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Light Table Is On Kickstarter kickstarter.com
598 points by ibdknox  3 days ago   215 comments top 57
aiscott 3 days ago  replies      
The current pricing structure is discouraging backers, in my opinion. You tell us that when it's released it will most likely be pay-what-you-want, but if we pay early and support the project we are pushed into $50. I can guarantee you that if you do pay-what-you-want, your average isn't going to be $50.

I don't know what percentage of backers are the kind that do it merely to "support" a project, but I would guess it's not more than 10-15% of all backers for a given project.

The rest want some value for their money beyond feeling good about backing. You state you chose $50 for a license because that is what you think it is worth. I think you'll find out that what you think people will pay you for something and what they are willing to pay differs by a factor of 2-3.

So most of the people that want what you are going to make, even a little, probably don't want to spend more than $20 or $25. The difference between that and $50 is made up from goodwill, but that's really asking a lot of people.

I would recommend making some more tiers between $5 and $50, where everything above $20 gets a license. This way you capture the people that just want the product, and give others the ability to show their goodwill as well.

This isn't the kind of project that really needs swag. Nobody really wants a t-shirt. If you do something like promise to list backers (and their associated tiers) in the "credits" of the app, that would probably be great for most people.

edit: typos, and wording

ibdknox 2 days ago 9 replies      
Just added this update:

EDIT: Also, these changes will take effect for everyone who has already pledged at these levels. Though if you could, please switch - if the old ones have 0 pledges I can delete them.

Unfortunately I can't change the pricing structure in place, but based on the feedback we've gotten so far I've added a set of new rewards - all of which are better than their previous ones. :)

$15 - A license and acknowledgement on the contributor list

$50 - A license and early beta access

$100 - A license, early beta access, and participation in feedback rounds

$200 - Two licenses, pre-beta access, and participation in feedback rounds

All the higher rewards will also of course include participation in the feedback rounds. Ultimately, this should address people's concerns of buying something before it exists, but providing the opportunity to be a part of it at a lower price point.

ForrestN 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think the kickstarter page could be improved.

More details about the money and why you need it, what our donation will accomplish aside from the vague message about how more people get things done faster. How much are you paying yourself? How many other people?

More information about the end product (people are asking about OS for example), the timeline, and you and your qualifications to run the project. I gather you have been programming for a long time and work at Microsoft, but that doesn't prove you'll be able to deliver. For all I know you're a famous hacker, but not knowing that, not knowing if I can use the end product or when I will get it, and not being given a simple, compelling argument (rather than a detailed description of the idea) makes me less interested in participating.

That said I love the idea and really hope you are successful!

Impossible 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really want to back this but $100 is pretty steep for beta access. Even $50 is a little pricey for a tool that I like the goals of, but find it unlikely that I'll use it for a commercial product anytime soon. Any chance you could move around the reward tiers?

Maybe I'm just spoiled from spending $15-$20 on Kickstarter games and getting beta access, but as long as Light Table looks like an awesome toy instead of something I can build commercial software with it's hard to justify dropping $100 on it. That said I'll probably throw in $50.

siganakis 3 days ago 3 replies      
So the product will be open source, but you need a license to download it? So its open source, but not "free". Are there any well known licenses that support this?

I take it that it also means that the license will not allow for you to copy / redistribute Light Table? Does it still really qualify as open source then?

Will they allow for contributors to the core of the product and if so, what rights do contributors need to sign away?

That said, I think its an awesome project!

mattdeboard 3 days ago 0 replies      
The strength of his past contributions alone is enough to convince me to donate. You can't throw a football in Clojure land without hitting a high-quality contribution of his.
ibdknox 3 days ago 3 replies      
Just added this to the description:

If we hit $300k, Python will be the third language to be supported out of the gate.

ibdknox 3 days ago 1 reply      
Clarification on the closed source plugins:

That bit of text was misleading, the plugins that would be closed source are not the ones that would result immediately from this project, but instead domain specific plugins that wouldn't have broad appeal. All the language plugins will be open.

mwsherman 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'd like to know what he plans to do with $200,000. Is he staffing up a company?
icco 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone else find it awkward to back a project where the person running the project has never backed another project? I'm stoked about this project, It's just a feeling I've noticed consistently when looking at Kickstarter campaigns.
esmevane 2 days ago 1 reply      
Without disagreeing with the prevailing opinions on the reward rankings, may I observe that it's interesting how Kickstarter has transformed donations for innovation into a shopping cart experience?

So many folks in this thread, myself included, have adopted a stance of "I don't know if pledging this much is worth it!"

Well, we don't have to, right? We can just pledge $1 if we like it and want to help a bit.

Except we're talking about this product as though it is on sale and priced too high.

[edit]: Cleared up language.

collypops 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not upset that higher pledge tiers don't include the rewards of previous tiers. This is not always cost effective, especially when you factor in T-shirt production and whatnot. I do believe however that the higher levels should give more value to the backer, where value can be reasonable calculated. Specifically, I take issue with the higher of these two tiers:

> PLEDGE $1,000 OR MORE - 10 licenses of Light Table and acknowledgement as a backer of the project.

> PLEDGE $5,000 OR MORE - 25 licenses of Light Table and acknowledgement as a sponsor of the project.

How can a pledging 5x the amount of the previous tier give you only 2.5x the value?

sev 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the $50 mark to get a license is a little steep.

Besides that, the video quality on the Kickstart home page is quite bad; I tried to see what was going on so I put it in full-screen mode and couldn't read anything properly.

frio 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'll happily chip in some money, but having read recently about how Star Command's money burnt down (http://www.1up.com/news/star-command-kickstarter-funding-qui...) I suspect you might have shot yourself in the foot a bit by offering the t-shirts at such a cheap rate.

Either way, I've put some cash in the pot :).

pluies_public 3 days ago 3 replies      
I might have overlooked it, but it doesn't seem to say which OS Light Table will run on?

I would back it up for Linux, for example, but a Windows version wouldn't be useful for me.

grandalf 3 days ago 2 replies      
I was hoping it'd be open sourced. On the other hand, maybe Chris will do amazing things if he has the ability to work full time on light table.
snprbob86 3 days ago 0 replies      
Chris: Just wanted to say "Good luck!"

Also, I saw you mentioned a patched Clojure compiler for column information. Did you use my patch? :-) Let me know how I can help with Clojure and ClojureScript contributions. I find working on the compilers to be a lot of fun.

vibrunazo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Should put something like "if we pass the X goal, then it will be truly free, no licensing holding progress back".

Then I would be excited to donate :)

rexreed 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm confused about what Kickstarter will accept for software projects and which ones they won't. My latest project was rejected, but it was also a developer app. What is the guideline for what they will accept?
speg 3 days ago 1 reply      
I hate when pledges don't include the lower rewards. How can I get a t-shirt and a license?
nl 2 days ago 0 replies      
$10,000 for a logo (and link?) from the front page of a popular project like this could be pretty cheap SEO.

I know Apache (the foundation, not the software) used to have a problem with sponsors who were basically buying links. Apparently sponsoring Apache was cheaper than trying to buy links on comparatively ranked sites.

It looks like there could be at least one company on http://www.apache.org/foundation/thanks.html at the moment that still falls into that category.

jamesaguilar 3 days ago 2 replies      
I am considering contributing but I don't have a sense of how long my vision needs to be. Do you have any sense of when a working alpha would ship?
jurre 2 days ago 1 reply      
I feel the part about it being open source is either misleading or your description is just really vague, even after the update. First you mention the core is open source, then you mention we need a license for which we can pay as much as we'd like. Now that last part doesn't seem very open source to me.

Fair enough if you want to make money with this, that's your right and I don't think anyone will try to stop you. But don't say it's open source when it's not.

Could you explain, if Light Table is released, what will I have to do to obtain a copy? If payment is involved, please explain to me how it is open source. What license will be used (MIT, GPL etc, if you roll your own, please outline the major parts)?

devin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I pledged $500. The only reason I'm being public about it is because I see people in here complaining about the cost of a license and wanting their dollars to translate into something more than this project simply becoming a reality.

I don't have a barrel full of money by any stretch of the imagination, but given all of the lispers and schemers on Hacker News, pg's essays, and so on, I find it surprising that there would be as much hesitation as there is about paying $50 for some of smalltalk's greatest hits coupled with an environment that lowers the barrier to entry for people to dig into the best modern lisp around.

I'm donating because I want to live in a better place, not because I want a license. The cost of not funding a project that could mainstream so many lost and forgotten great ideas while simultaneously promoting some of the best new ones, seems sort of like a crime against the craft of programming in general.

I mean no offense, just an observation.

lwat 3 days ago 2 replies      
The main thing holding me back is the supported languages. I don't use Clojure and I'm not a big enough Javascript fan. Suggestion: Add more languages if you reach enough backing

$200k: JS and Clojure

$250k: JS, Clojure and C

$300k: JS, Clojure, C and ...

Void_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is no open source.

When I saw the Light Table demo, I wanted to build it for CoffeeScript, and I could do it.

This morning I found this, I got excited because I could use your interface and create a plugin for CoffeeScript. I was hoping I would be able to simply clone it and start working.

Instead I'm asked to pay X dollars to only get access to early beta?

> I'm a firm believer in open source

Yeah? Then make it open source. Develop it publicly on GitHub. Let people contribute. Don't make them pay.

> As such, I believe it only fair that the core of Light Table be open sourced once it is launched.

I believe I just gave you hundred dollars. Can I have the beta access now?

hkuo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just backed and looking forward to trying this out!

I just have one question/suggestion just in case it makes sense. My main hesitation with using a browser-based IDE is that with native apps, I can use standard quick-keys to navigate documents very quickly using just the keyboard, such as flipping between documents, jumping my cursor to the beginning or end of a line/document and shift-arrowing/tabbing to make a selection. These are very basic and simple things, but without them, I would have to painfully use my trackpad/mouse to make selections, navigate the cursor around, or switch between documents. Just wondering if you're considering this type of functionality that will let me perform quick and simple actions through keyboard commands.

SatvikBeri 3 days ago 0 replies      
I signed up on Kickstarter just for Light Table. Now I can't wait until December!
DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
T-shirt printing, packing, and delivery appears to be an unfilled niche.
duaneb 3 days ago 1 reply      
$50 is way too much, especially since I don't use javascript or clojure and I don't see myself switching... ever. If there was C support or even python, then it would much much less of a risk for my money.
lsc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just a thought; when I read the title and started reading the description, I thought you were actually selling a giant drafting-table sized LCD.

If you wanted to integrate the IDE well with one particular piece of really nice kit, and then tell people that if they donate more than $BIGNUM, they get a nice workstation, all setup and integrated.

(just a silly idea. That's probably more of a distraction than you want. But it could be showy.)

beefman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just pledged $50. I did it for the license. As I did so, I realized: this must mean Light Table isn't going to be free software. Presumably I'm getting it at a discount for being an investor. Does it adequately compensate me for the risk of buying a nonexistent product? Shouldn't I get some percentage of its profits, if it's not going to be free software after an injection of more than $200K? Does the license give me lifetime upgrades, or only the first version?

These were my thoughts as I clicked through the Amazon payment buttons.

shortlived 3 days ago 1 reply      
If closure is one of the first languages, how easy would it be to support java?
james33 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was really anticipating this Kickstarter campaign to start, but the pledge levels are a real downer. I don't mind paying $50 to get the licensee, but I should get beta access for that. This project looks really cool, but essentially preordering something over a year in advance (and lets face it, these timelines never actually get met) for the same price or more than you would pay when it is actually released without even getting beta access is somewhat insulting. What incentive do I have to pledge right now?
shortlived 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where can I read more about the implementation details. I'm particularly interested in how well it will work on an "enterprise" app, e.g. 500K loc with some ugly dependencies.
xlevus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why is the first tangible reward a t-shirt and not the product?

If I was going to fund something, I would want to know my money is going to the product and not merchandise.

I don't think a YC pitch would go well if they said "And with the first $10k we're going to send out t-shirts to the first 1000 subscribers on the mailing list."

methodin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone have insight into how the tool that shows variables as it passed through functions would work in an extensible "port over the language of your choice" way? Is this reliant on stack tracing/debug tools or more rudimentary methods?
ameen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for making the change. I just pledged $15 for a license. I'll make good on my promise and spread the word around my networks, and hope others who pledged the least for a license payback in similar ways too.

All the best Chris.

politician 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've thrown some of mine into the pot. As a Clojure apprentice, I'm eager to see the beta. However, I honestly doubt that some of the desired languages are even possible - C, really? Even JS seems dubious.
lsiebert 3 days ago 0 replies      
If it's written in Javascript based on code mirrorand the only thing closed source are a few plugins not related to the actual language plugins, then it should be fairly easy to roll a package with chromium or Firefox built around it. I expect a few show HN posts. I also hope for hosted solutions, and licensing for students. This seems like an excellent way to learn a language.

I think we will see done aspects turned into plugins and add ons for existing IDEs but that is not the same as building this intentionally from the ground up. If you can have function reference lookup, for example, and if it's built in Javascript, you can probably build in other forms of reference already on the Web. Pervasive passive information that you would normally have to search for.

nyrb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Was going to pledge the project, but saw "it is browser-based, it will packaged in a webview of some kind so that it feels like a normal app". Nothing wrong with browser-based editor, but I am comfortable with native app. That's my personal preference.
Blunt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd pledge the full $200K if they would take on C++ immediately. I am so sick and tired of IDEs that suck at delivering solid C++ coding environment. The best tool I've found for the job, to date, is Source Insight.
ScotterC 2 days ago 0 replies      
With the new early beta access for $50, I'm in.
mike 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just in case it's useful to anyone else, an HD version of the video (where the code is legible) is available on vimeo here: http://vimeo.com/40281991
iamtoby2003 2 days ago 0 replies      
mmm....if i contribute 10 bucks, i would expect at least a copy of the software. Plus, the UI is not too exciting and their expecation for investment might be abit high IMO
ulugbek 3 days ago 1 reply      
one of those times when continually clicking "refresh" is fun.
JoshMock 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not trying to add one more "VIM IS BETTER" comment like happens on every thread about editors, but I have an actual, for-real question: who wants to help make a Vim workalike version of this? Because I would donate to that (in time, meager Vimscript skills, money) in a heartbeat.
eyko 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was hoping for an open source project rather than a $200,000 product, but that's just me… Besides, Javascript being the main supported language is a put off to be honest. But there goes my $1.
angelixd 3 days ago 1 reply      
If the guy is so excited about this concept, has he tried prototyping in as an (emacs/vim/eclipse/etc.) plugin? And if not, why? It seems that at least a few of those features could be shown off before he goes asking for $200K.
swah 3 days ago 1 reply      
For a change, I wish this wasn't web-based, but based on Chromium and really fast.

(And with a great plugin system).

moondev 3 days ago 1 reply      
So will this be a native app or will it need to be run inside the browser? I'm guessing the prototype was a web app but the final product will be native?
xsace 2 days ago 0 replies      
May 2013? I can't wait for so long.
tsiki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will it have any support for popular JS modularisation libraries like require.js?
Drbble 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't get it. This proposal sounds like Eclipse that exists today plus a couple of small new plugin for the more aspirational bits.
wxl 2 days ago 0 replies      
$200k seems like an awful lot to me. I don't see why you need a massive team to make an IDE. It's not like you're making a game, where you need artists, programmers, composers, etc. All this is is programming.
sellingly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool, but I had to ask the question: Is this similar to / also based around the Iguana translator? Thread here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3856159
angeladur 2 days ago 0 replies      
so the software is opensource, but they are providing official binaries for a Fee. Hmm..very similar to what XChat did a while ago
Twitter Introduces Innovators Patent Agreement github.com
524 points by shill  3 days ago   107 comments top 30
zdw 3 days ago 6 replies      
I wonder if Twitter will retroactively apply this to the "pull to refresh" patent they acquired when they purchased the Tweetie and turned it into the official Twitter client:


paul 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! I'm looking forward to seeing which tech companies sign on.
robterrell 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can't believe someone at Twitter wrote this. It's riddled with semicolons.


ForrestN 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's a very interesting move. I guess the calculation (apart from real benevolence, which I don't mean to undercut) would be that the good will and good press, affection from idealistic engineers and the resulting hiring and retention advantage, and the effect on the rest of the patent landscape (over which they have no direct control) is worth more than the patents themselves.

The thing is, how that plays out depends on whether or not other companies agree to change their behavior. If it's true, as another comment says, that they will allow Apple to use the pull-to-refresh patent, for example, that's some clear leverage lost. If no one else makes similar moves, won't Twitter be at a disadvantage in the context of the "patent wars?" Will the other advantages I listed above still be worth it if the patent landscape doesn't change? Does this effect the value (especially as a potential acquisition target) of Twitter? I don't know enough about their portfolio of patents to know how valuable there patents might be.

In any case, it's at least something new-feeling in the story of software patents. Hopefully it will have some positive effects.

EDIT: Also, hearing all this talk of "defensive" patent use makes me think about Intellectual Ventures; does that sort of thing count as defensive under this plan?

ntkachov 3 days ago 2 replies      
'The company will not use the patents in offensive litigation without the permission of the inventors.'

Honestly how hard is it to go up to someone and say "Let us troll with this patent and we will cut you in on 20% of the profit". I know quite a few people who would do that deal just to pay for their kids college in the future. I don't see this changing anything except for inventors now getting a cut of the deal.

tibbon 3 days ago 5 replies      
Why would a startup not do this (aside from wanting to be a greedy patent troll?)?

No seriously, if I have a startup that cares about my employees, is there any real reason to not do this?

mooneater 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea. From the agreement, clause 2:

'An assertion of claims of the Patents shall be considered for a “Defensive Purpose” if the claims are asserted .... (c) otherwise to deter a patent litigation threat against Assignee or Assignee's users, affiliates, customers, suppliers, or distributors.'

That part (c) is pretty vague.

robomartin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't read the fine print...

Does this mean that you will be able to use any Twitter-patented technology at will and not expect to be sued for it?

hornokplease 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the original post submission on the Twitter Engineering blog: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3853654
vibrunazo 2 days ago 2 replies      
> If Assignee needs to assert any of the Patent claims against any entity for other than a Defensive Purpose, Assignees must obtain prior written permission from all of the Inventors without additional consideration or threat.

Doesn't this nullify everything else? I would love to believe we live in a world where inventors would stop their patents being used wrongly if they had the power. But I honestly believe these are a very tiny minority. Won't most inventors just agree with the company they work for anyway? There doesn't need to be any explicit threat, but just working for a company probably means that you'll do what's necessary to keep your bosses happy. Won't companies just get a signed consensus from inventors and keep suing anyway?

Am I missing something obvious?

jasonkolb 3 days ago 3 replies      
So what is the difference between this agreement and simply publishing the guts of a patent in a public way that establishes a commercial use date?
linuxhansl 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is good. Personally I would rather in a world where every so called "invention" is immediately documented publicly so that from that point on there is prior art and nobody can claim a patent on it.

Tipping the balance of offensive to defensive patents will definitely also help.

jharding 3 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see Twitter doing this, it's definitely a step in the right direction. In my opinion what this really needs is the support from another well-known company. If a company like Facebook announced next week that they were adopting the Innovators Patent Agreement, I think that could get the ball rolling and we would start to see many other companies join the cause.
zxypoo 3 days ago 0 replies      
WiseWeasel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could a public company's leadership even adopt such a measure without getting successfully sued by its shareholders? They would be putting liabilities on the company's IP assets, decreasing their market value, which is not in the interest of shareholders.

Would it just fly under the radar? I guess the company would have to argue that this allows them to pursue and retain better talent, which might be an easy case...

monochromatic 3 days ago 2 replies      
> 2(b) against an Entity that has filed, maintained, or voluntarily participated in a patent infringement lawsuit against another in the past ten years, so long as the Entity has not instituted the patent infringement lawsuit defensively in response to a patent litigation threat against the Entity

So it counts as a defensive purpose if they're suing anyone who's filed a patent infringement case in the last decade? That's pretty friggin' broad.

mythz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Twitter is quickly becoming OSS's best role model - imitators take note.
tucif 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, what if you are the inventor of a patent on company A, then you get hired or create company B, which uses your patented inventions on company A?

You won't give them permission to sue you..

dutchbrit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Might be a step in the right direction, but when can we just ditch all software patents?! (I know - bit of an unrelated comment)
orblivion 2 days ago 0 replies      
So so I'm clear on this, when they say patents can only be used for defensive purposes, are they saying this will effectively nullify patent law in regard to this particular patent?
mochazebedee 2 days ago 0 replies      
This move strikes me as a truce agreement proposed by someone with no sword.
How many technology patents does Twitter even HAVE, not counting Loren Brichter's "pull-to-refresh" UI innovation?
TomGullen 3 days ago 0 replies      
The best form of defence is attack, is the language really air tight enough for companies to not use them in attack?
ubervero 3 days ago 1 reply      
This thing should be on Docracy
Spoom 3 days ago 1 reply      
A nice idea, but many developers' employment contracts already state that they assign all inventions created during the course of their duties to the company, free and clear. How would this help such a situation?
IvanDragoev 2 days ago 0 replies      
To protect your idea/product using patents is OK but using them to stop innovations is a dark side. How to define the balance between using patents as weapons and using them to secure investments is the big question. If your innovative project uses something well-known, but adds the essence on top of that, do you have to pay a license for all the bricks you use?
ry 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will Google follow suit?
Fando 3 days ago 0 replies      
cool. a step in the right direction
oughton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mmmmmm IPA
myspoonnotyours 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty poorly drafted.
kwamenum86 3 days ago 2 replies      
No company in their right mind should sign this. This throws the baby out with the bathwater. There are actually legitimate uses for patents and if you're working on something non-trivial your company might want to (and might even be obligated to in order to do right by shareholders) use the patent offensively.
Why The US Can Beat China: The Facts About SpaceX Costs spacex.com
484 points by hef19898  2 days ago   256 comments top 32
PaulHoule 2 days ago  replies      
It's astonishing to see this much transparency into launch costs.

Governments have long held this information close to their chests. NASA, in particular, has never published accounting on what the Space Shuttle really costs, since this information would help a competitor (Russians, Chinese, etc.) build a similar vehicle with better economics.

drewblaisdell 2 days ago 8 replies      
Is it fair to say that NASA would likely require many times the amount of funding for the same result as SpaceX?

I ask because as someone who was previously unfamiliar with the amount of funding SpaceX had to work with, $800 million sounds like an incredibly small amount of money to do (what looks like) more than NASA does with its ~$18 billion budget.

alanbyrne 2 days ago 10 replies      
> "The total company expenditures since being founded in 2002 through the 2010 fiscal year were less than $800 million which includes all the development costs for the Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Dragon."

Wow. Facebook could have started an entire space program for less money than they spent on Instagram.

coenhyde 2 days ago 3 replies      
If SpaceX can put the costs to launch a satellite into orbit on their website, then you'd think that enterprise software companies would be able to price their software ......

By the way SpaceX is my favourite company of all time. Elon Musk is living my 6 year old self's dream (actually my dream is still pretty similar, just haven't got their yet ;p )

angersock 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wonderful quote from the article:

"(This concept may be foreign to some traditional government space contractors that seem to believe that cost overruns should be the responsibility of the taxpayer.)"

evoxed 2 days ago 3 replies      
> The Falcon 9 launch vehicle was developed from a blank sheet to first launch in four and half years for just over $300 million. The Falcon 9 is an EELV class vehicle that generates roughly one million pounds of thrust (four times the maximum thrust of a Boeing 747) and carries more payload to orbit than a Delta IV Medium.

> The Dragon spacecraft was developed from a blank sheet to the first demonstration flight in just over four years for about $300 million. Last year, SpaceX became the first private company, in partnership with NASA, to successfully orbit and recover a spacecraft. The spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket that carried it were designed, manufactured and launched by American workers for an American company. The Falcon 9/Dragon system, with the addition of a launch escape system, seats and upgraded life support, can carry seven astronauts to orbit, more than double the capacity of the Russian Soyuz, but at less than a third of the price per seat.

Well now, look at these gems! If you still need a reason to get into this company, just read the first sentence of either quote.

DanI-S 2 days ago 4 replies      
> This is a clear case of American innovation trumping lower overseas labor rates.

As much as I admire Elon Musk, this is a short-sighted, exceptionalist dogma. It may apply in some cases - for the time being - but do people really think that non-Americans are incapable of innovation?

SpaceX have had a headstart, since NASA and their gigantic budget have decided to take advantage of free enterprise. It's only a matter of time before Asian and European governments begin to do the same.

randall 2 days ago 2 replies      
Most YC hackers:

"I'm fixing x because x is broken. They're slow, costly, inefficient, and aren't taking advantage of modern technology."

Elon Musk is doing a YC startup (in spirit) on the most grand scale possible.

pgroves 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is how a CEO gets engineers to want to work for his company.
wave 2 days ago 4 replies      
Actual goal of Elon Musk is to send someone to Mars, but since seems far reaching goal for most people and since they might call him crazy, he is sticking with near space for now. Do not be surprise when he starts talking about Mars.
excuse-me 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's nothing new in this - it has been done before.

Want to build a Mach3 aircraft in the days when most people thought jets were pretty clever?

Want to do it in <2years using materials that had never been used in a plane before - and do it on budget.

And repeat the success with half a a dozen other projects.

And it's described in a book that everyone in technology (or management) should read http://www.amazon.com/Skunk-Works-Personal-Memoir-Lockheed/d...

rorrr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope Elon Musk gets all the "man of the year" awards.

The man is brilliant, and there's so much resistance to what he's doing, it's insane.

ewolfe 2 days ago 2 replies      
I had no clue they were profitable. With "over $3 billion in revenues" and "total company expenditures ... were less than $800 million" that is quite the ROI.
MatthewPhillips 2 days ago 7 replies      
> font-size: 11px;


retube 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am surprised that a leavy-lifting rocket capable of achieving orbit only develops 4 times the thrust of a 747.
mukaiji 2 days ago 2 replies      
You are a random billionaire (i.e. not Mark Zuckerberg) with a billion dollars.

You could:
A. Buy Instagram.
B. Build SpaceX from scratch.

Most of them would probably buy instagram. :(

ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many decades until you can buy an earth-orbit ride giftcard at walmart.
olalonde 1 day ago 0 replies      
> China has the fastest growing economy in the world. But the American free enterprise system, which allows anyone with a better mouse-trap to compete, is what will ensure that the United States remains the world's greatest superpower of innovation.

China is also moving pretty fast towards a free enterprise system while the United States is moving in the opposite direction at approximately the same speed. Well at least, having lived both in America and China, that's my impression.

tlogan 2 days ago 2 replies      
I hope that young entrepreneur will follow more steps of Elon Musk and instead of pursuing fast money start pursuing big dreams. Actually I think that is already happening...
rrrazdan 1 day ago 0 replies      
India's comparable GSLV has a programme cost of 800 million dollars and a launch cost of around 90 million dollars. Given the relatively less development costs in India. I'd have to say very impressive SpaceX.
noomerikal 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a side note, could you pony up for a designer? I felt like I was perusing a README file for StarCraft.
rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a good reason to the sarbanes oxley. If SpaceX had IPO'd already, more end cheaper capital might have helped, and buying spacex stock would the best thing I can do personally for space for a while.
andys627 2 days ago 2 replies      
Man I wish this could be replicated in train construction - Florida is exploring this. One downside however, is you get what the private developer wants - so they're ending up with a train station at Orlando airport instead of downtown Orlando where it should be. Government is uniquely incentivised to do that right because they gain from increasing property values near where the train will go. Unfortunately local developers won't be so nice as to pony up more for that kind of thing even though they will reap disproportionate rewards. Another example - here in Reno, we're trying to build Bus Rapid Transit through a main corridor that is undergoing a pretty great revitalization. People in NV are especially not cool with traditional way for raising taxes for this kind of project (a la 1 cent sales tax just for BRT/streetcar).

It begs to ask, if the developers nearby are going to gain so much, why aren't they building it themselves? Too many groups that won't take risk... I mean probably 1,000 people who own buildings there will benefit disproportionately... you are never going to get them together to pony up for a streetcar. But the proof is there... look at Portland for a US example... also Seattle and SF and San Diego. Its just easier to get the government to do it. They should put a local surcharge on property values. Its only fair. However, they will f- this project up I'm sure... just like NASA spent a kabillion extra dollars just to build certain parts in certain senator's home states... and my other local train is going to have a snack bar so the Sonoma County housewives that will never ride the train can get a snack; instead of more seats and bike space.

jeffool 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it dumb of me to ask "so why isn't NASA working on terraforming bodies yet?"

It seems inevitable, and like we may as well start spitballing now. Send a few rooms that attach to the surface and dig in, practice in there remotely.

hef19898 2 days ago 0 replies      
Following the discussion on the SpaceX infrastructure, I did some didding on their homepage and stumbled over this article.

Seriously, being in this industry, that's more than just impressive. And you should really ask yourself what you do wrong...

chrismealy 2 days ago 0 replies      
For the first time in more than three decades, America last year began taking back international market-share in commercial satellite launch. This remarkable turn-around was sparked by a small investment NASA made in SpaceX in 2006 as part of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. A unique public-private partnership, COTS has proven that under the right conditions, a properly incentivized contractor " even an all-American one " can develop extremely complex systems on rapid timelines and a fixed-price basis, significantly beating historical industry-standard costs.
brainless 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is disruption in true sense. Hope others follow the footsteps.
cridal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this guy the Richard Branson of XXI century? Barely in his 40s and:
You've got to be in owe...
workhorse 2 days ago 1 reply      
Elon for president?
mburshteyn 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is why SpaceX is my favorite company.
beernutz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, and that post from Elon is over a year OLD! Wonder where things lie currently?
spenrose 2 days ago 4 replies      
The real cost of space flight is energy, specifically:

1) The huge amount of energy required to lift mass out of Earth's gravity well.
2) The vexing practical expense of obtaining that energy in useful form (e.g. rocket fuel) for launch.

Rocketry's future will always be limited by those daunting constraints.

A High Frequency Trader's Apologia, Part 1 chrisstucchio.com
357 points by yummyfajitas  3 days ago   316 comments top 30
adamsmith 3 days ago  replies      
The way the system is set up makes it a tax on global efficiency. All of these resources (crazy smart people, money, equipment) are needlessly wasted on getting lower latency when really it adds no systematic value.

Instead, just as the system disallows fractional penny bids, it could discretize order times to the nearest e.g. 5 seconds. Boom. Suddenly you have more MIT/etc grads solving better problems for the world.

lrm242 3 days ago 4 replies      
A few notes:

(a) Orders for stocks priced below $1.00 are permitted to display in sub-penny increments. Not that this is really relevant to HFT, but it is often a point of confusion.

(b) Orders may rest on the book and display at a price but execute at a separate price. For example, if a market is 20.01 / 20.02 and I believe true value is 20.017 I can bid 20.01 but tell the matching engine that I'm willing to accept 20.015. That you are willing to trade at the midpoint also places you at a higher priority in the queue, above those only willing to buy at 20.01.

losvedir 3 days ago 2 replies      
Huh, I'm glad this was posted!

1) Didn't realize when I read this it was by yummyfajitas, whose comments I always respect.

2) Do I understand correctly that the order book is public (albeit anonymized)? That surprised me -- it seems like this would lead to meta-games and jockeying for position and such, as opposed to different parties just submitting into a black box what some security is worth to them.

3) Are there any good papers/articles modeling different market set-ups? For instance my black box one above. Or one where orders are matched randomly rather than chronologically. Or one where trades happen in one batch once per day. I can't say I'm opposed to HFT, it just seems to sap a very large amount of engineering brainpower for not that much societal marginal benefit anymore. If I could snap my fingers and give up a bit of the liquidity and get all those engineers back I probably would.

4) I once worked in a sell-side equity research shop which traded stocks the old fashioned way (based on fundamentals) and had a non high-frequency trading desk, etc. That type of company is getting hurt by the lower spreads offered by HFT. But I never did quite comprehend why it made sense to pay for our product (research) with trading commissions. Seemed to cross two unrelated services, although that kind of business model seemed deeply entrenched in the market.

radarsat1 3 days ago 7 replies      
What I don't understand about HFT is why its efficiency does not seem to be limited by transaction fees. I've tried a bit in the past to play with some algorithms that buy and sell (on paper) and it seems like the faster you go, the more you need the market to move in order to scrape a few pennies of profit, because the movement has to be sufficient to cover the spread, the transaction fees, _and_ provide some profit. Of course with a simple example like "buy at $20, sell at $20.10", it seems simple enough to extract some profit, but in fact it would need to be enough profit that it covers the transaction fees, which seem to be a kind "friction" that limits the smallest change in price that is useful. From what I can tell this kind of movement just doesn't generally occur in the sub-millisecond time frame, so how does it work? Or is it just that they are trading so much $$ in one shot that a very tiny change in price covers the transaction fee without issue? (Meaning they are taking very large risks..)
deathflute 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks, this is a very clear article on the most important ingredients of HFT. I am curious to hear the apology but I am not sure there is anything to apologize for. The market marker is taking on substantial risk of adverse selection and is being compensated for it. As long as legal means are used to achieve that end, this is not really different from any other business strategy. Causal implied benefits to society from any business are subjective and the most important consequences are usually latent.

Anyways, I am curious to know if elaborate prediction models are used here or it is mostly a game of adjusting prices based on correlated instruments? Also, how does one build a simulator for such strategies?

johnohara 3 days ago 1 reply      
The astute reader will probably ask this straightforward question: -- "Jubal, does that seem right to you?"
sid6376 3 days ago 2 replies      
What I would love to hear in the follow up to this post is what are the typical technical challenges which a typical HFT encounters? If someone wants to be an HFT what are the core skills one must have? (Strong in algorithms, good c++ skills?). How much math should one know and what kind of math?
ChristianMarks 3 days ago  replies      
I'll believe that HFT adds liquidity to the market when the typical start of employment to retirement period is 15 milliseconds.
anonDataUser 3 days ago 2 replies      
This offers no insight into HFT and is not an apology. Why is it here?

For people interested in HFT, start your exploring with a google search for "latency arbitrage".

achy 3 days ago 1 reply      
From my understanding of this, HFT basically makes it impossible for a non-HFT trader to buy at anything but his maximum buying price and to sell at anything but his lowest selling price. This seems like it would significantly undermine the profitability of the market for non-HFT traders.
dbecker 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen so many news articles full of hyperbole about HFT, and this is the first legitimate explanation I've seen. Thank you.
joejohnson 3 days ago  replies      
Last week, Bloomberg published this op-ed defending HFT: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-10/high-speed-trading-...

The piece is largely propaganda. A nice rebuttal is found here: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/04/hft-pirates-and-their-a...

Can anyone explain why multiple exchanges exist (besides for historical or political reasons)? It seems anti-competitive that exchanges can be private at all, let alone that exchanges can be allowed to operate as monopolies in a market or country.

toddh 3 days ago 2 replies      
Accepting the earliest bid seems quite arbitrary. How would the system change if a random participant was selected? Or perhaps you could buy preferential treatment or use an algorithm weighted by some good actor metric.
polynomial 2 days ago 0 replies      
> The rise of algorithmic trading is merely a special case of machines replacing humans.

One of the article's more salient points.

RobertKohr 3 days ago 1 reply      
So if you remove the restriction on subpenny increments, you remove the need for HFT?
MikeCapone 3 days ago 1 reply      
Question: Are all HFTs only market makers like this, or do some of them use other strategies (front-running?) that actually make transactions more expensive for others, or move markets a lot (especially in small caps, I would guess)?
jboggan 3 days ago 5 replies      
Will the following installations address the role of high frequency trading in flash crashes? Although high frequency trading seems like a very good strategy when arrayed against human opponents I have to wonder what happens when all the inputs and outputs are controlled by HFT algorithms trading against each other. How do you debug a HFT algorithm?
photon137 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can you say how feasible it is to build an HFT startup - the operating costs of execution/connectivity/colocation(!) aside - do you think regulatory authorities make the barrier-to-entry too high?

SEC/FINRA have Series 7/56 requirements for employees, UK has FSA-related principal investment regulations - both require a company to sponsor a person to trade. Also, the MiFiD regulations in EU require an "adequate capital" of 700k euros - is it really possible to get venture/seed capital covering these bare costs so that you just remain "legal", let alone operate?

someben 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kinda an obvious introduction to order books. Later I hope he gets into the rebate mechanism:


Note that you get PAID for placing certain types of orders.

redwood 2 days ago 0 replies      
The author describes changing bid/sell prices based on new information (like a new press release putting pressure on value, say). He doesn't mention whether people are feeding the algos up/down pressure based on these press releases or if they're automatic.

I assume they're at least partially automated. In other words for every article that comes out about a given company, some algo (or human) gives it a plus/minus ranking and magnitude based on what it means for the company.

Assuming this is partially done by algos that crawl press releases looking for signals, or similar (in order to be first to market with latest news) one can imagine a new type of hacking.

Hack the press releases and watch the algo trades go haywire....

caladri 3 days ago 1 reply      
Men buy, women sell, and also if women are sad you can feed them strawberries and get off on it. Got it. Now I understand HFT perfectly.
xaa 3 days ago 3 replies      
Do HFTers pay any sort of commission or transaction fee (to the exchange)?
lifeformed 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not making any value judgements here, I just find it fascinating how much we have abstracted away the original concepts of the stock market.
djhworld 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure where the apology is...or if there is even one needed in the first place.

I really enjoyed your article, it explained (in laymans terms) something that's often been bewildering to me as an outsider to the financial sector.

Maybe this is why people outside of the sector are hostile to the idea of HFT - because they haven't got a clue how it works?

javert 3 days ago 2 replies      
I would be really interested to know the author's motivation for leaving HFT. For example, did you feel that you could make more money elsewhere?

Eventually I'll even put forward a policy prescription which I believe could cause HFT to focus primarily on socially valuable activities

I'm really against the government making rules ot try to force people to serve society in some fashion. That's totally contrary to the principles of individual rights and pursuit of happiness upon which the country was founded.

deathflute 3 days ago 2 replies      
I am also confused about how latency arbs work. If you are co-located at one exchange, wouldn't you be further away from other exchanges?
LinXitoW 2 days ago 0 replies      
While the article itself is very interesting to someone like me that knows squat about diddledy, i must commend the author for including FireFly references.
ptolosav 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting. As an undergraduate looking to learn more and hopefully get some knowledge so i can get that "edge" in the field when i graduate, what books do you guys recomend on trading? I know HFT is very specific and probably there isn't lots of literature on it, but something more general will do.

Thanks a lot.

Fando 3 days ago 0 replies      
very interesting
tjmania2003 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really enjoyed reading this, great stuff. Even better Chris spent some time at Snevets :)
Fake S3 " Save time, money, and develop offline getspool.com
346 points by jubos  2 days ago   54 comments top 17
Fluxx 2 days ago 2 replies      
In my opinion, having to replicate S3 in development and test isn't the best idea. There are a few problems I see: You have tied yourself to S3's API, you must maintain this "other" S3 by making sure it behaves like the real S3 and your test and development code never actually hits the real API you're using...until staging or production.

There are a few better strategies I can see here:

1. For test, use something like VCR[1] to record real HTTP interactions with the real S3 API during first test runs, serialize them to disk, and then replay them later.

2. Go the more OO route and create an internal business object with a defined interface that handles persistance of your objects. You could have a S3Persister for production and staging, but then you can create a LocalDiskPersister or even MemoryPersister for tests. Hell, you can even keep your own S3 and create OurS3Persister as well. The main point here is that your application code is coded to one API/interface - the "persister" - and you can easily swap in different persisters for different reasons. All the individual persisters can then have their own tests that guarantee they adhere to to Persister interface and do their own individual things correctly.

3. Mock out the calls to your S3 library. It's the job of the library to provide an API interface for you as the application developer to S3, so you can mock out those API calls and trust the library works and is doing the right thing. Since you're mocking things out, you should still have integration tests with the real S3 to verify everything is working, but for quick unit tests mocking works great.

The blog post mentioned they had GB of data, so YMMV on these ideas, but these are strategies I and others have used in the past when dealing with APIs like S3 and they work great.

[1] https://github.com/myronmarston/vcr

ben1040 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had to do some work on an S3-backed project while out at sea on a cruise ship a few months ago (let's save the discussion about working on vacation for the 501 developer thread).

Thanks to git I was able to spool up my commits and then push when I pulled into port and had cellular access, but I wasn't really able to do everything I wanted with the paperclip-backed models without reliable/cheap network access.

An offline emulation mode for S3 sounds pretty nice, thanks for this!

DenisM 2 days ago 1 reply      
How about failure simulations? Also, S3 has eventual consistency, so a read can mIss a recent write.
Ferequently injecting errors and consistency issues would make this very helpful.
justinsb 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd recommend installing OpenStack's Swift component (S3 equivalent) and evaluating that as well. You can run it on one node for development purposes, you can scale it up if you want private object storage on your network, and many public clouds are offering it: Rackspace Cloud Servers, HP Cloud, AT&T, Korea Telecom, Internap etc

Wikipedia use OpenStack Swift to store their images, and have some good presentations on this.

fennecfoxen 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm mildly surprised you have in-application bandwidth limits instead of setting up clever firewall rules on your local box. (Latency in particular is a fun thing to add.)
hrabago 2 days ago 0 replies      
I did this on a smaller scale within our SOA environment. We're told our DEV must connect to everyone else's DEV. The problem is everybody's DEV is unstable, because by nature, everything deployed there is a work in progress. If someone's service goes down, it can prevent me from testing and block my progress.

So early on when I developed a mock web service which could serve mock data based on the service I was calling. As a result, I always knew what data was available, had coherent data (foreign keys across systems were always valid), and whenever I needed to, I can bring a system down and test my own system's rigidity and error messages. It was great. And then we reengineered all the systems and everything changed.

RandallBrown 2 days ago 3 replies      
This has little to do with the contents of the article, but I found it interesting.

"For development, each engineer runs her own instance of Fake S3 where she can put gigabytes of images and video to develop and test against, and her setup will work offline because it is all local."

Is spool a team of all women engineers? (I'm just curious as to whether or not that's true because it's so rare. I don't want to turn this into a weird opposite day version of the sexism in computer science debate.)

bdonlan 2 days ago 1 reply      
No license file? It's difficult to use software like this in many organizations if the licensing situation isn't clear...
EricR23 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why not just change the storage strategy to saving files locally while in your test environment? Fog lets you do this easily with its configuration options.
japherwocky 2 days ago 1 reply      
there was a python implementation of something like this in tornado (s3server and s3client), though now I don't see it. Anyone follow that project and know what happened to it?
j45 1 day ago 0 replies      
While the triviality of maintaining a sync between the spec and functionality of a Fake and real S3 will show in time, I think this is a neat idea.

One thought that comes to my mind is if I could get away with building entire apps using this and spin it off to S3 where/if it's needed.

kellysutton 2 days ago 1 reply      
Simple, elegant, awesome.

Have you tested it against paperclip?

deepakprakash 1 day ago 0 replies      
Talk about the timing!

We currently have a setup that needs S3 access to reliably develop/test the app I'm currently working on and I had just sat down planning to remove this dependency, since I will be on the road the next week or so.

This will save me a bunch of time immediately and probably some money later on. Thanks!

deutronium 2 days ago 2 replies      
Could you use Eucalyptus for this?
mikebabineau 2 days ago 0 replies      
A similar tool is available for SDB:


sparknlaunch12 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great concept. Bandwidth cost savings are a big plus.
hashfold 2 days ago 0 replies      
great concept. will use it this weekend.
I Guess I'm Not A 501 Developer adit.io
287 points by shimms  2 days ago   178 comments top 54
kevinalexbrown 2 days ago 2 replies      
The workaholic v just-a-job tension seems to stem from the fact that it's difficult, in a team environment, to hire someone for the value added. If you could, then the workaholics could work more, learn more, and get paid more, whatever, and the just-a-jobbers could just work, and everyone would get paid by what they contribute.

To borrow the ideal-world-artisan metaphor, if I want a table made by a carpenter, I don't care how long the carpenter spent making the table, and I (ultimately) don't care if it's just a job to her. I care whether my total investment of waiting and money is worth the table she makes.

Problems arise when it's much easier to measure 'passion' and time spent working than value added. These are probably correlated within reasonable bounds, just like total words in a comment and value added to a discussion are often correlated, but I don't upvote on length. It's annoying to see someone getting more respect than you, but turning out crappier work, just because they stay late and fit the cultural bill.

But the flipside is that if time spent and value added are correlated (and I suppose that's very loose across persons, and even within persons), then pay, and perhaps even personal respect for someone's craft, will be tied to that.

501ers recognize that it will probably result in having less opportunities:

We recognize that your willingness to allow your employment to penetrate deeply into your personal life means that you will inevitably become our supervisor. We're cool with this.

I think that's a good attitude, as long as it's acknowledged that without putting in the extra hours to learn, grow, or ship, you might not grow over time and earn the same respect in the workplace[1], and you might not get paid the same.

[1] Respect as a person, of course, should be independent of work, and respect for your craft should probably be based on what you can do, not how long you spend doing it. My closest friends are extremely talented, and also more on the just-a-job end. This doesn't change how I feel about them at all. It's their life, after all.

batista 2 days ago 10 replies      
Someone commented this on the original post:

>People who work on something they aren't passionate about deserve neither, and their sacrifice will go unnoticed.

To which I reply:

That's an extremely arrogant, insulting and self-entitled notion.

You, sir, ONLY get to do what you "love" because millions of people every after day do what they don't love but have to do anyway (in order to pay for their food and family). People from the guys that work in mines to gather materials to make your computer internals, to guys that transport gas and flip switches at energy plants so that you can have electricity, to the guy that flips your burgers when you go to the fast food joint across the street, to the guy that cleans your offices. Not "loving your job" has nothing to do with an aversion to "hard work" (people work far more hours and intensely in shit jobs, because they have to), or not taking pride in one's work (there are people that DO take pride in doing a good job at cleaning streets from garbage for example --that doesn't mean the love their job).

It's a silly American notion that every job can be (or worse, has to be) the worker's "passion" --and only few get to have the privilege of that notion, and then again only after they have a lot of lucky breaks.

robomartin 2 days ago 6 replies      
Interesting. In my view of the world is that there are no sick days, no personal days, no vacation days and no holidays. Fuck all that.

As long as you own and are responsible for what you are supposed to be doing and deliver on the commitments made you are free to manage your time as you see fit. In reality, it's a team decision and not the decision of the boss (me, in this case). If someone wants to go out of town to see a concert or take the kids to Disneyland for a few days, we talk about it. More often than not there are no issues and the answer is "send pictures". Sometimes the answer is "OK, but could you take the laptop and see if you can finish this little chunk of code". When it can't happen it is obvious to everyone.

Want to take a month off to go down to Argentina? Let's figure out how to do it. You might have to drag along the laptop and keep up with some stuff, but there are probably few reasons to say no. Can I come?

The same applies to sick days or "personal" days (who came up with that term?). You are sick? Please go to the doctor and stay home? Need to go take care of that speeding ticket? Take the day if you have to.

This also applies to work hours. Sometimes you have to put in the time to get something done. When discussed as a team these instanced become self-evident.

I said in another post that I am no stranger to 18 hour days. I hate doing it, but sometimes you have to. In all cases this kind of thing must be fully justified. It can't be the norm. If it is, something is seriously wrong or you need more people.

9 to 5 programmers have one guarantee: They will work 9 to 5 every day and will be held to strict rules when it comes to vacation, personal and sick days. If you want to work a strict 9 to 5 schedule I have to treat you differently. I have to treat you by the letter of the law. So, while the guy/gal in the other plan is in Argentina having fun and doing some coding, the 501'er will be clocking in and out and accounting for meal time and vacation days. Yuck!

I, personally, hate that kind of work accounting. Not for me. To each his/her own.

robomartin 2 days ago 2 replies      
Where does it say that 501's are actually productive and produce good bug-free code?

Being a little bit of a dick here, but programming is art and science and there are aspects of it that require dedication beyond a 9 to 5 mentality. I, for one, prefer to hold reasonable hours and come home to the kids. At the same time, I am no stranger to 18 hour days, seven days a week. Sometimes inspiration and problem solving require you to stay on task longer in order to get things done.

And then there are those bug-hunting missions that sometimes never end. I once spent six months tracking down a software bug in a hardware design (Verilog, FPGA). High-speed digital designs can be notoriously difficult to troubleshoot. The problem was caused by a rounding error in an Excel spreadsheet used to calculate parameters plugged into the code months earlier. We used "ROUND()" instead of "ROUNDUP()". Though I digress, the point is that programming sometimes is about recognizing when you need to do a little (or a lot) more than watch a clock.

I'm not proposing that all programmers ought to work ridiculous hours. Whenever I've done 18 hour stints it took me out of the game for weeks. And that's OK so long as there was a point to exerting yourself to that extent.

The bottom of the manifesto says: "To us it is just a job, but we still do it well."

That, to me, is a guarantee to not being hired. That it is "just a job" means that they might as well be welding, at least to me. I don't want people like that in my team.

Having said that, I am the first one to tell someone to get the hell out of the office if they need to go see their kid perform at their school event at noon. Get the hell out and go enjoy the day with your family. Need to take a four day weekend when it isn't an official holiday? Do it! Send pictures. The point is that you build a team and everyone looks after everyone else while having one hell of a time creating a product. Respect, dedication and consideration. 5:01? How about not coming to work to go fly a kite with your kid? I like that.

edw519 2 days ago 3 replies      
Reminds me of this oldie but goodie:

Good umpire: "I call 'em as I see 'em."

Better umpire: "I call 'em as they are."

Best umpire: "They aren't anything until I call 'em."

Same thing:

Good programmer: "I am a <501 or xxx> developer."

Better programmer: "Watch what I do. That's how you do <xxx>."

Best programmer: "Whatever this project needs me to be, that's what I am."

bbwharris 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think there is a lot of delusion going on here.

In today's modern world, we are intentionally ignoring the rights that were given to us.

8 hours a day was fought for. 40 hours a week was fought for. If you are expected to exceed these limits without compensation, you are being ripped off. You have limited time in this life.

As a developer, you create tremendous value in this world. If you didn't you couldn't demand the salaries that you demand. If it was easy, then the business guys would be learning it and doing it for themselves.

It's a modern skill required by modern business. You should not feel like you are forced to spend every waking moment eating, drinking and sleeping code.

In my personal experiences I have found that I have to force myself to step away. After a few hours the wheels stop spinning, but when I come back I am always excited to work on something. This is far more desirable than feeling the dread that comes from doing something non stop.

Balance is extremely important, I do not understand the opposing viewpoint that we should all be code robots.

DanI-S 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's something better:

-- The 416 Developer Manifesto --

* I get hired because I'm good at what I do, and excited about it.

* I'm good at what I do and excited about it because I get enough time outside of work to pursue my interests.

* If you want to maintain my value as an employee, make sure I get enough off-time.

roguecoder 2 days ago 1 reply      
Programming is awesome, but so are lots of other things. I don't eat sushi for every meal either.

I have seen so many developers exploited by people making a bundle off their work with the explanation "I am doing what I love!"
Instead, I think it is possible to create without working outside of work hours. I can learn on the job in a way that can be more context driven than reading disembodied books on technologies that will probably never be relevant for my craft.

I don't know about anyone else, but I was always the kid who did the extra credit whether I needed the credit or not. I feel like we still sometimes get stuck in that attitude of needing to do everything in order to not be less-engaged than other people. As long as the community keeps rewarding those over-achievers we will be stuck trying to keep up with the Joneses.

AndrewDucker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I vary on this one. I have a bunch of hobbies, of which coding is one. When I go through a coding phase then I'm not a 501 developer. When I go through a boardgaming phase I am.

In any case, I try not to _work_ more than 40-hours per week, but my play frequently still involves computers.

hkarthik 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've found that assigning a label to myself like '501 developer' is counter productive. My productivity and flow tend to come in waves.

I've noticed that there are times that I'm so interested in the problem at hand that 5:01PM just blows by. When I finally look up from the code, it's 7PM or later. In some cases this lasts for months, because the work is both interesting and rewarding. However, it never lasts for too long because of the inevitable cycle of software as it moves from being greenfield to brownfield.

During such times, I've felt less of a need to attend user groups, hack on personal projects, or do much reading outside of what I need for my immediate job. Between the job and my personal life, I was content with my time spent.

However, fast forward a few months and I'm back to leaving at 5PM so I can read and hack on the side with the extra free time. Over time the day job gets less and less interesting and then I start to look for something new that might trigger my flow once again. And then the cycle repeats.

phillmv 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing saddens me more than the really smart developer who has no other interests. How a person can know one subject to such endless detail yet be clueless about the world around them.
tel 2 days ago 0 replies      
So there's simply a fundamental value difference here. Some people love their families, friends, and free time to the exclusion of other things. To them, working is a means to an end. It doesn't actually mean they're not passionate about it, just that they have separated it to a different part of who they are and what they care about. I believe that was the point of the 501 Manifesto.

On the other hand, it's not strange to seek unity between your passion and your work. This is a great path for those who desire to have their material accomplishments define part them and is basically a necessary attitude for living in a meritocracy. It doesn't mean that you dislike your family, friends, and free time, simply that you feel that creation is also of central importance.

It's just different ways to self actualize. You can't compare them, really. You can accept the differences and work with people however makes everyone the happiest and most productive, though. 501 programmers may not have the same need to do exciting, groundbreaking work. They also don't want to spend the time. It doesn't mean you can't make use of them and make everyone perfectly happy. It may mean you don't want to actually work with any of them if you're trying to do something very difficult.

davidw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like semicolons had their run and it's time for something else.
jmduke 2 days ago 1 reply      
To me, the concept of a '501 Developer' as outlined in the manifesto seems kinda foolish. It shouldn't be outside of industry norms to value one's family over one's company, or to treasure time spent with friends over time spent with coworkers.

The list of pitiable/respectable items are a bit different. In particular, "Mostly only read books about coding and productivity" I do find unsatisfactory; the power of literature is massive and too often untapped, and the thought that reading 300 pages about a language or productivity is more valuable than, say, The Brothers Karamazov frightens me a little.

Dearth of passion doesn't make someone a '501 developer', nor vice-versa; I just think being passionate about one subject to the exclusion of everything else is dangerous, no matter the industry or lifestyle.

mtoddh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm guessing that most of the people who see long hours as a badge of honor are salaried employees or people who manage salaried employees. One thing I noticed when I switched over to contract work is that once a company has to pay for each hour you work, they are a little less enthusiastic about you putting in long hours. In fact, some of the contracts I was on had caps on the total number of hours you were allowed to bill. Long hours are seen as a sign of passion when companies don't have to pay extra for that time, and seen as a sign of poor time management when they do.
ef4 2 days ago 7 replies      
The only reason this whole debate exists is that there are lots of us who love programming, and would be doing lots of it whether or not it paid.

This naturally makes 501 types uneasy, because it leads to unfavorable comparisons.

StavrosK 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've never heard of this 501 thing before, and I'm not looking forward to all the posts, replies and counter-replies on the HN front page.

Can't we just agree to work during working hours (if you need me to work a bit more as a favor to you, or if you pay me overtime, that's totally okay most of the time), and spend the rest doing what we love, including, if one is so inclined, programming?

bcrescimanno 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why does it always have to be one or the other? Why do we feel the need to assign labels to everything?

And why in the holy hell are some programmers so damn single-minded that they can't accept that others who are passionate about programming can also be passionate about other things. I'm passionate about my job and consider myself among the extremely lucky few who gets to do what I love for a living (and, at the moment, in a place I love doing it making for a great combo). But I'm more passionate about my family at home. I'm also passionate about the music, movies, games, and other arts.

Devoting yourself to one thing is not being passionate about it--it's having a single-minded focus and lacking passion about anything else. Can we please stop confusing those points?

ken 2 days ago 1 reply      
The big problem I see with the "501 manifesto" is that it assumes there is just one thing called "programming".

The kind of programming that was fun for me when I was young is completely different than the kind of programming that employers pay for today.

Why do you think people are spending their free time on Github? They miss programming for fun so much they'll do it for free.

jack-r-abbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
If "501 developer" is being used in a derogatory way, then I am not one. But if we're talking about devs that have "hard stop" point for themselves each day then I am. I like to leave shortly after 5 because I like to have dinner with my family. This is actually an agreement that my wife and I made when I switched jobs and she went back to work (outside the home) after kid #3... we would both do what we could to be home by 6:30 every night. And for the most part we make that happen. Of course stuff happens but we would rather that be the exception than the norm. And neither of us sees a problem with that attitude. I enjoy programming a great deal. I am a problem solver. It bugs me internally when I have to leave a problem unsolved for the next day.

But my take on the whole situation can be summed up like this: I work from home 2 days a week and often times when it is approaching dinner time and I'm still in the office, my wife will come in and ask something like "how much work do you have left?". Well, the most accurate answer is "a lot... weeks" but I obviously can't finish it all tonight. I'll have to stop at some point and there will still be work unfinished. Even if I worked until midnight... there would still be work left. So if I've put in 10 productive hours... why is stopping at 5 any more significant than stopping at 6? or 10?

kamaal 1 day ago 0 replies      
What I don't like about this thinking is to consider anything apart from 'going to the moon' as a job not worth doing.

Everybody has a world of his own. A friend of mine comes from a family of farmers. Back here in Bangalore, we would drive down to his place during our engineering college years. And we would spent great deal of time in fields and a small hill close to his place. Now you really must hang out with those farmers. Try working in the field for a couple of hours and experience a cool breeze blowing through your hair, drying you sweat. Try eating a banana or a guava straight plucked from the tree, try roasting a chicken on a chicken farm. Try climbing a small hill and then rest on it while sleeping and staring right into the sky watching eagles. Try diving in to a the lake near the fields. Do you know how much fun that is? None of that is rocket science but it feels like heaven when you are experiencing it.

These days I try to hang out with cab drivers who drive me back home in the night. I buy them a cup of tea or coffee in the night. And it awesome chatting with them and listening to their experiences. Its crazy how much fun they have.

Some of the words happiest people are the ones who work during the day in the sun smelling the sweat essence of mud.

Passion and fun can be found even in the smallest of the things we do in life. And people do that all the time.

The guide to a happy life is to really focus on how you do things rather than What things you do.

jiggy2011 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this a binary scale of either/or?

I am on different sides of the spectrum at different times.
I don't mind my programming work but I wouldn't say I was "passionate" about it. 90% of my work is not solving anything technically very interesting. More like fixing up user error , solving minor bugs and making incremental improvements to things.

If I want to do some extra programming outside of work I would prefer to learn some OpenGL or some new paradigm like functional programming than to just do more of the same. Of course plenty of the time once I am finished with working I would prefer to just get on and do something else.

canthonytucci 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very much agreed. In fact, I pity someone who works a job so distasteful/uninteresting to them that they need to go on a rant like this manifesto. There's something to be said for leaving work projects at work, I get that. But every day I get inspired and amazed by the stuff people are doing in the world of software. I like programing, I like computers. Maybe I haven't seen Game of Thrones or spent much time in bars over the last 5 years, but I don't see why that's reason to pity me. If you don't love what you do, do something else.

Software is complex. Complex enough that, for most, if you're not passionate enough about it that it creeps into your hobbies and your reading, you probably won't be much good at it. The manifesto seems to acknowledge this, while at the same time implying that they want to be well paid and get lots of time off. In any other industry I am familiar with, these are the perks of being the best.

Perhaps I'm taking it a big far, but to me, the most exciting software projects are closer to art than any other sort of work. I'm not familiar with many artists who view their works as "just a job", and would be surprised if many compelling works were created by people with that kind of mentality. I think it really reaches out to any kind of skilled work, I wouldn't want to be diagnosed by 501 doctor, bring my car to a 501 mechanic or drive my car over a bridge designed by a 501 engineer.

EDIT: removed ending nastyish statement.

ferrouswheel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I read this as a "501 Not Implemented" developer. Which doesn't really seem like a good thing to shout to everyone.
__abc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think this should focus on "are they good developers or not". That's independent and "case-by-case" at the individual level. I don't think we can characterize that entier portion of the workforce one way or the other. This is more about bi-directional expectations between employee and employer.

Additionally, "passion" for the specific things you are building vs "passion for doing a great job" are also independent. They can converge (awesome for you) and sometimes diverge (welcome to life). More importantly, you will experience all three scenarios at different times throughout your career.

In regards to the general relationship I keep with my employees, I personally execute and support the "did the shit that needed to get done, get done" approach. Not sweating when someone logged on for the day, when they logged off, where they worked from, did they have beer during the day (my preferred answer is YES). Thats the trade-off for when we need to work late to sometimes get the necessary shit, done.

My parents prefer a different environment. They have a specific time they show up to work, a specific amount of allotted time for lunch and breaks, and a specific time when they leave. They different, it's not their problem when shit didn't get done. Plain and simple. There is no flexibility and that's the trade-off.

Each has their pro's and their con's and one isn't necessarily "better" than the other. What do "you" want and works best for "you".

What I'm seeing emerge in these discussions (on average) is an arrogant demanding of a blended approach entirely in favor of the the employee. They want to show up generally around nine, take breaks, take lunch whenever, play some foosball. All the "benefits" and be out the door at 5:01 PM with none of the "cons". Additionally, what gets done, gets done. It's not their problem, nor fault, in any capacity if it doesn't get done by 501. Someone project managed wrong, someone did scope properly, etc.

Maybe it's a new world, at this is becoming the norm, however, it frustrates me.

joshaidan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not really sure if this has to be so black or white--you love what you do, or you don't--for most people it's probably pretty grey.

One thing I'll add to the discussion, for myself I've stopped doing contract work in my spare time because I feel it just takes away from my motivation and causes more stress. Instead, I prefer working on my own projects where I have more control over the design and implementation decisions, as well, I choose projects related to stuff that interests me. And by interest I don't necessarily mean computer science related interests, I mean other things like mental health, depression, etc. and using computer science to solve problems related to those fields.

It's all about integrating your life and interests I guess.

klez 2 days ago 0 replies      
I already said this on reddit, but I guess we should make a "501 programming lover" manifesto where we keep everything but the last part of the 501 developer manifesto.
SoftwareMaven 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like programming, but it is far from my passion. My passion is making useful stuff people like to use (and preferably getting paid for it :). I prefer it this way, because it means I can keep my passion when I have to spend a week writing technical documentation or helping the sales team figure out how to turn their laptops on. If it gets us closer to people using the product, I'm good with it.
pnathan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've worked in those job environments before at other places, e.g., fast food joints, and there's no joy for me in working in an environment where everyone rushes home as quick as they can to get back to their "real life".

I would far prefer to work with someone who likes his job and is okay with working over a bit, and has a github for personal code, and maybe has a tech blog, and maybe contributes to open source projects. Someone who has a personal desire to learn more overall, not just at work.

To paraphrase something my dad, a highly skilled carpenter, once said: "Knowledge is our edge". If you are disdaining knowing more (in this context, taking the time (at work or not) to know more), then you're disdaining your edge in your profession. And that edge/lack of it accumulates.

If you hate your job and your profession so much you can't wait for 5:01 to roll around so you can escape your workplace and software, I don't want to work with you.

I code at home. I'm proud of this. And I want to work with people who understand that.

ajdecon 2 days ago 0 replies      
This does a pretty good job of describing my response to the post too. I think work/life balance is extremely important, but so is enjoying what you do during the day, and continuing to learn about your work and the world at large.

I typically try to work 8 hours a day. I'll work longer during crunch times, sometimes 12-14 hours... but if "crunch time" becomes the new normal I'll abandon ship without embarrassment.

When I'm home, a lot of the time my hobbies are technical: I'll play with personal programming projects, or try out new sysadmin tools, or mess around with a friend's web site. I'll also read books about physics, go fencing, take walks with my wife, play with the cats, go drinking with friends from outside of work, play the trumpet, read ridiculous amounts of science fiction... I know my work/life balance is being impacted when those things are being marginalized.

But I'll keep programming at home, too.

chris_wot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Agreed. Keep your pity.
jimmyjazz14 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its probably a bad idea to attach labels to ones-self. Everyone is different and thats fine.

In my personal experience I have found passion does not equal skill, skill does not equal passion and working long hours does not equal getting things done.

One thing I will say though is that it is important to get outside ones comfort zone; for us programmer types this probably means disconnecting and finding interest outside technology.

chpolk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely some good points. I can relate with, "But the second part makes it sound like your days of learning and creating ended when you got your diploma. I can't respect that." I have a friend (an EE with several jobs offers out of college but who chose to take the most cushy government job that was nothing but paperwork) try to make me feel guilty for spending my spare time working programming a side project rather than going out. He claimed "we graduated, we're done 'really' working" and after talking to him made me realize that he hadn't ever really enjoyed the classes in his major or what he's doing now. I understand there are a lot of people who find satisfaction in their lives outside of work but I think that there are many who never make finding their true passion in life a priority.
jmsduran 2 days ago 0 replies      
After reading the blog post, I actually agree more with the 501 Developer manifesto. One year after graduating from college and landing my first professional job, I discovered that although I love programming, I love life a lot more. For me personally, it's all about maintaining a balance between my career and life.

In the end, no one dies wishing they worked more:

> "Write a technical blog"

I found that I enjoy writing a lot more when it is not about technical stuff. The few technical blog posts I write serve more as a mental bookmark for myself, that I can reference back to in the future.

> "Contribute to open source projects"

Honestly, I have yet to find an open source project that I feel passionate enough about to contribute to regularly outside of work. Until then, I'll continue focusing on my personal projects.

> "Attend user groups in your spare time"

I would rather spend time with friends & co-workers going out to happy hour or watching a good movie rather than discussing the frameworks/languages I use on a daily basis.

> "Mostly only read books about coding and productivity"

For the longest time, all I did was read technical selections on Safari Books Online. It got pretty monotonous after a while. I still read some technical books, but I would pick a great fantasy/fiction novel over a book on cross-browser CSS hacks any day.

> "Push to GitHub while sitting on the toilet"

That's insanitary IMO.

> "Are committed to maximum awesomeness at all times, or would have us believe it"

I'm not that awesome. Being part of the HN community has been an incredibly humbling and educational experience.

overgryphon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why is obsessive and 501 the only options? Anyone else feel in the middle?

Judging people's work by the hours they keep, or how they choose to spend the rest of their time seems immature and shallow. 40 hours per week is plenty to fulfill job responsibilities (and more), advance passion, grow technical skill, and love what you do. The pace may be a bit slower than 60-80 hours a week, but I find 40-50 more sustainable.

Working longer hours does not equal more done, more passion, or more skill.

pradocchia 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am not a 501 developer, but I work with a very good one, and he is an invaluable source of stability and perspective.
darrikmazey 2 days ago 0 replies      
This labelling (501 or !501) is pointless and arbitrary. I'm a self-employed developer with four children. Some days I work until 11p or even as late as 1a. Some days I quit at 2p and take in a child's soccer game. This isn't a label as much as a choice every day. Both choices come at a cost. Big deal. All choices come at a cost. If I choose family over work, in all likelihood the perception of my dedication will suffer. Contrapositively, if I choose work over family, my relationships will need repair. The labels are meaningless, and perpetually choosing one side is simple indicative of a life out-of-balance. This is all just a side-effect of scarcity of time, and the labelling sounds like an attempt on both sides to justify choices. Ultimately, if I want to be done working at 5:01p (or any other time), then I am, and I take responsibility for those choices and the potential damage to my career. If I want to work until midnight, then I do, and I take responsibility for that choice and the potential damage to my relationships or the hinderance of my pursuit of other goals. Call it whatever you like. Why do we need a manifesto to categorize daily personal choices?
rpicard 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand this manifesto business. Everyone wants, and can get, something different out of a career in software development.

Why do the "501 developers" care that some people would rather program late into the night than go out with people. Likewise, why should anyone care that the they would like to have enough free time to engage in other hobbies.

If I want my job to define who I am, who are you to tell me that it's "wrong"? If you want the free time to do other things, go for it, but don't assume that the lifestyle you want would make everyone happy.

jbranchaud 2 days ago 1 reply      
Haskell has no real world use, it just exists because the author wanted it to?

Did I misread that or is that what the author is saying?

entropyneur 2 days ago 1 reply      
That manifesto sounded really bitter. Nobody's judging you for having no passion for programming. But the thing is programming is a craft many people are passionate about and those people are an order of magnitude more productive than you. Sure, if you are willing to work for what an average "just a job" pays, welcome aboard. Otherwise I'm better off hiring someone who gives a damn.

But the comments here perpetuating the fallacy that giving a damn somehow means putting in crazy hours offend me even more than the manifesto. Sure, it's common among the best programmers to live at work because they love their job, but it actually makes them less productive, not more. There's nothing wrong with working nine to five. It's not a manifestation of lack of passion. In fact it's the most rational thing to do and it's in your and your employer's best interest.

jayferd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Leaving at 5 has nothing to do with how "passionate" you are. I write better code when I go slowly and have time to be a human being. Even if it were my company, and I was extremely passionate about the product, I would still set these boundaries, because that's what I believe is vital to my mental health.
evanlong 1 day ago 0 replies      
Adit has never seen Return of the Jedi. No credibility.
nickmain 2 days ago 0 replies      
The role of the 501 Developer is something that we should be striving to automate or abstract away.

I think that the craft of solving real world problems with computers has reached a plateau, through lack of the right tools, programming languages, methodologies, sociological systems, etc.

That 501 Developers are needed to intermediate between the technology and the solution stakeholders or customers seems like an indicator of stagnation or inefficiency in the current approach to software development.

BlaineLight 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this related? It's an article I wrote on how WePay hires it's sales team: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3864412
ryanchamp_ICE 2 days ago 0 replies      
The funny thing about the manifesto that it is proclaiming a particular point of view (while neglecting the fact that most things on the list aren't mutually exclusive), while condemning another.

Dude, it's a personal choice for you to be okay with being average, but don't try condemn people who want to excel. I know that mediocrity loves company but geez.

Killswitch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmmm, I work more than 40 hours a week... Between my day job, and getting my own company going, I work roughly 16 hours a day... I enjoy it.

But then again that's during the weekdays, weekends I barely do any work, so I have no problem working such long days during the weekdays.

Bharath1234 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nowadays everyone adding "Adjectives" behind their name for being a Programmer . like this "501" !! You code to live or to get pleasure.That is totally your choice ! But don't pity others for not travelling in your way.I hope they do have certain justifications .
sparknlaunch12 2 days ago 1 reply      
Work life balance? This aspiration applies to all industries.

If you have no other commitments (family, sport, TV etc), then you could spend all waking hours in front of a computer/smartphone writing code.

That feels like am unhealthy commitment.

nlz1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. Author missed the point completely.
mletterle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree that a job shouldn't define who you are.. but I think what you choose as your profession says a lot.
zinbiel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess you aren't. Alright :)
macarthy12 2 days ago 0 replies      
They were my thoughts too
shimm3r 2 days ago 0 replies      
100% agreed to this
guccimane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Your worldview differs from that of others. This happens a lot, no need to get all upset about it. "501 Developer" means absolutely nothing outside a very small group of people -- try not to sweat its significance.
Semicolon: A language of semicolons github.com
278 points by sunkarapk  3 days ago   101 comments top 51
gavinlynch 3 days ago 12 replies      
Hi guys, just wanted to tag along with this thread, because I'm a huge fan of Semicolon! One thing I've always found aggravating though... Those darn semicolons! So I'm creating CoffeeColon, because all these semi-colons are such a hassle. It's probably easiest if I just show you the language in action, rather than going through a long diatribe. So here's my hello world!:

" "

^ Pretty elegant, right?

let's try something a little more complex:

" "

^ As you can see, the goal of this new language is to take the best of Semicolon and just make it more succinct, and to round out some of the minor historical abnormalities that have been dragged along in the language spec for a while now.

So my hope is that you all enjoy CoffeeColon as much as I do. It's just like Semicolon, maintaining it's expressiveness and dynamic nature, with just a little bit of smoothing out of the kinks.


etfb 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm disappointed that the designer of this language has limited himself to just the semicolon (";", U+003B) and the reversed semicolon ("⁏", U+204F). What about the Arabic semicolon ("؛", U+061B) and the Greek question mark (";", U+037E)? They're both perfectly valid options.

(I can understand avoiding the turned semicolon ("⸵", U+2E35), given that it doesn't seem to display properly. Can't be having unrenderable codes in one's language; it could severely reduce readability!)

To remedy this lack, I present to you my own semicolon-derived metalanguage, Hemidemisemicolon. A sample Hello World program follows:

؛;⁏⁏;;؛; ؛;⁏;


As you can see, the dramatically increased lexical vocabulary leads to conciseness of expression. This program code compares favourably with the original Semicolon code, and as an added bonus it is also a quine and prints out "FizzBuzz" every three or five years on Douglas Crockford's birthday.

An implementation note: the final semicolons on each line are optional. I was wondering if that was a good idea or not, but I'm sure it won't cause any trouble down the track.

delinka 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had this exact thought when the semicolon drama started days ago.

I'm a fan of removing ambiguity in code. I parenthesize when not necessary so that intent is clear (someone in the future will hire a complete newbie to read and "fix" this code.) I want the statement to end here --> ";" and anything else is an error - now the compiler can inform me when a mistake is made. I ask what appear to be the most asinine questions because when you say "smooth ass ride" there's a difference between a "smooth-ass ride" and a "smooth ass-ride."

And as I type all this, I begin to create a connection between all those txtspk hooligans and semicolon haters. Anyway, I'm happy that Semicolon now exists.

sophacles 3 days ago 0 replies      
So when do you plan on implementing ASI?
mustpax 3 days ago 2 replies      
Shouldn't this language be white-space insensitive in order to be truly pure as a semicolon language?
evincarofautumn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Like this kind of thing? The rabbit hole is frighteningly deep. Try the esoteric programming language wiki[1] or Chris Pressey's site[2]. That ought to get you started.

[1] http://esolangs.org/wiki/Main_Page

[2] http://catseye.tc/cpressey/

RegEx 3 days ago 2 replies      
This community is generally fairly dry and to the point, which is a great way to maintain high quality discussions, but I'm enjoying all these fun comments! :)
ricardobeat 3 days ago 1 reply      
Now you can take all the semi-colons from your javascript and re-use them elsewhere! Genius!
mappu 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are lots of joke languages that are simply isomorphic to Brainfuck - Ook, Fuckfuck and so on - so congratulations on not just taking the easy way out (changing their eight keywords instantly gives you an interpreter, compiler, sample code, ...)
marknutter 3 days ago 0 replies      
And I thought Reddit had a problem with tired memes..
AndyKelley 3 days ago 0 replies      
My first reaction was fear of death: http://nethack.wikia.com/wiki/Electric_eel
pooriaazimi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like Brainfuck better: http://www.muppetlabs.com/~breadbox/bf/

I don't know if anyone has made a DCPU-16 interpreter for it yet!

jack-r-abbit 3 days ago 1 reply      
and I'm expecting there should be a post about how this is still better than PHP in 5... 4... 3... 2...


yxhuvud 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm somewhat disappointed - I expected the implementation to be written using ASI keeping semicolons to a minimum.
dclowd9901 3 days ago 0 replies      
My right pinky is gonna get so huge.
SagelyGuru 3 days ago 0 replies      
This Semicolon language bears more than a passing resemblance to POP-11, the famous AI programming language for popping things on/off a stack!

To this day POP-11 holds the unsurpassed distinction of being the language for writing the most useless programs in the most intriquing way (after machine code, of course).

collypops 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm already way ahead of the curve. I've started writing my scripts without semicolons and I'm getting 100% code compression using even the most rudimentary minifiers. Get with the times, already!
ghostfish 3 days ago 4 replies      
While mildly amusing, this whole semicolon obsession that's sprung to the fore this past week is ridiculous. It was silly and inconsequential when it started and it's even sillier now.
rmcclellan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a nice companion to Whitespace:


st3fan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now we just need an LLVM backend.
hcarvalhoalves 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't even know how to type an inversed semicolon.
rodh257 3 days ago 0 replies      
This certainly takes things further than my simple SemicolonScript idea, nicely done.
stevewilhelm 2 days ago 2 replies      
@fat and @douglascrockford, the HN community is now satirizing both of you. It's time for you both to do the right thing; add the semicolon to the bootstrap-dropdown.js code and change JSMin to support the original edge case.
alexk7 3 days ago 1 reply      
The reversed semicolon appears as a square here (Windows/Chrome).
jaylevitt 3 days ago 0 replies      
A path exists from the Semicolon language to Robert Klein's aphorism that "a sigmoidoscopy is just a semicolonoscopy". Someone please do that.
joejohnson 3 days ago 1 reply      
How do you type a reversed semicolon on a Mac?
its_so_on 2 days ago 1 reply      
you'd think a program consisting of "only semicolons" would be easier to type. (no pun intended). reverse semicolon? Not only does my keyboard not have one, but Google doesn't even know what it is (other than a unicode character). apparently it was invented by the unicode group.

next time go back to the definition of semicolon, and you will see why it is made of the glyphs , and .

Then you can make a true semicolon language, by mixing ; and ., (horizontal, if you will).

the first line given as an example program would go from
;;;;⁏;;⁏;;; (which doesnt even render in this browser text box for me atm)

j_baker 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to point out that it's theoretically possible to define a program without semicolons. Which major Semicolon library will be the first to ditch semicolons?
fbomb 3 days ago 0 replies      
So when will Objective-Semicolon and Semicolon.NET be available?
DannoHung 3 days ago 0 replies      
It'd be better if this were just semicolons and reverse semicolons.
minikomi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Don't forget in vim to

     :set list 
:set lischars=eol:;

.. Now all newlines will be semicolon'd

andyzweb 3 days ago 0 replies      
;;;? ;;;;;;;;!?
dkharrat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can't wait for the Light Table IDE to support this language :P Debugging will be so much easier.
bandy 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's nearly a rudimentary FORTH.
OzzyB 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean; that when I context switch mind sentence; using semi-colons; I'm also programming? Sweet!
reinhardt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Upvoted because there is no such thing as too many semicolon-related threads :sigh:
TonyNoland 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the PERFECT place to give a link to my poem, <b><a href=http://www.tonynoland.com/2009/09/ode-to-semicolon.htm>O... to the Semicolon"</b</a>. The semicolon is my favorite punctuation mark.

At that page, you can hear me read the poem, too; be sure to stop by and comment!

dguaraglia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Surely someone will implement an asynchronous framework on top of this and we'll have next year's Node.js :P
grayed_comments 3 days ago 0 replies      
hey guys! I think I'm going to start on a semicolon meta-language using this new semicolon IDE I'm writing. ;
monochromatic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Gives new meaning to "insanely stupid code."
PaulHoule 3 days ago 0 replies      
that's just too much like Python to be funny
naragon 3 days ago 0 replies      
My first thought when I saw the site was 'Someone has way too much free time on their hands.'
sunkarapk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now the reversed semicolon renders with perfect reversion of normal semicolon.


michaelfeathers 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does it have a working minimizer?
jimmy2times 3 days ago 0 replies      
DCPU-16 port anyone?
hobbyist 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool, why interpret it? Right a compiler for it now :-)
rometest 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can you please make this configurable? Instead of ;, we can use : @ * etc or something like language of smiley's :)
keikun17 2 days ago 0 replies      
would be a joy to code with this drunk
codesuela 3 days ago 0 replies      
looking forward to node;
kompiebutut 3 days ago 0 replies      
now i'll wait for the logging evaluator.
ps: does it compatible with uterus.js?
IsaacSchlueter 3 days ago 1 reply      
I <3 you so hard, Internet.
Free beautiful UI elements for developers creativemarket.com
270 points by sinzone  2 days ago   41 comments top 17
proexploit 1 day ago 1 reply      
This was intended for people who already had an account and the title of this submission doesn't reflect that. I believe that makes the process of asking for a login even more acceptable.

Text from the email they sent out today:

Free Goods, exclusive for our early-access members.
Creative Market is coming soon! Until then, here's a collection of great content we're offering free for a limited time, as a special thank you for your early support.

massarog 1 day ago 3 replies      
zorbo 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can't find a license for this free content anywhere? There is some stuff about the service itself in the Terms of Use Agreement:

"Creative Market Service. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, you are hereby granted a non-exclusive, limited, non-transferable, freely revocable license to use the Service for your personal, noncommercial use only and as permitted by the features of the Service."

It is unclear if this pertains to the service itself, or to the content I download. Perhaps it is more clear in normal cases when you pay for the content?

rurounijones 1 day ago 2 replies      
Heey this looks interesting.

Wow, that looks good, I will download that

"Create an account to download these Free Goods." popup appears.

Oh goddamn it, "Free" eh, oh well, I will go back to browsing the other stuff so I will just close...this..popup...where is the close button!? All the preview boxes have the little X, why not this?

I am not impresssed.

alimbada 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why is the "Sign In" button right ... at ...... the .......... bottom ............. of ................ the ................... page?
Thibaut 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've coded many UI elements over at

No registration required and licensed under MIT.

ESPN_Boris 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are some freebies over at http://impressto.com/mains as well.
jdelard 1 day ago 1 reply      
365psd.com - Daily free psd (some of them amazing & inspiring)
benvds 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm never that enthusiastic about these kinds of ui element designs. Maybe it works in flash but the user experience when translated to html/css/js is really hard to get right. Just look how much effort bootstrap is taking.

The icons etc. are great though.

danberger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting detail... the goods are randomized on page load. Nice.
bradhe 1 day ago 0 replies      
So happy to see Creative Market open up! Huge respect for the guys behind it, and it's been fun watching them make it happen.
sktrdie 1 day ago 1 reply      
These designs look great, however I thought there was an actual CSS/HTML attached with it. Unfortunately it seems like it's only a simple PSD file.
evilswan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone care to leech them all and make a torrent?
My corporate firewall won't allow it, or I'd be doing it now. :(
sidwyn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why isn't there a download all button?
davidlumley 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been following the design of this on dribbble for a while now, glad to see it's finally getting there!
finalsonic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some good UI elements here as well: http://menucool.com/

I like the slideshow: http://menucool.com/javascript-image-slider

juhe 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do we really need it after bootstrap was released?
Redesign: Users: Thrilled. Conversion Rates: Up. Sales: Unchanged. kalzumeus.com
262 points by wglb  1 day ago   107 comments top 26
patio11 1 day ago 9 replies      
Happy to answer questions, as always.

By the way, roughly 3/4 of A/B tests I participate in (my own and for clients) fail to improve business results. This compares with approximately 2% of A/B tests I've ever seen with in-depth blog posts, so I tried to redress the balance here.

csomar 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm not sure if I have high expectations, became too damn good at it, or this is just a bad designer.

So take this as a constructive criticism and I have nothing against the designer, nor I know him.

I'll begin with the HTML/CSS parts. He is a Web Designer, and not simply a designer; so he should use the best practices

1- Use the HTML5 Doctype

2- Removes unnecessary space (empty lines and spaces). Why the extra bits?

3- JavaScript, I see that you are loading a good chunk of JavaScript in the HEAD and you are loading a bunch of it in the end. For example the Amazon JS file (http://s3.amazonaws.com/new.cetrk.com/pages/scripts/0004/737...) is certainly not usable, and is yet a whole HTTP request.

4- In the JavaScript file (http://images2.bingocardcreator.com/javascripts/bcc-all.js?1...), you are loading a ColourPicker and other unused stuff. This is a waste of bandwidth, latency, memory and speed. You don't need JavaScript in your main page, apart from the analytic and maybe A/B testing stuff.

5- Unobtrusive JavaScript. (line 181 of the HTML)

Enough, though there are endless problems with the coding part so don't take this list as an exhaustive review. For the design, it just sucks. I agree that simple designs (K.I.S.S) are better, but they should be crafted. I won't complain much, but here are two snapshots of what I'm talking about

1- http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2777218/shot1.png

2- http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2777218/shot2.png

Again, take this as a constructive feedback and I have nothing against your business; and what matters finally are the sales/$$$.

Take a look at http://www.premiumpixels.com/ if you want to see some carefully crafted designs.

InfinityX0 1 day ago 1 reply      
Something fundamentally missing from both versions - trust signals. Why does a user want to trust this software? You go to http://www.seomoz.org/, you see Zillow, Home Depot, Yelp and etc "love their software". Same with 37signals - WB and Kellogg's are using Basecamp? http://37signals.com/ Why isn't my company?

It is not explicity apparent that anyone loves this software, especially nobody they know or have heard of, so why should they use it? It doesn't have to be who uses it, but could also be "featured on" if you (Patio11) got coverage and co-linked to the service there as well, which I bet is more prominent. Of course, families don't care about Techcrunch - relevant news is needed.

hop 1 day ago 1 reply      
Honestly I think the site is really ugly - the color scheme, all the same size text, '96 aesthetic... it looks like a ghetto SEO trap website. Please don't take offense, thats my snap judgement of seeing it. What if you tried letting a designer do something on par with your payment processor Stripe.com - picture those cards on the right as bingo cards, good simple headline, call to action.
mcfunley 1 day ago 0 replies      
You don't have enough data to really draw any conclusions. In the last step in the funnel, the completion rate with the redesign is between 94-97% with 95% confidence. With the old design it's 92-96% with 95% confidence. Those regions overlap and the designs might be the same or they might be different.
MarkMc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great article, Patrick, but I'm a little concerned about this line: "I will likely finalize the redesign and kill the old version in the coming weeks."

Please, please tell me that if you kill the old version you will have the numbers to show that that the old one is not, say, at least 5% better than the new one. At the moment you seem to be 'leaning' towards the new version even though sales from the old version are higher!

It doesn't matter how much time and money you spent on the new version, or how much better it looks, or how much easier it is to use. What matters at the end of the day is how much money it makes, so run the split test until you are (statistically) confident that you are not throwing money away when you kill one of the designs.

droithomme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi Patrick! Good article, thanks.

I don't see the new web page as an improved design though, the lack of alignment between elements, weird open spaces and element sizing not being appropriate to the layout are all evidence the designer was amateurish.

If interested, commentary on the page as annotation is available here: http://imgur.com/HsG6E

(Fair disclosure: I don't sell such services and am not pimping, just commenting.)

stevenj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally, I think the landing page should simply be this (minus the "Featured Bingo Activities" heading and half-horizonal line on the bottom): http://imgur.com/GyRu8

and then add the rest of the info that's currently below this part into an additional tab up top, perhaps called: "Info" (and it should be the first tab -- furthest to the left).

ekanes 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks for sharing. Just wanted to add that if people's subjective perceptions of BCC (modern! clean!) are improved, this may improve (admittedly hard to measure) word of mouth. Keep it up!
wildwood 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for writing this, these are some cool numbers to poke at.

You mention in the write-up that you've already done a lot of work to get your User Success percentage high. Is this the first time that you've seen a disconnect between User Success improvements and sales increases? Or did you pick this more as a useful, dramatic example?

jseims 1 day ago 2 replies      
I own a subscription-based online business, and I've done many A/B tests of new designs, and my conclusions is pretty similar to yours.

Namely, it's always way more work than you expect, especially when you have legacy customers with prior expectations.

And results hardly ever budge.

My hypothesis is A/B testing can move the needle for light engagement, like "try a free trial". But pulling out a credit card requires a lot of motivation, and the 0.1% of your visitors that have this motivation are relatively unaffected by your design.

johndevor 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is probably what Craigslist figured out a long time ago.
pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bingo card creation is one of the few apps where I would probably avoid a "simple, elegant, modern" design. I would expect more of a cartoonish, game-y design.
adrianhoward 16 hours ago 0 replies      
One comment on the amount of time you've looked at the new redesign over. A pattern I've noticed with A/B testing more radical redesigns is that there's often a dip/level track for the first week or two - followed by another more radical jump (in either direction :-) in the following month.

I'd be interested if you see something similar as the month progresses.

Also - a question not directly related to the new design - but I'm curious :-)

On either home page design there's no social proof info (testimonials, number of users, total #bingo cards made, etc.). Which intrigues me since it's something that pretty much always has a positive affect in my experience (which, I admit, is largely in sites fairly different from BCC). In once case we got a twenty-something% increase in conversion in the checkout process by adding in some targeted quotes on value-received/money-saved on the final "give me your money" pages.

This seems like such an obvious thing that you've probably tried it already. Is there a reason you didn't go for it?

kiba 1 day ago 0 replies      
VLC is the media player that can play anything!

Well, when it couldn't play something, it was very memorable to me.

bambax 1 day ago 1 reply      
> and the before and after redesigns are very compatible at the DOM label


hrabago 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lesson learned in the opening paragraphs - unsolicited email still works, even amongst the most internet-smart targets.

* with the right circumstances

smattiso 1 day ago 1 reply      
In the past you have talked about just using off the shelf themes from ThemeForest and tweaking those. Is there a reason you thought BingoCardCreator needed a truly unique design?

I'm building a couple sites at the moment and am having them designed from scratch but I'm wondering how you determine the cost/benefit of tweaking something off the shelf versus building your own?

rbxbx 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a wonderful example of "Working Code Wins". Keep in mind though that often this complexity doesn't scale, for those of you on a team looking to implement similar A/B test code ;)

Way to be scrappy, Patrick.

bemmu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Part of it might be that people who really really need something are more likely to convert even if a design is a bit ugly. By improving design you get more of the less serious people to give it a try, but then they are not as likely to convert.
pestaa 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think it is too early to judge. I've never done A/B testing, but I think the point is to do it continously; not for a week and decide it is stupid.

Let's say Patrick would continue this for 9 more weeks; so far we've seen 10% of the whole test. Let me illustrate an edge case: after 10 weeks, the new site has made 134 sales, the old one has 125. 13/13 after 1 week seems about right, but 134/125 is more than 7% increase.

dataminer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would suggest adding some human faces to the design (e.g pictures of a classroom, family playing bingo). Add a tutorial video on the front page displaying how "easy" it is to use bingo card creator. Also remove the "try now" button since you already have a 30 days return policy and see how it goes.
underwater 1 day ago 0 replies      
Patrick, why chose 50% as the split for the new design? Were you concerned with about confusing customers if the new design tested poorly and you switched everyone back to the old one?
damoncali 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't the obvious next step to further restrict the freebies? I have a hard time putting this in the "didn't matter" category.
mmhd 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know, just because you have an immaculate Bingo generating website, doesn't mean people's interest of making bingo cards will suddenly go up.
valladont 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks for sharing. There is some very useful and interesting information in this article.
Going With The Flow: Google's Secret Switch To The Next Wave Of Networking wired.com
254 points by nsns  3 days ago   89 comments top 20
blrgeek 3 days ago 6 replies      
There is literally no equipment available in the market that does what these Google's switches do. Cisco, Juniper, et al, protecting their technology and investments into switching over the last 30 years, just didn't have the balls to kill their old lines by doing this wholeheartedly.

Essentially, they have spent the last 20 yrs building their software which runs on Motorola, MIPS, PowerPC, etc., running arcane switching protocols - not always interoperably even. And these 'software-less' switches can be made by almost anyone, since the software is their secret sauce.

Think of it as going from Minicomputers, which were custom boxes which had custom hw/sw from a few vendors, to PCs, which have an 'open' design and are designed for interoperability.

That's what OpenFlow does to the switching/networking ecosystem.

And since none of the incumbents want to commit hara-kiri, a few startups are trying to do this, Nicira, BigSwitch, etc. Many others have OpenFlow compatible switches, but nowhere near the scale that Google would need in their datacenters.

Brilliant stuff. And I'd love to see Cisco die because of this - they've kept the industry back for long enough.

dons 3 days ago 0 replies      
Note that the openflow protocol has been implemented in Haskell by Galois and Yale - http://hackage.haskell.org/package/nettle-openflow - and you can also configure openflow networks - http://hackage.haskell.org/package/nettle-netkit / http://hackage.haskell.org/package/nettle-frp
jtchang 3 days ago 1 reply      
Google wants to make switching hardware a commodity product. Right now most switching software does not interoperate, at least not on a level Google wants.

Because of this if you want the latest and greatest features from Cisco you have to run all Cisco. Or Juniper. You can't just buy 10 Cisco switches and 10 Juniper switches and all run the same operating system. Compare this to PC hardware where I could buy any combination and install any OS I want.

ajb 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's interesting that this is now the insurgent, because in some sense, this looks like networking done the old way, the telco way: centralised provisioning, aiming for 100% utilisation, etc. The kind of thing that cisco et all were originally the small rebels against.
redthrowaway 3 days ago 1 reply      
I found the licensing interesting:


Copyright (c) 2008 The Board of Trustees of The Leland Stanford Junior University

We are making the OpenFlow specification and associated documentation (Software) available for public use and benefit with the expectation that others will use, modify and enhance the Software and contribute those enhancements back to the community. However, since we would like to make the Software available for broadest use, with as few restrictions as possible permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this Software to deal in the Software under the copyrights without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


The name and trademarks of copyright holder(s) may NOT be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to the Software or any derivatives without specific, written prior permission.

It seems they're rolling their own license, as opposed to adopting any of the other open licensing schemes out there. Any thoughts why they might do this?

trout 3 days ago 0 replies      
The basic idea of OpenFlow is getting the manufacturers to split between making good software and good hardware. If you make great hardware you can continue to operate, someone else will control the forwarding decisions. If you want to make good software, you can use someone else's hardware.

There will be a shakeup because telling the hardware manufacturers their software isn't good enough isn't a great way to start that conversation, but it's inevitable. They will insist that the software is like that for a reason, and to do so is saying the last twenty years of development has been done the wrong way.

I think it's highly interesting. I went to school for computer science but found computer networking very interesting. There seems to be a certain level of dismissal in the complexity of networking by people who write applications. Writing a one line java socket that connects to another TCP port is trivial, but the details are tedious. The same way we forget how difficult it is to get phone calls to work because the end result is simple - phones ring.

OpenFlow will need to reinvent the wheel unless the existing hardware manufacturers decide to give them a head start, which is unlikely. If it's open source it will evolve quickly, however. There are many difficult decisions and engineering problems to solve, which I suppose is a good sign.

mgw 3 days ago 1 reply      
OpenFlow is really the coolest thing to happen to internet infrastructure in a long time. Just look at this video from Stanford where they route a wireless video stream simultaneously over WiFi and WiMAX. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov1DZYINg3Y
This technology is really imperative if wireless networks want to cope with the increased traffic from all mobile devices. How cool will it be when, having a video call, your iPhone naturally switches from the cellular network to your home WiFi when you get home. Or event better splits the traffic over both networks.
MichaelGG 3 days ago 2 replies      
"In the user-facing network you also need every packet to arrive intact " customers would be pretty unhappy if a key sentence in a document or e-mail was dropped."

Why bother trying to illustrate with examples, if you're gonna write things like that?

noibl 3 days ago 0 replies      
The article uses the analogy of road traffic congestion being defeated by autonomous vehicles with swarm-like intelligence enabled by centralised computing. Which is interesting.
zby 3 days ago 2 replies      
We used to run routing on commodity computers - then came hardware routers because you could do things faster when you specialized. Now we are back to writing new software routers to run on commodity hardware because hardware is now fast enough. Is that right? Looks like http://blog.gardeviance.org/2012/03/tens-graphs-on-organisat...
ForrestN 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like that Google is working on both sides of the car traffic analogy.
tectonic 3 days ago 6 replies      
This also implies that Google has private fiber between their data centers, right?
joestringer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nick McKeown's OpenNetworking Summit 2011 presentation entitled "How SDN will Shape Networking"[1] explains very well the abstraction of ideas that Software-Defined Networking provides. OpenFlow is a protocol which implements the idea of SDN.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9-K5O_qYgA

jpdoctor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone seen any router speed metrics for this? They are absent in the article, and I can't tell if that's just Wired or whether OpenFlow is still not fast enough.
jbert 3 days ago 2 replies      
What's the benefit of keeping the data plane on the cisco/junpier hardware? #ports per box?

In my naivety, I'd expect the main benefits of openflow to be on the WAN links, so you could get away with 6 or so ports in a PC-like chassis running software routing, with dumb local switches?

What am I missing?

eiji 2 days ago 1 reply      
Probably a stupid question: Does OpenFlow possibly change my home network setup in the future too? Or for a small bussiness? Coffee shops etc.
electrichead 2 days ago 1 reply      
They can probably extend this system (judging purely by the analogy since I am not a network guy) to their self driving cars one day. One would think that a similar mechanism would be needed to manage traffic.
keeptrying 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally a real world use case for active networks.

I built a proof of concept for soemthing like this for my master thesis - 2000.

I wish it had occurred to me that unlike the user being in control (in active networks), the network operator could be in control.

Anyhoo ...

luminaobscura 3 days ago 2 replies      
so openflow is an alternative to ipv4/v6 ?
ilaksh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like most of the OpenFlow concept is a no-brainer improvement, but when they talk about using it for centralized control, that is worrisome.
FBI seizes riseup.net server riseup.net
248 points by quadrahelix  1 day ago   106 comments top 21
electromagnetic 1 day ago 9 replies      
I do not understand the sledgehammer approach the FBI 'cybercrimes' division deals with things with.

The FBI are not police, are not detectives, and are not competent in these matters. I'm sorry but covert monitoring of a server is going to be vastly more beneficial for an operation than taking the server and is going to net more targets and more evidence.

I remember stories of the FBI sitting on a known front for organized crime and waiting until they got someone worth catching before making a move.

It's a universal truth that any action has a reaction. If the FBI shut down a money laundering front, then the Mob would get wise and get more sophisticated and you won't hurt their operation. If you wait until you can link someone important to the Mob infrastructure and then make a move, then you've seriously effected crime in a city.

The FBI does shit like this and Megaupload before they appear to have their ducks in a row. They don't know what they're doing, and don't know what they're looking for so they consistently appear to jump the gun.

My only thoughts with this are that someone with a lot of power and influence is making this happen. What I wonder is what politician or presidential candidate/whatever has a lot vested and a lot to lose from someone finding out they/their kids/their family is pirating, or running anonymous operations, etc. Seriously, it's the only reason I can think of other than incompetency as to why the FBI is consistently jumping the gun.

_delirium 1 day ago 2 replies      
With this rash of seize-servers-first-ask-questions-later, sounds like we're heading for a reprise of the glorious Steve Jackson Games era of blunt-weapon policing tactics when it comes to technology.
joeyh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have friends involved in Riseup, and I know they do good work. Software projects like monkeysphere and backupninja. Didn't realize they hosted so many mailing lists, apparently 14,000.

This is a good time to https://help.riseup.net/en/donate
.. lots of options, including bitcoin and flattr.

alaskamiller 1 day ago 3 replies      
America's online law enforcement shaping up to be pretty much like the war on drugs.
mayoff 1 day ago 4 replies      
This seems like a no-brainer to me. The FBI has the duty to find the Pitt bomb threatener. Perhaps Mixmaster truly does make the email untraceable, but it's the FBI's duty to try tracing it - not to take the Mixmaster claims as fact. If the FBI has evidence that criminal emails passed through that server, I absolutely want the FBI to be able to obtain and execute a warrant to seize it and search it for evidence.

Analogy: the cops need to look at a gun store's records to track down a criminal shooter. The cops have reason to believe people with access to the gun store might go in and destroy those records. Should they be able to shut down the gun store (temporarily) and block access to it while they execute a legal search warrant on it?

sciurus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I met Jamie and some others associated with May First/People Link while volunteering to support the first US Social Forum. I was really impressed with their ideals and how they applied them to their work as technologists. I hope everything works out well for them and that this seizure brings more attention to what they are doing.
agwa 1 day ago 2 replies      
So if riseup.net had been hosted on, say, EC2, what would the FBI have seized? The server hosting the VM and many other completely unrelated VMs? Scary thought.

Also, if you haven't done so already I encourage you to read the FAQ at the end of the page. It has one of the best answers to "Doesn't Mixmaster/anonymous remailers enable criminals to do bad things?" I've ever seen.

gee_totes 1 day ago 1 reply      
In total, over 300 email accounts, between 50-80 email lists, and several other websites have been taken off the Internet by this action.

I hope Riseup posts a list of those 300 e-mail accounts that were taken offline, so the owners know that they are now on an FBI watch list.

dendory 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Learn from the pirate bay. It's no longer a matter of protecting your business from hackers, but also from corrupt governments. When you start a business you better have contingencies in place to switch domain, server, country, etc seamlessly.
ingrid 1 day ago 2 replies      
The building I work in and practically live in as student was evacuated two hours ago due to a bomb threat, and as of today 11 bomb threats have been made across campus. The total of bomb threats made is now 126. It is ridiculous.

I do not agree with the FBI confiscating servers to figure out where the anonymous bomb threats have been coming from, but I'm kind of glad they are and feel bad for that.

rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
FBI actually has some good agents, but the only ones I've met were on counterterrorism, either in the us or overseas trying to find foreign links to us terrorism. I know most of the other law enforcement funding got repriorirized after 9-11, and I could imagine it is still attracting the better agents. Most of the really stupid FBI stuff originates from their bush league regional offices or is pushed by idiot US Attorneys in those places (e-gold, mmj raids, etc). The Secret Service, at least on computer crime, is far more uniformly competent.
nextparadigms 1 day ago 0 replies      
The American version of SOPA already passed in 2008. It's called the Pro IP Act. That's how they are able to seize "local" domains like .com and .net, and I think .org, too.
loverobots 1 day ago 2 replies      
From a forensic evidence perspective, can an image or a drive clone suffice?

And does anyone know what was this about, e-mail threat to do ... ?

viraptor 1 day ago 0 replies      
> "In total, over 300 email accounts, between 50-80 email lists, and several other websites have been taken off the Internet by this action."

Dramatic description aside, I really hope that what they mean is - lost one copy of it, waiting for DNS change to propagate... Am I hoping for too much?

ihuman 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can understand the need to stop the bomb threats, but the FBI also should have respected the other users of the seized server and not removed it. And besides, nothing is stoping the person from using other anonymous email hosts.
ssmall 1 day ago 1 reply      
Again? Didn't they get all their servers seized back in the late 90s early 00's too?
tobyjsullivan 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of comments here, but I don't see anybody asking one particularly important question (and please forgive my ignorance of Riseup.net). Why did removing one server cause so much disruption? Do they not have back-ups? Redundant servers?

If this stuff is so gosh-darn important, I feel these users have put their faith in the wrong hosting organization...

echo-unity 1 day ago 0 replies      
What recourse do the people have when voter fraud occurs? How much monitoring is done through those channels?

*I know it is not a react quickly because human lives could be at stake - but considering anything tied to a presidential election could lead to a person voted to office that could jeopordize a nation.

philipithomas 1 day ago 0 replies      
"[. . .] search warrant issued by the FBI,”

Doesn't a judge have to issue a warrant?

rhizome 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pretty cheap R&D by the FBI for anonymized communications techniques.
samstave 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a testament to why you would want to use AWS virtual instances and never have "a server" - point your domain at a new instance should one machine get ordered off by the FBI.
I Learned to Speak Four Languages in a Few Years: Here's How lifehacker.com
244 points by cwan  1 day ago   164 comments top 31
acqq 1 day ago  replies      
I just don't believe his claim: "C1 fluency in French in about 5 months" if he started from 0 unless he didn't do anything but learning the language in the target country. C1 is a damn high fluency:


"Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices."

I'm a long-time foreigner in a German-speaking country, learning German after already speaking two more languages apart from my mother tongue, not knowing German before I came here, so I know how many nuances a living language has. Had he say A2, or B1 if he's a language talent, I'd believe him, C1, I can't imagine. I can only guess he didn't actually try to pass some formal verification tests, or he didn't start from 0, there simply must be something he avoided to say. Or he simply lies to himself (and us) that it's actually C1 what he reached in five months.

graeme 1 day ago 6 replies      
Another great resource is Pimsleur. I've used their courses to learn Italian and German.

It's a half hour of audio each day. The key is that you speak out loud. You can do it while cooking or driving, or any other activity that is routine and non-verbal.

They teach you to pronounce phrases very well, and you learn the basic structure of the language. Once you can say "I would like a glass of wine", you can easily learn to say "I would like X".

When I got to Italy, people thought I had been living there for a year.

There are only two things you MUST do:

1. Do a lesson every day.
2. Speak out loud, in a normal conversational tone. The program is teaching you to have conversations.

I love these courses so much that I'm compelled to gush about them whenever language learning is mentioned. They won't make you a native speaker, but you'll quickly reach a level where you can advance rapidly.

why-el 1 day ago 6 replies      
I speak three languages fluently (Arabic, French, and English), and I have the same advice for anybody who wants to learn a new language:

- Watch their news media. For instance, if you are learning Arabic, then watch Arabic media. It might be tough at first, but just go at it. Be a baby. Babies bombard their minds with input and eventually patterns form.

- Pick a TV show you saw and watch the whole thing again using language-you-want-to-learn subtitles. This can be fun, and well things will be mentioned so often they will stick. This is extremely effective, and my English vocabulary improved dramatically this way. I prefer this to carrying cards and trying to memorize them. Its unnatural.

- Go to a country that speaks it.

Jun8 1 day ago 3 replies      
I looked at the estimates for learning difficulty for English speakers (http://voxy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/110329-VOXY-...) and saw that they mix together the language difficulty with the difficulty of the writing system. For example, Japanese (labeled hard) and Turkish (labeled medium) are similar (relatively speaking, looking from a English speaker's vantage, also add Korean to this group). In the explanation for why Japanese is so difficulty they mention the three different writing systems, etc., which is true (some consider the convoluted Japanese writing system to be the most complex in the world, on par with Maya hieroglyphs). But what if you want to learn just spoken Japanase? Similarly, what if you wanted to learn Turkish in the 1910s when it was still using the (modified) Arabic alphabet?

As for the "thousands of characters" scare for Chinese, I've read estimates that for daily communication you can make do with less than a thousand characters.

huherto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Learning a second language allows you to appreciate the commitment that it requires. People who has never gone thru the process, don't appreciate it and they think it is a matter of studying six months one hour a day. I had a supervisor who said that he was going to learn Spanish (at 55) so we can tell him stuff that we didn't know how to say in English. I have been learning English for 23 years since I was 21. I felt this was insulting. Somehow he thought he could do it; may be he felt he was smarter than us because his English was fluent. Of course he was never able to say anything in Spanish.
alasano 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was forced to leave my home country at the age of 3 because of war and then after 6 years in Germany we were given no choice but to leave the country since the refugees were costing the German government too much money and various other reasons.

There's plenty of time to make a new life in 6 years only to be forced to throw it all away. We were given a choice between Australia, the US and Canada. We ended up in Quebec city where I've been for almost 14 years now (since September 98').

Even though the journey was hard for the 4 of us, harder for my parents than for me and my sister, I regret nothing. I'm fluent in 4 languages and functional in 2 others with a brain wired for learning to speak.

Upon arrival at 9 years old I was the best in French after only 1 year, in a school filled mostly with people raised on the language. Plus I was picking up English at an amazing rate thanks to the Simpsons playing 6x more often than in Germany. Add subtitles and the fact that I knew all the episodes anyways and you get an abnormal learning rate.

What I'm trying to say is, bullshit as to C1 fluency, I was under ideal conditions to get there (and C2) in a little less than a year with a brain that acts like a sponge at that age. His method may get him towards his objectives faster but I think he may overestimate his abilities.

AznHisoka 1 day ago 0 replies      
alljapaneseallthetime.com basically recommends same techniques: listening first, then verbal. He even goes to the extreme of listening to the foreign language 24/7, even in your sleep. Have kanji (or hanzi, or arabic) posters displayed in your bathroom. Turn the radio on when you're in the shower. Listen to podcasts when you're at work and subway. Keep those podcasts on while you're sleeping so you hear it first thing when you wake up.

Immerse yourself completely, and it'll almost be the same as listening in that foreign country.

mtjl79 1 day ago 1 reply      
As an American who speaks multiple languages, the thing for me was learning the first. When you learn another language you get a true understand of your own language that other people don't understand who are not bilingual.

After you learn a second language, others get much much easier and the learning curve is much shorter.

LyleK 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great tips! Another fascinating (Creative Commons-licensed!) framework I have heard about recently is Language Hunters. http://www.languagehunters.org. Their methods involve playing games with native speakers, in person or via Skype. They claim someone can reach fluency in a few months.
JohnLBevan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like an opening for an App.

Gabriel's put a lot of effort into creating his flashcards, but they'd be the same for everyone - so you could allow the community to generate the cards, and the part of the community for whom this is their native language could rate these cards, the best bubbling to preference.

The use of existing sites (Google Translate / Lang-8) to get/validate translations is good, but this could be baked into the same system as the flashcards, using that system's community, or having an API to connect that system with the external sites so that it's just one system from the user's perspective.

In terms of reading books / watching tv / etc, again a catalogue of links to e-books / youtube clips / etc., along with ratings of difficulty could be maintained by the community and presented through the app.

Build this on top of facebook / google plus / etc and tools such as hangouts are also available to help users from different countries / of different native languages talk to one another, taking it in turns of 30 min sessions in one another's languages.

pothibo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm always irritated when people talk about how good they are in [xyz] language. Here in Québec City, I hear all the time how this person is fluent in english and everything.

I spent 1 year in New Zealand when I was 17, I learned the language the hard way, when I got back, I was fluent, not bilingual but fluent.

Now, 10 years later, I'm no where as good as I used to be, still I find people who tell me they are fluent in english and how they can express themselves nearly perfectly in english. If I have the luck to hear them speak once, I usually figure out right away how their english is (poor). On the other hand I have a friend that is perfectly bilingual from birth. He never claimed he was so and I knew about it after I knew him for a year...

This is a personal story, I agree, but it does show a trend. People who claims that "speak", "are fluent", etc. are usually to be taken with a grain of salt. There's no magic in this world, and language is hard.

There's no such thing as a free lunch

kentosi 17 hours ago 1 reply      
If he claims that he's now fluent in French then he needs to back this up with a posting of his voice (or a youtube clip) of him speaking in it. Let that be the judge of how fluent he is.
krollew 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It migh sound unbelievable, but why not?

I'm learning Ukrainian and Russian for 3,5 months. I understand Ukrainian just like that and understand Russian quite well; written and spoken. I speak ukrainian quite good and start to speak russian (because I started with ukrainian and didn't write russian first). It was 3,5months of nearly no effort maybe couple hours a week.

OK, I'm polish so slavic languages are nothing new to me, but many people learnt russian here with nearly no result. I think it's way of learning. I just started write and read ukrainian and russian bit later.

If I learnt familar language so fast with no effort why not to learn european language in 5 months of some effort? It's possible since european languages are not completely different and I know english and understand german now. Well, maybe it won't be C1, but I can believe there are people with better language skills than me.

DanBC 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is what happens when I try to learn a language by watching movies.


This is also pretty much what happens to me when I'm in the US. I think I'm talking real words, but people don't understand me.

countersixte 1 day ago 1 reply      
http://www.memrise.com is another spaced repetition alternative to Anki. You'd need another tool to practice your grammar, but for vocab alone it works great.
sakopov 21 hours ago 0 replies      
My native language is Russian and I have never met a foreigner who mastered it even after years and years of practice. It is almost unheard of to find a foreigner who can speak and pronounce correctly. Usually it's one or the other. The majority of native Russians spend 12 years learning Russian grammar and still cannot spell right. I find it hard to believe that a non-native speaker could. On the other hand it took me 3 months to become fluent in English at 14 while attending a high school in the US. Another 6 months to lose my accent and by the end of the year i was thinking in English. Being immersed in the culture of native speakers is probably the best way to learn any language. However, overcoming the complexity of a language is sometimes very difficult/impossible.
zerostar07 1 day ago 0 replies      
Once i used a chrome extension to replace web banners with flashcards. Now i 'm bombarded with words.
mshafrir 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you need help deciding which language to learn, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_...
nathell 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Can anybody share his/her self-made Anki DBs or recommend some good-quality ones? This looks to be of tremendous utility to other language learners, myself included (I'm mostly interested in English, French and German).
drucken 1 day ago 0 replies      
This guy's method is a very solid approach to learning languages especially for Romance and Germanic languages, even if his claimed results (C1 in 5 months) are hard to believe for ordinary people.

Two other resources which are inline with his approach are the Assimil series, which is highly regarded by non-academic linguists (and some practical academics), and the LingQ words-in-context language learning website.

pavel_lishin 1 day ago 2 replies      
Anki is definitely not free on mobile devices.
inspiredworlds 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its great to see this kind of discussion on Hacker News and how people are hacking their way to learning a language. I think its kinda difficult to obtain that level of fluency without living in the country, being immersed, and communicating with other people. There are certainly tools and ways that can aid you to learn - I've done similar things to learn a language such as learning from movies/tv shows/CD's/books/mobile apps/sitting near people on the train and listening to their conversation.

I've actually made it my mission to make languages fun and easy to learn, and started a company called Native Tongue. If you are interested in learning a language check out our vocabulary mobile apps for Spanish and Mandarin. They're called Spanish Smash and Mandarin Madness.


mschnell 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Almost everything ever asked about language learning can be found in the forums of 'How to learn any language' [1]. But careful, you can get hooked pretty fast.

[1] http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/index.html

kenrikm 1 day ago 0 replies      
English/Spanish here. My wife is Cuban and did not speak much English when I meet her so it was a Huge motivating factor. ;) Italian and Portuguese will be next for me as once you know Spanish you automatically know big chunks of other Latin based languages.
sparknlaunch12 1 day ago 0 replies      
Immersion is most powerful. ie living in the country, forcing you to live, eat, breath the language.

However as described, a mixture of techniques is needed. Writing, reading, talking, listening. Plus practice, practice, practice.

There are a few examples of people learning languages quickly... Like get fluent in 3 months. Once you understand the mechanics it is easier.

Also some languages are easier than others. Germanic languages 'should' be easier for English speakers.

atroche 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been having an awesome time learning Spanish using http://duolingo.com for the past few weeks.
vertis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome story. I had to laugh at the part where you linked the language difficulties. I had a somewhat abortive attempt to learn Chinese last year (we have an office over there). I don't think I've ever come up against something quite so hard as trying to get the tones right in Chinese.
5vforest 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is great -- although IMO not a replacement for programs like Rosetta Stone, as this method requires significantly more dedication.
everyguy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I taught myself Japanese using basically this method and it works.
surferoso 1 day ago 5 replies      
downvote me please, but why is this on HN?
I am currently learning Swedish just because we moved here for work, but English is the language we ALL speak at work, no matter where we come from. most HNers would need to learn a language if they get a job overseas for daily survival outside of work, @ work I bet 100% will be speaking English.
awayand 1 day ago 0 replies      
dont believe everything you read
HBO Decides It Still Isn't Difficult Enough To Watch HBO Shows techdirt.com
244 points by pavel_lishin  1 day ago   173 comments top 20
brandall10 1 day ago  replies      
The thing that bothers me most about this is I credit HBO for leading the charge with innovative content that as a whole brought TV to a much higher level. They took big chances even when it wasn't profitable to do so.

I've had a serious love affair with the network beginning with Dream On, The Larry Sanders Show, then moving on to Oz (yeah it was a 'male' soap opera I guess :), Sopranos, 6 Feet Under, Deadwood - which I didn't particularly _love_, but highly respected, and most of all The Wire (best thing to ever grace the screen IMO - they lost $$ on it throughout its run)... and then I killed my cable sub and haven't seen anything of their's since.

Now Mad Men and Breaking Bad are my two favorite shows, they're both on AMC, and I can easily purchase each season on iTunes HD for just north of $30. Every episode is available hours after they originally air. I'd pay twice that much.

Of course, the problem is HBO is just too tightly coupled to big cable. They're one of the main attractions, and as such the kickbacks they get are tied to contracts that prevent them from wresting their content to any great degree. Until this model changes, their A content won't see the light of day, and more draconian measures are likely to be put in place to thwart piracy. It's not HBO itself per-see, but HBO as a proxy for big cable; as a defense mechanism to prop up a flailing business model.

res0nat0r 1 day ago  replies      
HBO aren't idiots. They've done the math and for now they've found it IS more profitable for them to only allow you to get their content with a cable subscription. Why does when it come to big media everyone thinks the companies are run by 12 year old morons when they don't agree with their policies?

Hurting Game of Thrones Through Piracy Won't Change HBO's Business, It Will Just Get the Show Cancelled: http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/hurting-game-of-th...

tptacek 1 day ago 3 replies      
I just pay for HBO. It's one of the few channels on TV I actually appreciate having. That's HBO's business model: they want subscribers. They don't care how difficult it is for you as a non-subscriber.

As a subscriber, HBO has made it incredibly easy for me to watch HBO shows: I have access to virtually all of them online on demand.

hooande 1 day ago 1 reply      
Let's not forget what they say about how HBO works financially... softcore pornography and boxing pay for all of the "Game of Thrones"-level masterpieces. While they have produced unfailingly inspirational television, it's not a core part of their economic engine.

It's a shame that non-subscribers can't see all the programming, but we wouldn't have it at all if it wasn't for their business model. As good as HBO's programming is, it probably wouldn't be economically feasible if it had to be directly supported. There might be enough income from itunes to (barely) support breakout hits like GoT, but it's unlikely that all of the shows that led up to it would have earned enough money to stay on the air.

Cable companies may be evil, but HBO definitely needed them in order to start. They can't be expected to unwind the relationship on the promise of netflix streaming sales to come.

(Disclaimer: I love HBO and will watch anything they make)

redthrowaway 1 day ago 0 replies      
Contents of the article aside, techdirt regularly writes fantastic headlines. I wonder if it's just the individual authors having a flair for the zinger, or if they have an editor who spruces them up before posting.
beloch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cable provides a lot of entertainment, but it's expensive, especially if you pile on premium channels like HBO. Just as telephone landlines are slowly dying as people decide a cell-phone is enough, cable is dying as people move to strictly on-demand services like Netflix or iTunes. Why pay for 900 channels with nothing to watch when you can get just the shows you want anytime you want them? Even if people spend more on iTunes and netflix per month, the practice still psychologically seems less wasteful.

HBO's latest shows are not available anywhere but over the air on HBO. e.g. Game of Thrones Season 2 cannot be watched on Netflix or purchased on iTunes. Those who run HBO probably think of this as being good, since it forces people to subscribe to HBO. Unfortunately, people who have gotten rid of their cable subscription aren't going to get it back just so they can watch HBO's latest shows as they air. They might intend to wait until those shows become available on iTunes or Bluray, but it's also highly probable that they'll give in to temptation and just download them from pirates.

This is HBO's real problem. There is a big market for their shows that only the pirates are serving.

reustle 1 day ago 1 reply      
HBO Go on the iPad doesn't let you stream to your TV via the VGA cable, so they forced me to do this this weekend: http://i.imgur.com/Og3MH.jpg
PureSin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oatmeal about difficult of watching Game of Thrones: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

and how I feel as a non US resident:

tomjen3 1 day ago 3 replies      
Actually they make it difficult to watch it _legally_. Lets not pretend that most people don't get it from a much more convenient source:

(example pulled from google):


greggman 1 day ago 1 reply      
THIS is exactly why PG made his call to kill old media. HBO could be making bank by allowing either PPV online, subscription online or commercial supported. They have some of the best shows ever. But for whatever reason, out dated contracts or old thinking they are throwing money away.
davidpetersen 1 day ago 1 reply      
hbogo.com is still the best website I know of for watching any tv channels shows. HBO subscribers get access to every single show the second it comes out, and it remains available forever. I can go back now and watch every episode of every HBO show.

So while I empathize with all of your complaints that HBO makes it too hard for non cable/DirecTV subscribers to subscribe, I think they are due credit for putting all of their content online when most other channels have not.

chris_wot 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are two perspectives on HBO and piracy. The first is that they are losing money due to piracy.

The second is that they aren't losing money, just not gaining it.

I suspect they are betting on the second perspective. Foolish, but seems to be there business plan.

amosson 1 day ago 1 reply      
This move fits with HBO's (and really every content provider's) anti-piracy strategy. Namely, content needs to be encrypted from the time it leaves their server's to the time it is decoded by the screen. The reason for this is simple, if they achieve this goal, they can argue that anyone who provides an unencrypted copy of content must have violated the DMCA (which has provision against tampering with encryption). Whether the technologies have cracked (the article points out the HDCP has been) or whether the provider ever prosecutes isn't the point, the content providers feel they need to reserve their rights at any cost.

Many folks (techdirt included) argue that piracy is just marketing. For instance, it allows HBO to reach an audience they wouldn't reach otherwise. They even speculate that the Game of Thrones ratings bump was due to piracy. While that may (or may not) be true, in most industries, companies control when, where and much to spend on marketing.

For HBO (or any content provider) all these decisions come down to economics and how they can maximize their profits. In this new case (adding HDCP to their streams) they probably judged that the number of customer's they'd loose was pretty small and making the change would allow them to further their strategic goals.

alexbell 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope Netflix's original content gets good/becomes a large enough library to threaten HBO. They would offer subscriptions over apps, set top boxes, and maybe even browsers shortly after.

Content providers need to be smacked around by someone like Netflix in a big way.

JVIDEL 23 hours ago 0 replies      
HBO was born with Cable, it was disruptive back then because TV in those days was boring, dull, repetitive and way too family-friendly.

They don't "understand" the internet, just like TV channels of old didn't understand that not everybody was into Dukes of Hazzard and The Andy Griffith Show re-runs.

njs12345 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much revenue you'd raise on Kickstarter if HBO agreed to release The Wire into the public domain for a certain sum. Enough to make it worth their while? I think so (especially if they released the source material so people could get it in HD, not currently available)..
hjkl 1 day ago 0 replies      
"...HDCP encryption, a newer part of the HDMI standard..."

I don't think that's true.

My understanding is that HDCP encryption has been around for as long as HDMI has been around. For example, Blu-ray discs/players use HDCP to encrypt their content.

It seems strange that these DVR boxes don't support HDCP. Maybe some of the heat should be directed towards DirecTV for using such non-compliant hardware.

zerostar07 1 day ago 1 reply      
Suppose someone created a landing page where guilt-ridden torrent downloaders can spend a reasonable amount (say $2 per episode) to get rid of their guilt, would HBO accept the money?
bryanh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Archaic C-level execs are still making the calls. This isn't unexpected.
guccimane 1 day ago  replies      
"We've recently discussed the fact that HBO severely limits the availability of its shows to non-subscribers..."

Really?! How dare they!

Time To Get Past Facebook And Invent A New Future theatlantic.com
240 points by chrismealy  2 days ago   92 comments top 25
rohern 2 days ago 5 replies      
This article is spot on in its thesis, though not always in its arguments.

Everyone is convinced -- because the people who work in marketing are happy because they can sell ads -- that social media is an important thing. It is not.

Social media is people doing what they were already doing, only more often and anywhere. Flirting with girls, talking with friends, etc. Making these activities digital is not changing society or improving lives. It is the same society and the same lives, with more time spent on these activities. Never has anyone gone to bed thinking "Gosh, I wish I had spent more time looking at funny pictures of strangers today." People often go to bed regretting not doing what they could have done when instead they were on Facebook and Twitter and [insert the names of 90% of the startups you have heard of].

Every founder will go on and on about "changing the world" if you let him. This is as if changing the world were something worth doing for its own sake. If you see a problem that is worth fixing and you fix it, then the change effected is important and even virtuous. But the key is that problem must be worth solving. Just because a petulant and spoiled American wants his iced mocha faster does not mean that speeding up sales of mocha is a worthy problem. Can you make money doing it? Probably.

I went to school to become an engineer (I'm 24) because I thought that computers and the internet were going to make invention and innovation possible even for people who did not work for industrial laboratories. Maybe the hugely reduced barriers to entry into the technology sector that resulted from cheap computers and good programming tools would lead young and eager people of brilliance to found ambitious companies to finally -- aren't we all sick of being exasperated by the mediocrity of culture and politics in the past 20 years? -- steer human life into better modes of existence and a new frontier of boldness. Sure, the internet cannot do this all on its own, but is such a powerful and promising tool, that maybe it would start things.

This has not happened. There are a few gems like SpaceX and Willow Garage that seek out challenge in this way, but they are doing it independent of the cheapness and openness that computers now allow. Worse, many of the companies that have been founded are dedicated to aggressively ruining the internet by making it a place for sucking up private information, showing ads, and selling the same old useless junk.

What it seems to me this article is about is that innovation in technology right now is about money, not about betterment. A billion dollars was just spent on Instagram. To do what? If you are so in the bubble of the "startup world" that you do not see the self-evident absurdity of a situation in which that is a possible and reasonable event, you are become blinded.

Stop thinking like a marketer and think like an inventor with balls. Stop trying to get rich unless you are getting rich by doing something that is worth doing.

I write this as someone who honestly loves technology, hacking, the hacker ethic, and HN, but I walk around Palo Alto every day being slowly crushed by disappointment. The problem is not that the good hackers are being spread across too many companies, it is that too many companies are not doing things worthy of hackers.

moocow01 2 days ago 3 replies      
Its very difficult for me to ascertain if its just me or the following is a growing sentiment... I'm not wowed by hardly anything that comes out of consumer internet tech anymore.

Before anyone gets out a pitchfork I have actively contributed and worked on products in the past that are part of the behemoth of services/apps/sites etc that have become mundane to me so I deserve my own criticism as well.

But the majority of launches especially for the past couple years in the media seems like the same deck chairs (mobile/social/photos/ads/etc) rearranged in a different order. Overtime Ive just lost interest in tech blogs in that I rarely see something that I'd consider genuinely interesting tech from a product or engineering or consumer perspective. Maybe I'm just getting old?

On the other hand if I'm not out of touch it seems like it could be a great time to step out of 'traditional' consumer tech and push on some of the 'new' things like 3D printing, robotics, computer vision, etc as well as seek out applications towards other industries (education, health, food, etc.)

gavinlynch 2 days ago 1 reply      
I fail to understand this article because I think there are so many different topics the author touches on.. Innovation. Culture. Tech business and startups..

I think the author is conflating some of these concepts or just misunderstanding some. For instance, innovation. What does Facebook have to do with innovation? I'm sure there are a few innovative things they have done, but in my view the outline for the broad concept of what their social service accomplishes had been drawn clearly before their rise to dominance. They just did it better than most, and reached a critical mass in terms of user base.

If the author is simply bored of taking pictures on a phone and beaming them halfway around the world because it's now commonplace... I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell you. There will be another shiny new toy invented that will be another great extension or augmentation of the human experience for you to enjoy in a few years, doubtlessly. So cheer up.

One thing I know is true: All of these things that are being built on the internet and the internet itself.. They are just different vehicles for human expression; they are all extensions of the human thought, the human environment; all facets of ourselves as a species.

I think the author of this article flounders about in coming up with what is "next" because they don't really understand the reasons why the successful products appeared in the first place:

Nobody at Facebook invented the idea that humans like to be in contact with each other.

Nobody at Pinterest came up with the idea that humans collect things that they find interesting. Humans have been doing that for as long as we've been around.

Nobody at Instagram invented the idea that humans are creatures who crave artistic expression. When we didn't have canvas or quill or a camera, we painted on cave walls.

All of these companies just fascilitated a need that was already there, whether people were concious of it or not. I would argue that these products were inevitable, it was just a matter of who would get there first.

If you want to try to answer the obtuse question of "What is next", a question that comes from a confused origin.... You only have to study human nature. That would be my answer. If the author is soliciting advise about the next hot startup to invest in, that's a totally different ballgame.

guelo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sure there are a lot of smart people wasting away figuring out how to sell ads more efficiently. But I think we're still fairly reliably being wowed several times a year. Right now Kickstarter is the big wow for a lot of people, they're doing some real revolutionary work on the future of business and work. With Etsy being a good wow along the same lines before that. Obviously the iPad is making explosive entries into all kinds of industries which are being revolutionized for the 2nd or 3rd time in the last 20 years. And this guy talks like the iPhone happened ages ago, it was only 5 years ago, 4 years since the amazements started emanating from the app store.

I'm not too worried, change is accelerating and the wows will keep on coming. Five years from now should look more different from today then today looks compared to 2007. The main dangers are monopolistic predator companies, walled gardens, and government intrusion. Other than that, we will continue being blown away for years to come.

dasil003 2 days ago 0 replies      
This guy is simply failing to see the forest for the trees.

Yes, the past 30 years have been an amazing whirlwind of development of consumer computing technology. Yes, things won't be jumping by leaps and bounds the way they were when the basic hardware and bandwidth were getting up to speed. The latest social app is not going to blow you away the same way, say, the invention of the Internet did when you first discovered it. But I'm sure it pales in comparison to the wow-factor of the telegraph when it was first invented.

We live in a time when computing technology has filtered out to the mass populace. It is an interesting time to be sure. But we are just scratching the surface of what is possible with computers. There is tons of work to be done to refine the art of computation, which I believe ends with creating AI that can do things we are incapable of doing as humans. That is still a very long way off.

And assuming all goes smoothly without any major natural disasters or self-destruction, after that, there will be a new chapter in human existence where I believe we will have to come to grips with having automated everything and no longer having to employee people en masse. Where will we find meaning once the struggle to survive is pushed so far from our daily concerns?

The point is things are constantly evolving, and there is no chance that things are about to get boring. "Web", "Social", and "Mobile" are only "done" if you are tech pundit looking to summarize the state of the world in a tidy 800 words. The reality is that these things are just building blocks whose novelty has worn off, but whose ultimate utility is far from being realized.

kylebrown 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope the author (Alexis Madrigal - usually writes on energy issues) is right. By now a "startup" is presumed to be more of the same first-world social-mobile navel-gazing. The world will be better off if/when such forays stop being the most profitable. (good sign in Bloomberg news today: US wireless contracts "may have shrunk for the first time ever in the first quarter.")

Its anyone's guess how much innovation the next decade will bring in energy and biotech. But as for IT, my money is on the opportunities that will come from bridging the digital divide (emerging markets).

The Wired article "Want to become an Internet billionaire? Move to Africa" didn't get much interest from HN[1] though it was also covered in Forbes. The informal economy (as written about in Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy by Robert Neuwirth) is an oft-overlooked angle which should be particularly interesting, as it intersects more and more with an expanding global internet.

1: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3210000

jcc80 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think Louis CK said it best, "Everything is amazing and nobody's happy."


Sorry but Social mobile local (or as people cooler than me are calling it, SoMoLo) is still pretty new. You're just going to have to "suffer" through a little more.

I get the author's point that it seems like the same things are getting made and funded over and over. But with only about 1/2 the U.S. pop. owning smartphones, you can't blame people too much for trying to stake their claim. Anything more innovative might be too early anyways.

thorin_2 2 days ago 5 replies      
Why can't the next area of innovation be in education? I'm not talking solely about the transition from print to digital, but rather a complete reset on education with technology at its core rather than at the periphery? Rethink the status quo, with no sacred cows (teachers, buses, grades, testing, - even classrooms all up for grabs).

Imagine tablet devices or similar technology that provide individualized, adaptive teaching programs that exhibit techniques that allowed students to progress each at their own pace, using highly innovative and entertaining forms of education.

Imagine all progress (and regress) made by the student as a form of continual testing and as gates to increasingly more complex subjects, with programs that adapt to a student's areas of weakness (and strengths), hitting at core concepts from different angles and in ways that appeal to that individuals ideal method of learning, until that student was able to progress to the next concept, or skip and then revisit once a complementary concepts is are understood that would augment that student's ability to master the concept they skipped earlier.

Imagine technological innovation that allowed us to take a less linear approach to certain subjects, which is the only method today given the constraints of 1:* teacher:students and the invisible “bar” which forces certain students to move at the lowest common denominator pace, while taxing other students to keep, such as those that have difficulty learning in the cookie cutter way.

Imagine applications that blend multiple subjects (math, science, history), presenting the material not using your standard “preach at you” teaching technique, but instead using role-based or video game style interactive learning that makes the kid WANT to study, gets excited about the subject.

Envision a system where the best teachers become the product managers that formulate the logic and program flow for those innovative applications, and your run-of-the-mill teacher becomes a custodian for keeping things under control while the students interact with their devices, and of course, with each other, as social interaction is essential for their well-being as well.

Sure there would be many hurdles, not the least of these being teachers unions and the hurdle of changing centuries of preconceived notions of how education should be accomplished, but hey, the author asked for what the next revolutionary idea could be, and a transformation in education with technology at its core has my vote.

blhack 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm really sick of hearing all of the hatred that facebook gets.

It's a useful tool that I use every day for organizing meetups and, in my opinion, is superior to a mailing list in pretty much every single way.

My local reddit users group has almost 1000 members in it, and has no branched into several "sub groups" [a book club, a film club, a music club, a workout club, and a hacker club]. Just now before reading this, I found a movie to go to tonight with somebody, committed to start reading a book with somebody else, and got invited to an event this Friday.

Oh, and somebody who is planning an event for this Saturday asked me to RSVP.

Last weekend our group had a nearly 100-person strong "masquerade" at a bar in Phoenix. We pretty-much took over the bar.

None of this stuff would happen if not for facebook, and I know this because there have been active attempts within our community to push stuff back onto reddit, all of which have failed.

Facebook is a useful tool to me, and a useful tool to a lot of other people. If it disappeared tomorrow, it would effect me in a very negative way.

Casseres 2 days ago 3 replies      
Maybe I'm missing the purpose of the article, but I am responding to how I interpreted it.

What will our future be like if we all focus our lives around little boxes in our hands rather than the vast open spaces around us?

Perhaps we should invent a future where the technology are the tools we use to enhance our life, not control our life. In Star Trek, people weren't addicted to PADDs or spend every living moment in the Holo Deck. In fact the episodes where technology controlled people, we recognized the technology as evil.

Invent something to enhance our lives, not control them.

dude_abides 2 days ago 1 reply      
Most revolutionary things take some time before people realize that they are revolutionary.

- Google launched in 1998, people realized how revolutionary it was by around 2000.

- Facebook launched in 2004, it took till about 2007 for people to realize how game-changing its going to be.

- IPhone launched in 2007, and within a year (after 3G + AppStore was launched) it was clear that this is game-changing.

My point is: It could very well be that the next game-changer is already out there and we just don't know it yet. What could it be? Well I don't know... Google self-driving car? Khan Academy? Square? Your guess is as good as mine.

srconstantin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Web apps are cheap to build, easy to learn how to build, fall into a predictable model for investors, and are equipped with lots of social institutions (like YC) encouraging people to build web startups.

So, all things being equal, we should expect more people to be creating web apps (compared to other kinds of technology) than their profitability or social value would warrant.

Framing makes a big difference. If there were an established culture and set of resources for engineering or biomedical startups, they might seem less daunting.

lucisferre 2 days ago 1 reply      
This type of "whatever's new is old" complaining is pretty cliche. I mean, of course people are going to try to innovate in evolutionary ways more than revolutionary ways.

Revolutionary innovation is at least partially random and obviously much higher risk. It often comes as a result of many people iterating many times on the same-old-same-old.

This article really seems to do nothing other than state the obvious and offers no real suggestions or directions for where to go or what to do next. Oh right, biotech, cure for cancer, end hunger, solve the energy crisis, etc. Because no one has tried or is trying to solve those, and they are clearly as easy as figuring out how to get people to share photos of themselves.

anigbrowl 2 days ago 1 reply      
From the previously-posted thread on this that got no other replies:

an astute article. One thing not addressed here is the failure of the Smantic Web paradigm to really take off; I don't know whether this is because of a lack of critical mass in the quantity of semantically coded data or the immaturity of ontology frameworks or something else - my best guess being that the browser is no more suitable to traversal of the semantic web than FTP/ Archie/ Veronica/ Gopher were suitable browsing tools for hyperterxt - although each solved 'part of the puzzle.'

phodo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is one simple attempt to explain the value of many of the startups that are otherwise dismissed by such naysayers, although coming from a heavy tech background I am the first to admit that some of these startups are incremental and featurettes at best.

We are in the age of sensors and A/D conversion. Many (not all) startups today do operate at the app layer... they are web / mobile apps etc. They produce tools that enable us to consume and produce info... at scale... we're talking millions of people are slowly but surely doing the analog-to-digital conversion for a future. At a mass scale, the result will be x,y,z,t,status,interest,social,connection connections/graphs for many things across many verticals. Privacy issues aside (they cannot be ignored, but bare with me for a second), the end result is a real-time layer on the world that exists in the digital domain, not the analog one. We are creating a world of installing "sensors" through market forces.

There is a step function in innovation (a new S-curve, if you will) that will occur at some point, that will be dependent on the world where things are digitized (the one we are creating now) in order to unlock innovation further. Not just technically, but from an adoption/diffusion/comfort level in society. We are going through that now... so the outcome ain't so bleak. At the end of this particular journey (call it a bubble, call it something else), we will have 1 billion+ people who a) are comfortable with sensors / digitizing their stuff and themselves b) and are doing it.

We are converging on a dominant design of what a digitized world looks like, through market forces! And in more recent years, the big data techniques emerging that will also be pushed by market forces. The best way to think about that is the following: In the ABSENCE of the incremental innovation (instagram of x, pinterest for y), I can imagine many future business and technology plans saying: we would like to build this technology, but it is not feasible because it requires a world where everyone is a sensor. Or even better, our new technology can change the world, but it assumes that people / things are digitized.

tl;dr: current crop of startups are creating sensors for big data and other processes. This can create future innovation opps that leverage this big data in new and profound ways. The absence of such startups is a blocker for that future class of innovation.

Hope not too incoherent... typing this at 30,000 feet in a cramped seat.

brownbat 2 days ago 0 replies      
| The question is, as it has always been: now what?

| Decades ago, the answer was, "Build the Internet." Fifteen years ago, it was, "Build the Web." Five years ago, the answers were probably, "Build the social network"

In other words, when you read near future sci fi and think, "that's a cool piece of plausible tech that I really want right now!" what is it?

"We are prosthetic gods." That quote dates back farther than you might think. Printing, telecom, radio, the internet, the web, the social network, the smart phone... all of these take the sum of human knowledge/experience and inch it slightly closer to my brain.

The next step is to have it rest right against my temple while we debate whether or not to break out the scalpel.

Hate to jump on the bandwagon, but I'm ready for the Goggles. Google's commercials don't scrape the surface of what it could mean to have internet-enabled constant-on cameras on everyone's face, for better and worse. But that's the next space I want to explore.

hxa7241 1 day ago 1 reply      
> More money has got to change hands.

No, quite the opposite. If you really want to be bold about inventing the future, money is one of the things that needs to be replaced.

The internet is, in a general sense, a technology for cooperation -- for organising collective activities through shared information. Money is really just an information channel for doing that too, but it is now comparatively obsolete.

dharma1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's the way evolution works. Sometimes it's slow for a while - then things click into place and there is rapid progress.

The Khan Academy (and other free online, high quality education) is probably the most revolutionary thing that has come out of the internet in the past few years.

I don't know how much effect it has at the moment in the developing world - whether resources like that are used in the classroom and by students - but the potential for transformation is huge. There is an enormous amount of people in the world with untapped talent because of lack of access to high quality education.

Biotech, synthetic biology etc aside, I think the next thing to facilitate change in computing is portable display technology - for personal use maybe it will be Google Glass once it's a mature product. For shared use I think low cost, lightweight high res laser/LED pico projectors will take off in the next couple of years. The computer itself will be a tablet/mobile phone, either with its own display or hooked up to one of these new display devices.

Battery tech is another interesting one - once we work out how to produce cheap, high energy density, long life batteries from a natural resource that is abundant, we'll see a lot of accelerated progress in several areas.

Of course the 1st world problems of not having enough cool gadgets and software will be put into perspective when the Earth's limited food/energy resources vs growing population starts playing out for real.

swalsh 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think there's a new paradigm in the making, many people are talking about it... but it's young.

The internet of stuff is next!

A lot of the building blocks are in place, personally I think Arduino is a really big component that is driving the revolution and Kickstarter is providing a surprisingly good platform for funding it. However there's still a few missing components. One of the goals of LTE is to power this new network, but existing carrier business models don't seem appropriate. As a consumer I'm really not interested in paying $20 (or more!) a month for each my fridge, and toaster, and television, and door to be connected. Light Squared was a promising push in the right direction, which unfortunately failed.

Along the same lines of networking though, I think there's a lot of really good opportunities for low end hardware. Qualcomm dominates the market in LTE chipsets, but good luck getting access to the developer stuff as an indie user. API's tying all these components together will be essential.

yonasb 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't like these "where's the innovation" posts, too negative. There's lots of exciting software being built. I will however admit that, in general, the Glass Project was the most exciting thing I've seen in a while. So maybe this is really about the lack of innovation in the hardware space
stcredzero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Social media does contribute to communications and economic growth, in the same way automobiles have. Social media also has real downsides, in much the same way.

That said, reading about SpaceX excites me much more than reading about Instagram.

sparknlaunch12 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is the new future offline?

We have grown attached to our electronic devices and online friends. Maybe we need to step back and think about going back?

superasn 2 days ago 2 replies      
There is lots of stuff happening which I hope we'll probably see integrated soon in our mobile phones.

The top two things which I'm waiting to see in my mobile is 1) The lightfield camera and 2) a device like the "sixth sense".

iRobot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Shame so much talent is wasted creating so much shit all with the ultimate object of dumbing down the populous to a bunch of media consumers.
thatusertwo 2 days ago 0 replies      
An inovation incentive from consumers would probably work better then the current system.
Pacman running on DCPU-16 fingswotidun.com
231 points by reitzensteinm  13 hours ago   46 comments top 10
jgrahamc 12 hours ago 2 replies      
How utterly marvellous! The entire outpouring of exploration around DCPU-16 is a wonderful example of the hacker-spirit "Here's a thing, what can you make it do?"
nezzor 13 hours ago 3 replies      
While certainly very cool, this is unfortunately using an unofficial sprite spec[1].

There's plenty of awesome things being done with the official specifications though, like this minesweeper clone: http://0x10co.de/lqnit and this simple raycaster: http://0x10co.de/o3xss

Vim is also in the process of being ported: https://github.com/DanielRapp/0xVim

[1] http://fingswotidun.com/dcpu16/sprites.txt

cs702 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This brings back distant memories for me: ages ago, just for fun, I wrote a quick-and-dirty PacMan clone for the TRS-80 Color Computer, which was powered by a lousy-by-present-standards Motorola 6809 processor.

I have to agree with some of the other comments here, 0x10c looks to be some sort of milestone: a fully programmable, Turing-complete game!

catilac 12 hours ago 2 replies      
It's kind of insane that people are writing games in assembly for a CPU in a game. I feel like 0x10c is going to be some sort of milestone in terms of innovation.

Next up is the immersive technology.

swah 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Having good names for functions and variables makes even assembly readable.

Names: what a great idea.

rweba 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Darn, looks like this is not editable like the code at http://0x10co.de

I was looking forward to seeing if I could figure out how to cheat and give myself infinite lives (I'm not very coordinated so that's the only I'll ever win ;-))

ja27 7 hours ago 0 replies      
As great as Raspberry Pi is, this is much more likely to get my kids and their friends programming.
silasb 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this the new demoscene?
sp332 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Note for people with narrow screens: if you scroll over to the right you can run the code :)
psquid 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, or do the ghosts seem to all be moving fairly randomly, rather than following 4 different, but consistent, behaviours (like in the original Pacman)?
The 501 Developer Manifesto 501manifesto.org
218 points by tomstuart  3 days ago   115 comments top 44
zacharyvoase 3 days ago  replies      
“It's just a job.”

It's just 8 hours a day. 5 days a week. Roughly 25% of your life. Another 33.3% is spent asleep. Maybe you commute to work; maybe that takes you 45 minutes each way. That's 4.4% of your life spent driving, walking, on trains or buses to get to your job. You're going to spend a small percentage of your life on the toilet; another small percentage in supermarkets buying food, in a kitchen preparing it, or in a dining room eating it.

All the 'big events' in your life will be squeezed into the precious little time you have left after survival's necessary subtractions. Going to school. Getting drunk. Being hungover. Getting married. Buying a house. Attending funerals.

Perhaps we were thinking in similar terms. You took those thoughts"nay, facts"and channeled them into a manifesto which guides your relationship with your employer.

Here's what I did with the same facts. I decided I'm not spending over 25% of my life (37.5% of my waking life) doing something I don't LOVE. For comparison, if I find a spouse, it's likely I won't spend 25% of my life in their company. So if I'm going to spend more time at work than I will with my future husband, I need to love my job at least as much as I do him. That's the conviction which caused me, just a few hours ago, to hand in my notice of resignation to my current employer. Because when I find myself watching the clock waiting for 5:01, I must concede that 25% of me (37.5% of the waking me) has already died.

This isn't a judgement. I respect you for your decision. There's probably some pity in there too, but honestly, it's mostly respect.

agentultra 3 days ago 3 replies      
Funny thing is that I prefer to go home @ 5 as well... but when I do get home I often read books about programming, catch up on articles and papers, or work on some amusing side-project.

Often I'll learn some maths, experiment with some new approaches to solving problems, or watch screen casts to learn how other people approach the craft.

I don't do it because I'm some corporate shill. I just really love programming.

I also have a wife, a child on the way, and my life seems pretty balanced to me.

I just look at overtime and think: well I only have so many minutes left to live, what's in it for me if I do this? Sometimes the answer is just money because that's probably what I needed at that moment... more often than not in recent years I don't bother unless there's equity on the line (which has never been on the table anyway). If my employers ever had a problem with it I just moved on. Things got tight but they never hit rock bottom.

It's all just about priorities and sticking up for yourself.

debacle 3 days ago 1 reply      
I thought this was going to be another one of those 'Internet Manifestos.'

I was very pleasantly surprised. This is something I am definitely behind, even though for me it isn't just a job. I love programming, but for years my programming at home has languished because my programming at work is a soul-sucking endeavor that leads me to have a sinking feeling every time I look at the Komodo icon on my home PC.

I think the core problem here is not about an us versus them when it comes to the guys who go home to their wife and kids and the guys that go home to their git and vim. It's more about the fact that both groups probably spend too much time away from their homes, and right now the programming scene is incredibly fractured. Programmers are certainly not a homogenous group. Off the top of my head, I can think of about a dozen different flavors of programmer, all with their own innate perceptions about things both programming related and not.

What we really need is a coming together of the programmers-by-trade and the programmers-at-heart to declare war on all of the silly little stereotypes that have created a workplace unfairness in IT in the last fifteen to twenty years. You need a communion of individuals to create a semi-fraternal organization that looks like a union on the outside but inside is a diverse collective of brilliant minds.

It wont be easy, but many smart people (and a very few ridiculously articulate people) have been passively advocating for it in the last ten years or so, and I think that as the post-dotcom generation starts to move into their 30s we'll see a drastic change in the employee relationship within the next five to ten years.

shadowfiend 3 days ago 3 replies      
“Playing fußball in the pub with our friends over playing fußball in the office with our team leader”

Talk about a false dichotomy. I evade this problem by being friends with the people I work with.

Overall, I think there are some good distinctions made here. And there is a good point to the thing: “To us it is just a job, but we still do it well.” I almost feel like the page should lead with that. That this isn't an indication that this approach is better than the other approach, simply that it's… Different.

Maybe I don't have a family nearby right now. Maybe I am at a point in my life where I can have free snacks and free time, where I can have sustainable pace AND muscle-man heroics AND still enjoy life outside of work. But that's beside the point of the page. The point here is to understand that not everyone has that perspective, and that it's important to respect those that leave their work at the office and dedicate more time to all the other things than you do (if you're one not one of the “501 developers”).

mapleoin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm at the beginning of my career. I moved to a different country because I couldn't find a job I liked in my own country. I really like programming and I started doing it in my spare time in high school and I still do it in my spare time.

But, I wholeheartedly agree with this article. I need to go home at 5 in order to keep liking programming. Sometimes I go home to program on a pet project or to learn something new in the weekends. Most of the time I try to do that, but life gets in the way. In a good way. My gf wants to go out or I find some new hobby or I want to go running or just stroll around in the beautiful city I live in. I have problems that I want to solve in my life. I think about stuff and read about stuff. I want to learn to build things with my hands, ride a horse, play two musical instruments, paint etc.

I'm not an insect. I don't want to tell people I'm a programmer and have nothing else to talk about (like some of the people I know in this industry). I want to have friends who aren't programmers. In fact I usually appreciate these friends' company a lot more. Because we talk about being human, not about being programmers.

I'm really lucky to have a boss and colleagues who are like this, too. Some of them are really bright people. Most of us have a big number of programming books we've read. Just because I go home early it doesn't mean I'm not passionate about my craft. I am and I constantly invest in getting better, but I hope I'm not doing it at the expense of being a real human being and having meaningful relationships with the people around me.

It's amazing to see the number of counter-arguments to this manifesto on HN after a year ago everyone was praising things like the 4-hour work week and getting more done in less time. Has that failed? Did it instead turn out that we can be productive sitting on a chair for 12 hours a day?

Or maybe the people who really are passionate about programming are just programming right now, because they want to quench their thirst for programming in the 8 hours they have today and then get on with other pursuits. And I should go do that now.

zmoazeni 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't classify myself as a 501 developer. I'm probably the opposite that they're rallying against. But I don't dismiss 501ers. Two things strike me from the manifesto.

Since I've become a parent, I've noticed 5:00 has become more important to me. We put our kids down to bed around 8:00, so I only have a few hours of quality time with them each day.

Secondly, there are just things you won't learn on the job. And that doesn't mean it's a bad job. My new shiny is currently Haskell. I shouldn't get huffy if my work doesn't allow me to time to explore it. It'd be nice, but I'm not entitled to it. And further, it doesn't mean I should start hunting for a "better job". So in my opinion, 501ers are left with three alternatives:

1) They only learn/play/explore things that apply directly to their 9-5 job. Or are limited to whatever time their work allows for exploration.

2) They find a job that aligns with their interests.

3) They make an business case to the company to incorporate the technology. (However this is best done after you have a level of experience with it)

People could argue which of those are better. But if you're someone like me and like to play with a large number of technologies, sometimes removing the job out of the equation is much easier...and maybe even more fun.

petercooper 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's a gulf between a stereotypical "day job" developer and someone for whom programming is a core part of their self image, but in real life there's more of a subtle gradient.

People who write technical blogs, go to user groups, or endlessly read programming books seem to be in the "not us" group, but I know of day job developers who do (some/all of) those things. Drawing lines in the sand doesn't seem useful when, I think, the issue behind this seems to be "don't look down on us day job developers." :-)

peteretep 3 days ago 1 reply      

  If you:
Write a technical blog
Contribute to open source projects
Attend user groups in your spare time
Mostly only read books about coding and productivity
Push to GitHub while sitting on the toilet
Are committed to maximum awesomeness at all times, or would have us believe it

Much of this applies to me, and applies to me because I love programming. If you don't love programming, I am unlikely to ever respect you as a programmer. Doubly so if you confuse loving programming with being at the beck and call of a given employer, or confuse loving programming with what hours you spend in the workplace.

The 5:01 article it links to is insightful, though.

bguthrie 3 days ago 1 reply      
Some of these things relate to employers, and some of them relate to programming and craft. I'm all for keeping a sustainable pace on your project, and not letting your employer's priorities continually override yours. But some of this sounds too much like a defense of those whose dedication to learning stops at the office door.

I respect those people for the time they spend with their families and loved ones, and wish them the best, but I don't much enjoy working with them. I love what I do, and if you do too, I expect to see some evidence that you enjoy it in your spare time. Particularly for consultants or independent contractors, I find the notion that all of your professional learning should be on your client's dime to be ethically troublesome at best.

gruseom 3 days ago 0 replies      
That sarcastic tone is so weird that it's clear there's more to this than working hours. I think it's about dead corporate culture, bad managers, and dysfunctional teams where people don't agree.

The more interesting part is the second half, in the smaller print where the author addresses his teammates. He uses words like "respect", but what he's saying feels contemptuous and passive-aggressive. That's the real tell here. Well, that and the suggestion that he doesn't believe in what he's working on. No wonder he feels like checking out every day.

Does it matter what time someone leaves? Only if people feel it does. What matters is that a team be aligned. If there's disharmony, work it out. If you can't work it out, change the team. Writing a "manifesto" is not working it out (though it might start a real conversation).

Personally, I want teammates who are passionate about doing great work. Come and go whenever works for you. But passion doesn't get turned off like a light switch at the same time every day.

moocow01 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think we need more of this. In the context of employment (meaning you are not a 'true' owner), I genuinely have a hard time understanding why so many are so good at sabotaging themselves. Its as if we need a primer in worker economics before going into the workforce.

Obviously simple rule... the more you work for a flat rate (salary) the more you lower your pay. Second simple rule... the more you work for a flat rate (salary) the larger the opportunity cost. There are probably better things you could be doing for yourself after 5 - things like oh I don't know... have friends, family, start a business (that potentially does NOT have a salary cap), learn new skills, etc. etc.

I see this attitude pop up all the time where there are groups of folks who feel that everyone that is an employee who works normal hours should be thrown out of the profession. From my perspective, this is an unfortunately toxic attitude in that it degrades everyone as a whole and collectively detracts from our value.

jcoder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Contributing to open source projects, attending user groups in my spare time, and mostly reading books about coding and productivity do NOT mean that I allow my employment to penetrate deeply into my personal life. I allow my interests and my passions to penetrate deeply into my personal life. If you don't have the good fortune to be paid for your passions, don't put down those who do as corporate shills.

I also make plenty of time for family and fun. Maybe it's all of those productivity books.

InclinedPlane 3 days ago 0 replies      
Something rings a bit off to me about this. Just because you aren't willing to grind yourself into the dirt working 70 hour weeks on someone else's project doesn't mean that you must lack an amazing passion for a craft that could be an enormous part of your life and your identity.

By the same token, working long hours doesn't intensify your accrual of experience, skill, or talent, nor does it automatically make you a better or more passionate developer.

Passion is passion. Craft is craft. Whether you spend 1 hour a day doing it or 17.

f4stjack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nah, I don't buy it. Especially the last bits. I write a technical blog because it is your duty to educate nontechnical users about what you know. The old fable of teaching a man how to catch fish comes to mind. This is never a bad thing, and it makes your job easier!

Contributing to open source projects, user groups, reading books on coding and productivity? How CAN these be pitiable things? I personally think this is a step before being brogrammers, which I loathe.

Let's face it. Being a coder in this brave new world is akin to being a magus in the old times. You know things, you incantate words and verbs only which you and a chosen few understood and you create something out of nether, only real in your mind's eye. And if you deal with information, as they did, you have to convey it. This is something inherent to this craft. You encounter problems with something, you log it; you solve it, you log it. When you share it, many of the people who trod the path will solve the problem, sans the time you spent, and do more. When they encounter something and log it, you will know more. This is a balancing act, nothing more nothing less.

It may be just a job for you, but for me it is an act of creation and more than a job.

ricardobeat 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Our personal creative projects over commercial products the world doesn't need

This invalidates the whole manifesto. Why are you working?

I think it's bad to polarize things like this - being a 501 developer vs not having a life. Balance is key, and you should work on things that matter to you. Don't blame the world.

jayferd 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've posted this here before, but I think it bears restating.

If you work as a software engineer in California and have a salary of less than about 81K, you are entitled to overtime pay.

See the law here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=lab... (section 515.5), with 2011 and 2012 numbers here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlsr/ComputerSoftware.pdf

I am not a lawyer, so do your own research please. But the gist is, if you want developers who will work lots of free overtime, you have to pay them as such.

pnathan 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't really want to work with people who are unmotivated and just "Do their time and go". I've done it; I've worked in crappy jobs. Those jobs were, e.g., cashier at fast food joint. Or stocker at department store. Everyone wanted to leave. No one wanted to be there.

I am not really up to dealing with the harsh cynicism and assumptions of uselessness of our work with someone who leaves as soon as possible. Doesn't mean I don't like going home early. I do... But if your goal is to clock in at 8:30 and exit at 5:01, just to do the bare minimum, I can't jibe with that. I've worked with people like that... and I don't want to do it again.

Regards, pity, etc.

hartez 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is excellent, and I'm fully behind it. Some of the best coworkers I've ever had were 5:01'ers - they got things done on time because they had to, and they didn't burn out.

Just don't break the build at 4:59. That's all I ask.

Tangaroa 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anybody really look down on employees who leave work at the time that they agreed to leave work when they took the job? I can't imagine this being a problem, although I can see the desire for employees who value the work more than they value keeping to a strict schedule. An interesting problem would often keep me working late, and I would feel guilty for billing the company for unauthorized overtime when I could have left on time. I've never encountered an expectation for employees to routinely stay later than 5:00, or by the same logic, an expectation for employees to come in a long while earlier than their starting time.
skmurphy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of Scott Adams "New Company Model OA5 Out at 5pm" model from the last chapter of his "Dilbert Principle" http://www.amazon.com/The-Dilbert-Principle-Cubicles-Eye-Aff... on-line at http://mdsalunkhe.tripod.com/dilbert.htm

   Out at Five

I developed a conceptual model for a perfect company.
The primary objective of this company is to make employees as effective
as possible. The best products usually come from the most effective employees,
so employee effectiveness is the most fundamental of the fundamentals.

The goal of the hypothetical company is to get the best work out of
the employees and make sure they leave work by five o' clock. Finishing by
five o'clock is so central to everything that follows that I named the
company OA5 (Out at five) to reinforce the point.

If you let his part of the concept slip, the rest of it falls apart.

The goal of OA5 is to guarantee that the employee who leaves at 5 PM
has done a full share of work and everybody realizes it. For that to
happen an OA5 company has to do things differently than an ordinary company.

also discussed in http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3309820 and submitted as http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=140712 four years ago

cpeterso 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this manifesto was going to be about "HTTP 501 Not Implemented" developers, a new take on You ain't gonna need it. :)
tworats 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is conflating so many unrelated things. Leaving work at 5:01 is great - leaving work whenever you need to is great. But spending your life working at "just a job" is a waste. If you're only doing your job to make money you're doing yourself a disservice.
pseale 3 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of people in the comments here miss the context: this was written by Microsoft ecosystem developers.

Some of the items on the list specifically target Microsoft MVPs and Regional Directors, the shots at "snacks" and "T-shirts" aim at Microsoft community events, and the rest target standard corporate development dysfunction.

If there's one positive takeaway from this post, it's the bit of the end that warns you to treat your 501 teammates well.

undantag 3 days ago 1 reply      
During our latest "crunch project", we worked pretty crazy hours to ship on time. One guy in the team works 6 hour days, and continued doing so all the way, with a few exceptions.

As the rest of us turned to Zombies he remained calm, focused and sharp. Without him, we wouldn't have shipped as well as we did.

rizzom5000 3 days ago 0 replies      
My opinion tends toward the idea that professionals, by definition, participate in continuing education. This can be sponsored by an employer, but it seems that in the software industry it is more often than not up to the individual.

On the other hand, I also have passions that extend outside the realm of software development. I'm not sure that this makes me any less passionate about my profession - and in many ways likely enhances my 'personal brand'. For those who are consumed entirely by software engineering - more power to them.

ctrager 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been programming a couple dozen years for a dozen companies, with side projects too. Some of that time I've been a 501 developer, and some of that time not. I think my natural tendency is to go beyond 501, and I'm happiest when the company environment positively reinforces that tendency. When the company seems to be indifferent to me going beyond (there can be a lot of reasons for this), then I fall back to being a 501 developer as a coping mechanism.
Su-Shee 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why are so many people making this an either - or?

Yes, I love programming.

Yes, I (mostly) treat work as 501 even though I (usally) love the work I'm doing, but I'm not owned by any company.

Yes, I decide over a job similar to "love" precisely because it takes so much time of everyone's live and I spend more time in the office with my coworkers than I spend with my friends, family and spouses.

And I still want to see something else but my editor (and I do really like my editor :) - art, books, parties, the city I live in - which I also chose by "love" which is why I wouldn't move for a job to a city I do not like - other cities, good food and other people.

So, I look hard to find a workplace I like to do work I love doing which fits into "having a life outside".

And exactly that enables me to have a choice EVERY DAY wether I want to do some hacking privately or have a nice dinner with friends.

But for many life decisions I'm on the side of the 501 manifesto's spirit: I wouldn't leave my family/spouse for a programming job at $glorious_company, I wouldn't move into some boring smalltown and leave all my friends and the opportunities of my favorite city behind just to do programming at XYZ.

This doesn't keep me from having two thinkgeek shirts TOGETHER with 20 others, going to a nerd conference here and there AND take two hours off to go into this cool art exhibit which is at the nerdy_conference_town right now, read a programming book once in a while on top of the pile of other books I read.

I totally accept that I'll never become a rockstar in programming with this life-style - but I might have hung out and gotten drunk with real rockstars on some of the parties I had time to attend or even played some rock because I had time to be part of a rockband. ;) (God, I hate the rockstar metaphor a lot.. :)

In the end it's about looking down on my life and thinking "it's a good life" - and that changes from decade to decade anyways. What I considered a good life with 22 isn't anymore what I consider a good life now - and yet I wouldn't change a thing of my 22-year-old life.

rhizome31 3 days ago 0 replies      
So now we need a European localized version called the 601 Developer Manifesto.
Xylakant 2 days ago 1 reply      
My major problem with 501 developers is that it's hard to tell those that say "it's just a job, but I take pride in my craft and do it well" from those that say "It's just a job. period." without pride and love for the craft. It's fine to leave by 5:01 or even 4:59 and I actually urge my coworkers to do so, but it's not fine to leave by 501 when you dropped the ball at 4:59 and leave the rest of the team to clean your mess.
cristiantincu 2 days ago 1 reply      
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” "L.P. Jack.

Via Frank Chimero: http://blog.frankchimero.com/post/17609912323

cateye 3 days ago 0 replies      
Threatening with "there's a risk that we'll piss all over your fireworks" falsifies "Not being a dick over being a rockstar".

I really liked the manifesto items, but after that the whole thing gets a passive aggressive tone. That is unfortunate.

crowhack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Personally programming defines me. It is a discipline that can only be mastered through dedication and time. I go through the entire day thinking about programming, I go to sleep thinking about programming. Just because I do it as a job as well does not take away from that. I realize that I am extremely lucky to be so passionate about what I do but it isn't stopping you to do what you want to do...go do it.
SkippyZA 3 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, people who love programming and spend they free time programming as a 'hobby' are normally a lot better developers with a thirst to better themselves. I see this at work. Plenty of our devs program as a job, but those who have a genuine interest in programming are capable of a lot more.
ericHosick 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just in case there are people who have not seen this: http://agilemanifesto.org/.
markrendle 3 days ago 3 replies      
Look, the people you are "pitying" are the people you depend on: we make your operating systems, your languages, your frameworks, your tools; we invent the things you use; we create your social networks; we abstract away the things you find too hard; we built the very internet you're using to mock us. Do not fuck with us, for without us, you would be a clerk in a dusty room writing out invoices with a pen.
nickm12 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now if only there were some 501 designers to make that page easier on the eyes.
cadr 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was hoping this was about programmers in Arkansas (area code 501).
jermaink 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not making it a GitHub project? ;)
swiil 2 days ago 0 replies      
'I'd fix it, but I'm going home now.' -- Maybe I'm indoctrinated by commercial interest but I simply can not support this concept.
JoshuaRamirez 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm trying to leave work right now, by 5:01pm, but I can't because I'm arguing with you on the internet.
reiz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this.
Fando 3 days ago 0 replies      
lo_fye 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well said :)
dhimes 3 days ago 0 replies      
A timely post. I am a paying customer of Yahoo (yeah, I know), and they are badly broken today. It looks like the folks who got laid off are razing the landscape behind them (or pissing on the fireworks, to use the OP's metaphor). I pity their plight, but their actions, if my guess is correct, sure have me fucked at the moment. I can't reach anybody at all.
An actual PHP hammer with the claw on both sides flic.kr
217 points by neilk  21 hours ago   61 comments top 19
seldo 19 hours ago 1 reply      
How do I nominate a double-clawed hammer as the new logo of PHP?
roel_v 18 hours ago 3 replies      
I've been using PHP for well over 10 years, and I love this thing. It seems like most commenters take this as a snub to PHP, I don't see it that way at all. Note that the guy who made this is also a PHP dev and has been for a long time.
skrebbel 19 hours ago 0 replies      

If you're going to make more, please announce; I'm buying.

vibrunazo 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I want one with JavaScript written on it. And a curved nail with DOM written on it.
gooddelta 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Quite possibly the best thing I've seen this month. You can hammer nails using the side... Sorta.
cheald 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Easily the best part of this photoset is that it's hanging in a spot labelled "wrench".

I have never seen PHP explained quite so succinctly.

K2h 20 hours ago 0 replies      
If you offset one side, it might actually be useful for longer nails that are already started, you could turn the Hamm... I mean claw tool around and continue to extract the nail where you don't have to tilt the handle all the way down and put that narly bend in the nail. Nice job on the construction.
ertdfgcb 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, he did a really good job of making that weld disappear.
gyaresu 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen worse Kickstarters.
captn3m0 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Rasmus Lerdorf was at my college recently, and he too describes PHP in the very same terms.

>GG: Your take in one line on PHP.

>RL: In one line…it's a web hammer - the one tool that you can use to solve any web problem you have.

Full interview at http://gg.ieeeiitr.com/rasmus_interview.php

The interview was for the college IEEE magazine.

jboggan 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know what exactly to call this corner of the world, but this is exactly why I love it.
redstar504 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Where do I place an order?
liamcampbell 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm sure there's a joke somewhere in its resemblance to a Ruby pickax, but I'll leave it for someone else to sort out.
steelaz 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Right now this is the top post on HN. Why?
guccimane 21 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't see what all the fuss is. A good craftsman could build a house no matter what hammer he chooses. Don't be such a snob about insisting that hammers must have heads to drive nails, just because all the hammers you've used before happened to have them.
ianleckey 17 hours ago 0 replies      
hahaha, that is fantastic
seanlinehan 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This. Is. Awesome.
Androsynth 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This thread has very much of a "She's a witch! Burn her!!" vibe going on.
Jebus 20 hours ago 0 replies      
More PHP envy? Get over it, PHP > all, and that's not gonna change anytime soon
       cached 21 April 2012 02:11:01 GMT