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.
Wow. Facebook could have started an entire space program for less money than they spent on Instagram.
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.
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 )
"(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.)"
> 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.
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.
"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.
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...
The man is brilliant, and there's so much resistance to what he's doing, it's insane.
You could:A. Buy Instagram.B. Build SpaceX from scratch.
Most of them would probably buy instagram. :(
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.
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.
Seriously, being in this industry, that's more than just impressive. And you should really ask yourself what you do wrong...
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.
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.
There are a few better strategies I can see here:
1. For test, use something like VCR 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.
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!
Wikipedia use OpenStack Swift to store their images, and have some good presentations on this.
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.
"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.)
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.
Have you tested it against paperclip?
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!
With the change in license, I think the only major hurdle has been removed. The fundamental idea is good, their current execution is extremely slick, and their immediate plans look achievable. I have very high hopes for the project.
If you haven't checked out Meteor yet, at least watch the screencast:http://meteor.com/screencast
: I originally said roadmap; as mcrider rightly points out Meteor does not have one. There is some info floating around about current development goals (notably related to adding authentication), which is what I was thinking of.
But I imagine people coming from rails or whatever don't find this a problem at all.
Seriously, if I'm not capable of baking limitations into data persistence/logic at the server level then this entire framework is worthless except for building up a portfolio of cute demos that can't be used for any real work.
Ruby on Rails would be fine as an analogy here. The monetization model might be different from directly licensing and selling the framework, but these guys are smart, they'll figure it out.
I am quite impressed by this. The team listened to the feedback from the community. They weren't obligated to do so :-)
I think the sky is the limit with this framework.
If these guys can stick to the spirit of the project, add what can truly help push the system forward while ignoring the multitudes of one offs that will try to chip away the utility, this really has a shot of not only being a game changer but helping define the game for years to come.
Developers need to wake up, and realize that new, and substantially better systems can be built if they are willing to pay for them. Unfortunately the FOSS community has burned into developers' consciousness to never pay for anything, ever, which produces and environment of extreme lack of innovation.
Our development tools completely fucking suck precisely because developers are no longer willing to buy quality development tools.
I am glad they changed their minds.
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, and you might not get paid the same.
 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.
>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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
-- 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.
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.
In any case, I try not to _work_ more than 40-hours per week, but my play frequently still involves computers.
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.
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.
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.
This naturally makes 501 types uneasy, because it leads to unfavorable comparisons.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Did I misread that or is that what the author is saying?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That's what I see under the NameCheap listing, which is number 2, Wikipedia is #1, with GoDaddy at #3.
The GoDaddy listing doesn't seem to have any +1s under it.
Could this be the effect of Google using G+ data to influence its search results? Thus, by giving more weight to G+, plus, GoDaddy's sinking popularity "socially", equals, a drop in its rank.
i.e. having registered example.com with NC, can you set up ns1.example.com to be the nameserver for example.com free of charge? Many registrars charge a fee for this (when they really shouldn't)
Seriously? Downvotes? It's just a question. There WAS a company that does that, it was mentioned here on HN during the great GoDaddy exodus, but I cannot recall which.
Well at checkout for some reason the PayPal button was missing and I didn't feel like typing in my CC (I know thats pretty lazy) so I decided to check and see NameCheap's price and with private registration (which was free) it was going to be $8 cheaper than GoDaddy. Needless to say I'm going to start moving my domains over.
The point was that people wrote a ton of negative articles about GoDaddy then, and since that day forward virtually no one will recommend GoDaddy anymore, and instead will (probably) recommend NameCheap or someone else. I would expect the GoDaddy exodus to continue in the next few years.
I don't see Wikipedia or NameCheap. I don't see any search results at all.
What I see above the fold is exclusively advertisements. In the center column are huge AdWord ads including deep links. And in the right column is another stack of 160px Adword ads.
Then there are some internal Google links (sign in, Why these ads?, +You, etc).
That's it! Well done, Google.
Several prominent, white hat companies have even went missing in the Google's rankings for their [brand name] this week: https://plus.google.com/111294201325870406922/posts/NhssnKgf...
Not buying this as a long lasting rankings change until it sticks around for several weeks.
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.
"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?
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.
No registration required and licensed under MIT.
The icons etc. are great though.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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?
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.
Well, when it couldn't play something, it was very memorable to me.
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?
* with the right circumstances
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?
Way to be scrappy, Patrick.
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.
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
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!
Next up is the immersive technology.
Names: what a great idea.
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 ;-))
"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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Immerse yourself completely, and it'll almost be the same as listening in that foreign country.
After you learn a second language, others get much much easier and the learning curve is much shorter.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a good time to https://help.riseup.net/en/donate.. lots of options, including bitcoin and flattr.
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?
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.
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.
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.
And does anyone know what was this about, e-mail threat to do ... ?
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?
If this stuff is so gosh-darn important, I feel these users have put their faith in the wrong hosting organization...
*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.
Doesn't a judge have to issue a warrant?
My impression is that we have the opposite of a "war" here. These RSS features are dying of natural causes. Unless someone can point me to the conference, blog post, or secret meeting where an evangelist convinced Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Mozilla, et cetera to simultaneously kill this feature in tandem, I'll continue to suspect that they're doing so because they're all subject to the same market pressure: There's a lot of new, popular, paying features that need building, from Twitter and Facebook integration, to mobile apps, to mobile-friendly APIs, to responsive and touch-friendly design, and as these things get added to the backlog other things get pushed down. Code is expensive to maintain and if it doesn't carry its weight it gets cut, even if it's vaguely likeable and nifty.
I solved the "Original site" problem by building the original site into NewsBlur -- http://www.newsblur.com.
The other big issue with RSS is that there are too many stories with a low signal-to-noise ratio. I built in filtering and highlighting into NewsBlur to address that concern. And it's a completely separate backend from Google Reader.
And now the common refrain is that people use social channels (Twitter/FB/Tumblr) to find links and news. So I just built that into NewsBlur with shared stories. You can sign up to be a part of the private beta at http://dev.newsblur.com. I'll send out invites to anybody who signs up.
Consuming the web through RSS can be problematic for both publishers and readers. I'm addressing the big three issues - context, relevancy, and surfacing - with a strong commitment to both readers and publishers. Let me know what else you would expect to see in your ideal reading setup, and chances are, RSS offers the foundation to build it.
All that being said, RSS alone is not exactly the pinnacle of information delivery. What I really want is a better way to identify interesting and informative information and filter out all the junk. This is a very, very hard problem to solve in an automated way. Things like Flipboard are trying to tackle this, but I haven't been able to embrace them. I also don't want to rely on my social network, because I'm different from my network. I have my own interests and priorities (that change over time).
What I want is a feed of information that is what google is to search. Google nearly always shows me exactly what I'm looking for in the top hits. I want something that gives me the most important, useful, and interesting information in a prioritized list all the time. The only thing I've seen get close to this is Fever (http://feedafever.com/). That's a good start, but isn't quite there.
What more could browser makers have done to encourage RSS? Technophiles love it, but the mass market rejected it.
For all intents and purposes, Twitter is a simpler, more intuitive form of RSS for the layperson.
As long as tools like Google Reader exist for those of us who do use RSS, I'm not worried. And if Google kills Reader, it will probably usher in a new renaissance of feed readers that are currently non-existent because of Google's ads-funded largesse.
RSS is now too important to too many people to just die.
People want to know when certain websites they care about have new stuff. The fact that RSS can be used to achieve that is, and should have been treated as, completely irrelevant. Nobody except geeks like me care if they're transmitted through RSS, PubSubBubHub or carrier pigeons.
Likewise, I don' think most people care that the website has a "feed" and they need to get a "feeds reader" to be informed.
I think Firefox had the greatest opportunity to make it happen and they blew it. RSS should have been integrated with the bookmarks system, and I don't mean those awful "dynamic bookmarks" or whatever they were called.
When some page was bookmarked, the browser should save its RSS feed URL alongside (hidden!) and use it to alert people to updates to their sites, and provide an one-click way to open the new post(s) in a new tab (and an easy way to disable notifications from that site, certainly).
This would've made RSS useful for much more people and provide a great incentive for websites to provide good feeds. Unfortunately, it remained a geek tool, and so it'll die as such.
If RSS is killed, what will replace it? Not for the case of Twitter or TechCrunch, where there will always be new content when you visit and it doesn't matter if you miss some, but for rare but important postings.
RSS is of course unbelievably useful, and people who understood that the content of a site was being published side by side in a human readable but totally nonstandard format (HTML) and a machine readable and much more standard format (RSS,ATOM,etc.) instantly grabbed some kind of reader and subscribed to anything they were interested in.
I tried to preach the gospel of feeds. I tried to get people to subscribe to MY blogs. Even most of my medium-technical friends said, "Yeah, that whole reader thing sounds cool, I've been meaning to set that up." Non-technical people simply subscribed to things via email.
If somehow email could have organized itself more naturally into push (email) and pull (feeds) buckets, then it could have perhaps happened naturally, but confusing standards, implementations, and no real great way to explain the benefits to new users is what killed RSS (and XML feeds in general)... there was no war.
Is there any evidence that blogs are dropping RSS? I think one of RSS's major applications was for blogs to distribute their content. The examples given in this article, such as Twitter and Facebook are both apps that also have APIs available, so RSS in those cases are kind of redundant.
One could also make the argument that RSS is bad for the bottom line, as selling advertising, and generating revenue off of it is far more difficult than traditional websites.
The other big question is whether or not users are still using aggregators. If aggregator use is down, then that could suggest the decline of RSS or RSS like technology.
Finally, RSS probably still has a future in podcasting.
- a lot of energy was poured into the absolutely stupid who gets credit for what, who did what to whom, who linked what where, who's the real napster wars of 2002-2005.
- RSS and Atom are frozen relics of the post web 1.0 pre web 2.0 era. Support for anything other than html or text is a grab bag of works in this reader, doesn't work in that reader, is silently and completely removed by this other reader.
- it's in no one's best interests (financially, spiritually, professionally) for RSS to â€śsucceedâ€ť. It had many fathers, all of whom moved on to other things, even 410'ing their online selves.
- it's difficult to monetize RSS. Ads may or may not work, you have to resort to gimmicks and most savvy users (who are likely a majority of the people reading your feed in the first place) are blocking ads, so there.
- it's difficult to prove the value of RSS to the publisher: how many people read this item? Dunno. You can't trust the number of unique user agents pulling the feed, because more likely than not they're mostly spam bots looking for content to republish. You could choose to trust the feedburner statistics, if you're using FB.
- RSS feeds can't be styled in any useable, uniform way. To many people this is a benefit of RSS, but it means that inline images that work great in the original article end up out of context. Any attempt to use CSS styling to set off differences in an article are mostly lost. There are some work arounds but mostly manual hacks.
The public has moved on. It sucks. RSS feeds will continue to be available for years, if not decades because they're built into the publishing plumbing of many systems. There were gopher servers running well into the late 1990s in various places, much to the surprise at times of security administrators.
When faced with a public user base that goes to google.com and then types in the web site they want in the search box, we responded with RSS/Atom. It is a much better way of reviewing and consuming a lot of information, but the user experience sucks, and it's in no one's interests to fix that.
Find a way to profit, stunningly, from RSS and it'll take off again. Continue to confine it to the technoâ€"geek ghetto and that's where it will remain.
The truth is that RSS was a cool technology searching for a reason to exist. It managed to find it on occasions (podcasting is still alive, twitter basically used RSS as the "first draft" for their service, etc) but not in the big way most geeks thought it would. Commercial and user interests did not align with a vision of complete openness where standardized feeds get pushed from machine to machine, moving free and public content everywhere. Also, most services found the format to be a straight-jacket, and once you start adding custom namespaces, you might as well just use your own format. It fit well only for periodically-updated news/blog sites, which is what it was built for. And its worst sin is that it's fundamentally a one-way technology, a broadcasting tool, not a bi-directional tool. Social tools can be built on top of it, but at that point it becomes just another messaging format, and not particularly efficient either.
RSS will survive in some form (like RDF, remember that?) but will never gain widespread popularity, unless it's somehow reinvented in a way that will align with the interests of big commercial players and/or large number of users -- something we failed to do in the last 10+ years.
I view RSS as a great way to follow important-ish things like people's personal blogs and tech blogs and so on. Large pieces of content, everything bigger than, say, 400 words should be in RSS.
Whereas twitter and facebook are for conversation. It's where people post silly things that nobody really cares about. Using those streams to get actual news? Yeah, doesn't quite work ... following just 1031 people on twitter means there are 5 new posts every time I refresh.
That is not an environment where I'd expect to discover big chunks of info. And it's also not something I would want mixed up with the slow moving big content stuff.
blogs -> rss -> rss2twitter gateway -> twitter -> me
So it has become a backend technology, and RSS has been given a better marketing term - 'following' (or 'subscribing'). It just isn't being directly consumed by users any more, which is why you don't need it as an icon in apps, but RSS is definitely still being consumed by other apps.
I found that the problem with most newsreaders wasn't the technology or terminology, but that they presented news items in an email view - ie. every item needs to be actioned, whereas the answer was a stream where you scan and interesting items were actions. The other problem was discovery. Nobody really worked out how to recommend other sources or feeds from within the reader applications.
Twitter kinda accidentally nailed both of those issues.
When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, my guess is that RSS doesn't accomplish what those services are made for. As they have evolved, the reverse chronological posting has become less important.
Plus, if you were Twitter, how would you want people to consume those tweets? Would you rather get them immediately or several minutes later in a format that has no context in the world of Twitter?
With that being said, I think RSS still plays a role in consolidating and consuming news in a central location. But it should be up to the site designers/developers to offer an easy way to "subscribe" to that site (via email or RSS).
I think that YACG, AutoBlogs, and so forth have also made website owners question the value of publishing RSS feeds as well.
Personally though, as someone who has launched several niche blogs over the years I find publishing an RSS feed to most of the big feed directories to be the best way to get a ton of backlinks to a new sit in a very short amount of time.
Of course large established sites have no need of this "benefit" so they largely view RSS as brand-dilution factor, not a brand-promotion factor.
I always found the idea compelling. I've tried using readers. Taken time to put in my feeds, but it never really became part of my routine. When I've been away loggin in feels like a chore. Frequently updated feeds drowned out the others. There hvae never been conventions that work around it either. What happens when an entry is updated, for example. What happens when you click the rss icon. etc etc.
I really wanted rss (and I still use it) but it was never right.
Say, for example, I want to show a list of items from a 3rd party in a sidebar on my site. With a few lines of jQuery or other similar lib, I can do that no problem.
Maybe RSS, just like XML-RPC which was still much better than SOAP but has fallen by the wayside in favour of REST + JSON, can be supplanted in the same way.
Second, these social streams provide an additional social filter to the news, something that RSS news never did. These social filters also provide a layer to comment, share and discuss, which is another feature altogether missing in RSS.
Lastly, social streams avoid the challenge most RSS readers faced: the inbox with 1000+ items to read and no way to sift through them. Social streams create a time value decay function for this data. Facebook's EdgeRank uses a combination of different signals to ensure relevancy so when users login the feed is only timely, relevant content, not an inbox of every status update and share. Twitter uses time to reduce the number of items in the feed.
For blogs that are seeking to make money out of advertising, it is difficult to justify why they should send out the content out as RSS feed. If you send full text, then user does not come to the site. If you send excerpts then users are not happy.
One thing to try out could be push full fledged web pages inside the RSS feeds. Instead of just getting the text, I would get images, layout and advertisements as well (but of course still just the content, not the "chrome"). Reading this kind of blog entry on my "RSS" reader would be more like looking at the actual web site of the blog. Consuming large amounts of web sites this way would be faster than visiting them one-by-one with the browser. Publishers benefit could be that users would browse through more of their content (on web I usually pick few articles to read, with this I would probably cursory browse through most of content (and get exposure to the related ads).
Don't kill RSS, write a nice guide on how to use it for non-techies and make it viral.
RSS will live on if content creators continue to provide it. I think the issue is that no one except tech people really care, so at least the tech blogs (and Hacker News) will continue to support it.
Getting content via social networks seems like a step backwards, but it seems like it's what most folks are fine with.
The only "war" against RSS is in the mind of tech bloggers.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 â€śbarâ€ť 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 â€śpreach at youâ€ť 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.'
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.
| 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.
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.
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.
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.
We have grown attached to our electronic devices and online friends. Maybe we need to step back and think about going back?
That said, reading about SpaceX excites me much more than reading about Instagram.
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".
I'm not a great public speaker, so I apologise for the "Um"s and "Ah"s all the time.
We have two different generators and this video talks about both of them.
I didn't do any biome coloring or similar because the game displayed colors on the map to indicate which player was occupying it.
To me, "an island is an island is an island" and they all feel the same (mountain in the middle). More expansive landscapes with larger biomes and geologic process would be awesome.
> For the coastline, I wanted to make island/continent maps that are surrounded by ocean, so that I don't have to deal with people walking to the edge of the map. For the mountains, I started with something simple: mountains are whatever's farthest from the coastline.
You mention in "Impassible borders" that there are no cliffs yet. I'd be interested to see how that gets implemented.
I'd also love to see someone code a Roguelike for this - one polygon per move, maybe?
Their hardware console was enough for me to install Arch Linux despite no official support for it. It's pretty sweet.
document.body.innerHTML = document.body.innerHTML.replace(/<!--|-->/g,'')
Here's validator output:
Customer service is excellent, better value than Slicehost, Linode, etc.
eg:= update on rehnquistwell, it's down again, so I don't know what the heck is going on. I'm going to swap to new hardware this evening (will involve a graceful shutdown)
Note, until then, all new provisioning is on hold.
The provisioning isn't automated and there's no usage monitor (for transfer), but I assume that Luke would be reasonable in the event that someone ever went over.
I can't help wondering how much support that is.
The only use of GiB that I seen commonly is in Memory. Every other use of "Giga" is the SI reference.
This analogy and article are perhaps the best I've heard on the subject because its a metaphor that the ideas people in my life can actually understand.
The metaphor doesn't fret about engineering time, or how simple programming might look but how hard it really is. Ideas people can't relate to those rebuttals anyway.
Instead it brings a very concrete example that almost all humans can understand right away. You want to understand the difference execution makes in an idea? There's a difference between a 9 dollar steak and a 200 dollar steak and its not just the meat, and lots of people understand that. And so I'm going to forward this to a certain ten people in my life.
Sure, it sucks when you have to deal with a fop-cum-restauranteur trying to convince you to sell blah. But you need to listen to the ideas anyway, to hear what people are wanting, or your cuisine turns stale. You need to keep up with the trends of what the customers want to eat, or you end up as a has-been, with a restaurant the does business to the people who never got in when it was the hot thing, slowly rotting to oblivion as eventually everyone who cares or cared has been there, or decided to just resign themselves to never having the experience.
Wikipedia's version, "Some travellers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travellers. Then the travellers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travellers answer that they are making "stone soup", which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavour, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travellers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all."
I mostly develop recipes through trial and error, or at the very least the existing knowledge from my cooking skills. The idea that someone who doesn't cook could come up with a good recipe is somewhat absurd.
Recipes which are created by people without any experience may sound good (a good idea), but are actually pretty bad; e.g. the bacon explosion.
That's one bit of advice. The other advice, if given to someone who can afford the change, is to take a job as a pantry chef in a small cafe and work your way up.
This way they get their money in the form of guaranteed, up-front orders, and I get a cool new product "before" anyone else. I feel exclusive and I'll have the hot new gadget to show off.
It's a win-win, and I hope more companies opt for this route - it is true market validation.
(On a related topic, September can't come soon enough. I want mine now)
In his pitch to potential new hires, he tells them to check Pebble's Kickstarter page at the beginning of the phone interview to see a live tally of investments.
â€śAfter we stopped talking,â€ť he said, â€śI told them to refresh.â€ť
When I viewed kickstarter page it went from 28,369 to 28,493 backers in less than 30 minutes with atleast $20K added in those 30 minutes. This is incredible.
edit: I think it was probably more money - $50K in 30 min. Did not note the old $ number - just an estimate
That's called a bubble.
...and it'll burst as soon as there's a high profile kick starter ($million+) that fails and delivers nothing to the people who think they've pre-ordered something.
I like kick starter, and I appreciate what they're doing, but this isn't going to end well.
It's all very well to let people to setup their funding projects go, yeah, I can ship as many t-shirts as people signup for $20! Easy! ...but the reality is, shipping 50k t-shirts for $20 each isn't as easy as people expect.
This is really the problem: People are notoriously bad at making estimates for cost, time, size of projects.
Good luck to Pebble I say, I hope this works out for them. I hope we see this stuff all settle down and turn into a new awesome funding model and not into scammer hell~
I'm skeptical it in a way that I can't put my finger on, still Kickstarter has a secret sauce that makes the people they need to host deals on it actually want to host deals on it (was eBay the same way, I can't remember). Did they ever think four years ago that they'd be running deals of this size?
edit: apparently amazon doesn't hold any of the cash, i stand corrected. and yes of course 100MM is not much compared to the probably 10B in cash equivalents AMZN has ..
The statement above doesn't capture how much of a (relatively) recent development it is that hardware is not considered worthy of funding.
For perspective: 12 years ago A rounds were running $15-20M for hardware startups. B's were $30-40M.
1. Acquire VC/other funds
2. Put product on kickstarter
3. Use initial funds to hype up and create explosive kickstarter trends
4. Let the hype do the rest.
It's like the Palin PAC strategy.
If VCs aren't worried, they aren't paying attention.
I wonder how many potential smartphone/tablet companies are not being launched due to the timidity of the VC community.
Invent <blink> and meet the wife in one day. I'm pretty sure this qualifies for evil genius...
I don't know... it's a pretty close race between <blink> and <marquee>...
A second and just-as-important lesson: never use blinking animation by itself. For maximum aesthetic appeal, use blink in precise syncronicity with the other core web site building blocks--pulsate, throb, flicker, and strobe.