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AMA with Barack Obama reddit.com
481 points by duck  4 days ago   248 comments top 62
boredguy8 4 days ago 3 replies      
I was really hoping he'd respond to the law school student along these lines: "Well, where in your class did you graduate, and why did you think you'd have job prospects as a lawyer? Unless you're in the top 1/3 of your class at a good law school or top 5% of your class at an OK school, getting a job is hard in today's market. Part of the reason law school (and school in general) is so expensive is because we've removed a lot of the risk from the loan side of the equation. We give you 7% money, guaranteed against default, and the schools jack up the prices. That combines with faulty transparency in which some law schools hide employment rates. My guess is that a lot more people are going to law school than should be, and we need to fix the incentives to keep all parties honest about their prospects."
untog 4 days ago  replies      
Can't wait for the top post to be another asinine "comment phrased as a question" about legalising marijuana!

Joking aside, I predict disappointment. Reddit users will want hard-hitting answers, Obama will definitely not give them (already the internet freedom question has been fluffy-answered). In all honestly, no-one should expect anything else- the POTUS is not going to unveil new thoughts and strategies through Reddit.

That said, it shows how far they've come from the "jailbait" scandal a few months ago, but I strongly suspect Republicans will refer back to it in good time.

EDIT: Hey, at least PresidentObama bought Reddit Gold. Somehow I doubt it'll be enough to cover the bandwidth, though.

hodder 4 days ago 3 replies      
For those who can't get access to the site, here are his answers so far. I hope you can deduce the questions, jeopardy style:

I am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 4 points5 points6 points 2 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 4 points5 points6 points 2 minutes ago

It's hard - truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I'm spending enough time with michelle and the girls. The big advantage I have is that I live above the store - so I have no commute! So we make sure that when I'm in DC I never miss dinner with them at 6:30 pm - even if I have to go back down to the Oval for work later in the evening. I do work out every morning as well, and try to get a basketball or golf game in on the weekends just to get out of the bubble. Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating - this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER - if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 21 points22 points23 points 10 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 21 points22 points23 points 10 minutes ago

I understand how tough it is out there for recent grads. You're right - your long term prospects are great, but that doesn't help in the short term. Obviously some of the steps we have taken already help young people at the start of their careers. Because of the health care bill, you can stay on your parent's plan until you're twenty six. Because of our student loan bill, we are lowering the debt burdens that young people have to carry. But the key for your future, and all our futures, is an economy that is growing and creating solid middle class jobs - and that's why the choice in this election is so important. The other party has two ideas for growth - more taxs cuts for the wealthy (paid for by raising tax burdens on the middle class and gutting investments like education) and getting rid of regulations we've put in place to control the excesses on wall street and help consumers. These ideas have been tried, they didnt work, and will make the economy worse. I want to keep promoting advanced manufacturing that will bring jobs back to America, promote all-American energy sources (including wind and solar), keep investing in education and make college more affordable, rebuild our infrastructure, invest in science, and reduce our deficit in a balanced way with prudent spending cuts and higher taxes on folks making more than $250,000/year. I don't promise that this will solve all our immediate economic challenges, but my plans will lay the foundation for long term growth for your generation, and for generations to follow. So don't be discouraged - we didn't get into this fix overnight, and we won't get out overnight, but we are making progress and with your help will make more.
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 631 points632 points633 points 24 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 631 points632 points633 points 24 minutes ago

It will be out soon! I can tell from first hand experience, it is tasty.
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 242 points243 points244 points 25 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 242 points243 points244 points 25 minutes ago

Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress - to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 557 points558 points559 points 31 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 557 points558 points559 points 31 minutes ago

The decision to surge our forces in afghanistan. Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to afghan lead - so we will have recovered that surge at the end of this month, and will end the war at the end of 2014. But knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget.
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 809 points810 points811 points 35 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 809 points810 points811 points 35 minutes ago

Win or lose, I'll be thanking everybody who is working so hard - especially all the volunteers in field offices all across the country, and the amazing young people in our campaign offices.
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 199 points200 points201 points 36 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 199 points200 points201 points 36 minutes ago

We've really focused on this since I came into office - 18 tax cuts for small business, easier funding from the SBA. Going forward, I want to keep taxes low for the 98 percent of small businesses that have $250,000 or less in income, make it easier for small business to access financing, and expand their opportunities to export. And we will be implementing the Jobs Act bill that I signed that will make it easier for startups to access crowd-funding and reduce their tax burden at the start-up stage.
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 765 points766 points767 points 39 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 765 points766 points767 points 39 minutes ago

Jordan - I'm a Bulls guy.
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 1527 points1528 points1529 points 40 minutes ago* (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 1527 points1528 points1529 points 40 minutes ago*

Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.
permalinkcontextfull commentsI am Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA by PresidentObamain IAmA

[+]PresidentObama[S] 1810 points1811 points1812 points 43 minutes ago (0 children)
["]PresidentObama[S] 1810 points1811 points1812 points 43 minutes ago

Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight.

ashray 4 days ago 9 replies      
It looks like the Obama AMA has really caused some serious fires in reddit's backend infrastructure. The site's been down for the last 10 minutes.

I would've thought that they'd have brought in some additional computing power for such an event, should've been easy for them considering they have a cloud deployment. Maybe this gives them greater reason to hire more engineers. I found it impressive that they served billions of impressions with just 2 engineers a short while ago..

Also, it says a lot about the "Come Cloud with us, we'll help you scale" marketing bandwagon. We've seen time and again issues with EC2s infrastructure and if EC2 doesn't have issues right now (http://status.aws.amazon.com/) then it's just sad that they can't order a gazillion instances for this event and have it scale easily.

Definitely makes me think that we still have a long way to go to compute in a truly 'elastic' way.

reddit definitely does have some crazy infrastructure in place but this would've been one of the most important moments in reddit history (so far..) and I'm sad to see that their engineers are probably going to get blamed for this..

EDIT: Okay, they're back in read only mode.. I wonder how they'll hack in some write access for the AMA while keeping everything else read only. Time for some app server redeployments! Funsies!

EDIT2: And they're gone again sigh

brown9-2 4 days ago 1 reply      
I imagine the emotions at Reddit HQ must be all over the place for employees right now:

- This is so cool, the President of the United States is going to use our website to answer questions!

- OMG, the site is down and the President wants to use our site, fix this now!

jtokoph 4 days ago 0 replies      
Responses so far:

["]SharkGirl 1504 points 51 minutes ago
We know how Republicans feel about protecting Internet Freedom. Is Internet Freedom an issue you'd push to add to the Democratic Party's 2012 platform?

["]PresidentObama[S] 1185 points 29 minutes ago*
Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.


["]ormirian 2350 points 51 minutes ago*
Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?

["]PresidentObama[S] 1471 points 31 minutes ago
Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight.


["]FifthSurprise 762 points 50 minutes ago
What was the most difficult decision that you had to make during this term?

["]PresidentObama[S] 158 points 20 minutes ago
The decision to surge our forces in afghanistan. Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to afghan lead - so we will have recovered that surge at the end of this month, and will end the war at the end of 2014. But knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget.


["]daveforamerica 319 points 51 minutes ago
What is the first thing you'll do on November 7th, win or lose?

["]PresidentObama[S] 482 points 24 minutes ago
Win or lose, I'll be thanking everybody who is working so hard - especially all the volunteers in field offices all across the country, and the amazing young people in our campaign offices.


["]silent1mezzo 415 points 47 minutes ago
What's the recipe for the White House's beer?

["]PresidentObama[S] 158 points 13 minutes ago
It will be out soon! I can tell from first hand experience, it is tasty.


["]karlfranks 93 points 51 minutes ago
Who's your favourite Basketball player?

["]PresidentObama[S] 433 points 28 minutes ago
Jordan - I'm a Bulls guy.


["]suzmerk 321 points 55 minutes ago
What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?

["]PresidentObama[S] 106 points 21 minutes ago
Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress - to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.

001sky 4 days ago 1 reply      
Glad too see the peanut gallery keeping it light


demaney 69 points 28 minutes ago

For proof, did he send you a picture of him holding a dated index card? Or did the Secret Service land a helicopter on your house?

yishan 183 points 25 minutes ago

He faxed a copy of his birth certificate.

porterhaney 4 days ago 7 replies      
I think it's particularly interesting to watch some internet event go "mainstream" and watch even large services like reddit strain under the load. Put some perspective around how many people true mainstream media services reach.
gfodor 4 days ago 2 replies      
Gotta admit, found this hilarious: "By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!"
waterlesscloud 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would be very much in favor of political leaders doing AMAs on a regular basis. Monthly, or heck, weekly like PMQTs.

Connect with the people more often and more directly. Eventually those politicians who made genuine connections would perform better on AMAs than those that simply regurgitated the usual talking points.

That kind of thing could make a real difference.

I think the odds are against it since it would remove some of the buffer that the current style of message-controlled, divide-and-conquer, us-v-them politics absolutely depends on.

But we can dream.

ConstantineXVI 4 days ago 1 reply      
No flying cars or moon bases; just average people off the street able to talk directly to the "leader of the free world" on level ground.

Not the future we were expecting, but I'll take it.

pilom 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just his responses. Clicking "context" gives you the previous message: http://www.reddit.com/user/PresidentObama
swalsh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reddit Admins, When you get a chance to read this. Please write a blog post on the traffic story from today... I'm sure I'm not the only one who's interested to see statistics on "new users" and hits. I'd also be interested to see the long tail effect as well.
brittohalloran 4 days ago 0 replies      
When Obama refreshes and gets the "You broke reddit" error 500 page it's actually true
001sky 4 days ago 0 replies      


REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER - if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com.

It's hard - truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I'm spending enough time with michelle and the girls. ...

I understand how tough it is out there for recent grads....

Money has always been a factor in politics....

The decision to surge our forces in afghanistan. Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. ...

Win or lose, I'll be thanking everybody who is working so hard - especially all the volunteers in field offices all across the country, and the amazing young people in our campaign offices.

We've really focused on this since I came into office - 18 tax cuts for small business, easier funding from the SBA. Going forward, I want to keep taxes low for the 98 percent of small businesses that have $250,000 ......

Jordan - I'm a Bulls guy.

Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.

Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. ......


hooande 4 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know more about how reddit does booking for their iama? They have a schedule and consistently book notable people. Do they have a staff dedicated to it?
presidentender 4 days ago 1 reply      
It'll be down the entire time he's supposed to be answering questions.
aaronpk 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many new user accounts Reddit is going to get today given that Barack posted a link to that thread on his Twitter account.
irollboozers 4 days ago 1 reply      
The reddit team must be absolutely shitting themselves right now under strain. How the hell do you accurately predict the load when the President is using your site?
Dirlewanger 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty cool...if you like canned PR replies that haven't been repeated ad nausaem (sp?) elsewhere.
akulbe 4 days ago 0 replies      

Seriously. He won't answer anything in a _meanful_ way.... and only safe questions will get answered. Next?

wilschroter 4 days ago 0 replies      
Given direct access to the most powerful person in the world, people on Reddit still act no differently. Yay consistency.
mparlane 4 days ago 0 replies      
"reddit is under heavy load right now, sorry. Try again in a few minutes."

Oh dear..

AceJohnny2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Like many, I've unsubscribed from all the default reddits for a more, eh, 'curated' experience.

I was wondering why Reddit was having load trouble. This explains it.

nchuhoai 4 days ago 1 reply      
for redditors having trouble reading the page:

log out your profile and you will get served the cache for the 99%, at least thats why theory why it works for me

arrrg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very strange that he would wade into this (racist/sexist/…) cesspool.
brianwillis 4 days ago 0 replies      
If I was Steve Huffman or Alexis Ohanian I'd be feeling pretty good about myself today. You know Reddit's become a fairly important piece of infrastructure when sitting presidents are conducting interviews using it.
001sky 4 days ago 2 replies      
And although their will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals [sic]


-[engineers everywhere]

Edited: for relevance ;)

Edit2: SIC WTF? - per comments below

Edit3: Downvotes? Wow. POTUS commenting on IP Law, Privacy, Internet Freedom. etc. PLS Read the context. It was included. Tks.


["]SharkGirl 812 points 32 minutes ago

We know how Republicans feel about protecting Internet Freedom. Is Internet Freedom an issue you'd push to add to the Democratic Party's 2012 platform?

["]PresidentObama[S] 130 points 10 minutes ago

Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although their will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.

load more comments (25 replies)

["]davidjoho 104 points 29 minutes ago

And when you say "Internet Freedom" do you mean the Republican version ("Freedom for the access provider monopoly") or the version in which the Internet is free to anyone with an idea or an expression?

Codhisattva 4 days ago 3 replies      
Seems to have crashed reddit.com at the moment.
RandallBrown 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does this seem like it could be fake to anyone else? Could someone have simply hacked his twitter?

He only posted it on the @BarackObama twitter. Not any of the other ones related to his campaing. Reddit didn't advertise this AT ALL. Most big celebrity AMAs are known for days. The photo of him is just him sitting in front of a laptop. There's no proof at all that he's doing an AMA.

Reddit is going down HARD. I doubt the Obama campaign spontaneously decided to do this. Anyone savvy enough to suggest an AMA should know that it would likely take down the site and they'd probably talk to Reddit first.

His answers seem like answers the president would give though (but he did reference his NOT BAD meme, which seems too cool to be true). If you were impersonating the president, it would seem like you would try to wreak some havoc.

Anyone else feel like this?

ljd 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm looking at the sort rank of questions on reddit and they don't exactly feel right. I can't pin point it except to say that a question with 59 upvotes posted 58 minutes ago is ranking higher than a question with 620 upvotes posted 60 minutes ago.

Do reddit moderators step in during these situations to supervote questions?

ScottWhigham 4 days ago 3 replies      
I've read, I don 't know, hundreds of AMAs through the years on reddit and, in each and every case, I hate the UI experience. I wish there was a way I could say "Only show me questions that have been answered by OP". Right now, doing a find for [S] is about as good as it gets. When you get large AMAs though, they get buried due to the sheer number of comments. Ugh.
heyadayo 3 days ago 2 replies      
1. Check out the up and down votes on reddit! 158,753 up votes 152,631 down votes with a net difference of 6k or so positive. That's crazy! Are those partisan lines or something? Why wouldn't everyone on reddit be excited to see the president?

2. Why has this had such low rank on HN given the number of votes? It had 200+ in the first hour and never seemed to get in the top 3.

moistgorilla 4 days ago 2 replies      
There are already more than enough questions. What I'm wondering is how the president is going to answer anything if the website is down.
iblaine 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reddit.com is down. Pretty poor capacity planning. Having spent the better part of this month trying to accomodate spikes in traffic up to 100k concurrent users then receiving just a fraction of that, I am jealous of Reddit's lazy effort.
awolf 4 days ago 1 reply      
The multiple "aha! I corrected the President's grammar. hahah" posts are sickening.
DigitalSea 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks Barack Obama has proven that cloud infrastructure just isn't quite there yet, ha. I'm really curious as to what others have asked especially in relation to 911, Wall Street and the birth certificate fiasco.

This aside and I'm not starting an argument here, but this very AMA bringing down Reddit pretty badly goes to show that even EC2 isn't the answer to life's scaling problems nor are other cloud services like Heorku.

staunch 4 days ago 0 replies      
One way to handle this kind of thing would be to setup a separate stack just for Obama. obama.reddit.com running on a separate web/db/etc. That way even if everyone else is slowed down he can keep going.

Of course it entirely depends on where the problem was, but this kind of thing tends to work in a lot of cases.

fpp 4 days ago 0 replies      
Doing an AMA on Reddit does more for global health than mobilizing the 6th fleet
ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if I am more impressed the President did that, or how people seem to be on their best behavior in there.

Either that or every moderator on all of Reddit was called to the thread.

Is it true the load took down Reddit for a little while?

enraged_camel 4 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't expect any real, solid answers from Obama. The reason is simple: he's not stupid. He knows that the Internet remembers everything, forever.
Jem 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love that Reddit humour is prevalent on even the most serious of AMAs.

I can't log in though, which is slightly annoying. Would be interesting to see the traffic stats for this once it's done.

Kilimanjaro 4 days ago 1 reply      
Heavy load? Is there a site in the internets that can handle a billion connections? Because sooner or later we will get there.

Shame on all of us!

grecy 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, he only answered 10 questions, and it;s over.


mathieuh 4 days ago 2 replies      
Someone ask Obama how many war crimes he's committed.
MiguelHudnandez 4 days ago 0 replies      
This just in: President Obama shuts down social news site "Reddit"

...by making one thread very, very popular.

MartinodF 4 days ago 0 replies      
It seems the President lives up to its meme: "if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!"


bierko 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 18 years old. I'd consider myself politically indifferent, in part because I did research at an organization investigating lobbying and money.

No matter how much of a publicity stunt this was, though, I registered to vote today. Obama was pretty persuasive.

huntaub 4 days ago 0 replies      
The amazing thing about this is that he was literally (like at 3:30) doing a rally in Charlottesville! Busy man!
cjdrake 4 days ago 2 replies      
I was able to load a few pages, but I can't find any of PresidentObama's answers to any questions. What a gyp :).
conradfr 4 days ago 0 replies      
So the site seems to work a bit now and all the great question seem unanswered :)
MetricMike 4 days ago 0 replies      
Huffington Post is aggregating questions and answers here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/barack-obama-reddit...
caublestone 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is by far the coolest fucking thing to happen in politics since Kennedy told everyone that we are putting a man on the moon.
creativityland 4 days ago 0 replies      
And Reddit becomes inaccessible for the remainder of the week...
denniedarko 4 days ago 1 reply      
Aaaaaand the top post is a shitty watercolour as I look at the page right now, http://i.imgur.com/Ju94o.png

Never change Reddit, never change.

volandovengo 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's over from what I can tell: He said he needs to get back to DC.
silent1mezzo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I should have asked a better question. Still happy he answered mine.
dumb123 4 days ago 0 replies      
It makes me wonder what some US politicians wouldn't do for a vote. I'm not in the US at the moment, so I don't know the full extent of what his appearances. But I can only imagine. I know he was recently on Entertainment Tonight. That seemed a little peculiar. Now he's on Reddit. What next?

I'd like to see him do Fear Factor.

If you want my vote Barack, you have to go on Fear Factor. Those are my terms. Non-negotiable.

rburhum 4 days ago 0 replies      
No patent questions?!? Come on, this was the time to upvote that
astrolabos 4 days ago 0 replies      
obama killed reddit :p
allforJesse 4 days ago 0 replies      
The President appears to have crashed his AMA.
longbirthcert 4 days ago 1 reply      
How do you suppose they will verify identity?
37signals Earns Millions Each Year. Its CEO's Model? His Cleaning Lady fastcompany.com
450 points by endtwist  4 days ago   225 comments top 17
whalesalad 4 days ago  replies      
"I won't name names. I used to name names. But I think all you have to do is read TechCrunch. Look at what the top stories are, and they're all about raising money, how many employees they have, and these are metrics that don't matter. What matters is: Are you profitable? Are you building something great? Are you taking care of your people? Are you treating your customers well? In the coverage of our industry as a whole, you'll rarely see stories about treating customers well, about people building a sustainable business. TechCrunch to me is the great place to look to see the sickness in our industry right now."

I love this quote. It reflects my sentiments to a T.

davidw 4 days ago  replies      
> Actually, my cleaning lady, for example, she's great.

There's something a bit... I don't know quite how to put it. Let's just say that I bet she'd willingly trade places with him, cash out, and go enjoy herself instead of cleaning up after other people day in and day out. (Edit to change the wording just a bit)

> The other interesting thing about restaurants is you could have a dozen Italian restaurants in the city and they can all be successful. It's not like in the tech world, where everyone wants to beat each other up, and there's one winner.

That's because the economics of a highly local business are very different from one that can have customers all over the world.

Also: restaurants fail all the time - it's a stressful business to be in, and not generally the sort of relaxed, easy-going picture he makes it sound like. You can bet that most restaurants do not have the option of doing 4 days a week, unless they have big margins the other days, which means they probably have something very special about them.

I admire and respect those guys, but there's something too glib about some of their communications that turns my cynic sense on.

Edit: furthermore... live and let live, no? I'm more interested in a 37 signals style business myself, but let the people in Silicon Valley do their thing even if it doesn't float your boat. It'll all work out. As one example, I think the world is better off with PG running Y Combinator instead of having slogged on with Viaweb.

jamwt 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've read a lot of Jason's stuff and he has a lot of insightful things to say about running a successful small technology business. He probably understands it about as well as anyone on earth.

The part of the rhetoric I'm not as fond of is this false dichotomy that he often raises of "either small business is right or big-startups are right". Both can be right--they just have different goals. And there are strong relationships and dependencies between each type that make it particularly disingenuous to slander each other.

It reminds me a bit of the "you didn't build that" hubbub happening in American politics lately. There seems to be a "I did this" hubris, as you create high-quality web services catering to small teams.

Let's get real: you are building web services consumed by a browser (Netscape) on someone's Macbook Pro (Apple); your data found its way there over some serious switching infrastructure (Cisco); you stock your offices with goods from the best online retailers--oh yeah, and they host a bunch of your bulk data too (Amazon); your site is indexed by the major search engines and you expose your brand to potential customers via sophisticated advertising networks (Google); your keep your friends and fans in the loop on what your business is up to via massive social networks (Twitter).

Many of these companies were ambitious, they had low probabilities of success, they had much higher capital needs and a tighter window to hit the market.. than a slightly better product management system for small teams. But these VC-powered longshots--the lucky few winners--now form the beating heart of our industry. They provide good jobs to hundreds of thousands of people. And.. would 37 signals even exist without them?

Jason wants to make great money and have a good business and take Friday off. That is fine, that is seriously great. I'm not sure why the tone is so defensive, b/c, really, who's attacking that? That's a damn good way to go.

But some people want to "make a dent in the world". They need some money to do that! And they might fail! And rich guys are willing to gamble on the outcome! Who cares? It's audacious fucking fun to try to change the world, and sometimes it works. Afterwards, we can take a shower and feel clean and wholesome about the birth of 38 signals.

Jd 4 days ago  replies      
"To me that's far more interesting than a tech company that's hiring a bunch of people, just got their fourth round of financing for 12 million dollars, and they're still losing money. That's what everyone talks about as being exciting, but I think that's an absolutely disgusting scenario when it comes to business."

Hilarious given that Jason Fried was on the board of directors of Groupon (his comments on this "disgusting scenario" here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2617160).

paulhauggis 4 days ago 5 replies      
The long hours mostly has to do with the startup community. They get funding and VC wants to make a profit within a year and get out, at the expense of any long-term goals of the company.

The result is 70 or 80 hour work weeks and burnout. The VC don't care because they will be done in the short-term anyway.

It's the reason why I refuse to work for startups.

nicholassmith 4 days ago 0 replies      
When my Dad decided to start his own business his goal was to work for himself and make enough money to live comfortably. He's achieved that, he could push and try stretch it to the next level and make even more money and become more successful but he realised he's happy with the money he's got and not having to deal with anything extra.

When anyone starts a business you can shoot for living a nice comfortable life (and lets be honest if you're running a business making millions per year, you've nailed it), or you can push and push to become the business. Both have chance of failure, both require devotion. I'd take the same route as 37signals. Having enough money to live comfortably and enjoy life sound much better than the constant grind to get to the next boss level.

zupreme 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. It almost sounds like he runs his tech startup like a "real" company. Imagine that. ;-)
andrewhillman 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why does this say: 'Its CEO's Model' when it should be 'Its CEO's Role Model'? Seems like the writer is baiting for clicks. It's a little misleading to me.
neeleshs 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am in line with the thought process. Also, "There's a great quote by a guy named Ricardo Semler, author of the book Maverick. He said that only two things grow for the sake of growth: businesses and tumors." funny and apt. I am striving to build a sustainable business, without going to VCs, providing tangible benefits to my customers, and without huge ambitions to become a billion dollar company (or even high millions)
dr_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Profits are without question important.
Bootstrapping I'm not so sure about. There are many profitable companies today that were never bootstrapped, like Apple and Google and tons of others. I'd be concerned that bootstrapping in this day and age might limit how big a company you actually do become, esp since you are competing against entrenched players.
phatbyte 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can totally subscribe what Jason said here.
One time someone said that I wasn't "startup" material because I wasn't open to work 80 hours per week. They said that like it was a bad thing :), fast forward a few years and their company is now dead and I'm now doing my own thing steady and profitable.
apetkov 3 days ago 0 replies      
So nice there are more and more companies which understand that keeping their employees in comfort is so essential for the long-term success. Giving more freedom and spare time, makes people more productive during work time. No stress, no pressure = more job done. I also admire companies, that have understood that a 6-hour working day, would be more productive than the 8-hour, since time for distraction is reduced to significantly.
stanfordkid 4 days ago 1 reply      
lifestyle businesses are great. but to make real money you need to scale -- I think this stuff is okay for the size of business they are aiming for but if you want to build something that can be acquired for 500m+ or IPO then you need to do some more strategic thinking.
xenen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely amazing and a rare voice of reason in our industry. If only more companies would adopt this kind of mentality of building sustainable businesses.
medinismo 4 days ago 0 replies      
love the term "we are reaching Peak Talent". It think we are already there
taphangum 4 days ago 0 replies      
Acne_Researcher 4 days ago 5 replies      
This guy could have built the next Salesforce / google. but he eschewed hiring a sales team. He didn't want that, but still. Failing to achieve your true potential is not something to be bragging about all over the web.
GIMP is Now a Self-Contained Native App for Mac OS X petapixel.com
366 points by maciej  4 days ago   178 comments top 26
wtallis 4 days ago  replies      
So, is this an app that bundles it's own X11, or is it using a Quartz/Cocoa backend for GTK?

EDIT: I downloaded it, and the app bundle doesn't seem to have an X11, so that's nice. However, upon firing it up, it throws up a splash screen in front of all other applications. Who still thinks that's acceptable behavior on a multitasking operating system? Also, the app quits when the last window is closed, which isn't how OS X apps are supposed to behave.

jfaucett 4 days ago  replies      
I love it! GIMP is one of those tools that's "almost" a photohop killer, not quite yet, but this is a big step in the right direction. Good job GIMP team!
As an asside, I think the plugin API and scheme joice is great and a blast to develope with I'd just like to see others jump on board.

EDIT: I thought I'd add this since there seems to be a large discussion below as to the type of user for which GIMP is applicable. I'm a software dev, in the past couple of years though mainly web apps where I've had to at times do graphics, for this GIMP worked fine for me (that's my pitch in the discussion). I think GIMP shines (as well as the traditional imagemagick) for batch processing, the scripting is easy, clean, fast - and lispy :)
Some links for those interested: http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Basic_Batch/

crazygringo 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is a great move.

Serious question: how did this not happen 5 years ago? Is there some technical reason? It's so hard for me to understand why the creators wouldn't have always had this as the #1 feature improvement to make ASAP.

city41 4 days ago 1 reply      
There is also McGimp, which is a fully OSX native version of Gimp: http://www.partha.com/
jon6 4 days ago 3 replies      
OT but is this an official signed application that can work with gatekeeper on 10.8? I recently discovered that my open source project won't work by default on osx 10.8 without me paying $99 to get an apple certificate, which I'm not very interested in doing.

What are open source/free projects supposed to do about gatekeeper?

jamesu 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have to say, i'm impressed. One of the biggest reasons I never really used GIMP on OSX was that the X11 version never really felt right.

This version in comparison feels a lot better, though there are still a few annoying things about it, such as the image editing itself seems a bit laggy.

Still, a good step in the right direction IMO!

jyap 3 days ago 0 replies      

I've been a long time GIMP for Mac OS X user (being a former laptop Linux users).

New GIMP crashed in me on the first run. It then hung on start up on the 2nd run.

I just deleted my old GIMP configuration directories and it started up fine:

rm -fr ~/Library/Application\ Support/Gimp/

unwind 3 days ago 0 replies      
There was some confusion about whether this release (which wasn't done by the "ordinary" Mac OS X package maintainer) meant that the role had been appointed to someone else: https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gimp-developer-list/2012-Aug....

I hope that is getting resolved, it's always painful to see large projects like GIMP suffer from "people problems" and developers become disgruntled as a result.

delackner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some day in the distant future perhaps there will actually be a non-photoshop 100% psd compatible editor. I thought I could just tell my designer to do File -> Export Layers as PNG, but that command in Photoshop is intentionally broken, churning for several minutes before producing even the first of many output files. In the meantime, while I like seeing how far Gimp has come, it just isn't an option for me.
mmphosis 3 days ago 0 replies      
GIMP Crashes on launching 32bit CPU


  $ file GIMP.app/Contents/MacOS/GIMP-bin
GIMP.app/Contents/MacOS/GIMP-bin: Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64

devindotcom 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank god, maybe I can finally leave behind Pixelmator.
captaincrowbar 4 days ago 1 reply      
Now if only Inkscape would follow suit. There are plenty of good bitmap image editors for the Mac, but I could really use a good vector editor.
DenisM 4 days ago 4 replies      
Any thoughts on this new GIMP vis-a-vis Photoshop Elements?

I don't mind paying <$100 for a decent graphics editor. My primary use case is tweaking screenshots, app icons, buttons, and the like for my iOS apps and the web site. I want to get in and out as quick as possible, so I can get back to my other work.

tcc619 4 days ago 0 replies      
This feature along with the single window view makes GIMP very usable on the mac.
larrywright 4 days ago 1 reply      
The excellent Pixelmator is only $14.99 in the Mac App Store. I'm not sure how much use their is for Gimp on OS X any more.
MikeCapone 4 days ago 0 replies      
Slightly off-topic (but I know very savvy people are here, so I can't help but ask):

Anyone knows where I could find a JPEG-2000 plug-in for GIMP that works on this Mac version, along with instructions on how to install it?

Cyranix 4 days ago 0 replies      
The primary download link is getting hammered at the moment; check for a mirror that has an OSX directory for fast access.
armored_mammal 4 days ago 1 reply      
Since it's 2.8 series it should have single-window mode, no?
fuzionmonkey 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does it have Retina display support? I'd download this in a heartbeat.

It's frustrating how long it is taken Adobe to update their software for Hi-DPI.

Kilimanjaro 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using the outdated Seashore for my basic crop/resize needs. Will try asap.
viraj_shah 4 days ago 1 reply      
The interface looks significantly better, at least from the last time I messed around with it (which was a while ago).
bigfrakkinghero 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! One of my biggest gripes with using OSX was how terrible the GIMP experience was.
calgaryeng 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to permanently dock the toolbar in the Mac version? I had this in the old version.... Now I get floating docks over top of other applications even when Gimp is in the background!
joejohnson 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wish it were available from the App Store.
scoofy 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why can't i move a selection within a layer? This has to be the most persistent problem in the mac version that hasn't been fixed. With every new GIMP version i curse this bug.
akldfgj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't come with decent-looking fonts included, though.
What killed the Linux desktop tirania.org
336 points by foolano  4 days ago   377 comments top 73
cletus 4 days ago  replies      
This is the money quote:

> The second dimension to the problem is that no two Linux distributions agreed on which core components the system should use.

Linux on the desktop suffered from a lack of coherent, strategic vision, consistency and philosophy. Every engineer I know likes to do things a particular way. They also have a distorted view on the level of customization that people want and need.

I like OSX. Out of the box it's fine. That's what I want. I don't want to dick around with Windows managers or the like. Some do and that's fine but almost no one really does.

Whereas Windows and OSX can (and do) dictate a topdown vision for the desktop experience, Linux can't do this. Or maybe there's been no one with the drive, conviction and gravitas to pull it off? Who knows? Whatever the case, this really matters for a desktop experience.

I have two monitors on my Linux desktop. A month ago full screen on video stopped working. Or I guess I should say it moved to the center of the two screens so is unusable. I have no idea why. It could be an update gone awry. It could be corp-specific modifications. It could be anything. But the point is: I don't care what the problem is, I just want it to work. In this regard, both Windows and OSX just work. In many others too.

I can't describe to you how much torture it always seems to be to get anything desktop-related to work on Linux. I loathe it with a passion. I've long since given up any idea that Linux will ever get anywhere on the desktop. It won't. That takes a topdown approach, the kind that anarchies can't solve.

ajross 4 days ago  replies      
I think some of this is perceptive. It's true that the attempt by both Canonical (Unity) and Red Hat (Gnome 3) to sort-of-incompatibly break away from the so close to standard that it hurts to type this Gnome 2 environment did a lot more harm than good, at least as far as platform adoption goes.

And clearly OS X is an extremely polished Unix and is going to appeal to the more UI-focused of the hacker set. And Miquel is definitely among the most UI-focused of the hacker set. He's also an inconsolate "platform fan". Much of his early work was chasing Microsoft products and technologies, of course; now he's an iPhone nut apparently, and that doesn't really surprise me.

But at the same time the Linux desktop was never really in the game. I use it (Gnome 3 currently) and prefer it. Lots of others do. For many, it really does just work better. But in a world where super-polished products are the norm, a hacker-focused suite of software isn't ever going to amount to more than a curiosity. (And again, I say this as someone who will likely never work in a Windows or OS X desktop.)

So in that light, I think the idea that the Linux desktop got "killed" is sort of missing the point. It's no more moribund now than it was before. It's more fractured in a sense, as the "Gnome" side of the previous desktop war has split into 3+ camps (Unity, Gnome 3 and Gnome2/Xfce, though there are other spliter camps like Mint/Cinnamon too). But it's here and it works, and it's not going anywhere. Try it!

nirvana 4 days ago  replies      
I think he's right, but I think he's missing a key point.

Design. Design is what killed the linux desktop. It never had it. OS X has it. Even windows, crappy as it may be, has it.

Before I go on, let me say that Design is NOT "making it look pretty". In fact, thinking that this is what design is, is what leads many linux advocates to reject the needs of design.

Apple's work looks pretty-- because it is designed to function well.

Design is about usability and understanding the user and making an interface for the user that works well according to the users understanding, perspective and needs.

Design is an engineering discipline.


The Linux community hasn't had that, and I've seen many of them reject it. In fact, you can see it in the rejection of apple's patents. This is why they think that apple patents are not original is because they reject that any engineering went into them. But that's just one example. You see it all the time in lots of contexts. Look at the UIs of Linux... they didn't design one, they just copied windows.

Literal copying is about as far from design as you can get.

Sure, over the years, designers have taken cracks at bringing design to linux, including the work of Ubuntu, but it is rejected by the community.

Rejection of design is a cultural trait of the linux community. They reject it as a discipline, doesn't even see that it exists. (broadly speaking, of course.)

But as users, they have been influenced by it and many of them have switched to OS X because it is the best designed operating system.

And then they write long blog posts about how its wrong that OS X does things a certain way ... based on their lack of design perspective that would let them see why things should work that way.

Its ironic.

But its fine- if you want to run a linux desktop and don't value or care about design, more power to you. Won't ever fault someone for making that decision. We should all use the systems that we prefer.

But the culture that doesn't value design, and can't even see it as an engineering discipline, is going to have a great deal of trouble making something usable by the mainstream.

jrockway 4 days ago 6 replies      
I've used Linux for years and have never had these problems. I think the issue is that getting everything working requires a deep understanding of each component and the system as a whole. If you just follow advice on forums, you will make things worse because you're doing things you don't understand to a system that you don't understand. That's not going to lead to success. You need to be able to think critically about what's wrong and what needs to change, and then execute those changes. No, that's probably not worth doing if you already like Windows or OS X. If you don't, though...

(And, there are of course Linux-based systems that were built by someone controlling the whole experience, and those work really well. Android and ChromeOS come to mind, though those aren't really desktops per se.)

The other day, someone here was complaining about udev. It has ruined Linux forever, or something. I have a different experience: udev has made my life very easy. I have a rule for each device I care about, and that device is automatically made available at a fixed location when it is plugged in. For example, I have a rule that detects a microcontroller that is waiting to be programmed with avrdude in avr109 mode that symlinks the raw device (/dev/ttyUSB<whatever>) to /dev/avr109. I then have a script that waits for inotify to detect the symlink, and then call avrdude to program the microcontroller. A few lines of shell scripting (actually, it's in my Makefile), and I can just plug in a microcontroller, press the programming button on it, and everything just works. No screwing around with figuring out which device address it's assigned to. How do you do that in Windows?

luriel 4 days ago 3 replies      
JWZ identified the issue Miguel discusses in this post ten years ago, he even gave it a name: CADT


Also, part of what killed the Linux desktop was Miguel and his total lack of understanding of the unix philosophy which drove him to create abominations like BONOBO. D-Bus is not much better either.

That he fell in love with an iPhone goes to show he didn't fully appreciate the value of open source either.

We were just yesterday commenting with some friends in #cat-v how Evolution is one of the worst pieces of software ever created, and Evolution is supposedly considered by Miguel and co to be the epitome of the Linux desktop.

wheels 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd agree with a whole lot of what's said here, but also add:

One of the big thrusts of the Linux desktop wasn't simply dominance itself, but for it to simply not matter what you were using on the desktop. The Linux desktop fought to produce the first cracks in Windows hegemony a decade ago, but the final push came from the rebirth of Apple and the rise of the smartphone.

Today people happily do their normal productive or recreational tasks from a variety of computing environments: Windows, GNOME, Unity, KDE, OS X, iOS, Android, et al. Probably the majority of (Western) web users use at least one non-Windows internet device.

During the golden age of the Linux desktop everything seemed predicated on reaching exactly this point -- that you wouldn't need Windows, and then, by virtue of competing on a leveler playing field, the Linux desktop would ascend.

But the Linux desktops didn't "scate where the puck is going" -- or their attempts at such missed the mark. By the time we reached the era post-Windows dominance, the Linux desktops weren't positioned to take advantage of the new playing field dynamics. The rest of the industry isn't even all that concerned with the desktop wars anymore. It stopped mattering very much -- and ironically, that came around to bite the projects in the ass that first got the ball rolling.

nathanb 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think the article does a great job of explaining the problem, but doesn't explore the ramifications far enough.

Let me give an example: a few months ago, a new version of Skype was announced for Linux. I was excited, since I used Skype 2 for Linux but then it stopped working for me and I couldn't be bothered to fix it. But if you go to the Skype for Linux download page, you will find a few downloads for specific distros, then some tar files which are, statistically speaking, guaranteed not to work.

Long story short(er), I still don't have Skype working on my desktop, because my distro isn't in the list, I can't get one of the other distro packages to work on my system, and of course none of the statically-linked binaries work.

(I could almost certainly get it to work if I was willing to install 32-bit binary support. But it's 2012. If your app requires me to install 32-bit binary support, I don't need your app that badly.)

Steam for Linux, recently announced by Valve, will run into the same problem. I suspect it will actually be Steam for Ubuntu and Debian, possibly with a version for Fedora, assuming you have the proper libraries installed and are using the right sound daemon and graphical environment.

But if big-name software comes out for Linux, hopefully distros will get in line. Do you want to be that distro which can't run Steam? Doesn't really matter if you think that OSSv4 is superior to ALSA and PulseAudio...if Steam requires the latter, you will toe the freaking line, or disappear into obsolescence.

hnriot 4 days ago 3 replies      
Speaking as someone running a Linux desktop (and am writing this on one) there's not much to say other than I agree. I run linux because work gave me a PC and there's no way I can write software on Windows. Of course we all have servers managed off in the corporate cloud somewhere that run ssh/vnc etc, but there's no way I wanted to install putty again or miss out on the unix commands that make (work) life more enjoyable, so I installed Linux, because I write server software, and client sometimes, but browsers make the operating system moot pretty much. There's more variation between browsers than between operating systems - mobile aside. And when I need to try something on Wintel I spin up a cloud instance and use vnc.

When i'm not on Linux I run OSX everywhere else (and IOS) because its unix-like (is) and because it works so well. I am sure Windows 7 and 8 are great, but I doubt they have gotten rid of c: or \ as path delimiter or any of the other nonsense that DOS introduced (copied from PIP) back in the dark ages. why should they, MSFT still runs DOS apps so they aren't going to change and choosing between OSX and Linux on a non-work desktop is a no-brainer, Netflix, Photoshop etc etc etc...

dchest 4 days ago 0 replies      
Software compatibility in OS X?

A lot of applications break on newer versions of Mac OS X. That's why there are websites like http://roaringapps.com/apps:table

Also, there are a lot of "transitions" that Apple loves doing: PowerPC -> Intel. Java -> Objective-C. Carbon -> Cocoa. 32-bit > 64-bit. Access everything -> Sandbox.

See also Cocoa docs: "method X introduced in 10.5. Deprecated in 10.6".

I have a few devices that don't work in 10.8.

Basically, what I'm saying is that OS X is a bad example for backward compatibility. Windows is much better at this. Open source software is much better at this.

agentultra 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm writing this from my laptop which is running Ubuntu as its desktop.

I don't really see how the Linux desktop is dead. I've been running the same OS on this same laptop since 2007. The only upgrade I've added is an SSD and an extra gig of memory. It's still pretty speedy and I've never had any problems.

I use a Macbook Pro with OS X at work because that's just what I was issued by default. I hate it. I hate the over-reliance on the mouse, on gestures, the abundant and tedious animations; I hate the crappy ecosystem of package repositories and how most of the packages are broken or completely mess with the system; I hate never being able to find where any of the configuration files are or where something is installed; I hate the plethora of ways you can start and stop services; the confusing GUI; the masochistic meta-key layout; the awful full-screen support; and the complete lack of customization options.

I've had much better experiences with the Linux desktop for 95% of the things I do.

Now before some OS X fan-person decides to point out how woefully misguided and ignorant I am, my point is that there are different folks out there who want different things from their desktop experience. Apple gets to decide top-down what that experience is all the way down to the hardware. I prefer a little more flexibility. I like being able to swap out my own battery or adding a new memory module when I need one. I like being able to switch from a GUI desktop to a tiled window manager. Some folks don't -- there are Linux distros that hide as much of that as possible. Either way there are plenty of options and I think that's a good thing. Competition breeds innovation and even though I don't particularly like Unity I am glad to see people trying new things.

The Linux desktop isn't dead. It may just smell funny. You may switch to OS X and wonder why anyone could possibly want anything else. I just gave you a bunch of answers.

gvb 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm typing this on my work laptop running a linux desktop (Ubuntu FWIIW). Our engineering servers at work run linux and, as a convenience, have the desktop installed. As many of my co-workers run linux desktops as OS-X desktops (and the engineers running OS-X or Windows have VMs running linux... desktops).

When I go home, I'll be using my personal laptop running linux. My wife and kids run a netbook with a linux desktop.

The linux desktop may be dead to Miguel, but it works just fine for me, a lot of other people in my life, and a lot of people in the world.


patrickaljord 4 days ago 1 reply      
What killed it is that it didn't have a huge and multi-billion dollar company betting on it (on the desktop) like Microsoft and Apple had, even Apple with its billions is still around 5% market share worldwide so having 1% is still a great accomplishment when you think that it had no support from huge corporations.

Now take the mobile world for example, Linux on mobile had been around for a decade but it never really took off until a huge company like Google decided to throw its billions of dollars and its great ingenuity at the task. Getting an OS to be popular is just incredibly difficult and it needs way more than just good driver support and/or good software. It needs marketing, talking to manufacturers, dedicated and well payed devs, designers, UI and UX professionals, sales, R&D and so on and so forth.

Focusing on the technicality of drivers and API is typical of us devs, but it has nothing to do with why Linux didn't take off on the desktop, sure Linux did fail because it couldn't do any or some of that well, but why couldn't it do any or some of that? Because it didn't have a huge and focused company pushing for it. How many popular desktop OS are there? Only 2, I think that's enough to show that it's incredibly hard to get into that market and that only a huge company can make it. Also, let's not forget that Windows was good enough and there was not much Linux could do to attract users, in fact this is still true and probably why even OS X is still at 5%: Windows is good enough and it's the de facto standard used by +90%. Having the best UI and UX in the world like OS X doesn't help that much either.

chimeracoder 4 days ago 2 replies      
> (b) incompatibility across Linux distributions.

This is completely missing the point - a statically compiled end-user binary should be compatible across all distributions of Linux, using the same version of the kernel or any newer version.

The only caveats to that are (a) hardware and (b) poorly-packaged software.

(A) is the fault of hardware manufacturers and is increasingly not an issue these days anyway; driver issues are becoming increasingly rare.

(B) is easy to solve for any open-source software, as it is the responsibility of the community for that distribution to provide the appropriate packaging. They prefer to do it themselves. And they're good at it - it gets done!

If you want to ship a closed-source binary on Linux, just make sure you don't dynamically link it against any libraries that you don't also ship with the binary. Problem solved.

Honestly, I can't remember one single instance ever where I have run into end-user software that will run on one distribution of Linux and not another, as long as that principle was followed.

imperialWicket 4 days ago 1 reply      
This flame ignites periodically, and I'm always left wondering when exactly the Linux desktop died? Some have noted similar aspects already, but here's my 2 cents:

I'm on Linux now (GNU/Linux, maybe lump BSD in there too, I'm using "Linux"). I know plenty of users on Linux. I know plenty of users of Windows and OS X who run virtual Linux Desktop distributions for testing/development/security. I'm sure some of HN are running Linux.

Does Linux have the potential to enter the market as a third core option for desktop usage - not really. But why does it matter?

The problem with Linux is that there are too many choices. People who like technical choices and options trend toward Linux (needs citation).

John Q. ComputerUser isn't going to use Linux unless his geeky son or nephew installs it for him AND provides support. He can't get support anywhere else - because there are too many possibilities for it to be fiscally effective.

If/When something gets confusing or broken on Windows/OS X, you call JoeBob's SuperDuperPuter, and say it's broken. JoeBob asks, "What Windows version?" While he might need to poke and pry a bit to get the user to tell him he's running Millenium edition, once he gets that data, it's a pretty straightforward troubleshooting effort and fix.

If you call some mythical Computer Service group that actually supports Linux, and say your machine is broken, they would need to know a LOT more about your system just to figure what they need to do to start.

Distribution? Parent Distribution? Shell? Window Manager? Hardware? ...

I find generic computer service companies to be extremely expensive. To be able to provide even basic service for Linux in general, your techs need to be very familiar with more operating systems (emerge, apt, yum, zypper, pacman), and more core applications. Each service effort inherently takes longer. These factors pile up and everything becomes necessarily more expensive. It's downright impractical to support Linux generically. The support costs for one or two issues on Linux would far outweigh the cost of an upfront OS license and cheaper support for the end user.

Linux has (and will likely continue to have) a comfortable hold on the technically-capable DIY market. It may not be on track to step beyond that market in the desktop arena - but that certainly doesn't indicate it's time for a toe tag.

davidw 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to be really into the whole free software thing, but have mellowed with age.

However, no way in hell anyone will get me to switch to Mac OS. I am simply too enamored with having an environment that I can hack on if it strikes my fancy, as well as an environment that I can customize how I want it. Despite all its flaws, it still does focus follows mouse pretty well, and not having that would drive me batty.

Also, Apple is an 800 pound gorilla that has always been about Being In Control. The Samsung lawsuit wasn't anything new:


I just don't want to be part of that kind of walled garden.

pfedor 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, right, because OSX cares so much about backwards compatibility. They care so much that they actively go out and intentionally break APIs, like say when CGDisplayBaseAddress() stopped working in Lion, breaking fullscreen in every single SDL-based game (and by "breaking", I mean the game will actually crash when attempting to enter fullscreen.)
mbell 4 days ago 6 replies      
Arguing about the niceties of the UI is all well and good but the actually problem is far more fundamental.

What killed the linux desktop? Drivers. Mostly graphics drivers but some others as well. Who cares if the UI isn't ideal if the damn thing can't sleep and wake up properly, or if it spazs out every time I plug in an external monitor.

billswift 4 days ago 0 replies      
Linux is too hard to configure; if the distro gets it right out of the box it's fine, but not otherwise. I started with Windows 3.1 in 1995, mostly used Slackware, and some Windows 95, from 1996 to 2000. Slackware and Windows 98 from 2000 to 2004. But from the time I got on the Internet in 2004 to the present I have mostly used Windows (98, XP, and Vista) because I have not managed to get any version of Linux that I have tried to connect through a dial-up modem. I have to admit I have only tried sporadically, since Windows just works, and my efforts to get some Linux distro to work have been so frustrating. (Note that though a frequent user, I am not a programmer or professional sys-admin.)

ADDED: jrockaway's comment, added while I was writing this, hits it just right: "I think the issue is that getting everything working requires a deep understanding of each component and the system as a whole." Which is what makes it so frustrating, even to very intelligent people who have other interests than computers in and of themselves.

nnnnnnnn 4 days ago 1 reply      
An interesting observation is that tablets are becoming the new desktop and in that space linux, through android, is becoming a dominant player. In a way, the linux desktop is finally here and it's winning against both Microsoft and Apple put together.

All of the article's criticism of mainstream workstation distributions is accurate, of course. But it's important to note that those represent nowhere near the sum total of the linux user experience these days.

mistercow 4 days ago 0 replies      
>And you can still run your old OSX apps on Mountain Lion.

Having been a small-scale Mac developer for many years, that really made me chuckle. Not since OS X 10.2 did Apple release a major upgrade that didn't break my apps and make me struggle to push an update out as quickly as possible to fix all the things that Apple broke. Apple has heard of deprecation, but they don't seem to really grok the concept.

If I had been developing for Linux, I could have simply tested on pre-release versions of the distros I wanted to support and would have been ready when the new versions were released. On OS X I would have had to have paid a prohibitive fee for that privilege.

In any case, this article made me happy. You see, for so many years, I used a Mac, and everybody said "Apple is on its last legs; the Mac will be dead in a few years". Apple had to scramble to compete, and that drove them to provide such a good product. But I knew that situation might not last forever, and I was right. After seeing the turn that Apple had taken over the last few years, I switched to an Ubuntu laptop six months ago.

It's refreshing, once again, to be using an OS that people are calling "dead".

thiderman 4 days ago 3 replies      
I never understood this. Why would market share of Linux on the desktop matter? I've always viewed Linux on the desktop as something for power users and developers, and thousands of said power users and developers are continually developing and maintaining multiple distros and thousands of applications. It's not like it's a stale and abandoned paradigm that's left to die.
pavanky 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not this post again. Those who thought Linux can compete with heavily subsidized windows on Laptops or OSX with Apple's flashy interfaces are dreamers.

Linux has been for those that like to get dirty and it is doing that job quite well. Canonical came a bit late to the party and wasn't large enough to matter. RHEL just went after the servers. To make a fair comparison, Linux should have had a big player backing it strongly on the Desktops / laptops 10-15 years ago (like Google is doing now with Android). HP and IBM did their half assed attempts, but they were never really behind it completely.

pixelmonkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
First of all, the Linux desktop is not dead.

As I wrote on my blog recently:

"In the [past three years], Linux has grown " albeit slowly " in desktop usage. After nearly 2 years of no growth (2008-2010, lingering around 1% of market), in 2011 Linux saw a significant uptick in desktop adoption (+64% from May 2011 to January 2012). However, Linux's desktop share still about 1/5 of the share of Apple OS X and 1/50 the share of Microsoft Windows. This despite the fact that Linux continues to dominate Microsoft in the server market."

It may be in third place in a desktop market with primarily three OSes, but usage has never been higher.

As I discussed in this article, most of the original reasons that stopped Windows / Mac users from using Linux years ago are no longer valid. However, the irony is that it's easier than ever to get by with a Free Software desktop, but harder than ever to avoid proprietary software and lock-in, thanks to the rise of SaaS and the personal data cloud.

I agree with de Icaza that the "Open Web" is more important these days than a Free Desktop. But the linked Wired article's conception of Open Web refers to things like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. These aren't the problem. They are an open delivery mechanism, yes, but usually for proprietary software.

Modern SaaS applications accessible through the web browsers using open web standards are the modern equivalent of an open source Perl script wrapping calls to a closed-source, statically-compiled binary.

You can read more about my thoughts on this in "Cloud GNU: where are you?" http://www.pixelmonkey.org/2012/08/18/cloud-gnu

farinasa 4 days ago 0 replies      
When the iPhone 3GS came out, battery life tanked on my 3G. They fixed that, after some period, only to break the reporting in the firmware. Now the device thinks it's dead after a few hours. Replace the battery, same life time. At this point, I'll never expect and apple device to last longer than a year and therefore will not buy one.

Additionally, OSX is no linux replacement. Bash is completely different except for cd, rm, and ls.

brianobush 4 days ago 2 replies      
funny; I am using a linux desktop right now. not dead yet.
scrumper 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's room for many approaches, of course. While the perfectionism (or is it lack of pragmatism?) of Linux and its developers may well have held back its wider adoption on the desktop, there's a lot to be said for the its development community's single-minded pursuit of quality and correctness.

As well as Linux's presence in the data centre, witness the success of 'embedded' Linux: many TVs, routers, set top boxes and other bits of sealed-box electronics all run on it. It's broad in its scope because of the large team of divergent interests working on it, and it's able to support those systems because it's been well made as a direct result of that team's philosophy. Is it really so bad that the average Facebooker does't want to use it?

It really is very, very hard indeed to be all things to all men and no single system around today can make that claim. Linux has its place in the world of computing, just like Android, Windows, OSX and everything else.

xradionut 4 days ago 0 replies      
Back in the day, before setting up Linux was a breeze, I got tired of mucking around with configuration and such just to get a usable Unixy desktop and environment. So the day OS X Jaguar was released I purchased a Mac.

Now if I need to fire up Linux for a project, (usually for a microcontoller or such hardware that needs C), a virtual machine or appliance that I can launch from Windows 7 does the job. This is also how I keep Windows 8 contained, safely in a virtualized box that I don't have to deal with it, unless I need too... ;)

ChuckMcM 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article hits so many sore spots right on a pustulent scar tissue.

I had run a Linux desktop (a Debian build mostly w/ KDE) for a while and kept getting hammered with random stuff breaking for random, and often poorly considered, reasons. I gave up and went back to running a Windows deskop with a X-server to pull up windows on my Linux box.

Then I went to work for Google and they did a really good job of running Ubuntu as an engineering desktop (calling their distro Gubuntu of course) and I thought "Wow, this has come quite a ways, perhaps Linux has matured to the point where there is at least one way to run it reliably. And so I installed Ubuntu on my desktop and tried that for a while.

For "using" it, it was for the most part ok if once every few days I did an apt-get update/upgrade cycle. For developing it was a real challenge. Pull in the latest gstreamer? Blam blam blam things fall over dead, update their packages (sometimes pulling git repos and rebuilding from source) to get back working, and now apt-get update/upgrade falls over the next time because you've got a package conflict. It is enough to drive you insane.

spiralpolitik 4 days ago 0 replies      
Largely the same issues that killed UNIX as a viable desktop alternative are the same issues that are killing Linux as a viable desktop alternative: Fragmentation and lack of consistency across different distributions.

This is compounded by most distributions having a lack of centralized vision on how everything fits together. They are merely a collections of individual parts rather than a collection of parts that are designed to work well together and they lack the polish as a result. While the lack of centralized vision was fine for SunOS circa 1992, it simply doesn't cut the mustard in 2012.

Ubuntu seems to be trying to push such a centralized vision with Unity, but I fear they lack the clinical editorial willpower to make the hard decisions required to see it through to its ultimate conclusion.

jcfrei 4 days ago 0 replies      
in a q&a round at aalto university in finland linus adressed the question why linux never took off on the desktop: the lack of being a pre-installed os.
he mentions that without preinstalled operating systems there's now way to gain a significant market share in the desktop segment.

the whole talk by itself is very recommendable: http://youtu.be/MShbP3OpASA?t=23m45s

jfb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing "killed the Linux desktop"; it still thrives for those that want it, and it's steadily improving. It never came to dominate the market, and one can argue about the reasons it never displaced Macintosh (still less Windows). It probably has a lot to do with lack of a single, unified vision, and the market fragmentation caused by the different distros, and the lack of market pressure to ship, as it relies on volunteer labor, but I'm not going to presume.

Personally, I've been primarily a Mac user since the Mississippian superperiod, but I used an X-11 Windows(™) environment (on top of FreeBSD) for years at work. I don't miss it, even one iota, but I know plenty of smart people who prefer that sort of thing. De gustibus non disputandum est and all that.

macco 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Linux desktop never got killed! It never was really living. As long as Linux is not sold on computers, it will never spread. Maybe things change in the future, Canonical is doing an insanely great Job bringing Linux to the masses. But personally I think Linux will take of in new markets (China, Brazil, etc), not in allready established ones.

By the way, in my oppinion only a small fraction is buying Macs because of OS X, it's the Hardware. Design and Usability of Ubuntu is a lot better than OS X at the moment.

scoith 4 days ago 1 reply      
Apple builds fancy gadgets and gathers a fan-boy population, and eventually starts selling more. This really doesn't say anything about Linux desktop.

This whole thing about backward compatibility and the discussion that surrounds it is just vague. Here's a practical "true story" for you: I'm using GNU/Linux for more than 10 years now, and it is still alive.

Never had any vague binary compatibility problems either, because I'm not strangely expecting to use an ancient binary version of Gimp on my current system. That's because FOSS is source oriented, not binary.
I'm not suddenly trying to use a 15 years old graphics card whose driver is longer in the kernel either, because I don't use a 15 years old graphics card.

aartur 4 days ago 1 reply      
> In my opinion, the problem with Linux on the Desktop is rooted in the developer culture that was created around it.

This developer culture DEFINES Linux. A fruit is either an apple or an orange. I couldn't have an OS with wonderful package management, developer tools, endless configurability AND a desktop Miguel de Icaza dreams of.

antihero 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's still very much alive if you don't give a shit about normal UX conventions or popularity, and there are hundreds of thousands of excellent 3rd party applications that run perfectly.

It's getting really irritating when someone who's jumped ship to OSX declares it "dead" because they have a shiny iDevice and an expensive laptop.

fdr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I more or less disagree. My main frustration with Linux For Personal Use is that I can't buy a piece of hardware that I know won't regress with new versions of a distribution for three plus years or get any service if it does. My reference for the importance of this is a perfectly usable 2008 refurbished Macbook. I upgraded the RAM once recently for a bit more snap, but otherwise have no complaints over the three or so Macintosh releases since then.

Could the UIs and third party application situation be better? Of course. But considering all the garden variety crash bugs, power management bugs, lockup bugs, video driver misbehavior, hit and miss peripheral support, and in general just analysis paralysis about what hardware I should buy, and even then there is a less-certain future with regard to regressions.

Even given Windows's monopoly power in the commodity desktop and laptop markets, its reputation for dealing with sleep and drivers is only so-so compared to Apple Hardware and Software. If Window's monopoly power -- which buys you full attention from hardware manufacturers and their driver divisions -- only gives you mediocre results, what are the odds that a bunch of kernel hackers who receive almost no continual consideration from hardware vendors have a chance? To me, it looks like absolutely not a chance of becoming stable over time. I have completely given up on Linux laptops for this reason: by using desktops with Linux only I have cut out a lot of the problems, but not all of them. It's a kind of medicore that I can bear.

I want someone to sell me Linux distribution on a laptop that simply will not break over in its kernel-oriented features in five years of upgrades. I want that distribution to stop-ship if it a new version introduces a power management bug to an old laptop, and do whatever it takes to work around some lousy hardware bug or whatever. I want them to do whatever to work with Skype (such as statically linking whatever libraries, etc) and test Google Hangouts to make sure the webcam and microphone works. And it they don't work, they absolutely cannot ship. Until that day, I use Linux -- and I do mean the kernel in most of these cases -- as my personal operating system most of the time in spite of these problems because of my professional and philosophical needs, and not out of preference in any other dimension.

brudgers 4 days ago 0 replies      
>"is not a sexy problem."

This pretty much describes the root cause of nearly all the impediments to the adoption of FOSS in general and GNU/Linux in particular by the general public. It touches everything from backwards compatibility to documentation.

Nux 4 days ago 1 reply      
Please ignore Icaza.
As for the famous death of Linux on the desktop let me tell you something: IT NEVER HAPPENED.
What are those people smoking?

I've been using Linux for the last decade and every year it gets better, more polished, more integrated, featuring a better design; I hear more & more people talking about it and using it. Linux is more alive than ever on the desktop!

Depending on your needs, Linux can make an exceptional desktop. Yes, true, it is not for _everyone_, but then again neither are Windows or MacosX.

ilaksh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Proud Ubuntu user here. Ubuntu 12.04 is not bad at all. Supports the fancy font he used on his blog. Flash is working. WebGL is working. LibreOffice opens Word docs when I need to. Audio is working.

I have Windows 7 on the other partition mainly to play games.

There was a minor issue with Ubuntu trying to melt the CPU in my laptop the other day, but its not so bad since I upgraded, and I found this powertop thing that also helps.

bobbles 4 days ago 0 replies      
"As for myself, I had fallen in love with the iPhone, so using a Mac on a day-to-day basis was a must."

What? How? I've got an iPhone and have never felt like having a Mac was a must. Am I missing some major parts of the system that don't work if you don't have a Mac?

kingmanaz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd say it was the lack of a standardized install convention for "guest" (non-nix) software.

What to do about it? Couple golang's preference for large statically-linked binaries with a one-folder, one-executable install convention and Linux may become more inviting for non-nix apps.

For example, imagine "/outside/myapp/myapp" is a large, unix-unfriendly, statically-compiled binary placed in it's folder by a OS-provided install utility. "Myapp" was probably developed for Mac or Windows and by design does not give a damn about /etc, /lib, /var, etc. These app should just be allowed to crap their configuration files into the home directory into which it has been placed ("/outside/myapp"). If one no longer needs the app, the folder is deleted along with everything else the app created while it was being used. Tidy. Behind the scenes such an app would be compiled to call the standard Linux APIs, yet it would probably avoid any dynamic dependencies. Disk space is cheap. Just bundle it all together and throw it somewhere where it can run in peace.

Amiga's icon files are another approach. Rather than a large, monolithic registry tracking everything in the system, executables exist in tandem with an "icon" (.info) file. This file is generated by the OS and tracks the executable's location and other settings in the workbench (desktop). A modern reincarnation could potentially track anything. Instead of accumulating registry filth with every uninstall one can simply remove an executable and its associated .info file. Instead of adhering to the heir convention, the app plays nicely in its own folder with it's own registry. By using an ".info" file, portable non-nix installs could reside anywhere, and not in a prefabbed "/outside" folder.

The smartphone penchant for portable installation should come to nix, particularly with non-unix software. It should be encouraged, and that's coming from an OpenBSD user. Unix needs a playground for non-unix apps.

expaand 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love Linux, and as a developer, use it as my main os (ubuntu). It is so easy to develop on, and it's package management is superb. I don't use the desktop per se, that much, and am usually command-line driven.

I have a Mac, and use it for some things, at times. It's nice, for sure, but I love the openness of Linux, even though, of course, there can be many very painful hardware issues (video, sound, etc), all of which I have experienced at one time or another.

I am wondering - I hear Google is working on a "Android desktop". Would that perhaps maybe change things regarding the "Linux desktop" a bit?

stevencorona 4 days ago 3 replies      
In like 2006 I switched from Windows XP to Linux. This was before Ubuntu was what it is today. I learned using Slackware and eventually switched to Gentoo. It was cool and gave me nerd cred when I went to college.

I switched to OSX for exactly the reasons the author mentioned. The fact that I have an awesome UI + ability to use the shell all day is a huge win for me.

dumb123 4 days ago 0 replies      
There never was a "Linux desktop". Linux is a kernel. GNU is a set of utilities. And X11 is a mess.

Did you know that X11 is why we have shared libs (the UNIX version of "dll hell")? If not for having to run X11, shared libs really would not have been needed.

There are many window managers. Maybe too many. Too much choice for a noob. That selection or the pre-selections Linux distribution people make does not equate to "the" Linux Desktop. It equates someone else's configurations and choice of applications. It equates to having to fiddle with X11, whether you are just configuring it or developing programs to run in it. And that has always been extremely frustrating for too many people- constant tweaking; it never ends. This is like a brick wall to people who might want to try Linux, coming from Windows. You are inheriting a system that's been configured to someone else's preferences. (Same is true with Apple, but they have a knack for making things easy.)

I skipped Linux altogther and went from using Windows to using BSD. I've also been a Mac user. And BSD is way better than OSX, or any of the previous MacOS's for doing most everyday things: email, internet and secure web (ramdisk). Moreover it's flexible - you can shape into what you want - without this being an overwhelming task of undoing someone else's settings.

If you want a citation for the shared libs thing I will track it down, but honestly anyone can do it on their own. The historical research will do you good. Educate yourself.

tylermenezes 4 days ago 0 replies      
Way too true. I ended up going back to Windows, because the audio would frequently (3-4 times an hour) stop working on my laptop until I restarted pulseaudio. And that's on Ubuntu certified hardware...

Not to mention the problems we had with our streaming servers and ffmpeg. It turns out that there was a big flame war on libav vs ffmpeg, and someone from the libav camp managed to get the ffmpeg package marked as deprecated (it's not) and redirected to the libav package on Ubuntu's apt repo. So we're stuck either compiling from source or running our own repo. Seriously? (fwiw, the rationale is that libav pushes new versions more frequently)

giulivo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Compare Linux to OSX makes no sense to me. Linux has always been missing features when compared to alternatives; the GNU system was actually written to emulate the alternative.

But the GNU/Linux project had a very different objective. Fighting for freedom. If it is still freedom the driving force, then we should encourage the enthusiasts and get back to work on improve Linux, as it has been done for the past years. By doing so Linux already reached the excellence in some fields.

If you're just competing on features, you'll be missing some great benefits and enjoyment. And to be honest, in terms of features OSX isn't that good either as Windows is still used by the majority for one reason or another.

richardk 4 days ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, GNU/Linux never really was about some desktop conquest, so this whole discussion "What killed the Linux desktop" is quite absurd.

That aside, what we have here is a thread apparently devoted to shitting on the work of people who built something for fun and gave it away for free.

Good job folks!

tzs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ingo Molnar has some interesting thoughts on this subject: https://plus.google.com/109922199462633401279/posts/HgdeFDfR...
zwdr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thats just bullshit. The Linux desktop maybe isn't broadly accepted or mainstream, but I dont see the Problem in that- after all Linux remains a system for power users, even if some Distros want to change that. And there really is no better desktop environment for those people than the Linux desktop. Windows is shit incarnated, so lets not even begin to talk about it. What remains? Mac OS. Sure, it has a more accessible GUI, but not a more efficient one.
I cant think of something more elegant than a tiling wm, be it awesome, wmii or xmonad. Everything based on moving a cursor just feels awkward in comparison to the simplicity of ~5-10 keyboard shortcuts. And tiling also means that I always have everything in front of me. Fumbling around to find some window is HORROR.

I think the Linux desktop simply has more options for experienced users. I simply see no way how I could be more productive with a GUI designed to cater to lusers.

greedo 4 days ago 0 replies      
OSX didn't kill the Linux desktop, Office and Photoshop did. Just as it killed the *BSD desktops. Lack of high-end applications that were compatible with what the business world was using doomed anything that didn't have at least a tacit blessing from Adobe and Microsoft.
hcarvalhoalves 4 days ago 0 replies      
Linux isn't dead in the desktop because it never was a product in the first place.

The first attempts were Mandrake and Conectiva. Canonical has been doing a good job lately, the problem is that the platform is now beyond hope on the desktop, it simply doesn't gather traction from 3rd party developers - the most important thing for a desktop OS. You're pretty much limited to the FOSS utilities that exist on the repositories.

ZeroGravitas 4 days ago 0 replies      
The first comment explodes this piece:

"I mean, look at OS X itself. Sure it's doing fine, but powered by iPhone and iPad, not by people wanting a new desktop. And it still has minority marketshare despite being from one of the most profitable companies on earth and despite Microsoft's repeated weird Windows-rethinks."

Basically, path-dependant lock-in means we're lucky not to be using x86-based wPhones that don't even have web browsers. The linux and open web communities have achieved amazing things, enabling Apple's comeback along the way.

jeremyjh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Its strange for me to read something like this since I have recently switched back to Linux and I've never been happier with it. I've been a sometime user of it since around 1997 but it could never survive long as my primary OS. I bought my Frankenputer parts from Newegg without checking on hardware compatibility for any of it and it all worked great. I had only one problem which was wake from USB keyboard and I googled it down pretty quick (was a new issue with Ubuntu Precise it seems).

I like OS X too and had a Powerbook for years but all other things being equal I'd prefer to develop and deploy on same OS and Linux is just fine for development so far.

buntar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Miguels affection towards his iPhone is a bit unconsidered and superficial.

But anyway, a more interesting question could be: What does it take to bring an ex-linux user and now happy OSX user back to linux?

I used Windows for 3 years, then linux for 2 years. During that time I did a lot of installations (mostly ubuntu and debian) on a lot of different devices. During this time, while fighting with drivers, minor display problems, and spoiled windows users I lost my faith in linux as a desktop os and switched to OSX.

I can just speak for myself, but this few points would bring me back to linux in no time.

Presenting Distribution "Utopia"

1. No X11 based display stack, it is replaced with something conceptually simpler (like cocoa).

2. (Multiple) monitor recognition 100% accurate. (Probably connected to Pt. 1)

3. The audio setup is not much worse then the one of OSX.

4. Throwing Gnome and everything that is based on Glib out. It's 2012 there alternatives to faking oo with C. Qt isn't allowed either.

5. Throwing APT out. No more dependency management for a desktop OS please. Then kill Perl as requirement for running an os.

Ahhhhh, I feel better now :-).
This is the opposite of what Miguel demanded, he cares for backward compatibility.

When I think about it. "Utopia" would be similar to Android. No fear to throw old stuff out.

Android as a foundation for a new desktop linux?

rjzzleep 4 days ago 0 replies      
i guess if you don't mind that osx used 5% active cpu just for flashing bubbly buttons that's alright.

i like osx, I think it does have a good ecosystem for GUI APPS. but at pretty much everything it fails. It's a performance nightmare and the filesystem makes me want to punch a kid in the face(yes sorry, I also don't think you should be doing opengl in javascript, but hey) everytime it kills the cpu.

Now, with all the mentioned above I do wish there was a better ecosystem for app development. I mean something like xcode 3 not 4. Yes we have QT, yes we have glade, but build an app with the interface designer and bindings, mvc concepts and it just helps a lot.

You can do most of it with Vala, granted, it's just shittier documented and not as "round", there are no standard concepts to follow, etc. And yes, I do like my linux customizability, but we have stuff like CERT best practices for secure C coding. Why can we not get something like that for linux gui programming.

ps. gnome3 can go right where it came from

agumonkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone feels that linux and desktop are at odds with each other? Don't we like small components to bind together using pipes ? Desktop apps are the reverse, big black boxes that barely communicate with anything (I'll admit I don't know dbus)
Apocryphon 4 days ago 0 replies      
You really have to wonder if the advent of Windows 8 and disgruntlement with it from Valve, Blizzard, etc. might have repercussions on this whole situation.
aj700 4 days ago 1 reply      
1. If this is true, and it seems right to me, maybe some of the massive effort put into designing new GUIs for Gnome/KDE/etc should be put into hacking the look and feel of the OS X desktop?

Unsanity ShapeShifter hasn't worked since OS 10.4

and I know about

http://magnifique.en.softonic.com/mac - 10.5 only

http://www.marsthemes.com/crystalclear/ 10.7 support claimed, but it's not very radical. I'd love xfce's window look controls or a Stardock windowblinds.

I know Apple don't want anybody to do this. I know they will deliberately introduce changes that break hacks. But as I said, how can it be more effort than Linux?


2. To try to prevent OSx86 hacks, DSMOS.kext uses crypto to prevent the system running essential UI elements like Finder, SystemUIServer, etc. Can't we build our own versions of those parts?


3. Is this true?:

Linux desktop - dying, dead

Windows 8 - trying so hard to copy OSX/iPad/Springboard/Launchpad that everybody is gonna hate its TWO UI's! (dying?)

Mac - winning, won (by default?)

rbanffy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seriously... Is this discussion still relevant?

Anyway, my bet on what "killed" the Linux desktop would be the Windows OEM licensing terms. Nothing really killed it because it was always a very specialized product.

Do we always have to see a problem when someone doesn't make the same choices we do?

zerostar07 4 days ago 0 replies      
Could it be that the main issue is the lack of leadership? We don't have many linux kernels yet we have dozens of incompatible desktop configurations and the list keeps growing. I think if there was a clear winner in the desktop wars, desktop apps would be of much higher quality.

And also the horrible aping of other environments and stupid UI eyecandy. Given that the majority of linux users and developers are technical, that's surprising.

shmerl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ask Mozilla how they manage to distribute their tarballs which work on all major distros.
charlieok 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Miguel de Icaza " once a central figure in the development of the Linux desktop environment GNOME " says the open web is now a greater concern than free software."

I was kind of hoping those two things would each help drive the other forward.

lobster45 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would have to say Apple killed Linix. As many others have noted here, OSX has improved to the point where many Unix admins run OSX and it runs the tools they have for their work. Also Mac hardware is better than PC hardware so you buy a macbook with OSX and you are happy.
radley 4 days ago 1 reply      
Linux desktop will rise again as Android PC.
chanux 4 days ago 0 replies      
In a comment Miguel says,

Because the developers have moved on to greener pastures.

Of course, it all boils down to green at the end of the day.

option_greek 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope we won't see a "what killed the android phone" post sometime in future :(
Xyzodiac 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in the same boat as the author, I really have few complaints after moving full time to OS X from Linux.
sjtgraham 4 days ago 0 replies      
I dislike titles such as these that beg the question.
leishulang 4 days ago 0 replies      
OSX got nice touchpad, Windows has awesome game libs, and Linux comes with shit loads of developer goodness. But yea, now OSX has home-brew so it almost like a better linux, but still forces you to buy overpriced hardwares.
programminggeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lack of killer apps?
guilloche 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Linux desktop is not killed and will be more prosperous with Windows 8 and secureboot shit.
alpeb 4 days ago 0 replies      
The concept of Linux on the desktop is as aberrant as the concept of Windows on the server
jawr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Since when was it dead?
Live air traffic of the world flightradar24.com
328 points by vibrunazo  23 hours ago   71 comments top 32
state_machine 20 hours ago 4 replies      
Pretty, though, just to nit-pick since I happen to be sitting on a plane, seems to be not quite live: http://cl.ly/image/002u2g152Y0T
zrail 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very neat! I love it. Uh, I don't know if this is an error or if they're doing flight testing, but this is a very weird track: http://fr24.com/KAL32
pitchups 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Very impressive indeed. One of the coolest features of the site is the Cockpit view - a very creative use of Google Maps and graphics to give you a Flight Simulator like view from inside the cockpit of any of the thousands of aircraft in the air.
Zaheer 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. That looks beautiful.

Note that just because there aren't that many planes over Africa or other places doesn't mean there aren't planes there. From their site: "Today about 60% (about 30% in USA and about 70% in Europe) of the passenger aircraft and only a small amount of military and private aircraft have an ADS-B transponder."

joshzayin 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Cockpit view is generating an error: "The Google Maps API key used on this web site was registered for a different web site. The developer of this web site can generate a new key here.

(here links to https://developers.google.com/maps/)

001sky 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this is amazing.

The cockpit view is very cool. Reminds me: You can climb Mt everest also now on Google Earth.

South Col etc. At 8000m, somewhat crazy but similar views =D

69_years_and 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Boats more your thing?
colinhowe 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I never truly appreciated how many planes are in the air until now..
mikeash 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Really cool, but the constant nagging popups telling me to download the app instead were unbelievably annoying.
smcl 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Just remembered that I found Donald Trump on this a while back - he was flying in to my home city of Aberdeen:


chmars 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A similar project with an academic background is 'AirTraffic LIVE':


It was created by students of a Swiss college of applied science in 2007. The test site is focus on Zurich International Airport but they have completed other projects based an their research. A spectacular example is a globe showing air traffic world wide created for a science museum:


There is also a Google Earth extension for private use:


piffey 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone else surprised by the number of flights in the air at any given time? I never even imagined that there was this much activity even though I'm a frequent flyer.
progrock 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Love it! There's alot of activity! How many planes, how many people up in the air in an average moment? All this talk of a third runway / increased flight support in the UK, but really - how much oil is left - how sustainable is this industry?
mirsadm 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Cockpit view is brilliant. Just watching a plane land back home right now :)
jvandenbroeck 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool!:p I'm living next to an airport and it looks like it doesn't pickup everything (or some too late), but just a few minutes ago I heard a plane coming by & it was also on flightradar =')

Idea: people give their location & the app says when to expect noise from airplanes and when it will be away=)

Andrew_Quentin 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I thought there would be a corridor of never ending planes between north America and Europe. According to the map, there are no transatlantic flights.
kgarten 18 hours ago 0 replies      
nice ... are there any APIs for getting up-to-date flight traffic? Might be fun to play around with it.
josscrowcroft 16 hours ago 0 replies      
That is absolutely incredible!
nja 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting...does JetBlue use two types of radar? I'm often seeing two icons for one flight: http://imgur.com/a/kENc0
dhughes 10 hours ago 0 replies      
planefinder.net is similar.

I live in south-eastern Canada and I can confirm it's very accurate, big jets to and from Europe constantly rumble overhead.

bencoder 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Enjoying it combined with ATC feeds from http://www.liveatc.net
jasonzemos 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like the Virgin Atlantic and British Airways 747's hit 600+ knots on the redeye across the pond.
avaku 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Why cockpit view is not working for me? It says: The Google Maps API key used on this website was registered for a different website. The developer of this website can generate a new key here.
cefarix 21 hours ago 4 replies      
The flight map over South Asia, China, and most of South America looks to be very incomplete.
nodesocket 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Amazing, didn't realize at any given time, how many planes are in the air around the world.
nja 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is crazy cool. I love the cockpit view!
curiousDog 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is beyond fantastic. Just wow!
mukaiji 17 hours ago 0 replies      
bravo! Way to kill my productivity.
khet 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing how many will not find this amazing.
rapidstuff 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Absolutely amazing!
ricksta 20 hours ago 0 replies      
no plane around beijing?
arunoda 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is amazing.
John Hunter [matplotlib.sourceforge.net] has died. scipy.org
317 points by archgoon  3 days ago   32 comments top 17
gammarator 3 days ago 1 reply      
Numfocus is collecting donations in his memory for the education of his three daughters: http://numfocus.org/johnhunter/
clemesha 3 days ago 1 reply      
I had the pleasure to work with John some a while ago when I was part of the Sage Math project.

Very saddened to hear this news :(

(Just donated. I'd urge anyone who has benefited from John's amazing Matplotlib project to considering donating to help his family).

oscilloscope 3 days ago 1 reply      
He recently gave a talk reflecting on matplotlib: "Lessons from middle age"


At the end, he discusses the challenge of client-side rendering to make visualizations like the New York Times.

d3.js comes to mind, a javascript library with a structured approach to scales, axes, projections, layouts and data-binding with SVG. The project has 12 years of work in it according to ohloh:


I wonder what middle age will look like for javascript communities.

ivany 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used matplotlib extensively when I was doing research back in school. It even made it into the work I published (after I got ridiculed for using excel to make plots). Being able to pre-process my data with numpy and generate all of my plots automatically via matplotlib calls kept me sane.

John's contribution to the Python community was extensive (I don't know of any comparable plotting tools) and won't be forgotten.

taw9 3 days ago 0 replies      
Such a shock to hear this. I was lucky enough to have worked with John at TL. He was a generous and kind man, always happy to help a novice programmer advance his or her Python skills. He will be missed. My sincere condolences to his loved ones.
stochastician 3 days ago 0 replies      
John Hunter was, like me, a neuroscientist on paper. There were times when he helped me figure out how to best plot spike rasters (neural data) in matplotlib. I remember him leaving academia for industry (quant finance at the time), and discussing how he really needed to be able to provide more for his family. Those discussions ultimately stuck with me, and now having left academia myself, I often looked back on them as catalyzing. Thank you, John.
viraj_shah 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think today it is quite understated the value of giving back to the programming community. It is so easy for people to consume and take the information online but it is just as important that people contribute as much as they can back to community to continue the cycle. John is a perfect example of someone who went beyond the call.
wgrover 3 days ago 0 replies      
As Fernando noted, if you use matplotlib regularly, check the price on a MATLAB license (looks like USD $2150.00 for a single commercial user) and then consider donating to John's family: http://numfocus.org/johnhunter/
iamandrus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very sad to hear. His contributions to the Python community will never be forgotten.
robocaptain 3 days ago 0 replies      
I see lots of articles like this but none have ever hit me like this one. matplotlib saved my ass so many times and there is no doubt in my mind it was a huge factor in my career success.

Having a daughter in December and all I want to do now is call my doctor for a checkup.

Thank you John.

linuxlizard 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use matplotlib almost every day for work and school. I'm very sad to hear of his passing.

Donating to help. His work helps me so much, this is the least I can do.

hogu 3 days ago 0 replies      
very sad - I will be donating. I would not be doing what I am doing today without matplotlib - a scientific computing toolchain without a good visualization component is a non-starter.
jeiting 3 days ago 0 replies      
matplotlib got me through my physics undergrad degree.

I didn't know about this man until today but I still feel a loss.

tdicola 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow very sad news, RIP. I never knew him personally but feel like he gave me so much through his contributions to the python and scientific computing community.
kiba 3 days ago 3 replies      
Did the hospital use a medical checklist? This is a question that I like to ask everytime a medical procedure went wrong, because a checklist is a very useful tool in saving lives and preventing medical errors. However, the medical checklist haven't been adopted as fast as it should.
jinmingjian 3 days ago 0 replies      
achompas 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wolfram Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook stephenwolfram.com
296 points by ecmendenhall  3 days ago   103 comments top 31
melvinmt 3 days ago 7 replies      
> all you have to do is type “facebook report” into the standard Wolfram|Alpha website.

.. and connect with your Facebook account, grant extended permissions, signup for a Wolfram account, go to your mail inbox, validate your Wolfram ID, hit a dead end, sign into Wolfram with your Wolfram account, type "facebook report" in the searchbox again, wait 10 minutes for the page to load and finally.. get to see the report (which is nice by the way).

ninetax 3 days ago  replies      
Do you know that feeling when a project/idea you have been working on a long time gets implemented almost exactly as you imagined it, only by someone else?

Well I do now. I'm not sure if I should be excited, or listen to the sick feeling in my stomach.

Edit: Thanks for the positive support! I'll keep working on the project.

drharris 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks really cool, but it keeps timing out on me. Been longing for this kind of information, so here's hoping it will work soon!
programnature 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is the kind of thing they need to get into. Data that lots of people care about, data for the masses, rather than obscure details on bolt sizes or ancient currencies. "Compute things people want".

I could only imagine what they could do with celebrity gossip. Or product comparisons.

lancewiggs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Like the author I'm also not really active on Facebook, but I found the clustering of friends particularly insightful.

I can see this extending to Twitter, Linked in and so on, combining everything into a dynamic scorecard. This is what Klout should have been.

(Personal blog post showing clustering: http://lancewiggs.com/2012/08/31/mapping-your-social-network...)

rm999 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can't access it now, alpha is very being slow.

The concept reminds me a bit of this chrome extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nangghhladpnhlllol...

hcarvalhoalves 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nice viral way to data mine personal data here.
ecmendenhall 3 days ago 2 replies      
Here's the direct link to try it out: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=facebook+report

As someone with a long history of incomplete self-tracking projects, this kind of automated collection and analysis is great. (If only I could get the rest of my data in the same place!) What I'd really like to see is a tool like IFTTT for self-trackers.

unreal37 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just... wow.

I love what Wolfram Alpha is doing with data-based search results. So innovative and a natural search space that Google is only dipping their toes into.

tokenadult 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really liked the Facebook report from Wolfram Alpha. Logging in was pretty easy for me because I already have a Wolfram log-in. I started the process just before a family meeting and walk with my wife, and less than an hour after I started, I see on screen a DETAILED analysis of my heavy use of Facebook, with a lot of information I've been looking for--for example who is the person who comments the most on my wall, or which post that I ever posted has had the most comments. (Hmm, the link referred to in that post belongs HN if it hasn't been posted before.)

On the whole, it is more user-friendly than Facebook itself for telling me about my activity and connections on Facebook, so I'm glad I signed up for the Facebook report on Wolfram Alpha.

webwanderings 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, where did I see the word 'knowledge domain' before? Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/the-national-secur...
motters 3 days ago 1 reply      
Like Wolfram, I've been doing some personal analytics for a while, but only with email (http://sluggish.dyndns.org/wiki/Emailgraph). Potentially it would be possible to build a Friendica addon which does similar things to the Facebook Report.
zoba 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems concerning that my personal information can be so easily summed up and displayed in easily digestible format. I'm not sure if you can view other people's Wolfram Alpha Facebook summaries, or what data they could be collecting about me... However, here is one study that demonstrates that your sexual orientation can be determined just by analyzing your Facebook friends.


bane 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not bad, the friend network clustering was pretty good (clustered using mutual friends). You can clearly see clusters of people from each place I've worked, the neighborhood I live in, my school friends etc. each in almost their own cluster (and when they aren't neatly organized, there's a very good reason why, like people who moved between jobs with me...aggregating both clusters together).

Strangely, it gets my place of residence wrong.

cmelbye 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, the coolest part (in my opinion) is the Friend Network section at the bottom. It accurately mapped and clustered every section of my life, including my first high school, the high school I moved to after that, my college, my family, various work groups and social groups, etc. Very interesting to see visually.
amirmc 3 days ago 1 reply      
This just made personal search a very interesting space.

Put aside for a moment the fact that you're giving your personal data to (yet another) third party. Imagine you tie all your social online stuff to a service that's good at aggregating/displaying the data from each one. Now I could have a 'dashboard' of my online life as well as being able to query it (e.g when/how did I last interact with Alice or Bob?).

I don't know how good Alpha actually is but if I take the visualisations on faith, then I'm interested to know where they're headed. If I were a startup in the personal data/aggregation space, I'd be paying very close attention.

sp332 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is what I always wanted out of FB.
ohashi 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really want to use this service and check out the interesting data it generates. But I don't really want to give away all my data to WolframAlpha. It says 'Your information is only stored for one hour, so each time you return, we'll run fresh analytics on your Facebook data.' but I am not really sure. It's encouraging me to come back and let it continuously mine it? I am conflicted.
npguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very soon, Facebook needs to get to a point where when you log in it would ask you "what is your target mood: happy, stimulated to do more work, disturbed, relax,happy" and would tailor what you see and do based on past analytics.
pulak 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is interestingly non-viral. Although it's one of the coolest links I've seen in a while, it takes much longer to "consume" this, and sharing doesn't have until after consumption. Interesting to note how much less frequently this was shared than some much interesting "popular links".
smackfu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have to love those people with ages of 99 years.

(At least they deal with the "hide my birth year" people correctly instead of saying they are 1-year-old.)

jameswyse 3 days ago 0 replies      
The screenshots look great but I can't access the feature at all, the page just times out.
stevencorona 3 days ago 1 reply      
related: anyone know any good platforms for collecting personal data so you can make cool graphs like this? i use google spreadsheet right now, but im not a fan.
nadahalli 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am not sure how many have seen http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com by Linkedin Labs. The graph is much more neater, zoomable, and shows quirky insights about your network.
sebtoast 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a small bug with it: I set my city in my Facebook profile and Wolfram Alpha says I'm in a city with the same name but in France. But the map shows the right city.
whuff739 3 days ago 0 replies      
I look forward to trying this, Wolfram's site is a little slow right now though.
christofd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. That's impressive. Big step forward in social analytics.
dskang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not only is the analytical part super neat, but this is an absolutely brilliant way to get people to find out about Wolfram Alpha and create an account.
AustinGibbons 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was the first time I have ever seen a loading bar go down both percentage and visually. Why on earth would they do that?
arrowgunz 3 days ago 2 replies      
Times out on me! :(
Shalen 3 days ago 0 replies      
getting this { "result" : "failure", "action" : "", "url" : "" }
The Woman Who Needed to Be Upside-Down discovermagazine.com
288 points by danso  2 days ago   60 comments top 16
powertower 2 days ago 1 reply      
This sounds a lot like the occasional support request that comes in to me....

At first it's dis-believable and impossible, and you think the person is crazy, but after "troubleshooting" something rational pops up.

I can't tell you how many times this has happened. But it really doesn't help having a product/service that manages (on Windows) an underlining system of Virtual Hosts, dozens of configuration files, Apache, PHP, and MySQL, and a bunch of other software and tools (http://www.devside.net/server/webdeveloper).

tokenizer 2 days ago 0 replies      
This was a great story, and really demonstrates the value of being calm and accessing a situation. This could have easily turned into a worse situation had the doctors forced the man to drop his wife and then examine the situation.
raldi 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's like the medical version of the 500-mile email.
Jun8 2 days ago 6 replies      
IDEABOLT: Create a central repository of interesting cases and diagnoses, with a super intuitive UI, make it freely available to all MDs in the world to fill up and consult, sort of like the github for doctors.

You can make money by being the intermediary to find subjects for experiments, e.g. "For a study we are looking for identical twins who cannot see from birth but now one has restored vision where the other does not".

Does something that looks remotely similar exist?

mynegation 2 days ago 3 replies      
As a big fan of House MD and a software engineer I have always been wondering how often doctors turn to the web to look up strange cases, or is there a benefit in creating a better structured and curated site specifically for that? I guess WebMD is this kind of site, but could someone knowledgeable in medical practice share the thoughts on that?

Granted, once I knew she was on pacemaker, I figured that this has something to do with electrical connectivity. But then again, may be this is consequence of my poor soldering skills and watching too much of House MD.

kevinconroy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good to remember the next time you get a bug report from a user. Perhaps your system really isn't as perfect as you think it is.
mbubb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a children's joke - which i didn't even think was funny at the time - but enjoyed anyway:

"Dr, Dr! Every time I drink a cup of coffee, I get a stabbing pain in my right eye..."

(google it if you don't remember)

Exhibits, the same kind of ability to see the whole situation and make a diagnosis

akg 2 days ago 1 reply      
How did they get her to the hospital if she needed to be upside-down the entire time?
gizmogwai 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: I worked as software engineer for a CRM device company.

From what I learned during my medical training, this king of issue is not so uncommon, but it is usually diagnosed very easily. Her peacemaker can be disabled using a simple magnet.
This is a common test in nearly all protocol to check how the heart is working without the help of the device. Doing this simple test while upside-down would have shown that the paecemaker was effectively working in that position. That should have be enough to ring a bell to most of the cardiologists.

vinutheraj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great story. But I wonder what would have happened if she was not five feet and him seven feet tall !
scrumper 11 hours ago 0 replies      
People who enjoyed this story will love a book by neurologist Oliver Sachs called "The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Cat."
duwease 2 days ago 3 replies      
I just keep wondering why he was picking her up by the ankles in the first place..
Dinoguy1000 1 day ago 0 replies      
No comment on the overall story, but as soon as I heard the description of the man carrying her, and he said "I'm her husband", my thought was Izumi Curtis and her husband Sig. =D
criswell 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had a feeling she just had a screw loose.
kang 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry, but I couldn't resist mentioning House.
One of the episodes had similar situations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dont_Ever_Change_(House)

Since in there they say patient has "Nephroptosis, also known as 'Floating Kidney'", which is a listed medical condition, conditions like OP should not be uncommon.

alliemobley 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the sweetest story I have ever heard in my life!
"100% of our production system is now running Go" groups.google.com
287 points by enneff  3 days ago   180 comments top 13
aaronblohowiak 2 days ago  replies      
Creator of SASS and Haml now using Go for whole production system.

When asked about surprising things about Go, its creators have said that they expected to recruit people from c++ communities, instead it seems to be more ruby/python people.

bad_user 2 days ago 4 replies      
I want to try out Go, but the problems exposed by the garbage collector on 32bit systems scared me away.

Is that still the case with the latest version 1.0.2 ?

Also, is there any chance for a precise generational garbage collector to get implemented for Go? As far as I know, pointers make the implementation of precise garbage collectors difficult.

zeeg 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'd be really curious to know what their "800 million requests a month" means. When we actually added up numbers a while back, we were doing around 250 million requests to our Python machines/day, and we only had 200 servers (which included dbs/etc), that was around 3-3.5 billion pageviews a month IIRC. We now have 300 machines and do about 5 billion pageviews, but that completely ignores the huge amounts of requests to our realtime stream servers and our API (which get shit on every "pageview" at least once).
joejohnson 2 days ago 4 replies      
"100% of our production system is now running Go as 95% of our application (C being the other bits)"

So... 95% of their production system is running Go.

tocomment 2 days ago 2 replies      
How do you run golang as a server? Can anyone point me to a basic tutorial? Is it still running under something like Apache is golang IS the server somehow? If so Wouldn't each http request have to fire up the compiled executable? Isn't that slow?
pkulak 2 days ago 2 replies      
How's the garbage collector these days for Go? Is it close to the performance of the Java GC?
dbecker 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a really awkward sentence: "100% of our production system is now running Go as 95% of our

I'm curious what the 5% is that they didn't convert to go.

siculars 2 days ago 4 replies      
It's really annoying to have to log in to read something on google+, or groups for that matter. I just won't do it.
ck2 2 days ago 4 replies      
To continue shopping on m.macys.com, please enable cookies in your settings.

Really? in 2012?

bitcartel 2 days ago 1 reply      
@enneff Do you know if they are using the default gc compiler, or gccgo which is supposed to have better optimisation?
afc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whoah, 500 servers to handle an average of ~300 queries per second? Even if you generously assume they have traffic patterns that sometimes go all the way up to sustained say 5K queries per second... 500 servers? Isn't that like ... terribly wasteful?
zedzedzed 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was this dart. It somewhat failed, so what they did was, screw up a good systems language so that it sarted looking like dart..
jebblue 2 days ago 5 replies      
Edit: I just posted 3 minutes ago and I'm already in gray text. Wow.

We search with Google, run our phones with Google, run Google's browser, now they want us to write all our code in Google's language. Why Google? What's wrong with Java? Other than the fact that Oracle owns it, I miss Sun. Scott McNealy tried to make the technology world better. Scott, Gosling. Google...why should everything we do all day and night be about Google?


>> The syntax of Go is broadly similar to that of C

C, seriously? C??!? Why? Why would I want to go back to ... C?

>> Of features found in C++ or Java, Go does not include type inheritance, generic programming, assertions, method overloading, or pointer arithmetic.

And that is a good thing or a bad thing or what?

>> Go allows a programmer to write functions that can operate on inputs of arbitrary type, provided that the type implements the functions defined by a given interface.

Huh? Oh I can pass interface references, ok.

>> A Go interface is best described as a set of methods, each identified by a name and signature.

That sounds like Microsoft's crappy COM from the 1990's.

The code sample on that page shows there are no braces in the if evaluation statements. A wise man, Peter Van Der Linden formerly of Sun's Compiler Group and author of Deep C Secrets wrote about using more braces if needed as explicitness is always better. I agree with that.

At this point, I think I'd rather program in Groovy or even go to JavaScript if I had to, than use Go.

Oh...the language name sux.

Tip, buy Oracle and fix Java or by Java rights from them and fix it, then programming in a language owned by Google when you own so much of our lives now wouldn't be so bad.

PS How does Guido Van Rossom feel about Go?

Lobsters lobste.rs
277 points by relation  4 days ago   206 comments top 63
edw519 3 days ago 5 replies      
When it comes to learning, sharing, and growing together, online or otherwise, there are no competitors, winners, or losers. Just a bigger pie.

(Good luck to lobste.rs, but I'll probably be staying right here on hn.)

tomwalsham 3 days ago 3 replies      
Some stream of consciousness thoughts on the history of internet communities, particularly those centred around tech.

Usenet had immense value in well defined subgroups prior to the Eternal September (and for some time after, regardless of what people may say). IRC ha(s|d) similar values, and remains a force within niche communities on the tech side. Slashdot was an early mover in the moderated community space which had to arise from the newfound populist web.

I still think /.'s comment moderation was superior to the HN system (pre and post-visible comment scores), but the firehose was too late and too poorly implemented to solve editorial issues.

In the middle of this, Kuro5hin rose and fell, metafilter grabbed some component of the serious moderated discussion which it still retains. Fark came and went. Boingboing, SA, b3ta. All significant for a time but not names on people's lips today.

HN cannibalised a significant portion of /., but failed to convert the greybeards - the discussion here is noticeably different because of it (and lacking the perspective sometimes).

Digg suffered greatly from demagogues (as does HN to an extent), descended too rapidly into linkbait and celebpop trash, and fell to Reddit. The redesign was just the nail in the coffin of an already dead community.

Reddit became a very granular experience from its initial tech focus, with a current frontpage of dubious intellectual interest, but their popularity speaks wonders for the ad-hoc community created by diverse interest groups with a common central park. They struggle with discovery for new members, and an apparently descending base age group.

Communities come and go. Small herds migrate towards the latest point of interest and some stick. Groupthink is a large driver of community malaise, certainly within the tech discussion arena. Individuals dominate submissions and discussions and evolve to minor demagogue status. Some communities evolve to tackle a smaller arena than just the general topical discussion field, but topicality remains critical.

Quora has tackled 'big answers'. StackOverflow 'correct answers'. These are some minor elements of the value of the larger communities, much in the same way that Hipmunk, AirBnb etc have abstracted value away from Craigslist. Hyperlocal is the next big thing with FrontPorchForum and NextDoor tacking non-technical local discussion.

I still view the approaches to these problems as relatively unsolved and ripe for disruption, in particular the algorithms related to subject and comment popularity, user 'karma' (for better or worse), and approachable comment threading when a userbase grows beyond the 'scan a single page' scale. I'm not convinced that a one-size-fits-all approach will ever work, but even within niche tribes there remains a problem with staying 'current' while avoiding alienating the 1-2% who drive much of the discussion.

I fully expect a new dominant discussion forum to arise in the tech scene in the next couple of years, but Lobsters seems to be a kneejerk reimplementation of HN that even if it claws some traction would have to evolve rapidly to solve problems rather than dangling the 2013 model of a 2012 carrot.

jasonkester 3 days ago 4 replies      
Nice. Notice how it so neatly slices off exactly one demographic from here and transplants it over there, without anything that would distract them. It's focussed just on one topic: Software development stuff for Software Developers.

There are four main camps here at HN:

- "Software Entrepreneurs", building Big Important Startups or quaint little "lifestyle businesses" that let them drive their cute little "italian supercars" around their quaint little midwestern town.

- "Computer Programmers", talking about languages, deployment strategies, open source stuff and how to configure their dotfiles to automatically convert tabs to spaces.

- "Tech Gossip Afficianodos", excited about what Techcrunch has to say about who got funded, and taking sides in fights between giant corporations.

- And the guy who just wants to point out that pirating movies off the internet is technically just "copyright infringement" and therefore not bad at all (and really HBO's fault anyway.)

These guys grabbed just their team, and now they're free to talk shop without any of the myriad distractions they'd get trying to do it here.

It's a little selfish to note that I actually see this as a good thing for a slightly different reason: If Camp 2 leaves, that's more HackerNews for those of us in Camp 1, which is the reason I'm here. We'll still have to flag stuff from the other two distracting groups, but it just might make this place a little nicer as well. Everybody wins.

rauljara 3 days ago 4 replies      
Explanation for the site being invite only:

"Not for exclusivity, but rather, invitations will be used as a spam-control mechanism. New users must be invited by a current member and invitations will be unlimited (unless scaling problems temporarily prevent new accounts). If spammers are invited to the site and banned, the user that invited them may also be banned, going up the chain of invitations as needed."

Seems basically sane, though I imagine the site would be pretty cliquish at first. You do have a pretty strong disincentive for inviting people you don't know.

Any member want to break up the cliquishness by inviting me? If you trust metrics, my high average karma means I'm probably less of a risk. Probably.

olalonde 4 days ago 1 reply      
No about page, no way to register, no mention of Yehuda Katz...

edit: Apparently, the site was launched by Joshua Stein (after getting hellbanned from HN), not Yehuda Katz. https://jcs.org/notaweblog/2012/06/13/hellbanned_from_hacker...

dmix 3 days ago 1 reply      
After 4.6 years of using HN obsessively, I'm surprised to find that I'm really hoping this takes off (I was ready to hate on it).

After hearing the JCS story and remembering my own experience of PG manipulating headlines + killing my own frontpage submission, I'm all for this.

I'm also tried of the YC job listings from companies that launched 4yrs ago flooding the homepage.

subsection1h 3 days ago 3 replies      
I want a site for discussing software development news that has the equivalent of a kill file. There are a handful of prolific users at Hacker News who post multiple low-quality messages every day. I avoid Hacker News because of users such as these.

I honestly believe that at least a few of these users are secretly employed by the companies that they promote and defend daily. I don't know if they're paid to post here or that they're simply blind loyalists. Either way, they deserve to be plonked.

Below are two examples (posted by a prolific user) of the type of messages I would like to see less of, which could be filtered by a kill file feature:

"HN is going to hell because its overrun with people who practice an ideology of socialism -- pro-google because its "Free" and anti-Apple because they actually innovate and have the audacity to charge for their products."

"Apple has done far more to make the world a better place than any corporation I've ever heard of. Far more than any government in history ever has. Far more than any charity every has or ever could."

jcr 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's unfair to blame Paul Graham for every moderation decision made on
HN. It's been stated that YC funded founders help with moderation and
editing on HN, and it's a safe bet that YC partners also have elevated
permissions here. If you're like me, a normal HN user, then you will
never know all the details. If you find yourself having a bias based on
knowingly incomplete information, then you need to stop and rethink your

The most any normal user can say for certain about jcs getting
hellbanned is, he did something annoying enough that someone did
something about it!!! --Unfortunately, if you believed the previous
sentence, you are mistaken.

The reality is, a lot of stuff on HN is automated. If you do bad stuff,
bad things happen to you (your account) automatically. For example, if
you get into a flame war and pass the "posting too fast" threshold,
you could get warnings initially, and if you still don't stop, you could
hellban yourself. In other words, you simply never know if a human being
with moderator privileges did something, or if you did it to yourself.
Also, you don't know if it's permanent or temporary.

The most I can say with real certainty is, pg is smart enough to design
a system which merely gives users enough rope to hang themselves. I
would do the same, and if you've studied the problem in depth, you would
too. Eliminating human moderation through computerized automation is the
only sane way to design a discussion forum.

Now if you were a long time, active contributor like jcs, and you
ensnared yourself in the sites protective automation, and you thought
someone was doing it to you, then ya, you might be miffed. You would
probably react harshly, and by doing so, make matters even worse for
yourself and give yourself even more "reason" to be upset.

Have you ever watched someone get absolutely livid at a chat bot?

It's hilarious. It may be a wee bit sadistic to let them keep trading
increasingly heated insults with a machine, but it's still fun to watch.
At the end, they might learn a valuable lesson.

With pg, there's one thing I've come to rely on; he means well. There is
no requirement to agree with him on everything, but if over many years
you've watched him carefully, studied the things he's said and done, or
better, interacted with him, then you can be reasonably certain that he
means well.

If you know anything at all about Y-Combinator, then you already know
that Paul has far more important things to do than mess around with HN.
If you don't know the history of HN, you're at a disadvantage; it was
started as a for-fun side project to test out the ARC programming
language, and HN was originally called "Startup News" for a very good
reason -- to attract people with an interest in startups. The name was
eventually changed to "Hacker News" due to the retrospectively obvious
oversight; a lot of the best coders haven't really thought about doing a
startup, and the people interested in startups are often already doing
one. Broadening the scope of appeal with the name change makes sense.

If you haven't read everything Paul has written, then you don't about
the massive amount of time and effort he's put into thinking about the
interactions between people on (open) forums, and how to encourage
beneficial exchanges between (potentially conflicting) people. HN is
now, and always has been, an ongoing experiment to improve the ratio of
beneficial exchanges in discussions, as well as reduce human moderation
overhead. It's fun watching it evolve.

And lastly no, of the small bits of HN secret sauce I've discovered over
the years, I absolutely refuse to give you the details. If the details
were public, then some people would use them to game the system.

lupatus 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a tale from the Internet of yesteryear...

Long ago, circa the year 2000, I was a member of the very first niche social network, makeoutclub.com (MOC)[1], a site originally about indie rock music. One day, a group of members got tired of gibby's (the owner) benign dictatorship and mutinied. The group started lipstickandcigarettes.com (L&C), which is now a parked domain. At the time, L&C targeted the same demographic, but was very restrictive on which hipsters could join and had a more savvy GUI than MOC. It had great early success in attracting members interested in indie rock from MOC. Eventually, though, the proprietors of L&C lost interest and let the community there dissolve in order to pursue other interests (there were rumors of drug addiction at the time, IIRC). MOC, on the other hand, is still going strong and presumably making money for gibby.

I suppose the moral to my story is this: unless your social network fiefdom actively feeds your pocketbook (as MOC does for gibby and HN does for pg), expect to lose interest in maintaining it once the novelty of protest has worn off.

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

benologist 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks pretty good but a few things come to mind:

- no comment collapsing, long comment threads will become a problem just like they are here which ends up sucking, I'd love to see something like reddit's threading / collapsing and I'd really love to a see a whole other forum-ish way to browse stories as well so discussion is even more emphasized

- no registration sucks, there are easier ways to identify spammers such as their obvious affiliation with particular website(s), auto-submission honey pots, even a manual glance at submission and other stats can be pretty revealing

The biggest concern though is the site's own affiliations ... digg needed their widget everywhere which ensured the quality was locked into a downward spiral. HN gives TC traffic in exchange for publicity, and of course all the preferential treatment and posts by YC startups is less interesting now that their batches are so large. What happens when it's time for lobste.rs to pay for itself?

I really do think it's time to replace HN though, it's mainstream and it's targeted by rubbish publications and it's full of users who are here to exploit it or to be exploited by rubbish sites who manipulate them with stunning precision.

I'd love an invite if someone's giving them out.

sgdesign 3 days ago 1 reply      
This headline does seem unusually misleading. I already came across this site 10 days ago, it doesn't seems like it was "launched" in any fashion? And it's not by Yehuda Katz, and also doesn't seem like a HN "competitor" since it probably doesn't want to attract as big an audience.

So basically there are three things that are flat-out wrong with this headline.

akashshah 4 days ago 2 replies      
According to https://jcs.org/projects/ "Lobsters (2012 - present) - A link aggregation site that I created after I was banned from Hacker News."

EDIT - also found https://lobste.rs/s/bkeYe9/about_lobsters which explains some features

bane 3 days ago 2 replies      
Seems to solve my biggest HN complaint, downvotes without reasons. I'd love to give it a spin and see how that works in practice.
bravura 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, you can see the user invitation tree here:


So if you want an invitation, you should see if you know anyone on that lists.

[edit: "If spammers are invited to the site and banned, the user that invited them may also be banned, going up the chain of invitations as needed." If your parent gets banned, do all children get banned?]

jeffool 3 days ago 0 replies      
Exclusionary tagging seems nice.

More than giving why you're downvoting, I wish HN didn't ban/banish-to-purgatory people for low karma, but for upheld flagged posts. Someone can be horribly wrong, often, and still learn, and become worthwhile to the group. At least in theory.

mattdeboard 4 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly Prismatic is so very good at content curation -- at least for me and my friends -- that a "tech/startup/general geekery news" content aggregator is superfluous. I come to HN now to see the comments on the articles I read on Prismatic.
xutopia 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's invite only. Tried a few different urls and got this one: https://lobste.rs/signup
DigitalSea 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would really love an invite to this. Competition is good regardless of whether or not it was created out of spite. I often wish there were more competing sites to HN because the quality of the moderation and the way things work around here has really deteriorated as of late.

I don't know the reasoning of Paul Graham hell-banning people on this site for merely questioning the way it's moderated or for whatever reason, but the lack of transparency on HN is a big issue that needs to be fixed.

As much as I love HN, I think it's time for a change and whether it be Lobsters or another site, I am really hoping a successor breaks the ranks and perhaps PG and the moderator team will then make an effort to fix this place.

roryokane 3 days ago 6 replies      
Can an existing user of Lobsters please send me an invite? (My email is in my profile.)

According to https://lobste.rs/s/bkeYe9/about_lobsters, the only reason Lobsters is invite-only is to prevent spammers from signing up. So if you want to check that I'm not a spammer, just glance at my past comments (http://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=roryokane) and submissions (http://news.ycombinator.com/submitted?id=roryokane).

If you still want another reason to send me an invite, I support the idea of an improved Hacker News " pg seems to barely care about improving HN. I might contribute to the Lobsters code at https://github.com/jcs/lobsters.

pbiggar 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I hope this doesn't split the HN community, I hope it also serves as a wake up call that HN needs to improve or it will die. Some parts of Lobsters are really really good for solving some of the problems that HN has:

- invite only to prevent spam and increase accountability

- tags are ideal for the problem where not everyone cares about everything - getting to be a major gripe you see a lot ("oh my god, do we have to have another discussion about X")

- HN needs significantly better transparency in bans, title rewrites, etc. I don't believe that PG has an agenda or needs to protect YC companies, but the issue comes up so much that it needs to be addressed

- reasons for downvotes are genius

- private messages are worthwhile IMO

- the domain indicator is actually useful (sick of seeing co.uk or github.com instead of myblog.github.com)

Other things HN needs:

- to work: the fact that "more" barely works is astonishing

- an API for all the apps that want to provide a better or different experience

- comment collapsing - an essential feature for actually reading past the first comment thread

- a meta site where we can actually discuss this stuff without violating guidelines (meta.stackoverflow.com is one of the most innovative and important community tools ever, IMO)

I've heard "there are no technical solutions to social problems" as reasons not to do a lot of these, but the same argument could apply to the downvote. HN needs to innovate to keep its community, and I hope it does.

w1ntermute 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I liked right off the bat was a good mobile experience. The fact that you still can't get this on HN is quite appalling to me.
inuhj 3 days ago 1 reply      
My favorite forum feature is 'the blender'. I first saw it on nuclearphynance.com(and not since). Once a critical number of people blend a thread it gets deleted so as not to pollute the list of threads.

In practice it worked very well. The overwhelming majority of blended threads were from new users who were still getting a hang of the quality standards for posting in the forum.

wmf 4 days ago 0 replies      
About Lobsters: https://lobste.rs/s/bkeYe9/about_lobsters

This isn't linked anywhere obvious on the site itself.

Kilimanjaro 3 days ago 1 reply      
I Like it. Needs some modern design, minimalist and clean.

It would be sad to see HN die, but if you don't water your plants...

Xcelerate 3 days ago 5 replies      
Huh, this looks pretty cool. I like the transparency. JCS, can I get an invitation?
davyjones 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is also the open sourced clone Lamer News (http://lamernews.com/) by antirez.
tszming 3 days ago 0 replies      
Quite good, e.g. enforced SSL, responsive layout, tag, built in search, feed ordered by time ...
astrodust 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has to go down as the biggest missed opportunity ever.

The name has to be in Lobster (http://www.google.com/webfonts/specimen/Lobster). This is not an optional thing. Come on.

bhousel 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's about time.
silentscope 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this article will be removed...
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now if he can implement the multi-root voting system that would be way cool.
marcamillion 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hell-banned and slow-banned? I didn't know that mods for HN would do that to users they disagree with.

Spammers, I can understand....but users you disagree with.

Wow....just wow.

patdennis 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested in trying this out. Can anyone offer an invite? My email is available via my profile.
jschuur 3 days ago 1 reply      
So it's like a country club for hackers? No explanation of what it is (scope/core philosophy) other than the links. No sign-up, or even an indication of how to join or why there isn't a general sign-up form.

Somewhat off putting, elitist first impression.

mindcrime 3 days ago 0 replies      
If somebody would be kind enough to invite me, it would be much appreciated. Email in profile...
tptacek 4 days ago 0 replies      
ilaksh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks cool. But what about people like me who don't have any friends but still have interesting ideas?
joshu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ha, I was just thinking about how to architect a discussion forum (ala HN) this morning.
spitfire 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's much faster than HN. No long pauses when loading pages.
andybak 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's frankly embarrassing to have to ask this in public but if anyone would care to invite me, it looks like my kind of place.
dbecker 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a shame there isn't an about page that suggests what will be different (or better) about lobste.rs from HN. If it's just a clone site where a different set of people post the same articles and similar comments, I won't waste my time.
swah 3 days ago 0 replies      
I remember how much I really enjoyed seeing points...
nikcub 3 days ago 0 replies      
* clone HN

* put a link to it at the top of HN

* expect something different to HN?

andrewljohnson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was trying really hard to register so I could make some votes and comments, but could not.
lathamcity 3 days ago 0 replies      
I prefer HN's background.
marcamillion 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would like an invitation also - if someone is monitoring this and giving new ones away.

Thanks :)

npguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
What is really needed, is a HN for other domains outside of technology.
reustle 3 days ago 0 replies      
I feel it's pretty hard to look at. HN is simple, but still designed well. This, on the other hand, feels cramped.
chj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh no, invitation only.
orangethirty 3 days ago 0 replies      
Variety is what makes HN so engaging. If I wanted to read exclusivly about computers, I would just hit usenet.
gobengo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I support this. It's kind of ridiculous to see YC company's job postings on the front page all the time. And there's no reason to conflate the cult of YC with actual hacker news.
ulisesrmzroche 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone spare an invite? I'd really like to join up!
donnfelker 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like a cool site, would be nice if we could register.
calgaryeng 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like an invite...
grandpoobah 3 days ago 0 replies      
An invite would be nice.
samgranieri 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to register on the site
jrawlings 3 days ago 0 replies      
can anyone spare an invite? :)
hiphopopotamus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where's the about page?
bertomartin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Did he use emberjs for the interface? If not, why Not?
stratos2 3 days ago 0 replies      
dont like the white background. at all.
sajithdilshan 3 days ago 0 replies      
if reddit and HN had a child, it would look like lobster.
jsprink_ban2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some thoughts from user #2:

- Joshua Stein developed Lobsters by himself. Yahuda Katz was, to my knowledge, uninvolved.

- The site is invite only because, and I'm speaking for Josh here and mostly guessing (he'd be a better person to ask), it's still trying to identify itself. Communities are grown organically and I gather Josh is letting Lobsters grow slowly, intentionally. I don't think he has "launched" it, per se.

- I emailed Josh to support him when he was hellbanned (as my HN story parallels his), and a couple months after that exchange he invited me to the site. I don't participate much at all -- heads down on a product -- but I think it has potential.

- I have 5:1 odds the headline will not be fixed, even though there are three factual errors in that tiny bit of text (Katz, HN Competitor, Launched).

marshallp 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great, another a site with ruby on rail kids discussing shiny web design.
New Firefox Command Line helps you develop faster mozilla.org
272 points by ptgloden  3 days ago   67 comments top 18
agentultra 3 days ago 0 replies      
Vimperator and Pentadactyl have had something like this for some time and I've found it really useful. This feature of course goes a little above and beyond and it looks really exciting. Congrats Mozilla!
the_mitsuhiko 3 days ago 2 replies      
And yet firebug is still the better console. Why do fancy things like tilt and this input box have priority over getting basic things like the console output under control?

Just look at this example side by side and tell me which one you prefer: http://i.imgur.com/tKr87.png

sp332 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this shares code with the promising-but-defunct Ubiquity project? https://vimeo.com/1561578 Edit: if you don't feel like watching a video, here's what it's about: http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/ubiquity-in-depth/
nathan_long 3 days ago 2 replies      
Wow. This may make switch back to Firefox from Chrome as my develoment browser.

Bravo, Mozilla!

mcpherrinm 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm loving this. It didn't seem like the most useful feature when I first heard about it, but it seems pretty well implemented. (Using the current nightly).

The pagemod and inspect commands seem super useful. I hate having to click around an inspector to find the thing I want -- "inspect #foo > h3" just seems so much easier.

city41 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really hope they add "cache clear", "cache disable", "cache enable", etc.
se85 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand what this does that can't already be done a hell of a lot better with the combo of firefox/firebug and the web developer toolbar?

What is the value proposition here? Perhaps I'm missing something but it just looks like a CLI interface over the top of JavaScript (as opposed to the GUI/CLI approach with firebug - which is a far more scaleable approach).

Is this thing going to need 1000 plugins installed within the plugin just to offer the same functionality as firebug?

I didn't understand the 3d view of web pages either and their GUI for their version of firebug is completely inferior (even though it looks fancier).

Looks are not everything.

Why has any of this stuff even been allowed to be prioritised over core browser performance and functionality.

It is a sad state of affairs to see what Firefox has devolved into compared to how it was in its glory days.

greenyoda 3 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if the command line supported a shell-like language that would allow you to easily parameterize and script these Firefox commands. So instead of running one command at a time, you could create files that ran commands sequentially, iteratively, etc. There could even be syntax that sets variables to the values of arbitrary JavaScript expressions (which would give you access to any DOM attribute, for example).
mayanksinghal 2 days ago 0 replies      
(This is way off the topic, but I am way too curious to ignore and couldn't satisfy my curiosity myself, so) Is the title of the article getting rendered differently (different font) than in other pages, in Google Chrome?

Screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/tWAXr.jpg

danmaz74 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the screenshot feature for a specific element. Hope that chrome will add this too (preferably via mouse interface though)
conradfr 3 days ago 2 replies      
It made me go look in the menu and discovered the new Responsive design mode in FF15, it will be a valuable tool.
tambourine_man 3 days ago 3 replies      
Amazing that after all these years, the mouse, perhaps the most iconic symbol of the PC, is being ditched for just about every application.
mixmastamyk 3 days ago 3 replies      
Neat, but "console clear" to clear struck me. A bit verbose, no? After years of "cls" (aliased on unix) I might not bother with the number of keystrokes required.
superxor 3 days ago 0 replies      
The FF dev tools offer a very different experience compared to Chrome. I am curious about the rationale between having different views for web inspector & debugger.

I am on Aurora/Ubuntu. The binding for the Debugger (Ctrl-Shft-S) doesn't seem to work for me and the Dev toolbar has no way to open the debugger view.

arnarbi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Every app should have this.
agumonkey 3 days ago 0 replies      
It was unstable and rarely discussed until recently. This is very wellcome.
itsbits 2 days ago 0 replies      
3D View is only thing that sometimes take me to Firefox console..Still not exciting to avoid firebug...
railswarrior 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really liked the cookie feature ,could use it a lot.
Just Scroll nissan.co.jp
262 points by koichi  3 days ago   101 comments top 30
graue 2 days ago 13 replies      
I might just ditch Firefox because of this webpage. A fresh session of Ffx15 goes up to 1.5 GB memory usage, pushes everything into swap and brings my whole OS to a grinding halt until I kill it. In other words this link is basically a very effective DoS. In Chromium it works fine. Am I the only one having this problem?

(Edit: I have several Ffx addons running and no Chromium addons, so the comparison was unfair. Maybe I'll just ditch some of those addons...)

se85 2 days ago 6 replies      
Interesting design concept - but a horrible implementation of it.

You can't just go and load a thousand divs and not expect a wide variety of performance issues across all the different platforms.

You need to have a tile manager or something behind the scenes the same way that Google maps does, especially when targetting smaller consumer devices with limited hardware specs like tablets and phones.

* iOS5 - with an iphone 3gs (laggy to the point of being unusable)

* iOS5 - with an iphone 4 (laggy to be the point of being unusable, unless your patient). I don't have an iphone 4gs to test on, but I suspect it might be more on par with ipad 2 performance. The differences could be to do with retina display vs non retina display as well I suppose.

* iOS5 - with an iPad 1 - roughly same performance as an iphone 3gs - crappy

* iOS5 - with an iPad 2 - not too bad (but thats because of the gpu tile rendering in safari going on behind the scenes i suspect.

* Firefox 15 on a quad core i7 imac - massive ram spike, and crazy lag with the scrolling

* Chrome on a quad core i7 imac - no problem.

I'm not even going to bother trying this out in IE!

edit: Latest version of Opera has provided the poorest results yet, it keeps lagging and pausing and reloading the images after they have already been loaded (didn't check to see if it was actually downloading them again though)

001sky 2 days ago 1 reply      
Amazing visuals. I have no idea if the idea scales. Technically might be a bit PITA. The sensation of time. Passing. Wait, what? The modular decomposition. Birdseye flight sequnece. Functional redundancy. An innovation communication language? Dunno. Pity about the ad-part =D

Edit: pls, though. not in the wrong hands.

Kluny 2 days ago 0 replies      
People complaining about the scaffolding - oh well. It was probably built by someone who had a bright idea but knows nothing about webdesign and learned it on the fly. But the idea was great! I was delighted - I scrolled through the whole thing, shared it on facebook, then looked up the wiki for the car since the ad was Japanese. I had no performance issues, as I am using chrome on a fast ethernet connection. For someone who doesn't know web design, they did a great job!
kevincennis 3 days ago 2 replies      
For anyone wondering, that's about 135 jpgs at ~100KB on average.
fungi 2 days ago 2 replies      
save yourself the scrolly effort:



in your console (f12 in chrome/firebug, crtl+shift+k in firefox)

DigitalSea 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, this is atrocious on so many levels. 30mb of jpg files? The inner web development nerd in me believes there is a better more efficient way to do this. The length of the page is ridiculously long to scroll and unless you have a Mac with a Magic Mouse and smooth scrolling and not a Windows machine (like I use) the scrolling is super jerky.
hcarvalhoalves 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now multiply by 120 million... and that's why download rates from .jp are so damn low.
eckyptang 2 days ago 2 replies      
This works pretty well in IE9 with no noticeable performance problems on a 5 year old machine.

Rather scarily, it also works fine on a Lumia 710 as well!

I don't care what anyone says - IE is not a stinking heap of poop.

manuscreationis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Inefficient? Sure

Cool to look at? You betcha

Not everything needs to be a technological marvel

shuw 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think there is anything special about this "video" ad that lends itself to scrolling. You can take any video (infographic, music video, advertisement) and conceptually scroll through it using a mouse, but what does that gain you?

If you could interact with the elements and there was more than 1 dimension of scroll.. then that'd be going beyond.

marginalboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Classic case of "just because you can doesn't mean you should"...
yuliyp 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope nobody ever thinks this is a good idea.
saxamaphone69 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of that advertisement someone did on Pinterest, where you had to scroll down quickly as well.

edit: Uniqlo, that was it. not on their Pinterest anymore. Video for same effect - http://youtu.be/e5FM-VcE7UA

splatzone 3 days ago 4 replies      
Anyone care to explain how this works? It can't just be an endless array of divs, can it?
nu2ycombinator 2 days ago 0 replies      
You do not have to scroll down. Press on Menu buttons 1, 2, 3, 4 one after another
manojlds 2 days ago 0 replies      
Of my latest versions of Opera, Firefox, Chrome and IE, only IE handled this to perfection! (it was IE10)
LancerSykera 2 days ago 1 reply      
Best use of my freewheel Logitech "Marathon Mouse" M705 yet.
ch 3 days ago 1 reply      
Try reverse!
sageikosa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps someone can patent this and save the rest of us from copycats.
madmax108 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting design concept indeed...

If I remember right, some apparel company used Pinterest's
"revolutionary" display (Masonry right?) to a similar effect. Perhaps a HN Search is in order! :)

Memory issues apart,This is pretty cool!

suyash 2 days ago 0 replies      
How does it perform on touch devices? This is a great use case for just flicking thru on mobile and tablets.
madmikey 2 days ago 2 replies      
In countries like INDIA, the site takes about more than ten minutes to load on an average indian internet connection.
Bjoern 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having open quite a few tabs before it killed my Firefox.
mp99e99 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool, thanks for sharing.
egze 2 days ago 0 replies      
The page could use some infinity.js
tomkit 2 days ago 0 replies      
The irregular intervals at which you scroll your mouse produces a stop-motion type effect :).
gdubya 2 days ago 0 replies      



WagnerVaz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry but the driving wheel is in the opposite side.
w0utert 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nice, but Volkswagen has had the exact same thing for months, but done a lot better:


Robot cars on public roads? California says yes arstechnica.com
260 points by vectorbunny  3 days ago   152 comments top 21
Jun8 3 days ago  replies      
This is fantastic! The adoption could be very fast, e.g. if insurance companies give benefits if you drive a self-driving car.

One current roadblock is the price of the system: the LIDAR (the thing on the top of the car in the picture) retails for ~$75K currently. There should be significant volume to drive the price down. But a lot of people would buy them for prestige, too (e.g. many early Prius adopters), so if the cost of the system can be reduced to perhaps $4K-$5K levels people will seriously think about this.

lunchbox 3 days ago 3 replies      
How is this different from what happened in May?


"California Senate passes bill for self-driving cars"

tocomment 3 days ago 7 replies      
Does anyone know how a self driving car would potentially handle scenarios like:

1. A traffic light being out and cop is directing traffic? (Would it have to learn hand gestures?)

2. Stopping at a guard booth.

3. Crossing a solid yellow line to pass a stopped car or a garbage truck?

yonran 3 days ago 4 replies      
Previous discussions of earlier versions of the bill: in March: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3688267, and in May: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4010297

Current bill text: http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_1251-1300/sb_129...

What seems to have changed since May:

- The California DMV will set safety rules before 2015 instead of waiting for NHTSA to allow production use,

- The manufacturer must apply to the DMV before production use.

- Cars must record sensor data for 30s before every collision.

What I don't like about the bill is that it requires an operator to be able to take manual control of the vehicle at any time. I'd imagine that as autonomous vehicles develop in the coming years, this restriction will have to be removed.

russell 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've been rear-ended 7 times in the past 5 years. I'll be glad when everyone else has self-driving cars.

(My GF says I drive too fast and stop too quickly. She's probably right, although 3 of those times I was moving at less than walking speed.)

eslachance 3 days ago  replies      
I'm very glad to see that this is spreading. It would have been really annoying for Google to perfect their car and then have nowhere to drive it because of silly legislations. It wouldn't be the first time senators were afraid of change...
beedogs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good. The first thing they should do is force anyone over 75 years of age to use them.


juiceandjuice 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen google's robotic cars already driven on the 280, specifically the Lexus SUV.
Sharma 3 days ago 1 reply      
Alright! New field of hacking,security and development will emerge now. People will try to hack, other people will try to make it secure and some of us will work on developing fancy apps for these vehicles.
farinasa 3 days ago 1 reply      
I personally can't wait to read a book on the way to work.
chintan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure you'll have to sign a 'terms & waiver' document similar to the one before Sky Diving.
olalonde 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a related note, does anyone have an idea on how Google plans to commercialize their technology?
tolos 3 days ago 4 replies      
Have there been any studies on whether people actually want autonomous cars (a quick google search only shows one: http://www.alpineautotrans.com/?p=326)? I think it's a good idea, and I bet most people on HN would agree, but what's the downside? How many people in the general public would trust a robot driver? Can you still speed -- if you're late for work -- if you need emergency medical care? Can you take manual control of the vehicle -- would that raise insurance rates if you did so? How many people in the general public would be ok with that?
rynes 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the view of some consumers (I might be one,) a car may be considered to be a black box that is used to transport someone/something(s) from point A to point B. I do not automatically assume that it is always better to instrument a machine to control such a box rather than having a qualified person control it.
Reltair 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yes! Driving in traffic is mind-numbing.

It also doesn't help that traffic seems to be getting worse in the bay area.

sigzero 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love to drive in any kind of traffic. No thanks on the robot car. I want to remain in control.
bsbechtel 3 days ago 0 replies      
What the hell happens when hackers manage to hijack control of these thing going down the highway?
AndrewKemendo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can see it now: a Lidar and autonomous system integrated on my Tesla S.
andreer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm all for this, but I'm a bit miffed about the terminology: autonomous/robot/self-driving cars. "Autopilot" is shorter, simpler and well-established - and IMHO more accurate, as long asa human driver ready to take over at any time is still required.
sslayer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised we haven't heard from Hoffa.
PonyDebugger: Chrome Developer Tools for Native iOS Apps squareup.com
260 points by wlue  3 days ago   44 comments top 14
rsbrown 3 days ago 3 replies      
This looks like a really valuable tool to have in the iOS development arsenal.

It also underscores my loathing for cutesy, irreverent naming conventions.

jazzychad 3 days ago 1 reply      
I saw a demo of this a couple months ago at a small gathering. I was blown away. Another feature demo'd at the time was the ability to make obj-c calls in the chrome javascript console and have it be interpreted in the app runtime. e.g.

UIApplication.sharedApplication.delegate.navigationController.navigationBar.tintColor = UIColor.redColor;

and the app's navbar changed color. Is this still possible with this release? I haven't been able to try it out at work yet. Thanks for this awesome tool.

devinfoley 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that the state iOS development is improving at a very rapid pace. I can't wait to try this out.
Nemisis7654 3 days ago 2 replies      
This looks fantastic. Does anyone know if there is a similar tool for Android?
scottostler 3 days ago 3 replies      
Awesome, will definitely give this a shot. It's great to see iOS development tools pick up tricks from the web world.

Personally, I can't wait for a Firebug-like tool for live debugging and tweaking of UIView hierarchies.

alexbell 3 days ago 1 reply      
This will improve my life I think, installing now and thank you!
se85 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I never thought it would be possible to use the webkit developer tools for a completely different technology stack to such an extent.

Impressive to say the least.

mikemurray 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this! The Core-Data Browser will be especially useful for me. Verifying data was correctly stored had been somewhat of a pain before.
est 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool for my projects, however, are there any other tools that can be used ananlyze other binaries without compiling?
Codhisattva 3 days ago 2 replies      
Impressive looking tool. I hope the intern is getting paid because he's adding a lot of value to Square and the dev community too. (Seems like a chance to plug http://gittip.com/ now!)
devonbleak 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting tool.

I've done something like this in the past using Charles or Fiddler and the proxy settings on my iOS device.

goggles99 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool - but seems like more of a monitor than a debugger (titles are always over-sensationalized I suppose).
boerni1234 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's also possible to inspect HTML/JS on WebView based apps (phonegap)?
tylerc230 3 days ago 2 replies      
What is the advantage of this tool over Charles?
Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes wired.com
259 points by mtgx  3 days ago   219 comments top 34
rickmb 3 days ago  replies      
As an Apple fanboy, I've been able to rationalize everything Apple has done concerning the app-store up to now, even if I personally would have like to have seen a way more open and liberal approach. And the overblown anti-Apple FUD, using misplaced terms like "censorship" and "monopoly" whenever an app was thwarted by Apples opaque policies has made it easy to ignore the objections of detractors.

But I find it impossible to justify what is quite obviously a politically motivated rejection.

I still believe this is Apple's store, and they can admit and reject what they like. But if politics comes into it, than that changes my personal perspective on buying Apple products.

Just imagine if the subject would be "places that legalize gay marriage" instead of drone strikes. The only "objectionable" part of the drone strike app is that it may have a political agenda. That should never be grounds for rejection.

mike-cardwell 3 days ago  replies      
I can understand Apple wanting to keep its market place "clean", but at the very least, iDevice owners should be able to opt-in to seeing apps like this. Why can't it just be flagged "adult" or something, and you can then opt-in on your device to seeing apps flagged as such?

Why does Apple think it is suitable to make these decisions on your behalf, iDevice users? Are you happy with this?

Personally, I'll be sticking with my HTC device running Cyanogenmod.

Rudism 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you, Apple, for protecting me from a news aggregation/notification and mapping app like this one. I'll stick to my fart sound boards and purchasing currency for manipulative "games" with zero actual entertainment value any day!
myared 3 days ago 2 replies      
The irony is that this news aggregator is being denied, yet someone could make a game called "Drone Wars" where you operate a drone on missions and Apple would have no problem with it.
Kerrick 3 days ago 1 reply      
From the reddit comments -- I'm surprised nobody on Hacker News brought this up before reddit!

> Mobile app developer here... It was probably rejected because all it is is a web page wrapped in an app.

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

> Which this app clearly is. It's not even using the mapkit API. It's just a link to a web page.

RexRollman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Offending people's tender sensibilities should not be a reason to reject an app.
sageikosa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any user base who would give up a little freedom for a little security, will end up with a platform-specific app store.
eevilspock 3 days ago  replies      
I think iOS is better than Android. I support the idea of a walled garden in principle (as long as it isn't a monopoly, and in this case it isn't. People can choose Android or others).

But the free flow of honest information is fundamental to democracy. This is stupid and gutless editorial censorship on Apple's part (unless there's some detail about this story that I'm missing). I hope someone higher up sees this, reverses the decision, and clarifies their internal standards on this.

Fucking lame Apple! Shape the fuck up!

@Rudism: ditto.

fleitz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Helping nations keep track of progress through their crimes against humanity is more IBM's business.

Apple is merely interested in the fall from grace, not the accounting.

grandalf 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's important to be reasonable in cases like this and realize that companies willing to undertake censorship like this on behalf of government will surely (and happily) do things like install payloads on your device without permission. It's really a very small leap to expect this.
thechut 3 days ago 1 reply      
Build an Android version, I doubt that the Play Store will block the app. And if it does you can have it one of the 1- other available stores.
hcarvalhoalves 3 days ago 1 reply      
Everything now is an app, distributed inside walled gardens. Censorship! Yay!

In other news: just make stuff like this as a mobile site.

oofabz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually killing people is "objectionable and crude". Telling people about it, in an attempt to stop further killings, is anything but.
prodigal_erik 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apple's dystopian system is working as designed. If you're going to take offense, let it be that they granted themselves the power to do this at all, not whether they got around to using it or for what. I just worry how many customers may not care what they opted into even if they knew.
lutusp 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is a tempest in a teapot. Obviously the same content could be placed on a Web page containing an incarnation of Google Maps, with an updated overlay containing publicly available data about air strikes. Then iPod/iDevice owners could simply launch a browser and visit the site for the latest data.

It's obvious from the article graphic that the app is using Google Maps to display its data, so hosting it in a Web page would produce the same outcome, even the same appearance.

Indeed, given the move to so-called cloud computing and the public nature of the data being displayed, that's a more obvious way to accomplish the program's role -- put it on the Web and publish the page's address.

nathan_long 2 days ago 0 replies      
One more reason to develop for the open web instead of someone else's platform.
antihero 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think drone strikes are pretty fucking objectionable. Showing them on a map? Not so much.
toomuchcoffee 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Cupertino company says the content is “objectionable and crude,” according to Apple's latest rejection letter.

"We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write F-U-C-K on their airplanes... because...? it's obscene!"

-- Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

enraged_camel 3 days ago 2 replies      
Unlike most of the posters in this thread, I don't think Apple's rejection of the app is political. Most likely, they want to protect themselves against future legal liability, since there is a risk that the US government (specifically the Department of Defense, or Department of Homeland Security) will question the legality of drone tracking programs if they haven't already.
sageikosa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Big Apple is watching [out for] you.
JohnnyBrown 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apple is literally preventing lifesaving technology from being deployed into the world. Due to this politically-motivated decision, actual real live human beings are being denied a simple tool that could allow them to literally avoid death.

If we aren't civilized enough to distinguish between combatants and foreigners (is has been clearly shown that we are not), we could at least have the decency to give the spectators to our fireworks shows a warning.

nuje 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice to know no iOS app can help out if some day drones start strafing my country (cue arab spring etc.)
nextstep 3 days ago 1 reply      
"About two weeks later, on July 23, Apple told him was just too blah."

What is this supposed to say?

wprater 3 days ago 1 reply      
Whoa. Now Apple is providing censorship for our [corrupt] government. Sigh.
nachteilig 3 days ago 0 replies      
I typically support Apple's app store limitations, but come _on_ guys. This is almost as silly as the Mark Fiore situation.
spinchange 3 days ago 0 replies      
Clearly not as desirable as just having the finished app approved, but a drones twitter account that posts every time the strike database is updated sounds like an itch worth scratching to me.
jrockway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meh, it should be a web app anyway.
blazingfrog2 3 days ago 2 replies      
Instead of calling this a political move, I'm wondering if they would allow an app that tracks murder victims across the US as they happen.
My guess is that it would be rejected too for the same reasons, which are probably not political. This would simply be, as they said, crude. And IMHO, inappropriate.
Create 2 days ago 0 replies      
iOS privacy app returns as a web app

Bitdefender says that Apple removed the application, which previously was a paid product, from the iOS App Store in June, but hasn't given it a reason for doing so. A potential cause could have been that Clueful tried to auto-detect a user's installed iOS apps so it could then display information about them.


Tycho 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can just imagine some bored senator turning an app like this into an indictment of how Apple supports anti-Americanism and dodges taxes.
tiglionabbit 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this information available on a web page somewhere?
nell 2 days ago 0 replies      
What if this request was from the govt?
Shivetya 3 days ago 0 replies      
if you want the conspiracy side of this, wrong guy is in office.
frusciante29 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know people are getting killed in Afghanistan. Why would I want to know how many and when?
Walking out of an interview stackexchange.com
256 points by DanielShir  4 days ago   249 comments top 57
patio11 4 days ago  replies      
My answer on this depends on whether we want to be an emotionally supportive group for people who make a badge of honor out of being socially and professionally inept, or whether we want to give advice which will actually move careers forward.

A company which is not a cultural good fit for you, and the employees thereof, can still be very valuable allies. I would not act to antagonize them absent substantial provocation. Not being like you is not a substantial provocation. Most people in the world will, after all, not be like you, and you'll end up not working for approximately all companies in the industry. That's OK.

You've already got the day blocked off in your calendar. Smile. Firm handshakes. Thank them for taking the time to interview you. Heck, they're giving you free live-fire practice for your next interview, make the most out of it. You should never say a word of criticism about the company to anyone but your primary point of contact and you should be darn circumspect with how you word it to him. (I like something along the general lines of "Thanks for your time and allowing me to get to know $FOO_CORP better. We're really in the same boat: I only want to work at employers where I'd do my best work, and you only want to hire people who'd do great things at $FOO_CORP. Having had the opportunity to hear you guys out a bit more, I don't think we're a great mutual fit. I will keep my ears open for you in case any of my friends would be a good fit for your position.")

rwhitman 4 days ago 7 replies      
I once declined an offer over email and promptly got a conference call back from them where the CEO was incredibly hostile, the purpose of the call seemed like the CEO just wanted to publicly berate me and tell me that I was making a bad move.

Afterwards I realized that its entirely a subconscious alpha dominance thing. There's this unsaid very primal, tribal power trip that goes along with the interviewee vs employer relationship.

As the interviewer you want to be holding the power card - you sit in a position of power and have other people dance around and do what you say in order for you to be able to judge them and make them prove their worth to you in order to join your tribe.

Its really one of the few times we get to break down our democratic social structure and revert back to this primitive social order in adulthood, so its a pretty important ritual for alpha-types.

When someone comes in and disrupts that natural boundary it becomes offensive as they've unconsciously told you "I don't respect you as a leader" in front of your staff and team. The interviewer then needs to re-affirm their ego and dominance over the tribal unit in a public display.

If you look at all these articles floating around about judging candidates and "top grading" and you look at it from this tribal alpha-dominance perspective it really breaks down some of what we assume is necessary in hiring. I think the whole system is based around some silly ancient ritual that we haven't been able to shake from our culture.

mootothemax 4 days ago 2 replies      
I remember being sent to an interview for a PHP developer, only for it to transpire that the company was actually after a Perl developer. The recruitment agent had sent me along anyway, having helpfully added a couple of lines to my CV.

The strange thing was that after I explained what had happened (after 15 or so minutes of initial interview fun) and said something like "Thanks for taking the time to see me, and sorry it couldn't be more productive," the interviewers were suddenly really keen on me; I was standing halfway through the door, answering questions for a good few minutes until I worked out how to leave, much to the interviewers' reluctance.

Had I more sense at the time (I was 18 or 19 then), I would've sat down the extra ten minutes and tried to work out if we could've done business together one way or another. So whilst there are definitely times to leave early, nowadays I wouldn't be too hasty in doing so.

snowwrestler 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think a situation like this is better handled one on one--wait for a natural break, pull the interview lead aside and explain politely that you appreciate the time and consideration but think it is just not a good fit culturally. Then the lead can explain it to everyone else and excuse them from the rest of the interview process.

Announcing any kind of surprise or unwelcome news can be problematic in a group situation. When people have an emotional response, they want to express it, and in a group situation the mutual reinforcement can quickly scale up the emotion.

This is why it's generally not a good idea to quit by standing up in a staff meeting and announcing it to everyone at once (unless you're trying to make a scene :-)). It's much smoother to tell your boss first, so that they can help manage the emotion of the team.

zobzu 4 days ago 6 replies      
I left an interview early too, with Google in fact. I told them I obviously did not fit in their culture at least for that very position (SRE) , as we had divergent views, and that I wanted to abort the interview process. No need for them or I to lose time if I was going to refuse anyway.

The guy (technical person) was shocked, as if this was impossible. He also insisted more than 5 times to continue with the process, which, I refused.

Later on, they contacted me, telling me that they marked me as "failed interview process" (ie: do not hire in the future).

That told only one thing, that indeed, I wasn't a fit for that culture - probably at any position then.

geebee 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sympathetic to the guy who walked out of the inteview, though I'm not sure it was a good idea.

A lot of this probably has to do with your experience. I once had an interview for a position that was right up my alley. I have an MS in Industrial Engineering and I've worked at large manufacturing companies as a developer, as well as smaller startups that create optimization software for manufacturing, shipping, and production systems.

I went to an interview for a company almost precisely in this business area. They asked me to code a singleton, traverse a binary tree, then do it without recursion, add a leaf to a binary tree, prove that the dual of the primal is the primal of the dual, prove various long term outcomes from markov chains, swap two integers without creating a third integer, write various outer joins, convert a sql table to a binary set of indicators (is this a common thing?), and print all possible permutation of string using recursion.

At no point did anyone ask about, or even show the vaguest interest, in my background or experience. It wasn't super well coordinated, they pretty much just kept moving me from one developer to the other - so of course I was much more exhausted and drained than perhaps my interviewer of the hour realized.

My interviewers were younger, and generally looked fresh out of their CS degrees, so I'd guess that they were quite a bit sharper where it came to markov chains, hessian matrices, and b-trees. I didn't look like I was clueless, but I came off as rusty, and I did stumble with things that I would have done much more easily with an hour hitting my old text books.

It was eye-opening, and frustrating. I was polite and stuck with it, and I kept trying, because I actually wanted the job, and I thought that they could use someone like me, because while they were very talented, my few questions to them suggested that there were areas where I could bring some experience that they didn't have in house.

I didn't get an offer, but I am glad I stuck through it. The one thing I wish I'd done is politely explain to the hiring manager what I just wrote here - that I think their hiring process might be filtering out an area of talent that could be valuable to the company.

Actually, that's probably the advice I'd give the dude who terminated the interview. Rather than ending it abruptly, ask the hiring manager if he'd be willing to confer for 15 minutes or so. Explain why you think it's going badly, and what your concerns are. If you disagree, that's fine - then you can end it on better terms without appearing to leave in a huff.

And while this is off topic, I would like to point out one more thing - this is the sort of experience that often comes to my mind when I hear about companies complaining about a lack of available talent, and it's one of the reasons I'm skeptical (though this interview was years ago, when hiring wasn't on fire the way it is now).

droithomme 4 days ago 0 replies      
Assuming the accounting is correct, I think the guy was OK to end the interview politely (without throwing a fit or making grand statements) and leave.

It was also not surprising they were shocked and upset, but that in itself doesn't mean he should have refrained from ending the interview, or that he was unprofessional.

I have thought of walking out myself, I think most have.

For example one interview the manager presented a long monologue about how stupid he felt people from a certain well known outsourcing country were. It wasn't even so much that he was racist, it was that that his stories showed he was closed minded, judgmental and reactionary. I doubt these personality factors were limited to his opinions about national origin. I continued the interview and declined the subsequent offer, citing another better offer. The other offer was for less money but was a project I wanted to work on more, the diatribe wasn't really relevant and only would have been if the offers were similar or his was for more interesting work. I chose not to give him feedback about his rants because I wanted him to keep doing it so other candidates would have the same warning. Him not saying what he really thinks certainly isn't going to change his actual personality.

In other cases I see the interview to the end out of curiosity and to have a good story to tell, but also because you never really know what is going to happen without seeing it all the way through. I may find out more about their business, I may make some contacts talking to people there. Or maybe it is a wash out, but having flown across the country I am going to make it to the end of the day's interviews.

aroberge 4 days ago 0 replies      
Professionalism cuts both ways. Any company employee that reacts negatively in ways similar to what is described here (when the interviewee announced he was leaving) would display what I consider to be extremely unprofessional behaviour. The fact that this reaction seemed to have been shared by a number of employees is perhaps a symptom of groupthink. The best feedback ever I got when we were in the process of hiring was from one of my very laid back employee, who is often dismissed as "unimportant" and has a way to put people at ease, and who got some unique insight into what a prospective employee would be like.

I see this type of interview a typical "alpha male hehaviour competition" where existing employees are trying to assert in advance their worth to a potential future colleague (to put it nicely).

jlintz 4 days ago 2 replies      
I debated doing this once. I was still in college interviewing for an entry level position where the company found my resume on some job site and invited me for an interview.

I arrived at the place and was told to go into a large conference room. In the room were about 30 other people all staring at each other wondering what just happened. We were all given a coding test in Java (Java was no where on my resume and I had zero experience with it). After answering what I could with C we were broken up into teams and started a Jeopardy style game on Java and XML. I can't imagine they gained any insight into any candidate with this game since so many different people were answering questions.

Once the game was finished we were then kept in our teams and given engineering problems to work out as a group and then had to present the solutions to the "judges". Every team was pretty much told their answers sucked, I can only compare the feedback to something out of the TV show "Apprentice."

I left the interview completely dumbfounded as to what just happened. People had flown in from out of state to be there for the interview and were blind sided by this horrendous group interview that felt like it took place solely to stroke the ego of the guy leading the whole charade. I also remember the head guy preaching to us that Java was the future and if we didn't learn it we'd be left behind.

heliodor 4 days ago 6 replies      
What I find interesting here is the contrast in expected behavior for a company and for an interviewee. Most companies won't tell you why they're rejecting you if you interview with them. Most of them won't even send you a rejection email! Yet most people commenting on SE point out that you should explain why you're cutting the interview short and leaving.
m0nty 4 days ago 1 reply      
> He could feel sudden hostility from everybody in the room at the time.

Sounds like he made a good call here. With a professional interviewer, the worst you might get is "perhaps you could help us by explaining why you feel that way?" Who would seriously want to bully someone into staying to be interviewed for a job they didn't feel they could do? Personally I would thank him for his honesty.

lawdawg 4 days ago 4 replies      
People seem to think its fine to walk out of an interview early ... but how do they feel if the interviewer ends the interview early, or your "full day" of interviews is cut to just 1 or 2 hours because they just didn't think it was a good fit?

I'm guessing some of you would be pissed because you took the whole day off for the interview only to be kicked out early.

On the other hand, if I was on an interview loop, and the person left before it was my turn, I'd be grateful ... now I have extra time to do meaningful work.

richardjordan 4 days ago 0 replies      
An interview shouldn't be a position of superiors grilling an inferior. If you find yourself in that kind of interview you're unlikely to be finding a great working environment.

From that I'd suggest an interview should be a meeting of equals - they want the right person, you want the right company, both sides have an interest in figuring this out. Companies have no hesitation cutting short a day long interview process if by mid-morning the feedback to HR is that this is going to be a no-hire. Nor should candidates feel bad about cutting short an interview if it's clear early it'll be a no-accept to any prospective offer.

Honesty helps all parties. Analogy by anecdote:

I have always felt that an interview is a fair dialogue. Back in 1997 (yes I am THAT old) I was interviewed for a tech support position near London, for a massive multinational which had a completely failing tech service desk catering to tens of thousands of desktops. At the end of the interview the interviewer - who'd be my prospective boss - asked the question "does that sound like something that appeals to you" after describing the job.

My answer was honest: "no not really, but I wish you all the best in the search."

"Why not?"

"Well, I might have interest in leading a team like that because it sounds like there's a real problem to be solved in servicing your internal customers, but it doesn't sound like it's a process I'd enjoy working in, as it is".

This being London in the late 90s where there was a massive IT shortage (a bit like Silicon Valley and engineers today) I got a call back from my agent (fancy name for recruiter) who asked what I'd done. Apparently they'd called him back and offered me the job of running the Service Desk and fixing the problems that made me not interested in working on it.

I ended up with a much higher paying job offer, my first management experience (eventually building the team to over 40 people from the 6 I started with) and they ended up with someone who finally solved their problems, turning first line fix around from 17% to 70% in about six months.

Interviews aren't there for you to say yessir nosir. They're a back and forth between equals trying to find the best for both parties. This guy is absolutely right to call it a day early, if he feels it's not the right fit.

psykotic 4 days ago 0 replies      
Companies with all-day interview affairs have no qualms about cutting the process short at lunch time. Why should an interviewee not be able to do the same? It must be handled delicately and gracefully, but that hopefully goes without saying.
thinker 4 days ago 1 reply      
There seems to be a double standard in the comments here.

Companies regularly cut short interviews (speaking from personal experience). They've all been polite about it and explain why, usually saying "it's not the right fit". There are some companies that ask between multiple interviews if the candidate is still interested in talking to the next person.

A candidate should be allowed the same ability to "walk out". From the OPs story I got that he cut his interview not during a round but before the next one was to begin (the reason for moving him into another room). Thats the perfect time to do it. The reason the candidate gave is sufficient, he doesn't wish to waste anyone's time. The response of the company in this case is actually arrogant and unprofessional.

ams6110 4 days ago 2 replies      
You'd only need to do this in the scenario of an all day (or longer) interview, which in itself is something you should not enter into without some pretty good feelings developed from the preliminary/phone interview.

In this case it sounds like a fairly conventional "business" type guy didn't like the idea of working in a open environment with a bunch of kids wearing jeans. But that kind of basic "what's your work environment like" information should have been known or ascertained by him before accepting an invite for an all-day on-site interview.

In rare cases you may realize during the final screening that there's some fundamental incompatibilty, but if you do your due diligence in the preliminaries this really shouldn't happen.

Having to walk out of a final interview means that both sides executed the initial screening poorly.

Edit: typos

evanprodromou 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem here isn't the interviewee; it's the interviewer.

This is exactly why we do phone screenings and brief initial interviews. If something like location, development technique, interior design or dress code isn't going to work out for someone, you should be able to flush some of that out in a 15-minute phone screen, and the rest in a 30-60 minute initial interview.

By the time you're bringing someone in for a full day, the interviewer should be at well over 75% sure the person is a do-hire. Don't waste your team's time or effort on someone you're not going to go with (unless you're stress-testing your interview process...).

As far as walking out: there's so much data here. For the company, they've either got a dysfunctional interview process or some seriously difficult fellow developers. Both those problems need to be addressed.

For the interviewee, there's the information on how the team responds. If there's a problem, and they want to solve it, they need to be more pro-active about it. "Can we break now and continue later?" Also, "Can we get a post-mortem from you?" At the very least, it's a good time to break for coffee or beers around the corner.

spaghetti 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's 100% fine to end the interview early as the OP did. The interviewers/hr will end the interview early the moment they're sure it won't work out.

The fact that the interviewers acted rudely is a great sign that it's an awful place to work. Would be nice if the company were named so others can avoid interviewing there.

dedward 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's always okay to politey and professionaly not waste people's time. Don't come across as judgemental, angry, or anything similar or you risk burning bridges you may not even realize you have.

From the brief description, it sounds like the guy was showing a bit too much emotion in leaving. Also - just because an interview process seems harsh doesn't mean the company is harsh - the interview is one thing, the job is often quite another - results tend to speak for themselves regardless of culture (and as long as you aren't a snob or jerk to your co-workers)
If a seasoned, experienced professional doesn't get that, maybe they aren't a good fit...

VLM 4 days ago 1 reply      
I walked out of an interview, furious, probably two decades ago at "major cellphone company". HR advertised for an RF engineer position, which I had the education and experience for. I can totally sympathize with being rude because I'm normally very calm and I was Barely, just barely able to keep under control. So I burned 10% of my annual vacation days to come here, and drove half way across the state for hours to be bait and switched into a 1st level high school dropout call center support job at about a fifth my current pay? I'm thinking are you F-ing kidding me? I just barely kept it civil and made sure they understood perfectly why I was walking out of the interview. I saw in the bathroom mirror on the way out that I was blazing red in the face so I must have been quite the sight. The HR woman who screwed up the job req and ad and phone interview was more embarrassed than I was, and I actually got along excellently with the technician dept team lead, because we were basically at the same level at different companies (I wasn't mad at the individuals, solely at the situation).

What HR meant by RF engineer was by RF they wanted a call center guy to handle dropped call issues and by engineer they wanted to never pay overtime. Um, sorry HR lady, thats not really what I went to school for, nor is it anything like what I was doing at that time for about five times the annual salary, admittedly with a very similar job title.

yason 4 days ago 1 reply      
Everybody's talking about burning bridges but it's a bad analogy. Bridges like these won't always catch fire even if torched and then again some burst into flames even if you didn't even touch your matches. The guy in the question seems to have just walked on the bridge.

Sounds like the guy just spoke directly. Some people can't take that; I don't know how much more neutrally you can give the message "I'm done with the interview" than saying pretty much just that. If you want to sugarcoat it then doing so still won't change the message: it just makes it a slightly more difficult for others to express how badly they take it.

I don't know the exact words used in the situation but he seemed polite yet firm. I would expect such language from anyone who's used to not waste people's time, including his own. While he doesn't want to be rude, he also can't control what can be considered rude by others.

There's no question whether such behaviour is allowed: of course the guy can just go and decide to abort the day. Nobody lost anything there: no money, no time. If he has seen life at all, he must have already learned that no matter what you do you will piss off somebody anyway so it's best to not anticipate too much what others will think of you.

alecco 4 days ago 0 replies      
Tech companies should learn to respect people. It's not OK to take that kind of interviewing behavior as a rite of passage.
damoncali 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's not the cultural norm, so if you ditch an interview, you had best go out of your way to be extremely polite about it. You might be better off just slogging it out to avoid burning bridges.
johngalt 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've been on the other side of this. An interviewee had a killer competing offer that I couldn't match. He was so apologetic, as if he was worried he'd insulted me. I had to assure him that I took no offense and wished him well. Don't know why anyone would take something like this personally.
incision 4 days ago 0 replies      
A a good friend of mine interviewed with one of the current powerhouses of technology when they weren't quite so big.

After successfully navigating a few rounds of technical interviewing they gave him one of those famous brain teaser type questions. He responded by asking the interviewer to explain how the question would be relevant to his work with the company.

The interviewer immediately explained that he clearly "wasn't a good fit" and ended the interview.

I tend to feel they were both "right".

nicholassmith 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think I'd have done the same, he sounds like he did it pretty politely rather than just getting up and doing a runner. An all day interview where you've decided half way in it just won't work is not just a waste of your time, but a waste of a companies.

However, the way the room reacted doesn't surprise me. Companies like to create loyalty which can occasionally turn a bit wolf-pack. Still, a shake of the hand and a 'thanks for coming, sorry it didn't work' is always classy and always a good idea.

VikingCoder 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are companies who do the same: schedule a whole-day interview, and then escort you from the building part-way through, with no explanation.

Is it rude? Yes.

therandomguy 4 days ago 0 replies      
During a break go to the font desk and tell the receptionist, "I'm here today for an interview today, can I please ask to see someone from HR". Wait for the HR rep. "Hey, I spoke with the first couple interviewers and it seems like it won't be a good fit. I would hate to take the next interviewer's time". They will understand and everyone will be happy at the end.
Kliment 4 days ago 0 replies      
lwhi 4 days ago 1 reply      
1) When a natural break occurs, ask to speak to one of the members of the interview team privately.

2) Explain your concerns and be prepared to listen.

3) If you still want to leave, thank them, and leave.

hcarvalhoalves 4 days ago 3 replies      
A day long interview is a good signal the company is full of bull already.

What's wrong with meeting the guy, talking to him and then inviting to work one day at the company? Just give him some tasks, see how he manages it. If it doesn't work out, you got 8 man-hours for free.

They wanna judge people based on how they dress, what they do on their free time, etc. Not everyone is on their 20's, or wanna be a geek all day. Some software companies act like model agencies thinking they are the coolest the place in the world. It's embarrassing.

andrew_wc_brown 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have walked out on meetings, presentations, interviews and etc. I'm even audacious enough to tell the referral up front that if its a waste of time I'm walking out so be sure that its not.

Half the time, the reaction is that I've lost 'face'.
The other half of the time, I'm praised for my efficiency or speaking up.

You broadcast what you what want. If you want to work with no-nonsense cuts through the bull and tackles real problems directly people, than keep doing what your doing.

bromley 3 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like he may have made his exit in front of the other candidates. I can see the company being frustrated by that as it would naturally be likely to make the other candidates view their potential new employer less favorably.

If he was certain that leaving early was the right thing to do, it would have been better to choose a moment when he could tell one of the interviewers quietly, and exit without causing a noticeable scene.

don_draper 4 days ago 1 reply      
If I spend more than 50% of the time in an interview solving puzzles I'm not working for you. I may suck as a programmer, but if that's what you do in an interview, you suck at interviewing people.
racbart 4 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that you leave early is not rude, but the way you do it might be. He should find the lead developer (or whoever was in the lead of interviewing him) and tell him that he feels he won't fit into the culture, thank him for the interview and then leave.

Leaving without a word is in fact rude (“I'm done, show me the elevator” doesn't count, especially if lead developer had to jump the elevator to ask what's wrong and why he's leaving).

mdesq 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interviews are complex, but I view part of the process as negotiation. One of the principles of being an effective negotiator is knowing what you desire to be the future relationship between the parties. Typically in the technology space, I don't like burning any bridges.

Thus, I start the interview process out by saying that I value and appreciate directness and honesty in all of my dealings. In keeping with that, if at any time I feel I have enough information to know that this will not be a good fit, that I will be honest about that and we can part on good terms and not waste each other's time. I also ask in return that they be up-front and honest with me (don't bring me in for interview after interview just as a charade when they know they're giving the job to Fred anyway).

I've used this tactic a handful of times and it has never failed to get a positive response. On a negotiation level, it may also give me a slight edge because I broached the topic first and raised the possibility of not seeing the process through to the end, something many interviewers forget is a possibility.

desireco42 4 days ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of comments about how you shouldn't burn bridges. I agree, I still think this was right thing to do. I would excuse myself politely and walk out as well.

Maybe person should ask to talk to lead dev or whoever, explain him that he doesn't believe he would fit, thank him for opportunity and leave. In other words say, it's not you, it's me ;) and still leave and enjoy rest of the day.

I generally don't believe in daylong interviews, I don't see the point in multiple rounds, everyone on the team talking to you endlessly. It is a waste of everyone's time and energy, to me personally it shows how people are uncertain in their decisions and need support.

One more thing, this is opportunity for company to leave a good impression on you as well as you to them, them being disorganized (often the case) doesn't really help much.

ForrestN 4 days ago 0 replies      
This might be overly simple, but it seems like the root of the problem on both sides is just the scheduling of a day-long interview at a place that's so obviously a bad fit for the candidate.

It would be better for all involved to have a more casual meet-and-greet, tour of the office, initial conversation beforehand.

slewis 4 days ago 0 replies      
This question is totally loaded. Whether they like you or you like them (which is what the first half of the description discusses) is irrelevant.

The question could be evaluated more objectively if it were just left to the headline: "Is it rude to leave an interview early if you have already made your decision?". The answer is no, of course not, as long as you're don't do it rudely.

gavinlynch 4 days ago 0 replies      
> "He was criticized as being wrong for not following very dogmatic principles to the letter of the law."

What does this even mean?? He didn't respond correctly with their secret handshake? He didn't drink his cup of coffee with exactly 2 creams?

Is this a social thing, or a programmer thing? Did he use an unconventional coding style?

This line really sticks in my craw, confuses and somehow bothers me... I would love an extrapolation.

motoford 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think I would have raised all of my concerns during the interview, instead of on my way out. Nothing wrong with not fitting in, but maybe the interview drill was just that, a drill.

The fact that someone followed him to ask questions tells me company seemed interested in him despite his opinion of how the interview was going.

brown9-2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Gracefully leaving earlier saves time for the interviewee and the interviewers.

What exactly is the upside of staying longer in this case?

petdance 4 days ago 0 replies      
I suggest that one's time isn't so valuable that you can't spend half an hour of unnecessary discussion. (In the case of the OP, I see that we're talking about more time than that.)

You never know who you will meet again in your future, or who your interviewer knows that you will meet in your future. It's a small world.

You want to be well-remembered. Walking out goes against that goal. Anything short of direct hostility, I suggest sucking it up and going through it to the end.

dsolomon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Walking out isn't rude. It's a reality check for the HR and management that something isn't kosher.

I've walked out of interviews after finding the usual bait-n-switch techniques regarding position description, expectations, travel requirements, compensation, work conditions, .. just to name a few.

Do I expect HR/management to get a clue - not really, it's not my job to further their problem solving ability.

Create 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are cases, when I can imagine walking out: when the candidate is already decided upon, but there is a need for legal-theatre, and you wind up being a decoy candidate in a mock candidate selection process. It happens quite often actually.

The moment you understand your situation, it is fair game to treat them in equal manner.

jamiemill 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's a rather silly question.

When you receive an invitation to dinner, is it polite to save your host money by leaving before dessert? No. By default it will be rude and it would be up to you to find a nice way to do so.

Likewise I feel if an interview is scheduled for all day and you accept the invitation, then it's up to you to apologise if you want to leave early. So long as you explain that you don't want to waste their time, then no one should be narkey about it. But if you make it sound like you don't want to waste your time, then I think they have a right to be a little miffed at you.

arasmussen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Think about it from both sides of the coin. An interviewer will never say out loud "You just failed that question, we're no longer interested in interviewing", even though failing one question could definitely break you.

I think interviewers purposefully don't tell you how you've done in your interviews because it avoids any bad feelings/burnt bridges, and having to explain why they've done poorly. IMO this goes both ways, if you walk out of an interview, you better be okay with burning that bridge and explaining to a heated person on the spot why you're walking out.

azat_co 4 days ago 0 replies      
Could you point what was his expectation culture wise and the company's situation? What exactly he didn't like except the wrong questions?

I wish I left some interviews early :)

In the end it's important to leave on a good impression for future connections but probably those people (in your friends company) were arrogant immature kids in the first place and they don't care about good future connections anyways. In this case don't waste your time.
Same for the interviewers - please let the people know early on and save their time instead of being "polite" and dragging them into meetings multiple people (usually with the same dumb questions) or even stretching interview process into multiple days!

jakejake 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is the kind of thing that gives programmers a bad name of being anti-social buffoons. In a programmer's mind they're simply being logical or efficient. Just because it's logical doesn't make it sensible.

This could be handled much better by somebody with even a shred of social skills. If he didn't think it was a good fit he could have requested to talk to the lead or hiring manager and expressed his concerns. They may mutually agree to end the interview. Perhaps if the company really wanted this guy they would start figuring out ways to possibly make it work. Or they may have ended with a handshake and parted ways on good terms. Just declaring "I'm done" like this brainiac and asking for the door shows that, though he may be a smart programmer, he has zero social skills.

onedev 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing Facebook
lugia 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's very rude if you just leave without fully explaining to people why you want to walk out. Even if you guys are indeed unfit to each other, the interviewers will still feel bad wondering what they did wrong.
We are all human, we all want to improve ourselves, so make sure you both have an understanding instead of not giving them any chance like that.
scotty79 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just look at your phone. Tell them you have personal emergency and you'll have to reschedule the rest of interview. Say goodbye, leave, never call. If they call tell them you accepted another position. That's what interviewers do and that's what they consider polite.
richardz_work 4 days ago 0 replies      
If one side can end interview half way, the other side can too. Don't see any problem of that.
jesskah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Time is valuable. Why waste everyone's time if you know it's not going to work? I think the key is to do it respectfully and explain why. It's actually helpful for the company to hear the reasons.
mkhalil 4 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason, I imagine Walter White leaving this so called interview. No clue why. lol
alexgenco 4 days ago 1 reply      
Poor in India Starve as Politicians Steal $14.5 Billion of Food bloomberg.com
222 points by codelion  4 days ago   185 comments top 17
pessimist 4 days ago  replies      
Incidentally, the problematic public distribution system is solved in parts of India, most notably the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu - http://www.thehindu.com/arts/magazine/article2475948.ece. The estimated loss in Tamil Nadu is 4%, as opposed to over 90% in some states.

Tamil Nadu politicians are not any less corrupt than other states. However the PDS has some notable features:

1. It is universal - not restricted to only people below the "poverty line". Thus many people are incentivized to have it work.

2. The PDS "ration" shops are run cooperatively by localities and villages, not private dealers.

3. Simple schemes make it transparent like an SMS that will reply telling you the current stock of a given shop, when new stocks will arrive and so on so that the shop keeper cannot simply cheat you out of your ration.

kamaal 4 days ago 0 replies      
My boss once told me fix the cause, not the effect.

Free food subsidies are really doomed for failure. This is in part a lack of long term solutions to these problems. Around 12-15 years back in India everybody had something called 'Ration card'. Its there today too, but back then you were eligible for rations at subsidized prices, I remember standing in long queues outside ration shops for wheat, rice, oil, sugar and kerosene. Needless to say these schemes were a legacy of the communist set up that India had for a long time. Realizing that this is not likely to scale. The government now issued new cards called 'BPL cards'(BPL- Below poverty line). That means this wasn't even for the poor, this was for the poorest among the poor. This is failing too. There are also other food schemes, in my state Karnataka, kids in government schools get mid day meals called 'Akshaya Patra'. Which is largely bad food served. Often contracted to some guy who pays the highest bribe. The food is generally unhygienic and lacks nutrition. I think by now everybody must know these free food schemes are a big failure.

The problem is India has huge inefficiencies in agriculture. The farming framework is massively unproductive. There are many reasons for this. Firstly the methods themselves belong to old stone age. Many farmers in villages farm with cows and bulls. Fertilizers/insecticides/pesticides are abused to the core to boost production. Irrigation isn't figured out yet. There are some major dams, but irrigation infrastructure is just totally absent. Droughts and floods are common. We either don't have water when we need it or there is simply too much water and we don't what to do about it. Farming land is subject to division through inheritance.

Apart from this the distribution is broken. Tons of grain rots because its not shipped and transported. Middle men act as a parasites in entire food-supply chain and add no value driving the end consumer prices high.

There are various experiments carried out especially forming communities in villages to encourage building local reservoirs and other efficient farming methods. But this will take a long time.

The political parties are dead opposed to FDI's in retail and farming. There by technology inflow from outside is limited. All this for vote bank politics.

Basically India is reeling under effects of its communist past and is held back because of inefficiencies of its political system combined sum total ignorance among the farmers.

So its not just corruption there are train of issues that result in these sort of problems.

patio11 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you can buy a Pepsi in every village in India, why can't the government get us our rations?

This is a quote for the ages.

lionhearted 4 days ago 3 replies      
Serious question --

Stories like this come out of India fairly often.

How come the government hasn't been overthrown yet?

Or severe riots, insurrections, etc?

Seems like that would happen elsewhere, no?

kshatrea 4 days ago 0 replies      
In India, there are several levels of bureaucracy that are involved. The main layer is called the Public Distribution System (PDS), whereby people are issued ration cards and allowed to purchase a certain amount of food at subsidized prices, or in poor families, given it for free. There is a colossal amount of corruption and theft; people simply report grains as sold and sell it on the black market.
Due to the immense number of small traders and grocers who take cash and sell stuff without receipts, there are no taxes paid on this, and so everyone involved makes a profit, except for those whom this is supposed to benefit.
Also, the sole source of storage are government granaries & silos, where a lot of food has either been found to have rotted, or been stolen.
While people on HN are busy reading all the time about various Indian inefficiencies, corruptions and crimes, let us not forget that India's history is a socialist one (and like all socialist economies, the inefficiencies are built into the system - look at Venezuela/Cuba/Argentina/Hungary etc. today), and it is only in the last 20 years that there has been some liberalization and the Indian entrepreneur's spirit has been allowed to flourish. As you can see from all these headlines, there is still a long way to go for free market reforms. There are several sectors like the agricultural sector, energy sector and construction sector, where reforms would help a lot.
zizee 4 days ago 2 replies      
Corruption, above all else, is the biggest thing holding humanity back, but I wonder if it is possible to cleanse corruption from a society where it is so deeply ingrained?

Are there any good examples of a really corrupt society successfully making the transition to an relatively uncorrupted state?

anovikov 4 days ago 1 reply      
No 'public distribution system' can ever fix any of problems society faces. It just makes government bigger, in the end making things worse. Maybe it's okay in big cities where you give free food to avoid people killing for it, i.e. suppressing crime, but works only in conjunction with strong law enforcement. Nobody is going to become a better/more productive person because (s)he received free food for years.
ycycyc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone keep in perspective that the biggest achievement of independent India is avoiding famines thanks partly to the help of the "rotten" PDS?


I think this article follows a pattern of op-eds in India: the private sector eyes a plump public-sector undertaking. Suddenly there is a series of articles often pointing at the weakest link in the chain - Uttar Pradesh or Bihar is always there to be poster boys of decay, the articles never focus on functional systems in the south, like Kerala or TamilNadu - and then libertarians chime in on how any kind of sharing/caring/government is bad. Lo and behold, due to the weight of public opinion, the sector is sold off - classic crony capitalism.

j45 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have read that there is no rule of law in India, meaning corruption from top to bottom so deep that the average person is living a more and more miserable life.
auser678 4 days ago 0 replies      
This makes me so angry and sad. I see such corruption happening everyday.
Uttar Pradesh is a state of 200 million people and one of the most backward and corrupt states.It is another fact that Uttar Pradesh due to the sheer number produces some of the best talent in India and the world. Most of these people migrate out of Lucknow and UP. I wish more of them would come back and try to build companies so that more jobs are created. We just watch from far and lament but do nothing about it.
We have made a small start by being based here, and hope we can make an impact.
npguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am surprised why nobody has questioned the harsh language in the title. Read it again - Poor starve as politicians Steal - "Steal"?
yarrel 3 days ago 0 replies      
The market wants people to die.

All we can do is help it decide how many.


ramsetal 4 days ago 0 replies      
this is the real story that really depress me!
huntesh 4 days ago 0 replies      
thanks to the contention arising due to equitable distribution of food among the states, the grains rots in the godowns again.

another major disadvantage of democracy.

eplanit 4 days ago 0 replies      
No disrespect to the people described in the article, but how is this relevant on HN?
noobplusplus 4 days ago 2 replies      
How are hackers supposed to hack it off? I don't understand why such news travels to the top of HN. In case no one has a soln. for it, why write big posts? IF you gotta do something go and do it, i am pretty sure, the ones who are most concerned won't be hanging around here. This seems to me OT.
simula67 4 days ago 2 replies      
First of let me say that I am from India.
I have been watching the number of (negative) political posts regarding India on HN for quite some time now[1]

What are the benefits and costs of discussing these issues here on HN?

Some benefits:
1. It gives rise to a discussion which hopefully translates to solutions and actions for future
2. It is a nice break from discussing technology ( ?? )
Some costs:
1. HN being an international forum, it gives an idea that India is choke full of problems that nothing good will come out of India [2].
No wonder latest discussion on India's Mars vision was derided along the lines of "Get food to your people first"
2. It is not of interest to a large number of hackers
3. It is a fertile ground for armchair theorizing.

I am of the opinion these stories should be flagged.


No Email harjtaggar.com
208 points by kloncks  3 days ago   122 comments top 46
arohner 3 days ago  replies      
One thing I would really love in an email client is a strong separation between reading and writing email. During productive hours when I'm sitting at my desk, I would really like to be able to 1) open GMail, 2) read old email 3) Write new email.

I absolutely do not want the ability to read new email during that time. In fact, I would really like to set up GMail so email only arrives on a fixed schedule, say 2-4 times a day.

jcr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations Harj on breaking a harmful habit. Keep Going!

You did it by intent, while I only did it by circumstance. As such,
we've probably learned different lessons from the experience.

For me it was my health. Those little things like walking and typing are
often taken for granted until you can no longer do them. Not feeling
well enough to accept invitations to go have fun with friends can wear
on you. The same is true for not feeling well enough to answer emails or
phone calls.

Could you leave your voicemail full for six months so no one else can
leave messages?

With your YC involvement, probably not, but I had to do it, and it
taught me a lot about interaction and contribution. Interacting with
others is a choice. Similarly, making a contribution of your time and
effort is also a choice. When you know you'll be in more pain after
typing an email, or driving to see friends, your perspective changes
since you finally realize there will be consequences, or better said,
there's always a cost to the choice of interacting and contributing.

Making a conscious decision on your own needs and opinions of whether or
not interacting is worthwhile is far better than merely reacting out of
impulsive habits and social pressures to be polite. When you know it
will cost you something and you still feel it's worthwhile, then you are
consciously investing your time rather than mindlessly spending it.

I know I've posted this before, but...

Treebeard: "You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to
say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth
taking a long time to say." -- J.R.R. Tolkien

elliottcarlson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have never bothered upgrading to a 'smart' phone - I am happy with my flip phone that is great at making calls and texting. I don't need games, I don't need email access and I don't need the poor battery life a lot of those phones suffer from. I charge my phone once every 3 or 4 days and I am happy.

Should the need arise, I generally carry my netbook with me everywhere I go - and it only comes out if there is an emergency. At least then I have internet access and all the tools to actually make a difference as opposed to just being able to respond to an email. If it isn't an emergency, then it can wait.

stevenj 3 days ago 1 reply      
I switched to only using a basic cell phone (one that only does calls and texting) at the beginning of the year and have thoroughly enjoyed it.
evaneykelen 3 days ago 1 reply      
For those who want to experiment with a (free) iPhone email app which does not allow you to write, reply or forward emails can take a look at Pigeonal. (disclaimer: I'm one of the developers).

The app scans your inbox(es) for ~200 domain names from services such as Github, Basecamp etc and groups all emails in boxes (pigeonholes), depicted by the service's icon.

You can tap each pigeonhole, scan the subjects and decide to 'archive all' or tap individual emails and mark them for 'follow up'.

That's all you can do. I'm personally not much distracted by reading emails, it's the writing part which pulls me out of my concentration and Pigeonal just about offers enough functionality to create follow-up tasks. Moreover, since the app only shows emails from a small list of domains the number of emails I have to process is relatively low.

The app is an experiment, your mileage may vary. We've developed it to see whether there is an alternative to the email inbox archetype. So far it's working for us, but it's far from perfect and I'm not as brave as the OP to completely ditch email from my iPhone.

atirip 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why such a hatred, not in this piece, but trending, against e-mail? It doesnt bother me much. What i did instead, i dropped my phone, figuratively speaking of course. A month ago i switched, lastly, my phone off. What a relief, no more calls, no more call when i'm busy, no more missed calls and whats more important, no questions about why you didnt answer, called back, etc. I'm free!
Tyrannosaurs 3 days ago 0 replies      
My technique for this is:

1) Separation of work and personal e-mail into two accounts (which is good for a whole number of reasons).

2) Work e-mail is configured on my phone but disabled. It means that if I have to access it it's relatively painless but there's no notifications and not even any ability to manually check without re-enabling it (which is a mental barrier which I know I shouldn't be crossing - like the HN noprocrast thing - you can override it easily but you know you shouldn't so you don't).

3) Personal e-mail isn't set to notify in any way except through the badge (I find personal e-mail is rarely urgent enough for me to feel any strong compulsion).

I find that the barriers you have to put up are actually very small, just enough to stop the habitual, quick checking. As soon as it takes more than a second or two to do, you stop doing it pretty quickly.

Now if only I could find similarly successful mechanisms for Twitter, RSS and the news.

disbelief 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sure it's quite liberating to cut back severely on email, and I don't doubt the increased productivity it brings while trying to code or do other high-concentration tasks, but my one problem with this system is:

> If I happen to be away from my computer for a few hours it's likely someone else will see the email and reply. If it's something truly urgent that only I can help with, the other partners have my cell number and can call/text me.

It sounds like you've simply offloaded your compulsive email checking to other people. This system wouldn't work if everyone else at YC also stopped checking their email regularly, because then the urgent things wouldn't be caught in time and you wouldn't be pinged on your cell.

smalter 3 days ago 0 replies      
At iDoneThis, we have several shared email inboxes (Helpscout is fantastic for this: http://helpscout.net). What ends up happening is that most of our emails are processed out of shared inboxes, which makes it easier to respond in batch (as Harj points out) while still showing responsiveness (because people batch at different times). We end up hardly using our personal company email addresses.
npguy 3 days ago 1 reply      
You need to classify this based on what type of work you do. For a developer, checking email would knock him off the zone. For a different job, one email answered late would mean a lost business for example. (the OP is a YC partner)
HorizonXP 3 days ago 1 reply      
Right now I have an iPhone 4, a Galaxy Nexus, and a BlackBery Bold 9900 in front of me. I do dev work, so I flip between devices fairly regularly.

My Bold is still my daily device. Sure, the other two phones are better in almost all ways, but e-mail and unified messaging is one thing RIM knows how to do. At a quick glance, I can see incoming e-mails, SMS, twitter or Facebook, and know if I need to respond. I can set up different audible alerts for each and/or different coloured LEDs.

I rarely have my desktop e-mail client open, since my BlackBerry helps me filter out messages as needed while I work.

You can rally against me if you like, but I like my BlackBerry better than my other devices. It simply works for me. And I think this aversion to e-mail/distractions is a by-product of the devices being used.

navs 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've done something similar. I disabled Safari on my iPhone. I've also set forwards on important mail to my icloud account which has push on the iPhone. This way if I do receive an important email, I'll answer or call immediately. Freeing myself of apps and Safari has made me more productive but now I wonder why I even need a Smartphone. The only apps I use now are Notes, Mail, Maps and the Music player. I'll admit one part of the reason why I removed all these apps is depression. Productivity is not my primary reason, but it has had a great benefit.
mhd 3 days ago 0 replies      
So "no email" means "no email on my smartphone". And didn't we have this discussion years ago, when Tim Ferriss hawked it to us as a groundbreaking, zen-like idea?

And no, I do own a smartphone, I just have to be very bored (or anticipating something, preferably romantic) to be checking email with it. The constant blackberry-like push email thing always seemed a bit odd to me (and I do have a biff running on my desktops), especially when it's exacerbated by a whole boatload of additional bleeps and bloops (twitter mentions, SMS, whatsapp, etc.). Recently I didn't have access to my iPhone for two weeks (left it in a friend's car) and "had to cope" with my old 6310i. I did feel a bit liberated, but mostly because it freed me from charging that device all the time…

Is it my "forever alone" nature and everyone else is getting that many apparently immediately actionable emails all the time? Or is it an age thing, as I'm not quite old enough for constant SMS-ing at a formative age, but do remember FIDOnet/UUCP access to news/email in once-daily batched form?

klearvue 3 days ago 2 replies      
Here is my system of not wasting too much time on e-mail: I only have one client application set up to access my various accounts - Zimbra Desktop, which I don't have any entries for in the OS menu, and I don't know any passwords myself as they are randomly generated and stored in KeyPassX.

Every day a cronjob starts up the client at 4pm, which starts minimized (thank you, KDE), proceeds to fetch new mail, apply various filters (e.g. CCs marked read and archived), and maximizes the window 2 minutes later.

Half an hour later another cronjob does a 'killall' on it - that way if I wasn't at my desk at 4, I wouldn't have to come back to be greeted by unanswered e-mails.

And, as the article says, there is always a mobile phone for anything truly urgent.

dools 3 days ago 0 replies      
Getting a device with proper push email would have solved the issue of having to check email all the time. Having email on my phone with good gmail push notifications is the most liberating thing I've ever done, but that may be because of the type of work I have to do day to day.
emmett 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am inspired. I just did the same as an experiment. We'll see how it goes...
Kiro 3 days ago 1 reply      
I want the opposite. I want to be totally absorbed in technology and can't wait until Google Glasses are released.
logn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Author raises a lot of good points. And given how tied we are to technology it's really good there's continual interest in us evaluating it in our lives and how we feel about it.

The pendulum seems to have shifted in recent times and I think we're all going through something analogous to the drinkers/smokers in the 60's/70's. Those were feel-good times of indulgence and merriness. We realized the consequences though and learned moderation as a society. I have a feeling we're about 10-20 years from coming to terms with a healthy technology lifestyle.

morgen 3 days ago 1 reply      
There have been quite a few posts recently with dramatic tales of breaking the email habit and trying to drop/cut back on email. No doubt email has been something that we struggle (and usually fail) to control. So we are left with dramatic measures, like "no email" or support cheats - like getting other people to do it for us.

Perhaps these mostly behavioral based solutions feel good (they make us feel as if we taking back control) but are they really the we can do at solving the problem of out of control email? Or are we just shifting the problem into text messages & calls or onto other people?

I'm working with a team now on re-architecting email to give us control over our email. We've started on a related but simpler problem - when I give a website my email I give them control. You can check it out at https://leemail.me

Soon we will be expanding this control to all email communications. If this sounds interesting, get in touch.


pwf 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want to see a blog post about someone who decides to stop reading blog posts about people who stop reading their email/twitter/facebook.
numlocked 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another issue with email on the phone is that I find myself replying to emails out of habit, in many cases to emails which require some thought in the response and half-ass te response because I'm on a smartphone and don't have a real keyboard.
ljoshua 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great real-world anecdote, it's really refreshing to see busy people (I'm assuming Harj is a pretty busy person) understanding the implications of email overload and trying to deal with it.

Not everyone needs to completely remove email from their phones, but doing simple things like turning off push notifications and trying to push one's self to only check at certain intervals has been shown by research (and substantiated by experiences like this) to have huge upsides to productivity, lower stress levels, and creativity.

I'm learning a huge amount in this arena, it's a fascinating topic. If anyone wants to see a very cursory summary of what I've assembled so far, check out a small deck at http://www.slideshare.net/jlyman/email-overload-13506201

graeme 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this Hart. You inspired me to simplify my iPhone apps. I removed my personal and work email apps, and a lot of other clutter.

Going well so far. It's so much more productive to only do email on a desktop, and it definitely frees up my thoughts.

elsurudo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yup, email is a distracting compulsion. And make no mistake, it is just that.

For my sanity, I have email notifications turned off on my phone, so I only get new messages when I explicitly open the app (which I still find I do much too often). Definitely helps.

rdl 3 days ago 2 replies      
Once you delete fb, twitter, mail, quora, etc. from your phone, why not just carry an e-ink Kindle or a paper notebook/calendar and some kind of music player?
monsterix 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting write up Harj. I too deleted my Gmail sometime back but my motivation was different: I want to build an app with which I could write to anyone on email but vice-versa was not true.

Well it kind of started that way and after a few months of agony (unable to connect smoothly) and joy (better concentration) I am now with something interesting that you should see: http://bubbleideas.com

shocks 3 days ago 1 reply      
My phone goes into email notification silent mode after 6pm and back on again at 9am. Works great for me.
dsirijus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think a completely converse strategy works too - I'm getting notifications for everything on my iOS devices, Android devices, several PCs etc.

I just ignore them all now; pretty similar to ads on web. And I have them available everywhere if I actually need them.

mcdowall 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thankfully I have managed to reject the requests from upper management to set me up with a Blackberry at various positions.

It pains me to see friends receiving emails on their BB whilst at the pub after work and fretting over the email they've just been 'pushed'.

0ren 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a nice local quote regarding the conflict of getting stuff done vs. the acceleration of tech addictions to Facebook, WoW, etc.

We'll increasingly be defined by what we say no to[0]

[0] http://paulgraham.com/addiction.html

debacle 3 days ago 0 replies      
On the other side of the coin, I've noticed that email is the new voicemail - people expect emails to be replied to in a window of hours, not days. People are incredulous when I show them my phone (no Android or iOS, sorry) and ask "How do you get any work done?"
robryan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Would be good to setup a system where you are able to get people to label something as urgent and you would still get this otherwise you would see it when you wanted. Depending on who is sending the majority of email your way and your social relationships this could work well.
saiko-chriskun 3 days ago 3 replies      
Not sure I follow. I don't take time off to "check" my email. When I get an email, I get a notification. I open it up, respond, and get back to what I was doing. Where's the time lost in this?
dm8 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some of my friends follow, "no email checking" hour everyday at their work for focus. It's working really well for them and I'm thinking of giving it a shot too.
rjzzleep 3 days ago 1 reply      
look up inbox zero and use mutt. i did try mail act-on for apple mail. but again you can always run mutt on a shell somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

A lot of the problems discussed in the article and the thread here were solved many many years ago.

But yes, as a friend of mine put it: "The interesting thing about email is that it gives us the impression that we're actually working, while we really are not."

Linford0 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think separating reading from writing email is a good thing. Emails you have received typically represent other people's agendas - those you write (especially if written from scratch not just a reply) represent your own agenda.

I would like a client that allows me to read in a browsey (flipboard?) way - no replies or forwarding allowed.

Separately I want the client to semi-automatically create emails from my to-do list - I get to edit and send.

This way I am able to understand what other's want me to know but I remain productive by focussing on my own agenda.

aacook 3 days ago 2 replies      
This has been the most useful post for me all month. Man, I need to stop checking reddit, email, twitter, and HN. See you in a month!
tijsvrolix 3 days ago 0 replies      
We're building a service that will allow you to schedule a number of "email moments" a day: incoming messages are temporarily queued until those moments and the sender is notified when you're checking your mail next time. We're looking for test users at http://kukoo.com
scdoshi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just did the same myself. Had been mulling it over for a while, but this pushed me over the edge. Let's see how it goes
ovatsug25 3 days ago 0 replies      
Deactivate push messages from your phone mail app and only allow for manual checking. I did that. And now I have to wait to read email which is usually enough time to drop the crack.

It might not work if the internet is way fast like it is in the US. I am in the DR which might make a difference...

Linford0 3 days ago 0 replies      
Receiving an email = a small but significant affirmation of one's self worth.

That's the problem.

benjlang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sidepoint: Svbtle is taking over.
marcrosoft 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have been doing this for a year now, it is great. For maximum productivity only check your email once/twice a day and never on weekends. :)
georgeecollins 3 days ago 0 replies      
I started reading this and midway through I thought, "I better check my email.:
paranoiacblack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's my custom solution to cutting down on email: self-control.
hk_kh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, first world problems!

In my head I try to keep it as "If it is an email, it can wait until tomorrow".

The author un-synced his email from the phone? Big deal. It is not that smartphones do not let you think (which is also true), but that they are just yet another consumer good made to keep you disconnected from reality.

As usual, it just depends how you use them. Think of it as a laptop, do you program on it or just surf facebook?

Smartphones could be the ultimate hacker device, if used properly.

HTML5 Boilerplate v4.0.0 html5boilerplate.com
205 points by necolas  4 days ago   51 comments top 16
quarterto 4 days ago 5 replies      
Let's have a moment's silence for our dear departed friend, #fe57a1.
tzaman 4 days ago 0 replies      
One would think there's not much left to be done when it comes to the boilerplate, but these guys prove there is.
illicium 4 days ago 1 reply      
Bring back the hot pink selection background color!
vacipr 4 days ago 0 replies      
They have also released Mobile Boilerplate v4.0.0 for mobile app development.
monsterix 4 days ago 1 reply      
Splendid work guys, but I am still unhappy that you guys closed the Google group around it.

Will check out the updates shortly.

gilini 4 days ago 0 replies      
Without getting into code changes, I'm glad to see they abandoned that childish theme the whole project had.

Gratz on the release

treelovinhippie 4 days ago 5 replies      
"The web's most popular front-end template". With the popularity of Bootstrap, this claim seems unbelievable.
calvin 4 days ago 0 replies      
agscala 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love this project. It's everything that I'll never remember on my own and more.
SkyMarshal 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's also Yeoman in the works, which appears to be a more ambitious H5BP, but by the same people:


MatthewPhillips 4 days ago 2 replies      
What does Google Analytics have to do with html5?
binarydreams 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work on the new site design, really clean and neat!
pjmo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, will have to check this out for the project I'm starting today. Sick of using Bootstrap to demo when I usually change everything. Just need some boilerplate instead.
nulluk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see this stripped right back down again to a useful state, it started to get very verbose & noisey
printer 4 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe it needs a little more work. I've got a "Unhandled DOMException: SYNTAX_ERR" in jQuery. And "plugins.js" and "main.js" are loaded twice.

Also: I'm on Opera and get a lot of CSS errors. Some are strange: "-o-opacity is an unknown property".

wzhack 4 days ago 3 replies      
Are there some famous projects that I can see concrete examples of use of this this project? This seems pretty cool but I still couldn't get it.
TechCrunch is a bully lanewood.me
201 points by asanwal  4 days ago   110 comments top 41
steve8918 4 days ago 2 replies      
I have no real interest in either side of this story, and Techcrunch isn't really on my rolodex of sites to read from. That being said, I don't think the original Techcrunch article was being a bully at all.

The fact that she allegedly has gotten away with the simplest of social engineering tactics against a group that most likely thinks of themselves as at least smarter than average, was fairly interesting to me. It shows how easy and effective social engineering can be, even by someone as young as Shirley Hofnstein.

All the author appears to write is that they don't like the fact that Techcrunch wrote an article about their friend. It appears that the author of the above article doesn't even defend Shirley Hornstein, which leads me to believe that she was in fact guilty of these acts of social engineering.

If that's the case, then it seems like a decent bit of journalism to me. Do I think it's a huge crime? No, it's not like she pulled off a Madoff scam. But was it an interesting article? Yes, and it really points to the fact that we all need to keep on our toes.

ChuckMcM 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like your leave to go a bit meta here, hope you don't mind.

What I find interesting about this exchange (the original TC article and Lanewood's response) is the message "don't do this because it hurts."

Yes, it does. But my experience is that pain is a signal you listen to, it's one of those things that says "stop doing what you are doing." It is a corrective force.

Making exaggerated claims about your influence or connections or importance to folks is wrong. It is wrong because it abuses the trust the other person put into the person lying, which then causes great hurt and shame when they realize they have been "duped" or "fooled" or "lied to". Calling someone on it, is hurtful too, but its important to do as well. That pain going the other way is a signal to moderate behavior, or change it.

So this conversation is "Shirley is a liar" / "You shouldn't do that because it hurts her feelings" seems to want to shut down a force working for good, which is better behavior.

I know I would love it if people were more honest about themselves, but I also know that some folks have convinced themselves that their own self worth is tied up in how influential they perceive themselves to be. Thus exaggerating that influence is like make-up, or fancy bling, its a crutch to prop up their self image.

I think there is pain on both sides of this conversation, at least a couple of kilo-snarks. If it helps someone to become a better person, its beneficial. But if they don't have the mental tools to process it they can (and sometimes do) become simply depressed by it. I don't think either party in this conversation represented themselves particularly well. If Shirley is young now would be a good time to come to grips with the way she presents herself. TC should work at doing better at informing rather than blaming (it did read like it came right out of Valleywag). Continuing acting this way on both parties will only hurt them going forward.

jamiequint 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty sure if you misrepresent yourself that blatantly time and time again you deserve what is coming to you.

"she has the top media company in the tech industry trying to take her down."

Oh please, she blatantly lied many times about many things to high profile people. That is a story and its going to get written about by someone whether its Techcrunch or someone else.

richardjordan 4 days ago 2 replies      
I thought the same thing when reading that article. Here was someone I've never heard of - and I'm pretty active at getting around the startup world; someone who seems to have got herself into a web of lies which probably started off with some exaggerations.

Let's stipulate to the fact that it's not okay to lie about yourself to get a gig, even if you think it's harmless and you'll make up for it in work. I thought it was right that the Yahoo! CEO was fired for that stuff. I've never lied on a resume, never would.

But what we have here is a nobody, who's probably got a bit of a problem. That problem is exacerbated by the bullshit celebrity culture TechCrunch tries to build around our industry. It's the bullshit attitude displayed by a ton of the current incubator ducklings, who follow their angels around in awe like momma duck, while convincing themselves they're starring the fantasy version of Silicon Valley they saw in the Social Network. TechCrunch is among the worst offenders creating this problem.

If we're going to be honest about it, there are plenty of folks - and we don't need to get ugly and name names but if you're around the industry you bump into these people - who call themselves Tech Journalists who are little more than exaggerators, fabricators and bullshit artists who have NEVER CREATED ANYTHING OF VALUE themselves, never created a job, never taken the risk. Just the role of the critic. Never the man in the arena. So it's a bit rich them all ganging up on this unfortunate person who tied herself up in knots and exaggerations leading to great embarrassment.

(Try going to any event full of tech journalists from these blogs and wait till they get a bit drunk and listen to the boasts and stories and thoroughly inappropriate behavior.)

But I have NO sympathy for any startup that works with someone without doing the most basic of background checks which would immediately expose lies and exaggerations. The valley is full of people who overstate things and word gets around pretty quickly. You can often see the smoke and smell the charcoal from burning bridges from a long distance, and way after the fact. No public interest is served by tarring and feathering a nobody for entertainment purposes under the guise of investigative journalism.

The way this story is written you'd think they'd uncovered Carlos the Jackal, cracked a terrorist ring, discovered the whereabouts of Nazi war criminals. It is pathetic and mean spirited.

I keep hoping TechCrunch will recapture what once made it a must-read, but I'm increasingly saddened by the reality that it won't happen. As I've posted elsewhere, it's a serious thing that we do here in Silicon Valley, building companies, taking risks. We often spend large sums of other people's money. We commit our lives and those of our loved ones to the endeavor. Sure we can have fun. But we cannot run the industry like a school yard and we deserve more from our media outlets than mean-spirited gossip.

karpathy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Clearly there is a gradient of people and how much misinformation they spread around themselves. Few never lie, some will occasionally slip a word here and there to exaggerate a truth, some will lie from time to time about small things, and then waaaaaay on the other side of this gradient there is photoshopping yourself into pictures with famous public figures and similar tactics described in the article. Of course we are not all saints, but based on the outcry most people (myself included) agree that there is a line that was crossed here.

I appreciated the article as an interesting case study.

gojomo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm no TC fan, but it was a fair subject and story.

That such deceptive operators can show up anywhere (and especially in a young/dynamic community) is important to know, and it can only be vividly demonstrated with tangible and current examples.

And specifically, enough people were affected by this person's claims, leaving enough of a reportable trail, that a story warning others and documenting the modus operandi could be true, well-sourced, interesting, and useful for TC's readership.

nateberkopec 4 days ago 1 reply      
Listen, this just proves that TC is a gossip rag, but, you're going to defend someone who is literally Photoshopping themselves into photos with celebrities and claiming that they're real?


citricsquid 4 days ago 3 replies      
The thing I don't get about the techcrunch article is in the comments Alexia Tsotsis wrote:

> This is the story that no one was writing. Amazing work Anthony Ha.

is his life in danger? is she some high power person that can destroy Anthony Ha's career? No... she's a person that lies...

eevilspock 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Most of us are not as big of a deal that we convey that we are. 99% of the industry is guilty."


Speak for yourself.

Thou protests too much.

"I'll admit it. But so have you."

  Again, fuck you speak for yourself.

A bit self-serving, aren't we?

And I can't stand TechCrunch.

softbuilder 3 days ago 1 reply      
>It's like reading a middle school girl's diary.

Exactly this. There was no point to the story. Sure, I'll buy that the lady is a headcase/creeper or whatever. But that's it? No real crimes detailed or list of people screwed over? It was just a finger-pointing "hate this person right here" piece.

Cyberbullying doesn't just happen to kids.

deniszgonjanin 4 days ago 4 replies      
America has always been a land where you could fail, then pick yourself up. You could move west in search of a new beginning and a new identity. You could go bankrupt, then start over, and eventually fail your way to success and a better life. There is no longer a place to hide or run away to. There is no way to re-invent yourself and start over. The foolish crimes of our youths are now a permanent part of who we are. For the rest of our lives and likely eternity.

This is the sad side of the products we are helping to create as engineers at Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc...

patrickod 4 days ago 0 replies      
A calling out for really unacceptable behaviour? Yes. Bullying? Far from it in my eyes. If you consistently misrepresent yourself and promise people things you are not capable of achieving then you deserve to be called out on it.
tomasien 4 days ago 3 replies      
I seriously am considering swearing off TechCrunch because of this article. True or not, their hegemony gives them so much power, and to see it foolishly used in this way was disturbing.

The people she was claiming to know are big boys/girls. This should have been handled socially in the valley.

crag 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know this might come as a surprise to some.. but no one outside the valley cares. :)

In fact, I'd bet very few inside the valley care.

philwelch 4 days ago 0 replies      
> So shame on TechCrunch for publishing something that belongs on TMZ.

TechCrunch is TMZ for Silicon Valley.

greghinch 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow this whole exchange depresses the hell out of me. Can't we just build cool shit and leave this kind of lame drama for other industries?
leoh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, TC is a bully. Not only that, Arrington is a major con artist. Half the people in the valley these days are con artists. It's like this girl was the scape goat for this overwhelming shitstorm of lies that has grown the past few years. Pathetic.
mkohlmyr 4 days ago 2 replies      
Enough people still read TC to where it can be considered a bully? I'm being completely serious.
It's been a long time since I paid attention to anything that was written on TechCrunch and it's been even longer since the thing I paid attention to was anything remotely sensible or interesting.

I actively avoid visiting links to TechCrunch. Because the people who work there are a poor excuses for journalists - which is why it will forever be to my mind 'just a blog'.

error54 4 days ago 1 reply      
The article does seem a little bullying. I mean, what harm has she really done other than lie (which every business person has done since the beginning time). I could see if she caused some startup to go under or cost some company millions of dollars but to quote the author, "Shirley Hornstein has never done anything bad to me. Except, y'know, lie."

It really seems like a bunch of people got together one night and came to the conclusion that they don't like this woman and one those people said "Hey, I'm a TC writer. I can write an article about all this Silicon Valley phoney and we can all have a laugh about it tomorrow!"
Do I agree Shirley Hornstein told some blatant lies? Yes. Do I think that these falsehoods deserve a front page article? No.

Besides, "Everyone lies" -House

Uchikoma 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm burning my karma with this, but I appreciate this article. As a startup I'd like to be warned, probably people wasted time with this girl, time to market, time to VCs, time to get there startup somewhere b/c they believed this girl would help them when indeed she didn't. Could they have done better due dilligence? Perhaps. Would others tell how they got burned? Perhaps. But I don't follow the thinking that everything other people do to you is your fault b/c you should have known better. The wrongdoer is the victim stuff. And it's astonishing how HN reacts to guys that fake startups, connections, products compared to this girl that is faking her way around. We'll see if there is coming more.
googoobaby 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seriously. You expect me to cry over a hustler's lies? It is amusing how recursively narcissistic the tech community is, but eventually even they reach their stack limit.
mistercow 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, the Hollywood-ness implied by this article about the tech world... this... is it really like this out there now? Is this nauseous feeling I have right now the way serious but small filmmakers feel about the entertainment industry?
googoobaby 4 days ago 0 replies      

She's apparently the bane (or Bain) of the Republicans now

homosaur 4 days ago 0 replies      
The moral of this blog post seems to be that most tech companies' execs are all as big of tools as this gal.


So I'm supposed to somehow trust someone's company that's trying to be some fake Silicon Valley star effer? I dunno man. Maybe she has the best social kitten mashup ever but I can't imagine if I had a million dollars to invest that I'd let this one anywhere near it.

freditup 4 days ago 0 replies      
Both this article and the one it discussed seemed to go right over my head. The only impression I could get is that there is a small faction of tech related people who have formed their own hollywoodish faction and act like it too. Anyone care to take a go at explaining to me what really happened and why it matters?
OoTheNigerian 3 days ago 0 replies      
The easiest antidote to an article such as this is to out yourself. If everyone knew this was coming out, she most probably knew.

The advantage of her outing herself would be that it would be far less damaging and considering people love those that seek a sort of penance, something positive would have come out of her outing post.

It is not too late though. She should write, ask for forgiveness, NOT blame TechCrunch for her woes and move on. Everyone loves a comeback stor so this might end up having a positive outcome if told well.

Ironically, I did not read the post the first time I came across it. This post brought far more attention than the original one.

mikescar 3 days ago 0 replies      
TechCrunch is just a joke.

I would never go there outside of HN posts, but it's really amusing to see how self-important a bunch of hipster bloggers can be when writing about people doing actual work.

The puff pieces that they run as the majority of what is published, those are pretty funny. It's the slag pieces that are most entertaining.

mark_l_watson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have called TechCrunch "assholes" twice on tweets in the last week or so (because I hate following a link to TC on my iPad and having to cancel the annoying nag popup to install their app; last time I could not get through to the article because of constant redirects back to the nag popup. Yuck.)

So, I might be a little prejudiced against TC right now, but even with that, I think the original article about Shirley Hofnstein was really mean spirited.

In any case, I usually do my web browsing on my iPad so I am not reading TechCrunch anymore anyway.

fourstar 4 days ago 0 replies      
If everyone ignored them, they'd go away.
mindcrime 3 days ago 1 reply      
And she has the top media company in the tech industry trying to take her down.

TechCrunch isn't anything close to a "top media company." TC is a shitty blog run by a bunch of amateurs who should be lucky enough to be referred to as "wannabe journalists." TC exists to whore for page impressions and ad clicks, nothing more. The best thing to do is pretend they don't exist... quit reading TC, quit sending them "news", quit responding to their bullshit, etc.

nfriedly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Techcrunch dropped from one of my favorite sites to one that I actively avoid more than a year ago due to a number of the shenanigans they've pulled. I make special exceptions if someone I know is covered there, but other than that I basically avoid the site like the plague.
kenster07 3 days ago 0 replies      
Most programmers are hard-working, relatively honest people. It must be difficult for them to watch people like Shirley pass them on the career ladder.

It's one thing to have people skills, and use it as a lever to add benefit and value to this world. The Shirley's of this world deserve zero sympathy.

That being said, the TechCrunch article wasn't as articulate as it should have been. At the very least, context should have been provided for these pictures.

se85 3 days ago 0 replies      
Come on people, she is a con artist! She deserved every last bit of it, and then some.

If only more con artists got destroyed like this in public, the world would be a better place for sure.

lukejduncan 3 days ago 0 replies      
"So shame on TechCrunch for publishing something that belongs on TMZ."


TechCrunch essentially is TMZ.

DanielOcean 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's good journalism. That's their job, to get to the bottom of things and I think he did a great job.
edm4r 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The opposite of success isn't failure; it is name-dropping"
- Nassim Taleb
gadders 3 days ago 0 replies      
Leaving aside all the bruised egos of people that fell for her schtick, I'm well impressed with her photoshopping skills. She should be hired for that.
xenen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Exaggerating your connections to others to try and hustle favors and more connections is one thing, but photoshopping yourself into photos with celebrities is pretty damn creepy no matter how you look at it.
cpeterso 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised there isn't a "Photoshop yourself with Shirley Hornstein" meme yet.
n00b101 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cry me a river.
Samsung flew bloggers to Berlin, then threatened to leave them there thenextweb.com
198 points by rounak  5 hours ago   46 comments top 14
eddanger 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The only winner out of this is Nokia who paid for the hotels and flights home of those bloggers. http://twitter.com/clintonjeff/status/242358009249026049
KaoruAoiShiho 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't get this story. They were asked to wear a samsung t-shirt. That's not how shills typically work, isn't it typically, pretend you're independent, give good review, rather than, pretend you're part of our PR team?

Why would it benefit Samsung to have random Indians bloggers demoing devices in Berlin?

Something about this story doesn't make any sense.

indrax 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a human trafficking story.

Clearly this is not remotely as horrific as the usual connotations, but the structure of bait-and-switch coercion is very similar.

Roritharr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm part of the Samsung Mobilers program which is very similar to what they did.

I've never experienced as much pressure as described here, but i guess the Indian Samsung subsidiary is managed by different minded people.

It was clearly just a communication problem. Samsung expects you to do things at these events and you get your trip and stay for free in return, sometimes a little cash on top.

Noone wants to use the word work, for all the red tape this would create...

spartango 3 hours ago 1 reply      
From the start, the offers that Samsung made seemed ethically questionable. Yes, they may be common, especially where review device access is limited, but they seem very much like bribes.

I like The Verge's ethics statement, which they post publicly, for this reason.


"We do not allow trips or any portions of trips (including but not limited to airfare, hotel, or car rentals) to be paid for by third parties (these are known in the industry as 'junkets')."

They make expectations for readers and device-makers crystal clear.

philhippus 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty sure that had they gone to the German authorities and explained how Samsung "trafficked" them into the country with an expectation of being provided a ticket home, Samsung Berlin would get a call from German immigration - and promptly pay for the tickets.
grannyg00se 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How could this scenario have gone well for Samsung? Did they think the bloggers would suddenly change their moral stance and do a complete 180 on what they had been insisting for weeks?

It seems it would be much easier to find people who are willing to be brand ambassadors and be up front about it if that's what you are looking for.

truxs 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This ain't new for Samsung, they did the same during the olympics.

Officially they were invited to live the games from the inside but in the end they worked as Samsung publicist for free.


fruchtose 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the ugly side of "new media"--the big companies are able to push around the little people who lack the support of their own big companies.
azakai 4 hours ago 1 reply      
"Use your left/right keys to browse stories" - seriously? A single click of the left or right arrow moves to a completely different page?
Empro 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow. Samsung really needs to clean up its act.
denzil_correa 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Raises quite a few issues about conflict of interests. Should there be a rule for such declarations by writers who are paid to promote brands ?
revelation 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Being stranded in Berlin is certainly not the worst that could happen to you.

That said, this is exactly what happens when, as a journalist, you start to blur the lines. As a reader it's hard to feel any sympathy when reading paragraphs that try just a bit too hard to rationalize the behavior:

Again, a reminder " Behavior such as Samsung's is not uncommon in the world of tech coverage. It's perhaps considered more normal in some parts of the world

sbierwagen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The extended quotes, and TNW's reputation, makes me think that this may be blogspam, but I can't find an original post.
Controversial programming opinions blogoverflow.com
196 points by Sammyadems  4 days ago   171 comments top 29
rauljara 4 days ago 3 replies      
> The only “best practice” you should be using all the time is “Use Your Brain”.

This is true, in that very few best practices are universally applicable and you should never stop thinking. The author is also totally right about people jumping on bandwagons and being cargo cult members.

So I'm not really disagreeing with him, but just adding that a lot of best practices actually aid your ability to reason through code. They can help to push repetitive things off to the automatic portions of your brain. They can help to make patterns in your code that are visible and familiar, so you can spend less time thinking about how to implement (or read) some simple thing and more time thinking about how the simple pieces fit together.

Which is not to say all "best practices" are great. But even the questionable ones usually have some interesting problem they are trying to solve that explains why they sprung into being. If a "best practice" is popular enough that it gets called a best practice, it's probably worth paying attention to and thinking about even if you ultimately decide not to use it.

ajdecon 4 days ago 6 replies      
Most of these have wide acceptance among the HN/Startup crowd; I might expect to see more disagreement if the list were exposed to corporate programming environments, or especially to their managers. I have a couple of quibbles, though:

- 1: I'd modify "Programmers who don't code in their spare time for fun will never become as good as those that do", to be "Programmers who don't code in their spare time for fun will never be as good as they would if they did". I definitely believe coding for fun helps your skills, but I've seen too many "just-a-job" programmers code circles around others on the same teams who had side projects and kept up with the trendy languages. It's not a clear differentiator, just a data point.

- 2: Unit tests don't help you code in the same way that a safety net doesn't help you walk a tightrope: this is technically true, but not a helpful statement in reality.

- 10: Print statements are "valid" in that they often work, but when a debugger is available it's almost always the right way to go.

TheBoff 4 days ago 4 replies      
It seems to me that most of these aren't controversial at all.

I disagree with one of the points supporting "Unit testing won't help you write good code.", though, where he implies that writing the code reveals the edge cases. Surely the edge cases are something you should have carefully considered before starting to code? I've found that crystallising the edge cases as a test before writing the function can be really helpful.

S_A_P 4 days ago 1 reply      
I found the "programmers should be able to write code" off putting, but not because I dont think that programmers should be able to write code. Too many hiring development managers expect that someone can just walk into a room and without hesitation expose the way they think to them. I also think that most of these people fall victim to their own hubris. So what if a problem can be solved with "3 lines of code". I guarantee that many problems are not immediately solved in 3 lines of code and its only after iterating through the problem domain that an elegant solution can be found.

Being put on the spot is a different kind of stress that can take many people out of their game. Some managers may argue that they want to weed out people who cannot act under pressure but once a "team" is formed, the pressure of having to act quickly doesn't involve some of the socialization that is required in a job interview.

If you really want to know if someone knows how to code, have them write something for you. If you are afraid that they would cheat, look at their git hub account. Ask to see a portfolio if possible. If none of that is possible, make the hiring process take long enough that a level of rapport can be developed between the team and the candidate.

brosephius 4 days ago 2 replies      
Sorry, I still can't agree with #1. It assumes that all workplace programming is gluing things together, fixing/maintaining legacy crap, or writing generic CRUD apps, which is untrue. I know some great programmers who never code in their spare time, and some that do that are, quite frankly, very uninteresting people to be around due to their lack of other hobbies.

I know the current trend in startups is all about "show me your github", and I admit that it has some value as a filter, but I feel like I'm seeing people writing fairly uninteresting code snippets and blogs just to put it on their resume, in the same way that high schoolers join a bunch of student groups to beef up college applications. There are plenty of programming jobs that require writing complex code and having deep domain knowledge, and to discard those candidates because they can't show you their code and have other hobbies outside of work is just not smart.

borplk 4 days ago 4 replies      
#17 is absolutely spot on.

I think developers are putting themselves at a severe disadvantage and are being taken advantage of because of this whole 'hacker culture' or 'startup life' ideas.

We are making it the norm, and raising everyone's expectations of us which end up hurting us in the long run.

Stop for a second, and consider other professions and industries. Do you see lawyers or financial analysts play with side-projects in the weekend, and running all-nighters and hackathons? Or working on open-source-like-equivalents of their professions?

Sure they are different industries, but there are similar things they could do if they really wanted to, but they don't.

When we talk about 'hacking for fun' etc... we are sending a message to other people which changes their attitude to "hey i only pay you this much because you'd be doing similar stuff in your spare time anyways..."

People value your time based on things like this. Lawyers play this game very well, they pretend like they don't have a single extra second to spare, and hey they don't talk about law being fun either, and hence they can charge $200/hour fees and others will happily pay for it.

I think we need to be smarter and adjust our attitude to account for the economic goals and political games of the rest of the society.

talmand 4 days ago  replies      
Topic 4: So comments are a problem because people do not update them? I believe the blame is misdirected there. I agree that one should make code very readable but comments can be very useful. Just because someone uses the tool incorrectly doesn't make it a useless tool.

Topic 18: His questions are not about writing code, they are about writing algorithms. The kind of code I write on a day-to-day basis does not require working with math equations of this type. I could eventually do it but I would probably have to research and test before I would be happy with it. Most definitely not something I could do on the spot during an interview, but I guess that means I can't write code.

I don't think I have much of a problem with the rest of them and agree with most of them.

columbo 4 days ago 4 replies      
I agree with #18 wholeheartedly but I disagree with the examples because those are more of math questions than programming questions. I have never needed to write a program that dealt with circles/radius/area/pi so I'd probably fail that test as I'd have to look up a few things that I have't thought about in over twenty years.

I prefer to have about 15-20 index cards with problems that have open ended solutions ("Build a RPG combat system using 4,6,8,10, 12 or 20 sided dice", "Create a system to store Books and allow people to search by author/title or genre")

pbiggar 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with most of these opinions is that they are absolutes, and therefore by definition many of them are wrong. They could mostly be improved with the addition of "sometimes", "in most circumstances", "depending on the goals of your project", etc. For example:

- "Programmers who don't code in their spare time for fun [frequently won't be] as good as those that do.

- "Unit testing [may not] help you write good code [in many situations I have encountered]."

- "[Possibly the most useful] “best practice” you should be using all the time is “Use Your Brain” [though for some teams in some circumstances there may be more useful best practices]."

- "If you only know one language, no matter how well you know it, you're [almost certainly] not a great programmer."

- "Readability is the most important aspect of your code, [depending on your company's goals and method of achieving those goals at this point in time]"

Of course, these are [mostly] opinions, and adding all sorts of disclaimers is [almost] never fun, but opinions stated as absolutes are [almost] always wrong.

shanelja 4 days ago 3 replies      
I agree that developers should be able to code, I just got off the phone with a "web developer" who specializes in adding Joomla to a website, installing a template and sticking in some text.

For all intents and purposes this man is a glorified text editor.

He doesn't know the smallest bit of PHP (the stack with which he claims to work), CSS or HTMl - in which world is he a web developer?

glenjamin 4 days ago 0 replies      
I reckon #15 is one of the ones that's very easy to forget, and easy to lose track of between starting writing some code, and committing it. I wholeheartedly agree that it's more important than correctness though!

Readability is the most important aspect of your code.
Even more so than correctness. If it's readable, it's easy to fix. It's also easy to optimize, easy to change, easy to understand. And hopefully other developers can learn something from it too.

cgdangelo 4 days ago 1 reply      
These don't seem very controversial. I'd say that several of them are actually rather _popular_ opinions. 1, 5, 8, 11, 16, 20 in particular.
127001brewer 4 days ago 1 reply      
I agree with the first point, "Programmers who don't code in their spare time for fun will never become as good as those that do."

However, out of curiosity, how many people actually work on side-projects?

Because, after ten years, I have only worked with a couple of people who actively work on side-projects. And I know that some people treat programming as "only a job" and they're done at 5:00 PM, which is fine. But is it really uncommon that programmers work on side-projects?

[Shameless plug: I have a few small projects on GitHub (https://github.com/mattchoinski) and I also work on freelance projects for various clients.]

batgaijin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, if they are controversial opinions that only a subset of all programmers are going to agree upon, of what value are the votes?
nnethercote 4 days ago 0 replies      
"UML diagrams are highly overrated."

"XML is highly overrated"

Whoa. Steady on there, tiger. My brain can only handle so much controversy in one day.

dlikhten 4 days ago 2 replies      
The "less is more" argument -- less code = better can be better summarized as:

"I'm not smart enough to understand this really complicated code, so I decided to write something smaller and simpler."

This is something a co-worker of mine said once.

stephen_g 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think most of these are spot on, but I disagree with number 12 (especially if you're writing code in a library).

It's worth having getters and setters for variables that need to be publicly accessible, even if there's no logic in them, because it gives you the option to change how that data is stored in the future and not break all the code that uses it. You want to be able to change the implementation without breaking all your clients' code!

MojoJolo 4 days ago 3 replies      
I agree with #8. Learning a different programming language is not that hard. Because I think most programming language are related with each other. They have the same "structure". Just different in syntax. So if you only one programming language I think, programming is not for you.
mariusz331 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really like this list. I think the only opinion I don't share is number 20- "Less code is better than more". I've been coding in C++ for a while now and approaching a problem without an object-oriented focus can yield substantially less code, but it's not very readable nor flexible for quick changes later on. Also, if performance is key, you may want to dig deep and that usually yields a lot more lines.

I started using Ruby this summer and it was fun turning 10 lines of code into 1 or 2. But it was a big pain deciphering it weeks later =(

dsrguru 4 days ago 1 reply      
"11. Your job is to put yourself out of work."

I couldn't have said that better myself.

MarkMc 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure I'm not the only person who simply HAD to work out the algorithm in point 18 to prove my worth as a developer.
autodidakto 3 days ago 0 replies      
How can the 20 most upvoted opinions be the 20 most controversial? If the opinions were upvoted based on "I agree" (and this is what I assume), then they would be among the least controversial to the stackexchange crowd. Maybe the middle opinions would be better.
znmeb 3 days ago 1 reply      
My most contoversial programming opinion ... there are too fucking many programming languages already. Proposing a new one should be grounds for immediate dismissal.
pmelendez 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow.. I always felt alone and guilty for thinking in this way. It's good to know that I am not alone in the world.

I wonder if we can classify programmers depending on whether they are agreed with this or not. Something like a PQ (Programming Quotient)

vq 4 days ago 0 replies      
Are these opinions really that controversial? My favourite, "Loops considered harmful", aren't even on that list and I consider it more controversial than most of them.
n00b101 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would like to meet the person who thinks this is controversial. And fire him.
jebblue 4 days ago 0 replies      
I found myself agreeing with most of those.
mugsie 4 days ago 0 replies      
controversial, but just a lot of common sense...
chris_wot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Design Patterns rock.
HBO cuts the cord, brings streaming-only service to Europe arstechnica.com
193 points by nightbrawler  3 days ago   99 comments top 22
untog 3 days ago 8 replies      
As someone from the UK (who now lives in the US) I look forward to the reversal of roles when US techies are forced to search out proxy connections that allow them to watch online content.

Welcome to the club.

bgentry 3 days ago 4 replies      
Wow. I have to admit that I didn't expect to see anything like this from them for at least a couple more years.

We'll see how long it takes to bring it to the US though. I'd guess that their cable co ties are too strong here to do it anytime soon.

jfb 3 days ago 2 replies      
I imagine that their market penetration in Europe in so tiny that they can experiment with new models without pissing in too many people's Wheaties. Don't expect this in the US anytime soon.
incision 3 days ago 3 replies      
Despite all the naysaying, I have a feeling this could show up in the US sooner than expected.

HBO GO is very good, surprisingly so. The quality of that effort in combination with moves like this suggest some very smart, visionary folks are at work there.

Anecdotally, I'm seeing rapidly growing interest in cord-cutting among non-technical folks.

As tablets and 4G phones proliferate I see people in general becoming increasingly frustrated with cable and desirous of having content when and where they want it.

stcredzero 3 days ago 0 replies      
Paying more per-show, but only paying for the shows you want to watch, will likely encourage higher quality shows.

When you have, to steal some words from Pink Floyd, "500 channels of shit on the T.V. to choose from." Then the next channel of crap will always capture marginally more money, and will be profitable if costs are low enough. So what you get is in-your face lowest common denominator crap designed to draw the attention of bored channel surfers.

On the other hand, if shows need to generate buzz around the water cooler, such that people are proud to have discovered the show and announce to the world they're paying for it, the focus needs to be on quality.

lambda 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, this looks like something that I'd be willing to pay for once it comes to the US. Not holding my breath, but it's definitely a good sign that it's coming to other markets.
danso 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love ArsTechnica too, but I think the link traffic should've gone to Variety mag:


codesuela 3 days ago 3 replies      
Let's get a P2P network started.
Americans get BBC and HBO, we get Hulu and Netflix
wmeredith 3 days ago 0 replies      
One more crack in the dam.
sien 3 days ago 1 reply      
While it appears there are not that many sports fans here it is worth noting that for sport this is already happening.

The NBA and others have started online subscriptions for their content. For people in places like Australia where cable subscriptions with good sport cost $100 / month it's well worth it.

Setanta, an Irish concern, has a streaming service that allows you to pay $17 a month or $100 a year for live sport much of which is soccer. I watch the Bundesliga using this service and it is excellent.

It's a shame that you can't get Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga and the EPL this way. Yet.

anonymouz 3 days ago 2 replies      
I had already grabbed my wallet, but then I noticed that it will be restricted to a very few countries.

Oh well, back to Pirate Bay.

fwr 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is probably the first cool thing ever to appear in Poland before the rest of Europe.
digeridoo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Europe as in: the 4% of Europeans that live in Scandinavia.
bartonfink 3 days ago 2 replies      
Any ideas whether it would be feasible to get a proxy connection up to watch it in the U.S. via this?
vegardx 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder when more services like this will be released in northern Europe. The legal systems are more or less identical on copyright and intellectual property, which should make it a lot easier? Combined, scandinavia covers around 20 million people and have one of the worlds highest purchasing power.
BryanB55 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love it. I cancelled my Directv subscription last month for Hulu + Netflix. Haven't looked back. I'd like to see ShowTime go in this direction for US customers.
sfall 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope for the US that HBO will make it an add-on for Hulu or Netflix, I really have enough streaming services.
JanneVee 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice one, giving it to the nordic countries first means that they can reduce the number of high-bandwidth seeders for their content on Bittorrent. At the same time profit from it.
tjtrapp 3 days ago 0 replies      
i will cancel my TWC cable subscription in a millisecond once I can get NFL and HBO streamed to my house via my TWC internet connection. cable is so 1950s.
seanc722 3 days ago 5 replies      
I feel like the price is a little steep. If all your networks did the exact same thing it would cost a fortune. Though HBO is nice...
blario 2 days ago 0 replies      
Next VPS will be in Europe :-D
stripe 2 days ago 2 replies      
"... will allow customers in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark..."
Then call it HBO Nordic ffs.
Tacocopter Basics danshapiro.com
190 points by danshapiro  1 day ago   71 comments top 17
lgeek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Long rant incoming...

I'm currently building a quadcopter from parts and I'm writing my own control software.

I wasn't really familiar with RC components before starting this project, but I must say I'm impressed with the performance and reliability you get from very low cost motors, ESCs, propellers, gyroscopes and accelerometers.

However, I think Li-Po batteries are a huge safety issue. There are multiple factors:

* The battery chemistry is very unforgiving. You overcharge, it gets damaged, you over-discharge, it gets damaged. Same for charge and discharge current. The failure mode? Flammable gasses are released and eventually the whole thing sets itself on fire. And that's a fire you can't extinguish using typical means like water or regular fire extinguishers.

* All RC Li-Po batteries use a soft shell. If your model crashes the batteries can and will get crushed, which leads to an internal short-circuit, which eventually starts a fire.

* No RC Li-Po batteries incorporate Smart Battery controllers (like in laptop batteries) which could prevent overcharge/over-discharge and over-current conditions.

There have been plenty of incidents involving Li-Po fires, including whole houses burning down.

And still, the batteries don't change. Li-Po makes perfect sense for RC applications because it has great energy density and allows high discharge current. But to me it looks like some simple safety features could make this technology safe enough that you wouldn't have to treat your batteries like small bombs.

As a side-note, I've initially tried to use laptop Li-Ion batteries for my quadcopter. Each motor + propeller unit requires almost 12A @ 11V when at maximum speed - quite typical power requirements for a medium-sized quadcopter. I couldn't get more than 16A out of an older 6 cell battery (voltage was abruptly dropping if trying to draw more, so I guess this was the limit of the cells). I've then tried a new 9 cell battery (which was too heavy anyway). The controller on this battery considers 20A discharge an over-current condition and shuts off the output. So I'm stuck with Li-Po batteries and hoping that they won't set anything on fire.

I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable with current-technology Li-Po powered vehicles flying around a city without being watched.

noonespecial 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd really like to see a "you can fly anything commercially that weighs less than 5 pounds and has a terminal velocity below 30mph in freefall" rule. Bigger loads and speeds would be subject to some regulation and licensing.

This would cause a Cambrian explosion in development. It would be wild.

alexandros 1 day ago 1 reply      
Fun stuff. How about a RC plane dropping off quadcopters loaded with the payload for the last mile? (the copters can meet the plane on the way back or fly home alone. You get the range + efficiency of the plane with the agility of the copter.
lutusp 1 day ago  replies      
Okay HN developers -- when you get done reading the linked article and are finished laughing at the thought of a little helicopter delivering a taco or a bottle of beer, start thinking:

* Little helicopters can now lift a substantial weight.

* They aren't very expensive.

* They're easily controlled, more so than a full-sized helicopter (primarily because of computer-aided controls and GPS guidance). So you don't have to be Chuck Yeager to fly one.

* All you need to do is mate the helicopter with a decent camera that can simultaneously beam a picture to the ground for guidance and preview, and take high-resolution pictures on command by way of the radio link.

* Uses: real estate (who desperately need a way to take high-quality pictures of houses from above), surveillance, art, video productions, etc..

This is an opportunity waiting for someone willing to take it on.

wheaties 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this for real or is it the most cleverly disguised viral advertising campaign for Doritos? I don't see any mention of any other taco brand plus the use of a Doritos branded image...
rubyrescue 17 hours ago 0 replies      
One nitpick - Bernoulli's principle is NOT why airplanes fly... it's angle of attack. Spirited debate at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_(force)
lazyjones 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd prefer something like this:


- no noise
- no accidents involving people
- less energy needed
- much simpler / robust construction

jaredstenquist 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope you are right. If so my domains will become more valuable...

- pizzacopter.com
- burgercopter.com
- foodcopter.com

primitur 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea of multirotors taking off, literally, to be part of a delivery team.

Incidentally, I'd really like to be able to use those rotors to recycle things - literally to shred, perhaps, my plastic trash - such that the remaining processed materials can be used in .. say .. a 3d printer.

Also, lets get the 3d printer and quadrocopters pretty much working smoothly together so that one provides resources to the other. Oh, no wait, lets just make the 3d printer print quadrocopters, and the quadro's feed the 3dprinters .. and .. well now lets just make a flying recycling 3d printer robot, and be done with it.

On Mars. Because if we do it here, the damn thing will take over our planet.

jahewson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Things that fly are really, really dangerous, and the benefits really need to be worth the risks. I don't think a Taco is worth the risk that one of these things goes out of control over the freeway and causes a 100-car pileup. The idea of cheap and plentiful multi copters would make this sort of event inevitable.

Of course there may be a much simpler problem: hungry seagulls.

abecedarius 21 hours ago 0 replies      
How about ornithopters? Naively I'd guess they'd come in between planes and quadcopters in both efficiency and agility. Since seagulls can land without a runway, a tacothopter ought to be able to, too.
brador 1 day ago 0 replies      
genwin 1 day ago 0 replies      
When the drones come to US cities, and it seems they will within a decade, I'll be moving to a smaller town, however small or remote it takes to escape the noise. I'll accept that I'm an old fogey who can't handle "progress".
Tichy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not use zeppelins? Could they be energy efficient? Just not sure how to deal with wind. But it has been done, so I guess it is possible.
ArekDymalski 1 day ago 4 replies      
That could be useful for delivering mail in skyscrapers. But The biggest challenge to solve would be finding the way to prevent interceptions/stealing.
draggnar 1 day ago 2 replies      
How about one that works like the osprey?
orangethirty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fun read. Though we should first perfect the dark art of pizza deliveries before attempting to fly a taco over our heads.
       cached 3 September 2012 02:11:01 GMT