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Conway's Game of Life, using floating point values instead of integers jwz.org
675 points by icey  3 days ago   96 comments top 22
jashkenas 3 days ago 4 replies      
Does anyone have a JavaScript implementation of the paper? It looks like it would be really fun to play with in <canvas>.

Edit Quoth YouTube: "74 minutes on an nVidia GeForce GTX 460" ... maybe not so fun.

tim_hutton 3 days ago 1 reply      
Original post:


Technical details on the YouTube page:


(Two lots of source code available: Stephan's and mine)

Other discussions about this:

Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/compsci/comments/118svz/smoothlife_a...

Metafilter: http://www.metafilter.com/120749/Smoothlife

tisme 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fascinating, totally mesmerizing video. That's reminiscent of something that you could be observing under a microscope.
mmagin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Possibly of similar interest - Ready, a program for exploring continuous valued cellular automata: http://code.google.com/p/reaction-diffusion/
pav3l 3 days ago 1 reply      
Aren't cellular automata in continuous space just PDE's? If so, what is the equation being integrated?

EDIT: found the paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1111.1567v2.pdf

nickknw 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's awesome! My project inspired by the Game of Life is quite a bit less ambitious (and still incomplete) - http://nickknowlson.com/projects/conways-revenge/

It lets multiple cell colonies fight against each other using a modified ruleset.

DanBC 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pinchyfingers submitted this link:

(http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4642628) which goes to a Youtube video of a game of life in a single line of APL. It's a really nice description of the code too. (It's a sale pitch for dynalog - but the best kind where they're just using the tool to do something neat and not pushing their URLs at you.)

jcampbell1 3 days ago 2 replies      
Watching this video makes me wonder if Wolfram's "New Kind of Science" is more worthy of study. There was so much controversy about the book and Wolfram's claims, that I didn't bother with it.
jcromartie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if this is as cool as it looks. I guess it's yet to be seen what the larger-scale behavior might be, but it looks like it's just a lot of the same gliders, orbits, and strands between them.
wissler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now to try it with complex numbers and/or 3D coordinates.
uvdiv 3 days ago 3 replies      
HTML5 implementation in 3, 2...
tomrod 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the most beautiful things I think I've ever seen simulated. Kudos!
kasra 3 days ago 1 reply      
Have you googled "conway's game of life" recently?
jonny_eh 3 days ago 2 replies      
I need this as a screensaver, asap!
jrl 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like cells under the microscope. Very interesting stuff.
dexter313 3 days ago 4 replies      
Awesome, but the results/behaviour (in the video) don't seem very complex like the original Conway's game of life.
jmpeax 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it Turing complete?
jes5199 3 days ago 0 replies      
how close are the rules running here to the standard rules of Conway's Life? I know some of those are supposed to be "gliders" - is it possible to port other shapes from Life into SmoothLife?
kriro 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic both intellectually and from an artistic point of view.

I'm not a fan of electronic music but the music that was picked for the video was perfect.

Pitarou 3 days ago 0 replies      
Someone's gonna package this up and sell it as a product, for sure! A 21st century lava lamp.
jolohaga 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wish the music were as interesting.
teamls 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hey guys, check out the Conway's Game of Life Code Garage project on LearnStreet: http://www.learnstreet.com/cg/simple/project/conways
Show HN: We open sourced Lockitron's crowdfunding app selfstarter.us
443 points by ccamrobertson  3 days ago   73 comments top 31
noonespecial 3 days ago 3 replies      
Outstanding. I was going to try to contact you privately and beg for advice on how to run something similar.

My hats so far off to you guys, it's on the floor in front of me. Can't wait for my Lockitron to arrive.

andrewljohnson 3 days ago 2 replies      
A couple months ago, I had added "kickstarter widget for start-up websites" to my list of ideas that I never do, but think are cool. This is a really wonderful open-source contribution, so hat tip!

We also ordered a Lockitron for our office already. We have keypads on our house, and we love them, and imagine Lokcitron will be even more love.

ryanlchan 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm curious to see what happens to Amazon FPS if these product based crowd-funding apps take off. We may be in for a bit of a Paypal style crackdown debacle.

I actually spoke with the Kickstarter guys back in 2009 when I was considering branching off their idea specifically for product based ideas, thinking that it could be "Amazon for stuff that doesn't exist yet".

We all agreed that the idea should happen, but Kickstarter didn't want to do it for two reasons:

1. Their goal is to help artists succeed. They're artists themselves, and the guy who started the site's been working on this for years. It means a lot to them to help the little one-man filmmakers.

2. The risk in having products that aren't delivered on time, in the same form as envisioned, or aren't even completed was just too high. They were terrified of having a backlash of backers who thought they were purchasing a product when in fact the transaction is structured as a donation.

The second one is what makes me worried. What happens if, worst case scenario, Pebble goes bankrupt without producing any items? Who takes the hit there? Is it Amazon, Pebble, Kickstarter, or the backers? It isn't clear yet because we haven't had a high-profile failure yet. But it's only a matter of time.

rkaplan 3 days ago 6 replies      
This could start a trend towards moving away from Kickstarter. So far, the more famous projects that have pursued funding from a similar model without using Kickstarter itself (e.g. Lockitron, App.net) have done so out of necessity â€" they weren't allowed to use the Kickstarter platform.

But if people keep succeeding without being hosted on Kickstarter itself, that 5% fee might look more and more unattractive to people starting large projects. How much value does being on Kickstarter really add to your project, and how much is simply due to the brilliant fundraising model?

staunch 3 days ago 3 replies      
Looks like Kickstarter is going to end up being known as the company that (kick)started a phenomenon but didn't own it. They should have become a marketplace for projects, not an arbiter of what gets a shot and what doesn't.
daenz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is the "Fork Now" button supposed to go to a Lockitron preorder page?

EDIT>> Apparently only the second fork button does this...the one I clicked after reading the page content :)

mmahemoff 3 days ago 0 replies      
Something funny happened when I tried to share this on G+ (screenshot - http://goo.gl/VK404). Suggest the creators remove that hidden Latin div.
freeslave 3 days ago 0 replies      
i'm guessing this is in response to this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4625371 in other words, OP delivered!
mttsn 3 days ago 2 replies      
Spent the better part of an afternoon cloning the lockitron site a few days ago... you guys are fucking awesome. And I'm impatient. I'll share a python version when I have a chance to clean it up.

Thanks for being awesome.

gary4gar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Number of tests(Unit,Integration etc) is 0!
auston 3 days ago 2 replies      
Damn it! You just ruined my startup weekend idea!
loceng 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for releasing this. The design works well for single-product offerings, though would need to be modified for pledge-reward setups.. not too hard to do though.
erohead 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome work, guys! Thanks for sharing. I wish you went with my suggestion for bootstarter.js...
mck- 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome -- have the Kickstarter guys contacted you? I wonder how they take this, and what this means for the entire crowd-funding space for that matter, especially the smaller ones that don't have the network effects of Kickstarter.

I just did a project on Fundrazr last month. If only this was available then.. kudos!

dabit 3 days ago 0 replies      
Was working on something similar when this came out. https://github.com/crowdint/fundraiser

Great job by the Lockitron team.

johnx123-up 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can anybody share how it is different from other crowdfunding scripts like Agriya?
obilgic 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am a hardcore rails guy, but for some reason using sinatra for this app, would be a better option.
outdooricon 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is really nice! If a project got accepted into Kickstarter, would it be better to stay with them or use this instead? The benefit of exposure to a large community as a Kickstarter project is pitted against the extra 5% that they take... How do you turn exposure into a monetary value for comparison? Pricing of ads maybe?
viraj_shah 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you for this. This will be so helpful for my and many other startups. Interesting to note that Kickstarter has an Amazon FlexPay gem on their github.
lelf 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks this way without flash installed â€" http://imgur.com/zcPSG
ommunist 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is absolutely fantastic of you, guys to share an app like that. Most hardware makers cant make self-serving software like that, and you rock! I am sending the link to all of my engineering friends.
31reasons 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is how it should be. Most of the kickstarter projects get funded after doing lot of promotions and leveraging founders's own social network. Kickstarter taking % cut of the fund is completely unnecessary in many situations. They do provide some kind of project validation which is important in high-risk projects.
helen842000 3 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent! I was just about to look your site up again and see how you put your own crowdfunding project together.

This is perfect! Thanks!

francov88 3 days ago 0 replies      
Best idea ever! Great job to all involved - wonder how Kickstarter is going to take this?
jkeesh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for open sourcing this. We are probably going to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon, and I am excited to check this out as an option.
rohamg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done guys. Someone fucked with the wrong hackers.
Finbarr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice job guys! This is pretty awesome stuff.
xfernandox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing this with the community!
keytovlad 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome thanks for making this open source.
orange123 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really admire it!
keep up sharing
propercoil 3 days ago 0 replies      
i'm loving it
Googling for "conway's game of life" gives a simulation in the results page google.com
388 points by huskyr  2 days ago   77 comments top 15
jonmwords 2 days ago 4 replies      
Here's the interview I published with the creator! http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how-a-google-engineer-b...
RossM 2 days ago 2 replies      
There appears to be a semi-persistent "Google" text - when I cleared out the 'G' it was recreated within 20 steps by the neighbouring 'o'. Can't possibly be organic can it?

E: it seems to always appear like that; so probably not organic and I'm not up for searching minified sources to verify.

eranation 2 days ago 3 replies      
Predicting the next HN front page article in the near future: "Show HN: weekend project - open source Google's conway's game of life"
tsahyt 2 days ago 3 replies      
What is it with all the Game of Life posts lately? There seems to be a new one every other day. Not that it's a bad thing, I think the GOL is a marvellous thing and the SmoothLife video was mesmerizing. I'm just wondering why they all pop up at the same time?
doki_pen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it my imagination or does it spell out google at some point?

edit: I've realized that certain blocks are darker blue in the shape of the word Google.

huskyr 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's funny. I simply Googled for 'conway's game of life' after reading all the posts here and was pleasantly surprised to find this nice easter egg. I submitted it, and now it has been #1 for the past couple of hours :)
carlob 2 days ago 1 reply      
First the knowledge graph, now the game of life animation.

It really seems Google is trying to be more and more like Wolfram|Alpha!


alecr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've implemented Langton's Ant, another example of cellular automata, using canvas aswell http://alecraeside.com.au/projects/langtons-ant/
nsxwolf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool! A glider crawled all the way across my browser.
mck- 2 days ago 1 reply      
just spent 10 minutes staring at it full-screen.. beautiful.. my wife looked at my twinkly eyes and asked befuddled: "what is this?"

How would you explain it?

talfa 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am in Malaysia and it doesn't show up in FF or Chrome.
callil 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want this as a live-tile background for my phone. Beautiful
sdrgalvis 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a reminiscent moment :)
hashBlue 2 days ago 3 replies      
not for me
If You're Too Busy to Meditate, Read This hbr.org
345 points by bcrawl  2 days ago   213 comments top 30
up_and_up 2 days ago  replies      
In my opinion, Meditation and Mindfullness are not the same thing.

Meditation is a state, where the mind is completely silent, the breath slows waaaay down, the heartbeat slows waaaay down. Slowly ever so slowly, some bliss starts to bubble up from within. It is the climax of one pointed attention. Few people who say they "meditate" are reaching that point since it requires years of sincere effort. In Yoga, meditation is known as Dhyana, or the state resulting from the mind becoming one pointed for 100 seconds. Samadhi, which is considered a state of deep bliss is considered reached when the mind becomes completely still for 1000 seconds.

Mindfullness, is the act of being more aware during daily activities. Like watching actions and interactions. There is a gradual tendency to modify behavior to being more calm, collected and centered which helps to go deeper when attempting to meditate. The mind is still active during mindfullness, but it is being directed or corrected as needed throughout the day.

Meditation helps to develop deeper Mindfullness and vice versa. Meditation is like taking a shower, whereas Mindfullness is avoiding rolling in the mud and getting dirty. It is important to keep in mind that Meditation is literally a state where the mind is free from thought and that all the "meditation practices and techniques" are just different paths of reaching that same place.

KirinDave 2 days ago  replies      
Wait. Wait wait wait.

> Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance...

Great. Yes. Impulse control is key. Delayed gratification is part of how we define higher intelligence.

Meditation has what do with this, exactly?

> How [does meditation help]? By increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.

This entire article is predicated by this leap of faith, which as far as I can see has little to no justification besides, "Of course it does!"

> Meditation teaches us to resist the urge of that counterproductive follow through.

One cannot just say things over and over to make them true.

webwanderings 2 days ago  replies      
The misconception about meditation is that it requires one to give up everything and sit silently. This is not true in its entirety as it depends on how one interprets the word "meditation".

The meditation does not necessarily require you to give up one thing for the sake of another. The goal of the meditation is to "be in awareness" and you can achieve this same goal by being alert and aware with any activity your find yourself doing at any given moment. For example...

You are washing dishes but you are not really washing dishes because your mind is wandering with thoughts on what you need to do tonight at the place you need to visit. By the time your dishes are done, you have already planned for your future as your mind kept you busy with the thoughts of the future while you forgot what you were doing in the present (which is, washing dishes, which you really didn't).

The meditation is to be-in-present with whatever activity you do and love to do. If you had washed your dishes with full alertness and awareness, you would have achieved the same goal of meditation.

Let's go even further with another example.

You love to play music as your passion (or dance, or paint, or fill in the blank activity here) but you don't get enough opportunity in the day to do what you love to do more with passion. When you dance or sing or play music or run or exercise, you get the opportunity during that activity to forget yourself in the act (the subject merges into the object) and you become one with the reality, or you transcend that favorite activity by merging your self into it. That moment of transcendence is meditation, and you should find more opportunities to be in that meditation, in those moments.

Now, I am not suggesting that the type of meditation mentioned at the source is wrong or ineffective. What I am suggesting however is that people don't need to get stuck with one type of explanation of meditation because ultimately you can achieve the same goal by shifting the focus a bit.

javajosh 2 days ago 0 replies      
What the author calls "impulses" the Buddha called sankhara, or reactivity. The ones the OP is talking about are minor reactions.

These reactions do indeed impede our progress, as when our actions are driven by reaction we are not fully aware of what's going on around us. I first recognized the practical implications of this playing billiards - when I would strike a ball and miss, I would feel slightly dejected, and neglect to analyze what I just did to learn from it. When I would strike a ball and make it, I would feel slightly elated, and neglect to understand what I just did to learn from it.

My game got a lot better when I started playing the game, fascinated but detached from outcomes. There are a remarkable number of ways to strike a ball wrong - and it is interesting to consider why, having learned the game sufficiently, one would ever strike the ball wrong. Where does the variation creep in? Why, if I examine a table and decide to put the cue ball "just so", can I not do that? The answer, of course, is that there is countless non-verbal data that your body is sending you on each stroke - feedback from your bridge hand, the hand on the cue, even your stance and the feel of the felt all factor into this.

If you are attached to the outcome, all of this goes out the window. There is nervousness, fear, and excitement instead of systematic understanding.

dkokelley 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the author has an excellent point about training one's ability to resist urges. Urges are spontaneous. They don't necessarily fit with our work flow. In fact, they interrupt it. Maybe a good analogy is the Time Management Matrix by Eisenhower (and popularized in Steven Covey's '7 Habits' book). Urges almost always present themselves as urgent tasks, but they aren't always important.

I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion that meditation will make you more productive. The evidence presented reminds me of a scenario from The Office, where Michael defends Monday morning movies by claiming they are more productive the rest of the day. Of course the reason they are more productive is because they have to be in order to recover the time spent watching a movie!

Rather, I think people don't realize how much spare time there is that gets wasted. Tasks expand to fill the time allotted. It's possible that meditation can help you identify those wasteful activities (urges) and address them appropriately.

dschiptsov 2 days ago 4 replies      
Oh, come on. Meditation is not the way to "exercise willpower muscle" (running is the way to do so).

Meditation is the way to learn that your flow of thoughts is not you, it is mere side-effect, a smoke from an engine, a screen-saver, or just idle-running.

Yes, the practice of meditation is beneficial for will-power and self-control, but it is not the goal.) Goal is realization that what you think you are, is just a running total of all previous conditioning, and the ''real you'' could be "seen" is in an instant between two thoughts.

Any good ''eastern'' teacher will tell you that.

ricvg 2 days ago 1 reply      
I highly recommend to take a 10 days retreat in a Vipassana[1] meditation center. I know that 10 days is a lot to ask but in my opinion is well worth the effort.

I've been there twice in the past three years. I thought that I understood everything the first time. Boy, was I wrong.

[1] http://www.dhamma.org/

stephth 2 days ago 6 replies      
Focus on your breath going in and out. Every time you have a thought or an urge, notice it and bring yourself back to your breath.

From what I've heard so far, meditation is based on focusing on your body in order to quiet your mind. Are there other schools/techniques?

ta12121 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's nothing in this article that isn't said better elsewhere. I'd recommend the (free, online) Mindfulness in Plain English: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html also available as a "real" book).
kevTheDev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been meditating pretty much every day for a few months now, and the thing that got me into it was getsomeheadspace.com

I've found it incredibly helpful - having a different guided meditation to do on the train every day makes the London commute, whilst not blissful, certainly better.

tryitnow 2 days ago 1 reply      
What about comparative effectiveness? For example, if we did an experiment where we started subjects on the following regimes, which would have the greatest effects on impulse control:
1) Learning to program (assuming the subject is not already a coder
2) meditation
3) aerobic exercise

Then we would have to figure out ways to measure "impulse control."

Such a study would have a lot more credibility than the author's contention that "I control impulses while meditating; therefore, meditation makes me more productive."

One controls impulses during a wide variety of activities; the burden is on the pro-meditation crowd to provide evidence that meditation is an especially valuable form of practicing impulse control.

edwinyzh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of you pointed out it's not easy to control/stop the mind, yes, that's very true, especially for some people. To solve that, I suggest to read Ekhart Tolle's The Power Of Now, I think it's the modern book that explains the orignal Zen in a easy-to-understand way.

I used to think/worry/imagine too much about the future, and thus missed every actual moment I was living in, and it made me unhappy. I was living like that since I was very young and until I read the book The Power Of Now. So I highly recommend it.

sandGorgon 1 day ago 0 replies      
For casual meditation, all that has been pointed out here is fair and good.

But if you want to delve deep into meditation, then I seriously suggest that you look up MCTB - it talks about several of the dangers that lie in that path.


tylee78 2 days ago 1 reply      
Happens to me all the time. I am working on a piece of code in the afternoon, and can't move forward or looking to identify a bug or optimizing some algorithm - wasting hours. After a meditation session I walk back to the computer screen, take a seat, and my hand clicks around the tabs, my fingers scroll around, my eye catches one obscure line of code which is EXACTLY where the problem sits. I had this happen so many times, it's a given by now. The article (and I am sure all who do meditate) shares the same kind of experience.
idoruby 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been meditating for forty years. For thirty nine years I did transcendental meditation (TM)as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I sat for 20 minutes twice a day without fail.

Last year I switched to Vipassana not because I was displeased with TM but just for a change and because the Goenka community seems to be very professional. I have been sitting in this new way one hour a day for a year now. I am not as regular because Vipassana requires more arrangement than TM. I am satisfied with my practice and can see a path to grow in this community for the rest of my life.

I am not sorry that I have spent so much time meditating. It changed my life. Before I began meditating I was aware of a certain pervasive incompleteness. I am a programmer and I love programming and I have been married for forty seven years and love my wife. But these satisfactions were not enough. My meditation practice did not materially change my life but it has given me a sense of centeredness. I am in a quiet way more fulfilled.

My experience was that TM was a very practical choice. I paid $75 to be initiated and found the TM community meet my needs for companionship on my path. Community is important to support a meditative practice. The actual practice is practical to do in our busy lives. If you are too busy to take two twenty minute periods each day for your personal readjustment then you are too busy and you need to readjust your life pattern. If you do not realize the imbalance in your life, probably meditation is not for you. Don't waste your time. Perhaps later.

YMMV, nowadays it cost $2k+ to learn TM. It is a good deal at this cost at least the benefits in my life exceed almost any amount of money. But without my experience I would never understand that. It is a chicken and egg problem.

OTOH, the TM community has changed and I am not sure I would be served by the Post Mahrishi community. In my case, as a long term meditator the difficulties with the community don't really affect me. Although I did consider the quality of the Goenka to support me in future.

So the choice of TM is a possibility for a newby. One caution, I knew many poeple who started TM and did not continue. So you are risking $2k+.

Vipassana is different. The technique requires more training and a greater daily investment. I sit for an hour a day. But Goenka suggests a minimum of two hours a day. And most practioners do at least one ten day retreat a year. I find this a bit much. But given that I am retired it is easily feasable. It merely a matter of commitment for me. A midlife married programmer will find this a greater challenge.

The introduction to Goenka's technique is charming. You do a ten day retreat at no cost to you. Their story is that adopting this practice is a serious matter. You learn the technique and then practice ten hours a day for ten days. For this learning period you live on the charity of others like a Budhist monk. Since this technique is a way of living that extends beyond just sitting, you need time to get into it.

I don't know how to tell which is most appropriate for you. I can just say it works for me. But I can say one thing for certain. Meditation is a practice that must be done everyday. Don't bother if you are not ready to commit to a regular practice. The benefits of meditation can not be explained. It is an experience and all that a teacher can do is give the experience and show you how to protect it. The rest is up to you.

I will say that meditation and psychotherapy are not mutually exclusive. For more than twelve years during the last forty I have been in therapy.

My final thought is that if you have a sense that your experience of life seems not quite complete, meditation can work to give you greater experience of connection.

ambler0 2 days ago 0 replies      
I took a mindfulness meditation class a year or two ago and I thought this was a pretty nice introduction to some of the ideas.

For anyone interested in the science, I have found lots of good articles by subscribing to this mailing list:

The ideas have been around forever, but scientists have really taken to testing them in recent decades.

qbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
"And you will have experience that proves to you that the urge is only a suggestion. You are in control."

This is the most interesting part to me. Don't we always act on the urge that is strongest at the moment? If I decide to continue to meditate even though I have an urge to stop, doesn't that just mean that the urge to continue happened to be stronger than the urge to stop? Did I really get to choose which of those urges was strongest at that moment? Of course, this gets into questions of free will, which has been discussed on HN before. But when I meditate, it becomes very clear that I am definitely not in control of my thoughts, feelings, and urges. I see that I have multiple, competing urges at any given moment and that I don't control which urge emerges as the victor and compels me to act.

demigod 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I meditate concentrating on my breath,my mind interferes with my breathing and it becomes uncomfortable if I dont relax

I believe this acts as some negative feedback for the control freak self inside me. Every time I exert unnecessary control it becomes uncomfortable.

Meditating long enough may show me that the mind will wander in its own ways regardless of what I maybe doing at the moment, and its best for me to let it wander on its own ways and focus on what I am doing. Thus helping me understand that all the thoughts about ego, and judgements is just come process on the sidelines, and different from the core of me, the core that is focused on what I am doing.

This is the impression I have of where meditation is taking me.

gavanwoolery 2 days ago 2 replies      
I meditate while walking my dogs or taking a shower. Unless you are trying to achieve the title of Zen Grandmaster (which you probably are not) there is no need to sit still while doing so.
tehayj 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm into the basic practice of mindfulness since years. I read research papers about it every month and also train people in mindfulness skills. Here is the essence of what I learned. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sspY43lxqhE&list=UUh-TdJw...
brianmcdonough 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jonathan Haidt, the author of one of my favorite books, "The Happiness Hypothesis," points outâ€"based on extensive researchâ€"that there are only three ways to change "automatic reactions" to circumstances like a flooded kitchen...meditation, cognitive therapy, and Prozac. Meditation is an inexpensive and natural alternative to the other two, it's been around for thousands of years and there are no negative side effects.
001sky 1 day ago 0 replies      
(Yet) Another venue to for the competitive display of subtle nuances and arcane desiderata.
ericmoritz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Aw, I know the benefits. I hoped this would help me find a way to fit it in.
natex 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm seeing quite an interest here for the principles and techniques of meditation. Here's a link for some talks given by a wonderful teacher, on mindfulness/meditation and other topics.


ricknew 2 days ago 0 replies      
This excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki might add another approach to the conversation.


vividmind 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use fishing for the same purposes. Helps me concentrate on just that activity and get my mind off work-related stuff. Every time after a fishing trip I feel really rested, although might be tired a bit physically.
yresnob 2 days ago 0 replies      
Read Pragmatic thinking and Learning for good explanation as well.. Meditation improves focus... this is not based on reports or data but from my own experience. That is always the best proof for me.. trying it myself.
palderson 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me, meditation is a way of separating myself from the issues I'm dealing with. The act of distancing my mind from the issue itself provides renewed vigor when returning to the problem.
rohun_ati 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was a study done by Sarah Lazar at Harvard Med a while back. They concluded that meditation can not only prevent age related cognitive decline, but it can actually physically reshape our brains, thickening our cortical structures. There's a TED video online, and the actual study is available online if anyone is interested (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16272874
lloyddobbler 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I'm too busy to medidate, why will I have time to read this article (presumably on meditation)?
The Magazine marco.org
313 points by rkudeshi  4 days ago   231 comments top 36
JCB_K 3 days ago  replies      
On the one hand I'm very excited by this; I see Marco as an interesting writer/speaker, when it comes to iOS development or when he geeks out about whatever gear he's recently bought. I also expect him to be a great editor, so I'd gladly pay money for a magazine put together by him.

But on the other hand...I'm really wondering why this needs to be an iOS app. Written content is perfect for publishing on the web, I really don't think you'll be running into any speed issues when you release this as a web magazine. And even if you would, why not make the content available both native and on the web?

I'm aware that Marco is an iOS developer, and that a lot of his readers (myself included) will have iOS devices, but for the sake of the open web I'm still slightly disappointed.

crazygringo 3 days ago  replies      
I was very excited about this, so I tried installing it on my iPhone 4S, with iOS5, and it says:

    This app requires iOS 6.

Really?! Already?? :( I didn't upgrade because I want to keep my maps app. I hope Marco changes it to be iOS 5-compatible, since I know a lot of people who aren't upgrading to iOS 6 until it has decent maps.

aresant 3 days ago 1 reply      
Next months cover story "Defending my choice of iOS to launch this magazine"

I am amused that by appealing to the tech audience Marco set his release up to be nitpicked not for content or concept but by platform choice. Fitting but almost too meta.

incision 3 days ago 4 replies      
Sounds good, I'd love to give it a try, but it appears to be tied to iOS. Confining what appears be minimalist text content to an app on a single platform seems a bit silly.
inmygarage 3 days ago 1 reply      
Protip: If you're searching in the app store, don't type "The Magazine", it won't come up. Instead use "The Magazine Marco" if you want to download.
andyjohnson0 3 days ago 2 replies      
This looks like material that I'd really like to read. Unfortunately I have no way to access it, since I don't own an iOS device.

I wonder why Marco wants to limit his readership to relatively small intersection between iOS 6 device owners and people who are interested in the subject matter. Isn't this rather restricting for him?

(edit: iOS 6)

zach 3 days ago 2 replies      
For those of you wondering why The Magazine is on iOS (first) and not a website, the answer is simple. Marco is just replicating the successful Instapaper business model:


Goronmon 3 days ago 4 replies      
Hopefully platform exclusive stuff like this doesn't become popular.
guelo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Obviously Marco's business plan will be to build up anticipation and demand on other platforms and announce them over time. But I don't see how that will work if the content stays invisible. He will probably need to periodically release sample articles on the web to generate buzz, notice he already did this for the Foreword article.
stephengillie 3 days ago 1 reply      
It publishes four articles every two weeks for $1.99 per month with a 7-day free trial.

If I get a 7-day trial, how do I know that those 7 days will coincide with the 14 day article release cycle? This doesn't line up, as though it were designed to be confusing.

That sentence is worded strangely - talking about a future project you're organizing as though it's an object of someone else's which already exists. It sounds impersonal and odd. How about:

"The Magazine will publish eight articles per month at a price of $1.99, and we offer a one week free trial."

joeguilmette 3 days ago 4 replies      
I would be all over this if there was a Kindle option. I don't like reading on LCD screens, especially when I have a gadget that is 100% dedicated to reading.
tstegart 3 days ago 3 replies      
Try searching for "The Magazine" in the App Store. Shows you how well Apple's search algorithms work. App Store SEO is a black box, and I'm not even sure how Marco would improve his ranking with a name like "The Magazine."
*Note - iPad 1 can see the app in the App Store, but can't use it as it requires iOS 6.
kevinflo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Am I completely crazy or is there no way to cancel a subscription? I subscribed, but only to give it a shot during the 7 day trial. Currently it is set to auto-renew and charge me $1.99 after 7 days.

edit: Found out how to do it http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4098

What a RIDICULOUS process. I shouldn't have to google to find out how to do it in the first place.

ghshephard 3 days ago 0 replies      
First - this is easily, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one the best online Magazine App for the iPad. It's ironic how Time, New Yorker, Popular Mechanics, National Geographic - all offer such horrible experiences that I've deleted them from my iPad. Only NYT and "The Economist" aren't totally crappy (Though neither of them download in that background on my iOS 6 iPad 3... Grrr - But I bet Marco's App supports background downloading.)

Second - The article on Volatiles and Stables was worth an entire years subscription by itself. Marco made it easy for us to copy/paste the text - didn't trap the content like all those crappy magazine systems normally do. I've been madly copying that article and forwarding it to everyone in the company, with a prominent link to "The Magazine".

I'm guessing that He'll get at least 10 direct new subscriptions through me alone. WHo knows how many indirect subscriptions...

superos 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why didn't he call his new magazine "The Echo Chamber"?
njharman 3 days ago 1 reply      
> a modern iOS Newsstand publication for geeks like us that's loosely about technology, but also gives tech writers a venue to explore other topics that like-minded geeks might find interesting.

Maybe there's a market for magazine type media. It seems so backwards and nostalgic. Print imposed restrictions on size, format, timelyness, access, single voice (no comments), among others. The description of "The Magazine" sounds like what HN or Reddit already is.

Also something so pretentious to call itself "The Magazine" is gonna be filled with poseur hacks. Wired already fills that role.

dmorgan 3 days ago 0 replies      
>Introducing The Magazine: a modern iOS Newsstand publication for geeks like us that's loosely about technology, but also gives tech writers a venue to explore other topics that like-minded geeks might find interesting.

So, also boring stuff about brewing coffee and typefaces?

masto 3 days ago 0 replies      
I figured I'd try it out, but lost my enthusiasm after unsuccessfully attempting to search for the app for five minutes.

Next time pick a distinctive name.

jfb 3 days ago 0 replies      
This could be great. Most digital magazines are terrible; while this won't solve the biggest problem (the magazine itself is a superior technology for reading), it could go a long ways towards a better reading experience. NEW YORKER I'M LOOKING AT YOU.
Osmium 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've just been looking through the most popular Newsstand apps, and it suddenly occurred to me what's wrong with it: all the thumbnails are of print magazine covers, and they're all too small to read! If that doesn't scream "doing it wrong" I don't know what does.

The cover's meant to advertise the issue and make me want to buy it and I can't even read it. Why does Newsstand not have a "In this issue" tab when you preview the app? Why do I have to buy the whole issue instead of just an article? Why can't I have a central list of articles, that I can search, and favourite and share? The Newsstand API isn't aggressive enough. It needs to bring these publications into the future before we lose them.

Traditional print publications, which are producing quality journalism, need to adapt to new technology and release something like what Marco's doing here instead of trying to cram their paper format into an app with all the cruft that that entails.

msrpotus 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds like Hacker News but on iOS and curated by Marco. While I'm sure he's a great guy, I get something pretty similar for free, right here.
RexRollman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Periodicals as applications is a silly idea, IMHO. I can't bring myself to support this, even though I am a happy Instapaper user.
CrankyPants 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be downvoted for saying it, but this may be where the bloom comes off Marco's rose.

And, this comment's relevant to the HN crowd: most (if not all) successful entrepreneurs owe something to outside factors, but can develop a sort of "survivorship bias," whereby they feel like they're unduly sierra hotel.

Marco made a great app in Instapaper. Is his business and tech sector acumen as good as Instapaper?

We'll see.

pkamb 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Read this, plus more, in The Magazine's app for iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch®. Start your free, 1-week trial.


What's with the "®"s? Seems like something Marco would complain about on B&A. (Also, that entire button should be clickable.)

brackin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I believe that content should be written for a platform. Which is why putting magazines on newsstand by putting images in an application hasn't sold well. This content targets the iOS using audience and is written for the format.

The tools iOS provide will at least allow them to test if selling an iOS only publication works.

pinder 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm assuming most people on this thread have the Newsstand app buried on the last page and have explored how to remove it completely.
quinndupont 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any chance the writing will be any good, compared to the long-standing, excellent journalism that already exists? I'll keep getting my quality journalism from New Yorker, The Nation, The Guardian, etc.
chj 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see why this could not be released as a web app:

1. Access from any device;
2. Charging via PayPal isn't worse if not better than the App Store.

dr_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully he can succeed where The Daily has failed.
bconway 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would be interested in a paid RSS option.
arjn 3 days ago 1 reply      
if its for IOS only then I cant access it. Also, I question the "geeks like us" part. Why not just publish it as a downloadable PDF or EPUB or something along those lines ?
tlrobinson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't see to get the App Store URL to work.
techpeace 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't seem to get the "start your free trial" link to function from the "Introduction" article.
abacus 3 days ago 0 replies      
The content is basically long-form hacker news, only made worse because now it's 'curated' with whatever lofty theoretical mission 'The Magazine' espouses. Nice looking app but those four articles bored me to the point of canceling my 7 day trial.
protomyth 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is the content good?
Chico75 3 days ago 0 replies      
We want a kindle version !
How I'm Making Five-Figures A Month Off Bootstrapped Products planscope.io
297 points by bdunn  2 days ago   205 comments top 26
patio11 1 day ago 3 replies      
I had an experience very similar to Brennan's recently. Appointment Reminder, the SaaS which I wish was the center of gravity of my business at the moment, is profitable but not profitable enough to hire the folks and buy the things that I want to accelerate growth of it.

So I have been supporting it by consulting, but when I'm consulting I'm not selling Appointment Reminder accounts, and consulting is always more distracting than I expect it to be. (You think I would realize this after two years of it, but I persistently underestimate how much time it takes to e.g. prospect for new clients, negotiate/schedule engagements, travel to them, and deal with follow-up stuff like invoices.)

The traditional option for scaling a software business with a working product and actual customers is to take investment, but that's another ball of wax. There's fairly attractive options in angel investing these days, but taking any outside money would have an outsized effect on the character of my business at the moment, and I'm not ready to pull that trigger yet. Also, like consulting, raising an investment round is a very distracting event -- it basically commits you to months of doing near no productive work. (And unlike consulting, taking investment causes time debt which is impossible to discharge until you exit your business: you're now committed to keeping those investors happy and in the loop for, well, forever in business terms.)

But, having seen a lot of smart software companies do side projects (37signals was a big fan of it, and Amy Hoy and company have quite a bit of success) I decided to try my hand at it once and see how it went. So I started packaging one of my most-commonly-a-win consulting offerings as an online course, and decided to experiment with it once. (And, like Brennan says and like everybody in the space will tell you, I started by making an email list and sending them lots of free stuff they enjoyed which further burnished my credibility on the subject.)

The experiment was very successful: my customers seem to have liked what I produced, many of them have actually used it to positive effect in their business, and it raised a significant amount of money. (I'll probably blog in detail about it later).

An unanticipated side effect was, because of the topic I picked for my video course, I actually sat down and took all my own advice for a change (AR had an email strategy which I would have never let fly at a consulting client simply because I shipped the minimum necessary and never revisited that decision), and that ended up working out very well.

So, basically, yes: confirmation from someone else, this does work and it is perfectly compatible with running a software business.

amix 1 day ago  replies      
Let me present another view why I dislike this kind of selling. I think this author sells a story of how they got rich and how you also can get rich (and how you can do this easily) It's a common scheme and I think the only people that are getting rich by this are the people that are selling this kind of knowledge.

The problem (at least based on my experience) is that building anything successful takes a huge amounts of dedication and effort -- there's also a large margin for failure. It's simply not something that's easy to reproduce and you probably won't make five-figures a month by selling things to a mailing list. Or create a 30x500 product and instantly be your own boss. And sure, there are some that are going to succeed at this (and great for them!), but presenting this like anybody will get rich by just following a scheme rings off alarm clocks, especially when this kind of knowledge is sold at a high cost.

johnrob 1 day ago  replies      
The depressing truth about the software business is that most of the success stories take the form "and then I started spending all my time on marketing, and my business took off!".

I say depressing because most software developers didn't choose their profession out of a burning desire to become a marketer.

qeorge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brennan also just did a really good podcast with Patrick (patio11) and Keith Perhac on how freelancers should double their rates (with transcription!). Definitely recommend it to anyone who sells services.


nhangen 1 day ago 1 reply      

We met at LessConf, and talked quite a bit. I think you're a great guy and you are obviously very talented and very smart.

But...I got into this business because I got tired of the get rich blogging circle jerk I was part of in the past, and I'm very disappointed to see it coming into the tech world too.

I don't take issue with what you are doing, but between the turn Andrew took at Mixergy (pumping out a bunch of subpar marketing courses), the #leanstartup hysteria, and Frank Kern's IM marketing buddies infiltrating the space, I'm grossed out by the pitching and the polish.

Please let there be solace from this stuff somewhere...

scorpioxy 1 day ago 3 replies      
I've been thinking about trying one of the mentioned courses because I am trying to transition from side projects just to scratch an itch to services that people would actually use. So figured that learning from the experience of people who've done it before (Amy, Patrick, Brennan...) would cut down on the trial and error phase.

But how would I shake the feeling that these exist as part of the marketing scheme that the entrepreneurs engage in. These courses are not exactly cheap, but you know... "How do you make $10,000 selling an ebook online? Write an ebook that promises to teach people how to make $10,000 selling an ebook online"

abootstrapper 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't mean to pick on OP, but I'm always a little surprised at how some authors can make money, by writing about how to make money. When in fact, the way they made money was selling books about it, not necessarily by the advice found in their books.

I personally don't feel qualified to write about how to build a successful business, because I feel my business isn't satisfactorily large or successful enough. Though I'm pretty sure I could write about it. I guess I'm surprised to see peers doing this as a means to become successful and raise money. It's almost like a self fulfilling prophecy.

ricardobeat 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't see how riting and workshops are "bootstrapped products". They won't be bringing nearly as much revenue in six months. A better title would be "How I'm financing my startup by selling books/courses" but I guess that doesn't fit the sales pitch so well.
bdunn 2 days ago 4 replies      
As always, available to answer any questions or share any metrics.
hristov 1 day ago 0 replies      
So what you are saying is that the successful business model is shifting to selling shovels to the poor hopeful fools coming off the boat. I do hope that is not the case. I hope there is still gold in the mountains.
ryanwaggoner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome post. I'm a huge fan of Brennan's ebook (we're about to do a discounted promotion of it to our 7500-developer-strong mailing list at http://21times.org) and it's already paid for itself hundreds of times over for me.

That said, the most exciting thing out of all the items he's making money from (consulting, ebook, workshop, and planscope) is planscope, because of that steady climb in monthly recurring revenue. Give it a couple years and that will dwarf everything else he's doing, and give him a nice platform from which to still bring in spikes of cash from info-products or workshops.

I'm starting to wonder if I should have ponied up the cash for Amy Hoy's 30x500 course (I believe Brennan is a graduate). Speaking of which, Amy is another poster child for this approach of SaaS + info products.

stevewilhelm 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a bit misleading to say "Five-Figures A Month" when you only have one month's of data.

Let's see that graph in a year's time.

atomical 1 day ago 1 reply      
How much time do you spend on SEO for Planscope? What percentage of paid customers sign up through organic search?
nathanbarry 1 day ago 1 reply      
Brennan, congratulations! It is well deserved. I've had a lot of success selling a book, but now it is time to make the switch to recurring revenue.
joshcrews 1 day ago 1 reply      
on getting out of consulting-- wouldn't that slowly age your relevance on marketing products/workshops/ebooks as an expert on running a consulting company? Why not keep some consulting business to stay 'in the game'?
tuxidomasx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Selling products to people who have subscribed to an email list may be a great way to get customers. But part of the secret sauce is getting people to be on your list in the first place. I was hoping the article would touch on that a bit more.

Where do you find people who are potential customers who willingly want you to market to them? If I could master that, the sky is the limit.

peterjancelis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Edit: Problem solved. Thanks Brennan!
sown 1 day ago 1 reply      
How does one come up with something to sell? I don't know anything about PM so I could never write something like that.
kordless 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm getting a database connection error.
mandeepj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Guys, I am sorry if you think this is a bad comment but I had this question in my mind so I thought of putting it up here.

Now most of life runs off of smart phones which basically comes off with softwares like Appointment Reminder, time scheduling, notes etc (basically productivity suites) so I am not sure investing in this type of software will even let you break even. Although I see these pre-installed softwares are missing features like synchronization across phones. We are talking about SAAS software so I will not talk about inside office premises hosted software.

So again I am not sure how one see Appointment Reminder software business as a profitable one.

brador 1 day ago 4 replies      
You don't have a business until you hire your first employee. Until then, you're just a dude trying to make a living.
JimWestergren 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks very interesting, just bought your book.
laurentoget 1 day ago 1 reply      
cool...more get rich quick schemes!
munyukim 2 days ago 1 reply      
Quite an innovative way of making runway money
bdunn 1 day ago 2 replies      
Because when I took that screenshot (last week), we we're only 1/3 of the way through October :-)
The game of life emulated in the game of life jwz.org
292 points by koide  3 days ago   79 comments top 23
huskyr 3 days ago  replies      
The presence or absence of the eater indicates whether the cell should be on in the next meta-generation. The state of the eater is read by the collision of two antiparallel LWSSes, which radiates two antiparallel gliders (not unlike an electron-positron reaction in a PET scanner). These gliders then collide into beehives, which are restored by a passing LWSS in Brice's elegant honeybit reaction.

Reading Game of Life descriptions feels like reading papers about quantum physics :)

jamesrcole 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think GoL unit cells http://www.conwaylife.com/wiki/Unit_cell like this demonstrate an important point. That there's certain limitations to our knowledge of reality.

Imagine an intelligent being in a GoL board, made of a huge pattern of cells (just like we're made of a huge number of atoms).

Even though when we look at a GoL board, we know it's made up of cells and that everything operates according to a fixed number of rules, this intelligent being wouldn't just be able to know this. It's perceptual system would be made of these elements (perhaps it somehow uses spaceships to find out about what is out there). Remember that you can't just "see" reality - you need inputs and to infer what's out there on the basis of them. The sort of view of its reality it could infer would be much more coarsely grained than at the level of individual cells, just as our unaided view of reality is much more coarsely grained than the level of individual atoms.

That intelligent GoL being could observe the way things behave and, on the basis of this, theorise the GoL rules - that everything was a bunch of cells, and that if there's an empty cell and it has three neighbours then that cell will be 'on' in the next moment, and so forth.

And if it existed in a 'standard' Game of Life board, it would have theorised correctly. But if it lived in a Game of Life board where each of the cells it has posited is actually one of these unit cells like in the linked page, then there would be a deeper reality than it realises (and of course there could be 'deeper levels' within that).

There's no way that GoL being could tell.

rubidium 3 days ago 0 replies      
Simply amazing. I hadn't heard about "Life enthusiasts" until reading the linked articles in the post. The OTCA metapixel (http://www.conwaylife.com/wiki/OTCA_metapixel) is what allows this to work.

I bet Dwarf Fortress and Life enthusiasts would get along.

dexen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the movie -- to show the 3rd level just as well, camera should pan out to include the programmer ;-)
espinchi 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'll go get the mop to clean up the pieces of my brain that are now all over the floor.

After spending some time before reading up on the Game of Life, I'm amazed by this meta implementation.

By the way, why not go on and on recursively?

dllthomas 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is completely unsurprising that this is possible - GoL is turing complete and obviously we can run GoL on turing equivalent systems.

It is really awesome that someone was able to do the attendant engineering work.

TheEzEzz 2 days ago 0 replies      
It should be possible to make a closed loop video. When you zoom out to the full meta level it is exactly the same as the initial frame of the movie. Then the whole thing can be looped seamless forever, as you zoom out to meta-meta-meta levels.
po 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also interesting to nerds like me is that the annoying audio in the video is a seemingly always-increasing tone called a Shepard Tone:


edit: …and now reading that I've stumbled across the Tritone paradox which I wasn't familiar with and is equally cool.


leeoniya 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yo Dawg! But more seriously, is that carefully arranged structure required for it to work as shown? It seems a slight variation would cause it to evolve into disarray.
dchichkov 2 days ago 0 replies      
The size of the field, is it fixed or growing? I guess, if it is fixed, this implementation still needs some work...

Either way, I think that Turing Machine with infinitely growing stacks [see http://rendell-attic.org/gol/fullutm/index.htm] is a way cooler.

sakai 2 days ago 2 replies      
Bizarre / incredible timing. I just created an interactive D3.js implementation of Conway's Game of Life yesterday: http://boydgreenfield.com/conwayjs/

Would love to hear peoples' thoughts...

(And sorry for the promotion)

unabridged 2 days ago 1 reply      
My favorite thing to do with metacells is to destroy a small part of one of them and watch the chaos. Digital cancer.
joezydeco 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm gonna wake up and get flushed out a sewer pipe, aren't I?
danielatc 3 days ago 1 reply      
There even is a 3D version of the SmoothLife algorithm out there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxaOnOVGepI

Very very cool stuff!

vastinfest 3 days ago 1 reply      
I better wait for the game of life emulated in the game of life emulated in the game of life..

Sorry.. I was forced at a gunpoint to do that..

shocks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Save yourself and mute the video.
lelf 2 days ago 0 replies      
jared314 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you also implemented it on other GOL variants (pentagonal, hexagonal, multicolored) it would be a virtual machine.

Makes me want to build a compiler back-end for one of the GOL turing machines.

k00pa 3 days ago 2 replies      
That background sound is annoying...
eranation 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the video that inspired this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtJ77qsLrpw
Cbasedlifeform 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm old enough (sigh) to remember reading about Life in a Martin Gardner column 40 years ago and playing it on a piece of graph paper.
digeridoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I never quite get the excitement over game of life (is emergent behaviour really that surprising?), but this is extremely impressive.
Building websites in Python with Flask maximebf.com
271 points by dabent  3 days ago   56 comments top 21
whalesalad 3 days ago 5 replies      
I wish more people would contribute information on using Flask at a larger scale. Everyone and their brother has written a basic tutorial outlining how to get up and running with Flask. This is a GREAT post and I do not want to demean it ... however I think that a lot of this can be gleaned from following along with the docs and experimenting with Flask in general.

I'd really love to see/hear some stories of others using Flask at a slightly larger scale. For example ... did your startup build their REST API in Flask? Sure, people say it's possible and outline a basic hello-world style REST app ... but in my experience it became a pain in the ass very quick. Primarily because no structure is enforced.

After being a Python dev for a long time, building quite a few big Django apps and a handful of tiny Flask apps I have finally jumped ship to Rails. I spent a week experimenting with various Pythonic combinations. Ultimately I had to ask myself ... "Why am I doing this? What the hell am I wasting my time with this lightweight framework?" I've built my current REST API in Rails and would not have it any other way. It's been tremendously efficient and performs great on my little Linode in London + PostgreSQL.

3amOpsGuy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great tutorial, a good level of detail too.

The only other thing i'd mention for Flask newbies would be the excellent debugger facility in Werkzeug (effectively a part of Flask).

I lied, one more reference - the guy that wrote flask (bit of a genius, also has a bunch of other excellent libraries) has shared slides from some talks he's given, they're really worth a read too: http://lucumr.pocoo.org/talks/

Bucket list 2013, attend a talk by Armin Ronacher.

joeshaw 3 days ago 1 reply      
A good tutorial, but it was missing any mention of blueprints, which are essential to building a Flask site larger than a few endpoints. Blueprints also allow you to reuse components across multiple apps, or as releasing a set of endpoints as open source libraries that can be easily plugged into other apps.

Edit: adding a link to Blueprints in the Flask docs: http://flask.pocoo.org/docs/blueprints/

RegEx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good read. I wrote a similar Flask introductory article[0] on how I moved my Wordpress site/blog over to Flask. The source code of my site can be viewed on github[1].

[0]: http://vertstudios.com/blog/new-flask-site/
[1]: https://github.com/joequery/Vert-Flask

mumphster 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great little tutorial but I'd also like to mention that if you're creating websites using flask make sure to check out blueprints (http://flask.pocoo.org/docs/blueprints/) it lets you modualize your website and make it a lot more manageable once your code gets a little bit larger.
corford 3 days ago 1 reply      
Flask is awesome and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone curious about doing webdev in python.

When I was starting out, I found the source code to the Flask website itself really helpful for getting to grips with the basics: https://github.com/mitsuhiko/flask/tree/website/flask_websit...

jpadilla_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
Flask is so damn awesome! For all those other projects Django seems too big, I use Flask. The hardest thing for me was finding a project structure that worked for me. I still haven't landed one that was "perfect". What project structure/skeletons for Flask apps work for you?
welder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great tutorial.

Since you're already using backbone.js why not plug in CSRF protection with Flask-SeaSurf?

If you use this backbone.js change then CSRF is practically invisible:

Also, if building an api with Flask make sure you use blueprints with a url prefix so your api routes become relative, which means less typing:

minikomi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Good stuff! Just a question, in the first session example, should the url_for('say_hello') be url_for('message')? And in the message template, 'index' maybe should be 'home'.
lazydon 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just cannot thank you enough - you are a life saver. Coming from Java world I was looking for exactly like this. Maybe I'm new to Python, I was just about to give up. Setting Nginx/Apache for Flask was giving me nightmares -just could not get it right to play with gunicorn, uwsgi and so on.

I know Java is verbose but the tooling is good. Just put you war(a pre-defined structure) in Tomcat webapps dir and your good to go with a fairly scalable web site. I was so surprised it wasn't that easy for Python. I think it stems out that Python is more of systemish kinda ecosystem.

jrvarela56 3 days ago 7 replies      
I've always wondered why people who like using these python micro frameworks don't use App Engine. Have any of you guys tried out GAE and decided it wasn't worth it?
codegeek 3 days ago 0 replies      
good read. I am working on something built in scratch using Flask and so far, it has been a breeze in understanding the document, source code and samples provided on the pocoo site.
cake 3 days ago 3 replies      
See also bottle http://bottlepy.org/docs/dev/

Both are great but I find them very slow.

d_luaz 3 days ago 0 replies      
For those working on GAE, try this handy template: https://github.com/kamalgill/flask-appengine-template
paulsutter 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any opinions about Flask vs Bottle?
countessa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done. I'm a Ruby/Sintra bod myself, but now I'm keen to play with Flask a bit - thanks!
d0m 3 days ago 1 reply      
Good tutorial. You should check out Django. It comes with most of the script you have written plus a lot more and a really active community.
bcambel 3 days ago 0 replies      
what an amazing tutorial!
chuppo 3 days ago 1 reply      
So you took flask documentation, some other sources and made it into a blog post about it?
nyddle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the tutorial. Can't wait for the next part about blueprints!
liamchzh 3 days ago 2 replies      
what's the difference between Flask and Django?
Surprisingly undervalued books nabeelqu.com
259 points by nqureshi  1 day ago   94 comments top 25
gruseom 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'll pipe up for Impro. One of my favorite books. Well, the first half is â€" it's a meditation on life and the universe as much as it is about theater, and it changed my mind in some cool ways. It's useful for anyone doing creative work, especially collaborative creative work, definitely including programmers. It's also very funny. The second half is about mask work and trance, which I was expecting to be fascinating, but it fell short of the sparkling magic of the first half. The material isn't as generally accessible and probably depends more on knowing how they use masks in production. Johnstone says that the masks have their own personalities, which actors take on when they wear them, and that's probably why he relies on them so much. His tastes in theater run away from personal expression toward simple universals. He's always telling actors to be more boring, and that the worst thing you can do is try to be interesting or clever.

Johnstone lives in my town in Western Canada. I ran into him in Safeway once. He's very tall and his eyes go in two different directions so he looks down at you rather quizzically from two different angles with his head tilted like a bird. I told him I loved his book, and he grunted "Good" and turned around and walked away. A few paces later he yelled "I'm glad it's useful!" and then went out of sight.

He's probably a genius. He was well-known in the celebrated London theatre scene of the 1950s, but came to find it stifling because he couldn't try whatever ideas he wanted without worrying what somebody famous would think. Then he went to teach at some remote place on Vancouver Island and discovered that he could think and do whatever he wanted. He liked that so much that he got a position in my town and stayed there permanently, presumably because there was nobody there who mattered!

mjn 1 day ago 5 replies      
Undervaluing Wittgenstein isn't really consistent with what I've read in American philosophy at least. If you go by objective metrics (which would be the Moneyball approach), he consistently tops the citation counts, and beyond that, is considered central to many areas. Probably only Heidegger gives him a run for most broadly influential 20th-century philosopher (though it's hard to compare directly, because they've been influential on quite different groups).

He's been particularly influential on analytic philosophy via Saul Kripke, among other interpreters. In popularity contests, he routinely gets voted #1 most influential philosopher in polls of academic philosophers as well, e.g. in a 1999 poll of mostly UK/US academic philosophers (http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Lac...) and in a Brian Leiter straw poll (http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2009/03/so-who-is-the-...). The former one concludes that Philosophical Investigations is "the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations".

An interesting question might be who is undervalued on those lists: is there someone halfway down, or not on the list at all, who should be near the top?

nkoren 1 day ago 2 replies      
+1 for Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It's superb.

I'd add A Pattern Language to the list. It's actually been very appropriately valued by the programming community, but massively undervalued by its intended audience of architects and urban planners. Should've been the architecture and planning book of the 20th century; instead most design professionals have never heard of it. Their loss!

msluyter 23 hours ago 2 replies      
A lot of great books, but it's unclear to me that most of these are actually "undervalued." Check out the blurb on the back cover of Philosophical Investigations, for example:

Immediately upon its posthumous publication in 1953, Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations was hailed as a masterpiece, and the ensuing years have confirmed this initial assessment. Today it is widely acknowledged to be the single most important philosophical work of the twentieth century.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain has had a huge impact. From Amazon: "Translated into more than seventeen languages, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is the world's most widely used drawing instruction book."

Same with The Inner Game of Tennis -- it was groundbreaking when it came out in 1972 and had a huge impact not just on tennis, or even sports generally, but on musicians, artists, performers, or anything with a critical mental game. Back when I was working on my music degree it was required reading.

Is it possible that the author thinks these books are undervalued simply because many of them were released a while ago (when he was young or not yet born) and thus they aren't currently being hyped and/or in the limelight? That, or perhaps they're simply not that popular within the author's social circle?

wickedchicken 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Operators and Things, a (supposed) first-person account of a schizophrenic who recovered from the condition and wrote about her experience. The second half of the book is where it really shines, since the author attempts to analyze her experience as a window into the inner workings of her cognition: how it broke down, what she experienced when it did, how it recovered itself, and what led to it. Since the author is anonymous, and talking about one's mind is very introspective, it's hard to take away real science from the book but I found it fascinating nonetheless. While I really dislike pseudoscientific explanations of brain functioning, after reading this I took up the idea that the conscious mind is more of a time-slice scheduler and message-passer than where the actual computation is done. So concentration is about controlling your unconscious indirectly, like training a puppy how to play fetch: you give it suggestions of what to do, and ignore it when it doesn't do that :).

I'm linking to the Amazon page, but IIRC the book is old enough to be in the public domain and there is a free text version somewhere.


ubershmekel 23 hours ago 2 replies      
The interesting thing about Money Ball was that Billy Beane pioneered an analytic model for evaluating the true value vs subjectively perceived value of players.

This list was purely an opinion piece. It was the result of a subjective appraisal of both books, and the public opinion of them.

I'm quite disappointed.

blindhippo 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Ironically for a book ignored by most philosophers, it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them."

I find this illuminating - philosopher's aren't concerned with answers. They are concerned with the questions. An interesting contrast between the scientific/engineering mindset and the philosophical mindset.

mck- 20 hours ago 2 replies      
For me, the most undervalued book is The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian y Morales.

It's a small book of very condensed and timeless wisdom in the form of maxims, written very poetically. It's not a self-help book, the kind you might picture. (any book is self-help in some way).

Perusing 5-10 maxims a day about 5 years ago heavily influenced the way I live my life, and still defines my character today.

gnosis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Also see:

"Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer?"


Slashdot has many problems, but this was actually a pretty interesting and informative thread.

lhnz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I've read Impro and it's a great book.

There is another book that I want to recommend to other Hacker News readers and that is 'Language in Thought and Action' by S.I. Hiyakawa[0]. Honestly, reading that changed my life.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Language-Thought-Action-Fifth-Edition/...

codewright 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's a good list for cherry-picking a couple reading ideas, but the amateur comments about philosophy weren't well-received by this individual.

> I find that it's thoroughly undervalued by philosophers

Doing okay so far...

>though, who see it as an arcane and eccentric work of little value

Not so sure about that...the timing for Wittgenstein's work might've been unfortunate, given that people were starting to become infatuated with existentialism around the same time. That was as more of a pop-culture phenomenon than an academic fad though.

>it's a difficult thing to read

Okay again...

>Ironically for a book ignored by most philosophers, it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them.

Hrm, no. A lot of the questions concerning philosophy and the method for answering all of them?

I sincerely doubt any work that could described in such terms would be as obscure as he proposes. This borders on the illogic of conspiracy theorists believing they've found some secret truth.

A bizarre flash of irrationality in an otherwise great post.

JoeAltmaier 1 day ago 4 replies      
6. ‘Principles‘ (pdf) by Ray Dalio.

Tried reading it. His life storey reads like an entrepreneur who started by trying to fit in (held several corporate jobs), failed (fired for insubordination) then started his own company.

The rest reads like a self-help book written by an amateur. Some gushing about physics and natural history (which a HBS graduate probably finds unfathomable and mysterious). Then some deep discussion of his own inner psyche; why do successful people assume its their own uniquness that made them succeed and not, for instance, market conditions or good advice?

Then I gave up. Is very wordy, very very wordy, and not many of the words worth slogging through. At least the part I saw.

endymi0n 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had a very similar thought one year ago - for me one of the undervalued books back then was "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie. The title was so smarmy and offputting for me (yeah, it's 70 years old...) that I skipped this gem for way too long, when it's basically everything you will ever need to deal with and manage people in a few hundred pages...
graeme 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This post made me happily spend ~$100.

Quick tip for anyone trying to get older editions of some of these books: use Abebooks

For example, some of the drawing on the right reviews mention that the 1989 edition is better. I find this happens with many new editions of older books.

You can find near good as new editions of older books on Abebooks, at very reasonable prices. I used it to get a great copy of SICP, and just now ordered a version of How To Win Friends And Influence People published during Dale Carnegie's life, as Paul Graham recommended.

dlevine 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The book "Mastery" by George Leonard is a distilled version of "The Inner Game of Tennis." Highly recommended, and it can be had for a few bucks shipped on Amazon.
atas 1 hour ago 0 replies      
'The Olduvai imperative'. Especially the introduction and the first couple of chapters.
cvursache 1 day ago 1 reply      
Happily read your blog post but the assertions about Wittgenstein rang alarm bells. It may be that his works are ignored in the UK right now, but paraphrasing Brian Magee: "Philosophy is subject to fashion". So it may just be a question of trend in philosophy.

> it contains the answers to a lot of their questions, and the method for answering all of them.

For me that sounds like "Node.js contains the method to solving all programming problems.".

jberryman 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The Inner Game of Tennis is very widely read among classical musicians. Probably other types of performers as well.
ivankirigin 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Baseball is largely zero sum. Reading isn't. Finding good books regardless of reputation is the way to go. But knowing what is good is hard, so you should trust persona recommendations first and ten reputation.
acmiller 1 day ago 1 reply      
+1 for Stephen Booth. I was fortunate enough to take his 17th century English poetry class at Cal. He's the only lecturer who could make poetry resonate with my geek brain.

It's funny how some classes stay with you over the years.

_feda_ 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think a typical sampling of the HN crowd would be familiar with the work of J.D Salinger outside of Catcher and the Rye, but as someone who's loved these stories intensely since my mid-teens, I can't recommend them enough. In fact the mere mention of Seymour: An Introduction in the article sent shivers down my spine, reminding me of the amazing originality and artistry of this writer that I haven't experienced for several years now (I very rarely read fiction now). I won't bother summarizing the stories here, but if you have even a passing interest in zen, religion, literature or (at the risk of sounding pretentious) life itself then this is required reading in my book.
Codhisattva 22 hours ago 0 replies      
2 thoughts - "under appreciated" is a better way of thinking of it. And, there's no accounting for taste.
andreyon 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have read Impro and found it quite good yet can't remember anything related to newtonian mechanics... but I wanted to read it again anyway :)
lr--rw-rwx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I will add:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig

windu 1 day ago 0 replies      
+1 for Wittgenstein
Red Bull Stratos Skydive Rescheduled for today redbullstratos.com
255 points by thehodge  1 day ago   137 comments top 36
molmalo 22 hours ago 1 reply      
People, I've just made this little hack to show the location in a map:

Go to http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/

and open the console to run:

  $("body").append('<script src="http://www.openlayers.org/api/OpenLayers.js"></script>')
$("body").append("<div id='Map' style='width: 500px; height: 500px; position: absolute; left: 100px; top: 800px;'></div>")

then (once openlayers.js is loaded), run this:

  CreateMap = function ()
var lat = 33.3405;
var lon = -103.7601;
var zoom = 14;
var fromProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:4326"); // Transform from WGS 1984
var toProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:900913"); // to Spherical Mercator Projection
var position = new OpenLayers.LonLat(lon, lat).transform( fromProjection, toProjection);

map = new OpenLayers.Map({
div: "Map",
projection: "EPSG:900913",
layers: [
new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(
attribution: "Data, imagery and map information provided by <a href='http://www.mapquest.com/' target='_blank'>MapQuest</a>, <a href='http://www.openstreetmap.org/' target='_blank'>Open Street Map</a> and contributors, <a href='http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/' target='_blank'>CC-BY-SA</a> <img src='http://developer.mapquest.com/content/osm/mq_logo.png' border='0'>",
transitionEffect: "resize"
new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(
attribution: "Tiles Courtesy of <a href='http://open.mapquest.co.uk/' target='_blank'>MapQuest</a>. Portions Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech and U.S. Depart. of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency. <img src='http://developer.mapquest.com/content/osm/mq_logo.png' border='0'>",
transitionEffect: "resize"
center: [0, 0],
zoom: 1
map.addControl(new OpenLayers.Control.LayerSwitcher());

// map = new OpenLayers.Map("Map");
// var mapnik = new OpenLayers.Layer.OSM();
// map.addLayer(mapnik);

markers = new OpenLayers.Layer.Markers( "Markers" );

marker = new OpenLayers.Marker(position);


map.setCenter(position, zoom);


var lat = parseFloat( $("#latitude").html());
var lon = parseFloat( $("#longitude").html());

var fromProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:4326"); // Transform from WGS 1984
var toProjection = new OpenLayers.Projection("EPSG:900913"); // to Spherical Mercator Projection

var position = new OpenLayers.LonLat(lon, lat).transform( fromProjection, toProjection);
marker = new OpenLayers.Marker(position);
map.setCenter(position, map.zoom);


Now, at the bottom of the page, you have a map with a marker showing the current location.

Update: [Added] Go first to http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/

Update 2: Replaced tiles, with the ones from MapQuest, code for mapquest extracted from: http://openlayers.org/dev/examples/mapquest.html

Update 3: fixed little bug introduced ;) Sorry! And placed the map below the video now, so it's easier to view.

raganwald 22 hours ago 1 reply      
FYI, this is the anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the speed of sound in the Bell X-1 in 1947:


Arjuna 21 hours ago 1 reply      
For those that are curious, the stream is being narrated by Robert Hager [1][2].

[1] http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3688609/ns/nbcnightlynews/t/robe...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hager

arrrg 22 hours ago 7 replies      
Could someone explain to me whether this is a marketing stunt and nothing more or whether there is some substance behind this? Put another way: Will any scientists or engineers (at least potentially) learn something interesting from this?

It's cool no matter what, but it would be even cooler if there were some substance behind it.

Mithrandir 20 hours ago 0 replies      
His parachute deployed! :D

And he landed! http://i.imgur.com/l8z0k.png

There was some issue with his heat visor, but that was resolved.

Edit: More images I screen-snapped (sorry about the low-quality, I'm sure HQ images will be out soon):





raganwald 1 day ago 1 reply      
Joseph Kittenger's Project Excelsior jump: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excelsior
uptown 23 hours ago 0 replies      
kloncks 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Delayed by 20s in case a tragic accident occurs.
bmac27 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Just incredible to watch something like that live. Held my breath the whole time, particular through free fall. When you see him sitting up there from 120,000 feet like he's on a rocking chair, it sort of puts into perspective any time you think you were brave in your life!
aparadja 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Does someone know the reason behind the poor quality of audio coming from Felix? You'd think they had the resources to put in a decent microphone, and data transfer -- judging by the high quality video -- shouldn't be a problem.
TomGullen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's the live video feed:
codesuela 21 hours ago 2 replies      
How much bandwidth do 5.4 mio viewers consume? Can someone give me a number?
lifeformed 21 hours ago 1 reply      
At first glance, skydiving from 10k feet and 100k feet seem like they wouldn't be any different. I'm sure there are intricacies that make the jump very difficult, but it seems like you just let gravity do the work, and the chute automatically deploys for you. Can anyone help me understand what the intricacies are?

EDIT: nevermind, seeing him spin but regain control removed my doubt of the difficulty.

dexter313 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Felix's helmet heating apears to be broken. They've also cut the radio talk between Felix and Joseph.
ubershmekel 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The original scheduled launch on the morning of 9 October 2012 was delayed and cancelled because of a 25-mile-per-hour (40 km/h) gust of wind at the launch site. Technicians at the launch site also found that one of the capsule's communications radio was faulty.


bestest 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Once again, title creators succumb to the power of relativity. My eyes keep on skimming on this topic, and it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. "Today" is awesome.
dropshop 22 hours ago 1 reply      
3,749,231 watching now popele watching live on youtube, this must be a record?

Update: 4,924,693 watching now
Update: 5,056,344 watching now

kristopher 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like some of YouTube's region-based relay stations are down. Temporarily changing DNS to a US-based ISP is advisable. (Viewing from Japan)
dennyferra 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately I barely missed the live jump. Will a recorded video be posted, or is there one already available?
LinaLauneBaer 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I am having terrible problems using youtube to view the live stream. I am getting "stops" for about 5-10 seconds constantly. Sometimes I have to refresh the whole youtube page to get it working again. Earlier they said that over 100 sites are streaming the event... does anybody know about the best working site?
benmanns 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the JSON endpoint with the data from the launch: http://services.redbullstratos.com/LiveData/Get
molmalo 23 hours ago 5 replies      
IS someone else having trouble with youtube, showing "static" ? (can't connect to live stream)
thesis 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Can someone explain why they say it will take 2 hours for him to reach his altitude? Right now he's 12.5 miles up after 35:26 minutes.

Will he slow down as his altitude increases?

I keep hearing them talk about dropping ballast -- is there a danger in ascending too fast?

sbarre 1 day ago 2 replies      
11AM EST is the current estimated launch time..

Anyone know how long the ascent is going to last before he actually jumps?

chasing 23 hours ago 4 replies      
All in the name of selling sugary sodas. Noble.
dsr12 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I really liked the mission timeline page: http://www.redbullstratos.com/the-mission/mission-timeline
brown9-2 22 hours ago 0 replies      
In the US at least, you can also watch live on TV on The Discovery Channel.
mckoss 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Almost 5 million people watching live now. Compare to presidential debate with 67 million viewers - not bad!
ccarpenterg 23 hours ago 0 replies      
dhughes 23 hours ago 2 replies      
He has a lot of external stuff on his suit I'm worried at Mach 1 it will be torn off.
tisme 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The guy commenting on the video seems absolutely clueless.
Shtirlic 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Where is the outside camera located?
Heliosmaster 23 hours ago 0 replies      
roughly in 1hr from now he will get to the desired altitude.
nphrk 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Just landed!
morequestions 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Question - is he going to land in the same country he took from?
nodata 20 hours ago 3 replies      
To Red Bull: fix your coverage next time! Your website and Twitter feeds weren't really ever carrying the latest information pre-launch, and your blog was 24 hours out-of-date whenever I checked. (Also YouTube was buffering, it wasn't my connection). Bit of a mess from the PR-masters imo.
Linus Torvalds Answers Your Questions slashdot.org
223 points by tmhedberg  3 days ago   131 comments top 9
wissler 3 days ago  replies      
Btw, it's not just microkernels. Any time you have "one overriding idea", and push your idea as a superior ideology, you're going to be wrong. Microkernels had one such ideology, there have been others. It's all BS. The fact is, reality is complicated, and not amenable to the "one large idea" model of problem solving. The only way that problems get solved in real life is with a lot of hard work on getting the details right. Not by some over-arching ideology that somehow magically makes things work.

Yes, well, Torvalds is here disputing one of the main drivers of science, the motive that brought us Newtonian physics, quantum mechanics, you know, the very things he depends on via his use of microprocessor technology.

If your "one overriding idea" is wrong, then certainly that'll get you into trouble, but as history demonstrates, they aren't always wrong. They are always hard to come up with, and often when you come up with them you face an uphill battle with people who want to maintain the status quo and who can't conceive of "one big idea." But eventually those ideas are the ones that cause tectonic shifts in human progress.

His reference to Edison is apt. It wasn't Edison who brought us the AC motor that literally revolutionized power distribution and the whole industrialized world. It was a man who thought big, who had "one overriding idea": Tesla.

mmariani 3 days ago 5 replies      

  Linus on git:
...it wasn't all that pleasant to use for outsiders early
on, and it can still be very strange if you come from some
traditional SCM, but it really has made my life *so* much

So, here he pretty much acknowledges you have to think like Linus to get git like Linus. I remember getting bashed here on HN for saying so, but I don't care and I'll say it again.

From the user's perspective git is not fun to use, at least not like hg or fossil are. Good programs just get the job done, but great programs are fun to use.

DigitalJack 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not a software developer by trade, but I do tinker. I've thought I understood pointers fine, but maybe I don't. Can someone who does expand on Linus' comment regarding deleting an entry from a singly linked list?

I understood the example he lamented, and probably would have done exactly that. I didn't understand his pointer to a pointer example though.

dkarl 3 days ago 2 replies      
His statements about instruction sets are interesting: basically that people get excited about low-level instructions that exploit details of processor architecture, but what would really improve performance are high-level instructions that allow software to defer to optimal implementations provided by the processor. Makes sense. Very little software can know the details of the processor architecture on which it will run, JITed code being a major exception.
Cogito 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want to really re-iterate how great Junio Hamano has been as a git maintainer, and I haven't had to worry about git development for the last five years or so. Junio has been an exemplary maintainer, and shown great taste

Having listened in on the git developers mailing list for the last few years, occasionally getting involved, I can re-iterate how true this is.

Sure, git development uses some anachronistic-feeling conventions (like mailed patch-sets) but these all have reason behind them and exist because they work for the people who are working on git.

I don't know how many of the processes are held over from before Junio got involved, however both those processes and how Junio handles the entire thing are a great case study on how open source can be done. Some entry points for interested people:




B-Con 3 days ago 0 replies      

> People were apparently surprised by me saying that copyrights had problems too. I don't understand why people were that surprised, but I understand even less why people then thought that "copyrights have problems" would imply "copyright protection should be abolished". The second doesn't follow at all.

> Quite frankly, there are a lot of f*cking morons on the internet.

I have to admit that I think pretty much the same thing whenever I read discussions about patent/copyright law on the Internet.

FrojoS 3 days ago 2 replies      
I found this interesting:
" [...] I think that rotating storage is going the way of the dodo (or the tape). [...] The latencies of rotational storage are horrendous, and I personally refuse to use a machine that has those nasty platters of spinning rust in them. [...] "

Is this about SSD vs. HDD? Does he favor SSD over HDD for Desktops?

Personally, my 99% use time computer is a MacAir with 256 GB SDD, and I love how fast it is and that I don't have to worry about breaking a HDD. But having so little disk space is definitely a limitation to me. I would have expected, that Linus has a huge HDD in his desktop computer, maybe in combination with a SDD for speedup.

Apart from price, isn't lifetime still a huge problem for SSDs? I was expecting HDDs to die out for Laptops but to be around for a long time on desktops.

bryanlarsen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody else notice the date animation and mouse over text for same?
humdumb 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think we need more open source projects that are not open to contribution from anyone. This may upset some people but will keep the bar for quality high. Linus' original work has been tarnished by too many eager but unqualified contributors.

If he had just chosen a small team, I think Linux could have been a real contender to BSD in terms of quality. It would have taken time to do, but they have had a loyal user base (of non-contributors) and demand from early on due to the legal problems with obtaining BSD and that is I think what has pushed Linux forward.

How Linux 3.6 Nearly Broke PostgreSQL lwn.net
216 points by alrs  4 days ago   51 comments top 12
cs702 3 days ago 3 replies      
Unintended adverse side effects from a tiny change to a small component of a complex OS kernel that runs on complex modern processors that are part of mindbogglingly complex computer systems, on which we run the ridiculously vast software ecosystem which makes possible the massively complex global network of applications and services we call "the Web."

Every time I read or hear about unintended-consequence incidents like this one, I'm reminded me of Jean-Baptiste Queru's essay, "Dizzying but Invisible Depth" -- highly recommended if you haven't read it.[1]


[1] https://plus.google.com/u/0/112218872649456413744/posts/dfyd...

shin_lao 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm very surprised by the hack that reduces the area of possibles for a process to two CPUs. This will cause other problems when 32+ cores computers get more common.

I'm even more surprised by "some benchmarks show it's faster, let's merge it".

Maybe they could try something larger than subsets of 2 CPUs?

mef 3 days ago 3 replies      
Linus Torvalds ripping into the patch committer http://lwn.net/Articles/518351/
efuquen 4 days ago 2 replies      
"A potentially simpler alternative is to let the application itself tell the scheduler that one of its processes is special. PostgreSQL could request that its dispatcher be allowed to run at the expense of one of its own workers, even if the normal scheduling algorithm would dictate otherwise."

I don't see how this is so bad, it seems like the best solution too me. If you're writing a specialized high performance piece of software I feel like the application developer should be the one tasked with making sure the kernel knows certain things about it's application. It's pretty clear a project like postgres is doing all sorts of tricks and optimizations already, I don't see how this would be any more or less burdensome.

Overall I feel like it's a fair trade-off to have kernel be told specific things by the application so it can make the better scheduling decisions vs it having to guess and potentially make poor decisions at the expense of most common applications.

stevencorona 4 days ago 5 replies      
My question is - why does Postgres need its own scheduler? Shouldn't that be the job of the OS? Is it a legacy thing or just something to squeeze out a tiny bit of extra performance?
wglb 4 days ago 3 replies      

Keen observers of database history may remember Sybase. Sybase made a similar decision about doing their own scheduling, rather than relying on the operating system. Oracle at that time let the OS do the scheduling. The former turned out to be a strategic mistake.

gmac 4 days ago 1 reply      
Where broke = made it run 20% slower.
kyrra 4 days ago 3 replies      
This doesn't sound like Linux almost broke Postgres. It sounds like Postgres is doing things (scheduler) that it should not be.
snorkel 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's been too much effort wasted trying to find the one-size-fits-all perfect CPU scheduler for all system rules. For apps such as postgres that care enough about CPU scheduling to have written their own cpu scheduler, then it's not too much to ask the authors of such apps to make a few additional system calls to tell the kernel what type of scheduling is preferred for this app, rather then leave it all to the kernel to determine the perfect schedule for every running app.
acomjean 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting article, explains some of the tradeoffs that OSs make in scheduling.

OS scheduler optimizations are difficult. Often what makes the desktop nice and snappy makes background stuff slower. There are always trade-offs. Its also allows vendors to sell expensive versions of linux with different schedulers (redhat mrg...cough..) The Completely Fair Scheduler with its tree of process seems to work quite well though.

It seems like they were trying to optimize for specific hardware (the link to "scheduling domains" was interesting) when cpu swapping. (2 cores vs 2 sepearate cpus...)
good intentions, but..

Sometimes its useful to let users explicitly control which cpus processes can run on (process affinity). On the HPUX variant we used they let us set up groups of cpus and then map processes run on those cpu sets. you could also select scheduling of each process startup. It was a pain to get things running, but in the end it worked great. Manually selecting the wrong scheduler and process priority could result in some processes running terribly however.

vishal0123 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why using kernel spinlock do not made programs slow?
Introducing Go by Example github.com
205 points by mmcgrana  3 days ago   35 comments top 16
aaronblohowiak 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is an old media presentation of something inherently interactive -- Alan Kay complains about how the wikipedia pages' code examples aren't executable. There is already the well-developed http://tour.golang.org/, which can be used freely.
icey 3 days ago 1 reply      
Mark, I'm curious to know if you find yourself using Go or Clojure more these days.

They're quite different languages, so I was surprised to see a bunch of Go libraries in your Github after using a bunch of Clojure gear you'd written over the years.

pedoh 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've never experimented with go, until now. I just ran all of the examples (found the mt=>fmt typo which I believe has been fixed). I think this is a great way to start, thank you for building it.

I have a few suggestions.

Make the code easily copyable. Under Chrome, at any rate, if you select the code you can't help but select your comments to the left of the code. I think that people running through the examples should type everything in line by line, but some people will prefer to copy and paste.

Also, it would be great to have some "where to go from here" links. I've run the examples, now I want to write some useful code. Where should I go next?

Stratoscope 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really like the way this is set up with lengthy examples next to the explanatory text. I look forward to reading through it. Thanks!

In the meantime, mind a quick comment on the typography? The Palatino Linotype body text renders poorly on Windows. Italics are particularly hard to read.

I tried changing it to Georgia and it made a world of difference:



bryanlarsen 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's a great format for short examples. I'm kind of proud of this hobo tutorial[1], which I put together a few years ago. It uses the git commit comment for the article text, giving a clear explanation on how to evolve a larger program. This format will make it very easy for me to update it to Hobo 2.0 without introducing the inevitable mistakes you'd get just updating a text document.

1: http://cookbook.hobocentral.net/tutorials/agility

dsl 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you just want the good stuff, it is at https://gobyexample.com/
mseepgood 3 days ago 1 reply      
https://gobyexample.com/slices gives the impression that arrays and slices are independent things, which is not true. A slice cannot exist without an underlying array. A slice is a window view on an array, a reference to a part of an array. Multiple slices can provide different views on the same array. When you create a completely new slice you also create a new underlying array and the window size is initially the same as the size of the array.
kolektiv 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like an excellent project, with a really clear and simple approach. I'd love to see more of these approaches for other languages, but I'm looking forward to working through this one.
jcurbo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very nice, I am gearing up to really dive into Go soon (waiting to finish up a class, to free up the time) and this looks like it will be a good resource.
nixarn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Quick Go question. I haven't done much go coding at all, but play around with the language. I've been reading a lot about it (thanks to HN). So I was now looking at the Slices section and noticed a slice being initalize as:

t := []int{1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

What makes that a slice and not an array?

EDIT: Ok, found that answer on google go's blog. Apparently leaving out the length makes it one.

trung_pham 3 days ago 3 replies      
Very cool. Maybe Go will win some people back to the strongly typed language realm. Having the compiler acts as a safety net is pretty awesome. Much better than having your code blow up at run time with dynamic languages.
RivieraKid 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a really good format. One of the best language tutorials I've seen.
jamesmiller5 3 days ago 0 replies      
These are the kinds of guides that I think the budding gopher needs. Golang.org has some beautiful examples but they are a bit terse.
Myrmornis 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. Much better speed than http://tour.golang.org for people who already know other languages. Thanks!
ragsagar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, I was looking for something like this.
hntester123 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the site and thanks. As a guy interested in Go, I plan to check it out over time.
A circuit and PCB editor in the browser circuits.io
199 points by skbohra123  4 days ago   79 comments top 24
RobotCaleb 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am not a hardware guy. Other than playing with n-in-one electronics kits as a kid I haven't ever touched it much. I recently needed to build a "sensor pod" (my name) for my ongoing 6-camera high altitude balloon project. I got everything working on a breadboard and needed to move it to a more permanent PCB. Enter Fritzing[0].

I fell in love with Fritzing pretty quickly. It has 3 mode. Breadboard, schematic, PCB. I was able to copy my physical breadboard layout over to the virtual one. From that, it basically gave me a schematic (what I wanted) and a PCB layout (not entirely useful for me). I had to touch up the routing and fix some lines that wanted to connect VCC straight to GND. I was able to figure it out pretty readily and fix it all and now have a working PCB[1].

All this is to say, if you're a noob, Fritzing is great. This (circuits.io) is probably geared at non-noobs, and I'm sure it's fine for them. I am not quite able to jump right into drawing a schematic, though. As such, I can't provide much of an opinion on it. :)

[0] http://fritzing.org/

[1] http://goo.gl/iWuZF

throwaway1979 4 days ago 4 replies      
Looks awesome!

I have a quick question about PCB layout. In the video, when you switch from the schematic to the PCB layout view, there are thin lines which are clicked to become red. There is a final line that is clicked to become blue. Can you explain what is going on there?

FYI: I'm a CS person who is learning about electronics and circuits. I started building radio and op-amp circuits, and have read that prototyping on breadboard doesn't work well. I tried going from schematic to directly soldering on a perf board and it ended in disaster. This tool seems exactly what I need ... though I could use it to figure out my perf board layout.

helper 4 days ago 8 replies      
I would love to ditch Eagle PCB for a tool like this. Eagle is awesome, but as a hobbyist I don't use 70% of its features. From a quick look at circuits.io here's what I would want in order to make the switch:

1) Let me import my Eagle components
2) Give me more control over grid sizing
3) Autorouter!

I'm also interested in seeing the fabrication prices. Right now I use batchpcb.com (a Sparkfun service). There really aren't any other good options for printing a single PCB.

tomkinstinch 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like the ambition of this, and it has the potential to grow into something both useful and cash flow positive. Having a community of open schematics and layouts will be wonderful.

Does the layout editor support design rule settings/verification--things like clearance around traces and vias, via diameter, etc.?

An awesome feature would be a way to pull up a datasheet for a part by clicking on it in either the schematic or layout views. When I work on a project, I usually keep a paper binder of datasheets for quick reference. Having everything one or two clicks away would be great.

Using the Octopart API to build a BOM broken down by best vendor, per-part, would be cool too.

It wasn't clear when I tried using the site: Will it give me gerber files I can send to a fab? What about a completed board rendering a la OSH Park[1]?

Any plans to support components/footprints/libraries/whatever you want to call them from KiCAD or Eagle? Orcad? Altium?

Any plans to hook up with a fab, and panelize orders to optimize for low cost boards?

1. http://oshpark.com/

rabidsnail 3 days ago 1 reply      
Neat! Do you guys plan on adding a plugin api so people can write simulators and auto-routers and such?
julien_c 3 days ago 2 replies      
What's the difference/how is it positioned compared to Upverter (http://upverter.com)?
stephengillie 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not to trample on copyright or patent, but it's "visio-style" in-browser circuit drawing. And it's fast. This might not be good for designing your next motherboard, but it's great for hobbyists! I'm excited to try modeling an MCH430 on here.
srlake 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like a great start! I do a lot of electronics design. I've used ORCad, PADS, Altium, EAGLE, DIPtrace, and so on and have never really found a package I really love. I currently use EAGLE for capture and PCB design, and do simulations in a PSPICE package outside of Eagle. This is a crappy solution, but it's the best cost/performance/simplicity tradeoff I've been able to come up with.

What type of Library features are you expecting? That's a major pain point with Eagle (Libraries are crap). If you're able to nail-down the collaboration, libraries, and version control features I'd certainly be up for switching our team over.

Would love to provide further input if you guys are interested. Shoot me an email if so: stephen at stephenlake.ca

iwwr 3 days ago 1 reply      
Still primitive compared to this http://www.falstad.com/circuit/
theatrus2 3 days ago 1 reply      
As far as I can tell, this doesn't yet support floods/pours. I know the target market wouldn't use them at the get go, and they are somewhat tricky to implement, but an essential feature IMO.

However, I love the module concept! Perfect way to combine open source hardware designs together!

sauce71 3 days ago 1 reply      
Tried it for a few minutes. What is missing and should only take a few minutes to add are generic dips, more generic headers and generic soics. Without I'm stranded before I even get to start as the component library are limited and there is no way to add on your own.
stevewilhelm 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you are a student, you can get academic access to state of the art circuit design tools from Cadence Design http://www.cadence.com/support/university/pages/default.aspx
srlake 1 day ago 0 replies      
PS - what is "circuithub.com" building? Is it a competitor to what you guys are working on? Excited that we're seeing some development in this area.
andredieb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats on the project! It's really interesting to see electrical engineering tools using web and modern concepts instead of the usual the nasty-windows-only-IDE packaging.
austinlyons 4 days ago 1 reply      
any plans to get this in use by any high school or college courses? Could you create a Udacity/Coursera "EE 101" course that uses circuit.io?
zxcvvcxz 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great project, runs very smoothly in the browser. What graphics library/API (javascript/html5) did you use to build it?
caster_cp 3 days ago 1 reply      
Absolutely fantastic!
I'm having problems trying to fork a circuit, though (rails' something went wrong message of doom). But this is definetly something I would love to use and see working. Kudos!
fnordfnordfnord 3 days ago 1 reply      
E-gads that thing is as frustrating as any other PCB layout software. More-so than many. It's a shame because Good PCB layout software is so badly needed.
sauce71 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have just picked up electronics again after a hiatus, need to create some simple boards. Will try this. If it works and gets momentum,it will really be great!
Adirael 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like to build guitar effects and this is awesome.
octernion 3 days ago 2 replies      
I love this. Sadly, forking (without logging in) seems to throw up a rails error screen instead of prompting me to log in. Great work, though.
lallouz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome job, way to go Karel and co.
zobzu 3 days ago 2 replies      
yay another "chrome only" site.
notimpotent 4 days ago 2 replies      
Kind of simplistic. I much prefer http://www.dz863.com/index.php
The Product is the Byproduct zachholman.com
193 points by nphase  2 days ago   50 comments top 20
bmelton 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is perhaps the first slide I've seen by Holman, but despite having seen what feels like a million slide decks this year, this one resonated to me like no other has.

In an older job, I was constantly battling my program manager's desire to have everybody "come in on time". It was a great offense to her if somebody came in so much as five minutes late. Despite being the managing developer for the team, and hence, ultimately responsible for all the engineering work that happened, I refused to care, so long as the work was getting done. I had a great team of talented guys that were always down to knock out a problem, whatever the problem was.

My boss wouldn't see the hours they put in working from home ("How do I know they're working if I can't see them!?!?"), or the hours they stayed late when the work wasn't done.

I tried the age old arguments "So long as the work is getting done..." or "They can come and go whenever they want so long as I'm meeting deadlines..." etc., but none of it flew. I regret not trying harder to change the culture before ultimately giving up and going somewhere that 'got it'. As a result, I have less responsibility, work from home, work more than I used to, and am happier to do so. I also can't imagine giving up the team that I have now for any reason, and I honestly think they feel similarly.

I usually poo-poo all over 'company culture' lectures, but this one completely hits the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned.

trhtrsh 2 days ago 4 replies      
> "increases in masculine wording were sufficient to decrease women's job appeal ratings and their anticipated belongingness in specific occupations"

> People in Silicon Valley are dicks

> Hire those bothered by suck

> [random butt statue]

jayliew 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yo. There's no proof that a great by-product produces a great product. Read the memo by Marc Andreessen about product-market fit. You can nail by-product and still miss the product. But of course, like Marc Andreessen said, it's popular for employers to champion "we care about our hires" (because who would do the opposite?)

Update: This post suffers from a cause-and-effect fallacy, and hindsight bias. More: http://times.jayliew.com/2012/10/12/cause-and-effect-fallacy...

So many developers are falling for this. Wake the F- up.

The irony: Zach doesn't realize he's talking like a pretentious Steve Jobs. Until you can prove cause and effect, please stop tricking developers. Yo.

calpaterson 2 days ago 0 replies      
This slide deck is deeply ironic. It is Zach Holman's presentations (full of macho posing and aggressive language - including this one) that give the impression that github is a macho and aggressive company on the inside. Perhaps it isn't, but the spokeman is terrible.

"I hate brogrammers" - but if I was asked to name a famous one, Zach be it. Excessive swearing in talks, "people on the internet are dicks", "OAuth will murder your children". If Zach Holman was holding a work barbecue, would people take their children?

jt2190 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm really curious if github's culture is the cause of their success or a result of it. I'm doubly curious if their bootstrapping was critical to this. My suspicion is that when outside investment arrives, the clock starts ticking, the pressure mounts on the founders, and this may result in a greater motivation to "manage" people's time, for fear of "wasting" time.
ajsharp 2 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite slide:

    Worry more about *building* the damn thing

Worry less *about* the damn thing

Many startups have a habit of being obsessed with themselves and their "culture" more than actually building the product.

There are so many things that are admirable and awe-inspiring about Github, and how they've gone about building their business. From my perspective, all of these things are a byproduct of one core value: building.

jordanmessina 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think Github has nailed it in terms of culture. I've been trying to get my company to adopt the Github ways for a while and I can't wait to share this latest gem with everyone.

I do have some questions though. What is Github's structure like? Is it completely flat? Are there project managers? How do you 'manage' remote workers? I feel like there has to be a little structure to the chaos, or at least some techniques and tools that make things work smoothly, especially with a company that's growing so fast.

endlessvoid94 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please pardon the imminent condescension.

Zach, this is the first of your slideshows that has left me with a lifted feeling, the feeling of reassurance that not all popular hackers are dicks, narrow-minded, or naive. Thank you!

I should probably be less judgmental, but I'm so tired of the facebook-rockstar-ninja vocabulary. Glad to see I'm not alone.

apl 2 days ago 2 replies      
You know, I don't think any new ground was broken here with regard to content and message, but aesthetically, Holman's slide decks are invariably great.
callmeed 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Nothing great was ever not shipped"

That's gold.

gfodor 2 days ago 1 reply      
savories 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice read.

I had a hard time taking Mr Holman's work seriously at first because of his choice of self portraits. They scream "brogrammer" to me.

I'm a convert now, though

dawernik 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love the slides, they don't even need a soundtrack. Was going to leave a FU comment, but it was too obvious.

I'm in a BigCo and every time we acquire a LittleCo I get massive culture envy. I think you nailed how great product happens.

eranation 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone who made it to the "people on the internet are dicks" and wondered if that HN post is real and was too lazy to type: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4583
rokhayakebe 2 days ago 0 replies      
'Nothing great was ever not shipped."
marblar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Holman's slides are always top notch.
perlpimp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Transistor was a byproduct. Bell labs was a place where great/smart people and their ideas and thoughts were simmering for ages. Transistor from what I read almost didn't happen, but by accident it did.

Isn't pivot is a synthetic replacement for the essence of 'happy' accident?

enraged_camel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish people in my company prepared slide decks like this.
marcfawzi 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only reason I went thru his slides was his starting sentence. "People in Silicon Valley are dicks." Amen to that.
Create 2 days ago 0 replies      
News FLASH: Microsoft doesn't create software, despite all appearances [VMS++, Spyglass etc.] -- neither does that Italian restaurant make its living off of pasta [capo dei capi!]. VW doesn't make cars. It creates car factories. The cars are just byproducts. Intel doesn't make CPUs. It makes fabs [fabrication plants]. CPUs are byproducts (they were RAM, and could also very well be ...well FLASH).
Syte: Simple but powerful packaged personal site github.com
179 points by saym  10 hours ago   41 comments top 17
bjourne 7 hours ago 5 replies      
But isn't it a big problem that all the blog posts are loaded using Javascript? It means your blog will be fully invisible to Googlebot and anyone coming from search engines. The purpose of a blog is, at least partially, to have readers but loading content via Javascript makes that harder to get.
paulitex 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Repost of http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4098430

Here's where he discussed the metrics around last time it hit #1 here: http://rigoneri.com/post/25804668500

tomasien 9 hours ago 3 replies      
If you ever build this into an easy setup UI, I think this would just be humongous. This combines what I like about about.me and what I find useful about tumblr. I've been trying to customize my tumblr for a while now to look almost exactly like this, but you did it FOR ME!

You're the man/woman

emillon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> There is only one rule. You can use, reproduce and do whatever you want with Syte but I would like you to choose a different adjacent color as the ones used by the people below.

So... Does it qualify as free software?

Technically it's a limitation of what can be done with it, and it limits the total number of users.

JamesChevalier 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
Nice job!

I had a similar idea with https://github.com/JamesChevalier/Launch-Soon but Syte is a much better execution.

Thanks for this.

robinduckett 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is Svbtle done right - Not closed and proprietary (apple) but open and free for extension (open source).
chuppo 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"My" personal site? Or facebooks,twitters,foursquare extended profile of me?

Who would want their personal site to be connected to so many other sites, all whom are more powerful and make more money on your site than you?

zzleeper 9 hours ago 2 replies      
" I would like you to choose a different adjacent color as the ones used by the people below"

Any clue about why this?

pajju 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Its a smart app design which is nothing but a content aggregator from your - Twitter account, GitHub, Dribbble, Instagram, Foursquare, your Tumblr blog, Last.fm, SoundCloud and Bitbucket. It requests for all these services via Javascript on the fly. Cool!

So it keeps no Database locally but only requires some computing + lots of Bandwidth in the host server.

Its super smart design as it fits super fine for the Heroku Free Tier. :)

alexbowe 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's cool :) and I just want to say that the readme is awesome. I love developers who communicate :P
brianlovin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember this popping up here a few months ago. Definitely looking forward to WordPress integration, but this looks amazing so far.
timdl 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Good job, and OK, it looks good, but:

a. it's on tumblr so SEO will be crap or non existent,
b. it loads using JS (as bjourne pointed out), so posts will be invisible to Search Engines.

You should try, somehow, to integrate it with wordpress.

ypeterholmes 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The aesthetics are nice but from a usability standpoint having the navigation as a mix of external links and syte navigation seems like a poor choice.

*edit. I see now that it's just twitter and the contact that leave. Not bad.

kayoone 9 hours ago 0 replies      
very awesome! make this easy to use for the mainstream and you have a winner!
obilgic 9 hours ago 2 replies      
this should be saas
downey 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks very compelling. I'm tempted to try this out... only thing is that I don't want my site to look too cookie-cutter if Syte catches on. :-)
Google's Common Lisp style-guide googlecode.com
175 points by zaph0d  4 days ago   57 comments top 12
zzygan 4 days ago 2 replies      
This must have come out of the ITA Software acquisition.... (Heading "Attention required" 'You must follow the ITA convention of using...')
They were a big common lisp user apparently.

Google is normally very specific on the languages allowed for internal projects. A product/company acquisition with large assets written in common lisp would necessitate this becoming the "Google Common lisp style guide" rather than what it was most likely originally the "ITA Software" common lisp style guide. Speculation of course, but looks likely.

ScottBurson 4 days ago 1 reply      
A very useful document that I mostly agree with.

One area of difference is in the conditionals. I never use WHEN or UNLESS for value; only for effect. And, I never write NIL as one of the values returned by IF; I always condense the expression to AND or OR. That is, I freely use AND and OR to return non-boolean values; this is a practice some deprecate, and indeed, I'm surprised not to find it explicitly mentioned here.

I do like to write certain kinds of iteration as tail-recursions, but I always use local functions (LABELS) when doing that; there's no implementation I use regularly that doesn't do tail-call optimization on local calls.

JabavuAdams 4 days ago 6 replies      
I've often thought that stylistic (as opposed to semantic) formatting rules should be enforced by pre/post commit scripts or nanny scripts.

This would be a huge pain with hard-to-parse languages like C++, but might work a lot better for C / ObjC / CL / Java.

Just put your braces wherever they make you feel special, and let the formatter sort it out.

Anyone do this?

brudgers 4 days ago 3 replies      
"Everybody's code should look the same. Ideally, there should be no way to look at lines of code and recognize it as "Fred's code" by its style."

This is how one endeavors for mediocrity within a creative pursuit. Crap gets polished to a bronze sheen.

dribnet 4 days ago 5 replies      
This further reinforces how Yegge's recent "software political axis" rant was wildly inconsistent. His characterization of Clojure was "highly conservative" based in part on the best practices avoiding macros when possible, unlike "liberal" languages including Common Lisp.

Meanwhile in his own company's coding style for Common Lisp states very similar best practices regarding macros -- they should be used "sparingly and carefully", "You must never use a macro where a function will do.", etc. The whole macros section basically reads as a list of well thought out reasons against using macros when writing code that other people will have to maintain.

Yegge: "I trust that if you know anything about Lisp, your blood is basically boiling at this point." Really? Well then maybe the google CL team doesn't know lisp or otherwise are looking for novel ways to escalate their collective blood pressure.

Kototama 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is this due to the acquisition of ITA Software? I though Google was not in favor of Common Lisp.
thebigshane 3 days ago 1 reply      
Related: ITA Software's Carl de Marcken discussing their use of Common Lisp for Orbitz from 2001 with a 2002 update.



  ITA Software is slowly replacing the industry's hardware 
and software with Common Lisp code running on Linux PCs,
that uses relatively involved algorithms that show off
our academic CS background.

batgaijin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations, Robert Brown and François-René Rideau!
trhtrsh 4 days ago 2 replies      
Why is the content buried under a million collapsed arrows?

Should "grammar nazi" have a capitalized "N", or should the term be avoided in a Style Guide?

mck- 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure I understand/agree the point about "iteration over recursion". One of my favorite aspects of Lisp is the recursive approach to writing functions. It's still possible to write recursive functions that don't rely on a specific compiler's optimization:

(defun sum (numbers)
(labels ((helper (todo ans)
(if (null todo)
(helper (cdr todo) (+ ans (car todo))))))
(helper numbers 0)))

I hope that this is what the author meant with "iterative" approach, because it is recursive by most standards.

nnq 4 days ago 1 reply      
...is there any place one can find a list of companies/projects using CL and specifically what they do with it? ..or of open source projects using CL? (or do people still treat it as "our secret sauce")
jasongaya 4 days ago 0 replies      
good one
Pattern - Web Mining Python lib github.com
174 points by interro  1 day ago   13 comments top 5
languagehacker 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Really cool library. I'm excited to take it for a spin! I liked that there was some work done already for Wikipedia. But as a note to people who want to work with Wikipedia data, it's not very hard to abstract your stuff to work with most wikis based on the MediaWiki platform. I've added a pull request to this project that also supports using the hundreds of thousands of wikis on Wikia. ( https://github.com/clips/pattern/pull/17 )
salimmadjd 21 hours ago 2 replies      
This is awesome! Any plans to add other sites, like amazon, yelp, tripadvisor, etc!
knes 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of data mining so I'll make sure to take it out for spin :) And from fellow belgian people, nice!
mkumm 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks pretty interesting, I will give it a go
AWS Costs Cheat Sheet dmin.es
173 points by edbyrne  3 days ago   34 comments top 14
casca 3 days ago 0 replies      
Useful, but no reason to go through a redirector which may change.

The direct link to the blog post: https://blog.cloudvertical.com/2012/10/aws-cost-cheat-sheet-...

The direct link to the PDF with the data: http://s3.amazonaws.com/CloudVerticalBlog/CloudVertical-AWS-...

hashtree 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'd really love to jump on EC2, but every time I run the numbers it doesn't add up for my usage.

I currently colocate all my servers and I wanted to figure out just how much it might cost to potentially switch over to EC2. After much digging and benchmarking, it seems that an single ECU is roughly equivalent to 350 to 400 points on PassMark. With this information and load metrics, it is pretty easy to determine what kind of ECUs I might need to switch over (as RAM and disk are pretty straight forward): http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php.

Came to the same conclusion as I did a few years ago. For my scenario (about a rack of servers, established business, 24/7 usage, capacity to handle for a 10-fold increase in usage (and much more within a 2 hour window))... I save roughly $170,000 over 3 years doing it all (server costs included). This is with 3-year reserved instances.

It should be noted that I build our servers from the ground up and do all the ops.

Florin_Andrei 3 days ago 1 reply      
The AWS cost structure is byzantine in its complexity. This cheat sheet helps a lot. Thank you.
ck2 3 days ago 2 replies      
my mini-comparison

  Cloud Static Storage (cents/gigabyte)

site storage bandwidth

dreamobjects 7 7 http://dreamhost.com/cloud/dreamobjects/pricing/
cloudfiles 10 18 http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/public/files/pricing/
amazon s3 12.5 12 http://aws.amazon.com/s3/pricing/


edtechdev 3 days ago 1 reply      
For a 'small timer' like me used to VPS or dedicated local servers it's still a bit confusing.

I don't know how much a value it is, but when looking at PAAS options (like openshift, heroku, appengine, etc.), I like appfog's braindead simple pricing: 2gb free, 4gb $100/month, 16gb $380, etc.

jelder 3 days ago 1 reply      
Complementary chart:


ojbyrne 3 days ago 0 replies      
Useful. QA Comment: There's a typo in Instance Sizes, "mirco."
akh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool! This is useful for small deployments. We developed PlanForCloud.com to help with cost forecasting for big deployments, where you want to compare infrastructure options and cloud providers.

Also, don't forget that one of the key benefit of using the cloud is elasticity, and unless you model this, you won't get accurate estimates. We developed the notion of elasticity patterns[1] to let users do this, so you can say something like "my baseline S3 storage is 100GB, but every month this grows by 5% and in the Christmas it doubles".

[1] http://www.planforcloud.com/pages/docs/patterns.html

scottyallen 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is very useful. Spot instance costs would be really doubly useful, particularly if you can put them alongside on-demand costs.
captaintacos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great way to make the prices clear. 15% more for Japan, I think it's time to move my things back to US East (Virginia) and make some savings.

It had some pricing on S3 but I think it would be nice to also have the prices for RDS. A medium-sized one of those things costs as much as a medium EC2 instance (yes I learned that the hard way).

calpaterson 3 days ago 3 replies      
Aren't the on-demand prices a bit useless? Doesn't everyone reserve instances?
mememememememe 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really useful...
conoro 3 days ago 0 replies      
Finally a summary I can use.
JackJ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Helpful - thanks
Is it OK to hold credit card numbers in cookies, Santander? seclists.org
171 points by Garbage  3 hours ago   80 comments top 18
TomGullen 1 hour ago 4 replies      
What sort of clowns stored the credit card number in a cookie? Seriously? What a breathtakingly stupid show of total incompetence.

Was considering switching my personal account to Santander, have been looking to move away from Natwest for a while now. Natwest are a dismal failure of a bank to the extent I'm always happy to go out my way and dissuade people from associating with them in any way. I'll be writing Santander off my list for sure now. How on earth can you trust them after seeing this?

For a business who HAS to take security seriously, for a business with a LOT of resources, for a business who hold YOUR cash this is utterly pathetic and inexcusable on their part.

Leaving them might be a good idea for your personal security, unfortunately the UK is a little short of good banks. Would love to see someone shake up banking like Stripe has shaken up online payments.

UnoriginalGuy 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I actually quit Santander(UK) because of their security policies. They essentially changed online banking so you had to give them a mobile number and then had to get a code from a text message they sent you to login.

My question to them was "what happens if I don't have a mobile phone?" and "What do I do when I am on holiday abroad?" and their responses were (paraphrasing) "You won't be able to use online banking at all in either of those cases."

In order to just get this response I got transferred between like four or five different customer service reps. So I quit my bank of like ten years and when I quit they didn't even care enough to ask my WHY I was quitting.

chris_wot 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Well someone has badly violated PCI-DSS 2.0.

This is bad in such an amazingly awful way on a "secure" banking website that I'm surprised that this bank even has an IT team, let alone a development team!

How did this not get picked up in QA testing, or even in a cursory audit?!?

stuff4ben 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember a bank I used to work at got bought out by Suntrust. After we had been migrated over, for some reason I had decided to check out the cookies they were using. Sure enough I saw my full SSN there. They don't do that now, but even as a junior developer at the time, I was pretty taken aback.
fmavituna 1 hour ago 0 replies      
From a practical attack point of view:

1. As explained in the original email XSS attacks now lead CC exposure, very bad

2. If the cookies are not session cookies. It's horrible, then anyone who got access to that computer later can read the cookies and Credit Card. But also don't forget tons of websites still keeps auto-complete enabled!!!! in freaking CC fields.

3. If the cookies are not marked as "secure" (or issued over HTTPS) then it's totally messed up and invalidates PCI etc. directly. Now your credit card transmitted over HTTP.

4. Other than this even though it's rather pointless thing to do, there is not any more direct attack I can think of.

Put it this way, this is not worse than a XSS vulnerability in a website as an XSS can lead more serious issues directly.

Major_Grooves 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What's really annoyed me about Santander's website is when you click 'log-out' you might think you have logged out - but no - you are taken to the 'are you sure you want to log-out' page.

With banking websites I just want to click that link and be sure I am logged out. I don't mind logging in again if I clicked by accident.

Lockyy 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Can confirm that cookies on my laptop did (don't anymore, and I won't be using their online banking anymore) contain sensitive information about my santander account that I last logged into over 24 hours ago.

Going to go email them and tell them I'll be closing my account if they don't start taking their security seriously.

iaskwhy 1 hour ago 6 replies      
Slightly on-topic. I have been trying with some banks in the UK trying to find the best online banking system and I am not happy with the results so far.

HSBC works quite well but the login system (with a RSA key) is annoying. I can accept it for actions like transfers but most times I just login to check my balance and transactions, requiring a token seems to much for me. Their design, even if not great, works.

MetroBank seems great from the outside but their system has some issues. First, to login you need your account number, a password and three digits from a 8 digits PIN. After logging in, you can do everything without any other measure. The systems fails to login most times unless you realise you can just click on the link in the error message and logged in you are. A friend told me to use the incognito mode in Chrome and it seems to fix this issue, probably with sessions. Their design is not the best. On the transactionspage you can only see 3 or 4 transactions on the screen at a time (without scrolling, that is).

I am waiting to try Santander (which I will avoid now) and Northern Rock.

Any good experiences?

DanBC 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm curious about responsible disclosure.

WhiteHat finds a security vulnerability. They tell the company. But, with banks, it's pretty hard to find the right person to tell. What steps should WhiteHat take to satisfy responsible disclosure? Just a printed letter to banks registered address is enough? (Banks, and everyone really, should have a "please use this address for responsible disclosure" - that would reassure me as a customer that they are taking security seriously).

But then, in England, we have a potential further step with the regulatory bodies. There's the ICO (information commissioner's office) who are overworked and will do nothing about this. And then there are the card companies who will, I'd have thought, be keen to protect their customers from fraud. Would responsible disclosure include a step to involve these third parties, if only to provide some clue pressure to the insecure site?

chubbard 1 hour ago 2 replies      
These hacks better be glad this industry isn't regulated like other professions where the individual professional is liable for his work. If these developers were doctors or engineers they personally would be liable for damages. Right now we have laid blame at the feet of the company, but this company doesn't seem to understand they don't have the technical know how to be building websites for their customer base.
michaelfeathers 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I don't bank with Santander, but I was in Barcelona a few weeks ago and I passed by a Santander ATM that was rebooting IBM OS/2 Warp.
gambiting 51 minutes ago 1 reply      
Santander ALSO stores your passwords in plaintext, or at least has access to them in that form.

My password used to include special characters, until a transfer to their new web interface year ago. After they did it,I could not log into my account - it kept telling me that my password was incorrect. So I rang them up,and a lady on the phone asked,if I had any special characters in my password. I said yes - and then she told me to try logging in without them,as the new system does not accept them and they were automatically stripped during the transition to new interface.

At first I was like - ok, at least now I can log into my account. But then it hit me - how the holy fuck could they remove special characters from my password???? The only way they could do that is if they had access to its plaintext, which is completely unacceptable.

I complained to Santander about it,only to receive a letter stating that they appreciate my concerns but their system is safe.

I've got all the correspondence with them if anybody wants to see.

joeconway 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested, if you want to see the information it is storing then take the NewUniversalCookie and seperate it by the #'s then you can see two base64 strings which are easily decoded

The scary part is that the 'alias' id is actually one of the 2 passwords needed to log into the account. So in fact if someone had that and my card number all they would need is the 5 digit numerical code to log in

advisedwang 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Confirmed for my santander account. I have not got a credit card, but the NewUniversalCookie cookie does contain my passcode (in all caps, just discovered it is case insensative!).

The data is not just one base64 chunk, but multiple space separated chunks that base64 -d chokes on after a bit. I am probably missing a step.

andrewcooke 2 hours ago 1 reply      
i guess no-one else here cares, but i had a quick look and santander.cl seems to not do this (but i just logged in and looked at cookies, which all seemed to be opaque).
catshirt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
for what it's worth, i use sovereign bank who was recently acquired by santander. the sovereign online banking contains the NewUniversalCookie, which contains an XML document (LOL) with 3 nodes: name, username, and userID. seemingly no intensely sensitive data in my cookies, but also seems to be some crossover with Santander's security system.
victorantos 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've been today to Santander, and they told the only way for me to put money in my account is by using their online service. This is because I have an eSaving account type...
northband 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Holy cow!
Court rules book scanning is fair use, suggesting Google Books victory arstechnica.com
163 points by abraham  4 days ago   27 comments top 4
waterlesscloud 4 days ago 2 replies      
Would copying a VHS tape to a digital format similarly be fair use? Why or why not?
bookworm_ 4 days ago 4 replies      
"text mining"

Hmmm. It's not so easy to do this with ebooks viewed in a graphical ebook reader. Note he didn't say "text search". He said mining.

Does this suggest noncommercial library books will offer research capabilities that commercial ebooks will not?

I want my ebooks in ASCII format. And that certainly goes for textbooks.

less(1) is my "ebook reader".

fluxon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dear Google,

Please resume scanning books, old magazines and newspapers, which you "paused" some time back. It was sensible to take a wait-and-see approach until this decision was reached.

Thank you.

mtgx 4 days ago 2 replies      
I thought Google and the authors settled? What is this ruling for? Is this in another trial?
       cached 15 October 2012 15:11:01 GMT