hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    24 Oct 2013 Best
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Poll: Where are you currently living?
1088 points by Systemic33  3 days ago   302 comments top 132
sjwright 2 days ago 4 replies      
Population (in millions):

  USA316.8  Canada: 35.1  Southern North America: 176.6  Northern part of South America: ?  Southern part of South America: ?  ...South America: 387.4  UK: 62.2  Scandinavia: 25.7  Western Europe (excl. UK): 278.7  Eastern Europe: 176.7  Southern Europe / Mediterranean Europe: 153.5  Russia: 142.2  Northern Africa: ?  Southern Africa: ?  ...Africa: 1032.5  Middle East: 370.9  India: 1210.2  China: 1353.8  South East Asia: 610.0  Australia and New Zealand: 35.6  Japan: 126.6  South Korea: 50.2  Other: ?

kutakbash 2 days ago 8 replies      
>Southern North America (eg. Mexico)

>Northern part of South America

>Souther part of South America

Looks needlessly fragmented and imprecise. What is 'Southern part of South America'? Cono Sur? Then Brazilians from Minas Gerais and Porto Alegre are in different groups? Was that the intention? Why 'Southern North America' and not Central America? Where does Caribbean belong? Middle Asia (say, Kazakhstan)? Is Spain Western Europe or Southern Europe? Is Czech Republic Eastern Europe or Western Europe (since you don't offer 'Central Europe' as an option and some Czechs may be unhappy with identifying as Eastern Europeans)? Is Estonia in Eastern Europe? It damn well is in Eastern Europe, but some Estonians identify Estonia as Scandinavian.

Next time you guys should use some well established scheme such as this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_geoscheme and just link to it in the post so no one is confused.

danmaz74 2 days ago 4 replies      
You can't have a "western europe excl UK" and then a "southern europe". Italy and Spain are for sure in both categories.
adamzerner 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not if we upvote it enough to keep it on the front page for a while.
shubhamjain 2 days ago 4 replies      
I am from Jaipur, India. Many I times I am detestful of the fact that I don't live in big cities like Mumbai or Bangalore. I don't hear of any programming meetups that happen here, neither there are any conferences, nor any startup that has bubbled up. The first thing that I want to do after my graduation is to move in to a big city because socializing with smart people is the most recurring advice I have heard for ambitious freshers.
dspeyer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Given how many more votes US has than anything else, I think breaking it down would be warranted.

I'm thinking:

* San Fransisco Bay area* Seattle/Redmond area* Other west coast* Boston/Cambridge* New York* Other east coast* Chicago* Ann Arbor* Austin* Other noncoastal

ledge 2 days ago 1 reply      
I live in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

99% of the time I have no regrets about moving here from the United States. That other 1% of the time when you are sick or require the services of the police, it's not the best place to be. My insurance plan covers an airlift to Thailand in the event of a serious emergency.

forgottenpaswrd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, Portugal and Spain are at the most West of all Europe(Finisterre, Lisbon, Canary and Aores Islands), and Portugal is not Mediterranean at all.
drpgq 2 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting that the ratio of Americans to Canadians is less than their respective populations.
pranavrc 2 days ago 2 replies      
talloaktrees 2 days ago 4 replies      
Not that I really care, but you have no category that fits Taiwan. It is not really China and not Southeast Asia
kyro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Haha, no love for North Korea.
wikiburner 2 days ago 3 replies      





Edit: Uh oh, New Zealand isn't covered.

odiroot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where is Central Europe anyway? You have added Southern Europe after all.
systems 2 days ago 1 reply      
egypt so i am in two places at once and wikipedia confirms it


batuhanicoz 2 days ago 0 replies      
As an Istanbulite (is that even a word?), I'm confused.

In day time, I'm usually in Asia for school, and some nights, and most weekends I'm in Eastern Europe.

Voted for Eastern Europe and Other (since this part of Asia is not in the list).

bloometal 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can we not just ask pg for the data?
buyx 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Southern Africa", by most definitions, excludes populous countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Africa

I think a better term would be "Sub-Saharan Africa": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-Saharan_Africa

Also, missing: "South Asia (excluding India)", which would cover an area with around 390 million people.

zynick 2 days ago 6 replies      
Don't have enough karma so can't vote. I'm from Malaysia.
dead_phish 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not to be US-centric, but it would be interesting to see the breakdown between East and West Coasts of the United States.
hiharryhere 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will be interesting to see how this progresses as diff timezones wake up. It's pretty Aus heavy at the moment as people like me procrastinate in the office.
madeofpalk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Found this in a previous poll. Graph the results http://hnlike.com/hncharts/chart/?id=6582647
mseepgood 2 days ago 2 replies      
I always thought that Scandinavia was part of Western Europe:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Europe#Population_of_We...
Sagat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow thanks a lot for indiscriminately lumping together Western Europe in a single, confusing category.
victorhn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Instead of "Southern North America (eg. Mexico)", a better name IMO would be "Mexico, Caribbean or Central America".
smcl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Central Europe = "Other" I guess :-/

Edit: Actually, for the purposes of this poll Czech Republic is "Eastern Europe", just don't tell that to a Czech person ;)

speeder 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not putting Brazil there is kinda silly, specially when it is a country that spans so much of South America that I bet some brazillians will put north south america while others will put south south america... (Also important: brazil vs rest of south america is more relevant, considering brazil went with a fairly unique culture, ie: not hispaniard, also Argentina in comparison to the rest of South America has a very high amount of caucasians, making it also quite unique compared to the rest, although, ie: having a european culture mixed with spain culture, instead of the usual spain mixed with native america)
benologist 2 days ago 0 replies      
By northern part of South America do you mean Central America? It's a fairly well established group of countries between (and excluding) Mexico ("North America") and Colombia ("South America")!

Australian in Costa Rica.

PabloOsinaga 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how these results will compare to the geo analytics YC gets for HN
MrGando 2 days ago 0 replies      
It says Southern Part of America (Antarctica anyone?)... and that's kinda' vague.

It should say

Central AmericaSouth America

I'm from Chile by the way.

andyhmltn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I live just outside of London England (Essex for anyone that knows) and I don't think I'll be moving a while. Apart from the weather it's pretty good!
olegp 2 days ago 0 replies      
I answered the same question recently on Quora: http://www.quora.com/Startups/What-are-some-cool-tech-compan...

Hello to everyone else from Helsinki, Finland - we should organize a Hacker News meetup!

ericcholis 2 days ago 0 replies      
A little Buffalo, NY love?
Smirnoff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Central Asia (incl. Former Soviet Republics)
CmonDev 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where is the Americas option? I mean there is an Eastern Europe option, why single out USA and Canada? Maybe it's worth singling out San Francisco / California as well?
arikrak 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to know if you're getting representative results. To get a reliable answer, one would need to look at the site admin stats.
DigitalSea 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm from Australia and know for a fact quite a few Australian's frequent HN.
benjamincburns 2 days ago 0 replies      
After Jan 3, subtract 1 from USA and tick an extra one to Australasia. I'm bound for Christchurch.
x0054 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think it would be interesting to see where people were born as well.
bloometal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope someone is keeping track of the votes along with the time data. That might be very interesting, as well.
D9u 2 days ago 0 replies      
Technically, I live in the USA... About 2,400 miles Southwest of Los Angeles.
einhverfr 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, more of us here in SE Asia than in Western Europe? Interesting.
prophetjohn 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York
yla92 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am from Myanmar (aka Burma) :)
antonpug 2 days ago 0 replies      
New Hampshire baby!
MichaelTieso 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since I work remotely, I can live and work anywhere. Right now I'm in Sayulita, Mexico for 6 months. I've been traveling from place to place for the last 5 years.
bernatfp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Voted for Western Europe. Afterwards I realized there was a Mediterranean Europe choice too. Oops...
tzury 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tel Aviv, Israel.
fidz 2 days ago 2 replies      
Indonesia, anyone?
techaddict009 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, I am from India planning to shift to US but this immigration laws will never let me to do so.

Any workaround for it ?

albemuth 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Jos, Costa Rica
jk4930 2 days ago 0 replies      
Berlin. :)
vfxGer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Dublin, Ireland
icemelt8 2 days ago 1 reply      
In which category does Pakistan belong :(
pguzmang 2 days ago 0 replies      
Central America
gnarbarian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anchorage Alaska
hisham_hm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is Rio de Janeiro Northern or Southern South America? Where did you draw the line?
Intermediate 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm from Russia and happy to stay here.
serfdomroad 2 days ago 1 reply      
Live in Melbourne Australia
dutchbrit 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Netherlands here
mindcrime 2 days ago 0 replies      
North America, USA, North Carolina, Chapel Hill
sTevo-In-VA 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in Western Virginia, not to be confused with West Virginia.
gcatalfamo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Italy (or southern Europe)

edit: thanks for adding it to the list!

shellehs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why? I think Chinese visitors should be significant amount
raminassemi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bangkok, Thailand :)
ragsagar 2 days ago 0 replies      
sethlesky 2 days ago 2 replies      
Chiang Mai, Thailand
t0mislav 2 days ago 0 replies      
Croatia - The Mediterranean as it once was :D
jjsz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Puerto Rico.
ahmicro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hello World from Cairo - Egypt . anyone?
charlie_vill 2 days ago 1 reply      
Central America?!
AsmMAn 2 days ago 0 replies      
You could to increase the countries list, BTW
njsubedi 2 days ago 0 replies      
iamkoby 2 days ago 0 replies      
ChrisNorstrom 2 days ago 0 replies      
NOT everyone who reads Hacker News has an account to vote. It would be really nice to have Paul Graham release the analytics data on for HN. That way we can see where all the HN visitors are coming from.
homakov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Living in bangkok
geldedus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Paris, France
dannowatts 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bay Area actually :)
feir 2 days ago 4 replies      
ddoolin 2 days ago 1 reply      
aaronsnoswell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fuck yeah ozzies.
NemesorZandrak 2 days ago 0 replies      
I live in two countries. Hmmm
fbm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Greetings from Barcelona!
kmarima 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kenya , in East Aftrica
zerny 2 days ago 0 replies      
arunabh 2 days ago 0 replies      
atoner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Berlin, Germany here.
wwwwwh 2 days ago 0 replies      
goutmaximum 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hong Kong
joag 2 days ago 0 replies      
Central America Panama
luiscvega 2 days ago 0 replies      
Philippines represent!
s0l1dsnak3123 2 days ago 0 replies      
volkanvardar 2 days ago 7 replies      
asadlionpk 1 day ago 0 replies      
mileschet 2 days ago 1 reply      
So Paulo, Brasil
mjhea0 2 days ago 0 replies      
buxx 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Netherlands
dboles99 2 days ago 0 replies      
South East Asia
gepiti 1 day ago 0 replies      
jupake 2 days ago 0 replies      
South Africa
codenut 2 days ago 0 replies      
enrmarc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Spain here.
webista 2 days ago 0 replies      
eblade 2 days ago 0 replies      
vladimiroff 2 days ago 0 replies      
wisesabre 2 days ago 0 replies      
nicouze 2 days ago 0 replies      
zafarluni 2 days ago 0 replies      
oak 2 days ago 0 replies      
majidazimi 1 day ago 0 replies      
ciucanu 2 days ago 0 replies      
alkagupta0309 2 days ago 0 replies      
India is catching up.
yownie 2 days ago 0 replies      
MRifat 2 days ago 0 replies      
izqui 2 days ago 0 replies      
grobe 2 days ago 1 reply      
mentalsheep 2 days ago 0 replies      
jor-el 2 days ago 0 replies      
whoisterencelee 2 days ago 0 replies      
riker2000 15 hours ago 0 replies      
xecutioner 2 days ago 0 replies      
codyod 2 days ago 0 replies      
peachepe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Northern part of South America = Central America
xialeban 2 days ago 0 replies      
sebastianrojas 2 days ago 0 replies      
sahilmalhan 2 days ago 0 replies      
New Delhi, India.
brothmc 2 days ago 0 replies      
moncef_hbey 2 days ago 0 replies      
niweicumt 2 days ago 0 replies      
guruAllen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dear Startups: stop asking me math puzzles to figure out if I can code countaleph.wordpress.com
829 points by brryant  2 days ago   333 comments top 59
tokenadult 2 days ago 8 replies      
There are many discussions here on HN about company hiring procedures. Company hiring procedures and their effectiveness is a heavily researched topic, but most hiring managers and most job applicants haven't looked up much of the research. After reading the blog post kindly submitted here and some of its comments, and then reading most of the comments here on HN that came in while I was asleep in my time zone, it looks like it's time to recycle some electrons from a FAQ I'm building about company hiring procedures.

The review article by Frank L. Schmidt and John E. Hunter, "The Validity and Utility of Selection Models in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 85 Years of Research Findings,"[1] Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 124, No. 2, 262-274 sums up, current to 1998, a meta-analysis of much of the huge peer-reviewed professional literature on the industrial and organizational psychology devoted to business hiring procedures. There are many kinds of hiring criteria, such as in-person interviews, telephone interviews, resume reviews for job experience, checks for academic credentials, personality tests, and so on. There is much published study research on how job applicants perform after they are hired in a wide variety of occupations.[2]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: If you are hiring for any kind of job in the United States, with its legal rules about hiring, prefer a work-sample test as your hiring procedure. If you are hiring in most other parts of the world, use a work-sample test in combination with a general mental ability test.

The overall summary of the industrial psychology research in reliable secondary sources is that two kinds of job screening procedures work reasonably well. One is a general mental ability (GMA) test (an IQ-like test, such as the Wonderlic personnel screening test). Another is a work-sample test, where the applicant does an actual task or group of tasks like what the applicant will do on the job if hired. (But the calculated validity of each of the two best kinds of procedures, standing alone, is only 0.54 for work sample tests and 0.51 for general mental ability tests.) Each of these kinds of tests has about the same validity in screening applicants for jobs, with the general mental ability test better predicting success for applicants who will be trained into a new job. Neither is perfect (both miss some good performers on the job, and select some bad performers on the job), but both are better than any other single-factor hiring procedure that has been tested in rigorous research, across a wide variety of occupations. So if you are hiring for your company, it's a good idea to think about how to build a work-sample test into all of your hiring processes.

Because of a Supreme Court decision in the United States (the decision does not apply in other countries, which have different statutes about employment), it is legally risky to give job applicants general mental ability tests such as a straight-up IQ test (as was commonplace in my parents' generation) as a routine part of hiring procedures. The Griggs v. Duke Power, 401 U.S. 424 (1971) case[3] interpreted a federal statute about employment discrimination and held that a general intelligence test used in hiring that could have a "disparate impact" on applicants of some protected classes must "bear a demonstrable relationship to successful performance of the jobs for which it was used." In other words, a company that wants to use a test like the Wonderlic, or like the SAT, or like the current WAIS or Stanford-Binet IQ tests, in a hiring procedure had best conduct a specific validation study of the test related to performance on the job in question. Some companies do the validation study, and use IQ-like tests in hiring. Other companies use IQ-like tests in hiring and hope that no one sues (which is not what I would advise any company). Note that a brain-teaser-type test used in a hiring procedure could be challenged as illegal if it can be shown to have disparate impact on some job applicants. A company defending a brain-teaser test for hiring would have to defend it by showing it is supported by a validation study demonstrating that the test is related to successful performance on the job. Such validation studies can be quite expensive. (Companies outside the United States are regulated by different laws. One other big difference between the United States and other countries is the relative ease with which workers may be fired in the United States, allowing companies to correct hiring mistakes by terminating the employment of the workers they hired mistakenly. The more legal protections a worker has from being fired, the more reluctant companies will be about hiring in the first place.)

The social background to the legal environment in the United States is explained in various books about hiring procedures,[4] and some of the social background appears to be changing in the most recent few decades, with the prospect for further changes.[5]

Previous discussion on HN pointed out that the Schmidt & Hunter (1998) article showed that multi-factor procedures work better than single-factor procedures, a summary of that article we can find in the current professional literature, for example "Reasons for being selective when choosing personnel selection procedures"[6] (2010) by Cornelius J. Knig, Ute-Christine Klehe, Matthias Berchtold, and Martin Kleinmann:

"Choosing personnel selection procedures could be so simple: Grab your copy of Schmidt and Hunter (1998) and read their Table 1 (again). This should remind you to use a general mental ability (GMA) test in combination with an integrity test, a structured interview, a work sample test, and/or a conscientiousness measure."

But the 2010 article notes, looking at actual practice of companies around the world, "However, this idea does not seem to capture what is actually happening in organizations, as practitioners worldwide often use procedures with low predictive validity and regularly ignore procedures that are more valid (e.g., Di Milia, 2004; Lievens & De Paepe, 2004; Ryan, McFarland, Baron, & Page, 1999; Scholarios & Lockyer, 1999; Schuler, Hell, Trapmann, Schaar, & Boramir, 2007; Taylor, Keelty, & McDonnell, 2002). For example, the highly valid work sample tests are hardly used in the US, and the potentially rather useless procedure of graphology (Dean, 1992; Neter & Ben-Shakhar, 1989) is applied somewhere between occasionally and often in France (Ryan et al., 1999). In Germany, the use of GMA tests is reported to be low and to be decreasing (i.e., only 30% of the companies surveyed by Schuler et al., 2007, now use them)."














tommorris 2 days ago 15 replies      
Here's the test I've used in the past:

Before the interview, I ask them to write some code to access an HTTP endpoint that contains exchange rate data (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY etc.) in XML and to parse and load said data into a relational database. Then to build a very simple HTML form based front-end that lets you input a currency and convert it into another currency.

I ask them to send me either a link to a repository (Git, SVN etc.) or a zipball/tarball. If the job specifies a particular language, then I obviously expect it to be in that language. If not, so long as it isn't in something crazy like Brainfuck, they have free range.

If the code works and is basically sane, that goes a long way to get them shortlisted.

During the interview, I'll pull the code they sent up on a projector and ask them to self-review it. If they can figure out things that need improving in their code, that weighs heavily in their favour. Usually this is things like comments/documentation, tests, improving the structure or reusability. If it's really good, I'll throw a hypothetical idea for refactoring at them and see how they think.

The reason this works is that, despite Hacker News/Paul Graham dogma to the contrary, "smartness" isn't the only thing that matters in programmers. It's actually fairly low down the list. When hiring programmers, I want people who are actually able to do the daily practical job of writing code, modest and self-critical enough to spot their own mistakes, and socially capable to actually communicate their decisions and mistakes to the people they work with.

I interviewed a guy who was intellectually very smart and understood a lot about CS theory. I asked him why the PHP code he sent me didn't have any comments. "I don't believe in comments because they slow the PHP interpreter down." Sorry, he can be smarter than Einstein but I ain't letting him near production code.

mcphilip 2 days ago 2 replies      
After much experimentation giving interviews for server side positions, I've come to favor questions that involve routine real world problems that can be handled in increasingly sophisticated ways.

One example I use is getting the candidate to write crud, list, and search controller actions for a simple category data structure. Given a basic category data model (e.g. Name, Parent), the candidate starts with the crud actions.

Crud actions aren't meant to be difficult to solve and serve as a basic screener to verify the candidate has working knowledge of the basics. The only edge case I look for the candidate to ask about is if orphaning child nodes is allowed (I.e updating parent node, deleting a node with children)

List action(s) start getting more interesting since recursion comes into play. A basic implementation of an action that can load the tree given an arbitrary category as a starting point is expected. If the candidate has some prior experience, a discussion of what performance concerns they may have with loading the category tree is a follow up question. The tree loading algorithm is then expected to be revised to handle an optional max depth parameter. An edge case I look to be considered is how to signify in the action response that a category has one or more child nodes that weren't loaded due to a depth restriction.

The search action implementation has a degree of difficulty scaled to the candidates experience level. All candidates have to write an action that returns a collection of categories matching a search string. Those with previous experience are asked about a paging solution. Senior level candidates are asked to return matching categories in a format that indicates all ancestors ( for instance: "Category 1 -> Category 1.1 -> Category 1.1.1" result for search string "1.1.1")

For an added degree of difficulty, candidates can be asked to recommend data model tweaks and algorithms supporting tree versioning requirements necessary to allow for loading the category tree's state at a given point in time.

The candidate's performance to this exercise seems to give some insight into their level of experience and ability to implement algorithms from a common real world example without having to ask much trivia or logic problems.

rdtsc 2 days ago 5 replies      
Two possible reasons:

1) I think a lot of start-ups want to hire "smart" people. Because they expect the new person to eventually wear many hats. Objective-C, Java, Android, CSS, server side concurrency, monitoring. An we've all seen Hunter and Schmidt reference that tokenadult usually posts when talk about interviewing comes around and it does seem that a general mental ability test (like an IQ test) combined with a work samples seem to predict future performance of that employee. Well except that one can't just straight up give IQ test to job applicants (there is a court case about that). So we are left with a job sample (which many forget to give, as is the point of the author). But instead many focus on the GMA and create proxies for it -- cute little puzzles about blenders, round manhole covers, and other such silly things.

2) Those interviewing don't know the technical stuff and are afraid you'd out-bullshit them. "How does an Ajax request work" well if the interviewer themselves doesn't quite know the details the might not be able to evaluate it properly. They could have it written down but well, some technical questions have many different levels of depth that a candidate might descent to. So a quick written answer to the question might seem wrong but it is really because the candidate is more advanced. So puzzles seems to be a generic and "easier" to handle.

ek 2 days ago 2 replies      
> Spoiler alert: to solve this problem, you need to know how to enumerate the rationals.

This problem was addressed nicely in this functional pearl by Jeremy Gibbons, et al.: http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/jeremy.gibbons/publications/rationals... . As interesting as the result is, however, it's a pretty well-made point that research-level ideas from the programming languages community are not really software engineering interview material in the vast majority of cases.

This is yet another example of "rockstar developer"-itis, wherein startups are given to believe that they need the best of the best when in fact they do not. This particular example is entirely egregious because they asked her about something that requires enumerating the rationals when what they really wanted was an iOS code monkey. Then they fired her, based on their own shoddy interview.

dpiers 2 days ago 5 replies      
Hiring engineers is hard, and companies haven't really figured it out yet. Even the best companies rely on puzzles and gimmicks that often have little to do with day-to-day programming.

At one company I interviewed with, I was asked to implement a queue using two stacks. At that time in my programming career, I had worked with C, C++, Obj-C, Lua, Python, JavaScript, SQL, and a handful of DSLs developing games, game development tools, and web applications. Want to know what I had never done? Written a queue using two stacks. My immediate response to the question was, "Why would you want to do that?"

If you really want to know if someone has the capacity to pull their weight as an engineer, ask them about what they've built. Even if they are fresh out of college, the best engineers will have projects they can talk about and explain. Ask how they approached/solved specific problems. Ask what they're most proud of building. Ask what was most frustrating.

Those are the kind of questions that will provide insight into a person's problem solving capabilities and offer a decent picture of what they're capable of doing.

Xylakant 2 days ago 5 replies      
I actually like asking math questions on interviews. It shows how people approach a problem. Asking code questions in an arbitrary interview setting shows just about nothing - no access to a reference doc, somebody peering over your shoulder. Heck, I couldn't code my way out of a wet paperback in that setting.

Certainly, asking only math questions is stupid as well, people should know at least a little about the stuff they're supposed to work with, but teaching an actual language to a smart person eager to learn is a breeze compared to teaching problem solving to someone who memorized the reference manual.

x0054 2 days ago 3 replies      
Here is an interesting idea that I had reading this. As a startup, what if you were to create a simple computer language that looked different from most other computer languages, at least somewhat different. Alternatively, just use one of the many really obscure programming languages out there, just make sure the applicant does not know it ahead of time. Give the applicant a 10-20 page reference manual for the language and ask them to make a simple program of some sort. Have them read the manual and write the program, hopefully while not looking over their shoulder, so they can relax. In the manual you give them omit one critical function or API reference, but make sure that info is available online (make it available if you made up the language). Then see what happens.

This would test programmers ability to learn a new language.

jroseattle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm dealing with this now, having been interviewing for different engineering roles over the past two months. It hasn't been as bad as straight-up conceptual math problems, but there have been plenty of questions that I have questioned for validity.

Interviewer: "How can we optimize the character replacement in a string such that we use no extra memory?" Me: "We do this and that and this. But, should we consider what situations we would need this optimization?" Interviewer: "What? Why?"

I can now use this as a filter as I interview organizations. Optimizing algorithms by creating your own core data structure classes (instead of using the built-in ones) is great in certain circumstances, but an absolute waste of time in many others. And if you're not going to ask me about those times when making those improvements is important, then you're not asking questions for a programmer -- you're asking them for a theoretician who can recall syntax.

It's poor practice, and I've seen it everywhere.

morgante 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is rather unfortunate how little correlation most tech interviews have with their respective jobs. It's largely a lose-lose situation for everyone. Developers who could easily build great systems but aren't experts in graph theory get passed over while brilliant mathematicians who can't necessarily code get hired. Result? Companies simultaneously having to fire employees while facing a supposed talent crunch. Given that this hurts everyone, how did we even get into this situation?

Probably because the only person who doesn't lose from this is the interviewer: they get to have fun. Honestly, when you spend all day buried in code, it's fun to play with puzzles for a change.

Perhaps it's time we started optimizing interviews for hiring success rather than interviewer happiness.

jph 2 days ago 4 replies      
> Breadth-first search from both ends.

I believe this is deeply valuable. For some roles, I would much prefer to hire someone who can quickly see the value of breadth-first search from both ends.

If he/she doesn't happen to know the syntax of Ruby, or Java, etc. it's less important to me.

lotsofcows 2 days ago 1 reply      
I agree. But for a different reason: I'm shit at maths puzzles.

I just don't have the experience or tools or interest for them.

And yet, somehow, in 20 years of business geekery I've never come across a problem I can't solve.

Maybe when writing Tetris for J2ME I would have saved myself 10 minutes googling if I'd had the experience to realise that right angle based matrix translations don't require fp maths and maybe when writing financial indicators, I'd have saved myself half a day if I hadn't had to look up integrals but this sort of stuff is definitely in the minority as far as my experience goes.

Beltiras 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny. Just made a hire and this story made me think of it.

The position I was filling is a part-time position for a CS major, sort of like an internship. I devote time to develop his/her skills, s/he would get real-world experience, and a little money to help with cost of living. If everything works out, a position could open up for full employment.

I had a pretty good idea what I was looking for. Someone that had good grasp on theory but had no experience coding. Preferably enrolled in Uni. I had 5 applicants but the only candidate I interviewed is enrolled in Math-CS.

I basically tried to gauge if he had deep interests and asked him to code a bit, solve a simple control (find me the article with the highest hitcount from the day a week ago, gave him 10 minutes).

He failed the coding test but I made the hire regardless. Reason why was 2 things out of the 4 hours we spent together: When I asked him who he considered the father of CS he rattled off von Neuman, Djikstra and Knuth. Yeah, you can make that argument I suppose, but he knew who the influential people were. The other thing was: even if he failed the coding test he failed it by not reading the code examples quite right, he was using my code to try to help himself solve the problem. I'm sure he'll work out.

We as a field should employ internships a lot more than we do, get the college kids and undergrads working on real-world problems a lot more than we do.

DigitalSea 2 days ago 2 replies      
I failed mathematics in school, for the life of me I can't grasp them beyond the basics, but give me laptop and a copy of Sublime and I'll code anything you want. I can code, but I would fail any mathematical test given to me. This kind of approach has always bothered me, there are a lot of good developers out there bad at maths but posses strong problem-solving and highly analytical skills.

Being a developer is 80% Google and 20% actual coding knowledge. We are hackers at the end of the day, not miniature Einstein's with encyclopaedias for brains.

biot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Math puzzles are great if the problem is easily understood, the solution achievable without a math degree, and you ask them to solve it by writing code.

For example: "This database contains 100,000 problems with standardized parameters. The problem definition is defined in the file spec.txt which you can grab from our code repository. Write the code to solve these problems efficiently, passing each solution to a remote service via POSTing to a REST API, the documentation for which you can find here. Bonus points for parallel execution. Feel free to use any editor/IDE and reference online documentation, Stack Overflow, etc. that you want. If anything's not clear or you need a hand with something, just ask as you would if you were an employee already. Ready to get started?"

The great thing is that once you've identified a candidate, you can do remote screen sharing and have them write code before they even have to come into the office. I've interviewed a fair number of remote people this way and it's excellent for weeding out the people who can talk the talk but can't program worth a damn. And it limits bias because you don't care about much beyond their communication ability plus their technical ability.

mrcactu5 2 days ago 1 reply      
It looks like Emma's math prowess is working against her. It's ironic the app developers - who need her help the most - are pushing her away.

OK, so there is a difference between computer science and programming. that's why there are two different stack-exchanges:

  cs.stackexchange.com  stackoverflow.com
And we can make even finer distinctions if we wanted to.

it's actually really fucking INCREDIBLE that

* you can know tons of CS without being able to build a decent app* you can a decent facebook clone without having any idea how it works

I feel really bad for Emma. I was a math major, but app developers won't even look at me b/c I'm not a full-stack whatever. So now I'm a Data Scientist at an advertising firm in Puerto Rico.

michaelpinto 2 days ago 8 replies      
After reading this I have a dumb question: The person behind the post is a CS major but only played a little bit with the C programming language in college is this pretty common these days?
10098 2 days ago 1 reply      
Dear god, what kind of startup hires a person with only basic Java and Python knowledge, then hands them K&R and expects them to churn out production-quality code?! That's unfair.
dschiptsov 1 day ago 0 replies      
So it boils down to "show me your code" and then "please write a few test examples". To staff up a cheap coding sweatshop this method is good-enough.

In most cases an applicant must be able to read English (to google some code to copy-paste and occasionally search through documentation) and able to install and run Eclipse.

The real problem with hiring is that a HR middleman is ignorant and can't tell a good code form a restaurant menu. So he must give a very few simple exercises from common text-books with known answers.

The even bigger problem is that almost no one needs coders, everyone wants programmers which is a complete different set of analytical and engineering skills.

Coding is just a process of translation of a ready-made by someone else, poorly understood (if at all) specifications into a spaghetti [Java] code by calling poorly understood methods of ready-made classes, coded by someone else.

Programming is a process of understanding and describing reality (in terms of design documents, protocol specifications, and then, least importantly, source code in a several languages).

The criteria of success for a coder, btw, is when it just compiles (unit-tests? what unit-tests?) by the industry-strength most advanced compiler of the most sophisticated industry standard static-typing language (static typing is a guarantee from stupid errors, everyone knows) which is even verified to run correctly on the most advanced VM which incorporates millions of man-hours of optimizations, unless.. Never mind.

Success of a programmer is when it, like nginx or Plan9 or OpenBSD, is good-enough.)

eksith 2 days ago 1 reply      
This may be another reason people are eager to start their own company in lieu of working for someone else. If the questions are rubbish and completely unrelated to the actual job, then there's a huge disconnect between the interviewer (or HR company, as a lot of places outsource that) and where the actual work is to take place. I blame both.

The irony is that, in an effort to hire the "smartest" people, they leave out the wisest. Which is arguably more useful.

mcgwiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dear poster, don't imply all startups are equal.

If a startup asks you to solve math puzzles, it's possible that the work you will be doing heavily involves the creative use of math or information analysis. (This is more broadly valuable than many people recognize.)

Also, it's also possible that that particular startup doesn't know how to effectively interview.

It doesn't sensationalisticly mean all Startups (capitalization yours) don't know how to effectively interview.

Also, rather than focus on your ability to learn, I would humbly recommend you reconsider the basic nature of employment. An interview should be considered a two-way conversation. You're not selling yourself as a slave, you're entering into a mutually-beneficial, private, voluntary arrangement. Thus, even someone who goes into an interview willing to accept anything and everything they offer could be expected to ask simply, "And what exactly will I be doing?" But better yet, grill them about every nitty-gritty detail you can think of. Although some insecure interviewers may be taken aback (I'm guilty of asserting the interviewer was wrong on more than one occasion, both times still receiving an offer), I for one am impressed when a candidate demonstrates a sharp, critical and skeptical mind in this way.

Tyrannosaurs 2 days ago 0 replies      
On one hand I completely agree, on the other my experience of most CS graduates is that you can't code, at least not in the way that anyone codes in the real world so it's not a great thing to spend too much time on. That's not the fault of most graduates, it's what and how they're taught. Most people coming out of university know a little bit about a lot of languages and theories. That's good for giving them an overview but not great when it comes to having actual usable skills on day one.

Because of this I've pretty much given up on hiring graduates based on their technical skills so instead I'm looking for someone smart, who gets that they've got a lot to learn, who is interested in technology and can get on with the other people in the team.

I don't think asking people math questions per se is a great idea, but if you've studied a maths degree it's a good way of working out if you're smart and if you were paying any attention at all during university.

(Incidentally this may be different in other countries (I'm in the UK) or in a company where you're able to attract the very best who have picked up really solid skills, but for most organisations that's not the case as most graduates spent more of their own time in the bar than coding.)

lucasnemeth 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe there is some kind of inferiority complex, we don't believe software engineering is actually worth it. Probably, it is the result of an academic mindset that is taught at colleges, where the applied fields are seen as less important than the "pure" ones. But good software engineering, that is, writing complex systems, with a lot of requirements, maintainable, scalable, nice APIs, etc. it's very, very hard. And we know it!If we applied our hiring methods to writers, we would be asking them to improvise a rap rhyme, when we wanted to hire a novelist.
tbassetto 2 days ago 1 reply      
Our current hiring process at my startup:

- After a first non-technical call, we ask the candidate to create a very small project based on our SDK. We send him the documentation and a very small sample. He can almost use every tools he wants to create that small project and, of course, we do not set any deadlines. It allows us to see how the candidate architecture his applications and it gives us a project to discuss during the following call.- If all goes well, we invite the candidate on site to present our code/project and eventually brainstorm together. So that both parties can see if they can work together and the candidate has an insight about how we work, how our code looks like.

Clearly, it's far from perfect and we are often considering changing it. Imagine if every company where you are applying would ask you to create an app from scratch with their SDK? We may lose some candidates, but at least we hire only people that fit the company's culture.

deluxaran 2 days ago 0 replies      
My opinion on this is that most of the interview processes is pretty old(over 20-30 years) and back then a good programmer was also a pretty good mathematician, and now most of the people that do interviews just use the same old patterns because, maybe, some of them don't know any better or because that is what they found in some books they have read.

I tend to hate the interviews that ask me to solve math and logic brainteasers because I don't see the value in them regarding my knowledge of programming.

rexreed 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you're running a startup, the most important thing to hire for is fit. Do they fit in your culture? Do they fit a need that will help you achieve your milestones? Do they fit in the overall growth trajectory of your company? Do they have competency in the specific area you are hiring for and/or where your startup is building overall competency? Can they manage themselves and their time well?

The likelihood of failure of a startup approaches 100%, so you should optimize for likelihood of survival, not for IQ.

If you're not a startup, then the top ranked comment applies. But it doesn't really otherwise.

keithgabryelski 2 days ago 0 replies      
My observation is that a lot of interviews come down to "stump the chump" questions; a question that is meant to show a single issue the interviewee has under their belt and is used to gauge the entirety of the interviewer's ability. Math puzzles/logic puzzles are in the same category: they require domain knowledge that probably doesn't translate to any job I've ever worked on.

That aside, one must have a way to measure the abilities of a candidate -- and asking the same set of questions to many people allows you to compare the answers as apples to apples.

I generally don't restrict my people from asking any particular question, but I will ask them to consider what a failed answer really means for the specific job (questions are generally adjusted then).

As an aside, some questions of mine that aren't specifically about coding:

* do you code outside of work (a love of coding translates to good coders)

* send me a link to some code you've written that you are proud of (let see what you got)

* tell me about a problem you had where your solution wasn't correct (how have you dealt with failure).

gregjor 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is sadly common in a community keen on logic, evidence, and avoiding fallacies in thinking. Worse than puzzles are pointless faux psychological screening questions like "Tell me about something painful that has happened to you and how you dealt with it."

I would (and have) asked if the interviewer or organization has any evidence to show that interview puzzle performance (or shit like Myers-Brigg) predicts job performance. No? Not surprising. Google did look into it and found no relationship. (http://www.businessinsider.com/how-google-hires-2013-6)

Programmer interviews are so crazy and sometimes sadistic that I catalogued some of the more common interview patterns:


jasey 2 days ago 0 replies      
The interview is a 2 way street. While the company makes you jump through hoops to see if your good enough, you also have a opportunity to determine if you want to work for them.

I like to ask "what will I be working on in the next 6 months" that way you don't rock up and than the second day they through you in the deep end of building a iPhone app.

Granted, startups only have a vague idea of what they will be programming with short periods but it helps.

Also ask "what will be my performance indicators". If they don't include "being able to very quickly learn new technologies" its hardly your fault.

cicatriz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a writeup about a recent study that showed interviewers couldn't predict GPA any better when the interviewees answers were accurate versus random: http://www.danielwillingham.com/1/post/2013/10/why-job-inter...

Anyone who supports math puzzles (or whatever else) in an interview would have to argue that their perception of the candidates performance offers a clear enough data point that it doesn't dilute other information available to them. Given Google's study finding data otherwise, they certainly have the burden of proof.

mariozivic 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMHO, the post is more about the interviewers not understanding what is important for success in the job they are interviewing for than about anything else. If you need a person that will have to switch technologies, languages and paradigms, you have to test for that, make sure a candidate has done it before or is capable of doing it in expected time with expected depth.

If one is good and quick in problem solving or has high GMA, that does indicate that he has the capacity to handle new and difficult things in general, but says nothing about the speed with which he can handle a particular new thing. Author's example with JavaScript is very good illustration how difficult can it be to learn a new paradigm for the first/second time.

conductr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can relate on the opposite. I am not great at those complex math problems. But, I have been coding for 15 years at >20 hours a week average. Mostly web stuff. I've built dozens of full products, that we're complex, and I generally feel like I could build anything I wanted. Every time I use a new site I can visualize how I would have built it, usually not a question of if I could; time permitting.

Yet, I have never had the balls to pursue it professionally. I build stuff and usually never launch it. I have learned several times over that marketing is not my strong suit.

That said, I'd actually like to work for a startup. Hit me up if anyone wants to talk.

sudomal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am willing to bet that tests give an advantage to applicants with no commercial experience, as well as those that have no life outside of technology. If that's what you want in employees then sure, it's a good way to find them, otherwise just look at their code samples and give them a trial.

Programming isn't difficult and you don't need to know complex maths or be able to solve mind bending puzzles to be a great developer.

VLM 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something I've always wanted to ask, are contractors hired the same way? I've never contracted although my father did in his retirement years. I'm curious if modern contractors have to put up with this kind of behavior at interviews, or if its a more professional atmosphere oriented around the actual job requirements.
eaxitect 2 days ago 0 replies      
Totally agree, asking math puzzles (sometimes really hard ones) to develop a copycat iphone app? Interviewing like this is really off the rails.

I really understand that a startup with scarce resource would like to do its best shot. However as discussed long ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2385424), it is really frustrating that asking math puzzles are assumed as the best way to hire the best for the job.

czarpino 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I agree that puzzles and mind games are silly ways to appraise coding skills, they do give an insight about a person's raw intelligence, or knowledge, or potential. As CS is an application of math and programming is an application of CS, being good in math does not necessarily mean proficiency in it's application; same goes for CS. IMO, a good programmer must, at least, have:

+ knowledge - generally mastery of math/CS concepts and can be thought of as the potential

+ application skills - modeling a real world problem into a theoretical, computable, and (ultimately) programmable form

+ execution skills - implementation (coding) of a solution including the ability to utilize requisite tools/technologies such programming languages, DBs, OS, and so on

That said, hiring process should cover each of these areas and programmers should work on all these as well.

rehack 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great post. And also from the other side of the fence. As typically we see, these kind of posts, from people who did not like Math puzzles, and as a result suffered in the interview rounds.

But this one talks about getting inadvertent benefit of being good in Maths to get selected for programming, and suffering the consequences later on.

Also, it highlights the importance of what is mostly taken for granted and thought of as mundane stuff, of programming - the idiosyncrasies, jargon, and best practices of various languages and OS environs.

theanirudh 2 days ago 2 replies      
Even after reading Jeff Atwood's post[1], it still amazes me how many programmers fail the fizz buzz test. We dont even get the chance to ask tough programming qustions. Simple questions like fizz buzz, loops and recursion were good enough to filter out a lot of applicants.

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

CmonDev 2 days ago 1 reply      
Start-ups can afford asking candidates puzzles? I thought everyone was struggling to find developers.
Jugurtha 2 days ago 0 replies      
The "Kevin Bacon" stuff was about degrees of separation (Does the expression "Six degrees of separation" ring a bell ?).

Not long ago, Facebook made that 4.74 degrees of separation on its networks. Meaning a maximum of only 4.74 persons are necessary to connect any two random persons on the network.


You can also find an article on Wikipedia about the "Kevin Bacon" reference.

joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would say that you should keep at it. There are strong parallels between math and programming, but interviewers should definitely be asking you to write pseudo-code on a whiteboard and do a paired programming session. That would probably be a good way to relieve the awkwardness later when they realize that your programming skills aren't as strong as you'd like them to be. Definitely keep at it, soon you'll be able to think of a Markov chain as a for loop multiplying two arrays and not only as a matrix multiplication.
taude 2 days ago 0 replies      
While we're at it, can we stop treating and thinking of web development (which seems to be a lot of dev positions these days) like it's rocket science?
swelly127 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have the exact same problem as OP. Getting tons of job offers because I've been doing competitive math and algorithms since grade school but really have hard time understand technology. I'm pretty ambitious and I want to join a small, high growth startup and have the excitement of being part of a founding team but I'm afraid of letting people down.

I could learn heroku/RoR/whatever other technology but news things are always coming out and some people keep up with it so easily. I'm not sure being a dev is right for me if I take so long to understand such basic stuff. But I love coding and algos! I write python scripts to do all my homework... and then run them in codecademy labs because doing it in unix makes me so confused.

If anyone has had the same problem please let me know how you got over this hurdle. Thanks.

background; sophomore, cs major, cornell

codecrusade 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. Most IQ tests are Bullshit2. We all know what happened to the company famous for " Who moved mount fuji"3. Math Puzzles are good if they are of the IMO level- but these things need a lot of concentration and joy to solve- Not under stress interview conditions.4. Expecting someone to show brilliance by solving a math puzzle in under ten twenty minutes is a lot like a public willy wagging competition5.Even more disgusting is the semi dumb questions at Mckinsey inerviews like - "Estimate the number of mineral water bottles in London"6.7.In 'Jobs', Walter Issacson says Steve was never into much of these puzzles- I can understand the reason.8. ' I think a lot of what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity'-(great quote from an inspirational friend-http://www.flickr.com/photos/elizabethbw/8373942339/)9. People who ask these kind of puzzles end up creating a lot of CPU without any GPU. Very Little beauty. Very Little love.Disclosure- Im a member of Mensa Inernational. No Offense meant.
Killswitch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm absolutely horrible at math... I think I graduated high school (my only schooling) with the equivalent of just above grade school in math... I can code no problem though. I'm very good at it. Anybody asks me math puzzles I say thanks for your time, but I am done with the interview.
jpgvm 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I hire programmers I try to favour ingenuity, knowledge and as best as I can gauge it, work ethic. For instance I might ask them about a theoretical task, possibly something like a scheduler or packet filter etc and give them domain specific data about how it will be used and ask them if there are any optimization they could make if they had this data about the systems use case.

Or I might ask them to describe how an event loop works.. or what the I/O path between their program and the disk looks like in as much detail as they can.

Someone that loves the field is going to have a decent idea about these things even if they never had to build one before.

caveat: these examples are very system level but you can substitute them with appropriate web, financial etc domain specific knowledge.

fnbr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found that Facebook was really bad for this. I'm a math undergrad, and I applied for a bunch of data analysis positions with them.

I was asked, as part of my application, to take a programming quiz. The quiz consisted of a graph theory problem. I did pretty poorly on it, given that I have no real knowledge of graph theory.

Had they asked me a question about statistics (or something similarly related to data analysis), I think I would have actually been able to answer, or at least been at a point where my programming knowledge- not my math knowledge- was what was holding me back.

jsun 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think a lot of companies use brain teasers or math problems to test general mental aptitude, whether it works or not is under serious debate, but in my opinion that's the right thing to test for (if it's even possible).

The reason is smart people can figure out git, or databases, or objective-c, or whatever, in a fairly short amount of time.

For example, my co-founder learned objective C off free online video tutorials and built an iOS app (talking an app with serious firepower and back-end transaction logic) from start to end by himself in less than 3 weeks.

That's why we're not as concerned about what you know right now as what it's possible for you to learn in 3 more week.

anuraj 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is a good strategy, if the company is interviewing freshers as programming is teachable and the assumption is that new inductee will take few months to become productive. If you can't wait, the best strategy is to give a live coding problem and test the person's proficiency in the required language/technology. I invariably do the latter as my requirements are always very specific. Most start ups I suppose, are themselves undecided on product/market/technology choice and thus the former strategy.
Xyik 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my experience, only the really big companies focus heavily on algorithms and math puzzles. That's because they don't really need to hire anymore people, they just want to steal 'smart' people, and they don't need to iterate as quicky. Start-ups and smaller companies have in my experience, typically asked full-stack type of questions that dive into things like networking protocols, databases, scalability, and so on. And I believe thats the way it should be. Start-ups that focus heavily on math puzzles and algorithms are doing it wrong.
fayyazkl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally some one pointed out the importance of the ability to actually code and produce something that works. Algorithmic problem solving ability is far less utilized in actual every day job compared to being able to code. Just imagine how much of your math skills did you actually need going well through all those bad experiences? Would you still be considered slow learner and fired if you knew how to code pretty well but just wasnt so good at figuring out shortest path in a graph. Isnt it possible to know the CS basics well i.e. familiar with complexity, big Os, basic data structures and sorting and being able to learn any advanced standard algo when needed by looking it up? Just wondering.
meshko 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't get it. He got hired? He learned how to do his stuff? If we require people to know how to work right out of college, no fresh grad would ever got a job.
mindwork 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am stopping to talk with people who ask for such a bs.

Check out the last technical interview task that I got```Objective:Write a program that prints out a multiplication table of the first 10 prime numbers.The program must run from the command line and print to screen one table.

Notes: - DO NOT use a library method for Prime (write your own)- Use Tests. TDD/BDD- IMPRESS US.```

I mean I can impress you but how will this correlate with production code?

yeukhon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just saw this on HN...http://www.datagenetics.com/blog/october12013/index.html

This is like solving your submarine problem. Jeese.

trendspotter 2 days ago 0 replies      

Stop asking this fine young lady math puzzles to determine her programming abilities. She is good at solving your seemingly pointless math puzzle, because she was practicing problem-solving since she was ten. But she is not anywhere near as good at programming, yet - which caused her problems at the actual jobs she had to do after she was hired.

enterx 2 days ago 1 reply      
You speak wise, my friend.

Isn't XY years of records in the same field of interest working for a successful companies a good sign that I can code?!

Ask me theory - pay me to code.

shurcooL 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why not just look at the person's recent commits?
shindevijaykr 2 days ago 0 replies      
really true
progx 2 days ago 3 replies      
Because they don't know you, you don't have a well known name, they don't know what you can and if it is true.

E.g. if somebody hire John Carmack (ID Software), nobody will let him do some math test or ask him trivial programming questions.

But you are not John Carmack ;-)

It is like in every other job: if you are not a rockstar you are nobody.

Ask HN: Why the Microsoft hate?
713 points by seanmcdirmid  1 day ago   497 comments top 117
iamshs 1 day ago 6 replies      
In that particular thread, I was accused of being a shill and an astroturfer by 3 members. All of the accusers had karma greater than 1500, and atleast two of them were on HN since at least 2 years. Why? Because I posted the spec list of the tablet. And I do not have allegiance to any of the tech companies at all, except having used their products one time or another.

MS hate is vicious on here. I remember recoiledsnake [1, 2] alluding to it, and not that particular topic, infact lots of MS topics are bumped off the frontpage while having lots of points. Not on this site, I made a point on neoGAF debunking a point regarding XboxOne related to a technology that I am very much familiar with. I was ambushed by 15-20 people in matter of 10 minutes and banned. One single post, nothing inflammatory. On this site, yes I do see MS hate from lots of members. I do not think I remain enthusiastic in posting on here. Some of the members call themselves veterans and use that status to just point barbs. Disagreements are one thing and can be deliberated in civil manner, but downright unencumbered hate and allegations is another.

[1]- https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=recoiledsnake[2] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5716419

jeswin 22 hours ago 13 replies      
I'll tell you the story of my friend Greg.

Greg has been a believer in Microsoft. He went to all the Tech-Ed conferences, attended every MSDN event he could. Conferences are grand stages that leave an impression. He drank all the cool-aid that was served at these conferences.

Things were really good early on, this was the last decade. The computing scene at that time revolved around Microsoft like the many moons of Jupiter. Greg and his team built products with Silverlight, WPF, .Net, Windows Workflow, Biztalk, Remoting, and the like. Every conference offered something new, something exciting. The apps they built worked great, looked great.

Fast forward to now. Greg is a decent programmer, but he wants a new job badly. The problem is that nobody wants to use all that stuff that he knows. People want to build on standards; apps that work on every device. Not just on Windows and not just on Internet Explorer. Greg still doesn't get it. He hasn't seen much of the world outside Microsoft, and still wonders why people don't want Silverlight. Still tells me how WPF is so much better that anything else out there. And running only on IE, why is that even a problem? Everybody has IE. Poor Greg, tough times.

There may be many issues with Microsoft. But more than anything else, I would fault them for building their entire ecosystem with total disregard for standards, their refusal to work with whatever community existed outside. This probably wasn't intentional, they must have probably believed in what they told their developers. Even though so much has changed since their glory days, there's a part of Microsoft which still refuses to engage.

There was a Steve Jobs interview from the late 90s in which he said, "The problem with Microsoft is that they have absolutely no taste". Jobs wasn't talking about aesthetics; it is true of pretty much everything from Microsoft. From UIs, to development frameworks, to tools, to shells and even APIs. Back then, having "no taste" was totally fine because people communicated far less.

Now we have a whole bunch of people who are stuck using this stuff. And many of them don't really get it yet.

Edit: I just saw that you work for Microsoft, and specifically Microsoft Research. You guys make awesome stuff. The above is mostly about the Windows platform.

pnathan 22 hours ago 5 replies      
Hiya Sean,

So you posted a real classic flamewar topic here... heh. Enjoy the war. But here's my take on Microsoft Corp, since you asked nicely.

You guys don't play nice. You've never played nice, and the fact that you've gotten better lately seems to be more due to the fact that you've lost dominance and have to interop with other operating systems. I'm not really going to provide significant examples, there are lots out there for a quick search. Things like file formats, threading models, frigging slash directions in filenames, deviance in compiler standards. Not to mention that MS had a terrible rep for being aggressive and with bad ethics in the 80s and 90s (leaving aside the F/OSS fight).

Technically, I find MS offerings to still be catching up in automatability to Linux. Still. Not only that, but you have had since the 90s this obnoxious habit of having "moving targets" for your APIs. So learning one API just meant that I'd have to learn a new one to do the same thing in a year.

I've recently had the opportunity to do heavy .NET development, and my opinion is that as a developer whose worked for years in Linux, Microsoft technologies wasted my time comparatively. Everything from Windows 8 out to the shenanagins with IIS to actually get my webapp deployed. I was able to do equivalent work in Ruby on Rails (a language and framework I didn't know) in a fraction of the time I spent fighting C#, MVC API and IIS; this experience was repeated with Caveman and Common Lisp (a framework I didn't know, a language I did). I can not believe how painful it is to develop on Microsoft tooling, and how meekly people accept it as the way it is. I don't like having my time wasted.

I'm not going to say Apple or Google (or Oracle, SAP, etc, etc, etc) is blameless, okay? But I don't really like Microsoft policy and technologies, as a rule of thumb. Note that I really respect your arm of the company - MSR - and think that it does great stuff like F#, Pex, and others. That still doesn't obviate my dislike of MS as a corporation.


georgemcbay 23 hours ago 3 replies      
I (speaking for myself, obviously, not anyone else on HN) don't hate Microsoft. I use Windows! Windows 8 in fact!

For context because I'm sure some people (I do think there is an anti-MS bias here on HN, though not as pronounced as OP thinks it is) may think I'm some stereotypical Microsoft-using rube. I grew up in the 80s, programming first on the C64 (BASIC, 6510 Assembler), then Amiga, then various UNIX systems (SunOS, IRIX, AIX, Ultrix, Solaris, later Linux).

I avoided Windows like crazy until Windows 2000 came out because prior to that release the idea of using an OS where one process could crash the system at any time seemed ridiculous (post my Amiga days), and running NT was only for "enterprises" (at that time). But since I first started using Windows 2000, Windows has always been my "primary" OS, partly for gaming reasons, partly for access to commercial software (currently Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop), and partly because I simply actually just like the look and feel of it.

In the meantime I spent quite a number of years doing Win32 software development (though now I'm mostly doing Android/Java and some embedded stuff with Go) and to this day, Visual Studio is still the programming environment by which all others I use are measured and found wanting. There are some pretty decent other ones, but I still miss the absolute power of the VS debugger (against C, C++ and C#) and everytime I find myself doing printf-debugging because the FOSS tool I'm using doesn't have solid debugging support I cry a little inside.

I also still do a lot of Linux-based programming these days, each Windows system I use has half a dozen or more Linux VMs running on them regularly, but I still prefer Windows as an overall primary desktop. It is fast and extremely stable these days (hell, the GPU driver can crash due to Nvidia bugs and Windows will just restart that mofo and keep going, how cool is that?).

All that said, yes, Microsoft hasn't always acted in the best interests of the overall industry (but neither has any other company near their size, and Microsoft has gotten better over the years while some others I won't name have gotten worse, IMO). Also, I still haven't found any good reason to buy a WinRT device. But my overall impression of Microsoft is pretty positive.

olalonde 1 day ago 5 replies      
In case you are genuinely wondering, a lot of the hate towards Microsoft stems from their historical hostility towards open standards[0] and open source[1].

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

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

nikatwork 1 day ago 8 replies      
I started my career working on VB apps, and ASP then ASP.NET websites, using a Windows dev box.

After learning several OSS stacks, I have nothing but contempt for Microsoft technologies. I wouldn't say I hate MS - they are what they are - but I am certainly conditioned to be very suspicious of their offerings. I would never take a job working on a MS stack again, ever.

I currently work for a large enterprise that uses a mix of MS and OSS, and I take every chance I get to swap out the MS tech with OSS. The devs love it and it makes me happy.

martey 1 day ago 1 reply      
You have not provided any evidence that flagging is the reason that articles about the Nokia Lumia 2520 fell off of the front page. It is entirely possible that they disappeared because not enough people were interested in upvoting marketing information about a tablet running Windows RT.

So is HN basically becoming Slashdot where Microsoft hate occurs by default?

The guidelines for this site suggest that it is bad form to compare HN to other sites, especially when your account is under a year old. They also suggest that users should not complain about downmodding (which you are doing).

I think this would have been a reasonable post if you had found evidence that articles involving Microsoft consumer electronics received more negative comments or flags that articles from other companies. Instead, the post and its comments are just a bunch of unfounded accusations of anti-Microsoft bias.

I would argue that the facts that you assumed that articles about the Lumia disappeared because people were maliciously flagging them, that you posted an extremely positive comment about it [1] without disclosing your Microsoft affiliation, and that you reposted an Engadget article about it [2] just 6 hours after it was originally submitted, and at the same time you were insulting people in the original submission's comments [3] just as troubling.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6590538

[2]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6591911

[3]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6591575

tptacek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are you sure about this? If I go to HNSearch, look for Nokia stories, and sort by date, I can't find a comment saying that any of them aren't relevant to HN... which doesn't surprise me because there's no argument under which Nokia wouldn't be relevant to HN.

Can you link to one of these stories that got flagged off the site?

Mikeb85 23 hours ago 1 reply      
> Why the Microsoft hate?

Because of Microsoft's shady business practices over the years (including Elop killing Nokia's most promising phone OS, Meego, and driving the share price down so MS could scoop it up) and the fact their software is just plain bad.

No one actually wants to use MS Windows. Microsoft ruined/killed some of their most beloved franchises (Age of Empires, Flight Simulator, Combat Flight Simulator). Internet Explorer is a joke.

Not to mention, the ridiculous licencing terms that come with MS software, the high prices, and questionable functionality. If paying for Vista was bad, it was worse that Windows 7 wasn't a free update.

And then there's all the attack ads and FUD Microsoft has spread over the years (especially against Linux), which continues to this day with the 'Scroogled' campaign and attacks on non-Windows phones.

Anyhow, a better question would be who actually likes Microsoft? Even OEMs are jumping ship and desperately searching for alternatives (witness all the Chromebooks coming out now)...

skriticos2 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I have to work with their system every day at work. I don't have a choice.

I'd really like to go out of Microsoft's way, but they don't let me. I'd like to look for any workplace and be asked the first day: "which OS / software stack I prefer?" or give me a blank box to set up. But I usually just get a Windows box which I'd choose last (somewhere behind pen and paper).

They do patent extortion (they make more money of Android than Windows Phone).

They don't contribute much back to the world at large. I don't mind proprietary software, but I insist on open interfaces that let software play together. They don't do that. They don't publish essential specifications, don't contribute code to the community much and if you reserve engineer their protocols to provide compatible services, they sue you and extort royalties. And then there are things like OOXML that they forced through ISO.

Companies working together with Microsoft are regularly burned.

They have been repeatedly used very dirty tactics to corner the market and got fined for it.

I don't particularly fancy their software (I'm much more comfortable with Linux systems). Automation of Windows software is horrible and they suffer a bad form of NIH.

This rubs me the wrong way.

Make them an optional thing in my life that I can avoid and I stop having hard feelings for them.

anigbrowl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I agree, it's just pack behavior. And no, I don't work for MS, nor have I ever.

Having said that, launching the day before the iPad was bound to invite negative comparison without something really special, notwithstanding the good value proposition of this tablet. What has personally held me back is that Windows RT has nothing in particular for me because it can't run any x86 legacy apps, while surface Pro seems rather expensive.

As with Google & Android, and MS with many previous versions of Windows, this platform is poor for musicians and not great for visual artists. I know creatives are a small market, but they're a very influential one. I don't like Apple or iOS much, but next time I buy a tablet with a view to making music, what other choice do I have?

quaffapint 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm almost afraid to reply to this. It's like the hunt for Communists in the US during the cold war - ah another MS sympathizer.

MS made a lot of mistakes - so did Apple. I was an Apple tech support - it really sucked not having multitasking and dealing with so many OS issues. Now I make a living off the MS stack.

I think MS sticking with RT is a bad move - go with full Windows support. I would still say a Nexus device is probably the best bang for the buck.

In the end it's just an opinion, but you don't need to jump down a company's throat because their not the ones in vogue at the moment.

tluyben2 17 hours ago 2 replies      
First of all let me say that of the research I follow, MS research is definitely in my top list. And you personally (with non MSR people like Jonathan Edwards) are among the few who try to help the crap we call programming which I hope you will pursue for a long time. I follow your research and your comments on HN.

On MS (mostly opinion here as most posters in this kind of thread):

I used to love MS in the 80s, because of the MSX [1]; to me that all was very open and nice.

With Windows 3.1 I saw something different; I was used to unix in university by then and Windows 3.1 was so horribly unstable and generally completely worthless that I thought the world had gone mad from buying and using that crap. I used to look in pity on the people sitting behind the very frequently crashing 3.1 (browsing with Netscape on 3.1 was like pulling teeth) machines as I sat behind Solaris which never crashed. Which made MS, to me, the company who releases things into the wild which do not work and they dare to ask money for it. I know they couldn't really help some of that; you could crash 3.1 as easy as DOS, but software under DOS crashed less frequently, wasn't that much of a pain to work with (one open application at a time; good for focusing too :). Matters became worse that, after a while, they had NT and still they were peddling, for money!, that 3.1 abomination on humanity.

With 95 things didn't improve much (at the time it seemed it did and up from 3.1 it did, but in the big scheme of things it still crashed all the time) and by then a solid version of NT was on the market so there was not much excuse for releasing '95. I became aware of their dubious business tactics against small companies and with their partners; as a result of the technical crap they released and their tactics I got 5 sparcstation 5 machines from my old uni for free and installed redhat on my PC.

I try Windows and the eco system ever so often;I have a Lumia; love the hardware, not the OS; many issues I've written about before. I tried to like Windows 7 and 8; 7 is ok, but not more than that and 8 is... weird. I wish they would've just had some balls and just only put Metro all the way with no way to go back. Now it's just, like the Surface; neither meat nor fish; not tablet, not laptop. For a client I had to install the MS-SQL/Sharepoint/Exchange etc stack and write some software on it; I thought I liked it at first, but after a while I got into the quirks which had no documentation and not much online relief.

Basically; I try to like MS their products ever so often because I think their should be competition; I just don't see any competition compared to what I use daily. And stuff like the Android patents still stings; unless they turn that back they haven't changed since the 90s and are still evil.

I don't 'hate' anything though; it's just something they shouldn't do if they want my money.

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

pkteison 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know it's been too long and it's an unreasonable position to take, but I'm still upset about Stacker.

Add on wasting the purchase of Danger (Sidekicks were amazing), intentionally changing their OS solely to screw with competitors, the terribleness of embrace and extend, and I just can't get excited about anything from Microsoft. Sure, they've behaved better recently, but they've had real competition recently. I stop short of hate, but I'm not excited about their stuff unless it's something as big as the Kinect can drive my car to the moon.

jowiar 10 hours ago 0 replies      
HN is (largely) composed of web developers.

HN dislikes Microsoft by default the same way Americans dislike government by default. Americans views of government are shaped by their experience with their local DMV, which leads to a conclusion of "government is a slow, inefficient, bureaucratic, unfriendly mess". Similarly, web developers opinions of Microsoft are shaped by their experiences with IE. And past versions of IE that they still need to support.

If Microsoft wants web developers to have ANY respect for them, they need to improve the interactions that web developers have with them. Today, I ran into a JS bug in IE9 that manifests itself 100% of the time when the debugger is closed, and 0% of the time when the debugger is open. Clearly, debugging this is... frustrating. And clearly will never be fixed (as it's an old browser version).

sandGorgon 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I am personally rooting for Microsoft because, hey, you're the underdog. But the seriously botched up release process of Windows 8.1 brought me back to hate.

I can't download an ISO - I have two computers in my house and I'm in India with 2mbps,30 gb bandwidth (which is not cheap). Seriously, why would you do that?

I could not ask my friends for a CD.

The second problem - I can't do a clean install of 8.1 using a windows 8 key. Because Windows 8.1 is supposed to be "an upgrade from Windows 8, if you have a 8 key". So the only way to clean install 8.1 is to clean install 8 and THEN launch the upgrade installer. Combining with the above issue, Im looking at about 12-15 gb of download to install two computers. All because some sales suit thought it was a bad idea. Again, seriously? Look at how Apple did the Mavericks release - the bar is much higher.

I want to like Microsoft - I really think you guys innovated with Windows Mobile (although Win 8 Metro sucks) , but your business practices soon turns that into hate.

spamizbad 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd like to thank you for offering that "Full Disclosure" - it represents how Microsoft culture has changed over the years (for the better). In earlier times, Microsoft would often encourage its employees to covertly astroturf on its behalf on various internet forums or news groups. This happened on Arstechnica years ago, and involved quite a bit of drama when one of the mods traced the IP of a poster back to Redmond's office after the convert employee was trolling the Linux/OSS forums.
Locke1689 21 hours ago 0 replies      
People in tech, including those on HN, are often prone to hyperbole (myself included).

I've got a bunch of example topics: MS, the NSA, F/OSS, Google & privacy, CISPA, etc.

In each of these cases, there's usually some voices of reason (grellas, anigbrowl, tptacek, masklinn, gruseom, I'm looking at you) and a lot of people who treat the story as life and death.

CISPA is the END of net neutrality. Google is the END of privacy on the internet. F/OSS is about what's RIGHT and what's WRONG and F/OSS is RIGHT and proprietary software is WRONG. MS SecureBoot isn't about addressing a well-studied security problem by Microsoft and the security industry, it's about PUTTING DOWN the Linux desktop. The NSA is the END OF ALL PRIVACY.

I'm not sure what the reason is but people just overreact.

So here's my take on MS. It's a software company. Use their stuff, don't use their stuff: whatever. The days when it was THE software company are over. If we don't ship you a compelling experience, use something else.

gbog 23 hours ago 1 reply      
> Is it ethical to flag something because the article is related to a company you don't like

I do not think the important topic of Ethics should be brought so low as to help us decide on whether to flag or not a link on HN. Let's replace it by "stupid".

Then yes, it is stupid to flag a post just because it relates to a company we do not like.

However, it is not stupid to dislike Microsoft. You might remember Paul Graham's Microsoft is Dead(1): for people a bit older than 20, Microsoft is a company which was very frightening, a company which did really try to kill Internet, and force all our industry into a nightmarish path where we programmers would all be happy slaves.

Just because they have changed the color of their last make-up will not change this, and I would hope Hackers here and there would actually despise more Microsoft and other similarly dangerous companies.

(1) http://www.paulgraham.com/microsoft.html

lisper 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I hate Microsoft because they're crooks. They made their money not by creating a better product at a competitive price, but by breaking the law. And then they used the position of power and influence that they had attained by breaking the law not to make the world a better place, but to crush competition and inhibit innovation.

You asked.

auctiontheory 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why the past tense in so many of these posts? Windows and especially Office are still an efficiency and $$ tax on businesses and consumers around the world.

I would guess that 1% of Office sales are for folks who "need" the functionality of (most likely) Excel over what is offered by OpenOffice, Google Docs, etc. All the rest are driven by the effective monopoly of the Office file system "standard."

I am happy to pay for great products, like my MBP, but these aren't great products - even after decades, Word is still a <NSFW> to use.

xradionut 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's the deal: Despite having some awesome tech and many talented employees, Microsoft as a corporation has a history of shitting on developers, smaller companies and independents. There's a history of threatening OSS, monopoly abuse, abandoning APIs, bad certs, crapware, gross mismanagement, ignoring constructive requests and a very bad case of Not Invented Here. And they do have an history of astro-turfing and aggressive social media promotion.

Disclosure: I've primarily worked as a MS stack developer and admin for over two decades. But I've also used a full spectrum of other technologies over the years, too. I've been agnostic and objective when it come to the industry, but I've eaten enough excuses from Redmond. There's good alternatives, I'm exploring more of them.

smegel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well...they are pretty evil, which has been fairly well documented over the years. Suing companies for using Linux patents they refuse to disclose? Yep, that is evil.

Oh, and sticking a UI designed for touch-screen tablets on ordinary desktops and laptops is just stoopid. They have become a Blackberry-esque laughing stock as far as making terrible business decisions and missing opportunities.

How does your wife think Nokia would be doing if they had released Android phones instead?

underwater 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I was disappointed that the Nokia thread was nuked. I was interested to see HN's take on it. Instead it ended with a silly flamewars about astroturfing and we ended up with half a dozen articles about OS X and the iPad on the home page.
ksk 18 hours ago 0 replies      
>So is HN basically becoming Slashdot where Microsoft hate occurs by default? Is it ethical to flag something because the article is related to a company you don't like, even if the source is generally reputable (theverge, engadget, ars)?

I've been browsing slashdot practically since it started and if thats your barometer, then the most tech websites are 'Slashdot!'. In my opinion, the vast majority of the anti-ms comments can be safely ignored as they are just trolls looking for attention. Whats interesting is that the trolls that attempt technical arguments are also wrong the vast majority of the time. And if they bring an ideological argument, then they are some kind of open source zealot and bring nothing new to the already dead old open-close source flamewar. (Open-Source won BTW :P)

I know several people at MS.. and MS has great talent as well as some extremely well engineered products. With all that said, MS has done some pretty shitty things in the past. And all of those shitty things have been bouncing around in the internets echo chamber - being twisted into half-truths to complete lies for about 10 years. There is just too much misinformation entrenched in the community for MS to be able to counter that. I don't know if they deserve it but its going to be a long long time before you can expect any kind of fair treatment from average geeks.

lessnonymous 1 day ago 2 replies      
In this thread: People getting confused over what Hacker News is.

We're not the OSDN. In fact we (as a collective group of users) are not related to the open source movement in any way. Why should MS's closed-source viewpoint matter to us? Are we not here to build businesses in the tech space?

Sometimes the right tool to use is made by Microsoft. Sometimes it's open source.

forgottenpaswrd 20 hours ago 2 replies      
So you work for Microsoft and your wife is from a company that is being bought by Microsoft, so everything in your life is Microsoft.

That's ok, great, you are totally biased in favor of this company.

So you can't understand or respect other people opinions. "hate" is a very strong term for not caring enough, or not caring as much as some family with all members working for the company.

mercurial 17 hours ago 0 replies      
> So is HN basically becoming Slashdot where Microsoft hate occurs by default?

Well. HN has a strong proportion of open-source people, and Microsoft's relationship with the open-source community has been historically poor, in no small part due to ethically-challenged decisions made by Microsoft management. I'd even argue that Microsoft has essentially lost all trust when it comes down to it. Embrace, extend, extinguish, etc. Much as Oracle's brand does not attract the best feelings here.

Though I'll point out that Microsoft Research as a distinct unit produces extremely valuable work, and that many folks talking about the bad quality of Microsoft products haven't touched Windows since the dawn of the century.

> Is it ethical to flag something because the article is related to a company you don't like, even if the source is generally reputable (theverge, engadget, ars)?

No, I wouldn't say that it is.

shadowmint 17 hours ago 1 reply      
You know those articles on stackoverflow which are marked 'matter of opinion, not constructive'?

yeah. this. That.

(I fully endorse discussion about meaningful topics, but I think it's a bit stupid to have a microsoft vs. not microsoft post push up at the top of HN. Everyone, post your opinion on this topic now, instead of actually talking to each other~)

warcher 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Every company has their faults.

Apple is so much worse than Microsoft, business practices wise, in nearly every way. But they're a minority, and they compensate for their rapaciousness with a level of quality and attention to detail that nobody else does, period.

Linux and their ecosystem is like the Borg. Everybody will be open source eventually, and if you don't get on board they'll just clone you. And eventually they'll win. Look at how far gimp has come. They're gonna get everybody sooner or later.

Google wants to be Microsoft in the worst way, but has not yet achieved the level of hubris that would allow them to forget that a new search engine is just a click away. And it is. If google pisses us off enough, they could be wrapped up overnight. And they know it.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is a mean competitor that doesn't really do quality and has its roots in the nineties when it OWNED EVERYTHING. And it still owns the desktop, and office productivity. Which is the company, frankly. Anything else they do is window dressing or a loss leader in search of finding their way back to the center of the universe, which isn't going to happen. And the beef people have with them comes from our remembrance of their tender mercies when they ran everything everywhere. We, the consumers, are vastly better off in a multipolar tech world, and its difficult to imagine anybody allowing a single company to accumulate that level of monopoly ever again.

Plus Microsoft astroturfs for pr like nobody else, so fans are automatically suspect.

ksec 16 hours ago 0 replies      
1. IE 6, Is that not enough to hate them? Anyone who has done any sort of web development during the IE6 era would hate them.

2. The ugliness of Microsoft Office. I dont see each version of M$ office were ever an improvement. While it did generate excitement, it wasn't until someone who actually tired iWork to know how easy it is to do beautiful documents and charts. And to be it wasn't until the Office 2k7 did they start to react ( But they got Ribbon in there which is an even bigger let off ). And although many improvement since then, those days i would remember how i am forced to use office.

To me, i see absolutely no heart and souls in those Microsoft Products. They aren't well thought out, most of the time contradicting or even annoying. Purely in terms of user experience it was very bad.

And M$ was really rich. The Richest company at one point in time. That is not to say people hate the riches. It is merely a point that they have so much money why didn't they go and fix things. Things that should have been done long long time ago. And as the Mac Vs PC ads have put it, they put so much more budget inside marketing then fixing bugs!

Their Business Practice is also a point of hate. Using Windows Monopoly to get rid of competing technology by including something similar of their own. Personally I have no problem with that. Honestly if the product offering from Microsoft were superior then people would use it anyway.BUT THEY WERE NOT.

And there were a lots of other little things there and there that shows they are just a huge pile of mess.

Of coz Credit where credits due. There are amazing things Microsoft did. Microsoft Research for instance, i saw the presentation on real time voice recognition and translation. And many other things from Microsoft Research as well. Xbox 360, from PS3 prospective were quite good ( not great, but good ). And Mouse and Keyboard, that is the only competitor against Logitech in consumer range.

And I dont think People are Pro Apple and therefore Anti M$.

jamespcole2 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think people hate MS, they just don't even think about them. Whenever I am at tech events(usually web related ones) MS isn't openly criticised, they're not even discussed as an option.

I spend about 50% of my time developing .net apps and the other half on linux/web stuff so I'm pretty familiar with the MS tech stack and it always feels very clunky and outdated.

MS hasn't created a really compelling consumer product since the Xbox and they have just totally lost consumer mindshare, they are the slow, clunky old thing you use at work because you have to, not the thing you buy when spending your own money.

In my view the future is(at least in the medium term) Linux on the server and mobile devices, Unix on the laptop/desktop in the form of OSX and maybe MS on the console and Windows running legacy systems and some servers.

I'm not a particular fan of Apple either(I've never purchased any of their products) and only use Linux(Ubuntu) and Windows in a VM but it seems to me consumers just don't care about MS any more and I'm not sure that MS has the skills to change that.

abraxasz 1 day ago 2 replies      
In my case it's more grudge than hatred. The fact that a company made me pay for VISTA is unforgivable. \joke

More seriously, I've noticed that a large portion (like in 90%) of the CS department and Statistics department in my Uni (US, Ivy) run mac os x, or linux. Is that a general trend elsewhere? I have my own reasons for preferring OSX, and I have a hard time believing that these 90% picked osx or linux just because of a "vogue" or "trend". Genuinely curious here.

xentronium 16 hours ago 0 replies      
> So is HN basically becoming Slashdot where Microsoft hate occurs by default?

It's been like this for some time. Bias is slightly changed from being very google-centric to apple-centric and back, but hate for microsoft is pretty much clandestine. So much for anti-flamewar features, encouraging group thinking.

I don't think you can fight it much, just don't read hn in the days of apple presentations, you won't miss anything.

tacoman 1 day ago 2 replies      
For me, it's kind of like sports. Why do you hate certain teams?

I'm a 90's linux user so my hate for MS is self explanatory and these days mostly irrational. Recently I found myself working with a group of Microsoft employees and it's tough to "hate" them, their company or the really nice products they flaunt around (Surface, Windows Phones, etc).

There are a lot things that continue to feed my dislike for the company though. It's silly things, like the way they continue to ignore the existence of industry standard protocols (ssh! there is BSD code! just copy it!!).

In day to day dealings with the company I sometimes still get a sense of arrogance and not-invented-here type scenarios that prevent a better solution from being perused.

rajivtiru 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm relatively new to HN. It's disappointing but I kind of just accepted the Microsoft hate, as a given(like nick cage on reddit).

Also recently I started to see posts from older HN members who don't like what the community is turning into.

etler 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, some of the stuff microsoft has been building recently looks really appealing. I want to give some of their stuff a chance, particularly their direction with tablets. I have a convertible tablet and in college used things like onenote and the text recognition it has is simply amazing, better than anything else I've used. I could stash an image on it, then write on top of it, then search it immediately after! So I think microsoft has had a good track record with tablet technology, and I'm definitely interested in trying out the new stuff. I haven't yet, simply because I haven't had a chance to test the new surface pro.
benologist 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you see a comment you think is ridiculous click "link" and you should be able to flag them. I don't think HNers in general hate MS but this community is pretty biased towards OS X and Linux, it's hard to feign interest in stuff you don't use.

Engadget and The Verge are professional plagiarists, it would be bad for this community to adopt those sites as some kind of standard for tech news, and it's awesome seeing them fail over and over again to get a foothold here.

dragonwriter 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> So is HN basically becoming Slashdot where Microsoft hate occurs by default?

Like Slashdot, HN is a diverse community of people who tend to have strong feelings about technology and tech companies, and negative views are naturally highly visible. So, yes, there's a subgroup from whom consistent Microsoft hate is to be expected, a subgroup from which consistent Google hate is to be expected (including at least two distinct smaller, overlapping subgroups -- one which will refer to NSA collaboration in every Google story, and one which will dismiss every Google story with a reference to the Reader shutdown), and on and on and on.

tnuc 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is always hate for the big player.

In early Steve Jobs/Apple meetings their was a lot of hate for IBM. After some time the hate was reserved for Bill Gates/Microsoft. The latest enemy is Google.

jes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't hate Microsoft, but as an older (54) hacker who was plenty happy on his 11/780 running Mt. Xinu BSD in 1989, I'm still waiting for this whole "Windows" thing to blow over.
edderly 1 day ago 0 replies      
Up front, social media is largely about signalling. If X is deemed unpopular amongst 'those in the know', you signal your disapproval and vice versa.

Context matters a lot for Microsoft.

Amongst older people, there are enough casualties of Microsoft's success around to warrant a default hatred for the company and it's values.

However, the saddest indictment is even at the height of their success many people didn't like or even hated using their products (take the parody of Windows/BG in South Park the movie in 1999 as an example if you like).

So I think Microsoft as a deserved reputation for considering the enjoyment of their products as a separate from the success of their business, at least in the mainstream. It's not to say that Microsoft don't do good products, but it's difficult to regain trust which is lost.

ern 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen more hate directed against Oracle than Microsoft, and I don't see much hate against products like .NET, C# or Xbox, when they are discussed.

I guess that Microsoft-related topics are not regarded as supremely interesting to most of the startup scene, which still drives this site in many ways. MS aren't high growth, haven't been a startup for decades, and their stack doesn't seem popular with startups. Even if a few people hate Microsoft, I'd characterize the overall tone I've observed on HN regarding Microsoft as largely indifferent.

shanselman 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This article nails it...the Worst Part about Working at Microsoft


It's the number of people who doubt us. We suck, we hate OSS, we are evil, we are incompetent.

Thing is, Microsoft isn't a monolith. It's little startups, small groups and big groups. I went there 5 years ago to do open source and I'm doing it. I can't speak for the other gajillion groups but mine doesn't suck and we work hard doing nice things.

It's tiring be to doubted so consistently.

nonchalance 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I suspect that most people here who hate Microsoft still use products like Excel (for which there is no good competitor :) And maybe that's part of the reason for the hate: for all the problems, there are a few indispensable products that keep us coming back to windows and office and other Microsoft products.
avenger123 20 hours ago 0 replies      
When you get as big and as powerful as Microsoft you could almost see the company as a country. It's akin to America and its export of culture (hollywood, music, tv shows, etc..).

You will find people that embrace it (large majority all over the world) and others who despise it with a passion and still others who are indifferent. There are those that dabble in it once in a while to see what the fuss is all about and those that actively resist it to make sure their culture doesn't get polluted.

I would say for the most part, the HN community is like Quebec in Canada. Largely in love with their own culture and heritage (in this case open source stacks and Linux) with a strong feeling to keep it that away. But, Quebec also knows that English culture and the English language won't go ahead as its too pervasive so they try to do their best to keep it in check. Just as in Quebec, you have people that love the English culture and follow it but not too publicly.

I have noticed HN crowd is likely very SF focused and the biases tend to skew that away.

Well, so much for the analogy but at the end of the day, its part of the territory when you become as big and successful as Microsoft. The same ASK HN would be relevant if the company was changed to Google, Apple, IBM and so forth.

mcv 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The unjustified MS hate is a remnant of the justified MS hate of the past, when they used shady business practices to force DOS and Windows down the world's throat.

Nowadays they're fairly tame, however. It's time to treat them as any other tech company.

shearnie 1 day ago 6 replies      
My startup friends and I here in Brisbane, Australia talk quite a bit about going to San Fran to "soak up the start-up vibe".

I often joke about having the nerve to set up camp in a coffee shop there and whip out my Surface Pro, fire up visual studio, and sling some C# and see how quickly I'll get hated on.

I do wonder, will that really happen? Honest question.

chaostheory 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel the dislike of Microsoft stems from two major things:

1) Its history both when it was dominant and even with recent stuff like trying to force always on DRM with xbone. Techies at large just distrust MS. In MS's defense, I feel that both Apple and Google are working their way to the same place, a lot more slowly but surely.

2) The difficulty of developing in Windows while not using the MS stack. Sure, it's gotten a lot better over the years, but it's still not as easy as using OSX or some Linux distro. Even when you do use the Windows stack you get burned, I've known former VB devs as well as .NET devs who were with the Windows 8 transition. Your open source eco-system also really sucks, leading to a lot of unnecessary re-inventions of the wheel, which I don't have to do when using other tech stacks. (Codeplex was really too little and too late.)

I also think the second point is why there's not as much hate for Google and Apple, since their main offerings just work better from the techie perspective.

rsynnott 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I suspect it's less that people here hate Microsoft, and more that many people here don't use Microsoft's products and don't really care about Microsoft. I haven't used a Microsoft product to any significant degree since the early noughties; this isn't because I hate Microsoft (I don't; I'm largely indifferent to it); I just found that other things fit my needs better.
ilaksh 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The main reason I hate Microsoft is because of all the time I had to waste getting websites to display correctly in their browser. And the fact that I know they made it incompatible on purpose.
quantumhobbit 12 hours ago 0 replies      
For developers it's open standards and such, but for typical users it is a history of bad experiences.

Microsoft had the great misfortune of being the dominate computing platform in the 90's and early 00's. Computers just weren't as reliable or easy to use back then. Maybe Microsoft could have made Windows better back then, maybe not. Mac System 7/8/9 was by all accounts less reliable than windows and anything 'nix would have been unthinkable to a typical user.

So just about everyone has had a crapware infested computer running something like windows ME or Vista that crashed every few hours. For many people, the first non-widows computer they used was an android or iOS phone. Therefore the association is Microsoft == crappy/unreliable vs Apple/Google == easy to use/dependable. OEMs in a race to the bottom on hardware don't help Microsoft at all.

I actually think windows 7 was a rock solid OS and Windows 8 is good once you get over the awkward interface changes. But Microsoft's brand image has been permanently damaged.

dec0dedab0de 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Without reading any other comments, I would say that Microsoft does not have any goodwill left. Everyone respects Microsoft research, but it has to be something interesting enough to stand on its own merit to be worth caring about. The flipside is that there are tons of people that really like Apple for some reason, though I suspect that will fade in time.
philwelch 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you recall anything of the 1990's? IE 6? Embrace, extend, and extinguish? The Halloween documents? Microsoft's conviction of anticompetitive business practices left unpunished when the Bush administration took over? The decades of terrible products?
madmax96 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's because Microsoft used to be such a horrible company. It's debatable whether or not they still are, but that's not the point. I still haven't forgiven them for their tactics that destroyed competitors who often had superior products, and I probably never will. Not only that, but typically speaking, it sucks hacking on Microsoft products. All of Microsoft is also anti-hacker; I can't hack my OS, I can't hack the programs they make, etc. That was probably the mentality of HN when they claimed it wasn't relevant. Since iOS and OS X work well together and OS X is somewhat hackable, it gets more love.
xutopia 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Why the Microsoft hate?

I was here in the browser war of the 90s. I was present when it destroyed Wordperfect. I was present when it trampled on Netscape and others.

Now I see what they're doing with Internet Explorer and I'm thinking it's just more of the same. They're only not in a position to assert themselves as they used to.

metaphorm 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft has a reputation problem in the open source community. There are some serious philosophical differences and its unlikely Microsoft can amend its reputation without drastically changing its business practices.
LordHumungous 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a web developer, I will hate them as long as I have to support IE7-8
vondur 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft was/is a horrible company who abused it's monopoly position to crush other companies. They tried to co-opt the internet by having major sites only work in Internet Explorer. Most of the older tech crowd remembers them for this.
kbart 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually enjoy this Microsoft bashing. It's like seeing a former school bully, who is now living of benefits and drinking cheap beer. Microsoft totally deserves it after decades of aggression towards FOSS, unfair competition and monopolising PC business. Of course, there are also really good stuff coming from Microsoft, but that's nothing compared to the harm done.
DSingularity 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Well I dont hate them. I actually always admired MS. When I was a kid, Windows 3.1 just amazed me.

And I continued to be a fan. But then one day I realized GMail was so much better than hotmail. So much free space! No more deleting! Hotmail refused to change, so I switched over. Then one day I realized that linux was such a great place for me to learn how to program. So I picked it up.

With time I tried other products and, one by one, I realized there were alternatives I prefer to MS's offerings. Today I bought my first Macbook. My first non windows machine. I dont plan on purchasing any more Office licenses. And for the first time in a while, I see no MS products on the horizon for me. Not the XBox One. Not Windows 8 mobile. Not surface pro. Nothing.

Why? I prefer their competitors products. Its not MS hate. They just dont have a single product that exites me. Nothing.

Now if you asked me about Windows 8 UI, I would tell you that I think its an abomination. That might look like MS hate.

If you asked me about the Surface, I would tell you I hate how it tries to do so much and fails to lead in just about anything. If you ask me about IE, I would tell you that I think Firefox and Chrome are better, although the new one seems crisp.

Nothing to do with the brand, all to do with the product.

Pitarou 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of course there's prejudice, but the main reason is that the HN crowd doesn't believe that MS has what it takes to make a dent in the smartphone market. And I'm with the crowd on this one.

Given the strength of the incumbents, Microsoft is going to have to pull off something pretty special to make a dent in the smartphone market. Microsoft played to its strengths by buying Nokia, but that's the only strength Microsoft has in this brave new world of lightweight, portable always-on devices, and its nowhere near enough. The organisation just isn't capable of producing a smartphone consumers will want to own and use.

Take my wife: she's no computer lover, and certainly not a Linux nerd or Mac fanboy. She has to use computers in her day-to-day life, and she finds it stressful and confusing. But she loves her Android Nexus 7. In her mind, the Nexus 7 tablet and her Windows laptop belong in different categories. If I told her someone was trying to merge those categories ("The guys who make Windows and Excel are going to make smartphones. Do you want one?") I know she'd run a mile.

I can understand why we have very different takes on Microsoft. I'm also well aware that Microsoft have solved a whole lot of problems so well that people don't even think about them any more. And I LOVE the awesome work you guys do in MSR. But I don't see enough of that awesome in the products people have to work with every day, and in the smartphone market that's going to hurt!

einhverfr 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't hate Microsoft (I used to work at Microsoft Product Support Services). At the same time, I think after watching Microsoft try to break into the consumer smartphone market for the last 14 years, I think there is a point when one wonders if they should just give up. The only people I know using Microsoft phones and tablets are Microsoft employees.
dscrd 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Many of us lived through the 90s, when Microsoft strongarmed their technically inferior products to the whole PC industry. In fact, they pretty much invented the whole closed-source proprietary software model, and I totally agree with Stallman that it is a horrible invention. And they were rewarded for it handsomely. Then the numerous FUD attacks against many things I like, such as Linux and the open-source community in general.

At least for me, all this has created strong dislike towards that company. It's nothing that cannot be fixed, but not quickly, and I really don't see them trying a lot yet.

Fortunately, the situation these days is much better than in the 90s since now there are real alternatives. What was once hatred is now just suspicion.

gbvb 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the problem is that it is not 'hate' like people are hating java. I think it is more that MS has become 'irrelevant' in circles that matter :) i.e. the consultants who go around telling new companies what to develop in.

If you see the pattern of adoption by developers, I see more developers walking around with Macs, and linux boxes and running VMs to test out IE compat than anything else.

So, MS has become another OS to work with than the OS to develop on. imo.

I had been in MS ecosystem for 10+ years before moving to other technologies and it has taught me more about concepts of distributed computing (dos and donts) than anything else. I can apply those to any problems i see today. But, I will likely not not develop another asmx and aspx page.. :(

Udo 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Obviously I can't speak for other people, but since you asked:

I'm an OS X user, and before that I was a Linux/Unix user. I'm not really familiar with Microsoft products (especially recent ones). When some cool new tech gets announced, I'm interested by default.

I have nothing against hearing about stuff from "foreign ecosystems", on the contrary. I was an active member on Channel 9 back in the Scobleizer days, and I loved hearing about the interesting things you guys had been working on.

I didn't catch the Nokia article today, but chances are it wouldn't have caught my eye even if it had been among the top ten on the front page. First, it's not actually interesting on a technical level. Second, a lot of us here on HN speculated what MS was doing when you positioned that trojan CEO at Nokia, and then of course it turned out to be true. Not that there is anything wrong with it per se, but I don't see how that dishonest-yet-obvious takeover puts MS in a position to offer anything interesting that it couldn't offer before. The Nokia name accomplishes very little in this case.

It's true that there can be some group hate on HN, however I don't see a lot of it projected at MS - at least not beyond the usual background noise. We as a community are way more hostile towards certain programming languages and startups. Sure, every Apple thread, every MS thread, every time something from 37signals comes up, there are disgruntled people. But enough to single out MS hatred specifically? I don't think so. Disinterest is the more likely culprit.

rufugee 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Latest reason...if you run Windows server in a VM cluster you have to buy a OS license for each VM for EACH POTENTIAL VM HOST. Read that again... The vm is only ever running on one host at one time, but you have to license it for every host. BS
fnordfnordfnord 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I didn't flag the article, nor would I have, unless I thought there was an active advert-spamming campaign or something. But, to answer your question: They are just so badly behaved as a company. The issues are as old as the hills and have been beaten to death (the Halloween Documents were ca 1998, for example) and were ongoing for many years and even continue to this day (USDOJ antitrust, Java, SCO vs Everything, IE, Word Document formats, interoperability & standards, etc., etc.). So much energy was wasted doing unproductive things to the industry. I'm surprised if any of this is news to anyone.
cientifico 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Companies should have values and vision.Microsoft have proving for so many years that their only objective is money.

I still remember when they give money to SCO to send us letters to stop using linux, and right now they offer linux servers. If your market sector is not profit for microsoft, you are going to be ignored.

Also, because of microsoft, our goverments spent a lot of our money.

I don't say Microsoft is bad, neither that I hate it. It is just one more.

_pferreir_ 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't personally hate Microsoft, but it's true that it is perhaps not the most popular tablet manufacturer in the world right now.

I know many people who own an iPad, several others who have Android tablets, but zero Windows tablet owners. I guess that should explain by itself why people are not really excited about it. Fuss and hype are not basic human rights.

gadders 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I have to say, as someone of 40+ years, a lot of the Microsoft hate seems kind of quaint now.

I definitely remember being anti them when I worked for Lotus, and when they tried to push horrible non-standards on the world.

Now though? I just don't think they're that scarey any more.

zeruch 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think its (a) because MS has earned decent amount of ire for decades of FUD-tastic practices and (b) like Blackberry, no one is really terribly interested (by comparison to Android/iOS) more than marginally.
kudu 1 day ago 2 replies      
Slightly offtopic but related: can someone explain the difference between HN and Slashdot like I'm five?
some1else 14 hours ago 0 replies      
People that had to deal with supporting Internet Explorer for the past 10 years. Here's something I made to express my contempt in 2005 http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v381/s1e/ass.gif
dschiptsov 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Usual reasons: monopoly practices, market manipulations, deceptive sales and marketing technology, crashes and viruses due to low-quality outsourced code, etc.
umeshunni 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why should the Nokia tablet deserve to be on the front page any more than the new Sony tablet or a new Acer tablet? Does it have any new technology that makes it stand out (like the 41MP camera in the Nokia 1020)? Does it introduce a new form factor that's unique (like the 0.71" 1lb iPad Air or the trashcan Mac Pro) ?Is it priced uniquely or does it use a new OS or processor that other tablets don't?

Or is it just another 'me too' product? It is.

jfe 1 day ago 0 replies      
i wouldn't say that HN or the open source community in general has shut the doors on microsoft as much as microsoft has shut the doors on the open source community. developers who get into the microsoft bubble never seem to make their way out, and the number of open-source c# projects is limited in comparison to those written in other languages, simply due to their system dependence.
mrmondo 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft has had their day - their time has been and gone. Their software is more bloated than ever and their organisational model is still 'build to sell'.
teddyh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I will never be a friend to the Roman people.


monokrome 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If you can't see how much Microsoft is screwing everyone over, then you're not paying attention. It's that simple.

At least they're transparent about it... Even if by accident.

ps4fanboy 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I always find it really hard to understand this behavior as well, as a self confessed geek I really enjoy using all technology Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. I really dont understand how people can be the cheer squad for a corporate company, because they are all profit driven every single one of them is inherently evil. So we should look at what they all do an have discourse on the actions. To me HN is becoming like the console condition PS4 vs XBOXONE, the companies want you to be like this, any sensible person with critical thinking can see that everything is flawed and innovation is everywhere.

Being a fan or enemy of a company is stupid, you are just playing into consumerism. I hope every tablet company has success because competition is good for me.

Lavinski 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just so you know there are a few guys out here (I'm one) that do like Microsoft and my Nokia Lumia is going great.
jpadkins 10 hours ago 0 replies      
See Bill Gates letter to Hobbyists in this threadhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_to_Hobbyists

Microsoft has always had animosity with the hacker crowd, and vice versa. This has been going on for four decades.

informatimago 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was thinking, the new iPad Air are so expensive, I won't have money left to buy and try a Nokia tablet...
newsreader 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I visit Hacker News throughout the day and couldn't agree with you more. The dislike for anything having to do with MS is undeniable. I like HN and have apps installed on my Android tablet and on my Nokia Windows phone (best phone IMO).
president 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't care about any of the politics but Microsoft has horrible products that have sub-par user experience.
Bahamut 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The only things that really irk me about Microsoft is 1) Windows isn't Unix based, and 2) IE doesn't update quickly enough, , which sets web development for the future back.

Otherwise, Microsoft doesn't bother me.

jorganisak 1 day ago 1 reply      
I agree. Even the biggest Apple fanboys should keep an open mind towards at least reading the reviews of other products. Only competition (even if you deem it inferior competition) can give rise to disruptive technology.
FallDead 1 day ago 2 replies      
I hate Microsoft because I would say that they probably do not utilize you to your full extent or that they must shelve alot of your projects, Microsoft does not appear to be innovating and or utilizing R and D properly, the next thing is just half assing everything they have built. If they could build things like how they built visio my god that company would be in a good place in my mind. Another reason I hate Microsoft is that they are not unix based. I mean like unix solved like 90% of the the OS problems. Like for fucks sake adopt open standards. That is all.
jayturley 23 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who has all of 1 karma and that's only because something made me stop lurking, my take is that if enough members of an online community think something is not relevant to that community, then perhaps it isn't.

Specifically regarding MS v. Apple - because of Apple's position in the marketplace and the timing of their product releases, I think it entirely reasonable that discussion of their new tablet trumps discussion of one of the host of new Windows tablets.

aaron695 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why do you think it was MS hate rather than just boring as?

Apple has a cult following. As such it also might be boring but it's sometimes interesting to even non cult followers what the cult is up to.

anoopelias 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"Hate the sin, but not the sinner".

It is important as a community that we keep an open view about the products that we see getting posted here. Microsoft might have made mistakes in the past and had produced lowly products.

But who knows, it is possible that the next best thing in the world may come from one of them - or for that matter, anybody. A prejudiced eye can only have a blurred vision.

bra-ket 1 day ago 3 replies      
wnevets 10 hours ago 0 replies      
because all the cool kids love Apple. Half of the front page yesterday was littered with Apple marketing post.

Being an Apple shill is a good thing here

jiyannwei 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I use a PC with Windows 7. I have a Macbook but I'm not crazy about the Office apps on Macbook so use the PC most of the time.

This past week, I spilled water on the PC and took it into the shop. I picked-up a back-up ASUS, loaded with Win 8.

This was the beginning of my nightmare.

1. Win 8 was just terrible. It took me way too long to figure out how to perform simple actions. Win 8 is Frankenstien - it is Microsoft's attempt to unify the computing experience by (a) copying numerous OS UI elements; (b) slapping a tablet version of their operating system on top of a desktop version; (c) burying elements behind keyboard shortcuts and some gaudy, horrible startup screen that advertises other Microsoft products.

In a nutshell, they have built the perfect operating system for a schizophrenic blind person.

After a day of cursing out Microsoft while trying to figure out basic things (like getting to the "start" menu), I tried installing Office, the entire reason I still use a PC. I rebooted the PC and voila - Win 8 told me it couldn't start Win 8 and I had to revert to an earlier point in time.

I tried doing that and after another hour, Win 8 told me it couldn't do that either and I had to reinstall Win 8.

I put the laptop back in its box and returned it and just started learning how to use Office on Mac.

This is why Microsoft is just pathetic. I feel pathetic for giving Microsoft a chance. This isn't hyperbole: Windows 8 is really a complete and utter failure.

Thiz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft made a costly mistake more than a decade ago. They decided to attack the internet with full force.

And they lost.

legohead 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Over the past few years I have found myself respecting Microsoft and losing faith in Google. I actually feel bad for Microsoft's missteps, but maybe that is what is making them a more respectable company.
jheriko 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand it personally I hate Apple. :P
jakethehuman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Flags for what type of comments? Did the comment provide constructive feedback? Or did it simply state an opinion with no support to fuel the discussion?

It's -ethical- to flag comments that are false, off-topic, or do not contribute to the discussion; not ones of differing opinion.

yuhong 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think a lot of the MS hate is due to what started with Stephen Elop becoming CEO of Nokia that came from MS and ended up with MS acquiring the company.
drill_sarge 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably also a bit of Nokia hate. They basically axed everything interesting they worked on, missed every innovation (totally not related to Elop) and got bought for really cheap by MS (totally not related to Elop).
qwerta 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I like Microsoft, they make good keyboards.
Mustafabei 18 hours ago 1 reply      
A majority of power users do not particularly enjoy Microsoft products, and they have their reasons. Those are based on rational decisions i.e. lack of efficiency, support, integrity etc. "Hate" is someting different.

If you think people hate MS, ask them specifically what they do not like. Maybe THEY CAN'T EVEN GET TO SAY WHAT THEY DO NOT LIKE about the product and discomfort grows into hate?

just saying.

leke 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess the reason is because hackers love open systems. Even companies like google get shit from this place because "the best parts of Android are not open".
Sagat 9 hours ago 0 replies      
They're just jealous of Bill Gates.
graycat 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I'll ask a question, serious for me:

Mostly you guys are way ahead of me inknowledge of current software tools, especially on Linux and 'open sourcesoftware' (OSS -- I had to look up thatone!).

But I'm doing a startup the center ofwhich is a Web site. If people likethe site, a huge if, then it could growto be a big thing around the world. DidI mention if people like the site? Peoplemight not like the site. But if they do then I will need to grow a significantserver farm, etc.

So far I'm a solo founder and doing allthe work.

I'm keeping most of the site architectureand software dirt simple. At the core ofsome of the server side software are twoservers that have some software I wroteimplementing some applied math I derived --still, just as computing, the architectureand software are simple.

For various reasons, I decided to standon Microsoft's software. Here is mythinking, and where am I on thin ice?

(1) I can understand that if I hadthe knowledge and/or staff to know some version of Linux and other OSSin detail, then Linux and OSS mightoffer me more power and flexibility.My concern, forever, would be that Iwould be getting in the business of operatingsystems, middle ware, and tools, andthat is definitely not my business.So, I'm eager to leave that work toa vendor that specializes in such things,and for such a vendor all I could seewas Microsoft. So, right, it soundslike I want to pay money for myoperating system, middle ware, tools,etc., and in a sense that is correct.I.e., if something goes wrong, thenI want an 'account executive' to calland ask for help.

(2) Sure, Linux and Unix have a longand powerful background back throughSun, Silicon Graphics, BSD, AT&T, etc.But for my time on x86 I went fromPC/DOS to OS/2 to Windows XP, and along that path, each year, I thoughtthat the OS I was using was likelythe most suitable for me on x86. E.g., instead of PC/DOS or OS/2 onx86, I was not going to buy a Sunor SGI workstation at several timeshigher price.

(3) As of now, as a desktop OS onx86, 32 and/or 64 bit addressing,as far as I can tell, XP and/orWindows 7 look okay with Linuxand OSS without huge advantages.Where am I going wrong here?

(4) There are a lot of developerswriting for Microsoft, and justwhat the 'platform' is is fairlyclear, e.g., the .NET Frameworkof some version 2, 3, 4, 4.5 onWindows XP, 7, or Server. Sothere is some definiteness tothe platform.On Linux I would have to learn aboutthe versions of the different 'distributions'. I don't evenknow what would be involved.

Due to the definiteness and thelarge number of developers, on the Internet itshould be relatively easy toget answer to questionsfor the Windows platform.Is this roughly correct?

(5) My biggest complaint withMicrosoft is the quality ofthe technical writing in theirdocumentation. It looks likethe documentation is fromsome nerds who know the softwarebut have no idea how to explainit to others and writers whoknow spelling, punctuation, anda little more and are highlydiligent but, still, don't knowhow to explain software. Myfear is that bad technical writingis common in computing and thatin the world of Linux and OSSthe situation would be worse.E.g., for serious questions, maybe commonly the solutions is just to read the code. Is this roughlycorrect?

(6) So far I've been pleased withthe reliability of the Microsoftsoftware I've been using --XP SP3, .NET Framework 4, VisualBasic .NET, ASP.NET, ADO.NET,IIS, and SQL Server. And fromsome of the large, busy Web sitesstanding on the Microsoft platform,I suspect that Microsoft will beable, maybe if at times I talk to them one on one,to provide what I need fromthem for my site. Of coursethen I will be using WindowsServer and developing onWindows 7 with XP out'a here.

(7) The Microsoft softwareis from, right, Microsoft, andsince they wrote it and sell it,my understanding is that theysupport it. Actually via someforums, I've already gotten somequite good support for free from someMicrosoft people apparently assigned to give serious answersto serious questions. But it'sbeen a while since I had such a question. But in the future Ianticipate questions, from meand/or my staff (if my site issuccessful enough for me to havestaff), and then I will want theoption of getting high qualitypaid support for serious questions.So, maybe my site is crashing;I don't know why; and I want tocall for serious help. I suspectthat I can get such help fromMicrosoft (even if I have to pay)but am unsure just what the situationis for Linux and OSS where, e.g.,where's the company with accountexecutives?

(8) So far I like the Windows CommonLanguage Runtime (CLR) and .NETFramework and the managed codeof Visual Basic .NET, C#, etc.So far I'm writing justVisual Basic .NET and am quitehappy with it; as far as I cantell C# offers little or nothingmore but has just a differentflavor of syntactic sugar,one related to C and that I don't like.I believe that, compared with C#,Visual Basic .NETis easier to read on the page,is less prone to bugs due to beingmore verbose, and will be easier toteach to new staff.Where am I going wrong?

For the world of Linux and OSS,I don't know what programminglanguage I would usethat I would like as wellas Visual Basic .NET.What would the options be?

(9) From some of what I've seen ofhigh end server farms on the Microsoft platform, the automationof system installation, configuration,monitoring, and management isexcellent, but my view has beenonly from, say, 1000 feet up.If this is so, then I'm impressed.Where am I going wrong?

skrowl 11 hours ago 1 reply      
As a .NET developer, I can tell you there's some definite 'eww, you use microsoft' stigma here.
mustapha 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I should upvote the articles I like more often, instead of just clicking on those with interesting headings.
oddshocks 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd say the causes of hate range from their participation with the NSA surveillance programs to just plain making faulty software.
Thiz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You reap what you sow.
morgajel1 8 hours ago 0 replies      
the wounds microsoft has inflicted over the last 20 years are not easily forgotten.
api 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Other than past things, like their attempts to thwart open standards in the 90s and their bankrolling of the SCO lawsuits against Linux, I can speak to one reason that's contemporary:

As a software developer, everything is harder on Windows. I have three choices:

1) Ignore Windows and ignore >50% of desktop market share.

2) Ignore non-Windows OSes, because things get easy if you do everything the Microsoft way.

3) Endure the pain of porting to Windows, which is greater by orders of magnitude than the pain of porting to Android, iOS, or small-market-share OSS OSes like OpenBSD. It's like task one is "support the entire universe except Microsoft," and task two is "support Microsoft."

twittstrap 19 hours ago 0 replies      
That happened once to http://twittstrap.com. So again, to make it news "twittstrap is buying no kia, spokesman says we can't afforded", ;) have a nice day
merusame 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I for one learned how to code with VBA - Hail MS!
antonpug 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Microsoft makes shitty products that are not well designed or tested. Simple.
Ackley 1 day ago 0 replies      
I try to avoid Arstechnica whenever I can
How to lose $172,222 a second for 45 minutes pythonsweetness.tumblr.com
591 points by _wmd  1 day ago   234 comments top 26
jpatokal 1 day ago 5 replies      
Just another reminder of how systems that you'd think are rock solid often aren't.

In my previous life working with telcos, I once tried to teach a particularly huge customer how to use CVS how to manage configurations across a 10+ machine cluster of machines. They didn't see any value in it, so they stuck to their good old process of SSHing into each machine individually, "cp config.xml config.xml.20131022", and then editing the configs by hand. Didn't take too long until a typo in a chmod command took down the whole thing (= the node couldn't take down a network interface anymore, so failover stopped working), and they spent several weeks flying in people from all over the planet to debug it... and they still didn't learn their lesson!

adambratt 1 day ago 3 replies      
The week after this we had a trader in our office who had a meeting at Knight on the morning it happened.

He said he saw the whole dev team just power off and go home at 11am, followed quickly by the rest of the employees. At that point, there was nothing they could do.

The craziest thing is that it went on for so long. No one caught it until their own traders so it come across Bloomberg and CNBC. They actually thought it was a rival HFT and tried to play against it.

The only people that came out of this ahead were aggressive algos on the other side and a few smart individual traders. A lot of retail guys had stop losses blown through that normally would never have been hit. After trading was halted they set the cap at 20% loss for rolling back trades. So if you lost 19% of your position in that short period of craziness, tough luck.

scrrr 1 day ago 8 replies      
High Frequency Trading seems so abstract. There's no value created, it seems. It's like something in between imperfect systems, scraping off the margin created by that imperfection. It's fascinating, and interesting from an algorithmic point of view (like a computer game), but at the same time I don't feel sympathy for this company going out of business.
manishsharan 1 day ago 5 replies      
Don't humans also make similar large scale mistakes? Merill Lynch's infamous London whale comes to mind. Also. I could be wrong but aren't most of derivatives a zero sum game: don't I have to lose money on my puts for you to make money on your calls ? Didn't so many people lose money on securities because they misunderstood their exposure ?

The Knight computer error was spectacular and catastrophic but us humans have a longer track record of making catastrophic financial decisions in the market.

malbs 1 day ago 3 replies      
Just one of the risks of automation, and a good reminder why human monitoring is necessary.

Having said that, we deployed a system that was mostly automated, with the human operator to oversee investments and if any out-of-the-ordinary transactions (based on experience) were taking place, to shut it down. She happily sat there approving the recommendations even though the recommendations were absolutely outside of anything we'd ever generated in the past, and bled accounts dry in one evening, so sometimes even with a human observing you're still boned.

fiatmoney 1 day ago 5 replies      
"The best part is the fine: $12m, despite the resulting audit also revealing that the system was systematically sending naked shorts."

Cool - all you have to do to get away with financial crimes is create a system with no protections against breaking the law.

sirsar 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'm shocked they didn't have a killswitch or automated stop-loss of some kind. A script that says "We just lost $5M in a few minutes; maybe there's a problem." Or, a guy paid minimum wage to watch the balance, with a button on his desk. $172,222 is a lot of minimum-wage years.
protomyth 1 day ago 1 reply      
"During the deployment of the new code, however, one of Knights technicians did not copy the new code to one of the eight SMARS computer servers. Knight did not have a second technician review this deployment and no one at Knight realized that the Power Peg code had not been removed from the eighth server, nor the new RLP code added. Knight had no written procedures that required such a review."

That is just painful to read. How many times do we hear a company couldn't figure out how to migrate code properly? Do any software engineering programs teach proper code migration?

Next time a manager questions money spent on integration or system testing, hand them a printout of this SEC document and explain how much the problem can cost.

vincie 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would love to hear from an ex-Knight tech. Wouldn't be surprised if they wrote something along the lines of: "Management just wanted this thing in ASAP!", or perhaps "Tests weren't part of the kpi's". I may sound biased against non-techs, but I have seen this time and time again. Testing is a barrier to quick deployment, and "How much money are we losing while doing all that stoopid testing?".
yogo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember when Knight was in the news regarding this but never the technical details about what took place. It's scary stuff especially given the money on the line, and it makes a good case study for devops. I understand the temptation to re-use a field but normally I'm for using new values in those fields.
at-fates-hands 1 day ago 0 replies      
>>>What kind of cowboy shop doesnt even have monitoring to ensure a cluster is running a consistent software release!?

I think you'd be surprised at what happens in large companies. I went through four, count em' four major releases with a company and each time the failure was on load balancing and not testing the capacity of the servers we had prior to release.

Even after the second release was an unmitigated disaster, the CTO said we needed more time to do load testing and making sure the servers were configured to handle traffic spikes to the sites we were working on. It happened again, TWICE after he said we needed to do this.

You would think something as basic as load testing would be at the top of the list of "to do's" for a major release, but it wasn't. It wasn't even close.

OSButler 1 day ago 0 replies      
The title reminds me of hosting clients, who would complain about losing thousands of dollars per minute when their $10/month website was experiencing downtime.
mgav 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very interesting, though I was happy to see Knight Capital take the huge loss, since they were such complete scumbags who stole hundreds of millions of dollars by backing away from trades* during the dotcom boom and bust.

*Backing away is when a market maker makes a firm offer to buy or sell shares, receives an order to execute that transaction (which they are ethically and legally obligated to do) and instead cancels the trade so they can trade those shares at a more favorable price (capturing enormous unethical profits in fast-moving markets while regulators did virtually nothing to enforce the rules in a meaningful way)

Learn more: http://bit.ly/1ddUzWP

Narkov 1 day ago 4 replies      
Out of interest, what would have been the outcome for Knight if their positions had caused them to be winners? $12m fine, keep the spoils and "carry on" ?
pallandt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, this could have been prevented at so many 'checkpoints' that it reads like an almost cautionary, fake anecdote rather than a real story.
mischanix 1 day ago 2 replies      
Well, this makes me 1000x more scared of working in a DevOps role.
sitkack 1 day ago 1 reply      
Dead code takes down another system. A perfect storm of failures that they made themselves. My gut feeling is that most trading firms could suffer a similar loss. Having worked for a 3rd party accounting management firm that kept logs for smaller traders I really realized how borked the whole system is. 60s era pen and paper stuff moving at the speed of light.

> Sadly, the primary cause was found to be a piece of software which had been retained from the previous launchers systems and which was not required during the flight of Ariane 5.


avty 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone made $172,222 a second for 45 minutes on the opposite side of these trades.
zipfle 1 day ago 0 replies      
The original report is remarkably well-written. It's nice when you get someone with the domain knowledge to understand an issue and also the language skill to explain it clearly.
telephonetemp 1 day ago 3 replies      
I assumed they had redundant servers with consensus algorithms in place in finance but apparently they don't. Would it be impractical?
dror 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is there any benefit to the market as a whole to have these high speed transactions trying to game the system?

Seems like as a rule, they're likely to cause instability, and I have a hard time seeing any benefits in them.

tantalor 1 day ago 2 replies      
That explains how the deprecated "Power Peg" model was activated, but why was that model so flawed?
Houshalter 1 day ago 3 replies      
They fined them for losing money? What?
shtylman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hindsight is 20/20
meepmorp 1 day ago 2 replies      
Powder Keg is a distinctly un-reassuring name for finance related functionality.
drill_sarge 1 day ago 2 replies      
I still find just the fact scary that at this moment automated systems are shoving billions of fake money back and forth around the world.
Dr. Arjun Srinivasan: Weve Reached The End of Antibiotics, Period pbs.org
530 points by selmnoo  11 hours ago   336 comments top 57
tokenadult 9 hours ago 32 replies      
The interviewed expert has very good credentials and clinical experience to be talking about what he is talking about, and his warnings should be taken seriously. But even at that, the fallacious teleological language he uses about biological evolution by natural selection suggests a way out of this problem. When he says, "Bacteria, like any living organism, want to survive," and "So anything that we do to try and kill bacteria, or anything the environment does to try and kill bacteria, bacteria will eventually discover ways or find ways around those" he is making factual statements that are plainly incorrect on their face. Bacteria don't desire anything, and they don't seek out anything or plan anything. Moreover, it is perfectly possible for lineages of bacteria to go completely extinct, and that has undoubtedly happened more times than human beings are aware.

Current antiobiotics are themselves mostly derived from "natural" chemicals emitted by microorganisms so that those microorganisms survive natural selection to go on reproducing in a world full of bacteria. Many of the early antiobiotics, for example penicillin, are derived from mycotoxins produced by fungi. Human medicine can use chemicals from fungi for protection against bacteria because human beings and all animals are more closely related to fungi than either fungi or animals are related to bacteria,[1] so fungi have a biochemical similarity to animals that makes it likely (although not certain) that a mycotoxin that is lethal to bacteria will be relatively harmless to human beings.

And this is the way forward to developing new antibiotics. As we reach a deeper biochemical understanding of the basis of all life, we will eventually understand the differences, which are biochemical differences at bottom, between human beings and bacteria, between human beings and protists, between human beings and fungi (yes, there are some systematic differences between animals and fungi) and between human beings and all other harmful microorganisms. Only human beings have science labs and clinical research studies to come up with new defenses against the thoughtless, largely immobile threats from other living things. We can form hypotheses, test those hypotheses rigorously, and perhaps make some lineages of harmful microorganisms as extinct in the wild as the smallpox virus and rinderpest virus now are. The intelligence that the hominid lineage has evolved gives human beings advantages that bacteria will never possess.

[1] http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/DeepGreen/NYTimes.html


nostromo 9 hours ago 5 replies      
80% of the antibiotics we use are given to animals.[1] That seems like a good place to cut back.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/health/use-of-antibiotics-...

AaronFriel 10 hours ago 9 replies      
For the past half century, we should have been treating our antibiotics like weapons of mass destruction - tools of last resort only to be used in emergencies, with great hesitation, and only when absolutely necessary. The industry and the doctors responded: antibiotics were too profitable and the risk seemed too distant. Now we have no weapons; we're helpless and the world is again going to be a scary place where a cut or a scrape can land you in a hospital or in a mortuary.

For the first time in the memory of anyone alive today, we're going to see medical science step backwards. We're going to be more vulnerable tomorrow than we are today, and we did it to ourselves.

hooande 9 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing I learned from watching this episode of Frontline was that we aren't doing a lot of research into new antibiotics. Companies like Pfizer (the original makers of penicillin) would rather create drugs like Lipitor or Prozac, things that customers will take everyday for the rest of their lives. Antibiotics are intended to be used as sparingly as possible, which doesn't leave room for a lot of profit. Even the National Institute of Health has but antibiotic research on the back burner to pursue more pressing concerns.

The other big problem we face is that certain antibiotics are like steroids for farm animals. I believe that they kill the bacteria in the gut of a cow or big that signals when they should stop eating, resulting in larger stock (or something like that). This increases the exposure of bacteria to the antibiotics, making things less safe for all of us.

But drug companies and farmers aren't to blame for our antibiotic situation. Capitalism encourages profit and doesn't ask questions about how it's made. Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility. And doctors can't be faulted for overprrscribing antibiotics either. A sick person is the ultimate debugging task and most doctors will try anything that could help the patient. I don't know if this problem has a good solution.

If we research new antibiotics then bacteria will eventually evolve to resist them (kicking the can down the road). If we stop using antibiotics then more people will suffer, potentially unnecessarily (destroying the village to save the village). Trying to fight evolution is a losing game. I am, however, confident that someone somewhere will come up with a break through in the next few decades that will allow us to temporarily solve this problem once again.

bradleyjg 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It's an insane world we live in where all the measures that should be used to control the distribution of antibiotics exist, but they are used instead for opiates.

I'm not saying opiates addiction isn't a genuine problem, but it's a largely individual one. There's no widespread negative externalities to prescribing opiates to a patient. Antibiotics on the other hand, present a classic limited pool resource allocation problem (the same species of problem as the tragedy of the commons).

It's antibiotics that should require a three part pad, with one copy sent off to the federal government and investigations into over-prescribers -- not painkillers. It's antibiotics that should be subject to intentional treaties governing their distribution and use -- not painkillers. It's antibioatics that should have criminal penalties for misuse -- not painkillers.

ronaldx 10 hours ago 2 replies      
> Eventually bacteria will evolve, and theyll adapt ways around that to overcome that obstacle.

I am more optimistic than that.

Sure: as long as antibiotic resistance is crucial for bacterial survival, bacteria have a natural need to evolve it. And, they will.

But, this will come with a genetic cost to the bacteria.

The reason that antibiotics work is because they are attacking some function that has deliberately evolved, through natural selection, to be like that. Antibiotic resistance must literally cost bacteria some efficiency in some of their other functions.

This cost was originally such that the bacteria would die. Fantastic. But note: we wouldn't actually benefit from all bacteria dying at the mention of the word antibiotic, and some bacterial resistance is good for us.

Under normal circumstances, bacteria that don't need to carry around antibiotic resistance with them will most likely have a lower genetic cost and thrive better. This may be why we have seen MRSA predominantly in hospitals and rarely in the 'wild'. (If MRSA was necessary or not costly, all SA would be MR all the time).

This gives me some hope - that antibiotic resistance is balanced, genetically forcing bacteria to be less effective in other ways and less competitive in other circumstances.

We humans are not out yet.

JumpCrisscross 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"These are companies that are for-profit companies, and like you said, they have to answer to people. They have to develop drugs that will make money, and thats not an antibiotic."

The profit motive is almost as blind a watchmaker as natural selection. We've built an environment which encourages bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance. Let's structure a pharmaceutical industry in which antibiotics are profitable.

The problem appears to be myopia. Antibiotics make money for a few weeks, chronic diseases for a lifetime. Fortunately, finance long ago solved the temporal shifting of incentives and payoffs. We need smooth the lumpy, often in-the-future, demand for antibiotics.

The government could tax the pharmaceutical industry, medical insureres, or the public. The proceeds would fund tax credits for the developers and/or producers of antibiotics. Alternatively, a more elaborate system by which health and life insurers incentivise antibiotic research, perhaps by issuing credit default swaps on pools of their reinsurance liabilities to antibiotic developers, could be structured.

DanBC 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I've posted this before, but some people may have missed it.

"Defeating the superbugs" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ms5c6) has a segment showing bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics.

(http://v6.tinypic.com/player.swf?file=24goih4&s=6) (Sorry about the lousy host; YouTube's content sniffing detects this as BBC property and blocks it.)

They have a slab of nutrient jelly. The jelly has sections of differing strength of antibiotic. There's a section with no antibiotic, then 10x, then 100x then 1000x. (They cannot dissolve any more antibiotic into the jelly at that point, they've reached the limits of solubility)

They drop a bit of bacteria on the zero antibiotic section.

A time lapse camera shows the bacteria growing, and developing resistance to each section. After two weeks the entire slab, all sections, are covered. The bacteria has developed resistance to the antibiotic, and is resistant to antibiotics at a strength that could not be used in humans.

It's an excellent, scary, bit of video.

selmnoo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Watch the full FRONTLINE documentary here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hunting-the-nightmar...
uptown 9 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the best ways to combat the problem is to speed-up detection speeds of bacteria. Lots of companies are tackling this problem. One of them I've been following has made enormous progress in reducing these detection times.

They've reduced MRSA from 18-24 hours down to 6 hours. Salmonella from 24 hours to a 30 minutes. Mycobacterium tuberculosis from 21 days to 1.5 hours. Etc.


Stopping these problems before they get the chance to spread is how I believe these infections will be slowed, as antibiotics become less effective.

hodder 9 hours ago 4 replies      
The anthropomorphism of bacterial evolution makes the article hard to follow for the layman (me). Can someone familiar with bacterial evolution please explain to me how the use of antibiotics leads to superbugs? I am clearly misunderstanding something.

I was under the impression that in a population of bacteria, genes express themselves in any number of random ways. If we expose the bacterial culture to antibiotics, the bacteria susceptible to the antibiotic dies, while the resistant bacteria lives on free to reproduce, leaving the descendant bacteria with resistive characteristics...

My question to the HN scientists is, doesn't this just destroy some subset of bacteria? Is new genetic information produced that did not exist before? Taking this trimming tree down the line, wouldn't the "superbug" antibiotic resistant bacteria have been created/survived and thrived anway? Or does the antibiotic exposure actually cause, "the bacteria to want to survive", in the sense that exposing them to antibiotics leads to more rapid mutation of descendants? Why wouldnt the antibiotic resistant bacteria be created with or without overuse of antibiotics? Isn't the spectrum of the genetic tree just trimmed?

tezza 10 hours ago 0 replies      
My doctor friends have been warning about this for 15 years, and the situation has continued to worsen.

MRSA was a bit of a wakeup here in the UK, but the main 'solution' was concentration on cleaning hospitals rather than developing new anitbiotics.

It is my opinion that unfortunately it will require high profile people to start dying before support is galvanised.

It would seem from the outside that HIV/AIDs started to be addressed when superstars like Freddie Mercury started succumbing.

sailfast 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This resistance scares me a great deal, especially as a new dad. I'm hopeful that in the coming years we'll be able to target bacteria and viruses more specifically using nano-technology and other tools at a cost effective level (admittedly I don't have a lot of knowledge in this area but I'm hopeful.)

If all else fails, I guess we'll depend on the cycles of nature's adaptations and break out a new set of antibacterials every 50 years or so depending on the resistance trends we see crop up and hope we don't lose too many humans in the process. At any rate, I'm glad lots of smart people are working on this problem.

felxh 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I know the article tries to explain things in a way a layman can understand, but the wording when it comes to evolution is quite poorly chosen IMO. Saying thinks like 'Bacteria, like any living organism, want to survive' and 'bacteria will always change in order to survive', are just incorrect and will result in big misconceptions.

To my knowledge, bacteria don't have an agenda, they don't want to survive and they certainly don't change in order to survive. Instead, they change at random, which sometimes helps an individual to survive and sometimes not.

alan_cx 9 hours ago 3 replies      
This is not my thing at all, so this might be a really silly question, but...

Are people who have avoided prescribed antibiotics in a better position than those who haven't? Then, what is the effect on such people of the antibiotics taken in by eating meat from animals which have been give antibiotics? Have the people who have been avoiding completely wasted their time?

tpainton 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This person reminds me of a lot of people I went to medical school with. Very smart, and yet, not very realistic. He outlines a scenario that is endgame.. when in fact, we are seeing cyclical events. We saw the emergence of penicillin resistence in S. Aureas, then methicillin resistance. we moved to quinalones, and sulfa and we see resisance develop there.. OF COURSE it does. The antibiotics don't cause resistance.. Natural selection is the process going on here. There are random mutations that occur regardless of antibiotic exposure. We do see antibiotics cause resistance such as in inducible extended beta lactamase resistance.. (I have a patient currently with E coli resistant to everything but Colistin) but the overwhelming process..it's still good old fashion natural selection that Darwin made us all aware of. We really don't need to panic.. we just need to keep fighting the fight..because it won't ever end, unless we give up. Relax. When I hear people claim it was wanton use of antibiotics that caused all of this.. I wonder if they ever read a word about biologic evolution. Right now, there are organisms out there that are already resistant to antibiotics that haven't been developed yet. How can we blame humans for that?
jasonkolb 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Well let's start doing something about this. I created a whitehouse.gov petition, let's start spreading it around: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/make-antibiotic-us...

Hopefully we'll be able to create some alternatives, but let's stop the bleeding if we can.

darkarmani 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Meanwhile tons of antibiotics are used in factory farming. I'm not sure why it has ever been legal to use massive amounts of antibiotics on animals that aren't sick yet.
memracom 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Technology is the answer.

All citizens will be required to carry a smartphone or other GPS tracking device that reports their location every 5 mins to a central database run by the National Security Agency. When a new infected person is discovered, National Bureau of Health agents will contact everyone who was close enough to the infected person to have possibly transmitted (given or received) the infection over the previous two months. Those people will be tested and infected people will be incarcerated in National Health Concentration Centers for healing. They will stay their for life, or until no longer infected.

Will it come to this?

What about mandatory death penalty (plus confiscation of all family assets) for anyone who gives antibiotics to an animal or who supplies antibiotics to a farmer?

warcher 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish he mentioned the massive dumping of antibiotics into our food supply via feedlots, et cetera. You think the fact that all the meat we eat is swimming in antibiotics for its entire life has something to do with this antibiotic resistant bacteria in our stomachs? It'd be a damn shame to undo one of the miracles of the twentieth century so your chicken sandwich is fifty cents cheaper.
joshuahedlund 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been hearing about the coming Antibiotics Apocalypse for some time now, and while it sounds very dangerous I'm wondering what signs to look for about how bad it's getting. Articles like these point to limited things like an increase in MSRA outbreaks or vague statements about increasing infections from hospitals, but it's not like average people are dying in the streets or anything. How do we tell how much we're moving on the long continuum from here to there while keeping isolated stories in the larger context of overall antibiotic resistance?
dekhn 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not going to watch the documentary to see the full quote, but taken on its face, this is a false statement. There continue to be many infections which will still be treatable by antibiotics for the foreseeable future.
triplesec 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Can anybody outline what possible justification there is for the continued use of antibiotics not as disease cure, but as prophylaxis and growth promoters in intensive farming? I heard about the stupidity of this as a child, from competent medical professionals, and decades on, nothing has changed. Rather than such socially rapacious short-sighted practices, we ought to be legislating better farming practices and tighter controls on these precious medicines.

I believe this is quite likely a worse issue than the other problem: the blatant overprescription of antibiotics by weak and obsequious family doctors looking to defend themselves from lawsuits and approbation from wealthy and stupid patients with colds and coughs, which has also accelerated resistance.

mmoche 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I remember hearing about Soviet research into phage therapy, where bacteriophages are cultured to consume particular strains of bacteria. I believe the treatment is only in use in a couple ex-Soviet states. Is this a reasonable avenue once we're essentially dealing with only MRSA-like infections?
schoper 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Antibiotic resistance shows up among the unhealthiest communities first. They act as the necessary incubators that resistance needs to develop. In a person with a working immune system, the time frame of antibiotic and pathogen contact is very small compared to the time frame of antibiotic and pathogen contact in an immunocompromised patient.

To put the above into simple English: Our problem isn't that we give antibiotics out like candy, it's that we give them to the elderly, people with AIDS, the poor, etc. This massively increases the chance of antibiotic resistance developing.

What can we do about it? To start with, run the numbers, make some cost-benefit calculations, and think about the problem. There may be technical as well as social solutions.

Not thinking about the problem, making it harder for the healthiest people to get antibiotics, and pretending that you are doing something is also a viable option. It's what we're doing now.

bronbron 10 hours ago 0 replies      
> Another reality is theres not much money to be made in making new antibiotics, so we saw a lot of drug companies who left the field of antibiotic development because of this combination of factors, that it was getting really hard to discover, to develop new antibiotics, and you dont make a lot of money in selling these drugs, so the market really wasnt there.

To me this seems like the big problem here. Antibiotic resistance is an inevitability regardless of our usage rates - there's too much selective pressure for it not to. To co-opt the Red Queen hypothesis slightly, we have to constantly be developing new antibiotics just to keep pace.

I suspect this problem will self-correct eventually, with the unfortunate side-effect that the cost of effective antibiotics will skyrocket for awhile.

That being said, we're obviously not doing ourselves any favors by dispensing them like candy, especially to the agricultural industry. It definitely encourages cycles - Effective antibiotics are rare and therefore profitable so tons of $$ goes into R&D -> Lots of new antibiotics are created -> price goes down because there's so many options/patents expire -> Overuse -> Resistance develops quickly and we're left with few effective options.

DonPellegrino 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to know what this will do for bacteriophage therapy. Georgia has been the center of phage research since the 20s and has a massive bank of phages for all sorts of infections. Can someone more knowledgeable of this topic explain why the end of antibiotics is such a problem if there's already a decent alternative? What are the downsides to phage therapy?


gurtwo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder, what should we do as individuals? Shall we refuse to take prescribed antibiotics for "minor" things, and let the body heal itself at the cost of some extra discomfort? Would that make any difference in the long run? Does the resistance apply to any kind of antibiotics?
tpainton 1 hour ago 0 replies      
antibiotics do not cause resistance to form. resistance occurs due to natural mutations. these are going to occur regardless of exposure to antibiotics or not. The antibiotics simply select out the resistant organisms from the auger. It was shear panic when S. aureas developed penicillin resistance decades ago. methicillin was the solution. Now we have methicillin resistant staph aureas. This is nothing to panic over. it simply means the battle is never won and we'll require ongoing research on new antibiotics. To say we have lost is just not true. This is the way life works. he also ignores the possibility of human evolution. We can develop resistance to bacteria as well.
Futurebot 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Norway came up with their own solution to this issue, and it has apparently been working very well for them:


eliben 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm always confused by these articles. If the issue was really so serious, wouldn't governments be concerned by it at this point? What does it mean that they aren't, in fact, concerned? Does it mean that the amount of people currently affected by these bacteria is negligible? Something else? That there are opposite experts who say this is no a real problem? Lobbying?
moocowduckquack 7 hours ago 0 replies      
With the development of generic anti-virals like DRACO ^1 - http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/antiviral-0810.html - I wonder if we might see viruses become largely treatable even while bacterial infections are becoming less so.

^1 who names these things and are they purposely trolling conspiracy theorists?

javajosh 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This is very serious. But consider the worst-case outcome:

  No more anti-biotics, for anyone.
That is, we go back to the era before anti-biotics, life in the 1920's. Maybe mortality rates will go back to that era, and maybe higher. But thankfully we aren't talking about a plague. At least not yet.

Recently I had a wisdom tooth extracted. The dentist prescribed anti-biotics, but (unknown to him) I didn't take them. I healed fine. And so it was in the 20's and before that. Plenty of people survived and thrived before anti-biotics. And life will go on when we don't have them anymore.

No doubt these super bugs have had to give up certain advantages to attain what is (for their species) a very specialized survival mechanism. Which means that if we ease off of the drugs for a while, the bacterial populations will compete, and the less drug resistant ones will thrive. Then we can use our drugs again. Or that's the idea.

What I'd really like to see are the internal assessments of big pharma of these gram neg bugs. Why isn't it economically feasible to create new drugs for them? This article makes it sound like there is a large and growing market of suffering people who'd be more than willing to spend every last cent for a pill to make the pain go away. And if the prospect of people willingly bankrupting themselves for drugs doesn't perk big pharma's interest, I don't know what would.

tocomment 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I heard the author on NPR yesterday. I think it's all very true, but it seem disingenuous to blame antibacterial soaps. I haven't ever heard of human antibiotics being added to soaps. And I don't think a triclosan resistant bacteria would be of much risk to us.

The only argument I can think of against antibacterial cleaning products would be that our bodies get less exposure or "practice" against ordinary bacteria?

patrickg_zill 8 hours ago 2 replies      
While most view colloidal silver as quackery, the fact is that using silver in colloidal form along with other medicine administered at the same time, was standard practice 80 years ago.

Perhaps silver in nanoparticle form will make a comeback, as bacteria don't seem to be as able to survive the cell wall disruption that silver can cause.

dsschnau 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Okay, I'm sold, as a citizen, that this is an issue I and my child's generation will have to face. How can I help?
dailo10 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that in a non-antibiotic environment, the antibiotic resistant bacteria are actually less fit because that resistance comes at a cost.
g8oz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The antibiotic overuse that caused this problem will not be solved with out action in 2 area. 1) Antibiotic overuse in poultry and livestock farming to compensate for overcrowded and stressful conditions and 2) Antibiotic overuse in the developing world.
robot 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been hearing about MRSA since 2000s. What's new? I mean, what has changed now since 2000 that this is now more important?
benmarks 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Really don't like the anthropomorphism.
sphericalgames 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It wasn't long ago that thread appeared about silver making antibiotics thousands of times more effective.

Not sure where the thread is but the story here: http://www.nature.com/news/silver-makes-antibiotics-thousand...

_pmf_ 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Aw, shucks! At least some people made a quick buck fattening up animals to fatten up Westerners. That surely justifies a few million deaths in the future.
thewarrior 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Reading this really scared me. Is there any hope against this.
the_watcher 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm hopeful this leads to new default treatments, since I have had allergic reactions to the last 3 antibiotics I have been prescribed. They do a great job fighting what they were designed to fight (for me), but then I get a week of a really itchy rash, cortisone shots, and cortico steroids.
lgleason 9 hours ago 0 replies      
My mother died from a MRSA infection. This is VERY serious stuff.
eranation 10 hours ago 2 replies      
tocomment 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I submitted this a few days ago about future alternatives to antibiotics. Maybe it's more interesting now?


polskibus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What about chemiotics? Do the usual warnings about antibiotics abuse refer to chemiotics in the same way?
cstigler 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Modal stacked above another modal when I opened the page. Neither relevant. gags

The article's cool though.

Tjmac73 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a really big deal, and should be getting more visibility. I think the good news here is it opens the door for a more targeted approach. Current antibiotics are a nuclear option, they wipe out the good with the bad. Thats very bad when a majority of the cells in our body are good bacteria that play a role in our immunity and health. You can see how this leads to a reliance on the nuclear option.

If this is the end of the Age of Antibiotics, I hope its the beginning of the Age of Probiotics. Working with the good bacteria and developing more targeted strategies of taking out the bad. Snipers, not nukes. (Im no scientist but perhaps learning from how good bacteria fight off bad bacteria is a good place to start) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324094717.ht...

kubiiii 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I was wondering if resistant bacterial strain would drop resistances against one antibiotic if we stop using it for long enough. Maintaining a resistance comes at a cost for a living organism (synthesizing an enzyme), so the bacteria that would drop it would be promoted.
T3RMINATED 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the guy from the Patent Office that said they should shut it down everything has been invented.
tzakrajs 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Do doctors over-use antibiotics to save from being sued by patients in the case of an infection?
gibwell 9 hours ago 0 replies      
How are we going to use fewer antibiotics when they are a profit making venture?
api 9 hours ago 1 reply      
... and the judicious use of antibiotics requires some kind of regulatory agency or system to make sure the users follow through.

This seems like another area where libertarianism is crashing against the rocks of reality-- as socialism, communism, and all other political ideologies have already done. I have a profound sense that all political ideologies are failed, and that we're entering a post-ideological age of pragmatism driven by either populism, oligarchy, or technocracy... take your pick.

rrtyyyy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Evolution always wins
robomartin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> Bacteria, like any living organism, want to survive.

> bacteria will always change in order to survive.

Excellent article. Everyone should read it from top to bottom twice. Forward it to your entire network. This is a serious matter.

However. I really cringe when I see scientists get loose with language like this. I know he knows perfectly well how evolution works. This is an attempt to make it simpler to swallow for those who might not be up to speed and, perhaps, come to the discussion lacking a minimal scientific background to be able to rationalize it. I get it. Among that population the misrepresentation of the driving mechanisms behind evolution can actually do more harm than good.

Taken far enough you end up with? "Oh, so you mean to say that a monkey WANTED to survive and CHANGE in order to become a human". Which makes you sound like an insane lunatic, of course.

The mechanism is dead simple: Out of a pool of organisms exposed to an environment some die and some survive. This "environment" can be anything, from an antibiotic at the bacterial level to a flood in a canyon. Of those who survived some did so due to blind chance. Others because they might possess a characteristic that helped them survive the environment. Survivors mate and reproduce. Some mutations occur. The cycle repeats with the new population. If the environmental "attack" (antibiotics, the flood, whatever) remains the same, over time populations will develop that will have better and better resistance to their particular challenges. This is the brutally simple result of the demise of those who simply could not handle whatever was dished out. Over time either the entire population is killed off and game over or those who were resistant, for whatever reason, will --without intent, goals or knowledge-- help evolve populations equipped with increased resistance to what is trying to kill them.

In evolution there is no "wanting" to do anything. There isn't even the idea of wanting to survive. There is no struggle for survival. There is no conscious desire to change or to become something else. It is brutal and simple. Some die. Some don't. Those who survive repeat the cycle. Eventually either all die or you end-up with one or more new species/variants that got past the killing spree and emerge resistant to whatever ailed them. And it goes on. Challenge after challenge.

Part of me wishes people would have a better handle on this very simple scientific fact so we could move on to more important topics. We went to see Richard Dawkins at Caltech this weekend. He mentioned that in the US some 40% of the population think the earth is 6,000 years old and reject evolution. What they reject might very well be what ends-up killing them.

This issue of bacteria evolving past our ability to concoct antibiotics is a very serious one. I've always believed we are all going to be killed-off by something microscopic that nobody is going to see coming. The potential is there for hundreds of millions of people to die over a short period of time. Airplanes will contribute to that greatly, helping take bacteria all over the world before we even realize what's happening.

That's why I don't understand why we don't get behind this --as a planet, not just a nation-- with great force. I see virtually no use for our military and that of other nations. Can't we lobby for the elimination of the horrible waste that is the maintenance of massive military forces and, instead, devote those funds to more worthy causes? Imagine if we, as a nation, devoted half our current military budget to honest medical research. I am not one for huge government programs, but there would be ways to do such a thing without having government bureaucracies devolve the thing into a cash burning furnace.

The point isn't the details but rather the idea that something like this should be priority one. We are looking at the possibility that within the next 25 to 50 years there could be a massive antibiotic resistant bacteria outbreak that takes out a huge chunk of the human race. We need to be ahead of that event, not behind it. And it is far wiser to throw billions of dollars into medical research of almost any kind rather than into making the latest wiz-bank how-to-kill-more-people-per-round machine.

Utopia. I know. Sad.

EDIT:I neglected to add how I would explain evolution to a general audience without resorting to "want" and "desire" type analogies. In other words, don't be critical without offering a solution. Well, I think it's simple, I sort of did:

When faced with challenges organisms either excel or die. Those who excel go on to reproduce. In reproduction there is mutation. Small changes to each and every new organism. Reproduction does not produce clones. Reproduction results in a population of new and distinct individuals with some of the traits of their parents and some new ones. Their offsprings, if faced with the same challenges will, just the same, survive or die. If none survive the population goes extinct. Otherwise, over time, the only organisms who will continue to survive are those who continue to carry the traits that made their ancestors survive. This repeats over time and across challenges.

That's not the elevator pitch, of course. So here is that one, applied to bacteria in particular:

When attacked by antibiotics some bacteria survive. These reproduce and produce new bacteria that might carry-on some of the traits that allowed the parents to survive. Random mutations might also make some members of the new population even more resistant to the same antibiotics. The process repeats over many generations. Over time new populations emerge with immunity to the antibiotics that killed so many of their ancestors.

The more we expose bacterial populations to wide ranges of antibiotic challenges the greater the effect can be. Over time populations will evolve that will be resistant to anything we have on the shelves to throw at them.

How to get rid of old stuff, sell it for more, and use Amazon as cheap storage benguild.com
491 points by benguild  2 days ago   137 comments top 26
8ig8 2 days ago 19 replies      
I wish I could ship everything in my attic to Amazon and they would photograph, catalog and store the stuff privately.

Then for some kind of low annual fee I could ship things in and out as needed.

This service would include pre-scheduled shipments of holiday decoration.

The problem I have is that I forget what is in my attic. On a few occasions I've purchased something only to find out I already own one. It was just buried in the attic and I forgot about it. If I try to buy something on Amazon, this service would remind me that I already own it and ship it to me.

Besides the attic stuff, I also have small random, rarely-used things that I know I'll need in the future, but don't know where to store them so I'll find them in the future.

Someone once suggested that I just keep a running list of items near the attic door. I tried it, but didn't keep up with it.

It would be nice to set some kind of expiration of my stuff as well. If I don't request an item from Amazon Attic in 18 months, it can be sold. Maybe that's a way to offset my fees.

Another idea... This could have a social aspect (what doesn't these days!?). I could give select friends access to my personal Amazon Attic catalog and they can borrow something, again for a low shipping fee. Amazon will send them a friendly email to return it and then charge them eventually if they don't.

(YC, here I come.)

murtza 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting idea. I looked up Amazon's storage fees [1]: $0.45 per cubic foot per month from January to September; $0.60 per cubic foot per month from October to December.

If you are using this as a long-term storage solution you have to be careful because Amazon charges, "A semi-annual Long-Term Storage Fee of $22.50 per cubic foot will be applied to any Units that have been stored in an Amazon fulfillment center for one year or longer...Each seller may maintain a single Unit of each ASIN in its inventory, which will be exempted from the semi-annual Long-Term Storage Fee."

[1]: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=2...

vinhboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
One thing that should be emphasized for anyone who has not use FBA before: The cost of shipping something to an amazon warehouse is REALLY cheap if you use their provided shipping service. I would say it's about 1/3 of the actual cost of shipping it yourself.
simonw 2 days ago 3 replies      
How do books work? Can you just bung a bunch of old textbooks in a box and ship it to them? Do you have to package them separately at all, or put stickers on them, or do you literally just stick them in a box?

Are there any mobile apps for scanning barcodes on books and automatically building your Amazon catalog?

binarysolo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Just remember guys: useful for small footprint, high value line items that are mass-produced. (Conversely, not so useful for old items with low resale like clothes, or craft one-off items, or big things like furniture.)

When your object of question hits a low-enough dollar value that your opportunity cost for making a buck off it exceeds your time value, why not donate it to a Goodwill instead. :)

tnuc 2 days ago 1 reply      
An article that is short on details and has no fewer that 8(eight) affiliate links to Amazon.

I am lost for words.

stretchwithme 2 days ago 0 replies      
Best thing is to not let things sit around after you stop using them. The chances that someone else can use them just keeps dropping.

And you can't use the space it takes up, which is probably the most expensive thing about old stuff. If you pay $2000 a month for 1000 square feet, every square foot costs you $24 bucks a year. An old PC taking up 3 square feet for 5 years costs you $360.

And, sure, it probably was going to be empty space. But we do need empty space, just as we need white space. All the clutter has a psychic cost.

edandersen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is the link to Amazon Fufillment without the referral tags:


CalRobert 2 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately Amazon flagged my account as fraudulent, I can only assume because a previous tenant in my apartment evidently ripped people off. We received their mail for some time and most if it seemed shady. It's been a year but I cannot sell. There is no appeal, and no recourse. I've had an account with Amazon for more than half my life (something like 12 years) but no dice.

Too bad, because this sounds handy. Kind of wish they had even a halfway decent competitor, though.

kerpal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I never actually tried their warehouse fulfillment service but I swear by Amazon for selling used gadgets. Amazon gets a lot of traffic from consumers making it a great way to sell something quickly. I remember listing an used Android phone that was maybe two year old technology at that point. I went to list it and within a few hours someone snagged it at like $90. The only other route I've ever tried is Craigslist, which has worked out pretty well too. Asking for the same price you can usually have someone pick up the item locally and get every cent you are asking for if you're reasonable. I always price things about 20% more than I think I will sell through CL.
kreek 2 days ago 1 reply      
This article got one thing wrong; "eBay's fees can be kind of a rip off" should be "eBay's fees ARE a huge rip off". That combined with the removal of negative feedback for buyers is why you should try Amazon rather than sell as an individual on eBay.
res0nat0r 2 days ago 1 reply      
One thing mentioned about the cables: Do you have to create entries online under your FBA account for every item you ship, or can they figure that out for you? I have tons of cables and other things I'd like to sell that is in good condition, but me spending hours upon hours looking up every model of cable / cheap item I have isn't worth my time.
MWil 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is hilarious to me because I sold three things today on Amazon and thought on the drive back from UPS, this should be getting more press how easy this is.

I sold a laptop though which is the only item I'm worried about being returned. Luckily I listed it as not having a battery and not having a hdd so it's already listed as not in working condition.

chavesn 2 days ago 1 reply      
The OP suggested that it's a bad option for phones. But Amazon offers something else for higher-end items that worked great for me,"Amazon Trade-in" (http://www.amazon.com/Trade-In/).

You start by finding your product in the store, and they give you prices for different condition levels. You pick a level, checkout, ship your items for free, and await receipt and review. If accepted as the condition you picked, you get an Amazon gift card for the amount. They might even upgrade your items to a higher condition.

If not accepted, your items are returned, free of charge. The only risk is the waste of time.

A month ago, I traded in two nearly-3-year-old iPhone 4's. I listed them as "Good". Both were accepted and one was upgraded to "Like New" for $20 more. I got $380 total, which I was extremely happy with.

nikolak 2 days ago 2 replies      
So technically, I could buy items cheaply on ebay or similar sites, ship them to amazon warehouse and sell it there for profit and also have them handle pretty much everything from selling to customer support?

Or am I missing something and this wouldn't work?

blueblob 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do they have heated garages for my car? :-)
hsitz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks to benguild for the blog article. I had seen used books in Amazon price lists as shipped by Amazon and qualifying for free supersaver shipping, but I'd never gotten around to finding out how this "fulfillment by Amazon" worked.

I looked at the info on Amazon's website and I still have a couple questions.

(1) Amazon charges a fee of something like $0.42 per pound when shipping. Is this just for supersaver shipments? Or does it also apply when Amazon collects from the customer for standard or expedited shipping?

(2) I see Amazon charges fees for storage and shipping, but I don't see where they take any percentage of the sale. Am I missing something?

thekevan 1 day ago 0 replies      
The top comment is someone wishing this was a totally different service which ends up in people either mentioning other startups which do something like that but not quite the same, or what it is like to store things in SF.
Apocryphon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the idea and sentiment. The pale font of the page's text, less so.
csense 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. They do need to advertise this better because I had no idea this service existed.
mikeweiss 1 day ago 0 replies      
From experience, if you want to sell something that is used and is in poor condition, don't sell it on amazon... when people buy things used through Amazon they expect it to be Like New, even if thats not what the description says.

My simple tips for selling online:New/Like New -> AmazonUsed/poor/missing things -> Ebay

lchitnis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reposting on Facebook. This is great. I've always wanted to do this on Amazon but found I had this great inertia in finding out just how to go about doing it. It seemed like a big hassle, but it really isn't. This article simplified it.
gesman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon needs to open new fullfillment facility to handle stuff in my basement + garage :)
argumentum 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon S3: Simple Stuff Storage
locacorten 2 days ago 1 reply      
Coding is dead.

When the top news on HN is how to make $5 selling used computer cables on Amazon, you know coding is dead.

Grug 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lime Experimental Sublime Text clone github.com
457 points by seer  13 hours ago   204 comments top 36
beaumartinez 13 hours ago 19 replies      
> Why can't I open up an issue?

> Because I'm just a single person and I don't want to offer up my spare time doing support or dealing with feature requests that I don't care about myself [...]

Sort of defeats the point of open source, no? Sublime Text's author could argue a similar case about keeping it closed source himself.

codex 9 hours ago 10 replies      
Here again we see the pain of trying to sell software to open source enthusiasts: the temptation to destroy the author's livelihood by copying their work is too great. By releasing a clone as open source, the copier gets to bask in the reflected glory of the original work. It's like trying to sell original oil paintings to master forgers. BitKeeper is the canonical example, but there are countless others.
quarnster 11 hours ago 5 replies      
Aha, so that's why there are 100's of new people starring it... ;)

Hello, thanks for the interest. I hope some of you will take the time to contribute in the form of pull requests.

I just updated README.md with a screenshot, here's a direct link: http://i.imgur.com/VIpmjau.png

saejox 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Nice work. That's quite a bit of code. If you are serious about this you should setup a website, list features, show screenshots and offer binaries.

As it stand it not likely that many people will build a thing they never even seen a screenshot.

yuvipanda 12 hours ago 2 replies      
From the go-qt5 page:

> This is a fork of visualfc's qt4 bindings, and several critical bugs are inherited along the way. Until these bugs are fixed, this package is not recommended for any real use. I don't have any time to actively work on this project, but I'll keep reviewing and merging pull requests.

I guess GUI programming in Go isn't really up to anyplace you can consider 'stable'

frou_dh 12 hours ago 3 replies      
If Sublime Text development does go off the rails like TextMate 1 did then that'll be my "fool me twice" moment and I'll concede to FOSS tooling advocates.
talloaktrees 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Alright, I had some real problems building this on Ubuntu.

    1. I couldn't compile completion.  There is no build.go in the build directory    2. I tried compiling lime anyways, by it required go-qt5 even though the repo page says that's optional.
I really wanted to check this out but I'm not really willing to spend more than the 15 minutes I already did trying to build it.

mortdeus 6 hours ago 2 replies      
How about instead of writing just an opensource sublime text clone. We sit down as a community and discuss how we can create an even better editor than Sublime Text.

There are some awesome text editors out there that have features I wish were in sublime text but sadly arent.

For example, Rob Pike's acme editor has some really awesome ideas like mouse chording, (contextual right click. middle click command executions, etc), 9p vfs interfaces that allow plugins to be written in any language.

And then there are little experimental editor ideas like Conception with great ideas that are worth checking into.


Sublime Text gets alot of things right, but during my experience using it and using acme. I often find myself wishing there was a way to take both editors and mash them together because using one often makes me miss using the other.

riquito 4 hours ago 0 replies      
More than 1600 people starred the project. There is a clear interest in an open source Sublime Text.
endijs 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like there is a screenshot now. Just head to Github page. Or look here: https://github-camo.global.ssl.fastly.net/b0f3292d2c26070a18...
pbreit 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I had high hopes for Kod [1] but the developer joined Facebook and stopped developing it.

If Lime is intended for Mac, could do worse than starting with the Kod code base.

1: https://github.com/rsms/kod/

stenehall 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Would it be possible to get a couple of screenshots?
hajderr 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Go is an interesting choice. I wonder if this will inspire or scare developers away.
gprasanth 12 hours ago 0 replies      
How about making a campaign to raise money to buy SublimeText just to make it opensource? (Assuming, it is up for sale, not at an impractical rate.)
grimborg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
There's something wrong on the install instructions: completion can't be installed

$ go get code.google.com/p/log4go github.com/quarnster/parser github.com/quarnster/completion github.com/howeyc/fsnotifypackage github.com/quarnster/completionimports github.com/quarnster/completionimports github.com/quarnster/completion: no Go source files in /home/oscar/go/src/github.com/quarnster/completion$ go versiongo version go1.1.2 linux/amd64

How did you guys install lime?

notduncansmith 10 hours ago 2 replies      
My main question is... what doesn't Sublime already do? I get that you want a project that's constantly getting new bugfixes and features, but there's not a whole lot that Sublime doesn't do for you as it stands. It's a mature project, most of the kinks have been ironed out. And, whatever functionality doesn't exist for it, YOU CAN BUILD.

There's only one feature that I feel could benfit ST3 right now, and that's the ability to move files from the sidebar.

But even then, I can't hate on the creator because that seems a bit outside the purview of a text editor in the first place (IMO that moves into IDE territory). I'd love it, and Sublime pretty much is my IDE already (what with build commands, project files, source control integration plugins, etc), but ultimately I'm fine with it not being there because I have a perfectly capable file manager open in a window right beside it.

I don't mean to rag on OP, I absolutely support the mentality that if you feel like something is broken you should fix it: however, in this instance I just feel like it ain't broke.

macco 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Finally, what we needed, another text editor. I think coders are to obsessed with text editors.

Try to solve new problems, don't copy the solution to existing problems.

broodbucket 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like this is as close to Sublime Text for ARM I'm gonna get! (haven't tried to compile it yet, but I can't see why I couldn't).

Best of luck with the project.

foxhill 13 hours ago 2 replies      
i wish quarnster didn't decide to retire his excellent sublimeclang plugin. it's by far the most useful plugin i've come across for sublime (in fact, i've almost come to rely on it), and i fear that his replacement isn't going to be able to do quite as much as clang can. incidentally, the lack of ST updates have meant that i've not ran into any issues with the plugin randomly breaking..!

that said, i'm looking forward to giving this a go, as an open source sublime text would be perfect.

swah 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I keep expecting some editor that will reuse a browser engine to make a modern Emacs.
znowi 11 hours ago 1 reply      
A text editor project without screenshots is just... wrong :)
talloaktrees 13 hours ago 6 replies      
On Ubuntu + my AMD card, sublime text just chugs no matter what settings I use or what driver I switch to, so I'm really open to checking out alternatives. I'm even working up the courage to dive into vim.
jagtesh 11 hours ago 0 replies      
+1 just for taking the effort man. I'm going to review it and post my feedback here.
twodayslate 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks interesting. Hopefully it become popular so this guy gets some help.
khalstvedt 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like the dominant sentiment is that the maintainer is being defensive... I'd rather like to think he's being up-front and clear about his intentions for the project.
oconnor0 10 hours ago 1 reply      
quarnster, would you explain the what the backend/frontend split is for?
kayoone 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice effort, not sure if thats the right approach though. SublimeText is awesome and alot of work went into it. Before creating your own version of it disregarding everything the original author put into it, one should maybe try to collaborate with him on an unsupported open-source lite version or something.
ericstob 5 hours ago 0 replies      
can you please make it so people can post issues? It is a big part of community. even if you do not personally fix any issues it will allow contributors to collaborate about them.
jalan 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Check out the demo: http://quarnster.github.io/lime/

Looks Interesting!

ulisesrmzroche 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Is sublime dying out or something? That sucks I just bought a license this year.
silasb 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone gets some Mac binaries up I would love to give it a try.
gosukiwi 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Why did you choose go as the base programming language?
squozzer 10 hours ago 0 replies      
too bad the word "slime" is already used by a text editor.
nXqd 12 hours ago 0 replies      
any screenshot ?
DFx 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I have to wonder if this is solving a problem that doesn't really exist. So Sublime Text is closed source and production has slowed down... one could argue the latter happens when any big project blows-up to mainstream.

We have TextMate, we have SublimeText we have an endless supply of code editors and IDEs...do we need another just because of "open source"? I can't help this feels like a wasted effort.

Also, after going through the checklist, the app is supposed to support SublimeText and Textmate snippets, colors, bundles, bindings and more. Seems like the dev might have been better off contributing to these projects rather than trying to push yet another code-editor into an already crowded market.


adrianlmm 11 hours ago 2 replies      
No screenshots, no installers, no binaries, no features request.

No thanks.

Apple Says New OS X Mavericks Will Be Offered for Free barrons.com
395 points by jdmitch  1 day ago   347 comments top 41
Zenst 1 day ago 9 replies      
The whole free OS which can only run upon hardware they have already sold you is reminding me of how IBM used to sell AIX and moved into giving it away free as it would only run upon hardware only they made and sold you.

Question is though, what about support. You have a 3 year old Mac of some flavour and upgrade to this OS, what about issues you may have.

ANother aspect would be that by in effect making this level of OS available to all supported models out there warranty wise, they make life in supporting systems a little bit easier and very likely will drop support for the other older OS's on these models quicker. Again making life in support easier in many ways as well as making developers lives a lot easier. Especialy if they can target toward the a single denominator OS wise and take advantage of all the features without working towards only features common to the previous flavours.

Either way a good move. Though can bet there will be somebody on the older flavour of OS who will have some essentual application that they must have which has issues. But time will tell.

Good move on many levels I'd say by Apple.

jasoncartwright 1 day ago 3 replies      
Here is the App Store link to upgrade now...


ics 1 day ago 9 replies      
If you're too busy to read the whole article or watch the keynote, also note that you can upgrade directly from Snow Leopard or later. They listed the hardware models which will take it as well the 2007 Mac Minis and MacBook Pros are supposedly good to go.
ChikkaChiChi 1 day ago 9 replies      
Some would say that Mavericks was launched for free because Windows 8.1 did the same. Those same people might also say that Apple did one better by offering the update for computers running older than the most recent version of their software.
josteink 1 day ago 2 replies      
Right. Apple event today.

What on earth compelled Nokia to launch their new Windows-tablet on the same day?

wmeredith 1 day ago 2 replies      
Jesus, between this and Android, Microsoft's cash cow has now been fully commoditized. Ouch.
SeanLuke 1 day ago 3 replies      
Wasn't there a McCain-Feingold rule which made free upgrades illegal that entangled Apple in the past?

Edit: Sarbanes-Oxley, not McCain-Feingold. I had forgotten.

panacea 1 day ago 7 replies      
A boot to the face of Microsoft.
Alex3917 1 day ago 1 reply      
So can we now file a class action suit for all those times they told us it would be illegal to not charge a fee for upgrading?
qwerty_asdf 1 day ago 5 replies      
So where can I go to download an ISO?

I'd like to burn a bootable DVD, and load it up as a non-networked offline install. Is such a thing even possible?

csense 1 day ago 7 replies      
I haven't used any Apple machine since 2004. Some HN'ers like Apple, so I've been kind of interested to see what Apple machines do that PC's don't. But I don't want to pay premium prices for iGoods.

Does this mean I can run the new OS in a VM to check out the Apple ecosystem? Or is this only free (as in beer) to people who have an existing paid license for a previous Apple operating system?

beagle3 1 day ago 4 replies      
As a recent Mac convert, who plans to do Mac software development but hasn't started yet - is there a way to copy the existing mountain lion install on my Mac to a VM image so I can test on ML after I upgrade to Mavericks?
trimbo 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love how it's free for the "first time ever"...

... except before... I think it was... System 7.5? All new OSes used to be free for Mac and Apple II.

chm 1 day ago 2 replies      
I own a 2008 15" MBP. I didn't want to upgrade from Snow Leopard - there seemed to be a synergy between SL and my hardware.

Even for free, I'm weary of upgrading my OS. Too scared to take a performance hit.

smaili 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is very significant because it has signaled a shift from a time where Operating Systems was once a major revenue stream.

Very interested to see if Microsoft will follow suit.

hcarvalhoalves 1 day ago 1 reply      
I believe they are offering this update for free since it's more about performance tweaks and library frameworks for app developers, not so much in terms of features or bundled apps, so it makes sense to have as much people as possible running it. Given OS X updates are a pretty streamlined process (and Time Machine helps in the case it borks something), I hope they keep this trend.
malandrew 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hypothesis: Apple OS X is now knocking hard at the doors of the enterprise, and it's removing every barrier to entry except their main source of revenue, hardware costs.

iWork is more than good enough for many MS Office use cases. If you work on documents that you often don't need to exchange with co-workers, then you don't really have any barriers to switching. Obviously, financial analysts with their massive models in excel aren't going anywhere anytime soon, but real estate agents like my mother and others like her have few reasons not to switch.

Next time someone goes to upgrade office, they are going to have to compare an expensive software license with putting that money into a brand new computer instead and who doesn't love having a fresh new computer.

netcan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems like a sensible move and going with the flow. OS upgrades seem like a strange thing to pay for these days. It adds to the proposition first time macs converts.

One downside is that paid software upgrades provide a useful feedback mechanism. It must get over the 'is this worth $100' bar to sell. I think this is probably important for iwork also. Between creating revenue vs enhancing the mac's value & pulling users deeper into Apple-land, I think the right decision could be to go free. OTOH, that would absolve iwork from having to be good enough that users choose to pay money for it.

Still, free OS upgrades seem like the right choice.

Tyrannosaurs 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Curious to know whether the fact that OS X is no longer a revenue stream might mean that Apple are more inclined to open it (or at least parts of it) up.

As with a mobile OS, the services layer on top of the OS seems as important as the operating system itself. With so much of the value in owning a Mac being iLife, iWork, iCloud, maps, iTunes, the Appstore and so on, could Apple open up OS X in the way Android is open (by which I mean for inspection more than contribution and just the core, not the services)?

Seems against their culture but this takes away one of the big reasons why they wouldn't.

naicuoctavian 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is part of a bigger company wide strategy to offer software updates for free for their products, a strategy they pioneered with iOs.

There's also a huge difference in what each update adds when compared to 8.1 . Where 8.1 tries to fix all the initial issues with W8 (missing start button anyone?), Maverick adds serious new features (1+ hour of battery, compressed RAM).

The free iWork suite is a direct attack to MSFT Office. Giving it away for free will pay long term in decreasing market share for Office. Office H&O is $220. Buy a Mac/iPhone/iPad and you get that for free.

malbs 1 day ago 2 replies      
Damn disappointing to see I can't upgrade the Mac mini I have from ~2008. It's a Macmini2,1, but I have upgraded the ram from 500mb to 4gb (3gb addressable), the cpu to the fastest possible (2.3ghz core2), and a samsung 840 128gb ssd. The machine is a beast now, except for the fact the sound occasionally stops working (sudo killall coreaudiod!)

I understand the why - the chipset/cpu is 32bit, and Mavericks is 64-bit only. Bit of a bugger. The user won't notice though (My wife)

I'm sure the upgrade experience would be better than my Windows 8 -> Windows 8.1 experience of last week. The best way to describe that would be train wreck.

ville 1 day ago 2 replies      
Free as in free beer, not as in free speech.
kailuowang 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know if this upgrade is worthwhile for software development?
nandhp 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about virtualization? Previously, one would only be allowed virtualize OS X if they purchased a copy (you can't virtualize the copy that came with the computer). Since it sounds like that's no longer an option, do I get virtualization for free now?
shurcooL 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the biggest reason this is awesome:

  Base SDK = 10.9  Minimum Deployment Target = 10.9

viseztrance 1 day ago 1 reply      
It sounds great, but an OS upgrade shouldn't had been paid in the first place. For instance I would be pretty pissed off to pay to upgrade my phone's software. This is just a reminder that computers have become general consumer items.
shill 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I lost all notes in the Notes app after upgrading. The data file is still there but I'm not sure how to reattach it yet.
yeukhon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally. There is almost no point if you are selling your OS for just $30, $40 dollars. I am going to wait a few months until I upgrade. Most of the software I use probably be better off with the current version.
ucha 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's definitely a great incentive for users to update their hardware. If you could still use iOS3 on your iPhone 3GS, it would be reasonably fast and responsive but because the upgrade to iOS6 is free, you go for it only to discover that it is now unusable. Same logic goes now for Macs.
saejox 1 day ago 1 reply      
First i heard this i immidiately gone to apple.com/osx looked for iso download.

Yes i am naive like that.

gdonelli 1 day ago 0 replies      
...and the Developer Tools have always been free! I would say OS X is the best dev environment ever!
mindo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would be just happy if it would be possible to upgrade, but I've tried 3 times the downloading keep crashing. I don't understand why they just don't make it so the updates would roll out on bittorrent like network. Its 5.29GB after all and every time it stops I would have like 1.6 - 3GB downloaded. And that is not to mention the download speeds that are just awful right now...
mustapha 23 hours ago 0 replies      
After perfecting the NSA OS with cloud based keychaining for easy access you can now be backdoored, free.
free652 14 hours ago 0 replies      
May be a silly question. But did they put some any "lawyer" language to prevent hackintoshes from running maverick?
dlau1 23 hours ago 0 replies      
13 hours battery life now on my 11" 2013 macbook air, wow
ndrake 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone know what the JVM situation is on Mavericks? Does Apple still provide a version of 1.6 or would I be required to upgrade to Oracle's 1.7 install?
samstave 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can anyone try running this in a virtualbox?

Can anyone point me to an ISO of this?

frank_boyd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of course.

The competition is already free and Apple has still a high security prison as far as the lock-in effect of its technology is concerned, so they're still safe.

mpg33 1 day ago 0 replies      
s w e e t
AsymetricCom 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess this one is on the NSA. Thanks guys!
D9u 1 day ago 1 reply      
Real breakthrough would be for OS X to run on Windoze devices... If you're a distro hopping nixer there's nothing to see here... Move along.
Googles iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary arstechnica.com
393 points by coloneltcb  3 days ago   223 comments top 42
cromwellian 2 days ago 9 replies      
Most of the examples of Google closed apps that are not part of the AOSP release are in fact apps that are based off of Google data-center services. Would it really help Samsung if the source to the Gmail app was open? Since Google controls the server side, and the client-server protocol, it limits the amount of innovation they can do.

The web equivalent would be like claiming that Chrome OS isn't open because the source to Gmail isn't available.

Google is stuck behind a rock and a hard place. If they don't try to create incentives for a unified experience, they get bashed for encouraging fragmentation, if they do assert a level of control, they get bashed for not being completely open.

parennoob 2 days ago 6 replies      
When someone like Github does this (make some parts of their code open-source, but others closed-source), journalists don't write critical pieces about them, do they? I mean, Google leaves a bad taste in my mouth since they started shuttering services like it was Christmas at the Google Service Chopping Block, but I don't see them being actively evil here.

It's all according to the previously openly aired plan. Google keeps all of the existing code open source. Anyone who wants to build a fork can do so. Now if they want a hardware platform to run on, go find one outside the Open Handset Alliance ecosystem. It's fair game -- if a hardware partner thinks that one of Google's competitors can provide a better Android fork, they are free to leave the Alliance and go partner with that competitor. They will still get an enormous amount of code for free in AOSP. They just won't get all of the services that Google is building specifically for its own version of Android. How is any of this maintaining an "iron grip" in any way? Just contrast this with Apple where it is the sole owner of everything to do with the OS and app marketplace.

millstone 2 days ago 4 replies      
> Google was terrified that Apple would end up ruling the mobile space. So, to help in the fight against the iPhone at a time when Google had no mobile foothold whatsoever, it was decided that Google would buy Android. And Android would be open source.

This is blatantly false. Google bought Android in 2005, two years before the iPhone was announced.

Mikeb85 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think alot of people misunderstand what open source means. It's nothing more than allowing people to see the source code, and use it (including forking).

Open source doesn't require you to cooperate with anyone, it doesn't require you to give away access to APIs, it doesn't require you to do anything beyond whatever is explicitly stated in the license.

Google, Canonical, Oracle, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, etc... aren't required to be good team players or corporate citizens. They're just required to abide by the terms of the licenses on code they use...

MichaelGG 3 days ago 2 replies      
The only real thing that seems "evil" is the requirement for OEMs to not manufacture _any_ devices compatible with non-Google forks. The rest of it seems pretty necessary in order to keep carriers and OEMs in line. A lesson Microsoft learned, and why Windows Phone started off by allowing the user to remove any pre-installed crap.

If Google didn't do any of this, and was totally altruistic, Samsung and others would already have completely screwed things up.

While it's certainly very much to Google's benefit, it also benefits most users because overall, Google has done a far better job than any OEM regarding user experience.

Brakenshire 2 days ago 2 replies      
> While it might not be an official requirement, being granted a Google apps license will go a whole lot easier if you join the Open Handset Alliance. The OHA is a group of companies committed to AndroidGoogle's Androidand members are contractually prohibited from building non-Google approved devices. That's right, joining the OHA requires a company to sign its life away and promise to not build a device that runs a competing Android fork.


> This makes life extremely difficult for the only company brazen enough to sell an Android fork in the west: Amazon. Since the Kindle OS counts as an incompatible version of Android, no major OEM is allowed to produce the Kindle Fire for Amazon. So when Amazon goes shopping for a manufacturer for its next tablet, it has to immediately cross Acer, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Fujitsu, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and ZTE off the list. Currently, Amazon contracts Kindle manufacturing out to Quanta Computer, a company primarily known for making laptops. Amazon probably doesn't have many other choices.

That is fairly incredible, I'm surprised it is not an anti-trust/competition issue.

yarianluis 2 days ago 0 replies      
As an Android developer, I love that Google is doing this!

Android has come a very long way in the last few years in terms of usability and design. A large part of this has been due to an increasingly uniform design language and feel. That, and the new distribution model for what are basically Android updates (Google Play Services) has made Android feel more polished and actually allowed it to stand on its own against iOS. It also means that developers like me don't have to spend nearly as much time worrying about fragmentation in the traditional sense. Each day the percentage of people using sub-ICS phones falls, and we all get one step closer to the day we can support ICS+ only.

However, companies like Amazon would force me to rewrite the maps integration, the sign-in portion, the wallet, etc... Amazon did a great job of replicating Google Maps API V1 but they have yet to mirror V2 and don't mirror the other components I mentioned.

Aside from fragmentation and developer sanity, the article mentions another key point here:

"[M]any of Google's solutions offer best-in-class usability, functionality, and ease-of-implementation."

Exactly! Google APIs are not perfect, and there's bugs (like when Google Maps broke map markers on high resolution phones like the HTC One). But generally speaking, I'm really happy with the quality of the APIs and services. In an ideal world, Amazon and Google would work together to provide great and uniform single-sign-in APIs, great maps, etc... As it currently stands though, I don't believe either party is interested in doing so. Prisoner's dilemma?

cloudwalking 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Android has arguably won the smartphone wars, but "Android winning" and "Google winning" are not necessarily the same thing.

This is false. Google wins when more people use the Internet. Android is fulfilling its initial goal incredibly well: offer a free and open-source mobile OS to encourage mobile device proliferation.

Android is doing exactly what it was designed to do.

davyjones 3 days ago 3 replies      
> Google does everything in-house. The company gets Maps and all of its cloud services basically for free.

This statement is utterly false. In-house does not mean free.

rattray 3 days ago 1 reply      
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Linus Torvalds famous for his iron grip of Linux? In a very different way, to be sure, but it's my understanding that just because you make something open source doesn't mean you have to (or even should) relinquish control.

I think it's also pretty standard to open-source the core and keep the baubles proprietary. GitHub, for example, made their git interaction library open-source but their git hosting service itself is closed, as far as I know.

lnanek2 3 days ago 1 reply      
What's really annoying is when the Google apps start becoming worse to make Google more money. I never open the app store without wanting an app, but it constantly tries to sell me books and movies and stuff like that. They even have separate Google apps for reading and movies, so shoving it in the app store is just a money grab making my usage more difficult to shove some ads in my face. Were these apps open source people could just fork, but we're stuck going along with Google until they mess up so bad it makes sense to switch over entirely to Amazon App store, Samsung Apps Seller, etc. and the equivalent for everything else.
mdellabitta 3 days ago 1 reply      
While I can see the point of this article, it's being cast in a much more dramatic light than necessary. Phrases like "While Google is out to devalue the open source codebase as much as possible" seem hyperbolic to me.
Zigurd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Part of my business is about creating Android-based embedded systems. So far, none of what Google has done impinges on using Android as a basis for an operating system for appliance-like devices. The main problem is that current development of Android is not done in the open. But, so far, the advantages of using Android's UI stack and other APIs in "appliance OS" applications outweigh the annoyance of sporadic updates to the AOSP code-base.

If you want to compete with Google, using Android poses a choice: If you make Google-branded Android devices that use Google's proprietary apps, you will have to give that up in order to use Android with other ecosystems.

Thirdly, if you want to use the Google ecosystem in a product, you have to use all of it. You can't substitute someone else's location services, for an example that was litigated.

Google could develop Android in the open and retain the same level of control over OEMs, and I think they should.

Google appears to be inconsistent in enforcing restrictions on OEMs. OPhone OEMs also make Android handsets, despite the fact that OPhone is an Android derived product. Maybe that arrangement pre-dates Google's current policies.

tashoecraft 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google is creating a walled garden just like any other company does. The article points to how they are making their shift towards an operating system that is similar to ios (in terms of lock in). Android may be an open-source platform but, on the majority of devices that compete at the top level, it becomes far from open source.

It's understandable why Google would lock people out of seeing the back end of their closed apps. But you have to look at what the long-term implications of them slowly removing support for ASOP apps are. As Google continually pushes out fantastic products that tie in so well to the mobile experience, why would anyone/developer want to have/develop [for] anything else. As this power grows, Google can strong-arm phone manufactures to develop hardware/features/etc to work with what they are developing. They have to sign contractual agreements to get the top version of Android and are then locked in to keep up the good terms. Google is outsourcing the hardware manufacturing to other companies and ensuring that if a user wants a good phone, they will be using their services.

Many people here are claiming any company can leave Google's garden like Amazon did. While some companies may be able to do that, I'm struggling to think of a one with the technological background, money to invest, and callousness for risk who are willing to try. Amazon has a huge assortment of media that it can toss at its users who use their hardware. Other companies don't have a differentiating factor or the software development to be able to make a truly competitive product to drive people away from Google supported Android. Just look at how much Microsoft, a software giant, is struggling to gain any shred of market share.

No executive in any reasonable company is going to propose to invest billions in order to squeeze into the highly competitive mobile OS market. Its a huge risk that only a startup could swallow, and yet few startups could even raise the money required to topple the Google supported android market.

What the future is starting to look like is the one Google was initially afraid of, that users were faced a Draconian future, a future whereone company, one device, one carrier would be [the] only choice. As Google gains more power, the open source part that Android users love is going to slowly disappear. This may or may not happen, there are many variables that could prevent it, but it is a future that would bring Google the highest return and that is the goal of all market traded companies.

dave1010uk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Small correction: "Chrome is still open source" is incorrect. Chromium is open source. Chrome is closed source.
Tyrannosaurs 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's interesting is how having a mobile OS is now only one part of the offering needed to be successful, and is arguably the easiest part.

To be successful on mobile you also need a fairly extensive layer of services. Some of those (web, mail and so on) are easy to bolt together but others such as maps and app stores are far harder and are about data and commercial deals as much as they are about software. While it would be wrong to say that these services can't be opened up, in many cases doing so isn't as straight forward as sharing source code.

It doesn't feel as if Google has changed so much as what it means be a mobile OS has.

stefanve 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand the point of this article especially the bit about being an evil genius by ways of making excellent best in business cross OS api's. Really? being competitive is being an evil genius? If amazon is willing it can open there api's to none FireOS apps they have the infrastructure and money to support it, but they don't.

As a user I'm happy that Google is making sure that I can hop device manufactures without loosing my apps or functionality, if everybody would roll out there own app store and removed Google's you would be locked in with the OEM. Now you can safely change to a different phone, also they don't mind you downloading the Google apps when using an alternative ROM.

Android is open source but does that mean that you are not aloud to make money of it by providing closed source apps and service, many open source companies do that. The work that went in to Android if freely available for competitors. Lots of kernel enchantments went back in to Linux and now you have Ubuntu touch and Firefox OS both based on the Android kernel which in turn is based on Linux, how cool is that.

x0054 2 days ago 2 replies      
I once read an article in 2010 that criticized people for saying that Apple and iOS of the 2000s is like the Microsoft and Windows of the 90s. The article pointed out that Apple IS the Apple of the 90s and Google with its Android platform will become the Windows of the 90s. I think it's happening. In a few years Android is going to be as closed sourced as Windows, probably as ubiquitous, and most likely, just as prone to security issues.

It's already kind of like windows, no? It runs on hundreds if different devices. It's often bloated by OEM software that people hate. It's prone to security wholes. It's slow and clunky unless you run it on the latest hardware. It bends over backwards for compatibility sake. It's more and more closed sourced...

Android is Mobile windows of the 90s. I hope Ubuntu Mobile will be successful.

tonyfelice 3 days ago 3 replies      
"In an ocean with great waves, whales fly into the air unnoticed, but in a calm pond, even the tiniest minnow makes a ripple." -confucius

When the iPhone debuted, no doubt Google sensed the impact, and Apple's ability to create an effective closed ecosystem had already been proven with iTunes. I believe that Google wanted to undermine the market long enough to understand it. True enough, "android winning" was not the same as "Google winning," but it did mean everyone else "losing." I believe that for Google, Android started as a strategy in search of a goal. It was a smokescreen to prevent Apple from taking a dominant position by default. As the data poured in, they began to understand how to leverage it, and the Nexus line became an expression of such understanding, working to establish more control, and hopefully emerge from the smokescreen they had created.

georgestephanis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well, this is really arguable. The "Iron Grip" is the modules that happen to be dependent on authenticated API calls to the servers that Google owns and maintains.

I'd fully support their modules that connect to the cloud servers being open source / GPL / etc, but to expect them to open them up to unauthenticated requests is untenable and leaves them way open to abuse / lack of rate limiting / making the service a bad time for all involved.

at-fates-hands 2 days ago 0 replies      
As much as the Android people hate the Apple people, Android is doing the same thing Windows and Apple have been doing for years - trying to shoe horn people into THEIR walled in garden.

This is the future of smartphones. You pick a phone and by doing so, you pick the walled garden you're going to most comfortable playing in, pure and simple.

alexandros 2 days ago 1 reply      
So I guess the sign to look out for is Samsung licensing the Amazon APIs?
yeet 3 days ago 1 reply      
google had a very good reason to move services outside AOSP, to update them without relying on carriers.they could release billing API v3 w/ 90% compatibility in day 1. this is how they could workaround fragmentation.as an android dev, i love being able to read framework source code for better design, performance and less bugs. that is all really matters imho.
protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
IMHO, the unfair part is the following:

"Since the Kindle OS counts as an incompatible version of Android, no major OEM is allowed to produce the Kindle Fire for Amazon. So when Amazon goes shopping for a manufacturer for its next tablet, it has to immediately cross Acer, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Fujitsu, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and ZTE off the list."

Google Apps and APIs are fine and good, but I don't think any company should dictate to an OEM what products they can make for other companies.

pazimzadeh 2 days ago 1 reply      
So, every Samsung phone effectively comes with three versions of the main apps - the AOSP version, the Google Play version, and Samsung's bloatware?

This seems like a terrible situation for users. Can someone with a Samsung smartphone confirm this?

If this is the case, how are the apps organized when you first buy the phone - are they all in one big apps list?

sriramyadavalli 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing wrong with what Google is doing. Google is essentially a consumer (and enterprise) cloud services company that is looking to commoditize (read open source/sell at cost) all other parts of the stack. That includes open-sourcing Chrome/Android, selling Chromecast/Google Fiber at cost.
heliodor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing good can come out of Amazon or Samsung influencing or controlling Android. If those companies were in control, we'd still be in the tech ice ages where the phone companies control our devices.
EGreg 2 days ago 2 replies      
If AOSP is open source and Google updates let's say the location services, why can't anyone start a similar project for AOSP and have it funded (like by Apache or Mozilla)?

It seems that the main problem is the gatekeepers who manufacture phones.

Apocryphon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised that there's no mention of Tizen, Samsung and Intel's project and supposedly the former's Plan B to ditch Android altogether. With the same TouchWiz skin both Samsung's Android and Tizen, and with both OS's able to run Android apps, the plan would be to swap out the underlying OS without the users noticing.
bsaul 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious to know if there are any internal google project of porting all the Google play API on iOS (either on Objective-C , or using a cross-platform language such as mono develop, which would make more sense).
peterashford 2 days ago 0 replies      
Claiming that Google is "controlling open source" by working in-house on it's own Android applications is just really bizarre.
ksk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think Google's malicious intent is being over-exaggerated. It could simply be that they don't have enough resources to maintain old code. As to them creating closed-source apps, well, Google knows which side their bread is buttered on :) Anything that makes money for them is closed source.
enimodas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I've heard that HN is often pro google, but this thread makes it blatantly clear.
arikrak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes businesses take measures to increase profits at the expense of their users. However, preventing fragmentation of Android seems to be both in both Google's interests and the users. Only certain competitors could mind. Also, why should Google do all the work of creating an operating system and not get anything in return?
goggles99 2 days ago 1 reply      
Should read more like "Google has an Iron grip on Google Apps (Gapps)" - Not Android. Android is the OS, not the Google service based apps.
simbolit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why don't they (potential competitors) write an open source app based on openstreetmap? Their mapping data is usually on par, often even superior to that of Google. Plus, its free (in both senses of the word).
MarkMc 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a Google shareholder, this article warms the cockles of my heart. Why should Amazon be able to get all the Android improvements that Google creates?
fblp 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an excellent piece of tech journalism and thank you for the journalist for examining each aspect of Google's strategy so thoroughly.
devx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know this is potentially dangerous in the future (I worry more about NSA having direct access to all the phones in the world through Google), but in terms of user experience, I welcome this. In order to have an ecosystem that is "as unified and standardized as possible" you need to have one company controlling it, and the vision behind it. Too many companies pulling in too many directions is not that good.

Here's a different perspective:


Tichy 2 days ago 0 replies      
By any means necessary? So they'd murder to control the source?
wavesum 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see how making closed source apps is "Controlling open source"
cremnob 3 days ago 2 replies      
Open always wins, until it conflicts with your business interests. "Open" used to be the oft-repeated advantage over iOS in the early days, I wonder if that will slip away from the narrative like "SD card slots", "removable batteries", and "real keyboard" did.
Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life? codinghorror.com
373 points by chrisdinn  2 days ago   316 comments top 47
programminggeek 2 days ago 7 replies      
When you aren't creating the hardware, it is harder to care about power management in the software because that is seen as "someone else's problem". It is easy to blame things on terrible drivers or whatever, but no matter how you look at it, the product is worse as a result.

This is why Microsoft needs to keep building their own hardware like the Surface. As time goes on, if Microsoft does it right, Surface is going to be the best Windows experience. At least, I would hope so.

blinkingled 2 days ago 7 replies      
Windows and Linux are general purpose OSes. The same kernel runs on high throughput servers and low power tablets. The apps are written with little focus on battery life. The drivers too. Microsoft doesn't write their own drivers and then there's firmware too. It's the one area where Apple has really taken advantage of the vertical integration - they do everything from firmware to most apps people use.

But both Windows and Linux are more than capable to get this all sorted. Like Google showed with the Nexus 7 - focus is all that's needed. It's just harder for Microsoft considering everything they need to juggle.

Edit: Fun fact: Apple's own Boot Camp drivers disable USB selective suspend on the 2013 Air! Check our powercfg /energy for more fun :)

Edit 2: Surface is Tegra 4 SoC isn't it? Microsoft still is limited by Tegra's power characteristics as far as what I can tell from Anand's review. So the integration story is better but still no match to Apple.

Lagged2Death 2 days ago 2 replies      
I see and agree with the larger point he's making, but a 42% increase in a single generation strikes me as huge, not just "decent."

And this?

If you want a device that delivers maximum battery life for light web browsing, there's no question that you should get something with an Apple logo on it.

Except the top two champs on the Anandtech chart - champs which are way ahead of a fairly close pack - don't have such logos. If one is honestly trying to illustrate the simple point that Windows has a power problem, its a strange conclusion to draw.

mjg59 2 days ago 4 replies      
Because Apple have custom ACPI methods for cutting power to unused components and Windows doesn't know how to call them.
fdm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I find the MBA vs Surface Pro 2 comparison to be more than slightly misleading:

>The screen is somewhat lower resolution

No, 1920x1080 isn't only somewhat higher than 1366x768, it's 1.97 times the number of pixels and the panel is PLS unlike the TN in the MBA. The display is the component that eats up the battery the most when doing things like Wi-Fi browsing, even the battery life of the MBA scales heavily with the level of brightness.

>not touch capable

It also has an another, separate layer for the Wacom digitizer, it has to be constantly emitting an electromagnetic field, which does take its toll on power consumption.

>i5-4200u CPU

It's i5-4250U, with a considerably lower base clock (1.3GHz vs 1.6GHz).

Another fact that all the recent articles about the Surface Pro 2 fail to mention, but isn't really relevant to the what the article is about, is that, with the Power Cover that was announced at the Surface keynote, it should be able to get 11.45 hours of Wi-Fi browsing if you extrapolate the results from the Anandtech benchmark, or about 12.9 hours if you do it with the 7:33 hours it got on The Verge review. This does bring the weight and thickness of the device above the MBA though.

optymizer 2 days ago 5 replies      
Well, how about this: because MS doesn't care. It's too late, the code is too large and too old, the developers are too new, no one knows what's going on and this whole thing is a giant rolling monster with parts flying out every second, killing innocent batteries.
shubb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Surely a lot of this comes down to the screen?

Battery life varies greatly between e.g. Google Chromebook systems, running the same software (and between windows systems for that matter).

Some of this is to do with the power usage of the CPU, and whether video decoding is done in low power hardware, or which wireless chipset is used. But just looking at the power usage manager on your Android phone will tell you that the screen uses most of the power.

Windows hardware varies from high priced ultra books (where all is sacrificed for shininess and performance), to bargain bin systems where using an old backlighting technology saves a few bucks.

Question to Apple users - comparing windows laptops to your mac, which shipped with the more aggressive power saving settings in terms of turning the screen off when not in use?

eknkc 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder if Maverics will widen the gap further. It has that app suspension thing when some window goes invisible.

Also there are some decent performance improvements that would mean less cpu usage (or bursts of them, which is more power efficient).

Are there any benchmarks? Or is it still behind NDA?

sz4kerto 2 days ago 2 replies      
Windows does not have a terrible battery life. That's so simple. The difference between OSX and Windows are related to drivers.

The charts are quite ridiculous in the article - comparing an Ivy Bridge, actively cooled laptop-tablet to a Nexus 7? Why?

BTW, the biggest difference is maybe CPU core hotplugging, this exists in Android and iOS but does not in Windows RT.

ohwp 2 days ago 2 replies      
In the Windows prompt (admin mode) you can use the following command to monitor (it will generate a HTML file) energy usage (for 60 seconds):

  powercfg ENERGY
I can see some problems on my own system. For example "USB Suspend:USB Device not Entering Suspend"

Maybe misconfigurations like these are also causing more power consumption than needed.

da_n 2 days ago 3 replies      
Anecdotal, but on an older 11" MacBook Air I have a dual-boot with elementary OS (Ubuntu derivative) and I get around 20-30% better battery life with Linux than OS X (using laptop-mode-tools etc). I think this is probably due to all the iCloud crap going on with OS X these days, but I have no proof of that.
JosephRedfern 2 days ago 0 replies      
Surely this doesn't just affect mobile devices. If the OS causes a higher power drain, then it must be more expensive to run a Windows server than an OS X/Linux server.
mpweiher 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the article is asking the wrong question. A better question is: why does Apple (OSX/iOS) have such awesome battery life? After all, it wasn't always this good, or rather, it's been improving by leaps and bounds, both with new hardware and with new OS versions.

I think the answer is that Apple really, really cares and has been extremely focused on power/performance for a number of years. It has the focus, the institutional awareness and know-how that's been built up since around Tiger, and last not least the people on their performance teams.

That's how you get great battery life.

16s 2 days ago 2 replies      
Microsoft turned Windows 95 into a full-fledged multi-user operating system. Segmented user space? Unix had done that for years. All users where admin and it was horrible, but lot's of apps ran on it, so people bought it and used it. Then they merged Win95 into WinNT and gave us Windows 2000.

Now they are turning a full-fledged multi-user OS into a tablet OS. Let's make this tank into a bicycle. History tells us there will be a few painful years.

artagnon 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm curious to know how the latest Linux fares on a Macbook Air.
znowi 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm actually saddened by the fact that we consider 8 hours of battery life satisfactory, and 14 hours nothing short of astronomical. Anything less than a full day work for a mobile device should be unacceptable.

Smartphones are particularly bad at it. If anyone remembers Palm devices, they could last for more than a week (!) on one charge. With my Nexus 4, even with light usage, I've come to a habit to plug it in whenever possible, it goes that fast.

We all love feature-rich devices, but I think, currently, the promoted features and hardware are way ahead of the battery capabilities. And it's not OK.

bni 2 days ago 1 reply      
I remember from years ago writing Win32 programs, that it mostly consisted of an eventloop and you have a giant switch reacting to WM_* messages. On a deep level, does OSX apps work the same way?
hcho 2 days ago 2 replies      
The short answer is polling. There's nothing better at draining a battery than infinite loops waiting for something to happen. I bet Windows have too many of those, remnant from the days where power consumption didn't matter because your PC is plugged into a socket at all times.
VladRussian2 1 day ago 0 replies      
When you have lets say 4 CPU cores and 1 active thread, Windows [by default config] wouldn't let the other CPU cores go into deep sleep [core parking] by intentionally moving the active thread from core to core. That supposedly improves performance on some tests as bringing a core from deep sleep takes some time noticeable by the tests. Keeping the cores "warm" also means increased power consumption.
Intermernet 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a comment on the article that links to http://randomascii.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/windows-timer-re... .

Which seems to point to many apps (embarrassingly mostly MS apps) setting the OS timer interval to something like 1ms (from a default of 15.6ms) and not resetting it.

Anyone with any experience with the Windows 8 timer care to weigh in on this issue? I'm well out of my depth when it comes to processor / kernel level power tuning.

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
Its a valid question. Writing low power software is a deliberate act, just like writing secure software is a deliberate act. Look at Linux, as far as I can tell absolutely nobody cared about low power and the Android folks did their 'wakelocks' design, which got a lot of push back.
mwfunk 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would really interesting to see the same battery life charts normalized for the display's power draw. I could be totally wrong here but my understanding is that that's an extremely significant factor in a lot of "casual usage" battery life benchmarks. If you take the display into account, then you can start to see how relatively efficient different OS' power management code really is.

Of course, if what you care about is the efficiency of the PM software, looking at total battery life probably isn't the most meaningful factor either, as they all have different-sized batteries, so what's important is power drain as a function of time.

DZittersteyn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Might it be that the Win7/Vista drivers for the MBA are worse that the OSX drivers?

We see the comparisons:Surface <-> iPad, OSX MBA <-> Win7/Vista MBA

Surface has different architecture than the iPad, so the battery difference is easily explained, and maybe driver support is just less than stellar, meaning HW isn't as efficient and/or doesn't scale back quickly enough?

I had an Asus laptop some years ago that would last 3 hours under Vista, and would be dead in the water in 1 hour under Ubuntu. I think it was either GPU or CPU scaling or both that wasn't supported in the linux drivers I was using

_wmd 2 days ago 2 replies      
While the core subject seems fair enough, I'd expect Atwood not to be so utterly stupid by trying to swap out Apple OS X running on one of a highly restricted variety of Apple Mac hardware with a generic Windows install and expect the result to be competitive. That's boxes-with-arrows mentality at its worst right there.

In any 5 year period, Apple has a tiny list of exact hardware configurations OS X is designed to run on. It's so small, they even use the OS X software update mechanism to push BIOS updates! They have so much room to do better than Microsoft here it's barely even funny. This isn't an excuse for Microsoft's poor performance, but if you try to gloss over the fact as Atwood does here, then you're omitting the full truth.

nathan_long 2 days ago 0 replies      
To what degree does "worse battery life" mean "worse performance?" I suppose two possible wastes of energy are 1) powering components that should be sleeping 2) inefficient code.

Any of #2 would impact both.

at-fates-hands 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is interesting to me since I have a Lenova Windows 8 tablet and it the battery life is pretty impressive. If I use it consistently, I can easily get 10-12 hours out of it.

I'm wondering what the difference is between the hardware the Surface uses and other Windows 8 tablets.

woodchuck64 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why does Windows have terrible battery life? Most likely for the same general reason Microsoft is losing slowly but steadily in all areas: it takes more effort and manpower to get Windows OS to perform in a particular area than it does to get a Linux-variant OS to perform. That's the fundamental implication of better design.
wolfgke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps the Windows Timer Resolution

> http://randomascii.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/windows-timer-re...

could explain this problem?

iyulaev 1 day ago 0 replies      
My Atom-powered Windows x86 tablet weighs 1.5 lbs (same as iPad) and gets ~10 hours of run-time. How does Windows suck at power again?
Major_Grooves 2 days ago 0 replies      
I bought a new HP laptop reecntly, with Windows 8 and touchscreen, to replace my dead Packard-Bell laptop. My old PB usually gave me about 4h battery life, and sometimes up to 6 hours. I was told my new laptop would give me 5-7h battery life, which seemed pretty good to me.

In reality I get 2.5 hours maximum. It's so bad that I actually returned the first one I got as I though something was wrong with it. Nope, 2.5 hours is it. Not even enough for a half-day working in a cafe.

So I guess 5-7h only applies if the screen is turned off, no programmes running and no wifi. Useful. :/

frogpelt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why did he only highlight Surface Pro?

Windows RT on the Surface 2 appears to have better battery life than the Samsung Galaxy Tab (according to his chart).

devx 2 days ago 0 replies      
When Windows 7 launched, I had a netbook with XP on it, on which I got about 5 hours on Wi-Fi with just browsing. I put Windows 7 on it, the battery life dropped to 3.5 hours, which is a huge 30 percent decrease. So it's incredible that Windows 8 has become even worse at battery life since then, instead of becoming better.
ChikkaChiChi 2 days ago 0 replies      
It has to do with power management driver optimization. Linux and Hackintoshes see equally poor performance on the same hardware. People far smarter than me can explain all the different ways the OS can talk to the hardware.
RachelF 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's always busy.

To look at what it is doing, download Procmon:http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.asp...

chatman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wondering how GNU/Linux distros (e.g. Fedora) stacks up against Windows 8 and OS X in terms of battery life.
ZanyProgrammer 2 days ago 0 replies      
A Surface Pro is still fundamentally (well, it is, no ifs ands or buts about it) a tablet. There is no x86 tablet on the Mac side to compare it to, and I don't think you can compare one to the other. Sure, they may be the closest in function, but not in form. You'd really need a Surface ultrabook to compare the two.
mathattack 2 days ago 3 replies      
The issue has to be engineering. Is it a case of too much distance between the HW and SW people?
pearjuice 2 days ago 0 replies      
The shortest human read- and understandable answer to this poorly written bait article is: Mac OS is designed to run on only x, y and z hardware configurations whilst Windows is designed to run on the complete alphabet (a to z) of hardware configurations. This allows the developers of the former to have total control of the hardware and build specific workarounds, instructions and such as they know it will only run on that hardware. Windows, however, can be licensed to any hardware manufacturer. "It just works" (kinda) but that comes at the price of poor battery performance (and other things) as it isn't (and can't) be optimized as well as Mac OS.
norswap 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is about the Surface, not Windows.I consistently have more battery life with Windows than Linux.
lttlrck 2 days ago 0 replies      
If he had done a little research beforehand he would have known how bad the RT was and there would be zero basis for his over-inflated expectations for the Pro 2.
dschiptsov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Too much emulation/virtualization/sandboxing (to be able to run old corporate_win32crap.exe) badly implemented?)
dman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone here have numbers of battery life on the same machine with linux?
fonnesbeck 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't know Windows had a battery.
trynumber9 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Sony VAIO Pro 13 seems to have a lower normalized power consumption in the same workload, per http://anandtech.com/show/7417/sony-vaio-pro-13-exceptionall... Of course it has a much smaller battery due to it's low weight.
drtse4 2 days ago 0 replies      
Informative article as usual.
yth 2 days ago 0 replies      
i did not even realize there was a fight. MS has real potential under different leadership - most of their products are currently horrible.
sch1zo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess one problem is comparing apples with oranges. Meaning we can't compare Windows to OSX on the exact same hardware. The closest we get is running Windows via Bootcamp on a Macbook which seems to have its own issues (I don't have a Macbook but have read that multiple times.)
OS X 10.9 Mavericks: The Ars Technica Review arstechnica.com
373 points by cwe  1 day ago   210 comments top 31
nostromo 1 day ago 8 replies      
I am super excited to see Apple push Flash out of the browser.



Flash has been in decline since the first iPhone, but is still used to track people with unkillable cookies and to make obnoxious ads. Hopefully those days are now over.

I wish Google and Microsoft would follow suit. Google probably will resist the most due to the entrenched interests of DoubleClick and YouTube.

k2enemy 1 day ago 3 replies      
Each release I'm as excited (or more) to read Siracusa's review as I am to actually try the new OS. Keep up the good work.
mjn 1 day ago 6 replies      
The strategy of compressing RAM pages before resorting to swapping them out is a nice addition (discussed on p. 17 of the review). Something similar is in the works for Linux as well: http://lwn.net/Articles/545244/

The other main highlights from my perspective: "App Nap" energy-saving API (p. 13), generally better battery life, even on old hardware (p. 18), & support for offline speech-to-text (p. 23).

digitalsushi 1 day ago 4 replies      
The singular improvement I have been waiting for is using an airplay device as a second monitor.

I have a macbook pro and I hook in with my thunderbolt->DVI connector to get my big monitor.

I can throw an appletv onto the monitor with an hdmi->DVI connection and finally go cordless! This is an improvement that means something real to me!

pavlov 1 day ago 6 replies      
Mavericks GM hasn't been too good for my 2011 MacBook Pro. This machine has only 4 GB RAM, and it shows. It's swapping noticeably more than before, and overall everything feels less snappy than on Mountain Lion.

On the other hand, the battery life is definitely better. It's not really worth the performance hit, though...

Goopplesoft 1 day ago 2 replies      
Its interesting how Scott Forstall has become the goto name to sully in many of these articles. He pretty much pioneered iOS but one redesign later he's nothing in the shadow of Ive.
nicholassmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's that time again. I'm glad they do paid eBook versions now as I'm not an ars subscriber, but they definitely deserve some money for putting the OS X review together every release. I love reading Siracusa's minor gripes and grumbles, and when he feels something deserves genuine praise.
smackfu 1 day ago 1 reply      
A blog post from the author, about the review: http://hypercritical.co/2013/10/22/mavericks
snoshy 1 day ago 3 replies      
For making such a big deal about resolving the multiple desktop and full-screen issues, Mavericks feels a little disappointing. Switching between full-screen windows is still accompanied by the painfully slow animation which still can't be disabled.

Trackpad scroll speed on my 13" MBA is also noticeably slower without significant load on the machine. This seems deliberate, but it's a move in the wrong direction for people that already have the trackpad sensitivity maxed out.

npalli 1 day ago 2 replies      
So, I updated to Mavericks. Ran python and it Segfaulted. I think this is the first time I have had python crash like that.

Python 2.7.5 (v2.7.5:ab05e7dd2788, May 13 2013, 13:18:45)

[GCC 4.2.1 (Apple Inc. build 5666) (dot 3)] on darwin

Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

>>> a = 1000

>>> a/1000

Segmentation fault: 11

jasonwilk 1 day ago 3 replies      
IS it just me or is anyone else disappointed that they didn't port over the flat design elements of iOS7 into the OSX Mavericks UI?

I thought that would have looked awesome on my iMac!

dylandrop 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're going to give us a 24 page whitepaper on a free OS upgrade, at least give a brief intro about your findings... verbiage and metaphor excluded.
Kurtz79 1 day ago 0 replies      
It has come to that I'm looking forward to John's reviews almost as much as the release itself.

Great reading.

malandrew 1 day ago 2 replies      
Any incompatibilities people have run across yet. I want to figure out if there are any obvious dealbreaking changes before I spend time making a backup and upgrading.
pstuart 1 day ago 2 replies      
Too bad they didn't bother to upgrade bash. Bash 4 is nice to have on tap.
sarreph 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kudos to Siracusa for making such an extensively documented review.
gmisra 1 day ago 6 replies      
If you know of a shorter, more useful review, or are willing to tl;dr this for non-fanboys, please share.
justin66 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would love to know if John Siracusa is paid by the word.
chm 23 hours ago 0 replies      
" Frankly, this entire window is a user-interface disaster. And we haven't even mentioned the checkbox to the right of each label. Can you guess what those do? (No, there's no tooltip when you hover over one.) I'll spoil the surprise. When that box is checked, it means the Tag appears in the Finder sidebar; unchecked means it doesn't."

I think he overlooked the text right on top of the menu, which says "Show these tags in the sidebar:". Pretty obvious to me.

kunai 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This part:

  > In the years that have passed since then, the Mac has   > indeed been on a steady march toward the functional ideal   > embodied by the iPad, a product that is arguably the   > culmination of Jobs' original vision of personal computing
concerns me quite a bit. We all know Jobs' original vision of personal computing was a tightly locked-down walled garden, and I can't help but think that inching towards this destination is inevitably a change for the worse.

Think about it. With the drop of the non-Retina display MacBook Pros today, no Macs are now officially user-upgradeable.

What was the reason given?

2mm in thickness. Two. Fucking. Millimeters, so you can stare at the edge of your laptop with a hard-on. Oh, and that absurdly high resolution display that you'll need a goddamned loupe to appreciate.

All kernel extensions now must be signed in Mavericks. OS features brought about in Lion still bug me, like the absolutely back-asswards autosave system that uses duplication, and the lack of direct manipulation while scrolling. Also, Gatekeeper is a huge uh-oh.

It's the reason why my MacBook is now sitting in a closet, and why I'm using a 2005 Toshiba Tecra with Debian on it. Amazing how Linux news has gotten so rare these days... but stick an Apple sticker on something and it shoots to the top of the front page. Sad.

rambojohnson 1 day ago 2 replies      
the opening 5 paragraphs into this article was infuriating -- from cats having 9 lives, to self-actualization, the after life -- get to the point already. it's an operating system. a new version is out. talk about it.
exo_duz 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The 2nd monitor upgrades and fixes really help out a lot. I think as a developer who works mostly with 2 monitors now working in full screen mode both monitors can be properly used.

Really looking forward to upgrading.

milhous 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Know it's too early, but can anyone comment on Screen Sharing improvements in Mavericks? I regularly access a headless mini and have had to occasionally kill screensharingd for hanging sessions, and/or lose connectivity on occasion for whatever reason. Screen Sharing's been improved with every OS X release, but it's not spectacular.
anton_gogolev 1 day ago 0 replies      
John had had a lot of complaints regarding how his Kindle version of a previous review was not available for the iPad [1]. I wonder if this is still a case.

[1]: http://5by5.tv/hypercritical/85

dzhiurgis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone had random logouts when using Expose?Not sure if it's USB DisplayLink adapter, or some weird bug in OS X.It's quite rare, perhaps twice or once a day. Haven't lost important data yet, but I feel it's coming.
PeterWhittaker 1 day ago 4 replies      
I don't use iTunes or iBooks or any other Apple media apps. I've only had my Air for a few months, and I do love it so, but....

If Mavericks is free, why does the App Store need a credit card in order for me to download it?

I do not plan on purchasing anything through iTunes. Never say never, sure, but I don't. Ever.

Guess I can't have Mavericks.

Even though it's free.

Kudos, Apple, you've given me my first reason to feel less than happy about a hardware purchase I reveled in.

mustapha 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if the password manager / iCloud Keychain / Safari auto-suggest can import passwords from a .pif?
mustapha 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the NSA has root on iCloud.
lnanek2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Boy that first page was completely worthless. Maybe there was one useful sentence in there, saying there are new features and bundled apps. Not sure I should bother reading page 2. Ars' latest iPad announcement coverage was awesome, though.
dpham 1 day ago 3 replies      
"The 10th major release, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, is named after an awkwardly plural California surfing spot..."

Can't tell if he's joking or not.

benihana 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's like the author didn't like all the gray words so he wanted to spruce up the copy with a splash orange everywhere.
Startup School 2013 Doodles startupnotes.org
329 points by simonebrunozzi  2 days ago   74 comments top 32
gkoberger 2 days ago 4 replies      
Thanks for posting! If anything is unclear (it's always hard to find quotes without trimming too much context), let me know.
thinker 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is fantastic and beautiful!

I made a few sketches myself as part of a larger project I'm working on (a year without cameras): http://crafture.me/post/64711241777/startup-school-2013

ajiang 2 days ago 1 reply      
Beautifully implemented. If it's not too much to ask, please consider making public the source code behind the display and design - really gorgeous way of showing a collection of notes.
fenguin 2 days ago 0 replies      
These are beautiful! You should sell these, maybe individually as mugs/posters - I'd definitely buy some key one-liners for our office.

For those of you who want a bit more context, here are two sets of notes from this weekend:


There is some overlap between the two but also some differences so I'd suggest reading both.

[Disclaimer: I produced the first set - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6578780]

nodesocket 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Much better than my hand-written notes.


ecesena 2 days ago 2 replies      
Beautiful! Did you tweet it? Can you post the link? We are curating a list of the best content on theneeds [1] and I'd like to add this one (we only import feeds or tweets).

[1] http://www.theneeds.com/learn/top-content/startupschool

asperous 2 days ago 2 replies      
Dat affiliate link ;). Only joking, you deserve it, this is great work.
tannerc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great format, simple execution and presentation for us who were unable to attend, lots of valuable insights.

I think the theme that stands out for me personally from all of these notes is: Find something you can work on almost non-stop, expect to fail a lot (because you will), learn and adapt, keep trying.

phogster 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a video of these presentations?
brandonhsiao 2 days ago 1 reply      
That is actually so slick. I wish more web services had designs like this.
passfree 2 days ago 0 replies      
I took the courtesy to convert these into pdf slides (for easier reading on iDevices, etc) you can download them from here (http://blog.websecurify.com/uploads/aa_StartupSchool.pdf) for now but it will be great if Gregory puts them on his website next to the github link.

Thanks for the great work Greg!

joshdance 2 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome. Love the sketches. Did you use Paper?
mceoin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Dude, sweet post!

Big fan of sketch notes myself so I'll definitely be forking that repo.


exo_duz 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is beautiful!!.... Thanks for creating this. This will be good reading material whilst waiting for the videos.
daljeetv 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great Job! All of the startup school notes being posted on the internet have helped me make up a little bit for not being able to attend startup school 2013!
localuser 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great work. I noticed on the Dan Siroker (optmizely) slide that he states them having 140 customers, is that number right? Their site says 6000.
floetic 2 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent work! One thing you missed on Nathan Blecharczyk's talk... "VCs want the B's Baby! (not the M's)"
ishake 1 day ago 1 reply      
How'd you create the Doodles? Just sketched them by hand and scanned them? or Photoshop?
brackin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would buy this as a little hand book. That'd be awesome.
kcent 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great! Awesome summary, and your quote doodles kicked the pants off of mine for sure. :)
jplmelanson 2 days ago 3 replies      
Can anybody elaborates on Mark Zuckerberg's note "That stupid movie..."? :)
StewartD 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man this website is gorgeous. Great work. follows @gkoberger
trey_swann 1 day ago 0 replies      
Insanely great. I'm a huge fan. Thank you!
zaguios 2 days ago 1 reply      
It looks really nice, but there might be a problem for someone reading these notes who didn't actually watch startup school. For example in Watsi's section you write "Worst part about being a non-profit: Nobody says NO", that could be a sarcastic comment, or it could be a problem of too much funding, or it could be it's actually meaning that everybody actually says no, but just not to his face. Also, the starting quotes without ending quotes drive me a little crazy, but that's just a personal thing.
mrwnmonm 2 days ago 0 replies      
when we will have the videos?
jermaink 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dear Gregory, this is really brilliant! Very well done!
theblackswan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work.. and some good 1-liners.
mikeadeleke 2 days ago 0 replies      
You are ridiculous!
hackybadger 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simply. Excellent.
scotthtaylor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great work!
adeptus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Everyone is praising you on the look/feel of your website, which I agree is pretty cool; however, the content of what "people" learned from the conference seems all but completely useless (unless the conference sucked that much that all you got out of each speaker was a couple of 1 liner's??). Not sure if you were serious about the content or just messing around to demo your website.
crazed_climber 2 days ago 0 replies      
Too bad your page flip animation violates Apple's patent.


The genius and folly of MongoDB nyeggen.com
320 points by throwawayeau  3 days ago   267 comments top 21
rdtsc 3 days ago 4 replies      
The problem with MongoDB is their shadiness. The shipped with unacknowledged writes up until not too long ago. In other words you would write to it and there wouldn't be an ok or fail response, you'd just sort of hoped it would go in.

They fixed that problem but it was too late. In my eyes they proved they are not to be trusted with data.

Had they called themselves MangoCache or MongoProbabilisticStorage, fine, can silently drop writes, I don't care it is not database. But telling people they are a "database" and then tweaking their default to look good in stupid little benchmarks, and telling people they are webscale, sealed the deal for me. Never looking at that product again.

bkanber 3 days ago 9 replies      
I posted this further down the thread, but I thought I'd share my thoughts on why I like mongo.

Most people don't like mongo because 10gen gives the impression that mongo is better than it actually is, many people feel that mongo is not reliable enough for at-scale applications. They're right; it's not. But that's ok, because:

Mongo's really great for rapid prototyping. You don't need to worry about updating the schema at the db level, it can store any type of document in any collection without complaining, it's really easy to install and configure, the query language is simple and only takes a couple of minutes to learn, it's pretty fast in most use cases, it's pretty safe in most use cases, and it's easy to create a replica set once your prototype gets usage and starts scaling.

Mongo does everything well up until you reach the level where you need heavy-hitting, at-scale, mission-critical performance and reliability. Most projects out there (99 in 100?) will never reach the level of scale that requires better tools than mongo. And since the rest of it is so easy to use, that makes mongo a great starting point for most projects. You can always switch databases later, but mongo gives you the flexibility to concentrate on more important things in the early stages of a project.

rgo 3 days ago 4 replies      
Previous versions of my startup's enterprise product used to be based on relational DBs (mostly Oracle, MySQL also). This year we switched to Mongo and dropped RDBMS support.

RDBMS performance was fine most of the time as we're not doing big data really. Our problem was developing and maintaining a schema that holds lots of metadata many levels deep. Our app allows for unlimited user defined forms and fields, some of which may hold grids inside which hold some more fields... Our app also handles lots of logs and large file dumps, which slowly made data, cache and fulltext search management mission impossible. Even though we had considerable previous experience with Mongo, it took us a long time to switch because we were utterly scared. It's nice to sell a product that is Oracle-based, as that sent out a message about our "high-level of industry standardization and corporate commitment" bullshit that (we thought) is quite positive for a startup competing against the likes of IBM, HP, etc.

To our surprise, our customers (some Fortune 500 and the like) were VERY receptive to switch to a NoSQL, opensource database. Surprise specially given it would be supported by us instead of their dreadfully expensive and mostly useless DBA departments. It even came to a point where it has changed their perception of our product and our company as next generation, and surprisingly set us apart from our competition even further.

In short, as many people here know, not all MongoDB users are cool kids in startups that need to fend off HN front page peak traffic day in day out. Having a schemaless, easy to manage database is a step forward for sooo many use cases, from little intranet apps to log storage to some crazy homebrew queue-like thing. 10-gen superb, although criticized, "marketing effort" also helps a lot when you need to convince a customer's upper-management this is something they should trust and even invest on. I can't express my gratitude and appreciation for 10-gen's simultaneous interest in community building, flirting with corporate wigs and getting the word out to developers for every other language. Mongo is definitely a flawed product, but why should I care about the clownshoeness of its mmapped files when it has given us so much for so long?

willvarfar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Varnish famously demonstrated how to use the kernel page cache effectively. MongoDB, though, is Squid-like. Its an interesting comparison.

Every single MongoDB step has had the old timers groaning.

Even with something solid like Tokutek's storage engine in it, its going to be a hard sell.

rogerbinns 3 days ago 4 replies      
There are also people using MongoDB and finding it meets their needs well, and don't feel the need to keep writing about how everything sucks or is wonderful. (I'm one of them.)

None of how MongoDB works is a secret. And just like everything else it has sweet spots and problem areas. And like many others, development continues and it gets better.

The database does not get the job done - it is a tool to help get the job done.

hannibal5 3 days ago 1 reply      
Like the article says, ZFS is pretty damn good.

Keystore where the "engine" is ZFS works mighty well and is reliable. There is little need for simple solutions like MongoDB if the filesystem rocks.

bithive123 3 days ago 4 replies      
This article doesn't really make a case for "genius" -- "saving grace", maybe. And in what universe are the Redis data structures "crazy"?
mattdeboard 3 days ago 1 reply      
Really like this article. I try not to dump on MongoDB too much because frankly I have never taken the time to understand its internals. I constrain my criticisms to particular unnecessary failures/inadequacies that I personally have experienced (or any "I'll just use mongodb so I don't have to worry about my data" sentiment).

Funny punchline at the end there too.

programminggeek 3 days ago 4 replies      
I've used MongoDB for various projects and found it nice to use. Lately though, I've found MySQL to be pretty enjoyable too, so honestly, what's all the fuss? It's a database.

Nobody writes about the filesystem like they do the database, and yet they do the same job - store and retrieve data.

anatari 3 days ago 1 reply      
Article is spot on about mongodb being ideal for online games. We use it as the main datastore for our latest game, and it has worked out very well for us. My main gripes with it has been key values taking up too much space and how difficult it is to shard. I think Rethink DB will be even better once that matures.
yeukhon 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am so happy Postgres is adding support for JSON. This is a big change. The sole benefit of mongo to me is that you can be flexible with your schema at the beginning. But the consequences are

* you have to learn to do indexing right later (if you have to scale)

* failure and miss starting to occur (as you scale)

* more code to write to manage legacy schema and optional fields

The last is painful and ugly. Whereas if you start out with a good schema that last point is in a good hand. When you use SQL you always have the restraint that "xyz" attributes are repeating and you can just make a new relation, whereas with mongo you'd stuff 20 fields into a single collection. The refactoring is harder.

I will begin to migrate back to SQL for new projects.

Also ecosystem is richer in SQL. I have not seen a good ORM for Mongo. MongoEngine is fine but implementation + db have a lot of issues make that ORM a bit unusable from time to time. SQLAlchemy is good.

PS: For quick PoC and Hackathon projects sure prototyping with mongo is fine.

mistercow 3 days ago 0 replies      
>But in that case, it also wouldnt be crazy to pull a Viaweb and store it on the file system

I've done this before when I was doing work for a client using an existing simple web host with no built-in options for databases. It works well, and the nice part is that there's a simple, obvious way to do any query. The bad part is that anything other than a primary key lookup is slow unless you add a lot of complexity.

functional_test 3 days ago 1 reply      
He's right that MongoDB could use improvements like string interning so you don't need to worry about field names. But overall, I think this article is very misleading.

If you use MongoDB in production, you should definitely take he time to learn about the durability options on the database side AND in your driver. By using them appropriately, you can have as little or as much as you like. Data sets larger than 100GB are no problem either -- right now I'm running an instance with a 1.6TB database.

As always, use the right tool for the right job. If you need joins/etc. and don't need unstructured data, Mongo probably isn't a great choice (even with the aggregation framework).

nawitus 3 days ago 10 replies      
So, what's a good NoSQL database for e.g. node.js use? The only alternative I know of is CouchDB. (Yes, I should give more parameters about the intended use, but I really don't know any alternatives).
bsg75 3 days ago 2 replies      
> MongoDB is easy to make fun of.

I think more often its easy to poke fun at _how_ its used.

When any tool or tech is used globally, before knowing its limitations, problems are likely. Attempting to use MongoDB in all storage or persistence scenarios is no more sensible than using MySQL in all cases.

Yes, there is marketing around this product that must be looked at critically - after taking into account that many newly developed technologies won't solve all the problems older tech have worked for decades to solve.

mcot2 3 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of these downsides arefixed by Tokumx. Real transactions, document level locking, compression and disk optimized indexes. I suggest everyone take a look at it.
danbmil99 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like the discussion of MongoDB is a bit like the discussion around the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). The conversation always shifts between whether the very idea of a noSQL db is a good one, to the question of Mdb's implementation faults and (I guess?) its strengths.

Whether 10gen are vapid spin-meisters or not, even whether they have developed a usable product, seems orthogonal to the question as to whether a schemaless persistent storage layer might be a better fit for some projects than a relational database.

lafar6502 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe MongoDB is clown's shoes, but so are 99% of all technology startups. They all fail before reaching limits of the database.
the1 3 days ago 0 replies      
It took minutes to mongoimport 10k small documents. import gets slower. not sure what's going on.
joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I always do is try to scope a database for the problem. This site[1] has been a valuable resource for myself and colleague who were evaluation the best way to store/access our data depending on what we need back.

[1] - http://kkovacs.eu/cassandra-vs-mongodb-vs-couchdb-vs-redis

dlau1 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone comment on how mature rethinkdb is at the moment?

I'm considering moving away from MongoDB before I have to implement what seems to be an incredibly complicated architecture to get it to scale on the level tens/hundreds of millions of documents.

What happens when you're #1 on Hacker News for a day levels.io
312 points by pieterhg  4 days ago   95 comments top 34
RyanZAG 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

benologist 4 days ago 3 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 4 days ago 6 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.
anuragramdasan 4 days 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.
jlongster 3 days 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

philangist 4 days ago 1 reply      
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'.

joeblau 4 days 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?
gtirloni 4 days ago 0 replies      
HN people rediscovering the /. effect? Learnt nothing new at all.
001sky 3 days 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...

AndrewKemendo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thus Narcissus fell into the lake
qwerta 4 days 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 :-)

NicoJuicy 3 days 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).

dutchbrit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Result of one of my front page articles on HN: https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/41591...
gmcgraffin 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish people would stop using the word "snark". I want to believe B.F Skinner wasn't completely right.
itry 4 days ago 0 replies      
How do you measure the facebook shares?
cstrat 4 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only person who actually enjoys Thai beer?!
tmo9d 4 days ago 1 reply      
OMG who cares. I'm sorry, but this is just technology startup navel gazing nonsense.
Sam121 4 days 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
TallboyOne 4 days 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.
macarthy12 3 days ago 0 replies      

Would you be interested in doing a talk on all this at the next Beercamp at Punspace?

talles 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love how you are #1 talking about what happen when you're are #1
wamatt 4 days 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

mrpdaemon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice metrics, I especially liked the device breakdown: 66% desktop 25% mobile and 9% tablet. Welcome to the post-PC era (!)
pattle 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's ironic how this post is also number 1
lelf 4 days ago 0 replies      
You're again. Sorry for that
brenfrow 4 days ago 1 reply      
...Your website crashes and you discover what memcache is for.
vladmk 4 days ago 0 replies      
I imagine the next post is gonna be titled: "What happens when you're #2 on Hacker News for a day"
zinx 4 days ago 0 replies      
OMG, those are great stats, I created a new account just after reading this article.
Experian Sold Consumer Data to ID Theft Service krebsonsecurity.com
298 points by cylo  2 days ago   79 comments top 9
afreak 2 days ago 1 reply      
This Dilbert comic is 100% apt today:http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2010-10-14/
mindslight 2 days ago 4 replies      
Except there's actually no such thing as "identity theft" - it's a mere figment of the credit industry's (tracking industry's) fantasy in which they're omniscient, and an attempt to slowly push the responsibility for bank fraud onto uninvolved third parties. In reality, some would-be bank fraudsters got ahold of some non-secret information.
3327 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well, is it fair to say that the credit system in the US is fued up? Oligopoly of 3 agencies have pretty much entire control of your fate. Yes Fate. Purchasing power means cash and since credit = cash these companies control the cash that you have at disposal. Which means your FATE. Its insanely difficult to pierce oligopolistic structures and Cartels because of obvious reasons. But some day some startup needs to tackle this. The system works for most but doesn't work for many.
cptskippy 2 days ago 5 replies      
I did a double take when I saw this because I've been in contact with Equifax recently because I started receiving SPAM form a non-existent email address that I shared with them.

I have a Catch-all address setup on my Domain so that I can give every site I interact with their own custom email address. In this case it was equifax.com@mydomain.com. Since the email address doesn't exist, and they're the only company I've shared it with, they're the only ones with a record of it's existence.

When I emailed them asking if they'd had a security breach or if they were selling email addresses they responded saying they would opt me out of marking emails. When I responded with the context and header info of the emails I received and asked if this was in fact from them things turned. About an hour later I got a response, the tone had changed significantly and they indicated that the incident had been escalated to their security department and that they would be in contact with me as their investigation progressed.

I can say this has been the best response to the dozens of emails I've sent to companies about the same issue. The worst was Best Buy whose response was something along the lines of "Eat Dk, we do what we want."

icu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks cylo for the post. Sadly we can't seem to trust the credit agencies or Government agencies with data protection. We need a politician who will champion some sort of legal offence (Federal?) for digital data protection breaches whatever the industry/company (above anything that already exists) that will scare companies enough that they start taking digital identity seriously. Maybe that's a pipe dream but I get the sense after reading this article that regulators just don't carry a big enough stick or have too light a touch when punishing serious infractions.
tonyfelice 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sort of insinuates that ID theft is not meant to be a core focus of Experian.
bediger4000 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do "underground" credit rating agencies exist? I don't mean credit rating agencies for carders and scammers, I mean agencies that track things they're not supposed to track. Agencies that keep the data on file for longer than they're supposed, keep track of how many times a particular ID asks for refunds, or to get their security deposit back, material like that.

It would have to be out of the Caribbean or some place with lax data privacy laws, and strict confidentiality laws.

arca_vorago 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those of you interested in learning how the cough scam cough system of credit scores works and how to maximize the system, here is a talk I have found very informative. It's a dirty business and industry...


f902370 2 days ago 1 reply      
The world should calm down. Take a few years to review what we've done in last 50 years.
Learn Haskell Fast and Hard yannesposito.com
297 points by psibi  2 days ago   125 comments top 23
ludicast 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a tremendous resource, but may I suggest you rather point here: https://www.fpcomplete.com/school/haskell-fast-hard.

It's the same course/series, but with interactivity, so Haskell can coded/evaluated from the browser. In fact, one "dir" up, you will find a bunch of similar tutorials here : https://www.fpcomplete.com/school.

ssivark 2 days ago 4 replies      
I tried dipping my hands into Haskell over the summer. I fell in love with two resources:

1. Yann Esposito's Haskell Fast and Hard (on FPcomplete -- https://www.fpcomplete.com/user/yogsototh/haskell-fast-hard)

2. Learn you a Haskell by Miran Lipovaca http://learnyouahaskell.com/

The latter author decided to write the book based on his experience in learning Haskell. It's definitely one of the simplest and clearest programming books I've read.

boothead 2 days ago 3 replies      
How much interest would there be in a 0 to full Haskell development environment set of ansible scripts (and or Vagrantfile)? I'm working on a start up using Haskell at the moment and I've been capturing all of my set up in this way. If folks are interested I can make some of this stuff available.
XorNot 2 days ago 8 replies      
Ok so here's the problem I'm having with trying to get into Haskell, and it's a problem Carmack identified: there's way too many "toy examples" out there.

I've always learned languages because I need them for something. C/C++ because I wanted to write a game. Python because it's the complex scripting language of choice in Ubuntu. JavaScript for obvious reasons.

What I really really need is something which walks me through doing something significant with Haskell - like, a GUI app on Linux or something (my current focus: I've never really done it, but if I'm learning something new I'd like there to be a practical product at the end).

A bunch of language constructs, while technically interesting, don't help me to grok the language at all.

dllthomas 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Instead of being in your way like in C, C++ or Java, the type system is here to help you."

I'd still say the type system is there to help you in C, C++, and Java, it just doesn't do nearly as good a job of it, and winds up in your way more often because it's less expressive.

6ren 2 days ago 2 replies      
ASIDE: I've been using learn you a haskell for great good! http://learnyouahaskell.com/, and found it helpful, insightful and the examples nicely paced so you can treat them as exercises as you go.... up until the module chapter, which is more like a reference, very long, detailed, tedious. I got up to herehttp://learnyouahaskell.com/modules#data-char check out how small the scroll bar slider is on the right - this is a big chapter).

Did this stop you or how did get past it?

How does Learn Haskell Fast and Hard compare?

alkonaut 2 days ago 0 replies      
Learning a functional language is a great idea especially if you never intend to use one after you've learned it. It's like speaking a second language. Has a great effect on the understanding of your own language.

At university the first thing everyone had to (in programming) do was a Haskell course. Felt weird at the time, but in hindsight it was fantastic. It meant everyone had to throw their preconceptions about programming out the window.

It didn't occur to me until recently (10-15 years later), that functional concepts are actually a good thing to apply in any language; that it makes code parallelizable, modular, maintainable, testable, and so on. I just thought functional was functional (i.e. elegant but hard) whereas imperative was imperative (inelegant but easy). Much like the difference between algebra and arithmetic.

So go learn a second language, or even a third. Even if you intend to speak english and Java for the rest of your life. I'd choose Haskell and Spanish.

virtualwhys 2 days ago 4 replies      
Pretty awesome, I've steered clear of Haskell preferring Scala instead (easier syntax for me to grok), but this tutorial makes Haskell far more accessible.

Off topic but does anyone know of a Rails/Play + Linq to SQL/ScalaQuery equivalent in Haskell?

Beyond that just being able to generate PDF invoices, send out emails and have access to a decent date/time library (like JodaTime) would cover the essentials for web development.

AnthonBerg 2 days ago 0 replies      
PERFECT. Relaxed but intense. Perfect! ... for me. This is exactly the kind of tutorial that works best for me. (I'm sure many people will find it unusuable. But that's OK - we have as many ways to learn as we have learners.)

The selection of artwork is pretty nice too.

Very very good. Thank you author and poster.

616c 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have been perusing Learn You a Haskell but I like this more. Fast and hard indeed. Will read this over tonight.
anuragramdasan 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have been wanting to look into Haskell for a long time now. Never really got the time. Also the syntax was a bit off putting.

Just skimmed through. I see that there is a bit of Javascript and C in the code too as reference matertial. Most people dont like such a way of teaching but it looks like the tutorial isnt really trying to teach Haskell in terms of Javascript or C. Really makes me want to look into this. Thanks for putting the efforts.

carterschonwald 2 days ago 0 replies      
NB: if you're trying out haskell and you're on a mac with xcode 5, you'll be hitting some weird CPP related errors due to GHC 7.6 and older not playing nice with Clang's CPP.

I shared a number of work arounds with the general haskell community a few weeks ago here: http://www.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/2013-September...(there are alternative work arounds, but I only listed the ones which are simple and easy to communicate with other people and be able to expect them to follow the steps correctly.)

ufo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Minor nitpick: Using pattern matching instead of `if xs == []` is not just to make code prettier and cleaner.

First of all, you should be using the `null` function instead of `== xs` because the `==` operator only works if your list contents are Eq-able.

But the most important thing is that pattern matching is more type safe. If you use `head` and `tail` you, as a programmer, need to make sure that you only call them on a non-empty lists or else you get an error. On the other hand, if you use pattern matching the compiler helps you make sure that you always covered all the possible cases (empty vs non-empty) and you never need to worry about calling the unsafe head and tail functions.

asgard1024 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really like the art images in the tutorial. Nice touch.

Although I am not sure about the premise - I doubt Haskell, as a language close to mathematics, can be learned fast. This tutorial seems quite shallow on some things, like monads.

JonCox 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to learn Haskell slow and easy, this is brilliant: http://learnyouahaskell.com/chapters
tieTYT 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like one of these beginner tutorials to have a chapter named, "learning cabal and using a library". That was a pain point for me (especially developing on windows). Well, not so much a pain point as a mortal wound.
cnu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out http://learnxinyminutes.com/. Loads of languages/tools to learn.
fmax30 2 days ago 0 replies      
Okay so i completed this tutorial in about 5 hours , gave everything due , but still i only understand like 30 % of it and that too of the starting part.
arunc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thinking about Haskell, reminds me of this http://www.xent.com/pipermail/fork/Week-of-Mon-20070219/0441...
tlo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice tutorial, but old story: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3806841
pa5tabear 2 days ago 1 reply      
Commenting to bookmark.
batgaijin 2 days ago 0 replies      
a monad is like a taco salad.
RyanZAG 2 days ago 5 replies      
I haven't seen this Haskell syntax before:

  [1,3..10]  [1,3,5,7,9]
Imagine running into this one on a production system... Someone needs to make a 'Haskell: the good parts' or at least a lint.

Have young people in Japan stopped having sex? theguardian.com
298 points by Libertatea  3 days ago   263 comments top 31
veidr 3 days ago 10 replies      
This is a stupid article, and young people in Japan have not stopped having sex.

What westerners might call 'casual sex' -- sex without the framework of a relationships that implies various other promieses/committments -- is normal, and also not likely to be spoken about frankly, especially to a reporter, and much less a British one.

Sometimes I'll witness a young woman asked about it at a social gathering (as people have a few drinks and speak more freely). "I don't have anybody... I can't remember the last time I slept with somebody," she might say. What she means is that she doesn't have a steady boyfriend, and thus it is certainly none of your business who she's fucking.

Or I will see a guy asked about it. "Well, romance is too complicated with all I've got going on... I've learned to live without it," he might say, with just the right amount of sheepishness. What he means is that he is seeking only sex that doesn't come with implied commitments and hassle.

These two people might very well end up leaving together.

m_mueller 3 days ago 8 replies      
The subject is interesting, especially because I'm married to a Japanese - but man do I hate articles that go round and round like this one. Here, have a little bit of a sociological hypothesis - but let's not go too deep for your little brains shall we? Here, have a little bit of anecdotal evidence instead. Enough of that? Alright, let's start over again. [...] Oh I'm outa time, let's end the article now, kthxbye.

It's probably too much to ask - but I think there should be something in between a scientific journal and common journalism. In technology we have some pretty insightful articles coming up in blogs now and then, articles where sources are cited and you can go deeper on any subject if you like. Why can't traditional journalists not use the web the way it is meant to?

raverbashing 3 days ago 2 replies      
In the midst of all, this seems to be one of the best parts of it:

"Tomita says a woman's chances of promotion in Japan stop dead as soon as she marries. "The bosses assume you will get pregnant." Once a woman does have a child, she adds, the long, inflexible hours become unmanageable. "You have to resign. You end up being a housewife with no independent income. It's not an option for women like me."

Great, so if a woman marries she loses independence and her own income, and then people don't know why women don't want to marry?

Same thing here:

"Romantic commitment seems to represent burden and drudgery, from the exorbitant costs of buying property in Japan to the uncertain expectations of a spouse and in-laws"

alinajaf 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very interesting article, multiple points to make:

If living and being in Japan has taught me anything, it's that generalising from anecdote is not a good idea.

Case in point, if you visit an outlet mall a few miles outside of central Sendai on a weekend, you'd have a lot of trouble convincing anyone that Japanese people aren't making enough babies. It was very, very difficult to spot single people, or even couples without babies crawling all over them on our one day out there.

In a population of nearly 130 million, if there's any generalisation you want to make about Japanese people, you'll find enough anecdotes to put together into a convincing article.

On the usage of mendokusai, I think the author of the article may have misunderstood in the situation he's describing. I believe that in this situation mendokusai meant "It's tiresome to be constantly propositioned by male colleagues at work" rather than "I would have sex with everyone, but I can't be bothered". IME you use mendokusai whenever you're tired of something, along with describing a task that is tiresome.

tokenadult 3 days ago 2 replies      
This article would be a lot more informative if it looked at some other countries for comparison and contrast. Other countries that have been in the news for a high age of first marriage and a very low birthrate are Italy and Taiwan. What is similar about those countries, and what is different about them, alongside Japan? I have read that Taiwan (where I have lived during two different three-year periods of foreign residence and work) has the highest age of first marriage, and one of the lowest birthrates, of any country in the world. But Taiwan's culture is distinct from that of Japan, and some of the relevant workplace conditions and government policies are a bit different too. So what is the causation here?
emiliobumachar 3 days ago 7 replies      
Is there hard evidence that this is bad?

Resource depletion is among the highest risks to civilization. Seems straightforward that severe population decline should be desired, and voluntary refraining from reproduction should be welcome.

(Please don't just extrapolate the trend till extinction. See http://xkcd.com/605/. )

netcan 3 days ago 1 reply      
There is something about Japan that really brings home the meaning of 'foreign' to me.

I think that being the first rich, advanced large country that isn't western is the reason. On paper, they have a similar relationship with money, technology, their religion and traditional culture. I can't explain the strangeness away with those differences.

When I read something like this about some trend or supposed cultural pathology cropping up, I have nothing to connect it to. I don't intuitively get where its coming from or why. Not even a hint. I don't know whether to dismiss it as conservatives concerned with something harmless, some fringe phenomenon or whatever.

ceautery 3 days ago 1 reply      
I loved the picture of the couple leaning away from each other; I think I was supposed to see that as an indicator of the purported epidemic.

I think what the article was, however, was an advertisement for the former dominatrix. Apparently you can pay her to talk to you about women, pay her more to get naked while she talks about women, and maybe if you play your cards right...

seivan 3 days ago 3 replies      
There was a really cool (aren't they usually?) Vice documentary about all the intimacy substitutes available for people in Japan. Easy to google up.
smegel 3 days ago 3 replies      
Ah, the sordid British fascination with sex in East Asia raises its head again...
njharman 3 days ago 0 replies      
"I can't be bothered."

Sums up my feelings pretty much exactly. I lack much, if any parental instincts. I also lack any family or peer pressure to marry and make babies. Without the push to produce offspring relationships have more downsides than up. Children 10 times as so.

I enjoy relationships (well most of them). But, there is so much to do and experience in the world. I'll never get to all before I die. There's no reason to spend my time in sub-optimal pursuits.

unsignedint 3 days ago 1 reply      
Few things I'm reading from Japanese people (albeit, I won't say this is unbiased observation) often cite unrealistic expectations of their partner's income, look, and personality.

So, I've looked into the government research about it, at least for income part as it is being tangible. [1]

As for income, there have been some research that lifetime unmarried rate would collaborate with income. (Mostly for male) [2]

Their research further says that "In 2010, for male percentage of marriage for permanent employee is 27.7% while same for temp workers are 6.7%, resulting in about 20% of difference, while for female it is 28.2% for permanent workers, and 25.8% for temp workers, shows the much less difference. Therefore the increased rate of male temp workers is contributing to unmarriage rate or marriage at an older age. [3]

[1] http://www.mlit.go.jp/hakusyo/mlit/h24/hakusho/h25/index.htm....

[2] http://www.mlit.go.jp/hakusyo/mlit/h24/hakusho/h25/image/n10...

[3] http://www.mlit.go.jp/hakusyo/mlit/h24/hakusho/h25/html/n122...

squirejons 3 days ago 4 replies      
ever notice how the corporate media is always trying get more people into the developed nations? Mass immigration! More people! More People! More Babies! MOAR! MOAR!

This baby dearth, combined with the ability of the japanese to keep their elites from increasing mass immigration, means less supply of labor, which means higher wage (remember supply and demand? It applies to labor, too). That means that the corporations that support the corporate media via advertising buys will pay more for labor. The media hates that!

Also, fewer people means fewer consumers for the products advertised in the media. The media hates that!

The media is the enemy of the majority working class citizen of the developed nations.

Futurebot 3 days ago 0 replies      
When we talk about the medium or long term, we should also start to consider the impact of life-extension, and more importantly, youth preservation technologies; the entire issue of "young supporting the old" disppears if people stop aging. There is virtually no government support for research to support this, even though we should consider it one of the most important issues in history (and many diseases simply a subset of the "disease" of aging.) Perhaps trends like the ones discussed in the article will get governments thinking about it (and having Google investing in this area is a nice boost.
n1ghtm4n 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why has no one brought up overcrowding in Japan? You don't think that's going to affect the birth rate?


jimgardener 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not all people in India have premarital sex.In cities it may be different.But in rural areas very few does.This is not something people discuss with a journalist.I know many young men belonging to Christian communities who consider sex outside of marriage as a bad thing.
alkonaut 3 days ago 0 replies      
The problem isn't so much the sex is it? The problem is of course demographic. Related, but not the same. Amazingly the government of Japan surely understands the problem at hand, and still refuses to act. Labour laws of course cannot allow an employer to fire someone (or choose not to hire) based on pregnancy (or being a woman of that age). There is only one sure way of making women as desirable to hire in this respect: ensure men stay at home with children just as much as women. State subsidized childcare and a year or two of paid maternal/paternal leave per child would be a net win for Japan (as it is for most such countries).
analog31 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's an analogous effect that's reportedly been around for a long time, possibly worldwide: An anti-correlation between birth rates and things like the education and economic empowerment of women. In addition, even the US has seen a decline in birth rates resulting from economic stagnation. Is Japan an exception, or merely an extreme case due to the tenacity of workplace sex discrimination?
camus2 3 days ago 2 replies      
Who is buying all these JAV videos that make US gonzo look like Disney cartoons ? too much of it is definetly not good for the mind, especially those about v...t or o...p.....s
philwelch 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but read these stories and think, "well I guess that's what a dying culture looks like".
nctorn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I see this trend in other industrialized countries, like in western Europe. I believe probably a very important cause of this demographic imbalance is the equality factor. Women work same as men, earn same as men and feel empowered. This is great for the individual, but then the society as a whole remains out of equilibrium.

For some reason being independent (able to buy what I want, when I want it and work 20 hours a day) is better than rising a family and having children. Things that are after all, the reason of what as species, are suppose to be doing in this planet.

The signal is then clear, you fail to do that, but being to extinct. This is exactly what begins where this trends are prevalent. Perhaps we need to rethink the roles and if being independent is something that in the long term will create more value for the group.

InclinedPlane 3 days ago 1 reply      
Because parents and schools in the developed world have stopped raising kids and have instead opted for 18+ years of babysitting. Part of the problem is that we don't even know what we're about anymore, so we don't know what lessons and principles to pass on to our children. It's a wonder that the problem isn't far worse than it is already.
btown 3 days ago 3 replies      
HN isn't just for news about startups and tech, it's also about topics of interest to curious critical thinkers (which pretty much defines us, don't you think?). A little bit of /r/DepthHub here is a good thing.
UUMMUU 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like it how they're trying to "fix" the population decline. A population decline might actually be a good thing for our species. There are too many people and an ever increasing sense of stupidity
sexjpfr 3 days ago 0 replies      
For those of you that know french.


nhangen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Who needs it when, for an extra fee, your 'therapist' will get naked and give you a tour of the female body.

Talk about blurred lines.

graycat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Okay, take a town 60 years ago. Lots of people,say,

o driving cars with tires that last only 15,000 miles,

o driving cars with engines that last only 80,000 miles (due to poor lubrication due to water and gasoline in the oil due to inaccurate fuel mixture and ignition),

o typing on typewriters with carbon paper,

o doing business communications with printing and/or typing on paper sent by USPS,

o an office telephone switchboard manned by employees.

Now enter new technology, and each of theseactivities uses some automation, is much cheaper,and puts the old employees out of work.

So, have lots of unemployed people with little orno money who want to make money and consume butcannot get jobs.

Why not jobs? For one, the total number of jobsshrank, and as in musical chairs some people don'tget one.

For another, to create more jobs need some ideas fornew products/services, some capital to get thebusinesses going, and some qualified employees. Theunemployed people will need some new training, thatis, investments in 'human capital'.

As we know from depressions, can have a shortage ofcapital, lots of people not consuming who want towork but no jobs for them to do. Then if have awar, suddenly can have three jobs for everyone whocan work at all.

There is also an effect of the ratios of people toland and other natural resources. With high densitypopulation, the prices of such resources increase.Maybe when the population of Japan, Finland, France,Germany, Russia, the US, etc. shrink, the new ratiowill make it easier for a couple to form a family.E.g., if the population is low enough that a youngcouple can easily buy 200 acres of good farm land,then there will be some new alternatives for thatcouple to form a family. Now at maybe $5000 anacre, let's, see, 200 acres would be $1 million.She's 18; he's 22; and where are they going to get$1 million or even a down payment plus farmequipment and materials for a house?

Presumably in time startups will find new productsand services that people want and that can make useof the unemployed.

But, in that town when automation put the typistsout of work, the jobs of some people were notaffected and, first cut, by having the company spendmuch less on typing, could pay their remainingemployees more. So, some people are doing well.

And in Japan, the article seems to suggest that realestate prices are so high that no one can affordthem! No! Instead, real estate prices are so highjust because enough people actually can afford them.So, some people are doing well, and maybe they, ortheir lucky heirs, are forming traditional families.

graycat 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Japanese in the article are missing outon what man/woman love can really meanand the value it can have.

So there should be not just'friction' but 'love' (with thehelp that Mother Nature provides)with commitment, caring, affection, intimacy, passion,joining of lives, vows, romance, trust (he doesn't return from abusiness trip and discover thatshe's drained the checkbookand savings account, took thebest of the household belongingsand the dog, and is gone),respect, responsiveness(they respond to each other),supportive families (e.g., he getsa job in her father's business),collection of activities, memories,and traditions like, don't want to lose,can't get anywhere else, and that cause'lock in',homes ("where the heart is, where you are loved even when you are wrong"), and children("the most rewarding thing we did").

Joining? For a few hundred years in Western Civilization, standard marriagevows started off with "We gather togetherto join this man and this women withthe bonds of holy matrimony.", and thereis wisdom there.

Or, for a more direct explanation,she has two legs. He has two legs. If she breaks a leg, then she is down to one leg to help her broken leg get well. But joined with him with good vows, commitment, etc. they have four legs with three good legs to help her broken leg get well. The three legs are three times better than just the one. Can rattle off 10,000 such cases faster than can say them.

People don't want to be alone. Being alone is scary. Nearly all baby mammals know this. Being joined to someone is much more secure.

This can be great stuff, some of thebest in life, even without children,and one night stands are nothing likethe same. The article omitted nearlyall the really good stuff.

nkhodyunya 3 days ago 5 replies      
Sex nowadays became a redundant, obsolete, risky, overcomplicated act which you can totally avoid with the help of good porn. So why bother with searching partner, if you can have all of sex benefits alone, but with porn or good imagination.
USB Implementers Forum Says No to Open Source hackaday.com
293 points by p4bl0  1 day ago   95 comments top 10
jrockway 1 day ago 6 replies      
Why not just pick a VID and start using it? USB is so well understood at this point that there is no need for anyone to play ball with an "official" organization.

(Whoever gets "officially" issued that VID is going to whine when they notice it's already being used for hobbyist purposes anyway, which means that the technique of just picking one will guarantee uniqueness.)

wiml 1 day ago 0 replies      
According to TFA, Openmoko/FIC is already giving out PIDs from their VID space to any FOSS projects who ask.

IIRC they're not the first, either. And there've also been organizations freely allocating unique ethernet addresses out of their OUI space.

The amount of trouble they receive from the USBIF/IEEE/whoever seems to vary a lot from case to case, though. I expect it depends on which individual person the situation comes to the attention of. In some cases the USBIF or IEEE has actually revoked the VID/OUI assignment, leaving everyone who tried to play by the rules effectively squatting on an unassigned ID anyway.

Some ancient history: https://forum.sparkfun.com/viewtopic.php?t=931

Aardwolf 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure I fully understand the article. What does the following mean?

"Since other USB device vendors such as Microchip and FTDI give away USB PIDs for free"

Does that actually mean, they give them for free? If so, how can they do that? Why does VTM allow them to do it? And what is the actual problem at all if you can get them for free?

mncolinlee 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not use this cease and desist letter to file a RICO Act claim against them?

If they can't responsibly offer their product without revoking it for simply using it as intended, they are racketeers. The Open Source community has not broken any legal agreements in simply publicizing the idea of a shared VID. The USB Forum are completely in the wrong for their behavior.

ck2 1 day ago 3 replies      
Just do what all the $1 Chinese USB devices on ebay do - clone an existing VID
CamperBob2 1 day ago 1 reply      
It looks like not enough people know that you can license individual PIDs from MCS Electronics:


MCS is in Holland, where both their jurisdiction and the fact that they licensed their VID from USB-IF a long time ago make it impossible to enforce the prohibition against reselling PIDs. For EU 10 each, it's worth it just to kick sand in the face of the asshats at USB-IF.

tlarkworthy 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't understand.

I use lots of hobby stuff with USB ports. I have to lookup the vendor ID to make it read write in linux by default.

Presumably getting a proper ID makes this pain point go away from consumers somehow?

What's the gain I don't understand it?

natch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who are the members of the forum? Can they be replaced?
piqufoh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hopefully such a bullish and short sighted stance as this is just the thing to get some publicity and traction to boot these idiots out, or at least kick the money grubbing Luddites out and replace them with someone with some common sense. Grah

Where can I donate to Arachnid Labs?

happywolf 1 day ago 3 replies      
I presume there is a segment of VID that is marked as 'local' or 'for test purpose only'? Just like IP has local addresses for intranet/testing.

Also, if an open source is popular enough to the point a unique VID is needed for proper driver support, I will say this project will easily get fundings to go commercial (just like RedHat).

LinkedIn Intro: Doing the Impossible on iOS linkedin.com
293 points by martinkl  7 hours ago   206 comments top 63
zaroth 5 hours ago 8 replies      
I don't think I've ever gagged quite like that while reading a technical article describing a "neat hack".

At first I'm thinking, oh, I wonder how they convinced Apple to let them use some private APIs, and then... curiosity turns to revulsion as soon as I saw that proxy diagram. Good god... LinkedIn MITM IMAP. That is truly terrifying.

How would you even go about installing that on the user's phone? Oh, that's in there too... they ship a 'configuration profile' which adds a new email account, so your password is leaving the device in cleartext and being used to create the profile server-side which is then shipped back to the phone and installed, how exactly?

This just gets worse and worse if I understand correctly... I'm surprised that configuration profiles can be shipped to an arbitrary device from a third party this way without the user manually installing LinkedIn's certificate as trusted. In other words, it should be a lot harder to "Accept" these profiles outside an enterprise setting, because it sounds exploitable. What else can you configure "so easily" I wonder?

Then you get into how they are hacking CSS and iframes into the email body, to substitute for Javascript, and actually create a workable user interface. Now this is fascinating, impressive, and deserves further study... Without fully understanding exactly what they are doing, however, it sounds highly abusive of the Mail app's rendering capabilities, and points to exploitable paths within the Mail app that probably need to be tightened up by Apple. If LinkedIn can make an email "act" like that without any opt-in on my part, how would Mallory use the same "feature" in their latest SPAM campaign?

<s>Thanks LinkedIn... really, I'm impressed. When exactly did Walter Bishop start working for you?</s>

P.S. I look forward to following your pending class-action lawsuit for violation of US federal wiretapping laws. Cheers!

nostromo 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a truly awesome hack. Good job!

The value for LinkedIn to vacuum up my email is immense! They'll know everyone I email and the content of the emails as well. They'll know where I shop and what I purchase. If I send a private email to a friend who has this installed, I've now unknowingly bcc'ed LinkedIn. Not only that, but they know this for the entire history of my email account! The person I stopped emailing 7 years ago... LinkedIn has access to that as well.

But in this case I don't think the value prop for the user is big enough to make me overcome this large of an ask.

I appreciate LinkedIn addressing this in their Privacy Pledge, but so long as they retain the right to change it at any time, I'm too uncomfortable to install this. But, I'm still in awe of the creative work-around. :)

tptacek 7 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't care who the company is, or how trustworthy you think they are: avoid giving third parties credentials to your inbox.
mcphilip 4 hours ago 0 replies      
IMO, LinkedIn has a history of enough bad business practices that it should be shunned like a pariah and treated with complete suspicion that they may have ulterior motives in designing this MITM app.

I have never joined LinkedIn and have never been interested in any position that requires an easily gamed LinkedIn profile instead of meatspace references.

staunch 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Not only does it obliterate users' security but it introduces a potentially unreliable point of failure. Sometimes the hack is worse than the problem it solves. I hope they're being extremely upfront with users about how this works, not that most users will really understand the implications...
carbocation 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Technologically this is straightforward: it uses a proxy server that sits in between you and your actual mailserver.

I think the privacy concerns of having your mail (potentially) available over yet another server in exchange for modest convenience makes it unlikely that I would use this, but I'm sure many will find the trade-off acceptable and desirable.

j_s 5 hours ago 1 reply      
How (and Why) You Should Block LinkedIn Access to your Exchange Server Organization


  > I ran some tests with two brand new mailboxes, and it seems that LinkedIn   > accesses both the Contacts and the Sent Items.
technical details: http://www.adamfowlerit.com/2013/06/02/linkedin-securityinfo...

poxrud 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This is essentially a mitm attack. I am amazed that a company the size of LinkedIn would think that this is in any way appropriate. These are the tricks of spammers and cyber criminals. This is what LinkedIn has become.

Will customers be explicitly told that all of their emails will be going through and stored on LinkedIn servers? I doubt it. I do envision a dialog box along the lines of "Click Here to make your experience better". Sadly people will click without realizing the implications.

mpclark 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Surely corporate IT departments are going to have a collective heart attack as employees start handing all their email to a third party?
miguelrochefort 3 hours ago 1 reply      
To HN commenters:

If you don't trust LinkedIn, fine. Don't use it.

But please, don't assume that LinkedIn is universally not trusted, the same way you assume that Microsoft is universally hated.

This is a neat feature, and I'm sure that many people trust LinkedIn enough to think that the trade-off is worth it. Would you prefer to not have the choice to have access to this feature, and prevent others from having it too?

I don't see this kind of reaction when 99% of other services ask access to a third-party API. Why is this so different? Is it because they have access to emails? What makes email SO MUCH more important than any other data to be in a category of their own? I don't think you can draw a line, and it's pure subjectivity.

Surely, the service itself is not a problem. Google would do the same thing, and you would all think it's the best thing since sliced bread? Why? Because most people already trust Google with their emails (and everything else), and accept that they know everything about them.

So please, don't criticize the solution, don't blame the hack (unless you can suggest a better way to do it). The only good reason not to use it is for lack of trust for LinkedIn, and nothing else.

I've had enough of your drama-seeking behaviors, and I don't think I'm the only one. Grow up.

0x0 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So what happens if you reply to a mail like this? Does the quoted part contain all that linkedin fluff?
uptown 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Apart from actually giving them the power to slip-stream their content into your messages, how is this different (access-wise) to what people have granted to the email-management app Mailbox? Seems like in both cases, you're handing control of your inbox content over to an additional 3rd party unnecessarily.
x0054 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So you give up your email credentials to LinkedIn and in exchange you get a little widget that tells you the name of the person who is emailing you, the company they work for, their position in the company, and some contact information? Isn't that's what the signature line is for? Seriously, don't people already setup their signature line to include all that information.

It's a cool hack, however.

Demiurge 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
"an IMAP client may assume that the message will never change"

I burst out in laughter at that point. Yeah, that silly presumptuous email client assuming an email is some kind of text message that doesn't change every time you read it!

aeberbach 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Misleading title. Nobody did the impossible on iOS, just did clever things within the available frameworks. Well done author, it works. But did you ask yourself "should I really do this?"

What I hope is going to prove truly impossible is doing anything like this without requiring the user to explicitly accept the configuration profile. Even so I expect they will trick many into allowing "enhancement" of their email.

LinkedIn has a history of abusing email. From the early days* where they would email all of the contacts on your machine if you didn't read carefully enough to today where you can click unsubscribe many, many times and still get "important updates". It's a wretched hive of scum and recruiters, and they will never get between me and my email.

*spoke too soon! looks like they still do it: http://community.linkedin.com/questions/10106/i-want-linkedi...

cag_ii 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't this essentially allow them access to read/analyze/archive all of your email for any account you set up?
bluedino 7 hours ago 1 reply      
So if you sign up for enhanced email with LinkedIn, all your incoming email goes through their servers?
baddox 5 hours ago 2 replies      
> A little-known fact about CSS on Mobile Safari: in certain circumstances, tapping a link once simulates a :hover state on that link, and tapping it twice has the effect of a click.

I have noticed that on websites that clearly don't intend that behavior, and it's quite annoying. Does anyone have any details about the exact circumstances required for this phenomenon?

thefreeman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of people (understandably) getting upset about the MITM aspect of this. But almost as surprising to me was the fact that you can load an iframe in an email with apparently no warning or notification to the user. This seems like its asking for exploitation, even without the ability to run JavaScript.
gfodor 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been talking to a number of startups whose products hinge on access to a user's email inbox. Now here is LinkedIn doing this too. This trend is kind of disturbing to me, I can't really imagine a future where most of the services I use require access to all of my personal e-mail. It's quite scary.
gabrielr 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This makes me wonder "What if two programs did this?" [1]

[1]: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2005/06/07/42629...

millerm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For all those calling this a "hack", it is not. It is simply a "man in the middle" attack. It is wrong. It is a total violation of trust. It is gross.
umsm 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this a MITM attack wrapped as an App?
amvp 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's a fairly well implemented hack.One question: does the iPhone mail client load the contents of iframes by default? Don't these clients typically not load remote content like images?
sgrove 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, super clever guys. It looks really compelling as well. We had been wondering what rapportive was up to, and we're all very impressed.

Well done!

fizx 3 hours ago 0 replies      
While I can't see the security-conscious user liking this, the CSS tricks could be a great tool in the bag of a company that wants to send actionable notifications or newsletters--either the giants like twitter, or SaSS tools like http://iterable.com/.
pisarzp 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd be really surprised if Apple will let them use all of these hacks for long... Still great way to get full access to all email from many users.
jamra 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Proxy to return a header in your email. CSS to render the content upon click. IFrame to update content so it doesn't get cached.

Cute web hacks. I don't understand the problem with simply using their mobile app if you were really looking for work.

It sounds like an unnecessary feature for people who are looking and an annoyance to people who are not. That seems to be the problem of Linked In. They harass those who are working with vague and misplaced job requests in an attempt to expand their reach.

I also hate iFrames. Cool trick though.

confluence 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Holy fucking shit Batman! Assuming I read this correctly LinkedIn will now have access to all of your emails, your email credentials, and will now have the ability to both spoof your email, and MITM all incoming mail (banking etc). I was actually impressed at some of the little hacks they found, until they dropped this on me halfway through the blog. My jaw hit the ground.

This is probably the most blatant disregard for privacy and security for the smallest possible benefit that I have ever seen. Well, next to giving LinkedIn the password to your email so that they can spam your friends and hack your account.

Everyone needs to stop using this piece of shit service. They're incompetent and malicious. LinkedIn is the Zynga of HR. I'm gonna go buy some puts.


EvanAnderson 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be all for this if the proxy were running on the device instead of LinkedIn's servers.
joshstrange 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a really cool hack but I would never hand over my email creds to someone like LinkedIn after their history with emails. They might decide one day to "help" you by inviting everyone you have emailed or has emailed you or they could start added a "Connect With Josh" link to the bottom of my outgoing emails that links to my LinkedIn.

Again, VERY cool how they did it but it requires quite a bit trust in a company that I don't find very trustworthy.

junto 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I didn't realise Rappotive had been bought by LinedIn. Time to delete it from Gmail.
tlrobinson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I often wish there was a good way to do email "apps" like this without giving away the keys to the castle.

I'm just not comfortable giving my email credentials out when access to my email is effectively a skeleton key for the rest of my accounts via password resets.

Hovertruck 4 hours ago 0 replies      
As right as everyone is about how insecure this is, it's a fun exercise to imagine how different the public response to this would be if it were one person's hack project using self-hosted proxy. The hacks employed here are really cool.
wslh 4 hours ago 0 replies      
When we first built Rapportive for Gmail, people thought that we were crazy writing a browser extension that modified the Gmail page on the fly, effectively writing an application inside someone elses application! But it turned out to be a great success, and many others have since followed our footsteps and written browser extensions for Gmail.

The author is being a bit arrogant, there are more complex stuff that modifying gmail on the fly (remember greasemonkey?).

hipaulshi 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Despite the privacy concern everyone is warring about, it is a beautiful integration. Technology is supposed to make life easier, not harder. Since Apple didn't open the door, someone else will ended up doing it. I am sure an open source solution with own proxy + LinkedIn api will work as well. That should take away the privacy concern.
adamb0mb1 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is cool. I'm a little concerned that what they've done expose some security holes in the iPhone mail client. And, all of this work will be for naught when Apples fixes those.

(Specifically, iframes in emails have been stripped from most modern email clients for years)

bhauer 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to see a documentary showing how such a feature was conceived, greenlighted, implemented, and ultimately released without someone pulling the plug.
seivan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems very very very brittle.Some over compensating product asshat managed to convince their code monkeys into building something that will probably break easily not to mention security concerns with giving them your mailbox access.
priley 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting hack. So since you inject that social info at the time of the email, that means if someone gets a new job, it will still show the old employer info / position in the older emails... right? What made you guys do this instead of your own mail app like Mailbox?
skizm 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks to me like Apple has some security to tighten up. I definitely don't think you should be able to do most of this stuff, but you can't really fault LinkedIn I don't think. They made something that adds value to their product and it got approved by Apple. Either way, the hacks are cool ones and I'm glad Linked-in did this write up. Keep 'em coming.

EDIT: not an app apparently.

danial 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Even if we disregard the privacy concerns and trust the third party with our inbox, I can't help imagining the consequences of a quiet compromise of their proxy service.
meshko 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I am speechless. This is like the Facebook Android "hack" of the VM to support their crappy app wanting to use lots of classes, only this one is less offensive technically and more offensive from the security point of view. WTF.
xsace 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Not only they can read the emails, but they could even change their content or create some false one as well. Good fun.
cygwin98 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Unless LinkedIn open sources it and I host my own copy, there is no way for me to hand all my emails to LinkedIn.
swah 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This should be extractable by "algorithms" these days: "Our key insight was this: we cannot extend the mail client, but we can add information to the messages themselves"
revolly 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe this is somewhat a defensive tactics. Let's write a sugar-flavored article about how neat their hack is before someone said "wait a minute! WTF?!".

To all those who consider this a cool hack - it's not. It's ugly as hell. Sometimes you need to do this kind of shit to get the job done, it's true, but you know this is kind of thing that you look at after couple of month and think "Oh God, I should get a another job. They shouldn't force me to create THIS. Oh God, I feel so miserable.".

lispm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I have this Linkedin account. As a German its usefulness approaches zero. Its security problems seem to grow.

Looks like it is time to dump Linkedin.

twanlass 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm with everyone else - give LinkedIn access to the contents of my email? No thanks.
jamiequint 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know if this works with the Gmail iPhone app as well?
xoail 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There is definitely not much value here for risk involved (handing out your credentials to a 3rd party). Although interesting, the hack seems pretty straight forward. I wonder if they had to do something more complex for 2-face authentication enabled accounts (gmail) or that is not supported?
abritishguy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some really neat technical stuff at linkedin, it's just a shame the site is a pile of spamming shit. If they overhauled it and got rid of all the annoying things then it would actually be decent.
vmarsy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this mean that for a simple email : See you in 5 minutes or Let's go to lunch , ... it would actually download a full Linkedin profile with it ? (Hidden with the CSS, but still downloaded). If so, it seems to be wasteful.

All the privacy issues it raises are already discussed.

rarw 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A privacy pledge, how cute! The problem with stuff like this is not knowing the third, fouth, and fifth party uses. Granted most user's don't read these disclosure and even more don't have the technical aspects of how this works. But even if you're ok with one big evil company have access to your inbox, allowing two just seems crazy. What happens when LinkedIn think of a cool way to use your emails from five years ago? By cool I of course mean horrifying.
cturhan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
napolux 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Do I really need a mobile "rapportive" (acquired by linkedin recently) in exchange for ALL my emails? NO :P
_nb 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Certainly an interesting workaround. I'm not that familiar with iOS development, so could someone explain what technical reasons there might be for running a remote imap proxy server to do the message modifications rather than a local (on device) one?
st3fan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel sorry for the poor folks who had to engineer this 'product'. What a sad thing to have on your resume.
gawi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's wrong wrong wrong on so many levels. It's more unthinkable than impossible.
magikbum 5 hours ago 0 replies      
An easy hack for them to collect their users phone numbers too.
caiob 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Why would anyone wanna use this? Plus, we're talking LinkedIn here!
EGreg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I am amazed.
scotthtaylor 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Love it - great work.
Explicit bootstrapping of pip in Python installations python.org
286 points by oellegaard  1 day ago   77 comments top 14
shadowmint 1 day ago 4 replies      
I kinda of like this... but then again I'm kind of wary.

Isn't the standard library the place where packages go to die?

Isn't the reason pip is actually useful because has a nice health release cycle (http://www.pip-installer.org/en/latest/news.html) and isn't frozen into the standard-library ice age of the past?

Won't this make it even harder to build a compliant version of python that runs on mobile devices where you can't install packages (>_> iOS)?

I get that it's convenient, I'm not 100% convinced its a good idea.

Edit: Reading the PEP in detail its now clear that this is not bundling pip with python (see 'Including pip directly in the standard library'). This is bundling a pip installer as part of the standard library. Much better.

babarock 1 day ago 1 reply      
Vaguely related, this wonderful article by Paul Tagliamonte on how pip coexists with distro package managers (in this case APT): http://notes.pault.ag/debian-python/

Nice reminder that pip is a dev tool and should be used as such. It makes sense to be included in Python.

cjbprime 1 day ago 4 replies      
This isn't very big news, in that virtualenv already provides pip in each new env, and you should not be using pip outside virtualenv -- unless it's to install virtualenv!
unoti 1 day ago 1 reply      
For my own education: Python with a good standard packaging system and solid, standard async capabilities would be solidly going after the same areas Node.js has done so well in? If not, why not?
josteink 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not really a pythonist so I'm not 100% aware of the consequences of this, but as someone who deploys Python-based software every now and then, this just seems to make sense to me.

About time really.

oddshocks 1 day ago 1 reply      
Glorious day! As a person who went to PyCon and experienced first-hand the state of Python packaging, this is excellent news. Good luck to the Python devs in the days to come.
jdp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hopefully it will also bring about some improvements to pip. It's a pretty great tool but with a couple major caveats. The first is that although it supports many forms of package specification, including VCS repositories, it does not report the package spec according to the way that it was installed, but rather according to the package name and version according to its setup.py. Say you install a package from a git commit that fixed a bug in the PyPI 1.0.0 package whose version is still reported as 1.0.0 in setup.py at the commit. Then you freeze the environment to requirements.txt to distribute. It's still reported as package==1.0.0 instead of the git spec, so the next person to install will pull down the broken version from PyPI instead. The other headache is that installing from a requirements file just installs dependencies in the order they're listed, so oftentimes you need to re-organize the output of `pip freeze` to make sure dependencies are installed in the right order, otherwise you can encounter things like unexpected package versions due to other packages making ambiguous dependency specs for dependencies of your own app.
100k 1 day ago 1 reply      
Python packaging has been a nightmare compared to RubyGems (which is not without its own problems, of course). See for example this rant by a major Python developer: http://lucumr.pocoo.org/2012/6/22/hate-hate-hate-everywhere/

This sounds like a great step forward to me in making Python packages easy to create, install, and uninstall!

thearn4 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good to hear. The situation with python packaging has seemed kind of chaotic for awhile. The setuptools/distribute merger will hopefully standardize things from here on out.
bbernoulli 1 day ago 3 replies      
I like pip, but it's too bad that it can only install from source. It's quite a hassle sometimes to round up dependencies and build them all on windows (not to mention not everyone has a compiler installed on windows).

easy_install can install from binary installers or eggs. I'd like to see that added to pip.

kolev 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice... although I don't get why pip is so much behind RubyGems and NPM in terms of package management. pip should merge with virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper as well.
dave809 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nifty, always nice to save a little time on future installs
rfv 1 day ago 0 replies      
arturadib 1 day ago 5 replies      
Look at the trails Node + NPM have blazed. That's the right move.

Next up: Local package installs.

Whats New In Python 3.4 python.org
280 points by ot  3 days ago   72 comments top 22
pixelmonkey 3 days ago 4 replies      
I didn't know what "Single Dispatch Functions" was all about. Sounded very abstract. But it's actually pretty cool:


What's going on here is that Python has added support for another kind of polymorphism known as "single dispatch".

This allows you to write a function with several implementations, each associated with one or more types of input arguments. The "dispatcher" (called 'singledispatch' and implemented as a Python function decorator) figures out which implementation to choose based on the type of the argument. It also maintains a registry of types -> function implementations.

This is not technically "multimethods" -- which can also be implemented as a decorator, as GvR did in 2005[1] -- but it's related[2].

Also, the other interesting thing about this change is that the library is already on Bitbucket[3] and PyPI[4] and has been tested to work as a backport with Python 2.6+. So you can start using this today, even if you're not on 3.x!

[1] http://www.artima.com/weblogs/viewpost.jsp?thread=101605

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

[3] https://bitbucket.org/ambv/singledispatch

[4] https://pypi.python.org/pypi/singledispatch

ot 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm posting this mainly because it will be the first release that implements PEP 3156 [1], that is, a standardized asynchronous I/O API.

[1] http://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-3156/

graue 3 days ago 2 replies      
I love how there's a thorough "what's new" document for a still-in-progress release, and terms like "provisional API" are linked to a glossary that tells you exactly what they mean. While Python is not the most interesting language to me anymore, it still sets the standard in clear, comprehensive, newbie-friendly documentation.
rspeer 3 days ago 1 reply      
The thing I'm looking forward to in Python 3.4 is that you should be able to follow the wise advice about how to handle text in the modern era:

"Text is always Unicode. Read it in as UTF-8. Write it out as UTF-8. Everything in between just works."

This was not true up through 3.2, because Unicode in Python <= 3.2 was an abstraction that leaked some very unfortunate implementation details. There was the chance that you were on a "narrow build" of Python, where Unicode characters in memory were fixed to be two bytes long, so you couldn't perform most operations on characters outside the Basic Multilingual Plane. You could kind of fake it sometimes, but it meant you had to be thinking about "okay, how is this text really represented in memory" all the time, and explicitly coding around the fact that two different installations of Python with the same version number have different behavior.

Python 3.3 switched to a flexible string representation that eliminated the need for narrow and wide builds. However, operations in this representation weren't tested well enough for non-BMP characters, so running something like text.lower() on arbitrary text could now give you a SystemError (http://bugs.python.org/issue18183).

With that bug fixed in Python 3.4, that removes the last thing I know of standing in the way of Unicode just working.

LeafStorm 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like the implementation of the "Enum" class, especially the way they allow for enums with variant behavior and "abstract Enums" (something I could have used in Java recently).

But, ever since I found out about algebraic data types from other languages, I keep wanting those. There's not quite a good way to do those in Python. (I've used both "tuple subclass" and "__slots__," but both of those have their own little quirks.)

arocks 3 days ago 3 replies      
> "Tab-completion is now enabled by default in the interactive interpreter."

Thanks! Now I don't have to do this on every box anymore for using Python.

eliben 3 days ago 1 reply      
Python 3.4 is one of the most feature-packed releases I recall. Besides the obvious new perks like enums and asyncio, note some hidden gems like PEP 442:

"This PEP removes the current limitations and quirks of object finalization. With it, objects with __del__() methods, as well as generators with finally clauses, can be finalized when they are part of a reference cycle."

This has been a notorious limitation in Python forever, and in 3.4 it's finally solved.

nemothekid 3 days ago 7 replies      
Python 3.4 is out and unfortunately I still can't write Python3.

Is there anyone else who is still procrastinating moving their workflow to Python3?

joliv 3 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, a statistics module!Actually though, simple methods for measures of center and spread have been on my Python wishlist since, like, forever. The mean() function is going to be especially useful. So excited!
panzi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yay, code by me is now in an official Python release! (data:-URL support)
tveita 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is strange that they claim to have implemented SHA-3 in hashlib.The details of the padding and capacity are still under discussion, so no final standard has been published yet.
Siecje 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unsupported Operating Systems


bluecalm 2 days ago 0 replies      
As to statistics module, wouldn't it be more useful to have median functions with default percentile parameter (defaulting to 0.5) ? I mean, it's common use case and seems like natural thing to have.
chrismorgan 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The :mod::pprint module" - an extra : there has broken the reference.
bluecalm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Enums and statistics module. Yay !
ridhoq 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm interested in seeing how robust this custom allocator feature will be. I doubt it will be more efficient than C/C++ but it makes the language that much more useful.
lightcatcher 3 days ago 1 reply      
Python keeps getting more awesome, but we're still stuck at Python 2 :(
danbmil99 2 days ago 0 replies      
TL; DR: "No new syntax features are planned for Python 3.4."
thearn4 3 days ago 0 replies      
The new statistics library looks interesting.
robomartin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone help me understand how to think about the transition from 2.7.x to 3.x?

I have recently switched my work to Python and just started development on what will become a series of web projects all done in Python + Django. Yes, when it comes to Python I am a noob.

Looking at it with fresh eyes it seems that the most useful ecosystem is solidly rooted in the 2.7.x branch. Books and online courses promote the idea of using 2.7.x. My kid enrolled in the MIT intro to CS edX course and they use 2.7.5. Codecademy, same thing.

From the perspective of developing a number of non-trivial web-based products, how should I view the 2.7.x and 3.x ecosystems? Do you see a timeline to a transition? How should one prepare for it (or not)? What should one avoid?

At the moment it seems safe to pretty much ignore 3.x. I kind of hate that because I have this intense desire to always work with the the latest stable release of any software I use. Here things are different due to the surrounding ecosystem of libraries and tools. I'd certainly appreciate any and all help in understanding this a bit better.

algebr 3 days ago 1 reply      
Gahh, I wish my work wasn't frozen in 2.6.
adamlj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Finally Enums!
37signals Works Remotely [video] 37signals.com
261 points by wlll  1 day ago   172 comments top 43
millerm 1 day ago 14 replies      
I'm jealous. I have yearned for this type of work for years and I haven't been able to find it. I loathe the commute to an office. I don't want to pay the price of living in a "tech city". I'm even tired of wasting money on clothes for an office as I am a 41 year old jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. Some people just don't have the discipline of not being constantly supervised and have that "must be at the office to be productive" thought pattern. I am not a 9 to 5 person (and most companies have changed it to "you must be a 8 to 5 person"). There is just too much time and money wasted by going to someone's office if you don't need to. I was the only iOS developer at my previous employer. I barely had to collaborate with the business as much as you might think. Most of our communication was done via email, wikis and bug tracking tools. I couldn't understand why I had to be there. It was basically just an obstacle I had to overcome very damn day. I'm currently searching for new work and so many positions are downtown (Atlanta, in my case). I just won't deal with 1 hour commutes. Gridlock is just a horrible place to waste one's life.
corry 1 day ago 1 reply      
The merits of remote work aside, you have to hand it to 37signals for masterful marketing.

They have a set of beliefs that they tell powerful stories about, in various mediums, to people who already believe or want to believe these same beliefs.

And in this context they also offer products that make things like remote work collaboration easier. But you're not even bothered by that, because they are clearly experts at doing this well (they wrote a book about it and are doing it themselves) so it all just fits together.

It's thought-leadership in a very practical way. A lot of good lessons to be learnt.

cs702 1 day ago 2 replies      
When it comes to finding the best way to organize a business, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. My own experience is that working remotely is a viable and even desirable option for many but not all businesses -- it depends on the nature of the work, and on the kinds of interactions people must have with others inside and outside the company for the business to be successful.

For example, individuals engaged in highly creative multi-disciplinary endeavors -- like the writers, artists, and technicians who together make a Pixar film -- seem to produce great results when they are regularly interacting with each other face-to-face. Steve Jobs, in fact, forced a redesign of Pixar's headquarters to promote face-to-face encounters and unplanned collaborations.[1]


[1] http://officesnapshots.com/2012/07/16/pixar-headquarters-and...

chollida1 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my experience remote work, works best when everyone is remote. That way all the remote worker issues have to be sorted out, or atleast thought of by day one.

When remote work starts to fall apart is when there is a dedicated office where 75% of the team works.

In these cases the remote workers miss the critical "Let's grab a room meetings" where decisions are made. I think the reason is that its much easier to make decisions with people when you can see them face to face rather than in group chat.

joekrill 1 day ago 7 replies      
I would love to hear more about how various companies handle this logistically. Like how they allow access to company data and resources. I'm assuming simply using VPNs is the standard? Where I work they make it so unbelievably painful and difficult to work remotely. You have to jump through a million hoops. It's a financial company, and generally "compliance" gets the blame for this. But I wonder how much of it is just plain paranoia. Do a lot of companies worry about things like leaking source code? Or client/customer data? Or do most companies put much more trust in their employees?
varelse 1 day ago 1 reply      
In my experience, remote working is incredibly fulfilling and successful if you know and trust your co-workers. I ran a small software company for 8 years this way. We synced once a week, and performed seamless code merges because we respected API boundaries.

Once I entered Silicon Valley, I learned that the above is the exception rather than the rule. And I think that's where all the horror stories arise. For I no longer get to choose my co-workers, and there's all sorts of pointy-haired edicts that come down the pipe from various Peter Principals(tm) inflicting their view of reality upon the collective they oversee. Just forget trying to run a remote team this way - it's incurably broken - and from this perspective, I agree with Marissa Mayer's tough choice to eliminate telecommuting as an option. Sadly, this movement is wreaking havoc on the daily commutes of everyone here.

My own solution however has been to seek work where I'm an IC and I have someone immediately above me covering my back. That's hard to find, and you're going to be perceived as a job hopper during the hunt, but it's worth the temporary downside IMO.

Or even better, just start your own shop with people you trust...

agentultra 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a remote worker at the moment. I love it.

I can take a break when I need to and be in my comfortable space. I don't have a commute. I can open my door and see my daughter when I go downstairs for a coffee. I can take a walk to the local coffee shop and sit down with the other freelancers and remote workers and catch up on local happenings. If I need a break or I'm done for the day I'm not just watching the clock and waiting for a few other people to leave first.

I contribute regularly to open source projects and so I know what it takes to collaborate remotely. We're experimenting with sqwiggle, screenhero, and use github and pivotal. We email each other constantly keeping the teams up to date. We have a VPN and use our ssh-keys for as much as we can. It works really well and I think the tools have come a long way.

It's good to see that the world we were promised in the 60's is finally coming to fruition.

bchjam 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've worked entirely remotely for multiple years in 2 separate cases. I prefer loosely coupled teams and remote structure works well for this.

My main problem is when I need to interact with office culture. People in large conference rooms with a shitty speaker in the middle of it. When more than one person talks at once, it all becomes totally inaudible. Accents also become much harder to discern under the fuzzy sound quality that this kind of environment produces. I never have these problems with predominantly remote teams.

How to bridge that culture gap? Does the office world just need better speaker phones?

wiradikusuma 1 day ago 8 replies      
Hi guys, just wondering if anyone with remote work experience (either as employee or employer) can shed some light on these issues:

* How about same-time communication? E.g. I need to discuss things with my designer, oh wait, he's gardening at the moment, or he works at night.

* How do you know when to start/stop your day? E.g. In "normal" office, it's usually 9 to 5.

* How do you schedule projects? Fixed time simplifies scheduling ("This project is 5 man-days").

* Who pays for supporting equipments (desk, LCD, internet, nice coffee) if I work from home?

* Specific to 37signals: How did they make the video? Did the video guy traveled to each and every employee in the video to tape them?

dangero 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm kind of interested in the meta story around this remote campaign. Assuming 37 signals is doing this book at least partially for money, they're making a play relating to a trend using themselves as the model of what works.

Is the target audience employees who work remote or want to, or is the target market managers who need to understand remote employees?

Gravityloss 1 day ago 2 replies      
I find people doing remote work constantly missing big parts of information that is passed around verbally and doing extra work / being less efficient because of this.

We already use chat rooms, individual chats, tickets, video conferencing, email, dashboards, whatever.

But sometimes the bandwidth of just sitting with someone and looking at a problem together is so much higher that you can solve big issues in a very short time.

I think some psychologists could study this, it's right up their alley - what is lacking in remote co-operation devices. I personally think it's partly that you need to see what the other person is looking at and also you must be able to observe their body language. A way to do "Look here, this is important in about 0.1 seconds." But I have no evidence.

babarock 1 day ago 6 replies      
I might start working remotely full-time in a few months, so I would like to hear about some of its downsides. Can you share stories of remote working that didn't go as wonderfully as described in this (promotional) video?
krakensden 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was impressed by the breadth of lovingly photographed coffee preparation methods. Chemex, standard pourovers, moka pots, espresso, the all-American drip machine.
dsleno 1 day ago 3 replies      
Thanks to Yahoo's crackdown, I think working at home has gotten a bum rap lately. I work at home, and so do my 4 employees. It can let you build a great a lifestyle, and help small businesses hire talent where ever they can find it.

In my case, I traded the city for a modest home on a beautiful lake in rural Minnesota. It also lets me be near my autistic son who attends online public school (school at home is another digression, but off topic).

Yes, there are challenges, like deciding if today is a shave day or not.

All kidding aside, working at home is tool that great companies with great employees can wield effectively to obtain excellent results and acquire talent they can't find locally. Companies, like Yahoo, that don't understand this are not great companies and probably never will be.

Long live working at home!

vowelless 1 day ago 0 replies      
How do you on-board new employees?
adrianhoward 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a link to a previous HN discussion http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5145358 where I mentioned some of the research on the different efficiencies between co-located and distributed teams.

If anybody has links to research (rather than anecdote) around the topic I'd love to have additions Especially any that show distributed teams performing to the same levels (or better) than co-located ones. Thanks ;-)

speg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think working from home at will would be the best of both worlds. Come in when you want to collaborate in person, stay at home when you need to work undisturbed.
henrik_w 1 day ago 1 reply      
An overwhelming majority of the people in this thread seem to favor working from home. Does anybody miss face-to-face time? I work in an office, and not a day goes by without face-to-face discussions with my co-workers. I find these discussions really helpful, and often we end up drawing on a white-board.

I've worked with remote developers (via video) before, and it didn't come close to the interactions I have in-person with people at the office. Would be interesting to hear some comments from remote developers. Related (from a blog post of mine): http://henrikwarne.com/2013/04/02/programmer-productivity-in...

dkural 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to 100% believe in this, but came to appreciate people interacting face-to-face. There is a reason that great artists, philosophical circles, mathematicians etc. come in clusters of excellence. People feed off of each other. This can benefit start-ups as well. Facebook, drop-box, etc. and many other startups worked & lived in the same house in early days. I'm not saying this is a balanced lifestyle - won't be able to do drip coffee bike ride gardening and whatever other hipster stuff 37signals does as much perhaps.

I do a genomics start-up, with two offices, one in Europe, one on the East Coast. #1 wishlist item is only if there was a way the two offices could be physically together.

Remote works as well as a long-distance relationship. It may work in a mature environment, 5-10 years into your relationship. Not Day #1. Start-ups battle many odds, remote is not one you want to tackle from the get go.

keiferski 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a bit of a meta comment, but: I find it interesting how DHH's Danish accent has faded significantly. I remember watching the "rails video" years ago wherein he's got a pretty pronounced accent. He could almost pass for American in this remote working video.
avenger123 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love that 37signals is doing this.

The big question is how much does this scale? I hope this is addressed in the new book.

Having less than 50 employees allows the flexibility of doing many things differently. I would argue that this is one of them.

I don't know what the magical number is for size of a company where working remotely becomes a negative investment.

The bias with 37signals is very strong. They actively seek talent and find people that are not only able to work remotely but enjoy doing so. It also works well to have staff that can work 24 hours across time zones.

How relevant is this to a company with 1000 employees that is not technology related? I can't really answer that definitely but to say that based on my experience, not too much.

tommoor 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you work remotely we're building a real-time communication app just for you in Sqwiggle (https://www.sqwiggle.com). Would love for anyone to try it and offer honest feedback, we'll listen to it all day long :)

If you're a developer and want to work remotely, we're backed by great investors and hiring! We also use the latest tech like WebRTC for our video conferencing.

tomkin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I will play the absolute devil's advocate card here, but I do think that there is a downside to this idea. I live in a mid-sized, industry-legacy Canadian city, where tech has become part of the new economy. And these new tech companies hire locally - and eat locally, and invest their time into building a local tech scene. If remote working were to become a common theme in tech, would this not fly in the face of community building in its simplest terms? Would the Bay Area have the same community today if this brand of telecommuting were available in the 80s, 90s?
taude 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've never been able to find remote work. A lot of it might have to do with my various roles in engineering. But I think a lot of it is east-coast business culture.

But also, from talking to a lot of Silicon Valley friends, they don't have much work from home either....unless you're a sales rep, sales engineer, or a consultant who likely has to spend most of the time on-sight (away from corp office)...

One thing I'm hoping to accomplish at my new company is a culture of work-hard/play-hard remote workers. Those who want to live in say mountain towns, but who want a real career as they get older...I'd not even have a problem with the idea of a "Powder Day" and they don't login until noon. WIth the right happy workers...

triaged 1 day ago 0 replies      
I went from working in an office, to working remotely for the same company.

While there were certainly benefits, I experienced a few downsides that also drove me crazy.

As a product manager, I was in the sticky situation of needing to coordinate with a bunch of different people, and hit certain deadlines that the rest of the company may or may not have aligned with. I felt like I lost much my day-to-day ability to get-shit-done, especially as I was competing for time & resources with other projects.

I also found it easier to stop caring as much, since the emotions & passion weren't as readily communicated remotely.

Definitely some personal shortcoming in there as well, but, there's definitely issues to watch for if working remotely.

tslathrow 1 day ago 0 replies      
37signals is a black swan for a lot of things.

To be noted, but not as the basis for a new world order.

Anecdotal evidence of my own:

- Stop thinking about labor in a capital-intensive business

- I can't do a damn thing with collaboration without a real whiteboard

- I don't work well with too much technology.

- Time zones make things tricky: half of "our" team is in Europe, but deals with a different group of companies. FTSE vs NYSE trading hours make things difficult.

- The one work-from-home person on "our" team was let go due to inconsistent quality of output

- Living in a city is a part of work/life balance for pretty much anyone under age 30


stumm 1 day ago 3 replies      
They seem to flip back and forth about remote working. Less than 3 years ago:http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2838-were-relocating-everyone...
lgomezma 17 hours ago 0 replies      
In my case it's also about location. I am a Spaniard working in the Netherlands for a few years now, paying high rents and being far from family and friends. I could live in Greece (where my wife is from and where we have a fully paid house) but unfortunately there are almost no tech-related jobs there. As a web developer almost 100% of what I do on a daily basis could be done remotely. I wonder if remote work could be the solution for thousands of people like me who have to leave their countries just to find a job.
alecsmart1 1 day ago 4 replies      
I honestly don't know how this works. I mean it's really very difficult to get someone to work remotely with the same dedication and passion. I find collaboration extremely difficult. I mean if there are 5 rockstars working on a project, then sure, remote working will do fine. But if we talk about a decent workforce, there is a lot of handholding required. I don't know how it's possible remotely.
funkattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
What I don't understand about the working remote discussion ist, that it only goes half way. It seems to be a discussion like: Lets work remote but keep everything else the same. Lets keep the company, lets keep bosses, lets collegues, lets keep meetings lets keep the chat at the coffee machine.

Working remotely, as I understand it, means, that you have to transform the company employer relationship in a way that it works using rather abstract or technical infrastructure or interface. The company has to know or to learn, and define, what kind of services or deliverable it can expect from its employees. Also the employee has to learn how to present his service or deliverables in a way that they get noticed and impress someone very far away.

It is sort of an bidirectional API that both have to serve and use.

My question now is, what is the reason for a company to have employees if the service they need is so well defined and could be offered by anyone capeable of serving that API? Why have employes if you can have contractors? The same question holds for the employees, if capable of offering that service in such a well defined way, why not turn into a company themselves and offer that service to anyone willing to pay?

5vforest 1 day ago 1 reply      
Some people enjoy working remotely, others enjoy going into a specific workplace. Not sure why this is such a contentious argument every time.
orware 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a full-time day job but took an offer working part-time remotely for a Joomla Extensions Developer named Joomlatools late last year and did that for a few months in my spare time.

The only bummer for me was that I was a contracted employee so basically I was paid for the hours I worked (my full-time job is salaried so it's nice to know I'm going to expect X dollars each month) and since I was doing it in my free time it started to get difficult to balance the extra work time with family time since I ended up no longer having much free time.

If a company offered a $90,000+/yr salary + health and retirement benefits to work remotely then I think a lot more people might be interested, but in some cases (when you're working simply as a remote contractor) that's definitely not nearly as good.

matthewmacleod 1 day ago 0 replies      
The effectiveness of remote working is directly connected to the office environment, company culture, and processes.

The initial transition to remote working is especially hard - you require infrastructural and organisational changes to accommodate remote workers, and there's an up-front cost (not just financial) to that that dissuades getting started.

I previously worked in an environment that had a culture of face-to-face meetings, informal chats and the like, and it really would have required a total change in culture to implement frequent remote working. By contrast, about 25% of my current engineering colleagues frequently work from home - we've got Google Hangouts and the appropriate equipment and infrastructure to pull it off.

There are real upsides and downsides though - obviously a remote worker saves on a commute, but they do tend to miss out on the more social aspects of an office. Like, "Let's go get lunch," or "It's Matt's birthday, let's all have some cake." Those are definitely some of the perks of working with pleasant colleagues.

bwilliams 1 day ago 3 replies      
As someone who has worked remotely for most of their career (which isn't very long since I am young) I can definitely say that working from home has a lot of negatives as well.

I've ended up thinking that remote working is for people who are traveling a lot or people with a family they would like to stay at home and spend time with.

kreek 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing I was surprised by, I like pair programming better when it's remote. You get the code right in front of you and you talk to the voice in your head (phones).
misiti3780 1 day ago 0 replies      
I work remotely most days a week (and sometimes for a week at a time). I love it. I agree with everything in that video - the only problem I deal with these days is the constant fear of it coming to and end at some point :)
31reasons 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can we build a list of Companies that have more than 50% of their workforce working remotely ?
JaretManuel 1 day ago 0 replies      
37Signals nailed it. I have been working remote for FormAssembly for almost a year and it is amazing in many respects.

We're hiring strong PHP dev's. www.veerwest.com/jobs <-- The Makers of FormAssembly.

GoldfishCRM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even when my fellow coworkers sitt next to me I skype with them instead of talking. Makes it much easier to not be interupted by talk all the time.
AtTheLast 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like how 37signals promotes a solid work life balance. They also do a really good job of telling stories.
resca79 1 day ago 1 reply      
Work remotely it's good when also the big percentage of company people works remotely.Anyway, I buy the book
nakovet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kobo link to pre-order is giving 404. =(
droope 1 day ago 0 replies      
look at you make me hate my job so much! :@
Deep C and C++ (2011) slideshare.net
250 points by kamaal  21 hours ago   208 comments top 35
agentultra 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I love this presentation. It led me to read Expert C Programming [1] by Peter Van Der Linden. My knowledge of C had vastly improved after reading that book (and subsequently C++). Even if you're not a C programmer I would recommend the book as the anecdotes alone are worth reading for the questions that it encourages you to ask.

I've since come to believe that reading the specifications and having the attention necessary to delve into these kinds of details and ask the right questions is important for mastery. It seems to me that learning 1 - 2 languages to this level of detail is worthwhile. I've been thinking of cutting back the number of languages I, "know," down to just those for which I am familiar with the specifications and how they're compiled, assembled, etc. Everything else is superficial.

Sometimes all you need is just a cursory knowledge to get something done and the ends justify those means. However if you really love your craft then mastery should be the goal, no? It seems to be the difference between, "getting something working," and, "pushing the boundaries of what is possible."

[1] http://www.amazon.ca/Expert-Programming-Peter-van-Linden/dp/...

hacknat 19 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not so jaded as to think that deep language understanding isn't a useful or good thing, and I'd like to think I have some myself. However, deep language understanding is not what separates the great engineers from the good ones.

In an interview, I would much rather hear a person say something about a statically declared variable with no initialization being poor code to leave behind for the next person than some arcana about the standard.

Suncho 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Most of the C stuff here is pretty good, but some of the C++ information is a little questionable. Even the "good programmer" exhibits a few common misconceptions about inheritance and virtual destructors. Here's the text from slide 348:

"What is the point of having a virtual destructor on a class like this? There are no virtual functions so it does not make sense to inherit from it. I know that there are programmers who do inherit from non-virtual classes, but I suspect they have misunderstood a key concept of object orientation. I suggest you remove the virtual specifier from the destructor, it indicates that the class is designed to be used as a base class - while it obviously is not."

She's right that the class described on the slide probably shouldn't have a virtual destructor.

A base class should have a virtual destructor if and only if objects of its derived class are to be deleted through base class pointers.

The following four statements are wrong:

1. A class with other virtual functions should have a virtual destructor.

2. A class without other virtual functions should not have a virtual destructor.

3. A class designed to be a base class should have a virtual destructor.

4. You shouldn't inherit from classes that don't have virtual functions.

It's a narrow-minded to say that programmers who inherit from "non-virtual" classes have "misunderstood a key concept of object orientation." Which key concept is that, by the way? Object orientation isn't the be all and end all of C++. There are reasons to use inheritance that have nothing to do with run-time polymorphism. Maybe you just want to reduce redundancy and organize your data types in terms of each other.

Another gripe is that on slide 369, she says:

"When I see bald pointers in C++ it is usually a bad sign."

Naked pointers should usually be avoided for memory management. That's true. But they make great iterators, and they're useful, along with references, for passing objects to functions.

On the other hand, seeing the keywords "new" and "delete" in code is usually a bad sign. Resources (not just memory) should be managed by resource management classes. If you try to do it manually, especially in the presence of exceptions and concurrency, it's very easy to cause an inadvertent resource leak.

nraynaud 17 hours ago 2 replies      
this has nothing to do with understanding but more with memory. What's drowning people in C and even more in C++ is not the logic of the language, but the sheer number of tricky concepts and the pure accumulation of information (it is reflected on the size of the specs).

There is also the fact that very often non-specified behavior, or implementation dependent or everything else that is not cool does not lead to a warning, so the learning is absolutely not reinforced by the compiler. Whereas a warning/error leads to questions that leads to google and some learning; you can be stepping far in the Pampa of undefined behavior for years when someone comes with a superior attitude in your company detects it and calls you a moron in a powerpoint.

And this also leads to very hard to write code sometimes, if you want to do some serious IEEE754 in C/C++ you will basically be pitting the spec of the language against the spec of numerical computation in a ring.

praptak 16 hours ago 3 replies      
A fun fact about sequence points. C++ has switched from "sequence points" to "sequenced before/sequenced after" relation. And it is not really "all" previous side-effects that are guaranteed to be visible after the sequence point but only those associated with the sequence point.

In 'foo(b++, a++ && (a+b));' the sequence point introduced by the '&&' only makes the 'a' see the effect 'a++' but the 'b' might not see the 'b++' (function args are not sequenced in C nor C++).

raverbashing 19 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a good discussion of the behind the curtains working of compilers

But I'm very aware of "smart code" and we shouldn't be writing code that relies on the details (especially ones that might change between compilers)

revelation 15 hours ago 3 replies      
What bizarre nonsense. I hope nobody thinks this level of (mis)understanding is replacement for understanding, you know, how to program.

The majority of this is undefined behavior or implementation details of your compiler. If you rely on that, I don't want your code anywhere near my machine.

loup-vaillant 18 hours ago 4 replies      
This was good, but

Hermione (I'm sure that's her) rates her C++ knowledge at 4-5, and Stroustrup himself at 7!?

Bullshit. Either they are poorly calibrated, or they are displaying false modesty. Sure, they probably still have plenty to learn about C++, but come on, Hermione is already at the top 97% in terms of language lawyering.

Wanting to be stronger is good. Not realizing you're already quite strong is not so good.

jgreen10 17 hours ago 0 replies      
How far into the presentation do I need to go for someone to mention that the quotes in the printf are not US ASCII and therefore the program would not compile?
brohee 14 hours ago 2 replies      
The girl spewing some bullshit may lead to an interview ended early. Clearly bright, but not as bright as she think she actually is... Come back in a few years with a bit more humility... Hard to decide if the other guy is bad or inexperienced without a resume...

"If you compile in debug mode the runtime might try to be helpful and memset your stack memory to 0"

This is a retarded explanation (pages are set to 0 when they are recycled by the OS so you don't end up having data from dead processes mapped in your memory, with all the security implications). Also, actually randomizing memory in a debug context would actually be more helpful to trigger those initialization bugs...

People that think they know everything are a lot more dangerous than people actually aware of their limitation and safely working within them.

chipsy 19 hours ago 3 replies      
People complain loudly about gotchas in JS, but when you look at what C++ programmers have to contend with...
pacaro 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been a C developer (among other things) for about 20 years or so, but I've always described my C++ skills as being "in the C with objects" range, I might have to change that to being "nearly in the C with objects" range.
rcfox 19 hours ago 0 replies      
zvrba 20 hours ago 0 replies      
> Why do professional programmers write code like this?

Because we 1) for some reason or another we _must_ use C or C++, 2) we're coding for a single CPU platform, and 3) we need to get the friggin' job done in this century.

theCricketer 18 hours ago 6 replies      
A college student in CS here. I'm always impressed by people with deep understanding of programming language internals and try to pick up as much about programming language internal workings and compilers as I can. How does one get really good at this? Is it by spending a lot of time programming and building stuff? Is it by reading books/blogs/articles about programming languages? Any recommendations for such resources?
kirab 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I got really annoyed by those stupid and ever-repeating mean comments like "do you want another ice cream?"
austinz 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Ooh. I remember "Dynamic-C" and its built-in support for coroutines. TI and Microchip had their own quasi-proprietary extensions to C, but I don't think I ever saw anyone go as far as Rabbit did.
deckiedan 18 hours ago 2 replies      
It is interesting looking at the 'deep' issues of programming languages. This kind of ties in with the "Don't ask me maths questions..." post a few days ago.

There really is a lot more to programming than just algorithms, UI design or syntax.

sanskritabelt 10 hours ago 0 replies      
You know if someone's asking me these kinds of questions in an interview it's the sign that something's deeply dysfunctional on the team and there's been some kind of past trauma that makes them feel the need to ask.

That or they're assholes.

Either way, walk.

yngccc 19 hours ago 4 replies      
The girl forgot to mention exception safety on the class A slide, no hire.
aidenn0 19 hours ago 6 replies      
Heh, and they didn't even get into the aliasing rules. In embedded software, life would be a lot easier if I could hit every engineer who wants to type-pun without a union in the head with the ISO standard.

For this reason, a lot of compilers have options to not strictly enforce the aliasing rules

[edit]Also C and C++ are both permitted to reorder structs, it's just that they don't because that's the easiest way to follow the standard.

dllthomas 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure "provide only one way of doing things" is a core principle of C. It at least seems to have fallen to "type less" in several cases:

    i = i + 1;    i += 1;    i++;    ++i;    a[i]    *(a + i)    a->foo    (*a).foo

rfv 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what a linux kernel developer would have to say about these slides. How many of these features/quirks are they finding useful in their day to day job.
NAFV_P 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I signed up with HN to get articles related to C, yet they're about as common as hens teeth.I've just executed a word search on this comments page: 18 instances of "static", but no mention of "volatile" or "extern", which is the same situation in several textbooks on C.The article mentioned looking at the assembler output of a program, but didn't give any hints on where to learn some assembly.
hardwaresofton 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This slideset has shamed me. I definitely don't know enough about any of the languages I use on a daily basis. I also thought I knew about C/C++.
dllthomas 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Regarding padding, with GCC at least it's not (precisely) word size that it optimizes for, but alignment constraints of the particular members. A short will be bumped to a multiple of 2, an __int128 will be bumped to a multiple of 16. The alignment restriction of an entire struct is the largest alignment of any member. This certainly has the intent and consequence of more aligned loads.
glormph 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I only know python well and am looking for another language to learn. C was on the shortlist, but after this, crikey. At least I now know it's not going to be an easy ride.
jheriko 17 hours ago 0 replies      
seen this before. whilst its great there are degrees of respect to have for C and C++.

the most productive code i have ever written generally involves me working around the constraints of the language to implement a paradigm which is missing at compile-time, or juggling macros and templates so that i can reduce boilerplate code down to a template with a macro to fill the gaps the template is too featureless to give me (vice versa, the template is there because macros aren't complete enough either).

its good to understand this deep language stuff though because you can understand why C/C++ are limited. for instance the C sequence points limit the compiler in its ability to perform optimisation, as do struct layout rules and many of the other weird and wonderful specifics...

what saddens me most though is that nobody has offered anything to improve C and C++ in these areas which matter most to me... its not even hard. just let the compiler order structs because most programmers don't understand struct layout rules.

its not a good thing that these things are so explicitly specified for the language - its gimping the compilers, which is limiting me. also it results in pointless interview questions about sequence points.. :P

shurcooL 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Knowledge of the language is a big factor, but it's far from being the only one. How fast one is able to create things is an example of another important factor. There are many more.
talles 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Despite all the discussion of the 'relevantness' of knowing a language in a so deep level, I think this presentation is genius.
enterx 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Great story.

Deep understanding of the language used will make you do a better job.

This reminds me of the story that I've run into once. The junior developer wanted to raise PHP's memory_limit parameter because his code crashed almost every time while writing big file content to the output. He didn't know what output buffering is and that he can turn it off and print the file directly to the output. :D

skandl 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Informative and thought-provoking presentation, but I think the mock interview format is a disservice, as with it comes individual ideas of what a good or useful interview is like.
chr13 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I haven't seen these tricks come into play when solving real problems at ALL. Not saying you should not know the language, but better to have problem-solving skills than rot the standard. The bit about leaving a new line after main tells me she really has memorized the standard.
saejox 15 hours ago 1 reply      
All of the quirks listed have good reasons to exist. Except size_t, that never makes sense.
sanskritabelt 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Got to slide 413. Get a freaking hobby or something. Maybe a dog. Go outside a little bit.
Font Awesome 4 released fontawesome.io
235 points by trumbitta2  10 hours ago   77 comments top 25
skore 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like a lot of people don't like the namespaces changes. I actually really like this! I suppose it's cumbersome even if you're building a project where you have full control. Then again - come on, we're talking about search&replace for 10 minutes here. And in more complex projects, you should have had a flexible function to handle icons anyways.

Why I really, really like it: If you're building something in a namespace polluted environment (say, a component for a popular CMS), this is a damn god-send.

I was on the fence before, from now on, it's fontawesome all the way for all my projects. They've done an amazing job so far and I'm looking forward to what they will do next.

ris 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What I see on that page: one hell of a lot of unicode placeholders and not much else.

We don't all agree with a site's font choices.

And at least img made an attempt at semantic meaning and accessibility with alt= attributes. The failure modes for img are actually quite good. There's no such concern in the minds of those who gave birth to icon fonts.

leeoniya 9 hours ago 2 replies      
370 icons is nice, but what i really want is a tool that lets me put together a smaller subset from multiple icon fonts that only has what my app needs. A global font-icon library from which to assemble this subset would be ideal.

These collections are trying to cater to everyone by growing in size when the better solution here is a modularizer.

manishsharan 9 hours ago 4 replies      
I love Font Awesome though I do not understand why they have to claim "The iconic font designed for Bootstrap" --- I have managed to use Font Aweome with Zurb Foundation and SASS and it works just fine.
RBerenguel 9 hours ago 1 reply      
As much as I like having them for my projects (but I see no reason to get v4 instead of keeping v3), still no temperature (thermometer) nor sparklines (graph.)
usaphp 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish they post a link to the previous version's icons page, most of my websites are using font awesome v3, and I dont see a way to quickly find an old icon classes right now, unless somebody can help me out with that?
davewiner 9 hours ago 2 replies      
They renamed the icons. They don't just break apps when they do that, they break users. At some point things like the names of icons should be frozen. I love Font Awesome of course. But please!
ihsw 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Oh for heaven's sake, why is icon-* being deprecated? I stopped using Glyphicons because they switched to glyphion-* .
applecore 9 hours ago 0 replies      
There are ten new icons, but still no database icon :(


sjs382 6 hours ago 2 replies      
If you're like me and need access to the previous version's documentation, I'm hosting it at http://fontawesome.http410.com.
thekingshorses 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Is this better than http://icomoon.io/app?

I can create my own font file with icomoon so it only contains the icons that I needed for my site. Only issue I have is that there is no way to save the created font file so that I can modify later.

pallandt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're looking for good looking icon fonts, don't forget to check out Entypo as well(http://entypo.com/). Not as many options as Font Awesome, but they do look really good/much better than other free alternatives or even paid ones.
thezilch 8 hours ago 0 replies      
More speed? Looks to be from the following change:


Any others?

philipwalton 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In the what's new it says everything has been rewritten. Does this mean the icon vector files themselves or just the CSS?
mixmastamyk 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this the best font-icon set? Would anyone consider using more than one in a project? Do you subset them?

I'm about to decide on one to use.

impostervt 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Since icon names have changed, how do I find the documentation for the 3.x version?
saravk 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone else having trouble with using the new 4.0 fonts from the Bootstrap CDN?


pkill17 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Try adding the 'fa-spin' class to any element type; entire <div>'s and <section>'s start spinning.
iambateman 9 hours ago 1 reply      
So FontAwesome 4 isn't backwards compatible, right?

I wonder how much faster it is.

arnley 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I hoped for more than 10 icons :-(Any advice on how to "add" some other SVG icons to the mix and generate the whole font package?
wesley 8 hours ago 0 replies      
No IE7 support any more it seems.
neuling2k 5 hours ago 0 replies      
nice! to learn the new icon-names try our (font)awesome game http://fontawesome.pro
gnagatomo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
No more '[class^="icon-"], [class*=" icon-"]'! Yay!
nvk 9 hours ago 2 replies      
v4 And this still not really Open Source.
gcb0 7 hours ago 1 reply      
And history repeats itself.

A new generation of webdevelopers using Wingdings when designing pages in Microsoft Frontpage.... sigh.

Pure CSS3 dancing Bender liveweave.com
233 points by syswsi  1 day ago   65 comments top 30
apaprocki 23 hours ago 3 replies      
This is nuts -- but sadly dancing Bender is not too practical. (Unless the dancing trend catches on and GitHub releases the dancing Octocat to production...)

For more practical CSS madness, I'd recommend Ana Tudor's creations[1]. She had a cool talk at CSSConf.eu about the math behind building some of her CSS creations.[2]

[1]: http://codepen.io/thebabydino/public/

[2]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9HeWBH_kvg

liamondrop 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Not to detract from the creativity here, but the id attribute specifies its element's unique identifier[1]. Strictly speaking, this should never happen:

  <div id="b7">    <div id="b71">      <div id="b71">        <div id="b71">          <div id="b71">            ...
[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2013/WD-html51-20130528/dom.html#the-id...

lubujackson 22 hours ago 2 replies      
How does.. I don't even...

Is there some tool they used to make this? Because my human brain can't imagine how this came to exist.

null_ptr 23 hours ago 7 replies      
The legs slide horizontally off Bender's ass on Firefox 24 on Linux :-( Nevertheless, great work!
digitailor 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I love when people see the potential to use HTML structure as a makeshift DAG. Similarly, once the DOM got fully grokked in the mid-2000s, it was if the web changed overnight. From flat documents to a flexible graph. And to do this without JS? We're talking no actual imperative code here, just dead structure and presentation markup.

This is one of the first CSS animations I've seen that works flawlessly for me, at least on the iPhone. I also noticed the non-unique ID attrs as is noted below, but let's be real. With that amount of CSS to conceive of and write, would you really glance twice at the twenty lines of HTML you're using as a fly-by-night DAG? For a non-commercial passion project? The creator of this was in the ZONE!

The pure insanity makes me grin and long for the pre-teen days where there was time for this. All the ANSI art, the HyperCard stacks, the strange games made using dirt-cheap language implementations. Sigh, but a nice sigh. Also makes me damn grateful for open source and standards.

lele0108 22 hours ago 5 replies      
Tyrant505 23 hours ago 0 replies      
For those of you who are bound to ask the point, this is pure hacking. You are given a technology and you produce a result, sometimes for the fun of it! Thanks for this! I learned a bit.
blt 22 hours ago 2 replies      
It seems like we should be seeing heavy duty graphical editors that output CSS3 animations. Any tools exist yet?
ck2 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't believe this show is off the air. Again. Forever. :-(

Anyways, I hope ad people don't catch on to how CSS is a bit harder to block than JS.

moreentropy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Made my day. I need this for my 404 pages.

Is anything known about the author or license of this work? Will Comedy Central likely object?

arbutus 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really neat. I'm really interested in seeing how all these new fancy CSS3/HTML5 features shape the evolution of casual online games. Back in the day it was either static images, like the Neopets sort of thing (which are still pretty common with young kids I think - Webkinz is a cash cow and that site looks straight out of my childhood), or slow awful Flash games that usually didn't have any data persistence. Even if this Bender example is kind of hacky as other comments are indicating, the possibilities still seem pretty limitless.
dreen 16 hours ago 0 replies      
After a while the legs and to some degree arms go out of sync with the rest http://i.imgur.com/EMGqXA3.png
sown 22 hours ago 1 reply      

I've gotten into CSS3 and JS recently but I'm not sure how this works.

Can someone explain to this old C dog the principles of how it works, though? I thought this would require JS to work?

I apologize in advance for being out of touch. :(

larkinrichards 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Try zooming in your web browser for a ghostly -- some might say spooky -- disembodied bender.

Just in time for halloween.

pvnick 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Impressive! Great job.
BinaryBullet 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately Bandcamp's embed doesn't seem to be working in Firefox/liveweave for me, but here's a theme song added:


kaoD 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Several <div>s with the same id... heresy!
northband 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks awesome while listening to Another Brick In The Wall Pt.2
J_Darnley 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I call bullshit on the "pure css" part. Nothing works if you have javascript turned off.
yngccc 21 hours ago 0 replies      
pouzy 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This must be what CSS3 has been invented for. I can die in peace now.
ciriarte 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Lovely, congratulations. This kind of thing inspires me to learn more and more!
mattkrea 23 hours ago 0 replies      
What people can do in CSS3 blows my mind. I love this!
smaili 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Hacker's equivalent of animated gif :)
mustapha 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Always find myself stunned by the capabilities of CSS.
filipedeschamps 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Just WOW. Good job.
deadsnake 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Guess CSS is basically a Turing complete language.
AtTheLast 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha. This is great!
browserspot 22 hours ago 0 replies      
holy mother of god! this is absolutely awesome!
xer0x 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia editors, locked in battle with PR firm, delete 250 accounts arstechnica.com
230 points by Jtsummers  2 days ago   107 comments top 15
raganwald 2 days ago 13 replies      
This should be fixed the old-fashioned way: By cutting off teh flow of money at the source. When clients are caught directly or indirectly using sock-puppetry and astroturfing on Wikipedia, banners should be added to the affected pages naming and shaming the clients.

"This page has been locked by Wikipedia in response to deceptive practices paid for by Engulf and Devour to circumvent our community standards and mislead readers."

If you want this to stop, you have to give the clients a disincentive. That will drive the good clients out and these firms will be left with erectile dysfunction flim-flam as their market.

tokenadult 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope, as a Wikipedian since April 2010, that this is the beginning of a thorough change of culture on Wikipedia in the interest of making Wikipedia more of a genuine free online encyclopedia[1] and less of a publicity platform for everyone who doesn't want to pay honest cash money for a paid advertisement. There is currently a proposal discussed among Wikipedians for a tighter policy against paid editing,[2] and as long as the new policy, whatever it ends up being, makes for less promotional content on Wikipedia, I'm all for it.

People who want to help Wikipedia improve as unpaid volunteers have a number of channels for doing that. One thing that would help Wikipedia's goal of better content quality[3] is adding more reliable sources to articles. I try to help that process by compiling source lists in user space that any Wikipedian can use for updating articles.[4] It's a long slog to fight the rot on Wikipedia. Reading Wikipedia takes a sharp eye for propaganda and advertising in disguise.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Here_to_build_an_enc...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Paid_editing_po...

[3] https://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Plan/Movement_...


[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:WeijiBaikeBianji/Intellig...


parennoob 2 days ago 2 replies      
Their list of services https://www.wiki-pr.com/services/ looks like a corporate shill's sick mockery of Wikipedia's community standards.

I hope every single one of their spurious sockpuppet accounts get deleted.

CJefferson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would be extremely surprised if (quoting from article) it is only "as many as several hundred" accounts are being used by people paid to edit Wikipedia. I know at least a dozen people who have a wikipedia account just to edit articles to make where they work look good (I suppose it is not their full time job, but it is the only reason they edit wikipedia).
jedanbik 2 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't help but laugh when I saw the Wiki-PR affiliates page: https://www.wiki-pr.com/affiliates/



Just leave us your name.

Nicholas_C 2 days ago 2 replies      
>"I'm much more worried about what happens when an unethical outfit manages to start getting major clients and start controlling articles that our average reader assumes are not written by corporate flaks."

Or worse, if Wikipedia's trustworthiness is tarnished beyond repair. I remember when I was in high school 5 or 6 years back Wikipedia was kind of seen as a joke by my peers. Now it's taken as near fact. Although I think skepticism of anything read on the Internet or elsewhere is healthy, I would hate to see it revert to the first state because of greedy "PR" firms.

sbov 2 days ago 2 replies      
Depending upon how far the PR firm goes to circumvent their block, couldn't they be brought up on hacking charges? Could the companies that hire them be found culpable too?
DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
These paid editing services are obviously lousy and harmful to Wikipedia and it's great that they've gone.

How well did average wikipedians deal with the editors and their clients? Was anyone turned into a useful editor? Or were more people left frustrated and baffled by the WP process?

swalling 2 days ago 0 replies      
Related post previously on the front page: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6580333
guelo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't Wikipedia sue this company and their clients?
rrrene 2 days ago 2 replies      
The main problem here seems to be: Why must every company on earth have its own Wikipedia page?

That said, I can see why e.g. Microsoft, the East India Trading Company and BMW should be recognized in an encyclopedia. And there are examples of products (lines) that could/should be mentioned in a vast online encyclopedia as well (e.g. Windows, BMW 3 series) because they influenced industries/trends/zeitgeist and/or lifes.

But why, for the love of god, should every consultancy, contractor, forrester and his second cousin have an entry on this site?

EDIT: typo

malandrew 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since these companies (or at WikiPR) are refunding the money when things don't work out they should just hire these PR companies directly via friends and family and watch those accounts that are editing the pages they paid to edit. Once they catch the people, they ban the accounts, revert the changes and then demand their refund. It's a basic honeypot.
mung 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thought off the top of my head so it's not developed or thought through, but wouldn't Wikipedia do well to find a way of somehow connecting itself in with academia? It might gain better resources to knowledge and people and more credibility as a result. And make it more difficult to "just get access" to editing a page.
ChrisNorstrom 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why are we passing this opportunity up?!?!?!

Oh Jesus Christ, common now we're a community of entrepreneurs & hackers, someone just create a new startup that's wikipedia for people.

PeoplePedia.com is taken but here, but I've got http://www.infopag.es so it's perfect for something like InfoPag.es/ChrisNorstrom.

If someone wants to join in reply to this comment. So basically I'm envisioning a wiki for people. However, there's 2 routes I can go down:

a) Anyone can create a page on a person and anyone can edit and add onto or delete content from that page. (lots of growth, but lots of potential for abuse)

b) People must register to create a page on themselves, anyone can edit that page and add onto or delete content but the registered owner must approve the edits.

Which sounds better?

logicallee 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've always thought Wikipedia is like the true prophecy of Isaac Asimov (encyclopedia galactica) - but not even old Isaac could have predicted this!!
Russian programmer fights Goldman Sachs and wins one round marketwatch.com
228 points by gkuan  1 day ago   134 comments top 19
lambda 1 day ago 3 replies      
If anyone's interested, I found the appeals court ruling finding him not guilty of violating federal law, and leading to his release, on PACER, uploaded to the Internet Archive so you can access it without a paywall via RECAP:


The basic argument hinges on the three counts, related to three laws he was alleged to have broken: the Economic Espionage Act, the National Stolen Property Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse act. The third charge was dismissed by the district court because it rested on the fact that he had either accessed systems he was not authorized to or exceeded authorized access. However, he was authorized to access the source code in question, and what he did with it afterwards has no bearing on whether he exceeded his authorization, so it doesn't fall under the CFAA.

The district court did convict him on the first two counts, but the Appeals Court reversed. Their argument is that the National Stolen Property Act doesn't apply because it applies only to actual physical goods, not mere intangible ideas. Had he photocopied the source and walked out with it, or loaded it onto a thumb drive at the office and taken that with him, it would have counted as stealing a physical good, but merely uploading it to a server and downloading it onto a thumb drive later does not count.

The court further argues that he did not violate the Economic Espionage Act because the clause in question he was prosecuted under specifically requires that the "trade secret ... is related to or included in a product that is produced for or placed in interstate or foreign commerce". Since Goldman Sachs' HFT trading system entirely proprietary and internal and not produced for or placed in interstate commerce, that particular law does not apply. Apparently Congress specifically intended this restriction, because earlier drafts of the statute had broader language that merely included "proprietary economic information having a value of not less than $100,000". The fact that Goldman Sachs uses the product for interstate commerce is not compelling, it had to itself be produced for or placed in interstate commerce.

That last part is interesting. It implies that if you run proprietary, internal code that is not sold or intended to be sold in the future, you appear to lose federal criminal trade secret protections. It's interesting that they tried to prosecute him on theft, trade secret infringement, and exceeding authorized access, but not copyright infringement. From my reading even unpublished work is subject to copyright.

Neither the original conviction nor the appeals court opinion ever addressed the copyright issue. In order for him to have stolen something, it would have had to be something of value; so why wasn't he further prosecuted for copyright violation? From the documents I read (not all are available on PACER), the copyright question never even came up.

More documents from the case:

Motion to dismiss the original case in district court: https://ia600209.us.archive.org/9/items/gov.uscourts.nysd.35...

Government's response to the motion:http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.nysd.358303/gov...

Affadavit of the investigating officer:http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.nysd.358303/gov...

District court's opinion dismissing the third count but refusing to dismiss the first two:https://ia600209.us.archive.org/9/items/gov.uscourts.nysd.35...

List of files requested in discovery, to demonstrate that what he took was insubstantial and not proprietary: http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.nysd.358303/gov...

A few of the things he had downloaded were their version of the Erlang platform, which is available under the Erlang Public License, a derivative of the Mozilla Public License. So it would be more fruitful to debate the merits of that license, not the GPL.

All of the currently uploaded items in the docket:https://ia600209.us.archive.org/9/items/gov.uscourts.nysd.35...

downandout 1 day ago 5 replies      
It's very clear that Goldman is trying to punish him for leaving, while sending a message to their other programmers that if they leave, their lives will be ruined. Even if this guy ultimately wins the state trial, he will never get back the years he has spent fighting it. Goldman has already won, and in this case that is appalling.
Mikeb85 1 day ago 2 replies      
For everyone bringing up the GPL licence, strait from the horse's mouth:

> The GPL does not require you to release your modified version. You are free to make modifications and use them privately, without ever releasing them. This applies to organizations (including companies), too; an organization can make a modified version and use it internally without ever releasing it outside the organization.But if you release the modified version to the public in some way, the GPL requires you to make the modified source code available to the program's users, under the GPL.


Distributing the code within a company/organization does NOT constitute 'distribution', and does NOT require you to release your code.

Edit - and in the licence itself - Version 3 of the GPL

> The Program refers to any copyrightable work licensed under this License. Each licensee is addressed as you. Licensees and recipients may be individuals or organizations.And

> To propagate a work means to do anything with it that, without permission, would make you directly or secondarily liable for infringement under applicable copyright law, except executing it on a computer or modifying a private copy. Propagation includes copying, distribution (with or without modification), making available to the public, and in some countries other activities as well.


OldSchool 1 day ago 2 replies      
This type of story underscores my Icarus-inspired philosophy in business: fly high but not so high that you become an obvious target or otherwise risk getting burned.

I learned relatively early that above some level (that's not even all that high), you'll find that you're dealing primarily with people whose sole purpose in life seems to be to serve their love of money and quest for validation. They are like insects drawn to a light and about as thoughtful.

Suffice to say that when you find that you have to play harder and harder to make up for the stress of your daily work life, it's time to take a look at what you really want and why you're doing what you're doing.

rdtsc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sergey is a good Erlang programmer.

He is active in on the Erlang mailing list. He wrote a cool C++ to Erlang interface. Here is his Github account:


I am happy for him. He is a great asset to the open source community.

jaryd 1 day ago 5 replies      
For those that are interested in the backstory: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2013/09/michael-lewis-gol...
oofabz 1 day ago 2 replies      
Aleynikov has lived in the US for twenty years and owns a house in Chicago. It sounds to me like he is an American programmer, not a Russian programmer. I don't see why his ancestry is relevant.
patmcguire 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Michael Lewis article, which is more or less required reading on this: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2013/09/michael-lewis-gol...
merraksh 1 day ago 1 reply      
which time he sent himself, through a so-called "subversion repository," 32 megabytes of source code from Goldmans high-frequency stock-trading system.

I can't help smile at the thought of what non-CS people might mistake a "subversion repository" for.

shmerl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here is the story covered in more detail: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2013/09/michael-lewis-gol...
eliteraspberrie 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems Goldman Sachs attempted to commandeer the criminal justice system to retaliate against a former employee, and succeeded in doing so. It is not in the jurisdiction of police to act as arbiters of employment disputes -- that is for the civil court system. Whatever the allegations against Mr. Aleynikov, this I am sure we can all agree on.
sanxiyn 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Let me quote from Wikipedia here:

"On 8 September 2005, the Seoul Central District Court ruled that the GPL was not material to a case dealing with trade secrets derived from GPL-licensed work. Defendants argued that since it is impossible to maintain trade secrets while being compliant with GPL and distributing the work, they are not in breach of trade secrets. This argument was considered without ground."

eddie_the_head 1 day ago 1 reply      
How is this not double jeopardy?
brunooo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Guess the Michael Lewis story (damn, he should write more again) also explains the commits to https://github.com/goldmansachs a few months ago.
rcarrigan87 1 day ago 0 replies      
The real tragedy is how many brilliant and motivated people end up in finance nowadays and how the industry overall continues to grow into an ever greater portion of the US economy. I'm not belittling the role of finance in an advanced economy. But you would think with the incredible advances we've made in electronic exchanges and the free flow of information on the internet the role of finance would have taken a backseat. Unfortunately, Sergey is just another example (guilty or not) of wasted talent down the financial sink hole.
xerophtye 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Umm.... let me get this straight, GS is required to pay the legal fees because he was an employee at GS? So if the company sues one of its employees, it has to pay for both sides? Really?

PS: If i remember correctly, hadn't Sergey resigned from GS by then? I thought he was just hanging around an extra week or two to train his successors.

ig1 1 day ago 1 reply      
A lot of the comments here seem to be oblivious to the details of the original indictment:


It pretty explicitly details how the "backup" program he wrote had flags to select what to copy and some of those flags specifically copied GS option pricing code that he had never worked on.

poof131 1 day ago 3 replies      
Question: does anyone know if software patents were declared null and void, would this case still exist? It seems he only took snippets of code and not the entire system for profit. How would this case differ if software was copyrightable but not patentable (i.e. Either you stole the manuscript or you didn't)?
Volpe 1 day ago 1 reply      
Love the racial inclusion for no reason.
Google Checkout Closing Down on Nov. 20th support.google.com
221 points by tephra  3 days ago   136 comments top 35
JohnBooty 3 days ago 4 replies      
I can't imagine ever building something that relies on a Google service at this point.

There is a lot of collateral damage when they do things like this, damage that hurts them when even when it comes to developers like me who've never written a single line of code that integrates with Google Checkout.

badclient 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think failures of projects such as this can be attributed to wrongly applying lean principles instead of coming out with a more complete offering. Checkout never really matured as a product and therefore made for a poor PayPal or merchant account alternative.
skore 3 days ago 2 replies      
This actually solves a problem for me. For a long time, "finish Google Checkout recurring billing integration" was on my todo list. Just didn't get to it due to limited time and confusing documentation. Now I can simply close that ticket.
jusben1369 3 days ago 2 replies      
If you want large companies to innovate (and I do) you can't complain bitterly if they fail and retire a product or service in this way (which as others have noted included a lot of notice) The flip side is big companies won't innovate or release anything new. "No way! Have you seen how people complain if we have to close it down? Not worth taking the chance of all that bitching"

P.S It's kind of funny that one of the alternatives they pushed at the time of the initial announcement was Braintree who then went on to be acquired by PayPal. Shows you how fluid/active this space is.

muzz 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is nothing new, the Nov 20 date was well-known back in May:


sdfjkl 3 days ago 2 replies      
Which prompts the question - should you bother signing up for Google Wallet (if applicable, i.e. digital goods only). Since that may just end up suffering the same fate.
bcx 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is insanely bad timing. They should shut it down in January of 2014 after all the E-commerce retailers make all their money.

No one in Ecommerce wants to touch their tech stack during the only quarter that matters to them.

[edit] Apparently the shutdown was announced in May. Regardless, it probably would have been better to shut it down in September, than right before Cyber Monday.

kyledrake 3 days ago 3 replies      
If you think Google shuts down APIs this quickly and casually now, wait until after the stock market bubble bursts.
nateberkopec 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is probably because requestAutocomplete has been moved into Chrome Beta, and will probably feature tight Wallet integration.


tedks 3 days ago 1 reply      
Checkout isn't mentioned on Gwern's predictions for google product closure: http://www.gwern.net/Google%20shutdowns

I hope he updates the page now that we have this additional data point, I'd love to see how his predictions performed.

seldo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the difference between "old Google" and "current Google" is that old Google would have been honest and said "the closest available equivalents are Paypal and Amazon Payments". Instead the migration partnership (presumably with a rev share) is Braintree, which while capable is not really the same sort of product.

It sucks to have to close things down, but sometimes you do, and they gave everybody 6+ months of notice to migrate back in May, but being disingenuous about the best alternative is mealy-mouthed and "un-Googly".

jessaustin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Title switching to slightly less informative "Retiring Google Checkout Announcement" in 3, 2, 1...
anderspetersson 3 days ago 1 reply      
Google Checkout has been depreciated since May. It's not like this come as a suprise.
abritishguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't "news", I was notified months ago.
pawn 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm still annoyed that iGoogle is going away. I've tried some alternatives and still haven't found one I like as well. And now it reminds me every day that its going away. Ugh.
aviraldg 3 days ago 1 reply      
Scared, shocked and confused for a moment while I thought Google was shutting down Takeout (which would've been a huge step backward.) This is okay (it's been superseded by Google Wallet anyway.)
coldcode 3 days ago 0 replies      
The only thing Google will never shut down is ads.
blinks 2 days ago 0 replies      

* Merchants selling digital goods may transition to Google Wallet for digital goods

* Merchants selling through Google-hosted marketplaces (e.g. Google Play) will be unaffected

* Merchants selling physical goods will need to switch to third-party alternatives (see below)

-- https://support.google.com/checkout/sell/answer/3080449

DigitalSea 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google are generating a lot of uncertainty in their product offerings lately. To innovate you need to know when to call it quits and move onto something else. It's quite clear Google Checkout wasn't the success that Google had hoped it would be and are closing it down to divert resources and cash somewhere else where it might be better utilised. People will complain about this situation, but would you rather Google kept a service running just to appease a few die-hards when it's probably costing them money?

We need stronger and tougher competition in the online payments space. Paypal seriously can't be the only globally working payment and checkout substitute around, maybe Google has a similar service that's stronger and more feature packed up their sleeves? I hope so.

simonz05 3 days ago 1 reply      
PayPal was bootstrapped by giving people free money to sign up.
integricho 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are many webdev learning books that used Google Checkout and built an app using their service as an example.. It will be fun for people reading the book after a couple of years about a service that doesn't exists anymore, it'll be like reading some sacred scrolls from times forgotten by today's humans..
joeblau 3 days ago 1 reply      
While this seems bad from the title, it's actually pretty good. They are consolidating redundant systems into one system: Google Wallet.
azifali 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for eating up more than $3000 from my company, Google Checkout.
clarky07 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm just starting a new SaaS project. Google was immediately checked off as a source of anything for the project as it is too hard to know if the service will exist in a year.
ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Didn't google give out millions in coupons for using their checkout last holiday season? (maybe it was 2011)
talles 3 days ago 0 replies      
What is the difference between google wallet and google checkout again?
jmillikin 3 days ago 2 replies      
The shutdown of checkout was announced in May.

Announcement: http://googlecommerce.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-update-to-goog...

HN discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5740447

kunai 3 days ago 1 reply      
While Checkout was deprecated for months, this marks the fourth in several huge shutdowns by Google. Reader, iGoogle, AOSP, and now Checkout. Not to mention their 3E mantra with companies like Sparrow and QuickOffice.

Is there any way that Google can even be thought of as not evil anymore?

I'm slowly shifting everything away from Google. I'm using an iPhone 3G as my main smartphone; switched to DuckDuckGo as my search engine, and have switched my email to private hosting for anything confidential and Outlook for public email.

There's really nothing they could do, good or bad, to get me back at this point. They've proven, time and time again, that they don't care about the customer, and frankly, I'm tired of it.

Thiz 3 days ago 0 replies      
It will be replaced by 'Google Bitcoin'.
paulhauggis 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow, I'm glad I didn't use Google checkout for anything important..
gcatalfamo 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'd say that signs of an imminent merge with Google Wallet were clearly visible throughout the year...
baldfat 3 days ago 0 replies      
WOW and it is right in the middle of the Christmas RUSH! Never Depend on Google!
nsh1991 3 days ago 1 reply      
i think square has come up with a very good idea thats going to change the payment systems
adamb_ 3 days ago 3 replies      
If this was because checkout was a commercial failure they need to make that public knowledge. Otherwise this does make it seem like you can't rely on any Google product that's not part of their core offering. I'm specifically thinking of Google Voice & Keep.
tlogan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I know that a significant set of people here are saying that this is "end of Google". Actually, this is "beginning of Google". Google must focus on things they are best at: advertisement.

The problem with their approach of having many half finished products that they were actually helping competition: they were discovering and validating market which is then captured by smaller companies.

And my prediction is that the following Google products will probably die out soon:

* Google App Engine - competition is improving at rapid pace and it is hard to keep up without focus.

* Google Blogger - they will probably just make something similar under Google+

* Google Groups

Probably there is more... but these are the one I see.

How to Tango with Django: A Python Django Tutorial tangowithdjango.com
219 points by pajju  1 day ago   67 comments top 17
leephillips 1 day ago 4 replies      
This looks like it might eventually become a useful resource, as there is nothing else out there with its particular approach and combination of topics, and it seems fundamentally sound.

However, I wouldn't recommend trying to learn from it in its current form, unless you already know a lot.

Just skimming over it, I found that it was teeming with grammatical errors and typos, with entire sentences garbled to the point where I couldn't tell what the authors had intended to say. I saw syntax errors in the code samples, which means that they weren't all verified to run as printed. Again, not a real problem except for beginners, but beginners are the target audience.

Finally, there is some utility to the concept of prerequisite that the authors seem to avoid.

This book tries to teach the beginner everything that he might need to know, from what "ls" does in the shell to how to use git and set up virtual environments. Maybe it is practical to go from never having seen the command line to deploying working, secure Django projects just by using a (cleaned up version of) this book, but doesn't it make more sense to learn things in a more solid progression of stages? It's OK to expect the student to already know some basics, and build on those. You don't find a tutorial on arithmetic in a book about topology.

rmrfrmrf 1 day ago 8 replies      
Question for Rails and Django users: is there a site that gives definitive best practices for both? I've actually been thinking about building a thrown-together site for just that purpose.

I've tried to get into both Rails and Django twice now (I'm a PHP guy usually), but every time I seem to get going, I get bogged down by StackOverflow after StackOverflow that have seemingly contradictory information or offer a third party solution rather than solving the problem within the framework.

In Rails, for example, Rails is easy enough, until you're dealing with RVM * , Passenger * , and installing correct dev versions of database drivers.

In Django, you deal with South migrations when you want to update your database schemas, virtualenv * , virtualenvwrapper * ; in fact, I've heard that one of the criticisms of Django is that, in order to get to production quality, you essentially have to switch out every component of it with a third party.

* The starred apps don't technically have anything to do with the framework; they're more utilities for managing multiple framework instances. Still, you're likely to find tutorials that use them as a de facto standard, which only adds to noob confusion.

I've started reading Michael Hartl's Rails tutorial, which seems promising. I found that the highly-recommended "Two Scoops of Django" book was a little too narrative for me (just tell me what to do, dammit!); there's definitely a need for more Django tutorials than just the Django website's basic one -- kudos to the author for that.

mladenkovacevic 1 day ago 0 replies      
This would've been immensely useful when starting out.

Official tutorials and docs don't cover nearly all of the accepted standard practices. As a relative outsider it seems a lot of this Django/Python knowledge is taken for granted by the tightly knit community of the skillful developers who interact with each other and exchange various tips, while a beginner who is not really embedded in the community misses out on all that and picks it up only when it's widely enough used that it hits the blogs and podcasts in bits and pieces.

BenderV 1 day ago 2 replies      
For people starting with Web Framework or new to Python, I would suggest starting with a lightweight framework, such as Flask or Pylons.

I used to struggle with Django, so I started to look into Flask, and I really feel like I finally understood what I was doing.

Flask tuto : http://flask.pocoo.org/

kmfrk 1 day ago 2 replies      
You should probably not use django-registration for user auth as referred to in the guide, since it's been abandoned at this point: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6278464.
amarsahinovic 1 day ago 1 reply      
Django screencasts for the interested:



hawkharris 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently started to learn Ruby on Rails. I like the language and the framework, but I also appreciate the simplicity and power of Python.

Which framework should I focus on if my priorities are professional development and ease of workflow? I realize this is a hard question to answer, but I'm interested in hearing different perspectives.

brabram 1 day ago 0 replies      
From a quick overview I really like your approach: you start by a hello world directly (then template, then models) instead of doing this strange approach of the django official tutorial that starts with model then admin interface then show an hello world at part 3. I also really like the presence of exercices.

Quick comment: here, you are teaching render_to_response http://www.tangowithdjango.com/book/chapters/templates_stati... while you should be using render instead https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/1.5/topics/http/shortcuts/... which is simplier than render_to_reponse (where you have to use the horrible context_instance=RequestContext(request) to be able to do certain things in the template which confuse a lot people).

Thanks for this contribution to the django community!

lahwf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another awesome resource for Django Screencasts is Neckbeard Republic.


Siecje 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Good Tutorial. I like how you are building a website and adding features.

So far I have made it to the Ajax page.

Why don't you use render in your views, and url tags with the name in urls.py?

Also there is a lot of typos. Is the site open source?

orenbarzilai 1 day ago 1 reply      
Another recommended resource for learning Django: http://www.djangobook.com/en/2.0/index.html
htaunay 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another great resource is http://gettingstartedwithdjango.com/
erokar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks impressive. I'm a Ruby guy, but I would probably start with this if I was getting into Python/Django.
STRiDEX 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks good! The part I chose to jump to was deployment as there's a million ways to do it and I've been looking for a best practices. Was a little saddened to see you chose PythonAnywhere not because the service is bad, but because it has a limited use case.
n1ghtm4n 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thank you for putting so much work into this, but it's not Python 3!
djd606 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is fantastic! Congrats and keep up the good work! Will there be an ebook version available any time in the future? Thanks again.
leifos 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all your comments and suggestions so far. Please keep the coming.
French Court Allows Reverse Engineering of Skype Protocol googleusercontent.com
218 points by p4bl0  19 hours ago   80 comments top 14
steeve 15 hours ago 0 replies      
A friend of mine, @ouanilo (french), actually reversed the Skype protocol: http://www.oklabs.net/skype-reverse-engineering-the-long-jou...

Wondering why it didn't really get out there tho.

The rest of the website has more information about the journey, and an actual fake Skype client.

tobiasu 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The court follows the EC Directive for legal protection of computer programs, specifically Article 6. Every EU country should have laws in place that allow for reverse engineering within certain limits.

See page 4 [PDF]:http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2...

username42 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Sometimes, we can be proud to be french ;-)

For interoperability purpose, "reverse engineering is a legal practice, and that the distribution of software using a protocol found in this way is not illegal"

comex 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what would have happened in the United States. I think the DMCA probably couldn't be construed to apply to this, but I guess accessing Skype's servers could be considered exceeding authorized access, similar to the 3Taps case (http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/207055/#axzz2i...)...
cynwoody 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Reverse engineering of protocols should be as American as the First Amendment!
chatman 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I really hope Pidgin/Audium leverages the source code, or someone else does it and makes a Pidgin plugin. The native Skype client on Linux crashes quite a bit.
Systemic33 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Protocols are like languages, in the sense that they aren't the data or protection of data, but provides a structural framework for communicating. Languages are also in itself not information, and not secure, it's only when you apply security that happens.

This can be compared to letting people try reverse engineer some indigenous language in my eyes.

StavrosK 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm afraid that this, while a significant decision, will lot mean much in practice. Companies can play cat and mouse indefinitely, and have more resources than hobbyists, if they need their protocols to remain secret.
Fuxy 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Hmm... it seems European law seems to fair a lot better then American law when it comes to attempted abuse by big companies.

I don't know if it's just because the judges are more sane but well done. I think I respect the french slightly more now :)

alkonaut 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Wasn't this the case with ICQ? That is, once the protocol was reverse engineered, all the protocol authors had to do was change it slightly and the 3rd party implementations had to play catch up.
meleva 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Can someone explain why this is a significant decision ?
devx 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't Microsoft basically reverse engineer Google's Youtube API's to make that WP8 Youtube app? I wonder if Google will consider integrating a reverse engineered Skype into Hangouts. Not that I'm particularly excited myself about joining a fully spied upon chat service, but it would be an interesting move.
apierre 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Eet iz formidable!
bifrost 17 hours ago 2 replies      
This makes me laugh, mostly because it will alienate the French govt from the US Govt, but also because its basically anti-IP.
       cached 24 October 2013 02:11:01 GMT