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4
Chrome DevTools could do that? igvita.com
489 points by lysol  2 days ago   74 comments top 27
1
kevingadd 2 days ago 3 replies      
WARNING: This presentation seems to crash Firefox for me. Had to view it in Chrome. Anyway...

"Disable cache to (re)gain some sanity" because Chrome continues to cache things it shouldn't, including the contents of file:// URLs and in some cases, even content with headers that specify it shouldn't be cached.

mumble grumble

Cool to see some of these features finally documented, though. I had no idea you could drag-drop elements to reorder them.

For those looking to try out the (useful!) Heap Snapshot tool, please be aware that it has a bad habit of crashing tabs. It tends to happen the most when a tab is already using a lot of memory, but sometimes it just happens. So don't do it on a tab that contains any state you might want to hang onto.

One cool feature they don't mention: You can edit code in the script debugger and then hit ctrl+s to update it live in the running page. It's pretty useful for experimenting or for adding tracing points to existing code.

2
skeletonjelly 2 days ago 1 reply      
Going to make a top level comment about the slide tools.

I just used the Chrome Web Inspector (!) to look at the JS libraries, search for the credited authors of the obviously named file and found this:

https://plus.google.com/118075919496626375791/posts/LG93tTdJ...

Which leads to this:

http://code.google.com/p/io-2012-slides/

Which has this code: http://code.google.com/p/io-2012-slides/source/browse/

And this dog food demo: http://io-2012-slides.googlecode.com/git/template.html

Looks great for doing a talk about code. Has a few features for highlighting code, handling links etc

3
ludwigvan 1 day ago 3 replies      
Here's something that I believe, should be included in dev tools: Click on a node, and see all event handlers that are attached to that node (and those attached using jQuery).

Does anyone know if this is possible using Dev Tools? There is a bookmarklet Visual Event2 (http://www.sprymedia.co.uk/article/Visual+Event+2) that does this, sort of; but it is still lacking.

4
wmf 2 days ago 6 replies      
If you're confused by the total lack of UI, try the arrow keys (facepalm?).
5
zaroth 1 day ago 1 reply      
This just goes to show how far we've come, and oh how far we still have to go. For the hackers who live and breathe by these tools, I salute you.

Some products absolutely depend on pushing the envelope of 'what is possible in the browser'. These trailblazers ultimately spend incredible amounts of effort achieving their desired effect, which a year later will be nicely packaged in an MIT-licensed, open source JS lib you can call with a single line of code.

But one look at my feature roadmap tells me exactly when I'll have the time to analyze HAR files, tweak how often I flush packets, stare at paint rectangles, or write some Chrome devtool plugins -- that would be... NEVER.

6
EliAndrewC 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain TCP Preconnect? My Google-fu has failed me - I understand that DNS prefetching is when Chrome notices that there are links to other domains so it resolves the IP addresses of those domains ahead of time so that their pages will load slightly faster if the user clicks on them. But I'm not clear about TCP preconnecting; are they literally downloading the contents of those pages in advance? Or are they merely opening a connection to the server in case you click on the link so that they'll be able to send the HTTP request slightly faster?

Can someone explain TCP Preconnect? My Google-fu has failed me - I understand that DNS prefetching is when Chrome notices that there are links to other domains so it resolves the IP addresses of those domains ahead of time so that their pages will load slightly faster if the user clicks on them. But I'm not clear about TCP preconnecting; are they literally downloading the contents of those pages in advance? Or are they merely opening a connection to the server in case you click on the link so that they'll be able to send the HTTP request slightly faster?

EDIT: I eventually found a link to http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=42694 which indicates that Chrome does indeed open connections to servers and doesn't immediately send an HTTP request, leaving those connections open in case we do need to send HTTP requests.

7
statictype 2 days ago 1 reply      
Crap, there's a lot of useful stuff in there.

The paint rectangles thing is amazing. I didn't know browsers even expose this data.

The Audit API looks really useful too.
I'm now thinking of standardizing on Chrome as the development browser for our team (most devs prefer it anyway) so we can share custom development tool add-ons.

8
niyazpk 1 day ago 0 replies      
For some reason even after multiple tries over the years I have never been able to get "Break on subtree modifications" and similar to work reliably. I think I must be doing something wrong, but I don't know what. Anybody else have had issues with this?
9
rurounijones 2 days ago 1 reply      
While not the presentation for these exact Tips'n'tricks slides, the google guys cover most of this in the following video:

http://confreaks.com/videos/886-railsconf2012-let-s-make-the...

(The Chrome Dev tools stuff kicks in about 20 minute)

10
hadem 2 days ago 4 replies      
The UI for this is terrible. The bullet points are incredibly brief to the point I'm confused about the information it is telling me. How do it actually see the information in the "Sources" pane? It is an overlay but there is no description of how to see it...

Am I missing something?

11
tech-no-logical 1 day ago 0 replies      
site doesn't work in opera (either regular or opera new).

  Uncaught exception: TypeError: Cannot convert 'document.body' to object
Error thrown at line 38, column 375 in <anonymous function>() in http://www.igvita.com/slides/2012/devtools-tips-and-tricks/js/slide-deck.js:
Modernizr.load({test:!!document.body.classList&&!!document.body.dataset,nope:['js/polyfills/classList.min.js','js/polyfills/dataset.min.js'],complete:function(){window.slidedeck=new SlideDeck();}});
called from line 38, column 181 in http://www.igvita.com/slides/2012/devtools-tips-and-tricks/js/slide-deck.js:
(function(){Modernizr.load({test:!!document.body.classList&&!!document.body.dataset,nope:['js/polyfills/classList.min.js','js/polyfills/dataset.min.js'],complete:function(){window.slidedeck=new SlideDeck();}});})()

12
bgrins 2 days ago 5 replies      
Remote debugging is so useful: http://www.igvita.com/slides/2012/devtools-tips-and-tricks/#.... It is painful to try and make and test changes on mobile devices without developer tools.

I wonder when this will be available for iOS.

13
molmalo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain me this, please:

-Break on subtree modifications - delete me

Thanks!

14
antihero 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is exactly what I've been looking for - I'm really interested in helping a friend make some of his slow sites fast, and making some of my own sites even faster. There's so much I didn't understand about the page render process and this helps massively!
15
mmahemoff 1 day ago 0 replies      
I never noticed the setting to show color "as authored" before. Normally, devtools converts RGB or HSL colors to hex, so you can't copy tweaks back to the source code. Leaving the color alone is how I'll have my devtools now.
16
umaar 1 day ago 1 reply      
I posted a tutorial about Chrome Dev Tools recently, it's a bit long though http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/tools-and-tips/chrome-dev-...
17
smagch 1 day ago 0 replies      
For people who are not familiar with Devtools

"A Re-introduction to the Chrome Developer Tools" by Paul Irish

http://paulirish.com/2011/a-re-introduction-to-the-chrome-de...

"7 MINUTE VIDEOS: JAVASCRIPT CONSOLE PROTIPS & NEWISH DOM APIS" by Paul Irish

http://updates.html5rocks.com/2011/09/7-minute-videos-Javasc...

18
d70 2 days ago 2 replies      
Dumb question here ... is there a visual tool to create browser-based slides like this or people just pretty much hand code each slide? I know there are libs out there like impress.js.
19
dhucerbin 1 day ago 1 reply      
On slide 27 [1] it's shown that I can customize colors of Elements pane. It's possible to customize Sources panel? Would be cool to have solarized theme here.

[1] http://www.igvita.com/slides/2012/devtools-tips-and-tricks/#...

20
ljoshua 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great resource, adding on top of other hard-to-find resources that others had pointed out before. (Nice use of a presentation in the browser too.)
21
minikomi 1 day ago 0 replies      
BRB off to write a ton of custom panels :)

Great slides.

22
neerajdotname2 2 days ago 1 reply      
What tools is used to build this presentation ? Is it open source ?
23
mclemme 1 day ago 1 reply      
Was at the talk and what really looked useful was the HAR stuff (HTTP archive), see httparchive.org
24
qntmfred 2 days ago 0 replies      
25
wlue 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice to see a PonyDebugger mention here. :)
26
induscreep 1 day ago 0 replies      
dat navigation controls...
27
chris_mahan 2 days ago 0 replies      
And to think that if they didn't use javascript at all the page would be even faster...
5
Are Those Spidery Black Things On Mars Dangerous? npr.org
480 points by kaffeinecoma  3 days ago   118 comments top 19
1
martian 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is awesome! I love that Mars continues to baffle, astound, and fascinate us. Sometimes our 21st century hubris makes us think we are reaching some kind of peak knowledge, but moments like this prove that we yet know so little.

In particular, the geology of Mars in an incredibly fascinating topic. If you're looking for a good primer on the subject, I highly recommend Mapping Mars by Oliver Morton.

Mapping Mars contains a history of the science, highlighting the major contributors to the field and augmented with interviews from such notable science fiction authors as Kim Stanley Robinson. A good discussion is, for example, how much water exists on the planet. Consensus is now that there is water somewhere, but exactly how much water, where it sits, how it flows: great questions that are attacked with lucid explanations.

Hats off to NASA and human curiosity for this grand adventure.

2
debacle 3 days ago 2 replies      
A good image of the formations is on Wikipedia:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/PIA11858_...

3
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 2 replies      
This stuff blows me away. I think, holy crap this planet has all sorts of real exo-planet kinds of weirdness. I love the idea of reverse icicles although for the life of me I can't imagine what would hold them up once the CO2 gas has vaporized out.

One part of me wants to build another Curiosity style rover and catch the next Earth/Mars orbital cycle and put it down near stuff like this.

I can believe folks would find this as inspiring as looking back at the planet from the Moon.

4
mhp 3 days ago 4 replies      
Pardon my idiotic question, but why don't they just drive over there and check them out? Or are they just in a totally different place than the rover (like asking why someone in North America can't just hop over and check out Uluru)?
5
creamyhorror 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Surely I'm not the only one thinking spiceblows..."

-- a commenter on that page, Melissa Swanson

6
jonknee 3 days ago 1 reply      
Depends on your point of view I suppose, all of Mars is dangerous (100% lethal!) if you're a human.
7
ktizo 3 days ago 1 reply      
David Bowie has built a fortress of solitude out of these at the Martian South Pole.
8
tocomment 3 days ago 3 replies      
> they might be colonies of photosynthetic Martian microorganisms, warmed from the sun, now sunbathing in plain view.

That's incredible. Is that really possible? I wonder why the rover doesn't check them out? It seems weird it's digging through soil looking for chemicals possibly related to life when there's potential life out in plain view.

NASA has some very strange priorities.

9
jl6 3 days ago 1 reply      
Could they not simply be rocky outcrops that are covered and uncovered by seasonal sandstorms?
10
MattBearman 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would seem David Bowie knew about these way before the rest of the world
11
freehunter 3 days ago 2 replies      
Dangerous how? Toxic to humans? At risk of unsettling sand around a rover/human? Is the question asking if they are something that would consciously attack someone?

Everything is dangerous. The key to mitigating that danger is planning ahead for it. A leaf seems harmless, but infection from a cut the leaf gave you could kill you. A marshmallow is fluffy and soft, but if you swallow it without chewing, it could expand and suffocate you.

Asking if something is dangerous is ridiculous. Asking what it is and how to safely handle it is not. The article does a much better job portraying this than the headline does.

12
melvinmt 3 days ago 0 replies      
It feels weird to realize that according to Mars, we're the aliens invading the planet. Makes me wonder about all the extraterrestrial "rovers" on our planet.
13
jhuckestein 3 days ago 2 replies      
Without a scale those images are largely useless.
14
fotbr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nope, black spidery things on Mars aren't dangerous at all. http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100117081507/babylon...
15
sidcool 3 days ago 1 reply      
The top comment here and on reddit is the same!!
Either kaax is martian, or just a plagiarist.
Here's the link:

http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/10vrag/are_those_sp...

16
JabavuAdams 3 days ago 0 replies      
WTF. How have I not heard about this, until now?
17
systematical 3 days ago 0 replies      
Crazy, looks like vegetation from 200 miles up but if the theory regarding CO2 is correct that is pretty crazy!
18
macey 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a trip! It kind of pisses me off that I'll die long before we gain a thorough understanding of this kind of stuff.
19
VMG 3 days ago 1 reply      
only Ziggy Stardust knows
7
Do You Really Want to be Doing this When You're 50? dadgum.com
398 points by rw140  2 days ago   237 comments top 92
1
edw519 2 days ago  replies      
57, programming for 33 years with hardly a day off, and having more fun than ever.

My motivation? It's not about the technology, the tools, the apps, the business, the customers, or even the money, although any of those can provide plenty of motivation. And believe it or not, it's not even about the happy dance feeling I get when something I built works for the first time.

It's about the achievements of those who use what I built. Hopefully that'll keep my busy for another 33 years.

2
robomartin 2 days ago 3 replies      
Programming, by itself, the mechanics of it, isn't something that I find stimulative enough to derive long-term enjoyment.

I think the author is right in pointing out that there's an ugly side to programming that includes bugs, bad API's, bad tools, bad documentation, etc.

This is what I have come to term "programmer on programmer violence". We certainly can't blame anyone else for these issues.

This I don't enjoy.

Not to single them out --because EVERYONE has these issues-- but you look at the bullshit you have to deal with when doing iOS programming and, yes, it can be down-right demoralizing. Horrible documentation, an IDE that looks more like an iTunes-styled toy than a professional development system, bugs, bugs!, no feedback, huge delays in fixing problems, etc.

Again, this isn't just about Apple, as nearly every system I've worked on over the years has some kind of bullshit that you have to deal with, like it or not.

This, I do not enjoy.

That's why, when justified, I've always gone for projects where I can "own" all of the code. Two typical cases are FPGA-based projects where you start with a blank slate of sorts and develop it into a useful signal processing subsystem. Or, embedded systems where I've had the chance to roll my own RTOS from scratch. These projects are fun. And you don't have to deal with other people's bullshit, laziness, incompetence and technical baggage.

These projects I really enjoy.

The other side of this question is: If you didn't program, what would you do?

I am an odd duck. I am equally at home designing multi-gigahertz digital circuits, programming embedded systems, FPGA signal processors, iOS apps, workstation apps, websites, doing mechanical design and even running a CNC shop. I've been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to learn tons of disciplines through hours-upon-hours of hard-work and dedication. I've enjoyed every minute of it.

What I have not enjoyed --and I'll try not to get too political here-- is when your efforts are affected or even destroyed by external --political-- forces. I recently had to close down a beautiful electronics manufacturing operation that took me fifteen years to build. Typical story: Started in the garage. Worked my ass off. Learned a ton of stuff I didn't know. Worked some more. Grew it to a 15 employee company in a 10,000 square foot building with top-notch manufacturing equipment. That's the good side of the story.

While I was busy doing this, fucking idiots, otherwise known as politicians, where busy meddling with free markets and passing laws and regs that would, ultimately, cause the economic implosion in 2008. My customers couldn't finance their purchases (this was B-to-B in a mostly leased-equipment environment) and orders went to zero or nearly zero instantly. There's a lot more to it, but that's the basics. At one point no option remained but to fire everyone and shut it down.

How does this relate to the "Would you want to be doing this at 50?" question?

Be careful about doing something or falling in love with something that external forces can seriously affect, damage or take away. For me I'll generalize and call this "manufacturing". No, I don't want to be in manufacturing any more. Not now, not when I am 50. It's a shit business in the US and, between our politicians and what's going on in China, it is getting destroyed a little more every day. Here's a case of having invested fifteen years of my life into something that the government destroyed. I did not destroy it. None of my actions caused the economic downturn. None of my employees or my customers caused it. It was government policy that allowed millions of people making $50K a year to buy $500,000 homes they could not afford. And so it went.

The software industry, as fucked-up as it can feel from time to time, can have a lot more isolation from these issues. That's not to say that it isn't affected by economic ebbs and flows, it is.

There's a fundamental difference between the nature of a software business and, say, a manufacturing business. At any given time I had to have one to two million dollars in inventory, tools and equipment (parts, assemblies, raw materials, manufacturing equipment, tools, infrastructure) in order to be a small manufacturer. And, when things go bad, this infrastructure is sitting there, right above your head, ready to squash you, ready to kill you off unceremoniously. It can happen almost literally overnight.

Software is different in that infrastructure is minimal and there is no real inventory investment. You can do software from your bedroom and build a nice lifestyle business or million dollar venture. Most importantly, software is incredible in that you can pivot overnight. You can be doing children's educational apps one day and a real-time process monitoring system the next. This allows for great security and potential stability for years and years. This is a huge advantage and, yes, this is something that would be desirable to have in your life at fifty and beyond.

3
tptacek 2 days ago 2 replies      
Please note extremely effective demonstration of "privilege".

Two employee candidates interview successively. One is 25, the other 53. Both are comparably conversant in technology, evince comparable cognitive capability, are equivalently literate in the problem domain being tackled by the role they're interviewing for.

Privilege: the 25 year old is not asked (overtly or subtextually) whether they "want to be doing this". It is simply assumed that the 25 year old's head is in the game. No demonstration of lifestyle commitment to the craft is required.

Take the idea and turn it around in your hands for a little while. Try this: imagine that instead of software developers, these were master woodcrafters; luthiers, say. Notice how the subtext changes: age is an asset. A lifetime spent designing guitars is a signifier of passion and competence. Flip the switch back to development and notice how age suddenly connotes something else, like "career failure forcing person to retain technical role".

You will get old someday, if you're lucky. But controlling for spectacularly unlikely values of "lucky", you are aren't going to strike gold in this field, such that you'll have no career concerns when you're 45-50. It is unfortunate that our field manages to devalue competence and experience that way it does; here's a second-time Rails gem author instead of a virtual memory system designer, see you at SXSW!

4
jgrahamc 2 days ago 7 replies      
In short, yes, and I'm in my 40s.

I actually returned to programming after years managing programmers in part because I was unhappy. I realized that the further I got from the machine and _making_ the less happy I was.

So, if you asked me whether I wanted to be 'managing' at 50, I'd say "Hell, no!".

The enjoyment of making things work, learning and shipping it real. I hope I'm still able to feel those things at 80. I never got the same satisfaction and enjoyment from managing people and processes.

5
michaelochurch 2 days ago 5 replies      
I enjoy programming and would like to be doing it at 50, but with regard to the software industry itself... not in its current state.

If you want to be able to survive more than 10 years in the software industry, you need to get manager-level clout and full autonomy over your work. That's non-negotiable. This industry destroys you if you don't have those things.

The terrifying thing about the software industry is that if you don't continue to get good work, you decline pretty quickly. Also, I honestly think 90% of what makes some engineers great and most not (once filtering for natural talent has taken place) is past experience: you need a continual stream of high-quality work to become and remain decent at this job, and the good stuff is rare.

The actual work of programming can be a lot better (more interesting, more rewarding) than anything that managers do. The hard part is figuring out a way to be a full-time engineer but retain manager-level clout.

Many engineers think that actually becoming managers will give them what they need to enjoy engineering again, but the problem is that this strategy doesn't work. If you're a manager and your reports figure out that you're taking all the interesting work for yourself and throwing them the scraps, they'll get pissed off and either underperform or leave.

6
raganwald 2 days ago 4 replies      
If you're young, be sure to read the responses here very carefully. There are lots of people like me who love what they do at fifty or beyond. Yay!

But of course, this sample has survivor bias. How many people who left the profession in their forties are going to post on HN? How many people who are fifty and hate their jobs are going to post on HN?

I love what I do and try to share that love. But my advice to you is this: Don't pay attention to how much we love our jobs at fifty, pay attention to how we got to be fifty without burning out.

7
DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 4 replies      
I love programming and still consider myself a programmer first, although I do a lot of other things too.

If I wanted to rag on programming, I'd point out how many dysfunctional programming workplaces we have, or how our tools are always 100 times more complex than they need to be, or how setting up and managing the programming environment can take the joy right out of actually doing the work. (I could go on at length here)

But overall it's a great place to be. We're the Michelangelos of the great age of machine intelligence which is yet to come. We're sketching out how it's all going to look. We're at the forefront of solving incredible problems and creating magical devices. A guy told me something back in my 20s when I was just getting started that rings true today: technology development is the one area where you can create your own reality. Not only in terms of a virtual reality, but in terms of how you want your work day to go, how you want to interact with your peers, how you get compensated, how you spend your free time. It's all up to you. This is completely unlike many other professions such as doctors where everything is tightly regimented.

I worry that as the job of programming matures, we are losing track of that fundamental insight. One of the reasons I like Agile and Scrum is, when done correctly, it liberates the teams and takes them back to the way programming should be.

It is rarely done correctly.

8
plinkplonk 2 days ago 0 replies      
The interesting idea in the post(beyond the programming vs age bit, which is sure to trigger some rage,) is this

"To me, there's an innate frustration in programming. It doesn't stem from having to work out the solutions to difficult problems. That takes careful thought, but it's the same kind of thought a novelist uses to organize a story or to write dialog that rings true. That kind of problem-solving is satisfying, even fun.

But that, unfortunately, is not what most programming is about. It's about trying to come up with a working solution in a problem domain that you don't fully understand and don't have time to understand."

If this is a problem that affects you don't do 'most programming'. Nothing really stops a developer from learning a problem domain with economic potential. Sure you may have to go to school or read some books or get some experience, but so what?

The idea that a programmer always has to work in a half understood domain transforming some one else's ideas into code is just that, an idea. It is a dominant idea, but nothing really stops anyone from mastering an interesting domain in addition to programming.

Knowing how to program is like knowing how to write (in a largely illiterate society, so your knowledge has economic value). Or like knowing how to cast spells. Yes, if you spend all your life scribing other people's thoughts or casting spells to manifest other people's wishes, it could get boring. Could, but doesn't have to be. You don't have to be a scribe just because you know how to write.

9
jacquesm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hell yes!

There are many different kinds of programming, some are fun and some are not.

If you really want to be doing this when you're 50 make sure you get good enough that you can pick the projects that are fun. If by the time you are 50 and you've been doing this for 3 decades you are still gluing api's that's not the fault of 'programming', that's a direct result of choices made earlier.

And one more thing: on the scale of things that you could be doing, look at your parents, grandparents and their grandparents and what they were doing when they were 50. Suddenly that api gluing doesn't look so bad at all.

10
btilly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let's draw an important distinction.

There is programming, writing code that helps computers do what people tell them to do.

Then there is the experience of programming that this author seems to have, which involves a lot of long hours, and nights until 2 AM.

It is rare for competent and experienced people to be tolerant of the toxic environment that was assumed for programming. Over time you learn that there are lots of professional programmers with reasonable lifestyles, and you'll want to become one of them.

However programming itself, if it is enjoyable for you, is likely to remain enjoyable for a long, long time. (Mid-40s here. Didn't learn that I liked programming until around 30.)

11
praptak 2 days ago 1 reply      
Late 30s represent, yo. The author of the article mentions high stress. My experience differs.

In my case the stress sort of waned by itself. I think I moved a bit towards Wally character from the Dilbert series. I don't overcommit anymore and I certainly gained resistance to "aggressive schedules" and visions of doom and gloom tied to deadline skips. So I stress out less and less and I believe it comes naturally with age.

12
kamaal 2 days ago 1 reply      
No,

Because I seriously would like to see myself retired by 40. Not even 50. Would I like to code in my spare time? Yes! But I'm dead sure and certain the nature of programming is likely to have changed so drastically in so many years I might find myself a losing horse in such a race. Not that I cannot compete,but after looking at my father I can say for certain priorities in life at 50 are very different than what they are 25.

Solving problems is something that I would love to do even after retirement. But solving problems doesn't always mean programming.

I love programming, but I just like money a little more!

13
saraid216 2 days ago 1 reply      
Some people actually seem to be missing a significant part of his point. He's not talking about "Do you want to be coding at all when you're 50?" He's talking about the dependency management that goes into building something large on the shoulders of others.

That's a lot different from "hacking on your homepage" or throwing together a quick Ruby script utility to do some scraping.

14
brooksbp 2 days ago 0 replies      
> But large scale, high stress coding? I may have to admit that's a young man's game.

2.5 yrs out of college. Code monkey. Really, really good at monkey programming. Used to get upset when people made claims that it can't or shouldn't be done. "Of course it can be done you lazy #$%*$%. You call yourself a software engineer??" Then I pull it off. A couple more people love me, a couple more hate me. I become the monkey programmer. I am the one who brings designs to life the quickest.

That's the gist, and it's getting old. Requirements change. Social issues. It's like trying to drive a ferarri up switchbacks of a mountain. No wonder companies love hiring new grads.

The largest benefit from this is: reading & writing a lot of code. There is no substitute for this. It has helped me identify design areas that I need experience with. It has also helped me reason about code more efficiently, which is a very useful skill when interacting with other programmers.

Edit: And then I go home and read HN and /r/programming and play with other programming languages and build stupid little programs and read my books and try to figure out my next move...

15
adamc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm fifty, and I still enjoy programming, but my interest in incidental complexity -- the details of APIs, say -- isn't what it once was. And the likelihood that I will put in a ton of overtime to meet an arbitrary schedule isn't what it once was either. I'm less interested in the technology than I once was, and more interested in how people are using it to solve problems.
16
andyl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was a manager in the dot-com era, made good money then took a decade off to climb mountains and raise my kids. Now approaching 50, I've taken up programming and just loving it. Today's tools are incredible - I can do myself what used to take a whole team and literally millions of dollars. Ruby/Rails/Sinatra/Rspec/Postgres/Backbone/Coffeescript/Erlang/Elixir/Chef/etc/etc - we are blessed. Creating with my own hands and having a direct relationship with my customers is so much better than hassling with investors, attorneys, employees etc. I hope to do this the rest of my life.
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geofft 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm excited to see all the other folks in this thread who say they're 50 and they're programming! I've been worried that because everyone _else_ thinks "large scale, high stress programming" -- i.e., the kind of programming that's _fun_ -- is a young man's (or woman's) game, I won't be able to have a job like the one I have when I'm 50, and I might need to find some other career I enjoy in order to continue having a job I enjoy when I'm 50.

I'm not looking for advancement, since advancement would be out of programming and into management, nor a pay raise, since programmer salaries are already plenty high. I just want to be doing exactly what I'm now doing in thirty years.

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gonzo 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am 50.

I had a large portion of the 'middle' of my career in management, including a couple CTO/VP Eng positions, with the traditional increasing stress.

So I moved to Hawaii for nearly a decade, got rid of the stress, rediscovered programming, and I'm happy again.

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Swizec 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man, I hope I still get to program when I'm 50. This stuff is fun!

That said, I sure hope it's not my day job by then. Programming is much more fun when you're just doing it for yourself than when you're solving other people's problems to extract money.

Although even those projects can be made fun by making a valid business case about cool things to clients.

20
lazyjones 2 days ago 1 reply      
For much of this frustration I blame the modern practice of letting some committee design a protocol or other standards and then force that down the throats of programmers. This leads to bloated designs and deficient implementations and documentation and last, but not least, far too many revisions and alternatives.

Back in the day, protocols (tools, languages, ...) were designed by people who thought very hard about the implementation, the required resources and the programmers whom these were inflicted upon.

In contrast, entities like the W3C display complete ignorance for the implementation details (look how they've failed to provide even a half-assed implementation of a browser as proof-of-concept for their "designed by committee" standards). Whatever builds on top of such lackluster work is doomed and will frustrate programmers endlessly ...

21
outside1234 2 days ago 0 replies      
40 year old here. The key to a long enjoyable career is making sure you really love 80% of the work you do in your role. You'll never enjoy 100% but if you find yourself only loving 20% of it then you need to examine what that 20% is and figure out how to make it at least 80%.

I made a long (5 year) detour into management because "I was supposed to" and it took me 4.5 years to realize that I hated 80% of my job. That isn't to say management is "bad" but you need to understand what makes you tick and what doesn't and then find a role that matches that. Don't worry about the money - the money will find you if you love your job.

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mikecane 2 days ago 0 replies      
When you reach your 50s, you have enough experience to see what is real bullshit and what isn't. He is basically talking about being a hamster spinning on a wheel made of someone else's bullshit. You are old enough to see that many things shouldn't be the way they are and you get tired of having to fight basically the same battle again and again with the same enemy that is just wearing a new uniform (API).

Hm, maybe the solution is to have people in their 50s design APIs, so they can make sure the bullshit doesn't get in?

BTW, I'm not a coder but I Follow several on Twitter and too often see their frustrations with bizarre APIs and things not working as documented -- and these guys are young!

23
dschiptsov 2 days ago 2 replies      
That's solved long ago.

There are some underlying concepts, foundation ideas which didn't change much since 1960-70-80s, the time when they have been discovered, studied and defined.

Yes, people are piling up tons of crap in order to get money, and this is how we got a millions lines of meaningless Java code which no one could understand or maintain, which seems to work well only because most of unit-tests passed and hardware is so cheap.

I don't even want to mention current Javascript madness.

At the same time, however, almost nothing were added to the ideas expressed by John McCarthy, and followers.

Yes. They are stuffing tons of useless crap into new Scheme standard, as they did with Common Lisp, but, the underlying ideas and the principles of "less is more" and "good enough" remain unshaken, like mountains in Nepal.)

In a very rare occasions we still can witness some miracles. For example, the source code of this site - the engine and the language translator in which it written is less than one megabyte. (just imagine what amount of traffic it handles and how much money already created).

There are also Plan9, nginx and few other wonders.

So, in ones 50s one, perhaps, should enjoy knowing and applying these principles and ideas and produce ones own small wonders. Or teach others, as enlightened people like Gerald Jay Sussman or Brian Harvey do.

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noonespecial 2 days ago 0 replies      
30's here. I'm actually calling "still doing this when I'm 50" my best case scenario. It will mean the joy I take in making was able to outrun the creeping cynicism that seems to catch up with far too many people as they get older.

It's about getting derailed by hairline fractures in otherwise reliable tools, and apparently being the first person to discover...

I actually live for these moments. When I google the error, in quotes, and get 0 responses. Its a total rush to know that I'm the first one there. Its even better when I figure out a decent fix and then light out across the forums to share my new-found knowledge.

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TwoBit 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love programming professionally at nearly 50. I doubt that is going to change. And I'm in the game industry.
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genbattle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm literally going through this at the moment.

I'm currently 24.

I do still love programming, and I'd like to think i'm pretty damn good at it. But do I want to be doing it as a job in 30 years time? I'm not so sure anymore.

I've been through one software job at the very loose-and-fast end of software development, but the pace (and a huge amount of overtime) burnt me out. I got to the stage where I couldn't get myself out of bed to go to work the next day. Over time I recovered somewhat, but I just wasn't enthusiastic about the work anymore.

My current job is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Medical software development is very slow, conservative, and methodical. To be honest I can see why most of the companies in this industry are at the thousands-to-tens-of-thousands scale; you literally need that critical mass in terms of staffing to deal with all of the overhead associated with a medical product. Reports, standards, committees, meetings, audits. And yet this company is doing it with less than 10 people.

It's really feel-good work, but it is really easy to get bogged down in the day-do-day drudgery and overhead, to the point where you completely miss the big picture of helping save peoples' lives. Do I want to be doing this when i'm 50? I don't think so.

In general in software development there's a couple of things that I've realized you have to work really hard at to have as a software developer. I've also discovered that both of these are much more important to me than I used to think:

-- Physical health and fitness: if you're sitting statically in a chair for 8-16 hours a day you have to really watch your diet and make continuous conscious efforts to exercise at every opportunity: it's going to catch up with you eventually (especially by the time you get to that 50 mark).

-- Varied and changing environments: both of my parents have "desk jobs", but both have extensive trips out of the office to visit customers or other sites. As a programmer I don't get this variety (the spice of life), so it's very easy to get bogged down and forget the big picture. I think this also leads to getting stuck in mental and emotional loops, due to a lack of external stimulus (kind of like what people who work from home report).

Nothing prepares you for actually being in a 9-5 programming job. At university it was obvious that there were people who were able to pass tests well enough, but would obviously struggle to code their way out of a paper bag. What about the people like myself, who are competent and practical, but are not prepared mentally to handle the rigors of 9-5 programming? Maybe that's why there is a shortage of labour in this sector: not only are we struggling to find people who are excited about programming and skilled at it, but we also struggle to find people who can handle working in these commercial scenarios?

There are also a number of companies that aren't like the examples above, especially in SV. But the problem with that is that not all of us are, or want to be, in Silicon Valley. Could I start my own company? Maybe, but that's not where my competencies or passions lie, at least currently.

Some deep thought is required about where exactly I will go next, given the time and effort I've invested up till this point into electronics, computers and programming.

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Stratoscope 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 60 and have been programming for 44 years. This year I'm working on election maps for Google. I still like learning new languages - this year it's PostgreSQL and PostGIS, Go, Autohotkey (a very strange language!), and now TypeScript (not quite a new language).

One thing I get an odd pleasure out of is when other programmers use phrases and styles I came up with years ago. A recent example is the $ prefix on a JavaScript variable containing a jQuery object:

    // Set $test to a jQuery object and test to the DOM object
var $test = $('#test'), test = $test[0];

I just saw someone explaining that on reddit last night and it gave me a smile.

Much longer ago, I coined the phrase "fire an event" back in the 80's when I was designing the VBX interface for Visual Basic (then called Ruby). Alas, not all the names I coined for that project survived: VB Controls were originally called Gizmos, which I thought was a much more fun name. But still it's neat to see people talk about firing an event.

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ryanlchan 2 days ago 1 reply      
A bit of a false dichotomy here.

Don't do the work because it's expected of you, because it's sexy, or because it's "interesting". Don't do it because your friends are impressed, because the pay's good, or because your friends are there.

Do it because it enables you to do what you love.

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mgkimsal 2 days ago 0 replies      
"It's about trying to come up with a working solution in a problem domain that you don't fully understand and don't have time to understand."

Hrm... it's like that for me, but it's not like that for others I know. Some people I know have worked in the same industry for several years and have a good grasp on the problem domains they address. That doesn't mean they know the solution to everything off the top of their head, but it does mean they'll likely have time to figure it out, as they're in that business for the long term, and have incentives to get it right vs 'fire and forget and move to the next project'.

I'm in my 40s and have been programming, for 30 years. Initially as a hobby (obviously) but getting paid to do it, first part time, then full time, for about 20 years. I had this same conversation with an uncle last year - shouldn't I be doing something else (OK, not quite the same tone as the OP, but we had the discussion).

I have skills that allow me to solve problems for people. Many people do as well, but with software, I do it with electrons, and can do it wherever and whenever I want. In contrast to many other types of work which dictate location, tools, timing, software work is incredibly flexible. But... more to the point, as more of the world continues to become software-based, the opportunities to offer my problem-solving skills to people increases at a rate few other industries/skills have enjoyed (or will continue to enjoy).

Even if I switched focus to work in "company X" vs "company Y", my core ability will still be "problem solving with software" - I just don't see that changing for me over the next 20-30 years. The 'how' and 'who' may change, but probably not the 'what' so much.

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Surio 2 days ago 0 replies      
Remember the mantra - "location, location..", and also context. In other words, where you are working (geolocation of company, and therefore the strategic operations concentrated in that place, company size, technology, etc.), what you do on a daily basis, whether you are doing things like "skimming great oceans of APIs, but the market will have moved" day in and day out. (There's a lot of gems in that article, BTW)

Add to my above para, this other gem of an observation:

<blockquote>
If you're fresh out of school, there are free Starbucks lattes down the hall, and all your friends are still at the office at 2 AM, too...well, that works. But then you have to do it again. And again. It's always a last second skid at 120 miles per hour with brakes smoking and tires shredding that makes all the difference between success and failure, but you pulled off another miracle and survived to do it again.
</blockquote>

That article really resonated with me. And, no I can't see myself doing it at 50 :-)

EDIT: One more thing to add with regards to context of operations, rewards are also skewed in favour of management rather than "engineers", so at some point mortgage, loans, education and medical expenses will overshadow 'fun'.

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agentultra 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes and I hope to continue programming well into my 60s and beyond if I will be so lucky.

However I hope that by then I won't be working for a boss and stressing to meet deadlines. I hope that I will be conducting research and working with fellow hackers to seek out the next frontier of the future.

While I think the present we live in now is full of wonders, I don't get a very gratifying sense that it's going to last. It seems more to me that we're finally able to apply the things we've spent enormous amounts of time and money learning over the last thirty years -- we're not out seeking the future so much as we're claiming a stake in the present.

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tremendo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fifty? Pfft, sure! I'm almost there, and yes, I want to continue… Now Sixty… I'll confess that my evil "plan" from many moons ago was to"by then"be able to balance this with my other loves, being outside and moving (not just my fingers). I suppose many professions suffer from the same disadvantage, but programming is a slow killer. Eyes, joints, all that clot-inducing sitting, disrupted cicardian-rhythms, too easy to get trapped in bubbles disconnected from reality, you need to be extra-vigilant and pro-active if you care at all about your health and those that love or at least put up with you.
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lifebeyondfife 2 days ago 3 replies      
I know and have worked with coders in their 50s, even 60s. They were very much what I'd call 9-to-5 coders though. They were never given big, important or new projects but as a consequence were never expected to burn the midnight oil.

The main thing that looks unappealing to me about being a hacker decades from now is the constant cycle of learning. I'm on probably my 3rd generation upheaval. I've worked on a daily basis in a team of programmers with C, C++, C#, Java and Python. Getting familiar enough with those languages to do more than just tinker took a lot of effort - even for the languages that are pretty similar e.g. C# and Java. I'm now looking to do more front to back website coding (away from pure desktop/server stuff) so I'm trying a few things out before choosing on the main stack of technologies I need to master.

In my early thirties I still have the enthusiasm to do this but I find it hard to picture doing the same ten years from now with the same smile on my face.

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mark_l_watson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am 61, started programming in high school in the mid-1960s, still really enjoy it.

But, that is the issue: enjoyment. The author of the article is not enjoying himself (apparently) so time to try something else.

I enjoy the tech and helping people. My only frustration with my work comes when occasionally projects, for whatever reason, don't work out well.

35
rapind 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the key, just like any career, is to truly make an effort to reduce your cost of living (yes even with dependents, or what I like to call barnacles). This will help you get the stress under control and free you up to be a little pickier with the projects / products you work on and the people you work with.

Still happily coding away @ 37 here.

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epo 2 days ago 0 replies      
People are being very selective in what they are responding to. The final words are "But large scale, high stress coding? I may have to admit that's a young man's game." High stress coding is what companies can get away with when they hire kids fresh out of college, i.e. young, stupid and inexperienced.

And before people throw a hissy fit about being called 'stupid', look back at 10 years ago and tell me you weren't stupid with regard to what you think is important now.

No one is saying you can't (or shouldn't) code in your 50s or beyond, but the older you get the more particular you get about what you work on and what your working conditions are.

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happywolf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been programming for 10+ years professionally (not counting those 'Hello world' days in school), and I need to admit the OP hit the nail at its head. Yes, I still believe programming is fun, problem solving is fun, and solving a hardcore problem is fun. But putting all these in the context of a tight deadline, management who has no clue about technology, and changing requirements, I really am tired to pull the miracle off by working my ass off.

A quick glance through the posts here reviews a lot of folks here have better luck and it is a good thing. To put things in perspective, I have been working in Asia Pac and now in China. Now I am in the business dev turf where a technical background is proven useful.

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henrik_w 2 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely! I'm 46, I have been programming professionally for 21 years, and I still love it.

I think we're lucky to be in such a creative and interesting profession where you get to learn lots (and it pays comparatively well too).

I've written about the joy of programming in "Why I Love Coding" http://henrikwarne.com/2012/06/02/why-i-love-coding/

39
donpark 2 days ago 0 replies      
FYI, I am 50 and loving it still. More relevant question IMO is: are you doing what you enjoy doing?
40
Zigurd 2 days ago 0 replies      
It really depends on what you mean by "programming." Following some dullard's waterfall plan to put sludge data in one server into a database of sludge on some other server would make anyone depressed.

Writing books, consulting on multiple interesting projects, and being well-remunerated is a very rewarding way of making a living. Can't complain.

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lukeholder 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just turned 29 and this depressed me.
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lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 1 reply      
The frustrations of this are less than frustrations of almost every other job I know.

I hope to mitigate the frustrations by simplicity - the idea of a few great tools I know inside and out

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ef4 2 days ago 0 replies      
No matter what you do, you should absolutely be asking yourself "do I want to still be doing this in N years?".

It isn't just a matter of trying to have a fulfilling life -- it's a matter of survival. People who don't look up once in a while and consider their larger place are the people who get steamrolled when a new technology kills their entire industry.

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njharman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I will always program, for myself, solving my problems, exploring my interests.

I doubt I will always program for someone else, solving their problems. I'm sure I'll do it for another 8yrs at least. Which will put me at 50.

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lambda 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, what do you do instead? As someone whose only job has ever been programming, what else is worth moving to that pays about as well, has similar job prospects, and is suited to the type of person who is drawn to programming?
46
kabdib 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 51, and having a blast.

I'm still learning. I'm an ACM member and read at least a paper a week from one of the journals. I keep trying to improve my skills. (A couple months ago I realized I hadn't done much work with trees in a few years, so I spent a week going through tree balancing algorithms from several books. It was fun).

Hardest thing: Having to learn new stuff that isn't designed right. I'm going through a fair amount of that now. Having to move in with a large, not very well designed system and make serious additions to it is . . . irritating.

47
danso 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want to be programming, but in the line of non-professional software development, whether it's making open-source tools or to advance the processes of a cause/organization/business that I support, on my own terms. I've been lucky that I haven't had to go into a purely software dev job at a company...
48
ww520 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I do plan to be doing this when I will be 50 or 60 or whenever. There's always something new coming up, new platforms, new hardware, new languages, new tools, new problem areas.

For example, I've just learned a new vision algorithm that came up couple year ago that makes one of the vision problems solvable with modern hardware, that opens up the possibility to build solutions for this kind of problem.

We are slowly but surely automating life with software, and we developers are in the middle of it. Why stop just because you've aged?

49
donebizkit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally an article that tells it like it is. A word to the commenters trying to disparage the author. I am sure wherever you live, in la la land, you wake up smiling, sipping your coffee, checking tech blogs, dev sites, spending couple of hours learning a new technology and then when you feel like it you write a single PHP page and call it a day. But let me tell you how the rest of us do it. You wake up with a headache because you spent last night dreaming about all the meetings you had the day before. You chug your coffee hoping the headache will go. You spend 15 minutes catching up on emails and if you are lucky 15 on reading tech blogs and then the misery begins. In 15 minutes increments you jump from coding project 1 to a meeting to fixing project 2 to a meeting to learning about the domain of project 3 ... And then some douchebag in a meeting says why don't we use technology X and spend many days learning about it to build something we could've coded in couple of hours. And then management says why don't we use technology Y because all the douchebags on the internet are talking about it. You try to make you case that we don't need any of that i.e. we don't need to use Hibernate for COUPLE of select/update/delete queries SQL is not that evil! and then even though most of the team agrees with you, no one has the guts to say it out loud. You return to you desk trying to remember the algorithm you were designing in your head but part of it is gone. You jump from JAVA to .NET to PHP to javascript to C++ to SQL to Hibernate to jquery to YUI to MVC to mapper to, to, to ... You go back home, do whatever nightly routine you do and call it a day.
Sorry, passion is not the problem here. Software developer is a tough job and I know I can't do it when I am 50.
50
rbanffy 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I can still build planes in the sky and herd cats when I'm 50, I'll be happy.

I've been building planes for my first 20 years and herding cats for the rest of my career and there is probably nothing in the world I'd be happier doing.

Note: those may be obscure references for some. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7XW-mewUm8 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_MaJDK3VNE should help.

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grownseed 1 day ago 0 replies      
I liked that article, it's a question I've asked myself numerous times. I love programming, been doing it for about 14 years now and I regularly find renewed interest.

I think one point that's maybe not stressed out enough here is that the passion for the activity itself doesn't necessarily have to do with a passion for the job related to that activity. I very often do things at my work I honestly wish I didn't have to do, a lot of it is really, really numb. Consequently, sometimes I think I wouldn't want to do that for too long, but then I realize the problem is the job itself, not programming.

There's also the question of whether I'll still be able to keep up with all the new stuff when I get older. I've often relied on the fact that I can adapt and learn things pretty quickly. Then I think back and it turns out that it's not so much a 'mechanical' problem, it's more of motivation problem. So I suppose as long as you can keep yourself motivated, you'll keep going.

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azakai 2 days ago 0 replies      
> But large scale, high stress coding? I may have to admit that's a young man's game.

Was there a reason to use "man" instead of "person" here? Being a man doesn't seem important to the article.

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akadien 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want to do exactly what I'm doing now in seven years. Like several stories, I drifted out of programming and into various management roles over the past few years. I'm super-fortunate to be out of Excel and Word and back into a command-line and VIM.

As a side note, I work with a well-known researcher/developer in his 70's, and it's like working with Yoda. There is so much to learn from him.

54
gexla 2 days ago 0 replies      
Taken to extremes - if it's not worth doing at 20 then it's not worth doing at 50. If you feel that you don't want to be doing this at 50 then you should probably get out as soon as possible.

He also mentions something to the effect of not being able to take the time to completely understand everything. But the problem is, it doesn't matter if you are being paid or not. Your lifetime will always be a constraint. You will never completely understand everything you are working with.

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bravoyankee 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's about skimming great oceans of APIs that you could spend years studying and learning, but the market will have moved on by then and that's no fun anyway, so you cut and paste from examples and manage to get by without a full picture of the architecture supporting your app.

Well stated. Man, do I feel like that. But I think this is a universal problem now. Information is freely available, and there's so much of it. An endless buffet, and it doesn't matter what field you get in to.

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velebak 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been doing software development for a total of 16 years, with a stint as an IT manager for 5 additional. Did some side work here and there to keep skills sharp, but I recently got back into full-time development after I realized I like creating more than I like maintaining.

I'll be 42 in November, and my experience gives me a guided path to understanding and solving problems, independent of technology, language or API.

I don't need to chew through espresso and lattes until 2am, because I've gotten smarter over time. I can identify patterns and problems faster than I did 20 years ago. I work more efficiently and don't need to take a scatter-shot, unfocused approach to work.

I don't disagree that software is a continual source of frustration to develop, but I think that's because we expect at some point to be super-experts for any problem domain.

Yes, tools and frameworks change. Sometimes they suck. Sometimes they don't. If you don't love learning new things and investing yourself in continually keeping up to date, then you doom yourself to being miserable in this profession at any age.

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bryanwb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really started programming at 30. Prior to that I spend 5 years managing medium-sized groups of IT staff (telephone, wan/lan,satellite). Managing the IT groups was a billion times more stressful. Programming is so much more fun and rewarding.
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nathan_f77 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 23, so I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure that I will still love programming as much as I do now. I started as a kid, so it's a big part of me. However, a lot can change in 27 years. Programming is a huge passion of mine, but music and charity work can also steal all of my focus if I let them.

I'm a Ruby on Rails specialist at the moment, and I absolutely love the framework and community. GitHub and rubygems are amazing. Google and Stack Overflow are like all-knowing genies. I'll go out on a limb and say that right now is the best time in history to be a developer, and tomorrow will be even better.

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wbharding 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whether I'm still programming when I'm 50 (currently 33, programming for about 20 years), will depend on whether I have the same appetite for being wrong that I do today. To constantly program, you have to constantly learn, and to constantly learn, you have to constantly be confronted with the fact that you're doing it wrong. Not using the right API, the right language, the latest technique, etc. The best programmers are the best learners.

The author here doesn't seem to be particularly passionate about learning from his battles with Hard Problems. I don't blame him, because it's hard and painful to be in a constant battle. But for my part, I hope that I still have a taste for the pain of learning when I'm 50; the day I stop wanting to learn is the day I become bored & boring.

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theoa 1 day ago 0 replies      
65 and coding harder than ever. All the things I have wanted to do for years are now becoming easy.

It's not that I am getting any smarter. There are so many new tools and so many new techniques with thoughtful discussion to back them up, that creating cool new stuff is becoming a piece of cake.

My world is all about 3D.

WebGL and libraries like Three.js are breakthrough tools.

Stuff that would have taken weeks to code gets dashed off in hours.

I would not stop coding even if you paid me to stop.

It's way too much fun right now!

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talmir 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am at 29 and finally after years of wanting it I landed my first software developer job(Didnt have the uni degree needed, but now I do, hells yeah!). I know that I will be happy doing this until the day they pry the keyboard/neural-thought2ascii interface from my cold, dead hands/brain.
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6ren 2 days ago 1 reply      

  > ... a problem domain you don't fully understand and don't have time to understand.

One resolution is to create products that address problems. Then, you can justify time in understanding and improving, because it's amortised over many users.

Of course there's still pressures, and technology still moves, but it's not cut and paste and pray.

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GnarfGnarf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 63, been programming since my student days in 1965. Programming is one of the greatest jobs in the World. I'd rather program than play golf. All my life I've been incredulous that they actually pay me to do this.

(I'm not sedentary, I walk 3 km/day, 8 on week-ends).

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xyzzy123 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. But not actually for technical reasons. I program to be a part of something, to participate in a vision or shared goal. I program because the experience of creating something is (currently) the major way that I have fun with people.

If I'm working on a projects/products I care about I think I could easily do that for the rest of my life.

At times, it's the enthusiasm of others which pushes me along, while I provide technical expertise / experience. Other times I will have a silly idea of the way the world should be, and I can use that to gather others around me and make their lives better.

Programming at its best, for me, is vision enabling :) How could you ever grow out of that?

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nprasanna87 2 days ago 0 replies      
After being inspired by a Team Lead in my office, 2 years into my career as a software engineer, I chose to focus all of my efforts onto Programming. The main reason it seemed attractive than any other option was that I liked the feeling of having found a solution to a seemingly hard puzzle or a challenge. The small victories. But of course now the reasons include the prospect of creating something of value for which I could get paid passively. Thanks to hacker news! And yes, I like it and don't see myself doing any other thing that programming!
66
thedealmaker 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think it is very important to understand the "real" differences in what it means to program vs. manage. In programming in most cases you are working on projects. Once you deliver the code that project is essentially over (minus support and bug fixing of course). In a management role many of the key activities never really conclude. For example, resource allocation overall and amongst various projects, is something depending on circumstance, you may have to revisit on a weekly or monthly basis. So you don't get the satisfaction of "delivering" anymore and items stay in your inbox much longer. This for me is the key difference.
67
EwanToo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, because I can't guess what the world will be like in 20 years time, but I am 100% certain that I'll want to be working with the insanely powerful computers that we have then.
68
scrozier 2 days ago 0 replies      
54, programming for 34 years. Numerous adventures in entrepreneurship, one of them successful. Came back to programming in the last few years because it's the most satisfying work for me. Making stuff that amazes people and makes their lives better is totally rewarding for me.

Nothing wrong with being a craftsman, using your intellect, and making others happy. In some ways, pursuing the elusive "big win" seems a little shallow by comparison.

69
mandeepj 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think those who hate IT, programming are the one who does not understand the computer architecture, compilers, programming languages, protocols (http, tcp), OS, does not becomes friends with tools, never try to improve themselves.

They don't know what is happening behind the scenes like how code gets compiled, how inter machine, inter process communication happens. How browsers work, what is the work involved when someone requests a web page from a server. How to debug issues? Effective debugging requires great knowledge of the components involved and creative thinking and above everything else lot of patience.

70
dumb-dumb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is the reason VC need kids to build hyped contraptions of unneeded but usefully obfuscating complexity that can be pitched to investors as "the next big thing". Adults would just skip the hype, the faux productivity, and do things efficiently in the simplest way possible. Case in point: the author's small image composition program built using C and Erlang.
71
laichzeit0 2 days ago 0 replies      
No. I'd like to be retired before 50. I'll probably still code when I retire, but it will be in something like Mathematica or R while I sit around learning subjects that interest me.
72
pre 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, course I still wanna be coding when I'm fifty in a decade's time. If I was rich enough to not need a job I'd be hacking on my homepage.

I just hope my wrists hold out that long.

73
wglb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not gonna say by how much, but I passed that mark some time ago. So the answer is emphatically yes.
74
lrobb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would you ask that of a lawyer or an accountant.... Or even a civil engineer?
75
michaelwww 2 days ago 0 replies      
- But large scale, high stress coding? I may have to admit that's a young man's game.

This statement verges on ageism, which I forgive you for because it is common in the tech industry. Ask Rob Pike (b.1956) if high impact programming is for young men.

76
pyrotechnick 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes I do but we'll all be writing genomes by then.
77
sentinel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes. Maybe not exactly the same thing (because as the author mentions, technology is an ever-changing field), but it's very interesting to see and adapt to that change as it is happening. Especially now when the tech sector is at the core of everything around us.
78
unsigner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Game development in a fairly NIH-ish studio can be very close to the good scenario: very little API wrangling, very little red tape, the "client" (game designers and artists) are in the next room and generally reasonable. I'm not terrified by the idea of doing this 15 years from now, aka when I'm 50.
79
bbunix 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had to reply... more than a comment, an entire blog post :)
http://blog.maclawran.ca/hell-yeah-hacking-at-50
80
tharris0101 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think it depends on WHAT you're programming at 50. Anyway, my philosophy is that I want to be defined by what I'm doing away from my job/career. It is extremely depressing to me to think that my career will be my driving force through most of my life.
81
henrik_w 2 days ago 0 replies      
From codinghorror, on the subject of working as a programmer "Programming: Love It or Leave It" http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/12/programming-love-it...
82
stantonk 2 days ago 0 replies      
If that's been your experience of programming either:

1. You're doing it wrong.
2. You work for some sort of agency / programmer-for-hire outfit where you never work on the same project for longer than a few weeks or months.

83
nydev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I will still enjoy programming at 50 and will still want to it for money. But will the ageism in this industry permit that to happen? It feels like the tech culture must change to accept that there are good programmers who aren't in their 20s.
84
anil_mamede 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you look for achievement in programming field you have to plan it for a long term in specific area. Unfortunately many programmers turn to be jack of all trades, working in many things at the same time and without a long term purpose.
85
Joss451 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been programming for 37 years. Programming is learning and learning makes me happy. I don't hunt, fish, play golf, chase women or drink in bars. I learn. I discover. This vocation is perfect for me.
86
nsxwolf 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice to have that kind of job security.
87
b4c0n 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading the mostly positive replies of "Yes, I definitely want to keep doing this well past 50!" gives me manly tears of happiness.
88
tmerr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I enjoy it now and that's the best prediction of the future I could hope for. It would be silly to worry about something so unpredictable!
89
dragondilesh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hell yes!

Im only 20 and if I can program/code/solve problems for the rest of my life, I know i'll be content until I die.

90
daven11 2 days ago 0 replies      
50 next month, and yes :-), and do cutting edge development still. I'm worried I wont be able to do it when I'm 70
91
Craigangus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, maybe I do! Just need to make the sure you end up being an ageing Rockstar programmer rather than retired Lounge singer
92
droope 2 days ago 0 replies      
FUCK YES!!!!!

of course I do

8
An Update from Elon Musk teslamotors.com
376 points by JGM564  2 days ago   116 comments top 12
1
reneherse 2 days ago  replies      
I'm a huge Elon Musk/Tesla/SpaceX fan, and have often felt it would be the ultimate opportunity to work at either company (Tesla would be my first choice, as automotive interface tech is one of my passions).

However, doing a quick bit of research earlier today, a search for "Tesla working environment" turned up more than a handful of reports by former and current employees that hint at an unpleasant company culture. Six to seven day workweeks, below average compensation, hyper-political management, management that is quick to fire, and a generally chaotic environment. These factors seemed to be reported even by folks who cited other benefits such as a high degree of autonomy and the opportunity to work with other highly passionate top level engineers on important emerging technologies. One additional oft-repeated concern was that the pace at which Tesla works its engineers is unsustainable, and will lead to burnout for lack of work-life balance.

Can anyone closer to the Valley than I am comment on whether these concerns ring true? And how does this compare to work at other highly innovative and passionate industrial startups?

Elon's explanation of the latest round of fundraising is welcome news, and personally I'm gunning for Tesla to become the Apple of the auto industry. (I plan on buying stock as soon as I'm able.) Is there anything we can infer from these employee reports about the health of Tesla's organizational core/DNA, and what effect that might have on the company's prospects for long term success?
[Edited for clarity]

2
droithomme 2 days ago 7 replies      
Musk's public statements are the nicest and most logical ones I've seen made by a modern CEO. No sense of spin. Always a pleasure to read.
3
confluence 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've been 100% long TSLA since the beginning and really don't understand the reasoning behind the doubts people have - given how little they actually know about a) the car industry and b) electric batteries and c) the ability to think on first principles and not by analogy. But I guess everyone has the right to an opinion - even if most of them aren't a) warranted b) backed up or c) logically reasoned.

We are past peak oil. Battery tech will reach oil parity within the decade. Solar PV will reach grid base line within the next 2 decades. Fusion will be introduced within the next 3 decades. Electric engines already run 92% efficiency (vs the combustion engines 15%) and global warming externalities are finally being priced.

The electric car is a no brainer (it wasn't a decade ago, and it'll be too late a decade from now) just like the electrification of trains were. This company will electrify suburbia and reduce costs while they are at it.

Timing + skill = Very nice stock returns (timing is about 10x more important).

Disclaimer: Goes without saying - I am long TSLA and will continue to be long for the foreseeable future.

4
chintan 2 days ago 3 replies      
What a timing - "Romney Calls Tesla a ‘Loser'" in first debate:
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/10/romney-tesla-loser/
5
loceng 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think people underestimate what an agile and lean startup like Elon seems to be running can accomplish. He's a super intelligent guy with a growing positive trackrecord. The vehicle industry has been waiting for disruption for 20+ years, and the giants finally have lost control and whatever unnatural advantages they tried to maintain. Technology for electric vehicles will only continue to improve, and costs will go down. Luckily for economies very attached to oil they can shift to systems like free re-fueling once a vehicle is purchased; That's pretty incredible and something I never even thought about or imagined possible, though it makes sense and works once the puzzle pieces are all in front of you. P.S. Elon's my new Man Crush.
6
codex 2 days ago 3 replies      
As of last quarter, Tesla had $777M in assets and a whopping $715M in liabilities--leaving a net balance of only $64M.

Given that their balance sheet is decreasing by an extraordinary $30M a month, that would have left only two months until the company was insolvent. No wonder the U.S. government wants their $465M paid back more quickly than planned.

The company has lost over $850 million since being founded in 2003.

7
eldavido 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Nonetheless, we have a duty at Tesla, having accepted this loan as a portion of our capital, to repay it at the earliest opportunity."

Not sure why Elon and a lot of SV entrepreneurs feel this way. You take a loan; if it reduces your weighted average cost of capital, you roll it and/or pay it slowly. As a Tesla shareholder, I hope such cheap financing remains in place as long as possible to maximize shareholder return on equity by keeping cost of capital as low as possible -- and by improving Tesla's cash position (helping it to operationally succeed) to boot.

Another guy thinking about buying Tesla stock.

8
debacle 2 days ago 0 replies      
> we expect Tesla to become cash flow positive at the end of next month.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that to become a reality. We truly live in amazing times.

9
MattGrommes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sarah Lacy did what I thought was a great hour-long "Fireside Chat" with Mr. Musk: http://pandodaily.com/2012/07/12/pandomonthly-presents-a-fir...

It's well worth listening to.

10
JGM564 2 days ago 1 reply      
Exciting quote emphasized in post: "we expect Tesla to become cash flow positive at the end of next month."
11
anovikov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hope some good news come on SpaceX, too. What's up with F-H with its so dubious payload figures, especially for high energy trajectories? How's the cross-feed system is coming along (if it haven't been dropped yet)? Where is the 'super efficient staged combustion methane engine' you mentioned a year back, any idea what thrust class it is and what is the fuel combination?
12
tatsuke95 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if anyone else noticed, but Romney made a crack about Tesla (in the same sentence as Solyndra) as a useless pet project that Obama subsidizes.

I wonder how this will play out politically, especially if Tesla gets into trouble financially. That story is already being spun.

9
Racism at a gaming company qu33riousity.tumblr.com
352 points by plinkplonk  4 days ago   410 comments top 69
1
tptacek 4 days ago  replies      
Decoder ring for nerds who are unable to read past words like "neoliberal colonizer" without racing to the nearest TEXTAREA:

* A black coworker is singled out by another (non-black) coworker with "watch out for that guy, he's trouble, he talks a lot of shit"

* Referring to a latino coworker, that same coworker suggests jokes: "Like ‘you're a mexican whore' or like ‘your mother's a Mexican whore?"

* The black coworker is given a dictionary and told "I got this for you cause I know you speak ebonics."

* The latino coworker is then told "I would have gotten you one too but they didn't have wetback to english"

* The author, who is black, is then told "Hey he's dressed like Run DMC, does he know how to rap?" (The author is wearing a Pitchfork Media-compatible outfit including skinny jeans and a long-sleeved print t-shirt)

* The black coworker later informs the author that "Steve wanted me to let you know that we're dressing too thuggish in the office and we need to dress in a way that reflects the company better". "Steve" is the previously-mentioned white guy, and also apparently a manager.

* After telling that coworker that he is considering telling HR about racism in his group, "Steve" takes him aside for a 1-1 meeting. The author is informed that any attire is acceptable except for baggy jeans. After hearing the author's complaints, "Steve" says, "Whoa whoa whoa, those comments you're hearing aren't racist; they're jokes", and then "The problem is that you're too sensitive. You need to check all that at the door before you come here to work", and finally "We don't even tolerate people brining up concerns of racism here.".

* Later, a women asks whether the pendant the author is wearing, which is from Nairobi, is "a calculator".

* "Steve" later informs the author, "it's ok to make jokes about slavery because that's over". Then, "Also, you should be grateful that your ancestors went through slavery."

Peppered throughout the post are cultural signs and signifiers that mark the author as an advocate for a fairly specific set of political and social beliefs. A reader could be excused for having concerns that the author was not an objective witness. On the other hand, those signifiers are so obvious that you could also question whether someone who had set out to unfairly tar the company would put them into the post.

Apart from the comment about the pendant, any one of the comments listed above would be a firing offense here.

2
cstross 4 days ago 4 replies      
"We don't even tolerate people brining up concerns of racism here." Translation: "we don't want to admit that we have a toxic, racist corporate culture so we're going to blame the messenger."

The emphasis here is on racism, but there's a ton of casual sexism -- and I'd be surprised if ageism wasn't present, too.

This is, at best, a company where HR have taken their eye off the ball. More likely, there are serious institutional failings (and probable harrassment lawsuits coming down the pipe in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... if they don't do something about the corporate culture fast).

Note: this is me trying to stay dispassionate and non-angry. If I was the author of this piece I'd be incandescent. Props to him for staying calm and documenting this stuff rather than simply walking out. Or exploding.

3
drats 4 days ago  replies      
"Dumbblack"

"then proceeds to do what black men always can't help but do"

"black men always telling which way is up because they feel they are the “authority” when it comes to any and everything, most often when they don't know shit about shit"

" I know when black people start to speak down to me from their pedatsol which is white privilege, they aren't listening, nor will they"

"I cannot afford to take black people's shit anymore."

Those are all quotes from the article, except I put 'black' where the author put 'white', both sets are clearly an unacceptable way to speak. While I am sure this guy has faced real disadvantage from some bigoted people, this post is laced with racism against white people and ridiculously over-the-top statements about colonialism and "neoliberal white supremacy".

4
JPKab 4 days ago 8 replies      
I'm sorry, but this kind of whining is what I've heard from professional victims my entire life. Talking about gentrifiers as invaders discredits the rest of the story in my eyes. As a former trailer park country boy who grew up in a mostly black county, I can attest to how blatantly (and without even realizing it) racist and insensitive whites who grew up in affluent suburbs can be. My best friend (since age 11) is a black male who dominates at his company. He has told me dozens of stories of dealing with these kinds of white boys. All the stories end the same way: He tells them, directly, in the same manner as if he were talking to a drunken buddy making an ass of himself at a bar, "what you just said was offensive/racist/etc. I'm gonna assume that you didn't realize it, but now you do. Cool?" He told me this has resulted in all of them apologizing with minimal awkwardness afterwards. Racism/racial insensitivity isn't an incurable disease. It's the result of attitudes and ignorance. If people would, instead of isolating people displaying these behaviors, instead approach them and talk to them and continue to treat them as friends, it would go a long way towards fixing things.
5
dos1 4 days ago 4 replies      
>I cannot afford to take white people's shit anymore. That's been my mantra this year, and I'm still on it, even if that means getting the law involved.

From the comment above (and several other parts of his article) he certainly appears to be just as racist as the people he's trying to demonize. Not to mention there's a crazy amount of self entitlement going on.

>I had a whole month of potential creative and community building energy stripped from me for the sake of this company's profits. That shit ain't cool.

A "whole" month of your "potential creative and community building energy"? Really? I have LOTS of months where I don't get to focus ANY time on any sort of creative or community building endeavors because I have other things that need to be taken care of.

I do not condone what he experienced at his workplace and that's terrible that it happened. However, his tone in the article and apparent prejudice towards white people makes it difficult for me to summon a lot of nice things to say.

6
kevingadd 4 days ago 0 replies      
In my experience, game development is stressful enough as a white, biologically male young adult. I can only imagine what kind of a personal hell it must be to work in an environment like the one described by the OP.

I've ranted and raved before about how despicable I consider some of the HR practices common in the games industry, how how in particular I feel that certain companies treat their employees as disposable and prioritize the success of individual products over the health of the team and the health of the company culture.

This, however, is on an entirely separate level: The company management itself being complicit in the abuse of employees, and taking actions that not only damage the team & culture but actually jeopardize the success of products by seeding anger and distrust between team members. That even a single person in a management position would allow this kind of shit to go on is disgusting.

When Harbin (Kixeye's CEO) quoted Conan the Barbarian in their tasteless recruitment video ('What is best in life? To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.') my instinctual response was negative. To me, even for a company that intends to appeal to the hardcore male gamer audience, using that kind of language - language of oppression and sexism and violence - when talking about making social games felt unnecessary and excessive. It made me wonder if perhaps the company's CEO actually shared the perspective espoused by the fictional character of Conan - but that couldn't possibly be true, could it? Could someone actually feel that way about others so strongly that he'd be willing to say so, unabstracted, in a video designed to present his company to the rest of the world and excite prospective employees? Of course not, right?

I also find it extremely interesting to contrast-and-compare Kixeye's depictions of Zynga/Mark Pincus, and Kixeye, in their recruitment video [1] with my personal experiences with both companies. I almost feel as if the staff behind that video were projecting their own fears and insecurities onto their competitors.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5l-nnR4Bx0

7
ctide 4 days ago 1 reply      
This really isn't that surprising to me. Game testers are the same young kids who are running around xbox games going out of their way to be as offensive as possible to everyone. It should come as no shock that they act the same way at work when work is just an extension of their regular gaming life. I'm not defending it, mind you, since Kixeye is going way too far with it, but the 'culture' he speaks of is the online gaming culture.
8
oinksoft 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sadly not in the least bit surprised by the comments here, actually accusing the author of being the racist, professional victim, all of that horse-shit. I am a white man, but the author's points really hit home for me, not because I've myself been treated this way, but because I have had to tolerate conduct like this for pretty much my entire life, just not directed at me. I can't tell you the number of times I've come to the defense of minority views over the years, and I've basically given up on it because the racists just turn their anger on me:

"Hey, I'm not sure how to tell you this, but you're not black." (laughs all around...)

"You know you're white, right?"

"Slavery ended a long time ago, blacks have nobody to blame but themselves by now" (roughly paraphrased)

"I've got plenty of black friends. They agree with me on [fucked up view]."

I'm a human being and I've seen black Americans treated more like shit than anybody else, by far, throughout my life. Usually it's the side-swiping stuff the author talks about, but sometimes it's right in my face, usually when discussing politics and social issues with my peers.

Ultimately, I end up doing what most everybody else does in my situation: I withdraw. I don't debate anymore. I don't grin, but I bear it. I help people where I can, silently.

I know I really only make technical posts on this website, but shit, sometimes you've gotta vent.

9
jason_slack 4 days ago 1 reply      
Kixeye should be ashamed. Hopefully enough bad press and folks commenting will get them to take a look how they operate and what they tolerate and change it.

Maybe they should actually try and focus as a company.

1. insist the programmers work. There games are not that great.

2. insist their website get up to 2012 standards. I would assume they were not a serious company based upon their all Flash website.

3. Look at Chick-Fil-A and the onslaught of people pissed off at their stance on gay's in the workplace. We should be equally pissed at Kixeye and boycott them too.

4. There are standard stereotypical jokes and then there are blatant racist comments.

Example Joke: Asians have a lot of trouble parking and stopping at stop signs.

Blatant racism: "Hey Joe, I mean Ying, to use your real name, nice 30 point parallel park this morning, you really are Asian."

There is a difference. I am white and I live in a very predominantly Asian area of Cupertino and the joke would be funny to a lot of Asians. The racism, no.

Kudos to the OP for writing this.

We can all tell he is upset at what he experienced. Some of this shows through but boil this down to the essence and we have a company that is openly encouraging a racist environment and in 2012 nobody should have to worry about being black, white, purple, gay, straight, trans-gender, dress like a thug, cross-dress, etc...

Edit: Thinking about this more, the OP gets irritated when the company served a lunch of "Fried Chicken and Waffles". He implies indirectly to Black folk this is an insult. However, look at the menu of "Waffle House" and it is an item on the menu. There wasn't anything really wrong with the lunch they served. It is one of those lunch combinations that people just know about and associate with Blacks.

Example: Fried Chicken and Watermelon - Black

Corn Beef and Cabbage - Irish

Tea and Cucumbers - WASPS (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)

Mac and Cheese with Hot Dogs - White

Racist company and an OP that is coming down to their level more often than he should. Let the water roll off a ducks back...

10
praptak 4 days ago 0 replies      
"The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They're also probably fairly heavily discriminated against - or so they claim. [...] Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It's someone who belongs to the group of people you're discussing and they're Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you've got it all wrong and they're offended about that. [...]

Don't worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside! "

The more you know: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/complete.html

11
prayag 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can we please not try to attack the credibility and language of the OP here? Can we please not question his language? He is venting. That's the language you would expect from someone who is extremely frustrated with the harassment he has experienced in the workplace. Can we stick to the point that a tech executive was able to get away with something that would have been unacceptable in almost any other industry.

Even if this IS exaggerated the allegations are still very serious. Times like these are a reminder that the tech industry is still living in the dark ages where sexism and racism is rampant at worst and disconcerting at best. WE will not get past this problem if we keep questioning everyone who raises the issue. We need to be more accepting of the issues that exist instead of attacking the messenger.

I wouldn't say I am disappointed by the discussion here because the HN crowd is generally sheltered from the problems of prejudice(consisting mainly of straight, white, men) but unless we as an industry start accepting this issue we will continue to languish as a one of the most gender and racially lopsided industries in the world.

12
hugh4life 4 days ago 7 replies      
I quit reading once I realized I was reading a gay man denouncing gentrifiers as being "neoliberal colonizers". Ugh... he may have experienced racism but he's also suffering from self delusion.

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

13
btilly 4 days ago 0 replies      
He "won't name the company." But searching on the text of the picture finds http://www.meh.ro/2012/06/07/rule-the-interwebz/ which tells me that it is Kixeye. And then https://www.google.com/search?q=kixeye.com+racism turns up lots of other stuff including people on the forums complaining that they don't police racist comments in game, http://www.theatlanticwire.com/topics/kixeye/# complaining about the sexism there, and so on. If you search this forum you'll find other links supporting their bad corporate culture.

He certainly didn't hide the company very well. However knowing the company makes his allegations much more plausible.

14
r00fus 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know another dev who used to work for another small gaming company in SF. He was non-chinese asian, and the management was mostly Han-Chinese and he also got a lot of vaguely racial comments and despite being a rather productive employee, quit a few months later in disgust at disrespect.

I can only imagine this kind of attitude can be go unchecked in an insular frat-boy-ish culture where strong ties and long hours are valued more than respect and work output.

Definitely something to watch out for - even if you're in the in-group and not being harassed, it's not fun witnessing this kind of petty abuse.

15
eridius 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought their ads were bad enough. Assuming this story is true, it sounds like Kixeye is the absolute epitome of the worst that our profession has to offer.
16
DanBC 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is overt racism. It's disappointing that no-one else stood up against the blatant examples given in this article. I agree with CStross, that company is ignoring serious problems and leaving themselves wide open to big lawsuits.

There is covert racism. That's harder to stop, but a good way to start ending it is to accept that in the workplace you might want to restrict the "jokes" that you tell.

And then there's all the sub-conscious prejudice that's so hard to eliminate.

17
iandanforth 4 days ago 4 replies      
A couple other commenters have mentioned this but in case the author is reading I want to emphasize the importance of winning the rhetorical war before you proceed to fight the fight you actually care about.

As with any story a reader wants to like the characters they are reading about. It's hard to like someone who is constantly angry, depressed, sarcastic, and bitter. You, as a person may feel these things, and be completely correct to feel them, however you make it hard to read your story without a contrast. For example, "I love games" or "I love the way I feel in Oakland" or "I am so proud of my necklace I don't care what others think." People can empathize with pain, but they also need joy, hope, and a reason to like you.

Another way to win the rhetorical battle is to use humor. Your reactions to the abuse are shock, horror, rage, and sarcasm. Feel free to interject a joke or two. In ten years you will be telling jokes about these ignorant people. Make them into caricatures, lampoon them, exaggerate their folly so that people will not just be angry at them on your behalf but seem them as an absurd throwback to a time you wish had passed.

Tell a story that demonstrates the moral high ground. What I remember from your post is that you tried to say something, gave up, then went home, got high and watched Netflix. People want to be inspired to take action, and if you have a story, even if it means talking to HR, that is incredibly powerful. How does your behavior model an appropriate response for others who might be in your shoes? A lawsuit may be appropriate, but from reading your story it seems like a dramatic escalation, you need to lead people into it.

I can't say I understand what you're going through, but I do support your effort and I'm disgusted on behalf of white-straight-geeks everywhere. If an apology means anything I'm sorry you are going through this.

18
rbellio 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Dumbwhite"

"Oh..hell..no.."

I had to remind myself that this was a blog post. That it wasn't a literary article or technical diagram. I look for unbiased, factual reporting that is meant to educate and improve awareness. This is not one of those things. It's an inflammatory post where an individual is airing his grievances. I feel sorry that someone can be treated so poorly in a workplace, but at the same time, the author damages his point by using equally vitriolic and occasionally stereotypical phrases.

I hope the author is able to find a work environment that is more progressive and that is more respectful of all genders, creeds and sexual orientations.

19
languagehacker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for submitting this, and having the courage to speak out about a really awful corporate culture. I had a feeling they were like this from their horrible, obnoxious recruiting billboards, and it's kind of sad vindication to see how terrible they truly are in practice. I hope the author finds a nice job that fits with his moral compass and treats him (and everyone else) with the respect he deserves.
20
columbo 4 days ago 1 reply      
> calculator

Was that inherently a racist thing to say? Because looking at it... it does look like something electronic.

There's no question that the workplace was hostile, but there are too many side quests in this article. I'm not sure what Jose's marriage or the Dumbwhite-comment has to do with it. Maybe I'm missing something.

21
tsahyt 4 days ago 0 replies      
Uh, well. I don't know where to start really. On the one hand, this article is about racism and other forms of hatred at a large company, which is obviously wrong. It is about a personal experience. Every sentence written tells about what OP endured emotionally. I understand that this sort of discrimination is emotionally crippling and that it affects him deeply.

But this wouldn't be my comment if I agreed with everything. Then I'd just have upvoted the post further. The problem here is, that this article also paints a picture about the author and it doesn't paint a very welcoming one to me. The article itself is littered with racism and typical "anti-hate" buzzwords. The kind of words I usually hear from people filled with lots and lots of hate themselves.

That is definitely not the answer to any of the problems OP has faced. Is it understandable? Yes. Does it help? Not at all. Don't get me wrong: It's important that people get the word out to fight racism, because it's still prevalent all over the world but fighting fire with fire never helped and calling a racist any racist slurs only makes things worse.

Then there are some things I personally disagree with in general. PC speech is incredibly bad (and ineffective anyway) I think. Not only does it just shift the problem to a different domain, it also attacks free speech. Being pretty fundamentalist about free speech I can't find any good about trying to make a language "politically correct". After all, the problem aren't the words. The problem are the values different people assign to them. What we need to do isn't "banning bad words", we need to make people more open-minded. If this isn't accomplish, banning words won't help anyway, because one day the "politically correct" word will have the exact same value attached to them as - say, for example - "nigger" has today. Language isn't written in stone. It always moves and evolves and after all it's a reflection of culture and society.

Besides - not really related to the article - I don't believe in never offending anyone. In fact, I think I offend people on a daily basis just by stating my opinions and seriously, I couldn't care less. Obviously, racism is a bit more than just offending.

Oh yeah and by the way, last time I checked, neoliberalism was a school of economic thought.

22
ender7 4 days ago 0 replies      
All right, so yes, the author is responding to some clearly racist behavior with some nasty and racist/prejudiced words of his own. Such behavior is understandable, but it still weakens his piece.

That said...there is a difference between some guy ranting on a blog and a 200+ company with what appears to be institutionalized problems of sexism and racism ingrained into their culture. In a respectable tech company, any one of the alleged comments made by Steve would have landed him in a hotseat meeting with HR but-quick. The fact that he still works there at all is troubling to say the least.

Put another way, if any of this is even remotely true then you couldn't pay me enough to work there.

23
bking 4 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with taking up a lawsuit. He is a racist dick.

On that same note, don't bring yourself to his level and start throwing out racist slurs too. Your words are public domain now, and if they get a lawyer with any sense, they might find a defense in your offense.

kick his teeth in in court though! (figuratively of course)

24
mekoka 4 days ago 0 replies      
As people from various backgrounds get the opportunity to mingle, some obviously have a hard time with how to handle these encounters. They harbour an uneasiness when faced with the differences based on some false assumptions that they've made, maybe due to misinformation or (often inaccurate) cultural stereotypes. e.g. when a black person meets a white person, that black person is particularly concerned if the white person is racist. So they decide to bring forth what they perceive to be the elephant in the room, by preemptively expressing that they themselves are very open to cultural differences. Now, the way this is done takes some interesting forms, from the more subtle:

I have a friend from [insert some exotic country here].
I love [insert some singer from some minority group here]

To the more awkward:

What's up bro!
[insert awkward racial remark of your liking here]

It comes to no surprise that some would even choose to compensate by exhibiting a bold racist behaviour that, they think, should be received with some reverse psychology acrobatics: I'm preemptively making racist jokes, because I want to show you that I'm not actually racist and rather open. (I'm also kinda covering my ass now, in case I do happen to trip over my tongue later and say something really out of place).

Sadly, an increasing amount of people who behave like this also think that it's ok and that racism is now in the eye of the beholder. So they will tell their jokes to Kevin, who they've just barely met and if Kevin takes offence, then it's Kevin who's too sensitive about that kind of humour. So they will apologize by saying something like relax bro, I didn't mean it in a racist way. I have many black friends. Racism doesn't exist anymore. Chill, have a sense of humour. They never stop to wonder, did Kevin, who is from Ghana, connect with their African American stereotyped jokes? Do his black friends actually even call him "bro"? Does he or the people he associates with actually use the n word?

Do they actually acknowledge that this behaviour isn't acceptable? The way they reason is, I'm not racist, so I can just keep calling my black friends n, as long as I don't mean it in a negative way. So it's not surprising that later they'll try the exact same jokes on Robert, thinking he might be of the "more open minded inclination".

My tip when it comes to befriend minorities (this is going to be a let down): They're just people, get to know them like you would anybody else. Don't attempt any "hacks", don't play games, don't test them thinking that the outcome should be different from any other human being. Take the time to know the person, don't assume that you've figured them out based on their gender, orientation or physical appearance.

25
pja 4 days ago 2 replies      
Just as an exercise, I went and collected all the responses here that matched entries in Derailing for Dummies (http://derailingfordummies.com).

We have at least: "You're too hostile", with a side order of "You're being Overemotional" and "You Are Damaging Your Cause By Being Angry" plus a few "But that Happens to Me Too!" and plenty of "But I'm Not Like That - Stop Stereotying!". Any more?

(I could link to the guilty parties, but they'd probably only start arguing the toss.)

26
anigbrowl 4 days ago 0 replies      
This doesn't surprise me too much; a company whose advertising is straight outta 4chan is probably going to have an internal culture like that of 4chan (hyper-adolescent, ignorant, and frequently toxic) but without the benefits of 4chan (total anonymity, non-persistence).

There are upsides to such an anything-goes environment as well (creativity, originality), but it's clear that in this case, anything goes to the extent that you're white and male. I'm not wholly in sympathy with the author (that necklace does kinda look like a pocket calculator, and the inquiry didn't seem malicious), but think he is right to seek redress. That said, it would be a good idea to consult an attorney about how much to say in public; showing an advert for your employer that will be recognizable to many other people in the locality may be a bad idea.

27
3minus1 4 days ago 6 replies      
Interesting read. The number of times the author mentions "white men" honestly made me uncomfortable. How is a statement like "Steve then proceeds to do what white men always can't help but do: “educate.”" not racist in and of itself?
28
bdr 4 days ago 3 replies      
The company is Kixeye.
29
run4yourlives 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ridiculous and juvenile corporate culture aside, the irony of the author's narrative is slapping the reader right in the face. Hard. So hard it hurts.

If you are going to take exception to racist, sexist and stereotypical joking - which is most certainly your right in a professional work environment, you may want to re-evaluate your own notions of "the evil white oppressor" and recognize it for the racism that it is.

I wish I could take this tale at face value, but the author is clearly looking for oppression whether it exists or not. I'm not sure at this point one could expect that this telling is even remotely close to accurate.

30
lnanek2 4 days ago 1 reply      
He writes Dumbwhite a lot in his blog, but he wasn't willing to say it back in person? He should have just said it instead of going home and feeling hurt. I think they'd respect him more if he gave as good as he got in a frat boy environment like that with everyone talking shit. I've been on sports teams like that, lol.
31
beatpanda 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't doubt for two seconds anything the author wrote. I wanted nothing to do with Kixeye after seeing their ads, and I'm not at all surprised.

But this dude's attitude is fucked up. It's statements like OP's that keep me from engaging in any meaningful way with organizing against racism and gentrification.

If you're a white cis male, even one that acknowledges and tries to check his privilege, who thinks poor people shouldn't be displaced on account of Twitter moving to the Tenderloin, a whole lot of people in the anti-gentrification movement think the only appropriate thing for you to do is move out of the city yourself, because you being white and male and having gainful employment is part of the problem.

I went to one meeting where one black speaker insinuated that white people "don't have a right" to move to Oakland, whether or not they're moving for economic reasons.

That's racist. Straight up. Nobody should make excuses for that kind of language, regardless of the extreme privilege historically enjoyed by white men in this country.

Just because I'm white doesn't mean I'm a colonizer, or fetishizing poverty, or anything else, and the knee-jerk bigotry expressed by the original poster needs to be addressed by people in activist circles who just let stuff like that go unchallenged.

32
jere 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't even imagine this kind of shit in a professional environment and for some naive reason figured it never happened in a place like SF (I live in a rural North Carolina town).

Maybe this is a dumb response, but I'm immediately led to wonder if this has anything to do with it being in QA. I have a friend who worked in QA at a game company and, while he never mentioned witnessing such racism, he did describe a shocking amount of disrespect and hostility and a widespread attitude that HR would do absolutely nothing to deal with it. Again perhaps it's a silly thought, but maybe when your barriers to entry are "hey do you play videogames" and you're picking up anybody off the street, you aren't going to create the best team.

33
kespindler 4 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/kixeye-2

Note who has given them funding. Send this blog post to the VC companies that have given them funding. Should hit them where it hurts.

And yes, take legal action. (Although seek legal council to ensure first bit isn't considered slander or what have you. Be in best possible position for a legal battle.) Companies like this give the profession a bad name.

34
mratzloff 4 days ago 0 replies      
He would have been better off filing the lawsuit and keeping the story off his blog. The guy's got a big chip on his shoulder--but he's not wrong. Apparently the working environment at Kixeye clearly crosses the line from "all in good fun" to "insulting and humiliating".
35
thebigshane 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have such mixed feelings about this being on HN. Yes, I think we should read it and learn from it. I absolutely agree with the author. It's one of those things I wish everyone knew but for some reason there are still people who don't, so maybe showing up on the front page every once and a while is a good reminder.

But the comments should be turned off. This is such a heated topic and are there aren't any right answers to this problem besides "keep it in mind, don't do what they did". What can possibly be discussed here besides emotional bickering from both sides. It does not seem productive and is not interesting conversation.

(I posted this exact same comment on another thread on HN today, about the sexism at a tech conference... http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4602688)

36
cmwelsh 4 days ago 0 replies      
At various points in the article, the author uses terminology that stoops to the level of the people he's railing against.

Don't let racists bring you down to their level.

37
justinhj 4 days ago 0 replies      
The unfortunate thing is about this is that I don't think the employees see themselves as racist or prejudicial at all. They think they are just cool, edgy and funny. When people get to positions of authority before they have grown up then you see this kind of shit. I think the OP will harm any tribunal or legal action he takes here because of the public racist comments he himself has made, but at least the company's culture has been outed, and hopefully there is at least one adult at the organization that can step in and stop it.
38
minouye 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you had any doubts about Kixeye before this, their hiring video should seal it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5l-nnR4Bx0 probably NSFW)

39
DigitalJack 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess I'm very naive, because I found this shocking. I hear about racism, but I guess I often think that things must be blown out of proportion. I mean, how can there still be such racist people out there? What kind of mental malfunction allows that kind of thinking?

This blog post has been a very sad reality check for me.

40
egypturnash 4 days ago 0 replies      
Holy crap. What backwoods Alabama town did this Steve crawl out of? I'm a white person from the South and I want to punch this dumbass cracker.

I will be sure to avoid Kixeye's games (Battle Pirates, Backyard Monsters, War Commanders), and hope to hear of them going under soon.

41
victorhn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Warning - This post contains pornographic content (at the bottom of the page).
42
S4M 4 days ago 0 replies      
Above everything else in that story, I am most shocked by the fact that the guy Steve said to the OP something in the lines of "you should consider yourself lucky your ancestors have been slaves, so that you can work in this company". I find this statement really, really shocking, and I think the OP should have reacted strongly and put this guy to his place. It was a private meeting so there were no witnesses, but he should have done something. Take Steve out of the conference room and say "can you please repeat in front of everyone what you just said to me?".

I mean, you should be able to sue people for saying enormities like that!

43
ucee054 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I was in high school, if a guy called me "raghead", I'd call him "white trash" back.

I didn't see it as me being racist, just as retaliation.

But then again, I didn't see the other guy as racist, just as an asshole.

I was eccentric and the mean kids wanted to pick on me.

I assumed that their basic motivation was malice, so had I been white (so they couldn't use mild racial slurs against me) they'd just have found something else nasty to say.

I put that into a separate category than racist, which to me meant something like the members of the KKK or the Nazi party.

Is this a false distinction?

I get the same vibe about the mentioned workplace, like it's a bunch of jock assholes (and definitely meets the definitions of "hostility" and "harassment", for what it's worth).

44
mkramlich 3 days ago 0 replies      
Last week I was called "white fuck" by a Hispanic teenage invididual hanging out with a large group of his friends, while walking through a public park. Yet you don't see me crying about it on the web or expecting to see it discussed on Hacker News. In fact, I've been harassed many times by Hispanic and black individuals over the last 10 years, as an adult, and almost every one of those times my race, white, was explicitly cited as an epithet. But again, I just suck it up and attribute it to low-class, ignorant, immature people. Not to some grand conspiracy to oppress. There's a heck of a lot of sucky people in this world. And a heck of a lot of decent ones too, of all races, genders, ages. Deal with it.
45
juridatenshi 4 days ago 0 replies      
I want to create physical copies of Derailing for Dummies just so I can throw them at most of the commenters in here. You are hitting so many of the points. :(

http://derailingfordummies.com/complete.html

46
Tichy 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if that main character is really racist, or if he is "merely" trying to intimidate his colleagues to be the boss, and racism is simply the easiest route to intimidation.

While it might sound as if in effect there is no difference, I think there might be: one variant makes the victim think "whoa, the world is full of racists out to get me", the other is "just another asshole boss".

I mean the latter case would be somebody looking for weaknesses in his opponents. If the other person is a white guy, he would probably find something else, joke about is weight, being poor or whatever applies.

That's of course no excuse, it just seems easier to remove yourself from the affects of one bad boss/colleague than from racism.

47
davidw 4 days ago 0 replies      
"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

Between the racist PoS featured in the story, and the author's various nasties about "white neoliberal imperialist blah blah blah", the above quote is my take on things.

I'll also add that articles meant to elicit rage are usually not great; they're often intended to shut down one's thinking processes, and lead to heated discussions.

48
boboblong 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am racist and sexist and I'm very confident in the quality of my understanding of the world compared to that of egalitarians. I strongly believe that the present received wisdom in the West regarding race and sex will be viewed in the future as some sort of mass delusion, or possibly a kind of atheistic Christianity-substitute heavy on self-flagellation.
49
jamesmiller5 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you replace the instances of "white men" with "mainstream white culture" his arguments are much stronger and I believe to be his original intent.

"And it's not a matter of generalizing white people, rather it's being real about the culture San Francisco creates."

The author is angry that white culture perpetuates racism and privilege, which himself and other cultural minorities are now forced to tolerate at their workplace. His choice of words was obviously inappropriate and while I'm not excusing how his point was said I don't believe it was his intention to make his point using racist statements.

This is a classic example of "What you said was racist VS. You are a racist":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ti-gkJiXc

50
FireBeyond 4 days ago 0 replies      
Huh, what?

I find it hard to take seriously a rant on racism in the work place where, on not just one but several occasions, refer to someone who is being ignorant as a "dumbwhitemotherfucker".

Yeah, not buying it.

51
chromaticorb 4 days ago 0 replies      
as horrible as it is for him, and as vile as his colleagues were, i really don't care his writing style. it reads like a bad fan fiction half the time.

plus the run dmc segue into the 'what i wore today' image was a bit gratuitous

52
flipstewart 4 days ago 0 replies      
A NSFW alert in the title would really help seeing as there are two sets of erect male genitalia at the bottom of the page.
53
twism 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm... 153 points in 1 hour and this is dropping off the front page rather rapidly.
54
wtvanhest 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just a side question. I lived in Santa Clara for a summer and spent basically all my nights out with a black coworker including going to SF multiple times and never saw any racism whatsoever.

The author seems to imply that SF is really racist. Is there any truth to that or did I just not notice while I was there?

55
anu_gupta 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprisingly shocked at how inherently racist so many of you are.

Instead of jumping on what the guy with no power did wrong, why not focus on the utterly despicable way in which he's been treated? If that's not your first and most urgent concern, then you really need to ask yourself why it isn't.

56
cmcavoy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really good to read this...sad, disturbing, but a good reminder that company culture can be _wrong_. I know that I'm guilty of pushing jokes too far, to the point where they're objectively wrong, inappropriate, wildly unprofessional. At some point it starts to feel wrong, but you shake it off, because everyone is laughing, and it feels like you're in some special place where you're beyond racism or sexism or culturalism, but you're wrong. You're never beyond those things, you have to realize that they're things that shouldn't be dismissed as light office banter, there's too much history to them. This post is a reminder that of that, I'm really glad to read it. These kinds of stories should be required reading in any company, much more effective than canned videotaped play acting in HR videos.
57
jjwiseman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Slate article about Kixeye's brogrammer culture: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/08/...
58
fixermark 4 days ago 0 replies      
" I was approached by a person who runs a contracting “company,” hiring video game testers to work at various game companies."

... which is where the story starts to go bad. Videogame testing is a notoriously terrible space with incredibly unacceptable behaviors (see http://trenchescomic.com/tales for a selection of them). Which is not something I note to imply that our blogger should have known better; it's something I want to hilite to raise consciousness about it.

I'm glad this author is taking action and hope he gets all the support he can from his communities (including this one). This stuff is poisonous, unacceptable, and right under the noses of a lot of tech companies. It needs to stop.

59
TheMagicHorsey 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is one side of the story. Just because the author is a minority doesn't make this a true story. Its possible that the story is true, but I find it highly improbable in SF where juries are HIGHLY favorable towards plaintiffs in civil rights based actions, and where HR departments are trained to follow specific procedures to prevent lawsuits. This reads like a document constructed to support a litigation. I highly doubt any organization with an HR department is going to fail this colossally today.
60
anuraj 4 days ago 0 replies      
The fact is this type of talk in an office is simply inappropriate and cannot be tolerated. I have only sympathy for people who are trying to defend here. Just proves America would need another 100 years to be civilised.
61
caycep 4 days ago 0 replies      
If its really that terrible, he ought to quit and find a new job. Don't bother w/ legal action, as that will just expend precious time and money that he could apply to a much more productive pursuit...
62
robododo 4 days ago 0 replies      
But... it does kind of look like a calculator.
63
angry-hacker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Considering his racist remarks against white people he found a perfect place to work at - a full place of racists?!
64
whiterabbit2 3 days ago 0 replies      
To those who keep arguing whether the complains were valid. There is just one thing that makes it racist - referring to "culture fit" and then letting this guy go wasn't a "joke". This is discrimination.
65
herval 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm genuinely curious about one thing: is the person that asked about the calculator (necklace) also being racist?
66
jeffreybaird 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if the OP is reading this but he should probably be a little careful. I found it incredibly easy to track down "Steve's" Linkedin profile. While what he went through was awful, fighting a libel suit would only make this worse even if he eventually won.
67
fractalcat 3 days ago 0 replies      
I get a 404. Anyone have a copy of the original text? Google doesn't seem to have cached it.
68
xyentific 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can't fight racism with racism.

Backwards racism at it's finest.

69
asdfprou 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you tldr.io bookmarklet.
10
Steve Jobs passed away one year ago - HN Frontpage waybackletter.com
337 points by duck  1 day ago   96 comments top 24
1
andrewljohnson 1 day ago 6 replies      
My mom sometimes talks about how she felt when John Lennon died, and I always sort of scoffed at the notion of being overwhelmed by the death of a celebrity stranger.

I understood what she meant when Steve Jobs died - I was really overwhelmed, I think because I derived such a big part of my life, livelihood, and identity from iOS over the last 3-4 years.

2
singular 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's funny to see this as I (and I suspect probably many others) felt compelled to take a screenshot when this happened, because it was so bizarre to see the front page consist of a single story - http://dl.dropbox.com/u/140966/hn_jobs.png

I also did the same when Dennis Ritchie died, though not every story was about that - http://dl.dropbox.com/u/140966/hn_ritchie.png

RIP to both of them.

3
redthrowaway 1 day ago 1 reply      
Someone could have proven P=NP, and we wouldn't have noticed.
4
stevenj 1 day ago 2 replies      
When news broke about his passing, I started putting together a small archive of stories about him. I continue to update it when I come across new stuff.

http://www.hausmag.com/steve-jobs.html

Miss you, Steve.

5
huhtenberg 1 day ago 4 replies      
That's when I had my flag option taken away by mods, because I flagged all of these except for the top one.
6
dakrisht 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. Time certainly does fly. I remember browsing Twitter that afternoon, outside my office, having a smoke. All of the sudden, I just see Steve Jobs everywhere in my timeline. Texts starting coming in. It was a sad moment. Like him or hate him, he gave himself to the craft, sought perfection, never gave up. RIP to one of the greatest innovators of our time.
7
plainOldText 1 day ago 0 replies      
I keep listening to this audio of a talk Steve Jobs gave to an audience in Aspen back in 1983 and I believe everything he said in that talk was exactly what Apple became years later. I can't help but wonder how he nailed it so perfectly (well except for the time frame which was a bit longer, 20+ instead of 10-15 years, but still).

Link to audio: http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/62010118/download?client_id...

From where you're watching Steve, thanks.

8
elorant 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although I generally dislike Apple I felt sad that day. Jobs was by any measure a giant of our industry. Even if you didn't like him as a person, and many don't, his passion inspired a whole generation.
9
Heliosmaster 1 day ago 1 reply      
And also Dennis Ritchie died almost one year ago. RIP
10
pixxa 1 day ago 1 reply      
To get a sense of clarity of his vision, read Jobs's 1985 Playboy Interview where he predicts the future before setting out to spend the rest of his life to invent it.

http://www.txtpost.com/playboy-interview-steven-jobs/

RIP Steve Jobs

11
sampsonjs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Worth a read: www.gawker.com/5847338/steve-jobs-was-not-god
12
bajsejohannes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a screenshot I took of the Apple home page as well: http://i.imgur.com/xrO47.png

And from Amazon: http://imgur.com/eJ77c (upper right corner)

13
jjordan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, has it really been a year?! It feels like it happened a few months ago, tops.
14
zsherman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, literally every single post.
15
mansoor-s 1 day ago 2 replies      
I felt nothing.
16
pixxa 1 day ago 1 reply      
Has there ever been another story (besides Jobs's death) that took over the front page of HN?
17
CoachRufus87 1 day ago 1 reply      
RIP to one of the greatest innovators of our time.
18
kleiba 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh, please. Indiana... let it go.
19
veermishra0803 1 day ago 0 replies      
i genuinely believe that the efforts and work that Late Steve Jobs did, brought a revolution in that industry and touched the hearts of millions and millions of people. and i believe this is the reason y we all cant ignore the fact of his greatness
20
taytus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wrote a post about this (Spanish only for now): http://taytus.com/2012/10/el-steve-que-extrano/
21
npguy 1 day ago 2 replies      
A year already? Time flies, agreed.
22
desaiguddu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hello if you like Apple.com new video you will certainly like our tribute as well - http://tmblr.co/Zpw4yxUgp9Mi
23
ger_phpmagazin 1 day ago 0 replies      
The took our jobs!
24
Cbasedlifeform 1 day ago 1 reply      
He was some kind of a man.
12
Lockitron: Keyless entry using your phone lockitron.com
316 points by tylerhowarth  4 days ago   211 comments top 63
1
pg 4 days ago  replies      
We use Lockitron on our offices and it has saved us a lot of trouble. Empirically people are a lot less likely to forget their phone than to forget keys, presumably because you use your phone for so many other things whereas most keys do nothing but get you into a single building.
2
rdl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I'm amazed that they got wifi to work in the lock itself, vs. using a low-power thing like Zigbee to a base station with AC power.

Also, BT 4.0 LE is perfect for this -- since there's no NFC in the iPhone 5, I suspect BT 4.0 LE will end up taking the place of NFC for a lot of "heavier duty" NFC applications -- not that the Bluetooth protocol is great or elegant, but it's a lot easier to work with than NFC, and now BT 4.0 LE exists on both major smartphone platforms.

All my earlier criticism of not having a local ACL and local RF communication to the lock, vs. going to/from the Internet, is now resolved.

The only thing they're missing is a BT 4.0 LE dongle (which I've seen on Kickstarter called "hone" http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/690528216/hone-for-iphon... -- you could put that on your keyring and use it as an expensive HID proxcard replacement. Same thing works for electronic leash.

Now all they need to do is support 5-10 locksets in some kind of private/small business network (vs. putting in a HID access control system), for 0-99 users, and they'll be really innovative. Managing a single door with 0-5 people is comparatively easy; managing an office with turnover is a lot harder, and businesses would happily pay $1-2k for a system to cover their doors and employees with a nice LDAP/AD/FB/etc. interface.

Since you can upload your own firmware, it would be entirely possible for a customer to build this.

3
trotsky 4 days ago 7 replies      
relies on

  your phone working
2.4 Ghz
your internet connection
your power
their datacenter
their website software

to avoid carrying a key?

anyone in the area could easily ddos off your wireless more or less permanently by spamming disconnect.

doesn't seem like a very good risk/reward ratio to me.

whats the problem with a more traditional (read local) keyless approach? door too thick?

4
cjoh 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've been using a MiCasa Verde[1], alongside the compatible KwikSet Deadbolts[2], an android app called Automator to accomplish the same thing. It's actually a little pricier but you get:

a. Remote entry -- unlock your door from afar.
b. A nice home automation system (mine's expanded to control lights and thermostat now)
c. Keypad and key-entry as backups

I love it. Being able to remotely lock and unlock your doors is super handy, whether it be for guests, contractors or what not. But what's really handy? Never worrying about locking yourself out of your house again.

If I could just get rid of my car key, I'd be thrilled.

[1]http://micasaverde.com/
[2]http://amzn.to/QGn2Im

5
psychotik 4 days ago 4 replies      
Why not use a lock with a keycode instead? I don't see a single scenario where Lockitron works better.

http://consumer.schlage.com/Products/Pages/category-landing....

6
cwe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Unikey[1] on Shark Tank last season blew me away, I couldn't wait to see it in action, and be available. This looks like an easier installation process than that, but Unikey has some big names attached to it (Black & Decker).
Can't wait to see this tech take off, good luck guys!

[1] http://www.unikeytech.com/

7
MicahWedemeyer 3 days ago 2 replies      
I installed a punch code deadbolt on our front door. It has been a life-changing experience. I need neither phone nor keys and never worry about being locked out. I just have to replace the batteries every couple years.

One of the biggest improvements, not offered by the Lockitron, is the lack of needing to fumble in your pockets for anything. If you've got a handful of groceries, it's much easier to shift a bag or two to get a hand free and punch the code than it is to go digging in your pockets.

8
cs702 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great idea. However, I can't help but think that if Lockitron gains meaningful adoption, the various organized-crime groups operating on the web will try to hack the company's backend retrieve lock usage and location data or even gain the ability remotely to open customer locks. (Criminals already pay for stolen credit card information on the web; they would readily pay for lock usage and location data too. How valuable would it be for thieves to know when other people in their own city leave their homes?)

I would want to understand how Lockitron might use and secure my lock-usage, location, and other personal information before using the device and service to lock anything important, like my office or my house.

9
rflrob 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like a really cool product, but as a note to the marketing department: the product itself looks just a little bit too much like an iPhone. I got confused for a moment, and thought the device was an iPhone with a picture of the deadbolt on it. There's probably a way to make the materials somewhat clearer that the Lockitron is the big square bit, and not the C-shaped mounting adapter.
10
klinquist 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a renter - the fact that it will now clip onto my existing lock is huge.
11
larrys 4 days ago 1 reply      
Right now, the website is down or perhaps cloudflare is having issues.

I did get a look and was going to make a comment (which I wanted to verify) that the site in no way shows that the company had built another product (at least not from a quick look).

Now I can't even get a look at the site. This isn't 1996. Why are people having so many issues with delivering simple reliability to a 1 page website?

12
codinghorror 4 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos to the team. This looks fantastic, and I love that it's a v2 product! Preordering now.

It could be more clear that the lockitron does two very interesting things, I had to watch the video to figure them out:

- knock detection via microphone so you know someone is at the door (awesome)

- auto-unlock based on nearby phone presence (presumably bluetooth) so you can just walk into your house.

If it works like it's supposed to, this is seriously great.

13
bluetidepro 4 days ago 2 replies      
So, do people who use something like this just never lock your bottom handle lock? I live in a busy city and lock both to keep my place secure. I'm not sure I would like just being able to lock the deadbolt but not the handle lock.
14
apawloski 4 days ago 4 replies      
Cool and interesting idea, but for obvious reasons* I have some slight reluctance with using a service like this for my home. For less valuable targets though -- like a conference room or shared workspace -- this is a really clever solution to sharing keys.

*I hate it when people say that so I'll expand. Simply put, I'm worried about it getting hacked. For instance, could you gain access to someone's wifi and then flash a new image (which includes a rogue key) onto the device?

15
polshaw 4 days ago 1 reply      
> We won't charge your card until your Lockitron is ready

Interesting.. so you don't even need the money for the first production run, pure crowd-hype marketing. Also very ballsy of YC to sidestep kickstarter like this.. although i suppose 1000 pre-sales isn't huge.

As for the product, some nice feature improvements over v1.0, although i'm not a fan of the new plasticy design-- i would not want to see that thing on my door unless I had to, for any price.

16
tripngroove 4 days ago 0 replies      
We used Lockitron at the Cloudkick office. Super convenient, as it let anyone at the office buzz a guest/delivery through our outer door without leaving their desk. Also awesome: the ability to give visitors temporary access without having to keep track of making keys, ensuring they're returned, blah blah blah. Lockitron eliminated the dumb, day-to-day-headache-type-stuff involved in getting people in and out of our space.
17
zacharycohn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ahhh crap. I have been building this exact thing in my garage as we speak.

Too slow! Well played, Lockitron.

18
akavi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is this their official launch? The company I've worked for has had one for a while...

Regardless, I'm a fan. The fact that granting and revoking access is so trivial meant that when I was an intern I still had full ability to come and go regardless of the presence of a fulltimer (contrasting with other internships, where hesitance to give interns keys meant if I showed up too early I had to sit on my butt till someone arrived to let me in).

19
ssharp 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty obvious that more and more things are converging to the phone. We've already seen how modern smartphones have markets like the point-and-shoot camera and portable music player. It makes sense to carry around one device that does as much as possible. And I love the extension of the smartphone into these home automation areas (though I realize locks have a significantly greater market than just that). What troubles me right now is the fracturing, but that's inevitable in emerging markets. It would just be nice to have a really great product line that I could use to unlock deadbolts, open my garage door, automate my lights, control switches / outlets, program my thermostat, etc.
20
MatthewB 4 days ago 2 replies      
We use Lockitron at the 500startups offices. It worked well most of the time. The few times it didn't work was very annoying and I had to rely on someone else to open the door for me (from the inside). As long as you have a secondary option for opening the door, it's a great product.
21
stretchwithme 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be fine with keyless entry over the web if it only worked when I have in my pocket something it also must detect in order to open.

And when I actually do want to open it remotely, I get a call with a code I can enter. In other words, some sort of 2 step authentication.

And I want to be notified by the app every time that door opens if I am not using the app right then to open it.

22
spamizbad 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks really cool.

One issue with the video around 0:40...
Lockitron really needs to buy their hardware engineers some eye protection and magnification devices. You should never solder up close like that without eye protection. What they show in the video probably violates OSHA guidelines.

23
jared314 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love the idea, but, now, when I loose my phone I will be cashless, unable to call someone for help, and locked out of my home.

I also hope they salt their password hashes.

24
savrajsingh 4 days ago 2 replies      
We use lockitron at the Tigerlabs co-working space in Princeton. It's awesome! The provisioning, the ease of use, and the reliability are amazing. The team has done a great job of focusing on, and absolutely nailing the future-of-locks scenario. We've been happily using Lockitron 1 -- Lockitron 2 appears to eliminate the 'base station' and the custom lock, and now works with your existing lock. All Airbnb's and Co-working spaces need this. ;
25
plusbryan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great, but I'm reticent to replace my mortise-style door lock. Maybe future versions will support this type of lock? Other than sizing considerations, I don't see why not.
26
elviejo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really nice product can't wait to see it in production.
One insignificant caveat: I don't like the interface on the phone to lock unlock.
Why use two images, the lock and unlock padlock when one image would suffice.
27
ruswick 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is this a neat idea? Sure. But it's nowhere near $150 worth of value. (And, based on their "limited time" copy, it's likely going to rise to a more egregious price in the future.) I'm actually dumbstruck that they've sold 2500 of these. Admittedly, not having leave your couch to lock up or being able to check the status of your locks remotely is by all means a nice offering, but for the price, it's just not worth it.

Incidentally, this is also just a workaround. It's a hack. It's likely not to work in all homes or with all locks.

Moreover, this thing will likely look out of place and fairly undesirable on most doors, especially on older buildings.

An actual installable lock would be incredibly more compelling due to the fact that it will be less bulky and intrusive.

28
run4yourlives 4 days ago 0 replies      
The best part about this entire thing is that you can use it on top of an existing lock. Genius.
29
jmjerlecki 4 days ago 1 reply      
This looks great. Would love to see a version that has a camera on the front of lockitron so I can see who is at my front door. It sounds incredibly lazy, but being able to open the app and see who is at my front door would prove useful.
30
pitt1980 4 days ago 0 replies      
wasn't there a shark tank where something similar was pitched? Thought he said he had patents protecting the idea, who knows what that covered

http://today.ucf.edu/ucf-engineering-alum-lands-500000-deal-...

http://abc.go.com/watch/shark-tank/SH559076/VD55203511/week-...

31
klinquist 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lockitron guys: I would love a similar device for my garage door! Perhaps even integrated into one since most front door deadbolts are going to be within range of a garage door opener. It could support standard Genie/Liftmaster and get 80% of the market.
32
Wistar 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I saw that this thing fits over my existing deadbolt two things came to mind and in this order:

1. Wow, that device must have a lot of torque as many deadbolts, mine for example, actually requires some effort to turn, either to lock or unlock. This resistance is caused mainly by the springiness of the weather stripping which pushes back against the door when it is closed.

2. Sometimes, when sunlight falls upon"and heats"the door I need to push or pull slightly on the door in order to turn the deadbolt at all. The door is not dimensionally stable and deadbolt alignment changes. This makes me think that the system would not be reliable. I know my door and deadbolt are not unique in this regard.

33
bond 4 days ago 1 reply      
Our company developed a product where you can enter a place just by calling a specific number. If your number is on the registered number's database it will unlock the door...

Don't know why they don't do it like that instead of having to send a text...

34
bking 4 days ago 0 replies      
So what happens when your lock requires holding the door with pressure to have the bolt slide freely? Does it just not lock, or does it tell you it won't lock?
35
andyjsong 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lockitron even mentions that AirBnB is a great fit + they are both YC companies. Why isn't there a partnership already established between the two companies? Lockitron should be contacting all of AirBnB's most rented property owners to buy the lock.
36
jamest 4 days ago 0 replies      
We use Lockitron on the Firebase office door. I highly recommend it. Giving access to new employees is a couple of clicks, rather than making & tracking a new physical key.
37
imtu80 4 days ago 0 replies      
I cannot drive to work if I forget my keys.
However, I have following idea.
A cell phone case with an imbedded radio frequency chip that communicates with your key chain. The purpose of the device is to alert you if get too far away from your phone. This two way radio will not only help you locate your phone, but you can use it to locate your keys as well. You will be able to preset an approximate range boundary which will cause the case/keys to beep when they are too far apart. If you are close to the phone but can not see it, you can make the phone beep by pressing a button.
38
com2kid 4 days ago 0 replies      
It all sounded good until the "SMS" part. SMS messages are not encrypted and it is possible to sniff them (albeit it is not the simplest thing to do, but it is possible). Of course no one will have your actual house address, unless they cross reference your cell phone number with Facebook!

Granted the risk there seems small, basically limited to people without a smart phone who are also in the market for a smart gadget like this.

It is good to see that this is disabled by default, but it seems like a really unnecessary security hole.

39
mmmmax 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, I just backed Lockitron, question:

Will Sense work with multiple phones at a time?

40
andreipop 4 days ago 0 replies      
Haha this reminded me of our fb hackathon project. wrote about it here a while back: http://designcodelearn.com/2012/06/01/i-was-the-worst-coder-...
41
samstave 4 days ago 0 replies      
Personally, I would really like to see this attacked by TOOL and Schuyler Towne to see how vulnerable it is.

I love the idea of this device, but I also love seeing locks defeated.

42
showerst 4 days ago 3 replies      
Neat idea, but what makes this worth 150 bucks?
43
DannoHung 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looks neat. Don't think it'll work with my deadbolt though :(
44
bcx 4 days ago 0 replies      
We have one of these for our office too, and it works great :-). My only problem is that I want one for my apartment too, so I can stop carrying keys altogether.
45
MortenK 4 days ago 1 reply      
What happens if the iPhone runs out of battery? The site says it still works if you have "lost power", but I assume this means in the household?
46
philwebster 4 days ago 0 replies      
I made this point in another comment, but here it is again:

This product can be about much more than solving the problem of forgetting your keys. People with limited dexterity (such as my father, a quadriplegic) would love a product like this. When leaving the house, he would be able to make a few taps on an iPad to lock things up. Right now we don't use a lock because it's behind a garage door, but this would allow us much more flexibility.

47
tosh 4 days ago 0 replies      
We're using lockitron at the apartments we stay in San Francisco. It works like a charm. Thinking about getting one for back home :)
48
icelancer 4 days ago 0 replies      
I usually hate these gimmicks, but my god, this is extremely well done. Really need to consider it...
49
georgespencer 4 days ago 0 replies      
We have one of these for our office. It's great.
50
Semaphor 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sadly most doors in Germany have a normal key access installed on the inside as well :/
51
hackermani 4 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos to the team. This is not a solution for everyone, but there are places (Airbnb, shared access, renter, maybe hotel) where this concept could be invaluable. Even if not for my main door I could use it on the side door to allow multiple access for my family and kids.
52
FredBrach 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice one (idea): in my pockets, I've still an iphone, a bunch of keys, credit cards and a pass card for the office...
53
stlhood 3 days ago 0 replies      
We used the alpha version of Lockitron for over a year at Blockboard's office. Once it was set up everything ran smoothly. We loved it. The final version looks even slicker.
54
tylerritchie 3 days ago 0 replies      
How long do the batteries last?
55
sly010 4 days ago 0 replies      
Today if I loose my keys, I call a locksmith with my phone and pay him with my credit card.

A year from now if my phone runs out of battery, I am homeless. :)

56
lambersley 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm trying to figure out what real business problem this solves. Help
57
iAinsley 4 days ago 1 reply      
Kickstarter project, without the kickstarter! It's kickstarter-lite. umm - did the value of Kickstarter just go down? ;)
59
scragg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else notice one of the engineers does not blink in the video?
60
thechut 4 days ago 0 replies      
Was this a YC company?
61
jcarden 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lockitron user here. Love it!
62
aprasad 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like something like this for my car.
63
wprater 4 days ago 0 replies      
ripe for airbnb acquisition.
13
Online Python Tutor: Learn programming by visualizing code execution pythontutor.com
316 points by ColinWright  4 days ago   41 comments top 20
1
pgbovine 4 days ago 0 replies      
Oh wow, woke up this morning to some great emails. Thanks, everyone!

Here is some context behind the current incarnation of Online Python Tutor:

https://plus.google.com/+ResearchatGoogle/posts/cseo9qi7LWq

2
nicpottier 4 days ago 0 replies      
Un-fucking-believable!

This is exactly what I needed to help people visualize their code. I can't tell you how many beginners have a hard time figuring out how a program steps through their code and this is a huge win there.

Huge thanks!

3
upthedale 4 days ago 4 replies      
Looks good.

However, my big criticism of these sorts of visualisations is they seem to be entirely geared towards imperative programming. Has anyone seen similar visualisations for more functionally structured code?

Oh, I see you can write your own code to be visualised. Here's a simple list comprehension:
http://pythontutor.com/visualize.html#code=myList+%3D+range(...

Not the most enlightening visual.

4
TeMPOraL 4 days ago 2 replies      
Just 5 days ago HN was all so negative about Bret Victor's visions[1] of how programming should be taught. And yet here we are, looking at a working example of one of the ideas he wrote about.

[1] - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4577133

5
DanielRibeiro 4 days ago 0 replies      
6
scott_s 4 days ago 1 reply      
Philip, this is fantastic stuff. How have I not heard of your project before? Have I not been paying attention, or have you not shown it here before?
7
johncoltrane 4 days ago 0 replies      
I saw it some months ago (1) but it didn't get much traction. And I failed to upvote it, shame on me. This is really good work.

(1) http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3759858

8
oellegaard 4 days ago 0 replies      
Too bad it stops at 300 steps, I would have loved to use it for my hand-ins at the university - still, pretty cool! I checked how it looked with MergeSort and it was pretty awesome, even though it didn't get far with 300 steps.
9
njharman 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's not exactly Python (or I'm doing something wrong). Which is very confusing / "dangerous" for people learning Python (They will learn it wrong and not have the xp/confidence to question tutor)

locals() and globals() are undefined.

Still crazy slick (if it were the early 90's I'd say "l33t") bit of coding.

10
slykat 4 days ago 0 replies      
This would have been really useful when I was learning Python on Udacity and was confused by the behavior of = and += on lists and tuples.

This should definitely be integrated into Udacity and other learning platforms! Most instructors have to do this by hand in CS 101 lectures anyways.

11
pkandathil 4 days ago 3 replies      
Hey guys,
Isn't this the same as a debugger. Can people not learn from that?
12
prezjordan 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is there a self-hosted option for this? I think this would be an excellent resource for my students, but I'm having trouble getting my examples to run. (memory overload?)
13
detox 4 days ago 0 replies      
A big plus for most people out there. I'm a visual learner myself. I've always had trouble in the early stages of learning because I didn't really realize I was a visual learner until later on. Also, college professors didn't give simple tips like you should draw out diagrams of what's happening in the code because that helped me out a lot.
14
csmatt 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sold. Great work! I advocate learning to program to non-programmers all the time (and typically suggest Python), but visualizing flow is hard to teach succinctly with words. I really think this type of visualization with accompanied explanation, where needed, will help quite a bit. Heck, I may use it for debugging at times in the future.
15
maskedinvader 4 days ago 0 replies      
this is awesome, learning from visualizing how the code is executed IMO is a great way to learn to code. To add to that, its teaching python which I believe is already very easy to read and learn, brilliant. If this doesn't make it easy for young students learn programming for the first time then I don't know what will ! great job !
16
jkf 3 days ago 0 replies      
http://ec2-107-21-160-68.compute-1.amazonaws.com/crs-ltp/tut...
I think the tool of the course in coursera.org is the same.
17
zerop 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to browse this tutor on MIT earlier.. http://people.csail.mit.edu/pgbovine/python/tutor.html
18
flexie 4 days ago 0 replies      
Oh man! This is useful. Thanks.
19
MathProgramming 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why would they simulate a linked list using tuples? It seems a bit contrived (or rather, not Pythonic) when lists are a built-in datatype.
20
jftuga 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really awesome. I am trying to teach my kids Python and this will be very helpful.
15
Software architecture cheat sheet gorban.org
276 points by grayprog  2 days ago   35 comments top 9
1
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very nice.

I'm a big fan of #1 being "State the problem." rather than "Is this a 'Good Idea'?" they are inter-related of course, but any good software architect has their eyes fixed on the problem so they don't get distracted by the opportunities to 'decorate'.

I like asking people what they think the 'architect' does, that is to weed out people who think architect implies a leadership role, it can be but it isn't necessarily. In the 'real' world the architect is the person who notices you've got a banquet room for 100 people but the nearest restroom is two floors down, or a single hallway connecting both the people and the kitchen to the room. They see the 'whole' goal (feed large groups of people) and then work out what has to be true for it to be not a problem.

I look for similar skills in software architects, they don't care if the implementation is rails/django/node but they do care that individuals can be identified as users or guests, given capabilities or not, can be disabled or not, and the largest possible number are welcome.

Sometimes architecture is combined with the person who does design, sometimes with the person who does coding, and sometimes its just a person asking really good questions at the launch planning meeting.

2
RyanMcGreal 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd rather call this a checklist than a cheat sheet. A cheat sheet is a quick lookup for someone who doesn't know what they're doing, whereas a checklist is a quick lookup for someone who does know what they're doing and is humble enough to recognize that even the most capable expert performs better when working off a list.

Related: http://gawande.com/the-checklist-manifesto

3
rosser 2 days ago 3 replies      
As a database guy working in a Rails shop, I have huge qualms with "DRY". It encourages people to encode relationships in their models, and trust that's somehow magically going to keep their data sane. It's not. Believe me, it's not.

If you're using an RDBMS, use it. The model is just a representation of the data's canonical, authoritative state, which is what it looks like when it's been committed to the DB. The only way to keep your data sane is with Foreign Keys enforcing referential integrity between tables, and the only way to do that is to specify the relationship in both your models, and in your migrations.

Blind, slavish adherence to a pithy acronym is just going to get you into trouble.

4
ctdonath 2 days ago 2 replies      
One quibble: "DRY?" isn't meaningful to anyone not exposed to that non-ubiquitous acronym. If I stick this sheet outside my cube I'll be explaining it over and over, or (worse) the curious and otherwise open-minded will walk off dissuaded by opacity.
5
nonrecursive 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a good taxonomy of software quality attributes, which are strongly related to architecture: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/library/abstracts/reports/95tr021.cfm
6
ctdonath 2 days ago 0 replies      
Curious abuse of fonts. The "g" displayed is "!" in other fonts, hindering copying (I'd print it as-is, but the "DRY" acronym is unnecessary & confusing).
7
priyanka_sri 2 days ago 1 reply      
Beginning with such a simplified list proves useful. I would say the first point has to be "Are there 'existing' solutions to this (Architecture) Problem? If yes, what are they & what are their pros & cons?"
It always surprises me (& I learnt from a wise man & my mentor) that you aren't the first one (& almost never alone) when you encounter any problem.
8
ExpiredLink 2 days ago 4 replies      
Why are these rules "software architecture" specific?
9
chrisohara 1 day ago 1 reply      
YAGNI should be on there
16
The Sudden, Mysterious Exit Of A Quora Cofounder Has Silicon Valley Baffled sfgate.com
242 points by steve8918  4 days ago   135 comments top 18
1
jusben1369 4 days ago 2 replies      
"We decided it was best for Charlie to step away from his day-to-day role at the company."

Whatever happened it feels like Adam wants to make the point that Charlie was essentially fired. "We" is a lovely ambiguous term. They royal "We"? I suppose it's meant to imply that Charlie also agreed. But "Best for Charlie to step away" is pretty telling. There's a whole slew of options you could use to make it sound like it was Charlie's idea (although he's probably too young to 'focus on his family'

I always thought Quora should monetize around an RFP type concept. It feels to me like 80% of users are there for technology recommendations from the horses' mouth.

2
rdl 4 days ago 2 replies      
The best speculation I've seen is that someone (Yahoo?) is buying Quora, with onerous earn-out provisions (1/2/3/4?), and letting Charlie leave now would accelerate his vesting compared to remaining until acquisition and then leaving, if he didn't want to work for the acquirer.

I've met both Adam and Charlie (and Marc and much of the rest of the Quora team), and I can't see Adam/Charlie having a falling out over any personal or professional issues as a likely cause.

The weirdest thing IMO is that Charlie has totally disappeared from online (FB, Quora, etc.). Either it's to avoid being asked questions, or some kind of personal issue. Either way, I wish him the best.

3
dude_abides 4 days ago 7 replies      
We still have ridiculously high engagement rate for 8% of our users, but that number hasn't gone up and nothing else we've done has managed to move the needle to get further users hooked.

This leads me to think: does the needle really have to go up? According to pg's latest awesome essay on growth, the answer seems to be yes. But as the hacker news site has shown, no can also be a valid answer. pg's goal with hacker news is to keep a high quality of discussion, and not to grow the site to more users.

As you bring in more users, you are bound to reduce engagement of existing users; this is justified if the growth is an order of magnitude higher (eg. when Facebook went from ivy leagues to colleges to high school to public). But for a site like Quora, I doubt if growth at the cost of pissing off existing users is justified at all.

4
jpdoctor 4 days ago 4 replies      
> The answer makes one good point, though: D'Angelo did invest his own money in Quora, basically buying sole control over the company.

The first clause (investing money) is a much less profound statement than the second clause (buying sole control).

In order to buy sole control, he set the valuation of the new shares at something that washed out the "A" round guys. That should be a giant red-flashing signal to everyone involved.

5
breck 4 days ago 1 reply      
Eh, it happens. Reminds me of the PG quote: "Practically all start-ups internally are disasters... and they just hide this from the outside world."
6
webjprgm 4 days ago 3 replies      
I just went to Quora.com and see nothing that would convince me to spend more than 30 sec. there. They need a better home page to engage potential users who are curious about what that site is. A one sentence blurb about solving all my problems doesn't make me believe it. I want to see examples so I can see exactly what kind of problems and how they will be solved. E.g. on Stack Overflow there is a list of questions and answers that are being asked.
7
davidtyleryork 4 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like they were going to split directions at one point or another. Sad to see this happen as I love Quora but unfortunately, investors are in the business of making money, not building amazing user-friendly webapps.

Is Quora a great service? Absolutely. Is Quora something I would be incredibly sad to see die? Without a doubt. Is Quora ever going to make enough money to cover costs? Probably not.

This leaves a sale as the only possible exit. Adam is taking the unsexy role of being the business guy that drives Quora towards this conclusion. Great product and engineering minds will quit (especially with the departure of Charlie). People will cry out about how "the Quora I loved is dead" and new features will prompt blog posts like this one: http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2012/09/10/the-misstep-of... . But Adam has no choice, either he does this or the company dies and everything that is good about it is lost.

8
dbloom 4 days ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth: this article is syndicated from Business Insider. It wasn't written by San Francisco Chronicle staff.

Here's the original: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-sudden-mysterious-exit-of...

9
ericpete 4 days ago 0 replies      
One suspects there's a lot less going on than what everyone would like to think. (Thanks, ChuckMcM, for the nice post about money and stock.)

Mr Cheever is "something of a product design genius, and lots of people give him credit for Facebook's best features;" even the now-removed-from-Quora post says "to him the user came first and growth features would sacrifice that." That puts him in complete opposition to the guy (Mr D'Angelo, who to his credit is putting his money where his mouth is) who is paying the bills.

The problem is that almost every Q&A type site has the same issue as Quora: only a small percentage of its membership is actively engaged. The number cited by the article is eight per cent, and in my experience, that's about par for the course. Since revenues (and therefore stock performance) are directly tied to use, there are two ways to increase revenues, with implications regarding the user experience for both:

1. Increase traffic, AKA "make the pie bigger". This means doing the kinds of things Mr D'Angelo probably championed -- the SEO Solution, playing nice with Google, low barriers to entry (i.e. Free). This is the tactic taken by most startups, since they're generally looking at Mountain View and saying "Gee, if we could just get our hands wet in THAT revenue stream, we'd be rich."

2. Keep your existing userbase more engaged, AKA "get your customers to eat more pie". This means doing the kinds of things Mr Cheever championed -- making the experience better, providing more services to them, concentrating on getting lifelong customers rather than more customers for less time. Most startups aren't in it for the long haul; they're in it for the big payday.

The NYTimes obit of Arthur Sulzberger pointed out the difference. His family has always wanted to be in the business of disseminating the news; their competitors are in the business of selling advertising. Mr Cheever wanted to take care of users; Mr D'Angelo wants to see a return on his investment. If there was ever a startup in the position to do the former, it's Quora; I know my colleagues would dearly love to have enough money to where they wouldn't have to worry for a while how to keep the lights on.

But as William F. Buckley noted a long time ago, "Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive," and that's when someone like Mr Cheever moves on to his next venture.

10
kinkora 4 days ago 0 replies      
"The final straw was Matt Cohler joining the Board at the end of August. Matt's with Benchmark, and his involvement is there for the sole sake of getting the website turned around, on an upward trajectory, and in shape to be sold so he could get a return on his investment."

I think the italicized bit is the most interesting part of the comment. It seems that that Adam wants to sell the site at some point? but to who? Also, interesting that he is building Quora to flipped it instead of making it into a valid business.

11
001sky 4 days ago 3 replies      
We all knew one of the commonsense edicts of Hollywood is “never invest in your own movie."*

-- With the sound of silence, the Market has spoken.

12
sethbannon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like Business Insider is sneaking it's way onto the HN frontpage.
13
endlessvoid94 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hate sensationalist headlines. This is not "baffling".
14
kgosser 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's just four comments, but they are worth reading on the SF Gate article:

http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/The...

Pretty good example the bubble we live in here on HN.

15
volandovengo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I LOVE QUORA.

They have produced a system which is creating some of the best authored information online. Each time I get their weekly email, I lose about half of my day because each item in it is so amazing that I have to read it.

Watch Charlie Cheever's interview with TechCrunch recently. I think it's pretty telling that he was done with the company, it might have been the best call for him to leave.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/27/quora-we-have-an-explicit-n...

16
timpeterson 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is Quora really struggling? My posting there is getting more and more engagement all the time (more importantly, this compete.com profile looks quite promising: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/quora.com/)

Also, how much does running Quora actually cost? If Adam D'Angelo has many Billions of dollars, I can't see them ever having a financial issue.

17
caycep 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why is this baffling? Founders quit or change all the time.
18
antonpug 4 days ago 3 replies      
What the hell is Quora?
17
“I am calling you from Windows”: A tech support scammer arstechnica.com
238 points by chinmoy  2 days ago   130 comments top 24
1
bradleyland 2 days ago 8 replies      
Having done my time in the tech support trenches, I do one hell of an "end user" impersonation. I held one of these guys on the line for 1 hour 20 minutes one evening, then told him my phone was dying and that I'd need to call him back. I called back two days later and tied him up for another 20 minutes before he finally cracked and hung up on me.

Yes, it was a terrific waste of time, but boy did it feel good. I consider it volunteering. All the time I spent on the phone with the scammer was time they couldn't spend targeting vulnerable individuals.

2
simonsarris 2 days ago 11 replies      
What is most bizarre to me is that someone could actually do this and do it more than once.

Why wouldn't people feel bad about scamming someone like this? You have to talk to someone, get them on your side, and then scam them?

I could maybe imagine myself in an alternate universe doing something like this, perhaps enjoying a sort of "heist" feeling like when you're playing poker and no one's aware that you're totally prepared to take the table. But if I succeeded (at the scamming call) I'm sure I would feel devastated that I just did that to someone.

Maybe I'm just supremely naive, but it seems hard for me to imagine anyone I've ever met in my life scamming someone like this. It seems so completely incredible that it could ever happen on such a large scale.

--------------

Is there something in a culture (besides wealth discrepancy per se) that makes this sort of thing more OK?

3
akharris 2 days ago 3 replies      
Got the call from these guys a few weeks ago - actually about 20 calls. I finally picked up and kept the guy on for about 10 minutes asking him progressively dumber questions. Finally, I told him I was running OSX, which led him to call his manager. The manager had a really hard time understanding that I wasn't running Windows. It did not sit with his worldview at all.
4
kevinalexbrown 2 days ago 2 replies      
The most effective way to troll these types of scams is to let them convince you, but repeatedly tell them that your computer froze and needs to be restarted. If they feel certain you're willing to pay, they will wait for the 20 minutes it takes to "restart" your computer. The more you "restart" your computer, time they invest in you, and the less costly that 20 minutes will seem.

That said I don't think I'd have the patience to do it more than once. And I suppose there are better ways to help humanity than trolling scammers.

5
nicholassmith 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I get them I generally just put the phone down immediately, or I'll wind them up asking stupid questions about their qualifications. However, my nana has had a few recently who've been super aggressive about it, I told her not to do anything they say and to call me if she's unsure, but apparently saying 'no' and putting the phone down gets you repeat calls if you sound like like a good mark.

Edit: I'll point out, this happens in legitimate call centres as well. I worked for a fairly well known a credit card company and left not long after I heard a top seller say "Focus on old people, scare them enough and they'll always buy".

6
jiggy2011 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've had these calls too, now and again but never had the patience to keep them on the line.

So , they want to install some kind of remote admin software on your PC? I'm going to assume it is something based on VNC or RDP.

In that case if you really wanted to troll them it might be fun to figure out which protocol it was using and implement a custom server that you can run when they call you.

Any fun ideas as to what that could do?

7
debacle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Back when I was a BOFH, I would string these calls on all the time. Usually I could manage 30-40 minutes before the Indian would get tired of it and hang up. Occasionally I'd get one that would last for over an hour.
8
16s 2 days ago 1 reply      
I won't answer when the caller has masked their phone number. I have too many things to do. They can leave a msg if it's important. They never do.
9
jiggy2011 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how these guys are organised. Is it just a bunch of people doing this from home who have heard about the scam from a friend and have tried to imitate it?

Or are there actually physical call centres with rows of desks of scammers doing this as a 9-5?

10
JimmaDaRustla 2 days ago 3 replies      
Had it happen to many people I know. They only were successful with one person I know - they replaced her OEM Windows XP license with a pirated/fake one...then stole the original perhaps? Can't imagine how useful an OEM XP license to a Acer POS netbook would be valuable.

If you get one of these calls, just screw with them - pretend you are following their instructions for as long as possible before saying "Ubuntu doesn't have that."

11
eckyptang 2 days ago 4 replies      
We get these in the UK all the time. Usually either try and hold them on the line as long as possible (if bored) or tell them to "fuck off" straight away.
12
Pezmc 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have also had this happen to me and a friend. We have both calls recorded and the numbers logged, is there anywhere we are supposed to send these reports?
13
mnazim 2 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't help but read it in the Russell Peters style Indian accent. It wasn't until the middle of article that I noticed the subconscious act.

(DISCLAIMER: I belong to the same part of the world and probably have the same accent)

14
darkstalker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would answer him "Sorry, I use Linux".
15
btilly 2 days ago 0 replies      
These guys call me every month. I hope the FTC does do something about it.
16
garazy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had exactly the same call with someone, I wish I'd thought of the VM idea but I didn't, however I did record it -

http://soundcloud.com/gbrewer-1/microsoft-telephone-scam/s-e...

I felt a bit sorry for the guy it's clearly a boiler room with high expectations.

17
navs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah such tales are so entertaining. There was a brief period here in New Zealand when I'd receive a few of these kinds of calls. Folks in my Computer Science class considered it a badge of honor to receive a call and troll the scammer. It's been a while since I received any calls and I guess thats a good thing.
18
patrickdavey 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you've not seen it... http://www.itslenny.com/ you can forward VOIP telemarkers to "lenny" - an automated bot who will happily chat with them for ... ever..

There are some classic mp3s to listen to.

19
slashedzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ugh. A friend's mother fell for this exact thing. Spent a couple days "disinfecting" her computer. A few hours later, it finally dawned on her that she had been scammed (when someone asked her how the people could have known she had viruses), but she was too proud to talk about it/fight with the scammers.

Very smart though, targeting home phones, as they're just the right generation to fall for this type of scam.

20
kevinbluer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Potential idea for a hackathon! A 419eater.com for tech support scammers.

Some of them are amazing: http://www.419eater.com/html/samuel_eze.htm

21
devsatish 2 days ago 0 replies      
The pitches for these sites can be seen on day-time tv, and late night tv, sandwiched between infomercials. I heard these on radio too. ex: doublemyspeed.com , totallyfast.com
22
CaioAlonso 2 days ago 0 replies      
The scam site: http://windows4pc.webs.com/

EDIT: Webs.com has just frozen it.

23
zapt02 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is interesting but the article is really sub-par and they ended too soon.
24
lampe 2 days ago 0 replies      
haha nice post!

can someone call me like this?

i got windows xp only in a VM :D

18
Show HN: Meet your cardboard buddy. foldable.me
233 points by hakkasan  4 days ago   106 comments top 48
1
famousactress 4 days ago 1 reply      
Most of the comments here are a bum-out. Firstly, I don't think this is as trivial an idea to execute as a number of folks are saying. If you haven't launched something close to this complicated, you should refrain from suggesting this isn't much of an effort. It's clear that a lot of thought and work went into the concept, site, video, and product.

Second, this is rad! Maybe we're getting cynical or a bit lost in history, but the idea that for about what lunch costs lately a kid (chronological or spiritual) can get a website to send them something totally custom is pretty awesome. Think hard about how long this has even been practical to do at all, much less as a tiny upstart.

Oh, and it appears to be a successful Kickstarter project... so it's nice to see evidence of those.

2
flixic 4 days ago 5 replies      
Very nice. But your preview visualization uses what I assume to be close to final art, including all the flaps and all. With web inspector (and some curl) I was able to extract all the layers, combine them together, and get a printable file: http://cl.ly/JprN

I'm sure most of HN visitors would be able to do the same. Not sure if you should patch it, though: your target audience will surely won't do things like that, and visualization is already a complex beast.

Anyway, thanks for the free foldable design (:

3
engtech 4 days ago 1 reply      
Next step: create a Facebook app that lets you export your foldable.me to a facebook profile picture, maybe with something that lets you do a nice integration of profile picture + timeline cover photo.

foldable.me goes viral as friends see their friends use the site. You end up with tons of people using the site who would never consider paying $12 for a piece of coloured cardboard...

but once they get an emotional attachment to their avatar you can follow up with some lifecycle emails to convert them into a purchasing customer.

You could also have a feature where friends could gift their foldable.me to other friends.

4
felideon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a nice way to create your own Cardboard Programmer[1] (for Rubber ducky debugging[2]) of anyone you like.

Edit: Maybe remote teams can print out all your coworkers so they keep you company.

[1] http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?CardboardProgrammer

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_duck_debugging

[3] Suggestion from [1]: "Uma Thurman's analytical, diagnostic, and motivational skills were amazing."

5
micheljansen 4 days ago 0 replies      
You know, I personally wouldn't spend $11.99 on this, but I have no doubt that plenty of people will fork that out with ease. I love how you can create genuine value from virtually nothing. This makes people happy and doesn't waste tons of stuff in the process.
6
corwinstephen 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm jealous of all the people that can come up with ideas so incredibly trivial that they're awesome and everyone buys into them.
7
siculars 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just ordered one. I'm literally sitting on an L couch with my friend across from me while going through the options. Trying to look intently at her face without her noticing. Thankfully, she is lost in her own laptop.

For all the people saying you could download the files and do it yourself, I say sure. You could do that. But you could also send something nice to someone in the mail at some point in the future as a surprise. People like getting mail. Real mail. Ya you could put it in the mail yourself, but will you? $12 is cheeper than a movie in NYC. Totally worth it.

For the team at foldable.me: Great product. I would work on:

-expanding the selections and options

-adding high heel shoes

-allowing someone to upload a head shot and "cartoonize" it. There are some sites that do this... partner with them?

-add different sizes to your cutouts... s/m/l

-animals like dogs, cats, horses, sheep, cows, etc.

8
stevewilhelm 4 days ago 1 reply      
Clever idea. Would be nice to have a digital delivery method that sends a PDF so one can print them immediately. Americans are all about immediate gratification.

Might also consider a family pack. Don't know if these family stickers are popular in the UK, but they are everywhere here in the states. http://www.familystickers.com/

9
e03179 4 days ago 0 replies      
XBOX 360 avatars can be extremely customizable and are stored in a 3D format on MS servers (and likely on the console itself). The recognize many friends online because of their avatar.

I'd pay $$ to have a 3d printout of my XBOX 360 avatar...perhaps even with articulating appendages.

10
citricsquid 4 days ago 6 replies      
These sort of things discriminate against those of us who have no idea how to describe appearance! If only I could upload a photo and it would make a "closest match".
11
bking 4 days ago 1 reply      
Would it be possible to make two sizes? I could see some mom buying a whole family. Followup could be pets. Maybe make some car decals that follow the same realm as the stickers you see on soccer mom vans
12
tonymarks 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great work guys. Liked the video(s), the instructions are clear, you also set expectations well for shipping, etc. Plus, building your audience (and funding) through a kickstarter campaign is brilliant. I wouldn't worry about the "photo" style characters yet; scale first, excel at customer service, and then if needed, release a 2.0 foldable.me.
13
qq66 3 days ago 0 replies      
Neat! I am having a lot of trouble making a character that resembles me though. I'll suggest the genetic algorithm used by the Nintendo Wii and also by some police departments to create composite sketches.

This mechanism gives you an array of 9 random faces to choose from, and asks you to pick the closest one. Using that information, it generates 9 more random faces, but guided towards the features that you've selected. After 10 or 15 rounds of this, you have converged on a near-perfect likeness.

It relies on the fact that I can often tell that a face doesn't quite look like me, but I'm not sure along what parameters. However, when presented with a variant with slightly larger eyes and a variant with slightly smaller eyes, I can immediately select the correct one.

14
rikf 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is freaking awesome well done guys. Would love to get these for our team and stick them on our kanban board instead of 2d south park characters!

EDIT: You should also make some animal shapes for pets!

15
lallysingh 4 days ago 2 replies      
White people only? I only discovered while trying to make one. Still, count me as a fan, just not a customer (yet).

Lovely 3D animation. Really lovely. I'm always happy to see 3D native on the web.

I think siculars's comment for adding animals is brilliant. I think a lot of people would like a desktop version of their favorite cat or dog :-)

16
jamesbritt 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to make your own you can grab the Cubee template from here: http://www.cubeecraft.com/template.html

There's PDF and PSD; load it into Photoshop or Illustrator (or whatever works) and have at it.

I've built lots of papercraft toys, and designed a few. Half the fun is in downloading a file, printing it out, cutting it up, and ending up with something tangible.

BTW there's a copyright on this template, too. It looks identical to the Foldable.me figure.

17
Poiesis 4 days ago 0 replies      
In line with the people talking about giving these as gifts: what about the new Facebook gift platform?

I'm not totally sure I'd trust myself to give one of these as a gift, though, as I'd end up either creating a likeness of someone that they didn't like, or a completely narcissistic gift of my own likeness. But, hey, best of luck--I bet there are plenty of people who think otherwise!

18
BklynJay 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great work guys. Easy to use website with a clear design. Love the product and will be ordering at least one.
19
diasks2 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you want some awesome downloadable freebies, the artist Patrick Washburn from Tokyo has been doing these types of foldable designs for awhile now:

Spock: http://blog.patokon.com/2011/08/spock-wobblehead-papercraft....

Spidey 50th Wobblehead and Old 52: http://blog.patokon.com/2012/06/spidey-50th-wobblehead-and-o...

Captain America and Conan: http://blog.patokon.com/2011/09/marvel-comics-wobbleheads-ca...

Yoda: http://blog.patokon.com/2011/07/yoda-papercraft.html

Putter King: http://www.slideshare.net/putterking/putter-king-wobblehead

20
liedra 4 days ago 1 reply      
Really cute! It'd be nice to be able to share a mockup with friends somehow.
21
Axsuul 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's great to see a Kickstarter project deliver! This is some really good execution. Best of luck to you guys.
22
rbellio 4 days ago 0 replies      
Being 6'6" tall and built like an NFL lineman, I have never been accused of being cute, light or portable. If I didn't feel buying one for myself would be somewhat narcissistic, I'd totally get one. If anyone wanted to buy me one as a present, I'd display it proudly on my desk though.
23
mhb 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting/challenging to also offer the figure in a 3D illusion version. (http://www.moillusions.com/2006/03/dragon-illusion.html)
24
bellan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an article on how the avatar creation tool was built using 3D CSS:
http://logicalfriday.com/2012/03/28/finally-a-legitimate-use...
25
GarethX 4 days ago 0 replies      
I bought two from their Kickstarter for the girlfriend and I. I liked mine, but the girlfriend not so much - something about me telling her this stumpy little box was modelled on her didn't go down so well :)
26
jazzychad 4 days ago 0 replies      
No option for mutton chops? Lost a sale :(
27
topbanana 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, but needs face recognition. I can't be bothered to draw myself!
28
orangethirty 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is just out of the box thinking. Beautiful product. Ordering three.

Sales tip: this would make great Christmass Tree ornaments. I imagine a Chrsitmass tree with my whole family represneted as little carboard figures. Lovely.

29
Peroni 4 days ago 1 reply      
Love it. Surprisingly cheap too. I've ordered three and can't wait to see them!
30
indiecore 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a best thing I've seen all day.
31
404error 4 days ago 1 reply      
These guys provide free pop culture cutouts

http://www.cubeecraft.com/

32
kazuya 4 days ago 0 replies      
Splendid!

However I prefer http://facemakr.com/ when it comes to the variations of facial parts.

33
alan57 4 days ago 0 replies      
Novel and entertaining. Reminds me of creating a Mii on the Wii, only they arrive at your door.

It would be cool if you could get super mini versions that you could hand out as business cards. It's the kind of thing that recipients would definitely show around, and hold on to.

34
EwanToo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Love it, would be even better if you could upload a photo and have that as the face
35
veridies 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool concept. I'd love to get a couple of these as gifts. Only problem is that I suck at selecting the right features, so facial recognition or Mechanical Turk usage would really help.

(Also, a ponytail hairstyle would be nice.)

36
borplk 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's a great idea. Impressed.
37
tripzilch 4 days ago 0 replies      
... but what if I want one with a frown?

;-)

just kidding. awesome work, guys!

38
Evbn 4 days ago 0 replies      
You want to get really rich? Integrate with the Flat Stanley industry.
39
frozenport 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would like to see a metal version. Paper does not seem like a durable material, and for the price of 3 Subway footlongs, I demand satisfaction.
40
vividmind 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice and cute. I'd definitely use for gifts.

Bug report: the rotation and bottom scrolling buttons for lists didn't work for me in Chrome.

41
bking 4 days ago 1 reply      
Oh, and can you make a zombie setup? I would totally pay for a mini-zombie-me
42
hnriot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice execution, great website, but a total waste of time and resources.
43
danielhughes 4 days ago 0 replies      
You should consider offering an option to scale these up to life size.
44
tled 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to see Maru cat version
45
flyinglizard 4 days ago 1 reply      
Your execution is brilliant. Very well made site.
46
9k9 4 days ago 1 reply      
Who needs this junk?
47
aabbaabb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Should buy the .com
48
bruceboughton 4 days ago 0 replies      
No.
19
Mona Lisa in pure CSS codepen.io
229 points by jmduke  3 days ago   87 comments top 36
1
phoboslab 3 days ago 2 replies      
And here I am, upvoting the thread because I thought it's a statement about how ridiculous all the 'X in pure CSS' posts have gotten, while everyone else in this thread seems to be genuinely impressed.
2
jere 3 days ago 2 replies      
Jeez.

If your underlying method is pixels, you can render any image you want. I'm afraid I'm missing the "hack" here.

3
josteink 2 days ago 3 replies      
So... It's a bitmap-image written in CSS boxshadows. It's a bitmap written in text.

The resulting CSS is 247KB. Taking the same image and saving as a JPG (which I think is fair, since it's fairly blurry) results in a 40KB file. That's more than 6 times smaller.

If you scale it down to the detail level found the CSS (each CSS-"pixel" being a 4x5 unit) even a PNG will easily beat it at 24KB. Here the JPG also clocks in at 6KB.

So I don't get it. Using CSS, using a text-format to encode bitmaps has always been and will always provide subpar results. Ok. So it can be done. We know that. It has been proven times and times again.

Apart from that: What's the point?

4
pan69 3 days ago 4 replies      
About ten years ago I made a converter application that converted a image (jpg/png/gif) to an HTML table. The result at the time was great. Unfortunately the generated HTML was quite verbose so it took a lot of bandwidth to download. I guess a similar conversion program has been used here and it seems that CSS these days can take off quite a bit of fat of that generated code.

PS: Forgot to mention. The reason I wrote the converter at the time was as an experiment to avoid people from right-click and saving images.

5
steffanwilliams 3 days ago 2 replies      
There is a generator on Codepen that allows you to do this, that probably deserves more praise: http://codepen.io/blazeeboy/pen/bCaLE
6
corwinstephen 3 days ago 1 reply      
The best part about this is that now I know that the box-shadow property can take multiple arguments. The more you know...
7
kevsamuel 1 day ago 0 replies      
A friend of the guy did even crazier, a animated nyan cat (including the annoying music) with only one html tag, and thousand lines of CSS ^^

http://codepen.io/JBay1337/pen/Ejtfl

Webkit only though

It started kinda supidly over a beer yesterday with the joconde guy, then one friend posted a 50 mo animated nyan cat, I posted a 22mo version, and we kept iterating until he won.

His last version is kinda smart: it uses css keyframes like divx use video keyframes, with diff in between. Almost the first css video codec :-p

8
tlrobinson 3 days ago 1 reply      
We get it, you can draw anything in "pure CSS".
9
nowarninglabel 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a bit disappointing that a project which is supposed to show me something in "pure CSS" is hosted on a site which gives me a big warning/block that the site "doesn't work with out javascript, like at all".
10
seanlinehan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Me, in 60,000 lines of pure CSS: http://codepen.io/anon/pen/ItbEm

If anybody wants to take a gander at my very slow PHP code, it's here: https://gist.github.com/3831235

Anybody have any optimization tips?

11
eranation 2 days ago 2 replies      
What would be nice is the source code of the code generator that did that CSS so everyone can post tomorrow their favorite image in pure CSS...
12
vacri 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've always said that recreating the Mona Lisa is the 'Hello World!' of the art community. Curious to see the two combining like this.
13
vidarh 2 days ago 0 replies      
And the price for most horrible abuse of box-shadow goes to....

(Nice hack, though; didn't know box-shadow could be abused that way)

14
ftwinnovations 3 days ago 1 reply      
So is there just an app making these types of things at this point? I'd have to imagine so... And if that's the case it's about as impressive as a generated ASCII art Mona Lisa.
15
mukhabbat 2 days ago 1 reply      
As pan69 said this technique isn't new! I've experimented this but I don't like it, it's heavy for coding images. It's good for smaller codes like http://codepen.io/joshnh/pen/ohbHl
16
diggan 2 days ago 0 replies      
How big would the CSS-image of Mona Lisa be compered to a "normal" image with the same resolution and pixel density?
17
andrus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cool hack. It would be neat if the box-shadows used relative units rather than `px` so that you could resize the result, but then why not use SVG?
18
dj2stein9 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Da Vinci's of the future will use HTMLx and CSSx instead of paint and canvas.
19
elliotlai 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want a Ecce Homo version of this please ><
20
kidh0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems that everybody that has plenty of time, a little bit of talent and knows this tool http://kushagragour.in/lab/picssel-art/ can make something like that
21
derleth 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's in 'pure CSS', yet it requires Javascript.
22
bashzor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh come on... Let me make you one in HTML4.01! Or HTML5! Or Javascript!

Pixel by pixel... seriously.

23
masonlee 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Of course, it's not handcrafted" LOL
24
gavinpc 2 days ago 2 replies      
If I had a thousand dollars for every HN post that works in Chrome and not Firefox, I'd feel somewhat better about what that suggests.
25
Fletch137 2 days ago 1 reply      
The script that generated the CSS is far more impressive than the image itself, would definitely like a look at that.
26
jimmyhwang 3 days ago 1 reply      
Amazing job! How long did it take and were there any tools you used to make this faster?
27
jameshsi 2 days ago 0 replies      
i actually like this better than the other "pure CSS" examples i've seen. in a sense, i think of this as an interactive lesson to illustrate a box shadow hack that could conceivably be useful
28
brownBananas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Better version of Mona Lisa:

http://codepen.io/anon/pen/zbcJq

29
leecGoimik7 2 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work in Opera 12.
30
acjohnson55 2 days ago 0 replies      
No big deal. Let me know when you can do it using VIM syntax highlighting and ASCII
31
javajosh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Extremely clever!
32
epascarello 2 days ago 0 replies      
More bytes for a pixelated look!
33
jgv 3 days ago 0 replies      
this is insane
34
christianblais 2 days ago 0 replies      
But... why?
35
ejpastorino 3 days ago 0 replies      
amazing!!!
36
zawaideh 3 days ago 0 replies      
wahhh! box-shadow can do that?! Crazy!
20
This picture is worth a thousand pictures slate.com
228 points by abhimir  1 day ago   38 comments top 18
2
001sky 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool pics, but not sure how much innovation there is here. He takes additional liberties with the images, duplicating sections in symmetrical ways to create elegantly surrealist landscapes. It is alot harder (ironcially) to do large scale and make it look "normal." Ie. he's masking some of the real difficulty, one of which is alluded to in the piece: Since the light changes as he shoots, matching colors presents another challenge. Subtle things like inconsistent light make Going beyond "uncanny valley" very difficult. But using an "Alice in Wonderland" (hall of mirrors, etc) effect/approach helps subvert the issue.
3
ochiba 1 day ago 0 replies      
The last picture of the gorillas and the cell phones reminds me of Running the Numbers - An American Self-Portrait by Chris Jordan, which is one of the most amazing things I've seen for putting numbers into perspective (in this case using detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs)

http://www.chrisjordan.com/gallery/rtn/

4
LarrySDonald 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was a little disappointed by the lack of resolution. I remember seeing some of these, one with mindblowing resolution. As the article states "You can see a closeup of the statues nose" it turns out.. you can't. You can see a full-screen of the statue itself, but that's about as far as it goes. While that's impressive, it's hardly cutting edge and overselling it makes it more disappointing than just presenting it.
5
davidcollantes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Flash is required. If you do not have it (nor use it), like me, you will not be able to see much.
6
cochese 1 day ago 0 replies      
These pictures are so overexposed my brain has difficulty parsing them. Detail like this is not what is expected in photography, but the subject is.

A truly great photo is not about what you found, but what is already there. http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTU4OTI3MDk4MV5BMl5Ban...

7
simanek 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Some of the clipping paths/layer edges on the first one are pretty rough toward the top. But a neat idea. It's really more a collage than a “hyperphoto”. David Hockney " more known for his paintings than his photography " has done something similar, but with an emphasis on the image being composed of multiple photographs, not attempting to create the illusion of one continuous photo: http://www.hockneypictures.com
8
lnanek2 23 hours ago 0 replies      
A 3D game company should hire him so we can walk around inside those things. :)
9
dopamean 1 day ago 0 replies      
If MC Escher took photographs.
10
mathattack 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing. I thought it would be awful, but it was deeply profound in a strange way.
11
__dontom__ 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want something to scroll into check out http://www.360cities.net/london-photo-en.html
12
gwf 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://zoom.it/ is much older, seems much faster, and you can create your own.
13
interg12 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'd like to make these desktop pictures - any suggestions on how to get the files?
14
macey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Pixels aside, even. Very visually interesting art.
15
thechut 1 day ago 2 replies      
Zoig...crashed
16
paul_milligram 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Wasn't Microsoft Research working on a technology similar to the 'hyperphoto'? It collated numerous photographs of the same location and allowed the viewer to navigate through multiple dimensions of the space.
17
username3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Panning is a pain.
18
jsjohnst 1 day ago 2 replies      
This has been done for years to produce gigapixel images. In fact, there's even commercial hardware to make them easier to make (see: http://gigapan.com). As this made headline news when it was done for President Obama's inauguration back in January of 2009 (among other examples), can someone clue me in on why Slate thought this was novel or new?
21
Linus on keeping a clean git history (2009) mail-archive.com
227 points by pushingbits  2 days ago   81 comments top 12
1
lukev 2 days ago  replies      
This highlights the only thing I don't like about Git. It's an immensely capable tool, but it gives no guidance regarding the right way to do things.

Our own teams have a set of practices which are similar but different from what Linus outlines here. And different projects on my company use different practices from those.

The worst thing is that there's no way of enforcing these workflows or practices other than out-of-band social conventions. And so minor mistakes happen, all the time. Our Git projects are never as pretty as they should be.

In other words, Git provides an awesome set of primitives for source control. I'm not sure what it'd look like, but I'd like to see a product that built on those primitives to enforce a little more order on projects.

2
mattdeboard 2 days ago 0 replies      
Like lukev said, git is "an awesome set of primitives". How you build a workflow out of those primitives isn't set in stone (though, like most things, Linus has strong opinions on exactly how to use his products). This is basically what Github has done, with an extra layer of UI glitz, social, and (much-improved) notifications.

That said, IMO there is still quite a lot of room for customization in git workflow when using Github. For example, we don't "send patches around" as Linus says. Our private feature branches live on Github but we've adopted the convention that the "private" branch name is prefixed by who's working on it, e.g. mdeboard-oauth, jschmoe-url-routes. If it has someone's name at the front, don't touch it. That enables us to still use the "D" in DVCS while retaining the ability to safely rebase our own work to keep our history clean.

The only reason I'd want a git-based product to "enforce order" is a culture-related one: ensure that contributors/collaborators do things in line with the conventions we've established. However, IMO it's always better to have a conversation about that than work with an overly prescriptive tool.

3
silverlake 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm still new-ish to git and don't get why rebase is popular. If I do my work on a branch B, I can merge this branch into the master M. The merge point will have a succinct message "Bug Fix #1". You can print the history so it only shows these merge messages and not the messy history in the branches. Isn't this the same as rebase? That is, rebase removes the messy branch history. But I'd prefer to keep that history, but rarely use or display it. bisect can also ignore those branches and only use the merge points. Saving the branch history shouldn't be problem. What am I missing?
4
smithzvk 2 days ago 3 replies      
So I'm relatively new to version control entirely, but in the last few years my group has been making a big push to institute Git. I have been wondering lately, however: how much history cleaning is expected/desirable?

When I develop, I split my commits into as many small changes as I can so that the commit messages are single topic. I thought that was basically the idea. Every once in a while I use rebase to combine a few commits that should have been done together as they all addressed the same issue. This all seems right to me. I am left with a clean history of everything I have done on a very fine grained time scale. But the large number of commits, each with little significance to whole program hides the large scale structure of the development.

However, I could use rebase to start combining loosely related commits, trading the time resolution for clarity in the commit history. There seems to be a continuum along this scale. Where is the proper place in that continuum to say this is clean enough? Also, I don't like making changes where I am losing perfectly good information.

I know that I can group certain commits by defining a branch, developing on it, then merging (non-fast-forward) back to the original. The branch should keep the grouping in the commit history. I even suppose that this is can be done after the fact using rebase with the proper amount of git-fu. Is branching and non-fast-forward merges the preferred method of grouping related commits in the history?

If so, this seems troubling as it means that partially fixing something is difficult to do with a clean history. Until the piece of the program you wish to fix is completely working, it shouldn't be merged into master because it would ruin the grouping of the related commits. This means that there can't be any partial thought's like fixing bugs as you find them, because presumably you might want to group all bug fixes of a function together, but have a distinct commit for each.

Now I'm more confused than when I started. Seriously, any references or advice on this sort of topic are welcome.

5
chris_wot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unintentional contradiction two messages down the thread: Linus says "But note: none of these rules should be absolutely black-and-white. Nothing in life ever is."

Or perhaps intentional. I can never tell when I read a Linus fiat.

http://www.mail-archive.com/dri-devel@lists.sourceforge.net/...

6
easy_rider 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny. I was just finishing a chat with a colleague about a git strategy for a coming new release of a production product, then saw this post on top. I've been working on it without collaboration for about half a year now, so thats easy.. I've had mixed experience with both rebasing and pull strategies before that. I've found rebasing being a lot better when working with tightly coupled code. And pull being a lot cleaner in being able to cherry-pick and revert to previous states more easily.
rebase is indeed a destroyer.

We've now decided to use this model, while only deleting feature branches after RC acceptance.

http://nvie.com/posts/a-successful-git-branching-model/

My colleague just suggested to rebase regularly from the develop branch while developing features
"I'm working on a branch.
someone - e.g. you - updates the develop branch.
I will have no info if that is related to my stuff or not
so, I should rebase regularly to the latest version of the develop branch"

I'm kinda clueless now. Git is really powerful and flexible in strageties, and that adds to complexity.

8
jrochkind1 1 day ago 0 replies      
oh yeah, perfectly straightforward, only took several thousand words to confusingly explain.

Nope, not simple. Yep, this is a git usability problem.

In the ruby/github world, people generally violate this and DO rewrite 'public' history in order to get 'cleanness', primarily because almost ALL history is 'public', since you tend to show people work in progress on github, or just push it there to have a reliable copy in the cloud. And yes, this sometimes leads to madness.

9
mibbitier 2 days ago 3 replies      
git is so overly complex (Coming from svn).
10
gosub 1 day ago 0 replies      
git needs a "git propaganda" command. Instead of changing history, it would tell it in a different manner.
11
3825 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've heard some of these words...
12
jebblue 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have tried to get git, some people say one project per repo (which seems crazy but I did it), many projects are ok, you do need a main master repo, you don't need one, then there's the half dozen commands where with SVN it's one.

Now the most valuable thing to me in source control, history, I'm supposed to keep clean? That's like a sacred cow, you _don't_ mess with history.

>> That's fairly straightforward, no?

No _Linus_ it isn't. Git is hard to get right. If it wasn't for EGit I'd be lost. I tried Canonical's bzr and it is more understandable for ordinary humans.

All that aside I really like Linux. :)

22
15 Years after the First Slashdot Post cmdrtaco.net
222 points by cmdrtaco  3 days ago   55 comments top 38
1
dasil003 3 days ago 0 replies      
Normally I might not identify with this level of nostalgia, but in this case I find it hard to restrain myself.

Slashdot was a critical piece of Internet history. In my mind it was last big thing that came out of the Internet from the era when it was exclusively for geeks. It continued in the footsteps of what we had done previously with email, usenet, ftp/archie, and irc, and became one of the biggest websites for us old timers.

After Slashdot the next big thing was probably Napster, and at that point the chasm was crossed to traditional mainstream youth demographics. Never again would the biggest thing on the Internet also be the geekiest.

Godspeed cmdrtaco.

2
debacle 3 days ago 3 replies      
Just want to say thanks for all of the great work over the years. Slashdot was never my home - I never signed up, always contributed as AC - but I've been a loyal reader for almost a dozen years.

It's not what it once was, but it's still the best at what it does.

3
gamache 3 days ago 2 replies      
I first got good at network programming by writing /. crapflooders in the late 90's and early 00's, and my profanity skills honed in the trolltalk salt mines still take my mother's breath away to this day.

Thanks for everything Rob!

4
MattGrommes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot user #527 here. I feel as similarly as an outsider can to Taco's feelings. Slashdot did a lot to shape what I think of as a real community, both on and offline. It was based around news but there were also fun things like all the Natalie Portman's grits stuff that not only didn't detract, it added to the feeling. HN is a great discussion place but there's very little "frivolous" stuff that really makes a friendly community. It'll never really be replaced.
5
samstave 3 days ago 1 reply      
That was an enjoyable read, and Id like to Point out that it is also a chapter in many of our lives. Maybe not as directly or deeply, but for me my discovery of slashdot coincided with my move back to the valley in 97 specifically to get into silicon valley IT.

I've grown a lot, slashdot was a part of that growth and while I don't visit it that often any longer, it's still a part of my professional and personal DNA.

Nostalgia is a good thing, after all; memories are the only things you have to think back on. ;)

6
untog 3 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly OT, but I'm very glad that working at WaPo Labs feels like those early days of Slashdot. I very much believe in news organisations and I want them to have a future- hearing about this kind of innovation is fantastic. Someday I hope to able to get into a similar news labs environment myself.
7
acheron 3 days ago 2 replies      
Semi-long time /. reader here -- six digit UID but just barely. If I had known it would have conferred bragging rights I would have signed up a week or two earlier.

Slashdot was absolutely the best community from the late 90s up through maybe 2005 or '06. I learned so much from both the news articles and the subsequent discussion. Still have never found a better comments section than what Slashdot had then, though I keep searching.

8
SwellJoe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Loved Slashdot from the very beginning (read Chips n' Dips on occasion before Slashdot). My second ID was 100612, and my first was four digits. I'd been posting anonymously before that.

When reddit came along, I was splitting my time about equally for six months or so. And then, I realized a few months after that that I hadn't logged into Slashdot in months, and hadn't really noticed. I came back to Slashdot a couple of times to answer questions about something I was involved in (like Y Combinator), and found that it still led to a huge spike to my company/Open Source project website...slashdot is, or was, a firehose of very focused traffic that may never be replicated (at least, not for really nerdy folks). reddit never sent that kind of traffic our way, and neither has HN, or any other single source.

Anyway, it must be hard to let go of something awesome. But, it's also hard to watch something awesome die while you try to save it. Slashdot may not be "dying" per se (any more than any of us are dying, at a slow but steady clip), but I'm pretty sure it's in a steady decline that will never be turned around, and that's tough to watch.

9
chrissnell 3 days ago 0 replies      
/. user #5825 here. I have great memories of the old days.

Let's start a list of funny and cool things that we learned about for the first time on Slashdot. Here's mine:

1. Google - I still remember the first postings about their search engine and how awesome it was compared to everything else when I first tried it out back in the mid 90's.

2. RootServers, a startup that sold colo'd linux boxes and would give you root--a big deal back in the mid 90's. I saw their ad on /. and was surprised that they were based in my hometown. They later morphed into Rackspace, which has been my employer for the last five years!

3. Mac OS X. I remember the early posts about Rhapsody, which encouraged me to go buy a Mac at the just-opened second-ever Apple Store in DC. Been a Mac user ever since.

I'm sure there's more...

10
evolve2k 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it would be fair to say that /. pioneered the 'the comments are often better than the articles' social news site.

I remember coming into the Uni IT labs and seeing everyone usually had /. up on the monitors of their Solaris Workstations.

Hat tip to you.

11
dmd 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was slashdot user # 404. Thanks, Rob.
12
lifebeyondfife 3 days ago 1 reply      
Before HN, before Digg, before any kind of social networking or all encompassing tech news sites, there was Slashdot. I still remember when one of the first questions to ask a fellow programmer was, "You on Slashdot? What's your number?"
13
codva 3 days ago 1 reply      
In 1998 I moved to VA for a job as an Account Manager with a web consulting firm. Their business model changed almost immediately and I had to learn how to sell Sun hardware if I wanted to stay employed. Reading Slashdot was an important part of my education into Unix, system administration, and system administrators. That lead to an interest in open source and ultimately to me installing Red Hat at home. Today I am much more comfortable in the FOSS world than I am in the Windows world, and it all started with me reading Slashdot. I finally removed Slashdot from my feed reader last year, when I realized I couldn't remember the last time I clicked through to read a story.

However, I am still waiting for the box of swag I was supposed to get to pass out at the 10th anniversary party that I organized.

14
gfodor 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was a great read, user #11637 here. I had a project many years ago called half-empty that made it onto the /. front page, which slashdotted my college apartment and got my cable Internet service cancelled within a few hours. This was my first taste of the crack-cocaine called "tail -f access.log". It was awesome. Thanks again Rob.
15
recampbell 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot introduced me to ArsDigita, which introduced me to web programming and linux, leading me out of the depths of a corporate visual basic dead-end job. I'm very grateful for the impact this had on my life. Thanks, Rob.
16
prostoalex 3 days ago 0 replies      
Long-time top submitter here (still top 4, although I think I stopped in 2005 http://slashdot.org/hof.shtml), many good memories, the sense of community helped shape my interests in many ways, influencing my career, so just want to thank for your great work.
17
mutagen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot had an incredible influence on my perception of computers, the internet, privacy, and participation. Though I don't remember the subject, I remember printing out my first successful submission and posting it on the wall.
18
Pelayo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot has been the only site where I've been able to spend two hours learning about hard drive technology just by reading comments. Good times...
19
dfc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot will always be near and dear to my heart. Slashdot was a big catalyst in my early tech education, even if I had to wait for long threads to load over my Courier Robotics modem. I can't remember if my user number was 8811 or 8872 but I do remember how cool it was to meet cmdrtaco at an early Linuxworld in nyc.

Thanks for everything /.

20
smsm42 1 day ago 0 replies      
#1221 here... I remember when Slashdot ware THE place to get the tech news and discuss them. I do not think it is anymore, but still have some fond memories from these times. Thanks for that.
21
Spoom 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm splitting my time between here and Slashdot nowadays. Karma is certainly a lot more difficult to get here but I think that's a function of the quite different communities.

I'm curious though, do you know if Dice has any plans for reviving Slashcode or creating a new version of it? It looks like it hasn't been touched in about two years.

In any case, thanks for everything, and I'm sorry that the site seemed to grow away from you. I think most people here agree that it was better when you were part of it.

22
gadders 2 days ago 0 replies      
You know what? I think over the years cmdrtaco has become quite a writer as well.

I started reading Slashdot when the first days of the "slashdot effect" for flattening websites was being mentioned. Late 90's?

It was always a go-to site for me, and for events like 9/11 it was a better news source, simply because the team was agile enough to swap to static pages to handle the load, unlike CNN etc.

23
colkassad 3 days ago 1 reply      
I still have Slashdot in every browser as a bookmark, even though I rarely visit the site. I can't bring myself to remove it.
24
wyclif 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ah, the fond memories of hitting Slashdot at least 5x per day back when I worked for early Amazon (1998?). I remember all the memes from back then. Like many people attest, it was hugely useful to make connections to other FOSS and Linux users.

But the biggest thing I remember was 9/11 and the updates from /. users who lived in NYC, Brooklyn, and Queens right after the disaster happened...at the point when the only other coverage was CNN.

25
rmason 3 days ago 0 replies      
Still remember the moment six months into it's history when I found out that Slashdot was a Michigan company. You never heard about any cool Internet companies originating from Michigan in those days. I remember being dumbstruck and then proud, damned proud.
26
pnathan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I still find Slashdot one of the most valuable discussion sites on the Internet.

Thanks man!

27
pgrote 3 days ago 0 replies      
The slashcode site hasn't been updated in years. Did it fall to the wayside throughout the buyouts?

http://www.slashcode.com/www.slashcode.com/

28
noonespecial 2 days ago 0 replies      
#977520. Thanks for all the fish.
29
madrona 2 days ago 0 replies      
Happy 15th birthday! I posted as AC for the first year or two and sadly missed out on the "low UID" boat. I was 15 at the time of its launch.
30
madrona 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are you a hacker? Do you like news? If you answered "yes" to both of these questions, then HNAA might be exactly what you're looking for!
31
menacingly 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great example of solid writing that transcends the specific knowledge of any community. The nouns are all familiar, but the story would resonate even if they weren't. It's just about being human, and doing human stuff.

Also, thanks for building something awesome.

32
jnazario 2 days ago 0 replies      
good memories.

myself, i had a modest user number, a few mentions for my work, posted some book reviews, hosted timothy at my condo a couple of times, even got slashdotted a couple of times (including once to distribute star wars prequel trailers via a grad school server i ran, which should give you an idea of how old i am now). "focused traffic" is hardly an apt description, and we still call it "the slashdot effect."

good times.

thank you. what was always clear is that it was first and foremost a labor of love and interest, and that's a rare thing among the net's high profile sites. that has had a profound impact on the site's long term quality.

33
witoldc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've always wanted to have story accepted on /.

But I've yet to submit one. :)

34
bootload 2 days ago 1 reply      
longtime /.r 2774,

thx @cmdrtaco for starting slashdot.

It really filled the gap on the web in Perl, Linux & FOSS, information and was the go-to place in startups I've worked in. Now for a few questions,

Q. /. for me was the start of 'social software' through commenting & friends (fondly remembering 'friends of foes' & freaks) - what lessons learned in moderating & story post moderation do you think HN could improve with?

Q. Is there any way to get a dump of old posts. I've got 'em back to '96 & wouldn't mind getting a copy.

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theycallmemorty 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've never used Slashdot for even a moment, but I really enjoyed that article and I could really feel OPs pain as he let his baby go.
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adefa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot was the original (and nerdier) reddit.

I just wish there was a way to find out when my slashdot account was created!

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nickzoic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Next Up: Crackmonkey Nostalgia.
38
jpeg_hero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cmdrtaco, whatever happened to Bruce Twickler?
23
Social Login Buttons Aren't Worth It mailchimp.com
210 points by ryanfitz  4 days ago   108 comments top 35
1
robomartin 4 days ago 11 replies      
There's another element of this that, to this day, I don't fully understand: Companies subverting their brands and actually promoting facebook.

What do I mean by this? The other day we were watching TV and a Charmin ad comes in. At the end of the ad they actually say "go to facebook.com/charmin"

What? They have a perfectly good and highly recognizable brand. And, they happen to have a great URL: charmin.com. Why send traffic to Facebook and diminish or even completely fail to promote your own bran?

OK, the other question might be: Who is visiting a Facebook page for toilet paper. The point is that I've seen this many, many times from all kinds of companies.

Maybe someone can explain? Maybe this is just sheep following sheep off the cliff?

2
codinghorror 4 days ago 3 replies      
The way I read this, it's about the CEO overriding the decision based on aesthetic reasons.

Personally I'd much rather log in with Google in this case, which means there would need to be three buttons: Twitter, Facebook, and Google. I'm sympathetic to the "nascar-ization" argument, but I also believe your customers are smart enough to process at least as many options as there are in their wallet for providing identity.

Perhaps the best solution is even more minimal: no login options at all! Let the browser auto-generate credentials and a unique password on your behalf, then automatically use that to log you in every time it sees that website.

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/09/cutting-the-gordian...

3
mnicole 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting, but MailChimp didn't start with these social media login options, did they? So the low percentage of people using those to sign in probably means that most of those people registered after they were in place?

Also, regarding the CEO's email and the confusion of so many options on the homepage, that's merely a design issue. Those buttons don't need to take up so much room or be so bold. They could simply be links with tiny corresponding icons underneath the default login form. Taking those options away would be a detriment to both current users of those methods and future users who prefer the quick registration process it provides.

The argument thereafter that these logins could easily dissipate and are therefore unreliable is solved the same way SoundCloud does it; allow the user to set a username and password separate from their social networking account in their settings. The only problem with the SoundCloud method, at least at the time I did it, was that in order for it to activate, you had to reset your password. As far as the security point is concerned, that's a risk the user takes and another benefit to having both site-specific credentials and the social media tie-in.

4
mkjones 3 days ago 3 replies      
So I like a lot of the analysis in this article, but couldn't help taking issue with some of it. Here are some thoughts that came to mind. Worth noting that I work on security / spam fighting at Facebook, but these are solely my personal opinions.

"Social login buttons put security in someone else's hands"
You're damn right they do! I argue that in 99.9% of cases that's a great thing, for 3 reasons:

1. Facebook invests significant resources in both keeping bad guys out (we have been able to dramatically reduce large-scale phishing with a number of updates to our login security systems) and ensuring everyone else can get into their accounts easily. I can only speak for us, but I assume Twitter spends a lot of time on this as well. I imagine it'd be tough for a startup to keep up with the 10-20 people we have working on this problem at any given time.

2. It's incredibly difficult to build a password system that is both easy to use and secure. There's an almost endless ever changing list to make sure you're hashing and salting properly, don't have SQL injection flaws, implement robust rate-limiting without allowing DoS, etc. We've all seen many people screw it up in recent years. One of the largest benefits of Facebook Connect for startups is the ability to leverage our investment in these systems, without having to invest the significant time we have spent iterating on them.

3. We've spent a lot of time working on every aspect of login, so that startups don't have to. Your job is to build whatever technology differentiates you from your competitors, and make it worlds better than theirs. Any time you spend pfutzing with password hashing, building a better password recovery flow, or arguing about how to fail when people type in the wrong password is time you could better spend making a truly wonderful product. Unless you're trying to build a startup that helps people login, any time spent on this is better spent elsewhere.

5
lifeisstillgood 4 days ago 0 replies      
All the comments below (ha I hope!) are arguing for Mozilla persona

* I want to use email as username

* limit the number of possible ways to login (no NASCAR)

* I want to keep personal and business logins seperate

* don't slap competitor logos all over my pages (CEO quite right there)

this however all begs the question how do I move accounts to a new login?

Few sites (stackoverflow is a shining exception) allow you to associate more than one login with one account. And fewer give different settings by login (admin, power user etc)

we have been lulled by oauth and openid into thinking we have just to authenticate me, rather than authorise a role - and few sites have concepts ofanything other than one role == one set of privileges == one login.

There is a reckoning coming - it is when these sites need to provide fine grained control, as businesses run on them full time, we shall discover why ACLs exist, and what chmod is for. It's going to be painful. But then it's better for mailchimp to take the pain in a couple of years than not be there at all

now go install persona. And allow me to associate more than one login with one account

6
matthewowen 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think the bigger point has nothing to do with social buttons or login UX.

Test your changes independently, and make incremental changes

They thought social buttons improved login success. They didn't. An unconnected copy change improved login success. If you test these things independently, you'll get much better insight into what makes a difference.

7
cowboyhero 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think he buried the lede: Social login buttons can hurt brands.

This'll date me, but I'm still amazed that so many companies eagerly slap other company's logos on everything they do. Even if it's just a blog post.

This page is a case in point: Facebook's brand appears four times. Twitter's appears a dozen times (more because of the comments). Mailchimp? Just once.

8
stephengillie 4 days ago 1 reply      
Social login is a shadow issue here - like a sheet over a chair, the little buttons are obscuring a larger issue:

Mailchimp found that clarifying login error messages reduced login failures by 66%!!

The rest of the story is a coincidental tale about the CEO trying to pull a "Jobs" by thinking he knew what his customers wanted better than they did. The social media buttons only had an effect on 3.4% of their users, a small group compared to the reduction in failed logins. By making the social login buttons the main point of their blog article, they hide this valuable tidbit.

9
BryanB55 4 days ago 2 replies      
We've always found that by replacing "username" with "email address" makes logging in a lot easier. Most users already know their email address. By using a username thats one more thing they have to remember.
10
netmau5 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've grown to seriously hate OAuth as a login mechanism. It's great for connecting accounts for integration, but I've been burned by it as a login.

On one of my previous projects, Twitter was the only allowed login method. After some complaints, we implemented an email-based login and reduced the bounce rate by over 50%.

Another anecdote: whenever my Asana session expires, I always struggle to remember which Google account I registered with or if I used email. The worst part of their flow is that if you're wrong, a new account is created and you login to a blank slate. It takes forever to find the log out button to try again too.

11
Tipzntrix 4 days ago 2 replies      
At the bottom of this article, there are "Sign in With FB/Twitter" buttons.
12
bunderbunder 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love being able to log in using an OpenID provider rather than creating an account.

Because it's one less !$@%!@$! password to remember. Or it's one less $@&%!@$ hassle adapting my password creation formula to a new site's password requirements. Or it's one less place where my don't-care-use-it-everywhere username/password key is stored, perhaps @$2(! in the clear. Or perhaps it's just one less time I have to type in a @$@(%^! username and password. Or @*($&%! create one.

13
catshirt 4 days ago 0 replies      
few things don't add up here.

1. they added the social buttons late in the game, and are surprised about 4% of users are using the social buttons. what if that 4% was compromised entirely of users who registered since you added the buttons? that would be a totally different ballgame.

2. the problem they were trying to solve was login errors. that's not the problem facebook and twitter sign in solve. therefor it seems fallacious to say "they aren't worth it" when you're not even considering the standard use case.

14
tolmasky 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think telling people that just their password was wrong was a bad move. The author argues that this is not a security risk because the "username reminder form already tells you if a username exists". However, this simply displays a further security issue. I don't have the link handy, but there was just a (really good) article the other day here on Hacker News about why you should not reveal whether the email address is necessarily associated with a username or password in these kinds of forms (always just give the same generic "we will send it if it exists" message).
15
adrianhoward 3 days ago 1 reply      
For me the most important bit in that was the last line.

"Is it worth it? Nope, it's not to us." (my emphasis)

Not all businesses are the same. B2B businesses like MailChimp usually don't see major increases in value through third party auth. They're providing serious value. People will go to the effort regardless.

With a casual use B2C site removing even the tiniest piece of friction in the login process can mean the difference between a purchase and people just going away.

It depends. This is why we test shit :-)

(Also - unrelated to this - is that the "login" bit is often not where the biggest win for third-part auth is. It's in reducing friction in registration. I've seen high single digit percentage improvements in abandonment of registration for some B2C sites due to getting profile info from twitter/linkedin/etc. cutting the time it takes to setup accounts fully. Lifetime value also increased since profile info was generally better from those sources which was an important part of users getting value out of the system, and so the business getting value out of those users).

[edit: also - they seem to be looking at total numbers, rather than doing any kind of cohort analysis on the folk using twitter/facebook/whatever... which may well lead to different conclusions]

16
badclient 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am probably in a minority but for me, my Facebook and gmail is more valuable than almost all other accounts. When I see a site that forces me to sign up using Facebook or a google account, I usually hit back. Why? Because in my mind I'm giving access to my entire Facebook to a bunch of guys I know little about. I'm not as fearful that these guys are evil and may directly harm me. I'm more fearful they will post something to my timeline or that they may repost say my public posts for SEO etc.

This is one reason I am extremely pissed at instagram. Instagram as a product gives you a sense of privacy because it provides very limited ways to access your photos. You can't just goto instagram.com, login and begin browsing. On the other hand, few people realize that your instagram pictures are public by default and there are dozens of sites which using instagram's API(I'm guessing) are republishing our photos without even your knowledge.

17
tylermenezes 3 days ago 0 replies      
The actual point of this article is "Social login buttons aren't worth it... for Mailchimp".

Obviously a business-focused company is going to have less people logging in with Facebook than a consumer-focused company.

People shouldn't write generalizing blog posts unless they have some understanding of proper experimental design.

18
propercoil 4 days ago 1 reply      
I joined mailchimp ~7 months ago after Jason (thisweekin.com) pleaded viewers to check it out so i signed up for the free trial (2000 subscribers free no credit card).

I'm amazed by everything that they do. Elegant api and ux that "you get" from the get-go. It is a huge problem to solve and i'm now engaging with 1100 subscribers.

Now i want to pay ($30/m) but they don't accept paypal - the service i use to pay for everything since i'm a digital vendor. There are companies in the U.S that don't understand that alot of foreigners do business solely with paypal. There are those who dig it though(Elance, Envato, Odesk)

mailchimp take the leap! eeee

19
vampirical 4 days ago 1 reply      
> But after some further consideration, we decided that it was a false risk, as the username reminder form already tells you if a username exists [...]

Alright so this security hole already existed in their system elsewhere. After raising the issue that this type of message leaks data, which is a completely valid concern, they dropped it because they were already leaking that data elsewhere? It isn't like email based account reset/reminder forms have to leak the existence of an email within the system, a fact they just gloss right over.

For a system that stores quite a lot of very sensitive data it is surprising to see them knowingly keep such a hole open. I understand the desire to smooth out the user experience but this honestly seems more driven by the desire to not field customer support requests for what feels like a "stupid issue".

I'm not currently a MailChimp customer but I used to be and before reading this I would have chosen to use them again if the need was there. Please don't compromise the security of customers for convenience.

20
tsurantino 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing that has been really interested about the discussion of social logins has been the re-emerging critical outlook on online identity. I think that social logins are a double-edged sword, where they give us the ability to easily connect with sites for which our social identity is relevant or for which setting up a whole new custom identity is unnecessary. One the other hand, the obvious drawback is the implicit promotion of the social network as the de facto identity standard, which is dangerous and totalitarian (Facebook owns who you are, sort of).

I think the simple value for social login is context. There's an obvious overuse case and a useful use case.

21
latchkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is exactly why Persona really needs to be adopted more and succeed. I'm tired of creating new accounts all the time and Persona solves this issue.
22
gingerlime 3 days ago 0 replies      
As others pointed out, I believe the 3.4% was simply down to social logins introduced much later. When I fist signed-up for mailchimp ages ago, the only option was creating a new user account.

I think the article dismisses one huge benefit to federated logins:

* ease of use for users - instead of choosing a username, entering all the customer information, verifying the email address etc, choosing a password, you can sign in with one or two clicks.

23
pbreit 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I'm disinclined to take UX tips from MailChimp, there are at least two good situations to use 3rd party registration/login: 1) when you're getting more out of it than simple reg/login and 2) mobile.
24
sologoub 4 days ago 4 replies      
One thing that jumped out at me with the "better" error messages, is that it makes it that much more hackable - if I can hit the service and find valid usernames, I can then try to get into those.

If you have a catch-all error message, it's much harder to guess the username/password combo.

25
steeleduncan 3 days ago 0 replies      
The problem isn't that social login buttons harm your brand or look ugly, it is that by using social logins you are working to expand the social networks user base and not your own.

Online companies are largely valued by the size of their userbase and by working to build Fb or twitter's userbase rather than your own, you are sacrificing the value you add to your own company for the sake of the social network that a user signs in with.

26
taylonr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I see this as two problems.
1. Too many options. They even mentioned it "Did I log in with Facebook or Google or Twitter or what."

2. Having both social & native logon.

You could actually solve both by either 1. Only using native logon. or 2. Picking one (maybe 2) social logins.

I went with #2. Granted it was on a small test site, but the trade off of managing customer logins sucks. I'd rather have google get busted for getting hacked than for my little SQL DB getting attacked.

The way I look at it, I have time to write code and secure it to the best of my ability. However, Google and other social logins have whole teams that can manage security and keep up to date with the latest technology etc.

So there is more to social logins than the actual act of logging in. And some of the problems listed aren't really with social logins, but rather with a particular implementation.

27
rsobers 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, they dramatically simplified the login form. Here's what I get at the moment:

http://i.imgur.com/LExHd.png

28
shizzy0 3 days ago 0 replies      
I never use a Facebook or third-party login, if I can help it. Why would I want to tie my real identity to some site I'm opting to _try_ for the first time? I might want to integrate an account to Facebook if the service provided some phenomenal value to me for doing so and the service had gained my trust. But providing my Facebook information to an unknown entity is far more intrusive than providing an email.
29
drelihan 4 days ago 0 replies      
What about having a generic "Third Party Login" button drop down? On a click, a drop down appears with the different login options. This makes the options available to users, but lets the main brand shine.
30
cookingrobot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Social Login buttons are liked by some users (about 30% from our research [1]) and have the added benefit of giving extra biographical data / friends graphs / etc. Some services need that extra data for sharing features etc.

We run a service that makes it simple to add Email&Password style login, or Social login to your site: http://www.dailycred.com

[1] http://dailycred.tumblr.com/post/30602034530/surprise-people...

31
geerlingguy 4 days ago 0 replies      
32
Zelphyr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Increasingly there are going to be people like me who don't trust Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc... enough to have an account (or, at least, a real one) with them. So using them for logging in somewhere else isn't helpful.

ONLY being able to use them to log in somewhere else is obviously a reason to never sign up with that "somewhere else" site altogether.

33
inthewoods 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anybody have any data on whether using social login buttons on landing pages increases/decreases conversion?
34
vseloved 3 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, someone has the guts to say, that failed logins should tell the user, what is wrong: username or password
35
nnash 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what Pinterest's numbers on this are.
24
Yale scientists explain how ketamine vanquishes depression within hours yale.edu
209 points by 001sky  1 day ago   119 comments top 15
1
kevinalexbrown 1 day ago  replies      
Here's my shot at "the most revealing job interview question" (not looking for a job, I do neuroscience in a separate area):

The review explains why the rapid action of ketamine excites so many researchers:

The discovery that ketamine rapidly increases the number and function of synaptic connections has focused attention on synaptogenesis as a fundamental process for the treatment of depressive symptoms and also suggests that disruption of synaptogenesis and loss of connections underlies the pathophysiology of depression.

This excites researchers not because ketamine itself would be used to combat depression, but because depression is still extremely symptomatically defined, making it difficult to design treatments for. That's roughly how it's diagnosed in the diagnostic manual used by most psychiatrists: check off a list of symptoms, if you have enough, you're depressed. It's like going to the doctor and explaining that your stomach hurts and they say "well, looks like you have abdominal pain, here's some Advil." Treating the symptoms would be great if only there were a happiness dial in the brain. Indeed, the effect of most anti-depressants is often demonstrated prior to a mechanistic understanding of why they make many patients feel better.

Recently there has been substantial evidence of "synaptogenesis" - the formation of new potential connections between neurons - from multiple treatments, including ketamine. So now we have this new picture emerging: depressed patients tend to have atrophied and "less-connected" neurons in some brain areas, and some drugs can reverse it, in particular ketamine can reverse it quite rapidly, and it works in rodents as well as humans.

That makes it very amenable to study. The way this often works in the lab is the following. Take some rodents, subject them to unpredictable stress to get them depressed, then give some ketamine. It makes them better. Euthanize the rodents, slice the brains, and note that the non-ketamine ones have less dendritic spines in certain areas ("potential input points to a neuron"), but remarkably, the ketamine ones have more in those areas.

The most important step comes next, where you try to find out what ketamine is actually doing, since, again, there's no happiness dial in the brain. Create strains of "knock-out" rodents, where you block the production of certain chemicals or proteins you think ketamine might affect by altering their genetic composition. This step is crucial, because it allows you to find out which effect of ketamine is providing the benefit, because there are many. You can do this both by observing both behavior (does the ketamine not improve mood in the genetically altered rodents?) and in physiology (does the ketamine still increase synaptogenesis in the altered rodents?).

In the end you can kind of work out a map of sorts: ketamine does X things to the brain and Y in X are the ones that are important, sometimes in certain combinations. Then you can start creating intelligent drugs that pinpoint those important processes, to avoid the unfortunate side effects of drugs like ketamine. Moreover, you now have a better physiological understanding of depression, instead of just a symptomatic one.

To put it in machine-learning language, it's like going from ideal observer analysis like mutual information, to an actual parametric model where you understand the distributions themselves.

2
tokenadult 1 day ago 1 reply      
From the press release submitted here: "In large doses, ketamine can cause short-term symptoms of psychosis and is abused as the party drug 'Special K.'" This is a general problem with drugs for mood disorders--the human mood regulatory system is very complicated, and it is possible for patients to engage in behavior that is dangerous to self and to others when they have low mood (are in a depressive episode) or when they have high mood (are in a manic episode). That's why a careful physician always asks about a patient's personal history when beginning treatment of someone seeking treatment for depression, to avoid starting out with treatments likely to trigger mania. Some human beings only get depressed, and never manic, but some can go awry in either direction.

I heard a National Public Radio story with interviews of researchers on the same issue as the press release submitted here while on a drive this afternoon. What most excites researchers about the ketamine studies is not a prospect of using ketamine itself as a frequent first-line drug for treating depression, but rather as a model for understanding brain function better and eventually developing new drugs that are even longer-lasting for treating depression and even less likely to trigger mania. Human mood disorders are very diverse--there are probably hundreds of rare genetic variants that increase the risk of mood system disruption under varying kinds of environmental stress--so there surely will not be just one drug that will successfully treat all patients, but rather a gradually growing toolkit of better and better drugs to treat more and more patients with less risk and fewer side-effects.

AFTER EDIT: User shrivats just kindly pointed, in a subcomment, to the overall summary of the Science special issue on depression, in which the ketamine research and related research is discussed. A paragraph describing another article in that issue is especially helpful for HN participants: "However, not all is bleak. There are individuals who overcome difficult situations and show astonishing resilience in the face of adverse circumstances and other forms of acute or chronic traumatic stress. Studying them might provide us with clues about what can go right. Southwick and Charney (p. 79) provide an overview of current ideas about why some people are more protected against stress and depression than others and how this knowledge may help us develop better treatments and successful prevention strategies." Several HN participants regularly write about strategies of building resilience to face the stress that many hackers face. Further research on that issue will also be part of the package in future improved treatments for mood disorders.

3
chunkyslink 1 day ago 3 replies      
I used to take quite a few drugs recreationally and I can quite honestly say that Ketamine gave me 'God like' experiences unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Repeatedly (and reproducibly) I could 'see' everything in the universe from the smallest particle to the planets and solar system in one go. I could comprehend nature, science and space and observe everything working as a system, from a point way above it all (it is dissociative after all). It made me euphoric and happy and when coming down from the experience I could (and still can) remember that feeling and how powerful it was / is. Of course to an observer I was basically asleep in a chair.

This news doesn't surprise me at all.

4
starpilot 1 day ago 2 replies      
> In their research, Duman and others show that in a series of steps ketamine triggers release of neurotransmitter glutamate, which in turn stimulates growth of synapses. Research at Yale has shown that damage of these synaptic connections caused by chronic stress is rapidly reversed by a single dose of ketamine.

There's burgeoning evidence that depression is tied to a lack of neurogenesis (creation of new brain cells), which may also be tied to serotonin levels. Some believe that the reason SSRIs take weeks to have antidepressive effects, even though serotonin levels are restored almost immediately, is that it takes a while for that to stimulate new brain cells. It's far from certain though that serotonin has anything to do with depression or neurogenesis. The atypical antidepressant tianeptine (currently unapproved in the US, but widely used in western europe) apparently reduces serotonin levels while boosting neurogenesis, the study of which is summarized well by Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky [1]:

> … tianeptine prevented many of these stress-induced changes. These included the spectroscopic alterations, the inhibition of cell proliferation, and a significant increase in hippocampal volume (as compared with stress + vehicle animals). Of significance (see below), tianeptine did not prevent the stress-induced rise in cortisol levels.

The restoration of hippocampal volume is important because it's been shown that low hippocampal volumes correlate with emotional abuse in adolescents [2] (also by Yale researchers). This was breathtaking for me - bad parenting literally causes brain damage.

Special K and tianeptine aren't the only efforts at curing depression through neurogenesis. Neuralstem [3] is testing a drug in humans to treat major depressive disorder by restoring hippocampal volume, with a controlled study to complete early next year. That is the only new drug I'm aware of. Regardless, the serotonin model of depression, the one which produced Prozac etc. isn't the last word, and it's looking more likely that a dearth of new synapses may be the culprit in clinical depression.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC60045/

[2] http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/DomesticViolence/3002...

[3] http://www.neuralstem.com/pharmaceuticals-for-depression

5
DanBC 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hacker News has a few readers who self-experiment with a variety of substances.

I'm not trying to stop them, but there are reports of Ketamine abuse being damaging to the bladder. Some people have had their bladders removed.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17411492)

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17344089)

I have no idea on the dosing needed for harmful effects - is several large doses enough? Would very many small doses be harmful?

Some people taking anti-depressants do so for a long time. Most are recommended to take them for at least two years to prevent relapse, but some medications (especially venlafaxine) can be hard to come off. (I've been told that I'll probably be taking venlafaxine for the rest of my life.)

So, this news is exciting because better understanding of mental health problems is really important, and better treatments would be fantastic. But please be careful when self-experimenting with possible nootropics.

6
siganakis 1 day ago 2 replies      
Also of interest is the observation that Ketamine (and PCP) are associated with NMDA Antagonist Neurotoxicity (Olney's Lesions), a form of brain damage.

Not really something you should want to self medicate with at this point until more research is done.

http://www.dextroverse.org/txt/olney.txt

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

7
espeed 1 day ago 1 reply      
In their research, Duman and others show that in a series of steps ketamine triggers release of neurotransmitter glutamate, which in turn stimulates growth of synapses.

MSG is monosodium glutamate, and there is research to show MSG is toxic -- it's the glutamate that's bad for you, not the sodium. Flooding your body with excess glutamate throws off the brain's delicate balance of this neurotransmitter and leads to excitotoxicity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excitotoxicity).

The blood-brain barrier protects you from some of it, but the blood-brain barrier is not fully formed in babies, and this is why MSG not allowed in baby food. However, the blood brain barrier can be weakened by any number of reasons in adults, such as when you have a fever.

Why would ketamine's release of glutamate be different and good for you in this case?

8
001sky 1 day ago 1 reply      
Orignal is http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6103/68 paywall)

_________________

Abstract

Basic and clinical studies demonstrate that depression is associated with reduced size of brain regions that regulate mood and cognition, including the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, and decreased neuronal synapses in these areas. Antidepressants can block or reverse these neuronal deficits, although typical antidepressants have limited efficacy and delayed response times of weeks to months. A notable recent discovery shows that ketamine, a N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist, produces rapid (within hours) antidepressant responses in patients who are resistant to typical antidepressants. Basic studies show that ketamine rapidly induces synaptogenesis and reverses the synaptic deficits caused by chronic stress. These findings highlight the central importance of homeostatic control of mood circuit connections and form the basis of a synaptogenic hypothesis of depression and treatment response.

9
pella 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ketamine & autism

"Drug Reverses Abnormal Brain Function in Rett Syndrome Mice"

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121003132418.ht...

"ScienceDaily (Oct. 3, 2012) " A promising study out October 3 in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that in a mouse model of Rett syndrome, researchers were able to reverse abnormalities in brain activity and improve neurological function by treating the animals with an FDA-approved anesthesia drug, ketamine. Rett syndrome is among the most severe autism-related disorders, affecting about one in 10,000 female births per year, with no effective treatments available."

10
fluxon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yale scientists excitedly, repeatedly explain to anyone in the quad how ketamine vanquishes depression within hours, in, you know, a million million ways (yale.edu)

I've read too many Onion headlines to ever read headlines like this again.

11
anigbrowl 1 day ago 6 replies      
Interesting news, but the potential for abuse is worrisome. Recreational ketamine produces dissociative states similar to heavy drunkenness in the short term, and frequent repeat use is known to damage a part of the brain called Broca's region through cellular overheating, seriously impacting speech formation.
12
lutusp 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Yale scientists explain how ketamine vanquishes depression within hours

Translation: "Yale scientists speculate about how ketamine vanquishes depression within hours" And until there's a strictly designed study with a control group, we'll be no closer to a definitive answer. But considering the drug and its role and target, a control group would be unethical.

13
scotty79 1 day ago 1 reply      
Was the antidepressant effects of ketamine observed at normal anesthetic dosages (1-2mg/kg)?
14
victorbstan 1 day ago 1 reply      
In the article, near the end, they suggest that scientists are looking into alternatives that work like Ketamine, but so far none work as fast as K.

"Efforts to develop drugs that replicate the effects of ketamine have produced some promising results, but they do not act as quickly as ketamine. Researchers are investigating alternatives they hope can duplicate the efficacy and rapid response of ketamine."

So my question is, why not just administer K?

15
soup10 1 day ago 5 replies      
Recreational drugs temporarily make people happier? No way... I'm glad the fine minds at Yale are studying such important, ground breaking stuff. I can't wait until this research leads to new antidepressants that turn more people into zombies.
25
If Hemingway wrote JavaScript byfat.xxx
208 points by federicoweber  3 days ago   84 comments top 32
1
jrockway 3 days ago 4 replies      
Excellent use of the .xxx domain name. If people start using .xxx for normal writing, the concept of "one place to conveniently censor" will not work out. Heh.
2
DanI-S 3 days ago 2 replies      
This brings up a sore point, for me.

I love to read. At some points in my life I have been able to read two or three books every week. I have spent years of time drifting through the endlessly multiplicating realities of prose.

However: since moving to the Valley, working full time whilst attacking various business and development side projects, I can usually manage 2-3 pages (immediately before bed).

Where do you find the time to read?

3
brudgers 3 days ago 0 replies      

  return result;
}

That happy ending is not Hemingwayesque.

4
monatron 3 days ago 2 replies      
Top post HN (check), interesting title (check), innocuous title (check) -- click -- "Blocked by Security Policy" (huh?)-- .xxx domain? wtf! damnit! now i have an xxx domain logged to my corporate login... EXCELLENT. thanks.

Really though... Is there some sort of clever reason why this person's blog is on a xxx domain aside from annoying people like myself stuck behind corporate proxies?

5
lmm 3 days ago 2 replies      
Am I alone in finding this ridiculously pretentious? I got as far as the mocking olde-worlde "shakespeare" comments before giving up.

Javascript is not a better language than others (in fact it's a far worse language), and it's downright insulting to put words in the mouth of someone like Hemingway to try and make yourself feel better.

6
nadam 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't know Hemmingway, but given this description:

"No surprises here. Code reduced to its essentials with no word or variable wasted. It's not fancy; maybe its even a little pedantic - but that's the beauty of Hemingway's writing. No need for elaborate logic or clever variable names. It's plain and its clear and it does what it has to - and nothing more."

I am not sure why he did not choose this style:

    function fibonacci(size) {

var result = [0, 1], i;

if(size < 2)
return "the request was made but it was not good"

for(i=2; i<size; i++)
result.push(result[i-1] + result[i-2]));

return result;

}

Perhaps because Hemmingway would care about performance?

-----

Slightly related: One year ago Javascript inspired me to write the javascript version of genesis:

http://nadamhu.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/javascript-genesis/

7
andrewcooke 3 days ago 1 reply      
the code for the bolaño one is not so good, although the explanation improves it (i think all the others snippets give you a fair idea of what to expect in a book by the author; that really doesn't).

when i first skimmed the article i got down to that section, read the code, with a list of names, and expected something french and post-modern. was really surprised when i checked back to the title to see bolaño.

(if you haven't read him, i wouldn't start with 2666, but with the savage detectives, which is a really sweet, funny, smart novel. also, if you speak spanish as a second language, he's very easy to read in the original - a modern, simple, colloquial style, just like you're used to speaking.)

[edit: huh; i don't even remember the dream sequences at the start of 2666, so maybe my bad. will have to go back and re-read. edit2: oh, yeah, i do remember. ok... but there's nothing like that in any other book of his i have read. hmph. you might as well characterise his writing as a list of murders.]

8
ajuc 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great post, but I don't agree with the critique of "Dickens'" solution.

Using one-step equation to solve iterative problem is IMHO better (obvious speed benefits for large n, the only drawback is floating point imprecision), and deriving the equation requires deeper understanding of the problem than simply modeling the iterative equation with a loop.

9
angusC 3 days ago 1 reply      
If anyone wants to add Vonnegut or anyone else please feel free to fork my original code. No reasonable pull request refused :-)

https://github.com/angus-c/literaryJavaScript

10
eevilspock 3 days ago 1 reply      
Vonnegut. Beautiful except for this omission. Anyone?
11
JasonFruit 3 days ago 3 replies      
If the "Closing Thoughts" express the point of his amusing and mostly well-executed exercise, then for all his skill it's a wasted effort. It's precisely "doctrine and dogma", "rulebooks and boilerplate", that make JavaScript work for group development and long-term maintainability.

This is the coding equivalent of the garage musician who says, "Don't bother me with rules " I'm playing pure emotion here, man!"

12
Void_ 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is cool as a joke, but I don't think code should be compared to writing.

For example I am an engineer, so this comment is written like code. It contains just enough words to express my point, it's clearly structured and my goal is to make it easy to read.

That's okay writing, but far from great. Great writers can just sit down and write amazing text. I could never do that. I have to go back, read after myself and refactor.

I wonder if other engineers feel similarly.

13
Ygg2 3 days ago 1 reply      
My antivirus has found Mal/HTMLGen-A virus on this page. Has anyone verified this is legitimate? The domain .xxx doesn't inspire much confidence either.
14
pron 3 days ago 0 replies      
Even as a long-time Hemingway nut, I'd be the first to admit that Papa would probably have loathed programming (and programmers).

You got that right.

15
Charlesmigli 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very well written article. Conclusion is very sharp, I like it. I tried to make the tl;dr version but it's definitely worth reading the full article http://api.tldr.io/tldrs/506c2f7991598c0f55000098.
16
habosa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty sure Shakespeare would not use JavaScript at all, but rather this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare_(programming_langua...

17
syaz1 3 days ago 0 replies      
How were you able to repost this? I see similar URL. I know because when I tried to post this before I got redirected to a submission... probably this one: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4336148
18
tnuc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dickens got paid by the word.
I would expect a lot more code that does nothing.
19
richardofyork 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love Literature as well as JavaScript, too. Here is a literary JavaScript post that is a fun read:
http://javascriptissexy.com/javascript-is-super-sexy/
20
calvin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone provide a SFW link for this?
21
leif 3 days ago 0 replies      
Of course, writers would all consume linear space.
22
timje 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this post, it reminds me a bit of the Mark Crick's 'Sartre's Sink' series of books.
23
Fletch137 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a book nerd myself (and a lover of JS), I really enjoyed that.I think the criticism of Dickens was undeserved, even if it was a quote - but the Shakespeare iteration was spot on, loved it.
24
thomasfl 3 days ago 0 replies      
TLDR; Doing javascript like Douglas Crockford is boring.
25
Millennium 3 days ago 0 replies      
My problem with the Hemingway one is that there's not nearly enough function call chaining going on. Hemingway would be all over that particular construct.
26
russelluresti 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm gonna go with the Bard's. Not for the solution, but for the comments.
27
dschiptsov 3 days ago 0 replies      
..it would be Scheme.

or, well, Arc, which, I think, is already obese.)

28
tomchristie 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Hemingway snippet is genius. Spot on.
29
stylewalker 3 days ago 1 reply      
What is that CMS i see more and more often?
30
frenchfries 3 days ago 0 replies      
this guy needs more xxx ...
31
suprawsm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I really enjoyed this post.
32
atdt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Christ, what an asshole.
26
Things I Learned From Founding Technology Companies betashop.com
205 points by kbouw  10 hours ago   31 comments top 13
1
edw519 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a fine line between advice from someone who's been there and suffered in the trenches and a poser who's respouting the wisdom du jour he heard from another poser at a conference. It's often hard to tell the difference.

I waded carefully though this, expecting the usual noise, but surprisingly found lots of signal. This is excellent and already downloaded, printed twice, on my bulletin board, and in my binder. I need to go through it a few more times and make notes with a red marker as it applies to myself. What a handy barometer.

As a programmer, I love to hear unconventional technical wisdom that I know in my gut is true (3,38,47,53). The business advice was a little more conventional, but coming from OP, was heard in a new voice (too many to mention). Some of the "self-help" advice was fresh and interesting (9,18,29,36,72) while some was the same old stuff (41,77). Oh well, you can't have everything.

Thank you, OP! What a nice way to pay it forward. I know this will make a difference in my life, and probably for others too.

2
hnriot 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
I just see all the usual stuff that's get put on motivational posters, "insist on perfection" - seriously? I'm sure there's some good stuff for people but buried under all the usual platitudes.

"Don't outsource" may have been right for fab.com but its not always good advice. Simple websites that are just retail stores care about brand, real technology companies that actually do something that hasn't been done before often outsource with good success. Like Apple for example, that outsource quite a lot of their product and yet seem to be doing ok. (Maps aside)

Most of this reads like a 60's flower child that went to Harvard and got an MBA.

I'd like to see some of this craving for perfection and every pixel needs my approval put into practice and not see fab.com paint itself smaller than the viewport on the iPad and then onReady() redraw itself to fit the screen. Or menus that don't need to be double clicked.

3
crazygringo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an incredible article, and I would upvote it 100 times if I could.

I really wish I had something more insightful to say about it... but it's just absolute gold, and better than 99% of the "founder advice" posts I've ever seen on HN.

Seriously, this deserves to be a book with 90 3-page chapters.

4
jonbischke 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Please edit this link to the following:

http://betashop.com/post/32913573235/90-things-ive-learned-f...

As soon as Betashop posts again to their blog it will start to get confusing.

5
betashop 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Btw. Making it to #1 on HN is huge! So humbled. Not worthy! Thanks for reading. I truly hope my mistakes and lessons leaned help other entrepreneurs get a leg up.

Smile, you're designed to.

Jason

6
jwr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This advice is spectacularly good. As someone with a bit of experience I found myself either nodding along or shouting "yes!" while reading some of the points. And some were new to me " I intend to spend time to understand them and think about how to use your advice.

Thanks!

7
justjimmy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Great read. Makes me wish there was something like this for the non-CEO's and non-founders. I'm sure not everyone wants to be a chieftain (or not ready, interested, etc), but still wants to be part of a startup where no one knows anything, don't know what tomorrow will bring, the scrambling, the responsibilities, discovering customers/product value, etc.

ie: Learning to say 'no' and don't be afraid to voice your opinions to CEO/Founders. You know, some bullet points like the OP but more to the audience of those not in founder positions.

Feel free to share articles/links if you have any too!

8
akurilin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Each one of those points could lead to at least a couple of pages of in-depth analysis and recount of personal experiences. You could turn all the 90 points into a book (or into a blog, if so inclined) if you were to expand on each. Thanks for sharing!
9
gfodor 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's articles like these that cause me to still load HN every day and trawl through the garbage looking for gems. Well done.
10
bjansn 6 hours ago 1 reply      
'Don't do side projects'? I'm not sure I fully agree with this. Side projects have a very big internal value for companies and people. It shapes the skills of the team and can be fun (and sometimes happen to become a business!). Side projects shouldn't take over the company schedule.

*edit: I love the list, it's awesome :)

11
USNetizen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've read a lot of these, and this one is by far the best. It makes sense and is drawn from actual experience. Its concise and practical, yet covers so many topics. Highly recommended. It should be a book!
12
CReber 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the article, and I do agree focus & clarity is more than important for a young business. But when a team/company is successful, you need to be able to spread your focus on more than one thing.

True success it is (I think) if you can enter any market, build the best product, and dominate it.

Thanks Jason!

13
lutusp 9 hours ago 4 replies      
> 90 Things I Learned ...

Clearly, appealing to a popular audience wasn't on the list. Rescue your article by changing its title and make a few editorial changes:

Title: "My Ten Principles for Startup Success"

Edit the article to highlight the ten most important principles from your long list -- write this section carefully, knowing that most people aren't going to read any further. Then append a list of 80 corollaries for those few souls willing to read a longer article.

27
America to immigrants: keep your entrepreneurs washingtonpost.com
203 points by cwan  3 days ago   122 comments top 25
1
tokenadult 3 days ago  replies      
Vivek Wadhwa writes about his pet issue yet again, with this article including the key point about his evidence, "I tell Desai's and others' stories in my book," and at least this time a reference to an study by the Kauffman Foundation

http://www.kauffman.org//uploadedFiles/Then_and_now_americas...

of which he was the principal author.

Get ready for the key statistic from the report: "The proportion of immigrant-founded companies nationwide has dropped from 25.3 percent to 24.3 percent since 2005. While the margins of error of these numbers overlap, they nonetheless indicate that immigrant-founded companies' dynamic period of expansion has come to an end." Okay, so the change in percentage is within the standard error of measurement; a percentage change of that kind would be seen even if there were more immigrant-founded companies than ever, as long as more native-born Americans than ever found companies; and there is NO indication that Silicon Valley's flood of innovation has ceased.

What is the problem here? Quantitatively, what is the proof that any policy change is needed?

AFTER EDIT: Responding to the offense taken by the replies kindly posted below, let me explain my position. My PERSONAL position on immigration to the United States as a matter of policy is that I would be happy to see it go back to the way it was in the 1870s, when anyone could immigrate from anywhere with hardly any regulation of immigration at all. All of my ancestors arrived in the United States by those rules--all of my ancestors were in North America well in advance of the building of the immigration processing station at Ellis Island in New York City.

I am intimately familiar with United States immigration law, having formerly worked as an immigration lawyer (as described in my user profile here on Hacker News) and being the husband of a first-generation immigrant to the United States from Taiwan. I have lived abroad for six years of my life (in two separate three-year stays), so I have a pretty good idea of how one country treats foreign residents from America. The clients for my current occupation, teaching mathematics lessons through a local nonprofit organization, included first-generation immigrants from China, India, Russia, Romania, the Philippines, Korea, Ghana, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, and other countries I may be forgetting at the moment. I like immigrants, and I like America to be full of immigrants--that makes life here more interesting.

But to persuade the legislative process in the United States to change the rules requires more convincing evidence than the anecdotes that Vivek Wadhwa repeatedly brings forward. Another comment here astutely pointed out that the recent trend line in immigration from Taiwan is that entrepreneur immigration to the United States is decreasing. That's because Taiwan has democratized, liberalized, and prospered during my lifetime. Now people who were born in Taiwan can pursue their advanced education in many different countries, being well prepared by the generally excellent primary and secondary education there, and then can decide for themselves where to settle to establish a career. They can go back to the country where they grew up and where their relatives and childhood friends live if they like. I think it's great for people to have choice like that. I don't think it is any problem for the United States at all if people from Taiwan develop their entrepreneurial businesses in Taiwan. The same is true of India and China. People from India and China continue to come to the United States in large numbers, as I can personally observe. Some study here and then go back to the countries of their birth. No one has made a case that United States policy has to change much to influence the numbers one way or another.

2
tosseraccount 3 days ago 2 replies      
If America really wants to increase entrepreneurship, make health insurance portable and not tied to corporate America. That would encourage workers to start their own business.

Trying to tweak the immigration process in the name of "increased entrepreneurship" is often just a ruse for "open the borders!!!". Fine in and of itself if that's your beef. Just please file it right folder.

Letting Congress, political donors, H1-B employers and college administrators try and engineer the future by selecting "winners" seems like something they're going to mess up.

Better to have limited, legal only immigration based on a points system rather than turn it into a subsidy for Sand Hill Road.

3
rdl 3 days ago 2 replies      
It was interesting listening to a fairly liberal guest on Bloomberg/Charlie Rose the other day, who claimed the search for "comprehensive" immigration reform was the biggest enemy of high-skill immigration reform right now.

Essentially everyone agrees on easier and longer (to permanent) visas for future or currently-legal but temporary visa entrepreneurs, high skill immigrants (for various definitions), etc. There isn't a clear consensus on how to handle pre-existing other immigrants, or future low-skill immigrants. There are also weird corner cases caused by long-term illegal/undocumented presence by children, which is what the DREAM act is supposed to address -- a child who was brought here shortly after birth, who grew up a US citizen, graduated high school, college, etc., really doesn't seem the same as an adult who recently and of his own free will crossed the border.

Part of it is racial/racism, but a lot of it is economics; trying to paint enemies of mass unskilled immigration or immigration amnesty as just racists is doing everyone a disservice. But it's also undeniable that the high-skill immigrants with problems are generally from India and China (where the H1B system is most broken due to nationwide quotas) and from other parts of Asia, Europe, etc., and the illegal/low skill immigrants are largely from Mexico, Guatemala, and other Latin American countries.

There is also some confusion about credentials vs. actual skills, too -- I'd rather bring Bill Gates in than most people with BA's from diploma mills or even legitimate PhDs.

The problem with comprehensive reform (as championed by the democrats and Obama) is that it's all or nothing, vs. incrementally solving each class. The proponents of comprehensive believe (probably rightly) that solving the most obvious and pressing problem (the 1 million or so skilled immigrants who are all currently legal) will take away the drive to solve the 12 million unskilled/illegal immigrants already here, or the many million who would immigrate without skills if it were easy and open. It would also quite possibly lead to a more restrictive regime for the unskilled vs. skilled.

Ultimately we seem to be solving the immigration problem by destroying the US economy (outside high tech and government, neither of which employs a lot of illegals), thus depressing wages and job opportunities for illegal/unskilled immigrants, while mexico continues to develop its economy -- it makes more sense to work there legally for 10% the cost of living and 30% the wage in many cases.

4
urgeio 3 days ago 6 replies      
The US isn't the only place to start something, try Berlin and say goodbye to any visa problems.

Top 5 reasons why you should move to Berlin, now:

1. Lowest livings costs with highest quality of living. Stay in gorgeous, perfectly renovated apartments in pre-WWII residential buildings with high ceilings, right in the middle of the center and pay a fraction of costs of any other capital (even cheaper than any Eastern European capital). No need for a car"Berlin has one of the densest subway nets and wide streets make biking fun.

2. A vibrant and fast growing ecosystem of smart people. A vast number of new software talents, founders, software companies and VCs are moving to Berlin, every day (Twitter, Google, Soundcloud, Early Bird and many more).

3. People here are open-minded, outgoing, mix well and international"no need to learn German, everyone speaks English! Making new friends is a matter of days. Visit tons of networking and startup events, every week.

4. Easy work permissions"Europeans do not need any and can work from day one and the rest applies for the hassle-free Blue Card.

5. Berlin's night life is unmatched, huge and changing every day (plus ridiculously cheap). Berlin has got some of the most dazzling, naughty, and original clubs on the face of the Earth.

Berlin is calling and getting the new tech hub of Europe. If you are passionate about building great software, we'd love to talk with you. If you don't live in Berlin yet, we could help to fix that.

=> http://urge.io/jobs (shameless plug)

5
lbarrow 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of my first jobs out of college was with MobileWorks, a YC company founded in part by foreign graduate students at Berkeley. I wouldn't have been employed if the founders hadn't managed to navigate the atrocious laws preventing foreign entrepreneurs from starting companies in the US.

I'm sure that for every American with a story like mine, there are dozens of people who could have been employed at companies started by foreign-born entrepreneurs but never had the chance. The US is doing serious, long-term damage to itself with these wrong-headed policies.

6
confluence 2 days ago 0 replies      
Entrepreneurs are overvalued. Period.

The glorification and, sometimes deification, of various entrepreneurs as almost single handedly bringing the world out of the darkness is complete bullshit and merely an example of the fundamental attribution error writ large (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error).

People just completely forget that a) the world is an incredibly complex system that rarely has single factor causes to various effects and b) that people just don't matter - the ecosystem that surrounds them matters much more.

For example not worrying about personal security frees up employees to take more risk. A strong rule of law that attempts to equate wrongs allows people to focus on value added services rather than the fear of litigation. Access to cheap raw materials (plentiful mining/food/water) allows one to easily build things that would be quite simply uneconomical anywhere else. A capitalist system allows more niches to be profitably exploited than centrally planned economies. "Special innovative people" are by far the least of your worries.

Systems matter more than any one person and anyone who gives you the "A player" talk is full of crap - "A player" yourself out of Afghanistan as a sick female and we'll see who's talking.

7
Sharma 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not fully related to this article but inline with the comments what I am reading.

I am always amazed at the different kinds of programs and rules introduced by USA for giving permanency to illegal immigrants where as people moving/moved legally (H1b/L1b etc) have to wait forever(like 10 years and still waiting) to get that status.People on H1B/L1B can not start a side business and these are the tech people(mostly) who can add lots of value to the existing market.

8
Zenst 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I see a headline like this one I immediately think of this cartoon : http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/...

I chuckle a bit and then move onto the headline "America to immigrants: ‘Give me your tired, your poor' but keep your entrepreneurs" Written by Vivek Wadhwa and chuckle some more.

I then having got past the title got to read a rather insightful article about how it is easy to come and work in America and visa's for that exist. But if you which to start a company and as such have a situation were you have to apply for citizenship, then you could have a top 25 existing company in-play already employing American's and pay lots of TAX then you can still be told sorry no. That said there was mention of a % drop in immigrant started companies and this still points to them happening.
I suspect the tighter limits has meant raising the bar beyond what it needs to be for many and with that perhaps a new type of VISA needs to be made. I don't know the whole American VISA system that well, but certainly some middle ground from worker VISA to citizen VISA to cater for those employing American's can be met. Maybe if they employ so many then they qualify. So for example if you can form a company and employ say 5 people full time then you are granted say a 5 year business VISA which is reviewed every 5 years to see that you meet checks and after say 3 period gain a full citizenship. Something like that, though a lot more detailed against loopholes I suspect.

But still, very nice read and very good article, despite the interesting choice of title, albeit once you have read the article you will see why it is just on so many levels sadly.

9
lovamova 3 days ago 6 replies      
I just found that the H1-B visa requires a bachelor's degree. You can't get work in the US if you're a talented designer or programmer and don't have a degree.
10
jfaucett 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not a political scientist but being an immigrant myself (not to US but Germany), I've never understood why the whole issue can't be as simple as just letting people come in with a visa, applying for jobs (without law enforced disadvantages), and pay taxes, after x amount of years working and paying taxes then applying for citizenship and basta. I don't see what countries have to lose except skilled laborers that are working and paying taxes, boosting the economy and fostering innovation...
11
0ren 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I may agree that the US should do more to encourage immigrant entrepreneurs, I do not think that the author chose a good openning example.

The author points to statistics about tech companies started by immigrants and presents Desai as part of the team that developed new technology, but Desai studied MBA and he was only doing an administrative job at IR Diagnostyx[0].

Moreover, the openning example does not seem to be precise; the author claims that Desai was not given an opportunity to start his business, which does not seem to be aligned with Desai being affiliated with IR Diagnostyx from 2009 to Feb 2012[1]. Furthermore, upon graduation in 2009, the US did give Desai 12 months of OPT[2], for which self-employment does qualify. In fact, if Desai had studied Science/Tech/Engineering/Math, he would have been give
an an extension of 17 months of OPT[3], for a total of ~2.5 years to work on his business.

[0] http://it-jobs.fins.com/Articles/SB130652363641519729/Americ...

[1] http://www.linkedin.com/in/hardikadesai

[2] Optional Practical Training, assuming he was on F1 visa as a student: http://icenter.stanford.edu/students/current/employment_faq....

[3] http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f...

12
makmanalp 3 days ago 0 replies      
I actually know that it is possible to get an H-1B for a legitimate business that you, as a foreign entrepreneur, founded. I also know that such applications are very rare and very thoroughly scrutinized to make sure it's not an immigration loophole, and there is the restriction that you cannot be a majority shareholder, which kills it unless you have partners.

Less known is that a person can also sponsor you for an H-1B if you are going to be working for them.

13
tomasien 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if there are any stats or correlations between universal healthcare (or something similar) and entrepreneurship. It's supposed to increase job churn, which is awesome for the economy, and you'd think more people would start their own businesses if saving their healthcare wasn't a consideration.

I know personally that I started my own business specifically because I was allowed to stay on my parents healthcare until I'm 25(26? Shit I should figure that out) so even with $5k in savings, I was like why not?

14
ta12121 3 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the title, I assure you that the poor and the tired have a harder time immigrating to the U.S. than any entrepreneur.
15
dxbydt 3 days ago 0 replies      
oh its a vivek wadhwa piece...if vivek says the sun rises from the east, i'm much more likely to believe it must be the west. vivek periodically writes these half baked partisan anecdote-ridden pieces & calls it "research"....as a former immigrant and a recipient of the so-called "genius visa" (EB1), i'm very sympathetic to the cause. yes, immigration to the USA is very hassly and the laws must be vastly simplified etc... but this won't do. this sort of article is akin to a startup job post on HN. "Immigration. Its broken! We must fix it. We are a group of yc founders who will build immigration from scratch in Ruby on Rails. For the harder parts we will ofcourse use PHP. You must be a rockstar immigrant with 100 years of immigration behind you. For bonus points, show me your immigration in github. Solve this immigration puzzle on our website using only backbone.js and coffeescript, and you can score an exclusive lunch with us, cooked by immigrants, catered by immigrants, exclusively for you, the immigrant. Don't forget to carry your H1B visas on your person, you never know when you might be deported! Apply already, but only after you decode our bcrypt secured ROT13 encrypted immigration email and pay processing fees of 13 dollars 26 cents exclusively in bitcoins".

founding companies is not simply a matter of talent and risk-appetite, which, arguably, the STEM immigrant has more of. its also a matter of feeling secure with your finances, having a house in a good school district, having a CD or two for the rainy day, having some connections to the VC community, having the time & desire to hack up a prototype & blog about it & build a community & attract enough interest...all of which immigrants are less likely to do, given that we are already preoccupied with keeping a job, keeping our immigration papers in order, gradually building up savings, digging ourselves out of the negative equity hole that most of us are in because we borrowed money to get here in the first place...i could go on and on, but i won't. suffice it to say, the sun definitely rises in the west, because vivek has said its the east.

16
Jd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Title is confusing. It should be "would-be immigrants" not "immigrants."
17
winter_blue 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is anyone here rejoicing at the fact that due erroneous U.S. immigration policies India and China are suffering less brain drain??
18
gregors 3 days ago 0 replies      
seems like fud to me, how else could you explain this? http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/29/us-usa-visa-extrao...
19
photorized 3 days ago 1 reply      
Re: "But the U.S. government wouldn't provide Hardik with a visa to start the company. Hardik had no difficulty in getting an H1-B visa that allowed him to work, but immigration rules did not allow him to work for a company that he started. So, he abandoned his entrepreneurial dreams."

Obstacles like this shouldn't stop an entrepreneur. I had to do the whole H1-B thing myself, while bootstrapping another business on the side - and there are no rules against that. I know others who did the same. Have a job, launch a company in your spare time.

20
GNUAerospace 2 days ago 0 replies      
“H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified US worker wants the job, and a US worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker.” US Department of Labor

The US government and corporations have sold you out as a US CITIZEN. See the proof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU&;

21
gideon_b 3 days ago 0 replies      
As an American citizen working in Canada I have the same problem on the other side of the fence. My work permit is tied to my Canadian employer and it is not possible for me to get a work permit as a self employed worker or an entrepreneur.

From what I understand this is a fairly universal problem with immigration policy. Most developed countries are unwilling hand over work permits for hopes and dreams. I wish there was a way around this but as far as I know you cannot start a company without permanent residency.

22
arbuge 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to understand how byzantine and ridiculous the immigration system is unless you've been through it.

I have no idea whose interest it is currently serving - I know for a fact not America's though.

23
ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
In perspective, does ANY country do this "right" ?
24
bduerst 3 days ago 2 replies      
Doesn't the O-Visa allow you to create and run a business?
25
stewie2 3 days ago 0 replies      
the DREAM Act is not for real dreamers.
28
The best interface is no interface cooper.com
200 points by ropiku  1 day ago   84 comments top 16
1
georgemcbay 1 day ago 6 replies      
I think he took this way too far but I can get behind the core of it. I'm especially dismayed by touchscreen interfaces in cars. Give me DIALS and KNOBS. They are SO MUCH BETTER than a touchscreen because I can easily use them accurately without taking my eyes off the road. No amount of touchscreen haptic feedback will ever make up for this.

If you must embrace high-tech in the car cockpit, voice control is fine (if it works well), but touchscreens are horrible in this environment.

2
pwf 1 day ago 4 replies      
The Google Wallet example is entirely disingenuous. Compare these two:

1. Get (real) wallet.

2. Find the right card.

3. Swipe the card.

4. Press 'Debit' on the machine.

5. Press 'No' to the cash back prompt.

6. Enter my PIN.

Versus:

1. Get out phone.

2. Wake the screen.

3. Touch the phone to the machine.

4. Enter my PIN on the Google Wallet prompt that appears.

5. Confirm the payment.

If they were to list the steps for paying with a normal credit card would their list include "find the teller's hand so you can give them the card"?

Edit: How do I <ol>?

3
chintan 1 day ago 3 replies      
About 30 minutes ago, I tried the Starbucks app to pay for coffee. I keep seeing all cool dudes (in SoHo starbux) take out their shiny phones to point & pay. So I gave it a try today and it definitely was not a better experience (may be worse) than just handing over my credit card. Below are specifics:

1. While standing in line, I searched the app and had it on, but the phone kept turning auto-off till my turn (I re-opened it 3 times atleast)

2. The app would not scan as the screen brightness was low. I frantically went to settings to change brightness then re-trying and all this time there were people standing behind me pissed.

I think using phones as "keys" or "payment cards" is not the best interface. Ideally there should be a separate device (like a credit card) to do payments and a "Key" device to open all my locks.

4
bulletsvshumans 1 day ago 0 replies      
I look forward to a future where many natural interactions are improved through computer augmentation. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of today's computing interactions, you need some way of conveying more information than what is naturally present.

In any well-designed interaction it needs to be clear what you (the user) can do, and what the state of the system you're interacting with is. 'No UI' only works when you're augmenting a system where these two things are already clear. For instance, in the case of the car door system, you already know that you can open the car with your key, and you can tell when the car door unlocks.

When I open a new app for the first time, I don't already know everything it can do. I need to see the interface to know what's possible. And I need to see feedback to know that I'm making progress.

I've heard that many Nest owners are actually a bit disappointed in its smart features, as there's no way to tell why it's doing the things it's doing (why did it just make it cold in here?) Without a way of communicating its reasoning, people are suspicious of its "father knows best" recommendations. Even Amazon tells you roughly why it's recommending something to you.

And Voice UIs don't count as no UI. In fact, they're often a very poor interface, as they convey information much more slowly and invasively than a visual interface, and there's no a priori way to know what voice commands a system accepts.

5
randallu 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is great, except the Nest thermostat's learning mode doesn't work (for me; kept coming on at 3am, no amount of button pushing would make it not do that except for disabling "learning mode" which is what I did), so you have to use its UI anyway.

Fortunately the Nest's UI is good enough that it's still a good thermostat without the learning mode. There was a comment on HN the other day along the lines of "if you have good enough AI, does UI design quality matter so much?" and I guess I think that it does if there's any way for the AI to mispredict then you need something good for correcting it.

6
JoelMarsh 1 day ago 2 replies      
Amazing article. BUT...there are interfaces in all of the simple versions of the examples.

Key + keyhole = interface.

A keyhole that "knows" when the correct key is close = better interface.

Wallet + Money + cashier + cash register = interface.

If you could do NFC without an app & without a cashier, that would be even better.

There is no such thing as "no interface" if something is being accomplished.

Rock + coconut = interface.

Hand + mouse = interface.

Your eyes + my words = interface.

7
mrestko 1 day ago 2 replies      
I cannot believe that the Mini shows Twitter updates on the speedometer. That is terrifying.
8
BCM43 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've got javascript disabled, and for some reason the page needs javascript to display anything other than the header. I was initially confused as to whether this was a joke of some sort.
9
rootedbox 1 day ago 5 replies      
Everyone at BMW should read this article. They use to understand usability, and that less is more. From window button placement to easy to read VDO gauges.

Now they have iDrive.. Complete mess!

10
ConstantineXVI 1 day ago 0 replies      
I got an Xbox/Kinect a few weeks ago out of frustration with every other stream player I've tried. What used to be

- Find remote or phone

- Navigate to Netflix/Amazon/etc

- Click around miserable arrow keys to find whatever I'm watching

- Press play

Is now reduced to

- "Xbox, Bing [ugh] Star Trek"

- "Play on Amazon"

It clearly still needs some refinement (keywords get a bit verbose), but it's definitely the future of TV (lack of) UIs.

If Apple starts buying tons of directional mics, every TV manufacturer on the planet should be scared to death.

11
mistercow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of this is non sequitur. To say that a refrigerator should not have Twitter on it is not to complain about that refrigerator's interface, but rather its ridiculously unneeded functionality.
12
6ren 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow: open door to unlock. I can see some problems (e.g. you want to check it's locked; someone breaks in while you are standing near-enough to the car), but this seems a powerful approach.

Google search is an e.g.: almost no UI, improves over time, adapts to you.

13
bjansn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
So when you want to create an interface that provides a good experience, the less you involve the user the better. The best example to my opinion was given with the Nest stat. It watches you, it learns about you and based upon it's learnings it adapts settings.

That's why Internet of Things will become big. It's not the use case of turning the oven on 20 minutes before coming home yourself. It's about the oven knowing you're eating a prepared lasagna that needs be to in oven for 20 minutes. While driving home all traffic information and your location are used to determine when the oven needs to start its work.

14
skreech 1 day ago 2 replies      
You cannot remove the interface from a human-machine interaction. A doorknob is an interface too.

What you can strive for is interfaces that are so intuitive and easy to use that you don't need to fight them or rtfm.

Great UI designers know how to do this.

15
gogetter 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Getting our work done was an alphabet soup nightmare."

Exactly. This is why I'm in favor of a worldwide shift to hieroglyphics and touchscreens for business. Writing business correspondence is old hat. Letters, words, sentences, parapgraphs, what a nightmare. And shorthand? Don't get me started. Let's face it, we all would much rather touch some graphical shapes on a screen to communicate. A picture says a thousand words, so why are we typing them out? What a waste of effort. Text has got to go. It's time to leave the alphabet soup behind.

Finally a design firm who really "gets it".

16
fein 1 day ago 6 replies      
This article seems to be making a claim for KISS.

Awesome, I agree, except that all of those examples are shit.

It's not "more simple" to just walk up to your car and have it magically unlock based on proximity. Simple is using your damn key to unlock the car, not layering stacks of abstractions in order to compute ones location juxtaposed to a vehicle. In fact, that order of events should have gone something like this (as a generic, modern day implementation of this functionality):

- owner approaches car

- owner's keyfob transmits signal to car

- owner's car polls for incoming signal

- owner's car decrypts keyfob signal

- owner's car verifies that the keyfob has a legitimate encrypted key for that vehicle

- owner's vehicle signals the locking routine in the ECU

- owner's ecu flips solenoid for only the drivers side door

- door unlocks

- owner enters vehicle

How the hell is this more simple than:

- owner approaches car

- owner unlocks door with key

- owner enters vehicle.

Likewise, having your payments automagically charged based on location is NOT more simple. Simple is ordering your food and handing over money at the register.

The best interface is a simple interface, not a whole bunch of programming voodoo to achieve a simple task.

29
Clearing up some things about LinkedIn mobile's move from Rails to node.js ikaisays.com
200 points by ikailan  1 day ago   32 comments top 11
1
klochner 1 day ago 2 replies      
This sounds much more sane than "node is 20x faster than rails", thanks for validating the assumption most of us were making.
2
eta_carinae 1 day ago 2 replies      
> And those requirements kept growing. If my calculations are correct, the standard setup for engineers now is a machine with 20 or more gigabytes of RAM just to RUN the software.

Close. In 2011, all the engineer desktops got upgraded to 36Gigs. At the time, the eng department still hadn't figured out how to deploy without duplicating hundreds of jar files everywere.

3
davedx 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a great post for validating management concerns about pulling in sexy new technologies for the hell of it. Every place I've worked I've been unable to convince management to use e.g. Rails (5 years ago) or node.js (recently). Even though I love these technologies and wish I'd had more time in full-time employment to learn and play with them, I understand and appreciate the risks implicit with adopting a shiny new technology in your company's IT dev/production environments.

It's also a great post illuminating how in hindsight some things can be really obvious (that building a high capacity web service dependent on a single-threaded server will give you problems down the road), but at the time it's not always easy seeing the woods for the trees.

For me though, the big takeaway was that one line summary: "You're comparing a lower level server to a full stack web framework." Node.js has a pretty nice library/module ecosystem now, but for a complete full-stack solution with maximum productivity I would venture that there is nothing out there that compares to Rails currently.

4
mhartl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I met Ikai through the Silicon Valley Rails Meetup, which I co-hosted back in 2008-2009 and which met at LinkedIn HQ in Mountain View. This post is a great contribution to the recent discussion about Rails at LinkedIn, and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.
5
b3tta 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's definitely true, that node.js isn't a full fledged framework, but I still wrote several projects using it and you know what? I don't regret it, as much as I don't regret my move from C++ to C over the past years. And for the memory usage: Yes, even my biggest project never needed more than 100MB of RAM (when not using the cluster module).

But I completely agree with "the rewrite thing". I guess the other factors made it necessary to still do it....

6
JimmaDaRustla 1 day ago 0 replies      
The concept that I got from the main article was that they tailored their application for "long-lived connection" to avoid multiple resource calls to make their web server more responsive. They also mention things like using "aggressive cacheing", "storing templates locally", "using timestamps to stream only required resources", "rearchitecture and rewrite."

Never once did I ever feel this article was advising that node.js was superior to RoR - they only every justified, at a high level, a way better approach (in terms of server load) to an "MVC" like architecture by leveraging client side frameworks and technique to lessen server load.

The author of this article also makes it clear at the end by stating that comparing the solutions is apples to oranges, but so did the original article...so I don't get the need for "clarification".

EDIT: I retract my "way better" statement - I mean "way better" in the sense of server load.

7
xradionut 1 day ago 1 reply      
"•Firefighting? That was probably a combination of several things: the fact that we were running MRI and leaked memory, or the fact that the ops team was 30% of a single guy."

:o
That may explain why they had spam and security issues.

8
rhizome 1 day ago 1 reply      
And the blog-to-commentary-to-blog cycle begins anew.
9
nirkage 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mongrel isn't and wasn't single-threaded. Rails was.
10
lolwutreddit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, linkedin sounds like a place I really want to work!

Billy Madison: "High school is great. I mean I'm learning a lot. And all the kids are treating me very nice. It's great."

11
trung_pham 1 day ago 2 replies      
Node.js is old news.
Time to move on to GoLang. :
30
Yes I Still Want To Be Doing This at 56 thecodist.com
198 points by jerhewet  1 day ago   54 comments top 20
1
f4stjack 1 day ago 7 replies      
Actually burning midnight oil is a myth. I mean we all know the myth: You grab your coffee, black as night and sweet as sin, you sit in front of your computer with your favourite IDE on. Then you code until the sun sets and you go home with a majestic smile on your face. Because, you - the lonely coder - has saved the day. Yet again.

I mean I was really into this image when I was 20. Now, after had some experience in the field I see that, this very act should be resorted when you have no choice. If you have a tight deadline and all you have to do is code, I mean not think and code but just code - no abstractization is involved, this works. But if you have to plan-code a project this approach sucks. Because you get tired as the night progresses and tired minds do make mistakes. A lot. So while the bugs coalesce you go into smart fixes. Because it has to end tomorrow, right? Then when you return to your code one week/month/year later you'll say:
- What the heck have I done here?!

Resting is as important as coding for a coder IMHO. No need to burn ourselves out for a myth. And yes I want to do it when I am 50 or 60.

2
michaelochurch 1 day ago 1 reply      
"But large scale, high stress coding? I may have to admit that's a young man's game."
No, it's a stupid person's game (sure it's mostly men, but not 100%). I'm 55 and have been coding professionally since 1981 and started in school in 1973 or so. One thing I've learned for sure is that coding yourself to death is not worth it in the end.

People who want to be coding in their 50s should follow this advice. It's burning yourself out on arbitrary deadlines for meaningless business bullshit that pushes a lot of us out. A 5-year burnout, at any age, is pretty much impossible to recover from in this industry.

Programming becomes less bipolar (for lack of a better word) as you get older because you stop getting emotionally invested in things that don't deserve it, and you also become more willing to steal an education at work (thus ensuring that, regardless of what your project does, you'll be fine).

3
scott_meade 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm 43. I concur Mr. Wulf that "large scale, high stress coding" is "a stupid person's game". Now, some people find a thrill in coding under pressure. More power to 'em. Yet we see too many developers accidentally ending up in high stress coding situations and thinking that is the norm and accepting it as their fate. There is no reason it should be this way. Professional programming should be and can be fun, enjoyable, creative. As Mr. Wulf states, our profession offers an unusually wide variety of projects, tools, teams, and working environments.

Choose poorly from among this variety and you'll burn out. Choose wisely and you'll have a long, enjoyable career with plenty of extra mind and body capacity for other interests. It's up to you.

4
nhebb 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Every morning I read a number of websites devoted to technology and programming to see what is new.

I looked over at his sidebar hoping to see a blogroll. Remember when people used to do that ... about 5 years ago? I wouldn't call it irony, but reading about coding at 56 while getting nostalgic for 5 year old internet practices is a strange juxtaposition.

5
omellet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll never stop coding. I may not continue as a professional, but there will always be the creative itch to scratch. Creative in the sense that I feel compelled to create, not that it's necessarily fine art. It's not limited to software, either. I love working on my house, I like to cook, to tinker with hardware projects. That 'click' I get from creating something is just so rewarding, and I hope that will always be true.
6
rbellio 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's really interesting to see the perspective of an older peer when it comes to development. I've been writing code since I was 10 (19 years ago) and have been doing it professionally for about eight years. To look back sometimes and see the differences in myself as a coder and wonder about what it will look like going forward is a favorite wandering for my brain.

I think the one thing that I find most common in my career has been coworkers, within 10 years of retirement, that have just given up and no longer put in what's needed to be a coder. I enjoy the company of someone who has had more experience (it's part of how you learn) and love to hear about the battles that the people before me had to fight.

I start my day by asking myself some questions. Where is the technology at right now? Where is it going? How does it relate to my job? How does it relate to my interests? How does it relate to what I've done in the past? Where am I at as a developer? The problem is that people stop asking themselves all of these questions and start weighting towards a few in particular.

7
donebizkit 1 day ago 2 replies      
Yesterday's post was closer to the actuality of a programmer than this one. To reiterate what I said yesterday, when you are coding professionally, you don't choose what technologies to use, you don't pick projects that itch your creative side. You're just part of a production steam roll. Passion is irrelevant in this discussion. What matters is how fast you can deliver and whether you are more billable than the next guy.
The other parameter in this equation is Money. I am sure I can find a low stress dev job working on a project that I am actually interested in but at age 50 i don't want to be living on medium wage making ends meet. I'd rather work on a high stress job, while I am young, with a decent salary, giving it all I have and by 40 I'd have secured my future enough that I can do something else ... my two cents
8
nissimk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the post. It's inspirational to see something like this. You seem to have a very good attitude about working and software development / learning and it helps me to feel better and overcome my own sometimes negative attitude. I'll be reading your whole site.
9
henrik_w 1 day ago 3 replies      
On the subject of working a lot of hours, this article argues that a 40-hour work week is optimal (you don't get more done even if you work longer hours) http://www.alternet.org/story/154518/why_we_have_to_go_back_...
10
tlogan 1 day ago 3 replies      
The only problem for being a programmer in 40s and 50s is that it is really hard to find a job. This pretty much the only problem, but I guess that is a big problem :(
11
Tomis02 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here we go again. Conversation through HN submissions.
12
happywolf 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I am curious which area the OP has been working on. I would say the work pressure is a function of the management, the requirements, and the sector where you work on. For example, mobile applications tend to have shorter release cycles, and therefore a much hectic schedule.
13
rooshdi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Boy, if I could make it to 40 that would be a doozy. I do wonder if programming will be obsolete in a few decades and if the things we've programmed will start programming us. Well, I guess they already do in a way.
14
cinbun8 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its a matter of perspective and preference. When you are young you don't mind fidgeting with things, leaning their inner working and trying to get something to work. When something is done you can point to it proudly and cry 'I did that'. As you get older you start to lose your patience with technology and sympathize with the user a little. Your perspective could be - 'Why wont this just work !'.

Perhaps it is a matter of patience. I would not know since I'm not 56 yet. OP - A toast to the fire that is still burning within you. May it keep burning for a long time. Have fun writing code.

15
clueless123 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good coding is half art, 1/2 science. During creative periods I can go on coding for hours with out even realizing it. When I work like that, I easily go through the night pulling the "midnight oil". The only difference between now (at 50) and then, is the recovery time from the all nighter. Lately I tend to be less motivated to do it so often.
16
kokey 1 day ago 0 replies      
I read that as someone who really wasn't able to continue being a chemist into his 50s.
17
angeladur 22 hours ago 0 replies      
My dad is 49 and he still works on projects till 11-12 in the night. Ask him and he always says 'I am doing a build, no idea how long will it take'
18
angeladur 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Are unpaid overtime common in the States?
19
vowelless 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have been coding since I was 11... I am 23 now. I cannot imagine a different outcome for myself.
20
semtec 23 hours ago 1 reply      
The key to enjoying any endeavor is working SMART. I love to code, but I also love not to code. The right mix of hard work and 'laziness' should keep great programmers enthusiastic and sharp way past 56!
       cached 7 October 2012 02:11:01 GMT