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Show HN: My x86 emulator written in JavaScript copy.sh
732 points by g3  2 days ago   186 comments top 67
staunch 2 days ago 4 replies      
This may as well be magic as far as I'm concerned. When I first saw http://bellard.org/jslinux/ I just about shat myself. This is definitely another level of awesome. Well done.
JoshTriplett 2 days ago 6 replies      
Very impressive.

Interesting bug: I can't seem to type '-', '=', '+', or '_' into the Linux image. Missing '-' in particular makes it hard to run commands with options.

Elaborate workaround:

    /root% eval eq$(dmesg | grep 'e820 update' | sed 's/.*) \(.\).*/\1\1/')    /root% echo $eq    =    /root% eval dash$eq$(uname bad 2>&1 | grep Usage: | sed 's/.*\[\(.\).*/\1/')    /root% echo $dash    -    /root% uname ${dash}a    Linux (none) #44 Tue Oct 15 20:50:15 CEST 2013 i586 GNU/Linux 
The first command grabs an '=' from dmesg and sets "eq" to it (without typing '='), and then the second command grabs a '-' from the usage message of uname and sets "dash" to that (without typing '-'). The last shows how to use ${dash} in a command.

bumbledraven 2 days ago 0 replies      

   g3 62 days ago | link | parent | on: Show HN: Virtual Machines in the Browser   Just give me one more month, I'm almost there ...
The last month always takes at least 60 days. Strong work!

cokernel_hacker 2 days ago 0 replies      

  /% cat /proc/cpuinfo                                                              processor       : 0                                                               vendor_id       : GenuineIntel                                                    cpu family      : 5                                                               model           : 1                                                               model name      : Pentium 60/66                                                   stepping        : 3                                                               cpu MHz         : 1.301                                                           cache size      : 256 KB                                                          fdiv_bug        : no                                                              hlt_bug         : no                                                              f00f_bug        : no                                                              coma_bug        : no                                                              fpu             : yes                                                             fpu_exception   : yes                                                             cpuid level     : 2                                                               wp              : yes                                                             flags           : fpu pse tsc cx8 pge cmov                                        bogomips        : 2.60                                                            clflush size    : 32                                                              cache_alignment : 32                                                              address sizes   : 32 bits physical, 32 bits virtual                               power management:
Heh, 1.3 MHz on a Pentium 60.

mambodog 2 days ago 2 replies      
If like this you might also be interested in my port of the PCE Emulator to the browser: http://jamesfriend.com.au/pce-js/

At the moment I've only uploaded a demo of the Mac Plus emulator (classic 68k mac) but I'll upload IBM PC and Atari ST demos soon also.

sramsay 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just when you thought "I've written an x in JavaScript" can't get any more insane . . .

Still, this wins the Nobel Prize for awesome.

hardwaresofton 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty awesome, I for one don't think the constant stream of "x, rewritten completely in javascript" is tiring (this is not meant to be sarcastic).

[EDIT] - This post doesn't seem to say enough when I look back at it. Wanted to add this:

Seeing posts like this really excites me (and inspires me) about the future of web programming, and programming in general. Anyone that's excited about programming has to get excited about abstraction, and it doesn't get much more abstract that cross-coded/implemented virtualized systems like this. Even if you hate javascript.

Every step people take in blurring lines between systems like this should be exciting, given the large amount of abstraction that had to go into creating something like this.

agilebyte 2 days ago 0 replies      

  125 kB compressed JS  262 kB uncompressed JS  9765 lines of uncompressed JS

runn1ng 2 days ago 1 reply      
It actually boots on Chrome.

On Android.

Then it usually dies for low memory - and I can't enter anything at all without keyboard (which doesn't pop up) - but still. The fact that I can boot up a x86 emulator in javascript in browser on ARM mobile phone is crazy.

aray 2 days ago 0 replies      
Plan 9 iso [0] CD image fails

    Unimplemented: #GP handler    Execution stopped
[0] http://plan9.bell-labs.com/wiki/plan9/download/

general_failure 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now and then I see a project which is soul crushing to me when I compare myself with other programmers. This is one of them.
Aardwolf 2 days ago 1 reply      
Would have been fun if it included some interface to execute assembler code on it directly in some way (without booting an OS).

In any case, super awesome! Great work :)

EDIT: Whoa, the dos one has games on it! Can you make Wolf3D work? :)

McGlockenshire 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome.

You might want to consider re-ordering the font list in the console though. Consolas isn't perfectly fixed-width apparently, and it made Rogue rather puzzling to play.

bcoates 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know what format the floppies are expecting? It won't accept a DOS 6.22 install disk from MSDN, maybe it doesn't like DMF?

Also, swapping disks during the install might be an issue, I don't see a button...

mVChr 2 days ago 0 replies      
My second computer was an IBM XT 8086. That was the first time I played and fell in love with Rogue. Every time I grab a copy of Rogue nowadays for nostalgia's sake I'm left disappointed because I can never find the version of Rogue that I played as a kid.

My friend, your emulator has that version of Rogue. The kid inside me thanks you greatly.

tectonic 2 days ago 1 reply      
This guy is awesome. Check out a Game of Life Turing Machine: http://copy.sh/life/?pattern=turingmachine
jordwalke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Two things:

1. How can we help? How can I support you?2. Please open source this.

etfb 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I first saw DOOM running on a bog-standard 386, I declared it to be utter nonsense. I'm no fool! I know what's possible and what's impossible, and that was clearly the latter. Sure, I knew it wasn't impossible, and in fact was true and real and a testament to the brilliance of Carmack et al, but it was still nonsense. Brilliant, astonishing nonsense.

I declare your x86 emulator similar nonsense, for all the same reasons. I take my hat off to you. Well done indeed!

iso-8859-1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a list of virtual machines in JavaScript: https://gist.github.com/ysangkok/5606032
dman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a non minified version of the javascript emulator file that is publicly available?
mzs 2 days ago 1 reply      
I tried the freedos image, says something about 400kips and then down to 0. Nothing ever shows. FF 17.0.9 ESR on 1386 freebsd 8.3
dbancajas 2 days ago 7 replies      
I want to write an emulator as a learning experience. Any tips how should I start?
seldo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems very like http://bellard.org/jslinux/ from a while back.
x0054 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is quite amazing. Could someone post a blog post on the details behind how this works. I am not a JavaScrip programer, and this looks like black magic to me at the moment.
s-macke 2 days ago 1 reply      
g3: Probably you have seen my emulator. http://s-macke.github.io/jor1k/It does more or less the same, but emulates a different CPU.

Your emulator is impressive and especially fast. I think it took a long time for you to optimize it.I tried to start TinyCore, but it stops after decompressing the kernel. So still some work to do ;)

mvanotti 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm trying to run a custom basic x86 kernel (it was an assignment for my Computer Architecture course). But I can't get it to work =/. (This image works with bochs and in a virtual machine without problems). It seems that it can get to protected mode, enable interruptions, enable paging, but it fails loading the tasks =/

This is the error that I'm getting:

Unimplemented: load system segment descriptor, type = 9Execution stopped

Here's a screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/DdCt8jX.png

r4pha 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is beyond awesome! I'd love to read about your thought process while writing it, I guess a lot of people (including myself) would learn a lot from it. How long did it take to write?
batuhanicoz 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is so cool!

I have one problem with it though, it doesn't seem to support my keyboard. For example when I try "*", it writes "-".

I'm using a Turkish Q keyboard and Chromium on OS X Mavericks GM.

krallin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't quite exactly work on a non QWERTY keyboard : (

Still awesome, though!

dancecodes 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very interesting. Great job!

No xhr queries detected in firebug and firefox console. Its is done without AJAX? How its working? Thanks.

hayksaakian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool, I tried the linux gui OS and games worked.

sudoku and snake worked really well, but pong seemed to graphically expensive

senorsmile 2 days ago 1 reply      
I got a kernel panic trying to boot tinycore linux:

Decompressing Linux... Parsing ELF... done. Booting the kernel. init[1]: segfault at b8e8e089 ip 08071929 sp bfb81b08 error 4 in busybox[8048000+7c000] Kernel panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init! exitcode=0x0000000b

atkbd serio0: Spurious ACK on isa0060/serio0. Some program might be trying to access hardware directly.

pyrrhotech 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man, shit like this makes me feel dumb. How does this work?
ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
The FreeDOS feels only half the speed of a TRS-80

This is jaw dropping. Imagine next generation javascript.

shurcooL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone had success running this on an iOS device? There are hints of it working on my iPad mini under Chrome, but with Safari it gives a "Unimplemented: #GP handler".
agumonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
waiting for docker.js
klepra 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's awesome, I quit! :)
arjn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love it and would like to learn more. Are there any docs you could make available ?
Tarang 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been waiting ages for this ever since I saw jslinux. This is freaking brilliant.

Looking at the source its been minified. How big is it before that? Are you planning on going open source? Was kind of blown away to see the single js file do all this. Would love to see the method's names to understand how it works

tharshan09 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could you give some tips or links on how to go about emulating an architecture? I would like to know how to go about emulating an architecture much less complicated like PIC.
eliben 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool project. Can you elaborate on the difference between this and JSLinux?
zerr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know it is oversimplification, but in essence, isn't writing an emulator just mundane following and reading specs? a lot of specs...
urs2102 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is incredible! At this point, it's definitely JS magic, because I'm struggling to fathom how this even exists.
mirsadm 2 days ago 0 replies      
The amazing thing is it works (slowly) on my Nexus 4. Great work!
zenocon 2 days ago 2 replies      
no network interfaces :( boo. rm -rf or halt -f are fun.

this is great work. would love to see source un-minified.

buremba 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you add networking support to this amazing project, I think some crazy development environment tools are waiting for us.
api 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know this sounds like crazy pants, but I would actually use this in the real world if it were a NodeJS module.

Not for anything compute-intensive or serious, but for creating very secure very isolated VMs to run web apps or other services in an insecure environment. It could also be a great way to take a LAMP stack app and rapidly deploy it in certain cases.

Again not for high performance, but for... I can think of a few things personally and I'm sure others can too.

(Though honestly performance wouldn't be that bad...)

Then add the ability to go back and forth between client and server, and virtual networking, and you might have a commercial "virtual DOS LAN with nodes in a browser as a service" startup. What for? Supporting legacy DOS crap: point of sale systems, etc. "Run your legacy DOS stuff in your browser with persistence in the cloud." You'd be surprised how much legacy DOS crap is out there.

jbobes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool!

Btw, this is what I'm working on http://cloud306.comIt's kind of similar, but not really.

tnhu 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a superb work! Beyond my imagination.
bovermyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
...wow. Just, wow. You, my friend, are awesome.
cattt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't sleep over the awesomeness of your emulator. I love you and happy birthday <3
LionRoar 2 days ago 0 replies      
A program listing as screensaver (KolibriOS). Now, that is cool.
chris_mahan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm totally impressed.
abeiz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, very impressive! What are your plans for this? Any plans to open source?
swamy_g 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dude, this is Grade-A stuff.
dancecodes 1 day ago 0 replies      
now waiting release for support lxc containers :)
haliphax 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very, very awesome. Kudos!
michaelmcmillan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't believe this
schmatz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can just imagine the posts in a few years:"Look at my JavaScript GPU emulator!"
malladye 2 days ago 1 reply      
how does it work?
lxe 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should un-minify and open-source this.
sambecket 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is beyond cool... logs off to think in some startup with this :)
walke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool! Great job!
zzx375 2 days ago 0 replies      
What else is there to say? Swung for downtown and knocked it into the ocean.
elwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
github link?
scosman 2 days ago 0 replies      
_-_-_- 2 days ago 2 replies      
@g3 this is super-mega awesome. 3 questions:

1. I know it is already available via the page, but would you please open-source it so others could contribute?

2. Thought I appreciate the apps being shown in the canvas in the resolution they are supposed to use, a full-screen option would be incredible. That way I could play space invaders the way it was meant to be played, in FreeDOS, in a JS emulator, in Firefox, on a mac. (That's just so wrong, it's right.)

3. Is that your real hair? (Sorry, just had to throw in a Real Genius quote.)

Square Cash square.com
658 points by rjsamson  4 days ago   280 comments top 65
meritt 4 days ago 16 replies      
Seems to work amazingly although I'm a bit concerned about the security. A friend sent me $1. I get an email from square, link to website where I entered my debit #, expiry and postal. It deposited directly to my debit card (I didnt even know you could do that). The deposit already arrived!

"Checking Card Adjustment POS Pin (Credit) $1.00"

So I sent him $1 back (to: my friend, cc: cash@square.com, subject: $1). And it instantly sent it to him. I didn't have to verify my details or anything.

I'd feel a lot more comfortable if there was a security blog explaining how they are validating that I indeed sent the email and it wasn't simply spoofed.

Edit - I did this from Gmail which I presume authenticates all of the emails via dkim? I'm guessing this won't work as automatic for other providers?

Edit2 - Just attempted with another friend and had to verify manually. The automatic-authorization appears to only apply when it's between two previously validated parties.

philfreo 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is my favorite type of product. Here's why:

- Take an existing known medium (in this case email) and makes it way more useful.

- They didn't try to build a bunch of new UI for connecting your Facebook so you can find and invite and pay your friends, paying out to your card, etc.

- It magically hides the messiness of an enormously complex problem (fraud, different types of debit cards & banks all over the world) behind a very simple interface.

- Unlike every other P2P payment system, I can actually sign up and receive money (or convince my friend to) using only what's in my pocket (debit card)... not hunting down ACH/wire details.

abalone 4 days ago 5 replies      
The most stunning part of this is the "free" part.

The Durbin amendment regulates the cost of debit transactions over the Visa/Mastercard network. It's $0.22 + 0.05%.

Mossberg reports that Square is planning to monetize via "premium options" like international transfers. But still, $0.22+ is a lot to lose every time someone uses your mass-market service.

Good thing they raised $341M of VC money.

Who said the dot com days aren't back??

Source: http://allthingsd.com/20131015/the-money-is-in-the-email/

Tomdarkness 4 days ago 5 replies      
This is one area where the US seems to be behind compared to the UK. I am from the UK and that service would look quite poor if it launched over here. We have a system called faster payments service that offers instant (although in some cases up to 2 hours) bank transfers for payments up to 100,000 (can differ between banks). You can use this directly if you share bank account numbers and sort codes but there are also wrappers around FPS like Barclays PingIt that people can register with and use your mobile number instead. There is no fee associated with these services.
redthrowaway 4 days ago 2 replies      
Do Interac email transfers not work in the US? They're pretty much the same thing: send money to an email recipient who then clicks a link to deposit it in their account. I'm surprised that this is big news, and that it seemingly doesn't exist down south.
jey 4 days ago 4 replies      
They're obviously taking a loss on this (due to credit card fees) if the recipient gets the full amount sent. So this must be a loss-leader that's building up to something else where they expect to make a ton of money.

That "something" is most likely just "replacing cash and cards", but will be interesting to see how it plays out. It's a bold move regardless.

EDIT: I meant debit card transaction fees, not credit card fees.

MBCook 4 days ago 5 replies      
Note that it takes 1-2 days for the deposit. They must be using ACH to do this. The 'free' part is great. Even with Square, I'd be hesitant to enter my debit card number.

Planet Money recently did a great episode all about the US's ACH system and why it works the way it does.


rmccue 4 days ago 0 replies      
Note that this isn't available everywhere: https://squareup.com/help/en-us/article/5136-troubleshoot-sq...

(Would have been nice to see this on the actual page rather than hidden in "Troubleshooting")

sahaskatta 4 days ago 5 replies      
Hmm neat, however what benefits do I get using this when it's also built into Gmail and provided directly by Google Wallet?


nly 4 days ago 5 replies      
And composing an email to send someone money is secure how?

What stops someone from spoofing my email address, CC'ing it to cash@square.com, and clearing me out? And if someone does get in to my email account I'm toast?

guiambros 4 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant solution, but can anyone tell me how they avoid fraud? I just sent money to a friend, and back. It worked fast and flawlessly, as expected. Supposedly money will be posted to my account in 24-48 hours. All good there.

Now, how can they make sure that the email is genuine and wasn't spoofed? Sure, they can check for white-listed domains and SPF records, but still seems fairly weak process. The FAQ [1] doesn't say much either. Human validation is even worse.

It helps that the send receives an email confirmation with the transfer, but you may not check the email before the money is posted. I guess they're pushing the onus of the proof to the receiver -- after all to receive the money you have to have a bank account and a visa/mc debit card.

Whatever the security mechanism, it's a brilliantly simple solution. If it takes off, it'll quickly replace Dwalla and other micropayments.

[1] https://squareup.com/help/en-us/article/5144-square-cash-sec...

downandout 4 days ago 1 reply      
I just scoured the site and saw no limits for receiving through square cash. I can't imagine that this is actually the case; does anyone have any idea what the actual policies are?
gizzlon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like it's US only? ZIP code??

Residents of 48 US states have the ability to send and receive Square Cash. Currently, you'll be limited to receiving Square Cash if you live in the following two states..

dangoor 4 days ago 1 reply      
It sounds great, but I'm always left wondering what the angle is for free services. Will they make their money off of float? Is it something to do with the way debit cards are charged?
tmsh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was talking to a colleague about how Dwolla implements a similar pay network. I don't know Square's implementation. It varies with different P2P providers. Some create their own 'rails' in the backend (PopMoney, etc.). Some follow the 'clearing firm' / brokerage model of the commodities / equity markets. They have accounts in all major banks with deposit (debit) accounts and simply do an inner-bank transfer on both ends on your (and your recipient's) behalf.

That got me thinking though. It's 2013. The ideal solution is not to be beholden to any centralized authority or group of 'clearing' accounts for routing. The ideal solution is security but flexibility and distributiveness. The ideal solution is a network of trust with similar 'hubs' / 'clearing firms' that one can choose to route through automatically, have all the routing be automated for you via solid protocols.

There is the chance to create clusters of payment routing networks that are more elegant. It would make money movement so much more liquid in our world. And would be a really great thing.

Maybe Square is the beginning of that solution. I hope it gets even more distributed though. It's mostly companies leading the way for this. And good for them. But there's another possibility: something very open, but given the right protocols and architecture, very secure.

There is no incentive to create such an architecture other than the amazing world that it would mean where you could travel to different countries and authenticate seemless money transactions to whoever had a phone or email endpoint (again there would have to be name servers + some sort of money equivalent of SMTP + TLS / chains of trust + distributed clusters of shared 'clearing' bank accounts + routing algorithms to these accounts, etc.).

But that didn't stop Tim Berners-Lee or the early internet folks....

BHSPitMonkey 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems a little scary, to be honest. It's plausible that malware (or even just somebody physically using your phone or computer for a minute) could generate and perhaps send these emails on a user's behalf (and then delete the confirmation and the "sent" copy, depending on the mechanism). If I were ever to use this service, I'd surely use a dedicated email address that's harder for me to casually send mail from.
ytadesse 4 days ago 2 replies      
The simplicity of this is amazing.

That being said, I have a question: Here in Canada, I can send an email transfer of funds from my bank account to my contacts by simply logging into my bank online and specifying the email address of the recipient. Does this type of system exist in the US?

tiziano88 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a similar gmail feature http://www.google.co.uk/wallet/send-money/
cryptoz 4 days ago 1 reply      
I want to learn more! The Help page is a 404 though: https://squareup.com/help/en-ca/topic/139

What banks does this work with?

mrtimo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've had a debit gift card for 10 months with $35 on it. Just used this to send that money to myself. Awesome.

Amazing what you can do with a card number and expiration date. Don't loose your debit cards!

marcamillion 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if this will work with international debit cards?

E.g. if I have an debit card with my account at a Jamaican bank, can someone from the US email me cash and it arrives instantly or is this just a US service? Can't find any details about this on the site.

kiddz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm completely taken back by the simplicity of this + that it's free. So many times have I paid a contractor via PayPal as a "friend" to reduce PayPal's fees.

Moreover, why hasn't a bank or credit card company done something like this yet? Amazing how the solution disappears into a cc: address line and unique link in your email.

SeoxyS 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using Square Cash for a few months, and it's worked flawlessly. (A friend used it to send me money, and I jumped on the bandwagon; didn't even realize it was pre-release!) Square is attacking the consumer payment market from all angles, and I think it has the potential to become one of the biggest companies of this bubble!
abcd_f 4 days ago 1 reply      
This needs an out-of-bound verification for the transfers. At the very least, it should confirm every new recipient - "Did you really mean to send $500 to yahoo@google.cc?"

Seriously, I am all for the simplicity of the system and the flow of the narration, but where the heck is the explanation of how this is not trivially exploitable?

usaphp 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think thats an awesome idea, in the current world where the cash is not used as often as before and its hard to just send money to your friend or relative without dealing with long forms, swift codes, routing numbers etc...I am just wondering how did they manage to make it free? Any ideas?
kgermino 4 days ago 2 replies      
>Free. Actually Free.

Ok now I'm confused. I realize it's probably a marketing ploy, but how could the fees on this not eat them alive?

verelo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yet another US only payment option. I get it, but at least state it somewhere so people like me don't get excited and then suddenly disappointed.
enraged_camel 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not quite sure how to sign up. When I go to "Account" at the bottom right and enter my email address, it takes me to the purple "how to sign up" section, but it's not clear what to do from there.
SwaroopH 4 days ago 0 replies      
A point about spoofed email, Square always seems to ask the sender for a confirmation whether the email was spoofed or not. I tested this by sending it legitimately and through an unauthorized email server.

The only thing that was concerning was when I sent a spoofed email, the receiver was able to know the sender name (cash account name) "ABC is about to send you cash". Very minor but it allows anyone to find out your name provided they know your email address.

sami36 4 days ago 1 reply      
Free. I bite, What's the catch ? I presume recruit users to use the Wallet app ?
rjsamson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I remember seeing this talked about a while back and not thinking much of it, but the details look slick. Sending money with no signup required seems pretty awesome.
k-mcgrady 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see anything on the site but on Google Play it warns the app can't be installed on my Nexus 4 - I take it this is US only?


Looks like it's not even available in all states in the US [1]

[1] https://squareup.com/help/en-us/article/5136-troubleshoot-sq...

d0m 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't really care about that new feature, but man, I love that background video playing with the animation.. Is there a library to help create that? Seems like it's a <video> with some animation css on top of it?
keyle 4 days ago 0 replies      
I cannot believe this is happening. This is extremely cool...

But didn't we agree that email wasn't a safe protocol?... How long do I have to cancel a transaction? Are they going to honor the fake ones like Visa does?...

jonheller 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love and trust Square, but would be extremely hesitant to trust my debit card anywhere online. Someone going on a charging spree with my credit card doesn't bother me as much as the thought of someone stealing this number and taking the money directly out of my account.
kin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, I currently use Venmo, which ties into Facebook accounts so it's super easy to find people. But Venmo is only free is you tie your checking account.

With this I can tie my debit card (which I guess is the same thing). So, I don't seen any real positive benefit over Venmo IMO. Can anyone else point anything out?

chasingtheflow 3 days ago 0 replies      
I get that this is cool because it doesn't require an app or anything to work. But I just don't see this replacing venmo for me. Albeit venmo requires a bit of set up (so does this) and an app, but once that's in place sending money is quicker and easier and I don't have to remember to cc anyone. Thoughts?
electic 4 days ago 0 replies      
The security here is very very questionable. It is non-existent and that worries me.
elwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
If they are really losing 0.05% + 22 every transaction, then Venmo should use Square Cash to make a lot of large transactions, forcing them into bankruptcy.
dalys 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was just impressed by how the colors of the buttons in the top left corner (when idling at the section with the video background) is synchronized with the color theme of the video background.
unclebucknasty 4 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to phishing risks noted below, I wonder how many typo squatters will pop up for the cash@square.com cc.
mallipeddi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Since the emails are not encrypted, anyone in the middle who's capable of scanning this traffic can basically see all the transactions passing by?
sbirch 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think they've done something quite clever by (I infer) getting people to join up when they receive money. Venmo puts up an unnecessary wall by requiring that the payee sign up before they can be paid.
ateevchopra 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really liked the idea. Its really good for all the parents who are not so tech savvy and can send money this easily. And its all free ? I don't understand why ? i mean I am not saying that it should be paid of something but being an entrepreneur myself I would love to know how you guys are making money on this.
charleyma 4 days ago 0 replies      
Square Cash is definitely some sort of loss-leader, but for what?

Most obvious long-run plan would be for user/debit card acquisition (which has lower interchange rates) to support their bread and butter business (merchant tools) as this would increase their profit margins by reducing processing expenses, especially since Square simply charges a single rate to merchants...

Lifesnoozer 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a similar thing in Sweden, called Swish (https://www.getswish.se/). But it's a cooperation between banks, and you link it with your phone number, the transfer is instant, you have to identify using something called Bank ID.

Square Cash seems nice, but I prefer the approach of Swish.

zcs 4 days ago 0 replies      
What are they using to do the animations on the demo site?
abvdasker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not talking about the product for a moment. There are a lot of not-so-great "flat design" websites out there, but Square Cash's is one of the best I've seen. I keep seeing these loud sites with full-width graphics and animations on everything. This is how it should be done. And responsive to boot!
pranavpiyush 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is simply a user acquisition mechanism for the rest of the Square business. They lose money on every transaction.

Read this: http://www.quora.com/Square-Inc-1/What-are-the-details-behin...

bydpark 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks pretty interesting, but, as everyone said, security sounds like it will be a huge issue.Will there be other methods of verifying a user for email, now that it can be linked to your bank account?
pradn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Echoing the other commenters: this is really great, but I'm a little weirded out because it's free. I'd like for them to be upfront about why it's free, since all the alternatives aren't.
aioprisan 4 days ago 0 replies      
how does the email source verification work? SPF and DKIM checks?any idea how they can credit a debit card? I'm guessing they rolled out their own solution with a few of the biggest US banks, having accounts at each one?
AustinLin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hands down one of the best interfaces / UX I have ever used. It's about time someone made sending money really simple and free. Can't wait to see how this service matures.
ya 4 days ago 0 replies      
http://d.pr/i/oEmN chrome banned the request.
goeric 4 days ago 0 replies      
Glad they changed it from 50 cents to free. Smart move.

They solve this problem with the least amount of friction.

hnriot 3 days ago 0 replies      
on an aside, what a great website, the background video and colorization all work so well.
Romoku 4 days ago 1 reply      
Aren't emails sent in plaintext? What are the security and privacy implications of using this service?
taigeair 4 days ago 0 replies      
how do they make money with this? BTW I didn't know I could scroll for the longest time! I thought it was an animation.
abhia 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would this still work if someone used a fake email script?
kirk21 4 days ago 0 replies      
Any idea what mailsystem they use to handle all these mails? Or is it an in-house build system?
magico 4 days ago 0 replies      
It doesn't accept British Pounds yet :(
tapmap 4 days ago 0 replies      
what about sending cash to an international debit card? Has anyone tried this?
meonkeys 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did Square just kill Dwolla?
hipaulshi 4 days ago 0 replies      
hmm? isn't Email address fakable?
maerF0x0 4 days ago 1 reply      
NSA will start to deposit the cash you send, its just "Metadata"
f.lux has been updated to a new version justgetflux.com
580 points by dailo10  4 days ago   257 comments top 64
heydenberk 4 days ago 8 replies      
f.lux is one of my favorite pieces of software. It just does what it's supposed to and I hardly even think about it. Being near the 40th parallel, it rarely activates from April to October. At some point in October, as it did a week ago, it naturally and unobtrusively becomes indispensable again.

Something that happens quite frequently is non-technical friends see my laptop at night and ask "why it is orange?". When I temporarily deactivate f.lux, they shrink from the intrusive blue light and need no further explanation.

kseistrup 4 days ago 8 replies      
And then there's Redshift, which is GPL'ed and has its source code available. Works like a charm on my Linux box.



josefresco 4 days ago 7 replies      
Hard to run a neat tool like f.lux when you design for the web. Reason being that I need to "see" the web like my clients and their customers do. Same reason I don't run ad-blockers, or many browser add-ons that modify the browsing experience.

I found when using it for personal use, there are times when the time of day, doesn't align with my energy levels and I ended up disabling it enough that it became a nuisance.

jrnkntl 4 days ago 4 replies      
Heads up: not yet available for Linux and Mac.
T-hawk 4 days ago 2 replies      
f.lux is great, but I really really really wish it would allow custom control of the timing instead of pegging to sunset. I don't want my screen going red at 4:30 pm in the winter eight or more hours before bed. 10 pm would be about right. f.lux can be manually controlled, but that's much less useful since I'll never remember to turn it back to red at the times I want. "Disable for an hour" is useful once, and really tedious to repeat for six hours.

And in this update: "Movie mode ... lasts 2 hours." Seriously? Why in the world not prompt for a time duration, or use a dropdown or flyout menu for various 30 minute intervals?

sovande 3 days ago 6 replies      
Being wary of using too much resources in my own programs I'm always a little surprised and disappointed when I see small utility programs like this use resources like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Flux is currently using 118 MB of real memory and 0.1% CPU.

Using otool -L /Applications/Flux.app/Contents/MacOS/Flux you can see an impressive number of frameworks included. I guess inclusion of the webkit framework is the biggest culprit. Why all this is needed to simply dim the light on my screen is beyond me.

That said, Flux is perfect functionality wise and very useful.

molf 4 days ago 5 replies      
Flux is fantastic. I just wish it were built into iOS too, so I can have something similar on my iPad/iPhone without jailbreaking.
NatW 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome project, thank you!! It would be helpful if the creators listed the latest version number on their site so folks don't need to install it to see if it's e.g: version 23.0 or something else. FYI: the latest version seems to be 23.0 for mac at the moment.
saturdaysaint 4 days ago 3 replies      
I really wish someone would put f.lux in a TV or receiver. Sure, it's not ideal for critical viewing, but it'd be great for casual tv watching/gaming at night. Anyone found good solutions for that? I tried amber glasses but it's a bit of an awkward solution and somehow doesn't feel as effective as f.lux.

Would lowering the blue light in the TV's picture settings and the brightness accomplish everything f.lux does?

calinet6 4 days ago 0 replies      
What this page needs is a big "Download" link.
RyanMcGreal 4 days ago 0 replies      
I start work before 6:00 AM and f.lux is a godsend. I actually feel my body go aahhhh as the sun comes up outside the window and my screen shifts to blue.
BryanB55 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you use Android, Twilight is also great (same concept but for your smartphone): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.urbandroid...
ZoFreX 4 days ago 0 replies      
> A simple schedule for Philips Hue, so you can f.lux your house

This sounds pretty cool! Has anyone who has a Hue tried this yet?

yock 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just yesterday I was in the office late and was struggling with the bright monitor in a dimming room. The reminder that this software exists comes at a very nice time of year for those north of the tropics.
msutherl 3 days ago 0 replies      
For people who love f.lux, you may be interested to check out the work of Philippe Rahm: http://philipperahm.com/. He's built a number of spaces that explore how environmental conditions affect you physiologically. Along the lines of f.lux, he has some experiments that use specific qualities of light to affect your circadian rhythm, including an iPhone app and JavaScript library: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/i-weather.org/id389364795?mt....

This is a great example of where avant-garde art can be an inspiration for mass-market products, though who knows if the f.lux creators were directly or indirectly influenced by Rahm's work. Nevertheless, I believe there's a whole range of products that could come out of this conceptual framework.

joelackner 4 days ago 3 replies      
the alt-pg up/dwn feature to adjust brightness is pretty great. the fact that it rolls back in the morning is pretty clever, i always found myself having to fidget with settings on my monitor.

i wish more devices, like tvs, had flux baked in.

jaxbot 4 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who has used f.lux for the last few years (and more so after I've started classes), any single one of these is a welcome update. Together? I'll take it as a late birthday present.
ksrm 3 days ago 0 replies      
The only thing that annoys me about f.lux is the lack of flexibility. Why can I only disable it for one hour? Why are there only two transition speeds - 20s and 60m?
EnderMB 4 days ago 0 replies      
I remember first looking at this, and thinking it was pretty stupid. I downloaded it out of curiousity and ran it on my work machine while doing a few late nights, and I noticed very quickly that my eyes were feeling a lot less tired near the end of a day than they usually were.

Now, I install it on every machine I use, and it's probably saved me a ton of (literal) headaches. I couldn't recommend it enough.

Tichy 4 days ago 1 reply      
Dumb question: does changing the image on the screen actually change the output of blue light? I was kind of under the impression it was a result of the light source.

For example I think neon light is actually greenish and it is just the human eye that adjusts the colors back to normal. But I don't think one could make neon light behave like another type of light simply by painting it with some color.

dzhiurgis 4 days ago 0 replies      
The appearance on my setup if quite hilarious: http://imgur.com/1VrPWNw

The cheap Dell monitors got quite small horizontal visibility angle. Additionally, the USB adapter doesn't seem to be supported.

chli 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great update !

Now I'm just missing : "automatically disable if Photoshop is running" (I got caught a few times)

StavrosK 4 days ago 0 replies      
WARNING: If you want to try this for the first time, wait until mid-day. The first transition is quite jarring, but trying it in the day will make it much smoother (to the point where, if you disable it at night, you will quickly curse and re-enable it).
vutekst 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you like f.lux, and you use Android devices, you might enjoy Twilight.


rietta 4 days ago 0 replies      
Neat. Flux has been one of my favorite tools for years. There have been times that I have had to use its "disable for an hour" function late at night and the sudden brightness change is actually painful. It's easy to forget just how bright monitors are.
teeray 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can I pay these people yet? This is an awesome piece of software, and they should not have to buy their own beer anymore at the very least.
GraffitiTim 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you find yourself not able to fall asleep until later than you'd like, I recommend trying the warmer flux setting. I've been using RedScreen + a little script I wrote instead of flux because it gets far redder, and for me works far better.

It looks like flux still only goes down to 2200 on Mac, so I may continue using RedScreen.

k-mcgrady 4 days ago 3 replies      
I used to use this but my issue was that I usually watch TV/Movies on my laptop before bed. I had to disable flux to do that which made it kind of pointless for me. During my time using it I never noticed any benefits (probably because, like I said, I turned it off late at night).

Has anyone seen real benefits to using it?

driverdan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe I'm just weird but I previously tried flux for a few days and hated it. I can always tell the colors are wrong and it drives me crazy. At no point did my brain adjust to white being red.

Anyone else have this problem?

ezequiel-garzon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this supposed to become a commercial product? I'm confused about their business model, if any. If they don't have one, an open-source approach would be more common. Any ideas?
Crake 3 days ago 0 replies      
As someone with insomnia AND eye problems, this makes monitors a lot less painful for me. Downloading the new version now!
asafira 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just a heads up: f.lux is a great tool, but remember to turn it off during video games. Your experience with some games can be affected by the temperature of your screen. For me, that was definitely true when playing left4dead2.
srik 3 days ago 0 replies      
Note: The update is only for Windows and not OS X.
oasisbob 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like some of the new features are Windows-only? eg, I can't figure out how to activate darkroom mode on OS X.
bdclimber14 3 days ago 0 replies      
I teach a class at Arizona State University and one of my students asked why my laptop screen was pink. I then proceeded to give the class a 10 minute sales pitch on f.lux and how blue light inhibits melatonin production. It still surprises me what a profound sales channel raving fans can be.
akg 3 days ago 1 reply      
It seems that the new updated features are not ready for Mac OS yet? I tried updating but have not noticed anything new?
44Aman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was interested in using the expanded range, but it needs to access administrator privileges which I can't use on my locked-down work laptop. The normal version is a lifesaver though!
stcredzero 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been wearing orange tinted safety glasses to reduce my exposure to blue light at night. Is there a good option that's more suited to wearing outside the home/hackerspace? Rose colored glasses, of course, but with better peripheral coverage?
rolfvandekrol 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use f.lux all the time (on OS X). The only thing that frustrates me about it, is that "disable for an hour" actually means "use daytime settings for an hour". I reduced the daytime temperature to 4500K, but when I need to do graphical work, I want flux to disable completely. And yes, I know, I can simply quit the app, but then I forget to re-enable it.
alanh 3 days ago 0 replies      
iOS devs, please submit radars to Apple for iOS support without jailbreak. (IDGAF whether its native or third-party support for changing the whitepoint, I just dont want my phone to blind me at night.)
Nux 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting application, but it seems to me that it only really works well if you rely on natural light.

I'm in an office with bright neon lights, does it still help?

kux 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just tried out the f.lux for Philips Hue feature and it is highly impractical because it arbitrarily adjusts the brightness of all Hue lights in your house...

Disclaimer: I'm the creator of LampShade.io, an Android app for the Hue that has a similar feature (and many others too)

seferphier 4 days ago 0 replies      
Love f.lux.

A simple program but solves a common problem. My eyes are always shocked when i switch off flux for color intensive work.

parshap 3 days ago 1 reply      
> A simple schedule for Philips Hue, so you can f.lux your house

You can pair your Philips Hue bulbs with f.lux! This is awesome! This kind of thing is very helpful for people who sleep odd hours or just have trouble going to sleep and waking up. Has anyone tried this or knows how it works?

JoshMock 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know an update isn't available for OS X yet, but did anyone else get notified of an upgrade of their OS X version? The most recent OS X version of the Flux.app file says it was created Oct 4, 2013. I'm pretty sure this update has caused my Macbook Air to hang momentarily when trying to put it to sleep. Kind of annoying.
jarjoura 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oh man, this would be perfect if it tied into my Hue lights!
hisham_hm 4 days ago 0 replies      
For a project designed to reduce eyestrain, a white website with light gray text is pretty hard on the eyes.
najra 4 days ago 1 reply      
Might not be what this piece of software was created, but could a similar technique be used for an opposite effect: waking up in the morning? There are morning lights available that send 10.000 lux light, could you get a monitor to do this instead? would it have the same effect as those lights?
dipth 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if this update is for windows only? I can't seem to find a Mac version of the update.
wincent 4 days ago 0 replies      
"A map to help you find your location"

I hope this isn't the start of feature bloat.

mathiasben 4 days ago 2 replies      
Would like to see a feature where the software takes local cloud cover into account and dims with the sun during the day.
snth 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not updated for Mac yet?
simonebrunozzi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to see an option to specify a different time zone. It would be useful for when I travel, and I'm lazy.
taeric 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone ported this or something like it to phones/tablets, yet?
latraveler 3 days ago 0 replies      
My eye fatigue was so bad a month I thought of changing professions. I wouldn't say f.lux has cured it completely but it has helped significantly.
aj 3 days ago 0 replies      
This update is for Windows only. The update for Mac is due soon.
codeduck 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really, really wish flux was compatible with the ipad. Using an ipad at night is a painful experience.
shanac 4 days ago 0 replies      
So I just downloaded - why can't i figure out where TV mode is...hmmmm
chid 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm kind of curious, why is a restart necessary to extend the range?
gdonelli 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where is the download link?
jordanbrown 3 days ago 0 replies      
If only I could get it back onto my phone... Jailbreak can't come soon enough.
t0mislav 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very useful software. Willing to donate.
lia_memsql 3 days ago 0 replies      
f.lux for iOS next please!
diminoten 3 days ago 3 replies      
I hear so much about f.lux, but to me I don't know if the science quite backs it up like everyone says it does. I've found it suffers from the, "They used the word science so it must be good" problem.

Why hasn't anyone done a study on specifically what f.lux attempts to do? Sure, light at night causes people problems sleeping, but does f.lux actually make a difference? Can we quantify that difference in a way that controls for the fanboy (formerly known as placebo) effect?

Lessons Learned Going from Zero to $30k/Month in a Year groovehq.com
428 points by joshdance  2 days ago   55 comments top 13
rfnslyr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fantastic series of articles. I like that you included strategies you've used and actually uploaded documents for the public to see. Keeping it real is the only way to go.

I'm tired of articles written by someone hard working, trying to abstract all their efforts into a certain few points relevant to really their own situation only. The most you get out of these is an ooh or ahh. These types of articles are unintentionally predatory to wannabe entrepreneurs, which in reality, only serve to boost your revenue and traffic.

I want to hear specific conversations you've had, email exchanges, social strategies you've used, things you've read that have literally changed your life and perspective. Give us a peek into your mind and how it works. Not one off points you thought of on an evening and decided to make a blog post. Spend a month, two months, three months, a half year gathering data, and make a post full of integrity with defined goals in mind. Outline a path you took, tell us where you went wrong and why.

Looking forward to more in this series.

OP what do you recommend as reading material? Any books/authors that helped you?

patmcc 2 days ago 10 replies      
You know, I skimmed the article and liked it, and thought "hey, I'll check out GrooveHQ.com, see what their deal is" since I haven't heard of them before.

And I get to a page where the only way to learn more is to watch a video. Instant turnoff. I'm in a quiet place, I don't want to make noise or plug my headphones in just to have any idea what it is you actually do. Please consider that people might want to read something about you on your signup page.

basicallydan 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've had a quick read, and I think this is a pretty comprehensive post and I suspect it'll be useful in the future. Especially inclusion of "a bunch of other posts to read on various blogs in a spreadsheet" - that's awesome.

Another thing that's awesome: "There's no magic bullet".

Thanks for a good read.

alexbardas 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great post, really made me take a deeper look into the product.

I wasn't disturbed by the short video which explains most / all the features, but I can see the need of also having them as separate web pages (also useful for SEO).

My main concern is that there is no free version at all, even for smaller teams / startups (1-2 members) and I don't know if it's possible to import data from other customer support SAAS.

taude 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny, we're already recycling tech company names. Any one remember the cool group collaboration tool (until MSFT bought them) called Groove[1]?

I think the former Groove inspired a lot of what became Web 2.0 productivity tools. It was definitely at the forefront of such.

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

Edit: I should add, good article

chrismorgan 2 days ago 1 reply      
FYI: in the sentence "Simplifying our onboarding quadrupaled our completion rate" (one of the images), "quadrupled" is misspelled.
ateevchopra 2 days ago 0 replies      
Theres no way to make smart decisions with that sort of self-doubt.

Fortunately, it can be overcome. There are so many entrepreneurs who are smarter, more experienced and more successful than I am. Much of their wisdom is available for free on the internet.'

This is exactly why now startups straight out out college are getting successful. Students, who are mature enough have an ocean of knowledge and experience on their click. I can understand that experience can only be gained, but a wise is one who learn from others mistakes. You can not commit all the mistakes in your single life.

Earlier people used to avoid funding to fresh entrepreneurs, but today "unexperienced" ones can easily "evolve" and become immune to some common traps startups experience. That is why it is said that if you really want to change the world, read and read a lot.


codyod 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for sharing. This has given me good ideas to follow through as I try to build up my product. How much resources (capital wise + hours) did you expend? You say in earlier post, 250K bootstrap fund. What percentage on this particular effort?
benlarcey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting you're spending at least 10% of monthly revenue on BounceExchange. Does it provide ROI? The product looks great but the pricing is another matter!
exo_duz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing. I believe the experiences you have learnt can help me along my way building my own startup.
kostyk 2 days ago 1 reply      
was there initial funding or everything bootstrapped?
dain 2 days ago 0 replies      
No Doctype on this page: http://www.groovehq.com/users/sign_in

If this is rails, just add the doctype to the layout you are using for devise sessions. Easy to overlook. Not smart to be missing in production.

briankim 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you for sharing!
Introducing government.github.com github.com
413 points by _pius  4 days ago   78 comments top 20
aroman 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great to see Philadelphia front and center with this project.

In Mayor Nutter's keynote at PennApps last month, he talked a lot about how Philly is really pushing for open data/open government. It's great to see those initiatives coming to fruition.

guynamedloren 4 days ago 6 replies      
This is awesome. I respect GitHub more and more every day. However, despite how much I love the GitHub model and think it's a great way to collaborate, it's still (mostly) inaccessible for non-developers. Shameless plug: I think there is still some room for innovation here, so I'm building a GitHub for everyone else:


bfirsh 4 days ago 2 replies      
Seems pretty US-centric. Governments outside the US are doing great things with open source too. The entire UK government website is open source, for example:


clienthunter 4 days ago 2 replies      
I saw a TED talk about using GH as a form of collaborative democracy once. I am so shocked (in the best way) that momentum is building this quickly.
robbfitzsimmons 4 days ago 1 reply      
Admitting it's totally beside the point, what is the deal with the "trademark" Campfire emoji at the end of the post? Soon(tm)? In-joke?
Siecje 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the Changlelog episode of Civic Hacking


pizza 4 days ago 0 replies      
And so, github claims this space.
stevewilber 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool. I sent a request to my City to join. I'd be happy to donate some time improving their website if the source were public.
bachback 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bitcoin + contracts => new governments https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Contracts

Quote from Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks By Nick Szabo.

"We are now entering an era of online communications and software "literacy". The "physics of cyberspace", studied by computer scientists, are radically different from the properties of paper, to an even greater degree than paper was different from string, clay, and metal. "

count 4 days ago 1 reply      
How are all those civilian agencies using GitHub without a FISMA or FedRAMP approval (or does GitHub have one and just not advertise it)?

I see at least NASA on there (who just got in trouble with their IG for improper use of un-accredited cloud services).

Or does this include GitHub Enterprise users?

pouzy 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is a pretty ironic timing considering the fact that there's no government in the US for now :)
bitwize 4 days ago 1 reply      
Now can we use it to collaboratively fix Healthcare.gov?
niels_olson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm on a DoD network and can't even access github.
bachback 4 days ago 3 replies      
amazing potential. but in the end - out of scope. If you go through the least each org has only few repos with little interest. One of the more interesting ones is: https://github.com/opengovplatform
Kinnard 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean we know longer need Congress because we can legislate through version control? Cuz that would be awesome.
agumonkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Funny a while ago a friend suggested we should version law texts and publish it, this is even better.
cheshire137 4 days ago 0 replies      
Woo, just submitted a pull request to get openlexington of Lexington, KY on there.
AstroChimpHam 4 days ago 0 replies      
So... github wants to be wikileaks?
Joe_Quincy 4 days ago 3 replies      
I wish github would work on some features that help developers write better code rather then this, which looks like it was put together by some intern.
yeukhon 4 days ago 2 replies      
Before we go on, please have someone fix this bug. We are making a lot of suggestion, but no WhiteHouse developers are interested in this. This is not how you do an open source project.


Why we revert to original titles
411 points by pg  1 day ago   220 comments top 86
anon1385 1 day ago 8 replies      
>This would be clearer if we didn't let submitters enter a title-- if our software simply let people submit urls, and retrieved the title from the page. We don't do this because it's too inflexible. Some articles have titles that are too long. In others the subtitle makes a better title.

The problem is you've created a horrible half way house. There is a class of submissions that only make sense or attract interest with a custom title. These generally get reverted to some meaningless title which then prompts a lot of pointless discussion about the title change. If you don't have the man power to review custom titles, and don't trust the community to do it then disallow them other than in the case of manually editing down titles that are too long. It means missing out on a certain class of submissions, but those are mostly a mess these days anyway because they get filled with people talking about the automatic title change and people confused about why the link was submitted and upvoted.

SeoxyS 1 day ago 6 replies      
I think the biggest problem in reverting to original titles is that oftentimes, the original title is not bad, but it only makes sense in the context of the original blog in which it appears. In a social aggregator, it suddenly doesn't make sense anymore.

Consider this title:

    A New Beginning
In the context of the PHP blog, it might indicate a change of direction of the project, a change of leadership, etc. It's a decently sensible title. On a social aggregator like HN, it is much less useful, even if printed next to a small (php.net).

We'd be better off if we let the submitted change it to:

    PHP project changes direction, elects new leader

bambax 1 day ago 3 replies      
> Titles are common property. The person who happens to submit something first shouldn't thereby get the right to choose the title for everyone else.

This is a strange statement.

To me, a submitter is an editor, not a robot stumbling on an interesting article by pure chance. As an editor, the submitter makes a decision about when to submit a link (the time of day matter a lot), and, yes, about how to present the link.

Every day there are posts that make it to the front page, thanks to an interesting spin in the title, and when suddenly the title gets reverted to the plain original version we wonder what this is doing on the front page.

It's also strange to state that what users complain about in an ongoing fashion, is "not that big a deal".

Anyway, there would be a simple solution to this: when the title is changed by moderators, save the submitter's title, and show both versions (one under the other, one smaller than the other).

I wrote a little script that does just that (it saves every new submission, and then when called on the page, checks if the title changed and if yes, adds the original title as a subtitle); it worked fine until HN switched to https.

I'll re-release it as a browser extension soon if anyone's interested.

anigbrowl 1 day ago 2 replies      
We do sometimes change titles from the original when the original title is egregious linkbait

Indeed, but the guidelines (as they currently stand) do ask people to edit both linkbait and titles with gratuitous information (like 10 amazing ways to get your blog post featured on Hacker News). Granted, people will sometimes editorialize (injecting their opinion into titles) or put outright incorrect information in titles, but we already have a good flagging mechanism to deal with this, not to mention people's ability to comment on title abuse.

The problem is that a lot of worthy articles are given shitty titles by publishers - the title of an article is very often not what an author intended, but what an editor decided would draw more eyeballs. This is particularly a problem for science articles, where the article deals with some interesting but typically slightly obscure discovery, but the title is pure linkbait. For example, some weeks back I submitted a post about the rather surprising discovery of polypropolene on one of Saturn's moons by a NASA probe; the title on the article was 'common household plastic found in space' which makes it sound like someone had accidentally dumped a bunch of spoons out of the ISS (and which led to the top comment being a moan about the crappy title, calling me out for not changing it - in fact I had, but the mods had reverted it). The web is awash in linkbaity titles, and they tend to be either misleading or to obscure the aspect of the news that's 'of interest to hackers.'

I think the policy should be to trust members. If some HN users persistently editorialize or supply misleading titles, then they'll be flagged and lose credibility or get banned, dependent on how deliberate and egregious their title abuse. Members who submit informative titles will correspondingly be promoted. The karma/user identity system functions perfectly adequately in this respect. I agree that moderators ought to focus on moderating discussion (and reducing the prevalence of mean or stupid comments); reverting titles seems like a pointless distraction from that task.

ddlatham 1 day ago 0 replies      
The person who happens to submit something first shouldn't thereby get the right to choose the title for everyone else.

To throw another idea in to the mix of interesting ones proposed here already:

When someone submits the same URL with a different title than a previous submission, allow them to see the set of submitted titles for that submission and upvote the best title. The highest voted title (with some smoothing logic to avoid back-and-forth flips) is the visible one.

This way submitters can use better titles than the original, but instead of the first submitter determining the title it is decided by the group of submitters. It would also decrease the work for the moderators.

j_baker 1 day ago 2 replies      
You know, it seems like the solution here is to be able to distinguish the original title and the submitter's commentary about the title. To borrow from another comment in this post, something like:

    A new beginning
...could become:

    A new beginning (PHP elects new leader)
It's tempting to say "Titles shouldn't include commentary", but I think that there are valid times where the submitter should submit commentary. Otherwise, we just end up rewarding people for duplicating the same content with a more linkbaity title. You can imagine a techcrunch article that just quotes the original, but has the title "PHP Implodes as Leader Steps Down".

comex 1 day ago 0 replies      
The thing is that even if the original title is what "the author intended" on a blog where (a) it will usually be accompanied by some or all of the text and (b) context about who the author is is evident from the rest of the site, in my opinion many of them are essentially meaningless out of context - anecdotally, especially for more personal posts where a descriptive title or anything that seems like SEO might seem too formal. When posts are modified to these titles on the HN front page, readers are left to click either due to domain recognition (which isn't always there) or mere curiosity, without a clue what they'll find at the link. This is unfair, since the post may be highly interesting yet has to compete with many other posts with better titles. Not that big a deal, but when you're actively going out reverting titles of popular posts, IMHO, it would be better to add some basic context if easily available.
clarkmoody 1 day ago 1 reply      
One of the most helpful title additions is the (YEAR), for older articles. This gives nice context for the reader, before clicking the article.
bowlofpetunias 1 day ago 0 replies      
Missing the point IMHO. Changing the title isn't the problem. Lack of transparency is. That's what causing the complaints and conspiracy theories.

Which BTW is also a form of being "mean" (especially when the same opaqueness is applied to harsher forms of moderation), so if the increase of mean comments is a high priority, you may want to consider setting the tone.

Anonymous moderation without transparency feels an awful lot like bullying.

HN has grown to a point where most users have no clue who "pg" is, and what his motives are for running this forum. You're the wizard behind the curtain. I don't think you're gonna solve the issues of a growing community by keeping it that way.

smegel 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Titles on HN are not self-expression the way comments are. Titles are common property. The person who happens to submit something first shouldn't thereby get the right to choose the title for everyone else.

Your assuming that the original "title" is relevant to the point of the submission. Or that there even exists a "title" in a meaningful way. People might be making a submission reflection some content in an article that does not relate to the title, or where the title would be misleading or irrelevant.

A title might not be "comment", but it is part of the submission - why shouldn't the OP have the right to set the context of discussion? It's not like it prevents others from raising different point in the comments.

> The only option is to revert to the original title, which is at least what the author intended.

The original author didn't intend for their article to be shared and discussed on HN. And why their "intent" is terribly important in the first place escapes me somewhat.

> the increasing prevalence of mean and stupid comments has a much higher priority than the fact that authors' original titles are not maximally informative.

Yet you obviously do care enough to apply this policy in a forceful and unwarranted way. Why not just leave it then, and provide a "report editorialization" button so poorly worded or sensationalized titles can be brought to the mods attention, just like bad comments.

You think you are improving HN with this policy but your not, or just don't care about the holistic value of a submission, including it's title, to the culture of HN. Which is rather sad.

gojomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Easiest solution (more eyes, no new development):

Give more people title-edit privs, but set an expected-behavior standard that to edit, you are expected to (a) read the article; and (b) emphasize informativeness over either editorial-spin or originalism. Right now the "defaulting to original is always OK" rule is encouraging attentional abuse (by both mods and readers).

Far-out solution (some development/assessment needed):

Allow alternate titles to coexist; have a separate voting tournament between them.

I understand PG's priorities, but the Scylla and Charybdis of bad-submitted-titles and bad-original-titles is wasting a lot of readers' time, and biasing followup discussions in a more ignorant and acrimonious direction. (Bad titles feed into PG's 'much higher priority' as well: they are the 'broken windows' indicating that no one is watching the store. If no one has time to help get titles right, who's going to curate the much more numerous and twisty threads?)

Great titles are an art and a gift to readers. Improving titles is a major opportunity for the social news web. Empires like Drudge and HuffPo have been built on pulling out buried ledes from elsewhere, sometimes abusively but very often to the reader's benefit. HN should be open to innovation here.

(BTW, the twitter account @HuffPoSpoilers is a thing of beauty in this space, much larger than just a joke. It takes the HuffPo interest-piquing titling the one necessary step further, removing the tease and delivering the payoff all at once. It Is The Future.)

lmm 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The only way we can tell if a newly created title is accurate is to read the article, and we're not about to read every article submitted to HN. The only option is to revert to the original title, which is at least what the author intended.

So do it automatically then. It's ridiculous to say "we can't do this automatically because that would be too inflexible... so we'll get human moderators to blindly follow a process without thinking instead".

What happens now is that users put a lot of thought into a good title for the page they're submitting, and then a mod comes along and just trashes it. It should not be surprising that this upsets people.

molecule 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be appreciated if the moderators would make an attempt to not obscure information when choosing to modify titles, e.g.:

> The new title, "Leaving Twitter", is much less descriptive than the previous one, "Nathan Marz is leaving Twitter". Could someone please change it back?


lifeformed 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why not just mention that on the submit page? I had no idea this was a rule. The submit page doesn't say anything about using the original title.
eevilspock 1 day ago 2 replies      
Many comments herein make good cases for changed titles. Titles are extremely important as they are the content of the front page, and along with rank are how we users decide what to read.

Here's a solution:

  1. Allow submitter to optionally change the title.  2. Use the changed title, but on the comments page display     the original title near it.   3. Display up/down-vote buttons next to both titles.  4. Dynamically swap titles based on (Karma-weight?) votes.
In other words, let the community drive the moderation as it already does for other things. It's imperfect as there is still a first submitter advantage, but it will work at least 80% of the time for 20% of the complexity.

lisper 1 day ago 2 replies      
You could make everyone happy by adding a comment field to the submission form so that the submitter could add their own sub-title.
Fuzzwah 1 day ago 2 replies      
Thank you for clearing this up.

Has it been considered having a subtitle showing [previously titled: xxx] or some such when a title is edited?

Or possibly relying on a flagging feature along the lines of "misleading or editorialized title"? Rather than just changing all/most titles?

cbhl 1 day ago 2 replies      
Maybe we could change the social norm on HN, rather than seek a technical solution.

Users who think that the original title is a poor fit for Hacker News can create a post on (say) their own blog with the desired title, a brief summary, and a link to the original article and context -- similar to "reblogging" on Tumblr and such sites. Then, they submit their "reblog" page to Hacker News.

If the new title is indeed more useful than the original title, the "reblogged" post should get more clicks, upvotes, and comments than the original submission, and because the "author's original title" on the reblogged post is the editorialized title, reverting to the "original title" does the right thing (in the eyes of the submitter). And if it isn't a helpful title, the link just falls off of newest like every other link that get submitted.


bambax 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why changing titles ("reverting") is annoying: it doesn't matter if titles are reverted for new posts, but it matters for posts we have already seen/read/commented on, because it changes the name of things.

The problem is not moral or editorial; it's like when your kid misplaces your touthbrush in the bathroom or your cleaning lady rearranges your desk. It's a cognitive strain. A little thing, yes, but upsetting.

So the rule should be that titles can't be "reverted" after a certain number of points or after they've reached the front page (and yet it's the opposite that happens; reversion seems to address the most popular things first).

mcherm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think that this is the best policy for creating useful and clear titles on the Hacker News site.

But I REALLY appreciate your making this post to explain the policy and the reasons behind it. I can go along with this even if I don't think it's the best policy, and now I can understand the reasoning behind it. The openness of explaining the policy and the reasons for it are a big improvement. Thank you.

YuriNiyazov 1 day ago 1 reply      
This might've been covered elsewhere, but - with regards to increasing meanness and stupidity on the site: have you considered just adding a line of text under the comment field that says something like "reminder: don't say things that you wouldn't say to a person's face in real life"?
tzs 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The only way we can tell if a newly created title is accurate is to read the article, and we're not about to read every article submitted to HN. The only option is to revert to the original title, which is at least what the author intended.

To revert to the original title, you have to at least read the original title, don't you? Sometimes it is evident just from the original title itself, without looking at the content of the article, that the submitter's title was better. For example, when John Graham-Cumming shut down his blog, the submitter took the title of jgc's blog entry, which was something generic like "Shutting down my blog", and simply added who it was, so it because something lie "John Graham-Cumming: Shutting down my blog".

It would be nice if the mods could at least let that kind of submitted title survive.

trendspotter 1 day ago 0 replies      
The problem with your logic is that not every URL has a meaningful title.

There are a lot of times websites that are not optimized and use titles that sometimes are as self-explanatory as "home".I have discovered news websites that don't have a title for each of their articles, even larger sites like pehub.com didn't have titles until they fixed it only some weeks ago.

So this is going to be more horrible than editorialized headlines.

After thinking about it, here is a easy solution:

In addition to discussions, allow titles to be flagged by the community. Example below:

  submission X by kdzsb 22 minutes ago | flag title | flag discussion | 9 comments
Moderators would simply edit the few flagged bad titles. Rather than having them to watch all titles (old rules) or no titles at all (new rules).

chavesn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Speaking of which, can we talk about some great ideas I have for a new place to store our bicycles?
T-hawk 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's also the question of, what actually counts as the title of a web page?

There's at least three options: the HTML <title>, the URL, and some line of large text within the page. And of course there could be many headings or subheadings within the page. Some of the discussions about changing titles arise when the submitter chooses one of those and a moderator changes it to another.

Is it worth looking into improving conflict resolution here? Should moderators know to look at the HTML title and keep it if it's better than an in-page title?

huhtenberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
As many before me have suggested - please preserve original titles and have a profile option to choose between them and moderated versions. Unless I am missing something obvious this is dead simple to do and it will resolve this issue once and for all.
mattmaroon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Totally agree. Most people here are smart, we don't need submitters editorializing, which is usually what title changes are.
DanBC 1 day ago 1 reply      
> the increasing prevalence of mean and stupid comments has a much higher priority than the fact that authors' original titles are not maximally informative.

Give a small number of trusted users a "mega downvote" - it takes a comment to -2 with a single click.

(Just for clarity: I don't want this button. I'd be a terrible person to give it to.)

bentcorner 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't complain about changing titles, but now that we're here: I don't mind them all too much, except when the submission comments are tied to the title some way (e.g., a submission's title reflects a commentary on a small part of a larger article). If the submission title were to change to match the article's title, the context of the comments are lost.

Maybe keep the submission title as a title attribute on the href? I have no idea what that does to SEO (or if anyone cares).

Amadou 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a real basic UX suggestion - put the rule about using the original title right there above the title: field on the submission page.

That way at least no one is surprised that their brilliantly composed title was changed and won't feel like it is a personal affront because they forgot about a non-obvious rule that they probably only run into a couple of times a year, if that.

ollysb 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can thin of whole host of reasons that a different title makes sense. Maybe the article's relevant to an ongoing debate on HN, perhaps only a particular detail in the article makes it relevant to HN, see comments for others. I can't remember seeing a single occasion where reverting the title has been an improvement. HN is a pretty smart crowd, the evidence is that they're pretty constrained with titles but change them where it makes sense, can't we just be trusted to get on with it?
rajivtiru 1 day ago 1 reply      
I know HuffPo A/B tests their titles to see which one gets better metrics and changes/sensationalizes their titles that way.

I do realize we don't see many articles from HuffPo on here, just putting this info out there. http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/10/how-the-huffington-post-use...

smackfu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ironically, this post is a good example of a title that makes sense on this site, but becomes ambiguous when taken out of context. Who is the "we" if you don't know the post is by pg?
doki_pen 1 day ago 0 replies      
My biggest pet peeve with HN 2013 vs. HN <2012 is the article titles. There used to be a strong culture of never editorializing and always letting people know what they are clicking. Lately I have no idea what the article is about by it's title. Many are even link baity. It makes it much harder to skim through the list of titles for something I may find interesting.
malandrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
Any particular policy on titles where Betteridge's Law applies? I asked about this yesterday because almost all such posts become flame wars that are exemplar of the commentary we don't want on HN. When the title drops the level of discourse it should be addressed.


marvin 1 day ago 1 reply      
This thread is full of comments debating the merits of editorializing titles. I think a lot more would be gained by spending that same energy debating solutions to the more pressing issue also highlighted by pg: Methods to reduce the number of mean, dismissive, stupid or downright incorrect comments.

Maybe not quite as sexy, but much more constructive towards the goal of having a good online community.

benologist 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a genuine shame to destroy submissions that don't include vital context in their titles because they weren't written for external sites, and to make it impossible to submit and discuss why something is interesting or highlight part of an article rather than whatever the title spotlights.

Text submissions with a link in the comments might be a nice solution for people who don't want to contribute to what is essentially a manual RSS reader.

wbond 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing that would make this issue so much less annoying is if a guid was added to each item in the RSS. That way users wouldn't see the same article multiple times as the title keeps getting edited.
mathattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would seem like the issue here is the trade-off between having full time admins, versus a simpler and less perfect title system. It's ok to argue for "Let's go for perfect" but if you're not paying for the admins, it's tough to make that claim.

I'm ok with the current system. HN is a free service without ads. I'll take "Good but not Perfect" titles as the price.

shill 1 day ago 0 replies      
An easy solution to the title problem is to display the original title (if changed) in small text under the new title on the comment page.
nmcfarl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another option involving scraping, but allowing some human intervention, would be to have a default title - and have a new, and optional "edit the title" page for submitters.

This would hopefully decrease the number of edited titles as they would be more effort to enter - and would let the mods revert them with the click of a button as they could compare titles without reading articles.

phaus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its really sad that you took the time to write this explanation, when a significant percentage of the folks who responded to it don't even seem to have read it.

They just went right back to arguing their positions in a manner that doesn't even begin to respond to the points that you made.

Sure, some of them clearly did read it, but I think they are outnumbered by the people who either didn't read it or didn't understand.

It would be great if they took your advice and refocused their efforts on coming up with a solution to this:

>the increasing prevalence of mean and stupid comments

It would be a tough problem to solve, but it would make HN a much stronger community, and a much better place to hang out.

danso 1 day ago 1 reply      
I agree that this policy is sensible from a process standpoint. However, it does end up penalizing the writers who are bad at SEO, or just don't care...and at the same time, it rewards the sites that do cynically partake in link bait titles, all the while being little more than blogspam.

I think my problem is that when a headline is clearly too vague and someone adds a non adjectivey headline, the mods go out of their way to revert it, doing a disservice to everyone. If monitoring titles is a burden, then it seems like it'd be less work in these cases to leave the clarified titles...the community is usually good about flagging it.

Also, do HN mods revert to headline or the title tag? That is, can submitters choose from either (this is significant for most New Yorker articles, which have very short heds by properly descriptive title tags)

smtddr 1 day ago 0 replies      
This makes plenty of sense.

Either stick with this strategy or do what Digg.com is doing these days; a main title and the little subtext thing that they almost always use for a one-liner joke, but sometimes for serious commentary/secondary-title.

nonchalance 1 day ago 2 replies      
> we're not about to read every article submitted to HN.

How many articles reach the front page per day? I'd imagine it is a small percentage of the total

farmdawgnation 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think there would be fewer complaints about this practice if the submit page explained this intent.
fluxon 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad this was posted; transparency is good, even if it's transparency onto a policy dictating an imperfect solution to an insolvable problem. If I had my way, every title would still link to the original article, but it would also have a CSS context menu (rightclick to see) showing the full original title AND a permalink to this post or its equivalent in the FAQ.
cs02rm0 1 day ago 0 replies      
> This would be clearer if we didn't let submitters enter a title-- if our software simply let people submit urls, and retrieved the title from the page. We don't do this because it's too inflexible.

The hard and fast rule software would use is too inflexible, ok, I'm with you.

> The only way we can tell if a newly created title is accurate is to read the article, and we're not about to read every article submitted to HN. The only option is to revert to the original title, which is at least what the author intended.

But the hard and fast rule of a moderator that won't read an article is all good. Hmmn.

pbhjpbhj 1 day ago 0 replies      
>It's true that when submitters change titles, their new titles often contain more information than the article's original title. But a significant percentage of the extra information added in this way is false. The only way we can tell if a newly created title is accurate is to read the article, and we're not about to read every article submitted to HN. The only option is to revert to the original title, which is at least what the author intended. //

This doesn't make sense.

If the extra info added to the title is false, how did the moderator know without reading the article? If they didn't read the article what basis do they have to revert the title? If they did read the article then we shouldn't be getting issues like the "leaving twitter" reversion unless it's a mistake in a moderation interface or something.

Seems like a crazy way to do moderation - gather user submitted title, assume those titles are wrong and revert them, then return to the title and re-instate when there's objections.

There's sub-optimal and then there's eating soup with a fork.

sparktherapy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many of the titles that I wish were re-phrased were titles from mainstream news outlets. Good original content tends to be headed with good titles.
jfoster 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's interesting that people devote time to complaints and conspiracy theories about this. I've noticed that technically inclined people tend to get sucked into things and devote disproportionate amounts of time into them. Disproportionate to their life priorities and the return they see on that investment of time. I used to do it as well. I think I overcame it by just being more conscious about how I was using my time, and whether the thing I was spending time on was important enough.

For example, if HN have spelled out that they're not changing this and they are to be believed, then the ROI of protesting it is approximately 0.

kefs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Change titles all you want, but remove the user attribution at that point. Do not attribute words to people who have no say in modifying/deleting those words. This is stupid simple.
bluecalm 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about allowing up/down voted on titles (turning downvote rights on for everybody). If the title collects too many downvotes in relation to upvotes then the submitter collects negative karma and the moderators are notified about bad title. That would be less work for moderators and pointless changes would be reduced as well.
ahoge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just add a note [1] right below the title field.

There is very little stuff on that submit page. If there are 1-2 sentences, people will read them.

[1] E.g.: "The title must be the bare title of the linked article. Do not editorialize the title unless it's too long or lacking context."

smackfu 1 day ago 0 replies      
> But we don't. Moderating HN is no one's full time job.

I've always wondered who is changing the titles. Is there a bot? Or is someone really checking every single post to make sure the title is accurate? That just seems like classic busywork.

josephlord 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could software and voting solve the problem rather than moderators?

Initial title as set by first submitter. If there are multiple submissions an "Other titles" link appears on the comments page otherwise there should be a "Suggest title" link. On the suggest/other titles page it should be possible to suggest titles, vote on them and possibly even discuss them. The highest voted title (possibly needing n more votes than the current one) would appear as the main title.

This would keep the title the property of the community and allow it to reflect the views of those who have read the article rather than requiring moderator time.

DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps one of the many plug in authors just needs to create the HN Enhancement Suite, and include "Suggested title" or "extra information" tool tips for HN titles.

(As well as an 80 char guide for the title submission box).

saraid216 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. A draconian policy of deliberate misinformation justified by a lack of resources and disinterest in consideration. That just tanked all the respect I had for you, pg.
jack-r-abbit 1 day ago 0 replies      
You missed an opportunity to push people to the Bookmarklet: http://ycombinator.com/bookmarklet.html Perhaps this would help the issue. Not sure.
jules 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let other people suggest alternative titles and let the community vote on the best title! Less work for you and you get good titles and the first person to submit the story doesn't have special privilege.
Houshalter 11 hours ago 0 replies      
HN titles are absolutely awful. Many titles on the front page are vague and contain little if any information at all on what they link to. Many are vague or simply misleading. I'll take editorializing over no information content whatsoever any day.

And you can always de-editorialize it or make it a neutral statement wikipedia style, rather than changing it to random words that may or may not make sense in context of the article (which we haven't read yet.)

TrainedMonkey 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I view HM news page my screen is 90% empty space. Why not add an option to display both original title and author title? This way everyone could set their preference (Original only/Custom only/Both - with additional option of which one to display first).

When a person pastes URL into box, how hard can it be to follow that URL and parse original title? This way people won't even have to input more fields.

gabriel34 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps giving the person who posted the link a privileged comment of sorts would help lessen the dissatisfaction with such changes.When people send a link to HN they also want to express their opinion on the matter and believe they have a right to a privileged attention because they were the ones who thought the article meant enough to post here.On the other hand there is the fact that comments are also community-vetted. If OP has a nice, insightful point of view his comments would be upvoted, and he would have the advantage of being the first commenter.I changed my mind midway through writing this. Nonetheless I'll post it because I believe the discussion on what really bugs people about the title changes is in order.
gcb0 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone already called out, by email, about this... i think a more effective solution would be to, you know, SAY that on the submission screen.

if all you give me is a TITLE field which cancels the text field, i may feel inclined to replace one with another.

cam_l 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sure, on the other hand pg could give a little more trust to the community and crowd-source a fix. Institute, for example, a flag and a vote on articles which have had a name change. Just spitballing, but if they did not meet a certain vote number and a certain percentage within a certain timeframe, then by all means change it back!

Clearly, right or wrong, people give a shit about this, and telling them they shouldn't is obviously producing a lot more pointless meta-conversations than just fixing it. I am sure someone would even offer to give pg a hand to implement it if he asked nicely.

raldi 1 day ago 0 replies      
If automatic fetching of titles is good enough to do a few minutes after submission, why isn't it good enough to do at the moment of submission?
marze 1 day ago 0 replies      
Feedback: allow users to rate/upvote the title itself, and if it gets bad ratings, look to change it.

Also, users could get karma bonus for well up voted title.

tumes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get the intention, and this is gonna sound kind of reductive and shitty, but there's no social contract on the internet. If you built it this way, you gotta put in the moderation/engineering work, tighten it down, or quit your bitching.
EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
It might be fun to introduce some crowdsourced summary or reputation based summary of a title. This way HNers can see if they want to read the whole thing.

Also would be cool to introduce tags and let people follow those tags.

mtdewcmu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another option would be to treat different titles as different entries, and let the better-titled links get voted to the top. But the current system seems to already work pretty well. If it means more effort is expended in moderation, I submit that that effort is probably not a waste. Better editing makes better reading.
wallunit 1 day ago 0 replies      
What would be if you would let different users post the same URL with different titles. And at some point merge all posts with the same URL together, using the title of the highest voted post. That way, everything that reaches the frontpage, will have a title approved by the community.
johnlbevan2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Have the system automatically populate the title, but allow it to be overridden. Make overriding this default painful (e.g. after submission you have to open the thread, click edit, enter the new title, and give a reason for the change - then 5 community members with over 1K kudos need to vote yes to approve this change). Most people will fall into line in not changing the titles, but you have the flexibility and take the pain in the rare cases when it's needed.
iterationx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not just have two titles, the original and the modified one below, if someone feels the need to modify it.
deanly 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to experiment with scraping the <title> tag of the linked webpage. This is what Quora does for links in questions, answers, and comments.

I love the way that HN shows the top domain of the linked site. Very elegant, and something that Quora (arguably) should implement.

meemoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why don't you just scrape the actual title, and force people to take a few steps to change it if they feel like it needs changing?
nedwin 1 day ago 0 replies      
This post seems a lot more rational/fair when you read it in PG's voice.
gall 1 day ago 1 reply      
The distinction between comments and link titles feels a little false because there's no obligation to link to the root of the primary source document chain, if there even is a canonical primary source for a given story. A submitter could legitimately wrap a link in a thin blog post on their own site and achieve the same effect.
yeukhon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I will continue to say the article "Hacking the Olympic" is not informative and misleading. It is by far the worst title I have ever seen on HN. That title does not convey the story, only to capture people's attention and read the actual story. This is an example moderation must take place. Such practice is almost like a crime.

I hate to be an opposition, but I am making a valid, legitimate criticism here and I think the mass here should think about that more often than just go ahead and say "good job and good luck!"

jasonlingx 1 day ago 0 replies      
> If we had infinite attention to spend on moderation, we could read every article and decide whether each user-created title was better than the original title. But we don't. Moderating HN is no one's full time job.

If there is no time to read, then don't moderate?

garrison 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The only option is to revert to the original title, which is at least what the author intended.

This is true when linking to blogs, but frequently in the media it is the editor of a publication, not the article's author, that chooses the title.

nmbdesign 1 day ago 0 replies      
Makes sense, thanks.
X4 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're worried about title originality, why don't you write a scraper instead of asking for people to submit urls manually? Would be more efficient. But, If you care about real people posting stuff, then they should be allowed submit whatever they see appropriate. To mitigate the frustration, I think you could allow urls to be posted multiple times with a specific scientifically backed grace period of "n-hours" until no more duplicates are allowed. People can still up-vote the titles they like best and the winner takes all, making the other titles appear like collapsed sub-captions below the main-title. Hope you understand what I mean. This would solve two problems at once. A) Custom title's, no censorship. B) Valuable data about winning-titles, that can be used to train a stochastic model to predict the best titles. How you use the data from B) is up to you.

I mean people aren't stupid enough to change the Title of the "Higgs Boson" to "Bananas".Sorry, if this comes over wrong. I respect you and this is just critics on your software's policies.

johns 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why is there a length limit?
otikik 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree 100% with this.
samstave 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not have a submission look like this:

[Submitters reader-enticing paraphrase title]

{Original title, in smaller text/diff font}

ffrryuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
See Your Folks seeyourfolks.com
407 points by Anon84  3 days ago   191 comments top 73
spodek 3 days ago 5 replies      
Effective site, but I hope the people who found it depressing reconsider their response.

The site didn't tell you anything you didn't already know, it only clarified it.

Instead of denying information to keep yourself happy, why not use the information? My 69-year-old mother remarked earlier this year that if she didn't get around to some of her life goals soon she wouldn't be able to.

Did she say that out of depression? No, to live the life she wanted even more. She celebrated her 70th birthday bicycle-touring a wine region in France with my step-father, riding something like one hundred kilometers a day.

We can all do the same in our ways. In my opinion, awareness trumps denial.

cecilpl 3 days ago 4 replies      
This erroneously uses the life expectancy at birth rather than the life expectancy at <current age> - a common mistake.

If my parents are 80, I don't expect them to die in 1 year just because life expectancy at birth is 81. I expect them to live about another 8 years.

Use a table like http://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html

nostromo 3 days ago 8 replies      
If you are 25 this is how many weeks you have left to live:


sjtgraham 3 days ago 3 replies      
Damn, my dad had a stroke on Saturday night. Thankfully he got very prompt and first class medical treatment (Thanks NHS. Socialised medicine FTW) so the damage is fortunately very limited. I'm actually on my way to the hospital to see him now.

This is a great reminder to pick up the phone and tell your folks or anyone that matters to you that you love them. Everyone reading this should do that now if they can. You never know when it will be too late and you don't want those regrets.

krmmalik 3 days ago 6 replies      
Please understand I don't mean to discredit your site in any way and what I'm about to say below is no reflection in your commitment.

But this is a good opportunity for me to make an important point regards a discussion that took place here a few days ago.

You see - This website serves no purpose in the East or Eastern ethnic minorities.

It's not part of our culture to lose contact with our parents. I saw my parents on the weekend, my wife saw hers and we both spoke to our parents today on the phone. We live 3hrs away.

I'm 33 yrs old. I've never not spoken to my parents for more than 14 days ever in my life.

Why am I telling you this?

Because in the last discussion that took place - the rant about culture in India, many commented that people need to get more mature but what they dont realise that its culture holding them back

Your website proves my point.

Context: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6546587

chris_mahan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to Japan in 2 months, for 2 weeks, to see my wife's parents in Japan. (I live in Los Angeles.) They are getting up in years and their health is declining so this will probably be the last time we see her dad, and maybe her mom too. The trip will cost $6,000 minimum for the 3 of us to go. My father lives in Texas, and we went this spring. That cost $2,000. Next summer, we may go to France for a couple of weeks to see my mom and a bunch of other relatives. That will cost another $6,000, at least. So, at a minimum, we'll spend at least $14,000 in the space of 15 months to see relatives. Can't do that every year, or even every other year and hope to fund our retirement and my son's college fund.
DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a cool little website. Both my parents are dead, but I appreciate the thought behind it.

It's interesting that it sticks to a mother and father. A number of families are moving into more complex arrangements - 2 fathers, or 2 mothers, or step parents, or single parents, or etc etc. (I'm not complaining, just commenting.) I guess it shows that people know who they consider to be parents.

madaxe 3 days ago 4 replies      
Why is 0 not a valid input? I mean, I know it makes it somewhat pointless to even fill in if one never sees ones parents, but either way, 0 is a valid, if sad, answer.
slig 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this open source? Maybe someone should fork and change to something with a different thematic:

"Where do your in-laws live?"

"On average how many times do you see your in-laws a year?"


Crake 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's really weird reading the comments here. I guess I'm jealous of people who have parents worth seeing.

I haven't seen my mother in well over half a decade, and am much healthier for it.

chanux 3 days ago 1 reply      
yetanotherphd 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why is it that when it comes to this issue people feel completely comfortable with telling other people how to live their lives?

Wanting to spend more time with your parent's isn't a moral absolute. It's a social pressure that has proved hardier than going to church or getting married while you are still fertile.

lucb1e 3 days ago 0 replies      
What is "(Holland, Europe)" doing behind "Netherlands"? Which, by the way, is The Netherlands. Why are we the only one with an incorrect postfix? Holland are two provinces where the government reside; it's like putting "le-de-France" behind "France". Like all Frenchmen outside of that region, I don't identify as a citizen of Holland at all.
pdeshpande 3 days ago 2 replies      
It made me sad because it makes me realize I have no control over the fact that they are growing old.

Instead, what would be nice is if provided information such as: ask your father to go for a prostrate exam, ask your mother to run these other tests, and so on - based on the country, age and perhaps race data (which is not collected right now).

The website is nice and intuitive.

Argorak 3 days ago 2 replies      
My parents are divorced. I cannot fill this form properly.
hawkharris 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great example of how even the simplest programming projects can inspire people by tapping into emotion and being aware of their audience.
beshrkayali 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is terrible... it makes it horrible for people in difficult situations.
Who828 3 days ago 2 replies      
They didnt understand me, I wish I had done this in the past, I wish I had someone to guide me towards my interest, I hope I become successful in the future, I hope become a millionaire

Our ambition, our regrets have made us distant from the now and the present. We are not satisfied with it, how can we? We have our own expectations and dreams to achieve in life. So we run from the present, we live like we have a millennia more. We believe that our parents will always be there when we have time.So we dont go meet them on holidays, we rarely talk to them over the phone. When we meet them we are obsessed with our future, never paying attention to their stories. Never really looking into their eyes. After all, Facebook and Twitter is way more interesting then old peoples talk.

And one day you will catch the train (success, fame, money or whatever it is) but you realise that there is no one on the other side, that you are all alone. It feels empty, it feels incomplete. That you have an entire life to go through now.

Dont let that happen, go to their place. Talk to them over the phone (at least once a week). When you meet them, turn off your smartphone. Look at them in the eye and listen to their stories.You will find out that they need you as much as you needed them in the past.

Life is not all about fame and achievements, its about the people (Family, friends, etc). And whatever insignificant time we have on this planet, its better spent together in the present.

Samuel_Michon 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great, regardless of whether the math is correct. I dont share much on Facebook, but this, this I shared. It may seem sappy to some, but I find it to be a community service.

My situation: Im 33 years old and I live in the same city as my parents do. My mom is 65 years old, my dad is 69 years old. I visit my parents about once a week.

According to this test, I can expect to see my parents another 700 times before they pass. That may look like a large number, for me it is sobering. My dad has heart problems (he had an angioplasty and a stent placed last year, some incidents after, and he had a pace maker installed this year). Im not sure whether I get to see him another 700 times at the rate that I visit him now. I will certainly increase the rate of my visits.

dmlorenzetti 3 days ago 0 replies      
Small bit of feedback, in case the devs are reading.

The site is needlessly vague about what it's going to show me. What are "my results", and will they be compelling enough for me to send personal information to somebody I don't know?

Coming to this site cold, with no expectations, I had no desire to enter my parents' ages, to tell you where they live, or to tell you how often I see them.

irollboozers 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great hackathon project :) This is the kind of thing tech can easily do that is much better than social mobile video for dogs.
jedanbik 3 days ago 0 replies      
This assumes number_of_parents = 2. This also assumes class.parents() = {female_mother, male_father}. Maybe that's just a little too much heteronormativity for the year 2013?

A more generalized version that produces See Your Folks calculations for people by gender, age, and frequency of visit would be appreciated by folks like me that have complicated family dynamics. Hell, maybe I don't want to see my folks, maybe I just know how often I should see my friend that moved to the EU!

Relevant reading:

Gay marriage: the database engineering perspective -- http://qntm.org/gay

Jemaclus 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't share this with anyone. Ugh. Now I need to move back across the country...
nocman 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing this does not take into account -- seeing your parents in person is not the only interaction that is meaningful. Yes, I agree that seeing them in person is a good thing to do, but for some people that is difficult to do, and very often it is not because of a lack of dilligence on the child's part.

So send your folks a long letter or email. Call them on the phone. There is no need to feel guilty because you can only see them X times a year -- for some that is just a fact of life. Phone calls, emails, letters all have meaning. Letters and emails can be read multiple times (and often are). You want to really show your parents you care? Write one or both of them a poem or a song. If you have no skill in that area, write a long heartfelt letter. I wrote one of those letters to my dad years ago and he kept it forever.

It is good to remember that life is short and to use your time wisely. Remember the things that are important. But personal visits aren't the only way to do something about it.

sidcool 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am happy that this sort of condition is relatively rare in India, from where I hail. Most of us stay with parents and share homes and love. In fact, staying away from parents never even occurred to me before I came in touch with the Western culture that derides staying with parents. At first it seemed rather selfish to me that kids abandon their parents, almost like what happens in the animal kingdom. But later I realized that it's a cultural thing. And there's no judgement passing on either.

The only sad thing is that in India, if you abandon your abusive parents, it's looked down upon. In the West, if you stay with your angel like parents it's still derided. Hope this changes both ways.

tghw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Randall Munroe wrote a python script with actuarial data in it. Give a list of age and sex and it will tell you when deaths would be expected.


utunga 3 days ago 0 replies      
Realise it was thrown together in a day but didn't especially like 'the feels' I got from being told that I would see my Dad, who has already died, 572 more times before he passes on.
0003 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if you could incorporate expectation of years of life left at given age instead of defaulting to state the years lived past their expected life. Does the WHO data have this? For example, see rightmost column here http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/Revised_Tables_2008.pdf .
evanlivingston 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the great things about working remotely is the ability to spend time with folks. I moved out to SF to be where the sun shines but recently my father became ill. I'm now spending lots and lots of time in a small town in the Midwest sharing moments with my father, which is the most important thing to me at this moment.
audiodude 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm depressed I have to see them that many more times....
_random_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does spending two weeks together constitute one "seeing"?How many weekly Skype sessions constitute one "seeing"?

Cheer-up folks! It's not like we are all soldiers during First World War.

aswath87 3 days ago 0 replies      
Similar. Live your dreamshttp://liveconsciously.me/
thebiglebrewski 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh my god, this is horrifying
yodsanklai 3 days ago 0 replies      
Rather pointless in my opinion.

First they make the wrong assumption that the most we see our parents the happier we are.

In any case, I don't think it makes a big difference for people to see their parents 500 or 700 times before they die. Especially if they don't get along with them, they should see each other as little as possible.

My parents died a while ago and while I miss them, I don't regret that i didn't see them enough.

_lex 3 days ago 0 replies      
This so so mean. I've got 6 more times left. Now I'm buying ticket home for xmas.
ColinWright 3 days ago 1 reply      
All I get is:

    Oops...something went wrong.

dlsym 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Now I'm depressed. :-/
SG- 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just remember there's a good chance one of your parents will die a lot sooner than you or this site actually estimates.

My dad passed away rather quickly fighting cancer back when I was 25, he only got an extra 2 years after he found out.

curiouslurker 3 days ago 2 replies      
I am not sure I appreciate this kind of thing but it is interesting nevertheless. My folks have lived 4.5 years beyond the expected life expectancy for my country! By the way, the app needs to handle this case gracefully: I am a foreigner in the US so I see my folks less than once a year. I tried putting in 1/3 but looks like the lowest number it can handle is 1.
Avalaxy 3 days ago 1 reply      
There is a (imho) very emotional song about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s5r2spPJ8g

I really love the text, it's so beautiful when you get towards the end.

cgrusden 3 days ago 0 replies      
Loosely based off of the "1,000 marbles" story. If you want to enjoy your life more, read this story and then go buy a jar of marbles :)


hadem 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was very depressing.
Jakob 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is a comic I really like from Abstruse Goose about the same topic: 936 Little Blops http://abstrusegoose.com/51
lchitnis 3 days ago 0 replies      
A reminder is good, but an entire website for this purpose alone - with data culled from the WHO? And four people to create it?? Is there any other purpose of the site other than to remind us that our aged parents are nearer to their graves? I tried to find the site pithy but it was equal parts depressing, simplistic and oddly cute. I looked around for other stuff to click on, but there was nothing. Am I missing something?
LastZactionHero 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a wasted opportunity for a Kayak.com affiliate bonus...
mfontani 3 days ago 0 replies      
17.5 times?!

Comes with living abroad and away from the family, sure, but grim. I should visit them more often than once a year.

Pxtl 3 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who guessed what this was going to be about when I saw the questions?
donohoe 3 days ago 0 replies      
It says I'll see them 6 more times.

Very little I can do to change that.

thrillzone 3 days ago 0 replies      
Similar to the question "Do you want to know when exactly you are going to die?"

I think I'd prefer not to have checked this out.

borplk 3 days ago 0 replies      
This kinda depressed me a lot more than I was expecting :|
Nux 3 days ago 0 replies      
This web site makes me sad.

A much lesser problem, it doesn't work in Opera Mini, would be nice if it did, many of my friends are using it.

npras87 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to send out good old postcards to my folks every week.And seriously think about making a living, living close by them.

Somebody made http://pigeonpic.com just for this kind of scattered families.

fatbat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Inspiring. I actually have a shelved project that is somewhat similar but for marriage + life, etc.

I think I will continue that now!

ldn_tech_exec1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not trying to be funny, but FaceTime has made a real difference to peoples' lives here
MadMaddie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't even dare to put my details in. I'm a constant worrier and have always had existential issues, so this website doesn't do me any good. We are all different.
josephjrobison 3 days ago 0 replies      
Scary and encouraging! Thankfully I'm an hour away, so there's a way to fix that
armini 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love websites like this, they are a constant reminder that you and those around you are not mortals. Others might also like www.aznoe.com its on the same lines as this...
scottcanoni 3 days ago 0 replies      
My mom has already passed away. I can't use this site :(
juanuys 3 days ago 0 replies      
It said I'll see my folks 0.8 times before they die. Does that mean they'll die while I visit?
Spien 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have to put a number greater then 0... That number (and the statistics they are likely collecting) should even be lower.
Sikul 3 days ago 0 replies      
Feels bad man.
AsymetricCom 3 days ago 0 replies      
My parents are deeaaaaaaad!
ronaldsvilcins 3 days ago 0 replies      
This sh*t makes me really sad...
irishloop 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ha! Joke's on you, my Mom died this summer.

Oh. Right. :-\

brentm 3 days ago 0 replies      
That was about the exact opposite of an enjoyable experience.
stoic 3 days ago 0 replies      
My parents are dead, you insensitive clods
6d0debc071 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love my parents, but the knowledge that I'll only see them another ninety times... there's only so much hearing them my mother talk about her life or watching my father sit in front of the TV that I can take.

I'd prefer to have 90 days of goodness than 300 days of meh, you know? There's only a certain amount of content you can share in a given relationship.

killertypo 3 days ago 0 replies      
annnnnnd that was depressing.
superpaow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Morbidly amusing results when you select Ethiopia (or any developing country really) as the country
cubitesystems 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know. This was really f depressing.
ivanbrussik 3 days ago 0 replies      
ratsimihah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Truth hurts.
zubieta 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interactive Resume rleonardi.com
387 points by m4tthumphrey  2 days ago   194 comments top 75
princess3000 1 day ago 6 replies      
The lack of imagination here is just staggering. Holy cow. I mean first and foremost you're just getting a link to this directly, who's to say he doesn't also have a RESUME.DOC file that he sends out, including a link to this page?

Beyond that, I feel like this guy just might be looking for companies that are willing to take 60 seconds out of looking through a stack of nearly-identical paper resumes to indulge something a bit different. Maybe this is his way of filtering out companies who would "skip this applicant" because he didn't send in a .pdf resume with a list of buzzwords. And of course this isn't the simplest way to get across the information in a resume... that would just be a well-designed text resume. He's trying to flex his skills and show you what he's capable of, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that he understands that this is not the single most efficient way to get that information across.

alan_cx 2 days ago 17 replies      
There seems to be some confusion between a resume and a portfolio.

While this is clever, unfortunately what it does is make the job of getting the candidate's details harder. Say I have a pile of resumes and what not on my desk, and this. I want to compare them. Easy with the pile of 2 page resumes and attached portfolios, but with this I have to muck on a computer, trying to make out various bits and bobs, then even note them down myself so that I can compare. In fact, I clicked twice and gave up.

People have suggested this is a great way for a designer to show case skills. But IMHO, this is a colossal disaster. What it has does is allow design to get in the way of the content, and worse still, make the content less accessible. Yes, very cute, flashy, clever and skilled, but it shows that the so called designer has failed to understand what the point of design is. Design is supposed to facilitate, NOT make things harder. If it make life harder, it has failed. Does it make the recruiters job easier? No. Does it facilitate the passing on of vital information? No. Clever skills, but a design failure.

Really, I fully understand and appreciate that hackers appreciate the raw skills, and so we should, but I don't think people have their hiring HR heads on, and have also forgotten the basic point of design.

Sorry to swim against the tide here, but given a pile of competent resumes, I'd probably skip this applicant.

andrewingram 2 days ago 3 replies      
Cute, and very impressive. But I cringe whenever I see a resum where someone rates each of their skills on a scale. We're all familiar with the idea that true masters are generally the first to admit that they have a lot more to learn.
itsmequinn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Are you all kidding me? This resume is amazing and if he isn't being super humble in describing most of his skills I don't know how he created this.
jhspaybar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. Hit this on mobile. I'm not sure what it looks like on desktop, but on mobile it's amazing. Swipe to move, everything perfectly in place. I too often roll my eyes when someone ranks themselves a "master", but whoa...I actually believe this guy.
jmilloy 1 day ago 0 replies      
A key part of design is choosing the correct medium for the content/audience/users. While this demo displays a few raw technical skills, it's also a completely incorrect choice of medium. A well designed resume does not look like this. In fact, a well-designed game also does not look like this. Is there any well-designed thing that would look like this?

I was sorely disappointed also because I am excited by the idea of interactive display of content, but this isn't it. An interactive resume could, for example, summarize experience and skills briefly, and offer easy access to more detail and portfolio examples. And, of course, scrolling through non-interactive content (using up and down to go left and right, no less) isn't the greatest example of "interactive".

cpfohl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very Cool, tiny bit of feedback:

The transition out of the water is a bit jarring...

philip1209 2 days ago 1 reply      
My digital resume was a popular github project:

https://github.com/philipithomas/cv-philipithomas(It's deprecated - link to live is no longer accurate)

I'm in the process of trying to reinvent it. Here's the current iteration:


It's an ongoing project, but I think that either using a static site generator or javascript templates. I'm also planning on incorporating navigation like I used on this project:


lazerwalker 2 days ago 1 reply      
The first time I loaded the page (OS X 10.8.5, the latest version of Chrome), I got an unstyled mess of black text on a white background. I refreshed the pageagain and got a blank blue screen. I had to refresh a half-dozen times before getting the actual content.

Which points to the problem with this sort of thing. A lot of the design work here is stellar, sure, but that doesn't matter. You've already lost the job to the guy with the dead-tree resume.

Inc82 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, I really can't believe the negativity there. This is creative and amazing. The guy seems like a winner. The comments on here are dreadful. The point here was to make a statement and get eyeballs. This site already has accomplished that.
jqueryin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool UI wise, but not sure how maintainable it is from a development perspective. Can anyone shed some light on if he was using a tool to build this out? The code found at http://www.rleonardi.com/interactive-resume/script/main.js is extremely hard to read.
gngeal 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think this was supposed to be "interactive rsum", as it doesn't seem to have anything to do with power management. But it's definitely cool. :-)
Strategist 1 day ago 0 replies      
I liked this actually, but overall, I think it was more trouble than what it's worth. Maybe if tweaked or done differently, it would be much better.

Rather than bash it though, I'll give some constructive criticism.

1. I noticed a few glitches during the tour. As the guy runs through the world, some of the effects lagged, and didn't display the parts of the resume/portfolio that it was suppose to.

Once I ran back and forwards through the level multiple times, only then did they displayed correctly.

2. With this being interactive, it kind of distracts from actually looking at the resume itself. I felt myself more concerned with progressing through the world, than actually looking at the qualifications.

3. The controls would have been better if it were <- and -> to move the guy. Pressing up and down is a bit strange, as I think most people prefer using a keyboard over their mouse to go through this.


1. Very Creative, and cool idea.

2. Refreshing take on a resume/portfolio.

3. Shows off your design and coding skills.

4. It's unique.


1. Probably not the best way to convey your information to possible employers.

2. Controls are a bit weird.

3. Not all the animations worked off the bat, and were delayed (I had to run through the level multiple times before it worked).


I think if you're going to do an interactive resume/portfolio, you should just make it into an actual video game. Simple one level game where the user unlocks parts of your information as they progress through the level.

However, I think you should include at the bottom of the page or something, a link to a normally structured resume and portfolio as well, for people that may not have time to do the interactive/game thing.

Closing Point:

You've got a lot of negative, and positive feedback from your post. Don't let yourself be discouraged, but also be willing to listen and use this feedback to do it better, and adapt/change things where needed.

Good luck with your ventures!

avalaunch 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is some pretty horrible advertising for StartLogic.

I assume the site was taken down because of the traffic spike. Apparently Totally Reliable Web Hosting and Unlimited Bandwidth can only go so far.

uberalex 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's very pretty, but using the down button to go right is a bit counter-intuitive.
yeukhon 2 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty, but it's time consuming to read. I still prefer to read a paper resume up to just two pages. Imagine everyone has an interactive resume like this: my eyes are going to hurt.
auctiontheory 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool project. A few small suggestions:

(1) Fix the spelling of After Effects.

(2) You might want to reverse the order of jobs so that the most recent is listed first, since that is what recruiters will be most interested in seeing.

(3) The text within your job description boxes can be tightened to highlight your specific contributions and their impact.

colinramsay 2 days ago 0 replies      
In the "innovative resume" department, check out this one from a few years ago:


code_scrapping 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's fun but terribly difficult to read and understand. I hope he provides the "traditional" version as well for the people who just want the information and not the whole shabang.
lotsofcows 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cute. Got my attention. Not sure about the flashing text at the beginning though - too hard to read.
Rajiv_N 1 day ago 0 replies      
While this format may not work for everyone, for a UI person, I think this is an awesome way to apply. Great Job!

How difficult would it be for you to allow printing in a resume format (hidden div with info, activated using the CSS print layout option???) At least then there is the option of printing your resume from this page directly. You might even be able to provide a link in the corner of the page to activate printing. Just an idea. Good Luck!

aboodman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beautiful. Really great, creative work. Would definitely invite for an interview, if I were in the market for this skillset.
frozenport 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it strange that the buildings (Statue of Liberty, have faces on their first level). Why is this?
redthrowaway 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is incredibly impressive. Here I was feeling good about what I got done today, then I saw this.
fpp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very impressive - would be even better if it would include a bit of CSS to format the print-out like a normal CV / profile(currently generates about 30 basically empty pages in Chrome & FF)
jedanbik 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is fun! I loved the colors, the graphics, the scenery.

My suggestion: in addition to space-moves-you-forward and shift+space-moves-you-backwards keyboard controls, you should also give this functionality to the left and right arrow keys. Good luck!

seivan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd hire you in a heartbeat.
badwetter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work on the latest Chromium for me, using Gnome-Shell 3.8 So maybe not the best way to showcase oneself, if it's not reliable.
level09 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like how people are getting creative about scrolling these days. A few years back no one though about hooking interactive animations to page scroll.
danm_cc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ctrl-P -> 29 blank pages. Maybe script in some printable form. Other than that, great stuff.
lewisflude 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really nice site! Only bit I'd change is how experience is communicated. Everything being set to "expert" or "master" (aside from animation) made it kind of hard to believe and kind of robotic.

But still, the overall charm more than made up for it and my day has been made slightly better. :)

morgante 1 day ago 0 replies      
Guess it's time for me to redo mine: http://me.morgante.net/about
mike_ivanov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could you send us your resume as a Word file please?
izelnakri 1 day ago 0 replies      
Impressive but I didn't get the Expert in Javascript, Proficient in JQuery part...
sebnukem2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know several people who will dismiss this resume because "it doesn't open properly in Microsoft Word."
bmetz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tried to write him a note encouraging him to check us out. The comment box doesn't work. Designers, shrug. Seems like a pretty cool person!
collyw 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is that not more of a portfolio example rather than a resume?
doomrobo 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only language listed that was actually a programming language was Javascript (the rest being HTML, CSS, and JQuery).
ethanazir 1 day ago 0 replies      
nonconformist personality type problematic for organization hierarchy; refer to consultant relations department regarding successful publicity stunt.
billyto 2 days ago 1 reply      
You can build that and still working on fox news?
blahpro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool! Some feedback: lose the flashing instructional text.
brandan 1 day ago 1 reply      
30 years of side scrolling gaming history on computers. four arrow key options for movement. this person chose up and down to represent left and right.

user interface experience ( ) master ( ) proficient ( ) beginner (x) antagonistically counter-intuitive and user-unfriendly

svabhishek 2 days ago 1 reply      
The resume is great and displays the proficiency that he has over design but .. Will a recruiter with CVs and Resumes flooding his inbox .. really have a time to look at this ?? I don't think Rob would apply to a company through a recruiter though :D

PS : Again .. I am looking at this from a Recruiter's perspective

linker3000 2 days ago 0 replies      
All the way through I was just thinking Commodore 64..Commodore 64...

Nice idea, but would still want something on paper in a relatively conformable format.

Sam121 1 day ago 0 replies      
Become a Fan of you, i want to learn this level. One line from my side "For me this is 1000 time better than GTA 5 " :)
jgoldsmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
Besides being a pretty neat way to filter out companies that are willing to put a little bit of extra effort into their hiring process, this is also one of the few appropriate uses I've seen of the Lobster font ;)
ananth99 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice Resume, but took a lot of time to go through it. Could've gamified it in a more intuitive way. :)
wil421 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why does it matter if you're an NBA fan.
peter303 1 day ago 1 reply      
Resume management is mostly computerized text management now. You want to keep the format simple and use the clearest and most direct wording.

In the interview or pre-interview they may ask for samples of your work. be more creative then.

acoleman616 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome enough that I made it all the way to the end!
dlf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I liked that part where I made the character dance.
croisillon 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's interactive about it? Right arrow doesn't do nothing, only down and up. So it's like scrolling down a page, a nice page but there's nothing gamified or interactive here.
sbhere 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I leave him in level two for too long, will he lose a life?
rootlocus 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't look very interactive to me: http://imgur.com/J5ym1W3
ThomW 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Foxnews pie chart should add up to more than 100%. :D
deepam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Creative indeed. But the time spent in scrolling down, absorbing the content and then scrolling back, may irritate the short-of-time interviewers.
danso 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now that the site's assets been knocked out, the author should think of making the site more readable to text readers/search engines...here's what the unstyled site looks like

LOADINGMASTEREXPERTPROFICIENTFAMILIARBEGINNERDESIGNILLUSTRATIONCODEANIMATIONMultidisciplinary DesignerLEVEL 1LEVEL 2NBAFANSports FanLive and Work in New York CityScroll down mouse or press keyboard's down-arrow to move forwardSwipe from right to left to move forwardInteractive Resume ofBEGINNERFAMILIAR

chrisc202 1 day ago 1 reply      
How much would it cost to hire someone to do this?

Non-technical guy. I would love to try this out. It is attention grabbing. I have used bobble heads, cakes with my sales proposals to get into the door. Corny, but stuff like this works. I sent Robbie a message. If anyone else knows how to do this or something similar please message me.

thrillgore 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great exercise of talent and skill.

Too bad the HR department would never hear my side of the argument.

anishkothari 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is pretty incredible. I am in awe of your skills.
vojant 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's awesome resume for graphic/designer. Very very creative!
sidwyn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone saved a cached version of this?
chatman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quite annoying.
anupshinde 2 days ago 1 reply      
Amazing. I was only looking at character/animation ... and then read your resume backwards :P
pahans 1 day ago 0 replies      
looks nice. but honestly i dont think it serves the purpose "resume"
dude3 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope he didn't have PersonalLogic hosting plan
jigneshhk 1 day ago 0 replies      
He just jump out of the water like that?
pcunite 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome ...
avisk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks nice. shortcut to jump to specific levels would be good.
D_hemming 2 days ago 1 reply      
Spacebar skips to next section, did it say that at the start?
spader725 1 day ago 0 replies      
the site is down. Anyone got a mirror?
elf25 1 day ago 0 replies      
quite possibly the dumbest thing i've ever seen. yet, uniquely brilliant. still, only a might hire in my book.
juskrey 23 hours ago 0 replies      
my eyes
ffrryuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
10 second limit is up. Next resume.
kcbanner 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I find these absolutely obnoxious
Welcome, Freshmen. You Don't Deserve to Be Here chronicle.com
365 points by onedev  5 days ago   199 comments top 34
WA 5 days ago 12 replies      
Dear Americans,

let me tell you something. The good and cheerful atmosphere at freshman speeches is something you should be proud of. It gives people spirit and a wonderful first experience. The harsh truth will catch up anyways. The speech in this article, how the OP thought it should be, is utter crap and comes from a place of total arrogance and serves only himself.

It doesn't act as an eye-opener, because the students won't listen anyways. They will experience reality soon enough and there's absolutely no need to tell them anything they can't understand at their current position. They are mentally not in the state to receive any "truthful speech". They are in a new chapter of their lives and the only bet is to give it a try. The experience of others is worth close to nothing, because they need to make experiences themselves.

Why am I telling you this? Because I'm German. In Germany, there is not even a freshman speech. What we have can be described as a big "fuck you" from some dean or whatever arrogant professor feels entitled to speak up. "50% of you won't be here in 1 year" is something you get told on first day of university. What is this good for? I haven't seen a single student saying "Oh, this guy's right, I'll unenroll right now". They HAVE to try first, because that's the choice they made for this new chapter in life. It might even be true. 50% unenroll after a while, but it's unclear which 50%.

My girlfriend is becoming a teacher. She studied for 5 years. After university follows a 1.5 traineeship at school, before she can call herself a real teacher. They have a welcome speech for the new trainee-teachers and it went like that:"Welcome, good to see you, but you won't get a job anyways." Again, a big "fuck you" to all these people who spend 5 years in this system, gave their best, are motivated and accept a lousy pay for 1.5 years with ridiculous long hours.

From my limited experience and what people told me who experienced the exact same crap in Germany, I can see this only as some self-righteous bullshit from arrogant frustrated people that serves no purpose at all but only to make THEM feel a tiny little bit better. "I'm here, see, I'm the best." Fuck you!

Be proud that it is a common practice in the US to have motivational speeches that give people a good feeling. There's nothing in the world you can tell freshmen to prepare them for reality. The only thing that counts is how you make them feel in this very moment at the Welcome-freshman-party.

nugget 5 days ago 4 replies      
You don't deserve to be here, but thanks for the $50,000 tuition check we just cashed . . .

Education, like religion, politics, and almost everything else in America, is first and foremost a business. Never lose sight of that.

dnr 5 days ago 1 reply      
Saying "You all deserve to be here" isn't intended as a pat on the back to the privileged in the audience, it's a reassurance to the ones on full financial aid and looking around and feeling out of place among their wealthier classmates, or the minorities who are worried that they're only there at all because of affirmative action.

At least that's how I read it.

Jormundir 5 days ago 10 replies      
I've never understood why anyone feels they have a right to say these sorts of things to anyone.

Why should I listen to an old Dean of Admissions speak condescendingly about what I deserve or not? He lost all respect from me, and reverberated the silly "us older generations are wise and have made a beautiful fairy-tale world for you. We look at you youths and think you're incapable idiots who are going to destroy the world, who don't know how to work".

STFU older generations! We are more capable and morally idealistic than any generation before. We work fucking hard for what's right, and will make the world a better place for our kids. I know when I'm old I'm not going to tell my kids they're worrisome morons who deserve nothing. They will work hard, they will be more capable than me, I will inevitable worry, but I will support them unlike these occasional airheads of my parents generation.

hacknat 5 days ago 3 replies      
Very, very good. I share the author's sentiments immensely, and he articulated these ideas much better than I ever could. However, the final lines bothered me:

>> When you deserve it, come back to us. Share your service with your peers and your children.

>>Then you'll be part of our family. Then you'll truly belong.

I don't know what it would ever mean to deserve the wealth and privilege that I have now. I want to do everything in my power to make sure that the injustices that have built history are righted.

To the extent that I can participate in righting wrongs rather than making them I can say to myself on my death bed, "I lead a good life", but will I ever deserve what I currently have? How would I ever know that?

epaga 5 days ago 0 replies      
At first, this article struck a nerve and I found myself agreeing for a while.

On second thought, however, I think the author falls to the other extreme of that which he is criticizing. I'm all for critiquing the vacuous "You're special! you DESERVE to be here!"

But to instead turn around and say "No, you don't deserve to be here! So EARN it!" is to trade a meaningless vague happy feeling for crushing pressure which turns to either arrogance when you succeed or despair when you fail.

Instead of making "earning" / "deserving" something the central point, why not focus on taking that which was given to you at birth and in your upbringing and education (much of which you did not "earn" or "deserve") and making the most of it? Not with the goal of "deserving" something but rather because otherwise the good that was given would go to waste.

Q4273j3b 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Things happen to people by accident," she used to say. "A lot of nice accidents have happened to me. It just HAPPENED that I always liked lessons and books, and could remember things when I learned them. It just happened that I was born with a father who was beautiful and nice and clever, and could give me everything I liked. Perhaps I have not really a good temper at all, but if you have everything you want and everyone is kind to you, how can you help but be good-tempered? I don't know"looking quite serious"how I shall ever find out whether I am really a nice child or a horrid one. Perhaps I'm a HIDEOUS child, and no one will ever know, just because I never have any trials."

"Lavinia has no trials," said Ermengarde, stolidly, "and she is horrid enough."

- A Little Princess (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/146/146-h/146-h.htm). It's a kids book from 1901 about fortune of birth. One of the most interesting things I've ever read.

telephonetemp 5 days ago 0 replies      
The whole notion of desert or lack thereof seems pretty iffy to me. Nobody accomplishes anything without some degree of luck and help from others, which at minimum includes having been born with a brain and having been fed as a baby, and if you believe in biological and economical determinism beyond that it becomes very hard to say who deserves what. In practice most people seem to evaluate how deserving someone is of his or her accomplishments based on whether or not that person meets an arbitrary cutoff for hardship (as indicated by external signs) and where the exact cutoff level lies depends on the evaluator's own experience with hardship and the local baseline for it. This is more of a tool for establishing social status than for moral judgement per se.

Actual accomplishments and the lack of pride (in the sense examined by C. S. Lewis and delightfully summarized at http://squid314.livejournal.com/339814.html) seem to me to be a better measure of a person no matter how lucky that person's birth was.

joelrunyon 5 days ago 1 reply      
Deserve is always a scary word. Every time I hear it - I assume the person is preying on my ego in order to sell me something.
nyan_sandwich 5 days ago 0 replies      
We have some, and will create more. There is no "deserve".

The author seemed to teeter between inspiration and self destructive guilt. I liked the inspirational part.

russelluresti 4 days ago 0 replies      
Or my speech...

You do not deserve to be here. You do not deserve to have to pay $60,000 a year. For those of you who graduate, because at least 20% of you will not, you do not deserve to leave here $240,000 in debt to student loans only to end up taking a job that does not require the degree you will spend the next 4-6 years pursuing. No one deserve to struggle financially for the rest of their lives because of 4 years of bullshit that your parents, educators, and soceity sold you as the only way to "get a good job" or "make a decent living."

Stanford is a private "educational" institution that operates for profit. The notion that you have to "deserve" to be there while going into debt and paying them is ridiculous. That's like saying you don't deserve to eat at Olive Garden; even though you're paying them, even though you worked hard to earn the money to pay them; because eating there is a privilege that you haven't earned yet.

abritishguy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I understand what the author is saying but I disagree, I'm a fresher at Cambridge University and for those of us that haven't come from the private schools it can feel a bit overwhelming and that somehow you have conned them into thinking you're good enough. I can't quite remember what the warden said at our matriculation dinner but it followed the same sentiment that basically every one of us is good enough to be here and that many of us will be feeling that they are out of place but this is normal and not to worry. A week in and I'm absolutely loving it (it's hard work though).

The first week should be for getting people settled in and making new friends.

aaron695 5 days ago 0 replies      
Meh, meaningless claptrap.

The students worked hard to get there, which is just day one of entrance.

Do they deserve to be graduates, no, they get that reward when they graduate after more hard work.

Are they rich peoples children, well yes all Americans are compared to many Somalians or people who lived 500 years ago. No one today deserves anything in that meaningless sense.

Anechoic 5 days ago 0 replies      
I get the message that Carey was trying to convey but I disagree strongly. I went to MIT in the 1990's. One kid in our dorm killed himself. A group of friends and I had to convince another student to not kill herself. The problem has been so endemic that the Boston Glove wrote a series of articles about it. From what I can tell, similar "elite" universities have their own suicide problems.

A lot of this stems from the fact that these freshmen students are 15-18 year-old kids who are facing a really competitive atmosphere, mot to mention being away from home on an extended basis, for the first time. They attend with the hopes and wishes of family, friends and teachers back home and they are fully aware of the financial sacrifices that it took to get them to college. When they get that first 'C' or even a 'D' or 'F' it's very easy to look on yourself as a failure - and suicide looks like an easy way out for some.

These students don't think they deserve to be there, where the opposite is true. That's why these universities try to drill in the positive message. As WA wrote, the real world will make itself known in due time, laying a guilt trip on kids as soon as they arrive is not the way to go. At graduation, sure tell them to give back. But as incoming freshmen, the priority should be helping them succeed.

adamnemecek 5 days ago 1 reply      
How delightfully nebulous and unspecific.
nirmel 5 days ago 2 replies      
It is a truth that we don't deserve anything we have, here in the upper class of the developed world. If we believe that in general believe have approximately the amount they deserve to have, then that would also mean that people who have nothing deserve nothing. For what fault of theirs? For being born somewhere poor, somewhere dirt poor. And if we don't deserve what we have, then we're obligated to help those who deserve to have more than they do.
codex 4 days ago 0 replies      
Children share the same genes and epigenetics as ther ancestors. Likely it's the source of their consciousness. So really, parents and children can be considered the same organism, only running with different inputs. Why shouldn't the same organism, who has worked hard, benefit from the fruits of their labor?

Luck is also involved, but luck, which is random, is distributed randomly and is thus fair to all people in aggregate, even while it is unavoidably unfair up close.

So, where's the unfairness? There is an inherent unfairness that comes with wealth and privilege in that it throws up barriers to newcomers. An equally qualified newcomer may be excluded from the spoils; for that reason, society is never a place where each person has an opportunity to rise to the limits of their ability.

What's interesting here is that the unfairness is not only cross generational, but can occur within the same generation. Serial entrepreneurship is unfair; it makes it harder for newcomers. Wrath accumulation unfair. Having a large social network is unfair.

Therefore, anyone interested in fairness should also levy a progressive tax on wealth accumulation. At the top end, it should be a lot more than 35%.

zacinbusiness 5 days ago 1 reply      
No one deserves to be anywhere, it's all made up.
rawatson 5 days ago 1 reply      
The author of this article quotes two bits from the speech:

>We have made no mistakes about your admission.


>You all deserve to be here!

The first statement is the more important part. Incoming freshmen meet an extremely talented group of people when they arrive on campus. It's easy to be intimidated by what others have accomplished before even getting to college. The point of this speech isn't to comment on the service undertaken by students, but rather to reassure them that they are capable of performing at the level of the peers they're so impressed by.

freshhawk 4 days ago 0 replies      
How did a "You should all feel very lucky to be here, you have been given quite the opportunity and not everyone is so lucky. Count yourselves fortunate, work hard and try and make a real contribution to the world to make the most of where you are" get characterized as a "fuck you" speech?

Did people only read the headline and get caught up on the word "deserve"?

Am I crazy in that I found the hypothetical speech to be motivating and very positive overall? These people are young adults, they can handle a fair bit of truth, especially since they are young, smart and at Stanford so the truth is pretty damn great. Why on earth people think this would be demotivating is beyond me.

allochthon 5 days ago 0 replies      
Implicit premise of the author: he's among the deserving.
wellboy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like this, but instead of saying they don't deserve to be there, I would add that having made it into Stanford is actually "nothing". It could be like this:

Stanford will probably be the most intensive and formative period in your life. However, Stanford can only prepare for the big things that are about to come. The real test comes, once you have your degree in their hands. What will you do with you life after Stanford, will they want to be a pure engineer, work at Facebook or Google, will you try to found the next billion dollar startup, will you cure cancer or become an astronaout?

Stanford might seem big and overwhelming now, however it is still just a nursery and a stepping stone to the challenges to come after Stanford. So don't be overwhelmed, stay humble, stay foolish.

dgreensp 4 days ago 0 replies      
The author has his own negative emotional agenda.

If you got accepted to Stanford, great, go to Stanford. It's just a school, a place where people go to learn, and it's a rather expensive one. So learn, and focus on bigger things than moral guilt and self-doubt over the opportunity you've been given, like your career and developing yourself. That will put you in a much better position to give back to the world.

yetanotherphd 4 days ago 0 replies      
"You will deserve to be here (and to exist as a human being) when you have learned to accept my progressive values"

I haven't been to one of these speeches but I assume they are mostly meaningless platitudes. But this is better than left wing indoctrination where they are berated for their privilege and told to seek out "human things, like ethics and obligation and desire" - code for progressive thinking. There will be plenty of time in Gen Eds for that.

wtvanhest 5 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have any opinion on this:

"We live in a society increasingly defined by winner-takes-all competition."

I see this sentence cropping up more and more. I do not see a true structural change in society or business. I definitely see more opportunities for winner-take-all business, but only in terms of rapid scale, not long term sustainable positions of true market dominance.

sac2171 5 days ago 0 replies      
I just graduated from another elite institution, and I truly wish this had been a part of my convocation.

If I ever do open a school, we will have a succinct version as part of the school creed/honor code.

kiddz 5 days ago 0 replies      
The round of applause from the students was likely because they were relieved to have the validation. I went to great schools and it seemed like many of us were always thinking that none of us were as smart/gifted/different as the next person (side note: doesn't take 100% audience buy-in to get the whole audience eventually applauding). But the twist is reminding students (and especially young alum) what such a prestigious degree means -- in short, not as much as you would hope. And for good reason because the tools of the "knowledge economy" are more freely available then ever before. I'm not saying that Khan Academy or Rural Broadband is equal to 4 years at Yale, but I do think that 4 years at Yale is less meaningful now. Like, wouldn't many of you rather have a Karma score of 5000 if you were applying to YC then a CS degree from Stanford?
aianus 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you believe that the unit of life is the gene and not the individual, then rich children are deserving of their privilege.

Their genes, in their previous incarnations, were able not only to survive (through the survival and reproduction of their ancestors) but also to accumulate, preserve, and pass down wealth.

Money and social status is the only form of evolution that's left in a society where (almost) everyone is capable of surviving and reproducing.

6d0debc071 5 days ago 0 replies      
You can't talk to adults like that.

"You don't deserve to be here."

"I studied hard, I did extra curricular activities. I'm smart and I suffered for this. I earned it. When I want someone to look into my soul and spout BS about worthiness, I'll find a priest. In the meantime you've just lost any moral credit you had with me by pretending to know me. Good day."

Maybe it's true that other people deserve it more - I don't think too many people hold out with the idea that they're the most deserving people on the face of the planet though and wouldn't imagine that's what they mean by deserve. Indeed it's hard to see how performing community service would make you fulfil the latter definition.

webo 5 days ago 2 replies      
"Dean Shaw announced that the freshman class included students from 49 states"We miss you, Arkansas"and 66 countries."From Arkansas here. Ouch.
mankypro 4 days ago 0 replies      
You know how you can tell if someone went to Stanford? You don't have to, they'll tell you...
1angryhacker 5 days ago 0 replies      


GoofballJones 5 days ago 0 replies      
I agree, no one deserves having to go to Stanford.

Go Berkeley!

graycat 5 days ago 0 replies      
Stanford's not so great. I'veseen a good fraction of some of their best work, and it's not too difficult. E.g., to me, Ngis out in la-la land. Diaconisis not too difficult but much,much better than Ng. Then some of the bestare Royden, Luenberger, and Chung,but none of their books should beregarded as needing some superhuman effort -- they are all veryclear writers.

For Stanford 'computer science', mostly f'get about that; maybein 50 years it will have somesignificant content.

The speech was insulting BS.

A lot of HS students work theirtails off trying to get into places such as Stanford; sadsituation. E.g., they take APcalculus. Total bummer. F'getabout AP calculus because thepeople who wrote that materialdidn't understand calculus verywell. Instead, just get a goodcollege calculus book and dig in,that is, study the material andexamples and then work the exercisesuntil understand them and the material well. Work from more thanone famous book. There are highlypolished college calculus texts going back at least 50 years andno shortages. Working througha good college calculus book isnot difficult and great fun. Allthe angst over AP calculus is justmake-work, junk-think, busy-worksadism to hurt high school studentsby trying to make difficult something that should be fun.

High schools and that Stanford admissions guy just like to beat upon HS students. Bummer.

Me? I never took freshman calculus!Instead, the college where I did myfreshman year was not very good andforced me into a math course beneathwhat I'd done in my relatively goodHS. So, a girl in the class toldme when the tests were; I showed upfor those; and meanwhile I got a goodcalculus book and dug in. For mysophomore year I went to a muchbetter college, started on theirrelatively good sophomore calculus(same text then used at Harvard),did well, got "Honors in Mathematics"and 800 on my Math GRE. Yup,never took freshman calculus. Well,HS students can do the same: Justget a good, standard, popular, recognized calculus book and dig in.Then f'get about AP calculus andeither just skip calculus in collegeor just show up for the tests andmove on to, say, linear algebra(say, one of Noble, Nearing, Hoffman and Kunze, orStrang, and, finally,Halmos), theoretical advancedcalculus, applied advanced calculus,ordinary differential equations,elementary probability and statistics(race through it and don't take itseriously since will see it allagain with much higher quality),measure theory and functionalanalysis, probability and stochasticprocesses, mathematical statistics,etc. Pick a real problem, do someresearch, get a Ph.D. in engineering,then write software for a startup!

Youre infectedif you want to see your data again, pay us $300 in Bitcoins arstechnica.com
362 points by elux  2 days ago   288 comments top 59
MiguelHudnandez 2 days ago 5 replies      
I was hit by this, or a variant, at my place of business. Hundreds of thousands of files on our shared drive were overwritten, about 2 TB worth of files. Office documents, PDFs, and Adobe documents like PSD and INDD were encrypted. JPEGs were altered but still viewable. All files increased in size by a few hundred bytes.

Pull-only backups were the savior here, although because we didn't notice until the next day, the pulled backups on that system were also overwritten with encrypted/corrupt files. Luckily we had VSS versioning on the pull-only backup location. There was a close call in that the 2 TB or so of "new" data ended up pushing VSS over quota and we almost lost our good versions of the files that way. If not for the VSS versions, we would've had to resort to cold backups which would've been a bit older. As it stood, no file recovered was more than a few hours old.

Auditing on the file share indicates which workstation was infected. Pertaining to that: it surprises me that in 2013, a default install of Windows will not log any useful information about shared folders by default. You must enable object auditing in Group Policy and specifically declare which users or groups are subject to said auditing on a share-by-share basis. In a world without logrotate, I suppose a sensible default is to just let a bunch of shit happen without recording it.

What gets me wound up most of all is the amount of engineering involved for an average home user to protect themselves. I thought a Mac with Time Machine was enough, but a similar virus would easily corrupt those backups if they were available to it over a mapped drive.

It is the goddamn 21st century, and users are still losing work by overwriting documents by accident, or opening a document as an e-mail attachment and not being able to find the actual file they edited. Should people really need an IT guy with ten years of experience to be protected from simple mistakes? Google has made progress on that front with the Chromebook, I suppose.

blhack 2 days ago 9 replies      
You can work to prevent this by creating a group policy that disallows


A good discussion of this happened here: http://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/1mizfx/proper_care...

sidenote: this virus actually scares me, and it sounds like it actually scares most people who work in IT. This is the shittiest thing anybody has ever seen, it sounds like.

antihero 2 days ago 5 replies      
I think the interesting thing here is the shift from the target - the "best" target used to be compromising the OS, so OS's made moves to protect themselves from programs running as unprivileged users. Now, it's trivial to wipe an OS and restore from a backup. The real value is the things people store on a computer, which are usually going to be accessible via a user account.

One trivial solution would be OS level automatic versioning of files (ala Dropbox or Sparkleshare) - the original files would be written to location that is read only to the user and only accessible via the OS, hence, backups could always be restored from it, but never destroyed without admin rights.

Of course, with people having great internet and whatnot, an automatic cloud based solution would be much more likely and useful.

I think with Windows 8.1 and onwards, Microsoft are automatically doing this by setting up the "Documents" type folders in SkyDrive - a great think moving forward.

Backups are, obviously, a much better solution but require extra storage and usually cost money.

So there might be a niche for a freeware product that runs as an admin that automatically versions files - perhaps even as simple as having an admin-owned .git repo for the Documents folder.

The worrying thing about this attack is that targeting user data is trivial on all OSs, because of the way we think about privileges - it could be done to us Linux users through something nasty in our shell rc using GPG or whatever. There is no need to compromise anything.

susi22 2 days ago 5 replies      
In a corporate environment I'd expect crucial data to be on the network drive and snapshotted every few hours. We run ZFS on our network and all the secretaries have to do their doc/excel work on the drive. Nowadays that everybody has a Gigabit Ethernet connection read/writes are extremely quick.

Use ZFS and make read only snapshots that are only accessible to the sysadmins. You'll solve many problems that way. We do snapshots at 6am,noon and 6pm and then keep the 6pm one for 7, 14 and 30 days.

ggchappell 2 days ago 3 replies      
I get annoyed when people are warned not to open some attachment. The real problem here is that in 2013 we're still using the flawed language of "opening attachments" -- as if running a native executable with full permissions is an action that belongs in the same category as viewing an image, reading a text file, or listening to music.

Well, it doesn't. This is a problem that should have been solved at the level of OS permissions/UI long ago. Why does a modern OS include UI functionality allowing a standard user to run an uninstalled executable in a non-sandboxed environment? There's no good reason for it.

In some cases the problem been solved (e.g., restrictions that allow only signed apps to be executed). But I guess none of those cases include Windows, its standard UI, and popular e-mail programs. :-(

Fuzzwah 2 days ago 2 replies      
Victims don't even get the enjoyment of having to make their payments in some far flung corner of an MMO, like the plot of Reamde.


andybak 2 days ago 1 reply      
Everyone is talking about post-infection. However - this passage from http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/cryptolocker-r... seems fairly key also:

"This infection is typically spread through emails sent to company email addresses that pretend to be customer support related issues from Fedex, UPS, DHS, etc. These emails would contain a zip attachment that when opened would infect the computer. These zip files contain executables that are disguised as PDF files as they have a PDF icon and are typically named something like FORM_101513.exe or FORM_101513.pdf.exe. Since Microsoft does not show extensions by default, they look like normal PDF files and people open them."

I haven't got a Windows box handy to try this on but I assume there is at the very least an extra warning dialog when opening an exe - even a zipped exe?

Not that that mitigates this at all. The inability to distinguish executables from data files - and although that doesn't apply in this case - the ability of data files to hide executable payloads either via design or error - is a major and currently uncorrected flaw in the system.

fekberg 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've been trying to raise awareness in my social medias, since my family, friends and co-workers might not spend time on HackerNews.

If you want, copy my message and share with your family, friends and co-workers:

"Hi folks,

There's a new virus out there that I want to raise awareness of, it's called CryptoLocker. Basically what this virus does is that it tracks all your files - hard drives, flash drives, usb sticks, network drives/shares - then it encrypts the files it finds.

The only way to unlock the files again is to pay $300 to get the key used for the encryption. The encryption used is RSA with a 2048 bit key which makes it extremely hard to crack, I'd say impossible with the time span and todays computers.

You have 72 hours before they trash the key making it impossible for you to get your data back.

This can be extremely devastating if you are running a business and all your files are gone. If you sync your files to the cloud, you're still not safe, it syncs the encrypted files as well. If you are able to restore to previous versions of your files in the cloud - great.

Let your friends, family and co-workers know about this.

Here are some simple ways to avoid getting a virus in general:

1. Don't open e-mails from people you don't know

2. Don't open attachments in e-mails unless you were waiting for the attachment

3. Don't go to websites/click links that you don't fully trust

4. Don't download and execute files that you don't fully trust

It might seem obvious to the most of us to don't do the above, but to a lot of friends, family and co-workers it might not be.

Imagine waking up and having to pay $300 to get your data back. However, the police tracked down one of the servers that serves the keys and shut them down which means the keys were not delivered and the data was lost, this means even if you do pay the $300, there is no guarantee that you will get the data back.

Raise awareness of this and avoid having your files lost."

amalag 2 days ago 2 replies      
A company I work with was hit when the employee opened a phishing email supposedly from another employee in the same company. It hit about 50 gb of data on the shared drive. We had Crashplan and restored from a few days previous. I then turned on DKIM and enabled quarantining non DKIM emails via DMARC.
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
Central to the plot in the book Reamde but these guys don't offer a 'pay in WoW gold' choice.

Given the cost of computers these days, at least in business a separate 'browsing' machine and 'business' machine seems to be the best solution. I wonder if you could provide wireless for employees to bring their own laptops which had no 'office' connectivity (but internet connectivity) and machines that were hard wired and MAC filtered to the 'business' network.

mcphilip 2 days ago 6 replies      
While I'd like to think I'm sophisticated enough about security to avoid this, it makes me concerned about the vast majority of people (e.g. my parents, my girlfriend) that are clueless about such dangers.

Are there any recommendations of a simple way to at least enable automated backups of local documents to the cloud on a windows box?

alec 2 days ago 3 replies      
Since the Bitcoin blockchain is public, couldn't you follow the money? Make a list of all wallets that accepted these funds initially, and then do graph analysis, either to see where the money went or provide others with a tool to avoid transactions with those wallets?
mariuolo 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm sorry, but if a firm doesn't compartimentalise access and a single infected workstation can bring down everything, then they deserve what they get.

Hadn't been ransomware it could have very well been a disgruntled employee, to the same effect.

haberman 2 days ago 5 replies      
You could imagine the Bitcoin community deciding to blacklist any wallets to which funds like this were demanded and disbursed. That seems like a great idea until you then realize that this would be a way of denying anyone access to their own funds, by specifying their wallet as the recipient even though the attacker doesn't control it. There really doesn't seem to be any good countermeasure to this.
grecy 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I first saw the title, I thought it went like this:

1. Your machine is infected, and it encrypts everything it can.

2. The 72 hour countdown begins, and during that time your machine has been re-purposed to crunch BitCoins.

3. All you have to do is wait 72 hours, and everything will un-encrypt and uninstall, leaving you perfectly fine.

Creators profit by having millions of machines crunching BitCoins in their name.

coryfklein 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, I guess it is time to send the annual email to mom, dad, and the in-laws to be very wary of downloading anything or clicking on links in suspicious emails.

I find this is good insurance against the inevitable phone calls I receive as the only computer-literate member of the family: "Hey Cory, all my documents disappeared and I can't get them back. Do I have a virus?"

readme 2 days ago 0 replies      
I got a similar virus once but it was before bitcoin was popular. It just asked for money via credit card. The virus hid my files, and I needed them for work too.

Fortunately the virus did that by some filesystem driver level hack, because after I booted into Linux I was able to mount the partition and get my files back.

DigitalSea 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of the scariest forms of attack on computing since viruses became prevalent in the nineties. The fact they were up until recently relatively undetectable adds another eerie dynamic to the situation. It highlights the aged old problem of people not pro-actively backing up their data offline until it's too late. Go out and buy a couple of cheap 1tb external drives and back your data up now and keep doing it, there are even tools and drives that handle this automatically for you.

While ransomware isn't anything new, the fact that the authors of such software are using currencies like Bitcoin make it that extra bit harder to track and stop these people from extorting data. I sense a new wave of ransomware is about to hit the scene now that Ars have revealed specifics about potentially making millions a year from such a racket. It's hard informing people about these things without encouraging others to go and try writing their own ransomware and expect Bitcoin as payment.

This really worries me.

ryan-c 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've gotten a few copies of this, all to an email address that was only ever given out to AT&T, and is not guessable.
scotty79 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if amount of $300 was determined via A/B testing as optimal for bringing maximum profit.
gwern 2 days ago 2 replies      
The only new thing about this ransomware is that the payment method is through Bitcoin, right?
daveid 2 days ago 1 reply      
The article didn't mention, what systems does this ransomware primarily target? Is it cross-platform?
revelation 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why a RAID setup is not a backup.
PilateDeGuerre 2 days ago 0 replies      
This scenario - minus the Bitcoins - was a plot device in Neal Stephenson's "Reamde".
tete 18 hours ago 0 replies      
What I find funny is that this piece of software actually tells you more about what it does than software you pay money for and even uninstalls itself, after it is not needed anymore. It's kinda weird how malware is better quality than most other software.
verytrivial 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the difference between crime and organised crime. People would not hand over the money to the burly visitors each month if their shop was burnt down anyway.

Evidence that paying the ransom actually results in the files coming back is the most troubling aspect here - these people are looking to establish a longer term criminal enterprise.

simonw 2 days ago 1 reply      
I talked to a small shop owner just the other day that had been hit by this. They said they spent the $300 on a new PC instead - but I'm pretty sure they lost a bunch of irreplaceable data (mailing lists, supplier details etc). Pretty heart breaking.
joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow what a scheme. I mean it's almost the perfect situation for whoever wrote the system. It creates an extortion mechanism with a sense of urgency. Normally, users just carry malware around on their machine for weeks or months. The most frustrating part of this whole thing is that if you don't get the private key back and you're not backing up; you're toast.
pkinnaird 2 days ago 0 replies      
dutchbrit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Our company was hit by this yesterday, caused a lot of issues. Thank god we had backups, but they were 2 days old (frustratingly enough, the backup failed the previous day - first time in months...)
tbarbugli 2 days ago 1 reply      
And than the police shut down the ransomware servers and dooms data from many infected victims to garbage, brilliant!
phogster 2 days ago 0 replies      
Never heard of ransomware before, but the trend is alarming:http://www.google.com/trends/explore?q=ransomware#q=ransomwa...
kbart 2 days ago 0 replies      
I imagine that this combined with virus capabilities (so it can spread itself via network) would be an overkill. Strange that they didn't do it, once you have an access to the local network (as soon as the initial victim runs .exe received by email) it shouldn't be too hard.
jasonlfunk 2 days ago 0 replies      
"you need to pay 300 USD / 300 EUR / similar amount in another currency"

How about 300 VND? Seems similar to me. :)

anonymous 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wouldn't it be possible to attach a debugger to a running instance of the virus and extract the key while encryption is taking place?
Pxtl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well that's moderately horrifying. I've dealt with ransomware before, but mostly it just used scary messages, not literally encrypting all your data.
fmax30 2 days ago 0 replies      
Huh , that is pretty scary add a physical packet snooper on all the traffic sent from my computer , it might be possible to mitm the private key as it is sent to the server. That way i might have a fighting chance against this.(if the traffic was unencrypted that is )
bfell 2 days ago 0 replies      
This happened to someone I know (really, it wasn't me). Not only did it encrypt the local drives it also hit all of their network drives. As reprehensible as it is to pay the ransom they really had no choice since the encryption happened the prior night before the last backup.
coin 2 days ago 0 replies      
"When the receiver clicked on it, he saw a white box flash briefly on his screen but didn't notice anything else out of the ordinary"

What email client automatically unzips AND executes any containing .exe files?

howlett 1 day ago 0 replies      
How is this any different from a virus that wipes (not just deletes) your data? It takes the same amount of time (actually wiping data would be faster) and the result is the same: No data.

Maybe the psychological part of "Oh God the file is there but I can't use it" or the fact it's ransomware?

wentkenko 2 days ago 0 replies      
People on here are talking about attachments and being smart enough not to fall for sham downloads, but this isn't how most of ransomeware is spread to its victims. They use exploit packs and 0 days. Visiting a website that's been hijacked with an Iframe or a proxy that embeds an Iframe or any other data to the HTML that is returned could get you infected. There is no full proof way around this unfortunately.
spajus 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a pity to see that Windows haven't died off yet and things like this are still happening. Using Linux / Mac for years, never looked back.

And for those who say "my mother can't use Linux", don't be a cheapskate, get your loved ones a Mac - they will definitely know how to use it.

headShrinker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it the case that Mac OS default security setting would prevent an unsigned app like this from running?
gngeal 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is what Venti (of the Plan 9 fame) is for!
AsakiIssa 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know a customer that got hit by this Tuesday morning. Unsurprisingly, Avast did nothing. I just told her the bad news and clean-installed Windows.

I have tried to find the private key with sample files, using known file byte headers, the public key and brute force on the private key. Sadly, no luck yet.

foundlogin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally viruses are doing what they're supposed to - wreck your computer instead of staying under the radar as long as possible. If people are motivated to protect themselves from this they'll also be preventing botnets and doing good to the rest of the internet.
jpalioto 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nasty stuff. Fortunately for me, this would set off the "why the heck are my fans running so loud right now" alarm that I have in my head (that honestly, I wish I could turn off sometimes ... curse you trustedinstaller.exe!!).
zalzane 2 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like the patent trolls have finally found their true calling.
swat535 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have a question regarding this, does anyone know what happens if your data is already encrypted ? will it encrypt the encrypted files?
GillesB67 1 day ago 0 replies      
For hacker having both an original file and the encrypted version that file should be relatively easy to retrieve the key? Especially if the virus XOR all or a part of the file. Otherwise a hacker may look at the random function that generate the key in the source code of the virus it may be weak and take values from the computer and time of infection.
roasty 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disabling or limiting your use of JavaScript and Java in the browser will go a long way towards protecting against delivery of this as it is likely delivered by an exploit kit. If you do hit an exploit kit, Microsoft EMET (free) will probably mitigate the exploit/s.
doubt_me 2 days ago 1 reply      
How long will it take until the FBI gets rid of these guys?
abstractConcept 2 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone attempted to run this using Wine?

As long as you keep all drives (/ or ~/) unmounted, I assume it would be `safe' to test it.

Might be a simpler environment to analyze CryptoLocker in, as apposed to a full Windows install.

kalesoup11 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The wave of the future. Why break computers when you can just have the user pay you to avoid breaking it.
__abc 2 days ago 0 replies      
computerhead 2 days ago 0 replies      
or dont use windows...
nvk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Stop using Windows, is a good start.
nsxwolf 2 days ago 1 reply      
Get a Mac.
sergiotapia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who are the creators? Are the FBI going to take them to federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison?
The Russia Left Behind nytimes.com
354 points by mxfh  5 days ago   214 comments top 41
DominikR 5 days ago 10 replies      
This article is outrageous propaganda, I knew that the US government had issues with the Russian government, but it saddens me to see that most posters here have nothing but hatred towards Russia.

Just the fact that the NYT picked life in a gypsy settlement (no water, no electricity, child weddings) to generalize about the life in Russia makes it obvious to me that the journalists had no other intentions but to villify the Russians.

What they did not tell you is that gypsy settlements look the same in France, Germany and other industrialized countries. (Yes - children not going to school, no electricity, no water, weddings of 13 year olds and so on)

olegious 5 days ago 13 replies      
Interesting article but this is nothing new. Russian villages have been dying for centuries- life was always better and easier in the cities. Putting forward gypsies as examples of a "Russia left behind" is disingenuous at best- gypsies live in their own societies by their own rules all across Europe.

Frankly I'm a bit tired of all the negative coverage of Russia by the NYT, The Economist and other respected establishments. I can drive through the Appalachians or towns in the South or Detroit and describe an "America Left Behind"- but we all know that those places do not represent the USA as a whole.

Edit: Russia has problems everyone knows that, I would just like to see more balanced coverage- talk to the middle class that has grown in the cities, the startup people in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities, compare how things are today to how they were in the 90s.

anovikov 5 days ago 2 replies      
Nothing new and does not really show how bad things are. Places like he visited are among relatively polished ones. And well, using a wood stove an not having indoor plumbing is simply the traditional way of life, most of those people are subsistence farmers and that obviously doesn't give good quality of life. Problem is that in many regions, there is nothing reasonable people could except subsistence farming + receiving relative's pensions and drinking them away, because there are no jobs and no economy per se. That in turn, happens because the regions are populated sparsely enough due to cities sucking out population, and smart and initiative people who could start a business find that they have so few customers that they are better off just getting a full time job in Moscow, so they leave. And this filtration goes on and on, and we get the population that is rotten itself.

That is a natural process, and will result in rural Russia being completely abandoned (probably with no permanent population at all) in couple generations. In the region where i am from, rural population (settelements under 100,000 population) declined by a factor of 5 in 80 years (while total population declined by just 25%). There is not much left and what's left cannot sustain itself, too few people to even maintain infrastructure, which in turn pushes remaining people out.

Soviets somewhat contained this trend with restrictions on movement (propiska), which were a gross violation of human rights and Soviet constitution itself, and these limitations were lifted immediately after Soviet Union collapse. That only accelerated in the process.

Probably in countries where there are no real reasons for people to live (except resource-rich regions), some kind of non-democratic control is needed to simply make them survive.

When leaving becomes very easy, it is true even in not-so-bad countries. Why so many people left Baltic states and they turned from most prosperous Soviet republic to the holes they are now? Answer is simple: because they CAN leave. Nobody is going to live in Vilnius if we can just catch a train, find a job and stay in Berlin with no paperwork at all. And it doesn't even require Vilnius to be very terrible. You just can't make it like Berlin, no way.

I know i will be downvoted for this, and of course i'd hate to be in the shoes of those poor chaps locked up in their countries/regions, but it's extremely sad to see places decline, depopulate, and turn into forests for no real reason at all except that the people who lived there initially did so because they've been forced to, and now they are no longer.

memracom 5 days ago 3 replies      
Makes things sound desolate and hopeless. But the residents of provincial cities like Kazan would tell a different story pointing to new subway lines, a new airport terminal, new rapid transit from the airport to the city center, new highways, new apartment buildings, etc.

A foreigner will say, but St. Petersburg is an important port city. How could the main road link between the port and the capital be in such a sorry state? The answer lies in the Russian way of doing things. Russia has an excellent train network, and goods mainly travel from the port to the capital by train. Roads serve those areas which are not important enough to have trains, so when you take a road trip in Russia, you are choosing to travel off the beaten track in the back of beyond. Charming and full of natural beauty, but also full of poverty just the same as you would see on an indian reserve in the USA. Only the natives live in such places in Russia, clinging to the traditional way of life of their ancestors. You look at these people and see white faces like those of you and your neighbors and you are confused because you are used to seeing brown faces on the aboriginals. But in Russia, the white faces ARE the aboriginals, living in this land since before the end of the Ice Age 12,000 years ago when all of Europe was under a thick sheet of ice.

Russia is a very big place, and the government cannot afford to spend its money everywhere and anywhere. In order to make Kazan and Sochi into modern cities that are productive and desirable places to live, they have to neglect some other places. In a vast territory that means that most of the villages are neglected. But there are lots of people who like it that way because they want to live in the forest, breathe fresh air, collect mushrooms and berries, etc. It is their traditional way of life since time immemorial.

martincmartin 5 days ago 2 replies      
Long Bet #5: "By 2012, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times will have referred to Russia as "the world leader in software development" or words to that effect.

Predictor (who lost) was Esther Dyson, an investor in several Ruassian start-ups. Challenger was Bill Campbell, chair of Intuit.


victoro 5 days ago 1 reply      
There is nothing really that novel about this story to anybody who knows anything about Russian history. Rural Russians have been saying "God is too high and the Tsar is too far away" for centuries now. A strong central government that cares little for the provinces is the status quo that has been maintained despite a variety of different political systems. Unlike the US, which has had powerful agrarian political parties that were fiercely suspicious of a strong central government since at least Jefferson, Russian serfs and the overall "agricultural class" have never had any significant political power (factory workers and other lower-class city dwellers were the prime force behind communism while the serfs were mostly an afterthought).

I don't know if anyone can make any sort of objective claims as to whether the highly centralized Russian power structure is any better or worse than a more evenly distributed one. Yes people in small towns live without infrastructure, but they also choose to live there, often for the "clean air" as the article notes. I'm sure there are many American individualists out there that would love to be able to disappear into an unregulated wilderness, mostly free of government scrutiny and yet be like 4 hours away from the capitol.

dm8 5 days ago 3 replies      
How much time does it take for NYT to make these interactive stories? (pure technology not data collection or field journalism)

If it's not significant then this is certainly future of journalism.

[EDIT]: Looking at couple of interactive stories in recent past (Snow Fall and New Silk Road) looks like this is something they want to repeat again and again. Do you think they've developed some sort of framework (like Django/Rails) ?

austenallred 5 days ago 0 replies      
I spent two years living in a variety of cities eastern Ukraine (Donetsk, Kharkov, Makyevka, Gorlovka), and what I saw there wasn't too far removed from what is described in the article. As I read the article, with the exception of the 14-year-old Gypsy wedding, I found myself saying "Oh yeah, I remember that." I would argue that what was described wasn't so much a story of a dying and decaying Russia, as it is some aspects of Russian/former-Soviet culture, especially in small cities or villages.
dangoldin 5 days ago 1 reply      

I love this style of presenting journalism content and hope to see more of it. Finally seeing the web being used to do things that print cannot.

Great job to the NY Times team.

1gor 5 days ago 1 reply      
This coverage reminds me Soviet articles from my childhood about hard life of common people in the USA. Funny to see same propaganda being produced for domestic consumption in the USA now.
tvladeck 5 days ago 2 replies      
I wish they'd stop saying "problems of the last century".

What's described in this article has never stopped being a major problem in many parts of the world.

avenger123 5 days ago 0 replies      
The America Left BehindA journey through a heartland on the slow road to ruin.

Could we not use this title? Take the examples of Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Galveston or Atlantic City and many other cities in America and the same could be said.

The headline is catchy and I'm not sure if I agree with it.

It would be really nice if NYT did a real piece about how American cities are declining and the causes of this and also how we could change it. I guess its easier to study Russia, instead of looking inward.

V-2 5 days ago 0 replies      
You may argue that it's biased and cherry-picked - presumably as opposed to all these counter-arguments like "I've seen worse around Brooklyn" or "I happen to have a lower crime rate than NY in my 100 thousand Russian town" :))) That's solid stuff fortunately, no cherry-picking going on.

However oops, overall statistics also tend to show that Russia isn't doing all that great

Eg. Human Development Index, which measures the standard of living based on a wide variety of data, doesn't even place Russia in the world's top 50.

It only does slightly better than Cuba or Mexico. Or is this evil, imperialist dollar-paid propaganda too (this one never gets old) :)

patrickg_zill 5 days ago 1 reply      
I spent some time in a different part of Russia, 10 days in Volgograd. The best and brightest do try to leave for the big city, not much different than many stories of people going to NYC or California in the 40s and 50s.
revelation 5 days ago 3 replies      
They need to stop with the scrolling effects for the big images. It just flickers, stutters and is all together a terrible experience.
afiedler 5 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of this NY Times article about the Amtrak line between NYC and Washington, DC. Similar story of two booming cities and hundreds of miles of urban blight and poverty in between: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/magazine/amtrak-industrial...
dchichkov 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think that in the moment, it is very beneficial to have large chunks of rural, not overpopulated lands. And I don't think that it is in any way a problem.

Current approach of developing natural resources is an ecologist nightmare! Just consider growing fields of mono-cultured plants. And in developed/overpopulated countries, well, the land is 'developed' on the country-wide scale. Ecological nightmare on a country-wide scale!

So. Until we learn how to build better-than-natural ecologies, I'd never consider any under-populated regions as a problem. I wouldn't even think of such region as poor, considering the richness of local ecosystem and natural resources.

thrownaway2424 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why do they bother hauling goods by road if it takes days, and they have railroads and inland waterways?
democracy 5 days ago 0 replies      
My cosmopolite was sustaining the pride and reputation of the Earth when the waiters closed in on both combatants with their famous flying wedge formation and bore them outside, still resisting.

I called McCarthy, one of the French garcons, and asked him the cause of the conflict.

"The man with the red tie" (that was my cosmopolite), said he, "got hot on account of things said about the bum sidewalks and water supply of the place he come from by the other guy."

"Why," said I, bewildered, "that man is a citizen of the world--a cosmopolite. He--"

"Originally from Mattawamkeag, Maine, he said," continued McCarthy, "and he wouldn't stand for no knockin' the place."

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe by O Henry

usaphp 4 days ago 0 replies      
I just want the author to go to a Moscow or St Petersburg subway and compare that to the one in New York City. He will be amazed how clean and beautiful is Moscow subway, and he will see how dirty and slow is NYC subway compared to it.

You can not judge the whole country just by driving on a highway which not many people use and filming a gypsy wedding which has nothing to do with Russia.

ohwp 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow great pictures! Didn't have time to read the article but I had to look up the photographer: http://www.kostyukov.com/
Tarang 5 days ago 0 replies      
Besides the content, Is anyone going to mention the beautiful use of the line as a scrollbar with the SVG? Its nice to see more and more articles beginning to use more interactive web technologies as opposed to just a static text and pictures. There's more of a reason to read content online than just having the latest content.
ommunist 5 days ago 1 reply      
I believe I am going to hack Russia by going to live there for a while. Let's see what I can do.They have 13% of business tax only.
colinbartlett 5 days ago 4 replies      
? , .
itchitawa 5 days ago 0 replies      
To me this is a good sign. Not every small town needs to exist. Historically there were reasons for them - agriculture I guess. But now they often serve no purpose except to house the old people who have trouble leaving. The fact is the world doesn't need as many farmers as it used to so these places are better off left to disappear. It might feel sad if your hometown is lost but it's only physical things whose usefulness has passed.
sailfast 5 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful presentation work - congratulations to Mike Bostock and company at the Times for making something engaging to read in the modern web environment. Great work and I enjoyed the experience of reading it - things like this will be critical to the future of journalism.
danso 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm old fashioned...the parallax motion and the embedded widgets and things don't do much for me, but what really sticks out to me is the great photography, and this format, whether you like the effects or not, at least showcases the great images.

That said, I don't think this story-telling format is the future of journalism. The reason why this story looks so attractive is because there are so few ads, if any. Yes, this format lends itself to being able to do full-page ads or special built-in ads...but those take work to both acquire and construct. Given that these type of feature stories are far and few between, I'd be surprised if the higher-CPM on special-feature-story-ads outweighs the bespoke-effort needed to acquire and implement them. In any case, I highly doubt that if it does, that it does so at a scale that is meaningful.

And another thing: the reporting and editing is obviously the bottleneck here. But let's let that be a given...the other main bottleneck is the non-web-dev reporters and editors trying to get their ideas into this innovative format. My guess is, that even at the New York Times, this is a very painful and slow process, even if your devs include Mike Bostock, creator of D3. Part of these features are done with generated templates. And part of them appear to be handcrafted.

But again, it's not the hand-crafting that is necessarily the most painful part of the tech workflow. It's the editing across systems that weren't designed for this collaboration. Have you ever built a fancy website in Flash only to have your client want to change a bunch of links that were hard-coded? Imagine that, except across several editorial departments. Another way to think of it: newspaper reporters and editors typically do not use Sublime Text.


Some technical observations:

The NYT interactive team has been doing analytics on these different story formats. Check out the source code for their previous feature on The Jockey:


At the bottom is some JavaScript that seems to be handcoded for that feature and refer to analytics:

          NS.jockeyMeta = {            photoPath: 'http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/images/multimedia/bundles/projects/2013/Jockey/',            videoStillPath: 'http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/images/multimedia/bundles/projects/2013/Jockey/',            videoPosterPath: 'http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/images/multimedia/bundles/projects/2013/Jockey/',            videoPath: 'http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/video/multimedia/bundles/projects/2013/Jockey/',            url: 'http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/the-jockey/',            viewport: document.documentElement.clientWidth,            legacyDesktop: window.NYTMM_IE,            imageSizes: [1400, 1280, 1024, 980, 800, 680, 640, 540, 420, 380, 320, 280],            videoSizes: [320,600,970],            blankImage: 'http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/flash/multimedia/ICONS/greyC.png',                  comment_page_url: 'http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/the-jockey/comments/'
If you view the source of the Russia story, you won't see any such analytics code. You'll see a lot of D3 code and even some special video-player helper code that I haven't seen on the other features. So again, these features are a pretty new thing, but I think it's a long way from being something that is scalable, and not because for lack of technology or skill at the NYT.

scarfacedeb 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's definitely not a whole picture, but it's rather accurate view of the countryside and abandoned villages.I live in Tyumen and it's not that bad, thanks to the gas and oil industry.But I visited a couple of villages and _it seems to me_ that this article is rather accurate portray of the average out-of-the-city life in Russia.

I think that it's written as propaganda, but it doesn't change the facts.

kutakbash 5 days ago 0 replies      
That 'cartographic' parallax is seriously cool. They even increase scale indicator accordingly.
rpupkin 5 days ago 0 replies      
NYTimes' maudlin travelog aside, Russia is in deep sh*t:


palderson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Putting the article aside, I love the functionality. Mapping a story to exactly where you were on the trip when it occurred, the way the NYTimes has, is an amazing way to present the story.
Duckpaddle2 5 days ago 1 reply      
The subject matter aside, that is the coolest web page implementation I have seen in a long time. The rolling zoom with the mouse wheel and the map display on the side was just neat.
wuschel 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have only skimmed this article and thus will not comment on its contents, BUT I wonder what is the software package that has been use to generate the article layout?
beautybasics 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why is that it's fine for major western media establishment to paint unsettling picture of east.

- Of course west is doing better

- But that does not mean they can point communities that are worse off

- I'am sick of BBC covering negative stories on China & India (i'am one)

- Why don't NY Times and the like, point to their own troubles where they left ordinary people troubles and spend all the recourses in covering the powerful { Politicians, Actors, Musicians, Sports Personale}

- Just like the way BBC sucks up to monarchy

codecrusade 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone pen a similar - 'The India I left behind' and put the damn thing on NYT
squozzer 4 days ago 0 replies      
Two words -- West Virginia.
ilteris 4 days ago 0 replies      
does anyone have any idea how they did the left bezier drawing as one scrolls down? thanks.
hoiplodocus 4 days ago 0 replies      
would love to see this 12 hours drive from the russian driver dash cams
exhilaration 5 days ago 0 replies      
How long until this happens to the United States?
ujsfdo 5 days ago 0 replies      
caiob 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is this open-source?
Oboe.js: reacting to Ajax/Rest quicker by not waiting for it to finish github.com
349 points by joombar  2 days ago   71 comments top 22
k3n 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was wondering when some of these types of libs might make their way into the world, I know I saw in Nicholas Zakas' book "High Performance JavaScript"[1] that he demonstrated how to read back (process) a large AJAX result in chunks, allowing you to begin working with the response before it was finished downloading. It was called "multipart XHR", and he shows a neat code example and then links to a site that has sample code[2].

The main difference between multipart XHR and Oboe, that I can see, is that MHXR requires you to format your data in a specific manner (using a magic delimiting character), though I'm curious if the base method is similar or not.

1. http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596802806.do

2. http://techfoolery.com/mxhr/

timmaah 1 day ago 1 reply      

Took me about 10 minutes to add to an existing rails app that adds hundreds of markers onto a google map via json. Live updating as you scroll around.

Previously I was trying to find the sweet spot between how many slows down the initial rendering to the viewer vs showing all the markers.

Changed about 3 lines of javascript to use Oboe and changed my rails controller to:

      per_page = 100      1.upto(10).each do |page|        response.stream.write ActiveModel::ArraySerializer.new( resources.paginate(page: page, per_page: per_page) , {root: 'cg'}).to_json      end      response.stream.close

sequoia 2 days ago 3 replies      
This looks really cool! I'm confused about the usecase, however. In your foods/nonfoods example[0], it allows you to request a some JSON with 2 keys, `foods` and `"nonFoods"`, each with an array value, and use only foods, discarding nonFoods. You request this from oboe('/myapp/things.json')

My question: why not modify the backend to accept a request like `/myapp/foods.json` and let the backend compose the json you need & send only that? It seems like fixing it "in the wrong place" to build your frontend to accommodate getting the wrong/too much data. Is this a contrived example that isn't the core usecase? This is my assumption.

Is this primarily for 3rd party APIs and legacy codebases where it's impractical to change the response type & updating to e.g. sockets is impractical? Thanks for the cool project, I apologize for my ignorance wrt whatever points I'm missing!

[0] https://github.com/jimhigson/oboe.js#using-objects-from-the-...

dustingetz 2 days ago 1 reply      
At the very bottom he describes the use case. Mobile apps optimize for battery life by preferring one big long request up front rather than lots of little ones as needed. But you only need the first 10% of the data to render the first screen of your app.
joshfraser 1 day ago 0 replies      
This makes a lot of sense. Latency is the #1 enemy on mobile, but bandwidth tends to be relatively okay. That's why streaming a video to your phone feels surprisingly fast, while everyday browsing feels sluggish. The obvious conclusion is to use fewer but larger requests, which is why Oboe is so attractive.
freework 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is great for that 1 time out of 1,000,000 when you have an ajax call that would benefit from a tool like this. In the overwhelming majority usecase, this oboe.js thing is not going to be a "plug it in, automatically webscale" type of optimization. I'm not trying to rag on the authors of this project, but the wording of this submissions is going to lead noobs to mis understand the benefit. The authors should instead emphasize the usecase where an actual benefit comes out of using this library, instead of just saying "it makes your ajax faster!!"
buro9 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is it intentional that it accepts invalid JSON?

I ask only because most of the examples on that page would not be valid as the name part of the key:value pairs needs to be quoted.

PS: Don't upvote this, it's a minor detail and the big point about the use-case is far more important than this comment.

joombar 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Just merged in support for reading any stream in Node:


  oboe( fs.createReadStream( '/home/me/secretPlans.json' ) )   .node('!.schemes.*', function(scheme){      console.log('Aha! ' + scheme);   });   .node('!.plottings.*', function(deviousPlot){      console.log('Hmmm! ' + deviousPlot);      })   .done(function(){      console.log("*twiddles mustache*");   });

lttlrck 23 hours ago 0 replies      
There must be a break-even response size below which this is pointless, the server doesn't send responses byte by byte but in chunks the whole response could well be on the wire already so it would how zero impact on download footprint. The impact of TCP nagle makes this very hard to predict too so the chunk size will vary between server config and server workload at the time of the request.Anyone that has developed an HTTP parser has experienced this. I feel like this is a problem to be solved in the server using JSON path or similar.
jbrooksuk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does this require any changes server-side?

I'm using Node.js with an Express.js router to power an internal site. We have a few API endpoints which would benefit from this. Does anything need changing when sending the data?

tlarkworthy 1 day ago 1 reply      
You could serialise a state history as it happens, allowing your users to modify the futere state in real time and push to the always unfolding history stream. Could be great for games.
lnanek2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Java has had good stream parsing of JSON for a while now too. Last time I had to do it, I was surprised to find GSON, the library we were already using, had support for it. XML stream parsing vs. model parsing was a much bigger change.
tambourine_man 2 days ago 2 replies      
This probably won't work if you have gzip on, right?
gagege 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very cool, but there's one thing I don't understand.

Do you need to stream JSON objects from a server to make this work? You have to get a response from the server in some kind of streaming protocol right?


Is this just reading the part of the JSON string that it currently has?

I'm inexperienced with streaming, so this might be obvious to some.


Ah, I get it. I was wrong to say it was "streaming". Looks like my second suggestion was the correct one.

Kiro 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this sax? http://www.saxproject.org/ Not sure I understand what it is and what role it has in oboe.js.
zamalek 2 days ago 2 replies      
This seems like it could be used to create a protocol similar to XMPP - which I always enjoyed from the perspective of elegance.

I might have a pet project this weekend, thanks for sharing.

alessioalex 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is basically node-trumpet in the browser. Really great stuff!


foxbarrington 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really important for perceived load time[0]. Here's an article that illustrates how this can work in practice: http://dry.ly/full-streams-ahead


jastanton 2 days ago 2 replies      
So if you're streaming in the JSON this program must have a custom JSON parser because there would be no way to assure valid JSON on an incomplete payload. Am I understanding how this works correctly?

edit: Also how is this faster, if you're parsing an incomplete response over and over again isn't each parse blocking, wouldn't this approach kill your FPS?

fro 2 days ago 0 replies      
This could be big for making dynamic web maps faster. Often we request a large array of geometries to display on a map and can only display them all at once after ajax is done. If we could display each geometry as they are loaded it would be a big improvement to perceived performance. I imagine this is the case for other kinds of data vis as well. Off to test!
lucidrains 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent! Plopped it onto my site where I was loading a big json package and it works beautifully. Thanks so much :)
jastanton 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are you using a webworker to process your JSON stream?
Google Fiber now allows servers for non-commercial use googleprotest.com
345 points by pontifier  5 days ago   151 comments top 15
rsingel 5 days ago 6 replies      
I still don't think this comports with the net neutrality rules, which focus on network management at a user/protocol level. Commercial/non-commercial is a business distinction -- which is exactly what net neutrality was meant to stop (e.g. Comcast throttling BitTorrent).

Google Fiber shouldn't care a whit if my server is commercial or non-commercial (what does that even mean?) If my usage hurts the network, then GF can throttle my connection in some way that is disclosed as a policy and which is considered reasonable.

This is a half-assed compromise and it's not in line with either the spirit or the clear language of net neutrality.

(Full Disclosure: I wrote the Wired article that set off this storm.)

tnuc 5 days ago 1 reply      
To save people from looking, it has been changed to;

---To operate servers for commercial purposes. However, personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.---

Tomdarkness 5 days ago 1 reply      
Had Google actually taken action against anyone hosting a server? I guess this is more of a T&C clarification than anything else, i.e they would of not actually taken action against non-commercial servers anyway.
rch 5 days ago 4 replies      
Out of curiosity, why is there a prohibition on a particular type of activity and not just on bandwidth or similar? I understand that this is a fairly common provision, and not specific to Google Fiber at all.
mtarnovan 5 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly off topic, but browsing the comments on this thread I'm just amazed how good and cheap Internet has become here (Romania) compared to some of the prices out there. A major local provider recently announced a new 1Gbps plan for about 18$/month. I'm currently on their 50Mbps plan, and I get just that: 5MBytes/s up/down.
cenhyperion 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news. Although I doubt they would crack down on people running some low traffic servers for personal use either way, it's good that it is officially clarified.
pfraze 5 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely appreciate that policy change.
blhack 5 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't this change...nothing? They have always allowed you to run non-commercial servers, haven't they?
nullc 5 days ago 1 reply      
Better make sure you run adblock while browsing through your VPN to home- wouldn't want anything commercial to go on.

It's all good: Google is just trying to protect you from the evils of money.

ilaksh 5 days ago 0 replies      
Aren't there a ton of people who moved out there specifically to run their startups on Google Fiber? So all of them are breaking the terms supposedly.
ljlolel 5 days ago 1 reply      
What happened to net neutrality, Google?
ivanbrussik 5 days ago 0 replies      
EXTRA! New WATER company opening throughout the USA but doesn't allow HOT water.

Google is shit. I hope the US government smacks them for this.

piratebroadcast 5 days ago 0 replies      
Site looks like shit. Just saying.
api 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can't have faster home Internet lead to decentralization...
znowi 5 days ago 2 replies      
If only it was that simple to make Google stop spying for NSA
GoDaddy, Media Temple, and the Horrible World of Web Hosting marco.org
340 points by mh_  4 days ago   161 comments top 41
smacktoward 4 days ago 8 replies      
As long as we're sharing hosting anecdotes/recommendations, I'll throw in my two cents: I've dealt with umpty gazillion hosting companies over the last 15+ years, and the only one that has consistently impressed me to the point where I recommend them to clients without any reservations is Rackspace. Both in their dedicated server offerings and the newer Rackspace Cloud stuff. (Rackspace Cloud doesn't have as much bleeding-edge whiz-bang stuff as AWS, but they make up for it IMO with excellent tech support/customer service.)

They're generally more expensive than the competition, but you get what you pay for, you know? I'm sitting here trying to think of a time when Rackspace has ever let me down, and I can't. Being able to have that kind of confidence in your hosting environment is nice.

Marco is correct that shared hosting is a disaster area, so much so that Rackspace doesn't really compete there, so I'm always hesitant when people ask me to recommend a shared host. I generally end up recommending Dreamhost too; it's not great, but it's better than what you'd get for the same money anywhere else.

larrys 4 days ago 2 replies      
"But its also highly commoditized: hosts cant differentiate their products very much, theres effectively no barrier to entry, switching at any time is fairly cheap and easy, and most customers buy primarily on price."

I don't agree at all that for many website hosting customers the process is "easy".

A typical web hosting customer is not tech saavy they either have it being handled by their "tech guy" or they can't even remember how their files got onto the server in the first place with their static site and sometimes they don't even know who is hosting their site [1].

[1] Source: We're a registrar and we get the calls and emails of confused customers who have no clue where they are hosted. They don't even know enough to look at the whois and see the dns to give them a hint. Actually you'd be suprised how many times someone will access our whois and think we are their registrar.

seldo 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think Marco is overly dismissive of shared hosting; the web should be inclusive and easy to use, and for lots of people with uncomplicated hosting needs shared hosting is a fine choice. See also: Heroku, AWS, any other level of abstraction you care to pick. Many developers outgrow shared hosting, but that doesn't mean the category is intrinsically bad.

(My personal site has been on Site5 for over a decade; they have mostly been pretty good)

lelandbatey 4 days ago 4 replies      
Web hosting customers are nomads. If your host hasnt been ruined yet, just wait.

This line right here is absolutely sage wisdom. Here are some of the companies I've bought services from, as well as what I remember happening to them:

    ClubUptime        Closed in a disastrous closure due to basically being conned.    DirectSpace        Still around, haven't changed much    VolumeDrive        Very sketchy, I don't really know how they're still in business    Fazewire        Local Seattle hosting/colocation company. Originally founded by a guy        when he was 15, he sold the company when he went to college.    URPad.net        Still around, only used them for a short period of time.        OVH    Amazon    Digital Ocean

coderdude 4 days ago 5 replies      
I've been a Media Temple customer since 2007 and a GoDaddy customer since 2004 [edit: I say 2004 but I don't think that's possible. I must have switched to them sometime after 2006 but I can't recall who my previous registrar was.]. I like both companies just fine though apparently not everyone has been as lucky. I don't know if GD is going to be a good home for mt since GD specializes in cheaper hosting. But...

GoDaddy does a lot to support their customers. Friendly people over the phone. They've walked my dad through some hosting issues he had when he was trying to set a site up. They call me every couple of months to make sure I'm satisfied with everything (and probably try to sell me on that bundled registration). Making them out to be The Devil is too dramatic. And transparent too when he could have linked to the #Philanthropy[1] heading on their Wikipedia page but chose to focus on #Controversies to support a position.

unclebucknasty 4 days ago 1 reply      
And before it was Ev1Servers, what is now IBM, was RackShack. So, it was RackShack, ev1, ThePlanet, SoftLayer, IBM. We started as a dedicated customer with RackShack, then on to a managed customer on ThePlanet. FWIW, we are on the same dedicated rack as when with ThePlanet, though SoftLayer tried to sell us on their "pod" solution (i.e. VPS).

So, we are overpaying for our current hardware, but haven't had the stomach for another migration. Contrary to what the article states, small companies with already limited resources don't want to spend time moving a moderately complex infrastructure around, on top of the considerable work already on the table.

But, yeah, GoDaddy engages in questionable practices. Automatically adding stuff to your cart (and/or making it confusingly easy for you to do so), bumping renewals to 5 years by default, and otherwise making their UI "consistently inconsistent" in ways that miraculously always seem to benefit them are part of the equation. To be pushy with upsells is one thing, but they take it a step further.

These are kind of ingrained business practices and part of the same ethos that says selling IT services with sex is OK. It is hard to imagine them acquiring a company without that company getting at least a little of that stink on them.

cylinder 4 days ago 5 replies      
Hosting is like commercial airlines. Everyone wants excellent service, but they shop on price, and expect it to be low. Those who can actually spend a lot, do it themselves anyways (private jets). This could be the beginning of a consolidation phase in the hosting industry just like what took place with airlines.
wonderyak 4 days ago 5 replies      
My least horrible experiences have all been with DreamHost as well.

Our company did reseller hosting for about 5 years and went through all of the acquisition stuff Marco mentions. We had to exit SoftLayer because they were horrible, only to be brought right back.

Hosting is a horrible business. To be good at it and have marketplace success you need to deliver over the top support; which is just unsustainable at scale.

DigitalSea 4 days ago 1 reply      
This news could not make me happier after moving from Mediatemple completely about 6 months ago. I would say I got out just in time. My experience with Media Temple (I was with them since the beginning and all of the teething problems they had with their hosting in the early days) was fairly good. Support was great, but if you soon find you hit the limit of their hosting pretty quickly. They used to market their Grid Server (gS) plans as being "Digg Proof" and it was once upon a time but then eventually the Grid Server plan lacked behind and getting Slashdotted/Digged meant you had to scale up with burst addons.

I would argue that Mediatemple kind of killed themselves in many ways, I can't see how GoDaddy will do much worse to be honest. People put them up on such a high pedestal as they got bigger, they just couldn't live up to their glowing reputation because of how big they were growing which is a problem not many companies can say they have, Support stayed timely until the end, but Media Temple lost out to Digital Ocean and Linode big time and just couldn't keep up in the end.

I wish GoDaddy all the best, but for the moment I am very happy with my Linode 1024 virtual server plan which never buckles under anything I've thrown at it thus far. Even hitting the front-page of HN once upon a time didn't cause it to break a sweat.

arikrak 4 days ago 1 reply      
What's interesting about standard shared web hosting (mainly used by small PHP-based sites) is how most of them are secretly owned by one company: EIG


Many people spend time comparing the different services, but in truth they're all the same!

Also, you get much better specs with the free tier of OpenShift, but I guess that will change once enough people switch to it (just like AppFog changed their free tier).

naiyt 4 days ago 1 reply      
I worked in webhosting for about two years, and can attest to the fact that it's a horrible world. We were pretty good at our jobs, but the company was experiencing some really nasty growing pains, and the product was pretty bad as a result.

One of the big pains in the webhosting world is maintaining legacy systems...we had about 15,000 clients on ancient servers running RHEL4, under a proprietary VPS platform. (And as far as I know, a big chunk of them are still there.) Needless to say, this resulted in a really crappy service for the clients on those servers, and there never seemed to be a big push to get everybody migrated off of them and onto our newer servers running cPanel. We were working towards it, but it was a big endeavor that would leave a lot of clients extremely upset when things invariably went awry. So rather then putting some good development time towards automating the process as much as possible and hiring more support for those accounts that didn't migrate properly, the problem just sat there for years.

davidedicillo 4 days ago 1 reply      
I remember in 2001 when it was almost a badge of honor to be hosted on (MT), especially if you were one of those website that got the free hosting in exchange of their logo on the page.
lsc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's interesting how shared hosting has such a terrible reputation.

Really, it's sad, because it's pushing a lot of folks who really shouldn't be running their own servers into the VPS market.

Thats the thing, though; VPSs, generally speaking, have much harder limits. It's harder for that one user to make the server suck for everyone. I mean, it's not as good as a dedicated server, but it's a big step up from the isolation available in shared hosting.

Now that the market price for VPSs has fallen almost to the shared hosting level, I wonder if services that implement a shared-hosting like environment within managed VPSs will take off? Something where the user doesn't have root, where it's managed by the hosting company (presumably automatically) but where there is only one user per virtual.

There are PAAS providers that operate that way, sure, that will let you run languages better than PHP... but there doesn't seem to be an ecosystem of PAAS providers that are all compatible, like there is with php shared hosting.

What interests me about this sort of "PHP as a service" is that unsophisticated users are used to dealing with shared hosting. They understand the limitations. And they want the resource isolation of a VPS solution, even if they are unable or unwilling to put in the sysadmin work required.

mbesto 4 days ago 0 replies      
My experience is the following: not everyone has the same consistent experience with every host, but some are definitely better than others.

That being said, the companies I've had good experiences with, have heard others, and will continue to use/pay are: AWS, Linode, DigitalOcean, and Webfaction (webfaction is amazing for a small cheap shared hosting environment). Other ones that cross my mind are OVH and Hetzner.

noir_lord 4 days ago 1 reply      
If I need to host multiple simple sites they go onto one of my linode instances that is set up for multiple sites.

If I need to host a more complex or demanding web application it goes onto a dedicated linode (or may share one).

Dedicated servers that are reliable are very very expensive (Hetzner in my direct experience is nowhere near reliable) where with linode across 3-8 linodes at various times I've had no down time in coming up for 5 years.

Fantastic support, they don't oversell their machines.

Sure if I shop around I can get a similar spec (whether it delivers who knows) for half the price but is it really worth saving 20 bucks if I don't sleep at night worrying about my vps provider going down.

I also like DO, I still won't host anything important with them but for a quick dev/test box they are pretty good.

I've never really gotten why the VPS market is quite so price conscious the difference between 5 a month and 20 a month is so meaningless in the grand scheme of things (I suspect I spend a lot more than 15 a month on coffee on the way to work).

SteveGerencser 4 days ago 1 reply      
In the late 90s i was a partner in a hosting company. To this day every time someone asks me to host a small site on my personal server I get flashbacks and the shakes. Never again. Hosting is not a game for people without very strong nerves. I won't even resell hosting.
jasonvorhe 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am a proud user of Uberspace (see https://uberspace.de) - unfortunately they are based in Germany and therefore all of their amazing documentation is in german too. They have adopted a Dokuwiki-based documentation and their support on Twitter (@ubernauten) and via mail is kind, fast and amazingly personal. It's a real shame they have no plans to expand to an international market. They claim that the quality of their service and the documentation would suffer if they'd go the dual-language route so they'd rather not do so in order to keep their current quality.

Their datacenters are located in Frankfurt so the roundtrip to the US might come with a latency you'd want to avoid, but you should at least try them anyways. They will gladly offer their support in english, but consider that english isn't their native tongue. You can even send them GPG encrypted mail.

Uberspace is quite young (they started in the beginning of 2011 afaik) but they've only improved during all that time and there was no decline in their service quality after word got around that they are the go-to provider for german customers seeking shared webhosting. They offer anything from ruby/rails to python to nodejs, mongodb, postgresql - and even php in different versions from 5.3 to 5.5 including almost all revelant point releases. They only offer 10GB of storage which is not easily expandable but they place no limit on the amount of Uberspace-accounts you create, so if you are hosting different projects you can simply scale them to different accounts which might end up on different nodes. (which are never too overbooked that it might impact the performance - and if it does, they'll upgrade the hardware to fix that!)

You decide what you want to pay! They want at least 1EUR per month but you can adjust your price to anything you want and you can even change your prices on a monthly basis. They say that they want all people to be able to state their opinion on the internet and that's why they're hoping that people with a bigger budget chose to set their price to their recommendation of 5-10EUR per month. But they will never beg you to pay more if you stay with 1EUR and your service won't suffer either. (I have several accounts and a 2 of them have the default price and I got amazingly fast help via mail despite only paying 1EUR for these accounts)

You don't need to give them any personal data if you simply want to create an account (all you need is <8 letter username and a password or OpenID). They will give you a fully usable Linux-account on one of several dozen CentOS-powered servers in return and you can even run your own services (via djb's daemontools) or ask them to open up a higher (>61000) port for you if you want to host a xmpp-server or something. You can't get unencrypted (as in non-TLS) IMAP/POP3/SMTP and they don't offer FTP because of its bad security. Instead you'll work via a fully capable SSH-connection and have SCP/SFTP-access to transfer files. Their webinterface is simpyl called "dashboard" and offers only the most basic stuff like creating virtual mailaccounts and password and SSH key-management. They're giving you your own IPv6-address and their servers have been dual-stack from the beginning. You can also create your own SSL-certificate for your own domain (which you don't even need to register/transfer at Uberspace, just add the domain to your account and setup your DNS and you're done.

If you're up to the challenge and have lots of experience as a Linux-systemsadministrator, start your own Uberspace-service outside of Germany and you'll get rich within a year if you can offer their commitment and service.

I'll never ever go back to lame hosting providers where I'll have to fiddle with crude and slow webinterfaces. At least for me the roundtrip to Sweden is acceptable and their documentation is understandable when translated to english by Google.

On the topic of Marco's claims regarding hosting providers I can simply state from my experience that Uberspace seems behave diametral to his expectations so far.

(I am not being paid for this and I'm also not affiliated with Uberspace other than being a happy customer.)

davidw 4 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.welton.it/articles/webhosting_market_lemons - this seems somewhat relevant: "Web Hosting - A Market for Lemons".

I'm not sure I got it 100% right, but I think there are some valid points.

kephra 4 days ago 0 replies      
The most important advise is: Unbundle domain contract and hosting contract. Do not eat the bait of the free domain!

About softlayer: Its possible to bargain with them. We have E-2620 servers there, official starting price at $879, and we pay $299/month including more RAM and a small network. So they had been willing to undercut co-location calculation if you ask them. I dont know if this is still possible after IBM. I guess their sales team now knows better how to barter with big customers.

jacques_chester 4 days ago 0 replies      
A nitpick: he's saying "high profits" when I think he means "high gross profits". It's an important distinction. The low cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) is offset first by the competition and later by the cost of hiring people the manage it and deal with customers.
programminggeek 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is it me or is there a place in the market for higher quality, less commodity type hosting services. Right now things are segmented by type of hosting in very technical ways, but we're now seeing more value added hosting for things like rails (heroku), wordpress (wp engine), etc.

I think people will always pay for service, quality, and experience. Whoever can deliver that consistently will make money in hosting.

kyoji 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really feel the need to plug Nearly Free Speech, my host of choice:


Definitely not aimed at large(r) sites, but for my static sites and a few WP installations it works fantastically. The control panel takes some getting used to, but the "pay for what you use" business model more than makes up for the rough edges. Its all la carte and I love it, I've been a customer for 5 years with no problems.

nsoonhui 4 days ago 1 reply      
I subscribed to a tmdhosting VPS package, and the IO throughput was simply horrible. I collected the IO statistics, and I emailed the support team and asked it to move me to another hardware node which was less overloaded.

The support person refused to do so, but instead, asked me to subscribe to a dedicated server. I explained that I didn't need a dedicated server, as it was clear from my statistic that all faults were on their IO throughput side. He just won't listen and still insisted on up-selling me a dedicated server.

What a horrible experience! Anyone encountered the same thing as I do? Is IO throughput a PITA for your hosting experience?

dctoedt 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been happy with server289.com for my personal site for several years now. The one time I had an issue (which turned out to be pilot error on my part) they were quite responsive and very helpful.
larrys 4 days ago 0 replies      
"theres effectively no barrier to entry"

Made this point in another comment but want to stress the biggest barrier to entry is being able to provide customer support and handling the "rtfm" type calls. So it's a people problem. In the sense that you could start doing hosting as one individual but at a certain point you'd have to hire someone to take care of the support calls that a larger customer base (than one person can handle) would require.

Trufa 4 days ago 7 replies      
I would like to know what other people experiences are with regard to Hostgator. Honestly, I chose because I didn't know many other options at the time but I've never had any sort of trouble and their chat assistance is pretty awesome.

I would like to know if I'm actually just lucky or if other people have had this experience too.

wyck 4 days ago 0 replies      
I always considered MT to be a marketing company so this seems to be a perfect fit. I mean that literally because I always joke that they are the designer jeans of hosting.
systems 4 days ago 0 replies      
its a nice post, and the note that MT was planning for exist since day one is insightful ... i didnt know that

but i cant help but feel, the MT story was forced into this post to make the much general point that most hosting companies are horrible

also, he does seem to miss a smallish fact MT or he doesnt raise it clear enough .. MT was not a great host .. it was an expensive mediocre host ... but i think he probably did downplay this a little to make his louder statement that things will get worst for MT ... mainly because the founders left

i have to disagree, MT wasnt, he sort of admit it, the founder was never a believer he admit it ... MT didnt loose much

plus if hosting is such a comodity and MT wasnt good .. the customers should feel they really lost anything

again i believe marco used MT story as just an excuse to make this post ...

SubMachinePun 4 days ago 0 replies      
I work next to Media Temple in Culver City, and FWIW, those MT employees in their new GoDaddy hoodies partying with their taco truck seemed pretty happy this afternoon with their new SOPA-backing overlords. I'm not sure if the reaction is supposed to imply something positive that I'm just overlooking.
kbar13 4 days ago 1 reply      
well, it was a good run, MT.

I wonder how many of their employees will leave MT

NKCSS 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm, the recommendations at the end of the article still seem pretty pricey to me. I'm personally a fan of LeaseWeb; been renting servers with them for 5 years now and still very happy, at a good price (~100 for 100MBit unmetered, quadcore xenon x3440, 16GB ram, 2x2TB HDD and ESXi 5.1)
newsreader 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm definitely in the minority here but I just don't see how "GoDaddy is a horrible company run by horrible people selling horrible products." I dealt with GoDaddy in the past and have an active account with them. I think that their prices are reasonable and their customer service is good enough at least for me. I do find that navigating through their website is a pain and definitely not designed for a non-technical person, but that alone doesnt make it horrible.
k1m 4 days ago 0 replies      
For shared hosting I've had a great experience with https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net
kevinwalzer 3 days ago 1 reply      
Don't pay for hosting. Run your own box on a static IP. I've done it for a decade for the 12+ sites my business operates for its various brands. The traffic is fairly light, sites are mostly static, but the cost savings add up.
JEVLON 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had a terrible experience with MT a couple of years ago. GoDaddy won't be ruining them. They wrecked themselves.
bishopknight 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been with Media3 Webhosting since 1999 for all my clients ( mainly for Coldfusion Hosting ) and the great thing about them is I can get a live person within a minute to a few minutes, any time.
quocble 4 days ago 0 replies      
Oh for the love of god. MT was one decent hosting company, now bought out by the people shits all over themselves and their customers.
thrillgore 4 days ago 0 replies      
Media Temple had to know during the talks that any acquisition would cost them dearly.
busterzzz 4 days ago 1 reply      
I use mt for one of my sites, hope this isn't A turn for the worst.
PauloManrique 4 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one that never had problems with GoDaddy?
ebbv 4 days ago 0 replies      
I work in the web hosting industry and this is a pretty good analysis, and fairly accurate.

I would say that usually the hosts that are trying the hardest are the smaller ones that are not "household names" yet. Once they break out and start growing really fast, that's when the people who made it happen tend to check out and let things fall apart.

Adi Shamir Prevented from Attending Crypto and Cryptology Conferences ncl.ac.uk
337 points by cantrevealname  3 days ago   102 comments top 20
buro9 3 days ago 4 replies      
My visa takes a long while.

Not quite as long as it took Adi Shamir, but long.

On average it takes about 14 weeks to get a visa, but on occasion it has taken many many months.

I've done the calculations, the worst-case scenario for the full process is 32 weeks. It's never actually taken that long, but it's not been far off.

I remember having to explain to Microsoft that they needed to write a sponsor/supporting letter (for the US embassy) more than half a year in advance of any potential visit to Redmond that I'd be working at. As this was for DAC (Developer Advisory Council) meetings that Microsoft only scheduled a month in advance they found themselves in a dilemma over this. Thankfully they agreed, and their legal department would author letters that a meeting would likely occur requiring my attendance, but it was always a slog of a process.

For those wondering, I was shortly married to a US citizen and I speculate that this triggers some flag or signal that makes them think I want to stay there (I don't). I also have an interesting past, having been homeless for a while. Who knows though, the system doesn't supply answers. It's a black box process.

It's a nightmare process that doesn't end when you have a visa. On arrival I experience the joys of "secondary", and being sat in a waiting room for many hours before a 10-second interview in which they let me go my way.

Every part of the experience is a miserable one, always with the threat of an axe over the visit.

The vast majority of the time I have been invited, or had opportunities to visit, I just do not choose to visit the USA.

cantrevealname 3 days ago 11 replies      
Adi Shamir wrote that the president of his institute says:

"It is clear that scientists have been singled out, since I hear that other simple citizen, do get their visa in a short time."

Scientists get more scrutiny? What in the world is going on there?

lvryc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I quite like the 'apology' he received from the conference organizers:

> In July 2013 I told the NSA-affiliated conference organizers that I was having some problems in getting my visa, and gently asked whether they could do something about it. Always eager to help, the NSA people leaped into action, and immediately sent me a short email written with a lot of tact:

> The trouble you are having is regrettable Sorry you wont be able to come to our conference. We have submitted our program and did not include you on it.

rburhum 3 days ago 1 reply      
As somebody that has held six different US immigration statuses during a span of a couple of decades, I can almost assure you there is no malice behind this and just pure bureaucratic incompetence. I once had a paper that was supposed to arrive in three months take three years. What I learned is that going to the USCIS office after something is due and checking the status will make a difference since, for example, you can spot (common) routing errors with applications.
JanezStupar 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have been to the USA in the past. I would like to see more than I have seen and I would also like to participate in the wonderful US economy.

However upon the last visit I really took offence with the security theatre (that was in 2008 mind you and I am from a visa waiver country). Another factor is that USA chooses to not grant me a visa under which I start a business in the US under reasonable terms i.e. without constant fear of getting caught and deported and being put on lists.

It became a matter of pride. Now I will continue to avoid USA on principle.

rb2k_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's not that they didn't give him a J1 visa, it's just that they took way too long to process it.It sucks, but I wouldn't attribute to malice what I could attribute to inefficiency :)
piqufoh 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Indeed, public-key cryptography might not evenbe with us today if Adi had not been involved with Ron Rivest and Leonard Adleman so long ago.

There you go, those pesky scientists making the surveillance industry's job that little bit harder.

zhuzhuor 3 days ago 0 replies      
AFAIK, USA has been a second choice for crypto-related conferences for many years.If you ever attended one such conference, you will notice there will always some speakers/presenters couldn't attend due to visa issues.I guess many US people aren't even aware of this, but visa problem has been a huge pain for non US citizens. You can ask about this if you have any friends who are international students or H1B workers.
ra 3 days ago 3 replies      
I think if the US must continue to have such draconian and onerous entry requirements they should offer a fast track or simplified program for persons of note to attend a specific event in their field.

To not do so simply hinders the progress of human knowledge, or at least, it hinders the United States.

Sidnicious 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why not attend by telepresence? Let him present by video and hook him up with a Double or similar internet-controllable robot to talk to people around the conference. Or go full-on Bluth and pair up with an American proxy wearing a headset.

This sucks, sure, but there's always another way.

raverbashing 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone explain why it involved a J1 visa? I thought a B-1 sufficed for attendance (and even non-compensated presentations)
informatimago 3 days ago 2 replies      
What is obvious is that "Adi Shamir" is a name of someone living in a country dominated by Islam, and further that person is known to work in cryptography, so he is obviously a terrorist trying to send secret orders to other terrorists. In any case, he's a PITA for the NSA and other good guys like that. What they should have done, is to give him a visa, and redirect his flight direct to Guantanamo for further interrogation.</sarcasm level=big>

A tad more seriously: it's because of all those scientists of all the ages, that they have this situation where mere peasants can travel all around the globe, and make bombs or pilot planes into buildings. In the good old time, if a peasant tried to escape, he was eaten by the wolfs in the hoods, or killed by the highwaymen, so they stayed put, and the most they could try to do was to bump the armor of the lord with their wooden forks.

So it seems only natural to try to restrict them like that (perhaps it's a little too late).

bhitov 3 days ago 0 replies      
For those of you in the Cambridge area, he will instead be giving a talk at MIT tomorrow.



gngeal 3 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this will spur research and development in the area of telepresence.
bowlofpetunias 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised nobody is offended by the fact that an Israeli needs a visa for the US in the first place.
kartikkumar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why did he apply for a J-1 visa? I've been on a J-1 a couple of times for research stints in the US, but my understanding is that for conferences, you can also make use of the B-1 visa [1], as stated on the State department's website. The B-1 is generally processed much more quickly, with the J-1 requiring a lot more documentation.

[1] http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_2665.html#...

mortdeus 2 days ago 1 reply      
There needs to be legislation that allows foreign scientist's visas to be rushed to the front of the line when they have a science convention. I mean just imagine if doctor A had information to present that would help doctor B find a cure for HIV or something just important.

Are we really making it that difficult for the smartest people in the world to convene and discuss all the new smart stuff they know with the other smartest people in the world?

frank_boyd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why not organize important events such as this one elsewhere, some place more easily accessible for everyone?
Yuioup 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does this have anything to do with the recent shutdown?
anon1385 3 days ago 1 reply      
This was also submitted yesterday but didn't get much interest for some reason: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6560355

Similar recent story: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6499744 'US scientists boycott Nasa conference over China ban'

You don't need millions of dollars codinghorror.com
326 points by nqureshi  2 days ago   144 comments top 24
nadam 2 days ago 6 replies      
"The ultimate point of Masters of Doom is that today you no longer need to be as brilliant as John Carmack to achieve success, and John Carmack himself will be the first to tell you that. Where John was sitting in a cubicle by himself in Mesquite, Texas for 80 hours a week painstakingly inventing all this stuff from first principles, on hardware that was barely capable, you have a supercomputer in your pocket, another supercomputer on your desk, and two dozen open source frameworks and libraries that can do 90% of the work for you. You have GitHub, Wikipedia, Stack Overflow, and the whole of the Internet."

Which is bad news if your strength is that you are a good programmer, because in this kind of environment games become a commodity, so you have to compete with hundreds of thousands of other game developers who also don't have to be as briliant as Carmack. See the app market; it has a winner take all characteristic, so even if you don't have to be as brilliant as Carmack in programming, you have to be very strong in something or lucky to achieve success.

As I remember Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky took venture capital to take off stack overflow. (And also they had a huge following even before starting that venture.)

I kind of don't really buy these kind of 'motivational' posts. Achieving success is always possible but always hard.

danmaz74 2 days ago 3 replies      
Carmack turned red. If you ever ask me to patent anything, he snapped, Ill quit.

Wow, my admiration for Carmack just increased tenfold.

sreyaNotfilc 2 days ago 2 replies      
Lol, How many times does one (me in particular) need to read inspirational stories about hard work, dedication, pizza, and soda pop to actually do something about it?

Small anecdote: I was working on software for my site yesterday and thought about Carmack and the Fez guy (Phil Fish) and how they did amazing things on a computer. And then I thought about how tough it was for me to build a software for the web. Yes, its some complex software, but we have more tools now than those before us. There's really no excuse to not get things done (if you really want it done).

What I need to realize is that these guys didn't just think their way to success. They built their way to success. They had the idea, and then executed. You have to be moving and building. No one can see inside your mind. So, to show how amazing your idea really is, you'd need to literally "show" them the idea.

So yes, hopefully this is my last awe inspiring story. Hopefully (not hopefully, it will be...) the next time I chime in, I'll have something to show instead of an idea baking in my head.

In the words of Jobs "Real artists ship"! And I feel like I'm there.

bluedino 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you haven't read this book, go get it. It's the ultimate start-up story.

They start out as the most rag-tag group of developers. They took their computers home on the weekends from their day jobs at SoftDisk to work on their own games. These weren't MacBook Airs, they were full-tower 386 desktops with CRT monitors!

They packed into an apartment for their first 'real' offices. The story about them re-creating Super Mario pixel by pixel using a VHS recorder and TV is great.

Then these guys spent a small fortune on NeXT workstations to create Doom/Quake! Who doesn't dream about using the most high-end tools you can get your hands on.

And in the end, they all end up as famous 'rock star' millionaires driving Ferraris.

altero 2 days ago 11 replies      
I find it ridiculous how IT, the industry with lowest entry barrier that ever existed, is often marked as sexist and elitist. Wanna program? Here is computer and manual, see you in 10 000 hours.
lnanek2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I doubt he really needs the money at this point in his life. Coding Horror, Stack Overflow, etc. all huge traffic. So I doubt it influenced him much.
10098 1 day ago 2 replies      
> today you no longer need to be as brilliant as John Carmack to achieve success

That is a lie. To achieve anything similar to what Quake and Doom were at their time, one must possess raw undiluted talent and no amount of tools, libraries or online resources are going to help.

If it was that easy, we'd see masterpieces pop up every few months. But instead the market is flooded with mediocrity. Which really should come as no surprise, because we know that 90% of everything is crap. That includes people: most people (including myself), unfortunately, aren't half as smart and talented as they think they are. Which is why we struggle to create things that could be considered merely "good", and "great" is completely outside of our reach.

theorique 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing quote:

"The barriers are self-imposed. If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you dont need millions of dollars of capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on, and the dedication to go through with it. We slept on floors. We waded across rivers."

So inspirational.

acoleman616 2 days ago 0 replies      
As others have mentioned in the past, I believe this is one of the best "business" books I've ever read. Not in the traditional sense, but that only furthers my point. Absolutely phenomenal read.
jmcgough 2 days ago 0 replies      
I strongly recommend the book to anyone who's at all curious in game history, Carmack, or game development. I read it as a teenager, and it really inspired me to become a programmer.
k-mcgrady 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent post. I've heard of the book before but never read it - although I did just order a copy.

I liked Carmack's comments on patents. Interesting that all these years later is still such a big issue in the software industry.

It was also very interesting to see the comparison between shareware and in-app purchases. Never thought of that before.

perlpimp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just to the point, I am located in Russia where print copy of this book would appear in 6months to year if at all. Technology allowed me purchase this book and read it right away.

It is all about focus and determination nowadays, just like it always was. And way back it took some real patience and a highly structured approach to achieve any kind of success. And now you can the cake and eat it too - compared to effort you needed to expend in nineties to create something. Information wasn't just everywhere, tracing compiler bugs could make you go down one or other rabbit hole for days if not week or two.

jokoon 1 day ago 0 replies      
And here I am, with good ideas about making a persistent online single infinite world, all the tools, but not actually working on it daily.

The weird thing, is that many other companies have the actual skills to do what I want to do, but they don't.

Clearly my project is either stupid or I'm very lazy, or nobody is innovating and that's what kill the market.

varelse 2 days ago 1 reply      
As much as I admire John Carmack's bootstrapped success (and on this axis the guy is just awesome), given how he handled the poor health of his cat, I don't think I'd ever work with or for him. It just doesn't sit right with me.
DigitalSea 2 days ago 0 replies      
They don't make programmers like Carmack any more. When he was around, Carmack and his comrades were making the rules and paving new paths doing things that were considered impossible. These days, finding the answers is all too easy thanks to Stack Overflow and Github. I also feel as though the limits of computing in a gaming sense like Quake and Doom were will never happen ever again.
FridayWithJohn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Damnit, after reading that I simply had to buy myself a copy of that book. These two guys were my childhood heros. Although my mom hated them thanks to all the hours I spent playing Keen or Doom and "not doing my homework"
Apocryphon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shareware seems more like Kickstarter to me, in terms of sentiment. You get niche, hobbyist communities excited about your product, and pool up money through grassroots efforts. Though perhaps shareware's most direct descendent today is when creators release albums or ebooks and add a tip jar for suggested donations.
Sam121 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the best game i ever play in my childhood and complete it with in 3 days, still remember the stage 3 when i have to touch space bar for open the gate and simultaneous monster came. it was scary for me. Mainly i like to target the oil drums :). Mine favorite weapon was the machine gun which was available in the middle chamber with a protected suit
wildermuthn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Carmack's story continues at Oculus. He might be famous among the gaming world (might not), but it won't be long until he's famous throughout the world. VR's coming.
nachteilig 2 days ago 0 replies      
Carmack still hasn't managed to let me down after all of these years, and I've probably tried to keep up with his happenings since the Quake days.

He's a real inspiration. If you haven't read this book already, it's really worth it.

ffrryuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes you do, unless you intend to rent forever.
everyone 1 day ago 0 replies      
"You know how game companies spent the last 5 years figuring out that free games with 100% in-app purchases are the optimum (and maybe, only) business model for games today? "


danso 2 days ago 3 replies      
Carmack and Woz would've made a great engineering team...amazing that such brilliant engineers were also so generous
drakaal 1 day ago 1 reply      
You do need millions of dollars. Building a Game today is not what it was when Wolf 3d was made. The number of textures the depth of the story, the voice acting, the quality of physics that players expect to day is very different.

You can't write a Portal, or a Half Life, or a Quake, or a Halo, in you spare time between classes at school, or even by yourself living in your mom's basement over a year. The speed at which game tech advances is such that a one to 5 man shop can't create a game worth million in the time it takes to be obsolete.

Yes, there will be exceptions like Angry Birds. But most people aren't going to be that company that just nails game play at the right time. And most those won't be as much developers as designers.

No More Callbacks: 10,000 Actors, 10,000 Threads, 10,000 Spaceships paralleluniverse.co
320 points by pron  3 days ago   142 comments top 17
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 4 replies      
Nice exemplar. Back when Java was being created, James Gosling was pretty insistent that concurrency be lightweight and scalable. When I ported it from SunOS 4 so Solaris 2.0 I had to move from the really light weight setjump()/longjmp() threads that he had implemented, into the thread system that Solaris had defined. There was a huge negative impact on performance (as I recall about 15x slower). That sucked because one of the coolest demos at the time had a little world in it where 'Fang' (the Java mascot) lived and a bunch of things in that world were all animated with threads. Looking at the 'fiber' model for threads I think they are much closer to what we should have done in the first place.

The thought was to have a billion threads on a SPARCStation 10 (that is like an old Pentium machine now). We never got close but it was a great goal. Definitely going to have to go back and revisit this topic now. Thanks for the excellent demo to play with!

jaimefjorge 3 days ago 2 replies      
Well written, good description and nice demo.

Would love to see more on how this is different to (or better than) Akka. The programming model is actually close to Akka (with actor systems, supervision, receive method, message passing, etc).

The article states that Akka has no true lightweight threads. The guys behind Akka have put it running with 50M messages/second[1] and perfomance vs erlang seems to be good as well [2][3].

Perhaps a benchmark would be great.

Thanks for sharing.

[1] http://letitcrash.com/post/20397701710/50-million-messages-p...

[2] http://uberblo.gs/2011/12/scala-akka-and-erlang-actor-benchm...

[3] http://musings-of-an-erlang-priest.blogspot.pt/2012/07/i-onl... discussing millions of messages is a good signal IMHO).

CookWithMe 3 days ago 2 replies      
My first thought was "why don't they use Akka"?

> Akka has no true lightweight threads (the actors are actually callbacks)

Would you care to elaborate? I'm not too familiar with the internals of Akka, but they definitely don't use "heavyweight" threads (which I assume are threads that are 1:1 mapped to OS threads).

Also, I didn't get "the actors are actually callbacks". Yes, there may be callbacks involved internally (why not?), but there is a big difference whether I am sending a message to an actor (which may be processed at any time) vs. calling a callback (which is immediately executed on the very same thread that I'm running on).

Sorry if this sounds dismissive, but I'd really like to learn why you choose to implement your own solution, because you've obviously put some time into evaluating what is out there.

IgorPartola 3 days ago 3 replies      
> Writing correct and efficient multi-threaded code is at once necessary and extremely difficult.

I do not agree with this. The original statement he is quoting says "can be very challenging". Yes, if you are designing something very state heavy and your design is somehow flawed or too complex then you can run into issues. However, in most cases threads are no more complex than callbacks, actors, etc. In fact, from what I've seen, concurrent code eventually all converges to some semblance of the actor model anyways.

Where the actors/green threads/etc. really shine is having huge numbers of them. OS threads still have very large overhead compared to lighter weight green threads, so you can spin up many magnitudes more of them than you have CPU cores.

Also, in lots of languages multi-core != concurrent. You can have 10,000 actors using a single core. In fact writing a scheduler that can efficiently distribute actors between different cores is probably where the complexity Doron Rajwan refers to lies.

Morgawr 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm going to be "that" guy and ask... why actors? Why not agents?

The concept of agents (as defined by Rich Hickey in a lot of his Clojure talks) is all about a globally shared, immutable and persistent state on which you can act upon.

With actors you still need to have the actor handle its own mailbox of requests and then handle them, the actor has to define its behavior.

With agents you don't have to ask for the world to stop to communicate, you can read the current snapshot of the world (aka no request to view the state, no database queries) and send transformation functions on the data of that specific agent, which will be then processed by the agent's thread in an ordered way.

I'd love to see more insight on the choice for this, it's interesting as I am currently working on a similar project.

newobj 3 days ago 1 reply      
Title: "...10,000 Threads..."

Post: "...10,000 Fibers..."


frozenport 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think the approach is interesting but I don't understand how this considered theoretical. 10,000 elements for an N-Body problem is expected.

What I am more confused about is how this considered peak optimization.

Assuming they are utilizing doubles and doing both read and write I get the following computation:

(10000x10x8x2 bytes per second) or 12 Megabits per second vs the theoretical bandwidth of a PCIe of 40 Gbs?

Are they computationally limited and what is their memory access pattern?

dschiptsov 3 days ago 1 reply      
The other day some guys proudly re-implemented jemalloc in pure Java - https://blog.twitter.com/2013/netty-4-at-twitter-reduced-gc-... now these guys re-implemented a half of Erlang.)

Isn't it better (and bitter) to face the reality and just use Erlang or Go or at least to ask oneself why should everything be stuffed into JVM in 2013?)

regi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. I'm attempting to do pretty much the same thing in C: http://github.com/reginaldl/librinoo
auvrw 3 days ago 1 reply      
concurrency --- albeit not at this scale --- is something that that you sometimes have to deal at a low level with when writing android apps. animating custom views, for example, often winds up involving direct use of Runnable s rather than (what i assume are) system-level AsyncTask s. a lot of the die-callbacks-die neatness on the java side of this relies on a coroutine library, but that library doesn't run on android. there is a continuation library that does> http://commons.apache.org/sandbox/commons-javaflow/which could be used to create coroutines and from there user-level threads

... but if we just want some generic kind of concurrency-niceness on a java virtual machine, might it make more sense to use scala rather than write your own lightweight thread library? is the user-space thread implementation really necessary or even helpful if you're abstracting toward actors anyway? do these questions even make sense to anyone?

ericHosick 3 days ago 0 replies      
We are working on a fully composable frame and concurrency is done as follows (upper-case = Object, lower-case = property):

AsyncRun ( part SomeObject )

multiple items can run in parallel like this:

AsyncRun ( part SomeObjectA SomeObjectB .. )


AsyncSync ( part AsyncRun ( part SomeObjectA SomeObjectB .. ))

locking a property:

AsyncRun ( part AsyncLock ( lockName = "someName", part = SaveUser ( ... ) ) )

On main thread (for UI/UX):

MainThreadRun ( part SomeObject )

mpweiher 3 days ago 0 replies      
And we nowadays have the hardware resources to run this on one CPU per spaceship, at least theoretically:


Needs some interconnect, of course...

meowface 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is this similar to green threads / "greenlets" in Python? They look to be the same concept.
vendakka 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks very nice!

Does this play well with existing JVM threading support? More specifically, if there is a call to a synchronized method inside of a fiber and another JVM thread has entered the monitor, will this block the entire fiber scheduling thread?

The reason I ask is I'd like something that plays well with legacy code.

EGreg 3 days ago 1 reply      
How does this compare with Grand Central Dispatch on the Mac?
knodi 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not a fan of this approach. I like what Go does with channels and I like what D does with synchronized functions. Its simple and powerful and no magic. Fuck magic.
perlgeek 3 days ago 2 replies      
>On my 4-core (8 virtual cores) i7 MacBook, with 10,000 spaceships, I get close to 10 simulation cycles per second. [...]

> When running the simulation synchronously, i.e. with a phaser, performance drops to about 8 cycles per second on my development machine.

> Performance we are able to fully exploit the computing power of modern multi-core hardware.

So, 25% faster with 8 cores is "fully exploit the computing power of modern multi-core hardware". WTF?

Hacker News is a social echo chamber dreamwidth.org
319 points by BCM43  5 days ago   194 comments top 31
DougWebb 4 days ago 15 replies      
I'm curious how many people who have the ability to upvote or flag stories actually do so. For my part, I'm very conservative:

- I never flag stories; I may not find a story interesting, but I don't feel it's appropriate to impose my interests on others or 'police' their discussions.

- I rarely upvote stories, mostly because I'm usually browsing stories that are already on the front-page. Occasionally I skim through the new stories and if I see something interesting there I might upvote it.

- For comments, I upvote comments I find particularly helpful or insightful. I don't downvote comments very often unless they're particularly rude. However, I never downvote comments that are part of a discussion I'm having; I don't trust my impartiality in that case.

If my behavior is typical, then stories are being controlled by a 'vocal minority' who take the time to upvote or flag them. As in any group, the vocal minority tends to have the more fundamentalist / extremist points of view on a subject, which could lead to the outcomes TFA discusses.

vezzy-fnord 5 days ago 5 replies      
Stories that discuss the difficulties faced by minorities in our field are summarily disappeared.


I've tended to notice the opposite: new ones are constantly appearing, they get lots of comments, inspire heated debates and most sentiments are sympathetic, sometimes to an almost unhealthy and postmodern degree.

andrewcooke 5 days ago 1 reply      

   Pope remains Catholic   12 points by BCM43 56 minutes ago | flag | discuss   Bear shits in wood   32 points by BCM43 21 minutes ago | flag | discuss

protomyth 4 days ago 3 replies      
"The original story linked to a review of peer-reviewed scientific research."

I believe the credit we assign to peer reviewed scientific, mathematical, or engineering papers shouldn't be anywhere near the same weight we assign to peer reviewed social science papers. I dealt with quite a lot of these papers early in my career and they do a wonderful job of backing up grant proposals but a poor job of being correct.

My takeaway was that they tried to present some idea as universal when it really required the culture of the researcher in the geographical area the researcher was studying[1]. The second problem is that they didn't understand what they were studying. They didn't think that way.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are some amazing researchers whose results were really useful, but the lack of true rigor in many of these studies is just poor. Don't get me started about the damn math errors or "correlation does not imply causation" arguments.

1) Community risk factor studies have to be the worst. The number of them that only studied urban settings, but believed their results applied to rural areas is astounding.

yummyfajitas 4 days ago 1 reply      
The author's sole example is incorrect. Paul Graham did not dismiss any peer reviewed research. The original article provided no argument (peer reviewed or otherwise) asserting that natural born programmers were a myth - the cited research merely argued that the belief in natural born programmers was harmful. Paul Graham gave an anecdote explaining why he believed in natural born programmers.
crusso 4 days ago 1 reply      
The whole argument of the article is a non-starter:

Building a social echo chamber risks marginalising us from the rest of society, gradually becoming ignored and irrelevant as our self-reinforcing opinions drift ever further away from the mainstream

I don't consume movies, books, music, food, web sites, or much of anything else because they're "mainstream".

I do so because they have a high degree of quality that holds my interests. Mainstream is often the opposite of quality.

The more mainstream HN becomes, the less desirable it becomes. If I wanted mainstream I'd spend more time looking at Slashdot and Reddit.

the_watcher 5 days ago 4 replies      
Flamewars != disagreements. Discouraging flamewars (namecalling, counterproductive arguing that devolves into ad hominem and unrelated attacks) doesn't mean it kills stories that generate disagreement and discussion. I've had many a disagreement in HN threads, been convinced that my original stance was wrong, and (I believe) convinced others that their original stance was wrong (or incomplete, or to change something about it). I've also learned a lot from simply posting what my understanding of an issue is and letting those more familiar add to it. The fact that HN does not want to go the way of Usenet/Reddit/4chan/name a forum doesn't make it an echo chamber.

I hope people disagree with me in this thread and prove my point.

znowi 4 days ago 2 replies      
Abundance of throw-away accounts to express a potentially unpopular opinion is a good evidence of a groupthink environment. People either afraid to lose karma or be scrutinized or otherwise upset the mods.

I can often see people opening their comments with a hefty preamble, which goal is to justify the following controversial opinion, in hopes that it will not bring or at least lessen the wrath of the mob.

And of course people like their idols, too. When PG makes a comment - it's a godsend and instantly attracts the fervent following. In a similar manner, there's no lack of ardent supporters of Google that will rationalize any move by the company in a way that is good for the world.

mwfunk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not every forum is obligated to be as democratic and decentralized as 4chan or Reddit. I like HN because it's more focused, and in some cases more aggressively moderated, even if the mechanisms for doing so are more opaque/blunt/arbitrary/etc. than in other forums. If HN was the only place on the web to discuss anything, I would be much more concerned about the points raised by this article. Fortunately it's not.
ctdonath 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems his prime complaint is that resonating consternation is aggressively removed, giving an undue illusion of peace and harmony - and somehow that's a bad thing.

Some issues are social hot buttons, with a roughly even split (if not in actual numbers, then in energy exerted in pushback against the opposing view), roughly equal validity to each perspective, and pretty much no chance of one side reversing their view en masse in short order. Repeated prolonged verbose heated arguments over these subjects will not lead to any meaningful consensus. Their presence tends to erupt as a tangent or non-sequitur to another discussion, destroying the overall thread in a wave of verbose hysteria. Nothing is served by their recurrence; we all know there's a dramatic split on views regarding the subject, we are each settled in our own views thereon, and frequent re-hashing the subject just sours the environment and encourages participants to seek more sensible discussions elsewhere. Ergo, there's no point in letting these recur. PG is right in weighting the algorithm so such destructive & pointless discussions tend to disappear.

Yes, we know such disagreements exist. A policy of "not here, guys" is a good thing. Yes, the issues being suppressed are of great sociopolitical importance; please recognize that decent people can disagree over them, please agree to disagree, and resolving that disagreement will not happen here - but continued rehashing thereof will create a toxic environment.

jiggy2011 5 days ago 3 replies      
Is there any online discussion place that isn't to some degree an echo chamber?
thetabyte 4 days ago 2 replies      
Especially after pg's response to the blog post about sexual assault at CodeMash, I wonderwhy can't the flamewar detector just disable comments?

I tend to have a lot of respect for pg, and found his apology for what happened in that thread to be admirable. Whether or not preventing discussion of the issue on HN is positive or negative...I have very complex feelings on the issue, and see valid arguments on both sides.

What I do not have mixed feelings about, however, is that these issues need to be put front and center, so that people in our industry a) know they exist b) know how common they are c) are inspired to make personal effort to fix it. I would hope that pg agrees.

If he does, why not make such stories, when they set off the flamewar detector, maintain their ranking, but disable comments? That way, the issue is still raised, and people are still alerted to it, but it prevents the (some believe) "unproductive" discussion.

scott_s 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker News is a meta-experiment on confirmation bias. In every meta-discussion I see on the "bias" in HN, there is always someone saying "HN is biased against X" and "HN is biased against not X". It's in the comments linked in this story, and I see it all over HN itself. My best explanation for that is an individual's confirmation bias.
drcode 5 days ago 1 reply      
What HN should do is add a feature where readers can upvote stories so they can have their say about what is on the front page. This would address OP's concerns.


MichaelAza 4 days ago 1 reply      
"There are no social problems in the technology industry. We have always been at war with Eastasia."

Boy oh boy, I sure love me some Orwell references.

Referencing 1984 should be on par with referencing Hitler. It's just a lazy debate tactic. If you have a good point you can make it without resorting to these much-too-often used references.

Orwell himself went against it his essay "Politics and the English Language". Read it. It'll do you good.

mortice 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is just a natural consequence of Hacker News not being a free market. The state controls of the karma system practically guarantee inefficiency in the free exchange of ideas. We need to stop subsidizing mediocrity.
EliRivers 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stories that appear to challenge the narrative that good programmers are just naturally talented tend to vanish.

Wait, is that the common narrative? Surely the only people who believe that are the elderly, who just can't shake the "child genius" idea of programmers they were fed in the seventies and eighties?

theorique 5 days ago 3 replies      
In other words, a place focused on particular subjects (technology, programming, science) collects people with similar life experiences, interests, worldviews, etc.
elp1stolero 4 days ago 0 replies      
A wise man once said,

"Seeking clarity is more valuable than agreement."

That changed the way I think about writing, and sharing my opinions or discussing other people's ideas. If you go into a disagreement looking to better understand what led the other party to their beliefs, you typically have a more mature and interesting discussion. Plus, why someone believes something I completely disagree with is more interesting than the what, anyway.It is likely in the end that you both may agree to disagree, (a lost art in this age), but at least you can converse respectfully about complex ideas like adults.

NovemberWest 4 days ago 0 replies      
Funny, my concerns about the social climate here are rather different. But I suspect writing this type of article is probably not the way to fix things. When people feel attacked, they get defensive and tend to become more entrenched, not less, due to trying to justify their behavior.
ThomPete 4 days ago 1 reply      
Well culture is an echo chamber. It does not mean it's bad.

I see it as there is a certain culture here, one which i happen to be in agreement with most of the time, while there is still room for dissent.

mattmaroon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker News was a social echo chamber long before there was flagging or flamewar detection. I think it's just an inherent law in any small, passionate community.
makerops 5 days ago 2 replies      
I tend to agree with the premise of the article, but found this line from a self described "big government" type, funny:

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

steven2012 5 days ago 2 replies      
HN is privately run by pg. He's allowed to set the rules whichever way he wants.

Just because the author wants it to be run a certain way doesn't mean that it should. If he doesn't like how it's done and thinks that issues that he believes are important should be discussed, he should make his own news aggregator site, instead of trying to hijack an already-established site for his own agenda.

If the majority start disagreeing with the curation of HN articles, then they will leave to other places, like reddit. And frankly, I'm not sure that pg even cares if this happens, he didn't start HN to increase his popularity or his influence.

elchief 4 days ago 1 reply      
My stuff has been on the front page twice, and I'm a left wing, big government Canadian.

Some people can be a little cranky, we're computer guys ffs, but I think the discourse here is pretty civil and open minded.

trendspotter 4 days ago 0 replies      
The comment section of this article is a social echo chamber of a critique of a social echo chamber.
Steko 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hilariously, this article appears to be flagged far below it would naturally score atm.
gnarbarian 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone who believes in big government has never contracted for one at length.
BigChiefSmokem 4 days ago 0 replies      
We are all pretty like-minded and I see nothing wrong with that. This isn't Congress, it's the Hacker News Social Club. You can leave when you like.
squozzer 4 days ago 0 replies      
So are CSPAN, NPR, and most media outlets. Duh.
0xdeadbeefbabe 4 days ago 0 replies      
When you write to hacker news to say hacker news is an echo chamber I go into an infinite loop and run out of stack space, thanks a lot.
Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) ubuntu.com
310 points by zeis  3 days ago   186 comments top 25
rlpb 3 days ago 5 replies      
No, it's not released.

The release is imminent. Ubuntu is developed in the open, so you get to see candidate release images on the page linked.

Ubuntu is not released until the release is announced. If you're in doubt, expect to see an announcement on the ubuntu-announce mailing list, or its archive at https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-announce/

Also see #ubuntu-release-party on Freenode. At the moment, the topic says "... No, it's not out yet | No, we don't have a set time for release"

(written as of Thu, 17 Oct 2013 10:55:59 +0000; obviously this post will become incorrect as soon as it actually is released)

csense 2 days ago 5 replies      
The main feature I'm looking forward to is zswap in kernel 3.11 [1]. Basically instead of swapping, the kernel will first compress infrequently used pages in RAM, which is orders of magnitude faster than swapping to disk.

The practical effect of this is basically the same as a free RAM upgrade!

[1] https://lwn.net/Articles/537422/

endijs 3 days ago 2 replies      
Web is finally refreshed. And release notes are here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SaucySalamander/ReleaseNotes
gw 2 days ago 3 replies      
I upgraded my 13.04 system this morning and now it is unfortunately unusable. Any time I try to switch users, it consistently brings me to a black screen with a frozen mouse pointer that I cannot get out of, even when hitting Ctrl+Alt+F#. I'm downloading the iso now to try a fresh install.
homosaur 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain to me what's different about the Mac and PC versions of 64 bit Ubuntu? I've seen these Mac versions show up lately but what's in them? I can't find the data clearly on the website. Is it just different drivers and defaults?
diminish 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'll stick to 12.04 LTS for desktop and server and wait for 14.04 LTS for desktop and server. 9 months support made *.10 releases less exciting, for me somehow.
baldfat 3 days ago 8 replies      
Ubuntu is not going the direction I want for "my Linux.1. Mir is a huge mistake (My opinion)2. Unity (Well I am tiled window manager (i3) guy now so all DEs) I really don't like the flow of OS X and it is starting to really look more like OS X. DEFAULT an easily be changed.3. Lack of community between the Linux ecosystem. Millions is spent on Ubuntu but seems like little makes it upstream.4. Software Center. They need to just take OpenSUSE's one-click model and get rid of their current model of App Store and the horrible app model. (My model)5. Their Developer SDK to "Write once, run everywhere." If I had a nickel for every time that was promised (Java looking at you) Once again OpenSUSE Build Service is the most underused Linux tool in the last decade https://build.opensuse.org/ Build it there and also build packages for other Distros also.

Now after my list I have Ubuntu running my home server right now and well it is solid. I use OpenSUSE at work and Arch Linux on my tiny laptop and like those experiences more.

People need to look at OpenSUSE again!

abbot2 3 days ago 4 replies      
To be honest "what's new" page looks, well, not very convincing: https://help.ubuntu.com/13.10/ubuntu-help/whats-new.html
josteink 3 days ago 0 replies      
Same day as Windows 8.1 hits the market. [1]

Wonder which one will get most press coverage :)

[1] http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/17/windows-8-1-now-available...

kh_hk 3 days ago 0 replies      
[Related] Kubuntu Linux 13.10 Released https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6565146
simonebrunozzi 2 days ago 1 reply      
So, a user (zeis, don't take it personally) publishes a link to the release of Ubuntu 13.10, but he's actually wrong... Despite this, his post gets 188 points of karma (as of know).Now that's what I call a karma system that doesn't work well.

I should just post "Ubuntu 14.04 (Taunting Tiger) released" and get my own share of karma...

JSno 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Ubuntu 13.10 will only be supported for 9 months. Non-LTS releases prior to Ubuntu 13.04 were supported for 18 months. "
Symmetry 3 days ago 2 replies      
I was sad to see that the option to swap caps lock and escape was gone (I think I'm blaming GNOME here). But on the other hand I ought to be doing that programaticly in my setup script, so I finally just got around to adding that there.

EDIT: I almost decided to switch to Xubuntu, but then I installed xfce, tried it out, and found that they didn't provide that option either. Besides, using xmonad with xfce is much more complicated than with GNOME.

nobleach 2 days ago 9 replies      
Let me guess. Postgres 9.1, Ruby 1.9.1, PHP 5.3.11, a lot of extremely old packages... Please tell me if I'm wrong!

I'm really tired of the software world moving forward and Ubuntu turning into Debian Woody.

talles 3 days ago 6 replies      
Is it shipped with Mir?

Their what's new page is kinda succinct: https://help.ubuntu.com/13.10/ubuntu-help/whats-new.html

routelastresort 3 days ago 1 reply      
Releases link is live:


puller 3 days ago 0 replies      
The beta of this has been smooth for me. I had no problems doing the upgrade (but I have used Ubuntu for a while). I am enjoying the newer versions of the kernel and some packages that are key for me. If you use Unity, the dash feels faster. I'm more pleased with this release than several past ones.
rtpg 2 days ago 0 replies      
a warning for people using Anthy or other IME's : 13.10 replaces some stuff in the keyboard mechanisms, and the dash eats up a lot more keyboard shortcuts (I can't even get Alt+Shift to work! Alt+Shift!). It's frustrating, I somehow got two random keybindings to work and somehow activated ibus (not in the conventional fashion, which no longer works), but I don't know what I did so can't document it.

Frustrating how they can break such an important thing (keyboards)

shurcooL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does this support touch input well? What would the experience be like if you were to install it on a Windows 8 tablet, like Acer Iconia W3, Surface Pro or others?
MrMeker 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm installing it as a chroot on my Chromebook, I hope this goes well. Otherwise its sudo delete-chroot unity.
arbutus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's some ideas for names for the next release:

Tenacious Turkey

Threadbare Thrush

Tailles Tenrec

Tailful Tenrec

Thorny Thorny Devil

Timely Tarantula

Titilating Titmouse

rohu1990 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any one managed to get Ubuntu 13.10 on mac book air with Haswell processor ? Any better result for the graphics support on haswell ? I was hoping to buy one of these if I could run ubuntu 13.10 without much problems.
pacofvf 2 days ago 1 reply      
ubuntu-gnome 13.10 now comes with gnome 3.8, I will give it a try.
saltyknuckles 3 days ago 0 replies      
lol Saucy Salamander
FlyKly Smart Wheel kickstarter.com
310 points by BerislavLopac  3 days ago   188 comments top 39
noonespecial 3 days ago 5 replies      
FlyKly guys: Welcome to HN. I know that a lot of this thread is going to look like we're hating on your product. (Personally I think that if you deliver it with the level of finish you're aiming for, it will be pretty cool). Mostly we're not, this is how we roll. For geeks, we've got x-ray vision when it comes to most new technologies so we see right down to the basic principles (which are almost always simple) right away. These are almost never the most interesting parts of new product releases but will elicit the predictable "pfft, Thomas Edison did it in 1913...". Water off a duck.

What we will do is pour our thoughts like water through your product and ideas. Anything that's not perfectly thought through is going to leak. I hope you'll take the criticism in the (mostly good) spirit in which its offered and use it to build a better product.

buro9 3 days ago 2 replies      
I was going to join everyone else in this thread in bashing elements of the design and product, the specifications, etc. But I won't do that.

Instead I'll do the opposite.

I'll point out upfront, I own 5 bikes, I run one of the largest cycling forums in the world, and I run one of the largest cycling clubs in the UK. I get cycling.

I like it. The FlyKly.

I like it because it allows a rider to keep their existing bike, and yet to retrofit for a really reasonable price an electric motor.

I like it because the vast majority of the weight within the wheel isn't a moving thing, the batteries are fixed.

I like it because the 30 mile range, whilst not suiting my 18 mile commute for a daily charge, actually does suit the vast majority of cyclists that I know who only commute fewer than 10 miles.

I like the 1,000 cycles, which is probably 900 in reality, is actually a few years of use for the average cyclist. Even most cycle commuters don't actually cycle 7 days a week, and those do diligently do so on all work days only do so for 220 > 250 days per year.

It hits all of the sweet spots:

1) Can I keep my existing bicycle?

2) Can I just get the electric bit and not pay to replace all of the other bits I have?

3) Will it just work and be easy to install?

4) Will it help me on my commute?

5) Will it realistically last a couple of years?

6) Is it priced such that I can afford it?

For the majority of cyclists I know, the answer is yes to all of the above.

I think it's got a good chance, which doesn't mean I'll be buying one but then I'm not your average cyclist.

PS: FlyKly, you show several times the use of the wheel on a brakeless fixed-gear bike. That's just for the aesthetics right? Or is the wheel fixed compatible such that you're fine with people skid/skip stopping?

fernly 3 days ago 3 replies      
You need to differentiate from the long-existing BionX hub motors[0] which do regen braking at user-selectable levels AND allow proper 7, 8 or 9-speed clusters, unlike the single gear your pictures show.

[0] http://www.bionxinternational.com/bionx-international-north-...

Edit: the big differences would be (a) this has the battery integral to the hub, where the BionX uses a separate battery pack; and (b) that this communicates to its controller -- your phone -- wirelessly, where the BionX console[1] connects with a wire.

IMO as owner of a BionX-equipped bike, I'm dubious about whether either difference is a positive one. For (a), the in-hub battery is clearly size-limited, can't be removed from the bike for charging indoors, and would be harder to replace.

As for (b), is it really a good idea to require a smartphone to be attached to your handlebars whenever you ride? That's not an easy environment, it has a lot of vibration as well as exposure to water, dust, and sweat. A minor point, the BionX dedicated controller has an optional thumb operated throttle lever for proportional control when you don't want to pedal, and it's hard to see how that could work with a smartphone.


cjensen 3 days ago 5 replies      
"it can quickly be located and tracked via GPS" but the only radio in it is Bluetooth, so I guess you can track it if you're in the same room...

"36V Lithium" battery, but no spec about how many kWh it stores.

"Top Speed 20mph". Given that it only operates when the human puts in some effort, what does that even mean? I'm guessing this is written down because US Law says if it goes faster than 20, it's no longer a bike.

"In 2011 Niko Klansek introduced the first line of electric bicycles to the USA market." Nope; ebikes have been available in the US for far longer than that.

GAH. There are lots of conversion kits you can buy today. The kickstarter gives no way for you to figure out if this is anything better.

beloch 3 days ago 4 replies      
Here's why I like this design.

5 kg is light for a battery/motor module, but it still adds about 50% to the weight of a decent bike. The added thickness also means it's probably not practical to put a multi-gear cassette on it. End result, this will cripple most bikes once the battery runs out. More weight and poor gear ratios = hell for the cyclist. However, most smart-bikes are crippled anyways once they run out of juice.

The great thing is that you can use the same bike for commuting that you use for your sweatier, long-haul weekend trips. All you have to do is swap the original dumb-wheel back in. If you buy a dumb-bike and a smart-wheel you almost get two bikes for the price of one.

Tip for the makers: Stress the ease of hot-swapping that wheel in even more than you are now. This is a major selling point.

P.S. I don't see a quick-release clamp on this sucker in your pictures or video. This is a no-brainier and absolutely needs to be on there.

chintan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Niko (the CEO) is real deal - he used to work across my cubicle at Projective Space in SoHo. He first introduced FlyKly electric bikes in NYC (he did manage to sell a lot in the area). His personal story is full of inspiring entrepreneurial journey! He is now back with smart wheel! Good luck man!
crazygringo 3 days ago 3 replies      
It doesn't appear to support bicycles with gears. Is that something planned for a future model? Or do gears somehow become unnecessary with electric assist? Could you even retrofit this to a standard cheap 15-gear bike, or is it strictly fixed-gear only?
alan_cx 3 days ago 3 replies      
KERS for a bicycle. Cool.

Given that old Lotus bike, Im surprised one for the F1 teams hasn't rustled something up. I'd have a chat with one of them and see if they would like to partner up. Especially as they are trying to be all green these days.

Can you harvest from the front wheel too?

shadowmint 3 days ago 0 replies      
The chances of me sticky-taping my phone to the front of my bike are non-existent.

...but also, won't charging this be a complete pain? I'm just imaging a bicycle sitting next to all the other USB charge devices on my desk. Awkward...

ginko 3 days ago 1 reply      
Considering the acceleration of the motor is controlled wirelessly, I wonder if you could attack it so it e.g. accelerates uncontrollably.
mdisraeli 3 days ago 1 reply      
My wheelchair-using family and friends have been rocking Alber e-motion wheels[1] for some time, and would highly recommend them. Those don't recharge from motion (or as fast), or support bluetooth, but work in a similar way.

[1] http://www.alber.de/en/products/wheelchair-drive/mobility-wh...

farnsworth 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is less efficient than putting all the batteries and other gear on the frame, right? Spinning all that mass around will take energy. I don't see an advantage unless you expect to swap wheels out often.
grannyg00se 3 days ago 1 reply      
"It goes up to 20 mph (25 km/h) for a 30 miles (50 km) range."

The speed conversion is way off. But the distance conversion is pretty good. Wonder why that is.

jessaustin 3 days ago 1 reply      
IANAMechanicalEngineer, but do we need to worry about additional stress on the left dropout? The forces to which this component is typically subjected are the weight of the system and the tension of the chain. This device would seem to add an additional torque associated with driving the wheel via the pill-shaped peg that slides into the dropout.

This probably wouldn't be an issue for most bikes, but it seems like it's outside the design specs for any existing bike.

hipsterelitist 3 days ago 0 replies      
These guys made an electric bike/scooter hybrid a few years back that had some buzz here in NYC before release, but just seems to have fizzled. I'd be curious to know what happened.
Robin_Message 3 days ago 1 reply      
Could you fit it the front wheel instead? Less work with the chain, and you can keep all your old gears. Not sure how it would affect the "drivability" though.
Zigurd 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's an interesting idea. But there are some big obstacles:

1. I question the need for a retrofit product. There are many mature e-bike designs on the market. I doubt it would be hard to find an ODM or CM that could sell you a good design off the shelf.

2. Many e-bikes have removable batteries. You can charge them at work. This doesn't look like it could.

3. Maybe the e-bike isn't the sweet spot. Maybe a slightly larger electric scooter is it. Or maybe an even bigger three-wheeler like Toyota has shown.

4. Outside of China, where gas scooters are prohibited in many (all?) cities, e-bike have not caught on (though I see quite a lot of them in Manhattan, still not enough to be mainstream)

codex 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this project is like the other Kickstarter projects I've backed, it will meet its funding goal then be delayed by months and months, if not years, with letters of apology sent every month or so. It's a shame because Kickstarter is one of the best things to ever happen to capitalism.
soperj 3 days ago 3 replies      
What's to stop someone from just taking the wheel when it's locked? Or removing the wheel and taking the rest of the bike?
virtualritz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Most bikes I see in cities in Europe have hub gears in the rear wheel's axle.I think this won't work with these because if you put that wheel in, you loose the hub gear?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hub_gear
r00fus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Battery life of 1000 cycles? Isn't that a bit low considering it'll only take you about 30mi/50km per charge cycle?

If they had some way of restoring the batteries without replacing/repurchasing the wheel, I'd be less concerned.

LaurentVB 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the concept very much, but they're being a bit dishonest about the "fits practically any bicycle frame". Even in their own video, they show the wheel mounted on bikes where it absolutely does not fit with the brakes: see http://imgur.com/lZZ2ABg
mistercow 3 days ago 1 reply      
What I'm not clear here is whether this does regenerative braking, or only charges at home. If it's regenerative, it's awesome and I want it. I've actually wanted to do a DIY regenerative braking project for a bike for a long time (impracticality and net-loss-due-to-added-weight would not really bother me as long as it worked). Somehow, if it's only charged at home, I feel like it's kind of silly, like a way to make biking lazier.

Still, in any case it would be awesome in that it would make biking practical in hilly areas where it is otherwise a horrible mode of transportation.

6ren 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm disappointed it doesn't (seem to) do regenerative braking... so elegant, don't waste that power, reuse it! But I don't think this is a big selling point, and you can always add it later.

I think your marketing approach is what will make or break it: "non-sweaty to dates/interviews" and the phone-charger could be the killer app (perhaps look into what segment actually experiences this pain most? Many of today's phones have adequate battery life for some people's usage; target those phones + usages that don't).

bluekite2000 3 days ago 1 reply      
I thought electric bikes are illegal in New York??? http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/04/electric-bikes-...
DanBlake 3 days ago 4 replies      
This has been done before, not sure why it warrants a kickstarter.

The Copenhagen wheel has been around for around ~5 years and looks identical to this, sans the GPS.


towski 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you don't mind having to position a battery on your bike, for $399 you can already get an electric wheel.


Otherwise I've been using a wheel and battery from http://www.leafmotor.com/hub-motors/16r-electric-hub-motor.h...

If you're more into plugging stuff together yourself. They also offer more wheel sizes, like 700c.

CrankyPants 3 days ago 1 reply      
Will it come in black? 700c?
kamjam 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will this only work with single speed bikes? What about bikes with gears in the front and/or back, they will need to be converted to single speed I presume?
Tarang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Im curious how does the (normal) braking system work? If the motors helps push against hills it pushes against resistance like the rubber brakes too? Surely its not always regenerative braking? I guess you always have to stop pedaling for that to kick in.. It is nice though to go down a hill or even flat land on free without feeling the resistance of regenerative braking or something slowing you down.. Do we get control over this?

The second was how does it talk to the phone without a SIM card or some kind of internet connection if you're a couple of storeys up in a building where Bluetooth? doesn't have any range?

Otherwise this is pretty awesome, although I do like getting a bit of a workout when going around I like when you want you can move around stressless it would be awesome for 'those days' and not have to use a car.

tocomment 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was trying to figure out if this same type of thing would be possible to build into a car tire. I haven't been able to figure out braking yet?

Is there any work being done to simple regen braking systems that could easily be added to cars?

tirant 3 days ago 0 replies      
It only comes in 26 and 29 inches size. Good luck then selling to one of the biggest market of Bikes (and electrical bikes), Europe, where the common size for Urban bikes is 28 inches.
susi22 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will it be waterproof? ipx7? What about vibrations? The housing for a Di2 battery case are enormous compared to the battery it contains.
joetech 3 days ago 0 replies      
I absolutely want one of these. They've thought of everything. As I went to pledge my money for it, I found that the starting pledge that actually gets me a wheel was $550 and that's all gone. So to get one will run me $590 and presumably more in retail. This is where "more accessible" as one of their goals falls short.

It looks great, but I'll have to pass at the price.

nsm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I do hope this will work even if I don't have a smartphone.

It's ridiculous how a lot of mechanical things today are bound to the digital world when they don't need to be.

avn2109 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sweet product. But am I the only one who has noticed that the "locking" feature is an absolute joke? Esp. in NYC, where the most burly bike locks money can buy keep you a mere step ahead of only the least-committed thieves.

Also, can this thing run without a smartphone? If it's raining, you certainly don't want to keep your phone on the bars.

Ono-Sendai 3 days ago 0 replies      
spelling mistake: "and it weights only 9 lbs (4 kg)"
hendekagon 3 days ago 2 replies      
Unsprung mass
Miyamoto 3 days ago 7 replies      
Unless you're disabled, why do people want an electric bicycle? I figured most people cycle because they love cycling and the exercise of it. Including hills. Is this product meant to attract more automobilist?
What happens when you're #1 on Hacker News for a day levels.io
290 points by pieterhg  19 hours ago   86 comments top 33
RyanZAG 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Really interesting read on how much interaction HN brings. There is a lot to be said for quality over quantity when it comes to page views.

I believe you are wrong about dismissing that top comment in the other post as snarky, negative and useless. That comment has a lot of very useful information from someone who appears to have been doing the Thailand thing longer than you have.

1) Thai law was brought up a number of times and you do appear to be violating it. This is probably something that needs to be said.

2) You mention how cheap it is while he believes its more expensive, but you may have gotten a good deal or stayed in areas that others wouldn't want to. It's your experience vs his; I see no reason to dismiss him as 'snark'.

3) He shares a number of anecdotes (sex workers, etc) that differ from your anecdotes. Thailand is a big place, you can both be right, and the more information the better.

clamprecht 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Next week: What happens when your follow-up to being #1 on Hacker News ends up being #1 on Hacker News.
balabaster 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Dear Pete's Mom,

You really have no idea how much of a time sink HN really is. If I said it took a fair portion of my day, it would be the biggest understatement of the year.

Love from everyone who reads Hacker News

lancewiggs 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Nobody has yet given feedback on your landing page for Tubelytics (1), where you said only one person signed up from the HN post.

From my perspective there is simply nothing there(2), and 5 seconds looking at a static page is just not enough information for me to make a decision. That decision is not just to give you my email address, but to "sign-up", which is a huge step too far.

At the very least I need a "find out more" option, and I'd need that without having to give you my email address or other details.

You clearly write very well, so why not tell the Tubelytics story underneath the landing page. Let me scroll down and read the story, see the screenshots, hear about the use cases and experience the success stories.

By the time people get to the end they should know what the product is, how awesome it will be for them to use it, how much it costs and whether or not they will buy.

(Advanced) Ideally I could play with the product and even set it up with my youtube videos(3) without logging in, and once I experience the product then I can save the data by creating an account and, more likely, pay you.

So rather than not getting an email, perhaps there is a better way to get a paid sign-up.

(1) https://tubelytics.com(2) I'm OSX Safari with flash block on(3) I'm not a target customer

pothibo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For those of you who think you need a "good server" to be on the front page of hacker news, you're wrong. My blog hit #2 on HN and landed on the front page a few times in the last six months.

I have a Rackspace 256mb ram slice hosting Wordpress. No caching at all, none.

I also run, on the same server, a teamspeak server for a friend that still plays games.

I peaked at 290 simultaneous people reading my post. Teamspeak server was still working fine.

001sky 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a meta test piece also on the power of sequels ! Once people are sold on a story, you can double-down quite readily by a small incremental expenditure of work on the n+1 piece of information that enlightens/informs the previous one that people have a previous investment in (learning the plot/characters/setting, etc).

Good work !


150+ points on HN170+ comments on HN

280+ points on HN90+ comments on HN

The sequel has ~2x upvotes, plus a better karma/comment ratio as well...

NicoJuicy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As a user, i interacted a lot on you're blog (read many articles and etc).

It's very well designed, has interesting content and it's easy to just read the next article.

It's probably one of the best blogs i've ever met (excellent place for your links (at the end of your article for a follow-up story).

And, you have converted me to the panda show. Great music!

So congrats and nice job :)

PS. You didn't convert a lot of your users, because it had nothing to do with Tubelytics. It was an awesome read, but probably missed your core audience attention :-) (personal opinion though).

benologist 18 hours ago 2 replies      

    These numbers tell me Ill have to completely change     the landing page as its not converting well. 
Don't optimize your site for HN unless you want to spend the next two years crawling towards your first thousand users - YouTube publishers in significant numbers just don't hang out here. Most startups should take heed of those numbers[1] too before they design a content strategy around HN hoping that will give them traction.

[1] 15,000 uniques led to just 78 trials, 1 paid customer

Avalaxy 17 hours ago 5 replies      
Hacker News is strange... Post that describe a product that was built in a weekend manage to reach #1 all the time, but when I submit my project that I've been working on for more than a month, everyone collectively ignores is, and it receives 0 upvotes.
jlongster 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I know I'm not the only one to find it hilarious that for every single top-HN post you make, you can double the traffic by simply posting the status of each one.

As much flak as HN gets, I have found that it's the best source of traffic. My post yesterday about building a desk stayed at #2 for half a day and I got about 20,000 views with an average time of 40 seconds. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6566643

anuragramdasan 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I had my last post on the home page for almost a day. That spike in the viewers count and twitter feeds are probably the most notable effect out of it. If you need to spread any sort of awareness about any topic, HN seems to be a great way to do that, also the fact that so many other platforms pick up their news from HN only helps.
joeblau 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I wrote http://gitignore.io and I saw a lot more traffic and traction by posting a link to my website in Reddit's /r/git than I did on Hacker News. Have you tried posting on different mediums and comparing the results?
philangist 17 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Your mom's comment was hilarious.

2. I agree with your point about the standard top comment on most Hacker News posts being contrarian. It can be very annoying, but having a strong dissenting voice also helps keep BS posts in check. I have noticed a lot more jokes as the top comments within posts though. I'm not sure if that's good or BSD. The first example that comes mind is a post titled 'You have a 0.000007% chance of becoming a billionaire'. The top rated comment was the common Reddit joke 'So you're saying I have a chance'.

qwerta 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Front page for a day is not that hard, if you have something relevant and interesting. I think it is better to avoid direct description of your project, and choose unique scenario or good story. Also good idea is to run stress test on your site before.

I made it last year. I needed some feedback and early adopters, it was great to kick start small community. Also my project changed name and that post made it #1 result on Google in 3 weeks. There was handful of serious job offers as direct result of that post, last one 3 months latter.

It has been year since my last post on HN. My project is stable-enough, I have some pilot customers, and even made first profit this month. On other side I have only 50 twitter followers and no invitations to conferences. So I will probably hit HN again in a few weeks :-)

gtirloni 18 hours ago 0 replies      
HN people rediscovering the /. effect? Learnt nothing new at all.
AndrewKemendo 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Thus Narcissus fell into the lake
gmcgraffin 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Clever f*er! Looking forward to round two of the statistics and how they compare with the one in this article.
geekuillaume 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this post will receive the same amount of viewers than the last one, prepare your servers ! :)Joke apart, your content is quite good, well redacted but you also have a nice and content-centered blog. It's far more readable than other blogs or academic papers and I think it's also thanks to this that you were featured. Keep posting your posts on HN !Thanks
marincounty 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish people would stop using the word "snark". I want to believe B.F Skinner wasn't completely right.
macarthy12 9 hours ago 0 replies      

Would you be interested in doing a talk on all this at the next Beercamp at Punspace?

itry 18 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you measure the facebook shares?
cstrat 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Am I the only person who actually enjoys Thai beer?!
tmo9d 16 hours ago 1 reply      
OMG who cares. I'm sorry, but this is just technology startup navel gazing nonsense.
TallboyOne 16 hours ago 0 replies      
What you need to post now is... what happens when you're #1 on Hacker News for 2 times out of 2 days.
Sam121 18 hours ago 0 replies      
You deserve it and your luck was with you. Finally will say Lucky(2%),Work(49%)and Content(49%)makes your post #1. But i can understand this awesome feeling when you receive traffic more than your month in a single day. Keep going
mrpdaemon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice metrics, I especially liked the device breakdown: 66% desktop 25% mobile and 9% tablet. Welcome to the post-PC era (!
talles 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I love how you are #1 talking about what happen when you're are #1
wamatt 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I enjoyed reading the report back. The author laid it out clearly and informatively. However the dismissal of the top HN comment, appears unfounded. [1]

It reads like a case of minimizing dissonance. In other words, it seems the author is attempting to rationalize away another person's viewpoint, by simply characterizing it as snark.

Some more probable explanations why the comment made it to #1, could have been:

- It felt authentic. "I've lived and built two companies in Thailand over the last 14 years."

- The answer expressed a contrary viewpoint, giving HN readers a more balanced view of the topic.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6541441

lelf 18 hours ago 0 replies      
You're again. Sorry for that
vladmk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I imagine the next post is gonna be titled: "What happens when you're #2 on Hacker News for a day"
brenfrow 18 hours ago 1 reply      
...Your website crashes and you discover what memcache is for.
pattle 17 hours ago 1 reply      
It's ironic how this post is also number 1
zinx 18 hours ago 0 replies      
OMG, those are great stats, I created a new account just after reading this article.
Introducing TogetherJS mozilla.org
286 points by conductor  3 days ago   80 comments top 14
mikegioia 3 days ago 9 replies      
This looks great but it seems they have no plans to support Internet Explorer (https://togetherjs.com/docs/#browser-support). That's a shame because most of our users who need this level of support all use IE :/
aroch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion (before the official announcement) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6415210
hrjet 3 days ago 1 reply      
What worries me, and I realized this only after trying TogetherJS, is that Websockets don't require a special permission in browsers! So any website with JS enabled is now going to be able to do peer-to-peer? Could this be a can of worms, security-wise?
csantini 3 days ago 1 reply      
Jesus, how much I waited for this! :O

Literally just deployed, absolutely love it:


One liner copy-paste for community on your website. I can finally talk in real time with my users and understand why the use my website.

mntmn 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am building an actual service using technology like this (but we wrote our own, not TogetherJS). It's cool, but don't forget that this is really a "utility" and it's the mix of factors and features that you build on top of this that make an actual product out of it. I'm currently compiling a (somewhat biased) feature-by-feature comparison on creative realtime collaboration tools. Feel free to comment and suggest more products to compare! https://docs.google.com/a/mnt.mn/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AunvDU...
nichol4s 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm very excited to see so much enthusiasm for TogetherJS.

We are currently building something similar and plan to release that next week. It has lots of similarities but we target a somewhat different market. Some of the differences, you do not need to write a single line of code and it will even work with advanced application that require sign in without sharing security tokens.

We plan to release Surfly next week, but people who are interested in trying it out can msg me and can get a beta account.

Kiro 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is WebRTC better for real-time apps (drawing, games) than WebSockets?
veganarchocap 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's incredible! Already got it working on a project, just... wow!
newsreader 3 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad it doesn't support IE10. I was already brainstorming how to implement but will have to wait for something else...
drcongo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only person that gets an SSL cert mismatch on this site?
filipedeschamps 3 days ago 0 replies      
Had to be made with Node.js ;)
nadee013 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a really nice :)Firebase added firebase integration[0] to this, I hope that would be really cool.

I'm not there could be an possible integration with Meteor too.

[0] - https://github.com/firebase/togetherjs

createcode1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Need IE support please
ldn_tech_exec1 3 days ago 2 replies      
There is a 363 point discussion on this 26 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6415210
Coding Interview Tips interviewcake.com
282 points by gameguy43  4 days ago   150 comments top 26
Jemaclus 3 days ago 7 replies      
Here's where I think I diverge from most people on this topic. My personal view is that I think by the time you bring someone in for an interview, you should already know that they can code, whether that's through code samples they provide or through Github accounts or whatever.

TL;DR; Don't waste your applicants time or your own

## The InterviewInterviewing should have two parts, imo:

* Confirming that I actually wrote the code I sent you and know what it means

* Confirming that you want to sit next to me for the next six months

I can tell you right now that if I take time off my current job to go sit in your office for an interview and you ask me basic questions like "What is MVC?" or "What's the difference between a POST and a GET request?", I'm going to thank you for your time and walk right out.

Why? Because my Github profile, which is featured prominently on my resume, contains examples of both. Half my projects are MVC projects, and many of them use 3rd party APIs (or are even APIs themselves!). The fact that you're asking me basic definitions means you didn't even pay attention to the stuff I sent you, so you're wasting my time and yours. You could have already figured this out ahead of time. Instead, you asked me to take time out of my day (probably during work hours) to ask questions whose answers I've already provided.

(Please note that this only really goes for non-entry-level positions. For entry-level applicants, such as kids fresh out of college, you may not have very many code samples to work with. That's fine. In that case, send some problems for them to work on at home. Hopefully, these are dumbed-down but real-world problems your company has faced in the past.)

## Phone Screen (aka verifying authenticity)

The first thing you should do is take a gander at my Github profile or my code samples. Then you call me up at a prearranged time and ask me questions about that code. Make me prove that I wrote what I said I wrote.

* I noticed you made this combat simulator (www.bitfalls.com/2013/08/autofight-php-job-interview-task-part-1.html). Walk me through your thought process.

* Your code appears to be a custom MVC. Why did you choose to go with a custom one versus say, CodeIgniter or Symfony?

* This project is an API for Nerd Nite scheduling. First of all, what's Nerd Nite and why did you make an API for it? Second, explain how you scraped the data, organized it, and output the results.

The above three questions will give you way more insight into my programming style and thought process than "What is an MVC?". Please. Don't waste my time. As a senior engineer with 7+ years in the field, I shouldn't need to prove the equivalent of my ABCs to you. It should be understood.

I personally would also skip the whole "live coding" thing via Stypi or whatever. Waste of time, imo. You've already got code samples and you can ask me as many questions as you want about it. I shouldn't need to write code in front of you to establish my credentials.

## What about people who lie?

There are people who lie about their resume and their qualifications, but that's exactly why you should tailor your questions to fit the code samples provided. If I don't get excited about that code and I can't eloquently explain why I did what I did or how it works, then maybe I didn't write it after all. It also gives you an insight as to my personality: I clearly took time out of my day to write this code. Why? What prompted me to write an API for Nerd Nite schedules?

The answers to those questions should give you an idea of whether I can actually program or not. Questions like "What is MVC?" can be looked up in a dictionary. Explaining code samples is much more difficult.

## What next?

Once you've established that I wrote the code I said I wrote, then Step 1 of The Interviewing process is mostly done. Now you bring me into the office to determine Step 2 -- am I someone you want sitting next to you for 8+ hours a day for the next six months? Do I fit in with company culture?

You could give me a problem to solve on the spot, but hopefully it's more of a higher level thing rather than a "write code on a whiteboard" thing. The reason I say this is because at this point you should already have seen my code. You should know by now that I can build a class. The question you need to answer now is: given an arbitrary problem, can I solve it or at least come up with a reasonable thought process?

Bonus points if it's relevant to the job. (i.e., if your job never requires you to write binary trees from scratch, don't ask the applicant to do so.)

## Finally

Between the phone screen (technical) and in-person interview (personal), you should have a good idea of whether you want me on your team or not.

Occasionally for small teams, you may decide that you need to know something about time, creativity, independence, and other similar qualities that you can't really get from code samples. If this is the case, then I suggest doing the contract thing, where you give them an assignment on contract. Once the assignment is finished, you hire them or pay them for the work completed (or hopefully both).

I really, really, really despise whiteboard coding. I don't think it's indicative of anything, and I think you will find a lot of false negatives (i.e., rule out good candidates) using the whiteboard method.

A few other thoughts:

* I should meet my potential future boss at the in-person interview

* I should meet at least one of my potential future coworkers

* Be respectful of my time. Most interviews take place during work hours, so I've taken time off work -- and probably lied to my boss about where I'm going! -- to meet with you. The least you can do is not waste my time.

* Be familiar with my resume and code samples. I took the time to write them, you should take the time to read them. It will answer way more questions about my abilities than a 20 minute quiz on technical terms will.

The more informal the in-person interview is, the better. The technical qualifications should already be accepted by the time I walk in the door. At this point, it's a two way street as we figure out whether we want to work together. I'm interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing me.

(Note: These are just my opinions about how I interview others. It hasn't failed me yet. On the other hand, almost every job I've ever interviewed for has completely wasted my time on that front.)

RogerL 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think the programming/algorithms questions are probamatic. They by and large depend on seeing some trick. Take the array 1..n one. It's an 'aha' type question. You either see the trick, or not. I saw it after a minute, but rolled my eyes. How does that in any way predict whether I can solve hard problems in production. I give myself pretty high probability of not having that 'aha' moment in an interview; whether I did or did not tells you nothing useful.

Not to mention that this is not exactly an obscure trick. If you've seen it a few times it is trivial to remember the trick and apply it. It's been awhile since I've looked at the 'interview questions exposed' type books or websites, so it didn't leap immediately to mind. Would you really select against me because I haven't read such things?

edit: my phrasing was way to strong and unfriendly. I reworded the first sentence.

beat 4 days ago 4 replies      
As an interviewer, I'm far more interested in soft skills than hard skills. I just want to know that they can actually program, which I can usually tell by how they talk about accomplishments in the face of some probing detail questions. Good programmers want to take a difficult problem, shoot it, mount its head on the wall like a set of antlers, and brag about it to anyone who will tolerate that. So competence shines through without a lot of tech question grilling.

Soft skills, on the other hand... is this person an asshole? Inflexible and dogmatic? Timid? Boring? That stuff drags down a whole team.

obituary_latte 3 days ago 2 replies      
-1 for forcing sign in. What if I don't care about saving my progress? What if I'm not a member of any of those services? Answer: 10 second pageview guaranteed to not become a return visiter.
kabdib 3 days ago 1 reply      
I had an interesting question once: They gave me a whiteboard problem that I'd studied about a week ago.

So I told them. "Look, I did this problem on my own a little while ago." They chuckled and made it harder, which was fine. :-)

dkhenry 4 days ago 1 reply      
Quick someone show this to college students. Most of his advice is exactly what I am looking for when I give interviews.
sgustard 3 days ago 0 replies      
As the last round of a 3-hour interview I met the engineering manager whose first question was, "Do you know Perl?" and I said no and he said "Sorry, we need someone who knows Perl" and sent me home. After 3 hours of wasting my time! Not naming names, but Screw you and burn in hell for eternity SAP!
ChikkaChiChi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any time I've been a part of hiring new talent, I'm looking at three things:

1. How you process information. I'm not going to be impressed if someone at the table says 'Microsoft' and you cringe.2. Can you admit to not knowing everything? You'd be shocked how big of an issue this is.3. Are you willing to adapt? In a smaller team, you have to bend and be willing to take on new challenges.

bcjordan 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a really comprehensive list of tips, thanks Parker!

Definitely including this in next week's Coding for Interviews newsletter.

yeukhon 3 days ago 1 reply      
Please allow googling in an interview. How many people today actually write code without a Google search? I bet 90% of the Google engineers do that and still able to write really brilliant code.
kevinpet 3 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't look like there's a whole lot of coding in that coding interview. Apparently the article assumes that "coding interview" involves a whiteboard, rather than a keyboard.

We segment our interviewing into different sections. One person will do a specific functional competency evaluation which consists of writing code in an IDE to see whether you can write code. This portion of the interview is not about analytical thinking skills, people skills, or "tell me about a problem you've solved". It's about writing code. The interviewer is looking to see how many hints you need to get at working code, how well your solution is structured, and getting an overall feel for how you program.

umsm 4 days ago 0 replies      
The key point from the article: Communicate well.

This is really very true in the corporate world. The better you know how to communicate, the more likely it is that you will succeed in your chosen profession.

buildit 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice site, could not do the practise questions though since I am not member of any of the social sites needed. Suggeting the option to proceed without the saving feature.
Fede_V 4 days ago 0 replies      
That was very useful, thanks. All pragmatic, useful advice and no generic bs.

Edit:Annoying that you cannot try practice questions without logging in though.

bastiaanus 4 days ago 6 replies      
I am at the "write a function that reverses a string without creating a new string" question and this is the answer on the site:

  def reverse(str):    left_ptr = 0    right_ptr = len(str) - 1    middle = len(str) / 2    while left_ptr <= middle:        # swap        temp = str[left_ptr]        str[left_ptr] = str[right_ptr]        str[right_ptr]= temp
wouldn't this create an infinite loop? You're never incrementing / decrementing left_ptr or right_ptr.

bcbrown 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Leave yourself plenty of room. You may need to add code or notes in between lines later. Start at the top of the board and leave a blank line between each line.

That's a good idea I'll adopt. It looks messy when you start trying to shoehorn in a missed line somewhere.

Pirate-of-SV 3 days ago 1 reply      
For http://www.interviewcake.com/question/largest-stack

There's a simple solution that requires no additional space.

Disclaimer: Code is not tested or given the love it deserves.

    Class Item():        def __init__(value):            self.value = value            self.next = None            self.next_largest = None    Class maxStack():        def __init__():            self.top = None            self.largest = None            def push(value):            i = Item(value)            i.next = self.top            self.top = i            if value >= self.largest:                i.next_largest = self.largest                self.largest = i            def pop():            v = self.top.value            if self.largest == self.top:                self.largest = self.largest.next_largest            self.top = self.top.next            return v            def getLargest():            return self.largest

yixizhang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice article, but not that good site design. Not to mention the solutions for most of its problem are either flawed or fundamentally not correct.

Author of the site wrote solutions in Python, but obviously he/she doesn't understand Python. Isn't that against what the article suggested?

dhammack 4 days ago 2 replies      
Just as a heads up, after I finish an interview question neither button works (I'm an expert or review later). Clicking on each doesn't seem to do anything. The only way for me to see additional questions is to head back to the homepage and re-click 'run some practice questions.'
triplesec 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reads even better as a "how to be a more insightful and incisive thinker and presenter", and anyone who just wants to use this excellent advice for interviews is missing the point!
aidos 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm just glad I work in python mostly and no longer have to deal with off by one errors...
loblawslawblog 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also found this book helpful for more practice questions & solutions: http://interviewsolutionsmanual.com/
dancecodes 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think if you offer to code in interview its not right and dont resume good Man and company lost cool thinking programmer. In root its going from escape from peoples - such company not need with anybody. They must offer not coding, the must offer work and good things. Programming solve not coding it solve to make effective and easy. Coding in interview is monkey fun.
known 3 days ago 0 replies      
quiz != interview
zachmokahn 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is aweasome
shawiz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Manager.io Free accounting software for small businesses manager.io
278 points by Heliosmaster  4 days ago   135 comments top 43
breckinloggins 4 days ago 13 replies      
"Enter bank transactions."

Nope. Customer lost.

Look, I hate Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online. I really, really do, but I will not use a financial product that doesn't connect to my financial institutions. Period.

Do you want to know what MY startup dream is? I want someone to give me money, and then I want to go create a service that kicks the crap out of Yodlee and Intuit's own bank connection system. I want it to use REST APIs when it can, OFX when it should, and intelligent screen scraping when it must.

I want to build a startup based on an open core of specifications for how to connect to every financial system in the world. I want that spec to be executable and available as a simple library with bindings to every language you can think of. If you have a new institution or your bank changes and you can fix it, I want you to be able to fork the library and send us a pull request.

I want end users to be able to go through a "guided login process". "OK, log in now", "OK, click on the accounts list", "OK click on a transaction". "You're done! We've autogenerated a basic scraper for your bank. Thanks for helping us out."

I want to make money off this library by providing a simple, unified REST API behind all this mess that provides the computational resources to handle millions of customers connecting with thousands of institutions.

I want this company to provide push notifications so your app can do clever things when people spend money.

I don't want you to have to sign an NDA and pay thousands of dollars just to get permission to play with it.

I want it to be the Twilio of Banks.

But if you want to take the code and go your own way, you can.

I really don't know why we've let just a few companies keep our collective financial data locked up for so long. Is it because it's so expensive to get it working? Well why not spend it on people who will create an open, scalable system that can still make money?

Instead, we have Mint.com and mvelopes. That's it, really. Have an idea for a personal finance tool that lets you create "virtual subaccounts" for your checking and savings accounts so you can leverage double-entry bookkeeping in your personal finances through a clear metaphor? Great! Now have fun spending 10 minutes every two days copying and pasting stuff from 10 websites into 1.

It's just madness.

You know that "one weird thing" you're passionate about that's not really related to anything else you're passionate about? This is it for me.

P.S.: lubos - this isn't really about you or manager.io. I commend you for making something and getting it out there. This is about the thing that makes every one of these attempts inevitably fail, and it's sad that we're all being held hostage to crappy software because of it. I wish you success, I hope that I'm completely wrong.

lubos 4 days ago 7 replies      
Wow. I'm founder of Manager.io and long-time member of HN but I was always afraid to submit on HN link to my own startup thinking it won't ever get any upvotes. There are hundreds of people on www.manager.io right now. I'm amazed and completely humbled by the interest right now.
quarterto 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. My immediate question was "is this US-specific", but it seems not: http://www.manager.io/about, section "First-class support for every country".
arbuge 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks interesting. My main concern with something like this is that my accountant won't be able to work with the file it generates, or will charge me more to do so. My accountant, like most others, speaks Quickbooks.
tobeportable 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wished this would be based on http://www.ledger-cli.org/
gregd 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I try to email an invoice, I get an "Error", which isn't very helpful. I can't find anywhere to setup the emailing functionality, so I assume that that part isn't ready yet?
brass9 4 days ago 0 replies      
A nice piece of work!

But I'm curious about a few architectural decisions. What made you to decide to build each HTML page by hand?

Code like this[1] makes my eyes bleed... reminds me of the faux-OOP HTML builder classes that used to be a fad among PHP programmers (or ISAPI & Delphi web developers of old) a while ago.. No offence, but much of your Manager.HttpHandlers.* codebase feels like messy, ugly PHP4 code ported to C#...

What made you decide against template-based output rendering (Razor, NVelocity, NHaml, .liquid to name a few)? With template-generated output, the business logic layer could be decoupled from the UI. I had only a cursory glance at your code (and thus could be wrong), but it seems manager.io's DAL/BLL layer is intermingled within the GUI parts.

The protobuf DLL was named protobufnet.dll in the MSI. But the proper filename should be protobuf-net.dll

I think user input validation and error handling could be made more robust.

Additionally, spawning 5 HTTP worker threads to serve a single user seems a little overkill.

These are few of the issues I've noticed during the 5 minute tinkering with your assemblies. But don't let this critique discourage you. The app looks good - I guess end users won't care how it's built so long as it provides real value...

PS: Thanks for the heads up about Eto forms! I'll give it a spin and see how it fares against Xamarin's XWT.

[1] https://gist.github.com/anonymous/7003337

free652 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sadly I got an exception right after trying to add a company:

System.FormatException: Guid should contain 32 digits with 4 dashes (xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx). at System.Guid.GuidResult.SetFailure(ParseFailureKind failure, String failureMessageID, Object failureMessageFormatArgument, String failureArgumentName, Exception innerException) at System.Guid.TryParseGuidWithNoStyle(String guidString, GuidResult& result) at System.Guid.TryParseGuid(String g, GuidStyles flags, GuidResult& result) at System.Guid..ctor(String g) at Manager.Objects.Get(String entityId) at Manager.HttpHandlers.File.Upgrade.Get() at HttpFramework.HttpModule.ProcessRequest(HttpRequest request) at Manager.HttpModule.ProcessRequest(HttpRequest request)

jaboutboul 4 days ago 1 reply      
I use wave (www.waveapps.com) for this and its been absolutely fantastic. absolutely fantastic. (yes it had to be said twice.
rexreed 4 days ago 3 replies      
Any interest in making personal accounting software as well? On the Mac, there are few good low-cost options if you want desktop software and not cloud-based.
elwell 4 days ago 3 replies      
Will check this out. Have been using Wave Accounting rather happily.
deweller 4 days ago 1 reply      
What is the business model? Will they charge for upgrades? Or will they use your data to send you targeted ads?
mcescalante 4 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like you could put the *.manager file into dropbox or another "sync service" and put a symlink into the Users/... folder to point it to the dropbox file, which would probably allow multiple users to all access the same data. I feel like this would sort of be bypassing your cloud service
rfnslyr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am so jealous of any product or startup with a perfect domain name. I'll definitely use this.
joebo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good work. The install process was very smooth. I like that it doesn't require admin. Also a neat architecture. Looks like it's a .NET app running an in process web server.
krmmalik 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant. I'm referring to the execution, the landing page, design, pricing model etc.

One question, can bank accounts be linked for realtime importing or is it based on importing csv's only etc?

cmalpeli 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice! Does this pull in transactions from your bank accounts automatically? I'm using Xero right now (awesome BTW) and that is a killer feature for me.
pbreit 4 days ago 0 replies      
If this works, it could be a new model for software. There's something about accounting that seems more appropriate as desktop software. I like avoiding the monthly fees and it's probably more comforting to the developer not to be serving the app (I realize they are offering cloud storage).
NKCSS 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like the creditcard form, where you ask your customers to send their creditcard details + CVV to be sent via mail... is that secure?


mixmixmix 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just curious, but what is the app written in? Is it something like Adobe Air?
jonathanmarcus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Downloading now. Based on the screenshots, this looks pretty damn solid.
joshdance 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't really download software much. If you had a web app I would probably try it out.
maheart 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks really good. I'm kind of concerned (wondering?) about the long-term viability of this product:

1. It's free (how does the company backing it plan to stay in business?).

2. It's free (as in beer), so I/the community cannot take over in case the product/company ever goes under.

Thanks for your work.

Felipe1976 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great app congrats!

I have a tech related question. It seems like you are running a web server locally and using a web browser component to display the pages processed locally.

Would you care to explain how everything is setup?

What webserver are you using?

Is it a QA app with a webview?


lukashed 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really looking great! If you could attach files to bills (i.e. a PDF scan) it would fit all our needs perfectly! :)
nigekelly 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really superb. It's quick and responsive. Looks good. Looks easy to use. Will give a test drive over next few days as have to get my taxes done. I see that many of the plugins are disabled so suspect that's the business model.
nickler 4 days ago 1 reply      
Cool stuff. Reminds me of www.waveaccounting.com, is it ad supported as well?

Looking forward to taking it for a test drive.

madao 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this, I am starting a small side business and this looks like a nice solution for what I need.
ckdarby 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was open source ;_;
elyase 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice to be able to customize the text in the invoices (for example to translate them to other languages) and be able to add your logo. Also full screen on mac would be very welcome.
thoughtpalette 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sent the link to a family member who still uses Quicken 2000. The invoicing looks great!
mrjatx 4 days ago 0 replies      
You should work on integrating this into various niche apps, like WHMCS (webhosting control panel), VOIP panels, basically any reseller panel you can find. It'd take off.
chatman 4 days ago 0 replies      
GNUCash just rocks. And it is more trustworthy.
ikonos_de 4 days ago 0 replies      
What environment is used to create this app? Seems to be made of simple HTML-sites, but what is used as a backend?
mbostleman 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. I have rental properties and I am so sick of Quickbooks. This is everything Intuit is not.
ptr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Feels very polished, even as a Mac app. Well done. Lion full screen support would be a nice feature to have.
tommis 4 days ago 1 reply      
For those who have tried it out: what kind of options does it offer for taking out/exporting your data?
holri 4 days ago 0 replies      
important clarification: it is free as in beer not as in speech.
dragthor 4 days ago 0 replies      
I might download and try to use for me own personal expenses and bills.
airtonix 4 days ago 0 replies      
love that you have GST and BAS statement generation. I sent you an email about dpkg errors since I only use Linux (ubuntu 13.04 Gnome Shell 3.8)
stwr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am definitely going to check this out :)
blind4x 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there something simmilar but solely online and with a good design?
acount5437 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is wonderful. Where do you get your tax codes? Any plans for an API?
MathGifs mathgifs.blogspot.co.uk
263 points by co_pl_te  4 days ago   31 comments top 10
susi22 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ah Mathematica:

    $ curl -s http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MPv_CwvvwKQ/Ulrw3TfdgyI/AAAAAAAAAEw/YsRPmU6C5xM/s1600/trefoil_rotate_white.gif |strings|grep -i created    UCreated by Wolfram Mathematica 9.0 for Students - Personal Use Only : www.wolfram.com
Would love to see the source for them.

B-Con 4 days ago 0 replies      
When I opened the first page I thought that it would be a page of unrelated GIFs. I saw the first one, read the accompanying paragraph, and stopped to think about it. I thought for a while before proceeding on, at which point I noticed that I had just thought through the next several GIFs of explanation.

That's why math is fun. You can always participate in the analysis.

BHSPitMonkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
That simple parabolic reflection animation explained the concept more elegantly than words ever could, I think.
icambron 4 days ago 3 replies      
These are really neat, but one thing I don't understand is the animation they linked to (i.e. the post that inspired the OP) [1]. Unlike the animations in mathgifs, my brain isn't interpreting anything there as rotational motion. Am I missing something?

[1] http://beautyandthemaths.tumblr.com/post/62281036101/the-ave...

011011100 4 days ago 10 replies      
Cool. Anything else like it?
philbarr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know a good place to plot the mathematical envolope at the bottom of the page? But like, quite big?

I know it might seem a little facile but a nice plot like that would look pretty cool on my website. :)

XaspR8d 4 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent! I'll have to spend a while exploring the archives. I just happened to have "proved" to myself the linearity of a very similar animation a few weeks ago. :)


rohitv 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, but I still have a headache since I looked at the gifs about an hour ago. Maybe it's just me but I would advice putting a warning somewhere.
mrcactu5 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wireshark is switching to Qt wireshark.org
259 points by Tsiolkovsky  3 days ago   135 comments top 23
ryandrake 2 days ago 6 replies      
The thing I most remember about having to program with Qt was having to convert all my standard C++ types back and forth to QStrings and QLists and QFiles in order to work with the library's APIs, and witnessing what happens when all the QThis and QThat objects start leaking over into your non-UI code if you're not careful.

I've always found it annoying to have to work with frameworks that invade your project with their own type defines, particularly when they are just parallel versions of types already in the language's standard library.

general_failure 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this Qt5 or Qt4? If it's Qt4, I have some terrible news. The Qt project in its infinite wisdom has pretty much obsoleted Qt widget stack and moved on to QML. It's a completely different beast and requires a complete rewrite.

Edit: grammar and some bloopers :)

groovy2shoes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Much of Wireshark uses not only GTK, but Glib as well. I'm wondering how the move to Qt will affect plugins that manipulate the Glib structures, as I'm assuming these will also be migrated to Qt.

What I'm trying to get at is: as the maintainer of a Wireshark plugin, what should I be doing to prepare myself for the switch? Will I need to start maintaining to versions of the plugin, one for Glib and one for Qt?

grn 2 days ago 6 replies      
Is there a solution better than implementing OS-specific GUI to provide native look and feel? I was thinking about that and came to the conclusion that the best thing we can do is to separate the business logic from the GUI. We can then equip the application with a CLI, a GTK GUI, a Qt GUI, etc.
tuananh 3 days ago 2 replies      
Qt app still looks like alien on OS X though but at least, it's less awkward.
clumsysmurf 2 days ago 1 reply      
The inkscape project hasn't put out a Mac OS release in years; from the little I know it seems to be related to the UI toolkit / XQuartz. Maybe they should consider a move like this also.
raminf 2 days ago 0 replies      
"If youre using Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux Mint we need to support Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux Mint. If youre using an iPad or a Galaxy Note we need to give you a long, hard, nonplussed stare and think about supporting IOS and Android at some point."

Comedy gold!

leephillips 3 days ago 7 replies      
I've never used this, but from the screenshots it looks like a perfect candidate for a curses-type interface. Is there a good reason for using the extra resources required by the GUI?
AlexMax 2 days ago 3 replies      
I am very pleased by this news, as using Wireshark on the Mac is not a pleasant visual experience.

However, having only casually looked at both Qt and wxWidgets, how do MODERN versions of both compare?

Doing something with a GUI toolkit is something I'd like to visit at some point in the future, and Qt seems to have more mindshare, but from what I understand Qt doesn't actually draw native widgets, merely emulated ones. Reading about MOC and seeing the number of .dll's included with the average Qt project also put me off a bit.

radikalus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent -- I use wireshark probably every other day on my osx laptop and this looks like a pretty good improvement.

Have there been any performance improvements to command line tshark recently?

staunch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just wish Wireshark didn't barf when I throw a 1GB capture at it.
shmerl 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wish Firefox would do the same. Sailfish browser already does (which is basically Gecko with Qt UI based on IPC embedding API). There was initial work to make Firefox with Qt, but Mozilla never officially started supporting it.
secstate 2 days ago 4 replies      
Hrumph ... should just port it to shoes[1] and be done with it. Just kidding, just kidding. But really, why can't we have an HTML5 layout engine for native applications?

1: https://github.com/shoes/shoes4

hcarvalhoalves 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great. I tried using it on OS X last week and gave up after having to deal with X11, slowness and crashes. I ended using tcdump. I look forward to trying the Qt port since Wireshark (Ethereal) has saved my bacon many times in the past.
BinaryBrainz 1 day ago 0 replies      
In case anyone missed it or might be interested, Gerald Combs was interviewed about Wireshark on FLOSS Weekly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE_QIqcB8Mg

I would say it is was a fairly interesting interview that covered the future developments for Wireshark.

pjbringer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just the other day, I noticed that on my kde desktop, wireshark was the only program using gtk3, whereas gtk2 is used by a bunch of cross platform programs. I'm not too sure what that means though.
stock_toaster 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use wireshark regularly (on OSX these days). Looking forward to this!
sambecket 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's always JUCE ! A little slow to catch up at first,but after a while you'll get it and be able to build amazing things easily, plus its pure c++ no prepoocesor or anything like it.
b4d 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks good, just needs some retina support on OS X.
_-_-_- 2 days ago 0 replies      

Qt has been a pain in my ass in OS X. You get the wrong version installed in the wrong place and you're fucked. I think it is something that is kind to developers and a headache to users.

Personally I give a big thumbs down on this decision. It's one thing for some random program or library to use Qt that I don't care about, but I've been using Wireshark since it was Ethereal. It should not be Qt. That's lame.

jebblue 2 days ago 1 reply      
Actually I prefer SWT or Swing with Java for a mature looking, cross-platform application. I thought Qt went away until I read Ubuntu will use something new for Qt called QML. If I were to consider something for Linux Desktop GUI's other than SWT/Swing/Java I would probably use Gtk+Python.
znowi 2 days ago 3 replies      

We wanted to please the trendy Mac users, hence switched to Qt, which providers a more authentic interface on Mac OS X.

guilloche 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why bother wasting effort on GUI?

GTK3 is good enough and QT seems more bloated and has more dependencies.

Anyway, I will use tcpdump.

Byebye, wireshark.

Debugging a Live Saturn V zamiang.com
258 points by dblock  4 days ago   33 comments top 11
Arjuna 3 days ago 4 replies      
For those that are not familiar, the Saturn V was equipped with 5 (yes, you read that right)... five F-1 rocket engines. Each engine produced an absolutely staggering 1,500,000 pounds of thrust; that's a total of 7,500,000 pounds of thrust!

Can you imagine being tucked into the small, cramped Command Module, sitting on top of this power at lift-off?

The whole thing, the technology, the sound, the people coming together to make it happen... it's soul-stirring.


kabdib 4 days ago 2 replies      
Signing off on the paperwork and /then/ getting out of there.

So NASA :-)

brudgers 4 days ago 1 reply      
And that's what is meant by"Steely Eyed Missile Man."
andyjohnson0 3 days ago 0 replies      
A fascinating story. Although the situation was very different, it reminded me of the aborted launch of Mercury Redstone 1:

"...following a normal countdown, the Mercury-Redstone's engine ignited on schedule at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (14:00 GMT). However, the engine shut down immediately after lift-off from the launch pad. The rocket only rose about 4 inches (10 cm) before settling back onto the pad. It wobbled slightly, but stayed upright and did not explode. An odd series of events then took place.

Immediately after the Redstone's engine shut down, the Mercury capsule's escape rocket jettisoned itself, leaving the capsule attached to the Redstone booster. The escape rocket rose to an altitude of 4,000 feet (1,200 m) and landed about 400 yards (370 m) away. Three seconds after the escape rocket fired, the capsule deployed its drogue parachute; it then deployed the main and reserve parachutes, ejecting the radio antenna fairing in the process.

In the end, all that had been launched was the escape rocket. Meanwhile, a fully fueled, slightly wrinkled Redstone and its Mercury capsule sat on the launch pad, both with full batteries and live pyrotechnics. Among these pyrotechnics were the capsule's retrorockets and the Redstone's self-destruct system, which was still active. Furthermore, the capsule's main and reserve parachutes were hanging down the side of the rocket, threatening to tip it over if they caught enough wind..." [1]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury-Redstone_1

bigiain 3 days ago 0 replies      
Somehow my occasional entry into the command line on a production server, opening up vi, and snapping a new configuration tweak in place and testing it it doesn't seem quite so brave or adventurous any more
geetee 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing story and many condolences. I hope he was able to personally tell you some of these stories before he passed on.
ljoshua 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome. I wish/don't wish that my debugging was that exciting.
larrydag 4 days ago 0 replies      
What a great legacy to share. Thanks for sharing.
carterac 3 days ago 1 reply      
The author humbly failed to mention that late last night he accomplished quite an extraordinary just-in-time feat himself:

Today Artsy launched its live auction platform with TWO x TWO, a charity to benefit AIDS research: http://artsy.net/feature/two-x-two

shospes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Incredible story, unfortunately debugging is not that exiting any more..
AustinLin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful story.
Google shares hit $1,000 after strong earnings bbc.co.uk
253 points by oulipian  2 days ago   237 comments top 23
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 5 replies      
Google historically left a lot of money on the table (not using every spot on the page for ads, giving away services with real value, etc.) They decided to stop doing that when they decided they were a 'peer' of Apple's.

The shareholders love it because it means Google will finally be pulling in as much cash as they 'can' vs as much as they needed. Users seem to be somewhat divided on the issue.

Sophisticated users and people who are long time observers (like Danny Sullivan) have noted that Google is squeezing the value proposition at the expense of people who can ill afford it. ('Ranking' on Google is very much a pay to play kind of thing these days with their page layout). As others have mentioned they have gone all in as an exploiter of their demographic data. And "thinking big" as Larry would always exhort people to do, includes thinking about how much money you could get for the sorts of things that only someone who has Google's knowledge of the activity stream can get.

Now historically this has often been associated with fading influence and success (the old 'killing the goose that lays the egg' kind of thing). It will be interesting to see if Google is an example of this or they manage to grow into actually being a peer of Apple.

JonSkeptic 2 days ago 12 replies      
I think this is interesting because it matches my user experience with Google products in a very inverted way. Google search has gotten worse and worse lately, forcing me on to other search engines with worse UIs just so that I can get useful results. Youtube UI gets worse every time they update it. They cancelled the RSS reader. The email UI keeps getting worse and featuring more ads.

But the stock value hit $1000. I guess they're doing something right, it's just not something that affects me in any positive way.

[EDIT]:'affects', not 'effects'

fersho311 1 day ago 3 replies      
Fun fact: If you had bought a call yesterday for $300, it would now be worth $3100. 1000% return on investment.

Yesterday I bought a chipotle call (because of earnings release) for $600 and now its worth $3600

Now that the political budget debate is over, I think we will see a spectacularly volatile movement upwards and strong earnings will push stocks to absurd prices way over any reason. The best thing to do is to ride the wave and make some extra cash. It doesn't make any sense (price vs earnings), but as long I'm making money thats okay.

Do keep in mind that Google did not jump $130/share because its earnings was spectacularly better than ever. It made this huge jump because the market is headed for another bullish run and the market is crazy.

I trade stocks on the side for fun, and I blog about my trades here: http://songzmoney.quora.com/

fear91 2 days ago 8 replies      
I guess the June search-algorithm updates really worked. (Kicking out everyone that earns without giving Google it's piece of the pie).

Google keeps removing small business websites from its results, forcing them to use Ad-Words. This strategy cannot be sustained unless they want 100% commercial / 100% junk results. I wonder what will they do in the future.

fersho311 1 day ago 1 reply      
Chipotle hit $500 for the first time ever: https://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE%3ACMG&ei=R15hUrCcG6i2i...

As we head towards a strong earnings season, I feel that we might see many companies hitting their highest ever stock price, especially now that the government shutdown has been resolved (sort of)

trevmckendrick 1 day ago 6 replies      
Share price is relatively meaningless. It needs to be paired to total shares outstanding.

It's arbitrary by itself because it's a function of shares outstanding and total market value, one of which the company can (relatively easily) control via stock splits.

debt 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems Google has entered a stage where the data is starting to really pay off. They seem to be using it not only to help consumers but also tweak their own business decisions. That's some powerful stuff.
jluxenberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
ChikkaChiChi 1 day ago 0 replies      
This anecdotally proves that focusing in on your core business can result in stronger earning potential. It's not a new concept, but it is somewhat easier to explain to my boss (who needs to learn focus).
atlanticus 1 day ago 2 replies      
So I guess the Snowden leaks collapsing US internet dominance didn't materialize.
dragontamer 1 day ago 3 replies      
The value of a company is not measured in its individual stock price, but instead measured in its market cap.

The real headline should be: Google hits $330 Billion market cap, making it the 3rd most valuable company in the world.

qdog 1 day ago 1 reply      
Google doesn't pay dividends or give public shares voting rights, while I get it that people believe the intrinsic value will appear at some point, this is not how I would like to invest money in a company, regardless of what price the stock hits.
TomGullen 2 days ago 2 replies      
A nice 10 ball if you got in on their IPO.
ashray5 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its interesting how $1000 is a psychological number for a lot of people, $1000 number makes the Google stock join some "prestigious" $1000 club according to CNBC. Some people now think its too expensive because of its $1000 and Facebook is in $50s.

If Google decided to split the stock early on, it wouldn't have seen this day, and all the news that comes with crossing the $1000 mark.

So much for all the financial models that assume investors are rational.

robryan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is on the back of product listing ads which are now aggressively pushed, these combined with regular ads crowd out the organic results on ecommerce bases searches.

Unlike text based ads which require significant time/ tech investment to create a campaign across a large number of products, product listing ads just require a merchant to upload a feed.

yeukhon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am always surprised at how much Google can make. I always see ads but I barely ever clicked on ads. I might click on one or two ocassionally. I might click on a few ads before Youtube content is loaded for me. But that's it. I can understand a few clicks * two billion users is a lot of clicks.

Remember those days when adsense was crazy on everyone's page. Somehow, Google's ad marketing works so well (and probably pretty expensive by now) that it just works. Plus, since everyone is moving to the Internet, ads are just a norm to do for businesses.

znowi 1 day ago 0 replies      
And no privacy issues, NSA revelations, services shutdown, Google+ coercion, and further exploitation of users have any effect on the bottom line. You can get away with anything when you're big and important.
wehadfun 1 day ago 1 reply      
I found an article from 2007 that predicted this. May be some even earlier.


blisterpeanuts 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sure wish I'd bought some when it first came out at $180.
Theodores 1 day ago 2 replies      
Advertising sales is a good indicator as to how well the economy is doing - if times are good then people advertise, if everyone is screaming recession then there is not so much money around to advertise.

Hence, if Google does well does that mean the economy as a whole is doing well? Is the Google share price a good indicator, perhaps a better indicator than conventional metrics such as employment level or the FTSE?

dm2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would a reverse stock split or stock merge encourage more people to buy the stock or less, or no effect?
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
keepkalm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wonder if people actually went out and spent on AdWords when the organic keyword data went to 100% not provided. Has to account for at least some of it.
Free Font: Norwester jamiewilson.io
245 points by benoitg  5 days ago   59 comments top 18
bbx 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great job. I saw this font on Designer News yesterday and downloaded it instantly.

I think creating a font from scratch could become a designer's rite of passage. It involves usability, aesthetics, and technical knowledge (kerning, weights, character encoding, horizontal and vertical metrics...). I always thought about creating one myself but usually ended up browsing the web for original and better designed fonts.

You got me questioning my behavior.

casca 5 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you for putting the license in the zipfile. We've had to avoid using certain fonts because it wasn't possible to identify the license.

Can you please put another file with a link back to your website and the request to donate to the International Justice Mission if used?

jamiewilson 4 days ago 8 replies      
Hey everybody. I'm the designer of Norwester. Thanks for the interest and feedback. Yea, the font is really limited right now. Please use it judiciously as there are a lot of glyphs not accounted for, as digitalengineer pointed out. Please let me know if you have any special requests or catch any thing not looking right. Thanks again!
digitalengineer 5 days ago 3 replies      
Looks nice. It's Open Type so thats cool. However, no serious designer would choose this font for production as it is right now though. You dev's would call it 'Aplha' or 'Beta'. It contains only the 'Western' letters and even for that, not most variables. This makes it dangerous to use for your company's branding. Imagine if you want to write an , , or what not. You can not. So, nice to try a bit but be careful using it for production.

If you wish to compare it to something, have a look at these free fonts: http://www.exljbris.com/ They're free for the Roman, Bold, Heavy, Italic and small caps, but if you want more variables, say a Heavy Italic you pay a small fee.

narad 5 days ago 0 replies      
This font will be great to use in headlines. Will this font be available in Google Fonts [1]? Because Google hosts many fonts under SIL Open Font License .

[1] http://www.google.com/fonts

noonespecial 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks a lot like "Bank Gothic". I almost expect to see it on a refrigerator... (S M E G)
jdmitch 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love the fact that you've asked people to donate to the International Justice Mission - they do great work! What made you choose them? Is the font somehow inspired by the work they do? (maybe you could convince them to incorporate it into a rebrand ;)!
ChikkaChiChi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic. I just wish more fonts used a slash zero :(
patrickg 4 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, an ASCII font. Useless in most part of the world (sorry for being dismissive. I actually like the font, but without any "funny" characters, it's use is very limited) Now, I'll probably get all the downvotes from today...
haddr 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's a pity this font can't be used in many countries due to lack of any diacritics... :(
benoitg 5 days ago 2 replies      
Just to be clear: I submitted this but I'm not related to the OP. I just found it on http://sidebar.io/ earlier today and liked both the open license and the fact that the author seems open to suggestions.
huntaub 5 days ago 1 reply      
What license is this released under?
elwell 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why did you use images of the font on your demo page (rather than using it as a web font)?
arnley 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice looking, thank you!
DonPellegrino 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love it. It has that cold war propaganda feel to it. Great for headlines.
asimov42 4 days ago 0 replies      
The "R" and "5" are quite interesting, and the symbols look fun, specially that "@".
gondo 4 days ago 2 replies      
is this font legit?it looks like it was build based on some other font, and there are still original/unchanged characters left.f.e. try to render A, and notice the difference in font-weight and also the char differences.or am i missing something?
pagekicker 5 days ago 0 replies      
Boxy! Downloaded it to play around, thx.
Sleep Flushes Toxins from the Brain bbc.co.uk
241 points by anishkothari  2 days ago   93 comments top 16
tokenadult 2 days ago 2 replies      
Science Now, the news service affiliated with the journal Science, has a write-up on this report,


and that links to the abstract


of the published study itself.

drewcrawford 2 days ago 3 replies      
This appears to have an interesting implication for FFI [1], a mysterious genetic disease that causes complete insomnia in adults and results in death. The final stage of FFI is dementia.

It turns out that the -amyloids that are cleared during sleep according to this paper, are associated with certain types of dementia in the general population [2].

It also turns out that certain sleep disorders are dementia predictor [3].

This is just a laymen's speculation, but this is suggestive that dementia may be a type of sleep disorder, that it could be caused by some interruption in the process demonstrated in this paper.

And this is a stretch, but it is known that FFI is caused by a malformed prion protein, which is a protein that is deeply involved in various neuron-related functions. It seems possible that this protein is involved in the cleansing process in some way. If so, that would be a HUGE deal, because abnormal prion proteins are associated with a huge variety of neurodegenerative diseases.

Basically, I have high hopes for future research.

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

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17502554

[3] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/781136

Locke1689 2 days ago 2 replies      
Same old story, primitive stop-the-world GC ;)
dbecker 2 days ago 2 replies      
"The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears that it must choose between two different functional states - awake and aware or asleep and cleaning up,"

Sure sounds like part of the wake-sleep algorithm, which is impressive given that the wake-sleep algorithm was named in the mid-90s.

tannerc 2 days ago 3 replies      
Can anyone with better knowledge of such things explain why this has to occur during sleep? Is there just too much going on during the day to dedicate physical and mental resources to this type of cleaning?
batgaijin 2 days ago 4 replies      
I always wondered about how split-brain theory would work into this...

I mean there are stories of people with half their brain removed who are fully functional (I think? I can't find a source atm).

I wonder what would happen if half your brain could be on/off and switch?

Also you'd think that any mutation optimizing for time awake would have decimated the other creatures? I don't get how evolution has conquered everything but sleep.

willstepp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why does everyone in this thread want to get rid of sleep? I like sleeping, and dreaming. 24-7 consciousness in the name of increased productivity sounds like a nightmare, no pun intended.
greenyoda 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia has a decent article on the glymphatic system, which clears waste products from the brain:


The brain and spinal cord have no lymphatic circulation, which handles waste removal for the rest of the body.

Miyamoto 2 days ago 3 replies      
Awesome. One very (very very) small step closer to creating a pill to help the flushing process so we may sleep less, or not at all.
brickcap 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fascinating. An average 60 year old man sleeps for 20 years (considering a normal 8 hr a day sleep) that is 1/3 of his life. A polar bear and some other hibernating animals sleep for half of their lives. Amazingly polar bear is cognizant enough to feed her baby while she is sleeping.

Sleep also lowers the heart beat. It is generally accepted that all mammals have the same life span in number of hear beats. An elephant lives longer than a mouse because it's heart beats slower. Could that mean that people who live longer generally sleep more.

Whales are known to live for a long time. Wonder how much they sleep.

sillysaurus2 2 days ago 5 replies      
A "toxin" is something which is toxic to a system. But our knowledge of the brain is so primitive that we can't reasonably claim to know which chemicals are toxic at tiny, long-term dosage levels, unless it leads to death. There is no evidence that it's possible to die directly from sleep deprivation. Therefore this seems a dubious headline.
hkon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does it flush the toxins if you take sleeping pills?
jimgardener 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if my computer did all scan/cleanup defrag ops after I shut it down and go to sleep
giardini 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any implications for napping?
TaiChiChaiTea 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone in their early 20s with a sleep disorder this freaks me out!
_-_-_- 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I hear "toxins", I think of a developer on a project I helped manage. He was having health problems so he had to take a 1-1.5 month sabbatical to India to be cleansed of toxins. If I remember correctly the end result was that he quit.

While I do believe there that the body cleanses itself from toxins, and I can't say for certain whether the developer that left us got his toxins cleansed or not, this article and study smells of B.S.

The second tip off is the quoted doctor's name: Dr. Nedergaard

Scientists with Dutch/Scandinavian names always seem to produce the most crap science on average in my experience. I have no idea why, but I've noticed it. Especially when it comes to the "positive affects" of pot. I know that is an over-generalization, but someone should do a study on that to see if it's true. Preferably one without as many A's in his/her last name.

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