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Google Maps for iOS apple.com
812 points by zacharytamas  2 days ago   441 comments top 93
dakrisht 2 days ago 18 replies      
Wow. New GMaps totally annihilates Apple Maps in every which way. Not that this comes as a surprise...

Navigation is great, so much better than Siri's dreadful voice, easy to navigate from A>B with a tap of your destination. Let's not even mention the street data.

Great 3D flyovers, but no satellite-3D flyovers (if you're worried about that you probably have too much time to waste during the day - this is a maps app, to take you places, not give you a tour of Los Angeles).

UI feels great - intuitive, fluid, multi-touch works fantastic. Heard someone mention that it "lacks polish" or feels "laggy" - not sure I agree with that - feels fast on an iPhone 5 and on a 4S side-by-side. UI is clean and not cluttered, that's a plus. Someone else mentioned that it's simply GMaps in a UIWebView - no chance for that.

Of course, the public transport data is second to none. The data in general - we won't discuss that.

Great release - welcome back

nicholassmith 2 days ago 1 reply      
It looks great, the fact that it has 480 upvotes on here shows that a lot of people wanted it.

The transport directions are slightly better, it'll find actual options for me now but does still occasionally go "Nope, no public transport around you!" when I live near a bus stop. And a train station.

It's slightly laggy on my iPhone 5, I popped it up with a high view when I was on the train and it was very visibly jerky, Apple Maps was much, much smoother.

Hey guys, SIGN IN. You want your search history? SIGN IN. That's really annoying, and given when the whole Maps shift started it was rumoured that Google was demanding more and more information on the searches it points to Google really wanting that search history with your account.

POI stuff spanks Apple, easily. Apple sucks at that at the moment, the fact that Google can autocomplete a hell of a lot of it is much nicer.

I don't like some of the UX choices, the 'tutorial overlay' says the bottom right button is tappable but it's actually a slide over, tapping did nothing for me. Accessing Street View is non-intuitive. Occasionally it felt like there was a few too many taps to get me where I needed to be. This is all stuff they can work on though.

All in all, it's pretty good. I'll have it as a secondary Maps app, I'm going to try stick with Apple Maps though. Not because I'm a glutton for punishment but because it has genuinely started getting better for the use case I need it in. Choice is always nice though.

brackin 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is leaps and bounds better than Apple Maps and even the original maps client on iOS that used Google Maps. I didn't even think Apple maps were 'that' bad. The huge hole was POI data, in London at least. Most POI's seemed to be approximated and the rest of them were missing, old or incorrect.

After playing with this app for 10 minutes I think this is far superior to the iOS5 Maps experience. It's an extremely refined and clean app that is extremely fast with lots of features. Start typing a street or location and it'll know what you mean within a few letters.

robbiep 2 days ago 11 replies      
So a question I have for some people more knowledgable than me in the iOS system:

Now that we have an apple maps program, and various competitors including and not limited to google; we also have a chrome (and other) iOS browsers to compete with safari (and yes, I understand it's really just skinned web kit) and a new default video player,

Is this situation not akin to the anti-trust wars that threatened to consume Microsoft a decade ago?

For instance, they (the apple defaults) are all installed by default, and they remain the default option: for example if you receive an address (either physical or web) in messenger or whatsapp or whatever, iOS will attempt to recognise it and make it a hyperlink, but it will then open in the apple default app - if you want it to open in say chrome or google maps you have to copy and paste it.

So- is this the same as the anti-trust case against Microsoft?
Will apple ever change the default program?
Or will my next phone be an android..

Tyrannosaurs 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not seeing a lot of comments about how good for Apple this is.

Yes Apple want to own maps on iOS but given how their own launch went the ship has sailed on that for a while at least. But given the position they found themselves in this goes a long way to undermining the criticisms of mapping on iOS because if you think Apple maps sucks you just go and get Google maps for free.

One of Apple's big gripes supposedly was that they couldn't get Google maps turn by turn navigation on the iPhone and here it is (and without them paying for it it seems) plus they get to work on Apple maps with some of the pressure off which protects them some if Google start messing around.

I'm not in any way saying that this was Apple's plan all along - that plan went badly wrong in the summer - but as of this morning iOS, for regular users at least, just got more attractive.

Yes it's a win for Google, but it's a win for Apple too.

Groxx 2 days ago 3 replies      
So far, it seems very awkward...

Two-finger slide from the right sometimes opens up a sidebar that apparently contains settings (not sure what the magic incantation is).

Zooming in works, but there's no street view, you just keep zooming waaaaay in.

No bike directions. :|

I might like the map drawing better, can't really say which is quicker on my relatively slow device, and it does work quite well. But so far I'm not impressed at all. The previous iOS 5- version was better, if less new-Google-aesthetic-y.

mkinsella 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can finally upgrade to iOS 6.
mrcharles 2 days ago 2 replies      
So, I find this out, I go directly to the App Store on my phone, and I do a search for "Google Maps".

First five results:"Google Earth", "My Places for Google Maps", "My Maps Editor", "Road Tripper", and then finally "Google Maps"

Seriously, how difficult is it to bump an exact string match to the top of the list?

Seems to me that iOS is just getting worse and worse.

sudhirj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also, double tap and hold, move up and down to zoom. Full one handed operation FTW.
toast76 2 days ago 1 reply      
Voice guides, street view, search/favourites syncing...oh and the maps are actually correct.
ghshephard 2 days ago 3 replies      
Just one Data Point -
My first query (from my office in Redwood City) was "Directions to Lake Merrit" - it found Lake Merrit, but, unlike IOS 6 Maps, couldn't get me transit direction there. IOS 6 Maps one-clicked me over to "HopStop" which gave me a choice of Walk/Caltrain/Bart.

Prior to the uproar around IOS 6 maps not having Transit direction, I wasn't even aware the IOS 5 Map had transit directions. In San Francisco, Tokyo, New York and other places this is a big deal. But, if you want to get Transit Direction from Redwood City, CA to Oakland, CA, IOS 6 Maps currently beats out Google Maps.

With that said, I'm blown away by how quickly the interface can guess what I'm looking for as I start typing into it. Apple has a long way to catch up in that department. I suspect for much map searching, Google Maps is going to become my "Goto" client on the iPhone.

[Edit - Love the speedy Swipe Left/Right interface. Also Offline Maps. Just Cached all of California, Switched to "Airplane Mode" - and all my mapping data is cached. Awesome.]

[Edit 2 - Wow - this map is fast. IOS 6 Maps wasn't particularly slow, but switching back and forth shows me Apple has a long way to go. Have to Love Competition]

[Edit 3 - Jumping into StreetView is silky smooth, and, they make use of the accelerometer so you can look around]

kalleboo 2 days ago 1 reply      
What I found really interesting is how after playing with Google Maps for a couple minutes, then hopping out to the Settings app to change something, the standard iOS look instantly felt really dated, with the bubbliness, heavy gradients and pinstripes.
andrewfelix 2 days ago 2 replies      
Notice the cheeky use of London and Japan in the screens. Two locations Apple maps had real difficulty with.
TillE 2 days ago 2 replies      
Again no iPad native version on the initial release, just like their YouTube app? That's a little disappointing.
alooPotato 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm shocked how fast the UI is. I'm on an iPhone 4S and every UI gesture, view load and transition has absolutely no lag. For example, from the sliding info sheet, tap on the street view button and it loads instantly.

Even requests that are hitting the server seem to return almost instantly.

Is it just me?

frogpelt 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is Apple Maps really completely terrible?


Does it have a few problems that, when compared with all the progress Google has made in that arena, makes its performance untenable?

I say this because I have used Apple Maps to navigate the rural southeastern U.S. with absolutely no problems. I even had my dedicated GPS to make sure Apple Maps wasn't leading me astray.

iag 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yes!!! finally.

I expect Apple to see a drastic increase in iOS5->iOS6 upgrade over the next few days. Hahah!

scoopr 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a cursory glance,
The panning performance is disappointing (looks like 20fps) on my iPhone 5, whilst Apple maps is buttersmooth at 60fps.

I like the overall look of Google maps more, having more detail and and the 3d buildings that pop-up are cute. Apple maps are right down bare looking in comparison.

I was sorely missing streetview, I was amazed myself how used to I was checking streeview of various places.

Can't offhand remember places Apple maps couldn't address-locate so I don't have any good comparison off the map data quality, but both have been mostly fine, with google having slightly better heuristics finding an address even if it doesn't know the exact street number.

I like the rotation with two fingers in google maps is less sensitive, I often rotate in apple maps accidentally. But then again, Google maps has this menu that comes up when sliding with two fingers (by placing two fingers and then dragging) and that came up accidentally few times.

In google maps, sometimes a quick tap tells you the address of that place, but sometimes it needs a tap-and-hold, feels erratic.

Google maps driving directions didn't say a word while staying still, so I can't say much about that. The finnish voice in apple maps is very understandable, but quite harsh. The US voice of course failed to read any finnish names in a comical way (but had to change phone language to get finnish voice, I usually prefer my electronics in english).

Public transport stuff has always been useless in finland, so nothing to say about that either..

joshmlewis 2 days ago 5 replies      
Apple had an interesting choice here, they could allow it, or they could not allow it. If they didn't, Google had a very good opportunity to slam Apply publicly and get users riled up, and enemies more ammunition. They chose the latter, which I think is the best choice as they now have real competition and they'll have to step up their game. This is app number two that will probably take place over the natively installed apps now by Google.
toddmorey 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, I'm really disappointed. The thing I was most looking forward to was the return of public transportation schedules on my iPhone. But this new app simply says, "Unavailable in this region." They were there before and they are still available for my area on a desktop computer. I don't understand why they are missing.

EDIT: I take that back, as others have noticed, it's there... just unavailable from the sidebar. Not sure why.

danielrm26 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's great, but nothing on the iPhone will open the app, which is very annoying.
nachteilig 2 days ago 1 reply      
This app is fantastic. And now I can finally upgrade to iOS 6. Thanks Google Maps team!
grayprog 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's certainly a great alternative for Apple's maps, which lack data in many parts of the world. It also appears to be vector maps, like Apple's, unlike Maps in iOS 5.

Some things that lack or incomplete in the meantime:

- iPad version, which is less critical, of course.
- Access to contact addresses
- Street view doesn't load high-resolution images when zoomed in.

The performance on iPhone 4S is good enough but zooming in and out is sometimes too fast and hard to do with precision.

Still, I already replaced Apple's Maps with this one of my iPhone's home screen.

rogerchucker 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. You can pinch to zoom while during turn-by-turn navigation
2. You can select a point anywhere in the map and it instantaneously gives you the time to drive there from your current location (which is also a link to the navigation details/options.
3. Feels like a real map compared to the barren-ass land that Apple's Map shows.
4. Streetview (that is even smoother than the browser version)

1. No integration with the address book.

Pros >>>> Cons.

carlsednaoui 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not sure what's going on...I get "the item you tried is no longer available" but a friend did manage to download it.
tharris0101 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a timed test, I wanted to see how long it would take me to search for my favorite Phoenix, AZ coffee shop (Lux). I did the test from start up to clicking on the pin on an iPhone 4.

Google Maps: 22 seconds
Apple Maps: ??? It took me to Luxembourg

I think I know which map app I'll be using from now on.

senthilnayagam 2 days ago 1 reply      
nobody commented about this. any opinions?

"Google Maps Navigation is in beta. Use caution.

Please keep your eyes on the road and obey applicable laws. Do not manipulate this application while in motion. Directions may be inaccurate, incomplete, dangerous, or prohibited.

Traffic data is not real-time, and location accuracy cannot be guaranteed


benesch 2 days ago 2 replies      
Coming up as "Temporarily Unavailable" when I try to download it. Not yet appearing in search results eitherâ€"maybe it's just still processing?
albertzeyer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yea, vector graphics.

That was originally the main reason Apple stated why they developed they own maps data, didn't they?

mikek 2 days ago 1 reply      
All Google needs to do now is make a way to open the app from within Google search (the Web app), and I will be happy again.
mromanuk 2 days ago 4 replies      
The item is not available anymore in the US App Store :|
guyzero 2 days ago 1 reply      
Presumably the app icon does not have you drive off an overpass onto highway 280 near Apple HQ in Cupertino.
rjsamson 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm unable to download on phone and mac - anyone else?
radiosnob 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'll throw my voice into this maelstrom.

1) Search for "Google Maps" and it is the 5th result. The app is literally called Google Maps. The results before: Fine Maps, PD Maps Worldwide Edition, Google Earth(?!).

2) 300 comments and the topic of Apple anti-competitive behaviour with regard to App availability is hardly touched. In fact the top most comments are on UI and nitpicking over details such as Bookmarks and response speed.

kjackson2012 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, I'm happy that this app is released. I refused to use Apple Maps any further.

The one major drawback from the Original Google Maps app is that the original one did an excellent job showing every single street name on even a deep zoom level. The new Google Maps one does a poor job on this and you have to hunt back and forth to figure out what zoom level you need to get to in order to read the street name. Once they get this right, things will be back to normal.

balabaster 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used the new Google Maps for my GPS on the way to work this morning to do a side by side comparison with my regular GPS software from Navigon. A couple of things I love:

1). It connects to my car stereo via the phone bluetooth profile so even though my car can't stream music by bluetooth, I can still get my turn-by-turn directions. My Navigon uses the whichever audio profile is used for music, so I only get the turn-by-turn over the car stereo if I'm plugged in by wire. Kudos Google, that's a really nice touch. Thank you.

2). I like the way it displays the streetview when you arrive at your destination so you can see where you should be. Another great touch.

And a couple of things I really don't like at all:

1). "In 300 metres...[pregnant pause]... turn left".

2). I don't like that it doesn't provide the street names in the audible turn by turn directions. So in cases where you have two streets in close proximity, unless you actually look at the screen, you're left guessing which is the correct one.

nsxwolf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Rendering is slow on the iPhone 4. Interface looks nothing like an iOS app. It's like some Android alien has landed in my iPhone.
miles_matthias 2 days ago 1 reply      
The new Google Maps' shake to give feedback feature is so genius. Shake your phone in frustration, and get to yell at Google :)

Is this feature in any other app? Maybe I just haven't seen it yet.

dirkdk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Already 967 reviews on US iTunes Store, 4.5 (?) average. Surprised iTunes didn't break down under the downloads. Only 6.7 MB, quite small!
janesvilleseo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! This is a very slick and sexy app, I am impressed. I am going to give it a try for my commute to work tomorrow. Very fast, responsive, and the voice is nice (but a little too fast as compared to iOS)
newman314 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was for both iPhone and iPad but it's only for iPhones.

Not to be sour or anything but I would have been fine with a stretched version for the iPad.

emehrkay 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will maps put the idea of unchangeable default apps on the radar of anti-competitive practices? The people clearly want their mapping from Google, but if you dont implicitly open the google map and type an address (by way of hyperlink in another app, etc.), all mapping will be routed to apple's app.
guelo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Weird that bike directions are missing.
selectout 2 days ago 2 replies      
Voice Navigation and turn by turn!

Now to see about offline access.

Too 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can this be used inside other apps that rely on maps? Otherwise only half of the problem is solved.
DigitalSea 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not seeing this in the Australian App Store either. Can't wait, my girlfriend will be especially pleased she relies on having maps on her iPhone because she's a hopeless navigator and the iOS 6 maps frustrate her.
madoublet 2 days ago 1 reply      
Best review so far "I almost died in Australia, thank god this is out."
kennystone 2 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful app. They've clearly been working on this a long time.
dakrisht 2 days ago 2 replies      
Thank God we're done with Siri's miserable fucking voice...
kodisha 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this thing with Apple App Store works, and why some items appear in US store only, and in other (Croatian, and i see from comments Uruguay and Turkey) hours or even days later.
dakrisht 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wonder if this will hit 1,000,000 download in one night...

Unavailable for me still, I see in the App Store and within iTunes but no go on the D/L.

greattypo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if we've got real-time transit directions yet for MUNI and BART?
ricardobeat 2 days ago 1 reply      
But Apple is evil, they wouldn't allow this!
twodayslate 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now we just need a jailbreak tweak to make this the default map app.
jim_h 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you are having trouble installing on phone, try using iTune to search for it, then download it and sync it to the phone.
nimeshneema 2 days ago 0 replies      
No iPad version. Seems like Google is playing it's cards.
JuDue 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google dominate this area, obviously.

It's great we are happy to have working maps, but let's just hope other companies can break the monopoly on our location data at some point.

DenisM 2 days ago 0 replies      
akurilin 2 days ago 0 replies      
How does this compare to Google Navigation (or Navigate?) from Android? A viable replacement?
homosaur 2 days ago 0 replies      

Come save me from IOS 6 hell

sbov 2 days ago 0 replies      
They need to add one way street indicators.
piyush_soni 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's still not completely clear if they're vector maps (I'm hearing different things). Can someone confirm?
jaimefjorge 2 days ago 0 replies      
A customer review:
"Boring UI, slow data and seems pretty feature-free. I'll stick with Apple Maps."

This strikes me as funny and suspicious.

fedxc 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is not available on all countries. In example, Uruguay. Not available here yet.
jmount 2 days ago 1 reply      
WTF: you have to sign in with your Google account to use this?
dutchbrit 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't seem to look at an angle, except for my current location. Is this a bug?

Rest is nice, glad to have Google Maps back on my phone!!

qas1981 2 days ago 0 replies      
I live in Atlanta and Apple maps let me down numerous occasions. I like their interface and integration but, the data quality & quantity is bad.
mattquiros 2 days ago 0 replies      
Death rates of misguided tourists are plummeting!

But seriously, this is just great news for us folks outside the US and who use public transit. I can now get an iPhone 5 today! :D

frazerb 2 days ago 1 reply      
You've got to wonder how much Apple are paying Google to support maps on iOS....or what other kick-back (more valuable to Google than cash) there might be.
vincefutr23 2 days ago 1 reply      
A shame you can't delete apple maps icon from the homescreen.
ryanoshea 2 days ago 1 reply      
Reviews mention street view; anyone figure out how to enter it?
tterrace 2 days ago 1 reply      
The first thing I did after reading the headline was go to the app store on my iphone and search for "google maps" - 328 results, and google maps isn't one of them.
gvkv 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whoohoo! I can finally dump Apple Maps in my iCrap folder.
dcu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent! I am downloading the app right now
lucian303 2 days ago 0 replies      
Inevitable comeback. And a great example of why I don't develop for iOS on principle.
shoopy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Apple is still willing to pay the 80/20 piper with iOS maps? It must be awfully expensive to keep up on data quality.
jstalin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Competition === good
siphor 2 days ago 2 replies      
disclaimer.. I'm a little (a lot) drunk but still... Searching for 'google maps' does not bring up this app.. I could only find it by clicking on the link... Is visibility this poor on the App Store... The name I'm searching is identical to that of the app, what's going on here..
sgh_1 2 days ago 0 replies      
The good thing is that OS on my iPhone can now be upgraded to iOS6...
The interesting conclusion for me as a user is that:
(1) I value the additional services like Maps more than the base OS...
(2) I don't care about Apple loyalty - my loyalty is towards iPhone and any app provider who continues to provide me an excellent iPhone experience
isabre 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally! I get back my street view and my public transit schedule. Welcome back!
Vitaly 2 days ago 0 replies      
WTF is it in the US store only?
steilpass 2 days ago 0 replies      
Merry Christmas to you too Google.
mavbozo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't have iphone but my friend who does can not install it because it is not available in my country
assharif 2 days ago 0 replies      
This never would have happened if Steve Jobs was alive.
ssapkota 2 days ago 0 replies      
A sigh of relief! Finally I can upgrade to ios6.
volkanvardar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not available in Turkish market, yet :-(
wowfat 2 days ago 0 replies      
they should have launched it just after xmas. this news will increase apple sales for xmas period!
phawk 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's good, it's really good!
jasongaya 2 days ago 0 replies      
love google map. i think its beet apple map.... Great work by google.
apronchenkov 2 days ago 0 replies      
I supposed that backspace was implemented as ``punch all holes''.
bonjourmr 2 days ago 0 replies      
The crime rate in Victoria is dropping by the minute.
You're not anonymous. I know your name, email, and company. 42floors.com
691 points by theinfonaut  4 days ago   229 comments top 48
pygy_ 4 days ago 11 replies      
Several people mention Ghostery[0] against trackers. It offers only partial protection. It is possible to fingerprint a browser without any custom tracking data.

https://panopticlick.eff.org/ <-- check how unique your browser is.

Instead of a script to embed, these firms could provide an API to identify users from the server side. The scripts that captures the profile would be served by the sites themselves rather than from third party services.


A possible solution would be anonymize the browser fingerprint, at least in private mode, ie lie about the details of the system.

Google, Mozilla, Opera, can you hear me?


[0] http://www.ghostery.com/

nostromo 4 days ago 4 replies      
Just looked through Zendesk's network calls -- looks like it's probably Demandbase. http://www.demandbase.com/landing-page/demandbase-real-time-...

Surprisingly, AdBlockPlus doesn't seem to block it.

Edit: actually it's LeadLander.com as pointed out by NiekvdMaas here http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4891764

seiji 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is the weasel company's javascript (and/or flash bug) logging all form input back to its own servers to capture name/email when you sign up somewhere else? Are they capturing credit card numbers too?

We can tell the world all day long this is Bad and Unsafe, but within six months it'll be more popular than ad retargeting and the meebo crapbar (because, hey, analytics!).

eli 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm skeptical of this unnamed company's actual abilities. In the initial email how are they able to identify anything about your visitors before you've installed the tracking code? Since they apparently can see search terms used to reach your site the only thing I can think of is their code is running on some site that links to you (perhaps an off-brand search engine?) and they're tracking outbound clicks. Or it's fake.

It's pretty easy to guess company name from IP address, especially if you don't care about accuracy. You can kinda sorta do this in Google Analytics under Audience > Technology > Network. That seems to be roughly what they're doing in the screenshots posted. IMHO, this is not the most serious privacy issue on the web.

I would be very curious to hear exactly what percentage of visitors it is able to supply Name and Email for (and how many of those fields look bogus). This sort of individual-level tracking across sites is obviously possible, but I don't think it's common. Google/DoubleClick do not, as far as I know, do any sort of tracking at the level of an individual's name or email address (And why would they? It's asking for regulatory problems and it doesn't really help them much -- they target ads to groups of similar people based on demographics, not to particular named individuals.)

andrewljohnson 4 days ago 3 replies      
If I found out a site I used employed this tool, I'd both trash them publicly and never use their service again.
rsobers 4 days ago 5 replies      
HubSpot (and pretty much any other marketing automation tool) has this feature, too. They lookup company name and location by IP address and build an anonymous "prospect" record representing each visitor so that salespeople and marketers can detect whether prospects from a given company are hitting the site for information.

The second a prospect submits a web form, all that previous web activity is tied to their email address (and any other info you collected via the form). You now have a real lead.

I don't see any privacy issues with this.

What I would see an issue with is if the tracking company were sending the IP address and cookie back to a central database to query "Does anyone _else_ know who this visitor is?" and then provide PII any company who uses the tracking service.

The moment you start giving my PII to a company that I didn't voluntarily give it to is when I feel a line has been crossed.

angersock 4 days ago 2 replies      
I suppose it's too much to ask that we as developers and engineers show some fucking backbone and refuse to work on or with these tools and projects? And publicly shame those who do?
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone provide a regex that would identify this tracker? I'd like to run it through our index and see if I can come up with a list of sites that employ it.
jfriedly 4 days ago 0 replies      
This sounds eerily familiar. Around a decade ago, a data analytics company called Pharmatrak was actually found guilty of breaking federal wiretapping statutes for doing something very similar. [1] In their case, they had built a network tracking HTTP GET requests to pharmaceuticals companies websites with a web bug [2] and attached cookie. But because some of the pharmaceuticals companies were using GETs as the method on HTML forms (remember, this was ten years ago), the users actually ended up making GET requests with personally identifying information in the URL encoded parameters. Since these GET requests were logged by Pharmatrak, and neither party (the users nor the pharmaceuticals companies) had consented to giving away personal information to them, Pharmatrak was found guilty of wiretapping.

Pharmatrak eventually won on appeal though, arguing that they had no intention of collecting personal information, which exonerated them because only intentional eavesdropping is a crime.

The company in the OP's article could make no such arguments though. I suspect that their main difference is that they make no assurances of confidentiality to the websites using their software the way Pharmatrak did. Which 1) is just really creepy, and 2) sets them up for trouble with users in California, because California's wiretapping statutes say that it's a crime unless both parties agree to it. [3]

[1] http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/packets001737.shtml

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

[3] I'm not sure if this applies to police, but it definitely does to private parties: http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/california-recording-...

Edit: Added third reference.

dskhatri 4 days ago 1 reply      
Dataium does this too, as covered by WSJ's recent article on the subject [1]

The article goes into depth about how much personal information is sent along to advertisers including a popular dating site's apparently anonymized information about drug use, and sexual orientation.

I think we need a non-profit service that defines a set of privacy licenses (akin to CreativeCommons' licenses) which companies can opt to label their websites/apps with. There would be no policing/auditing [2], but companies found to violate the privacy licenses would be obliged to donate a sum to an organization like the EFF.

That the privacy policies would be encompassed by one simple privacy licence badge would allow users to quickly and easily identify a company's privacy policies. I believe users would gravitate toward using services that display this license.

Edit: it appears such a service is in the works - http://privacycommons.org

[1] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732478440457814...

[2] The auditing process would likely become complex, costly and corruptible

losvedir 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is why I've deleted my facebook account and browse with Noscript disabling javascript (except for whitelist), RequestPolicy blocking cross-site requests (except for whitelist), and CookieMonster blocking cookies (except for whitelist).

It wouldn't completely work here (e.g. EFF's panopticlick could still fairly uniquely identify me, or IP address would give away info if I'm not going through my VPN), but it improves things.

It feels kind of extreme, but it's worth it to me. My experience is not broken that much, and I feel like various sites are aggregating less about me. These tracking technologies not such an issue now, but I foresee at least the possibility of abuse in the future, so I figure I'll do what I can now if it's not too much hassle.

Lastly, at its heart most of this is about advertising, something I know I'm very susceptible to (try as I might to convince myself I'm not). So the better I am at blocking out these things, I think the less money I'll spend in the long run on frivolous nice-to-haves.

eranation 4 days ago 1 reply      
Going to site A, not providing any info, then going to site B, C and D and seeing ads to site A haunting you is one thing, capturing your name and email is a new level. If you don't use a tracking blocker, clearing cookies is not always going to work, these persistent trackers are quite sophisticated, they use local storage if possible, IP address, header information and whatever is possible to be able to identify someone, there is a huge industry behind it. But this one is taking it a little bit too far, scary.

On the other side, most startups including YC ones, use some sort of tracking for analytics to improve usability and internal flow, so advocating against all trackers and for all users installing a blocker is a double edge sword.

keesj 3 days ago 0 replies      
The initial data is fake.

Proof: http://o7.no/Z0huP7

I get emailed by them for every startup I'm involved with and that first email is mostly the same every time as you can see in that screenshot. (Compare it with the one posted in the article and you'll see).

They seem to be targeting startups and make it look like some big VC firms are visiting your site to get you interested. I'm not sure how they come up with the 'search terms', but I guess they could just look at your META-tags or make them up.

In their email they do say it's a "mock example", but still I find it very deceptive.

Bockit 4 days ago 2 replies      
This kind of thing is what I've always seen as the potential end result of things like google analytics and also facebook connect. Both products that have javascript running on a vast number of websites, with the potential to link to personally identifiable information, in a similar manner to that discussed in article.

I can't imagine that I'm alone in this train of thought.

jpxxx 4 days ago 1 reply      
Tacky, cynical, nasty, and inevitable.
px1999 3 days ago 0 replies      
Read the article, thought that it was something interesting but probably not that applicable to me because I clear cookies on (frequent) browser close, don't enter my details into many sketchy sites, use multiple different (isolated) instances of my browser for different purposes.

Today, I get an email from a site that I visited yesterday and haven't heard from in 6+ months. It's too much of a coincidence for me to assume it's random so I dig into their website a little and they're using one of these services.

TL;DR: even though I'm relatively paranoid with giving out details online, one of these networks seems to have successfully identified me and provided my email to a website that I visited, who then reached out and tried to sell me shit.

physcab 4 days ago 3 replies      
I may be one of the few and perhaps I've just been desensitized with all the social network invasion, but I don't find this stuff that reprehensible. At worst, its moderately annoying because its one more email that I have to archive but its definitely on the lowest totem pole of annoyances. Recruiters have been cold calling and emailing me for years based off of my LinkedIn and Github profiles and all I have to do is tell them "no thanks" and my life goes on.

What's the big deal?

pippy 4 days ago 5 replies      
I had to give Dick Smith (A NZ retailer) my phone number before I bought an external the other day.

"Do I _have_ to give you my number before I buy this?"

"yes, but it's for return purposes only"

Of course I received 'promotional' txts the next week. I was hesitant to give it to them for just this reason, and because I acknowledged I had a phone number I felt obligated to give it to him. Dick Smith is a member of a larger chain it's no stretch of the imagination to hook up CCTV cameras to an OpenCV instance and send txts to customers when they walk in.

No matter the law, morals people hold, or customer wants large companies are always motivated by profit margins. The Consumer Guarantees Act, the Privacy Act, the Bill of Rights Act all become murky when you're dealing with new technology, and law will find it hard to keep up.

isalmon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I recognize these screenshots - it's definitely Leadlander.
I'm not sure if they do what he claims they do, but they can identify by your IP which company you belong to (assuming you're connecting from the office). There are a lot of companies doing that right now actually.
z0mbak 4 days ago 1 reply      
quote: At 42Floors, we've made the decision not to use any visitor identification tools...

facts (detected by a ghostery at 42floors.com):
ClickTale, Facebook Connect, Google +1, Google Analytics, MixPanel, Optimizely, Twitter Button

anonymouz 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is outrageous and very much illegal in the EU.
angryasian 4 days ago 5 replies      
ghostery blocks trackers and analytics
martinced 4 days ago 2 replies      
Thanks for figuring out how they do it...

That said since a (very) long time I'm using separate Linux user accounts to: check my professional email + G+, surf my personal email + G+ + FB (my FB is using a fake but plausible name) and a third one to surf the Web.

The one surfing the Web is linked to a fake online identity: entirely made up, with fake friends / fake G+ circles, fake StackOverflow / OpenID and basically fake everything.

I then only ever surf using a transparent proxy for anything "work related": the IP can't be linked to my fake IP.

It's not difficult to set up: I did set up the transparent company Web proxy (VPN would to too) myself and basically Linux user accounts take care of the rest.

Now I'll start using different browsers too and, why not, maybe Tor in one of the account.

I take it I could take all this a step further and whitelist websites that my "personal" account is allowed to connect to (using iptables' owner-uid mod).

Eeko 3 days ago 0 replies      
How the article is designed - it took me a while to understand that 42floors was not the company performing the tracking. I initially went there to find a name of the company (to put it on permaban in my NoScript), yet the only organization popping up while skimming through the page was 42floors. I was a bit spooked when I checked the noscript-list for blocked resources and saw the url I thought was tracking me.

After that, I looked at the URL-bar and it took that long for me to click.

peterwwillis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Advertising and marketing companies aren't the only ones that do this. Any corporation which owns more than a couple websites collects bits of information about them from each site and then builds profiles of its users, often then selling the information.

Say you own a sports website, a fashion website, a political website, and a gaming website. The user only specifies a tiny bit of information on each website. Each bit is collected into a single user profile from which they can refer to do things like figure out what product advertisements to show them. They use the same techniques to identify users that don't have accounts, and still collect their viewing/interacting habits and add them to the profile.

Sometimes they'll send you an e-mail telling you to check out their gaming website if you're not signed up, because the comments you write in their other websites' forums have to do with gaming. Sometimes they just sell the information to a gaming company. In the case of Target, they might send your teenage daughter a list of baby products for the little one you didn't know she was expecting.

This is not some horrifying violation of privacy. There is a price for all the free shit you get from the internet. Usually it's paid for by all the personal information you leak onto the net. They're just mopping it up and selling it back to you.

Jach 4 days ago 0 replies      
In other words, the situation hasn't changed since the 90s. http://www.unc.edu/depts/jomc/academics/dri/idog.html By the way, is anyone using http://samy.pl/evercookie/ in practice?
nikunjk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience with FlightFox. I entered my origin and destination and got distracted and closed the tab. I get an email several hours later asking me to start the contest with the exact two places. Creepy, much?
wlesieutre 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if this system respects Do Not Track settings?
laumars 3 days ago 0 replies      
Custom hosts files can be used to block trackers across all browsers and applications. I personally use: http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/
CookWithMe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't we be able to make these systems useless by filling them with loads of fake data/spam?

I.e. if I have to fill out a form somewhere, I would not only submit it once, but several times (ideally automated), ideally with realistic data, i.e. other businesses in my area (so geo-location won't raise a red flag then).

If I visit the next website which employs the same network, they can't really identify me - they have a big set of businesses I could possibly be (or they just take the last one, which would be fake).

At least currently, they do not seem to verify whether the filled out form can be properly validated, i.e. if the user clicked on a confirmation mail or similar.

Anonymity by obscurity :)

bcoates 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's sufficient to disable third party cookies and not browse cookied by major social networks to prevent this right?

Ignoring the part where you can be "tracked" by company, but that's just looking up public IP records.

datamaze 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can you please let us know the name of the company?
inthewoods 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm rather amazed that any company would put this on their website. What you may be doing, in fact, is likely identifying customers to your competitors. Cross-shopping is very common in most product categories - so it is quite possible that you're giving up your customer to a rival.
jconley 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fond memories of the movie Minority Report spring to mind. Startups are, in fact, working on this exact end-game facial recognition based ad technology right now.


and the company: http://www.immersivelabs.com/

mcantelon 4 days ago 0 replies      
This will be done in meatspace via facial recognition and the state will likely demand access to this data. Disney are pioneering this sort of tech:


alxbrun 4 days ago 3 replies      
I agree it shouldn't happen. But honestly, is this really worse than what FB does ?
inetsee 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that this article should show up the very same day I found out about TAILS - The Amnesiac Incognito Live System ("https://tails.boum.org/), a live Linux distribution that uses TOR and other tools to enhance your online privacy. The more I read about online tracking efforts like this, the more I want to set up a wall around my computer.
kibwen 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, how feasible is it these days to do all of your browsing through a VPN? Not that a VPN's going to save you from the attacks mentioned here, but hey, maybe it's time to start getting serious about my privacy.
freshhawk 4 days ago 0 replies      
I noticed ghostery blocked 11 tracking cookies when I went to read this.
joey_muller 4 days ago 0 replies      
Like you said, it shouldn't happen, but it's inevitable.
new_test 4 days ago 1 reply      
Please... A clever use of GA + Wolfram Alpha can reveal a lot of potentially identifiable information already. You can't expect the Internet to become a big part of our society and, at the same time, remain a place for complete anonymity.
hoodoof 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am okay with companies displaying ads to me - this is what pays for the web to exist. If however things like this continue to exist then I will take up all options offered to opt out of identification and ad networks. Google and Microsoft etc should take note to shut this sort of behaviour down.
gggggggg 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would never use this on my site, but I feel if I was to, it should have big tick box agreement, with a simple 1 sentence explanation.
kragen 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Tor Browser Bundle is probably the best current tool for anonymous browsing.
lcusack 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not knowledgable in this area but would using a VPN prevent this?
adolfoabegg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Doing this in Spain would be illegal.
allsop8184 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is just terrifying.
skurks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great HN parody linkedlistnyc.org
627 points by dorkitude  9 days ago   163 comments top 57
DanielBMarkham 9 days ago 16 replies      
It's missing the "Why I'm leaving HN (This time for good)"

and "A front page HN story about how being on the front page of HN changed my business"

and "A rambling article about how voting is broken on HN"

and "How I lived out of a shoebox and traveled the world on a bicycle while creating my startup"

Anybody interested in more, I refer you to my javascript parody of two years ago, "Roll Your Own Linkbait Tech Headline": http://www.whattofix.com/blog/archives/2011/01/roll-your-own...

tokenadult 9 days ago 1 reply      
AFTER EDIT: This a duplicate submission, a repost of the previously submitted


item from a different URL


two months ago. (That is shown by the date on both submitted mock front pages of HN, and by their identical text.) It's funny, and memorable enough that I still recall the last time this was posted.

irahul 9 days ago 5 replies      
Some of them have been thought out - "how I mapped caps lock" by yakshaver, "derailed by a pedantic comment" by wellactually(I suffer from this; working on it), "apple's downfall" by armchairceo; the comment puns(stylish, worn-out, nebolous) are pretty meh.

Despite this being a parody, I would still like to point out "a labor of love you can say mean things about". I have seen it happen here way too often. Someone posts something and the crowd goes wild - "this is a feature not a product", "as a designer I can tell you you suck", "another cool aid drinkers pretending node.js is cool" etc. Someone posts a "Show HN" doesn't mean you get the right to walk all over it. And the worse part is, you pretend you were doing him a favor - "I was only giving feedback which the poster asked for". The poster asked for feedback, not for insults. It doesn't matter if you are a programming god(most of the people doing it aren't, but still) - there is a difference between feedback and "look at this pathetic shit thinking he is worth anything".

I am sure I am not the only one who thinks people go overboard with their so-called feedback. pg especially made a post about the flood of launches coming in and being nice to them.

Please be nice to them. For you their launch may be "yet another YC startup," but for each individual startup this is their big moment.


TeMPOraL 9 days ago 2 replies      
My favourite HN piece ever:

So, guys, should I or should I not learn to code? :D.

davedx 9 days ago 5 replies      
My favourite: "How I remapped my capslock key to be both ESC and Ctrl" -- maybe should have had VI in there too ;)

If a community can't laugh at itself, then it's surely doomed :D

rachelbythebay 9 days ago 2 replies      
So, you've seen the hand-curated fake HN. Now see the randomly-generated fake HN I did for a laugh a couple of months ago.


Some of the examples look curiously close to actual news, but they're all random. Really.

derwildemomo 9 days ago 1 reply      
"A Story About Sexism in Tech Filled With Sexist Comments Denying Sexism in Tech" :-)
praptak 9 days ago 2 replies      
They included "A Legitimately Interesting Technical Blog Post", that's pretty generous :)
jackalope 9 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant, though it seemed to me to have one glaring omission:

    I'm Quitting [Popular Nonessential Service] for 1 Month

followed by:

    What I Learned from Quitting [Popular Nonessential Service] for 1 Month

Vivtek 9 days ago 2 replies      
I'm swooning just from Elon Musk's being parodically referenced.
georgeorwell 9 days ago 0 replies      
They should update the list so that when this gets posted for the third time in 2013, the top item is: "Great HN parody (2012) (linkedlistnyc.org)"
wyclif 9 days ago 0 replies      
"Why C++ Is Not 'Back'."

12 hours later...

"Why C++ Is Back."

khet 9 days ago 2 replies      
"How I remapped my capslock key to be both ESC and Ctrl"

That really got me thinking. Then I realized I was reading a parody. I am still thinking.

mtgx 9 days ago 1 reply      
I thought the funniest was "Why Go can't scale past 2 billion users".
wyclif 9 days ago 2 replies      
"Latest Daring Fireball Post."
dinkumthinkum 9 days ago 0 replies      
It's missing a post like:
"Tech Founder that Graduated from Stanford Says College Dead, Long Live Blog Learning"
robryan 9 days ago 0 replies      
"I learnt Haskell and just had to write about it"

"Surely I can spin this Tweet into an article"

"Why latest Apple product is the best thing you have ever seen" - Marco, Gruber or MG

phatbyte 9 days ago 0 replies      
I love HN but this made me laugh :P, nailed it pretty much.
I would just add "Why X sucks because now I'm learning a trendy hipster new Y that no one knows of"
timinman 9 days ago 0 replies      
Great articles. Please add:
"How Jokes and Parodies are turning HN into Reddit" :)
ampersandy 9 days ago 0 replies      
This was posted 60 days ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4621731.

It also turns up as the first hit for "hacker news parody" or "hn parody" on Google.

Devilboy 9 days ago 0 replies      
It's funny because it's true
ck2 9 days ago 0 replies      
I was a little disappointed some of them didn't link to actual articles.
athgeo 9 days ago 0 replies      
"My 5000 word assessment of (insert latest gadget here) that leaves no doubt about why absolutely (no-one|everyone) should buy this, conveniently ignoring that other geeks have their own opinion and the average user doesn't give a damn"

"10 mistakes that I made during my unsuccessful YC interview, 9 of which PG probably didn't even notice"

"Show HN: My first (read: I'm younger than you) app I hacked up in less than 20 mins (read: I'm smarter than you), because I had nothing else to do (read: don't feel too cozy in your job, cuz I'm dropping out of college any day [if my parents agree, that is])"

"How I made big bucks with something so trivial that I'm surprised my cleaning lady did not think of it before me"

"Apple is no longer as innovative as they were 5 minutes ago"

Plenty of discussions that mix a lot of fancy Latin expressions and Scotsmen

Recruiter: a derogatory term for somebody that knows less about a specific field than than the experts in that field they hire

Fanboy: favoriteGadget.brand != other.favoriteGadget.brand

Fanboy of a Recruiter: greatest insult on HN

dizzystar 9 days ago 1 reply      
You forgot to add woman-centric posts, like "How I hacked my daughter's brain into learning Python," or "How I taught 3 girls between the ages of 13 and 55 to love Linux command line."

But this is pretty funny. No MS hate?

Peroni 9 days ago 1 reply      
Would have liked to have seen "Recruiters suck. AMIRITE?"
polshaw 9 days ago 0 replies      
How i WISH we could rid ourselves of the 'Contrarian blog post to recently popular blog post' cancer. It's a phenomenon i can't say i even see anywhere else online.
cfontes 9 days ago 1 reply      
This should be pinned somewhere... it's just great :D
noonespecial 9 days ago 0 replies      
There should be one on there talking about not talking about karma. I think I saw a "how I got so much karma on HN" story peak at #4 earlier this week.
jacques_chester 9 days ago 0 replies      
It's this sort of thing that originally drove me away from /r/programming and which I continue to find hilarious about HN (and to found a parodic subreddit, see if you can find it).
tzaman 9 days ago 4 replies      
This one's old.
dschiptsov 9 days ago 1 reply      
Sudden realization that HN or Zerohedge or /r/programming/ are just a mass-media?)) This is a premature enlightenment.)

The next level is a realization that it isn't any different form /b/ - just a flow of a community-generated content about some buzzwords.))

Well, we must admit that a distribution of our interests is a little bit broader, but it is a substitution-based activity nevertheless.)

andrewcooke 9 days ago 0 replies      
Comment on some small technical detail that I think is interesting, but that no-one else cares about.
wiradikusuma 9 days ago 0 replies      
...and somebody would complain why this thing is in the front page, and other person questioning why HN becoming like Reddit, and someone will downvote the comment.

..but then some other guy would defend it by saying "but it is hacker-y, etc"

eurodance 9 days ago 0 replies      
"I got rejected from YC and here's my idea. It still sucks"
zem 9 days ago 0 replies      
I loved the genuinely parodic headlines ("How I remapped my caps lock key to be both ESC and Ctrl" was my favourite), but the metaheadlines like "A long rant about a YC company falling short in some regard" are simply done to death and IMO have not been funny in years.
orthecreedence 9 days ago 0 replies      
You forgot the unlimited "Why I...and you should too" headlines.
Semiapies 9 days ago 0 replies      
"RMS hates something."

"Woz disagrees with something Apple does."

"Why this wildly successful and profitable company is doomed. Someday."

"Commonly-used technology is obsolete."

"You are not cool enough to succeed, especially if you are in any way successful. Please develop impostor syndrome."

pkorzeniewski 9 days ago 1 reply      
I laughed at "How I bootstrapped my company in 6 hours (with breaks)" :) I always wondered why this was a thing on HN, it doesn't matter if something took one weekend, one month or one year to finish - it's the result that matters, and saying "I build it in 24h" is the same as saying "it has a lot of bugs, but I want to launch it anyway".
Joeboy 9 days ago 0 replies      
It's probably best to wear alternate pairs of shoes, so that they get a chance to dry out and air between outings.
jcurbo 9 days ago 0 replies      
Needs more Bitcoin stories.
krmmalik 9 days ago 0 replies      
Haha. This is too funny. I love the twitter post that just happens to have 140 comments!
blablabla123 9 days ago 0 replies      
"How I bootstrapped my company in 6 hours (with breaks)" :D
retube 9 days ago 0 replies      
At least 5 entries should have been new .js libraries. Also no github posts.
chris123 8 days ago 0 replies      
How about a brogrammer or brogrammer-backlash story? Or an "I hate MBAs" one?
nchuhoai 9 days ago 0 replies      
Favorite: Vivek on immigration policies
EddieB 9 days ago 0 replies      
Can't look at the listing in the same way after seeing that haha
greghinch 9 days ago 0 replies      
Oh dear, I actually said #28 when we started ours...
deveac 9 days ago 0 replies      

That's the one that got me. Now pardon me while I write a post about duplicating comic timing graphically, as a constraint.

mixedbit 9 days ago 0 replies      
Linked List voting system is broken.
jliptzin 9 days ago 0 replies      
It's missing "How I solved the travelling salesman problem using pure CSS and Clojure on my coffee break"
markprovan 9 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing about Ruby and scaling? :O
bjhoops1 9 days ago 0 replies      
131 self-referential comments
Nordvind 9 days ago 0 replies      
Made me smile.
rossta 9 days ago 0 replies      
Best HN post ever.
JonSkeptic 9 days ago 0 replies      
1 snarky comment
scottmagdalein 9 days ago 0 replies      
return0 9 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations on your neat website. I think you really should consider making you're page center aligned - i hurt my head looking left in my bigass screen. I am very much a fan of wearing the same shoe every 3 days, but i admit youre article about sexism has changed my life. Unfortunately, since you don't support openID, i refuse to join your site.

To complete the picture, i would really like to respond here with a very long-form comment of at least 8 paragraphs, in which i address one by one a number of points that irritated me in a boastful way that makes my arguments sound authoritative and deep, while in reality it's just my brain-fart of the moment. I should also add a couple of references in square brackets, because that's what scientists do[1] and people seem to believe scientists (what's more, the most respected scientific journals use the vancouver reference style, which makes me look even more knowledgable). Because of the outrageousness of my long-form comment (and because it takes up a large portion of the screen real estate), people will upvote me and respond with equally half-cooked comments , some of them applying Godwin's law, and others merely acknowledging this application of the law.

Unfortunately, i barely made it to 3 paragraphs and i 've more or less run out of stupid things to say.

Looking forward to the new version of your website that will be implemented in a single var javascript statement, because that's my favorite programming paradigm this afternoon.

[1] they really do

Google Apps stops accepting free sign-ups googleenterprise.blogspot.com
615 points by antichaos  9 days ago   453 comments top 88
zmmmmm 9 days ago 15 replies      
I really hate it when companies try to sugar coat a decision that is all downside for their customers. It may be really hard to do, but Google should just come out and say it: there is no upside for this to anyone except Google. It is not about giving you a better experience or making things more straightforward. It is all about Google deciding to maximize their profits at the expense of their users. That's fine, it's what businesses (ultimately) do (even the ones that pretend they put their users first). Google should just say it - they no longer want to support a free version of their product because they can make more money another way.

When I see ridiculous sugar coating it breeds distrust and disbelief - congratulations Google, I now believe every single future thing you say a little less, well done.

blhack 8 days ago 6 replies      
Huh. Just want to point out that one of the main reasons we're using google apps at my company is that I use google apps for hosting my personal email. When it came time to make a decision on that, and I am the one who makes that decision, I chose google apps because it was already familiar to me.

Poor choice, imho. I'm curious what the actual overhead is for people like me. I have 1 account (as in: 1 email address) that is hosted by google apps. I was going to set up an account for one of my other domains, but not for $50/year. (Per account!)

So full snark here, but it was between google apps, and office 365. I chose GA because o my familiarity with it.

But look here, Microsoft's equivalent offering is free: https://domains.live.com/ I wonder what things will look like when we evaluate google apps next year?

dotBen 9 days ago 5 replies      
Contrarian view...

by offering <50 email accounts for free, Google essentially destroyed the market for any other startups or companies to come into the market and offer non-enterprise B2B email services... thus limiting competition and innovation.

One could argue that the removal of the free tier at this point is simply because they've created an entrenched position, but one could also suggest that this creates a modicum of opportunity for another player to try to enter this space.

Certainly until today the $ size of the addressable market in the small business email space was practically $0 given Google's position.

[discuss :)]

rwhitman 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'll tell you what the free plan was most useful for: business experiments.

I can't tell you how many small forays into new business ideas I and other folks I know have used google apps to kick off. For a business at high risk of failure and no budget in the early idea stages it was so useful to be able to stitch together a team and workflow really quickly using google apps to see how things pan out. This puts a real damper on kicking off new collaborative ideas

revelation 9 days ago 5 replies      
Not sure how to feel about this. The core feature of the free Google Apps was that you could use GMail with your own domain without having to run a dedicated mail server yourself.
benaiah 9 days ago 4 replies      
Outlook.com's equivalent offering, https://domains.live.com, is free (Hotmail also offered it, but they've changed the branding). I've been running my email on there for the better part of a decade. To those who point at Office 365, that's similar but different, and it costs money.

If you want a guide, this one seems pretty good:

Between the mistaken despair over having no good free alternatives to Google Apps and the platitudes and awe over the Gmail/Google Drive integration (which Hotmail/Skydrive have had the exact equivalent of for years) a couple weeks back, I'm starting to wonder why nobody here, when they are all quite tech-literate, seems to have any clue about Microsoft's honestly rather impressive cloud offering.

Most likely they're all in denial.

edj 9 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure if I'm parsing this correctly, but it sounds like people who use Google Apps as an email backend for personal email on custom domains will now have to pay $50/year.

If so, that's a huge bummer. I only recently switched to running my email this way and I don't relish the thought of migrating elsewhere so soon.

I would happily pay $50/year (or perhaps more... I don't know how high I'd go) for email that's not only convenient and spam free, but also well protected from governments and the provider's employees, and not data mined.

I have absolutely no use for phone support or 99.9 uptime for my personal email. So the businessification of Google mail is not a win for me. Privacy and convenience or what I'm after.

Anyone working on something like this?

stevoski 9 days ago 1 reply      
Yes, the announcement is corporate doublespeak.

No, I don't mind the end of free Google Apps. I use Google Apps for my business for five years, and frankly, it is mind-boggling what they have given me for free. Luckily us existing users still get the free service, but if I had to pay US$50 per year per user, I would still consider it exceptional value.

US$50 per year for a set of critical, heavily-used services is an inconsequential amount for all but the most penny-pinching operation.

foxylad 8 days ago 1 reply      
I have no problem paying for a Google Apps account where I actually use Google apps, but at the moment you have to have a Google Apps account to link a domain to an Appengine app. Some of our apps have two or three domains showing the same app, and because you need to have an account for each email address that Appengine sends email from, we have three or four accounts (support, noreply, accounts per domain.

So this move is going to add $600 per year to our costs - all for virtual accounts that don't actually use Google Apps at all.

Hopefully this was unintended, and Google will continue to provide free accounts for domains linked to Appengine apps - or provide another mechanism for linking and authorising sending addresses.

spankalee 9 days ago 2 replies      
As a Googler and for much longer, a Google Apps user for my family, this is sad news.

I wish they had just fixed the experience for "vanity domains" so that they didn't require all the enterprise features, and didn't let administrators have complete control of users accounts. Then they could roll out new features to vanity users without needing the enterprise controls.

I understand that this is a little tricky, and involves no paying customers, but Google Apps was by far the best experience for custom domains. I'm sure it attracted the type of influencers that pull even more users. I used it for my family, bands, friends with very small businesses and more, and the other people on those domains not already using Gmail, in turn migrated their personal accounts to Gmail.

therealarmen 9 days ago 4 replies      
Please note this change has no impact on our existing customers, including those using the free version.

I give it six months before they start strong-arming free users into paid accounts.

zheng 9 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. Google Apps for Your Domain is a huge thing for a lot of hackers. I run my entire family's email using it. Is google just giving up on supporting custom domains? That would be a huge disruption for me =(
6ren 8 days ago 0 replies      
Google believes the cloud/apps have enough providers now, so they aren't needed to drive it.

Their strategy is to grow the web. This works because they make more money from the web being used. It also makes people love Google, which is important because switching search engines is easy. The love also helps in hiring.

However... they have introduced internal cost accounting, so that products must pay their way - a little internal market. IMHO, this is potentially dangerous, since there already is a market (the real one), and it ignores the advantages of a firm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nature_of_the_Firm)
But they don't follow it absolutely, e.g. android isn't paying its way. (NB: Apple is focussed on making better products, not on growing the web).

If google can see that other firms are better placed to do a better job of growing the web in some respect (or they can apply pressure on them to do so), they are happy to step aside.

nikcub 8 days ago 1 reply      
Google under Larry Page is obsessed with short-term revenue. They did the same with AppEngine, Maps and now Apps.

Not to mention that I cringed throughout this announcement. They are doing it because it benefits users? C'mon, just tell us you love the money, nothing wrong with that.

confluence 9 days ago 3 replies      
So for hackers it's what? $50 a year for hosting + $10 a year of domain registration for vanity URLs - that's $5 a month.

Don't see much of a problem here - I'm surprised they didn't do this sooner - I'm happy to pay for this service at that price - no problem.

rajuvegesna 9 days ago 2 replies      
Google made a mistake initially by 1) Giving too much away for free and 2) Charging too low. It is probably trying to correct these mistakes.

1) On giving too much away…

Remember, Google Apps started with 200 free users, later reduced it to 100, then to 50, then to 10 and now to zero.


At 200 free users, there was no room for a new entrant in the market. I am glad that didn't last long.

2) On Charging too low...

Back when they launched it, $50/user/year was extremely aggressive pricing. Vendors were charging $50/month. May be Google is realizing they were charging too low. I now see an additional plan with $10/user/month option (which didn't exist earlier).

Disclaimer: I work for Zoho, competition to Google Apps.

rdl 9 days ago 0 replies      
I gave up on Google Apps for your Domain for email a while ago (security, bugs, and the general black box nature of the product).

Right now, my favorite solution is Kerio Connect, which you can either self-host or purchase as a cloud solution. There are hosting providers who will handle all of this for you, but having the option to bring mail fully in house is really nice.

It's essentially Exchange, but much easier to manage, and far cheaper.

They also have a Sharepoint/Box alternative, Workspace, that I now love.

I'm more than happy paying $555 for a server and then $45/user for license, $15/user/year maintenance, and hosting costs. I really don't think $50-100/mo/user (once you factor in admin/hosting costs...you could do it for $20-30/mo but $50-100 is a safer budget) is an unreasonable amount for top quality email and collaboration tools.

speleding 8 days ago 1 reply      
The free Google Apps was perfect for families: give each kid a nice kid@familyname.com and no problem with the silly 18 year limit that gmail has. The shared calendars work great in our family too.

It's certainly not worth $50 per year because the little ones get maybe 1 email a month from grandma. Since Google does not allow kids on gmail, where should families go now?

amitagrawal 8 days ago 0 replies      
With this decision, I have now come to believe that Google is not the company that it used to be in the past. The user-friendly company with a quirky personality.

Somewhere in the mindless fighting with becoming the dominant social and mobile force on the planet, it has forgotten about the very users it once strived to please.

This has been more apparent since Larry took over Google as the CEO. His "more wood behind fewer arrows" has somewhere down the line taken away the humor with which Google has largely operated. 20% time? Google Labs? Hugely popular Google products scrapped into oblivion.

The only products that matter beyond search are - Android, Google+, YouTube and Google Apps which are fairly mature by now and are a serious threat to competitors.

The thing is they didn't need to do it because they aren't starving of computing resources for more important products and the marginal costs of adding free users is almost nil (although it exists).

I somehow feel betrayed by this decision. Google, so far, has resisted the temptation to shut down products that were important to it's users unlike other companies like Microsoft and Yahoo! I have been using Google Apps since they launched it a long ago. It feels like bait and switch.

This is completely right and there is nothing wrong with them shutting down a free service as a business but somehow it feels so non-Googly.

tszming 9 days ago 0 replies      
This might be painful at the beginning but it could be a win-win situation in long term for most parties:

1. Google: can focus on customer service,
2. Google's share holders: more revenue,
3. Competitors: more competitive advantages,
4. Startups: time to disrupt,
5. Users: Email should be decentralized, why rely on a single provider is a good thing?

gtt 9 days ago 4 replies      
On a related note could dear hn crowd suggest email provider (maybe paid, say up to 30-40$ annually) caring about my privacy a little bit more? Really delete my messages when I want to is a good start.

Google is all good but I feel I should not put all of my emails in one account..

hmart 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'm from a SouthAmerican nation, here the IT budget of small business is pretty limited and Google Apps (even with the 10 accounts limit) was a viable option for them. Google will have to adapt the prices for non USA markets (BRIC, EMEA, Latam) if they want to succeed. Also this movement bring space of innovation for email.
alanctgardner2 9 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if the cause of this is the support costs required for the free accounts? Obviously personal GMail is plug-and-play, but for someone who can't spell DNS, setting up a domain account was never quite drop-dead-simple enough. I suspect the goal here is to create a barrier to entry and prevent the inevitable support load of free users.

There was an excellent post about this a while ago, where a developer reported much better treatment from users after charging a token fee for their app.

As a final thought, maybe Google is catching on to the 'charge what something is worth, not what it costs you' way of thinking. Hosted email solutions for enterprise aren't free, and it seems like Google has realized the real value of their product. Also, ~$4/seat/month is pretty well in line with this kind of SaaS offering.

therandomguy 9 days ago 0 replies      
Oh come on... can we just have the gmail piece for free? If you want limit it to 5 addresses so that only really poor hackers use free account and they become your paying customers as soon as they find some traction.
chrisblackwell 9 days ago 2 replies      
This is really a logical step. If you are an individual and don't really see the value in $50 a year, you can forward your own domain to your regular Gmail account and set the reply to email address to whatever you want.

If you run a business and need the Google Apps platform, then $50 a year really shouldn't be a barrier for you. If it is, time to rethink your business priorities.

indiecore 9 days ago 3 replies      


I was literally 10 minutes away from signing up.

jtbarrett 9 days ago 2 replies      
I have a free Google Apps account mostly so that I can have a custom domain for my small (free) App Engine site: https://developers.google.com/appengine/docs/domain

It's sad that now attaching a custom domain will cost a lot more than the domain itself.

kristofferR 9 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, I'm so glad I'm grandfathered in! I have 8 users, just for me.

Having to spend $400 on my email (or spend a lot of time either switching or combining mail accounts) every year would be hell.

admiralpumpkin 8 days ago 0 replies      
In reading the comments generally I feel like there's two main groups being affected here: small businesses and small groups (families, geeks, whatever).

The first groupâ€"small businessesâ€"can of course afford $50/user/year, even if they would rather not spend it.

The second groupâ€"enthusiastsâ€"even if they could afford it, likely cannot justify $50/user/year. I personally have a custom email hosted by Google for a small group of my friends, and I know that there is NO WAY any of us would pay $50 each per year. The price would need to be an order of magnitude lower for us to consider it. (Yes, I know that for the moment we're grandfathered in.)

Seems like there should be a way for Google to distinguish between the two groups based on services needed and then price two tiers accordingly. For example, offer a Small Group Plan at $5/user/year with a limit of 10 users & no phone support; and another Small Business Plan that offers up to 50 users, limited phone support & whatever else help small businesses for a higher price.

Steveism 9 days ago 7 replies      
This is unfortunate indeed. The free Google Apps offering was a substantial value. What viable alternatives are there?
tikhonj 9 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, now I feel really lucky that I signed up for a free account just a couple of weeks ago.

Then again, being forced to find my own email hosting would have made me less dependent on Google, which may have been a good thing...

philwelch 9 days ago 1 reply      
Any other decent, free IMAP hosts out there? Ever since the Gmail UI shit the bed and mail clients grew an archive button I don't really need Google Apps itself anymore anyway.
redthrowaway 9 days ago 3 replies      
What really struck me was that they're only offering three nines of uptime. I can't see many businesses ditching Excel or Word to go with something that will cost you half a day of productivity every year, especially not for $50 a license.
mokash 8 days ago 0 replies      
I use Google Apps with my personal domain. A lot of people are recommending alternatives but the main reason why I like Google Apps is that I can use it to easily sign into YouTube, Google Docs and various other services that they provide with my personal, official email address.

I use Google Apps for a small blog that I run and I gave out email addresses to all of the writers. Eventually we had 11 writers and they only allow 10 free so I upgraded that one. People can't do that now. It's either all or nothing.

Meh, their loss. May have to go with Microsoft's alternative or something.

larsberg 9 days ago 1 reply      
Ugh. The worst thing is that I've been relying on my personal domain e-mail address _also_ being a valid google address. So I have to either pony up for my family's accounts or move us all and re-create logins on a page or so of "authorized apps."

Still, the huge amount of spam that's been getting through (10-15 per day, despite always logging in to the gmail web interface and clicking Report Spam) has been encouraging me to consider a move anyway. This change is just the nudge I needed to finally make it happen...

coopdog 9 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this will effect the Google Apps Marketplace

At the very least there will be less potential customers now. I imagine some people would have been willing to pay $0 to Google and $15 per user per month for some kind of project management offering, now it's $65 per month, which is really going to hurt new sign ups.

Also for anyone with an existing free account who wants to add new domains, don't forget you can add domain alias's. So you keep the same account but just make it so email from two+ different domains can come in. For tiny ideas that always have the same 1-2 employees it's almost preferable to a whole new account anyway.

callmeed 8 days ago 1 reply      
Crap, ALL our customers use google apps for email (because we don't want to host email on our servers and it's free).

All our customers are small businesses (photographers, designers) and usually just make 1 to 3 mailboxes.

Any alternative out there?

dave_sullivan 8 days ago 0 replies      
Well... fair enough.

If you use google apps already, nothing changes (if I'm reading this correctly?)

If you're thinking about using google apps, you've got to pay for it now.

Yes, this benefits no one but google. Then again, google has been providing benefit to millions of people with google apps. Running your own e-mail server is not trivial. There's a reason there are no good gmail alternatives--it's harder than it looks.

If I were them, I would have charged for it from the beginning--it's a really useful service. And they could have been real dicks by forcing all current free users to start coughing up dough.

wyck 8 days ago 1 reply      
Create a start-up with:

3 way email sync (mobile/web/desktop) like exchange server (or other enterprise stuff)

A slick feature rich UI

Custom domains via MX

Solid spam filtering

There is nothing out there that does this for under 10$/month per user and I think there is a solid market for a better price point.

4lun 8 days ago 1 reply      
Found a workaround to still sign up for the standard plan, modify the following URL to include your domain: http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/standard/selectDomain?existin...

Likely to be disabled very soon.

admiralpumpkin 8 days ago 0 replies      
I just did a little research to see what alternatives are out there for custom domain emails. I haven't used these Namecheap for email, though I have used them for domain hosting after the SOPA debacle.

Namecheap offers custom domain email hosting for $2.99/user/year. 3GB storage. Supports IMAP. 50MB attachment limit. No ads. No clue on the web interface quality, nor spam-filtering quality, but it's definitely a good price from a good company.

iashishsinha 8 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.nextbigwhat.com/google-apps-free-for-new-domains-... : This is a nice workaround. Try it out. You can still use it for free using the existing account.
jarjoura 8 days ago 0 replies      
Not to change the subject, but this decision just made my switch to Office 365 that much sweeter. If anything I love that I get push notifications (active sync) for emails and group calendars work much better.
tlogan 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is actually expected development. As the market matures, it is time to start make money.

This is also means that probably less and less of online services will be free.

Of course, you will still have "Walmarts of the online services" but you will get what you pay for - nothing more.

And I don't think there will be "cheaper" alternatives: but I do expect emergence of more expensive and better alternatives (if you can fork $50/year than you can fork $100/year - free is different story).

z-factor 9 days ago 1 reply      
For people who just need email forwarding https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/ work great. They charge $0.02/forwarded domain/day. So ~7USD per year per domain. I'm a customer for 5+ years, no complaints.
netfire 8 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a strange move by Google. Most small or starting businesses don't need a 25GB inbox (at least not every user) or 24/7 tech support. Why create the barrier to entry? Now people with businesses will be more likely to use personal Google accounts for business or look for alternative services. Why not just create a premium business account option that gives you this level of storage and support if you need it, instead of trying to convince your users that they need it, when most of them are happy without it.

Personally, I liked the direction Google was heading with their Google Drive product. You get up to 5GB for free and then pay for more if you need it. Makes me wonder how Google might try to monetize other products like Google+ once they have a substantial following.

napoleond 9 days ago 2 replies      
I think it's time for a dedicated email service provider with full search functionality and tools to migrate the old inbox from Google Apps. I would gladly pay more than $50/year for a simple, rock solid service like this if it had an excellent web client, real customer support, and cared about my privacy.
gprasanth 9 days ago 0 replies      
Just the other day I was looking for ways to offer email@mydomain to people who request it. I found that GApps was no longer offering free email. So, I ended up using Forwarders in cPanel to do the thing for me.

Forwarders in cPanel simply copy all incoming mail to email@mydomain to myother@email. If I didn't already create an email account email@mydomain, the incoming mail WILL NOT be stored on server which makes this a feasible solution. If I had, incoming mail would be copied to myother@email.

tharris0101 8 days ago 1 reply      
I'm confused here. It says nothing changes for existing customers but when I log into my domain's Google App dashboard I see this now: "Free 30 day Google Apps for Business trial" with an upgrade button. Does anyone else see this?
nvmc 9 days ago 0 replies      
I sorted out my gmail powered trendy n@me-lastname.net email not two weeks ago. Perhaps if they offered a single user package free of charge it would be more sustainable.
zsiddique 9 days ago 1 reply      
This might suck for the power user who had his own domain, but I am betting the free version was abused by a lot of business unwilling to pay a few bucks for the service.
TheYComb 8 days ago 0 replies      
I would even pay $50 a year if Google stopped making "improvements" to the UI. The new composer looks nice at first but it slows me down when I need to use different fonts, etc AND they removed background color AKA highlight. I do not use Evernote just because they do not have highlight... and now they decided to removed it from Gmail too. If it is not broken, don't fix it :-/
tjbiddle 9 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I actually just called Google Apps support the other day for one of my domains to get downgraded back to free G Apps (I had unintentionally signed up for a 30-day trial of Business, and it didn't auto-downgrade, it just suspended my account). Bummer to see this though, I have multiple domains (As I'm sure many do here) and it's nice having a quick setup for one or two @domain.com's.
awicklander 8 days ago 0 replies      
Google decides to charge money for providing a valuable service. Crazy!
jamesmiller5 9 days ago 0 replies      
I use Google Apps for my domain but forward the mail to another account which means I see no ads and get hosted mail for free. I didn't even realize until this announcement that I'm probably a net negative and probably not the only person doing this.
yitchelle 8 days ago 0 replies      
Google apps for education is still free (I wonder for how long.) At least google is focusing on charging for things that are revenue generating, however for some education enterprise, that is debatable.


hmart 9 days ago 0 replies      
An alternative I use for educational customers is Microsoft Live Domains, also have some comercial domains with more than 50 accounts. But given this situation with Google I`m expecting Microsoft to do the same
alextingle 8 days ago 1 reply      
Running your own e-mail server is easy. I can't believe how many people here are throwing up their hands in horror at the idea.
camus 8 days ago 2 replies      
Could someone explain me why a business providing a service should ? give it for free ? are google engineers working for free ? is google running its servers for free ? so yes , google is rich , but so is your electricity company , most gaz companies and most supermarkets. Do they give you stuffs for free ? "freemium" model is dead , in the future you'll pay for every service you use on the web.
cnaut 9 days ago 1 reply      
antihero 9 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see what they'd lose from offering this free to personal users and non-profits? They do free mail hosting anyway so why prevent it being configurable to a certain domain?
gm_ 9 days ago 0 replies      
At least with customers being made to sign up to premium accounts with 24/7 support available there will be less horror stories of customers being locked out of their Google Apps accounts.
tnuc 8 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean that some of my domains that are going expire might be worth money as they have google apps?
pbreit 8 days ago 0 replies      
At one point Yahoo was tip-toeing into this market with its Zimbra purchase. I wonder if this move prompts Yahoo to look again? $50 per email account per year leaves a lot of room for competition.
mrcrassic 8 days ago 0 replies      
$50 for only THREE 9's? NO THANKS. :p

It sucks that they've removed the free version; it's definitely a step up from managing multiple individual gmail accounts or creating a shared account of some sort. (I use one for one of the side jobs I do; it's a pain in the ass.)

However, $50/year for premium is really friggin good, considering that the cheapest alternative is $10/mo ($100/yr) for hosted Exchange 2010 alone.

technotony 9 days ago 1 reply      
Any competitor products out there which are still free? All I want is email for my domains.
carlsednaoui 9 days ago 0 replies      
jemeshsu 8 days ago 0 replies      
I hope Google can offer a cheaper plan for those who needs only domain and email.
eunice 9 days ago 0 replies      
Re: everybody saying this was a 'free' service - Google were still harvesting & selling off anything you put in there. It wasn't truly free.
luckysh0t 9 days ago 0 replies      
I signed up my domain for google apps as soon as I registed it about 3 hours ago. Must have been one of the last ones - I noticed they had taken the small text link on the apps homepage away and I had to click through to pricing to get the free version. Obviously Google had kicked off their deployment while I was registering.

Totally taking this as a sign for my next app btw.

jscheel 9 days ago 0 replies      
I would be happy with a one-time fee to use my domain name. I don't care about anything else, just the domain name on the email address.
Nux 8 days ago 0 replies      
Well, they probably filled their belly with enough user-base, now they can ignore the rest and focus on cashing in.
medell 8 days ago 0 replies      
2011-07-20: Announces Google Labs will be shutdown
2012-07-03: iGoogle will be "retired" on 2012-11-01
2012-12-06: Google Apps no longer free

I'm not liking the direction they're going as I use all of the above frequently (including signing up new domains for GApps regularly). It always comes down to money at the end of the day.

intlect 8 days ago 0 replies      
A few years ago they were inadvertently dropping the link to the free signup... now they've killed the product.
Not fun...
Gustomaximus 8 days ago 1 reply      
I hope they don't do this with Google Analytics next. Not just because it is a great product to get for free (I'm a massive fan vs other systems). To me it would seem wrong to come into the market @ free, wipe out or reduce much of the competitors and then expect everyone to pay up now they have a market dominance.
rustc 8 days ago 0 replies      
Not to hijack this thread, but I've asked a question [1] about how to setup an email server on a VPS, if anyone could help me(us?) out.

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4885281

laacz 8 days ago 0 replies      
You can still send and receive e-mail to classic @gmail.com setting up default reply-from address to you@yourdomain.com.
vishal0123 8 days ago 0 replies      
Its a result of a/b testing done 5 months earlier:
ErikAugust 8 days ago 1 reply      
Okay, one MacGyver solution -

Buy one user account - set up a ton of aliases. Set up filters to Gmail inboxes.

Yeah, that feels dirty... I know.

smallegan 8 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how soon it will be before they eliminate free domestic calling on Google Voice?
ampersandy 9 days ago 2 replies      
Why hasn't Google offered an option to increase from the default 25GB of email storage? Drive has an option to increase upto 16TB, but Gmail is locked at 25GB? What gives?
ramsevak 8 days ago 1 reply      
Actually they forcing small business to move towards hotmail. Spending $500/year for e-mail service is not worth for small (offline) business.
thpoul 9 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how this will affect the various hosts around who offer easy "free" google apps integration.
kevando 8 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean my old domains with 50 free users are now worth more?? :)
circa 7 days ago 0 replies      
bummer. the first thing I do when I buy a new domain is sign up there. they make it so easy to manage. all good things must come to an end I guess.
kurrent 9 days ago 1 reply      
so will users who pay the $50/year still see ads on their inbox page?
ing33k 8 days ago 0 replies      
any good alternatives ?
wildchild 8 days ago 0 replies      
I am confused, if I am google apps oldfag and have 20 accounts. According to http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&topic=29... can I still use it like before or I must remove 10 mailboxes to fit 10 requirement to continue free usage?
The Web We Lost dashes.com
606 points by kzasada  2 days ago   152 comments top 33
cletus 2 days ago 9 replies      
I think this is an example of seeing the past through rose-coloured glasses.

Yes there was Flickr but you could discover photos. Thing is, Flickr is still there and you can still use it. What's clear from this is that Flickr didn't (and doesn't) cover what is the use case for most people: sharing photos with a limited group of friends and family.

Technorati? Honestly, I think this is an example of living inside a very small bubble. I'd honestly never heard of Technorati until long after it had waned.

I don't agree that the monetization of the Web has degraded the value (to the user) of links on sites other than links on sites aren't the primary discovery mechanism like they used to be, which is actually a good thing (IMHO).

> In the early part of this century, if you made a service that let users create or share content, the expectation was that they could easily download a full-fidelity copy of their data, or import that data into other competitive services, with no restrictions

This is only true to a limited extent IMHO. The primary services for creating information 10+ years ago were email providers. Because Web-based mail was a latecomer, services like Yahoo Mail and Hotmail grew up in an era where many people used Outlook, Thunderbird and other desktop email clients so they had to support POP3 (and later IMAP) and you could use those services to export your mail.

But that isn't the same as designing your services for interoperability. That was an unintended consequence.

As the idea of "your mail, everywhere (you have an Internet connection)" became dominant, so did Webmail. POP3/IMAP became less important.

Again, I consider this a net positive change.

> In the early days of the social web, there was a broad expectation that regular people might own their own identities by having their own websites

This I disagree with. Having your own domain and Website 10+ years ago was pretty unusual. Administering your own site is not easy, particularly as malware became more prevalent. This has declined because no one wants to run their own Website (or email server for that matter) because it's a crazy amount of effort for very little real gain.

The only real problem I see with the present state of the Web is that Facebook wants to own all your data. It wants to be your identity. It wants to be your Internet. That's bad. It's bad for the Web and bad for consumers. But honestly, I don't see it coming to pass. Facebook is just as susceptible to disruption as so many behemoths that have come (and gone) before it.

10+ years ago Microsoft dominated your computing environment. Many couldn't envision a future that would break free of this grasp. In a few short years Microsoft has diminished their control of your computing experience in ways few could've predicted. I'll just leave this as an example of the danger of extrapolation:


smacktoward 2 days ago 9 replies      
I agree with Anil 110% that the Web he's talking about was, in many, many ways, a Better Web than the one we have today.

The problem is that it's worse than the one we have today in the only way that most people care about: it's harder. To participate, it expected you to know how to do a bunch of things that seem trivial to tech folks but frighteningly complicated to everybody else. You had to buy a domain. You had to choose a Web host. You had to know how to connect the domain to the Web host. You had to choose the right software to do what you wanted to do. You had to install that software, and configure it properly.

The reason hosted services became popular is because they let you skip all that stuff. You fill out a form and you're up and running. Someone else worries about all that other stuff for you. This makes those services accessible in a way that the Web of 2000 was not.

Of course, to get that accessibility, the hosted services make you give up a lot of things. You lose access to your raw data. You lose your privacy. You lose the ability to change vendors if the one you're on turns evil.

But to non-technical people, those losses aren't obvious. They don't understand what they've lost until losing those things turns around and bites them. It's like DRM: people don't understand why DRM-encumbered music downloads are bad until their iPod dies and they want to move their iTunes-bought music to an Android phone. "What do you mean I can't do that?" is what you hear the moment the penny drops. But before then, they don't understand the risk.

This is what will need to be overcome to make tomorrow's Web like yesterday's was: it'll need to be as easy for people to use as today's is, or you'll need to educate the entire world about why they should put up with it not being that easy. Otherwise people will keep on blindly stumbling into the heavily-advertised walled gardens, not realizing that's what they're doing until the day they decide they want to leave, and can't.

10098 2 days ago 6 replies      
Maybe I have changed, or maybe the Internet has changed, but I used to meet people on the internet. I used to make friends online, and some of these friendships gradually mutated into "offline" friendships. There used to be message boards, IRC and web chats where people would talk, form groups, become friends or enemies.

People used to have blogs on livejournal or other services, some were trying to create content, write interesting posts. I met a lot of new people through that medium too.

But now everybody is locked inside the narrow bubble of their own social network. People don't become friends on facebook - they usually "friend" their IRL friends. You can't fit a good meaningful post into a tweet. And you can't have a normal discussion without sane comment threads like on livejournal - and I haven't seen that on any of the popular social sites.

That's also a part of the web we lost.

saurik 2 days ago 1 reply      
There is an example in there of how creating a single sign-on service in 2005 being "described as introducing a tracking system worthy of the PATRIOT act". That was years after this kind of thing was considered a problem, however, and it was somewhat rightfully so, and I believe the real story is that things actually got "better" as we came to understand these services more. I am not certain things actually got worse over the last ten years: in some ways they really got better.

Going back to 2002, Microsoft had been working on "Hailstorm", which was a very poorly chosen name for something that people rapidly became afraid of ;P. It was later renamed to "My Services", but it included Microsoft Passport (yes, this is mentioned in the article, but I don't think it is given enough weight), a single sign-on service provider that Microsoft was encouraging other websites to use. It would provide details about you, including your e-mail address, to the sites you connected with.

I had remembered a bunch of people being angry about it, so I did a Google search for "Microsoft Password mark of the beast", and came across an article written at the time in some random magazine called "Microsoft's Passport to Controversy -- Depending on whom you ask, Passport is either a useful consumer convenience or the mark of the beast".


However, it should be noted that one of the fears at the time was not "man, vague centralization is bad", it was "omg, Microsoft doesn't just want this service to take over the web... they want this service to take over the world". Now, of course, you read me saying that, and think "ugh, stop with the rhetoric: that's just an example of people freaking out about something we find common-place; that's what the article is about: did you read it? ;P".

But... it was actually for real. Microsoft was lobbying to make Microsoft Passport be the new US National ID system, and it wasn't just a pie-in-the-sky goal... they were lobbying to make it happen, had the ears of the right people, and were making serious progress on it. For reference, there was an article written about the situation in the Seattle Times with the title "Feds might use Microsoft product for online ID".

> Forget about a national ID card. Instead, the federal government might use Microsoft's Passport technology to verify the online identity of America's citizens, federal employees and businesses, according to the White House technology czar.

> On Sept. 30, the government plans to begin testing Web sites where businesses can pay taxes and citizens can learn about benefits and social services. It's also exploring how to verify the identity of users so the sites can share private information.


I thereby feel the need to note that, even as late as 2005, if you were going to start talking about building the world's next best "single sign-on" provider, this is what you were being mentally compared with: yes, the one service mentioned (TypeKey) ended up having "much more restrictive terms of service about sharing data", but it is looking at the past through rose-colored glasses to think that things have gone downhill.

Let's put it this way: can you seriously imagine Facebook or Twitter ever being considered as the official login system for the IRS? I can't in 2012, but that was the honest-to-goodness reality of "the web we lost" from 10 years ago. At some point, in the last 10 years, it became more, not less, clear to everyone that this kind of service needed limits. There was backlash in 2002; but I believe it was much more fringe-concern than it would be now in 2012.

> Yesterday, appearing at the conference, Gates reiterated the goal, saying he expects governments in many countries will find it difficult getting to "critical mass" with authentication systems they develop on their own. He said some governments may opt to use companies such as Microsoft or America Online as "the bank" that registers people for online usage.

agentultra 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's rather funny when people talk about the, "social web." Before the social graph, technorati, and flickr there were newsgroups, email lists, HTTP, IRC, etc. The Internet itself is a social tool. Perhaps the term refers to some epoch of which I am not aware but it seems to me from a big-picture perspective that we've only narrowly improved the experience since Eternal September.

The "walled garden" networks will always strive to find their value in lowering the barrier to entry for new participants on the web. Facebook makes it super easy to share your photos with your family and friends and passively update them on the minutiae of your life. Twitter does the same thing to large degree in a more public fashion. Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest... all of the same zeitgeist: user experience.

But the cognoscenti are certainly aware that the web is the sum of its parts and walled gardens are antithesis to participation within its ecosystem. However the problem is and has always been participation: there is no single sign-in, no simple user experience, no common parlance for the mainstream to absorb. We got about as far as blogs and stopped there once MySpace, Facebook, et al took over.

I'd prefer a return to the roots but I think we'll need software and services that provide a better user experience and product-based focus rather than the service-oriented approach that has become popular.

untog 2 days ago 2 replies      
Funny that he says all this then has a Facebook comments box at the bottom of the page.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that IMO- people are far more likely to have their real names on Facebook, and thus leave sensible comments rather than total drivel. But it makes a point that he doesn't include in the article- sometimes these centralised information stores can be useful.

joebadmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
After all that, I can't comment on the piece with OpenID or any other service I actually use. Facebook, Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL? Really?

The way out of this mess is for people with loud voices to support efforts like Tent.io, open, decentralized, standardized protocols that don't lock us into corporate silos: https://tent.io/

mrb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am suprised nobody mentioned it already, but the Google Wave Protocol [0] was exactly about bringing some of these properties back to the Web: easily discoverable information, real-time data feeds, decentralization of content, running your own "site", etc.

The author said "we've abandoned [these] core values", and this is precisely why Wave failed: people don't care enough about these values.

[0] http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2009/05/hello-world-meet-goog...

jasonkester 1 day ago 2 replies      
Anybody remember meaningful URLs?

As in, site.com/view?postid=1234 or site.com/view?userid=1234. Back when "the URL [was] the new command line" and you could easily discover all the content from a site and rework it as you liked. You could tell how many posts a blog had or how many users a site had by pluggin in a few numbers and doing a binary search. No need for an API or a feed. Just look at the URL and you could see what you needed to mess with.

Then SEO happened and URLs started looking like site.com/10-shocking-secrets-about-cat-odor-control-devices, which you can't really do anything with except shorten them to shrt.nr/Ssk and make them even less meaningful.

It always surprised me that nobody complained when we started losing that.

unimpressive 2 days ago 1 reply      

I hate to add emoticons to this quite serious discussion, but I can't help but think that we've lost; over the course of 40 years, a lot more than the cooperation and interoperability described here.

We lost operating systems that expect the user to eventually learn a programming language.

We lost the expectation that a user will ever learn one.

We lost the early expectations of a peer to peer Internet.

We lost the hope of encryption protecting anybody beyond a few stubborn nerds and activists.

We lost the idea of client programs, forcing more and more of our data into computers we don't control.

Were losing the idea that the public can manage their own computers, as we have thus far seen a poor job of it.[0]

Were losing our memory that these things were possible, that they ever could have been or could be.

Were losing the chance to change these things for the future, should we wish to.

[0]: I remember reading over 50% of computers on the Internet are in a botnet, if anyone could indulge my laziness and source this; I would be grateful.

gfodor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Microsoft Passport. I haven't thought about that in years, and recalling how the tech world recoiled in horror then for things we have eagerly embraced now is illuminating.
kamjam 2 days ago 2 replies      
Meh, I disagree with a lot of that. You speak as if the internet ONLY consists of social now. Your points are nostalgic and looking at the past through rose tinted glasses IMO.

Five years ago, most social photos were uploaded to Flickr

You can still do this. People choose not to. I don't want strangers viewing my social pictures, esp if I had kids. These are private moments to be shared with my friends.

Ten years ago, you could allow people to post links on your site

You still can, it's your site. If you decide to monetize your site and display AdWords then that's your call. You don't have to be a sheep and follow what everyone else is doing.

In 2003, if you introduced a single-sign-in service that was run by a company...

Don't use them and create an account. No one is forcing you to use them, but for some of us (me) it's just easier to link several sign-ins together with my Google account. These are generally sites I trust. If I don't trust them then I'll use a disposable email account anyway to register. If the "average man" on the street doesn't know better then that's his/her problem, it's the same basic principle as identity theft and people guard against that. It's time they did the same online.

In the early days of the social web, there was a broad expectation that regular people might own their own identities by having their own websites

Really? A few people maybe, but most non-tech people I know really couldn't give 2 hoots. Wordpress and all the blogging sites have made a lot more people I know open their "own" sites than would have been owning a domain name and all the other hosting and "headache" that goes with it.

Five years ago, if you wanted to show content from one site or app on your own site or app...

Yes, agree it is bad, but that's business. The same thing happens in the real world, just because it is online the principles of business do not disappear and unfortunately not everyone is that tech-savvy and some of those people who pumped millions into a business may not "get" the web like you.

I don't think we have "lost" any of these. People have just decided to move on as the technology has advanced. The internet is a lot more open and a lot more accessible to many more people than it has ever been. As a developer I may care about the above (I don't) but as a regular joe, I don't think I would waste 2 seconds, no matter how long I have been using the web.

aes256 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like the author is wearing rose-tinted glasses to me.

While much of the observations may be true, the web is still a far richer and more valuable resource than it was five or ten years ago.

ricardobeat 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think people are missing the point. Yes, Flickr is still here and you could use it. But Flickr never really got to mobile (a major strategy failure). Do you know since when Flickr has similar functionality to Instagram? Today - they just released a new version with filters.

The point is, you can't build much on top of instagram, twitter, facebook, whatever. APIs are encumbered by pricy licenses, nobody wants to collaborate. Open standards for sharing data are dying. RSS is dead. Mash-ups are dead. Everything is behind private APIs and walled gardens, the web doesn't connect everything anymore.

quasistar 2 days ago 3 replies      
Just a few reasons today's Web trumps anything from the 'Technorati' (seriously?) era: Open API's that reply in JSON, Cloud VPS's at $0.02 per hour, 10 Gb ethernet, 54 Mb fiber in my house, multicore computers in everyones pocket, GPS at everyones fingertips, web frameworks like Sinatra (yes, it took more than three lines of code and two bash commands to publish 'Hello World!' to the web back then), caching solutions like Redis, data crunching pipelines like hadoop, payment processing like Dwolla...need I go on? There will always be folks hankering for the glory days of alt.religion.kibology and compuserve. Ignore them. Create something game-changing instead.
krakensden 2 days ago 4 replies      
I don't understand why he thinks the pendulum is swinging back. Is there any particular evidence of that?
chris_wot 1 day ago 0 replies      
"...They're amazing achievements, from a pure software perspective. But they're based on a few assumptions that aren't necessarily correct. The primary fallacy that underpins many of their mistakes is that user flexibility and control necessarily lead to a user experience complexity that hurts growth. And the second, more grave fallacy, is the thinking that exerting extreme control over users is the best way to maximize the profitability and sustainability of their networks."

Oh my gosh. This is the GNOME project!

benwerd 2 days ago 0 replies      
This. This is the web I care about. The principles that keep me doing what I do for a living. I love this web, and how it works.

But the thing is, I love the web we have now, too. I love the interconnectedness and the fact that you don't need to be technical to find, share and create amazing stuff. You just have to have imagination and humanity.

So, let's go back. Let's take the web we've got today, and let's consciously retrofit it with the plumbing we had back then. Let's take the services we all work on and stick in those APIs. Let's make it all work better together, so that the sum of all the web applications is far more than all the web applications separately.

Think about the back-end services we all value: Stripe. Twilio. AWS. What unites all of them is that they're incredibly simple to develop with, and to connect into other applications. That's why Twitter succeeded in the beginning, too: because its API was simple enough that people could build apps for the nascent mobile app ecosystem. This is good for all of our products, as well as for the web's health as a platform.

It's not hard. That's the beauty of it: all these APIs and standards are simple to build and simple to use. That's why they survived. All that has to happen is an understanding that being closed is not a better way to serve your users or run a tech business.

fleitz 2 days ago 0 replies      
The web we lost is still there, it's just that's it's just as accessible as it was 10 years. We post photos to Facebook not because of the technical superiority but because our friends and family can see them.

You can still put your photos on flickr where no one you know will ever see them.

yo-mf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think Anil missed something in his allusion to AOL. There was an Internet before AOL that a few of us were actively using. There was a thing called “the web” that some folks were toying with while the masses toiled in Prodigy and AOL. Were those services bad or evil? No, but they accelerated the onramping of the next generation of Internet adopters that then quickly moved to the wild and free Web. With the development of the web came all sorts innovation and novel services that brought order to the often chaotic web.

We are on the same onramp now as we were in the late 90's. Facebook, Twitter, et. al. are just another stopping point to whatever comes next. We lost some things along the way, we abandoned some of our anonymity, and in some ways our freedom and experience suffered. But we have also gained tremendously in the decade since. We have smartphones with apps that guide us to cool places and discovery new experiences. We have apps that make our shopping experiences easier and cheaper. We have apps that let us express ourselves in sounds, pictures, videos, text, and to share those expressions of ourselves to the world in a few clicks. We can find any number of experts and sites that offer assistance without flipping open phonebooks or blindly Googling the world.

Yes, we lost something. I also agree that we have forgotten some of the earlier values that made the web such a joy. We got enticed by free apps and gaudy user experiences. However, there will be a backlash someday and the next generation of Internet users will jump outside of these walled gardens to take control of their own online identity.

nnq 1 day ago 0 replies      
We moved in the wrong direction a bit, but still, we moved further and that's all that matters! "Average people" "wanted"/needed the web to become like this because they want "everything in one package" kind of deals and that's the only way they could swallow it... but they've swallowed the "red pill" even if was hidden inside a poisoned cheeseburger, so they're on the right track now.

And we had to move in this direction to get the "average Joes" and your grandma on board. Facebook pushes everything in the wrong direction IMHO, from privacy and censorship and content monetarization to technology (PHP, Hiphop, C++, hackathlons?! what new "toxic" technologies and ideas will they support or "invent" next?), but they and those like them brought "the people" online.

But now that they've survived the poisoned cheeseburgers and digested them, it's time to reap the benefits of the red pill. Now that we've taken the detour necessary to get the non-techies on board, it's time to steer the ship in the right direction!

papsosouid 1 day ago 0 replies      
>we've abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world

No, we didn't. They did. The users of this new non-web never saw the old web, they weren't online then. People seem to forget that the entire internet connected population back then is like 5% of the current internet connected population. Those of us who liked the web are still here, we're just outnumbered.

azio 8 hours ago 0 replies      
We also lost Flash. Screw you Steve Jobs for killing it. I remember the days when futuristic sites were built using it with all the advance animation and stuff that nobody is doing these days.
endlessvoid94 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think most of the frameworks, libraries, and tools we use to build these new services can do an awful lot more to make this kind of thing easier. I actually suspect we'll enter a new age of programming soon, where a lot of the cruft and boilerplate of managing filesystems and metadata around your data (from databases) will be handled automatically, making this kind of thing much, much easier.

Who knows, though. I'm optimistic.

return0 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would advocate it's a good thing that we have closed social platforms. Most of the content they generate does not leak to search engines and that's a good thing, because most of it is trivialities. Imagine a researcher looking for medical information having to filter through all kinds of anecdotal nonsense to find true scientific studies. It's like browsing youtube and expecting to randomly bump on gems. IMHO, most social stuff is of little value. People still publish in traditional platforms the important bits [with the exception of closed scientific journals; but that's a different issue].
lifeguard 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an excellent writeup. I think it misses an important trend in the Web's population: fewer nerds. It used to be a lot of work to get a PC with a broadband connection. Now every cell phone has cheap broadband and a suite of apps built in. The Web today is mostly populated by users who are not enthralled with the technological underpinnings that make it possible. And that is natural. The the lamentable effect is that now there is a market for accessible communication and media. And this is overwhelming the traditions of sharing and valuing anonymity on the Web.

I imagine the nerd population has grown, and accelerated over time. It is just that the non-nerds are getting on-line much faster.

meerita 1 day ago 0 replies      
I Think Anil went too melancholic with this article. It doesn't give us any clue of the bad things, he just feels the current web isn't right, to my point of view, "the past was better" argument always fails, because in the past there were more chaos than current one, just look how bad was the web 10 years ago with crappy websites coded with HTML and gifs, search engines that didn't do a good job, no webservices at all functioning properly.

Adapt of die.

vividmind 2 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook is web's McDonalds.
joey_muller 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find myself disagreeing with my cofounder on things like giving the user more and more control. It adds too much complexity. Providing the basic, minimum requirements will be sufficient for 99% of our customers. I'd rather focus on them than the small sliver of folks who'd want that extra control.
aaron695 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry but I think this article is totally wrong.

Tags for instance are a classic example of something people raved about, thought would work than were a total failure.

It was found filenames actually gave more useful information to the user than tags.

(PS if it's not obvious hashtags are not tags)

barce 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think Facebook benefited lots from what could be called "Net Neutrality" in 2003.
rastem 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it humorous that the comments on that site are only enabled if you login with Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail.
mattmanser 2 days ago 2 replies      
This guy has the most awesome title ever!

Director of Public Technology Incubator Expert Labs

Listen to him! That's like master of the universe. On steroids. Go Anil, go!

Dropbox Hires Guido Van Rossum techcrunch.com
577 points by dko  8 days ago   207 comments top 27
wheels 8 days ago 2 replies      
Kind of a quirky note, but now the creators of all of the most popular web languages (Ruby, PHP and Python) have had a stint at YC companies:



untog 8 days ago 13 replies      
"the adventure found at a nimble 250-person startup like Dropbox becomes more tempting"

What is the definition of a startup these days, anyway?

bdesimone 8 days ago 9 replies      
I'll be very interested to find out what role Guido will take up at dropbox. When someone like Matz/ Guido/ etc gets hired, what do their job responsibilities, for the community include exactly? Are language writer hires such as this purely symbolic?
citricsquid 8 days ago 2 replies      
Would someone like this be paid based on their fame and/or positive PR value, or would they be paid based on position just like everyone else? I've always wondered if these "programming celebrities" make substantially more just based on their personal brand, or if their personal brand just affords them the opportunity to have any job they so desire (but with the "standard" pay)
6ren 8 days ago 0 replies      
I've long held the theory that Dropbox's long-term secret plan is to host apps - as they already have the data, this will effectively make them the fabled "internet OS".

Having Guido on board to make python its systems language makes sense - and would be enough to tempt him away from google.

kibwen 8 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder, will Dropbox still allocate 50% of Guido's time toward Python development?

Further, donning our tinfoil hats, is it reasonable to suspect that Google is phasing out the use of Python internally? I've heard rumors that Python is no longer permitted for new projects within Google; hoping some Googlers here can confirm or deny this.

arocks 8 days ago 0 replies      
A decade ago, Python being widely used in Google and the creator of Python being employed by the company was a big endorsement for the language. Now Python is quite mainstream. Actually, Guido was allowed to devote 50% of his time at Google for Python. Hope the good work continues at Dropbox.
natural219 8 days ago 6 replies      

    Python has been a backbone of Dropbox since its early days as it 
allowed the startup to write code once but deploy it across platforms.

Can anybody elaborate on this? Is the argument that Python is cross-platform because everybody uses GNU tools on every platform, or are there other reasons why Python is more cross-platform than other languages?

krosaen 8 days ago 3 replies      
I was always impressed by how much code Guido wrote at Google, he definitely isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.
DigitalSea 8 days ago 1 reply      
Speechless. This is definitely one of the best decisions that Dropbox will probably ever make. Not only will this mean that Dropbox can hire other equally great Python developers, but as a company you can't get any more humbling than, "hey we hired the guy who wrote the programming language this site is based on and makes its money from"

Guido is an exceptional engineer as well, not just a guy who knows Python really well. The dude is seriously one of the rare gems in the community.

RenegadeHero 8 days ago 7 replies      
It always strikes me as odd when something like this happens. Guido is still working nine-to-fives and Drew never has to work again. Can someone tell me why a brilliant person like Guido isn't worth a billion dollars? Have tons of fancy cars and a fancy house? Has to work for another company?
scottmp10 8 days ago 0 replies      
FWIW, Guido's role at Google wasn't specific to Python. He worked on real product teams and contributed much more than his Python expertise.

The article seems to think that Dropbox hired him for his thorough knowledge of Python, which probably had some role in the hiring decision, but I expect that the primary motivation was to acquire an excellent engineer.

tomkit 8 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's been about a year since he gave his Python talk at Dropbox. I suppose they also used that opportunity to begin to recruit him.
tzury 6 days ago 0 replies      
Two comments:

IMHO, Python would have been in a far better place if Guido and his team would have been getting paid to maintain and evolve Python, the language, rather than apps and platforms based on Python. I think in the early days at Google he was able to do so, later, appengine took most of his time.

Dropbox is still a startup - despite the substantial investments rounds - since it is still relying on external money (investments) to grow.

spaghetti 8 days ago 0 replies      
This is great Dropbox PR. Also I'd imagine DB Python developers are excited!
silentmars 8 days ago 1 reply      
I like Google... And Dropbox is also good. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel! HN always tells me who the villain in a story is. Someone please help!
Kilimanjaro 8 days ago 2 replies      
Why Guido left? That's the question.
lispython 7 days ago 2 replies      
I heard from a friend who talked with Guido this year, he couldn't let Google add Python to Android and Chrome, this make him disappointed.
adulau 7 days ago 1 reply      
It's not uncommon to see staff from Google going to another small company and then some months later, the company is acquired by Google...
sjg007 8 days ago 0 replies      
It's more interesting that he left Google.
gamebit07 8 days ago 0 replies      
1. Will GO replace Python?

2. What seems to be happening to ndb.models in near future?

3. Will Guido leaving Google affect webapp2 in any way?

aviswanathan 8 days ago 1 reply      
Dang, Dropbox is stealing talent from every direction.
nXqd 8 days ago 0 replies      
Great news for Dropbox, I cannot wait to see what Guido will do for Dropbox.
signa11 8 days ago 0 replies      
interesting (to say the least). does it mean that Go is taking prominence at GOOG ?
TommyDANGerous 8 days ago 0 replies      
Guido is a boss.
How would I get started? hackertourism.com
548 points by peteforde  6 days ago   141 comments top 41
waterlesscloud 6 days ago 6 replies      
And of course this thread fills up with more of the same negativism trying to justify itself.

PG nailed it with the term "middlebrow dismissal". Which is a politer term than what I think when I come across it.

I never think to myself "Wow, what a realistic, practical, well-informed comment that generic negative feedback was. My respect for that commenter has certainly increased!" Particularly when it's the 500th example of the same thing in the same thread. Why do people do that? You can't possibly imagine you're adding any value in that case.

It's a growing problem here, and for me at least it's completely contrary to why I visit this site.

In the end, I don't care if the dude is capable of starting his own cable company or not. For one thing, I'm smart enough to know it's not my place to judge that. It's completely irrelevant what I think about that. I can wallow in my own mediocrity without feeling compelled to assign it to someone else.

But the value of the post to me, and to the site in general, is to consider the question. How would you go about starting a cable company? The question of whether any particular individual is capable doing such is COMPLETELY lacking in interest for me. I don't care about that answer, and I especially don't care about some random internet commenter's opinon on that topic. But the question itself is of interest to me, and I hope to others on this site.

If it's not, then maybe there's less value in this community than I'd hoped.

Sorry, a little riled up here. The continuing attempt at justifying the attitude is a bad, bad sign.

patio11 6 days ago 2 replies      
Imagine, as a thought experiment, that HN declared a do-over and took another stab at answering the question. What, specifically, do you want in the new thread that was not present in the old thread, and what do you not want in the new thread that was present in the old thread?

Some potential options:

a) Keep all the facts. Remove conclusory statements which suggest that this is a bad idea.

b) Remove the discouraging facts. Add new facts which tend to not be discouraging, such as "Monthly cable rates are high relative to many B2C products and lifetime values can easily hit the thousands of dollars, allowing you to spend a lot on customer acquisition." Add conclusory statements suggesting that this makes founding a cable company a good idea.

c) Remove discouraging facts about the cable industry, replace with to-do action items which accurately describe the process of how one would set up a cable company (regulatory approvals you'll need, who to hire, how much to raise, etc etc), and very carefully attempt to phrase "Convince investors to stake you with $X0 million" in such a way that it does not sound discouraging.

d) Remove everything about starting a cable company. Treat the question as a springboard about "How to disrupt the cable industry?"

e) Something else?

nhebb 6 days ago 7 replies      
I didn't take part in the previous thread, but I kind of took umbrage with the question. It's really hard to take a question like that seriously when it appears that the OP has put zero effort into researching the subject. How can you not be pessimistic about that? If you're not the kind of person that can do even the most basic research of how cable companies operate, then I don't have one iota of confidence that you would be successful building one. I'm not trying to be mean - just realistic.
crazygringo 6 days ago 6 replies      
I love this idea. Not as something to realistically help you get started, but purely educational. There's so much knowledge tied up exclusively among people "in the industry", that would be great to get out into the public.

I would love to know all the things involved in starting an airline. How are planes actually bought? How are mechanics actually procured? What kind of safety regulations are followed? etc.

I once read the book "Starting & Running a Restaurant for Dummies" just to find out how it's done. It's fascinating!

But turning it into a Wiki, for anything, would be so much better. You can have summary sections, that link to fuller articles, you can cross-reference how to hire a chef (both for the restaurant, and for the airline catering), and so on.

polyfractal 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand your complaint...there were plenty of helpful posts in that thread:







You asked for advice and received some great information. Just because the overwhelming advice is "This is not a great idea, you will need a lot of money to fight established, entrenched businesses" doesn't mean the advice was unhelpful.

Did you want everyone to sugar coat their opinions with "Yeah! Go get them tiger! We believe in you!", or did you want serious advice that can lead you to making an informed, rational decision?

If you were a CEO of a company, would you want your employees to tell you whatever you wanted to hear ("yes-men"), or would you want people who actually advised you and helped make an appropriate decision (even when it may be counter to your opinion)?

jasonkolb 6 days ago 2 replies      
I upvoted this so hard.

I agree there is a very large snarky dick contingent on HN who pollute potentially productive conversations with "What a stupid idea" type of comments. (Unfortunately I think this is a symptom of the human race, not just HN.)

However, there are some exceptionally bright people who hang out here who I would love to just brainstorm with--throw ideas out and see what happens. This site has an above-average level of these people I think.

I would love to see or find a group of people who are just interested in getting together and banging heads together and see what comes out. Even if I have no interest in starting a new courier service or whatever, I find it quite enjoyable to take the lessons and skills that I've learned and apply them in a new problem space. I especially love hearing feedback on those ideas from people who've worked in those spaces.

The most promising ideas are the ones that might sound dumb to someone entrenched in tradition.

RyanZAG 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'd say there is a big difference between 'asking for feedback' and 'fishing for ideas'.

"I want to launch a new courier service. How would I get started?"

This seems much more in the 'fishing for ideas' stage and hoping you can crowd source the process of creating your business while paying nothing for the privilege. Most people aren't going to help you.

"I've started planning my new courier service. It will be mostly in the healthcare industry as hospitals are over-paying on delivery costs of fragile medicine. I've worked out some ideas on how I can better fit and transport fragile medicine. However, I don't know how I would get contacts in the medical industry to test drive the technology. Who should I try and talk to and does anybody know of any existing studies into this? Anybody work in the field of transporting fragile goods and know what certifications are required?"

This is much more in the field of 'asking for feedback' and is very unlikely to be brushed aside.

SatvikBeri 6 days ago 0 replies      
Many of my friends have a very interesting trait: pose any sort of problem in front of them, and they'll practically drop everything to work out a solution.

Trebuchets using only materials in the office. Conquering South Africa. Lesbian strip clubs. Realistic world domination. What the world would look like if D&D rules actually applied. AI for storytelling. Etc.

Regardless of how ridiculous the premise, they'll work on it until they have at least a plausible solution. Ignoring impossibilities and slim chances and jumping straight into brainstorming and crazy ideas is a lot of fun. I'd rather have more of those conversations.

smoyer 6 days ago 1 reply      
I missed that question and would be happy to help with the technical aspects of starting a cable company (though I'd like to see content delivery decoupled from the infrastructure). I have 25 years of experience in the industry if he gets that far.

The hard part of the process (and I believe the limiting factor in a new company's success), is arranging the contracts with the content syndicators. Find my e-mail in my profile if you're serious.

xiaoma 6 days ago 1 reply      
>"I'm really disappointed in the universally pessimistic and generally unhelpful answers this question received. Some people pitched some interesting ideas and helpful analysis, but most of the replies reinforced the notion that Hacker News readers are predominantly male know-it-alls and on the average, a bunch of snarky dicks."

This would have been both more convincing and shorter without the anti-male bit. I realize that western media is pretty insensitive to this variety of sexism, but a quick test is to try substituting "black", "female", or "Jewish" where you've written "male". If it sounds offensive, then it probably is.

raganwald 6 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a rule of thumb: If a new business isn't impossible, it isn't worth discussion on a web site with the word "hack" in its name.
chernevik 6 days ago 0 replies      
Everybody already knows it would be great if we could get cable speed and reliability without actually laying cable. Building a business around that is easy. The hard part is actually achieving that.

Asking people for the miracle upon which you'd like to build a business, that anyone could build given that miracle, isn't a request for constructive feedback. At its absolute best it is a request for an IP handout.

ChuckMcM 6 days ago 0 replies      
An interesting rant. I've observed that problem solvers also follow something like the inverse power law, which is to say it takes a certain kind of person to attack large problems and as the problems get larger the set of people willing to consider them seriously decreases logarithmically until it asymptotically approaches zero.

In an analagous fashion the "quality" (using karma as a metric of quality) of comments on HN are also quite high and drop off steeply approaching zero. This is reflected both in the comments, and in the karma distribution [1]. The trick is to keep the noise floor high enough for quality reading and low enough that you don't miss out on new people making great comments.

[1] http://www.mcmanis.com/karma-chart.html

josephlord 5 days ago 0 replies      
Criticizing what someone has made with middlebrow dismissiveness is one thing but pointing out that taking on a legally and commercially entrenched industry will be hard and here are some of the specific challenges is entirely valid.

I think the original question is worth picking apart if the answers are being criticized.

>Ask HN: I want to build a cable company. How would I get started?

> I want to build a cable company that centers around viewer types. Basically, it is my understanding that the majority of my cable costs centers around channels (like fox) that I just dont watch, if I wanted to build a system that let customers limit this, where would I get started?

The original question is worse (by a long way) than most of the answers. Most of the answers pointed out the major challenges or suggested better ways to achieve the vaguely stated aims although there were some useless dismissals.

The question indicates (possibly wrongly) a massive lack of understanding of the business "Basically, my understanding...[something basically right but oversimplified]". It is badly punctuated "fox" rather than "Fox", 'dont' rather than "don't". The question also fails to really be clear about what he wants to do. Does he really want to run a cable company maintaining wires in the ground and boxes in homes? Or is this mostly about securing more favorable and flexible content deals? Or is there an implicit assumption that he needs to own the cables to get the deals? What scale does he want to start on? A small town/city or national?

I didn't see the original question while it was active but if I did I would have pointed out how hard such a business is to break into especially if top grade content is required due to the maze of exclusivity contracts and the value of them which means massive amounts of money are needed to make the sellers choose non-exclusive options. Even companies like Microsoft and Sony with massive deployed platforms (Xbox and PS3 in particular) need prolonged negotiations to get any content and aren't anywhere near being able to offer full cable replacements and even with their own content Sony can offer only what is not exclusively licensed elsewhere.

However that doesn't mean that the video space can't be attacked as Netflix is showing but it will in my view need to be an indirect attack that builds audience until it can compete head to head for the major deals and content as a viable distribution platform and pricing model. Note that when the competition really starts costs may rise not fall as the platforms will compete for the most important content potentially driving up content prices for all the distribution platforms.

huggah 6 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with this is that for questions like "how could I build a cable company?", answers don't help".

If you want to build a cable company, a payments system, a new government, or colonize mars there is no high level answer. There are hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of sub-questions that need to be answered. Eventually so many that you need to hire people to ask and answer them, and you won't even know what the question was.

The truth is that if you really want to go to space, no one will help you. Not because we don't want to help you, but because we can't. We can speculate, and dig up research or law or economics---but at the end of the day, all you're doing is inviting us to help design your bikeshed. If you can break down the problem, figure out which questions to ask, what information you don't have, and who does, that person might be able to help you. By the time you've gotten that far, you're already on the verge of sinking your life into this---and if you want to build a cable company, that's what it's going to take.

spindritf 6 days ago 1 reply      
> And yet Hacker News folk must be drawn at least somewhat by Paul Graham, who applauds frighteningly ambitious startup ideas.

It wasn't a frighteningly ambitious start-up. It was the same old idea, done hundreds of times across multiple countries, with a minor adjustment in its pricing structure.

spitx 6 days ago 0 replies      
There is nothing "rude" about asking HN to chime in on your exploratory-stage ideas, especially when they are uncommonly ambitious and not your average badgeville startup ideas.
Face it, Foursquare is not going to fetch you a mercenary if you ever needed one.

Why can group-mulling of ideas, be a terrific endeavor?

1) It can stress-test your idea and expose the glaringly gaping holes you might have overlooked, in the very fashioning of the prospect itself.

2)Some ideas may not lend to "socialization" because of their inherent nature. Helps to have them flagged -- if not decimated -- before you even begin.
Eg: A startup seeking to disrupt the litigation law market isn't very readily socialize-able as one targeting the fitness trainer market.

3) The group-mulling process need not be just one-way beneficial. The "mullers" stand to benefit from having their horizons broadened too.
They might for once realize, that there are entire industries -- non-glamorous but nonetheless high gravity, real-impact ones -- waiting to be disrupted beyond the Mayorvilles and Filtergrams of the valley.

This kind of mulling happens on Quora all the time.

HN should encourage it.

Again you are just being asked to mull.

Not leak insights from the equity-research desk at Goldman Sachs.

Chill with the dressing-downs.

lnanek2 6 days ago 0 replies      
So if someone says they want to jump off a cliff naked, should we all applaud and encourage them? I think it's better to tell them it isn't going to work out well and why.

There was some interesting analysis and procedures in that thread about how to go about it, but the best post for the OP was really about how, as a company, he would be paying to license certain channels, and if users only subscribed to one or two instead of all of them, he wouldn't make enough money to keep in business.

As a user he can whine and complain all he wants about a la carte being rare, but as a business, he has to make enough money to keep running and he didn't understand that. Pointing out big problems in his plan is doing him a favor because he can then change the plan or address them.

peripetylabs 6 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't participate in the discussion because the question was so vague. "I want to colonize Mars. How would I get started?" The same way NASA got to the Moon -- they didn't log onto ARPANET and ask around, they got to work.
nhangen 5 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't read any of the comments in the original thread, but I can imagine why many of them were negative. Here is the question:

' I want to build a cable company that centers around viewer types. Basically, it is my understanding that the majority of my cable costs centers around channels (like fox) that I just dont watch, if I wanted to build a system that let customers limit this, where would I get started?'

This, to me, reeks of laziness. The OP would have done better to say 'this is what I've done, research, and/or these are the ideas I have. Am I right, wrong, or close?'

So problem #1 is that, from the looks of it, the OP didn't do any research before asking the question.

Problem #2 is that the question is a lazy one.

I can guarantee you that Elon didn't ask these type of questions, but instead presented lists of assertions and hypothesis which he was prepared to test and/or validate.

napoleond 6 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of those questions would get really good answers on Quora (and I agree, they should be welcomed here more openly).

A really good story related to all of this is the way Richard Branson started Virgin Atlantic: http://ravithesun.wordpress.com/2006/12/25/birth-of-virgin-a... couldn't find a better source, but I heard him tell the same story at an event)

gizzlon 5 days ago 0 replies      
This reminded me of Richard Branson (the Virgin guy) and a post by James Altucher. I think James' point is that to do something huge, like start a new airline, you always have to find the next step. Pretty basic really, break a big task into smaller pieces. But worth a read nonetheless, it really goes into OP's question.

"Q: How do you know when you're thinking too big or aiming too high (if that's even possible)?"

"A: In the mid-90s I had an idea that lasted about the amount of time it takes to drink two beers. I say this because I had the idea at a bar and it was quickly squashed by the two friends I was with


My real problem was: I didn't have confidence. And I didn't know what the next step was. In retrospect, I should've written down my idea, written down ten ideas for possible shows to launch with, and started pitching TV companies to get someone to partner with me on it. That would've been simple and not taken too much time before there was some payoff."


neurotech1 6 days ago 1 reply      
The answer to most of these questions, is find somebody knowledgeable in the field or industry, and ask them for advice. Most of the SpaceX senior staff have aerospace experience.
madsushi 6 days ago 0 replies      
> However, why does everyone assume that the inquiring mind is an idiot?

Because the inquiring mind did zero research and asked a question so broad and so vague that it was impossible for anyone to answer it without months of work and very specific knowledge.

To quote Carl Sagan: "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." I don't think anyone was wanting to sit and spend hours explaining to the author how to do something incredibly difficult and complex without the author putting anything forward. Why not just take that knowledge and do it myself?

robbiea 6 days ago 1 reply      
I definitely agree with this article. We shouldn't be pessimistic about someone's grand vision. However, if you really wanted to start a cable company you probably wouldn't be asking hacker news on how to start a cable company. You would already have other resources that you can tap into and get started on it.
stevewilhelm 6 days ago 0 replies      
The first thing one should do if you want to disrupt a market is learn as much as you can about the current state of that market.

This doesn't mean reading it's Wikipedia entry.

Ideally, it means spending several years working for the current market leader in that space.

Barring that, reading as much as you can about the history, economics, mechanics, and current players in that space.

If possible, become a customer of one or two of the market leaders. If that is not feasible, again get to know people who are customers (again they may become your first target customers).

Befriend several people who do work in that space (they could become your first hires).

The deeper your understanding and experience in a market, the more likely you will succeed in disrupting it.

miles_matthias 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've setup a Wikispace wiki for this to begin. If people contribute and think this is a good idea, then maybe its own domain and custom design will be in order.

I love this idea and I think we should run with it. Go to:


and edit away!

Geee 6 days ago 1 reply      
For most of those questions, the answer is capital.

Elon Musk started from very low hanging fruits for him, whose success enabled him to move on with more ambitious goals. This model is easily replicable, so if you have ambitious goals, first build capital with something easier. Which, I think, most of people here are doing.

tomasien 6 days ago 1 reply      

But I do always find myself needing to point out: Hacker News is the most constructive and positive community on the internet. Yes there are lots of dicks and know-it-alls with "why didn't they just do this?" syndrome, but you won't find another anonymous discussion based community of this quality anywhere.

jelleprins 6 days ago 0 replies      
While I do find it interesting to read about the work involved to start such a company - I believe most here would be even more interested to read what steps it would take to start a disruptive company in such a market.
A lot of these markets are either ready for disruption or have recently been disrupted. I would love to read an in depth-article about the work involved.
nicholas73 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think the issue isn't about how feasible the start up idea is in general, but how feasible it is for YOU. The comments may have been directing you to another idea for this reason.

Using your example of Elon Musk, you can see even his start ups have a progression of ambition. That is, space travel and electric car companies are much less feasible than a payment system or news site.

What is the difference between Musk and you today? Simple. Investors trust him with large sums of money since he has led successful companies before.

There is a reason YC companies generally have low capital requirements. That is the lack of track record of the founders (and that business experience does matter).

For your cable idea, the path towards that goal may very well be starting other companies first. Or be an industry insider who has the experience and connections to convince the incumbents to invest in you (like Pandora).

tobyjsullivan 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is exactly the mentality we need to see more of. Dismissing good ideas is not just unproductive but actually destructive to the overall progression of thought - which is why we're here in the first place.
famo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't see the thread either, but I like this post. I think the best way to go about starting something large and ridiculous is to tell all your friends and family you're going to do it, to the point where it would become embarrassing if you didn't even try to make it a success. Friends and family are the best at calling you out on not living your dreams.

"Hey Gaius, weren't you going to build a Cylon detector? You talked about it for months"

"Yeah, but it was too hard and I didn't know how to start"

"You suck"

A more practical benefit of telling all the people you meet is that one of them might know or be associated with someone who is connected with the industry.

zehnfischer 6 days ago 0 replies      
Sure, the internet can be a cynical place, remote communication seems to wake the worth in a lot of people. At the same time it is full of wonders. Maybe I can invite you to join a discussion about how it could impact in political decision making?
Click along: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4891571
pla3rhat3r 5 days ago 0 replies      
LOVE this! I'm new to programming and it's the toughest thing to answer. How or where do I get started? I have some great ideas but not much in the way of skills to get it done. I know we all have different levels of "figure it out" skills but it's always helpful if you find someone who can at least show you how to open the door.
marcamillion 6 days ago 0 replies      
I just submitted a propsal for a new thread format on HN that would potentially solve this. Any upvote love would be appreciated - http://news.ycombinator.com/newest

It's called "Proposal: HWIGS HN: How would I get started".

AnthonyJoseph 5 days ago 0 replies      
The biggest problem with forums like this, is the tendency for people to answer questions that the OP didn't ask.
mvts 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great article, an enjoyable read. Thanks.
funthree 6 days ago 0 replies      
there is no shame in being pragmatic
Chirael 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely written!
jkaljundi 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you're trying to hack/deface a website, don't submit a pull request github.com
470 points by jwhelton  3 days ago   107 comments top 27
RyanZAG 3 days ago 4 replies      
For anybody too lazy to read through them all, here are some gems:

+ <script language="JavaScript1.2">

Are you sure, like, really really sure, you want JavaScript 1.2?

+var speed=1

please run jslint on your code before submitting a pull request

There are so many errors that JSLint gives up on this code at 39%.


You really shouldn't declare a variable without using var - can lead to all sorts of scoping problems.

Oh, good catch! You should submit a pull request to fix this

+<mass of span elements>

There's a couple of redundant span elements here, when you get time, you could optimise this

+ <p align="center" dir="rtl">&nbsp;</p>

It's great that you've made sure that non-breaking space is read right to left, your readers would have been screwed otherwise.

+ $bind_port_p="IyEvdXN...<base64 encoded string>";

    It's going to be hard to comment on these Base64 encoded C and Perl programs in their current form.
That daemon() function call is going to cause problems on a whole bunch of non-Linux architectures. Solaris doesn't have it for example.
You should definitely consider supporting IPv6, you can't just assume IPv4 connectivity...
You're also missing a return at the end of main().

+$auth_pass = "fe3f6d96a1ee06bc5415a5c05540c7a8";

1911990 is not a good password. Your birthday?

Let's hope you didn't use that for your email account, lovestory8976@yahoo.com

can you use a sha512 hash, instead? it's more secure.


Hmm the HTML isnt compliant. Please rebase from master, squash the previous commit and resubmit.

Thanks for your invaluable future contributions

judofyr 3 days ago 1 reply      
God, I'm so tired of animated GIFs in GitHub comment threads. The code critique is far more amusing to me.
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sort of reminds me of the scene in Life of Brian where Brian is caught by the Romans defacing the wall. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaRcwpnsYYI
ot 3 days ago 1 reply      
Please GitHub, implement the evil bit [1] on pull requests so we can filter out defacing attempts when merging.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_bit

Achshar 3 days ago 2 replies      
What is happening here? I am not very accustomed to open source yet.

Edit: un-checking "show inline notes" helps.

Edit 2: So if I understand correctly, OP tried to hack into a website... by submitting code to github. I was confused at first because that would have been (very) wrong way to "hack", but as it turns out, that is indeed true. And rest is about the code he/she used. It seems to be auto generated in some wysiwyg html editor that uses old html.

mumrah 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pull request might not be a terrible attack vector. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who don't look carefully and just merge them in.
kmfrk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly, this attack makes more sense than the villain's in Skyfall.
Xylakant 3 days ago 3 replies      
This attempt is blatant and obvious, but what about a more serious attempt where you first establish some credibility with a couple of "good" PR that fix major problems and then add a tiny little backdoor that loads code from somewhere else. Distribute the relevant code over a couple of commits and you might just slip it in.

With Githubs ease of merging and automatted testing by Travis, it's easy to forget that changes may be actively malicious and not just buggy.

nathanappere 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a very civilized way to deface a website, you have to love how GitHub changed the game.
alt_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if it's the same genius who tried to hack WP[0] or if we've got a copycat on our hands.

[0] https://github.com/maxymax/WordPress/commit/2fa93590c7881fab...

laurencei 3 days ago 2 replies      
Better title would have been:

Protip: if your trying to hack/deface a website, dont submit a pull request WITH YOUR EMAIL AND PASSWORD!


aroman 3 days ago 0 replies      
In case anyone's curious and got down to the embedded YouTube video in the code, it's an Arabic-titled video of a screen recording of a Facebook video (further evidence of the author's technical prowess) of two Israelis in a place undergoing rocket fire from Gaza... definitely recent as well as they say "Where's the iron dome!?" in Hebrew. It's about a minute and a half of the rocket sirens blaring and them hearing rockets landing in the distance, screaming out of fright/being startled when they do.

Pretty disturbing stuff, to say the least. Combined with the english text about the Zionists leaving Palestine, I just wanted to shed some light on the intention of the defacement.

AimHere 3 days ago 2 replies      

But if I ever need a jury of my peers to audit my coding style to see how good it is, now I know what to do - a pretend-attempted-defacement is bound to be more effective than finding some place on the net to ask 'Is this proper idiomatic javascript?'.

hdra 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can't understand how did someone capable of understanding and doing a git pull request can produce this kind of "code".

Or how did he think that he can pull this thing off? is there a "10 ways to hack a website" where a git pull is one of them?

The fact that there is a code snipped a tutorial on "How to Create a Website With Notepad" and the whole thing seems like it came out from an old WYSIWYG editor, the thing obviously was made by a script kiddie.
script kiddies uses git now? wow

taylorbuley 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funniest pull request thread I've seen this year.

Here's last year's winner: https://github.com/MrMEEE/bumblebee-Old-and-abbandoned/commi...

geekgirlweb 3 days ago 2 replies      
Trying to hack a non-profit site? An non-affiliated NFP? Someone did not love this person as a child.

Please report? https://github.com/ahmedalex

P.S. If you're not a jerk and would love to help with the new CoderDojo.com site, let me know rebecca (at) coderdojo.com

chewxy 3 days ago 2 replies      
Thanks for the hilarity before my bedtime.
bdg 3 days ago 0 replies      
What an obvious mistake he made... that's okay, I fixed it for him.


eykanal 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Social hacking": the next big thing.
Buzaga 3 days ago 0 replies      
What if they are palestinians "being bombed back into middle ages"[1] or from other arab country that provides 1/100th of the opportunities we have to know `how to be a pro hacker`, a foreign language or, say, an expert modern coder that know all the little beautiful standards?

Suddenly all the smart comments feel a lot less fun

[1] http://www.alternet.org/speakeasy/tikkundaily/israeli-minist...

enkitosh 3 days ago 0 replies      
This guy has got 5 followers now. Are you just waiting for what kind of stuff he comes up with next, haha :D
johnernaut 3 days ago 0 replies      
Either this person is a complete moron, or one of the greatest trolls GitHub has seen in a long time.
isabre 3 days ago 0 replies      
Using Github as a public humiliation platform = WIN! I love this code review!
tucson 3 days ago 2 replies      
can someone explain? (I am not familiar with github and the whole thing is cryptic to me
snake_plissken 3 days ago 0 replies      
omg this is awesome.

PROTIP. better than calling someone a sheep.

chiquitabacana 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think they were actually trying to deface the website... I think they just wanted to spread anti-semitism...
beakel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Context: CoderDojo is a kid's club for learning to code. Hence the quality.
Apple will invest $100 million to bring Mac production back to the US next year thenextweb.com
439 points by alinzainescu  9 days ago   184 comments top 42
rohansingh 9 days ago 5 replies      
This really reminds me of The Alantic article this month entitled "The Insourcing Boom": http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/12/the-inso...

The idea being that manufacturing was pushed abroad due to the appeal of cheaper labor, without a deep consideration of hidden costs or the overall context of such a transition.

GE, which is featured extensively in the article, actually managed to reduce manufacturing costs by bringing the fabrication of a water heater and other appliances back to American shores â€" largely due to the faster loop and better communication between designers, engineers, and laborers who all speak the same language and are in the same factory.

tpatke 9 days ago 8 replies      
I assume this is because Tim Cook is bowing to political pressure where Steve Jobs refused. Remember when Steve Jobs said, "Those jobs aren't coming back" [1]? The question is - why now?

Hacker News discussion [2].

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and...

[2] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3494389

robomartin 9 days ago 5 replies      
The only way I can see this making sense is if it is an assembly plant rather than a real chips-to-finished-product factory.


The advantage you have in these cities (almost literally) in China dedicated to manufacturing is that almost the entire supply chain is local and very finely tuned. This is particularly true for operations that might do work for companies like Apple.

The PCB manufacturers, assemblers, chip makers, connector manufacturers, LED manufacturers, display manufactures, plastics and sheet-metal manufacturers and more, are all centrally located. If not, they are within the proximal geographic regions.

The same is true of qualified workers. Need 100,000 assemblers in a hurry? No problem. Technicians, engineers, managers, etc. Lots of them and easy to hire within days of your requirement.

In sharp contrast to this, the supply chain anywhere in the US is most-definitely not localized and highly fragmented. Virtually nothing you are going to use in electronics manufacturing is made in the US. That means that rather than your LEDs being a few hours away by truck they are three weeks away by boat --from China.

In terms of mechanical components, such as screws, well, yes, they are available in the US, of course. The problem is that they will cost more. No question about it. Because our industry, due to the need to survive, has had to focus on market segments that can pay a premium (military, medical, etc.) you can pay through your teeth to get anything made here. That's just the truth.

In terms of machining and bending metal or injecting plastics, well, it depends. If you are dealing with a unionized operation, forget it. Costs will be ridiculous. Plastics, in very large quantities, can be reasonable here. Punching and bending metal or machining metal could be plausible at a very large scale and with a very finely tuned factory.

Let's not add regulatory and tax issues to the pile.

Because of all of this and a few more data points from first-hand experience manufacturing in the US, my guess is that Apple is going to simply import pre-fabricated modules assemblies and parts. They'll have US workers bolt them together and test the finished product. You can slap a "Assembled in the US" (and maybe even "Made in the US" sticker on it and feel good about it.

Remember what Steve Jobs told Obama about manufacturing jobs coming back to the US. I don't think anything significant enough has changed since then to invalidate his statement.

felipe 9 days ago 2 replies      
I suspect Apple will replicate what they are already doing in Brazil, where Foxconn locally built a factory to manufacture specific Apple products to the local market.

Note two things: 1. I suspect this would be a Foxconn factory, not Apple (note how Tim Cook says "we'll be working with people"); 2. The total investment of the Foxconn factory in Brazil was 5 times bigger, so I suspect that Apple's $100m would cover only a fraction of the total investment required to build a factory in the US.

Regardless, that's good news for the American worker.

brudgers 9 days ago 3 replies      
In terms of investment in manufacturing, $100 million is chump change. Fabs are an order of magnitude or more greater. The amount is approximately that required for a middling "power center" shopping development. Or constructing a handful of Apple stores.

Not to be cynical, but I suspect that local, state and federal tax subsidies will yield a positive ROI on the $100 million. This looks like pure PR.

CrLf 9 days ago 2 replies      
Mac desktops or also laptops? If it's only about the desktops, I suspect that they are preparing to lower the volumes below what's economical to build in China.
forgotAgain 9 days ago 0 replies      
Probably caused by a number of factors:

- upcoming changes in tax laws that remove the incentive to move jobs overseas

- IP protection. Its finally sunk in that their Chinese suppliers feed any engineering info straight to the local government.

- increasing jingoism in the United States

- realization that their current line of creating "good American jobs" through their retail chain is falling apart.

- the shine from all of the "good jobs" they created with their NC data center is wearing off.

$100 million is really chump change for this kind of investment for a company like Apple. It's about what Cook made from his first year as Apple CEO.

RyanMcGreal 9 days ago 0 replies      
Maascamp 9 days ago 2 replies      
> “We decided being more transparent about some things is great..."

Ironically the rest of his statements and the article as a whole are extremely vague. $100MM at Apple scale doesn't seem like very much and since (from the article) they won't be doing it themselves I'd love to hear more about where that money is going.

rdl 9 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if Apple could build a factory somewhere touristy in the US (California, or maybe near Disney World, or something), designed specifically for tours (like the BMW factory and European Delivery center), and make enough from tourism (either cash or "brand value") to overcome the costs of production in the US.

I'd pay $20 to see the modern equivalent of the NeXT factory for 30 minutes, from an overhead viewing gallery.

Obviously Apple wouldn't want to reveal trade secrets, but I don't think there's much secret about how Apple produces the desktop and laptop products.

htf 9 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much this move was precipitated by Google's purchase of Motorola. Google produced each generation of nexus phone with a different manufacturer. This allows Google to learn the best practices of each of them. But eventually Google will produce the nexus devices themselves through their Motorola facilities, allowing them to iterate fast and produce cheaply. Apple sees this coming and figures out they also need to produce their devices in-house.
joe-mccann 9 days ago 1 reply      
Also to be read as, "Apple to invest 0.38% of 2011's total profit to bring Mac production to the US next year"
cllns 9 days ago 4 replies      
Interesting considering that less than 2 years ago Mr. Jobs said: "those jobs aren't coming back" to Mr. Obama.

[1] http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120123/ARTICLE/301239...

Steko 9 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure there are multiple reasons for this move and labor costs are almost certainly the biggest factor. But one aspect that I haven't seen discussed but which may be relevant is that companies increasingly turn to the ITC as a patent enforcement lever. The ITC is a US agency which can effect import bans of products found to infringe. Obviously a great workaround to an otherwise crippling import ban decision would be having a US based assembly network.

Now the big arena is mobile and this announcement is about Mac lines but it's not hard to believe that this is a tip of the iceberg investment and that Apple might increasingly move to a system of using Foxconn's non-China factories around the world. Apple is partly financing the Brazil plant for Foxconn IIRC.

Another aspect that hasn't been discussed is the opening around the world of rare earth mines (reopening in the case of the California mine). Part of the reason "those jobs [weren't] coming back" was because China's rare earth's monopoly increasingly was reserved for Chinese made products.

programminggeek 9 days ago 1 reply      
Well, once robotics takes over a large portion of Foxconn, it won't make as much sense to hire low wage employees overseas, thus why not have the robots building/assembling the products as close to the consumer as possible?

Apple spends a lot of shipping too, so I'm sure it's a balancing act between cost of labor/automation/shipping.

chrisdevereux 9 days ago 1 reply      
> We decided being more transparent about some things is greatâ€"not that we were not transparent at all before, but we've stepped it up in places where we think we can make a bigger difference, where we want people to copy us

I'm willing to bet that the reason they're doing this is exactly the opposite. Integrating their last-stage manufacturing would be a great way of squashing those pesky product leaks from contractors.

Wonder if this is the first step towards a move across all products. It'd make sense to start with a relatively low-volume, high-margin product like the Mac.

dbul 9 days ago 0 replies      
The "working with people" comment makes me wonder if they are working with Rethink Robotics.[1] That would be an even more interesting take on this shift.

[1] http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/industrial-robots/rethink-...

sodomizer 9 days ago 0 replies      
The thing that no one's mentioning in these press releases that should be discussed: robotics.

Moving a plant here doesn't equate to moving manufacturing jobs here. The traditional fear of manufacturing in the USA has been high cost of labor including possible strikes.

If plants are able to replace bulk labor with robots, and have the rest of their labor be engineering-type roles, they'll have no problem moving here.

But it won't bring thousands of jobs, maybe hundreds, although they will be better paid.

esalazar 9 days ago 0 replies      
What American Macintosh Factories Looked Like Last Time Apple Built Them Here
jrockway 9 days ago 0 replies      
This success of this move will come down to how good the US is at manufacturing proprietary screws with weird heads and battery adhesive that's really sticky.
jjcm 9 days ago 0 replies      
What extent of the production will be here though? Are they just assembling motherboards, chassis, and displays all together that have came from overseas? I don't think Apple would be so willing to give up the advantage of having all of the tightly knit infrastructure available in China just for political reasons.
anilali 9 days ago 0 replies      
Apple might be doing this to get contracts from US gov't(local/national/military). One of the requirements for doing business with US gov't is to manufacture these device in US.
mathattack 9 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a break from Steve Jobs. http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/01/obama-spars-with-...

I suspect this is to combat negative PR from their overseas subcontractors.

notdrunkatall 9 days ago 0 replies      
It's happening. Wages are rising elsewhere, while US wages remain stagnant, thus making domestic manufacturing for high-end goods more profitable than manufacturing elsewhere again. I've been predicting an eventual return of manufacturing to the USA for years now. It'll be a slow process, but it will inevitably happen - the only questions are when and how long.
tobylane 9 days ago 0 replies      
Possible side effect: Change in business privacy? Say Foxconn are the contractor, a product leak in the factory's first year might be a lot more chase-able than one in China, but also a lot more inevitable. Will there be robot-only zones for the private parts, or more lawsuits?
specialp 9 days ago 1 reply      
I think they will be making product chasis and frames in the USA. Think about it.. If suddenly there was another uprising at some contractor in China they would not be making Apple products, they would be making commodity parts like motherboards and memory that are simply components. People would identify their Mac mini or iMac as being made in the USA and some parts from China in it.

Also there probably is not much savings going on by making these parts in China. The expensive part would be if you were making your own motherboards and chips in the USA. Apple does not need to do it, and gets good PR in the process.

padseeker 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is good news - Now if we could just get Apple to pay taxes. I hope the comment from brudgers saying it is a PR move is wrong, but my cynical side things he is right.
hayksaakian 9 days ago 0 replies      
Just an attempt to distract from the daily horrors at Apple's Chinese production line.
ck2 9 days ago 0 replies      
I am going to guess those shifts will be 29 hours or less per person.
mhd 9 days ago 0 replies      
Any plans for Ireland? They used to assemble Macs there, too. I'm sure Cork could use the work.
DonnyV 9 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean that the US is going to be the dumping ground for manufacturing? Waste? Low slave wages?
mjpa 9 days ago 5 replies      
"where we want people to copy us" - presumably so they have more people to sue?
pebb 8 days ago 0 replies      
So this is the reason Apple stock plunged 7% yesterday...
robbfitzsimmons 9 days ago 0 replies      
The most interesting part to me here is the MSN butterfly on the video. Microsoft has a YouTube competitor - who knew?
Raz0rblade 9 days ago 0 replies      
this is a very small amount of money for a company like apple
so is it seriously, or just some strange tax jump ?
Mordor 9 days ago 0 replies      
Just one word: inward-looking
ssapkota 9 days ago 0 replies      
Certainly the mainstream - design focus of apple is switching.
Raz0rblade 9 days ago 0 replies      
this is a small amount of money for a company as Apple.
might likely be a tax evasion maneuver
conradholmes 8 days ago 0 replies      
my mac pro was assembled in the usa
rymith 9 days ago 1 reply      
This is what I want to see. I really think the reliance on Asia as a centre for manufacturing is a mistake in the long run.
ivanb 9 days ago 2 replies      
Theory: they want to do it to be bailed out when bad times come, Just like Ford or GE,
joering2 9 days ago 0 replies      
Its TL;DR for me. Could anyone enlighten me if this means their profit margin will drop and price will remain, or that their profit margin will remain intact and price will raise?

It has to be one OR another...

The Pinboard Investment Co-Prosperity Cloud static.pinboard.in
434 points by adulau  1 day ago   161 comments top 45
tptacek 1 day ago 5 replies      
I would like to take this moment to announce PICPC-VC, which is an automatic follow-on investment, structured as uncapped convertible notes, of $50 available to any founder accepted into the PICPC program.
pc 1 day ago 2 replies      
Stripe will happily waive the first $37 in fees.
kanamekun 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Just a note on word choices... the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" was the name of the colonial empire that Japan built through conquests and occupation starting in 1940.


Not sure if this is part of a joke or not, but Japan's history of war-time brutality during World War 2 is pretty extreme.

aiurtourist 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is wrong for a variety of reasons.

First, you should never accept angel investment from non-accredited investors (i.e., individuals with a net worth of at least one million cents).

Second, the real value of the investors is their network. In this case, Maciej Cegłowski's network is a collection of links featured in an indexed, polished, simple-to-use product. Why accept money from him when his network is already available for free?

Third, seeking outside investment prior to building a prototype has been heralded as a path to madness. You should at least have some sort of Bootstrap-based splash page on a .io domain before you accept his sizable investment.

wilfra 1 day ago 2 replies      
I applied. Anybody have tips for the interview??? Can any alumni put in a word for me??? What if I use my product to deliver a 6-pack to one of the pinboard founders, will that improve my chances??? Please help!!!
mrkurt 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like that might be too much money. You're in danger of having people coast along with no real hunger.
il 1 day ago 1 reply      
"The project aims to draw attention to the fact that if you have access to technical labor, the startup and operating costs for an online project in 2013 are negligible. The biggest obstacle to creating something useful is finding the time to build it and attracting an initial pool of paying customers."

Good thing that in the brave new future world of 2013 labor and marketing are completely free of all costs, opportunity and otherwise.

zdgman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thinking of applying as a single non-technical founder. All I have is an idea but I am sure with the $37 dollars I could hire an awesome programmer to put it together for me!

EDIT: Seeking technical co-founder to help build out idea. Must be prepared to sign NDA before equity can be discussed.

danso 1 day ago 0 replies      
Before I joined it sometime this year or last, I thought Pinboard seemed like the silliest, most likely-to-peter-out trifle of a service. But now it stands alone from all the other pinning services I used to use, including Instapaper.

In other words, I trust this guy with knowing how to execute (and to the point, probably recognize) successful minimally-viable products.

danielpal 1 day ago 5 replies      
It does seem like cost are negligible today, but on deeper analysis theres a lot of costs beyond simply hosting.

Just from memory for my startup (Authy.com), initial costs were:

Domain: $1000+

Design: $3000

Video: $3000

Hosting: $400

Depending on your skills this initial costs will vary. An although I agree you don't need external investment to cover them, you should at least plan to invest $10,000US to cover your initial costs.

paul 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems perfect for my recipe site. I hope my application gets accepted.
jere 23 hours ago 1 reply      
How I hacked the Pinboard Co-Prosperity Cloud
programminggeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ok, I'm in. I have an idea that will cost precisely $37 dollars to start. This is such perfect timing.
rtfeldman 1 day ago 3 replies      
My application: "I'd use the $37 to buy $20 worth of stamps and envelopes, then $17 for a disposable camera and photo development costs. I'd photograph myself putting the stamps on the envelopes and get the photos developed. Then I'd put the photos in the envelopes and mail them to you."
chmike 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand people ridiculing him. This funding is for entrepreneurs and business projects with a particular profile. A project like Pinboard.

When Y combinator started the amount of money was also ridicule.

What you get with his funding is visibility and this is rapidly growing in value because everybody will now look with high curiosity what are the 6 selected projects.

It looks like he is attempting to undercut Y combinator and might succeed. Look how he targets a niche market that is discarded by Y combinator : single founder projet. He applies all the advises given by PG himself.

I'm looking forward to see how he will execute, but this is already a very good start.

If I had a close to finished project and no traction because of no visibility I would apply. Because the visibility will be much bigger than with an article in techcruch.

cdcarter 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is flawless. I have a little script that I've been working on that has helped my life immensely and I know it could help others too. I've been too lazy to make it into anything more, though. This is giving me just enough to actually write down what it is and why it's helpful, and if I get it will totally make me go further.
lucisferre 1 day ago 0 replies      
> How is this different from other incubators?

> Participants receive almost no money, and are expected to do everything themselves.

So not really all that different than many (most?) incubators.

rdl 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to take this opportunity to offer PICPCReject membership to anyone rejected by the horrible elitists at PICPC.

We don't have any funding yet, so we can't make any specific promises, but I hear the dumpsters behind Denny's have a wide variety of semi-rotten food available for "Tuesday dinners".

nthitz 1 day ago 4 replies      
> Is this a joke?

It is not a joke.

> I have no understanding of the concept of humor...

So it is a joke.. Or at the very least tongue in cheek. (With some exceptions,) I doubt hosting is what most VC funding is spent on.

Edit: as he said, "The biggest obstacle to creating something useful is finding the time to build it and attracting an initial pool of paying customers." If you have access to those you probably have $37. I get that he is trying to say technical costs can be negligible for startups. I fail to see how Investment Co-Prosperity Cloud helps anyone in anyway. And thus, I think it's a joke (even if the funding is real).

jeswin 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Applied! :)

Wrote a poem about it on the Collaborative Poetry app that I just launched. http://poe3.com/38

toddynho 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wait, I'm confused - I'd at least expect you to mention something about us getting into the PR circle jerk as part of the program? Is that not part of it?
troymc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would use the money to buy signals. Since they're a buck, I could buy 37 signals.
rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Will you be offering $1.12 in expense reimbursement for the interviews? Will you do checks or cash?

($1.12 won't even cover the minimum BART or Muni or VTA fares now, I think, unless you're a child or senior or disabled or something)

mmelin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Watch out for the PICPC Mafia.
tibbon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Someone should start a similar fund, but instead of just throwing large amounts of money at the companies like PICPC, they should help introduce them to their vast network of highly engaged people... perhaps on Twitter.
scheff 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Maciej Ceglowski is the Flounder of Pinboard.in - http://idlewords.com/resume.htm

We all flounder sometimes, but it's good to admit upfront that it's your full time (pre)occupation.

justhw 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you get rejected, shoot us an email pinboard@funnelpanel.com for a forever free funnel analytics platform.
gregpilling 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I have emailed and offered support of $20 per startup, plus use of my manufacturing facility. I think this is a great idea, and since I started my company with a credit card I can relate to the unfunded startup.
bobfunk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great idea :)

From Webpop we'll offer a free project and a startup template (http://app.webpop.com/themes/startup) for anybody accepted into the program.

For some people this might be enough to completely skip the Linode and buy one more beer.

andrewcross 1 day ago 1 reply      
To take this to the next level, I vote for crowd-funding at the end of it all. I'd put $20 behind my favourite startup from the class and cheer them on. Almost like fantasy sports, but for startups.
GPBenoit 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is a waste of time.
khet 1 day ago 0 replies      
We're in a bubble.
evv 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll wait for the blog post inviting hardware startups too, followed by a post about how $37 gives founders too much runway, and half as much ought to do it.
cwiz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm announcing microcrowdfunding flush-investment platfrom Flushstart. We all have pockets full of change by the end of the day. To participate in Flushstart you you just flush all the change down the toilet and Flushstart employees collect your investments in the sewers. You automatically get equity in all projects listed in Flushstart. I just started the platform by flushing 10 cents.
justhw 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there a get-together day to meet fellow applicants? Perhaps a dinner?
harichinnan 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps you could all use the money/freebies to fund this.


dudurocha 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you accept startups from Brazil? I would love to apply!
davemc500hats 5 hours ago 0 replies      
this could have been so much more fun at $42 instead of $37 or $50... #justsayin
obilgic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just sent my idea, let's see he agrees with me to spend my entire winter break just working on this idea... Mostly, because of motivational purposes
ececconi 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is $37 an ode to 37 signals?
itslogic 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand all this angel investment speak but the thing I am curios the most is simple.

I apply
I make it "big"

Does pin board owns any of my company because they invested $37 a month and provided exposure?

I really don't understand who doesn't have $37 a month to be self-funded but I'm interested on exposure.

brackin 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't PICPC-VC have a Dropbox or Airbnb in their alumni yet?
jfb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the name. Too, I love the service.
geargrinder 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is $1 less than it takes to sponsor a child for one month through Compassion International (an organization that supports 1.2 million children in the most poverty-stricken areas of the world). Would the money be better spent sponsoring a child or sponsoring a startup?
shail 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I am building a bookmarking site. Can I apply?
Google Maps becomes the App Store's most popular free app in 7 hours thenextweb.com
420 points by petrel  2 days ago   294 comments top 35
tharris0101 2 days ago 9 replies      
Sort of off-topic and I've harped on this before, but when I search "google maps" in the app store, it's the fifth search result!

As a developer in the App Store, I really hope they do something to fix the abysmal searches in it.

bstar77 2 days ago 10 replies      
Edit: somehow I screwed up my response, should be a response to @kjackson2012.

Apple's main issues are with their location information from TomTom. If apple is able to partner with a company with better data, these types of problems should not be nearly as bad.

Here's where Apple's maps product is better... The maps are vector based so there is not such a huge dependence on a data connection. I live near the pine barrens in NJ and google maps is mostly worthless when I venture into that abyss. Apple maps has worked flawlessly for me there. Locations where data connections are poor, apple maps will probably be a better solution. Plus, Apple maps look nicer, but that is hardly a critical feature.

To say apple should just give up is silly. I've used google navigation since the first day the alpha was leaked. It has only been in the last year that nav has gotten so good (used to have maddening ui problems with the zoom going crazy). Apple's initial maps release is much better and more refined than what google initially release. Fortunately for apple, I think they'll get their data issues mostly fix in 2013 and have a very nice alternative to google maps.

IgorPartola 2 days ago 5 replies      
How many startups just said "ah fuck it!" now that Google Maps is back on iOS? Back when Apple removed Google maps I thought there would be four stages to this fiasco:

1. Apple Maps are introduced and nobody likes them. Google Maps are nixed and some bullshit reason is given for not letting them back into the ecosystem for a while.

2. A bunch of people see an opportunity to create something that Apple will buy. They drop everything and get busy.

3. 3-6 months later Google Maps are allowed back into the ecosystem. 99% of the newly minted startups go bust.

4. A year later Apple actually makes Apple Maps usable in iOS 7. The rest of the startups go bust.

kjackson2012 2 days ago 9 replies      
Frankly, Tim Cook should shut down the entire Apple Maps division. Who in their right mind is going to use Apple Maps at this point?

Try searching "Pier 39 San Francisco". The query can't be any more specific, and it's the most iconic location for tourists, and Apple Maps will bring you to a pretty shady area of town, only a mile or two away from Hunter's Point, one of the more violent areas of SF.

WayneDB 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope Google waits a few months and then rolls out a premium-purchase maps feature. Then, when Apple demands their 30% and Google refuses, Apple has to pull the app again and frustrate all their users again. Not saying that's what will happen, but I can dream.
drivebyacct2 2 days ago 2 replies      
I guess I'm still stuck in the same mentality that I'm surprised at but I'm always surprised to see what gets iOS users excited these days or what problems it has: fundamental search issues the AppStore, the amazement of Google Maps being "fluid" (ironic given the tech powering it [based on koush's speculation]), lusting for the simplicity of the Google theme versus the plasticy-clear-bubbled iOS.

Then again I'm also blown away by the people here who want to:

1. Say that Apple had time left on their contract with Google. And simultaneously say that the solution for Apple Maps is soon and is easily solved with more data partnerships.

2. That Apple "won" here. I'm still at a lost as to how that is. Especially given the lack of an Intent system in iOS, Apple Maps is about to be relegated to a really poor position for Apple, especially given that users = more data = better maps.

These are the things that Android 2.x was criticized for. I put up with such incompleteness because I was getting something open source, powerful and customizable. It was a compromise. I don't think Android users are compromising anymore, despite the constant implication from users here that only poor people buy Android, or that Android is "full of ads", or that Google is losing interest in Android or just the constant implications that Android is still sub-par to iOS. I just don't get it when I read these threads.

hpagey 2 days ago 12 replies      
Actually I think Apple won here. Google was refusing to release a turn by turn direction update to their apps. By developing an Apple Map App with turn by turn, they kind of forced GooG to provide it on iOS platform. Also, it is very difficult for google to ignore ios users.
walru 2 days ago 2 replies      
App ranking is also a function of momentum.. while it's great Google Maps has risen so quickly, let's not make this more than what it is.
twakefield 2 days ago 1 reply      
Still no bike directions. Why is that?
kyriakos 2 days ago 2 replies      
This simply shows how bad apple's decision was to switch to their own solution before it was ready.
diminish 2 days ago 0 replies      
One more strong free app in the leaderboard of appstore means, a lot more newer apps will have a harder time to get traction.
jgon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Between this and the gmail release recently I think that some interesting times are ahead for apple. After I told my wife that Google Maps was available in the app store she sent me a text with a screenshot of her phone and the message "I'm pretty much using an Android phone!"

Her mail client is Gmail, she uses Google maps, and she browses with Chrome. If google went all out with a Google Calendar app I bet she'd use their client too.

What does it say for Apple when an iphone user has apps for all of their big use cases provided by a direct competitor?

senthilnayagam 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apple did not put beta on its app, and it eventually apologised and also fired a VP who was not willing to sign the apology .

google launches a map with beta warning and everybody going gaga on it, yeah their data set is better.

"Google Maps Navigation is in beta. Use caution.

Please keep your eyes on the road and obey applicable laws. Do not manipulate this application while in motion. Directions may be inaccurate, incomplete, dangerous, or prohibited.

Traffic data is not real-time, and location accuracy cannot be guaranteed"

I would love Apple to build self driving cars and display projecting to retina and bring it to market, instead of just announcing them like what google does

btucker 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much impact this will have on Embark.
takeda64 2 days ago 3 replies      
How come Apple allowed this app? Isn't it duplicate functionality of the iPhone? I guess everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others...
nmridul 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wondering if Google could have waited till the start of next year before providing the maps ? Lots of last minute shoppers would have bought an android phone considering Iphones lacked a good map...
isabre 2 days ago 4 replies      
Apple maps is great if you want to drive yourself into the ocean.
netcan 2 days ago 4 replies      
Could there have been a (pro android) business case for not releasing this app?

Edit: accidentally wrote 'pr android.'

topbanana 2 days ago 0 replies      
This comes as no surprise, least of all Apple, who have been perfectly forthcoming in their acknowledgement of the flaws in Apple Maps.
gk1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just realized: The letter "g" and the placemarker form the word "go."
BornInTheUSSR 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apple Maps: Better Product Design
Google Maps: Better Data

I'm especially missing dropping pins to share location and search bar tucked up at the top in Google Maps, but Apple's lack of integrated transit directions and putting me in random locations is a no go for city life.


egypturnash 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh hell yeah, I just ditched my old Android for an iPhone and the lack of bus routes on its maps app was one of the major things I was missing. I was sort of getting along with HopStop but it was an awkward multi-step kind of thing. DOWNLOADING NOW.
wahsd 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'll admit it, I am one of the 4-star raters. I took it down a notch for not at least including a "zoom out" button. I can double-tap to zoom, but I sure as hell can't pinch to zoom out. I think that UI flaw is one of the most ignored in all that exist in iOS.
mrilhan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Only if there was a way to set Google Maps as the default map/address-finding app. Anyone know how to accomplish this?

Right now, touching any addresses you have saved under a contact will open up Apple's Maps app.

seanp2k2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone else notice how Apple copied the look of Google's OG Maps app, and so now Google uses a much different icon to avoid confusion?
vinayan3 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much data the iOS app uses for it's vector based tiles compared with the Google maps one? Google Maps does seem a lot quicker than before.
shanev 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised this is iPhone only and not a universal app with iPad support. I frequently bring my iPad with me when I drive to act as a turn by turn navigation device. Anyone know why? Hope it's coming.
trendnet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now Apple has major map services from all mobile platforms with a full-featured Google solution. Plus they have an in-house solution that will become better over time. Removing an image-based Google Maps app developed by Apple from iOS was a great decision.
grantph 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google releases maps and their evil behavior is quietly swept under the rug... brilliant timing!


so898 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is just another proving of products from FAMOUS COMPANY will hit the top of the App store with no reason.
Maybe it is the time for iOS Map Developers to quit the business.
So, what will be the next?
benlower 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nokia Maps give one the ability to download maps locally to the phone. Do either Google Maps or iOS Maps have that feature?
vtbose 2 days ago 0 replies      
This probably removes the last barrier to IOS 6 adoption, for many.
crudolph 1 day ago 0 replies      
HN == Apple Bitch Fest; 98% pure negativity; Sigh.
bmmayer1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe Google should pivot and try this whole maps thing out.
GotAnyMegadeth 2 days ago 0 replies      
> iPhone and iPod touch owners download Google's new Maps title to complement or even replace Apple's own

Google for the directions, Apple for the lulz

Dear Open Source Project Leader: Quit Being A Jerk lostechies.com
400 points by derickbailey  1 day ago   171 comments top 32
jasonkester 1 day ago 13 replies      
This isn't restricted to open source project leaders, or even open source developers. You'll find the same childish elitism in pretty much every field of human endeavor.

Programmers certainly do it. Laughing at noobs and being mean to them is pretty much the sole purpose of IRC, unless I'm mistaken. Surfers do it. Climbers do it. I've even seen rocket scientists do it.

The interesting thing is watching which members of a given group behave this way.

It's not everybody. There's a certain skill range where you find this behavior. Generally it ranges between "reasonably good" and "better than most people I know", and it grows exponentially in that range (though, again, only in people who are given to such behavior).

But there it stops. Once you hit a threshold of "better than pretty much everybody in the world, even those who have dedicated their life to this stuff", you don't really see this sort of elitism anymore.

I live in the climbing mecca of Fontainebleau, and can watch first hand as 7a boulderers from around the world descend and act like jackasses trying to scootch their butts off the ground on problems that are hard (but not world class) while scowling with superiority at the lowly rabble that might dare touch the holds of their project. It's best to simply wait until they give up before going over and doing the problem.

But occasionally you see a guy working an 8a. That's pretty stout by anybody's definition (even at font), but he's not shouting or swearing at it. He's just calmly doing his thing, uninterested in being the center of attention, and more than happy to talk to anybody who walks up without the least hint of snoot.

I think you find the computer programming equivalent of that guy from time to time too. He's the "bourne shell" guy that another comment mentions downthread, and he's above the elite.

The cool thing is that you don't have to be as good as him to act like him. All you need do is not be a dick.

tinco 1 day ago 4 replies      
I've never seen an opensource leader make fun of an honest attempt at contribution. What I have seen is a lot of ignoring and rejecting attempts.

Miguel de Icaza had a blog post on this I think. The problem with large opensource projects is that they have a lot to do, and simply don't have time to thoroughly follow up on all the small contributions that are ridden with naieve errors and plain formatting issues. Not to mention the big ones that come with architectural changes without explanations.

I think it's unfair to call these charity workers jerks, just because they are trying to make light of a dire situation.

Yes it can hurt if your contribution is coldly cast aside, and yes it would be much better if they warmly took you in and taught you in their ways, but if the OSS project leaders don't keep up the constant stream of contributions, improving the project all the time the project will die and all work will have been in vain.

On a side note: which project will you be contributing to this christmas? It is charity time after all and a bunch of hem could use a commit or two from your hands :) just be sure to read their code-style documents ;)

tytso 1 day ago 0 replies      
The author thinks an open source elite is someone with high visibility in a project that is "well known by tens or hundreds of thousands of people"? That's a pretty low bar. Personally, I'd call someone in that category a wannabe. On the internet, it doesn't take a lot to have that much recognition.

I consider people who are "the elite" to be folks like Larry Wall. Or Guido van Rossem. Or someone like Ian Lance Taylor (who has hacked on many things in the GCC/binutils toolchain). Their projects are known by a bit more than a mere "hundreds of thousands of people", and they are definitely not jerks.

The reality is if you want to be very successful, especially in a project where all of the contributors are volunteers, you can't be a jerk, because then people won't want to work with you. In the very early days of NetBSD, there were a quite a few people who were quite disagreeable to be around on the core team list. One of them was in my work and social circles, and it's one of the reasons I choose to work on Linux instead of NetBSD. But even NetBSD is known by more than "hundreds of thousands" of people.

And that's the key --- yes, being a jerk will probably be a strong negative factor if you want your project to be one of the really top, well-known, successful projects. But you can a jerk and still have a moderately successful OSS project. Because at the end of the day, for better or worse, people will overlook someone being a jerk if they have a good, solid product to offer. This is true outside of the OSS world as well, of course. As far as I'm concerned neither Larry Ellison nor Steve Jobs would win the nicest person of the year award. But their products were sufficiently good that people were willing to overlook their personality traits, and indeed even idolize them as positive examples of leaders in the Tech industry.

Zelphyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Based on all the "I don't know what you're talking about. I've never seen this." comments I think the author should clarify that its not just the OS project leaders who are guilty of this. The smugness of core developers, and even contributors is worthy of a South Park episode.

If you're a young developer, or seasoned for that matter, and the urge to put down the work of someone else tugs at you, consider this;

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Steve Bourne, inventor of the Bourne Shell (as in, /bin/sh on every Unix system ever). Here is a guy who was literally sitting next to the guys who invented Unix WHILE THEY INVENTED IT. And all this time later he's surprisingly humble, friendly, and genuinely interested in what other, younger developers are doing.

If a guy who has earned the right to be smug several times over treats people with respect, what right do we have to do otherwise?

bryanh 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've not seen this at all.

In my experience, most open source project leaders are very congenial and gracious that you're spending time on their project. I did some poking around and couldn't find any OSS leads that disparaged their contributors.

Not sure if the lack of examples was an attempt to not "name and blame" or if there aren't many good ones. OP, to be clear, this isn't merely leads saying "this code/feature/suggestion is inappropriate" to pull requests, but honest malice?

mindcrime 1 day ago 0 replies      
I couldn't agree more. I've seen this type of attitude from F/OSS "leaders" over the past couple of decades, and it always galls me to no end.

This is why I commit (no pun intended) to try my best to not be like that with any of my projects. Now, to be fair, none of the Fogbeam projects have a lot of outside contributions to date, but every time someone has contacted me, I've tried to respond in a polite, reasonable and appropriate manner.

One thing to consider, when interacting with people you don't know, is that you don't know what you're possibly getting. We got a request once, for permission to take our code, make it work with MySql, and use it for some academic research. Now that was already allowed by the license anyway, but I took the time to respond to the guy, and had a few chat/email interactions with him as worked on his project, even though I had no idea who he was, how important the project was, or if anything would ever come of it. A year or so later, I get an email saying "Hey, here's a pre-print of the paper we published, it's being presented at $PRESTIGIOUS_CONFERENCE, and we mention your project in the paper". That turns out to be a nice "feather in the bonnet" for us and helped get the project some visibility it would not have gotten otherwise.

Honestly, I don't see any value in being dismissive, insulting or demeaning towards anyone, just because they aren't already an expert in your project.

Symmetry 1 day ago 1 reply      
I expect a major driver of this is that people always tend to underestimate how much tacit knowledge they're using and so to assume that people who disagree with them are fundamentally stupid, malicious, or crazy when they're really just coming from a different background.


ynniv 1 day ago 2 replies      
I played pull request with a framework recently. There was something that I wanted to do that could only be done if the framework had fully chained a JavaScript function (ie, forwarded all parameters, included "this", and returned the result). It was an easy fix, but it turned out that what appeared to be an omission was intentional due to very specific edge cases in JavaScript that prevented someone from doing something undocumented but maybe useful. A conflict between two users doing things that the framework did not intend seems like a tough decision, one that makes sense to roll with the status quo. Except that from the issues database, I can see that I was not the only person to ask for this change. My pull request was actually proposed 3 or 4 other times, and there were plenty of other people who had found a sort-of-workaround and were shipping code using this workaround. So I sat down and spent a good amount of time investigating the edge cases to figure out what should be done, wrote it all up, linked to the other people who were having problems or working around them, and submitted a new pull request. Again, the results were unsatisfying: closed because they didn't think people should be doing that. Except that they already are doing it in a hackier way. I guess that other lone guy who was doing something really strange but filed his bug report first wins after all. This whimsy is disrespectful, and pushes people to use something else, start their own, or spend time telling the world that you don't know how to play nicely. In the end, maybe that doesn't matter to some maintainers. They had their fame and their fun and they move on.
nullc 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is an unfortunate flipside to thisâ€" people who show up with ALL CAPS demands, proclaiming your incompetence, because of some missing functionality that they believe to be so obvious but can't seem to completely explain on their own.

The best way to respond to that is to politely request what you need and then ignore if they won't be helpful. ... but humans don't always respond in the best way: Another possible response is to respond harshly and critically in order to generate a hierarchy: "I am not here to serve you. Your patches may be accepted if it suits my fancy.". Neither extreme of being high and mighty nor of allowing people to simply abuse you is ideal.

Spearchucker 1 day ago 0 replies      
That this still happens is sad.

I was on the receiving end way back in 2002. I'd just written an RS232 library for the .NET Compact Framework that ended up in the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework Core Reference[1]. It was also referenced by an MSDN article[2], so got a lot of attention.

I left a bug in there which broke anything that didn't use default settings. The abuse was astounding. It was the last code written on my own time that I ever published.

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/book.aspx?ID=5960...

[2] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa446565.aspx

marcamillion 1 day ago 1 reply      
I thought this was exclusive to the Rails community - but it is good to see it's not.

I am glad someone is speaking out against it, because it sucks.

One of the major reasons people don't learn to be better developers is because of "elite developers" that have come before them that take pride in humiliating them.

This article is very on-point. I nearly stopped learning Rails because of the torment from #RubyOnRails on IRC. But then I remembered it is the internet and everybody is probably a dog.

I am glad I didn't stop learning - and I am very conscious of this with "noobs" now.

lazyjones 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've seen this a couple of times but not after pull requests, but simple (verified even) bug reports or feature requests.

Let me quote a recent example from IRC:

> XXXXX interesting how the number of new github issues went down since i started ignoring them :)

> XXXXX could be coincidence, but i suspect having a few open tickets discourages the more frivolous requests we usually got there"

Nice attitude there! After reading several such comments and some diatribe on github (following a bug report), I really had difficulties justifying the use of the software developed by this guy, especially after having been warned about this earlier by a co-worker ("the project is fine, XXXXX is the only problem with it") and not taking it seriously because I thought he was exaggerating (I'm not really into personality cult etc.).

codex_irl 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've called out more than one "leader / boss" out in meetings / code-reviews for being excessively mean & shaming noobs who are genuinely trying their best & are hungry to learn.

Constructive criticism is a great thing, but telling someone they will never work again in this industry because they make a small CSS error on their first ever post-college project is another.

I've been fired from one job for standing up in a meeting and calling the boss a self-important asshole & refusing to retract it.

Life is too short to let these type of people get you down, we are all just floating on a rock in space & going to die in a few years....what's important: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/14su4p/he_sang_to_her_...

debacle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with others. This is useless without context - I have never seen this actually happen.

"stupid pull request of the day site:twitter.com" returns one result, and it isn't negative in any fashion.

Karunamon 1 day ago 7 replies      
A part of the hacker mindset ("hacker" as used in the jargon file, and in this site's title) is intolerance of stupidity. Ignorance is one thing, that can be learned away. Stupidity is wasting developer's time by asking questions that are addressed in the documentation or that can be instantly solved with five minutes on Google, or submitting pull requests that go against a published style guide, are plainly wrong or buggy, and so on.

I'm going to come right out and say this: Some people should not contribute to a FOSS project. Whether that's because they can't deal with other people or because they're not willing to put in even a modicum of effort to work effectively with other people. If you go up to a group of people who are used to doing things according to procedure X and you blithely ignore it, you really should not be surprised when your efforts are met with derision at best and hostility at worst.

While I understand the point the author is trying to make here, and even sympathize to a point, the mindset isn't going to change, nor should it. The bar to entry is a part of what make high quality projects high quality.

tjbiddle 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of other angles we can look at this as well: The user ("I need.."), The cocky contributor ("This is right, accept my pull request!"), The belittled contributor ("I'm not sure.. but let me try.."), The helpful leader ("I can't accept this because it will break xyz.") The douche leader (As the article stated: "LOL!"), and the cocky leader ("No, that's wrong." - And then they realize later it's actually right, but they're attitude made them not look at a worthy contribution in the right light correctly.)

The article makes a good point - But there's a lot more we can take out of this, that being that for any community to succeed, it needs to be just that: A community. A place where others help each other grow.

joshfraser 1 day ago 0 replies      
Open source projects work best when they have a benevolent dictator. You need someone who isn't afraid to say "no" to bad ideas, or else you'll end up with a total clusterfuck. It's just as important not to forget the "benevolent" part. I'll always remember Brad Fitzpatrick telling me "no" to one of my dumb suggestions for PubSubHubbub. He explained his reasoning and took the time to tell me what I needed to fix. He knew he was smarter than me, but he gave me the chance to figure that out on my own instead of pushing me away.
joering2 1 day ago 3 replies      
My favorite comments I will never forget from my ex-CTO:

"you are wrong about this, because I say you are wrong." [turned out: he was dead wrong!]

"stay home if you want to answer phonecall from your dad." [knowing he is in the hospital]

"today you have been all day on the phone." [after talking with dad for 3 min 35 sec]

"stop pinging google to check if the net is working."

"ping doesn't tell you anything."

"I hate those Chrome tabs -- they are affecting my search results."

"I'm a CTO - I can be rude."

"Don't work here if you have family."

"If we succeed with this project [24-months period], we may get million dollars bonus" [perfectly knowing its impossible and simply not true]

"I fixed Asia!" -"Cool!" -"What did you do?" -"At 3am? I was with my wife and kids." -"Well, I hope that helped alot in your career." [next day, after he IT-supported Asia at 3am]

"You see my desk? Apple, Apple, Apple..."

"You are on a McDonalds French Fry Guy schedule, ha!" [after working 14 hours straight from 7am till 9pm]

"You work long hours and are not paid for those, because you are upper managment and should be proud of it". [after working 14 hours straight]

"Don't ask for that, you are not upper managment!" [when something failed to work and needed to figure the details to troubleshoot]

"You are upper managment, you should know this!" [when I didn't know something IT-related]

"You won't get the bonus, you are not upper managment!" [bonus question around Christmas time]

[email provider down; on the phone with support] "Why are you calling them? chat-support is faster!"

[days later, the same issue; on the chat] "Stop wasting time on chat, just grab a phone and call them!"

[after 12 hours straight work on 8hr schedule] "I completed the project, I am going home" -"Fine with me, as long as you are Symfony Framework specialist" [next day after staying extra 2 hours to understand basics of Symfony Framework] -"Never mind, we won't use them anyway!"

Those were the perks.. there were some better here and there, but honestly I started making notes way too late. But my tech-friends always loved to ask whats new with my CTO. They used to call him "Chief Toilet Officer", because frankly speaking he couldn't do shit right.

zzzeek 1 day ago 1 reply      
this blog post has a major omission of any specifics whatsoever. I've never seen this kind of behavior, and I'm having a great urge to say something like, "oh well because PHP/Ruby/etc". But that is all prejudicial.

Won't we be given some specifics so that we don't have to guess what famous OSS author actually typed "HAHAHA" at a pull request ?

sp332 1 day ago 1 reply      
Chances are, mr or mrs open source elite, you have been on the receiving end of this in your life.

Exactly, and that's why they do it to others! That may be their default (not consciously-chosen) behavior because it's what they got used to.

spot 1 day ago 1 reply      
useless without pointer to the actual behavior.
carlisle_ 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have to wonder how many people see Linus Torvald's behavior and think what he does is OK. Linus walks a VERY fine line, and his insults and demeaning comments are usually directed at people who "know better."

I have had a few drinks so it's hard to properly articulate what I mean, but maybe somebody else knows what I'm talking about.

grogenaut 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of sports analogies on here. I'll toss in mine. I've made a habit of trying new things and have gotten over the "you look stupid when you start" part. Skiing, Snowboarding, knitting, sewing, coaching, aussie rules. Everyone's a newb at some point. I have found that I compare myself to other skiiers / boarders a lot. But that is mainly a safety thing so I know if I should follow them down other parts of the mountain. So competitive but for a reason. I think I get more pissy about etiquette and safety, but generally from people who look like they should know better. 16 year old coming into the lift line at high speed, I see you. I'm a large large man, you're gonna get hurt if you hit me and I played college ball, I'm gonna make sure I don't get hit. Soooo... anyway. Unless you're trying to get ranked in real life, you're really just competing against yourself. You're the one who will decide if you have the time to put into whatever to be good enough to compete at a low national level. There are exceptions, but in sports you can use your brain and experience to make up for physical deficiencies. In Cerebral events you can use persistence and experience. And I've tailed off so Fin
sonabinu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Glad that someone is talking about this. There are times when a little encouragement can go a long way. A novice maybe very excited about learning and being belittled at that stage can be deflating. This is especially true of people who come from a totally different field, or are young and enthusiastic about contributing.
jongold 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just taking a second to thank you for all your work on Marionette, and your seemingly endless contributions to Backbone/Marionette questions on StackOverflow Derick - I'm nowhere near the level to be contributing to Marionette but your humbleness inspires me to use your code every day :)
fijal 1 day ago 0 replies      
This completely doesn't ring the bell for me, but maybe Python community that I typically interact with is different. Maybe we're such jerks that we don't even know how much of jerks we're.
saosebastiao 1 day ago 0 replies      
The worst behavior I have ever seen comes from a commercial open source project. I know they aren't paying customers...but they are bug finders and bug reporters, user experience testers, and even feature-expanding code contributors. I would be appalled if I employed the guy.
kmfrk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't see this in GitHub projects (so far), but this is the usual experience when asking for help on Stack Overflow or Freenode.
fellars 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Having used Dericks (the OP) Marionette package and interacted a few times with him, I can attest he practices what he preaches.
b1daly 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I was high school I had the opportunity to work with an aspiring music producer. It was great fun and a formative experience because he had a notably kind and supportive demeanor, coupled with focus. He went on to become a superstar producer and to this day when I run into him he has exactly the same demeanor.

This leads me to think some aspects of personality and how we treat others are innate. Jerks can be talented and successful too, and just remain Jerks. It takes all kinds.

hnruss 1 day ago 0 replies      
From what I've seen, most of the contributors to large projects are one-time contributors who just want to implement their one cool idea for the project. Maintainers who want to encourage those sort of contributions need to do everything they can to lower the barrier of entry to contributing, which includes being positive towards new contributors.
TeeWEE 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is this, I don't even…
Search, Mad Men style: A complete IBM 362 Google interface in the browser masswerk.at
383 points by brunooo  5 days ago   73 comments top 32
revelation 5 days ago 1 reply      
Thats a proper skeuomorphic interface. I like how it discards the card if you use backspace.
hosh 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's interesting how a cultural artifact belonging to a museum is better preserved in software. It is unlikely anyone will put the hardware in a museum, let alone getting it operational and allowing someone to play with the exhibit.

Many of the better museum exhibits tend to tie in things to people's daily life in the present. I searched an anachronistic term, "game of thrones."

danso 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've never watched "Mad Men" but this Google simulation was so entertaining that I might just pop on the Netflix instant streaming this weekend.

The first "image" result for "Mad Men":

| |
| *************** |
| **** * ***** |
| *** **** |
| * * ** |
| ** ******** * |
| * * **** ** |
| * *** *** * |
| ** ** * * |
| * * * * |
| * * * |
| ***** ****** * * |
| * * ** * |
| **** **** * * |
| ************* * * * ** ** |
| *** * * *** * * * |
| *** * ** * |
| ** ****** ** * |
| ******* ********* **** ******** |
| **** ** *** |

ComputerGuru 5 days ago 2 replies      
I was expecting this: http://cl.ly/image/2g1Z3K143X34

Quota exceeded :)

teh_klev 5 days ago 0 replies      
How nostalgic for me, reminds me of my days as a junior Data General field engineer - Nova 3, Eclipse S/130, S/140, S/200'S + Phoenix and Gemini 10+10 and 5+5 toploaders.

Admittedly this was their Dasher D200 (current loop) and LP2 era, but we did sometimes bootstrap DTOS (Diagnostic Tape Operating System) from paper tape if all else failed. We even had a couple of ancient punched card readers in stock for certain oddball customers, just in case.

I used to have a rig that looked like this in my parents dining room:


They made me send it back after a couple of quarters of abnormal electricity bills.

ck2 4 days ago 2 replies      
Makes you realize in 1000 years there will be museums where people will go to see the early ipad and android devices and wonder how anyone got anything done with them, and stare at 3.5" and 2.5" hard drives with their ridiculously tiny 1TB capacities. Hmm, maybe even in just 100 years.
brunooo 5 days ago 3 replies      
What i love most about it is that's so annoyingly slow that it actually lets you feel how computing must have been back then.
CountHackulus 5 days ago 0 replies      
I work on the System 390 every day, this is surprisingly accurate.
ChuckMcM 5 days ago 1 reply      
Brilliant, of course the LP01 didn't have both upper and lower case :-) But whose counting.
guimarin 5 days ago 1 reply      
"List Games" -> Select #4. -> slow smile. :-)
napoleond 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is this using the Web Search API? Or is there a non-deprecated replacement?
stretchwithme 5 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome. I remember doing things this way. With a 200 baud modem.

Having to throw a card away because of a typo was somewhat inhibiting.

Quite a contrast to discovering WordPerfect and realizing you can make all kinds of mistakes without such waste.

andyjohnson0 4 days ago 0 replies      
jacquesm 5 days ago 0 replies      
Finally an inside view of a Google DC that I can relate to!

Super stuff! I keep waiting for a red line to appear in the edge to warn me to change the paper box...

So many little details like the occasionally uneven font. A lot of work went into this.

linhat 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just having the most fun playing a round of "thermonuclear war" (well, actually, it's mostly playing itself), better than any (AAA) title I have been playing lately.
This one is going to take forever. And I am glad that we moved from printed output to graphical displays, the amount of forests we would have had to cut down...
dutchbrit 4 days ago 1 reply      
RECEIVED MESSAGE "Quota Exceeded. Please see http://code.google.com/apis/websearch.
HUMAN READABLE: "Mountain View, we have a problem."
ADVICE: A quota error indicates a temporary overload due to high demand. Please retry later.

Sadface :(

Great experience though, props to those who made it!

maxharris 4 days ago 2 replies      
Watching the tape animation makes me think that these guys have never actually seen a magnetic tape unit before. At several points, their animation shows the reels spinning in opposite directions. An actual tape would snap if you could somehow get the reels to do that.
valisystem 4 days ago 0 replies      
The productivity increase is amazing !
GnarfGnarf 4 days ago 0 replies      
I worked with cards in the 70's. It was possible to insert & delete columns when copying, by pressing down on the source or target card respectively, while duplicating.

We invented the "240-column" card to increase data storage (three 4-bit digits per column). Our cards looked like lace doilies. ('7' = 0111)

A real programmer measures his worth by how much he can accomplish, with what little he has. (Cue the penis jokes).

wyck 5 days ago 0 replies      
I searched "images" for a generic term and it listed 25,270,000,000 results and started to print out each one in ascii, I'm going to be here a while.
aramadia 5 days ago 0 replies      
Still faster than my city's library search.
wildranter 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool stuff. But it makes me want another computer with a few more kilobytes of ram, a z80 inside, and a k7 tape recorder for permanent storage. :)
vavoida 5 days ago 0 replies      
btw. for those who enjoy ASCII & dialup-sound check http://www.masswerk.at/googleBBS/
xyzzyb 4 days ago 0 replies      
This would actually been even cooler to hook into DuckDuckGo's zero click interface. The machine would be able to respond with actual information for lots of queries.

Mathematics calculations, topic summaries, definitions, etc.


andrewcooke 5 days ago 0 replies      
there's something odd about the way the tension rollers move, but i can't work out what. the way it's shown seems logical, but it looks wrong. anyone know what's up?
unimpressive 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good on the authors spacewar demo for doing the graphics right. But it's still missing that charming green phosphorous glow.
tobyjsullivan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google API quota exceeded (for now). Awesome job though, it's really well done. Fun.
viking4539 5 days ago 1 reply      
When I opened this, I happened to play Tron Legacy OST in the background. Made the effect 100x. DAMN.

Try playing this the background: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLZGbJ5QE8M

hsmyers 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would have preferred the Model 28 Keypunch if only because it was my first one :)
7beersonthewall 5 days ago 0 replies      
At least you get the response faster than if you were on a 2400 Baud Modem...
65b 4 days ago 1 reply      
Lace card attempt failed
archandele 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow ! Beautiful !! :-)
Police concerned with Apple iOS 6 mapping system vicpolicenews.com.au
350 points by bmmayer1  6 days ago   220 comments top 44
enneff 5 days ago 6 replies      
(Disclosure: I work for Google, but not in anything to do with maps. These opinions are my own.)

I've been to this national park before. It's a beautiful place, but not one you want to get stuck in unprepared. The temperature estimates given by the police are accurate. It gets damn hot out there. The roads are gravel at best, and often just packed dirt or sand. You can very easily get bogged, if you don't know what you are doing. I got to a point where the road became unsuitable for my car, and I had to drive backwards for nearly 100 metres to get out as there was nowhere to turn. I would be concerned for inexperienced drivers with two-wheel-drive vehicles.

Map data is serious business, and this particular case is an egregious error.

jws 5 days ago 5 replies      
GPS navigation systems have already killed: http://www.npr.org/2011/07/26/137646147/the-gps-a-fatally-mi...

Rangers are frustrated by having defunct roads or paths in GPS navigation systems as roads and having no way to get them removed.

I was traveling in Death Valley recently, and the span of "unpaved road" ran from "better than my driveway" to "I could try, but there is a 50-50 chance this rented jeep[1] isn't coming back."


[1] If you pass through, spend a day, rent a jeep. Don't do that to your own tires. The rental guy will tell you where to go to see the things you want to see.

prawn 5 days ago 2 replies      
Recently drove a 4,500 km trip in Australia, including near Mildura. We relied on two iPhones, one with Google Maps and one with Apple's newer version. For the most part, we relied on Google's maps and they never failed. Occasionally, we switched to iOS 6 and had a few different problems including roads simply not existing. After a while, we'd watch the iOS 6 directions just for a laugh.

Some of the stretches further East of Mildura run 100-200km without petrol stations and supplies. A number of the national parks in those areas are unmanned and irregularly visited, and there can be long periods even on sealed roads where you might not sight another car in an hour of driving. For one stretch (in and out of Mungo National Park), we stocked up on a lot of extra water as a precaution and notified family of our plans. Having an infant with us, I was very conscious of how quickly the temperature can rise once the air-con is off.

Can easily see how people might blindly follow maps/GPS and end up caught out. Especially when you're relying on cached phone maps data if your connection drops, as it does frequently out there.

SyneRyder 5 days ago 5 replies      
I think I can explain this one - if I'm right, Apple already has the correct data, but is using it incorrectly.

One of the Apple Maps data sources is GeoNames (geonames.org), a free data source available under a Creative Commons Attribution license and also used with the search on OpenStreetMap. If you search for Mildura at OpenStreetMap (openstreetmap.org) you'll get the correct location of the town, but if you scroll down the GeoNames list you'll also be offered "Mildura Shire" as a search option. Click on that, and the pointer moves to a location similar to the Apple Maps screenshot, about 70km away from the actual town. It seems that's the location that Apple's search has chosen to prioritize, over the actual town.

Mildura Shire is listed in GeoNames as a "second-order administrative division", so it's probably similar to the middle of a county or council area.

This isn't a problem with datasets or incorrect data, it's a problem with how Apple is searching & prioritizing the correct data they already have. Choosing the "town" instead of the "second-order administrative division" would be appropriate here.

For what it's worth, GeoNames already prioritizes the town of Mildura correctly in their search engine.

robomartin 5 days ago 3 replies      
Interestingly enough, today I was having a conversation about whether or not Maps had made any real improvements. You know, the kind that might compel one to finally upgrade to iOS6 or even consider upgrading to an iPhone 5. I asked a few people and nearly all of them expressed concern about being able to trust Maps. News like this doesn't make one feel better at all.

Frankly, I don't understand Apple's decision in the context of the idea of being customer-focused. In other words, if you, as an organization, make decisions for the benefit of your customers --or, at the very least not to their detriment-- how can you justify pushing out Maps and not keeping Google Maps on there?

OK, I get it. It would have cost more. A lot more. Fine. That's your problem. Pay Google for another five years exactly because you care about your customers. At the same time, put out your own Maps app and --funny enough-- compete on the merits of the app, not the hype.

If in five years you can't turn Maps into an app that people will choose over Google Maps, then, well, why are you in the mapping business in the first place?

001sky 5 days ago 4 replies      
Police concerned with Apple iOS 6 mapping system

-- You should never blindly follow consumer-level GPS. Full stop.

Especially in remote areas/national parks/widerness areas. Hate to say this is "common sense", but really it should be. It really has nothing to do with Apple, the iPhone, or iOS. Its quite the opposite, there are errors on all sorts of digitized maps. Most people are not aware or the vintage of the underlying mapping data (pre-digitization) and the variances of map-set data even amonst variant databases of "real maps".

jyap 5 days ago 1 reply      
As a former Victorian now living in the US, I think it's apt to point out that 46 degrees Celsius is 114.8 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 kilometers is 43.495 miles.
jstclair 5 days ago 2 replies      
I had to go to the main emergency room in Oslo last week. iOS6 couldn't find it, or even the correct street. Looking at the map in detail later, it didn't even have a building at the correct location. I was furious.
readme 5 days ago 2 replies      
So, no, it's not good that apple's map data is inaccurate. But the title might be misleading.

The bottom line is if you're driving into a wilderness area like a national park, you should not be depending on your cell phone for your own safety. One of the first things they tell you if you read the pamphlet outside of a hiking area is: do not depend on you cell phone.

So sure, the map data is inaccurate. The more dangerous thing about this is that your battery has a finite lifespan. Also your signal is not guaranteed.

You need to bring water, you need to bring supplies. You need to bring warm clothing.


tripzilch 5 days ago 0 replies      
I heard similar stories about Google Maps a few years ago, people getting stuck in US desert/parks because the GPS is incorrect (and also reception wasn't good back then, but that might have improved by now maybe).

At least this story is hitting the HN front page. Because the park rangers were hitting Google's traditionally deaf customer service ears (which must have been super-frustrating because people had already died and/or gotten into life-threatening situations).

I lost the link to that article, sorry. If I happen upon it, I'll post it here.

On the one hand I suppose it's people's own fault for venturing into dangerous terrain unprepared. But on the other hand, what's the use of having GPS Maps when you don't know when it's trustworthy or not? Great effort by OpenStreetMap (read below) of cross-checking their own maps for consistency with competitor maps, is at least a step in the right direction.

thisrod 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm intrigued that the police let this happen five times, and then put out a press release. After the second time in two weeks, I would have put up a sign: "This is not the road to Mildura. Go back and turn left at the highway."
djt 5 days ago 0 replies      
It is quite common for tourists to get into trouble here in Australia due to the differences in climate etc too.

FYI, when you travel make sure to bring extra clothes, water and food. Australia is a massive land mass and it is hard to fathom for people form a lot of countries that it can be a very harsh place for the unprepared.


Never have a single point of failure. A paper map or extra GPS at the bare minimum.

MetalMASK 5 days ago 3 replies      
The map failure is just another example of where apple's design principle cannot be blindly applied to every product. Apple's top-down approach on software design is expected to fail on Maps. Maps put hard requirement on data, bottom data, nothing to do with your leader's vision. Apple's way out of this is not to engage user input to add missing data or correct data errors --OSM tried that for years, the most accurate data still comes from semi-professional survey-er.

Look at other companies that does map, google map started out using Tele Atlas, NavTeq serves yahoo, bing and mapquest. Let's face it, spatial data cost money to collect and even more costly to update/maintain. Nevteq and Tele Atlas are gigantic companies for serving basic spatial data for a reason.

I guess apple didn't do sufficient data QA before saying, "hell yeah we are going with OSM where every big player is going with commercial data."

Without a solid baseline data, any fancy pants software development would just evaporate in air.

I have to say though, the GUI for apple map and functionality has very high usability. Apple just need to adapt a different mindset when dealing with data-dependent applications.

(disclaimer: I am a PhD student in Geography with CS background, did my share of processing spatial data for the last 8 years)

ck2 5 days ago 1 reply      
So what was the death rate before iphone or any smartphone existed?

What if the iphone battery dies, even with super accurate maps?

I don't have a cellphone plan so I carry paper maps, I guess I am old and old fashioned.

jasonlingx 5 days ago 2 replies      
Please can we switch back to Google maps now?
jmspring 5 days ago 1 reply      
Even before the iOS 6 maps debacle, relying on GPS for guidance in places like National Parks was pretty dumb. There are multiple stories of people getting stranded (and even dying) when relying on maps for places like Death Valley. Often times, even if one is in a suitable vehicle, knowledge of the environment, what to do in case of a problem, etc. are essential necessities in the case of anything going wrong.

A buddy and I travel the back country of Death Valley regularly and the stories we have heard, the vehicles we have seen trying to go places they shouldn't, etc. are just amazing. At a certain point, however, common sense and personal responsibility need to be considered.

WestCoastJustin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a horror story about a couple from my province that "became stuck in a remote area when their GPS system led them on to a back road" [1].

[1] http://www.usaprepares.com/survival/husband-died-just-six-mi...

Argorak 5 days ago 0 replies      
Out of couriosity, I navigated the Kalahari with both a map and a TomTom. I was quite surprised to find that the paths were quite accurate - but shifted by roughly 5 kms. So I could use the maps, but not the navigation capabilities of the system at all.
nicholassmith 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oddly enough Google Maps got me lost before, a couple of times. Lets stop assuming Google Maps was all that and a bag of chips, it did have issues at times.

I think it's because I've done long journeys powered by digital maps but I always made sure that there was an agreement level between two, or that it looked sane on a tried and tested road map. As good as they've gotten for the most part they're still prone to bugs, or to lose signal. Paper maps are a car essential still.

bitsweet 5 days ago 1 reply      
I love my iPhone, MBP, iPad, and how generally apple has raised the bar on software quality. But the maps app is truly intolerable - it's the most unusable thing apple released since ping, maybe even more so.
dchichkov 5 days ago 1 reply      
Was driving from SF to Big Sur some time back. Google totally tried to take me off road from HW 1 [turn right. turn right now], and then calmly stated "There is no route to your destination".
oohmeplums 5 days ago 1 reply      
It looks like this issue was caused by Apple mistakenly marking the centre of Local Government Areas as 'cities', in Australia at least. See example at http://imgur.com/qlciM for an example from Perth; Cambridge and Vincent aren't suburbs, and the others are in the wrong spot (Joondalup CBD is on the wrong side of the freeway)
duncan_bayne 5 days ago 1 reply      
I live in Australia, and while I am not a fan of Apple or their products,I have to say that I'm surprised anyone in their right mind would go bush with just one map. Electronic or paper, maps have errors. Don't bet your life otherwise.
georgeorwell 5 days ago 0 replies      
We can all agree that the police are doing a good job by warning people about the problem, right?
shimms 5 days ago 0 replies      
Unrelated to the content of the post, but humorous that they get the capitalisation of "iOS" correct, but consistently spell iPhone "i-phone".
simonlang 5 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a recent story where some tourists tried to drive their rental car to an island (through the ocean) because their GPS told them to:


mattquiros 5 days ago 1 reply      
Can't help noticing how those who've never had problems with Apple Maps are usually people from the US. The iPhone is sold in other parts of the world too, you know.
Pinatubo 5 days ago 0 replies      
James Kim died just about 6 years ago. A lot of people blamed a GPS failure for his death, but apparently he and his family were using paper maps.


Flenser 5 days ago 0 replies      
You should always have a road atlas in your car. Batteries run out and network connections may not be reliable, you will always have access to a paper map if you have one. If you have an atlas you can always navigate yourself out of any problem (diversions, heavy traffic, accidents closing roads etc.) and they are a good sanity check of whatever your GPS or map app is telling you. Better yet, check your route in the atlas before you set out and you will know your route better, and be able to react quicker to any unforeseen problems.
lisperforlife 5 days ago 0 replies      
I would pay money for a google maps app.
dhughes 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have to admit that occasionally during whiteout snowstorms I glance at my GPS more as moral support that I am indeed on a road.

Telephone poles are also a good guide if I can see them.

MagnitudeSw 5 days ago 0 replies      
The new maps drop a major landmark on my street in Atlanta. We went from dead quiet to non-stop traffic. Not good when people are driving 30+ MPH staring at their phones in confusion.

It's been 1.5 months since we've had everyone we can think of submit the problem. Still not fixed.

What does it take for Apple to actually "fix" an incorrect pin location and label?

mtgx 5 days ago 0 replies      
Apple's hatred towards Google is now putting people's lives at risk. Good job, Apple.
guscost 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Anyone travelling to Mildura or other locations within Victoria should rely on other forms of mapping until this matter is rectified. Like Google Maps."

Explication mine.

jmgrimes 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if the big players can improve the quality of their maps by implementing wiki-style editing systems like OpenStreetMap.

Google seem to have already started down this path with the Map Maker functionality. http://www.google.com.au/mapmaker

Mordor 5 days ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs was great at coming late to market with a product superior to everyone else. Time is telling of his replacement..
hnruss 5 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever happened to reading road signs? They are actually pretty easy to use.
asc76 5 days ago 0 replies      
They first to to get it to work properly.
djbender 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Apple i-phone."
davemaya 5 days ago 0 replies      
They misplaced the main hospital in Cambridge, UK.
bmmayer1 6 days ago 1 reply      
*is stranding
rymith 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious how this differs from an outdated paper map.
assharif 5 days ago 0 replies      
This never would have happened if Steve Jobs was alive
wilfra 5 days ago 4 replies      
Change title from 'Police' to 'State Police in Victoria, Australia' please. Title is misleading/linkbaity.
Welcome Guido dropbox.com
340 points by johns  8 days ago   44 comments top 9
danso 8 days ago 3 replies      
Congrats to both Dropbox and Guido.

I'm ashamed to say I didn't know until TFA that Guido is the BDFL...I actually thought Linus had inspired it, though that's because he seems to be the one who most frequently causes others to invoke it.


Also kind of funny that Matz is the only creator of a recent [*and major] language that isn't in that Wiki list. Is he really that hands off of Ruby (compared to Guido and Python?)

kloncks 8 days ago 2 replies      
For the creators of the three top web languages of PHP, Ruby, and Python:

- 2/3 currently work for YC companies.

- 3/3 have at one point worked for a YC company.

That I find extremely impressive. Speaks a lot to the calibar of the YC program. A big congrats to Dropbox too! :)

sologoub 8 days ago 0 replies      
Sad to see Guido leave the App Engine team... But this is a selfish view :-)

Congrats to Dropbox!

znowi 8 days ago 3 replies      
Can anyone tell the inside story? Did he not like it at Google? What is it that Dropbox offered to lure him?
ggordan 8 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a little curious as to why the link to " the very first lines of code" is a link to a Google search result
Kilimanjaro 8 days ago 0 replies      
'under unusual circumstances'


gamebit07 8 days ago 2 replies      
1. Will GO be the next Python at least inside GOOG?

2. What seems to be happening to ndb.models in near future?

3. Will Guido leaving Google affect webapp2 in any way?

pulledpork 8 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to hear more about why he'll work on at Dropbox.
TommyDANGerous 8 days ago 2 replies      
With the creator of Python on your team, what can't you do?
Thorium rein.pk
332 points by pkrein  3 days ago   100 comments top 19
allerratio 3 days ago 1 reply      
> but thorium reactors have been pretty experimental

Not all thorium reactors. A good example for an industrial grade thorium reactor is the thtr-300 a high temperature thorium pebble bed reactor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THTR-300)

> Thorium reactors are inherently stable, so “nuclear meltdowns” can't happen.

This was also one reason for the design of the AVR in JĂźlich and it's successor the THTR-300. Although there wasn't any "nuclear meltdown", there were various other problems:

- Small amounts of water leaking into the primary cooling circuit. Bigger amounts could have lead to a buildup of hydrogen and oxygen which can cause explosions. This is very comparable to a meltdown

- The pebbles proved to be not very stable. This lead to a bigger amount of radioactive matter being released into the surrounding environment by the THTR-300

- The AVR leaked a big amount of radioactive matter into the ground water

- various other problems

Newer thorium reactor types won't have these problems because they will be considered in their designs, but there's still the problem with the timeframe. Estimates are that 2030 is the time when Gen IV reactors will get rolled out (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_IV_reactor). Meanwhile Germany replaced 3.5% of it's electric power sources from 2010 to 2011 with renewable ones.

fatbird 3 days ago 10 replies      
I've seen several thorium-boosting articles like this, and none of them say why research and industrial development selected for uranium over thorium. Is it just because the initial research into power came out of weapons research?
stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not only is thorium much more plentiful than Uranium, creating demand for thorium also solves diffuses the Chinese economic control of rare earth metals. Rare earths are plentiful in monazite sands as well as thorium and are available in the US. Right now, thorium is a radioactive byproduct that largely prevents economic extraction of rare earths. Build good thorium reactors in the US, and both energy and rare earth situations are alleviated.
macrael 3 days ago 3 replies      
Are there serious arguments against Thorium? Or is it just early stage waiting to be a bit more experimented with before going mainstream?
mtgx 3 days ago 1 reply      
This seems to be an update on the Norway story at the end:


And how come he didn't even mention LFTR?


troymc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fun related trivia:

I just read Robert A. Heinlein's first "Heinlein juvenile" (i.e. young adult) novel Rocket Ship Galileo. It was published in 1947. The rocket ship's power plant was a nuclear reactor using... thorium.

JohnRandall 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an introductory video (10 mins) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2vzotsvvkw a longer video http://thoriumremix.com/2011/ the surrounding links are worth exploring) and a summary http://cybercemetery.unt.edu/archive/brc/20120621060336/http... The important point to get is that the excitement is not just "thorium" (as the title of the thread suggests) but the reactor as well.
GiraffeNecktie 3 days ago 1 reply      
A pretty good article overall but he seems to go off the rails when he starts talking about construction costs and assumes that a thorium reactor would cost the same as a uranium reactor. My understanding is that a thorium reactor should be dramatically cheaper for a variety of reasons (no need for a big containment bubble for one thing).
sneak 2 days ago 1 reply      
Note well that you are reading an article by someone who doesn't know the difference between fission and fusion (he says that a uranium fission reaction can result in a "thermonuclear explosion").
Permit 3 days ago 4 replies      
Does anyone know how much less waste Thorium produces when used compared to Uranium? Both this article and Peter Thiel's linked article say "less", but neither are exact.
acd 2 days ago 1 reply      
Possibly Graphen coating of the metals could be used to solve the corrosion problem in molten salt Thorium reactors.

If we solve the corrosion problem we get cheap abundant energy with little to no nuclear waste and little to no material which can be used to make weapons of mass destruction.


nwh 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'd be much more comfortble seeing resources going to improving solar and wind power. Storage of waste is always going to cause massive issues.
Kronopath 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those interested, here's a TEDx talk about liquid fluoride thorium reactors and how they could be used to power a moon colony:


joss82 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could someone please open a kickstarter for a new thorium reactor design and construction?

I'll gladly contribute to the initial cost (probably billions) just to get a lifetime of free and CO2-efficient electricity.

Couldn't this way of funding bypass most "big firm" inefficiencies and legacy cruft, just as SpaceX did?

tripzilch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't one rather frame this debate not as "proponents vs opponents" but as "scientists trying to figure out what is actually the case and hopefully inventing better nuclear power in the process"?
CurtMonash 2 days ago 0 replies      
I took a nuclear engineering class in 1975. In essence we discussed three reactor design ideas:

1. Water, pressurized or otherwise.
2. Gas-cooled.
3. Molten-salt.

The big problem with molten salt was that you sent it through a whole lot of pipes. Hence, the physical plant that would get radioactive was much bigger than just the core of a water-based reactor. Also, you just had to deal with a whole lot of radioactive sludge.

A huge advantage was that the thing couldn't lose coolant and melt down; a catastrophic failure would amount to the molten salt sinking into the earth below.

It seemed at the time that if any major change would be made, it would be to HTGRs -- high-temperature gas reactors. But it also seemed as if the true "best" idea was molten-salt.

JohnRandall 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a full, frank discussion of the use of thorium in a LFTR http://www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/79398/kirk-sorensen-de...
The nice thing about this item is that there's a transcript. For example, "Why thorium, not uranium?" Well the technicalities are explained (thermal vs fast reactors).
slacka 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to help raise public awareness of this issue, sign the petition on the We-The-People website
to preserve U233 used to make LFTR reactors.

More info can be found here

peasoup 3 days ago 4 replies      
This Nature article throws some cold water on the claims that thorium isn't very useful for making weapons.


Unfortunately the article is paywalled.

Something really scary is going on in Germany martinweigert.com
330 points by gorm  9 days ago   152 comments top 37
durbin 9 days ago 3 replies      
Belgian papers sued Google a few years ago over similar uses of their content. It sort of backfired on them when google stopped crawling their pages. The internet and Google are more powerful than the German print media. http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2011/07/18/belgian-papers-a...
richardjordan 8 days ago 1 reply      
This ultimately comes down to the fact that newspapers are going out of business because not enough people want to buy them any more, and they're lashing out in desperation.

I think there's a simple argument with content and markets that all of these media companies disingenuously ignore. If no-one is prepared to pay for your content then the market rate for your content is, by definition, zero. We pay in two ways - direct purchasing, and delivering surplus attention beyond that required to consume the media, which can be redirected towards various forms of advertising. When you cannot run your business on advertising revenue alone it means that not enough people are giving enough surplus attention of enough value to cover.

This argument about the "inherent value" of one form of content or another - of the need to pay artists or creators, or in this case journalists - doesn't extend to other realms. If I decide I want to be a carpenter, I cannot build a table and demand someone buy that table for $1,000. If the market won't bear that price for the table then the government isn't going to force others to pay me $1,000 because I feel that's what it's "worth".

The market rates for all forms of media have plummeted due to there being more supply of attention-draining media than there is demand either in terms of hard-dollars in direct payment, or surplus attention to be redirected towards paid advertising (and its ilk).

When old media companies had a stranglehold on distribution because paper production and distribution was expensive, or video production costs were prohibitive, only a small elite were able to publish their opinions, and the monopolistic distributors were able to charge a premium for the limited access to information or entertainment they provided. They weren't paid well because they provided an outstanding product (though it often was), they were paid well because they limited supply. Those limits are gone. Many many people produce entertainment and informational content. Many do it just for fun and are happy not to get paid. Many more do it with the hope of getting paid anything without the expectation of the lavish salaries and expense accounts of journalists of old.

This undercuts their economics and doesn't even touch on the fact that the newer voices often offer media that is more attractive to younger audiences. Not to mention declining quality of the product in many cases. Many media companies as they've become bloated monstrosities have undermined their own product quality with short-term-profit-focused decision making which had long term harm.

Is it really the case that piracy accounts for all problems in a record industry where the giants spent the pre-Internet-boom '90s crushing independent labels, monopolizing market channels and creating a modern-day payola system on radio where programming was rigidly sliced and diced to the lowest common denominator? Is none of the loss of popularity of the New York Times down to their abandoning their predominantly liberal subscriber audience during the Bush years and being guilty of mis-leading story after mis-leading story in the build up to the Iraq War, destroying people's confidence in their role as a reliable neutral arbiter?

tl;dr The publishers referenced by the OP aren't happy at the market rate for their product and services and want government to rig the market to pay them a cushy wage. Such subsidies rarely save industries in the long term, and the public should be outraged - because legislation of this sort is a public subsidy on a privileged elite in no uncertain terms.

netcan 8 days ago 2 replies      
I'm very disappointed with Europe. There is a trend of idiotic legislation drafted, & voted on by people who don't really understand the implications. They just don't understand the internet & technology enough and/or aren't smart enough. It' embarrassing.

The other recent example was/is the brain-dead UK/EU cookie law. Is our privacy any more protected? No. All we got was some dumb generic "cookie policy" popups that we have to "agree" to and further balkanization of the web. Additional costs to having a website (are there any scaremongering companies offering auditing to make sure your website does not expose you to legal risk?). Disempowering people by raising the barrier to running a site.

All downside. No upside from any perspective. We can't even blame lobbies or interested parties because literally nobody got anything positive from this. Just pure stupidity.

They should have know better than this.

schabernakk 9 days ago 3 replies      
To be fair, there were a few positive/neutral articles, for example by Frank Rieger, a popular member of the Chaos Computer Club, in the FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) but they are in the minority.

Of course, there is the obvious ignorance regarding technical facts like: "robots.txt is from the stone age. On or off for everyone is the only possibility" [1] which reminds me a lot of the discussion we had some time back regarding internet filters. But the one thing I find really dangerous is that they (meaning major newspapers, politicians, etc.) managed to spin the story so that the narrative is now "greedy google" vs hard working journalists. I applaud google for their efforts (and I am fully aware of their commercial interests in this matter) but I slowly begin to think they did their cause a disservice. If a discussion takes place its always about google and their lobbying. The extend of this law which could lead to bloggers being sued (btw: a side effect of the very fuzzy written law which leaves a lot open and almost certainly will need a court to decide on the details) when they link to news articles is almost never mentioned.

One last thing: Recently, two big news newspapers had to shut down and that print sales are declining is nothing new. I cant remember the last time I bought a newspaper and I am also pretty sure that although blogs/twitter/whatever are a good addition they cant replace classical media. There is definately a need for the discussion for new sources of incomes for classical paper based medias as ad sales from their online publication wont cut it. Perhaps something like a "culture/media tax/flatrate" as we currently have with the GEZ (for the financing of the public tv stations)? I dont know, but the #lsr is certainly not the way to go.


morsch 9 days ago 1 reply      
Step 1: Make Google pay for including you in search results.

Step 2: Force Google to include you by demanding something like search engine neutrality.

api 9 days ago 1 reply      
If they succeed they will simply remove themselves from the discourse and accelerate their obsolescence.
sdoering 9 days ago 1 reply      
As this site is nearly down, I add my thoughts as a comment here as well:

Well, some media (FAZ) did a pretty good job, letting Frank Rieger explain the "Leistungsschutzrecht". OK, even there, it was one article of many. And only one.

And what is new, when it comes to the press not publishing anything, that goes against their own agenda. Even across a lot of publishing-houses. Well nothing new under the sun.

What is really, really bad, is the fact, that the law is so fuzzy, that everyone quoting from another source might be potentially liable. This law is so bad, because it just might kill the independent voices. And I think there might be a reason for this.

Because the press oftentimes has no incentive to dig deeper, to ask critical questions, when it comes to the really important questions, this job is left for the independent voices, that do this out of a feeling of necessity. But if these voices are silenced through fear...

... well, I think you get the drift. And I know, this sounds a lot like conspiracy - and I am not saying, my thoughts come anywhere near the truth, but I just wanted to share the thought.

Just one example: The so called "Netzsperren" (blocking sites, because of content with filter-lists - aka censorship) were reported by the big media as being bad, after a lot of independent bloggers had written about it and the discussion just could not be "ignored" any longer.

ChuckMcM 9 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting and sad. I don't know if it is possible but I am wondering if such a law could include an 'opt out' policy. Something which said to search engines and the like that they are allowed to snippet your articles.

Then have Google turn off indexing of everything that doesn't have opt-out enabled.

My expectation would be that the opt-out publications would flourish and the ones who had opted "in" would quickly die or decide to join the "opt out" group. I can't imagine anyone looking at their referrer links would think this scheme was a "good" idea.

mtgx 9 days ago 3 replies      
This is why Germans must vote for Pirate Party at the next elections.

Oh, and I've noticed Twitter shows snippets from websites, too, now, so this will affect them as well.

danmaz74 9 days ago 1 reply      
I'm very curious to know how they would determine how much Google should pay, and how to distribute that money to the different publishers.

Anyway, I think that Google, if the law is passed, should refuse to pay and stop publishing news from publishers from Germany (there are always still Austrian and Swiss newspapers for German news).

css771 9 days ago 1 reply      
Why is it that every time that something like this happens, Google is the only tech company that comes forward with a message? Doesn't having a free and open internet benefit any other company?
lenni 9 days ago 1 reply      
FWIW, I've written to my member of parliament [0], expressed my dissatisfaction and asked him to oppose the law. He wrote back saying hat his parliamentary party is already opposing this law but for slightly different reasons: It won't increase the quality of journalism and will just create a flood of lawsuits. Lastly it is far too vaguely phrased as to not have grave side effects.

The changes of the opposition are slim though as there is a conservative majority the parliament.

Interestingly, he has a personal axe to grind with Axel Springer AG as he was a big part of the student movement of '68 which was so intensely vilified by said company ("Youth in the street - Germany going down the drain ...").

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Christian_Str%C3%B6bele

kleiba 9 days ago 0 replies      
Frankly, I can understand the publisher's point, but I'm surprised that they do not seem to see how this could backfire if Google simply stopped crawling their sites.

But what's more: I think if this law became a reality it wouldn't affect my personal web usage at all. News sites are about the only type of website left where I still type in the URL and go to the page directly instead of doing a search.

boboblong 8 days ago 5 replies      
Here are a few points to consider:

1) The notion that the systematic clipping of one or two sentences from every news story you can find on the Internet for the purpose of selling ads is "fair use" is totally absurd.

2) The "robots.txt" argument misses the point because the publishers never gave permission to use their content, so the presence of an "opt-out" mechanism is irrelevant. The mechanism must be "opt-in", i.e., Google must ask to use their content.

3)If we believe that intellectual property has become an obsolete concept altogether, we should be prepared to accept all of the consequences of this, e.g., a site might pop up using a new TLD that accepts a search query from a client, passes it on to Google using a spoofed IPv6 address, and passes the result back to the client. We also shouldn't care about plagiarism, trademark infringement, etc., because the Internet has clearly made these concepts obsolete and laws related to them unenforceable.

yk 9 days ago 1 reply      
IANAL but trying to read the law, it seems to be a rather blatant lex google.[1] They specifically state "search engine or similar services" should be prohibited from (in an extreme interpretation) linking to newspapers, if they do not pay. ( The rest of the law is probably just redundant, since it seems to reimplement copyright for a small subset of already copyrighted material.)

[1]http://dip.bundestag.de/btd/17/114/1711470.pdf (German)

[EDIT: spelling]

jhund 9 days ago 1 reply      
The bigger trend to this story is that information changed from something that was scarce to something that is now abundant.

What the German publishers don't seem to understand is that their once so valuable and scarce goods (information and news) are becoming less and less valuable. Looks like they are trying to defend a dying business model with legislation.

Herbert Simon said in the 70s: “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Google is a major dispenser of attention, and I think the German publishers are doing themselves a huge disservice by making it harder for Google to send attention to the publishers.

The big unresolved issue is: how can we finance good journalism in an era where the value of static information approximates zero very quickly? Maybe the answer is in moving away from static information to an information process as the product... Something that can't be copied easily.

mmariani 9 days ago 1 reply      
neumann_alfred 9 days ago 2 replies      
From the first comment on that:

"What's wrong with newspapers being paid for the content that they produce? No one has to use their headlines if they don't want to pay for it."

What about fair use? Does that exist in Germany? I'm a quote geek for example. I love collecting "favourite quotes", giving a source (link if possible). I started out with the general quotes everybody knows, but of course I also copy and paste from the web in general, and sometimes I actually type what I read in a book, and translate it to English. Man, I even love talking about it. I love quotes.

Now, I consider that "fair use", and since I do it mostly in English the noobs left me alone so far. But I don't even know if there is such a thing as fair use in Germany... any ideas?

conanite 8 days ago 2 replies      
It would seem that Google could quickly kill this law by de-indexing all the relevant newspapers, right now. Why are they waiting?
sherr 9 days ago 0 replies      
The Economist talked about this a week ago in an article :

"Taxing times
As newspapers' woes grow, some are lobbying politicians to make Google pay for the news it publishes"

Not necessarily the end of the world (see Brasil) but might not have the intended consequences :


R_Edward 9 days ago 1 reply      
Is there no such thing as Fair Use in German copyright law?
dschiptsov 9 days ago 0 replies      
They should google ''Wyatt's Torch'' before voting.
Tichy 9 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this a case for the internet bat signal? I must admit I still haven't included it on my sites, mostly because last time I looked they only provided JavaScript hooks making my site vulnerable to their site being hacked. Perhaps they have an API by now?
b1daly 8 days ago 0 replies      
I think the intuition behind these proposed laws is that Google has become so dominant in providing the information substrate of society that it should be subject to regulation as a monopoly. The argument would be something along the lines that search works best when provided as one comprehensive resource. Therefore, as a natural monopoly it should be regulated for similar reasons that other utilities are (electricity, water). The publishers are trying to make a case that their product has value as a "public good." Classical economic theory says market forces alone will produce a sub-optimal supply of a public good with out regulation.

Something like that. It's not a totally implausible argument. It does seem notable to me that Google is able to extract value from content that the creators can't.

zwieback 9 days ago 0 replies      
Technology generally finds a way around poorly written laws but I think there is a real underlying problem. Google News has become its own thing now. The headlines, snippets and icons I get from a variety of newspapers is often enough to skim over the day's news and I only click on maybe one or two stories for more in-depth reading. I think a way for Google to charge news sources and for news sources to charge Google both make sense but they have to be developed by willing participants, not by legislators.
opminion 9 days ago 1 reply      
which is why the law proposal, called “Leistungsschutzrecht” (hashtag #lsr), is currently being discussed in the German Parliament

Next time a German native speaker tells me his loves his mother tongue because of the possibility of concatenating words together, I will point them to that hashtag.

cdooh 9 days ago 0 replies      
Do they really thing this will stop the continuing decline of their newspapers?
EGreg 9 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sure some lawmakers have heard of robots.txt, so what is their rationale?
hso9791 8 days ago 2 replies      
The proper term for pushing this law is "rent-seeking". You must include our content, and you must pay us for it.

This is a general problem with people and businesses perceiving themselves as working for society. They cannot see the wrongs they cause - because it's all for an even better cause.

German newspapers can use robots.txt and obey the social contract of the web like the rest of us.

ripperdoc 9 days ago 2 replies      
Why is this topic so complicated? A Google news snippet very rarely would suffice for a user, if they are interested they would click through, if they are not, they would not visiting the newspaper anyway. Google are not showing ads in Google News, although they might show them in search results. But still, no profit that newspaper could address is being taken by Google. In fact, Google is providing traffic.

So taking all the philosophical statements out of the way, what is the econimical case that the newspapers are making? If Google actually showed a bigger part or the whole articles, they'd obviously be taking revenue from newspapers, but it's not the case.

EGreg 9 days ago 0 replies      
I think our decentralized streams protocol should solve this kind of thing.

Basically RSS with push and access controls. You subscribe to a feed and get pushes / pulls as long as you are paying it. Why isn't there a standard protocol for this on the web?

bijant 5 days ago 0 replies      
what is really scary is not the proposed law but the public relation campaign google is mounting against it.
It is a (very likely) unprecedented internet lobbying effort involving not only googles advertising network, but also a link on google.de (no longer visible).
To a casual observer, watching the short youtube clip or reading the campaign slogan "Willst Du auch in Zukunft finden, was Du suchst?"("Do you want to continue to find what you're searching for ?") it could seem like the government was trying to shut down google search.

It seems like a scary prospect to think of the ways google, a private company, could start to use its unparralled reach to lobby for legislation in its favor around the entire globe.

daniel-cussen 8 days ago 0 replies      
The reason newspapers are sacrificing their credibility for money is quite simply because they're running out of money faster than they are running out of credibility.
ommunist 9 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing scary, they just are aiming carefully to shoot their own buttocks with some good German schrapnel. If there will be no readership for them, they will not be able to sell ads and die in 3-5 years, depending on long term contracts. And this is a good thing. Since you can use free Russian and Urdu headlines for free! Oh, I forgot to mention Chinese.
travisjtodd 8 days ago 0 replies      
This is rather interesting that it would be coming from Axel Springer. As someone involved in the Berlin tech scene I've seen them really investing a lot of money in innovative events and companies. My guess is there is some typical corporate disconnect there. I doubt this makes it through the legislation.
Shorel 9 days ago 1 reply      
I will put a contrarian point of view (just for the sake of discussion):

The law is good because Google can afford to pay and the hordes of blogspammers can't.

Therefore Germany will be the first country without blogspam.

Zash 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is scary? I expected Nazi zombies!
IPython gets $1.15M funding scipy.org
326 points by kkuduk  3 days ago   93 comments top 22
olefoo 3 days ago 4 replies      
IPython notebook is actually one of the most interesting developments not just in the python world, but in computing generally. It's the first step towards the fully graphical shell on the internet that many of us have been looking for, whether or not we realize it.

Being able to weave together text|markdown, tabular data (in almost any format you want) and images ( whether from matplotlib, raw captures, or synthetic assemblies ) in one environment is very powerful.

I suspect that with some additional tools IPython notebook will become the integrators workbench par excellence, useful in many contexts.

tdfx 3 days ago 1 reply      
I was lucky enough to find IPython early on when I started with Python. I'm constantly amazed with its feature set. Some cool things I found useful:

The "run" command for running python scripts:

* -t to print timing information

* -p to print profiling info from profiler module

* -d run the script under pdb interactively (with -b to set line breakpoints)

* -n to set __name__

All of these things can be done fairly easily on their own, but doing it through IPython makes the output so much easier to read and work with.

Whenever I'm working with data I need to visualize, I like to use:

  ipython qtconsole --pylab=inline

to get a terminal-like window that has inline graphs from matplotlib functions.

3amOpsGuy 3 days ago 4 replies      
IPython is extremely useful.

I like the qtconsole feature but i find it less than perfect to install:

1. pip install ipython
2. <system package manager> install qt4
3. pip install pyside / qt4 bindings

The better feature, for me anyway, is the notebook interface (it starts a local web server and gives you a rich web guy, somewhat like a Mathematica idea of interactive notebook editing with inline charting etc.)

But, that's a whole other bunch of dependencies that aren't in scope when installing ipython.

Not sure of the best fix, offer ipython and ipython-full-stack on PyPI?

Apreche 3 days ago 6 replies      
Why does IPython get all the love? I tried it out back in the day, but it was not very impressive. bpython is much better, but doesn't seem to get as much attention.
yen223 3 days ago 1 reply      
That grant is well deserved. IPython is easily the most useful Python tool I have ever used.
opminion 3 days ago 1 reply      
The notebook interface is the natural generalisation of the REPL, and has the potential of being reused and copied by other languages (clojure, JavaScript) just as, in offline form, it has been used in Mathematica and Racket for years.
aaronbrethorst 3 days ago 2 replies      
What's IPython?
stefanu 3 days ago 1 reply      
You can try IPython (shell) and IPython Notebook (web interface) online with Wakari at https://www.wakari.io - platform (with all popular Python scientific libraries installed) that lets you run multiple Python sessions and access them online anywhere. It also allows IPython Notebook sharing - you can share your workflow.
nimrody 3 days ago 8 replies      
I would be wonderful if we could re-use the notebook interface for other language - Octave, Julia, R, Ruby.

(Would also be nice if building ipython on OS X was easier!)

winter_blue 3 days ago 1 reply      
When will we hear about PyPy getting a similar amount of funding?

It's a great project, and lack of funding has prevented them from delivering on Py3k.

speg 3 days ago 2 replies      
This might be a silly question, and perhaps not the place for it, apologies in advance.

Love iPython, except for one thing I can't seem to figure out.

  print "Hello World"

hit up arrow to recall previous line, press ctrl+a to try and jump to the beginning of the line but instead my cursor jumps to a new empty line on the right side of the screen?

What is going on?! I don't get how this split is supposed to work and it always throws me in it when I least expect it. I just want to do a simple edit to my previous command :(

RaSoJo 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the awesomest news for the day.
It is so much more than a tool purely for the scientific community. I use it for quick fire data analytics codes all the time. Especially when coupled with pandas and matplotlib. pandas can output data in a tabular format directly onto the HTML notebook.

If creating forms on the same was a bit more simpler, then it would be biggest boon to a data analyst since excel sheets...dare i say.
It would lead to quick fix applications, rapid prototyping for reporting applications. And it can be hosted and shared directly: http://nbviewer.ipython.org/

rd108 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations, guys. Excellent work and I love Ipython :)
JacobIrwin 3 days ago 0 replies      
hand-written thank you from me is going out tomorrow to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (http://www.sloan.org/contact-us/)
rayk 3 days ago 0 replies      
It was great to click through and learn that the funding was a grant. With that kind of a number, I thought they had raised a VC round - not that companies working on open source projects is bad, but it is always nice that they don't have to worry about a business model.
slykat 3 days ago 2 replies      
I really wish there was an equivalent of IPython in Ruby; it's one of the tools I miss the most from python.
benhamner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thrilled to see this. IPython Notebook has become my go-to tool for data munging and analytics. I look forward to seeing the IPython team take it to the next level.
account_taken 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised Python doesn't get more in return. Google, Pinterest, Disqus, ... all these guys have buku funding and use Python heavily. Why not show Python some love? Make the VM up to par with V8.
hanula 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic news, IPython deserves it and can't wait what they will deliver next.
petergx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome news! ipython + notebook is amazing.
tomrod 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ip12 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations, well deserved
"Office Space" creator Mike Judge shooting new HBO parody of Silicon Valley deadline.com
324 points by sweis  7 days ago   115 comments top 20
minimaxir 7 days ago 1 reply      
> "Silicon Valley is set in the high tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success."

This could work.

rpm4321 7 days ago 2 replies      
If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend Judge's 2009 movie 'Extract' with Jason Bateman of Arrested Development.

It sort of inverts the Office Space formula and shows the sometimes taxing, even soul-crushing nature of entrepreneurship.

It seems to follow the pattern of Office Space and Idiocracy in being panned by critics and ignored by audiences at first, and then quickly developing a cult following and being recognized as pretty brilliant.

tomhallett 7 days ago 0 replies      
Mike Judge and the other writers stopped by our offices at Tout.com (startup in SF) and were asking us about startups and being a developer. We told them about meetups and open source stuff. Probably won't affect the show, but it was fun talking to them and seeing they were really into it.

Here's him asking about ruby: http://www.tout.com/m/t0x6dh

judge drawing on one of our desks: http://www.tout.com/m/q8ppc1

here's the full stream: http://www.tout.com/hashtags/MikeJudgeToutHQ

cochese 7 days ago 0 replies      
Athough Mike Judge's projects haven't always been a commercial success, everything he's been involved in has been damn entertaining. I'm really excited to see how this turns out.
jakerocheleau 7 days ago 1 reply      
He also made Beavis and Butt-head, which is just as classic compared to Office Space IMO.
fruchtose 7 days ago 1 reply      
This reminded me of the Vooza webseries [1]. Some of their skits are corny, but I think they show that there is potential for a good startup oriented series.

[1] http://vooza.com/

flxmglrb 7 days ago 1 reply      
He has to track down the person who originally came up with the status code "PC LOAD LETTER" and give them a cameo.

He has to.

jblock 7 days ago 0 replies      
This sounds amazing and 80% of the comments in this thread just sound bitter.
Apocryphon 7 days ago 0 replies      
He made the Goode Family, which was short-lived but from most accounts, terrible. Hopefully he'd be able to grasp SV culture as much as he did in Office Space, and not miss it by going after typical caricatures of San Francisco.
mrslx 7 days ago 0 replies      
I expect it would be more realistic than Randy Zuckerberg's show.
pdufour 7 days ago 2 replies      
I hope this gets past a pilot episode.
j45 7 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. That's great. There is a Santa. :) Can't wait.
firefoxman1 6 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the "Office" episode where "Wuphf" is a Silicon Valley startup spoof. In Ryan's "profit" projections[1] he's asked about his plan for revenue, and he replies:

"First rule of Silicon Valley, you think about the user, the experience. You don't think about the money, ever."

[1] http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wmzwXd31Rw8/UI6hLHjRvnI/AAAAAAAACK...

joonix 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's all over now. SV can only become a parody of itself.
Jitle 7 days ago 0 replies      
I would be beyond content if this was nothing more than 30 minutes of the Start-up Guys [1] with Mike Judge creating buzzword fusion words for company names.
[1] http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6507690/hardly-working-sta...
kintamanimatt 6 days ago 0 replies      
Any idea when this might air?
iambrakes 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm confused, isn't Bravo already airing a parody of Silicon Valley?
anmol 7 days ago 0 replies      
oh my. this has the potential to be soo great.
xfernandox 6 days ago 0 replies      
"fuckin' a"
w1ntermute 7 days ago 3 replies      
They should get Ashton Kutcher involved in this, he's one of the few actors who has actual real-life involvement in Silicon Valley (he's already doing the SJ biopic).
DuckDuckGo Terminal Emulator duckduckgo.com
320 points by Mithrandir  9 days ago   100 comments top 37
zanny 9 days ago 0 replies      
The ASCII duck as a variable in the source is wonderful (trimmed to fit a HN comment):

+syyyyyys:.-:syyyyyyyyyyyyyy. -yy.
:yyyyyyy- .yyyyyyyyyyyyyy:` `:yy/
`ysyyyyy/` `/yyyyyyyyyyyyyyysssyyyo ``..--..`
-ysyyyyyyyyyyyyyyo::::::-.`` ```...----
:yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy/ ``..--------------.``
`ysyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy/ ````````
osyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyo `.-`
:yyyyooosyyyyyyyyy: `-/oss+

pirateking 9 days ago 1 reply      
Using this felt similar to using the Github Launch Bar[1] for the first time.

Something about having a command line interface really makes it feel like you are communicating deeply with the software, as opposed to poking around its surface in arranged flows. With a command line the interaction is different - it is exploratory with freestyle flow composition, and that can be really fun.

Modern graphical interfaces combined with a means to freely manipulate data and compose commands seem to be quite rare. I have always wished to have a full command line accessible in RPGs inside the game's menu system, so I could script some tedious things.

[1] https://github.com/launch

bluethunder 9 days ago 4 replies      
I think this might be more useful the other way around.

Put ddg inside a linux shell and let me interoperate with linux commands.

eg. ddg reviews samsung note | grep "note 2"

gburt 9 days ago 1 reply      
They need to distribute /usr/bin/ddg, a binary that lets me search like this.
mwhite 9 days ago 2 replies      
If the world were full of people who were interested in optimizing their computer interfaces this way, all websites would support a mode of operation like this and there would be a framework for the end user to pipe them to each other like the unix pipeline.

Let us make it so!

growt 9 days ago 0 replies      
Been there, done that :)
tree_of_item 9 days ago 2 replies      
I'm hoping that Github and DDG convince more websites to have some kind of command interface, as it's really my favorite mode of interaction.

I get that the current look is the stereotypical "hacker" style terminal, but none of my terminals have such a small font or high contrast coloring :(

Ctrl + doesn't seem to increase the font size, either.

tremendo 9 days ago 2 replies      
> :why Because Devdas uses vimperator with Google?? I don't think they mix well.

and I had to disable vimium in order to use this one. they don't mix well...

a3_nm 9 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to have access to this by telnetting (or sshing) to duckduckgo.com.
ChuckMcM 9 days ago 1 reply      
Nice. Now all we need is image search that returns the images as ascii art!
antoncohen 9 days ago 1 reply      
Is this any more useful than a normal web search?

Google Search (with Instant Search enabled) has had keyboard navigation for a long time. After you hit enter on a search, hit tab and you can navigate the results with your arrow keys. And when you go to Google's homepage your cursor is automatically placed in the Search box, so you can search Google with only a keyboard.

wyck 9 days ago 0 replies      
What I really like is that these commands work: http://duckduckgo.com/goodies

This includes returning images, for example type this "qrcode http://ddg.gg/ into the cli.

ps. !Bang tags don't seem to work though.

aGHz 9 days ago 1 reply      
I tried leaving some feedback but apparently "Sorry your feedback could not be send[sic] :-( Please try again."

Would be awesome to have a command like _ that opens the first result in the last batch.

Otherwise, kudos, this is amazing!

ygra 9 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this more of a shell than a terminal emulator?
ch0wn 9 days ago 0 replies      
I love stuff like this. Clearly targeting hackers is certainly a good idea.

I can't use this in Chrome on my tablet, though, because I can't open the keyboard.

shmerl 9 days ago 0 replies      
In :help it says:

'pronounce castle' to pronounce a word (say castle). (uses [:0] http://www.forvo.com/)

When you type pronounce castle however - it searches for it, and doesn't pronounce anything.

yolesaber 9 days ago 1 reply      
I was pleasantly surprised to see that CTRL + L worked perfectly.
d0m 9 days ago 0 replies      
The feedback feature seems broken:

>> :feedback my@email.com "my feedback" (I also tried without the ")
"Sorry your feedback could not be send :-( Please try again."

I love it. I really do. Congratulation and keep up the good work with ddg!

Toenex 9 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone remember Google shell [http://goosh.org/], similar idea.

Now what I really want is an xterm that can render HTML/CSS. That way I can interleave my unix dweebry with outputs that use a modern display language.

kristopolous 9 days ago 0 replies      
His name is Gabriel Weinberg and I am continually impressed. I wish I had a chance to work for him.
kamaal 9 days ago 1 reply      
There was some news a few days back that DuckDuckGo was shutting down!

Where does this leave us. What is happening at DDG?

EDIT: Sorry, I read shut out as shut down!

tzury 9 days ago 0 replies      
frozenport 9 days ago 1 reply      
I really like this, but there needs to be a better way to navigate to a page. The pop-up scheme is blocked by my browser. Perhaps, a iframe with the terminal becoming a header similar to Google image search? Maybe using Links?
cainetighe 9 days ago 3 replies      
In addition to the mixed content issue on Chrome, I've pushed out a fix for the tab completion component. It too inherently suffers from mixed content because our autocomplete server only does HTTP at the moment.

Please let us know if you see anymore issues.

mixedbit 9 days ago 0 replies      
Great and fun! Anyone else tried to close the search tab with Control-D?
tta 9 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a chrome extension [1] to load this for every new tab.

[1]: https://github.com/timothyandrew/DuckDuckGo-TTY-Homepage

wikwocket 8 days ago 0 replies      
I typed 'exit' when I was done exploring. I'm not sure if I expected this to close the browser or what. :)
McKittrick 9 days ago 0 replies      
very cool. now i feel compelled to go burn 6 hours in http://telehack.com/
RexRollman 9 days ago 0 replies      
I like it! Nice work.
zhouyisu 9 days ago 0 replies      
Why I can't click links?
abdullahkhalids 9 days ago 2 replies      
It doesn't search for 'google'. Nothing pops up.
zdayatk 9 days ago 0 replies      
It's fantastic. Google should implement their own tty emulator immediately.
xguru 9 days ago 2 replies      
I need vi mode!
coffeeyesplease 9 days ago 0 replies      
love it, love it
and gonna use it
morefranco 9 days ago 0 replies      
really cool, love it already
RaSoJo 9 days ago 1 reply      
i need an instruction manual
boksiora 9 days ago 0 replies      
Show HN: Analytics.js â€" The analytics API you've always wanted github.com
310 points by ianstormtaylor  3 days ago   67 comments top 21
alexatkeplar 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a cool idea for a project! The closest equivalent I'm aware of is Qubit OpenTag (https://github.com/QubitProducts/OpenTag).

I'm interested in adding SnowPlow support to this (https://github.com/snowplow/snowplow) - our tracking API is very similar to Google Analytics's.

We've just gone through the quite involved exercise of mapping SnowPlow to Google Tag Manager (http://snowplowanalytics.com/blog/2012/11/16/integrating-sno...) so I was a bit surprised in the code to see this mapping for GA events:

    track : function (event, properties) {
window._gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'All', event]);

I'm a bit confused by this - how would I use analytics.js to pass through all the valid data that I can log in a GA event or indeed SnowPlow event - https://github.com/snowplow/snowplow/wiki/javascript-tracker...

I think you might be making the assumption that events consist of an event name plus arbitrary JSON envelope. This is a very MixPanelish view of the world - it doesn't really translate to Google Analytics, Piwik, SnowPlow, Omniture...

dudus 3 days ago 8 replies      
Google Analytics has a new api currently in beta that is also called analytics.js. This will be confusing.


hayksaakian 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's ironic that HN can simultaneously abhor[1] and applaud[this] progressive invasions of privacy on the internet.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4907609

bluesmoon 3 days ago 2 replies      
How does this script impact the performance of a site?


1. It includes code to load up various analytics tools even if you never use them. For example, if I only use GA and Mixpanel, do I really want to serve the bytes for all the other plugins to my users? Maybe it would be useful to only package the JavaScript that a certain site needs.

2. The script still blocks the onload event. See this post for a way around that: http://calendar.perfplanet.com/2012/the-non-blocking-script-...

3. How does having multiple analytics solutions on a page affect the load time of that page?

Lastly, I couldn't tell from the docs how to call methods before the script has finished loading. Is it similar to GA's method queue pattern?

sudonim 3 days ago 0 replies      
Happy to be supporting this project at http://customer.io . A lot of folks who use other tools want it to be easier to send the same information to everyone. Thanks guys for helping us all play nicer together.
stdbrouw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hm, I seem to recall Google used to ban third-party wrappers in their Terms of Service, but I can't seem to find it in the ToS anymore â€" so either they've softened up or I have a faulty memory.
tarr11 3 days ago 3 replies      
I was hoping that this would be an open source version of Google Analytics.
karolisd 3 days ago 1 reply      
For event tracking, how does

analytics.track('Purchased an Item', {
price : 39.95,
shippingMethod : '2-day'

translate to Google Analytics?


How many properties can you have?

bluetidepro 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks awesome! One thing would be nice on the demo/landing site is to maybe add screenshots of how your examples translate in Google Analytics or the others. Like karolisd mentioned in his comment, I would like to see how that stuff translates or what it looks like in the respective apps. Again, great work! :)
mediascreen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just remember that using email addresses as UserId string, like in the example, is against the Google Analytics terms of service.
spaetzel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome, I was thinking of writing something like this, but you took the idea and made it much more powerful than i was planning.
donohoe 3 days ago 0 replies      
If this covered Omniture I'd be over the moon...
madoublet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool. But, I was kind of hoping the library would pull data from Google analytics to use for charting and stats within an app.
Hovertruck 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! There's a few bugs in the Chartbeat implementation. Expect a pull request soon! :)
vtuulos 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great library! I know that a number of companies have created a wrapper of their own exactly for this purpose.

We could contribute integration to https://bitdeli.com for those who want to build their own analytics. Is it enough to add a new provider to availableProviders?

novaleaf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Three words: Google Tag Manager.
rossta 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing. A useful improvement could be a build step that supplies only the metrics snippets that I want so I don't need to deliver to clients provider code I'll never use.
mguterl 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using analytical with our Rails backend which seems to achieve something similar:


davidradcliffe 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was just creating something like this for my project. This is great!!
karthik_ram 3 days ago 0 replies      
You didn't include gaug.es
benhamner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Web analytics just got meta
Pokemon Yellow hack recodes the game from within tasvideos.org
309 points by Luc  7 days ago   53 comments top 21
apawloski 7 days ago 3 replies      
This is a great example of Bratus et al refer to as a "weird machine" [1], in which an attacker uses crafted input to create a new and unexpected computational environment. That is, by using special input, the attacker manipulates pieces of the target program to act like a CPU that processes "weird commands" (ie more special inputs are used as assembly instructions that run on the weird machine).

Anyway, there is a rising field ("language-theoretic security") that studies this phenomenon. If this Pokemon example interests you, then you should give it a look.


MichaelGG 7 days ago 1 reply      
Note that a key part of the hack requires the hardware to reset while a save game write is in progress. This causes the file to have invalid data -- an inventory list count is set to an "impossible" value.

Then, within the game, the invalid-length-list is used to overwrite other arbitrary locations, including a function pointer to an update procedure. Once that's overwritten he can jump to his own code and it's "game over" as in, he completely controls the hardware.

But from what I can see, it wouldn't be possible without the initial hardware resetting during a write. Not that it diminishes the awesomeness, it'd just be a bit purer if it was a software-only hack.

jamesmiller5 7 days ago 2 replies      
"This script walks from the Viridian City pokemon store to Oak's Lab in the most efficient way possible. The walk-thru-grass function guarantees that no wild battles will happen by manipulating the game's random number generator."

I've noticed similar behavior before in the Fire Emblem series.

VonGuard 7 days ago 1 reply      
If you're really into this, spend some more time on tasvideos.org

The guys that do these tool-assisted speed runs are incredible. One fellow plays 4 Mega Mans all at once with a single controller doing input for all 4 games at the same time.

This Pokemon hack is insane, but was inspired by a guy who uses it to beat the game in around 2 minutes. That particular speed run abuses the fact that everything in the game has a simple identifier. So, what he does is inserts a warp point into his inventory, drops it in front of himself, and walks through it to the end of the game.

flixic 7 days ago 3 replies      
One more aspect to this is how the game becomes interesting because it has bugs, not because it is bug-free.
CKKim 7 days ago 2 replies      
Fascinating. I always wondered if this sort of thing was possible when I noticed as a child that pressing multiple buttons at the same time on my parents calculator made the screen show stuff that wasn't actually real numbers (things like a 2 with a part missing, etc.). Likewise seeing which buttons on the VCR have precedence (e.g. if I hold down "play" and press "stop" then what happens? And vice versa?). I always assumed the device wouldn't be designed comprehensively to handle all possible inputs like that, so there was a chance some of them would allow you to do funky unintended stuff.

Given the complexity and freedom of access that a videogame has, I'm not surprised that this hack is technically possible, but it is very impressive that someone's managed to do it!

lutze 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is really clever. Figuring out the first bootstrapping program with such a limited instruction set must have been a pain though.
Almaviva 7 days ago 4 replies      
The next step is to find a vulnerable seam like this in the real universe.
minimaxir 7 days ago 1 reply      
If you're interested in seeing what happens when you really want to hack the game though glitching/RAM abuse via cheat codes, check out this Let's Play of Pokemon Blue.


JonnieCache 7 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many job offers this guy's going to get from security companies over the next 24 hours...
pepsi 7 days ago 1 reply      
His blog post goes into a little more detail about the actual "code" that runs than the forum post


kanzure 7 days ago 0 replies      
Or you can just rewrite the game from source code :)



(Red is fairly close to being the same as Yellow. But there are definitely differences.)

bbq 7 days ago 0 replies      
Now I might get stuck reading the author's blog all day: http://aurellem.org/

The Cortex project they having going is stellar and there are some great examples of Clojure-java interop.

brennenHN 7 days ago 0 replies      
It's hilarious how much the My Little Pony reference derailed their conversation and excitement about the awesome hack.
dools 6 days ago 0 replies      
So am I correct in my understanding that this sort of hack is made possible only because the Gameboy uses an 8080 derived chip with Von Neumann architecture? ie. if it used a Z8 (or any other Harvard Arch chip) it wouldn't be possible to "bootstrap" like this?
mwally 7 days ago 0 replies      
Just another reminder that anything is possible.

For those that are wondering if something like this is possible outside of computers/video games, I would recommend a study of Lucid Dreaming. If brain hacking is possible, this has to be the best method of entry into the system.

shocks 7 days ago 0 replies      
I have nothing but admiration for people that do this.


Roelven 7 days ago 0 replies      
Holy f this completely blew my mind
teeray 7 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, that's how you beat the game...
gailees 6 days ago 0 replies      
Beautifully done.
chii 6 days ago 0 replies      
wow, this is amazing.
You Are Naturally Short Housing thezikomoletter.com
300 points by soundsop  4 days ago   202 comments top 19
lotharbot 4 days ago 8 replies      
Broadly speaking: you are not "investing" in any market if you only own the amount you intend to use or consume for yourself. You are only "investing" if you own (or have contracts on) more than you intend to consume.

For example, having a few bananas in your fruit bowl does not give you a position in the banana market. Owning thousands of bananas you intend to resell, or shorting a banana company, gives you a position in that market.

Likewise with housing. Owning enough housing to live in (at whatever standard of living you intend) is a market-neutral position, so you should not be particularly excited by price changes in the market. If you own too little housing, you're "short" and price raises are a negative, and if you own excess housing (extra properties, or a larger-than-desired property) you're "long" and price raises are a positive.

benjaminwootton 4 days ago 4 replies      
I'm surprised we don't see more discussion of house prices on sites such as this. In my opinion it is THE issue affecting our generation.

Specifically for HN, the high cost of housing severely restricts entrepreneurship. If you are paying 50% of your income on a rent or mortgage, you are of course less likely to start a business, and the cost of doing that business in terms of employees salaries and commercial rents make it less viable.

Also consider that your suppliers, and their suppliers, and their suppliers ad infinitum, all have the same high costs ultimately derived from high housing costs for their employees.

This all adds up across the country and the whole economy is made less competitive and agile as a result. With lower housing costs there would certainly be less unemployment.

The sad thing is that the even intelligent people are duped into believing the myth that high house prices are good for them. Clearly lower prices mean more disposable income, which is usually a good thing? Clearly high house prices barely benefit anyone as we all need a house, and the next house you buy would likely have gone up by a greater price than the one you have now? And yet we persist - 'we MUST get on the housing ladder' and we blame those nasty banks because 'they aren't lending any more' when all they are doing is scaling back lending multiples from the absurd back to the ridiculous.

All that high house prices achieve is to keep young people into debt serfdom, keeping us on a treadmill servicing massive mortgages for the same bricks our parents bought for 20% of the price. We really could be out doing something much more worthwhile.

Edit - you may wish to read this to put the madness of this credit bubble into perspective:

csallen 4 days ago 12 replies      
I know next to nothing about trading. But it's become apparent to me that some of the core concepts/terms in trading (long, short, hedge, liquidity, futures, cover, etc) are very useful for modeling things in other walks of life. So, trading-savvy HNers: Are there any books, websites, or habits that you'd highly recommend to help a newbie become familiar with basic trading concepts?
brandall10 4 days ago 2 replies      
"If house prices rise, the value of your house (the hedge) increases but so does the cost of shelter."

What about the ability to rent? As demand for purchasing housing goes up, demand for renting typically goes down (ie. either levels off or regresses). Sure over time both go up, but at a particular slice of time, usually on a cost of living basis one is advantageous over the other. And while you're renting at a cheaper cost than it would be to essentially rent money (let's not kid ourselves, you don't own a house if you have a mortgage), you have liquidity to place in other investment vehicles.

Small observation... maybe there's something to it, maybe not, but it seems I'm 2/2 on calling when market swings happen here in downtown San Diego over the past 10 years. Take a look at the delta in rental prices in properties in various classes and compare verses actual selling prices. Just like a P/E for a company, if you can't at least turn a profit on owning a piece of property as a rental, it is likely overpriced. As much as people love to talk about various market factors much of this is emotionally driven.

For instance, last year I observed an entry level condo complex in a marginal area rent 1 beds in the $1800-1900 range. The latest comps for that building were $150k for like properties. About 5 blocks away 1 beds in a luxury high-rise were renting in the $2200-2300 area. Comps? High $300k. At the height of the market comps for the luxury high-rise were in the mid $500k area and the marginal property were in the upper $300k area. Back when that was happening, the luxury high-rise unit was renting just shy of $2k. The marginal unit? About $1400. I took another 4-5 other buildings in the area of varying quality and this trend was intact. To be fair this is a small, insular market and these swings are largely driven by speculation from the bubble-tastic situation many overheated markets found themselves in (ie. people owning and flipping multiple properties found the bottom of the market being rented cheaply).

dxbydt 4 days ago 4 replies      
Wtf?! Yes you are short housing...then u buy one...prices go up... you sell the damn thing...at which point you become short again...but with that extra money you can cover your short and come out ahead in a different market.
It isn't like gold in that the prices are fairly constant across markets. If my house in the bay area goes up 30% i sell that and relocate to illinois you can bet i will cover the short and come out ahead since home prices in illinois lag ca by a good 150-200k.
tomasien 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is true, you can't sell your house and then NOT have shelter. What older people can do is sell their house and then move into an apartment and gain financially from this transaction, assuming they don't live for many many more years.

However, if they do they "lose" on the transaction: and this proves the "covering a short" nature of the transaction.

Wonderful piece.

paulsutter 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is an extremely long-winded way of saying that rising house prices are only good for owners who want to move to a smaller house.

The article misses that rising house prices can also be good for a person who intends to move to a place with cheaper housing.

Net net: rising prices good for near-term retirees and rental property investors, bad for almost everyone else.

robryan 4 days ago 2 replies      
What about if you get to 60, sell your house and use the money to rent for the rest of your life. In that case you might have higher short term costs as well but to you can stay in short term as you will likely not need a house for long enough to make long term more economical.

Also housing markets in different places don't move in unison so there is some room to trade markets and turn a profit.

Not sure any of this effects the point of the article though.

kjackson2012 4 days ago 2 replies      
My parents bought their house 25 years ago 250k and sold it for 1.5m. Now they are renting a 2 br apt for 1500/month. Their housing cost will be roughly 25k/yr and they are millionaires. The idea that the article talks about how you can't be long the housing market is just dumb. His analogy doesn't work and to say that you can't benefit from house prices going up is dumb.
jameslin101 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you are "naturally" short housing because you need it, can't you could make the same case for all hard commodities and stocks in companies that produce all your future consumption needs?
mmphosis 4 days ago 1 reply      
Depending where you live there are alternative shelters. The alternatives are not for everyone, and they are usually not "easy", but there are advantages and disadvantages to not owning (a house) and to not renting.
bitteralmond 4 days ago 3 replies      
Can someone please translate the trader jargon out of this article?
jessepollak 4 days ago 1 reply      
Question, what if you own a permanent shelter and then buy/rent/lease another (or multiple) shelters as an investment. Would you still consider that shorting the housing market?
ash 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to be overloaded. I had better luck with (Coral) cached version: http://thezikomoletter.com.nyud.net/2012/12/10/you-are-natur...
roel_v 4 days ago 1 reply      
- Author fails to make the distinction between two aspect of owning a house: for shelter and as an investment. These are two, although related, distinct aspects.

- Author fails to acknowledge that the point of making money an a house ('using it as investment') hinges on not rising prices, but prices that rise faster than inflation / COL, and/or inflation being above the mortgage rate the house was financed with. So no you're not 'just covering a short position', you're covering a short position and going long at the same time, with the same vehicle. But this is of course where the analogy falls apart. I posit that his analogy is unhelpful in understanding the role of a house in personal wealth management.

hans 4 days ago 0 replies      
this can't be good, that hedge funds are currently buying up housing in a huge way, moving into rentals especially, going long housing, expect a rent grip like no other in the next 3-5yrs :



hayksaakian 4 days ago 0 replies      
It'd be great if my parents understood this concept.
They always seem excited to sell their house when prices go up, and plan on buying a new one in a couple years after buying the first.
polskibus 4 days ago 1 reply      
I found the author's style engaging and simple enough for the broader audience. I'd like to see more of this, perhaps continuation of the thought and description of mortgage backed bonds and CDOs ?
stanfordkid 4 days ago 1 reply      
what about renting vs. owning? Can't you arbitrage between the two. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/28/business/28leonhardt.html?...
Gmail.com was down mail.google.com
299 points by sethbannon  5 days ago   300 comments top 106
sold 5 days ago 3 replies      
A tweet by The Onion:

[In Focus] Google Shuts Down Gmail To Show Its Immense Power http://onion.com/UxyLs8

jamesmoss 5 days ago 43 replies      
Is this affecting Chrome as well? Looks like it might be a bigger problem. It just crashed for three guys in our office within a few seconds of each other.

Edit: Nobody was using Gmail at any point.

ck2 5 days ago 6 replies      
I've been on it for the past hour without a problem.

It must be server/account specific.

meaty 5 days ago 12 replies      
Probably not the time to rub people's face in it, but I host my own mail server because of crap like this.

Thread from the other day:


prawks 5 days ago 2 replies      
Error 502 (Server Error)!!1

Is the 1 intentional?

midas 5 days ago 2 replies      
I love google products (and I'm not worried about my email for a second), but their explanation is really bad:

"The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."

It sounds like something an airline might say after bumping you to another flight!


EDIT: Thanks @mpeg for pointing out that this is a different outage. Still yucky copy though.

lawdawg 5 days ago 0 replies      
Its fixed for me now.
tokenadult 5 days ago 0 replies      
What is with the URL on this submission pointing to the URL any user of Gmail would use to access their account? Could the curators please change the submission URL to a source that shows reliable updated information?
crb 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is now an post for this outage on the Google Apps Status Dashboard:

"We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly."

cientifico 5 days ago 0 replies      
I really hate when the browser crash in the middle of a
FiloSottile 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have a new yellow notice on top of Gmail.

"NovitĂ ! Le app Gmail per dispositivi mobili sono appena state aggiornate su Google Play e nell'App Store di Apple. Ignora"

Translated: News! The mobile Gmail apps have just been updated on Google Play and App Store.

I wonder if this is related...

arscan 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm having trouble too... the plain HTML version works though: http://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=html
kibwen 5 days ago 1 reply      
Seems to work in Firefox, for anyone who needs to urgently access their Gmail. Still down in Chrome for me (Error 502), though it's not crashing the browser.
martinced 5 days ago 1 reply      
GMail is working fine here (France) both my personal email and my professional email. No Chrome crashing. Linux Debian 64 bit.

I use different browsers (in incognito mode), from different user accounts, to surf the web / do online banking / browser hacker news etc.

No plugins, no "sync" (heck, I don't even know what that "synch" for Chrome is), no issues.

joshz 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oh that's what happened. This is a pretty unexpected oversight from a company that tests their software so extensively to have browsers crash because an email service/sync service is down.
kyllo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Everything has downtime, folks. Everything.
gprasanth 5 days ago 2 replies      
Ok, I would like to take this opportunity to ask something about HN.

What if, say a month later Gmail.com goes down again. Then, how do I submit another post to HN? I mean wouldn't I be redirected to this one?

vxxzy 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this post has anything to do with it: http://www.elezea.com/2012/12/google-calendar-lost-data-secu...
robbiet480 5 days ago 1 reply      
Murkin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Strange, we got Youtube crashing chromes on all our Ubuntu machines
jpdus 5 days ago 0 replies      
No chrome crashs here (beta channel, sync enabled, germany, gmail tabs open), but Gmail was down too.
ig1 5 days ago 0 replies      
Feedburner has also been sporadically returning temporary errors over the last hour. Looks like it's a google infrastructure problem.
stcredzero 5 days ago 0 replies      
My Chrome did not crash, yet I am logged in with Sync. Instead of keeping Gmail in a Chrome tab, I use Fluid app to make Gmail into a "desktop" app. Seems to still be up. Others can use the same workaround by opening Google apps in Firefox and Safari.
statictype 5 days ago 1 reply      
Gmail for Business works from my imap client (postbox) but not from the web site. So I guess their web interface is down - not the backend mail engine.
JeremyMorgan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oddly enough I was on Gmail and Chrome kept crashing. Did all the usual stuff, cleared everything, restarted etc. Turns out, for me at least, the only time it crashes is when I go to Gmail.com.

I'd really love to investigate and find out why these two related products behave this way but honestly I'm way too lazy.

AshleysBrain 5 days ago 0 replies      
...and it's back up here now - must've only been down 10 minutes or so! (But Chrome just crashed again)
TallGuyShort 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been having luck with mutt. Looks like their POP / IMAP servers are running better than their webapp.
nsoldiac 5 days ago 0 replies      
First updates from Google's App Status Dashboard:
lisper 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to be back up now. At least it's working for me.
eitally 5 days ago 0 replies      
Both my apps and personal account are down.

<edit> an both are back at 12:17pm EST</edit>

RegEx 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome crashed 3-4 times in a row trying to access Gmail. This was on Windows, and I was logged into Google Sync.
AshleysBrain 5 days ago 0 replies      
...and it's back up here now - must've been down 10 minutes or so!
JeremyMorgan 5 days ago 0 replies      
My Android phone sends and receives just fine. It seems like a web related issue, and Chrome is likely just relying on communications with the server
normalfaults 5 days ago 0 replies      
Gmail is down and children are in the street weeping!
mey 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google Now also appears to be having issues (at least for me).
vondur 5 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't get into Google Docs either. Must be something going on.
jmsduran 5 days ago 0 replies      
Gmail is down for me too.
nsoldiac 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's back up now.
EDIT: went down again...
nsoldiac 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome just crashed on me for the first time. Gmail has been up and down a few times already the last 30 mins.
GotAnyMegadeth 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome has crashed twice for me in the last 2 mins...
rdl 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome Sync is crashing my Chrome every minute or so.
dysoco 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google Plus is down for me now.
dutchbrit 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if it's linked to that calendar bug?
w1ntermute 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's working intermittently for me.
AzAngel 5 days ago 0 replies      
Been on Chrome for about 50 minutes, was on Gmail at the beginning of that. The only thing that was crashed was the chat on Gmail. Have not had a single problem with Chrome.
nicholasjarnold 5 days ago 0 replies      
Gmail and all Google services are working for me using Chrome 24.0.1312.35 beta-m. I did have a 502 error for about 5 minutes, but it didn't crash the browser.

edit: typo

nsoldiac 5 days ago 3 replies      
Awesome, on my birthday...guess people were sending me too many bday emails!
silasb 5 days ago 0 replies      
I noticed that none of my comments in my google document saved after I recovered from the crash.
Shenglong 5 days ago 0 replies      
And it's back up.
Fletch137 5 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely no problems with any Google services (Drive, Mail, Calendar, Search) for me (Northwest UK).
BarkMore 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome crashed for me as well.
eclipticplane 5 days ago 0 replies      
I seem to still be able to send & receive mail via my sync on iPhone, and it seems Outlook Sync for Biz Apps is running fine. gmail.com only?
techinsidr 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to be working fine from Chicago...
jeepey 5 days ago 0 replies      
I can easily live with a few minutes of downtime for my mail, but they should fix Chrome and other platforms being dependant.
desireco42 5 days ago 0 replies      
It happens to the best of us :) is all I can think of
engineerhead 5 days ago 0 replies      
The chrome crashing can be stopped if you disable Synching. Means disconnect your Google Account from Chrome
cadr 5 days ago 0 replies      
On the plus side, the little broken robot drawing on their error page is cute. It is no Octocat, but hey.
Ironlink 5 days ago 0 replies      
Haven't had a single problem, using both my Apps account and my Gmail account. Stockholm/Sweden, Firefox.
sai163 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome crashed for the first time for me, when i tried refreshing the gmail.com page multiple times.
JeremyMorgan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome is now trending on Twitter lol
Sherrilbfx 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hey guise I'm in Chrome right now, and it's working just (&$(&#(*&# )#
mkolodny 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's working fine on Safari, albeit a little slowly. This seems to be Chrome specific.
supun 5 days ago 0 replies      
My Chrome crashed as well while trying to load gmail. But in firefox gmail is working.
ved_a 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome crashing due to failed sync problems with google servers and gmail is down.
barrkel 5 days ago 1 reply      
pop.gmail.com is not, and that's how I get my mail.
namank 5 days ago 0 replies      
Been working for me fine on Safari and IMAP
jbranchaud 5 days ago 0 replies      
The internet is awesome! This kind of collaborative trouble-shooting is epic!
dutchbrit 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's back up here
erock 5 days ago 0 replies      
Play store is down for me too, crashed hard on my phone about 5 minutes ago
vxxzy 5 days ago 0 replies      
a thread from earlier.https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4898496

Speculation that it is happening to many users.

squid_ca 5 days ago 0 replies      
Gmail is working for me in FireFox. In Chrome, it is still crashing.
gigamike 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome is crashing for me without even a gmail tab open. Curious...
propercoil 5 days ago 0 replies      
crashes by itself with a 502 error on ubuntu. The chrome doesn't crash though
jontro 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's back up for me now
iambrakes 5 days ago 0 replies      
Same problem here. All other Google services seem to be fine.
iag 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow that's amazing. #1 news on HN already? This is pretty cool.
ing33k 5 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome didn't crash, but gmail is down for me
Nursie 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seems fine to me...
hierro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to be up again for me (connecting from Europe).
isaacjohnwesley 5 days ago 0 replies      
Few more days for 21 December, Mayan calendar. :P
w_t_payne 5 days ago 0 replies      
... and it's back.
loganfsmyth 5 days ago 0 replies      
Gmail work for me but chat isn't connecting.
luk3thomas 5 days ago 0 replies      
Working for me on Mac, but not in windows
potench 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm getting a 502 Bad Gateway error.
pradeep89 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ops, something is broken - India
felipebueno 5 days ago 0 replies      
My Chrome crashed several times as well
frankyurban 5 days ago 0 replies      
It seems to work fine now.
Amaan 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's working for me now.
AlexHadaya 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've just reloaded chrome twice as well as gmail and it's working fine here in Australia.
binarydreams 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am disappointed.
BitMastro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Working here on Chrome
francesca 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google is down again
santimt 5 days ago 0 replies      
Up and running now
jahansafd 5 days ago 0 replies      
went down for me. need to get work done. oh god.
foxhop 5 days ago 0 replies      
google drive also same issue
rcoh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Working in FF....
goodguy44 5 days ago 0 replies      
Even my chrome is crashing, switched to firefox a while ago.
mostlygeek_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
Works now!
natefriedman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Error 502
koalaman 5 days ago 1 reply      
and... they're back.
alexakarpov 5 days ago 0 replies      
aaaaand it's back )
zwx 5 days ago 3 replies      
time to switch to outlook.com
ihdavis 5 days ago 0 replies      
zombie day is upon us.
travisp 5 days ago 1 reply      
Given the massive scale of Gmail and the infrastructure of Google, it's highly unlikely that the entire audience of Hacker News sitting and pressing F5 every second would hurt Google's ability to bring it back up.
Ray Kurzweil joins Google kurzweilai.net
294 points by dumitrue  1 day ago   153 comments top 19
cs702 1 day ago 4 replies      
Thanks in part to the popularity of his books, movie, and speeches, Kurzweil now knows pretty much every AI researcher in the planet, and we can safely assume he's aware of even very obscure research projects in the field, both inside and outside academia.

Joining Google gives him ready access to data sets of almost unimaginable size, as well as unparalleled infrastructure and skills for handling such large data sets, putting him in an ideal position to connect researchers in academic and corporate settings with the data, infrastructure, and data management skills they need to make their visions a reality.

According to the MIT Technology Review[1], he will be working with Peter Norvig, who is not just Google's Director of Research, but a well-known figure in AI.


[1] http://www.technologyreview.com/view/508896/what-google-sees...

GuiA 1 day ago 4 replies      
Saw him give a talk promoting his latest book last month, was heavily disappointed. Ideas are presented in a way to fit nicely together, but ultimately lack any depth or critical insights. I recall someone calling it "creationism for people with an IQ over 140"; it's a fair description.

It's a shame, he's brought many great contributions to our field, but I fear he has jumped the shark a while ago. Maybe going to Google will force him to work on solutions to problems of which the correctness can be more easily assessed.

waterlesscloud 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's seemed pretty clear to me for some time that Google's real mission is AI/singularity oriented and everything else is just a step along that road. It may not be what the day-to-day view is in the trenches, but it seems like the high level plan.

A hire like this one certainly reinforces that perception.

I don't know if it's truly possible to accomplish, but it's fascinating to see a major company taking steps in that directions.

brandall10 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm somewhat surprised there are comments debating what use he could be to Google or what interest they might have in him - Google is one of the primary backers of Singularity University. They already have a working relationship. Now he's an employee. Don't get how this could be a stretch.

Singularity U as far as I understand is not really there so people can more quickly get to the point of uploading their brain to the cloud or anything - it's essentially for business strategists who want to have a better grasp of where things will be in 5-10+ years out. If the Goog believes strongly in the Kurz's ability to do this then it seems like a pretty nice score for the Goog.

6ren 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's as if you took a lot of very good food and some dog excrement and blended it all up so that you can't possibly figure out what's good or bad. http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/douglas-r-hof...

I see what DRF means, and The Singularity is Near did seem mostly a perfunctory literature review, with important issues not discussed, just skimmed over. (For example, he doesn't discussed the causes of accelerating returns, doesn't support the causes with data, only the effects. Another example: is it necessarily true that we are intelligent enough to understand ourselves? We're effective when we can something decompose hierarchically into simpler concepts... but what if there isn't such a decomposition of intelligence? i.e. the simplest decomposition is too complex for us to grasp. Hofstadner asks if a giraffe is intelligent enough to understand itself.)

But I thought he supported his basic thesis, that progress is accelerating, compellingly. Really did a great job (seems to be the result of ongoing criticism, and him finding ways to refute it).

jonmc12 1 day ago 1 reply      
Given Kurzweil's age and stated goals, I'm thinking there is no way he is going to Google unless they are investing in life extension / prevention of death.

Read between the lines - "next decade's ‘unrealistic' visions" - is likely nothing less than brain computer interfaces with the end goal of extending life by storing the entire human mind on a machine. Certainly not far off from Kurweil's timelines on Law of Accelerating Returns. I can understand why the PR does not say this, but it seems clear this is where Kurzweil would want to invest his time.

dhughes 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think he's eying their massive server farm as a spot to park his brain. He just called shotgun for the Singularity.
nealabq 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's Kurzweil's motive?

He's a visionary who can deliver a finished product. I think he must have some pretty specific ideas, and he wants to partner with Google.

A few guesses:

- New interfaces to replace keyboard/mouse/touch. Voice, gesture, face, brainwaves. Sign language with humming, blinking, and pupil pointing. Works with tablets, TVs, wearables, cars, buildings, ATMs, etc.

- SuperPets (r) that can pass the Turing test. And do the shopping.

- Surgically implanted Bluetooth. (It could literally be a tooth!)

- Hover skateboards.

- The Matrix. (Or the 13th Floor, which was a better movie in my not-so humble opinion.)

I don't think it'll have to do with life-extension though. That's just too crazy far out-there.

dinkumthinkum 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The problem is, and I don't want to be mean about it, is that Kurzweil is a crackpot and charlatan. This is not to take away from his intelligence or his technical achievements, which are indisputable. However, even Nobel prize winners can be outright crackpots and crazies (Nobel disease).

I don't know exactly what Google's motives are here, I suspect it's something less than actually bringing about some of his, let's say, loftier ideas.

michaelochurch 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder how the blind allocation process will treat him. His domain expertise is AI, but he didn't do any of that At Google, which means it doesn't exist. So is he going to have to spend 18 months maintaining a legacy ad-targeting product while the 26-year-old Staff SWE next to him works on its replacement? How is he going to handle that?
nonsequ 1 day ago 3 replies      
Can anyone shed some light on what 'Director of Engineering' might mean at Google? It sounds rather unassuming for a person of his stature.
ilaksh 1 day ago 3 replies      
I wonder if this will be a wake up call for some of the people who think his predictions of super-human AI are a joke.

I mean even if you don't believe in the Singularity, you must believe in Google, right?

zephjc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Google continues its move towards the ad-driven singularity.
pbw 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems sad, I'd like to see Kurzweil form another startup and get bought by Google, rather than go work for them. I assume he could self-fund something, I don't how his hedge funds are doing.

But maybe he's been there and done that, and wants mucho resources from day one. Maybe the AI space has grown up and it's hard to start up companies now, you need the resources and big data sets to do anything significant? Or he's just after the free lunches.

samskiter 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is the real let down prediction:

In 2008, Ray Kurzweil said in an expert panel in the National Academy of Engineering that solar power will scale up to produce all the energy needs of Earth's people in 20 years.


scarmig 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if his political/visionary/famous aspects played a positive, negative, or neutral role in the hire.
nnq 19 hours ago 0 replies      
gotta love this guy:

> 1%... you're pretty much finished... try that with product submission schedules [1]

...so now we know who to blame for future Google product delays.

[1]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zihTWh5i2C4

EDIT: added the source link

TommyDANGerous 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Google will build Skynet, and Skynet will take us over.
joey_muller 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, Google's stock should rise on this news. Many folks may not know Kurzweil keyboards (for music), but they are excellent. I can't wait to see where he leads us next.
23andMe raises $50M, cuts price to $99, sets goal of 1M genotyped customers 23andme.com
293 points by joecackler  4 days ago   230 comments top 34
dsplittgerber 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is the most obvious question being adressed in any jurisdiction yet? - Do you legally have to disclose your results to any insurance company you already have an existing contract with or prior to any new insurance contract?

By chance, I just read a typical life insurance contract and it already stated that if you have undergone a genetic testing, you do have to disclose your results if you enter into a life insurance contract >300.000€. This was stipulated in the contract and not under general German contract law. If you do not disclose your results, the company can void the contract any time and/or terminate it any time in the future.

This is going to be THE most important issue with genetic testing - the implications for your insurance contracts. Obviously, your test results can have massively positive or negative results.

tokenadult 4 days ago 3 replies      
I did a news search to see what researchers are saying recently about the data analyzed by 23andMe. One news article led me to a company blog post by a bioinformatics researcher, Gabe Rudy, "GATK is a Research Tool. Clinics Beware"


in which he applied his own industry knowledge to his updated 23andMe report. His conclusions suggest that the product needs much more work:

"I promptly sent an email off to 23andMe's exome team letting them know about what is clearly a bug in the GATK variant caller. They confirmed it was a bug that went away after updating to a newer release. I talked to 23andMe's bioinformatician behind the report face-to-face a bit at this year's ASHG conference, and it sounds like it was most likely a bug in the tool's multi-sample variant calling mode as this phantom insertion was a real insertion in one of the other samples."

. . . .

"But because GATK has been used so prolifically in publications and is backed by the Broad Institute, it can be viewed as a 'safe' choice. As small labs and clinical centers around the world are starting to set up their DNA-seq pipelines for gene panel and exome sequencing, they may choose GATK with the assumption that the output doesn't need to be validated.

"And that would be a mistake.

"GATK is as susceptible to bugs as much as any complex software. Their new mixed licensing model (free for academic, fee for commercial) is intended to add more dedicated support resources to the team. I suggest they think about adding dedicated testers as well."

So for those of us following along at home, the crucial idea is that most of the "information" that 23andMe provides paying clients has not been validated. Not only has it not been validated as to correctness of the genome analysis software (the industry scientist's observation), it has even less been validated as a clue to clinically significant disease risk for the majority of diseases that afflict people in developed countries. Pay your money for the service at the new lower price if you like, but prepared to see your personal genome results repackaged and reinterpreted for years to come before you learn anything from them that will help you improve your health.

hop 4 days ago 14 replies      
In other news, 23andMe introduced relative finder not long ago. I hadn't logged on in over 2 years after I did it with a groupon promo, but I had a public profile with my name and city. A half-sister i didn't know i had found me with matching DNA, owns a business 5 blocks away and walked over to meet me (what's the probability of that!?). Found my dad was not my biological dad and i was from the same sperm donor as my new sister. That was a weird week...
Shenglong 4 days ago 3 replies      
Just a note, especially for non-Europeans who are thinking of doing this:

I just used 23andme from Canada during the $49 A/B testing. Delivery was next-day, and other than 15ml of saliva being a lot to collect, the process was pretty smooth. They say it'll take 2-3 weeks, but realistically it took them about 4 business days to process my sample.

Unfortunately, almost all the results are for Europeans. There may not be that much of a difference between Europeans and Asians (I'm not sure), but it's worth mentioning. They also don't test for repetition induced diseases, so things like Huntington's won't show up.

sami36 4 days ago 5 replies      
If their results are accurate to a degree, why are their tests not being subsidized by insurance companies. How much would an insurance co save by alerting a patient to her chances of getting diabetes, not to mention the money the patient would itself save.
lwat 4 days ago 0 replies      
What's currently the cheapest way to get a full (99%+) sequencing done privately?
Rickasaurus 4 days ago 3 replies      
I paid in at their first $99 discounted rate (2010) and was very disappointed when they tried to demand a non-discounted new sample for newer tests about a year later. If I had paid the full $500 I would have been downright peeved.

Still, I'm glad I did it, 23andMe is a very enlightening experience. I even found some distant relatives I never knew about.

rsuttongee 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think one of the most compelling stories as to why 23andme (and other genotyping services) is amazing is Sergey Brin's:


Because of 23andme he found out early that he has a high chance of getting parkinson's disease. He now has the chance to prevent (or at least prepare for) it.

yread 4 days ago 2 replies      
Damn, I bought it 2 weeks ago!

They keep mentioning the benefits to science, but can you actually access their database as an academic?

tocomment 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was bummed to see they won't ship to Maryland. It seems Maryland thinks adults aren't responsible enough to have access to their own genetic data.
PStamatiou 4 days ago 1 reply      
For those interested, I reviewed 23andMe when it first came out: http://paulstamatiou.com/review-23andme-dna-testing-for-heal... (I always get a nice traffic spike whenever it goes on sale --- I purchased it for some $500 back in the day)
DanBC 4 days ago 0 replies      
That's great. But I'm more interested in plans in the UK to get the entire genotype from about 100,000 people (mostly cancer patients) for research.


philip1209 3 days ago 0 replies      
Minor pet peeve: When I'm paying $100 for something, I prefer that shipping be included in the price. It comes across as less of a premium service when the advertised price doesn't include the full standard service.
r3demon 4 days ago 5 replies      
Will they give my genotype information to FBI or CIA? Will they pay damages if information gets stolen? This is not some passwords or account numbers, this is data about real world which can't be changed.
PetrolMan 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is kind of funny to me because just yesterday I was talking with someone who said he would be willing to try it if it cost around a $100 bucks.
desireco42 4 days ago 1 reply      
I signed up for their service few years ago, honestly didn't get any useful info. My wife has genetic mutation that seriously affects her health, nothing in their profile is even remotely indicating (that we could see).

Overall I am pretty disappointed with data I received from their service. For example I supposedly have genes that make me risk for obesity, yet I was most of my life very skinny and in recent years gain some weight because I thought it wasn't healthy to be so skinny. So, I wonder what kind of useful into others can get, when we can't even confirm basic info. I also believe (it was a while ago) that color of our eyes was 'guessed' wrong'.

carbocation 4 days ago 0 replies      
With 1 million genotyped customers, they could probably start inferring the genotypes of many non-customers with a modest probability.
daeltar 4 days ago 2 replies      
International shipping cost is pretty prohibitive. Maybe time for lab in Europe?
wmat 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really wish 23andme would merge with http://www.familytreedna.com/

I've done both, and to be honest, FamilyTreeDNA seems more comprehensive to me.

thematt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any way to go to a real doctor and get these tests done? It would be very interesting information to have, but I don't trust a startup with it at all.
GregBuchholz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone here take part in the Personal Genome Project, and care to share?


joecackler 4 days ago 1 reply      
Blog's having trouble with the load; here's a direct link to the press release: https://www.23andme.com/about/press/12_11_2012/
Geee 4 days ago 0 replies      
Whole slew of startups should look into genetics. DNA sequencing is basically the final frontier of digitalization of the world. Look what happened with text and images, and it's now happening to everything living. Medicine is going to change.
josscrowcroft 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm still just not sure I really want to know all these things... it's just low-hanging fruit for any hypochondriac tendencies :/

But, fantastic nonetheless.

cupcake-unicorn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, looks like the announcement was pretty popular, I'm getting a 503!

Luckily I got in during the sneaky "price test" on Cyber Monday at 50 dollars, so I'm good.

gopi 4 days ago 0 replies      
How accurate are their results for non-caucasians especially non-mainstream minorities like east indians?
stevewillows 4 days ago 2 replies      
Can this speak to anything regarding Aspergers?
ciferkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting! In the past if you made an account on their site and signed up for the new letter (but never actually bought a test), after a while they would send discount offers. The last one I received was $50 off, but the tota l cost was still over $200. No I have no excuse (cost wise) not to try it.
berito 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, all done. Ordered just now from london, never mind the 79 USD shipping cost.
Next I installed their iPhone app. Shocked to see that it's gamified.
Mgccl 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is not available in New York due to state laws require them to have certain license.
socratees 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just ordered mine today.
dococtopus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just about bought one of these as a gift yesterday --- now definitely getting one!
wolfparade 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still looking for a discount. I think I'd buy at $50.
juso 4 days ago 0 replies      
great news!
Any page loaded in IE can track your mouse movements anywhere spider.io
282 points by nicksdjohnson  3 days ago   161 comments top 16
colkassad 3 days ago 2 replies      
>The vulnerability is already being exploited by at least two display ad analytics companies across billions of page impressions per month.

Who are these companies?

lini 3 days ago 0 replies      
Original Bugtraq post for those that are interested: http://seclists.org/bugtraq/2012/Dec/81
chris_wot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find it particularly inspiring that they turned this into a game. And more inspiring still that folks spent 4 hours playing the game!
scotty79 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's a shame that before releasing that to the public noone gathered few terabytes of such data and put it up on torrents.

We might learn a lot about how people use computers and UIs with such data.

alexjeffrey 3 days ago 4 replies      
While this seems like something that Microsoft should fix as a matter of urgency, I don't believe the problem is as severe as is being portrayed.

In order to get any meaningful information from this attack, you would need to know what application/website the user is currently using (or send them to it), where it's positioned on the screen and the exact layout of the subject. The interface would also have to be either mouse- or meta-key driven, which isn't a common facet for sensitive inputs (passwords, bank transfers, and private messages off the top of my head).

benologist 3 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting that this has been around for so long. What are the ramifications of leaking mouse/ctrl/alt/shift if they don't have any context about what you are clicking on?
blahpro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just to point out how ridiculous this is: you can get mouse position information from any event (fired programatically using fireEvent or otherwise). You can even get it from the "onbounce" event on <marquee> elements, for goodness' sake.
happslappy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This could be used to track entropy of encryption key generation(like trucrypt or, the new MEGA site, any site that employs mouse/key binding for entropy.)

Damn, this is FUBAR!

meaty 3 days ago 19 replies      
Looking at the holes and crocks of shit we see every damn day related to HTTP, HTML, JavaScript and the whole programming model that surrounds them, it's about time someone just shot it all and started again putting security and privacy first rather than playing whack-a-mole all the time.

Unfortunately I fear this is not possible based on the sheer momentum that this ball of sticky tape and string has.

I think the sheer number of articles that paper HN all the time over browser and protocol vulnerabilities, leaks and problems back up my assertion.

EDIT: just to add, my frustrations are based on having to spend 5 hours porting some JS code so it works properly on all browsers.

alpb 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is not correct. When I run it on IE, first it asks permission to run ActiveX controls on my browser, which I don't allow if I trust.

Then of course, it is just like Flash, it can track your mouse.

bonjourmr 2 days ago 0 replies      
This should scare customers whose bank uses a login system such as this, correct? https://online.westpac.com.au/esis/Login/SrvPage?referrer=ht...
wahsd 3 days ago 1 reply      
Kind of ironic considering Windows 8 visual/swipe password feature. Which, in general, is quite novel and interesting, albeit not very secure for various other reasons.
goggles99 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so low risk, why even bother posting it?
Zero days come out every month or two with far better attack vectors. Criminals are not going to waste their time with this rubbish.
navneetpandey 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have no problem at all, whether they track mouse movement or anything else.

You know why? because I use Chrome.

rossc1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any, any whatsoever, evidence to say that this exploit has ever been exploited?

It seems far fetched. And if your using a virtual keyboard for security... you'd be using IE? C'mon now.

abdophoto 3 days ago 0 replies      
Freaking IE. I hate that damn browser
       cached 16 December 2012 03:11:01 GMT