hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    16 Oct 2012 Best
home   ask   best   7 years ago   
Conway's Game of Life, using floating point values instead of integers jwz.org
676 points by icey  4 days ago   96 comments top 22
jashkenas 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Fascinating, totally mesmerizing video. That's reminiscent of something that you could be observing under a microscope.
mmagin 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Now to try it with complex numbers and/or 3D coordinates.
uvdiv 4 days ago 3 replies      
HTML5 implementation in 3, 2...
tomrod 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the most beautiful things I think I've ever seen simulated. Kudos!
kasra 4 days ago 1 reply      
Have you googled "conway's game of life" recently?
jonny_eh 4 days ago 2 replies      
I need this as a screensaver, asap!
jrl 4 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like cells under the microscope. Very interesting stuff.
dexter313 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is it Turing complete?
jes5199 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Someone's gonna package this up and sell it as a product, for sure! A 21st century lava lamp.
jolohaga 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wish the music were as interesting.
teamls 4 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
444 points by ccamrobertson  4 days ago   73 comments top 31
noonespecial 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 " 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
Damn it! You just ruined my startup weekend idea!
loceng 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome work, guys! Thanks for sharing. I wish you went with my suggestion for bootstarter.js...
mck- 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am a hardcore rails guy, but for some reason using sinatra for this app, would be a better option.
viraj_shah 4 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.
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?
lelf 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks this way without flash installed " 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 4 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.
Finbarr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice job guys! This is pretty awesome stuff.
rohamg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done guys. Someone fucked with the wrong hackers.
xfernandox 4 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 4 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  3 days ago   77 comments top 15
jonmwords 3 days ago 4 replies      
Here's the interview I published with the creator! http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how-a-google-engineer-b...
RossM 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool! A glider crawled all the way across my browser.
mck- 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want this as a live-tile background for my phone. Beautiful
sdrgalvis 3 days ago 0 replies      
What a reminiscent moment :)
hashBlue 3 days ago 3 replies      
not for me
If You're Too Busy to Meditate, Read This hbr.org
347 points by bcrawl  3 days ago   214 comments top 30
up_and_up 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 2 days 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jonathan Haidt, the author of one of my favorite books, "The Happiness Hypothesis," points out"based on extensive research"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 2 days ago 0 replies      
(Yet) Another venue to for the competitive display of subtle nuances and arcane desiderata.
ericmoritz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Aw, I know the benefits. I hoped this would help me find a way to fit it in.
natex 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
This excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki might add another approach to the conversation.


vividmind 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
If I'm too busy to medidate, why will I have time to read this article (presumably on meditation)?
Is it OK to hold credit card numbers in cookies, Santander? seclists.org
318 points by Garbage  16 hours ago   166 comments top 24
TomGullen 14 hours ago  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 14 hours 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 14 hours 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 15 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.
iaskwhy 14 hours ago  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?

Major_Grooves 14 hours 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 14 hours 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.

fmavituna 14 hours 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.

gambiting 13 hours 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 14 hours 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

sw007 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Slightly off topic but I bank with Natwest.com and I have gone to their homepage today and am AMAZED as to what I saw.

If you navigate to their homepage - in prime view you'll see a section that says:

"Great ideas come from great conversations"

Under this is feedback from customer - 90% of the feedback is incredibly negative. For example:

""Tell your customers the truth how bad a silver account is. Premium numbers to contact and register, cannot register mobiles for ..."

"Natwest is an embarassment, you have lost a customer for life".

This just sums up how out of touch banks are today with the internet. Don't advertise this sort of feedback! Especially on a homepage! What are they thinking?

chubbard 14 hours 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 14 hours 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.
DanBC 13 hours 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?

SeanDav 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A huge irony in all this is that Santander pulled out of a deal to buy a large number of branch offices from a rival bank because apparently the computer systems of this rival bank weren't up to scratch and merging would have been an issue.

This bank probably didn't believe in storing sensitive information in publically accessible places clearly


advisedwang 14 hours 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.

nathan_long 12 hours ago 1 reply      
On top of all the other issues, add the fact that some browsers no longer delete sessions cookies when you close the browser. Notably, Chrome and Firefox.


phragg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Here in the states, MA, I use Sovereign Bank who had just got acquired by Santander.

I was able to reproduce the NewUniversalCookie which showed my `username` and `userid`.

I'm a rather young adult (22) and had used Sovereign solely because my parents had used it, but now I'll be happily moving elsewhere.

dreamdu5t 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see what's much different about this than Stripe giving you a token for the customer/card and storing it in a cookie.
catshirt 14 hours ago 2 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.
andrewcooke 15 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).
_pferreir_ 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I bet they have a padlock icon somewhere?

No really, whenever I think there is no display of utter incompetence in software systems programming that will surprise me, here's another big name, ready to make standards sink to a new low.
I wonder who and how much they paid for such a nicely done job.

victorantos 13 hours 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 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Holy cow!
The Magazine marco.org
313 points by rkudeshi  4 days ago   231 comments top 36
JCB_K 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 4 replies      
Hopefully platform exclusive stuff like this doesn't become popular.
guelo 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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.

masto 4 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 4 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.
msrpotus 4 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.
Osmium 4 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.

RexRollman 4 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 4 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 4 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.)

pinder 4 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.
brackin 4 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.

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 4 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_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully he can succeed where The Daily has failed.
bconway 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would be interested in a paid RSS option.
arjn 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't see to get the App Store URL to work.
techpeace 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is the content good?
Chico75 4 days ago 0 replies      
We want a kindle version !
dmorgan 4 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?

Skydiver shatters world record with 24-mile leap usatoday.com
311 points by mittermayr  1 day ago   202 comments top 26
lordlarm 1 day ago  replies      
Two funny insights from Neil deGrasse Tysons twitter:

«The "Edge of Space" jump: A corresponding fall to a schoolroom globe begins 1 millimeter above its surface. I'm just saying.» [1]

«I'm told somebody's jumping out of a perfectly good balloon from 23-miles up. The theory of gravity no longer needs to be tested in this way»[2]

Congrats to Felix and his team anyways - great endurance and a great show.

[1]: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/257591067833139200
[2]: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/255691761341587456

KevinEldon 1 day ago 1 reply      
This was special for me. I wasn't alive when the moon landings or early space program happened. Space shuttles were exciting, but mechanized and somehow predictable; I was probably too young to appreciate them and by the time I was old enough to appreciate what was going on they were routine (even that disasters were disasters not because it was crazy to try an launch some massive machine with a bunch of people in it into space, but because some sort of process or engineering failed... we expected success).

This was different. A balloon, a capsule, and a single man with a suit supported by years of engineering and hard work. My whole family watched as Felix stepped out onto the little skateboard sized step; we held our breaths as he jumped. We watched the infrared camera as he started to tumble and I wondered how I would explain his death to my 4-year old who was watching too. I'm glad I didn't have to. I'm glad I get to explain how hard work, engineering, bravery, a very talented team and a little bit of individual craziness can do some amazing things.

For me this was special to watch. Thanks to everyone who participated in making this event happen.

Arjuna 1 day ago 3 replies      
Preliminary (i.e., non-record certified) telemetry:

Exit altitude:

  128,100 ft
39,045 m

Free-fall time:


Free-fall distance:

  119,846 ft
36,529 m

Maximum velocity:

  373 m/s
1,342.8 km/h
833.9 mph
Mach 1.24

InclinedPlane 1 day ago 0 replies      
Confirmation from the post-jump press conference: mach 1.24.
WalterBright 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'd like to see if this can be extended to re-entering from orbit. This could make space travel more practical, as there'd be less weight dedicated to re-entry vehicles.

(The only thing that needs to come back from orbit is the astronaut. The whole idea of reusable spacecraft is completely impractical, as weight is by far the biggest expense.)

mittermayr 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hey, who changed the title? I submitted this as "Austrian" Skydiver shatters world record with 24-mile-leap? What happened, HN?
at-fates-hands 1 day ago 1 reply      
Incredible. This kind of stuff puts my faith back in humanity. With all the horrible stuff going in the world, you see something like this and its simply amazing.

I actually got teary eyed when he landed and fell to his knees. Such a huge leap for the space program.

flyinglizard 1 day ago 0 replies      
All the while this kept playing in my head http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrBZeWjGjl8
Roritharr 1 day ago  replies      
He failed breaking the record for longest free fall duration.

If he will get a second chance to do that?

mittermayr 1 day ago 3 replies      
GIF of the first five seconds or so
Laremere 1 day ago 1 reply      
One giant leap for man, one small step for mankind.
Jarihd 1 day ago 1 reply      
He was spinning like crazy for quite some time - that literally had my heart beating like crazy - i was like - what's going to happen - is he unconscious - is the automatic parachute ejection not working - then; later was happy to seem him gain control on his free fall. :-)
andyjohnson0 1 day ago 0 replies      
First Man in Space - Skydiving From The Edge Of The World
mittermayr 1 day ago 0 replies      
i'd love to see some stats on youtube for this. i noticed over 6 million concurrent viewers, flipped to HD and it worked instantly ... it's purely amazing to push out these amounts of video data.
ninetax 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know where I can see this video? I missed the live jump...
nazgulnarsil 1 day ago 3 replies      
This might be a silly question, but couldn't his suit have added a tail to help prevent spinning?
mrtriangle 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I was watching this live yesterday and my heart skipped a beat when he took that leap off of the capsule. The balls on that guy.
psychotik 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any idea what type of camera was used to track his descent? Satellite imagery?
freshfey 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I loved the view from the balloon when he jumped, just incredible.

Is there a video of his on-man camera view?

Jarihd 1 day ago 0 replies      
LIVE: Press Conference RedBull Stratos


padraigm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's an interesting coincidence: I noticed that October 14 is also the date that Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 [1].

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_X-1

pirateking 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is why I drink Red Bull - seriously. Transcendent marketing.
tripzilch 18 hours ago 0 replies      
"A giant leap for me, a small step for mankind."
thomasilk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Felix and Red Bull! Makes me and so many others proud to be Austrian.
ezequiel-garzon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can anyone shed some light on the natural limit for this record?
ezpassmac 1 day ago 0 replies      
The BBC is airing a documentary about the fall in 4 weeks. It was 5 years in the making. Should be good.
How I'm Making Five-Figures A Month Off Bootstrapped Products planscope.io
304 points by bdunn  2 days ago   208 comments top 26
patio11 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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.
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.

hristov 2 days 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.
stevewilhelm 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
How much time do you spend on SEO for Planscope? What percentage of paid customers sign up through organic search?
nathanbarry 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm getting a database connection error.
brador 2 days 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.
mandeepj 2 days 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.

JimWestergren 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very interesting, just bought your book.
munyukim 2 days ago 1 reply      
Quite an innovative way of making runway money
laurentoget 2 days ago 1 reply      
cool...more get rich quick schemes!
bdunn 2 days 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
293 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 3 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.

dllthomas 3 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.

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?

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 ;-)
TheEzEzz 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Save yourself and mute the video.
lelf 3 days ago 0 replies      
jared314 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the video that inspired this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtJ77qsLrpw
Cbasedlifeform 3 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 3 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  4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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_ 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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
267 points by nqureshi  1 day ago   95 comments top 25
gruseom 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll pipe up for Impro. One of my favorite books. Well, the first half is " 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 1 day 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 1 day 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 1 day 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- 1 day 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.

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.

lhnz 1 day 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/...

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...
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.

graeme 1 day 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 23 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.
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 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Inner Game of Tennis is very widely read among classical musicians. Probably other types of performers as well.
ivankirigin 1 day 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_ 1 day 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 1 day 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 :)
atas 14 hours ago 0 replies      
'The Olduvai imperative'. Especially the introduction and the first couple of chapters.
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
Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech washingtonpost.com
264 points by vonmoltke  1 day ago   245 comments top 37
DanielBMarkham 15 hours ago 4 replies      
99.99% of disgusting hateful speech is just that: disgusting hateful speech.

The other .01% is the only hope we have as a species of honestly addressing our situation and problems and adapting and moving forward. The mob cannot tell the difference between these two groups. In fact, unless you are from the future looking back, nobody can. People who change society for the better through their speech are almost universally hated. At first.

This isn't a nice-to-have feature of modern life. This is critical stuff. To see Ban Ki-moon say “when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others' values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.”? A little bit of us all die.

We as a secular free society must protect people humiliating others, their beliefs and values, through speech. It's the price we paid to get to where we are -- thousands of unpopular folks yelling in the wilderness about how we are stupid, wrong, immoral and how we should improve ourselves. It's much to steep of a price, too much depends on it, for us to abandon it now.

droithomme 1 day ago 3 replies      
> The much-misconstrued statement of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that free speech does not give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theater is now being used to curtail speech that might provoke a violence-prone minority.

This is very incorrect to say it is misconstrued. In Schenck vs US, the Court was prosecuting a pacifist who distributed pamphlets protesting the involuntary draft in World War I, arguing that forced drafts constituted involuntary servitude and were therefore prohibited by the constitution.

The decision was an extremely bad one and the passage by Holmes was inflammatory rhetoric since the case was clearly never about shouting fire in a theatre, it was about peacefully and reasonably protesting unconstitutional action by the government.

The clear and present danger test was eliminated in 1969 when the Court established instead a "imminent lawless action" test as the line that speech must cross. Again though, interpretation of what speech will lead to "imminent lawless action" is not defined so this is a poor test as well. Clearly in some cases peaceful criticism of violent religious practices, as well as harmless cartoons that are not even disparaging have lead to imminent lawless action. A more reasonable view would be to note that those who engage in lawless action should be responsible for their own actions, regardless of whatever speech or opinions they claim made them engage in criminal behavior. No one makes you engage in criminality. It is something you choose to do.

bobsy 19 hours ago 9 replies      
What concerns me especially in Britain is the amount of times the police are getting involved in what appear to be free speech cases.

In Britain 2 police officers were killed. The same day a guy wrote on his t-shirt something to the effect of "kill pigs for fun hahahaah." This is a stupid thing to do. I would have thought the police might confiscate his t-shirt. Nope, that wouldn't have been sufficient. He got 4 months in prison.

After any major crime you hear that someone has been arrested because they have set up a fan page or wrote some stupid comments online praising the person who did it. I would have thought Facebook moderation would be sufficient.

Most recently.. a girl went missing. Some muppet on Facebook wrote how he "woke up" next to her. Not all of his comments were posted but these appear to be on his Facebook wall. He wasn't trolling the family or abusing memorial pages. He is now spending 3 months in prison...

You then have the frustrated traveler who said he would blow an air port "sky high". He was arrested, found guilty and fined. It took a year or two to finally win an appeal.

I am not defending these people. They have done stupid things. Some should be warned by police. However, there appears to be a crackdown going on quietly if you cause even the slightest offense. As a citizen of a western country this worries my greatly.

javajosh 1 day ago  replies      
Why can't the article just come out and say what it means? Militant Islam scares the crap out of the West, and we're willing to pass laws and endure a certain level of self-censorship to avoid provoking violence out of these people.

The simple lesson here is that if you want to stop non-believers from doing blasphemy, violent reprisals work.

And really, self-censorship is a practical stance, if not a principled one. There is a terrible slippery slope here, not only in encouraging islamists to demand more from us (what's next? threatening farmers who sell pork?) but also to send a message to other put-upon groups that they can demand the same thing - if they want it badly enough.

Yes, I wish that people would grow a spine and stop worrying about getting killed for hurting someone's feelings. But when I wonder whether I'd be willing to take that risk, the answer is no.

tokenadult 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Given the set of tradeoffs described in the article, I'm on record supporting free speech, period. As I wrote earlier here on HN, "The basic issue is whether people in free countries, like most readers of Hacker News, are going to be able to enjoy the right of free speech throughout their country, on any subject, or whether any American or Dutch or Danish person or other person accustomed to free speech who happens to be within reach of attack by a crazy foreign person has to prepare for war just to continue to exercise free speech. On my part, I'm going to continue to comment on public policy based on verifiable facts and reason and logic, even if that seems offensive. I am not going to shrink from saying that people in backward, poorly governed countries that could never have invented the Internet have no right to kill and destroy just because someone in a free country laughs or scorns at their delusions. The people who are destroying diplomatic buildings and killing diplomats are declining to use thoughtful discussion to show that they are anything other than blights on humankind.

"Allow me to reemphasize this point. The many participants on HN who criticize Transportation Security Agency 'security theater' as a meaningless reduction in the freedom of people who travel to the United States are right on the basic point. If free citizens of free countries can't live in freedom because of fear of terrorists, the terrorists have already won. You and I should be able to speak our minds and express our opinions in the manner of all people in free countries--sometimes agreeing with one another, sometimes disagreeing, but always letting the other guy have his say. To engage in self-censorship because of fear of violent thugs is to be defeated by the thugs."

As before, I think jerf correctly responded to this issue when he made his comment on it last month:


If I organize a riot involving thousands of people that I manage to incite into killing people, and I claim my reason is that I heard that some guy is Glasgow made fun of the American soccer team over beer... that guy is Glasgow is not the real reason. It doesn't even qualify as a metaphorical fig leaf, it's just a lie. When the excuse is this tiny, you shouldn't even give it the time of day.

I have to agree with the submitted article that the correct policy is making sure to protect the right of free people in free countries to speak freely about all the issues of the day, including the harm caused to the whole world by fanatics who burn and destroy and kill because their delusional beliefs are offended.

guylhem 23 hours ago 0 replies      
History is interesting sometimes.

As Chamberlain and Dalladier brilliantly showed with the Munich Agreement, it can be a good thing to appease a potential adversary which feels wronged for some reason by giving in to their demands and forgetting for a while about one's law or best interests - for a "greater cause". They did in fact avoid a war.


But since the agreement was made possible by the fear of the potential alternative outcome (failed negotiations -> risk war), which was of different significance to the opponents (one could say, with hindsight, that one of the negotiating parties wanted an opportunity to go to war), an advantage could be gained by the party with attached less significance to the bad outcome.

The result was in fact positive for all the negotiators : they all got what they wanted. But the ones with an interest in a war were given the zone where the border defenses and the banks were - even if the result was positive for all, some gained more - and not just "more", but strategically more.

In other words, reaching an agreement failed to consider the strategic significance of the advantage that was given away.

Slippery slope? Maybe. The real problem is not just incentivizing a very destructive conduct, but it seems very similar - giving away one's best defenses in exchange of a short-lived peace.

Why ? Just like a pen is mightier than a sword, free speech is the best defense of democracy.

Why is no one interested in free speech? (in one of the posts: "I'd be willing to take that risk, the answer is no")

It looks like a public good - one which utility is the sum of marginal utility, with individual marginal utilities not enough to offset the cost of this good.

That's bad.

But there's something to learn - any group that can manage to make its adversary give them their best defense is applying a good strategy - so threatening violence works, while giving in to the demand of bullies with diverging interest doesn't.

(Please do not interpret this post as an endorsement of any party, faith, or country - the strategy here is just very interesting)

linuxhansl 23 hours ago 5 replies      
"Blasphemy" is one of those things I do not get. Religious criticism seems to unearth the general insecurity that people have about their religion (whatever is might be).

If people would be sufficiently secure about their religious views any criticism would just be ignored and people would go on about their business.

(Well, the truth is that people are angry to begin with, and religion is just a nice excuse to vent this anger).

The other part that baffles me are "hate crimes". That word makes no sense. What the heck is a "hate crime"? Are there violent non-hate crimes?

yew 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm always amused by the "fire in a crowded theatre" argument, mostly because most of the people who use it don't seem to know that it originated as an analogy justifying the prosecution of protesting the draft during World War I.

War protests obvious aren't of any real value, after all. They just endanger the public . . .

tryitnow 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This article displays a rather poor understanding of free speech.

First, it sets up a false dichotomy between an idealized "free speech" past and a present where free speech is in danger. Where's the evidence for this? The US has always had an uneasy relationship with "free speech." I don't believe that the First Amendment was ever interpreted as liberally as this author seems to think.

Any article talking about free speech's decline in the US should refer to the two key Supreme Court cases:
Schenck v. United States and Brandenburg v. Ohio. Seriously, it takes like less than 5 minutes to look these up on wikipedia and you can already see that the First Amendment has always been interpreted pretty conservatively.
Facts are our friends, I wish this author would have provided some citations and historical context.

As for countries other than the US? Are you kidding me? Europe has always had restrictions even on political speech. There's no limiting of free speech that is new here. Sure the author cites some "new" laws but these laws reflect the spirit of the old laws. No news here people.

Now I'll address the author's subcategories where he believe free speech is being eroded:

Blasphemy: This is the only area in the article where the author has a bit of a point. The presence of relatively large populations willing to riot over perceived insults to their religion (i.e. Muslims) is sort of new in Western Europe and leaders are figuring out how to deal with it. However, I don't see anybody rushing out to ban the Satanic Verses. Most leaders are concerned about people doing silly things like dressing up as zombie Muhammed in public. A key criterion here is the possibility of inciting public violence. Rarely do works of literary or artistic merit have this effect, so restrictions are mostly directed towards people doing insulting things in public. Think of going into a bar and insulting the biggest, dumbest looking guy there. Yes, you should have the right to do that, but ask any prosecutor how much sympathy a judge is going to have for your case. There's nothing new here. Personally, I wish our laws allowed more expressions of insulting speech. I actually agree with the author on that point - but the author undermines his case by pretending that we're somehow backsliding. We're not, this has always been the standard.

BTW, I write this as an atheist who plenty of Muslims would love to see butchered. However, we need to remember that much of the censorship going on around this issue is self-censorship. The state censorship he cites is really nothing new - in France it's just an extension of how they deal with Nazis and others. I disagree with French laws on this, but again, there's nothing new here. The author is being alarmist.

Hate crimes
The reason for hate crime laws is that a hate crime is more than just a crime between two people. It's something that has the potential to incite group versus group violence. There's a qualitative difference in an act that's meant to intimidate a a single individual and one meant to intimidate a specific group. When acts directed specifically at a group are committed everyone in that group feels a bit of the effect of the act, hence the punishment should be greater. Additionally, there are some hate criminals who don't mind getting punished just for committing an act against an individual because their real goal is intimidating an entire group.

Speech is discriminatory
Ummm, discrimination on the basis of suspect and quasi-suspect categories has been illegal in many circumstances for some time now. Putting up a sign that says "Coloreds not welcome" at your establishment is pretty much illegal and has been even though it's a restriction on "speech." This is based on the fact that you're operating a public establishment and therefore derive gains from being part of the broader society. With those gains come responsibilities. If you and your buddies don't want to hang around blacks when you BBQ in your backyard you're still free to discriminate because you're not running a public establishment in that context. The example cited in the article comes from a comedy club, a public establishment. Again, nothing new here.

Speech is Deceitful
If you lie and get a benefit from it, then yes, you should be prosecuted. I don't know why the author views this as a problem. The example he cites from France is not an outlier in French history - it's an extension of France's rather stringent anti-hate laws. Laws I disagree with just like the author does, but again, there's nothing new here.

One of the reasons I really don't like this article is because I kind of agree with the author around loosening free speech standards, but he just does an awful and alarmist job of conveying his point. He is bound to turn off anyone who has any grasp of the history and nuance around the subject. I feel like a cause I support has been set back by this author's very poor argumentation skills.

This article reminds us that opinion column writers were the original trolls long before the Internet ever existed.

tl:dr: The author does not provide any convincing evidence that the "West is limiting Free Speech" in any new way.

snogglethorpe 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this stuff actually anything new? It seems like free-speech has been under constant assault as long as such rights have been recognized.

The precise details shift around a bit, but free speech has always been something that has to be actively maintained: formal guarantees aren't"and I think have never been"sufficient. I don't think there's ever been a time when you could just sit back and enjoy it...

[The reason I ask is because the article seems to written to give the impression that is some sort of worrying new development...]

cup 23 hours ago 2 replies      
This is really interesting in light of the recent reddit fiasco involving violentacrez and voyeuristic photos being published. I mean people were clearly up in arms about the invasion of privacy and supported subreddits like creepshots being banned despite the fact that they're perfectly legal. I wonder whether these same people see the similiarity between themselves and Muslims who want the blasphemous publication of prophets banned.
mcantelon 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The "Muslim Menace" us being used as an excuse to attack free speech just like child porn has been used to attack privacy. News at 11.
mhartl 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I hereby propose that the term "hate speech" be written as one word: hatespeech. It's Newspeak, and we should spell it as such.
camus 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Except free speech only exists in US, doesnt exist in any Europe country for instance. In US you can say almost anything you want about anything. Not the case in Uk or France. If you deny holocaust in France for instance , you're going to be prosecuted.
So while the article is interesting it only applies to USA.
niels_olson 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This article reads like the middle of a European history textbook:

> such as Ireland, which in <year> criminalized the “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter” deemed “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.” The Russian Duma ... proposed a law against “insulting religious beliefs.” Other countries allow the arrest of people who threaten strife by criticizing religions or religious leaders. In Britain, for instance, a 15-year-old girl was arrested two years <before> for burning a Koran.

dhughes 1 day ago 3 replies      
What I find chilling is in the age of the internet the comment sections on news sites are heavily censored (e.g. CBC). Which seems to allow a strange mix of viewpoints but what you don't see is what worries me.

As for insulting religions it's funny that most times it's religion against religion more than non-religious again religious.

bhangi 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel compelled to point out that most of the examples in the article are free speech that happens to (gratuitously in most cases) piss off the minorities. Notable for their absence are transgressions against authorities -- e.g. the sort of vicious recriminations against whistleblowers whose free speech rights are for naught when they hurt the powers that be. Assange nailed it -- free speech is tolerated only so long as it does not interfere with the interests of the power structure. The moment it does, it will be swiftly dealt with -- under one guise or the other.

Somewhat disappointed in this piece from Turley, who's otherwise quite nuanced.

strictfp 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem is not rooted in governments. It is rooted in the Fatwa culture, which streches across national borders. Many goverments try to protect targeted people, with limited success and high consequences for the target individual. I find it offending that we let ourselves be supressed like this. But it is a sort of terrorist scare tactic which we sadly seem to be very vulnerable to.
netcan 19 hours ago 0 replies      
There is another aspect to this. A ban on blasphemy, in a wide sense of the world is very natural to us. We are used to living under these restrictions. They are imposed by religion, law & taboo/culture almost everywhere including the west.

The blatant simple versions are religious laws often absorbed into law about denying the truth of a religion, worshiping other gods, etc. There are often also similar restrictions on criticism/denial of monarchs. When these get stronger and more elaborate, we tend to call these "State Religions" (eg north korea) hinting at how closely we associate religions with blasphemy/heresy laws.

A more modern "light" varient has cultural pressures at the core. It is considered bad form almost everywhere to openly criticize someone's "beliefs." Beliefs must be mutually respected. They cannot be held against someone. They are treated as a part of one's ethnicity. As far as I can tell this has two sources. The original religious law one (Dawkins has fascinating memetic explanation for this) and a sort of cultural compromise reached enough times following religious wars that it has become deeply ingrained in cultures.

We are predisposed to respecting blasphemy and heresy laws.

mad44 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Here, another perspective (from the muslim world) on free speech. Appeared in Foreign Policy magazine. Makes good points.


danielweber 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Point of order: Nakoula, the filmmaker, was arrested for parole violations. His previous crimes included using fraud and multiple identities to raise money over the Internet, so it's not unreasonable that he should be arrested when he's released a video on the Internet under an alias and asking for money to continue his work.
tomjen3 13 hours ago 0 replies      
>I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say 'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'"
--Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

I never though I would see the day when the West gave its freedom away just to please a religious group.

PaulHoule 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, I'd say that one of the reasons why muslims get along so well in in the U.S. is we have separation of church and state (which plays into free speech)

Christians can't use the state in the U.S. to harass agnostics, athiests, pagans, jews, muslims, buddists, whatever. If our government could stop people from spreading hateful lies about islam, we'd have Christians saying that you can't have a Koran or atheists saying that it's blasphemy to even say there is a God.

You can't say our American Way is the best of all possible worlds, but you can say that it's the least worst.

smutticus 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The author fails to mention that different countries in the west have vastly different free speech laws. He then goes on to use examples from multiple countries to prove his 4 main points.

Am I expected to believe that the UK and the USA have the same free speech laws? UK libel law, which he doesn't even bring up, is regularly used to restrict free speech. German laws against denying the holocaust, which he never brings up, restrict free speech.

I fail to see this imminent common threat facing western free speech through his omissions and forced equating of examples from multiple jurisdictions.

capex 1 day ago 0 replies      
"It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance" Sounds like a self defeating argument.
netfire 14 hours ago 1 reply      
We should be careful to not limit other rights in protecting the right of free speech. I defend the right of people to express their opinions, views, thoughts, etc in society, but I also believe you must have balance and allow people to choose whether they want to listen to someone's opinion or thoughts.

It is one thing to go listen to someone from the KKK speak about their thoughts or to read their opinions in a pamphlet or book (this type of free speech I support), it is another to force the public to be exposed to their hateful messaging by forcing billboard/television companies to allow their messaging be shown in a public place.

We should support the rights of companies or individuals to censor content they don't agree with or want to be affiliated with. Government should (at least in some cases) be able to limit certain types of speech where the public would be forced to see something they don't want themselves (or their children) to be subjected to. Government should be less involved with censoring types of speech that someone chooses to be exposed to.

What are your thoughts? How do we find the right balance with free speech and other rights?

Tycho 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Of course it is. The political systems of the West lack integrity: they're not going to uphold general principles in the face of emotionally charged specifics. They merely react on a pragmatic basis depending on how various rights groups and media commentators and public opinions change.

Btw, an easy way to overcome these sorts of laws would be if everyone just started posting the supposedly forbidden statement on twitter (and elsewhere). They only have the resources to suppress a few disparate voices.

nnq 18 hours ago 1 reply      
..."zombie Muhammed"! ...I REALLY wanna see a photo of that, so if anyone has it PLEASE post it anywhere online!

(though, to be fair, resurrection was Jesus' thing, so he would go better with the zombie thing, and maybe the costumed guy got what he deserved for mixing things up...)

poli_throwaway 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The examples in the piece seem to me to be so colored so as to confuse the whole issue. Actual limiting of rights occurs due to a power structure. The right to offend an unpopular minority or foreign group is usually easy to exercise and it doesn't take much guts to defend it. Rights are usually curtailed by the powers that be.

The article seems to imply that a monolithic "Western World" has been a fountain head of free expression until the problematic Muslims and a few left-liberals came along. So Jews in the last few centuries, or blacks during Jim Crow had wonderful free expression rights that an un-sullied European civilization had always cherished?

Fast forwarding to this time, quite a few people are in jail within the Western world for espousing extremely un-popular political views.

mmariani 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd better say this while I still can.

Government is broken.

ommunist 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is not real limitation per se. OK, there are real limitations, like the BBC censorship of comments on their website (they call it moderation). But mostly it is orwellian double-thinking occupying the mind of the average Westerner. Examples? Even after this photo - http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/00065/mhli/0065... a rare Westerner will allow himself to think there is no rover on Mars. It is self-censorship at almost pre-conscious level what horrifies me in the Western world.
ominds 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Many sites speak against Islam and its prophet, many of them speak against the Koran and its teachings. No demonstrations have gone all out against them. They hold a POV that is not acceptable to Muslims, but that's fine. Many of them even attempt to do research about the topic they talk about to prove their POVs. The question is, would you consider someone who creates a film portraying Jesus or Mohammad as a child molester or as a fraud as someone practicing free speech? I think there is quite a difference between the two.
janeesah 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing is, violence is not the correct response to hateful or derogatory speech. It's much more effective to use positive actions to prove the speech wrong; people don't respond well to losing verbal arguments, but no one can argue with results from positive actions.
beaker52 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The solution is quite simple to achieve individually, but near impossible to get everyone to achieve at once.

Stop being insulted.
Stop being offended.
Let things go.
Life is too short for it.

If you're not offended, it doesn't matter what people say. Then we can all say what we like and no-one has to worry.

duedl0r 21 hours ago 1 reply      
this would be true if "western world" == USA. But it isn't. It's a subset of it, and certainly not true for all the western countries.
guard-of-terra 17 hours ago 1 reply      
In any war between the religious man and the atheist, support the atheist.
ommunist 20 hours ago 0 replies      
What the author forgot to say is that censorship in mainstream media is not a cage. Its a skeleton.
Red Bull Stratos Skydive Rescheduled for today redbullstratos.com
255 points by thehodge  1 day ago   137 comments top 36
molmalo 1 day 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 1 day ago 1 reply      
FYI, this is the anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the speed of sound in the Bell X-1 in 1947:


Arjuna 1 day 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 1 day 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 1 day 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
kloncks 1 day ago 0 replies      
Delayed by 20s in case a tragic accident occurs.
bmac27 1 day 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 1 day 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 1 day ago 2 replies      
How much bandwidth do 5.4 mio viewers consume? Can someone give me a number?
lifeformed 1 day 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 1 day ago 2 replies      
Felix's helmet heating apears to be broken. They've also cut the radio talk between Felix and Joseph.
ubershmekel 1 day 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.


dropshop 1 day 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 1 day 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 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately I barely missed the live jump. Will a recorded video be posted, or is there one already available?
LinaLauneBaer 1 day 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 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's the JSON endpoint with the data from the launch: http://services.redbullstratos.com/LiveData/Get
molmalo 1 day ago 5 replies      
IS someone else having trouble with youtube, showing "static" ? (can't connect to live stream)
thesis 1 day 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 1 day ago 4 replies      
All in the name of selling sugary sodas. Noble.
dsr12 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really liked the mission timeline page: http://www.redbullstratos.com/the-mission/mission-timeline
bestest 17 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.
brown9-2 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the US at least, you can also watch live on TV on The Discovery Channel.
mckoss 1 day ago 1 reply      
Almost 5 million people watching live now. Compare to presidential debate with 67 million viewers - not bad!
ccarpenterg 1 day ago 0 replies      
dhughes 1 day ago 2 replies      
He has a lot of external stuff on his suit I'm worried at Mach 1 it will be torn off.
Shtirlic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where is the outside camera located?
tisme 1 day ago 0 replies      
The guy commenting on the video seems absolutely clueless.
Heliosmaster 1 day ago 0 replies      
roughly in 1hr from now he will get to the desired altitude.
nphrk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just landed!
morequestions 1 day ago 1 reply      
Question - is he going to land in the same country he took from?
nodata 1 day 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.
Exotic data structures concatenative.org
240 points by wslh  1 day ago   24 comments top 9
jandrewrogers 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty good list of data structures that are out there, that are also useful, and to which most programmers never seem to have been introduced. I regularly use variants of some of the data structures listed (plus several that did not make the list) and frequently get questions about the design and structure from programmers that have never seen them.

In practice, you can get away with knowing just a handful of data structures and most programmers do. However, when it comes time to profile it is valuable to have alternatives to what the standard libraries and implementations offer. For any given set of constraints on the intended use case and workload for a classic container, there is usually a data structure that is nearly ideal for that use case. Also, there are often neat ideas buried in some of these data structures that are worth learning for their own sake.

For the work that I do (high-performance C++) the first pass will often use the C++ STL. When we start profiling, the STL is usually among the first things that need to be replaced. Having a large number of workload optimized data structures in the toolkit for the same abstract container makes this relatively easy.

Strilanc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice article, although a bit terse. One part that jumped out at me was:

> It is possible to implement fully persistent arrays in O(1) space per update, with O(lglgN) time for access and updates [4].

This is surprising because it would guarantee at most a log(log(n)) slowdown for any immutable data structure (instead of the log(n) bound I was aware of). But then I checked out the paper and it turns out that the complexity is conditional:

> Fully persistent array use can also be provided
at O(1) amortized cost, provided that the algorithm satisfies a simple requirement as to
uniformity of access. For those algorithms which do not access the array uniformly or
single-threadedly, array reads or updates take at most O(log n) amortized time, where n
is the size of the array

By uniformity they mean no index is used more than K times the average use-per-index (for some constant K). A simple example of a data structure breaking that condition is a heap. The top element is accessed every query but the bottom elements, that dominate the average, are accessed once per n queries (not a constant).

jayferd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would especially appreciate how one might go about implementing these in some of the concatenative languages listed there, as these kinds of data structures tend to be pointer- and memory-based, which I've found difficult to replicate in Forth et al.
cdelahousse 1 day ago 0 replies      
The first data structure, the Compact dynamic array, is explained beautifully for an undergraduate audience, in Pat Morin's Open Data Structures open source data structures textbook. He calls them rootish array stacks.


tveita 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I tried to find projects or libraries that have implemented the split hashtable, but searching for "split hashtables" gave few relevant results.

Does this go by other names?

Evbn 1 day ago 1 reply      
compact-array seems like a specialization of a rope, with the tree structure arbitrarily capped at depth=2, and without the benefits of O(log(n)) insertion.
erichocean 1 day ago 0 replies      
split-hashtables look pretty cool.
noconflict 23 hours ago 0 replies      
For sure read this as "Erotic data structures."
itsgeneral 1 day ago 3 replies      
Some of the ones that didn't make it:

Smushed list. Size O(1). The smushed list is a list of variables (of the same type), stored in a single variable of that type. To produce the smushed list, simply XOR all the elements of the list together, then store. To get a value back, simply XOR the smushed list by all the elements other than the one you want. Smushing is also embarrassingly parallel (you can smush two halves separately and then smush the results) so producing smushed lists is blazingly fast.

Unlinked list. O(n). This is slightly faster than a linked list, and acts as a "black box". Simply allocate nodes that are not linked to each other in any way. The data normally stays out of the way of your program, but in case of a core dump you can find it again. NOTE: If your language does reference-counting this will not work. Get a real language that does what you say.

Search-bush. Search trees are good at bisecting data, but they are not really conducive to a random walk for inspiration. Begin by constructing a binary search tree, keeping track of all the nodes you've added, and simply add a third, random, pointer to each node - have it point at a random node somewhere in the tree. In the search algorithm, either follow the left, right, or random node, depending on how much meandering you are interested in doing. The journey is the destination.

Linus Torvalds Answers Your Questions slashdot.org
223 points by tmhedberg  4 days ago   131 comments top 9
wissler 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody else notice the date animation and mouse over text for same?
humdumb 4 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.

Ask HN: Your best passive income sources?
223 points by robbiet480  5 days ago   214 comments top 57
nostromo 4 days ago 2 replies      
Real estate. (Ok, not 100% passive, but what is?) You can buy a duplex for not much more than a single family house in many US cities and, thanks to the low interest rates for an owner-occupied mortgage, rent out half and live for free.

Unlike tech, you will not have a giant windfall with real estate; but also unlike tech, it's very easy to price your product, find customers, and figure out what your cashflow will be for years to come.

patio11 5 days ago 2 replies      
Halloweenbingocards.net will probably hit about $6k this October (BCC will hit maybe $10k). Not bad for $250 paid in like 2009 or so.

I did a course on lifecycle emails for SaaS businesses recently. That did pretty well - a few hundred sales.

apike 4 days ago 4 replies      
Two years ago, when we started Steamclock, we spent our first two months building a niche iPhone app. We've done point releases but not added much, yet today it pays our rent. http://www.steamclocksw.com/weddingdj/

We haven't done any serious research or marketing for it. We simply focused down and built the highest quality app we could build, and it worked.

JoeCortopassi 5 days ago 1 reply      
[Related]Ask HN: How much recurring income do you generate, and from what? (1 month ago)


jawns 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is probably not your ordinary type of passive income, but it's income for work I would otherwise be doing anyway, so hopefully it counts.

I run Correlated (http://www.correlated.org), a site that publishes one surprising correlation a day, using data generated by readers.

It was never really intended to be a money-making project, although I did give display ads and affiliate links a try, with very little success.

And then ... a book deal fell into my lap.

I had been shopping around a book proposal for "Experiments on Babies" (http://www.experimentsonbabies.com), and one of the publishers that was interested in that book also happened to note that I was the creator of Correlated, and asked if I would be interested in a separate deal to turn Correlated into a book.

I got a very nice advance for the two book deals, and in the case of Correlated, the writing involved is, for the most part, what I'd be doing anyway, deal or no deal.

veb 4 days ago 1 reply      
I use TeeSpring (http://www.teespring.com) to create t-shirts and market them towards people on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ModernSherlock).

Generally does very well. Way better than other stuff I've tried, like SEO/Marketing etc. The only problems I have is using a crap design, so it pays to know what the audience really wants before I try selling it to them.

spiredigital 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd have to say my two eCommerce businesses. They took a ton of time to setup and market initially, but now they generate a full-time income as I have a team in place to manage operations.

I love to work on them and often do, but I'll frequently take weeks off at a time to travel and everything continues to run smoothly. The entire business is based on the drop shipping model, so I don't have to stock any inventory and can run the business from anywhere. Plus, the initial capital outlay was just $1,500 so I didn't have to take on any risk.

For anyone interested, I blog about running my two businesses and eCommerce in general at:


choxi 5 days ago 1 reply      
This might not be the kind of answer you're looking for, but the best way to truly passively increase your wealth is to take care of your personal finances (e.g. pay off your student loans, pay off your credit card balance, invest in a lifecycle fund, see if your employer offers a 401(k))

I personally really liked the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich -- it has a poor name but it's dense with incredibly practical advice particularly for people coming right out of college suddenly making an income.

suresk 4 days ago 5 replies      
I really like building developer tools and kind of miss doing it full time. I built a tool for testing/playing with REST services last year and sell it on the OS X app store:


I'm not getting rich off it, but it usually brings in a few hundred bucks per month and I like hearing from fellow developers who benefit from using it.

rjurney 4 days ago 3 replies      
In California, selling cannibas to a co-op you belong to as a patient could be a nice supplemental income. An Aerogrow makes it easy, and with six legal plants, you can grow at least 1.5 pounds every 90 days. I think it works out that you can make $10-15k/year for not much work.

And no, my wife would not let me do this :)

andrewljohnson 4 days ago 3 replies      
Our highest selling app (a hiking app) makes 15-30K/month, depending on the season. Our other navigation apps don't make quite as much yet, but some are getting there. You can figure out from my profile which it is, but I didn't want to name it in the thread and have this be something that turned up in searches.

I wouldn't call it totally passive, but if we ignored it, it wouldn't stop making money. We have consistently grown the sales over the last couple of years, and we are about to introduce a premium in-app purchase.

I have always thought making iPhone apps was a good business, despite what you hear on this forum.

mcantor 5 days ago 1 reply      
I sell posters of a vim cheat sheet I designed (see my profile for link). I ship my inventory to a 3rd-party fulfillment provider who plugs in to Shopify with a custom app, so all I have to do is re-print when the inventory runs out and handle the occasional customer service problem. Digital downloads are a total freebie.
ericdykstra 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not 100% passive, but fantasy sports has been a nice side income for me this year. I used to play a lot for almost nothing, but then found daily fantasy games (pick a new team every game day, play against other people) and have made a decent return on my investment.

I play on fanduel.com almost exclusively. If you have any questions or want some help getting started, send me an email (in profile). My referral link if you're so inclined: http://www.fanduel.com/?invitedby=yudarvish&cnl=da

kolinko 4 days ago 2 replies      
Real estate - I used to own two flats, and get $200-$300 from each one of them. I recently sold one though - I think I can make a better use of the money by other means.
iPhone/iPad apps - I did two or three successful apps, right now they bring in $20-$40 daily. The last time I touched/promoted any one of them was last December, and the sales are quite steady now.
I bought some S.DICE shares ( http://polimedia.us/bitcoin/mpex.php?mpsic=S.DICE ) @0.0032, spent 800 BTC on them I think. Got ~20BTC from dividends first month, ~5BTC dividends the second. It's very risky, but there is some potential for growth there.

All in all I get ~1200 USD of passive income which would be considered an average pay in Poland. I've got a startup on top of that which brings a lot more though.

sinak 4 days ago 3 replies      
Two friends and I started http://repeaterstore.com straight out of college. Within a year it was profitable, and within 3 it was doing $3 million in revenue (and about a 15% profit margin). It's pretty much stabilized since then, and we hired a manager to monitor the operation. Most stock is shipped through drop shoppers, we just have 2 customer support people to handle phone calls and emails. Forthe last 2 years we've been working on new, more interesting startups - but having a stable source of income has been incredibly valuable in letting us bootstrap until we could raise funds from VCs. Niche eCommerce can be awesome.
danneu 4 days ago 1 reply      
I make (well, past-tense at the moment) almost $2k/month on a vBulletin play-by-post gaming forum I started back in 2007. One single adsense banner below the navbar.

I actually burned out within 6 months of trying to bootstrap the fledgling forum with fake activity, clever backlinks, and entertaining the trickle of registrants.

Burned out enough to take a a break for a while. Came back months later and it was a bustling forum of activity. Apparently I'd just reached that critical mass necessary for the community to be autonomous (able to entertain itself and cajole newbies to stay) before I took that break. Nowadays, I do very little beyond pay the server bill. It's staggering the amount of work volunteers (moderators) will put into maintaining a community and I'm grateful.

Recently had adsense disabled on my website after some automated process decided my website was "mature/adult-themed". The automated email cited a post in our forum's off-topic spammy section where some user copy and pasted the phrase "sexual intercourse" over and over again in Mandarin. Just some non-Mandarin-speaking teenagers being silly for a moment. Now I'm working on getting adsense reactivated.

neel980 5 days ago 1 reply      
A supportive working wife, nothing beats that :)
bigethan 5 days ago 1 reply      
Airbnb. High value customers and very little overhead on my part. Not totally passive, I guess, but takes up very little time and makes us a decent bit of money on the side.
hendi_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bunker App (https://www.bunkerapp.com)

Bunker is my SaaS solution which I market to freelancers and consultants who are looking for a complete solution for their small business (from creating quotes and proposals over project management and time-tracking to invoicing and payments).

Most other services specialize on a subset of what's needed (e.g. they're only doing invoicing, or only time-tracking, or only project management) and you have to go shopping for multiple solutions (and cross fingers that all of them integrate well with each other!). With Bunker my focus is on providing a complete, well-integrated experience.

So you could say my niche is "covering multiple niches" ;-)

I'd say that Bunker provides me passive income because my support burden is negligible and my churn-rate less then my conversion-rate. So if I wanted to I could go completely passive, but I'm committed to improve the app further and grow it.

dangrossman 4 days ago 1 reply      
I launched http://www.improvely.com/ in August, and it's already eclipsed my other sites in recurring revenue.
bdunn 5 days ago 3 replies      
Planscope (https://planscope.io)
- predictable, more-growth-than-churn SaaS revenue

Compared to my book, which fizzles out when I'm not actively marketing it, building a B2B subscription product is the best, most turnkey income source I've ever had.

pkamb 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Mac App Store. Consistent sales of my $8 app EdgeCase and the $3 Reddit Notifier. Plus the more expensive One-Hand Keyboard.

In my experience it's much easier to price higher on the Mac App Store compared to iOS. Especially when you're selling a constantly-running notifier/utility. Feels more worth it when the app is passively used every time you use your Mac, as opposed to whenever you happen to find and use the random app on your 3rd home screen in iOS.

- EdgeCase http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/edgecase/id513826860?mt=12

- Reddit Notifier https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reddit-notifier/id468366517?...

- One-Hand Keyboard http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/one-hand-keyboard-one-hand/id...

thangalin 4 days ago 1 reply      

A paltry $100 per year in ad revenue.

tudorizer 4 days ago 3 replies      
Good timing with this thread. My attempt is with making iOS games. Trying to mix pleasure and profit. First attempt is http://clumsyandthestars.com/. Working on a second one now...
ashray 4 days ago 1 reply      
I started a site 13 years ago and it is one of the largest sites in it's niche right now. Very very popular. I do work on it many hours a week (can range from 0 to 100 hours/week) but I don't really have to. I just love working on it, adding new features, etc. I would definitely call the work passive or hobbyist - even though sometimes I'm up till 4 in the morning working on X new feature.

Income is in the early 5 digits per month range (USD). Traffic dropped a bit from August to September so I've been working more on it lately :)

ryangilbert 4 days ago 4 replies      
nflbyeweeks.com - gets over 1,000 uniques each day and generates between $2 and $5 each day with Adsense. Not overly impressive but it's still nice.
scheff 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm about to write a book on precisely this topic. I have been looking hard at addressing this issue over the past 10 years so that I can focus on what's important (Startups!). And I believe that I have finally found the best passive income source, given the limitations that people like ourselves are working with.

I'm still in the process of experimenting with my method to see how far I can take it, but the basics of it work already.

A lot of what people define as "passive income" is questionable. Most, if not all, passive income investment strategies require you to hold down a job, or other income, while financing assets that some day, HOPEFULLY, will be paid off enough that you don't have to work ever again.

Most of those plans take too long for my satisfaction. There are other means and methods if you learn and apply yourself. My book will hopefully detail and compare my method with a majority of others.

The obvious ones to look at, if you can invest time and/or money -

* Share trading
* Property investment
* Property flipping/options
* Google AdSense (or similar)
* Affiliate marketing
* Tim Ferriss' muse / 4HWW
* Network marketing/MLM
* Website flipping

All of them have varying degrees of learning curve and time commitment to make happen. Few people will tell you how much commitment you need to make, they just focus on dangling the carrot.

pacomerh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very low ones, the first one is selling a set of shutterstock pictures, aprox 100 bucks a month. And the lowest one, 30-40 bucks a month with adsense clicks. Basically a list of powerpoint presenations (chain letters) for the spanish speaking. I spend 30 min a week. I get the PPS files, convert a couple of them to html and put them on a wordpress blog. edit: forgot to put a url http://powerpointz.com
Matsta 5 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook was definitely my biggest earner until they decided to crack down on everything at the end of last year and basically screwed everyone over.

It's the same deal for SEO, used to be a easy way to promote Adsense, CPA offers and what not, but the penguin change just makes it harder and harder to rank for keywords.

2012 has been definitely a slow year for Internet marketing, the worst I've faced since I started in 2006.

vu0tran 4 days ago 0 replies      
How timely. I'm actually starting a challenge for myself to see if I can bootstrap something to at least $5,000 in revenue a month. I've tried and failed many times, but this time, I'm going to force myself to only live off what I can make with this product.


raintrees 5 days ago 0 replies      
Real Estate, multi-family rentals.
byoung2 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have two sites that I built 3 years ago that still rank well for a few valuable keywords. Each site has hundreds of pages of content but one page on each site is number 1 on Google for keywords that pay $5-10 per click. Not a lot of traffic, but enough for a few hundred a month from adsense and affiliate links.
abhishekdesai 1 day ago 0 replies      

Launched in 2007 as a free service, got covered in CNBC India. Got loads of requests overnight so had to make it paid afterwards.

Around USD 2-3k income without doing lot of efforts.

It is one of the most unique ideas you can ever come across. Requires no paid marketing. You get extremely happy when Olympians, photographers use signatures designed by you on their websites and photographs as autographs.

Highly gratifying passive income.

Jemaclus 4 days ago 0 replies      
For a long time I refused to sign up for Amazon Prime, and I'd order things that cost $19 or $23, and I'd hunt around for something that would bring in that additional $6 or $3 to meet the minimum price for free Super Saver Shipping (USD $25). I got tired of hunting around for that, so I built http://finishmyorder.com/.

I get like $6/mo in affiliate fees, but I don't really advertise it so I'm lucky I get even that.

fudged71 5 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon affiliate links somehow floating through the abyss and still pulling in pennies.
seanlinehan 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was making a few thousand dollars a month from a coupon site. The Panda update completely knocked me out of the rankings for the past 4 months, but I've been slowly climbing back up on my top keywords. It was literally no work whatsoever - I wrote a script to aggregate coupons automagically and outsourced SEO. Turns out the latter wound up killing me. (If you're an SEO master, please reach out to me on Twitter) :)
enobrev 4 days ago 0 replies      
No matter how hard I try, all my eggs only seem to fit into one basket at a time. I don't recommend it, but it has worked well for me thus far.
SeoxyS 4 days ago 0 replies      
Airbnb + legacy Mac & iPhone apps. 50k/yr on average.
bosco 4 days ago 1 reply      
pixurwall.com - about 2-3k hits a day generating $20-30 in revenue. Cost 200 bucks to make and has been pretty consistent for over 8 months.
mgz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have built http://search-logs.com back in 2006 in a couple of days and ad revenue still lets me work on interesting projects, not worrying about getting a "real" job.
kcorey 4 days ago 0 replies      
I make lower 5 digits per year from http://docrobot.co.uk.

It's effectively an online desktop publishing system aimed at making it easy for HR teams to deliver TRS (Total Reward Statements) in 10% of the time, at 10% of the cost, and with fewer errors.

It took a couple years to write, so I wouldn't say it was an easy investment, but it was fun to write. These days it ticks over and I don't spend much time on it at all.

Perhaps I should work on advertising more...


icoder 4 days ago 0 replies      
I created http://www.colormandala.com

It makes ~2 dollars a day from adsense. Breadcrumbs, but I haven't spend any time on it for like half a year. Amazon affiliate adds almost nothing to this. Being in the Chrome Webstore seems to have helped a lot in page visits.

I still wonder from time to time if I should put some effort in upping this a bit. But my time is limited and the app doesn't fit my current strategy (mobile, mhealth specifically).

khet 4 days ago 1 reply      
I spent 2 weeks on a Themeforest xhtml/css theme about 3 years ago. It still gives me a 40$ every month. Nothing to brag about but it takes care of my hosting bill :)
collegeappz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've learned that my passive income sources have become nonexistent and going into the biz. That's to be expected in the early years of a startup. If anyone has other advice if I were to have pennies to save, do share.
hodder 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stocks work the best for me so far. Specifically Graham style net-nets.
dshimy 4 days ago 0 replies      
https://www.jabwire.com - collaboration tool for software projects, SaaS revenue
dhechols 4 days ago 0 replies      
Last February I started a small YouTube channel surrounding eSports called DrZealotTV. http://youtube.com/DrZealotTV

Although it hasn't even broken even, I'm now equipped with a ton of expertise and I have a few efforts I'm working on that I think will be quite popular. :)

demostenes 4 days ago 0 replies      
My website about PC processors http://www.jaki-procesor.pl/ in Polish) gets me around 200$-300$ per month. US version http://www.best-processor.net/ is barely alive tho.
ww520 5 days ago 0 replies      
Real estate
nsoonhui 4 days ago 0 replies      
Setting up an ecommerce shop and let my friend runs it.
kkoppenhaver 4 days ago 0 replies      
A site that I've recently stumbled across and been reading through voraciously is smartpassiveincome.com. It has some pretty solid tips and in 3 episodes of his free podcast, he goes over 8 potential types of "passive" income business models.
marcelfalliere 4 days ago 0 replies      
> theonemillioneuromap.com

I got 4 euros (minus google checkout fees) so far.

armenarmen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I own aidsforhearing.com a shitty amazon store selling hearing aids, go figure it's made nothing.


ispekhov 4 days ago 1 reply      
Whoever is offering stock as an income opportunity is not smart. And if you think stock is a passive income opportunity, you are dumb. Go read James Altucher.
pczzy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have a website, http://www.mfrbee.com . Not a lot of traffic, but enough for a few hundred a month from adsense.
ispekhov 4 days ago 0 replies      
Go download Qriket app for your iPhone. It lets you scan QR codes and win money. Not a tedious task that will net you $20 per day.
vjz 4 days ago 2 replies      
Tax-free municipal bonds
How Linux 3.6 Nearly Broke PostgreSQL lwn.net
216 points by alrs  4 days ago   51 comments top 12
cs702 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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  4 days ago   35 comments top 16
aaronblohowiak 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you just want the good stuff, it is at https://gobyexample.com/
mseepgood 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a really good format. One of the best language tutorials I've seen.
jamesmiller5 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, I was looking for something like this.
hntester123 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the site and thanks. As a guy interested in Go, I plan to check it out over time.
Sol " a sunny little homemade virtual machine rsms.me
200 points by whalesalad  9 hours ago   33 comments top 9
simplekoala 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I didn't realize the author is a designer till I went to his about me page. Pretty awesome that he can write some serious code. Respect.

<edits to correct grammar>

flashingpumpkin 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's also worth linking to David Beazley's Curious Course on Coroutines and Concurrency [1]. It's exploring the ideas of a task scheduler implemented in Python. This article reminded me of it. It's not a full VM, but about half way into the PDF he goes into quite some detail on how to build a task scheduler modelled after an OS and how it works in an actual OS. Give it a read.

[1] http://www.dabeaz.com/coroutines/

ojiikun 5 hours ago 5 replies      
Serious (non-snarky) question: are projects like this no longer standard fare for undergraduate CS majors? This example is rather comprehensive and well-documented, but is almost spot on what all 50-75 of us had to do for a Junior-level class at Georgia Tech back in 2003 or so.
chubot 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is cool, especially the coroutines. BTW the predecessor to Lua was called "Sol" -- moon and sun in Spanish/Portuguese.

(It was described in one of the Lua papers, but Google for "lua language predecessor sol")

s_tec 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This warms my heart; It's wonderful to see people doing crazy stuff like this for fun.
brianjolney 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Somewhat offtopic - I really liked the digitized whiteboard looking drawings. Is that off a tablet, or a photographed whiteboard?
vhf 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is like Minix, but for VM ! :
webmonkeyuk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it just me that read "Bum queue" instead of "Run queue" in the first diagram
donteatbark 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Love the creativity!
A circuit and PCB editor in the browser circuits.io
199 points by skbohra123  4 days ago   79 comments top 24
RobotCaleb 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 2 days 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Still primitive compared to this http://www.falstad.com/circuit/
theatrus2 4 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 4 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
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.
srlake 2 days 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.
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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome job, way to go Karel and co.
zobzu 4 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
194 points by nphase  3 days ago   50 comments top 20
bmelton 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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.
jordanmessina 3 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.

ajsharp 3 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.

endlessvoid94 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Nothing great was ever not shipped"

That's gold.

gfodor 3 days ago 1 reply      
savories 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
'Nothing great was ever not shipped."
marblar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Holman's slides are always top notch.
perlpimp 3 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish people in my company prepared slide decks like this.
marcfawzi 3 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 3 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
193 points by saym  23 hours ago   45 comments top 18
bjourne 20 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 22 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 22 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 18 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.

robinduckett 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is Svbtle done right - Not closed and proprietary (apple) but open and free for extension (open source).
pajju 19 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. :)

chuppo 20 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 22 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?

alexbowe 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It's cool :) and I just want to say that the readme is awesome. I love developers who communicate :P
fiveliterstang 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't really understand the implementation here, is this a "baked" system or does it require python hosting/node.js and the like on your web server?

Also why do we need to sign up for developer keys at all these services? Kinda crazy

brianlovin 21 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.
JamesChevalier 13 hours 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.

timdl 20 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 21 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 22 hours ago 0 replies      
very awesome! make this easy to use for the mainstream and you have a winner!
downey 22 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. :-)
obilgic 22 hours ago 2 replies      
this should be saas
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 4 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
175 points by interro  1 day ago   13 comments top 5
languagehacker 1 day 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 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is awesome! Any plans to add other sites, like amazon, yelp, tripadvisor, etc!
knes 1 day 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  4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
The AWS cost structure is byzantine in its complexity. This cheat sheet helps a lot. Thank you.
ck2 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Complementary chart:


ojbyrne 4 days ago 0 replies      
Useful. QA Comment: There's a typo in Instance Sizes, "mirco."
akh 4 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 4 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.
calpaterson 4 days ago 3 replies      
Aren't the on-demand prices a bit useless? Doesn't everyone reserve instances?
captaintacos 4 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).

mememememememe 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is really useful...
conoro 4 days ago 0 replies      
Finally a summary I can use.
JackJ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Helpful - thanks
       cached 16 October 2012 04:11:01 GMT