hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    9 Feb 2013 Best
home   ask   best   6 years ago   
1
Packets of Death krisk.org
708 points by quentusrex  2 days ago   112 comments top 32
1
guylhem 2 days ago 3 replies      
That is great HN content!

Debugging deep down the rabbit hole, until you find a bug in the NIC EEPROM - and the disbelief many show when hearing a software message can bring down a NIC.

I for one would enjoy reading more content like this on HN that what qualifies as best as a friday-night hack

2
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
Makes me wonder if this is related to in-band management? One of the interesting thing about working at NetApp, which had its own "OS" was that every driver was written by engineering. That allowed the full challenge of some of these devices to be experienced first hand.

One of the more painful summers resulted from a QLogic HBA which sometimes, for no apparent reason, injected a string of hex digits into the data it transmitted. There is a commemorative t-shirt of that bug with just the string of characters. It lead NetApp to putting in-block checksums into the file system so that corruption between the disk and memory, which was 'self inflicted' (and so passed various channel integrity checks) could be detected.

Here at Blekko we had a packet fragment that would simply vanish into the center switch. It would go in and never come out. We never got a satisfactory answer for that one. Keith, our chief architect, worked around it by randomizing the packet on a retransmit request.

The amount of code between your data and you that you can't control is, sadly, way larger than you probably would like.

3
EvanAnderson 2 days ago 4 replies      
I've always had mixed emotions about NICs that have hardware assisted offload features. I welcome the decrease in CPU utilization and increased throughput, but the NIC ends up being a complex system that very subtle bugs can lurk inside versus being a simple I/O device that a kernel driver controls.

If there's denial of service hiding in there I wonder about what other security bugs might be lurking. It's scary stuff, and pretty much impossible to audit yourself.

Edit:

Also, I'm a little freaked-out that the EEPROM on the NIC can be modified easily with ethtool. I would have hoped for some signature verification. I guess I'm hoping for too much.

Edit 2:

I wonder if this isn't the same issue described here: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=632650

4
jacquesm 2 days ago 2 replies      
Persistent bugger.

"With a modified HTTP server configured to generate the data at byte value (based on headers, host, etc) you could easily configure an HTTP 200 response to contain the packet of death - and kill client machines behind firewalls!"

That's worrisome, I'll bet there are lots of not-so-nice guys trying to figure out a way to do just that. There must be tons of server hardware out there with these cards in them.

5
jerdfelt 2 days ago 1 reply      
I ran into a similar problem with an Intel motherboard about 10 years ago.

We had problems when some NFS traffic would end up getting stalled. Our NFS server would use UDP packets larger than the MTU and they would end up getting fragmented.

Turns out the NIC would not look at the fragmentation headers of the IP packet and always assume a UDP header was present. From time to time, the payload of the NFS packet would have user data that matched the UDP port number the NIC would scan for to determine if the packet should be forwarded to the BMC. This motherboard had no BMC but it was configured as if it did have one.

It would time out after a second or so but in the meantime drop a bunch of packets. The NFS server would retransmit the packet but since the payload didn't change, the NIC would reliably drop the rest of the fragments of the packet.

Of course Intel claimed it wasn't their bug ("it's a bug in the Linux NFS implementation") but they quickly changed their tune when I coded up a sample program that would send one packet a second and reliably cause the NIC to drop 99% of packets received.

While it turned out to be a fairly lame implementation problem on Intel's part (both by ignoring the fragmentation headers and the poor implementation of the motherboard) I have to say it was very satisfying to solve the mystery.

6
wglb 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very good detective work. However, a small suggestion, given:

I've been working with networks for over 15 years and I've never seen anything like this. I doubt I'll ever see anything like it again.

This is a very excellent case for fuzz testing. My thinking is that you want to whip up your Ruby and your EventMachine and Redis going and run a constant fuzz with all sorts of packets in your pre-shipping lab.

The idea is that you want to create a condition where you do see it, and the other handful of lockups that are there that you haven't yet seen.

7
engtech 2 days ago 5 replies      
As someone who works with FPGAs/ASICs, this isn't that weird.

Everything gets serialized/deserialized these days, so there's all kinds of boundary conditions where you can flip just the right bit and get the data to be deserialized the wrong way.

What's more interesting is that it bypasses all of the checks to prevent this from happening.

Here is the wiki page on the INVITE OF DEATH which sounds like the problem you hit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INVITE_of_Death

8
0x0 2 days ago 1 reply      
So is it only the byte at 0x47f that matters? Could you just send a packet filled with 0x32 0x32 0x32 0x32 0x32 to trigger this? (Like, download a file full of 0x32s?) Or does it have to look like a SIP packet?

You'd think the odds of getting a packet with 0x32 in position 0x47f is almost 1/256 per packet? So why aren't these network cards falling over everywhere every few seconds?

9
TapaJob 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fantastic Article, Fantastic fine. Well done.

As a telecoms engineer predominantly selling Asterisk for the last 4 years and Asterisk experiance extending back to 2006 it's shocking to see this finally put right. For so many years, I have avoided the e1000 Intel controllers after a very public/embarassing situation when a conferencing server behaved in a wierd manner disrupting core services. Not having the expertise the author has, I narrowed it down to the Eth. Controller, Immediately replaced the server with IBM Hardware with Broadcom chipset and resumed our services in providing conferencing to some of the top FTSE100 companies.

Following this episode, I spend numerous days diagnosing the chipset with many conference calls with Digium engineers debugging the server remotely. In the end, no solution, recommendation to avoid the e1000 chipset and moved on.

10
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone remember the source of the quote :

  Sometimes bug fixing simply takes two people to lock themselves in a room and nearly kill themselves for two days.

Reminded me of this

11
sc68cal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not surprised - firmware for ethernet controllers have grown quite complex, with the addition of new features that allow the hardware to do more work on behalf of the kernel.

Could this be a bug in the code of the EEPROM that handles TCP offloading, or one of the other hardware features that are now becoming more common? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TCP_offload_engine)

12
noonespecial 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kielhofner is a pretty awesome guy. I met him a couple of times "back in the day" at Astricon conferences when he was hacking together Astlinux.

He was instrumental in taming the Soekris and Alix SBC boards of old and creating Asterisk appliances with them. If you've got a little asterisk box running on some embedded looking hardware somewhere, it doesn't matter whose name is on the sticker, its got some Kielhofner in it.

I live about a mile from Star2Star. I ought to pop in one of these days and see what they're up to.

13
X4 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats Sir, you've just discovered the Internet Kill-Switch!

The “red telephone,” used to shut down the entire Internet comes to mind.

You discovered howto immunize friends and kill enemies in CyberWars.

Do governments have an Internet kill switch?

Yes, see Egypt & Syria they're good examples. We know China is doing Cyberwars, they are beyond Kill-Switches.

Techcrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/06/in-search-of-the-internet-k...

Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_kill_switch

We know Goverments deploy hardware that they can control when needed. Smartphones are the best examples for Goverment issued backdoors, next to some Intel Hardware (including NICs).

14
cheeseprocedure 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been unable to reproduce this on systems equipped with the controller in question. I'd love to see "ethtool -e ethX" output for a NIC confirmed to be vulnerable.

/edit Ah, I spoke to soon; the author has updated his page here with diffs between affected and unaffected EEPROMs:

http://www.kriskinc.com/intel-pod

15
elasticdog 2 days ago 1 reply      
Before actually testing this with the real payload, is there a better way of determining if you have a potentially vulnerable driver than something like this?

  # awk '/eth/ { print $1 }' <(ifconfig -a) | cut -d':' -f1 | uniq | while read interface; do echo -n "$interface "; ethtool -i $interface | grep driver; done
eth0 driver: e1000e
eth1 driver: e1000e

16
drucken 2 days ago 1 reply      
Intruiging.

Intel 82574L ethernet controller looks to be popular too. Intel, Supermicro, Tyan and Asus use it on multiple current motherboards and Asus notably on their WS (Workstation) variants of consumer motherboards, e.g. the Asus P8Z77 WS (socket LGA 1155) and Asus Z9PE-D8 WS (dual CPU, socket LGA 2011).

18
corford 1 day ago 1 reply      
My servers all have the affected cards (two per machine - yikes!) but so far I can't reproduce the bug (yay).

There are subtle differences between the offsets I get when I run "ethtool -e interface" versus those in the article that indicate an affected card (but they're quite close).

Mine are:

0x0010: ff ff ff ff 6b 02 69 83 43 10 d3 10 ff ff 58 a5

0x0030: c9 6c 50 31 3e 07 0b 46 84 2d 40 01 00 f0 06 07

0x0060: 00 01 00 40 48 13 13 40 ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff

Output of "ethtool -i interface" (in case anyone wants to compare notes):

driver: e1000e
version: 1.5.1-k
firmware-version: 1.8-0

I tested both packet replays by broadcasting to all attached devices on a simple Gbit switch and no links dropped.

19
devicenull 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I've run into what seems to be the same problem with this controller before. We "fixed" it by upgrading the e1000 driver.
20
quentusrex 2 days ago 0 replies      
Updated with more specific info: http://www.kriskinc.com/intel-pod
21
jws 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well this hurts. I have a critical machine with a dual NIC Intel motherboard. I had to abandon the 82579LM port because of unresolved bugs in the Linux drivers, and the other one is a 82574L, the one documented in this post.

I suppose I can send just the right ICMP echo packet to router to make it send me back an innoculating frame.

22
viraptor 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's like a reverse example of a broken packet... You can see a number of interesting samples and stories in the museum of broken packets: http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/mobp/
24
Garbage 1 day ago 0 replies      
Author mentioned a custom package generator tool "Ostinato". I met the author of this tool 2-3 months back. A lone guy working on this tool as a side project. Amazing work. :)
25
spitfire 2 days ago 0 replies      
This somehow reminds me of the slammer SQL worm. A simply formed single packet caused a tsunami over the internet.

Personally, I am not at all surprised that this sort of thing exists. I'm sure there's lots more defects out there to be found. turning completeness is a cruel master.

26
grego 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had something similar in my home network, but my network foo is not good enough and I did not have to time to debug for days and weeks.

Basically one linux box with NVidia embedded gigabit controller could take down the whole segment. It would only happen after a random period, like after days when the box was busy. No two machines connected to the same switch would be able to ping each other any more after that. I suspected the switch, bad cables, etc. In the end I successfully circumvented the problem by buying a discrete gigabit ethernet card for the server in question.

27
lukego 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool!

I'm currently working on an open source project where we are chasing "hang really hard and need a reboot to come back" issues with exactly this same ethernet controller, the Intel 82574L. I wonder if it's related!

Our Github issue: https://github.com/SnabbCo/snabbswitch/issues/39

28
astangl 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems much more serious than the much-ballyhooed Pentium FDIV bug. Hopefully Intel will be on the ball with notifying people and distributing the fix.
29
sriramnrn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of my own adventures with systems hanging on PXE boot when a Symantec Ghost PreOS Image didn't boot up completely, and went on to flood the network with packets. See http://dynamicproxy.livejournal.com/46862.html
30
meshko 2 days ago 3 replies      
I have mixed feelings about the write up. I think it gets clear pretty early on that the issue is in the NIC hardware at which point it is time to stop wasting your time investigating problem you can't fix and start contacting the vendor.
31
quentusrex 2 days ago 1 reply      
It appears to work if you send the packet to the network broadcast address. Quick way to detect if any of the machines are vulnerable(they won't respond to the second ping).
32
anabis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great diligence!
I had 1G hubs lockup with Intel 82578DM.
I was too lazy track it down, so I just dropped the speed to 100M, which made it work.
2
Civilized Discourse Construction Kit codinghorror.com
703 points by sosuke  3 days ago   269 comments top 82
1
judofyr 3 days ago 11 replies      
Judging from the beta (http://try.discourse.org/) it doesn't seem to provide anything new in terms of managing a civilized discourse. The structure of the posts is very similar to regular forums; the only difference being the explicit replies, but they almost do more harm than good in the current implementation (it's just an expandable <blockquote> and doesn't really help me understand the context).

What I want from a "civilized discourse construction kit":

- Build it for a real community and try to make it work within that community.

- Make it possible to close threads, write summary for threads, group threads together, explore a topic. In general: Don't make the threads all about real-time, but rather focus on how they can be useful in the future.

- Bring more structure than linear comments, but less complexity than threaded comments.

- Encourage longer responses.

There was recently a good thread on Reddit about this: http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/171xod/the_joys...

2
bonaldi 3 days ago 3 replies      
Oh dear, this is what I feared from The People That Brought You StackOverflow: Numbers everywhere. Thousands of tiny icons, all alike.

Stackoverflow seems to me to be a giant case of post hoc ergo propter hoc. "We made a site driven by points and numbers and rules and gamification and it was success, therefore it was the numbers and gamification that did it". No, SO was a success because the tech world was gasping for a forum that wasn't a) mailing lists or b) expertsexchange. That's all. That's why the majority of their non-tech sites have bombed.

If Discourse is a success it will be because phpBB is hideous, not because of any merits shown here. A better model to ape would have been the truly successful community sites -- think the Well, or Metafilter. Flat. UI that gets out the way.

Humans are superb at managing conversations, tracking threads and managing state. It's how forums manage to be so good despite phpBB and the like. Let the humans get on with it. Get out the way.

3
tomdale 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been beta testing Discourse for a few months now, and can tell you that this is going to have a huge impact on how we have discussions online.

Jeff Atwood has more insights into how humans communicate in an hour than I do in a year. Those insights are built right into the software, and I think that will help many communities take off that would otherwise collapse under the weight of trolls and apathy.

On a more selfish note, I'm excited to have an open source Ember.js app available from two of the best JavaScript developers in the world"Robin Ward and Sam Saffron. It's a great resource for the Ember community. If you haven't yet, make sure you head over to GitHub and check out what a modern Ember app looks like.

4
lukev 3 days ago 8 replies      
Modern forum software is much-needed, so I'm glad to see this out there.

But does the design feel incredibly busy to anyone else? So many little icons and buttons, and I can't move my mouse without tooltips and popups everywhere.

5
MatthewPhillips 3 days ago 10 replies      
If the goal of this is to supplant vBulletin and phpBB, it has to be written in PHP, period. A non-programming community is not going to deploy a RoR app, they're going to FTP some files into the hosting they just bought from GoDaddy.
6
peterjmag 3 days ago 3 replies      
I cringed when I saw infinite scrolling as the first feature they're highlighting on the landing page. I expected it to completely break back/forward navigation (a la returning to your home page feed on Facebook or Twitter). However, I played around with the demo a bit, and I was pleased to see that they've somehow solved that problem. I'm still not a huge fan of infinite scrolling in general, but this looks like a significant improvement.
7
tomjen3 3 days ago 6 replies      
Wait this thing is written in Rails?

Just a few days ago Patio11 mentioned that the only good thing about the recent security issues was that Rails didn't have an app similar to wordpress that would be installed everywhere and never updated.

And now, this.

8
ayanb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Purely from a code standpoint, this is a pretty awesome repository to browse if you want to see how rails, redis, sidekiq, postgresql, pg's hstore, ember.js all tie up!

Gemfile gives a pretty good overview - https://github.com/discourse/core/blob/master/Gemfile

9
pacemkr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been administering a vBulletin forum for 8 years or so. Let me tell you, this is a great idea.

Just yesterday, I was evaluating a bunch of forum software and came out empty handed:

The OSS forum scene is just depressing, some of the more popular packages still use tables for layout. I themed a table based layout (vBulletin 3.x) once, _never_ again.

The paid packages are just full of shit no-one needs. vBulletin is basically social networking software at this point. These things are so complicated only geeks, and I say that with love, can possibly figure out how to use them. It's a pissing match between competitors.

However, no import (as far as I can tell) means I can't move over to Discourse. And, in your FAQ, you actually suggest that I shouldn't move. I think you underestimate how much hate I have for forum software.

As a developer, Jeff, what I really want is SO self-policing features, as a service that I can use in other products. Discourse is nice and all, but I want to build something more than a forum.

10
jere 3 days ago 1 reply      
>Why break conversations into awkward and arbitrary pages, where you have to constantly find the Next Page button? We've replaced all that with the power of just-in-time loading. Want to read more? Just keep scrolling down.

While I like this for viewing lists of threads, I'm not sure it's a problem that needs solving within threads. Maybe it's just a symptom of my confused mind, but I actually like reading a few pages of a really long discussion, then coming back later to read more. Here I come back to the top and hell if I'm going to try to remember where I was.

I no more think paging needs to go away than I think chapters in books need to go away. Or pages in books, obviously.

11
Lagged2Death 3 days ago 0 replies      
Forum software is often clunky and old-fashioned graphic-design-wise, and its search features often are broken, and I'm sure it's not a barrel of laughs to moderate or administrate.

But what specifically about the user interaction and user experience is wrong about old forum software that is corrected in this new platform? The sandbox forum is very nice looking but does it operate much differently from old-school stuff? Ultimately I'm looking at a list of topics sorted by how recently they've been updated (and there doesn't even appear to be a way to change that order).

12
nikcub 3 days ago 2 replies      
This looks great. I recently went through the decision making process with a client and they settled on getsatisfaction for now but would probably love something like this.

I'd be interested to know how they came to the decision to use Rails. The goal here seems to be an application that is easy to deploy across PaaS/IaaS platforms such as AppEngine (no Ruby support atm, mentioned on the website though), AWS, Heroku as well as self hosted/installed.

All the apps in this space (behind the firewall, self-installed) to date have been either PHP (Wordpress, PHPBB, SugarCRM etc.), Java (Atlassian, Jive, Zimbra) or .NET (Telligent, FogCreek, vBulletin)

The only Rails app I can think of is Redmine (oh, and Diaspora).

PHP is easy to deploy while a lot of businesses are already running either Java or .Net. It may be more difficult to get Rails deployed, but then again having a simple virtualization or PaaS target could change that.

13
jeremysmyth 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been playing with this for the last 20 minutes, and there are things I really like and things I don't like.

The good: It's got a lot of the automatic things that make Stack Exchange a pleasure to use - conversations slide into place nicely, infinite scrolling feels nice and new, and updates to conversations happen while you're watching.

The bad: The front page is already very noisy, and it's only in test mode. I expect that with time, the only way to use this properly will involve creating "channels" with tagging or filtering.

There are two major problems with this outcome. Firstly, if users select their own "channels", it becomes a reinforcing cycle where each "channel" (or "room") is only exposed to its own conversation. This is largely what happened with USENET (and to a degree what happens with subreddits), and while each one might be good if it stays small, if it doesn't it'll end up being as noisy as the front page. If managed well, on the other hand, I expect that the prettiness of conversations as they are now will follow nicely into each channel.

The second problem with the noisy front page is that as with every other general purpose discussion site with a front page, there will be a race to the bottom, where everything that makes it to the front page will be about grumpy cats or hot girls.

Maybe my criticisms stem from the very nature of discussion forums (look at the cycle of slashdot, digg, reddit etc.), but I don't see this tech fixing that problem like Stack Overflow claims to have solved the Q&A problem. I'd like to think it will though.

14
mnicole 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any differences between this and Vanilla (http://vanillaforums.com/), which has an abundance of community-created add-ons (http://vanillaforums.org/addon/browse/plugins) and the ability to really customize the forum to however you want it? I'm on a board that uses it, and we've been able to integrate inline private conversations into public threads, multi-user private conversations, the ability to draw a post instead of write one, etc.
15
jiggy2011 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's great that they are offering this as a thing you can actually download and put on your own server or rent from a commodity hosting provider.

The great thing about traditional forums was that they made it possible to host discussions on controversial topics without fearing being culled by the platform owner. They also allow forum admins to be entirely free to set their own rules and create a marketplace in third party extensions.

16
YokoZar 3 days ago 1 reply      
About a year ago, Jeff Atwood came to the Something Awful forums to discuss ideas for better forum software. Unfortunately, it seemed like he had already made up his mind on the design, blithely dismissing well-articulated arguments against things like gamification and having non-moderated hiding of posts.

As much as I like stack overflow, I don't have high hopes for this project. I fully expect it to be even more full of the terrible metadiscussion about mod points, tags, visibility, and so on that seem to corrupt half the posts on places that implement similar systems.

17
martinced 3 days ago 0 replies      
Atwood says that SO is a place for great questions and great answers.

I totally disagree. SO is a place for answers (sometimes great) which are fitting the "bandwagon threshold theory" (where every technique/tool/methodology/concept too recent is considered dumb and shred to tears but once there's a sufficient number of early adopters, suddenly it becomes the one way to do things).

And SO is certainly not a place for great questions. Great questions are sure to bring the ire of the mods and the relentless hate of the participants not understanding the question. Great questions require discussion, background, exchange of points of views. And only then can great answers be given to great questions.

Great questions on SO are the ones with 200+ votes and are nearly always closed.

18
patrickmay 3 days ago 2 replies      
Those who don't learn from Usenet are doomed to recreate it -- badly.

My ideal discussion forum software would support threading, would remember which messages I've read and which I haven't, would allow me to rate both messages and authors, would provide a personal killfile, and would allow me to use whatever client I prefer to access it. In short, it would be Usenet exposed via a web API. No discussion forum software I've seen so far comes even close in features and usability to what GNUS provided in the 1990s.

19
andrewnez 3 days ago 1 reply      
It would be great to see these vendored gems individually released for use in other projects: https://github.com/discourse/core/tree/master/vendor/gems
20
fragmede 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd argue that Reddit and other link-aggregation sites like HN are the evolution of the online messsage board to an online-focused format, though self/text posts are possible to start general discussion.

The big thing missing is a way to 'sticky/pin' posts, though Reddit makes use of the sidebar to similar effect.

How Discourse's conversation threading model is quite interesting though, I'll be interested to see how well it scales.

21
pcestrada 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow... another multi-million user platform has just been born.
22
mikeleeorg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Out of curiosity, what was the reasoning behind starting a new business entity for this product? Will there be a different management team here, separate from Stack Exchange, Inc., or is Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc. a subsidiary of SE?

Just curious.

EDIT: Nevermind, just found the answer to my question:

http://blog.discourse.org/2013/02/the-discourse-team/

http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/07/jeff-atwood-bids-adieu-to-s... I didn't realize Jeff had left SE.)

23
heartbreak 3 days ago 1 reply      
Discourse is a significant upgrade from phpBB. Awesome.
24
UnoriginalGuy 3 days ago 2 replies      
JIT loading of comments, eww...

You say it "remembers my place" but does it remember my place across all of my devices? What if I want to link my friend to a comment? What about SEO, will my community turn up in google/bing's results?

25
rcfox 3 days ago 1 reply      
I guess this puts a previous post of his in context: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/12/web-discussions-fla...

And now I fear for the future of online discussion because I expect that Jeff will succeed.

26
DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks great! Thank you.

I wanted to try it, but because it's rails and I haven't gotten into rails, I won't. You have me for a few minutes of playing around and putting on a site somewhere but not for a multi-hour excursion into a big can of worms I'm not familiar with.

I know people are ragging on you and I don't mean it like that. I just thought it was important to point out that you are deliberately raising the bar for the community. Perhaps that's a good thing! Beats me. I am not complaining, just pointing out that this choice has consequences.

27
cabalamat 2 days ago 1 reply      
The usability leaves something to be desired. I couldn't work out how to post a comment. There should be a button marked "post" or "send" or something.

Also, comments aren't threaded. They should be, because once there arem ore than a few, a flat form makes it hard to easily tell what is a comment to what.

So, while their is definitely room for better forum software, this isn't it. Personally I prefer the way my http://meowc.at/ website does it (obviously I'm biased), even though its a lot less polished.

28
seivan 3 days ago 0 replies      
WOW! This whole thing smells like quality. Even to the usage of CoffeeScript through and through. You guys rock!

Been going through the assets/js and it's really amazing quality code.

29
jacoblyles 2 days ago 0 replies      
Non-threaded discussions are simply broken. They visually combine multiple conversations into a linear thread. Since threaded discussions came about in the mid-2000s it is apparent that linear discussions are simply inferior. They are cacophony.
30
recoiledsnake 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is exactly what the internet needs. Hopefully XDA developers moves to this. I am not sure that XDA is a good fit for Discourse, but the forums they use are exactly the wrong thing to use for such a site.

Builtin forum search is just terrible. Improve just that and using forums will be 3x better.

31
notatoad 3 days ago 1 reply      
It doesn't appear to be responsive, is there a mobile version? The biggest problem i see with phpBB and the like is that they're a huge pain in the ass on any sort of mobile device, and then you get abominations like tapatalk filling the void. If somebody wanted to solve a problem with online discussion software, that's where I'd start.
32
eranation 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great overall, we just recently discussed how bad are open source forum options and said how nice it would be if SE would open source / sell the stackoverflow Q&A format for companies for internal forum-like discussions. So I find this to be great, much better than the alternatives,

Here are a few confusing things in terms of UX though:

the "New" button, expected: create a new topic, instead, took me to "You have no new topics to read." page e.g. it seems the "read new stuff" is merged with "create new stuff" (the "create new topic on the right")

the "item has x replies" thingy, I understand you want to have replies in context, but this duplication confused me, e..g I wasn't sure if it's a new "type" of reply. how to solve it? well I would do one of the following: either just link (via scolling to the right location via an anchor / scroll aniumation) or keep what you have right now but also have the link so pepole can see the original comment as well

So far so good, thanks for sharing this, I'm happy twice, both needed a Q&A forum at work, and also wanted to learn Ember.js (version 1)

33
ori_b 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have yet to see anything that can beat a good old fashioned mailing list for discussion, sadly.
34
wpeterson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm interested to see a new tech stack for Discourse vs. StackExchange:

Ember.js and Rails backend vs. C#/.NET

35
huslage 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is still a friggin popularity contest. Why do communities need to have any sort of popularity metric attached to each comment (favorites, upvotes, etc)? There are sites that are meant for this (hacker news), but that doesn't mean the methods are generally applicable or even desirable.
36
lhnn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I /really/ hope Playframework guys see this. Their "community" is a google group and "search for 'play-framework' on StackExchange!".

Drives me bonkers. Hell, a reddit forum would be better!

And aren't there forum/mailing list hybrid that allows people to interact through web or email? even THAT would be better!

37
martinced 3 days ago 0 replies      
After having pissed on Open Source for years and swearing only by Microsoft technologies / C# / SQLServer, Windows, etc., may we ask you why this time you went Ruby on Rails / PostgreSQL?

Realized that 99% of the forums out there are running on LAMP stacks and "If you can't beat them, join them"? (I'm not talking about not being able to beat forum software, but about not being able to beat Open Source / Ruby / PostgreSQL / Linux)

It's funny to see a die-hard Microsoftie eventually turn his jacket, especially after having defended Windows / C# / SQL Server so strongly for all these years.

I'm sure people will use words like "pragmatism" or "that's what the team knew" but still...

I can't help but laugh while thinking back at all these blog entires by Atwood pissing on Open Source and pissing on Linux and praising Microsofties as if they were semi-gods.

38
fogus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be happy to try it, in fact I have a site idea dying for a good forum. However, like all things new what I'd hate to have happen is to install it, get some messages flowing and then have a huge problem upgrading to the next version. He cites Wordpress, but can he make it as painless to upgrade as that?
39
martinced 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why that move?

Is it a bit like professional poker players who then move on the stock market "because that's where the real big money is"?

There's a finite amount of programmers needing (sometimes great) answers to dumb question and hence nearly all the other StackExchange sites tanked... Meanwhile the big forums have daily numbers of message posted that dwarf SO so much that you'd need logarithmic scale to even see SO on the graph?

So it's trying to play where the people are really hanging out?

Glad to see that they heard all the criticism and realized that you couldn't go very far with a strict "no discussion" policy.

Every single interesting thing ever written can be followed by a healthy discussion. Glad they figured that out.

40
showerst 3 days ago 0 replies      
Remind me of LiveFyre or Disqus.

Speaking of the wordpress of forums, does anyone have experience with http://bbpress.org/ ?

41
dendory 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems like a forum trying to focus on everything, with no real way to surface content. The result is that you end up getting lost in a sea of random topics. Also, the abundance of colourful little icons is a bit annoying.
42
Joeboy 3 days ago 4 replies      
On vaguely this subject, I had an idea that I mean to implement but so far haven't found time. The idea was for a captcha-type system that required the user to match bad arguments to whatever logical fallacy they fell into, eg. they'd have to match "If we tolerate homosexuality, how long before it becomes normal for people to marry their pets?" to "slippery slope fallacy".

I think requiring people to answer a few of these correctly might raise the standard of online discussion, both by keeping dumb people out and setting a tone of reasoned debate.

Please steal this idea, as I don't know when I'll find time to do it.

43
jacoblyles 3 days ago 0 replies      
I always thought reddit would turn into the next-gen forum, especially after it went open source. But it didn't have as big of an impact as I hoped. reddit is a giant step beyond things like phpBB.
44
jotux 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty but years of reddit and hacker news make it very difficult for me to follow message boards without nested comments.
45
jimmaswell 3 days ago 0 replies      
Forums haven't changed in 10 years because they got it right back then. I don't think you really need more than a forum and an IRC for a good place for a community to gather. I honestly have yet to find a configuration for online communities I like more than the classic forum and IRC combo.
46
leot 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm at Scholarpedia, and we're looking for people to help replace MediaWiki talk pages with, basically, this.

If this kind of thing sounds interesting to you, please contact support@scholarpedia.org

47
desireco42 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have to give credit to Jeff and developers here, setting this to try it out almost felt like php in terms of how easy it is to run. I wish other rails projects were this easy to try out.

Oh man... :) it is a little busy interface. Let's see if this helps or gets in the way.

48
sgdesign 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interested to know how people think it compares to Telescope (http://telesc.pe), which is more of a traditional HN-clone social news app (also open source by the way).

(I also posted in the other topic, sorry for the double post but I'm really interested in knowing what people think since both apps have similar goals)

49
mattquiros 3 days ago 0 replies      
I share their opinion on other forum software, but for god's sakes the UI is an eyesore, literally. I clicked on try, and when the home page loaded, I didn't know what to do next because everything looked clickable.

I know they'll be improving on it later but I don't understand how UI was not a priority in the first release. One of the main reasons why the other forum software suck is that their UI sucks.

50
akavlie 3 days ago 2 replies      
Check out the browser requirements. IE10+, Chrome 24+... wow.

http://www.discourse.org/faq/

51
eranation 3 days ago 1 reply      
A bit off topic, since this is done in Rails, and we all read the dreadful warnings about the remote code execution exploit, how safe is it now? (I plan to run internally at work)? Are the latest YAML vulnerabilities patched? Just do 'gem update rails' often? Also is the rubygems.org exploit behind us?
52
bernardom 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised that he compared forums to stackexchange and the customer service sites (uservoice, desk, etc), but didn't mention Quora.

That said, open source forum software sucks, so thank you!

53
sytelus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Come to think of it... what would it take to convert HN in to a true forum/community discussion website? I love the compact, get out of the way UX without mug shots of people sprinkled all over. I love the fact even more that there is no way to post LOLCats pictures inline with text that would take away attention and occupancy unnecessary space on screen real estate (you can of course link them). It has all the necessary elements (threads, karma and so on). I think only thing we need is to be able to tag posts, search, TeX and it could be far better forum website than feature bloated Discourse.
54
prodigal_erik 3 days ago 0 replies      
After http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2473029, I would expect this team's tools to embed values that greatly differ from mine regarding "trolls" and "bad actors" and controversy, and would be unlikely to participate without some sort of transparent oversight.
55
logical42 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm personally very excited to be picking through the ember application(s). It's rather rare to find large-ish open-sourced ember codebases, so I'm pretty stoked about this. Thanks!
56
togasystems 3 days ago 1 reply      
A one click button to export from phpBB and vBulletin would be amazing.
57
asdfs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Was 4chan an inspiration for this? It seems much like a mix between 4chan and a more typical phpBB-style forum.

It's quite similar to what 4chan would be if threads were archived forever (which is actually the case for some boards), if 4chan had user-based moderation, and if anonymity was removed.

58
csense 3 days ago 1 reply      
How does the infinite scrolling work when you have topics with 10000+ posts?

I'm halfway tempted to install it and learn the API just to answer this question.

59
dinkumthinkum 3 days ago 0 replies      
I want to look into this in more detail and I'm not making any judgments; it does sound interesting. However, I have never understood why Jeff hates forums so much. I visited discourse.org briefly, and I think congratulations to the team, but right now I'm not sure how this so much better than the "evil" forums. Right now, I feel like this is something that feels like a bit too much going on the site for me to get it; I certainly don't see how this trumping the horrible "b-movie" that is allegedly what forums are.
60
ferongr 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's something that many people will consider pretty according to today's trends (fixed-width text, rounded corners and gradients and monochromatic icons and tooltips) but from reading the announcement I expected something more. Looking around the Discourse site, I just can't find what makes Discourse special and my first reaction after 5 minutes of poking around was "Well, okay...". Maybe someone else can explain it to me.
61
chmike 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see how trolling can be stopped. Anyone can add a reply to a new discussion and since the reply can be anything, then trolling is easy and there is no dissuasive pressure on it. What I feel is missing is the possibility to down-vote messages or something like that.
62
thingification 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope it's not stating the obvious to say there's often a gap between the interests of participants, and the interests of people looking to get information from threads later on.

I've found that forum moderation sometimes fragments a forum audience across "boards" to no helpful organisational end. This reduces the value of forums for the casual conversation and debate uses (as opposed to retrieval of information later on).

Separately: For the participants, I think threads that discuss issue x for the hundred-and-first time are more often wanted than they are unwanted, because repetition of casual conversations is not a problem. This is despite the fact that participants often complain about such threads. The silent majority of readers presumably have a different view on it.

63
diggan 3 days ago 0 replies      
The official Github-repo in case any one want to run it themselves: https://github.com/discourse/discourse/

Install instructions: https://github.com/discourse/discourse/blob/master/INSTALL.m...

64
ashleyblackmore 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been looking forward to seeing what Jeff was going to put out next. If Discourse is anywhere near as well thought-out as Stack Exchange, it could be a great success. Congrats and best of luck, Jeff!
65
polskibus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd rather see more information on one page than fixed width layout. Some threads can get veeery long and you have to go through a lot of comments to get to answer that is most important to you. Are you guys planning on experimenting with different layouts, or you'd rather not diverge from stackoverflow path ?
66
mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
I guess this answers, "What's he been up to?" Great for him! The need is real. I feel like most discussion boards I'm a part of haven't evolved much relative to the rest of the internet. Even news.ycombinator.com is a case in point.
67
dspeyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
The threading here is completely broken. Replies are hidden unless I mouse over the post being replied to. Some of the messages are tagged with "in reply to $username" but I can't tell which of that user's posts.

If I need a forum, I'll create a subreddit.

68
jjsz 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm patiently waiting until the heroku instructions come out. Thank you, also waiting for the donate button.
69
speeder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Whoa, this is even more awesome than Postline!

Well, granted, Postline still uses frames, and I know only one site that uses it (and I tried using it once, got too confused and dropped out)

70
sharjeel 2 days ago 0 replies      
"100% free and fully open source."

I can't find any link for the source code.

71
chmike 2 days ago 0 replies      
The interface is a to cluttered for me. Too much noise compared to the signal. The interface of Hacker News is much better in this respect.
72
varjag 2 days ago 0 replies      
Discourse (the name) sounds an awful lot like Disqus. Enough at least to confuse me initially.
73
tnorthcutt 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will this eventually look better on small screens? Right now it's lackluster (I'm on an iPhone 5).
74
pgrote 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what the vBulletin folks think about this. They've been the market leader for years.
75
DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm interested to know how they'll handle the meta stuff that can kill some forums.

All the vested_contributors or trolls or etc.

76
zacharydanger 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks neat. Wish there were some code to poke around in, though.
77
DannoHung 3 days ago 0 replies      
Multiple Categories per Thread please! PLEASE!
78
cmbaus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Open Source? Well I guess it is time to get to work: http://discoursehost.com/
79
mandlar 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really surprised to not see a .NET backend especially since StackOverflow, etc. was built on .NET MVC. I would love to hear the design decision behind that.
80
sankage 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why use PBKDF2 instead of bcrypt for password hashing?
81
ratherbefuddled 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please give me the option of using more than 55% of my screen width. It's 2013.
82
itistoday2 3 days ago 0 replies      
I ARE CONFUZZLED BY THIS WEBSITE!
3
Employees leave managers, not companies alaisterlow.com
604 points by kirkus  2 days ago   255 comments top 58
1
cletus 2 days ago 13 replies      
The problem here is that the modern company embodies a lot of the principles of medieval serfdom.

Serfs occupied a portion of land and owed a portion of their crops to the lord of the manor or their feudal lord. It was slavery in all but name.

The modern company is a kingdom. Managers are feudal lords. Managers can decide to hire (and fire) employees such that the employee is essentially beholden to that manager. Employment status is analagous to the land serfs worked.

The problem is that most companies have little internal mobility. If you don't get on with your manager the best thing for you and the company is to work for a different manager yet most companies make this exceedingly difficult.

At Google, individual engineers are far more empowered than that. There is a strong internal process for simply changing projects.

Also, most companies have performance feedback come solely from managers. Managers are an important source at Google but peer feedback carries a huge amount of weight.

So in many companies employees leave because they can't escape their feudal lord. I get it. The problem here is corporate feudalism.

Companies need to stop making it easier to move to a better team or getting a pay raise by leaving the company rather than moving within the company.

2
michaelochurch 2 days ago 1 reply      
Companies are still fighting yesterday's war.

Traditional industrial labor has a concave relationship between input (effort, skill) and output (diminishing returns) where the difference between mediocrity and excellence is minimal to zero. Modern technological work has a convex curve (accelerating returns) where the difference between mediocrity and failure is minimal while that between mediocrity and excellence is massive.

When the work is concave, you want to minimize variance, which means you eliminate individuality and manage toward mediocrity. Control-freak managers and petty tyrants are good at that, because you can trust them to tighten down bolts and yell at people. ("Ahem! There's SAND in my boots!" -- Kefka.) You build out a hierarchy, give managers total control over their reports, and even though there's a lot of loss in the form of attrition (good people fired by bad bosses) and squandered capability (strong people doing mediocre tasks) that's treated as a rounding error. People are fungible and, if they're not, then something is wrong with your process. Your goal isn't excellence. It's repeatable mediocrity.

Convex work is an entirely different game. It's much more like R&D. The problems being solved are a lot harder, although the upside of a success is much greater. Technological work is becoming increasingly convex with time.

When you have concave work, your management strategy is to beat up on the slackers. If the best people are 1.5 times as productive as the average, then one slacker cancels out 2 excellent people, so rooting them out and disciplining them is the right strategy.

With convex work, the danger isn't having a few slackers. It's that you don't have any excellent people, or that the excellent people you do have are unmotivated and underperforming. The best way to "manage" convex work is to hire the best people and get out of their way.

Managerial extortion (i.e. the manager's use of his unilateral ability to damage an employee's career to put the employee toward his career goals, rather than company goals or individual growth) is ruinous when one is attempting convex work, but large companies don't see it that way. Their processes are oriented completely toward concave, commodity labor.

So, "employees leave managers" is only half the story. Managers go bad because companies allow them to do so. A company that doesn't want managerial extortion can implement Valve-style open allocation, but few do. Companies allow them to do so because they're fighting the last century's war. They're industrial machines, and anachronistic in a technological era.

3
bobsy 2 days ago 12 replies      
I am considering leaving my job for this precise reason. I feel if I worked under anyone else I would enjoy what I am doing but currently it is impossible.

The problem is the guy has no managerial skills. Employee moral across the company is rock bottom. We get tasks day-to-day because he cannot plan ahead. We often drop projects to work on something else, only to drop them and work on what we was originally. Manager never sends final designs or when he does they later change anyway. (These are not tweaks, tweaks are understandable. This is the entire page layout) I could go on...

Why haven't I quit already? I am currently indispensable to the company I work for. I need to support my family. Not sure if I want to risk it on a new job in the current climate. The short term plan is to continue being miserable.

NOTE: I would go around my manager if I could. Unfortunately it is a team of 7 and its this guys company.

4
acslater00 2 days ago 4 replies      
Anecdotally, I spent 2 years at Microsoft (MSN division). I loved my manager to death, and telling him I was leaving felt kind of like breaking up with a long-term girlfriend. But MSN was a supremely depressing place to work because there was a palpable sense that nothing we did mattered, and Microsoft was simply running out the clock on those [hundreds of millions] of people who haven't figured out how to change their browser homepage away from msn.com. I left the company, not the person.

So while the lesson of this post -- that managing is important and a good manager can greatly increase employee retention -- is well taken, the headline is certainly overstated.

5
binarymax 2 days ago 6 replies      
I spent 5 years as a full time consultant building 'Human Capital Management' software for enterprise companies. I learned many things about enterprise dynamics in those 5 years, but my biggest takeaway analytically is that performance management is backwards. The people actually doing the work are graded by their managers, and in very few cases are managers formally reviewed by their employees. I can't speak for small companies, but enterprises would do much better if the employees had a formal process to get a manager on some sort of performance track - without the fear of going above their head in an informal process.
6
josephlord 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've left two organisations (BBC and Sony) and neither time did I have any problem with my direct manager in fact in both cases I liked them although I did have a lack of faith the top management and the direction of at least my area of the organisation.

In the BBC case (amongst other issues) my department was earmarked to be moved to Manchester (about 200 miles away) in about 4 years. I was clear (for family reasons) that I wouldn't be moving so staying would have felt like a personal dead end to me (although later the BBC's plan changed and much of the department moved into London instead which might have been OK but the lack of thought through initial decision was a really bad sign about the senior management).

At Sony it was a general lack of faith that the management had enough capability that Sony could become a profitable, viable, mass market electronics company again. That made me happy to leave to see what I could do on my own and be home to take and collect my son from school.

7
speeder 2 days ago 2 replies      
I agree that employees might leave managers.

But I disagree that people don't leave companies.

First, there are some companies that kinda act on their own, they are very old, and people just obey tradition and old rules and policies. This sometimes the managers can fight hard against, and several will fail anyway.

Sometimes, the company is in a field that make the employee leave, I know for example many IT people that after they realised how banks operate, they felt bad about it and quit.

Sometimes the company itself is having problems, like being sued, or going bankrupt...

So no, sometimes the fault is of the company.

But sometimes.

Asshat managers can make people go away too.

8
greendot 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've left because of managers.
I've left because of the company.

When a company cuts my salary by 30% while jacking up my benefits payments by 300%, it's usually time to leave.

But, on to the article at hand.

As a manager now, those statistics at the end really kind of tick me off. It feels very one-sided and the following text is just me rambling on... somewhat trolling.

39%: Their supervisor failed to keep promises

How many of these employees fail to keep theirs? How many of these broken promises were based on things promised to the manager? How much of it was in their control? When kept at this simplistic level, this one seems like a third-grade problem.

37%: Their supervisor failed to give credit when due

This perception of credit and recognition is one sticking point in our team right now, especially with the people born after 1980. They want credit and recognition for every single thing they do. If they manage to successfully eat a meal without choking on a bone, they want public recognition for it. The older guys on the team, we sit down and do the work because it is our job. That's what we're here to do. The old guys can sit around and come up with ideas and realize that together as a team we designed something. The team gets credit. No one person gets the credit. The kids, if they have one key idea at any point in a process, they want to be held up high. Oh and damn if their idea comes early in the discussion and is never used directly but expanded upon and changed, hell they think they were the sole party responsible for all ideas and all further ideas were stolen.

31%: Their supervisor gave them the “silent treatment” in the past year.

Yes, I do this. I usually do this when I am trying to decide what to do with spoiled or "entitled" employees. If I have asked somebody to quit looking at StupidVideos.com for 3 hours a day and they persist while their projects back up, I'm going to be silent for a while while I try and come up with a plan. I'm not going to sit and try to motivate them. Motivating geeks is a pain-in-the-ass. I'm not allowed to fire anybody or put them on disciplinary action w/out months of paperwork, especially when they know how to talk to HR and convince them that they are doing the best that they can.

27%: Their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.

Agreed, this one is bad no matter how you slice it.

24%: Their supervisor invaded their privacy.

Again, if you're looking at Facebook and not getting your work done, you need to get over it.

23%: Their supervisor blames others to cover up mistakes or minimize embarrassment.

Yeah, this happens. Sucks. Lucky for my team, when I lie my eye twitches so there is a built-in lie detector. :-)

9
robotmay 2 days ago 1 reply      
When my dad left one of his previous jobs, in which he was a manager of about 10-15 people; 3 of his team quit within the week. One of them told him that he was the best manager he'd ever worked under, and that he couldn't face working in that company with anyone else.

If I ever end up in a management position, that's the sort of manager I want to be.

10
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think there is a tidal change in software at the moment - imagine the Venn diagram of remote working technologies, continuous integration technologies and a willingness to shed middle manager white collar jobs like never before.

As we can enable people to work from home, because we can see the code they wrote today up and working on the CI server, we can do away with needing a boss to telll them what to do and watch if they do it - in fact we can pass the autonomy many bosses have down the line - and I hope see a world where the developer says - I have done this cool thing and it has improved our bottom line because I measured this change.

A culture of Continuous Integration, testing changes for business KPIs allows us to let go of the middle rank of supervision, and allows us to change the working conditions now the supervision is unnecessary

11
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 3 replies      
For me the best solution is to stay small - keep the organisation under the dunbar number. That way a competant CEO can manage the politics personally, and guide the culture effectively.

But if you are going to grow, you need one of these proxy solutions.

To me there are two outstanding solutions:

1. Free Labour Market
2. "add or out"

1. Google-like - have projects and allow engineers to move around to join different projects, and adjust via funding. THis is trying to create an internal job market, and may or may not be effective but its a response to Dunbars number problem.

2. "add or out" - add measurable value, or the worst performing 10% leave. This forces a culture of testing and measuring value, and whilst it is subject to being gamed, it might be workable.

12
gadders 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, but companies pay mortgages, not managers.

In other words, I could be working for the most awesome, charismatic manager in the world but if I'm being paid significantly below Market Rate, I'd still leave.

13
16s 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the manager does not provide direction, ask for it. If they still do not provide direction, set your own. The grass always looks greener on the other side. Sometimes, you are the problem, not the manager.

Reminds me of the story about the traveler and the new city. He left because he thought the people there were horrible. Upon arriving at the gate of the new city, he asked a man sitting by the gate, "How are the people here in this city?" To which the sitting man replied, "How were they in the city you came from?" "Oh... they were horrible, mean people."

"You'll find them the same here."

14
jmspring 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like there are a lot of war stories on this thread. I disagree with the article based on my personal statistics. When I have decided to move on, in all but one case it has been that either we weren't shipping or the overall product path got stale (beyond the control of day to day engineers).

I like working on things and I like working on things people use. If we aren't shipping, I have to ask why. Periods of development are certainly reasonable but at the end of the day you have to ship.

Where I have moved on due to management? An alpha presence who treated everyone under him as a contractor, yet we weren't hourly, and we weren't compensated for following up on inane decisions. I ended up stepping up, guiding two mis-managed resources, and pushing back on some very dumb decisions (a few were backed by the CTO). However, at the end of the day, when I stepped back anded look at the energy I put in and what I was getting out, it was time to leave.

Decisions to leave are complex.

15
seivan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Best way to handle this? Get rid of management. Flat hierarchy. Just to make sure to hire really smart engineers. Code it, test it, ship it.
If two forces opposite each other, put it in a hackathon and gain votes.
16
jkeel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice to see this discussion on HN. Back in early 2000, when I worked at Walmart's home office in Bentonville, we had a speaker come and talk to ISD about this exact topic. That was the main line that stuck with me, "Employees leave managers, not companies". It's probably not the case 100% of the time for causing the loss of an employee, but having a good manager makes all the world of a difference in an employee's happiness.
17
toddnessa 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, I have observed this becoming more of an issue related to the times that we live in. Let's face it, America has been so ingrained with the survival of the fittest mentality for so long that finally it is sinking in.

Until people start valuing others more in society I do not feel that this will change. Behaviors flow out of beliefs. When the beliefs change then people change. Loving our neighbor as ourself is not a cherished value right now.

18
erikj54 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article unfortunately resonates on a personal level. This is why I believe I enjoy consulting so much. On a short term basis I can put up with ignorance, credit taking, silent treatment etc (All the qualities respondents mentioned in the survey). For a long term career I'm not sure I could last.

I'm curious if anyone has any stories of how they overcame a Manager that was not their Champion? I have been thinking about this a lot. In my short time at large corporations it seems you really need someone on your side to move up the ladder a bit.

19
talmand 2 days ago 0 replies      
On the day I put in my notice for my last job I found out that my immediate manager had put in his notice as well the day before, much for the same reasons I did. I liked working for the guy so quitting felt bad. Basically choices made by upper management made the working environment not so good and we had decided to move on. Turns out we weren't the only ones, within three weeks five out of six of the web team left and gutted the department.
20
breckenedge 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had an MBA roommate once and frequently read her books on management culture. I've never actually seen what was used in those books put into practice, but my experience is relatively small (once a manager).

The books talked about the Organizational Cultural Assessment Index (OCAI) and a manager capabilities assessment test (cannot remember the name). Anyone out there used these?

These seemed like reasonable, standard approaches to improving the workplace.

21
darkspaten 2 days ago 0 replies      
I offer a corollary, "Employees follow leaders, not managers."

At one time I considered leaving a company I believed strongly in, due to an immediate manager with which I didn't work well. However, I looked higher in the organization to the leader(ship) I believed in and decided to stay. I'm glad I did, because the management problem rectified itself soon enough and now I follow good leaders and learn from a great mentor.

22
Symmetry 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure that this happens a lot, but it isn't my experience.

I lost my first job when 2/3 of the company way laid off.

I left my second job for manangerial reasons, but that was more that my position was an experiment and when the manager who'd created it left the person who took over didn't know how to manage me.

The company after that I left because we were bought out and I wouldn't sign the new, draconian NDA.

23
dylangs1030 2 days ago 0 replies      
This issue stems, in my experience, from the top of an individual department or location (if it's a franchise). The top level management in large companies couldn't possibly supervise all their department managers at the same time. So things fly by under the radar that shouldn't because they don't have stringent enough criteria for employee satisfaction and manager competency.

I recall this happening when I used to work at P.F. Chang's (the restaurant chain).

We had a general manager who was absolutely loathsome to work with. We frequently ran out of the kinds of food you'd be embarrassed to lack at a Chinese restaurant (read: white and brown rice, lettuce, etc). However, he had a stellar reputation and history with "corporate" and had even won awards within the company.

The reasons this happened were twofold: 1. he was the general manager, and in the eyes of corporate he was just saving money (they never saw the restaurant descend into chaos and dysfunction due to lack of ingredients), and 2. he was honestly kind of a dick. Unless you were above him on the pay scale he would respond to suggestions with, "I'll take that under advisement."

24
PonyGumbo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've had fantastic managers at terrible companies. In each case, I left because of the company, not because of the manager.
25
Whitespace 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would not wish a petty/spiteful manager on anyone. I was in a similar situation in my last company: personal problems between my manager and I forced my departure.

In my situation the terrible fact was that my manager's inability to separate his personal and professional life caused the top four of my hierarchy of needs to be threatened (it's hard to be creative and solve problems when you're in a very shitty situation).

At the very end of my tenure, instead of talking about and trying to resolve our personal differences, he chose to go hyper-managerial on me (in manner and communication), making it clear that this was how my day-to-day was going to be from then on.

I loved working with my coworkers and almost everything else about working there, but I found it no longer mattered when I sat next to someone who will only communicate with me in writing with HR cc'd.

26
epo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had exactly this issue at a well known British telecommunications company, I had a personality clash with my (newly promoted) manager and leaving was impossible because the manager did not want to see a diminished headcount. I manouevered myself out by working almost all of my time on some other manager's project and it got to the point where the argument that I may as well report to, and be appraised by this other manager was unarguable.
27
stonemetal 2 days ago 0 replies      
How far up the chain do you have to go before managers become come companies? At a certain point a company is defined by its management, just as to consumers a company is defined by its products. Anecdotally I have never quit a job primarily because of my direct manager.
28
ChristianMarks 2 days ago 0 replies      
At my former place of employment -- I won't bore you with the "consolidation" memo and the unannounced reshuffling of titles and the change to generic job descriptions in the name of "flexibility." After the reorganization, I had to work for a smug, platitudinous, self-important, patronizing, repulsive know-nothing. I left within a couple months of the reorganization. In just about every case I've left jobs because I detested my boss. I tend to dislike bosses in general, unless they are exceptionally intelligent.
29
hcayless 2 days ago 0 replies      
A (good) manager's primary tasks are: 1) Make sure your team knows what to do and has what they need to do it. 2) Be a buffer between them and anything that distracts them from #1. 3) Be a resource to help them develop. All 3 require good communication.

Every job I've quit has ultimately been because of a deficiency in one of those 3 things that led to conflict.

30
Shivetya 2 days ago 0 replies      
Which is why employee satisfaction surveys rarely ask the right questions or if they do they are interpreted in such a way that the managers who are the problem are not declared as such. I learned real quick to not be amazed at how such a survey can be turned upside down to blame the employees or a select group of them.
31
MrMcDowall 2 days ago 0 replies      
This has been true of almost every single company I've ever worked for. It's also worth noting that Companies are reflective of the management constituency because they control the levers; bad managers usually mean bad companies.
32
protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have often thought that tech companies should pay more attention to how movies / tv series are managed then MBA programs. I get the feeling the Producer / Director / Show Runner model might work better for software. Support might complicate things though.
33
martindelemotte 2 days ago 0 replies      
According to this meta-analysis, employees dont leave managers nor do they leave companies.

They leave (maybe) because of the job.

Estimated true score correlation
Job Fit - Tenure: 0.18
Company Fit - Tenure: 0.03
Group Fit - Tenure: 0.06
Supervisor Fit - Tenure: 0.09

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2005....

34
11Blade 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is one thing that is overlooked here. There is as much pathology at the managerial level as is at the subordinate level. We can all say we have shitty bosses. Lets face it, there are shitty workers among us too.

It is easy to complain about managers, but "craving credit" and "silent treatment" happen asymmetrically because the average worker is an order of magnitude different than his cube mate.

Going from a concrete project/goal focused position with expectations to managing those people is a much harder proposition.

I hated managing people. As a manager, you expect the same things from your crew as you would yourself. Instead you hear every excuse, tragedy and jealous rant for attention, rather than just getting the work done.

You try to "nurture" and "empathize" but in the end, workers run the whole gamut from narcissist to kaamchor to subservient drone.

35
wolframarnold 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was a book in the late 1990's, "First Break All the Rules: What the world's greatest managers do differently" which was the write-up of a Gallup study about manager effectiveness. One of its conclusions is the point made in this article almost verbatim, that people leave their managers not their jobs or companies. One of the most powerful sections for the book for me was the opening chapter where they explain their assessment methodology. They compiled it down to a catalog of 12 questions and they found that if these questions were answered positively it correlated with high employee performance, good financial results, good retention, etc. The rest of the book dives into more detail on the reasons for this, one being that each employee's talent is different and managers should try to align talents with business need, focusing on employee strengths rather than weaknesses.

Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/First-Break-All-Rules-Differently/dp/0...

36
stoodder 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've never left a company because of my managers, in fact my managers were almost always one of the reasons that I stayed as long as I did. The true reasons, at least in my case, for leaving was always the lack of freedom to make my own decisions and the companies' support for "non project related" work. In fact, my manager did as much as he could to support my endeavors, everything within his realm of power at least.
37
qrybam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very timely read for me. I work in a successful company with lots of challenges and room for expansion, I am a key member of the team and work very long hours (which would be better spent on my own side project).

My current manager has done all of the listed reasons-for-leaving in the article at one point or another - I'm not the only one this happens to; it happens to all who work with him, however I'm the only one who has to report directly to him.

It's a sad situation because the guy is a good guy, he's just difficult to work with and as a result I'm currently looking at my options - if I can help it, I would prefer to stay at the company.

I understand it can be difficult for a manager to be direct with their team, but it's something I know a lot of good people appreciate - honest, direct feedback. You don't want to feel like you're being "handled" or used as a crutch for the manager's own self-actualisation. It's the whole golden-goose scenario - you don't want to kill it.

edit: typos :)

38
PeterisP 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is a well known (decades+) fact - employees join companies based on their global reputation but leave mostly based on their direct supervisor quality.
39
Shivetya 1 day ago 0 replies      
FWIW - I cannot view this site as I get malware alerts, is anyone else seeing that?
40
riazrizvi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Either the boss is incompetent and so that boss makes work intolerable for the employee, or the employee is incompetent and the boss makes work intolerable for the employee. It's often hard to tell.
41
ashcairo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure this is true, but I believe that the root cause of the management practices that result in this situation is the byproduct of company direction and culture. As an example, if the direction of the company is primarily to maintain a headcount, then there is only so many mental games a manager can play to retain it's ambitious employees.
42
hippich 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would not down-play salary that much. I am not sure if it applies to all sectors, but at least in my limited experience more you ask for - better you are treated and better technology you work with. Because otherwise it will be to expensive to keep you.
43
nanidin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm coming a bit late, so don't expect many to see this... but I worked at a company and had several friends leave for other jobs, but they were sad to part with their managers. They left mostly because the direction of the company as a whole wasn't satisfying them, which is a function of management, but usually not your immediate manager.
44
stcredzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect Valve has a good way of dealing with this. There, manager is a role, and people can decide if you are good enough at that role to merit working with you in that capacity, or not. They get to vote with their feet, without leaving the company.
45
seivan 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so true, so so true. Not neessarly "managers" per say, but people involved in "decision" making that affects you.

For me; the people doing the UX, the people doing product, and etc.

46
zwischenzug 2 days ago 0 replies      
...and managers are bad because of companies.

A crass generalisation, but no more than the title is.

47
ownagefool 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the article:-

"The key to being able to keep the good employees is not so much the salary you offer them or even the actual work, it is more about how you manage them and how they feel working under you as their manager. "

Personally I don't think there is a key, instead it's a case of all of the above. You can't keep an underpaid employee happy. You can't keep a bored employee happy. You can't keep an employee happy when you don't treat them well. I've left companies for all 3 of these reasons, it only takes one reason.

48
AmandaPanda 2 days ago 0 replies      
When your company is small, your manager practically is your company. I'm a junior developer at a rather dysfunctional small company with really shoddy engineering standards. Here, due to the small number of employees, the manager and senior engineer practically are the company. Our senior dev has a cracker jack box cs degree, and has been stuck in his own bubble for the past decade writing horrible code. I also found out my company was sued by a customer 10 years ago because they thought our products and services suck. Good times.
49
jrarredondo 2 days ago 0 replies      
That was a great article. One issue that came to mind is how to interview for these skills when hiring managers. The more I think about this, the more I realize this is not something you can truly screen for during an interview. Reference checks are important, but they will have to be more comprehensive and less "self-selected" referrals (which would almost be very positive about a given candidate).
50
kylered 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article sounds like a recap of Hertzberg's Two-Factor theory which is basically the application of Maslow's hierarchy of needs to the corporate world.

See: http://www.businessballs.com/herzbergmotivationdiagram.pdf
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-factor_theory

51
pknerd 2 days ago 0 replies      
We usually don't like our managers for one reason or another unless we ourselves become one and someone else replace us. This has been happening for centuries. Point is why don't we learn lessons from past mistakes?
52
j_s 2 days ago 0 replies      
Employees also leave other employees, especially when they are the manager's favorites.
53
gr3yh47 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love working for my supervisor, manager, and director.

My company sucks, pay is sub par, benefits suck, policy sucks, forced overtime sucks....

If I leave I'll be leaving my company, not my manager. and the company is HUGE

54
simplyinfinity 2 days ago 1 reply      
Even without reading the article i couldn't agree more. Currently i'm in the position where i like my colleagues and the company, but the management is BAD ( i could write 3 pages long explanation but i won't ). Well sorry , iQuit.
55
scorcher 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps its unusual but every company I have worked for this could be sorted out with a quiet word with upper management or HR. A little disruption moving people between teams is well worth averting a potential clashes
56
known 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." --Einstein
57
sc0rb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm about to leave my company and it has nothing to do with the manager. I actually feel bad that I'm leaving him.
58
kenjagi 2 days ago 0 replies      
A bad manager is going to hire a bad manager, and if you follow the organization chart to the top it stops being a bad manager, it becomes the company mantra.
4
Announcing Topaz: A New Ruby topazruby.com
470 points by jnoller  2 days ago   181 comments top 27
1
Pewpewarrows 2 days ago 14 replies      
Completely unscientific, but if these outputs are any indication, this is going to be great news for Rubby users in the future...

  $ time ruby -e "puts 'hello world'"                                                                                                                           
hello world

real 0m0.184s
user 0m0.079s
sys 0m0.092s

$ time ~/Downloads/topaz/bin/topaz -e "puts 'hello world'"
hello world

real 0m0.007s
user 0m0.002s
sys 0m0.004s

2
vidarh 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm all for new Ruby implementations, but be very careful about judging performance of an incomplete implementation.

It's "trivial" to make a fast language that looks quite a bit like Ruby. It is a lot harder that make a language that remains fast in the face of handling all the quirks of the full Ruby semantics, though, such as selectively handling the risk of someone going bananas with monkey-patching core classes that could happen at any "eval()" point.

3
hemancuso 2 days ago 2 replies      
It would be nice to see Rpython/pypy turned into a project not unlike WebKit where many different projects benefit from the same open-source core. If pypy is flexible enough to implement all of ruby and all of Python, has a reasonable amount of maturity, and is already rather fast it seems like a good candidate for such a thing.
4
nlh 2 days ago 5 replies      
Forgive me for asking what may be a very stupid question: Can someone explain to me the need for a Ruby interpreter built on top of Python? He mentions performance in the announcement, but is this really going to be faster than, say, MRI? Thanks in advance.
5
lost-theory 2 days ago 1 reply      
I will be the first to ask: why did Alex / the pypy devs start this project? I thought the three community funded ideas were great (STM, Python 3, and Numpy). What prompted this new project? Is it meant to attract new developers to pypy as platform for implementing languages? Is it a side project? Is it a long term project meant to become the premium implementation of ruby as pypy is becoming for python? Etc.

Not criticizing at all by the way, just curious about the motivation / background / context for the project, which is missing from the docs.

6
draegtun 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those with long memories there was a (in)famous Topaz project in the Perl world. This was an attempt to implement perl5 in c++. It was abandoned however it did help kick-start Perl6 & Parrot.

refs:

- http://topaz.sourceforge.net

- Topaz: Perl for the 22nd Century http://www.perl.com/pub/1999/09/topaz.html

- Historical Implementations/Perl6 http://www.perlfoundation.org/perl6/index.cgi?historical_imp...

7
andrewgodwin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious to see how this compares to MRI/Rubinius/JRuby once it's feature-complete; the PyPy vs. CPython benchmarks these days are pretty convincing.
8
hencq 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does Topaz benefit at all from the work that's been done already on Rubinius? I seem to recall that Rubinius implements as much of Ruby in Ruby as possible. It seems like this would help Topaz as well in implementing the standard library. Or are the implementations different enough that this doesn't work?
9
blissofbeing 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sweet, I'm very interested in this. I assume this implementation has a GIL? Any word on how threads will be implemented?
10
Millennium 2 days ago 2 replies      
Implementing other languages on top of the PyPy toolchain is an interesting concept, and I'd like to see it happen more often. But calling this "Ruby in Python" is sure to invite flamewars from all sides. The actual Topaz site seems to be careful not to do this, but if this thread is any indication, a fair number of people are already mistakenly calling it that.
11
semanticart 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm probably in the minority but I would love to see a dialect of ruby that has significant whitespace. Death to unnecessary 'end's
12
sophacles 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could this lead to a runtime in which I can use really cool ruby modules from python and really cool python modules from ruby? I mean, seriously, these two languages both have some pretty awesome stuff, and regularly I say about one, "man I sure wish I could use $module from the other".
13
VeejayRampay 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent news. I wish this project the best of luck. More competition in the Ruby implementation field is always a good thing for end users, it fosters innovation and provides choice and a good kick in the ass to everyone.
14
amalag 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://blog.headius.com/2009/04/how-jruby-makes-ruby-fast.ht...

At least once a year there's a maelstrom of posts about a new Ruby implementation with stellar numbers. These numbers are usually based on very early experimental code, and they are rarely accompanied by information on compatibility. And of course we love to see crazy performance numbers, so many of us eat this stuff up.

15
nathansobo 2 days ago 0 replies      
If it doesn't have all of Ruby's weird features, claims of speed don't matter, because it's those weird features that make Ruby slow and hard to optimize.
16
jamesbritt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any reason for not targeting Ruby 2.0?
17
ggchappell 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been wondering why the tools the PyPy people have been building are not used to implement more languages. It's nice to see this happening. And it will be interesting to watch where this leads.
18
steeve 2 days ago 2 replies      
So Ruby on top of RPython on top of PyPy? Why not, but how does it compare to JRuby and Rubinius?
19
irfn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Doesnt mention what the current status of topaz is with respect to http://rubyspec.org/
20
evolve2k 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just curious, for this project did you set out to write it in idiomatic ruby or idiomatic (R)Python?
21
denysonique 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds really interesting, but we already have a dozen of incomplete alternative Ruby implementations...
22
tonycoco 2 days ago 0 replies      
I mean, it's cool that people want to expose Python's version of Rubinius as a building block to yet another Ruby interpeter, but, come on. Why is this a thing?! Why not waste time improving the JVM, contributing to Rubinius, patch the MRI, or a million other open source projects already tackling Ruby being "slow". By the way, has anyone else realized that, while Ruby is slow, computers are getting faster for us too!
23
jrochkind1 2 days ago 0 replies      
So... GIL?
24
DaNmarner 2 days ago 2 replies      
RPython is the new C?
25
fuzzyman 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's Ruby in RPython, the implementation language of the PyPy VM toolchain. It has nothing to do with integrating with Python. It's an alternative Ruby VM using a proven JIT generator technology that happens to be built with a Python-like language. Hope that helps.
26
peteretep 2 days ago 6 replies      
Topaz as a name? Seriously? (http://topaz.sourceforge.net/
27
rmoriz 2 days ago 6 replies      
Why not implemented on Erlang OTP?
Ruby and Python share the same scaling issues, so I don't see a benefit it combining them or migrate from one to the other.

I also dislike the "high performance" claims without showing a single performance comparison. Not to mention the state of implementation completeness of the language.

5
jQuery.payment stripe.com
421 points by Lightning  1 day ago   67 comments top 14
1
mey 1 day ago 4 replies      
There are several incorrect assumptions about this library

  Cards can be up to 19 digits
Bin ranges are constantly updated, so cardType in static code is a broken concept.
I expect in the future American Express will issues cards longer then 15 digits.
Minimun card length is 13 digits not 10

I don't feel like validating the luhn check, but historically I've seen systems that don't correctly handle the luhn check of variable sizes.

Edit: Reference material http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_card_number
If you are actually getting into credit card processing, please talk to your acquirer about data feeds of this type of info on bin ranges.

Edit 2: Wikipedia claims Maestro has 12 digit cards, but I've never seen one in the wild, I could be wrong about 13, but it's the assumption we've made processing international payments.

2
niggler 1 day ago 2 replies      
EDIT 2: appears that the issue was fixed: https://github.com/stripe/jquery.payment/issues/1

Original Message:
The card number is not linked to the CVV length:

343725117665768 is a valid american express number (generated from http://www.getcreditcardnumbers.com/)

Their CVV numbers are 4 digits, yet the inputs

    343725117665768
12 / 21
123

seems to pass ...

EDIT: filed issue: https://github.com/stripe/jquery.payment/issues/1

3
lbarrow 1 day ago 0 replies      
4
kt9 1 day ago 2 replies      
The thing I love about stripe is that they're so focused on building the best customer experience and software that solves customer problems!
5
batuhanicoz 1 day ago 1 reply      
This may be useful with Node too. I wish it wasn't a jQuery plugin but a framework independent library.

(I'm aware I can use jQuery on the server-side, but why load jQuery only for a credit card number validation library?)

Other than that, this looks good. :)

6
borski 1 day ago 3 replies      
The JS load is failing on this page. :(

  Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 403 (Forbidden) https://raw.github.com/stripe/jquery.payment/master/lib/jquery.payment.js

Uncaught TypeError: Object [object Object] has no method 'formatCardNumber' jquery-payment:50

7
nirvdrum 1 day ago 1 reply      
Supporting 4 digit years might help on the usability front. I'm probably a special case, but I forgot what the format was, as it disappears immediately upon clicking on the field, and naively went with a 4 digit format. There's no helpful error message on the demo page either -- the field just highlights in red.

I don't immediately how much is just how that form was constructed vs. what's done in the JS lib.

8
sethist 1 day ago 2 replies      
This looks nice, but I ran into an immediate usability issue. The Card Expiry requires a leading 0 for January. It seems like bad UI to prevent a user from enter 1/13 or 1/2013 in those fields.
9
alpb 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is why I love Stripe, thanks for contributing bits and pieces to Open Source world!
10
jordan_clark 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very nice. They just keep making it easier and easier to use their service. Good job @stripe!
11
TazeTSchnitzel 1 day ago 1 reply      
The fields seem nice, but use the cursor keys to edit and they fall apart.
12
fijal 18 hours ago 0 replies      
any hope for us poor souls that dwell outside of the United States?
13
theycallmemorty 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't it bad form to add 7 functions to the jQuery plugin 'namespace' in a single plugin?
14
remear 1 day ago 1 reply      
No formatting occurs when input is pasted into the field. Is this by design?
6
Fabrice Bellard: Portrait of a super-productive programmer (2011) smartbear.com
389 points by Baustin  16 hours ago   140 comments top 24
1
DigitalSea 15 hours ago 9 replies      
My theory is that Fabrice is not human and most likely a creature not of this world. Seriously, how the hell can someone be so talented and amazing and above all remain such a nice guy? Fabrice is a down to Earth and amazingly talented individual who will go down in history; text books will reference him, heck he'll have a movie one day (maybe not). I don't care if this is an old article, Bellard deserves to be on the frontpage of HN multiple times, he's earned it.

For me, the LTE/4G base station running on a PC that he did is mindblowingly amazing: http://bellard.org/lte/

2
jgrahamc 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I too think that Bellard has produced a ton of cool stuff, but bear in mind that the list given on that site spans 20 years of work. You can do a lot in 20 years. That's not to put him down in any way, but if you find yourself comparing your output to his make sure you consider the time span.
3
xentronium 15 hours ago 3 replies      
He also authored jslinux[1] in 2011.

This guy is amazing and I am truly envious.

[1] http://bellard.org/jslinux/

4
yorak 15 hours ago 10 replies      
The question from previous discussion remains unanswered. How does he finance his production of top notch open source software? At least for me, the day to day churn of my day job leaves me too mentally exhausted to chase the crazy ideas I get from time to time, let alone finish them.

Imagine a world where hackers, artists and artisans could follow their passions and could chase crazy ideas without a risk of losing the roof on top of their heads and butter over their bread. How many Bellards, we as a humanity, would have running around flinging great code, solving great problems and giving away the fruits of their hard work?

I think we could afford it if we really wanted. If the world just accepted that because of automation fewer and fewer people are needed to work in production (food, items etc.) a huge untapped innovative potential is waiting to be unleashed. In playing Civilization this would be easy, just a click and your society has changed the emphasis of it's production to sciences and art. But how to do this in real life?

I guess I just have to wait and see if the government of Finland gets around and issues citizen's income as propagated by the Green party. That would be a start and the consequences would be really interesting to see.

5
ishansharma 14 hours ago 1 reply      
"If there's a secret to this superhero-level productivity, it appears to have less to do with comic-book mutation and radioactivity, and far more with discipline, confidence, rigor, and many years of practice."

This is one line that you should take away from the article. Most of us think that highly productive programmers are magicians but we forget that they are just like us, just hard working and disciplined.

6
rayiner 12 hours ago 4 replies      
For the sake of discussion, I'm going to throw some fuel on the "should you go to college?" fire. One of the things that's evident in Bellard's achievements is that he has a tremendous depth of domain specific knowledge, especially in signal processing. This is unsurprising, because he studied at Ecole Polytechnique, France's premier engineering school, specializing in telecommunications. See page 4-6 of this PDF: http://www.freearchive.org/o/55dfc9935a719fc36ab1d1656797273....
7
stiff 13 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing I miss is more very productive people like this sharing the way they work with the world. There are some nice screencasts at destroy-all-software[1], and there was a great screencast some time ago about writing a ray tracer in Common Lisp[2], but for the most time it is really hard to get a chance to learn from great programmers by directly watching them work at something, and that's a pity because it's one of the best ways to learn. If anyone has any more similar resources, please share. I am aware of PeepCode's PlayByPlay [3], but found it so-so so far.

[1] https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/

[2] http://rudairandamacha.blogspot.com/2012/09/writing-simple-r...

[3] https://peepcode.com/screencasts/play-by-play

8
barefoot 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like the first link to his personal website in the article is broken:

http://bellard.og

I was going to report it on their main website so I looked for a good way to get in touch with them and found a contact form which seemed to be geared towards sales and had a number of (unrelated to my task) required fields. I'm too lazy to fill out something that is going to get routed to the wrong place and requires me to enter my phone number, position, country, and area of interest on top of my email address and name.

So, I thought I'll just call them.

I called the main phone number and had no way to speak to someone there. The phone prompt simply diverted me to email sales. Heh.

There was a brief period of time where I wondered how a link could remain broken in an otherwise good quality article for over a year. That mystery has been solved.

9
steeve 14 hours ago 2 replies      
To think that 99% of video on the web today is possible because of FFmpeg is mind blowing.
10
kragen 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Agreed.

Other programmers who seem super-productive to me include Julian Seward (bzip2 and valgrind), Larry Wall (patch, rn, and perl), Ken Thompson (Unix and substantial parts of Plan9 and Golang), Aaron Swartz (web.py, Open Library, Demand Progress), Steve Wozniak before his accident (Apple I, Apple II, Integer BASIC, a hardware video game, SWEET-16), of course Bill Gates (BASIC-80 and various other early Microsoft products), Niklaus Wirth (Pascal, Modula-2, Modula-3, Oberon), and maybe Darius Bacon, although none of his free-software projects are widely used.

None of them approach Bellard's level.

I think Bellard has another important thing going for him, beyond discipline and followup: he tackles important and difficult problems, things that are barely within anybody's reach. He's mostly not working on another text editor, another online chat system, or another casual game.

Who are your candidates?

11
aninteger 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Fabrice is awesome. I am also extremely impressed with the code written by a guy that goes by the name of Bisqwit. He has multiple videos speed coding here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Bisqwit
12
wazoox 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The guy is also incredibly nice. I started using QEMU in 2003 and it was a huge relief in my work; so one of my colleague decided to send a "thank you" email to Bellard. Bellard replied very nicely on how happy he was that we found QEMU useful, and even gave us his phone number.
13
limmeau 15 hours ago 2 replies      
14
malkia 11 hours ago 1 reply      
My personal programming heroes:

- Edi Weitz - http://weitz.de/ - Lots of Common Lisp libraries (cl-ppcre)

- Mike Pall - http://luajit.org/ - luajit off course

15
hallowtech 13 hours ago 10 replies      
> Bellard, born in 1972, began practicing his own coding techniques first on a TI-59 scientific calculator, at the beginning of the ‘80s.

I wonder how many people have started their programming experience on a TI calculator. I had the same way in with a TI-85.

16
logn 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome article.

I like the bulleted conclusions at the end, but this nugget in the middle is my favorite:

"While he moves every few years into new and fertile unconquered territory, he exercises patterns that have served him well over and over: cleanly-styled C, data compression, numerical methods, signal processing, pertinent abstractions, media formats, open-source licensing, and “by-hand parsing.”"

I think sometimes for me I tend to wander from one technology and field to the next, but there's definitely something to be said for focusing a bit more on certain languages/technologies and what you're interested in.

17
gbog 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Genuine question: all those comments focusing on Bellard's humble character, do they refer in negative to some hype developers, brogrammers, those who use only the latest fashionable tools, write blogs and rants and books?
18
hobbyist 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Old article resurfacing again on HN, neverthless he is everyone's idol
19
incision 12 hours ago 0 replies      
On my shortlist of people who I read/think about any time I might feel complacent about my own development.
20
bthomas 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see a list of projects he started that didn't work out. Amazing list, but he must've had some duds at some point.
21
fexl 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I downloaded his pi computer from http://bellard.org/pi/pi2700e9/tpi.html and I don't see the source code for the "tpi" program there. Is that source code available anywhere?
22
carlob 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The link to his website goes to bellard.og instead of .org
23
notdrunkatall 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a link to or know how he came up with his formula for the computation of pi in base-2?

I look at that and... I just want to know: how?

24
supervillain 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Fabrice Bellard is the man!
7
Announcing MoSQL stripe.com
370 points by nelhage  3 days ago   111 comments top 19
1
gfodor 3 days ago 2 replies      
FYI you can store unstructured data in PostgreSQL (and query it) with the introduction of hstore. So knock one more reason to use MongoDB instead of PostgreSQL off your list. (Disclaimer: the length of my list to use MongoDB has always been a constant that is less than one.)

http://www.postgresql.org/docs/9.1/static/hstore.html

2
physcab 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is pretty cool but I'm struggling to see what the use cases are, atleast for analysis. There might be quite a bit of benefits for running application code that I'm not aware of. With regards to analysis though, their own example question is "what happened last night?" but then they go on to say that it is a near real-time data store. Does it matter that it is a real-time mirror then?

I've always liked the paradigm of doing analysis on "slower" data stores, such as Hadoop+Hive or Vertica if you have the money. Decoupling analysis tools from application tools is both convenient and necessary as your organization and data scales.

3
dugmartin 3 days ago 2 replies      
Reading the headline I thought they were introducing a SQL like interface to their API, sort of like FQL for Facebook and I got a little excited. Something like this to get the email addresses of all your active trial subscribers:

SELECT c.email FROM customers c, subscriptions s WHERE c.subscription_id = s.id AND s.status = "active" and s.trial_start IS NOT NULL;

(where of course the customer and subscription tables would be a virtual view on your customers and subscriptions)

4
Ensorceled 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nice. Real businesses need a data warehouse and SQL is the right tool for that job.

I thank them for releasing this.

5
e1ven 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very neat project. I can see several use-cases for this where I work- It'd be nice to have alternatives means of searching through data.

I'd also like to mention a project I've been contributing to, Mongolike

[My fork is at https://github.com/e1ven/mongolike , once it's merged upstream, that version will be the preferred one ;) ]

It implements mongo-like structures on TOP of Postgres. This has allowed me to support both Mongo and Postgres for a project I'm working on.

6
nodesocket 3 days ago 0 replies      
10gen also has a nice python app which syncs by tailing the MongoDB oplog to an external source. Most common is Solr.

https://github.com/10gen-labs/mongo-connector/tree/master/mo...

Seems to be high quality, and supports replica sets.

7
jabagonuts 3 days ago 1 reply      
At what point do you abandon mongodb and just use postgresql?
8
andrewjshults 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is there currently support for "unrolling" arrays or hashes into tables of their own? If not, would definitely be interested in helping to add that on (we use arrays on documents quite a bit, but have run into a number of situations where a simple SQL query for analysis could have quickly replaced a bunch of mongo scripts).
9
Ingaz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thought that "young" NoSQLs sometime in will got SQL interface.

Look at old NoSQLs: Intersystems Cache got SQL interface, GT.M (in PIP-framework) also got SQL.

My impression that MongoDB looks a lot like MUMPS storage with globals in JSON.

10
danso 3 days ago 0 replies      
Out of curiousity, but what is the rest of Stripe's stack like? Ruby, apparently, but I'm assuming they don't use any kind of Mongo ORM at all.
11
ElGatoVolador 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you need to make a tool(and use twice the amount of storage) to be able to "query your data" in a SQL manner while using noSQL, it probably means you are using the wrong tool for the job.
12
hgimenez 3 days ago 1 reply      
Author of MoSQL, did you consider just using the MongoDB FTW instead? https://github.com/citusdata/mongo_fdw
13
meaty 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also useful when MongoDB blows chunks because it was a crap architectural decision and you quickly port your app to raw SQL...
14
bryanjos 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this idea. I can see myself using MoSQL pretty soon. Does it handle geospatial data? Can it replicate geospatial data from Mongo to a Geometry data type in Postgres?
15
dschiptsov 2 days ago 0 replies      
MongoDB is great for a lot of reasons - record-level locking? multiple concurrent writes? append-only journals?

I have read than in version 2.x they announce some features, so, it is greatness?

16
scragg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Someone should write a client library so you can do ad hoc data aggregation queries without using SQL. You can call it NoMoSQL :)
17
Uchikoma 2 days ago 0 replies      
Waiting for BroSQL.
18
arthulia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't wait for NoMoSQL
19
govindkabra31 3 days ago 1 reply      
how do you deal with sharded mongo clusters?
9
Four Hours of Concentration johndcook.com
327 points by wmat  3 days ago   83 comments top 29
1
mercuryrising 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't intentionally try to structure when/where/how I think about things, but after 23 years, I've gotten pretty in tune with knowing how things 'feel' inside.

I know if I'm going to have a shitty day or a great day the moment I wake up, the first interaction I have with a person (knowing this may make it more likely to happen, but short of that...).

I know when my brain is running on all cylinders, and when it's choking for more air. Tuning into these signals (I have no idea what they are, only 'feelings'), I can lay out the things I want to do in the next few days, and roll with the punches. It'd be interesting to see the amount of time idlers and time progressors (I'm at my computer most of the day, looking at my google search history would give a good indication - I generally don't google that much when I read articles on HN or Reddit, but when I'm doing something I'm googling up a storm).

No sense fitting a square key into a round hole when tomorrow the round key will be sitting in my hand.

2
axiom 3 days ago 13 replies      
Unbelievable, 40+ comments and not one contrary opinion.

Alright, I'll be that guy. I have no trouble doing more than 4 hours worth of mentally strenuous work in a day, and neither do most of the people I work with. Frequently enough I've put in sustained 12-16 hour days for weeks on end to meet a tough deadline.

You'll generally find that the most successful people who are best at what they do have no trouble with this either. I'll go further and say that a large number of the people who complain about having to work more than a few hours a day are doing nothing more than rationalizing their lazy HN and/or reddit habits.

3
ojbyrne 3 days ago 2 replies      
In my experience this is what happens with programmers in corporate environments and produces excessive hours - 2 hours concentrating in the morning, 2 hours concentrating in the evening, and 8 hours of bullshit in between.
4
droithomme 3 days ago 2 replies      
Back in the old days when I was in school, I didn't do well with more than 3 classes in a row in college. Not just me though, nearly everyone started with 2 Tu-Th 1.5 hr classes and 2 M-W-F 1 hr classes. That was a full time 12 unit load, but I always took at least 16 units, and sometimes as many as 24, which was up to 3 more classes a week. 16 units was a full time job, the semesters I took 20 and 24 were very special cases where some of the classes were subjects I already knew well or were research project based classes. I think 16 is a good solid load for the typical college student.

When I'm really refreshed and interested and doing well and eating right I can pull all nighters and maintain work quality. I can't maintain this for extended stretches at all though.

For a sustained pace though, I agree completely with Mr. Cook and his sources that 4 solid hours a day is about right.

There are many people who put in substantially more hours and brag about it. A close look though nearly always reveals lots of meetings, busy work, and - these days - surfing the net, playing games, and flirting or shooting the breeze with coworkers. Remove all that and you seldom see more than 4 hours, and almost never 4 hours of solid work sustained for months at a time.

We should also consider whether this discussion is relevant to calls to extend school hours to 7 or 8 or more hours a day in the primary school classroom, as many are calling for. Does Finland, which has fewer school hours than the US, have better results because of it?

5
idoh 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a proponent of this theory, and it worked for me in Law School. I would only study for two two hour sessions each day, after which I was free to do whatever I wanted. This worked quite well for me, and I always felt fresh and sharp, especially when finals came around.

I also did the same study plan for the bar exam and feel like it worked well there too, i.e. passed it on the first try with a minimum of drama, the whole thing was actually quite pleasant.

In contrast, many of my peers would study basically around the clock, pull all nighters, made their lives miserable and didn't do any better, and more often than not quite worse.

6
flexie 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's what I have always said about law. I can do about 4 hours of legal work a day. Then I am absolutely done. I have no idea how my colleagues can clock in 8 hours.

Yes - there are days I can do more. But there are also days I do less than 4 hours. In the long run I do about 4 hours a day. That's it.

7
rthomas6 3 days ago 2 replies      
Are there any peer-reviewed studies on this? This looks like purely anecdotal evidence. It makes sense on the surface, but I don't think I can trust that four hours of intense concentration per day is some sort of "cognitive limit" without an actual scientific study.
8
stephengillie 3 days ago 3 replies      
If you practice something 4 hours per day, 365 days per year, you'll hit the legendary 10,000 hour mark in about 6 years and 10 months.

---

Does this mean that each of us has a reservoir of about 4 hours of intense concentration per day? When we perform a less-intense task, like driving or facebooking, are we using those 4 hours at a reduced rate?

This sounds like it could feed into another idea - that each human has a limited number of actions per day. Performing actions costs concentration, and so we pay for each action from our concentration reservoir?

9
coffeeaddicted 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do we have any idea what it actually _is_ what is getting depleted when we start to run out of energy or concentration? It's something I've wondered about already a few times - I mean I can pretty much feel running out of steam myself. Which means there is some way in which my mind is able to measure whatever it is that it causing this.
10
drcode 3 days ago 0 replies      
...of course, most people (including myself) may be incapable of the intense concentration that a genius like Poincaré could muster. Therefore, it's hard to know how useful this fact is to a typical person.
11
johnfuller 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think another item to add to this is that some days that 4 hour day is going to be your ceiling and anything which creates yet more cognitive exhaustion is going to erode that further. For example, serious stress from having to hit a deadline or being overloaded could bust that 4 hours worth of reserves down to 2 or 3. If you try to force it, you might just end up sitting at your workstation all day idling at brainless tasks such as browsing the internet or half attempting to create some sort of structure out of the mess of the task list your clients have sent you.

It's interesting that we see so many articles posted on hacker news on how to be more productive, beat procrastination and be more motivated when really this article the OP posted explains it all. In most cases you probably don't have a problem with procrastination and motivation, it's simply that you are over-extending yourself. Cut back your commitments and you fix your problem.

12
johnfuller 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have been freelancing for most of my time as a developer, and I have worked remotely for all of it.

The one actual job I had as a web developer set the work week as 40 hours a week (8 hours a day.) This left me wondering if any developers actually work this long of a day and how they could possibly do it.

When I'm doing client work, I'm ON, all the circuit boards are lit up. I can't keep this going for more than 4 - 6 hours per day. If I work a long day, then the next day I'm drained and I have to pay off that debt.

It actually took me years to really figure this out after a life of being trained to the 40 hour work week (parents, my early work life.) The 40 hour model for work is broken.

13
incision 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've have great success with something similar to The Pomodoro Technique. Alternating activities every few segments helps me go a lot longer than I would trying to plow through on one subject.

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

14
Dove 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, it can be done. Just not every day. I once went on a hacking run in grad school that was over 24 hours sustained. I was a gibbering mess for the next couple days, but I think it was worth it.

I wouldn't do it for a job, though. I think that can only be done for love.

15
Gobitron 3 days ago 1 reply      
By and large I agree with this, but I think there is another element to consider, which is your overall energy levels. If you exercise, eat right, laugh, spend time with family and friends, then you're more likely to be able to consistently put in this kind of effort. I don't think you can or should aim to do much more than 4, but I think a very large proportion of the world isn't capable of even coming close to 4, because they don't or can't manage their energy effectively.

I also agree it is possible to do longer bursts, but that is pretty rare in my experience.

16
galaktor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Relevant read:
http://www.your-brain-at-work.com/

"Your Brain At Work" points out, among other things, that the brain is capable of doing much less intensive work (as in, concentration) than most people believe it is.

17
mattm 3 days ago 0 replies      
This echoes my experience as well, however I prefer to break it into 3 x 80 minute blocks. The times when I've tried to push myself beyond that for a short period of time (a few weeks) I have ended up sick, ill or entirely unproductive to make up for it.
18
ErikAugust 3 days ago 0 replies      
Implications: People are not going to be great at their second job or at night school. It's probably better to quit a tiring job and find a quiet one where you can study something you want to do with your life.
19
cvursache 2 days ago 2 replies      
Even though a lot of smart people agree that we can only get a few hours of real concentration a day, not many of them link to scientific papers that support this claim. I would agree that the claim "feels right". But in absence of a real experiment, how valuable is this insight really? Maybe useful to keep the idea in the back of one's head, but seems far from a definitive answer.
20
realitygrill 3 days ago 1 reply      
I first read about the ~4 hour limit from D.E. Littlewood's book, Littlewood's Miscellany. He recommends "four hours a day or at most five, with breaks about every hour (for walks perhaps)."

Since then I've read of luminaries mentioning this in passing, but I haven't really tried to employ it. (I'm also pretty sure I've seen pg say this is empirically false with YC founders, and perhaps he and axiom are correct)

I'd like to know if there's evidence of this for learning, however, even if it is mathematics.

21
artursapek 3 days ago 1 reply      
Malcolm Gladwell said in an on-stage interview I witnessed that he can only write for two to three hours a day. The rest of his time he spends doing less demanding work like research and setting up interviews with people.

From what I've seen, most employed programmers only spend about this much time (maybe a bit more) actually programming.

22
mappum 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is reassuring for me. On a normal day, I only really do so much actual coding and intense thinking, and I usually wrongfully compare it to the crazy energy drink fueled all-nighters (which makes me feel like I'm not getting enough done).
23
whiddershins 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have worked with some extremely successful and famous artists and musicians, some follow the pattern outlined here, some do not. I know one musician who would work for 36 or 48 hours or more without a break of any kind including sleep, so as to complete an idea without losing the thread. The proof is in the pudding and there are many many recipes.
24
cerebrum 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another good argument for working from home as opposed to a corporate environment.
25
levlandau 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a difference between being maximally productive at any given time and coming out cumulatively ahead. The strong claim is to state that one is always net less productive when working sub-optimally at any given time. I doubt that this is true but i suppose it depends on how quickly productivity falls off with strain. I suspect that it's probably ok to work long hours to get through repetitive learning but its best to reserve a fresh focus for your more creative moments.
26
wiradikusuma 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pure curiosity from the perspective of life hacking: Does this mean we can have e.g. 3 tasks parallel in a day where 3x4hours = 12 hours? Say you want to write high quality code, mastering piano and write symphony at the same day, until you reach 10k hour each (=mastery).
27
sepetoner 3 days ago 0 replies      
I spent ~7 hours a day when I was learning C++. I basically had to do this in order to be able to take my course the next semester in college. I went from knowing absolutely nothing about programming, to having a very firm grasp on the subject, and actually being one of the best in my class.

I would have learned a lot with 4 hours a day, but I think the extra 90 hours I put in that month really helped me out.

28
adamnemecek 3 days ago 0 replies      
I believe that the 37signals guys have a very similar opinion.
29
s4sagar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pointless to quantify the amount of time until "Concentration" can be quantified.
10
Microsoft looking to release Office for Linux in 2014 extremetech.com
316 points by lispython  2 days ago   202 comments top 61
1
pwthornton 2 days ago 6 replies      
It's in the best interest of Office to be on every platform possible. It's in the best interest of Windows for Office to be an exclusive. That's the tension that's been there for years.

But Office, especially with its growing Web and sharing underpinnings, may be a more enduring product than Windows. If this is indeed the case, it makes sense for Office to be on every platform possible, making it the standard for document creation and sharing.

Microsoft is weak in the smartphone and tablet space. It makes a ton of sense for Office to go here; it's not like strong Office products on iOS would hurt Surface sales. And now with subscription plans and Windows becoming less ubiquitous, why not Linux?

It's not Office's job to protect Windows, especially if Windows can't protect Office. If Office doesn't go on more platforms, people will switch to other solutions because they are using non-Windows devices all the time. Windows alone will kill Office in the long term.

2
xaa 2 days ago 6 replies      
I am in (biological) research, and this would be a godsend in the unlikely event it's true. There are a lot of *nix users in research, but paradoxically, MS Word is a virtual requirement for submitting grants and manuscripts, and MS Excel is very commonly used to pass around datasets.

Libreoffice is unacceptably broken in a thousand small ways. The best compromise we have come up with is to edit internal documents with Google Docs until they are almost finished, then polish them in Word.

3
Xion 2 days ago 11 replies      
I don't understand this.

Valve is already doing mile-length steps in terms of upending one of the Windows' biggest advantages over Linux: games. Arguably, Office is another, but this time it's supposedly Microsoft itself who is about to diminish yet another selling of point of their own operating system.

I'm really confused, if that's indeed true. You could say it follows naturally with all the screw-ups MS made recently with respect to Windows 8 & Metro UI. But really, seeing a company undermine their own business so blatantly... I don't know what to think about this.

4
forgotAgain 1 day ago 1 reply      
The money quote:

This rumor stems from a source in Brussels, Belgium, who spoke to Phoronix's Michael Larabel at FOSDEM, one of Europe's larger open source conferences. According to this source, who is presumably one of Microsoft's open source developers, Microsoft is taking a “meaningful look” at releasing a full Linux port of Office in 2014.

This is as thin as it gets for journalistic sources.

I call BS.

5
noonespecial 2 days ago 4 replies      
Microsoft has become the "Office and Exchange" company. They should just stop trying to sell OS's altogether and try to get Office onto as many platforms as possible as fast as possible.

If I were MS, I'd be giving away an XP like OS for free just so I'd have a way to get Office out there easier.

6
wildmXranat 2 days ago 4 replies      
At first, OpenOffice Calc and Writer were a nuisance that I had to learn to use. Then they became second nature, LibreOffice is now my most recommended piece of software to all my clients along with Thunderbird etc. Now, I find that LibreOffice handles all of my workload much better than Office did. Especially when dealing with international text encoding.

I realize that there is a huge, existing market that requires Office, but I wonder how many of those could go through a transition and arrive at a better place without it.

7
foxylad 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a rumour that MS is taking a meaningful look at porting Office to Linux. All it takes is one OS exec to say "you're doing WHAT?!!!" and this meaningful look will be quietly stopped.

Even if they do port, I'd expect it to be broken in many ways, each popping up a "This wouldn't happen if you were running on Windows" dialog. MS just won't be able to help itself.

8
bhauer 2 days ago 1 reply      
If true, I think this is good news both for Linux and for Office.

Just as an aside, I've installed Office 365 (the Office 2013 annual subscription program) and my tentative assessment is positive. I like the overall feel and functionality once you turn off animation. This evening, I found I really enjoyed the new alignment and drawing guides in Powerpoint 2013. They make Powerpoint a solid diagramming tool.

At $99/year for installation on five family PCs, the pricing is much more reasonable.

9
notatoad 1 day ago 0 replies      
ExtremeTech re-reporting a rumour from phoronix? Sounds trustworthy.
10
malandrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
The way I see it Microsoft may become the next IBM. IBM was a mainframe and "business machines" company until it saw it's market share falling and share price stagnate. That all changed in 1993 when massive layoffs set the groundwork for the reinvention of IBM as a solutions company. Like IBM, they have a massive network and talent base on which to draw from. I predict that Microsoft's cash cow shrink-wrap licensing revenue will start to give way to other revenue streams which may prove more lucrative long term.
11
codeka 2 days ago 0 replies      
OK, I'll believe this when I see it.
12
homosaur 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, why not? Let the Office division compete on its own. I actually liked the last Mac version.
13
dmoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
It could be timed for the end of life for windows xp in April 2014. Its still a large chunk of the installed os base
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_system...
So maybe the point is that if you can't keep everyone of these on windows at least you can keep them using office.
14
nathanstitt 2 days ago 1 reply      
As much as I'd love to see this happen, there's no way it's going to.

Linux has what, maybe a 1-2% desktop market share? Can you even begin to image the support costs Microsoft would have to endure to make this happen?

Assuming the article isn't just link-bait, I have a feeling the "meaningful look" is really one guy in a cube somewhere who drafted a position paper that he is desperately peddling up the chain as far as he can go.

15
dorkrawk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this would be great because it would really let people use what they want. Office is good at what it does. There are lots of people who run Linux who could benefit from it. If you're not one of those people and Google Docs or LibreOffice works for you, that's fine you can keep using that. And from Microsoft's point of view, allowing more users to have access to Office makes setting up a Microsoft ecosystem an easier sell for a company. There is plenty of expensive enterprise software to be sold to companies that ties into Office. If companies can buy it without worrying about forcing an OS change for employees who are already productive with their current setup, that makes for an easier sale for MS.
16
nikcub 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Transforming from a software-maker to a devices and services company requires us to make big, bold bets and push our business in new directions." -- Ballmer on Office 365 launch last week
17
loeg 2 days ago 0 replies      
At my employer, we use Outlook for mail and calendaring. Currently I have to remote desktop into a server to use Outlook or run a Windows VM on my Linux workstation. If MS releases this, my company can simply license Office for Linux and we can access it "natively" (modulo it'll be a closed-source binary). There is a market for this, if small.
18
hamidpalo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Having looked at parts of the Office source I would be extremely surprised if this is anything but a statement to placate OSS devs. The sheer amount of effort required to port Office to Linux would be a few orders of magnitude greater than any sales that could possibly be achieved from Linux users.
19
DigitalSea 2 days ago 1 reply      
Office is great and all, but I transitioned to Google Docs a long time ago. The one thing holding me back from Linux as my day-to-day operating system is lack of Adobe software. The day Photoshop and Fireworks comes to Linux (heck, the whole entire Creative Suite) I'll jump the Windows ship so fast. If true, this is a smart move for Microsoft because if the tide changes, Microsoft would already have a foothold because open source equivalents of MS Office just aren't as good as Microsoft's offering. When was the last time you ever saw a business using OpenOffice over Microsoft Office? Never.
20
prawks 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the first move by Microsoft that I can actually understand. They need to seriously rethink what their goals are. They can't have the computing monopoly they used to, so they really need to focus on what they're strong at: corporate software. And that is not a bad thing.

How about marketing Surface as a solution to corporate IT departments trying to wrestle iPads into their Microsoft ecosystem? Windows Phone could be the same. They could be the Blackberry of the new mobile corporate strategies. Then just keep doing what they do best: build products that plug and play very, very nicely with the rest of Microsoft's portfolio, and offer better corporate support for those products.

Instead of trying to figure out how to make a slicker Metro, how about making Sharepoint suck less? Keep the direction of VS going forward. Microsoft's "next big things" should be focused on innovating the corporate workspace. Stop trying to get tangled up in the Apple/Google wars and start focusing on challenging things like Google Docs, Box, and Red Hat instead. Those are Microsoft's real competitors.

It seems like they're very conflicted and confused about who they are supposed to be. They're not the cool new unproven software maker. They're the people whose products you use when you want to reduce IT costs and modernize legacy application portfolios.

21
rbanffy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft cannot afford the possibility another office suite (or another component) gains a foothold in the market. The moment that happens, the moment the market fragments around a different standard (even more if it's a cross-platform/cross-device standard), the mutual Windows-Office reinforcement collapses and each side has to fight on its own.

Microsoft markets Office for Macs for two reasons: because it makes some money out of it and because it prevents a competitor from appearing and taking over the Mac side of the ecosystem and threatening crossing over to Windows. The same reasoning applies to Linux - if Linux ever becomes a significant corporate desktop OS and LibreOffice becomes a threat to Office, Microsoft's value proposition starts to be questioned. Offering a reasonable migration path for companies moving segments of their park away from Windows to stay reinforcing Office as a de-facto standard is vital.

That is an existential threat for Microsoft.

22
jiggy2011 2 days ago 1 reply      
Office coming to Linux? What? Really?! open article... "This rumor stems from a source in Brussels, Belgium, who spoke to Phoronix's Michael Larabel at FOSDEM" , "oh , right then" close tab

I guess we can expect this by 2030

23
bobsy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't Linux users already use Office360? I was under the impression that Office360 was the future. That Microsoft was slowing moving their office software into the cloud?

Supporting Linux seems pointless. Linux has a really small market share. I am fairly sure a lot of Linux users who are tech savvy would want to support the open source Libre Office instead of forking out for MS Office.

Better places to expand would be Android / iOS app stores. Tablet devices are still exploding in growth. I could see a lot of use being got out of office software on tablets.

24
toddnessa 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Look for Microsoft to try to squash those in open source who are already nicely serving up quality office products without charge. Could this be why Oracle stopped working to develop Open Office (who btw allowed you to not only open but also save in MS Office file formats)? Did they know something about this that we didn't know? What happened with Open Office did not pass the smell test. Perhaps this is why. Hopefully, Apache can revive the efforts and get things moving forward again with Open Office.
25
vondur 1 day ago 0 replies      
I attended a Microsoft conference back in 2001 or 2002 and during a Q&A with the audience someone asked if Microsoft would ever release a version of Office for Linux. He basically said if the demand was there, they would do it, because they were a software company.
26
damian2000 2 days ago 2 replies      
To do this they'd need to basically implement the Win32 APIs on Linux. And if they did that, that might enable other windows applications to run on desktop Linux. It would be similar to how WINE works, but by Microsoft.
27
runn1ng 1 day ago 3 replies      
For me, standard "offline" Office suites are really "things of the previous millenium". MS Office or Libre/OpenOffice alike.

I use Google Docs for everything. It's simpler to use, it's simpler to share documents, it's inherently more mobile. The updates are instant. And so on.

Now I would be glad if there was free (as-in-speech) alternative to Google Docs, so I could just host it myself on my server. There IS etherpad, but it doesn't do tables and works slightly differently.

What do others think? Are "offline" office suites still relevant?

28
gambiting 1 day ago 1 reply      
In our company we don't use office at all. We only use LibreOffice - it's not as good,but it's completely fine for doing spreadsheets and basic text documents. Honestly, I don't see the need to spend money on the full Office suite.

However, we still use Windows - why?
Not because of Office - but because the only proper accounting suite available in this country runs only on Windows,and it's server can only use MSSQL as the database. Therefore, we have to use Windows as a company, even without Office.

29
pippy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Desktop Linux biggest problem is bad software. LibreOffice is great, but it's still 10 years behind Office. GIMP is a joke. NetBeans and Aptana fantastic but come nowhere near the visual studio or xcode.

It's a shame because some Linux distros make Mac OS X and Windows look like a joke. Have you tried http://elementaryos.org/? it's like warm pillow on a cold night. A brilliant example of UI done right.

I'm excited to see Steam come to Linux. If Office were to come, it Desktop Linux has a bright future.

30
hooande 1 day ago 0 replies      
The odds of governments or major corporations, M$'s biggest customers, switching from windows to linux are virtually nil. Institutions are heavily invested with Microsoft, linux Office won't be the tipping point for a switch to a whole new technology stack.

The Microsoft of today has nothing to lose from this. 20 years ago the situation was different. A must-have app like Office was all that was keeping people from switching to a wide variety of competing OSes. But it's 2013 and the battle has been won. For all the hate that people heap upon Microsoft, they dominate the most profitable sector of the personal computing market. Their strategic position doesn't depend on any one piece of software.

If anything, I think this move demonstrates how confident they are. In the past Office for linux would have been confounding, for both business and ideological reasons. This is the tech company version of dismantling the ICBMS. The OS cold war is over, and everyone can go back to business.

31
JVIDEL 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great news for Linux users everywhere and basically to anyone who has tried to convince casual users to switch.

But to MSFT this is suicide: even if Office remains the leading suite with a Linux version every company out there can save millions a year switching to a distro and paying only for Office, but not for Windows.

This is basically Nintendo giving away Mario and Zelda to other consoles.

Do any of the newer divisions at MSFT make any money? Xbox probably but there is no way Winphone and web are bringing any cash.

32
dylangs1030 1 day ago 0 replies      
A much better idea would be to write a universal set of software for every platform, in the least amount of code possible, using the most powerful language, and increasing the amount of features in line with what users want.

Where would such a mythical piece of software exist? On Microsoft's servers. It would be cloud tech, accessible from any platform, and would be far superior to any port Microsoft will cook up for 2014.

The only foreseeable downside to this is lack of internet translating to lack of office productivity. But in almost every scenario I think that obstacle is overstated.

That's the future of the office suite, not wasting money and effort doing market research and porting code from Windows to Linux (I can recall a handful of times that has worked natively).

33
jonlarson 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why? Like the article pointed out, there can't be a very large market for it. LibreOffice is free, not to mention the increasing trend toward cloud-base office suites, including Office. Unless the crossover from an Android version really isn't that extensive I can't see the point. All it would potentially do is pull more people off Windows.

On the other hand, I've heard it said that MS actually loses money on Windows. Their real cash cow is Office and other software suites. So who knows, maybe they have a tentative long term strategy of downplaying OS competition and focusing on business applications.

34
padmanabhan01 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even if they want to be on other platforms, how is Linux a good place to start? Wouldn't iOS or android be more logical? Unless they already have that going...
35
rburhum 1 day ago 0 replies      
Horrible late move. What an incredible waste of resources. How many Linux users will buy Office?

Instead, their resources would be better spent creating a Google docs killer freemium service. But what do I know...

36
saosebastiao 2 days ago 1 reply      
And with that, I no longer have any use for Windows. This is awesome, even if I can't understand why they would want to do such a thing.
37
snambi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope they bundle outlook too. Outlook is the main reason i am still using my macbook and windows. Even i do most of my work on Linux, i need to communicate with others through outlook.Actually having outlook on Linux is good enough.
38
dannywoodz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft should release their own Linux distribution along with it. Imagine how attractive that might be: a version of Linux, with support contracts, that is guaranteed to work with Microsoft Office.

The only drawback, of course, is that it would weaken the need for Windows itself. But, given the disasters that have been Vista and Windows 8, maybe they should look at long term survival rather than tying themselves to that particular anchor?

They could even call it Lindows ;-)

[yes, I know]

39
ibrahima 2 days ago 1 reply      
Eh, it's not like porting to Android has any bearing on porting to desktop Linux since the UI toolkits are completely different. I guess this would be cool, but I'd be surprised if many people used it over LibreOffice.
40
bjoe_lewis 1 day ago 0 replies      
>because Microsoft is reportedly already working on Office for Android. Android, as you may already know, is a Linux-based operating system, meaning a lot of the porting work will have already been done

Well, I thought linux just bases the kernel of the operating system(Android), in which case porting Microsoft Office has nothing to do with porting to desktop linus, unless it's written in C :)

41
taf2 2 days ago 1 reply      
I read something like this and think... really MS should follow in Apple's footsteps and build their new OS on the linux kernel, as Apple built their's on the FreeBSD kernel... It could work
42
atpaino 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pure speculation, but I have to wonder if Sinofsky's firing had something to do with him not agreeing with this decision. Seeing as a key selling point for the Surface over the iPad is the inclusion of Office, and the Surface was Sinofsky's baby, I imagine he wouldn't like this decision at all. That, and one of the reasons Ballmer cited for Sinofsky leaving was his lack of cooperation with other senior leadership.
43
genwin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not going to increase memory allocated to Linux from 2GB to 4GB+ to run MS Office, even if it's free.
44
meaty 2 days ago 1 reply      
My arse. Sorry but this is link bait.
45
rhokstar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Never thought I'd see the day that this would happen.
46
lucb1e 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it me, or are more and more things coming to Linux nowadays? Might Android's success and Linux' good and early ARM support have something to do with it?
47
webreac 1 day ago 0 replies      
On my PC, I do not want to see any Microsoft software outside of a virtualbox jail.
48
easternmonk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes. They should also have iOS and Android versions of MS OFFICE.
49
motiejus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft Office is the last obstacle preventing my wife (and my mother coincidently) from moving to Linux. They both tried Ubuntu, liked it, but Windows VM just for office was PITA. And they switched back because of the office suite.
50
nholland 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now that they're on ARM, their office efforts probably shift to make it ubiquitous on every platform - even exploring the iOS/RIM options. Thus, the entire office team may have a different perspective now... creating a very different approach to development, etc.
51
itsbits 1 day ago 0 replies      
Slowly am seeing some devs supporting Microsoft here...I donno why i should make an app for Windows now a days...

Microsoft should concentrate more on Web product 'Office360' rather trying to rewrite Office for Linux.

52
anoncow 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is not strengthening Linux based operating systems that they have to worry about. It is the obsolesence of office in the hands of better cross platform suites that can be a bigger problem.
53
eyko 1 day ago 0 replies      
The big question is... GTK or QT? I'm guessing QT.
54
yum 2 days ago 0 replies      
Because I'm CS student I already get Windows for free through dreamspark, but I don't think I get MS Office. I'm assuming MS is making a big chunk of their profit from all the college freshmen buying Office every year. In my public speech class I gave a presentation about why people should use FOSS. When I mentioned Libre Office in the presentation, and how it could open and write .docx people's mouths dropped. Multiple people including my professor asked about Libre Office after the presentation.

I think Microsoft may generally be worried about the future of Office, or they're hubristic about it.

55
randomsearch 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I were making decisions at MS, I would plan for a future O/S built upon Linux. It makes so much sense.

RS

56
crowhack 2 days ago 0 replies      
ahahahahahAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I can't fully understand why I find this so funny but I am just falling out of my seat laughing.

While I find this extremely comical, I am excited to see the consequences of this for desktop linux. The way I see it, the more people who use linux the better it will become :).

57
jpkeisala 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's not going to happen. There is just not market for it, nothing to do with Windows vs. Linux.
58
zoowar 2 days ago 0 replies      
We're doing just fine without them. LibreOffice!
59
lwat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think so.
60
paines 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, hell froze over ?!? Goodness ....
61
EtienneK 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome news.

Next step: .NET

11
Surface Pro versus MacBook Air: Who's being dishonest with storage space? zdnet.com
313 points by CrankyBear  1 day ago   225 comments top 37
1
InclinedPlane 1 day ago 4 replies      
Yadda yadda yadda, doesn't matter.

When people buy a laptop they expect the OS will take up a good chunk of the storage space. When people buy a tablet they don't have that expectation.

More importantly, when the free space is significantly less than half the advertized storage and there is no warning that's the case people are going to be surprized and upset, and rightfully so.

In a Macbook Air the worst you get is a reduction to about 70-75% of the listed storage capacity (in the 128 or 64 gb models), which is annoying but not crazy. In the Surface Pro 64 model you are reduced to about 1/3 of the initial capacity, which is ridiculous and definitely deserves some sort of warning on the packaging, I would think. Expecting a reduction by 1/4 is reasonable common sense, experiencing a reduction by 2/3 is surprising.

2
callahad 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is frustrating. The Surface Pro has a 128 GB option and goes down from there to 64 GB. The Macbook Air has a 128 GB option and goes up from there to 512 GB.

Edit: this is factually incorrect. There is also a 64 GB MacBook Air model on offer; I forgot about it. I apologize.

~90 GB of free space on both 128 GB models seems reasonable. Stepping down to just ~26 GB free on the 64 GB model seems unreasonable: the usable capacity is less than half of the advertised capacity.

I feel similarly about the recovery partition discussion. If you remove the recovery image, I presume you will not be able to recover the Surface Pro without additional media. The Macbook Air, on the other hand, will allow you to do a fresh re-installation of OS X over the Internet with a completely blank disk: it's baked into the firmware. Therefore, removing the recovery image results in a feature disparity between the systems. Grumble.

3
cooldeal 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Ars review of the Surface Pro has more details on disk space:

Unlike Office in Windows RT, this Office is fully uninstallable if you don't like it. Doing so will liberate about 2.3 GB of disk space. Even if you keep Office, you'll have more disk space than Microsoft claims.

How much? The 128 GB Surface Pro has a formatted capacity of 119 (binary) GB and change. A total of 8.4 GB is used for recovery data, of which 7.8 GB can be reclaimed if you prefer to keep your recovery image on external media. This leaves 110.5 GB for the main partition. On a brand new Surface Pro, about 89 (binary) GB are available. Occupying that 20 GB are 3.3 GB of hibernation file, 4 GB of pagefile, 2.3 GB of Office 2013, 10.4 GB of Windows, built-in/default apps, and so on and so forth.

Presuming the sizes of the applications remain comparable on the 64 GB model (with its 59 binary, GB formatted capacity) one would expect to see about 29 GB available by default. Take off Office and the recovery partition and there will be close to 40 GB available.

4
rbn 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is for people who want tablet + laptop but dont want carry+charge+pay for 2 devices. It's really not that difficult to understand, I dont know why HN has such a hard time understanding this.

"But the iPad is a better tablet!!!", yeh but the surface is a full system.
"But the air is better laptop!!" yeh but the surface has tablet capabilities.
"Buy an Air + iPad!!" I dont want to pay extra plus its a hassle to carry + manage 2 devices

5
_debug_ 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Again, the top comment on an HN thread involving Apple is one that supports Apple by digging up some "fact" or the other that makes Apple look OK. This has always been this ridiculous.

At least AAPL investors are pricing in a future loss of earnings as everyone except the hardcore fanboys move to more open platforms that are priced at 75% to 50% of Apple products and allow you to plug in USB and play along well with other manufacturer's hardware by implementing open protocols like DLNA.

Anecdote : I bought an LG TV and discovered without doing any additional setup, my Samsung phone now shows a TV icon on the photos, and when I clicked it, I was surprised to find the photo pop up on the TV. As I swipe my finger on the phone, the photos scroll on the TV. Voila! I honestly don't know whether this is some kind of PnP broadcast, DLNA, WiDi, or what!

Next : my HP laptop has an Intel WiDi app on it and the TV has a "Wifi Screen Share". Hmm, let's see...bang! Laptop screen now wirelessly mirrored on the TV. LG TV, Samsung phone, HP laptop. I bet Apple products would not work with anything other than Apple this way.

6
incongruity 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think part of this comes from the abstractions used for tablets vs. "traditional" computers. (With the surface being viewed as a tablet by most consumers, vs. the air being seen as a traditional laptop).

In tablets, the trend seems to be to abstract away/hide the OS as much as possible " it isn't something that runs on the machine, it is the machine " if that makes sense. Compare this to the laptop world where we're all engrained to conceive of the OS as something that is installed on the machine and in most/all cases is able to be swapped out (insert plug for your favorite Linux distro here, etc.)

So, given that, most consumers willingly accept the space the OS takes up as a given on the laptop yet the same people see the listing the tablet storage including the space required for the OS as disingenuous.

When you want to abstract away something, if your abstraction leaks, it usually hampers the user experience or user perception of the offering " as this case illustrates (IMHO).

7
grecy 1 day ago 2 replies      
> And with one minor tweak that doesn't affect the system's capabilities in any way

If that were the case, why would that feature even be included? Obviously it does impact the capabilities, when things go wrong.

Also interesting to note they call it a "minor tweak". What percentage of tablet (or laptop) users even know about a recovery image?
I small fraction, I'd wager.

8
beagle3 1 day ago 4 replies      
tl;dr: On the 128GB models (Surface Pro vs. Macbook Air), they both leave ~90GB free space.

The problem for Microsoft is that they are competing at the same time against laptops and tablets. For someone who's looking for a tablet, it loses badly to an iPad (the free space sticks out, but it is by now means the only place an iPad wins). For someone who's looking for a laptop, it loses to many laptops (in price, performance, ergonomics - whatever it is you care about, there's something that handily beats the Surface Pro).

Are there any people who are looking for something that's sort-of-a-tablet and sort-of-a-laptop, and are willing to get a device that is not competitive as either? We'll soon find out.

My own experience leads me to believe that until you have perfected a niche (neither laptops or tablets are there yet), extreme specialization always wins against generalization.

9
DannoHung 1 day ago 0 replies      
The numbers reported for the 128 version weren't what people were griping about.
10
drivebyacct2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm so embarrassed. A week ago I defended that people could be reasonable about Microsoft, their products and the Surface. The comment threads here today have been pathetic. If this is the biggest issue to bitch about regarding the Surface then the Surface Pro 2.0 should be an easy target to nail.

Jesus there are people writing rants in this thread that don't even understand that the Surface Pro is specd similarly to the macbook air (except the surface has a much better screen)

11
comex 1 day ago 0 replies      
Note that the OS X recovery partition is only 650 MB, since it downloads the actual installation image from the internet on the fly.

Are you sure that the Surface Pro's disk actually offers 127.90 GB of block device? To my inexpert ears, that seems to imply that it's actually larger than 128 GB, which sounds wrong.

12
Tloewald 1 day ago 0 replies      
So having "proven" Windows 8 has no advertising (by somehow claiming the apps with ads weren't really part of Windows 8) Ed Bott turns to proving the 128GB Surface has more storage space than the Macbook Air by deleting tons of stuff from the Surface and nearly freeing up as much space as the latter has by default.
13
mattbee 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, and I thought Disk Utility was only a piece of shit for hiding partitions from me :-)

We've had at least one dispute with a customer who didn't get the "advertised" storage space when buying hosting - it's easy to you say this server has 8 x 500GB drives in a RAID10, but we've had a customer unhappy when 1.9 binary terabytes of data didn't fit onto that after RAID metadata, filesystem overhead etc.

So the new product (bigv.io) expresses storage and RAM in binary gigabytes, and I'm thinking I might convert all the dedicated server storage specifications away from lying drive manufacturer sizes, even if that means advertising a 465GiB disc. (or should we advertise size after ext3 overhead arrrggghh).

14
ari_elle 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nitpick (and most likely even considered OT):

- Mac OS shows storage space the right way, because it shows capacity in KB/GB (which is base 10 by definition)

- Windows OS shows storage space the wrong way, because while using base 2, it still claims to show you space in KB,GB (but actually it's GiB)

To what is generally better:
Well for the common user GB might make more sense, since every storage device is marketed with GB in mind.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Quantities_of_bytes

And people who feel cheated because of less storage space seem to ignore the fact that this tablet is running a full Windows Operating system.

I guess it's just the mindset of many to think of tablets as "big smartphones" instead of compact full-fledged computers.

15
Dylan16807 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is ridiculous. The complaint was always about the 64GB model. 75% is fine. 35% is not. Very simple.
16
nicholassmith 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting he mentions removing the Windows recovery partition, but not the ML one which is hardly top secret knowledge.

Apple is no better, but none of the other manufacturers are. Storage space is one of those wonderful facts which turn out not to be as factual they could be.

17
adnrw 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Microsoft has been pummeled by critics this week over supposedly inadequate storage space in its new Surface Pro.

It wasn't about the inadequacy of the storage space in and of itself " 25/64GB or 90/128GB is not decidedly inadequate for all users, and is (as the article explains) in the ballpark of usable space for comparable laptops.

There's a separate issue regarding the advertising of storage industry-wide that has merit, but this issue is about the amount of usable storage space in the context of the rest of the tablet market.

Sure, the Surface is comparable on storage space to competing laptops including those offered by Apple, but it's not even in the same ballpark as competing tablets.

Microsoft is pitching the Surface as a competitor to both tablets and laptops, separately and together. It therefore needs to compete against features of both, and it seems it can't when it comes to this specific feature.

18
wtallis 1 day ago 3 replies      
The author wrongly dismisses the impact of the SSD's spare area on usable storage:

> "The parts about wear-leveling blacks and bad blocks are just part of how SSDs work. On a new SSD these numbers should be very small."

This is absolutely wrong. Modern SSDs reserve a significant part of their NAND even when new. For example, the Micron C400 used in the Surface Pro has 128GiB of NAND and reserves 6.8% as spare area, and thus presents to the OS as a 119.2GiB block device. An Intel SSD 525 with the same 128GiB of NAND reserves 12.6% spare area, so it presents 111.8GiB to the OS. The author's MacBook Air seems to have about 11.7% spare area. They're still fundamentally the same amount of storage, but drives with smaller spare area will generally perform worse when they are nearly full, and having less spare area can also reduce the longevity of the drive.

19
S_A_P 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The difference is in expectations. The Surface Pro may be slightly immune to that, but when someone buys a tablet, they are buying a media consumption device, so that they can download and read/watch/listen to files at their leisure. There is little file system access, and it is largely abstracted away.

A PC is a general purpose device with full access to the file system and the ability to do much more than a traditional tablet. If the surface is a touchscreen laptop it should be marketed as such. I cant believe that we are all having the discussion around what a megabyte or multiple thereof is. PCs smartphones and electronics have always been so specific as to their tech specs I dont understand who decided it would be a good idea to have a conversion factor between megabyte and a "million" bytes. At the end of the day, however, its just tech press and people with too much time on their hands complaining about a small aspect of a device. Articles like this make me grumpy...

20
rickdale 1 day ago 2 replies      
I recently purchased a 4TB external hard drive. It was the first hard drive I have ever come across that had exactly 4tb of free space when I opened it. Usually its a little bit less. I can remember my 80gig hard drive I spent all summer saving up for back around 2000 only have 66gigs and being totally bummed out.

I know with flash memory the units are more exact, but are they getting better with the spinning hd's with the space accuracy?

21
beagle3 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This thread seems to be full of good advice about laptops, so maybe I can get help on something slightly unrelated: Anyone have recommendation for a tablet (or laptop that converts to tablet) that has outdoor readable screen? Not direct sun, but sitting-in-the-car-on-a-sunny-day readable.

So far, HP EliteBook with its "outdoor readable screen" option (extra $100 and 2 week wait) is the best I've found, and it's not very good. Lenovo's outdoor readable screen comes close, but is not as good.

I'm sure this is a solved problem - but I can't find a decent solution. Help, anyone? Some special ipad case/screen sticker? Some screen technology I'm unaware of?

22
rjempson 1 day ago 1 reply      
The fact this conversation is taking place is very droll. Articles are being written, comments and forums are running hot just because so many people are effectively saying "How dare someone say that my favourite vendor's computer has less disk space than another (obviously inferior) vendor"
23
jiggy2011 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is the disk in the surface interchangeable (without performing a surgical procedure)? What about the MBA?
24
el_cuadrado 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think the author is missing a point here: Macbook Air is a full-blown computer (I run several VMs on mine), while Surface is a freaking tablet.

I am ok with 'wasted' space on a computer, because first, I expect OS to have a substantial footprint, and second - I can see, touch, and actually 'consume' the OS files.

I am not ok with wasted space on a tablet, because to me it is a glorified book reader/mp3 player; I expect to use all the available space for storage.

Wait, you are saying Surface is actually a computer (although a shitty one), not a tablet? Well, then MSFT completely failed to communicate this message. Which is pretty regular problem for MSFT.

25
Uchikoma 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, such a long article, about essentially nothing.

About the 2 or 10 base, yes I think it's stupid (living 30yrs with the 2 base) but thats the way it is. MS reports GiB and Apple report GB, so it's wrong to claim both Apple and MS report their capacity in GB.

"The measurements are just expressed differently, in a way that makes Apple look generous and Microsoft look stingy."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibibyte

26
forgotAgain 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Love the first graphic and how it twists itself to show the recovery partition on the right side of the graph so the green bar can be as far left as possible. The article lost all credibility at that point.
27
bad_user 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I've got a Thinkpad on which I replaced the hard-disk with a 128 GB SSD and installed Ubuntu on it (using fulldisk encryption with dm-crypt / LUKS).

I've got about 100 GB of usable space after having installed a shit ton of apps, libraries and utilities I needed, stuff like Emacs, OpenJDK (with sources), IntelliJ IDEA, RVM with dozens of Java/Scala libraries downloaded through Maven/SBT, dozens of ruby gems, dozens of Python libraries, MySQL, RabbitMQ, Memcached, Gimp, Dropbox, GCC, many header/dev packages, some games and the list can go on.

I should mention that I'm not using a Swap, because I've got enough RAM and as long as I've got Suspend, I don't care about Hibernation.

But I'm talking about Ubuntu 12.10, which is probably the most bloated Linux distribution I ever used. What the hell is in Windows or OS X that takes so much space?

28
bdcravens 1 day ago 0 replies      
Desktops and laptops have already reported drive capacity like this: total capacity before OS + apps. Tablets and smart phones, as they've existed in the marketplace since 2007, advertise available space. Most people think of the Surface as the Windows version of an iPad, not a new form factor for a traditional laptop. As such, they need to be marketed like their cohorts.
29
JuDue 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Everything comes back to Balmer's disdain for the iPad as being an overpriced netbook device that nobody will ever use.

MS is furiously trying to merge tablets into fully fledged PCs.

I can almost guarantee that by Windows 9 they will have some success with this, and hardware will get better and better.

But that's not to say the tablet space doesn't have enormous potential as reduced and simplified user experiences.

Microsoft is betting a lot of its chips on pushing full Windows onto smaller devices.

One key detail is that Office 365 seems to completely misjudge expectations of tablet computing.

30
justinhj 1 day ago 2 replies      
One differentiator is that Macs come with iLife suite that are a pretty extensive and popular addition, whereas windows comes with office which is easily replaced for most people with free and/or cloud offerings.
31
stephengillie 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is stupid. This is like asking which car cabin has the most air volume, and finding that Toyota's larger seats mean its cabin can't hold as much air as Honda's.
32
gabriel34 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a bought arcticle if I ever saw one. Two wrongs don't make one right.
33
ryguytilidie 1 day ago 3 replies      
Why is this being compared to the macbook air and not the ipad?
34
nakovet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Basically the article says: Microsoft lies to you, Apple lies to you and basically everyone is lying to you when it comes to store in hard drives, pen drives, SSD, etc.

At least our bandwidth limitations follow the base we are expecting too, can you imagine you have 100 GB / monthly but for real is 9X something?

The industry is laughing on us.

35
merinid 1 day ago 1 reply      
who cares about storage space when you can keep everything in the cloud. my computer is as commodity as my jeans, friends. Access over dependence.
36
someotheruser 16 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: Both. Pointing your finger at someone doing something worse doesn't make what you're doing right.
37
jedmeyers 1 day ago 3 replies      
I am curious if the author checked out what's that thing called GiB is before he started ranting about Microsoft vs. Apple disk size discrepancies?
13
What happened with LEGO therealityprose.wordpress.com
290 points by AlexMuir  1 day ago   123 comments top 28
1
Tloewald 1 day ago 14 replies      
I don't have a problem with the price of lego, having " as a child in the 70s " saved my own pocket money to buy lego. The real criticism of lego is that it's gone from being a collection of parts that can make the thing on the cover of the box but also many interesting variations, to something that isn't very malleable.

First, lego no longer has a consistent color scheme, so only pieces from one genre go with other pieces of that genre.

Next, there's the proliferation of zany specialized parts. I remember getting a lego cargo ship as a kid (the hull was four specialized pieces " bow, stern, and two mid sections and thinking this was awful. Lego doesn't do ship sections any more but many similar things.

It's not a get off my lawn thing. I still love lego. But it does seem to have exchanged its DIY charm in the pursuit of merchandising.

That said, you can build much better looking models now " just not out of any reasonable selection of pieces.

2
dalke 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with the thesis that the presumed expense of Lego sets as an adult is based on an incomplete economic understanding of child experience.

I say this by comparing to personal history. The author writes "The 1990s and before were a nostalgic heyday of affordable LEGO sets." but as a teenager in the 1980s, really interested in the new "Expert Builder" sets, with gears, axles, motors, I was astonished at how expensive they would be. I really wanted the Auto Chassis/956, but it took a lot of lawn mowing (and help from my parents) before I could afford it.

That's a high-end set, but even in the late 1970s, when my parents found that I liked Lego, it was expensive enough that they would go to garage sales to find old collections rather than buy new ones. Which also meant I had some of the 1960s gears and wheels which really didn't go with the rest of the collection.

So I, at least, never regarded Lego as being "affordable."

On the other hand, that same collection, augmented, was often used by my sister's kids, making it affordable on an amortized basis.

3
algorias 1 day ago 2 replies      
> There is no way LEGO sets have always been this expensive; it is just molded plastic.

This is the worst kind of fallacy. First of all, plastic is more expensive than you think when many different pieces in many different colors need to be produced, stored and packaged in a precise manner. Secondly, the cost of development obviously gives huge added value to those pieces of 'just' plastic.

What happened to lego prices? The company is figuring out ways to stay viable in the market, that's what happened.

4
mrspeaker 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow - a lot or work went into that article. Very impressive! On a vaguely related note, here's the video that the quote at the top is taken from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVCOAFKjaoY
5
fnazeeri 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love it! Summary: Legos seem expensive now because the first time you got them they were free! ;p
6
alanctgardner2 1 day ago 2 replies      
What I find amazing in the linked article (from the footnotes[1]) about Lego's financial situation was that every product engineer used to have carte blanche to go out and acquire tons of resin, just to make one set. That, and the effort they went to to service small, local stores. It's both amazing and depressing; obviously it doesn't scale at all, but it really sounds like a kickass corporate culture. Wired had a similar article about people who design Nerf guns; they also had an amazing lab-area dedicated to cobbling together new toys[2].

My point being, toy-making sounds like an awesome job. I wonder if the people who do it are mech/materials/structural engineers, or if it's still a craft? I would totally go and design toys and write Python scripts to model Nerf trajectories for the rest of my life.

1. http://www.strategy-business.com/article/07306?pg=1

2. http://www.wired.com/design/2012/09/how-nerf-became-worlds-b...

7
ianb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Where I think this analysis is wrong is using the general inflation number. If your inflation basket of goods was full of products similar to Lego " plastic toys " the real price of Lego would not appear to be going down. Well, "wrong" isn't perhaps the right word, but it doesn't address the perceived price of Legos in a world where plastic goods are constantly going down in price relative to other goods.
8
gfunk911 1 day ago 0 replies      
Average set size has gotten bigger, so the average set costs more, so they seem more expensive. Seems straightforward.
9
T-hawk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lego prices were my introduction to economics and budgeting as a kid.

My parents worked out and explained that you should look for value per brick in the sets when choosing purchases. I learned how to rapidly estimate mental arithmetic largely from wanting to get the most Legos for my allowance. The benchmark was 10 cents per brick (in the mid 80's), sets which worked out below that were good buys, sets above that were a ripoff. Surprisingly, it didn't correlate much with set size, bigger sets weren't always so economical. There were quite a few very small sets in the Space line, things like one figure and a spaceship composed of about thirty pieces for $2.49, which were good buys and I accumulated several.

Side note, I actually didn't play with Legos as much as with a different builder set called Construx. Anyone else remember that?

10
joering2 1 day ago 4 replies      
Unfortunately, with the 3D printers on the raise, the faith of a LEGO(r) brick is doomed.

In the near future, there will be printers especially designed to print small LEGO pieces. Of course none of those 3DP will market as "print your own LEGO bricks", but kids will figure this one quickly.

It will work a bit like a baking machine. Turn it on, leave it overnight and bunch of blocks roll out when you wake up in the morning. theLegoBrickBay.se will arise where kids will be able to download any STL file for any brick, LEGO set, minifig, etc, and LEGO with their tiny revenues (comparing to MAFIAA) will not be able to shut down the site.

Even if, arguendo, price of that printer will be $2,000 or more, its a cost of couple StarWars sets and any parent understanding the basics of financials will go with "print your own" instead of "keep buying new sets" thought.

Material will be cheap and reusable. After you are done with playing or simply dont need so many 1x4 bricks in grey color, you will put them all in a "melter" and within couple of hours all your grey bricks will become one solid cartridge ready to be used in printing new bricks, trees, horses, flowers, or whatever you want to.

You will see this coming in <> 5 years. Whatever the future holds, its probably wise NOT TO buy LEGO stock nowadays.

11
nhebb 1 day ago 0 replies      
As the father of two boys, I'm amazed people are willing to pay these prices. After buying a couple of sets, I refused to do it again. The pieces come apart easily and wind up as vacuum fodder in the carpet. And in my experience, they didn't actually get played with very much. The plain bricks, though, got played with a lot over the years.
12
cbr 1 day ago 2 replies      
Alternate hypothesis: pieces are getting smaller. Cost per piece looks like it's falling because we've gone from http://brickset.com/detail/?set=WEETABIX1-1 to http://brickset.com/detail/?set=10223-1
13
rhplus 1 day ago 0 replies      
The average price per gram chart is interesting, as it shows price fluctuated quite wildly 1980-1995 and then smoothing out to a much more stable curve 1996 onwards.

http://therealityprose.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/priceperg...

I have some possible ideas:

1) There's more data in recent years, so the smoothness is just reflecting less variance in the data
2) The author didn't consider currency exchange rates when most production was done in Denmark
3) LEGO got better at managing shock from fluctuations in supply costs (i.e. buying futures in petroleum)
4) LEGO got better at managing production costs with more larger, cheaper factories (central Europe, Mexico)
5) It's harder for the supplier to experiment wildly with retail costs because everyone (distributor, retailer, consumer) has access to year-on-year comparison information now (no need to look up last year's prices in a huge catalog)

14
jacquesm 1 day ago 3 replies      
> I wrote a web scraping program

Better to ask beforehand, many websites are quite happy to hand you data if you ask nicely and your goal is something non-competitive.

15
shocks 1 day ago 5 replies      
I've always called them Lego. Not Legos. Is that an American thing? (UK citizen here). Just curious.
16
DanBC 1 day ago 1 reply      
One frustration with Lego is the difficulty with buying it in wholesale quantities and prices.

A small charity wants to buy up a lot of Lego (and Duplo) to redistribute to children of poor families. There are some suitable sets, but they're expensive, and you need to buy eye-wateringly huge amounts to get a price break on it.

And the second-hand market keeps value, meaning they can't even buy loads from auction / parent websites or car boot / yard sales for redistribution.

Still, it's a good idea and they're working the problems out before going any further.

17
jyap 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll tell you what happened to LEGO. They stayed in business.
18
fduran 1 day ago 1 reply      
A little off-topic but I find LEGOs are usually over 50% more expensive in Canada than in the US :-(

http://www.amazon.ca/LEGO-Star-Imperial-V-wing-Starfighter/d...

http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Star-Imperial-V-wing-Starfighter/...

19
DannoHung 1 day ago 0 replies      
The one thing I'm thinking is this: Didn't the pieces used to be a bit bigger? Like, not the studs, just the number of studs on each piece?

Seems like a lot of pieces now are 1 and 2 stud-ers.

20
Zarathust 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think that the prices are adjusted for inflation. I remember asking my dad for 100$ sets in the 80s, which would amount to gazillions of today's dollars
21
speeder 1 day ago 3 replies      
Again this post?

Well, at least this time I can comment.

I must say that Lego in Brazil is ABSURDLY expensive, it is just ridiculous.

And this is very bad, since I love Lego!!

And I miss "Tente" (a Lego clone that existed here, and had some nifty stuff, like wheeled blocks with metal axles)

22
TorKlingberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think any perception that LEGO has become more expensive is because other toys have become cheaper. Or more correctly, cheap low quality toys have taken a larger part of the market.
23
michalu 1 day ago 1 reply      
The question should be what happened to the US dollar not lego. Lego is manufactured in Denmark, where they managed to spare themselves from several rounds of quantitative easing.

The author could really spare herself all the time and effort and just post a chart of dollar. He/she took it from the wrong end.

24
danielhughes 1 day ago 1 reply      
A little off topic but last weekend I had the privileged of watching an FLL (First Lego League) event. This is a robotics competition for kids ages 9-16. And it's AMAZING. The energy from the kids and parents was exhilarating. Details are here http://firstlegoleague.org/. There are also a lot of videos from the competitions posted on YouTube (search First Lego League). If you have children I definitely encourage you to introduce them to FLL. And if you don't have kids consider volunteering to coach one of the teams.
25
startupstella 1 day ago 0 replies      
there is a great planet money podcast on this issue:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/12/13/167055503/why-lego...

26
tcbawo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Lego is now competing for attention with applications such as Minecraft. It will be interesting to see if pricing trends hold, or whether they attempt to preserve market share by cutting costs. Maybe Minecraft will start to move into the themed application market (Lego Star Wars, etc.).
27
Persephone404 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see price per brick variation with pack size - those $500 dollar sets have prices per brick under $0.05. The increase in volumes of larger sets could be balancing the increased pricing of small sets, leading to the stable average.
28
bonsai80 1 day ago 2 replies      
Profitable companies charge what the market will pay for their products.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5039567

14
Remember when people tracked bugs? jwz.org
268 points by rwmj  2 days ago   161 comments top 47
1
simonsarris 2 days ago 6 replies      
This frustrates me too. I've run into a laundry list of Browser (mostly canvas) bugs over the years, 95% in Chrome (my main browser) and 5% in Firefox.

Typically they'd be ignored, fixed several months later if I'm lucky[1], and still ignored as they get closed by an automated bot[2]. Chrome specifically created an "icebox" to automatically close old bugs.

I'm convinced that the Chrome team at least has an internal bug-tracker they use and the external one (crbug.com) serves the same purpose as fake thermostats on the walls of office buildings.

(To Chrome's credit, they took the only security bug I filed very seriously and fixed it in a couple days.)

[1] Unlucky: Still an issue with broken translating gradients in non-hardware-accelerated canvas: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=774387

[2] This bug was ignored, fixed, and for a year I asked for it to be closed. It was finally closed by a street-sweeping bot: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=62373

2
jiggy2011 2 days ago 5 replies      
Sounds like he's trying to report bugs in projects that are either dead,half-dead or just the work of one guy as a side project.

Before you start using an OS project for anything serious, take a look at their forums, bug databases and repos.

Is there active discussion from more than 2 or 3 people? Are there regular commits? How are they handling bugs?

I've considered open sourcing code that I have written in the past, mainly stuff I built for one project where it serves the purposes of that project fine. In such a case handling bug reports from users trying to do different stuff with it would realistically just be a low priority.

jwz rants always make me feel that the author is somehow bitter about the world not revolving around his needs.

3
martinced 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow. If jwz was to report a bug, even on a project I did write or maintain back in the days and that did since then fall into oblivion, I'd still get all excited!

I mean, seriously, how can someone get an email / FB message / whatever from jwz and not even read the damn bug report!?

This is beyond me. The guy knows what he's talking about.

Long live jwz, thanks for all you did.

4
ef4 2 days ago 4 replies      
Overall it has gotten much easier to report bugs and submit patches to open source projects, and I give that credit to Github.

It comes down to friction: even if your system is better, it still means I need to learn your system before I can usefully contribute. If you're using a well-known system I'm much more likely to bother contributing back.

5
patio11 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you require an SLA to spell out acceptable timelines for issue resolution by an on-call engineer capable of debugging ImageMagick, that is probably something which can be bought, either from the maintainer of ImageMagick or from third-party providers.
6
nswanberg 2 days ago 4 replies      
Here is how Jamie handles bugs for his software: http://www.jwz.org/xscreensaver/bugs.html
7
geebee 2 days ago 0 replies      
This may be a stretch, but do you think there is any chance that the decline of formal bug tracking may be related to the rise of automated unit and integration testing?

Obviously, they are different things - I don't think that very good test coverage eliminates the usefulness of a bug database... but maybe it does make it easier to get away without one.

Suppose you have a discussion forum, and someone sees a potential bug. In the past, they might add a bug report. Now, they go to their integration testing suite and write "URL shortener should provide valid menu links at navigation depth greater than three" (just to come up with a completely contrived example that never happens in real life, heh). This still tracks the bug, and is probably more useful, because now you can't ignore it because there's a red bar in everyone's dev environment.

I do notice a lot more unit and integration testing these days, so it is possible that some of this is standing in for what used to be a bug database. I hope nobody interprets this as a claim that it replaces everything you get from a bug database, I'm just seeing it as something that might reduce the impact of the absence of a bug database.

8
pdknsk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Google is very good in not acknowledging Chrome bugs filed by its users.

http://notchromium.appspot.com/

9
mindcrime 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm outing myself in terms of age, but not only do I pretty much agree with jwz here, but I'm happy to say that we[1] use Bugzilla[2] for our bug tracker[3] for all our open source projects.

Of course, you might argue that it's easy for us, as we don't have a ton of users opening gazillions of bugs. It is a fair point, that simply triaging bug reports can become a big time sink in larger projects. Makes me wonder if some technological tooling (eg, better "dupe" detectors, etc.) could help manage the problem.

[1]: http://www.fogbeam.com

[2]: http://www.bugzilla.org/

[3]: http://dev.fogbeam.org/bugzilla/

10
lazyjones 2 days ago 4 replies      
They still do - just not for shitty projects.

To see how this is done properly, check out for example:

1) Go language issues: https://code.google.com/p/go/issues/list I had a bug fixed within 9 minutes after posting a few days ago!)

2) the PostgreSQL mailing lists (see other submission regarding "Tom Lane writes a lot of emails")

11
up_and_up 2 days ago 0 replies      
Re Imagemagick issues/questions etc, the OP did it wrong.

You need to post to the Imagemagick forums: http://www.imagemagick.org/discourse-server/

They are extremely active and you will get a response from someone within hours.

Several of the people who frequent the IM forums are extremely experienced and helpful including:

Anthony: http://www.imagemagick.org/Usage/

12
davidw 2 days ago 1 reply      
ImageMagick: try GraphicsMagick instead - the maintainer is a nice guy and seems pretty responsive.
13
reidrac 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yes, it is very frustrating indeed; specially if I can't fix the problem myself.

My favourite situation is when I submit a bug with all the information I can gather and after a year (or even more) a developer updates the ticket asking if I can still reproduce the problem. Most of the time I can't because I moved on and I'm using a different software, upgraded version, or simply I don't care any more. To be honest, I almost prefer the bug is automatically closed because it won't be fixed (no activity for some time, Fedora EOL, etc). At least the bot closing tickets can't care more :)

But it's not always like that. I've been submitting bug reports for 10+ years, and sometimes you get a fix in hours or days. Your success may vary :)

I've found that very popular projects (ie. Ubuntu, Fedora, or GNOME), with a large user base are suffering of "bugtracker bankruptcy": too many tickets to be handled properly. I don't know the reason for that, but I suspect it could be related to automated bug reporting used by distributions plus the increase of "consumer users" and not "producer users". If the distributor/upstream relationship is not working (ie. distro packages version X, upstream is already working on X+1 and lacks of manpower to maintain X), then after some months you get a mail from a bot :)

</rant>

Anyway, if you think about it... that's a good way of experiencing OSS: adopt an unmaintained project!

14
howeyc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oh my.

"This individual doing open source software FOR FREE is not fixing bugs that I provide to him to fix FOR ME AND MY NEEDS is not fixing them to MY SCHEDULE AND SATISFACTION. THE NERVE."

Indeed. I feel for you.

15
cryptoz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use GitHub to track issues for pressureNET. When I find a bug, I log it there. Others have logged bugs there too. I pay attention and respond to every user who reports something is wrong, fix the bugs as fast as I can and send out the updates. Updating pressureNET causes a significant drop in measurements per hour since the update stops the old code. So I lose data when I fix bugs. But I still track them and still fix them because improving the software is important.

Don't rant and be rude to all open source projects because you're obsessed with a few poorly run projects. Open source is in a better position than ever when it comes to developer accountability and bug fixing.

16
logn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Remember when you paid for software?
17
simias 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've reported a security vulnerability to the KeepassX maintainers (certain types of keysfiles would be ignored and result in an empty passphrase without the user having any way to know) and never got any answer. While digging through the file format (.kdb) I also found multiple oddities (the number of entries and the checksum of the contents being unencrypted in the header for instance) that seemed to weaken the format and leak info for no reason.

It was several months ago and I never got any reply. That being said, the last release is from 2010, so it might be abandonware.

Anyway, if you use KeepassX to store your passwords, be careful, the whole crypto behind felt a bit amateurish.

18
brownbat 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's a pattern I've run into recently with Google products: I see unexpected behavior (Voice repeatedly fails to send SMS, Android fails to accept default action settings, Gmail hosts a 'mixed content' vulnerability...). I run through a short help questionnaire from Google to rule out the most common issues, it eventually recommends the Google Support Forums. I search there for others with the same problem, I find them or not, no one has a solution.

I post my issue and ask for feedback, never see any response.

I just chalked it up to the "support is expensive so we don't do any" model. I worry that the way Google handles support is spreading to other companies faster than the way Google handles algorithms or stripped down interfaces.

19
jpswade 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maintaining Open Source projects is hard, especially if it's not funded by anything but your day job.

You're likely to get a much better response if you make a donation.

20
cpeterso 2 days ago 0 replies      
This comment on Oracle's MySQL bug database is a perfect example: "Moving to the internal bug DB so the issue doesn't get lost."

http://bugs.mysql.com/bug.php?id=68250

21
smackfu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Especially dislike when the only point-of-contact is twitter.
22
theallan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I run an open source project and I typically use github to track bugs, but I'm reluctant to have a dedicated bugzilla (or whatever) for the project as ~90% of bug reports are not bugs in my library, but rather installations issues or bugs in people's own code. I'm not saying my code doesn't have bugs(!) but what are often reported are bugs are nothing of the sort.

It would be nice to have a bug tracker, but I just don't believe it would be used to track only bugs and would thus take up time which I'd rather use for developing the software.

23
pnathan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bitbucket and github's bug trackers are pretty nice. No, they aren't as subtle as bugzilla, but I like them.

Speaking for myself, I make a personal point of pride of responding to every bug that shows up on my bug trackers. Not that it's very high traffic at all. :-)

24
alcuadrado 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who the hell ignores an email from jwz? That's even more crazy!
25
thyrsus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been quite happy with the responses I get to Fedora/RHEL bugs in bugzilla.redhat.com, especially considering what I paid for it ($0). I also suspect that, once a problem is identified as coming from upstream, the Red Hat folks get more attention from the upstream folks than others.

Based on a small sample, Red Hat seems to do worse with "documentation bugs" - such as when their documentation described using raidtools in RHEL4, when it had been replaced by madm (which appeared to me at the time as "missing raidtools").

26
Macsenour 2 days ago 0 replies      
I worked at a place where I was the only person responsible for the game dev section of the company, about 50 people.

On my second day I discovered that QA listed a bug as high priority with a "1", while the developers put a "10" on the highest priority. I think you can see that there was an issue. They had operated with this system for more than a year before I got there.

I switched them to a letter system, "A" being top priority, "B" is second etc on my third day.

Their world changed.

27
thesis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I contacted the jPlayer folks recently for them to do a PAID project, since on their site they say they do custom work. Needless to say... they never contacted me back.
28
danbmil99 2 days ago 0 replies      
My experience with open source projects is that bug reports are only taken seriously from people who are involved in the project. That means either you have contributed code, or you are a serious user who has spent time introducing yourself in the 'real' forum the developers use (typically freenode/IRC back in the day). Otherwise, the signal/noise ratio is just way too low for it to be useful to read through all the reports, particularly if the project is to any degree high profile.

The assumption is that a 'real' bug will eventually be reported by a 'serious' user or developer. Maybe that's wrong but that is how it works in the real world.

29
belorn 2 days ago 0 replies      
For projects that are distributed in Debian, I have stopped reporting bugs at the "official" site and opted to use reportbug instead. It might be slower, but I rarely if ever have bugs being completely ignored. At worst, a debian sponsor will either fix the issue as a debian fix, or remove the package.
30
methodin 2 days ago 2 replies      
Seems like we need more Open Source QA people to confirm bugs or gather missing info. Developers aren't necessarily capable of (for lack of want) or good at doing that.
31
kreek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think it depends on the project/author. First thing I check on a project is the commit history. Was the last commit a year and a half ago? Might be a clue :) I've reported bugs to bootstrap, d3.js, and fabric.js. Everyone was very responsive and each was resolved in at least two weeks. Actually with fabric I had bugs and feature suggestions which were implemented the next day!
32
damian2000 2 days ago 0 replies      
FYI, an update to his jPlayer issue:

http://www.jwz.org/blog/2013/02/more-jplayer-grief/

33
raldi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe we need a feedback-responsiveness rubric for open source projects, websites, even whole organizations, and a site which issues them A+ through F grades based on the score.
34
armored_mammal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with you as a generalization, but imagemagick is pretty much known to be a deadbeat project. Give graphicsmagick a go. The maintainer is well known for working with people who have questions, bugs, and such (if you can forgive the continued use of SourceForge).
35
sirmarksalot 2 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a talk by Brad Fitzpatrick about a year ago: http://blip.tv/djangocon/keynote-brad-fitzpatrick-5572560

Basically, if you put your email address in a project, you're going to get emails from random people for the rest of your life. Sort of like getting a tattoo, a spur-of-the-moment decision early on sticks with you forever. Just one possible reason the projects you look at don't have an e-mail address for the maintainer.

36
radley 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think everyone is pivoting right now trying to stay in the mobile race, so they're letting older projects go dormant.

I think part of it has to do with how Apple & M$ are handling the big pivot. OSX is turning to crap but iOS is booming so Apple is huge. In contrast, M$ is trying to sustain their old OS and it's not working.

37
twodayslate 2 days ago 0 replies      
Emailing developers usually works for me and they are more than happy to help. I then usually toss a couple bucks their way for the help. It is a win-win.
38
shurcooL 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think anyone saw this potential bug report for Sublime Text 2 either, because I made the mistake of posting it in a relevant context rather than starting a new thread.

http://sublimetext.userecho.com/topic/52275-down-arrow-doesn...

39
mainguy 2 days ago 4 replies      
How about volunteering to run the bug tracking for the project?
40
rthomas6 2 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't the generalized case, is it? This is just a short list of open source projects to stop using/replace.
41
duaneb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would pay money for a plugin that just detected sites like this and filtered them through readability.
42
FlukeATX 2 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the "ignored" message sent via Facebook, it's possible that the message didn't hit the recipient's inbox but the "Other" folder if the sender and recipient weren't friends. That has happened to me a number of times.
43
slajax 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simple, don't use source that isn't maintained.

And while your at it don't use terminal green on black for your website schema. Ouch my eyes.

44
hotbot2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Set your User-Agent string to "Mozilla/5.0" and try to access jwz's site.

I thought he was smarter than to make stupid assumptions. Is he ever going to fix this (bug)? Doesn't look like it.

Maybe the assumptions are left over from his experience with Netscape? There's no RFC I know of that requires some silly user-agent string scheme. But feel free to enlighten me.

45
perfunctory 1 day ago 0 replies      
Remember when people paid for their tools?
46
brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
TANSTAAFL.
47
friendly_chap 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dat fontcolor!
15
In the future, all space marines will be Warhammer 40K space marines mcahogarth.org
263 points by ValentineC  2 days ago   145 comments top 33
1
tristanperry 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is unfortunate but not unexpected.

I used to run a fairly large 40K website (Tau Online, now defunct).

I'd regularly receive letters and e-mails from the Games Workshop legal team.

I remember one time, someone had made a simple post on our forums saying they were thinking of selling a short story they'd written based around the 40K World. He hadn't named the story. It wasn't for sale. He was just thinking out loud.

Anywhoo, the GW lawyers contacted me: they asked me to delete the whole thread, ban the user and provide them with the poster's IP address, name and contact information. Which, y'know, is a bit overkill. (And possibly not legal? We didn't have their name nor contact information, but I would have assumed I couldn't just hand this information out to any random lawyer).

As in this case, the Games Workshop legal team regularly throw around threats - often with no legal basis.

I hope the blog poster is able to garner enough support to move forward with this. Unfortunately I fear that GW's baseless threats will beat back hobbyists, yet again..

2
drakeandrews 2 days ago 2 replies      
I knew this was going to happen some day. Games Workshop is essentially two separate companies, the raving legal department/copyright trolls (A couple of years ago they regularly put full page colour adverts in all the British wargaming magazines warning that they would enforce their IP with the full power afforded to them by the law, it was generally considered a bad joke by most.) and the (for a lack of a better term) hobbyists who make most of the miniatures and write most of the rules. And it seems like they take turns running the company. For ages, there'll be lots of player-friendly new things and shiny new figures and the terrible quota-driven managers at the shops will be replaced with the people who are there because they love their hobby. And then everything'll change and they'll start enforcing stupid dictats on IP, change the rules of the games to excessively favour those with bigger wallets, bump up the prices of everything and fire those people that sacrifice short term gains for cultivating a long term base of customers and fans.

I find it really sad, I grew up near their HQ in Nottingham. A number of my dad's friends work for them. And I'd love for this to be the push that means that all the other wargaming companies (who in the past couple of years have really progressed in professionalism and quality) will find even more traction. (Although they all still suffer from a lack of space to sell things, there is a GW in almost every town in the UK. They've all but squeezed out the independent hobby shops.) But a lot of people just won't care. And an equal number of people are too locked in, they've spent a lot of money on the GW armies. All their friends have GW armies. You can't just splurge two, three hundred pounds on warmahordes unless all your friends do the same.

All I can hope is that GW gets their arse handed to them and the hobbyists get put back in charge.

3
bunderbunder 2 days ago 3 replies      
According to Wikipedia[1], the first use of the term 'space marine' in literature was the 1932 short story Captain Brink of the Space Marines by Bob Olsen. That's a full 43 years before Games Workshop was founded, and 55 years before Warhammer 40K was introduced.

And the prior usage of the term and concept kept coming strong throughout the intervening half-century.

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_marine

4
jiggy2011 2 days ago 2 replies      
Games Workshop must be scared shitless of 3d printing.

Their rulebooks have been passed around on torrent sites and IRC networks for years but I assumed they never really gave a shit because the models are where the cash is.

5
CodeMage 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's some interesting discussion on Scalzi's blog, too. Here's a bit of information I found rather interesting and potentially useful (from the comments section):

The mark was registered for US Class 22 " games and such " and is most specifically not the class(es) for printed books or ebooks.

Here's the link to the comment in question:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/02/06/space-marines-and-the-...

6
unwind 2 days ago 3 replies      
That is ... incredibly stupid.

I'm no 40K fan (at all), but I realize it's huge. On the other hand, the concept of "marines, but in space" really is a genre trope as pointed out in the article. It feels wrong for a single company to own that generic term.

I've read if not shelf-meters then certainly shelf-decimeters of SF with plenty of marines in them, none being of the Warhammer variety.

I'm looking forward (not) for the chilling effects to make authors invent new wordings to avoid infringement.

7
sxp 2 days ago 1 reply      
Google's Ngram Viewer shows that the term "Space Marine" was in use for quite a while before W40K's 1987 release but there was a big increase after 1987. At a glance, the trend seems to be similar to trends for other related terms such as "powered armor" but doesn't match the trend for "Warhammer".

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=space+marine%2C...

8
incision 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's really too bad.

I've enjoyed many 40K novels, love the Dawn of War games and even own some table top material, but I wasn't aware of GW's taste for lawsuits until now.

GW just lost a customer.

Thankfully, Dan Abnett isn't afraid to write original novels and Relic has other franchises.

9
dkhenry 2 days ago 0 replies      
The solution to this is to not support Games Workshop any more. They are no good for anyone including your FLGS. Stop giving them the attention and money that allows them to continue to punish their customers and competitors
10
jrwoodruff 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wish there was a Kickstarter like non-profit organization whose focus was finding and defending worthy cases like this. People/organizations submit their situation and do the work of raising awareness and collecting pledges, the organization uses the money to oversee the actual legal case and pay the attorneys, ideally a network of folks who would be willing to consider defending said cases at a reduced or pro-bono rate when possible. Might even out the David-and-Goliath odds of corporation vs. small business/individual.
11
awakeasleep 2 days ago 2 replies      
We might be watching a company eat itself here. Considering the amount of engineering types in the market for minifigs, plus the impending ubiquitization of 3D printers, customer good-will should be the most valuable asset of Gamer's Workshop.
12
a2tech 2 days ago 8 replies      
As a huge science fiction nerd and Games Workshop customer, this feels like rank betrayal. I expect this kind of legal bullying from big companies, but from a company that makes minifigs and other gaming accessories I expect better behavior.
13
cstross 1 day ago 1 reply      
The suckiest aspect of what they're doing is the target.

GW are sending their nastygrams to a novelist. And not a best-seller, but a low-budget self-published author who's been donating a chunk of the proceeds to veterans' charities: someone without a sufficiently deep pocket to fund a legal defense.

If GW's lawyers really had the power of their convictions they'd have started by targeting James Cameron over "Avatar". After all, which infringement is more damaging to their brand -- an obscure self-pub serial with maybe a couple of thousand readers, or a big budget movie franchise that cost a billion dollars to make and presumably (Hollywood accounting practices aside) made the backers a profit?

14
protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
They weren't exactly the nicest company in the 80's and 90's (ask a lot of old game store owners), so I guess it comes as no surprise that they took the lesson they learned from Blizzard this way.
15
cobrausn 2 days ago 1 reply      
He missed the chance to title this post with 'In the grim darkness of the far future...'
16
Argorak 2 days ago 4 replies      
Legally, where does that leave StarCraft, especially the soon to be released Heart of the Swarm (all have units called Space Marines)?

If GW don't (and never did) enforce their trademark against Blizzard, do they have any say against a book author that wants to push the topic in front of a court?

AFAIK, Blizzard didn't license the term.

17
nroach 2 days ago 1 reply      
The G&S description for their mark is board games, parlor games, war games, hobby games, toy models and miniatures of buildings, scenery, figures, automobiles, vehicles, planes, trains and card games and paint, sold therewith.

The mark has been registered for more than five years so it is "incontestable"(with caveats). But, even if the registration is valid, they have an issue with the class and g&s for their mark in terms of enforcing it against your goods and services.

18
Zimahl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does it have to be 'space marine'? Can he change it to 'galactic' or 'interstallar' or something else that would be less infringing?

I know it's disheartening but this isn't the battle he wants to fight. Someone with deeper pockets will fight it someday. It's enough to spread the word about GW's legal bullying and let us all make our own decisions on whether we want to purchase their products.

19
damncabbage 1 day ago 0 replies      
Irony alert. Games Workshop railing against strict copyright enforcement in 1978: http://sphotos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/67991_55608864...
20
msandford 2 days ago 1 reply      
The really unfortunate part of the situation is that they are generally required to defend their trademark or else it goes away. Even when they know something is "fair use" or whatever.

"Unlike patents and copyrights, which in theory are granted for one-off fixed terms, trademarks remain valid as long as the owner actively uses and defends them and maintains their registrations with the competent authorities. This often involves payment of a periodic renewal fee." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark#Comparison_with_paten...

Of course I still think that there is no effing way that they should have gotten a trademark on "Space Marine." Totally bogus. I want to start selling a product called "Legal" and trademark it and use that trademark to shut down every company that offers legal services.

21
bitwize 2 days ago 0 replies      
Once the USMC, which has for the past few decades used Starship Troopers as an inspiration for how it should be organized, actually commences near-Earth-orbit operations, I'm sure they'd have an opinion about this mark and this sort of lawsuit.
22
stcredzero 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the author kickstarted or otherwise crowd funded the legal defense for this, I'll give $100. Trademarking "Space Marine" is pretty much like trademarking "Amphibious Car." It's not exactly a mainstream term, but still everyone immediately knows what it means without explanation, and it's been in common use within its niche for almost a century.

It would be one thing if GW had sent the nastygram and came to some kind of token settlement, that should be enough to cover their interests, but to get the book taken down instead seems wrong.

Stupid trademarks are another form of IP pollution. $100 from me!

23
styluss 2 days ago 1 reply      
They also have a trademark on Eldar, a term for a race of Elves in Lord of the Rings.
24
DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google trends search: https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=%22space%20marines%2...

All ten related searches are for GW items.

But, of the A through G points on the 2004 to present graph, only two items are for GW.

25
danielweber 2 days ago 0 replies      
Popehat is trying to find a trade mark attorney to help out Hogarth. If you know a lawyer who does this, see if they'll help.

http://www.popehat.com/2013/02/06/the-popehat-signal-help-an...

26
jay_kyburz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Colonial Marine, Galactic Marine, Star Marine, Void Marine, Interplanetary Marine. I could come up with many more, why not just pick one of these instead.

Space Marine sounds familiar for a reason. I've got to side with GW on this one.

27
bostonpete 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't really have an opinion one way or another about this, but I wonder if there's the same sort of anger about the fact that Lucas has (and defends) a trademark on "droid".
28
gamblor956 2 days ago 1 reply      
In the future, all "space marines" will simply be "marines." In any plausible scenario in which we have "space marines," having a dedicated corpus of naval marines would be unnecessary.

Ergo, the solution is simply to let Games Workshop keep the silly moniker and just call your future super-soldiers what they would properly be called.

29
grabeh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Certainly in the UK, it's a defence to use a trade mark in good faith in a descriptive manner. I think this would be a solid defence in this case as the usage is merely describing the character (I assume).

Of course the problem is internet intermediaries who are not interested in the nuances of trade mark law.

In the first instance, I would look to appeal the Amazon decision on the basis of good faith descriptive usage. I'm not sure how much mileage there would be on this due to the general lack of interest mentioned above but worth a try all the same. If it is indeed Amazon UK where the complaint has been lodged I'd be happy to look into the matter further.

In terms of an obligation to defend a trade mark, this is a narrower obligation than is being cast elsewhere in the thread. My understanding is that if you do not enforce in relation to a specific use, you will be deemed to have acquiesced in that specific usage.

It is not the case that failing to take action against all allegedly infringing uses will result in revocation of the mark. You just may not be able to take action in the future against the same offender or offenders within the same bracket.

30
djrtwo 2 days ago 1 reply      
How about a "Save the Space Marines" kickstarter to pay for legal costs on your case and future cases involving obsurd legal allegations stifling science fiction writers?
31
BillySquid 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's a shame, warhammer40k has an interesting plot (including horus heresy) but this kind of corporate bullying plus the ridicule pricing are making fans to leave the lore.
32
guard-of-terra 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should not be able to take down a book, a song or an album, a drawing over intellectual property.

Once it's a piece of art it should be immune to all and every trademark or copyright (if, of course, the art in question is not a strict copy of another copyrighted piece of art).

That's the only way.

33
the_gipsy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds awfully like "I'm only gonna do this if I get enough publicity out of it".
16
Site plagiarizes blog posts, then files DMCA takedown on originals arstechnica.com
245 points by sk2code  3 days ago   66 comments top 13
1
dweekly 3 days ago 5 replies      
Hey, so a common thread here seems to be enforceability of false DMCA notices and how it's a pity there's no penalty.

There are penalties.

Check out 17 USC 512(f): http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/512

(f) Misrepresentations." Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section"
(1) that material or activity is infringing, or
(2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,
shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys' fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner's authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

I was the plaintiff in OPG v. Diebold, which was the first US federal lawsuit to establish the enforceability: we won. You can't just issue spurious, false DMCA notices without opening yourself up to large damages, such as the ones that Diebold had to pay.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPG_v._Diebold

2
tokenadult 3 days ago 0 replies      
This shows the power of Retraction Watch,

http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/

a site that I think I learned about from another user's comment here on HN, to update the reputations of "researchers" who have had to retract many published journal articles. All the more reason, I think, to regularly read Retraction Watch to find out what is going on. The Retraction Watch site's own reporting

http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/wordpress-re...

on what Ars Technica passes on in the submitted article is quite interesting, and an example of the carefully nuanced writing on Retraction Watch.

3
thechut 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nobody here has made what I thought to be the biggest point in this article. The reputation management company...

Given the situation and the details mentioned in the article. It seems the reputation management company is hiring people to re-post content and send DMCAs. What other explanation is there for why somebody would rip off blog posts. Obviously this sort of thing would be a last resort for the reputation management company. But in some cases, there may be no other way to remove / push down the unwanted content.

I would bet this is a common tactic of reputation management companies. Can anybody here confirm or offer insight about how these companies work?

4
ComputerGuru 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else having a problem with Google no longer acknowledging responses to false/faulty/inaccurate DMCA takedown requests?

We used to receive 3 or 4 a year, and Google was good about getting us relisted when we explained the error to them. I had two DMCAs from Google last month, and they still haven't gotten back to me about my request for relisting....

5
PeterisP 3 days ago 2 replies      
Well, that should be fixable - if this is an actual DMCA takedown (instead of a simple complaint), then it does come with a mandatory requirement to be 'under penalty of perjury'. Intentional misuse can thus be persecuted, and may get even criminal penalties.

Of course, it's a big question whether they will try to fight it in courts and if DMCA perjury jurisdiction can effectively reach the accused company in India.

6
incision 3 days ago 4 replies      
Are there no "digital notary" services? Off the top of my head, such a service would allow you to submit a block of text or perhaps a link which the service would regularly check and hash / mirror.

I'm thinking this would be straightforward to create, but hard to become established as an authoritative source.

EDIT: I see archive.org is a popular way to go about something like this.

7
javajosh 3 days ago 1 reply      
I asked this question regarding a recent thread where the site owner claimed to have gotten ripped off, and received no responses. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5166902
8
agilord 3 days ago 3 replies      
I start to wonder: what can we do to actively prevent such things to happen? E.g. someone can copy a blog content, set the date back by a few months, publish it, and submit the DMCA takedown. Even if it reaches the court, who and how will decide who the original author was?
9
protomyth 3 days ago 0 replies      
If we have to keep this thing, I dearly wish the party filing the request would have to show some proof or at least be in the US. this guilty before innocent crap is a pain.

On a sadder note, looks like the alumni association is going to receive a letter from me.

10
mikeleeorg 3 days ago 1 reply      
How easy is it to file a DMCA takedown notice? I would think there's some due diligence on the part of DMCA to verify the claim first. At least, I hope so.
11
fencepost 2 days ago 0 replies      
One somewhat late comment: based on what I saw in other discussions of this, the domain registration of the site in India is basically all false information - one starting point might be to see what can be done about getting that domain registration cancelled. The Indian registry does have a policy that registrants must provide accurate information.
12
hrmwhat 3 days ago 2 replies      
And that's why I don't contribute anything online
13
SagelyGuru 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, come on, wake up! Don't you see yet that this is exactly what the DMCA notices and similar have been designed to do? It is a tool to silence the inconvenient whistleblowers.
17
Why don't websites immediately display their text these days? superuser.com
229 points by laurent123456  1 day ago   132 comments top 22
1
DanielBMarkham 1 day ago 6 replies      
Agreed that this is a terrible nuisance.

Webmasters please: use a CDN, have a download budget, use YSlow, smarten up how you use caching, push your scripts to end, and so forth. Nobody wants to stare at a blank screen for 30 seconds while you're loading up all of your bells and whistles. If you want to keep reader engagement you've got about 5 seconds from load to text appears, max. Probably a lot less than that.

And the same goes for web apps, btw. In fact, web apps are worse because people aren't passively engaged. Your content site takes 20 seconds to load? I bail out. Your web app takes 20 seconds to load? I'm spending the entire time cursing you under my breath.

Anybody who delivers anything over the web should be stone cold brutal about doing anything possible to decrease load times.

2
dizzystar 1 day ago 7 replies      
This stuff is seriously irritating to me as well.

The other thing that is irritating is websites that take so long to render they freeze up my mouse and computer, rendering interaction with their website useless for 10 seconds. It's not like I'm on an old machine either. I tend to show my appreciation by clicking the little "x" on the tab that corresponds to the webpage.

There really isn't any good excuse for this stuff: I've seen quite a few sites that clearly use heavy javascript that render almost instantly. There is no reason that a blog or simple site should take a long time to render.

There seems to be a trend of making things "awesome" with no consideration of user-experience and usability, and frankly, the designers and programmers who do this stuff make the good programmers look bad and ultimately hold back the progress of the web.

And I don't use Google Fonts either because I'd rather have my fonts installed locally.

3
josteink 1 day ago 0 replies      
This gets especially bad on mobile.

I can sit on a mobile connection under bad conditions, barely capable of pushing 10kb/s. But you know what? The raw article text isn't going to be more than those 10kb.

Anything exceeding that is fluff, and when you need to DL 5MB/s of webfonts and god knows what to read those 10kbs, something is horribly wrong.

Good presentation is good, I don't disagree with that, but when you go down that route, make sure that the actual content gets the priority in loading and rendering, and not fluff.

4
nodata 1 day ago 1 reply      
The blogger "javascript gears" loading animation from Google is even worse.
5
jakobe 1 day ago 1 reply      
When web fonts came on the scene, I was enthusiastic to finally see headlines rendered as images, or even worse, those sIFR Flash headlines, disappear.

But now people are using custom fonts even for body copy, and with this whitespace problem, it's just as bad.

Webdesigners will always find new ways to sacrifice usability.

6
huhtenberg 1 day ago 2 replies      
Have you noticed how TechCrunch is a step ahead of this mess?

It shows the text quickly, but then hides it only to show it again, unchanged in few seconds. It must be a clever trick to make you get disappointed with their web devs and to anchor your attention there, so that you won't be as critical of their editors when you finally get to read that blinkentext.

7
Osiris 1 day ago 1 reply      
I thought web browsers were supposed to use a built-in font until the web font resource(s) were finished loading?

When I use Opera, the pages render and then a second or so later, the font faces change. It's a little jarring, I admit, but at least the text is rendered.

8
ck2 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's funny that example site doesn't use one single built-in font

I can understand the desire for a nice menu or heading font but the whole website?

Here's that page:

http://portableapps.com/apps/development/notepadpp_portable

Looks like it uses Ubuntu font-face for everything. It's a nice font but Arial would have been fine too.

Also looks like the font is hosted on a third party site googleusercontent.com so I guess they are hoping you've cached it before.

9
RoryH 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a web developer that implementes designs given to me. Most often in modern times they include custom fonts. I always just ignore this and go with the closest system-available equivalent font.

Reasons:
- Delayed rendering of text (as per OP's link)
- adds a considerable extra payload to download before the page is rendered.
- UX and responsiveness on a site is way more important than the first impression of a nice font IMO. Yes, I agree fonts can help readability, but the standard fonts are not that bad.

10
rcyrus2013 1 day ago 1 reply      
The text is hidden on purpose by the frontend programmer because he wants to avoid a phenomenon called "Flash Of Unstyled Text"(FOUT) that happens with embedded fonts (@font-face). For more info: http://paulirish.com/2009/fighting-the-font-face-fout/
11
yk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there a way to block such annoyances? Something like NoScript for CSS ( or actually for third party connections? Since the problem is not actually CSS but slow font/ad/whatever servers.
12
jvzr 1 day ago 2 replies      
It is extremely difficult to deal with this issue on the developer's side.

My solution has been to embed the font in the format the most commonly used directly into the CSS. Then I Gzip it and put it on a CDN. My blog now loads under 200ms almost anywhere, and there is no flash of unstyled text.

But I realize achieving those load times may be hard for a heavy web application/site.

13
cantlin 1 day ago 0 replies      
To everyone saying CSS3 webfonts are anathema to good sense and usability:

As engineers, we're sensitized to performance implications[0]; the added value of not using Arial is a more difficult thing to quantify. Many businesses perceive that value to be significant - behaving as if it doesn't exist isn't useful or pragmatic.

Still, on mobile you'd have to be completely insane to incur download time and latency x2 for the CSS and font files before showing any text. If you need it that badly, take the hit and force a FOUC ("flash" in this case a misnomer). When reading HN on the go I frequently wish CSS had never been invented.

Most desktop sites though can happily get away with a bit of bling type. I'd wager no one would notice if they were more careful with what they show prior to the font loading (hiding the bullets from lists, for example). In the battle between web performance and web functionality, the onus is as always on making intelligent conscious choices that represent the right tradeoffs for your objectives.

[0] http://at.cantl.in/nerd-stuff/2012/11/29/fast-page-start.htm...

14
jevin 22 hours ago 0 replies      
There is actually a very simple solution for this : use the Javascript include method and place the code at the end of the body tag.

This is what happens technically :
The CSS will get loaded, and the custom font will not be found. The browser will then use the fallback font. As the rest of the page gets loaded, so will the Javascript function. This will download and include the custom font, therefore changing the fallback font to the custom font.

The change of font may be quite disturbing, but hey at least people with slower connections can read meanwhile.

15
lutusp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, that's on my list too, but the top of my annoyance list are sites that play an advertisement (audio and/or video) that can't be disabled. The advertisement always starts before any useful content appears.
16
CodeMage 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why? Because they're too busy deciding what ads to serve you. ba dum-bump tish!
17
slurgfest 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's REALLY annoying is websites where lots of layout has loaded, and no text (or only some of the text) shows pending a font load which could take seconds. This doesn't look "fast," it looks janky.
18
est 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone remember that in old IE days, you have to mouseover to see the image loading on buttons?
19
olegp 1 day ago 1 reply      
I ran into this issue as well when working on https://starthq.com

The font file is loaded the first time any text using the font is displayed and I am using Font Awesome for the icons which are only visible when selecting a drop down menu. As a result there was a very annoying flicker the first time the menu was displayed.

The somewhat hackish solution was to include one of the icons that uses the font as part of the logo in the upper left of the page, which is rendered on initial page load.

20
unabridged 1 day ago 1 reply      
horrible bloated javascript frameworks. if your page is not interactive, it should be done in just css. if you are loading 5 js files just to display a couple paragraphs of text, there is a problem.
21
dobbsbob 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've always wondered why it takes forever to load most pages. Im running debian on SSD with 32G ram and a video card that can handle anything yet Iceweasel, reg FF and Chrome all take forever to load pages like I'm using 1990s internets. Blocking all java scripts and tweaking the guts of FF to load faster still results in Netscape navigator 33.6kps speed to render text.
22
thibauts 1 day ago 0 replies      
tl;dr web fonts
18
Our path to $1M in sales wiwillia.com
214 points by wiwillia  3 days ago   60 comments top 23
1
neya 3 days ago 1 reply      
Do you know why this blog post is great?

1) The author is humble. Which is very important, especially in a world where people get away selling clumsy photo filters for a billion and think it's something revolutionary.

2) VALID Advice. Everyone wants to tell you the happy part of their story - How they got rich, how those riches let them buy the stuff they wanted to buy and how successful they were. How all this happened in less than 'x' months, etc. They just want to make success sound so easy.

But this author takes the pain and effort to tell you the truth - That hard work is the only key to success. Anything else is as temporary as it sounds. This author tells you that success isn't easy, which is VERY important.

3) Success without PR and the funding. When was the last time on Hackernews that you got to read someone being successful without getting PR and funding? There have been a couple maybe, but not much. And everyone of them only wants to share with you how much success they've had getting funded by some VC firm 'X' or even being a part of something like 500 Startups or YC, being an 'ex-product manager' from Google, Facebook, etc with all their fancy getting featured INSTANTLY on Techcrunch strategies, etc. Ofcourse, they did get featured on TC, but doesn't mean, they got it instantly - They worked for it.

What teespring has written there is most likely going to be the case for the ordinary you and me, and that's why this is very important and ofcourse, it also gives you a lot of perspective.

This author deserves nothing short of an applause, thank you so much!

2
robomartin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hmmm. I was thinking of trying it out but the one big problem I see is that there isn't a "Browse Campaigns" button anywhere to be found. I would think this would be a very important feature for potential campaign originators as one obvious advantage here is to try and benefit form existing traffic.

Any thoughts/feedback on this? I'd love to understand why that feature isn't there already.

3
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 1 reply      
That is a pretty canonical example of bootstrapping a company. Congratulations on crossing $1M!

On the question of 'what happened in august', I don't know of course but I find that there is a definite lag between launching, and being "real" in the eyes of the readership. We are so overwhelmed with marketing buzz and hype in our daily lives that it becomes noise, and what falls out are things that just keep moving forward and moving forward. When someone encounters your brand for the second, third, or fourth time over the course of 6 months to a year it seems to move you from 'idea' to 'actual company'.

Congratulations again, next up $10M ! :-)

4
rexreed 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've tried 3 T-Shirt Campaigns on Teespring and they've all failed for me (didn't reach minimum thresholds). Any insight into what makes for the more successful ones? Is it just about the community one has, or does Teespring have a ready base of those interested in shirts from other campaigns?
5
rlander 3 days ago 0 replies      
We pretty quickly figured out that there was no way to completely eliminate errors, but we could control how we reacted to those errors when they did pop up.

What a great quote; this should be on my wall. Thank you.

6
pc86 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or is there no easy way to just browse through currently available designs (not the featured area below the CTA)?
7
JacobAldridge 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've done a fair amount of research into this space, from the belief that the awesome value proposition would be no minimum order number. The margins for that are even worse than I imagined (even when ratcheting prices up past the point where I think the buyer would see value).

So loving watching Teespring's efforts - onwards and upwards and thanks for sharing all the info!

8
ph0rque 3 days ago 1 reply      
Question for you guys: what's your gross margin, if you don't mind sharing that (before things like refunds and shipping)?
9
alok-g 2 days ago 0 replies      
Once a campaign succeeds, do you have any plans about the designs beyond the campaign? Could the designer be selling on an on-going basis rather than specifically setting up more campaigns for the same design? (This may require the discover functionality to be in place.)
10
euroclydon 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting that they wrote their own design tool. I see it's in SVG. I use Fabric.js for the cupcake wrapper website's custom design tool. Fabric is a screen graph library (and more) for Canvas. I think Fabric actually was born out of a t-shirt company, hence the name, and Juriy (the author) still works there.

[EDIT] I see why they wrote their own editor -- it's very nice!

11
jusben1369 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats! What did January look like? Your curve looks to me like it's trending in the right direction but is subjected to some significant seasonality too vs hurting and suddenly hitting a tipping point? Or is Jan just an extension of Dec?
12
dazbradbury 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats on reaching profitability!

Post was a great read, so thanks for sharing. Gives us some good inspiration over at OpenRent.

Have to agree that remembering to celebrate the little wins is really important when you are constantly looking to hit that 40% growth. Without celebrating your successes you'll find it hard to keep pushing the following month - even when you are doing well.

Keep it up!

13
forgingahead 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats! Where do you manufacture and ship the t-shirts from?
14
ianstormtaylor 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats guys. Really awesome idea. Also how did it take this long for me to learn that Fishco got shut down? Jeez
15
netrus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looking at your chart, I would think you were profitable from the very beginning - how to read that indicator?
16
dear 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats! It's exciting to see people's hardwork translate into success! Keep it up! The world is yours!
17
sk24iam 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have you considered allowing campaign creators the ability to easily embed their T-shirt sales directly on their blogs, similarly to how shoplocket does it with purchases?
18
iceron 3 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent read. I've been wanting to try out Teespring for a relatively popular (~ 46k followers) Twitter account I manage ever since I saw veb's post. Time to get thinking about some designs.
19
jjsz 3 days ago 1 reply      
You don't know the amount of love that's flowing through my veins right now after discovering this. THANK YOU. TWO THINGS: SVGS and polo shirts. It'll save me some time ;]
20
taloft 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone clue me in on the value proposition of this vs something like spread shirt ?
21
drfuchs 1 day ago 0 replies      
How big a problem are charge-backs?
22
bcx 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is the graph cumulative?
23
n9com 3 days ago 1 reply      
$1M in tshirt sales and not profitable? Something is wrong.
19
Host webpages on Google Drive googledrive.com
207 points by HugoDias  3 days ago   62 comments top 19
1
hkmurakami 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this might be a pretty nice tool for people learning how to program for the web, in that it's easy to share a link with friends for some quick feedback.
2
pazimzadeh 3 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.site44.com/ does the same thing for Dropbox.
3
pringles 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sweet, now you can get your own URLs that are as ugly as Google+ ones.
4
OGinparadise 3 days ago 3 replies      
This does not appear to be an official Google site or suggestion. Personally, I'd use them for my cat's blog and that's about it. Google could pull the plug on this at anytime
5
mixedbit 3 days ago 3 replies      
They serve user supplied JS from googledrive.com domain? Can it be done in a secure way?
6
jpk 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nifty. Note, however, that if you want to use it to share javascript demos or something, and you're on a google apps domain that forces https, you might hit something similar to "[blocked] The page at https://googledrive.com/whatever ran insecure content from http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.9.1.min.js. So you'll have to include your own copy of jQuery or Require or whatever.
7
wyck 3 days ago 3 replies      
Sorry guys but I think GitHub/Bitbucket beat you to the punch, not to mention all the PaaS apps out there.

Hosts more than css, html, js (for output)

Custom domains

Collaboration via revision control.

I see zero reason to ever use this when there are so many betters tools out there .

8
aviswanathan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been waiting for this for a while. Although git is my preferred method of working, for people who aren't technical and who just can't do stuff from terminal, I think this is a great alternative.
9
cgcardona 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can see this being extremely useful for someone just getting into web development that needs a free place to host some stuff.

I recently started using Github as my blogging plaform. I just created a repo called 'thoughts' which has a bunch of markdown files inside.

When I create a new 'post' I just share the link to the markdown file on twitter/g+.

I can imagine someone using this feature in a similar way. A super lightweight, quick, and easy way to share some content.

Sometimes just getting the content out is far more important than having a nice website or url.

10
akurilin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is the URL of that document pretty reliable or is it not really meant for the long term? I'm thinking of whether there would be issues with using a custom domain for it.

I currently host a static website from S3, and I still have to pay a couple of bucks for the traffic. Sounds like this would be completely free.

11
bgertonson 3 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite part is that the page illustrates how it was created. Kind of a "This is my life" story.

(the url in the image at the bottom is the url of the page itself)

12
enyone 3 days ago 1 reply      
now it says: "There are currently too many people viewing this file. Please try again later."
13
Xanza 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to be working fine, but I'd honestly never use it. It's pretty difficult to do anything other than very simple HTML websites.

I had tried to upload my website template that I was working on that used head.js (lazyloads javascript) and it was not working correctly.

>6/10

14
ripperdoc 3 days ago 0 replies      
So this implies that it would be delivered over Google CDN, e.g. from a network close to requesting location?
15
ceautery 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is that an official Google page on how to do this, or a demo you put together that Google may nix shortly? I ask mainly because a DS_Store file is visible in the directory, which strikes me as not a typical Google thing. Do they even use Mac OS for anything?
16
indescription 3 days ago 0 replies      
There doesn't appear to be a way to edit the files, as the owner, after they are uploaded.
17
itsbits 3 days ago 0 replies      
i think Skydrive currently doesn't do that...they may not even have plans to implement that..
18
clumsybull 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is this sanctioned by Google?
19
anirugu 3 days ago 0 replies      
github work fine for me to host my static html,css,js pages.
21
Multicolor image search tineye.com
192 points by runn1ng  1 day ago   26 comments top 11
1
dhotson 1 day ago 1 reply      
I helped build a similar tool at 99designs. I blogged a bit about how we built it here:
http://99designs.com/tech-blog/blog/2012/08/02/color-explore...

It uses R-trees to index colors in the Lab color space to do fast perceptual nearest neighbour color search.

We open sourced the code behind it too, so you can implement search by color type features on your own set of images:

https://github.com/99designs/colorific - for extracting colors from images

https://github.com/dhotson/colordb - for doing fast perceptual nearest neighbour color search

2
anigbrowl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I did not expect much from this - perhaps the same image with different color filters or somesuch. I'm pleasantly surprised: this is an ass-kicking tool and should be converted into a Photoshop plugin post-haste. And it has a sense of humor too. Very impressed!
3
steeve 1 day ago 0 replies      
Allow me to point you guys to a project we did 4 years ago at the Exalead labs that does just that: http://chromatik.labs.exalead.com/
4
dsr12 1 day ago 0 replies      
This message is displayed when you try to search for more than 5 colours :)

"In accordance with common sense, decency, propriety, sobriety, and the Revised Search Limitations Act of 1742, we respectfully inform you, our dear user, that the number of colours searched upon must not exceed 5. Thank you for your cooperation."

5
franze 1 day ago 0 replies      
shameless plug: i recently completely rewrote "Google Search by Drawing" from scratch -> http://search-by-drawing.fullstackoptimization.com/

on github https://github.com/franzenzenhofer/search-by MIT license)

the reason for the complete rewrite / V2 is shameful. the first version was deployed to heroku in 2011, then i never touched it again. last month i deployed a minor change to the fron-end html (of the old version https://github.com/franzenzenhofer/searchbydrawing), deployed to heroku again, the app crashed if you clicked on "search", it crashed silently. i tried to debug it on heroku (pain in the a) as it worked perfectly on my local setup.... after a wasted weekend i rewrote the whole thing in half a day (now EC2 hosted). shameless plug story end.

6
nwh 1 day ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, this is another in a long line of websites that die if you nuke Google Analytics. It's becoming a persistent problem.
7
est 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this a fast index to 10 million histograms with a json output?
8
blahbap 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a great tool for designing web pages, but I'd like to be able to filter on licence types; I'm not so interested in images I cannot use in my web page.
9
neya 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can anyone think of a nice Web-App idea that could implement this?

I was thinking, instead of having this as a raw search engine (which is nothing short of EXCELLENT!), maybe you could use it to find foods that looks alike? Something, maybe?

Come on guys, I know you're much more creative than me :)

10
sfx 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is fantasic! And kind of addictive. I used to use Tineye regularly for backwards-image search until Google unveiled their own. It's awesome to see that Tineye is still innovating. I hope we see more products from these guys in the future.
11
SagelyGuru 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is really nice but the colours are somewhat artificial, thus the selections are somewhat biased towards man made images. I suggest using smaples of colours from real images, such as real skin, sea, sand etc.
23
Go and Assembly doxsey.net
185 points by cdoxsey  1 day ago   119 comments top 16
1
charlieflowers 1 day ago 4 replies      
Now this is an impressive argument. Particularly the first section about the tool chain (and the assembly part is really cool too).

I have been holding back because I don't like the lack of exceptions. But it occurred to me that C doesn't have anything like exceptions either, and even though that lack causes some serious irritation, the C language as a total package overcomes it and is really powerful.

I don't know if any language can beat that list of tool chain benefits. Maybe I will give go a whirl.

2
WalterBright 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here's how to do inline assembler in D:

    int *_memset32(int *p, int value, size_t count) {
asm {
mov EDI,p ;
mov EAX,value ;
mov ECX,count ;
mov EDX,EDI ;
rep ;
stosd ;
mov EAX,EDX ;
}
}

The compiler adds the function prolog/epilog for you, as well as any save/restore for used registers.

3
dualogy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great write-up. As I'm perusing the math/somefeature_arm.s and math/somefeature_amd64.s files in Go's math package, I can't help notice most of them look like this:

http://golang.org/src/pkg/math/remainder_arm.s

That is, very short code that just looks like a function call to me, the complete asm noob. What is it, are all these maths functions implemented in hardware by amd64 and arm architectures? Or is this "asm code" just reverting to calling the Go implementation of the particular function (aka the not really that "optimized")?

4
drivebyacct2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go also offers a set of features in the build system that make it obvious and intuitive to write assembly for different targets, all without having to muck with makefiles or macros.

http://golang.org/pkg/go/build/

5
freehunter 1 day ago 11 replies      
And herein lies the problem with Go. Seriously, try searching for articles about Go on HN. People always say "well the name isn't a problem, because you just search for it with "golang" instead!" but no one writes golang unless they're pointing out how to search for it. If I was trying to get back to this article a month from now and I searched for "go", would I find it? Probably not, unless I remembered the article title contained the word "assembly", but then I'm matching a search to assembly and not Go.

The name is a problem. And if the name is not a problem, then the community is a problem.

6
damien 1 day ago 1 reply      
So what does that middle dot actually do before the function names? It doesn't seem to be mentioned in the linked documentation of the Plan 9 assembler, and if I have to use a character that I can't easily type with my keyboard, I'd like to at least know what it actually does. :)

Also, doesn't doing this limit your code to using gc toolchain (since the generic Go function has to get called from the arch-specific asm code which uses that Plan 9 dialect)? Does this mean that the Go standard library can't be compiled with gccgo for example?

7
pbsd 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does Go only support that crazy Plan 9 (amd64) assembler syntax that nobody uses anywhere?
8
csense 1 day ago 2 replies      
This assembler is awful. I thought that AT&T had a monopoly on ghastly assembly language syntax -- but this article causes me to question that assumption:

  MOVL BX,autotmp_0000+-4(SP)    ; from the article -- terrible!
MOV EBX,[ESP+autotmp_0000-4] ; Intel -- comprehensible!

This assembler has an imaginary register called FP.

WTF is up with the center dot?

A programming language should not require Unicode to write -- especially assembly language!

I don't know what's worse: That this assembler exists, or that a project chose to use it after better alternatives had been created!

9
tel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why the \cdot? Is Unicode required to parse assembly?
10
justsomedood 1 day ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of a topic that had come up earlier last year: Intermitten problems with 32bit programs in go. If I remember correctly programs would crash intermittently if the initial 512MB memory block requested wasn't contiguous. Does anyone know if this still is the case? Is the solution still to always just use 64bit?
11
pjmlp 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a nice example how to do low level programming while using a safe strong typed language most of the time.
12
Xeoncross 1 day ago 1 reply      
That is pretty neat. I'm glad he mentioned that the Go compiler will not inline functions written in assembly, but it will inline small Go functions.
13
rartichoke 1 day ago 1 reply      
I only have 2 problems with Go.

1. It does have its own package manager but good luck actually finding packages. golang.org's list is out of date and so is every other resource.

This is a serious problem IMO.

2. The third party web libs are pretty poor. I'm a big fan of Express for Node and prefer just a little bit of goodies ontop of something minimal.

A lot of people like Sinatra/Flask so I'm not the only one who likes this. There's nothing like this in Go.

We have the bits and pieces to make it but no one has stepped up. Right now developing anything for the web with Go is just too annoying, you have to create so many things that literally every other language has had solved for years.

If both of these problems were solved I would insta switch to Go for everything and never look back. It's just so pleasant to program in for all the points you mentioned + more.

14
Peaker 1 day ago 4 replies      
Except for his bullet about compiler speed, which might be faster than GHC, all of his bullets apply to GHC Haskell too.
15
cjh_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
This font renders odd in IceWeasel 10.0.12 , all occurrences of the letter 'e' have their left side 'cut off' so they stand out and are very difficult to read.

Chromium Version 22.0.1229.94 Debian 7.0 (161065) works fine.

16
arlasbane 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can always search "go programming", and the search engine should give you the results of go that occur in the context of programming, which should usually pertain to the go programming language.
25
First impressions of Leap Motion liangzan.net
182 points by liangzan  2 days ago   83 comments top 27
1
flixic 2 days ago 2 replies      
I also own one and have started developing a 3D painting application with it. It's magical, like playing with a touchscreen was magical.

BTW, this post reveals a bit more information than Leap Motion would like developers to reveal. Essentially, OP broke the agreement.

2
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 4 replies      
My big question is really a paraphrase of Douglas Adams -

  Radio had advanced beyond touchscreen and into motion detection. 
It meant you could control the radio with minimal effort
but had to sit annoyingly still if you wanted to keep
listening to the same channel.

I can see it working like the Kinect - really useful in a specific and narrow use case but there is a reason we use pens and not paint brushes for writing. Similarly this does not seem like a tool that is easy to use for say to day tasks.

If you have an informed (hands on) opinion to the contrary I would be very interested

3
DungFu 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have had one way before they shipped out the SDK, and all I have to say is that it is quite a bit more janky than the hype lets it seem.

Fingers will disappear without notice when nothing all that crazy is happening and the frame rate of the device (which is speced at 120+ fps) is much closer to around 45-55 fps. This leads so some major problems with long term finger acquisition that has to be handled by the developer. Quite frustrating to do things yourself that should be handled by the SDK.

While I understand that this SDK batch is a "beta/alpha" test, it is much buggier than it should be. The SDK will hang the entire OS quite often, and there is simply no way to detect if the device is actually plugged in. It will report invalid finger data rather than telling you that no device exists.

And the javascript API is so new, that it is borderline useless. It doesn't even properly report finger width, which is kind of sad since that worked many versions ago.

Overall a cool device with lots of hype, but needs a lot more work to even be mildly useful for anything more than just simple gestures.

4
guylhem 2 days ago 1 reply      
Suggestion for the OP - read more about computer vision.

Extracting gestures is indeed a problem. Most of the approaches I know depend on a state triggered by the appearance of a new input (in the video, when you add or a remove a finger) and then work by doing a temporal sum of the movement to get a shape.

This of course introduce problems about how fast or how slow the person draws the shape in the air - unless you trigger that when a finger is added, a finger is removed (as explained before) OR when you have just successfully detected a gesture - I don't mean identified it, but a quick deceleration of the finger followed by a short immobilization of the finger can reset the "frame of reading".

You may or may not have successfully grasped what was before that shape, but then an human will usually stop and try again so you get to join the right "frame of reading"

I've done a little work (computer vision MA thesis) on using Gestalt perceptual grouping on 3d+t (video) imaging. The goal was automating sign language interpretation (especially when shapes are drawn in the air, something very popular with the French Sign Language - and therefore I suppose with the American Sign Language considering how close they are linguistically)

However we were far from that in 2003, and we used webcams only. A lot of work went to separate each finger - depending on many things on its relative position to other, ie at the extremity of the row you either have the index or the pinky, and you guess which one if you know which hand it is, and which side is facing the camera)

I don't think it is or even it was that innovative. I've stopped working on that, so I guess there must have been lot of new innovative approaches. So once again, go read more about computer vision. It's fascinating!

I'd be happy to send anyone a copy, but it's in french :-)

5
eof 2 days ago 0 replies      
I also have one of these through the developer program. It is very neat, but it does not seem ready for prime time. When it is locked on to your fingers, it is fast; shockingly and amazingly fast and accurate. However, it drops fingers all the time; it almost never gets thumbs.

Even doing the calibration I could never going to all four corners of a 24inch screen. I suspect they will get it ironed out in the end, it does seem like AI/software issues rather than hardware issues.

I will say, that when it's working its really magical feeling. It feels accurate and like I am truly controlling something; but beyond that it didn't feel nearly robust enough for real world use.

6
aaron695 2 days ago 2 replies      
What people never seem to get in the Minority Report is, it's not cool because he used his hands.

It was cool because it had kick ass software behind it that could do all the work.

I see this continuously with things like glass/mirrors that can be touch screens etc

They look awesome because the (imaginary) software demoing it does awesome things.

Leap could be a cool device, but you'll need to think outside the box to see how.

My fat ass is not going to wave at anything that it can do with a mouse let along the quicker speed at which we can type/shortcut/mouse compared to physical movement.

Personally if I was a developer I'd look at things totally new.

7
candeira 2 days ago 1 reply      
I miss one of these everytime I'm cooking or doing other things that require me to get my hands dirty or unavailable. I'd love to have something like this so I can answer the phone (skype!), check out at recipes/howtos, or change playlists while elbow deep in batter, or while still holding a hot soldering gun and a fiddly piece of kit.

So, as much as Gorilla Arm would be a problem for everyday/all-day use of no-touch gestural interfaces, they are a great solution for existing problems.

8
tocomment 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here's my big question on the interfaces people are making for the leap motion:

Everyone seems to be trying to replicate iPad gestures in 3D, e.g., point your finger at something, drag something around by pointing.

How about instead we create a virtual hand that shows up in your screen and it mirrors the movements of your real hand and you use that to interact with objects on the screen?

I just think it would be awesome to be able to virtually reach into your screen and move things around! And it seems like it would be quite intuitive, no?

As some examples: I'm picturing moving your hand to the top of a window, make a grabbing motion and grab the top of a window and move it around. Grab the corner of a window to resize. You could even have the hand type on a virtual keyboard shown inside the screen. What do you guys think?

9
sbuccini 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had the opportunity to get some hands on time with the Leap before Christmas. Leap Motion sponsored a hackathon at my school and brought in dev boards for everyone to borrow, although they were not the completed product like is pictured in this article.

I cannot tell you how incredible this product is. I'm a first year CS student, and I've never done anything even remotely close to gesture tracking before. But at the end of the night, I was able to play rock paper scissors with my computer. The API is that simple to use.

Yet, as mentioned, it's so incredibly accurate. One of the biggest bug we faced was even when we thought our hands were still, the device still registered imperceptible movements which were translated into false moves.

Overall it's a great product, especially for the price.

10
josh2600 2 days ago 2 replies      
Super excited for this. We've got a couple coming to our office.

Can you talk a little bit about the construction of the unit? How does the craftsmanship look?

11
nsoun 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very interesting! Let's pair this up with an Oculus Rift and call it a day.
12
clebio 2 days ago 2 replies      
Seems a fit for any sort of 3D CAD work. I'd like to pair it with unconed's MathBox (https://github.com/unconed/MathBox.js).
13
codex 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm excited about the Leap because I rapidly transition my hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back again. That takes a lot of time and the mouse is hard on my wrists. I would much rather "mouse in the air" even if I lost some precision. My productivity would soar.

Furthermore, my pinkies and thumbs take a beating pressing the command, control, and shift keys. I would much rather wave my thumb or pinky in a particular direction to get those modifiers. This may not be possible with the current Leap, but will no doubt be possible soon.

14
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is very encouraging, I so want this to be real since a 'touch screen' at a distance is something I have many uses for.
15
thedaniel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a developer unit and can confirm: it's legit. I don't want to go into too much detail because of the developer agreement, but think it is best characterized as like a "useful, portable, affordable, easy to integrate kinect". I'm having a lot of fun messing around with it, though I don't have much to share yet as other work has taken precedence. SOON.
16
chewxy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was wondering if this is common with pre-launch product kits, but I have to sign in everytime to use the SDK. What am I doing wrong?

That said, I had a fun time writing stuff. Now, if only it had proper linux support (instead of Virtualbox hacky hacks that I have to use)

17
Hovertruck 2 days ago 0 replies      
I spent a week or so playing with a leap device recently, and had a great time developing a sort of Minority Report style interface for some display screens in our office recently. I did end up writing all of the gesture recognition from scratch which was a bit more difficult than I expected. :
18
daralthus 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess you could use the acceleration in the gesture recognition as the start/stop signal.
I will try it out tomorrow.
19
danellis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone know when this thing ships for real? I pre-ordered nearly six months ago. To be fair, they haven't taken any money yet.
20
julien_c 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can you embed the Leap Motion JS driver in a webpage / browser extension ?
21
bane 2 days ago 1 reply      
How well does this work with multiple monitors?
22
px43 1 day ago 0 replies      
When did they start shipping? I ordered mine last May and haven't heard a word from them since then.
23
felixfurtak 2 days ago 1 reply      
would be nice to see a hardware teardown to get an idea how it works
24
samstave 2 days ago 0 replies      
See, now this is something that would set the chromebook pixel apart: be the first to integrate this. Not brag about a touchscreen.
25
sp4ke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Received mine yesterday, i was quite disappointed when i knew there's no Linux sdk !
26
aiden 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's the size of the sdk? How big would the download be (both from developers and users point-of-view).
27
solarbunny 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tough times await those with Parkinson's disease...
26
Tesla's ingenious strategy maximise.dk
182 points by mixmax  3 days ago   128 comments top 21
1
DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's one piece that's missing: production support.

Now Tesla is entering a phase where they will have perhaps tens of thousands of heavy, battery-powered pieces of transportation hardware deployed, and user support might be a bitch. Nobody's done this before. Ever.

Don't get me wrong. They have done a tremendously fine job so far, but they are nowhere near out of the woods yet, as I'm sure Musk knows. Here's wishing them the best of luck through the hump over the next five years or so.

(Interesting how with startups you do one impossible thing only to be given another, and another. Each time it's like "And now comes the really tough part...")

2
Flemlord 3 days ago 7 replies      
Just got my Model S on Friday and it has exceeded all expectations. IMHO, the center console is at least as revolutionary as the fact that it is electric.

The software is world class and feels like it was written by Apple. In fact, it seems eerily similar to how Apple launching the iPhone reset the bar for the "right" way to do smart phone UI. I wonder if Tesla has considered licensing the center console software to other companies.

3
lutusp 3 days ago 9 replies      
Tesla -- and Elon Musk -- have accomplished a lot with a combination of ingenuity and timing, but their future (and the future of viable electric cars) relies entirely on a single technological advance that's almost completely outside their control: the physics of storage batteries.

In terms of value returned for investment, present storage batteries are almost the single worst modern technology. The storage battery on the Tesla Roadster weighs 990 pounds, stores 56 kWh (about 202 MJ) and discharges in 244 miles (393 km) in normal conditions (vehicle speed and environmental temperature). This is a stellar example of applied science and engineering (it's much better performance than that of similar batteries) but it still represents a big obstacle to wide adoption of electric vehicle technology.

As a seasoned former NASA engineer who struggled with these same issues on spacecraft for years, I offer this advice: young people who are trying to decide what do with their lives should seriously consider a career in battery science and engineering. There is room for huge improvement -- huge.

4
JumpCrisscross 3 days ago 2 replies      
It is almost as if Tesla is travelling a familiar timeline at an accelerated pace, forced into the luxury market by the high costs of novelty and experimentation, waiting for production and brand uncertainty to drop low enough for mass production. In 1878 (t=0) Benz invented his first engine; by 1885 (t=7) he had built his first Motorwagen and in 1914 (t=36) the Model T lines started running [1]. Tesla was founded in 2003 and sent off its first Roadster in 2008 (t=5) [2]. Assuming exponential growth this means we should expect a mass produced Tesla vehicle (or equivalent) no later than 2029 (t=26).

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

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

5
gizmo 3 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting article, but mostly wrong. The article claims:

> The point isn't to sell a lot of roadsters, it's creating a brand.

> The low production volume also gives the company a chance to learn how to run a car factory on a small scale.

So the article claims that the primary reason to start with an expensive sports car is to build a brand, and that technical and practical concerns are less important. This is absolutely 100% wrong. There's absolutely no way Tesla could have started with a mass production car for the general consumer, exactly for the reasons everybody already knows. You have to build a factory. You have to learn from mistakes. You have work out the kinks in the design, and so on. This takes time.

The first Tesla model was mostly hand-assembled because that was the only option. As a consequence of that the car model is very expensive and low volume. And as a consequence of that the car has to be a sports car, because the high price low volume model doesn't make sense otherwise.

Creating a sports car also makes building a brand easier -- but that's just a nice side benefit. Nothing more. So the article gets the causality wrong.

6
codex 3 days ago 1 reply      
Contrast Tesla's from-scratch, top-down strategy with those of some existing car manufacturers, which is to add electric motors and batteries incrementally to existing car platforms, which leverage their huge economies of scale: existing plants and parts can be reused.

The same plants which make a million gas-powered Honda Accords per year can be used to make an incremental 100,000 electrics, then 200,000 a year later, then 500,000, as sales grow and technology matures. Ford is using this strategy to great effect with their Focus and C-MAX EVs which are fairly affordable and accessible to the average consumer.

The question is whether electric technology is so revolutionary as to require a complete redesign of the car, (e.g. body panels and frame) in which case Tesla's approach may win out. BMW, for example, is pursuing this route for at least one of their models; they're building a carbon fiber manufacturing facility in Washington State for their new i3 electric, which will use carbon fiber body panels for decreased mass.

7
nextparadigms 3 days ago 2 replies      
I've noticed where they were going with their strategy a while ago. They're basically trying to cut the price in half or so for the next model, every 3 years. This worked perfectly considering they were a start-up and could only build a few one of them at first, and then as they become more demanded, they can build more.

We'll see a $30,000 model from them in 2015, and then a sub $20,000 model by 2018, with reasonable mileage. By then the country should also be covered with their solar-powered superchargers, that charge the cars for free. All of these factors should help them, and EV's in general, to become mainstream by 2020.

In regards to the author's last statement, when Tesla started pushing for Tesla Roadster I also thought they would eventually become the "GM of the new electric car industry". Tesla is the Apple of EV's, and GM is Nokia. And both incumbents were gigantic at first in their own markets, compared to the new entrants, but that quickly changed in a few years.

8
simonbarker87 3 days ago 1 reply      
Having driven an electric car (not Tesla, Nissan Leaf) I can say that they are pretty awesome and this article is spot on with my thoughts about how you get people to switch to electric, make it normal and everywhere and people will begin to buy. I disagree with the article with regards to people not caring about the fact it's electric, they will because of the finite, hard stop, don't get it wrong range limitation. Although the claims of 300 miles for the Model S is far greater than the LEAF that I drove (18 months old, 80 miles with climate control on as it was -5 outside)
9
graeham 3 days ago 0 replies      
One key advantage that is often overlooked and undermarketed for electric cars is they have a superior preformance and experiance than internal combustion (IC) cars. The Model S has a 0-60 time comparable to a Porche 911 Carrera or a BMW M3, is quite a bit faster accelerating than the (non-AMG) Mercedes S-Class, and knocks the socks off a BMW 5xx. The problem is I don't think the value translates into the $25-35,000 car market.
10
smountcastle 3 days ago 2 replies      
So why doesn't a huge car company buy them and put Elon in charge of everything? Or is this just too far fetched?
11
thewisedude 2 days ago 0 replies      
I dont want to discredit the whole article based on a few things.
There were some things that he says either didn't impress me or seemed inaccurate
<Quote>These are huge obstacles, and is probably why there hasn't been a new major auto maker in the United States for 90 years </Quote>

Kia - Founded in 1940s.

Also its not clear why US is the only country that is being considered?

<Quote>
Tesla's strategy for overcoming these obstacles is ingenious; Start at the top and work our way down. </Quote>

Thats how its been for many businesses. Cars in general had a similar history. It was only available for rich people initially!

<Quote>
If I was General Motors I would be afraid. Very afraid.
</Quote>

Statements like this are too generic. What time frame? No quantification? General Motors was about to be bankrupt a few years back. Their business is already being threatened by many things, I dont know if Telsa is their biggest concern!

12
arbuge 3 days ago 1 reply      
"If I was General Motors I would be afraid. Very afraid."

Or, I would be in talks to buy Tesla.

13
thoughtcriminal 3 days ago 0 replies      
One suggestion to the author of the article. Let the reader decide if Tesla's strategy is ingenious. It may seem like a small thing, but I don't like being told what to think. Make your points and leave it up to the reader.
14
stiff 3 days ago 1 reply      
For all those thinking like I did this would be something about Nikola, I raise you some real Tesla's ingenious strategy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tesla_colorado_adjusted.jp...

:)

15
postscapes1 3 days ago 1 reply      
I also love how the strategy ties in so well with SolarCity. Sign me up for that 1-2 combination when the Bluestar is launched.

Author: Missing a 0 in..."That's more than 20.00 cars a year."

16
jakozaur 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thw whole strategy assumes that battery cost will drop significantly (more than 2x):

http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/21/battery-cost-dropping-b...

Which may happen, but AFAIK Tesla isn't involved in that kind of research.

17
natronic 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hydrogen! The auto industry is already looking past electric.

Look at market signals and the faltering focus on electric, despite massive efforts to sell electric cars by the industry. Nissan, who has taken the biggest stab at electric, is already (publicly) licking its wounds from its $5B gamble.

That's just one example from “Electric cars head toward another dead end”:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/us-autos-electric-...

Tesla's making a brave and extremely innovative foray, I will certainly give them that. But with the lack of electric traction amidst $4+ gas (2x since 2008) and the promise of hydrogen...I'd say the odds are against them. Hybrids will probably be the bridge to something else.

Tesla could end up being Betamax.

18
pedalpete 3 days ago 2 replies      
Though I agree with most of the article, the statement "you need a finely tuned, automated and hugely expensive factory".
I've always seen that as a moderate flaw in Tesla's plan.

With the Roadster, they had essentially outsourced much of the 'car' engineering to Lotus which built the frames and many of the components for Tesla.

Just like computer companies don't manufacture computers anymore, I believe outsourcing the manufacturing of Tesla cars would have taken a large part of the financial risk off the table.

19
flatfilefan 3 days ago 3 replies      
nice article. I wonder when the time comes for new form factors. When there is no motor, do we have to have front hood, even if it's a shock absorber?
20
notdrunkatall 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is precisely why I purchased a large chunk of TSLA a month ago, and I suggest that all of you do the same.
21
czzarr 3 days ago 0 replies      
tl;dr version:

Tesla's huge ambitions are to sell electric cars to the mass market. Becoming a new car manufacturer from the ground up is unbelievably hard.
They are using the classic Silicon Valley approach: start with early adopters that just want a cool new toy, then cross the chasm to mainstream customers...
http://tldr.io/tldrs/51115df9de23f156580000a8/teslas-ingenio...

27
Wizard Modals for Bootstrap github.com
180 points by daenz  1 day ago   27 comments top 15
1
jschuur 1 day ago 0 replies      
Say I'm on Twitter's web site. Most of the time, I just want to browse tweets. So don't pollute the site with a new tweet from that I rarely need. Sometimes I want to send a tweet though. Refresh the whole page (with a trip the server), just to pop up a new tweet form? I want to get back to my Twitter stream after this tweet. Just put some UI front and center so I can focus on that one new tweet.

Modal dialog boxes have plenty of good uses. But most of all, they're an option. Another tool to use.

2
dave1010uk 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I zoom in to view the page (on Android, but I guess this will happen with zooming on many browsers), the page is not scrollable horizontally, meaning only the center of the modal is visible on the screen. This seems to happen with almost every modal implementation I've seen.
3
mrgreenfur 1 day ago 2 replies      
Pretty cool and thanks for releasing for free! That said, why would you put a multi-step wizard inside of a modal? Seems like bad UI to me. Modals should be used for quick data collections, small actions or context-aware warnings/insights. Using one for something that is complicated enough to need a wizard just seems like a bad idea.
4
eflowers 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really like this. I had done something similar in a project, but this execution really ignites my imagination. Really well done. I am curious if chosen.js would have to be modified to handle backbone style async, I know it's been strange in cases like that.
5
onassar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great idea. Wizards are definitely useful for a variety of projects, so it's nice to be able to get one off the ground without having to consider the UI too much more than one needs to.
6
timbonicus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unrelated to this component, but the Monitoring Location step shows a limitation in the Chosen select library; the dropdown is attached inside the parent container.

I ran into the same issue and went with Select2. It's forked from Chosen and solves this positioning problem (and adds remote AJAX loading and other cool features).
http://ivaynberg.github.com/select2/

7
cpursley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting. I've actually been building/modifying a javascript wizard all week for a rails app. I'll give this a test drive.
8
the_gipsy 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome.

Suggestion: I thought the progress bar was much longer, spanning the total lower part of the modal, up to the buttons, because there is so little contrast. If I were using it as a real wizard, i might have aborted, thinking there were maybe 10 times as many steps involved.

9
instakill 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This would be great if it didn't require bootstrap. Any similar modal wizards around?
10
hardwaresofton 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great addition to a priceless service. Bootstrap definitely really opened up the world of web design and this is a great addition
11
YZF 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is the progress supposed to not go back when you go back? It's kind of odd.
12
ubersoldat2k7 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow... just today I started looking for a wizard for a new project and this is exactly what I had in mind. will have to translate that CSS to LESS though.
13
thedangler 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe the site is getting too much traffic.

Can't host the demo's on github pages?

14
dak1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks great, although some of the styling (at least in the demo) seemed to clash with the Bootstrap theme.
15
Strshps1MoreTim 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does it support IE7?
28
Balancing text for better readability adobe.com
177 points by dave1010uk  14 hours ago   77 comments top 14
1
mcargian 14 hours ago 11 replies      
I think it's odd that a post about readability has grey text (#686868) on a white background. Next to the black screen grabs the text is very light.
2
dpcx 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Why not just use the Knuth-Plass algorithm as implemented in http://www.bramstein.com/projects/typeset/?
3
pjungwir 10 hours ago 1 reply      
For subtitles and ledes, or really anything larger than the main body text, I actually prefer the <br/> solution. It's important not only to break in a pleasing shape, but also to break at grammatically-sensible points. So it's better to say:

    Take the blue car
to the shop

vs

    Take the blue
car to the shop

or

    Take the blue car to
the shop

4
wnoise 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For plain text, see "par", a much nicer version of "fmt".

http://www.nicemice.net/par/

5
decklin 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I long for something that would just wrap all big paragaphs of text at 70-ish characters without hacking at element widths (I've tried user stylesheets, scripts... nothing satisfactory). If this were implemented, I imagine it would be easier to do that.

(For example, the first line of the first paragraph of the post renders as 134 characters on my screen. Maybe I am just old, but I find this hard to read.)

6
fudged71 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Chrome still doesn't support CSS3 hyphenation. I wish they would, because it has a huge impact in web typography. http://caniuse.com/css-hyphens
7
psadri 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a very legitimate addition to CSS. I bet we will see it in a future release. It makes a lot of sense for headings. I hope it will not get abused for other text blocks (but I am sure it will).
8
dylangs1030 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes, the website is ironically displaying text in an inconvenient way for a bunch of users.

But as for the content itself: why not just use left align justify? I understand that justify asymmetrically inserts spacing to apply a balanced center throughout, but is this really an issue? In what context are users so hypersensitive to readability issues that they need the justify spacing to not only balance the entire text but evenly balance each space within the text in reference to one another?

Pardon me for not finding this significant. I just think it's a bit anal when we have a solution already.

9
antirez 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Any list of quality web typography resources accessible for programmers? Thanks
10
lnanek2 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Ugh, I really hate newspapers and the like that stretch out words and letters randomly just to have it make a perfect block. Random spacing to meet your criteria of prettiness does not improve readability. This person centers too much is his problem, I think. Just left align, read down the page with every line starting in the same spot, stop when done. Yay. Most web readers don't even read every word anyway, they skim, and you are producing something anti-skimmable by not keeping a nice solid left line where all the text starts wherever possible.
11
milliams 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The simplest solution to a similar problem (a single hanging word in a headline) that I've seen is to replace the 'space' between the last two works with an &nbsp; This forces the last two words to stay together as a unit. It can be automated with a simple piece of ECMAScript.
12
sc0rb 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. Grey text on a white background. This is really annoying to read on a matte screen.

A little ironic given the subject matter?

13
muglug 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Lovely idea. One might also consider the special case of two centered lines, where many have an aesthetic desire for the first to be longer than the second.
14
spennino 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't it be easier and give you more editing control to just put text in a <pre> element? Seems like it would be hard to algorithmically determine what will visually look good
29
Play framework 2.10 released playframework.com
169 points by emdagon  2 days ago   72 comments top 28
1
Garbage 2 days ago 2 replies      
Release announcement - https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/play-fra...

Major highlights of this release include:

* Migration to Scala 2.10

* Migration to Scala concurrent Futures

* Modularisation of Play itself

* Modularisation of routes files

* Better thread management and HTTP context propagation in Java projects

* Managed controller instantiation

* New Scala JSON API

* New Filter API with built in CSRF protection

* RequireJS support

* Content negotiation

* Improved Iteratee API

2
nnq 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know a good Django/Play comparison or Rails/Play comparison? Or a tutorial along the lines of "Play for Rails developers" or "Play for Django developers"?

I'm learning Scala and I want to play with it for webdev, but I know how much "hidden effort" is in learning any framework so i's really love something like this...

3
davidw 2 days ago 1 reply      
When they say "predictable and minimal resource consumption (CPU, memory, threads)", what kind of numbers are we talking about, roughly?
4
dkhenry 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an amazing effort by an amazing team. I have been using Play exclusively for two years now and each version keeps getting better and better
5
Garbage 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been using 2.10 RCs for couple of days (all non-blocking stuff), and I must say it's amazing! I am impressed.

Way to go guys! :)

6
ineedtosleep 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've been eyeing Play for a bit now, but I've been wondering what kind of server it would require for a modest app with basic CMS functionality.

So, for example, will it run fine on a 128MB RAM VPS (assuming average IO speeds), a remote db and nginx?

7
MatthewPhillips 2 days ago 3 replies      
Why did they decide to use static methods for the controllers?
8
bcarlson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats Play team! You really have a winning framework on your hands! Coming from a Java background, it was easy to learn; I was able to launch a dynamic MVP in three days on heroku (shameful plug): carsparkapp.com

It keeps getting better with each release, and as more plugins are written. The docs are really clear, and the community is thriving. Very good stuff!

9
LiveTheDream 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mods, can you fix the title please? It's "2.1.0", not "2.10" (it runs on Scala 2.10, but the version is 2.1.0).
10
speeder 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why all those fancy effects of things flipping in your webpage?

It confused me for a while, until I understood it, then I think it is fancy, and useless.

But impressive maybe, if it was done using the tech they want you to use.

11
timmillwood 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's all about the JVM these days, guess I should learn it.
12
glazskunrukitis 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMO Play framework is the most important thing happening to Java right now.

I hope this brings Java back to everyday web development :)

13
BonoboBoner 2 days ago 1 reply      
Things are moving fast... I am still on 1.2.X for my applications as I fear the migration models, controllers and especially of Groovy templates to Scala templates.

Especially the increased compilation times when I hit reload are a turn of.

14
satoimo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love it. Exquisitely type safe. Just one thing: Weren't we supposed to get WAR deployment support in 2.1?
15
kushti 2 days ago 0 replies      
I went through all RCs (from 1 to 4) with two applications. Happy to see release now. Great framework.
16
paullth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Play 2.1 = awesome, scala 2.10 = awesome, and loving the new website. This is a good time to be a web developer...
17
seivan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been looking for a way out of Rails. I dislike not having a compiler & analyser as I'm very comfortable with CLANG and LLVM.

Recently I've been looking at GoLang and Scala.
Not sure which to go with, but Play seems better than most web frameworks for Go.

But my concern is always ecosystem. Now before you say "You have access to Java ecosystem" please take a look on how amazing the ruby eco system is.

18
franze 2 days ago 1 reply      
a question (not about the framework, but about the linked webpage) - this awesome effect where i scroll down and the pictures (next to the "Developer friendly" headline) "fold up", is there an animation-lib that does this? how is it called? it's awesome, i want it.
19
matteodepalo 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome news. With this release Play has reached a level of maturity and elegance that will definitely make me consider it for my future projects.
20
fernandezpablo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Speaking strictly about the website redesign, I think that (although nice) it fails to communicate the framework biggest selling points. Some comments on that:

* The code-save-refresh workflow: this is mentioned briefly as "hit refresh workflow" which is confusing to say the least.

* Some other weird or 'meh' bullet points like type-safety (you're using either scala or java so you take that for granted) or stateless-web-tier.

* The introduction video is long. It's fine as a tutorial, but being the first thing you can click on I expect you to sell me the framework in 2-3 minutes or so (it can be done, play is fantastic).

Disclaimer: I love play and used it a lot last year. In fact I was part of the team that put the first play application into production on LinkedIn (featured in the bottom of the play site).

21
the1 2 days ago 1 reply      
2.0.4 had bad defaults and documentation.

Some highlights:

- half baked config (no array. multiple values can be hacked as `foo.bar={a: 1, b: 1}`)

- can only set logging level in the config. and, xml logger config doesn't have application.conf values (logger.* in .conf are useless)

- routes dsl (meh)

- bad db connection pool. it kills all other connections if a connection fails, and goes into error state instead of re-connecting (it does reconnect for subsequent requests when pool is in error state)

22
borplk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very interesting. Good job.
23
edofic 2 days ago 0 replies      
new json api is bloody awesome! and when you add reactive mongo in the mix... oh my god
24
bonsai 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am planning to evaluate play! on some small projects.

Does anyone knows what are pros/cons using play with java/scala?

25
iso8859-1 2 days ago 0 replies      
26
skipwalker 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone use the play framework inside of IntelliJ IDEA? What's that experience like?
27
kushti 2 days ago 1 reply      
BTW, error in title, Not '2.10' but '2.1.0'
28
rfinley 2 days ago 2 replies      
nothing that awesome to make me switch from Grails.
30
Tiny, Hackable Quadcopter Drone Launches Pre-Orders wired.com
169 points by cyphersanctus  3 days ago   65 comments top 16
1
boredguy8 3 days ago 5 replies      
As these get smaller and smaller, we get closer and closer to a dog pod grid:

  Aerostat meant anything that hung in the air. This was an easy trick to pull off
nowadays. Nanotech materials were stronger. Computers were infinitesimal. Power
supplies were much more potent. It was almost difficult not to build things
that were lighter than air. . . .

Given that it was so easy to make things that would float in air, it was not
much of a stretch to add an air turbine. This was nothing more than a small
propeller, or series of them, mounted in a tubular foramen wrought through
the body of the aerostat, drawing in air at one end and forcing it out the other
to generate thrust. A device built with several thrusters pointed along
different axes could remain in one position, or indeed navigate through space.

Each aerostat in the dog pod grid was a mirror-surfaced, aerodynamic teardrop
just wide enough, at its widest part, to have contained a pingpong ball. These
pods were programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern, about ten
centimeters apart near the ground (close enough to stop a dog but not a cat,
hence "dog pods") and spaced wider as they got higher. In this fashion a hemi-
spherical dome was limned around the sacrosanct airspace of the New Atlantis
Clave. When wind gusted, the pods all swung into it like weathervanes, and the
grid deformed for a bit as the pods were shoved around; but all of them even-
tually worked their way back into place, swimming upstream like minnows, pro-
pelling the air turbines. The 'bines made a thin hissing noise, like a razor
blade cutting air, that, when multiplied by the number of pods within earshot,
engendered a not altogether cheerful ambience. Enough wrestling with the wind,
and a pod's battery would run down. Then it would swim over and nuzzle its
neighbor. The two would mate in midair, like dragonflies, and the weaker would
take power from the stronger. The system included larger aerostats called nurse
drones that would cruise around dumping large amounts of power into randomly
selected pods all over the grid, which would then distribute it to their neigh-
bors. If a pod thought it was having mechanical trouble, it would send out a
message, and a fresh pod would fly out from the Royal Security installation be-
neath Source Victoria and relieve it so that it could fly home to be decompiled.

--Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age

2
cwilson 3 days ago 1 reply      
The inductive charging hack is SO freaking awesome. I am going to have a base-station on my desk for it to land on and charge.
3
jug6ernaut 3 days ago 3 replies      
Very cool. Though the 7 minute flight time is rather disappointing.

I know this would increase costs a LOT but it would be awesome if it could be redesigned to use smaller chips and put more of the weight to the battery.

On that can anyone explain to me why they positioned the batter on the top of the device? Wouldn't it be better balanced to have placed it below the body? Not that stability looked like an issue just seems like an odd design choice.

4
rdl 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder what it will be like in a decade or so looking back on the lovely period where only the US Government had lethal drones, and operated them with relative restraint.
5
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
They are doing this through Seeedstudios (the number of 'e's is important!) who, when I was with Google, we did a group buy of their digital oscilloscope kits. It turned out quite well so I wasn't worried about pre-ordering through them.

Now to think up some exceptionally opsish type thing to do with them, there is data center re-con of course but I was thinking like "go sit on the bad top of rack switch and blink your LED" kinds of things.

6
nona 3 days ago 0 replies      
Right now it's vapour, but there's also this:
http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/products/mecam.htm

It promises better hardware (Cortex-A9 SoC, 1.0-1.5GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, SD card, 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), at a third of the price (MSRP: $49).

But again, it's not real (yet?) - whereas the pre-order of the Crazyflie Nano has at least already started. And they seem to have a firm shipping date.

7
acc00 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you don't mind having a somewhat larger quadrotor, consider getting something like Attop Intruder [0] and replacing its PCB with a Flymaple-A [1].

At $120 and some soldering, this gives you 18 minutes flight time and >50g payload. Flymaple seems to be rather close to Crazyflie hardware-wise.

[0] http://www.walkera-parts.com/shop/m74/ATTOP-TOYS/p14245/ATTO...

[1] http://www.dfrobot.com/index.php?route=product/product&p...

8
sosuke 3 days ago 3 replies      
My first thought is to make Quadcopter obstacle courses for group racing. Combine that with augmented reality power-ups that you could use to freeze an opponent and we have a Mario Kart Racing style game.
9
stephengillie 3 days ago 1 reply      
This device has an onboard camera and a decent microcontroller (32 bit MCU @ 72 MHz (128kb flash, 20kb RAM)). This is just begging to have OpenCV running on it.
10
dev1n 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a novel I recently finished. For those of you who have not read Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez, I highly suggest it. It is a very interesting story about drone warfare and artificial intelligence. This quadcopter is eerily similar to the ones described in his novel.
11
pm90 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is brilliant. I can't stop wondering how this will make espionage much more easy. Or even stalking.

Then, we will have a slew of companies that guarantee 'security from aerial surveillance'. I'm sure they'll make a killing.

12
joshmlewis 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wish I was a programmer so I could build one and just fly it around. I know that's not the purpose and it specifically says it's not for toying around, but with a camera I think this is really cool. Who wants to make one for me for an additional cost? :)
13
djb_hackernews 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome.

If they aren't already working on it they need to build interfaces for mobile devices.

14
Ecio78 2 days ago 0 replies      
HN news from a couple of days ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5150129
15
zopticity 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, it sounds like a fly (insect). I just want to squash it =) Just kidding. It looks really cool.
16
IheartApplesDix 3 days ago 3 replies      
why is the propeller chassis made from circuit board? Isn't that kind of an expensive and fragile solution?
       cached 9 February 2013 05:11:01 GMT