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1
Show HN: This up votes itself ycombinator.com
3347 points by olalonde  3 days ago   82 comments top 28
1
palish 3 days ago 4 replies      
I exploited this about 5 years ago. (I think it was called "Startup News" back then, though!)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27615

I think you need to set "showdead" in your profile to see this. It got killed pretty quickly, but netted me ~150 karma which was amusingly nontrivial back then. And as a byproduct, I think I became the first "public member" to get a glimpse of Arc, which was closed-source at the time. I won't disclose how (since I haven't asked for permission to share the details) but it was pretty much one of the happiest days of my life, for some stupid reason. I was young and giddy and felt like I'd just won something special.

To give you an idea of how ancient this is, check out the id of the thread -- only #27,615. Man, time flies when you're watching a community grow, eh? It's like watching a child mature over years -- into an increasingly-annoying version of themselves while slowly getting fatter and fatter over the years, of course. (I kid, I kid.)

Bonus: I just now noticed that I'd gotten into a debate with Paul B in that thread. Hah. I was too cocky back then... I should have been listening and asking questions, not talking!

Man, I miss those days so much. I never knew how rare they were until they were gone. Like, my girlfriend (now wife) and I went on vacation, during which we prototyped and launched a whole webapp in Rails 1.0! Who does that? Not me, anymore -- At least, not until I lose my day job like a bad case of music. Makes me wonder if I still have my old "hey, I'm 18 and ignorant of my own flaws!" level of productivity...

====

EDIT: Oh, look. I have the attention of the majority of HN. Allow me to now exploit you:

To whomever has read upto here: you hereby implicitly agree my EULA, in which you swear to enjoy each of your scientific pursuits with intensity and to your fullest degree; and sometimes even to a dangerous degree, if the mood carries you thus. Additionally, you agree to never allow an employer, family member, or any other authority to break your intrinsic spirit; for they have no means of dominating your spirit except that which you subconsciously allow them. You shall be true to yourself and to your own principles, regardless of society (though in privacy). You shall hereby refuse to believe any scientific statement as "true", however benign, except those in which you alone have proven to yourself to be true, by your own hand and evidence. (Though it doesn't hurt to check out what other people have to say on the subject, from time to time; in fact, it turns out to often be a more valuable course of action, for the careful analysis of a close friend can often reveal subtle flaws in your process and in your logic, while occasionally forcing you to re-evaluate your core reasoning for choosing that process in the first place, which always leads to the path of learning and thus improvement and satisfaction.) You agree to eventually die with no regrets. Let no one impose themselves upon your judgement without merit. You shall endeavor to enjoy life to the fullest extent of the law (where applicable), and to realize that money is merely a means, not an end unto itself. In your spare time, you shall research that which is impossible, but intriguing, in order to always have something to strive for, thereby improving your skill and your spirit. You shall follow your curiosity wherever it leads (but keep both eyes open for signs of danger).

Most importantly: thou shalt enjoy every week, else thou shalt fix your life's situation regardless of how immutable it may seem.

Go -- build something out of passion. Right now!

2
naz 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is why you shouldn't allow GET for performing actions. An image tag in an article could do the same thing (e: if it didn't check the referrer).
3
olalonde 3 days ago 2 replies      
Credits to http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3742742 GreekOphion) for finding the bug.
4
cs702 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks set to become the all-time #1-ranked submission soon. Compare it to other top-ranked submissions here: http://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/all&q=+&sortb...

[EDIT: corrected link. Thanks ma2rten!]

5
numlocked 3 days ago 0 replies      
An interesting side effect may be to drive registrations, as it will appear to non logged-in users that they have to create an account before viewing the #1 item.
6
akavi 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's amusing watching the vote count skyrocket upward as the curious click on it. It's getting more than a vote a second.

Side Note: I've always wondered why HN doesn't let you reneg on your upvote. I imagine this would have a good deal fewer votes if people could.

7
dustingetz 3 days ago 4 replies      
is OP a mod? how did he know what his postid would be before he submitted it? spraying [sequential] submissions all at once?

[edit]

8
olalonde 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is officially the 2nd highest ranking post ever. http://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/all&q=+&sortb... (HN search is a bit delayed
9
dsrguru 3 days ago 0 replies      
If allowed to continue without intervention or a bug fix, this thread will stay at the top of HN forever.
10
im3w1l 3 days ago 1 reply      
The amount of people proposing POST as a solution, shows the need for this subject to be lifted. There are methods for auto-posting you know...
11
patrickod 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. It's almost like a view counter for the article
12
donw 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bonus points for pointing out the bug, and not using it as a way to blast some rubbish marketing to the front page.
13
sams99 3 days ago 0 replies      
so, we have 3 of these now ... on the front page ... I guess this is a side effect of the community not having anywhere to submit bugs to
14
AndyKelley 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would have fixed my vote at least, but:

http://news.ycombinator.com/vote?for=3742902&dir=down...

"Can't make that vote."

15
zt 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I saw the first one of these, I thought to myself that the front-page wouldn't be overwhelmed by these posts. The whole reason most of us are here is that it is a mature community. As the first post was enough to prove the point, why did OP post it again? (S)He apologize and give credit to "http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3742742 (GreekOphion) for finding the bug", but why make the post at all? What good does it do? "I would send you the karma if I could!" just seems disingenuous.
16
kaybe 3 days ago 3 replies      
A slightly unrelated question: What's up with those non-votable non-commentable recruiting links that have been up on the front page recently? Was that another bug exploit?
17
benatkin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I took care to click comments.
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liamk 3 days ago 0 replies      
This could become the most voted up submission of all time.
19
MichaelApproved 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like it was removed from the front page by someone. Fun while it lasted...
20
Garthex 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious as to whether this post will ever leave the front page. If it keeps getting points at an alarming rate, is there anything in the algorithm to eventually lower the ranking?
21
Finbarr 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this has been manipulated in the past.
22
johndoeee 3 days ago 0 replies      
You can also secretly iframe it, always wondered if someone did it.

Also a good example of why you need to use POST for stuff like this :)

23
dbh937 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is staying as #1 for a while.
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guynamedloren 3 days ago 1 reply      
A clever, temporary solution to this would be to change the link to downvote the article and watch it trickle back to zero. Do it, pg!
25
sethbannon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant.
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robertelder 3 days ago 0 replies      
lawl
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minikomi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't usually do this but.. so brave
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reason 3 days ago 0 replies      
You are ruining the sanctity of karma.

Edit: Lotsa serious folks on tonight.

2
Poll: What's Your Favorite Programming Language?
2186 points by GreekOphion  2 days ago   545 comments top 222
1
simonsarris 2 days ago  replies      
C# really feels like the most mature language that I've ever dealt with. Writing it feels clear, if something is wrong the debugger is very clear. The number of features that are there is incredible (especially post C# 2.0 when they added generics). Properties are delightful.

How do you convert to a string? Convert.ToString(). How about an integer? Knowing only that one, it's what you'd expect!

I also picked JavaScript because I am in a love affair with this weird little language. I also think it is one of the easiest languages to teach basic programming with (videos forthcoming).

The amount of time it takes to whip up a five-cent program with javascript without even leaving my browser, heck without even leaving this tab is just astounding to me even after all these years.

One thing I noticed though while writing this comment is that more than the language itself, the tools that I use while building things in the language are what really make them a pleasure to use. If I wasn't using Google Chrome's web developer tools I'd probably consider JavaScript to be a nightmarish corpse of a language that punishes the slightest of typos with a silent malicious grin, as code execution carries on as if A.blah = 5 and A.blsh = 5 were both equally worthy of existing to the JS compiler/interpreter. Only by the grace of tools is JS tame at all.

2
lawn 2 days ago 8 replies      
It's funny. Every time I use a new language, or go back to an old favourite, it becomes my favorite language for a time. Static typing? Wonderful error messages! Dynamic typing? It does what I want! Functional programming? This is the future of programming! Object-oriented programming? I can describe the world! Low level? My code is fast. High level? My code is *expressive.

Is this normal or is it just me? Don't you come to like, or love, a new language? Every time I do something different I realize how good things could be. But this is just a case of "the grass is greener on the other side" I guess.

I ended up voting for Perl as it feels the most fun language. But ask me again in a month and you might get a different answer.

3
SeanLuke 2 days ago 2 replies      
This voting scheme is known as "single-vote-plurality". And it's a giant suckfest. Beyond two candidates, it completely falls apart, and tends to suggest very different results than the actual preferences of the voters.

Hypothetical example. Let's say that 1/4 of HN likes C, then Lisp, then Python, then Java. 1/4 of HN likes Python, then Lisp, then C, then Java. 1/5 likes Lisp, then C, then Python, then Java. And 3/10 like Java, then Lisp, then Python, then C.

So we have:

1. Java has the highest number of votes, even though 7/10 of HN thinks it's the worst language. Java wins!

2. Lisp has the fewest number of votes, even though it's the only language to appear in the top two preferences of 100% of the voters. Lisp loses!

In other words, the results from your voting scheme suggested the opposite of what people really liked (and disliked). This is a known, and very common, pathology of single-vote-plurality and becomes more and more of a problem the more candidates enter the race (and you have a gazillion of them).

Since you can't have people easily express their rank ordered preferences on HN (eliminating Condorcet, IRV, and the like), the next best thing would be to do approval voting. To do approval voting, you'd change the wording in your posting to:

"What languages do you like? Vote for as many as you want."

Then the winner is then the language with the most votes.

4
lunchbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here are the languages ranked by likes/dislikes ratio (I compared the above poll with the "dislike" poll: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3748961). For example, for each person who downvoted Clojure, there were 28.8 who upvoted it. This ranking is fairer to languages that are well liked by those who use them, but not as well known:

  Clojure        28.8
Python 26.5
Haskell 19.7
C 17.3
Lua 16.4
Lisp 11.5
Erlang 9.9
Ruby 8.4
Scheme 8.1
C# 7.9
OCaml 7.3
Smalltalk 7.1
Scala 6.4
D 4.4
CoffeeScript 3.6
JavaScript 3.5
Forth 3.2
Groovy 2.9
Assembly 2.5
Ada 1.7
Objective C 1.6
Perl 1.6
SQL 1.4
Pascal 1.3
Rexx 1.3
Delphi 1.2
C++ 1.0
Tcl 0.9
Fortran 0.7
PHP 0.7
Shell 0.7
Java 0.6
Actionscript 0.6
ColdFusion 0.4
Cobol 0.1
Visual Basic 0.1

5
untog 2 days ago 6 replies      
I find it difficult to divorce 'favourite language' from 'favourite stack'.

I use C# a lot, and I love it. But it's tied into MS's heavy stack for web stuff (ASP.NET, etc.) so recently I've switched to using node.js and CoffeeScript in my projects. It's fantastic. So right now my favourite language is JavaScript/CoffeeScript, but just because of the things I can do with it.

6
Aloisius 2 days ago 5 replies      
I was not expecting Python to be getting near as many votes as Ruby.

It is my favorite language simply because the pseudocode I write on whiteboards is basically Python. Strangely, it has been since well before I really started using it regularly.

7
singular 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like go. It's very succinct, clean and orthogonal, yet is enormously powerful. The amazing compilation speed and concurrency primitives are the icing on the cake.

I especially like the lack of a type hierarchy. I have come to think that type hierarchical structures are somewhat brittle - you create these initially correct representations, however when something changes or isn't quite right suddenly you either have to rewrite your hierarchy which is potentially a lot of work, or hack it up whereby it ends up not only incorrect but also misleading.

In go, you get implicit, dynamic interfaces whereby you define an interface and get duck typing against it without having to explicitly indicate that types implement it. The capabilities of a type determine its abstraction, nothing more.

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postfuturist 2 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like 'Go' is missing, 'Lisp' should probably be 'Common Lisp' since Scheme and Clojure are also 'Lisp'.
9
Macha 2 days ago 1 reply      
Given the audience on HN, it's not surprising to see Python and Ruby disproportionally upvoted. (For the record: 145 for Python, 114 for Ruby at the moment, next highest is C at 53). Coffeescript is also significantly overrepresented. It's currently on 34, beating C++ (29), and in the same region as C# and Java.

What I am surprised at however is that C# and Java (37 and 35) are doing as well in this poll as they are. It seems that Java in particular is disliked here for it's heavy reliance on classes, classes everywhere, while C# is more approved of, but still disliked. Partially for the same reasons, but also for how Windows-centric it effectively is.

I guess it shows that HN isn't as seperate from a typical subset from programmers as it appears from just reading articles that are upvoted, and reading comments.

Personally, my favourite is Python, but between college and Android development, I've mostly been writing Java for the last few months. While I find that Android makes it less painful than applications using other big Java APIs (Swing for example), I'd still rather be writing Python.

I also wonder how different the results of this poll would be from a similar poll asking "What language do you write in a daily basis?". I'd imagine Haskell and Coffeescript as the biggest losers in such a comparison, while I'd imagine that PHP would have the biggest gain.

10
larsberg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Standard ML!

Of course, I do research on Manticore (parallel dialect of Standard ML) and am one of the primary developers left on the SML/NJ implementation. So I'm a bit biased.

But trying to be objective, the module system is absolutely amazing. It's a simple / small set of syntax with a formalized semantics that is powerful enough to do almost everything you want to do with generics, classes, macros, and other module systems.

11
abalashov 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my consulting work, I seem to have benefitted greatly from a shortage of people still versed in old-school systems work, heavy C, Perl, and solid knowledge of the esoteric feature sets of traditional RDBMs. There is a decreasing number of people in the market who really know their way around Linux and other Unices as well, and who can bring some historical insight to bear.

I am not a bearded hacker. I'm only 26, but it seems that everyone in my age group has moved onto fashionable web programming tool chains, Ruby, etc. Personally, that's just as well; leaves me with less competition. :-)

12
jonhohle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I chose Smalltalk, not because its a language I get to use every day, or have even used a lot, but it has influenced two of the languages I'm most productive in, and from it has sprung foundational technologies which nearly all developers (especially those who program VM targeted languages) have been able to take advantage of.

It was one of the first languages I used which really introduced me to a completely different way of problem solving and thinking about the structure of a program. I know that language was probably Lisp/Scheme for a lot of people, but for me it was Smalltalk. Implementing control structures without language keywords!? Operators implemented using the same message passing techniques as any other method call!? Querying any instance for its implementation and documentation at runtime!?

13
adambard 2 days ago 2 replies      
I see a lot of votes for python, but a disproportionately small representation of python fans in the comments.

If you asked me a year ago, I'dve said python. But lately, I've been using Clojure for personal projects, and it's making python seem just... boring. (I get the same feeling when I write in Ruby too)

The "one right way" paradigm is a great one, and the language is solid. The built-ins are top-notch, and while not exactly a functional language, it's certainly expressive enough. In my mind, it's probably the ideal general-purpose language. But lately, I feel like I use it for everything because it's "good enough" for everything -- without being "great" at anything.

Point? I don't think I had one, sorry. I just thought I'd share that notion to see if it resonated.

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zorked 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker News is all about Python/Ruby/Clojure/Scala/Haskell most of the time, but then we find that there is this huge group of very happy Windows/C# developers that are passionate about their environments. Where are you the rest of the time? What have you people been building?
15
vyrotek 2 days ago 1 reply      
The number of C# votes makes me very happy. When I originally signed up oh.. 1333 days ago it felt like I was the only .Net dev on the site. It was a huge deal for me to find other startups built on .Net back then. Now I discover them far more often. I think Microsoft must be doing something right. I blame Scott Gu.
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protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
I selected Forth, but Postscript was a lot funner. I have always wanted to sit down and create a cross between the two. Perl for short scripts (just because of CPAN and always have Perl installed) and Objective-C is my main application language.

I gotta admit I miss Occam but it is over 20 years since I did any programming in it. I am currently researching agent based languages as I still have some Telescript documentation and have always been fascinated by the concept.

17
bri3d 2 days ago 0 replies      
I answered Objective-C only because I'm considering the entire ecosystem around a language in addition to the actual language (its features, idioms, and syntax).

Objective-C isn't a particularly pretty language, in my opinion - but when XCode's powerful code completion, decent visual debugger, and awesome static analysis come into play, it's a lot more attractive.

Plus, for me, programming is about the goal, with the journey an oft-pleasant and very engrossing side effect. Objective-C hits the sweet spot where the language and toolchain gets out of my way and lets me build beautiful, functional software that people actually use.

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jimminy 2 days ago 0 replies      
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spitfire 2 days ago 2 replies      
Mathematica. But not because of the language - it has some warts. But because of the problems I'm working on when I choose Mathematica as a tool.
20
bigiain 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of my "for fun" coding lately has been in Arduino's C/C++ language subset - which, given it's lack of many of the standard libraries usually assumed available when people talk about C or C++, I tend to not think of it as "C programming". In fact the resource-limited nature of Arduino programming feels much closer to assembly than anything else.

(Perl is still my "favourite" of all the languages I get paid to write…)

21
michaelochurch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I voted "other" because it is really impossible for me to name one. I just don't know enough.

OCaml wins on fundamentals. Scheme also rocks as a language. That said, there's something exciting about being able to leverage the latest OS technologies and solve the hardest real-world problems, which is an asset for the leading JVM awesomenesses: Scala and Clojure. Java sucks but there's a lot of awesome stuff available in that ecosystem (if you're discriminating and tell the FactoryFactory crowd to consider careers in investment banking).

I just got off a 3.5 month consulting gig and I'm really itching to buckle down on a hard Scala or Clojure project. I would probably vote for Scala because static typing is such a huge win on large systems where reading others' code is as important as writing new code. It actually makes reading others' code fun to have static typing, because you get automatic documentation of structure right away.

22
noblethrasher 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps a better question is “what is your most favored language?”. My favorite language is F# but my most favored language is C#. It's like how a dog might favor a particular limb until the other fully heals.
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asjo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here is a plot of the votes (updated hourly):

* http://koldfront.dk/misc/hn/wyfpl/data.png

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jeremyarussell 2 days ago 0 replies      
I picked Python and Assembly. There was a day when C++ would have gotten the pick but not today. As for my reasons.

Python, simple enough to explain why. I get to quickly make and test a program with a language that is well documented, comes with a tutorial that in my opinion was just as good at getting me into programming with Python as any other books I've found out there, and the growing libraries for AI based fields is very nice. Lately (doing the NLP class, and was using SimpleCV/OpenCV for another project.) I've grown to love it even more then before.

As for why Assembly was my second runner up? One very simple, but hopefully thought provoking reason. Assembly Language was the absolute most simple yet complicated programming language I had ever dealt with, it taught me more about how and why computers do the things they do then anything else I learned about computers. (since I keep people's computers going as a living, it was extraordinarily helpful in making me a pro at fixing them.)

25
bitcracker 1 day ago 0 replies      
LISP and Scheme still have one killer feature all other languages don't have: extremely powerful macros.

http://www.apl.jhu.edu/~hall/Lisp-Notes/Macros.html

This article gives a good insight what about LISP is so awesome:

http://www.defmacro.org/ramblings/lisp.html

I also vote for Ada because this is the best language I know to write maximum quality software. I would love to make money for living by coding Ada for Embedded Systems.

26
instakill 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go Team Ruby! But on a serious note, I wonder how many of those are < 2 years (I am) and were influenced by the Ruby community, a lot of which seemed to have hung around on HN for the same period of time.
27
cliftonk 2 days ago 1 reply      
My favorites:

- Ruby for an imperative scripting language

- Go for an imperative systems language (previously C)

- Clojure as a functional language

28
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mesa and/or Modula3 was always a nice language to write in.
29
jeffclark 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested in hearing why anyone would choose Tcl.

I have to use it during the day, but use Ruby on my side-project. Tcl and it's lists (and lists-of-lists) is wicked painful - especially compared to my Ruby experience at this point.

30
evincarofautumn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Voted C, C++ & Haskell, but other languages are also nice. C is pleasant for its simplicity and straightforwardness. C++ is huge and complex, and I've never believed in OOP, but I know of no better language for generic programming. Haskell, on the other hand, is rather small and pretty. It doesn't get in your way, it informs your writing in other languages, and its type system makes the angels weep.
31
jes5199 1 day ago 0 replies      
I voted for Clojure because so many of design decisions seem to be correct, but there's still plenty to complain about: unreadable stack traces. slow interpreter startup. meaningless function names in core.

I think I really want an immutable-data language that uses rubyish message-passing style.

32
S_A_P 2 days ago 0 replies      
I primarily use c# but I dont know if it is my favorite because that is what I get paid to write code in or if its because I know C#, Objective-C, VB, SQL, and a bit of C++.

Of those languages, C# feels the most feature rich and easy to read, while I find working with the Cocoa framework and Objective-C particularly enjoyable. The others I work with but find no particular enjoyment from.

33
luriel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awk, C, Go, rc, Scheme.

Simple and conceptually-consistent languages that my simple mind can fully understand.

34
exch 2 days ago 0 replies      
My choice would be Go.
35
loup-vaillant 2 days ago 0 replies      
I voted Ocaml because it is what I'd call my favourite language: of all the language I have actually used, it is by far the one I enjoyed the most, and the one that made me most productive.

However, Ocaml is not the end of it. I know of Haskell, and I sometimes resent Ocaml's value restriction, or lack of laziness. I know of Lisp, and I sometimes resent the complexity of Camlp4.

However, Haskell and Lisp are not the end of it. See, http://vpri.org/html/work/ifnct.htm and http://www.vpri.org/pdf/tr2011004_steps11.pdf showed that with the right tools, a few hundreds lines of code is sufficient to make a TCP stack, or a Cairo-like graphic system, or even a whole programming language stack that's more powerful than Lisp itself. When I see that, I know that I think Lisp, Haskell, Forth… are already obsolete. The market just doesn't know it yet.

However, COLAS and OMeta and Maru are probably not the end of it…

36
dmragone 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who is just starting to learn to code, this is an interesting list, but I can't help but want more info. The "why" each language is preferred is missing. Obviously some of this is in the comments, but summarizing that text will take quite some time. I can't help but think additional related questions might provide greater context to each preference.
37
meric 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone here feel that all of these programming languages have their own flaws? I started programming 8 years ago (mostly as a hobby), and I feel like all these languages are missing something. That said, my "favourite" language is Haskell, but I don't really like it. I've only used Haskell since a year ago and there are still many concepts I have to master. Maybe my feelings will improve, but if they do it won't be by that much in absolute terms.

Emacs and Vim? Twenty years later and these are still the state of the art? Even when our computers are at least 1000 times more performant? I guess there are IDE's out there trying to do better, but in the end I'm still typing text into a computer, occasionally getting autocompletes that is exactly what I want, but usually its not.

Do I like programming? Yes I do, I like programming more than I hate the tools I have to use.

38
sarbogast 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's really a shame that Groovy is not even in this list. It's understandable as it is very poorly marketed, but it is really a shame that it is not mentioned more, especially on such a forum. For entrepreneurs, it has so many advantages. As productive as Ruby and Python, and yet running on performant Java runtime. Plus, being a derivative of the Java language, it makes it so easy to find experimented developers. It's my personal favorite, and I really think all entrepreneurs with a Java background should give it a try.
39
cema 1 day ago 0 replies      
I marked C#, Clojure and Javascript.

I use C# and Javascript at work, and enjoy both. (Not saying I enjoy .NET though, just the language.) I like the way C# is evolving towards functional programming and includes new paradigms while retaining the (ostensible) familiarity of Java and C.

Clojure is a great language and there is a great community around it. Here I am just a beginner, though, and it is not part of my everyday life. Hopefully it might change in the future.

40
supervillain 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's my programming language usage history so far. (learned order)

1. DOS batch scripting (1994)

2. C (1996)

3. Bash (1998)

4. Pascal (2000)

5. PHP (2001)

6. Ruby (2002)

7. Javascript (2004)

8. Python (2005)

9. Ruby (2009-present)

Now I'm in love with Ruby more than ever, I turned it down several times during my college years in favor of Python, but finding Ruby is like finding your true love. I was in loved with her more than ever. I have gone through Python, and back to Ruby and I am much happier as a programmer. :-)

41
fauigerzigerk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I do like Go a lot. It's not on the list yet.
42
mindcrime 2 days ago 0 replies      
No Groovy? Seriously?!?? C'mon, man...

Anyway, put me down for "Groovy" at the moment, although it could potentially be knocked off that perch at some point. I have some other languages I'm interested in exploring but haven't gotten deeply into yet.

43
3pt14159 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love Ruby, but ultimately Python is my favorite.

Ruby is consistent and cool, but I can do everything I want with Python and I can make it FAST as hell.

Over the past week I've been moving some things into Cython and it has literally sped 200 times faster than Python which is 10 times faster than Ruby, and with a lot less memory overhead. Speed _does_ matter when the two languages are nearly the same in terms of development speed. Furthermore Python has more libraries and less wtf moments when looking at peoples code.

44
jokermatt999 1 day ago 2 replies      
I like Python because I'm an inexperienced and infrequent programmer. While I took a few courses on programming (VB, Java), it wasn't til I discovered Python that I would actually code in my own time. All the boilerplate crap I had to deal with for Java was wiped away, and I could just write. I'm sure if I wrote more complex things, I could find better languages, but for simply getting things done and just jumping in and writing a few lines, Python just feels right.

Does that sound about right to those of you with more experience?

45
drpancake 1 day ago 0 replies      
46
LinaLauneBaer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would love to hear from the people who voted for Rexx explain what they are doing with Rexx - I am really curious.

A few years ago when working for a bank in Germany I had to learn Rexx but only for some extremely unsophisticated stuff - so I am asking: What are you doing with Rexx and what makes it your favorite programming language?

47
FredBrach 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, the C language is pretty well scored. I really really loved the C. For me, it's the king/father language. Everything is in it seriously (I mean, types, flow controls, memory management etc.), and it's just on top of the assembly language.
I could code with C during centuries I think.

By the way, Ruby is pretty well scored also. I should try it eh. Is it for back-end programming or front-end, native apps? What's the point with it?(Really less code?)

And about Python? Why is it so awesome?

48
seanalltogether 2 days ago 1 reply      
The number of votes for Objective-C is really funny to me, because I've never talked with a fellow objc developer that would describe it as their favorite language. Apples platform may be their favorite platform to develop for, but I and everyone else begrudgingly uses objc to target it.

Granted, they have been adding some very useful features to the language over the past couple years that I rely heavily on, but I'd never go so far as to call it my favorite.

49
ajdecon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Python for when I'm "thinking in code", or doing data analysis that's not too performance sensitive (NumPy). I probably enjoy Python the most.

Ruby for when I'm doing configuration management or occasional webdev.

Fortran for when I'm doing serious computation, C for when I'm trying to do something fast that isn't number-crunching. (Though I'm trying to learn Go for that.)

And a smattering of other languages (Perl, shell, Java, etc) for interacting with tools that speak those better than anything else.

50
old-gregg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hm... Maybe one of the reasons why replacement-for-C kind of languages don't quite take off is because people apparently still like C quite a lot.
51
colanderman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mercury (http://www.mercury.csse.unimelb.edu.au/), a strongly-typed, fast, relative of Prolog.
52
erez 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you referring to SQL the standard (which isn't a programming language), or to any enhanced flavour of it?
53
duodecim 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMHO, Python is probably one of the best languages in general. But I consider Perl, its opposite in many ways, one of my favourites.

In Perl I can be witty and find my personal style. Sadly enough, my code poetry might not be somebody else's. Reading other people's Perl code can be hard.

On the other end of the spectrum, Python feels aesthetically dull to me sometimes. But it's a great language to program in with larger groups of people, even when they have different skill levels and coding styles.

In the end, these languages are all just tools; you can do a hammer's job with a screwdriver, but really all tools have their purpose in the right context.

(Go's missing, though.)

54
eli_gottlieb 2 days ago 0 replies      
The one I'm developing, duh.
55
why-el 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am interesting in knowing at what time exactly would people think they have experienced enough language exposure to decide on the favorite one. Like, my favorite now is C, because thats the one I know best, and I cant say that this wont change, since I am learning Ruby and it rocks.
56
tomjen3 2 days ago 1 reply      
None. I like Lisp but it has its problem. I don't like Java but it is useful and it has good tools and a ton of libraries. I like C, but it needs better libraries and it can be a little cumbersome to write. I don't like C++, but there are cases where one of its features are useful.

I hate PHP but it is easy to write a quick backend in which can be deployed everywhere. I hate Javascript, but it is hard to beat it in the browser.

I summary I don't have a favorite language, they all kinda suck and kinda don't. It all depends on what I need to use them for.

57
jacktoole1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Moonscript (voted for Coffeescript and Lua). It's like Coffeescript for Lua instead of JavaScript, which is great of you need a fast and concise language to embed in another application (compiling the standard lua interpreter for a platform consists mostly of dragging the source to your IDE and compiling). ( http://moonscript.org/ )

I also love OCaml (and miss it's static inferred typing and pattern matching everywhere else), but it's ecosystem has never fit with what I'm working on outside of coursework in it.

59
jhawk28 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Go is my current favorite language.
60
Kilimanjaro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Top ten 24 hours later out of 11689 votes

    Python     2591  22.17%
Ruby 1451 12.41%
JavaScript 1182 10.11%
C 817 6.99%
C# 678 5.80%
PHP 544 4.65%
Java 460 3.94%
Haskell 450 3.85%
C++ 449 3.84%
Clojure 388 3.32%

61
railsmax 14 hours ago 0 replies      
That's cool question! It's like who is stronger Vandam, Chuck Norris or Stallone )) It will be great to include chart here - to illustrate all languages with more then 'N' points for example.
62
zmmmmm 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's slightly depressing when a poll about favorite languages has 30+ options and your choice isn't there :-(

+1 Groovy!

63
drobilla 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have always maintained that if you have an unqualified "favourite" thing, you are probably not very in to that type of thing :)

I use C the most because it is the most appropriate tool for the job at hand for most of the jobs I do. I appreciate the simplicity and elegance of Scheme, and wish I could use it more. I envy Haskell's type system.

None are my favourite. After all, all programming languages suck.

64
mattbriggs 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me, there is a huge difference between programming languages I like, and what I can build with them. Clojure is my favourite, followed by Io. Both languages have a clean, minimalist aesthetic, are rediculesly powerful, and very expressive.

When it comes to getting stuff done, Javascript is an interesting language, and there are some things about it I like a lot, but there are many things in it where a) there is syntax for things that make no sense (like the ~ operator), b) the syntax for something common and important is horribly clunky (like function, or assigning to a prototype), c) the syntax having odd rules that almost seem like little traps (like the way that () will call the previous line as a function, or how you need a trailing comma on everything in an object literal except for the last thing). All that being said, I love what I can do with it. And I really find that CSS/JS/Semantic HTML has some of the nicest seperation of concerns of any UI programming toolkit I have looked at. So when it comes to what I can build (and get paid to build), I would say my favorite language is javascript.

65
gruuk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perl, especially when parsing and manipulating text files. Still the best glue language between applications that don't like each other, such as when the output from one is incompatible with the input of the other (of course, vendor of second app promised it would be compatible). The only downside after perl saves the day is that it makes whoever decided to buy that application look far less bad than they deserve.
66
ootachi 2 days ago 0 replies      
It changes all the time, and all languages have their merits and drawbacks. But I'd say Rust for now.
67
arjn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I moved from Java to Python, hopefully I will never have to go back. Writing in python is a pleasure.
I do a lot of SQL too though I cant really say I like it.
68
ajuc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Python, because it lets me concentrate on what I want to do, and by default I think about algorithms in something that looks a lot like Python.

Runner-ups:

Clojure, because it's different and elegant.

Javascript/java/c++ because sometimes it needs to work in browser/use some library/be fast.

69
abruzzi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Depends on what you're doing, but favorite implies I enjoy it, which would have to be something that isn't used for work, which would be something Pd/Max for me.
70
aschobel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go without a doubt.
71
kirinan 2 days ago 1 reply      
I chose Java, but hackers shouldn't have a language that is their "favorite". They should use all languages and pick that one that is best for the job. I realize this may be an unrealistic task, but I try my best to do it. While I probably the best at coding Java(Quickest, and get the most done in it), I don't always use it because its not the best language for the job.
72
rtisticrahul 1 day ago 0 replies      
C still remains my favorite programming language. Though compared to modern languages it has fallen way behind, still nothing beats the simplicity of C.

With less theory to learn compared to other languages, the power of C lies in the implementation only. Just few simple ayntaxes combined with terrific logic can make some really powerful applications.

Also, maybe little bit nostalgic here, but it feels good to return to C every now and then just to make some highly logical program and challenge the logical side of my brain.

73
soapdog 2 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite language is not listed , it is LiveCode from http://www.runrev.com, it is an HyperCard on steroids. I am very productive with it and it is terribly fun to use. Besides that I like Lisp/Scheme =)
74
Calamitous 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm curious as to why D doesn't get more love. It's had a pretty rocky liftoff, but there's a lot to like there, regardless of your preferred programming paradigm.
75
coolestuk 1 day ago 0 replies      
other: hypertalk http://www.runrev.com/
76
jhuni 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are many impressive Lisp dialects which aren't mentioned here like Mark Tarver's Shen programming language and John Stutts Kernel programming language, so I am just going to vote for Lisp which hopefully covers most of these dialects. I have been a Lisper for over a year.

I am not particularly impressed with most things which aren't Lisp based or which aren't at least functional. In particular, I am not impressed by Python. Admittedly, I am biased towards functional languages like Lisp because I am a mathematician.

77
elimisteve 1 day ago 0 replies      
My list:

1. Go
2. Python
3. Everything else

78
noduerme 2 days ago 1 reply      
3 votes for Shell script and none for Tcl? I guess every kind of insanity has its limits.
79
fauigerzigerk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess I'm making a fool out of myself right now... but C# comes before C++ in the alphabetic sorting order ;-)
80
blktiger 2 days ago 0 replies      
I kind of wanted to vote for groovy. It's pretty much what you get if Java and Ruby had a baby and is a pleasant language to work with. Truthfully though, I like a lot of the languages on that list so it's hard to pick just one as a favorite.
81
queryly 2 days ago 0 replies      
C# is great, it is even better with the vs.net, I found it is easier to express what I want to do in c# syntax. ASP.net is fine too, you can choose not to use the server control approach which I think is the bad part of asp.net
82
anon_d 1 day ago 0 replies      
Standard ML. The implementations and the standard library situation both need a lot of work, but the language itself is by far the cleanest and most practical very-high-level language I've encountered.
83
laconian 2 days ago 0 replies      
C# is my favorite language, too bad I can't use it since I work at a Linux shop.
84
wiradikusuma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Favorite != most used. Sometimes you're "forced" to use a language because "that's what the company use". For example, I use Java in my company, but I won't make it my favorite.
85
rbc 1 day ago 0 replies      
These days, I'd have to say Smalltalk is my favorite. I think more modern languages are still catching up. Modern open source implementations like Squeak and Pharo make Smalltalk very accessible.
86
Ziomislaw 11 hours ago 0 replies      
wtf, you put in cobol and visual basic but forget to add Go?
87
chrisallick 2 days ago 0 replies      
langs = list()

f = open('langs.txt', 'r')
content = f.readline()
while content != "":
line = content.strip()
if line != "":
temp = {}
parts = line.split(" ")
if "points" not in parts:
temp['title'] = parts[0]

		nextline = f.readline().strip()
parts = nextline.split(" ")
temp['score'] = parts[0]
langs.append( temp )
content = f.readline()

newlist = sorted(langs, key=lambda k: int(k['score']))
print newlist

"""

[{'score': '6', 'title': 'Cobol'}, {'score': '6', 'title': 'Rexx'}, {'score': '7', 'title': 'Fortran'}, {'score': '8', 'title': 'Ada'}, {'score': '8', 'title': 'Pascal'}, {'score': '9', 'title': 'Groovy'}, {'score': '12', 'title': 'ColdFusion'}, {'score': '14', 'title': 'Delphi'}, {'score': '14', 'title': 'Tcl'}, {'score': '16', 'title': 'Shell'}, {'score': '18', 'title': 'Forth'}, {'score': '20', 'title': 'D'}, {'score': '23', 'title': 'Visual'}, {'score': '24', 'title': 'Smalltalk'}, {'score': '29', 'title': 'SQL'}, {'score': '30', 'title': 'Assembly'}, {'score': '31', 'title': 'OCaml'}, {'score': '32', 'title': 'Actionscript'}, {'score': '51', 'title': 'Lua'}, {'score': '57', 'title': 'Erlang'}, {'score': '74', 'title': 'Scheme'}, {'score': '92', 'title': 'Scala'}, {'score': '100', 'title': 'Other'}, {'score': '120', 'title': 'Perl'}, {'score': '123', 'title': 'Objective'}, {'score': '125', 'title': 'Lisp'}, {'score': '163', 'title': 'CoffeeScript'}, {'score': '187', 'title': 'Clojure'}, {'score': '192', 'title': 'C++'}, {'score': '194', 'title': 'Java'}, {'score': '205', 'title': 'Haskell'}, {'score': '235', 'title': 'PHP'}, {'score': '303', 'title': 'C#'}, {'score': '355', 'title': 'C'}, {'score': '515', 'title': 'JavaScript'}, {'score': '718', 'title': 'Ruby'}, {'score': '1133', 'title': 'Python'}]
"""

88
orblivion 2 days ago 0 replies      
Favorite language, not to be confused with a language I can practically use yet. I love and voted for Haskell but for now my weapon of choice is Python.
89
mythz 1 day ago 0 replies      
F# and Dart should also be on this list considering they're the source of a lot of programming language innovation that's happening atm.
90
swah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those days I feel (unless you write backends for Google or embedded sw) that "Python is all you need" (unfortunately - I wish I could work with more languages with equal productivity).
91
khyryk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I picked Python because I like Python the language.

I put up with the standard library, I'm not thrilled about there being so few decent cross-platform IDE's supporting Python, and module hell can drive me nuts, especially considering the fact that a minor version discrepancy means the module won't work (e.g., module built for 3.1 refusing to work on Python 3.2, although perhaps there's an incredibly simple solution to this which has evaded me thus far).

92
ankurdhama 1 day ago 0 replies      
How ironic is that when someone ask you to write a program that put some text ob screen and you are unfortunately using C#/Java or similar languages, your code comes out something as :
public class main {
public static void main(string[] args) {
Console.WriteLine("Hello world");
}
}

Which should have been just:
(print "Hello world")

93
uolot 2 days ago 2 replies      
I finally created an account because of this :) Python FTW!
94
mycodebreaks 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see Python leading in this poll.
Two things that can be happening:
1. Python is going mainstream.
2. Programmers who are hackernews readers like Python more.
95
shalakhin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think programmers have to choose best suited tools for solution considering existing requirements and constraints.

But giving an answer I'd like to vote for Go. :)

96
bamdadd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like ruby with RubyMine IDE . They work fine on the server side apps (web and console). Havn't tried desktop apps and dont know if it is possible ( i know its possible with jruby and swing but no info for ruby it self).
It has a good feeling and flexibility when you work with it. Good class library and gems are easy to fetch and install
97
codesuela 2 days ago 0 replies      
everyone stop upvoting python ! http://imgur.com/gtLOb
98
varunsaini 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why have a single favorite language, use language as a tool to get the things done.But for the question sake I will say Java and Python, but if this questions come up next year, I will like to click few more...
99
dkd903 2 days ago 0 replies      
I Love C, PHP. I also worked on Python long back during GSOC but did not get a chance to work on Python projects later. And after I started working on frontend, I have been a sucker for Javascript ever since!
100
funkah 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love JavaScript. C# is pretty rad too, but I do mostly front-end these days.
101
shadgregory 2 days ago 0 replies      
By voting for Scheme, I really mean Racket.
102
msgilligan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Groovy: Added two hours late and out of alphabetical order. Not the most popular language, but definitely a rising star. Too bad it's not getting a fair shake in this poll.
103
veritas9 2 days ago 0 replies      
We did something similar with the 40,000 code submissions made on CodeEval last year. Python was also the winner :)

http://blog.codeeval.com/the-most-popular-programming-langua...

104
jebblue 1 day ago 0 replies      
How is Haskell almost as high as Java? I've never seen it in use anywhere, Java everywhere.
105
martinbottanek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I voted for Ruby and JavaScript because that's what I use. I've tried some Python/Django but it somehow didn't feel right. I guess it really comes down to your personal preferences.
106
paufernandez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you add Go please?
107
veyron 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why isn't `awk` on this list?
108
ExpiredLink 2 days ago 0 replies      
'None' is missing!
109
KC8ZKF 1 day ago 0 replies      
What? No love for Prolog?
110
alanh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love how much love CoffeeScript gets!
111
mbel 2 days ago 0 replies      
SQL isn't really general purpose programming language, it's hard to call it `programming' language at all. It doesn't really feel comparable to the other ones.

Also Lisps could be merged into single entry since all shell languages are one.

112
guard-of-terra 1 day ago 0 replies      
This list has SQL but lacks XSLT.

XSLT is a wonderful thing.

113
cadr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, who are the five people that said "Cobol"? Show yourselves! :)
114
Finbarr 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a fairly circumstantial question. If I had to pick one language for the rest of my life and could be asked to build all manner of applications, I'd pick Java. Otherwise it's ruby all the way - it's fun to work with, but has limits.
115
swah 1 day ago 0 replies      
[Witty comment on the correlation of great software being written in the two most hated programming languages.]
116
ciderpunx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perl becuase it does what I want.

Haskell because it makes me do what I ought to do.

117
joejohnson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do people like Actionscript? I've always felt like this language is only used when programmers have no other choice.
118
colomon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perl 6.
119
akadien 1 day ago 0 replies      
+1 for Go.
120
sbmassey 2 days ago 0 replies      
It depends what I'm trying to do.

The question is like asking a carpenter what their favorite tool is.

It'd be more enlightening to (somehow) ask what kinds of problems people apply each language to.

121
cinquemb 2 days ago 0 replies      
i like the constructive conversations. when i first saw this i was afraid this might turn into which one is better in the comments. glad to see a mature crowd on HN,very informative =D
122
icaci 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised to see such a low number of Fortran programmers. Are we really at the brink of extinction or are people from science and engineering not interested in all this kool new (hacker) stuff?
123
fcassia 2 days ago 0 replies      
The beauty of Java is that is not ONLY a language, it´s three things:

1. A runtime environment
2. A software ecosystem
3. A language.

:)

So you can use 1. and 2. without having to write a line of Java if you
don´t like it. There´s plenty of languages that run on top of the Java
virtual machine: JRuby, xRuby, Jython, NetRexx...

Even Lisp and Cobol if you want.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_JVM_languages

There´s a yearly summit about new languages ported to the JVM...
http://openjdk.java.net/projects/mlvm/jvmlangsummit/

124
vinayan3 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot of love for C#. I would have assumed that there would be a lot of C# / .NET bashing.
125
TheRevoltingX 2 days ago 1 reply      
Out of all the languages I've used (C/C++/Perl/Javascript/Erlang/Objective-C/Ruby)

I like Perl the best and javascript+ruby the least.

126
bfrog 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its really a mix of erlang and python at this point. I love erlang for its error handling and concurrency performance. I love python for its easy to read factor, libraries, and simplicity.
127
shimon_e 1 day ago 0 replies      
No Limbo? Dennis Ritchie will be let down.
128
178 1 day ago 0 replies      
I went with Shell since I am not even a programmer, more of a designer. Shell scripts helps me automate almost everything.
129
joemanaco 1 day ago 0 replies      
i dont have a favorite language, but i really enjoy to play around with BlitzMax and Monkey.
130
kinleyd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ruby and Lisp for me. A couple of years ago it would have been Python but not any more.
131
LukaD 2 days ago 0 replies      
My favorites:

- Ruby, because it's easy and straight forward with lot's of nice features

- Python, because... I don't know. I just enjoy writing Python code :)

132
egonschiele 2 days ago 0 replies      
If Coffeescript is on here, Moonscript should be added too: https://github.com/leafo/moonscript
133
134
mycodebreaks 1 day ago 0 replies      
Come on Hackernews!
Is it hard to sort the list by number of voites?
135
ccrraaiigg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The first thing I always check out when looking at a programming language is the debugger. Smalltalk's debugger is the most useful and fun because of the dynamism of the system as a whole.
136
ericmuyser 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just wish I could downvote. I'm looking at you, PHP.
137
stigt 1 day ago 0 replies      
No single language is the best for every situation. Know the tools and pick the right one for the problem at hand.
138
jgmmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
What about Go?
139
pknerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
i really loved working on C# it's quite cool but for web RoR and PHP are best
140
leon_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, there are people who actually like JavaScript?!
141
Limes102 2 days ago 1 reply      
PHP is nice... but if I could improve it, I'd like it to be not quite so loosely typed. I would like to specify the datatypes.
142
ronik 1 day ago 0 replies      
My favorite language is the one I don't know yet and desperately want to master. Objective C, in my case.
143
laktek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where's Go??
144
forbes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of these languages are not as good as my favourite language, Blub, apart from the Lisps.
145
mathetic 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is quite surprising to see that Ruby and Python are the most criticized and also the most popular languages on HN.
146
littlemerman 1 day ago 0 replies      
This proves that python is the best language.
147
gemlogger 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just broke down and got a login on HN because of this poll. I was astounded at the number of python votes. Mmmm -- I got a reg and also voted for python, but still... Why is this poll so lopsided? I would have guessed a murkier distribution, after all, we all have to write in at least 5-6 langs just to get along. Does HN simply attract pythonistas?
148
hypermike 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think we need another thread of favorite scripting languages. Shell would have more than 15 points then.
149
tieTYT 2 days ago 0 replies      
AWK. When I get to use it, that is. It's not right for most problems, but when it is, it's a pleasure to use.
150
Tichy 2 days ago 0 replies      
The recent success of Python saddens me.
151
teresko 1 day ago 0 replies      
People see to be confusing "favorite language" with "language i use".
152
eagsalazar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who in god's name voted for SQL??? And who voted for TCL??!!? Ouch! That hurts my soul!
153
vonkow 1 day ago 0 replies      
No love for Ladder Logic? sniff
154
hk__2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I cannot understand why 180 people voted up PHP. It's the worth language I've ever tried.
155
wmeyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
F#

It's really fun to use; a bit like Python but with the benefit of static typing.

156
Maven911 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess Bash would fit under Shell ?
157
iag 2 days ago 0 replies      
damn... Matlab is not on the list! :)
158
headfonekid 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am verymuch surprised that there are over 2x JavaScript votes than Java or C++
159
whatthefunk 1 day ago 0 replies      
programmer happiness. end of story.
160
jdefr89 1 day ago 0 replies      
Should SQL really be up there?
161
hoytie 2 days ago 0 replies      
162
sashaeslami 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Java's the best!
163
PaulGrinsBig 2 days ago 0 replies      
Got to be C/C++ because everything relies on it in some fashion. For example, interpreted languages almost always use a C/C++ built interpreter. It's also the most direct route to assembly which is the ONE....
164
masklinn 2 days ago 0 replies      
No Self?
165
finin 2 days ago 0 replies      
prolog ∈ Other
166
finin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Prolog ∈ Other
167
nextparadigms 2 days ago 0 replies      
No Go?
168
gcb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those always reflect "vote the language you like the most from the 2 or 3 you use frequently"
169
zz-zz-zz 2 days ago 0 replies      
SQL is not really a programming language. PL/SQL is.
170
molex 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who are these masochists who are voting for C++?
171
middayc 1 day ago 0 replies      
rebol (& family)
172
reactor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Python, Never comes in your way.
173
dajobe 1 day ago 0 replies      
How do I vote this polling crap down? Pointless and subjective and if this was stackoverflow, would be deleted.
174
jolohaga 2 days ago 2 replies      
Where's R?
175
north14 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Gotta be PHP! Half the web is built on it!
176
ovatsus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why isn't F# in the list?
177
zackmorris 2 days ago 0 replies      
HyperTalk
178
ZenDan 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about Go? #golang
179
elviejo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Eiffel
180
MaysonL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oberon-2
181
fuzzythinker 2 days ago 0 replies      
No F#?
182
Rickasaurus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where's F#?
183
cploonker 2 days ago 0 replies      
SQL is the best
184
Mac7 1 day ago 0 replies      
WLanguage from PCSoft-France
185
dacracot 2 days ago 0 replies      
XSLT and PL/SQL
186
littlemerman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Circlejerk.
187
avallark 1 day ago 0 replies      
PL/SQL
188
paliderek 2 days ago 0 replies      
what, no modula-2 or modula-3?
189
pekar666 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I love D
190
hypertech 2 days ago 0 replies      
MATLAB/Octave ... by far!
191
thrashr888 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go
192
mezozoysky 1 day ago 0 replies      
D. The only way.
193
nickmain 2 days ago 1 reply      
Prolog
194
Matz3 2 days ago 0 replies      
ABAP.
195
objectiveJ4Life 1 day ago 0 replies      
Add Objective-J
196
micebiz 1 day ago 0 replies      
PHP
197
daviddaviddavid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Prolog
198
amizya 2 days ago 0 replies      
Python or GTFO.
199
dbh937 2 days ago 0 replies      
LOLcode anyone?
200
murali89 1 day ago 0 replies      
SML
201
risrr 2 days ago 0 replies      
LPC
202
rnadna 2 days ago 0 replies      
R
203
Badkangar00 1 day ago 0 replies      
F#
204
Threshold128 1 day ago 0 replies      
Matlab
205
zygovox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Groovy
206
Kupsztal 2 days ago 0 replies      
LabVIEW
207
bentis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perl
208
necenzurat 2 days ago 0 replies      
what? no Assembly?
209
username 1 day ago 0 replies      
R
210
mjcohenw 2 days ago 0 replies      
gawk
211
rocsteady 2 days ago 0 replies      
C++
212
suyash 2 days ago 0 replies      
Surprised to see the poll includes coffee script amongst the list of these elite languages
213
zz-zz-zz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Groovy?
214
mythrndr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Other: LPC
215
grnadav 2 days ago 0 replies      
Groovy
216
srj55 2 days ago 0 replies      
wow, lots of pyfans
217
kromped 2 days ago 0 replies      
PyCon 2012
218
Cieplak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where is Arc?
219
K2h 2 days ago 0 replies      
Putting my vote on perl was important enough for me to finally create an account here after lurking for a year or so. Still on perl 5
220
tob 2 days ago 0 replies      
cause you don't have the ability to abstract things.
221
tob 2 days ago 0 replies      
you write any more 100 lines and cannot eXpress your idea clearly with diagrams charts is a crap.
222
georgemcbay 2 days ago 0 replies      
No Go or haxe?

Epic poll failure!

Of the ones on the list, I'd say C# is my favorite language though I virtually never use it due to the practical and political problems that tie it to Microsoft.

3
Codename: Obtvse natewienert.com
858 points by nwienert  2 days ago   352 comments top 71
1
cletus 2 days ago  replies      
While I'm generally sympathetic to the plight of people who have their work ripped off, I can't muster a sense of outrage here.

Fact is, one guy cloned what was a closed platform (that had been openly announced and displayed) based on the idea and screenshots alone in about 11 hours (based on the HN submission interval).

If someone can do that--and does--you really haven't invented or created anything (substantive).

This just leaves the issue of whether the design and the assets (CSS, images, etc) are substantive and have been used without permission. Based on other comments, there seems to be no issue of asset "theft".

So does the minimalist design copy warrant outrage? Honestly, no. Someone has basically invented what amounts to a Wordpress theme.

If dcurtis can create a scalable, reliable platform for hosting it then great. It worked well enough for Wordpress.

Exclusivity and invite-only are time-honoured ways of scaling controllably and--let's be honest--creating hype and desire but if you're not ready for the copycats and it takes the copycats so little time that their HN submission makes it to the front page while yours is still there... that's your problem.

2
reason 2 days ago 1 reply      
Guys, if someone dangled something in front of you with the initial impression that you could have one, and you wanted it, only later to find out that you actually can't have it and that those who could have it are "intelligent and witty", implying that you are not, then I think it's pretty safe to say that you'd run home, cook something similar up and run back to show that you have one now too.

In fact, after reading the original article, I felt a bit slighted and thought to myself "fine, I'll just build it myself".

3
Permit 2 days ago  replies      
Dustin Curtis' outraged seems somewhat bizarre for someone whose blog/Twitter logo is an obvious rework of the Flash logo:
https://www.google.ca/search?q=flash+dc&hl=en&safe=o...

https://si0.twimg.com/profile_images/1902246181/logo10.png

Not that I fault either designer. I think they've both taken previous work, improved upon it (or at least altered it), in some way before releasing it as their own. I suppose I have trouble feeling sorry for Dustin after reading he planned to open it up to those he thought worthy of its use.

4
anateus 2 days ago 4 replies      
Imitation, flattery, and so forth.

Taking an existing closed system and opening it is a pretty fundamental part of the hacker ethic. However, it must be done in good faith and good taste.

This is neither. Yes, it's quite hard to draw the line for such things--how big does a company have to be before it's ok? It's a tough question, but despite that ethical uncertainty, this case is pretty clearly on the side of "not ok". Disregarding more complicated moral aspects, this just isn't nice.

I really don't think nwienert's intentions were bad, but I think he should reevaluate the choice he made here.

5
mtkd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I closed the original post as soon as I sampled the air of superiority that seems to be ever more present with some "intelligent, creative, and witty" developers and commentators.

Hail the disruption.

6
ForrestN 2 days ago 1 reply      
Those who are talking about this as if the design and concept are just being stolen are acting, well, obtuse.

Wienert is not trying to pass this off as his own work. He's not selling it.

It's a few things, all at once: first, and foremost, it's a parody, skewering the absurd arrogance of the original presentation; it's a generic drug, making something which sure seems to be exclusive for bad reasons and making it accesible; and it's a good example of someone taking matters into their own hands.

Wienert was told something wasn't available to him because he's not witty enough, so he went and built it for himself. To compare this to someone stealing someone's intellectual property malevolently for personal gain is missing the point.

7
dcurtis 2 days ago  replies      
-- Removed. Perhaps I overreacted. --

As a designer, I find it somewhat perplexing that people here demand that code be directly copied for something like this be wrong. Design is more abstract than code, yes, but it's just as fundamental a part of the resulting product.

Copying design, especially when the original source is so obvious, has damaging effects that are hard to quantify. Poor clones can directly damage the creation of a strong original brand and can preempt future creative product positioning. Because it is not user facing, identically copied code--when the design has been changed--has no such effects. Why do so many people believe that only copying code should be considered wrong when design has the potential to be more damaging? To me, they are both equally wrong.

Great artists steal. Please steal my ideas. Take them, manipulate them, and build them into something that is your own. I wouldn't have publicized my new platform if I didn't expect the ideas to be used. Just please don't copy my implementation or designs. I need those things to be sacred so I can craft experiences that are not diluted by external factors.

8
drewblaisdell 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not to pass any judgment on this issue either way, but is there any way in which this situation is not almost identical to the visitor.js/session.js situation a few months back?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3435416

9
nodemaker 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is it just me or is it really silly to fight over who really owns the UI of a rails app that can be made in a few hours.

In my opinion the layout of a blogging website falls more in the realm of fashion than intellectual property.

Some real intellectual property here is Rails itself which thankfully is open.

10
funkah 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sick of that invite-only horseshit too. If you're gonna share it privately don't announce it to the world. Don't wave a steak in front of my face and then walk it over to the VIP section.

I don't care if this is petty, I am serious as a heart attack about it now. I refuse to use Google+ for this reason, and a couple other things too.

11
manmal 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me, wanting to set up my own blog soon, this ripoff is a goldmine. It's very easy to start off from the current state of obtvse, customize the look and implement custom features, and (hopefully) Nate and others will provide updates to the engine. I say it's a gift to all of us.
12
hannesfostie 2 days ago 3 replies      
What Dustin did, is build a blogging engine he wanted to use himself. He then invited people he respected to write on the platform, people he knew would deliver a certain standard of quality that he'd love to connect his name to.

He never said the platform would never be opened, in fact it looked like he might do just that some day.

What you did was not just use a concept (add idea to list, expand on it and then publish it when ready), you just took his entire design and published it to the public. Taking a concept and opensourcing it is fine, copying a design and mocking the original creator is not.

As much as I'd like to use Dustin's blogging engine (it's the way I'd like to write), I will never use yours out of principle.

13
billpatrianakos 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty decent example of the entitlement syndrome I see in the design/development community. We somehow feel like all cool things should be free (as in liberty) and open source and shared, hacked, modified, and improved. And that's great! But when someone comes around with something cool that isn't all of those things like Dustin Curtis did and someone else subsequently clones it, we feel differently all of the sudden.

Why is that? We all love StackExchange but when an open source clone came out about a month ago a lot of people were screaming "rip off!" Why?

It's really hard to judge when a clone is in poor taste and when it's acceptable. It's an interesting question.

If I were judge I'd say Obtvse is perfectly legit. If Svbtle were for everyone then I'd say the clone is in bad taste but it really was only matter of time before someone brought it to the masses so long as the original would never be offered to the rest of us.

But that's beside the point. I just think its so interesting that a group of people who demand their music and media free just because they can, and extoll the virtues of (F)OSS, demanding our software be free and throwing massive tantrums when a developer of anything cool or useful doesn't publish the source can turn around and say a clone of a piece of software that's limited to a certain group is now not okay. This can be an IP issue and it's so interesting how we put ourselves in the other guy's shoes so selectively. Copyright, IP, etc. are the root of all evil one day but are useful and need to be considered the next. Maybe I'm missing something but I find popular opinion on this stuff funny at times.

This isn't an indictment of dcurtis or the creator of Obtvse. I personally think both are awesome, I love that Obtvse now exists (because I would never be invited to use Svbtle), and I think both developers are just plain awesome. For me, it's just really interesting to see how one action is wrong (along the lines of theft or infringement) but another in the same vain is seen as justified by the same people. Maybe I'm the dumb guy in the room but I see some cognitive dissonance here.

14
ux_designer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Dustin Curtis didn't create a blogging platform, he created another PR and traffic grab. Which is great for his career and visibility.

But come on, the only way this could get any more farcical is if Dustin revealed that he orchestrated this whole thing and is in fact both parties.

If I were Dustin, I'd be ecstatic that I'd almost permanently glued to the front page of HN. Any publicity is good publicity.

15
willvarfar 2 days ago 1 reply      
We can all appreciate the pleasure Dustin got from perfecting his Svbtle design. His perfection of the authoring flow. Perfection is when there is nothing left to take out, after all.

We can all thank Dustin for showing it to us so early.

And we can all imagine how he wanted to build a quality brand with it, partly by vouching for the quality of those who use it.

You could imagine that monetisation might have been in there too - a startup!

We like startups here; we all applaud.

We mustn't let Obtvse cheapen that.

16
joshmz 2 days ago 1 reply      
How is it a ripoff to see something and build your own version? It's not like he copied your codebase or logos or anything else. Is a Mercedes E-Series a rip-off of a BMW 5-series?

I guess thats why many of you US guys like patents and shit so much. It just makes no effing sense.

He created everything from scratch as far as I am able to see from the GH repo. Thats completely fine with me.

17
joeconway 2 days ago 1 reply      
As much as I would love to have access to svbtle I think this ia very good clone which goes too far. Perhaps it would have been a bit more acceptable to take inspiration from the great drafting/publishing pattern which is what makes Svbtle great in my eyes, without mostly copying the UI. I understand you were probably just trying to make a great tool available to the community (Thanks!) but I think you're maybe giving off a false and malicious intent
18
zackattack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good job with this. I forked it in case you get a change of heart.
19
iamwil 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't worry about it too much were I Dustin. He'll keep continually improving Svbtle from his design insights, whereas Obtvse likely will stagnate. And if it doesn't, the contributors would all be programmers, given it's hosted on github. Chances are, they won't use it often, and they won't have the design intuitions that come with design experience and use.

Take it as a form of flattery and just move on. I have faith in his design chops.

20
brettbergeron 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry if I missed it, but it looks like the real victim of plagiarism would be: http://drawar.com/

Honestly, nothing about the design or user experience of Svbtle was unique. There have to be more examples, at least by coincidence, of other designs that show prior use of similar typography and layout.

So really, this whole debate of originality seems moot.

21
athst 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think that there's a distinction to be made between copying code and copying design.

Design is hard, and even though a design might be quick to implement in code, that doesn't mean the design was easy.

Just look at the Samwer brothers - they clone every good startup that comes out. Is what they do okay? Maybe they don't copy any of the code from the successful site, but they shamelessly copy the design, which is often the hardest part of the creation process and the main reason why the original site was so successful in the first place.

22
stevewilhelm 2 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone is looking for "prior art" for Obtvse or Svbtle should look at Pivotal Tracker. Pivotal implements multiple columns of one line ideas, in Pivotal's case they are features or bugs instead of blog posts.
23
xbryanx 2 days ago 0 replies      
My Dad always said the best place to open a new suit store is right next door to the oldest, most established suit store in town.
25
J3L2404 2 days ago 1 reply      
This kerfuffle is amusing on a site that believes copyright violation is a moral imperative.
26
livebeef 2 days ago 0 replies      
When the technical entry level to join the competition is too low, you _should_ expect clones.

Copyright holds automatically on all the code, but just the idea of that kind of blog can't be considered a sufficient "level of creativity" to deserve copyright protection.

27
jklm313 2 days ago 1 reply      
28
samstave 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a really interesting circumstance.

On the one hand, I don't think the Obtuze is a theft of Subtle -- however I talk crap about Zynga's idea theft (based on look feel UX mechanics etc) all the time.

While this is a reverse of Zynga's for profit thievery - this is a "Robin-Hooding" of sorts (taking a closed shiny widget and making an open shiny widget.

Ill withhold judgement in this case as i feel it would make me a hypocrite.

29
mkramlich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Then there's how us old farts blog:

vi something
...run script to maybe apply template, regen indices...
...preview locally in browser...
...maybe edit again...
...run script to upload (if want to "publish"), commit to VCS, etc...

no fancy codebase needed. no web framework, no local web server, no reinventing the wheel, etc. and the same tools used above to "blog" are also used to do lots of other productive things, so leverages the same skill set, exercises the same muscle memory, and more future-proofed.

30
ohsilly 2 days ago 2 replies      
From Nate's twitter feed: "Become good at cheating and you'll never need to become good at anything else."

Pretty much sums it up.

31
skeletonjelly 2 days ago 0 replies      
I felt the exact same feelings as the writer when I was reading about it's growing interest.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3742647

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3737549

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3731095

This was until I saw Dustin say he was going to open the platform up to the public. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3742596

But congrats on going to all that effort to copy one of the most minimalistic blog designs ever. Maybe Dustin should have made it more obvious what his intentions were on the homepage.

32
stravid 2 days ago 2 replies      
Copying my comment from dcurtis thread:

You say "In fact, it goes against the very ethos of Hacker News.", do you think your action aligns with the "ethos of Hacker News"?
Do you think it's okay to rip-off something just because you think it shouldn't be invite only?

33
sp332 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why call him "Dean" when his name is "Dustin"? Is that part of the joke I missed?
34
alpb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone thinks to create a WordPress Theme out of this design? That would be huge.
35
instakill 2 days ago 0 replies      
It was only a matter of time, really.
36
kveykva 2 days ago 0 replies      
dcurtis' version is generally more attractive in my opinion, and honestly nwienert's site as a whole is less attractive than Dustin's.

Even if it is copyright infringement, at least there's that I suppose.

37
huhtenberg 2 days ago 0 replies      
A thing to keep in mind - dcurtis is building a business.

A high-profile high-traffic no-nonsense blogging site is a very valuable asset - be it for the purpose of direct advertisement, product placements/mentions or as an acquisition target. Positioning it as exclusive and coming across as arrogant is actually a sensible marketing approach. The design is only a part of the deal, but it's the content that really matters. Cloning the design is surely not without consequences, but in a larger picture it's not that big of deal.

38
DanBC 2 days ago 1 reply      
Unreadable fonts. (Mac Book Pro; snow leopard; Chrome.)
39
farinasa 2 days ago 0 replies      
I posted this in the other thread, but I feel it's worth repeating:

I'm sorry, but isn't this just a reversion to late 90's style frame design? It seems all you've done is build it in the latest trendy standards and add a few little CSS tricks.

Minimalist design is supposed to be about presenting the content first and foremost. But the content is overshadowed by your frame. Your name and flashy CSS tricks are the only constants on the page and take up nearly 25% of the view, but you claim you're trying to draw attention to the content? Perhaps if the content you're presenting is you, then you have a successful design.

Of course this version removes the CSS stuff but I think my point stands.

40
cjbprime 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dumb technical question: What's the purpose of the "Aside" flag in Obtvse? I can see that it sets a class for CSS, can't see an equivalent in the Svbtle UI.
41
evertonfuller 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm just struggling to see what's so 'revolutionary' about the design. It's just a bland minimalist modern theme. Anyone could have made it.

Dustin's response was just plain rude, let's recap:

"This is almost unbelievable. No matter what you think about me or my product decisions, it is flatly wrong to ripoff work. It's shameful, even. Please take this site down and delete the Github repository. The work isn't yours. Just wait until Svbtle is finished and open to the public. The reason it's closed is really simple: it's not ready yet."

Get over yourself.

42
zuralski 2 days ago 1 reply      
dcurtis - don't worry about Obtvse.

Just keep improving Svbtle and release it when it's ready.

43
dewiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
A blogger discover "drafts". He shares the idea only with VIPs. I'll use Gmail drafts.
44
obilgic 2 days ago 0 replies      
@dcurtis:

> Not only did that guy completely rip off my work, but he did it badly, he put the code on Github, and he got my name wrong. What a jackass.

> @natebirdman "Hey, I ripped off your work and put it on Github." Really?

45
itsmicks 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's pretty clear that the innovation in Dustin's work wasn't the code -- it was the interface. Pointing out that Nate built Obtvse in a day from scratch is pretty meaningless and the fact that he bothered to recreate it makes it pretty clear that Dustin built something cool. As a designer... it just feels like this wasn't Nate's to open source and hopefully this will transition further from the original.

On the flipside, if the Samwer brothers launched a version of Svbtle next week in 15 markets, would the reaction be the same?

46
dreamdu5t 2 days ago 0 replies      
By D. Curtis' own logic he ripped of the design of http://cargocollective.com/
47
Achshar 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's @dcurtis "concept" and let him decide, no matter how ethically wrong his decision is, its his' anyway. Copying the concept and releasing it is definitely not the right way of showing your discontent with his decision of not releasing his work to public.

I have an app that is closed source (the kind of thing that you would expect to be opensource but i decided not to). If someone thought that it was better if it was open and copied the concept, UI/UX and released it, i would not be very happy. Community and open is all good and i am all for it but i intend to make a living out if it [my app] and won't be happy seeing it being released. I don't know how much of a work the platform really was but my app was alot of work. more than enough that i would enforce it's closed-source status.

48
obtu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Try this page until the site comes back up:
https://github.com/NateW/obtvse#readme
49
jamesjyu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dustin Curtis should really be a marketing/pr person, specifically aimed at startups.
50
woodall 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really love the hover-to-trigger buttons and think DC had a great product. Why rush him to push it to market.
51
timinman 2 days ago 2 replies      
http://natewienert.com resolves fine, but the link you provided reports: "We're sorry, but something went wrong." :)
52
flocore 2 days ago 1 reply      
Github: "TODO: Kudos"

Blogpost: "Kudos suck"

53
tworats 2 days ago 1 reply      
Putting aside the morality of this particular case, I'd point out that this type of copying will discourage early sharing of concepts / projects on HN, which is not a good thing.
54
srik 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is NOT what the author of thisSvbtle wanted done with his project. He explicitly stated that it wasn't ready for the punlic yet and would be available when he worked things out. He might have seemed smug, but Im apalled that bulk of the HN community seemed seemed to be OK with someone essentially copying his project outright. Im not able to frame my answer better but this is not how how mutually respecting communities are built.
55
driverdan 2 days ago 1 reply      
He didn't steal anything. Similar, yes. Stolen, no. This is certainly not mocking anyone, if anything it's flattery.

> I'm done. I'm done with Hacker News and I'm done with the open-source community. I can't in good conscience support either anymore.

Clearly you're not the type of person HN targets, you know, hackers. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

56
AllenKids 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, just wow.

Guess people really like pirates then, of course, this is Hacker News after all.

57
camwest 2 days ago 0 replies      
The thing he copied was already "open sourced" anyway the minute Dustin blogged about it to the world.
58
Stratego 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to roll your own, don't steal the man's hard design work if you're going to plagiarize his concept anyway.

Dustin is often quite cocky, but I don't wish this kind of mindless copying on anyone.

59
chj 2 days ago 0 replies      
when replicate something, do not show off how fast you can build it, because it is just replication.
60
caublestone 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, and a great step past the "Poker blog" you were running back in High school :P.
61
NSElvis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dustin Curtis was a superhero.
62
littlemerman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you.
63
madasahatta 2 days ago 0 replies      
copycats are not cool cats
64
kiwim 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for sharing it.
65
rprime 2 days ago 0 replies      
I assume something went wrong.
66
deanpcmad 2 days ago 0 replies      
haha brilliant!
67
kveykva 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe asking first might have been polite, is that a thing? :/
68
fabfischer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Copying ideas or products happens all the time. Some make a lot of cash with it:
http://www.techberlin.com/post/19732590058/true-story-the-sa...
69
54mf 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://briefmobile.com/images/articles/galaxy-s-vs-iphone.jp...

Mr. Curtis on the right. Mr. Wienert on the left.

70
damncabbage 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think building an open clone of a closed platform is a bad thing, but using the same name is a bit of a dick move.

Suggested new name: Gavche

71
nchlswu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find it fascinating the disdain people have for Dustin because of his attitude (which is pretty consistent if you follow him) and how he presented Svbtle.

Clearly he was sharing some concepts and ideas that he felt were worth sharing and may be useful to colleagues in the industry. But because of (perhaps too 'arrogant') copy and the fact that Dustin didn't want people to use it for the time being, a significant portion of this 'community' felt compelled to simply rip off his work in to spite him. I don't get it.

Without getting into the merits of when stealing something is justifiable why is such maliciousness so 'justified' to some in this case?

4
Frustro: The Impossible Typeface jeanniejeannie.com
541 points by michaelkscott  2 days ago   51 comments top 15
1
adnam 2 days ago 1 reply      
Top comment is prize-worthy:

Elijah Madden: I hope there's a fixed-width version so I can use it for coding.

2
Garbage 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just for the information, the project page[1] mentions that this is under "Attribution - No Derivatives"[2]

[1]http://www.behance.net/gallery/FRUSTRO-typeface/2525513

[2]http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

3
verbosus 2 days ago 0 replies      
A similar idea, but executed in an even more interesting way can be found in the typeface Priori Acute, designed by Jonathan Barnbrook and released by Emigré in 2010. I urge you to check it out: http://www.virusfonts.com/fonts/priori-acute
4
tomelders 2 days ago 0 replies      
um.... I have a very strong feeling that I saw this in a font book back when I was in Art College, in the late 90's.

I should clarify, I'm not implying it's a copy, or an unoriginal idea. I'm just saying out loud that I "think" I've seen this before.

5
jianshen 2 days ago 3 replies      
The designer's own personal emblem is an impossible letter. :) http://www.behance.net/martzihegedus
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hartror 2 days ago 1 reply      
It ever so subtly hurts my brain.
7
malkia 2 days ago 1 reply      
If dyslexie (the font) helps people with dyslexia, this one does the exact opposite.

Cool stuff!

8
guelo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a feeling that if it was an actual font it would be an unreadable mess below 30pt or so.
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unjinxable 2 days ago 1 reply      
Even the 'I' looks wrong. Well done.
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jordhy 2 days ago 2 replies      
It looks very nice, where can we buy/download?
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moondev 2 days ago 0 replies      
so cool. how can I buy this.
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Codhisattva 2 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful and brilliant!
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bromagosa 2 days ago 0 replies      
My brain hurts now
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bleevo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kill it with fire.
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davedx 2 days ago 4 replies      
Frustro, sounds like a lot of the fonts on blogs and websites designed by people who only test on Macbooks these days. I wish people focused less on how pretty their custom font was and more on its readability.
5
Show HN: A Way To Hack HN's Karma
464 points by GreekOphion  3 days ago   33 comments top 11
1
ssclafani 3 days ago 0 replies      
I emailed PG about this a week ago, his response:

"It just seems to."

Normally loading the vote URL directly doesn't work because votes that don't have a HN referrer don't get counted. By submitting the URL to HN and getting people to click through a HN referrer gets sent making the votes look legitimate.

2
citricsquid 3 days ago 3 replies      
I had always assumed this was impossible because my votes have an auth key attached. Does this mean that the auth key is not used and is just there to trick casual observers into thinking there is security?

    vote?for=3742852&dir=up&by=citricsquid&auth=478876d54494692615d9f2ca184fa9fab2fb9ff7&whence=%69%74%65%6d%3f%69%64%3d%33%37%34%32%37%34%32

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ccarpenterg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice hack! We should call it 'Same-site request forgery'.
4
carbocation 3 days ago 3 replies      
PG could start using POST & CSRF protection to lock this down. Or we could just avoid doing this to each other.
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staunch 3 days ago 2 replies      
I saw this but don't really consider it much of a problem. It's the kind of thing that you can't really exploit. It'd be obvious if you really tried to use it for evil and then PG would kill your account.
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goo 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm fairly certain that unless the referer is the "new" page, it counts negatively toward the story's promotion.
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olalonde 3 days ago 1 reply      
Now that it's out there, I made a self up voting version: http://news.ycombinator.com/edit?id=3742902
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rickdale 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is that how this story became number 1 without a pg comment? If this was serious you would think pg would have commented.
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azelfrath 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think this is irresponsible, exactly. Mischievous, yes, but there's not a ton of damage being done and it's something we can laugh at and say "Hey, that was pretty good."
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RandallBrown 3 days ago 1 reply      
What is the link?
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deadmike 3 days ago 0 replies      
An interesting bug, but if anything won't it just earn you fake points on a website, while making everyone on that website hate the account that's accruing the points, essentially making those "hacked" points' meaning moot anyway?
6
'A Test You Need to Fail': A Teacher's Open Letter to Her 8th Grade Students commondreams.org
441 points by saulrh  1 day ago   169 comments top 27
1
NaOH 1 day ago  replies      
I worked for a publisher of standardized tests for a number of years, though this company did not develop the assessments used by the State of New York. What this teacher doesn't seem to appreciate is the process behind how these tests are written. They are, seemingly by the nature of this society, produced in a manner which can't capture distinctive teaching styles like this woman has.

The process of making a test can start with whatever a state legislature has mandated will be assessed. Mind you, before that, there is all the negotiations and politicking that takes place. Surprising to most, this involves state education leaders, business people, religious folks, politicians, parents, etc. It's a kitchen sink of divergent interests with everyone claiming to have the best interests of the children at the fore.

Once the legislation is in place and a contractor has been secured to aid with development, there are loads more meetings and committees deciding what is appropriate assessment within each subject (math, reading, writing, etc.). Again, there are loads of different people with loads of different interests, all of whom believe they are thinking foremost about the children.

It's also in this stage that whatever research or trends in assessment styles will be considered (though some takes place earlier, too). There's usually a mentality of "You go first" to new assessment techniques. States are more willing to try something if another state has already done something similar and there is publicly available data to support the perceived efficacy.

At the next stage is actual development of the assessment materials. We would split this up, part of it being done in-house and a bunch contracted to teachers around the state. Yes, we tried to get teachers from every district. For the contracted work, this would mean paying teachers to write a number of questions for a specific test (say, fifth-grade math). These people got paid for each question they wrote regardless of the quality or usability of what they submitted.

The worst material to write was probably math simply due to the dry nature of the subject and the fact that creative approaches to math are usually verboten in education here. Reading tests were often the most difficult to develop. The work on the tests wasn't bad, but securing copyright permissions and, often, permission to edit was brutal. If there was a magazine piece, the complications were often much worse because usage rights might have to be secured from multiple parties (publisher, author and photographers).

Mind you, this was also in the late '90s, so the Internet wasn't as useful a tool for tracking down rights holders or potential materials, and email was still a secondary means of communication, definitely behind the phone and often behind the fax, too. Securing rights for all the materials we wanted to use took months just because of how hard it was to find people and communicate with them. And states didn't have much of any budget to pay, so securing rights at minimal cost was a big hurdle. Often, the best pieces were never used due to how much a rights holder wanted.

So questions would come in from all over the state, then we would clean them up. That was multi-layered work. It might mean simple grammar and punctuation fixes, but it also meant correcting the format mandated by the state education departments. For example, when I was doing this work, states would not allow us to put a negative in the question. But there were loads of these types of rules, like making certain there was parallel structure among answer choices, not having any choices significant;y shorter or longer, etc.

Once we had done an initial tightening of the new bank of material, all the teachers we'd contracted and state administrators were brought in for a week of refinement and further development of materials. These were simultaneously productive and political sessions. A lot of work would be done, but there was also a lot of on-site jockeying. Teachers would say things like, "This is a great story, but my kids won't be able to relate to it." State administrators would hear this a few times about a piece and then pull the material from any further consideration, not even pilot testing. Quality was often a secondary consideration to how teachers felt their students would do, and it was sometimes tertiary to other teacher goals (what they believed was important, their personal agendas, etc.).

Those last few steps would then repeat themselves. We would tighten up the work that had been developed, the graphics department would develop accompanying graphics where needed and handle page layout, proofreading was a persistent process, and then we would bring the teachers back in for another review of the nearly final materials.

Then we would do another round of tightening-up the material. Proofing, requesting minuscule tweaks from the graphics department, getting state approval for any substantive change (no matter how minor), etc. That was when we could begin building an actual test using these new materials and existing questions from previous tests. We'd also begin to development the accompanying manuals which instructed the schools how to handle the materials and the teachers how to administer the tests. As you can imagine, these had to be perfect. When you have a 100-page document with loads of instructions around specific details, errors are not permissible.

(I haven't done this work in 12 years, but to this day my eyes proofread nearly everything that comes before them. I can be at a simple restaurant, and the menu will list "pan fried chicken." I instinctively note the missing hyphen.)

Of course, all that development work only went to pilot materials. I don't remember exactly, but a student might take a test that was about 70% questions that counted and the rest were new questions being evaluated. Once the tests came back, data analysis was run on everything, enabling us to see what worked and what didn't. Sometimes a question was too hard or too easy, sometimes one group of people simply had issues with a question. My memory is hazy, but I want to say that about one-third of the questions that were piloted became usable. Maybe 10-20% of them got re-piloted because the data showed a way we could possibly fix the question (e.g., one of the answer choices was too attractive, so a re-write of that might be enough of a fix to make the question worth trying again).

On the other side was the scoring for written questions. We had the state-issued rubrics, and those were our guiding force. I (and others) would train the part-time people we hired to do this scoring. The company I worked for hired these people largely off of a standard bank of psychological assessments. The company owner felt these gave all the information we needed to evaluate these potential employees.

Easily, the biggest challenge was getting scorers to accept the rubrics. A student might write a quality piece about something, but it might have been well off topic or not sufficiently on topic based on what the state wanted to assess. During training sessions, I spent a lot of my time diffusing anger from these people and getting them to focus on the rubrics. Gently humor was key in that regard, and I don't recall anyone proving to be a long-term problem in terms of accepting the rubrics.

The other big challenge to this work was the repetition. Reading the answers to the same questions over and over was mentally challenging for people. I don't blame them. Most kids of a specific age aren't too creative when fed a question for a state test. For example, ask them who is a public figure they admire and why, and you're likely to get the bulk of the answers focusing on just a few people (athletes, popular music stars, etc.). For the written assessments, 10% of the student materials were scored twice (by separate people) to ensure accuracy of grades and as a way to identify issues with potential scorers.

I've tried to refrain from too much commentary, but there is no doubt that the materials developed for tests are beaten down throughout the process by bureaucracy and various interests. It's much like the corporate world when the firm has way too many meetings in the course of developing something and there is a leadership vacuum. Oh, sure, there is a person or two who is technically leading things and may have veto power, but there are far too many diverse interests for anything of distinct quality to emerge.

With one of the states for which my employer did work, a woman like the teacher in the link would be invited to participate in the following year's development. The lead state administrator always referred to this as "getting that person's buy-in." And truthfully, it seemed to work because the teachers brought in for this reason felt like they had a voice in the process. None that I saw seemed to appreciate the depth of the whole process, so they all seemed to think they had made a difference in the development of the tests.

More specific to the author of the link, she seems like she's probably a good teacher, better than most. The education system, especially when it comes to statewide assessments, isn't prepared to appreciably handle outliers like her. She probably knows that. She probably knows the real battle to change these kinds of tests is not one she's prepared to tackle. I don't blame her. Nor do I blame her for making a public critique like she did.

2
lmkg 1 day ago 4 replies      
Standardized tests are optimized for grading.

They are designed to be evaluated quickly, and objectively. Scantrons can be graded mechanically, and these essays described in the article can be graded with no thought and a minimum of judgment. These goals, efficiency and objectivity, impose constraints on how you can test competence, and as far as I can tell those constraints are simply insurmountable.

I have taken one and exactly one category of standardized test that I respected, and that was the AP tests. The essay questions for AP Lit was graded by having three English teachers read the essay and evaluate whether your answer indicated you understood the meaning of the passage, and how it relates to the work as a whole. In other words, it was done the hard way. And it was better than any other standardized test I've ever taken at correlating performance with understanding.

The problem is scale. Scaling is the only advantage of the current form of tests, and that's enough. Any replacement is going to have to address scaling.

(My hare-brained solution: Grading essays is what teachers do over summer vacation. It's enough excess labor to remove that design constraints.)

3
calibraxis 1 day ago 0 replies      
The author mentions Noam Chomsky, and I think he cuts to the point of the educational system: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq6lFOhLJ0c)

Points out that one goal is obedience; and even "stupidity" in the system is useful, in that if you're willing enough to go along with obviously stupid orders, you'll pass through to the next level. (In other words, it filters for obedience.)

Obviously, an educational system reflects the distribution of power in a society. This is particularly obvious when we observe an official enemy nation; we have no trouble seeing how they try indoctrinating students along the interests of those with power. Unfortunately, we're taught to have blindspots when it comes to our own societies.

There are of course better educational systems. Unlike the model of dumping knowledge into your empty head, they focus on encouraging the growth of your natural capacities and internal forces. I suspect that many "autodidacts" are just people who want to escape the problems of dominant education, with whatever resources they have.

4
narrator 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems in America we solve our problems in one of two ways:

A. Spending more money indiscriminately. Money always makes everything better. Just look at health care!

B: Getting the federal government to take over and centralize everything.

Creative ideas are almost always ignored unless they are a means of executing strategy A or B.

5
tkahn6 1 day ago 1 reply      
Also see, a study done by an MIT professor about SAT essay scores and essay length.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/04/education/04education.html...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4634566

Money quote: "It appeared to me that regardless of what a student wrote, the longer the essay, the higher the score."

6
tokenadult 1 day ago 0 replies      
Or, in the alternative, learn the rubric, take the silly test according to that rubric (it looks to me as if any student who is reasonably bright and really well taught could rapidly learn to produce answers that fit that rubric), and then write a really well crafted proposal, based on research, for how to make the test better. An eighth grade class that produced a lot of students capable of doing that would be very impressive and would get a lot of attention.
7
rubidium 1 day ago 0 replies      
And keep pushing. Keep writing these letters. Keep not accepting things "because that's just the way it is". Keep getting the news out. Even if it takes 10 or 30 years.

It's worth it to provide real educations for the current youth of society. It means a future worth living in.

8
darksaga 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is pretty typical. Slamming the standardised tests, without actually giving a better alternative. Maybe instead of complaining about this, these teachers should get together and figure out how to keep from letting so many kids fail out of the educational system.

Good, bad or indifferent this was the plan of the "no child left behind" initiative (which had very strong bi-partisan support mind you) which is now heavily under fire for other reasons.

Its too bad most of the local governments believe throwing money at the situation is the solution. In the Minneapolis School Districts, they're spending close to $13K per student. By comparison, in a suburban school district, they're actually just over $9K per student.

The Minneapolis graduation rate? 49%. The suburban school? 98%.

9
jes5199 1 day ago  replies      
Our standardized tests lead classes to a sort of "malicious compliance" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malicious_compliance - the tests are So Important to the schools that everything becomes a cram session, in lieu of actual teaching and exploring ideas.

It doesn't have to be that way. There are counterexamples:
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-ame...

[Edit: (Technically it's just Goodhart's Law when there's no malicious intent. Hard to tell the difference sometimes, though. http://lesswrong.com/lw/1ws/the_importance_of_goodharts_law/
) ]

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wtn 1 day ago 1 reply      
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fleitz 1 day ago 0 replies      
This kind of stuff is the backbone of the public education system. John Taylor Gatto outlines very well the six lessons every student is taught. I think this fits well with lesson 5:

In lesson five I teach that your self-respect should depend on an observer's measure of your worth. My kids are constantly evaluated and judged. A monthly report, impressive in its precision, is sent into students' homes to spread approval or to mark exactly -- down to a single percentage point -- how dissatisfied with their children parents should be. Although some people might be surprised how little time or reflection goes into making up these records, the cumulative weight of the objective- seeming documents establishes a profile of defect which compels a child to arrive at a certain decisions about himself and his future based on the casual judgment of strangers.

Self-evaluation -- the staple of every major philosophical system that ever appeared on the planet -- is never a factor in these things. The lesson of report cards, grades, and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents, but must rely on the evaluation of certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth.

http://www.cantrip.org/gatto.html

12
chernevik 1 day ago 0 replies      
The author claims that these stupid and clumsy tests are of "a force that wants you ignorant and pliable, and that needs you able to fill in the boxes and follow instructions".

If we're going to believe in some malign conspiracy hindering the public schools, wouldn't we look for it first in those institutions determining what does and doesn't happen in those schools? If we compare those institutions' stated purposes with their interests and actual behaviors, would we find them self-consistent? admirable? What would happen to their influence if that analysis were performed more deeply and frequently?

And if we imagined the tools of such a force, what would they be? Control over the language of debate, insistence on particular assumptions, a particular orthodoxy of procedure and calculation, prohibition of certain questions as unnecessary or beside the point?

Would such a force be honest about its aims and methods? Or would it seek to obscure them, and claim some different, more popular aims?

We might begin looking for this malign 'fungus' by noting these tests were instituted to establish some accountability. Why exactly was that? And why were these obviously lousy tools chosen -- what alternatives were discussed, and why were they rejected?

Yes, I can very well imagine a force, answering that description, wishing to limit the critical faculties produced by our public schools. I can imagine it very well indeed.

13
warmfuzzykitten 1 day ago 1 reply      
Putting aside for the moment that favorite punching bag - standardized tests - I question the rather overwrought tone of the piece, beginning with the title: 'A Test You Need to Fail'. This doesn't seem particularly good advice for students, nor does applauding the kinds of test answers she cites. Anyone should know that a response like "I don't think it applies to either one" with no supporting argument to exhibit the slightest knowledge of the subject would, even must, receive zero credit, with a "SAY WHY!!" scribbled in red in the margin. Students are very good at holding facile opinions out of ignorance, and should not be praised for it. Yes, a good teacher can spin a response like that to gold in the classroom, by eliciting the threads of actual knowledge upon which the opinion hangs, but a test can hardly do so. I can understand a teacher lamenting that she didn't know and pass on to her students that test graders would be looking for facts and not opinions, but it's not the test's fault she didn't. It is hardly "criminal" that standardized tests are designed to be objectively gradable. If the questions are poorly designed - which other commenters seem to have assumed, even though no evidence for it is presented here - isn't that more likely to be the result of mediocrity than of malevolence? I was likewise unconvinced by her citation of Noam Chomsky's remark. However much or little one considers Chomsky a "great man", one thing he is not is an expert on elementary/secondary education. He has opinions, like the rest of us. Why not cite the opinions of Jonas Salk or Stephen Sondheim? Chomsky can, however, be counted upon to state his opinions in stark, emotionally charged language, and a bit of this polemical propensity seems to have rubbed off on the (ex-)teacher.
14
jcampbell1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have no way to judge this teacher's letter. It would be really helpful if the tests were published online, then I could evaluate if this teacher's waxing poetic has merit. Does anyone have a links to sample questions or a past test?

Everyone likes to praise or bitch about the testing, but has anyone actually seen the test?

15
anigbrowl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, don't link to or quote from the material under discussion, or gives examples of any questions or the like - that might leave your readers informed rather than merely exercised.
16
grannyg00se 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm definitely not for standardized testing, and I think grade school is more about subsidized daycare than effective learning. But the letter is a little bit extreme when suggesting failure of the test. Any sufficiently intelligent child will be able to express their individuality and creativity outside of that particular testing environment. While writing the test, you can choose to recognize what it is, and supply the formulaic answers expected to do well. Then forget about it and continue being creative an excellent in your other endeavours.

There are many scenarios in life where you are expected to follow a procedure. The procedure may not be ideal, and it may even be completely counterproductive. But you jump through the hoops, and apply yourself to the expected outcome of the procedure if you want to succeed.

If I were advising my child I would tell them it's nonsense, the adults messed it up, but try to do well anyway given the rules and expected answers. Playing along can be an important skill. To be used judiciously.

17
mumrah 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As I recall the written portion of AP science exams was like this. No prose necessary - you could just write a bullet list of the required facts and get full credit
18
cafard 1 day ago 0 replies      
"ou can compose a “Gettysburg Address” for the 21st century on the apportioned lines in your test booklet, but if you've provided only one fact from the text you read in preparation, then you will earn only half credit. In your constructed response"no matter how well written, correct, intelligent, noble, beautiful, and meaningful it is"if you've not collected any specific facts from the provided readings (even if you happen to know more information about the chosen topic than the readings provide), then you will get a zero."

I of course wrote Gettysburg addresses routinely in 8th grade English. No doubt the reporters at the Washington Post did, too, which is why I've sometimes had to read a story two or three times to find out who did what to whom. Creativity, ain't it great?

Having said that, I think that the mania for measurement does have little to do with actual instruction.

19
jcampbell1 1 day ago 8 replies      
> I will also give you the best advice I can, ... “When they give you lined paper, write the other way.”

What the hell does that even mean? If that is your best advice, you are probably full of bad advice. I cannot comprehend the level of confusion required to think that quote is clever.

20
ScottBurson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Could a voucher system really be worse than this? It would put all the control back in the hands of the parents. Some would misuse it; we know this. But we have the Internet now. Surely a Yelp-equivalent for voucher schools would quickly identify the good and bad schools. Competition would ensue.

Would it be perfect? No. Some parents would prefer religious indoctrination to actual education. Others simply wouldn't care. But perfection is not the correct standard. What we have now is dismal and getting worse.

21
ryanoneill 1 day ago 0 replies      
"There's a reason education sucks, and it's the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. ... Because the owners of this country don't want that. ... They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. ... They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run their machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept ..." -- George Carlin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GseyaEibb_4

22
methoddk 1 day ago 0 replies      
She's 100% right. Standardized testing is a disease to the education in this country.

The grade school system in this country is nothing but a babysitting program for people who aren't old enough to vote.

23
xinliang 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merely complaining about the standard tests does not help. Unless, students and teachers make a protest against it, eg all students decide to score zero marks for a national test. But that is very unlikely to happen, some people are very stubborn about the test system because they get the tricks, they can do well in it.
What a better way of changing the education system is to start a new private school applying a better education system and to get good results in a sense that high percent of students become the top leaders in their arena; to show the education ministry what a better education system is like ( the education ministry is surely aware of the complaint from the public, the only reason they have not changed the system yet is that they really don't what kind of system would be better).
24
bluekeybox 1 day ago 0 replies      
I stopped reading when she mentioned "the great man" Chomsky.
25
sreyemhtes 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It's truly disgusting what has become of education in the United States. I know many teachers and all of them are outstanding people and I trust them fully. Yet it is the system that seems determined to hinder them at every corner.
26
sbmassey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Education is one of the things that democratic states should not get involved in: there is a troubling feedback loop when a state whose claim to legitimacy is the votes of it's citizens gets involved in activities which determine what those votes will be, and education is just such an activity: for the same reason that there shouldn't be government newspapers or television stations, there shouldn't be government educators.
27
cinquemb 1 day ago 1 reply      
If i could i would up vote this to oblivion.

The current system stomps out creativity and meaningful questioning.

And the best part about this, it doesn't stop after highschool. College just is more BS and more tests. Followed by the promise of mind-numbing jobs and a weekend existence.

This is me, a student who has had enough the crap.

http://12most.com/2012/03/21/reasons-for-not-going-back-to-c...

7
Tacocopter - Flying Robots Deliver Tacos To You tacocopter.com
376 points by erohead  3 days ago   173 comments top 47
1
algoshift 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've been flying model airplanes, helicopters and other RC contraptions since I was 10 years old. Decades. I've flown, designed and built nearly everything out there, from pure (no motor) gliders to aerobatic planes, electric and turbine jets, helicopters and multi-copters --even an occasional RC blimp. One of my favorites are very high power-to-weight ratio 2 meter-ish gliders with thousands of watts of power. They go straight-up like a rocket and reach incredible speeds, well in excess of 100 miles per hour (youtube: F5B glider).

The preface is to say: I get it. I do it. I love it. And, I'll probably stay in this hobby forever. Having kids has a way to help with that.

Having said that, I also understand, in no uncertain terms, just how dangerous this stuff can be. I have seen many nasty accidents first hand. A small propeller spinning at 5K or 10K RPM can shred a hand or a face in horrific ways.

The idea of toy drones flying around town is a scary one. The FAA is right in wanting to exercise restraint and gradually walk into a sensible set of rules. The have been working very closely with the RC flight community in order to understand the needs and voice their concern as well:

http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutama/gov.aspx

I love the idea of small inexpensive drones coming online to help firefighting efforts, disaster aid and such needs. Still, it has to be done right and it has to be done with safety in mind.

Small inexpensive model aircraft, even when they cost thousands of dollars, are not designed to the same strict engineering standards of full-scale aircraft in general aviation. Most of these devices suffer from catastrophic single-point failures in their designs. None of them are put through strict process control during manufacturing to ensure that such mundane things as cracked or "cold" solder joints don't creep into a batch. None of them are made with conformal or environmental coatings applied to circuitry. Not one of them uses rugged, vibration and environmentally-tested hardware, boards, wiring, connectors and batteries.

As an example of this, a prominent motor controller manufacturer recently produced designs that started to violently catch on fire and even blow-up under varied conditions. They have been reported to catch fire by simply plugging in a battery or in the middle of a flight. In a lot of cases people have lost helicopters costing thousands of dollars to this particular problem. However, in most cases, because the activity took place within the confines of AMA model aircraft flying fields not one person seems to have been hurt and no property (other than the model and electronics) was damaged.

Did you know that the LiPo (Lithium Polymer) battery packs these models use can also spontaneously catch fire and explode? YouTube search: "LiPo fire"

It's exciting to think of these little things flying about and doing all kinds of things for us. The reality, I think, is as far away as building a C3PO that actually works as it does in the movie. OK, maybe not that far, but nowhere close to reality. The legal and liability hurdles alone are massive.

Can someone make a quadcopter that can safely and reliably fly around buildings in a city with an acceptably low probability of failure, redundancy and solid engineering? Sure. But it isn't going to be anything like these little toys we are seeing in hundreds upon hundreds of youtube demos.

I believe that, once the FAA has a chance to sort this out there will be really good opportunities for very high quality, professionally designed drones. It'll be a few years though. And rightly so.

2
apinstein 3 days ago  replies      
Sadly there is no reasonable path to doing this legally. We are in the real estate photography business and the FAA started cracking down on people using helicopters and other UAV's for commercial purposes. It's not allowed. You can only fly drones/helicopters/etc remotely (or autonomously) as a hobby.

more info: http://photographyforrealestate.net/2012/01/24/warning-faa-s...

3
bigiain 3 days ago 3 replies      
Won't be able to compete long distance with the Alameda Weehawken Burrito Tunnel:

http://www.idlewords.com/2007/04/the_alameda-weehawken_burri...

4
beambot 2 days ago 1 reply      
To quote Chris Anderson, CEO of DIYdrones and Editor-in-chief at wired:

Did you know the word "gullible" isn't in the dictionary?

Sigh. Prepare for loads of credulous coverage, matching the wave of reporting on the Pirate Bay's stoned suggestion that "we're going to use, er....GPS drones!....to file-trade from the sky. With Raspberry Pi."

http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/did-you-know-the-word-gu...

5
hornbaker 3 days ago 2 replies      
The domain is registered to Star Simpson of MIT, formerly notorious for this story: http://boingboing.net/2007/09/21/mit-student-arrested.html
6
RandallBrown 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can't tell if this is for real or not, but I'm praying that it is and it comes to Seattle.
7
srik 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I talked about making quadcopters to my friend, the first thing that popped into his head was something similar. He was thinking about making small weed delivery copters. that was actually a very good idea; not suggestible at all ofcourse.
8
Palomides 3 days ago 1 reply      
how fast can a quadcopter fly, how far, and how much can it carry? seems like this would only work well in limited contexts, like, say, small deliveries on a particular campus or within a single large building or complex. not to be a complete nay-sayer, but the limits of battery tech are a bit harder to overcome than most software problems.
9
asynchronous13 2 days ago 1 reply      
Last mile delivery will eventually be a huge market for UAVs. Think beyond just tacos -- think about anything that people would pay a premium for to have it delivered to them. Out of milk? No problem. Need your prescription filled? Delivered to your GPS coordinates. Condom delivery? FedEx?

The technology is there. The regulations need to catch up.

10
InclinedPlane 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this is real, but this totally justifies the risk of the inevitable quad-copter robot uprising.
11
forgottenpaswrd 2 days ago 1 reply      
In the south of Spain it would be an impossible business. Once I get into a library to return a book, entering the library I saw a bicycle attached to the wall, when I went out of the library I saw the chain cut and the bicycle gone with some parts of it in the floor. It was shocking how fast everything went, it is like you look at something, then look away for a moment and then its gone.

In Spain gitanos will learn how to pilot UAVs (or "fish" them) in a blink of an eye.

12
jtchang 2 days ago 2 replies      
Imagine landing pads on the top of every house/city. They would look like giant targets used for this copters to land. There could be one within a few meters of where you currently are.

You place an order on your cell phone. The copters immediately go to work delivering whatever you needed. A SMS would alert you that your goods have arrived. Maybe there would be secure drop zones where a giant chute would automatically route your package into a secure locker. You would open the locker with your cell phone.

Okay I will stop dreaming now.

13
redthrowaway 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stoners Rejoice! The Future is Now!

This will eventually happen, though. That means the FAA's going to have to come up with some pretty strict regulations to force manufacturers and operators to ensure their bots don't crash into things/people.

14
druiid 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm uhh... guessing this is a joke, but if it isn't... they'd do brisk business in San Diego!
15
wavephorm 2 days ago 0 replies      
This sounds like sci-fi but I think we're not far from being able to do this. I think the entire Postal system could be replaced with UAV's. Why deliver mail by hand when robots would clearly be better and could work 24/7 and not go crazy. Food delivery maybe doesn't have the profit margins to do it yet, but eventually it will.
16
gaahrdner 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty funny, I think the LobsterCopter gave the joke away.
17
Arelius 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is something I need in my life! Tacos delivered via flying robot. Could you imagine getting the delivery while at Dolores park?
18
matdwyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine your mail could be delivered to you like this?

Something tells me Amazon will run with this in 10 years and take USPS/Canada Post/etc out of business

19
yeahsure 2 days ago 1 reply      
Whoa! I was daydreaming about this exact same thing (Except it was pizza instead of tacos). I thought they should have a small box that hangs from them so they could drag the box down with a small thread in order to avoid accidents with the propellers. Anyway, awesome idea, hope to see this legally in the near future :-)
20
EREFUNDO 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes no matter how stupid the idea seems at first if it's executed brilliantly it might just work!....lol
21
hef19898 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice idea. Only one remark: Anyone has ever seen the dicrepancy between the concepts of new aircrafts and the things that actually fly? Aviation is one of the most conservative industries I know, and for a good reason considering the fact one accident kills probably hundreds of people at once. You can argue that some regulations are more on the red tape side, but most of them are here for good reason. If I were a start-up, I would rather follow these regulations or have really deep pockets AND official support if I dont't, like SpaceX for example.
That said, I'm not sure if it is for real or not... Funny idea having a flying delivery claptrap bringing you your tacos :-)
22
kolinko 2 days ago 0 replies      
My new startup - Taco Pirates. Hunting down taco drones.
23
qq66 3 days ago 0 replies      
This idea is currently illegal since FAA regulations restrict unmanned multirotor aircraft from any commercial activities, although they are in the process of changing these rules. So it might go from joke to reality :)
24
Cyndre 3 days ago 1 reply      
The biggest issue I see is tacocopter naping. Order a $3 taco, get some lunch and a free drone.
25
erohead 3 days ago 0 replies      
They had a more awesome version of the site up earlier this week.
26
sebastianavina 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, I can steal a Bot for the price of a taco order?
27
abend 1 day ago 0 replies      
28
donaldc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope that thing is reasonably quiet.
29
mikemoka 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok so, how could they protect a UAV from thieves? Anyone could jam the remote control signal or use a net to block it on the ground.They could add an effective gps based alarm and insure the drones,this is a real problem though, only while UAVs are still quite expensive imo
30
Retreads 2 days ago 0 replies      
AKA: Quadrocopters - Flying Robots Deliver Themselves To You!

With all the crazy scamming I've experienced on places like Craigslist, I can't imagine there wouldn't be some jerk that would just start taking the vehicles. Even if there's some type of visual/tracking, they'd figure it out. How many tacos would have to be delivered to deal with that kind of shrinkage?

31
asciilifeform 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nah, everybody knows that drones can only be used to deliver drugs and bombs.

Commercial UAVs being illegal in the US, "might as well hang for a sheep as for a lamb."

32
ditojim 2 days ago 0 replies      
i hope this means they can deliver to my balcony. that would be baller.
33
nathan_f77 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been planning to build a quad-rotor to deliver food and beverages around my house, but I never thought that idea could turn into a delivery startup.

I can't tell if this is a joke (?), but the technology is definitely available to make it happen.

34
philjackson 2 days ago 0 replies      
My next startup will be air rifle sales in SF.
35
feralmoan 2 days ago 0 replies      
TacoCopter has really incentivize for me, a Taco-centric dietary pivot. It's advanced culinary airborne delivery agent is HUGELY disruptive. I can tell by the screams!
36
Maven911 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am suprised no one has called an outright FAKE on this!
37
jbigelow76 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tacocopter - Skynet's more benevolent, munchie abating little brother.
38
Apocryphon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wasn't there a story last year about a similar service for delivering sandwiches?
39
duaneb 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this were to happen, I'm imagining tacocopternapping.
40
colbyh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Though obviously a joke this is the sort of thing that I'd support breaking the law for. Disrupt the land-based food delivery establishment.
41
ParadisoShlee_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Id rather just install Pneumatic tubes everywhere, Tacotubes!
42
jaequery 2 days ago 0 replies      
would make a great alternative to duck-hunting
43
littlemerman 2 days ago 0 replies      
This a a sign of the coming techpocalypse.
44
jaylin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Watch out for the taco bandit flying robots tho.
45
pkh80 2 days ago 0 replies      
April fools jokes starting early this year?
46
egallardo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Of course it's real. I want my tacos brought from LA though..
47
cma 3 days ago 3 replies      
Pretty scary--the same tech could "deliver" a pistol, which then delivers a bullet more or less just as easily.
8
Django 1.4 final released djangoproject.com
349 points by pythonist  2 days ago   58 comments top 13
1
bryanh 2 days ago 7 replies      
Release notes here: https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/dev/releases/1.4/

Some things to really dig:

    * better password hashing (bcrypt, etc...)
* time zone support
* built in selenium testing support
* bulk insert Models
* prefetch_related() (efficiently join m2m)
* SELECT FOR UPDATE support
* easy signing of cookies
* better project templates (basic scaffolding)

There are lots more... big release. Thanks to the all folks behind it.

2
Mizza 2 days ago 2 replies      
For anybody interested in trying out the new templating system, this one has been active for a little while now and is based on the work of Mozilla and it has HTML5 boilterplate + Twitter bootstrap already, as well as Jinja2, Sphinx, Django-Admin-Panel, Markdown, Celery, South and some other niceties:

Check it out: https://github.com/xenith/django-base-template

or just..

    django-admin.py startproject --template https://github.com/xenith/django-base-template/zipball/master --extension py,md projectname

3
RegEx 2 days ago 10 replies      
Any recommended resources on getting started with Django, or are the official docs sufficient?
4
5
BonoboBoner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dear prefetch_related(), my M2M-relationships have been waiting for you for soo long, glad you are finally with us.
6
ineedtosleep 2 days ago 3 replies      
I have a Django app in its early stages using 1.3, would it be a good idea to just transfer it over to 1.4? The only third-party app that it is using is django-registration...
7
jtchang 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the team. Will have to check it out in the next few days.
8
kmfrk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know a good way to find out whether your Django packages will break or work fine? I am currently using these:

    django-registration
django-secure

9
5h 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats all, new project due to be live in a month or so I'll keeping an eye on updates and might make the jump asap
10
dougbarrett 2 days ago 1 reply      
Man, I just went through the 1.3 tutorial TWO days ago. Does anyone that uses Django know if the changes are huge? I guess I will be going through the 1.4 tutorial this afternoon.
11
slig 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember seeing that they would deprecate the {% url 'name' %} template tag without quotes. What happened to that?
12
melvinng 2 days ago 1 reply      
Damn, I just wasted 1 month rewriting a password hashing app.
13
halayli 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wish Django uses sqlalchemy as the default ORM instead of inventing a squared wheel.
11
MIT discovers the location of memories: Individual neurons extremetech.com
333 points by mrsebastian  2 days ago   116 comments top 30
1
mechanical_fish 2 days ago  replies      
OMG, it's the ultimate mechanical_fish pet peeve collection! TL;DR: I rant.

ONE: I can't find the citation of the scientific paper on ExtremeTech. (Let alone a link. Who would dare to dream of a link?) They do refer obliquely to "the paper" once. (What paper?)

And they link to MIT's press office, whose brand is really solid, so everything they write is almost like science! And there you can skim the article twice and finally spot the citation:

Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at MIT and lead author of the study reported online today in the journal Nature.

Okay, gotta go find an online Nature subscription to find out what's going on. There's an hour of my day spoken for. At least they're trying to ensure I get some exercise.

Why is the actual journal article important? Just look at this thread here on HN. We have people doubting all sorts of things, but these may well be things that are addressed in the actual work. The content of the popular articles means very little: They leave out most of the details. The details matter. The whole point of this study is to try and tease out more details.)

TWO: But, wait, there's more. I first tried to read ExtremeTech on an iPad (original edition). The article popped up in one of those insufferable iPad-only JS-powered "mobile editions" with Swiping Action. Unfortunately, there was only the first page of the article. It cut off in midsentence. I tried pressing the giant button marked "Next" on the right side of the screen. I got a big white screen. I flailed around with my fingers. A completely different article eventually rendered itself. I flailed around with my fingers some more. Eventually the original article reappeared, still incomplete. Fortunately, one more roundtrip to the next article and back and I finally got the whole thing to render.

Then I pressed the back button and everything seemed to hang. I closed the browser window and thanked the gods for my escape.

Why on earth do publications use these broken things, when simple web pages render so nicely on the iPad? The site does have something like a dozen tracking cookies on it; does this imply that they have data showing that swipability is so important that it doesn't even have to work in order to attract more ad impressions/clicks/Tweets/whatever? Or does it merely suggest that they are so busy struggling with glass-cockpit syndrome that they can't perceive that their site is broken on the iPad?

2
jules 2 days ago 3 replies      
The data doesn't warrant the title of this post. Even if a single neuron is responsible for triggering a memory (which is hard to say based on mice in the first place), it doesn't follow that the information is stored in the neuron. As an analogy, if we erase a specific bit in memory, whole parts can become unreadable. For example imagine changing a bit in a pointer. That doesn't mean that all of the information was stored in that bit.
3
bigiain 2 days ago 3 replies      
I can't help but think that what they've discovered is some meatspace equivalent to the hash key or an index key to a memory. By "turning it on or off" you can lose or find a whole table row or hash value, but surely a "single neuron" can't "store" a generalised "memory".
4
cdcox 2 days ago 0 replies      
That title is incorrect. These researchers did not stimulate one neuron to activate one memory. They stimulated a group of neurons in one region using a fiber optic.

I'll go through the experiment for those who don't really get the write up. Quick background:

0. Neurons are specialized cells in your brain, their firing is the basis of cognition. Neurons that fire strongly together tend to get linked. Not all your neurons are firing all at once. Not all neurons participate in a memory, but a large collection (0.1-4% depending on brain region) are used for each memory. (at least in naive mice) Memories are highly distributed across brain regions and within brain regions.

1. There is a gene 'cFos' that turns on in neurons that undergo activity. It is very short lasting, about an hour, and then it is back down. It is very cell specific, only cells used have been activated will show this gene.

2. There is a genetically inducable protein you can put in cells so that when you shine them with light they will start firing.

3. Anything genetically inducible can have a tag added that will make it impossible to induce when an animal is on a specific drug. (We'll call it Dox.)

The researchers made it so that when cFos is activated, it will transcribe the inducible light activated channel. But, it will only do this when the animal isn't on Dox. So they took the animal off Dox, exposed it to fear conditioning (they shocked it in a unique box), then put it back on Dox. So only the cells that were active during the fear conditioning will be turn on when they shine light.

They then put the animal in a new box and shined light, and the animal froze. (A sign it was afraid) They concluded that activating cells that had been active during the storing of the memory can 'reactivate' the memory, even out of it's context.

Of course there are a few major problems with this. The region of the brain they worked in is a relatively minor area of the brain. They admit in the course of the paper that each cell is used to store many memories. (They claim the assembly of cells activate the memory? But they never bother testing this.) Their firing pattern is far from physiological. The mice who underwent this 'memory reactivation' did not freeze as much as mice in normal fear conditioning and did not seem to learn the 'reactivated memory' at all. (Though again they didn't really bother testing this.) Normal fear-memory is learned quite well. This is a very preliminary but very important study in the field. It will be interesting to see how they follow this up.

Also, the Npas4 stuff is completely irrelevant to this article. There are countless markers that when 'knocked out' make it impossible to store memory.

Also here is a (paywalled) link to the paper:http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vnfv/ncurrent/full/natu...

Here is a link to another (paywalled) paper which came out today which did almost the same thing and say almost opposite results (the details explain this oddity): http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6075/1513.full?rss=1

Here is a (paywalled) more layperson write up to the second article: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6075/1455.full

5
hippich 2 days ago 0 replies      
I always was under impression that there are no memories as we think about photographs, but rather state of the brain is one whole memory system, which react to external signals accordingly to previously "memorized" signals.

As I understand, that they just found a way to excite particular small part of the brain which triggered reaction without external signaling. I.e. bypassing all intermediate parts (external sensors, nerves, other neurons, etc). I.e. it is more like to directly feed engine with gas and electricity to create a spark to make it revolve completely skipping engine control unit, ignition key, clutch pedal, fuel pump.

And when they refer to memory loss due dying neuron, this is more like part of circuit is removed which supposed to give certain reaction to certain signals, not like "rm /home/user/file.txt" with the rest left in place. So I do not believe thing similar to MiB is possible with this knowledge.

6
seclorum 2 days ago 2 replies      
They didn't 'discover the location of memories', they simply discovered that they can trigger a reaction that looks similar to that of the original incident by focusing energy on parts of a mouse brain that were actively stimulated during the incident.

This is Pavlovs dog with optics, not revolutionary science.

7
stiff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a simple explanation of the experiment:

1. The set of neurons that was active only during learning was determined.

2. The genes activated in those neurons were determined.

3. Genetic engineering was done to make the activation of those genes always happen in conjunction with activation of the gene being responsible for the neuron becoming sensitive to light.

4. The mouse was put through a learning experience, during which the small group of neurons affected became sensitive to light.

5. Via stimulating those neurons with light, the experience was reproduced in the mouse in a completely different environment (so the comparisions to Pavlov are not justified).

In this way the abstract concept of a memory and of the process of remembering something was related very closely to a specific physical phenomena. Even the methods used to make the experiment are interesting by themselves (at least for a lay person) and I think you cannot easily dismiss the importance of this discovery as some people do here. Please read the article here to get a better picture:

http://www.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/conjuring-memories-artifi...

8
carbocation 2 days ago 0 replies      
The journal article can be found here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vnfv/ncurrent/full/natu...

It doesn't seem to claim that an individual neuron is the location of a memory, but rather that triggering a small number of specific neurons is necessary and sufficient to cause the behavior that would be consistent with the recall of a particular fearful memory in mice, when optogenetically triggered.

In other words, they labeled some neurons with an optogenetic receptor during fear conditioning. Then, thanks to the optogenetic labeling they previously did, they were able to activate this receptor (using light) in a totally different context (one that didn't normally elicit the freezing response associated with mouse fear). When they did so, the mouse exhibited the freezing response. When they ablate these neurons, there is no fear response. The conclusion is that these neurons are necessary and sufficient to encode the fear memory.

Caveat lector: my summary is based on the abstract so I am just parroting what they have concluded; I haven't read the paper's methods and results for myself. Also, this is the "near-final" version published in advance online today. It may change for final publication.

9
zallarak 10 hours ago 0 replies      
My brother, who is studying in medical school right now pointed this out to me: "the whole time i was reading this though, i was bothered by what usually bothers me about studies regarding the mechanics of the brain, which is that we dont know our measures of "activation" are sufficient for determining a causal relationship between activation of certain neurons and the recall of certain memories."
10
octotoad 2 days ago 2 replies      
'The mice “quickly entered a defensive,
immobile crouch,” strongly suggesting the
fear memory was being recalled.'

Yes, possibly. Or maybe it had something to do with the hole that had been drilled in their skulls and the frickin' laser beams being fired at their brains. Pretty cool stuff though.

11
zerostar07 2 days ago 0 replies      
Impressive as this may sound this is not the first study of its kind. Studies since 2009 (mentioned in the abstract) in the amygdala have been able to direct and inactivate fear memories in a reversible manner via optogenetics again (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2844777/) . In these studies killing as much as 15% of the cells did not erase the memory, indicating that it's ensembles, not single neurons that encode fear memories.

To complicate the picture even more, each neuron is part of more than one memory engrams, and memories are stored in synaptic connections which are formed in the vast dendritic trees of neurons. So you have a very sparse and reduntant encoding of this associative memory.

Finally, note that both the amygdala and the hippocampus are very old structures so we don't know if the same processes take place in the neocortex (although it's likely so).

I don't mean to belittle the article, but it's mostly proof of concept if you have followed the relative literature. Tonegawa's lab had some even more fascinating papers published recently that probe the process of memory encoding to the level of single dendrites.

12
espeed 2 days ago 0 replies      
MIT scientist Sebastian Seung talked about this possibility in his 2010 TED talk, "I am my connectome" (http://www.ted.com/talks/sebastian_seung.html).
13
mckoss 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wish I could block all extremetech stories from My HN feed. The are universally overhyped, never the original source, often draw unjustified conclusions, and are a pain to read (at least on an iPad - they use a non standard interface and pop overs).
14
joshaidan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe this means we can finally build a machine like the one in the matrix that lets us bootstrap our brains with kungfu.

But more importantly, I think the most significant result of this research, should even a bit of it prove to be true, is the possibility that it could help us understand, and maybe even prevent dementia. That's exciting!

15
mistercow 2 days ago 0 replies      
>MIT researchers have shown, for the first time ever, that memories are stored in specific brain cells. By triggering a single neuron, the researchers were able to force the subject to recall a specific memory. By removing this neuron, the subject would lose that memory.

That's incredibly poor reasoning. Using the same logic, I can "show, for the first time ever" that C structures are stored in individual memory pointers.

16
ilitirit 2 days ago 0 replies      
> The question now, though, is how memories are actually encoded " can we programmatically create new memories and thus learn entire subjects by inserting a laser into our brain?

That's a pretty scary area of technology. I hope that as a civilization we will become responsible enough to use that before we discover how.

17
danmaz74 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read the MIT news piece and didn't find any reference to the removal of a neuron that would eliminate the memory. Was that in a longer research paper?
19
j45 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if by deleting not so nice memories (i'm guessing that would be one of the first applications) the person will continue to make the same decisions over and over, because they might not remember them and keep re-experiencing (and learning) repeatedly?
20
kghose 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in this sort of thing (memory storage in the brain, recall etc.) you might be interested in Wilder Penfield's work. (e.g. http://primal-page.com/penfield.htm)
21
wtvanhest 2 days ago 0 replies      
Off topic: I live across the river from MIT. I work in asset management and worked for an angel investment fund. I'm working on a startup at night. If you live in Boston and want to meet for coffee email me.

I'll meet anyone from HN, even if you just want some career advice for working in asset management or just want to talk about random stuff.

My email address is my hn username at gmail.

22
aidos 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was a Ted talk some time ago about the work on optogenetics (in fruit flies I think) http://www.ted.com/talks/gero_miesenboeck.html
23
debacle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this has been overhyped just a bit. I realize that a discovery of this nature is a big deal, but it's not what journalists are making it out to be.
24
Craiggybear 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't believe a word of this. It isn't proof of any such a process. This to me appears as inappropriate reductionism.

The brain is highly volatile both chemically and physically and is changing minute by minute. The notion that a memory belongs to a single group or cluster of neurons is absurd. They are constantly being reordered and reprioritised and changed throughout the lifetime of the animal. And being lost due to chemical damage and the effects of ageing and free radicals.

The nature of memory and conciousness isn't just the physical existence of neurons. Who you are is more than the sum of the parts.

The mind is also as much a process of the body -- your conciousness and mind grows within it from birth and a large part of who you are is as much a product of that, its hormones and its metabolic chemistry as anything that resides solely between the ears alone.

25
stefantalpalaru 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Nature abstract is about a "population of neurons" and triggering a memory related behavior while the extremetech article talks about "specific brain cells" and memory storage.

Nothing to see here, move along.

26
deadmike 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The mice 'quickly entered a defensive, immobile crouch,' strongly suggesting the fear memory was being recalled."

Perhaps the defensive, immobile crouch had something to do with having a hole drilled through their skull and a laser shined through said hole?

27
isa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Besides the fact that the scientists used trauma to retrieve their data, what a beautiful notion: collecting a memory at the tip of every neuron.
28
holeinskull 1 day ago 0 replies      
<you drill a hole through the subject's skull and point the laser at a small cluster of neurons, the mice quickly entered a defensive state>

  This is a expected  response and perhaps has nothing to do with remembering.

29
PaulGrinsBig 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article sucks, the quality of online journalism has taken a new low...there are no citations...just rambling that eventually one finds to be a total misunderstanding of the results and of science in general...ahhhh...
30
bburns 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's an obligatory Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind reference to be made here...
12
Facebook: Legal action against employers asking for your password zdnet.com
315 points by Slimy  2 days ago   144 comments top 36
1
powrtoch 2 days ago  replies      
I have to say, I'm really impressed with Facebook for coming out and making this their issue, instead of just waiting for the applicants and employers to slowly work it out between themselves. In hindsight, it's seems like an obviously smart move (both to impress their userbase and to remove disincentives to use Facebook), but somehow it didn't occur to me that they might join in on the fight. Good for them.
2
jerf 2 days ago 4 replies      
On what grounds could Facebook sue an employer who asks for your Facebook password? It isn't immediately obvious they have standing to sue the employers. Based on what I assume is their terms of service page (closest thing I could find) [1], it looks like they could sue the employee for giving away their password, but I don't immediately see any grounds for suing the employer. There doesn't seem to be anything forbidding you from using Facebook with somebody else's account at the moment (though look for this to change any minute).

I'm suspecting this could be posturing to stem the short-term damage while they try to get a law passed that gives them standing.

The best guess I could come up with is hitting the employer with some sort of cyber-hacking law, but I wouldn't be comfortable or happy with that sort of twisting of such a law.

[1]: http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

3
DanI-S 2 days ago 5 replies      
I wish there were someone willing to stand up for us against employment-related credit checks and drug testing, too.

As a European working in the US, I find it astounding that these utter invasions of privacy are considered routine. I don't know whether they're legally acceptable in Europe, but they don't seem to be morally acceptable to most people.

4
DevX101 2 days ago 1 reply      
| “If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends,”

What are the legal implications for facebook applications? Are there some classes of applications that would be affected by this policy? Given enough permissions, most facebook apps DO access your account and could potentially violate the privacy of friends.

The facebook position above doesn't seem to be limited to employers, but much broader based. I could imagine a shady employer saying 'All candidates must install this (greedy permissions) app to submit an application'. What would be facebook's position on that?

5
dminor 2 days ago 4 replies      
Clearly what we need is a dummy password that leads to a bland profile where your "friends" all note how employable you are.
6
cletus 2 days ago 2 replies      
Good for Facebook for standing up against this sort of thing.

I have mixed feelings about the whole account access thing though.

On the one hand, I do think it's entirely unreasonable for your employer to have your password. There are certain exceptions to this (eg anything requiring Top Secret clearance?).

On the other hand, my personal view is nothing on the Internet is truly private. If you want it to remain private, you shouldn't put it on the Internet in any form, otherwise it's just a privacy policy change or a security breach or a bug away from being exposed.

7
davidw 2 days ago 2 replies      
> “If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends,”

Weren't they, at one time, one of those sites trying to get your Gmail password/account so they could sniff out who your friends were?

8
balakk 2 days ago 3 replies      
What about employers intercepting SSL connections to spy on social networking/external email usage on the corporate network? Is that against the law too? Genuine question.

This is quite prevalent, and they make it very clear in the Acceptable Use policies that all usage is monitored.

9
JGailor 2 days ago 2 replies      
Facebook played the Friend card in their press release, and did it really well. If you are giving up your Facebook password, you're not just giving up your information, you're also giving up your friend's information as well.

If any potential employer asks for your Facebook account information, just inform them that your social network would not appreciate giving out their information to a 3rd party, and you think it would be a violation of their trust in you.

10
duck 2 days ago 1 reply      
"You want my FB password? Sure, but please know that if anyone asks for my company computer account password I will comply with that as well."
11
lutorm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I fail to see how "my password is under an NDA" could not be a sufficient response to this silliness. Are they really making breach of contract a necessary condition for employment?
12
keithpeter 2 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone in the US is looking for models for privacy legislation, we have some okish ones in Europe

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:...

Human readable version

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Protection_Directive

Have fun over there

13
jacquesm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Suggestion: if your employer asks you for your facebook credentials and you have other options in terms of employment immediately hand in your resignation.

Employers that have these sort of practices deserve nothing less than business failure and I think that if enough key employees pack their bags that they will sooner or later get the message. Make it plain what the reason for your resignation is and if you can blog about it, I think that the spotlight of public opinion should help ram home the message that this sort of behavior is off-limits.

And that goes for any other service besides facebook as well, your private affairs are your private affairs, and any employer that wants to stick their nose in does not deserve your brain power.

14
bburns 2 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't this fall into the realm of discriminatory interview questions to begin with? I'm pretty sure a case could be made in a discriminatory hiring suit without introducing new laws.
15
djb_hackernews 2 days ago 4 replies      
Who is actually asking for FB passwords? I doubt anyone actually is, and if they are it's part of a scam involving the promise of employment to desperate people.
16
jamesbritt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Summary: Facebook wants to protect its users from employers demanding access to their accounts. The company has clarified, however, that it currently has no plans to sue such employers.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/facebook-no-plans-to-sue-...

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3749693

17
jmilloy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm wondering if, instead, an employer created a facebook app that asked for maximum access, and asked their employees to authorize it. It might no longer be unauthorized access/tortious interference.

I don't know the first thing about facebook app development. Seems like it could be easy to write up. Is it easy for facebook to kill such apps? Am I just making things up that don't make sense?

18
brownbat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think lawyers should just fight this with current anti-discrimination law.

Your Facebook profile potentially contains clues about your national origin, religion, family status, and age (relevant if you're near 40).

Few employers are stupid enough to ask a woman if she's married in an interview.* Looking at Facebook can be the same thing.

* Policy guidance for employers urges them to avoid these issues (for good reason): http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/pers/develop/departmentalinterviewi... ; http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=10...

19
linuxhansl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, who hands out his/her Facebook password to an employer?!

This is like handing out private photo albums or access to the private email account. Any employer demanding this from me can happily continue to be an employer without me as employee (not that I have anything in my FB account anyway, but it's a matter of principle).

20
rmc 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd have always thought that if you were to give out your password, you'd never be (legally) allowed to access your facebook account again (since you'd be in breech of the terms of service). And also that the potential employer would not legally be allowed to access it, since they'd be accessing a computer system, by pretending to be someone else.
21
oleganza 2 days ago 0 replies      
By taking this legal action Facebook tries to protect itself in the long run. Imagine if it becomes more common to hand out your account to HR. Quick enough, people will avoid connecting with each other on that platform and move to a competing platform where nobody is watching them.
22
brownbat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm honestly a little disapointed in the ACLU on this issue. Facebook is doing a good thing taking it on, but the ACLU is bringing this up on behalf of Robert Collins. In the Robert Collins case,(1) the employer (the MD Dept of Corrections) hoped Facebook would reveal "gang affiliations." Race based discrimination alarm bells should be ringing! The best interests of your client are to politely remind the MD DoC that Baltimore juries are especially sensitive to discrimination issues and tend to be very skeptical of enforcement/corrections management.(2) Collins should walk away with a blank check under current law. ACLU is rolling the dice on some new "right to privacy for things you publicly posted" instead. I think it's the wrong way and wrong time for them to argue for that.

(1) http://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty/want-job-pas...

(2) http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/sep/06/wire

23
laconian 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like this trend of the big Internet companies taking proactice steps to right the wrongs that are happening in their space. If only more companies had backbones.
24
smsm42 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what happened to good old not putting private stuff on facebook? It's not like you have to use it.

And why this focus on facebook? Is password to gmail or mint.com or yahoogroups different? It looks like Facebook using lawmaking system as a PR move. That's definitely a new and creative development - using the Congress as an advertisement medium - but I don't think it's a welcome one.

25
stef25 2 days ago 0 replies      
Idea: Facebook could add an alternate password feature that, if entered only shows content you can manage in your privacy settings. So just like you could hide an album from certain friends, you could hide other content (from yourself) if your alt password is entered. Kind of like plausible deniability in TrueCrypt.
26
tomp 2 days ago 1 reply      
I support Facebook's stance on this, but I'm also quite surprised!

What happend to their "Share everything with everyone!" policy?

27
kposehn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I figure I'll ask potential employees of mine if they've ever given their password out instead. If they say yes, I'll say "...why?"

The answer might be much more illuminating than anything an employer would ever learn from looking at the Facebook account itself.

28
codezero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't an employer just make applicants apply via a Facebook app and get all the info they want legitimately?
29
soupysoupysoup 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I wrong in thinking the only thing this does is protect Facebook's financial interests? Don't they profit from the proper app and ad based mining and selling of this information anyway? There are so many references to the underground background checking methods employed by legal abuses of social networking, wouldn't it take a huge chunk out of their business model to have individuals simply show the information directly to employers, free of charge?
30
parvinsingh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well,
you dont need pwd to piggyback into a user's account. Since the userID/pwd validation is theirs, they can bypass the validation if they want based on some prefix or suffix in the userID field.
31
EricDeb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone's employer actually asked for this? I would be extremely offended if a company asked for my FB password
32
AsylumWarden 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is why I have a dummy facebook account.
Seriously, when I give someone else access to my account they can then also peer into the lives of my family and friends many of whom only post with security settings that share only with Friends or just Family. I've then given away their right to privacy as well. Uggg....
33
shreeshga 2 days ago 0 replies      
Employers want passwords of FB and not LinkedIn accounts?
Thats cruel on LinkedIn.
34
TomatoTomato 2 days ago 0 replies      
You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.

</sarcasm>

35
pentae 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pot, meet kettle.
36
rdl 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a very reasonable action for Facebook to take to protect its brand and product.

I'm definitely against random employers asking for a fb password (or rather, access...there should be a way to give them read only access without the password, in any case). Just getting the username (to see what is posted publicly) is more defensible, as is getting deeper access for a security clearance (my credit report is basically boring; interviewing my friends is more useful, but I have literally never spoken to any of my neighbors more than twice each, and never at any length; this is probably not that uncommon). My Facebook account would be a good way to easily get that information.

13
Storing 25 petabytes of Megaupload data costs us $9,000 a day arstechnica.com
307 points by ttt_  3 days ago   133 comments top 31
1
johngalt 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've dealt with e-discovery sets. No one really has answers to what to do when you have a litigation hold on data. Legislation commonly requires "retention of anything related to X case", but how do you know what's relevant and what isn't? When you are a third party the ambiguity increases. So you end up with an everything and kitchen sink data dump. Even with everything the data is commonly useless without context. You have files without access logs and logs referrencing local namespaces etc...

With a 25 petabyte discovery, I'm not surprised that everyone's scratching their heads on what to do next. This isn't just an MPAA/Megaupload problem. Even a smaller dataset like a 10-20TB discovery has numerous problems. Hosting/indexing/classifying/reviewing millions of documents is an open issue for the legal field. What do you do when there are multiple parties who all need to see "everything"? If everyone does their own thing how do you reference materials in a consistent manner across the interested parties? If you all agree to host the data in a neutral place who pays for it? What if the technology of that host benefits one party at the expense of another?

For years the legal field has had a "print it all out and have a team of paralegals go over it" viewpoint. Clients don't pay for computers, but they do pay for paralegal hours. Only recently has that become untenable. Discovery sizes are growing exponentially per year. It's common to have a new discovery set come in larger that every previous set combined, and the legal industry doesn't really know what to do about it.

2
dos1 3 days ago 6 replies      
In my mind, the MPAA is certainly the best choice to pay these costs. They're the ones with the problem, they should be the ones to bear the burden. Especially considering Megaupload offered to take the data and they explicitly forbade it. If the MPAA didn't like the solutions offered, but can't come up with something better, then I think Carpathia should get to do what it wants.

Edit: The opinion above has NO legal basis whatsoever. As many have pointed out, it's not even legally possible. I made this comment solely from a "In a perfect world..." standpoint.

3
shrike 3 days ago 2 replies      
The federal government does have a process for this sort of thing, if they seize an alleged drug dealer's house and that house has a mortgage the United States Marshals Service will pay the mortgage. If they seize cars, furniture, other assets the government is responsible for the storage of those items until the case has been resolved. [1]

I would guess that MegaUpload's lawyers will make the claim that the data on those servers is critical to their defense and must be maintained. That is probably an accurate claim, DotCom will want to present evidence of compliance with DMCA notices, counter the claim that a "majority" of the content was under copyright, etc. Best case for DotCom would probably be that his lawyers argue for retaining the data and the judge lets Carpathia destroy it anyway. That would give DotCom reasonable grounds for appeal.

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

4
anon808 3 days ago 3 replies      
It sucks, but that's the price of doing business. They chose their customer, and now are (unfortunately) tied to consequences. Same thing happens to building owners who have a crime committed by a tenant, the leased space becomes a crime scene until the police/govt are done with their investigation.
5
orbitingpluto 3 days ago 0 replies      
In civil or criminal asset forfeiture, the state can conceivably confiscate property if used for or if it enables a crime. In some jurisdictions it doesn't even matter if the owner of the property and the criminal have really nothing to do with each other. (i.e. Your stolen SUV was used to rob a liquor store.)

Also, the government could have probably seized everything anyway as evidence. The problem with that is setting up that much rack space and network infrastructure isn't cheap.

That's Carpathia's basis for compensation. They are providing a service to the government. Seems like a no-brainer.

6
tripzilch 3 days ago 5 replies      
So, 25 petabytes ... 25 million gigabytes. Anyone care to guess how much of this data is illegitimate? And how much of that is under MPAA's copyright?

Back-of-the-envelope calculation: Just did a search for "1080" on some unnamed site and it appears a bluray rip of a movie encodes to roughly 10GB. So that would be 2.5 million movies in 1080p quality. I don't think we've made that many, have we? Especially if you consider that movies that came out before the "high-definition era" are encoded to about a 10th of that size (700MB-2GB roughly, afaik).

Maybe I'm missing something obvious.

Not counting TV series for instance (are they also intellectual property represented by the MPAA? I'm not in the USA so I never really dug into that).

Movies duplicated in different quality formats are usually a 10th or less of the size of a 1080p Bluray rip as well, as an upper limit I could add a factor of x1.5 for that.

But then, the "long tail" of movie rips are 700-800MB and do not have duplicates.

Unless ... is the MPAA also representing porn? Because then all bets are off and I can easily accept that this 25 petabyte consists mostly of MPAA protected intellectual properties.

But otherwise, what percentage of these 25 petabytes would you estimate actually represents illegitimate data owned/represented by the MPAA? 2% ? 10% ?

Is that fair to the owners of the other 90% of the data? Even if it's probably mostly porn? (I'm fairly sure most of the data has to be porn)

I'm just wondering. Also because it's interesting to speculate what could be in these 25 petabytes. If you have a better guess I'd love to hear it :)

7
VikingCoder 3 days ago 3 replies      
Help me out with the math here:

1 terabyte costs them $128.41 per year, right?

Amazon S3 would cost them roughly $444 per year, if they were using the Reduced Redundancy Storage.

The cheapest HD that I see on pcpartpicker (in terms of Price/GB) is the Western Digital Caviar Green 2.5 TB (5400 RPM) for $135.43, which is $0.054/GB. That's $54.17 per TB.

If you want a single backup, that's $108.34 per TB. Two backups (3 copies of each file), is $162.51 per TB.

So, if I'm doing this right, as long as their HDs last at least 15 months, on average, they have triple-redundancy, and the cheapest price ratio for consumer hardware. And I'm not even counting their power, network, cooling, or puny humans to maintain it all. That means their HDs, if they were made out of the cheapest parts I could find, would have to last significantly longer than 15 months, on average.

They're actually doing really good on price, if you ask me.

Or am I missing something obvious, or doing the math horribly wrong?

8
bshep 3 days ago 2 replies      
Its the storage disks the government need, not the rest of the server hardware, if they cant come up with an agreement then shutdown all the servers, take out the disks, catalog, and put in a warehouse somewhere. They are now free to re-use the rest of the server for something else.

That would satisfy the needs of the government if they need access to the data, preserve it if in the future people are allowed to download it, and prevent the MPAA from complaining that it was given back to Megaupload.

I'm sure the cost of storage would not be minimal, but they could still use the rest of the hardware and not have to keep the servers powered up.

Possible problems:

- Maybe the servers cant be shutdown and brought back up without certain passwords or encryption keys

- Labor cost of shutting down and catalogging all those disks ( if done progressively would probably work )

- Others?

9
ericd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why are options that would destroy any chance at Megaupload conducting business in the future even on the table before a trial is finished? I suppose a large amount of damage is already done, but it would be a gross injustice to kill their business before anything started. The government should pay to keep this up until they've conducted their trial. If they don't, and they lose somehow, I hope they get hit with a massive countersuit.
10
moonboots 3 days ago 1 reply      
For reference, this amount of data would require 190 backblaze storage pods ($7,384 for 135TB) totaling $1.4 million.
11
nextparadigms 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is why the US Government shouldn't have seized the site first, and asked questions later. They should've filed a trial against them, and let them keep hosting the data, and if found guilty, then take it down.
12
mmaunder 3 days ago 0 replies      
This gives an idea of the economic activity generated by services like megaupload and what is being removed from the economy by killing the company. Roughly $3.2 million in hosting fees, and could be more if that's just the cost price. Also salaries, over $1 million in hardware, and the various other suppliers. One wonders about the GDP of the recording and movie industries relative to the businesses they're going after.
13
brownbat 3 days ago 0 replies      
The urgency is because Carpathia's lease has run out, they can't stay at the $9k/day facility.

Carpathia has to pay $65k to move the servers, then $37k per month to keep them in a climate controlled facility while powered down. Lost profits are still a relevant consideration. This is a doozy of a damages calculation. What's depreciation on assets that are rendered obselete by (something like) Moore's law?

I'd say Carpathia deletes the data and then supports the petitioners (those with lost data) in the takings clause case against the government. Carpathia claims indemnity against claims by pointing at MegaUpload and the Feds, but probably gets joined in a bunch of messy lawsuits. Real roll of the dice.

14
DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really confused by this. Is Megaupload (or any megaupload employee) facing a criminal trial? How can any "evidence trial" (or whatever they call it) be maintained if a law-enforcement agency doesn't have the drives?

Have any hashes been taken of the drives?

15
adrianpike 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone more familiar with this stuff explain why Carpathia's still paying for "power and connectivity"?

I would have assumed that the FBI would have actually seized the servers, or at the very least pulled the network cables out.

16
jakejake 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can definitely understand the lost potential revenue of having unused servers. But I wonder why they are saying that cost includes power and connectivity for the servers? Seems like they would be powered down. I would actually have assumed the servers to be confiscated and taken off-premise by the FBI.
17
jneal 3 days ago 3 replies      
What's the big deal? Just delete the data. Customer pays for storage. Company stores. Customer stops paying for storage. Company deletes.

Sure, a bunch of pissed off people will certainly be upset - but it's not the company's fault - they shouldn't have to bear this burden. I can't see how they could be sued by users for this, they didn't enter into any kind of agreement with the users, only with the customer.

18
jlawer 3 days ago 1 reply      
The costs of moving that amount of data is crazy. I am surprised the government hasn't seized the hardware, and chucked it in a warehouse.

I did some back of an envelope calculations... and its absolutely crazy. Tape would require over 17,000 Ultrium tapes. Now you could De-dupe... but the hardware to process and dedupe that much data.... not really an option. Not to mention the time to write that many tapes...

Something like thumpers (48 disk sun x86 boxes) would be expensive, last time I looked they were around say $30k for a large order... 160tb usable assuming 4tb disks are the thumper is split into 4 Raid 6 arrays... thats 160 thumpers... 4.8 Million

Even backblaze pods would likely be well over a Million...

This doesn't even cover hosting costs, transfer and such. Not to mention to be usable in court there are going to have to be processes in place to document compliance and validity of the copy....

All in all not a great place for Carpathia to be in.

19
genu1 3 days ago 0 replies      
This post really hurts my soul.

Can Carpathia sue the Federal Government for NOT seizing assets. It's the data, not hardware. Data is transferable. They want it, take it.

Can Carpathia sue? This kind of injustice just makes me boil.

20
guan 3 days ago 2 replies      
Megaupload had a lot of assets that were frozen. I don't know about the legailities, but it would be reasonable to use frozen funds to pay for this.
21
Zikes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pardon my ignorance, and this is a serious question, but why can't they just turn them off? I realize it doesn't address all the costs, but surely it could reduce them significantly.
22
neilparikh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wait, why do they need to keep the power and connectivity on if they are not being actively accessed? That would same a bunch of money it they were kept off.
23
firefoxman1 3 days ago 1 reply      
I know any legitimate hosting company would never do this, but it would be amazing if they just "happened" to have very loose security on the servers that hold Megaupload's data, and if some hacker were to..."gain unauthorized access" and wipe all the data.

They wouldn't be held responsible for a breakin, would they?

24
rdl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this is an opportunity for a startup, and/or an insurance product sold to SaaS end users, hosting facilities, or developers.
25
av500 3 days ago 1 reply      
Are there seriously people that used Megaupload as their sole and only place to store their data? What if there was a fire in the server room? Or some MU intern typed rm -rf /?
26
joering2 3 days ago 0 replies      
"and argues that if that data needs to be preserved, someone else"the government, Megaupload, or an interested party such as the MPAA or EFF"should bear the costs of preserving the data"

Fucking exactly!! Have fucking MPAA pick up the tab.

EDIT: its going to be amazing (and will take years for sure) to see if this won't bite MPAA in the ass if the judge will rule that yes they do have to pay. Would looove to see that. This should be actually a rule of thumb -- if MPAA believes someone is infringing, court suit is entirely fine, but you guys (MPAA) will pay to keep the light on in the meanwhile.

27
nwmcsween 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't feel one bit of sympathy towards Carpathia, they most likely had all the warning signs on their door - dmca notices, legal notices and more but they willingly provided service to a company with garbage morals.
28
katane 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are legal obligations for the government to reimburse telco companies if they are asked to spy on their customers on the governments behalf. Also, obviously, if you want to use data as evidence in a trial, it needs to be stored safely by the police and sealed off, to ensure that its integrity is preserved.

So either the government needs to pay up, store the drives themselves or dismiss these thousands of harddrives from the witness bench.

Also, I cant see how the EFFs claim has any legal merit. Theres no obligation for a site to enable you to access data you sent them.

29
jamespo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Surely it wouldn't take too long to contact both the legitimate users of Megaupload and ask them to download their totally legitimate files?
30
nextstep 3 days ago 0 replies      
Making Megaupload pay this $9000/day seems unfair, too. The US government has cut off all of Megaupload's revenue streams, and so they would be forcing Megaupload to keep paying for a service that they can no longer make money from.

Regardless, why is the cost so high if the server is down? Does this $9000/day reflect the loss that Carpathia suffers from not re-allocating this storage to other customers? It would seem to me that given Megaupload's current state, it would be sufficient to leave the servers powered down and unplugged until the legal dispute is resolved... surely the cost of leaving a server idle is not $9000. I don't really know though...

31
ecaron 3 days ago 1 reply      
At that price, it would only take them 150 days to stop losing money if they started building some Backblaze servers (http://blog.backblaze.com/2011/07/20/petabytes-on-a-budget-v...). 25,000TB / 135TB * $7,384 = $1,367,407 minimum cost of commercial hardware to store that much.

"historically and mind-bogglingly large amount of data" - you could say that again.

14
Legit. Git for humans git-legit.org
293 points by andybak  13 hours ago   105 comments top 29
1
jdietrich 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Like anything else in software development, the hard part to learn is the abstractions, not the syntax. People struggle with git because it's an immensely powerful tool. "git reset" has quite simple syntax, but it confuses the hell out of even experienced git users because it's very clever and potentially very dangerous.

Of the altered syntax in Legit, "switch", "sync" and "publish" make sense, but "harvest", "sprout" and "graft" are no more intuitively obvious than the git equivalents.

2
hp 10 hours ago 2 replies      
EasyGit, single script, very well thought out, longstanding tested project, doesn't "conflict with" or conceal the underlying git just fixes up the UI.

http://people.gnome.org/~newren/eg/
https://github.com/blog/333-easy-git

3
ryoshu 12 hours ago 2 replies      
This looks like it would be a nightmare for working with other developers.

Other developer: "I did 'git sprout foo' and made my changes then 'git publish foo'. But now I'm not sure why the foo branch isn't on the public repo."
Me: "????"

4
kellishaver 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Switch, synch, publish, unpublish - those all made sense, but when they started adding things like 'sprout' and 'graft' it just passed into the realm of trying to be too cute with the branching metaphor for my tastes.

Personally, I'd pick git-flow over this. It seems more useful and makes, syntactically, more sense (though it can get a bit verbose at times `git flow feature start some-feature`). Starting and finishing features, hotfixes, releases, etc. handles all of the necessary branching, merging, and checkouts for you while adding structure and basically documenting the lifecycle of the code in your commit logs.

Maybe it's not as 'human friendly' as sprouting a branch, but starting and then finishing a feature sounds pretty straightforward.

https://github.com/nvie/gitflow

5
skrebbel 12 hours ago 1 reply      
They say it's for humans, but then explain the commands in terms of "normal git".

This'd made a lot more sense for me if they explain for what particular workflow it's intended and how to use it as such. With examples and all.

6
ryanbigg 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I strongly disagree with the purpose of this. It still has precisely the same problem that regular git has: you need to understand the language behind it.

Just learn regular Git rather than re-inventing the language.

7
spooneybarger 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I welcome all attempts to create a better UI for git. Perhaps legit isn't it. Don't care. Eventually we will get this right.

I prefer git's internal branching model and few other features to mercurial but I really prefer the UI to git.

Keep it up people, eventually we will have a better ui.

All that said, I'd encourage people who are doing it, to not add the 'git' namespace. Create your own and just use the internals. Systems that add new 'git *' commands are just confusing an already confused situation.

8
languagehacker 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in full agreement with the other comments I'm seeing. These kind of additional tack-ons are somewhat pernicious to actual team-based version control, because it promotes abstracting more of the core functionality of Git outside of the user's control. This causes breakdowns in mutual understanding and the ability to communicate at the worst possible time -- when people are trying to figure out why there are weird changes to production code, or what happened to the changes they made. As a technical lead, I would actually tell a developer using this to cut it out and learn the real commands so they know what they're doing.
9
eaurouge 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I understand that Git is a fairly complex utility. But you can accomplish a lot just memorizing about 5 Git commands and what they do. Besides, if you decide to use an abstraction such as this one without understanding the plumbing, what do you do when 'git sync' fails due to conflicts?
10
ecaradec 10 hours ago 2 replies      
It seems that git is the new regex. People are actively building things around instead of learning the rules. I suppose that came from writing being easier than reading.
11
martininmelb 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have always seen git as a kind of assembler language for version control. We are now starting to see some second generation languages built on git. The first batch may not be perfect, but over time we will see improvements.

I welcome these attempts to abstract git and make it more accessible. I haven't yet seen one that I think I would prefer over native git, but am looking forward to see what develops.

12
Jach 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the only two commands from this I like are `git sprout newbranch` and `git unpublish branch`. But only because I think `git checkout -b newbranch` and `git push origin :branch` are stupid syntaxes for doing what they do.
13
Fluxx 8 hours ago 1 reply      
If you know what these commands are doing under the covers, these commands are a true time saver. If you don't know what these commands are doing, they're basically "magic" and in the hands of inexperienced developers could be harmful to their education on Git.
14
philwelch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem with "porcelain" like this is that it's invariably opinionated, and sometimes I'll want to do things that the simple, opinionated workflow doesn't allow for. And you still need to learn how Git works, which isn't really that difficult for someone who already understands the concept of a linked list, i.e. any competent programmer.
15
eagsalazar 6 hours ago 0 replies      
First of all, these verbs are only marginally more intuitive than the existing git verbs. Git when it is confusing, is confusing because of the underlying interactions and concepts, not because "push" is too bewildering compared to "sync".

Second, is the global "tower of babel" noise that widespread adoption of this alternate vocabulary will cause less than the slight local reduction in noise from legit?

No. Basically, this isn't a good idea and I really really hope no one adopts this.

16
icco 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems like a cool idea, but would be way (I've never even heard of the pip command before) better if it could be installed in one command. See http://betterthangrep.com/, https://github.com/defunkt/gist or http://beginrescueend.com/.
17
orblivion 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope the developer thought very carefully about how to handle doing operations starting from unusual states.

"# Switches to branch. Stashes and restores unstaged changes."

I guess I can't think of anything in particular, but I feel like something unexpected could go wrong here.

(I didn't know you could pop a the last stash that was made on a given branch?)

18
nnythm 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I wrote something vaguely similar a while back, I imagined it would be useful in a hackathon context for people who had never used git before. The biggest problem was that it doesn't help people understand git, whereas all of the regular git commands fundamentally make sense if you think about the way it's implemented, and also lead you toward and understanding of git.

My version was called jerk--it is a little meaner than git, and supports operations like "undo".

https://github.com/mnn2104/jerk

19
zephjc 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It's probably better to just write one's own wrapper for git that best fits you/your company's workflow, especially if it's for your company, since you can better justify the time spent writing the wrapper code. As a point of reference, the company I work at (five devs total) is moving off cvs(!!!) to git, but writing a wrapper tool to git to create branches and set them up in the manner we need for our product.
20
karamazov 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Is this just syntactic sugar?
21
eta_carinae 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Oh dear. Please, no. Just, no.

git's user interface is terrible and very counter-intuitive, but if you want to work in a team or, more to the point, be productive and leverage what git has to offer, do take the time to learn its native user interface.

Related article:

http://beust.com/weblog/2010/04/06/git-for-the-nervous-devel...

22
natch 6 hours ago 1 reply      
From the site:

>Legit is a complimentary command-line interface for Git

I do realize it's free, but I think you mean complementary.

23
twoism 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
nope
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curiositydriven 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I like the idea here, but see one significant problem that will prevent me from using these aliases. The git publish alias doesn't take a branch name, so if you have multiple remotes for the repository it will just publish to one of them. Which one? Well, the code in legit/scm.py reads

return repo.git.execute([git,
'push', repo.remotes[0].name, branch])

so it just pushes to whichever remote is first in its array. What if I want to publish to a second remote?

25
MatthewPhillips 12 hours ago 1 reply      
For those, like me, that had never heard of pip:

http://pypi.python.org/pypi/pip

26
desireco42 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I personally like git-flow, but this is just a symptom of git inconsistencies, like git branch and git checkout both work with branches.
I think it would be very useful to have higher level git that would be adopted as standard interface.
27
tubbo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
so this is basically a bunch of aliases?
28
samuel1604 10 hours ago 0 replies      
More stuff to remember, I'd rather remember the original commands to be honest.
29
Kiro 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll stick with the Git GUI.
15
How To Get Media Coverage For Your Startup: A Complete Guide onstartups.com
283 points by jasonlbaptiste  3 days ago   32 comments top 18
1
larrys 3 days ago 1 reply      
While the OP raises some good points, the letter which got them mention (on Mashable) doesn't even talk at all about what "buffer" is.

For example this paragraph ("paragraph one"):

"We have some big news for you. With the new release of Twitter.com, we have just released a way to post retweets via Buffer right from Twitter.com at a better time. It works seamlessly via installing our browser extension. You will have now, next to "reply" "retweet" and "favorite" a new option to "Buffer"."

Well that paragraph makes the assumption that the writer already knows what buffer is (and I will assume the website address (bufferapp.com is located in the email header).

While the writer (if interested) will certainly visit the site, a short description of what buffer is is essential.

My experience with doing this over the years (with mention in the WSJ, NYT, (multiple times) as well as online media (and blogs) has yielded the following formula:

1) Send occasional emails to writers before you need them.

2) In those emails compliment the story and add your perspective.

3) Invite the writer to contact you if they are doing stories on (something you know about) that is, to consider you a resource. By doing #1 your name will be in front of them and they might remember you and contact you.

4) Do this over the course of time. Then when you want to pitch the company they will pay attention to your email and message (which of course still needs to be well written) because they are familiar with you.

That is what has worked for me.

2
logicalmoron 3 days ago 1 reply      
SAI, former VentureBeat reporter here, few observations:

1) What is Buffer? If I don't know what the company does, I'm going to pass it off to the tips folder and it will probably die in obscurity.

2) The "saw the post you wrote yesterday" is not the approach you want. I cover social games " be aware that I cover social games and make it relevant to that. Reading my last three posts is not enough to tailor a pitch, because we write about a lot of things and they aren't all necessarily on our beat.

3) Seriously, introduce yourself. Don't do it with a pitch " let me know who you are and what you do. We do Q&As all the time with companies that have no news. You are 100x more likely to get published if I know who you are, what you do and why what you are doing is important.

4) How does this relate to normals? Most Twitter users don't actually Tweet. This is useful to me, but not necessarily my readers " who are of utmost importance to me.

5) Know the publication you are pitching. Blind pitching everyone is a waste of time " if you are a social game developer, go for Inside Social, GamesBeat, TechCrunch, etc. Fast Company is not going to listen to you.

6) We have to rush through literally hundreds of pitches each day. Just because we phrased something differently than you'd like, if it is still factually accurate, you're going to upset a reporter if you try to nitpick on wording. I once encountered a PR person that was yelling at me because I didn't call an online deals site a "mobile platform" and, instead, an "online deals site."

7) Also, we do want to know what you think. Entrepreneur and founder input is valuable in just about any story. If some big news happens " Steve Jobs resigns, for example " let us know what you think. When Jobs passed away, the first person I heard from was Box.net's Aaron Levie, who told me it was such a gargantuan loss and he was basically his idol and what made him want to become an entrepreneur. That, in of itself, is a story because Levie is running a company with a val of more than $500 million.

8) Don't be afraid to have a personal relationship with reporters " we aren't going to screw you, because blowing a relationship is worthless in this industry.

I'll add more as I think of it.

3
davemel37 3 days ago 2 replies      
ShoeMoney wrote a great post about getting press... A must read if you are serious about getting press...

http://www.shoemoney.com/2010/09/14/getting-press-for-your-w...

4
stdbrouw 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Really loved your post yesterday on how..." There's useful advice in this post, but recommending people turn the first paragraph in their email to a blogger/reporter into something akin to comment spam may not be your best bet if you want to get media coverage.
5
horsehead 3 days ago 2 replies      
Ah, a post I can comment on with authority. I'm a local reporter with a heart for tech. Perhaps I should blog a little more about getting media coverage for young (and not-so-young) entrepreneurs.

At least for local papers (and probably TV too), if you're not local, don't bother with emailing them. They'll pretty much disregard your email altogether (You probably WOULDNT be surprised by how many emails we get in a day begging for coverage for this or that. But it is a lot. Probably a few dozen for a midsized paper).

Find some way the product is really cool. And I'm talking, COOL. You might get a business reporter to give you a brief mention or a two paragraph something or another, but if you want a full shebang write up, you have to paint a picture as to WHY your product is the bomb. And don't give us your pre-written media shpeal. That might get you an article, but being organic is going to be a much better bet. Personally, I like to HEAR the enthusiasm for your product come through in your email. People who are extremely passionate about their product usually make for good stories regardless of the product. The folks at mashable write on tech for a living. So if you have a novel idea there, they're probably going to write about it. They may not be excited about writing the story, but they'll still do it; it's their job (kind of like whether the education reporter LIKES any given story they're writing about, they still have to do it because it's their job).

I guess if i could sum it up, I'd say talk to a reporter in an email or a phone call like you would tell your best bud about this awesome new thing you've got going on. In short, why are our READERS going to give a crap about your product? Keep in mind, we write stories. So we like to hear interesting stories. Maybe how you and yoru cofounders found each other or how you came up with the idea (a big maybe). yes you're trying to sell us on covering your product, but don't approach it that way.

(And as a PS, if you have journalist friends, DON'T beg us to write about your product whenever you see us. Just forget we're reporters. If you have something going on that we know about and think our readers might be interested in, We'll ask you about it) ;)

Maybe that will help some of yall out a little :)

6
pkh80 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else find the whole process of engaging the tech "media" a giant distraction from developing their core product and trying to engage real customers? Chances are if you have product that sounds "cool" to these companies you are going for a market that you are unlikely to win.

You are are far more likely to be successful targeting a business that is outside the consumer "cool zone". The consumer markets are so heavily saturated there's little chance for new products to really be noticed, and individual consumers aren't as profitable as targeting businesses unless you are lucky enough to be the next Facebook (you aren't.)

Unless your product customer is likely to be a hacker/geek/tech biz type that would read Mashable/Techcrunch/RWW/etc.. Don't waste your time trying to get coverage there, instead find reliable channels to talk directly to your customer and route them to your service.

Find heavy's in that vertical and appeal to them, especially ones that have a lot of influence (online or IRL.) Find blogs that match your vertical and get them to cover you, they will probably be happy to do it, and they probably will send you more link juice because they don't post 100+ articles a day.

Unless your PR is sending you real SEO heavy links, and/or putting a giant dent in the collective consciousness of your potential customer base, its worthless.

7
startupstella 3 days ago 0 replies      
this was a great post, and the fact that much of the information is repeated elsewhere in posts indicates that 1) there is a scalable strategy for pr that works and 2) not enough people are using it! i covered some of my advice for pr for startups here, as an extension to my post on mixergy on pr for startups http://startupstella.com/2011/10/14/dos-and-donts-of-pr-for-...
8
krogsgard 3 days ago 0 replies      
As far as who to pitch and who not to pitch, I think it's worth a mention that a startup will have more success pitching the blogs in its own niche before going after general tech blogs.

For example, if your startup is a service based on WordPress, go to some of the popular WordPress news blogs and influential WordPress people before you try to pitch Techcrunch and the like.

9
ValG 3 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent article, very beneficial with some good tips. Plus it brings out some actual writers here to give their insider knowledge which is really nice.

However, I wonder if this will cause the strategy and tactics to become less successful, at least in the short run. And by that I mean, if every entrepreneur that reads the article goes out and those this, it's just going to become the same noise that the reports see every day and they'll learn to ignore it...

What I expect to happen is that there will be an uptick of this type of activity by start-ups that are looking to get some publicity for their companies. It will probably last a month or so, and then die down as they realize that no, it's not really easy to make these connections and to make them be really successful you have to be genuinely interested in the writer and his stories, Think of it as the HN bump.

Any writers seeing this already? Or am I way off base?

10
ewest 3 days ago 0 replies      
The article mentioned getting contacts in the press. I'd like to mention that I run a news site that also gets published in Google News, and often write and post all sorts of press releases.

News stories about your startup are possible too. Contact me via my email address in my profile for details.

11
silent1mezzo 3 days ago 0 replies      
If we've learned anything from this week it's post something sexist to receive a lot of negative press (as it should).
12
benjlang 3 days ago 1 reply      
Solid advice. I launched http://blisscontrol.com a few days ago and it's been covered by Lifehacker, TechCrunch, Cnet and plenty more blogs. Most of the tactics mentioned in this post were ones that I used so definitely recommend using these tips.
13
teamlaft 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love the detail in this. Nailing the pitch and finding who to send it to are so obvious, yet most people don't know how to properly do so. Great advice here.
14
kkt262 3 days ago 1 reply      
Do you think its better (for media coverage purposes) to create a blog for your startup or to simply create a blog for yourself?
15
Finster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just get on Shark Tank. Worked for MisoMedia.
16
Florenceclot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting and useful. Thanks!!
17
coopr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sensible, practical, and very clear advice - this is a must-read for founders and startup marketers.
18
dshah 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm biased, but this is one of the most down-to-earth startup PR articles I've ever read. Practical and useful.

Nodded my head a bunch of times when I read it -- which is why I agreed to run it as a guest post on OnStartups.

16
Why I quit medicine gautams.posterous.com
283 points by gautamsivakumar  2 days ago   108 comments top 29
1
larrys 2 days ago  replies      
With a title of "Why I quit medicine" you would think somebody quit medicine because there is something wrong with medicine or the job of being a doctor.

What we have instead is a very well intentioned individual that is getting out of medicine because they want to run a startup. And that's fine. Maybe getting jealous because they see it as a path to riches and have been reading about to many outliers. Or maybe wanting to change the world.

But the job that he does is known as a "hospitalist" in this country. (Essentially Internal Medicine but not office practice).

http://www.hospitalmedicine.org/

My wife is one, and practices in a very modern hospital system. I've asked her many times about "the handoff (signout)" from the first time we were dating. Because it seemed outdated to me that when we were at dinner (and she was on call) she had to scribble down notes about sometimes 20 patients over the phone). But apparently the verbal interaction is important as well between two doctors and can't easily be summarized in writing. And I've overheard plenty of handoffs and can attest to the interactions between doctors and the nuance that can't be expressed in writing. (I even said why can't the other doctor just record something that you can listen to and a million other ideas and she shot all of them down very easily as not being practical. And she had every reason to support an idea like that if she thought it would make me money..)

Getting things done is difficult, and yes, they are very closed minded and it's hard to get change.

But drawing a comparison with "Considering I can talk to my smartphone and tell it to send a message to my dad or remind me to water the plants when I get home" doesn't take into account that whatever system is setup and accessed needs to be rock solid, dependable and can't fail in many degrees above your typical startup offering.

So this is a great ambitious idea that he has undertaken and I wish him well. But my guess is that he will have to partner with a health system in order to get adoption of this idea and work out the kinks and prove the concept.

2
gamble 2 days ago 8 replies      
Sounds a lot like the medical data startup I joined ten years ago. We were so, so painfully naive about the realities of medical software. Medical records are a trivial technical problem, but an almost insurmountable political and regulatory challenge. I knew our company was doomed when we were talking to another medical software company and saw the literal wall of binders that represented a single FDA approval process submission. It is so not a market that's friendly to startups.
3
arn 2 days ago 2 replies      
I quit medicine too, but not because of the lack of adequate computer interface :)

The whole taking notes, jotting down patient information. It seems antiquated, but it's really a hard problem to "fix" - if it really needs fixing. These are not medical records he's talking about, but personal notes on each patient and todos you carry around with you during your shift.

Paper/pen in taking these notes is faster than computer/tablet input. I've tried it. In several different forms. There's a lot of shorthand doctors develop that help out. Arrows, diagrams, etc...

Still seems a small part of the bigger picture, which is electronic medical record keeping.

Regardless, good luck with your venture!

4
mgkimsal 2 days ago 1 reply      
Paper isn't secure, but probably more 'secure' than data on a phone, cause there's far less risk of the paper getting duplicated silently than data being pulled from a smartphone (silent sending of address/contacts, etc).

Seriously? A shared Word document? With no audit trail of who wrote what? And that is an improvement over the state of the art? It sounds like Wordpress has far more robust data management (and probably security) than what he just described.

As a doctor who can code, I'm sure the OP will be in a great position to make real change. He knows the regulatory stuff to get past, what rules can be bent, who the movers/shakers are to get stuff moved. Likely just bringing some very basic CMS/ERP functionality to medical records management in a hospital would be huge.

5
tejaswiy 2 days ago 3 replies      
You're getting it wrong I think. I work in healthcare IT and many EMRs are getting on the mobile bandwagon and building out mobile clients that let you do this.

Additionally, hospitals require doctors to put in diagnosis / treatment notes into EMRs which is usually done by transcribing service that the doctors can call or by sitting at a computer and typing it out. Although this process is worse than doing it over a mobile client, healthcare IT is not in the dark ages as people would have you believe.

6
kyro 2 days ago 7 replies      
Good on you, man.

I'm in medical school currently and the emphasis on locking down patient data is one of the most frustrating things to see. I'm convinced that it's a policy that everyone knows has little benefit and yet pushes for ethical brownie points. What's to be gained from freeing up the data far, far exceeds what could potentially be lost.

Even freeing up anonymized patient data seems to be met with opposition. Imagine the data analysis that can be done on millions and millions of patient cases and the clinical/treatment models that can emerge as a result.

Medicine right now is an old, stiff wooden board bending under the weight of technological innovation. Something's going to snap and I'm looking forward to see it happen.

I really support what you're doing, and if you want design help, my email is in my profile. Best of luck!

7
DanBC 2 days ago 1 reply      
Medical notes need to have some obvious design features common to many other computer software.

- locking: only one person able to change the record
- auditing: keeping records of who read what, when, and where they did it
- signing: any additions are cryptographically signed and timestamped
- sharing: many clinicians need to be able to access the data across a wide range of hospital networks.

The UK NHS spent £11bn on a system which was late or didn't appear.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15014288)

About 10,000 people in England die each year because a clinician makes a mistake with the meds. While that risk is very low (because there are a huge number of patients taking a huge number of meds) it'd be nice if something simple could be done to reduce that number.

8
dr_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Things will start to change soon, there are some signs of this already.
Healthcare remains heavily regulated, and because of this even for profit institutions are sometimes run as government institutions. This is most apparent in nursing facilities. Medicare is the predominant payor, and there's no reason for any facility to go beyond what medicare requires. Why invest in electronic records, etc? if medicare doesn't require it (although that's changing now). It's just an added expense.

But it's become apparent to policy makers that Medicare is getting more and more expensive, and some type of change is going to have be initiated.
With private health insurance, it's the same picture. Costs are going up and more of these costs are being shifted to the insured (patients). Deductibles have gone up tremendously, and the days of the $5-$10 co-pay are almost gone.

The solution, in both cases although perhaps implemented in different ways, is going to have require the patient/insured to be responsible for paying for themselves directly. On the surface, it seems like a bad thing, but in the longer run it's a good thing. It brings into play what healthcare has been lacking - market forces.
Almost all other industries have market forces in play, but not so much in healthcare. Go to a great surgeon, or go to an average one, they get paid the same. Why? It shouldn't be that way.

But once people have to pay more out of their own pocket, they are going to be far more careful about who they see. The level of service provided is going to matter. Ease of access is going to matter. Outcomes are going to matter. How about a refund if certain things don't turn out as promised?

And that's where there is going to be tremendous opportunities for startups. To provide technology for patients, and for doctors, hospitals, etc to provide a better level of service. All parties involved will be actively looking for these tools at some point.

Granted there are some regulatory hurdles, and HIPAA was really a poorly thought out piece of legislation, but as the startup community grows, there will be tools made available to navigate these hurdles as well.

9
alphaoverlord 2 days ago 0 replies      
so what's the plan doc?
EHR in the style of practicefusion, drchrono, Epic, GE Healthcare?
10
kitsune_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know, most hospitals around here use something like SAP IS-H/IS-H MED for patient and resource management. There are yearly "eHealth summits" and similar conferences. Their IT guys are organized in user groups and societies where they share their knowledge. Is it an "enterprisey" environment? You bet it is, mainly because of the regulations. However, the hospitals definitely do not live in the stone age.
11
mkelley 1 day ago 0 replies      
I work for a company in Kentucky that is currently working on developing a system (with cooperation from the Department of Health) that addresses this exact problem. Basically a multi-user application that records all aspects of each Provider's "encounter" with a given patient. A Provider could be a doctor, nurse, lab tech, etc... So at anytime the current provider for a patient has access to all previous "notes" and any other data recorded about the patient as well as who recorded that information. Though I must admit, when I first started on this project I was quite surprised that there really wasn't much out there for public healthcare providers that didn't already do this. Besides Kentucky, there are several other states showing interest as well ... I just thought I'd mention that so nobody thinks, "Oh backwards Kentucky, their doctors run around the hospital barefoot!" Apparently this is a widespread problem in the public healthcare system across the United States as well.
12
devs1010 2 days ago 0 replies      
The topic of regulation that others have mentioned here makes me think of the airline industry also as, from what I can tell, medical regulations are almost as strict as those, I worked with a guy who used to do programming for devices on airliners and he said it was basically insane how much regulation there was, they were still not approved to use multi-core processors, etc so it was like programming for computers running technology of 10 years ago. I think people tend to think that healthcare would / should be much easier to use new technology for as its not quite the same as the aviation industry. However, it seems this isn't the case in legal terms and the industry may need a regulatory reform before innovation can really take place. In the case of an airliner, it really is life or death, however with healthcare, I think they can put in place enough backup systems (writing on paper, etc), even make the system do print-outs at set intervals, so if it goes down, there is a paper record right there, or something like that, so these issues can be overcome
13
tomwalker 1 day ago 0 replies      
in scotland I worked in a hospital and would have to print out blood results on a daily basis for, on average, 20 patients. Some weeks it could easily be 60 patients.

To do this would take about 6 clicks and due to the slow system about 40 seconds I figured out. There would commonly be a queue in the morning to use this computer.

I made a simple script on a pen drive that allowed me to print my bloods for patients I had on a list of 'my patients'

i got a slap on the wrist :(

14
jeybalachandran 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for writing this article and good luck with your venture. I'm not a doctor but my company works in healthcare and deals with the same physician related problems. So believe me when I say, I understand your pain.

Passing along patient information is a tricky subject due to HIPAA-compliancy. Most patient information is transmitted via fax machines and doctors are alerted of incidents through pagers, often carrying multiple. This technology is archaic and considering 75% of US physicians own some sort of Apple product there has to be change. In particular, physicians need better forms of communication that saves them time.

I'm hoping this changes as it will impact us all. It isn't going to happen overnight but with more and more physicians pushing for change in this area, one can only hope it happens sooner. If you're interested in what my company does, check out our website at https://www.doximity.com and our blog http://blog.doximity.com/ talks about similar problems.

15
sungam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, fellow UK hospital doc so fully understand the frustrations with NHS IT. I suspect problems stem from the fact that purchasing decisions are generally made by individuals (management and senior hospital docs) other than those that use the systems (in the main junior hospital docs). The other issue is that systems are implemented to reflect the way that diseases and patients should behave but there are always edge cases that do not fit into these nice boxes. Striking a balance between free-form data input, which does not add much compared to conventional paper notes, and forcing patient data into categories and drop-down boxes is a a real challenge. The other thing that is often forgotten is the amount of clinician effort required for a system. If it takes too long or is too complicated accurate data will simply not be entered in the absence of draconian sanctions from above. Anyway there is clearly plenty of room for improvement so I wish you the best of luck!
16
mattwrench 2 days ago 1 reply      
This article touches on why it somewhat bothers me to see some of my smartest friends applying to med school right now. I'm sure being a doctor is a rewarding profession and the work they do is so incredibly important to their patients--but it's not particularly unique work. Medicine is the application of the already known. (Most med students are not going to be the next DeBakey.) Rather than contributing original work, most doctors seem to be well-paid (and deservingly so) blue collar workers. If someone turns down a med school acceptance, that school can instantly pull 100 names of their waitlist who will be more-or-less just as qualified.

Sivakumar is right in that there aren't many doctors who can also code. While he may not get to feel the joy of directly improving patients lives, this goal of his seems far more important to the well-being of everyone.

17
goggles99 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I Don't know what hospitals you guys have been in, but my primary health care for the last 12 years has been Sutter in California. The hand-offs have been electronic (custom software, not word docs) for that entire time. The Doctors now carry around a tablet as well to update info about a patient. Before the tablets, every room had a PC for updating info. Maybe Sutter is just a special case, I was surprised at the article and some of the comments here.
18
drucken 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps its a compensation or cultural issue with medicine in the UK.

But, as a doctor, changing careers and creating a startup, especially one on the other side of the planet, seems an extreme reaction with extreme risk. Why not go private or even change geographies but remain a doctor while working on this problem on the side?

I say this because, given how well compensated doctors can be, as well as clear and progressive career paths and the strong vocational aspect, the opportunity cost of this change is enormous!

TL;DR. Are there other more significant issues involved?

19
jhaile 1 day ago 0 replies      
Putting aside income, I think tech/startup jobs are superior to medicine and law because the majority of doctors are simply analyzing symptoms and diagnosing using systems and books written by other people; the majority of lawyers are just interpreting laws written by other people. Whereas tech startups are creating and inventing solutions to problems that can improve the world. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad there are doctors out there (may not say the same for lawyers), but I'd rather be a creator/innovator than someone who is just interpreting things. Too many smart people get stuck in doctor/lawyer jobs for income/status reasons that could be having a bigger impact on the world if they were inventing new ideas and helping create a better world.
20
mmonihan 2 days ago 0 replies      
A strategy that may have a chance, given the current situation:

1. Befriend and work with a mentor who happens to be high up in the IT department in a health system.

2. Create some kick-ass app

3. Open-source it(use the open-source version as a way for IT people in other health systems to use your work)

4. Have your mentor implement that software in their health system as a pilot project.

5. Befriend other IT directors and try to sell to them.

6. Befriend other medical software providers and try to license to them.

7. Make hay while the sun shines.

21
tamersalama 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why quitting? I see that having access to the problem gives access to numerous use-cases and ideas.
22
peeln 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't this addressed by a product like https://drchrono.com/ YC!) or am I missing somethings?
23
wisty 2 days ago 2 replies      
I see why it's important to have secure patient records. It would be devastating to have your personal medical information up on pastebin.

But you know what's worse? Dying because the doctor misses a vital piece of information which can't be found in disorganized paper notes, or a bureaucratically designed medical information system (which set the hospital back roughly the cost of a new life-saving machine).

24
jacoblyles 2 days ago 0 replies      
A good example of the immense unanticipated costs of regulations, in this case patient privacy regulation.
25
itmag 1 day ago 0 replies      
So you're a doctor AND you know how to code. Very interesting, please do share your story about how that came to be :
26
hschmidt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am a contractor at a client that does exactly that:

http://patientsafesolutions.com

Using a iPod Touch and a proprietary jacket, patients can be monitored and transferred to the next shift of nurses through an intuitive App. Its really quite amazing.

27
pavanky 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me or does anyone else think all the doctors need is a bug tracking tool ? Preferably something that can be used from a smart phone / tablet via an app ?
28
lurker14 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is that really why you quit, or an engaging PR backstory?

As an entrepeneur, you'll have to deal with clogged sinks, office rentals, legal filings, and lots of other hassles similar to carrying around a piece of paper.

29
rdg 2 days ago 1 reply      
These guys need to buy this revolutionary product called a notebook. And no, I don't mean a laptop computer, but a "traditional" notebook. And probably a bunch of pens.
A notebook is harder to lose than a scrap of paper and you can hand it over to the next doctor so he can read your note and add his own. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?
17
Codename: Svbtle by Dustin Curtis dcurt.is
263 points by kreutz  3 days ago   155 comments top 42
1
raganwald 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the design, but shrug at the idea of vetted bloggers. I have HN and twitter and reddit and FB and many other ways to filter content for me. I don't want or need a curated brand.

I especially don't want writers on the network hesitating about whether to write low-quality material. Insay, wcatter your ideas and let "the market" decide.

2
3pt14159 3 days ago 3 replies      
"When I'm writing, I want to have no distractions, so I removed all of them."

When I'm reading it is the same damn thing. You have TWO flashing beacons.

3
encoderer 3 days ago 1 reply      
Points to DCurtis for shipping. That's what this life is all about and it's easy to lose sight of that.

But my own personal opinion is that I don't love it.

The UI of the published blogs is nice. I actually like the animation on the left, though I personally would only show it once per session. I think the challenge will be making this a more usable, integrated experience for the user while retaining the sparse and appealing UI. Even for "vetted" bloggers, audience reach and accessibility matters.

I'm not a big fan of the UI for the backend. I like the concepts. But the UI seems too designed. The strict use of black and white, for example, seems almost a gimmick to me.

And I really dislike the Kudos "button" and his response to the criticism.

There is absolutely no functional benefit. People know buttons. They expect buttons to work like all other buttons work: You have to press it if you want to press it. I could go on and on about why this is bad
(unfriendly to touch UIs (even if it also supports clicking), people shouldn't have to be careful about where they rest their mouse, it takes 1s to "hover induce" this button and far less than 1 sec to click, etc.)

But the biggest UX blunder, IMO, is not being able to undo it.

I was less than impressed by DCurtis's response to the Kudos issue: that a kudos is meaningless. If it's so meaningless why not let people kudos the same thing more than once? Why have a kudos at all?

I hope this can be seen as constructive, because I think his project is much bigger than this critique. He worked on something, and shipped. Our industry is more of a meritocracy than most. Congrats on shipping, high-five and well done.

Now make it better, please.

4
davej 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder how many people gave kudos to the post by mistake? I know I did and there's no way to remove the kudos you gave afterwards. User actions should be a click not a hover.
5
seldo 3 days ago 4 replies      
I like the "ideas pane" a lot. I have exactly the same workflow, except my "ideas pane" is just a text file in Dropbox. I work on posts there until they're big enough to paste into my blog.

I'm not really interested in running my blog on someone else's platform, though (I realize I'm in the minority here).

6
devinfoley 3 days ago 3 replies      
"This is the blogging platform for creative, intelligent, and witty people. Membership by invitation only."

Am I the only person that laughed out loud at this?

7
jarek 3 days ago 1 reply      
For future record: An article about a by-invitation closed-source blogging platform created by a self-proclaimed superhero is the top article on Hacker News on March 22, 2012 at 17:16 PST.
8
delinka 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wait. This isn't some downloadable blogging engine? I'm disappointed. If that "creative, intelligent and witty" bit isn't sarcasm, how about the guy 'puts up' and offers the code for download?

Unless this is the guy's business plan and he just doesn't want to kill his server. But this really looks like an "I built this really cool thing for me and some friends and you can't play" kind of thing.

9
staunch 3 days ago 2 replies      
Drafts in Wordpress work quite well for this purpose. I just click "New Post", write in some temporary title and a short description in the body, then click "Save Draft". Viewing drafts is easy too.

I find formatting to be the biggest annoyance in blogging, but I bet there's a markdown WP plugin for that which I should use.

Actually I do like this, but not for the "ideas" feature. I like it for the simplicity and hip minimalist aesthetic.

10
gaoshan 2 days ago 0 replies      
After reading that my impression is that the whole thing seems kind of douchey to me. Then again, I'm not a superhero with my own exclusive club so I'm not really qualified to say anything.
11
Katelyn 2 days ago 2 replies      
1. Kudos Button: Why the controversy? I've always viewed it as a meaningless counter that's fun to hover over. I never took the counts seriously. Sometimes I visit your site just to send arbitrary kudos. What's most concerning about the buttons is the number of readers that feel "victimized," "deceived" or "tricked" from, well...a css element.

2. Svbtle: There are few names I've come across in my career that are as painful as this one to read, spell or pronounce. It gives me anxiety, and what's worse is that it's inspired by Svpply. A good name is a word that you can tell someone over the phone without them asking you how to spell it. Period.

3. The ideas panel is cool. Is there a way you could generate the list in other ways than just manually adding tags? Could you add a bookmarking tool, for example, that adds keywords to your Ideas List once you bookmark a page you find thought-provoking?

4. The S* Network: Your strategy to build a platform exclusive for exceptionally high-rated bloggers to use wont work for several reasons, here's just a few:

4a. I loved your site's design until I saw others on your platform using it. Then it became boring and nauseating. The design of a blog tells a story sometimes just as much as the content does. It gives the blogger personality, and the reader something fresh to look at.

4c. Top bloggers (any bloggers) not only use design to express themselves, but also to stand out. To be remembered. Eventually when you notice a site's design enough times, you realize you might want to check out who the author is.

4d. Social elements and "Sharing" buttons can look messy at times, but the fact is, bloggers like their content shared, and readers like to share content they enjoy. Removing arguably the most widely used tool on the web much poorer design that displaying a 'tweet' button after each post.

4e. Aside from 'ideas' your platform doesn't have anything that takes away the pain that enough users have to make it worth building. I add 'blogging' to pg's list of frighteningly ambitious startup ideas..

12
sylvinus 3 days ago 2 replies      
The animation of the left sidebar on each page is really annoying.

Aside from that, it looks really clean!

13
Smudge 3 days ago 0 replies      
Who's vetting the bloggers invited to join the Svbtle network? Is it Dustin himself? Something about an exclusive, invite-only network for "creative, intelligent, and witty people" really turns me off.

Not that I wouldn't be interested in reading what only the best and the brightest have to say. Maybe it's just the way it's been presented, but in its current form it seems sort of like the Mensa of blogging platforms.

14
8ig8 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting concept. Like the panes. But this seems contradictory to me:

> It really is the essence of blogging[...] no social bullshit.

> And, of course, you should follow me on Twitter here.

15
marcamillion 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the concept, but then I clicked through to the other blogs, and it felt wrong.

I felt like I should be reading John Collison's blog, but I keep hearing Dustin's voice in my head. The same goes when I switch to other authors.

I get what he is trying to do - by keeping it minimalist and all, but I think it gets in the way of the content and the author by not offering a distinct enough experience on each author's words.

16
ihodes 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think the most interesting thing about whatever Dustin does is the hype he's able to build around it"I'm consistently impressed, and wonder if he might not be as effective as a promoter as he is a designer.
17
huhtenberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like it when people thoughtfully scratch an itch that everyone else thinks has been scratched to death. There is a room for major improvements in every established technology area - be it a blogging platform, instant messaging, analytics or email clients.

PS. This also explains why Dustin needed a Markdown symbol back in February - http://drbl.in/daOE

18
jamesjyu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ah yes, this reminds me why I made QuietWrite. Except, QW is open to all: http://www.quietwrite.com
19
duaneb 3 days ago 1 reply      
I expected a github link to the software, found... a snobby, invitation-only network. No thanks, amigo, I think I'll steal your idea and release it for free.
20
endlessvoid94 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yesterday I made a quip about how 3 of the 5 members were on the frontpage of HN arguing, and how I didn't want an invite.

Insert foot in mouth.

I really like the idea of the two columns. I'd totally use this.

21
nchlswu 2 days ago 0 replies      
A couple of general things.

(1) Svbtle is actually a decent name (I sort of thing the 'v' is tired, but that's just a product of things I'm following doing that) Unfortunately, it's probably not appropriate for a tech audience

(2) I'm very surprised at the significant negative reaction to his 'curation' of his blogging network. I understand the feelings of condescension, but is it really that big of a deal? Many things are invite only, vetted by one person. I'm personally bothered by /other/ elitist attitudes prevalent in the industry. This is pretty consistent and he never said this was never going to be public...

22
ssmoot 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's very pretty. I wish I had the skill to come up with a UI as nice as that.

I wonder what language/platform it's written in?

23
pspeter3 3 days ago 2 replies      
If the domain name is invite only, is there any chance that the code will be open source so other people can run their own version of svbtle?
24
54mf 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have conflicting feelings: love the concept, love the design, but jealous I'll never get an invite. At least, happy it exists.
25
brown9-2 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems ironic for someone not interested in "social bullshit" to have what is essentially a Like button on each post.
26
adeelk 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I have an idea, no matter how developed, I throw it into the ideas pane.
This creates a physical scrapboard for organizing my thoughts. I work on ideas
over time, and, when one of them becomes developed or good enough, I'll
publish it and it'll move over into the published column.

This is so important. I've been using SimpleNote to the same effect. I just handle the publishing part separately; I publish so rarely that it doesn't make sense for me to couple the two together.

27
revorad 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. I've had something like this (probably even simpler) in my mind for a while, but never get around to making it.

Dustin, I just emailed you with a name suggestion.

28
spindritf 2 days ago 0 replies      
It looks weird without javascript, there's this huge slab of colour on the left, and the script eats up half of a core (Firefox 11). Are all blogs in Svbtle centrally hosted? Not just federated?
29
aba_sababa 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome. Beat me to it. I treat my writing the same way: like fruit on tree, adding to it slowly until it ripens.

How can I get an invite?

30
dchuk 3 days ago 2 replies      
Am I correct in assuming the post text editor was all custom built? If not, can anyone link to a solution that is as clean as that? I love the idea of just typing on the page versus typing into a special box with a hundred buttons along the top
31
farinasa 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry, but isn't this just a reversion to late 90's style frame design? It seems all you've done is build it in the latest trendy standards and add a few little CSS tricks.

Minimalist design is supposed to be about presenting the content first and foremost. But the content is overshadowed by your frame. Your name and flashy CSS tricks are the only constants on the page and take up nearly 25% of the view, but you claim you're trying to draw attention to the content? Perhaps if the content you're presenting is you, then you have a successful design.

32
willvarfar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Lovely, very lovely.

It looks so usable.

I've been irritated by lack of features in Tumblr; whilst you don't those features, it does look like you have a cleaner approach for content-creating.

Reminds me slightly of Trello.

33
methoddk 2 days ago 0 replies      
It all seems really snooty and lame. Not digging the attitude, dcurtis.

Sidenote: The judos thing is annoying and the design is mad plain.

34
obilgic 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a really good example of "being famous does not mean that you are good at everything". Do not forget why you are famous. If you are really famous actor and body builder, you might be governor If you try really hard, but do not run for presidency.
35
swah 3 days ago 0 replies      
He has "the eye" for design, though... everything looks effortless and kinda great... unlike when I try to make a page look good (yes I read about Mark Boulton and grids and a visual hierarchy and spacing and baseline and rhythm and UX but it doesn't do miracles...)
36
brettbergeron 3 days ago 0 replies      
The animating sidebar and kudos buttons are cute the first time around, but annoying when I start to try and move around the site with real intent.

Overall, it feels like the designer is wagging his/her tail in my face.

37
waxjar 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think this system is well thought out. It has a beautiful, minimal design that actually let's you focus on the reading, once you're done playing with the kudos button.

The only criticism I have is that it relies on sites like Hacker News and Reddit or email/twitter for discussion. Blog posts may be full of errors, but readers (and maybe authors) may never find out, due to the relatively inaccessible discussion/feedback system.

38
Smudge 3 days ago 0 replies      
How many other blogging platforms have boiled everything down to just that simple workflow? I'd say this is much more about execution than about the idea.
39
Killswitch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome job, I am actually slowly building something like this myself.. Just a simple blogging platform, no fluff, just the essentials.
40
MaysonL 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of Google's redesigns...
41
rwc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amusingly, he's gone from being a "superhero" to a "villain" according to his tagline at dcurt.is
42
icki 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have you considered displaying a collective feed of your networks' posts on the homepage?
18
agentzh's Nginx Tutorials agentzh.org
244 points by freestyler  2 days ago   22 comments top 9
1
themcgruff 2 days ago 3 replies      
There's two of us at 37signals building projects on top of the HttpLua / ngx_lua module. The OpenResty (http://www.openresty.org) project is absolutely worth a look if you are willing to live on the edge and you wan't incredibly fast performance. I can't say enough good things about the work agentzh and chaoslawful have been up to lately -- just check out their Github profiles.
2
riobard 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those who don't know, agentzh and chaoslawful made these super-awesome tools around nginx to power Taobao, the largest e-commerce site in China. agentzh left Taobao to work fulltime on OpenResty now. Stay tuned for what's to come from them!
3
dylanz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I worked with agentzh on a module at one point, and he was extremely helpful in validating my ideas and helping me out. He answered all my questions by thorough example and explanation, which is why I'm excited that I saw this post. Hats off to agentzh!
4
freestyler 2 days ago 1 reply      
The source repository is here https://github.com/agentzh/nginx-tutorials
5
wildmXranat 2 days ago 0 replies      
His and chaoslawful's github projects are worth taking a look at. I slapped on a Lua scripted cache layer on top of Nginx, which ended up boosting a response into low ms.
6
pwf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was looking forward to learning nginx, until I read this...

It's very nicely written and explains things well, but it doesn't so much teach nginx as it does point out all the contradictory and unexpected behaviors. That doesn't look fun to learn (or work with) at all.

Edit: I just looked in to agentzh's other project OpenResty, and I take everything back. It may be difficult, but it's extremely powerful, and seemingly worth dealing with the 'gotchas'.

7
sparshgupta 2 days ago 0 replies      
agentzh is a great mentor. He has helped me number of times, often looking at my configurations and getting into my systems and tweaking things around to make them work. He even installed the powerful openresty on one of my machines to demonstrate how it can solve my problems and did some benchmarks for me. Respect to agentzh!! cant wait to see it evolve from here
8
sycren 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are there any tutorials on how to start a vps as a beginner from scratch?
I mean in one place rather than looking for a tutorial in linux then another on apache or nginx and so on...
9
mrspandex 2 days ago 2 replies      
That font is almost impossible to read.
19
James Cameron begins deepest dive bbc.co.uk
235 points by ed209  6 hours ago   51 comments top 16
1
dandelany 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Paul Allen's Twitter seems to be a good source of up-to-the-minute news on the dive: https://twitter.com/#!/PaulGAllen

He says he's on "Octopus," which I assume is one of the support vessels. Aparently Cameron's sub has just touched down on the seabed, Allen's latest tweet:

#deepseachallenge hit bottom at 0752 local time "All systems ok"

and a few minutes before that:

"Now on the bottom 35755 ft!! Plan is for #Deepseachallenge to spend 4-6 hours on the seabed- take samples....Huge Congrats what a relief!!!"

Very exciting!

2
Isamu 1 hour ago 1 reply      
They mention the hull is made of "syntactic foam".

It seems this is a composite of (glass,ceramic,etc) microspheres in a resin matrix. They mention in the bbc video that they glue blocks together and machine them somehow - how does one machine such a composite?

More on syntactic foam: http://www.crgrp.com/technology/materialsportfolio/syntactic...

[edit] yet more:

"Syntactic foam flotation products are available in formulations for shallow water foam to those capable of reaching the bottom of the Mariana Trench."

http://www.esyntactic.com/

"The HZ Grade of syntactic has been formulated to survive the deepest depths of the ocean. This class of syntactic will survive crush pressures greater than 20,000 psi making for safe operation in the Hadal Zone.

http://www.esyntactic.com/dwsfs.htm

3
michael_nielsen 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The official Twitter account: https://twitter.com/#!/DeepChallenge

According to tweets from @PaulGAllen and @PeterDiamandis, Deep Challenge should arrive at the bottom around 14:40 PST.

Edit (14:50 PST): No word from @PaulGAllen since 14:20 PST, when he noted Cameron was at 32160 feet and "not long to seabead now". I hope the people on the support crew are just really busy because Cameron is touching down on the bottom!

4
maeon3 4 hours ago 4 replies      
Creatures down there have been separated from life up here for ever, we need to get the DNA sequenced for some of them, we may find some shocking discoveries of our ancestors 500 million years ago. Are there plans to bring back animal samples?
5
michael_nielsen 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Cameron hit the bottom at 14:52 PST, according to @PaulGAllen, and "all systems ok".

Here's Cameron's tweet announcing his arrival: "Just arrived at the ocean's deepest pt. Hitting bottom never felt so good. Can't wait to share what I'm seeing w/ you @DeepChallenge"

https://twitter.com/#!/JimCameron/status/184036733959143425

6
sek 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I have deep respect for this guy. He really cares about these things and makes a living out of it.
I share his fascination with the sea and exploration. He really has a message with his movies, but unfortunately not understood by everyone.
7
pepsi 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Almost done with ascent:

#deepseachallenge sub now at 700M rising.

https://twitter.com/#!/PaulGAllen/status/184095201709662208

8
avar 4 hours ago 0 replies      
He just landed on the bottom at -10.9 km: https://twitter.com/PaulGAllen/status/184037895819112448
9
cop359 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know how they communicate with the sub?

My understanding is that radio waves can't penetrate water very far (if at all) and that it's impractical to drag a long cable down.

10
danberger 1 hour ago 1 reply      
How awesome is it that he is tweeting from the deepest point on earth?
11
darxius 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't understand, has he left yet?

Either way, this is awesome! I can't wait to see what lies at those depths. I would love to know how the engineers who build the new vessel fixed the silt issue.

12
ivankirigin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What a hero
13
softbuilder 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Guts.
14
MatthewPhillips 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Old media: http://www.cnn.com/

New media: https://twitter.com/#!/i/discover

Guess which one isn't covering this historic event.

15
lwat 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't wait to see what he manages to film down there!
16
jonniekang 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I really hope he finds a UFO or some sea-dwelling people.
20
How Reddit ranking algorithms work amix.dk
227 points by kopsai  3 days ago   28 comments top 15
1
kprobst 3 days ago 1 reply      
One of the problems with Reddit in my experience is the spam filter. What happens is in the bigger subreddits (say, /r/pics or /r/funny) is that there seem to be people around who downvote stuff regardless of content, presumably to give their own posts a better chance. When your submissions consistently end up with -1 or -2 scores, the spam filter then decides that you are a spammer and you should be punished. Except in this case it's not for submitting spam, but because other people want their own submissions to have more visibility.

(As an aside, I obviously wouldn't be complaining about this if I had actually tried to spam reddit, my few submissions to date match the typical fare there)

Once the spam filter 'hates' you (as they put it) then subsequent submissions are 'ghosted' in the sense that you see them, but they don't appear in the /new section of the subreddit. Assuming you get wind of this (no downvotes, no comments, nothing) then you get to message the moderators, who may or may not respond in good time and restore your submission. By that time your obvious reaction is to delete and re-submit (because by now the post has drifted down the submission sort order), which apparently makes the spam filter hate you even more.

The problem I have with this is that by no fault of my own I ended up submitting things that were flagged as spam and hidden from view without any indication to me. You can see your posts, but no one else can. This might be a clever solution to deal with systemic spammers, but it's really annoying to normal users like me.

Karma games are fun and internet drama is lame of course; I don't lose sleep over this. But it's unfair to people who want to share something with the community. Of course you see reposts of lame memes that hit the front page and wonder why the picture of your cute hedgehog submitted in good faith ends up in the spam void.

There's supposed to be a user flag that tells the filter you're an approved submitter for a given subreddit; good luck getting that, I guess. So ultimately this makes me not want to submit anything. Right now reddit might not care about that because it has such a large user base, but I would remind them that Slashdot and Digg also thought they were invincible once.

2
anthuswilliams 3 days ago 1 reply      
One thing I wish was different about the way Reddit's algo worked is the way it treats downvotes. Basically, if I am average Joe redditor, there are two potential reasons for a downvote:

1) The post is something I personally disagree with.

2) The post was written by a moron (for various definitions of the word moron).

What I wish is that someone (smarter than myself) could come up with a way to reliably determine the motive behind a downvote. I know that's no simple task. But I actually want posts that are slightly more controversial to rank higher than posts which don't generate a lot of downvotes, simply because I'm more interested in reading something thought-provoking than checking out the latest batch of meme-gen.

Basically I want comment rankings to look like this:

a) Lots of downvotes, few upvotes == total asshole. Maybe racist, maybe a general troll, but I want this ranked at the rock bottom.

b) An equal number of upvotes vs. downvotes == flamebait. I'm not interested in the latest holy wars, so we call this the next lowest in rankings.

c) Lots of upvotes, few downvotes == uninteresting. Rank it lower.

d) The ratio upvotes/downvotes is greater than 1, but less than some finite number N. These are the stories I want to read.

I want a ranking system that works something like the above, albeit with more finesse (e.g. perhaps we swap the ranking position of b and c). I'm just not interested in the latest round of adorable kitten pictures, and on HN, too much emphasis on the sheer number of upvotes manifests as groupthink. Also, I want the downvotes that are received by slightly controversial stories/comments (again, slightly controversial as opposed to PC-vs-Mac style flamebait) to have a smaller effect on the poster's karma, so that people will feel free to express disagreement on sites like reddit and HN.

3
amix 3 days ago 2 replies      
Did not expect this post from 2010 to hit HN... Happy to see that my content is still useful :)

To add something new to the discussion I think HN should use Reddit's comment sorting algorithm (the confidence sort). It produces way better results than the current algorithm since it will rank the best comments highest regardless of their submission time. Would probably produces an even better comment section here on HN.

4
sirclueless 3 days ago 0 replies      

    This has a big impact for stories that get a lot of upvotes and
downvotes (e.g. controversial stories) as they will get a lower
ranking than stories that just get upvotes. This could explain why
kittens (and other non-controversial stories) rank so high :)

That actually seems backwards to me. A controversial story (that is, one that triggers a lot of votes both negative and positive) would do just fine so long as it continues to receive more upvotes than downvotes.

That's not to say that downvotes don't put a damper on things -- if a story gets 80% upvotes and 20% downvotes it will get 75% the score it would without downvotes, which on a log scale is 87.5% as high a ranking.

But the point is that things are still roughly linear -- you only need to stay positive (> 50% upvotes) to accrue score, and you will do so linearly. Maybe I am underestimating how competitive scores are, and how important upvote rate is. Maybe a small linear damper on upvote rate has a large effect relative to other content? But it definitely seems like this system encourages interesting, controversial content over bland, well-received content.

5
untog 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fascinating to see how HN and Reddit differ. I wonder if anyone can provide an analysis on which one is more appropriate for different scenarios, and why. I certainly have no clue.
6
buddydvd 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a simple jsfiddle page that show you the current stories in /r/all and their associated ratings as calculated by the hot algorithm:

http://jsfiddle.net/6FVd3/embedded/result/
Source: http://jsfiddle.net/6FVd3/

One thing I noticed is that the stories aren't sorted by the algorithmic score in strict descending order. I recall some mentioned that reddit mangles the ups/downs score exposed via their API. Is this the reason?

7
taylorbuley 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a SQL implementation: https://github.com/reddit/reddit/blob/master/sql/functions.s...

Interesting here to also see their "controversy" algo

8
Geee 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've implemented this in one project with the addition that allows entries to 'keep afloat', or resurface if they are suddenly voted a lot. So, the behavior is more like what you would see in 'Popular now' list on Youtube, without having to compute running averages.

The way I did it was to update the post time with fractional of the difference of the old timestamp and current time, i.e:

    post_time += (current_time - post_time)/10

That way, if the post is really old, voting gives a decent boost to it, but if it's more recent, it has negligible effect.

9
sniW 3 days ago 0 replies      
Note that this article is from 2010. The most recent code for the Reddit ranking algorithms is here:

https://github.com/reddit/reddit/blob/master/r2/r2/lib/db/_s...

It looks like they've tweaked the confidence sort algorithm a bit.

10
aprescott 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think I might be missing something about the effect of submission time as described. t_s is a fixed value, and the post says, "The score won't decrease as time goes by, but newer stories will get a higher score than older." So why does the graph[1] show a decreasing scoring as "submission time ago" increases with up- and down-votes fixed? t_s is fixed!

Maybe it's been too long a day. Can anyone explain?

[1]: http://amix.dk/uploads/reddit_score_time.png

11
creamyhorror 3 days ago 0 replies      
I always like applying statistical theory to things like estimating true average ratings (Bayesian weighted), and logarithms to scores that increase exponentially. Applying suitable functions to transform values is just a great way to fine-tune the measures we use in our sites and give exactly the sort of behavior we want.

Thanks for a great link.

12
bryogenic 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing that wasn't mentioned was that high scoring submissions are artificially deflated in their viewed score so that the highest scores can get are ~3000 votes. This keeps the massive site seeming less gargantuan and makes your vote feel like it counts.
13
clux 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a small npm module containing this algorithm as well as a few other famous ones a while ago for anyone interested in a quick JS implementation. https://github.com/clux/decay
14
SpiderX 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is interesting, but I don't think as implemented, the Wilson system is the best. If an article has over 200 comments, you'll (by default) only see the "best" 200 (max 500), so those will be more likely to receive the most votes. It's their default paging that is the problem.
15
AceJohnny2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ranking in sites like Slashdot, Reddit, and HN is a difficult and fascinating problem. I wasn't aware of the difference between Reddit's ranking methods, nor of Munroe's involvement. Thanks for the input!
21
Think Hiring a Ruby Developer is Hard? Try Staffing a Nuclear Reactor Startup bostinno.com
213 points by wfrick  3 days ago   80 comments top 19
1
kevinalexbrown 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm close with someone who was offered a position at a nuclear startup NuScale, that aims to manufacture cookie-cutter, modular nuclear reactors, where you scale the power plant by adding more reactors over time as your needs change, and ship the old spent ones off.

As I understand it, part of the problem in hiring is that for a nuclear startup you really need experienced engineers as you go into producing working prototypes. Depending on the position, they don't necessarily need explicit nuclear experience - my relative didn't have it - but they do need a proven track record of not majorly screwing up ever, and that requires experience you can usually only get working for years in real engineering environments. There can be no 'oops, we messed up the privacy requirements' apology or people die, meltdowns happen, and the company gets the biggest of red flags.

That's not to say you need to be old to start a nuclear company, but that you will probably need to work with older engineers, who are harder to hire, settled in their jobs, and scattered across the US, with mortgages, families, and the like.

2
ScotterC 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm so glad there are nuclear startups. There's so much to be done in this field. It's enormously tough to disrupt but licensing a design might be a start.

Talent is extraordinarily hard to find for this. All the great engineers with domain experience are starting to retire. The ones that are left are extremely risk averse. You have to attempt to poach from GE or Westinghouse.

I worked for Westinghouse for two years doing Pipe Analysis and Fracture Mechanics. There are funny things that happen to steel piping at 2250 psi and 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Only nukes are familiar with the stresses and environmental fatigues that can happen in that environment over an 80 year period.

3
larsberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
The older age demographic may work in their favor --- the "about to retire" crowd might be willing to work with them on pretty favorable terms, especially if they are flexibile on location and hours. It would be a heck of a lot more interesting and rewarding than consulting part-time for Westinghouse or GE, which is what they would probably otherwise do.

I've been thinking a lot about this kind of problem because the foundry industry is in much the same state. My father has been working in it (metallurgy, process/lean, product design and test, etc.) for ~45 years and is retiring in a few years. The foundry industry is also a field with basically nobody between the ages of 25-55 in the US, and he's thinking about what he will do to keep busy once the pension and social security kick in, apart from the obvious occasional contracting gig.

4
Loic 3 days ago 2 replies      
Just cross the Atlantic, open a subsidiary in France. You will find there a lot of extremely qualified engineers for everything nuclear related.
5
uvdiv 2 days ago 0 replies      
The photo @11:30 wasn't identified correctly. She's talking about spent fuel, high-level waste ("very big problem"), but the photo slide is absolutely not that at all; it is stored depleted uranium hexafluoride, a byproduct of isotope enrichment. (The site is the USEC gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky, USA). Comparatively benign chemical waste.

(Maybe I misunderstood, but the talk seemed to imply that spent fuel storage was being shown. It wasn't.)

http://g.co/maps/b9haq

http://www.usec.com/media/photo-gallery

http://web.ead.anl.gov/uranium/faq/storage/faq16.cfm

6
jph 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ninja rockstar wanted for lean startup in nuclear sector. Must know MVC framework (Matter/Valence/Controller), ATOM feeds, and the Ruby "split" method. Perks include free energy drinks.
7
mhd 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm a bit scared that there might be "rockstar" nuclear engineers out there.
8
kemiller 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how politically difficult it would be to get one of these built near Yucca Mountain. Given that a) it's already a nuclear hotzone in the minds of the public, and b) this offers some possibility of improving the situation while generating exportable power. You'd think this would be an interesting prospect to at least one philanthropically-minded billionaire.
9
drucken 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if this is a thorium-based Molten Salt Reactor?

If so, why is the now quite well-known MSR advocate Kirk Sorensen not involved in this project, but instead started his own company (Flibe Energy) to design and produce a thorium MSR?

Still, I have a feeling that two US private startups is no match vs Chinese government MSR let alone other nuclear energy technology spending.

10
squozzer 3 days ago 3 replies      
Not sure if the talent pool would fit the startup culture but the US Navy might be worth investigating. Or the Russian, British, or French navies.
11
ses 2 days ago 0 replies      
These two have admirable goals but I don't think I'm alone in finding it hard to justify the terms 'nuclear reactor' and 'startup' in the same sentence together. It's incredibly judgemental I know, but I have a hard time taking those two young PhD students on a stage talking about nuclear power seriously... and I'm a young person myself. It just makes me think, will anyone take such a business seriously if they brand themselves as a tech startup? IMHO they would do better to actively steer themselves away from being seen in this light.
12
amalag 3 days ago 4 replies      
I thought thorium was the frontier in nuclear reactors.
13
CookWithMe 2 days ago 0 replies      
I never thought someone would use something associated with "Fail early, fail often" in the same sentence with nuclear reactors.
14
achy 3 days ago 1 reply      
The majority of AECL (the CANDU reactor team) is un- or under employed after the buyout from the Canadian government - that's an entire workforce to tap into.
15
KevinMS 3 days ago 1 reply      
Don't perpetuate the myth that ruby developers are difficult to find.
16
scheff 3 days ago 0 replies      
How hard can it be when that screw-up in sector 7G down at the old Springfield plant can keep his job after all these years?
17
vinayan3 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was a joke... I guess not.
18
billsix 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hiring a Ruby Developer is not hard.
19
cheez 3 days ago 0 replies      
Smart, good looking and ambitious.

I should just give up.

22
Microsoft Censors Pirate Bay Links in Windows Live Messenger torrentfreak.com
208 points by zotz  1 day ago   170 comments top 32
1
jacquesm 1 day ago  replies      
We'll be seeing a lot more of this in the next couple of years. The RIAA and the MPAA will get more and more desperate and will call in more favors with industry buddies as they get closer to the recognition that they are losing the war in spite of winning a couple of battles.

In the Netherlands 'Brein', one of the rights organizations has done more to promote the pirate bay than the pirate bay ever could have hoped to achieve by themselves.

This is the biggest case of disruption that I've witnessed in my life so far and even though the outcome seems all but certain it remains to be seen how much damage the wounded bear will be able to inflict before finally keeling over.

edit:

This prompted me to post a thing I wrote a while ago but didn't publish: http://jacquesmattheij.com/The+death+throes+of+an+industry

2
trotsky 1 day ago 4 replies      
While I'd be willing to bet this is due to some malware flag (as that pretty much always ends up being the case with IM provider X is censoring Y), I am baffled as to why people would consider it scandalous that a multi-billion dollar company who makes pretty much all of its revenue from selling intellectual property licenses might drop links conveyed using its free service to a site that is unabashedly one of the world's foremost facilitators of intellectual property rights violations.
3
Animus7 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder what the political forces behind this are, because I'd like to think that the engineers that implemented it understood that

a) it will do nothing to stop piracy, and
b) it will reduce usage of Live Messenger

4
billpatrianakos 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh give me a break! I hate when they pull the censorship card like that. It cheapens all other real threats to free speech.

If you like propaganda that justifies pirating, keep reading the Torrent freak blog with their red herrings like censorship and their "battle for free speech".

Microsoft is exercising their rights just like we get to exercise ours. It's a private company offering you free software (as in no money exchanged) and they don't want to let you share torrent files and for good damn reason. I'd do that too if I were Microsoft!

Anyone who claims the Pirate Bay is a place to share cool new media that's released for free is just kidding themselves. Look at their most popular downloads. It's primarily all copyrighted music, movies, and software that are being shared without the owner's consent. Sure, there are a decent number of artists sharing their work via TPB and the Pirate Bay do a lot of promoting of that stuff. But make no mistake, the majority of people are just downloading a bunch of free, copyrighted work.

It would be censorship if Live Messenger were the only or one of few viable options for IM but that's far from being the case. I sincerely doubt Microsoft cares about you downloading albums for free. They just don't want you sharing Windows 8 over their app (when it finally ships, that is) that's all.

Is that not a legitimate concern? To try to stop people from getting your product without paying you? That's reasonable. They put a ton of time and money into developing software and they don't do it for their health. Just because it's digital and takes zero effort to copy doesn't mean that after the first copy is sold everything else should be up for grabs.

Whenever the torrent people start yammering about censorship and free speech and try to sound all hip, smart, and progressive, it's just a distraction. It's really about continuing to operate while ignoring IP laws. Whether you think copyright is okay or not is irrelevant because the laws are on the books and enforced. If all you do in protest of those laws is pirate music and movies you're really just creating more problems for yourself. Piracy alone as a protest only creates more censorship and restrictions of free speech as Torrent Freak would call it. If you really believe in all those nice sounding ideals you have to get up from behind your monitor and write a letter, make a phone call, or actually show up somewhere and do something.

This article was downright laughable. This is just a PR war and damn easy one to win too. It's easy to hate "big evil corporations" and to love getting shit free with little to no effort needed.

5
citricsquid 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm a regular WLM user and this has been happening for years, I've seen innocuous links to small websites blocked too. It's rare that links are blocked but I wouldn't be so quick to suggest this is intentional on the part of Microsoft. The frequency at which a new URL is being shared could have triggered some sort of automatic blocking system because it's assumed to be a worm?

> Apparently, the company is actively monitoring people's communications to prevent them from linking to sites they deem to be a threat.

Everything passes through their servers, it's not P2P and never has been, doesn't everyone know this about WLM? It's how they're able to support offline messaging.

6
udp 1 day ago  replies      
So, what's the most convenient way to IM with end-to-end encryption? I don't like the idea of it being possible for an intermediate to scan through my private messages.
7
nextparadigms 1 day ago 0 replies      
If this was actually done by mistake by their software, then we can expect TPB links to start working again in Windows Live Messenger any minute now, right?

I don't need Microsoft to "protect" me by not allowing me to see something. At most what they should do is warn me that it might contain malware, which is something they used to do with file transfers, too. But today I believe they just outright block most of them - even .rar files, unless they are scanned with some special MSN software of theirs that you need to download.

No thanks, Microsoft.

8
spdy 1 day ago 1 reply      
As more and more of this surface in critical times of SOPA/PIPA/ACTA etc. we will see an "outer net" emerging soon based on a p2p solution and highly encrypted. I know there is TOR but it`s not cutting it yet.

Maybe one of the big players (Google?) will join this battle for free speech and an open internet. Most of us do not want to be censored in any way.

The Unstoppable Force vs The Immovable Object.

9
slug 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's why people should move to open and decentralized instant messages networks.

xmpp/jabber for example are easy to setup, federation is supported by some major parties (google talk for example) and use OTR (or PGP if you can convince your friends) encryption whenever possible.

Pidgin, Adium and others support it out of the box or through easily installable plugins and even your [mom] can use it since the key generation and handshake can be automatic, requiring only optional authentication if you are paranoid.

10
jrockway 1 day ago 0 replies      
The text looks like it thinks TPB is malware. TPB is certainly not a site I'd visit on a Windows box, the ads bring new meaning to the word "shady".

(Google's safe browsing database disagrees with me here, though.)

11
sdfjkl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just one more example of why you shouldn't use private communication without end-to-end encryption.
12
rbanffy 1 day ago 0 replies      
If Microsoft is able to police conversations carried over Live Messenger, shouldn't it be unable to invoke the dumb pipe defense and be held responsible for any piracy its service allows to happen because its negligence in blocking the evil activity happening on its own network. They even profit from those activities! And not only copyright infringement - bank robberies, terrorist attacks, child molestation, heresy - it's all their fault for not blocking it in the first place.

I would love to see this idea in court.

OTOH, who can be sure they do not store IP and login (or other personal information associated with the Live profile) and hand it to anyone with the proper court order?

13
res0nat0r 1 day ago 0 replies      
HN is slowly turning into Reddit.

TPB is probably being censored by the software because some automated process to ingest and aggregate threating sites flagged that site as hosting malware. This is just like Google stopping you from clicking thru to sites which they know host virii / trojans. Calm down.

14
kogir 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is totally fine. Live Messenger is a private service, and Microsoft can run it however they want. Users will simply switch to competing services that don't suck. Let the market decide.

Also, as behavior like this increases in frequency, we'll finally be forced to address the current usability issues with point-to-point cryptography and adopt it more broadly. Microsoft shouldn't be able to read anything you write unless you choose to share it with them.

A world where all communication is encrypted requires more software development effort, but ends up better for everyone in the long run. Calls, emails, text messages - none of them should be intelligible to anyone other than the parties explicitly involved.

15
jxi 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Now we know why Microsoft/MSN doesn't have a true "off the record" feature. They want to be able to monitor your conversations and censor you like this.
16
beagle3 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's an unregulated private service, they can. It's just that they can no longer claim "commOn carrier" status. If they don't do that for everyone, they are assisting piracy. Let the lawsuits begin.
17
tluyben2 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow I thought everyone knew this. I ran the 110mb.com infra and that domain and subdomains were blocked in messenger. years ago that was.
18
jstepien 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder whether they block magnet links as well. In either case, URL shorteners seem to be a sufficient solution.
19
NiekvdMaas 1 day ago 0 replies      
MSN/Live Messenger is blocking all URLs ending in .torrent for years already. But blocking a FQDN like thepiratebay.org is even stranger... who makes/maintains these censoring block lists, and why is this not explained to users?
20
pearkes 1 day ago 2 replies      
Facebook does this as well. (Or at least, they did until The Pirate Bay changed it's TLD to `.se`)

You could argue that it's for the user's security. Torrent sites do have a lot of sketchy cruft.

21
ggwicz 1 day ago 0 replies      
This doesn't bother me. Or, I should say, I'm not inherently opposed to it.

Microsoft is a private company acting on their own will. This censorship is one I might not agree with, but it could just make the case for another uncensored client to become popular.

As long as this type of behavior isn't forced by a government, I actually like it in the long run. I think companies should take a stance on things, and seeing Microsoft act this way just makes me more happy with companies who take the opposite stance. If that favorability change happens with enough people, theoretically Microsoft could hurt financially. This would then make it more profitable to be open and uncensored.

So, in a nutshell, I've seen comments elsewhere about this that were SUPER negative and hateful. I understand them, but at the same time, I think this is just another signal to instead focus on and promote those platforms that focus on and promote freedom. And a big signal, to boot.

22
nyellin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I feel sick to my stomach. Companies shouldn't censor personal chats like this.
23
wisty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft knows very well that people will just write "thep!!!!!ratebay.se/slug".
24
b0rsuk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there anything stopping them from doing the same in Internet Explorer ? And they're not stranger to issuing automatic updates that mess with Firefox, so..
25
gigantor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Solution from the comments: tinyurl.com (or similar). This should be instinct for many twitter users by now
26
jsilence 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you, Microsoft for promoting endpoint to endpoint encryption.
27
sek 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Gmail Man seems to be working for Microsoft now.
28
dpn 1 day ago 0 replies      
So what does this mean for companies that conduct legitimate business over TPB. Does this allow for some kind of action against MS?
29
jhaile 1 day ago 0 replies      
Any censorship or modification of your "private" communication is a very scary precedent to set. Will they start modifying hotmail emails or bing search results next?
30
judgej2 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"Actively" by having software do it for them.
31
victorantos 1 day ago 0 replies      
this is clearly not a solution
32
Craiggybear 1 day ago 0 replies      
The world has gone mad.
23
Are you building a company, or your credentials? geofflewis.org
208 points by geofflewis  3 days ago   57 comments top 17
1
exratione 3 days ago 3 replies      
The article makes exactly the right realization: Y Combinator is heading in the direction of scholasticism. I wrote an article recently on this topic, which I quote below:

http://www.exratione.com/2012/01/the-future-of-the-venture-c...

The present direction of some incubators is towards the concept of schools, in the older sense of the word. To some eyes present experiments look like an early stage in the development of a new scholastic institution of practical business development. With well tuned entry requirements such an entity might serve as a filter that allows venture investment in all graduates with comparatively little detailed due diligence, trusting to the quality of the school (the filter) to raise the expectation value of these blanket investments. Experiments in this sort of model are already taking place at Y Combinator, and others will no doubt follow. If they see success, expect to see more rapid movement towards formalized schools of practical entrepreneurship, which will orbit established venture funds to act as feeder mechanisms. You might look on this as a structured, industrial manifestation of the informal process of apprenticeship and networking that always existed in the startup community - and either like it or loathe it for exactly that reason, depending on your tastes.

It is worth remembering that while venture capitalists and organized groups of angel investors can enter the space of incubators-as-schools from one side, existing scholastic institutions can just as well enter it from their side. I can't image that the traditional schools will be any good at this if they do try, given long-standing academic hostilities towards the business of being in business, but some of the younger less hidebound institutions might well be successful. Consider the present University of Phoenix, a future Khan Academy, and a range of other entities establishing their own early stage venture funds, or partnering with venture funds to do something new in this space - it isn't so far fetched an idea.

Note that a more scholastic form of incubator is, to my mind, a very different concept from what I'll call Vingean Scholastics. This is the vision put forward by Vernor Vinge in Fast Times at Fairmont High in which building startups is a part of the curriculum for all young people and at least ramen-level economic success is necessary for graduation at a high school level. Building a business, or at the least a short-term economic success, is how the students pay for school and how the schools earn their keep as businesses themselves. In that fictional near future, this is all a part of teaching young adults how to live in a world of constant, enormously rapid change driven by computational technology, in which the idea of holding down a job doing roughly the same sort of thing for five years is laughable, and everyone must know how to be an entrepreneur in order to flow with the pace of change.

But this too will come to pass, I think, with Vingean Scholastic organizations as another sort of filter to build and channel groups of startup founders - with, collectively, a positive expectation value on investment - towards future forms of venture fund.

2
alaskamiller 3 days ago 2 replies      
Getting into and surviving top notch elite business schools requires a whole lot of credentials.

The guys and gals that spent their lives accrediting themselves with clubs, sports, extracurriculars now want to join in on the entrepreneur revolution David Fincher crafted for them.

To do so they're applying their way of "success" to this new field. Because that's all they know. And as long as there's money, there'll be support for these guys. The fervent frothing is a sign of the bubble.

You think brogrammers are bad? Welcome the sharks. We've arrived at the jump zone. What's the real life equivalent of flooding Hacker News with Perl articles for 24 hours?

3
jonnathanson 3 days ago 4 replies      
I question what the relentless seeker of credentials is trying to achieve. Not just here, but in general. If life is an infinite set of boxes to be checked, what's the point of it all?

It seems our society places an unduly large value on achievement, rather than accomplishment. The point of going to a top school is to say you've gone to a top school. The point of working at McKinsey or Goldman is to put it on your resume. The point of being on the board of X is to get onto the board of Y. And so forth. This is the cold, seldom-questioned bargain of achievement. It is a paint-by-numbers approach to success, and it certainly guarantees its devout adherant a substantial degree of material comfort. But at what cost? And is there an end goal? Or is life simply a contest to see who can build the most prestigious obituary?

I, for one, hope and trust that YC is able to sniff out the achievers from the accomplishers, and to select the latter. It is the latter who build great companies. The former make fantastic lawyers, consultants, and bankers.

4
sedev 3 days ago 0 replies      
This seems like a direct callback to PG's "After Credentials" essay ( http://paulgraham.com/credentials.html ), in a good way. What I get from this post is that we might be in the middle of a credentials shift, from the credentials being good guidelines, to the period where attaining them is an end in itself, the period where people are gaming the system.
5
alexhaefner 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is common, it's somewhat frustrating, but I've found that my way to deal with it has been to let others pad their credentials. It's a waste of time for me to worry about, it would be like worrying about the weather day-to-day when the issue is really climate change. i.e. this is a cultural problem that cannot be solved on a micro level.

We really want to build and sell stuff that our team has built, it's not about my ego, it's not about the self, we just want to build cool things that people want to use. I have had some very deep conversations with the person I work with and we relate in the sense that we don't care for this incessant ego-building that goes on in the world and especially around college. It doesn't serve you well in a lot of cases to have a large ego. Of course that's an over simplification, but the egos are rampant at college and I don't want anything to do with it.

Let them pad their credentials, while you go build something great and don't give a shit about that.

6
brd 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think there is a 3rd question that begs to be asked: Are you building yourself as a skilled professional?

"Economically, you can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Instead of working at a low intensity for forty years, you work as hard as you possibly can for four." - Paul Graham http://paulgraham.com/wealth.html

When Paul Graham wrote that he was talking in the context of wealth but I think it just as easily applies to skill, knowledge, experience, network, etc.

I think there is a valid argument for frowning upon credential building but I'd be more curious to hear what HN thinks about this idea of building yourself? You could say its just as selfish as credential building but at the same time is it really bad if an accelerator ends up being primarily a talent generator for future generations of startups?

7
petercooper 3 days ago 0 replies      
Like in most things, I think there's a healthy "middle way." Solely chasing credentials all of your life isn't wise, but targeting well chosen credentials is a way to unlock hard-to-open doors. Writing a book for a mainstream publisher, for example, was once a great way to make a splash in an industry (less so now, but still).

I think the key is to know, in advance, why you are chasing certain things and to use those "credentials" on a route to something more fulfilling. For better or worse, we carry our histories around with us, and if the choice is between twiddling thumbs and adding another accolade to the collection, it's tempting. Once something genuine comes along, however, you need to jump on it.

8
bicknergseng 3 days ago 2 replies      
"I think there is a fundamental difference between going after an initial idea, then pivoting, vs. jumping into entrepreneurship with no idea at all. With the meme of “team and execution are everything”, it's easy to forget that ideas still matter."

I tend to agree. When I founded a chapter of a fraternity at my college, I had a really interesting discussion with the alum who helped us and almost all of the state start our chapters about leadership. Something he said during the initiation of our first pledge class (Alpha class) that will always stick with me: even though the Alphas are all great potential leaders, there is such a fundamental difference between them, the first group of followers who joined a group because they desired to be leaders, and us (my founders group), who went out with an idea and created something.

Mr. Lewis's point might have been different, but I think they stream from the same thing. While there may be people out there who have the capacity to create given an idea and others who have many ideas but don't end up creating, the rare combination of the two is what makes an entrepreneur, a true leader. Everyone else is a follower on some level. I might be totally off base and my point is tangential, but these are 3pm musings.

I'd love to get feedback on them, and I'm interested to see PG's response to the article.

9
wfrick 3 days ago 1 reply      
From a societal point of view, I'm a bit troubled. It's an encouraging trend that high talent individuals who would have gone into finance or consulting are considering startups. Should we really be turning them away? That said, I certainly understand your hesitations.
10
rjurney 3 days ago 2 replies      
Lets look at this from the other perspective. That of big companies hiring product teams.

Educating, finding, hiring, training, cultivating and retaining talent is extremely difficult. Companies recruit at colleges, where students have worked hard enough on their credentials to gain admittance and even harder getting good grades and joining clubs and participating in activities. They will identify a few good candidates. They will recruit these candidates, along with every other relevant company. Making offer letters, a few will accept. These will be trained for months, then cultivated for years. Now you've got to get these people to work together in teams, and some of those teams will work out and some will not. Most workers will leave in a few years, some even sooner. Some will grow, advance and go on to become leaders. One will go on to become the company's CEO. The funnel chart on this system is daunting, going from millions of students to one CEO.

On the other hand, Y Combinator will take anyone with a convincing video, the 'right look' (see: Moneyball) and attitude, and gung ho fervor. The program teaches these teammates to work together to build and ship experiments quickly and get real people using them, and then to adapt to new data to conduct new experiments. Upon graduation, the teams get more money to continue conducting experiments as they seek their market. Most are acquired in 'acquihires.' Buying a working team bypasses the lengthy process outlined above. Huge value to the acquirer, and contracts/incentives tie the team up for a few years.

Bottom line: these acquihires are profitable for the acquiring companies, the founders, and Y Combinator. Making the acquihire machine turn does not require an idea, a cohesive team, or much of anything except the ability to successfully complete the training Y Combinator provides. Some companies go on to find a market, the rest get the degree, a bonus and a job.

YC training is boot camp. It is the new Harvard, formed to match post-web realities.

Or something.

* Not asserting Y Combinator discriminates, but any time 3 people in a room make a decision without a lot of hard data on the candidates' performance at that task... bias must enter. This is one checkpoint in a new system.

11
jreposa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Taking advantage of the system is what humans do; as much it can be despised. I hope the people that are in it for the wrong reasons get weeded out. With all the experience that pg and the team have, it can't be too hard, right?
12
someone_welsh 3 days ago 2 replies      
credentials....

"If you like this post, please upvote it on hacker news"

13
harri127 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree that the purpose of what you are trying to achieve is important. Some people just care only about the status of getting into an accelerator program but I think the real value lies in building something that has an impact and changes the way we live our life.
The problem with people just wanting "the credentials" is like the people who want to just get into a school for its name but don't really care about the value it can provide for them. When people begin to realize that the credentials are just an added value to all that the program provides they will come to the realization that working on an idea that makes an impact for the right reason is far more important than those credentials.
14
jsfeit81 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well put. The one thing I'd add, that isn't immediately stated in this article, is the importance of MISSION as part of the entrepreneurial process. Product is key, of course, as are opportunity and the skills to capture it. But there are going to be crap days in the entrepreneurial process, and as was stated in the article, the product may pivot. The mission, however -- the passion -- will be the key to reaching all the tomorrows en route to success. Great post!
15
aristus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Credentialing is an (unavoidable?) product of scaling up angel funding. On the other hand starting my startup, convincing friends to join it, getting to the interview stage at YC and losing a nontrivial amount of my friends money on a stupid idea did make me a more mature person. Your friend might just learn a few things by accident.
16
zerostar07 3 days ago 1 reply      
That font is unreadable
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Sarah-Jane 2 days ago 0 replies      
People with those kinds of janky priorities aren't going to make anything that's meaningful.
24
Pair (YC W12) is a Path for the Two of Us techcrunch.com
201 points by mpetrov  2 days ago   75 comments top 40
1
kalvin 2 days ago 2 replies      
Oh my god, thumbkissing.

"A feature called 'thumbkissing' shows your partners thumbprints whenever they're touching the screen, and both phones will vibrate if your thumbs are on the same place."

This is clearly the best YC startup ever. Hurry up on the Android app for those of us in mixed relationships!

2
apike 2 days ago 1 reply      
My marriage definitely benefits when I take tiny bits of time to tell my wife I'm thinking about her. For example:

- Text her a random emoji

- Email her an image I've found (usually using our app Prism http://www.steamclocksw.com/prism/)

- Send her a Draw Something drawing

The point is to send a "unit of thinking about you" that's simple but unique enough that it's not mechanical (like a "poke" would be). Pair seems like it could bring this little habit to more relationships, or at least displace text and email for those who do this.

3
fleitz 2 days ago 8 replies      
Call me old school but I'd rather find someone who lives in the same city than try to maintain a relationship through an app. If you absolutely need to stay in touch with someone every minute of everyday it's probably better to just move.

The solution to working too much to be in touch with the partner you really care about is not an app, it's telling your boss to shove the job up his ass. That said, I doubt there will be any shortage of suckers who prefer to spend time at the office than with their partner.

4
achille 2 days ago 1 reply      
Tl;dr: the sexting app. I met one of the cofounders at the Stripe CTF meetup. They're a Waterloo U. Team, seemed like a sharp group. Pair was their pivot. Initially they had a 3D mouse based on the iPhone accelerometers.
5
kmfrk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Add a security feature with optional passcode and store the images in a way that hides them from prying eyes, and you're guaranteed a million billion horny college students as users.

Ben the Bodyguard[1] meets SMS/MMS for relationships.

Maybe we'll see fewer celebrity photos leak after this[2].

[1]: http://benthebodyguard.com

[2]: This is a good thing.

6
dshankar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was skeptical when I read the TechCrunch article (I'm a skeptical, jaded bastard).

But my cofounder Sri and I downloaded it and started playing together. Few minutes in we were giggling like children and I now see the value in Pair.

It's perfect for those serious couples with useful features like task lists, built-in Facetime, ability to show "where you are" etc.

Good job!

7
chime 2 days ago 1 reply      
My wife and I just tried it out and loved it. We were giggling like little kids playing around with the app's features.

On a more serious note, the shared todo list is great! No doubt a lot of other apps have this but with chat, photo sharing, Facetime, and thumbkisses, this makes Pair an awesome app. I would've easily bought this for $2-4/user.

8
Tossrock 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds like exactly the same thing as the South Korean produced 'Between' app, which is already cross platform. Not to say that they couldn't execute better, but it's not a novel idea.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=kr.co.vcnc.and...

http://itunes.apple.com/app/id458035189?mt=8

9
tanish2khn 1 day ago 0 replies      
while I am busy doing another startup, here is I can offer from my personal experience of using such platforms:

- first up, you need to give users assurance that they own the data. Allow them to export data anytime and that too in a beautiful way. I would hate to loose such memoirs shared with my loved one, just because you failed to raise another round of funding. (Data persistency can well be the primary reason, why people still uses emails; It will always be there.)

- how about a personlize gifts on their anniversaries from the service ? you have good amount of data to personalize the gifts. seriously, surprize me here!

- I have been using tumblr for last year on same usecase. following stats will help you:
march - we get separated by distance.
april - 111 posts,
may - 74 posts,
june - 39 posts,
july - 36 posts,
august - 11 posts,
september - 33 posts,
october - 60 posts,
november - 23 posts,
december - 1 post.

Post distribution: [70% pictures - 10% links - 15% text - 10% videos/music].

where pictures, are of one other, old memories, places we visit, things we spot.
where links, are interesting find of the day.
where text, are short letters, quotes. but no chatters.

- Now, I would need an information overview of my content pretty much like tumblr or more, with posting abilities of Path or more.

- Tumblr isn't built for game dynamics here. She is posting 80% of content and i 'heart' 50% of her content as a feedback to her. A game dynamics which involves more participation from not-so active member of relationship? we are NOT talking about games or chatters(messaging or whatsapp), but subtle or even funny push notifications if she has posted and i have not yet viewed to begin with.

- an instapaper functionality, so that we can share things from anywhere on Internet, by just sending an email to the account.

- avoid becoming a messaging app, for love sake ;)

all the best!

10
rdl 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is disgustingly cute, but that's the point. I could definitely imagine people using this (it would eliminate a lot of one-word "hi" type SMSes...)

I wonder how they're going to handle migration between relationships.

11
peterjs 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are they planning to introduce a pro version of the application? Some multitenant upgrade? It could apply advanced machine learning techniques to identify which of your girlfriends/spouses is using the phone and hide all the other communication. Not that I would need it, but it could significantly lower the divorce rates :)
12
jaredsohn 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can find a FAQ here: http://support.trypair.com/customer/portal/articles/443672-f...

One interesting aspect to this service is because it only allows you to actively pair with one person at a time, it doesn't support people with multiple partners (those in the beginning stages of dating, the polyamorous, and cheaters).

If this app became popular enough, I could see a partner requiring the use of this app to make infidelity more awkward, although it could still be worked around by having multiple phones with an app on each one.

13
k3fernan 2 days ago 0 replies      
The biggest problem I find with long distance relationships, especially across time zones, is the real time nature of it. It's blocking. Especially for two busy people.

I would rather record a small video (rather than video chat), write an actual email (rather than IM back and forth), draw a silly picture (than send smiley faces back and forth). If you could change it from feeling like a status report to a message in a bottle, it really does change the dynamics of a long distance relationship.

Funny enough I recently stopped dating someone because of the distance factor. Maybe Pair could have solved that "problem".

14
kalleboo 1 day ago 1 reply      
A suggestion: Make a better (cuter) icon. I scrolled right past it in the app store search results because it looked like a spam app. Now that it's installed it looks like a server remote control control app or something.
15
wangjiahua 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How does it handle breakup? Does it keep the "path" with ex and make current GF upset, or all those "pair moments" is gone with her.
16
malandrew 1 day ago 1 reply      
Next up: Path for Families

(I'm actually being serious here. I could see this working, but probably not in the US where the concept of the nuclear family is much weaker. In Latin America or some European markets this could work quite well. There's probably an Asian equivalent to Path for extended families as well)

17
jasonshen 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the cutest thing ever. Congrats guys - looking forward to seeing you at alumni demo day.
18
d2ncal 1 day ago 0 replies      
19
badclient 1 day ago 0 replies      
How do you deal with breakups?
20
read_wharf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Minor point: there is already pair.com. Maybe only people on HN would be at all "confused" by this, everyone else being unaware of that category of business, much less a specific one. But pair.com might take it a little more seriously.
21
skbohra123 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah, we applied to YC10 with same idea for http://closest.in :) That's how it goes.
22
prawn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pitched this rough idea to my wife the other week and she showed me some relationship timeline (shared wall between two users) in Facebook so I discarded the idea. Looks like I was onto something after all.
23
peterdelahunty 2 days ago 0 replies      
It started with a thumbkiss i never though it would come to this :)
24
Tichy 1 day ago 0 replies      
"you'll get an impressive range of options for how to stay in touch"

Except for actually staying in touch, unfortunately :-)

25
csel 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Can I use this with multiple partners? Lets say I have 4 relationships all at once, can I have 4 separate accounts?
26
BlackShirt 1 day ago 0 replies      
The shared TODO list is great, a shared calendar would be good. An option to sync with 3rd party online calendar is even better.

I never managed to get my wife to regularly check our shared Google calendar, too much apps to check for her. A simple app which handles all the couple tasks in one place is a great solution.

27
tumultco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Small thing: on the http://trypair.com/ site, I tried clicking the play button several times expecting a video demo until it scrolled up beyond the initial screenshot.
28
ghuntley 1 day ago 0 replies      
The App has a few language choice issues.

http://db.tt/l1PKD0hd

Notably There != Their.

29
asheeshbirla 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been waiting for something like this.
Can you allow users to select photos, videos from the library during the on boarding process? Also, would be great if it could automatically pull in my instagram photos. :)
30
phmagic 1 day ago 0 replies      
can I have multiple pairs? I guess that's not the point but would be nice to keep track of the "in the works" ones.
31
zack12 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can i have multiple login account support so that i can manage my multiple relationships?
32
jordhy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great idea. I suggest you build in audio messages to organize voicemails for your loved one.
33
tersiag 1 day ago 0 replies      
This sounds like a great app. Reading the comments makes me wanna try it, but I need an iphone + a man first...
34
aen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Trying it with my wife. Liking it so far.
35
ggwicz 1 day ago 0 replies      
So how does it generate profits?
36
EREFUNDO 1 day ago 0 replies      
One day someone will create an app with a neural interface via blue tooth signal and you can make out with your girlfriend in a shared dream...lol
37
thechut 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to try this out... Bring it to Android!!
38
jeffreylo 1 day ago 0 replies      
What differentiates this from Duet (https://vimeo.com/32088268)?
39
Vaismania 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats guys!
40
Void_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Okay so if I'm getting this right, it's basically iMessage but with "thinking of you button."

So yeah, that's useful. I mean I'm sure girls consider pressing a button a very romantic gesture. Must be also very enjoyable for the guys.

Somebody please make TechCrunch with articles about innovative projects.

25
Electric Potential Pong (html5/processing.js) dllu.net
185 points by dllu  3 days ago   16 comments top 6
1
techietim 3 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like the author is taking advantage of the recently exposed voting forgery:

  <iframe width="1" height="1" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="http://news.ycombinator.com/vote?for=3742984&dir=up&whence=newest"></iframe>

2
waffle_ss 2 days ago 0 replies      
The opponent board randomly disappeared on level 6 and didn't come back on the next levels. I then easily got to level 9 or 10, where the ball wants to curve to the lower right immediately, and the ball keeps travelling right through my board resulting in instant losses.
3
ShardPhoenix 2 days ago 2 replies      
I feel like the performance of these HTML5 games still isn't quite good enough for them to "take over" just yet.
4
doorty 2 days ago 1 reply      
Game design tip: careful to design your electric field so that the ball doesn't get stuck in the middle.
5
eberfreitas 2 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of Plasma Pong: http://plasmapong.com/ se website is down
6
twiceaday 3 days ago 1 reply      
What does this have to do with electricity? I guess "Potential Pong" doesn't sound as good.
26
Today I wrote some code jacquesmattheij.com
186 points by jacquesm  3 days ago   96 comments top 23
1
edw519 3 days ago 1 reply      
For a lark I'm going to take an old project that has been running for years without a hitch and I'm going to retro-actively add tests to the code. I'm really curious how many bugs and unexpected behaviors will turn up.

Last week I got an enhancement request from a customer that basically said, "Add B capability and make it work exactly like A capability."

"Cool," I thought, "This should be easy."

So I examined all the "A" stuff, which had been in production since 2008. Then I cut, pasted, modified, and added a whole bunch of stuff. (I know, I know, every once in a while, a programmer's just gotta take the lazy way out.)

When I started unit testing my B stuff, I broke everything on almost every try. This was before I even assembled a test plan, it was just a hacker beating up his own work.

How could this be? So I went back and beat up the A stuff and broke it in all the same places. Stuff thousands of people have used thousands of times. Sigh.

2
petenixey 3 days ago 9 replies      
It's funny. Just as the author reached this realisation I've reached the realisation that tests are killing my productivity and are exactly the wrong strategy for my nascent product.

I've been testing obsessively for the past 18 months but just realised that I've got a stack of perfectly tested code that's perfectly wrong for what I need it for. I'm going to have to tear it apart and rebuild.

I've been thinking about what the right balance is between the two. As code matures the value of tests becomes higher and higher but early on when you need to shape and reshape they really kill momentum.

3
daleharvey 3 days ago 4 replies      
I forgot where I first read it, but I loved the

A boy turns up to school half an hour late, out of breath as he was running into the schoolyard pushing his bike, "Sorry miss, it took me 45 minutes to run here" he explained to the schoolteacher, "Why are you pushing your bike, why didnt you cycle?" the schoolteacher asks, "I was already late when I left the house, I didnt have time to get on my bike"

As mentioned elsewhere, turning testing and code coverage into a dogmatic religion is obviously a bad idea, but when I talk to people about testing it seems that we error hugely on the side of not testing, when you dont think something is testable, it is usually because you didnt design it to be testable from the outset. There is definitely no easier programming guide I have found than a little light that goes green when I have done the right thing, If I have tested code properly it is an order of magnitude less likely to take on technical debt, huge sweeping refactorings are no longer big scary tasks

4
rlander 3 days ago 4 replies      
Let me just state a fact: every programmer tests code. Whether you're checking a command line output, experimenting in the REPL or reloading a browser, you're testing your code.

What rubs me the wrong way is that, instead of a simple "you know all that ad hoc testing that you do? There's a way to automate that that'll probably save you some time and let you test the same things, in an automated fashion, with the press of a key...", non-testers usually get a condescending "oooh my sweet summer child, what to you know of code?"

5
marvin 3 days ago 3 replies      
Hey, I have a question for all you TDD fans. In my (still short) programming career, I have only stumbled across stuations where automatic testing looks impossible to do in a sensible way - deploying a patchwork of code against huge platforms like SharePoint or working with APIs like COM that don't lend themselves very well to testing, and where the code is "interface" heavy rather than "logic" heavy. Recently I've been looking into iOS development.

I also get the impression that most IT work today mainly involves working with huge libraries and APIs, and that automatic testing therefore is hard to implement in a sensible manner. I very much get the idea of automatic tests (and I've wished for them quite a few times, where they've been very hard to implement because the API seems to get in the way). But are there really so many applications for them unless you are building a huge, monolithic application where everything is defined in advance? Seems to me, like a lot of people have pointed out, that it will slow you down when prototyping.

This is not a criticism of TDD/automatic testing, but I just don't see how to create good tests when most of your code is just glue between different libraries and most of your time is spent reading documentation and chasing bugs in your library. Would be really cool if someone could point me to an overview of these things. Am I just in the wrong organization?

6
TamDenholm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think going back into some production code you wrote years ago and doesnt have tests and putting them in is a really nice way to self-reflect. It would provide at least two benefits, 1) improving the code 2) showing you just how far you've come since writing the code, which in turn shows you how far you can keep going.
7
jader201 3 days ago 1 reply      
> For a lark I'm going to take an old project that has been running for years without a hitch and I'm going to retro-actively add tests to the code.

Be prepared to possibly rewrite most, if not all, of your code. I have found, at least in my old code -- which admittedly was written well before I became familiar with the concept and discipline of testing -- that my code is just not testable. At all.

It is very tightly coupled, and against which is almost impossible to write any sort of meaningful tests.

But maybe you were a better designer than I was, and if so, you may be able to fairly easily add tests to your code.

But if not, you're in for a challenge. :)

8
joeyh 3 days ago 0 replies      
In one project, I refactor my code late, late at night. I do it in almost a dream state; it's a process of nearly pure symbolic manipulation, involving none of the complex mental model that we're used to needing to maintain while programming. I've been doing this a few times a month for a year, and have introduced one known bug. I have a very modest test suite.

I'm no programming god, I'm just writing in haskell. Referential transparency, purity, and strong type checking for the win.

(That one bug? Made during this hlint run <http://source.git-annex.branchable.com/?p=source.git;a=commi...; and fixed here <http://source.git-annex.branchable.com/?p=source.git;a=commi...)

9
DanWaterworth 3 days ago 1 reply      
The cool kids write invariants that they prove correct via equational reasoning.
10
MatthewPhillips 3 days ago 4 replies      
Related: I am a big fan of testing in my personal projects, but have never written a test for a client because they don't want to pay the additional hours. I have quoted about 25% - 30% of the time on writing tests , if they want them. Am I wrong? Ditto on documentation, no biters.
11
trimbo 3 days ago 2 replies      
Someone needs to spell out the difference between "tests" vs. "testing", might as well be me. Tests are something you, a developer, or a test engineer writes. Really important. Testing is something that the dev, a test engineer, or someone off the street can do. That is the most important part towards making working software. Unit tests are important, but are in a vacuum. The only way you can look at your code in context is to have someone use it.

Lots of games (including ones I worked on) ship with hundreds of thousands or millions of lines of code and practically no unit tests (if any). According to this article, they shouldn't be working at all, let alone make billions of dollars. Do I think it's a best practice? No. But on those projects we had an army of QA to test builds and producers obsessed with their features to always be in there making sure that things worked. The most effective testing was "everyone play the game day" (or weekend). Only then can you find edge cases that unit tests can't. Dogfooding is another important take on this concept.

tl;dr: unit tests are important in their own right, but even 100% code coverage can't tell you if the thing as a whole works as the user expects. That's "testing" as opposed to "tests".

12
siavosh 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a long time skeptic, but a new convert to TDD, it also occurred to me that I was also reaping the benefits of immediate feedback after each build analogous to Bret Victor's theme in his talk and demo at CUSEC. It definitely increased my iteration speed.
13
r00k 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats on discovering testing! Getting "test-infected" yielded easily the biggest productivity gain in my career.

However, you've got another big win waiting for you if you'll try something subtly different: write the tests first. Moving to TDD was another large improvement in my overall productivity because it drastically improved the quality of the code I write.

It seemed silly when I first heard of it, but now I won't write code any other way (except for short, exploratory programs). Give it a try!

14
ChristianMarks 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find that my tests often need tests, and sometimes even these second-order tests need to be checked and verified by third-order tests. In experimental programming though, just running the code is a test...
15
glennericksen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've taken a long, meandering road to appreciating TDD/BDD. When I started programming, I looked up to _why and his hacking approach to coding. Sadly, I could not express his brilliance and my code was not just untested and sloppy, but fragile and inundated with smells. As the scale of the projects I develop increases, I've learned to use testing to decrease the potential breakage and to better understand the libraries and features I'm working on. Of course there is an exploratory spike here and there, with tests coming in later to glue it all together, but those are now exceptions to my normal practice. When debugging legacy applications, simply creating test coverage for problem areas goes a long in solidifying the patches. Testing is not fail proof elixir, but it certainly improves my workflow and my product, and those results are hard to argue with.
16
starfox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this guy guarantees that if it isn't tested, it doesn't work. Important projects that people depend on like the linux kernel must have really good test coverage.
17
diwank 3 days ago 0 replies      
Completely agree. Even though I am quite new to coding, I was shocked to see how much more time I spend on debugging a piece of code than actually writing it. The ratio is closer to 3:1 and sometimes even higher. Writing tests has brought that down to roughly 1:1 (varies from project to project).

I still don't do as extensive testing as I want to (primarily because I am lazy) but I have seen the shift in the way I think about solving a problem. Writing tests forces you to assign structure to your code (in my case I put it down on paper). It helps you think in terms of "pipes" as in what is going in and what comes out.

But, I think a lot also depends on the nature of the project. Parsers and frameworks may need thorough tests while simple apps may do without many. And for some people, it may be too much of an overhead at times.

18
JoeAltmaier 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anecdote: I rewrote an operating system (back when people did things like that) to repackage it as a library of modules (kernel, drivers, services) that self-configured on each boot.

It took 19(!) tries to get past the 1st line of code in the entry point module.

There is no such thing as a trivial change (tho that was sure not trivial). My mantra is: "If you haven't tried it, it doesn't work" We all know that, deep down. We tell stories over dinner of the time something worked on the first try. Why? Because that hardly ever happens.

19
gbog 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jacques is stating the obvious here. I see testing code and running code in an organic relationship, like the flesh and the shell of a lobster, wrote more about it in here http://www.douban.com/note/205412385/
20
commiebob 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a mostly self taught programmer who has been ignoring tests for too long, can anyone provide links to any books/primers/resources that can introduce me to writing tests and doing so effectively?
21
sixothree 3 days ago 0 replies      
My local university now requires tests to be submitted with homework. Sometimes though tests are provided.
22
ylem 3 days ago 0 replies      
What do people use for testing web front ends? Selenium?
23
thu 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think it was a good read because I already thoroughly agree with you.

In fact, as with a lot of things about programming, even when programmers are widely accustomed to that line of thought, the real problem will be to convince management.

In my mind, testing (or lack of it) is part of the technical debt concept (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_debt).

27
ZeroVM: lightweight containers based on Google Native Client zerovm.org
179 points by timf  2 days ago   74 comments top 16
1
Tobu 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is intended as a way to run computation close to data. Some databases embed Lua or pluggable languages for that; ZeroVM can run NaCL binaries (compiled with a special toolchain), verified in the same manner as the JVM checks bytecode, on a very limited sandbox (just some pre-configured data channels). Besides the NaCL verifications, they are enforcing functional programming: the program only has access to deterministic instructions and library calls.
2
willvarfar 2 days ago 1 reply      
I will try and explain it as I understand it:

Google Chrome has a sandboxed VM called Native Client (NaCl) that runs at near full speed. Its very neat.

So they have taken that same VM and, instead of Chrome's Pepper API, they have a file-handle-based API and some message-passing between instances.

Now you can compile your C/C++/whatever program and run it on the cloud!

It seems an excellent building-block for big data and big crunching on the cloud, and it gets the benefit of Google's massive resources on security and performance fixes.

3
equark 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool, I've been waiting for this to happen.

I'm surprised that Google doesn't explicitly talk more about this use case for Native Client. It could be the backbone for an AWS/Heroku competitor. The ability to run lightweight tasklets securely would enable a lot of interesting scenarios. While not very significant, Google actually already started doing this with their Exacycle program:

http://research.google.com/university/exacycle_program.html

4
StavrosK 2 days ago  replies      
I have never read so many words and understood so little about a technology before. The density of marketing-speak per word is approximately 1.

Why can't some people just explain things simply?

5
majke 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you think NaCL is bloated, Russ Cox's vx32 may be a lightweight answer:

http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/~baford/vm/

Some of my experiments:

http://www.lshift.net/blog/2010/03/31/what-has-happened-to-t...

https://github.com/majek/vx32example

6
vardump 2 days ago 2 replies      
I read this as RPC with code instead of just data. If so, this is exactly what I've been looking for a long time, because traditional RPC roundtrip latency is often high - so high, that you need to create a more complicated API to avoid excess iteration.

Combine this with ZeroMQ and MessagePack, and you have some serious power at your fingertips.

Messages can execute at destination, do iteration, API calls and return only needed part of the data and results back.

7
karterk 1 day ago 2 replies      
what is less known is that when deployed at cloud, Hadoop cannot access that enormous dataset locally due to security restrictions and therefore is screamingly inefficient compared to on-premise Hadoop deployment.[1]

Can someone explain what that means?

[1]: http://zerovm.org/killer-apps/

8
mike_ivanov 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a perfect Mobile Agent platform (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_agent)
9
lbotos 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm slightly confused as to if this has any use beyond "on-demand data access" use cases. I reviewed the site and I like the idea but I'm confused as to what else this could be used for. Would something like a "Heroku" style PaaS using PyPy or something that targets NaCL benefit from this is a process separation sense? Anybody care to clarify?
10
iseyler 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is very interesting! It will be even more interesting to see if it can be compiled to run on my OS. This is exatly the kind of application I have been looking for. ESXi is too big :)

Shameless plug: http://www.returninfinity.com/baremetal.html

11
camuel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well... this echoes ZeroVM ideas but so is PiCloud and a few others mentioned here. I think it goes without doubt that current OSes and VMs are not best suited for cloud technologies. How they can be? The were designed to completely different requirements.
12
xal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love how many high level technologies are left to mature in the java environment and then are reintroduced on a level that's a lot closer to the kernel and the metal.

ZeroMQ is another great example of the progression that started with AMQP.

Hadoop hopefully will see a similar fate. ZeroMQ combined with ZeroVM actually offers two important building blocks.

13
justauser 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps the "motivation" section would serve as a better landing page.

What's the current state of security with LXC? As I recall, Heroku relies on this for it's virtualization.

14
alexchamberlain 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, does this mean, when implemented in a browser, I can use C instead of Javascript?
15
mcartyem 1 day ago 1 reply      
How secure is the VM given a binary that can dynamically modify itself to bypass the inspection of the VM?
16
hobbyist 2 days ago 1 reply      
how is it different from freebsd jails or containers in linux?
28
Show HN: Tired of entering map directions on iPhone? I've streamlined it apple.com
177 points by pheelicks  1 day ago   80 comments top 33
1
nostromo 1 day ago 5 replies      
On this topic -- add your common locations (home, work, trader joes) as contacts in your iOS address book. Then when you need directions, just click on the address book icon in Maps under Search, and select the location, and you're good to go.

I was an iOS user for several years before figuring this out -- it's saved me a lot of time. I probably typed in my home address a hundred times unnecessarily. Although, since I'm going to try out this app, this tip maybe isn't so useful. :)

2
neilk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thank you. As a transit rider, this is exactly what I wanted. The existing form is not so bad if you define those locations in contacts, the form will autocomplete, including "C" for current location, strangely. But this is just that much better.

I look forward to Apple stealing this. Charge money for it while you can.

I still don't have any good mobile integration between my Google Calendar and maps, though. The phone knows where I am, and with the calendar it knows where I'm supposed to be. Why doesn't it notify me at the right time to leave where ever I am, based on estimated travel time in my usual transport mode? Surely someone's done this already...

3
pheelicks 1 day ago 5 replies      
I built this after getting tired at how many actions it takes to enter directions in Maps on iPhone. Often I just wanted to navigate from the current location to a common place (eg home, work). With Quickmaps, all I have to do is launch the app and with single gesture I'm done. Feedback is most welcome
4
ComputerGuru 1 day ago 1 reply      
What I really need is an app to send an address I've looked up in Google Maps on my iPhone to my Garmin Nuvi via Bluetooth.

Search on the Nuvi for places > 5 mi away takes forever. It's so much faster (and easier since Google guesses many of the address details) on the iPhone w/ Maps, and it'd be awesome to add a button that say "Send to Nuvi" and be on my way :)

5
kooshball 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. This is such a common use case I can't believe it's not more optimized in the OS level.
6
furyofantares 1 day ago 1 reply      
My first thought was that I don't think I've ever needed directions to or from a location more than once or twice, once it's familiar I know where it is.

But then I realized I do need transit times between familiar locations every time I use mass transit.

So then I went to buy it, and it's free -- is there a way I can give you money?

7
fido 1 day ago 1 reply      
My first thought is to use this on vacation. Let's say I go to San Diego... I enter in the hotel, the zoo, ocean beach, little italy, la jolla, etc. Then, as I randomly explore the area, I click from current location to any spot I've already entered. I LOVE this.

My most common words on vacation are "How in the hell do I get back to the hotel".

8
dyeje 1 day ago 2 replies      
At first I thought, "Hmm, nifty idea. Could be useful."

But then I stopped to examine the use of it. It seems that this idea is inherently kind of pointless because the places you frequent you already know how to get to. On the other hand places you don't frequent, the case in which this would be fantastic, won't be in there.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you considered using prediction (perhaps by scraping the user's calendar) to show places they have not driven to many times?

Great job with the design by the way.

9
Void_ 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If somebody drives often between two locations they know the way, right? Am I missing something?
10
jcfrei 1 day ago 3 replies      
wow! hurry and get this out for android - otherwise I'll do it for you ;)
11
sidww2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Siri actually makes it rather simple to query map directions
12
badclient 1 day ago 2 replies      
Next: please make an app that tells me what direction I should be walking to find 7th ave if I'm on 8th ave? You'd think the gps should help but it doesn't. You often end up walking more than half way before the gps will sluggishly tell you you're headed in the wrong direction.

Any tourist in NYC would buy it. It's less painful than asking someone like me(happens few times a week).

13
webwright 1 day ago 0 replies      
Consider adding calendar integration? i.e. a "next appointment (3pm / 1313 W. 54th Ave)" bubble...
14
J3L2404 1 day ago 0 replies      
Clever app, nice job. Love the animation on the selection and how it just leaves you in google maps and doesn't try to re-invent the map interface. Might want to change

Swipe from one location to another

to

Drag from one location to another

Thanks for making it.

15
dustingetz 1 day ago 2 replies      
what GPS app do you guys use? all the iphone GPS apps I've used are terrible, I still use Siri w/ google maps, which takes more attention than it should when i'm driving.
16
aw3c2 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am a bit confused, why do you need the starting point? I guess you would be there and for navigation you would need a GPS position anyways.
17
shocks 1 day ago 2 replies      
Looks like a great app. Does it offer any password protection?

Dan loses phone, Andy finds phone. Andy emails Dan's wife saying he lost his keys, and can she leave a spare behind the shed? Andy uses phone to find house, Andy robs house.

Just a thought. :)

18
d5tryr 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Cute interface. The aesthetic could be a little more refined but the behaviour and the animation is quite charming.
19
trhaynes 1 day ago 2 replies      
Quick suggestion: style the "Current Location" bubble differently from the rest.

Also, I'm not sure what "?" is. I assume that it lets you enter an address, but it's best if I don't have to try it to figure it out.

20
iambot 1 day ago 0 replies      
The one pain point for me in the app, which I installed, is that when I enter/edit a location I want to just drop a pin on the map - ala google maps. And not just be redirected to the native maps app.
21
gcb 18 hours ago 0 replies      
i can see how the UI is awesome from going one place to another, but really, anyone 'navigate' from anywhere that is not your 'current location'?

i don't. so it's an honest question.

thinking about it, the only few times i do search from A to B instead of "here to B" is when i'm getting the subway, but then, i always have to click the nearest station i'm willing to walk anyway... don't see i having one bookmark for each one

22
pheelicks 1 day ago 0 replies      
OP here. Thanks for all the feedback, wasn't expecting to get such a positive response!

There are a bunch of great suggestions here which I plan on adding in the future. Follow me: @pheeelicks (yes, 3 e's) for updates (inc Android version)

(Sorry for the extra post - it's too late to edit my original)

23
centro 1 day ago 0 replies      
My reaction: That's awesome, I wonder how much it co… (holy *@$!^&) hit download immediately. This is an elegant solution for a problem that should really be better taken care of at the OS level. Hopefully Apple has the decency to carve out a chunk of it's billions and buy this idea from you. Great work!
24
devsatish 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow! cool idea bro! installed it! I am sure I will be using this all the time when I need the maps!

One request: If you can write a blog/comments about number of downloads after making to top of HN, it would be interesting metric to look at :-)

25
rpledge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice app, I'm impressed!
26
alexobenauer 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. I would have paid for this, fyi.
27
thushan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you, thank you!
28
capex 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Why would I need a GPS to take me to dad's or a particular cafe after I've gone there once or twice?
29
zeroonetwothree 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really awesome. I would have gladly paid $1 for it.
30
exolab 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't really see the point. Getting from my favourite places to my favourite places I usually don't need a map.
31
JTon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hrm. I only use my nav to get to _new_ places. That being said, I do see value using this app to swipe to the "?".
32
joering2 1 day ago 1 reply      
good job!! question -- did you design outlook and icon yourself? any suggestions?
33
tonster 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very, Very clever. Definitely going to give this a try.
29
How to explain your game to an asshole pentadact.com
177 points by arthurbrown  1 day ago   34 comments top 10
1
haberman 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like the sentiment, and I would extend it to websites for just about anything. Often I'll use Wikipedia to learn about X instead of going to X's own website because Wikipedia will at least say what it is instead of blowing a bunch of marketing-speak at me and asking me to download a PDF whitepaper.
2
chrisacky 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can switchout `game` to `startup` and the similarities are quite the same.

The four points that you discuss to explain your game as quick as possible is similar to the elavator pitch for startups, or even more accurately Adeo Ressi's MadLibs for pitching...

My company, __(insert name of company)__, is developing __(a defined offering)__ to help __(a defined audience)__ __(solve a problem)__ with __(secret sauce)__.

He did a video here. https://vimeo.com/16447520

At a glance when I first saw those snapshots of you giving the talk I thought you were Sheldon Cooper for a split second! Perhaps you get that a lot!

3
geuis 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like this quote "But reasonable people still respond better to writing that values their time, and doesn't waste it to gratify the writer's pretensions".

Sadly the author doesn't take his own advice and regales the reader with about 6 paragraphs of text before getting to the point. Once we're at the point, it's all interesting. The lead up, not so much.

You see, I'm an asshole too. I don't really know who you are yet and don't give a flip about why you did or didn't go to GDC. So get to the point first and then add the details about yourself once you have interested me.

Excellent write up otherwise.

4
larrik 1 day ago 0 replies      
I buy a lot of Humble Bundles.

A lot of those games I haven't even tried, because I can't figure out what any of them really are. Their websites are usually terrible (one game even shut down their website during the bundle. How helpful!).

Why would I spend time on them, then, when I have a ton of games that I know what to expect with?

5
sjmulder 1 day ago 2 replies      
Even worse is when you describe your game by the technology it sues. This is something that tends to happen a lot in the open source world: “X is an SDL/Python platformer for Linux, Window$, Darwin and OS/2 licensed under the GPL (version 3!)”
6
polemic 1 day ago 3 replies      
Kinda wondered why it's "to an asshole"? It's a great set of tips that would make sense for explaining anything you are seriously passionate about to anyone who isn't quite as passionate about it.
7
phzbOx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting article. I like the provocative asshole.. with a nice conclusion at the end specifying that people are just busy and not being direct is just non-respectful to your audience.
8
benohear 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe there's a series to be made here, a little like Zed Shaw's "Learn X the hard way", only it would be "Explain Y to an arsehole".
9
FredBrach 1 day ago 3 replies      
Point number two, before you even finish your first sentence, is to tell us the coolest unique thing about it.

There isn't a cool unique new thing in one game. There is a cool unique new thing every 3-5 years. It's just a fact: most games are remake if you prefer. I'm not saying games are not enjoyable and if they are for you, it's very cool.

10
sreyemhtes 21 hours ago 0 replies      
From my experience.....this is how to explain your game to everybody. An asshole will just tell you to stfu if you waste his time. Which I guess is how the article concludes itself.
30
Introducing Flow from Mixpanel mixpanel.com
163 points by suhail  3 days ago   42 comments top 23
1
JangoSteve 3 days ago 4 replies      
I like the simplicity of the UI overall, but I'm always surprised when people go through the trouble to make certain interactions really fancy when the less fancy version would be both better for the user and easier to implement.

In this case, the little popover when I hover over a circle. As I move my mouse around the circle, the popover follows along on the perimeter of the circle, and I must hover over the (hopefully) tiny red piece to get the dropoff stats.

Given the small amount of data being shown in the popover, why not show me the stats for "continued" + "dropoff" in the same popover and just place it to the right of the circle? No fanciness needed, and it'd be more usable.

2
shimon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a paying customer of Mixpanel. I like Flow. My biggest request is the same as the biggest request for the rest of Mixpanel: remove the wall between page views and other events. A flow of pages is nice but a flow of events might really teach me something new about my users.
3
physcab 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is neat looking, but I'm not sure how actionable it is. Of course there is going to be a drop-off of users as they drill down. That happens in almost every funnel situation. Also, this doesn't seem to account for other factors that may be to blame. What happens if you stop your marketing? What if you pushed a new version the night before?

What is most illuminating for a chart like this is seeing these numbers as a total % of activations/daily users/daily visitors over time. That way, you can see if a particular change you made (such as doing some landing page optimization) actually increased conversions which is ultimately what you're trying to look at in something like this.

4
immad 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is the coolest thing I have seen in Analytics for a long time. This really gets to the heart of most of the information you need on user flows and its fast and clear.

Can't wait till they add events to this.

5
masukomi 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why is this free?

Is this a loss-leader to get people to sign up for the full Mixpanel service?

These days I just don't trust free services. I don't think there's anything nefarious about them, I just don't trust that they're going to be around in a year (why keep running a service that has costs but no revenue), or that they won't get bought for their talent and promptly shut down.

If it uses resources to any significant degree (a JS on every page load can definitely do that when used at scale) there should either be a fee or a damn good reason why I should put my faith in it, especially if you're asking me to base business decisions / process on it.

6
marknutter 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this work for single-page javascript applications using html5 pushStates or hash-bang URLs?
7
kijin 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Follow your users every step of the way

Cyberstalking at its finest!

As analytics tools get more and more sophisticated, one question keeps bugging me. Are companies lying when they say in their privacy policy that they will not share user data with anyone except when compelled to do so by law, and then paste a couple of lines of third-party analytics code in their footers?

It's not uncommon for Ghostery to alert me about 5-10 third-party tracking tools on a single page. Some companies mention analytics explicitly in their privacy policy. But many websites don't. Privacy paranoia aside, I'm curious about the legal aspect of using analytics tools, and whether Mixpanel makes any effort to help its customers comply with relevant regulations (if necessary).

8
jazzychad 3 days ago 0 replies      
Feature request: Please let me have multiple simultaneous URL Groups (or if this is already possible, I can't figure out how to do it). It also wasn't very clear that the URL Groups aren't stored, so I have to re-enter them each time depending on what data I'm viewing? Or am I mixed up there, too?
9
ROFISH 3 days ago 0 replies      
Flow looks nice but it doesn't show what I want out of analytics, which is link sources and conversions. What I would like to see is flows like:

CPC ad click -> Product Page (secondary goal: email signup) -> Cart -> (time passes) -> Googled "product" -> Product Page -> (time passes) -> email click -> Product Page -> Cart Page -> Payment (primary goal)

I want to see is where people come from, where they went, and why it works. In the example above, the thing that worked was email reminder. It gets even worse when referers are involved, and blog posts don't remove the utm_campaign=email link.

Basically, I'd like a backwards flow from individual conversions.

10
tsunamifury 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well this sure looks really cool, but it strikes me as really over designed. Getting at information requires a large number of clicks and hovers over very specific areas.

It is also hard to get a sense of any 'big picture' data. Datapoints are trapped in hover interactions and you have a limited view of your site due to the canvas.

While line graphs are bar charts aren't very cool looking, they provide an enormous amount of visual economy. I care more about the speed of which I can consume big picture and detailed information than my ability to visualize my site map.

11
evlapix 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. I've been wanting to see this in analytics for a long time. Not because I would use it, but because I thought it made the most sense. I came across this article on HN a while back that seems to hint at the same thing: http://www.contrast.ie/blog/the-future-of-analytics-products...

I believed it was such a necessity that I worked on building a MVP for about a year, but then gave it up a few months ago. The project was way outside my technical ability even after all that I learned and I had absolutely no experience with analytics in general. It was a bad decision to work on it for any period of time, let alone a year. Especially since I had other ideas that I was better suited to build and believed more in.

Now all that's left of the project is a demo video I put together for a job application. This isn't really what I had in mind then, but what the hell...

Show HN: Real-time, visual, click-path, analytics (pathtrends.com)
http://vimeo.com/27327367

12
rubynerd 3 days ago 1 reply      
It looks pretty, the example looks pretty slick, but, it's not all that easy to use in a hurry, and I'm not even sure history exists

It shows a very good 'State of the Machine' at the current moment in time, but it does feel slightly like candy

One major, major thing I would add to convert this into something I would use for my 'strtup' is time, and the ability to see what happened at a time, or event

I am basing this on the 'live demo', but it seems like a report on what's happening now, which isn't really that useful in the grand scheme of things. For instance, if I drop a new feature or blog post on HN, I want to see what effect that will have on my application, and what users do and where they go after first opening that email or clicking on that link

This may seem insane, but I promise I am going somewhere. In my GCSE Physics exam, we were given energy diagrams, and told to do things with them like fill in the blanks. On the left, there was a kind of 'origin', which represented the energy given out by an object. So say a lightbulb gives out 80% light, and 20% heat energy, that would be represented by a 10cm wide arrow on the left hand side, which then breaks into a 8cm wide arrow pointing right, and a 2cm wide arrow breaking off from the main chunk and pointing downwards, to represent waste energy.

This loops back into analysis, say when Flow was first posted onto HN. You could break that down into signups, showing where people dropped off, what pages they viewed and where they went from there, and then render that in a pretty diagram, hopefully showing you where the friction points are

I do also have two minor issues I picked up on from Flow, and I suppose Mixpanel

Given it's a free product, which may or may not have the aim of pushing users into Mixpanl, I could not find any obvious links to https://mixpanel.com on the main page. Which was kind of sad, I wanted to read more about Mixpanel and what the bread-making product does, and how it sustains this free app

Secondly, I emailed Mixpanel back in January asking about details for an internship. Since then, I have received a grand total of nothing from them. Which is sad, metrics and user statistics are two things I thoroughly enjoy, and I would love to work with Mixpanel to build things like this

13
hedgehog 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is beautiful. It would be nice to be able to collapse pages together or somehow view cycles. On sites where users tend to have long sessions the graph of site traversal has cycles which may themselves be as interesting as how users exit a given page. For example if you have a group of desirable actions (say you have a site with shopping and user-user messaging) and you want to roll up the exits (collapse the above pages together and find out how much in users are falling out of those pages into help).
14
ryanglasgow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Overall the visual design is nice but this doesn't seem very practical.

Issues:

1) Requires too much effort (rolling over hover states) to dig out information.

2) Pairing circles and rectangles as a node make it hard to parse when your eyes are scanning the page. These shapes don't naturally go together.

3) URL's are truncated too short. On the bottom left of the live demo, you see "/account/listi..." twice, and they're actually different URL's. For some websites I can see this becoming a major issue.

4) The rounded circular graphs with the blue and red look nice, but doesn't convey the information very well. Any type of circular chart (pie chart, tachometer graphs, etc.) is not recommended.

Suggestions: I would consolidate the information for each node and show all of the visible and rollover data into a single box. Use varying font sizes, colors, and weights for necessary emphasis. Instead of the circular graphs, use a horizontal bullet graph[1] along the top of each node. Use the bullet graph to display the historical high and low as the bar, and the daily range as the background (or vice versa). This way, the user can scan the page looking at the bullet graphs along the top, and then if something strikes there eye as unusual look below and examine the data.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullet_graph

15
hopeless 3 days ago 1 reply      
I found the UI very pretty (I had to check it wasn't Flash) but a bit confusing and limited:

- Only shows 3 flow destinations at a time (and I nearly missed the scroll buttons)

- Had to mouseover to get percentages. I don't know why why percentages seem more useful to me than actual numbers

- It didn't feel very "actionable". I can't put my finger on why, but I wasn't sure what I'd do with this diagram.

16
kstenerud 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very difficult to use on iPad. You end up drilling down when you try to touch the circle for the pop-up. It's also hard to hit the red part of the circle.
17
guiseppecalzone 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's really difficult to get a good sense of how a user moves throughout your site. So, I think this could be amazing.

As a next step, they should allow you to click on one of the nodes and turn that page into a cohort. Then, we could analyze the impact of our improvements. That'd be sick.

18
Tim-Boss 3 days ago 1 reply      
How long is this going to be free for? Hate to convert a some websites to it, only to have to move on again in a few months!
19
reustle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, they just mask listia.com's data for their example.
20
coderholic 3 days ago 0 replies      
It'd be great to be able to segment logged in/out users.
21
mistircek 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is this a part of complete Mixpanel service or is it something separate?
22
ryanbales 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome UI - Nicely done. Fancy UX always has its limitations but also serve as exploration into future trends, etc.
23
edwinyzh 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is very intuitive! Graphical representations are always better than data in such use cases, IMHO.
       cached 26 March 2012 02:11:01 GMT