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Linus Torvalds: Make 2560x1600 the new standard laptop resolution plus.google.com
624 points by orjan  4 days ago   327 comments top 47
trotsky 4 days ago 10 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.

staunch 4 days ago 8 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.

ChuckMcM 4 days ago 1 reply      
It is an interesting rant.

Pixel density affects many aspects of a system;

Storage - it affects the size disk you need/want because high resolution images / video take up much more space.

Memory - You need more memory to build up screens for a higher density display. Further you need the bandwidth to shove that data around.

Compute - If you want to 'render' to the display rather than just copy bitmaps around, or composite complex bit maps, you need to spend a lot of time computing which can make other things slow.

So when you look closely at tablets you will see interesting places where they have been adapted to support these densities.

But more importantly there is 'change' in the systems where there is new money being invested. So tablets are getting all of the 'change' now, less so with laptops, and hardly at all with desktops.

The reason this will change though is that I expect we've convinced display manufacturers that 'regular users' (the bulk of the purchasers) want 'high dpi' displays. Its not easy communicating with an entire industry but success Apple has been having with 'retina' displays, and the more recent Android tablets with higher resolutions, means more people will jump in to support them. And more importantly when the choice is available folks reject lower density displays. So in the great 'tuning' these guys do where they calculate how to get the most money out of each hour of running their factories, the equation is tipping in favor of high dpi displays.

That said, I'd love to have a couple of 32" 2560 x 1600 displays for my desktop, but I think that is still a couple of years off from being 'mainstream'

mark-r 4 days ago 3 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?"

ghshephard 4 days 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.

UnoriginalGuy 4 days ago 8 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).


bornhuetter 4 days ago 2 replies      
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.

Xcelerate 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've always been a sucker for high-quality displays. Apple's Retina MBP is what finally converted me from being a Windows user. I have to say, I really love it.

And... I may be the only one here... but I think they should go a little higher than 2880x1800. I know normal viewing distance is something like 15 inches, but I like to sit closer to my screen when coding and it sure would be nice to have all semblance of "pixels" completely disappear. How cool what that be?

And if they started using AMOLED screens instead of IPS, then that would really be the perfect screen.

otakucode 4 days ago 2 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.

Aissen 4 days ago 2 replies      
His not the only one to think so:



And about every other hacker I know.

easy_rider 4 days 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.

robomartin 3 days ago 0 replies      
The one issue that cannot be ignored is that a higher resolution display will consume significantly more power and cause the GPU to consume more power and generate more heat. The relationship is roughly linear to pixel count, in other words 2x more pixels is equal to 2x more power and heat. From 1366 x 768 to 2560 x 1600 it's roughly 4x more power/heat.
chj 4 days 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.
sliverstorm 3 days ago 0 replies      
One nice thing about the choice of 2560x1600 as a standard pick is, it to my knowledge is the largest resolution supported by DVI, and specifically DVI dual link at that. This might start pushing the market towards DisplayPort, which used to be limited to 2560x1600, but is allegedly being expanded upwards.

(DisplayPort is my favorite display connector to date, and I hope to see adoption grow)

buster 4 days 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)

hnriot 4 days ago 1 reply      
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.

zephyrfalcon 4 days ago 5 replies      
Can somebody explain what is so bad about seeing individual pixels? Serious question from an oldschooler.
regularfry 4 days ago 1 reply      
2560x1920 (or even 2132x1599) would be better, but I guess that fight was lost long ago.
drivebyacct2 4 days 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.

tluyben2 4 days 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.
abhimishra 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seeing as how Apple's "retina" displays are actually made by other folks (Samsung and LG for the 15" rMBP), I suspect we will see high-res panels on other laptops very soon.

In fact, Samsung recently demoed a few Series 9 prototypes at IFA with WQHD resolution (2560 x 1440, which is the 16:9 resolution you get from most 27" panels): http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/31/3282360/samsung-wqhd-2560-...

seanalltogether 4 days ago 2 replies      
While we're on the topic, why are we still on 60hz displays?
WalterBright 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can vouch for the retina display making text significantly more readable to those who need reading glasses, even if the text is exactly the same size.
jaseemabid 4 days 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.
zokier 4 days ago 0 replies      
Intel is also pushing for higher resolutions for some time now. eg. Ultrabooks were supposed to have higher resolution screens.



oneandoneis2 4 days 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.

baq 4 days 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.
com2kid 3 days ago 0 replies      
Before this happens, it would be really nice if Windows supported different DPIs on different screens. IIRC Linux can already be hacked to do this. Windows cannot. The result of this is I have a 21" 1080p desktop screen sitting next my 14" 1080p laptop screen and I cannot read text on my laptop screen! (I'd move the laptop dock closer but then it'd be sitting on top of my working space.)

As for Windows 8 doing high DPI, Tech Report has a decent article (http://techreport.com/review/23631/how-windows-8-scaling-fai...) on the lackings of Win8 high DPI settings even in Metro. Though feel free to ignore their complaints about browser scaling, each browser takes a different approach to how they break web pages when scaling. (Suffice to say 1 pixel borders and non-integer scaling don't go together well!)

They go into detail about the different scaling options, but the scaling options are all things that the user has to manually enable! Hardly auto-DPI. There is a balance to be struck between "more information on screen" and "better displaying information on screen" that Microsoft apparently decided to not even attempt, instead giving the user a blunt instrument with which to toggle between "way too big" and "way too small".

hactually 4 days 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.
sjs382 4 days ago 0 replies      
The primary PC I use at home is a netbook with 1024x600 resolution. My phone (Galaxy Nexus) is 1280x720. Crazy world.
mtgx 4 days 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.
dsirijus 4 days 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.

kgill 3 days ago 1 reply      
It WILL indeed be the new standard resolution, very soon, especially considering the "push" the PC industry is getting from Apple's Retina Macbook Pros. The demand for high res panels is just to darn high and it has to be met. Like in Apple's situation, the cost can be taken care of by charging a premium and then using economies of scale to bring down production costs and making these kind of displays the new norm.

But exactly when this will happen? Well, it sort of already has: http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/31/samsung-Series%209-WQHD-U...

However, I believe we're going to see a huge blast in these super high-res panels right after Intel Haswell is released. It'll provide the Ultrabooks with graphic performance capabilities that'll be good enough for these high-res panels.

wilhil 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry to sound silly, but, what laptop can do 2560x1600 for $399? I feel out of the loop!
b3b0p 3 days ago 0 replies      
Currently there are 311 comments in this story. It's hard to find any mention of it, but does anyone actually run their Retina Macbook Pro at native resolution for every day usage, coding / programming, etc? I have mine hooked up to an external 2560 x 1440 Apple Cinema Display.
scottrb 3 days ago 0 replies      
> In fact, if you have bad vision, sharp good high-quality fonts will help.

As someone with absolutely terrible vision, I'll have to disagree with this point. I've been keeping my screen res around 1024x768 for years because moving it higher just makes it so darn hard to see. I've now come to the point where some monitors and video cards won't even go that low. I'm probably a unique case. Still, I do wish accessibility was better for visually impaired users.

FWIW, Macs do magnification the best out of the box. Zoomtext on windows costs a bit, and I'm not sure anything exists for Linux that's even comparable to MacOSs magnifier abilities. Even with a mac, there's too much mouse movement involved for my tastes.

dendory 4 days 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.
DanBC 4 days 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?

flyinRyan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Would someone mind posting the text in here? Google+ is blocked in many work places. :)
Thibaut 4 days 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.

chris_wot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Funny how its called dpi... Wouldn't ppi be a better metric?
eumenides1 4 days ago 0 replies      
16:10, a man after the aspect ratio of my heart
Zoophy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I find it fascinating how Linus gets away and is actually awarded for flaming and bashing other users their opinions.
zobzu 3 days ago 2 replies      
Every now and then Linus says something slightly stupid, maybe even on purpose. The "shock title" effect.

Obviously 2560x1600 on 11" is utterly useless as it is on tablets. 1366 is equally dumb. Whatever goes in between is generally fine. I start being happy at around 1920 for 13" (and it's 4:3 friend) since, after that, i can't see pixels at all and in native mode I can't see the text too well either.
I don't think that's a personal thing.

calitrir 3 days ago 0 replies      
Totally, BUT, it will trash an admittedly imperfect economic sector. I've been following this for a few months; and that the market hasn't moved is incredibly harmful. The laptop market has basically stagnated, meaning a lot of pent-up demand that people are not likely to commit to other personal productivity improvements. So, in my opinion, in order to preserve inventory values, these guys fight as hard as possible to hold back technical development. I.O.W. If this valuation structure were ever to break, the corporates involved could take huge hits. Someone with more knowledge will have to take it from there.
aleem 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is there any reason why kernel code still wraps at 80 characters? Or is that not true anymore?
ekianjo 4 days 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.

Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. thewaltdisneycompany.com
456 points by antr  4 days ago   290 comments top 39
robbiet480 4 days ago 10 replies      
This means that Disney now controls Marvel, Pixar, LucasArts, ABC, ESPN, A+E, Disney Channel plus all their own original content and of course the parks and merchandising rights for everything stated above. Those businesses most likely control the top 10 film franchises of the last few years. This is a pretty insane acquisition.
padobson 4 days ago 2 replies      
Disney paid $4B for Lucasfilm.

Six years ago, they paid $7B for Pixar.[1]

Pixar used to be a subsidiary of Lucasfilm.

This means that John Lasseter is now going to have control of all of the assets that allowed him to get into making movies in the first place.


ROFISH 4 days ago 2 replies      
> I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.

This is effectively Lucas' slow decent into retirement; he's not actively directing Episode 7 but instead consulting. Say what you want about the movies and franchises, ILM and Skywalker Sound are gold standards created by a tech visionary.

robbiet480 4 days ago 3 replies      
Star Wars Episode 7 will come out in 2015. They also acquired all of the assets including Indiana Jones, Star Wars, ILM, LucasArts and Skywalker Sound
MrFoof 4 days ago 0 replies      
This now means that Princess Leia is a Disney Princess.
brudgers 4 days ago 3 replies      
For those fretting the future, it will be hard for Disney to fuck up the franchise more than Lucas did with The Phantom Menace.


greedo 4 days ago 4 replies      
Maybe now we'll see a BluRay version of ANH where Han shoots first...
joshmlewis 4 days ago 6 replies      
$4 Billion and it's 100% owned by George Lucas.

Does anyone know if that 100% is literal? That he didn't give away ANYTHING, even for a pool for employees?

mixmastamyk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, didn't see it coming, but this old comic comes to mind:


On the scripting-side, this should create one of the bigger if not biggest Python house(s). Disney was converting to it when I left (many years ago) and ILM is a known proponent... their whole pipeline from front to back is accessible from it.

Episode 7? First I've heard of it. crosses fingers.

mariusmg 4 days ago 2 replies      
It means they bought LucasArts too. Not that LucasArts were great in the last decade or so but Disney sucks as a "parent" for game dev companies (RIP Blackrock).
unwiredben 4 days ago 2 replies      
Three words that scare me: "Disney's Star Wars"

(for context, note that they've been explicitly tagging their name on all their kids fare, especially stuff based on public domain or historical sources)

tobiasbischoff 4 days ago 0 replies      
George lucas sells Pixar to Jobs. He sells it to Disney and becomes largest single shareholder. Jobs fam now owns a part of Lucasfilm. Crazy.
talmand 4 days ago 0 replies      
All I want to know is if this means the possibility of a Tie Fighter remake from LucasArts.
ekianjo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Robot Chicken was right. We ARE going to get Star Wars Musicals. Oh Dear.
wslh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I want a remake of the first three episodes.

They were a shame for fans. The best one was "the empire strikes back" and it was not directed by George Lucas.

demione 4 days ago 2 replies      
Wonder if they'll get a seasoned director for Star Wars 7, or if they'll go with a controllable newcomer like Sony did with Amazing Spider Man.
apgwoz 4 days ago 0 replies      
All I wanna know is whether or not Lucas signed first.
dllthomas 4 days ago 0 replies      
Makes good sense to me. Who knows more about milking overstretched and outdated IP?
jemeshsu 4 days ago 0 replies      
This must have something to do with the upcoming Angry Birds Star Wars.
chiph 4 days ago 0 replies      
When to cash-out, a Jedi knows.
stevewilhelm 4 days ago 0 replies      
A Donald and Howard buddy flick can now be finally realized. Well worth four billion ducks.
Uchikoma 4 days ago 2 replies      
Jar Jar Binks and Donald Duck. How fitting.
kappaknight 4 days ago 0 replies      
...for the price of 4 Instagrams.
ISL 4 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps now, Han can go back to shooting first?
kruk 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to understand body language without knowing the person well but on all pictures I've seen it looks like Lucas's left hand is trying to stop his right hand from signing the contract. It would seem he might have been hesitant about the deal.
AutoCorrect 4 days ago 1 reply      
Monopoly & Anti-Trust concerns, anyone?
OWaz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be happy if Disney released LucasArts games on some distribution platform. Being able to own those games without having to resort to torrents would be great.
cjrandolph 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wonder if this might have any effect on Google/Motorola's licensing of the Droid trademark from Lucasfilm?
pla3rhat3r 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Finally a way to mash my two favorite things, musical numbers and Star Wars!
snikch 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have a bad feeling about this.
jamesjguthrie 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome, Episode 7. Think I might watch 5 and 6 again soon.
beebs93 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, flannel George..really? I hope he's wearing flip-flops, too ;)
bcks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Rise of the Planet of the Binks
bhanks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Are they really going to be making other star wars movies?
adis1_ch 4 days ago 0 replies      
hope they don't lead STAR WARS the 'JOHN CARTER ' way.
Let John Lasseter and the rest of PIXAR team handle LUCASFILMS
psycho 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, got gooseflesh on reading this news.
CoachRufus87 4 days ago 0 replies      
speedyrev 4 days ago 1 reply      
Jar Jar Disney Christmas
Zenst 4 days ago 1 reply      
I would of thought more people on this planet know more about star wars than they do facebook. Yet Facebook valued at 100bn (initialy) and Lucasfilm valued at 4bn and like many people the response was thats low.

Lets look at it another way - do a google search for star wars and then facebook and notice the number of results:

star wars: About 420,000,000 results (0.21 seconds)

About 20,570,000,000 results (0.17 seconds)

Now if you get (100/fb results)* star wars results you get a value of around 2

So with that you could say if facebook was overvalued at twice its value then you can say that lucasfilm is worth 4bn, or at least argue that as a price.

Personaly I would of thought that had Lucasfilm ran a share sale, then the value would of been alot more, just from fans collecting a share certificate for there star wars collection alone. Now they can own a Disney share and feel all dirty I suppose somehow.

Either way when you sell a company directly, I tend to see low ball prices in consumer valuations of the company. Now if you sell it as shares or are flavour of the month and can get silly offers, the prices seems to be over consumer valuations. Though even after this news, the share price has not changed much and still values Disney at around 90bn.

2013 Automobile of the Year: Tesla Model S automobilemag.com
438 points by chanux  2 days ago   278 comments top 23
cletus 2 days ago 26 replies      
The Tesla Model S is a great-looking car but, unlike some, I still don't see electric cars as being the future. Batteries are still too heavy, take too long to charge, are too expensive and require materials that in widespread use will probably become far more of a problem than fossil fuels in terms of scarcity.

Of course, there can be and no doubt will be technological innovation in this space but (IMHO) the future of personal powered transportation will still be fuel-driven.

What will change is the source of that fuel. It may be some kind of hydrogen-rich fuel (methane or ammonia) or it may be making the necessary hydrocarbons from the air and/or seawater.

Portable fuel supplies are just too convenient. The relative simplicity of the internal combustion engine (or some derivation thereof) is just too advantageous compared to even optimistic long-term alternatives.

EDIT: the amount of cognitive dissonance when it comes to electric cars is mind-boggling eg:

A: the benefits are too numerous to list

B: can you use it in an apartment?

A: no...

Or the amount of infrastructure retro-fitting that needs to happen (power to parking garages being just one). Or ignoring issues or range and recharge times. Even with swappable batteries, even if that were a thing that people would do (there are security, weight and cost issues), the recharge time is still an issue.

Power is not free. An electric vehicle still needs to get power from somewhere and that power requires all the normal transmission infrastructure.

Someone brought up what's happening in NJ but if you had an electric car you'd be even more screwed. At least now you can transport gas to people.

Seriously, out of cost, weight, range and charging time all of them need to get an order of magnitude better to even be on par with fuel-driven vehicles.

How exactly have electric vehicles "already won"?

martythemaniak 2 days ago 2 replies      
Even if Tesla do not survive, ten years from now every new electric car will be a descendant of the Model S in all the major ways - floor-mounted battery pack, lack of physical buttons, etc.
rdl 2 days ago 3 replies      
If they can get to volume production, I think the $50-60k models, leased, could be great sellers. The really interesting thing would be to rip off Better Place's model and lease the cars at a discounted monthly payment plus a per-mile "fuel equivalence" charge. It's just accounting, but you could basically price the Model S at BMW 3-series lease rates (or even Toyota Avalon!), plus a per-mile fuel cost which was 10-20% less than gasoline. Combine that with the quality of the Model S, the environmental/status benefit (90+% of the girls I've polled would be more impressed by a Model S than a 2-3x as expensive Ferrari), and HOV lane access, and it would be great.

The Leaf, which basically sucks by comparison as a car, is essentially free in California ($200/mo lease, $2500 California incentive tax credit covers the first year, fuel, HOV lane, and toll savings vs. a less-efficient gas car pretty much cover lease payments IMO).

I'd have a Leaf as a hold-over until Teslas ship in quantity if I had a second parking space.

patrickgzill 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good for Tesla. I have seen and sat in, the Model S at their showroom in the Park Meadows Mall in Denver (well, south of Denver). It is an impressive looking car and everything just feels right. I have not driven it, however.
rscale 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great to see this. There are exactly three automotive companies that excite me these days: Tesla, Better Place, and Google.

Tesla has done a magnificent job of making electric cool and sexy, and that's almost absurdly important with a purchase as emotional as a car.

jeswin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now the galleries would look a lot better if they used normal photographs; instead of hideous HDR and heavy photoshopping.
SeanLuke 2 days ago 2 replies      
The Fisker Karma was their 2012 Automobile of the Year. In 2011 it was the Volt.
beau 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've owned an electric car for about two years now. The article missed a few points:

1. The regenerative braking means you do not need to replace your brakes nearly as often. (Tires are a different story.)

2. There are far fewer moving parts than a normal car. This decreases the amount of maintenance you need to do.

3. Since there are no moving parts, it's less damaging to the car when drive it hard. Accelerating quickly with non-electric sports cars wears out very expensive components very quickly. With an electric car, you can get that 0-60 performance every single time you accelerate without wearing anything out. (Except the tires.)

When you're comparing the annual fuel bill to the extra cost of the Tesla, don't forget that you are buying a premium sports car. Something like a BMW M5 gets 14/20 MPG, and expects that you feed it premium fuel.

salimmadjd 2 days ago 3 replies      
Tesla is still a niche luxury car, and I still think they will not remain in business in their current form. Several top-name brands are hot on their heels which will put a lot of pressure in their customer acquisition prospects.

As for the Automobile endorsement, I don't like how they are misleading consumers with their data. The test vs. M5 was designed to take account Tesla's sweet spot of performance, "...drag race to 100 mph with a 560-hp BMW M5". At 0-60 M5 will beat Tesla, and Telsa hits the top speed 130 mph and M5 is limited at 155. So it's really around 100-120 mph where Tesla has the edge. This doesn't even include racing them on a track to include handling aspect of a car. I would have preferred the article stating something like:

in one aspect, Tesla is even faster than the BMW M5, the drag race to 100 mph.

In general I'm seeing a downtrend among publications when it comes to educating consumers, especially educating them on how to think about data. This will have a long-term consequence on how consumers can be duped by faulty advertising, especially with political ads.

dchichkov 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the things that I really, really like about electric vehicles, is that, with a widespread distribution we are also getting a well-distributed accessible reservoir of electric energy!

See: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100106/full/463018a.html

kayoone 2 days ago 0 replies      
When cars were introduced gasoline was cheap, today that is very different.
Electricity today seems to be cheap, but how will that be in 100 years ? In Germany i already pay twice what people in the US pay for electricity (about $0.28 per kwH) and its only getting more expensive.

Of course, gasoline is a fossil fuel which will run out some time, but dont forget that most of our electricity is still generated by the same fuels (coal!) and with rapidly rising electricity usage i dont see a complete fossile-fuel free electricity infrastructure anywhere near. Even if thats possible with lots of wind/solar/whatever power, i highly doubt its going to be cheaper as we already pay a premium on "green-energy" today, governments move away from nuclear power etc.

nealabq 2 days ago 3 replies      
When will the Google self-driving fleet include a Tesla?
MatthewPhillips 2 days ago 6 replies      
They need a lot more dealerships. Look at the map of their dealers and there's a huge hole in the middle of the country. A couple in Chicago, one in Denver, and one in Houston. That's it. If you live in say Tennessee you're looking at close to a 10 hour drive to even see one.


rickdale 2 days ago 1 reply      
Dear Elon Musk:

Want to make cars? Need a lot of workers? Space?

How about old car factories in an old car factory town. Come to Flint, Mi man, Change the world.

tocomment 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is that why TSLA stock is up today?
abhimishra 2 days ago 0 replies      
No one is mentioning Hydrogen fuel-cell cars that have been in trials, such as the Honda FCX Clarity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_FCX_Clarity).

Relative to battery-powered fully-electric vehicles, some advantages are:
- Quick re-fueling (like with a gasoline vehicle)
- No loss of range in cold weather (and seems like earlier freezing issues have been addressed)
- No deterioration of a battery's performance over time

Some disadvantages:
- Hydrogen economy is not here yet and may be difficult to make efficient relative to electricity delivery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy)

kin 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is good news considering I've been hearing Tesla as a company has been having trouble.

Besides it being an EV, what really appeals to me is the maintenance plan. 600$/year covers everything. Having a car hit the 100k mark and having everything break down unless you replace it entirely is such a pain and is expensive.

phildeschaine 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's a pretty sexy car, I'd take one in a second if I had $60k+ to drop, and I'm not even in the market for ANY car (bike commuting ftw). That said, I'm holding out for a Model X. The falcon wing doors are just SO badass.
cvanderlinden 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I hate that top navigation bar following me everywhere. I'm trying to read your article not navigate your site! If I want to change pages, I know where to go, back to the top.
warrenmiller 2 days ago 3 replies      
does anyone else think that screen is a bit too much?
chanux 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did I see user emails in comments there?
hans 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good thing Romney keeps wanting to throw Tesla under the bus, way to support innovation, way to cheer for jobs n0t.
Ask HN: HELP, HN'er in trouble, we need a laywer in Delhi immediately
445 points by jacquesm  3 hours ago   75 comments top 24
jacquesm 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Thanks guys & girls it's been wonderful. We have located two lawyers thanks to your help, one of them was willing to take the case warts and all but not currently in Delhi, the other is in Delhi and also willing to take the case. I've put the lawyers in touch with her, Delhi police and each other.

We would not have been able to do this without HN on such short notice, thank you all very much.

swombat 3 hours ago 2 replies      
This is no joke. The case is driven by people who are influential with the police/judicial in Delhi. We need to get solid legal help on the ground before this person arrives in Delhi (in about 3 hours).

Please help.

Edit: some answers to common questions:

- It is not a good idea to discuss the details of the case right now. There is a police case, it is completely made up as an excuse to get hold of the person we're talking about (I've seen the case filing). The main charge is kidnapping, and she's the victim - but somehow she still gets arrested. India for the win.

- She's an Indian national.

- We need a professional, influential, trustworthy lawyer and are willing to pay (reasonable fees).

goombastic 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Indian police and people with access to political power usually pick people up on saturday or sunday when the courts are closed. This is the usual trick. A day in an Indian police lockup is not something you can stomach easily. If they are looking for you on a friday, it means political power and possible threats, beatings, forced confessions; hide and move away with family immediately until monday! If they are looking for you on other days, relax.
arbuge 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Good lawyers don't advertise (always a golden rule) but are often mentioned in searchable online media. A good technique (imho) for lawyer selection in any given major city is to collect a list of the most prominent lawyers in the specialization area of interest, and interview all of them. There will usually be fewer than a dozen candidates if you've done decent research & narrowing down. At some point in the interview ask who they would personally recommend as a lawyer if they couldn't recommend themselves. Then see where the answers converge.

This does take a few days and in a country like India might take even longer. So if you need somebody in a few hours it could be useless advice. If you can find somebody for initial representation and then switch to somebody else later, it might be more applicable.

edanm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For those, like me, who have no connections to India, please let us know if there's something else we can do to help. Including, if you need it, asking us to contribute money - I'm sure many here would help good members of this community.
harichinnan 45 minutes ago 1 reply      
Next time you need a lawyer urgently in India urgently, walk upto a court house. There'll be swarms of lawyers coming your way. Talk to a few of them in a group. Pick the one you feel comfortable. Lawyers are under employed in India, except for a select few who graduate to there own offices and staff. The rest ply the court houses looking for work.
khetarpal 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Hi Daniel,

My uncle is an ex MLA (member of legislative assembly) and is lawyer by background. He may be able to help. I have spoken to my dad about this, and he will connect you.

Please call him @ 91-9868-160523.

Best of Luck!


akshat 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Jacques, I had sent these questions in a mail to you. However, the answers should help others in identifying the appropriate lawyer.

1> What area of Criminal law this pertains to.
2> Is she an Indian?
3> Is she looking for professional representation or someone in personal capacity. Based on this we can look up one from a prominent firm or not.

nrao123 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I have also reached out to a few people - in the human rights/criminal law space - in Delhi. Will update you as soon as I hear back.
prakashk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you think the situation applies, PUCL (http://pucl.org) might be an option. See the contact page for phone numbers. If nothing else, they should know some good lawyers.
sohamsankaran 44 minutes ago 1 reply      
Just a suggestion, but you might consider trying to get the news media to cover the case: if the general public are aware of the details, its more difficult for the police/judiciary to push through nonsensical judgements on a bogus case (note the case of Aseem Trivedi, for instance). In essence, they can't make a moderately well known person or case 'disappear', as it were.
nodemaker 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I dont know any criminal lawyers but I am currently in Delhi and if there is anything else I can help with please let me know. My email is in my profile info.
known 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Jethmalani,Ram (Sr.) ph: 011-23792287,011-23794651 fax:011-23010944


dutchbrit 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Posted on Facebook, I urge the rest of you to do the same. I have a lot of international friends so hopefully I'll be able to help too.
nutanc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You can maybe try http://www.akosha.com/

They are mainly into consumer complaints but should know good lawyers and they are based out of Delhi.

Surio 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Usually, before we get a lawyer to agree to represent anyone, and in this case, a foreigner in India (EDIT: Indian national), the lawyer should be briefed on the skeleton of the case at least before he can take an informed decision, whether to take on the case.

You need to provide some cursory details of the case, before this gains some amount of traction at least.

mkuhn 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I am also working a few contacts but as far as I can remember right now none of them is based in Delhi.

edit: Two guys in Delhi are actively looking.

deepakprakash 1 hour ago 0 replies      
@swombat, @jacquesm : I've mailed you details for a senior criminal lawyer at Delhi. Do check. Let me know if I can help in any other way.
gawenr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you're a redditor, please upvote http://www.reddit.com/r/india/comments/12m11h/ask_hn_help_hn... not my post
kshatrea 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Harish here.
I am calling some people up. In case I find something, will send you an email on the email ID posted on your profile.
Take care.
pseingatl 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Khaitan & Co. have an office in Delhi. Here's their Mumbai contact:

anshul.prakash@ khaitanco. com
rabindra.Jhunghunwala@ khaitanco. com

djt 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you contacted her family?
She is an Indian national, does she have contacts there?
bilalhusain 1 hour ago 5 replies      
(The proverbial 'that guy')

Delhi police or CBI (whomsoever) is handling the case is one of the best in the nation. So, let me do my bit (because no one else has raised any voice).

The post portrays Delhi and India in a bad light. I am pretty sure, the case is NOT as dramatic as it is being described (or the victim not as innocent) - An Indian national with very little contacts who is about to land (or is in custody from yesterday?)...

That said (and realizing that I am on the losing side), I appreciate the quick thinking you guys are doing to help the person, and personally I have huge respect for the well known names (Daniel & Jacques - who are often on the front page) and that you are losing your sleep over this!

Downvotes are welcome!

Why it is Awesome to be a Girl in Tech nerdess.net
358 points by nerdess  2 days ago   241 comments top 29
michaelochurch 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'll make a controversial observation, but it's worthy of discussion.

If you're a woman of average or better looks, you have one under-spoken superpower. Namely, how you interact with other men will have a huge effect on their social status. I'm not talking about overt flirtation (don't do it) or office relationships (avoid, avoid, avoid). I'm talking about more subtle stuff, like who a woman smiles at, who she initiates conversations with, and what her body language is toward various people. This will have huge ripple effects on the male status hierarchy. Much of the reason why men tend to seem "afraid of" women in the office is that they're afraid she'll judge him lowly and send out "loser signals" about him, bringing him down a notch or two. Since everything that happens at most workplaces (especially cliquish startups, so don't give me this "meritocratic" bullshit) is really about social status-- "performance" is a myth made up to justify firings and scare the mediocre-- this is huge.

Overtly flirting with the men in the office will destroy a woman's reputation, for sure. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the subtle fact that, among groups of people, women have the capability to exert a disproportionate influence on the status ordering. In fact, the best way to use this is to do exactly what a young man would do: be nice to everyone, reach out and try to make allies, seek mentors... but also take a small comfort in the fact that men have an added incentive to be nice to you-- you have a disproportionate effect on their image, and they want to be seen with you.

For example, a 23-year-old with 6 months on the job comes into the office of a powerful person (MD in banking, Partner in a law firm) and says that (s/)he is bored with the work that (s/)he is getting. If male, he's just another entitled fuck looking for an advantage. The response usually is: go away, pay your dues, and come back in 7 years after you've proven yourself (if I haven't fired you before that). That's because humans have a visceral hatred of low-status males, and in the workplace, men in the youngest 15% are almost always of low status (hence, they get the shittiest work).

If the 23-year-old is female, this 45-year-old executive might realize that having a 23-year-old woman come into his office once a week might give him a younger, "cooler" image and prevent him from getting "managed out" (read: fired) for being "resistant to change" (read: old). So he might give her the kind of work that most people have to wait a few years to have a crack at.

Again, she's not flirting with him, or compromising herself in any way. She's doing exactly what a man would do if he had the courage: going into a powerful person's office and asking for better work.

It doesn't always happen this way, but it can. Career advancement is about stringing together a large number of high-impact, low-probability prospects (with enough parallelism that the likelihood of some success becomes high) and waiting for one to hit. The "superpower" that an attractive woman has doesn't turn the low probability into a high one; it makes it slightly less low.

I'm not saying life is fair and, on the whole, women almost certainly have to deal with more bullshit than men. It's wrong that women's looks are taken to matter so much. It's wrong that people are huge dicks to women about aging. Some of the "old lady" comments I heard when Clinton was running for President in 2008 made me want to vomit.

Men have a huge and unfair advantage after 32, which is that they can have children with their careers interrupted, and that their social status (being abysmal, in the workplace, at 22-24) peaks around 40-50. Men can (and are expected to) work through child-rearing, while for it to make sense for a woman to keep working after having children, she has to make about 2.5 times the average income (to hire help, day care, etc.) On the other hand, women have a huge advantage from 22 to 32, which is that they have the subtle but potent ability to determine who's "cool", and if they're aware of how to use it, they can speed up their careers. And given the heaping plate of bullshit that society gives women once they get older (and it starts in the 30s) they pretty much have to use this advantage while it's there.

Jun8 2 days ago 5 replies      
OK, nobody commented this up to now but I think is important: Among the many posts about this subject I've read on HN recently this was absolutely the best: Not only it approached the matter in a no-nonsense, practical matter without preaching from "the height of an unwritten book" or an axe to grind but it also gives excellent advice to young girls who want to venture into the field.

With posts like this I wish there was a mega-upvote option on HN, e.g. for 500 points of karma you upvote 10 points.

atomical 2 days ago 8 replies      
"This is a bit of a delicate topic. Quite often I am the only female person in the team and have to be careful not to take advantage of the perks that come with it. Guys are fascinated and scared by girls who roll up their sleeves and take on a job that society labels as “men's work”. If you've ever drilled a hole, skinned a rabbit, or changed a tyre you know what I mean.

As I mentioned earlier, guys will definitely put you to the test and as a girl it will be hard to get their respect. On the other hand, you can get away with a lot of things just by fluttering your eyelashes and being a bit cheeky, which is a habit that is so easy to get into. I have to confess I've done it myself because if you are surrounded by guys all day you quickly feel powerful. However, with great power comes great responsibility so don't take (too much, hehe) advantage of the nerds treating you like a princess just because they finally get to work with a girl."

Never experienced this. Sounds like an alternate reality. All the so called nerds I worked with had girlfriends or wives and didn't wear pocket protectors and stutter around females when talking to them.

RandallBrown 2 days ago 3 replies      
Articles like this are what are going to get girls into computing. They need to know that there are other normal girls, just like them, that do this for a living.

I got my ex-girlfriend into software development. She comes off as a very stereotypical girly girl. She likes clothes, shopping, and top 40 pop music. I convinced her to take an intro programming class her sophomore year of college. Now she's a software engineer at Amazon.

All it took her was a little convincing that she could do it, and that normal people (I suppose I seemed normal to her) do it too.

physcab 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to use this opportunity to do a little promotion. My sister and I just launched a site to connect women in industry with girls taking math and science called Girls Love Math (http://www.glmclub.org).

It would make my day if women like nerdess became mentors. I have a feeling that lots of girls are looking up to them.

vacri 2 days ago 2 replies      
I (100% female) work as a web developer and are not sure if the lack of female colleagues bothers me or not. Political correctness dictates that it should

Political correctness isn't really about groupthink or how you should feel. It's about not making other people feel shitty because you're too lazy to use inclusive language. It's simply an extension of 'manners', and gets demonised when it shouldn't be.

sandollars 2 days ago 5 replies      
Progress is being made, but there is still a long way to go.

This happened in a talk at a programming/web/tech event two weeks ago: http://i.imgur.com/4hL6X.jpg

victorhn 2 days ago 9 replies      
"If a male and a female developer with a similar skill level apply for a job, I bet that in 99.9% of the cases the girl will get the job."

That looks like sexism to me.

nickporter 2 days ago 5 replies      
Why is it that people group IT and software development together? To me, they are two completely different fields.

For example, I see an IT person as a mail server administrator in a large company, and a developer as the person who would write the mail server software.

I'm not saying that an IT professional never writes code, or a developer won't ever touch a Nginx config file. I just mean they are two different types of work.

It's something I have noticed for a while now, not only with your article.

laumars 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Computer languages and “real” languages are actually very similar."

I really couldn't disagree with that more. Sure, some languages' syntax borrow English words (Python, Pascal, VB, etc), but that's such a minor similarity. Those words are completely arbitrary and the syntax could have been in Klingon for all the difference it would make to the compiler.

Computer languages are a maths language; albeit a very very dumbed down dialect of maths, but maths all the same.

I think the trap many web developers fall in is that PHP teaches some terrible programming practices (no variable declarations nor types, etc) and ANSI SQL isn't Turing complete, so feel that all other languages by extension are equally easy to grasp. However if you look at a number of other languages -particularly the ones with C-derived syntax- then it becomes painfully obvious that any similarities to human languages are just skin deep (which is lucky for me as I majorly suck at writing yet can code proficiently in around a dozen different computer languages).

crusso 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really liked this article. Most blogs about women in Tech these days are centered around the mindset of victimhood.

Having gone to an engineering school, I know full well the power that women can exert in an environment full of socially-hapless geeky guys.

jessedhillon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Breaking News A man doesn't understand why women do/think something that he doesn't, but still has some thoughts about why those women are wrong!

Here's a tip: if someone says "this is hard for me" don't respond with "no it's not." In fact, even if they get a little presumptive and forget to add the "for me," give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are describing the world as it exists for them and not necessarily making an empirical claim.

minamea 2 days ago 1 reply      
"This is a bit of a delicate topic. Quite often I am the only female person in the team and have to be careful not to take advantage of the perks that come with it."

"you can get away with a lot of things just by fluttering your eyelashes and being a bit cheeky, which is a habit that is so easy to get into. I have to confess I've done it myself because if you are surrounded by guys all day you quickly feel powerful."

"Technical directors are really keen to hire girls because we boost the morale."

"If a male and a female developer with a similar skill level apply for a job, I bet that in 99.9% of the cases the girl will get the job."

These are all very sexist remarks. If the equivalent has been written from a male's perspective it would have been an outrage.

TheCapn 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a weird subject. I think, as a social group, we're on a hinging point where women will be making equal footing in the tech industry, but haven't yet. Its coming.

Women are going to get disproportionate treatment during this transition in one or two different ways, and it depends on who they're interacting with. Should they land themselves alongside the stereotypical basement dweller they'll be cast aside and thought less of. They'll first need to prove themselves in an uphill battle. This will take great self confidence because there is a lot of misogyny still in the tech workplace. Too many tech gurus grew up being shunned socially and still have those emotional barriers preventing them from being rational and fair.

On the other swing of things though we have the opposite treatment: "A girl? Oooo!" I feel jealous sometimes of my female friends in the industry because of just how easy getting face to face for new jobs comes for them. I fight to keep myself in check because they're damn good professionals who deserve it but the thought remains: what sets them apart from me? Directly out of university I was competing locally with a lot of them for jobs and the treatment of women in the profession was quite apparent. I still see it a bit in my jobs now and its slightly disheartening.

Ultimately I think this problem will solve itself in time. Tech jobs aren't about the basement dweller anymore, they haven't been for years. The natural transition where everyone in the workforce has been part of it for the years where equal woman representation has been around and the awkward or preferential treatment is happening. We need vocal women to encourage more to join. Those classes in university will definitely be unsettling when 20 slobbering unkempt males are trying to wrestle their way to the only female group partner but to push through is going to be tough.

unimpressive 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why doesn't your blog have an RSS feed?

EDIT: That was supposed to be a subtle compliment; I want more.

cbsmith 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm starting to think it is impossible for someone to write about gender issues in the tech industry without at least one reference to porn.
zandomatter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one that thought that while most of the points made in the article were generally true, the follow-up and examples were lackluster.

Comments like these:

"you can get away with a lot of things just by fluttering your eyelashes and being a bit cheeky ... so don't take (too much, hehe) advantage of the nerds treating you like a princess just because they finally get to work with a girl."

are insulting to both genders, as well as being grossly overstated.

dschiptsov 2 days ago 2 replies      
My personal favorite example:


She wrote org-mode for Emacs. Now she is at IBM Research.

sebcat 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Guys are fascinated and scared by girls who roll up their sleeves and take on a job that society labels as “men's work”"

Actually, I'm fascinated and scared by all IT people who roll up their sleeves and do manual labour.

gaving 2 days ago 0 replies      

    When I started as a developer in the UK I earned a bit less than £30k a year
and wondered: How can whole families live of this? How can anyone save money
for a mortgage?


It might sound arrogant but since I am an IT contractor I don't have to think
twice about that Halston Heritage dress I fell in love with the other day, I
just buy it.

Yeah, you're right, that does sound arrogant.

talmir 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is a nice article. Interesting read for me as a male programmer. But this line kinda caught my eye under the "Gender-advantage" headline:

"If a male and a female developer with a similar skill level apply for a job, I bet that in 99.9% of the cases the girl will get the job."

This is a problem.

nantes 1 day ago 0 replies      
jayc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can we please stop making generalizations about women in tech and go back to discussing and upvoting articles about technology again?

a female developer

dmansen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Men of HN: please tell more people what you think is and isn't sexist. It's good, your input on the matter is valuable and important.
gprasanth 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Guys are fascinated and scared by girls who roll up their sleeves and take on a job that society labels as “men's work”"

I always opined that, "women have a lot of emotional strength". You can just imagine how difficult it is to take care of, and raise a toddler. It is so hard. But, somehow women are naturally good at this, and I am just as fascinated by this fact.

yock 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry for being off-topic, but why in the world would the net filter here at work have blocked this as "adult content?"
wavesounds 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can anyone recommend some of the "tech superstars" to follow on twitter that she mentions?
nazgulnarsil 2 days ago 3 replies      
I suspect a big driving factor is that being forced to be around tons of low status guys all the time is literally worse than hitler for women.
tete 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is maybe the best article I've ever found on HN.
Richard Stallman: Let's Limit the Effect of Software Patents wired.com
347 points by mtgx  2 days ago   97 comments top 19
runningdogx 2 days ago 10 replies      
This makes no sense. Is Stallman so focused on software that he isn't considering the implications of continuing to apply broken software patents to hardware?

FPGAs? Is an algorithm implemented on a FPGA a software or hardware implementation?

Sufficiently popular software algorithms like mpeg4 (including avc) are often implemented in ASICs for speed. Stallman's suggestion does nothing to help in those cases.

What if Intel introduces new instructions that assist with some patented algorithm but do not carry out the complete algorithm? Software completes the algorithm using the chip instruction. Is that covered under Stallman's software patent immunity proposal?

The dichotomy between software implementations and hardware implementations is unhelpful. If you oppose software patents on principle, whether because you think they're harmful or because you think they're math and are not supposed to be patentable in the first place, why let the camel's nose into the tent by campaigning to allow hardware (ASIC?) implementation patents, but not allowing pure-software implementations?

Perhaps this is better framed as an economic argument. If cost were no object, more algorithms would be implemented in ASICs. There's a limit to the total chip area you'd want to fit into a computer, but a lot of algorithms could be implemented in a few custom ASICs. It's likely that some of those algorithms would be covered by patents. Stallman's proposal seems like discrimination against algorithms that are important enough to make faster execution worth a lot of money.

If software patents are not valid, and I don't believe they are valid, then allowing them to apply to hardware implementations is just applying a band-aid and punting on the real issue. Stallman's proposal may be pragmatic, in that it reduces risk to most start-ups and other entities worried about violating patents in software, but it sustains the confusion about what software patents are and whether they can be valid. I think there's more at stake than the money at issue in patent lawsuits every year. I think broad appreciation of the value of open culture, and recognition that algorithms should be part of that, is worth more than any extra value companies might be able to extract from hardware implementations of patented algorithms due to artificial monopolies created by patent protection.

redsymbol 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is really impressive. It's a cogent, insightful articulation of the current situation, including the realistic constraints (e.g. that Supreme Court ruling re: private privileges), and a practical suggested solution that could actually be implemented in the current political environment. Don't always agree with Stallman, but this one's well done.
EGreg 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here are a few reasons why the patent system isn't useful for software:
A) Almost no one in the industry comes up with innovative solutions to problems by reading software patents from the last 20 years. They do it by implementing their own solutions or improving existing solutions.

B) There is already a powerful force that has promoted innovation in software much more than patents, and that is open source. In fact, most of the web sites on the internet are powered by a stack of open source software. Therefore, innovation would take place in this industry even if the government didn't offer a 20 year monopoly to anyone who can disclose a non obvious idea to the public.

C) The purpose of patents is to promote innovation by encouraging the inventor to disclose the details of the intention to the public, in exchange for a 17-20 year monopoly on the implementation of the invention. However, since the industry moves so fast, inventions which are not obvious when patented become extremely obvious "incremental improvements" several years later. This combined with A completely defeats the positive side (to the public) of the compromise, but keeps the negative side of the compromise -- namely the monopoly. The latter costs society in the form of litigations, intimidation of small companies, and injunctions against useful products made by big corporations.

D) Software patents encourage patent trolls to file an invention and lie in wait, or sell the patent to someone who will lie in wait. Meanwhile, they discourage actually implementing technology, because it can infringe on any number of patented inventions. We all realize how much implementation and execution is more important than a mere idea. Thus, it might actually be thwarting the very thing that it's supposed to promote: actual implementation. In the words of Fred Wilson, it is a "tax on innovation".

E) By contrast, open source encourages actual IMPLEMENTORS of software to not only disclose the effect to the public, but release a functional piece of software which actually implements the innovations. Moreover, many Free Software licenses compel those who make use of this software to release their own software in turn. The result is people building on each other's work, promoting implementation and execution over simply disclosing ideas. This aligns much better with the interests of society at large -- and the original purpose for patents.

F) The industry moves too fast for the patent office to keep up not only with the state of the art (they have almost no chance), but even the state of PRIOR ART, leading to many patents being granted that don't satisfy the obviousness or prior art requirements. Sometimes dozens of patents are approved for the exact same thing. As a result, the cost to society is pushed into the legal sector, causing lengthy court proceedings rather than patent office actions.

G) When a small company is sued, even by a patent which can be invalidated, it can often be intimidated into entering a settlement (an unfair situation), or in fact defeated because it didn't have the funds to find the prior art. But even in cases where there was no prior art and the patented invention was in fact not obvious, chances are 99% of the time the "infringing" implementation was developed completely unaware of the patent's existence. See points A, and C. Therefore, the positive side of the compromise (to the public) was completely superfluous, but the negative side hits with full force and effect (see point F).

H) Large companies now spend billions of dollars to acquire patent portfolios for purposes of intimidation, defense against ... patent litigation, and anticompetitive practices -- by which I mean not competing on actual quality and price of the products, but rather trying to artificially reduce the quality and increase the price of the competing products. The costs to the consumer are obvious. Moreover, the costs to shareholders include money that will never be used for actual innovation, but simply the above purposes.

All in all, there are many reasons to abolish software patents in the USA.

sounds 2 days ago 4 replies      
tl;dr: "We should legislate that developing, distributing, or running a program on generally used computing hardware does not constitute patent infringement."

He goes on to say "generally used computing hardware" is the opposite of "special-purpose hardware" but I think that definition needs to be really explicit.

Of course then, would anyone in Congress actually pass such a bill?

kevingranade 1 day ago 0 replies      
No one seems to have picked up on the strategic impact of the proposal, it neatly excludes many of the more sympathetic pro-patent entities from the picture, in particular the pharmaceutical industry and hardware manufacturers. They needn't bother to oppose it, because it has no effect on them, whereas they may oppose further barriers to granting patents on principle just in case it affects them.

Personally I'm not extremely in favor, as I'm anti-patent/copyright in general, but it makes sense for someone whose primary goal is software freedom.

growingconcern 2 days ago 2 replies      
Surprisingly realistic suggestion from the "radical" Richard Stallman.
6ren 2 days ago 0 replies      
rms did a great job with GPL, fighting copyright with copyright - though v3, with patent conditions, has not seen universal adoption (because too late? or a more fundamental problem?)

A distinction with surgeons is their work is not reproducible at near-zero cost; so shielding affects only n surgeons, not all developers and their users (i.e. "most people"). Also, people generally don't die because developers can't code a particular technique. He might get a foothold in software in surgical equipment, but I bet the shield doesn't apply to them.

zmmmmm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like his suggestion, and it's rare to actually hear a new idea in how to resolve the patent problem.

However I find it odd that in the preamble he points out Apple, but presumably something like an iPhone would easily fall into the class of special purpose computing equipment, so Apple's case would be unaffected by it. In fact, it might even encourage mobile phone platforms to become more locked down and restrictive so as to avoid falling into the definition of a "general purpose" computer. Thus there could be a very dangerous backfiring of this if the definitions were not clear and broad.

batgaijin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Personally I think the FSF should go full dystopia: promote and strengthen software patents.

They are so influential right now, and are changing the very fate of the infrastructure of this planet.

It isn't just about money, it's about how the whole ecosystem is poisoned. Either there needs to be massive reform sponsored by the major corps. or small countries will start to break out of treaties to promote "IP freedom" for shell corps.

lumberjack 2 days ago 2 replies      
Perhaps it's because I'm tired and I'm not understanding correctly but what is the practical difference between Stallman's suggestion and simply abolishing software patents?
edouard1234567 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't agree with Richard. I don't see the case for treating "software" and "hardware" differently.
Patents were invented as a way to protect intellectual property and to derive revenue from it. They are an incentive for innovation. They're just being abused mostly by patent trolls.

Patent trolls acquire a large number of bogus patents, sue companies and in most cases settle confidentially. Most companies don't like risk especially when their core business process is threatened. So they settle even if there's a good chance the patent could be challenged. It's not a fair fight...

To limit this abuse we could make patents non transferable meaning you can sell the right to use the invention but you cannot sell the invention. Some will argue that patent trolls could work on behalf of inventors to help them enforce their patents but I think most inventors are more reasonable than the lawyers specializing in patent trolling. There might also be a way to mitigate this risk with some regulation, ideas?

rumcajz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice. If there is a hardware patenet, just re-implement it in software and you are safe.
teyc 2 days ago 3 replies      
I suggest that rather than limiting effects of patents, it is easier to exclude obvious ideas. By this, if two identical ideas are submitted as patents within a designated time frame, then the patent is not novel enough.

This has several advantages:

1. The number of educated people have risen considerably that we are filing more patents in a decade than the past 100 years. Even if there weren't patent protection, ideas will still continue to be created. By getting rid of the first past the post problem, we are effectively saying we will not grant an exclusive patent for something that someone else could have invented.

2. This scheme does not impact on the R&D that requires long term investment. e.g. pharmaceuticals.

3. It makes "idea patents" easy to invalidate. e.g. using a phone to play music.

pootch 2 days ago 1 reply      
In a recent job interview I was asked to code a doubly linked list as part of the coding part of the interview. Linked lists are patented, did me implementing this break the law?
wheelerwj 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am not very familiar with software patents, just business process work.

If you write a program in say... python which is open source. You can patent that program even though your work is based of something that is publicly available? Or can you only patent additional libraries/new languages?

comex 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why the comments here are saying this is a "practical", realistic solution. This sort of legal trick might help deal with the law as it stands (personally, I'd much rather see algorithms made unpatentable and wait 20 years), but a vastly greater obstacle is convincing Congress (or a court) that these patents should be eliminated in the first place.
monochromatic 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is about as likely to happen as a law that comes right out and invalidates software patents. Or ends women's suffrage. Or requires everyone to wear blue pants on Thursdays, under penalty of death.

It's an interesting thought experiment, but treating it as more than that is a mistake.

naturalethic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yo Richard, just get rid of IP and everything fits.
marshallp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Stallman's behind the times, data is where the action is. He shuld be advocating for open data, software is so yesterday.
512 Paths to the White House nytimes.com
338 points by jashkenas  1 day ago   148 comments top 19
cletus 1 day ago 15 replies      
Well I guess it's that time in the cycle again: for people to complain about the electoral college (disclaimer: I'm not American).

Over the years in different elections in different countries I've heard this complaint [1]

> The electoral college is incredibly unfair to voters who live in states that lean opposite their view.


> It's unfair that I don't get my way even though I'm in the minority.

Also, this isn't just an election for president. There are Senate (in 2 out of 3 elections) and Congressional races, probably local races too.

But let me address the common "solution" for this "problem": the popular volte (for president). That is a terrible idea.

The electoral college doesn't only exist for the reasons of state rights (although that's a pretty big part of it). It exists to avoid a deadlock. The delegate almost without exception vote as their state did. The possibility of no decision coming out of the electoral college is practically zero.

For those of you who were paying attention in 2000, just look at what a mess Florida became. Now watch me get downvoted into oblivion (but that doesn't make me any less right) but the optional nature of the US voting system has resulted in:

- the left buying votes (cigarettes to homeless people, that sort of thing); and

- the right trying to disenfranchise groups that tend to vote left with such measures as removing the right of felons to vote (and even people who aren't felons).

HOWEVER, by the rules that were in place at the time of the election Florida was always a Bush win (seriously, please don't downvote siimply because you disagree). Even extensive analysis (by the likes of the New York Times, etc) after the fact supports this.

My point was that Florida turned into a circus of trying to change the rules after the fact (eg what constitutes a vote, the whole dimpled and pregnant chad business). You just can't do that.

Imagine that circus on a national level with an incredibly close popular vote.

On a personal note, as someone who resides in New York, one of the most expensive media markets in a state that is safely blue, I appreciate the minimal amount of election ads.

Anyway, the electoral college is not the problem here. There are however two glaring problems (IMHO):

1. Voting is optional;

2. Elections are first-past-the-post ("FPTP").

The argument for (1) is that mandatory voting leads to uninformed people voting. I assure you that uninformed people are already voting.

Voter turnout nationally is something like 50% (IIRC). Of those 40% always vote Democrat, 40% always vote Republican and the 20% in the middle decide the election. So 10% of the population is deciding the election even key states.

The problem with optional voting is it creates the wrong incentives. Measures like voter ID, removing felons right to votes are a consequence of this. If voting were mandatory (as it is in Australia) then a lot of these problems go away. Also, in many parts of the US it is hard to vote with long lines. It should be moved to a Saturday but this difficulty is, in many places, a natural consequence of voting being optional. Election officials are partisans too so you shouldn't be surprised if a right-leaning official under-resources an area with a lot of poor people.

As for (2) the problem is that this reinforces a two-party system. A vote for a minor party is often a vote for the other side (eg voting for the Greens is a vote that would probably otherwise go to a Democrat so is effectively a vote for the Republicans).

Australia has a preferential voting system. Given a field of 5 candidates you number then 1 to 5. When votes are counted you allocate all the "1"s. The candiate with the least number of "1"s is eliminated and their votes are distributed to the "2"s. This continues until something has more than 50% of the vote.

This means you could vote [1] Green [2] Democrat [3] Republican and protest the Democrat candidate without losing your vote.

One last point, as much as people focus on key states deciding the election, the reality is that the states are on a spectrum based on the popular vote. If a Republican wins the popular vote by 8% or more they'll probably carry California, otherwise they won't. A Democrat will have to win by 5-8% to carry Texas. When the popular vote is close, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin are in play. Were it not close they wouldn't be.

Over time states change their "bias". For example, Florida is becoming more Democratic with retirees from blue states in the Northeast. California used to be a safe red state but is now safely blue. These changes aren't sudden and the variations possible are actually quite small.

Whatever the case, the popular vote at the national level would be a disaster.

[1]: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4736105

mbostock 1 day ago 3 replies      
A couple hidden features: 1. You can option-click on any of the buttons to see the transition in super slo-mo. (This was mainly for debugging, but it's fun to see how the transitions work in more detail.) 2. You can double-click on any part of the tree, and it will zoom in by one level.

Also, we did a variation that used state-level probabilities to weight the tree. This gave a sense not just of the logical possibilities, but of the likelihood of each, which I liked. However, the FiveThirtyEight state-level probabilities are not fully independent, so you can't multiply them together to compute conditional probabilities. Perhaps next election!

nextstep 1 day ago 4 replies      
Damn, I wish I lived in one of the states that gets to choose our president.
protomyth 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want more campaigning in your area, then start a petition and vote for a change to your state's constitution to allocate electoral votes by house district. This is a change that could happen if your state wants it.

I believe on real problem is the state's voice is not heard in DC and a lot of crap is done that is not in the State's best interest. I wish they would repeal the Seventeenth Amendment so people would concentrate a lot more on the State's politics. Or perhaps, replace the senators with the sitting governor. Then the Senate would think about the state's budget and regulation burden before passing things.

cedrichurst 1 day ago 2 replies      
Thanks Jeremy, Shan and Mike. I'm continually blown away by the data journalism you're doing over at nytimes on the election. It's truly an inspiration.
ck2 1 day ago 1 reply      
The five ways to tie are the most freaky and stressful.

The only problem with this nifty tree is that it must be followed in order to determine the outcome.

Oh wait, I didn't realize the boxes at the top were selectable. I guess that allows out-of-order traversal.

Only thing I'd like to see added to this is using url hash to bookmark the result set so I can share it.

robomartin 1 day ago 6 replies      
The electoral college is incredibly unfair to voters who live in states that lean opposite their view.

I fully understand that the popular vote option has its issues (focusing on large population areas, etc.). However, a lot of this can be mitigated through legislation and regulation of the process.

Here's a random set of ideas:

- Candidates are only allowed to visit each state capital once. That's it.

- Candidates are not allowed to trash the other candidates. They are only allowed to discuss their views.

- Candidates are awarded an amount of money to run their campaigns. No external contributions from any source whatsoever. None.

- Candidates must participate in detailed interviews for a period of several weeks. Some of these interviews are aired in national networks and the rest made available online.

- Candidates are obligated to participate in detailed debates

- Television networks are prohibited from endorsing or communicating bias

- The publication of poll data is illegal

- A candidate must post a huge bond. If he or she is found telling lies they end-up in prison and have huge financial consequences.

- Campaign promises are recorded and signed in a document that is publicly available. A politician that does not deliver on promises made is exposed to financial and criminal liability. Don't make promises you can't keep.

- Public endorsement of any candidate is illegal. They have to float and survive on their platform and track record.

- The incumbent is not allowed to campaign in any way at all. His or her opponents cannot trash him/her. The incumbent can only rely on having done a good job and kept promises. People will vote and want to keep someone who is doing a good job. The only thing they are allowed to do is announce their running for office and participate in scheduled debates or interviews.

- Politicians are limited to serving in public office for a certain period of time, perhaps ten years. After that they must return to private life --no connection whatsoever to government and politics-- for five years before they can run for office again. This is to infuse balance and perspective and not have a race of politicians, by politicians and for politicians.

There are probably a number of other interesting ideas out there. What we have it horribly broken in many ways. It'd be nice to see real dialog and actions to change it.

mistercow 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Fascinatingly, 84% of these scenarios are Obama wins, which is surprisingly closeto fivethirtyeight's current projection of 85%.
tomasien 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think this is a great way to explain to someone who's not intimately familiar with electoral politics why people think Obama is going to win despite razor thing polls. Predictions mean nothing of course but:

If Obama wins Florida, Romney has exactly 1 path to victory: winning every other swing state. If Obama wins Ohio, Romney has only 11 ways to win. If Obama loses Florida, Virginia, NC, and Ohio he could still potentially win if he wins the rest of the swing states, all of which he's slightly ahead in in recent polling.

Election day will be interesting, but that's what makes it hard to pundits to predict a Romney victory.

seldo 1 day ago 1 reply      
A really great way to show why Ohio is so important:

1. Give the democrats Wisconsin (I don't know why people are treating it as a swing state)

2. Give the democrats Ohio

3. Give the democrats any other state (except New Hampshire)

Basically, as long as Obama takes Ohio, Obama wins.

ianstormtaylor 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know if I should be as scared as I am that there are 5 paths to tie? Is that the norm in a presidential election? because it sounds crazy.
nhebb 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is interesting, but it leaves out Pennsylvania. Penn is a long shot for Romney, but the Romney campaign's internal polling must indicate that it's in play, otherwise they wouldn't be spending time in the final weekend campaigning there.
cincinnatus12 1 day ago 0 replies      
The argument that the EC is there to the avoid a deadlock situation is quite inaccurate. In fact, given there are only 538 EC votes to distribute, the likelihood of a tie (269-269) is much, much higher than the likelihood of a tie in the popular vote (where in 2008 both candidates received > 50 million votes). Nate Silver's 538 blog estimates the current chances of a EC "deadlock" at 0.2% -- small, yes, but not so small as to ignore the possibility entirely.

The "solution" under this scenario? If the election doesn't produce a candidate with 270 or more electoral college votes, the race gets decided by the House of Representatives. Can you imagine the reaction if Obama won the popular vote, but only received 269 EC votes and then the (Republican) House awarded the election to Romney?

There is precedent for this, of course. The 1824 election saw Andrew Jackson getting a plurality in both the popular vote and the Electoral College, but not a majority in either. Ultimately, a Congress hostile to Jackson would award to the Presidency to his arch-rival, John Quincy Adams. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_elec...

In terms of worrying about deadlock, a simple popular vote total is far superior than any permutation of the Electoral College.

tisme 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is all window dressing. Elections do not decide who wins. Funding does. And as long as corporations can outspend private citizens companies decide elections.

If you wanted to reform elections in the USA then you would have to start to curb the direct influence of corporations on the elections, compared to that the electoral college is a minor detail.

ecmendenhall 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you're sufficiently convinced by this, the 538 model, or your favorite electoral vote map, and you are willing to bet your beliefs (and you are in a jurisdiction that has not regulated prediction markets out of existence), Intrade contracts on an Obama victory were trading around $6.70 today.
ninetax 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is amazing! It's everything a visualization should be: simple, to the point, interactive.
trueluk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure why Nebraska's second congressional district isn't included. According to FiveThirtyEight, Obama's chance (14%) of winning one vote from Nebraska is higher than Romney's chance (11%) of winning Nevada. As a matter of fact, the last FiveThirtyEight visualization I saw linked here (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4657826) didn't include the one electoral vote Obama won in 2008 from Nebraska either.
marcamillion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I LOVE this. I have always wondered what such a visualization might look like. Now, when the results come in, I can be my very own 'electoral college pundit' and be right :)
theltrj 23 hours ago 0 replies      
is there a library out there that mimics this visualization? very powerful stuff
Apple told to rewrite "Samsung didn't copy", post on front page until Dec 14th engadget.com
298 points by cskau  3 days ago   232 comments top 29
grellas 2 days ago 1 reply      
In July, 2012, Samsung had won a judgment in the UK to the effect that its Galaxy Tab computers did not infringe Apple's registered design.

In spite of this, Apple continued to assert, broadly and widely, that Samsung's tablet computers did in fact constitute blatant copying of Apple's design and was therefore wrongful.

Therefore, Samsung went to the court trying to get an injunction barring Apple from making such claims because the claims were causing commercial harm to Samsung within the UK and thereby were negating the effect of the judgment won by Samsung.

Alternatively, Samsung sought a publication order requiring Apple to publicize the fact of the judgment on a long list of Apple websites as well as in certain financial publications. The idea of this order was to clear the confusion created by Apple's continued claims of illegal copying notwithstanding that it had lost on this issue in the UK courts.

The judge hearing the follow-up proceeding issued a very thoughtful ruling (found here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/2049.html) that in fact denied Samsung's request for an injunction against Apple's being able to claim illegal copying. The judge acknowledged the inherent unfairness of barring a party that had lost in a court proceeding from contesting the ruling and from publicly claiming that the ruling was wrong. It thus agreed with Apple that Apple should not be muzzled in asserting its legal right to speak.

The judge then turned to the more limited request made by Samsung for the publication order and described it as follows: "Samsung say that, notwithstanding the fact that Apple have lost this case, they continue to assert that Samsung infringes and that the damage that was caused and has been described there continues to apply. Accordingly, Samsung seek orders that I should require Apple to put on their websites and to put in certain newspapers references to this judgment and a statement that the court has found that the Samsung Galaxy tablets do not infringe." The judge went on to say that he believed "there is a useful purpose in a clear public statement that a product alleged by a rights holder to infringe those rights does not infringe," reasoning that "[t]he more frequently and the more loudly a rights holder has asserted infringement, the more useful it is to have a clear public statement to the contrary."

So, the whole point of the order was to ensure that Apple made a clear public statement to the effect that a UK court had ruled that the Galaxy Tab did not infringe Apple's registered design. Nothing in the order prevented Apple from continuing to assert that it was right and that the UK decision was wrong. Apple had full scope to make these assertions as and when it wanted and has obviously been making them freely.

At the same time, Apple was required to make the clear public statement called for by the follow-on order. Apple appealed this follow-on order and lost. It therefore had exhausted its remedies within the relevant court system and was left with the requirement that it comply.

That is when it purportedly complied by placing a teeny link buried at the bottom of its UK home page that linked to a text that, within the disclosure itself, bombarded the reader with all the reasons why Samsung really did infringe notwithstanding the UK judgment that had been rendered against Apple.

A few thoughts:

1. This conduct by Apple did not merely violate the "spirit" of the order. It clearly violated the order itself. Where Apple had been ordered to make a clear public statement publicizing the fact of the UK judgment, Apple had in fact offered up an obscure link to a statement full of argumentative statements aimed at creating obvious doubt about the question of non-infringement.

2. Apple did this in a context where the order had given it free scope to argue all it liked about its free speech rights to contest the original judgment and to continue claiming infringement on grounds that it disagreed with that judgment. Instead of accepting the order on its terms, Apple went way out of its way to undercut the limited disclosure that it had been required to make.

3. Lawyers say, "pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered," meaning that when a litigant gets too greedy, it risks having its legal proceeding go badly wrong. Apple had been given a reasonable accommodation by the court addressing its legitimate concerns but it was not content to settle for that. It wanted to do nothing that might acknowledge that Samsung had legitimate issues as well - issues that had been found valid by a UK court and affirmed on appeal. Therefore, Apple decided to respond in a way it deemed clever, in effect defying the judicial authorities who had ruled against it.

4. We can each judge for ourselves whether this was smart or not. My view is that it is conduct unbecoming of lawyers (and of Apple as the principal in the case) and, indeed, is an outrageous affront to judicial authority. Courts and judges are not always right but, when they rule against you and you exhaust your appeals, you had better comply. If you think you are above the law in the sense that you need not comply, you will regret it. Those of us who are mere mortals need to live by these rules. So too does Apple.

chrisacky 3 days ago 5 replies      

    Apple tried to argue that it would take at least 14 days
to put a corrective statement on the site " a claim that
one judge said he "cannot believe".[1]

Clearly the judge hasn't ever submitted an iOS app for review?

And to people who don't understand why Apple are held to be in "non-compliance" despite copying verbatim the extract from the judgment: it was because of how "snarky" Apple were.

- Saying their device is much more popular.

- Signing off by disregarding the purpose of the statement: "Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad."

- Saying that Samsung's device is "not as cool".

- Not using the correct font size. (Although, I don't care about this point)

- Dedicating 80%~ of the statement to supporting their claims in other jurisdictions... and brushing past the verbatim copied statement.

Apple were ordered to factually represent the judgment in a statement issued on their website.
They cherry picked quotes, out of context and attempted to create confusion in any readers, with the intention of misleading them as to the judges present ruling.

    [1] : http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/nov/01/apple-samsung-statement

nagrom 3 days ago 5 replies      
A lot of the posts that are saying something like "The judge didn't say that they couldn't do it like this!" are deliberately missing the point. In the UK, you are expected to comply with the spirit of such a court order, not just the letter of it. Try and pay a court fine with bins full of loose change and see what happens.

It's entirely possible to be punished for contempt of court to a much greater extent than the lesser offence. Deliberately choosing to behave in a childish manner and annoy a judge is a dangerous game to play and can be self-defeating. Apple's lawyers should have known this and should have advised them against it. It would have cost them nothing to comply with the ruling properly in the first place; they are now cutting their nose off to spite their face.

masnick 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here's what Apple wrote -- somehow I'm guessing this isn't what the court had in mind.

From http://www.apple.com/uk/legal-judgement/:

Samsung / Apple UK judgment

On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited's Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple's registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High court is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html.

In the ruling, the judge made several important points comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products:

"The extreme simplicity of the Apple design is striking. Overall it has undecorated flat surfaces with a plate of glass on the front all the way out to a very thin rim and a blank back. There is a crisp edge around the rim and a combination of curves, both at the corners and the sides. The design looks like an object the informed user would want to pick up and hold. It is an understated, smooth and simple product. It is a cool design."

"The informed user's overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool."

That Judgment has effect throughout the European Union and was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 18 October 2012. A copy of the Court of Appeal's judgment is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1339.html. There is no injunction in respect of the registered design in force anywhere in Europe.

However, in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design. A U.S. jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design and utility patents, awarding over one billion U.S. dollars in damages to Apple Inc. So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad.

bitdiffusion 3 days ago 2 replies      
This attempt at being "clever" has definitely backfired on apple. If they had just done what was asked the first time, that would have been the end of it. Now it has to be dredged up and people will be reminded (again) that they lost the case. I find it hard to believe that their lawyers advised them that they would get away with something like this.
denzil_correa 3 days ago 1 reply      
Judge Robin Jacob's comments on

On Apple's legal notice posted

   “I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this,” Judge Robin Jacob said today. “That is a plain breach of the order.”

On Technical Difficulties to take 14 days to change the notice

   “I would like to see the head of Apple make an affidavit setting out the technical difficulties which means Apple can't put this on” their website, Jacob said. “I just can't believe the instructions you've been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?”


codeulike 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its important to understand that they weren't asked to publish an 'apology' or state any beliefs. They were asked to publish a specifically worded statement of fact about the outcome of the case.

What they were asked to publish is roughly the first and fifth paragraphs of what they actually published. They added four other paragraphs.

Points 87 and 88 of the appeal judgement here say what they should have published:


Which is:

On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited's Galaxy Tablet Computers, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple's registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High court is available on the following link [link given].

That Judgment has effect throughout the European Union and was upheld by the Court of Appeal on (date). A copy of the Court of Appeal's judgment is available on the following link [link given]. There is no injunction in respect of the registered design in force anywhere in Europe.

Contrast with what they actually published: http://www.apple.com/uk/legal-judgement/

StavrosK 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here's the original page:


It's basically "The UK court found Samsung non infringing, but said our products are great, and other courts found them infringing.". Far from an apology.

js2 3 days ago 0 replies      
The engadget link adds nothing to the original reporting - http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/nov/01/apple-samsu...
bstar77 3 days ago 6 replies      
Did the court seriously think ANY COMPANY would have reacted differently than Apple did? This is a childish and completely unproductive order. Fine Apple and be over with it if you think they did something wrong.
DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apple needs to be a bit careful.

Patent claims are civil, and have fines or other gentle punishments attached.

Contempt of court is criminal, and people do get sent to jail for it.

benologist 3 days ago 1 reply      
AOL "journalist" told to reword "The Guardian's article":


duiker101 3 days ago 0 replies      
Act like a 6 year old and you will be treated like one from someone with a little brain. Don't take the judge for a stupid. You'll regret it.
ortusdux 3 days ago 0 replies      
My first thought when I read the Samsung letter:


macmac 3 days ago 0 replies      
“I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this,” Judge Robin Jacob said today. “That is a plain breach of the order.”
kybernetikos 3 days ago 3 replies      
Did you notice that the css class that controls the link size on the uk home page is called 'sosumi'?
pfortuny 2 days ago 0 replies      
To those saying that Apple "complied"... Do you think Apple would have complied if the text were in #FEFEFE over #FFFFFF in a page including, say "buy iPhone and be happy!" in clear #000000 and a Photo of Steve?

It would be literally complying:
The text would be there to be read, anyway.

confluence 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's not like it even matters. Apple is dead, and these are just their final gasps of air.

Apple is pulling the Edison maneuver to protect their rapidly dwindling monopoly on mobile consumer hardware - and they will lose because Tesla (aka Android) is better for both the industry and consumers.

Android is open, Android is iOS equivalent, Android is cheap, Android is backed by the rest of the world's electronic mobile manufacturers. Apple can't win - the world is now chasing their profits with ravenous rage and hundreds of billions of dollars in invested capital. They will be commoditized because all they sell, and all they have ever sold, was glass with a grey backs. The only thing that protected Apple - really protected them was iOS. Those apps made Apple. And the openness of Android will commoditize them.

Apple can shock elephants (ban tablets) and write false accusations about the merits of AC (Samsung sucks) all they want - it doesn't change the fact that their monopoly in mobile hardware is in a terminal and rapid death spiral.

Samsung made Apple. And Samsung will destroy them for the fundamental reason that style can and will be copied vociferously for the betterment of the consumer, but the substance behind it cannot.

Glass with grey backs are commodity. Market saturation is imminent. Competitive equivalence has occured.

michaelfeathers 3 days ago 3 replies      
The article said that the judge ordered Apple to say that "Samsung did not copy their design." Apple, essentially, said that the court ruled that Samsung did not copy its design.

That is factually correct. I don't see how anyone can be compelled to make the former statement rather than the latter one.

spullara 2 days ago 1 reply      
Kind of ridiculous. Samsung obviously did copy, the court just ruled that it didn't merit an infringement ruling. I mean, does anyone think, really, that Samsung didn't set out to copy all of Apple's products? Wouldn't it be better for all (except Apple) if it was spelled out that Samsung copied them but it is ok?
michaelfeathers 3 days ago 3 replies      
Do US Courts ever make judgements like this? It's akin to compelling speech.
levesque 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is silly.
mokash 2 days ago 0 replies      
I saw this coming. Their 'apology' was just another thinly veiled stab at Samsung. They're simply coming off as childish and immature now. They're not exactly getting into the good-books of that judge which would have worked in their favour if they ever encountered him again which judging by their history and mantra of 'sue everything' is highly likely.
stock_toaster 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ugh. Apple stories really bring out the worst in HackerNews.

makes a note to avoid reading such threads in the future

clarky07 3 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like BS to me. They put the judgement on their site, and then they put other things on THEIR site. As long as the put the piece they wanted them to put, they should be able to do anything else they want. If they think the statements made make for good marketing pieces, why shouldn't they be able to put them on their website.

All this is besides the point that the UK is in the minority in their ruling, and the US case did a pretty good job of showing that Samsung did in fact copy Apple, and said so many times in internal communications.

coob 3 days ago 7 replies      
How is it non-compliant? It uses the exact wording in the judgment, which did not state that there could not be additions.
jusben1369 2 days ago 0 replies      
People. Top post? For hours? 165 comments and counting? For a legal spat in the UK? For every post that claims the top spot there's one that fails to get noticed.

These articles are our "Brad and Angelina" equivalents.

drizzo4shizzo 3 days ago 0 replies      
They'll probably put Ironic Hipster quotes around "copy"
metatronscube 3 days ago 3 replies      
The UK legal system is a complete joke. Apple should consider using its considerable resources to take legal action with this demand and simply post " X is not as cool as Y" and leave it at that. I can not fathom why this has been pulled up, and would challenge the appeals court to explain why the original passage is non-compliant and if they cant give a reasonable answer I would be meeting them in court.
Google's most advanced voice search has arrived on iOS googleblog.blogspot.com
295 points by cleverjake  4 days ago   184 comments top 48
jpxxx 4 days 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.

Gring 4 days 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.

danso 4 days 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:

wisty 4 days 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.

confluence 4 days 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.

ChuckMcM 4 days 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.
timothya 4 days 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.

gfodor 4 days 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.

snowwrestler 4 days 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.

k-mcgrady 4 days 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.
drivebyacct2 4 days 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.

mikebo 4 days ago 2 replies      
Ask it "how much wood would a woodchuck chuck ... " and prepare to laugh.
siglesias 4 days 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.
notlisted 4 days 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)

modarts 4 days ago 1 reply      
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)
_djo_ 4 days 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)'.

mtgx 4 days 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.
kristofferR 4 days 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.

kcoop 4 days 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.

jpalomaki 4 days 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.

mburshteyn 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Siri, open the Google Search App."
hnriot 4 days 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!
nachteilig 4 days 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!

6ren 4 days 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

mark_l_watson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. I was pissed that Siri was not available for my iPad 2 but this works well. Nice!
equark 4 days ago 3 replies      
Impressively fast. Is the voice recognition being done exclusively on Google's servers or is there a local component?
koof 4 days ago 1 reply      
Heavily considering Android now after this.
vitalique 4 days 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.
bobbles 4 days 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!

smackfu 4 days 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.

lobster45 4 days ago 1 reply      
This may be a stupid question, but is there an equivalent Android app?
sherwin 4 days 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.

saddino 4 days 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.
le_isms 4 days 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.
metatronscube 4 days 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.

leberwurstsaft 4 days 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.

Osmium 4 days 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.

chj 4 days 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.

sbochins 4 days 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!!!"
poundy 4 days ago 2 replies      
It does not read the results back to me. Is there something wrong with my settings?
Achshar 4 days 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.
khangtoh 4 days 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.
joshfraser 4 days ago 1 reply      
A few fun things to ask:

"Who made you?", "Tell me a joke?", "Who am I?",
"Will you marry me?"

akosner 4 days 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-...
mcrider 4 days 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?
senthilnayagam 4 days 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

dapvincent 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been waiting for this feature since I upgraded to an iPhone...
ecliptic 4 days 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.
Fine, eBay. Here's your $2. I hope you choke on it. danhulton.com
287 points by DanHulton  2 days ago   120 comments top 36
jkubicek 2 days ago 4 replies      
Scammers, confusing auction settings, limited integration with paypal despite owning them, terrible invoice generation, image uploads that don't work without Flash, etc. I despise eBay.

That being said, I'm surprised nobody mentioned selling on Amazon. Blindingly easy to setup your sale, if you choose the lowest price on a popular good someone will buy it within the hour. Amazon will generate an invoice and mailing label for you, plus deduct shipping charges from your payout. Scammers are mildly annoying, but they waste very little of your time and don't cost you any money.

I've sold a few iPhones and an iPad on Amazon and it has been great. I'll never sell items anywhere else if I can possibly help it.

Edit: in addition to the iPhones/iPad, I've sold a few games and other electronics on Amazon. Out of maybe 10 sales, two were "bought" by scammers. Amazon sends me an email saying that someone purchased my item, but they may be a fraudulent account. Do not send anything until Amazon confirms that they are valid. It's such an easy, friendly process.

jeffyee 2 days ago 3 replies      
A big problem with casual selling on ebay is you don't know what you don't know until you've already been screwed. I sold some iTunes gift cards and provided the redemption code from the card after I received payment. We both left positive feedback for each other (he already had 18 feedback).

A month or so later, the buyer put a chargeback on their credit card, got their money back from paypal, and I had no recourse. Worse still, Paypal charged ME $50 more because of the chargeback! Despite my sending them the code (which they requested, and through ebays messaging system), I had to have delivery confirmation from a shipper to prove I sent it. Even though they have the messages proving the delivery/receipt, too bad for me. I tried calling paypal, and that got nowhere. They said something like "sorry, it will cost $200 to investigate the chargeback further, so it's probably not worth it". I told them I'd write it off to my not understanding their policy on "seller protection", but at least do something about the scammers account. Of course they said they couldn't, nor could the refund any of the fees.

So now I'm out the $30 for my item, $50 more because paypal incurred a chargeback, plus ebay fees, plus the guy got positive feedback and went on to do this to other people! Totally incredulous.

Instead of blogging about it though, I've decided to build a company to compete with ebay. Wish me luck =)

luke_s 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wanted to provide somewhat of a counterpoint " I have been using e-bay (Australia) for about 7 years. I sell all kinds of stuff ranging from a broken bookcase for $1, which I didn't want to haul to the tip, all the way up to a boat for $950. I also run a small business selling items via a website and my e-bay account [1][2].

Overall I've found my e-bay experience to be very positive. I've only had one person who I suspected of scamming me, when they claimed they didn't receive the item I posted. The vast majority of users are just normal people looking to pick up a bargain. It helps that some of my items are pick up only and that I am not selling electronics.

Every few years an article like this pops up and I get concerned and start looking at other places to sell my products. What I inevitably find is that no other auction site has the users base that e-bay does, so my items inevitably don't sell, or the price is significantly lower than what I would get on e-bay. It's possible to build a better experience than e-bay, but up until now nobody has managed to do it.

Finally, I think what the writer of the article was looking for was an ‘unpaid item dispute'. He needed to open once against the original bidder, and if they didn't don't pay within a certain time limit, and then I believe e-bay will refund the fees. E-bay also records unpaid item disputes against buyers and will limit what they can do. [3]

[1] - http://myworld.ebay.com.au/sleemancorp

[2] - http://www.grafting-tool.com/magento/index.php/

[3] - http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/unpaid-items.html

soult 2 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that you can't leave negative feedback as a seller caught me off guard too. I understand that there are scammers on Ebay, that's just the way it is. But Ebay cares so little bit about its sellers, that it takes away their only defense. This just makes me just mad, especially since you have to pay all kinds of fees to list an auction.

Story time: I sold some eletronics to a guy in Italy. After it arrived, he accused me (in a Google Translate-based English message since he didn't speak German, despite bidding on an article with German description) that I sent a defective item and requested part of his money back. I explained to him that I tested it before sending, and that I would (despite not being required to) offer a full refund, but only if he sent the item back. If it turned out to be really defective, I even offered to pay all shipping costs.

The buyer then messaged me again, saying that it miracously worked after he "repaired" it, and since I did not send him a refund, he left me negative feedback. I tried to contact him twice, asking why he decided to keep the item but still give negative feedback, but he never responded. Only then I tried to give him negative feedback too, but to my surprise Ebay does not allow that. Had I known that before, I would have never ever even used Ebay.

Anyway, I contacted Ebay support, but they said that they do not want to remove the feedback, even though their FAQ states they can remove feedback in situations like this.

ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hate ebay/paypal just as much as most people but:


Solved, done. Your $2 will return to you.

If your buyer agreed to cancel your transaction or didn't respond, you'll receive a credit to your seller's account for the final value fee within 7-10 business days of closing the case.

If you want a refund for your credit, see Requesting a refund of your eBay credit balance.



Granted it's buried in their help system, but it's there.

xoail 2 days ago 0 replies      
I tried selling my car on ebay motors and was a victim of spammers bidding on my car. I would get bids but within 2 days ebay would delete it automatically and email me saying bid was invalid. The whole bidding cycle went in vain so I re-listed again. This time I din't get any bids but I still ended up paying eBay $49 listing fees after numerous emails. eBay has become insane.
danek 2 days ago 2 replies      
eBay is a great place for scammers to get free stuff!
every few years, my girlfriend gives eBay another chance and tries selling something. Every single time, she gets scammed. Each time, the buyer claims he didn't receive the goods or received the wrong thing. eBay automatically sides with the buyer and immediately refunds their money. In cases where the buyer claims they received the wrong thing, they either fail to return it or return something different.
Furthermore, sellers cannot give negative feedback to buyers so there is no concept of buyer reputation. On top of this, you will still be charged for the listing.

Basically never use ebay.

DanHulton 1 day ago 0 replies      
As an update, eBay reached out to me and returned my money as a site credit, with a long personally-written letter.

Which is, ultimately, not all that cool honestly. I'll be writing a follow-up about it, but the tl;dr is that it shouldn't take a popular internet rant to get things like this resolved.

srik 2 days ago 0 replies      
A valid (but unchecked) point made in the comments from that post -

>... if you had actually sold it there, you'd have to pay the Ebay final value fee of like 5%. Then the Paypal transaction fee of like 7%. Then if you want the money the Paypal withdrawal fee of another like 6%. Wait, why am I paying the same company 3 times for 1 transaction?

tlb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Coming into a market as a new seller is always hard. The established merchants have already figured out who the thieves are, so the thieves generally target the new sellers. The established merchants don't want new sellers there, so they elbow them out in various ways.

Your experience would also be bad the first few times selling at a flea market or a street corner. Only with a fair bit of experience can you get your profit margin above zero.

jamesu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I tried selling a Mac on eBay once. First attempt I got a time waster, second attempt I got a con artist, third attempt my account got suspended.

eBay is great for buyers, a horrific minefield for sellers.

purge 2 days ago 0 replies      
Same experience here. Once I found the 'block other countries and people with zero feedback' option I sold a few phones successfully at a good price (don't even try selling without setting that option).
A few weeks ago I attempted to sell an iPhone 4S. The first buyer pulled out with some pathetic excuse about his amplifier breaking. I re-listed and the second buyer didn't pay with some equally unlikely excuse about his daughter accidentally buying it.

eBay doesn't penalise non-paying buyers anywhere near enough, It's a huge waste of everybody's time, especially with time-sensitive sales.

benguild 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yup, I've been writing about how eBay's gone to shit on my blog. Furthermore, between PayPal and eBay's fees, it's like 10% of your sale price now!

… Better just to sell via Amazon and use their fulfillment service.

kenperkins 2 days ago 4 replies      
Using eBay these days feels like playing World of Warcraft.

If you're a high level eBay user, it's a fantastic place to move goods, but god forbid someone new signs up to buy or sell something. Just like what it must be like to sign up and play World of Warcraft for the first time.

admiralpumpkin 2 days ago 2 replies      

Only use Buy It Now ever.
Require Immediate Payment.

Not only are the fees lower for Buy It Now than for auctions, but there's no way for buyers to game you. The listing will sit until someone actually pays you.

CJefferson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recently tried to sell a Samsung Galaxy Tab on eBay, and had a similar experience. The second chance buyer, on the second listing, was the first person who was actually willing to buy the product and at that point the procedure went smoothly.

However, it should not take until the second buyer of the second listing, and if it is going to take that long ebay should indeed make it easier to get to someone who will actually buy my item.

vitiell0 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so true I used to deal with selling on eBay for my business an every time I got off the phone with them I had to restrain from punching myself in the face.

Their customer support will literally only read from their script an no matter how much you reason and try to explain logic to them they just give a scripted answer back. Never doing business with them someone please invent something better.

GigabyteCoin 2 days ago 1 reply      
As for all of the second chance auctions being "ignored", I think it's common practice for 99% of ebayers to completely abandon the idea of winning a particular item (and moving on to another) the very second that they notice they have been outbid.

"Oh, well!" is what most of them say.

ShabbyDoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't eBay provide better ways for buyers to increase the belief of sellers that they will follow-thru on their obligations? I'm thinking of something along the lines of "earnest money" requirements common for real estate transactions. Could eBay require buyers to put 10% of their maximum bid in escrow via Paypal? If a buyer flaked out, he would lose his 10% to the seller as compensation for the time wasted. To implement such a scheme, eBay could at first offer sellers the opportunity to discount items won by buyers who made escrow deposits. Those buyers who didn't want to play along could bid as they do today albeit at an economic disadvantage. Eventually, eBay could allow sellers to require escrow. Even as a buyer, I would be happier if escrow was required because I would be less worried about shill bidders and others who run-up prices with no intention of paying. Of course, this scheme requires that all parties trust eBay/Paypal to act responsibly -- something the comments in this thread suggest is far from a given.
cleer 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had a surprisingly similar experience from the other side. I purchased an iPhone 4 off of eBay and realized after receiving it that it was locked to the wrong carrier. I reviewed the auction and confirmed that the seller had listed an unconditional return policy (which I had specifically looked for while scanning auctions just in case ). The seller ended up refusing to honor the return policy and taunted me to contact eBay with it, who then simply refused to enforce the return policy. I was thankful in this situation that sellers can't leave negative feedback because I was able to leave negative feedback without anxiety over possible retaliation, but I can see how it'd be really annoying if I were a seller dealing with a dishonest buyer.
zakshay 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a timely thread for me. I've been working on an idea called Auctionful - http://www.auctionful.com . Its still in an early stage - but you can signup and use it if you want.

* It lets people run auctions on their website.

* It ensures that the seller gets paid for the winning bid. The payment details are stored in a credit card vault when the bid is made.

* It uses the seller's account Stripe account to manage all payments.

* It verifies the seller's phone and email. And in cause of disputes, both parties are expected to resolve it themselves.

I've been incorporating feedback I've gotten so far to change the product, so feel free to comment on it.

troels 2 days ago 0 replies      
You could always sell through specialised phone recyclers, such as gazelle.com. You won't get the same price for it, but you won't get the hassle either.
latchkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
The author mentions Kijiji ... which eBay owns.
sbierwagen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just sold a variable autotransformer on ebay. "Just", as in, two hours ago.

Went fairly well, but my god ebay's integration with UPS is a complete clusterfuck. It was far, far easier to manually create a shipment on ups.com than trying to get ebay and UPS to communicate.

clarky07 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is ridiculous. They tell you ahead of time it cost money to list the item. Then they charge a % of the sale. He still had an auction. Surely he knew it was at least possible to have an auction fail. I just sold my 4s when I got my 5 for 350 and had no problems at all. He got a bit unlucky, they refunded everything but the listing fee, and he gets really pissed at them over 2 bucks?

eBay has to balance buyer vs. seller needs and that is not easy. Without the buyers you wouldn't have the market to sell it. Take the refund and try again or sell it on Craigslist. I bet you have more scammers there. (I tried Craigslist first and then settled for eBay after being asked to mail the phone to an overseas cousin 5 times)

ameen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar, yet worse experience compared to this, and had my account suspended (an account from 2006!!) for not paying (after listing) when I didn't get a proper payment page. The UX is totally confusing as well, and I paid $6 with hopes that my account would be reinstated, but to no avail.

Ebay is a dinosaur and deserves to die a horrible death, it doesn't do what it says - make it easier to sell & buy. Gumroad and others in this space are the future.

mindslight 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't get why the default action of most people is to feel compelled by whatever a company's accounting system tells them to do. Both this and that also-popular cable box story. There are two autonomous sides to every relationship. If you don't value your ability to use ebay again in the future at more than $2, give their customer service department a good-faith 15 minutes of your time to fulfill their elective processes. If you can't come to an agreement with that reasonable time expenditure, tell them to go screw.
kghose 2 days ago 0 replies      
In real auctions, when you bid you can not renege (otherwise the whole thing would fall apart). So why does eBay allow a bidder to bid and then not buy? That's ridiculous.
jser 2 days ago 0 replies      
Same experience. I've also heard from many that after the sale, the buyer complains about an issue to PayPal and is able to get their money back.
FPSDavid 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was pretty frustrated when I sold my iPhone 4 when the 4S launched, had a winning bidder, who then never paid or contacted me. Couldn't leave negative feedback on them at all, and they continue to bid on stuff they don't intend on actually paying for, with sellers none the wiser that the bidder is a shitty person.
sarah2079 2 days ago 1 reply      
So a big part of the problem seems to be that sellers can no longer give buyers bad feedback when it is appropriate. Does anyone know the motivation for this rule change? I can't think of a type of fraud that this would prevent, but it seems like they must have been targeting something when making this change.
guynamedloren 2 days ago 0 replies      
Way to go, adsense: http://grab.by/hdEo
susanhi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've had better success with eBay after using their buyer requirements option. It lets you ban users who do not meet your requirements from bidding.

As a result, my last batch of sales (3 computers and a few other items) had all of the bidders paying immediately upon completion of auction. Whereas my previous batch of sales when I did not know about this option, I had 3 time wasters who never posted payment.

xm1994 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been a long time eBay user and have also had issues over the past year with a couple of unpaid items and having to relist. The annoying part was not being able to give the buyer negative feedback, allowing him/her to waste someone else's time.

What about them linking your ID to Facebook for new users without let's say 10 feedback?

robryan 2 days ago 2 replies      
eBay has listing fees, of course you are going to be up for them regardless. Personally I would just set a reasonable price buy it now with immediate PayPal payment required, no need to waste your time then with anyone who hasn't already sent money your way.
marban 2 days ago 0 replies      
I launched http://www.flipso.com together with Idealab the other week, mostly because of experiences like these.
Introducing the new compose in Gmail gmailblog.blogspot.co.uk
283 points by derpenxyne  5 days ago   191 comments top 44
jsdalton 4 days 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.

nkurz 4 days 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?

codeulike 4 days ago 1 reply      
I prefer Gmail since its redesign back in April.

There, I said it.

tomasien 4 days 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.

asadotzler 4 days 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.
blhack 4 days ago 2 replies      

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 :)

manaskarekar 4 days 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

marshallp 4 days 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.

levesque 4 days 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.
joshmlewis 4 days 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.
dredmorbius 4 days 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'.

drivebyacct2 4 days 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.
munaf 4 days 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?

tolos 4 days 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...
karpathy 4 days 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.
aneth4 4 days 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.

fcoury 4 days 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.

acabal 4 days 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.
dquigley 4 days 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.
ImprovedSilence 4 days 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.
sethbannon 4 days 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.
nixarn 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it looks great. Many times I've opened gmail in another tab to find some info.
stephenhuey 4 days 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. :-)
jmilloy 4 days 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?)

mdonahoe 4 days 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?

endtime 4 days 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.
ilcavero 4 days 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
6ren 4 days 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.


EdiX 4 days ago 1 reply      
Am I missing something or is there no way to pick the sender address in the new composer?
sasoon 4 days 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.
hnriot 4 days 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.
monochromatic 4 days 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.
kamakazizuru 4 days ago 0 replies      
awesome! this makes up quite a bit of the love they lost with their abyssmal redesign earlier this year!
elionchin 4 days 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.
septerr 4 days 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.
eric5544 4 days 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!

Cataclysmic 4 days 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.
dangravell 4 days ago 0 replies      
Might be good, but I can't use this until they support canned responses again.
ggopman 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Sparrow team hard at work
iamrohitbanga 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like pushing google plus to all gmail users.
neopba 4 days ago 0 replies      
I use IMAP :)
iDroid 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yahoo mail has half those features already
Supreme 4 days ago 2 replies      

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.

mememememememe 4 days 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...".

Linus Torvalds: Is Engadget really that stupid? Just corrupt? Trolling us all? plus.google.com
283 points by cramforce  16 hours ago   137 comments top 24
mdasen 14 hours ago 14 replies      
I think there's a real issue here and that's one of sustainable pricing. There are times when companies or countries are willing to dump goods at cost or even below cost for a certain period of time in order to gain market power. That's a bad thing for consumers.

What we want is vibrant competition with many players offering low prices. However, if companies dump their products at or below cost, we may find we're left with fewer players as some companies exit the industry. Apple and Samsung are both doing wonderfully, but others including HTC, LG, and Motorola Mobility aren't in such a sunny position.

Amazon hasn't said this, but some have justified Amazon's high P/E ratio by saying that Amazon is going to be the future of retail and once they've killed off some of their competition, they'll be able to raise their margins. That may or may not be true, but such a situation would be bad for consumers. We want low prices (that's a great thing), but we also don't want to lose options and competition in the future (that's a bad thing). Amazon is running razor thin on its profits to be popular. I'm not suggesting that Amazon is evil. Rather, it seems to just be Jeff Bezos' attitude towards margins: they should be low so that people can buy more stuff. However, that attitude may not always prevail, especially if competition dies out.

It's good to make things cheaper and more accessible (as Linus has said). However, sometimes you can make something too cheap to be really sustainable. Often times large players will sacrifice profits to gain marketshare and that can sometimes be justified. Still, it's important to recognize as the play for market power that it may be and the temporary situation that it may be. A company does not intend to lose money forever. If they're able to eliminate competition in their industry, that gives them power in the future to raise margins.

It can be hard to judge an industry sometimes. Apple and Samsung are clearly going to be sticking around: they're making products people want and raking in money. However, other players just haven't been so profitable. Having to compete with a device like the Kindle Fire being sold at cost is hard to do and may drive them out of the industry. You can say, "well, they weren't able to compete" and that's somewhat true.

However, it hides the fact that Amazon may not be playing "fair" (for some definition of fair that I'll explain). Let's say (hypothetically) that Amazon is actually Evil, Inc. They have a war chest of money and are willing to lose money over the short term to become monopolistic. So, they price the Kindle Fire even below cost - $50 maybe. Some competitors will just fold. Others might try to continue competing for a short time, but their war chests are empty before Evil, Inc.'s. So, we end up with only Evil, Inc. selling us tablets. Nice for Evil, Inc. They can now charge a healthy $300 as well as up the margins on content purchases - charging higher prices to consumers as well as negotiating harder against content providers. "Ah, but if they did that, someone else would come in with a $250 tablet to compete!" Probably not without government intervention. Why? Because they know Evil, Inc. will temporarily drop the price on their Kindle Fires until the new company goes bust.

That's an exaggeration, but dumping products like this isn't unheard of. The more people that get Kindles, the better Amazon's market power is over content providers and consumers. Similarly, if the margins become so low that many companies can't create devices, we end up with them exiting the market and competition is reduced. The fewer competitors in the tablet market, the better it is for Amazon long term.

Basically, we want competition today AND competition tomorrow - sustainable competition rather than one or a few companies winning. We want prices at a point where they're low, consumer friendly, and encourage wide adoption while making sure that 5 years from now, we're benefitting from similar low, consumer friendly prices. If we're left with only Apple, Samsung, and Amazon, we'll be worse off.

It can be hard to think about. In some ways, we might see a company like Amazon as winning by providing things cheaper in a way that's good for consumers. However, we don't want Amazon to win - we want others to be able to match Amazon so that Amazon will have to keep innovating and competing in the future. At the same time, we want the lowest price. It's a balance similar to investing in the future (or taking on debt). We don't want to starve ourselves now (we want to enjoy our lives). At the same time, we know that we shouldn't just rack up debt in the present having fun because we want a strong future. We don't want to pay high prices for devices now, but at the same time we don't want one or two companies to come out as the survivors of the "tablet price wars" who can then charge us more money now that the competition has been vanquished.

* I know I picked on Amazon a bit here and that's just because the Kindle Fire is being sold at cost below the competition. I'm not saying that Amazon is evil, but even in the absence of evil, we wouldn't want Amazon to win because competition brings innovation and discourages slacking off. Even if you're a good company trying to do positive things, seeing what others are doing makes you better. As such, even a purely altruistic company is bad as a monopoly.

beloch 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The Engadget piece seems to argue that Amazon and Google are engaging in predatory pricing when it really boils down to the fact that Apple and Google are trying to fight the iPad's market incumbency.

Let's look back a decade for a moment. i.e. The iPod.

Apple made the iPod good. Then they made the iPod cheap. Nobody could compete. Could companies like Diamond or iRiver have made better devices if they didn't have to compete with cheap iPod's? Almost certainly. Once Apple diversified the iPod line into the extremophile niches other mp3 player manufacturers were clinging to it was game over. Complete and utter dominance. Now almost nobody buys iPod's because everybody's phone can do the same job.

Apple knew that the key to maintaining dominance was to drive down prices faster than the competition without compromising quality. By offering premium devices at prices that are just barely above that of inferior devices Apple made the iPod a no-brainer purchase for consumers. They did this so well that it was only Apple themselves who finally obsoleted the iPod with the iPhone. They've tried to do the same thing with the tablet and have arguably built up some degree of incumbency with the iPad. Low-margin pricing on the Nexus 7 and Kindle's can be seen as attempts by Google and Amazon to fight Apple's tablet incumbency before they're locked out of the market completely.

Let's face it, if Amazon or Google tried to sell their tablets at the same price as Apple's offerings they'd never catch up. Even if they were of exactly equal quality, Apple's is the proven product because it's been around longer. If Google and Amazon made poorer quality tablets and sold them cheap, but with decent profit margins, they'd wind up like Diamond and iRiver. Only their ability to sell at low-margin and profit from ads/media sales gives Google and Amazon the edge they need to compete with Apple and have any hope of catching up.

The end result of this is a three-way battle for tablet superiority where there would have only been one choice: the iPad. Oh, and now Microsoft is throwing their hat into the ring too... Quite frankly, I think the next few years are going to be very kind to tablet-fans, and that's partly in thanks to "predatory" pricing.

ericHosick 15 hours ago 6 replies      
The entire "cell phone thing" in Vietnam (and I am sure other Asian countries) is far superior to the USA (in my opinion). I can go to practically any corner and get a SIM card for 5 USD and put it in a phone. I don't have to give my name or an ID or join some plan. I just give them the phone, they put a sim in and it works.

I can get a cell phone within a few blocks of basically anywhere I am.

The carriers make money selling calls and data: not phones.

And while I'm talking about this kind of thing... I can go anywhere and get "free" wifi: even at Circle K. Ya. They have free wi-fi at the Circle K. I can sit at a coffee shop, get a 3 dollar coffee, and work all day. Restaurants are the same.

Admittedly, the internet speeds to the USA are not that great. However, internal to Vietnam, they are really good.

programminggeek 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is one part of Apple's model that I swear people just don't get at all. Apple, as a company, refuses to operate in unprofitable hardware markets. So, they make a $329 7" tablet instead of $199. They make a $400 tablet with "outdated" hardware, they make a $500 tablet that is top of the line. They won't sell a sub $999 laptop.

Apple then focuses on selling as much of those products as they can irrespective of market share. They don't deep discount just to gain "mindshare" or "marketshare".

Engadget and others could moan that it isn't fair, but to be fair the only company that has been able to build and sell even remotely comparable hardware at comparable margins is Samsung, and frankly that is largely because Samsung supplies the same parts to Apple, so Apple is effectively subsidizing Samsung's overhead.

Other companies could play Apple's game, there certainly is room to do so, but it is a low volume/high margin strategy traditionally. The anomaly is Apple's been able to take low volume/high margin to very high volumes while leaving the high volume/low margin business to everyone else as prices fall downward.

I don't feel bad for Acer, LG, ASUS, Sony, Dell, or HP because they've all become so bad at designing, building, and selling a premium product that they really don't deserve to be competing. Ironically, much of iPhone's design was inspired by Sony's design heritage, and yet, Sony is still yet to truly match it.

To put it another way, you know it's kind of a sad state of affairs when Microsoft can put their own team together and ship a legitimate competitor to the iPad in a very short period of time and Microsoft isn't even a hardware company.

CountSessine 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't this the same Linus Torvalds who just last week complained about how PC laptops, commoditized and cut down to their marginal cost of production for years now, weren't the target of innovation and how they were stuck using low resolution screens?
jordanthoms 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Engadget has really gone downhill recently, AOL screwed up bad and everyone left for The Verge. Just compare the quality of their Nexus coverage...
sosuke 15 hours ago 2 replies      
You could take the Engadget article as a defense for the iPad Mini pricing, or you could say it illustrates that it is tough to compete with companies who can sell devices at cost. I took it as the latter before reading Linus's opinion.

In case you missed the HN comments on the original article: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4737154

forgotusername 15 hours ago 7 replies      
Torvalds must be on drugs or also trolling hard to be talking about an absence of carrier lock-in and Android in the same sentence - an OS rendered practically unusable should you elect not to associate your device with a Google account, and all that such entails.
doctorpangloss 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Linus misses two key points. First, Engadget focuses on tablet pricing moreso than cellphone pricing. Second, all Engadget is inelegantly saying that the lowest price for something isn't necessarily its most efficient one.

Efficient prices versus low prices will play out spectacularly poorly in U.S. v. Apple and publishers, the book price fixing case. Like with tablets, Amazon undercut the true price of books, which harms authors and publishers. Hilariously Apple and publishers did a legal "corrective action" that is precisely described in the DoJ's own guidance on anti-trust. But I digress.

I would agree with Engadget that Amazon and Google selling tablets at or below cost is unequivocally bad for the tablet industry. I'd prefer efficient prices. Otherwise, Amazon undercuts everyone, all the other tablet manufacturers cease to exist, and then they let the product stagnate.

shinratdr 13 hours ago 0 replies      
All I learned from that article is that Linus Torvalds is as uninformed as your average Engadget commenter. I thought that was one of the most spot on and original pieces to come out of Engadget in months if not years.
jsz0 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing most of Engadget's traffic comes from the US where unsubsidized/unlocked phones are not popular at all. That should explain it. No need for conspiracy theories.
mycodebreaks 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Linus is right. I agree with him. Engadget is stupid, corrupt and trolling in this case.

Lower prices aren't hurting consumers. Good quality Nexus devices around $200-400 ranges aren't hurting consumers. In fact, it encourages a fair competition. As a result, Apple/Samsung have to work hard to make their $600 & up devices feature-rich to justify higher price. Consumer wins!

brisance 13 hours ago 4 replies      
That g+ post is particularly bad because it shows that Linus is opinionated (we knew that already), that he doesn't understand business (predatory pricing) and that he doesn't read very well (the Engadget article clearly explains that in the short-term, lower prices work in favor of the customer). In fact his own post can be considered a trolling piece since at the end he suddenly switches tack and justifies his choice of Nexus phones. Which is due to his own preference of the UI, but similarly ignoring others who may instead prefer iOS.
larrybolt 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I like Torvalds posts/articles. Most important people that blog/post/comment about stuff in their field of "expertise" (I'm assuming in this case that would be technology in general) try to do research on the topic, give advantages and disadvantages. Which isn't bad! But Linus just seems to post his own opinion on things, just the way he sees it.
shimon_e 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes because it really costs $600 per phone to make a quality one.... so 600 billion would be the cost for 1 billion people to have quality phones.

These phones should be dropping to $150 already... but there isn't enough competition for that yet.

ricardobeat 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The post is cut off at the third paragraph, is there a way to read this on mobile?
alpeb 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The editorial raises some valid concerns, namely how unfair competition can destroy an industry. Not surprised at Linus' again calling people stupid, and his cortege blindingly cheering him up.
rbn 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Engadget stopped being Engadget when everyone moved to the Verge.
TechNewb 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with what his argument is with cell phones, but if it were not for Apple's higher margin tablets and laptops we would probably be using crapy netbooks today with a crappy OS. Both Engadget and Torvalds have a good point.
dewiz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
my 2 cents: complaining that underpriced hw kills competition, is like saying that a free Linux will kill Apple and Microsoft. I can see where Linus is coming from here :)
Well, that is apparently not happening yet after how many years of free software? Welcome then to free hardware, however free hw won't happen thanks to volunteering, there are paid ads, content, services, is that bad? good ?
did free Skype, Gmail, Github, Youtube, Zip compression kill the market, or was the market itself creating the conditions for them to be free?
b1daly 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Aside from the technical argument about whether predatory pricing really exists there is another aspect of "race to the bottom" that is at least worth a thought.

Ironically, Torvald's post and the Engadget article both have an assumption that whatever provides better quality(innovation) and product choice at lower prices to consumers is an unequivocal good. While seems likely to me that this is true, I don't quite get the conflation in popular culture between "consumers" and the public good.

I recently picked up a Nexus 7 and I was a bit stunned at the level of technology I could get for $200. If the margin is getting squeezed, that means entities on the other side of the transaction are too, including labor.

At what cost to humans (and the environment) is this rock bottom technology being created? Is there a connection between ultra competition and increasing income inequality in the US, if not the world. It seems at least intuitively plausible.

Ramonaxvh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Linus is a socialist, and has always hated big corporations and profiteering too much off technology.

Thats why I think he's awesome.

drivebyacct2 13 hours ago 0 replies      
So what happens if Desktop Linux ever takes off? What's going to happen when there isn't one organization to target and attack and villanize?
gaving 15 hours ago 1 reply      
oh look another Linus Torvalds Google Plus link
The Horrible Future of Social ted.io
274 points by netherland  4 days ago   148 comments top 51
grellas 4 days ago 3 replies      
That which is shallow but useful can have its legitimate place in life, though it lacks character: a daily commute on the freeway might suck, and might not match the joy and invigoration of a brisk walk on a beautiful day, but it has its place if you need to get to work miles away and if your area lacks public transportation to get you there efficiently; living in the suburbs might suck compared to the excitement of an upscale urban environment but millions of people manage just fine with the tradeoffs that suburban living entails and get by just fine without the excitement; so too social networking sucks when compared to any one of countless ways of interacting that are intimate, personal, intellectually stimulating, or whatever, and for which the strictures of the social network have no room, but all sorts of people nonetheless get by very well interacting at the social networking level for the utilitarian goals for which they use such services, not caring one whit about intimacy or other elements that make the experience a fundamentally shallow one.

Social may be shallow but it has its place and, as long as we have freedom, you can use it or not according to taste. One can find fault with it but that does not mean it has a "horrible future." Criticism of this sort is thus misplaced, in my view, in spite of the limitations of the venue.

jeremymcanally 4 days ago 11 replies      
I see this every time I go to Disney World (I live nearby). It's almost impossible to enjoy a single ride or fireworks show without a ton of people videoing the whole thing or taking horrible pictures of it with a smart device of some sort. Rather than enjoying it and capturing some deep memory of a moment with their family, they have their face stuck in a digital device capturing a crude facsimile of the experience that they will likely never look at ever again.

I will never forget when a dad was trying to get a good shot of Cinderella Castle and totally missed out on their daughter meeting a princess (I think Tiana from Princess and the Frog was walking over to her character spot or something) for the first time. Hugely important moment for his daughter completely and utterly squandered in chasing this lifecasted copy of life. She was excitedly jumping up and down and waving to and got a big hug from the princess, and her dad was swatting her off at first, then completely ignoring her.

I've lived here (Orlando) for two years and it's only getting worse. I've almost given up on being able to ride Pirates of the Carribbean and being able to experience it the way the Imagineers wanted you to. The constant flash and glowing screens from people posting pictures of the Jack Sparrow animatronic on Facebook completely ruin it. Fireworks are an exercise in frustration as some joker always sticks his iPad in the air to try to capture a picture. When the first one looks terrible (as they all do), he tries over and over and over. By the time he's frustrated enough that he's not getting good pictures, the show is over and he's just missed the whole thing.

It's depressing to think how many other experiences people are cheapening and/or missing out on simply because they feel some weird compulsion to SHARE the experience with others rather than LIVE it.

nostromo 4 days ago 7 replies      
Meh. This is a touch over-the-top.

You know what Facebook is to me nowadays? It's another flavor of Gmail. Sometimes I send and receive messages there. It's plumbing. Sometimes I turn the spigot on for some updates, then turn it off and go about my day.

I think pro-social and anti-social pundits are both wrong about the upside and downside of social. Social is neither the next giant leap forward, nor is it the downfall of humanity. It's kinda like Gmail.

te_chris 4 days ago 1 reply      
The author doth project their personal insecurities too much. If people want to form a social network around sex (and hell, there's already heaps, adult friend finder and clones, sex forums etc etc) then I think it's fantastic that the internet allows such varied forms of sexual expression and discourse.
coffeemug 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was more amused than repulsed by the description, and I thought quite a few people would probably end up using this product if it existed. To paraphrase George Costanza, if I were a different person, I could see myself using it.

What is truly horrifying about sex.ly is that it so utterly and absolutely cheapens the experience of something very important.

It doesn't cheapen anything. Making love is just for fun for most young people, and then most of them grow up to be pleasantly surprised to discover a depth to life that they were unaware of before. A product like this doesn't change the attitude people have towards sex in the first place. Of course some people never discover that same depth, or perhaps discover something else that others don't see. That's fine too.

The attitude of "I see depth to life that the morons [watching football/using social/smoking marijuana/insert activity here] don't see" is really the 21st century version of the inquisition. A lot less bloody, perhaps, but still very counterproductive to social (pun intended!) development.

EliRivers 4 days ago 4 replies      
"You were repulsed by the above description of this imaginary site."

No really, no. Everything described already exists (except the sex-cred, and the geo-tagging is rather manual); simply not on the open internet.

qdot76367 4 days ago 2 replies      
Most any article that says we're moving /toward/ some sort of new technology based sex solution is most likely missing many examples of it having happened well before the author even thought of the topic.


Lesson: Sex is probably smarter and faster than you. (I say this having run a site on sex and technology for near 8 years now. I now accept being constantly comfortably behind the curve.)

jcfrei 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've noticed an interesting pattern among some people I encountered. Usually the ratio of activity on facebook (not just "sharing", but also instant messaging and status updates) is inversely proportional to their social activity in reality. Exceptions aside, it seems facebook always has been and always will be to large part a substitute for social activities/interactions in reality, which we would have liked to happen but couldn't make happen, whether it's because of social anxiety, shyness or geographical distances. people with richer social lifes need to cater to these needs less, whereas people with fewer real life social activities resort to facebook to get their fix.
otakucode 4 days ago 0 replies      
Heh. The author is completely wrong. Sex is not something important. It is a basic human bodily function, alongside eating and sleeping. For nearly the entirety of our evolution, sex was used primarily for bonding, its reproductive role is rare in comparison. It most certainly is a prudish view that sex should be hidden away out of some misguided belief that it makes it 'special'.

We could treat eating the same way. Never admit you eat, or if you do only speak of it in terms of immature titillation and euphemisms. When you do eat, never do it with anyone else, not even friends you consider very close, because that would somehow taint everything. There is at least one culture that adopted this exact view, their views on eating mirroring our with regards to sex. Eating with someone you are not married to was considered highly taboo, while having sex with various people for fun was understood as something so fundamentally human that restricting access to it would be impossible.

And ignoring whatever moral implications the culture you grew up in pounded into you as a child, just consider the basic biological matters. Abstinence is horrendously dangerous to health. Ever read a news story about how 'sex reduces the chance of heart attack by one half', 'frequent orgasms extend life', etc? Those stories are interpreting fact from a prudish perspective that limits sex severely. View the exact same facts from a perspective of frequent sex as part of basic human interaction and the headlines would read 'abstinence doubles the chance of heart attack', 'orgasm starvation cuts years off life', etc. There is good biological evidence that human beings evolved having sex after nearly every meal, along with sleeping in two blocks rather than one.

The real kicker is the origin and reason behind why we believe sex should be hidden and that it is somehow 'special'. That was invented in the Industrial Revolution. Prior to that, no one in the lower class even had private bedrooms. Families slept, and screwed, in common rooms. They had to import views on sex from cultures with dowries, and children being viewed as the property of their fathers making sex a property crime against the father. And we preserve a remarkable amount of this framework even though we don't recall where it came from. None of their motivations exist any longer. We have effective birth control, and we have evidence for the suffering attempts to destroy sex cause. Eventually, hopefully, as a culture we'll grow up enough to ask ourselves what evidence we have that sex is somehow 'special' and what consequences such a view inflicts on people.

ZenoArrow 4 days ago 1 reply      
For me, commenting on the sex angle in the article misses the point. The author was kind enough to put the relevant text in bold, specifically 'cheapens the experience of something very important'.

I'd argue that this is already happening with something very important, our human friendships. Facebook and sites of its ilk encourage us to build shallow relationships with many and fool ourselves into thinking we're sharing something of merit.

I believe in personal responsibility, so I'm not saying Facebook, Twitter, etc... are forced upon people, we can choose to leave them alone if we see fit and plenty of people do just that. It's our job to fit technology around our own wants and needs, not be led by technology.

Anyway, interesting article, thank you to the author.

theorique 4 days ago 1 reply      
You were repulsed by the above description of this imaginary site. But not because of some prudish reasons, not even because it had to do with sex. No. You were repulsed because sex.ly violates something very deep and fundamental about humanity. But what, in particular?

Mind read much?

My feeling upon reading this was hardly the horror that the writer anticipated. Probably more of a "meh, it takes all kinds".

I can see this being a private, niche site for swingers or exhibitionists. Most people probably wouldn't go for it. But that doesn't make it wrong or horrible or the emblem of what is, in the author's mind, wrong with social media.

Reduction ad absurdum fail.

mtraven 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty much Jaron Lanier's argument in You Are Not a Gadget (reviewed here: http://omniorthogonal.blogspot.com/2010/02/review-you-are-no... ). They both have a point; systems which reduce human relations to very simpleminded database formalisms cheapen them.

But they ignore that the human spirit is (or so we should hope) strong enough to survive Facebook if it is strong enough to survive the other insults and depredations it has been subject to throughout history. Facebook may slap a reductive meaning onto the word "friend", but I haven't noticed that truly interfering with real friendship.

Mizza 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you sympathize with the author, you may enjoy reading _The Society of the Spectacle_ by Guy Debord, a classic criticism of society in the era of mass media. I think it would be very good if more people from around these parts read this.


peteforde 4 days ago 0 replies      
If he'd described a social gamification platform for serial killers or rapists, I'd be "disgusted".

Truth is that I had a girlfriend that was tracking her orgasms on a freaking leaderboard in 2004. I'm not sure I was shocked by it then.

Frankly, I don't mind people checking in on their phones in social situations so long as they are discreet and I'm not talking with them at the very moment. I can appreciate why others might feel differently, but I'm secretly relieved that I've been given implicit permission to check my email, too. You can pretend like that's a horrible way to live, but I do just fine socially.

I'm glad I'm addicted to email and not smoking cigarettes.

danboarder 4 days ago 0 replies      
"In the old world products were scarce - this meant that companies who provided product could profit from the demand.
In the digital world, where abundance is key (creating a digital copy costs next to nothing) it is a customer's attention that has become scarce. This means that the customer now holds the value - not the company." - Chris Saad

Some people did see this commoditisation of human behavior coming back in 2005 and promoted the idea of the 'Attention Economy' which had a goal of putting people back in control of the content they create and view online with tools like the Attention Recorder from Attention Trust (now defunct, but you can read about it here http://p2pfoundation.net/Attention_Trust ).

The current idea of social is to capture much more than eyeballs and clicks of course, with checkins for places, Runkeeper and many other health apps for tracking/sharing activities, and so on... nearly everything we do is a potential data point for commercialization that a startup will want to capitalize on. This is fine if the user clearly understands the relationship.

I expect it was too early when the 'Attention Economy' ideas emerged but now perhaps we'll see projects that resurrect some of that early work and build on it to empower users of social tools to take control of both their attention and the data points they are sharing.

addl reading: http://p2pfoundation.net/Attention_Economy

gizmo686 4 days ago 0 replies      
>You were repulsed by the above description of this imaginary site.

Thanks, I was not aware that I found that hypothetical sight repulsive. What I do find repulsive is the idea that I should repulsed by something which "utterly and absolutely cheapens the experience of something very important", When I am not the one who determined that the 'thing' in question is very important.

What you described in your imaginary site sounds like a product for people wishing to engage in casual sex. It provides a service to record previous partners, and presumably help find new ones. It also provides a service as a background check for partners by showing you reviews from others they were with, as well as "heads up"s. Planned support for Geotags, which seems good as sex tends to be a geographically bound activity (in-airplane geo-tags seem unnecessary though).

If I want to link the physical act of sex, which I do for physical pleasure, with the emotional experience of a strong, personal relationship, than I would probably not use a service designed around the premise that I would be having sex casually, with many partners. But why should I want to make that connection?

jscheel 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's a bold step to say that it's bad for people to cheapen their life experiences. While I personally agree with the author, other people choose to live their life in a way that is meaningful to them, in their own ways. Who am I to say their facebook, foursquare, twitter, etc. interactions are meaningless and without value? These are subjective measurements. The real question is: are people getting value out of these interactions because they are told to get value out of them, and if so, is it done disingenuously? Case in point, a gambling company (or certain gaming companies starting with the letter Z... I kid, I kid) tend to focus on the compulsive nature of humans in a predatory way. This is where true marketing responsibility comes into play: am I creating a system of measurably-destructive behavior in my users? You can measure the detrimental impact of a user's addition, you cannot measure the meaningfulness of a tweet to it's tweeter.
egypturnash 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really don't need to know who's the local Mayor of Anal.
Detrus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Here is a whole gamified dating concept video http://designtaxi.com/news/353161/The-Future-Of-Dating/

Such extrapolations rarely come to pass. Yes there might be new crazy services and some people will use them. But will a significant proportion of the population use them often? Will it change the world? Did foursquare? Did Twitter?

No. Some things just stay in their bubbles. There will be new crazed trends that come along and everyone will forget check ins, social networks, gamification and do them.

Reality shows used to be the new thing. So are there run a startup reality shows today? Bitcoins are a new currency. Will people start their own currencies and governments in 15 years? Instead of startups you start governments! Then 3D printers can make military drones and these governments fight each other!

Fortunately most trends just don't get very far. There is a constant stream of new trends to divert people's attention.

lemiffe 4 days ago 2 replies      
I absolutely loved (and was repulsed by the reality of) this segment: "Our daily existence transformed into database entries in some NoSQL database on some spinning disk in some rack in suburban Virginia."
taybin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Or you do what I do. Grow older, have a kid, and only login in to sporadically see the photos your wife posts of your child.

I've tuned it out. I suspect other people as they get older will too.

lnanek2 4 days ago 1 reply      
I guess it's a nice thing about the internet that people can be disgusted by casual sex like the author and not realize there's a vibrant set of sites and people who are totally into it. He can have his own set of internet sites he visits, etc.. The various sex social networks are pretty damn useful if you want to help sort out who on the internet will actually meetup and who is just an online scammer, which are endless on less complex sites like craigslist, so they really have a powerful utility for people looking to get laid casually.
spartango 4 days ago 1 reply      
Notably, a lower-tech version of this social dynamic (particular the sexual version) appeared in a high school in California this year[1]. We think of these things as incredibly immature and disrespectful, but it appears that they happen anyway.


Apocryphon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this short film neatly illustrates the cheapening of social experiences with too much tech: http://vimeo.com/49425975
rglover 4 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of One of my favorite moments in the past couple of years is when I went to see Joanna Newsom in concert. Just before she sat down to perform, the host for the theatre said "now, I want you all to put your cameras down and your cell phones. Really enjoy the music. You can tell everyone how it was after the show. Seriously, this a real experience and you don't want to miss it taking pictures."

Everyone in the audience put away their phones/cameras almost immediately. The result? You could actually see people enjoying the music; not just bragging about being there.

gmisra 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's all a matter of perspective, e.g an accurate sexual behavior network would be of tremendous value to epidemiologists and public health practitioners, not to mention when people need to notify former partners about disease diagnoses.

The core argument here appears to be the "cheapening" of experience driven by "social", without any acknowledgement that social also enables new experiences. Sure, facebook has cheapened the value of remembering a friend's birthday, but it has also enabled more immediate involvement with friend's who you don't get to see that often (geography, parenting, loner-ism, etc).

"Social" changes all kinds of things. It's consequences are far-reaching, and we're just barely starting to figure them out. The advent of the automobile "cheapened" travel experiences, but also made travel accessible to the masses, not to mention a slew of modern conveniences. As a society we're still trying to find the right balance for how we use cars (greenhouse gases, near-surface pollution, exurban isolation, etc). People who write "cars are ruining society" essays don't actually contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. To be dismissive of all things social based on such a small sample of human experience feels short-sighted (and out of place in a technology-oriented discussion community).

Aside: The closing reference to Philip Larkin is amusing, as he was a racist and misogynist. He decried the "backward" steps post-WWII society was taking with regards civil rights.

jonny_eh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this Collegehumor sketch is relevant: http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6415974/foursquare-for-sex
zerostar07 4 days ago 1 reply      
I find it funny when people protest about the way social sites cheapen life experiences. Somehow it is assumed that people have an innate need for privacy. Privacy is mostly social conditioning (have you seen kids playing?). Social sites bring forward that repressed part of the human nature because they give incentives, but the drive is always there. Its just human nature, revealed. People say that they are repulsed when the curtain is lifted but who says that that isn't social conditioning too?
aneth4 4 days ago 0 replies      
There will always be those who proclaim outrage and lament change.

Change always causes loss, but we often gain more. Naysayers may help us keep track of what is lost, but best to ignore them otherwise.

Because of agriculture, we don't know how to hunt and gather. Because of home theaters we don't go to the movies. Because of air flights we are separated from our families and miss much of what we fly over.

Indeed. The sky is falling.

JacksonGariety 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article addresses a simple fact of life, where there is energy, people will try to create something there. Lots of people are making things for the internet.

"The horrible future of social" isn't bad. It means the internet is so great that we have all kinds of people making all kinds of things.

If it truly has no value, people won't use it.

This is the reason McDonald's exists, it isn't new or unique to social.

jaredcwhite 4 days ago 0 replies      
Exaggeration to make a point. A worthy point, although one I'm not entirely in agreement with. I enjoy the "lifecasts" of others in some respects because otherwise I wouldn't know anything about what they're up to. I'm lucky if I can have a meaningful, real-world conversation with a single-digit handful of folks over the course of a week. Dozens? Hundreds? No way. But if I can see them post a joke or a beautiful photo or just a kvetch about a bad day, I have a connection with them that I simply wouldn't have otherwise. Yes, it can get absurd. Yes, sex check-ins might be in vogue at some point. But we don't have to throw the baby out because the bathwater has gotten quite murky.
(P.S. That came out a bit too hard on the original author. I really enjoyed the read, thanks!)
Reebz 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article is hugely exaggerated. Once all is said and done, you're simply attaching more relevant data to a photo which helps remember important moments. My grandparent's photo albums and scrapbooks have now been replaced by my TimeHops and SnapJoys.
allaun1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, While trying to see reactions to the word hate, I saw ALOT of whatever statements. o.0 Anyway, I didn't hate the idea. In fact, it seems kind of interesting. I really do believe his reaction is completely cultural. Sex is doesn't need to be kept a secret. And his reaction seems to be that. Privacy is rather outmoded concept, at least when you can find anything about anyone at at anytime. Given a month and some meager resources, you could find a lot about a person. Humans aren't random. We are completely traceable, to a point where anything we do is predictable on a scatter plot.
ludicast 4 days ago 0 replies      
He's right * 100. Some of us can't understand being "internet social" just to get us more fake friends with fake laughs.

Your grandpa didn't need to update his status every 10 minutes and he was the fucking man.

FredBrach 4 days ago 0 replies      
"No. What is truly horrifying about sex.ly is that it so utterly and absolutely cheapens the experience of something very important."

I would say: it "logical-ize" it - in the computing meaning of the "term".
And here come the question: is it good? Maybe no because the logic of such an app is a cheap one but maybe yes because it becomes more logical in the sense of rational.

"What is so attractive with this logic is that.. it is logic" - Triumph of the Nerds

dools 4 days ago 0 replies      
I often think the same thing about cheaply available photography. What was tourism like before cameras? Whatever he's talking about has already happened.
iamwil 4 days ago 0 replies      
This app actually already exists in the app store.
replayzero 4 days ago 0 replies      
I liken online social experience to that of looking a window.

A window has two main viewing states.

You can either look 'at' a window, or you can look 'through' a window.

huh? What the hell does this have to do with social networking?

Social networking is not the beginning of social. Experience is the beginning of social, social is just a way to share and solicit experiences.

So with this in mind, what are the different types of 'experience' going on in the window analogy.

Looking "through" the window is being in the moment, looking through the glass and seeing the world without the frame, taking experiences as they come and letting them exist inside of you as memories, allowing them to shape you and then letting that change in character effect others. Through is just living and being.

Looking "at" the window is seeing the glass, seeing the frame and putting all experience through a context. The context here is the social capital or the commodification of that experience for in order to enhance perception of self.

'At' is translating all experience into trade-able emotional commodity.

If you live in the 'at' state you live in a "what used to need to be seen, now needs to be shared to be believed."

Experiences become worthless unless A) you can prove that they happened, B) that you can show it to someone.

Just my thoughts

zabuni 4 days ago 0 replies      
1) Isn't this grindr for straight people?

2) Coming from my first point, a much better article about the potential pitfalls of socializing parts of our inner lives (with real live examples) can be seen here:


It's not as negative, but there still is a hell of a lot to not look forward to.

tehwalrus 4 days ago 0 replies      
the closing comments are much like Dylan Moran's rant about cameras (warning, typical foul language):

  Would you please - stop - taking - pictures - on your 
tiny - annoying (whispering) fucking camera. This is
happening to you in real time, you are having the
experience. It's not much point to verify that you
were at the event when you're actually here.

(quote taken from http://funnycomedianquotes.com/funny-dylan-moran-jokes-and-q... but I can't seem to link directly to it.)

The quote as I remember it live was slightly different, something about not living your life because you were too busy filming it for youtube.

conroe64 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Horrible Future of Blogging. I give you, the professional complainer...
abozi 4 days ago 0 replies      
relax mate. I don't think the majority of humanity is so dumb enough to be bought into the whole social hype, each time someone creates another "Facebook for ABC" online. Sure, it doesn't help when senseless media and VCs hype it up even more so, but most of us don't really buy into it. FB, Twitter etc should be just natural extensions to our real social life (plus a little bit more). Taking things too far as you did on your blog assumes that we'll just buy ourselves into these crap.
someone_welsh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I generally recommend watching "black mirror" - a funny 3 episode satirical tv thing which is about this very topic. it's worth people's time
wasulahewa 4 days ago 0 replies      
Might not have the same
specs but close, http://www.guyskeepscore.com/
axx 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so going to build sex.ly!
petegrif 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sounded pretty cool.

Just one gripe. He forgot the 'like' button.

maked00 4 days ago 0 replies      
Way to go, I am sure some crass go getter is staking this concept out as we speak.
D_Alex 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sex.ly for YC '13!
lockes5hadow 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was called adultfriendfinder?
imsofuture 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is ~6 years too late.
A Slower Speed of Light mit.edu
267 points by po  2 days ago   105 comments top 28
tjic 2 days ago 2 replies      
I remember reading a science fiction novel based on a similar idea perhaps 20 years ago. It was pretty good.


adaml_623 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm quite curious as to whether the speed of light across the game space decreases instantaneously when you pick up an orb or whether the change in the speed of light propagates at the speed of... umm light.

Also they definitely need to have a black hole or 2 chucked in and maybe some miniature binary stars orbiting at relativistic speeds

bluedanieru 2 days ago 0 replies      
This needs to go up on Steam yesterday. Or tomorrow, depending on your frame of reference.
bluedanieru 2 days ago 3 replies      
I may be off-base here, but isn't the length contraction backward? Things should appear closer as you approach the speed of light, not farther away. And, it should not matter if you move backward or forward to observe that effect, yet it does (try moving backwards).

Also, relativistic motion doesn't appear to affect the movements of the other actors, though it's kind of hard to tell for certain.

Ari_Rahikkala 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's Motion Sickness Simulator 2012! No, seriously, I've never had motion sickness from FPS games but this one made me feel pretty uncomfortable. Those who do get motion sickness should consider themselves warned.

That aside... it's not the first game/toy about illustrating relativistic effects that I've seen before, for instance there's http://lightspeed.sourceforge.net/ and a funny little Flash game that I've tried: http://www.testtubegames.com/velocityraptor.html . Neither of them were very much fun.

This game was not very much fun either, but there was some promise, because at the end once I'd gathered all the orbs by moving slowly and methodically, I enjoyed skating around the level and trying to go as fast as possible without bumping into things. Hopefully someone will use the engine (they say they're releasing it next year) to do something really good.

shocks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting, although I dislike the "ice rink" feel. It makes the game very difficult to control. I'm unsure if this is intentional.

A sandbox approach might be good. I found myself wanting to experiment and change the speed of time myself.

damncabbage 2 days ago 1 reply      
The site seems to be suffering a bit. Here's the cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahttp%...
tgb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Also of interest: Velocity Raptor http://www.testtubegames.com/srel101.html
kzahel 2 days ago 1 reply      
Once you get all 100 orbs and you get close to the speed of light you're in for a treat. It gets rid of the funny color saturation effects and you only see the Lorentz transformation.
I'd like to know the secret incantations to be able to modify the speed of light manually. (Once you walk fast as light, the game abruptly ends)
fungi 2 days ago 2 replies      
any one get it running in wine? i get through all the menus and story slides but then boom.
Eliezer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Doesn't run on Intel HD 3000 graphics, apparently. Alas.
gradschool 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Lorentz transformation (as I understand it) pertains only to inertial reference frames moving at constant velocities relative to one another, hence the "special" rather than the "general" theory. However, the player seems to be able to stop, start, or change course at will. Wouldn't those actions cause lots of effects (e.g., gravitational waves, etc.) that are not accurately modeled in this simulation?
m_darkTemplar 1 day ago 2 replies      
I(Ryan Cheu) was on the team that made this if anyone has questions!

Most of my work was on implementing the actual calculations for relativistic effects.

It was coded in Unity Game engine in C# mostly. The hard calculations are actually all calculated in a shader written in Cg (mostly just C) so they're on the graphics card.

aristidb 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's _barely_ playable on my 2011 MBA. Seems like the limitation is on the CPU side though. Either it's fairly unoptimized, or this relativistic stuff is just really demanding.

It's quite awesome anyways. Funnily if you change direction, that alone triggers no relativistic effects.

lucian1900 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is both very interesting and a little painful for me. It's one of those ideas that I've always wanted to try, but never got around to. In a way it's nice that someone tried it anyway.
codeboost 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks very psychedelic. It's interesting how simulating a variable speed of light creates the same visual effect as that produced by ingesting psychedelic mushrooms or LSD. Not just the color spectrum, but also the distance/space distortions one reports while tripping. I guess those mushrooms in the game are not a coincidence.
Wonder what the connection is there then.
ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't mass be increasing as light slows down?
aidos 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool concept! It takes a little while to wrap your head around what's going on but as you get deeper into it things start to make sense. The faster you move backwards the more light you lose which is rather disconcerting.

It's totally worth getting to the end (took me about 10 minutes) so you can play around for a moment without the colour shift affects. Would be really cool to have a version where you could do that.

Well done to the creators.

arjunbajaj 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not available for Linux! :(
undershirt 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't understand why the colors are changing. Shouldn't the doppler effect not apply if the speed of light is the same for all observers?
qiller 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Also there was http://realtimerelativity.org/ a while ago, which simulates motion pretty close to C. Don't know which one is more "realistic", but it shows much more pronounced effects
ricardobeat 1 day ago 0 replies      
That video is kind of annoying. More gameplay, less talk.
memming 1 day ago 1 reply      
Someone should do the same with quantum mechanics by increasing the Plank constant.
louischatriot 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a great idea. The "rainbow colors everywhere" effect if kinda annoying, but the concept is awesome. As they say, that's what I would expect from the MIT Games Lab.
zokier 2 days ago 0 replies      
I immediately thought 'space (combat) sim!' when I heard that the engine was open.
bitwize 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we found the Portal 3 game mechanic.
smithzvk 1 day ago 1 reply      
They say it is open source but I can't seem to find the repository. Anyone else see it?
bobylito 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is it even a game? It seems to me like a very interesting simulation but I don't see game design there...
Joey Hess' minimal approach usesthis.com
264 points by mastar2323  4 days ago   118 comments top 22
RyanMcGreal 4 days ago 3 replies      
"If it doesn't have a keyboard, I feel that my thoughts are being forced out through a straw."


jrajav 4 days ago 1 reply      
More on Hess' minimal lifestyle: http://joeyh.name/blog/entry/notes_for_a_caretaker/

I could have sworn this was a submission at some point, but I can't find it.

jakobe 4 days ago 4 replies      
It's great to be reminded that productivity doesn't really depend as much on the tools you use as some might have you believe.

I keep thinking about buying a faster laptop, or I'm complaining that getting fiber is way to expensive where I live, and then I read about someone on an ancient tiny netbook on dialup who is probably way more productive than I am.

ktf 3 days ago 0 replies      
> When power is low, I often hack in the evenings by lantern light.

The combination of forward-thinking hi-tech and rustic low-tech makes this feel like something out of science fiction. I picture him as a character in a Stephenson novel: a hermit hacker, off the grid, queuing up data and pulsing it out only when the cells are charged and the skies are clear.

Pretty awesome :)

fmstephe 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love this setup. After the new ARM chromebook came out I got all excited and looked about for a way to dual boot a full OS on my old series 5. It turns out it's easy now (http://chromeos-cr48.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/chrubuntu-1204-n...) There is a lot of pleasure in using such a small machine.

I am definitely looking forward to an e-ink laptop. As I get older my eyes grow more weary, but the e-ink display on my kindle is a joy to look at.

dailo10 4 days ago 2 replies      
"I don't use a desk. I work in five or six different places and postures around the house. When the weather's good, I'm outside, or on the porch. My preferred "desktop background" is some interesting view in back of my netbook's rather small screen."

This is such a liberating setup. I'm rethinking my need for a home office now.

_feda_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding all the comments here about dial-up and slow connections whether out of preference or necessity, I can't recommend enough having a slow connection and a data limit for helping you concentrate on the things that are most important to you, but take the most effort to think about or to do. I use a three mobile 3g dongle (UK) and pay £10 a month for 1GB of downloads. I use wget to crawl and download web pages to view offline. I've been doing this for over a year now and it's great for avoiding the huge potential distractions of broadband, torrents for example, being amongst the worst offenders (have you ever downloaded a 100 computer science textbooks and never got round to any of them because you were watching a whole season of star trek: next generation? It's kind of ridiculous.)
pdog 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Lately I've been focusing on programs that encourage broader use of version control systems, like git. The goal is to harness all the power that's been developed by developers for developers for managing source code, and redirect it to other purposes.

This is very interesting, especially his Kickstarter project[1]. I've always wondered how distributed revision control systems could be used in other domains.

[1] - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joeyh/git-annex-assistan...

mazsa 4 days ago 1 reply      
Mmmm.... "What would be your dream setup?
I dream of a ARM-based netbook with exceptionally good battery life, an E-ink display, and fully open and non-proprietary hardware. I've put off upgrading for years since this seems such an obvious thing for the market to produce, but the market is fascinated with locked-down tablets instead."
zalew 4 days ago 1 reply      
> I use the XFCE desktop environment, with the Xmonad window manager.

I was just going to try that in my xfce, what a coincidence. In case anyone is interested, here's the instruction http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Xmonad/Using_xmonad_in_XF...

agumonkey 4 days ago 3 replies      
Let's make a petition for someone to produce this e-ink open arm laptop. I'd buy one immediately.
lucaspiller 4 days ago 1 reply      
"The only other active computer in the house is my home server and internet gateway; a Sheevaplug with a wireless dongle and a dialup modem."

Everything else maybe... but I could never go back to dialup!

mhd 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting, but not totally unexpected as this is very much in the tradition of Unix terminal users. Never mind that today's "dumb terminal" is probably an order of magnitude more powerful than yesterdays mainframes, and you can fall back to even bigger servers without many problems.

But I'm always a bit surprised by small-screen laptop-only users, whether it's this rather charming off-the-grid kind or your average Macbook Air coffee shop inhabitant.
I like my mechanical keyboards, large displays (area, not dpi) and desk-bound isolation. Never mind that laptops introduce quite a few technical problems (heat, upgrades, computing power) that are easily avoided by your cheap mini tower.

And I guess that's at least one minor way in which I've succeeded over distraction without even trying: I don't have a big need to mix my programming/writing/browsing with outdoorsy and/or (real-life) social elements.
I wonder whether the rather common preference of landscape background pictures (e.g. Napa valley) is part of that desire.

mtgx 4 days ago 1 reply      
It sounds like the new Chromebook is a pretty good solution for him. Or maybe wait a year more for the next-gen one, which hopefully will have a 4 cell battery.
bravura 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love his minimalism. He loves hacking but he hates devices. He lives in the most natural milieu he can construct.

"I mean the guy no harm, but so much of what he says strikes me as incredibly back-worldly."

No. He approach is incredible modern.

There's some Jobs-ian about it. Steve Jobs ultimately hated devices, because a device embodies the barrier between you and the effect you need. That is why Jobs strove to make devices as small, unobtrusive, and natural as possible.

(I just started purchasing Apple, and have thus only recently began mulling about Steve Jobs's vision.)

dshep 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know for myself at least, upgrading to newer hardware is mostly a big distraction from work or whatever it is I probably should be spending time on. That said, I had a mini9 for a few weeks and typing on that tiny keyboard was pretty painful, so props to Joey for sticking with it.

If Joey is reading this... It sounds like you are living in a remote place. It'd be cool to see a more detailed blog post with pictures. Also as someone who has lived with a flaky dialup connection for a long time recently, I can highly recommend mosh. Setup irssi+bitlbee on a server running under tmux. Then connect with mosh and attach to tmux. This way you get reliable chat and irssi should set the important flag for the window, giving you notifications of new messages too. You can also configure irssi to mark you as away when you disconnect.

elliott99 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've never been to usesthis.com before. What a wonderful website! I would love to see more interviews like this.
draegtun 4 days ago 0 replies      
kayoone 4 days ago 2 replies      
big respect to this guy and he seems to make awesome software. But using a 5 year old netbook with very low resolution and 2gigs of ram, no external Screen and dialup modems for internet doesnt seem like a very productive working enviroment...but if it works for him, why not, but this is clearly is too minimal for my taste ;)
thomasfl 3 days ago 0 replies      
"I dream of a ARM-based netbook with exceptionally good battery life, an E-ink display"
gadders 4 days ago 1 reply      
Did I miss this in the article, but whereabouts does Joey actually live?
adv0r 4 days ago 2 replies      
"I've used nothing else since 1996."

Wow, that's impressive but I'm not sure I'd be proud of not "using" any other Operating System than my favourite for 16 years.

Bootstrap 2.2.0 released getbootstrap.com
259 points by niels  5 days ago   138 comments top 15
wilfra 5 days 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)

ericcholis 5 days ago 2 replies      
Hijacking the thread a bit here. Foundation (http://foundation.zurb.com) also released 3.2 on October 26th:


papsosouid 4 days ago 8 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.

dnerdy 5 days 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
halayli 4 days 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..)
olalonde 5 days ago 2 replies      
Nice, this finally fixes modals in small browser windows. http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/javascript.html#modals
bretthardin 5 days 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.
timmillwood 5 days 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.
sapien 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does it fix the bug In the most recent version whereby dropdowns wouldn't work on ios safari?
gaving 5 days ago 0 replies      
Bit weird linking to a zip of master, but nevermind.
diminish 5 days 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?
fudged71 4 days 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.
cies 4 days 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).

ExpiredLink 4 days 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.
Clorith 5 days 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.
WebScript.io: Just choose a URL and type in a script. No servers, no deployment webscript.io
243 points by tlrobinson  4 days ago   106 comments top 22
tripzilch 4 days ago 3 replies      
It's not immediately clear what this service does. Sure, I could watch the whole 5 minute video but I'd rather get an idea first :) So I wtched the first 15 seconds, which answered my first question: what kind of script? (answer: it's LUA scripts).

Other questions, what does it mean to choose a URL? Does it host a website there which runs the script? Like a subdomain? Or am I completely thinking the wrong way here?

What can I do with your service? (like 3-5 cool examples?)

BTW I don't mean to say, "meh I won't use this cause it's not instantly clear to me", it's supposed to be constructive criticism because I think making that quick elevator pitch will get you more users! :)

And that I really prefer skimming a page of text before deciding to watch a video presentation of a service.

smarx 4 days ago 11 replies      
I'm one of Webscript's founders, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this here. We just launched this morning, and I'm happy to answer any questions.
aristidb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just a few thoughts:

- Certainly easier to use than https://script.google.com

- How about a UI for inspecting the storage object? And why is "storage" _not_ JSON serializable?

- The whole thing gives the impression of "for disposable, not-very-important stuff". Is that deliberate?

- Specifying all the API keys and passwords for each call to an external service by hand seems a bit tedious. Automate all the things! (Maybe with a "secure" credentials object that can be filled with a separate UI?)

- Creating a new script under an existing domain deserves a dedicated UI element, it was not obvious to me that it is possible at all, at first.

qeorge 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is it fair to call this a similar service to Zapier that runs at a lower level of abstraction?

This appeals to me, because I find its much easier to express myself in code. Zapier is awesome because it makes it so non-programmers can link apps up, but as a programmer I'd rather work in pseudocode* like this instead, and this still keeps me from having to run cron jobs or respond to API changes.

Very cool!

*I realize its Lua, but I mean pseudocode to where I can just say twilio.sms and that magically happens.

chalst 4 days ago 1 reply      
The syntax highlighting in the script field is lovely. A question and an issue:

1. What support have you for Unicode? This is Lua's Achilles heel.

2. There's an issue with json.stringify - the script

    t={11, ["1"]=11}
return json.stringify(t)

should not return

    {"1": 11, "1": 11}

since this maps a structure whose semantics has two elements onto one whose semantics has one. json.parse cannot be an inverse to this function.

cliff 4 days ago 1 reply      
On the homepage, there is an example of an incrementing counter. Is this actually an atomic operation, or if two users hit the button at the same time, will it potentially only increase the count by 1?
nirvana 4 days ago 1 reply      
Would you mind sharing a bit about the architecture of this project? What tools and technologies & language (beside lua) did you use? I'm guessing you just need custom routes (all the URLS are on your domain?) rather than custom DNS. How are you handling sending emails, for instance? (did you plug into an email as a service provider?)
burke 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks like a really, really fun project. Great idea.
karl_gluck 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool! I can definitely see this being useful.

Out of curiosity, what encouraged you to choose Lua instead of JavaScript or another server-side language?

Jonanin 4 days ago 1 reply      
4.95 for "unlimited" traffic? So if my script is taking in 100,000 reqs/day I'm still paying 4.95 per month? What about cpu usage, memory consumption?
d0m 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like it, great idea! I was really surprised about Lua's choice rather than Javascript since it's all web-based. I'll definitely give it a try.
Shank 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a fan of the pricing model - deleting user data after a period of time is a bit harsh in any circumstance, but I don't see an alternative. I'd say cap the number per account, but then you can get multiple account abuse issues.

$5/mo is cheap enough to warrant an impulse purchase, though. Good on you guys.

sktrdie 4 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that Lua isn't very much used will get you less users. I feel like something like JavaScript would've been more appropriate for this kind of thing.

Maybe you should allow different languages? Lua is quite similar to JS, so you can probably port the same API to it, or other languages?

reinhardt 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks like a good excuse to pick up Lua.
wildmXranat 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, is this using embedded lua inside an actual web server like Nginx or is it a Lua application specific server ?
makethetick 4 days ago 1 reply      
This combined with a static html site, maybe hosted on S3, could make for a very interesting project.
zapt02 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can i make a webscript that recreates all the other webscripts in my accounts to get around the free 7-day limitation? :)
blacktulip 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome! May I ask whether it will support custom domains in the future?
sv123 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is cool, and a very fair pricing model.
codyjames 4 days ago 0 replies      
I signed up. Already using it to check if a server goes down. Have a lot more things I plan to use it for as well. Awesome service.
briangonzalez 4 days ago 3 replies      
This site seems sort of ripped off from codepen.io :/
benatkin 4 days ago 3 replies      
This isn't called webscript.io. It's called "webscript". It's beyond pretentious. The words "web" and "script" are extremely generic and common in software development. To put them together and not only use it as a product name but try to introduce it as a new term rubs me the wrong way. (The phrase "Webscripts are a fast and easy way to receive those webhooks" gives me the idea that they intend to do just that.)

Going past that, the video takes way too long. The best parts of the API are quite similar to request and express in node.js land. The website is vanilla Bootstrap with a few supported customizations to make it stand out more. There's little in it that shows that the team has the level of skills needed to write a platform.

Learn a Programming Language Faster by Copying Unix rodrigoalvesvieira.com
227 points by rodrigoavie  1 day ago   86 comments top 42
bane 10 hours ago 1 reply      
tl;dr - this does work to a point, but won't necessarily teach you idiomatic and community practices that come with experience, but it is surprisingly sticky

I had the great pleasure, year ago in my undergrad Operating Systems class, for the class assignment to be "write an OS in Java"...which of course was handed out to a group of students who had never seen Java. By the end of the semester we had written the core guts of a multi-tasking OS, a couple shells and the display systems to handle even displaying things like a unix-like console, a sane piping system, all the major user land utilities (sans some of the compiler things, but things like ls, cat, ps, etc.) a simple text editor and intra-system messaging system, etc. etc. etc.

It was a great curriculum and really was the first time we, as CS students, had the chance to really spend time understanding the subject matter without spending time focusing on stupid language tricks like we had in our various C and C++. The code we wrote was fairly straight forward (we were learning the language as we went, so kept to the KISS method) and focused instead of the material. It was probably among the hardest, and best class I've ever had on any subject.

Did I know Java at the end of it?

To a point -- I knew the pidgin dialect we wrote the OS in. A few semesters later I took a fluff software engineering course and had to hack out some various java server bits and had a roughshod time of it as I ran head first into the now common overengineeringitis that plagues modern Java development. I found the syntax and most of the standard library familiar, but the idiomatic ways of writing the code, community practices, the shibboleths, nearly impenetrable without years buried in an enterprise software house.

I swore off Java and never looked back...moving on to Perl and Python for a spell (incidentally my standard "learn a new language" project is to write a simple non-lexical phrase extractor, it touches I/O, data structures, database connectivity, program flow, and if I get daring, multi-threading and a few other odds and ends and usually gives me a pretty good idea how a language works.

Now years later, taking a look at Android dev, I'm finding that writing code for the platform, even though it's Java, to be like writing code for our old OS. It's pretty simple, there's great library support, and I don't have to wrap simple method calls in hundreds of lines of framework boilerplate nonsense. It's actually pretty fun.

But I've definitely been drawing heavily on that pidgin dialect of Java that I learned way back when -- it's kinda like riding a bicycle, except a few bits have changed here and there. So yeah, I think I did "learn" the language, and it's been amazing how much of it I can recall since it's been a decade since I did any coding in it.

(this method also handily solves the "I need a project, a goal, to learn the language, otherwise I'm just twiddling bits" problem).

michaelfeathers 22 hours ago 3 replies      
I write a unit testing framework in every new language I learn. I find it's a great workout because making it usable for yourself is immediately assessable, and it often forces you into deeper areas of the language, including reflection and meta-programming.
neverm0re 23 hours ago 1 reply      
For those who want a very clear, concise set of userland code to try translating for practice, consider using 9base: http://tools.suckless.org/9base

It's not quite Unix, but it's still quite lovely and it's rather succinct:

"It also contains the Plan 9 libc, libbio, libregexp, libfmt and libutf. The overall SLOC is about 66kSLOC, so this userland + all libs is much smaller than, e.g. bash (duh!)."

utopkara 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This works well as a learning method, most probably because UNIX tools are well documented, and there are readily available binaries. Many introductory programming courses I took and taught back in the day were using UNIX tools as programming assignments.

I believe, any well documented coding problem accompanied with a sample binary implementation should have the effective educational value.

Sites like interviewstreet.com should take this as a guide, even though their audience is not beginners. If you look at sample problems there, they are usually poorly described, and sample outputs are trivial and don't contribute to the textual description.

noonespecial 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I learned both perl and python by using them to replace my sysinit scripts on a Centos box. If you can get through this, I'd say you're "conversational" in a language.

You'll also know Linux better than most ever will.

Jare 23 hours ago 1 reply      
My favourite way to learn new languages & platforms was implementing a du-like ('disk usage') tool. It was also the exercise I proposed to my students. It doesn't require complex algorithms but touches a lot of the basics: recursion, filesystems, command line parsing, output formatting, etc.
MaxGabriel 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Rodrigo, I thought you should know that when browsing your site on an iPhone 4, the header overlapped the index. That wasn't a great description, so here is a screenshot: http://db.tt/7grTPHsL

You also cannot zoom in, which made it very hard to read.

Aardwolf 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I learned programming in QBasic by experimenting with graphics, games and fractals.

I honestly think that plotting per-pixel graphics is a much more fun and rewarding way to learn programming, than a cat program.

It's only a shame Linux has no "mode 13h" screen and a PSET function in the C language :)

Zenst 20 hours ago 2 replies      
It is a good approach and back say 20 years ago the favorite was to redo the du command and add a conversion to MB (now handled by the -h option for human in the du and ls command).

Cat is also a good example and not just to learn a programming language but the OS. Ask somebody to come up with 20 ways to display a file, you can do it with not just the cat command. Now I'm not saying there are twenty ways, but it is one area which some delving and approach will allow people to try and find them.

Examples are for me the best way to learn a programming language and again with the simple Unix commands you have a common base which people are more likely to ifnd an example. Can't recall but great site on the net which has "Hello World" in about every programming language around.

After a while, you will start to add option to your redeveloped commands, then add entirely new commands and from there you can think about writting your own shell. No graphics or the like to distract you too much. Graphics as a rule in programming languages I have found to be like learning an after thought and also you are more controlled in the mentality behind the API. So I do advise not even looking at graphics for a while until you have learned how to flex the language without the distractions graphics and the way they are handled add a overhead to your code. I'm sure somebody will list a programming language that is easier to do graphicly as apposed to text output, though its a safe rule. SO just because you have windows, don't mean you have to jump into GUI's from day one, if even at all.

d0m 19 hours ago 0 replies      
When learning a new language, my first project is usually an IRC bot. It gives me a good feel of the language and I need to learn most core structures.
abecedarius 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's mine: https://github.com/darius/ung

It can be fun if you try to put your own spin on things, though with diminishing returns.

Edit: also https://github.com/darius/sketchbook/blob/master/regex/grep....

nikcub 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Your ruby version of cat implements none of the command line switches.

I learned C by going through the FreeBSD code and helping with POSIX compliance. For fun I would implement a lot of the commands in Python. You get the most out of learning both the language and UNIX by implementing all the command line options.

mahmud 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Unix, as an environment, uses a handful of primitive paradigms. You will not learn much if you're using an advanced language.

If you were to learn Oz[1] in this manner, none of the its powerful features will be called for to implement simple filter programs, transforming text, and crashing when confused by unexpected input.

For languages that support advanced features, you're better off modeling "advanced" systems. Say, in the case of Oz, you might be better off modeling a secure microkernel or a VM; not dumb text processors.


[1] http://www.mozart-oz.org/

arocks 22 hours ago 4 replies      
For a purely functional language like Haskell, this would not be a very good advice. Any kind of I/O would involve monads and other imperative constructs. Better implement an algorithm involving trees or graphs to better appreciate a functional language.
nirvana 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagree. I think writing code to solve whatever small problem you're having right now is better. No point in recreating the wheel ,which is boring, and will result in something you'll never actually use because, well, cat already exists on your system.

But if you use it to start something new, or to add to your repretoire of utilities, then that is something you're more motivated to complete and more useful expenditure of time to boot.

pdog 20 hours ago 1 reply      
For learning functional programming languages, Project Euler[1] is a really great resource.

[1] - http://projecteuler.net/

davidxc 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like this approach might get boring after a couple of languages.

I think most people here could skim through the language intro, and then just start working on a new project in that language (picking up more of the language as they go).

This is the approach I usually use, and it seems more fun than porting the same tools. Just my opinion though :)

minhajuddin 22 hours ago 1 reply      
On a side note, a more concise version of cat in ruby is:

    puts ARGF.read

I know it's besides the point, However I couldn't resist :)

intellegacy 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Can someone give a non-expert way of going about this learning method?

For instance, what are your options on Windows or Mac?
And are the languages you can do this with limited to Ruby, Python, or Javascript?

stevekemp 16 hours ago 0 replies      
A few years back I remember submitting the implementation of a couple of Unix tools in Perl. The idea was to implement as many of the standard tools as possible, in perl.

The project seems to be sleeping, although there are many contributions:


pixelbeat 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I had this idea to demo basic python concepts.
Here's an implementation of ls with links to further info:


guruparan18 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Another good thing about learning UNIX (or using Linux) is the ability to write code snippets that could automate daily chores (you can do in Windows too, but I am not going to speak about it here).

Some of the code I enjoyed writing and using is, code to remember directory paths I visited (I visit lot of them, and it is a pain to type lengthy ones). A wrapper for "ssh" to remember hosts and list them (again I had to visit bunch of them daily, and pain to type fully qualified host names), just like PuTTy-saved sessions.

These tools really boost the productivity and joy to use.

leoh 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this advice only really makes sense if you understand and have an appreciation for UNIX tools. Otherwise, I think it would be rather burdensome to come to understand how seemingly abstruse UNIX tools function.
bediger4000 1 day ago 0 replies      
He's right. I have versions of "cat" in Java, Perl, Python, and C, all source. Reading from stdin and writing to stdout is the skeleton of a lot of tools, so starting from "cat" source is often the best way to get going on a new tool.
ajwinn 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The advantage and disadvantage of this approach: you have to already know Unix commands. Inevitably all programmers learn Unix commands - but probably a rough approach for beginners. Although, I'm guessing this advice isn't really aimed at beginners anyway.
nathan_f77 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Great advice. I've written a simple version of the `column` tool as an entry to the International Obfuscated Ruby Code Contest: https://github.com/saizai/iorcc/pull/1

Just a bit of fun, the contest doesn't seem to be very 'official'.

djhworld 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I always implement "cat" as a first toy application when learning a new langauge - it's a great introduction tool as it deals with dealing with files, dealing with streams (stdin) and so on.
bjoe_lewis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
My first usable program in python was an implementation of 'wget' and seriously, implementation of such unix based commands do teach you an awesome lot.
draegtun 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Also see this HN post from a few months ago about a Linux/Unix distribution written in Perl - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4395076
eisbaw 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Blog post is flawed: Try to recreate sed.
arjn 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with this and have done it in the past myself. Its a great learning exercise for new languages. The problems are easily defined and its apparent when you've successfully completed. Once you've done with the easier ones try implementing grep and then diff.
beering 23 hours ago 1 reply      
The example code for cat is only half of cat, which reminds me of Rob Pike's criticism of "cat -v"---Unix programs are often more complicated than they arguably should be, are "reimplementing" Unix programs often means implementing a small subset of the features.

Or, look up the manpage for your locally installed "tree" and see how many non-standard options and features have been bolted on.

I think it would be helpful when reimplementing Unix to try to work in more core features of the language, like its object or module system, which are more important than parsing argv or touching the filesystem.

manish_gill 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Heh. I've been doing something similar. In my free time, I've been actually re-implementing the `tree` command (with most of the switches as well) in Python.

I'll also be writing some other utilities! :)

jfaucett 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is kind of funny since I taught myself a lot of go by porting a bunch of the coreutils. It still amazes me how much there is to learn from unix. Many many times I find myself going back to some programs src (cron, find, etc.) when I need the design/algorithm/feature in my own programs.
pilsetnieks 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It reminds me of the suggestion of learning foreign languages by reading Harry Potter in that translation.
opminion 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Knuth and Lamport used a "literate" implementation Unix' wc as example in the manual for Literate Programming tool cweb.
poopicus 23 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a brilliant idea, and may I suggest that one takes it slightly further than just implementing the core functionality, and aiming for a complete clone (optional parameters and all) with a few enhancements.

Indeed, for a further ego boost, why not also benchmark the performance of your versions against the performance of the native utilities? You never know, your new clone might end up being the new 'less' to the old 'more'!

BrianPetro 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats for being 18 and making it to the top of hacker news. You have proven that simple and concise advice can be greater in value than the most complex systems (or technically advanced articles that frequent HN).
denzil_correa 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting and unique idea. I will suggest this to everyone. Thanks for sharing!
gdg92989 21 hours ago 0 replies      
What an awesome Idea! I wish I had thought of this when I was teaching intro to java!
devniel 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Great advice Rodrigo.
Because of the storm we're pushing the YC application deadline back to Friday
226 points by pg  4 days ago   50 comments top 20
cryptoz 4 days ago 3 replies      
Interestingly, my application is mostly going to be based on the storm itself, so this is excellent. Thanks :)

We've collected more than 100,000 atmospheric pressure readings of Sandy so far and they're still coming in through pressureNET, our open source Android app.

rquantz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I posted this as a separate submission, but it didn't seem to catch on. Since this is the only hurricane-related post on the front page, I'm going to add it here: startups, apply to YC and keep your change until you're making money. Those of you who have some money to spare, however, please consider donating to the Red Cross. Here is a link to the disaster relief donation page:


taskstrike 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome! Our team already applied but NYC is shut down for at least 2 days. Would have been hard to film a video if the subway is shut down and we couldn't meet up.
JohnHaugeland 4 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking as someone who isn't part of this run, and therefore is sort-of-impartial, I think you're doing the right thing, and I'm really glad you're giving these people some breathing room during difficult times.

If nothing else, you'll get a crop of /really/ disaster-aware backends.

hiddenstage 4 days ago 0 replies      
Will there be any collateral impacts for those of us who submitted before the deadline? In terms of time spent reviewing applications, etc.
contractsio 4 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent. Perhaps you meant our storm? This one? http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/tc-bin/tc_home2.cgi?YEAR=2012&...
caubetg 4 days ago 1 reply      
IMPORTANT: Hi everyone, I'm a french guy who applied to YC because I want to move to the Bay area to launch my start up.
Feeling concerned about what just happened in the east coast with Sandy, I would like to go to NY and help out, maybe with friends too. I contacted the american consulate in my city who might help.
This message is to ask you all for some financial support. I need to raise money to get there and help as much as possible. Depending on the amount raised, I'll either bring people along or go by myself. I have lived there in the past so I should have friends able to provide accomodation.
Any help will be appreciated, as well as any amount.
Maybe YC could handle the money management so you guys know where the money is going, or I can give my Paypal account.
If not enough money is raised, than it'll be given to local organisation (reimboursing would be a bit complicated).
Come on guys and let's start the YC SANDY PROJECT!
Thank you all for support
leeskye 4 days ago 0 replies      
Incredibly generous of you. My friends on the east coast who have intermittent power will be stoked to hear of this news.
caubetg 4 days ago 1 reply      
Are the results also pushed then?
brackin 4 days ago 0 replies      
This seems like a positive move considering people in parts of the East Coast don't have an internet connection right now.

Will the reviews process will be pushed back too? Good luck to everyone applying.

aganek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks pg!

I expect another strong YC class this session. We've submitted our app already, but I am happy those on the east coast aren't denied by something out of their control.

cinbun8 4 days ago 1 reply      
Most popular answer this year for 'Name something you hacked'

- 'Submitted my YC application despite the storm' :)

Spiritus 4 days ago 2 replies      
Application for what?
beingpractical 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hope everyone in NY / east coast is safe.
About the application, submitted it in first week itself. Could not afford to keep it up for the last day.
realguess 4 days ago 0 replies      
We managed to submit by tethering through my cellphone right before the date change. Good thing to have a working backup option.
NikP 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well done YC for putting people before business.
moadeel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very considerate of YC to do that.
jervisfm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you pg !
watson 4 days ago 1 reply      
AM or PM?
ludicast 4 days ago 2 replies      
Don't know why but this popped into my head.

Arnold mindfucks Lou Ferrigno right before they hit the stage for the Mr. Olympia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwtL2KPPc1k

"They should have it in a month for him. But then I have another month too."

Why you should take your 20's seriously jasonevanish.com
224 points by jevanish  2 days ago   166 comments top 43
cletus 2 days ago 7 replies      
This is a delicate subject because one can view it as a call for those in their 20s to make the most of that time, which is a fine message, to something tantamount to ageism.

While it's true that those in their 30s or older can be closed to new idea, that's not because they're "old", it's because they're people and some people are closed-minded.

I find a lot of these complaints are more about the cultural and lifestyle gap between those in their 20s and those who are older.

I remember the 80s. I'm not particularly interested in going bar-hopping. I find most social media to be an annoying drivel from people who vary between exhibitionists to just liking the sound of their own voices (everybody is talking, nobody is listening). I don't have that same sense of enthusiasm because for me everything isn't new. Most things really are derivative. To paraphrase something Don Draper said, I've reached a point on my life where I think I've basically met every kind of person there is. That's not to say that people can't surprise you. They can. It's just that you realize they're not as different as they once seemed.

This is exacerbated in the startup world since so many are cut from the same cloth: valedictorians in high school, magna cum laude, graduates of Stanford/MIT/CMU/Columbia, interned at Facebook/Amazon/Microsoft/Google, now working for one of those or some hot startup. It's a whittled down group of the technocratic elite who often-times don't really know how privileged and lucky they are.

At Google there tends to be two kinds of people: those who have worked in the outside world, particularly in Corporate America, and know how lucky they are and how different this is. And those that haven't and think this is just how the world is.

I don't begrudge them their successes and accomplishments but it is a form of cultural isolation--even inbreeding.

All of this means there tends to be a smaller set of common social norms with the "20s set".

At the same time, I pick up new technologies, languages and frameworks as much as I ever did. Possibly more so. Just now I've been doing a lot of AngularJS. That certainly didn't exist in my 20s. While I may not have the same youthful exuberance, I have experience and can draw lessons and parallels from programming in every stage of the Web's development (from CGI scripts on).

I will say this to those planning to have children: do it while you're young and it has nothing do with fertility. Children simply take an enormous amount of energy and commitment and this is far easier to bounce back from the younger you are.

As for the rest of it? Take another comment on this thread:

> Once somebody is fully set in their ways it's almost impossible to change their mind without divine intervention

That's fairly blatant ageism but, more than that, it's from someone who only knows people like him- or herself that wants to surround themselves with the same. Like I said: commonality and shared social norms are really what's in play there.

simonsarris 2 days ago 4 replies      
I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this, ever since the topic came up on reddit about why so few people in their 20's seem to "have their shit together."

I think it comes down to two reasons. The first one is huge, but its essentially luck. I think the reason I'm even afforded the opportunity to take my 20's seriously is almost completely happenstantial.

Looking at my friends and (distant) family I sometimes feel guilty because nothing bad has ever really happened to me in my life, whereas they've had to put up with all kinds of weird shit. For many people I know not being able to take their 20's seriously as powerhouse career years is sort-of excusable. They were spending them trying to survive, or raise a family all-too-soon.

But me? I'm young (24), well educated, I live in a huge Victorian-era house near main street nearly for free, programming job, walk to work every day, have a book deal (boring HTML5 book), brag, brag, etc, etc

But somehow I feel I'm just infinitely lucky. Lucky that my parents are two normal, well adjusted people. Lucky that I could be awkward and nerdy as all shit through middle school and high school and nobody was ever unpleasant to me. I was never bullied. No weird drama ever entered my life. I exited college with $0 but debt-free, thanks to Bank of Dad, who carefully engineered my experience to be basically broke but never in-the-hole so long as I worked (got an internship every summer and winter).

Lucky lucky lucky. Thanks everyone in my life so far. Really.


On the flip side I think that such a lifestyle (very career focused 20's) is seen as unattractive to a lot of 20-somethings. At the least, I think most people in my age range would describe people like me as boring (though I am never really bored). I spend most of my days reading, writing, sitting in cafes, programming, or doing art things. Right now and for several more months, its nearly 100% career activities. If I had to put together a dating website profile, it probably wouldn't look particularly attractive to other 20-somethings.

Put another way, most of my hobbies are either career related or solitary acts. Not that people can't appreciate them, just that none of them are exciting, and most of my 20-something friends (none of which IRL are programmers, I lead a lonely career here in NH) that proclaim me to be one of the few who has their shit together would also not want to be me.

None of them want to work desk jobs and then go home and work some more. They want to work in food/bar services or have a whatever-job, drop it at 5pm and go do fun 20-something things. Career development it seems isn't fun to most 20-somethings, socializing at bars is, moving out to Montana to climb things and work for a harvest season is, saving up to hide away in Peru for a year is, writing music with friends while working retail is, but not career development. Not to disparage these things, it just a sampling of their goals.

crazygringo 2 days ago 5 replies      
I "agree", but draw the exact opposite conclusions.

You should take your 20's seriously... because it's the only time in your life that you aren't encumbered by building a career, having kids, etc.

So you should take your 20's to do the things that you won't be able to do later. Work as a bartender, play in a band, travel the world on the cheap, teach English abroad, date the kind of people you wouldn't marry. You don't have serious responsibilities, so take advantage of that while you can.

Don't waste your 20's "building a career". You've got your 30's and 40's and 50's to do that. Don't be in a rush to have kids too soon.

Obviously, don't throw your 20's away. But spend them doing life-experience-focused things, not career- or family-focused.

And this gets at the author's third point: "Your brain finishes forming in your 20′s". If that's even true (although I doubt it), then you'd better get in all those varied life experiences sooner rather than later. Learn a second language, learn to cook, learn to play music.

Don't waste your 20's on grinding away at traditionally career-oriented stuff. That part of your brain is probably already fine. Your 20's is the time to look for diversity in your life, not to focus narrowly on any particular part. You've got all the decades afterward to work on narrow refinement and career progression...

agentultra 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good luck trying to tell other people how they should live their lives.

I can tell you that there are probably a hundred things I could've done better with my time in my twenties. However there was no way that I would have known then what I would be like today and what makes me happy now. Back then I thought I would keep gigging in bands and I'd scrape together a record label and have a long career in music. That's what made me happy at the time and what I sought out to do. How could I have known that I would change? I have a wife now and a daughter on the way, I've become a mild-mannered programmer who enjoys mathematics and literature, and rather than getting pissed on a Friday night and making a lot of noise I like to hang out with my friends and play board games. But if I was wiser I might have went to university and worked on getting a PhD then I'd probably be better off now, today. Hindsight...

What I'm saying is that humans are terrible planners. We're good at adapting and adjusting but we can never seem to be able to accurately predict outcomes. I think that we glorify those people who seem to far surpass the status quo and bend their stories into myth. It's romantic to think that Einstein or Steve Jobs had set out to change the world when they were young but if we're honest about their history it's more likely that they drifted towards those things and all the right pieces were in place at the right time to make great things happen.

And it doesn't end when you hit thirty. I'm still as ambitious as ever and I see new currents that I'd like to follow that I would never have thought possible before. You don't just become a dumb, boring, cantankerous old person over night. Quite the contrary; I find that my tastes are far more refined, I can see dead-ends before going down the path, and I am more adverse to wasting my time. You start to see patterns in the ocean and can navigate the seas with ease.

So plan all you want but be prepared to fight the current and the winds!

barrkel 2 days ago 4 replies      
Contra: you only live once. The risk with spending so much of your youth building for a future - in essence, living for the tomorrow you're trying to create - is that you won't want it when you get there.

When you're young, you're at the point at which you most likely have fewer worries of any kind than you will in the rest of your life. And you won't appreciate this until it's gone. A slightly more advanced career is a poor substitute.

I'm not arguing in favour of feckless youth. In fact, you should be serious about one thing - not wasting your time. But building a career that you abandon in your 30s or 40s may also be a waste of time.

guylhem 2 days ago 1 reply      
I disagree with a lot of the comments - and with the article point.

We should not think about taking any age seriously or not, but of the bigger picture instead, ie one's goals in life.

Unfortunately, they are not written down for you, and they can be quite hard to find.

There are various algorithm that may work, but all I see in the article and the comments are basically 2 opposite proposals :

- plan A: explore in your twenties to make sure you properly identify your goals

- plan B : commit to your career in your twenties to take advantage of compounding interest (in life as in money)

But we all know alternatives approaches - like iterating between exploration (finding a local maxima) and exploitation (taking advantage of this local maxima)

I guess it all depends if you have already found your fancy, and all longs it will take to get you bored out of it, but it seems to be a much better approach - especially if you do not ignore the money aspect of your fancies (ie starting a band might be fun, but odds of financial return are low)

Also, it seems to me a lot of the comments insist about family and children. These are individual decisions - not givens, something the author clearly stated ("if having a family is part of your life's goals").

Fortunately for men, there is no age limit (and if we keep our rate of technological progress in stem cells and differentiation into germinal lines, there is no reason why it couldn't be also possible for women)

Currently, at least for 50% of the readers, age should not be factored in - opening the door for more iteration of the explore/exploit loop, with the always present opportunity to have kids.

I guess I don't understand or I'm missing something, maybe like the preference of dating someone of a similar age (which might then impose its own preference on optimal child bearing age)

nostromo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Most startup advice is also good advice for 20-somethings.

Get to an MVP quickly: Find a way to practice your target profession as soon as possible. (Don't spend hundreds of thousands getting a law degree just to discover you hate the actual work.) This is easy for programmers: just start building stuff before applying to the CS program.

After MVP, iterate quickly: So you know Ruby? Time to learn another language, or about compilers, or about web typography, or about finance. Don't stand still.

Be ready to pivot: If you discover you find your work unfulfilling, the time to change is now. Don't wait to switch careers until your 40s.

Don't prematurely optimize: Your 20s should be about gaining skills and experience, not about getting big paychecks. The best paying job a 20 year old can get might be in construction or the military, but this may limit your upside down the road.

wheels 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is rather straw-man-ish. He equates having a fun, care-free life as ... working at Starbucks.

I don't know anyone who's ever said, "Well, why don't you just work at Starbucks for a decade? It'll be fun and you can get a real job when you're 30!"

What's actually said is more like, "Take a few months and a backpack and go travel somewhere" or "start a company with no idea if it'll pan out". Party. Start a band. Chase some girls [or guys]. Read a lot.

It doesn't mean "throw away a decade" -- it means "do the important things that it'll be harder for you to get away with if 10 years from now you have a family and mortgage."

I visited over 30 countries in my 20s. Even if that would have kept me from advancing my career (it didn't), I wouldn't trade that for being a year closer to a promotion in an IT job.

grecy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ugh. I've been having this conversation a lot lately.

> Your 20′s lay the groundwork for success in the rest of your career.

Can also be said as: While in your 20's, you should start living like you're in your 30's, 40's and 50's, so you can do that and only that for your entire life.

I completely reject that way of thinking.

There are many things we all want to do in our 20's we will not want to do later in life, which is all the more reason to do them in your 20's, lest you never get to do them at all.

As anecdotal evidence, I spent 2 years of my life from 27-29 driving from Alaska to Argentina, because I wanted to. Will I want to sleep in a tent for >500 nights when I'm 50? doubtful. Am I extremely happy that I did? You bet, best experience of my life. Did it "harm" my career? No, I'm working right now as a Software Engineer.

pitt1980 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is sort of bullshit

first shouldn't you take every discrete chunk of your life seriously?

to the degree to which this is true, its true because we tell ourselves its true, most people don't reinvent themselves past their 20s because they choose not to, not because the obsticles standing in their way are insurmountable

engtech 2 days ago 4 replies      
"2) Statistically, women need to have all their children by 35.

According to the author, a woman's ability to get pregnant plummets starting in her mid-thirties. To make matters worse, the odds of a miscarriage for a woman over 35 is one in four."

Our family doctor gave the odds as 3 in 5.

In practical experience, I know of four friends who have miscarried at 35 (after being pregnant for over 3 months), out of about 11 who had kids at that age.

My wife and I have always suspected that the 3 out of 5 statistic also includes miscarriages in the first two months of pregnancy where you might not have been sure you were pregnant or late.

levesque 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wholeheartedly disagree and I might add that this is bullshit. Do whatever the hell you want to do with your twenties. If your idea of a perfect life is a flawless career, then go for it. Go where your interests take you. As long as you get bread on the table and don't bury yourself in debt, there is no reason why you should feel you are wasting some grandiose opportunity. Life isn't only about work and money.
tlogan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting post. There is also other school of thought:

- in 20s you party

- in 30s you raise family

- in 40s you build business

And, don't worry: if you are very creative in 20s you will be the same creative person with new ideas in 40s.

grantph 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's some insight which I had with a senior partner at a "big 4 consulting" firm and their attitude to age.

The buy up highly educated people in their 20's because they're cheap and eager to work. In fact, they're cheaper than most people when you do an hourly analysis (probably cheaper than cleaners).

BUT... the simple fact is, they also know they burn out by their 30's. Life takes over. The doubt. What am I doing with my life? Why don't I have a family? Maybe I missed out on other things my friends were doing?

By that stage, they no longer care about you because they've got a new batch of cheap 20's burning the midnight oil.

However, the good news is that they noticed that there's a reversal when people reach their 40's. They've got experience in life and business. They're no longer in doubt mode.

Ironically, these organizations have standard pitches to sell the career delusion. "People are our greatest assets" and similar rhetoric. The reality is ... THE DO NOT GIVE A CRAP ABOUT YOUR CAREER. Careers do NOT exist. It's like selling women the idea of being a "homemaker" in the 1950's.

I have noticed that people are more likely to be successful in their 30's and 40's (read some evidence that suggested that too but can't remember the reference). People getting rich in their 20's is an aberration.

Neuroplasticity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Brain_That_Changes_Itself) also suggests that we never stop learning, so I have to disagree with point 3 "Your brain finishes forming in your 20′s." Dribble! That's like the rhetoric about careers. People just get lazy.

What people have going for them in their 20's is no commitment and all the time in the world. But no experience which can also be a disadvantage. If you can recreate "no commitment" in your 30's-40's (20's + real experience), then you should excel because your ideas are more mature and hopefully clearer!

You're more likely to be successful as an actor in your 30's for the same reasons!

jakejake 2 days ago 0 replies      
The irony of life is that you don't truly understand what is important in your 20's (or any age) until you are much older. Not only do we fail to understand things until we get some outside perspective - but also our priorities change.

In my 40's I wish I had done certain career things differently. But I can imagine myself in my 80's wishing I had goofed off more, traveled the world and not taken anything too seriously. As the old joke goes, not too many people are on their death bed wishing they had worked harder.

flyosity 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't like the idea that "having fun" and "building a career" are mutually exclusive entities that don't touch on a Venn diagram. I built a career in my 20s based on things that excited me as a teenager, and I'm still excited by my career and consider my job a lot of fun. I didn't live in exotic countries or lounge around aimlessly because I'd rather be designing and building software: that's my fun. I suspect a lot of people on HN feel the same way, and just because one person's idea of "fun" is to travel around the world doesn't mean that they have a monopoly on what fun means.
sunjain 2 days ago 0 replies      
On the contrary, I suggest 20s is the best time to explore who you actually are - so called "hippy" stuff. As later on it just becomes that much more difficult. Whether you end up building a great company or end up doing a regular job in your later years, it will not mean much if you did not find out who you actually are, what is your purpose in life (all those silly questions we all pondered sometimes but never actually pursued). Once explored thoroughly, and if the conclusion was that your purpose in life was to do a start-p(or startups) and establish a successful company, then it will be worth it. Otherwise, neither your startup will be successful, or if successful, your life will still be miserable. Better to figure all this out in 20s, instead of focusing primarily on your career.
andreipop 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find your desire to "build a large company" interesting - I shared this until I realized that almost nobody gets out of bed in the morning because they say "I want to build and run a large company" - this is fundamentally unsustainable. Instead finding problems you care about or find interesting might be more motivating and put less pressure on your psychological well being. This helps you get rid of the time pressure you seem to be feeling and will bring a new sense of focus and purpose.
OldSchool 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMO 20-something is THE time to go for it. You'll only get more encumbered by personal expense overhead and non-monetary time commitments as you get older.

Yes, our bodies haven't kept pace with society and technology. If you ever want to have kids, ladies need to be finished having children by 35. Start before 30 but if you know you have potential fertility issues start as early as possible after getting an education. You'll only miss out on happy hour where people get fat and dissolve their their faces with alcohol anyway.

One downside is you may not feel as credible as someone older when trying to make a sale in-person. However, some older people will give you the sale because they like you because you're a younger version of them.

Another downside is establishing appropriate relationships with employees that are about your same age. Attila doesn't drink with the huns. You can't tell if they actually like you because you're paying them so you're probably not as funny as they make you feel. If you get rich they're going to hate you anyway; even if they get some of the loot too it won't be enough. That doesn't go for real partners - you need a small senior team of complementary people that live and die with the company - that's hard to find but critical.

Luck favors the prepared. You can be almost completely invisible to the world and still make enough money that it changes the course of the rest of your life. Time will pass regardless and you're probably going to be working anyway so why not place your big bets when they only affect you?

freyr 2 days ago 2 replies      
There are some good points here, but my advice is that you should take your teens seriously.

It seems like the prevailing advice today for anyone in their teens is to live their lives free of any commitments and as independent and undirected as possible. But lately I realized the importance of my teens to a degree I never had and it has changed how I plan to approach the last few years of my teens.

I'm not going to wait until my twenties to move into my parent's house and work on my startup. I already live in their house, so why wait?

Also, since everybody peaks in their twenties, why waste our best years making mistakes? By starting early, I'm getting lots of mistakes out of the way. By the time I hit my twenties, I'll be at peak performance and have tons of experience under my belt.

But sometimes I wish I'd started as a tween.

icesoldier 2 days ago 2 replies      
The issue I have with seeing life advice posts is that I've begun to see this dichotomy between "follow your heart" advice and "follow your head" advice. And I personally have a split between the two: my degree is in CS and my current job is in programming, but by "pie in the sky" dreams involve writing and performing music. I happen to have more knowledge in the former as a consequence of my degree, but I didn't really passionately pursue any major side projects. (This hindered my job hunt slightly, but I still managed to circumvent it via personal connections. It does pay to know people, in my experience.)

As I was closing in on the end of my college degree plan, I felt torn between these two seemingly divergent ends. As a result I crept into a disillusioned depression fueled by the realization that it was too late to switch degrees that wildly and by firsthand experience of the job hunt as a CS student from west Texas with little heart in the industry.

So I'm just taking solace in the fact that I'm working a job with a really short commute and a good environment where I can go home at 5:00 and pursue music as a hobby. I might even notice eventually that my life's passion doesn't land in either music or programming, and to be honest I'd be okay with that if it gave me a direction to point in. But at this point, having only graduated from college this year (turning 23 next week), it feels like I just need to to something. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm coasting now that I've "made it" out into the world relatively unscathed.

willholloway 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have a different take:

College Years, 18-23: This is the time to just be. You can treat college as a stressful strive-fest for meaningless grades, or you can treat it like a 4-5 year vacation. Optimize for gentleman's C's. You still get all the social and class benefits.

23-30: These are your prime productive years. This is the time to amass your fortune.

30 to death: Travel, play golf, foster community and friendships. Get married, have kids. All of these things will be much more enjoyable with some cash.

chris123 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should enjoy life, love, learn, teach, travel, and have fun from zero to death. The 20s are no different. I for one had an absolute blast in my 20s, did well financially, and didn't take myself "seriously." Different strokes for different folks. People should just plain think for themselves and NOT take themselves too seriously, IMHO :)
Hawkee 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is especially true concerning the mind. The older we get the less open we are to new ideas. Once somebody is fully set in their ways it's almost impossible to change their mind without divine intervention. I just take this as a warning as somebody who is older to be open to change and be willing to embrace new ideas.
milroc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Concepts like this seem very specific to obtain a certain desired lifestyle rather than advice on how to live.

1) Don't put off your career: While I agree it mainly correlates to two things.
a. Spend as much time as you can doing what you have a drive to do. (e.g: setting yourself to be financially above or where you were when you grew up, trying to start a band, or trying to create the next major startup).
c. Make sure to live below your means. (i.e: Ensure if you make 100 dollars after tax regardless of pay 25 of it is being saved. This gets harder and harder as there is a asymptote decided by the market (cost of living) and situation (whether or not your parents basement is available) you live in).

2) Children: There is a lot of qualifications here that were taken in place in the article. While the clock is ticking and I agree, people look at children as a chore taken to ensure a certain lifestyle later in life; or just want them and are willing to sacrifice whatever else to enjoy having children. Both are generally the case but I feel the set of things that people choose to give up is too large. You should ensure that your finances should be in place to support them but the amount in which you should support them should vary based off of your financial situation (by this I do not limit it to the children's wants (less toys) but rather also the child's needs (why pay for a private school if you can't afford it? because it's worth the difference in learning experiences? What about no private school and finding other means of educating the child?))

3) Brain Finishes Forming: Fight it if you think that this is going to be the case (and care; I know a very large set of people who enjoy being close minded. It means that their life is less complicated by relatively asinine decision making, when they would prefer the action portion of the work (I can't understand this but have debated it with individuals)).

davepeck 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's no one path.

It's good that our poets still keep things in perspective:


weej 2 days ago 0 replies      
>I need to develop as many of the skills I need to lead such a company now, because in a few years it may be difficult or almost impossible to grow in the ways necessary to handle the role.

This neurological development is completely misinterpreted. I already posted on this exact topic not that long ago, but I'll reiterate.

The poster is correct in noting neurological development does come with age in your 20s when one's frontal cortex (or lobes) of the brain fully develop.

This has nothing to do with "developing new skills", but rather its your ability to control higher-order functioning. This could range from long term planning, motivation, and inhibition towards behavior.

When you're young you're somewhat crazy and brash. This allows one to take chances, push the envelope, and reach breakthroughs. If anything this counters the poster's logic, and they should be creating a start-up in their teens instead.

With that said it works both ways. The youth lack the ability fully reason, plan, and in SOME cases think logically through a problem (in the sense of understanding the repercussions of their actions).

fitandfunction 2 days ago 0 replies      
An easier way to think about this is that life, like money, compounds.

Good decisions you make early in life compound and pay dividends for the rest of your life.

nckbz 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's the point? I'm 24 years old. Education was expensive, so I worked my way up as a programmer and web developer right out of high school. I've worked at some pretty big corporations and now I'm looking to buy a house while my friends are just getting out of University with junior developer positions while living at home. My co-workers are all around 10-20 years older than I am. I've made senior developer, but I won't be able to move into any type of management positions for another 5-10 years just because of my age. There's no additional advancement or benefits to a slightly early head start on a career. People who give advice like this probably don't remember what it was like to be this age.

My advice? If you have the chance to see the world, have a cool college experience, or the opportunity to do something unique with your life follow through with it.

Climbing the corporate ladder in any field at any age is difficult at best, but doing so at twenty? Probably one of the main drives behind talented 'kids' joining startups now days.

scheff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Re: "Your brain finishes forming in your 20′s"
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

Specifically: "During most of the 20th century, the general consensus among neuroscientists was that brain structure is relatively immutable after a critical period during early childhood. This belief has been challenged by findings revealing that many aspects of the brain remain plastic even into adulthood."

xenen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having read a bunch of the comments and the OP, I think everyone has shared something that makes good sense. The problem is, though, that as much as these "lessons" make sense to us when reading them, it makes absolutely no sense to try and apply these lessons to ANOTHER PERSON.

Each and every one of us have formed our own opinions about things, shaped by each and every one of our unique life experiences. To try and apply it to someone else is pointless, and futile.

Instead, be happy. Do whatever it takes to find happiness. Apply whatever lessons are necessary to find the motivation behind YOUR happiness, and go after it. Strong, focused motivation is the most scarce resource for a human's life, and the path to finding that motivation is different for every one of us.

We live for nothing else but the pursuit of happiness, and there's an infinite number of shapes it can be. Find yours.

ececconi 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've had a saying recently. I'm making a lot of sacrifices in my 20's so that I'm established and ready to start a family in my 30's.
peterwwillis 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's only one thing about your age that definitively affects your life: Your body. Past concerns of the flesh, stop trying to box your experiences into meaningless numbers and just do things you want to do as you feel like it, at any age.
danielrm26 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good content. Thanks for sharing it rather than cowering before the self-publishing police.
adrianwaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm on my feet, step aside man

Get out my way, I got a mind of my own

Beat all my fears as a young man

Now that I'm grown, I don't fear the unknown

-- Living Colour - Young Man - http://youtu.be/T7e2kVEFPrE

sh_vipin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if any other venture than Mc D was started in post-30s. I guess Mc D was started in 40s but otherwise most of the startups were founded by its owners in 20s itself.
staringispolite 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know how I feel about a blog that drives you to click an Amazon affiliate link. Nevertheless, the points seem valid and thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing.
scottmcleod 2 days ago 1 reply      
You should take all of your life serious, but not so serious you do not enjoy it.
pennig 2 days ago 3 replies      
Well, shit.
mrharrison 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why you should take every moment seriously. Live life now!
abdelmaalik 2 days ago 0 replies      
how about: 'spend your thirties fixing all the mistakes you made in your twenties'

there, now that sounds fun

naturalethic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go fuck yourself. Seriously.
taurath 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple script resizes iPad banner and pushes Samsung verdict out of view apple.com
224 points by josteink  23 hours ago   132 comments top 29
archgrove 23 hours ago 5 replies      
This behaviour is the same on apple.de or apple.jp, so it's not just the UK site. Moreover, it was added only 2 days after the judgement was upheld:

    HEAD /v/home/n/scripts/hero_resize.js HTTP/1.1
Host: www.apple.com

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Apache
**Last-Modified: Sun, 21 Oct 2012 19:31:51 GMT**
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 632
Content-Type: application/x-javascript
Cache-Control: max-age=600
Expires: Sat, 03 Nov 2012 17:04:23 GMT
Date: Sat, 03 Nov 2012 16:54:23 GMT
Connection: keep-alive

I believe this was before the homepage was altered to display the ruling. Moreover, this was also just 2 days before the iPad mini was announced. Far more likely this is just related to new product announcements than any nefarious scheme.

w1ntermute 23 hours ago 7 replies      
I really hope they get reamed by the judge again for this. It would be great to see them forced to place the verdict at the top of the page. Unfortunately, the judge probably has no idea what JS is.
jsnk 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Just for the record.

var HeroResize=AC.Class({initialize:function(b){this._height=null;this._hero=$(b);
if(typeof window.ontouchstart==="undefined"){this.resizeHero();Event.observe(window,"resize",this.__boundResizeHero)
}},setHeight:function(b){this._height=(b<0)?0:b;return this._height},resizeHero:function(){this.setHeight(parseInt(window.innerHeight||(window.document.documentElement.clientHeight||window.document.body.clientHeight),10)-310);
this.hero().style.height=this.height()+"px"}});Event.onDOMReady(function(){var b=new HeroResize("billboard")

sek 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This stuff makes this company so incredibly unlikable.

Maybe some uninformed consumers don't see it, but for informed people Apple loses sympathy every day with this behavior.

alextingle 17 hours ago 0 replies      
They've still got the deliberate line break between "do not" and "infringe". That trick is designed to blunt the impact of the message:

    do not</span> <span class="nowrap">infringe

jimrandomh 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Additionally, there is a script to measure what fraction of people scroll down. That script is not new; Apple knows exactly how many people this will prevent from seeing the notice.
mcpoulet 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This script was already used in september for the iPhone 5 homepage. This is simply called vertical responsive design. See these screenshots for exemple : http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnblanc/7980347228/in/photos...

It has nothing to do with the Samsung trial's verdict.

fludlight 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't see what the big deal is. When I go to http://apple.co.uk I see a statement about Samsung in reasonably sized, clear print:

"On 25 October 2012, Apple Inc. published a statement on its UK website in relation to Samsung's Galaxy tablet computers. That statement was inaccurate and did not comply with the order of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. The correct statement is at Samsung/Apple UK judgement."

Screenshot, in case you see something else: http://imgur.com/79bBm

Edit: Oh, I see...the statement gets pushed below the first visible page so you have to scroll to see it, which most people don't. Still, so what? Where did you guys expect them to put it? Tattooed on Tim Cook's forehead? Joe the plumber doesn't care about intellectual property disputes between electronics companies.

RKearney 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately in trying to be clever, they destroyed the page when trying to zoom in and out.


So they sacrificed accessibility for what, trying to be childish and clever in the execution of a court order?

lignuist 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess the judge will soon design the Apple frontpage himself with MS Paint, if Apple doesn't stop this behaviour in the next few days.
Breakthrough 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Man, this just keeps getting better... You think after the first time they would just have accepted the loss, put up the message, and gone on with things. It's amazing the extent they are willing to go to subvert the verdict. Of course, this is only if the script is indeed meant to push the ruling out of view...
Cbasedlifeform 21 hours ago 3 replies      
This whole thing is turning into a PR disaster for Apple... Some variation on the Streisand Effect.

When Apple first posted the "apology" Gruber et al all whooped up how clever Apple was. A bit of blowback now.

drivebyacct2 21 hours ago 0 replies      
While a bit deceptive, I think it's rather funny and cute. I almost get the impression that Apple is intentionally mocking the court. I know it doesn't make business sense, but it seems like they had to know they're taking a bit of a risk in not complying in full-faith.
radley 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This post's title is a little off.

Apple is using a script to push the verdict "below the fold".

tnuc 23 hours ago 1 reply      
What page of the apple site should I be looking at to see this script in action?
kami8845 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The statement can be found on http://www.apple.co.uk for anyone wondering.
jason_slack 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Can someone explain though, non-code, under what conditions is the resizing taking place?
metatronscube 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I went to the page to see what all the bother was about and ended up buying an iPad mini (to replace nexus 7). Thanks Samsung. You can't pay for this publicity.
msg 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Plausible deniability or no, Apple was very dumb not to put themselves above reproach here.

If a CSS/JS behavior interferes with your ability to comply with a court order, that just means you have two problems.

I for one don't believe Apple is being contrite and forthright about the harm they were judged to do to Samsung in the marketplace. These judges will clearly lean on Apple until they get the message.

rogerb 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Do we know whether or not this was the behavior on the site prior to them having to post this ?
frugalmail 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The sleezy-ness of Apple is completely unacceptable as of late
MattDL 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I could have seen this being unrelated and just a UX polishing touch, but then they didn't think to put it on the other versions of the site to at least try and make it less suspicious.

Pushing past the limits of acceptability now, they should face some fairly serious punishment for this.

Tyr42 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't see the Samsung verdict anywhere on the page or in the source.
pfortuny 22 hours ago 0 replies      
They are really playing with fire...
orionblastar 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is just a trick by Apple who don't want to admit to doing anything wrong. Expect the judge to notice this and issue another order that the text must be readable and not covered up with Javscript tricks.
kbs 21 hours ago 1 reply      
They are also using a 'sosumi' comment, guess they still want to tweak someone's nose.

    $ curl -s www.apple.com/uk/ | grep -A 1 /sosumi
<p class="statement">On 25 October 2012, Apple Inc. published a statement on its UK website...

aggarwalachal 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Did they just update the homepage on apple.com? Shows the iPad 4th gen now.
whoisstan 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Samsung is a soul less copy cat. Of course I push any word of them below the fold.
mamby 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Do You Wanna Touch codinghorror.com
221 points by co_pl_te  3 days ago   142 comments top 30
kijin 3 days ago 15 replies      
> How wonderful it is to flip open the Surface and quickly type a 4 paragraph email response when I need to ... And switching between the two modes of interaction " sometimes typing, sometimes touching " is completely natural.

OK, let's assume that the Surface's keyboard completely solves the problem of not being able to write properly. That still leaves us with the problem of not being able to point properly.

I can't even imagine how the touchscreen could ever rival the precision of the mouse as a pointing device. The average adult human finger is simply too thick to select 5 characters from the middle of a word displayed in 10 points, or to drag a Photoshop layer 1 pixel to the right. Even a conventional trackpad on a cheap laptop has better precision than your finger does, though good luck finding actual graphic designers who prefer trackpads to actual mice. Styluses (styli?) aren't much better, unless your stylus is sharp enough to damage the screen. The fact that touchscreens don't allow you to fine-tune your aim before you click makes it even more difficult to achieve precision.

How do we address this issue? How do we make touchscreen devices useful for those who need spatial precision? What would be the most natural way to add precise pointing abilities to a tablet computer without compromising the advantages of the touchscreen? Carrying around a cordless mouse doesn't seem to be a particularly elegant solution. What do you think? Is touchscreen+keyboard the future of personal computing, or is there always going to be a place for mice as specialty items for graphic designers and some other professionals?

dkhenry 3 days ago 6 replies      
He is right about the future of interaction being touch + keyboard. I have been using my Transformer Prime for about a year now as a laptop replacement. It doesn't do everything I ask of computers ( but then again neither would any laptop ), but it does have this great interaction where I can switch between windows with the Honeycomb switcher app ( replaces alt-tab ) I can swipe between tabs in the terminal and use the touch screen to scroll back text. It is still the best device for reading any E-mails and its good at writing all but the longest. However the
coup de grâce of it is that I can use it for 12 to 18 hours without even thinking about plugging it into something. I can leave it unplugged for weeks and come back to a decent charge on it, and to my knowledge the only time I have ever turned it off was when I flashed CM10 on it. If the surface can provide those kind of experiences then I think its just a matter of time until it becomes a standard piece of kit for computer users.
Newky 3 days ago 6 replies      
I loved this article as it clearly demonstrates Jeff's love of all hardware. There is no real hatred for any brand here, and he complements all the major devices while remaining objective.

One comment I would make is regarding this, "I knew that the Nexus 7 was really working for me when I gave mine to my father as a spontaneous gift while he was visiting, then missed it sorely when waiting for the replacement to arrive.". I know that Jeff is above my pay bracket, but even still, this makes me wonder what sort of money stream this is, if he can simply hand away Nexus 7's. I earn a respectful living but that sort of money is still substantial enough that I can't afford to simply give one away.

hrktb 3 days ago 3 replies      
This post feels too short for the argument he is pushing. If the surface is a laptop killer, what is radically different about it compared to the other countless tries of putting a keyboard with a touchscreen ?

I am asking genuinely, because I haven't touch or seen one yet. So far the reviews aren't stellar, there seems to be the same shortcoming as before (always moving between the keyboard and the screen to type and click on things), and the software doesn't seem to push the limits of what you can do on a tablet.

My question would be, my parents hated using an iPad with a keyboard, would they be better off with a surface?

TeMPOraL 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I personally love touchscreens and want to see them everywhere, I think we can't ignore the limitations of this type interface. For instance, it would seem that Bret Victor doesn't like Jeff's touch future, and has some interesting things to say about it:


programminggeek 3 days ago 0 replies      
I recently got the ultraslim logitech ipad keyboard cover and it is pretty awesome. I could really see a future for tablet+keyboard devices for a lot of people. Apple doesn't really need to promote this as their core feature because it's just an optional setup, but MSFT could propel the tablet keyboard market forward in very interesting ways. Very cool.
marshray 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disclosure: recently accepted a position at MSFT.

I think I'm starting to "get it", in that Windows 8 (perhaps moreso than Surface) may have a big effect on how we use computers.

After using a Surface for a day or two, I've caught myself a few times trying to tap on my other LCD screens. For some reason, this didn't happen even after using Android tablets, even with docking keyboards.

bsimpson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure how to feel about tablets.

Even as a life-long Mac guy, I bought a TabletPC in 2005 because I wanted a pressure-sensitive drawing tablet that was embedded into the display. The most striking thing for me was how nice it was to be able to sit on the couch and read a webpage in portrait mode, but having to unfold the keyboard to be able to go to a new URL (or hunt/peck on the onscreen keyboard) was a disaster. When Nokia announced its pocket-sized tablet in 2006, I was very tempted to buy one until I realized it wasn't pressure sensitive.

Drawing on a digital device with an infinite color space is awesome, but being able to tangibly interact with information is a phenomenal achievement. Hell, I even built a homebrew version of the Microsoft Surface (table) to explore the possibilities.

In spite of my enthusiasm over the last decade, the tablets I've seen all feel like they slow me down. Not only are they computationally underpowered, but they're just slower to interact with. Moreover, I worry about the ergonomics of it all. My fingers tend to feel a bit chaffed if I spend too much time with a tablet. I wonder if others have this issue.

I love the idea of the tablet. I want to love the execution, but nothing I've seen has made me want to integrate an iPad/Surface RT into my life. My MacBook just works better for me.

RandallBrown 2 days ago 0 replies      
>This is a version one device from a company that has never built a computer before

Why do people keep saying this? Microsoft has been making the Xbox and tons of other hardware for years. They know how to make things.

AndrewDucker 3 days ago 1 reply      
I find the same thing with writing anything longer than a couple of sentences, and that's the major reason I've stuck to a laptop.

I love my phone - and I could see me wanting a tablet as well as my laptop, but I definitely want the laptop, so the tablet becomes an "If I have the spare money" item.

digitalengineer 3 days ago 5 replies      
I don't get it. The Surface is cool becasue of the keyboard? Logitech made the iPad keyboard some time ago. That's all there is to it to help you type like on a laptop.
Review: http://9to5mac.com/2012/06/29/review-logitech-ultrathin-ipad...
ari_elle 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone here also feel like an outsider because you - no matter how other people love it - just won't get used to touch (or for some reason you don't want to) ?

I wouldn't mind my current notebook [1] having a touch display (additionally), but i still wouldn't use it that often i guess (and i wouldn't pay extra for it).

I really have to try the Keyboard of the Surface though, but knowing me - very picky about keyboards - i don't think i could work with it.

[1]: Thinkpad T 520

smallegan 3 days ago 1 reply      
The thing that frustrates me most about these devices with keyboard covers with or without kickstands is that I can't sit on the couch and use it on my lap. It isn't a LAPtop replacement, it is a portable computing replacement.
ALee 2 days ago 0 replies      
My mother still cannot use the iPad I bought for her. She still uses a laptop, but her typing is atrocious. It's not her fault, she wasn't trained to use a QWERTY keyboard like the rest of us and she's an immigrant.

She can however, speak somewhat understandable English. As we move toward devices that fit into how human beings naturally interact, I think a necessary evolution is going to be voice recognition, but not as we think of it. I don't think it'll be as clunky as it is now, but much more like giving commands and discussion to another human being.

I could be wrong. More kids text message now than ever use their cell phones, so perhaps a keyboard is necessary as the article says.

daurnimator 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've had an 11" laptop/tablet with a touchscreen for a couple of years now... (Gigabyte T1125N; I didn't even realise it was a tablet when I bought it)

The novelty of the touchscreen wore off after the first month.

StavrosK 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a good description of the keyboard he describes? I haven't seen any details so I don't know how the Surface works, I didn't very much understand the post.
Revisor 3 days ago 0 replies      
I welcome this new type of device - a small touchscreen with an optional keyboard (and a mouse?) - warmly. But I would like the future to happen with open systems, not some US corp acting as a gatekeeper for all my content.
subb 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about doing actual work? This revolution of touch, which has come to desktop with Windows 8 and Ubuntu, scares me a bit. First because I feel that professionnals that use computers daily are not really considered and second because with touch devices, the emphasis is on consumption rather than creation.
swah 3 days ago 0 replies      
I spend boatloads of money (this is Brazil) in an ipad telling me it was a productivity device, but its really a consuming device. The more I use touch devices, the more I realize the superiority of mice: I really hate how my finger gets in the way on the ipad. Meh.
cjoh 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like with a keyboard "dock" the Nexus 10 might be the lightest "retina" laptop available at 25% of the price as the new 13" Retina Macbook Pro.
elorant 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I never see mentioned regarding tablets is what happens if you suffer from RSI symptoms. Moving your hand around the screen all the time or typing on hard surfaces sounds like a ticket to more pain.
shasta 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone make a multi-touch keyboard? This seems like it would be a great input device for performance users (e.g. programmers). And by "multi-touch keyboard" I mean a keyboard with physically pressable keys that, when not pressed, lay flat and can detect finger locations.
S4M 3 days ago 1 reply      
Couple of thoughts:

- not everybody can buy like Jeff all the new devices and get rid of the ones that don't stick, that's rather a special way to choose devices.

- I like Jeff's reasoning with the upsides and downsides of a lack of keyboard: the keyboard sort of gets in the way to do spontaneous things but for now the non-physical keyboards are not good for writing and editing long chunks of text. So it makes me wonder: wouldn't a tablet with a stylus and some good hand writing recognition software beat? After all, you can see a touchscreen as a better mouse - an evolution of the mouse, if you want. And if you want to write some text, like an email, doing it with your hand writing doesn't look too bad. Maybe it will really beat the keyboard for writing in Chinese or Japanese (disclaimer: I can't write yet in those languages). Of course if you want to use those devices to write code, it will be damn hard to implement the equivalent of the keyboard shortcuts for an hand-writing system.

richardlblair 3 days ago 0 replies      
The thing I appreciate the most about this write up is that he blatantly calls out other reviews/reviewers.
duggan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still looking forward to Minority Report style interfaces for the desktop, like https://leapmotion.com/

Probably not the best model for mobile interaction, but there's plenty of seats free at the man-machine interface table.

amorphid 2 days ago 0 replies      
I played with the MS Surface RT yesterday at an MS kiosk in a mall. I really liked the keyboard option. It was the first touch device I've seen that made me consider buying a tablet. I didn't like it enough to buy it, but it is an idea that is definitely headed I'm the right direction. I can't wait for technology to mature a bit more.
needle0 3 days ago 0 replies      
No physical keyboard doesn't always mean immediate large-scale writing failure for all people. I think some people either just get used to it for extensive prose, or don't.

In Japan, the keitai-novel - novels written by young authors often entirely using featurephone numpads - has gotten past its initial craze and appears here to stay as an established genre. Even for other genres, there has been a recent example of a self-published science fiction novella scoring high in the just-started Japanese Kindle/Kobo sales rankings, having its majority written on an iPhone.

I imagine the general populace will gradually get accustomed to using a non-physical-keyboard device for extensive text input, especially as more kids emerge experiencing the touchscreen as their first and only input device. (And the aforementioned author wasn't even that young - IIRC he's around 40!)

fudged71 2 days ago 0 replies      
I will always cringe when I see people use 'laptops' and touching the screen. It's become instinctually painful.
archagon 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the world moves to touch computing, what's going to happen to PC gaming? Traditionally, PC gaming has been popular because PCs get used for many other things besides gaming. If most people switch to touch devices for their primary computers, will there still be enough people building gaming rigs for developers to care about that market? I'm sure the big console manufacturers would love nothing more than to move everyone over to consoles, but this would signal the downfall of indie games, certain kinds of first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, simulators, and many other genres. I would be devastated to see this happen.
sergiotapia 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want to buy this device, but it's not available in my country (Bolivia). :(
       cached 4 November 2012 16:11:01 GMT