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1
The Future of Markdown codinghorror.com
867 points by dko  5 days ago   327 comments top 54
1
dgreensp 5 days ago 14 replies      
Wow, I wasn't expecting my email to Jeff to end up as a front-page blog post!

The point here is that Markdown doesn't have a spec, nor do any of its variants to my knowledge, so I was proposing to come up with some Markdown-like language that does have a spec. Under discussion here is the more ambitious (but also appealing) plan of writing an official spec for Markdown, the same way JavaScript got a spec in the form of ECMAScript that we now identify with JavaScript itself.

A spec is a long, tedious, human-readable document that explains the behavior of a system in unambiguous terms. Specs are important because they allow us to reason about a language like Markdown without reference to any particular implementation, and they allow people to write implementations (Markdown processors) independently that behave identically. The Markdown Syntax Documentation is not a spec (it's highly ambiguous), nor is any implementation (not human-readable; some behaviors are probably accidental or incidental and difficult to port perfectly). The hard part of writing a spec is codifying the details in English, and secondarily making decisions about what should happen in otherwise ambiguous or undefined cases.

My motivation for working on a Markdown spec is first and foremost avoiding "bit rot" of content, which happens when we write content against one Markdown implementation and then later process it with another. We don't have this concern with HTML, JSON, or JavaScript, or at least we know what bounds to stay within to write code that will work on any implementation. This is achieved through specs, even if only implementers ever read them.

I would love pointers to Markdown processors that are implemented in a more principled way than the original code, for example using standard-looking lexing and parsing passes, but that still handle nested blockquotes and bullet lists together with hard-wrapped paragraphs.

2
blasdel 5 days ago 9 replies      
John Gruber's original Markdown.pl is one of the worst small programs I have ever read, completely riddled with outright bugs and misfeatures that continually bite its users in the ass. It's awful even by the already low standards of hand-written many-pass regex-based spaghetti-parsers.

Nobody should be using the original script, and unfortunately many of the other implementations out there are direct transliterations that replicate all of its absurd errors, like where if you mention the MD5 hash of another token in the document, the hash will be replaced with the token, because it uses that as an inline escaping mechanism! Reddit got hit with a XSS virus that got through their filters because of it: http://blog.reddit.com/2009/09/we-had-some-bugs-and-it-hurt-...

See the changelog for what started as a PHP transliteration and turned into a rewrite that squashed 125 (!) unacknowledged bugs: http://michelf.com/projects/php-markdown/

The worst part is that he outright refuses to either disclaim or fix his implementation, and so far he's repudiated everyone else's attempts to do so. He's a terrible programmer and a worse maintainer, he really still thinks the documentation on his site is comprehensive and canonical. As much as Jeff Atwood leaps at every chance to play the fool, there's no way his directorship can be anything but an improvement.

3
raldi 5 days ago 5 replies      
I'd also advocate for accepting reversed ()[]'s on links.

In other words, let the user type:

    [something](http://whatever.com)

or

    (something)[http://whatever.com]

...and have both work exactly the same.

It will save a lot of trouble -- and especially when linking to a Wikipedia page whose URL contains parentheses.

4
X-Istence 5 days ago 6 replies      
I might be the only one, but I actually prefer Markdowns handling of a single "enter" without spaces at the end to mean that the paragraph is not finished. It makes writing blogs and various other stuff in Vim much simpler, and I can more easily reformat text to wrap at 80 characters, and have better control over it.

Could I soft-wrap in my editor? Sure, but that would mean that the text files sitting on my hard drive now have very long strings in them making it harder to grep, making it harder to add to git (change a single character, entire line is now a diff :-().

I hope that doesn't become the default.

5
kaptain 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why?

Why get all angry at John Gruber? As many have already noted, he created Markdown for himself and released so that others could use it. AFAIK he didn't put any license/restrictions on it outside of calling himself BDFL. Whatever his skills as a programmer, writer, or his role as Mouthpiece of Apple, the vitriol is unnecessary (but absolutely fanscinating to watch). My panties bunch up naturally, no need to allow my feelings regarding Gruber to bunch them further.

Why get his approval? In the same spirit that Gruber created something for himself, you should just create something for yourself. I find it hard to believe that Gruber was the first person that conceived the idea of user-friendly text-markup. The new standard could just be inspired by Markdown and that would be a win-win: a respectful nod towards Gruber as well as the ability to move towards something 'better'.

6
dfc 5 days ago 1 reply      
I really hope that they borrow a lot if not everything from pandoc[1]. My only real complaint with pandoc is the table formatting, but I think fiddlosopher is adding org-mode like table support.

If you have not taken a pandoc for a spin I highly recommend you do so soon. In addition to being a great markdown dialect the pandoc tool set is the swiss army knife of text formatting. It is amazing how many formats pandoc can read and/or write.

[1] http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/README.html

EDIT: I spoke too soon, Fiddlosopher continues to impress. I just checked the open issues and a little less than a month ago he added "limited org-table support." Based off of the rest of pandoc "limited" probably means something like 85% to 95% :)

https://github.com/jgm/pandoc/issues/519

7
SeoxyS 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm the author of a Markdown text (prose) editor[1], and can attest to Jeff's statement that all Markdown's parsers suck. The official perl regex-based implementation is a joke. Sundown is great, but only works for cross-compilation to other markup languages; it doesn't work for syntax highlighting, which is what I'm more interested in.

I ended up writing my own in Objective-C. It's not very pretty, and it doesn't use a formal grammar (just a lexer + custom grammar code), but it does the trick. I took a few liberties with the spec: throwing in GitHub-flavored code blocks.

https://gist.github.com/29dabe4b6e762ee221df

[1]: http://getmacchiato.com/

8
eob 5 days ago 1 reply      
As a heavy LaTeX user (phd student; can't escape it), I'm convinced that there is a small enough subset of LaTeX that actually gets used day-to-day that someone could figure out a way to shim it into something like Markdown.

And then, for the LaTeX that you can't shim in, just have some escape hatch that sends fragments out to a renderer.
If I could only have:

    * Math mode
* Citations and Bib files
* Labels and References

Then I'd be willing to go through a lot of extra pain to get all the weird tables and precise image placements that are inevitable in a 2-column ACM format.

EDIT: Having just investigated Pandoc, which many here are talking about, I realize this might be exactly what I've been looking for :)

9
engtech 5 days ago 2 replies      
From the comments on the blog:

   "I'm reminded of the guy who decides that there should be 
one standard because there are n divergent implementations.

So he goes and writes his own. Now there are n+1 divergent implementations."

That is probably the most likely outcome, but kudos to Jeff for trying.

The idea of Markdown is great, but I found the implementation of links is less than obvious. (haven't tried it in 4 years, so there was probably other issues that I had that I've forgotten)

The problem I inherently always end up having with "parses to HTML" syntax conventions is there are always warts where the syntax is harder to remember than the HTML it is supposed to parse to.

10
StavrosK 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not that psyched about automatic return-based linebreaks. Everyone thinks they should use linebreaks to align their text, and the system should just ignore all single line breaks.

The current behavior of Markdown solves this problem very well. I don't want the newlines I enter for non-wrapping editors to remain in the generated HTML.

11
antirez 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love Markdown, and I hate Markdown.

I love it because the world needs an easy-for-humans way to format in pure ASCII without any tool. It is much simpler than using even the most well designed GUI. You can even write books with it, and you can focus on content.

But I hate Markdown. I hate it because it is superficially good: a lot of Markdown seems to make sense at a first glance, but if you look at it more closely you see that a lot is broken in its design (IMHO the fact that the reference implementation is broken is the minor of the issues).

It is surely possible to fix it. However it's better to have a broken Markdown now that no markdown at all. The fact that Github and Stack Overflow and Reddit are using it makes it absolutely obvious how useful and great the concept is. The actual design, implementation, and specifications can be fixed now. So kudos to the original inventor, but it needs a second pass from people that can give it a more coherent shape, with clear behavior, minor surprise, and parsing in mind.

12
starpilot 5 days ago 1 reply      
It'd be nice if it Markdown was added to HN, at least for a consistent way of quoting that's better than using the code tag (which frequently cuts off text for some reason in mobile Safari).
13
kbd 5 days ago 1 reply      
Here's hoping they can finally work natural _underline_ support in...

Edit: I've wondered whether the original Markdown didn't have underline support because <u> was deprecated/removed from HTML. FWIW, <u> is now back in HTML5.

14
christiangenco 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why not just move to Pandoc[1]?

1. http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/

15
wreel 5 days ago 4 replies      
I found that I've moved on to reStructuredText. It doesn't seem to be marketed as much as Markdown (the only reason I know about it is because of Sphinx) but I feel that it's a bit more capable. Simple tables are exceptionally easy and it handles URLs with parens in it just fine (a common pain when trying to link to Wikipedia articles with Markdown).
16
zrail 5 days ago 0 replies      
(shameless plug) I wrapped Pandoc[1] in a web service and added on nice PDF exports and called it Docverter[2]. It will convert basically anything plain-text, including Markdown, into almost anything else plaintext, HTML, RTF or Docx. I also added rich PDF exports that go through a HTML intermediary.

If this gains some traction I'm sure I'll be adding support for it at some point.

[1]: a wonderful almost-everything-to-everything text converter http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/

[2]: http://www.docverter.com

17
_pdeschen 5 days ago 1 reply      
A BNF grammar would be nice to start with.

IMHO, pandoc markdown support is the mother of all implement featuring lots of goodies (table and footnote to name 2)

18
kibwen 5 days ago 1 reply      
How would one go about taking a project with a large corpus of non-standard markdown (e.g. Github, Reddit) and converting it to any standardized form, assuming that a standard is chosen that is not 100% backwards-compatible with all existing markdown flavors?

I don't think such a thing is feasible. I also don't think it's feasible for any proposed standard to simply look at the largest users and say "okay, we'll accept the idiosyncratic extensions of all of these differing flavors in an unambiguous way."

So assuming this pushes forward, there are (to my mind) two possible outcomes:

1) A backwards-incompatible standard emerges. No existing project adopts it, but new projects do. It gains legitimacy only once Github, Reddit, et al fade into obscurity.

2) A backwards-compatible standard emerges. Every large existing project adopts it, but the standard is so full of cruft and TIMTOWTDI that in ten years it gets usurped entirely by a challenger that emphasizes simplicity.

19
olalonde 5 days ago 1 reply      
What I really miss in Gruber's markdown is a way to hint syntax highlighting. For example, on Github:

    ```javascript
alert('woohoo');
```

20
nickpresta 5 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the Mou text editor for Markdown: http://mouapp.com/

Mou + the (built in) Github theme = best Markdown editing experience.

21
ddlatham 5 days ago 0 replies      
If everyone gets on board, great.

If only a couple sites band together, then I see it more like this:

http://xkcd.com/927/

22
dysoco 5 days ago 2 replies      
As a non-web developer I cry every time I need to use HTML: It's really "ugly" in some way (And I'm used to ugly languages).

But I have learned to love Markdown too, I hope in the future, distant future: Someone will create a language that integrates HTML and CSS into a nice Markdown-like language.

23
juliangamble 5 days ago 0 replies      
What is the canonical implementation of markdown?

> The problem with writing my own Markdown parser in Clojure is that Markdown is not a well-specified language. There is no "official" grammar, just an informal "Here's how it works" description and a really ugly reference implementation in Perl. http://briancarper.net/blog/415/

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7307480/what-is-the-canon...

24
ChuckMcM 5 days ago 1 reply      
This would be so freakin' great. Would especially love a couple of the github things in there like '''lang that would totally be awesome.
25
jlongster 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm excited about this too. I just wrote a blogging engine for node that allows you to edit posts in a web-based editor:

http://jlongster.com/edit/Introducing-Nunjucks,-a-Better-Jav...

I absolutely love the simplicity of Markdown, especially with github's addition of code fences/blocks. It's so trival now to add code and have it automatically highlighted. It's not nearly that simple in other formats (to get autohighlighting I guess).

Excited to see what will come of this.

26
matthewowen 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you've ever been involved in producing content management systems for non-technical users (typically involving TinyMCE/CKEditor etc etc) then you'll probably welcome this as much as I do.

Dodgy HTML, content pasted in from Word (with crazy styling intact), and a general encouragement for users to see text content in terms of styling rather than structure are all things that it will be delightful to see the end of.

27
jacobr 5 days ago 0 replies      
In a comment area (like on HN) it rarely makes sense to be able to add headings. Could some features of the specification be optional, so that a parser can be conforming even if it disabled those features?

Are there any parsers (preferably in JavaScript) which currently let you toggle features like that?

28
nkwiatek 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a huge fan of the current Markdown mark. I'd encourage the creator (dcurtis) to push it, because currently it feels like a first-stage idea " or perhaps, an execution without an idea at all.

There are many questions " "What is Markdown?", for starters " that feel unaddressed by the mark. Instead, we get the brute force approach: splitting up the word into smaller word parts, which is what you do with a word if you don't know what it means, or you have to gesture it in Charades.

Rather uninspiring for an idea so beautiful that Jeff and others can get so excited just thinking about it, but what else can you expect from such a mark whose approach is so stubbornly literal? I take that back " only one word part actually gets to be represented literally... the other only managed to become a letter, in a moment I can only imagine involved the creator muttering "good enough". He must have found this mark uninspiring as well, given that he sought to put a box around it.

At least consider that the down arrow on its own is an overloaded concept, particularly on the web. Without context " and a mark should not need context " M" could read like a hotkey or command of some kind. This kind of ambiguity is utterly unnecessary " you're making a mark; it can be whatever you want it to be. Push!

29
ianstormtaylor 5 days ago 3 replies      
It has always bothered me that _text_ is not underlined text, but italicized text. Why not /text/ for italicized text. It shows exactly what it is doing. And text for bold text.

I also see no reason for text and _text_ to produce the same output. It just seems like a fault in the original spec to me.

30
buster 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a reason why i should prefer Markdown over restructuredText? rst sems to me has all i need, it has specs, it has decent documentation, it has tools, it's not only used to output HTML but all kinds of stuff.

rst just looks more powerful and yet still as readable as markdown.

31
Tloewald 5 days ago 2 replies      
If it were up to me, I'd simply ask that markdown add support for h3 (other than hashes, e.g. Underline with hyphen and spaces) -- two levels of headings is all too frequently insufficient, inline links to images be rendered as image tags, inline links to videos etc. likewise become video tags, etc., the way other inline links become anchor links, and some form of table support be standardized.

Aside from that (and implementation bugs) I've been very happy with markdown.

32
antidaily 5 days ago 2 replies      
I can't be the only one who loathes Markdown.
33
TeMPOraL 5 days ago 1 reply      
Somebody please make a web-usable of Org Mode the language; it's like Markdown, but older, richer in features (while being as simple as Markdown) and is in daily use by many hackers for note taking, outlining, TODOs, organizing your life, etc.

I'm very happy that GitHub has an Org Mode renderer, even if rudimentary - I don't have to rewrite my notes and READMEs to Markdown.

34
kickingvegas 5 days ago 0 replies      
So, pulling an old man card: creating a formal spec for Markdown paves the way for adding more syntax which negates the main benefit of it: a lay person can interpret Markdown as a text file. If you want to add more syntax, we are better off using/extending LaTeX or troff.
35
lmm 5 days ago 0 replies      
All three of the "gotcha" changes suggested here are wrong, and changing them would kill what makes markdown great.

The one change for good I can think of would be removing the ability to embed HTML.

36
TazeTSchnitzel 5 days ago 0 replies      
OK. But please fix one thing first:

  1. hello
something
2. foobar

Should not render as:

  1. hello
something
1. foobar

There's the start= attribute for <ol>, at least use it!

37
madrona 5 days ago 0 replies      
Multiline support, please.
38
DanBC 5 days ago 1 reply      
Please please use <> to delimit URLs instead of ().

This is an [example link]<http://www.example.com/>;

39
jeffio 5 days ago 0 replies      
We recently added Markdown as an option in our hosted reseller CMS (YikeSite) in hopes that some of our customers would choose it over the WYSIWYG editor.

You can play with it here: http://www.markdowncms.com

If there was a standardized Markdown, we would implement that for sure.

40
MatthewPhillips 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is one of the reasons I've never bought into the Markdown hype and generally avoid using it. Semantic HTML5 tags makes to-HTML compiled languages mostly unnecessary.
41
alexchamberlain 5 days ago 0 replies      
An effort appears to have been started on http://markdown.github.com/.
42
zeitg3ist 4 days ago 0 replies      
Didn't Gruber co-design Markdown with Aaron Swartz[1][2]? Is there any reason why everyone refers to Gruber as Markdown's sole inventor/BDFL? What's Swartz opinion on all this?

[1] http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/001189
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markdown

43
blackstag 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love markdown. I even created my own version which I have become addicted to -> http://blackstag.com/markdown. I'm fairly confident I will be the only one to appreciate my personal version, but hey - It's the ugly child I have come to love.

I'd certainly be interested in switching over to their version, provided some of the noted kinks get worked out.

44
dhaivatpandya 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love Markdown, and, this is an awesome effort! I'm working on a Markdown editor/platform that could really benefit if this sort of stuff wasn't so fragmented: http://www.nimblenot.es/ yes, that was a shameless plug
45
jiyinyiyong 5 days ago 0 replies      
Read this if you use Markdown alongwith Chinese: http://ruby-china.org/topics/6335
46
adam-p 5 days ago 0 replies      
And if you like Markdown... I wrote a Chrome/Firefox/Thunderbird extension that lets you write email in MD and then render it before sending: https://github.com/adam-p/markdown-here

Enjoy.

47
happypeter 5 days ago 0 replies      
Markdown is really a important part of my life now, YES, it will be super cool that the world can have one single spec for it.
48
twodayslate 5 days ago 2 replies      
What is wrong with bbcode? All the forums use it. Why are there so many alternatives for these things?
49
variedthoughts 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I just like that there is a discussion going on.
I'd like a spec. And one that can grow
50
DannoHung 5 days ago 0 replies      
ALIGNMENT SYNTAX
51
donnfelker 4 days ago 0 replies      
More Atwood link bait.
52
lorenzfx 5 days ago 1 reply      
what I really miss from markdown (and even more from reStructuredText because I actually use it a lot) is strikethrough (which github does support)
53
saosebastiao 4 days ago 1 reply      
Please, please, please include a specification for table creation
54
rsl7 5 days ago 0 replies      
yup. i'm there.
2
Tell HN: Let's Be Civil
654 points by raganwald  3 days ago   138 comments top 32
1
mquander 3 days ago 8 replies      
The root cause is not incivility, it's inanity. Why do we have threads about these not-exactly-revolutionary things sitting all over the front page? Who votes for this stuff?

The Surface one up there is just some guy's blog review. It's not poorly written, but why are we reading randomly selected Surface reviews? There's an entire post right now that is basically a Samsung press release via CNET, describing some (totally unquantified, of course) minor uptick in sales for the latest Android phone. There is literally nothing to talk about there except to proffer essentially baseless flames, praise, or speculation.

I would have no qualms asking the moderators to fix this. I can't understand any metric by which these are useful posts to have on the front page. There is lots of much better stuff sitting on the New page which is being crowded out by noise that I could go read in two hundred other places. "Intellectual curiousity" is not referring to what you have every time a phone comes out which is 20% lighter and 10% longer.

2
msbarnett 3 days ago 5 replies      
One of the smartest things why the lucky stiff ever said (in my opinion): "When you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. Your tastes only narrow and exclude people. so create."

Notionally, this is a forum for creators, but it seems increasingly pre-occupied with utterly unproductive posturing over whose tastes are 'better'. It's a troubling trend.

3
9oliYQjP 3 days ago 4 replies      
I've always wondered if the down-vote should actually just be an arrow pointing sideways. People use the down-vote like it's a thumbs down. If they don't agree with an opinion, then it's a thumbs down. But really the cancerous comments are ones that, in an offline conversation, a group would quickly and politely move past and ignore. The sideways arrow would represent brushing these comments aside.

Besides, you're supposed to up-vote comments you don't necessarily agree with so long as they are well argued. That is what a good debate is about.

4
nagrom 3 days ago 0 replies      
The replies about iPad vs. Surface vs. Android tablets have reminded me of nothing so much as the kind of silly arguments that console fans have over Playstations, Xboxes and Wiis.

I think that the reason is the same: when you spend money on one, you buy into a community and an ecosystem. You become a part of a tribe and naturally begin to see the world in an us vs. them paradigm.

It's worth noting that this is an irrational behaviour set, and best avoided if you want to learn anything objective. In typically-emotive arguments like these, you have to make the decision yourself and realise that, whatever you choose, you'll likely justify it to yourself afterwards however you can. Once you start to realise that, you begin to realise how inconsequential "what type of tablet or console you own" is, and the less likely you'll be to fall into that destructive us-vs-them mindset.

5
lotharbot 3 days ago 0 replies      
A reminder: let's be civil, not just in tech discussions, but in all of our discussions. Even when someone touches on a pet peeve, don't give in to the temptation to bend the rules a little bit.

In particular:

* yeah, I know you really like [company] and really don't like [competitor], but please don't say mean things about those who disagree with you, and especially don't say mean things about the staff at those companies without very good reason

* it's election season in the US, which means more than the usual number of offhand derogatory comments about the other side's politicians and voters. Please refrain from this.

* I've seen a few shots taken at other peoples' religions. Principled disagreement is OK, but try to resist name-calling.

* There have even been a couple of recent arguments about nationality that have involved some unnecessary name-calling.

* As a final heads up, remember that even deleted posts may be cached by various external services that grabbed them via the API. It's good to think better of something after the fact and take it down as soon as you can, but it's even better to avoid posting nastiness in the first place.

As a community, let's do a better job of controlling our own posts first and foremost, and let's do a better job of downvoting and flagging when others cross the line.

6
brianwillis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for saying this. The comments I saw on yesterday's post by Marco Arment really upset and concerned me.

Hacker News is usually a pretty nice place to hang out, but that comment thread reminded me of the ten minutes hate from 1984.

7
jusben1369 3 days ago 1 reply      
Was I the only one who saw the irony that the author asking for civility didn't even make it one paragraph without having a dig at people who use the word "fanboi" by calling them faux hipsters? That's not very kind now is it?

These threads remind me of reading newspaper articles that discuss how uncivil our current political discourse is compared to the far more civil past. And you can read essentially the same article from a 1880's/1950's/2012 newspaper archive.

8
dmpk2k 3 days ago 0 replies      
I concur. HN suffers from ye olde bike-shedding: people argue about trivial things, because the hard stuff is beyond their ability and/or inclination.

I regularly see long and technically strong articles sink with less than ten votes and zero discussion, while those lambasting Apple yet again get dozens of votes and comments. Add hair-splitting with strong passive-aggressive undertones, and what's left is vacuous and mildly toxic.

9
Tloewald 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems to me that conflict of this type arises when people are forced to make difficult choices between similar options with real but minor differences which have a large switching cost. Hence Nikon vs. Canon and Android vs. iOS. And of course religion.

The conflict doesn't arise when switching cost is low or the differences are too minor (e.g. Sony TV vs. Panasonic TV, Verizon vs. AT&T, Unitarianism vs. Baha'i fail to generate rancor on both counts).

The conflict would appear to arise from people struggling with cognitive dissonance. In other words, if an iOS or Android user were supremely confident of the superiority and perfection of their chosen platform there would be no dissonance and and no outward invective.

Just as Freud (correctly, for once) observed that the most passionately homophobic individuals were often in denial of their own urges, the most fervent boosters of a platform are probably plagued with doubts about it.

10
acabal 3 days ago 5 replies      
"Uncivil"? "Inappropriate"? "Bile"? "Divisive incivility"?

Those are pretty strong words. All I've seen is a few geeks trading opinions about--ultimately petty--consumer electronics issues.

It's all just opinion. Nobody's said "Person X is ignorant waste of consciousness and they should kill themselves" (which would be uncivil, inappropriate, bilious, and divisive.) They just have opinions about products. Products that in the grand scheme of human achievement really aren't that important.

You're just causing even more drama with this self-righteous post. It's all, like, your opinion, man; take it easy, let the geeks bicker (relatively politely) about fruit versus miniature eiderdown, and save the outrage for things that are truly worth it.

Edit: I'm not going to upvote this parent meta-post, and neither should you, dear reader, for it itself is the one causing drama, not the majority of posts on HN in the past few days.

11
BrentOzar 3 days ago 0 replies      
For whatever it's worth, I'm the guy who wrote the Surface review trending today. I love reading HN every morning while I walk my dog, and I was dumbfounded that my Surface review made HN. That was a WTF moment for me. It's not the kind of stuff I come to HN for.

Don't get me wrong, I was honored - but it's off topic.

12
hooande 3 days ago 1 reply      
As hackers--and I include in this definition those who hack software, hardware, social behaviour, and marketplaces--our mission is first to UNDERSTAND and then second to INFLUENCE.

Maybe I can help with the understanding part. Here are some things that I've observed, as a hacker, about humans:

1. (most) people like to form groups and then compete with other groups

2. (most) people enjoy feeling superior to other people

These are things that seem to have been true in any part of the world, throughout all of human history.

So what's our plan here? Are we going to turn hackernews into the only collection of humans to ever live that defies these rules? Is there some technical solution that will change fundamental aspects of human nature? Maybe getting rid of the voting arrows will remove all of the meanness and tribal thinking on the planet.

I say all this because I don't understand the impetus for your post. Of course it would be nice if everything everyone said made an insightful contribution. But you know that people aren't like that. No amount of blog posting or commenting is going to change how people interact with each other. It seems like your problem isn't with the hacker news community, but with the nature of human socialization.

This looks like a clear case of selection bias. It's hard to do good as a hacker if you isolate yourself in an ivy tower of ycombinator hackers and geniuses. Making things does take some understanding of the average person and how they behave. If you truly think that hackernews is negative when compared with just about anywhere else, then you might be out of touch.

13
brennenHN 3 days ago 3 replies      
I think there is a reason why consumer electronics conversations get so heated that is even more important than what you've mentioned: the nature of the products forces us to choose between them. And we spend a decent chunk of money on them.

The multiplicity of products that we have to choose between and the lockin we experience once we've made the purchase (we have a contract for the phone and have made significant monetary commitment to the devices in general) mean we have to make a hard decision and then try to feel good about it.

Once we've picked, if we admit that another device is better, then we're saying that we made the wrong choice and that we have to live with a subpar device for another few years. Most of us tend to get defensive about our purchases instead, even when we are trying to be objective.

The truth is that there are trade offs between all of the devices that are related to our priorities, our personalities, and our social circumstances all of which make us feel personally invested in a gadget decision. This makes it hard for us to come from an objective place to talk about some of our favorite topics. Many of us are looking for validation more than information (I've definitely been guilty of this).

The trick, then, might not be to try and be more objective, but to take criticism of the products less personally. Headlines are meant to get clicks, not express thoughtful opinions. The intricacies of the tradeoffs are worth considering, but you won't find them in most tech coverage. Save your hate and try to understand why the competition is valuable to others and what your product could learn from.

14
Tycho 3 days ago 0 replies      
You see, I had no idea of this current crisis until I read this thread. Really, what were reading threads about iPad Minis or MS Surface's going to add to my life? They are good products possibly but at this stage just small refinements on an existing category of device. So I never bothered to click. Sometimes I'm dismayed that people are wasting their time not just reading but writing long comments about these things. And not just new product releases but also nebulous, insight-free articles like that one about 'no more big ideas.' I suppose no one should be on their high horse though: few articles are 'essential reading' when it boils down to it.
15
skibrah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for writing about this. Bickering about biases that an article or commenter might have is the least productive thing imaginable. We all have biases, we all have one product that we prefer over another. If you have a well developed reason for that preference, I want to hear it and hope that you'll share it. But, when I come across a post/comment that is clearly of no substance, my first reaction is to ignore it and move on with my day. Life is too short to waste time and typing on attacking someone for sharing something of little value.
16
w1ntermute 3 days ago 0 replies      
How about this? pg is not willing/interested in implementing stricter filtering - it's a discussion that has come up many times in the past, but nothing has changed.

So can someone create a 3rd party site that displays HN, but removes/hides these off-topic posts? Then everyone would be happy. There are already some similar implementations (like http://ihackernews.com for a mobile version), so it can't be that technically difficult. It would also be great for users to be able to specifically block certain domains (e.g., I could get rid of all Gruber and Marco blog posts from the list of links I personally see).

Edit: this could also be done with a browser extension, but that wouldn't work on mobile devices (I think)

17
grey-area 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you disagree with the balance of stories on hn, the most useful thing you can do to fix it is visit /newest and vote up stories with interesting content. Nowhere near enough people do this and as a result many stories just slide off the new submissions page unread.

Re lack of civility, this is a normal feature of anonymous interaction which stems from lack of accountability - the only way to deal with it is to impose social sanctions on the users responsible. Everyone can do this by refusing to be baited, and calling out others for antisocial, insulting, or extreme comments.

Actions will have more impact that meta discussions.

18
smackfu 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's because HN has become the defacto comments section on every blog that has turned off comments. The comments are pretty much the same, just moved to a different place.
19
ek 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amen - the launches of both Surface and iPad mini are to me terribly exciting events, and I am impressed with both Microsoft and Apple. One of my favorite parts of being a technologist is that I get to observe how people adapt the myriad of available technologies and software/hardware systems to their own unique needs, and this extends to even myself. I've been through Macs, Windows machines, and more Linux distributions than I can count, as well as handhelds from both the Android and iOS camps, and I've been happy each time I have switched setups.

As hackers, I believe we all subscribe to the old mantra that one should use what is best for the job at hand, and arguments about whether Microsoft Surface or iPad Mini or so on and so forth are the "right way" detract from the quest for knowledge in which all of us participate.

20
hnriot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Having a meta discussion about this community doesn't seem very productive. The community is what it is and asking people to be civil is a waste of yet more bytes on a server.

As is evident by the comment threads on the tablet releases, people have strong opinions, supressing these with calls for 'civility' are nothing more than asking for people to only post comments that you approve of, which seems extremely bourgeois to me. I enjoy seeing the comments where people express strong opinions because I am able to learn for example what kind of person is going to like the Surface and who won't. There's signal in the noise and in a public forum it's not about what you want to read. If I could down vote your thread I would because I find it extremely distasteful to see someone wanting to read just what they enjoy. It's really no different to me posting an ASK requesting that we focus more on Python or jquery plugins. Please, less of the high horse rhetoric.

21
white_devil 3 days ago 0 replies      
So you're not happy with the current level of self-censorship in the name of political/social correctness, then? I find it far more than sufficient.

As for the issue you're talking about, this guy here is obviously a flaming Microsoft-fanboy: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4706624 .. I wanted to call him one, but refrained from doing so, mostly because I thought it would be met with a negative reaction.

But you know, talking to fanboys is really frustrating. Their posts are full of such obvious, annoying bullshit/misdirection that it's just really difficult to ignore, but on the other hand, going through the effort of shutting them up is pointless too.

That's why it's tempting to just call a fanboy a fanboy, instead of wasting a lot of time and effort in a civil discussion with them.

22
zenocon 3 days ago 0 replies      
The meta-commentary on here has become a parody of itself. Spend more time with your family, or outdoors, or doing just about anything else.
24
pixelcort 3 days ago 0 replies      
On [Coinbase's announcement yesterday][1], I was concerned that the top 14 root-level comments were all focusing on the security implications of the announcement; it was as if there was nothing else to discuss other than that.

In many other discussions it seems like one controversial sub-topic ends up dominating as well.

Perhaps downvoting controversial comments isn't always a bad thing? There seems to be a big fear of the downvote button, but in some cases, even if a comment is useful on its own, in the end it sparks massive amounts of arguing back and forth which could be avoided if it were just downvoted instead.

[1]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4703443

25
jmitcheson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know there are a million and one people offering arm chair suggestions, but IMO it's about time that HN got sub-forums and moderators.

I'd like to see a /startup or similar, moderated by entrepreneurs to set the tone of what posts or comments aren't welcome.

For that matter, a /front-end would be cool too. HTML/CSS/JavaScript demos posted here grind my gears so much; the comments are all negative and totally not constructive.

26
lsiebert 3 days ago 0 replies      
The root cause is simple human tribalism. We are, in general, people that pride ourselves on our intelligence, but we often don't turn that intelligence towards our social tendencies.

Liking or disliking Apple or Android or Windows... well sure. people can have preferences. But self identifying or rejecting people based on their computing software? Being rude to people because of their technology preferences?

Ask yourself, why do we do that? Does it make sense logically? Not really. But at an emotional level, it feels good to have a group of people who one can feel part of, and a group of people that are outside it that one can disparage as not being one of us. Making moral judgements based on what tech company a person likes? Human tribal groups.

The truth is, we can do better then that.

27
facorreia 3 days ago 2 replies      
OP mentions downvotes. Are downvotes possible on HN? Are they reserved to some users only? Being a member for 4 years with less than 300 points, I don't have downvote icons on my page.
28
urbanredneck 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am at a loss for these arguments, I like what I like and I make no apologies for it. I prefer one system over another for a variety of reasons and I am not a fan of a company as it is a company. I may use their products because of reasons that make sense to me personally.

Performance, cost, usability, etc. are all factored into the system I use, the phone, tablet, etc. are all purchased based on these factors. If you do not like a particular product just do not buy it and if for some reason someone asks for your opinion on a product you can give it without being fanatical about it, it is just a product.

29
countessa 3 days ago 0 replies      
>>"What understanding would my comment add?"

Agree - this should be the default in any comment. It would be interesting to see a "karma" score for those who hold their tongue when they have nothing constructive to say, but obviously, that's pretty much impossible in an online format. In a way, the karma on a forum encourages opinions whether vacuous or not.

30
10098 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe it's because we're so pathetic that we actually associate ourselves with the gadgets we use, and thus, we somehow perceive any attack/criticism of our favorite tech as an attack on us.
31
jebblue 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is Microsoft using people in some way to try and take over the psychology of HN'ers.
32
lexy0202 3 days ago 1 reply      
*iPad
3
Nexus: The best of Google, now in three sizes googleblog.blogspot.com
582 points by cleverjake  1 day ago   453 comments top 58
1
fr0sty 1 day ago 8 replies      
And someone finally implements the killer-feature for the "Family Tablet": Multi-Account Support:

> But what makes Nexus 10 unique is that it's the first truly shareable tablet. With Android 4.2, you can add multiple users and switch between them instantly right from the lockscreen. We believe that everyone should have quick and easy access to their own stuff -- email, apps, bookmarks, and more. That way, everyone can have their own home screens, their own music, and even their own high scores.

2
klausa 1 day ago 9 replies      
Flagship Android device, unlocked, without contract, for $299.

Impressive.

From the marketing video it looks like Android 4.2 gained Swype-like keyboard.

It seems that they're no longer using tablet UI, even on Nexus 10 (i.e. it has status bar on top, navigation buttons are in the middle of the screen). That's weird, and I definitely don't like it, but it might not be that big of a problem.

3
rryan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a video by the verge which provides a lot more detail, hands on demonstrations, and interviews with the Android team.
http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3570034/inside-android-bu...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6...
4
ericdykstra 1 day ago 5 replies      
No LTE is a deal-breaker for me on the Nexus 4. I would pre-order one right now if it was included. I think I'll wait for the next great Android phone that has LTE. The Nexus S is a pretty good phone, so without an upgrade in internet speed I don't see any reason to upgrade.

As for the Nexus 10, I hope that it gets enough sales to start pushing developers to make tablet apps for Android, and for Google to make the split between phone/tablet sized apps better in the Play Store.

5
bitcartel 1 day ago 4 replies      
It won't be long before the usual suspects start claiming

- screen resolution isn't important

- multi-user accounts are overly complex

- low prices mean the devices are cheap and nasty

7
monkeyfacebag 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hopefully this starts the ball rolling on Android tablet apps. I really love my Nexus 7, but the app selection is definitely inferior to what's available for iOS.
8
drivebyacct2 1 day ago 3 replies      
This stuff is blowing my mind.

On every single spec, Nexus exceeds the iDevice equivalent. The Nexus 4 has two NFC radios, a higher res screen, is thinner and lighter and is less than half of the price of the iPhone 5. (edit: That's unfair, I forget about LTE, though I understand why Google skipped that)

Similar things hold for the Nexus 10.

Am I the only one really surprised?

(This is of course not to mention the numerous new Android 4.2 features that everyone except the Verge has ignored)

9
netcan 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a test period for the post Jobs Apple.

Apple has a loyal mac user base willing to pay an Apple premium. A business that won't just disappear overnight. They had a good head start on iphones. Combined with the obscure phone prices on plans, Apple can easily get their premium here. The tablet market they pretty much had to themselves.

Now Android really is mature. Great devices at great prices that compete with iOS devices on features and not just on price.

Lets see if they can keep up their margins.

10
JVIDEL 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know what's more insane: the N10's 2560 x 1600 screen or how hard is to find a laptop with a measly 1080p screen for twice the price of that tablet.

The N4 is bonkers too. Sure there are other phones with HD screens now, but with a quad Krait? the only other I know is the Mi2, and good luck getting one at launch.

The N7 with cellular is really tempting since with a little hack you could have a tablet+phone hybrid (using a Bt headset). Too bad it still uses the Tegra3, a SoC that couldn't keep up with the dual Krait.

But overall I think Google just brought a gun to knife fight...

11
achompas 1 day ago 2 replies      
The "iPad mini vs. other 7" tablet" battle has been going on for a week, but if nothing else I hope these new Nexus tablets force Apple to move away from $100 jumps for memory and $130 jumps for radio.

The ~$450 I paid for a 32GB iPad mini would net me two base Nexus 7s. Alternatively, for $100 less I can get an equivalent Nexus 7...with cell radio. Those jumps add up!

12
pooriaazimi 1 day ago 5 replies      
The screen for 10.1" model is great: 2560x1600 (300ppi) - iPad (3 and 4) are 2048x1536 (264ppi). Which means it has 30% more pixels (409600 vs. 3145728).
13
drivebyacct2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Quite frankly, I haven't seen these mentioned anywhere except in a very long Verge video so I'm making a list of Android 4.2 features:

- Google Now will now automatically detect packages you are going to receive and will notify you of their progress. You can now dictate calendar events (also, in 4.1 they added the ability to say "navigate home").

- You can take 360 degree panoramas

- Quick Settings & Multi-user accounts

- You can swipe the lock screen to reveal informational widgets. (quickly check your calendar, etc)

- Swype functionality built into the keyboard. (Even cooler than Swype though because of where it shows the word and the suggestions)

I've also yet to see anyone mention that the Nexus 4 rests in a capacitive, magnetic dock.

14
slewis 1 day ago 2 replies      
The phone comes with wireless charging built in. Looks like that's a first. Does it come with a charging pad as well?

I think I'd buy a phone just for this feature.

15
stcredzero 1 day ago 1 reply      
With regards to tablets, one of the next major battlegrounds is going to be in the enterprise, with Apple, Google, and Microsoft duke-ing it out. From that perspective, Surface makes a whole lot more sense. If they can perfect Surface, they will be in a fierce position to defend their enterprise territory.

With regards to the emerging enterprise tablet market, Google is playing serious catch-up. If Microsoft can come late to the game, but demonstrate the tenacity they have in the past, they might pull another "IE over Netscape" on Apple.

16
blrgeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally Android tablets have caught up to (and even surpassed on some things) the iPad. [Of course iOS vs Android is a big choice.] It's taken just 4 years!

Nexus 10 - clearly better than the iPad on price, display (resolution, size, aspect ratio), sound, Wifi, RAM, GPS. Battery life is unknown though, GPU likely to be worse.

Nexus 7 - beats the iPad Mini on price and resolution, matches on most other things.

17
melvinram 1 day ago 6 replies      
Someone forgot to tell their marketing team: http://www.google.com/nexus/

Edit: Basically the website still has old info about old devices.

18
suprgeek 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Pricing on the Phone for the Given specs is very impressive.
Howvwer I would wait for the reviews for the Nexus 4 to come in and wait for a few months. This phone is made by LG and every person I know who has bought any LG telecom product (Phone/Tablet) has had Quality issues with...
19
codeulike 1 day ago 2 replies      
What, no 3 hour long livestreamed press event?

edit: oh, they had one planned in NY, cancelled due to the hurricane

20
mbesto 1 day ago 2 replies      
And soon enters the paradox of choice. Do I bring my smartphone, mini-tablet, tablet and/or my laptop in my bag? Wait, why did I buy all of these again?
21
Raphael_Amiard 1 day ago 2 replies      
Thank you Google, for making the Nexus 7 16gb 199$ 1 week after i bought mine .. I love this tablet, but the one thing i really wish is i had the 16gb version, but couldn't afford it at the time.
22
Aardwolf 1 day ago 3 replies      
Now all we need is 3 SIM cards for the same mobile contract, so you can use all three devices without swapping SIM cards all the time and without paying for 3 separate contracts.
23
yumraj 1 day ago 1 reply      
In the era of beautiful Surface and iPads why oh why did the Nexus 10 have to be so ugly, when Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 are pretty.
The specs on Nexus 10 make me want to buy it, but the shape is just not helping me make that decision.
24
aviraldg 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm pretty sure they'd written this beforehand and scheduled it to be posted but forgot all about it when they cancelled their event.
25
arrrg 1 day ago 2 replies      
Arrrgh! That Nexus 4 looks delicious, absolutely awesome. But why does it have to be such a monster! With their flagship product, can't they shoot for a happy middle ground and not for monster sizes?
26
codeulike 1 day ago 2 replies      
By launching three flagship devices with three different manufacturers (LG, Asus and Samsung), do you think they are trying to say something about Android and hardware?
27
neya 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally, they nailed it! Well done Google. Samsung displays are one of the best there ever is (apart from LG). For $299 I think its a killer deal!
28
mikeevans 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Nexus 4 comes with wireless charging capability built right in. Just place your Nexus 4 on a compatible wireless charging mat to charge -- and retire the wire for good.

One's not included in the box though. I wonder how much they plan to charge for that accessory.

29
programminggeek 1 day ago 4 replies      
Ok, um, did anyone else notice that 4.2 is called Jelly Bean, like 4.1 was called Jelly Bean?

Up until now it was Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. Did they run out of tasty treats already?

30
georgemcbay 1 day ago 0 replies      
Those look like some very nice devices at very compelling prices.

I'm still a bit disappointed though. I've been waiting/hoping for a Nexus hybrid (ala the ASUS Transformer). I'm really sold on that form factor and hope they do something with it on a "Nexus" device. The continued lack of this makes me wonder if they just haven't gotten around to it yet or if they are avoiding it due to Chrome OS related strategy tax.

31
mladenkovacevic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Miracast support. I hope more devices (TVs and set-top players) really jump on board with this protocol.
32
anonymouz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like the wireless charging feature. It's the kind of thing that, viewed pragmatically, isn't really all that important, but it has a slick futuristic ScFi vibe to it that makes me want to have it.
33
mfringel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since I see a lot of "Hey, doesn't X do that too?" remarks, I just wanted to say:

Execution counts.

It's not enough to say "Hey, X does that, too." There has to be a qualifier on how well/poorly/etc. it does it. Otherwise, we're meaningless comparing feature checklists, which could be done by a small perl script.

34
neovive 1 day ago 5 replies      
I've been very happy with Galaxy Nexus so far. The specs on the Nexus 4 look impressive. Anyone going to upgrade their Galaxy Nexus for the 4?
35
fumar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have Galaxy Nexus. I was thinking of upgrading to the Nexus 4, for better battery life. But, LTE is missing from the device. On the other hand, the price is great. I wish Google used some muscle to make carriers bend towards Google's needs. I am grandfathered into a Verizon unlimited plan, and would love to stay.

I am excited to see the screen on the Nexus 4.

36
hack_edu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have detailed specs of the Nexus 4's components been released yet? One of the most surprising features of the Nexus S was the superb Wolfson DAC audio, which is almost unheard of in a phone. If the Nexus 4's compares I'll preorder today.
37
nachteilig 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been an iOS device guy since the beginning, but these low pricepoints on a flagship Google device make it very, very tempting to at least give Android a try. Well done, Google!
38
vasco 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there anything country specific on the phone? Seriously thinking about crossing the border to buy one. Would I have problems with the store or anything?
39
beggi 1 day ago 2 replies      
Ok so, 4th generation of Nexus phones is called Nexus 4 and the tablets with 7" and 10" screens are called Nexus 7 and Nexus 10? What..? Also, this greets me when going to the product page (not trying to buy the phone, just trying to look at the phone): http://cl.ly/image/2t2R0L1L0H0F
40
saturdaysaint 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been a happy iPhone customer since the first model, but I think a good low-price competitor is going to be a real challenge for Apple - an affordable and desirable unlocked phone strikes me as a big breakthrough. Whether Google is going to make a push to spell out the saving to contract-happy U.S. (and risk alienating carriers and competing handset makers) is the real question.
41
codeulike 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tuesday: I'd say the storm has cost Google a lot of publicity. Guardian Tech is leading with the Apple management reshuffle, way down the page there's a small article saying 'google were going to launch something or other but had to cancel, here are some rumours'.
42
radiosnob 1 day ago 1 reply      
Geez, I hate Google localisation. It NEVER works. It is always off.

I'm sitting in Germany, all my Chrome settings are set to English. Go to the main Nexus blogspot website and its in English. Great. (despite being blogspot.de)

Click on Nexus 10. Its in german. Understandable as I'm Germany. But please respect the browser settings.

Go back and click on Nexus 7, and its in English.

Go back and click on Nexus 4, and its in FRENCH!! Why?!

Click on the expanded memory option on the French page and it goes to the English version of the Nexus 4 page.

This infuriates me no end. This is the single reason why I will not use Google Play. I know that if I buy a book or a movie, the chances of it being in the language I set for the device will be slim. I have no desire to through money away like that.

43
computerbob 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just bought the nexus 7, but I might be buying the nexus 10. Finally being able to have different accounts on one tablet is awesome.
44
dholowiski 1 day ago 5 replies      
As expected, very little support for other countries (specifically Canada where I am). Movie purchases, and HSPA, but no magazines or TV shows, no google music. Nexus 4 not available in Canada.

[edit]Correction - magazines now available in Canada (Woohoo!) they just didn't say so. Now, can we please have google music?

45
Inufu 1 day ago 3 replies      
Now I have to decide between the Nexus 4 and the Droid Razr Maxx HD :-/
46
shimon_e 1 day ago 1 reply      
FYI, the Nexus 4 is quad core. However, the Nexus 10 is only dual! I've tried switching to a tablet at the beginning of the year but web browsing performance wasn't good enough for me. Hope the dual core downgrade won't make that much of a difference.

edit: I was under the impression they both were Samsung Exynos arm processors. Turns out the Nexus 4 is using the Snapdragon S4 Pro and the Nexus 10 is using a A15 Samsung Exynos.

47
chj 1 day ago 0 replies      
They need to work more on their browser. They are using the same webkit core as iOS, right? Reality is, every time I used the browser on Nexus 7, I want to throw it out of window.
48
jebblue 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nexus 4 looks interesting but a bigger screen would be nice and I could go to the Nexus 7 now that they have one with a phone option and MicroUSB for connectivity! Ah, it has no camera well a 1.2 MP front facing one but that's it. Maybe the Nexus 10, big, would take some getting use to to replace a phone with it and it has an 8MP rear facing camera, but no phone option. :-(

When I can get a 7 with phone and at least 32 Gigs or preferably expandable storage like my Nexus One which I've had 32 Gigs on now for a year or two and an 8MP real rear camera and a front facing camera and MicroUSB then I'll upgrade from Nexus One to Nexus 7 or if the 10 gets a phone I might go to that.

The 10 would be a strong option for me now if it had at least 4 Gigs RAM, 64 Gigs storage or expandable and a phone as well as rear and front facing cameras.

49
metalsahu 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a new phase of the tablet wars. During phase 1, an iPad was not only more polished (both hardware and software) but also much cheaper than the competition. In 2009, no other tablet maker could match iPad on cost for equivalent specs because Apple had completely optimized the supply chain. Non-iPads mostly sucked!

Fast forward 3years, tablets are no longer a novelty and users have figured out that the product is more function based rather than status driven - unlike Phones where brand plays a part in the purchase esp because majority of the usage happens in front of other people.

One sign of this change in consumer behavior was signaled by the launch of iPad 4 within 6months of the iPad 3. Felt like Apple saw a glitch in the matrix and had to make sudden changes. Q3 earnings confirmed that iPad sales were down.

What now? Well, the door is wide open. People will pick based on personal preferences as there is no clear "objective best": iPads, Kindles and Nexuses are all interchangeable.

50
manishsharan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can someone please comment on how PDF and ebooks from Manning's programming books render on Nexus 7 vs. mini-IPAD ? That, for me, is the deciding factor.
51
chm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder why they chose not to add a full-size HDMI port. A lot of people have HDMI cables/TVs at home, but I guess most of them do not have micro-HDMI cables. The device doesn't ship with one, either.

From the viewpoint of the customer, this feels awkward. I guess the business people and engineers see it otherwise...

52
Achshar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Won't anyone think of us folks in India. I really want a tablet and I would get nexus 7 if it were available here at that price. Also google music and play store won't hurt either.
53
nodata 1 day ago 0 replies      
Steal my idea, Google: hot-swappable batteries please.
54
nodata 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't give us Sun-style crazy version numbers please Google! 4.2 should have got a new name!
55
Alcedes 1 day ago 1 reply      
I guess google is going after budget conscious. No LTE is ridiculous and their excuse that they don't want carrier interference is lame. Does Apple have to deal with carriers interfering with deploying LTE? Please, the real reason why they don't support LTE is the Nexus is not a big seller. So it makes little sense to create multiple sku's. Gotta love that Google spin.
56
blissofbeing 1 day ago 2 replies      
Do any of these support LTE?
57
pjmlp 1 day ago 1 reply      
SDK site still lists Android 4.1 as latest version. :(
58
sergiotapia 1 day ago 6 replies      
The idea of owning a tablet by Google creeps me out to no end. I just can't picture myself using this without the lingering feeling of having Big Brother tracking me, watching me, keeping tabs on what sites I visit and what content I post online.
4
Jessica Livingston: What Goes Wrong foundersatwork.com
511 points by nswanberg  5 days ago   88 comments top 27
1
nadam 5 days ago 4 replies      
Two of the problems can be easily avoided: 'cofounder disputes' and 'investors' are not problems in case of single-founder bootstrapped startups. :)

One thing I would add to the topic of 'determination': Are we speaking about determination to make a startup successful or determination to try out as many ideas in our life as possible, learn as much as possible and try to make at least one startup successful in our life?

I mean first we have to analyze what we optimize for:

If we optimize for the success of a given startup then it is obvious that the optimal strategy is to never give up on the startup.

If we optimize for the success of a person in his lifetime then it is different. In this case we have to examine all kinds of opportunity costs. Could it be a better strategy to very quickly abandon a startup when it seems that people do not want the product, so that we can start much more startups in our life, to increase the chance of at least one becoming successful?

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btilly 5 days ago 1 reply      
The link assumes that you know who is speaking. But it doesn't give that critical piece of information.

Founders at Work was written by Jessica Livingston, who is a cofounder of ycombinator. She's married to Paul Graham. But do not think that she's in there just because of the personal connection. Her book is truly excellent. And in previous articles I've seen Paul say that the #1 thing that they want in a founder is determination, and the person that they rely on to spot it during the interview is Jessica.

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ericdykstra 5 days ago 2 replies      
Here's a link to the video version of Jessica Livingston's talk from Startup School: http://startupschool.org/2012/livingston/

It really is great! I encourage everyone on HN to read or watch it if they have not already. As a not-yet founder, it has a lot of interesting advice that I don't think is documented anywhere as concisely and practically as it is here.

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cs702 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is excellent -- and very much in the spirit of Charlie Munger's often-repeated saying: "All I want to know is where I'm going to die, so I'll never go there."[1]

--

[1] http://www.pbs.org/wsw/news/fortunearticle_20031026_03.html

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pmarca 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is extraordinarily accurate, based on my experience.
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tarr11 5 days ago 1 reply      
Worth the read just for this:

The pizza place was very confused by this, but they send the pizza guy without a pizza, Kyle answers the door, and the pizza guy says, "The site is down."

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mck- 5 days ago 0 replies      
The Mixergy interview with PG (Feb 2010)[1] mentions Jessica working on a second edition of Founders at Work.

PG: "You know, that is her deepest wish. If she is watching this, she'll be laughing so much at this point because that's what she would like the most too to be able to spend more time on the new version of Founders at Work. There's a new, she's working on a new edition, with a bunch of new interviews."

Any updates on this?

[1]: http://mixergy.com/y-combinator-paul-graham/

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mynegation 5 days ago 4 replies      
Very interesting. Statistically speaking, women are better than men in reading non-verbal information. I wonder if this is a part of YC success.
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dools 5 days ago 3 replies      
Arguing anything other than differences in levels of persistent hard work and skill in your particular field has a large mountain of evidence to overcome.

The effects of those two are very large, the effects of everything else comparatively small per decades of startup and longitudinal entrepreneurial studies.

Nonsense about hustle is exactly that: nonsense. The weight of evidence suggests that, if anything, hustling and creativity have a net negative effect on long term health of a startup.

But there's money to be made keeping up the lie.

Lastly, beware of pseudo-pop-science that opens with only a few people's stories. People manage to succeed as founders all over the world; these stories are not remarkable and tell us nothing.

In general the whole "determination" thing has little to no value in any serious consideration of startup success: it's about on the same level of credibility as diet fads.

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goronbjorn 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is another great piece of writing by Jessica Livingston (I was at Startup School for the talk as well).

Is she ever going to pursue writing a sequel to Founders at Work?

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loumf 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in a take on this topic that is based on data, check out Noam Wasserman at BoS 2009 (his talk at BoS 2012 was very similar)

http://businessofsoftware.org/2009/05/professor-noam-wasserm...

He has been collecting data on start-ups and then looking at survival lengths and outcomes. He wrote a book on the topic

http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Foundat...

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biscarch 5 days ago 0 replies      
Having started riding this roller coaster I particularly enjoyed a view of what pitfalls to be aware of in the future.

Also, since I just survived a dual-founder breakup (company intact), it was encouraging to know that this was probably a bigger bullet to have dodged. (For those curious, post-breakup I reached out to an old friend with whom I've shared some tenuous situations and we have applied to YC for the next batch)

Edit: I forgot about the pizza comment! When she asked how to contact someone in Lake Tahoe, I audibly said pizza (in my empty apartment). When the solution was pizza, I had a celebratory moment.

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LiveTheDream 5 days ago 1 reply      
Are people really having such trouble with the context of this article? The author's name is in the headline (maybe it was modded in later, to be fair), but also there's an "author" link[0] in plain sight. PG's essay's don't have a "who am I" introduction, and if you didn't know who he was then you'd simply click on the obvious "bio" link.

[0] http://www.foundersatwork.com/author.html

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faramarz 5 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome read!

Jessica mentions the Codecademy team launched 2 days before Demo Day and managed to signup 200k users. If I remember correctly, they launched on HN through a Show HN thread.. and so on..

What I really want to know is, how many of those initial 200k users stuck around? I was one of them and I have only signed in maybe twice since their launch.

So what does that mean? they leveraged the curious users to get VC interest? Did they really engage me, us, the 200k? is that a false positive?

I guess if the net result is a positive one Today, none of this really matters.

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brianmcdonough 5 days ago 0 replies      
Jessica's speech follows one of the themes she established in "Founders," - overcoming emotional responses being a key to success in startups (and life). Her skill in communicating complex ideas is subtle, but more impressive because it lacks the usual dose of ego and/or one-upmanship. The sole intent being to help people who can listen well enough to use the information to help themselves.
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alid 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love this! It's one of the best pieces of startup advice I've read in a long while; I've sent it to my startup friends. New fave quote: "Determination is really two separate things: resilience and drive. Resilience keeps you from being pushed backwards. Drive moves you forwards".
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Rajiv_N 5 days ago 1 reply      
I know this is a minor issue. But when I publish something I want people to inform me of problems. Please note that I don't mean to be disrespectful and just want to help. So here goes:

3rd sentence: "There's a talk I've always want to give at the beginning of each batch...". I think this should be either "I've always wanted to..." or "I always want to..." right?

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001sky 5 days ago 0 replies      
In order to make something people want, being brilliant and determined is not enough. You have to be able to talk to your users and adjust your idea accordingly. Ordinarily you have to change your idea quite a lot even if you start out with a reasonably good one.

-- This is a great point. Even outside of startups.

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michaelnovati 5 days ago 3 replies      
I saw this talk at Startup School. Honestly, as someone working in industry who tried doing a startup during school, there's a huge thing missing.

CMD+F for "luck" = 0 results.

Luck is a huge factor and sometimes you just need to move on to either something new, or working for a company to fill in the gaps, and trying again soon.

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ww520 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Great advices. I especially like the resilience part. Those rejection stories really hit home, as I have gone through similar experience recently. When reading them, the line "when life deals you a lemon, make lemonade" kept flashing through my mind.
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andrewhillman 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the best articles I have read in a while. Obviously you see a lot over 7 years/ 500 startups.
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swah 3 days ago 0 replies      
I read this yesterday thinking it was from pg, strange feeling.
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bcooperbyte 5 days ago 0 replies      
Loved it. Very informative. Being an entrepreneur is a tough road, but with preparation, belief, and determination things will eventually take its course.
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uhwuggawuh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Are those Pokemon in the first figure? If so, I have severely underestimated the coolness of next-generation Pokemon.
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nanodeath 5 days ago 1 reply      
A byline would be helpful, here...
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seacond 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Investors tend to have a herd mentality."
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ghshephard 5 days ago 4 replies      
I don't mean to be impolite, but do you honestly not know that "Founders" is one of (if not THE) seminal work on the culture of startups and their founders?

I guarantee you cannot name three books that have done a better job capturing this topic, because they don't exist.

Claiming that Livingston's relationship with YCombinator/Graham is the reason why the book is so wonderful, is like claiming David Pogues relationship with the NYT is why he's such a popular tech reviewer, or Manohla Dargis is such an amazing movie reviewer

It misses the point of both their contribution, and talent and is frankly, quite rude.

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The little ssh that (sometimes) couldn't naguib.ca
483 points by LiveTheDream  2 days ago   62 comments top 22
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js2 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is insane. The closest scenarios to this I've seen in my career:

1) A private frame relay network that one day stopped passing packets over a certain size. Worked around by lowering the MTU at both ends till I was able to convince the frame relay provider that yes, the problem was in their network. This was relatively straight-forward to diagnose, but it was still odd being able to ssh into a box, then have the connection hang once I did something that sent a full-size packet (cat a large file, ls -l in a big directory, etc).

2) A paging gateway program I wrote (email to SMS) that worked fine when testing on my Mac, but couldn't establish connections to a particular Verizon web site when I ran it from a Linux box. Turned out that the Linux TCP stack had ECN enabled and at the time the Verizon website was behind a buggy firewall that blocked any packets with ECN bits set.

3) A Solaris box that could randomly be connected to, but not always. Turned out someone had deleted its own MAC address from its ARP table (yes, you can do this with Solaris) so it wasn't replying to ARP packets for itself. As I recall, it could make outbound connections, and then you could connect to it from that same peer until the peer timed out the ARP entry. Then the peer couldn't reach the Solaris box again.

None of these are nearly as complex as the scenario in this story.

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mikeash 2 days ago 3 replies      
Well, while we're at it, here's my crazy MTU-related war story, although not as crazy as that one!

I was troubleshooting with a user of an audio streaming application running over a LAN. The user could stream classical music but not rock music. Seriously. Classical was fine, but when streaming rock, the connection would drop after a few minutes.

The application took chunks of audio, compressed them with a lossless codec, and then sent each chunk in a separate UDP packet to the other end. It tried to use IPv6 whenever possible because it was generally more reliable in the LAN environment, although it would happily use IPv4 if need be.

After a huge amount of boring troubleshooting going back and forth with this guy, I finally figured it out. Somehow, he had set his network interface's MTU to 1200 bytes. IPv6 won't perform automatic IP-level fragmentation for MTUs below 1280 bytes, so larger packets simply could not be sent at all. The streaming application would try to send an audio packet larger than 1200 bytes, get an error, and bail out of the connection.

Why did it only happen with rock music? Turns out to be pretty simple. Lossless codecs are necessarily variable bitrate, and classical music compresses better than rock music. When streaming classical, each chunk of audio consistently compressed to less than 1200 bytes, but rock music produced occasional packets over the threshold.

The user didn't know why his MTU was turned down and didn't need it, so we turned it back up and everything worked just fine.

3
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 1 reply      
That is an awesome story. If you're in devops I would suggest you look at the sequence of events, especially the debugging decision tree. You can't always get access to all of the machines but you can create 'views' by going through them. Sort of like astronomers using a gravitational lens.

We had a similar issue at Blekko where a 10G switch we were using would not pass a certain bit pattern in a UDP packet fragment. Just vanished. Annoying as heck, the fix was to add random data to the packet on retries so that at least one datagram made it through intact.

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gwright 2 days ago 3 replies      
Reminds me of a problem I had with a T1 circuit corrupting packets.

Shortly after bringing up a second T1 into a remote location we discovered that some web pages would show broken JPG images at the remote site.

Some troubleshooting revealed that this only happened when traffic was routed over the new T1. The old T1 worked just fine. Pings, and other IP traffic seemed to work over either line but we kept seeing the broken image icon for some reason when traffic came over the new T1.

We tried several times to confirm with the telco that the T1 was provisioned correctly and that our equipment matched those telco parameters. Still had some mangled bits going over that new T1.

Finally had the telco check the parameters over every span in the new (long-distance) T1 circuit and they eventually found one segment that was configured for AMI instead of B8ZS (if I can remember correctly, certainly it was a misconfigured segment though).

The net result is that certain user-data patterns that didn't include sufficient 0/1 transitions would lead to loss of clock synchronization over that segment and corrupted packets. Those patterns were most likely to occur in JPGs.

Once they corrected the parameters on that segment, everything worked as expected.

Quite a bit of head scratching with that one and lots of frustration as the layer-1 telco culture just couldn't comprehend that layer-2/3 Internet folks could accurately diagnose problems with their layer-1 network.

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SoftwareMaven 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why good DevOps people are worth their weight in platinum. As a developer who has done just enough administration to be dangerous, I can easily say that my job is always far more enjoyable when there are good DevOps folks around to keep my systems happy and shield me from the crazy place that is the Internet's wiring.
6
greenyoda 2 days ago 0 replies      
The striking thing about this story is that even after the problem was solved by re-routing traffic around the bad hardware, the author continued to investigate until the ultimate cause was tracked down. This almost obsessive desire to understand the true causes of problems (whether they be related to operations, software development, or whatever) is one of the things that makes people really good at what they do.
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unimpressive 2 days ago 2 replies      
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alexkus 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a related note I used to be the person who got to go see customers who had problems with our software that the support desk couldn't solve. This often meant one or two day trips to glamourous industrial estates on the edge of various cities all around the world.

About 3 visits in a row I went to look at problems (core dumps or errors) that the customer could reproduce at will, only for them to be unable to replicate the problem with me present on site.

I sat at one customer (in sunny Minneapolis) for 2 hours in the morning with the customer getting increasingly baffled as to why he couldn't get it to fail; it had been happily failing for him the previous evening when I was talking to him on the 'phone. We gave up and went for lunch (mmm, Khan's Mongolian Barbeque). A colleague of his called him midway through lunch to tell him that the software was failing again. Excellent I thought, we'll finally get to the bottom of it. Back to their office and ... no replication; it was working fine.

As a joke I said I should leave a clump of my hair taped to the side of the E450 it was running on. The customer took me up on that offer and, as far as I know (definitely for a few years at least), the software ran flawlessly at that customer.

It's the closest I've got to a "'more magic' switch" story of my own.

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windexh8er 2 days ago 0 replies      
So this is one of those times that I find myself torn between labels.

A little background... I was brought up in the network ranks, I worked as a network / sys admin in high school, ended up working for an ISP as a junior network engineer in college (while I went to college at one of the first Cisco NetAcad baccalaureate programs - which was a combo of network study and Cisco curriculum and certifications) and have gone on to work in every major vertical since then for the past 10+ years; government, finance, healthcare, retail, telecomm, etc. I always tell clients and potential employers that having a network background generally gives me somewhat of an edge in the industry I primarily focus on: security, and I generally will study and take Juniper & Cisco tests and work on labs just to stay current. Most software devs and security folks I've run into (keep in mind there are a lot of really good folks who have a better grasp on network than a lot of seasoned engineers do) are generally overzealous in the thought that they truly do understand IP from a debugging and troubleshooting standpoint.

Case in point: I interviewed for a "Network Architect" position with a very well known online backup company (think top 4). The interview was the most bizarre I've ever had, not that it spanned more than 5 interviews, but that every time they positioned a complex network problem it was generally solvable within 5 to 10 minutes of pointed questions. The software dev who was interviewing me was baffled by how I came to a reasonable solution that took them over a week, in some cases, that quickly - and it was pretty simple in the fact that 1) I've seen something similar and 2) that's what I studied and still have a passion for over the course of 20+ years (when I found the Internet in 1991).

Most of the time when I run across a "magical" problem it's because someone hasn't looked at it from L1 up. As this article showcases you generally have two generic stack angles to approach it from - application back down to physical, or the inverse. Having been in network support - by the time you get a problem like this it's often so distorted with crazy outliers that really have nothing to do with the problem your best bet is to start from that L1 and go back up through the stack. Reading into the problem the author describes I think there were some key data that was missed and/or misinterpreted. There most surely would have been key indicators in TCP checksum errors and it was glossed over pretty lightly in the explanation - but it's interesting that those items of interest are often cast aside when digging into something like this. Nobody in this thread has indicated where a bit error test or even something as simple as iperf, or similar, would have been able to more accurately showcase/reproduce the problematic network condition.

But back to the labels remark - I don't believe, as some people have said, that this is a DevOps role largely. I don't mean to cut down on DevOps folks because I think, at some level, if you're a jack-of-all in any org then that's your role, it is what it is. However, this would be a problem most suited towards a professional network engineer - and you don't see much of that need in the startup space until people get into dealing with actual colo / DC type environments, otherwise it's often very simple and not architected with significant depth or specific use cases.

Long story short: network professionals are worth the money in the case of design, build, fix of potentially issues that may seem complex to others, but can be solved or found in minutes when you know what you're looking at. That being said, I'm impressed that the OP dug into it to get to a point where he could ask a specific person (who was probably a network engineer / tech of some level) to validate/fix his claim.

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jwr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, I had this problem! Exactly the same symptoms, although I never got as far as dumping actual packet contents. But I did verify that packet loss (of various sizes) was not the culprit. It was SSH (and some monitoring TCP connections) that failed (hung), always precisely at the same moment.

I suspected the VM code at the time, but it is very likely that my packets had to go through the same router (geography would support this).

I'm so glad somebody debugged this problem. Also, I'm quite glad that at least this time I'm not the only person with a weird issue (I have a knack for breaking things).

11
swordswinger12 2 days ago 3 replies      
I love reading weird bug stories like this. Is there a place where lots of these types of stories are aggregated? Maybe a book about them?
12
ComputerGuru 2 days ago 4 replies      
Off-topic: can someone provide a good reason why SSH w/ the HPN patches is not the default for every SSH install on every platform?

Today, people are relying on SSH for binary transfer more than ever. SFTP and SCP are the new defacto file transfer standards between machine to machine over a secured connection. Source control like GIT (or even SVN) make heavy use of binary transfers over SSH. The performance benefit to the entire world is immeasurable. Yet unless you explicitly go out of your way to manually compile and install SSH-HPN, you don't get it.

That said, given how slow SSH is on Windows (GIT pushes and pulls are exponentially slower than on *nix or OS X), does anyone have a good link to a Putty HPN build?

13
soldermont001 2 days ago 0 replies      
A dev submitted code and broke our build once, when we looked at what he submitted there appear to random syntax errors in it. On his workstation the code was correct however.

We tracked it down to a switch that was corrupting packets enough that the TCP checksum wasn't sufficient protection, and the packets would simply pass their checksum despite having been altered.

The out come was that we always use compression, or encryption, as an added layer of protection.

14
lysium 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can anybody think of an explanation why the 'bug' happened only after the 576th byte?
15
rdl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be pissed at a transit provider who mangled packets like this.

The more ambiguous situation is that early Juniper routers would fairly frequently re-order packets. That's nominally allowed, but a lot of protocols didn't like it.

There are way weirder things on satellite or other networks (spoofing acks, etc.).

16
acdha 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great story - I've had MTU and firewall fun before but nothing so subtly treacherous.

I've been wondering about something not entirely unrelated we see sporadically from a small but widespread number of users. We serve deep zoom images and the client appears to run normally but sends malformed image tile requests - e.g. in the URLs "service" is consistently garbled as "s/rvice", "dzi" as "d/i". I've seen this from IPs on every continent and user agents for most common browsers as well as both iOS and Android. My current theory is that it's some sort of tampering net filter as a fair number of the IPs have reverse DNS / Whois info suggesting educational institutions but have thus far failed to confirm this, particularly since none of the users have contacted us.

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kabdib 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice analysis.

I had a similar problem, less hairy, involving a bad bit in a disk drive's cache RAM. Took a day or so to figure out a solid repro.

Stuff like this does happen. Handling bit errors in consumer electronics storage systems is an interesting problem, and one that I'd love to see more attention paid to.

18
geofft 2 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome story.
19
zanny 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm curious how the kernel was able to diagnose that a single one bit always being fixed on the 15th of 16th bytes in the packet was corruption. That sounds like some intense algorithmic profiling especially if its being applied to every packet.
20
dllthomas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful! Thank you, author and submitter both!
21
narpaldhillon 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant work. Thanks for sharing
22
seiji 2 days ago 2 replies      
Weird connection problems like that sound like tcp timestamps breaking things. You can try turning it off across the board and see if your problems immediately clear up: http://prowiki.isc.upenn.edu/wiki/TCP_tuning_for_broken_fire...
6
Scott Forstall leaves Apple apple.com
459 points by FredericJ  1 day ago   313 comments top 54
1
archgrove 1 day ago 5 replies      
Anyone who A) likes Apple and B) has ever been in a Dixons store in the UK will be overjoyed with the other departure, Browett (head of retail and previous Dixons CEO) who is leaving immediately (compared to Forstall's year long "transition" departure). Dixons is everything that Apple should never be; terrible customer service, clueless minimum wage staff, horrible retail experience, and generally used only by people who desperately need something immediately or are too naive to find another store.

Recent news out of Apple regarding "cutbacks" at retail suggested he was nudging them in the same direction. Given that he got his first stock disbursement last week and was due $58 million over the next few years if he hung around, I'm guessing he was pushed. Great decision from Cook if that was the case.

2
danilocampos 1 day ago 4 replies      
Interesting that Eddie Cue remains the company fixer, taking on the quirky Siri and the flakey Maps app just as he was once given a completely fucked up MobileMe.

This is good news.

Even better news is Browett's ouster. The business with his cutting operational corners in retail was a very, very bad omen. If they'd left him in, he might have poisoned a very important well for the company. Hopefully his replacement is closer to Ron Johnson's set of retail and service values.

N'bad, Tim.

3
dave1619 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here are the major changes announced:

1. Jony Ive's role is expanded from Industrial Design to Industrial Design AND Human Interface. In other words, Ive is the new Design chief for hardware and software. This is huge.

2. Scott Forstall is out (after an interim advising role to Tim Cook). iOS goes to Craig Federighi who already oversees Mac OS. So, now iOS and Mac OS are overseen by the same person.

3. Eddy Cue's role is expanded (he previously was in charge of iTunes, App Store, iBookStore, iCloud). He now also oversees Siri and Maps.

4. Bob Mansfield will lead a new group called Technologies (wireless and semiconductor).

5. John Browett of retail is out.

Overall, I view this move as extremely positive.

Tim Cook just elevated his most reliable and capable SVPs to assume more leadership role.

John Ive, Eddy Cue, Mansfield and Federighi have all proven to be pretty spectacular. Ive with industrial design, Cue with iTunes/AppStore/iCloud, Mansfield with hardware and Federighi with Mac OS.

Further, Tim Cook gets rid of his problem SVPs - namely Browett who didn't match the culture of Apple... and Scott Forstall (who advanced iOS in huge ways) but reportedly had problems with getting along with other SVPs and also who disappointed users with iOS6/Maps (and also in my opinion poorly designed and implemented Apple apps... appstore reviews for Apple apps have gone significantly down the last year or two).

Cook will probably give Forstall a good severance package with an agreement that Forstall doesn't go to a mobile OS competitor.

I'm actually more optimistic on Apple with this bold management shakeup. Tim Cook is showing the moves of a bold leader... and it's exactly what Apple needs.

4
apike 1 day ago 8 replies      
> Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year

> Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company

And thus ended the reign of skeuomorphism at Apple. Or, at least, the reign of hyper-realism and hyper-whimsy in UI design. Jobs or Forstall always seemed to favour it, but could you imagine Jony Ive signing off on a Podcasts app where half the screen is a reel-to-reel tape that bounces when you pause?

5
wisty 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think there's a few layers to this:

1) Forstall apparently wants to be CEO, and run the company. That puts him at odds with Cook (the CEO), and Ive (who wants to drive Apple's design decisions).

2) He's divisive. There's claims that neither Jonny Ive nor Bob Mansfield would talk to him without Tim Cook mediating. There's also claims that he "managed up" (showed off to the boss) better than he "managed down", and stole credit while deflecting critisism.

3) He was the guy in charge of Siri and Maps.

4) He was probably the one driving the post-Jobs war with Google.

Siri and Maps are Apple's way of fighting Google. Siri competes with Google Search, and Maps competes with Google Maps. There are reasons why Apple wants to spite Google, but the whole strategy could also be Scot Forstall's way of creating his own empire in Apple. Going head to head with Google requires lots of resources, which would all be under Forstall's command.

I don't think it's a good gamble for Apple. Google doesn't really hate Apple. I bet they'll port everything they can to iOS, as long as they can keep pushing their ads. Nexus might see Apple as a competitor, but Nexus isn't worth as much as adwords. As Eric Schmidt said in an interview - "It's their call".

If Apple goes down the path Forstall wants, they'll be going head to head with Google in the things Google is best at. If they stop trying to turn into a data / AI company, they can focus on what they do best - making easy to use devices which sell like hotcakes, and command a fat profit margin.

Android will hurt them, but as long as they focus on their core strengths (hardware, marketing, industrial design, interface design, and integration) they'll continue to do pretty well. They milked the iPod for a decade, despite there being plenty of better value competitors. They can do the same with the iPhone. They can do the same with whatever the next big thing is. I'd say going to war with Google will be at best a waste of time, and most likely a string of humiliating losses.

6
mukaiji 1 day ago 5 replies      
Just to be clear, he's not "leaving." He got fired. He got fired because after the map fiasco became apparent, he refused to send out an apology or sign his name to the one Tim Cook sent. (internal knowledge)
7
nostromo 1 day ago 8 replies      
Does anyone but me here listen incessantly to podcasts?

The latest Podcasts App from iTunes is a skeuomorphic mess. It has a superfluous animation of a reel-to-reel player of course. But it utterly fails at its most basic task: playing a goddamn podcast. But don't take my word for it, it has a 1.5 star rating on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/podcasts/id525463029

Not to mention crashes... Apple used to make jokes about the Windows blue screen of death. Well, that's my new day-to-day experience with iOS apps. I'm constantly restarting crashed apps over and over.

Honestly, this is good news if Forstall really is the driving force behind the deteriorating user experience of many apps.

8
aaronbrethorst 1 day ago 3 replies      
Interesting timing on the announcement, given that the stock market is closed today and likely tomorrow too.

As both a fan and shareholder of Apple, I'm very pleased to hear Browett is out. The stories that came out a couple months ago about the changes in Apple Retail did fill me with admiration for his management style.

Also, given how Forstall is described in a Business Week profile[1], and that Bob Mansfield is not only sticking around, but heading up a new team, I wonder if Mansfield laid out an ultimatum to Tim Cook about 'him or me'.

[1] http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/scott-forstall-the-sorc...

9
feverishaaron 1 day ago 7 replies      
Interesting that Jony will be overseeing UI. I expect a more minimalistic polish to upcoming interfaces. In other words, this is the beginning of the end for the skeuomorphism trend at Apple.
10
mratzloff 1 day ago 2 replies      
He oversaw Siri and Maps, two products which over-promised and under-delivered, and six months ago he cashed out 95% of his Apple stock.

I think it was evident he lost the power struggle and it killed his enthusiasm. His heart just wasn't in it anymore.

11
mlchild 1 day ago 4 replies      
People's reactions to this announcement are overly focused on Forstall's assumed support for heavy skeumorphism (and their excitement at his departure as lead proponent). I think his record as head of iOS since its inception is a much more salient issue.

Forstall led development of the fastest-growing, most popular computing platform of the past decade or so with, to be sure, a few notable screw-ups, but mostly incredible innovation and efficiency. While his departure does sound like the result of a power struggle that needed to be resolved, I really believe we're shortchanging his incredible achievements. Forstall's departure is not unequivocally or even clearly a victory for those who are firm believers in iOS and its ecosystem going forward. The only reasonable reaction is that we'll have to wait and see.

12
smegel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can everyone saying "it's unfair to dump him due to Maps, because mapping is hard" realize it has nothing to do with the quality of the application, but the quality (or lack thereof) of the PR and management of customer expectations.

If Apple had come out 3 months before iPhone5 and said "Look, we really need to divorce ourselves from Google Maps as we can't be relying on an arch-competitor for such an important service, but please be aware that our new Maps app will have issues for several months as we work out the kinks based on customer feedback", and reinforced that message several times, the issue would have been close to a non-issue - and I think most people would have understood.

Instead they came out and said "new Maps is the greatest thing since sliced bread!" (paraphrasing) which was downright wrong and people rightly felt let down.

13
nirvana 1 day ago 0 replies      
It wasn't always obvious that Cook would be the CEO of Apple after Jobs left. This is the job Forstall wanted, but that Apple didn't want him for. The job went to Cook, and so Forstall was either going to have to find a place to be happy in Apple or he'd be on his way out.

This gives a smooth transition to the large teams under him over the next year or so, in exchange for more vesting of his shares.

People saying this is about Maps or Siri or Skoumorphism are focusing on relatively petty issues.

This is about how is going to be the leader of Apple. Tim Cook turned out to not just be the interim CEO, and waiting a year for the transition is respectful all around-- and is enough time for everyone to know what the right direction for their lives is.

Forstall may want to do a startup-- where he'd certainly be a CEO.

14
msbarnett 1 day ago 2 replies      
Ive heading up "Human Interface" now. Say goodbye to the Rich Corinthian Leather on every third App.
15
mukaiji 1 day ago 4 replies      
So... can we now all agree that Tim Cook is a good CEO?
16
bengl3rt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another upside: iOS and OS X are now both run by the same person. Hopefully this means that when there is convergence/overlap between the two platforms, it will be done more thoughtfully, rather than taking something from one and awkwardly bolting it onto the other one a la Launchpad.
17
arrrg 1 day ago 3 replies      
Jony Ive is now responsible for HI guidelines across the company?

That could turn out great or horrible. (I'm not sure whether obviously great hardware designers can also be great UI designers.) I'm optimistic for now. Hopefully that means bye bye overt skeumorphism.

(I do think Apple's UIs have in the past always been above average, sometimes excellent. Their fashion choices, however, have at times been horrible. It would be great if Apple could change the second, not necessarily the first part.)

18
Bud 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nobody's posted this yet, so I'll give it a try.

Dear Scott,

Could you please start up NeXT again? That would really rock.

Thanks,
Bud

19
k-mcgrady 1 day ago 0 replies      
John Browett didn't last long. Jony Ive overseeing UI should be interesting and might bring an end to the skeuomorphism bug at Apple.

I wonder how this will affect iOS. Forstall has been in charge from the beginning (afaik) so we might see some big changes and even better integration with OS X now that Craig Federighi is in charge of both teams.

Edit:

I wonder if Forstall's departure has anything to do with Mansfield staying on?

20
revelation 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm not an Apple insider. Pushing Google Maps away seems to me like a political decision reserved for someone like Cook, not Forstall. If Cook shoved Google out and tasked Forstall with the impossible task of developing a better maps offering in what amounts to a year, this would be a sign that upper management jumped the shark, not Forstall himself.
21
matheusalmeida 1 day ago 1 reply      
Given that 50% of the posts talk about skeuomorphism and honestly I didn't know what it was, here's the definition from Wikipedia: "A skeuomorph, or skeuomorphism is when a product imitates design elements functionally necessary in the original product design, but that becomes ornamental in the new product design".
22
w1ntermute 1 day ago 2 replies      
Looks like he got shitcanned for the Maps fiasco.
23
FredericJ 1 day ago 2 replies      
24
martin_bech 1 day ago 0 replies      
At first I was shocked by the headline, but after reading the story, I actually think, this could be amazing.

Getting Jony Ive to oversee both industrial and software design, could lead to something very exciting, that provides the innovation, the software, has been lacking.

I have full confidence, in Eddy Cue, Craig, and Bob their new roles, and hope this means Bob will stay on longer.

As per the direct no apology firing of Browett.. Sweet! I was actually hoping for that. I was insane to gamble with the Apple stores reputation and service for a litle more margin. Having now seen a Dixons, I have no idea, why he was hired

25
kmfrk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This makes me incredibly excited for Apple. I would rather that Siri and Maps hadn't belly-flopped the way they did, but iOS is getting really long in the tooth, and Apple have made some seriously weird design decisions with the platform.
26
uladzislau 1 day ago 0 replies      
The writing was on the wall:

Does Apple have a Scott Forstall problem?
http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/09/29/does-apple-have-a-sco...

Apple Retail Leadership Tells Stores It 'Messed Up' Employee Working Hours, Refutes Layoffs
http://www.nasdaq.com/article/apple-retail-leadership-tells-...

27
panacea 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everyone's mentioning Maps/Siri, but my most recent disappointment with an Apple product is the UI, performance and structure of Game Center for iOS.

I've never been inclined to use it before the recent release of Letterpress which necessitates its use and it a steaming pile of you-know-what.

It's so jarring going from the lovely minimalism of the Letterpress game into parts of Game Center to manage match/friend requests.

It's the sort of experience that's had me worried about Apple, and this is (tentatively) good news, as I gather he was heading up the part of Apple responsible for such products.

28
jakespencer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, this is great news all around. Jony Ive can only improve the Human Interfaces we've seen, and although he was obviously good at a lot of things, Forstall did tend to over-promise and under-deliver (Siri, Maps). This makes me feel great about Cook as CEO.
29
ricardobeat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Most interesting part:

     John Browett is leaving Apple

So his views on retail really did not fit Apple after all.

30
nachteilig 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm actually surprised that they allowed John Browett to receive his first batch of grants before they showed him the door. Didn't seem like he had long after some of his recent communication problems.
31
kristopher 1 day ago 0 replies      
While mere speculation, I do not think he is leaving over Maps directly. I personally think there was internal tension over making sir Jony head of leadership and direction for Human Interface and he quit over that -- also there is the possibility that he was perhaps looking to run Apple as CEO at some point but that does not seem to be in the cards.
32
jonknee 1 day ago 0 replies      
Scott Forstall is already rich thanks to Apple, but he lost a lot of money by being fired. 75,000 RSUs vesting in 2013, 100,000 RSUs to vest in 2014, and 75,000 in 2016. That's a lot of dough ($151M at today's share price).
33
jordhy 1 day ago 2 replies      
I feel very sorry for Apple. Scott was a major catalyst that made things happen at the company.
34
benguild 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm relieved about this. Pretty much all of the missteps at Apple that I've cared about were related to this guy. I'm confident that Ive will clear things up soon.
35
camus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I cant wait to hear reactions from the fanboys when Cook is out : "Oh yeah , best opportunity ever for Apple...",
Whatever Apple does is ,strangely ,always a good decision from its followers perspective...
36
18pfsmt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lots of supposition and subjectivity.

I'm pretty much clueless on this topic, but from a quick scan this seems like pure gossip. I've learned nothing at all except for various HN opinions, and I have trouble understanding if and/or what the substance is here.

What am I missing? Put another way. What does anyone on HN actually uniquely know about this situation. Could someone help simplify this?

37
ececconi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Everybody here talks about Ive being opposed to skeuomorphism , does anybody have any examples of what the UI would look like under the leadership of his design principles? I can't even imagine it.
38
dm8 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like Maps fiasco was too much to handle. Didn't they ask their SVP of hardware to leave when they had antennagate?
39
Toddward 1 day ago 0 replies      
John Browett is leaving too - that didn't last long.
40
seannui 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, if he truly wants to emulate Jobs he needs to have his wilderness years outside of Apple's bosom. As the prophecy has foretold he'll return in 11 years to retake his spot as rightful CEO.
41
emehrkay 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wasnt he supposed to be the next Steve Jobs? He was noticeably missing from the last event. It was strange that they didnt have ios updates to talk about (that is when he gets on stage).
42
aganek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bold action often results in great things.

Apple has always strived to couple great hardware design with great software. Excited to see them bring the two departments closer again.

43
pdknsk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Who wants to bet that Marissa called him already? Seems like the perfect fit for the new Yahoo mobile oriented strategy, does it not? I have no clue to be honest.
44
ececconi 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think one of the worst examples of UI design by Apple is the iCloud website. It's just so slow and clunky. I can't believe more people aren't complaining about it.
45
mwc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting to see confirmation of Bob Mansfield's continued role in the company. He'll lead a new group, "Technologies", responsible for wireless and semis.
46
stevewillows 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a chance that the move away from skeuomorphism and putting OSX and IOS under one umbrella is a response to the direction Microsoft is taking with Windows 8?
47
rbn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm expecting a move away from Skeuomorphism towards minimalism now that Jony Ive is the head of "Human Interface"
48
Tycho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shame. He had great stage presence at the Apple shows.
49
enraged_camel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder what this means for the possibility of future Apple devices having haptic touchscreens.

edit: What was the downvote for?!

50
sk2code 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess this is the serious blow to Apple. Many people across the board will reconsider their position with the shares of APPL. Time to take the profit.
51
patfla 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this an instance of Think Different?
52
yzap 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sacked for Apple Maps?
53
lanna 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hooray!
54
pycassa 1 day ago 0 replies      
man behind skeuomorphism in apple's ios?

I remember watching him in a keynote showing the piano app on iphone when they announced appstore/iphone. I was blown away by that demo.. those were the days maan..

7
No, I still don't want to work for Google infotrope.net
447 points by chris_wot  2 days ago   389 comments top 34
1
varelse 1 day ago 11 replies      
I worked at Google for a short stint. I found the tech interview easy and I wasn't asked anything particularly ridiculous. I received a job offer shortly thereafter and accepted.

As someone who regularly interviews prospective engineers at my current gig, I see no problem with expecting candidates to arrive prepared to answer algorithm questions or questions about their strongest programming language. Ditto for someone who wishes to change assignment within their organization, however they arrived there. If you're unwilling to provide proof you're not a bozo, you're probably going to be just awful to work with as well.

However, the blind allocation policy at Google sucks, and it continues to suck. I came in as an expert in field D and therefore according to Google's magic sorting hat I ended up a natural for assignment in field Q. I tried my hand at it for several months, but as someone else has already said, bored employees quit: http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2011/07/12/bored_peopl...

In order to avoid that fate, I futilely attempted to get reassigned to something close to field D (really, B, C, E, or F would have been just peachy) and that seemingly got me flagged as trouble internally. Shortly thereafter, I got a higher offer to go somewhere else and left.

However, unlike the author of this post, while Google recruiters regularly stalk my linkedin profile, none of them ever contact me, which is good.

2
stroboskop 1 day ago 2 replies      
Key quote.

Since I've been out of the Silicon-Valley-centred tech industry, I've become increasingly convinced that it's morally bankrupt and essentially toxic to our society. Companies like Google and Facebook " in common with most public companies " have interests that are frequently in conflict with the wellbeing of " I was going to say their customers or their users, but I'll say “people” in general, since it's wider than that. People who use their systems directly, people who don't " we're all affected by it, and although some of the outcomes are positive a disturbingly high number of them are negative: the erosion of privacy, of consumer rights, of the public domain and fair use, of meaningful connections between people and a sense of true community, of beauty and care taken in craftsmanship, of our very physical wellbeing. No amount of employee benefits or underfunded Google.org projects can counteract that.

3
c0nsumer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Back in 2007 I got quite far through the Google hiring process, up to an on-site interview and being told to expect an offer the Thursday after I returned home. I was ready to move half-way across the country and get started living in the bay area, moving my life to there.

That Thursday came and went, and I found out that due to some internal bar-raising I would not be receiving an offer. I stayed here in the Detroit area, moved up with my current company, married my wife, and settled into being quite happy here.

Five years on I regularly have Google recruiters contacting me both via phone and email, asking if I'm interested in a position, and exclaiming how good the interview feedback was. When I decline to revisit any opportunity which would require me to move across the country, the recruiters are universally flabbergasted.

Sorry Google, the time when I was excited to move across the country has passed. I still want to do interesting things, I'll just do them on my terms now.

4
raldi 1 day ago 4 replies      
Please don't propagate the myth that Google asks prospective programmers questions like, "How many golf balls could you fit on a bus?" Google interviewers list the questions they asked when they write up their conclusions, and anyone who asked a question like that for an engineering interview would be immediately contacted by the hiring commitee and told not to do it again.
5
spindritf 1 day ago 5 replies      
I may be making the problem worse but both this post and the comments section are some of the worst I've seen on HN -- from linkbaity title to incorrect possessive pronouns (I barely speak English and caught it while skimming), and then the deep analysis of anonymity on G+ completely based on one or two anecdotes with no relation to G+, anonymity, or even the Internet.

Why is this submission at 80 upvotes? What value am I missing that others are seeing?

6
bmelton 2 days ago 17 replies      
I tried, but I found that I can't really identify with the plights of some. Thankfully (for reasons I'd rather not be challenged to justify, except to say that it's apparently good as measured by others) I'm a fairly normal white guy with no marginal traits that might cause me to have different viewpoints than I currently do.

This means that I support the notion real names on Google Plus, and I also believe that all speech should be free, but that you should also have the courage to attach your name to it. Yes, I understand that there are reasonable circumstances in which that would not be ideal, but perhaps due to my aforementioned luxury of being a 'normal' white male, I am ignorant to how much they would matter in real life. I am neither queer nor gender-queer, so while I am empathetic to their struggles, I just can't identify with what are possibly very real concerns about losses of anonymity, and as I've met people who are public with their genderqueer status who haven't been assailed or assaulted, I can't help but wonder if the fear isn't simply perceived fear or not.

Regardless, aside from that (which again, I empathy with, but cannot relate to) the only other thing I took issue with in the article was the categorization of the autonomous vehicle as a 'geek toy'. It isn't, and that marginalizes an entire category of technology that has a very real possibility of changing the world in a very positive way to 'something SV types are wasting money on', which I take issue with.

7
rmrfrmrf 1 day ago 3 replies      
One thing I can't stand is "recruiters" who invite you to come interview with them. Oh, great, you "invite" me to come torture myself for months on end just so I can have a snowball's chance in hell at getting a job? This is 2012. If you want to learn about me, go on my website and read my blog posts, look at my current projects, and download my resumé.

If you think I'm so great, make me an offer. Don't spam my inbox with "We're Hiring!" e-mails.

8
mattdeboard 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was interviewing at a startup in the Bay Area and the CEO insisted that since "being surrounded by people smarter than me and getting better at what I do" was a huge driver for my professional life, I'd be better served by working at Google.

I did not understand that then, and I don't understand it now. I don't blame the guy for saying that I guess, and maybe he's right. That said I don't want to work at a megacorp doing software engineering, even if that megacorp is Google. It's just not for me.

9
bane 1 day ago 1 reply      
Like many people I have issues with Google. But let's not be silly about things I'd still love to work there.

Not out of any particular fanboyism, but because I've worked at plenty of places that are not Google, and the normal day-to-day in a place like a large defense contractor are categorically worse than even the worst nightmare scenario I've ever heard about working at Google.

10
anonymous717 1 day ago 0 replies      
So here's my experience with Google's recruiting process.

I exchanged a few mails with the recruiter, who offered a SWE position. Then two telephone interviews followed (with the recruiter and extensive interview with some developer), then they arranged an on-site interview. Apparently the 2nd tech phone interview wasn't needed.

For the on-site interview I got some paper-mail, where the position had been changed to SRE.. So I'm thinking to myself.. right, this is going to be interesting.

So I show up on-site, and 5 interviews follow, with a ~1hr lunch break in the middle. The 1st guy who interviewed me was a bit pompous [hey, he had a PhD!], but OK; the 2nd and 3rd guys were extremely arrogant; the 4th guy (my supposed team-leader) seemed to have had a bad day but was otherwise OK; the 5th guy was the ONLY with whom I felt I could build accord and have an engaging conversation. With him, it didn't feel like an "interview"; we were more like two equals talking about an interesting technical topic.

The guy who I had lunch with was... interesting. Suffice it to say that I had the impression that he was on the verge of explicitly telling me NOT to take the position I was interviewed for. (As in, crappy job and crappy place to live in.)

They tried to impress me with how every employee gets two big screens, a laptop of their own choice, how big systems they're working with, how good the food in cantina was, the fancy office space, etc.. Their attitude was in general as if they were interviewing a teenager whose "wet dream" was to work for google.

I never found out what kind of project I would be working on. Everybody's attitude during the interview was "you ask, and we'll tell you if it's not confidential". The SRE position was briefly described as "root on google.com".

It turned out that I'd also be required to be periodically on-call (since the position went from SWE to SRE underway), and that the people I'd be working with would be the same people who interviewed me.

So I got an offer, a contract came in paper-post and I found out that I'd only be having ~15 workdays of paid vacation per year. Incidentally, in the country I was supposed to move to, it was allowed by the law to work NNN hours unpaid overtime per year... Guess whether NNN matched (or maybe was even greater!) than the number of paid vacation days.

I didn't take the offer, and it turned out to be a damn good choice.

I'm rather sure that somebody without other hobbies or desires to have some free time to spend on things other than computers would have had a different subjective experience.

[This post is deliberately vague about some details in order not to reveal too much about the persons involved.]

11
halayli 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interviews should go both ways. If the interviewer asks you for a "pop quiz" algorithm question you studied in college and forgot about it ever since, you should throw a "pop quiz" question back at them. Not for spite, but if they expect you to know the answer to their question you should expect that they know the answers to your question.
12
tehwebguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
The one thing I took away that really is a pain in the ass is recruiters hitting people up and asking them to apply. If a recruiter reaches out, in my opinion, they should already consider the person in question a genuinely attractive candidate and should be asking for a little more info, not asking them to start at step 0, they can do that on their own if they decide to.
13
brown9-2 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think it's fairly obvious from all of these stories about the Google recruiting process - being pestered fairly regular by different people who appear unaware or indifferent to your past experiences with Google, either as an employee/contractor/failed candidate - that the recruiters have some sort of quota system and need to keep feeding potential candidates into the interview process to meet their own metrics. Hence why a lot of times it seems like someone is being contacted out of the blue based upon an "online profile" that someone stumbled upon through desperate-seeming research.
14
pnathan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am curious about responses to skud's call for seeking social justice, it doesn't seem to be addressed here. Personally, I don't have a formed opinion on it...
15
clarky07 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was with this post until I got to:

"Over time, I've come to consider that this situation is irremediable, given our current capitalist system and all its inequalities. To fix it, we're going to need to work on social justice and rethinking how we live and work and relate to each other."

Give me a break. Socialism isn't going to fix anything. Have you seen Europe recently? Capitalism and Democracy are the worst solutions for economies and governments, except for all of the others that have been tried. America and capitalism have given more opportunities to help people grow out of poverty into success than anything else in the world. If you think you are entitled to something, you're wrong. Get off your ass and do something productive and go take that thing you think you're entitled to. If you are sitting on your couch watching tv, the only thing you are entitled to is being overweight.

16
griftah 1 day ago 4 replies      
She is building a social network for hobbyist gardeners. Apparently this is what humanity needs more than geek toys like self-driving cars and augmented reality sunglasses.
17
mememememememe 2 days ago 3 replies      
I agree with you on the unnecessary puzzle solving. I don't even solve Sudoku. How can I even come up with a reasonable solution in 45 minute? The only puzzle I ever solved with C++ and Java was minesweeper and it took me a month in each language. I do think algorithm design problems like fitting 1 million 8 digits into 1 M ram is an OKAY question. Google's scale is big, and they want to test you how quickly you can arrive an OKAY solution in 45 minutes, even if it's wrong.
18
sxp 1 day ago 1 reply      
>The very day after I blogged about that, my Google+ account was suspended, for using the name I was almost universally known by. Over the next couple of months, I campaigned tirelessly for Google+ to change its policies, working with the EFF and other advocates. My work was covered in Wired, The Atlantic, and a number of other mainstream press outlets. Obviously this was to no avail...

FYI, this policy has changed: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BradleyHorowitz/posts/SM5RjubbM...

19
cmccabe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, it's probably somewhat frustrating to be laid off by Google and then later receive recruiting emails. But Google is a big company. The right hand doesn't always know what the left is doing. Or maybe the recruiter thinks you really do want to come back to the fold. Who knows.

It's pretty unfair to blast Google for "eroding" the public domain, fair use, and consumer rights. Google has been a champion of all three of those things, unlike some other companies I could name.

Does it really matter if Google+ doesn't support anonymous comments? It's not like there's a shortage of places online to make anonymous remarks.

20
tlow 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm totally with the author here, I just wish we could also include some of the other large companies like Facebook.
21
mamoswined 1 day ago 0 replies      
The last recruiter I talked to was hilarious. Like the author here, I pulled my Linkedin profile and I feel like I am fairly hard to find. However, I have a food blog and I guess I might have mentioned some tech stuff there. So this recruiter calls me and starts talking to me about food, I guess as a way to get me interested, but he totally and hilariously botches it because it's pretty clear he knows nothing about it. I told him "You live in one of the best food cities in the world, so even if you aren't looking to recruit you should to to these restaurants/food purveyors." I sent him a list of them and told him I wasn't interested in a job.
22
rrbrambley 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been turned off by Google's recruiting style as well. I don't understand why the current state of tech recruiting is to blast out (almost) generic recruiting emails to everyone. It feels like this style of recruiting should have gone away by now.

P.S. I just wrote a blurb about this last week: http://robdotrob.com/post/33737357324/recruiting-for-bigco-p...

23
redler 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a side question, is it common practice for Google to hire people using employment contracts with fixed terms? Is there an underclass of employees who join as a result of an acquisition, but who have expiration dates?
24
interg12 1 day ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: Worked at Metaweb which was acquired by Google to develop for Google+. Left within a year because of a disagreement over policy against pseudonymity and the affect it has on victims of harassment. Received email from Google years later offering job.
25
xanderhud 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're really, really serious about getting them to stop bothering you, accept an offer from them but then don't show up for work.
26
zoidb 2 days ago 1 reply      
at least you aren't bitter about it :)
27
pvdm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Megacorps self-destruct eventually.
28
welebrity 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fascinating article. A truly unique voice and perspective, although after reading all the comments and reviews, maybe their is a groundswell here!? Nonetheless, thanks for opening one brain, and keep on keepin' on!
29
voltagex_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Strangely, the link is blocked by BlueCoat at my workplace. Can someone pastebin the text?
30
bborud 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh wow, I have not seen such a self-important wall of text in ages. Pull yourself together.
31
chris123 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah, the Hacker News brag. Nice.
32
Morphling 1 day ago 0 replies      
Man, I just wish a big company like Google was interested in me, but since I just mostly suck at everything that will never happen.
33
sidcool 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, can anyone pls post a mirror? I am unable to access this from work. Thanks in advance.
34
wei2012 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just another dreamer.
9
The most dangerous code in the world stanford.edu
387 points by gmcabrita  6 days ago   130 comments top 21
1
tptacek 6 days ago 4 replies      
The worst example from this paper is Curl's API.

Curl has an option, CURL_SSL_VERIFYHOST. When VERIFYHOST=0, Curl does what you'd expect: it effectively doesn't validate SSL certificates.

When VERIFYHOST=2, Curl does what you'd expect: it verifies SSL certificates, ensuring that one of the hosts attested by the certificate matches the host presenting it.

When VERIFYHOST=1, or, in some popular languages, when VERIFYHOST=TRUE, Curl does something very strange. It checks to see if the certificate attests to any hostnames, and then accepts the certificate no matter who presents it.

Developers reasonably assume parameters like "VERIFYHOST" are boolean; either we're verifying or we're not. So they routinely set VERIFYHOST to 1 or "true" (which can promote to 1). Because Curl has this weird in-between setting, which does not express any security policy I can figure out, they're effectively not verifying certificates.

2
moxie 6 days ago 4 replies      
I agree that these APIs are fundamentally difficult to use correctly (sometimes it almost seems as if they've been designed to trick you), and that developers commonly get them wrong, but this paper is perhaps a little more inflammatory than it should be.

They cast a really wide net, looking for as many examples as possible where non-browser applications fail to do SSL validation correctly, but then conclude that this will result in a security compromise without fully examining the implications.

For instance, they point out that many SDKs for Amazon FPS don't validate certificates correctly. But I didn't see them mention that the FPS protocol does its own signature-based authentication and that credentials are never transmitted in the clear: it was essentially designed to operate over an insecure transport to begin with.

Likewise, they point out an "unsafe" construction that an Android application that I wrote (TextSecure) uses. But they don't mention that this is for communication with an MMSC, that this is how it has to be (many don't present CA-signed certificates), and that the point of TextSecure is that an OTR-like secure protocol is layered on top of base transport layer (be it SMS or MMS).

So I think the paper would be a lot stronger if they weren't overstating their position so much.

3
3pt14159 6 days ago 1 reply      
The title should be renamed to:

Many security flaws found in commonly used SSL libraries.

Other than that, it is a great find.

4
mrb 6 days ago 1 reply      
How ironic. Even these guys hosting a paper about SSL can't host their stuff securely on an HTTPS server.

<base href="http://crypto.stanford.edu/~dabo/pubs/pubs.html>;

This causes the page to throw an HTTPS warning: "this page loads insecure content" due to the css loaded over HTTP.

5
rolux 6 days ago 1 reply      
From the PDF linked in the article:

"Not the most interesting technically, but perhaps the most devastating (because of the ease of exploitation) bug is the broken certificate validation in the Chase mobile banking app on Android. Even a primitive network attacker"for example, someone in control of a malicious Wi-Fi access point"can exploit this vulnerability to harvest the login credentials of Chase mobile banking customers."

6
pjscott 6 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds like it might be easier to list the options that actually do the Right Thing. If you're using Python, for example, the correct way to make HTTP requests is to ignore the standard library's urllib and (shudder) urllib2, and use Requests instead:

http://docs.python-requests.org/en/latest/

It validates SSL certificates correctly by default. How about other languages?

7
kzahel 6 days ago 1 reply      
I notice that whenever I use "wget https://github.com/[...]" I always end up typing wget --no-check-certificate because the first try never works.

I suppose my web browser has an extended list of CA that my OSX lion does not know about.

8
mindstab 6 days ago 0 replies      
So of all the possible futures we could have, ones where we use computers to give us crypto, good security and privacy etc, instead we end up with Masamune Shirow's admitted guess of Ghost in the Shell where people can't properly use their arms due to 5 different version of the driver installed and people having 10 different viruses IN THEIR BRAINS and are constantly getting hacked and having their bodies taken over.
9
justinhj 5 days ago 0 replies      
I came across this issue when using node.js to make secure requests as a client and after setting up tests with bad certs found it silently worked anyway. To get it working you need to be at a certain version of node.js and make sure you set the options up carefully. Testing with a bad certificate is essential for this stuff. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/10142431/my-node-js-https...
10
scott_s 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have only read the first two sections, but the prose in this paper is a breath of fresh air. It is clear and strong.
11
andrewcooke 6 days ago 0 replies      
they make this point in the paper, but still it surprises me - the level of testing for payment frameworks seems surprisingly minimal. it's pretty easy with openssl to roll your own certificates to test a bunch of different issues. you'd think that the people involved would have quite an incentive to test well.

i'm not saying that this would solve all the problems, or that you should develop critical financial software by having people that don't understand much writing tests. but tests are pretty much common culture now; you'd think people would have considered this. and the argument the paper makes is not that the programmers are clueless, but that they are confused by the API, so they should be able to think up some useful tests...

of course, integration testing with sockets is a bit more complicated than unit tests (perhaps something toolkit apis should support is a way to allow testing without sockets?), but it's not super-hard. [edit: hmm. although testing for unreliable dns is going to be more tricky.]

12
purephase 6 days ago 0 replies      
I noticed this the other day in Rails. ActiveResource::Connection in 3.2.8 is affected in that the default OpenSSL verification mode is "OpenSSL::SSL::VERIFY_NONE". A developer has to explicitly set it for SSL validation.

You can see it here:
https://github.com/rails/rails/blob/3-2-stable/activeresourc...

I'm pointing it out as it was not mentioned in the paper.

Edit: It looks like it has been that way since SSL was first implemented in Connection.

13
zippie 6 days ago 0 replies      
The title is a bit sensationalist - there was incorrect code and it made the copy/paste rounds. Presumably all incorrect code is dangerous to some degree but I'm certain there's a more fitting title for this story.

At any rate, here is a pull request for PHP which attempts to address the issue:

https://github.com/php/php-src/pull/221

14
davyjones 6 days ago 0 replies      
Slightly related, link to Peereboom's rant on the OpenSSL library (a bit dated): http://www.peereboom.us/assl/assl/html/openssl.html
15
jyrkesh 6 days ago 3 replies      
So how soon until we start seeing developers fix these gaping holes? And, more importantly, how soon do we start seeing app-specific exploits that take advantage of this problem?
16
khakimov 6 days ago 0 replies      
2010, Certificate verification is essential to TLS.

require 'always_verify_ssl_certificates'
AlwaysVerifySSLCertificates.ca_file = "/path/path/path/cacert.pem"

http= Net::HTTP.new('https://some.ssl.site, 443)
http.use_ssl = true
req = Net::HTTP::Get.new('/')
response = http.request(req)

http://www.rubyinside.com/how-to-cure-nethttps-risky-default...

17
felanthropop 6 days ago 1 reply      
And odds are the guys that wrote this paper don't have any clue that even if those writing the CLI tools/libraries/frameworks that use SSL had locked them completely down, developers and sysadmins would write scripts to agree-to-all, fake auth, etc. to get around security, because we have jobs that have to get done and security is not what we are all paid to do. Security is only critical when it fails. People claim to want security. They may even have an office of security. But even if that office of security is scanning all the apps, taking production apps down because they didn't throttle their probes, and maybe even looking at code- they cannot do the job of the developer.

It is destined to be flawed as long as insecurity is allowed. Only when every exploit is exploited continously will people be vigilant.

18
adamfisk 6 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone have an example of good cert verification in Java? The concept at https://github.com/iSECPartners/ssl-conservatory is great, but it needs examples in more languages. Our case is pretty weird (some self-signed certs between peers, cert pinning of sorts in that we only accept equifax as a root signer, no default signing authorities accepted), but anyone see holes in the authenticate method of our trust manager at:

https://github.com/getlantern/lantern/blob/master/src/main/j...

? This code is intended for deployment in potentially dangerous regions for getting around government censors.

Thanks.

19
drallison 4 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone who does any development should read this paper. It is not just for SSL specialists!
20
citizenoftmrw 6 days ago 0 replies      
Are Rack-based middleware affected by these vulnerabilities (or did I lose the plot)?
21
ritratt 6 days ago 0 replies      
"...bad implementations of SSL like OpenSSL..."

<falls off chair>

10
Infinite Gangnam Style echonest.com
363 points by nickknw  2 days ago   108 comments top 29
1
mef 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is really awesome. They cut the entire song into one-beat segments of sound and video, and then categorized each beat by similarity to other beats in the song, and then after each beat there's a random chance that, instead of playing the next beat, the playback will transition to a different but similar-sounding beat from elsewhere in the song.

More info at the author's blogpost: http://musicmachinery.com/2012/10/28/infinite-gangnam-style/

2
pg 2 days ago 5 replies      
I would be interested to see what happens when you do this to other types of music.
3
sedev 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a very clever hack and I adore it for that, but it's also a sneaky statement about meaning, and I adore that too. It's like the literature world's cut-up/exquisite corpse work: if you can disassemble an original like this and put it back together in a way that we humans are inclined to extract meaning from, does that change the meaning that you perceive in the original work?
4
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
Madlibs for music. Peter Langston, whom I met at Sun while he was consulting on the *7 project, did an interesting paper in infinite music [1]. We built something akin to the Casio "smart beats" feature from their all-in-one keyboard products into the application so that we'd always have musical accompaniment in the UI. Of course that was before we realized that many (most?) people insanely hate UIs that make ambient noise :-)

The Echonest stuff, done over the selected works of an artist could make for some interesting mashups of their work.

[1] http://www.langston.com/Papers/amc.pdf

5
obiefernandez 2 days ago 2 replies      
My 4 year old sat and watched and sung along with this in delight for about 30 minutes (when we turned it off, cause like, enough already...)

Someone should analyze why this song is so catchy.

6
ari_elle 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://static.echonest.com/InfiniteGangnamStyle/faq.html

Infinite Gangnam Style - Frequently Asked Questions

What is this?

- Infinite Gangnam Style is a web app that dynamically generates an ever changing and never ending version of the song 'Gangnam Style' by Psy.

It never stops?

- That's right. It will play forever.

How does it work?

- We use the Echo Nest analyzer to break the song into beats. We play the song beat by beat, but at every beat there's a chance that we will jump to a different part of song that happens to sound very similar to the current beat. For beat similarity we look at pitch, timbre, loudness, duration and the position of the beat within a bar.

How come this doesn't work in my browser?

The app requires the web audio APIs which are currently best supported in Chrome and Safari

What does Psy think about this?

I don't know. I hope he doesn't mind that we are using his music and images. We hope you check out his official video and his web site too (but really you probably already have).

Who made this?

Paul Lamere at Music Hack Day Reykyavik on October 28, 2012

7
madrona 2 days ago 2 replies      
Clever. I wonder if the illusion is broken if you actually speak Korean. I would definitely notice if someone chopped and reassembled random words in English.
8
plamere 2 days ago 0 replies      
Infinite Gangnam Style was built this weekend at Music Hack Day Reykjavik in Iceland. Check out the full list of hacks here:

http://wiki.musichackday.org/index.php?title=Reykjav%C3%ADk_...

9
darkstalker 2 days ago 1 reply      
No one else noticed that this doesn't work on Firefox?

  Sorry, this app needs advanced web audio. Your browser doesn't support it. Try the latest version of Chrome

10
nickknw 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know it's a bit borderline, but thinking about how this was done was pretty interesting for me, and I thought others might appreciate it too.

I also like the helpful visualization below that shows which part of the song it is currently using.

11
hornbaker 2 days ago 2 replies      
Done with bigger squares and optimized for a tablet, this would be a compelling UI for a live DJ performance.
12
dag11 2 days ago 1 reply      
On Chrome 22.0.1229.94 m on Windows 7 64-bit, it freezes then crashes the tab instantly, every time I open it. I can't play it.
13
Nux 2 days ago 3 replies      
Seems like we're going back to "Built for Internet Explorer" days.
14
fus 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a habit of listening to a single song over and over again. I am able to do so for about 3 hours. Using such randomizer technology, this time will be dramatically prolonged...
15
yeonhoyoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a native speaker of Korean, and the song doesn't sound bizarre.
16
ep16 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sort of relevant to the HN crowd, MIT Gangnam Style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJtHNEDnrnY
17
rplnt 2 days ago 1 reply      
The audio becomes very laggy when I switch to other tab in chrome. It is fine if I switch to other application so I guess it's chrome itself throttling the background tabs.

Anyone else experiencing this?

18
ari_elle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine this being done not with one song, but with an entire library of electronic music.

You would have to improve the program a little bit, but this concept being realized with a vast music library?

Sounds quite interesting...

20
AlexanderHektor 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody else hate these jumps in commercials to fit the 30s or whatever budget they have?
Always makes me wonder if they think noone would notice? Duh, of course people do! :)

Btw, quick bug report: doesn't work for me if open in non-active tab in Chrome 22.0.1229.94 on Mac OS X 10.8.

Good fun and now do an automated version where ppl can paste their youtube links.
Greetings,
lx

21
eykanal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, that site crashed safari on my iPod.
22
chubbard 2 days ago 0 replies      
So I guess this works best because most of us can't understand the lyrics so if we did this with an english song or any song the native listener understands you might end up with nonsense lyrics. It doesn't sound like it's jump around making nonsense sounds, but it might string words together that are really bizarre as it bounces around the lyrics.
23
FuzzyDunlop 2 days ago 0 replies      
My favourite thing about this is that you can basically make your own remix by clicking about the squares below, and you get an amusing chopped up video for free.
24
zobzu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah some more chrome only stuff :)
25
littledot5566 2 days ago 2 replies      
When I minimize the window, the music becomes choppy. Anyone else has this?
26
EGreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I took some time and transliterated the lyrics into English, but also to match the video and what goes on in it. This is almost as fantastic as that.

Warning: if you watch it, the lyrics will get stuck in your head. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10101449851143489

27
Sniffnoy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hm... do they have a way to automatically do this to any song?
28
ads24gsdf 2 days ago 1 reply      
It bugs and you can get trapped int the 40 boxes segment loop over and over again. (the last straight)
29
mazsa 2 days ago 0 replies      
cf. "You've been watching this for 0:00:37. Have another beer!" http://lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala.com
11
North Carolina teacher's resignation letter dianeravitch.net
355 points by bwsewell  1 day ago   289 comments top 26
1
tokenadult 1 day ago 6 replies      
"I lost my job only due to my lack of seniority. I was devastated."

He ("he" is correct; I was confused by the given name at first until looking the person up with a Google search) should blame the typical master contract with the teachers in the school district for that. That is a standard contract provision recommended by schoolteacher unions whether a state has a "union shop" or "right-to-work" rules. Usually, school districts cave in and adopt contract provisions like that, because in states where a union shop is not mandatory, and collective bargaining for public employees is not mandatory either, schoolteacher unions are still very influential political interest groups that can swing voter turnout in the typical low-turnout school board election. School boards have a lot more electoral incentive to align with the interests of schoolteacher unions than with the interests of learners. (The interests of learners align with favoring better teachers over worse teachers, rather than with favoring senior teachers over newly hired teachers.)

The crucial voter action influencing the daily lives of teachers at work happens not at the federal level

http://educationnext.org/the-election-contests-that-really-m...

but at the state level and local level, where most of the funding for schooling is set (and what proportion of funding goes to anything other than staff compensation, by far the largest line item in any school budget, is set) and where work rules, especially priority for promotions or layoffs, are set.

There is considerable evidence that seniority rules lead to higher numbers of teacher layoffs than would be necessary if administrators were allowed to make effectiveness the determining factor in issuing layoff notices, rather than length of service.

http://educationnext.org/seniority-rules-lead-districts-to-i...

A teacher who is doing a good job helping students learn is worth his or her weight in gold, but seniority doesn't match teacher quality sufficiently well to be the sole basis for determining promotions or layoffs in a particular school district. Actively identifying the most able teachers and encouraging the least effective teachers to find other employment, regardless of seniority, could do much to improve the efficiency of the public school system and free up resources to reward the best teachers better than they are rewarded now.

http://hanushek.stanford.edu/publications/valuing-teachers-h...

My Google search to verify the teacher's background turned up this post from the teacher's blog

http://mgmfocus.com/2012/10/21/i-used-to-love-teaching/

covering some of the same issues, with a different slant for the blog's different audience.

"I give up. They win. I have joined the ranks of parents who have come to realize that we are only empowered to do one thing: take care of our own. I hope that things change, but I don't have the energy, the money, or the time to continue beating my head into a wall. And if the choices have run out for my toddler when he's ready for school, I will do it myself. Maybe I'll do it for others, as well. Who knows."

AFTER EDIT: Thanks for the several interesting comments. Wisty asks how teachers might be identified as effective teachers in the interest of making more effective teachers available to students. The same scholar of education policy I linked to for the general point that effective teachers make a difference has written extensively about identifying those teachers. These links

http://hanushek.stanford.edu/publications/effective-teacher-...

http://hanushek.stanford.edu/publications/teacher-deselectio...

from his website (which link in turn to longer-form formal articles on the issues) are a sample of the research on the subject. Identifying teachers with good "value-added" is not at all easy, and there are immense incentives to cheat while attempting to identify such teachers, but there is also an enormous payoff from doing better than is done now in identifying effective teachers.

2
justin_vanw 1 day ago 20 replies      
It's fine to grumble about testing, but the debate is not about the tests.

Teachers performance in the US has been terrible for many years. Partly this is because of bad management, partly because of low pay, and partly because of teacher unions preventing any action against the worst teachers and insistance on tenure tracks.

The reason testing is good isn't because it is somehow super accurate. It is good because it keeps teachers honest. Without testing, how do you measure teacher performance at all? How can you tell if someone who is capable of teaching well isn't just being lazy or getting distracted?

So, if you aren't a fan of testing as a way to measure and improve teacher effectiveness, please find an alternative that works better. Just not having any metric at all is far worse than the imperfect tests we have.

It's easy to point out problems. It's useful and important that people find flaws and fault. In this case, however, just pointing out the deficiencies in standardized testing doesn't help anyone unless it either leads to a more effective alternative, or improvements in standardized testing. Standardized tests might be very imperfect at measuring teacher performance, but it's far better to use the tool we have than to just throw up our arms and assume that all teachers are equally competent.

3
Osiris 1 day ago 3 replies      
My mother is a school board member in a rural school district in Northern California. What I can from conversations with her is that it is often not the district's fault when there are issues, but the state's.

The district is forced to come up with a budget months before the state approves their budget, so they don't even know if they are going to get the money they need.

When money is low, they have gone to the community several times trying to pass a property tax to raise funds to keep teachers and maintain their facilities. The community has refused to fund the school each time.

The district is constrained by their contract with the teachers which forces them to keep the most incompetent and highly paid teachers and get rid of the good but non-tenured new teachers (which are the ones that the students want to have).

The way schools are funded are a major source of the problem. For example, they are funded per student with no regard for facilities, transportation, or other fixed costs.

Lastly, there are too many crippling regulations that don't allow for flexibly to meet the various needs of students in varying districts. What works in the large LA County district is just not going to work in rural northern California.

Throwing more regulations, tests, money, etc. at the system is not going to fix it. I really wish that a large group of educators (K-12, post-secondary), administrators, parents, etc. could get together and work out something different, perhaps even radically different.

5
xaa 1 day ago 11 replies      
TL;DR: The writer, a math teacher, is quitting (edit: his) job because of increased bureaucracy and standardized tests. Mostly, it seems, standardized tests.

The problem is, math is the subject which is BEST served by standardized tests. There is really no fuzzy aspect to K-12 math: answers are right or wrong. And there are of course many benefits to standardized testing like teacher and school evaluation, providing structure to the curriculum, etc.

His rant reminds me of another front-page HN article today (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4712230), where the author claims that tough technical interview questions at Google bear no correlation with programming skill. Sure....

6
yequalsx 1 day ago 3 replies      
There seem to be quite a few people who want to do away with tenure and seniority rules as a means of fixing a broken system. Is there any evidence that doing this would fix the system or make it better?

Academic freedom, tenure, and seniority (to a lesser extent) have a lot of positives. Getting rid of these should only be done if the reasons are compelling and valid. What is required is not a collection of anecdotes of how tenure protects bad teachers - there are equally many anecdotes showing that tenure protects students and educational integrity - but rather statistics, facts, and well reasoned arguments.

There are large portions of the United States where parents without any training or knowledge on teaching have very strong opinions on what should or should not be said in the classroom. Getting rid of tenure and academic freedom will, in some areas, lead to ignorant people making important educational decisions. Will the physics department stop talking about the Big Bang? Does the geology department stop talking about processes taking millions of years to work? Does the history department only talk about the good parts of Manifest Destiny?

Instead of tenure maybe 5 year, renewable contracts would work. I don't know. I do think it is in society's best interest if teachers treat society as the client and not the students as the client. Doing the latter leads to dilution of standards. Doing the former without fear of being fired, at least in me, leads to grading on knowledge and not fluff.

7
danielweber 1 day ago 1 reply      
I will not spend another day wondering how I can have classes that are full inclusion, and where 50% of my students have IEPs, yet I'm given no support.

I had to fire our public school (in North Carolina; this was in the first district he moved to in the state) because it took them 3 years to do an IEP. In another example, a family member moved out of state, and it took the school two years to call up and ask if she would still be attending.

I'm know in some places the teachers are the problem, but the teachers we met were working their hardest. The administration just didn't seem to give a shit.

Teacher responsibility is a great thing, but we also need administrator responsibility.

8
zupreme 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found the following paragraph to be very poignant.

"I'm tired of watching my students produce amazing things, which show their true understanding of 21st century skills, only to see their looks of disappointment when they don't meet the arbitrary expectations of low-level state and district tests that do not assess their skills."

I hope that this teacher finds happiness teaching in a more productive environment. Charter schools and some universities come to mind.

9
imroot 1 day ago 1 reply      
My wife was a full time teacher (she's now working on her Ph.D in educational technologies), and she's said the same thing over, over, and over again.

Her first year out of her probationary year was a Kindergarden teacher. She had a girl in her class who had telltale signs of EBD (Emotional/Behavioral Disorders), and spent the year trying to convince the girl's mother to seek the appropriate (free) care from the educational system. The mother refused to attend any meeting; my wife eventually drove to her house to find the girl living in a "crack den" (her words). The girl's mother refused to allow her to be tested for EBD, and the girl barely finished the year with passing marks.

Over the summer, the district noticed that my wife wanted to help kids...so, instead of putting her back in Kindergarden the next year, she was reassigned to a juvenile detention center/lockdown facility, where the kids didn't want to be helped. There were instances where they'd pull the kids out of her class, one by one, until it was just her and another student, before they come in to arrest the student for a crime, or, have a disgruntled student show up on my doorstep at midnight with a handgun in his waistband.

Teachers get shit on by society, coworkers, and parents. The good ones are worth their weight in gold. The poor ones need to be replaced with better ones -- the problem is that there's no true way to rank teachers and how they teach that isn't subject to tampering or isn't completely subjective based on inter-school politics.

There's not a good solution to the teaching problem...which is why I'm excited to look at what the technology/startup community comes out with over the next few years. Open Source SIS'es/Course Management/Educational Networking is something that can make the teacher's life easier, and provide pointes and guidance for parents who want to learn more, or students who want to self-learn/pace themselves faster or slower.

10
lifeisstillgood 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is a defence.

An engaged, informed, active, body of parents who will take action to ensure their children receive best schooling and care available.

Take 100 irate parents to the next North Carolina State Board meeting and have them raise individually one after the other motions of no-confidence in each member. Then try to elect this woman to the Board.

Will that help.

Yes if you keep up the pressure for the 14 - 18 years it takes your child to go through the system.

There is a website / startup in there...

11
sodomizer 1 day ago 0 replies      
The school bureaucracy is a symptom of something else, as is the monotonous testing and the union power. The American educational system changed its premise back in the 1960s.

Since that time, we have become addicted to assembly line, one-size-fits-all, bulk format education in which we put kids through a ton of information and measure them by how much they retain. Not the quality of what they retain, and not their actual skills, but what they've memorized.

By prioritizing memorized facts over learned application, we are losing a lot of our most talented kids. To compound the problem further, this one-size-fits-all approach isn't calibrated to the smart kids, but to the average. In public schools, it's also impossible to send home the disruptive kids.

The result is a system that is so hobbled by contradictions that it is dysfunctional. Dysfunction attracts lazy administrators who like to use test metrics to force teachers to teach to the test, thus making everyone look like a success, even when the graduates aren't good at doing anything.

The recent spate of test-cheating scandals should show us exactly why these tests are in favor among administrators. Instead of a broad open-ended task like "teach these kids to reason," all you have to do is make sure they make a pretty bell curve on the standardized test.

12
lifeisstillgood 1 day ago 0 replies      
We have a brilliant system for determining the quality of teachers - and it is one used throughout the private sector with considerable effect.

Its called a competent boss

Every Head knows which ones to get rid of and which ones to keep. Every Head also knows if they get rid of the bad ones, they will need double the budget to hire in new, also good teachers. Especially if every other Head does this at the same time.

13
zem 1 day ago 0 replies      
> I refuse to watch my students being treated like prisoners. There are other ways. It's a shame that we don't have the vision to seek out those alternatives.

if i could fix just one thing about the educational system, this would be it. it's the laziest option, so it ends up being implemented pretty much everywhere (this is not a us-specific problem; i grew up in dubai, and every time i visit my old school the place looks more like a prison), and all it does is alienate and disinvest students at precisely the time they need to be engaged and nurtured.

14
ryanwaggoner 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a huge conversation to be had about the quality of public K-12 education in this country, but I'm not sure this letter contributes much of anything to that conversation. The whole thing is so personal and subjective that it could have come from any school district in the country. Maybe the author is just a really bad teacher, and we're better off if he quits. Maybe this rant actually represents a data point about how NC squeezes out bad teachers. There's no way to know from what is written.
15
swordswinger12 1 day ago 0 replies      
The author of the blog itself, Diane Ravitch, wrote a very interesting book called "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" on the topic of education reform. I'd encourage HNers to pick it up if this piqued their curiosity.
16
scott_meade 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good for Dr. Atkinson! Anyone who doesn't think teachers work hard enough, care enough, or are skilled enough is full of it. When I go to my kids' after school activities and see teachers there night after night, on their own time and dime. When I see teachers buying supplies out of their own pockets. When I see teachers in school weeks before start to ready their classrooms. When I see these things I have little tolerance for the sentiment that teachers just slack off. All that happens with this approach is that the best teachers say, "I don't need this crap" and leave.
17
brownbat 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish I understood the arguments against testing more clearly.

It seems as if the claim is that testing doesn't correlate with knowledge, since some kids "test well," or "test poorly," so it's a waste of time.

I've known lots of folks who claim to know a subject well, but test poorly in it. I've never been able to verify it though, because the followup discussions about the concepts involved left me... uncertain at best. I'm not sure undemonstrable knowledge is really any kind of knowledge at all.

But say we granted that an individual student's tests have a wide margin of error. Wouldn't the aggregate of tests for a given classroom or school still provide some information on whether or not a school was well or poorly run? (Assuming you use moving averages or something to soften noise.)

Do standardized tests really have no value, no redeeming benefits?

18
samspot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was in public school in the Greenville, NC area from 1985-1998, and I felt I had mostly good teachers and was adequately prepared for college. I happen to be a good test taker, and so my experience is likely different from others with different skills. At the time we only had end-of-grade tests, and not for every subject.

My impression is that things have gotten a lot worse/more political since I went to school. I wonder if any long-time teachers care to comment on the changes over the last 30 years?

19
sapien 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the big tragedies here is the seniority based tenure system that caused a beloved energetic teacher such as this to have to leave the west coast. There was an interesting discussion about this in an interview on reddit with a teachers union president: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/124dur/i_am_the_presid...
20
crazy1van 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally a teacher with the guts to put their money where their mouth is. I'm not sure I agree with the ins and outs of all the teacher's reasons, but I applaud him for quitting instead of just complaining.

This is what people who have enough faith in themselves to find another job do when they are in a terrible situation. I'm tired of hearing teachers complain about life as a teacher, but never quit. That tells me that they don't have faith in the marketability of their skills to take the plunge and get a different job.

21
joncalhoun 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have any demographics for the HN community's age? I am curious how many people here have attended schools with standardized tests.

If you did attend a high school with standardized tests - do you feel it negatively affected your education? How? Do you have specific examples or courses?

For clarity - I am not claiming that standardized tests do/don't help. I just want to hear form recent HS grads.

22
R_Edward 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great letter exposing the toxic level of administratium in the air in NC public schools, but I think it would have been better to have left out the financial paragraph. The author presumably knew what the pay scale was before he accepted the opportunity and moved his family across the country to live there. Complaining about it afterward makes him look foolish, and this teacher is clearly no fool.
23
rocky1138 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate to be "that guy" but what does this have to do with hacking? Maybe someone can explain it to me, I am asking legitimately.
24
swaits 1 day ago 0 replies      
Waiting for Superman. Watch it.
25
phusuke 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Peggy hill is angry!
26
hammock 1 day ago 5 replies      
I...

I...

I...

I...

I...

I...

I...

Is that how he teaches his students to write as well?

edit: Hi downvoters, I understand parallelism. When it's used the way this teacher has used it, he risks coming across as whiny and juvenile. His point would come across more powerfully if he reframed his grievances in a way that shows their impact on the real victims, the children, as opposed to himself.

"I have a dream" came from a place of hope and opportunity. King was laying out a roadmap for what progress would look like. Similarly, the Declaration of Independence was not a list of self-referential, logorrheic splatter. It contained specific, directed complaints combined with a plan of action.

This man merely said I hate the world in a selfishly-worded cry for attention, threw up his hands and gave up. We do not say the same of King or the Founding Fathers.

12
Why I'm returning my Microsoft Surface RT ozar.me
350 points by magsafe  3 days ago   281 comments top 46
1
Anechoic 3 days ago 7 replies      
"The diagonally-oriented camera is strange. In the one orientation it's optimized for, it's slightly annoying. In any other orientation, it's almost intolerable. "

"The built-in front-facing camera for Skype is angled so that it'll work great when the kickstand is open, but again, only for Danny DeVito, or maybe for people who want to show off their chests in Skype."

------

"The Touch Cover is one of the Surface's biggest innovations. I thought I would hate it, but I didn't. It's not like typing on a completely flat surface: each “key” is raised slightly, so while there isn't any mechanical feedback, it does feel a bit like a keyboard."

"The Type Cover (the one with real keys) just works. I've got big hands that often struggle on undersized keyboards, but I can type very quickly on the Type Cover."

------

"He showed me Office, which was almost unusable: it was extremely sluggish, and touch targets were tiny and difficult to hit."

"So quickly, in fact, that I can outrun Microsoft Word on the Surface. I get the feeling that the Surface RT's CPU or Word code just can't keep up with my typing. Here's an example video:"

-------

"The standard gestures don't help, requiring many in-from-the-edge swipes that not only aren't discoverable"

"After waiting over a minute for the machine to boot and launch the mail app, I got a blank gradient screen. User interface 101: if the app needs to be set up on the first launch, offer to do that, please. Folks from Twitter suggested that I swipe out from the right side and click Accounts"

--

So, can we conclude that these observations might be real (V. 1) problems without resorting to ad-homs regarding the author?

2
ConstantineXVI 3 days ago 6 replies      
I've had mine since 10AM yesterday; and I'm actually fairly pleased, at least for effectively being a new platform. Thoughts, in no particular order:

- Love the build. Very solid overall.

- 16:9 means it's one long tablet. Oddly, it's actually fairly usable in portrait; can't say the same for my old 16:10 Transformer (maybe just better balanced?)

- The touch cover is, like most say, surprisingly usable. Desperately needs a way to no-op Caps Lock though.

- Screen res lower than iPad, but still usable. Difference not near as noticeable as between iPad 2/3, but too many factors in play to make an objective call there.

- Metro takes getting used to, but I like it (even with KB/trackpad).

- It's the first time I've seen proper desktop Gmail and Google Docs usable in a tablet browser.

- Performance is generally decent. Not blazing, but decent.

- Windows RT appears to still contain far more of Windows than we've been led to believe. Even `csc` is installed, but missing a few dlls.

- No SSH client for Metro yet. That's one of the risks you take on a new platform (esp. a non-Unix one), but still aggravates me.

- Snapping is very, very handy; nice solution to bring proper multitasking to a tablet UI.

- When touch-scrolling over on desktop apps (what few remain), the entire window "bounces" at the head/tail of the content. Odd decision.

- No central notification bin (like Android's shade or iOS's Notification Center). Have to rely on scanning Live Tiles if you miss anything.

- The back camera seems to exist only to make the iPad 2's back camera feel better about itself. Has to be the blockiest camera I've ever seen.

- Handwriting recognition is pretty solid. Wacom junkies will be very pleased when so-equipped tablets ship. (Capacitive styli still suck)

- None of the Twitter apps have really thrilled me. Given the circumstances, I'm not that surprised.

- OS-level share support is a smart move; similar to Android's impl but more thorough (sharing pops up a share pane from your selected app in the sidebar, instead of bouncing you out of your current app entirely).

- Printing is mildly unintuitive; you have to open the "Devices" charm and pick your printer. No one is going to guess that's how to print.

- On the bright side, our network printer/scanner was detected and installed immediately, with zero user intervention. Very, very far cry from the WinXP days.

- There's no way to see your precise battery life outside of the desktop (in the classic sys-tray).

- Presumably due to the use of pressure sensors vs. capacitive, the Touch Cover isn't quite as accurate without a solid surface underneath.

- If you're not using the keyboard (watching movies, etc.), flip the cover backwards with the kickstand out and it's nearly as stable as a laptop.

- The intro tells you about the basic edge swipes (right for charms, left for app switcher, top/bottom for menu); not mentioned is swiping straight from top-center to bottom kills the current app.

- Screenshot is Win+VolDown.

- Wordament can be played while snapped. This is dangerous.

- IE lets you swipe on the outer edge of the page for back/forward, which would be smart if this didn't occasionally clash with the app switcher.

Questions?

(PS: I typed this entire post on the Touch Cover.)

3
dangrossman 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm excited about the prospect of a Windows 8 tablet. I'm willing to spend as much as it costs to get one. Unfortunately, nobody wants my money.

Yesterday was the big retail launch. I was on a mission to check out what my local stores had and, if they had anything that could do the job for me, buy it. I've always wanted a tablet, but only if it could be as useful as a laptop when paired with a keyboard. The new Windows 8 tablets are supposed to be just that.

Best Buy had one (1) Windows 8 tablet. It was a Asus Vivo Tab running Windows RT... supposedly. I don't want an RT tab, and this store didn't even have a working floor model of the one tablet they were selling. The one they had was stuck on a "failed to automatically repair Windows" screen. It was also glued to the display stand so I couldn't pick it up and get a feel for the hardware.

OfficeMax had zero (0) Windows 8 tablets. Heck, they had no Windows 8 touch screen laptops either. Or price tags. Or product specs. Or anything I could play with, really. There was one employee there setting up a display model of some laptop while complaining to another about how they were supposed to have tags for the computers but had none. Their electronics section was a joke.

Staples had one (1) Windows 8 tablet. It was a Samsung ATIV running Windows 8. Success! I actually spent some time playing with this one. Again, I couldn't really get a feel for the hardware, or specifically the weight, given it's got a pound of security alarms and tethers bolted onto the back chaining it to the display area. Beyond that, the specs just weren't up to snuff -- with 2GB RAM and 64GB storage, I'd just barely be able to run enough software to occasionally use it as a portable development machine. With nothing installed on it, there was only 14GB of free space -- the OS and preinstalled apps were using 50GB of the 64GB out of the box.

So all those trips were a waste of time. There's no Microsoft Store anywhere within 4 hours of me, so those 3 were the full range of retail options here.

I'm basically looking for a Surface Pro (Intel Core processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage). It's amazing that despite knowing Microsoft would be building this, nobody else built something comparable, and stores aren't carrying even the few tablets/hybrids they did build.

4
powertower 3 days ago 2 replies      
Surface with Windows RT is supposed to be a stripped down version of Windows, that runs 99% in Metro-mode, not Desktop-mode.

Right now there are two exceptions to this: Office (preview version - buggy) and a Desktop-mode version of IE. Everything else is 100% Metro. And I don't think you can even install anything yourself on it except via it's App Store. Hence it's Desktop-mode is not really there for the benefit of the consumer. And the Office offering will need to be further ported and refined for RT before everything is worked out. I'm not even sure why they put Office on it.

It's a device made mostly for browsing the internet and running some apps while holding it in your hands. Which is what the bigger market is for.

While this was a good and honest review, I think his use-case is off on this one and he will be better suited waiting for Surface with Windows 8 Pro.

I would also be curious to know what his height is, so I'd know what "for short people" means... The pics I've been able to find of the author, he's at least 6'2", maybe even 6'5".

If you are as toll as the author, you could probably either move the device away a bit, zoom out the image, or perhaps put something underneath it's stand to angle it properly.

5
mtgx 3 days ago 4 replies      
You'll probably return that one, too, after you see the poor battery life on it. Also, you may get some tablet usability with Metro on it (not many apps to choose from, though), but after using Windows 8 on a PC, I can say Windows 8 is worse in usability than Windows 7, so you will be definitely taking a step back when you'll be using the desktop mode.

After using Windows 8 I just see no good reason for anyone to use it on an old PC instead of Windows 7. I only see drawbacks, such as the forced Metro interface, and the inconsistencies in the desktop mode UI, which seem like a patched-up job done 6 months before the release or something, to make it more "Metro".

6
stevenwei 3 days ago 0 replies      
To me, the user experience issues are the biggest failures of all:

    - A mail app that opens to a completely blank screen with no cues on how
to continue.
- An infinite login dialog that doesn't allow you to cancel and back out.

Wanting software that offers a pleasant and intuitive user experience doesn't mean that you want software that's dumbed down for grandma, and I'm sad that people are portraying it that way.

I've read my share of man pages and hand written my Xorg.confs many times in previous lives, I'm no stranger to complex and arcane software setup procedures.

But in 2012, in the world of smartphones and tablets, this is stuff that should just work. The answer to "the mail app is completely blank on launch" shouldn't be "sorry, you failed to read the manual". Ever.

And while I greatly respect Microsoft's attempt at entering this market, someone on their team, at some point, had to look at these issues[1] and say, "okay, this software is ready to ship anyway". That does not bode well.

[1] The alternative, I suppose, is that no one noticed. Which is even worse.

7
georgemcbay 3 days ago 1 reply      
I posted about this before:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4660871

and I still think it is true... IMO Microsoft made a mistake by leading out with the RT. Leading with the Pro and then offering the RT as a feature-reduced lower cost version would have cut down on the confusion as to what RT really is and lessened the initial impression that the Windows 8 experience is kind of underwhelming.

8
xbryanx 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ahh, so they made Word behave like it does on OS X. Standardization.
9
option_greek 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is off topic but, compare this review to the one written by Marco Arment and you will know the difference between constructive criticism and fanboy-ism.
10
shardling 3 days ago 1 reply      
> I think the kickstand angle was designed for airplane use by short people, because the screen hardly goes back at all.

Huh, in the Anandtech review they thought the kickstand worked well everywhere except airplanes.

11
magsafe 3 days ago 0 replies      
An old post from an ex-Microsoftie, which might explain some of this Windows RT mess:

http://windowsphonesecrets.com/2011/03/24/first-windows-phon...

12
gojomo 3 days ago 1 reply      
The advice to "wait for the one due in a few months that needs a fan" makes me wonder if this author's sweet spot for tablets is anywhere near mine. I hate fans. (And does such advice mean the author is literally a fan-boy? A fan-fan-boy?)
13
pithon 3 days ago 1 reply      
The experience he had trying to save the Word doc looks exactly like me every time I have to set up "Windows Live" inside a PC game.

Has anyone else tried the SRT? This post alone is enough to scare me away.

14
jiggy2011 3 days ago 4 replies      
He seems to be using the Surface RT in desktop mode in that video. I thought this was not supposed to be possible, is that untrue?
15
magic5227 3 days ago 0 replies      
What genius decided RT was a good name? Honestly.
16
jimbobimbo 3 days ago 1 reply      
The lag in Word is more likely caused by an option that makes Office use accelerated graphics. I don't know why this option even exists - I've yet to see someone liking how typing in Office applications works with it being on...
17
mladenkovacevic 3 days ago 2 replies      
Bugginess and software weirdness aside, the thing that struck me as most awkward is the keyboard/touch interface paradigm. It required him floating his entire arm to reach out and touch specific dialogues. This seems like a huge sacrifice of touch precision and a strain on your arm. I predict that most people get a Bluetooth mouse for it and use it in either laptop mode or tablet mode - not a combination of both.
18
dhawalhs 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am extremely happy with the surface RT and more specifically IE10. Finally a desktop class browser on a tablet.
19
stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
From the comments:

> I admit, I fully expected a tablet version of my laptop. I wanted it to do everything my laptop could do, but with the added bonus of the touch screen, so I can play my games that make my phone freeze up while I'm sitting at my kids dance or karate classes.

If you're technically savvy enough to understand and follow focus of GUI elements, and don't mind a stylus, then there are a number of existing tablets that will fit this bill. In fact, they've been around since ~2000.

20
trotsky 3 days ago 1 reply      
tl;dr - microsoft word on a brand new cpu architecture, ui style and input system is a bit laggy.
21
joejohnson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was excited when I heard Microsoft was making a tablet and entering this market. Apple doesn't face any strong competition in this market, and because they are so far ahead of their nearest rival (Samsung?) they don't really need to innovate for a cycle or two, and their designs could stagnate.

But the Surface will not be true competition to Apple. This product fails in too many ways, and I predict that the iPad will remain dominant for at least a few years to come.

22
edandersen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Biggest issue so far for me with Surface's WinRT - no alternative browsers, so no Adblock. I can't believe this is what the desktop web really looks like.
23
brudgers 3 days ago 2 replies      
I bought one of those Microsoft touch mice. I was getting ready to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and after watching the video, it looked like a great option...and simultaneously, my Logitech Mouse had a dying mosfet switch so I was in the market for a new mouse anyway. [Really, I wasn't just rationalizing buying sexy technology].

It wasn't the first time I've bough I Microsoft mouse. I bought one back about a decade or so ago when another Logitech mouse died. It suffered the same fate as the Microsoft touch mouse. It was returned to the store and exchanged for another Logitech - for exactly the same reason.

Neither was acceptable for my workflow. Unsurprisingly, I spend a meaningful amount of time using CAD/BIM software. The touch mouse zoomed in when I adjusted my grip ("drawing" with a mouse largely involves holding it). There was no way to program the gestures. Likewise, the earlier Microsoft mouse had lots of buttons, but no way to program the middle button as a middle button - as an early "many button" mouse, the middle button had some dedicated function and I had about a decade of muscle memory and projects to push out the door.

The author is experiencing the same thing. The new device isn't tailored to his workflow. It probably isn't reasonable to expect it to be. It's competitors aren't; most people don't have a similar workflow; and it's still version one of the software (Word for RT).

This doesn't excuse the devices performance. But it also puts the author's experience in perspective. Right now, he's somewhat of an edge use case.

24
drivebyacct2 3 days ago 3 replies      
I want a video of people using these as laptops. That's my biggest fear about springing for something like these.

Even RT could be tolerable with the right apps as a remote machine with that keyboard, similar to what people do with Android+Transformer. I can program on it, work on remote machines.

That having been said, assuming it's somewhat usable on a lap, I'll wait for the Pro too, I have several things that need x86.

25
tlogan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I played with Microsoft Surface and my problem with it is that IT IS A LAPTOP. The interface is pretty much made for laptop (you need to have keyboard), and size is a little too big for tablet. It is not something I might be using while watching TV.

It is weird combo of laptop and tablet.

26
Metrop0218 3 days ago 0 replies      
Welcome to the life of an early adopter. It is a bit buggier than we'd like, but you know we'll receive updates before the year is up that will address a lot of the problems. I do wish that it could've been shipped with higher performance, but Windows on ARM was a big endeavor. Achieving the amount of polish that we see on Intel's chips is going to take a bit of time.
27
tjdetwiler 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's great to see MS trying something new and exploring interfaces that aren't just a rip-off or evolution of Apple designs.
28
goodereader 2 days ago 0 replies      
We did a review of the surface tablet here - http://goodereader.com/blog/tablet-slates/review-of-the-micr...

also vs the ipad 3 here - http://goodereader.com/blog/good-e-reader-videos/microsoft-s...

the pro might be a better investment, but most of the apps crash/buggy, not really worth being an early adopter with this product.

29
hp79 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love my surface, and I have no slowdown in Word and OneNote after installing the 600MB or so update. I have a touch keyboard.

What I'm disappointed about is that the bottom edge of the glass is not completely flat. This shows poor build quality, and I expected at least Apple quality from this device. I also tried a second one, and it also has non flat glass on the bottom edge. All the demo units had this problem too. Try reflecting a straight line on that part of the screen and you will know what I mean. It does bug me a bit because I expect a high standard for a $600 ARM tablet.

30
Groxx 3 days ago 0 replies      
And this is one of the reasons I despise modal dialogs of all kinds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=W...

When they go bad, they're catastrophically bad.

31
paul9290 3 days ago 2 replies      
I was thinking of making this my next PC purchase, but after watching a video in this blog post I see i would be forced to use the touchscreen as there is not a built in trackpad on that cover/keyboard thing.

Overall the design looked cool, as I am interested in tablet with an attached keyboard with a trackpad. Though I want a tablet/PC type of device that allows me to use it as a tablet or a PC laptop. I guess the Surface is not what I imagined.

32
cboss 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quote: "The problem with Windows "apps" is that they are made inefficient and un-optimized by default"

As a WIN32 developer for the last ten years I would have to agree that a good bit of software today for Windows lacks performance. Why ? IMO a lot has to do with mindset of not only developers, but also those who produce the programming languages developers use. I would venture to say that most programmers would admit that the computer they develop on is likely a more advanced computer than most mass market PC's. They like i5 or i7 CPU's, 8,16 or more gigs of memory, SSD's, etc. The mass market PC though, to be affordable comes far less equipped. This is why when I write software, my development PC is closer to a more mass market PC. I need to feel the problems with performance the moment I compile and run. Now if you write apps which run fast on a slow PC, imagine how they will run on the higher end devices.

33
moistgorilla 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the risk you take by being an early adopter.
34
lnanek2 3 days ago 0 replies      
So...this is a good opportunity to write a word processing app for the Windows 8 store. Score! It's well known what people like with those...
35
Maakuth 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope someone works around the UEFI secure boot soon, I would be very interested in having this as a Linux tablet.
36
madoublet 3 days ago 0 replies      
Brent, thanks for this. It is odd because Windows 8 Pro is really smooth. Lets hope someone at Microsoft gets a hold of this and they release an update sooner-then-later.
37
kyberias 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's as if the author really hurried to return the device so that he can write the blog article. Insane.
38
werdnanoslen 3 days ago 2 replies      
Still waiting on decent linux-capable tablets...
39
pedro-alejandro 3 days ago 0 replies      
People are using the surface primarily without a mouse, the way a tablet is supposed to be used. Yet there's still so many tiny touch targets all over the place when classic Windows stuff pops up. I cringe when I see video reviews of people trying to laser-tap these and miss a few times until they get it.
40
anonymfus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Update of Office for final version was available at the day of launch. Why you did not install it?
41
mandelbrot 3 days ago 1 reply      
In the email video he could be seen typing his password. Even though you cannot see the actual keys the reflection gives some idea about what is being pressed. Do you think you could guess his password from that?
42
BindersFOW 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hi everyone. The author brings up great points and its really important for MSFT to address the kickstand's adjustability or even adjust the camera angle automatically.
Regarding the other points of the author, i think he should install the updates after which Office RT becomes a productivity beast. Also, there is one aspect of the surface and windows 8 in general nobody has touched in this whole thread which is smartGlass. Coupled with Xbox, this device becomes a wonderful companion to the vastly improved xbox-kinect bundle and so far, i really don't have any complaints about it except the fact that i can't code on it although someone mentioned csc works on it sans some dlls.
43
dzhiurgis 3 days ago 2 replies      
qwerty keyboards were designed to slow down the typists thus preventing typewriter jamming. Perhaps MS should redesign it again to make it even slower, so the Surface would be able to keep up?
44
prayaagk 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't think his post and reason are highly analytic. Rather its result of working so hard to find out even smallest issue with Microsoft's new product No product are perfect in that regard. Remember first iPhone ? first Android ? first iPad ?

Camera viewpoint doesn't cover your face when you put tablet on kickstand mode? put it little away. what's wrong. Other leading tablets in market doesn't even have one. Its been stated design wonder along with cover with keyboard. Should appreciate instead.

All issues noted in this article are exaggeration except the live sign-in bug while saving office doc.

45
seanica 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope he's changed his password. In one of the vids it's fairly easy to workout what he was typing to login.
46
alpb 3 days ago 4 replies      
Are all the HN upvoters are retarded? This is not Surface RT. RT does not have a classic Windows Desktop environment. It only has metro.

This is a Surface Pro, which has not been released yet. Slowness is totally understandable because that guy installed an OS X on an iPad, which is the same thing as using Win8 full desktop environment on Surface RT hardware.

13
Linus Torvalds: Make 2560x1600 the new standard laptop resolution plus.google.com
336 points by orjan  6 hours ago   176 comments top 32
1
trotsky 5 hours ago 5 replies      
Now that windows 8 and mountain lion both for the first time credibly handle HiDpi I agree, it's about time we switched. But laptop makers are hardly to be roundly chastised for not going super density until now (though higher than 1386x was always workable) since the windows experience of hidpi was pretty broken. Fonts would get clipped inside too small bounding boxes, things wouldn't line up, chroming would be too small and so on.

Now all we need is linux to credibly support it as well, or at least a linux built for mouse use. There are still many, many usability issues in gnome with a high ppi screen.

Also, lets not forget how far mobile gpus have come in the last few years, it would have been impossible to push that many pixels with anything but the most minimal of 3d use cases.

It's a much more complex problem than linus would suggest by simply having oems switch panels. Witness how relatively complicated apple's solution is, which came after years of supposedly "somewhat" supporting hidpi. Use the hidpi macbook pro at 1920x on the ivy bridge gpu and it's still noticeably laggy at some 3d operations.

2
staunch 6 hours ago 7 replies      
I'm so damn happy people are starting to realize how awesome resolution is. I've been buying 1920x1200 15" Dell laptops for 10 years now, and never bought a Mac because they've always had terrible resolution. I run Linux anyway, but I'm going buy Mac hardware next, unless a PC maker creates a competitive display (which I assume they will).

Next up: IPS LCDs everywhere.

3
ghshephard 6 hours ago 4 replies      
The 13" MacBook Pro is now 2560x1600. Give it 18 months the entire Apple line will be a minimum 2560x1600.

That's fine if you are willing to drop $1000 on a laptop, I don't expect we'll see $400 laptops @2560x1600 for several years - the Tablets have the advantage of free operating system, lower computing requirements, smaller physical screens, and, in the case of Amazon/Google, a willingness to subsidize the hardware sales in order to capture downstream Content/Search revenue.

4
otakucode 1 hour ago 0 replies      
IBM invented a 2000ppi monitor over a decade ago, but it was useless because software and video cards couldn't handle it.

Roll it out. Stop with this incremental horseshit for sciences sake and make a LEAP.

5
mark-r 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
One of his comments far down the page just struck me:

"It's ignorant people like you that hold back the rest of the world. Please just disconnect yourself, move to Pennsylvania, and become Amish.

The world does not need another ignorant web developer that makes some fixed-pixel designs. But maybe you'd be a wonder at woodcarving or churning the butter?"

6
sjs382 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
The primary PC I use at home is a netbook with 1024x600 resolution. My phone (Galaxy Nexus) is 1280x720. Crazy world.
7
tluyben2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Nexus 10 with a keyboard (and battery) casing and some desktop linux on it sounds like a good cheap high res laptop. Performance wise it would be fine for the stuff I personally do, guess that would scare other coders off.
8
easy_rider 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I used to have a "huge" 22" Iiyama CRT (20" Effective) boasting 2048x1152. I have forever been confused why current desktop screenS try to satisfy you with 1080p. This crap was getting hyped up On screens years after I was already enjoying higher resolutions at good refresh rates. And guess what? My 2 screens ay work are two 27" iiyamas LCD. And they don't go over 1080p... shouldn't it be even easier to get a better pixel density with lcds in bigger screens ?

I agree with the "tiny font" bit. As a patient with severe myopia my mac air is a lot more comfortable on the eyes than my 16" widescreen acer.

9
UnoriginalGuy 4 hours ago 6 replies      
I disagree with Linus on this one.

In an ideal world I would agree completely, a better DPI is amazing both in terms of font readability AND for watching full screen media (movies, TV shows, games, etc).

But in the real world higher resolution means small screen elements. At 1600x900 fonts are readable at 125%, at 1920x1080 even at 125% fonts and some elements are literally too small to be comfortable read (you get eye-strain after less than an hour).

Now I would turn it up to 150% "text size" but that breaks SO many native Windows applications (e.g. pushing text off the viewable area) and does the same on Linux too (Ubuntu).

Ideally everything should remain the same size no matter what the resolution, and the DPI should just grow upwards. This is how it works on platforms like the iPad.

So, I disagree with him, I don't want higher resolution displays because Windows, Linux, and OS X still suck at handling resolution (and if you use a non-native resolution it hurts the performance since the GPU has to re-scale constantly).

http://i.imgur.com/RqL6v.png

10
Aissen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
His not the only one to think so:

http://andrew.huang.usesthis.com/

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/06/where-are-the-high-...

And about every other hacker I know.

11
chj 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Resolution matters when you need to work with text. For me, Macbook Pro 15" retina is the best thing ever happened, and it is impossible to look back now.
12
regularfry 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
2560x1920 (or even 2132x1599) would be better, but I guess that fight was lost long ago.
13
bornhuetter 5 hours ago 1 reply      
TBH I'm not sure if I want 2560x1600 yet if there is going to be a significant drop in battery life. I have an IPS 1366x768 on a 12.5" screen and it looks great. Fonts already go smaller than I can reasonably see for programming - I can't imagine a higher resolution would materially improve my workflow.

Personally I'd like to see a higher refresh rate. Even with triple buffering I don't think that horizontal scrolling is smooth enough. I'd love to have a 120hz laptop screen. The new Windows 8 start screen, and switching between workspaces in Linux would be so much nicer. Still it's not exactly necessary, just a nice to have.

14
zokier 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Intel is also pushing for higher resolutions for some time now. eg. Ultrabooks were supposed to have higher resolution screens.

http://liliputing.com/2012/04/intel-retina-laptop-desktop-di...

http://vr-zone.com/articles/from-idf-retina-quality-2560x160...

15
dendory 2 hours ago 5 replies      
No. My screen is 1440x900 and it's honestly as big as I want it to go. See, what usually happens is that when you increase resolution, everything becomes smaller. Desktop icons, text in apps, web sites. Yes you can manually resize everything but it's a pain and it doesn't always work right. Web pages get deformed since you're only changing the fonts. And it's not like I'm ever watching movies in higher resolution than HD. So I'll keep my 'low' resolution screens.
16
buster 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes please!!!
I can't say how much i am disappointed by that 1366x768 crapsolution.. before my current laptop i had a FullHD laptop and that was faaar better..
Even my first laptop from over 10 years ago had a better resolution then most standard laptops have, how is that?!

(i had a 15" 1400x1050 display, then a 16" FullHD and now a 13" 1366x768)

17
zephyrfalcon 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Can somebody explain what is so bad about seeing individual pixels? Serious question from an oldschooler.
18
flyinRyan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Would someone mind posting the text in here? Google+ is blocked in many work places. :)
19
hactually 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think a good solution could come from review websites. If they all agreed that any screen size below 2560x1600 (or maybe a little less) would only score a maximum of 5/10 it would certainly rock the boat.
20
DanBC 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Honest question here: When will I notice?

Maybe some games? Maybe some designery stuff? Maybe some video creation stuff? (It might be useful for doctors and medical images, but I kind of hope they're using special purpose monitors for that stuff).

And does pushing those extra pixels have a cost in energy use?

21
drivebyacct2 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Sadly, Torvalds is wrong:

>Christ, soon even the cellphones will start laughing at the ridiculously bad laptop displays.

They've been beating the pants off of them for some time now.

22
mtgx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been thinking the same thing lately. 2560x1600 needs to be the standard resolution for all laptops from 11"-15". In fact the 15"+ ones can start having 4k resolution (300 PPI) about 2 years from now, as both Intel integrated GPU's and ARM GPU's will support that resolution.
23
oneandoneis2 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Not just laptops - I'm sick of the standard PC monitor being such crappy resolutions as well. Even with dual screens on my work PC, there's not enough room for the xterms I need at a decent font size.

Computer displays have stagnated for too long.

24
baq 5 hours ago 1 reply      
this may not be a constructive comment, but oh god yes please. integrated graphics are good enough these days and you can always drop down to 1280x800 without scaling problems if you want framerate.
25
wilhil 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Sorry to sound silly, but, what laptop can do 2560x1600 for $399? I feel out of the loop!
26
jaseemabid 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems like this guy is not bothered about battery. I have a 1366*768 display which just works fine. Most of the times I'm just running a terminal and this resolution saves quite some battery.
27
dsirijus 6 hours ago 1 reply      
For all manufacturers, this would reduce time of autonomy, and for many, significantly so. And obviously, price range.

It's a trade-off between various things, as usual. What Linus thinks may work for him (I happen to agree), but I can easily see someone wanting an ultraportable with basically VGA resolution and battery lasting entire day of active usage.

28
Thibaut 5 hours ago 2 replies      
You can't put 2560x1600 on anything but an 11-13" display, though.

I have a 13" Retina MacBook Pro and scaled resolutions look blurry, so I'm stuck with 1280x800.

29
eumenides1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
16:10, a man after the aspect ratio of my heart
30
Zoophy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I find it fascinating how Linus gets away and is actually awarded for flaming and bashing other users their opinions.
31
ekianjo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Mouahah, more pixel nonsense. Yeah, sure, put this resolution on a 11' screen, and have a sluggish GPU handle what's moving on screen on a 300-400$ laptop.

This is nonsense. You need pixels to a certain amount to have a good looking picture, but the benefit of having way larger resolutions is like a log curve: it stagnates as you go up and up, since you would notice the pixels less and less.

I am surprised to see Linus making this kind of claim, he used to be more practically-focused. Now he sounds like a marketing guy from Apple.

I say, why stop at 2560 * 1600. This is ridiculously low. Make 10 000* 7000 the new standard laptop resolution. Yes, we can. Tomorrow, please. Even if the capacity and the plants to make it do not exist, yet.

BS if I ever see it.

32
hnriot 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't get what point he's trying to make at all. And I don't know why it makes either a blog post, or top story on hn, who cares what screen resolution Linus has his laptop set to.

I can work just fine on my 2009 MBP with 1280x800 (or whatever it is) the text is perfectly readable, there's no noticeable pixelation at distances past a few inches from the screen and having everything shrink, as a result of increasing the res, would make it unusable.

He's probably exaggerating for effect, but it's not even remotely true that laptop resolutions have stagnated. They have steadily increased to the point where we now have retina screens on regular work laptops.

I think if Linus created a blog post saying he'd just set his background color to blue, it would make the top spot here!

It's a shame to see Linus stooping to mock apple's use of the term retina. They (Apple) name everything, like the fusion drive or any number of previous technologies. It's to humanize the tech so the average person walking into the apple store doesn't have to talk in tech-speak. It's just a marketing term, and every company has them.

The definition of "reasonable resolution" changes over the years, VGA seemed reasonable compared to EGA.

14
The lactose-tolerance mutation slate.com
311 points by MaysonL  2 days ago   167 comments top 28
1
Spooky23 2 days ago 2 replies      
Access to milk is a great thing, because you get the calories and many nutrients needed to sustain life, and all you need is a cow, goat or sheep (which is mobile) and pasture.

Compare that to cereal crops like wheat or maize or vegetable crops, which require long uninterrupted growing seasons and irrigation.

Why is this important? When a troop of rampaging soldiers cuts through your village and pillages everything in sight, you grab your cows and family and boogey out of there. Essentially, you have a mobile food supply.

In the event of a drought, you have options as well. With wheat or vegetables, no rain == no food. With a dairy animal, you go kill the guy who controls the next pasture and let Old Bessie the cow feast on the grass. (The other key development was the introduction of potatoes, which remain buried under the ground safe from the rampaging army above -- my Irish ancestors subsisted on potatoes hidden from the English taxman and a cow that lived in the house.)

In Europe and the Near East, these things were really important, because there was always pillaging armies marching across the continent. Today, it's unlikely that some Mongol horde is going to loot my supermarket, so I drink milk and eat cheese because they are really tasty.

2
pdog 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Various ideas are being kicked around to explain why natural selection promoted milk-drinking, but evolutionary biologists are still puzzled. [...] Those who couldn't drink milk were apt to die before they could reproduce.

The success of the lactose tolerance mutation may be partly due to sexual selection[1]. It's been proposed that neoteny[2] is a key feature of human evolution. The ability to drink milk as an adult is a neotenous trait, and it may have been "accidentally" selected for when other beautiful features were sexually selected.

David Rothenberg's book, Survival of the Beautiful[3], argues that biologists are sometimes "blinded" by natural selection and ignore sexual selection.

---

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_selection

[2] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny

[3] - http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtomics/2012/10/25/...

3
zeteo 2 days ago 2 replies      
I guess I must be missing something, because there's a rather obvious explanation of the article's central paradox: lactose has calories. To wit, it takes about 10kg of milk to make 1kg of hard cheese, i.e. 6000 vs 4000 calories. So if you have milk directly, instead of cheese, you get ~50% more calories. This would presumably make quite a difference for semi-starving pastoral populations in 10,000 BC.
4
ImprovedSilence 2 days ago 5 replies      
I don't know what it is, but I frickin love milk. It's one of my 4 main liquids (water, milk, coffee, beer) I put down a gallon about every 4 days. In college, I'd drink a half gallon a day. Usually when I eat anything that makes me thristy/is a little salty, like red meat, I"ll crush the milk too. Pasta? it's so carby, I've got to have milk to get some protein to level out the glucose release. Hungover? not only does milk rehydrate me, it gives me much needed calories/energy. Why I'm so dependent, I have no idea. Friends and family know to stock up on extra milk when I visit. It's like water to me. I can't explain why, or how I got to this point.

edit: Growing up, we always had 2% in the house. From college on I drink skim, occasionally (once every few months) I get 1 or 2%, just to up the fat content (I'm a runner, not terribly concerned with weight gain, more or less trying to maintain body mass...)

5
edanm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm slightly lactose intolerant.

Here's a tip for others - you can buy Lactase pills at a pharmacy and take them just before you eat any meal that contains milk. This gives you the enzymes you need without your body producing in it.

And it's really awesome. I only started doing this a year ago, but now I can eat many more cheeses, drink milkshakes, etc., without feeling bad. And it happens surprisingly often - every time you want to eat pizza, pastas, etc.

Seriously, is you're lactose intolerant, give it a try - it improved my life considerably.

6
arn 2 days ago 9 replies      
Well, as another datapoint to study, asians are said to have a near 90% adult lactose intolerance rate. So whatever beneficial natural selection for Europeans that propagated the always-on lactase mutation, the same cultural/agricultural circumstances didn't hold true for asians.
7
6ren 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Everywhere that agriculture and civilization went, lactose tolerance came along.

Odd that they don't mention physical displacement: invasion, dispossession, death. The gene would likely have coincided with other developments of civilization, such as weapon technology, greater numbers, greater cooperation, specialised soldiers etc. Maybe there's evidence against it, but odd it's not addressed, with a puzzlingly high "selection differential". Another factor might have been sexual selection, if the new folk were healthier looking etc.

Note they are talking specifically about the West - agriculture and civilization spread throughout the East without this gene.

8
brc 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's an interesting article, on a topic I've read about before. I think the answer is that is no one answer - maybe milk became fashionable, and the guys who had a regular supply of milk attracted more females, and thus more offspring. Maybe it was fashionable and, if being consumed as yoghurt, somehow acted as medicine to a bacteria getting around at the time. Maybe it was fasionable, had medicinal qualities and gave you stronger bones, so you were more able to survive childbirth and things like battles or hardships.

I'm just glad I'm not lactose intolerant, so thanks to whoever in my billions of ancestors decided to keep at it.

9
bane 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's because it's delicious and goes really well in lots of foods.

It moderates strong flavors, smooths out acidic drinks, fluffs up eggs among many other thousands of beneficial food uses.

Other dairy products like butter and cheese are key to an immense palette of flavors and cooking techniques.

Dairy is so delicious that I've even seen people with violent milk allergies put up with the consequences just to scarf down a few bites of custard or ice cream.

10
goggles99 1 day ago 0 replies      
WOW - I cannot believe the false premise this entire article is based on. This is Epigenetics, not mutation or evolution!!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/epigenetics.html

The article itself says
>Two hundred thousand years later, around 10,000 B.C., this began to change. A genetic mutation appeared, somewhere near modern-day Turkey, that jammed the lactase-production gene permanently in the “on” position.

This is NOT a genetic mutation. The gene was already there but not turned on past the toddler years. I searched this entire page of comments and no one knows or points this out?

11
dave1619 2 days ago 2 replies      
> Heart disease, diabetes, alcoholism, celiac disease, and perhaps even acne are direct results of the switch to agriculture.

Really? A plant-based whole foods diet is probably the best cure out there for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. (google Dean Ornish, Neil Barnard, John McDougall)

The author tells a good story but his bashing of agriculture is unsupported.

12
WA 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read once a theory that the enzyme that splits lactose in the body is destroyed by sunlight. People living near the equator have a much higher lactose intolerance because the constant sunshine destroys the enzyme.

Likewise, people in Sweden for example have a 100x higher lactose tolerance, because there's less sunlight throughout the year.

13
zacharyvoase 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would pasteurization (or lack thereof pre-1862) have any effect on the research?
14
thalecress 2 days ago 0 replies      
Calories. Cheese has only about 60% the calories of a starting volume of milk. [1]

Plus, animals can graze on land you can't farm, and they're very portable.

[1] http://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/the-indo-european-a...

15
zaroth 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, mampires...

"We became, in the coinage of one paleoanthropologist, “mampires” who feed on the fluids of other animals."

16
Shenglong 2 days ago 1 reply      
though not in the Americas, Australia, or the Far East.

Does anyone know why some East Asians (such as myself) are lactose tolerant? Is that evidence of interbreeding in the past?

17
hcarvalhoalves 2 days ago 0 replies      
The ties between agriculture and herding are not clear. Mongols are nomads and have a diet that is basically just milk.

I believe the benefit of drinking milk is obvious. A herd can take calories from grass and drink mud, while the human enjoys a source of clean, caloric, nutrient rich drink that can go anywhere. Farmers, on the other hand, can just be ran over, pilled or sieged by enemies.

18
thomasfl 2 days ago 0 replies      
It really sucks living in norway with lactose intolerance. Just about every kind of processed food got milk in some form or another in it. Bread, hot dogs, caviar, potati chips. It's mad cow milk disease!
19
ekm2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man was drinking milk long before there was a western civilization.
20
robmcm 1 day ago 0 replies      
It could be a lot more simple, such as a bacteria that grew on cheese, or a virus that milk protected you from.

This would support massive switch to tolerance (simple survival of the fittest).

It also supports the spread, as a bacteria or virus would not have made it out of the "islands" (himalayas, oceans) and so tolerance wouldn't have been an advantage.

21
josephjrobison 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do value the importance of milk from a survival standpoint, but I think today's milk is a bastardized version of milk our ancestors survived on that they drank directly from the cow. With the whole factory farm system and terrible diets most (American) cows eat, not to mention the steroids and antibiotics that a lot of cows are given, I don't believe the idea that milk is a nutrient packed elixir.

Not hating for those who want to feel good about their love for milk, but I don't think today's milk is much more than a treat and baking ingredient.

22
teyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps people who tolerated milk reared cows. Given that those who were exposed to cowpox survive smallpox, the advantage conferred would have been huge.
23
bifrost 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have an obvious bias here (I have a cow milk allergy) but I will be very happy when the use of cow milk becomes nonexistant!
24
finnw 2 days ago 0 replies      
The title sounds like the name of a Big Bang Theory episode
25
ckdarby 1 day ago 0 replies      
I feel a little odd drinking this while I drink a glass of milk >_>
26
mitchi 2 days ago 2 replies      
I hate the taste of milk. Pour yourself a glass of milk and drink some of it. Now go away and come back 5 minutes later. Drink again. It tastes bad now.
I quickly changed to Soy Milk and I drank a lot of that instead. However, recently I have stopped all soy products because of the estrogen catalysers in them. I'm now on Almond Milk, I hope I'm good now.
27
krob 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm lactose intolerant. I guess I'm a caveman :(
28
ck2 2 days ago 5 replies      
Because cereal tastes terrible with water?

Because the dairy industry in the US alone gets $4 billion per year in subsidies from taxpayers?

15
Killing Your Startup on a Thursday Night techcrunch.com
299 points by sethbannon  2 days ago   56 comments top 17
1
cletus 2 days ago 7 replies      
Two problems I see. The first is:

> I still had a job, which made everything near impossible, that I couldn't afford to quit. I worked during the day as a report writer, snuck in emails and business calls for Altsie over my lunch, and worked late into the night to take care of hundreds of necessary details to keep the project going.

combined with

> Despite my downward physical spiral, I managed to marry the love of my life

I appreciate that people have lives too but you just can't do two jobs and have a personal life. Sorry. Something has to give. I've read many tales of where having just the startup has put a strain on personal relationships.

I wonder what the situation was with the cofounders. How many were there? Were they full-time? If so, that could be a problem (in that they might end up feeling that they've gone "all in" when you haven't).

> Two years building and eight months running Altsie took its toll.

Two years to launch? i wonder how much quicker it would've been to launch if it had full-time resources. For something that isn't hugely technically sophisticated (correct me if I'm wrong but this doesn't sound like that kind of startup) that is (IMHO) too long. People talk about MVPs for a reason. You need to prove your idea and get feedback ASAP.

Whatever the case, eight months doesn't seem long enough to prove anything one way or the other.

I don't mean to be harsh so I apologize if it comes across that way. Lucas, good luck to you. I would suggest that when you wish to try your next venture (assuming you do), you do so when you can dedicate it to yourself full-time.

2
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm struck by two things in this story, the expectations Lucas started with, and the lessons learned (or not).

Lucas says "I put three years of my life into building and running Altsie,..." ... "As we approached launch last May" and "Two years building and eight months running "

What are the expectations on a business where you are looking for people to integrate a new thing (going to a bar to catch an indie movie) into their lifestyle? A week? A month? a year? five years? If you look at the restaurant business most seem to require a 3 year 'boot' cycle, the first year nobody knows about them but perhaps the local food critic trys them. The second year they have some foot traffic and perhaps they get written up in a more widely distributed guide, then the third year they have people coming who have read about them in the guide or found them on their phone's 'maps' product and they get to see how successful they are going to be. I can't imagine that any idea which requires people to change their behaviors in the real world could really be tested in less than a year.

The other thing that was sad to read was this bit, "I'd signed up to fight on the front lines. I still had a job, which made everything near impossible, that I couldn't afford to quit. I worked during the day as a report writer, snuck in emails and business calls for Altsie over my lunch, and worked late into the night to take care of hundreds of necessary details to keep the project going."

There is a reason YC and others ask you to quit your job if you're doing a startup. There isn't a lot of excess time. If you have a spouse or partner who can bring in enough income to pay the bills and maybe health care that is one thing, but being both the 'stable income source' and the primary mover of the new venture? Not a good idea as Lucas discovered.

Now the most important thing to do is to capture all of the things you learned into something you can use in the future. What worked? What didn't work? How did you spend your time, could you have out sourced any of that? What were your costs and how did you evaluate the business? What variables did you guess at? Did you guess high or low? People who have been through the ringer are twice as valuable as people who haven't done it yet because they have a better idea of what they need to know to make forward progress.

I hope that Lucas' next venture is a lot less stressful on his health/psyche and much more satisfying overall.

3
andreasklinger 2 days ago 2 replies      
Fascinating how many people make very strong judgements about his life, story, product and decision with a very shallow level of information.

It's a bit sad to see. Especially because i believe that many people here know (or should know) how complex these topics are.

In my opinion great article. Thanks for sharing that honestly.

4
bmelton 2 days ago 4 replies      
Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't you email your co-founders and have that discussion before you start closing down accounts and making the move completely permanent?

Perhaps one of them has an idea to cut costs, or would like to open source the code, or can line up a buyer for the assets, or ... something.

Telling your stakeholders/investors/cofounders after you've pulled the trigger seems like the exact backwards way to do it.

5
joshmlewis 2 days ago 1 reply      
To me it sounded like the guy had a good idea, it was slow growing but it was also not his main focus. He had paying customers, distributors, and producers using his service, it had roots. It may not have been worthwhile in his eyes to keep up, but to me it seemed like he had a good idea, good people behind it, he just needed to keep going a little while longer. Did he give up too early right when things seemed to be at the end? I guess we'll never know. Startups are hard. If it was easy everyone would do it. Not to downplay this guys dedication, it seemed he had a lot, but 3 years of working full time and growing a startup, that seems like it would take a toll on anyone. I guess everyone can't just take a leap and quit their job, but something has to give I feel. When you're starting a company it absolutely needs at least one persons complete focus.
6
Joeboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Altsie was a new, live theater market for the growing pool of independent films that don't make it to the big box theaters. We basically turned bars into movie houses, with all the infrastructure (business profiles, showtime dashboards, and ticketing) housed on the web

I have no idea how good a business idea that is (I guess not such a great one), but it sounds like a great idea and I wish something like it could be successful. In my moderately sized UK city it's impossible or very difficult to see a large proportion of new releases on a big screen.

7
davedx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like reading these articles, especially when they're not pure software startups. It's incredibly hard to make the decision to cut your losses and fold. But you can always try again. (In fact, accepted startup wisdom says you should try, and try, again).
8
arbuge 2 days ago 0 replies      
He has my full respect, not just for what he tried to do but also for writing this post. One can only wonder how many unwritten stories like this there are out there - most people who give up don't blog about it. People would probably be better served by getting a full picture of the startup scene, including stories of some of the failures besides the successes, but there's a natural survivorship bias which happens instead.
9
mvip 2 days ago 1 reply      
This was the most refreshing post I've read in a long time.
10
advertising 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the things I can relate to:

Definitely identify with gaining weight. It's brutal how quickly you can fall out of shape.

After playing basketball 6 times a week since college I barely get out once every three months. I'm 30 now and feel 40.

Aside from the up and down roller coaster ride, the hardest part for me has been balancing a relationship that began at roughly the same time that my co-founder and I went into business together. I have no idea how you could possibly balance anything else (like a real job) outside of a startup and a new relationship for extended period of time.

There are times my relationship has been a distraction to our business. But well worth the juggling act :)

11
jeremyjh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for writing this up, this was a great article and exactly the kind of thing that attracts me to hacker news (if not why I sit and F5 it all day).
12
shredfvz 2 days ago 3 replies      
Pretend for a moment it's July 1, 2009, you're Lucas, and you must answer the following 3 questions correctly, else you might spend the next 3 years chasing your vision for $0:

1. What pain does my idea solve?
2. Does it solve it for a large number of people?
3. Just how painful is it for not being solved?

Do you know plenty of people who are in pain because they can't find a venue to watch an indie flick? Does not being able to find an indie flick at an appropriate venue eat at their thoughts 24/7? Are they going to go nuts finding a solution if you don't provide one? How much money would solving this problem be worth to them?

Admittedly I know diddly about Altsie, and I'm not one for indie flicks, but let's compare Altsie to Airbnb. Airbnb solves a basic human need: that of housing. How painful is it when you don't have a house? Immensely. How much money are you willing to pay for a roof over your head? Thousands per year. How many people are searching for your solution. A shitload. Now replace housing with "Indie Flick", and objectively recalculate.

After doing so, you might think three years is a long, loooong time investment, hugely out of proportion to the level of pain Altsie solves, not to mention the price of solving that pain.

13
whelps 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Elon Musk said that running a startup was like eating glass and staring into the abyss. When I first heard those words they sounded brave and romantic.

I honestly don't think anyone understands what it really feels like to build a company until you do it. Before I started running my first startup, I thought that the hardship and mental anguish other people describe was somewhat like what I already experienced during hard times at other companies. It wasn't. You pour your heart and soul into a startup and push to the side your physical health, hobbies, family and basically everything else. Then after a year or more of doing everything possible to try and succeed, you potentially end up with nothing. Like Lucas says, you don't really end up with nothing, but it sure as hell feels like it at the time.

14
brennenHN 2 days ago 0 replies      
This was a great story and I have a lot of respect for Lucas after reading it, but there are a few things that I want to notice.

First, Altsie is a pretty awesome idea! I really like the idea of going to a bar to watch an indie movie, I'm sure producers would love to get their film shown, and bars want extra customers coming in. This is something that definitely could have worked.

Second, the technology behind this product is trivial, a 2 year build is a huge warning sign. I cannot find on the site or in this description anything that should be hard to put together, and the fact that Lucas spent a few years building this in his spare time instead of hiring someone to do it in a (few) week(s) shows a dangerous prioritization of money over time.

Third, it takes a strong presence of mind (or maybe just good communication with your partner) to realize that what you're doing isn't making you happy. Kudos on letting it go.

15
jack7890 2 days ago 3 replies      
Any reason this is entirely in italics?

UPDATE: Must have been a bug. It has now been fixed.

16
chris123 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a quarter... :)
17
Snapps 2 days ago 0 replies      
that almost felt real... some interesting perspective, no doubt.
16
Google's most advanced voice search has arrived on iOS googleblog.blogspot.com
287 points by cleverjake  21 hours ago   171 comments top 48
1
jpxxx 20 hours ago 9 replies      
This is Next Level Shit. This is absolutely next level execution. The responsiveness is incredible and it immediately falls through to a well-formatted search result if it can't give you a soundbyte or a Knowledge Graph result.

Unit conversions provide in-line converter widgets... it'll gleefully show you pictures of anything safe-search while playing dumb if you search for something "naughty"... web links you select pile up in little tabs that let you slide right back to the original query... it looks good... it makes pleasing sounds that let you know what's happening...

If Siri can stage a question to Wolfram Alpha, the result is great. But if she can't, she just lamely offers a button to (Search the web for ______?) that then kicks you out to Safari. Google voice search makes Siri feel clunky.

The voice recognition is verging on instantaneous. This is amazing work.

2
Gring 16 hours ago 2 replies      
A year ago, Apple was asked whether the iPhone 4 or even the 3GS will get Siri. They said no, to do good voice search, you need advanced tech - several microphones, special noice canceling DSPs, fast processors - so get out and buy a new iPhone.

Well, I just did the test. Google voice search on a 40 month old iPhone 3GS is more responsive and much more precise than Siri on the latest and best 1 month old iPhone 5.

Apple has so much egg on their face.

3
danso 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow...I can't remember being this blown away by a search development since...I don't know when (being able to Google mathematical formulas is pretty amazing, but not as everyday-useful)...

I asked both Google and Siri, “How much damage did Hurricane Sandy do?”

Google heard it as “How much damage did Hurricane Sandy too?” and returned with official Hurricane Sandy emergency info and latest news stories literally as I stopped talking.

Siri took nearly five seconds to register my question as “How much damage did hurricane you do” and responded with hockey league standings for the Hurricanes team.

And the execution of Google's product is more stylish than Apple's...given Google's lead in collecting voice data, nevermind their lead in search technology and algorithms...how can Apple hope to even compete in voice search except by forcing Siri on iOS users?

*edit: Here's a screenshot comparison:
http://danwin.com/words/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/google-vs...

4
confluence 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I've said it before - and I'll say it again - Google is about to crush Apple into the ground. The fundamental difference between the two is that Apple brings style but Google brings substance.

Now in the short term style > substance for the simple reason that it is easy to repackage something that is difficult to use into something simple.

Making things easy to use is obvious for designers - but not for engineers - because they focus on actually making complex things work instead of making it easy to use.

However, in the long run substance > style for the simple reason that anything that can be repackaged to make it simple will either become a minority player or a commodity item because style and veneer are easily copyable but substance isn't. Substance is a natural monopoly, and monopolies make lots of money.

What you see here is the fruition of substance over style - big data is a monopoly and Google owns it hard.

Google will be the first trillion dollar corporation. And it will do so by making everything else apart from Artificial Intelligence a commodity.

Disclaimer: I'm looking to buy Google stock and I recently exited an Apple short.

5
wisty 10 hours ago 1 reply      
No surprise. As far as I can tell, Scott Forstall was the (post-Steve) executive who wanted to go to war with Google. He was in charge of Siri (Apple Search) and Maps. The minute he's canned, Google and Apple are suddenly best friends (though I'll expect Apple will continue trying to sue Android out of existence).

Google wants its apps on iOS, as they mostly care about ad revenue (not the few bucks they might make on Nexus, which is just one of many Android brands). Google has always been platform agnostic. Apple wants Google (Android) dead, but simply doesn't have the ability to beat Google at search.

Scott Forstall probably wanted Apple to create a massive data division, so they could go toe to toe with Google on search, and hope that people would still want iOS even if Google was locked out. I'm guessing the other execs were beginning to question this strategy - Google can make a "good enough" mobile OS better than Apple can make a "good enough" search engine and mapping platform. It's far better to let Google own search, and focus on doing what Apple does best.

6
snowwrestler 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The excitement over voice recognition threatens to obscure the most important breakthrough in Siri, which is that Siri tracks conversational context. For example with Siri you can have this interaction:

Me: Will it be cold tomorrow?
Siri: Yes, the low temperature will be 42 degrees.
Me: What about Friday?
Siri: Looking better. The low temperature will be 58 degrees.
(exact working paraphrased)

Try this series of questions in the new Google search app. The first gives me a wiki.answers.com page as the top result, the second a Woody Allen quote.

Or try it on any conversation bot. Using pronouns to obscure the topic of conversation has always been the best way to reveal the stupid machine underneath. Siri is a little less stupid.

Google voice search cannot do this because it is fundamentally transactional--you ask one question, get one answer. It is just another interface to their web search, albeit one with seemingly great voice recognition.

Siri is not designed primarily as a search engine. It is designed to be a personal assistant and is optimized to accomplish tasks and answers certain questions in the process of doing so.

7
ChuckMcM 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I have always felt that it was a weakness in Siri that there wasn't a direct connection to a world class search engine. The whole "I don't know, Google it." exit point in the interaction flow was is really such a huge hole. The question then is can iOS voice assist compete with Android voice assist if Android comes with a readily accessible search engine? Its an interesting marketing challenge.
8
timothya 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I just tried it, and it's much faster than Siri. I wish I could have it replace Siri, but alas, iOS would never allow that. I much prefer the Google Now style voice over's Siri's as well.

Google originally announced this app back in August, and said it'd be in the App Store "shortly"... It's pretty obvious why Apple held this back in the approval process since it definitely competes with Siri's functionality.

9
gfodor 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, imagine if Apple actually exposed APIs that allow Siri to do what it does? This app would destroy Siri.

Edit: I'd go so far to say this is eerily similar to the issues levied during Microsoft's anti-trust case. Google clearly is unable to compete here for no other reason than artificial walls put up by Apple on their devices in software. This is mobile's IE vs Netscape.

10
k-mcgrady 17 hours ago 4 replies      
This is the first time I've used any Google voice recognition. I use Siri daily (mostly for setting reminders and checking sports scores) and find it works well. I was shocked at how quickly Google was able to convert my speech to text and get a result. It was almost real time. I was considering trying an Android device because I really like the look of Google Now. By letting me try the voice recognition part on my iPhone Google may have got me. Only problem is that I'm so locked into the Apple ecosystem. I think this is becoming a problem and hindrance to competition. People spend so much money on apps, and have to select specific music/video services for each phone OS that it makes it very costly to switch regardless of which phone has the best features and technology.
11
drivebyacct2 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Between Google Now, local voice recognition and Google's recent attempts to extract more factual data out of search results, they've created and are expanding some amazing stuff.

With the data that Google has, I can ask it math questions, ask it questions about release dates of movies or video games. And now I can query that data through Google Now (or will be able to as they pipe through from that dataset to exposing it through Google Now).

Funny, even with some of the features just in 4.2, Now became as much or more of an assistant than Siri. I still can't get over it will scan my email for packages and give me notifications about it. That to me is the epitome of why I love what Google does. They are good at data.

12
mikebo 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Ask it "how much wood would a woodchuck chuck ... " and prepare to laugh.
13
siglesias 19 hours ago 6 replies      
Let's keep in mind here that one of Siri's core strengths, and why it must be a system level service, is that it can delegate queries to apps and 3rd party APIs. As impressive as Google's Voice Search is, it cannot execute tasks for users (reminders, setting appointments, sending messages) and, what's more, it would probably be a huge security to hole to let it access apps, the data of those apps, and execute code. This is the job of the OS. So let's be cautious about trumpeting this as a Siri replacement. At best it's a Nuance or Wolfram Alpha replacement.
14
kristofferR 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It's weird that this is avaliable on iOS, but not on Android yet.

Even if you're lucky enough to live in the US and be able to use Google Now (the voice search like in this iOS and Siri) you won't have the same features available. If you, God forbid, change your language away from US English into something like horrible UK English the features are disabled and just becomes dictation instead.

I'm sorry about being a little bit annoyed, but I can't understand at all why Google put in place extremely stupid restrictions of features requiring their users to hex-edit their binaries in order to get access to the availible features. It's moronic.

15
notlisted 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Of note: this same "type it as you speak" feature, also using Google's voice recognition, is available on Android phones using the Swiftkey keyboard replacement, which means it will work whenever text input is available, be it facebook, a text, an email etc. It works so well my mind was blown and I actually use it.

Apple of course does not allow keyboard replacement either, so we're all stuck with the crappy voice recognition in iDevices (I have several, statement of fact, not fanboy-ism)

16
jpalomaki 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Haven't yet tried on iOS, but on Android I was pretty amazed when I realized their voice search actually recognized some pretty complex words spoken in Finnish. And the market share or our language is pretty small (around ~6M speakers).

I believe Google must be doing something right on the voice frontier when they can accomplish things like this. They must have some pretty efficient methods for teaching the system new languages.

17
_djo_ 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This is awesome.

Note for non-Americans: The app only speaks results back if your selected voice search app is 'English (US)'.

18
mtgx 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Too bad Google isn't doing that much advertising of this for its own Android phones. Because Samsung sure as hell won't do it. They'd rather advertise their own bad replica of Siri.
19
kcoop 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, wow, wow.

Apple vs. Google, style vs. big data. While I love Apple's sensibilities, here's more evidence that data will win in the long run.

20
hnriot 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Agree with everyone else, on LTE this is blindingly fast. I also played with the goggles feature which read text on a watch face, identified the building I work in and seemingly instantaneously ocr'd text on a postcard!
21
modarts 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Surprised no one's mentioned the goggles search. I was pretty blown away to maximize an application on my desktop, snap a picture and have it recognize it (down to the version number, for Outlook 2010)
22
mburshteyn 20 hours ago 1 reply      
"Siri, open the Google Search App."
23
akosner 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My take on Google Voice Search vs. Siri, including the mystery of the missing NHL standings data. http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2012/10/31/google-...
24
metatronscube 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think its terrible, perhaps its just my Scottish accent which is probably one of the harder English speaking languages to account for however its especially terrible. Siri doesn't have very many problems with me, but the Google services on my iphone and now guffed Nexus 7 were really terrible to the point it was embarrassing how inaccurate it was.

I use Siri a lot, and its powerful because it actually feels par of the phone. I can actually do useful things with it.

25
nachteilig 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, this is fantastic. Eddy Cue has a tough road ahead getting Siri even to this level, I think.

Google, please release your maps app for iOS now!

26
equark 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Impressively fast. Is the voice recognition being done exclusively on Google's servers or is there a local component?
27
6ren 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The inflection is nice, especially at the end, sometimes falling, sometimes rising. I guess this isn't yet available on desktop voice search?

Since google knows so much about me, can I say:

- what movie should I see?
- book tickets
- mark the route to the cinema

to eventually (with a self-driving car):

- take me out to the movies, google

28
mark_l_watson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool. I was pissed that Siri was not available for my iPad 2 but this works well. Nice!
29
koof 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Heavily considering Android now after this.
30
bobbles 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I doing something wrong? It plays the beep noises even if I have my phone set to silent (iPhone 4S).

I know that Siri works this way as well (which I also find irritating). Why won't it obey my settings!

31
vitalique 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Why doesn't Google release such a thing for desktops? Voice commanding my PC or using it as a kind of a personal assistant has been my dream for like 10 years. I've tried quite a number of apps and nothing compares to Siri or Google's voice search.
32
saddino 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Now if Google really wants to finish the job and stick a fork in Siri, they should make a developer SDK available so other iOS apps can use this technology. Right now, the only
ad hoc speech-to-text service available is Nuance's (which yes, powers, Siri) but the API rate restrictions (and pricing tiers) make it a much less than satisfactory option.
33
smackfu 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised it still "misses" on a lot of phrasings and sends the search to Google which is generally useless since Google loses the context. Especially phrasings that Siri advertises as working.

"how far is it to X" doesn't work in Google but works in Siri.
"how did (sports team) do" doesn't work in Google but works in Siri.
"what movies are playing" works but "where is Argo playing" doesn't. And this is just weird because "where is Looper playing" works.

34
lobster45 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This may be a stupid question, but is there an equivalent Android app?
35
sherwin 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't used an iOS device since I switched to the Galaxy Nexus about 5 months ago. How does this compare to Google Now on android 4.1?

In general I've been very pleased with voice search on Google Now -- just reading the blog post I wasn't too amazed by the examples they gave for iOS because it sounds identical to what Google Now provides. I assumed that Google would release these features for android before iOS, but am am surprised by the overwhelmingly positive comments others here have to say here. Can anyone do a comparison and shed some light?

I do have to say that Google Now is sometimes rather slow -- the voice recognition is very fast (type as you talk realtime) but web search can sometimes take 10+ seconds to load even when already connected to wifi. Other times, it just works.

36
ecliptic 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great and I will use it right up until it starts showing ads. I really hope Google can find another income stream because ads are a deal breaker for me. The first time Google maps dropped two pins on a location search, one an ad, was the last time I used Google maps.
37
leberwurstsaft 19 hours ago 0 replies      
For some reason this app seems to miss a lot of its advertised functionality in Germany, or maybe just on my phone.
The image search results aren't displayed in a scrolling slideshow at all, instead each result links to the desktop version of a typical image search result, showing the preview and information in a sidebar and the embedding web page on the left.

Yes, the voice recognition is very fast, but then again, most questions only work in English, no chance to get anything useful in German or other languages.
That's not really competition to Siri in this department.

38
joshfraser 7 hours ago 1 reply      
A few fun things to ask:

"Who made you?", "Tell me a joke?", "Who am I?",
"Will you marry me?"

39
khangtoh 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's great and a blackeye to Apple because Google showed that it can deliver the same thing that Apple has failed to by making Siri only available to iPhone4S and above.
40
chj 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If this is the same one on android, I don't see where the excitement comes from.

I love their image search though. Take a picture of painting, show you a lot of info.

41
Osmium 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Irritating how the app doesn't let you clear your search terms. You can only delete a search term by entering a new one, even with "search history" disabled. Really tweaks my OCD sense.

Great app technically though. Hopefully this'll push Apple to make Siri more responsive.

42
Achshar 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I want this for my gingerbread phone. I am on mercy of Motorola for update and they won't give it. So now google can at least update the voice search app in my phone to this. hopefully.
43
le_isms 19 hours ago 1 reply      
It's so, so fast, but seems to have trouble with accuracy, at least when I've tried speaking to it. It almost seems to decide on what I've said earlier in my sentence before I finish my sentence, which I'm guessing is lower accuracy compared to waiting for me to finish talking before analyzing.
44
sbochins 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I was getting into the video, but the responses by the anonymous users playing w/ the iphone is annoying. "Show me pictures of whales", shows some whales, "COOL!!!"
45
senthilnayagam 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It can recognise my Indian English accent and feels instantaneous , moved this app to my home screen

Now apple need to catchup on Siri

46
poundy 20 hours ago 2 replies      
It does not read the results back to me. Is there something wrong with my settings?
47
mcrider 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do I get kicked into safari when I search for directions and click on the map? Whereas when I click on external web sites it loads in a tab within the app?
48
dapvincent 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been waiting for this feature since I upgraded to an iPhone...
17
Introducing the new compose in Gmail gmailblog.blogspot.co.uk
277 points by derpenxyne  23 hours ago   188 comments top 44
1
jsdalton 22 hours ago 13 replies      
I hate being the guy who sidetracks a thread off the bat by complaining about something unrelated, but...

Whatever blogspot theme Google uses for this blog is just god awful (oh, I see, this is it: http://gmailblog.blogspot.co.uk/p/as-you-may-have-noticed-gm...), and I swear it gets worse every time I view a post there.

To wit:

When I load the page I see the orange "loading" gears. Then that sliiiiides up to reveal the content. Really? Can they really not innovate here? This is a company that spends massive amounts of resources to get their homepage to load as quickly as possible. Heck, they even penalize companies in their index with slow loading times. And yet they purposefully add loading animations and transitions which add at least a second to page load, and probably more as far as time it takes me to engage in the content.

Also, every time I reload the page I see something different. Sometimes there is text in the black menu bar. Sometimes there is not. Sometimes there is an "extra" screen that slides up after the orange loading gears, sometimes not. Sometimes the sidebar navigation is there, sometimes not. Try refresh a few times yourself and you'll see.

Also, I love the five-second delay for the document URL update when you navigate via the sidebar.

All of these fancy, look-we're-using-ajax, gee-whiz-its-a-single-page-app features -- just for a simple blog post. Talk about complicating a simple problem!

Again, apologies for the rant but I couldn't even concentrate on what the blog post was saying because I was so distracted by this garbage.

2
nkurz 22 hours ago 6 replies      
Saving a draft, opening the old email, and then reopening your draft wastes valuable minutes. The new compose pops up in a window, just like chats (only larger).

Minutes? I do sometimes wonder where the day goes...

Alternatively, Shift-click on compose (or press capital C to with keyboard shortcuts on), and you'll get an actual window that you can move and resize. With the chat mini-windows I frequently wish that I could adjust them, and often accidentally collapse them by clicking in what looks like a title bar.

Or if you already have a message open, just shift-click on Inbox to open a new window. Or not --- Google in their wisdom has disabled that to prevent confusing some poor soul with a broken shift key, praise be their servers. But C-n for a new window, ma-return, /search, C-w isn't that bad.

I like the idea of minimizing the address area, but don't understand the advantages of the new approach. Is it primarily for tablet compatibility? Or is the concept of windows still considered unteachable? And why are they decreasing support for traditional click modifiers?

3
tomasien 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I can see the merits of this, but I'm curious about how it fits into a mobile strategy.

My big complaint about email, especially gmail, is that it seems to insist on keeping too many elements from desktop to mobile. My mobile email needs are much more like my SMS needs, yet the UX for mobile Gmail (for example) largely resembles the desktop client.

I know that's tangential, but it's what's on my mind regarding Gmail right now.

4
codeulike 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I prefer Gmail since its redesign back in April.

There, I said it.

5
asadotzler 22 hours ago 4 replies      
Is this really a step forward? It feels a little bit like a step backwards -- more like classic email clients and less like Gmail.
6
blhack 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Good.

The most annoying thing to me about gmail's interface is center-clicking on something (to reference it, like something in a mailing list) and having the entire window redirected.

This is cool :)

7
manaskarekar 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have a comprehensive/good solution to how to move all your stuff out of Gmail?

Midway while typing this post, I did a search and boom: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3581613

8
levesque 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I think they should add a maximize button to this window.
Sometimes you just want to edit one email in full screen, and I don't think you should have to revert to the previous interface to do that.
9
marshallp 22 hours ago 3 replies      
Why is this so important that it reaches top spot in minutes. My links to curing cancer with ultrasound or creating ai get nothing, but the big G opens a new window for compose and it's a giant leap for humanity!

Peter Norvig gave singularity summit talk on exciting work they're doing http://fora.tv/2012/10/14/Peter_Norvig_Channeling_the_Flood_... , why isn't that top spot?

HN is kowtowing to the pseudo-brogrammer crowd.

10
joshmlewis 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You can still open up emails in the larger view, If I'm not mistaken. I can see and have experienced the issue they are attempting to solve here and this seems like an ok solution. I guess we won't know until we try it. Most emails are short however, at least that should be your goal unless it's something more detailed and then you have a larger canvas to work with.
11
dredmorbius 21 hours ago 1 reply      
And ... addressing the content of this blog post: yet another reason mutt wins as a mail client.

Open mutt (preferably under screen so you can 'C-a "' between mail folders), view message(s) you want to reference (optionally: tag relevant messages, using mutt's filtering tools as necessary, than 'l ~T' to restrict to just the tagged messages, allowing you to rapidly reference a set of messages.

Fire up a new terminal window (I bind this to '<shift><alt>t' in my window manager) and write "mutt -s 'subject line'" to start your message, drop into the address lookup window to designate recipients, and edit away in your editor of choice.

And all of this without the multi-gigabyte overhead of a full browser session + gmail.

Oh yeah: offlineimap means you can work on your GMail account (and/or any other accounts you've configured for mutt) readily.

Just sayin'.

12
drivebyacct2 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great. I've hated having to open multiple tabs to be able to reference an old email(s) and compose a new one at the same time.
13
munaf 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that they took this approach primarily for email referencing. Is it that common of a use case that it's worth changing the entire experience around it (and collapsing the formatting bar, etc.)? I'm assuming they tested some sort of referencing UI in the existing compose screen. Wish I could see that. Also, I'm wondering how image insertion works; modals upon modals can be pretty awkward for users.

My real pet peeve: can we start removing "Compose" from email vocabulary?

14
aneth4 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else suffer from EXTREMELY slow gmail. This happens for me across all devices, browsers, and even IMAP. 30+ seconds to load messages sometimes and lots of 17, 317 and 503 errors.

I've tried every recommendation, and of course hear nothing back from their support or in their forums. Gmail is almost unusable for me now.

Any recommendations or contacts would be appreciated. It seems the only way to get help from Google is to know someone.

15
tolos 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Ahhh, it's good to see more useful desktop features making their way online (how old is multi-tasking?). Now we wait for the gmail OS that can run applications...
16
EdiX 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I missing something or is there no way to pick the sender address in the new composer?
17
karpathy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I welcome this change if they implement it well. I sometimes keep two gmail windows open so that I can compose in one while I reference emails or search in the other.
18
sasoon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I tried it and it is annoying. Compose window is located in the lower right corner of the screen, and cannot be moved to the middle.
19
fcoury 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I would really appreciate if Google took some time to work on the speed issues we now experience with Gmail instead of working on this cosmetic changes.

I use Gmail basically ever since it was on early early stages (I even pay for more storage for years now) and the degradation of performance is the one thing that makes me think of leaving the service for something snappier.

20
acabal 22 hours ago 1 reply      
On a meta-note, I hate, hate HATE how this blog and G+ blog posts hijack the space bar. I use spacebar as page down and it never works in G+, and it doesn't on this blog either.
21
dquigley 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like many people don't like this, but I had this exact issue last night. And opening another tab takes a while to load simply because the gmail app is so big. So while I'm not sure about this exact implementation yet, it could be a nice feature.
22
sethbannon 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It's amazing, when you ask "why would you need a whole page for composing an email?" there is no good answer. Someone dozens of years ago probably made that decision and it's just stuck.
23
ImprovedSilence 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if there's a way to try this out before they roll it out? It doesn't mention anything about it on the blog.
24
nixarn 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it looks great. Many times I've opened gmail in another tab to find some info.
25
stephenhuey 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I will enjoy this a lot, because I do often save drafts to go looking for some other message in my inbox. However, I think it saves valuable seconds, not minutes. :-)
26
jmilloy 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Ugh. Gmail continues to roll out new features and arbitrary tweaks, yet the bugs impeding normal tasks continues to grow. I've said it before: can I just have gmail beta back?

(The main ones for me are the compose window never actually loading, or new messages in a thread not displaying (both requiring a refresh). Meanwhile, the chat hover has changed layout twice. Seriously?)

27
dangravell 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Might be good, but I can't use this until they support canned responses again.
28
mdonahoe 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else get annoyed when replying to threads with multiple people?

I always want to reply to the most recent message, but usually someone else responds while I am composing. So I have to view their message and reply to that instead of to the original message. Does this happen to anyone else, or am I taking crazy pills?

29
endtime 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using this side-by-side with the old UX on my personal account for weeks (months?). Much prefer the new UX. Glad it's finally launching.
30
6ren 16 hours ago 0 replies      
or you could just use the old html version of gmail, and open as many messages as you like in different tabs.

http://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=html

31
monochromatic 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I like it. I cannot count the number of times I've just popped open a new gmail tab to address this exact shortcoming.
32
ilcavero 22 hours ago 0 replies      
don't like this at all, it looks like a step backwards, let the windows manager handle windows instead of doing it inside your webapp, next thing you know they are going to add a taskbar on the browser for each open pseudo-window
33
hnriot 21 hours ago 0 replies      
How is this return to popups any different to the option that's always been present, shift-click to open compose in a new window. Personally, I liked having the choice.
34
kamakazizuru 19 hours ago 0 replies      
awesome! this makes up quite a bit of the love they lost with their abyssmal redesign earlier this year!
35
septerr 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Good. I wonder if this also addresses the problem when you are replying to a long chain of email conversation, the compose box includes the entire chain while also displaying the chain above the compose box. Very unpleasant.
36
elionchin 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Speaking on a tangent. Has anybody not found it annoying that you can't auto-BCC yourself in Gmail? Only if you do so does it pull up the message thread to the top which I prefer to keep track of timelines. I would be fine without the BCC as long as the thread reflects my response time. Either way, room for improvement.
37
eric5544 22 hours ago 2 replies      
That looks great!

It feels to me though that google is still playing serious catch-up to it's main competitors (yahoo & microsoft) in the email arena who both have great web-mail solutions that don't get the accolades they deserve.

Now all I need is full folder support and I'm happy!

38
Cataclysmic 20 hours ago 0 replies      
What gmail really needs to change is the "reply" box. When I'm composing a regular email I get a nice big box in which to type my email. When I'm typing a reply email I just have a little tiny (vertically tiny) box to type my reply. Why?????? So annoying.
39
iamrohitbanga 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like pushing google plus to all gmail users.
40
ggopman 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The Sparrow team hard at work
41
neopba 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I use IMAP :)
42
iDroid 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Yahoo mail has half those features already
43
Supreme 21 hours ago 2 replies      
facepalm

All of the pain points that this supposedly solves have already been solved with tabs. Middle click compose and all of those problems are solved with the added bonus of having an entire screen to write your email in.

Google is being taken over by pointy haired managers and marketing. RIP.

44
mememememememe 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Are we stupid or something? First, why the hell are we arguing over the freakin' theme here? Seriously. This tangent discussion should be removed. If you want to complain about the stupid theme, which I also find it hard to use, start your own thread.

Secondly, are we stupid for using these annoying shift, control shortcuts? Google is not reinventing the wheel. Google is not used by elite computer programmers. I don't even use emacs because I am a VIM user. GMail is used by over a billion user and most of them don't even know some shortcuts or nice ways to make their tasks better.

I don't know all the secrets you guys are pointing out, and are you going to call me stupid? This is not reinventing wheel. It's just making the app more usable.

If anyone start spamming me with "you can already do this with X, Y , Z ways but it's not known by everyone...".

18
Startup School 2012 Videos startupschool.org
276 points by kogir  6 days ago   59 comments top 23
1
w1ntermute 6 days ago 3 replies      
What's with the shitty video player? Can't even go full-screen? Why not just post the videos on YouTube?

And the quality of the actual video isn't even HD?

2
edouard1234567 6 days ago 3 replies      
My favorite talk was the one given by Jessica Livingston.
The way she simplified what it takes to be a good entrepreneur, resiliency and drive and the "monsters" you'll meet along the way was amazing.
My least favorite moment was Uber's founder talk. I love and use the app but his talk sounded too much like 30 minutes comercial on Uber... A special award to Ben Horowitz for humor and to Robert Scoble who managed to speak (ask a question to Ron) even though he wasn't on the speakers's list :)
3
jaredsohn 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is the first year that the videos are linked to directly from the startup school page. A much better experience than having to search through justin.tv, youtube, lanyard, etc. to find all of the videos. Also, nice to find the list of speakers on the startup school page, since I think it traditionally has been replaced with the most recent year's list of speakers each year.
4
nashequilibrium 6 days ago 2 replies      
My best advice is just go and watch the BOS videos, I have been blown away. Their videos beat any conference on tech entrepreneurship in my opinion. I measure this based on substance. The Clayton Christiansen talk alone is worth more than watching all the startup school 2012 videos! This is just my opinion.

PS: Already a down vote. Be man or woman enough to state your case.

5
dave1619 6 days ago 1 reply      
Gotta say that Startup School 2012 had some really great talks. I had the chance to attend in person and it exceeded my expectation. The speakers shared some great insights and stories about their startups and each one gave a different perspective.

My favorite speaker probably was Joel Spolsky (and his slow, organic growth vs land-grab talk).

I love how Joel used Fog Creek to fund StackExchange's development and now Trello, which both seem to be land-grab businesses. It's almost like Fog Creek is it's own startup incubator now. Maybe a new model of funding/startups?

6
dkokelley 6 days ago 0 replies      
For those wondering, just before the 3:00 mark of Mark Zuckerberg's interview, the "Startup School" sign attached to the podium spontaneously fell.
7
verganileonardo 6 days ago 4 replies      
"Ben Horowitz (recording unavailable) "

This recording will never be available? I would like to watch his talk...

8
sharjeel 6 days ago 1 reply      
The slides are out-of-sync for me, atleast for the Uber video.
9
nilsbunger 6 days ago 1 reply      
Flash required? I'm curious - why? Is it easier to publish videos with a flash wrapper?
10
checoivan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for doing this and putting them up, the talks are amazing.
11
cloudwalking 6 days ago 1 reply      
> Ben Horowitz (recording unavailable)

NOOO! This talk was fabulous!

12
nodesocket 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ben Horowitz (recording unavailable) is a shame, since in my humble opinion he was the best. I just love his attitude, and passion for hip-hop.
13
ronyeh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here are my bite-sized reactions to each talk:
http://blog.squarepoet.com/post/34350209686/startup-school-2...

I felt a recurring theme was "don't give up"... so I'll really try to remember that lesson when I hit future roadblocks.

I enjoyed attending and meeting some of you in person. Definitely looking forward to next year's edition!

14
tomkinstinch 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm glad the audio is good because it was pretty crummy that day (at least from the balcony).

I had to strain to hear what the speakers were saying.

Was the volume OK for those on the main level?

15
dmazin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Aside from maybe Jessica Linvingston's talk, Spolsky's was the only one that said something very interesting to me, even though it was basically 12 years old.
16
prisonguard 6 days ago 1 reply      
What is the best way to strike a balance between the speaker and slides while recording/editing a talk?

I find it hard watching talks where only slides got recorded or others where only the speaker gets recorded.

For the latter, I'll normally download slides and use them to move along with talk.

17
xianyi_lin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hacked together a quick script for downloading the videos for viewing offline (requires rtmpdump):

http://pastebin.com/AxZCgcsF

18
asher_ 6 days ago 0 replies      
The slides are out of sync with the video for me, and the video stops periodically. Is this happening for anyone else?
19
swrobel 5 days ago 1 reply      
Anywhere to download MP3 or other audio-only versions to listen in the car?
20
ddrmaxgt37 6 days ago 0 replies      
The slides for the talk by Travis are wrong.
21
capsicum 6 days ago 1 reply      
How to download the videos for viewing offline ?
22
nasir 6 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice talks specially Jessica Livingston.
23
bizodo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Flash player?
19
Followup to "I bought more than 1 million Facebook data entries for $5" talkweb.eu
271 points by tlrobinson  5 days ago   94 comments top 19
1
DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 14 replies      
You really don't want to mess with the Facebook police. They'll delete your life.

I wish I had something more substantive to say here, but the problem is that we give Facebook an extraordinarily huge power in our personal lives. It's not just some random web service.

2
randallu 5 days ago 1 reply      
I recently had cause to log in to facebook (first time in 6 months) because my account had been compromised and was used to place a bunch of ads ("find hot guys in your area") which they had apparently approved (and ran to ~$100 in a few hours).

I was impressed with the account recovery process ("you entered an old password -- do you want to recover your account?"), but I felt like they were completely optimized for recovery versus preventing the intrusion in the first place (ala Google's two-factor auth).

Anyway, in this case they obviously took the wrong approach with the blogger and I hope it blows up in their faces. (Microsoft and everyone else used to not be nice to security researchers, Facebook will no doubt learn that cooperation is a better strategy too).

3
rorrr 5 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like FB is really unhappy about people stealing their profits, selling user's information.
4
davesims 5 days ago 0 replies      
> I tried to ask what they would do next but they said it would be an internal legal investigation.

"By who?"

"Top. Men."

5
mikk0j 5 days ago 0 replies      
I spot-checked some of the profiles in the original post screenshot. Four out of five were realtors. So it could be the profiles in the screenshot were ranked by profession, or that this is a lead for where the leak came from. Or coincidence.
6
bobsy 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is selling such information even illegal? Is it against Facebook's terms?

By using an app you are giving them access to a whole bunch of your personal information. I always assumed that many were scraping data from my profile. This is why I have never use Facebook for authentication.

When I read the original post I figured Facebook would want the data so they could narrow down who the probable culprit is. I would have thought finding a common app among a million users probably wouldn't be too difficult.

That said the nature of this conversation is ridiculous.

7
accountoftheday 5 days ago 1 reply      
What surprised me is that Paypal is facilitating the payment for gigbucks, the marketplace where this is (still) offered.
8
stfu 5 days ago 0 replies      
So Facebook is not only the x largest state, but also acts on the same level of paranoia as government agencies do?
9
obilgic 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is not that a good thing that fb is taking this issue seriously and going after the people who sell this information?

On the other hand, they are trying to solve this issue secretly, no disclosure. And we dont yet know if they are taking any privacy measures to prevent this kind of data leak.

10
nasir 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would say without facebook your life becomes much more productive regardless of security issues. I rather prefer to be in touch with certain few people through other media rather than having a bunch of schoolmates which only stalk my profile. There would be no difference in having them because after all I would not have any contact with them even on facebook.
11
kylelibra 5 days ago 0 replies      
"According to Facebook you are not allowed to read this post, so beware."
12
MojoJolo 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know why Facebook reacted like that. But as I understand, those information are not from Facebook itself. They are from an unknown third party app. Also, anyone who has a knowledge in Facebook API can mine those information by creating a Facebook app. I'm sure those app like "God wants you to know" have more than 1 million Facebook information.

By reacting like that, I think Facebook can be considered as guilty as charged.

13
philip1209 5 days ago 1 reply      
I know someone who generated thousands of links to facebook profiles, including non-linked ones. They crawled for images with facebook meta data, pulled the facebook IDs, and used those to generate the profile links.
14
DaSheep 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well this sounds like a good example of social engineering. Someone was really interested on his data an he just send it to them for free :/ I mean "Policy - Police", "It's secret", "we're recording you" are classic social engineering techniques used to put the target in a uncomfortable situation. I used them a few times, too.
15
finkin1 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty insane. Did you ever agree to the confidentiality of the conversation you were having?
16
chrischen 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's a like button on that page. I was logged in to facebook. Now facebook knows I read that page!!!
18
oharo 5 days ago 3 replies      
this is so normal. ark torrented all the fb accounts for their yc demo day
19
edictive 5 days ago 0 replies      
Haha: I'm guessing the app that leaked this info is called “facebook”
20
Mastering Linear Algebra in 10 Days: Astounding Experiments in Ultra-Learning calnewport.com
270 points by phenylene  5 days ago   75 comments top 23
1
oz 4 days ago 5 replies      
Ignoring the semantic controversy on 'mastery' and 'expertise', here's my story.

I dropped out of a CS program after first year. I was the classic case of a student who had always been told he was brilliant, so I never worked very hard. In high school, I coasted along simply on a fantastic memory, often 'studying' for the final exams that determine graduation the night before. I never learned how to learn.

Going to college was like being thrown into a bath of cold water. I had never been particularly conscientious, so being in an environment where I was now responsible for my learning was new to me. I skipped lectures, forgot homework that was due, turned in coursework late; the usual suspects. On raw talent though, I qualified for 2nd year, only failing Pre-Calculus. (I skipped the classes and tried to learn math from 1st principles. Ugh...)

I got a summer job at a small telecom startup. By time 2nd year rolled around, my student loan was denied, so I dropped out. I'd always hated school, so I didn't care. I never applied for leave of absence, nothing. I just didn't show up in September. That was 2006.

I was 20 then. I'm 26 now. I've had a lot of time (6 years!) to reflect on why I did so poorly despite being talented (not being conceited; my lecturers in 1st year said as much). There are quite a few reasons; but the major one is that I didn't know how to learn. So if something didn't immediately click, I'd give up in frustration, and decry the teacher as an idiot who couldn't teach (oftentimes true; but irrelevant). I didn't know there was another way.

Being around HN and places like LessWrong which exposes you to so many thought-leaders brought about some interesting side-effects, which culminated earlier this year. Upon reading an article on LW entitled "Humans are not automatically strategic", which was a reply to a Sebastian Marshall article "A failure to evaluate return on time fallacy", I had an epiphany that being systematic about things was the route to accomplishing great things. "Rationalists should win", the LW meme goes, and it's correct. I came to realize that for every goal, there exists an efficient path to achieve it. My task was to find that path, and execute ruthlessly upon it.

Since then I've made leaps and bounds in my personal development. I still slack off sometimes, but I won't fall into my old perfectionist way of thinking that I'm a failure. It's better to be 80% there than 0%.

I made the decision a few weeks ago to get my CS degree, albeit at a different, larger university. Since then, I've been devouring articles like this one. I recently bought two of Cal's books and wanna sometimes slap myself when I realize that if I had had this knowledge and the discipline to implement it 6 years ago, my life would be so much better. But c'est la vie. These articles on meta-learning are priceless.

So if you're in school now, or are going soon, pay attention to articles like these, Here are a few gems I've dug up recently:
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3427762

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=818157

http://www.quora.com/The-College-and-University-Experience/H...

http://www.quora.com/Harvard-College/What-are-the-best-Harva...

http://www.quora.com/How-do-top-students-study

Thanks to knowledge like this from Cal Newport and others, I'm going back to college full-time as someone with an above-average cognitive toolset, and a myriad of experiences that will suit me. I'm much more sociable, have a great eye for design having moonlighted as a freelancer some years back, and will now know how to engage my lecturers on an adult level rather than the kid I was 6 years ago. I'm going for a 4.3 GPA. I'm tempted to say wish me luck, but with tools like these, I'll make my own luck.

This rationalist will win.

PS If y'all have more articles like this, let me know. If you wanna chat privately, email's in profile.

EDIT: formatting; clarity

2
tokenadult 5 days ago 1 reply      
Cal Newport has the funniest definition of "mastering" and strangest definition of "world's most efficient studiers" (another blog post of his from a couple years ago)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2658927

I have ever seen. The shtick is getting old. Gee-whiz posts about a dilettante ramping up to a beginner's knowledge of a subject with little time and effort have nothing to do with the really challenging learning tasks in this world.

I'll be impressed when I see a headline like "Middle East diplomatic issues resolved by undergraduate who completed one course in international relations" or something like that. Show me someone who has solved a genuinely hard problem before proclaiming a new breakthrough in learning. For a refreshing change of pace from the usual blog post on quick-and-dirty learning, see Peter Norvig's "Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years"

http://norvig.com/21-days.html

or Terence Tao's "Does one have to be a genius to do maths?"

http://terrytao.wordpress.com/career-advice/does-one-have-to...

for descriptions of the process of real learning of genuinely challenging subjects.

3
dalke 5 days ago 2 replies      
There was effectively nothing about linear algebra on that page. After some link followings, it appears that http://www.scotthyoung.com/mit/1806-exam.pdf is the exam which the student was happy with (having done worse on the first version). The final score appears to be 66 out of 100.

Based on that test, I think the title is link-bait as it isn't "mastering linear algebra" but "passing an introductory algebra course."

4
tangue 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is written from a student perspective, where "mastering" means passing the exam. I'll stick with Norvig's 10 000 hours.
5
goostavos 4 days ago 0 replies      
People are kind of picking apart his use of the word "mastering," but I'd say that the crux of the article is spot on when it comes to learning techniques.

As an aside, I've never heard it called the "Feynman Techniques." However, one of my favorite things in the world is the so called "Feynman's Algorithm": (1) Write down the problem. (2) Think very hard. (3) Write down the answer. I just found to hilarious, but I digress.

There are two points of his with which I agree 100%.

Firstly, the process of writing a short summary paragraph of what you just read after reading a chapter or big section of a technical book. There is actually a fantastic book -- maybe one of my favorites of all time -- called, somewhat strangely, How to Read a Book. It's all about very active reading over passive, almost to the point of having a "conversation" with the text you're reading.

Ever since reading that book, I've gotten into the habit of writing a summary of each thing that I read. It really forces you to confront whether or not you "got" the point of what the book is saying. I usually find that there are quite a few bits that I either missed, or didn't quite understand, at which point I go through and search for the pieces I'm missing.

Secondly, looking at all of the low level pieces to understand the whole. This is something Salman Khan, of the Khan Academy talks about in (I believe it was) his TED presentation. Quite often, I find that there is some early concept that I glossed over which is slowing my understanding of the current material significantly. For me, doing this makes me being 'honest' with myself over the state of my current understanding -- which was kind of hard at first when I took this new approach to learning. So much of my 'ego' seems to be unfortunately wrapped up in 'what I know,' and thus I convince myself incorrectly that I do understand something, even when I don't, just because it's something that I "should" already know. Admitting to myself that I didn't understand, for instance, some basic math concept that I should have learned in high school was somewhat difficult -- as odd as that may sound. I suppose I have a fragile ego! But sometimes, getting a good grasp on my modern course work, meant stopping what I was doing, and going back a couple of levels and starting at the beginning.

The question of "What do I need to know in order to understand this" is, I find, an extraordinarily powerful one.

6
Su-Shee 5 days ago 0 replies      
I suggest reading very carefully.

I absolutely believe what he writes, because he's quite precise about his experiment and how he did it and this really works for a couple of reasons:

* This guy isn't 20 anymore. He has actually explored and learned and trained "productivity and focus" which he blogs and writes books about - so he doesn't start like a 18 year old directly from school, unexperienced maybe in this level of focus and discipline.

* He was pragmatic in his goals - very much so. He didn't write "becoming the world's foremost expert in linear algebra" but "passing an exam". And so he did. He also didn't write "passing everything with a top grade" but "just pass, if better - wonderful".

* He actually did his math on "hours to put in" - a semester doesn't take full 6 months, you usally don't attend lectures/lab every day 3 hours a day but 1-2 times a week, 2 (university) hours plus preparation. If you carefully add this up, you actually get a surprisingly low count of actual course/lesson hours.

* Taking in a course in a focused manner is actually quite efficient and helps you (at least it does for me) follow the material without interruptions. You also can repeat as often as you like (he mentions a fast forward and replay button in his TEDx talk) - which btw. makes part of the success of e.g. Khan university material.

* He also put some effort and training into the right way of learning and _that_ pays off massively in terms of speed.

Also, one of the points he is actually making is part of what most of you critizise: Going through the list of MIT requirements is something different compared to "becoming an expert in X" - don't mix that up.

7
EzGraphs 5 days ago 0 replies      
Although this is an accomplishment and there is some practical advice of value in the post, the "rules" he posts include correcting his own papers and tests and a minimum 50% passing grade.

http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/mit-challenge/

Would be more compelling if he was not selling books. Nothing wrong with making a profit but I'm just saying...

8
hdivider 5 days ago 1 reply      
Learning for exams and learning for yourself are obviously different kinds of activities, even if the level of depth and rigour are similar.

For maths-heavy subjects, I'm not really inclined to believe that traditional exams are the best way to assess a student's knowledge and understanding of the material (especially with regard to rote memorisation). Exams in such subjects haven't changed fundamentally in many many decades, even though we now have lots and lots of new things we could do with them.

For instance: do more with computers - like getting the students to solve real-world, many-tentacled, hairy problems by numerical methods, rather than giving them some carefully pruned equation that just happens to have nice analytical solutions. Or introduce more computer-assisted mathematical modelling (e.g. use classical mechanics, to start with). Or on the pure front, teach students to write or at least understand some interesting automated theorem prover.

Stuff like that.

I suspect that traditional exams have survived simply because they serve their purpose: a percentage of exam-takers fail the exam (which allows the exam-setters to claim that their standards of assessment are rigorous), and a fair percentage will pass the exam, some with flying colours. Whether or not the actual learning goal was achieved has not been determined, since the exam is deemed to be the only instrument that can measure that.

9
confluence 5 days ago 4 replies      
I'm inclined to actually believing a lot of this.

When I got into university I found every course very easy, didn't attend any lectures, got all my workshops to run on the same day to reduce my face time and maxed out my free time to do whatever I wanted (work/friends/extra/etc). I'm a STEM major at a top 30 world ranked engineering school with good grades.

I've often asked if I could max out my classes and finish a degree within a year and a half - but I've never been allowed to skip more than a few subjects (tests/bugging the heads of departments).

University shouldn't be time capped or subject load restricted - people should be allowed to do as many as they wish - or you'll find more and more moving towards MOOCs instead.

10
SeanDav 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the achievements I am most proud of was doing a full year's university course in computer science in 6 weeks and passing. It was pure cramming though and very hard work. I got into a routine of full-on study from 9am-1am with short breaks every hour or so. 16 hours a day for 6 weeks.

Not something I would ever want to repeat and was first year level courses. Basically I was doing a correspondence 3 year degree while working full time. I got heavily involved in my work and decided that I wouldn't continue studying. Then with about 4 weeks to go to the 2 week final exams period I thought, what the heck let's give it a shot...

Amazing what focus and hard work can achieve!

11
gall 5 days ago 0 replies      
My best bursts of rapid learning are almost always project/puzzle driven. I didn't, for instance, set out to master FFT directly, but it seemed like something that could improve my abysmal performance on a Project Euler that I was working on, so I looked into it. I question (open-mindedly, not snarkily) the efficiency of ploughing through a course or series of courses. On the one hand there's the possibility of cross-pollination that having all sorts of cool bits of knowledge and techniques fraternizing in one's head for as long as possible promotes. On the other hand, there's the sense that the most efficient learning sequence is the one that matches the actual sequence of problems as they present themselves. Just-in-time learning of helicoptering, but if and only if you find yourself in a rooftop gunfight, as it were. Of course, then the issue becomes predicting forthcoming problems with enough lead time to learn the solution.
12
RVijay007 5 days ago 0 replies      
I also am inclined to believe much of this. I actually did the same thing while at MIT for chemical engineering. Took all the required freshman through senior level classes at the same time, each semester, and finished all the requirements for a chemical engineering degree in a year. I loved MIT for this reason - they had no rules/regulations on the number of classes you could take in any semester, and they didn't enforce prerequisites/corequisites. Very different than other institutions I've trained at. I was still able to participate in extracurricular activities and develop relationships with lots of people.

It's true that I didn't attend a lot of classes (since they all overlapped anyways), and had 2-3exams virtually every week. The only issue I see is that there is only so much you can do online. I also did the same thing with Chemistry and Biology, which had lots of laboratory classes, and I don't see how one could gain the practical experience of putting knowledge to work in those fields without a wet lab class. EECS however is amenable to this (for the most part - likely hard for an optics laboratory), and most of my EECS labs were really done in Athena clusters instead of a distinct laboratory.

13
6ren 5 days ago 0 replies      
> However, eventually you'll reach a stopping point where you can't explain. That's the precise gap in your understanding that you need to fill.

This is a useful technique, giving motivation and focus. Though imperfect: it can't detect incorrect understandings that seem consistent. But to be fair, that's a tricky case.

14
peripetylabs 4 days ago 0 replies      
This person, Scott Young, did not "master" linear algebra. If anything, he mastered the curriculum. There's a difference, and in a year he won't remember a word of it.

He is, however, a master of self-marketing:

"To find out more about this, join Scott's newsletter and you'll get a free copy of his rapid learning ebook (and a set of detailed case studies of how other learners have used these techniques)."

15
navpatel 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'll leave the discussion of how embellished this post/blog/exercise of MIT Comp Sci in 1 year is to other comments.
But! The explanation of Fourier transforms from Scott's notes (http://www.scotthyoung.com/mit/fourier.pdf) is one of the must succinct ones I've read. I've always understood what the transform does, but the nitty gritty on how the equation works was awesome
16
nnq 5 days ago 0 replies      
...this guy really knows how tomuch puts the "bait" in "link bait" ...nothing about linear algebra in the article but the perfect title to hook the bank of HN fish ...congrats to the OP for pulling this one off :)
17
alter8 5 days ago 2 replies      
> he completed all 33 courses (...) in less than one year.

> That works out to around 1 course every 1.5 weeks

WTF? What kind of university imposes that you take only one course at any given time? It's not just linkbait, it starts from a wrong assumption. When you take many related courses simultaneously, you see the pieces meshing together and that helps learning. That's different from taking them in a serial manner.

18
wbhart 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would imagine that the vast majority of students at Universities around the world who take Linear Algebra "master" it in 10 days. That is, the ten days before the exam, having spent most of the term drinking, socialising, falling asleep in lectures (or just staying in bed and skipping the lecture bit). I certainly know I "mastered" elementary linear algebra in about 10 days.
19
dbecker 3 days ago 1 reply      
He may have accomplished something impressive, but I had trouble appreciating it because the article seemed so pretentious, and I found that distracting.
20
infinitesimal 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's funny because the students at the competitive schools work their ass off for the entire semester/ quarter to learn this material. If you use the weakest possible definition for "learn," then you can claim you have learned anything you want. But that doesn't mean your skill will be comparable to someone who spent 3-5 months practicing non-stop.
21
gbeeson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not seeing this as link bait at all - more method for than what was being learned. Great read that gives a lot of interesting insights and methods - definitely not for everyone. A lot of the same information and ideas have been discussed on Study Hacks though it is great to see the provided examples.
22
frozenport 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought Linear Algebra was the easiest math-class?
23
teeja 4 days ago 0 replies      
Master it in 10 days? Forget most in 10 more.
21
Facebook, I want my friends back dangerousminds.net
269 points by vospeweb  6 days ago   186 comments top 57
1
chaz 6 days ago 8 replies      
If you're posting 10-16 posts a day and you forcibly put each of these into 100% of your fans, you're going to shrink your base. If you did that to me, I'm going to hide or Unlike your page. If you emailed me those posts, I'd be hitting unsubscribe in half a day. The Facebook News Feed isn't an RSS reader, and the Like button isn't Subscribe.

I would suggest just posting once a day, and using the Promoted Posts for the occasional big news that you want to make sure everyone reads.

Facebook pages isn't a panacea for brands or publishers -- not by a long shot. That panacea is one of those Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas.

2
jrockway 6 days ago 4 replies      
If I'm reading this correctly, the problem is that something that the author thinks should be free costs money, so Facebook is now "demanding that a $365 million dollar ransom gets collected from all the Mom & Pop businesses who use Facebook."

Uh huh. "Mom & Pop business" seems to be the new "won't somebody please think of the children" line designed to extinguish all rational thought. I'm getting a little tired of it.

(I'll save my rant on why I think most Mom & Pop businesses should be out of business for another day. I have to say I'm amused when I see a restaurant in my neighborhood apply a bunch of signs that say "absolutely no laptop use" and then go out of business a month later. Idealism is a bitch.)

3
tomasien 6 days ago 4 replies      
Look I can understand the "oh it's so convenient that you can now pay to promote your posts" but the "turning down the volume" on the Newsfeed was done because our Newsfeeds were getting overrun. People added too many friends, thousands more than the 150 it's been proven we can reasonably empathize with, and people were doing more and more on the network.

You can STILL see posts of your favorite bands by going to their pages, which is how you used to have to find updates: by checking for them. The Newsfeed is new, and it's not a right.

4
quanticle 6 days ago 1 reply      
>'I despise it.' Hear that beleaugered holders of Facebook stock? That kind of talk would make my blood run cold. How many companies can you name that you actively despise?

Actually? Quite a few. I despise Comcast. I despise the big-4 cell phone companies (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint). I despise the oil companies (BP, Chevron, Texaco, et. al). Notice a pattern? Despite my (and presumably many others) despising these companies, they are all enormously profitable. I think Facebook has got to the state where they at least think they have a monopoly on their users' social graphs and are willing to raise access prices sky-high. I'm not surprised it happened. I'm surprised it took this long.

5
patmcguire 6 days ago 1 reply      
I could tell the general path the HN discussion was going to take - free service, free country, etc. - but the bigger issue is all the companies that have been paying Facebook millions for page like campaigns.

I'd be angry if I'd given Facebook money under the old system only for them to change the value of what I got from them. The basic takeaway is that the rules that were in place where I might be willing to pay $2 for a like - a person who likes your page sees your post - had to be changed because there wasn't that much user attention in existence. Now it's been inflated to be worth about a tenth as many views, which is what you were buying, only Facebook called it a "Like" and it somehow means something completely different now.

I guess the moral of the story is don't invest in anything whose value can be arbitrarily changed by someone else.

6
stephengillie 6 days ago 1 reply      
Were they your friends or your customers? Or were your customers our actual inventory, what we sell to advertisers?

You built a business inside someone's shopping mall, they started charging rent, so you complain. And at $4 CPK for promoted posts[1], you'll find FB advertising to be slightly cheaper.

[1] CPK aka CPM aka cost per 1000 views. Calculated from: To reach 100% of of our 50k+ Facebook fans they'd charge us $200 per post. Edit: $200 / 50 = $4, thanks Ryan.

7
SCdF 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not too concerned about this from a marketing standpoint. It's unfortunate that people started to view 'likes' as an RSS feed replacement, but that opinion will change now most stuff doesn't get through.

What really frustrates me is that I'm missing entirely non commercial messages from my actual friends. I've missed posts from my girlfriend for godssake, it's ridiculous.

I understand that they need to make money, but the entire reason I and others are on facebook is to connect with our friends. Facebook needs to allow us to do that and then augment our experience with monied options, not imply that most of your friends will never see your posts unless you open up.

Don't make me go back to email. It's still there, waiting, full of delicious SMTP guaranteed delivery.

8
scott_meade 6 days ago 0 replies      
"But I can't pay them $2000 a day and $672,000 a year for the exact same product that I was getting for free back in March!"

Another in a long, long list of customers whose plans fall apart when a free or one-price-for-life service realizes it cannot continue with business as usual. Today's pro tip: Do not build your livelihood around a third-party's free service. Eventually that service will either 1.) shut down, 2.) kick you out of their ecosystem, or 3.) start charging you.

I'm not sure what is more surprising: that people continue to build businesses with these Achilles heels or that they seem shocked when the third-party changes the game.

9
padobson 6 days ago 1 reply      
User: Oh, hello Facebook. Can you help me find out what my friends are doing?

Facebook: Oh, definitely. Just have a look at your NewsFeed and see what they're doing.

User: Wait, I've got 2000 friends. Why am I only getting a NewsFeed post twice an hour?

Facebook: Because we decided that's the information that you're most likely to want.

User: But what if I want to know what everyone's doing at any specific moment?

Twitter: Can I be of assistance?

User: Oh, hello Twitter.

10
joe_the_user 6 days ago 1 reply      
Serious bait-and-switch in the title.

He want control of his fans, his like-ees. Not his (Facebook) "friends". Most of us know that is not a bug but a feature.

Now the problem that Facebook makes it to share one's email address with one's own real Facebook friends is annoying and something to complain about. But trying to leverage that to complain about not being able to push your feed is problematic. This is exactly what use Facebook for. An experience where you aren't bombarded with everyone's BS.

11
sequoia 6 days ago 4 replies      
The whole premise of this article is "Facebook gave me this access to their platform for free hitherto, so I'm entitled to this access on those same terms in perpetuity; it's unfair for them to start charging for it." I don't see the author explaini why s/he is entitled to these same terms forever.
12
engtech 6 days ago 1 reply      
I had hoped this article was going to be able how to convince your friends to communicate with a medium other than Facebook.
13
DanBC 6 days ago 1 reply      
> At Dangerous Minds, we post anywhere from 10 to 16 items per day, fewer on the weekends.

This is why I don't like many pages, and it's why FB needs clear and easy to use controls for what does or doesn't show up on my wall.

14
veb 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't use promoted posts, and yet I still manage to get this: http://cl.ly/image/2t0b340Y3h2S

I only have 300,000 likes too. ;-) Basically, the trick is engagement. Give the audience what they want, when they want. Timing matters, pictures matter. Do it right, and you don't need to pay anything.

P.S. Making money from advertisements, pfft how ancient and boring! shamelessplug use Teespring instead.

15
graue 6 days ago 0 replies      
This post is pretty overboard with its exaggeration. But one thing I find interesting is the concept that Facebook is a paid publishing platform. They'll deliver your posts to 15% of your followers as a freebie, but to reach 100%, you pay. And I hadn't thought of it that way before.

That perspective actually gives me increased hope for Tent (https://tent.io), the decentralized social networking protocol that could one day be a Facebook alternative. When Tent was announced here on HN, a common criticism was that if you're popular, and you host your Tent server yourself, you end up paying a lot for the bandwidth cost of sending each post to thousands or millions of followers. Whereas the perception is that on a centralized social network you can send a post to millions of followers for free.

For now, that's still the case on Twitter, but on Facebook, apparently not. If you really want significant reach, you pay to publish even to people who already (by liking) signed up to follow you. So the situations aren't actually that different. I guess there really is no free lunch.

16
drone 6 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a brilliant product plan to me...

"See what we can do for you? See the traffic we can drive and link to you? Want more? Choose your level of traffic, choose your price."

The article makes the assumption that 3rd-party businesses that have been suckling at the teat of the social graph are the value to the facebook users. They're not. The users, the actual people are - businesses are just there to help pay for the whole thing, and follow the personal users. I say this as a business owner who uses facebook heavily, and occasionally pays them for the right to get a little bit back out of them.

I've yet to see a single person in my timeline say "I'd stop coming to facebook if all of these businesses didn't have pages here."

17
brudgers 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not seeing how this is unfair. Facebook is a business and the companies which set up fan pages are not typically charities (and so what if they were).

Facebook has a level of PR software as service which is free. They have another which is premium. If a company wants to spam their "fans," they have to pay.

If a business wants to have a high level of control over communications with it's fans, customers, likers, or whatever they are called, there's no free lunch. Either pay a third party (e.g. Facebook) or invest the hard work.

18
tankbot 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, I admit I didn't read the whole linked 'article'. This was because no less than 3 ads containing movies/audio auto started when I loaded the page. Anger spike. Back button. Fuck you, dangerousminds.net.

Using your blog or whatever to make specious (I assume) arguments about what someone else should/should not be doing with their business is your prerogative. Just don't expect people to actually listen to what you're saying while you beat them over the head with ads for trucks and cooking shows.

Again, I didn't read the whole thing, or even half before I bailed. But am I wrong in assuming this site uses the popular activity of Facebashing(tm) as a ploy to shove ads at unsuspecting visitors?

19
mindstab 6 days ago 0 replies      
Author Warren Ellis also noticed this recently when digging into how to promote his new book:

http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=14404

His conclusion? Not Facebook

20
mcantor 6 days ago 0 replies      
How is anyone even surprised about this? If you're making money off of someone else's platform, it's only a matter of time before they're gonna ask for a cut.
21
jonknee 6 days ago 2 replies      
They're doing the same thing with non-fan pages. If you want your content to go to your friends you now have to pay for the privilege. It's nuts. I haven't been on Facebook since I saw this, they can keep their social graph.
22
wtvanhest 6 days ago 2 replies      
OK, I get that DangerousMinds posts a ridiculous amount and would definitely be deleted from my account and probably should have to pay for advertising on an ad platform, but what about other use cases:

I run a nonprofit alumni association here in Boston and I use FB as a way to update alumni of changes in events so that we can limit the numbers of emails we send. We were using Facebook as sort of an information platform and don't profit or make any money in any way.

I am very careful to not post too much, even entering in to specific agreements with the national alumni association so that they do not to post ads on our page for their merchandise etc.

What am I supposed to do now? Should I pay out of my pocket to reach users who definitely want to be reached already?

Facebook provides a great service, and they should be compensated, but I will now have to look at other options to potentially reach our group.

---
And the flip side of this is that I would like to see posts from everyone I am friends with that I haven't explicitly blocked from my feed, going through all those names to re-add them seems like an amazing amount of trouble for me.

---
The OP is hard to sympathize with, but he/she has a good point.

23
Lasher 6 days ago 1 reply      
This doesn't make sense to me as a user or as a page admin.

As a user, if my friends post something I want to see it. If my daughter's karate school or my favorite band posts something, I want to see it. If they're spammy, I'll unsubscribe. I would like to make this decision for myself, not have it made for me. If it has to be made for me, I would prefer it be made based on some approximation of relevance and quality, not because someone paid $5 to spam me with it.

As an advertiser, Facebook has consistently promoted ads as a way to build a following via the 'like' button. So I pay Facebook to gain exposure to build a following of 10,000 fans and now I have to pay again if I want to reach them all?? Classic bait and switch. I wonder how many past advertisers would have paid to build up their 'likes' if they had been told very clearly up front "Just because someone likes your page does not mean they will see your posts in their news feed".

24
thetrumanshow 6 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that Facebook has quietly evolved into what is basically an alternative for email list marketing. On the plus side, they are effectively training businesses to see the value of such things. Given that a certain % of those folks aren't going to want to pay Facebook due to their bait and switch tactics, I would expect companies like Constant Contact to be sitting on the verge of another round of explosive growth.
25
KaoruAoiShiho 6 days ago 1 reply      
He's confused, he thinks he's facebook's customer. Facebook's customers are its users. Keeping the uexperience up is the first priority.
26
gruseom 6 days ago 0 replies      
Dangerous Minds is probably the best blog out there on the history of pop culture. (If there's one that is good or better, I'd like to know about it.) I started reading it regularly after running across it from three or four different angles. The main author can be shrill about controversies, but he's vastly knowledgeable about every nook and cranny of the last 50 years' worth of hipness.
27
cjc1083 6 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook would be far more successful, and a better experience, if they simply charged for the service. Even a nominal fee of 20$ per year will exceed their add revenue. Potentially charge users only 5$ per year, and business a larger amount based on some metric.

The add supported model is terrible for social networks and needs to go. If you can afford a computer, smartphone, etc. Then you can pay 5-20$/year for an account.

Free limited accounts for people <18 years old, which have limited access to adult content? (Idea, but may work to both hook future customers, and protect kids)

28
vbo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I keep bumping into this reference to facebook acknowledging only 15% of "fans" will see a given post, but I've never found an official mention of this. Where is this information coming from and what was the context in which it was mentioned?

What follows is speculation, but it's easy to imagine that out of a total fanbase, only a certain percentage "catch" your post while it's fresh, before it's buried behind newer stuff coming in from the ever-increasing number of pages people like. While it may have been the case that back in the day the response one got from posting something on a facebook page was much better than it is now, it's also true that facebook was never as popular as it is today and that users' newsfeeds were never as busy as they are now. And as people subscribe to multiple publishers and their attention gets diluted, you can't expect their engagement with all of these pages to remain at pre-growth levels (or grow).

There's another twist to this. Too many posts from pages thumping activity from friends may alienate users. How do you balance these two types of information? Someone's going to get less airtime, and since (I assume) the bulk of posts comes from pages, they get silenced based on whether or not you interacted with them recently and whatever other criteria facebook can come up with. Same for friends you don't care much for.

Whether or not facebook can be more transparent with regards to how it determines which posts to show and which to hide is another issue. Does the average Joe care? Will he mess things up if given controls that are too advanced? Note that Facebook doesn't censor information, it merely filters what you see by default. You can still go to individual pages or profiles and see their full activity.

There also seems to be a backlash against any commercial endeavour facebook may have. "Facebook is selling your information!" - is it? where can I buy this information? is it really selling in the sense that most people would understand? No. But that's the term that is being used. "Facebook is making people pay for airtime!" well, kinda. Personally I think that should be "Facebook is making people pay for ADDITIONAL airtime" for all the reasons stated above. Maybe they got into this mess due to poor communication but I don't buy the "broken on purpose" argument. That's against facebook's interest in the long term.

I don't mean to defend facebook, just bring into discussion the potential complexities behind developments which people tend to imply are malicious.

29
fkdjs 6 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't logged into facebook for a long time but this seems to be what's happening.

x) Disallow users from merely being a fan of the page, instead replacing that with "like"

x) Now make it so businesses can post to their page and the post shows up in the newsfeed for those who like the page. Previously only friend updates were shown. So liking a page has the side effect of getting spam by the company.

x) Facebook has now successfully facilitated spam, which is necessary for

x) Their new spam-prevention algorithm, leading to the end goal:

x) Now that Facebook has facilitated spam and we accept limited posts, the antispam filter can be circumvented by paying Facebook.

Voila, Facebook is now the post office, and spammers pay the post office to bulk spam you. Imagine if you went to local businesses and said, "Hi, I like you guys", that resulted in spam to your snailmail mailbox. You said, "Cut that out, that's wrong." So they fixed the problem they created, but now that the businesses are hooked, they can charge them for the ability to send out spam.

Facebook could easily make it so users are in charge of their filter, but this is counter to how Facebook wants to make money, so the UI is horrid for this and no one does this in practice. Imagine a UI where users rank friends of order of importance, with an easy UI, and the most important friends of mine are the ones who I am more likely to see. O wait, I have just described g+. Facebook will never have such an intuitive interface("close friend" is horrid), where you the burden of filtering is put on the user. Facebook wants to control that filter.

Eventually it will get to the point where you don't even need to like a page, you will get spam from the highest bidder, decided by auction. One of the main purposes of 'like' was to get users accepting communication from companies, once that was done, then they went in to monetize the link, before that it was just friend to friend chit chat, which doesn't pay the bills.

30
obiefernandez 6 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook already touts the benefits of paid media over "organic audience" for marketers, so I fail to see how this is a huge difference from what they've been doing. For example, see the case study information presented at http://allfacebook.com/understanding-paid-and-earned-reach-o...
31
crucialfelix 6 days ago 0 replies      
Another factor to include is that as time goes on everybody adds more friends and more likes so the available consumable stream space is divided among more posts. So this also contributes significantly to lessening the number of people who see your posts.

But who knows what special sauce is in FB algos. If I were them I would certainly distinguish between companies, news/blogging, musician/art and image macro posters. Those all have very different usages and annoyance levels.

Probably the interaction rate is factored in, but that also gets spread thinner and thinner. Obviously God and George Takei are winning the game, so the game isn't unwinnable.

32
dcminter 6 days ago 0 replies      
Anecdatapoint: I've seen a handful of people post this link on Facebook. All of them are promoting something. So far I've seen no other users post it.

FB's job is to keep the average user (who won't put much effort into sanitizing their wall whatever they clicked on in the past) happy while getting enough money out of their userbase as a whole to stay in business and keep the stockholders happy. It's not their job to keep the promotors who use FB as a tool happy.

33
code_duck 6 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely - I find the utility of Facebook vastly decreased by the fact that my News Feed is so heavily filtered, automatically, and poorly. I want to see everything by everyone on my friends list. I do not want some algorithm to go through and decide what it thinks I'm interested in, because it is wrong.

That's about my consumption. On the other end, I have a friend, an artist with 5,000+ friends. He told me that the engagement on his posts dropped drastically, from like 200-300 'likes' per photo to something like 20 earlier this year, and as such he's considering not bothering to use the site any longer. Apparently Facebook thinks those people aren't interested in his content? Or they want him to start paying. That isn't going to happen.

34
unreal37 6 days ago 0 replies      
(A very confusing set of comments to follow on this post, because everyone seems to have their own opinion. 144 comments, 144 different opinions.)

I will say, if your posts show up so frequently in my stream, I will unlike your page. Facebook is definitely saving you from a lot of unlikes. Facebook is not Twitter - it's baby pictures from your friends.

I trust Facebook to control what to display to me MORE than I trust advertisers to post only things I would be interested in. That they can pay money ($200?) to get it there, that filters it too. They'll only pay for interesting stuff presumably. So thank the Lord Facebook pages don't get to control my stream directly.

35
bishnu 6 days ago 0 replies      
Stream ranking is one of the biggest drivers for engagement on social networks. Period. Yes there is a small percentage of power users who are upset their streams aren't exhaustive but most users barely even scroll down when they load up FB, so it's imperative that important items appear at the top.

The story here is now that Facebook is willing to be paid by brands to degrade the news feed experience for their users :)

36
conradfr 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have the opposite problem. Bands etc that I "page-like" and who post too much take over my newsfeed and I only have the option to hide everything or view everything (if FB wants).

IIRC there was previously a "see only important messages from this person" choice and it was better.

37
ekianjo 6 days ago 0 replies      
What's the outrage for ? Facebook has never said they would never change the rules of the game. You benefit from their platform, they own it. If you are not happy with it, you should not put all your eggs in one place and have backup plans (twitter, google plus, and others) to reach your audience so that competition works properly.

Facebook is a company, it's not a democracy asking their users what they should do. They can destroy their business if the want to, and your responsibility as a customer is go and look somewhere else to signify that their new rules do not work for you anymore.

38
kevinpet 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure what the internal thinking at Facebook is, but I suspect the hierarchy is something like:

1. Advertisers
2. Real users
3. Social media marketing scum

If they think most users would prefer not to see 10 posts per day after accidentally clicking a like button, then they're probably going to do that.

39
brokentone 6 days ago 2 replies      
Facebook has put themselves in an ideal situation. We're at the point in social media marketing that businesses can't survive without one, in fact they spend a lot of advertising money and placement in advertising their presence on Facebook, which is primarily an advertisement for Facebook. Every new connection, time on site, or new user to like your page is a huge win for them.

Do we as business and individuals really want to pay to promote our content AND be sold to advertisers AND build their network at the same time?

40
brianlovin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Um...am I the only one that would chalk this up to usage? Obviously not 100% of your fans are going to see your posts because 100% of people don't use Facebook every day, not to mention within the 2-3 hours your post would even be seen in their news feed. For the people that log in a day or two later, they most likely won't be scrolling through pages upon pages of updates in order to see yours.

This isn't Facebook scamming you - it's simply that 100% of your fans don't check 100% of your posts 100% of the time.

41
jakejake 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think that posts ever reached 100% of your friends or fans. I can't find the article but I remember something like 40% was the amount of friends who see any given post. I don't really mind it but it would be nice to have a little better understanding of the logic behind it.

A few years ago Facebook had a feature where you could weight your friends' from 1-10 and that would affect your feed. Now you can just limit by "only important updates" and such. It's not really clear what that even means.

42
ltcoleman 6 days ago 0 replies      
I do not currently have a fan page on Facebook, but if I did, I would have assumed that people who liked my page would receive my posts in their news feed. It seems odd to me that Facebook is allowing you to build a fan base while promoting their product but then charging you to reach them. Sure, I could go to their fan page but as a Facebook user, I like them so that I do not have to go to that fan page.

For example, if my Crossfit box posts a new WOD everyday, I would greatly prefer to have that in my news feed rather than having to go search out the fan page again. I could have just gone to their actual web site.

It would be very nice if you could use the search box to search on your news feed posts. If I could quickly do a search for the Crossfit box and get to the daily post.... awesomesauce!

43
magoon 6 days ago 0 replies      
What's the big deal?

$75 for a 17-30K user reach is $0.0044 per user or less.

I actually think that's a good deal if you're announcing a new product or important product update.

44
bherms 6 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook doesn't owe you anything. It's a free service you use and they have any and all rights to change their model at any time. Stop whining.
45
sodafountan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Look, I get the point, if I were advertising on Facebook I'd be peeved too. But look at it this way, the Facebook news-feed is one of the most valuable assets on the internet, its a personal look into one's life, it's viewed by millions of individuals multiple times over the course of a day. If Facebook just throws ads from all of the things that you've liked over the years into that stream then there'd be less activity in general because the user's wouldn't be seeing what they came for, there friends, less activity hurts everyone invested in Facebook. Less activity wouldn't happen though, I think you would see a lot of people unlike things that they're tired of looking at, and then you'd be in an even worse position. I think the Facebook promote makes perfect sense.
46
psychotik 6 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to know what your friends are up to, call them... maybe?
47
angersock 6 days ago 0 replies      
tldr: Facebook suddenly decides to monetize further the folks who outsourced their consumer relations.

Can't really do anything here other than sigh and shake head.

48
waltermorgan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook is screwing page owners and real fans of the page over - and it's been going on for years. Like used to be "Become a Fan". And a page owner used to be able "Send updates" to fans. There are lots of us who had tens of thousands of fans, who actually were fans. But "Fan" became "Like" and "Send updates" disappeared, and slowly posts that were shown to most of your fans were now showed to almost none. Through all these changes and monetization products Facebook has diluted it all to the point it's become useless.

Reasonable? No way.

49
wavesounds 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think the problem here is assuming what the purpose of the 'like' button is. It's not a 'follow' or 'sign up for mailing list' or even 'add friend' button. I think the meaning of this button will have to be defined by users, the company and page owners over time, if one stake-holder has too great a voice then the button will fail, for this action to be useful all parties involved will need to gain from it and that means some compromise will be needed as well until the correct balance is reached.
50
edgesrazor 6 days ago 0 replies      
My major annoyance is that I'm not seeing the majority of Pages I Liked posts, but yet I see every individual friends' "Likes and Comments". I really don't want to see that my friend Liked a picture of a dead baby that 100,000 other idiots Liked because the text told them if they don't another kid will die.

Best part is, the only way to change this is to shut it off for each individual friend - not exactly convenient.

51
k2xl 6 days ago 0 replies      
I knew it was the end of facebook as soon as edgerank launched. just because i don't go to someone's profile doesn't mean i'm not interested in their posts. same with fan pages. it should have just stayed showing all posts from friends - then naturally people would start to unfriend those they don't want to see posts from.
52
bravoyankee 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you're posting 10-16 times a day on Facebook, you probably don't have any friends. That's waaay too much.
53
bjhoops1 6 days ago 0 replies      
Pssst. Hey. Let's all move to Google Plus and NOT tell our crazy aunts and grandparents.
54
suyash 6 days ago 0 replies      
Also there is no option to see "Photos" anymore like it used to be, I'm almost at the verge of abandoning Facebook!
55
antidoh 6 days ago 0 replies      
Tell me again what's wrong with RSS for update notification?
56
marcuspovey 6 days ago 0 replies      
Dead link.
57
smiddereens 6 days ago 1 reply      
So shoot them an email.
22
Is it better to turn up the volume in the software or on the speakers? superuser.com
268 points by ivoflipse  5 days ago   94 comments top 22
1
SeanLuke 4 days ago 7 replies      
I was surprised by the best answer as it seems to me to be more or less wrong.

Let's ignore the discussion about dynamic range and bit depth etc., and assume that the volume control on your operating system controls the DAC rather than doing the stupid thing of digital volume reduction. The fundamental issue is signal to noise ratio on the analog line. If you turn the volume too far down on the computer and turn the volume up on your speakers, the sound on the analog line is too low with regard to the electrical noise and will be hissy. If you turn the volume up too much on the computer and turn the volume down on your speakers, then the signal will be so loud as to produce distortion either in the DAC or on the line itself. You're looking for a middle ground: as loud an output from the computer that you can produce without causing distortion in your loudest music parts. Once you've got that set, change the volume on the speakers to compensate.

2
jpdoctor 4 days ago 0 replies      
Let's try to put this discussion on the right track. (There doesn't seem to be any posts here from people who actually design analog circuits.) The SO post reduces to comparing two versions of noise: One from (A) software control of the DAC and the other (B) from hardware.

(A) Pretend that everything except the DAC was noiseless: The noise would be due to the nonlinearities and quantization in the DAC.

(B) Pretend that the DAC was perfect: The noise would be dominated by the noise-equivalent input-power introduced by the resistance present in the components (including the transistors used for amps).

In short: (A) is a function of how wide the range of bitcodes that you use. The smaller the range, the larger the noise component relative to the signal.

OTOH: (B) is a function of temperature: All of the noise power before the final dial to your amp is passed through as is the signal, so the ratio stays constant. There is also a constant noise power introduced after that final amp, but I would guess it is negligible compared to the amplified noise power.

So tl;dr = For a decent sound card, maximize the software volume and then use the analog dial.

3
martincmartin 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you can't tell the difference by listening to it, it doesn't matter.
4
colanderman 5 days ago 3 replies      
The "best" answer seems wrong or at best misleading -- I would be very very surprised if the user-visible OS master volume control, which typically controls the sound card directly, was not directly controlling op-amp gain at some later stage of the sound card.

Assuming this is true, the correct option would be to maximize any application volumes (e.g. YouTube), to maximize master volume to a level just below the sound clips (distorts) at the amplifier input, and to reduce the amplifier's pre-gain (if it has any) so the master volume control has a reasonable range.

This method will minimize the three (not just one) culprits of poor computer audio quality: quantization at the application layer, electronic interference over the physical connection, and clipping at the pre-amp.

5
shawnz 4 days ago 4 replies      
The best answer neglects to address something I've noticed in the past: Many phones and portable media players seem to clip when you set their volume to maximum -- that is to say, what reads as "100%" sounds more like "120%". I haven't measured this effect, and I've never seen it documented anywhere, so I don't know whether or not it's just my imagination -- but I've personally observed it with pretty much every phone I've owned.

On the PC, though, I rarely set my system volume to anything other than 100%.

6
zio99 4 days ago 1 reply      
Garbage in, Garbage out.

Max your software (usually this is 80% to prevent clipping and distortion), then attenuate speakers to 50% (analog boost is much worse than digital as it raises the noise floor).

Source: Mixing at studios for last 10 years

7
silvestrov 5 days ago 4 replies      
From "best" answer: Reducing volume in software is basically equivalent to reducing the bit depth

This is really only true when The Audio System represents samples as integers and not floats like CoreAudio does.

8
AngryParsley 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you're on a mac, you can obviate a lot of bit depth issues by opening /Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup.app. From there you can see all your audio input and output devices, and set their frequency and bit-rates. Most default to 44kHz/16-bit, but a saner setting is 44kHz/24-bit.

You can see the objective differences between 16-bit and 24-bit output in NwAvGuy's measurements of the 2011 MacBook Air's DAC: http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/12/apple-macbook-air-5g.htm...

9
manaskarekar 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised no one has discussed battery life yet.

One of my 'weird unverified theories of life' is that turning the volume on portable device down (laptop/phone/mp3 player) and the volume on the speakers up saves the battery of the device itself. (For example when you're in a car.)

10
tocomment 5 days ago 3 replies      
Why do you guys think every sound application bothers to put a volume control? Wouldn't they figure every device that plays sound already have its own volume control?

For example if you built the YouTube player, what makes you think you need a volume control?

11
naner 5 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like it should be a simple straightforward issue, but I still have problems with ocassionally getting clipped audio (or some kind of distortion, I'm no audio expert) on Windows 7 with Realtek's "HD Audio" chipset/driver.

As far as I can tell, I rarely if ever have this problem with the same hardware in Linux with PulseAudio (though I can intentionally cause it using alsamixer by pushing "Master" to 100%) and didn't have this problem in the past on Windows with Creative Labs soundblaster cards.

12
guelo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Other posts here are making the point that the range in digital controls often includes some dB gain by the time you get to MAX. That digital boost can be very useful when using a laptop with barely audible speakers. I like how VLC makes it explicit with a volume control that goes up to 200%. It would be nice if OS level volume knobs worked the same way so you could always chose your level of distortion vs gain.
13
crististm 4 days ago 0 replies      
While we're at it - please use a logarithmic scale for your volume slider if you're implementing one.
14
PhrosTT 5 days ago 0 replies      
More of this on the frontpage please.
15
CamperBob2 4 days ago 0 replies      
In the software. Noise early in the signal chain counts for more than noise later. If you can get noise-free gain by changing a scalar value in a register, it'd be a mistake to turn it down in favor of increasing the gain in an analog stage later on.

For the case where an analog potentiometer immediately follows the DAC, of course, there's no practical difference.

16
c0nsumer 4 days ago 0 replies      
This gets even more different when devices contain a digitally controlled potentiometer between the DAC and the amp. I believe Macs do this, with the main system volume control actually stepping down the voltage of the signal being fed to the amp. Since this is an analog control one doesn't lose bit depth when turning down the volume and thus this is a fine system to use.

Not all machines work this way, though. One way to check is to hook up an external amp and headphones, turn the computer's volume way down and the amp up to listen levels. If the quality is crap the it's probably just decreasing the bit depth. Or you can do a teardown on the sound pathway.

(Oh, if it isn't clear by this point, keep all your apps turned all the way up for best quality. Only turn them down on an individual, as-needed basis. All-software stuff has to decrease bit depth to decrease volume on a per-app basis.)

17
opminion 5 days ago 2 replies      
Which reminds me, why isn't having a single volume control a solved problem?
18
gosub 4 days ago 0 replies      
I once thought about a naive streaming audio compression: If the client volume is 50% or less, send only the relevant bits.
19
maked00 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stupid idiot answers all.

Volume should always be controlled as close to the source as possible. Anything else is simply inefficient and a waste of processing power.

There is no reduction of bit depth. total hoo-eee.

20
armored_mammal 4 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this one of those 'it depends' questions?
21
senthilnayagam 4 days ago 1 reply      
I tried increase volume via VLC and macbook pro speakers got fried, will stick with using external speakers and changing volumes on them
22
bitteralmond 4 days ago 0 replies      
+1 to the best answer-- always turn up your iPod before your speakers, folks. It makes all the difference.
23
Rob Pike: Go at Google golang.org
263 points by jbarham  4 days ago   235 comments top 22
1
tikhonj 4 days ago 16 replies      
What annoys me a little bit about Go (and other projects similarly adherent to "worse is better") is the implied dichotomy between "research" and making "programming lives better". Do they think the point of Haskell isn't to make programming easier? That's what most of the research into the language is exactly about! This isn't just about Haskell either: most other PL research is also about making programming lives easier. And Go ignores essentially all of it.

Now, there is even nothing strictly wrong about ignoring research like that. It's just annoying how they revel in ignoring all recent progress in the field.

2
eternalban 4 days ago 11 replies      
http://talks.golang.org/2012/splash.slide#48

Time for honesty: What bullshit.

- Go codebases by non experts are peppered with magical incantation (sleeps, etc.) to avoid the dreaded "all goroutines are sleep". Of course "they are doing it wrong", but that is the germinal point.

- A concurrent Go program will likely behave differently given 2 bits (just 2 lousy bits) of difference in the object binary. (runtime.GOMAXPROCS(1) vs runtime.GOMAXPROCS(2)). Imagine someone touching those 2 bits in a "large codebase". It is practically impossible to do the same thing in a large Java codebase and fundamentally change the programs runtime behavior. (Happens all the time in Go.)

- It is very difficult to reason about a Go routine's behavior in a "large codebase" without global view and a mental model of the dynamic system e.g. which go routine is doing what and who is blocking and who is not. Pretty much defeats the entire point of "simple" concurrency, to say nothing of "scaling". Programming in Go's variant of cooperative multithreading is actually more demanding than preemptive multithreading. Cute little concurrency pet tricks aside, Go concurrent programming actually requires expert level experience. "You are doing it wrong". Of course. Point.

- There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that you can do in Go that you can not do via libraries in Java. Sure, the cute syntactic go func() needs to be replaced with method calls to the excellent java.util.concurrent constructs, but the benefits -- high performance, explicit-no-magic-code -- outweigh the cute factor in this "programmer's" book.

- On the other hand, there are plenty of things you can do in Java that are simply impossible to do in Go.

- Once we factor in the possibility for bytecode engineering, then Java is simply in another higher league as far as language capabilities are concerned. (Most people who rag on Java are clearly diletantes Java programmers.)

If Go actually manages to be as effective as Java for concurrent programming at some point in the future (when they fix the somewhat broken runtime) then the Go authors are permitted to crow about it. Until that day, go fix_the_runtime() and defer bs().

One thing that programming in Go has made me realize is just how awesomely Sun/Gosling, et al. hit that "practical programming" sweet spot. No wonder the modern enterprise runs on Java and JVM.

It just works. (But it is "boring" because it's not bling anymore. Oh well, kids will be kids.)

3
etrain 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm pretty stoked on Go. I freaking love C. Love it. It's like they took C and went to the best disciples of C's creators and said "look - we've got these problems now nobody envisioned 40 years ago. Can you make C for us again, but better?" And they said "yes!" and it was good.

We get some nice concurrency primitives, garbage collection, cleaner syntax, something between structs and objects that fits the right feeling, automatic bounds checking, cute array syntax, and a big-ass, well defined standard library. Oh, and this concept of interfaces that is so well executed it's not even funny.

Except. I feel like they are forcing the fanboy mindset. At one point in this slide deck, there is the following bullet: "The designs are nothing like hierarchical, subtype-inherited methods. Much looser, organic, decoupled, independent."

I didn't see the talk. But that is the most vapid, meaningless description I've ever seen of a feature of a programming language. Rob might as well have said, "it's hipster better," which would have conveyed exactly as much meaning.

So here's my question - and I hope there are real answers - can someone point me to >3 real, big systems that are built using Go? I'll accept Google internal systems on faith.

4
eta_carinae 4 days ago 2 replies      
I was having lunch with a friend of mine who works at Google a few weeks ago and I asked him how popular Go was at Google. He said the only people using it are the Go team. Java and C++ continue to reign supreme at Google.
5
smegel 4 days ago 2 replies      
> It can be better to copy a little code than to pull in a big library for one function.

I just don't get this. If you statically link in small functions from a big library, you only get the little bit you need anyway. Are they saying you avoid compiling the "big library" over and over? But if it is already compiled, that should not be necessary. And the chances are you are going to be importing lots of "little code" from the "big library" anyway. Unless they are saying the implementation of net's itoa is somehow simplified and not a just a straight code copy...otherwise I don't understand this approach.

6
nnq 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thinks like this have an unnerving "smell":

"Dependency hygiene trumps code reuse.
Example:
The (low-level) net package has own itoa to avoid dependency on the big formatted I/O package."

...now, if this kind of attitude stays in the core dev land I don't really care about it. But when I'll consider Go as an alternative for a large project, I'll start worrying if people adopt the "it's OK to reinvent some wheels" philosophy when they start building higher level frameworks in Go... I mean, how hard can it be to split the "big formatted I/O package" into a "basic formatted I/O" package and an "advanced formatted I/O package" that requires the first one, and have the "net" package only require "basic formatted I/O" (or maybe even make "basic formatted I/O" something like part of the language "built ins" or smth - I don't know Go so I don't know the Go terms for this)?

7
lnanek2 4 days ago 1 reply      
I never liked Go, but I admit I like it a lot more if it means I don't have to deal with Maven and other dependency systems as much like the slides say. I've been doing Android since it came out, but before that I was J2EE, and it could be hell if Hibernate needed a different version of a dep than something else in your code stack, for example. Handling JARs by hand stopped working, and the countless XMLs files listing deps for all parts of the system and library started getting full of overrides and the like. Eventually Oracle rewrote all the class loading for their app server which allowed dependencies to have dependencies which were invisible to apps using them. So something as basic as class loaders had to be completely reworked to deal with this, and it was still damn complex and a pain in the ass.
8
ek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think all of the keynotes at OOPSLA this year were surprisingly engaging.

I've seen a lot of Go talks from various Googlers, and I have to say that this was the best-motivated, most humble, and most honest of them that I have seen. Rob knew he was speaking to an extremely PL-oriented audience, and structured his talk accordingly, and the result was fantastic. Go comes from a very different standpoint than almost all academic PL work, and in that respect, for those of us in academia, it's an interesting breath of fresh air and a reminder of the uniquely fine line between industry and academia in computer science.

9
isbadawi 4 days ago 2 replies      
I was a bit confused at slide 35 where he said that Go's declaration syntax is "easier to parse -- no symbol table needed" as I don't typically think of a symbol table being involved in parsing. Here's an interesting comp.compilers thread from 1998 about parsing C++: http://compilers.iecc.com/comparch/article/98-07-199
10
jlgreco 4 days ago 4 replies      
As a warning, there seems to be no mouse-navigation of these slides. You have to use a keyboard. (or touch, probably)
11
simonsarris 4 days ago 7 replies      
Sorry to veer off topic, but why is the golang site so ugly?

I clicked on the link in the second slide: http://golang.org

compare with:

http://www.ruby-lang.org/en

http://git-scm.com/

http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Haskell

Even Dart looks great: http://dartlang.org/

I feel a little guilty being negative about this, but presentation does matter, and Google ought to be able to afford it.

12
wnoise 4 days ago 3 replies      
One of the few nice things about the C include mechanism is that it's pretty easy (and standard practice) to set up separate implementation and interface files. If the implementation of something changes, but not the interface, I don't want to have to recompile all the clients. This is lost in almost all "modern" languages.

(This is, of course, horribly broken in C++ which likes to inline everything.)

13
ExpiredLink 4 days ago 0 replies      
http://talks.golang.org/2012/splash.slide#11

> Pain

> What makes large-scale development hard with C++ or Java (at least):

None of the points apply to Java.

14
drivebyacct2 4 days ago 0 replies      
I miss uriel to respond to some of the really inexplicable posts on this thread. :(
15
lmirosevic 4 days ago 3 replies      
"Go has garbage collection, only. [...] Day 1 design decision." http://talks.golang.org/2012/splash.slide#51

Can someone tell me why GC was the obvious choice as opposed to say automatic reference counting?

16
pswenson 4 days ago 2 replies      
Didn't we try error codes back in the day? I think exceptions are brilliant. They let you write your error code in one place (at the top of the stack), instead of planning for every contingency at every level.

Once I discovered exceptions back in the 90s, life got a lot easier.

Of course Java ruined exceptions with the invention of the CheckedException, maybe this tainted the Go designers' thinking?

17
Evbn 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't get the interface stuff. If you had a method on an interface, you have to add it to all implementors, or clients won't compile. How is that different from Java? Java just adds the implements declaration, so Eclispse can help you find those implementations, instead of making you pore over compiler error listings.
18
lukehutch 4 days ago 2 replies      
Favorite quote: "While that build runs, we have time to think."
19
ybaumes 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does someone knows wath is the reference to Tom Cargill and "PI" in the 16th slides please? I did not find anything on Google.
20
pdog 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't be the only one for whom this presentation is completely broken on the iPad (scrolling to fast and skipping multiple slides).
21
tomdeakin 4 days ago 0 replies      
I spent a year working on a project in Go, so got pretty used to the language. One thing I did wonder though was how would it fare on very large systems; how could Go hook up to work like MPI across clusters of computers?
22
ddon 4 days ago 0 replies      
slide show didn't work for me in FireFox... haven't tried it in Chrome :)

Update: was trying to use a mouse to switch between slides, but later tried, and figured out that it only works with keyboard :)

25
Web Design Trends weavora.com
262 points by citizenblr  3 days ago   42 comments top 11
1
ef4 2 days ago 4 replies      
The first item, long single page designs, has always been a favorite of skilled marketers. It goes back even to pre-web snailmail marketing.

In comparison tests, longer copy almost always wins. You keep offering more and more reasons to buy, and you keep converting more and more readers.

This relates to one of the basic observations about selling: people don't like to change their minds. They won't spontaneously go from "no" to "yes". But if you offer a new piece of information, they can change their mind without admitting they were "wrong" before. Every new piece of information, or new story, is another opportunity for them to get to "yes".

Obviously, the copy also needs to be good.

2
webbruce 2 days ago 6 replies      
Another hot one growing is flat design which has little gradients and beveled effects. I made a Dribbble bucket here to see examples: http://dribbble.com/bcackerman/buckets/82543-Flat
3
Djonckheere 2 days ago 1 reply      
The last item cited, typography, could hardly be seen as a design 'trend' itself. That's like saying a designer's use of colour or negative space are regarded as stylistically in vogue today but may have been less prevalent or even nonexistent in use at points in the past. Typography is a core element of design. Period. It's not something that falls in and out of favor as a trend.
4
sachinmonga 2 days ago 0 replies      
Missing the biggest one: 3 offset columns to display entries, a la Pinterest.
5
jamesbritt 2 days ago 2 replies      
How did "2012" get in the post title? I noticed some of these trends are carry-overs from past years (focus on simplicity, the use of large photo backgrounds, the emphasis on typography, for example).

But in re-checking the site I didn't see any claim that these are somehow trends of 2012; in fact, they say, "Let's take a moment to look around some trends we witnessed in last couple years."

6
dilipray 2 days ago 0 replies      
The first thing to remember is not to change the entire design at once.unless it's totally horrible.

The prototype should never be better than than the final version because what we try to give is awesome design which work awesome as a static version but when it come to dynamic view developers keep changing things.that will completely change everything you need to change accordingly

sometimes people think that single page apps are better.it's true in some cases but not in all the cases

trello is the best example it can be a single page app but they dint.pjax is what you can really use for dynamic design but still when it comes to micro-blog or blog the ajax will just fine. but you should really try pjax technic for mega apps.

i work on django so thats what i suggest for others using pjax is awesome

7
arrowgunz 2 days ago 2 replies      
It should be "JavaScript" not "Java Script" in the list of tags displayed on top in the technical category.

Edit: Just correcting to help, not mocking.

8
dholowiski 2 days ago 0 replies      
The site seems to be down, does anyone have a mirror?
9
hkon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Who are responsible for these trends?
I'm sure many people have come up with designs like this before it got trending? Apple?
10
photorized 2 days ago 1 reply      
502 Bad Gateway
11
BaconJuice 2 days ago 0 replies      
very interesting, Thank you for sharing.
26
Bootstrap 2.2.0 released getbootstrap.com
259 points by niels  1 day ago   113 comments top 15
1
wilfra 1 day ago 4 replies      
carousel.html (one of the new examples) is really sexy. i think they learned lots of people are lazy and just leave their sites as pretty much stock bootstrap for a long time - so might as well make stock bootstrap look amazing. well done!

Here it is http://dev.82.io/carousel/

There seems to be a bug with the carousel though. Clicking next doesn't work and the images randomly start skipping really fast etc, at least for me (Chrome/OS X)

2
papsosouid 22 hours ago 7 replies      
I'm mainly a backend guy but do some frontend work from time to time. I keep seeing all this talk about a dozen different CSS "frameworks", and I just don't get it. Can someone explain to me what the purpose of these things is? Bootstrap's site for example doesn't even try to tell me what I would want it for, it just says I want it "because its for nerds" (do I have to dress in faux-nerd chic and live in the valley to use it?) and that it uses grids (that's the opposite of a selling point guys).

From looking at the code, all I see is a bunch of boilerplate CSS that seems to deliberately work against the nature of CSS (protip: the C stands for cascading), and is very brittle and tied to specific classes and markup rather than using selectors to be general and reusable. Is that really all it is, just a "I'm too lazy to design my site, so I'll just use twitter's design"? Perhaps it is just the word "framework" throwing me off since it doesn't appear to be a framework in any way? I know this is going to sound needlessly critical to some people, but I am expressing genuine confusion here, I really don't understand what I am supposed to use this for, or how it would help me in any way.

3
ericcholis 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hijacking the thread a bit here. Foundation (http://foundation.zurb.com) also released 3.2 on October 26th:

http://foundation.zurb.com/docs/changelog.php

4
dnerdy 1 day ago 2 replies      
It doesn't look like a lot has changed in this release, but just a reminder for those who can't upgrade right away: I'm hosting all the old docs at http://bootstrapdocs.com
5
halayli 22 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing Bootstrap guys should avoid doing is to modify previous css declarations. It becomes very difficult to get on the new version without breaking existing design. And by breaking I mean it will look different (line heights, spacing, etc..)
6
olalonde 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nice, this finally fixes modals in small browser windows. http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/javascript.html#modals
7
bretthardin 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does anyone else feel like every time they release a new version of Bootstrap it is never backwards compatible? I feel like lots of divs on my site need different classes than were used before.
8
fudged71 19 hours ago 1 reply      
In the Carousel example... there is something very wrong with the header scrolling/timing. Click the arrows a couple of times and roll across the menu. It goes crazy.
9
sapien 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Does it fix the bug In the most recent version whereby dropdowns wouldn't work on ios safari?
10
timmillwood 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have already started making used of 2.2.0 with media-list for my tweets (http://www.millwoodonline.co.uk/). Nice to see http://www.bootstrapcdn.com/ already have the new version in their CDN.
11
diminish 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Does Google CDNs host bootstrap, with less or sass similar to the way they do with jquery and some other javascript libraries?
12
cies 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I like bootstrap but my lessc parser under Ubuntu sucks. Bad error messages (errors dont understand importing), no autocompilation and hard to install (have to install the whole Node.js world).

Anyone found a solution that works well under Ubuntu? (I use it with WordPress and Drupal; Rails would be nice but there I run for Sass/SCSS).

13
ExpiredLink 20 hours ago 1 reply      
What is the easiest way to customize Bootstrap without changing Bootstrap code? I mean, the easiest way for its intended audience, CSS amateurs.
14
gaving 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bit weird linking to a zip of master, but nevermind.
15
Clorith 1 day ago 2 replies      
Would be lovely if they didn't hotlink placehold.it for their images as that site requires captcha approval before showing their images so mine is just a bunch of broken image links.
27
Career Day - A parent introduces programming at her son's school therealkatie.net
259 points by dhotson  6 days ago   60 comments top 17
1
riklomas 6 days ago 1 reply      
There's currently a non-profit in the UK working in primary schools with kids aged 9-11 called Code Club. They use MIT's Scratch to teach children how to programming using drag and drop blocks.

Link: http://www.codeclub.org.uk/

I've been in one of the schools when they have the after school club and it's amazing how much the kids get really quickly. They're making their own games without needing any help from the assistants, the drag and drop element of Scratch makes it a lot easier than getting syntax wrong and getting frustrated. Some of the kids love it so much that they're disappointed when it's half term and they can't do it that week. One kid now wants to be "a programmer or stuntman" when he grows up.

They're in around 300 schools in the UK now and have roughly 15 children per club, so that's an extra 4000+ children in the UK learning to code each week.

Disclaimer: I help out Code Club and develop their site

2
andyjohnson0 6 days ago 4 replies      
This was an interesting read, but it'd be useful to know roughly what age the children were. I'm not familiar with the US school system, so I don't know at what age careers days are usually held.

She showed the children a Python program with a while loop, and says they "got it". I've tried explaining iteration to a (bright) seven year-old by using indented text and they found it hard to comprehend, but the equivalent in a graphical lego programming environment was obvious to them.

3
jtchang 6 days ago 3 replies      
It might be slightly odd bringing up the topic of women in programming but in a few decades it might seem archaic that we were even worried about the problem.

Kids today (both male and female) grow up with so much technology around them. My bet is that this will drastically influence the number of women entering technology focused career paths in the coming years.

4
henrik_w 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have given talks in both my daughter's and son's classes (when they were in grade 2) on what I do at work. Not on programming per se, but on how an SMS is delivered to a mobile phone (so we also got into programs, databases etc).

What struck me the most was the sheer number of questions I got. 4 or 5 hands in the air the whole time when I was answering questions. A lot of smart questions and comments. Very intense and high energy. Contrast that to giving a talk to adults - usually there a lot fewer questions.

Overall it was a great experience, and I recommend it if you have the opportunity.

5
jawns 6 days ago 1 reply      
I did a high school career day earlier this year, talking about both my job as a frontend developer and my book ("Experiments on Babies" -- http://www.experimentsonbabies.com). About a third of the kids in each session were totally tuned out. Another third seemed interested, but I guess didn't want to seem overly interested. And the final third were really attentive and asked lots of good questions. I guess that's probably typical.

One of the things I tried to impress upon the kids is to look at where the jobs are, and what they pay. I don't think that's emphasized nearly as much as it ought to be. For instance, prior to making the switch to full-time development last year, I was working as an editor at a newspaper. I loved it, and I was good at it ... but the newspaper industry was (and still is) in the tank, and there was very little job security. And, of course, there's an oversupply of people with journalism degrees, so the wages aren't much to write home about.

I told them I wasn't trying to talk them out of pursuing a highly competitive, not-so-highly-paying career. But I think students should know, going in, what they're getting themselves into.

6
Newky 6 days ago 5 replies      
The argument for not teaching children scratch.
"You don't need to start kids off on some fake programming language like Scratch."

I have no real affection for scratch, but I feel that he was making the argument that children should learn to program in an environment that models (at least to a point) the one in which a developer develops in, at least with regard to language preference.

I feel at this point, the language choice (barring ease of use etc) is pointless. Whether you use scratch, python or Haskell, if it piques the interest of a child, then nothing will stand in the way if that student wants to go on and learn every programming language available.

If you think of the first language you ever learned, and what you are now programming in. For me, my first language (a type of kiddy basic) gave me what I needed. A concept of execution flow. How to make things come up on the screen, basic 2d programming and it made it very easy to make some GUI based stuff.

My point is that don't hate any language (even if it is a fake language like Scratch) if it builds the initial building blocks in a child (or adults) head.

7
sosuke 6 days ago 0 replies      
"Every kid has a smart phone. I guess my son wasn't being dramatic when he said he was the only one without one."

Ha! My inner child feels somewhat vindicated.

8
bhousel 6 days ago 1 reply      
In the past few years, I have spoken to local middle school kids (7th or 8th grade) at their "career day". They are all totally fascinated with what I do, because kids nowadays (yes I know I sound old) live their whole lives online and surrounded by technology.

The school where I visit is really average, some rich kids some poor kids, all kinds of backgrounds. The format of this career day is that each class period somebody will come and talk to the class that is somewhat related to the subject - so I usually end up speaking to a math or computer class. In a class of 25, there are probably one or two kids who already know some limited programming (or have made a website). Almost everybody that age is online (all Facebook, a handful of Twitter) and plays console video games. Probably about half have cell phones.

When they ask me questions, it's usually about how to steal their friends' Facebook passwords, conceal their browsing history, or build their own video game. I do spend some time talking about privacy, reminding them that their behavior online can stay around forever and that they should be careful who they are talking to online.

9
SiVal 5 days ago 0 replies      
re: "whole numbers" and "decimal numbers"

The terms don't vary much by district; they vary by age. Kids younger than these use the term "number" to mean positive, decimal, integral numerals. That's all they know.

Kids at this age are introduced to some new distinctions: fraction vs. whole, negative vs. positive, and decimal fraction vs. common fraction. At that point, they will use the term "whole number" to mean not some type of fraction and "decimal" to mean a number that uses this nifty, new fractional notation that has digits on the right side of the decimal point.

A few more years pass, and they no longer see "fractions and decimals" but just "numbers." At that point, they switch over to referring to integers and real numbers (with no emphasis on exactly how a fraction is represented), and if they begin working with binary numbers, they'll use the same term, "decimal", to make the distinction of base, not type of fraction notation.

The term "float" is not a mathematical term. Many older math professors don't know it. It is a tech term for a form of storage and display of approximations of real numbers.

These terms are not regionalisms; they represent the distinctions being made by the students at their stage of development.

10
nadam 6 days ago 0 replies      
"Getting kids excited about programming today means that one day, you're more likely to have competent juniors. If you plan on being in the workforce eleven years from now, the fifth grader you talk to today is your new hire in the future."

Wait another 2-3 years, and you will be their new hire.:)

Seriously, I wouldn't think of them as 'juniors' or 'new hires', that will be only a very short temporary state. Think of them as your future colleagues, competitors, hacker friends, fellow tax payers.

Great article though!

11
Qworg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I did career day at my daughter's school, when she was in 4th grade (ages 9-11). It was interesting that the kids were far more interested in computers than in robotics. They were even more interested in gaming, which I kind of expected (be prepared to weigh in on which console you prefer, and expect to have at least one of the kids tell you your choice sucks).

I'd recommend it for any technical parent - what you do is definitely cooler than being a lawyer. =P

12
hising 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great read, I felt a bit excited after reading it. I look forward to do the same thing at my boys school. One thing I am wondering about kids and programming is when they are suitable to start taking in the concept of programming, it is probably different from kid to kid. It is such a great tool to teach a kid, to actually be able to build stuff on their own.
13
ionforce 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great article. But expecting children to know what integers and especially floats are is ridiculous. Integers, maybe, like definitely in a higher grade level. But floats absolutely not. They are whole and decimal numbers!
15
emehrkay 5 days ago 0 replies      
> The kids repeat questions. Over and over and over again. Not variations on a question: the same exact question. I would just repeat myself until the teacher intervened.

Just like trying to give the computer the same input over and over again. I find this hilarious, kids are the best

16
tnuc 6 days ago 3 replies      
>I comforted myself that I was at least a step above the nutritionist.

How is this person a "step above" a nutritionist?

17
natmaster 6 days ago 0 replies      
What grade / how old are these students?
28
A dozen USB chargers in the lab: Apple is very good, but not quite the best arcfn.com
253 points by pmarin  3 days ago   85 comments top 15
1
nicpottier 3 days ago 3 replies      
Too bad the Amazon Kindle charger isn't in the mix, it is my favorite just because it is so tiny and relatively high output. Would have liked to see same analysis for it.
2
GuiA 3 days ago 2 replies      
" Since the designers of the Apple charger went to a great deal of effort to build a high quality charger, I conclude they must not consider voltage sag worth worrying about. Or, more interestingly, maybe they built this sag as a feature for some reason. In any case, the chargers lose points on this."

I'm not versed in the arcane arts of EE" could anyone give me a basic definition of voltage sag? And would there be any reason to build it as a feature in a charger?

3
commandar 3 days ago 2 replies      
I bought up a half dozen Touchpad chargers when they were being cleared out for $5 a piece. I did it mainly because they were the cheapest 2A adapters that work with anything I'd come across, but it's good to know they're efficient and well-built as well.
4
kens 3 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of people have suggested additional chargers I should examine. To narrow it down, I've created a poll on the article page (upper left). If there's sufficient interest I'll take a look at your favorite charger, so cast your vote.
5
acgourley 3 days ago 1 reply      
The lesson here is that if you don't want to pay for an official apple charger, do not buy a counterfeit one just buy any name brand one with the right wattage rating.
6
mhb 3 days ago 3 replies      
Would be nice to know how the adafruit charger does:

http://adafruit.com/products/501

7
mseebach 3 days ago 5 replies      
It's off-topic, but I've been trying to figure it out for a while: I have a two-port "Gear4" USB charger with swappable plugs, so it's great for travelling. However, my new work BlackBerry won't accept a charge from it, complaining about it being too low powered - however, the Gear4 charger says it's 2A, the BB charger is 750mA.

Does anyone know what's the deal?

8
kalleboo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I got a nice charger from Buffalo (respected Japanese brand) that does a max of 4A (=can charge 2 iPads at once) and has 4 USB ports: 2 with the Apple power negotiation standard, and 2 with the Everyone Else/Android power negotiation standard.

It'd be nice to see an even broader test

9
polyfractal 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very interesting review, I enjoyed the dissection and review of what most people don't even think about (wall chargers).

On a non-technical note, Apple chargers should lose simply because of how goddamned large they are. They basically eat two spots on a power strip and are easily knocked out of wall sockets because of their weight.

10
macleodan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have looked at some cheap car USB power supplies.

Griffin:
http://mm0hai.net/blog/2012/09/30/Griffin-USB-Car-Charger.ht...

Unbranded, common on ebay.
http://mm0hai.net/blog/2012/08/01/Message-to-an-ebay-seller....

They were both awful. I would be interested to know about a known good one.

11
rhizome 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty sure there is a guaranteed-success Kickstarter for a $10-20 clean-charging plug in this story.
12
afterburner 3 days ago 1 reply      
Good to know Monoprice makes a good product.
13
adrr 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a fake IPad charger, it barely charges my IPhone and can't charge the IPad at all. It was labelled as an Apple charger when I bought it for $10 and had good reviews.
14
yooy123 2 days ago 1 reply      
USB chargers? Try this one, I wish I could afford it.

http://kdyworks.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=ar...

15
rhplus 3 days ago 3 replies      
This link just wouldn't have been quite as clickable: A dozen USB chargers in the lab: HP is the best.
29
Windows 8 Arrives microsoft.com
249 points by dragonquest  5 days ago   213 comments top 26
1
engtech 5 days ago 5 replies      
Windows 8 Pro upgrade for $39 dollars ($15 for newer PCs). [1]

That's... reasonable.

I might consider buying a copy of Windows 8 Pro at that price and then waiting until it hits SP1 to install it.

I might even spin up a VM to try it out.

I like that the $39 upgrade applies to anyone with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. I think they're realizing that a lot of people don't upgrade OS because they don't want to upgrade their hardware.

(like my old Win XP laptop that I use as a VNC terminal to other machines).

The only reason why I wouldn't want to jump in with two feet is that I have a general dislike for the Xbox dashboard and I suspect that Metro would be very similar to it.

[1] You can use this tool to check that you have a genuine version of Windows http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012

[2] Windows OEM licenses are transferable if it included the hardware

http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/...

[3] Windows retail licenses are transferable

http://www.microsoft.com/About/Legal/EN/US/IntellectualPrope...

Here's a direct link to a PDF for Windows 7 Home Basic in English

http://download.microsoft.com/Documents/UseTerms/Windows%207...

[4] Windows Anytime Upgrades are pretty much considered to be OEM

   17. TRANSFER TO ANOTHER COMPUTER. (retail)
a. Software Other than Windows Anytime Upgrade. You may transfer the software and install it on another computer for your use. That computer becomes the licensed computer. You may not do so to share this license between computers.
b. Windows Anytime Upgrade Software. You may transfer the software and install it on another computer, but only if the license terms of the software you upgraded from allows you to do so. That computer becomes the licensed computer. You may not do so to share this license between computers.
18. TRANSFER TO A THIRD PARTY. (retail)
a. Software Other Than Windows Anytime Upgrade. The first user of the software may make a one time transfer of the software and this agreement, by transferring the original media, the certificate of authenticity, the product key and the proof of purchase directly to a third party. The first user must remove the software before transferring it separately from the computer. The first user may not retain any copies of the software.
b. Windows Anytime Upgrade Software. You may transfer the software directly to a third party only with the licensed computer. You may not keep any copies of the software or any earlier edition.
c. Other Requirements. Before any permitted transfer, the other

2
luma 5 days ago 9 replies      
I've been running Windows 8 since they release the RTM version to TechNet subscribers on my primary laptop (about a month now).

Short version - outside of Metro it's basically Win7SP3 and it works great. Metro is every bit the usability disaster that people have claimed when not running on a touch screen.

The good news is that you really don't have to interface much with Metro at all. It replaces the start menu, but it does so in a manner that works with how I'm used to dealing with the start menu already. That is, I already just hit the Win key and then start typing until the thing I want pops up, and that behavior has carried over.

So, yeah Metro is awful for all the reasons everybody has already laid out. Despite that, Win 8 has been a solid performer and I won't be loading Win7 back on this system.

My primary home system will continue to run Win7 until I am comfortable that my production applications will all run successfully (and by that, I mean "games").

3
w1ntermute 5 days ago 1 reply      
4
jerednel 5 days ago 1 reply      
I happen to think that Windows 8 is a welcome refresh. At first, I was confused by the dashboard but I am finding it easier and easier to navigate around.

For instance, going to the traditional desktop is as easy as clicking the "Desktop" tile. And opening a new tab in the metro-IE was a bit confusing but after figuring out that double finger pressing the touchpad brings up the tab list and url bar it has become easier.

I also like the new native mail client and calendar apps.

For the record, I am running Windows 8 on a 2011 macbook air via bootcamp and it runs perfect. Guild Wars 2 also gets about 10 fps more than it does on the mac client for what its worth and makes it actually playable on an Air :)

Following this tangent a bit more, I feel like if the drivers were updated enough to support 3 finger left and right gestures to wipe between the different screens I wouldn't revisit OSX for a while.

Windows 8 is a fun operating system.

5
Permit 5 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone whose University participates in Microsoft DreamSpark will be happy to know it's available for free there already.
6
at-fates-hands 5 days ago 1 reply      
I see this as a pretty big leap. Remember, this OS isn't about forgetting about Windows or forcing change on anybody. It's about creating an ecosystem similar to what Apple has. They want you to use their apps (Office, Bing Search, X-box Games) across all of their products (Desktop, Surface, Windows 8 phone) and make it so you can access the same info anywhere you are.

I'm surprised more people haven't picked up on this rather bold move.

7
rossjudson 5 days ago 2 replies      
I've gotten to look Metro more than I did at first. I still don't stay in it; I mostly just head to the desktop and use the newer, flatter Windows 7 I find there.

The elephant in the room for me is the horizontal scrolling. I'm sitting there spinning the mouse wheel vertically, and what's on the screen is moving horizontally. That's a total disconnect.

Why this emphasis on horizontal scrolling? I don't see how the horizontally scrolling items are in any way easier to use than a vertically scrolling set of items. Seems like different, for difference's sake.

8
jiggy2011 5 days ago 3 replies      
Well looks like this is judgement day for MS then.

The price is much lower than for previous versions of Windows, this makes me suspect that we should start expecting new releases of Windows much more frequently, similar to how Apple does it.

With the radical changes going on in Windows 8 it wouldn't surprise me to see a tweaked and improved Windows 9 in less than 2 years.

9
learc83 5 days ago 2 replies      
Metro reminds me of the Acer Computer Explorer (I think that was the name, I was 11 at the time) that was installed on my very first computer (windows 95).

The computer booted up to a home screen with icons for all of your programs, and you had to click exit to desktop to get into windows.

10
chollida1 5 days ago 2 replies      
Or without the referral link code:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008H3SW4I/

11
jaybill 5 days ago 4 replies      
And it STILL doesn't play DVDs without additional software! sigh
12
whalesalad 5 days ago 1 reply      
Microsoft has a problem with not specifying fallback fonts for non-Windows machines: http://wsld.me/KPlc

Looks like they're setting the font explicitly to 'Segoe UI' and nothing else in many spots. Telerik, a .NET CMS provider does a similar thing.

13
tonyedgecombe 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using it since the RTM and it seems fine.

However I can't say I am any more productive than I was with Windows 2000.

14
mbesto 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm trying to download it from GB and looks like it only allows from the US. So I hopped on my US-VPN and still redirects me to the GB site. Anyone have any idea how I get around this? (Note - I have a valid US credit card and am prepared to pay in USD)
15
roryokane 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ars Technica's five-page review of Windows 8: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/10/window...
16
foohbarbaz 5 days ago 0 replies      
The only way I am going to see Windows 8 is with a new PC (which is a few years away, next purchase is probably an Apple product), or at work.

At work the IT dept will hopefully skip this version all together, or take a few years before "approving" it.

17
mtgx 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think regular users will like this much, and forcing them to go into Metro will only make more people hate it, rather than like it. Fan bases grow when the growth is natural, not when it's forced.

http://www.foolproof.co.uk/is-planet-earth-ready-for-windows...

18
mikeratcliffe 5 days ago 2 replies      
Meh, the interface makes no sense without a touchscreen.
19
itry 5 days ago 2 replies      
Will this thing behave nicely when I put it on a machine which already has grub and several linux partitions? Or will it insist on killing grub or even do worse stuff to my machine?
20
zwischenzug 5 days ago 1 reply      
...and screws up my evening by apparently breaking flash. We only warned our clients 4 months ago.
21
lucb1e 5 days ago 1 reply      
Quick question: Which build is released as consumer version now? There's already been a release preview, I wonder if they are the same.
22
Tooluka 5 days ago 0 replies      
So how can I buy it? (full, not upgrade). I thought that they'll sell digital Win 8 Pro for 79$ but can't find any option for this at MS store.
23
niggler 5 days ago 0 replies      
Windows 8 has been available for months for free on Microsoft BizSpark (http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/)
24
Syssiphus 5 days ago 0 replies      
Run for the hills!
25
fady 5 days ago 1 reply      
i like how the kids look super into the new surface (pic 4).. i bet those peeps were either "paid" to be there, or set up so that they would all look so interested in that device.. srsly, why would someone buy a surface?
26
propercoil 5 days ago 0 replies      
Someone once said Windows 8 looks like a 5 dollar app. That sums it up for me
30
Congratulations on IE10: from Mozilla with cake limpet.net
243 points by mbrubeck  4 days ago   51 comments top 12
1
Too 4 days ago 1 reply      

  > Back when Firefox 2 was released (six years ago this week!), 
> the Internet Explorer team started a friendly tradition of sending Mozilla a cake
> as congratulations. This continued for Firefox 3 and Firefox 4.

This finally explains why they changed to the more frequent release schedule.

2
neya 4 days ago 2 replies      
You know what is so amazing about this tradition? It is not about the software or the companies that build them, it is about people sharing their 'love' and respect for each other citing the software as a reason. I simply love this. I think even we should team up and send pg, and his new YC teams a cake every year (without expecting a cake in return :P ) :)
3
davej 4 days ago 2 replies      
> "As you can see from their picture, the bottom border of the cake was slightly restyled in transit"

They should have doubled the padding to be safe.

4
lifeisstillgood 4 days ago 0 replies      
Like CIA and KGB agents in hot remote countries, the opposing camps turn out to have far more in common with each other than their "motherlands"
5
CKKim 4 days ago 0 replies      

  > Just 30 minutes later, Michael Bolan tweeted that the cake was gone.

This has me thinking of that scene in Mike Judge's Office Space where Milton always happens to be in the wrong part of the crowd relative to the cake and never gets a piece. Cruel but hilarious.

I don't know how many people there are in that office, but I hope it's sufficiently few that no-one got Miltoned :).

6
Magenta 4 days ago 2 replies      
This continued good-natured back-and-forth is nice to see. Kind of reminds me of something Stephen Potter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Potter) would have done, had he been in the tech industry :)
7
Raphael_Amiard 4 days ago 1 reply      
It gave me warm fuzzy feelings to see two members of the IE team with Firefox sweaters ! That's what you can call healthy competition i guess.
8
gprasanth 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does IE copy parts of code from Firefox? [Honest question.]
9
chris_wot 4 days ago 2 replies      
Absolutely no cake love for Safari?
10
ck2 4 days ago 2 replies      
Are there like "icing printers" now or is that done by hand?
11
runn1ng 3 days ago 1 reply      
Shouldn't they.... hate each other?
12
happypeter 4 days ago 0 replies      
Let's talk, let's be friends, let's make the web a better place for everyone. No War!
       cached 31 October 2012 15:11:01 GMT