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1
Why HN was down
1024 points by pg  6 days ago   287 comments top 84
1
DanielBMarkham 6 days ago 9 replies      
Amazing that such a large percentage of debugging involves determining exactly what you are debugging. The definition of the problem, many times, is the solution.

Might be a good time to mention Rubber Duck Debuggging. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_duck_debugging

2
lifeisstillgood 6 days ago 4 replies      
There are a number of comments that add up to "what steps will you take to ensure this does not happen again" - akin to a incident review. As speculation that's fine, as advice, I don't think it should be listened to.

I am reminded of an long-in-the-tooth sysadmin of my acquaintance who logged in everywhere as root. His theory - "they are my boxes. I screw it up, I fix it."
I eventually realised that typing sudo every time he touched a box was no defence against doing the wrong thing.

An awful lot of sites at 1.2m views would have outsourced the running and development of the whole thing - there are entreprenuers who say its not even worth our time to code up the MVP. I find this approach sensible from a business point of view, but still it does not sit right with me.

I am supposed to have a nice website with lots of good content to attract inbound marketing - so I tried getting someone on textbroker to write an article for me. It read like a High School essay - no life, no anime. And so I will probably write my own CMS and my own content.

And pg sits there and writes his site in his own language, with his own moderation tools. Apart from the hilarious idea he could find a ten person ruby shop to outsource to, its nice to see someone taking the time to play again. Its why I like to see jgc on here too.

I am not entirely sure those thoughts are joined up (I am procrasting like crazy) but if they come to mean anything its we are playing in pg's sandbox. If the sand leaks it's his sand, and the only company this is mission critical to is YC.

3
sehugg 6 days ago 3 replies      
Great postmortem and good lessons to learn here:

* Don't manually modify database without a well-tested procedure and another pair of eyes

* Don't leave persistent problems (e.g. memory problems) uninvestigated so that you miss new problems with similar symptoms

* Don't push new code to production while operational problem is ongoing (unless it addresses the operational problem)

I'm pretty sure I've repeated this exact same sequence before with similar results...

4
dasil003 6 days ago 4 replies      
I'm not sure whether it's terrifying or relieving to realize that if all I dream of comes to pass and I achieve something akin to the legendary status of pg in the hacker community that I will still be susceptible to the inevitable facepalm moments that come with direct database access.

In any case I am thankful for the detailed explanation.

5
neurotech1 6 days ago 2 replies      
This should serve as a example template for how to accurately and transparently explain to users what went wrong. No deflecting blame, no useless platitudes.

Credit to PG, RTM and the rest of the team for keeping the sites uptime as high at it is.

6
tolmasky 6 days ago 4 replies      
Why do "self posts" like this show up in the same light gray as posts with negative vote counts? My eyes aren't great and I find it hard to read
7
larrys 6 days ago 3 replies      
"But then I decided to just fix it for him by doing some surgery in the repl."

I've always found it's a good idea to not deviate. Whether it be running, parking or anything else once you deviate from some regular behavior you run into potential problems that you hadn't anticipated.

"For some reason I didn't check the comments after the surgery to see if they were in the right place. "

More or less my point. If this wasn't a deviation from normal behavior you would have "checked the comments after the surgery" because it would have either become habit or the shear number of times you tried a fix resulting in an error would have made that more likely to occur.

8
Legion 6 days ago 2 replies      
"We'll do it live!"
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youngerdryas 6 days ago 0 replies      
>On a comment thread, a new user had posted some replies as siblings instead of children. I posted a comment explaining how HN worked. But then I decided to just fix it for him by doing some surgery in the repl.

No good deed goes unpunished!

People sometimes reply as sibling because they too impatient wait for the built-in delay on child comments.

Thanks for keeping the experiment going.

10
birken 6 days ago 1 reply      
Do you have munin monitoring on the production HN server?

That would really make situations like this easier to debug. First, it can pinpoint exactly when something started happening, which in this situation might have helped you realize the problem was caused by your change. Secondly, in this specific situation it probably would have been easier to differentiate a situation where you are running low on memory vs this completely different situation.

As somebody who spent a lot of time professionally debugging large software systems when they were misbehaving (as a Google SRE), I can tell you that looking at graphs of many key metrics (disk IO, CPU, memory, then application specific things) was always the place to start when debugging a situation, because you can learn so many things right away. When did it start? Was it a slow buildup or an immediate thing? What is the general problem (Memory?, Disk IO?, CPU?, none of the above?)? Has a similar pattern happened in the past?

Then you can start to get fancy and plot things like "messages/minute" or something and then it becomes easy to see when issues are affecting the site performance and when they aren't.

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irahul 6 days ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: Hindsight is 20/20, and stuff.

If reverting code didn't fix it, reverting server didn't fix it, incorrect data is the most likely culprit(I am not claiming this should have outright occurred to you; just thinking out loud). I take it you introduced non terminating recursion by making a thread its own parent, and you made the change on disk.

But this analysis is the last thing that comes to mind when you already have introduced 2 new variables the same day - new code, new server. And an old, recurring variable(GCing too much) is in play as well.

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benatkin 6 days ago 2 replies      
So what do you do to avoid this in the future? Do you stop doing surgery in the repl, or do you do the surgery with functions that check for cycles from now on?
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dap 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the detailed explanation.

It sounds like everything was done to fix the problem except try to figure out what the problem actually was. Why not use tools to see what the program is doing, form a hypothesis, gather data to confirm or reject the hypothesis, repeat until cause found, and then take corrective action that by this point you have high confidence will work?

I realize HN is more of a side project than a production service, but the goal is the same in both cases: to restore service quickly so you can move on to other things. It feels like a more rigorous approach would allow restoring service much faster than randomly guessing about what could be wrong and applying (costly) corrective action to see if it helps.

Besides that, in many cases (including this one), you cannot randomly guess the appropriate corrective action without finding the root cause.

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znowi 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what exactly did distract you :) When I do surgery on a production server, I triple-check making sure everything works properly.

I have two assumptions: 1. HN has a low priority in the overall scheme of things, 2. Self-confidence overflow :)

15
gruseom 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is a particularly endearing piece of "hacker news". It's so easy to relate to.
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nowarninglabel 6 days ago 0 replies      
Happens to a lot of us. Great reason to always write tested cleanup scripts for this stuff instead of editing directly on the server. The only time I brought down my product last year was from a similar screwup, I was removing users by hand and somehow managed to end up with a 0 in my list of user ids, thus deleting the anonymous user, and causing havoc to my server, which took a long time to track down.
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robomartin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great story! Yup, this kind of thing happens. For some reason it reminded me of something that happened to me as a newbie engineer. It was really funny a week later.

I was troubleshooting an intermittent problem in a piece of equipment. It had several boards full of mostly LS TTL logic chips (yes, them chips). It was the kind of problem that only happened once every other day or two. Nobody knew. So, I had all kinds of instruments attached to this thing and was watching it like a hawk waiting for a failure. It had probes attached to every point in the circuit where I suspected I could see something and learn about the source of the problem. I also tested for thermal issues with heat guns and freeze sprays, familiar troubleshooting techniques to anyone who's done this kind of thing.

Anyhow, every so often the thing would go nuts. The three scopes I had connected to it showed things I simply didn't understand. I'd analyze but couldn't make any sense out of it. Still, again, every so many days it would happen again. Changed power supplies and the usual suspects. No difference.

Well, finally, two weeks later, the other engineers in the office took pity on me and told me what was going on: They had connected a VARIAC to the power strip I was using to power the UUT (unit under test). The scopes and other test instruments remained on clean power. Every so often they'd reach into this drawer where the VARIAC was hidden and lower my power strip's voltage just enough for the power supplies to fall out of regulation and everything start beeping and sputtering. Those friggin SOB's. They had me going for days! I was pissed beyond recognition. Of course, after a while I was laughing my ass off alongside them. Good joke. Cruel, but good.

My revenge: A CO2 fire extinguisher rigged to go off into his crotch when my buddy sat down to work.

Fun place to work. We did this kind of stuff all the time. Today I'd be afraid of getting sued. People have really thin skins these days.

18
luser001 6 days ago 2 replies      
I use assertions to protect against things like this.

I liberally sprinkle my code with assertions (CS theory calls them pre-conditions and post-conditions, iirc) to crash early if the system is an invalid state.

One my pet peeves is that few programmers seem to love assertions like I do. Would love to see to comments on this.

19
lucb1e 6 days ago 4 replies      
Are you saying you manually modify the database? Like, shifting around things by id instead of just making admin buttons next to posts?
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DanI-S 6 days ago 2 replies      
n.b. that this is why time travel is a terrible idea.
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d0m 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hacking code in the repl without testing the new behavior. We all did that. Don't lie. Once I wanted to quick fix a "gmail.ca" to "gmail.com", which I did.. but to all the users instead of just the one mistaken. Fortunately I realized by mistake really fast ;-)
22
IgorPartola 6 days ago 0 replies      
The pink sombrero could have saved HN: http://www.bnj.com/cowboy-coding-pink-sombrero/
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mikedmiked 6 days ago 0 replies      
> created a loop in the comment tree; I caused an item to be its own grandchild.

Ah, the online forum equivalent of going back in time to kill your grandfather.

24
brokenparser 6 days ago 0 replies      
Forgot your medicine, today?
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Uchikoma 6 days ago 1 reply      
Appreciating the details.

"Hacker News was down all last night."

With the internet there is no "last night" ;-) Europe - and more so Asia I assume - had to live for many working hours without HN.

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raheemm 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious how was RTM able to notice that the problem seemed related to a specific item id? It would be great if he might write a short blurb similar to yours. Which also makes me wonder, why does RTM not write much?
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fnordfnordfnord 6 days ago 0 replies      
>>I caused an item to be its own grandchild.

Please forgive me. I know you folks tend to hate jokes on here. Don't waste your time if you're immune to corny humor. "I'm My Own Grandpa- Ray Stevens" ( with family tree diagram) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYlJH81dSiw

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louischatriot 6 days ago 0 replies      
Funny to see that this happens to everyone. A week ago, while testing some stuff to locate a low-importance bug, I erased the whole user database. Fortunately we have a good restore so the problem was solved in a few minutes, but still, cold sweat here ...
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xentronium 6 days ago 1 reply      
Whoa, what an unfortunate coincidence. This whole bug would be so much easier to find, if it weren't for the new server.
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Posibyte 6 days ago 0 replies      
I absolutely love post-mortems like this. It clearly identified that there was a problem, what the author tried to do to fix it, and if it was successful. Even if it ends with the author not knowing too much about the solution that was used, it's still so interesting to see the workflows and be able to derive something from it.

It's also why I like to read pg's articles so much. They're so in-depth and detailed and it doesn't feel you left thinking something was left out for the sake of being hidden.

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corwinstephen 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's never what you think it is. One time, I had a memory leak in a Rails app that took me TWO WEEKS to find. In the end, it came down to me putting a line of config code in the wrong section of the config file, which for some reason created a recursive loop and caused my servers to crash about once every 30 minutes. #weak
32
cool-RR 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great debugging story!

I guess the lesson is to have code that alerts you about comment loops without going into an infinite loop.

Also another lesson would be to figure out a way to have better clarity into which requests are causing a timeout on the server.

33
bramcohen 6 days ago 0 replies      
You should probably make your code robust to this sort of data corruption in the future.
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richforrester 6 days ago 0 replies      
Cheers for that pg - now I have to explain to my boss why I was actually productive yesterday.
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btilly 6 days ago 0 replies      
That explains something weird I saw.

If I went to Google's cached copy, I could see threads, and then click on them. But the front page was down. But I could see individual threads.

Very confusing.

36
scotthtaylor 6 days ago 1 reply      
PG, quick question: Did this impact the server hosting the YC Summer 2013 applications?

When I tried to edit mine, it simply said "Thanks, scotthtaylor"

37
rnadna 6 days ago 0 replies      
I fall into a similar misdirected-focus trap, but mine is simpler: I waste an embarrassing amount of time in editing the wrong damned file. After a sequence of small tweaks that yield no change in the results, I make a huge change and see nothing, and then realize that I've done it yet again. I need to write a vim macro that blanks the screen every few minutes, displaying the message "are you SURE this is the right file?"
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blantonl 6 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry about that.

No worries.

So, are we back on the new server? Or was this too much for one transition :)

39
T-zex 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for the honest explanation. This is not so easy especially for a famous person.
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ricardobeat 6 days ago 2 replies      
Related question: what is the timing for the 'Reply' link to show up? I might be fantasizing but sometimes it takes 5, sometimes 10 minutes to appear, leading people to reply as a sibling instead.
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naturalethic 6 days ago 0 replies      
If the problem existed before the code update, why would you assume it was the code update that caused the problem?
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neilxdsouza 6 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't it curious that the comet incident over Russia happened so close to the pass of DA 14. In the intro to the book:

http://ruby.bastardsbook.com/about/#why

is the note about surgical instruments left inside. It seems just like a coincidence that this happened so close to the switch to the new server, but I wonder if it's something deeper in the subconscious mind; the change to the new server is quite a big change (I know I feel that way when I have purchased a new computer (it feels different - even if it's running the same linux as before)) and could have upset the normal checks one has in place when tweaking things.

43
calinet6 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, I'll just say it: that's just plain dumb. It's a rare case, but a simple condition would have checked and prevented this. :)
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campnic 6 days ago 0 replies      
The nice thing about surgery with a computer program on a server is that death is not permanent.
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andreasklinger 6 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciate (if not love) the fact that you bugfix and server-change yourself.

True hacker spirit.

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thedaveoflife 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think this demonstrates how many people browse the /threads?id=pg page (myself included)
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sgt 6 days ago 0 replies      
Much appreciated, pg. I knew that the "10 minutes of downtime" would not occur (fair enough, this was not related to the server upgrade).
48
johnobrien1010 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for fixing it.

Have you considered avoiding dipping into the repl to do these kind of fixes? You don't owe any of us any sort of uptime guarantee, and you're a much better programmer than I, but it strikes me as odd that you would hack against the live server instead of create some tool that would make it so you couldn't take down the whole site when making this kind of fix...

49
RKoutnik 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's nice to know that even the mightiest of us can still make mistakes. Thanks for being willing to admit mistakes so the rest of us can learn.
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dylangs1030 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the explanation pg. As you said in the original thread, "you know how these things go..."
51
sideproject 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thank goodness it's back. I lost the my meaning of existence for the entire day. I don't know where my yesterday went. I'm ok now. :)
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GnarfGnarf 6 days ago 0 replies      
That's funny -- I work in genealogy software, and loops ("being your own grandpa") happen all the time, due to data entry errors. To avoid infinite recursion, we always keep track of what records we've processed already, check whether "I've been there before", and bail out if the answer is affirmative.
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cranklin 6 days ago 0 replies      
You are honest and I respect that. I'm sure many companies try to play off their downtime as something far more sophisticated when in fact, it was something too embarrassing to admit. I've certainly had my fair share of embarrassingly stupid mistakes that resulted in downtime.
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orangethirty 6 days ago 0 replies      
It makes me feel good knowing better programmers than me go through the same issues I face. :)
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DrJosiah 6 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone fat-fingers a database at some point... Then you build interfaces so that you can't make the same mistake.
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bobsoap 6 days ago 0 replies      
After breaking many things myself due to similar, seemingly miniscule edits, I have implemented an ABC routine: Always Be Checking. Even if it was "just" something like moving a piece of code or something equally tiny, I always check after the fix.

So far, it has been working great.

57
dennisgorelik 6 days ago 0 replies      
Did you add code that detects very deep nesting levels (e.g. depth more than 100) and throws meaningful exception to help developers to diagnose the problem?
58
aaronh 6 days ago 0 replies      
My pet peeve: You made an arbitrary change while debugging a problem. NOW YOU HAVE N^2 PROBLEMS!
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rjempson 6 days ago 0 replies      
That is why some organizations don't allow adhoc data fixes to be run in production. Best practice is to backup the database, run the fix against the backup, test the fix against the backup, and all being well run the fix against production.
60
hnriot 6 days ago 3 replies      
it's a good job it's your site, this type of thing is often what gets someone fired in a company. Modifying (meddling!) the production system directly.
61
Nux 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was almost sure it was Anonymous! ... Are you in Anonymous, pg? :D
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infoseckid 6 days ago 0 replies      
"I don't know if Nick succeeded, because in the middle of this I gave up and went to bed." - Not a good example to your holding companies :) What would happend if they all went to bed when something goes wrong :) Just kidding.
63
ibudiallo 6 days ago 0 replies      
When hacker news is down, I finally lifted my head and realized that there is life beyond the screen on my phone.

Now that it's back. I realized that it's finally time to create an account :)

64
nournia 6 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that in your new server and also latest pushed code, I can't do `like` anything. Honestly it's not a new bug and I got used to that, don't think about that.
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harrisreynolds 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just about anyone that has programmed for any length of time has done something like this. It is one of those "fixes" that after it's actually fixed you try to never think of it again. Good to know PG is mortal. :-)
66
patrickwiseman 6 days ago 0 replies      
Don't worry I just figured out the totally bone-headed programming mistake I made at noon today. Time is a good mediator between skill and stress.
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wpeterson 6 days ago 0 replies      
I guess it's time for NewRelic to add an Arc agent.
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mempko 6 days ago 0 replies      
Did you hear about the tortious and the hare?
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Jplenbrook 6 days ago 0 replies      
Why does PG maintain the website himself? I would think he would have many better things to do with his time.
70
cincinnatus 6 days ago 0 replies      
The cobbler's children have no shoes :-)
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meshko 6 days ago 0 replies      
TIL there are still large web sites out there that do not have staging environment.
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afshinmeh 6 days ago 0 replies      
Same problem in Iran, I couldn't access to HN all last day.
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arundelo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Even Homer nods!
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scotthtaylor 6 days ago 0 replies      
Normality has returned :-)
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w_t_payne 6 days ago 0 replies      
That sort of thing is fine for a startup in it's first year or two of life, but HN has been around for a while now ... surely you must have some sort of process by now?
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DocG 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think we have a new king!

Awesome explanation.

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bestest 5 days ago 0 replies      
So, uh, still fixing stuff in production?
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dahumpty 6 days ago 1 reply      
pg,

Just wondering as to why HN isn't hosted in the cloud? (e.g. on AWS, Rackspace etc.). How do you backup all the data?

80
nigo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciate pg's frankness here.
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pilas2000 6 days ago 0 replies      
That's funny because one of the top posts in progit yesterday was about the Hare and Tortoise algorithm
82
keikun17 6 days ago 0 replies      
i hope that user wasn't me. i was editing a typo in comment right when it happened
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eluos 6 days ago 0 replies      
"I am my own grandpa"
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jack57 6 days ago 1 reply      
Are you sure that comment's name wasn't Phillip J Fry?
2
Google Glass google.com
751 points by robin_reala  5 days ago   569 comments top 85
1
artursapek 5 days ago 55 replies      
I am seriously concerned about this.

I was in a long-distance relationship this summer. We would take turns visiting each other in our respective cities roughly 5 hours apart. It was a pretty long journey for a weekend - it would sometimes take 10 hours one way since you had to go through New York. Of course, it was worth it.

But whenever we would go on a walk, or I'd take her out to dinner, I got as much face time with the back of that fucking iPhone as with her. We'd be strolling down the street during a beautiful summer sunset, and she'd be holding my hand with one of hers, and with the other she'd be scrolling through Instagram. Craning her neck to stare at that stupid dim little screen instead of just looking around at the beautiful neighborhood I lived in. Same thing while I tried talking to her during dinner. She literally preferred it to looking at what was around her.

Gawking at fake vintage photos. Or reading her horoscope. Or online shopping. Or whatever.

I asked her to stop, I said it was rude. She couldn't. I started to resent the iPhone, for stealing my limited time with her. I know, I know. It was a flaw in her, and not everybody does that, right?

Certainly not everybody. But I go to coffee shops now, I go to events, and people are just in cell phone huddles. A group of people will go out, and unanimously decide to prick and pinch and swipe their glass worship stones instead of having a fucking conversation or looking around them. This is everywhere. Every year it's more of a common sight. It's actually surprising now to see someone at the local cafe reading a book, or playing chess.

I might notice this more than most because I made a life decision to not use a "smart phone" and have kept using the same shitty Blackberry for 6 years now. It can only do calls, texts, and Sudoku. I couldn't do this kind of thing if I wanted.

I'm 20 now. I remember junior high, when the best cell phone was a Motorola RAZR. People never did this shit back then, because they couldn't. People spent time with each other. The cell phones would come out to facilitate people getting together, and then they'd go back in your pocket. That was it. They were actually phones. It was all they could do.

Phones today just aren't phones anymore. I don't know what to call them. They're more integrated with our lives. More intrusive. More attractive. They're addictive.[1] And they're used mostly for useless things.

Well, Google is taking the last remaining effort out of letting technology intervene with your actual life. And they know what to call it. Glass. Now you can wear it. It's a default. You don't have to pull it out. It's just always there. If this becomes normal, I will probably have to run away to the Third World or something.

I am crossing my fingers that we just stop at smart phones, and this never takes off. But I'm scared, because in the back of my head I am pretty certain it will. Eventually there will be no strangers, and there will be no friends. Everyone's name will be public, and nobody will get to know each other. Despite your dinky little social networks and social apps, you are forgetting what it is to actually know someone.

I really hope I don't ever have to go on a date with some girl who's getting conversation tips from Google's magic headgear. Fuck that.

[1] http://paulgraham.com/addiction.html

2
Erwin 5 days ago 14 replies      
The recorded videos' have a strange voyeuristic feel, probably due to the POV being so close to the wearer's eyes. That you can use the glasses do do a hangout in real time and broadcast seems novel though.

There's no shortage of sci-fi stories dealing with this sort of always-on recording. "Strange Days", "Black Mirror (#3)". I wonder about the legality of this product, if it becomes inconspicuous.

Some product ideas:

1) "Datecast" -- get real-time advice and tips while on a date (or at a job interview. Or a business meeting -- is this startup's idea really that original? Or while shopping for some more complex consumer product: your remote wine expert suggests you to buy this particular bottle based on your previous tastes).

2) "Lifecast" -- our team of professionals reviews a total stream of your life and gives you advice on everything. They remind you how your wife liked this necklace a few days ago (you forgot, but they paid attention for you). That business meeting where you discussed your database scaling issues? An hour later we give you a call with with tips how to solve it. That hallway conversation? Transcripted before the next day.

3) Vacationcast: too old or poor or busy to go on a vacation? Want to relive your youth? Be anyone you want, transmitted in real time, unedited (this assumes that there's some thrill that seeing things happen real time, unscripted has over a more edited vacation footage). If video and audio alone is not enough, the vacationcasting company could offer a comfortable room, with scents and texture from your vacation destination.

4) Crimecam: anonymously send bitcoins to a criminal, encouraging a rampage of crime, broadcasted to your group of backers in real time. Will he get away with it?

Although, justin.tv has been doing this sort of thing for a while, and I'm not sure what has come out of it.

3
bobsy 5 days ago 20 replies      
I didn't realise how bad it looks. The premise looks awesome. The demo video... awesome. The way the product looks on someone's face... this isn't the finished product right?

I think Google should look at designer glasses and outsource the design to someone who knows what they are doing.

4
sshconnection 4 days ago 3 replies      
Dear god, so many haters in here. It's a brand new prototype product, and people are complaining about minor features etc. What is wrong with you people? I thought this was a board full of hackers. If you can't see the massive potential in this, you may be in the wrong place.
5
hospadam 5 days ago 1 reply      
Several days ago - there were a bunch of stories about Google opening retail locations around the country. I think the reason they will do this is obvious: they want people to use their products in person.

To me - for Glass to be successful - they will have to allow people to play with them. This is the kind of thing that would sell amazingly in a retail setting. Imagine the line of people lining up just to put one on and see what it looks like.

6
gnufied 5 days ago 6 replies      
I have always wondered where are following hardware hidden in this design:

1. CPU and really the whole shebang. where is it?

2. It probably requires some sort of 3G/4G card and connection? Where the heck does it fit?

3. Batteries! Where are those? Are they solar charged?

I understand people who are saying, it is not that much of a big deal just miniaturization of existing technologies but if all above 3 fit in that glass frame, I am genuinely amazed. If anyone who have used Google glass and can chime-in, that will be awesome.

7
pkorzeniewski 5 days ago 3 replies      
As cool as the idea sounds, I'm sceptical of the real life usage scenarios. It would be interesting for the first few days, but after that I think it would be simply annoying. Just think about getting notifications from FB, Twitter and other apps all the time - with mobile phone you can just ignore them and check later when you have time, with Google Glass they would be thrown right in your face. Not to mention ads, which I'm pretty sure will come sooner or later, and I won't even start about the privacy. Also, watching the Google Glass ad[1] I was constantly switching my focus between the display and the actual view - in real life it's a great way to have an accident. And one last thing, from the ad I've got the impression that the main use case is sharing your life with others, which I think is already at ridiculous level (like people sharing what they ate for dinner) - now it'll be even more ridiculous by people showing off they entire day (me walking in shopping center, me riding on a bike, me eating and so on).

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1uyQZNg2vE

8
taligent 5 days ago 9 replies      
Those are the use cases ? Are they serious ? Not a single one of those occurs routinely enough to warrant you wearing glasses all the time.

I don't understand why they aren't positioning this for more serious markets e.g. education, training, factories, stock taking, hospitals, administration etc. Could have been far more interesting and allowed some far more interesting tie ins with their existing products.

9
gfodor 4 days ago 4 replies      
Here's one quirky thing though, there are moments in life where everyone around you wants to take a picture. Like, a celebrity walks by. Or you are at the top of a long climb. Or you're at the zoo. Are people in these situations going to be just a sea of voices saying in round "OK Glass take a picture, OK Glass take a picture"?
10
jcromartie 5 days ago 2 replies      
How does Google Glass help me fly a plane or do the trapeze? It doesn't of course. But they're showing me that using Google Glass feels like flying a plane or doing the trapeze.

"How it feels" is not how it feels, it's other peoples' experiences. And I feel like it implies that you will have these great experiences if you use Google Glass. How does Google Glass add anything by displaying weather or recording a weird first-person video while playing with your kids or your dog in the park?

11
josteink 5 days ago 9 replies      
Ok. So 100% voice-based. That makes sense. That's great. Except if you don't speak English as your primary language.

I've tried Google's voice-recognition on my native language and the results have been closer to sad than lulz-worthy.

Yes, I know English. Yes, I can both write and speak it fairly well. That's not the point: You won't believe how awkward a context-switch from "I'm talking to people" to "I'm talking to this machine, but I need to do so in English" actually feels.

It's just feels so fundamentally wrong, that despite how it might save you time and effort you always go for the option where voice-recognition is not involved.

Unless Google improves their voice-recognition for everything not US English, I predict this product failing horribly in most markets, even with everything else 100% perfect and flawlessly executed.

12
jonmc12 4 days ago 2 replies      
"tell us what you would do if you had Glass" - uh oh, this is exactly how Google Wave started. They are asking because it is a cool tool and they don't know how people will get real value yet.
13
calinet6 5 days ago 3 replies      
Wow. This is marketing material. This is going to be a real thing.

Wanna bet Google gives them away for free so they can sell advertising based on your exact context and needs; even what you're looking at? Maybe.

But just the idea and possibility of that is incredible. Imagine what this could be used for; not just what we can think of now, but a whole new paradigm of ubiquitous computing, a world to which mobile phones were only a stepping stone.

Come to think of it, I don't think we're ready for this.

14
h4pless 5 days ago 0 replies      
The idea of Google Glass throws up a few red flags for me...

1) Safety - For some reason thinking about a wireless device strapped in a stationary position on my head brings about heightened concerns of the long term impact of having a electromagnetic field being constantly generated next to my brain... Thinking of horror stories from when cell phones first came out.

2) Safety again - The static position of the glass directly over just one eye makes me think of Steve Martin's downfall in The Jerk. If people are actually wearing these things all the time, I would be concerned with how something that you're constantly having to readjust your focus to see with only one eye may cause a disparity in vision. Of course google could adjust the focus of the glass to be some arbitrary amount of feet out to help with focusing but this seems like it would make for less usable space on that tiny screen and still doesn't address the long term effects of having something statically in the field of vision of only one eye.

Both of these may very well have been exhaustively researched and or studied by Google but I think that with the semi-controversial design of this computer, Google might put an "Is It Safe?" section to their marketing material explaining how they've addressed safety concerns.

Also, in regards to privacy... As some have mentioned the concerns of being video taped while in the presence of wearing Google glass may prompt a lot of businesses/agencies to disallow their use while in their establishment with signs posted on the door. I don't think jewelry stores or banks or other security prone establishments would want people to so easily be able to comprehensively case the joint with almost complete anonymity. Plus fears of an Orwellian future where everybody is watching everybody for some unknown third-party viewer would not be unfounded.

Aside from that, I don't really see the value in Google glass. Perhaps it's just the way they've marketed it.... but it just looks like a cell phone that's been moved to your eye. I really don't need to start seeing POV films of people eating dinner or highlights from a drunken night out. The glass does not seem to offer much more usability than a smartphone and some duct tape for POV filming. Not to mention that I believe Mom may have already patented this idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaHUpWuqNHY Futurama)

15
api 4 days ago 1 reply      
Never used Glass, but I'm inclined to suspect that it's the Apple Newton: ahead of its time, ground breaking, probably the ancestor of many things to come, but not here yet.

What's missing: full viewports instead of just the top corner thing, probably better resolution, and most importantly cheap ubiquitous wireless broadband. I am not paying another $60/month to have Glass in addition to a smartphone, etc. Pretty much all progress in computer networking and networked devices depends on breaking the carrier oligopolies.

16
oinksoft 5 days ago 3 replies      
This seems like an exciting idea, but they're going to have to find a way to make the camera more discrete. People won't be comfortable always thinking they're on camera.

I think these things will need to use cell phone technology to work? I wouldn't be comfortable having a cell phone up against my head like that all day, even if this is paranoia.

17
arihant 5 days ago 1 reply      
Except for handsfree picture taking, I'm not sure what this device does that Pebble watch does not. I'm much more comfortable wearing a watch on my hand than mounting a camera on my face.

Also, whenever I do take pictures I really wanna take, I subconsciously take care of picture composition by moving my phone around a bit. In Glass, I'll be moving my face around?

18
gmu3 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is only tangentially related, but I recently read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr and he referenced an interesting study:

Kansas State University scholars conducted a similarly realistic study. They had a group of college students watch a typical CNN broadcast in which an anchor reported four news stories while various info-graphics flashed on the screen and a textual news crawl ran along the bottom. They had a second group watch the same programming but with the graphics and the news crawl stripped out. Subsequent tests found that the students who had watched the multimedia version remembered significantly fewer facts from the stories than those who had watched the simpler version. “It appears,” wrote the researchers, “that this multimessage format exceeded viewers' attentional capacity.”

19
TeeWEE 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think this technology could replace mobile phones. I just notice how often i need to grab my mobile phone, just to check some little peace of information I need. When i'm in the car I cannot grab it.

Note that the glasses look ugly, but they are already developing lenses with screens in it. This is basically technology becoming one with your brain.

I want one bad!

20
guelo 5 days ago 3 replies      
I don't understand why they keep pushing the niche GoPro-style use case, and there's no way it has the battery life to really work for the livestream use case for more than a few minutes. I think the main use case would be people that want to look like they're paying attention in social situations and can't have their heads buried in their phone but still want to check their email and texts. But maybe that's not a sexy enough idea to sell. One thing that's missing from this new site is the eye-gestures that seemed to be part of demos last year. If it's going to be only voiced-controlled that would ruin it for the discreet-email-checking use case.
21
ojbyrne 5 days ago 1 reply      
One thing I'm curious about, and don't see mentioned anywhere on those pages (though I didn't watch the videos). Can you use Google Glass if you already wear glasses?
22
andybak 5 days ago 2 replies      
Wow. We're going to need more bandwidth. The carriers need to fix their business model or the get the hell out of the way.
23
pilooch 5 days ago 2 replies      
Question that comes immediately to my mind: I'm wearing glasses (short-sighted), so an augmented pair seems like an easy step, can I wear GGlass on top of my prescription glasses ?
24
xradionut 5 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a use case: House shopping

You are driving through an older neighborhood close to commuter rail station looking for a house for you and your spouse. Driving past the station "posts" the schedule for the next three trains and bus. You can "see" the Zillow and the tax values of the houses you are looking are in real time. You glance at the elementary school on the corner and the rating comes up. Glance at another house and you see it is a rental where the police have been called 7 times in the past 6 months. Two doors down lives a sex offender. The trees in the are are a type that your wife is allergic to. The fire hydrant on the corner was last maintained in November. The street was repaved in 2007 when new water lines were installed. Animal control last patrolled on Tuesday. The deli down the street is expensive, but has good reviews.

And during this whole process, all you did was look out, while driving, not glance at your phone or car console.

25
znowi 5 days ago 3 replies      
Sadly, as someone already wearing glasses, it's not an option for me.
26
MojoJolo 5 days ago 1 reply      
This Google Glass requires internet connection right? I like to know how effective it will be to those country with a limited or not so good data connection. Here in us, LTE is just starting, and mobile data service is not really that good. It's good to have this kind of gadgets, but I hope technologies in some non first world country can catch up. I really love to own one immediately, but I think, location wise, it's not a good idea yet.
27
codex 4 days ago 0 replies      
On private property you will need the owner's permission to record video; in malls you can be forbidden if signs are posted. Given the unease that some people feel being recorded, I wonder how soon it will be before these are banned in shopping malls and in businesses, like Segways were on many city sidewalks.
28
j_col 5 days ago 0 replies      
Cue an increase in personal injuries. I really hope people are not going to drive with these :-(
29
meric 5 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome video which looks almost just as awesome even if you take out the glass. But nevertheless, awesome product.
30
qompiler 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is a real bummer, I have to wear glasses and can't wear lenses. Is there any information if there will be support for custom glasses being attached?
31
taylodl 5 days ago 5 replies      
You're paying $1500 to beta test a product. What's not clear is whether you get the final product when ready.
32
NicoJuicy 5 days ago 1 reply      
This actually lookes awesome.
To bad Europe is left behind for a big launch :( (but i live in Belgium, i'm used to it by now :P
33
krautsourced 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can't wait for the next bunch of vomit inducing videos... or am I the only one who can't deal with all the head bobbing?

As for the HUD itself - I love the idea. But the problem is, while I love the idea, I'm not sure it wouldn't be super distracting in real life. Yes it works for fighter pilots and whatnot, but, to take the sample video as a benchmark, when I'm about to catch my girlfriend hurling towards me at high speed from a trapeze (which, like you I assume, I do on a regular basis), I'm not sure she'd be happy with me being distracted by some shit popping up in my view...

34
kenferry 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ok, if these images are real, I'm very impressed.

But I'm concerned that they're mockups. It is very, very dangerous to make people think you can do more than you actually can.

The "directions" demo image features full color, right in the middle of your field of view, with a display resolution that allows super light weight fonts and subtle glow effects.

Is anyone able to comment on whether this is a realistic portrayal?

I know they have _something_, but I hope what they've shown here isn't vaporware.

35
sathishmanohar 4 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one, who hit reload for like 48 times, thinking the page is not loaded yet, Before realizing this is actually the page?
36
dysoco 5 days ago 4 replies      
Isn't the HUD a bit... distracting?
I mean, I was looking the video and if I focused in the HUD I couldn't watch the "real life" and vice-versa, how would that work in the real Glass?

Also, it seems like for now it's only focused in social features... I should get some friends before getting the Glass.

37
carlob 4 days ago 1 reply      
The fact that you could potentially stream whatever you see all the time makes me wonder if there will be places where it will be compulsory to switch them off, probably you won't be able to bring one at a concerts or sports event because of copyright.

And I guess it's a safe bet that you wouldn't want to take it with you on a night out, because there's always someone who'd rather not be filmed while being underage drinking, or on a date with their lover or doing drugs. Just think of the implications of being in a bar knowing that potentially a few people in said bar might be filming everything that's happening.

38
codex 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bluetooth headsets used to be cool. Now they just seem obnoxious when worn all the time. I wonder if Google Glass will ever reach the obnoxious level. A curved-screen watch device would be more subtle, and is probably the better all-around device.
39
joshgel 5 days ago 0 replies      
I can't wait for this to be real. So many applications already being planned (in my head).
40
computerslol 4 days ago 0 replies      
Part of me really wants one. The other part of me is concerned.

The concerned part is my developer self. I am having a hard time not seeing this as extremely limiting from an interaction perspective. All I am seeing is GPS and text input (from speech). I'd imagine there will be an accelerometer, but I couldn't imagine asking users to jerk their heads around to point at something. If it came with a glove that tracked a hand or something, I'd be less nervous.

If this takes off, everyone will get one. It looks like the future. Many people already feel they can replace their computers with smartphones, what if they replace their smartphones with this? If I was an average american and didn't know better, I'd let me 5 year old computer continue to age, chuck my cell phone, and blow my technology budget for the year to get one of these instead... It's a device that as far as I can see has no decent ability to capture pointing.

How do you scroll in it without looking like an idiot that talks to yourself in public?

41
af3 5 days ago 2 replies      
Glasses from ad company. Good luck with that, I'll skip.
42
Yuioup 5 days ago 0 replies      
Once again, Porno has reached a new level.
43
zipop 5 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm not seeing (no pun intended) it, but I don't want something distracting to me and others sitting on my face. I get lifecasting will be a cool thing but I'd rather have a discreet cam on my shirt collar or elsewhere on my person.
44
njharman 4 days ago 1 reply      
#ifihadglass, standing on the shoulders of Prof Mann and MIT Media Labs I would reach into the future.
45
dreamdu5t 4 days ago 0 replies      
But does it have a CLI?
46
gcb0 4 days ago 0 replies      
https://plus.google.com/+projectglass

"Project Glass [Verified Name]" ...riiiiight.

47
syassami 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd really love to have this in a non-voice activated version that would simply analyse my brain activity and execute the commands. It still feels slightly awkward or unintuitive to speak your commands to a phone in an open area. If you could think "Take a picture" and have the glass perform that command it would really be incredible. I don't think we're that far off either with fMRI studies regarding object recognition progress.

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

48
simonrobb 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of comments here about how Glass will affect social interactions, which is fair enough as that's the easiest use case to grasp at the moment, but the thing that struck me most was the tiny snippet of footage of that jeweler (sculpter?) creating the glass tiger, almost like it was an afterthought in the marketing team's mind. However it struck me - suddenly there is potential to introduce a HUD into industries everywhere, which I think could have some far-reaching benefits.
For example, imagine a surgeon having vital signs overlaid on their vision as they worked, or a superimposed CAT scan, or whatever else would help them out.
Or (being trained as an engineer myself, I understand how much value this would have), an overlay of the structural drawings as I inspect a large building site.
To be honest I agree with most of the negative sentiment towards how Glass could damage social interactions, and I wouldn't be unhappy if it never saw the light of day in that use case. But there is incredible potential as a productivity tool.
49
churreiro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Demo video looks awesome. But what about privacy? I am not a privacy lunatic and not trying to complain (Scifi is here!) but wouldn't be this handling lots of problems against privacy?

Obviously photo cameras also have the same issue but still you can see when people is taking photos of you, in this specific case things are slightly different...

BTW, actually I like the design, looks like a totally new era of communication ;)

50
tibbon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad so many of you don't want them- increases my changes of getting one soon :)

"No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

51
Unoeufisenough 4 days ago 0 replies      
Flawless, zero-latency voice recognition under those conditions is rather implausible. Otherwise though, an impressive vision of the promise of AR.

For all the doubters here, notice the enormous number of comments generated already. Even though we are (rightly) scared about some of the aspects of glass and ubiquitous AR, we sure are collectively fascinated by the idea.

52
hnriot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliantly made video, Google are obviously using a good ad agency, their ads now sell a lifestyle rather than a product, as all good ads do.

the product itself will likely cause a few pedestrians to be kills, a few drivers to get into crashes and a few horse riders to fall off. Maybe in a few thousand years the brain will evolve to receive so much stimulation, but I find most people are already swamped with information overload.

I hope Glass picks up some buyers because this kind of technology will bring about other, more useful inventions, but right now this is a solution in search of a problem.

53
husam212 4 days ago 0 replies      
Google Glass project sets a new level of privacy infringement, I can't think of any necessity of it that deserves such a sacrifice.
54
yalogin 4 days ago 0 replies      
I still don't get the practical use case for this. I see it could be cool, the ad campaign is good, but why do I use this?
55
PavlovsCat 4 days ago 0 replies      
They can't even get themselves to put this on a fresh domain, because then they'd miss out on all the search engine user cookies. How surprising.
56
dschiptsov 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well. Excellent marketing video, targeting a modern, active, sophisticated consumer - exactly what they think about themselves.

A completely new kind of a status gadget to show your "success" (as a consumer) that everyone could see.

A innovative way to deliver location and context aware ads right to the consumer - better targeting.

Well, it could be bigger than iPhone (without major software glitches).

Time to buy GOOG.)))

57
ybaumes 5 days ago 1 reply      
I am really excited, but really does everyone wants Google to track your path everywhere you go, everything single stuff you're watching? :-/ I am assuming the glasses themselves have nearly no cpu capabilities, thus it must be mandatory to export any computation wirelessly toward Google servers, right?
58
rogerchucker 4 days ago 0 replies      
okglass.com has been registered by Google already - http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/results.jsp?domain=okg...

[Someone posted this on Gizmodo's comments]

59
rdl 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope they give one to David Brin ASAP.
60
cedricd 5 days ago 0 replies      
Bit tongue in cheek... but this sets the clock ticking for Microsoft going 'oh, crap, someone is defining a new computing paradigm. Let's get on that before they're way ahead of us again'. Any bets as to when Microsoft announces Windows for Eyewear?
61
richeyrw 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any chance that Google decided to start developing self-driving cars just to have an answer for the insane safety hazard the glasses are going to pose?
62
eb0la 5 days ago 0 replies      
It reminds me the Gargoyles from Snow Crash http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash
63
dcaranda 4 days ago 1 reply      
Any new sensors/hardware not on a typical smartphone?
Is the big advantage essentially a pervasive screen?

I ask because a common way to think of mobile app innovation is in terms of hardware advances:
Mobile Data: Blackberry Email
GPS: Maps, Local Services (Foursquare)
iPhone 4 Camera Upgrade: Instagram
The list goes on...

What's the key hardware advancement here?

64
russtyeh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can think of this helping productivity when assembling things/reading manuals.

Imagine how much quicker assembling IKEA furniture would become, no more downing tools and picking up the manual, the manual would update with you real time!

Also with tutorials on learning and making things like circuits, knitting, cooking etc. They should have highlighted use cases like this.

65
minikomi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to being able to adblock all the billboards in Tokyo
66
fitandfunction 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is a dream for retailers. "Augmenting" the in-store shopping experience has been a non-starter. Want to get product reviews and more info about this item? Well, why don't you pull out your phone, turn on the barcode app and scan the barcode. Now, you could ostensibly look at a item and get relevant additional information on-screen.
67
corporalagumbo 4 days ago 0 replies      
so it turns out that people sound pretty dumb saying aloud a lot of the things we would otherwise tap without hesitation... hmm...
68
runn1ng 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know it's a terrible note.... but I can't tell if that black person with the google glass on the photo is a man or a woman.

I really can't tell.

69
igravious 4 days ago 0 replies      
What are the specs of the specs? And don't tell me to Google it.
70
JacobJans 4 days ago 0 replies      
Now the Chinese Government Hackers can be at your birthday party too!
71
mfincham 4 days ago 1 reply      
So where do I buy a chinese knockoff version of this that I can run Debian on? It's a very exciting hardware notion, and I'd love to hack around with some software on it.
72
samstave 4 days ago 0 replies      
Every law enforcement officer should be required to wear this.
73
tucson 5 days ago 1 reply      
where the videos (http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-it-feels/) recorded with Google glass, or another camera (GoPro?)?
74
neopba 4 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, in such countries as Ukraine Google Glass is forbidden due to "spy devices restriction" :(
75
itistoday2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Page doesn't load video on Firefox 19 (Mac) for me (with Adblock disabled). Anyone else have this problem?
76
RoryH 5 days ago 1 reply      
What is to stop a malicious person standing next to you saying

"Ok Glass... rm -rf /" ?

77
ForFreedom 5 days ago 0 replies      
So what's the battery life for USD 1500?
78
appreneur 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's like human will become the typical "wall-e" movie humans consuming content, becoming fat and no time for interaction at all. I dread the future where no one talks to anyone by looking into eye , since their eyes are already preoccupied with "glass".
79
pastaking 5 days ago 0 replies      
Love it! Despite all the negativity here, I still want one :)
80
mepcotterell 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'll take one with a wayfarer blue blocker attachment!
81
ninetenel 4 days ago 2 replies      
When some guy on the subway with a camera attached to his face starts staring at me .. my desire is going to be to rip them off his face and stomp on them.

enjoy your intellectual leashes

82
negativity 5 days ago 0 replies      
I hate this in the exact same way I hate drones.

I will hate people who use this in the exact same way I hate people who use drones.

83
s1s1 4 days ago 0 replies      
this glass is a prosthetic device ...
"aug·men·ta·tion", please.
84
jasongaya 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love google glass when it launch.?
85
samtaylor29 5 days ago 1 reply      
Which rock have you been hiding under?
3
Learn Git Branching github.com
696 points by redDragon  8 days ago   137 comments top 41
1
xxbondsxx 8 days ago 11 replies      
Wow! Author here, did not expect this to get submitted to HN yet (was going to finish out a few more levels this weekend and clean everything up). Forgive the giant "TODO" in the help dialog

The link everyone should see is the demo:
http://pcottle.github.com/learnGitBranching/?demo

That shows a few example commands, the completion of a level, and finishes with the help dialog.

Some interesting technical highlights

- I made heavy use of javascript "Promises" to route control through the entire app. The source code has some nice examples, but it would be callback spaghetti without it

- You can import and export trees to share with your friends ("import tree" and "export tree" commands)

- You can build levels from within the app with "build level". The intro diaog should step you through the process

- It even supports interactive rebasing! Try it out with "git rebase -i HEAD~3"

Git is a fairly complex too that can be explained really well graphically. I never understood what I was doing until I saw diagrams in the git manpages and various books around on the internet. I wanted there to be an interactive form of these diagrams but it didn't exist --- so I built it.

9,000 lines of JS later I have this. There's still some polishing to be done, but I'd love for the community to share their knowledge about different git workflows and different ways to explain git concepts.

I tried to make the bar for contributing as low as possible. You can build a level and submit a pull request without even cloning the repo!

2
archgoon 8 days ago 2 replies      
This tutorial is great, but it propagates a misconception about git.

"A commit in git is a recorded set of changes that you have made"

Git commits are _not_ deltas. They are entire snapshots of the repository and a single (optional) pointer to an ancestor commit[1]. Git may handle _compression_ in terms of deltas (see 'Packfiles' in [2]), but logically, a commit should be thought of as equivalent to the state of all files that are being tracked. That difference is that if you were only looking at diffs, commits would be the _edges_ of a graph, rather than a node plus a single edge. This is why rebases change the commit SHAs but not merges (and why merges create a new commit). This is why if you are on a merge branch, 'git checkout HEAD~3' may not bring you to where 'git log' would naively suggest.

Version control systems that actually do think of 'commits' as pure 'deltas' are ones such as darcs.

A really good, low level explanation, of git is here

http://git-scm.com/book/en/Git-Internals-Git-Objects

(BUG REPORT) The commit created with 'git merge b2' from branch b1 should have HEAD~1 point to the previous head of b1, not b2.

(that said, this is a really cool thing. :) I look forward to the author adding support for conflict resolution. )

[1] http://git-scm.com/book/en/Git-Internals-Git-Objects#Commit-...

[2] http://git-scm.com/book/en/Git-Internals-Packfiles

3
jedberg 8 days ago 2 replies      
It would be great if the help page popped up when I first load the site, so I don't have to guess and type "help" at the prompt to find out the purpose of the site. :)
4
jlgreco 8 days ago 1 reply      
I would try it out but, fullscreened, I get the message "That window size is not supported :-/"

How about letting me worry about that and continue anyway? What is the worst that could happen, I have to use a scrollbar?

5
ecoffey 8 days ago 1 reply      
This is really really great. Good visualizations of how git works are really awesome and useful, so thanks!

That said, the intro lesson introduces commits as exclusively deltas. This isn't accurate, and would probably cause confusion with later concepts.

Commits are really snapshots of a tree object (with probably a whole lot of sub trees, and a whole lot of blobs). Since part of the commit meta-data is the parent sha, it's really easy for git to show you the delta, but at it's core git cares about linked snapshots of trees.

I am now done being anal retentive :-) thanks again for the great site, excited to see it more fleshed out

6
mappum 8 days ago 0 replies      
My only criticism is that there a million modals you have to go through, and some are even multi page, adding complexity. I would rather have fewer modals/pages that show more text at once.

But overall, this is super handy, great idea :)

7
dljsjr 8 days ago 1 reply      
Absolutely fantastic tutorial, but as most other people here have mentioned there should probably be some indication that you should type help to get started.
8
cocoflunchy 8 days ago 2 replies      
This is a great tool, thanks so much !

I have trouble understanding the rebase workflow:
What is the difference between these two sequences?

    git checkout -b bugFix
git commit -m "fix"
git checkout master
git commit -m "master stuff"
git rebase bugFix
git checkout bugFix
git rebase master

and

    git checkout -b bugFix
git commit -m "fix"
git checkout master
git commit -m "master stuff"
git checkout bugFix
git rebase master
git checkout master
git rebase bugFix

Is it just the order of the commits in the final tree that will be different? Or I am missing something else?

Instinctively I would tend to do the first one, but that was not what lesson 4 expected...

9
alinajaf 8 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent work! I've wanted an easy way to explain git branching to people and from now on I'll point them to this.
10
wildmXranat 8 days ago 0 replies      
Since the author mentions that it's not ready for submission and use yet, I won't complain that I didn't know what to do with this demo at first.

After reading these comments, it became obvious how great the thing is and going back with that in mind made the app more enjoyable

11
leetrout 8 days ago 1 reply      
I'm only getting started with the tutorials but this looks really promising!

I also like the fact that there are no instructions on the page which would make this really useful as a quiz tool to see how students / interview candidates / etc approach the problem space. I fully intend to fork and try to make my own levels when I get some free time.

Great concept. Is this based on something else similar or entirely new?

12
nodesocket 8 days ago 2 replies      
What is the difference between doing:

     git checkout -b bugFix
git commit
git checkout master
git commit
git merge bugFix master

And

     git branch bugFix
git commit
git checkout master
git commit
git merge bugFix master

13
2mur 8 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Using some lovely client side tech: backbone, browserify. Going to have to really spend some time looking through the code. Cheers!
14
shurcooL 8 days ago 2 replies      
Nice stuff. This kind of branching visualisation is highly useful. I'd like to work with that kind of interface. I suppose I should use gitk or something similar?

How did you create the branch visualization? Did you use some sort of library for displaying and animating connected nodes, or is it all coded from scratch?

15
arasmussen 8 days ago 0 replies      
I found it a bit annoying that the "Alert!" dialogs in the beginning looked like a window but didn't work like one whatsoever (couldn't minimize, close, maximize, or move around). Probably shouldn't make something look like a well-known UI if it doesn't behave like that UI, especially to the point where familiar buttons don't work.
16
snip596 8 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome visualization, but it seems to deviate from how git works in a few instances. Take "level mixed2" for example. The initial branch checked out was "caption". I did "git rebase -i master" and picked both commits (no re-ordering). That created C2' and C3' which is not correct. C2' wouldn't have been created because it's the same tree as C2 with the same ancestor.

I had other issues with that level as well. It seems to be teaching inefficient habits by forcing strange rebases rather than a single one with an "edit" on C2. I understand this might be a limitation on the (really cool) visualization, but maybe those levels shouldn't be included if you can't show the most intuitive way (at least to me) to accomplish the goal.

Otherwise, awesome work!

17
insteadof 8 days ago 1 reply      
Seems only Chrome exists as a browser. All others need not apply.
18
orangethirty 8 days ago 1 reply      
I would seriously consider packaging this as an enterprise teaching tool for developers. Companies buy this sort of tools for training. Very good commercial potential here.
19
Flimm 8 days ago 1 reply      
C1' has two meanings, one is the result of a rebase, and one is the result of a revert. I stared at level 2 of "master the rebase, Luke" for a while before I realised this. I think these two things should be have different notations (maybe C1' and C1^-1, or C1' and C1r).
20
devin 8 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. Adding this to my list of resources for beginners. The ability to build levels, export trees, etc. makes it even better.
21
swah 8 days ago 0 replies      
I thought I knew enough git, but the other day I was still able to lose my changes...

Suppose I'm in master and already modified a file, and now I notice that it would be better to work on a devel branch with those changes, so I could pull upstream changes from master and merge locally. I think I did something like this:

  git stash
git checkout -b devel
git stash apply
git add file.txt
git commit -m "XYZ new changes"

git checkout master
git fetch
git rebase origin/master (to avoid an empty merge, changes
upstream were in independent files)
git merge devel (to get commit "XYZ")

In the end of this, I had lost my changes in file.txt.

22
mawuli 8 days ago 1 reply      
Great work. I recently found a very practical use of Git. I call it the "Poor man's hot code loading". This is a post i just wrote on it http://blog.mawuli.me/2013/02/poor-mans-hot-code-loading-git...
23
newtang 8 days ago 1 reply      
This is really well done. Nice job!

Another direction you can go with this is to make a series of Git puzzles. Basically, starting with this diagram A, convert to diagram B in the least number of moves. To be extra useful, these could revolve around common Git pitfalls.

24
aymeric 8 days ago 1 reply      
Would be nice to see the solution of a level, to compare it with what we have done (and to find the solution if we are stuck).
25
seivan 8 days ago 0 replies      
Great job. Would be cool if you told people about git flow once you notice the pattern further in.
26
joeblau 8 days ago 0 replies      
This looks awesome! Thanks for putting this together. It's hard to keep something cool under wraps :)
27
fiatpandas 8 days ago 0 replies      
Buggy in Firefox. Stoplight window buttons not correctly placed, and the popups aren't centered-- they just align to the upper left
28
r4pha 8 days ago 3 replies      
shameless plug: www.srctree.net - Ace editor + git + canvas for viewing commits/branches.

I built it about a year ago, mostly for learning and fun. I haven't advertised it a lot but it seems relevant in here. I hope it's not off topic!

29
sleepybrett 7 days ago 0 replies      
I worked my way up to branch spaghetti, where I went into the deep end, the solution for it uses commands and concepts not well introduced in the proceeding 'puzzles' (rebase -i)
30
edgarvaldes 8 days ago 1 reply      
I don't get how it works.
31
dsjoerg 8 days ago 1 reply      
very nice idea. when/if this supports git push i'll come back and play some more. i'm a total git noob, git makes me crazy and maybe this will help clarify things for me.
32
g3orge 8 days ago 0 replies      
you need to replay the solutions slower...
33
Tomino 8 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome work, obviously author has spent a lot of time on this and thought it through. Even with advanced GIT skills, it made me think about few things.
34
happypeter 8 days ago 0 replies      
Have tried merging and rebasing, absolutely wonderful!
35
js-coder 8 days ago 0 replies      
Dude, this is epic! Really great work.
36
miga 8 days ago 0 replies      
Please support git fast-forward!
37
ExpiredLink 8 days ago 1 reply      
I don't see how this could be helpful. Does the author imply that there exists only one branching and merging strategy for any CVS?
38
joebeetee 8 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful. Great job.
39
alexzhan 8 days ago 0 replies      
The back array does not function well.
40
justplay 8 days ago 0 replies      
Great work. Thanks for releasing .
41
memming 8 days ago 2 replies      
type 'level' to start.
4
Why we don't hire programmers based on puzzles and tricks 37signals.com
630 points by mapleoin  3 days ago   436 comments top 81
1
cletus 3 days ago 15 replies      
Sigh. This is the issue that will just never die.

Let's just summarize the points:

- Not everyone can produce real-world code. Most of what we do for a living belongs to our employer. Side projects, particularly in the US, can be an issue for IP reasons (California is somewhat of an exception here);

- Side projects, even open source projects, can be of questionable "real world" value;

- I've personally encountered many "programmers" who can talk a good game but can't code a for loop;

- tests like the FizzBuzz test [1] are, in my experience, remarkably effective as an early negative filter. This is an important point. If someone blows you away at FizzBuzz, it doesn't mean they're an awesome engineer. But if they can't do it, it almost certainly means they aren't. The idea here is to spend the most time with candidates who might potentially work out and wasting as little time as possible on those that probably won't;

- the problem with these kinds of whiteboard coding problems is that the tendency is for interviewers to think the problem needs to be "hard". It doesn't. In making it too hard (IMHO) you risk destroying the value of your filter;

- pop-quizzes of obscure language features, the kind that might appear in certification exams, are a waste of time. I have no argument with that;

- whiteboarding code by itself is not a great filter. It should be used in conjunction with a multi-faceted interviewing approach that involves testing fundamentals, the ability to construct a relatively simple algorithm, the issues of working on a team and on a production code base and systems design.

- the problem with simply talking about "real world" code, as the author suggests, is you're no longer finding a good engineer, you're finding someone you like, someone who thinks like you. This falls under the umbrella of cultural fit, which is of course important, but don't mistake that for engineering skill.

- I think we can all agree that "logic" puzzles like "how would you move Mount Fuji?" or "if you shrunk to 1cm in size and dropped in a blender, what would you do?" are stupid.

- testing "back of the envelope" estimation however can be useful. I mean things like "how much storage is required to store satellite images for Google Maps?" The idea isn't to get an accurate answer. It's to see what assumptions the candidate states and, based ont hose assumptions, to come up with a reasonable ballpark number.

The problem here is that there are many engineers who can't comprehend the possibility that there is someone being paid to be a programmer who can't code. But I assure you this is the case. It's shocking but true. Simple coding tests largely filter these people out so if you're offended by such simple tests, just do it and move on. I assure you there's a reason why they exist.

One final prediction: There's some guy here on HN who always posts the exact same huge comment on any hiring thread. I'm sure it'll pop up any moment now.

EDIT: let me add a point about trial periods and take home assignments.

Both of these are guaranteed recipes for mediocrity. Truly outstanding candidates need to justify the time investment for either option and very few companies have the kind of gravitas that would justify it.

Anything written without supervision will be of questionable provenance at best.

As for whether or not someone will work out in your organization, bringing them in for a day is (IMHO) of questionable value. Many engineers are introverts. I include myself in this. It's incredibly awkward as is to be in a new company or even a new team in the same company. I question the value of any such assessment over what you learn in 1-4 hours of interviewing.

[1]: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/02/why-cant-programmer...

2
tokenadult 3 days ago 4 replies      
As Cletus wrote in his detailed comment, "this is the issue that will just never die." We discuss company hiring procedures here on Hacker News over and over and over, because most of us have applied for a job at least once in our life, and those of us who are building up a start-up have to think about whom we would hire.

The point in the submitted blog post by 37 Signals, "The only reliable gauge I've found for future programmer success is looking at real code they've written, talking through bigger picture issues, and, if all that is swell, trying them out for size," basically says that you should do a work-sample test to hire a programmer. And that's what research says. The more a hiring manager understands what a worker will do on the job, and the better the manager appreciates what a new hire may grow into doing after a few years on the job, the better the manager can devise a work-sample test to identify a good worker. There is a research base for this. Work-sample tests aren't perfect hiring procedures either--nothing is foolproof, and every hiring procedure goes wrong with both "false positives" and "false negatives"--but you can improve your odds of hiring a good worker by using a work-sample test routinely whenever you are hiring. As a job applicant, you can select better rather than worse bosses and co-workers by aiming most of your applications at companies that explicitly use work-sample tests as part of the hiring process.

With the help of several Hacker News participants, I have written a FAQ about company hiring procedures, revised over a few months of edits to fit the typical recurrent HN discussion of this issue. See

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5227923

for the latest posting of that, with full references to the research literature and legal cases about hiring workers in today's world. Feel free to contact me through my HN profile

http://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=tokenadult

if you have suggestions for improving that FAQ before I post it to my personal website.

P.S. Even before I saw the prediction at the end of Cletus's comment, I planned to make the prediction untrue.

EDIT TO RESPOND TO FIRST REPLY ABOUT PUZZLE QUESTIONS: Yes, if a company in the United States insists on using puzzle questions as a hiring procedure, and justifies using those puzzle questions by saying that they want to see which applicants are "good problem-solvers," or "able to think on their feet," a rejected job applicant just might be able to subject the company to a very expensive lawsuit based on employment discrimination, unless the company has prepared beforehand a validation study showing that those puzzle questions have a bona-fide relationship to work requirements. I would not advise a company to take that risk, especially when the legally safer alternative of doing a straight-up work-sample test is available. The law is different in other countries, and as a reply in this thread points out, in the EU it is generally legal to use straight-up IQ-type tests in hiring processes, although those are underused by private companies in Europe, according to the sources in my FAQ post.

ANOTHER EDIT, TO LINK TO AN UNBELIEVABLE ANECDOTE ABOUT HIRING:

In August 2012, I heard a story from a hiring manager of programmers about the hiring procedure he uses as an initial screen for applicants who have degrees in computer science: "Write a loop that displays the numbers 1 to 100." That sounds awfully easy, even to me, but he says that the great majority of his applicants with accredited CS degrees fail that screening test. My earlier telling of the full anecdote

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4603414

and his

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4919749

seem pretty nearly unbelievable in what they imply about how clueless many CS grads are, and yet I think the anecdote is a true description of reality. Cletus too mentions in this thread, with considerable agreement from reply comments, that many people hired as programmers cannot actually program.

3
potatolicious 3 days ago 9 replies      
Damn right. Even worse than whiteboarding random algorithms are logic puzzles.

I can sort of see how implementing my own hash table fits into a dev job, but I why manhole covers are round, or light bulbs in a room has absolutely nothing to do with anything relevant in our field.

People who use logic puzzles as proxies for anything in an interview have my everlasting scorn.

4
kamaal 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is something to think about.

The interview process is so badly gamed that these days its kind of a ceremony. In a recent interview, I gave a candidate a practical problem. He was allowed to use the sed man page, and then I gave him a file and search/replace problem. Nothing much! The candidate fails! Instead he asks me if there is going to be a algorithm/data structure interview. I told him, I don't know but as far as I was concerned I was only going to test him on practical everyday problems.

It was almost like I had committed a sin. He was like, every company has those standard one's so why was I doing like a practical test. These days all candidates do is go through most common puzzles/algorithms/data structure stuff. Its actually quite easy to get access to those. Just spend some time on interview forums and you can practically game any interview, in any company any where around the world today.

My approach is straight simple. Throw a manual/documentation at the person. Give him a problem common enough to test a practical everyday situation. Check if he can pass the the test of reading the documentation and figuring out the solution to the problem. Or give him/her their favorite IDE/text editor + documentation + problem and let them solve it.

If they can do it, or even get the approach right they pass the test.

Else if all they are going to do is vomit some mathematical theory from college text books, which isn't even remotely relevant to our everyday work- I'm hardly interested in hiring such candidates.

5
jmduke 3 days ago 2 replies      
Eight minutes, 21 points, zero specifics.

I don't understand the 37signals love sometimes.

6
pdeuchler 3 days ago 7 replies      
Interviewers ask puzzles and give you tricks because they want to see your problem solving process. Obviously, anyone who hires simply off a litmus test of such questions is not doing their job, but that doesn't preclude the use of such brain teasers/problems at all.

Asking a candidate a difficult brainteaser that may be even close to impossible can be extremely revealing. There isn't a canned response, you get to see them work under pressure, you experience live problem solving and you can understand how they move through their work better. All of these factors are just as important as competency when hiring.

A great programmer doesn't "fizzle" in front of a difficult interview question. He/she may or may not get the correct answer, but as long as they have the requisite problem solving skills and communicate with their interviewer well they will come out fine. I'd say that showing how you fail can be quite beneficial when trying to get a job, especially if you happen to fail gracefully :)

It seems like 37signals is just echoing platitudes to gain karma/publicity at the expense of cheapening the discussion.

7
csmatt 3 days ago 6 replies      
I remember when I was prepping for my Microsoft interview. There was so much lore online as to the types of questions they'd ask and how to prepare. I even found 'How Would You Move Mount Fuji?' in the library and started reading through it. It was an absolute waste of time as I, fortunately, learned weeks before the interview. As an example, one of the questions I was asked was 'how would you write the C function strcmp() without using any libraries?'

My gripe these days is that places I've interviewed with now that I have a few years of experience are still concerned about big-O notation and a lot of the more academic questions. I feel like I shouldn't have to go back to my college notes to prep for an interview for a job that I'd really be using my current experience for. I think it comes down to other developers not spending time really thinking about the quality of their interview questions. They just do a search for 'programming interview questions' and call it a day.

My most recent interview was with Amazon. I was asked the dumb big-O runtime stuff as well as how I'd count all of the stars in the universe. It pissed me off, but I did like the question I was asked about how I'd design an elevator system and then asked how my solution would scale. That's not too far off from what I'd be doing, albeit in an abstract form.

8
Osiris 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a self-taught programmer. These stories about programming puzzles in interviews always make me nervous to look for a job.

My first job wasn't a programming job, but I did a lot of programming because the need arose and I was the only one capable of doing it.

I always felt too inexperienced to look for a real programming job. A friend pushed me to interview for the position I'm in right now (full time web developer). They didn't make me do any whiteboarding or puzzles. What I did do is give them a code sample and we discussed how what I could have done better and why.

I got the job and I'm doing quite well, despite my lack of a CS background.

Since I don't have a formal CS background, and most of my development experience is web development, I have basically no experience dealing with complex algorithms, but I've found I can solve a hard problem with enough effort (Google, co-workers, etc).

For web developers, wouldn't more appropriate questions relate to "please design a database for a website that needs to track the following", or "What would your process be for designing and implementing a REST API that would...". These would allow the developer to show you their thought process of working through a large problem without there being a necessarily right or wrong answer.

9
rdtsc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Exactly. I never ask those questions. I ask practical problems that we solve every day here. Some are simplified of course.

Also I don't try to be confrontational, I take the "let's solve this together". That often puts them at ease and makes for a better experience and a more productive interview.

Now it is still an interview and the selection process could be brutal but this way I get the most _relevant_ knowledge and information about the applicant in the shortest amount of time.

10
lifeisstillgood 3 days ago 1 reply      
About a year ago I travelled to the south west (of UK) for a job - A full day of interviews, product ideas, I nailed the whole lot. Apart from the obligatory coding test. I have 15 years in this game and I have coded OSS or commercial code every day or week in Python, the language of the test, since 96.

It was a codility.com test - I had not actually been expecting it but, kerpow. I rewrote my own abs() because I forgot such a thing existed, the problem itself is still blanked from my brain - and every passing minute it got worse.

After an hour and a half, the interviewer took pity on me and drove me to the station.

I actually sat on the train took the codility demo test. 100%, 3 minutes. Signed up, took more. I could do them. Just impossible to know what went wrong but it went badly wrong.

Ultimately it worked out well. I would have had to live weekdays down there and my marriage probably would not have survived it. Now I work 15 minutes walk away and give my kids breakfast each day after we sit on the sofa and watch Mister Maker.

For me that test was a wake up call.

Firstly, I run my own business - being at the mercy of one boss is rubbish.

Secondly, these tests are rubbish for deciding who to hire - but they are OK for programmers as a form of continuing education.

Thirdly, the exercises at the end of each chapter of SICP are much much better form of education.

Forthly, I was once asked how a large corporate IT shop should handle a reduction in workforce. I said march everyone into a room and those who cant code FizzBuzz get a pink slip

Even given my experiences above - I still think that is the best option. Sometimes a guy just dies on that day. Its unlucky. But sometimes it works out for the best.

edit: clarity

11
RyanZAG 3 days ago 4 replies      
I think in addition to the measures he says, if you're hiring for a web position, it's good to make sure they understand how the stuff they're using functions. If they don't have a good grasp of how http works / url parameters / that kind of thing, then they can have some nice looking code which seems to work, but has faulty assumptions that can be security and bug nightmares down the road.

Of course, you could always take smart people and train them - but seriously, who does that anymore?

12
geebee 2 days ago 1 reply      
One of my career goals is to get a programming job without having to show that I can add a leaf to a binary tree through recursion (again).

I don't mean this as flippantly as it might sound. I used to think it was kind of fun and exciting to be at the whiteboard, thinking on my feat, dealing with various curveball data structures and algorithms questions. I certainly always read up on this stuff prior to interviews, and from what I've heard, I'd be advised to do it again if I get an interview at google or something.

But the last time I did this left me depressed. I realized that I've done so much of my work in obscurity that people are still asking me about binary trees. I want to be very clear that I don't blame them! I also started to realize that I have a lot more to offer than my ability to traverse various tree structures, and that the interviewers seem unaware of this. But it's up to me to show them, not on them to just take me at my word.

The last time I went through a massive, all day technical interview, I didn't get the job, partly because I didn't review my data structures and algorithms book (again), but probably also because I came off as cranky and irritated. I was busy that week, probably should have put it off.

Just earlier that week, I had taken several clients from pharma and semiconductor companies through some beta testing of our software, refining the model, getting feedback on use, optimizing the code base so it could give answers more quickly. The company I was interviewing for created supply planning, forecasting, and inventory management software for various large businesses. As a math major with an MS in Industrial Engineering and a background writing software, it was right up my alley.

My interviewers showed no interest in anything other than my ability to code or a couple branches of math. In fact, some of them seemed so inexperienced that I'm not sure they were aware that this kind of experience even exists to be asked about (Oh, you work with clients? Our project managers do that). At lunch, one guy asked me how to swap two integers without creating a third integer. This is after a full morning of technical grilling on math and programming, with a lengthy afternoon to follow.

Fortunately, I'm now in a job where I am encouraged, not just allowed, to contribute to open source, do presentations at conferences, try to build communities, and so forth. I would not consider any job that did not have this element (and now that I have a job like this, I'm not looking anyway). But if I were to look around, I would vastly prefer to be hired for my known and widely used code base than for my ability to detect cycles in linked lists, implement a hashing function, or print out all possible permutations of a string (with no duplicates!).

I'm not there yet, but that's my career goal.

13
mcphilip 2 days ago 0 replies      
The last interview I gave for a senior dev I tried making up some custom discussion questions to give after the basic tell me about yourself stuff. The questions boiled down to:

1. Junior developer code review where a save method included a call to a list method "because it's more efficient" than making a separate ajax call. Explain to the junior developer why that's not necessarily a good idea.

2. UI wants a tree view of categories where each category has a name and a parent category. The number of categories can be arbitrarily large. Discuss problems you might run into using a database agnositic approach (e.g. Hibernate) and what solutions you'd propose.

3. Prototyping a new app, two potential clients in the same domain have widely different ideas of how those domains should be represented (i.e. obviously similar domain class names, very different properties). Discuss ways of modeling domain classes such that each client sees the data in their preferred format.

All in all, I think the interview went pretty well because the discussion questions led to discussing all sorts of related topics that gave me a good feel for the types of problems the candidate had run into and if he had success in dealing with them.

It was great giving an interview without arcane things like explain the yield keyword in C# and how it might be used.

14
jwwest 2 days ago 1 reply      
The best interview I ever had, I was given a problem to solve with a system, a whiteboard and 20 minutes.

I sketched out a quick ERD, and explained the high level architecture of the system. No code was written -- it was assumed that I could implement said system if I could design it.

The worst job interview grilled me on low level algorithms (I'm not a CS grad) and wanted me to sketch out a quick sort. Of course, I can describe a quick sort now as a result of said interview, but since it was all C# I doubt we were going to have to implement our own sort algorithms.

Another terrible interviewer asked me about projects I did in college. I finished grad school 3 years ago, and have 8 years professional experience...

15
buro9 3 days ago 2 replies      
The question I always like to ask and reserve a good chunk of time for is along the lines of "What non-technical hobby or interest do you have?" and then "If you had all the technical resources you could dream of, how would you now bring something new to your hobby?" and once we've gone through that the real question is:

"Given that when you're duck hunting the key is to shoot ahead of where the duck is, and that a lot of the suggestions have been the next iteration applied to the hobby/pastime... what's the third or fourth iteration?".

Basically I want to see the excitement and passion about technology, their pastime, and how they think, how they identify problems, solve them in numerous ways, go beyond just today's solution. And I get wrapped up in it too, I also get excited by some of the stuff that comes up.

With a great candidate... the interview ends with us both inspired and a thousand new thoughts floating around the room.

The vast majority of candidates cannot leap beyond the first iteration, and some struggle to even see how anything within their hobby could ever change.

16
pjungwir 2 days ago 0 replies      
I interviewed at several companies about a year ago, and one had a practice that really stood out. I was impressed by how organized it was, how well it seemed to be a good test of a job candidate, and how it gave me many opportunities to show my qualifications. It was a whole day, but they flew me out and put me up in a nice hotel nearby.

The day was broken up into sessions of about 1 hour each (maybe a bit more). In each session it was me and 3-4 other people, but the people rotated, so I got to meet lots of engineers, a PM or two, the hiring manager, etc., and they all got to meet me. A few people showed up more than once.

The first session was basically an introduction. I think it was shorter than the others. No quiz-style questions, but stuff about my background, etc., and opportunities for me to ask questions also.

Next I did a presentation at the whiteboard describing some project I'd worked on. They had told me this would be a part of the day, so I could have prepared (though I didn't). I talked about my recent startup, describing some of the data model and machine learning tricks I'd developed. They asked lots of questions, some to clarify, others about my reasoning, how it would scale, if I'd considered technology X, etc.

In the next session was me at the whiteboard again, but here they described a new feature they'd like to add to their site, and my job was to sketch out a rough solution. So partially this was about my ability to ask clarification questions, and also about my big-picture design skills. Again they asked lots of questions, and once we even got into a specific SQL query (where I opted to use an EXISTS with a correlated sub-query). So this session seemed a lot like the first, but more impromptu on my part and probably more practiced on theirs.

Then they took the whole team out to lunch at a nice Thai restaurant (~15 devs plus the director of engineering and the PM). This part was relaxing and fun. Of course this was still part of the interview, and wouldn't be relaxing for everyone, but still it was a good way to feel out personality fit for both sides. Also there were too many people for me to be the focus of attention, so that was a nice break.

Finally there was one afternoon session where they gave me a laptop with a toy Rails app, and had me add a feature (change a relationship from one-to-one to one-to-many, or something like that). There were two devs watching me code, and I had to do the whole MVC thing: write a migration, tweak the controller, edit the view. I got to talk through the changes as I did them, so they knew my reasoning. It made me smile to slip in a few fancy vim moves; I don't know if they noticed. But it made me realize this was also a test about some basic mechanics, too. They let me choose my editor/IDE, so it was a chance for them to watch whether I knew my tools.

Then there was a final session for follow-up questions etc. This was fairly short I believe.

All along the way I had lots of opportunities to ask questions of my own, which I appreciated.

There were no puzzles, no trivia quizzes. Personally I'd add a FizzBuzz test to the initial phone screen (like Han Solo "They hardly asked me any questions."), but otherwise I plan to completely rip off this template the next time I hire someone myself. Maybe it can help some of you!

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dmbaggett 3 days ago 4 replies      
At ITA Software, we found in-person quizzing to be a lot less useful an indicator than looking at puzzle (or other) code someone had written "offline".

We also found puzzles to be a useful talent magnet. If you're Google (or perhaps 37Signals) you don't need a talent magnet. If you're a small company nobody's heard of, one can be quite helpful.

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libria 2 days ago 0 replies      
Key word here was "front-end". Algorithms aren't usually featured as often there. Before we break out the broad brushes, lets not paint all programming jobs as requiring the same skills.

[1] Eric Lippert summed this up quite nicely:

>> Does not having knowledge in Data Structures really affect one's career in programming?

> Well it certainly will prevent you from getting a job on my team. But like I said before, programming is a huge field. There are lots of kinds of computer programming that don't require knowledge of data structures.

[1] http://programmers.stackexchange.com/a/102123

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at-fates-hands 2 days ago 0 replies      
This topic keeps coming around and it always makes me wonder why people have such a hard time hiring good programmers.

I say because the best places I've worked at already have a "system" in place for their front-end people. You can still be a marginal developer and do well if you follow the system. It takes a few months, but once you know how they write their code and the standards they use, it's pretty easy to write sustainable, reusable code.

This also makes it considerable easier to think and work outside the box. You can take a few of the better programmers, tell them about a new framework or approach you want to use on a project and let them loose. If it's a success, you merge these new ideas into the existing ecosystem. Simply repeat as necessary.

The industry really puts a lot of hard work into finding and hiring good candidates, but it's not the programmers who are important. It's the system you're plugging them into which matters.

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zdw 3 days ago 1 reply      
The best questions to ask are the ones that pertain to actual work.

Think of a problem you had before and solved or are attempting to solve. Ask the person being interviewed how they'd handle the problem. Do they have good process, intuition, and problem solving skills? Are they clear about communicating their intentions and explaining their decisions?

This isn't a trick - it's what the person is going to be doing there, in and out, every day.

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elliottcarlson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been on both sides of the hiring process - and most recently was going through the interview process again as I sought out my next opportunity. One thing that stood out to me was the way companies would approach the white boarding or coding challenges. While I agree with the articles issue with coding up a specific question (especially when it is yet another fizz-buzz - even if it has a twist to it) - the puzzle style interview can provide some kind of insight in to the thought process behind someones work. One company in particular really stood out by having a great white boarding exercise that not only was entertaining, but offered a decent amount of a challenge that it really made them a frontrunner in my final decision making process. A good coding interview can be beneficial not only to the hiring company, but can also give decent insight in to how the company works for the interviewee - and that is something that should be equally important if you are trying to attract talent.
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bramcohen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Over time I've made interview challenge problems progressively easier, as I've found that the trickier ones don't give any more information than the easier ones. My challenge now basically amounts to 'read this doubly nested for loop and tell me what it does', equivalent in difficulty to fizzbuzz.

If you can't solve that, even in the pressure of an interview, then I'm sorry, but you have no business working as a programmer, and I'm offended that you even applied.

And yes, people flunk it all the time.

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freework 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've been interviewing pretty much non-stop since last April. I feel like I've become somewhat of an expert when it comes to interviewing processes.

First off, as I've become a better programmer, I feel this fact is best shown in my opinions. When I first started out, if you had asked me my opinion of PHP vs Python, I would not have been able to say anything coherent. Now that I've worked with both technologies, my opinion is much more coherent.

Instead of asking puzzle questions, ask candidates their opinion. "What is your opinion of Mongodb?" I've spent enough time in the trenches with Mongo to have quite an opinion of that technology. Same with Postgres, Django, Javascript, Coffeescript, etc.

I think hands down, the worse type of interview questions are the ones where you're told to solve a problem, but you can only solve the problem in a certain way.

Its become a interview idiom for me. One recently was to reverse the words in a string. In comes "This is a string", out comes "string a is This". No problem. In python this can be done with one line:

the_string.split()[::-1]

It takes me 5 seconds to write that out. The interviewer telle me "good job", then he asks me to do it again, but this time to do it without using any standard library functions such as split or reverse.

At this point, I can almost with 100% certainty that this company will be a terrible place to work. It wouldn't piss me off it it wasn't for the fact that like 90% of all interviews I do end up like this.

I've through about this a lot, and what I've come up with for an explanation as to why I can;t do these types of questions is because my algorithm writing process is very subconscious. When I'm writing code and I come to a problem that requires a lot of thinking, I usually stop, do something else and let the problem float around for a bit in my subconscious. I got my best ideas when I'm in the shower, on my bike riding around time, even while reading a news article. When people are watching me (especially strange people I don't even know) I don't do my best thinking. At this point I'd do anything to be able to think in front of people. Because its keeping me from being able to get jobs.

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louthy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I do tests for prospective candidates, but my approach is slightly different.

After the interview I email them a small unfinished program. I then give them a set of instructions on what I would like them to do to finish it off, and they can then do it at home on their own dev setup; with the internet and any other resource they would normally use for development.

I give a coding style guide, and in the areas where some specific technique is required I make that explicit.

The app has a few bugs in it, and some of the techniques asked for are slightly leftfield.

I instruct them that if at any point they have any questions then feel free to email me - and they won't be marked down for asking questions.

In fact I mark candidates up if they ask questions.

The task shouldn't take more than 30-45 mins for a decent coder.

I find this to be a really valuable approach to seeing how a coder works. It shows how they work with others' code, it shows they can follow instruction, it shows they can communicate when unsure rather than hiding away and it gives a good guide to their style of coding.

It's a far less confrontational approach, and gives the candidate the best chance of showing what they can do.

In the interview I tend to be much more interested in the person, because I'd rather have a coder who is slightly less capable that I can train, than a coder who is amazing at everything but won't fit in. I'll still discuss past projects and dig deeper where necessary, but I like to find out how they influenced the outcomes of projects rather than get too deep on algorithms and the like.

So far it's worked very well :)

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papsosouid 2 days ago 1 reply      
>I remember the first time I interviewed for a front-end programming position and got asked how to do something in JavaScript on a white board

>how little it had to do with the actual job.

That doesn't make any sense. How is solving a problem with javascript irrelevant to the job of a front end developer? That's what they do.

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ctdonath 3 days ago 0 replies      
[I] got asked how to do something in JavaScript on a white board. The specifics are vague, but it's crystal clear how stupid it made me feel and how little it had to do with the actual job.

So did I. (Well, it was C then, but same idea.) The prospect of scrawling code on an inapplicable medium while people stared at every move is, of course, irritating.

Instead of going to the whiteboard, I pulled out my notebook computer, fired up a code editor, and told the several guys present to continue the interview _while_ I worked on the challenge. Time was saved by multitasking, I did the work in a sensible normal manner, everyone was comfortable with the situation, and they were happy with the resulting code.

I got the job. And turned it down.

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DigitalSea 2 days ago 1 reply      
I agree wholeheartedly here. I know many developers (myself included) who would fail a FizzBuzz test or any instance where they're asked to write code on a whiteboard and yet can produce some really clean, efficient and above all well-written code. How about instead of asking people to write on a whiteboard or do Computer Science 101 tests, how about you give them a computer, a problem and ask them to solve it?

Don't forget it's not always how smart they are, it's their work ethic and whether or not they'll be a good fit for your team. Personalities that meld well with already hired employees are an essential must, no point hiring an introvert for a position when the team are extremely social people who have Friday afternoon beers.

Here is a tip: hiring a developer? Ask them to write a blog application, a task management system or a real world problem they will encounter if hired by your company not some ridiculous test that could stop you hiring a great developer. I consider myself to be pretty good, but I don't have a CS degree, I suck at mathematics and can only do simple math, yet I am able to produce exceptionally great code especially in instances where deadlines are tight and sometimes unreasonable.

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michaelochurch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to avoid the cultural flamewar around whether companies should do this.

I don't mind it. I've interviewed for enough jobs and had enough acceptances and rejections to learn something: it's not a big deal. If you don't know an API function, you don't know it. The likelihood that you won't get the job because you didn't know that one question is unlikely.

In fact, part of the evaluation is whether you can handle not knowing the answer with grace. The fail-outs are the ones who use their cool or seem to think the question is stupid, not the ones who get it wrong.

Once you realize that you don't need to get all of the answers to pass an interview, it gets easier.

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alan_cx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not employed people for years, but I never put much value on ultimate skills. I used to think long term. So, give me the the right human being, with a reasonable level of knowledge, and very quickly they will be more than good enough. A little more time and for me, they become pretty much perfect.

I want the right personality. The ultimate skills will follow. So, I just chat to candidates and employ those who I feel I and my people can work with. I never left it so late that we needed instant skills. To me that would be poor management.

Prior to that, I have tested and done many of the things people cite here, but most of the time I got awful employees who turned out to be good at doing interviews.

Yeah, a bit hippy dippy, but it worked for me.

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agentultra 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a long-winded blog post about this very subject awaiting some polish.

I've done my fair share of interviews. I still don't like them. I've narrowed it down to basically two things:

1. There is a lot of highly subjective, mystical advice about what "works," in a technical interview and what doesn't. Big problems, small problems, trivia, puzzles, white-boards, no white-boards... hardly any of it is thoroughly studied and built on solid theory. It's all conjecture and personal bias.

2. How the candidate is feeling and where their head is at on the day of the interview matters. I can go on about cache alignments, bus errors, segmentation faults, C++'s lack of order in evaluating function arguments, why template class declarations must exist in the same compilation unit as the definition, why CLOS is amazing and the computation model of recursion is brilliant (or at least why I think so). Yet on a bad day I can (and have) botched perfectly trivial, benign problems.

However at the end of the day you need some sort of process. I just think that the current practices are not good enough. It seems to me that companies are probably turning away perfectly fine candidates without realizing it. There's pros and cons to every approach I suppose. But I still think trivial problems are dumb.

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rayiner 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used to give interview candidates a little background lecture on our problem domain then ask them for input on whatever I was working on that week. E.g. If you were trying to parallelize this code, how would you structure it? I never asked fizzbuzz style coding questions, because I think they're stupid and I probably couldn't code a linked list on a white board (I rarely code on whiteboards you see).
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fiblye 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was invited to a company for a game development position. One part of the interview consisted of a fairly challenging mathematical/algorithmic problem. It wasn't impossible, but it's certainly not something I can do in ten minutes at a white board with some people taking notes about my every movement.

The other part was being shown intentionally messy and broken code. Not code that'd fail to compile (although it sure looked like it would), but something thrown together in a completely insane manner that I couldn't possibly make sense of in 15 minutes. Much of it boiled down to, "What would happen if you call this function and use this variable before you actually define them and then do x, y and z?", and the way this language did it was quite different from other languages. I mean, yes, I did learn a lot about the language from that interview, but I'd really hope that's not the kind of code they'd be throwing at me or expecting me to write at their company.

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some_googler 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I came to Google for my onsite interview, in the group of people scheduled for that day there was this guy with an alpha-nerd attitude including a Rubik cube that he kept playing effortlessly -- he could completely scramble the thing and then solve it in seconds almost without looking at it. I was never able to solve more than two faces of Rubik in my life :) fortunately no stupid puzzles at all in the interviews (at least not in mine), I got in. The Rubik guy, never saw again. FWIW.
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sytelus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the best hiring strategy I've came across is indeed "test driving". Take a challenging problem your team has, slim it down and ask candidate to do some quick prototype during a weekend. No interviews, puzzles or whiteboarding :). If you were going to fly down a candidate on-site for a day of interviews instead, it's going to take same time anyway considering logistical effort on candidate's part.

Test-driving, however, is unfortunately neither scalable nor "leak proof". As soon as one candidate gives away your test drive question, the next candidate could easily cheat away inflating their apparent awesomeness compared to other better candidates.

However it would be incorrect to write down all whiteboarding interviews as "evil". Like any other interviewing techniques, it really depends on how you do it. A good whiteboarding question that allows candidate to use CS fundamentals to solve fairly non-trivial problem that you also needed to solve for your current work is a great question. There are 3 major reason why this doesn't work as expected at some large companies:

1. Interviewers can't think of good whiteboarding question and fall back to commonly asked popular puzzles. These interviewers are also often the ones who have one "favorite" question that they would ask everyone. This is absolutely #1 problem why whiteboarding interviews devolves in to secret puzzle marathon. The best questions that interviewer could ask are actually the ones that they needed to solve themselves as part of their work recently. This keeps questions relevant and refreshed regularly. It also allows to compare candidate with themselves and follow the philosophy of hiring people smarter than you. It's however hard because interviewers themselves needs to continue doing something interesting regularly.

2. Interviewers provide feedback to each other during the loop. It's not coincidence that if 1st interviewer gives "hire", all rest tend to do same at companies where there is no clear policy of not communicating feedback before end of the interview.

3. Interviewers don't follow up candidate response by extending question, building on to next level perhaps open ended scenario, asking auxiliary details such as test cases, complexity etc.

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ambiate 3 days ago 0 replies      
Basically, most of the questions I see asked in interviews are contained in Levitin's algorithms book. The greatest potential for someone to excel at those trick interviews is to be fresh out of college.

I walked out of my first interviews, because 'I do not like programming games.' The first was a 4d matrix puzzle with more mathematical/theory roots than programming/logic.

My third interview started with the above quote and I was hired on the spot -- I believe they took it as a rebellion of every fresh out of college kid wanting to program video games.

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j45 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Clever architecture increases possibility. Clever code increases complexity." - @edw519 the other day -
https://twitter.com/edw519/status/301393887174483968

Testing with excessively clever tests and puzzles will attract a mindset of creating more complex code and than needed. Architecture a problem in a way that solve the problem elegantly but remains open and flexible is far more a tougher challenge than an algorithmic challenge.

There's a fine line between testing a hire to make sure someone's behind the steering wheel vs. communicating that you want things solved in interesting ways.

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thesis 3 days ago 2 replies      
Ok... I was under the impression that 37Signals hired mainly remote workers. Could this account for the lack of a white board?

Personally, I use a whiteboard when hiring. It's not the deciding factor... but it's a part of the bigger picture. As part of a small start up I need to know right then and there if they know what I need them to know.

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btipling 3 days ago 0 replies      
Eh, being able to understand stacks and queues, big-O, etc and problem solving are important things, but otherwise agree that software construction skills are important as well as understanding tradeoffs bottlenecks, networking etc.
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ianstallings 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well the good news is this problem should be solved soon since we spend so much time focused on it.

I don't care for puzzles. Just conversations. I skim resumes looking for glimpses into personality more than looking for skill sets. I have a guy that went to Yale on my team. I didn't even know that until he mentioned it the other day, yet it was on his resume. I missed it because I don't care where you went. I don't care how fast you can solve a puzzle. It's put up or shut up and show me what you've built when you come here. If you can do that in an interview there's a great chance I'll hire you. The last two hires whipped out apps they'd built and then we went over how they accomplished it. To me that's more valuable than any other process, having a portfolio or sample ready when you show up.

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GhotiFish 3 days ago 2 replies      
If I can have a word on FizzBuzz?

There are a few programmers that have a proclivity towards "clean, perfect" solutions, but FizzBuzz is ugly.

Making FizzBuzz work at all is just stupidly simple; but the moment you ask yourself about the little details, you notice that you either have to make an if tree, a bunch of if-elseif's, or some other hinky thing that ruins the "purity" of this simple little program.

Alot of people take the perspective that if you go

    if(i % 15)     print "fizzbuzz";
else if(i % 5) print "fizz"; //or was it buzz?
else if(i % 3) print "buzz"; //or was it fizz?
else print i;

then you've found an optimal solution and you can wash your hands of it, until you think to yourself: "but an if tree would use less comparisons! Should I be readable? Or take the efficient route? But if I'm thinking about efficiency. wouldn't a lookup be faster and simpler?"

I suspect when presenting a problem like this, the interviewer filters out two kinds of people: the people who "can't code", and the people who are obsessive.

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SeanDav 3 days ago 1 reply      
All great and well spending 20-40 hours trying someone out to see if they are a good fit, but this is only practical once you are down to a very short list of final candidates.

Nothing is said about how you actually get to this final list and that of course is where the real challenge lies.

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mattbillenstein 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most eye-opening thing about programmer interviewing I've read: https://sites.google.com/site/steveyegge2/five-essential-pho...

I probe for weakness in 5-6 different areas of computer science in the phone screen - keeps me from bringing in weak candidates.

Then in the on-site, I give them my Macbook and ask them to solve a few simple problems with some flat files I conjured in a language of their choice that's installed on that machine (C/C++/Java/Python/Ruby/PHP/Perl/shell/etc). You get an idea of how they solve problems, think about solutions, fix bugs, avoid common errors, and what they look up on the web (I let them use a browser to lookup apis and so forth - it's a good way to weed out "cut and paste" programmers). The people who do well finish quickly and we chat about the company with the remaining time - the people who do poorly use almost all the time on the first problem, make a bunch of mistakes, and usually don't understand the proper data structure for the job.

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spiralpolitik 2 days ago 1 reply      
Programming is about problem solving. What you want in a programmer is someone who knows how to approach solving a problem in a structured repeatable manner.

What getting someone to solve small problems like FizzBuzz in the interview gives you an idea of how then approach the problem. Can they decompose the problem into smaller chunks ? Can they then refine their solution into a better solution ? Do they know when to stop refining before the solution becomes difficult to understand ? These are the skills you want to asses from a potential programmer.

Programming languages, platforms, frameworks come and go but if you don't know how to approach solving a problem then that knowledge is ultimately worthless.

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chadhietala 3 days ago 1 reply      
As someone that just went through a whole slew of interviews I would say I agree with this to some extent. I'm a frontend developer and while CS principals are important, asking questions that are not practical to everyday development, are counter-productive and do not give you a view into how that person tackles a real problem.

Things like "write a function that performs merge sort", are bullshit because you would never do this in real life, largely because languages have sort methods that are already extremely performant. Plus a lot of languages will already be using some variant of merge sort and exposing it as a "sort" method.

If you are given a problem like "create a tabbed news component" or you're asked to do a small project (nothing longer than an hour), I think you can still get a good understanding of how people solve problems. This is less stressful, less "gotcha" mentality, and a fair approach.

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blparker 3 days ago 2 replies      
I consider myself a proficient developer, however, in situations where I'm required to solve an obscure puzzle while someone is staring at me, generally makes me uncomfortable...no matter how easy the question. I interviewed for an internship position at Microsoft, where I was required to write some bizarre code on graph paper while the interviewer literally stood over my shoulder. Horribly uncomfortable, I barely made any progress, and was subsequently denied a position (obviously). After the interview, I went home and solved the question in a matter of minutes, wrote the code, optimized, and fully tested it. While I choked during the interview, I saw fellow classmates fly off to Redmond...classmates that I knew weren't better developers than I was, simply because I had worked with many of them on projects several times. That's when I knew this whole puzzle interview stuff was nonsense.
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ricardobeat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Aaand HN has just written a 10-hour book on the subject of hiring.
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saman_b 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's what I was discussing with my friend a few days ago. He had an interview with Google last month and it took him a month or two to prepare for that. he did not pass the interview, but he got an interview with Amazon this month. He was busy with other things and he could not study for the interview. He mentioned that he cannot remember most of the things he prepared and read for the last interview. I am forgetful too, and I guess 90% of people forget details about algorithms and how to answer a puzzle very fast if they don't use it everyday.

So the question is what is the value of a skill or knowledge that fades away after a month or two? I know people who got hired by Google or other big companies that forgot all the information they acquired before the interview. Cause most of it is useless for the actual job. Many logic questions or puzzles are well known and people tend to know the answer before the interview.

If I had to interview someone; I would assign him a project from the company that is part the of the job he is going to do, leave him alone in a room with a computer for a time period I expect someone to finish that specific project. Finally, I come back to see the out come.

It is good for the applicant, as there is no pressure on him (except some time constraints maybe which is not a big deal), I do not put him on the spot and he does not have to deal with his boss while answering to a question. He does not have to dig unrelated information before the interview, and he can show off his programming skills if he has any.

It is good for the company, as I do not have to spend a day interviewing and prepare for that, I will know right away from the code if the guy is a good fit or not, I can see his programming skills, I know ahead of time how long in average it takes for an internal person to do the job, so I can measure his performance relatively. I do not even have to evaluate the code in front of him, I can invite multiple candidates at the same time, put them in separate rooms. Get the results, evaluate them and invite them for the second round if I liked their code.

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russelluresti 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just my 2 cents on this issue - writing code on a whiteboard isn't always about the code you write.

It's not about the actual code you produce in the interview, it's about talking through your thought process, your ability to reason while under pressure, and your attitude of whether or not "this is beneath me - wah!".

I've been in several interviews where I had to write code. I made some mistakes, some things I plain out didn't know (for my first job, I had no clue how to write any JavaScript, and I explained that it was just something I didn't know how to do, but that I'd be willing to learn it as required). I still got hired from all of them. So, if you think coding tests during interviews are about producing flawless code, they're not. They're to see how you think - and that is profoundly important as a developer.

I would also argue that a developer's existing skills are the least important factor when deciding whether or not to hire someone. Every developer works as part of a team and has to collaborate and communicate with others in that team. If you want to hire a developer, you need to see how well they communicate complex technical problems to non-technical people.

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paf31 3 days ago 1 reply      
Shameless plug: I've been working on this : http://initialround.com to allow applicants to complete an interview at home and in a browser, to eliminate the pressure of the "quizzing cage". I'd be interested to hear people's take on this approach.
50
soseng 2 days ago 1 reply      
To change it up a little bit, has anyone here been asked simple debugging questions? I've interviewed at numerous places and I've never been asked the question why a certain piece of code is breaking or how to fix it. The questions could be designed to be self-contained and just complex enough to get a feel for how the candidate thinks. My consulting job usually takes me to places where a project is in trouble or failing. It would seem that quickly understanding broken foreign code would be a huge asset. The closest question I've been asked is: "Here's a Singleton implementation in Java. What can go wrong?"
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edwardunknown 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd never work for a place that gave me a fucking puzzle to solve. I'd probably smack the interviewer upside the head for wasting my time.

The best way to do it is pay the person per task as an independent contractor until you're sure a full time position is what you're both looking for. If they're helpful to you then you keep calling them and if not everybody keeps their dignity, no big deal. Don't humiliate potential employees right off the bat with stupid games.

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megaframe 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish this were the case more. I graduated with and electrical engineering degree, but over the years I've spent the bulk of my time coding up DB, big data stats, ML, etc. to help me do my job. Trying to explain I'm more than capable while I falter with simple puzzle based question is an impossible gauntlet that has kept me from even considering a career shift. (Granted I'm a much better analog designer than I am a java code.)
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feliperibeiro 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a complicated issue, but in my opinion the google/facebook style of interview is the one that gives you less false positives, even though it gives tons of false negatives. In other words, very few people who can do it are bad coders (false positives), but many good coders can't do it (false negatives).

So, as companies like Google and Facebook have so many applications, they're much more concerned about false positives than false negatives.

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andrew_wc_brown 3 days ago 0 replies      
I won't present a résumé, a github link, a linked in profile, or do nonsense tests. I always send a full web-application I built for code review, do a technical demonstration and provide sample work on their codebase. Any other route is a waste of time.
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Tekker 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I interview others, I use a couple of basic whiteboard show-me pseudocode questions (how would you reverse a string, how does a linked list work, give me an example of a callback). It seems to me that if they know their stuff, they can answer those. If someone can't get through any of them, or at least have a valient stab at it, chances are they don't have the background I want.

By the same token, I've been interviewed myself where I've been given weird shit questions like others have mentioned; not the blender one, but shit along that line. That's nothing I personally do without some serious contemplation, not to be achieved in 5 minutes in an interview. Anyone who does so likely knew the answer ahead of time or is extremely puzzle-oriented. I think the real test is to examine the puzzle-solving processes of the candidate, but as a rule I don't think much of those kinds of questions.

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KeepTalking 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coming up with good questions to ask in an interview is an effort that the hiring team needs to invest in. This involves a top down reflection of the job along with a vision for the job. It requires to ask him/her self before hand "What sort of tasks is this hire going to be doing" , " What language skills does he need" , " Does he need to reinvent a sorting algorithm to get this job " .

Well this rarely happens , to start of folks (generally) tasked with the hiring process are not the right "vision" folks. They are highly task oriented individuals aka MS Project specialists.

A real test would have to encompass among many things.
- Do they are ask the right questions ?
- Are they capable of picking up new languages, ideas , technologies while defending or questioning changes in an articulate yet respectable demeanor.
- how they handle things when they get to a wall.

57
asmosoinio 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really liked the text at the bottom:

(If you need help posting a comment, feel free to use any of these samples: “You make todo lists, you don't need real software engineers”, “Math is actually really important, you know!”, “Google is worth one gajillion dollars and they use quizzes, so there!”)

58
webo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was interviewing with Microsoft last semester for a SE internship. At the end of the interview with a senior engineer, we were just chatting about various topics. This is one topic that we talked about. His response was something along these lines:

"Of course we do not write code on whiteboard everyday. Of course we do not write code to detect if a graph is acyclic (my interview question) on a daily basis. Of course we do not put our engineers on the spot with these types of questions. However, when the time comes, may it be only once in 10 years, we know that we have hired the right people because these questions show your thinking abilities - not if you know the answer or not."

Btw, I didn't get an offer, but I'm going to Amazon where I had very similar interview process as Microsoft.

59
maigret 2 days ago 1 reply      
Kent Beck tweeted a very fitting comment: 'Programming contest problems shouldn't be algorithms, they should be like "set up continuous deployment of a multi-region Django app on AWS"'

https://twitter.com/KentBeck/status/299528659746840576

60
laureny 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to 37signals for adopting a hiring practice that most companies have been using for more than a decade.
61
bjoe_lewis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, this is true story and has nothing to do with my credibility. Few days ago glenwood systems, a core product developing company conducted a recruitement drive in my college.
There was me, a coding geek with all my passion for one thing, and there was him, who is a puzzle freak.
They selected him past the first two rounds full of puzzles and math, finally rejected him knowing his programming incompetence. And they missed someone who really could help. me.
There are a ton of books out there teaching you how to crack interview puzzles and programming riddles. There's no book telling you to get your hands dirty with projects and code. The author is right. Hire the one who did things, not the one who learnt to crack puzzles.
62
bromang 3 days ago 1 reply      
is there any well known data/studies on selection methods for programmers?

I can understand the reasons why not to use algo problems as a filter, but I would have thought simpler forms of intelligence testing would still be quite useful.

63
pjmlp 2 days ago 1 reply      
What is this continuous reference to FizzBuzz from American developers?

Being born in the other side of the Atlantic if it wasn't for HN, I would never heard of FizzBuzz in my 14 years of software development.

64
flexie 3 days ago 0 replies      
These puzzles and IQ tests are as pervasive as they are irrelevant. Nowadays, you even need to pass one to get some government jobs. Here's the one to pass to get a job in the EU agencies:

https://europa.eu/epso/application/passport/quiz.cfm?lang=EN...

65
eranki 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why do we always feel the need to upvote posts like these as if we don't discuss them every 2 weeks?

Next up in the topic cycle: Discrimination in tech. Why working more than 40 hours a week is killing your productivity.

66
dschiptsov 3 days ago 2 replies      
Because no one will hire a writer based on his knowledge of long words.)

Excellence in the grammar is also irrelevant.

67
fnordfnordfnord 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's too easy to prepare for the common ones. I have a list of them which I share with my students before they graduate. Sometimes we work through them for fun.
68
jdavis703 2 days ago 0 replies      
At my old company we'd tell interviewees to bring a laptop loaded with there usual dev tools. After a couple of typical interview questions they were then instructed to create a small program using whatever language/tools they'd like. They had "unlimited" time and sat at an empty cubicle. Candidates also has had full access to the Internet. It was amazing how several people could not even complete the simplest program without needing extensive assistance.
69
army 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the skills you need to throw together a nice RoR app are different from other positions.

I wouldn't want on critical infrastructure code alongside someone who can't reason through the performance implications of their code on the fly. You can waste a hell of a lot of time diagnosing and fixing performance problems because someone built an entire module around an inappropriate data structure.

71
SGemployee 3 days ago 1 reply      
Employer told me "We do hardcore stuff!"
come on really hardcore?! I would really love to post their apps here but I'm not that kind of person.
72
sippndipp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Agreed - but I guess if you're 37signals you just attract the right people and you don't have to worry at all. But if you're not then maybe some of these riddles are just good heuristics.
73
garraeth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Comments are closed on the article and I wanted to thank David.

I'm one of those who freeze up like a deer in headlights when asked to do a quiz. But have a degree in CS, have made several enterprise level packages by myself, and have been programming for 31 years -- so am fairly confident that I can program.

74
huhsamovar 3 days ago 1 reply      
No need to read. The author of this post has clearly missed the point.
76
aosmith 2 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't agree more. Every time I've agreed to a "programming test" I find myself wonder why I agreed to it in the first place.
77
zenbowman 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's one thing to ask people to right syntactically correct code. It's another thing to ask them to write pseudocode in whatever language they please and understanding their process.

At the end of the day, as Hal Abelson said, computer science is not about computers, or science. It's about being able to formalize process.

78
neeraj_r 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thats good. So we don't need anonymous to crack your system.. :)
79
known 2 days ago 0 replies      
interview != quiz
80
mnemosyne51 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope someone from Goldman Sucks reads this.
81
misiti3780 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have heard google is a big violator of this?
5
Throwing and catching an inverted pendulum with quadrocopters robohub.org
602 points by eguizzo  3 days ago   132 comments top 20
1
jawns 3 days ago 12 replies      
I keep trying to think of practical implications for this technology, but every time I do, I just end up daydreaming about robot circuses.
2
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 6 replies      
That is insanely cool. Quit your job and play with quadrocopters cool.

I'm surprised we've not seen larger versions of this platform for civilian use.

3
zacharydanger 3 days ago 4 replies      
I couldn't figure out how the quadrocopters were coordinated. Turns out it's a high-speed motion capture. More here: http://www.flyingmachinearena.org/
4
tunesmith 3 days ago 2 replies      
So, just get two larger quadrocopters and you could walk across a gorge. Each one would just catch each of your steps.
5
hemancuso 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looking forward to when Amazon's warehouses are automated with quadrocopters.
6
Eliezer 3 days ago 1 reply      
Since this uses an explicit model of the world, Rodney-Brooks-style robotics is now officially dead.
7
jfoster 3 days ago 0 replies      
TED talk that preceded this, featuring 3 quadcopters with a net and ball: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4IJXAVXgIo
8
tel 3 days ago 1 reply      
Could anyone put together a rough curriculum for the control theory needed to understand something like this? It's absolutely fantastic.
9
catilac 3 days ago 1 reply      
I feel like a link has popped up on HN, but I can't find it.

Where can I buy a small quadrocopter which I can program, and build my own system with?

10
IgorPartola 3 days ago 0 replies      
Your comment made me giggle. I've never seen anything like what's in this video. Moreover, I haven't even thought of this as being an area of research. Your comment makes it sound like you've been sitting there waiting for the state of the art to advance to the point where you could have your own robotic jugglers. +1 to you for being a very specific visionary!
11
mikekij 3 days ago 1 reply      
Holy crap, that's amazing. I'm excited when I can get MySQL started on my development machine.

Those are some smart dudes ( and / or ladies).

12
speedyrev 3 days ago 0 replies      
All fun and games until they fly in your window at night and kill you in your sleep.
13
borplk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine what kind of quadrocopters DARPA and similar agencies have these days.
14
pointernil 3 days ago 1 reply      
"The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer", Neal Stephenson

just saying ;) ...

15
jordan_clark 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mathematics in motion is a beautiful thing.
16
deadwait 3 days ago 0 replies      
how did they get arnold for the commentary?
17
mauricio-OH 3 days ago 0 replies      
0.65s of pure robotics awesomness...
18
sgoody 3 days ago 0 replies      
Batteries not included.
19
davidradcliffe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow.
20
evo_9 3 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations - machines are one step closer to destroying the human race.
7
Ubuntu on tablets ubuntu.com
510 points by jrgifford  6 days ago   258 comments top 69
1
newishuser 5 days ago 3 replies      
Heres why this is awesome:

  - The name Unity finally makes perfect sense
- Phone can expand into a tablet can expand into a desktop
- larger form factor can run smaller form factor apps
- app switcher is slick
- Canonical finally learned how to use all the bull shit
motivational words that apple uses to inspire people
- OS level tie ins to social services
- Still open source

I'm excited to use it, and I'm excited to help. Personally I think this could be a big win for user rights and an awesome mobile OS.

2
pajju 5 days ago 4 replies      
They learnt everything from others by launching late, but added most of the good design patterns. Great work all together. Worth mentioning, Ubuntu is emerging as perfect web platform with tight integration with web-services.

"And now web applications are first class citizens too, wow. I was waiting for this to happen fast."

At this stage they need:

1. More Partners.

They must have strong tie-ups with OEM partners, who can make in-expensive devices, otherwise its not going anywhere. Get those chinese manufacturers.

2. Please NO device fragmentation and open strict standards among OEM's.

3. Nokia backing up this project?

Isn't this the best time for Nokia to make Ubuntu powered devices? I think so.

Under the current circumstances, Ubuntu and Nokia can make a good win-win fit. Nokia maybe can now come back strongly, instead of believing in a closed ecosystem like windows, which is not going anywhere.

3. Get Funded.

4. Apps. Quality and tested apps.

Can this happen with Open Source methodologies? Debatable. :)

All together this is great progress in a short span. Incredible team-work, lets not forget this comes from Open Source World. Love this, Made my day.

3
rufugee 5 days ago 13 replies      
As much as it pains me to admit it, I'm now using Cinnamon as a desktop environment. I really, really wanted Unity to work, but I've had continued performance problems which make it ultimately unusable for me. I understand Ubuntu's need to turn a profit, but I really wish they'd focus on making Unity stable and performant before chasing down these other opportunities...

Disclaimer: I run three monitors, so I'm probably different from the average Unity user.

4
bitsoda 5 days ago 10 replies      
I still don't understand the tablet form factor. I concluded that it's not for me some time ago, but am waiting for the general population to come around to one glaring flaw: you have to hold it. For me, it doesn't matter how light a tablet is. A five pound laptop will always feel lighter since it will effectively weigh nothing because it's always on some kind of platform during use, either my lap or a flat desk/table surface. The tablet holds your hands and/or your legs hostage as you need to get into that special tablet-viewing position to prop the thing up on your thighs. I don't mean to come across as a cranky person who bemoans tablet use, I just feel the process is cumbersome not being able to have your hands free and wonder if people really think this is the form factor to usher in the "post-pc" era, whatever that is.
5
apawloski 5 days ago 1 reply      
Ironically, it might be the walled-garden ecosystem of tablets that ultimately leads to mass end-user adoption of Linux. The desktop introduces too many complications -- there is a much larger set of use cases, and thus a larger set of situations where a Windows-convert can get confused, discouraged, or frustrated. Tablets, on the other hand, with their relatively fewer ubiquitous uses, can be fine-tuned in way that requires little-to-no end-user servicing. If Canonical can employ the Apple/Android software store model with enough flexibility that power users can still make meaningful modifications, then this could be the biggest thing to happen for end-user Linux in a long time.
6
kaolinite 5 days ago 4 replies      
Yet another announcement by Canonical that isn't backed by a "Buy" button. I understand that it's not exactly easy for them, but it's becoming a bit boring how they keep announcing new "products" with no way of actually purchasing them. Couldn't they have waited for a year or so for this to be ready to ship and then launch it? At the very least it'd be good to have "Available to buy in July, 2013" or whatever.
7
andmarios 5 days ago 4 replies      
I am a bit tired of how much Ubuntu gets promoted compared to other Linux based solutions.

Here is a video of KDE's Plasma Active running on a Nexus 7:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb7isMAmwW0

It is a real use video, there aren't any fancy photos, there isn't any CG in the video in contrast with Canonical's page.

Plasma Active is being actively developed for about 2 years now and KDE 4 was developed from the ground up to be able to adapt to various form factors.

Since most Linux applications run on many different architectures, with such an approach you can keep your low power ARM based tablet and run all your desktop software -albeit a bit or more slower.

8
orofino 5 days ago 0 replies      
This looks really promising and I think I'll give it a try, once there is something to buy...

The multitasking looks really good, it is an interesting way to solve this problem. If their implementation is as good as it is presented, we'll see Apple and Google copying this on their platforms.

It seems to me that this offers many of the benefits that I see with OS X, an interface that lets me just do what I want without a bunch of pain, but if I need more power I can drop down to the shell and really get at what I need. Additionally, if using MS Office on the device is possible in a non-shitty way, it will be amazing. They talked very little about this, so I'm skeptical, but it would be absolutely killer if this worked well. US business lives in MS office and a way to easily use it is REQUIRED before tablets can begin supplanting desktops in the enterprise.

The rip off of Apple's styling for the promo video is distracting and unnecessary. Come up with your own styling for this, the offering looks appealing, you've got capabilities that other competitors lack, there isn't a reason for you to copy someone else's presentation style.

9
georgemcbay 5 days ago 1 reply      
As a developer, having read through all of their site I can't tell if this thing actually supports native development. If it did, that would be great, my main issue with Android is the way so much of the OS is tied to Java with the NDK and such as barely supported afterthoughts.

Google doesn't seem to have any particularly good plan (at least not in public) for dealing with the Java anchor, even after the Oracle lawsuit, which I find very concerning as an Android developer -- like, when, if ever, are they going to support Java 1.7 or Java 1.8 features? Seems like they are content to be stuck at Java 1.6 forever. So not only are you practically stuck with Java if writing non-game "native" Android apps, but you're stuck with an old and increasingly obsolete Java.

The fact that I can't read past the weasel wording here though suggests to me that when Canonical says "native" they mean "QML running on top of Qt", which isn't really native at all (if I can't hook into it at the C/C++ level). I'd love to be wrong though.

10
firefoxman1 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. This is what Unity is for. I'm still on Gnome on my desktop because I'm not a Unity fan, but this is really incredible. Android better watch its back.
11
clebio 5 days ago 2 replies      
>> Your Ubuntu tablet has multiple secure user accounts...

Thank goodness. The absence of this makes every tablet OS out there today pretty weak sauce. If I can't lock the screen, or inhibit another person in the house from opening my email, Dropbox folder, etc., let alone allow them to 'switch user', then no one else can borrow the device. An-ipad-per-child isn't terribly economical, in my book.

12
habosa 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is a really great step. I previously though Ubuntu was going to ruin itself by getting into the mobile game so late but it seems like their solution might be unified enough (as a result of the time they spent watching others) to actually gain some foothold. I have a Nexus 7 and if they can allow me to dual boot somehow I will be all over this. I'd love to have a little touchscreen Ubuntu PC in my backpack. I'm still not convinced I want it on my phone but they have my attention on the other three screens.
13
bjustin 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love their solution to run apps side by side, by using the phone version for the smaller app. Android is the only other platform that could really do it, with both widescreen tablets and apps where the same binary can run on phones and tablets.
14
chx 5 days ago 3 replies      
I still don't get it. This emphasises on "productivity". Tablets, lacking any efficient ways of input are not productivity devices. They are great at consuming content, of course. There is a reason the iPad and the Kindle Fire rules the field.
15
ixnu 5 days ago 2 replies      
Engadget is reporting that Canonical will make a Nexus 7 build available. If so, this will rival the RasPi as a play toy and sandbox.

GPU acceleration might be a significant hurdle on the nVidia.

http://www.engadget.com/2013/02/19/ubuntu-for-tablets-reveal...

16
WickyNilliams 5 days ago 2 replies      
I must say, this looks pretty slick. Wonder how well the multitasking stuff will hold up in practice?

Here's hoping some clever bods will get this working on a HP Touchpad, would love to resurrect my touchpad from it's dusty grave. Can't imagine there would be much problem given that it's had no problems running Android. Bring it on!

Does anybody know if this will give access to bash etc? Could I develop on this with a bluetooth keyboard?

EDIT: full desktop with mouse and keyboard! Should have finished watching the video before commenting. I'm interested in this thin client for windows also - is this standard in the regular Ubuntu distros?

17
RaphiePS 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seems a little disingenuous to claim they're the first tablet to have side-by-side multitasking when the Surface lets you do just that.
18
josteink 5 days ago 1 reply      
Looking at this (which looks very nice and impressive), the one thing which strikes me is how all the actors in this market seems to want/need a their-platform-only deployment to truly work.

Ubuntu on the phone, tablet, PC and TV looks nice. I'd love to try it. But for me to be able to do so, the devices I buy needs to be open enough for me to be able to install that.

If all I buy is locked down devices, you can be sure I'll never have a home where every device was bought when the next big thing(tm) was released. I'll need a way to bring the platform of my choice to all my devices.

Like PCs had and allowed before Apple went ahead and ruined it all.

Either that or better open protocols and specifications created, implemented and deployed across the line, but we can see how well that is going these days.

19
RyanMcGreal 5 days ago 2 replies      
> Ubuntu is predicted to ship on almost 10% of the world's new branded PCs by 2014

I'm interested to hear more about this.

20
BenoitEssiambre 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a heavy Ubuntu user and what I want to know is can it run all the existing Ubuntu/Linux apps?

Also what is the multitasking model? I can't imagine full desktop multitasking would work on a tablet. That would kill the battery.

21
ZeroGravitas 5 days ago 0 replies      
When they mentioned "sharing" I was hoping for something like Android's share which would take whatever I'm looking at and give it to another app. Instead it's just social networks. Better than Apple's lame lock-in to Twitter and Facebook but sharing between apps in Android's a killer-app.
22
tosseraccount 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is a winner for me if

1) It actually runs on hardware, it's not just a concept
2) I can attach a keyboard
3) I can run a bash shell and the unix utilities.

23
aortega 5 days ago 0 replies      
You need balls to take on Google, Apple and Microsoft tablets, being a small business that started giving away Linux CDs. And actually doing a very decent try at it.
24
itry 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody mentions root access. Do I get it by default? This would be the only differentiating factor for me.

For example, I hate it that I cannot edit /etc/hosts on my iOS devices.

25
polshaw 5 days ago 0 replies      
That a quad core A15 is required to run the desktop convergence is a bit disappointing to me, although with the rate of progress in the ARM world i suppose it won't be an issue for long (ie. requiring expensive cutting edge devices with poor battery life), and no doubt lower devices will be 'hacked' to allow it being open source.

I really have to congratulate ubuntu on staying strong for so long on their unity vision; this is clearly the realisation of that. I hope that they manage to get some OEM support (hello Asus?), the momentum does seem to be there now IMO.

26
ivzar 5 days ago 0 replies      
The seamless phone => tablet => desktop transition make the Ubuntu family a winner. Now to see if it picks up any enterprise traction...
27
wcchandler 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why stop here? Why not make the application switching fully ubiquitous between multiple devices via app "off-loading" to the cloud?

There's many different ways they can approach this: a hobbyist hosting an ubuntu server running whatever's necessary to facilitate this; a hosted solution -- possibly by Canonical (ala Ubuntu One or competitors); and a corporate solution (your IT staff managing Ubuntu servers and environment).

I feel like this might be the next step, especially with app/desktop virtualization becoming more popular.

28
taeric 5 days ago 0 replies      
So, I have to confess this has me sorely tempted to try on my convertible laptop. "Touch" is effectively non-existent in this space for linux.

Unless there are any other suggestions? (I have a lenovo x220 tablet. I like the computer. The touch aspect is just basically ignored.)

29
vilgax 5 days ago 1 reply      
A recent critical post by KDE developer Aaron Seigo on Canonical claiming "same Ubuntu code will deliver a mobile, tablet, desktop or TV experiences" https://plus.google.com/107555540696571114069/posts/HSL2C21D...
30
AlexanderDhoore 5 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that it runs Qt is the biggest win in my opinion. Must - learn - Qt !
31
methodin 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is one completely awesome thing here - the fact that the phone itself can/will drive all form factors via docking etc... tablet, TV and computer all driven off the phone. That's incredible if it comes to fruition.
32
orangethirty 5 days ago 0 replies      
If they would just sell the damn thing and not have advertisements built into it. I have been using (a paying) Ubuntu user since v.7. It just angers me that they just wont outright charge for it.
33
kriro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Once this gets released I'll likely buy a full set of phone+tablet

I don't currently own a tablet and my phone is some superold cell (dumbphone?) so I'll be very easy to please.

Worst case scenario I'll pay whatever it costs to help consumer Linux into the tornado a little quicker.

[I'm an Ubuntu user both at home and at work but I remain a tad sceptical about this]

34
jplmelanson 5 days ago 0 replies      
You have to give them credit for UX innovation, they don't just try to mimic iOS.
35
shurcooL 5 days ago 0 replies      
Apple dug themselves into a hole with such fixation on static screen size/resolution. They can't do these multitasking innovations because of that.

It seems that Ubuntu has outdone even Windows 8 in that front.

Curious to see this running on some real hardware, because for now it's just a design and software.

36
Buzaga 5 days ago 0 replies      
All I want is a 8-10 hour battery life tablet that I can install a development environment and plug a keyboard

I know Ubuntu won't be narrowing down to developers but if Ubuntu Tablets solve this I'll get in line to get the one as fast as possible

37
rattray 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how feasible it would be to build iOS and Android emulators for a linux tablet?
Assuming people have tried for purposes of building/testing, but this seems a little different to me.

Being able to run all iOS and android apps on a single device would be pretty revolutionary.

38
phireph0x 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've used Ubuntu on the desktop since 2004 so this is an exciting development. From the video and screenshots the design is really polished and the UI/UX well-thought-out. I really want to see this succeed but have doubts. The mobile market is already crowded with competition from Apple and Android, not to mention second-tier players (Microsoft, Blackberry) gunning for a larger slice of the pie.

Even if Ubuntu achieves a modicum of success, their entry into the market means yet another platform that mobile developers must target (I'm not counting web apps since those can be supported equally with minimum effort across platforms). It's a wonder that Ubuntu chose to create another binary mobile development platform instead of adopting Java (leveraging the skills of existing Android devs) and calling it good enough.

39
tekromancr 5 days ago 1 reply      
I would really like to see Canonical take the initiative and produce versions of Ubuntu Tablet that can be flashed onto popular devices. I was kind of disappointed to see them put out another one of those "Hey, does anyone want to build hardware for us?" requests. They seem to have a business model that involves getting Ubuntu running on anything and everything, but they don't have a clear path to mass market hardware.
40
hereonbusiness 5 days ago 1 reply      
The good: You get a full linux distro on a mobile device. This is the best thing that happened to modern mobile devices since ... well ever.
Modern mobile devices being smartphones and tablets.

The bad: Like every other "mobile OS" out there it is strongly biased toward native apps. But in this case it's at least understandable as there is an actual linux distribution under the hood.
Also i have a feeling that they'll probably lack behind in the mobile department for years when compared to Android especially if they can't get some big OEM partners on board as has already been said in some comments.

41
sigkill 5 days ago 0 replies      
This might be only tangentially relevant but I never took to liking the Ubuntu's font. I would much rather Segoe UI (regular, not Lite) or even Google's Roboto over Ubuntu's font.
42
cpressey 5 days ago 0 replies      
I do wish people would stop with the phrase "post-PC era"... and I thought Canonical would be above that (consider me properly disillusioned.)

Can we at least start calling PCs "workstations" again, to compensate?

43
lukejduncan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does the Feb 25th date also mean you can download the source then?
44
ohwp 5 days ago 0 replies      
45
codygman 5 days ago 1 reply      
In regards to everyone here talking about unity crashing:

xmonad+debian squeeze

My laptop has been up/plugged in for 72 days and I have no issues whatsoever ;) Sometimes stable is a good thing.

46
trotsky 5 days ago 0 replies      
Cool, it'll look smart next to my Ubuntu TV and my Ubuntu phone.
47
capex 5 days ago 0 replies      
Completely amazing in every sense. But the way he said "its the cleanest, freshest, most beautiful tablet experience around" sounded like a borrowed sentence.
48
SCdF 5 days ago 0 replies      
Man this looks great my transformer prime is getting kinda slow let me find the download li--- oh.

Well nevermind then. Back to work.

49
raphinou 5 days ago 0 replies      
I hope it runs on Asus Transformer and is usable both in tablet mode as laptop mode.
50
trebor 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I can install it on my iPad I might give it a try. Till then, why should I buy another tablet to play with Ubuntu?
51
espadrine 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ubuntu people, I have but one question:

can I open a terminal window from that tablet? a text editor?
get to Firefox' developer tools?

Do you see where I'm going with this?

(That must be possible, they demo Gimp in the video. Yet, that's what I hated in tablets: I couldn't use them.)

52
mikecane 5 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like what Open webOS should have been.
53
hobbyist 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is something visionary about these South Africans, first Elon Musk and then Mark Shuttleworth.
54
Lennu 5 days ago 0 replies      
If Steam is now out on Ubuntu 12.04, they could make it work too on these Ubuntu Tablets?
55
curiousfiddler 5 days ago 0 replies      
This just so awesome. As an Ubuntu user, I was feeling left out :)
56
BaconJuice 5 days ago 0 replies      
Please, could someone take this image and build it for the BlackBerry Playbook? because that thing is collecting dust under my bed at home.
57
baby 5 days ago 0 replies      
The video is so Apple-y that it bothers me (speaking really slowly like we are retards).
58
mixmastamyk 5 days ago 0 replies      
Looks pretty, but I've come to expect constant churn and regressions from Ubuntu. My desktop is significantly worse than it was 5 years ago.

Still I hold a sliver of hope that I'll be able to write mobile apps in Python one day. (I've heard of kivy, but worried it isn't direct enough).

59
nvk 5 days ago 0 replies      
Would love to hack my original iPad to install this.
60
dreen 5 days ago 0 replies      
Most people installed Ubuntu because they could do it on their PC without buying anything. Can I do the same with a semi-old tablet?
61
cabbeer 5 days ago 1 reply      
Ubuntu uses KDE for their mobile apps and GTK on the desktop, this is going to be a pain when porting apps.
62
tuananh 5 days ago 0 replies      
the OS itself looks decent and promising. Now the only problem is getting this into a decent hardware and they're golden.
63
shellehs 5 days ago 0 replies      
Anybody noticed the video showed windows apps Excel running on Ubuntu Tablet? What is that?
64
trumbitta2 5 days ago 1 reply      
I use unity for the fullscreen windows / mac-like menus.
In fact, I:

- use gnome-do instead of unity dash

- use docky in panel mode as my beloved taskbar

- keep the horrible unity sidebar well hidden on the left

And I am happy so far.

65
dharma1 5 days ago 1 reply      
proud to say I worked on the design for this :) Hope the community will embrace it and help us make it better
66
claystu 5 days ago 1 reply      
Can you dual boot it to an Ipad?
67
PhilipA 5 days ago 0 replies      
It looks nice, but the name Linux, will stile scare a lot of traditional users away...
68
mikemoka 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, I hope it will have the same success that Ubuntu for Mobile Devices gathered, oh wait, it didn't succeed after all..
69
tinkmasterflash 5 days ago 7 replies      
I don't even use Ubuntu for the desktop or the laptop, what motivation do I have to use it on a phone or tablet? How about making Unity less than an unholy mess before branching out into other form-factors?
8
Ask HN: Tools of the trade, 2013 edition
474 points by sharjeel  8 days ago   156 comments top 70
1
garrettdimon 8 days ago 21 replies      
I've been assembling a list of these lately for a book that I'm working on. (http://startingandsustaining.com) Some of the categories are fairly loose as some apps don't fit nicely into categorical buckets, but hopefully this is a helpful list.

--Browser/Email Testing

BrowserStack (http://www.browserstack.com)

Litmus (http://litmus.com)

--Bug/Issue Tracking

BugHerd (http://bugherd.com)

Lighthouse (http://lighthouseapp.com)

Sifter (http://sifterapp.com) (Disclaimer: I built this.)

--Planning & Project Management

Sprintly (http://sprint.ly)

Podio (https://podio.com)

Flow (http://www.getflow.com)

Interstate (http://interstateapp.com)

Basecamp (http://basecamp.com)

Apollo (http://www.apollohq.com)

Pivotal (http://www.pivotaltracker.com)

Asana (http://www.asana.com)

Trello (https://trello.com)

Blossom (https://www.blossom.io)

Trajectory (https://www.apptrajectory.com)

--Business & Traffic Analytics

KissMetrics (http://kissmetrics.com)

MixPanel (http://mixpanel.com)

DigMyData (http://digmydata.com)

--Continuous Integration / Code Quality

Travis (https://travis-ci.org)

Circle (http://circleci.com)

CodeClimate (http://codeclimate.com)

Sempaphore (https://semaphoreapp.com)

--Dashboards

Ducksboard (http://ducksboard.com)

Geckoboard (http://www.geckoboard.com)

Instrumental (https://instrumentalapp.com)

--Error/Exception Handling

Sentry (https://getsentry.com)

Coalmine (https://www.getcoalmine.com)

HoneyBadger (https://www.honeybadger.io)

BugSnag (https://bugsnag.com)

Raygun (http://raygun.io)

--Log Monitoring

Loggly (http://loggly.com)

Papertrail (https://papertrailapp.com)

LogEntries (https://logentries.com)

--Billing & Payment Processing

Braintree (https://www.braintreepayments.com)

Stripe (http://stripe.com)

Pin (http://pin.net.au)

PayMill (http://paymill.com)

Recurly (http://recurly.com)

Chargify (http://chargify.com)

Spreedly (http://spreedly.com)

Spreedly Core (https://core.spreedly.com)

--Support/Help Desks

Desk (http://desk.com)

HelpScout (http://helpscout.net)

ZenDesk (http://zendesk.com)

Groove (http://groovehq.com)

Intercom (http://intercom.io)

Tender (http://tenderapp.com)

--Transactional Email

Postmark (https://postmarkapp.com)

Mandril (http://mandrill.com)

MailGun (http://www.mailgun.com)

SendGrid (http://sendgrid.com)

CloudSMTP (http://www.cloudsmtp.com)

CritSend (http://www.critsend.com)

Postage (http://postageapp.com)

--Email Collection/Landing Page Apps

Launchrock (http://launchrock.com)

Unbounce (http://unbounce.com)

KickoffLabs (http://www.kickofflabs.com)

Launch Effect (http://launcheffectapp.com)

Prefinery (https://www.prefinery.com)

LaunchGator (http://launch.deskgator.com)

2
JangoSteve 7 days ago 2 replies      
Because you specifically are asking about "services", this is may be slightly off-topic, but I'd be interested in seeing a thread about open-source alternatives as well. When we were first starting out, we used a lot of these services and they were absolutely instrumental to get us going, allowing us to focus on what mattered at the time.

But the more we developed our rhythm and workflow, the more we started constantly running up against small idiosyncrasies with each service that we were powerless to fix (we always submitted feedback, sometimes they'd implement our idea, sometimes they wouldn't). Maybe this app had an awesome interface, but their status labels were odd given the usual workflow. Maybe this other app was perfect in every way but had no API to allow us to tie it into the rest of our process.

Anyway, we started switching from services to open-source products, which really allowed us to take our process to the next level and optimize everything specifically for our flow.

For example (italics are open-source):

---------------------

Project Management:

Email => Basecamp => Pivotal => Redmine (and tried Asana but went back to Redmine)

---------------------

Issue Tracking:

Email => Github Issues => Redmine

---------------------

Continuous Integration:

CruiseControl => Integrity => TDDium (https://www.tddium.com) / Semaphore (https://semaphoreapp.com)

---------------------

Error/Exception Tracking:

ExceptionNotifier => Airbrake => Errbit

---------------------

Time Tracking & Invoicing:

Harvest => Cashboard (http://www.cashboardapp.com)

---------------------

Group Chat:

Campfire => [currently looking into] Kandan

---------------------

Code Collaboration:

Self-hosted SVN => Unfuddle => Github

---------------------

Design Collaboration:

Pixelapse => ConceptShare

---------------------

You'll notice the only non-open-source services we still use are Github, Cashboard, TDDium/Semaphore, and ConceptShare. For the open-source services, we're able to host most of them on Heroku and rarely ever have to worry about maintaining them, other than security patches and whatnot. And we've been able to do some pretty cool things internally as far as connecting the different apps, since we have control over the APIs and underlying code, allowing us to add and change as needed.

You'll also notice that for CI, we actually went in the opposite direction from open-source to service-based. I have an entire writeup (not yet published) on why I actually found CI to work best for us as a 3rd-party service.

3
cmadan 8 days ago 1 reply      
Here is what we use

1. BitBucket (http://www.bitbucket.org) - Source code hosting

2. Google Docs (http://drive.google.com) - Team Collaboration

3. BitBucket Issues (http://www.bitbucket.org) - Team Collaboration

4. Heroku (http://www.heroku.com) - PaaS/sysadmin replacement

5. Hirefire (http://www.hirefireapp.com) - Scale up/down dynos on Heroku based on traffic

6. Mongolab (http://www.mongolab.com) - Database-aaS

7. Pusher (http://www.pusherapp.com) - WebSockets-aaS

8. Filepicker (http://www.filepicker.io) - Uploading files to the application

9. Mailgun (http://www.mailgun.com) - Send & Receive Mails

10. PaperTrail (http://www.papertrail.com) - Error Logging (Rails)

11. Errorception (http://www.errorception.com) - Error Logging (JS)

12. Desk.com (Knowledge Base + Customer Support)

4
sergiotapia 8 days ago 3 replies      
I STRONGLY recommend Asana:
http://www.asana.com

It's like using a smart piece of paper that just gets out of your way and let's you create, assign, toggle, set dates, etc really intuitively.

I'm a freelancer - and for my usage I typically have a Workspace called Freelance Projects. In that workspace I have many projects, each for each freelance gig I land. I then invite my client (YOU CAN INVITE UP TO 30 PEOPLE PER PROJECT FOR FREE HOLY BALLS) and collaborate intuitively from there.

He/she can upload photoshop files, images, text files, edit desriptions and I can comment on them and we go back and forth. Better than email.
I used to procrastinate a lot. It was my achille's heel; but since Asana I enjoy working because there's something deeply psychological in ticking things off and seeing them grayed out.If you haven't checked it out.

There's also Trello but I kind of dislike it when there are more than 5 items in a list. It gets unwiedly.

5
bearwithclaws 8 days ago 1 reply      
I use these for Hacker Monthly (http://hackermonthly.com):

SendGrid (http://sendgrid.com) - transactional emails (sending digital issues to subscribers).

MailChimp (http://mailchimp.com) - newsletter.

Linode (http://linode.com) - VPS hosting.

Harvest (http://getharvest.com) - invoicing (for corporate customers + advertisers).

FetchApp (http://fetchapp.com) - digital delivery (for single issue purchase).
Previously used E-Junkie.

PayPal - payment gateway (sadly, one of the only choice for Malaysian).

Gumroad (http://gumroad.com) - I use this as a 'PayPal alternative' for customers who wish to pay directly with their credit card (and refuse to have anything to do with PayPal).

Pivotal Tracker (http://pivotaltracker.com) - project management for HM's backend app

ODesk (http://odesk.com) - finding and managing my remote team (currently in the size of 4).

6
bradezone 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Pagoda Box: https://pagodabox.com/

A Heroku-esque deployment app specially tuned to PHP apps. Full of useful options. I love it.

7
endtwist 8 days ago 2 replies      
Harvest ( http://getharvest.com ) - Time tracking and invoicing for freelance work

SendGrid ( http://sendgrid.com ) - API for sending and tracking email

Lighthouse ( http://lighthouseapp.com ) - Issue tracking for teams

Trello ( http://trello.com ) - Task tracking, lists

Stripe ( http://stripe.com ) - Fast, easy payment processing

BundleScout ( http://bundlescout.com ) - Third-party library update tracking (shameless plug, but I use BundleScout at BundleScout)

8
seldo 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is our current list; I'm ignoring ones we've stopped using or haven't really started using properly yet.

Github - obviously

AWS - obviously

Ylastic - easier AWS management

Sendgrid - mail delivery

Stripe - payment processing

Pingdom - external uptime tracking

PagerDuty - ops alerting and scheduling

Xero - accounting

JIRA - task management (the hosted version at Atlassian)

Desk - support tickets

Crashplan - personal machine backups

Google Docs/Mail - everything else

Others have been mentioning Fabric, Puppet, Graphite, Nagios -- we use these but they're not hosted services, so not sure they fit.

9
alexmic 8 days ago 0 replies      
These are tools (not just SaaS services) I've used in the past as part of a team or on my own projects.

-------------

Collaboration

-------------

1. Yammer (https://www.yammer.com/)

2. Basecamp (http://basecamp.com)

3. Limechat for IRC client (http://limechat.net/mac/)

4. Flowdock (http://flowdock.com)

5. Asana (http://asana.com)

6. Trello (http://trello.com)

----------

Deployment

----------

1. Chef (http://www.opscode.com/chef/)

2. Fabric (http://fabfile.org)

----------

CI

----------

1. Jenkins (http://jenkins-ci.org)

-----

Email

-----

1. Sendgrid (http://sendgrid.com)

2. AWS SES (http://aws.amazon.com/ses/)

3. Gmail (http://gmail.com)

4. MailChimp (http://mailchimp.com)

5. Campaign Monitor (http://www.campaignmonitor.com/)

6. Fractal (https://www.getfractal.com/)

--------------------

Monitoring & Logging

--------------------

1. Graylog2 (http://graylog2.org/)

2. Statsd (https://github.com/etsy/statsd/)

3. Graphite (http://graphite.wikidot.com/)

4. Geckoboard (http://www.geckoboard.com/)

5. PaperTrail (https://papertrailapp.com/)

6. Pingdom (https://www.pingdom.com/)

---------

Analytics

---------

1. Mixpanel (http://mixpanel.com)

2. Segment.io (http://segment.io)

3. Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/)

--------------

Issue Tracking

--------------

1. Github Issues (http://github.com)

2. Lighthouse (http://lighthouseapp.com/)

------

Others

------

1. Silverback (http://silverbackapp.com/)

2. Wufoo (http://www.wufoo.com/)

10
llimllib 8 days ago 0 replies      
The only ones my company uses that haven't yet been mentioned are Google Hangout and GoToMeeting. We use both because Hangouts have given us issues on some networks.

Also, our chatbot is critical to the way we work and lives on hipchat (but has adapters for campfire and jabber): https://github.com/markolson/linkbot

11
bfirsh 8 days ago 0 replies      
Here are a few that we use.

Airbrake (http://airbrake.io/) - Exception logging.

Campfire (http://campfirenow.com/) - Chat.

Librato (https://metrics.librato.com/) - Hosted graphing.

Mixpanel (http://mixpanel.com/) - Analytics, people tracking.

Pagerduty (http://www.pagerduty.com/) - Monitoring alerts.

Sendgrid (http://sendgrid.com/) - Sending emails.

Sprintly (https://sprint.ly/) - Project management.

Tarsnap (http://www.tarsnap.com/) - Offsite backups.

As well as all the obvious ones - GitHub, Google Apps, Dropbox, etc.

12
rschmitty 8 days ago 0 replies      
I still find the Atlassian OnDemand suite to be the most complete thing for teams after we out grew BaseCamp/GitHub: http://www.atlassian.com/software/ondemand/overview/

BitBucket: just like github (git, wiki, issues, pull requests etc) only priced that makes sense for private repos. We just use it for git however because...

JIRA: Way better issues/bugs/feature tickets, built in optional time tracking. Good support for Agile teams with GreenHopper

Confluence: A real wiki

Bamboo: continuous integration/deployment. When you commit to git with a JIRA ticket number and a build fails its easier for everyone (non-technical people) to see what is causing the failed build

The other big plus is user management to all of the above, you can create client accounts if needed and they can create/close tickets or work on wiki with you.

HipChat is nice because your non technical people participate easier, irc previously had just been developers

You can probably get all of these things free individually but its worth the small $ to have them all work together seamlessly, plus 1 account vs many is always a big plus for adoption

--------------

SplunkStorm: https://www.splunkstorm.com/ log practically anything server related and put it into dashboards/timelines. Alerts in the works

13
csomar 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure about the current trends, but here is my list for 2012-2013

- Github (http://github.com) for Open Source and private source code control.

- Bitbucket (http://bitbucket.org) mostly private source code management.

- Linode (http://linode.com) Where I run my virtual servers.

- Trello (http://trello.com) Manages all my projects

- Basecamp (http://basecamp.com) some clients still use it.

- Google Analytics (http://google.com/analytics) Sticking with Google.

- Freshbooks (http://freshbooks.com) For invoicing matters.

- ahref (http://ahrefs.com) Tracking my backlinks.

- Skype (http://skype.com) P2P calls and VoIP.

- Google App (http://google.com/a) Planning to move this year, still on the free plan.

- Gmail (http://gmail.com) still no plans to move yet!

14
borski 8 days ago 0 replies      
Hipchat (http://hipchat.com) - team collaboration

Stripe (http://stripe.com) - payments

Mandrill (http://mandrill.com) - email

Tinfoil Security (http://tinfoilsecurity.com) - web security

Help Scout (http://helpscout.net) - help desk / customer support

15
codemoran 5 days ago 1 reply      
What we use at graphdat.

Source code: http://www.github.com
We could host our own server, but github is really convenient and our SDKs are open source so its easier.

Workflow & Issues: http://huboard.com/
Given we use github, huboard makes it easy to mange the issues

Build: http://jenkins-ci.org/ and https://github.com/capistrano/capistrano
Such a nice setup, we host our own jenkins server, I have seen some links above to Travis, might give that a spin.

Tickets & Wiki: http://www.uservoice.com
Its a love/hate relationship with uservoice. They make some things easy, others are so arcane. I'm adding in a wiki article right now with some images in it. But uservoice doesn't let you host an image, so I put it into an S3 bucket, add the link to uservoice and there is a security error. I go back to the bucket, reset the security settings and uservoice is caching the image error and wont let me add the images, so I need to edit the source. So hard for something so simple.

Team Communication: https://www.flowdock.com/
We were using Campfire, but we like flowdock much better. Threaded conversations are still tough, I actually miss Google Wave. We had 1 wave a day, it starts to grow on you.

Log Aggregation: http://graylog2.org/
Very cool once you get it all working together

Server Metrics and Application Analytics: http://www.graphdat.com
We dog food our own product, so it's our servers on the homepage..

Some other notable candidates:

'your personal website': http://backstit.ch/
handy to monitor a couple of feeds

'tech news aggregator': http://skimfeed.com/
nice way to skim some news

16
DanielRibeiro 7 days ago 1 reply      
Steven Blank seems to be keeping a pretty nice list up to date: http://steveblank.com/tools-and-blogs-for-entrepreneurs/
17
trendspotter 6 days ago 0 replies      
Before I found this overview and your comments here today, I started two other similar overviews. One on Quora and the other on Bestvendor. Here they are:

http://www.quora.com/Startups/What-are-some-notable-startups...

http://www.bestvendor.com/lists/startup-tools-for-startups

Here is a copy of my older post on Quora, please take a look at my newer BestVendor list (see link above) as well:

- SETUP

http://www.getdash.com/ currently down or pivot)

- Claim your brand name

claim.io

Trademarkia

- Workspace and office space

Loosecubes

LiquidSpace

42Floors

- MANAGEMENT

- Business Analytics

Geckoboard

Chartio

- Cloud Aggregation and Unified Activity Streams

Hojoki

Flowdock

Zapier

Otixo

Cloudbot

Refinder

dispatch.io

busyflow.com

300.mg

cloudsnap.com

manybots.com

tractionstream.com

clutchapp.com

jaconda.im

- Business Intelligence

GoodData

- Contractor Management

oDesk

Elance

- Communication

Yammer

Salesforce Chatter

Socialcast

- Coordination, Collaboration

Zoho

Podio

Asana

Trello

Basecamp

Huddle

Planbox

Teambox

Dropbox

- Resource-Planning

Erply

- Human Resources (HR)

Workday (software)

- Social CRM

NimbleCRM

capsulecrm.com

Batchbook

- Cloud integration

SnapLogic

- Expenses

Expensify

- Invoicing

Tradeshift

FreshBooks

- Time Tracking

getharvest.com

toggl.com

- Customer Support

Assistly

Zendesk

Olark

SnapEngage

- Feedback

UserVoice

Get Satisfaction

Intercom

- Content Management

Acquia (Drupal)

- Wiki

MindTouch

- BACKEND

Cloud Hosting

Heroku

Engine Yard

- Database

Cloudera

- Virtualization
Skytap

- Storage

Pure Storage

- Mobile Backend

Urban Airship

Parse

- WebSockets

Pusher

- Cloud Telephony, SMS

Twilio

Tropo

- Payments, Billing

Stripe

Recurly

Zuora

Spreedly

Chargify

- Code repository

GitHub

Beanstalk

- API Management

Mashery

Apigee

- DEVELOPMENT

iOS Testing

TestFlight

- Issue Tracking

Pivotal Tracker

Sifter

lighthouseapp

- Monitoring

New Relic

Airbrake (iOS Bug tracking)

Crittercism (iOS Bug tracking)

- DESIGN

Mockups/Wireframes/Workflows

Balsamiq

InVisionApp

Mockingbird

Axure RP

Mockflow

OmniGraffle

Mockup Builder

HotGloo

- MARKETING

- Email

MailChimp

SendGrid

Mailjet

- Social Media

Buddy Media

Sprout Social

- Beta Invite / Landing Page Management

LaunchRock

Prefinery

KickoffLabs

- Pre-Launch

UsabilityHub

- Video

Vimeo

Ooyala

- Analytics

Chartbeat

Mixpanel

Optimizely

App Annie

Distimo

- Infographics

Visual.ly

18
Flavius 8 days ago 1 reply      
Moqups (https://www.moqups.com/) - Wireframing tool

Sendgrid (http://sendgrid.com/) - Sending emails

Braintree (https://www.braintreepayments.com/) - Payments

Deployd (http://www.deployd.com/) - Quickly design and build APIs

Github (https://github.com/) - Project hosting and issue tracker

19
8ig8 7 days ago 0 replies      
FreshBooks (http://www.freshbooks.com) is fantastic for invoicing. That's the primary reason we use it, but it also tracks time, expenses and is moving towards a full accounting offering.
20
smadam9 8 days ago 0 replies      
Graylog2 (http://graylog2.org/) - Log management & analytics in browser

Torch (for hosted Graylog https://www.torch.sh/)

21
St-Clock 7 days ago 0 replies      
In terms of SaaS, we use:

    github (code review is the killer feature)
campfire
jira + greenhopper (no killer feature :-( )
notableapp (so-so interactions with our designers)
balsamiq (quick & easy mockups)
crashplan (easy and cross-platform backups)
google apps
google analytics (we have a crazy setup)

I am currently looking into splunkstorm for our log analysis. We are using monit and mmonit (on premise) for alterting and monitoring.

For my open source projects, I use:

  github
travis-ci
sourceforge (for the mailing list. any suggestions for alternatives?)

22
veesahni 8 days ago 0 replies      
Trello ( http://trello.com ) - task tracking

Clicky ( http://clicky.com ) - lightweight visitor analytics

Pingdom ( http://pingdom.com ) - monitoring

AWS ( http://aws.amazon.com ) - infrastructure

Stripe ( http://stripe.com ) - payments

Mailgun ( http://mailgun.com ) - transactional email

Postmark ( http://postmarkapp.com ) - more transactional email

Mailchimp ( http://mailchimp.com ) - non-transactional email

SupportFu ( http://www.supportfu.com ) - lightweight customer service

23
jasonhanley 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've found that http://www.bestvendor.com/ and http://alternativeto.net/ are nice sites to figure out tool stacks.

BestVendor even lets you put together your own customized lists: http://www.bestvendor.com/lists/tool-stack-for-pmrobot-a-mob...

24
philjackson 8 days ago 0 replies      
It's mine but hopefully ApiAxle is useful to API developers: http://apiaxle.com
25
asenna 7 days ago 0 replies      
I was just doing some research on this recently and found this amazing article by Vccafe - http://www.vccafe.com/startup-resources/

The links are all in the article.

26
sgt 8 days ago 0 replies      
It certainly seems that these startups have the potential of jointly keeping themselves alive.
27
smagch 8 days ago 3 replies      
Why no one mentioned about Zapier?

https://zapier.com/

28
todsul 8 days ago 0 replies      
Vero (http://getvero.com) - email A/B testing & re-marketing

Trello (http://trello.com) - task/project/team management

Stripe (http://stripe.com) - credit card payment processing

Helpscout (http://helpscout.net) - email support system

Plus the usual suspects: AWS, GitHub, Mailgun...

30
josscrowcroft 8 days ago 1 reply      
[Plug:]

Open Exchange Rates (https://openexchangerates.org) " free or very cheap currency conversion data JSON API. Built by a developer for other developers. :o)

31
minhajuddin 7 days ago 0 replies      
Timelogger (https://github.com/minhajuddin/timelogger). A command line tool which allows you to maintain a log of your time spent on various activities/projects/tasks, with decent reporting.
32
camz 8 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe ( http://stripe.com )- Payment processing

Sendgrid ( http://sendgrid.com )- Sending emails

Autotax ( http://autotax.me )- Automated 1099 & sales tax filing

Trello ( http://trello.com ) - Trask tracking

New Relic ( http://newrelic.com ) - Server/app monitoring

33
sharjeel 8 days ago 0 replies      
Here is mine:

Twilio (www.twilio.com) - Communicate with your users over SMS and Voice

Stripe (www.stripe.com) - Payments processing simplified

BugHerd (www.bugherd.com) - WYSIWYG bug reporting

Discourse (www.discourse.org) - Upcoming discussion board

34
karanbhangui 7 days ago 0 replies      
Surprised no one has mentioned Vagrant [1]. By far the best addition to my tool-set this year.

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

35
delirious 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This list was pretty helpful.

http://www.meetup.com/SF-Growth-Hackers/pages/Growth_Hacking...

The SF growth hackers talk about the tools a lot in their meetup if anyone is interested in learning more about them.

36
olegp 8 days ago 1 reply      
getsentry.com - error logging

clicky.com - real time analytics

irccloud.com - IRC in the browser

sendgrid.com - API for sending e-mail

37
vccafe 7 days ago 0 replies      
Vendorstack created an info graphic of the top startups for startups tools, I spiced it a bit more and posted a super tools list on VC Cafe link: http://www.vccafe.com/2013/01/24/startups-startups-top-b2b-t...
38
Johnyma22 8 days ago 0 replies      
Travis (http://travis-ci.org)
Github
Bitbucket
Etherpad (http://etherpad.org
39
reledi 7 days ago 0 replies      
I have a gist that I update frequently https://gist.github.com/dideler/1718200. It needs some cleaning up though.
40
n9com 8 days ago 1 reply      
1. JIRA (Issue Tracking)
2. BitBucket (Source code hosting)
3. Desk (Customer Support)
4. MailChimp (Newsletter / Email marketing)
5. ServInt (Web hosting)
41
bconway 7 days ago 0 replies      
Already some pretty extensive lists here, but no mention yet of LeanKit: http://leankit.com/

I've found it to be excellent.

43
thoughtcriminal 5 days ago 0 replies      
Jumping in to make one recommendation: Hitsniffer, real-time analytics: http://hitsniffer.com

I've used them for several years now and they are awesome.

44
mgkimsal 8 days ago 0 replies      
Browser testing: http://saucelabs.com
45
yonasb 6 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome post. I've listed out my "Cloudstack" on Leanstack at http://alpha.leanstack.io/users/yonasb. Just launched the alpha would love some feedback from you guys, just ping me at yonas@leanstack.io if you're interested or sign up on the site. Thanks!
46
preinheimer 8 days ago 0 replies      
Where's it Up - http://wheresitup.com/ Global ping/dns/traceroute tools
47
somlor 7 days ago 0 replies      
Paydirt (https://paydirtapp.com) - Time tracking and invoicing.

SerpBook (http://serpbook.com) - Search engine rank tracker.

Mortar (http://mortardata.com) - Hadoop-aaS.

48
shirkey 6 days ago 0 replies      
Passpack (http://www.passpack.com) for centralized password sharing among remote team members. Previously using Keepass, which is great but difficult to sync. Yes, passwords in the cloud -- I never thought I'd do it either.
49
nanch 7 days ago 0 replies      
I made http://tarbackup.com for encrypted off-site backups using existing open-source tools.

I hope it will make it to your list of "recommended services" by the end of 2013.

50
lucidquiet 7 days ago 0 replies      
There's also this newer Planning and Project Management tool, that was just released: https://zingproject.com/ -- not the best name but none ever are. The interesting thing about this is that it's built around a streaming so that you can see everyone else's edits as they occur.
51
amarsahinovic 7 days ago 0 replies      
http://piwik.org/ Open source alternative to Google Analytics
52
wslh 7 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder why nobody is talking about OTRS: http://www.otrs.com as an excellent ticketing system.
53
olegp 8 days ago 0 replies      
I'm actually working on a web app directory as part of https://starthq.com - sign up to receive a reminder when it launches next week.
54
philippeback 8 days ago 0 replies      
hipchat - IM

parse.com - API integration

symbaloo.com - entry points collection

teamviewer - screen share

55
disclosure 8 days ago 0 replies      
Accept Bitcoin as payment: http://www.weusecoins.com/
56
jonsherrard 8 days ago 0 replies      
The only to-do list you'll ever need: http://workflowy.com
57
halayli 7 days ago 0 replies      
http://webmon.com external website & network monitoring
58
Bharath1234 7 days ago 0 replies      
--Helpdesk
Freshdesk (http://www.freshdesk.com)
59
tomdidom 6 days ago 0 replies      
Tom's Planner http://www.tomsplanner.com for the Planning & Project Management category
60
amac 7 days ago 0 replies      
AWS

Google Apps

Google Analytics

Blogger

MailChimp

Drupal

Desk

Facebook

Twitter

GitHub

Worldpay

61
spo81rty 8 days ago 0 replies      
Hosted TFS
Stackify - app ops
Twilio sms
SendGrid email
Chargify - billing software
Pusher - web sockets
62
damon_c 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned WePay for payment processing. Their api is excellent and they fill some specific needs that I haven't seen addressed anywhere else.
63
sidcool 7 days ago 0 replies      
I am impressed with how frequently Asana, Trello and Stripe have featured there.
64
jbobes 8 days ago 0 replies      
Cloudiff Server monitoring / Cloud management

http://cloudiff.com/demo

65
pkrefta 8 days ago 1 reply      
OT - Maybe should we also add native apps ?
66
ataleb52 6 days ago 0 replies      
There is far too much awesomeness on this thread...thank you for asking this question!
67
leadsrain 6 days ago 0 replies      
68
dalacv 7 days ago 0 replies      
is there anything in here that is a landing page builder + recurring payment collection?
69
rafadhs 7 days ago 0 replies      
I assembled my 150+ lists list at www.tuneyourstartup.com
Will add the ones suggested here. Thanks for sharing, everyone.
70
snambi 7 days ago 0 replies      
Nice list
9
The Chromebook Pixel chrome.blogspot.com
457 points by mikeevans  3 days ago   484 comments top 104
1
javajosh 3 days ago 27 replies      
There are only three meaningful things you can do with a computer with specs like this: development, design, or gaming. And yet ChromeOS can't do any of these things.

Perhaps this is a vanity product for the wealthy. But wealthy people are going to just surf the web on an iPad.

I really don't get this product.

2
Raphael_Amiard 3 days ago 6 replies      
Am i the only one seeing this as a high-end computer with :

- Linux drivers working out of the box

- Amazing screens

- Very easy to transform into a full fledged Linux development machine

I hope it can fit the bill, certainly looks promising from that perspective ! Anybody has a link to full specs ?

3
jbail 3 days ago 5 replies      
So, it is real!

It looks awesome, but at $1,299, I don't think it's priced well. That's $100 more than a 13" MacBook. I just don't see that much value in a Chromebook at this point in time.

4
pwthornton 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a Chromebook user, I find this device both very intriguing and expensive. I use my Chromebook for writing, Web surfing, light code work. It's a nice little machine to have around. It's not the main event, however.

For heavy-duty work, I use my 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, which not only has a much better screen, touchpad and other hardware, but it also has a big SSD and a full-fledged OS. Chrome OS is not a OS X competitor, and there are a lot of things I simply cannot do on ChromeOS. The beauty of ChromeOS is that its a lightweight OS that can be placed on cheap hardware to make it usable and fast by serving as a thin client. I don't see it as a great OS to stick on expensive hardware.

I find the Pixel to be an intriguing device, and hope that all laptops have high pixel density screens within five years. This price point is too high for ChromeOS. I'm not spending $1,000 for a machine that cannot do certain computing tasks.

There are no good graphic or photo editors in the cloud. Editing audio and video is very difficult to do as well. Using your machine as a development device without connecting to a server is not possible. Not to mention that the MacBook Pro can play games, run Windows and Linux, etc.

The Retina MacBook may have cost more than the Pixel is going to, but it is worth several times more. Not to mention that Apple has spent a lot of time working with hiDPI screens and has made the OS work well for it.

What would make an intriguing price point? $799. Perhaps $999. It will come down to the software, however. I've never see ChromeOS with a touchscren. Maybe it'll work well, and maybe what would really work well is a Pixel-like device with a detachable screen. But the kind of people that spend more than $1,000 on a computer are looking for more than just a thin client.

5
ok_craig 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if they are doing this, at least in part, because they really want a Chromebook that is high-end to display in their physical stores? Maybe having a really nice, really expensive Chromebook will make the brand not seem cheap to casual store browsers.
6
DigitalTurk 3 days ago 6 replies      
The Verge has more pictures.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/21/4013480/google-chromebook-...

It looks an awful lot like a Macbook: Just witness the aluminum-like color and the black bevel around the screen. Where it looks different, it's uglier. The hinge looks particularly bad. And judging by the pictures it's an awful lot bulkier than a Macbook Air.

Chrome OS strikes me as an underpowered OS. That is, there's a lot it won't do and it seems mostly suitable for underpowered machines.

UPDATE: this paragraph is wrong; I stand corrected! -- The ChromeBook Pixel has a 4:3 display. Now, I recently came across an old laptop of mine that had a 4:3 display and it looked off. I'm not saying that 4:3 aspect ratio a bad choice in an objective sense, but it strikes me as a bad choice from a marketing point of view.

For one hundred dollars less you can get a 13" Macbook Air. For two hundred dollars more you can get a 13" Macbook Pro with Retina Display. Both these machines seem better than the Chromebook Pixel in every way, including battery life (7 hours versus 5).

In conclusion, I think this is going to fail badly.

7
jjcm 3 days ago 2 replies      
I know this is going to seem like a nitpick, but laptops without magnetic power connectors these days just feel cheap. It's such a simple addition that greatly improves the product. I don't see why larger companies aren't all converting over to them. I know apple has a patent on them, but there's tons of prior art for heaven's sake. I think the only non-apple product out there I've seen with them on it is the microsoft surface (though admittedly the surface one is pretty bad, it's still better than this style of connector).

Overall though it seems like a nice product. I'd probably be interested if I could install ubuntu on it.

8
speeder 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think it is purely amazing the specs for that price.

But I am really bothered by the fact that it is...

A Chromebook.

I hate "cloud" stuff, I like to have stuff where I know where they are, and who can see them.

Also I live in Brazil, where internet is patchy, at best.
And it is sad it does not support Ethernet... I like Ethernet! It is faster and more stable!

But impressive, very impressive, well done Google.

If anyone here has a idea if there are a way to use Chromebook as non-Chromebook (specially, non-cloud), tell me :)

9
revelation 3 days ago 1 reply      
With 4GB of RAM, USB 2.0 (how do you even get that? what kind of oooold chipset are they using?) and only 32GB of storage, this thing is ridiculously overpriced and pretty much dead on arrival.
10
btipling 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is basically a $1,300 web browser. I don't get it, beautiful touch display or not.
11
bitcartel 3 days ago 2 replies      
Where are the real specs? Google have gone and copied what Apple do, and just dumped marketing blurb everywhere.

"Intel® Core™ i5 Processor (Dual Core 1.8GHz)" - What's the model number? There are numerous Core i5 processors and their performance varies, which one am I getting? http://www.cpubenchmark.net/laptop.html

32 GB SSD - What kind of read/write speed? Standard SATA or mSATA interface?

4 GB DDR3 RAM - Is the RAM soldered or user upgradeable? How many ram slots? What's the maximum capacity?

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but at that price, I do actually want to know if I'm buying an appliance or a computer.

12
Terretta 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google Drive 1TB for 3 years = $1,800

Chromebook Pixel 1TB for 3 years = $1,300 + free laptop

Or put another way, commit to Google Drive for 3 years of 1TB, get 30% off and a free Chromebook Pixel.

13
jonpaul 3 days ago 0 replies      
The battery life is crap. I honestly didn't think that $1300 was awful. Pricey, but not awfully pricey. And then I saw the battery life... only 5 hours =( If you want to delight the user with a mobile, battery life needs to be a priority. 5 hours is industry standard in crap laptops. Even the el' cheapo Chromebooks (my cr48) get better than 5 hours.
14
ConstantineXVI 3 days ago 2 replies      
That is one beautiful laptop (note that it's not 16:9 either). I feel like we're missing something, there's no way Google would be blind enough to build such a powerful machine (vs existing Chromebooks) that's so limited by the OS. There's either something we aren't being told or Google's jumped entirely off the deep end.

(Alternative: there's no way they could do a "Retina" Chromebook for reasonably cheap, but the Nexus 10 would seem to disprove that)

15
glogla 3 days ago 2 replies      
Oh boy. If only they gave it 128 GB drive.

The way it is it's useless for me (and I guess most people on HN, though I think basic Ubuntu could fit into 32/64 GB), but it still makes me cautiously optimistic that after years of stagnation and perhaps even regression, the 1366x768 era might be nearing it's end. I can hope that in a year, "reasonable-resolution" (as Linus called it) laptop like the Pixel will be not outrageous or top of the line but simply normal.

And the screen aspect ratio is just a cherry on top.

16
bluthru 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm glad Google is going to offer a high-end Chromebook, but I'd really like to see a $400 model that improves on screen quality and size. A 15" IPS Chromebook would be the sweet spot for me.

Also, I can't help but think that making a chromebook touch screen is a waste of money. Gorilla arm, anyone?

17
CGamesPlay 3 days ago 2 replies      
To help get context on this, I went back in time and looked at discussion about the initial iPad launch:

- http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1081505

- http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1081140

The first poll is especially telling. Overwhelmingly, people said they wouldn't get this device (2/3 of the voters). The initial iPad was obviously very successful.

The complaints in the second thread are largely a mirror of the conversation in this thread, except for back then, nobody came up with counterarguments in favor of the iPad. Does that indicate that the market for this sort of thing is different these days?

18
guylhem 3 days ago 0 replies      
For my mobile devices, I usually don't care a lot about the brand, and only slightly the costs - I simply get what best matches my needs.

I want all my data in the cloud + permanent access on a powerful device where I can do everything (ie I don't want something underpowered causing limitations).

The $150 difference for a minimal LTE connections makes this thing attractive - that means no need to look for wifi hotspots and then spend a minute to ask for the damn password to restaurant owners.

The 1TB cloud storage, if it can be shared with other computers at home, would just kill any need I have of Dropbox and others. That is also a big plus. If the cloud storage can somehow be used to host static websites with a custom domain name, I would also cancel at least 2 hosting accounts. (add some PostgreSQL capability and that'd be 3 hosting accounts I'd cancel)

BUT :

- 4Gb of RAM? Who though that it could be decent for a high-end laptop? 8Gb is the bare minimum I will consider. I will want to run heavy stuff on that thing if there is an i5 and a low battery life instead of an ARM. (heavy stuff: a gazillon tabs, editors, many pdf files, editing documents, cpu-hog websites doing pretty graphs like http://hdr.undp.org/en/data/trends/)

- 64 Gb of flash??? Really??? How will I get permanent access to my 1Tb of data if I'm in a place without LTE or WIFI ???

I purchased a 512 Gb SSD for my Macbook Air as soon as it was available on OWC, just because I can't stand the pain of missing some document or music or whatever

I don't want to care. I want my problems to be solved. 1Tb: ok, 64 Gb cache: fails.

As attractive as this chromebook may look like, I won't buy one because it is not solving all my problems - even if I'm one of these users who want everything in the cloud.

I want everything in the cloud but the online storage is only up to 1 Tb. I have more data that this, but ok, I can live with that minor limitation. However, I want a full backup locally accessible for whenever connectivity might be a problem.

If it is somehow possible to upgrade the RAM and the SSD (in the early days of Zaurus and Simpad, there were shops doing BGA reflow for such needs), and if for say $1000 more I can get than done and get at least 512 Gb of SSD and 8 Gb of ram, I may buy one.

1 Tb of SSD and 8 Gb of ram means I will buy one, but only if at this $1400+$1000=$2400 pricetag there are no better options to run Linux or OSX on similar hardware (1.5 kg, high res touch screen, slim laptop) - because I don't care about the brand.

These are a lot of conditions for me, so I'm not sure about what the market is for that thing. Certainly not me at least.

19
MatthewPhillips 3 days ago 2 replies      
3 TB of Drive for free is incredible. Just 2 TB sets you back $99/month normally.

EDIT: KevinEldon corrected me below, it is 1 TB for 3 years, my mistake. Normally that would be $49/month.

20
naner 3 days ago 0 replies      
So this looks like it could be a very nice Linux laptop assuming all the drivers are open source (nothing bad stood out in a cursory glance of the specs, though I imagine the noise-canceling and touchscreen won't work on vanilla Linux). Only issue is how well your favorite Linux interface (Gnome, KDE, etc) will scale to such a high pixel density.
21
recoiledsnake 3 days ago 4 replies      
Does it run Android apps?

What use is the touchscreen apart from scrolling or tapping on links in the browser?

The Verge calls it a hair thicker than the Air, am I the only one that feels that it's a lot thicker? Comparison photo: http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/7732773/theverge...

22
hmottestad 3 days ago 1 reply      
I feel there is far too little discussion here on the screen.

This laptop screen is amazing. Since we today have light, fast, power efficient and sturdy laptops. The next big thing, is the screen.

A TN screen on a laptop is just sad. My first Macbook pro felt horrid just because I was used to a PVA desktop screen. I kept adjusting and adjusting the screen.

If you take a moment to appreciate your crummy laptop screen you will notice a few things.

1. The screen has a tint to it. Ranging from green to purple from the top of the screen to the bottom. Put the screen on its side and this is very clear.

2. The viewing angles are horrendous. Put on a black background and try to adjust the screen so that it's evenly black top to bottom. At arms length this is impossible, and really annoying when watching a movie.

3. Try having a friend stand behind you while you work and show him a picture of your girlfriend, he'll be shocked at how pale she has become.

I'm currently on a Macbook with retina screen. I have an iPad with retina screen and I have a normal 24" 1920x1200 desktop which used to be my best screen, but is now only better than the screen on my old ipod touch.

People complain about their laptop keyboards. I complain about laptop screens.

23
ceol 3 days ago 1 reply      
Direct link to specs: https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromebook-pix... scroll down and click "full specs")

I think it's interesting they chose a 3:2 aspect ratio. The price is a bit high for the specs you get, but I suppose a lot of that is the (multi-touch)screen.

24
obilgic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Even though I use my chromebook every day, I think this is a very high price point for this device.

Seems like they release a new chrome os device every few months, I would much prefer updating my chromebook every year for 400$-500$ with faster lighter version, instead of investing 1300$.

25
onemorepassword 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just ignoring the specs and the Chromebook concept for a second (yes, this baby is useless for most of us, obviously), I'm very impressed with the design.

This is the first time ever I've seen a laptop design that is not a total Apple rip-off and looks classy. At least it doesn't scream "compromise" like 99% of all other non-Apple laptops.

26
mrb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Two words: reading maps.

A high-PPI screen is heaven for using Google Maps. I always get so frustrated on my 1080p screen: even with the browser map in full screen mode, I can't seem to see "enough" of it when browsing random geographical locations and trying to get a sense of how the surrounding area looks.

A 239 PPI screen allows displaying a character in an 8-pixel font (eg. "fixed" on Linux) in a 1x1mm area. You could have all the tiniest roads and cities labelled on the map, even if barely readable.

27
wvenable 3 days ago 0 replies      
The price ($1,299) should be in the title of this post so people can avoid getting excited about it.
28
moron4hire 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is the 1TB Google Drive account complimentary with the purchase? And for how long? Cuz that's $600 in the first year, right there.
29
bitsoda 3 days ago 0 replies      
Besides being too expensive for something in which you can't do real work (yes, I know, you can SSH into a hosted box, but why would I pay $1300 and $X.XX for hosting, to essentially use this new machine as a dumb terminal), what's the point of having a touch screen on a laptop? Haven't we concluded that this is a horrible idea? Just look at this demo (http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/21/4013480/google-chromebook-...) from The Verge, Dieter fumbles around trying to hit a tab.

It strikes me odd that Google, a company with no shortage of talent, can't get retail right. Who is this laptop for? The 12 year old Engadget/Verge reader who thinks this Chromebook Pixel is the nail in Apple's coffin?

This is so misguided. I know I shouldn't be so infuriated over a botched product launch, but this irks me for some reason. I guess it's because I like Google's products and want them to succeed in hardware, but I lose hope when I see questionable decisions like the manufacturing of this neutered MacBook Pro ripoff. Ugh.

30
kunai 3 days ago 0 replies      
Props to them for making the display vertically rather than horizontally oriented. I've been incredibly tired of the stupidly short 16:9 displays dominating the market. However, one has to wonder why such a good display is being wasted on a product like this. Great specs, great display, but horrible, crap operating system.

Who needs this kind of laptop to just browse the web? I would buy this in an instant if it had some custom Linux distribution on it.

I guess it's Retina or nothing, then, unfortunately.

31
Zenst 3 days ago 1 reply      
Had a few friends who got invites and have one to play with for a month now.

Must say I'm somewhat feeling meh about this on many levels.

Initialy the price was a wake up and I thought, ok I'm missing something so I did a little digging and still think its too expensive for the sum of parts.

Issues I have are:

1) Price
2) Limited local storage
3) Only USB2 and no USB3
4) No 3g or 4G options in the UK and given the price I'd expect at least 3 years worth of unlimited 3G internet based up consumer prices and that spec.
5) battery life, is somewhat lacking

Concerns that may also be worries when I know more are:

1) Keyboard mic could be used to snarf passwords via applications that have access to the mic
2) No vents apparent and suspect hidden under the keyboard which is worrying in case of spill/splash
3) Screen mooted to have good viewing angles so more mindful to shoulder surfing

But in general for what you get it seems way too expensive and look forward to a teardown.

Now all that said Google did somewhat get burned on the Nexus 4 pricing and I don't know if they are over compensating or what. They may be releaseing at a silly price for those with more money to burn, then gradualy lower the price to fit all price pockets.

Another aspect a friend said was it has 1tb for 3 years cloud storage and whilst nice and with that local storage overly needed I do think such lockins to Google without being able to tap alternatives and cheaper alternatives distracting from the price. Remember Microsoft many years ago got lambasted for tieing in everybody to IE on windows as default and not offing a simple-janet-and-john alternative for the happy people. This ties in more than that, but different times.

When I factor all that it is and is not I still think if I had that money I would get a macbook air and I have never had Apple product and very much a google fan, but this is so over priced to me that it would be insane to buy one at that price, least for me.

I would also add that two wifi ipads with retina screens and a bluetooth keyboard works out cheaper and with that, it does somewhat again highlight the price factor.

So with all that I'll stick with my plans to get a Chromebook (cheap one) and probably get one even cheaper 2nd hand now :) that and my netbook with built in 3g modem and twice the battery life is still nothing to worry about.

I would like to see a resolution like this but with more storage, USB3, built in 3g modem (3G in the UK is faster than USA 4G and CDMA 4G with voice is a battery nightmare apparently as well as a kludge somewhat). Also at the very least twice that battery life.

So I will with for a tegra 4 version, which will make more sence on more levels.

32
andreasklinger 3 days ago 1 reply      
Love the fact that it neither has windows key nor mac key :
33
samstave 3 days ago 0 replies      
It all started a few years ago. People didn't understand at first. It looked hap-hazzard.. but now. Now they get it - but even more than that, they're trapped.

One used to be able to expect both freedom and choice. Now they have neither.

It was a kicker too, starting out with a service here, a device there, a bit of infrastructure over there.... but now? Now its one big system. From bit to brick, its all one big pipe - an experience fully enclosed, encapsulated, enumerated, evaluated and.... exploited. For every single bit of information about, well, everything.

They worked their way down the layers. What was once a web service is now the actual physical net.

You cant push a packet without them seeing it.Most people don' care though - they bought into the web services decades ago. Phones were next, then laptops, service providers and frequencies.

Its basically the commercial version of the NSA these days, hell, there hasn't even been a real difference between the two for some time now.

Now, pretty much any connection is provided by them. They started out nice enough... do no evil and all... but when you're the only game in town - it's pretty hard to not abuse your power. Hell, its more than power. Power is limited... omnipotence is not. That's what they are now - omnipotent, and there isn't anything anyone can do about it now, either.

Every spoken word, every communication mashed out from keyboard to carrier is captured in the goog. They pretty much own thought at this point...

34
nakedrobot2 3 days ago 1 reply      
The absolute best news about this computer is that it has a 4:3 screen, as it should be. This is the first 4:3 screen I have seen in a very long time. On top of that, it is a fantastic resolution. This is great news.
35
influx 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wish Google would come up with a unique design, they have the talent for it, this looks very much like an Apple product to me.
36
spinchange 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love it but it's too niche and rich for my blood. I get the idea: A beautiful, super high-res touch display with keyboard running a Cloud OS. The only problem is for this dollar you're in Mac territory and while maybe you sacrifice touch display, you suddenly have far more robust hardware and local I/O. If money was no object, I'd get one in a heartbeat. But realistically...

It is a thing of beauty. It just seems uneconomical / impractical at this price point which is necessitated by the display.

Edit - I was going to suggest a PC laptop with touch display, that you could always install ChromeOS on in a boot partition, but your're just not going to get that resolution. This is for someone who wants a beautiful thin client above all else.

37
rodolphoarruda 3 days ago 1 reply      
> The WiFi version ($1,299 U.S. and £1,049 U.K.) will start shipping next week(...)

Uh, will there be a non-wifi version?

38
NateDad 3 days ago 0 replies      
The screen is the only thing to like. If it had 256gb drive, 8gb RAM, and an i7, then I'd be a lot more likely to look at it (and install ubuntu on it).

Yes, it has a touch screen... do people actually like touch screens on their laptops? Is that worth such a huge premium for such mediocre hardware otherwise?

39
dangrossman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still waiting for Chrome to support high DPI displays on Windows. It looks terrible in Windows 8 with DPI scaling enabled.
40
erikpukinskis 3 days ago 0 replies      
People are (correctly) pointing out that the consumer/pro value proposition is not really there.

I suspect this is a pure enterprise play for Google. Institutional customers who value the management features of the ChromeBook platform but want to give their employees something nicer than a $300 netbook with a laptop screen.

41
colin_jack 3 days ago 0 replies      
The big problem for me would be chrome os, the hardware looks nice though.
42
andrewmunsell 3 days ago 2 replies      
So... Can I install Windows on it?
43
KaoruAoiShiho 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the Tesla roadster. It's an aspirational product for those who can afford it, those who wants to live in a brand new, and not quite ready for primetime, cutting edge world.
44
muyuu 3 days ago 2 replies      
No info on RAM?

I was wondering if this could be worth installing Linux on it.

45
rehashed 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was going to jump on this as soon as it was announced. Sadly, I don't think this is suitable for Android development given the specs. What are your thoughts? My GF is very tempted to take over my macbook pro...
46
tszming 3 days ago 0 replies      
No one think this is a good news in fact?

People really need to thanks Google for bringing up the competition all the time. Now Apple have little reason not to add support for retina, lte, multi touch display in the coming MBA models.

On the other hand, it is a little strange that Google didn't mention the weight of the Pixel.

47
dysoco 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone is saying that you can easily turn this into a development machine with SSH or a web IDE like action.io ... but what if I don't have internet? You never leave your home?

What's the point of a mobile chromebook if I won't use it ouside my home or my workplace? And last time I checked there isn't open WiFi in the streets.

48
mark-r 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting screen aspect ratio of 3:2, halfway between the 4:3 of yore and the nearly inescapable 16:9 widescreen. It seems like a nice compromise, better than 16:10 if height is important to you.

I wonder how long it will be before other manufacturers pick it up?

49
zmanian 3 days ago 0 replies      
One strong point for installing arbitrary Linux distros on the pixel is that the Intel linux gpu drivers are fully open source. The downside of the arm chrome book has been the Samsung binary blob
50
tlrobinson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wish the screen folded 180 degrees around so you could use it as a tablet.
51
skc 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm confused. People said the Surface Pro was overpriced. This thing does much, much less than a Surface Pro but costs $300 more.

And it's being praised?

Wow.

52
pdknsk 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Lightbar. Just because it looks cool."

If the next iteration looses the touchscreen and is fully Ubuntu supported, I might get it.

53
akandiah 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm saddened that it's 2013 and we still have to deal with laggy screens!

http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/21/4013932/chromebook-pixel-h...

54
habosa 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty incredible. Not for me, but definitely a great product. I take issue only with the 32GB internal. I know it's a cloud device but it would be nice to be able to store some local videos to watch on that incredible screen. I guess that's what USB 3.0 is for, but still.
55
RexRollman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Personally, I wish you could get one without the touchscreen. I understand people like touchscreens on tablets but I don't see the need for it on a laptop.
56
vbl 3 days ago 0 replies      
For that money I want a real OS.
57
RexRollman 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Speed has been a core tenet of Chrome and Chromebooks since the beginning"

Too bad the OS is seemingly always tied to low end - dog slow hardware.

58
Detrus 3 days ago 0 replies      
This promo video http://youtu.be/j-XTpdDDXiU looks and sounds like Apple's, apart from white backgrounds. Speech writing is the same, uses the same words like delightful, great, blah blah. Weird.
59
mikemoka 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google Store //
Play Store //
Google Phone //
Chromebook Pixel

Apple Store //
App Store //
iPhone //
Macbook Pro

Microsoft Store (http://content.microsoftstore.com/Home.aspx ) //
Windows Store //
Windows Phone //
Microsoft Surface RT

ok, very innovative strategies I'd say..

60
weej 3 days ago 0 replies      
I could see ChromeOS converging w/ Android into a single platform that allowed for android app emulation while running x86_64 apps natively.

I realize they're completely separate teams, but at what point do they converge to provide a greater value-add to the product?

What user is going to drop $1200 on a machine that only lets you browse the web? Unless GOOG plans on providing some large backend for virtualization or offloading CPU processing what's in it for the "power" user.

There's more to this than we're privy to. I don't see a user needing this kind of horse power for just cloud-based applications. That doesn't make sense.

61
tree_of_item 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else think this is a perfect proving ground for something like asm.js?

http://asmjs.org/spec/latest/

62
anonymous 3 days ago 0 replies      
> 3:2 display at 239 ppi

YES

FUCK YES

I WANT TEN (provided I can install a different linux distro on them)

Too bad google won't sell one to me yet.

63
gtr32x 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is actually ringing a bell in me right now. For such a high end Chromebook, without the ability to feasibly add in another OS, the price tag seems far out of reach for all the current offerings online with regard to what one may achieve.

In fact, I really won't be surprised if Google has a bag of online goodies under its table right now just waiting to be unveiled alongside with the launch of the Pixel. Unless they push with this, I just don't the current market place for such an expensive Chromebook. If Google does push forward a new set of online tools/cloud offerings, it might be groundbreaking.

64
paul_f 3 days ago 0 replies      
My theory is the Pixel is for corporate customers not consumers. Dramatically lower IT support costs since no local storage. Probably increased security as well. And this version takes care of the high end of that market.
65
saym 3 days ago 0 replies      
> delivering fast connectivity across Verizon's network, the largest, fastest 4G LTE network in the U.S

Will the Pixel be locked? I doubt that Google would make this arrangement, but it is a question worth asking.

66
pm90 3 days ago 2 replies      
What kind of apps can you run on this? Chrome OS wasn't a touch based OS as far as I recall... have they integrated touch into the OS now?
67
Vervious 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why didn't they just turn it into a tablet? The trackpad seems almost extraneous, and the keyboard could be an add-on. Not to mention the square form factor that makes it look bulkier than it really is.
68
DonnyV 3 days ago 0 replies      
12.85" display....really. I blame Apple for all these new over priced tiny screens. At least make it a 15" and the ability to run Android apps.
69
mcfazeli 3 days ago 1 reply      
What I find rather shocking is that 10% of all UK laptops are Chromebooks. When and how did that happen? This is all while Apple is still dominating the Windows exodus!
70
smallegan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone notice how closely the video ad resembles an Apple ad? Come on google, how about a little originality? I'd love to try one of these out in person though.
71
bane 3 days ago 0 replies      
wrong direction..$250 should be the target for mass uptake. This is $1050 in the wrong direction...it's almost like they don't want mass uptake of this concept quite yet
72
bound008 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why isn't there 8gb of ram? Even as a die hard apple user I still can't see why they didn't try and beat apple on such a simple and clear specification that when you spend all day in a web browser will help with how fast the device seems.
73
OWaz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if existing Chromebook users would want to pay for a Chromebook Pixel, or if they're content with what they have.I thought Chromebooks were about low price points, an alternative to expensive machines which people primarily used for web browsing. I guess there's going to some people who don't care about the number of gigabytes on their laptop. They just want sharp graphics and constant online access.
74
druidsbane 3 days ago 1 reply      
A retina Macbook Air would have higher virtual density and resolution. This is only 1280x850 vs 1440x900 if you assume a 2x scale factor the way retina does things. It is nice, but 32GB, thicker and only runs a browser limits it compared to everything else out there: macbooks, windows, linux... even tablets and phones have 64-128GB now for much less and can run Chrome.
75
zmanian 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've never understood why Mark Shuttleworth and Cannonical never built a halo laptop for Ubuntu. If they knew this was in the works, it starts to make sense
76
akurilin 3 days ago 0 replies      
On the plus side, seems like high PPI screens are getting more popular, thank gosh. Next stop desktop monitors, or at least so I hope.
77
ezolotko 3 days ago 1 reply      
1. The design is "borrowed" from Apple
2. Average specs for the price
3. ChromeOS cannot do anything this kind of hardware allows you to.

Verdict: Could be a good Windows PC if the design was original and the specs were better.

78
webreac 3 days ago 0 replies      
I will be interested only when virtualbox will run on it ;-)
79
37prime 3 days ago 0 replies      
I still can't get over the price tag for a Chromebook regardless of the specs.
80
mchristoff 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can you wipe it and install Android?
81
codeulike 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is an Apple touchscreen laptop now looking more likely?
82
wuster 3 days ago 1 reply      
Intel Core i5 and HD 4000 - I think this thing can be Hackintoshed!
83
rogerchucker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is it impossible to develop Chrome apps on a Chromebook? Do IDEs like ShiftEdit and Cloud9 allow that?
84
theboywho 3 days ago 1 reply      
Some years from now, people will refer to this (Chromebooks and everything related to Chrome OS) as Google's biggest strategic mistake.

Google's second biggest strategic mistake will be Glass.

I just hope Google would recover.

85
rogerchucker 3 days ago 0 replies      
$1300? How do you say WTF in Google-ese?
86
codenerdz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope this means MBA Retina will be coming soon :)
87
przemoc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google, you forgot about a trackpoint.
88
celerity 3 days ago 0 replies      
This screen and 4:3 would make this an almost perfect Ubuntu Linux laptop for me. Too bad it probably won't be installable for a long time!
89
sidcool 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 Terabyte Google Drive cloud storage!!!! Jesus it's brilliant!
90
ams6110 3 days ago 0 replies      
The price is insane.
91
gkcn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Where are the home/end/pgup/pgdown keys? It doesn't have a function key as in Mac either.
92
martindale 3 days ago 0 replies      
Only 100MB/mo for the LTE? That's like 8 refreshes of the TechCrunch homepage.
93
o0-0o 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just called every best buy in nyc and no one there has heard of it.
94
snuze 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google, stop trying to make ChromeOS happen, it's not going to happen.
95
alexpeiniger 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like a great device. Really looking forward to try this out.
96
sidcool 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has touch!!! Holy laptop!!!
97
sevenatenine 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was surprised at how expensive this was seeing as how there is a $250 chromebook. It's a big step up in price and I don't see what the advantage of it over say a macbook pro would be.
98
sidcool 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, but $1299 is expensive.
99
Stenerson 3 days ago 0 replies      
For $1,300 this should come with Google Glass
100
soemarko 3 days ago 0 replies      
wouldn't this be a better win 8 device than surface? it works on a lap... or maybe running hackintosh?
101
twanlass 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why is the screen nearly square???
102
ilaksh 3 days ago 1 reply      
will the intel hd 4000 graphics do webgl?
103
yourmind 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love it.
104
floetic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Who cares. Next.
10
Death in Singapore ft.com
453 points by Lightning  9 days ago   234 comments top 21
1
Matti 9 days ago 2 replies      
Not the first death of that kind in Singapore:

"Family suspects interference in David Widjaja case"

http://sgforums.com/forums/3317/topics/363855

"However, it appeared the court process was intentionally directed to a conclusion of suicide despite evidence showing a strong possibility of murder, according to David's family and the verification team.

"We have strong evidence that he was murdered but that fact was not brought up in the court," David's father, Hartono Wijaya, told a press conference Tuesday at the National Commission on Human Rights."

[...]

"He added there was a suspicion David's death was related to his research: "Multiview Acquisition from Multi-camera Configuration for Person Adaptive 3D Display".

"His friends said his three-dimensional study could be used for various purposes, either for entertainment or even for military needs."

"And we must not forget that after David's death, there were two unusual deaths at NTU - his professor's assistant *committed suicide' four days later and another researcher was hit by a car 25 days later.""

EDITED: Having read more about the specific case, it seems to me that the official story sounds plausible enough. It's not at all clear whether there was foul play involved.

2
api 9 days ago 6 replies      
I'm amazed at how many elite-school tech types idolize Singapore for some strange reason. I've heard a number of gushing recommendations for the place from the MIT/Harvard set.

I personally see it as some kind of horrible sci-fi "Stepford Wives" "smile or die" dystopia... like a yuppie latte-sipping upscale version of North Korea. It makes me thankful for ghettoes and dirt and bums, given the alternative.

3
creamyhorror 9 days ago 2 replies      
This story is all over my FB wall. Rest assured there are many concerned Singaporeans listening, and it'll be harder to ignore this case now that the FT has brought it to the world's attention. I'd like to hear the IME and police's side of the story, though - hopefully a higher body will conduct a proper investigation to settle the facts and determine motives.

We rarely get serious cases of cover-ups being exposed, so if this is the real deal, it'll be a very interesting one, especially if it concerns foreign governments.

4
contingencies 9 days ago 3 replies      
Fellow hackers: stay away from anything connected to the defence industry. Security might be fun, it might pay well, but the ethics are terrible, things get used for bad purposes, and you can easily lose your freedom or worse.
5
brown9-2 9 days ago 2 replies      
Mrs Todd read the notes and handed them back to the detective. “My son might have killed himself, but he did not write this,” she said with some calm.

The notes were surprising, she said later. One praised IME and its management. Another apologised for being a burden to his family. Neither sounded like Shane. One, Shane had never been a burden " “he had excelled at everything he put his mind to,” Mrs Todd said. Two, “he hated the way IME was run and the way top management treated people.” Shane's girlfriend later said she was sure Shane's last moments were not spent lauding IME. “He hated his job,” she said.

It's always amazing how in (possible) conspiracies like this, the perpetrators make one simple mistake that so clearly gives the whole thing away.

6
arbus 9 days ago 3 replies      
I'm a Singaporean and have served for some time in the military( Compulsory National Service as well as a short stint as a regular) and I think that the comments below seem to misunderstand the level of control that the government has over speech, people and companies in Singapore.

We have many restrictive laws here but they are very selectively enforced. As long as you stay away from "hot" topics such as direct criticism of the ruling party and sensitive issues such as immigration, you are ok. But if you make too many waves, there are many ways in which such selective enforcement can come back to bite you.

On an individual level, you will get much more attention on things like your tax returns. Your Provident Fund usage can be limited in many ways(It is a opaque system and they don't need to give you any justifications)

If you own a company, it will also be subject to a much higher tax scrutiny. They can choke your company by limiting the number of foreign talent that you can hire( again an opaque process). They can reject your applications without any reasons and simply say better luck next year.

Even with all these pressures, Singapore is a great place to do business and just enjoy a generally high quality of life as long as you don't do anything foolhardy or get really unlucky with the cards that you get dealt.

On a side note, if the person in question above was involved in some tricky business, then I would not put it past this government to take drastic measures

7
VexXtreme 9 days ago 4 replies      
Sounds like a classic case of corporate murder.

In the cozy world of web startups, we engineers have an incredible amount of freedom and control over our lives and what we do... but megacorps and companies connected to the defense/war industry are known for treating their engineers as fungible resources that can easily be disposed of once they get the job done. Sounds like something out of a hi-tech Tom Clancy spy novel? Think again, things like this happen for real, there's your proof.

Like someone else said here, stay away from that industry altogether. For the people in control of that industry, engineers aren't super ninja rockstars like they would be at a Silicon Valley startup, they are just means to an end.

8
ck2 9 days ago 5 replies      
Huawei has been deemed a security risk by powerful US lawmakers

Shane had deep misgivings about the project he was working on and feared he was compromising US national security

The fact he didn't walk away in the first moment he felt this way, most likely means one of the US agencies killed him. We are apparently already allowed to kill citizens without trial when they are not on US soil.

Well written article though and the presentation was helpful.

9
confluence 9 days ago 1 reply      
This kind of shit still happens? Holy crap. I'm probably going to be involved in the defense industry over the next decade - and this was a serious eye opener. Robotics is fun - getting killed for it isn't. I'm staying the hell away from foreign countries and contacts from now on.
10
nshepperd 9 days ago 3 replies      
> The Todds agree that Shane's hard drive may be a critical piece of evidence in how he died and could shed fresh light on the vulnerabilities of technology safeguards. But they question how the Singapore police have so far investigated Shane's death, so they won't hand over the drive. They are offering, instead, to send a copy of the contents of the drive.

Good. This is pretty much the only sane way to handle digital evidence, anyway.

11
lystergic 9 days ago 1 reply      
Quote1 [But the stress made him come back to God, she said. “Mom, can we pray?” Shane asked in April. “If I survive this, Father, I want to live my life to serve you.”]

I find it odd that the Todd family did not invoke the attention of US gov earlier.
They argue that Shane Todd had been anxious and feared for his life for some time before his death. Had that been the case, and Shane Todd was unable to leave Singapore due to his situation, surely the US gov should've been informed of the situation and help transfer Shane back to the US. The US gov would also have had an interest in doing so since Shane Todd had reported to his mother that he was possibly compromising the security of his home land due to his research in Singapore.

Quote2 [“He said he felt he was being asked to compromise American security.”]

Quote1 indicates Shane means to dedicate his life to 'God'(phrased Father) if he survives. I assume that any parent hearing their child stating this would immediately take action as to save the life of their child and thus contact some instance of US gov.

12
batgaijin 9 days ago 8 replies      
Wow... that is beyond weird. From what I've read I always thought Singapore was quite the corrupt-free police state.
13
rdl 9 days ago 1 reply      
This is terrifying. Either it's a tragic suicide (which hurts even more given that there have been so many high-profile tech suicides recently), or it's an escalation of low-grade economic/technology/cybersecurity war between the US and China.
14
pingou 9 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe it's because I'm on a mobile device or I'm from France but I'm told I can't read the article unless I register on ft.com.

Does anybody have a link that might work better ?

15
verytrivial 8 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the Todd family have transcripts of the Skype calls where Shane aired his concerns regarding the demands being made of him, and what he was planning to do about it went back State-side -- I venture that the Chinese government does.
16
siliconviking 9 days ago 1 reply      
“The United States has offered FBI assistance to the Government of Singapore on the Shane Todd case" (but Singaporean authorities have not accepted the assistance) - what is the jurisdiction for the FBI to pursue this investigation without Singaporean consent? Doing that sounds like an appropriate measure at this stage (a little surprised that it hasn't already happened).
17
omilu 8 days ago 0 replies      
My first thought was "oh no something happened to bunnie" and I felt physically sick as i opened the link.
18
ayah77 8 days ago 1 reply      
With the Singapore media reporting nearly every event that happen on the island, from the mundane to the salacious, how is it that the unusual death of a young American expat gets no ink at all? Obviously a higher up must have ordered SPH to suppress the story. Why? As history has shown time and again, once there is a cover up, the bells should be ringing... Something's rotten in Singapore.
19
john3572 8 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty obvious that the Chinese military industrial complex had Shane Todd snuffed. The Singapore police and government are caught in the middle and had no other choice but to whitewash the whole thing. The obvious conclusion is that if you're a brilliant young American or European working on something sensitive in Singapore then this could happen to you too. Be very careful...
20
doktrin 9 days ago 0 replies      
Meyi
21
AlexeiSadeski 9 days ago 3 replies      
Families of the suicidal always blame everyone else.
11
Hello. I'm a compiler stackoverflow.com
451 points by andremedeiros  6 days ago   156 comments top 29
1
Xcelerate 6 days ago 5 replies      
The poor compilers do the best with what they have. And by "what they have", I mean the things they can't make assumptions about. Which turns out to be a crapload. Until that happens, very highly-tuned assembly will continue to outperform the best compilers.

Of course, a more typical scenario is hand-tuning a few loops where 99% of the clock cycles occur and letting the compiler take care of the rest.

(Also, I was attempting to send a Morse code message by flashing the vote counter between up and down, but I don't think anyone got it :( )

2
cobrausn 5 days ago 0 replies      
This was linked in the comments (by the author):

https://www.facebook.com/sedatk/posts/10151240841812644

Sedat Kapanoglu · 2,372 followers

3 hours ago near Maslak, Istanbul

Today I was at the Istanbul courthouse third time this year. I attended a trial defending myself to a judge. Then I bore my testimony to a prosecutor about a different case. Both cases were about the free speech platform I own in Turkey. Meanwhile in the world, one of my older posts in Stackoverflow became Hackernews #1 & reddit/programming #1. I wish it was Turkey which made me feel better about myself, not the rest of the world.

3
Breakthrough 6 days ago 2 replies      
And on the Fourth Day, God proclaimed "Thou shalt have the ability to use inline assembly in thy C/C++ code for performance-critical tasks".

I can think of absolutely zero reason to write an entire program in x86 assembly, let alone any other kind of assembly (GCC spits out some pretty optimized code for my little Atmel MCU)... It's a lot nicer to write everything in a high-level, and then write any performance specifics in inline assembly.

The really cool thing to see is how other newer languages have adopted this scheme (e.g. PyASM for Python, or the ability to edit the instructions for interpreted languages that run in their own VM). And as always, great power comes with great responsibility ;)

4
gilgoomesh 6 days ago 1 reply      
Cute. Although I think my compiler has different things to say.

Hello, I'm a C compiler that still can't handle C99. I hope you're wearing waterproof clothing because I'm gonna throw up on you. Also, I've been drinking heavily so your C++ code is going to take a while to compile and when it's done, it's gonna smell funny.

5
qompiler 6 days ago 9 replies      
Hello. I'm a programmer.

I noticed you couldn't optimize my code to use SIMD so I went ahead and used inline assembly. It will probably take another 30 years before you can actually think like a human and perform optimizations like this.

6
Arjuna 6 days ago 0 replies      
Anytime I read about the topic of assembly language, I can't help but think of Michael Abrash. For example, check out Chapter 22 [1] from his Graphics Programming Black Book entitled Zenning and the Flexible Mind for a pleasant stroll down Optimization Lane.

You might also enjoy his book entitled The Zen of Assembly Language which features the Zen Timer (a timing tool for performance measuring).

[1] http://downloads.gamedev.net/pdf/gpbb/gpbb22.pdf

7
ck2 6 days ago 3 replies      
Are they pushing those realtime vote counts with websockets? Pretty slick. Beats polling by far.

Looks like IE is holding it back as usual:

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/WebSockets#Browser_...

8
Swizec 6 days ago 2 replies      
Fascinating, while I was reading that, it got 5 upvotes! Mindblowing.

This is a really awesome description too. The only thing I know about compilers is that I implemented one for class (without fancy optimisations) and I am surprised any software works, ever. Compiler are just ... mindbogglingly complex things. Almost as much voodoo dark magic as engineering.

9
ck2 6 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't Steve Gibson ( http://www.grc.com/stevegibson.htm ) still coding large, complex programs in pure assembly?

His work on spinrite is legendary, for those born before IDE hard drives were invented.

10
dschiptsov 6 days ago 1 reply      
It is funny how people want to believe in tools. In fact, the optimizations compiler does are incomparable with those programmer could do by choosing an appropriate data-structure with corresponding algorithms and by being aware of strengths and weakness of a particular CPU architecture.

JVM, which is nothing but a stack-based byte-code interpreter is the most famous case.) People seems to believe it can do wonders, especially in memory management and data throughput.

It is so strange to see how people are trying to create a whole world inside a JVM. What it is called when people are building models of ships inside a bottle?)

btw, now, it seems, they are trying to build a whole world inside a V8 bottle.)

11
oliland 6 days ago 5 replies      
This answer purports a myth that compilers are magical black boxes, the sum of millions of hours of intense academic research that "you will never understand".

Replace "compiler" with "computer". Doesn't that make you angry? Answers like these do nothing but prevent people from learning about them.

If you are interested in compilers, here's Edinburgh University's notes from the course "Compiling Techniques", probably a good place to start. Don't let internet tough-guys stop you from learning.

http://www.inf.ed.ac.uk/teaching/courses/ct/

12
davidroberts 6 days ago 0 replies      
The best comment:
"Thank you compiler, but perhaps if you weren't commenting on StackOverflow, you could get me a drink and play some nice music while you're working?"
13
friendly_chap 6 days ago 1 reply      
You can see the upvote counter constantly being updated ATM :)
14
mmphosis 6 days ago 2 replies      
Hello, I am a programmer.

I have little idea what modern day compilers are doing, or what the CPU, or the operating system is doing for that matter. Often, way too often, compilers fail, hardware fails, operating systems fail, lots of things fail. I am not going to read the millions of lines of code written by other programmers (in f-ing emacs no less) in the any number of differing complex beasts, the compilers. It seems crazy-making to me, that other programmers would create compilers that would use millions of possibilities of optimizing a single line of mine using hundreds of different optimization techniques based on a vast amount of academic research that I won't be spending years getting at. I do feel embarrassed, yes very icky, that I have little to no idea what a three-line loop will be compiled as, but bloat would be my guess. There is risk in going to great lengths of optimization or doing the dirtiest tricks. And if I don't want the compiler to do this, I have no idea how to stop this behavior, nor do I want to invest in the specific knowledge of the nuances any particular compiler. The compiler does not allow me easy access because the compiler itself is an overly complex piece of software written by other programmers. I could care less about how a compiler would make my code would look in assembly, on different processor architectures and different operating systems and in different assembly conventions. Transformation comes with how we as programmers write code, not in compiler-fu.

P.S. Oh, and by the way if I really wasn't using half of the code I wrote, I would throw the source code away.

15
yen223 6 days ago 3 replies      
It isn't closed or locked? Huh.
16
johncoltrane 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is the first time I see the vote count grow by 10 in real time. Impressive stuff.
17
dragontamer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hey, my name is ICC, and I'm one of the most respected compilers in the industry. I also sabotage your code so that it works poorly on AMD CPUs, while making sure that Intel CPUs run my code at full speed. After all, Intel likes to establish market dominance.

http://www.agner.org/optimize/blog/read.php?i=49#49

Blind trust in the compiler is bad people. Good luck discussing this issue without any Assembly Programers who can fully understand what is going on here.

18
kaffeinecoma 6 days ago 0 replies      
I never noticed that the Stackoverflow js pulls updates for vote tallies in real-time. Browsing this answer while HN is sending lots of traffic there is almost like watching a car odometer.
19
orangethirty 6 days ago 2 replies      
As someone who is working on a project where the CTO demands more LOC, this makes me warm inside.
20
dragontamer 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hello. I'm an assembly programmer. I used a compiler to generate the majority of code, and can hand-craft any assembly that comes out of it. I understand how compilers auto-generate SIMD instructions can be more easily compiler-generated if I make a "struct of arrays" instead of "an array of structs".

TLDR: Real performance programmers need to understand the assembly a compiler generates if they hope to tune the compiler to generate optimal assembly. Also, GCC -O3 is prone to removing too much code and reordering it, causing memory barrier issues and the like. All multi-threaded programmers need to understand how the compiler generates assembly (ie: by reordering your code), and how it can generate new bugs if you don't use the right compiler flags.

21
opminion 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, the irony of Knuth being the proponent of Literate Programming, and at the same time the last man standing in general purpose assembly.
22
jordanwallwork 6 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one just enjoying watching the upvotes rocketing up on SO?
24
jawerty 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's even better when you read what the question was.
25
Nikolas0 6 days ago 0 replies      
Now I can't wait to get a message from the kernel :D
26
majmun 6 days ago 0 replies      
Compiler got AI human language capabilities?
27
detay 6 days ago 1 reply      
Yet another spark of genius from ssg.
28
mrleinad 6 days ago 0 replies      
Really? HN is now including witty posts in Stackoverflow as news?
29
mehmetkut 6 days ago 1 reply      
ssg approve my sozluk account a.q. yetti gari. nick: drzeus
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The Truth about a Failing Startup pastebin.com
447 points by throwawayrandom  4 days ago   156 comments top 83
1
Maro 4 days ago 8 replies      
Hey, fellow failed entrepreneur here.
My startup failed about 6-9 months ago. It was a very difficult time, our business partners went back on their promises and with that 3+ years of my life went down the drain. It was a terrible couple of months, lots of lost sleep, high blood pressure, I'm still dealing with it.

I was unemployed for a couple of months, then finally took a job at a great company, where I feel great. Things were finally picking up. I thought I was fortunate because I had my wife who supported me through it all.

Then a month ago my wife, who I thought would be my partner for life left me.
Bam.
You think a failing company is bad, try this. I just got thrown back to being 25 and looking for a date, sth I thought I left behind me forever. It was I hope the final price I payed for concentrating too much on my startup the preceeding years.

Lessons learned? Too many, but I'll just say this. The buddhists are right, the only constant in life is change. Shit will happen to you, whether you're rich or poor. Companies will go under. You may lose money. You will be fired from jobs. Your partner may not turn out to be who you thought she is. Somebody close to you could get sick. Your parents will die. It's just life. You have to accept these things will happen and do your best to prepare for them.

It's though, some people are much better at it than others, but it's normal if you can't get over these things in a day or week. Medicine might help (eg. sleep, anxiety), but go easy with that stuff.

Don't lie to your parents. They're your safe harbour, they will understand and help you. Tell them what's going on. I'm 32 and although it doesn't feel very manly, talking to my parents about my current situation is what's keeping me sane.

2
orangethirty 4 days ago 7 replies      
Been there, done that. You know what? Failure is just an event. Its not you. You havent lost your "touch", because there wasnt one to lose from the start. You just got lucky. It didnt work out. Now, understand that being average is OK, and pretty awesome too. So you didnt hit it big, but you had an average run. You did not become Instagram, but you had average sales. You made average money and had average success. Again, average is awesome. You got further down the line than most other people have (me included).

So you failed. Dont obsess about it. Tell your family the company is not working. Dont try an be a hero. Be honest, they appreciate that more (fuck them if the dont). Entrepreneurs have to meet these weird social standards that are never within reach. You think Warren Buffett has ever getting a break? He gets shit every day from deals gone sour.

But keep your head up. Failure is not you. You are a person, and you did pretty good. Your investor lost the money the minute he decided to play investor. Doesnt have to do anything with you.

If you want to talk about it with someone who fails hard every month, just send me an email (on profile). I wont make this public.

Also, dont be ashamed. You got to the NBA, but you were not Michael Jordan. Who cares? I bet you played a good game, and got some good stories from it. Best wishes!

3
coffeemug 4 days ago 0 replies      
My company has a really good chance of succeeding, but I still face these doubts every day. Here are some of the things that make the game worth the candle for me, even if we end up failing:

  * I'm proud of the product we've built. Even if it doesn't take off,
nobody can take that away from me.

* I'm incredibly proud of my engineering team. We're "a bunch of kids"
who've built something incredible. Even if the company ultimately
doesn't survive, we will have done really well.

* I love my work and I love the people I work with. There are
conflicts, sometimes I have to deliver bad news, deal with stress
and monotonous work, firefight problems, etc. but in aggregate the
work I do and the people I do it with bring me joy. I will always
remember this time fondly.

* When I started, I was a good engineer and a terrible product
manager. Now I'm a good engineer and a good product manager, which
makes me 100x more valuable. There is a bazillion other things I've
learned, but this alone makes everything worthwhile.

* Facing doubt every day made me face the darkest corners of my
soul. I stopped being an obnoxious cynical windbag and started
appreciating the nuances of life, people, art, poetry, strength of
human spirit and true magnitude of human dignity.

* We're taking a real shot at building hard, sustainable technology
that has a good chance to change the world. Even if we fail, I'll
never regret taking the chance.

* I met hundreds of people on my path. I dismissed some of them, but
in retrospect I've learned from them all. I appreciate humanity a
lot more now, and I understand where the dark parts of it come from
much better.

* Perspective is worth 80 IQ points. If you start a company you gain a
lot of perspective.

I could keep going, but I hope I've made my point. I'm not trying to sugar-coat anything -- failing may very well be the worst thing you've ever experienced emotionally to date. But keep everything in perspective and don't get cynical. You might still change the world in a big way. You might still change it in a small way. It doesn't matter. Enjoy the people around you. Get into adventures. Try to do something meaningful. Do the best you can -- things may not turn out how you wanted them to, but they'll probably turn out ok.

4
swombat 4 days ago 4 replies      
Once your startup actually fails and is behind you, here's the surprise:

You will feel an immense sense of freedom and lightness.

It's pretty obvious why: a weight is about to be lifted from your shoulder. Where your path was a narrow funnel leading to one specific destination, you will now have the infinity of all possible and reachable paths ahead of you. You couldn't do anything but worry about the startup - now you can do anything you want.

The end of a start feels very dramatic before it happens, but once it's done, you will feel a whole lot better. Trust me.

5
gojomo 4 days ago 1 reply      
If they're professional investors, they know all the investments don't work out. Communicate honestly about what's been tried and failed, but don't ruminate excessively about having "let them down".

If 'doom' is still a month or two off, but inevitable, attempt orderly wind-down. Maybe a corporate entity is bankrupt. Maybe employees need a fair warning. Maybe there are salable assets. You can ask for help, even from strangers, even non-anonymously. It will be hard to get help if still presenting a facade of "everything's great", and since the 'doom' will be public knowledge soon enough, stop pretending. Instead, use this as practice in confronting the worst and making-do as best as possible with bad options.

6
gaborcselle 4 days ago 3 replies      
Things may not be as bad as they seem.

Don't worry about the investor's money - it's called venture capital for a reason.

You've probably learned a tremendous amount from the experience.

Think about what the next step for you is after this company. Sounds like you're a developer and can easily get a well-paying job. Sounds like there is still some money left and you can take some time and decompress from the experience.

This isn't doom. It's the first step of what you're doing next.

7
doktrin 4 days ago 1 reply      
The investors are adults. They made an educated decision, and as long as you acted in good faith you have upheld your end of the bargain.

They took a risk, and my sense is that they are probably more aware of how the game is played than you do yourself. How many startups have they invested in? How many do you think have failed?

This is probably incredibly difficult to internalize in the moment, but it's true. Remind yourself that the guilt is irrational.

8
neya 4 days ago 2 replies      
Thanks for sharing the reality instead of writing articles like "How I started X and made Y in Z days". This is really painful to read.

This is one reason why I will never take money from an external investor. There are some scenarios when you definitely need an investor's help. But right now, the trend is almost like "it's a cool factor to seek investment for your startup".

The problem with taking money from someone else is that, you become obligated/answerable to them. Remember, we all start-up because we don't want to go down the traditional working-for-a-corporate route, because we don't want to be answerable/obey no one/their orders. But seeking investment (in most cases) just defeats this purpose of starting up.

Why the hell would someone want to be answerable to a third party for running YOUR company in YOUR way?? And what happens when that company fails? You need to either apologize/console the investor that you will somehow get back his money. Contrast this with having no investors at all, worst case scenario would be you lost all your money. But that's much better than losing someone else's.

I find nothing wrong in trying to build an Saas that generates $10000-$50000 a month in revenue from day one, without external investment, instead of seeking millions in investment for a bunch of photo filters on a phone only to later worry about monetizing the idea.

9
einhverfr 4 days ago 0 replies      
The point about taking other people's money is a big one. I am in the process of starting a business doing cloud computing for accounting and ERP and we decided specifically against taking other people's money. I know that will sound like heresy on HN, but I want to discuss why we made that decision. I think other founders may find this to be a useful piece in that it may confirm that taking other people's money is a good decision or it may help question that. I don't think our decision was right for everyone.

The basic issue that made us decide the way we did was that accepting VC money locks you into the VC exit strategy. This means you are building either an acquisition target or a company you want to take public. If that's what you want to do, partnering with VC's makes a lot of sense. They may help you get there faster. If you aren't sure that's what you want to do there is nothing wrong with taking the first steps on your own before committing to such a strategy.

There's a second issue too, which is what I call "overfunding syndrome." The basic truth is that the vast majority of businesses will fail before they succeed. If you are funding it yourself and the like you have more options than if you are racing towards the VC exit strategy gamble. This is why bootstrapping can often be a real business saver.

I suspect we could find investors if we wanted or needed to. But the fact that we don't need to at the moment and aren't sure we want to lock ourselves into the acquisition-or-IPO cycle means for us the best option is keeping our options open. That doesn't preclude changing our minds down the road, but it is a lot easier to decide that "you know, maybe we could use venture capital after all" than it is to change one's mind and get out of the funding cycle. To my mind this is part of staying upstream of the larger problems.

10
gfodor 4 days ago 0 replies      
You shouldn't lose more sleep over your investors' money than they do. And by the sound of it I can pretty much guarantee that you are losing more sleep then they are, if they are professionals.
11
8ig8 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fuck them. Don't let it ruin your life. It was a gamble and they knew it. No risk. No reward. If it were a sure thing, credit unions would be giving cash. If they were investing their retirement funds, that's their issue, not yours.

I'm sure you worked hard. Tried your best. What else can you do. If it's over, move on and get out of the current gig now. Tomorrow even. It sounds like your investors already have.

You've made sacrifices as well. Call them tomorrow, thank them for what they did, shut the door and open a new one.

12
joshmlewis 4 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of people are saying just own it and move on. Well I'm going to try a different approach. I hope you see this. I've been leading a team the past couple months building my first major app that has traction. It's been a roller coaster already but today we were able to get a version into TestFlight and see it on my phone. It sucks, it's still buggy, and it's not up to my standards yet but it was the most exciting thing seeing something that isn't perfect yet come to fruition. Something I've thought about and lost sleep over and spent countless hours designing and planning. It's finally starting to come alive and I'm leading a team of awesome developers that are making it happen and it's so exciting seeing it become real.

Now I know that you had to have this feeling with whatever you built. Remember back to those times you kept refreshing the page to see how many new users or page views you had since the last time you refreshed. You were excited about it. You were elated to a point where you felt you were unstoppable. What happened from here? Really ask yourself this. Ask what roads you took that lead you to where you are. Just saying you 'ran out of innovation' is a pretty crappy excuse. Some decisions you let happen led you to where you are today.

What I want you to see is a glimpse of that same spark you felt 2 years ago when you first launched and when you were building your app. I am in the opposite state of mind as you are currently. Things are looking good for me but that's because I choose to see it that way. Even when things are crap, I know that I can make them better if my heart is in it and I trust my gut.

You have the same power. You've already admitted defeat and chose to fail. You said it yourself, you're going to fail in two months and I've already given up. YOU CANNOT let your mind get in that state. Find out what is blocking you from taking it to the next level and get there. If you are a true entrepreneur at heart, find that spirit you had in the early days. It's not hopeless, it's just what you see it as.

You can be another story of failure or you could just as easily be a story of success. It is what you make it. I don't believe that there is no way out and you're doomed to fail because your lack of innovation. Some things you should kill if they don't work, but you better be damn sure it won't work because it's a bad model and not because your innovation just ran out.

You wrote this and posted it to HN. You're trying to find a way out or you're trying to find out what to do next. I'm telling you. Search deep inside yourself. Remember you only live once. You were given a good chance based on that initial passion and energy you had. Find that again. Figure out what you need to do to turn things around and do them. If it's killing them fine, but kill it being happy and confident. If you need support or someone to talk to, my email is in my profile. Whoever you are, if we are at all in like minded spirits, you just have to dig deep to overcome this mountain, and before long you will regain that vision and compass of where to go.

Edit: a few words

13
rwhitman 4 days ago 0 replies      
A CEO of a company I worked for once told me that the best thing to do here is realize the end is near and do everything to save some of the money from going down the drain early so you can return something to the investors. This will get you more respect than just waiting hopelessly for the bottom to fall out and losing everything. They may respect your effort and invest in you again, or at minimum protect your reputation enough to stay in their network (useful for getting a day job afterwards).
14
dutchbrit 4 days ago 0 replies      
"If I had failed using my own money, I could live with it. But having a team of investors believe in you, only to let them down is an incredibly difficult thing to deal with."

While I understand this completely, they also realize the same. Investments are always risky. Especially in the startup world. They know what can happen. Don't worry, it's just money, and money isn't the most important thing in life.

You haven't failed. You have learned something out from this experience. This isn't the end of the line. Last but not least, don't give up. Unless you want to work full time for an employer. Failure is something that everyone runs against in their life and it shouldn't stop you from doing other things.

For all you know, this time next year, you could be booming with some other amazing idea you get.

15
jakek 4 days ago 0 replies      
You failing is part of your investors business model. They've moved on, they no longer care.

This sounds like a negative statement, but it actually has extremely positive repercussion: you no longer have to worry about them AND you have a few months to do whatever you want. Anything. Have fun and enjoy it. Maybe build something cool, completely new, something that you want to see exist in the world. And you never know, just letting go of the burden, accepting that what's done is done, and enjoying creating something for fun may actually lead to something.

See: http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~kilcup/262/feynman.html

16
alexbosworth 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

17
madcat123 4 days ago 1 reply      
If

  If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

18
danbmil99 4 days ago 0 replies      
Your investors were grown-ups. If you did everything legally, they are "qualified investors" (meaning they have wealth &/or high income); they signed a bunch of papers that explicitly say they have a good chance of losing all their money; and if they are at all professional, this is part of their business, and in fact believe it or not they are much more likely to invest in your next venture than some random investor you never met.

A startup is a venture. If the venture fails, it does not mean you are a personal failure for all of time. It just means that idea, with that execution, did not succeed in the marketplace at that time.

19
timmm 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is why I fundamentally don't like investments. This is why profitability is king. Not users, not revenues, nothing except profits! This is why self funding is so important.

In life there is a right way to do things and a wrong way. The 37 signals (bootstrap) model is the proper way to do web business. Taking other people's money is the wrong way.

To author: Dude, you probably care more than the investors. Make it into a good thing, raise awareness on why the investing model should be approached with trepidation and skepticism. Then move on.

20
mdda 4 days ago 0 replies      
Your investors are unresponsive to your questions? Then they've probably already mentally moved on : They're not hanging on your every word; They're not dependent on you; and you're not letting them down as badly as you feel you are.

If it's any consolation, they may be watching to see whether you just give up, or stick with it to the end. You may be surprised that they would back you again with a different idea, since you're so obviously sweating over every dollar of their money...

21
faramarz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good story..

Own it. Own this failure and figure out (if you havent already) what went wrong and own it. This isn't just about damage control, this is about realizing the struggle in keeping a business a float is an asset, extracting as much data and knowledge will drive the success of your future projects.

And above all, do not let the investors forget you with a bad taste in their mouth. Own it, again. Remind them why they invested you in the first place, you never know what the future holds. Don't let it just burn up!

22
ritchiea 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is it really this bad for everyone? I am just starting to fund my startup now so I have yet to be in your position. But I've certainly faced a lot of challenges in life and in my career, depression included, unemployment included, confusion after receiving an expensive degree from a liberal arts college in the middle of the worst part of the recession included. I survived all those things. I am incredibly optimistic and passionate about the startup I'm working on. But the part of me that worries feels like: if it doesn't work out it will be horrifying but it's a challenge I can handle because I've handled all those other things.

My hunch is that if the OP feels the way he describes he needs to explore his relationship to failure and uncertainty and figure out how he can better handle those experiences.

23
thomaspun 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have gone thru this state of mind.

We got A+ investors but we failed to deliver. We had founder breakups early on and I was made a single founder for the last two years. I ended up working twice as hard to make up for my founder's departure. (The stress and long hours actually made me less productive.) It almost killed my health and my relationship with the loved ones.

Don't take it personally. You have given your best shot and remember you have your own opportunity cost. It's a fair deal to the investors. The important thing is to handle the wind down professionally. Try to savage what you have (team or product). You or your investors may not get anything out of it but they sure would appreciate your effort.

24
spotman 4 days ago 0 replies      
It can be hard to keep your head up in this situation, but, you should try. Just because this startup fails, don't let it effect you forever. Sure you have a right to be upset for now, but know that you have to move on.

In the way that you sold your idea to the investor (whether it was by way of having a product to show, or just fancy talking, or a combination of both), you will have to rise from the ashes and prepare to do it again.

You can, and probably should eventually frame this as experience, because thats exactly what it is. A lot of investors will look at this as a learning experience for you, if your able to keep yourself from being rattled out of the game.

The next time around, you will be able to look back on your experience, and hopefully make different choices that will help you stay at the edge of your seat.

Lastly, sometimes ideas just don't work, despite all your best efforts. Sometimes there is little you can do to change the course of history. Often, its a combination of both bad decisions, and being in the right place at the wrong time, or the wrong place at the right time.

25
erichocean 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been there too. The first time is the worst.

It was hard, but I still do startups and wouldn't change that for anything.

It'll get better. Don't give up on yourself. :)

26
rcfox 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you've set up your company correctly, you should be personally protected from liability if the company fails, right?

Assuming that's true, then perhaps you'll end up with a tarnished reputation, but your life isn't crumbling apart. It shouldn't be too difficult to find a more conventional job with a decent salary, especially if you've managed to create a product that people wanted to invest in.

27
raverbashing 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, here's my 2 cents

1 - If you are so sure you're failing in a couple of months, shut down now and return the money that's left. Simple as that.

2 - Startups fail. Investors know that. They don't talk to you because they know already (rude of them, but I understand).

2a - Don't worry about this. It's part of the business. Priced, accounted, etc. It's nothing personal, just business.

In university I had this Economics teacher. First class: "Why are you going to build a business with your money? Don't be stupid, do it with someone else's money". Very true words.

28
systemtrigger 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of something DHH said in his talk Unlearn Your MBA. He said "I have been talking to a lot of people in the Web 2.0 space and a lot of them have taken venture capital. I have not met one who said he wouldn't do it different if he were to do it again." His entire rant on spending other people's money is excellent.

Sad to read this founder's story. Even sadder that it by far the rule, rather than the exception. Good advice, learned the hard way.

29
ominds 3 days ago 0 replies      
In Islam, the most fundamental principle is the worthlessness of this life. It is simply a bridge to the afterlife, and it's the afterlife that's the true reality, this is simply an illusion. This does not mean you should not live it to your fullest, but accept that it will never give you the peace and satisfaction you need. You're poor? You grieve. You're rich? Then you grieve for your family members and friends, you grieve for your inevitable death and the death of your loved ones. This is simply what life is. We try to mask it, but it is what it is.

My wife lost a brother (40's) and a sister (20's) to cancer. Her parents watched their children die in front of them. What amount of money could make that easy? My brother's got a tumor in his ankle and we're eagerly awaiting the biopsy results. Just hoping for the best.

I should note again that Islam does not tell you not to be happy or feel happy. It doesn't tell you not to try to achieve or become. It doesn't tell you not to help. But it tells you never to forget the nature of this life. People who are trying to make sense of life simply fail to know it is as it is by design. It was meant to be unjust and unfair, and overall, incomplete.

Finally, a few verses in the Quran that are quite interesting (the plural is the plural of majesty):

"Those who do not hope to meet Us and are content and satisfied with this life and are unaware of Our verses. Those are the ones who are destined for hellfire because of what they do"

"He who does good, being male or female, whilst being a believer. We will grant them a good life and will give them their reward from the best deeds they used to do"

"We have created man to live in pain. Does he think no one is able to defeat him? He says, I have squandered money in abundance. Does he think no one has seen him? Did we not grant him eyes, a tongue and lips? And have given him the two choices (obedience and rebellion)?"

context: God speaking to Adam and Satan after being banished from paradise "He said, get out, all of you, from it. You are from now on enemies of one another. Whenever my guidance comes to you (on Earth), he who follows my guidance will not go astray nor live in hardship. But he who turns away from my revelation, he will live a life of misery, and on the day of judgment, he will be left blind. He will say: My Lord, why have you made me blind when I once could see? He says, so have my verses come to you and you forgot them, and likewise today you're forgotten"

Finally, anyone who would like to bash Islam or religion. Don't reply. I don't care for your opinion. These are simply my two cents. Or as the Quran puts it "he who wants, let him believe. And he who wants, let him disbelieve". Wondering if I can sneak links in here?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8Unyg83194
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-engli...

30
micheljansen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't being on the brink of bankruptcy, staring death in the eye and beating the odds what running a startup is all about (at least initially)?

Reading "The money will run out within a couple of months, and the debts won't be able to be paid", I couldn't help but think: "wait, you have a couple of months?". People have gone by on less.

Maybe failing to innovate for a few years has doomed your company to fail. Then again, maybe not. The party's only over when the lights go out :)

I know it's cheesy to quote PG on HN, but what the hell: "Startups rarely die in mid keystroke. So keep typing!" " http://www.paulgraham.com/die.html

31
arbuge 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is no shame in failure. There will be plenty of life to look forward to, for you and your investors, after your 2 months are up. Go on to greater and better things.

Many great entrepreneurs failed many times before ultimately succeeding. Even a successful company goes on to a constant stream of failures, with enough successes in the mix to come out a net positive. This is true of Amazon, Google, and all the rest.

A Churchill quote comes to mind. "Success is never final, failure is never fatal. The important thing is to never, never, give up".

32
photorized 3 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding your investors not calling you back etc - they've written you off.

Surprise them. But before you can do that -

Come up with a new original plan, a pivot, anything that might just revitalize the business. It sounds like you had given up before they did. Look at your digital assets - can your codebase be repurposed for something? Would rebranding work? What about your user base - could you interest them with a new app or new service? Any IP you could license to someone else? There Amy be a well-funded company out there that's trying to build what you already have.

33
adnam 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't feel bad for the investors, they took a risk and it didn't work out. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off etc.
34
xijuan 4 days ago 0 replies      
To the author of the article: I have been staring at the screen for two mins after reading the article. I really want to say something encouraging and supportive; but I found myself at a lost of what to say. Maybe it is because I really understand what you mean by the sense of "impending doom." When I had the sense of "impending doom," I feel that people just don't understand--How can I not feel depressed when the situation is getting worse and worse? But life moves on.. And the situation will get better one way or the other. Ten years later when you look back at this, I am sure that you will realize that it is not as bad as you think it is... You have to stay hopeful!
35
jahewson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been in is situation, and the best feeling was when I called the shots and quit. The last thing you should worry about is investors: they are not paying for guaranteed success, and they should know that. It's exactly like a lottery ticket - they pay for a chance of success, and that's what you deliver.
36
fourstar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Life Pro Tip: Always have a "plan B".
37
AdamN 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's fine to feel down about failure but please don't feel bad about the investors for a second. They invested in your idea for success, failure is part of that investment.

If you're this far down the rabbit hole, stop digging, spend as little as possible, and try a different idea ASAP.

And remember, above all else, be true to yourself.

38
photorized 3 days ago 0 replies      
Been there. And you know what's more difficult than letting investors down? ("Debts won't be paid" etc)

Paying them back. Not immediately, perhaps over a period of 2 or 3 years, while working on saving the co without making any salary.

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs prefer to just walk away.

39
radley 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody expects you to go down with the ship. Everyone involved is much better off with you putting positive energy into an effective completion.

You can shut down anytime so pick a date and inform your investors and customers. Give everyone enough time to migrate then turn off the lights.

You'll feel much better the moment you pick a date. I guarantee it (I've done it myself).

40
ishener 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me or people in the startup world are taking failure too hard. OK, so someone put some money in your idea, you tried your best, and you failed. Big deal. Just move on to the next thing in your life, without losing enthusiasm. The startups scene is supposed to be dynamic and fast, no?

It's all just a game anyway, especially when all you lost is OPM (other people's money)

41
Felix21 4 days ago 0 replies      
You failed, it sucks and it wasn't your fault.

Investors saw an opportunity the same way you saw one, that's their game, its a numbers game for them. They invest in lots of promises, they win some, loose more but the wins cover the losses so don't worry about them.

You did your best and that's all that matters; the rest was beyond your control.

People fail like you every single day. In fact, almost every successful entrepreneur has a CV of failure much longer than you would have guessed, but no one ever talks about these failures; by the time they hit their big win, the failures are long forgotten.

Only the successes ever make it to TechCrunch and hardly anyone ever gets there on their first try.

So stop beating yourself up; get up, dust-off your shoulders and get to work on your next gig. When you reflect on this experience as you work on your next startup, you'll be able to see just how much you've learnt from this failure and maybe even be able to appreciate it.

Keep tossing the coin and your win, your success, will come soon. You haven't failed until you quit.

Best of luck.

42
mkjonesuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
On the subject of 'your own money' I recently failed at my first (and only) self-funded start-up: http://wpcandy.com/presents/the-story-of-wonderthemes-starti...

The personal loss was not great (around $10k USD) and it was money that I had earned myself over a few years freelancing while working 9-5 so I was prepared to loose it all if it came to that.

The feeling of loss and 'doom' when this little stash of money did eventually run out was very, very, debilitating however - more so that I would have imagined it could be. I was forever thinking how the money 'could' and perhaps 'should' have been used elsewhere on more efficient and better planned projects and how if I had a partner at least we could have shared the 'blame'.

I think that in the end, it doesn't matter where the money comes from. When you get investment, it 'feels' like it's your own money anyway, if it doesn't, then you're probably doing it wrong.

FYI, I HackerNews-d this last week to zero response if anyone cares to pipe in:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5200221

43
rburhum 3 days ago 0 replies      
Start the proper paperwork and close doors now. No point in waiting two more months. Time to rejuvenate by either starting something new, taking a break or getting a "normal" job for a bit. Dragging on what is inevitable is the worse you can do to yourself.
44
Supermighty 3 days ago 0 replies      
> If I had failed using my own money, I could live with it. But having a team of investors believe in you, only to let them down is an incredibly difficult thing to deal with.

You shouldn't feel bad about this. Investors should know there is risk in any investment.

45
brianmcconnell 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've started four companies in my career, two of which ended up nicely, one of which was an utter train wreck that bankrupted people, and one a work in progress.

You'll learn more from a bad outcome than from a success. I agree with everyone saying don't worry about the investors. They invested in a highly risky business. Turned out it wasn't the next Facebook. Well, that's 99.999% of startups.

More likely than not, the business was doomed by circumstances before it even began (bad timing, bad market fit, etc). If this was your first or second business (likely), no reasonable investor can blame you, even if you did make avoidable mistakes.

So treat it as a learning experience, and don't obsess about the impact on your reputation, etc. Shit happens, and anybody who knows the tech business understands the odds are stacked against you.

46
davidbanham 4 days ago 0 replies      
Try and disassociate your sense of self from the wellbeing of your company. If your company fails, you continue to be a multifaceted human being with many other successes and failures ahead of you.

Try and let your friends and family know what's going on. Give them a chance to support you in your tough times exactly the same way you would want to support them. Also, it will make it much easier to tell them if the company does fail.

47
awicklander 3 days ago 0 replies      
The thing that makes me most sad about this is that you're beating yourself up for losing investor's money.

Let me tell you - the investors are entering the arrangement knowing that they have a 90% chance of failure. That's why they want deals that might give them a 10x return on their investment and they turn down "lifestyle" business that might return a meager 8% year over year.

It's great that you obviously care about your investors. But you should feel just about as bad over them losing their money as a gas station should feel when people lose a dollar buying a lotto ticket.

They made the decision to play the game, knowing full well there was a higher likelihood of failure than success.

Best of luck to you as you'll inevitably build something else.

48
stephenhacking 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if I agree with this.

1. There's nothing wrong in failing 2. Investors run a business - with a business, you have things that fail and things that succeed; they know that there is a probability of your startup failing and have gone through that multiple times

If your investors don't want to talk to you anymore just because your startup failed - you have shitty investors.

If they truly believe that you are solely responsible for the failure - they suck. It is their responsibility to help you succeed, and when you dont, be there for you and try to take responsibility for a small part of that failure.

I know it sucks to fail. When impending doom closes on you, you always feel like writing a 200 word rant essay on pastebin, but it is OK to fail and you will succeed. It's all a question of learning from this experience and moving on..

49
wiradikusuma 4 days ago 1 reply      
Curious question: If an entrepreneur raised money from VC, and things go south, is the entrepreneur's career basically "done" (e.g. blacklisted by every VC on the planet)? Can he start another venture and get VC money again?

How is it compared to being fired? (Being fired = you can find another job, might need to explain why you're fired to potential employer, but life goes on)

50
Dalkore 4 days ago 0 replies      
Tell us about the app. You still have time. Why is it failing?
51
gudman 4 days ago 0 replies      
You cant let this failure stop you. Many of the worlds most successful people have failed many times before finally achieving success.

Nor can you let the fact that investors were involved get you down. Investment is about risk, not guarantees. Your investors knew, or should have known that.

Investment is speculating.

The only guarantee you owe them is that you did your best. If your best wasnt good enough this time, so fucking what?

You can only do your best today. Tomorrow's best is different, because you learned from today.

Dust yourself off, reach into your idea drawer, pick out the next one and start again. Maybe it works maybe it doesn't.

Some will, some won't, so what? On to the next. You learn from each attempt.

52
salahxanadu 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just signed away 10% of a company I founded. It was hampered by loans from the origination of the business 5 years ago. Had that orignal money not been equity AND loans we'd have been profitable 18 months ago. I was laid off in September and now have a good job after a few tenuous months.

I won't feel bad if they do end up making something of it and sell it for a profit because I am glad to be out. I don't need a freelance job that doesn't pay anything around my neck all week, every week.

The investors protected themselves and brought down the business with it.

53
dschiptsov 4 days ago 0 replies      
Startups, like any love, suffers from the lack of reality checks. One must keep the balance - too much reality checks - and you ruin the magic, too few - and you become disconnected from reality which lead to the pain of cognitive dissonance when eventually you face it.

So, delude yourselves responsibly.)

54
bamazizi 3 days ago 0 replies      
We're about the same age and i totally resonate.

I personally think of failures as necessary steps towards the ultimate success. So try to look back and reflect, take notes and consult with people on why shit happened. It will be a true failure is don't learn anything from it.

learning is a lesson is great but gaining wise experience is super important.

keep your chin up
be proud of what you accomplished (startup idea, investors, and a shot) it's more than other majority will ever get!

55
juanbyrge 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't worry about the weirdo investors! They're still alive, they were not harmed in any way, they'll be fine. They aren't even investing their own money! All investors have a broad strategy, and they have anticipated that not all their investments will work out.

Also, you should be celebrating the risk you took to build something great. There's absolutely no shame in that. Feel proud of everything you learned, these lessons will remain with you for the rest of your life.

56
aspinner 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't fret about it. Investors know that investing in tech startups are as high risk as they come (b/c they have some of the highest rewards - risk vs. reward). They know there is a chance that the investment will hit the bottom, so don't worry about them. Start looking for some jobs. I'm sure from your experience over a few years you can provide some great value to other organizations who would take you in a second. Keep your head up.
57
pothibo 4 days ago 0 replies      
That's exactly what's moronic with investors, they invest in the company, not in the founders. Unless you made them money, they will ignore you.

Until next time you succeed then, they will start following you back and talk about old days how it was fun and exciting.

Yeah, exception exists and they have a track record showing it.

58
Pitarou 4 days ago 0 replies      
Failure is a life event, and it sucks. (Just like getting ditched, getting fired, getting sick, and so on.) Frankly, I'm glad I'm not in your shoes right now. But it's not the end. This thing you built will not take you down with it. You'll still be standing, and ready to move on to the next chapter.
59
George_ns 3 days ago 0 replies      
You're probably like me...you know exactly what you're going to do but you need someone else to tell you (it feels a lot better that way, doesn't it?) - so here it is take it from the legend himself Steve Jobs - he said persistence is what separates a successful entrepreneur from an unsuccessful entrepreneur...failure isn't an option, really that's why each time they ask us. How's it going? We say great!
60
HunterV 4 days ago 0 replies      
If I could add a paragraph to the end:
Yet, sometimes with failure there comes new beginnings. While my pain is real, I do understand that investing is a profession with high risks involved. As much as I hate to admit it, this time I was the risk that didn't turn out as well as hoped. So I have to take this to note and head out to start something new. Endings are too easy. It's the ones who keep the story going, no matter how well it ends up turning out, that get remembered.
61
Ajayava 4 days ago 0 replies      
The reactions to an emotional post from one of our colleagues are interesting in that they too
contain a large amount of emotional references.
Some random examples:

Fuck ‘m all
You failed
Having lost touch
You just got lucky
Being average
It is ok to be xyz
You aren't alone
Own it
It sucks
Things may not be as bad
Disappointing
Frustrating
Don't give up
The first time is the worst
It can be hard to keep our head
Freaked out
Taking other people's money is a big one
On the brink of bankruptcy
Staring death in the eye
Going down with the ship
Don't worry
Poems and questions from social heroes

Emotional generalizations, value-based references, hero-based metaphors are stomach (feeling) based expressions.
Probably posted in the hope to change our colleague's feelings. I hope it works.

An additional approach is to move our focus & energy away from the stomach and into to the head (thinking).
As such, a non-emotional metaphor would be something like:
A startup = an analysis + a set of assumptions/decisions + certain actions, resulting in specific projected results.
The original analysis includes the resource constraints assumptions (yup, if xyz happens, we will run out of $ by this month).
Then the standard actions start:
Regular review the of obtained results + if not as projected, revisit the analysis, decisions and actions. Keep doing these steps till the projected results are realized or till the resources run out.
Whatever comes first.
Period.
Feelings not required.

62
snoonan 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had a company fold up on me like this as a team manager. I was close to the founders and they ALL did just fine. I also did fine. The only one I fault were some damn famous investors that didn't even respond to requests to have us meet at their related hiring portfolio companies. Cold.

Everyone else (including the founders), love them -- we all ended up on our feet and were better for the whole awesome startup experience.

63
michaelwww 3 days ago 0 replies      
You've got this backwards. You want to gamble with other people's money, not your own. Some people took a stake in you because they thought it was a good bet. I'm assuming they were intelligent rational people who could make their own investment decisions. They lost and have moved on. You don't like being a loser, so don't be one.
64
PaulAJ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't feel bad about your investors. They went into it with their eyes open, knowing that they were taking a punt. Taking lots of punts is in fact their business model. They knew there was a good chance they would lose that investment. As long as you dealt with them honestly then you have nothing to be ashamed of. Better luck next time.
65
ux-app 4 days ago 0 replies      
... having a team of investors believe in you, only to let them down is an incredibly difficult thing to deal with.

don't beat yourself up about this. Any investment is a risk, and any mature investor will be well aware of the high failure rate for start-ups.

Most businesses fail. That doesn't reflect negatively on you, it's simply the nature of business.

66
6chars 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going through this same process of admitting failure right now, and it seems like everybody gives people in our position the same advice: "Don't worry about the investors. They knew what they were getting into." In our case, this is simply not true, and we can't be the only startup in this position.

All of our funding so far was raised from my personal friends and family. None of them ever invested in anything even nearly as risky as an early-stage startup before, but they trusted in me enough to take the leap. I dread the day I have to tell them that they aren't getting their money back just a few months after sending optimistic status update emails telling them all about our user acquisition efforts and new product developments. It is very difficult for me to not think of our failure as a betrayal of their trust. I intend to pay all of these family members and friends back with my own money, but until then I can't imagine escaping this guilt.

Has anybody else gone through a similar thought process? How did you deal with it?

67
blueprint 4 days ago 0 replies      
Unless you've consistently done stupid things and lost their trust, it sounds like you've got assholes for investors.

Did they ever try to help you on product, business, or operations?

68
throwawaydebt 3 days ago 1 reply      
My company failed (unexpectedly) in 2008.

I had signed piercing agreements on a large contract, and on some financing before the failure, so I ended up on the hook for a little over $500,000. The risk/reward payoff looked much better the odds were in favor of reward.

Here's my progress to date: http://i.imgur.com/IGQ3rz6.png

It's an anchor. It's killing my dreams. I worry that the stress will literally kill me.

69
meerita 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't worry about the investor's money, that is why it's called venture capital for a reason. Investing money it's a risk itself.
70
ragsagar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Failure is the stepping stone to success. Don't give up.
71
toblender 4 days ago 0 replies      
Money is a tool.

The skills and knowledge you've gain can't be taken away like a tool can.

Time to get back up.

Rise.

72
p3nt3ll3r 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fuck it - that is the game and "investors" know it. Go drink an awesome import beer. Rent a comedy and laugh your ass off.
73
momchenr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Keep your head up. I had a really, really, really hard time with it, too. Identical situation (nearly).
74
grainawi 4 days ago 0 replies      
really strong words. thanks for sharing this. keep your chin up, the investors knew the risks of angel investing / venture capital. be proud that your gave it your all.

if you didn't take this risk, you would always look back and wonder what if. Ik that's cliched to high hell but it's true

75
retrogradeorbit 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is no failure, only feedback.
76
aliebchen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Try not to let the thought of letting down investors bring you down. They're investors, they put money in knowing they might not get it back. Obviously, they've moved on...probably without much trouble. You're going to have a much harder time of it.
77
chrisjtow 4 days ago 1 reply      
Who wrote this? I'd like to talk to you - chrisjtow@gmail.com
78
mcakkan 3 days ago 0 replies      
thanks for sharing... it is always to dream the happy path, this was a real good heads up...
79
olejolej 4 days ago 0 replies      
The biggest competition for entrepreneur is himself. Self-awareness is the most important in my opinion. Example is Noah Kagan :)
80
potatoman2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Best post I've read yet on HN. The feels man, the feels.
81
justplay 4 days ago 0 replies      
get up start and start working.
be optimistic .
FTW
82
sweely 4 days ago 0 replies      
Move on to the next thing. You're a pussy if you let this get you down.
83
tapatio 3 days ago 0 replies      
What reason did your wife give you for getting a divorce? Did she realize you weren't going to strike it rich and bailed? Now's the time to get out there and bang as many 21 year old chicks as you can.
13
Introducing Boxen github.com
444 points by jakebellacera  9 days ago   124 comments top 29
1
JangoSteve 9 days ago 2 replies      
This is pretty cool. There are some other companies that have released similar tools in the past. I personally tried out:

* Thoughtbot's laptop script - http://robots.thoughtbot.com/post/8700977975/2011-rubyists-g...

* Lunar Logic's Lunar Station - https://github.com/LunarLogicPolska/lunar-station

* Pivotal Labs's Pivotal Workstation - https://github.com/pivotal/pivotal_workstation

I personally liked Pivotal Workstation the best, as it had the best combination of robustness, pre-built recipes, and easy configurability. I'll be excited to take a look at Boxen the next time we bring someone into our team.

2
WestCoastJustin 9 days ago 4 replies      
A tool-chain like this is needed for Apple to move widely into the enterprise. As a sysadmin, it is a major pain to worry about unpatched, outdated, apple laptops that have to conform to a security policy. Without automated tools like this, you are left running around patching the latest java/flash/pdf issue!
3
contingencies 9 days ago 4 replies      
Honest question; I've never understood why people have such a fixation on puppet-style tools.

Small-scale? Run a simple script.
Large-scale? Use a network-hosted configuration (optimally read-only root and network booting so the entire system is known-good) to avoid the entire class of configuration drift / migration / state-accrual problems associated with the above.

I just see puppet as sort of trying to provide the latter and failing, resulting in a complex version of the former.

5
fideloper 9 days ago 3 replies      
This sounds awesome!

That being said, there's not a chance in hell I'd install so much stuff onto my mac.

IMO, Vagrant and VM's in general are what you should use to develop your web applications. (I happen to be opinionated about this :D )

Mainly this is because I believe in matching your production environment for development.

It's also because I'm anal about installing memory-using apps into my little MBA.

However, for things like Minecraft, onepassword, wget, sublime text 2 - this is really awesome.

6
one-man-bucket 9 days ago 6 replies      
I'm not trying to flamebait, but are macs so popular that it's just assumed that all new hires want one as their tool? At my company we're still asking new employees which platform they want to work on, is this falling out of fashion?
7
account_taken 9 days ago 5 replies      
Isn't puppet overkill for this? Seems like a bunch of ruby to build command line arguments. Bash would have been easier. We have a workstation dotfiles which we clone and execute an install script with plugins for oh-my-zsh.
8
buf 9 days ago 5 replies      
Looks very similar to Vagrant: http://www.vagrantup.com/
9
stcredzero 9 days ago 2 replies      
Does it work well with Homebrew, or does it subsume that functionality?
10
Hovertruck 9 days ago 0 replies      
This looks pretty great. We do something slightly similar at Chartbeat, but using puppet + ubuntu server VMs on our macs. Enables us to to develop on the same hardware we'll be using in production. Our CTO wrote a blog post about it here if anyone is interested:

http://engineering.chartbeat.com/2012/09/24/devvm/

11
jbarnette 9 days ago 0 replies      
We've opened up #boxen on freenode for questions and discussion. We'll idle there whenever we can.
12
kzrdude 9 days ago 0 replies      
"brutalize a key with your favorite finger"
13
DannoHung 9 days ago 0 replies      
I just can't keep track of SCM systems any more...

Calgon, take me away.

14
zx2c4 9 days ago 0 replies      
Massive ruby framework that only runs on macs? Yuck.
15
shykes 9 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of radmind: http://rsug.itd.umich.edu/software/radmind/

Lots of good ideas in there (some of which inspired early work on dotCloud, including https://github.com/dotcloud/cloudlets )

16
lox 6 days ago 0 replies      
We use babushka for local machine config and also production. It's radically simpler than Puppet/Chef.

http://babushka.me/

17
jacques_chester 9 days ago 1 reply      
"Boxen" is the German word for "Boxing".

I learnt this when I considered starting a linux-optimised PC business back in the early noughties.

18
kellysutton 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome and a long-time coming. If you're setting up a developer box, the last step should deploy to production :)
19
kriro 9 days ago 0 replies      
This might be enough for me to settle on Puppet over Chef. Haven't really compared them in depth and only played around with Chef so far.

Either way it seems pretty cool.

20
lazerwalker 9 days ago 2 replies      
Presumably, if you already have your own git server running elsewhere (and if you're considering this, you almost certainly have some solution for hosting git repos, GitHub or otherwise), there's no reason you couldn't just host your boxen repos there.

It's a great cross-sell, and one I think'll be successful for them, but as far as I can tell there's no explicit lock-in.

21
jxf 9 days ago 1 reply      
This looks very nice -- automated workflow setup for developers. It's essentially generalization across every "developer setup guide" you could possibly imagine.

Now the question is: can we get this for Linux users?

22
lightyrs 9 days ago 0 replies      
This looks very promising. Thanks, GitHub!
23
seryl 9 days ago 0 replies      
I had built something very similar to this a while ago, based off of the pivotal idea but with a one-liner install.

https://github.com/seryl/kindness

supports updating itself and it's templates form the git repo it's referencing.

24
geetarista 9 days ago 0 replies      
Heard about this a while back from a beta user. Very excited to start playing with it!
25
deepflame 7 days ago 0 replies      
Would be interesting to know what made them settle on Puppet instead of Chef. Thought the guys at Github were big Ruby-Lovers...
26
banachtarski 9 days ago 0 replies      
I can't bring myself to trust a project that has such horrible commit messages, even if it is github.
27
init0 9 days ago 0 replies      
--> You must be running OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion). :(
28
glamsmash689 9 days ago 0 replies      
cool.
29
chris092 9 days ago 0 replies      
This looks very promising.
14
HN is 6 today. Here's traffic since the beginning ycombinator.com
435 points by pg  4 days ago   114 comments top 53
1
jasonkester 4 days ago 1 reply      
I found this place in the referrer stats for one of my blog entries (45 days after this place was launched, it seems). The discussion on my articles here here was so much more constructive than it had been for the same articles over on Reddit that I started checking back more and more often, eventually just giving up on Reddit entirely.

Funny thing that I didn't notice at the time: The article in question was submitted by "pg". Wow!

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14389

2
pg 4 days ago 3 replies      
3
staunch 4 days ago 8 replies      
I created my account exactly 6 years ago, on February 20th, 2007. I guess I must have seen that announcement[1] posted on Reddit[2].

It's definitely lost that small town charm, but given how much it has grown it's still remarkably good.

To another 6 years!

1. http://www.ycombinator.com/announcingnews.html

2. http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/15gkq/startup_ne...

4
hdivider 4 days ago 2 replies      
Congratulations, everyone =)

Keeping a community like this together and preventing its degradation over a 6 year period is a remarkable achievement.

Let's also remember that this isn't just a site that lists current topics of interest; there's also the search feature. It's a great source of links to interesting views on various topics. For instance, whenever I encounter some tech-related topic where scepticism or additional information is hard to find, I search for HN threads on that topic and very often find more detail than I know what to do with.

5
atuladhar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Whenever there's a tech-related thing (product, framework, company, or what have you) I need to know more about, one of the first things I do is google "site:news.ycombinator.com <thing>." Almost always fetches a lot of insightful content that I doubt can be found anywhere else as quickly.

Happy birthday HN!

6
bane 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations! It's my absolute favorite community on the internet and an invaluable resource. Thanks to pg and everybody involved in providing it!
7
tokenadult 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Most forums degrade over time, but we don't think that's inevitable. We're determined to keep this site good, because we use it ourselves."

http://www.ycombinator.com/hackernews.html

Keep up the good work.

8
aashaykumar92 4 days ago 2 replies      
In the past year, unique IPs seem to be increasing while the number of page views has only increased slightly.

Quick analysis would be that HN is continuing to attract new people to the site, but people aren't surfing within HN as much. It makes sense given the assumption that most people probably surf the HN front page as those are where the more relevant stories are showcased and then post articles from time to time.

From another perspective, people are decreasing their engagement with HN. They may not be wandering into the "Ask", "New", or "Jobs" columns.

Just thought I'd share some quick statistical analysis that went through my head when looking at the graph...nonetheless, Happy 6th Birthday HN! It's remarkable at how quickly its grown and moreover, how it has remained a resourceful tool to so many people!

9
gruseom 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, or has the worrisome rise in incivility here begun to taper off somewhat?

Edit: if I'm right about that, then actual incivility has tapered off just as the reputation of HN for being mean and uncivil has escalated.

This whole thread is basically Meta Carnaval so one gets to indulge whatever meta commenting tendencies one normally ought to repress!

10
ComputerGuru 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many people from the 1st year of HN are still active commenters today? I wasn't here from the start, but did get in pretty early (in the first year?); I've seen many names come and go! But in the early days, I did not pay too much attention to the usernames....
11
zbruhnke 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have the same birthday as HN ... only problem is I'm 20 years older and apparently its already accomplished more than me lol.

Happy Birthday HN and thanks pg for giving us a great place to hang out

12
GuiA 4 days ago 2 replies      
Happy birthday!

The answer to this question is probably evident to some, but I have a hard time figuring it out: what causes the regular spike+drop which seems to occur 3-4 times a month? Is a certain day of the week a "dead day" (maybe Sundays)?

13
samuellevy 4 days ago 1 reply      
What happened in mid-July last year? A massive spike in page views, it seems, for what looks like about 2 weeks.
14
sergiotapia 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't remember how I found HN, but it has hands down affected my life in a positive, tangible way.

Here's to another 6 years of awesome links, insightful commentary and no-nonsense commenters.

15
petenixey 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's a good lesson for overfunded startups to see what one PG achieved compared to the multi-million dollar, multi-person implosion that was Digg.

Keeping a relentless focus on scaling value and utility rather than spend and headcount is a much more sound way to build long term value.

16
S_A_P 4 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Birthday HN! Despite the complaints I see here every now and then that the content is going to hell and becoming another reddit, I dont think there exists a better site that can both simultaneously waste free time and make you better informed. :) I don't think I can remember a day that I haven't visited at least once.

Here's to 6 more! CHEERS!

17
owyn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I joined almost 4 years ago... I went from slashdot (3 digit ID) through a totally non-productive fark/digg phase to here. I guess I missed the reddit bandwagon although the company is based in the same building I work in now. :) I prefer the tech focused sites and not the general "cool stuff" sites, and while sub-reddits meet that goal, I guess there's too much "other" stuff going on there which is a distraction.

Even after 18 years in the software building biz (as a developer) I still have so much to learn, and one of the things about this site is that I'm exposed to new technology and programming languages, great presenters and ideas. I still want to be doing this in another 20 years and I feel like the stuff I see on HN really helps keep me motivated (despite the distraction at times, which I mitigate by running through an HN rss feed filter that only shows posts with a certain number of points or more). For example, right now I'm reading about Kanren. :)

18
bigiain 4 days ago 0 replies      
And here we see a completely typical "overnight sensation".

(interesting number - if that 6 years represents 6 years of ~30hr weeks, HN has just hit the magic "10,000 hours of practice" required to become an expert…)

19
ryanb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looking at that growth, I can only imagine how many startups were launched because of HN. HN played a huge role in convincing me to quit my corporate job and join a startup, and then later start my own.
20
edouard1234567 4 days ago 1 reply      
What happened between July and Aug 2012? where we see a spike in #page views followed by a spike in #unique IPs?
21
pkamb 4 days ago 5 replies      
Can anyone annotate the big spikes?
22
iblaine 4 days ago 1 reply      
HN has replaced /. for me. Thanks for filling that void.
23
habosa 4 days ago 2 replies      
What exactly causes the "...up down up down up down..." pattern. I'd think day/night but I don't think the graphs have multiple points per day.
24
sethbannon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Up and to the right.
25
sthatipamala 4 days ago 0 replies      
Happy birthday, HN! It would be neat to load this data into StatWing (YC S12) and let the community explore trends and such.
26
dschiptsov 4 days ago 0 replies      
What is really exciting about this site is its code. It is just about a couple of megabytes of Arc, together with the language compiler.

It remarkable, that this very site is a proof of the ideas and concepts described in "On Lisp". It is not just works, it creates that much value.

Information and old code - http://arclanguage.org/

When you see it, you, perhaps, would look at all that piles of meaningless OO crap differently. Just about a megabyte of code and "good-enough" design decisions.

27
carlosaguayo 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be interested in knowing what news triggered the spikes in traffic.

It's also interesting to see how traffic seems to come mostly from weekdays.

28
TeeWEE 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does this include the hacker news api? Since i'm using my phone a lot to checkout hacker news.
29
icey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Happy birthday HN! (and thanks for building it, PG)
30
paul9290 4 days ago 0 replies      
I came here in may or june of 2007. Was led here via watching Justin.TV when that first started; launched my first start up there, yet back then I had zero technical skills. Tough to do a start-up when you don't know how to code, especially back then in my area.

Overall I been an avid(addicted) read since - thanks!

31
duck 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks more like it was yesterday. A happy belated birthday. :)

http://ycombinator.com/newsnews.html#29apr09

32
codex 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does YC keep any metrics regarding submission and comment quality?
33
run4yourlives 4 days ago 0 replies      
2193 / 365

Ah damn it. What have I done with myself?

34
dm8 4 days ago 2 replies      
There was sudden spike in traffic (both unique IPs and pageviews) in the months of July-Aug last year. I'm curious to know what caused that spike?
35
taylorbuley 4 days ago 0 replies      
I keep coming back and hoping to find the original dataset in CSV format.

I suspect some interesting seasonality at the hourly level.

36
logn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe to celebrate future birthdays, only members who were here during the first 2 years can post on the anniversary... before it hit the "terrible 2's".
38
dude_abides 4 days ago 1 reply      
Are the pageviews and unique IPs per day?
39
justhw 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats HN

ps: any way to recover old username with no email on file.

40
ikassinopoulos 4 days ago 0 replies      
it's funny seeing how traffic drops during weekends :)

Happy Birthday HN!

41
dinkumthinkum 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats! :) It's my most visited site.
42
brandonhsiao 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is not specifically related, but I've always wondered: why does traffic rise and fall periodically on practically every popular website?
43
argumentum 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow .. show's that long term tending of a community could be more valuable than techcrunching etc ..

What will HN's stat's be in 10 years!

44
HadiAsiaie 4 days ago 1 reply      
Shouldn't unique IP be unique cookie? Because IP is not that much unique, two people can have the same IP and both surfing hackernews.
45
hakaaaaak 4 days ago 0 replies      
Any idea what the peaks in July last year were due to?
46
anovikov 4 days ago 1 reply      
Absolutely shitty chart, it must have points for weeks not days (because of the obvious weekly cycle) and be log scale.
47
AdamTReineke 4 days ago 0 replies      
pg, do you have browser version stats?
48
ImprovedSilence 4 days ago 0 replies      
slow weekends, eh?
49
jasonwilk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats PG
50
rakeshsharmak 4 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Sixth Birthday!
51
spoiler 4 days ago 0 replies      
Happy birthday HN!
52
huhsamovar 4 days ago 0 replies      
ax.grid(True)
53
suyash 4 days ago 2 replies      
The graph is poorly designed, someone got to be too lazy to leave out the YEARS from the X-axis.
15
"River" detection in text stackexchange.com
424 points by cpleppert  2 days ago   91 comments top 19
1
oofabz 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's really impressive how their sophisticated image processing algorithms are only a few lines long. If I wrote an algorithm to detect rivers, it would be hundreds of lines long and less effective. These guys tackle it mathematically and it seems almost magical. I wish I could think that way.
2
mistercow 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how hard it would be, given the detection algorithm, to fix this automatically. Seems like simulated annealing would be a pretty good fit, where you perturb the word spacing on each iteration and the energy function is the total river length. The fitness landscape is rich enough with good solutions that you should rarely need more than a few iterations to arrive at one.

Still, that's a pretty expensive fitness test, and I wonder if there's a more elegant and efficient approach than Monte Carlo methods.

3
d23 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've been seeing these all my life and for some reason never thought to ask if anyone else noticed them. I never found them particularly distracting and didn't know they were a sign of bad typography. Still, cool to see an article about them.
4
jtchang 2 days ago 1 reply      
Definitely cool. How about the reverse for an art project? Maybe the Constitution or Bill of Rights with rivers forming the statue of liberty.
5
shitlord 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something similar: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8479058/how-do-i-find-wal...

These sorts of image processing questions are incredibly entertaining imo (and I don't mean it in a bad way).

6
martinced 2 days ago 1 reply      
If there are any typesetting geek on HN, any idea when this would be incorporated in TeX / LaTeX and other typesetting programs?

Oh the memories when I used to write (and typeset) books using LaTeX and Quark XPress: "rivers" had to be tracked down manually, by eye-ball searching. You'd basically "blur" your vision a bit and quickly scan through all the pages of the book. I didn't take that long and I don't write books anymore but I'd still be curious as to when that technique is going to be implemented (maybe in InDesign which I never used!?).

7
drivebyacct2 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is massively distracting for me at certain times and I was always considered a "good, fast" reader. The only thing I detest more in a block of text than rivers, is justified alignment. Ick.
8
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was thinking about developer continuing education yesterday, and this underlines the need for some way of keeping sharp - without wasting time or direction.

I simply don't know what a Hough Transform is and rather than Wikipedia, I would rather a coursera course on image processing - it's to get things in context that matters.

As I get older i am not afraid of hard work, just afraid of exploring in every direction - the waste of time and effort is the problem, time and effort finding out what to learn rather than the practise of learning

Oh, just answered my own question - coursera!

9
pdeuchler 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the variance in answers. You get several different sig-pro solutions and then at the bottom also a machine learning answer.

IMHO the machine learning solution could be better, as rivers are defined more aesthetically than functionally.

10
Zolomon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've always wondered if there exist any book that uses rivers as an encryption technique for hidden messages. Like the author has hidden an easter egg or something more exciting.
11
taltman1 2 days ago 1 reply      
TeX uses a dynamic programming algorithm to perform its advanced hyphenation, which allows the text to fill the page "beautifully":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TeX#Hyphenation_and_justificati...

If TeX is already using dynamic programming in order to improve the visual appearance of the words, I imagine that the same can be done for the space between the words without having to resort to image processing of the TeX document rendered as PDF.

12
tekromancr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the fact that all three answers used totally different techniques and each found the answer.
13
fnordfnordfnord 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to have the tex, to translate the letters to blocks before doing image processing, but it's almost as good to simply convert it to a binary mask, and then "dilate" or "grow" the pixels. I think it makes it a simpler problem both in processing time and conceptually. Not sure about how I'd decide, identify what vertical lines to pick out, there are a lot of choices for that.
14
mcav 2 days ago 1 reply      
Next, someone should put that in LaTeX to automatically fix it rather than just detect it. (Or some sort of HTML/JS plugin, since using LaTeX again is somewhat disconnected from my immediate life goals).
15
Bryan22 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems to me, like the least efficient method ever for dealing with the problem. Ok you want to find 'rivers' in text. To do so you have to turn that text into an image and then run it through your app, then go back and manually correct the problem? What was the point of the app again? I don't care if it took 1 line of code or 1000, this seems completely useless, when the anomaly is blatantly obvious when proofreading. Not to mention if you wanted to fix it dynamically, you'd end up with an image of a block of text instead of text, no big deal for print, but devastating for SEO..
"ok smart ass what would you recommend?" is that what your thinking? Well, since you asked; why not take an open source text editor and add an algorithm that stores each line of text in an array, find the index of all the spaces and compare it to the previous and next lines of text. If the index of spaces are relatively 0 between lines; you have a river. If the indexes increment or decrement; you have a river. Now add an extra space somewhere or move the last word on the last line to the next line. Whatever solution is most aesthetically pleasing. Now your rivers are getting fixed on the fly and you don't need to take a screenshot of a block of text to analyze it.
Maybe I missed the point of the article, but i thing those of you praising their solution aren't taking into account what the problem actually is, and the fact that their app doesn't actually include a solution to the problem.
16
Kiro 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want to know if it can be done on HTML texts with JavaScript.
17
benatkin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why are they using bogus examples?
18
qscesz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really impressed by the short length and high effectiveness of the code. Thanks!
19
virb 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is this really a problem? In how many texts does this occur? It seems quite unlikely. Show me a book where this has happened.
16
Sony Pirates KDE Artwork kde.org
421 points by k-i-m  4 days ago   159 comments top 24
1
jacquesm 4 days ago 6 replies      
http://web.archive.org/web/20020808140127im_/http://www.true...

On the left hand side of that image you see a little segment that conists of a hand, an eye and an ear. Those stand for interaction, video and audio. TrueTech hired Jonathan Kraij, a talented young designer to make that logo and it was featured in many places, magazines such as wave and many others besides in the late 90's.

Not three weeks after one prominent bout of exposure the logo appeared in an advertising campaign by Sony the Netherlands.

We talked it over with them and they traced it to a guy working for one of the agencies that designed the campaign. He'd most likely been subconsciously influenced by exposure from a magazine. Sony was pretty good about it, promised they wouldn't use the logo any further and paid us a fair bit of money to offset the use.

All in all it could have been a lot worse and I think that before you start using words like 'pirates' you have to dig a little deeper to be sure that it was intentional and that it wasn't some external party that caused this.

Sony is a damaged brand, they've done lots of terribly stupid stuff but at a minimum they should be given the benefit of the doubt until there is hard proof they did this on purpose. We all know Sony fucked up in the past but that is no reason to automatically assume they did so again without any proof.

2
damian2000 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've got another less exciting reason how it ended up there... someone at Sony or one of their contractors found it on here:

http://www.iconarchive.com/show/oxygen-icons-by-oxygen-icons...

It says there "commercial usage allowed". They probably didn't even know it was from KDE.

3
kenkam 4 days ago 3 replies      
Such a shame Sony pirated their artwork.

Also, such a shame the article introduces Sony as "the company who created Audio CDs which installed a rootkit on Windows computer to try to stop people copying music", as if Sony needed introduction, especially for people that read the KDE blog.

Maybe it would have been more effective to point them out in a matter-of-fact way, tell them to stop or to comply with the licence, and move on. It would certainly come across as more mature, more about problem solving, and less about name bashing.

I appreciate though it is hard to keep a level headed tone if it were to happen to me..., but there's no harm in trying!

4
josephlord 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a former Sony employee although in the consumer TV's business rather than either Vaio or Sony Music I'm pretty confident it is a mistake and that it is likely to be fixed. [The Sony TV's came with a paper license in the box for all the various open source licenses of the software included in the TV and I believe there is a website with all the relevant source.]

If it is used in a website is it really a breach of the terms of the LGPL? I thought that the whole point behind the Affero GPL was that the normal GPL/LGPL did not prevent you using software server side to present a service to users without the requirement to distribute the source. Given that I'm not sure what the status would be of an image under LGPL (dual license with Creative Commons Sharealike, attribution as mentioned by another commenter) being served as part of the website software. Now maybe it is reasonable to say that Javascript and images are actually distributed to every browser accessing the page and that therefore source code and license must be made available but it isn't completely clear to me.

Whatever the technical legal case it was bad form and most likely a mistake for Sony to use this icon in this way.

Edit to add: Sony is a massive sprawling multi-limbed business with actions from different parts sometimes not just contradictory but conflicting at times. It is all done under the Sony name so it is fair that bad in addition to good actions are reflected in the reputation but the reality is that there is very little shared between the Music arm putting out rootkits (about eight years ago - maybe it is time to move on) and the electronics side.

5
moondowner 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the license for the icon used from the KDE Oxygen icon theme:

http://www.oxygen-icons.org/?page_id=4

"Oxygen icon theme is dual licensed. You may copy it under the Creative Common Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License or the GNU Library General Public License."

6
polshaw 4 days ago 4 replies      
This leads me to a legal question about GPL stuff.. Say the guys at KDE threw their full legal might behind this- what would happen to Sony?

Obviously they would be required to change it (or include the GPL licence), but is that all? What kind of 'damages' could be claimed in such a situation?.. ie what is the risk to Sony in doing this. NB i'm using this (somewhat trivial) example to talk about GPL violation more broadly.

7
jason_slack 4 days ago 3 replies      
The KDE Developer that wrote this needs to take a deep breath...they asked: "Should KDE e.V. and Nuno's Oxygen friends start a new business model by sueing them for everything they're worth?"

Really? Sue them for all they are worth?

Go ahead and try, but you need money to sue and no Judge is going to award you "All they are worth" over an icon.

You haven't lost anything with Sony using this icon. You have gained because now there is an subconscious association between Sony and KDE.

Well, for those that even recognise that it is KDE artwork to begin with.

8
speeder 4 days ago 4 replies      
I like Sony, but some stuff they did in the past was highly questionable and may come back to haunt them, specially when some random artist at them use someone else artwork.

The best thing Sony can do is fix this, say sorry, and punish the guy that did this.

But.I have a hunch that they won't do that.

9
manmal 4 days ago 3 replies      
That's a serious case of Google-Image-Searchitis. My theory: somebody googled for "settings icon", swore to himself to get proper artwork later, forgot, and there we have it. (Yes, I'm guilty of that too, but I usually don't forget)
10
anonymous 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think unfortunately the best case of action would be for KDE to sue Sony pre-emptively. Otherwise, some lawyer on Sony's side would notice KDE using "their" icon and sue KDE.
11
viseztrance 4 days ago 5 replies      
Honest question. Did the author even attempted to contact Sony or anyone in the KDE organization to resolve this issue?
12
rossy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this happens because of open source being mistaken for public domain. I've definitely had lecturers who confuse the two.
13
niggler 4 days ago 0 replies      
I could be misremembering, but wasn't there a case last year where GPL code was found in Sony playstation software?
14
NamTaf 4 days ago 1 reply      
This isn't the first time Sony's ripped artwork off.

Back in early 2006 I left a webpage comment (haha, remember them?) with the admins at Digital Blasphemy (that CGI desktop wallpaper site everyone loved back in the day) because I was playing with a mate's Sony W800i mobile phone and noticed that they'd ripped off an image called 'Fluroescence' [1] to create an animated mobile background image - there's a whole series of that image in different colours with different transparencies and they'd just grabbed them all and made an anmiated GIF that faded between them. In doing so, they'd cropped the DigitalBlasphemy watermark in making it a portrait aspect ratio and as far as I could tell not credited DB anywhere.

I ended up getting a 'thanks I'll look in to it' reply, but don't know if anything ever came of it. I figured at the time it may have been the mistake of a lazy artwork designer but part of management of such a project surely must be to ensure that all of the content is legit. It's certainly interesting to see that this company has done this again. As previously, it may well have been the work of a lone employee but it is still the company's responbility to stop that behaviour.

I hope KDE can get a favourable resolution to this problem.

[1]: http://digitalblasphemy.com/preview.shtml?i=fluorescence

15
csense 3 days ago 0 replies      
While we're all hating on Sony, let's remember how they removed the ability to install Linux on the Playstation 3 [1] [2].

They're a company that does malicious things to users. Please, boycott Sony.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playstation_3#OtherOS_support

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

EDIT: Citation added, because I was downvoted.

16
rolfvandekrol 4 days ago 4 replies      
Come on kids, the rootkits on audio CDs are already history for quite a while. Yes, they shouldn't copy stuff from others, but why link it to past mistakes?
17
baby 3 days ago 1 reply      
But here we're clever and we know that behind Sony, this is the mistake of a stupid web developer. Right?

EDIT: http://www.iconarchive.com/show/oxygen-icons-by-oxygen-icons...

This thread is a nice flame war.

18
rplnt 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't think "pirated" is the right word.
19
grecy 3 days ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, I honestly think the best course of action is to sue Sony for every penny possible.

The case needs to get as much press and possible, and people need to see how completely ridiculous the whole thing is. More and more cases like this need to tie up the court system, wasting everyone's time and money.

This is the only way we'll get copyright reform.

20
whalesalad 4 days ago 5 replies      
While this blows ... it's a bummer that companies keep getting blamed when things like this happen. Sure, at some point an employee is a reflection of a company but at the end of the day a person did this. It's easy to point the finger at a big company and use this as fud against them. But really... the correct title should be "Someone who works for Sony pirated KDE artwork."
21
stevewilhelm 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think the real headline should be "Proof that at least one person at Sony has used KDE"
22
rikacomet 4 days ago 0 replies      
wait! shhhh! don't let the guys at TPB know of this, they are gonna laugh until they die from this :P
23
Zealot 4 days ago 2 replies      
So what now?

Are we going to see Sony GPL'ing their UEFI implementation?

24
berlinbrown 3 days ago 0 replies      
In post Aaron world, come on. Seriously?
18
Poll: Would HN benefit from Reddit's AMA-style posts from technologists?
416 points by daenz  5 days ago   175 comments top 93
1
DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 11 replies      
Why don't we let Reddit be Reddit, and HN be HN?

Why would I want HN to be a megaphone for Famous Joe Blow X when I'd much rather have him actively participating and helping out in the threads with the rest of us?

This is a very bad idea in my opinion. Since I have no clue how to run a busy site, that means it'll probably happen. :)

2
scythe 5 days ago 3 replies      
Cheap content attracts cheap commenters. The comments and questions in AMAs rarely express novel insight -- usually, someone pipes up with a popular sentiment, like asking President Obama to stop using drone strikes. Commenting in such threads, which are inevitably mobbed, gives you the illusion of significance ("Wow, X answered my question!") or worse yet they give you actual significance ("Wow, it's X, he did an AMA") both of which function as an invitation to horse-sized-duck trolling and celebrity obsession. Do we want the users who join because Tim Cook did an AMA here once, or people who join to discuss hacking?

As the old saying goes: small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas. HN has always been a place for great minds -- let's keep it that way.

3
davidw 5 days ago 3 replies      
There are already a bunch of well known "technologists" who don't just show up to do one Q&A session, but regularly participate in the community, which is, IMO, even better.
4
recoiledsnake 5 days ago 1 reply      
The idea sounds great, but there is a big caveat.

I think it will draw a lot of crowd to HN, which PG wouldn't like.

One one hand you need to keep the registrations open for newcomers to ask good questions, on the other hand a lot of signups will be from a section of Redditors not used to HN etiquette. I remember that signups are sometimes disabled on HN whenever there is a popular link to here from Reddit.

Also, HN has no means right now of highlighting the submitter of the post, unlike on Reddit.

5
SCdF 5 days ago 1 reply      
So the thing that struck me when I first started reading HN was that this place is a constant AMA with famous people!

Real people, real hackers, who've done impressive stuff, who aren't random bored teenagers in their boxers pretending to know about what they're waxing on about, comment here! People from Google, and MS, People who actually built the startup we're discussing, or are at the heart of the story that brought us here.

And they're here, not because they really just want to talk about Rampart[0], but because they're hackers too, and they want to contribute to the mass discussions happening every day on HN.

[0] http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/woody-harrelson-reddit-...

6
drgath 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just create the AMA on http://reddit.com/r/hackernews and link to it from here. It keeps Reddit over on Reddit, but still provides interesting content for HN to link to.
7
adelevie 5 days ago 2 replies      
Why this poll? I'm sure there'd be no problem if tomorrow morning we see "I'm #{@name}, founder of #{@awesome_thing}, AMA".
8
charlieok 5 days ago 2 replies      
Was Reddit's AMA feature a result of paving the cowpaths?

I'm thinking of it as something that organically sprouted from the community, and then became an institution. Kinda like hashtags and @-mentions on twitter.

If people post AMA submissions on Hacker News and they do well, great. That's a sign the users would like more of it. Or are these being actively discouraged by admins (e.g. by editing “AMA” out of titles)?

9
jlarocco 5 days ago 0 replies      
This doesn't make sense to me.

First, I'm not sure there's anything stopping people from doing this now. Can't a person submit an "AMA-style" HN article already?

And on the end user side, if a person is interested in AMA-style posts, can't they just go to Reddit? What's the point of "me too" HN AMAs when Reddit's already doing a good job of it.

10
kjackson2012 5 days ago 1 reply      
No, because HN doesn't have a good way to manage comments the way Reddit can. In Reddit, it's easy to close an entire thread if you're not interested in it, but HN natively does not have this facility. I've seen some hacks that allow this, but if it were available natively on HN, it would make perusing the comments a lot easier.
11
tripzilch 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think HN's comment voting/sorting algorithm is up for AMA style discussions. So often a single top-level reply dominates the discussion.

Actually, the sorting part is probably fine. It's hard to judge, anyway.

But for an AMA, it's not as much the sorting, but also the interface: Check any random AMA thread on Reddit and try to imagine what it would look like without all the "load more comments" links. Also try to imagine how differently the discussion would flow with all threads and replies completely unfolded.

It's a complex and interdependent balance, that, I think, the way it is handled on HN isn't particularly suited for AMA style discussion. The most interesting questions need to float to the top. But without comment folding, the two or three most interesting questions will gather a vibrant discussion and replies, causing many people to not even get past them, and the other questions won't get sorted properly because so much less people vote on them.

But, why not get the best of both worlds? Get an interesting person to do an AMA on Reddit, then invite HN to come along for the discussion? For those worried about the quality of discussion, my experience is that the more "grown up" a topic is, the more "grown up" replies you will get (and childish ones voted down), so if you get someone that's big in start-up land, you'd get a good discussion just fine, unlike what you'd get with a pop-star/TV-personality.

12
jgrahamc 5 days ago 2 replies      
No, I like how HN works right now.

I'm here. That's like me saying "Hi, I'm jgrahamc, AMA"

13
JacobAldridge 5 days ago 1 reply      
As I write this, the Yes vote is clearly leading (~1350 v ~500) but the first page of comments are almost exclusively No.

If that's indicative of who we are - those engaging in discussion say No and those happier to just answer a poll question say Yes - then I definitely hope the end result is No.

Edit: FWIW, I've seen links to a few Reddit AMAs on the front page here, and clicked through to some as a result. There's no either/or discussion here - we already have both. I see no incentive to change this.

14
specialist 5 days ago 0 replies      
Slashdot Answers are superior to Reddit's AMA.

Slashdot solicits questions, people vote, guest is asked to answer the top 10. Quite rewarding.

Reddit AMAs feel like drive bys. Guests select a few questions to answer. Very casual. Very low signal to noise.

Reddit AMAs are almost as content-free as Presidential debates in the USA.

15
niggler 5 days ago 1 reply      
What I would like to see (if we are having a meta conversation on HN) is a view for the "Show HN" posts (like the "Ask" link above). What I enjoy the most here are the posts where people show cool stuff they've done, and it would be nice to have a separate view just for those (when I don't feel like wading through articles covering the Tesla/NYT scandal or whatever is the melodrama of the week)
16
netaustin 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm an infrequent enough Reddit user that their odd argot and mile-long discussions about ponies are really a disincentive for me to read past the intro to an AMA. Using HN for topically relevant AMAs provide a welcome relief from Reddit's tiresome fractals of inane comments.
17
nolok 5 days ago 0 replies      
As long as we don't get a daily AMA for every single startup founder out there ... Reddit already has quite a few of those amadverts.
18
codeulike 5 days ago 1 reply      
Here, I think it would end up more like "Argue with me about anything". Might still be fun though.
19
Apreche 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, but they must be actual technologists. I don't want to hear from start-up business people.
20
BSousa 5 days ago 1 reply      
In all fairness, shouldn't this be something to ask pg about instead of a poll?
21
hardik988 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody will believe me, but I just came to post this. Experienced programmers have so much to offer to young programmers.

I even came up with a name for it - progrAMA

22
Sakes 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is something natural about HN. Something in the way that it has grown, slow and organically.

I can not imagine that a handful of threads started by celebrities would increase the value of HN significantly.

But I could see a handful of celebrity threads bringing in large groups of new users, which I think could threaten the community's standards of comment quality.

I've never successfully grown a community, but my personal theory is start with a quality base, and slowly trickle in new users so that they are able to naturally recognize the expectations of the community through existing comments. If you have a big influx of new users, you have a big influx of new comments with no understanding of what a good comment is.

23
jcroll 5 days ago 1 reply      
From the HN guidelines:

> If your account is less than a year old, please don't submit comments saying that HN is turning into Reddit. (It's a common semi-noob illusion.)

I would suggest that if you do proceed with the AMA's that you amend the guidelines and remove that clause.

24
lazugod 5 days ago 0 replies      
No. AMAs perpetuate the idea that the people who move the earth are normally unapproachable.
25
fryed7 5 days ago 0 replies      
We ran AMA's on Inbound.org over the last month and they were a terrific success from an engagement point of view. They unearth fascinating content.

Dharmesh Shah's probably was the best example of what an HN audience might have asked: http://www.inbound.org/discussion/view/hi-i-m-dharmesh-shah-...

I love this kind of open media, open interviewing. Sometimes "regular interviews" bring up your burnings questions, or something else you find really interesting, but the chance to talk to real experts about questions specific to your interests is pretty damn cool.

26
mmphosis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I think people on Hacker News might benefit from "Hacker News"-style AMA posts from technologists and investors.

The technologists and investors needn't be so high-profile. Reddit's Bill Gates AMA was great. And I'd also like to hear from smaller-profile founders, investors, developers involved in open source projects, and other like-minded hackers, if they'd be willing to be asked anything.

27
naner 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of work and coordination (scheduling, moderation, proof) involved in the IAMA subreddit. I'm not sure we are interested in or capable of organizing all of that here.

Also reddit has a much wider audience. Having IAMA's here instead of reddit would only make sense for less widely known tech-centric folks.

Also keep in mind that there have been a couple sites (startups?) that tried to replicate the reddit IAMA format and basically they all went nowhere.

This is one thing reddit is pretty good at, that is hard to replicate, and that there is not much of a reason to replicate here.

28
bthomas 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'd rather focus on ideas than personalities. What about "ask me anything about X", where X is a software package/device/publication/etc.
29
djt 5 days ago 0 replies      
William Shatner had an interesting comment on Reddit when asked about doing an AMA.

Basically he said he'd rather hang out and naturally interact with the audience rather than do a hit and run AMA for an hour then never come back.

30
chrismarlow9 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is a website for this. It is Quora. The people who are famous and great tech people pick the questions they want to answer. A specific thread dedicated to the person is a bad idea and draws unwanted users. Letting these people pick which threads they want to respond to is the way to do it, which is something HN/Reddit/and Quora are setup for.
31
radley 5 days ago 0 replies      
One of the most fun and interesting parts of participating in YC were the weekly dinners w/ guest speakers.

Perhaps something similar might be appropriate, i.e. a weekly IAmA related to start-ups / hacker culture.

32
kunai 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why not leave AMAs where they belong, Reddit?

Call me a hipster, but I like the peace, quiet, and esotericism of HN. Adding AMAs would screw everything up; we'd get tons of new signups and the community would be diluted like Reddit is currently. We'd get immaturity in droves.

Memes on the HN front page... The thought makes me shudder.

33
tferris 5 days ago 0 replies      
HN's karma system already makes reputation often more important than the actual message. I think an HN AMA would strengthen this, so I'd suggest to stick to good contents and not focussing to much on the author's identity (since the best contributions come from anonymous accounts).
34
shitlord 5 days ago 0 replies      
Whenever there's an AMA on reddit from someone interesting, the scum floats to the top. Occasionally, you get something interesting but most of the time the AMAs are vapid. When a politician does an AMA, people upvote questions about weed or posts complaining that the US is a police state. When Paul Krugman did an AMA, libertarians raided the thread, downvoted all of the other questions, and upvoted stupid shit like questions about the legitimacy of Austrian economics.
35
DanBC 5 days ago 0 replies      
No.

HN already has an equivalent in "Show HN". Show HN has the advantage of having some code / stack / tech / something to be discussed.

36
lessnonymous 5 days ago 0 replies      
An AMA with people like these would be awesome! I wonder if we could get them into a forum where anyone from HN (and anyone who happens by) could ask them anything.

We could set up a whole site aimed at it. Maybe we could call it reddit.com/r/IAmA ????

It would be the perfect place for anyone from HN to ask these people questions!

(Seriously: why? If you want to ask these people questions, just ask them on Reddit. Unless you can offer a better experience or audience, there's no win here.)

37
dylangs1030 5 days ago 0 replies      
I voted No. I think it would be a distraction, although you could probably find willing candidates.

Hacker News is not as large as Reddit, and I think it's more useful to have everyone on a more or less equal level.

It's a simple community for technical and technology news matters. We have an Ask feature, but I also wouldn't recommend instituting a system similar to StackOverflow (even though we probably have a higher average level of technical ability on HN).

38
eranki 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think the benefit would be that people will ask more in-depth subject questions rather than "getting-to-know-you" type questions (to which we would get answers too short to satisfy).

I think HN has become increasingly focused on people rather than ideas and this would exacerbate the problem. IMO this should be news FOR hackers, not news ABOUT hackers.

AMAs would also largely be posted by people with a self-promotional interest (for the benefit of either themselves or their company) and upvoted by their voterings. Reddit AMAs seem like much more of a favor to the audience in comparison.

39
pasbesoin 5 days ago 0 replies      
HN is more about topic, not personality.

I like Bill Shatner just fine, but I think we should leave him to Reddit. (Unless he shows up here on his own... Doing any startups, Bill?)

I prefer it the way it is, when something will be posted and suddenly founder or community leader(s) X will pop up with a comment:

Additionally... | I remember when... | We're excited... | Hey, didn't expect this... | "Under construction"... | It's coming... | The dog ate my homework, and two days later...

Followed by 'I/We'll be around for awhile [on this thread], in case any of you have questions or feedback.'

40
jlgreco 5 days ago 0 replies      
HN's borked 'more' link makes very large discussions very... difficult. I don't think this sort of post could work well on HN until that issue is fixed, regardless of if we think it is a good idea.
41
andymoe 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure you could do better than what Andrew Warner has done with http://mixergy.com

I know a lot of the older ones are behind a paywall now but there are 100s of interesting folks he has interviewed over the last few years.

Edit: Over 800 interviews. Truly impressive.

42
mynameishere 5 days ago 0 replies      
AMAs are absolutely worthless. The POTUS did one on reddit and it was a dose of Valium for all involved.
43
malandrew 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, so long as it includes people like:

Hal Abelson, Peter Norvig, Tim Berners-Lee, Fred Brooks, Vinton Cerf, John Cormack, Brendsn Eich, Doug Engelbart, Alan Kay, Daniel P. Friedman, Richard P. Gabriel, jwz, Dan Ingalls, C.A.R. Hoare, Bill Joy,

etc. etc. etc.

44
zokier 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think the only case where I would like to see AMAs on HN would be AMAs by YC funded startup founders. I mean, that's what the site is ultimately about, networking and getting to know other startups and their people.

But AMAs from random (internet) celebrities can stay at Reddit. I see no reason to split them here.

45
yock 5 days ago 0 replies      
No, because I don't think Hacker News needs to copy features from another community.
46
icedog 5 days ago 3 replies      
Bigger problem at hand: too much non-technology related articles are being posted on Hacker News.
47
ImprovedSilence 5 days ago 0 replies      
I voted no. HN doesn't bring the traffic that Reddit does. Let reddit do their thing. It's not like you can't participate in both communities. Like Daniel said above, let reddit be reddit, and hn be hn.
48
fudged71 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was recently wondering if "Moronic Mondays" (as featured in /r/Android and such) would be useful here. It's a good way to shed your ego and say "I have a question that I know seems stupid and simple, but I just can't wrap my head around it". Coincidentally, I implemented the IAmA star verification system years ago which seemed to popularize the entire IAmA community.
49
frogpelt 5 days ago 0 replies      
No.

Reddit works for this because there are enough dumb questions to answer. Most of HN is too complicated to stick to simple concepts like asking Bill Gates "How much money is in your wallet?"

50
chc 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see the point. Hacker News already has lots of interesting comments from technologists, and you can ask them anything (relevant) just by posting a reply.
51
swalsh 5 days ago 0 replies      
One of the great parts of HN is the subdued conversation. It would be great to have say a Bill Gates AMA without the "Can you give me a million dollars" questions.
52
Cushman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd rather see HN move in the direction of Quora: High-quality questions that any notable technologist can answer.
53
moccajoghurt 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just keep reddit away from Hacker News. Reddit is a horrible place right now and there is no reason to copy it.
54
unimpressive 5 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't Reddit. If HN can't attract interesting characters for an extended stay then it has already failed, and we can go pack our bags.
55
sushaantmujoo 5 days ago 0 replies      
AmA on HN will be more effective as people on reditt, do tend to troll around on some questions. That said, it would be better to have a collaboration with reditt to allow general users to join in as well.
56
dm2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Should this community worry about attracting the wrong crowd?

If everyone and their moms start getting attracted to this site then could that not start reducing the voting power of people who are actually interested in technology?

Listen, the only thing I'm trying to do is prevent this community from turning into Cats and Porn like reddit has become.

Lots of well known people participate in the discussion and will answer questions if you ask them.

Maybe HN needs better searching and filtering capabilities first.

57
bsimpson 5 days ago 0 replies      
It could be interesting, but I think Reddit is much better suited to multi-party discussions than HN. Reddit's commenting system is easier to navigate (cf. the hide button).
58
huhsamovar 5 days ago 0 replies      
Please, stop these polls. Nothing comes of them.
59
nathan_f77 5 days ago 0 replies      
No, I read both Reddit and Hacker News, and would prefer AMAs to stay on Reddit where they have a much bigger audience.

Don't try and compete with Reddit, that ship has sailed.

60
The1TrueGuy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, the only way for that to work thematically is if the person is in fact a hacker. I use a pretty broad interpretation which would include Bill Gates but probably leave out Steven Levitt unless he was going to discuss/share the software tools he uses to arrive at his results. Also, more physical hackers like Adrian Bowyer of RepRap and some of the guys behind the Hacklabs and Hackerspaces.
61
emilioolivares 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes! Not only technologists, but founders, CTO's, engineers at big companies, etc. etc.
62
pcg 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been reading HN for years and registered just so that I could vote "no".

My "no" is somewhere between "no megaphone" and "no naval-gazing". The community has always been more interesting for its own commentary than for the topic at hand, and making this a blog platform for others doesn't really fit with that.

63
rckrd 5 days ago 0 replies      
As said earlier comments, I think that the best way for HN to operate is for those people to participate indirectly in the community (by commenting or submitting). Personally, I think its a more interesting way to learn and reveals a more genuine image of a person.
64
jiggy2011 5 days ago 0 replies      
There already seems to be an informal policy of a permanent IamA PG AMA.
65
RivieraKid 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wish HN had followable tags.
66
whiddershins 5 days ago 0 replies      
Something about the AMA format, at least on reddit, I have trouble finding the real "nuggets" of insight which I somehow expect. I think the threaded forum structure isn't so great for a freeform Q&A.
67
HunterV 5 days ago 0 replies      
Only if there was some way to monitor the quality of the people doing AMA.
68
ketralnis 5 days ago 0 replies      
No, I don't think that sites like HN should be governed by poll results.
69
jkrems 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why? Hacker news can link to those discussions on reddit. As you said: There already are great AMAs on reddit and HN links to those.
70
paulkaplan 5 days ago 1 reply      
I would really appreciate that because I am a senior in college and I'm trying to figure out where I want to go and what type of job would be best.
71
olleicua 5 days ago 0 replies      
I really like this idea but I'm not clear on how this would fit into the current UI. Reddit does threads a little better I feel.
72
manicdee 5 days ago 0 replies      
No, you will be diluting your brand. Pick one thing to do and do it well. If you want AMA, head to Reddit. They already do that.
73
potomushto 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker News should be made as simple as possible: one page of links only for hackers. (link to AMA is just another link)
74
thechut 5 days ago 0 replies      
Don't talk about Fight Club
75
bonchibuji 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's a good idea as long someone moderates (maybe PG) moderates who all can do it.
76
epicwhaleburger 5 days ago 1 reply      
No, I feel that this website shouldn't follow reddit, but instead maybe try something diffrent
77
thethomaseffect 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, but leave the visionaries and successful entrepreneurs the door. I want to hear from engineers and creative people who've built something interesting and really get a chance to ask them about the nitty gritty of it. HN comments often become more interesting that the topic linked, directing that discussion isn't a bad thing at all.
78
iomike 5 days ago 0 replies      
No. Keep Reddit on Reddit. No need for "Le Reddit Army" here.
79
visualR 5 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't there already enough hero worshiping on HN as it is?
80
wuntee 5 days ago 0 replies      
No, thats what reddits for.
81
redDragon 5 days ago 0 replies      
No, HN is not Reddit
82
crazirican 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, if the persons doing the AMA's are of value.
83
napolux 5 days ago 0 replies      
YES!
84
vanilla 5 days ago 0 replies      
not with the current comment system
85
mtthw 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, but not in excess.
86
wisechengyi 5 days ago 0 replies      
tricky bastard haha. this is the AMA!
87
adamfe 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes.
88
thesharp 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes.
89
TeamMCS 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yes
90
jpittman 5 days ago 0 replies      
No.
91
nathanpc 5 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea of having AMAs here in HN.
92
Carltonian 4 days ago 0 replies      
"I see the value of an AMA for someone who is never coming back here again but really, is an AMA for someone who is going to stick around necessary? I would much rather just do it more of a grass roots style. Answering things as I go along." - Will I Am Shatner
93
stephengillie 5 days ago 4 replies      
Isn't that what Quora was made for? To have longer Q&A style discussions with other HNers and (legitimate) technology celebrities?

Edit: I guess the downvotes mean I'm wrong?

19
X86 MMU fault handling is turing complete github.com
407 points by mman  3 days ago   39 comments top 11
1
tptacek 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is more or less the greatest thing I've learned about in the last couple years.

What's happening here is that they're getting computation without executing any instructions, simply through the process of using the MMU hardware to "resolve addresses". The page directory system has been set up in such a way that address resolution effects a virtual machine that they can code to.

This works because when you attempt to resolve an invalid address, the CPU generates a trap (#PF), and the handling of that trap pushes information on the "stack". Each time you push data to the stack, you decrement the stack pointer. Eventually, the stack pointer underflows; when that happens, a different trap (#DF) fires. This mechanism put together gives you:

    if x < 4 { goto b } else { x = x - 4 ; goto a }

also known as "subtract and branch if less than or equal to zero", also known as "an instruction adequate to construct a one-instruction computer".

The virtual machine "runs" by generating an unending series of traps: in the "goto a" case, the result of translation is another address generating a trap. And so on.

The details of how this computer has "memory" and addresses instructions is even headachier. They're using the x86 TSS as "memory" and for technical reasons they get 16 slots (and thus instructions) to work with, but they have a compiler that builds arbitrary programs into 16-colored graphs to use those slots to express generic programs. Every emulator they could find crashes when they abuse the hardware task switching system this way.

Here's it running Conway's Life:

http://youtubedoubler.com/?video1=E2VCwBzGdPM&start1=0&#...

Here's their talk for a few months back:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGXvJ1GKBKM

The talk is great, but if you're not super interested in X86/X64 memory corruption countermeasures, you might want to skip the first 30 minutes.

2
jbangert 3 days ago 1 reply      
Author here: While it is true that with the current implementation, memory access is extremely limited (essentially one DWORD per page, or about 0.1% of the available physical RAM) that limitation can certainly be avoided. For one, you could shift how the TSS is aligned (and align them differently for different instructions), multiplying your address space by a factor of 10 or so. Furthermore, you could also place another TSS somewhere in memory (only a few of the variables need to actually contain sane values) with an invalid EIP and use that as a 'load' instruction.

The easiest way however would be to use the TrapCC mechanism to transfer control between bits of normal assembler code (perhaps repurposed from other functions already in your kernel), doing something similar to ROP. Of course, for additional fun, feel free to throw in BX's Brainfuck interpreter in ELF and James Oakley's DWARF exception handler. We might drop a demo of this soon, i.e. implementing a self-decrypting binary via page faults.

3
networked 3 days ago 0 replies      
>Move, Branch if Zero, Decrement

This is basically the canonical instruction for OISCs (one instruction set computers). Wikipedia describes it pretty well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_instruction_set_computer#S....

4
codex 3 days ago 2 replies      
Another place for root kits to hide.
6
ars 3 days ago 1 reply      
How fast (slow) is this relative to the host CPU?
7
ithkuil 3 days ago 0 replies      
if you like this kind of things there is also:

http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~bx/elf-bf-tools/slides/ELF-berl...

8
rocky1138 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is really interesting. In a way, it's a form of computer self-replication. Could the virtual machine created by the computer be considered offspring?

Is there a way the virtual machine might spawn another virtual machine child of its own?

9
conductor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Expect this technique in the future malwares and software protection DRM systems for making code analyzing harder.
10
traxtech 3 days ago 1 reply      
That the hardware version of the brainfuck philosophy.
11
general_failure 3 days ago 0 replies      
somebody checked in vim backup files :-)
20
Firefox introduces PDF viewer mozilla.org
406 points by riledhel  4 days ago   194 comments top 33
1
hosay123 4 days ago 14 replies      
It's worth pointing out this is done in pure Javascript, and works by compiling PDF functions to equivalent Javascript functions which are then visible to Firefox's JIT. Despite being only around a year old, it still manages to render the majority of PDFs thrown at it (it's been my primary paper reader for the past 6 months or so).

As for missing features like some complex gradients, I can't say I've missed them, except on occasion when dealing with shiny PR materials. Earlier versions occasionally emitted blank pages, but these could always be skipped thanks to a side effect of the PDF format.

PDF.js has an amazing future for such a young project, and it is the foremost demonstration of exactly how complex programming tasks can be expressed using native web technologies. Turns out 35kLOC of Javascript almost completely subsumes the functionality of a behemoth native application (Adobe Reader) that on some machines would require half a minute just to 'boot'.

While Mozilla are pumping out stellar designs like this, Google are pushing crap like Native Client and their proprietary, binary-only Foxit Reader solution instead, complete with the hundreds of thousands of LOC of insecure C this entails. Rock on, Mozilla!

2
aviraldg 4 days ago 2 replies      
Love it, but unlike Chrome's embedded PDF reader, it can't "stream" PDFs (a dealbreaker for people viewing media-heavy PDFs on slower connections)
3
johansch 4 days ago 4 replies      
It fails with the 4th google hit for "sample pdf":

http://www.inkwelleditorial.com/pdfSample.pdf

(The main difference I see with Firefox 19 on win7 is that it loads pages significantly faster.)

4
eumenides1 4 days ago 5 replies      
Dumb question: What's to stop Chrome from eventually adopting PDF.js?

Personally, I see that as the future. Its open source, its
"good enough", and Google doesn't have to license the pdf viewer anymore.

Also it's a big coup against Adobe, when everyone with firefox and chrome can pretty much uninstall your Adobe Reader software. I haven't even mentioned shrinking the market on 3rd party PDF viewers.

5
twoodfin 4 days ago 3 replies      
If you want to try PDF.js from your current browser, here's a demo:

http://mozilla.github.com/pdf.js/web/viewer.html

I wonder what's keeping this so ugly in Chrome. Also, does anyone know if printing is intended to work? It doesn't appear to have the pagination right, again at least on Chrome.

6
kunai 4 days ago 0 replies      
Before this patch, this is usually how I would open PDFs in Firefox:

"Okay, so I clicked on the link. Wait - where's the Download box? No, wait -- I told Firefox to download this MIME type automatically, right? Okay, but where is Evince? I thought it would load after I downloaded it. Okay, let me cd to Downloads, it's probably there. Okay, now I have to open Evince -- no, wait, I can just open Thunar to open it because the .pdf MIME is associated with Evince. Okay, so now I have to launch Thunar... Okay, now where is my Downloads folder again?"

Granted, it would be easier if I weren't such a blockhead, but it's still a royal pain in the ass.

7
shmerl 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's nice to have such an option, but it feels significantly less snappy than Kparts plugin in KDE which wraps Okular into Firefox.
8
soapdog 4 days ago 0 replies      
PDF.js rocks!

Now, stay tunned for ASM.js because that too will rock (once it is ready).

link: http://asmjs.org/

9
Create 4 days ago 2 replies      
...and it displays your visited sites in a grand panorama on the canvas in a new tab, despite having asked for always private browsing.

It could be a regression of both the browser, and the unit test, which isn't such a good news.

10
brudgers 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using it for about a month. It's my default PDF viewer, on my desktop - though sometimes it has choked on a file, and search has been an issue on large files.

Generally though, it's a good solution that doesn't require dealing with Adobe updates all the time.

11
AshleysBrain 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is this based on pdf.js? I couldn't seem to find out quickly. If so, very cool!

Edit: I was being lazy, it definitely is. Very nice that it's plugin-free and a pure HTML5 solution.

12
homer-simpson 4 days ago 1 reply      
What I don't understand is why Google doesn't have an open source PDF viewer? I mean, Chromium renders OpenGL, decodes movies, contains fastest JavaScript VM and it cannot view PDFs? Given what they did to JavaScript speed, can you imagine what viewer they would be capable of producing of? At least they should join Mozilla on improving pdf.js, IMO...
13
gmac 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using this for a while in Firefox beta, and it's generally really good.

I have two small problems with it, which perhaps won't be too hard to fix:

1. PDFs of old academic papers that are just strung-together CCITT (fax) compressed monochrome scans. Preview.app, Adobe Reader and Chrome resample those to give a readable quasi-anti-aliased effect. PDF.js makes the text jaggy and spindly and hard to read.

2. No back/forward navigation.

14
ozten 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been enjoying Pdf.js for months, as I use Aurora as my main browser. Aurora[1] is the the first step before Firefox Beta.

If you want to use awesome features like pdf.js earlier... get on Aurora. It has been surprisingly stable channel for pre-beta code.

[1] http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/aurora/

15
stcredzero 4 days ago 1 reply      
I would love to have a PDF viewer app for OS X based on PDF.js. Better still if it could be sandboxed and have other enhanced security.

Just tried out Firefox 19, and the PDF reader is good. Responsive enough, with just the barest hint of render lag. Minor nit: Firefox isn't currently registered as handling PDF, but will still open it happily.

EDIT: I have Firefox as my OS X Mountain Lion's PDF viewer app now. Works quite well!

16
Aissen 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using it for while (it shipped before but wasn't enabled by default; which I did). It works great most of the time, and is hassle-free. It's also likely safer to use.

Now, if only Gmail would let me preview attachments in it. They do it for Chrome's plugin. I tried messing with the URL arguments, but it seems the Gmail server won't even give you the inline (ie not a download) version of the PDF if your browser doesn't pretent to be Chrome.

17
Nux 4 days ago 0 replies      
Impressive piece of Javascript, but it's quite heavy on my CPU. I will continue using Evince for the time being.
18
iyulaev 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. I was wondering why I had to re-enable FoxIt viewer after the latest Firefox update. Maybe it works well for some PDFs, but the first two I happened to open were formatted pretty badly.
19
Aardwolf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for doing this, but it is not working well for me! It takes way longer to load than a normal PDF viewer, is slow, and basically I gave up and closed it when pages were still black, or white, with a rotating loading indicator, minutes after a regular PDF viewer already showed it. This in Linux.

Thanks!

20
hoodoof 4 days ago 0 replies      
We have a major in house application that displays PDF files as a core part of its functionality.

The Firefox PDF reader is very slow compared to Chrome's.

Also, the second and subsequent PDF files you click on do not commence the display at the top of the page, the appear to commence display somewhere down the page, I'm guessing maybe at the position that the previous PDF scrolled to. So immediately you need to pull the scrollbar back to the top before you can start reading the PDF.

So for now, just on speed alone we'll pass on the Firefox PDF reader.

21
curiousdannii 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't miss the announcement that Firefox for Android now supports ARMv6! Many ~$100 Android phones now have the option of a better browser!
22
skinnynerd 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really amazing, but I wish these two browsers would be pushing for a FOSS version of PDF instead.

I do not think openXPS is entirely FOSS but it is a good place to start looking for an alternative.

Here is an xps file on the web to see how your browser handles it: http://www.rosebudschooldist.com/images/Feb%20Cal%202013.xps

23
klrr 4 days ago 1 reply      
What, this is not what a web browser is supposed to do.
24
forgetcolor 4 days ago 0 replies      
just tried it on a large PDF. Chrome takes about 1 second to load while FF takes 10, and the visual result in FF is nearly unreadable (while in Chrome it looks just like it does in Acrobat). i'd love to have nice open-source native PDF support, but this surely doesn't cut it for release.
25
arthurrr 4 days ago 0 replies      
If this is the future of computing, then I quit. I don't want to play anymore.
26
mariusmg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is there anyway to change the background/foreground color ?
27
ww520 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a pure Javascript solution, it can run on a wide variety of platforms, as far as the browsers are running.
28
magg 4 days ago 0 replies      
how is pdf.js gonna be updated in firefox... i was using the dev version add-on of pdf.js and seems to work better than the one shipped in FF19
29
unix-dude 4 days ago 0 replies      
Works well, looks sleek, and only randomly locked up once (To be fair, I had tons of tabs open).

Good job!

30
av500 4 days ago 1 reply      
what happened to doing one thing and doing that well? what is next, office documents?
31
ucpete 4 days ago 1 reply      
Serious question: what took so long?!
32
green_fox 4 days ago 1 reply      
The experience on Android phones is solid but this core feature is really late to the game.

I love firefox but cant keep using a browser thats always playing catch-up

33
stuff4ben 4 days ago 3 replies      
Why is this news except the fact that Chrome has had this for years? Was Adobe paying Mozilla in the same way that Google paid them for the search bar preference?
21
Dolphins Call Each Other By Name discovery.com
397 points by rblion  4 days ago   153 comments top 27
1
ComputerGuru 4 days ago 3 replies      
Any thread on dolphins is not complete without a link to the 1992 NYT article on dolphins: [http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/18/science/dolphin-courtship-...]

Here's the sad part: none of this is new. 1992. 1992. Over twenty years ago.

As children they make a best friend for life, they form complicated alliances for mutual benefit, they form political alliances/gangs, they help each other out both tit-for-tat and "pro-bono" while keep score of debts (I help you today, you will owe me at some undefined point in the future), they group together to accomplish tasks (sometimes/often at the expense of other dolphins, for instance a female they are trying to get with).

Another important study was done to research the presence (or lack thereof) of a universal dolphin "language" (EDIT: found source! [http://wakeup-world.com/2011/11/28/the-discovery-of-dolphin-...] but not peer reviewed research). It involved showing dolphins in one aquarium a sequence of objects (red ball, green box, etc.) and recording the sounds made, then travelling to another aquarium with dolphins that have never been in contact with the first and playing back the sounds made, then watching the dolphins "locate" or "identify" the object the sounds were made in response to. They achieved an astonishing (if memory serves!) 86% accuracy rate implying audible descriptions of objects, much in the same manner that a "bee dance" can be universally understood across hives/colonies except it's based on actual sounds rather than movements.</cannot find source>

Regardless of whether or not you feel dolphins deserve the title of "non-human sentient beings" (whatever "sentient" means, it's such a non-word), I think anyone involved in the mass slaughter of dolphins in an attempt to ransom money should be imprisoned for being a killer (Reference: 900 dolphins killed in Solomon Islands as black mail for raise in pay negotiations. Sorry, but f* them [ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&... ])

2
srean 4 days ago 4 replies      
They are also known to build difficult to make toys (air bubble vortex rings) to entertain themselves.

They have to discover how to make it. Sometimes they can be quite possessive, they would break the toy if someone not so knowledgeable wants to play with it. Once a dolphin figures it out how to make one, his/her peers eventually figure it out too. So it kind of spreads within a group like fashion. This behavior has been observed both in captivity and in the wild.

https://www.google.com/search?q=dolphin+vortex+ring a time sink right here)

They also have what appears to be fratricide were they bludgeon another to death targeting vital organs (I dont have a reference to this, but I recall reading it on BBC).

I have seen dumber people on and around TV.

I am sure there are HN'ers who are divers and have first had experience with dolphins, we would love to hear the stories.

3
pg 4 days ago 4 replies      
Someone should define a canonical way to transform dolphins' whistles into syllables. Then we could at least sort of refer to them by their names.
4
mtrimpe 4 days ago 13 replies      
Dolphins are exactly why I feel SETI is such a misguided (in a sweet way) effort.

Here we are, searching for extraterrestrial intelligence while we can't even communicate with the other intelligent species on our own planet.

Glad to see we're making progress though!

5
acheron 4 days ago 2 replies      
"For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man -- for precisely the same reasons." -- Douglas Adams
6
crucialfelix 4 days ago 3 replies      
I went through a Cetacean and cephalopods obsession last year.

What really freaks me out is what Dolphins looked like when they were still land animals:

http://understanddolphins.tripod.com/dolphinevolution.html

Also the perceptual systems of octopus and squid are amazing. Cuttlefish can perceive the polarization of light. This helps for contrast and edge detection. Many Cephalopods (octopuses, squid, cuttlefish) can see with their arms and then replay the image on the other side like a video screen.

Dolphins can tell the difference between a quarter and a dime from 100m away using sonar. The click generating system emanates from the top of their head, in the area of the third chakra.

We have a very limited sense of space and an all too focused sense of self. But we have a lot of oil and we can dig shit up and drive around real fast and think we are really important.

7
gruseom 4 days ago 2 replies      
John Lilly, who spent years working with dolphins, believed that they were smart enough to be cute and friendly to humans because they understood how dangerous we were.
8
ricardobeat 4 days ago 2 replies      
“Hey everybody! I'm an adult healthy male named George, and I mean you no harm!”

That would be more like "Hey everyone, I'm George". Humans also 'encode' information in that sense - from that introduction you could probably tell age, general health and friendliness.

The day we can talk to any stranger dolphin and have a real conversation will be alike to contacting alien life.

9
felideon 4 days ago 0 replies      
After some rabbit hole googling related to my 'Seaquarium' digression below, I encountered this 2010 transcript[1] of an ex-Flipper trainer:

"Flipper was a wild animal that lived in Biscayne Bay before we captured her and dragged her, kicking and screaming, to the Miami Seaquarium and put her in a tank and gave her a stage name, Flipper. Her name was really Cathy. Well, not really. Her real name was [whistles]. Dolphins have a signature whistle that their mother gives them." - Ric O'Barry

So it seems like this research proves what dolphin trainers have known, ostensibly, for many years?

[1] http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/16/filmmakers_activists_t...

======
OT:

> The researchers also intensely studied four captive adult male dolphins housed at The Seas Aquarium, also in Florida.

Made me giggle. Don't they mean, the [Miami] Seaquarium? If so, Flipper[1][2] is part of the study!

[1] http://miamiseaquarium.com/Shows/Flipper-Dolphin

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flipper_(1964_TV_series)#Filmin...

10
wfn 4 days ago 1 reply      
I referred to this NGM article in another sub-parent comment here, but I think it contains very relevant on-topic animal intelligence language-related insights, so posting a link and a couple of short excerpts from it here:

  Under Pepperberg's patient tutelage, Alex [a parrot] learned how to use his vocal tract to imitate almost one hundred English words, including the sounds for all of these foods, although he calls an apple a “banerry.”

“Apples taste a little bit like bananas to him, and they look a little bit like cherries, so Alex made up that word for them,” Pepperberg said.

[...]

[...] because Alex was able to produce a close approximation of the sounds of some English words, Pepperberg could ask him questions about a bird's basic understanding of the world. She couldn't ask him what he was thinking about, but she could ask him about his knowledge of numbers, shapes, and colors. To demonstrate, Pepperberg carried Alex on her arm to a tall wooden perch in the middle of the room. She then retrieved a green key and a small green cup from a basket on a shelf. She held up the two items to Alex's eye.

“What's same?” she asked.

Without hesitation, Alex's beak opened: “Co-lor.”

“What's different?” Pepperberg asked.

“Shape,” Alex said.

Article: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2008/03/animal-minds...

11
javajosh 4 days ago 1 reply      
I will wager money that their names translate to things like:

   Big nose
Funny tail
Horny boy
Big mamma
Deep swimmer

Not just amusing, but also useful. By correlating individual behaviors and physical features with names, we might be able to unlock dolphin language! Which would be incredible!

12
leoh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Last year around this time, I had the opportunity to interact with two dolphins in captivity. Being with them, they felt so present and warm, like being around a perceptive old friend. I had never had that experience with an animal before, except fellow humans. It's something I will never forget.
13
mxfh 4 days ago 0 replies      
The full paper is available for free from the Royal Society B:

Vocal copying of individually distinctive signature whistles in bottlenose dolphins

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1757/2013...

The orginal press release is here:
http://www.smru.st-and.ac.uk/newsItem.aspx?ni=1611

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-21...

14
stcredzero 4 days ago 3 replies      
> Bottlenose dolphins call out the specific names of loved ones when they become separated, a study finds.

...Holy, f^~kin crap! We've been in the presence of other sentients this whole time. Enslaved them. Killed them while gathering food. Holy, f^~kin crap!

15
DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 1 reply      
Because I ended up doing a bit of reading about dolphins earlier this week, I thought I'd share a bit of trivia in this thread: dolphins also have prehensile penises. (Like an elephant's nose) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1...

And they're also not-very-nice (Tongue firmly in cheek here. Of course animals do not possess human qualities like "nice" or "asinine") http://deepseanews.com/2013/02/10-reasons-why-dolphins-are-a...

Now that we know they have names and are able to make tools, this has to make them one of the most unique species on the planet aside from man. Wonder what would have happened had they just invented some form of writing?

16
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 2 replies      
That is an interesting result. Some birds mimic other bird's songs but I don't know of an example in the bird family where an individual had a unique song.
17
traughber 4 days ago 0 replies      
Growing up, I was lucky enough to occasionally join a group of scientists aboard a research vessel off the northern tip of the Bahamas. We would spend hours a day and up to two weeks at a time on the open ocean swimming with them and making visual and audio recordings of their behavior. The species they study are Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis). One of the things that has always struck me about them is how social they are " they have social circles and "cliques", similar to humans. We would observe these social networks and monitor how they change over the years. This research project is unique because they've been following this same group of just a few hundred dolphins in the wild for over 25 years. Having watched video and high frequency audio recordings of them interacting with one another in the wild, it comes as no surprise that they have "names" for one another.

Relatedly, Denise Herzing, the founder of that organization (the Wild Dolphin Project) will be speaking at TED this year (see Session 8, "Coded Meaning"): http://conferences.ted.com/TED2013/program/guide.php

Here's their site: http://www.wilddolphinproject.org/about-us/mission-vision/

18
dchichkov 4 days ago 0 replies      
As far as I know Royal Penguins also can call each other by name. And can distinguish a call from afar in the noise of hundreds of other penguins calling each other. There must be a lot of redundancy in the call, I guess.

Also penguins sound totally like one of these old 14400 baud modems ;)

19
rwhitman 4 days ago 1 reply      
I bet there would be economic opportunity in developing commercial dolphin-human communication software and interfaces. Imagine how much benefit to deep sea construction and exploration there would be if training and employing dolphins using natural language was possible. Or to shipping, fishing etc.
20
maxharris 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think it's a mistake to say that they call each other by "name," because that implies the ability to form concepts/speak a language, and there is absolutely zero evidence for that. Even the article is careful to point that out:

While researchers often hesitate to apply the “l word” -- language -- to non-human communications, bottlenose dolphins and possibly other dolphin species clearly have a very complex and sophisticated communication system.

21
mtgx 4 days ago 1 reply      
Have they tried testing this on dogs, too? I assume they don't do that, but it would be interesting if they did the test on dogs, too.
22
lignuist 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder, if there is any public repository of dolphin audio recordings.
23
tomasien 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did anyone else's pulse race when they saw the phrase "encodes other information"?
24
ttar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dolphin language is similar to human language.

http://www.tusker.com/tusker-trips/eclipse-trips/archaeo/art...

25
rblion 4 days ago 1 reply      
Did you know that dolphins love to rape each other and some have tried to rape a human?!

Check out this list of interesting facts...

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-6-badass-facts-you...

26
Viruptc 4 days ago 2 replies      
Unbelievable that humans still kill these amazing animals

http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/

27
olejolej 4 days ago 0 replies      
Like in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams :) Dolphins will govern...
22
Vim After 11 Years github.com
392 points by statico  6 days ago   237 comments top 34
1
h2s 5 days ago 7 replies      
Lots of people seem to declare ; or , to be useless keys and remap them. They're two of my most used movement keys in certain circumstances.

I used to have , remapped to <leader> but switched back when I realised what I was missing out on. I'd advise anybody else to reconsider if they've made the same mistake I did.

2
gfodor 5 days ago 5 replies      
Some small vim tweaks I've recently been using myself that I find very nice:

nmap <CR> :write<CR>

cabbrev w nope

Re-map enter to save the file. If you try to do a :w it will yell at you until you take out the cabbrev so you can retrain your muscle memory. Took me about a day to retrain.

let g:EasyMotion_leader_key = ';'

nmap s ;w

nmap S ;b

Remap s and S to be easymotion forward and backward. I never use s, since it's largely a redundant command, and didn't like having to do a two key command for easymotion. (You can set the leader key to whatever here, the nmap's are the important part.)

noremap <C-H> <C-W>h

noremap <C-L> <C-W>l

noremap <C-J> <C-W>j

noremap <C-K> <C-W>k

Move between panes with motion keys with control held down.

Also the YouCompleteMe plugin got some HN airtime but it really needs to get more. It's amazing.

http://valloric.github.com/YouCompleteMe/

And as others have mentioned using vim inside of tmux is very nice. It's especially helpful to remap the entire tmux keymap to be vim-like.

Also, does anyone have any suggestions for what to re-map Space to? I am amazed Enter and Space in command mode both do relatively useless things. Remapping space to page down is OK but I use ctrl-f/b which is just as fast imho.

3
niggler 5 days ago 2 replies      
PG is there a way to have HN present the subdomain for github submissions?
4
puls 5 days ago 12 replies      
Why do people keep suggesting iTerm2? The built-in terminal app on the Mac does Unicode and 256 colors just fine.
5
SeoxyS 5 days ago 6 replies      
My single greatest tip to make vim even more amazing is to run it in a tmux session: It makes it super easy to split panes and create new windows for related things you need to do (git stuff, compilation, running tests, running a REPL, etc.
6
enoch_r 5 days ago 3 replies      
I recently switched to Vundle from Pathogen and it is a joy to use. Best part: you can bootstrap[1] Vundle from your .vimrc, turning the two-part "vimrc & plugins" configuration into a one-part "vimrc" configuration.

https://github.com/gmarik/vundle/blob/master/test/vimrc

7
jrogers65 6 days ago 5 replies      
> Emacs has a useful mode which highlights hexidecimal colors in CSS and SASS with the color represented by the text.

http://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=2937

> The biggest hole, however, is the lack of refactoring and smart completion.

http://eclim.org/

8
papsosouid 5 days ago 3 replies      
I use nvi, and have tried to switch to vim a dozen or so times over the years. But there are so many irritating little quirks and misfeatures and annoyances that I can never manage to fix. Does anyone know of a guide to getting a sane, non-broken vim working with some basic plugins like syntastic? Last time I tried I couldn't bind F-keys for some reason, I couldn't get syntastic's error marking column to stay on instead of shifting my text back and forth all the time, I couldn't get auto-complete mapped to tab properly, and a few other things I can't remember now. I eventually gave up again as the extra functionality of vim ends up being counter-productive when none of it works right.
9
zokier 5 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure why the author advocates job control (ie ctrl-z/fg/bg) instead of using tmux/screen. A multiplexer offers far more flexibility, and most importantly does not lose state even if your session ends (eg ssh connection drops).
10
fatbird 5 days ago 6 replies      
Every time I read an article like this, it's how a power user installs an array of plugins and customizations to really soup up Vim, which to me kind of misses the point. If you want that level whiz-bang, use Coda or Sublime Text 2 or Eclipse or whatever.

I don't recall where I saw this, but someone advised disabling syntax coloring in your editor to remove a crutch (and, secondarily, to visually simplify your environment). I've tried this with Vim and it's surprisingly nice [0]. You have to read the code more closely, and think more carefully about what's on screen, and this has the effect of focussing me more. Simplifying my environment, making it more sparse, but always having the power of Vim available, makes for a really potent, semi-distraction-free environment.

[0] Well, mostly. I leave it on in order to have three colors used: a good contrast color for code, a second contrast color for strings, and a third, very low-contrast color for comments and line numbers so that, if I want to see those things, I can look for/at them, but if I don't, they're easy to ignore. Likewise, visually distinguishing between strings and code continues to be really useful.

11
Aardwolf 5 days ago 12 replies      
Can vim do the following?

I'm editing some project with 10000 C++ files.

There is some C++ file I currently don't have open, say "palette.cpp" which is in a subdirectory "project/graphics/algorithms/color/".

Now I want to open palette.cpp without ever having to type, not even with tab autocompletion, that path.

IntelliJ (which I do use for C++ ;)) can do this easily: just press CTRL+R, then palette.cpp, ENTER, and there you are in that file.

Another thing: Some IDE's and editors have this feature where if you change lines, it marks it with some color on the left, as well as colors in the scrollbar, to immediately see which parts of the file were changed compared to git and/or the last time you opened it. Can Vim do this?

Thanks!

12
brown9-2 5 days ago 5 replies      
One of Vim's strengths is that it starts lightning fast, so starting Vim from the terminal is trivial. With a modern, 256-color terminal like iTerm2 or Gnome Terminal, it will even look like gVim. But the best part is that you can drop into the command line at any time with Ctrl-Z, which suspends Vim, and your working directory is where you left off.

Is there any reason to do this instead of !sh within Vim to drop into a shell?

13
derwiki 5 days ago 6 replies      
The author mentioned CtrlP for fuzzy filename matching. Its great because it's in pure Vimscript, but in my experience it becomes unusably slow for moderately sized projects. A month or two ago, I switched back to CommandT (requires Vim to be compiled with Ruby support, engine written in C) and haven't thought twice about it since then.
14
yaj 5 days ago 0 replies      
I can live without Vim but cannot without Vim mode.

All apps I have used since learning Vim has some kind of Vim bindings - Visual Studio, Eclipse, PyCharm and ST2. I also rely on browser vim plugins (vimium, vimperator).

It seems Vim mode is becoming ubiquitous in my apps.

15
welder 5 days ago 0 replies      
My vimrc file with step-by-step instructions for installation:

https://github.com/alanhamlett/Alan-vimrc

Some features in my vimrc file:

* Code folding for bracket or indention based languages

* Edit multiple files in tabs using minibufexpl plugin

* Using the Solarized color scheme

* Using Vundle for plugin management (apt-get for Vim plugins)

* Common swp, backup, & view directories (No more ~ files left around)

* Useful defaults (spaces instead of tabs, remove trailing newlines, etc.)

16
jason_slack 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. I wish I had this exact setup. I have never been good at configuring Vim and the SPF-13 VIM distro is wonky.

Would save me from buying Sublime

17
snarfy 5 days ago 3 replies      
My new favorite toy:
http://gh.codehum.com/nosami/Omnisharp/

It's 'real' intellisense for Vim/C#. It's fairly new and rough around the edges, but works great once you get it going.

18
kunai 5 days ago 4 replies      
> With a modern, 256-color terminal like iTerm2 or Gnome Terminal, it will even look like gVim

Uh, I use xterm...

It's obsolete, I know, but it's still the fastest.

19
scott_s 5 days ago 0 replies      
I use MacVim for editing files locally on my Mac: http://code.google.com/p/macvim/
20
mathnode 5 days ago 0 replies      
In Star Trek the next generation; as different users interacted with different physical platforms (tablets, desk consoles, wall panels, tablets, voice activated devices, "desktops", etc), the work space would adapt to it's physical medium....so....I'm sold!
21
moron4hire 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the things that I really love about Vim is that it's the same on every platform, including Windows. Hell, it's the same on my Android device.
22
johncoltrane 5 days ago 7 replies      
netrw comes by default. No need to install NERDTree.
23
fghh45sdfhr3 5 days ago 0 replies      
With other people's code I prefer to use something like http://astyle.sourceforge.net/ on the command line.
24
Bjartr 5 days ago 2 replies      
Minor nitpick, but can any terminals do squiggly underlines or is that still a gVim only feature?
25
pseut 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm disappointed no one's mentioned digraphs yet. I've used emacs for years, but I'm starting to use vim now because ctrl-k G* etc is just so easy (I type a lot of math).
26
grn 5 days ago 0 replies      
I can recommend CtrlP (or Command-T). I can't imagine navigating in a project without them. They also have great buffer navigation. Personally I mapped <leader>t to CtrlP file search, and <leader>b to CtrlP buffer search (:CtrlPBuffer).
27
lightblade 5 days ago 1 reply      
Here are my 2 cents

set undofile " This creates a undo file that persists your undo history when the file gets closed

imap >> <ESC> " Double right arrow to escape from insertion mode. This is faster and more comfortable (at least for me) than to reach for tab key for some people

set clipboard=unnamed " This is bridges between your Vim yanks and your system clipboard

28
mihaifm 5 days ago 0 replies      
Instead of NERDTree you might want to try Vimpanel, it's based on NERDTree but much more evolved, and instead of using :bprev/:bnext you might want to try Bufstop, it uses history instead of the buffer list to get you to the previous buffer. I made these to get around some limitations for some plugins that everyone seems to suggest.

https://github.com/mihaifm/vimpanel
https://github.com/mihaifm/bufstop

29
mats_rauhala 5 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only who tries not to override default commands? It's not like I use them all, but I might learn it at some point, and I want to have them available.
30
ichinaski 5 days ago 1 reply      
My favourite ones:

" Make Y behave like other capitals

nnoremap Y y$

" Reselect visual block after indent/outdent

vnoremap < <gv

vnoremap > >gv

31
kidambisrinivas 5 days ago 1 reply      
Does any vim plugin support context sensitive auto-complete like Visual Studio (auto-complete only with variables that are alive in the current block of code)? I code in perl and am currently using ctags for autocomplete, but it doesnt autocomplete based on the context.
32
delambo 5 days ago 0 replies      
Recently, I made the switch to vim from Sublime Text and I have installed some of the same tools. So far, I've committed to vim, but I have found that the plugins for file searching, linting, etc. are easier to use, more intuitive, and less painful to setup in Sublime Text.
33
jagguli 5 days ago 0 replies      
Has top level windows been implemented yet. It's been on the todo for a long time so has a lot other new feature requests.
34
dreamdu5t 5 days ago 1 reply      
No Command-T!? FAIL.
23
I'm a shut-in. This is my story fighttheurgetofade.com
378 points by lastbookworm  4 days ago   229 comments top 63
1
RyanZAG 4 days ago 3 replies      
I think you're wrong on one point: you constantly repeat how different and strange you are from everyone else. You're really not. As you mentioned at one point: you didn't want to go out and play, but the teacher forced you to do so. This is very common behavior, and teachers are forcing children every day to go out and play.

Huge amount of people go through similar experiences to yours. Others start to lapse into an experience like yours and get scared - they go the other way and try to force social behavior on themselves, often becoming bullies or the kid you mentioned who hurt himself trying to show off to you.

So my advice (since you're obviously not posting something publicly and expecting to get away without advice shoved at you) - stop worrying about 'normal'. Stop trying to fit in or not fit in. There are no points to be won by having social interactions. Social interactions are so you can learn, experience and enjoy. Approach them like this, and walk away when it's not working and try again. Everyone is doing the same thing, social interactions are breaking everywhere, you just don't see it so much from a distance because people cling to the precious few social interactions which have actually worked for them.

Since you're trying to put things in terms of programming: if your program doesn't work/is slow because you're looping over the wrong thing, try again with a different loop, try a different data structure. You don't need to avoid 'if' loops in the future because they didn't work once. You don't need to keep trying to use an 'if' loop because its 'normal to use an if loop'. Excuse the terrible metaphor.

2
tsunamifury 4 days ago 3 replies      
I am a person who loves being social but gets in shut-in cycles. I once took 4 months and backpacked in the woods of Canada in an extreme cycle.

Several points bothered me in this story, as it was a combination of honest observations and immature conclusions.

1) Life takes time, you need to be at peace with being young and not having all the solutions.

2) The author seems to suffer from observing the image of Silicon Valley success without actually experiencing it.

Most people fail, most projects go unfinished, most beyond that never make enough money to sustain a company.

A successful product is the evolutionary result of 10,000 products before it that failed, went unfinished, or were unprofitable. Even the best of the Valley didn't sit down, bang out some brilliant code, slap a business strategy on top, then cash a billion dollar check. They worked long and hard through repeated failures, with sometimes B and C squad talent, slowly carving away at the block of ideas until a product appeared. Then after that, they spend months or years compiling a business strategy and altering the product to become palatable to enough customers to gain a profit.

It takes a team of imperfect people and a lot of time to make even a passable product. Even finishing a unprofitable product is an massive achievement in itself.

It worries me at the end that the author again seems to come to a single conclusion that he believes will bring both success and happiness. That may never come, or it may be that the author never makes a lot of money or never is the best in the field.

This was the most painful part of growing up for me -- accepting that you live in a sea of talented individuals, and you are in no way, the most talented among them. You learn to reach out, form a team, and that great things come from hard work and diligence as much or more so than from natural talent.

3
josscrowcroft 4 days ago 2 replies      
From the comments here I suspect that not many read to the end, and so may have judged the story before reading these closing words:

"Publishing this was hard but it felt like my only option. For years I have not been living my life, I have been delaying it. Five years ago I paused my life and now it's time to choose between play or stop. I'm pressing play. The world pushed me and instead of pushing back I hid, now I'm pushing back. I'm determined to be myself no matter the consequences.

I know that facing what I am and facing the world is really going to hurt, but I now know that I can survive it. I know that eventually all pain fades away and you're left with only scars. I know that no matter how shitty my emotions tell me things are, that it's not actually that bad. I'll come out the other side no matter what. I'm going to step once more into the fray, come whatever may.

[...]

For now, I'm going to;

Get Out.

Live.

Grow.

Change.

Fight The Urge To Fade."

4
javajosh 4 days ago 3 replies      
Hey Ken, I see a deep internal contradiction in your belief system, and I want to point it out to you in the hopes that you can lead a happier, more fulfilled life. What is that contradiction?

   I want to be alone
I want to make money

This does not compute. Creating things for money is a fundamentally social act. And indeed, the stuff of your life was all produced by others, from the house you live in to the clothes you wear to the food you eat. It was all build, manufactured, grown, distributed and sold by others. By consuming even these mundane things you've been integrated into society your whole life, even during these 5 years of isolation.

Now your childhood is over, and you know it is now time for you to create. But mere creation is not enough to make money. You need to create things that people want to buy. That means solving their problems, addressing their pain. And that means being social.

And, since money is vital for your very survival, you must be social to some extent. To rail against this fact is to rail against the need to eat, or to breath. Society is literally that vital to your existence. The fact that it is painful for you is bad luck. Just like asthmatics have it pretty hard when breathing itself can be painful. And just like an asthmatic, you need to figure out how to manage your condition so that you can breath again.

Don't worry about just "getting back to normal". Something tells me that you will remain a unique, talented individual even when you start socializing again.

5
jawns 4 days ago 3 replies      
"My name would be Kenneth Luke Erickson. I'd be male. I'd like blue. I would be a Gemini. I would be Christian. They'd chop off some of my penis so I'd never forget that last one."

There's a common misconception that circumcision, for Christians, is a religious ritual or a religious requirement.

In fact, it's just the opposite. Many Christian denominations (e.g. Catholicism) specifically DISALLOW circumcision, if it's done for religious reasons.

6
MattGrommes 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was a lot like you and the main thing I took away from your story is not that you're so different, but that you're _really_ young. I thought almost all the same things you did about books, being smarter than your peers, being an alien (for me it was an alien robot). When I was 12 or so I saw a kid on TV talking about how he intentionally made an inventory of facial expressions and body language and it literally changed my life to know I could do such a thing. You're not as different from other people as you think, but you're just coming out of the age where you think you are (again, I know from experience).

You've made it to the point where you know you have to make a change, which is awesome. I hope you can also get to the point where you can stop being so self-conscious about being different and just live your life. Unclench a little. I'm almost 35 and I'm just now starting to enjoy people in a real way, having done a program of "Fake it til you make it" for years. You're entering real adulthood now and you'll make adult friends, you'll move on and get some perspective on things. Take it from me, it seems like an impossibly long time now but in 5 years you'll look back on this story in a very different way.

7
Skoofoo 4 days ago 0 replies      
> When you are so different there is no frame of reference to figure life out.

I can relate to this. As I spend time withdrawn from society (including cybercultures like reddit), my views distance from everyone else's, and it becomes harder to relate to people.

I appreciate Hacker News because people here tend to be unusually receptive to independent thought.

8
Erwin 4 days ago 3 replies      
This reminds me a bit of this first-person piece of autism-related sci-fi: http://www.amazon.com/The-Speed-Dark-Elizabeth-Moon/dp/03454...

I used to keep a diary, where 13 years ago my entries were long monologues similar to this. There was a clear correlation between amount of personal and emotional human contact I had in a day and the length of the diary entries where I tried to reminisce going mushroom picking with my grandmother a decade earlier.

The world today seems too constantly distracting for that sort of thing.

9
gverri 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to be just like you. I spent almost an year without leaving my apartment. Only going out for food (too hard to find 24/7 delivery in Brazil).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welcome_to_the_N.H.K.
You're probably familiar with this animated series.

One thing that helped me a lot was doing some Vipassana meditation. Acknowledging that everything as an end. All the pleasures, all the pain. If you wait long enough you'll fell better.

Other important point is Nutrition. It makes a WHOLE LOT of difference on your mental habits. And after some time it will make you a new person.

I suggest you watch the movies "Food Matters" and "Fork over Knives". They're great movies (with some flaws) that can be a kind of "wake up call".

As someone that was on the same boat I wish you all the peace and happiness in the world.

10
cousin_it 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's sad that when your problems are genuinely different from other people's problems, people won't believe you. They will keep giving you advice that worked for them.
11
astine 4 days ago 2 replies      
There is a persistent ignorance about homeschoolers lacking socialization, an assertion I find laughable. Homeschooling done properly, frees up more time and increases true socialization. I was involved in sports, chess, and a wide range of homeschooler organized activities. 90% of the homeschoolers I have ever encountered were as equally if not more involved in social activities.

I was homeschooled and while it's true that homeschoolers tend to have cooperatives, and join social clubs, you're still more isolated than children in more traditional situations. To this day I'm more socially awkward than most of people I know and I wonder if the homeschooling didn't have something to do with it.

12
cupcake-unicorn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Something I find interesting that I don't see immediately mentioned in the comments is what a "shut-in" or "hermit" really means when you have the internet. The author has a prolific Twitter account, and in writing this is interacting with people.

Yes, online interactions are different, but a modern-day "hermit" with access to the internet can't really be viewed as such.

Also, I may get downvoted for "armchair psychology", but I did notice elements of what seemed like thought disorder in the post. It's also diagnosed often in autism spectrum, not just with schizophrenia. I do think diagnoses generally mean very little, and "personality disorders" generally bother me because it seems like broadly defined, you could slap that on anyone - which is also the case with thought disorder. It's not like everyone who goes off on a tangent is "crazy"! But I've interacted with enough non neuroptypical type people (myself being one of them) that I did notice a similarity to others.

13
Osmium 4 days ago 1 reply      
I find it interesting that a person who has shunned all outward social connections, tries to then make a social connection via the internet in retelling his story to us.

Humans, whether you like it or not, have evolved to be a social species. Even if one wishes to withdraw, they can only do this in practice with the tacit permission of the society they live in, at least unless they're prepared to give up all worldly conveniences and just go live in a cave somewhere. I also find that interesting, though I'm not sure what to make of it.

14
jpxxx 4 days ago 2 replies      
TL;DR: Abuse survivor gets depressed, has untreated foot wounds, descends into his own echo chamber, navel gazes for fifteen pages.
15
scottrogowski 4 days ago 1 reply      
Really interesting read. That is the first time in a while I have read something that long on the internet without skimming. A couple of thoughts:

You mentioned that your last close friend was when you were 12 and that you were in a distance high school. Do be sure that you realize that middle school was as bad as it gets in regards to social pressure to be normal. This is a different world now. Immediately out of college around your age (22?), nerds like us become pretty cool because we have interesting jobs and make a lot of money. To some extent, almost all programmers have a few social idiosyncrasies and for the most part we share these in common. So what that means for you is that those idiosyncrasies which previously got you bullied are now the same that people associate with success.

While I realize that for you it might be the only way, I think your plan in the 're-life' section is a bit misguided. Learning to be social is a fundamentally different thing from learning a new skill. There is no sense in focusing down and trying to find the core problems because social behaviors generally exist below our stream of consciousness (somewhat related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introspection_illusion). If you approach this in a way that you would learn a new programming language, you will also quickly find that the difference is that learning to socialize is NOT interesting or fun in an academic sense and you will quickly lose motivation. Instead, since you seem to have a lot of varied interests, I would start with a Meetup. There should be hacker or entrepreneurial groups holding meetings near you (unless of course you still live in Idaho!) The important thing is to go out and try to do things you are interested in with other people no matter how painful or awkward at first. Social behaviors will eventually be picked up subconsciously.

Measuring your progress is always a good way to motivate yourself and stay on track. But I would avoid measuring "all the human things" and instead focus on metrics like, "how many people did I say hi to today" or "how long was I outside of my room".

To make this easier for yourself (and therefore increase your chances for success), you might not want to change your name to K-2052 just yet. I think it is great move and I agree with your logic but put it to the side until you are a bit further along on your quest. Then, you will have the ability to rock the name.

And suggestions on where to move? Being in a big city is important more than anything else. I live in San Francisco and a great thing about this city is that weirdness is embraced more than anywhere else I have ever spent time. You might also think about moving to a abroad if you know any foreign languages. People will tend interpret social differences as cultural differences and you will be get a bit more wiggle-room with your weird behaviors while you come out of your shell.

I would venture to say that most of us here (myself included) feel empathy towards parts of your story so just know that you are not as different as you think you are!

16
georgeorwell 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey K-2052 / lastbookworm, good job on coming out of the closet, that's a difficult step. You obviously want to turn things around, and I think you'll find that in general, at least a tiny part of the world will be there to support you if you genuinely want your life to change. It's gonna take some guts and determination, but it can be done.

Don't pay too much attention to all of the people in this thread criticizing you or offering advice that doesn't fit. The two worst things about the internet are that it's simply more difficult to empathize with other people, and that there are fewer / zero consequences for rudeness.

One thing caught my attention:

> I have never known my Dad. My mom left him when I was four. They were both drug users and to escape the drug usage my mom left him. I have only blurry memories of him. None of my memories of him are positive.

Having had similar experiences, from my perspective this is the root cause of your troubles. It's kind of unbelievable how deep the rabbit hole can go in terms of how this affects your life. I just want you to keep that in mind.

Take care and good luck. You'll figure it out.

17
jetti 4 days ago 0 replies      
It was an interesting read and I saw a lot of myself in there. Instead of books on science I was reading books on philosophy. My favorites were Neitzsche, Sarte and Kirkegaard. One thing that definitely struck me about this though was how much it reminded me of the narration of Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, maybe that is why I enjoyed this as much as I did.
18
jey 4 days ago 3 replies      
I have a logistical question: how/what do you eat?
19
grownseed 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really interesting and I'm glad you felt like sharing, but as a lot of people have pointed out, I don't think you're so far out from the norm, or maybe few people are actually normal, I'm not sure. The more you segregate yourself from society the more you'll try and generalize behavior, leading to the idea that most other people fall in the same basket when in fact they're just normal in only certain respects.

I was born with a slight genetic defect, meaning that by the age of five my hearing was entirely gone. Luckily enough for me, multiple operations have led to getting most of my hearing back, and of course I'm extremely thankful for that. Not meaning to spill out my life here, but I simply want to point out that being a shut-in was in a way forced on me, and I learnt a lot from it. I turned the most traumatic experience of my life into the best thing that's ever happened to me. Very much like you I'm pretty weird in a lot of respects, and as I believe you're trying to achieve, I've turned most of my weirdness into strengths. I can read body language naturally, so I use it to identify stress and discomfort in other people, often before they even realize it. I empathize very strongly, generally without people needing to tell me what's happening. I can become "deaf at will", i.e. shut the world around me entirely and concentrate even in the noisiest places. I see rhythm and patterns in everything, even in social interactions. And so on.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the source of your weirdness is very much the same as the source of your greatness. Having the tools is one thing, and it's now a matter of using them properly. It also turns out socializing is very much an elaborate way to showcase your weirdness to your peers, and often realize someone will share some of it with you (a lot like some people have done in this thread).

Two things that have made my life considerably better in every respect:

Don't lie, to others but also to yourself. I have done the same thing you have, pretending, a lot! Pretending to be happy when I wasn't, pretending that I cared when I didn't and vice-versa, making up stories that I actually started believing in myself to justify everything... So I made the simple decision to not lie, ever. I can't even begin to explain properly the freedom of mind it's brought me, and how much simpler and cleaner it's made my relationships and my life in general. It also means that after a while, you'll also never get offended by things. When you don't lie, it's nearly impossible for somebody to undermine you.

Simplify your life. I used to have a fancy place, owned tons of fancy stuff, have very strong opinions about everything that I thought other people were too stupid not to agree with, etc. You start believing that you actually need the crap you buy, then you get attached and worry about said crap. It is, in my honest opinion, a waste of physical and emotional time and effort. Nobody gains from it, least of all you. I've done away with pretty much all of it and am really happy for it. I have more room in my head and in my life for genuine worries (of which there are now very few) and I appreciate the simple things a lot more; the things that most people of all backgrounds can connect with.

This is my 2 cents, but as a fellow weirdo and programmer who's gone through depression and a bunch of other unpleasant things, I thought I'd share how I've become the happiest I've ever been.

(My apologies for the long comment)

20
pan69 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for writing your story. I didn't read the whole lot but I can tell you're a person who could use a friend or someone who can help you.

Would it be a loss for you if you told your story to a professional counselor? I think you should. It's only a small step to take and there are no obligations what so ever.

You're a prisoner of your own life and it doesn't have to be like this. You already took a first step by publishing this story, now take that second step!

21
deleted_account 4 days ago 1 reply      
"It only takes one crazy dick to cause dicks for generations to be forever mutilated, The Butterfly Dick Effect."

What am I reading.

22
pnathan 4 days ago 0 replies      
People find the idea of people who prefer to live by themselves disturbing. I mentioned Sylvan Hart recently to some geeks, and cue the deranged bomber jokes. Really made me sad.

Nothing wrong with introversion, IMO. Lots of people have done it throughout centuries. It can be harmful, and props to OP for recognizing the problem and choosing to move forward.

23
AlexDanger 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey K, have you ever considered working with children?

You know, the ones who'd prefer not to play outside with the other kids?

Whilst at uni I worked part time in various capacities as a tutor or educational assistant. One school in particular was very accommodating to students with different needs. And not just the kids who couldnt read, but the kids who wanted to read all day.

I think you'd have something to contribute in that space.

24
scotty79 3 days ago 0 replies      
Funny how many things are similar in my own biography.

OP: chess, checkers - me: school olympics, chemistry, math, physics

OP: tour trauma, when asking tour guide a question, everybody laughed - me: tour trauma when tour guide played naughty joke on my mom and everybody laughed

OP: abusive dad, divorced early - me: no dad, left at birth (fortunately awesome grandpa that taught me Ohm's law, how to drill, solder and lots of other stuff)

OP and me: interest in psychology (for me ended with learning what Freud was saying, I have no business in branch of science where name of such clueless bent puppy is remembered)

OP: crappy kindergarten experience, me: spent few hours in kindergarten, don't remember anything but I never went back there, I cried too much when they tried to drag me there

Fortunately, I had (still have) great, stable mother, I had close friends (full honesty with them, nearly kind of mind melt) until I was 17 or so (OP had some till 12).

I'm 34. My true self kind of melded with my fake self. They switch in seconds. When I'm interacting with acquaintances I still fake it. Often I fake amusement because I want to come off as cheerful, but I'm rarely truly amused. Pretty often I fake quite well which makes me proud. But I don't have to fake with few people that are close to me. I just have to restrain myself from exposing full me in some cases, but I guess most people do that even (especially?) with their loved ones.

I went different way than OP, I was madly in love two times as a teenager, now I have de-facto wife. She's awesome. After 8 years or so of the relationship, from time to time I feel that I love her and I feel the urge to tell her that. Not sure if that's unusual but I think it's a good sign.

But I know I chose one path. And sometimes I long for the other, for being a shut-in. I hate going out. I hate meeting people who are not my closes friends. I don't eagrely await meeting even my closest friends. Social interaction exhausts me. I used my relationship to shed off almost all of my friends. Still I think living among people takes at least 80% of my energy. I have only 20% left for doing the stuff I actually care about.

As they say, grass is always greener on the other side. I'd probably be same looser with too high IQ and too little motivation if I were a shut-in. But one can dream.

25
JohnBooty 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been struggling with overcommitment for years, too. It's caused a lot of pain and it's a very serious thing. Like you, it makes me tend toward isolation and it... well, it hurts.

"Before long I'm committed to a shit ton
of things and I am so stressed out that
I cant focus long enough to fake my way
through life. Inevitably I implode and
disappoint everyone I had commitments to."

First, there's a ton of positivity in your writing, because you're recognizing that overcommitment is really bringing you and (even better) you're taking responsibility for correcting this.

This part concerned me a bit:

"I'm taking all the skills I have learned
from learning and applying them to my psyche.
I'm going to re-build and re-form my emotional
centers from the ground up. I'm going to take
my unhealthy mental state and refactor it into
a functional vibrant self. I'm re-life-ing"

This is very ambitious!

Not all ambitious goals are a path to overcommitment, but are you being very careful that this ambitious goal won't wind up being yet another overcommitment (leading to yet more pain) on your part?

Perhaps you could set up meaningful milestones along the way? For example, you could count the number of times you stick to a 4-day or 5-day work week each month. Even if the "reward" is just a big green checkmark on the wall calendar, that can be really gratifying.

Best wishes!

26
jamesmiller5 4 days ago 0 replies      
I found that the 'Bad habits can become a lifestyle' section to be very well written and it made a number of great points, notably:

"Life is the series of choices we remember making. When something goes wrong it's easy to see it is as not a choice. There was too much stress. Your dog ate it. Your clients were assholes ... I now realize that to fix myself, I'm going to have to be myself; and to be myself, I'm going to face myself."

27
digitalengineer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for an excellent read, K-2052! Loved your story. You should really start publising! (Oh, you won't be alone after the collapse, I have a cunning plan as well -wink-wink, nod, nod).
28
yesnomaybe 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm disturbed by how much of myself I saw in this. Cutting off all contact with friends in order to work on my project without distraction. During my day job I space out fantasizing about re-emerging into society as a successful entrepreneur. And I've picked up an adderall habit to facilitate binge programming on the weekends.
29
rfugger 4 days ago 0 replies      
On the surface, this sounds like schizoid personality type:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizoid_personality_disorder

http://schizoids.info/

I know it's not about labels, but sometimes knowing a word for it can help you find others' stories, which can help you go easier on yourself for being different from what you perceive is "normal".

Edit to add: Get your B12 levels checked. Low B12 can lead to schizoid-type behaviour. Also possibly folate levels.

30
bitwize 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like the humorous tone of this essay. It made it resonate all the more powerfully for me -- who also use humor to deal with painful situations -- but you're the sort of person about which one of my more gregarious friends might say "u r soooo fukin funny!" all the while without understanding.
31
xk_id 4 days ago 0 replies      
Programming is supposed to be enjoyable. If you're not enjoying it, why are you doing it? If you are enjoying it, then what is the problem? There's people who dedicated their entire lives to Mathematics, for example. They did it because they had a passion for it. The absolutely extreme case is obviously Erdos. If you don't have a passion for programming, stop damaging yourself… If you have a passion for programming, then you're lucky, and you should let the entire world know that you do.
32
timwoj 4 days ago 0 replies      
> If you don't like who I am then you can go fuck yourself.

I think this is something that comes with age for almost everyone that perceives themselves as different. People in their younger years attempt to change how they are in order to make everyone like them. Later on in life, they realize that this is pointless and they're better off just being themselves and shedding the people who can't deal with that.

33
undupe 4 days ago 2 replies      
I wish there was a web community for shutins like myself who would like to no longer be shutins. It's definitely not Grouper - sorry, "ending loneliness" doesn't mean finding a girlfriend and being judged on your tagged Facebook photos (as someone who is actually lonely, I have no photos tagged, and I assume that's why Grouper never admitted me. You have to be unlonely to join Grouper, in reality.). The only people I've really been able to relate to are other loners but they're hard to find obviously. My biggest fear, which is confirmed time and time again, is that my awkwardness and general boringness scares people off. It'd be nice if I could meet someone who, with fair certainty, would not be like that to me.

> They form relationships with other people only if they believe they will not be rejected. Loss and rejection are so painful that these people will choose to be lonely rather than risk trying to connect with others.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000940.htm

34
easy_rider 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to shut myself in a lot of time when I was playing poker avidly. Instead of going to parties, bars, socialize with friends, there were always tournaments to grind.
Putting in more hands meant cutting down on variance, meant being able to deal better with bad luck and facilitating a more consistent winning playing style.

Obviously it was the thing I loved at that moment, the riches allured to me and my friends didn't "Get" the amounts I would be playing for anyway. They also didn't "get it" why it sucked so hard to end up 11/1500 in a big tournament. (Hey you still won right?).

You're right when you see relationships don't work when you always have a communication problem.

Usually though, the problem is not that people don't understand you - (sidenote: i know there are just stupid people who don't, or don't want to. You don't need them anyway).
The problem is you won't let people understand you, because you are ignorant, arrogant and self-righteous. No offence but, if you were such a genius you wouldn't be working on Ruby projects (no pun.)
People probably would understand you, and you would probably have better socializing experiences if you tried.

Seems you sucked at this stuff when you were a kid, and now when you've grown up enough to be able to understand yourself and put everything into words, you still decide its the best route to go.

Well die lonely then if you like it. It's not for me.

35
CanSpice 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's one paragraph that's sticking with me:

> Play keep away with a normal persons hat and you're just taking their hat. Play keep away with an Autistic persons hat and it's possible that it's his best friend named "Charlie". It's highly unlikely that Charlie enjoys flying at highspeeds through the air into greasy hands. You're not playing keep away with a hat, you are tossing around and abusing his best friend. It takes a damaged monster to play keep away with someone's dog or their younger sibling, but most will think nothing of playing keep away with the weird kids hat.

My four-year old daughter isn't autistic, but this morning we were running to her daycare. My wife had her blankie and was out-running my daughter. All of a sudden my daughter stopped and started bawling, when five seconds earlier she was loving the chase. I'm thinking that maybe the above paragraph doesn't just apply to autistic people, it applies to anybody who forms a bond with an inanimate object.

36
msutherl 4 days ago 0 replies      
The typeface on this page creates a visual illusion whereby the terminals and serifs appear brighter than the stems and bowls.

Makes me wonder if this happens with a lot of serif faces in light on dark color schemes and if there's some way to fix it.

Also, not sure if the OP is reading, but while the alternating dark/light text on a grey background is an interesting idea, it just doesn't work. The dark on dark text is hard to read, the emphasis is too strong and comes off as heavy-handed, and the overall effect on the experience of reading is negative in my subjective evaluation.

37
metastew 4 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting read, though I just have one minor complaint about your style of writing... Foot notes after every 3-5 paragraphs is somewhat jarring and hampers the flow of reading your story. I suggest moving all of the foot notes to the bottom of the post and let the reader read them if they want to.

Just my $0.02.

38
readme 4 days ago 0 replies      
Recluse? I work from home, so I only leave to get groceries or go out to dinner with my girlfriend on an average week. I don't have any more IRL friends.

Going to try to make some when spring comes, but it's too cold to really bother right now. Being a recluse isn't so bad.

39
lightyrs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Although I think you overestimate your uniqueness, you have the potential to be a very good writer. Please keep the posts coming, Kay.

Of everything you wrote, this line was the most relatable to my own experiences:

"If you don't like who I am then you can go fuck yourself."

Once I adopted this mindset, all things became possible.

Good Luck!

40
networked 4 days ago 1 reply      
>Over concerned humans must cause at least some percentage of suicides. Someone needs to compile the stats and do a TED talk stat.

Now that's an interesting hypothesis. I have seen a study on how insufficient parental attention increases the risk of suicide in teenagers but not this.

Edit: searching for "overprotection and suicide" ("overprotection" is the best keyword I could come up with; I did the search without the quotes) yields little.

41
emilnewton 4 days ago 0 replies      
I say fade. See what happens.

You already know what happens if you don't fade.

You fight every second of every minute of every hour of every day until one day you die. It'll be exhausting and possibly not worth it.

Maybe fading will be some totally cool experience? Of course no one else would ever know, but screw em.

42
hjay 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't have much to comment on this, as I myself am an introvert and somewhat of a shut-in.

But after reading up to "I guess I'm kinda different.", I couldn't stand it and had to use Developer Tools to change the background color and font color. Still feeling some discomfort in my eyes and it feels like the text is burned in front of me.

43
DocG 4 days ago 0 replies      
I will read it to the end, half way, got to go, but
two things:
I am year older than you, you know what psychologist said to me, only time I ever visited her(I had to, for some paperwork)? I am still not grown up. If you are under 30, you are still not fully developed.

Second, there seems to be unlucky amount of not your kind of people around you. I have managed to find people, who seem "default" on the surface, because they have to, but the praise different. Almost any kind, there is no "you are too weird". And it helps, its awesome.

44
waxjar 4 days ago 1 reply      
What I find strange is that this story even exists. If OP truly wanted to live in solitude, truly didn't want to be bothered by others, this story would have never been written. Why even bother?

I'm not suggesting it is a cry for help (though it certainly could be), but it certainly is an attempt to connect with others.

I must admit I haven't read the full story. I found it too lengthy.

45
krob 4 days ago 0 replies      
This guy probably has aspergers. It makes sense in my opinion. Very articulate, doesn't see the social necessity to be around others.
46
tantaman 4 days ago 1 reply      
It sounds silly & cliche but having a significant other will really help him out in this department.

Someone that you have to commit to. Someone that'll be there long enough to see all your bullshit and hypocrisies and call you out on them.

If you're alone, it's easy to commit to doing something only to later "forget" about the commitment when it is no longer convenient for you.
A partner that you've made a commitment to won't forget it so easily.

The same goes for business. Maybe that's why startups often have strong co-founders.

47
INTPenis 4 days ago 1 reply      
You're a 23 year old boy who thinks too much. I hate to sound like a cliché, but, it's just a phase!
48
yarou 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stay strong pal. You are clearly a gifted and talented individual. However, more often than not, individuals such as yourself tend to be extremely critical of themselves. Change is hard to accomplish, especially when you're set in your ways. But I think you have solid achievable goals. FWIW I'd be your friend :)

On a side note, I didn't realize HN was becoming more and more Reddit-like every day. This is probably the first submission I've seen that reads almost like an AMA...perhaps it is a sign of things to come.

49
ytNumbers 4 days ago 1 reply      
Site Advisor has flagged this site as a security risk. I wonder if the site got hacked. Wow... Talk about kicking someone when they're down!
50
coldtea 4 days ago 0 replies      
>I'm not agoraphobic, I'm not depressed, and I'm not insane 2. I simply don't socialize.

Isn't that for others to judge? It's not like one person can judge himself to be or not be the above.

51
talmir 4 days ago 1 reply      
I read this and had this small voice in the back of my head translating what I read into "Look at me! I'm special! I'm a shut-in! I do it because I'm special!"

In reality the author is just alike everyone else, with fears and emotions which caused him to shut himself in and rationalize it with some meditative jargon.

52
theklub 4 days ago 0 replies      
What I find funny is that everyone wants to be different but we are all different and thats what makes us the same. Also shut-ins are ironic in that they will never meet each other, therefore missing the people that they might possibly get along with best.
53
shoxty 3 days ago 0 replies      
In all seriousness, how can you support this? Is it assumed that he lives with somebody who pays for his living expenses? If I didn't have so many bills to pay I feel like I would be more of a shut-in.
54
SCAQTony 4 days ago 0 replies      
So many words defending his recreation and insisting it was a legitimate sport. It was as if he presumed the reader was judging him and he felt the need to defend himself.

I suspect some spectrum issues are involved but he is still no less of a person.

55
berlinbrown 4 days ago 0 replies      
One small comment, black on white pages tend to read a little better.
56
throwawayz9v7 4 days ago 0 replies      
FYI, the page was blocked by my workplace in the brief period between reading it and re-visiting it after reading the comments here.
57
berlinbrown 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome.
58
dinosaurus 4 days ago 0 replies      
This comes up as porn for me... (work filters)
59
EToS 4 days ago 0 replies      
worlds worst foursquare user! :)
60
gcb0 4 days ago 0 replies      
i'm pretty sure he choice of typeface is part of the shut-in work.
61
jcroll 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you're serious about the world forgetting you then why did you write this post?
62
dreamdu5t 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not much of a story.
63
mtrimpe 4 days ago 1 reply      
That's a very specific diagnosis made from a quite widely interpretable blog-post.

I'm sure you mean well but these kinds of off-the-cuff diagnoses are, if not wrong, rarely of any benefit to the diagnosed.

24
Using Silk Road gwern.net
358 points by HockeyPlayer  6 days ago   164 comments top 18
1
A1kmm 6 days ago 7 replies      
I think the easiest attack on SR would not be one of the attacks mentioned in the article (although similar to their second attack, but focused on legal implications instead of fraud), but rather:

a. Law enforcement creates a large number of vendor and customer accounts. Due to the pseudonymity, they can create as many as they like and they can't be linked (they may need to create them over time to avoid making the pattern too obvious).

b. The fake customer accounts buy from the fake vendor accounts and leave positive comments, building up a reputation for the fake vendors. This would give money to the operators of SR for fees, but aside from fees there would be no loss for the operators.

c. Eventually, the number of fake vendors could be sufficient that it makes up most of the volume of SR.

d. The fake customers buy from some real vendors and claim that the goods never arrived or that they got arrested and it looks like the vendor tipped the police off.

e. Any real customer who buys from a fake vendor gets their details sent to their local police.

f. Most vendors, real and fake, accumulate comments saying that they tipped people off to the police, with no way to tell which vendors are real vendors with mostly genuine good feedback and a few forged complaints of being police run, and which have a few real complaints of being police run and mostly forged good feedback.

g. Police forces issue press releases announcing how many people they have caught buying things on SR, and buying becomes a highly risky proposition.

2
cnp 6 days ago 1 reply      
Here's an academic analysis of Silk Road. After crawling the site for a few months they came up with this:

http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/nicolasc/publications/TR-CMU-...

"Abstract

We perform a comprehensive measurement analysis of Silk Road, an anonymous, international online marketplace that operates as a Tor hidden service and uses Bitcoin as its exchange currency. We gather and analyze data over eight months between the end of 2011 and 2012, including daily crawls
of the marketplace for nearly six months in 2012. We obtain a detailed picture of the type of goods being sold on Silk Road, and of the revenues made both by sellers and Silk Road operators. Through examining over 24,400 separate items sold on the site, we show that Silk Road is overwhelmingly used
as a market for controlled substances and narcotics, and that most items sold are available for less than three weeks. The majority of sellers disappears within roughly three months of their arrival, but a core of 112 sellers has been present throughout our measurement interval. We evaluate the total revenue made by all sellers, from public listings, to slightly over USD 1.2 million per month; this corresponds
to about USD 92,000 per month in commissions for the Silk Road operators. We further show that the marketplace has been operating steadily, with daily sales and number of sellers overall increasing over our measurement interval. We discuss economic and policy implications of our analysis and results,
including ethical considerations for future research in this area."

3
cnp 6 days ago 4 replies      
Everyone needs to read the rest of the site. It's one of the most interesting domains I've ever come across. Fascinating guy through and through, and his short stories are excellent.
4
sruser 6 days ago 11 replies      
(throwaway account)

I've spent over $50,000 USD on SR in the past year, and I'm happy to answer any questions people have about the site or community.

5
drivebyacct2 6 days ago 1 reply      
Man, SR is one of those things I look at in awe. I'm not sure I'd ever have the cojones to have something shipped to me...

The comments on the blog post are sad in a "Good god people are effing stupid" sort of way.

Also, if you're getting on Tor, I recommend Tails [1]. Most people aren't aware of all of the things they need to be wary of when getting on Tor and not leaking their identity.

[1] Tails: http://tails.boum.org

6
veb 6 days ago 2 replies      
That was an awesome read. Always fun to read about drugs, but this seems like it was written quite a while ago... wonder if anything has changed since.
7
handsomeransoms 6 days ago 1 reply      
Silk Road is very interesting from a design perspective, particularly the way it leverages different open source cryptographic tools to satisfy its complex security/privacy/anonymity requirements.

I gave a talk about this at the Oakland Cryptoparty back in October. The slides are a little patchy and based entirely on perusing the site (read: speculation), but it inspired a lively discussion from amongst all the participants. It seems there's nothing like illegal drugs and the black market to get people interested in learning more about crypto!

I'm planning on giving an updated version of this talk at "SF Cryptoparty II" on March 23rd (attend or sign up to talk! https://cryptopartysf.org/). I will definitely incorporate ideas from (and link back to) this article. Feedback appreciated!

Slides: http://garrett.im/static/pdf/silkroad_oakland_cryptoparty_sl...

8
etherael 6 days ago 0 replies      
This article was very well written and easy to digest and has some of the most succinct descriptions of the political underpinnings and implications of the cypherpunk movement I've ever seen without the sweeping oratory that tends to go with such things.

That said, this single section;

Fortunately, I don't think LE is authorized to engage in cyberwar (#1) or mass entrapment & fraud (#2). And who knows, maybe SR could survive both.

Where he discusses the degree to which the state will restrain itself from "bad behaviour" strikes me as a little naive in light of history. I'd be more concerned about attacks along the lines of the liquor poisoning that the state engaged in during alcohol prohibition.

I imagine if someone wanted to cause serious bodily harm to the potential buyers in this marketplace it wouldn't be too difficult to do, and they've proven historically they're prepared to go to this extent. I also imagine it would have quite a high impact on the risk assessment of silk road buyers if people started ending up dead from their purchases.

9
damian2000 6 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting video and article here from the point of view of Australian customs

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-05/dark-internet-linked-t...

10
DanBlake 6 days ago 2 replies      
.

Option #1 :
I am aware many exchanges/markets do 'bitcoin mixing' to get around this, but the local authority could just as easily subpoena/force someone like mtgox into giving up the info of where the coins are going. As always, the folks who cant hide behind tor and want to appear legit are going to be weakest. (mtgox/bitpay/coinbase/etc..) - Those are the companies that will be 'compelled' to comply if it gets to that point.

.

Option #2:
Inspect the packages you receive for fingerprints. You will likely find a postal workers prints and be able to continually track it back to the sourced post office. Then you just correlate the time the package was likely sent and watch security footage, looking for something that matches the shape/look of your package.

.

Also- Please dont take the above post too seriously. I have mostly no idea what I am talking about when it comes to bitcoin.

11
mrmagooey 6 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if the current little spike in the bitcoin price (from https://mtgox.com/) could be attributed to this article being posted on HN
12
SlipperySlope 6 days ago 0 replies      
What is most interesting about this article is how to set up the Tor browser.

Privacy is very, very, important - especially for those who are oppressed, and even for those living in democracies.

13
juanramon 6 days ago 1 reply      
Talking about Tor; you can built your own Silk Road with http://osclass.org/ it's a software for creating your own classified site) and using the Tor plugin http://blog.osclass.org/2013/01/21/anonymous-with-tor-plugin....

Disclosure: I participate in Osclass.

14
codygman 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's very annoying that the back button doesn't work on your site.
15
cnp 6 days ago 0 replies      
The forum / feedback system WORKS. It pushes sketchy / lower-quality products out and if anything, that's why I feel Silk Road is a positive change in the ever-dangerous world of drugs.

That said, there are many friends who I would hesitate to tell about the site; it's just too easy to get mixed up in more dangerous or addictive classes of drugs there.

Be careful.

16
sc0rb 6 days ago 0 replies      
This makes me wonder what other 'interesting' business ideas people can come up with to operate as a hidden service?

Throwing anonymity into your business plans could turn up some interesting ideas....

17
LatvjuAvs 6 days ago 1 reply      
There is no other place where I can safely buy military grade sniper rifle with delivery to my door, than tor network!
18
espadagroup 6 days ago 0 replies      
The first rule of Silk Road is you don't talk about the packaging...or post pictures of it...
25
Nginx now supports Websockets nginx.com
345 points by Jhsto  6 days ago   64 comments top 17
1
trebor 5 days ago 4 replies      
What nginx needs to become the ultimate platform, in my opinion, is to provide an API for interacting with WebSockets by transient processes (such as PHP). That way it acts as a surrogate pub-sub handler, whether or not your instance stays as a running process.

That'd be a dream for what I want to do. At best, we have to use Node.js as a WebSocket provider and tie it in with the PHP sessions, etc. Not as simple as I'd like.

2
shykes 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. At dotCloud we've reluctantly ported our distributed routing layer (http://github.com/dotcloud/hipache) from Nginx to Node + node-http-proxy, because we needed 1) high-volume dynamic configuration and 2) websocket support.

Problem 1 can already be addressed by combining a Redis backend and Nginx's awesome Lua scripting engine (https://github.com/samalba/hipache-nginx). Now that problem 2 is solved as well, we might be able to port Hipache back to Nginx in the future :)

Go Nginx!

3
pornel 5 days ago 0 replies      
4
MatthewPhillips 5 days ago 2 replies      
This announcement is a little light on details. What does Nginx supporting WebSockets even mean? Isn't it just looking for ws:// and proxy-passing that on to your application?
5
ck2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, realtime upvoting/downvoting for everyone now :-
6
csense 5 days ago 2 replies      
Does the backend which nginx talks to have to speak the Websocket protocol?

If this is the case, and you're running a pure TCP application like IRC, you still need a separate Websocket-to-TCP bridge application running on the server to sit between nginx and your IRC server. How is this an improvement from the status quo? ("IRC" is just an example, you can feel free to replace it with your favorite protocol.)

Granted, this change makes life a little easier for users behind outbound-restricting firewalls, since you can now multiplex both HTTP and IRC on port 80. But IMHO it would be more logical to just have nginx directly proxy the IRC server to the client-side JS over Websocket.

Then again, maybe this patch is as close as it's possible to get without major revisions to the Websocket protocol: With Websocket's non-optional framing "feature," you might need IRC-specific knowledge to translate an IRC stream into frames in a way that won't break anything.

Any Websocket experts are welcome to weigh in!

7
mc 5 days ago 1 reply      
What's the difference between this new support and the nginx-push-stream module? https://github.com/wandenberg/nginx-push-stream-module
8
azakai 5 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent!

Now all we need is WebRTC.

9
kevinfat 5 days ago 1 reply      
So in practical terms how does one setup backends to use WebSockets. For example, suppose you have nginx in front of a bunch of Unicorn or Rainbow processes and there are two clients that have made websocket connections. Consider a chat application. One of them sends a websocket message and the backend that receives it needs to push the message along the other websocket connection. But how does it know which backend to forward to? What is the intended idiomatic way of maintaining the necessary state?
10
andyfleming 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any documentation on usage?
11
felipesabino 5 days ago 3 replies      
So hopefully heroku will soon be able to support Web Sockets instead of only xhr-polling

https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/http-routing#websocket...

https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/using-socket-io-with-n...

12
davidw 5 days ago 8 replies      
What were people using previously? Just plopping their node.js or whatever straight on the network?
13
krob 5 days ago 1 reply      
Now how to interact with their support, and hopefully some tutorial on integration with the multitude of different languages.
14
tslocum 5 days ago 1 reply      
Any ETA on SPDY support being included (instead of requiring a patch)?
15
Doublon 5 days ago 0 replies      
This day has finally come!
16
r3demon 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great news!
17
churreiro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good news, finally, not just need to wait couple of months until they solve all the initial bugs to migrate our existing apps! ;)
26
The MS Surface Pro penny-arcade.com
344 points by kposehn  13 hours ago   125 comments top 24
1
Bockit 12 hours ago 3 replies      
It's nice to hear this kind of device review from a corner you don't usually hear it from. Rather than the usual kind of review broken up into the usual sections, maybe a storage, space, benchmarks, screen, software kind of thing, we have a guy who has specific use cases for it talking about how he used it for those cases, what worked and what didn't. And then comparing it to how he normally does those kinds of activities.

Even though I don't have the same use cases as him, I feel like I got more out of it this way.

2
recoiledsnake 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> I left it at 125% and just like he had suggested my color picker was working again! I finished the strip at 125% magnification with no trouble but then I had to switch it back to 150% when I was finished.

You can disable the DPI scale up in the compatibility tab of the file properties of the exe. In this case he could've set it for Sketchbook's exe and the rest of the OS would continue to be at 150%. Hopefully, this is just a temporary stopgap while application developers start supporting high resolutions.

Image of setting:

http://km.support.apple.com/library/APPLE/APPLECARE_ALLGEOS/...

3
raganwald 9 hours ago 4 replies      
The conclusion I draw from everything I've heard is that the Surface Pro is a terrible iPad and an excellent PC laptop. Issues like the battery life, heat, weight, RAM free, and so on are reasonable for a Windows machine.

If my perspective is correct, look for the Surface Pro to cannibalize sales from MS's "partners." I do expect it to appeal to the kind of person who buys a PC laptop and an iPad. And that's a great market for MS to defend. But for people who want just a tablet, I expect iPads to carry on selling by the container.

If Microsoft's vision of everyone needing a computer is correct, the Surface pro will destroy the laptop. But if Apple's vision of a "post-PC" world is correct, the vast majority of the tablet market will be just tablets, and the iPad will continue to thrive.

It all seems to come down to whether you think of tablets as weak computers with a tablet interface or whether you think of them as an appliances that run software.

4
10char 12 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm still a bit disappointed that Apple has yet to add a Wacom layer to their devices. It's so unquestionably better at doing writing, sketching, and note-taking than crudely smudging your fingers. iPads still fail pretty hard at being useful during math class.

I had an old-style swivel tablet (Windows Vista?), and it was a fantastic device to take notes on, invaluable for classwork. OneNote + pen-input really seemed like the future of school computing...but the prices on those machines never came down and the iPad et al took them by storm shortly thereafter.

5
gfunk911 12 hours ago 5 replies      
Interesting. We now have an actual niche/use case where the Surface Pro could be a compelling leader, and not just "totally decent." Artists.

Also, doesn't an apple-style commercial where somebody gets an email with a word doc attached, edits it, and emails it back with changes while on the train or something seem obvious....

6
bitwize 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I just bought a Sony laptop/tablet thing with a stylus. After some unwanted wrestling with Secure Boot I got Slackware on the thing, patched the kernel to recognize the N-Trig tablet part, and it is now my art box.

It works wonderfully; and I had indeed considered the Surface Pro for such a purpose, but this device is slightly larger and has 6 GiB of RAM.

7
mtgx 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Galaxy Note 10.1 also has a Wacom stylus that has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. I see most people here weren't even aware of it. And I think it only costs like $400 now, if you're interested in drawing and Sketchbook. The Surface Pro stylus doesn't work on Photoshop anyway, so you're not losing anything, if you're just interested in drawing.
8
habosa 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Great review, it's awesome to see gadget reviews from a specific use case instead of just "7/10 on our random everything score scale".

I wish there was a review site for the HN crowd. Someone that would use every device like a software developer would: tinkering with settings, trying to write/run code, integrating with other services, etc. I generally like reviews on Engadget/The Verge but sometimes I feel they care about different things than I care about.

Anyone know of a gadget review site for hackers?

9
supar 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Are there any digitizer users here?

I use a Wacom digitizer daily for notes and sketches instead of using pen&paper. My wet dream is a pressure&tilt sensitive/e-ink based device, but it looks like the Surface Pro is the closest you can get currently - and this is a good review.

If you want a portable device (laptop/ultrabook/tablet) with a good digitizer that you can actually use (that is, wacom based), your options are actually very few.

There is the Lifebook T902, or the ThinkPad X230T. Did I miss anything else? Both are convertible laptops, both are quite heavy, have medium to poor battery life if you extend them with the additional battery, and a lower-dpi screen. I would have expected higher-range graphics on those laptops, but the integrated HD 4000 is ridicolous when you think you basically get the same on an ultrabook.

Not to mention that the price range is simply off. The Surface Pro is way cheaper.

I used an earlier version of the Lifebook T902. It's actually better than having a separate digitizer which takes useless space on the desk, but it's still cumbersome. You cannot draw unless you flip the screen (odd position otherwise). It's really heavy. A clipboard with paper is an all-around better.

There are two segments of markets that are filled by this usage pattern: on-the-go artists, and cheap cintiq replacements. Drawing on a cintiq is just awesome, but wacom has basically a monopole and the prices are just unjustified. Even the Intuos line is, IMHO, overpriced at least by a 2x factor. The sad reality is that they have absolutely no real competition. I tried several NTrig-based digitizers (lately the Vaio Duo 11), and they just suck. The tracking is just worse, many jumps just over a few hours of testing, not to mention that the pressure sensitivity is lower too (when you're drawing strokes it's quite visible unless the software is not interpolating it for you).

Just look at the missed opportunities there are! The Taichi 21 and VAIO Duo 11 are cool, but they use N-Trig. The keyboard on the Lenovo Yoga is awesome, but no digitizer. The Dell XPS 12 looks stunning, but again missed opportunity. It was rumored to ship with a wacom layer, but it didn't finally.

The only downside of the Surface is the keyboard. I tried the flip keyboard of the Surface Rt and I only hope that the keyboard from the Pro is different, because it sucks. Missed keys, zero feedback. Admittedly, it's better than typing on an on-screen keyboard, but the Taichi 21 of the Dell XPS 12 approaches are way better.

As a sad note, the replaceable battery concept is gone on all these modes. You know, I would settle for lower battery life if I could just have 2, or 3. I was actually shocked that at least HP offers the EliteBook Folio 9470m which has a replaciable battery in a thin format (the ultrabook is awesome), so there are really no excuses for it.

10
Felix21 8 hours ago 1 reply      
One article with a meaningful use-case and i am very tempted to buy the the Surface Pro.

I think this is where Apple's marketing Excels over Microsoft's.

Apple will show you use-cases like this all day long, showing you how their products are a better tool to get your job done.

Microsoft on the other hand -"it has more memory", "USB", "its Powerful", "hd screen", "it runs excel", "side by side apps", "YAWN".

Great article; VERY TEMPTING.

11
redact207 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm just impressed that someone's finally found a practical way to do work on a tablet.
12
creativityland 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to see a positive review on the Surface. It really deserves more attention than it's getting.
13
wuest 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad to see the Surface Pro getting some good reviews. I actually really want this sort of hardware to take off--and I _really_ want to see a compelling Linux offering on it. This sort of device would fit the needs I have both for a laptop and for a tablet, and if/when I hear that Linux is running great and Plasma Active works like a charm on the Surface Pro (or, indeed, comparable piece of hardware), I'm dropping the full sticker price on one.
14
DocG 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Really good review!

It has changed my mind on surface pro. It will still be out of my price range and I am not going to buy it, but it has changed my mind about it.

Best tradeoff for MS with surface series ever? For one tablet, HN is changing its mind?:D

15
tluyben2 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent review. Like others say; it's really nice to see a non technical pov as the pure tech part has already been done to death on a lot of sites. What I even like more is that this is really heating up the niche; Asus, Samsung, Acer, HP, Dell are all watching and rapidly introducing competitors. Good for us.

Maybe 2013 will be the year I can buy my dream system :) Currently the Thinkpad Helix seems to be closest; if it had double the battery life, I would buy it without looking further.

16
robotmay 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It was great to see him mention how well Civilisation V is supported on it. I love that game, and hearing that it runs so well on the Surface Pro would probably be the tipping point for me if I had the money spare to spend on one.
17
ChrisClark 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how it compares to all the Android tablets with Wacom digitizers. Sounds like he sees no pen lag at all, that's really nice.
18
interpol_p 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I really want one of these. As a Cintiq 24HD owner I could totally see the Surface Pro replacing it " denser screen, portable, doesn't weigh 40KG.

The only thing that really annoyed me is that the 150% DPI setting throws off the colour picker in Sketchbook Pro. How is the OS allowing this to happen? It seems stupid that the DPI setting is so badly implemented it actually breaks apps. (I have heard that Civ 5 with touch on the Surface Pro also requires the DPI to be changed.)

19
dade_ 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I am really surprised that I keep reading blog posts, this one included, that state the only option for an iPad stylus is the eraser head style capacitive pieces of crap.

This entire post was about a tablet that runs uncomfortably warm, with buggy software, short battery life, tiny available user storage and an occasionally useful flip stand, but has a pressure sensitive stylus and it is the best. Oh yeah, and Microsoft gave him the device, so I dare say he didn't actually research his options.

Has no one heard of Jot? I'd be interested to read his comparison of the pressure sensive jot on his iPad to the Surface Pro.

http://adonit.net/jot/touch/

20
chx 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry for the snark remark but -- if every single Cintiq 24HD owner buys an MS Surface Pro then MS will gain... a measurement error in the tablet market share.
21
hdra 6 hours ago 0 replies      
maybe this shows how terrible of a job the marketing department at Microsoft is doing ?
reading this review alone made me look for the device online to check its price and I've had mostly the "meh" reaction since launch with all of their ads.
22
danpeddle 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it just the surface pro that has this tech built in..? Crazy that this feature has not been promoted more.
23
cbeach 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"My wife is playing Civ"

If my girlfriend took an interest in Civ there'd be a ring on her finger ASAP!

24
iomike 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Microsoft shilling
28
Petition to make unlocking phones legal again passes 100,000 signatures thenextweb.com
323 points by Lightning  4 days ago   164 comments top 17
1
jobu 3 days ago 9 replies      
Fast forward to next week:

"The White House announces a new threshold of 500,000 signatures before it will respond to online petitions."

I was initially enthusiastic about these online petitions, but it doesn't seem like any of them have had an effect.

2
sinak 4 days ago 3 replies      
Hey everyone, I started this petition. Very glad we made it to 100k, and excited to see how the White House responds.

I'm well aware that the WH may not take any real action though. Please sign up at http://fixthedmca.org if you care about this issue and want to continue helping the move to fix this issue permanently.

3
diminoten 3 days ago 2 replies      
We need to stop calling these "Petition to <thing>". These are not petitions for things to happen. This is not a petition to make phone unlocking legal again, it's a petition for the Whitehouse to write a response.

Furthermore, these petitions aren't going to be seen by lawmakers, as someone in the below comment says. Strictly speaking, the President is part of the executive branch, not the legislative branch, so in any event, no "lawmaker" will be seeing these petitions at all.

4
aleyan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am glad this thing is happening. Unlike most other petitions that require changing law through Congress, this rests on a single individual. DMCA exemption can be made, and in case of phone unlocking have been made, by the Librarian at Library of Congress. He is appointed by the President and works at the behest of the Congress. The decision to allow the exemption to DMCA is completely up to him, and could be potentially influenced by such a petition.
5
speeder 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is something that I like in Brazillian laws, in Brazil carriers are supposed to always provide "portability", this mean that you can keep your phone numbers when you change your carrier.

The "portability" laws, also say that the carriers themselves have to unlock your phones if you want to change carrier.

This ensures that a carrier cannot make you locked to them by using phone lock or number lock. It is highly interesting. Maybe facilitated by the fact that all carriers here use GSM (people think that CDMA is shit, and like the fact that GSM chips are harder to clone than CDMA phones).

6
manaskarekar 4 days ago 7 replies      
It's funny how you have to petition to have lawmakers pay attention to an issue, when by definition, those people are there to represent the interest of the majority in the first place.
7
gesman 4 days ago 3 replies      
Would be great to have this: collect 1,000,000 votes for petition and it goes to Senate for mandatory voting.

Otherwise it's impossible to penetrate the wall between government and people via "your vote, we write response, maybe" - type of approach.

8
duaneb 4 days ago 5 replies      
What exactly do these petitioners expect? A) there are far more important things to do, IMHO, then spending time wrestling telco companies over this, and B) the White House has to do zilch but respond.

I love petitions, but people getting angry over e.g. repeatedly not legalizing marijuana after 0.03% of americans signed something I find confusing and frustrating.

It's almost as if people are easier to ignore if they solely protest through these petitions....

9
codex 3 days ago 0 replies      
This petition asks the President to interfere with the implementation of law, and to politicize the decisions of the Librarian of Congress, a non-partisan post.

While the President may use his office to champion new laws, he cannot make them himself, or overturn them.

10
smogzer 4 days ago 0 replies      
What about a petition to prevent lawmakers from creating legislation that turns regular people into criminals.
One simple legislation to rule them all. The GOML (Get off my lawn) law.
11
analyst74 4 days ago 4 replies      
OK, something I don't understand. What's to stop someone from opening a store that sells unlocked phones?

Is it because of the lack of carrier discount? If that's the case, people have already voted with their money on what they value more.

12
Karunamon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Welp, got halfway down the page before the pessimist, defeatist "It's just a petition, you're wasting your time" responses started.

Better than usual, I suppose.

13
StevenXC 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm interested in the White House's response, but anticipate the issue basically being blown off.
14
datalus 3 days ago 0 replies      
What if I told you...

Obama doesn't give a shit?

15
znowi 4 days ago 1 reply      
A mere fact that there's a White House petition for something that in other countries is an indefeasible right - use your phone with any carrier you please - greatly saddens me. I find it astonishing how the Land of the Free can tolerate such treatment.
16
dfrey 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would rather see locking phones become illegal. Locked devices only serve to keep people stuck with a provider.
17
donniezazen 4 days ago 2 replies      
When someone is not paying the full price of a phone, how can they expect to do anything with the phone? People don't actually own them.
29
BBC demands DRM for HTML5 boingboing.net
316 points by afoketunji  9 days ago   207 comments top 19
1
trunnell 8 days ago 13 replies      
Wow, Cory's article is totally over the top... as are some of the comments in this thread.

Let's start with the facts. Here's the spec. It's called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).

https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/html-media/raw-file/tip/encrypted-med...

The EME spec isn't that long, and the introduction has a nice diagram. Go check it out.

The W3C spec does not put "DRM in browsers." It allows browsers to use "decryption modules" that already exist elsewhere, like in the OS platform. There are APIs to determine what sorts of "decryption modules" are available and to use them to decrypt media.

If we're going to transition to a plug-in free web then we need HTML5 video to support these extensions. Sure, it'd be nice if the big media companies stopped insisting on using encryption to distribute their videos. But that's not likely to happen anytime soon. Premium video on the web requires either plug-ins or EME. I think most of us would pick premium web video + EME, rather than premium web video + plug-ins, or (perish the thought) no premium video on the web at all.

BTW, open source browsers can easily implement this spec since it doesn't require the browser to implement a "decryption module" themselves. Also, there is a mode called "clear key" that can be used if the underlying platform doesn't have any "decryption module" available.

Disclosure: I work at Netflix on streaming video in browsers.

2
lukifer 9 days ago 5 replies      
I hate DRM too, and yet I love watching Netflix streaming. The fact is, if it's trivial to clone data to the point that regular users can do it (Napster, etc), the business model for online rental vanishes. The fact that DRM is always defeatable through hacks and analog loopholes doesn't matter: it just has to be good enough to deter the vast majority of users.

I believe we need comprehensive IP reform across the board, including strong consumer protections and freedoms for "owned" content. But if the vendors are using DRM anyway (and they are), I'd rather they do so in a standards-based, interoperable way.

3
simonh 9 days ago 0 replies      
IMHO the problem is that the technology DRM is being conflated withe the politics and legalities of DRM circumvention.

I have no problem with companies selling DRM protected content. They can sell their property on whatever terms they like. It's theirs to sell, after all, and my right and responsibility to choose whether to buy it or not.

I do have a problem with the criminalisation of DRM circumvention, which reaches perhaps it's ultimate banality in the criminalisation of unlocking your own phone (which requires the cracking of DRM protected firmware). That's ridiculous and wrong.

So I understand the BBC needs DRM to meet it's contractual and legal obligations, while being against the DRM lobby that is behind the most egregious DRM maximalist policies. some might call it a fine line, but I think it's there.

4
samarudge 9 days ago 9 replies      
First you have to understand that not all of the content broadcast on the BBC is created by the BBC. They carry programs made by independent, limited, for-profit studios. They also regularly carry movies. All of which they put up on their iPlayer service.

As an example, you can currently watch Madagascar, in full, for free on BBC iPlayer (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00gd77z/Madagascar/).

While there is an argument that programs produced by the BBC should be DRM free, there is no way larger, and independent studios would allow their content uploaded DRM free.

Personally, I want the BBC (and other sites) to be able to use technology like HTML5 video, because I don't like flash, and it's unlikely the studios are going to suddenly decide their OK with DRM free video, I'm not necessarily /for/ DRM in HTML5, but I don't see any other way around it for now.

While you can argue all you want about how DRM is useless and easily broken, as yet no-one has managed to convince big TV and movie (and even game) studios of that. The BBC is just doing what it feels it needs to in order to be able to deliver video using the latest technology, while keeping it's partners happy.

5
ldite 9 days ago 0 replies      
This is less to do with the "public" internet as accessed from mobile/desktop browsers; it's about enabling the next-generation of HTML5 based interactive TVs and STBs to interoperate with already deployed DRM and encryption platforms, such as TDT premium in Spain, Top-up TV in the UK, and various CI+ based cable operators across Europe.

The DRM is already out there, HTML boxes are already out there, some sort of API is going to happen (even if not through the W3C then through some organisation like HbbTV or OIPF) and if the BBC sticks its fingers in its ears and ignores this then it risks being stuck with an objectively worse API that its luckless developers will end up bashing their heads against at some point in the future.

(Incidentally, this is the thread from the last time this came up; https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3620432 )

6
julianpye 9 days ago 1 reply      
I used to work for one of these companies in exactly such a role. Initially my mission in standardization bodies was to look after consumer rights, but it changed to accommodation of IPR patents in the DRM field.
There is a group of about 200 professionals in the DRM field, mostly former engineers (that have little grasp outside their expertise) and lawyers that work for companies with significant patent portfolios in the space. They are mostly the same crew, having worked on technologies such as SDMI, OMA-DRM, MPEG-DRM, DVB-CPT frameworks and others - technologies that never saw the light of day over the course of 15 years. I always saw it as a travelling circus - people moving from city to city and continent to continent. They work in a symbiosis with technology people from the entertainment industries, who are also part of the circus.
What's important to note is that these people have big named companies on their business cards, but mostly have little involvement into day-to-day business and any products. They frankly just try to keep themselves important and thus employed.
Until you give the people in the wandering circus a new assignment, they will always need to find new targets for their technology.
I think that is the true reason underneath many of these DRM accomodation efforts into standardization bodies.
7
surrealize 8 days ago 0 replies      
DRM is not necessary for the web.

Some content owners say that it is. That's a lie.

High-definition digital video gets broadcast over the air in the clear all the time.

Content owners tried to get DRM (the broadcast flag) into over-the-air broadcasts, saying that that was the only way they would allow digital broadcasts. The broadcast flag failed, content owners caved, and now they're broadcasting everything in the clear.

The HTML5 encrypted media extensions are another iteration of the same thing. If we stand up to the content owners, they'll cave again, just like they did last time.

8
danbmil99 8 days ago 1 reply      
I'm confused. Doesn't this book by Cory have DRM?

http://www.amazon.com/Homeland-ebook/dp/B00AEC8O2K

If he's so hot on this issue, why is he selling his creativity with DRM, thereby hurting open standards which don't support it?

9
Drakim 9 days ago 5 replies      
How exactly would DRM for HTML5 work? Couldn't I just fork Chronimum or Firefox and make the browser save the video content in a file rather than showing it?
10
TheZenPsycho 8 days ago 0 replies      
Let me preface this by saying that I am not in favor of DRM. However, from the perspective of working inside a media company, I can say with certainty that without some way of "protecting" the media stream, media companies will continue to use flash exclusively for distributing content.

Yes, of course you clever folk can find a way around any kind of blockage. That is not the point. It is security theater. It is the media equivalent of asking you to take off your shoes and put them through the x-ray. It does nothing to protect us from any kind of danger, but it is necessary to assuage the fears of powerful people with irrational beliefs.

Because, a media company is licensing content from all kinds of different sources. All those sources have to agree that they do not want or need any special protection. It won't do us technologists any good to petulantly insist that they distribute their IP with no DRM. It must be voluntary, and we should direct our efforts to figuring out how get their willing consent. That is, the CONTENT owners. Not the distributors, like the BBC, who have to make the content owners happy or they simply don't get the content.

So yes, Trunnel is correct. We need this, or some other equally compelling theater. The alternatives are that we continue to use flash, and iOS apps, or we get no content at all, from the content owners that need the theater to be happy.

11
phire 9 days ago 0 replies      
Personally, I'm ok with the simple DRM scheme, where javascript can pass a decryption key into the video tag. Throw in a few extra features, like a header at the start of the file telling the browser to only play the video file on supported domains (to prevent websites that steal by embedding) and disable saving the move to disk.

To the content companies, it will be a lot better than nothing. It gives the same level of protection against casual copying as the more complex scheme, and absolutely every browser can support it.

The more complex scheme is an absolute nightmare, essentially bringing us back to the proprietary plugins (like flash) we have worked so hard to get away from.
And it won't even work, there is no way they can stop proficient users from ripping the streams. This scheme will be cracked in a few weeks after it is released.

12
spo81rty 9 days ago 2 replies      
We need a standard for DRM for Netflix, Hulu, etc. Otherwise they will forever use Flash or Silverlight. How can anyone argue against it? Content providers must protect their content from being stolen. Do you want to make an app and everyone steals it and doesn't pay for it? Probably not.
13
cmircea 9 days ago 2 replies      
I would like to know how they plan to get Firefox and Chrome to support that. As free software, adding such functionality would be moot, as it can be trivially by-passed.

Or do they want to ignore about 80% of Internet users?

14
mckoss 9 days ago 0 replies      
I would never you a browser that had a "Sorry, cannot perform that operation now" dialog box (as many DVD players do to keep you from skipping pre-roll advertising.
15
Tomino 8 days ago 0 replies      
I would like to put aside the fact about DRM and how I do not agree with what it represents. What upsets me here, is the article it self. It is very sloppy, no thought in it, no details. Basically worth of a tweet. I would really enjoy if people would put more time and work into what they are publishing.
16
scaphandre 8 days ago 0 replies      
UK readers:

You might want to register your opposition with the BBC here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complain-online/

Takes less than 3 min.

18
huhsamovar 8 days ago 0 replies      
Shitty sensationalist title is sensationalist.

NB: Yes, I'm aware s/he copied it from the original article.

19
deliverd 8 days ago 0 replies      
the thing being missed here is that any DRM method will be broken. why tie a standard to something that will inevitably be broken?
30
Spotify and Facebook: Is that phishing? weluse.de
314 points by linx  2 days ago   94 comments top 28
1
ineedtosleep 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm ashamed that this doesn't surprise me much. This looks like a huge oversight on Facebook's part, but with the countless reports on Facebook failing with privacy here, there and everywhere, it's like I don't care anymore.

The thing that numbs me even more is that client work, no matter how good of an argument one gives, will always have some form of third-party social login because it's oh-so-important and users will _always_ use it.

2
RexM 2 days ago 1 reply      
It says "Facebook Email or Spotify Username" in the login box before typing in a username/email.

As far as I know, spotify uses username for login, and not email. By using your email, it's assuming you want to use facebook.

3
benmanns 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is just Spotify not finding a user with username=[your email address] and looking for that user on Facebook.

I did a test by creating an account with the email benjamintesterton@mailinator.com (not linked to a Facebook account) and username benjamintesterton. When I tried logging in with the email, it failed, but with just the username worked.

If logging in with the email did work, it would mean that Spotify authenticated you with their server and then abused your credential re-use to hack your Facebook account. However, this appears not to be the case.

They should just check email=[input] OR username=[input], but that may be backwards-incompatible and break the functionality of people who use their Facebook credentials to login.

4
qeorge 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd want to know if the OP ever had a Spotify account before, with the same email (m*@gmail.com). I suspect he has, and that Spotify account was previously linked to the FB account.

Another strong possibility is that he has an existing Spotify account which was created using Facebook Connect. Creating an account with FB Connect would provide Spotify his email, and Spotify would likely have created a user record for that email (this is the recommended behavior from FB).

If either is true, then I think this is what happened:

- Spotify has an old user record in their database,
associated with his Facebook account. He might not realize this, especially if his Spotify account was created via FB Connect.

- When he created the new Spotify account, Spotify had a bug/feature which linked the new Spotify account with the old Spotify account.

- Spotify then sent a "logged in via FB Connect" signal to Facebook, which caused his Facebook account to reactivate. This is normal behavior for Facebook - FB interprets any login gesture as a signal that you want to reactivate your account (be it a 3rd party login via FB connect, opening the FB app on your phone, or logging into the FB website)

This seems plausible to me, and wouldn't indicate any malice. Whereas Spotify's engineers writing a screen scraper to login to Facebook and secretly install an app seems exceedingly unlikely.

5
Create 2 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook and Spotify share a number of investors: billionaire Li Ka Shing has a stake in Facebook and Spotify. Yuri Milner's DST Global, which owns roughly 10% of Facebook, is also in negotiations to buy a stake in Spotify. Facebook's founding president and Napster founder Sean Parker, sits on the board of Spotify.

http://benjamin.sonntag.fr/Moglen-at-Re-Publica-Freedom-of-t...

6
andreyf 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you don't want someone to mess with your Facebook account, then perhaps you shouldn't give them your Facebook login and password...
7
noonat 2 days ago 1 reply      
The fact that the user was logged into Facebook after giving Facebook credentials to Spotify is not the problem. The login screen communicates that this will occur. Maybe it doesn't communicate it as well as it could, but it does communicate it.

The problem is that Spotify added itself to the user's list of apps and granted itself access to the user's data without any communication that this would occur. I guess you could say that permission for Spotify to do that is implicitly granted by giving them your Facebook credentials. But these days, federated authentication and authorization are two different things for end users -- especially so for Facebook apps. Spotify should at least prompt the user before making these changes on their behalf. Very underhanded behavior.

8
luser001 2 days ago 3 replies      
Amazing.

Also, this is yet another privacy threat that I dodged because I use the PwdHash extension (https://www.pwdhash.com/). You type the same password for all sites, but the extension invisibly uniquifies them on a per-site basis.

9
todd3834 2 days ago 1 reply      
Simple solution, don't use the same password for all of your accounts and read the instructions, it says username or facebook email.
10
tomarthur 2 days ago 0 replies      
Spotify is able to do this because they have partnered with Facebook. Facebook has white listed them for a set of API's that allow them to convert a Facebook User/Password into a Facebook auth token. Any time this whitelisted API is called the application that called it is automatically added to the users list of applications. Spotify is then white listed (by Facebook) for a second set of API's that allow them to add any permission available to the Facebook access token they were issued. This is why you see permissions being added to the application that were not clearly communicated. Facebook requires partners that are on these white lists to clearly communicate what is happening, but IMO Spotify does a particularly poor job of this.
11
INTPenis 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is, or at least was, possible to delete your facebook account. Not just deactivate it.

http://www.facebook.com/help/224562897555674?_fb_noscript=1

That's in Swedish for me but I assume it's localized. It says that there are two options, one is deactivation, and if you don't believe you'll need your account again, the other is deletion.

12
dendory 2 days ago 1 reply      
I somehow thought that apps could no longer 'login' to social network accounts using usernames/passwords, so that they would have to use OAuth instead? There should be a way that Facebook and Twitter would prevent an app from using login information in order to bypass the 'app authorization' dialog which is supposed to be shown to users to tell them what the app can do to their account.
13
axx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm may be wrong here, but isn't it the case, that Facebooks re-activates your account, as soon as you login with Facebook Connect on a 3rd-Party site?

I really hate that, but what if you're using something like coughBangYourFriendscough Spotify, deactivate your Facebook account and can't use Spotify anymore? Maybe you're a paying customer to Spotify? How do you cancel your membership if you can't login anymore?

To me this seems like a Big Communication Problem™ between the User and the App/Facebook. The Facebook API needs a functionality that says "Using a deactivated account for Facebook Connect re-activates your old account automatically".

I totally disagree on methods like this, but i seems plausible in that way.

14
Superanos 2 days ago 2 replies      
It says quite clearly: "Log in with Facebook or Spotify". That means you can log in using a Facebook account or a Spotify account.

The username field says "Facebook Email or Spotify Username". So when you type an email, you log in using a Facebook account.

It's not that hard to understand. By the way, that account you made on the sign up page is still unused: you logged in using a Facebook account, which is a different account from the one you just registered, so you have two spotify users now - one you signed up w/o Facebook and one you actually logged into.

15
ActVen 2 days ago 1 reply      
If this type of behavior continues to be tolerated by users, the entire industry will suffer the backlash at some point. A few companies using obfuscated or unclear defaults will make it more likely that the government will bring down heavy legislation on all companies.
16
dspillett 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why no two services know me by exactly the same email address, and different passwords are used everywhere. If I want to share some of my information with your app I will do so deliberately, otherwise you are not getting anything. What's that you say? I can only sign-up via facebook? Well then fine, I guess that means I'll be living without what-ever you are hawking.
17
oellegaard 2 days ago 0 replies      
So happy that I use 1password to generate random passwords for every single service I use. This wouldn't be possible if everyone was more aware of security - still, I find the way facebook treats its users increasingly disturbing and seriously consider to leave it.
18
Kiro 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember once when I was automatically logged in to my roommate's Spotify account on my computer just because we were on the same WiFi network (?). She had never used my computer, let alone logged in to her Spotify account on it.

I'm still not sure how or why it happened.

19
kmfrk 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty shameless, even for Facebook.
20
mikec3k 2 days ago 1 reply      
No, it's not phishing.
21
drivebyacct2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Use separate passwords. This is Spotify's screwup as much as Facebook's. I noticed the same thing (because I use separate passwords) and was able to avoid this. Stupid Spotify. That's why I run my own Subsonic server. No uploading, nobody else's limits, etc.
22
runn1ng 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's funny though that Facebook frequently asks you for your password to your e-mail account.

For very similar kind of thing.

23
xordon 2 days ago 0 replies      
To Summarize:

1. using the same password for spotify and facebook is a dumb thing to do. don't do it.

2. by entering an email address instead of a username means spotify will use facebook auth (it should be made more obvious to users).

3. using facebook api to auth will re-enable your facebook account (apparently restoring photo's and friends lists).

4. facebook adds spotify as an app and gives it access to your facebook account data without explicit permission.

24
Comkid 2 days ago 0 replies      
It should be noted that Spotify is directly integrated into Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/music

You have the ability to pause and play music from Facebook (which I doubt exists for any other music player with any sort of Facebook integration)

25
drue 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wanted to try spotify a while back but got stuck when it required a FB account.

Sounds like it's no longer required, but I suppose I still don't trust them enough to try their service.

26
berdon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Did anyone else read this and then scroll to the top only to realize they'd been reading and comprehending german the entire time and then suddenly forgot it?

I did. :/

27
whaevr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Spotify up on the front page of HN 2 days in a row now..and for all the wrong reasons. Hah
28
ssapkota 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is why I always use different password for different services.
       cached 25 February 2013 16:11:01 GMT