.com/

Differences in the agreement / metrics / UI / API? Seems like the 1.9% fee difference could add up.

_pius 3 days ago 0 replies      
Such a great service.
taurussai 3 days ago 0 replies      
AS businesses scale, is it fair to assume they would want to start accepting and storing credit card information - basically the costs would be much lower? If so how do they meet security requirements/compliance?
monsterix 3 days ago 0 replies      
We're using Stripe and it's been awesome right from day-1.
moses1400 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe has been awesome for us at CloudContacts!
kenrik 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you read about the early founding of PayPal you will find one of the big issues they faced was fraud. I hope they give that angle enough thought otherwise they are going to start leaking cash like the Costa Concordia took on water.
Year of the storm thepiratebay.se
261 points by nreece  4 days ago   95 comments top 11
danieldk 4 days ago  replies      
It is sad, but I cannot read this blog post. The Dutch equivalent of the RIAA/MPAA, named Brein, sued two of the major Dutch ISPs for not blocking access to The Pirate Bay. Brein won the court case, and the judge required these ISPs to block The Pirate Bay starting yesterday.

Now I am met with this when visiting thepiratebay.se:


Internet censorship is now real in The Netherlands

sudonim 4 days ago 0 replies      
Freedom is a threat to government. The promise of freedom gets governments elected. Exercising freedom makes governments resort to violence.

Censorship has always been around. How many of the books once banned by the US have you read?:

How many of the wikileaks cables have you read?

99% of The Pirate Bay is people downloading entertainment. Sometimes it's entertainment not available yet in their region. Sometimes it's a show on cable that aired last night. Reducing the friction for consumers to get content is a business problem. The Pirate Bay thrives because big media fails to solve that problem.

But 1% of the time - maybe less, The Pirate Bay links to content that will have no other home. Where powerful people can't squash it. If we have no place outside the reach of national governments where things that make them uncomfortable have a chance to spread, then we have no freedom.

So, while The Pirate Bay is the seedy underbelly of copyright infringement on the internet, it also gives you freedom. We need to protect that.

icebraining 4 days ago 1 reply      
We have, ourselves, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once more able to defend our Internets, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

Even though large parts of Internets and many old and famous trackers have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Ifpi and all the odious apparatus of MPAA rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the ef-nets and darknets, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Internets, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the baywords.org, we shall fight on the /. and on the digg, we shall fight in the courts; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, the Internets or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the Anon Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in Cerf's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.


The Pirate Bay Crew - Always when needed.


EDIT: This is an _old_ post, not current.

Erwin 4 days ago 4 replies      
So the Pirate Bay is now a bastion of freedom that lets users in Syria and North Korea download the latest episode of Glee? (The current most popular torrent there). I'm a little confused about what their greater noble political purpose is.

To me it sounds like a place where you can get your TV shows in a more convenient way than waiting until they appear on channels you have, or download that movie you can't be bothered to pay $10-$20 to see.

How about real civil disobedience? Have TBP require to put in your full name and picture and the reason why are you downloading the full Microsoft Office package. Put that full list on the front page on TBP, let the government see the tens thousands of people who refuse to follow the unjust copyright laws and are ready to go to prison for breaking them. Now you're making a statement.

Or alternatively, produce your own independent content. Supposedly with today's technology it's easy and cheap. Wouldn't it be an amazing blow against this evil "MAFIAA" to one year from now go to TBP home page and see how the most downloaded file is not the latest Hollywood $250 million movie, but an independently produced short? If every user who tweeted against SOPA/ACTA would now tweet about that cool CC-licensed book/game/movie they just saw?

VonLipwig 4 days ago 1 reply      

"""What binds us all together is a strong belief that what we do is good."""

What is 'good' about the pirate bay? A site which is 95% dedicated to sharing copyrighted content?

The Pirate Bay exists to make money for its founders. This is why it has so many intrusive ad's constantly popping up. They aren't on any mission. They are just raking in money at other people's expense.

"""Our 3 friends and blood brothers have been sentenced to prison. This might sound worse than it is. Since no one of them no longer lives in Sweden, they won't go to jail. They are as free today as they were yesterday."""

Does this mean they are on the run? As they have been sentenced to 4-10 month's I would just serve the time and be done with it. Surely this is better than constantly watching your back and avoiding being extradited back to Sweden.

"""But what enrages us to our inner core is that the system, the empire, the governments, are still allowed to try to boss you and us around with one law crazier than the other"""

Yes.. the system.. the empire.. surprised they didn't mention the people in black suits? The pirate bay is such a target because the people who run it humiliate and insult people with very deep pockets. They aren't victims, they enjoy the attention.

JonnieCache 4 days ago 1 reply      
In this year of the storm, the winners will build windmills and the losers will raise shelters.

I like this a lot. Is it a paraphrase or a quotation of something?

EDIT: apparently its a "chinese proverb."

iwwr 4 days ago 3 replies      
TPB have made themselves a kind of bastion against the copyright rentseekers by being a visible and hard to quash target. The kind of money and effort wasted against them is impressive.

Of course, what this verdict establishes is a precedent for hashes having the same status as the original copyrighted content.

lordlarm 4 days ago 2 replies      
For those not able to access the site due to ISP-blocking try setting your DNS to and/or (which is Google's DNS server) as they often just block the site in the DNS.
funkah 3 days ago 1 reply      
Forgive me if I am a bit put off by the spectacle of a bunch of people calling themselves heroes for downloading the latest episode of "Glee".

By the way, those hits from North Korea? Those aren't exactly coming from the average man on the street.

asm89 4 days ago 2 replies      
Screenshot for the dutch people that can't visit TPB anymore..:
chunky1994 4 days ago 0 replies      
Torrentfreak's artcile citing the above article and explaining why there's a .se in the link!
"They're Made out of Meat?" Short first contact sci-fi story terrybisson.com
260 points by JumpCrisscross  1 day ago   60 comments top 20
mechanical_fish 1 day ago 3 replies      
I am going to win an award for nitpicking, which is hard to do around here, but IT BURNS, so:

This story is entitled "They're Made Out Of Meat," just as it was when I first read it over a decade ago. It is not entitled "They're Made of Meat".

Yes, I know. But if you can't understand why someone might care about the difference, dare I suggest that you're not a writer? ;)

(The story is built around this phrase; the repetitions of the refrain in your head in an incredulous voice is half the point of the story. Every syllable must be presumed to be carefully chosen, and I agree with the author's choice.)

rickmb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, this is a classic. It's been ages since I first read it.

Awesome to see the author has published it under a creative commons license.

Wonder how many great short SF stories people will never get to read because they are locked up under copyright without ever getting reprinted.

prospero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone who likes this would also probably enjoy Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad [1], which is the same conceit writ large. I highly recommend it.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Cyberiad-Stanislaw-Lem/dp/B005DI94CE/r...

nitrogen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dead comment:

danec 2 hours ago | link [dead]

Thanks for linking to this story!

I remember reading this a long, long, time ago.

I don't know where, but I did have a subscription to Omni when I was in 5th grade but that was 1986 or so. More likely I read it in the early days of the internet (pre-browser), when text was king and copyright nonexistent; when people painstakingly typed in great articles and bits of fiction like this one into the darkness of their computer screens at 2 AM.

Note to danec: if you read this, it looks like your account was flagged between ~567 and ~579 days ago. Possibly someone didn't like an article you submitted, or your URL triggered an algorithm ("business opportunities" might be in some Bayesian phrase database or something).

eof 1 day ago 3 replies      
A pretty bad short film adaption


evincarofautumn 1 day ago 2 replies      
Perhaps stating the obvious here, but this is one of my favourite stories, so forgive me for feeling sharey. The best part of this is the utter simplicity"the defining quality, I believe, of good writing and good code alike. It turns the point of view around and slaps the unsuspecting reader with the understanding of just how little we can suppose of what life is like capital-E Elsewhere. If and when at last we get the chance to make contact with an intelligent extraterrestrial species"assuming of course that we make it that far"the political and linguistic challenges will be fascinatingly unprecedented, and I can only hope I'm alive for it all.

As a side note, if anyone is hiring for a First Contact Emergency Linguistics Squad, I am permanently available for such a position. ;)

Craiggybear 1 day ago 2 replies      
This has been always one of my very favorite stories ever. Its how I convince people that sci-fi isn't just for geeks.

Challenging, funny, deeply thought-provoking. Its just the one of the best things ever. I never tire of reading it and people I tell about it come back and invariably rave about how great it is. I've had quite a few converts to the whole panoply of "speculative fiction" from their exposure to this wonderful little gem.

foxit 1 day ago 2 replies      
This reminds me of a Fredric Brown short story I can't remember the name of in which an entity travelling through the galaxies encounters a planet upon which consciousnesses are, surprisingly, encased in finite bits of matter. There is matter, and there is consciousness, but never had this entity seen the two in some combination.

I don't know if there's a real "who came first" in speculative fiction, but I often think Brown's ideas were truly innovative. For instance, in his 1954 (very) short story "Answer", we see the basis for Skynet, and I've been as yet unable to find an earlier instance of this idea. http://www.alteich.com/oldsite/answer.htm

plessthanpt05 1 day ago 1 reply      
YES! i heard this (with great sound effects to boot) on npr's studio 360 a couple of months ago:


baddox 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why a species would find an intelligent meat race so surprising and revolting if there are other species that go through a meat phase or are partially made of meat.
jinushaun 1 day ago 2 replies      
Brilliant! Has the feel of a classic Asimov story.
NnamdiJr 1 day ago 1 reply      
One of my absolute favorite short-stories. First came across it when I was on a SciFi reading rampage around the age of 8 or 9yrs old.. it completely struck me then, and still does each time I come across it again.

I owe it in part to SciFi stories and books like this for shattering any chance I had of narrow-minded thinking in life, and bringing perspective to Humans as a species and our place in the cosmos.

goodweeds 1 day ago 0 replies      
The video of this is often linked when people use the term "Meat Cloud" to describe tech companies who throw bodies at problems instead of process and automation.
ljf 1 day ago 0 replies      
if you like this, you might also like; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Skin_(novel)
etfb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have my own version of this, if you prefer your short stories sung to the tune of old country songs...


andrewguenther 1 day ago 4 replies      
Loved it! But the "omigod"s threw me off...
aorshan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow I've never read this before. Simply amazing. So succinct, yet so powerful.
PythonDeveloper 1 day ago 1 reply      
Keep going!! It's like a sequel to the Twilight Zone "How To Serve Man" episode... very cool. Lots of places to go here.
BlackGamma 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found a better version and with better cast. Its in Black-n-White though. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-9t9BIBLKw
tbsdy 1 day ago 0 replies      
So much more easy to read ths on an iPad safari in reader mode :-)
Anonymous intercepts confidential conference call between FBI and Scotland Yard wsj.com
255 points by tmrhmdv  2 days ago   95 comments top 20
jgrahamc 1 day ago  replies      
The most likely explanation is that they didn't 'intercept' the call but simply dialed into the conference call system and recorded the call.

The question then becomes how did they get the conference call dial in information? Perhaps they managed to get into the email of one of the participants. That would seem to be even more worrying than the interception of this single call.

Also, on many conference systems I've used standing meetings use the same dial in information from week to week. If this is a regular meeting it's possible that Anonymous has been listening in every week.

stfu 1 day ago 2 replies      
Anonymous is an amorphous collection of Internet enthusiasts, pranksters and activists whose targets have included the Church of Scientology, the music industry, and financial companies such as Visa and MasterCard.

First time I see a news outlet describing Anonymous in a somewhat suitable fashion.

jgrahamc 1 day ago 0 replies      
The BBC has an odd comment on this:

  It was unclear how Anonymous had managed to obtain the 
recording but a lawyer for one of the suspects discussed
told the BBC it appeared to have been taken as an audiofile
from an intercepted email, rather than having been
eavesdropped on.

So how did he interpret that from the video plus the email? Odd.


cwp 1 day ago 2 replies      
The article doesn't seem to address the obvious question: If Anonymous can spy on the people investigating them, why the heck are they making that fact public? Ok, taunting the FBI is probably worth something, but surely continuing to spy on them is worth more.
tomelders 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are easier ways to stop Anonymous. You could try addressing their concerns for a start, and "not being total arses" couldn't hurt either.
7952 1 day ago 1 reply      
A few years ago this (phone hacking) would have been considered journalism by the British press.
johrn 1 day ago 3 replies      
Interesting, all of the 'subscribe' and 'login' buttons in the article area are served by the doubleclick network. So anyone with adblock enabled just sees a partial article with no indication that there is a way to access the rest.
timjahn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't forget to google the article first and then click through there so you can see the full text on the WSJ site.
charlieok 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's odd to me that conferences between the FBI and Scotland Yard apparently happen on the same public telephone network used by the commercial and residential world, rather than on a completely separate system.
ck2 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is going to make a great movie someday, but I fear in reality it's going to end up with another Bradley Manning (remember him rotting away?)
shareme 1 day ago 0 replies      
FBI's problem is that they assume that their 'victims' have worse tools than them..most of us HN readers probably have better mail encryption software than any FBI field agent. Not to mention software to encrypt a hard-drive.

Using encryption and Ciphers is not a crime FBI..just ask Phil Zimmermann

ubershmekel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Found the audio recording on youtube if anyone's interested http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ryq1v-cLHrk
Jach 1 day ago 1 reply      
The real security gaffe here seems to be sending passwords in non-PGP encrypted email...
United857 1 day ago 1 reply      
What a lapse. One would expect that the FBI and their international counterparts would be doing any conference call over a secure, classified network... not POTS.

Is this really par for the course?

jakejake 1 day ago 2 replies      
Kinda interesting they beeped out some names when the officers would say them.
jebblue 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anonymous is a group of people who uses technology. Technology has tentacles. Tentacles can be located, observed and followed to the root. My guess is the FBI was monitoring them.
donald_draper 1 day ago 0 replies      
This Anonymous story is interesting as well [Anonymous Hacks Neo-Nazis, Finds Ron Paul]: http://www.care2.com/causes/anonymous-hacks-neo-nazis-finds-...
SkyMarshal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why are these two guys using a conference calling system for a 1-to-1 phone call? Why not just a direct call?
maeon3 1 day ago 2 replies      
The FBI is using a 40 year old technology that can be hacked by whistling 2600 hz into a phone and get all bent out of shape when someone records it?

sounds like an agenda to setup the stage to get censorship back on the table. The FBI wants these breaches, then they can point to it and say "we need censorship to take down these videos because we cant be bothered with any security precautions".

The Pirate Bay Moves to .SE Domain To Prevent Domain Seizure torrentfreak.com
250 points by dazbradbury  4 days ago   78 comments top 9
maeon3 4 days ago  replies      
Is there any way to make a website that has no central location, that lives on hard drives and internet connections of citizens and self replicates and adapts when the government wants it to just disappear?

A free internet is going to need a "deploy website to the hive" tool. Something that would force the FBI to have to raid computers in 50 different nations.

I'd like to see a message: "this site has been DNS blocked in your region, please download this program to seed this website for others over an encrypted subnet".

batista 3 days ago  replies      
Permit me to address a few things in a way that is contrary, maybe, to the common HN reader's sentiments. I'd like a serious discussion of said matters rather than knee-jerk reactions.

1) "It's not stealing, because you only take a copy". We're playing with words here. First, the point is not the common definition of the word, it's what a court deems "stealing". Second, even in everyday life, we say things like "he stole the exam answers" or "He stole the recipe" (when in fact he only read them).

2) "The losses are imaginary, because not everybody would have bought the stuff he pirated". Sure, the estimations of the losses are imaginary. All estimations are imaginary --by the very definition. You can argue about the accuracy of the estimations, but not of the need of an estimation (even if you put that estimated loss to zero).

Also, the fact that "not everybody would have bought the stuff he pirated" bypasses two things:

a) some people WOULD have bought the stuff, because they want it, if it wasn't available for them in pirated form. Those are actual money lost (I have downloaded for free lots of things that I would have bought if they weren't available because I just had to have them. Surely, other people have too. How many, is the topic of the aforementioned estimation).

b) those that would never in any case had paid for the item, do not represent "actual lost money". But they have violated the wish of the content creator/distributor regarding the (paid) use of his product. This can also be punishable by law, and fined, and in many legal systems, it is.

This "respect of the will" of the copyright owner, is like GPL etc works. If you want GPL respected, you also want copyright respected, even if the owner is not using a permissive license. Because the court doesn't upheld GPL for it's permissiveness, but because of it being a copyright license.

3) "The creator gets nothing anyway, it's all the big media". This doesn't matter. For one, people still pirate things that are sold by their creators directly. People have pirated even the Radiohead "pay what you want" album.

Second, if the creator sold the rights to some "big media" company, that's his choice (or mistake) to make. That doesn't mean you have the right to grab a copy of his work as you see fit.

Third, for a lot of the content the creator is the big media company. People pirate like crazy BS teen-pop idols and hollywood blockbuster movies, which represent like 1% creative talent and 99% big media bucks for effects, marketing and production.

4) "Their business model is broken, they should find something else to make money" - Actually their business model is not broken. They make and sell something people want. The only broken part is that people copy it for free and give it around illegally. If I get me some GPL code, and make a closed source black box extended program out of it without giving back my source, just because I can, would people say that the "GPL model is broken"?

5) "People only pirate because the prices are absurdly high / the buying process is inconvenient" - Well, companies can set their prices to whatever they want for their own stuff, and they can make the buying process as convoluted as they want. That's not an argument in favor or copyright infringement, as much as high prices for Ferraris is not an argument in favor of stealing them, and the difficulty of attaining a university degree is not an argument for printing a fake in our printer.

6) "They can make it up on concerts" - Directors and shrink-wrapped software programmers don't give many concerts.

And even for musicians, a lot of musicians don't like giving concerts. Not everyone is like your local bar band or Rolling Stones. Especially in modern kinds of music, from electronica to ambient, there are lots of people that don't like playing concerts that much or feel that that is not their artistic medium (even the Beatles stopped playing concerts after '65). They still deserve some money for the use of their work.

Even for artists that DO play concerts, a gig used to be mostly a loss leader for album sales. The only people making big money from concerts are mainly established artists with a managerial team, everything organized, big following and sold out venues and bands with a largish cult following (think Phish, Pearl Jam, etc). That doesn't bode well for artists that still used to make a decent living selling around 50.000-100.000 albums a year. Some artists also have actual integrity and don't want to be seen dead selling "merchandise". Not everything is "rock'n'roll".

7) "What's the proof of piracy's harm? Record company profits are at a high this year" - How is this contradictory? One can have record profits and still be ripped off. The sets of "people buying record company stuff" (profits) VS the number of "people that WOULD have bought record company stuff but they download it illegally" (actual lost money due to piracy) are not the same set.

Those are some arguments.

My personal opinion?

1) Software patents must go. Especially trivial. A patent period of 5 years of actual use of the patent in production seems ok for everything else.

2) Copyright must be restricted. 20-30 years at max.

3) Illegal downloading should remain illegal. Not everything should be available for free against the owner's wish. "Metallica" releases and "The managing secrets of Attila the Hun" books are not an undeniable right for everybody, there are just stuff for sale. There are lots of copyleft software, music and books, one can use.

mef 4 days ago 4 replies      
Supposing one law or another was passed giving the US govt the power to block offending domains, if push came to shove couldn't the US government ultimately block any domain anywhere via control over the .NET TLD of ROOT-SERVERS.NET and GTLD-SERVERS.NET? e.g. punish/block any nameserver allowing thepiratebay.se to resolve to it's real IP
maerek 4 days ago 1 reply      
It appears that thepiratebay.org points to a server that then handles redirection. Question: Why hasn't the .org URL already been seized at the DNS level? DiG output below:

  ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @localhost thepiratebay.org A
; (2 servers found)
;; global options: printcmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 5372
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;thepiratebay.org. IN A

thepiratebay.org. 3587 IN A

;; Query time: 0 msec
;; WHEN: Wed Feb 1 15:37:02 2012
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 50</code>

lignuist 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder, why they didn't move to a .is domain, since Iceland claims to be a safe data haven.
SeanDav 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is something called "darknet" which apparently runs as part of the freenet. I have heard about and read a few articles. This may be the way forward.
kayoone 3 days ago 0 replies      
All of the mentioned services only work if the government does not fiddle with your ISP to block certain IPs/HOSTs/DNS Servers etc.
Since our way into the net is controlled by local companies who have to comply to local laws, theres always a way to prevent people from using certain services.
Sami_Lehtinen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Well well, there seems to be an issue with their SSL certificate. It still says .org even if you try to access .se domain. - fail.
fluxon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else noticing non-response from the site? I'm supposing it's temporary, as usual...
The Humble Bundle for Android (and Mac / Windows / Linux) humblebundle.com
243 points by jeff18  4 days ago   96 comments top 20
moxiemk1 4 days ago 3 replies      
Now I know what Android users feel like when people announce endless iPhone-only mobile apps. I was super bummed that I missed the last Humble Bundle, since it was chock full of games I had been meaning to buy. This one is smaller, though, and the having the "cool" feature targeted at a group I'm not in makes me feel like the bundle isn't really worth paying attention to.

This is the first time I have ever felt left out by not using Android. I think I'm going to more seriously consider needing Android versions of projects. The feeling sucks.

patio11 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd start picking a different challenge mechanic than "Beat the average" since the average is sensitive to distribution bring dominated by poor Redditors and incentivizing "Pay us $5.50" does not result in hugely more successful outcomes. How about hiding the average and offering the bonus to anyone paying $25+? Or even $10+?
jc4p 4 days ago 3 replies      
The downside is that if you install the Android games on your Android phone you won't get any updates they release on the Android Market for them. You'll have to get a new APK from the folks making the game with each update.
buss 4 days ago 2 replies      
Incidentally, this site is almost unusable on an android phone. Flash and detail popups that are always floating off the side of the screen, despite scrolling.

It would also be nice if there were links to the market so I could read reviews of the games.

invalidOrTaken 4 days ago 1 reply      
This sort of thing always makes me so darn optimistic. I wish I had enough money to contribute $256 like that one guy(poor college student here). Best of luck to everyone involved.
trotsky 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for bringing the EFF back.
shinratdr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know why iOS users are in this thread complaining. This is barely indicative of anything, except that developers don't have unlimited promo codes in the App Store so iOS isn't eligible for this style of promotion.

Last time I looked all of those titles are available on the App Store right now, and they have all been on sale for a dollar at one point or another. They were still published on iOS before any other mobile platform. Most of them I already own and don't even have on my phone anymore. They have been available in the App Store for well over a year, some for over two years.

Maybe it's just me but I'm not exactly getting much of a left out feeling from this bundle. On top of all that, as we are seeing it's hardly a perfect system. They have to design an updater because the Android Market can't be used to update non-Market APKs. IMO it's more trouble than it's worth.

nextparadigms 4 days ago 2 replies      
Something like this needs to be done for independent music artists, too.
rogerbinns 4 days ago 2 replies      
What about those of us who already bought Osmos and Goo several times over in previous Humble Bundles? If I bought this it would only be for the Android ports.
robocat 4 days ago 3 replies      
Nexus owners: Edge didn't work on my Nexus (neither Edge Classic nor Extended). The other HD apps seem to work great.

Permissions: All apps except Anomaly only asked for Network Communication. Anomaly needs Network Communication, Modify/Delete USB storage, and Prevent Phone from Sleeping.

cjkarr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Doubled my originally intended contribution given the availability of the soundtracks. I wish all games came with the MP3s of the music used within. Game soundtracks are a staple of the music I listen to when I code.

Great job Humble folks!

soci 4 days ago 6 replies      
Any clue how an independent game developer can build the same app for multiple platforms without wasting a lot of time?

Being a sole developer I find it quite difficult to develop for multiple platforms at the same time unless there's a framework that allows me to do so. Are the people behind the games in the bundle using a sort of "multiplatform-framework" ?

jamesgeck0 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is this the Linux debut of Anomaly and EDGE?
alexyoung 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, that's my unlock gesture!
moondowner 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a Linux/PC gamer (non Android user, at least at this moment :)) this is the first time I have doubts whether to buy the bundle. Two of four game we're already featured in previous bundles.

I'm interested in `Anomaly: Warzone Earth` can anyone give an opinion on the game?

dddrh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Got these all loaded onto the Kindle Fire. They work beautifully. I was meaning to post this about an hour ago but Osmos absorbed my attention.
kzrdude 4 days ago 1 reply      

  > Linux:
> Processor: 2.4 GHz
> Memory: 1 GB

Pff.. is a x86_64 distro supported or not? Also, "2.4 GHz"..., that simple era is over.

snowpolar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I don't know why, but I just hate it when Humble Bundle puts in a game I already purchased in previous humble bundles and all games being in the same steam key as well. However, having an android app this time lessen the pain by a little though. Although I not owning an android currently.
liquidsnake 4 days ago 0 replies      
Tried all the games on my Touchpad running ICS (Cyanogenmod 9 Alpha 0.5) and they all ran flawlessly (except for the video playback in Anomaly but that's a known issue). Great stuff!
gcb 4 days ago 2 replies      
and.... the humble bundle is dead. good while it lasted.

clicked the very first icon there, and the movie ONLY had cinematics. not a single slipt second of gameplay.

Indie games came a long way, but they are now just the same as big studios. milking any branding they can. humble bundle unfortunately being one of them :(

Giving away the secrets of 99.3% email delivery 37signals.com
242 points by themcgruff  4 days ago   85 comments top 17
moe 4 days ago 3 replies      
As anyone with half a clue about e-mail delivery will tell you: SMTP accept != delivery.

Almost every spamfilter in the world will accept your e-mail and then silently discard it. The 0.7% instant rejects that you see are merely the tip of the ice-berg.

Thus, the only secret you gave away is that you don't seem to understand how spamfilters work.

pkteison 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm disappointed with the hand-waving dismissal of "why should we pay someone tens of thousands of dollars to do it?"

The list immediately after that of some of the headaches that getting e-mail delivered entails (monitoring and responding to blacklists, various configuration, feedback loops, etc.) is a very good argument for paying somebody to learn and handle the details. I don't see a convincing argument that getting 1% better delivery is worth spending time on instead of doing something else; indeed, they make the argument that improving validation and reporting on the app side is a much better use of time than fighting for that extra 1% on delivery.

old-gregg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Having a great delivery rates is actually a lot easier when you are big and famous, have your mail being signed by (and contain links to) a domain with excellent pagerank, have substantiation email volume, long emailing history and so on.

But it gets much harder when you are running with a recently purchased domain on cold IPs or with the spammy subnet neighbors, your subnets are blocked by "know-it-all" small ESP admins.

It is very similar to having a great credit history: you're getting approved for much nicer interest rates, there's no secret. So I don't believe an average person will get 37signals results simply by following Noah's advice.

I work at Mailgun and we help startups and established companies get "37signals level" deliverability :) We also offer quite powerful parsing of incoming email into your app, so check out http://mailgun.net

whalesalad 4 days ago 2 replies      
Obviously when you're at the scale of 37Signals... you're gonna roll this stuff yourself. But! I don't want people here to get discouraged about using 3rd party services. I too am guilty of "NIH syndrome" or the need to reinvent the wheel all the time. I've setup mail infrastructure. It's not pretty, and it's actually not necessary any more.

I've been using Postmark for a while now and it's been fantastic. They provide a great admin interface with insight into what is being sent and why mail might not be getting delivered. The setup process is very simple (none of the downsides 37signals mentions... ) you essentially add some SPF and DKIM DNS entries and you're off to the races.

mhartl 4 days ago 3 replies      
By far the biggest cause of failed email delivery we see is due to bad email addresses that were entered in to the system"problems like ‘joe@gmal.com' or ‘sue@yahooo.com'.

I wonder if you could hack up an 80% solution by comparing the submitted domain to common email domains, and giving a warning if it looks like a misspelling. That way, 'joe@gmal.com' would see a second step in the signup process asking him to double-check his email address. Any idea what percentage of misspellings that would catch?

amix 4 days ago 3 replies      
Getting whitelisted and managing your mail server isn't easy and usually costs a lot. I think it's only something that should be optimized when you are sending millions of emails pr. month (like they are).

For everybody else, you can save a lot of time and money by going for Amazon SES, Google App Engine, SendGrid or Postmark (etc.) A lot of these services also include analytics and monitoring and will be cheaper than rolling out your own customized solution (in terms of time and money).

Even for them they would only pay around $6000-$7000 pr. month by using Amazon SES.

guan 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure their solution of tailing and parsing Postfix log files works well, but I believe the more typical and elegant solution to tracking bounces is to send every email with a with a unique envelope sender address that identifies that particular email, which makes it easier to collect bounces without relying on correct parsing of an MTA log file.
suking 4 days ago 2 replies      
HN is becoming 37Signals News.
datums 4 days ago 0 replies      
No secrets here, these are basics. Since your mail is mostly transactional your volume is significantly low compared to people who specialize in mailing. Transactional email is less likely to produce spam complaints. Misspelled addresses are detected on first sends, which is what you want. You're going to get an error at the smtp level or a bounce.

Here's a secret - Monitor the ip to domain ratios , usually gmail will allow 1k of mail from the same ip per hour.

gokhan 4 days ago 0 replies      
What are those options for feedback loops? Hotmail got one [1], but Gmail and Yahoo don't, AFAIK.

[1] https://support.msn.com/eform.aspx?productKey=edfsjmrpp&...

pork 4 days ago 1 reply      
While we all love services like Postmark and Mailgun on HN (and they are great services), does anyone know of any easy-to-setup open source projects that offer similar functionality? Traditional MTAs are a pain to setup and outdated to boot for webapps (mail parsing, signature and quote removal, UTF-8 transcoding, automatically updating spam detection, linkage to arbitrary storage handlers like MongoDB, and an HTTP+SSL JSON API should be a minimum).
rogerbinns 4 days ago 1 reply      
Also not mentioned is monitoring if your users actually read the emails. A web bug will work (some of the time) as will checks to see if users ever respond (eg if there is a link to click for full details) or login to the site after email receipt.

LinkedIn noticed that I never read one of the group messages I was getting and so switched to a far more infrequent digest of highlights. I think they may even have unsubcribed me completely from one group.

leeoniya 4 days ago 1 reply      
i recently finished a script that ran our 35k customer records through DNS/MX/SMTP servers and flagged all invalid addresses.

sadly any properties that use yahoo servers or sympatico.ca, bell.ca, always return "OK" and you physically need to bounce an email to verify it. many of our customers have @yahoo addresses so we still have about 25% that simply cannot be validated without a "probe" message :(

omonra 4 days ago 2 replies      
Can anybody recommend a service that would let me check whether an email (sent via my or the service provider server) was picked up?
They discuss this functionality in their system but I'm looking for someone I can outsource it to.
alphamale3000 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cool. Then if you use their findings published in this blog post, they will publicly shame you and your investors.
MrEnigma 4 days ago 0 replies      
Other than the talk about tailing the logs, and using the three servers, there isn't much revealed to why their delivery rate is so high.
       cached 5 February 2012 16:11:01 GMT