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1
Show HN: OneBody Church Directory software I've been hacking on for 7 years
1009 points by timmorgan  3 days ago   298 comments top 64
1
timmorgan 3 days ago 26 replies      
Hard to believe, but I've been working on this Rails app for over 7 years now! It started as a Rails 1.0 app waaayyy back when, and I've managed to bring it along through almost every major Rails version (still working on updating to Rails 4.1), which I'm pretty proud of.

You can see screenshots at http://church.io.

Being specifically church software, it might not find much of an audience here on HN, but still, I'm proud, so wanted to post about it.

Keep inspiring HN!!!

2
tptacek 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is really nicely done. My parish seems really fond of phone services like CallingPost; you might be able to do some integration with Twilio to annoy other church people the same way. :)

You might also consider an explicit obit feature, along with explicit features for weddings and baptisms, since those are the big "out of process" services (at least in Catholic churches) that need announcements.

3
makmanalp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful UI! Let me bring attention to one thing that's a bit tangential - I see that you have a "church directory" function. Please make sure that proper privacy settings are in place and people are prompted to opt in rather than are opted in by default. Especially in this case, registers for places of worship have been historically used to target minorities for their associations, nationalities and beliefs. Not saying this would happen in the US anytime soon, but better safe than sorry in my humble opinion.
4
JunkDNA 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is really nice, I've often wondered about the dearth of such things every time I look at a church website.

In the Catholic churches in my area, the company that prints the paper bulletin appears to also have something to do with the web hosting as well. I think many of them just go with that and slap something up there.

Have you thought about actually using it to build a full-blown SaaS offering that churches can subscribe to? Similar to the WordPress model? There are a ton of Churches who probably would have someone who can set up a website, but not necessarily do the whole Digital Ocean VPS thing. I haven't explored this space, but I'd bet this is one of the nicest looking things like this out there.

5
nathan_long 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Our church has members from age 0 to 80. Some of the oldest members have never used a computer, but we'd want to include their pictures in a photo directory. Does this software support adding pictures on behalf of someone? Can you designate "editors" or some lower-level admin ability for that?
6
breckenedge 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great work! I've got a RoR church scheduling system I've been hacking on for 4 years off and on (mostly off). In a weird twist of fate, we've used the exact same bootstrap template, although I colored mine purple. Going to have to look into integrating my system into your software, since you've got some abstractions and models that I need but have not yet implemented (families, for one).
7
tomasien 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the most unlikely but deserving post to spend all day atop HN. Great, great piece of software, deserving market, it's just great. Our company was originally started to serve my co-founders church as well believe it or not (the church was worried that credit card fees were usurious and so he tried to build a solution). I hope you do commercialize it purely because it will spread and serve more people that way - doesn't mean you need to try to make a lot of money on it, but some level of commercializing helps sustain and spread a project like this.
8
patcon 3 days ago 2 replies      
> true # everyone can read bible verses!

must be my favourite code comment ever. :)

https://github.com/churchio/onebody/blob/3cac22587627b7846ea...

9
amcnett 3 days ago 0 replies      
I myself am not blessed with the gift of faith, and I don't particularly enjoy Rails, but I greatly appreciate your making your very mature passion project available to one and all. Very impressive!

I enjoyed: "It's like a cross between Facebook, Google Groups, and SharePoint, but it's completely free and open source and awesome." I especially like that it's awesome in addition to being completely free and open source, rather than _ just because_ it's free and open source.

10
davidroberts 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a pastor, and I'm technical, and I think I may just have found the Church Directory software we've been looking for! Thank you!
11
cicero 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks very nice. I'm the technology director for a Catholic college prep school and we have been wanting to put up an online alumni directory, but the commercial packages we've seen are too expensive for our small school. I'm thinking your software could be adapted for that purpose, so I will show it to the lady who runs our web site and see if we can use it. Thanks for sharing your work with the world!
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hipsterrific 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice app! Good to know there are other Christians here in HN. :P I've always thought about building something similar. Maybe I'll contribute, but my Rails skills is quite lacking (read: non-existant, I'm a C# guy)
13
tdaltonc 3 days ago 4 replies      
Why can't a church use a general purpose social network framework? How are the constraints/feature-needs different for a non-church group?

I'm asking from a place of honest curiously. Could a non-religious community group use this? Could a church get by with a social networking tool built for non-religious groups?

14
stonogo 3 days ago 1 reply      
I remember using this years ago to build out a private social network for a fraternal organization. It works very well even for non-monastic purposes!
15
jakespencer 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great! Are you aware of The City (http://onthecity.org)? Many churches pay $100/month or more for their similar, hosted solution.
16
ChikkaChiChi 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks simply fantastic. You clearly put a lot of thought into making it accessible to the non-technical user which means you really know the audience.

Kudos to you on taking a passion project and turning it into something wonderful and sharing it with the world!

(I'm also glad to see so much positivity in a thread that could have gotten gunked up. Just because something isn't your thing doesn't mean you can't appreciate a craft)

17
SEJeff 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great stuff, how do you "market" it? There are generally not a ton of tech people at smaller churches and then at the larger/mega churches, they have entire teams, which IME, love vendor software vs roll your own.
18
notjustanymike 3 days ago 0 replies      
"You can see lots of screenshots here." - Amazing how many people forget to do that. Good stuff.
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jpetersonmn 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks very nice. Maybe an Events feature? Maybe a backend admin type thing that can track offerings people are making, and then also a way to make an offering through the site if you can't make it into church that week.

Really nice though, great work!

20
ytjohn 3 days ago 0 replies      
This software looks great. I've actually looked at this before, but for a different reason. This is a space sorely lacking in options.

My amateur radio club has no coherent roster. We've got a couple people volunteering time to take all the application forms at our secretary's house and put them into a spreadsheet. But I also have spent some time looking to setup an open source club membership roster online. I even started working on a flask application, but don't really have the time to bring it to completion.

In my search I found various things revolving around subscription management and a lot of offline club roster type stuff, but nothing that really fit the bill. Most members pay their membership dues in cash, and we'd also like to denote officers of the club.

My goal was that we could add members contact information in directly. If they had an email, then they would be able to use that to login. Alternatively, members could go on the site and register themselves, with a club officer validating and activating their account. Members can update their contact information at any time. Club officers can record membership dues and when the current membership expires. While a nice option, we're not really concerned with an ability to pay online or not.

There should be privacy checkboxes: share my contact information with club members, share my contact information with with ARES (a 3rd party organization the club is affiliated with and most members are also members of).

Finally, members that are authorized should be able to download a roster of members (which is really the whole point).

21
vlucas 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great work! I've been watching from the sidelines, and I'm glad you finally had a big public launch! OneBody looks really good from the screenshots.

I started http://www.churchmint.com over 2 years ago, and I have not made any progress for a while now. Seeing your success and all these positive comments though has encouraged me quite a bit. There are still a lot of churches out there that are severely under-served by technology. Kudos to you for using your skills for the kingdom and donating your time to a good cause!

22
devOp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just for your information. There's is a simliar tool from Germany in german: http://www.churchtools.de/
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boyaka 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a complete Rails noob, can anybody help me understand why after installing this my app shows up without any formatting? http://imgur.com/pQ8wOdG

I did notice that there was a Warning regarding different versions of libxml used for Nekogiri:

$ RAILS_ENV=production rake db:migrateWARNING: Nokogiri was built against LibXML version 2.8.0, but has dynamically loaded 2.7.8

24
diminoten 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks fantastic. Truly a great app here if it works as well as it looks.

If anything, I think you might be targeting too small of an audience with this. While I realize there's no incentive for you to make this change, I could easily see someone forking this and using it for any large-ish group of people united under any purpose, such as a PTA or soccer league.

25
kyrra 3 days ago 1 reply      
I know little about this kind of software, but a local church uses this site like it provides similar functionality?: http://www.onthecity.org/

Have you compared your project to this company's offering at all? I'm just wondering if they are even similar.

26
junto 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I noted, (which I think is really awesome), is how you outline on the main Github page how to contribute and fix bugs. this kind of thing is really helpful in getting people to participate in open source.
27
Eiriksmal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this solves _so many problems_ for me! I was dreading having to hack together some ugly CRUD solution for my own church's directory-management needs. Thank you so much for doing a wonderful job working on this over the years, and creating an open source solution to boot!
28
Neff 3 days ago 0 replies      
The site looks really nice and polished. I just passed it along to a coworker who handles most of the IT for his church. I know he has been kicking around the idea of spinning up an online directory and some social networking aspects for a while. You may have just saved him a lot of time!
29
sjoerger 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very neat. I think that with some slight tweaks this could be very applicable to home owners associations. This model could also be offered as a hosted version like someone else commented.

(not that I really like HOA's all that much)

30
squiguy7 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing this. I am going to ask my church if they would be interested in using it. I could easily spin this up on a PaaS and get it up and running. Really neat and original software, kudos man.
31
fiatjaf 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand what does the software do. It is a "group manager" for churches? Something like Facebook Groups or many others of the same kind?

I really liked the aspect of the app and that it was built, because I really think group management and group data is an issue, but WHY is it a problem when there exists Facebook Groups, email groups and lots of other solutions?

Is church directory a totally different domain? Have I understood everything wrong?

32
aaronsnoswell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great work! This is really cool! My church currently doesn't have a system like this, but is definitely heading this way.
33
maga 3 days ago 6 replies      
What if my church is called a mosque?
34
arikrak 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks cool. Maybe you should change the name so it's not just focused on churches? Non-"church" denominations and organizations could use it as well.
35
zellyn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Quick question: have you thought about porting this to sandstorm.io? Having a one-click "app-like" install would help out many less-technical church folks.
36
davidradcliffe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great! A few years back I built a hosted product similar to this. It was only focused on groups within a church. This looks like it has a whole lot more to it.
37
x86_64Ubuntu 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks very, very pretty and user friendly. I can think up ideas, and imagine certain tasks and features, but I can NEVER make an inviting and warm UI.
38
joshaidan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks good. One positive benefit I can see from churches using this is that they won't have to force their members to join Facebook to stay connected.
39
tesmar2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any chance to change the license to MIT?
40
c4urself 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love it, looks really nice! Can't believe you stuck with it for 7 years! Great job.
41
dustin1114 3 days ago 0 replies      
It was refreshing to see something like this on HN. I'll have to look into it. Thanks!
42
axpence 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am so impressed with your consistency over the years. Kudos and best of luck.
43
jtzhou 3 days ago 0 replies      
Beautifully done. Thanks for selflessly putting all the code online as an excellent use of RoR.
44
sjs382 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hah, I'm using the same admin template for a project that I'm working on right now. :)
45
sbussard 2 days ago 1 reply      
It takes 1GB to run? dude I might have to port this to node
46
jscheel 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great work. I agree, the state of church software is absolutely appalling.
47
klausjensen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think you have done a very nice job with the design and clean user interface.
48
jasonkostempski 3 days ago 1 reply      
What exactly makes it specific to churches and not organizations in general?
49
cheald 3 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't dug into it yet, but that UI is really lovely. Really nice work.
50
mrbman7 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really slick! I want to get in on the development of this!!
51
saj1th 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news! Keep up the good work.
52
aarongray 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that looks like some quality stuff. Nice work.
53
robertmarley 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks plenty for releasing this!
54
AgathaTheWitch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool stuff. My mother's church would benefit from using this kind of software. They are a pretty disorganized.

I like seeing labor of love side projects actually turn into something cool and useful.

55
joeclark77 3 days ago 1 reply      
Have you got a demo site where somebody who's interested can log in and play around with its features? Two feature questions I can't answer by looking at the screenshots: (1) Does it have a way to highlight "Mass times" (or whatever), or is that just thrown into a general calendar with all the other events?(2) Does it have any way for the pastor to post messages to the front page in a prominent way, or is his user account just another user account?

It looks outstanding -- keeping my eye on it.

56
esaym 3 days ago 0 replies      
Impressive. I might use it!
57
pvnick 3 days ago 0 replies      
What a cool idea! Great job :)
58
simpsn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work, this is awesome.
59
trevorhinesley 3 days ago 0 replies      
This. is. awesome.
60
vdaniuk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Surprised about the community response in this thread that is silencing and claiming inappropriateness of criticism. It is strange to see here the glorification of the technological augmentation/support of a most insidious form of marketing -- religion. And this is for a community that slams marketing and advertising as often as it has an opportunity.
61
ivanca 3 days ago 3 replies      
Is a good software, I'm sure, but 500 points? Is this some sort of communal self-assurance humble-brag about being accepting of "religious software"? Or does everyone just really love ruby CMSs?
62
tptacek 1 day ago 0 replies      
The majority of the downvotes you received almost certainly came from atheists, given the demographics of HN. You got downvoted because you wrote an uncivil and unproductive comment of a form the guidelines for "Show HN" explicitly ask you not to write; in other words, you got downvoted for writing like a jerk. Don't do that.
63
lotharbot 3 days ago 1 reply      
From the guidelines (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html ):

"Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say in a face to face conversation."

"Please avoid introducing classic flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say about them."

...

The sentiment 'religion is bad' is neither civil nor genuinely new/enlightening/informative. Please refrain from making such comments in the future.

64
beejiu 3 days ago 1 reply      
Would it not have been more efficient to build a plugin for, say, BuddyPress?
2
Game about squares
889 points by golergka  1 day ago   189 comments top 62
1
Sephr 1 day ago 4 replies      
The author is intentionally limiting this app to touch-only for touch-capable users. This breaks the game for anyone wanting to use a touchpad or mouse on their touchscreen laptop.

The offending code (from http://gameaboutsquares.com/game.c.js, beautified):

    (function($) {        try {            document.createEvent("TouchEvent");            return;        } catch (f) {}        var eventMap = {            mousedown : "touchstart",            mouseup : "touchend",            mousemove : "touchmove"        };        // mouse handling code follows
Never do this! Remove the entire try-catch block. There is absolutely no reason for you to be limiting touch-capable users to touch-only.

2
laxatives 1 day ago 4 replies      
I like the game and that it teaches you the rules as you play without needing any explicit instructions. I thought some of the comments between levels were annoying. Also the little flag in the corner indicating you're over the correct target could be a little easier to see at a glance.

Just curious, how do you design these levels? Work backwards from the solution?

edit: I'm a little further in, and I'm starting to think the annoying comment thing is on purpose...

3
CyberShadow 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Solver and solutions:

https://gist.github.com/CyberShadow/39f43cf25dac0534f8a9

The solver uses BFS with delayed duplicate detection for pruning visited states (instead of, say, hash tables).

The DDD part can be summed up in two lines of code:

    prevStates = (prevStates ~ states).sort.uniq.array();    states = nextStates.sort.uniq.setDifference(prevStates).array();    // ... expand states into nextStates ...
These were part of the solver's code at one point, although now I've expanded them a bit to improve memory efficiency.

I love D.

4
ardemue 1 day ago 4 replies      
Really liked the game, but I'm colorblind and it blocked me on level 20: I can't tell which square should go on which circle ( http://imgur.com/CX7XWJ4 ). I genuinely played that level as if the two bottom squares were the same. Maybe you could add another differentiator, like a different shape.
5
ashishbharthi 1 day ago 2 replies      
Advice to author. Create iOS and Android versions of games ASAP. You are just hours away from getting cloned on app stores.
6
malvim 1 day ago 1 reply      
Beautiful, polished, fun! Contrary to most people here, I actually like the comments between levels, and the "no instructions" policy just made it better. I wish more games were like this.

Nicely done, I have no negative comments to make. I'd totally pay for this.

7
Monkeyget 1 day ago 2 replies      
8
maxtheman 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone is looking for puzzlers of similar difficulty to levels 30-35, I HIGHLY recommend "English Country Tune" (http://www.englishcountrytune.com/). It will turn your brain inside-out.
9
tobias2014 1 day ago 2 replies      
It should be possible to write a solver for this with a "decision tree". There are decisions where the blocks run out of the screen - you ignore these. You only take into account "sensible" decisions (this has to be formalized). When there are multiple possible "sensible" decisions you branch. One decision consists of an action "click x times on block X and y times on block Y "
10
agumonkey 1 day ago 1 reply      
Suggestion : add keybindings. I'm spoiled by 2048 I want direct repeated manipulation at my finger tips. :)
11
joshdance 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool game. When I saw so many points I immediately thought of 2048 but it is not that kind of game. But I like the clean look, the fun premise and the slightly snarky comments. :)
12
k_os 1 day ago 3 replies      
From level 25 forward ( minus 26, spirals seem to be easy to simulate for my brain ) it's a fascinating example of how your subconscious bruteforces.. I managed to finish 25 and 27 but I honestly have no idea how I did it and if I had to do it again it'd take a while.

I was wondering, for you guys out there that went past 25, were you able to visualise how the puzzle worked and plan out the moves or did you try different stuff until you got in a situation that seemed solvable and then baffled at the realization that you actually did it?

13
Thiz 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love this kind of games. Reminds me of good ol' Sokoban.

Where are the mobile versions? I'd like to play it in my iPad.

Kudos.

14
macu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool concept, not a fan of the pointless commentary after the premise was clear (took two seconds to figure out).
15
JeremyMartinez_ 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Please add a window where it shows you number of clicks. And if you are revisiting a level, add your previous record
16
lifeformed 1 day ago 0 replies      
My strategy with the harder levels was to divide it into 2 parts:

1) Ignore the colors and just figure out how to get the pieces on the goal squares (working backwards helps a lot).

2) Find a cyclical part of the puzzle that lets you swap the order of tiles.

Then you just look for any color-agnostic states in Part 2 that overlap with Part 1.

17
coder23 1 day ago 1 reply      
I gave up on level 28. Solving it would require pen and paper or some serious thought. The difficulty curve is excellent.
18
fernandotakai 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm quite impressed that this works really well on firefox for android. really smooth and the interface is great.
19
psawaya 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great. I'm especially impressed with how the game teaches its own mechanics without ever spelling anything out.
20
PeterWhittaker 1 day ago 1 reply      
With cookies disabled, it tells me I have an "old and rusty" browser. How odd.

(FF 31 on OSX, why do you ask?)

21
devilsbabe 1 day ago 3 replies      
Not working with the mouse on chrome 36. My laptop has a touch screen though and that's working
22
remon 1 day ago 1 reply      
A very promising start and I'm very much in favor of the "randomly click to learn" approach to teaching the game rules. Can do without the comments between levels though.
23
klackerz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finished the game after some two-three hours. The last level and the 31st level were the most difficult for me. I know that the statistics page that no identifying information is showed but it would have been interesting to see some individual stats.

http://i.imgur.com/BP5dBde.png

24
maccard 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a glorious example of how to design a tutorial in a game without bombarding the user with piles of text! Love it!
25
thret 1 day ago 0 replies      
This game is fun, and cute, I like it.

One problem with puzzles of this type though, the structure of the problem leads to the solution. If you simply play with the mechanism for re-ordering boxes, you can 'brute force' the solution fairly easily.

26
wcy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice game! I keep wanting to call it "Game Of Squares" :)
27
RevRal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since I'm rather arrogant it would be nice to be able to easily compare my clicks against the statistics.
28
outrightfree 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great game. Was it inspired by the telescope game that was on the Dyson (vacuum cleaner) website a few years ago? Seems to be gone from the dyson site now, but I've linked to a copy in a separate submission [1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8092648

29
luigisayshello 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm stuck on the freaking 35, I just want to finish this and go eat something, any tip for the level?
30
ugdev 1 day ago 2 replies      
Level 15 drives me nuts
31
sowhatquestion 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else stuck on level 24? Halp!

Edit: I know this is a terrible comment that contributes nothing, please don't downvote it just for that... :3

32
bbayer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea and design. I also made a game [1] about squares some time ago.

[1] : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/swap-boxes/id753811885?mt=8

33
manicmonad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very enjoyable! Loved the interstitial comments' specialty-barista-like attitude.
34
uxwtf 1 day ago 2 replies      
Don Quichot spinning effect (level 29) is too much for my eyes...
35
marxshrugged 1 day ago 0 replies      
Level 20 now. I'm a little bit color blind and 2 of the squares look exactly the same. Higher contrast between colors would be apreciated.
36
ryanknapp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Amazing game, loved the stack on level 21. Made it to level 26, will have to come back and play more later. Go sell it on an app store and make some money for your time.
37
prezjordan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Add sound, throw this in a PhoneGap container, and take my $2.99.
38
netcraft 1 day ago 1 reply      
I might be dense, but all I see is a square with a triangle in it and a circle, and can't seem to make it do anything. It is throwing a 408 timeout though, so maybe its just under load?
39
joallard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't click or interact with anything on Firefox 33a. Just an unresponsive start screen.
40
drydot 12 hours ago 1 reply      
excelent addictive game, btw, what is the trick in level 15 ? i can't go beyond
41
hamidr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I would definitely pay for its android app :P
42
zwegner 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tiny bug report: after clicking on the levels and going back to level 0, all of the buttons on the sides disappear.
43
poopsintub 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice job. I will love seeing this type of game over-run the play store compared to something like 100 falling balls.
44
amenghra 1 day ago 1 reply      
Cool. Reminds me of Boxxle / Sokoban, but adapted for touch screens.

It's PSPACE to solve, right?

45
Ardeof 1 day ago 0 replies      
Decided to stop/stuck too long (around 5 minutes) at Level 21, which is pretty disappointing for me.
46
michaelochurch 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a really elegant game. Kudos to the designer. It's quite admirable. It has a life/death property like Go: the game seems to be about recognizing which configurations are dead and avoiding them.
47
aerovistae 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm stuck on level 3, help please? I seem to be missing something re: controls.
48
hamai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Simple and engaging. Nice graphics engine.
49
akbarnama 1 day ago 0 replies      
What an idea! Simple but challenging and so much fun!!
50
b2themax 1 day ago 0 replies      
I enjoy the game. I just wish it wouldn't talk to me so much.
51
MWil 1 day ago 2 replies      
I liked the game until I came here and felt like an idiiot for being stuck at 10
52
Sami_Lehtinen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice simple game. Yet annoyingly unresponsive after level restart.
53
redgetan 1 day ago 0 replies      
this reminds me of Vagrant Story puzzles where you have to move box crates into the right places.
54
harpal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent game. So much fun and very addictive.
55
pawelkomarnicki 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice game :-)
56
Kiro 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think this is the next Flappy Birds or 2048. It's just not casual enough.
57
geuis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool game. The browser interface keeps appearing in ios7 Safari. Add this meta tag.

<meta name="viewport" content="minimal-ui">

58
Gracana 1 day ago 1 reply      
But it is! Try stacking the red and dark blue colors up in order and pushing them with the light blue block.

I got stuck on 21, and that's enough for me for now. Good puzzle game!

59
ndds 1 day ago 0 replies      
I win:window.GAMEABOUTSQUARES.Interface.completeLvl()
60
egong82 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fun!
61
pseudometa 1 day ago 6 replies      
And go! Tomorrow this game in full will appear on the Google Play store with the exact same colors. In 3 days this game will be rewritten in Swift, Erlang, and have a community based variation. In 4 days someone will find a way to merge this game with 2048 and Flappy Bird. In a week there will be 20 variations of this game including one called Dodge Squares on the iTunes App Store. I'm not psychic, I've just seen this script before.
62
dbg31415 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The game sucks on a laptop.
3
Choose hotels by the quality of their WiFi
667 points by gozmike  4 days ago   236 comments top 53
1
danielpal 4 days ago 11 replies      
One thing that I noticed, is that the more expensive the hotel, the worst is the WiFI. Same applies when I have to pay for WiFI - the more I pay, the worst it is.

I've found that 3 star hotels that offer free WiFI usually have the best speeds/service. Whereas 5 star hotels that usually charge $14.95 daily have the worst.

2
TimJRobinson 3 days ago 3 replies      
Tip for travellers: Learn how to set a static IP address on your devices. I've been travelling through South East asia for the last 3 months and at about 20 - 30% of the hotels I stay at the WiFi works fine but their DHCP does not. I presume this is because most routers in default config cache IP address for clients and when they run out of free IP address they just fail to assign new ones to new clients. If you notice the wifi works but your computer or phone times out when connecting set your ip settings as below:

IP Address: 192.168.1.xxx (xxx being between 50 - 200)Netmask: 255.255.255.0Gateway: 192.168.1.1DNS: 192.168.1.1

This has worked for me in 90% of cases and you get your own private WiFi (as none of the other guests can access it ;)). There was one place I stayed at in hanoi where I got my own 90Mbps / 40Mbps connection due to nobody else being able to get on.

Sometimes the ip is 192.168.0.xxx and on rare occasions it's been 10.0.0.xxx.

I've tried to help hotels fix this issue as I go but it seems most either get some tech to setup their router or plug it in and keep the default settings (sooo many places have 'admin' as their router password) and don't know how to fix it.

3
bduerst 4 days ago 6 replies      
I used to do consulting and traveled 100%. The term "High Speed Internet" is a common misnomer with Hotels, and was a bane of my existence, because it typically meant > 56k but < 1 Mbps speeds.

These were with Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton hotels, mind you. If aggregaters like Hipmunk could incorporate this speed data, the way that they have with in-flight wifi, then hopefully there will be a push to improve this standard.

4
wwweston 4 days ago 1 reply      
While we're at it, can we also choose them by the actual things that let you get a good night's sleep -- whether the beds are not only nice enough but fit your preferences, whether the rooms are acoustically isolated enough you can't hear your neighbors walking (or watching TV or talking or getting busy), whether the temperature controls of the room work efficiently, and whether the room doesn't smell offensive.

Right now, hotel ratings are completely broken for personal bed comfort (I find I'm slightly more likely get a decent night's sleep at a Motel 6 than at a Fairfield, because I'm more likely to find memory foam beds at the latter -- yes, I know they're great for some people, but they're absolutely horrible for anyone who doesn't sleep well when warm and wants something more supportive than conforming).

There's some correlation between ratings and the other things (and it's nice to see more hotels going smoke free), but it's by no means certain.

I'd love to see a rating of internet reliability, but I can get internet in other ways if I need to. If I'm paying for a room for the night, there's no other way for me to sleep, and my experience is that it's generally a crapshoot as to whether I'm going to get a good night's sleep or not.

5
janjongboom 4 days ago 5 replies      
While the WiFi in most hotels is horrendous, wired internet is pretty awesome most of the time. A network cable is always in my suitcase and my laptop can run as an access point for my other devices. A separate access point could also come in handy (you have very small ones nowadays).

During JSDay.it people had a lot of time even connecting to the WiFi while I was running at 80 mbps.

6
benzesandbetter 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice! I've wanted something like this for a while. Glad someone built it.

Seems like ping time is missing, which is critical to me. Also, would be great to have some measure of ping/speed/reliability over time, either via repeated automated testing or guest ratings.

I've often stayed at places which had decent speed, but unserviceable ping times, which is really a buzzkill for VoIP and online meetings.

Another issue is wifi that is fast, but unreliable. I've experienced a lot of that since moving to Brazil; Internet that just goes missing at intervals too regular to ignore.

Would be interesting if a widely-used service like speedtest.net would enable some tagging of IP addresses to pool results, so you could see the aggregated results for a given hotel over time.

7
alwaysdoit 4 days ago 4 replies      
I'd like latency as well as speed. A lot of hotels I have been to have really high ping times.
8
pud 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sometimes wifi is great in one room, but the signal doesn't reach another room. I HAVE A DREAM that, one day, people review the wifi of different rooms in the same hotel.

I'm so glad someone built this. I've been wanting it (or to build it) forever.

Even if I'm not picking up the tab, I'd rather stay at a crappy hotel with great wifi--vs a Four Seasons with crappy wifi.

Hopefully hotels realize this and start competing on wifi quality.

9
sveiss 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really more interested in packet loss/reliability than speeds when I'm in a hotel. 5Mbps, 50Mbps, or 500Mbps, all are fine if they work reliabily. When they don't, they're all equally bad. Trying to use Skype or SSH in the evenings in a hotel is frequently a horrible experience.
10
cpr 4 days ago 1 reply      
The potential downfall of general measurements like this is large conferences like WWDC, where if there's a geek in every room, the whole-hotel performance is going to suffer unless they've provisioned massive peak bandwidth.

(Thinking of the Marriott near Moscone.)

11
andyv88 4 days ago 1 reply      
Someone should really make an 'Airbnb' for High Speed Internet Connections around the world. Hotels, universities, internet cafes, business centres - a lot of businesses would pay to find high speed internet locations around the world for business trips
12
mdellabitta 4 days ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to cross-correlate this with bedbug reports.
13
paines 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is heavily dependend on your hardware. In June I visited Australia, and technically speaking it was a nightmare using an iPhone5 (Greyhound Buses worked 80% of the time, Hostels like 30%). All Android users had a much better Wifi experience. Now back here in Berlin I see the same trend. I started a new job and I am staying each week in a different hotel. I just got an Nexus 5, and when I compare it next to my iPhone 5 in the same place, most of the time Android can connect to the Wifi, why the iPhone5 can't. Speed of course is a complete different story. I am wondering if this is an iPhone5 or iOS issue in general.
14
bjornsing 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's another one: http://speedspot.org/
15
ejr 4 days ago 0 replies      
The key measure we should all be paying attention is "Confidence".

Ex: Some of the hotels in New York show very high speeds, but also "Confidence: 9.2%".

  Confidence value shows how thoroughly the WiFi has been tested at this hotel.   The confidence value depends on several factors, including the number of   speed tests taken, how recently the tests occurred, and the diversity of tests   in terms of the time of day, day of the week, and point within the travel season.

16
DigitalSea 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant. As a developer, whenever I have to travel somewhere, a decent connection for moving files around is paramount. You often see, "High Speed Internet" being advertised at most hotels, it is usually anything but high speed.

Speed is a crucial factor for me when staying somewhere. Nice hotels seem to focus on the service and aesthetics, but the poor old Wifi connection gets left behind.

17
cnst 4 days ago 1 reply      
I used to be fond of requiring high speed internet access in the hotels.

I gave up, upgraded to Unlimited 4G on my T-Mobile line, and don't worry about these things anymore. Problem solved! :-)

Unfortunately, you're very unlikely to be getting decent speeds and latency at the hotels, and most managers don't even care.

18
r00fus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a tough thing to accurately score - you have issues of coverage (do certain floors or the lobby have coverage vs. the rooms), dropped connections, over subscriptions at peak times, inconvenience of re-entering user info, etc.
19
spacefight 4 days ago 0 replies      
Also don't forget to establish a VPN connection. This might sometimes even help with slow running DNS resolvers in place over DHCP and it helps for sure to protect both your surfing habits and your unencrypted traffic.
20
pjbrunet 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good reason to get a Clear hotspot, no more looking for the working WIFI connection, or cafe password, or trying to get the "I agree" TOS page to load. (PS: I'm not invested in Clear, have no affiliation.)
21
JohnTHaller 3 days ago 0 replies      
Better tip: Just bring your own hotspot. If you're a frequent traveler, your life will be SO much better. If you're not a frequent traveler, using the hotspot feature on your phone and paying for it just that month (if you don't already) is often faster and cheaper than a couple days of hotel paid wifi.

Hotel wifi is spotty and incredibly insecure compared to a wireless hotspot.

22
wahsd 4 days ago 2 replies      
I hope this catches on and it can be used to shame and blame hotel chains. I can't recall a single instance where hotel wifi, let alone wire, as even remotely fast.

These hotels normally charge $20-50 per day of internet and they provide shitty service. It drive me mad. I have learned that you can complain and get some significant bonus points out of it. I wish more people complained about the internet service in order to push for faster speeds and better latency, let alone not having your connection drop.

23
cblock811 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to work in the hotel industry in everything from Doubletree up to Ritz Carlton. Wifi was one of the most frustrating amenities we offered because it was always terrible! As an avid traveler who probably spends too much time on his computer I got annoyed as a guest as well. Cheers to the people behind this website. I'm sharing it with everyone from my old industry.
24
jonknee 4 days ago 0 replies      
Between shoddy quality and security, I just tether to LTE. That means no Netflix, but Netflix usually runs especially poorly at hotels anyway.
25
mandeepj 4 days ago 0 replies      
If I experience trouble with WiFi during my stay at a hotel then I just connect to internet using hotspot created from my android phone. I understand not everyone have android phone.

Anyway, we are in a hotel for couple hours only. Rest of time either we are sleeping or we are outside either working or enjoying our vacation.

26
jusben1369 4 days ago 1 reply      
With the increasing amount of bandwidth (in US plans anyways) I wonder if the days of hotel WiFI is short lived anyways. We'll all be hotspotting it soon if we aren't already. Maybe if you are staying somewhere longer than a week and doing a lot of work in your room....but that seems like a small subset.
27
CSMastermind 3 days ago 0 replies      
Watch out for the hotels where people report 30-40 mps. People are getting those speeds when there's no one else on the network. Which is awesome until you have a full house and no per-user cap, then it will be unusable for most guests
28
passive 3 days ago 0 replies      
Based on a stay two weeks ago, I've been craving just such a service. Their reports match what I experienced, at least on the negative end. Now I just have to convince our travel agent to use this for future bookings. :)
29
namDa 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope network infrastructure gets advances more quickly so hotels with lower speeds will realize they have fallen behind.
30
msoad 4 days ago 0 replies      
I gave up on public WiFis on Starbucks and hotels years ago. I pay for LTE and I'm pretty happy with it. I pay $120 for two lines and 10GB data. For me it's reasonable and I never hit 10GB limit.

For people who travel a lot this website is a great resource.

31
kudu 4 days ago 2 replies      
Seems nice, although I have a 60Mbps line at home, and am only getting 30-40 Mbps on the speed test.
32
adamonduty 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I could add some comments while submitting the speed test. The wifi in my hotel is free, but the speed I'm receiving is only obtainable by using a code provided by the front desk. The normal speeds are quite a bit slower.
33
cpfohl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Tried typing "Boston" and nothing in the UI changed. Looks like it's 500-ing.
34
brokentone 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's hard enough to use availability of free wifi as a booking filter, let alone quality. Wonder if there isn't space for an independent filtering service -- taking the listings from elsewhere and simply sorting by your own criteria.
35
itazula 4 days ago 0 replies      
A number of older hotels have decent wired connections. Otherwise, if both the wired and the WiFi is bad or non-existent, I use my personal router (WiMAX) and connect that way. My phone is good option too.
36
elwell 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in a hotel right now, so I did the test feature. I must say I'm impressed. A couple clicks and it correctly found the right hotel instantly and did the test seamlessly. Bravo.
37
r00fus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why are the confidence% so low across the board?
38
andor 4 days ago 0 replies      
What are the estimations based on? Apparently not on price, hotel category or an interpolation between other close hotels.
39
Robadob 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if the nightly rate were either localised to the currency local to the hotel or of the visiting ip.
40
_asciiker_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, is there an API? ...I still remember paying $10 per 30 minutes of Wifi at the Ghana Airport
41
thatben 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yet another idea I had and then assumed someone would get done. Just need to promote it (and I'll use it)!
42
GordeHead 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, the quality of service here is actually non-existent seeing as how the entire WiFi protocol is still vulnerable to interception, interruption within milliseconds.

So, the word "quality" wouldn't necessarily be the word to identify the current capabilities of any wireless network using the standard protocol suite available to the user today.

43
spullara 4 days ago 0 replies      
I tried to submit a support request to add the hotel I am sitting in and it got a CSRF error...
44
csours 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would much rather choose a hotel on the basis of their A/C and air quality.
45
t4s0thcmdr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I prefer to choose hotels by the amount of bedbugs in the TripAdvisor reviews.
46
mark_lee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any hotels should make wifi free and good as TV.
47
mark_lee 3 days ago 0 replies      
sometimes I'm really desperate to internet speed of those hotels, I wonder those hotel managers still live in the 90's.
48
joshmn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Was considering doing this for all wifi networks. I have an API built in Rails for it if anyone wants it (100k+ public wifi hotspots, such as coffee shops, restaurants, etc), shoot me an email: josh@josh.mn
49
keerthiko 3 days ago 0 replies      
These needs to also be integrated with AirBnB
50
Cowicide 4 days ago 2 replies      
Would like to see this for coffee shops.
51
known 3 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant.
52
walruscop 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sweet!
53
icantthinkofone 4 days ago 1 reply      
My wife checked us into the Sheraton in Tulsa (or was it Oklahoma City?) on the return leg of our wide circle trip out west and she turned to me and asked if I wanted to pay $10 for internet access. I almost exploded. One of the managers tried to tell me the reason they charged for it was to be up front about the costs of services they provided cause they were a "full service hotel". If I wasn't so tired, I would have asked if they also charged for soap.

The managers in the morning just stared at me blankly when I went off on them in the morning. "Why do they charge for internet but not phone service?", I asked.

4
Mistakes You Should Never Make
636 points by sethbannon  4 days ago   328 comments top 48
1
jlevy 4 days ago 8 replies      
As internal counsel for YC, it was very upsetting to learn about the ongoing troubles at Amicus. It was particularly distressing to hear about the payroll tax issues, given that YC has funded excellent companies that specialize in accounting and payroll for small businesses, such as Indinero and Zenpayroll. The tone of Seth's post suggest that YC has supported Seth in all of his recent actions. That is not true -- YC supports its companies through good times and bad, but we do not support illegality. For example, in paragraph 3 Seth writes that PG looks for founders that are "naughty" and writes about levels of rule-breaking. YC's principal tenets are to "make something people want" and "talk and listen to users/customers" -- YC may promote a culture of disruption, but that does not mean neglecting payroll taxes and breaking rules.
2
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 6 replies      
That had to be a tough article to write, thanks Seth.

The thing that really stuck with me is the 'technically true' aspects. Growing up in various places around the world I encountered a number of people for whom their motto was 'its only illegal if you get caught!' The advantages of this motto were very apparent as a teen, you could run a stop light at 11:30pm, there was hardly anyone around, and you could be home by curfew. You could use your parents car if it was back where they expected it to be when they next needed it. Sort of the ultimate Ferris Bueller.

And then I had as an influence my Grandfather, who was a US Attorney, and who valued his integrity over his own life. I think of him as sort of the other end of this spectrum.

I asked him about his unwillingness to do what others have done (at the time it was drive faster than the speed limit on an empty road) and he said, "Charles, the world is full of pain and anguish, when a man lives by a code he can walk among that pain and anguish and help right its wrongs without being burdened by having contributed to it." (well that is how I remembered it, there was probably a story about hunting in there too) and I didn't really understand it until much later.

3
xcubed 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is just awful. There's owning up to mistakes, which is very "trendy" right now, and then there's being a straight up terrible, unethical, incompetent person. It's a bit gross to reference Ben Horowitz, to try to make this seem like a "classic" startup moment that every startup goes through. E.g., "most companies go through at least two, and sometimes over a dozen WFIOs in their lifetime."

1. "And so I learned that we hadnt been paying payroll taxes for almost 3 years a particularly painful thing given I believe in taxes as a means of giving back to society." It's weird and manipulative to throw in how much you believe in giving back to society here. You majorly screwed up oversight of how investment money was being spent to not notice the difference in financials given no taxes were being paid!

"This hurt even more because Id been paying myself one of the lowest salaries on the team to maximize our runway and support our mission." Again, you're the founder. If you're going to make that statement, at least include that you have a much larger equity stake in the company - you're not sacrificing yourself completely!

2. "Mistake 3: Not being explicit about hacks" should be re-written, "Being Dishonest." Cloaking the language as "hacks" and again referencing PG to make your behavior acceptable - (he says it's ok, it's just really a grey area!)

3. "Mistake 7: Telling a half-truth" should be called "lying." If you still think it's a half-truth, you have NOT learned your lesson. It's not "rule bending." Everyone knows that when you say you dropped out of Harvard, the assumption is that you were some form of degree earning student. Seriously, it wasn't a half-truth if the people you're talking to were assuming something else - it was a lie.

Lastly, NOWHERE do I see remorse for the lives of your employees who you laid off. These people trusted and believed in you, and you let them down. Did these people find new jobs? Did you help them find new jobs? How did you structure their layoff packages? Are any still struggling? Were you able to support their next career moves in some way if not monetarily? Not really mentioned, which suggests you don't really care. You're much more focused on you.

4
tptacek 4 days ago 8 replies      
Of all the financial mistakes you can possibly make running a company, withholding payroll taxes and then failing to remit them is probably the worst. Be thankful you caught this before the liability exceeded your available funds, because company operators are apparently routinely held personally liable when there's a shortfall, and I'm not sure that debt is even dischargeable in bankruptcy.

What's worse, minor versions of this mistake turn out to be easy to make; I've seen (much smaller, much more easily fixed) incidents in multiple companies with things like state taxes and unemployment insurance. So: you can't assume this is a mistake that won't happen to you.

Without making any value judgements about the operations of this particular company, one valuable lesson from the post is: do not ever use the Bank of America Payroll feature.

Unremitted payroll taxes can come with a one hundred percent penalty, and you can be liable for that penalty even if you had no knowledge of the failure to remit. Payroll tax screwups are the scary story big startups tell to baby startups at bedtime. Shudder.

5
slg 4 days ago 3 replies      
I know this is a minor point of the article, but as someone with a degree from Harvard Extension I need to weigh in on that part of the story. I hate people who make this lie of ommission. Harvard Extension isn't Harvard College or Harvard Business School, but it still provides a very good education with great flexibility at an even better price. However, there is a small minority of people that continuely try to pass off their degree (or in this case a lack of degree, which is an even bigger crime considering that both the admission and graduate rates of the College and Extension School are roughly inverses of each other) as something more than it is. This isn't a fabricated credential on a resume; it is a lie that makes other people guilty by association. Everytime someone confesses or is caught doing this my degree becomes devalued. It establishes a repuation for HES students and alumni as unethical Harvard wannabees that are looking for any way to cut corners. The lesson to learn is not about managing your own reputation for ethics and honesty, but to also remember that you are a member of community. You don't only represent yourself. You represent yourself, your company, your friends, your family, your school, your industry, your hometown, your gender, your race, your sexual preference...

Obligatory [semi-]relevant xkcd: http://xkcd.com/385/

6
MortenK 4 days ago 3 replies      
It's absolutely astonishing to me that SV investors and incubators pass along ~4 million USD to a team of people with so little business experience, as to neglect hiring an accountant. End result being unpaid payroll tax for almost 3 full years!

No one ever asked what accounting firm Amicus used? No one ever just glanced at the finances and thought hey, where's the frigging payroll tax? Is valley capital so readily available as to warrant this kind of extremely low investor engagement in funded companies?

No written founders agreement either. I mean this is basics, and it should have been caught or taught by the accelerators and the investors.

This is not a shot at the OP, who I think is exceedingly brave to write such a public, honest and informative account of their screw-ups. Competence comes from experience and everybody in business has been incompetent at some point.

Rather, this is a massive failure on the investors' and accelerators part. With all the talk of "funding the team, not the idea", you'd think there was a bit deeper understanding of team experience and competence, than just some degrees from an ivy.

It's mind blowing that investors can be so careless with their cash. I wonder if it's a common occurrence or if this is an outlier situation.

7
michaelvkpdx 4 days ago 2 replies      
Poor founders and your VC-funded pain.

How about some empathy for each of those employees you are firing, who have to go home and face families and lives that they've shared with you and you have essentially shat upon?

They are not "resources". They are people, humans, and their lives and loves are just as important as yours. They shared a piece of their humanity with you to help you in your dream. A dream which, make no mistake, isn't making the world a better place. It's you yourself getting rich. You used these people and now they have to deal with their lessons learned.

Which aren't "lying is a bad thing" and "not paying taxes is bad" and "I need to network more with rich people." They are- "I need to find a new job and/or draw unemployment, I need to cope with this shock to my system, and I need to figure out how I'm going to pay the bills".

All the "libertarians" in this business lose sight of social agreements and safety nets, until they get screwed by someone who shares that approach.

8
smalter 4 days ago 2 replies      
Amazing article.

As advertised, it's not a self-aggrandizing "mistakes" post that points you at the end to the author's next venture. It's full of the kinds of things that keep me up at night.

It reminds me of something similar that happened to me: I was running Adwords for the first time. The dashboard wasn't showing that any of my ads had run, and it kept telling me to up my bid amount. I kept upping it and upping it, and I wasn't seeing any ads running. I said screw it and forgot about it.

When I happened to look at the dashboard 3 weeks later, I had blown $6k on Google ads. I had to get my team together and tell them what happened and apologize. ($6k was a lot of money to us.) Like Seth, this hurt a lot because I paid myself less than anyone in the company to save money.

Seth, if you're around the iDoneThis office at Great Jones and Bowery, hit me up. I'd love to buy you a drink.

9
methodover 4 days ago 10 replies      
> In the early days I would often let potential customers think we already had a feature they wanted

What. How is this even remotely acceptable? If discovered it destroys your credibility. Among your employees it destroys your credibility. If I was an employee and found out that this was happening, I'd be extremely upset. I wouldn't trust a thing you say. If you'll lie to customers, you'll lie to me.

10
mhartl 4 days ago 0 replies      
First I'd like to thank sethbannon for writing this valuable article. As someone with two failed startups under his belt (including one through Y Combinator), I think entrepreneurs being more open about the challenges of startups is a good trend.

FedEx, Evernote, Intuit, Zappos, Airbnb Im endlessly inspired by those founders who faced near collapse but simply refused to give up.

These stories can be inspiring, but remember that they suffer from survivor bias. The companies that do go under don't get as much attention in the financial press.

Sometimes the reality is that it's time to shut down. Give up on one thing, move on to the next thing.

11
todayiamme 4 days ago 0 replies      
Given, that the dominant comments over here are in some shape or form pointing out deficiencies of some sort in Seth, I would like to point out something. You're forgetting how hard it is to start something new. I'm sure that some of us might have avoided some of the items on the list, some might have even managed to avoid all of them. However, I'm also pretty sure that all of us would have made a lot of other gigantic mistakes along the way.

I'm in the process of starting a non-profit in the field of medicine and I've been taking a lot of pain to do my homework. I've spent my evenings quizzing people, reading books, talking to the friends I'm working with, and just trying to get something out of the door, but I wasn't even remotely aware that things could go wrong in half the permutations Seth mentions. In fact, in his list alone, I spotted at least 3 things that I would have inevitably messed up if it hadn't been for an hour of inspired reading based upon his post. It's hard to make something new, sometimes it feels that you're trying to push through the improbable, shift the odds to your favour, and achieve what seems to be so impossible. In that world, in that arena, it's easy to mess up. It's easy to make mistakes and it's very hard to fix them.

At the end of the day, the truth is that everyone messes up. Everyone has that one time where they should have done X, but did Y / nothing and that then resulted in bad thing Z, which could have dragged / or did drag them under. This is why - in my mind - the right question to ask over here is, what does it take to handle a crisis with Seth's grace? After all, not dying is the difference between crossing the finish line and pausing along the way.

12
lambda 4 days ago 0 replies      
So, revealing one of these mistakes would come off as a brave revelation of a personal mistake; a lesson learned and moved on from

All of them together seem to come across as being simply dishonest. Being years behind on taxes because you never bothered to have a proper accountant look at your finances, calling people co-founders one day and then treating them like employees, selling non-existent features to your customers and collecting credit card information with no product to back it up, saying you "dropped out of Harvard" when you "took a few courses at Harvard Extension", not telling your investors about what's going on, all adds up to pretty much being entirely dishonest with everyone you interacted with.

One of these mistakes could be forgivable; I've known some very good people who were terrible at accounting and so wound up with lots of back taxes to pay. A good salesman may sell a feature that's not quite ready yet; it's sometimes frustrating for the developers, but as long as it's more the exception than the rule it's OK. Focusing on your product more than your investors may be OK if you just have so much to do and you really are bringing them a lot of value.

But all of them at once? That doesn't leave you with very many excuses; you weren't so busy building features that you didn't have time for investors, you were using your customers, and the IRS, and your "cofounders" as extra investors and even with all of that you weren't able to make it work out.

13
dreamweapon 4 days ago 6 replies      
Mistake 1: Taxes

This thing about not noticing that you weren't paying payroll taxes wasn't a "mistake." It was pure head-in-assery.

How can you "miss" the fact that you weren't being subtracted for payroll taxes? One quarterly / annual review after another, for 3 years? It's like running a personal budget, and "missing" the fact that you aren't paying rent.

14
jacquesm 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is why you pay an accountant the big bucks and pray they don't mess up in turn, very frequently if they do the responsibility is still yours. Running a company comes with a lot of responsibilities that tend to keep you awake until the small hours of morning. Details like these can get you, especially because they are retro-active and hardly anybody is in a position to absorb an instant loss of say 7 years remittances for the 100 employees they have. Be very grateful that it wasn't a huge amount of money, bigger companies have failed over things like this.

Also, if you are conservative you'll have a spreadsheet that models your worst and best cashflow prognosis for the next 6 months to a year out. If you find yourself consistently outperforming the 'best' case in spite of an unchanged business outlook then it's high time to start checking things.

15
mrgriscom 4 days ago 0 replies      
This guy sounds like a complete sleaze. I appreciate that he wrote the article, as it did contribute a few moments of my day's HN entertainment, but I don't understand the praise being heaped on him. Simply "coming clean" is not commendable, in the absence of any discernible remorse. In the end you just feel like someone is still being played.

Yes, people can make mistakes. But for a pattern of mistakes, and for a person who seems to have such a casual relationship with the truth, you start to wonder if some of the mistakes were... not necessarily willful, but just plausibly-deniable enough.

16
nwenzel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Poor bank UI crushes startup's bank account.

Thanks for posting Seth. Must have been a tough one to write.

I can't say this enough, use Zenpayroll.

In a prior company I had one of the other payroll giants (Zenpayroll didn't exist 10 years ago). It was awful. We switched from one giant to another to make 401k easier. But in the switch, both companies reported earnings to the IRS. All my employees received notices from the IRS saying they each owed $10k+ in back taxes and penalties. No one ended up having to pay, but when the IRS comes calling, it's stressful even when you're not wrong.

Zenpayroll is fantastic. New game, new level.

https://zenpayroll.com/

17
carlesfe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Despite the amount of similarly titled articles that appear on HN weekly, this one is really, really good.

Don't miss out on it.

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matthewmacleod 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow - "Oops, we forgot to pay payroll taxes for three years" isn't good. How does nobody notice that?

But lessons learned and all that. I can't stress enough (at least from having run a small business) that accounting is the number one thing to get correct from the get-go. It saves such an immense amount of time, money and stress later on.

19
UVB-76 4 days ago 0 replies      
Although a valuable cautionary tale, is it really wise to make a post like this, associated to the company name, for the whole world to see?

As a post-mortem, I would understand, but surely not a good idea when your company is still trading.

Existing/prospective customers are going to read this, and it's not going to fill them with confidence.

20
fredsters_s 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Ive come to realize that technically true is a terrible ethical measure for a (non-technical) statement. I should have held myself to a higher standard. Ive also learned the importance of overwhelming honest"

So true. There is an immense amount of pressure within startups to 'bend the rules', and I think this hits the nail on the head.

21
jakejake 4 days ago 0 replies      
We had a deal with our landlord for paying a reduced rent amount for one year, after which it would go up by $1,500 per month. Well, we had quite honestly forgotten about the deal and the same automated rent payments just kept going through without a word from anybody. About TWO YEARS later our landlord came to us and said "oh yea, remember that rent deal we had? You guys owe us about $36,000 in back rent!"

That sucked but we don't blame anybody but ourselves. It goes to show that you do need to keep track of your own finances and not expect somebody to tell you when you are not paying things properly.

22
plehoux 4 days ago 0 replies      
Taxes! It is never too early to setup something like xero.com and bring outside expertise.

Knowing how much money you really have is the most important thing to know when you run a business.

At ConferenceBadge.com I spent a few days automating our accounting process with Xero API and brought some help from Xenaccounting.com (Montreal firm) to manage our books. It really helped us bootstrap the company and manage or tight budget month to month.

Accounting dept (not knowing where you are) is really dangerous and stressful.

23
ajaymehta 4 days ago 1 reply      
Kudos, Seth. Really refreshing to see this kind of bare honesty, and takes a lot of courage to know that this post will probably be seen by all friends/family/coworkers. Thank you for writing this.
24
rdl 4 days ago 0 replies      
83b elections and payroll taxes are the only two things which are really really critical from an administrative perspective, in my experience, and can't be fixed later with fairly minimal cost.
25
jakejake 4 days ago 0 replies      
I actually enjoyed this article and it's definitely reassuring in a way to read about other people's struggles. I have to take minor issue with the "entrepreneurs dont talk about their most difficult moments publicly" part because it seems like there's an abundance of articles lately from founders who write about their stress, depression, failing startup, etc. I feel like I see more of these articles than success stories. Even the success stories I've seen lately are more of the tone "we had to really go through some shit to get here."

I do respect that it's difficult to write about, though. In addition to just wanting to not feel like a failure, you don't generally want your employees and investors to feel like everything is about to go down the toilet. I'm glad to see more people writing about their real, honest experiences.

26
lowglow 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to hear the co-founder's stories as well. I think this would give us a complete story of the situation.
27
thom 4 days ago 0 replies      
You shouldn't really be able to go through a startup accelerator without someone hooking you up with an accountant... much less raise millions of dollars of investment.
28
subdane 4 days ago 1 reply      
It would be really interesting to hear Seth's former co-founders response to this well written piece.
29
jeffcrigler 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seth shows a lot of courage to do this. I have done three start ups. My first one was successful and got bought by Lexis/Nexis... but it wasn't very lucrative. The second one was a complete disaster and I spend $40 million on a pipe dream and my VC's had to take me out. The third one was a success still waiting to materialize as it was sold and I have yet to see the dividend. But at ever step i made lots of mistakes (including falling behind on payroll taxes) and each of these were learning opportunities. I give kudos to Seth for sharing this and am more hopeful now than before that he can make Amicus successful in the long term.
30
dayjah 4 days ago 0 replies      
I often find myself saying the following: "We are the sum of our mistakes, though to re-offend is to not have learned".

So much is made of out and out success these days, it sets up society to be an incredibly unforgiving place and feeds a loop of setting unattainably high standards for ones self or for those around you, and from that comes a fear of mistakes, if you cannot make a mistake you are denying yourself an opportunity to learn.

Context: I was a manager of a software dev team dealing with high scale, and am now a technical non-management leader. Prior to that the founder of a few companies. Throughout all of that I've tried to fail a little less each day.

31
krebby 4 days ago 0 replies      
I interviewed at Amicus last year and they were clearly some of the nicest guys in tech. It's always hard to read stories like this but it's especially tough to see a good idea go under. Best of luck to everyone involved.
32
tomp 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone clarify why dropping out of Harvard Extension School is a subset of dropping out of Harvard University? I checked out Wikipedia, but it's not very clear about Harvard's system and the different colleges (Harvard College, Radcliff College, Extension School, ...) I've always assumed there was just one "University of Harvard", but apparently it's more complicated...
33
bellerocky 4 days ago 0 replies      
On the co-founder thing, being a "co-founder" doesn't mean you're also endowed with as much authority as all the othe co-founders. In most circumstances one of the co-founders should be designated as the one in charge, given the responsibility of making the hard decisions.

Being in charge doesn't mean you get to win every argument, as you don't want your co-founders to quit, but it definitely shouldn't be a thing where all the co-founders have equal decision making capabilities because that may lead to never-ending strife. Most decisions shouldn't be arbitrary anyway, a decision should come with a convincing argument. It's those hard decisions when none of the answers seem perfect where you need someone to win out even though it may not feel right.

The leadership structure should be determined when the founding team forms, so there's no ambiguity later and each person needs to decide then and there if they can live with the setup and thereafter stick to it.

34
tptacek 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is probably not great advice, because the state and federal IRS (reasonably) get pissed when you misclassify FTEs as contractors, and there are penalties if they decide that's happened.
35
chetanahuja 3 days ago 0 replies      
The whole kerfuffle about Harvard Extension vs Harvard College just lays bare the awful reality of the value of college education today. It's basically about acquiring a brand-name on your resume. Especially in the US system, the university branding says very little about the merits of the graduates (since admissions process is a colossal clusterfuck where a very large number or rejected candidates are objectively academically superior to a very large number of accepted candidates) and everything about our obsessions with exclusive clubs.
36
dheer01 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seth - Thanks for sharing your perspective - its extremely courageous to talk about these things in the open.

I am a startup founder and have been there done that - allow me to seed you with a radically different perspective.

You made NO mistakes. None. Every lesson that you learned - you will unlearn it in the next year or so. There are lessons to learn over here, but not the ones you mentioned - they will come - just wait for it.

Everyone pointing out in this thread about your mistakes is dead wrong. They don't know what it takes - most have never been close to what you are doing - they just don't know. This is also one of the reasons it might NOT help to talk about these things in public - though I am not saying that you shouldn't.

Most successful founders make most of these mistakes - and then some. The only mistake that you really made is to not figure out the business - everything else is not important. Sales fixes everything - and it would have fixed all these mistakes. Specifically:

1. Skipping on taxes till its too late - this is a trait of a successful founder. It means you are focussed on the business too much to bother about paying taxes.

2. Poorly defined co founder relationships - the story about 'every' startup. Let me tell you the secret about founder relationships - ignore them. Figure out the 'business' - founder relationships will figure themselves out.

3. Hacks - This world is unfortunately run by people who don't see things like we do. To hack is to have tread that middle ground which keeps the peace and also lets us run things they way they should.

4. Going it alone - There is no other way. At the centre of the biggest changes the world has ever seen, there is a lonely founder. You have to do it alone - dont seek to change it - just understand it.

5. Investor relations - Investors like a good business more than you and me - you fix the business and let the investor will fix the relations.

37
DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 1 reply      
Seth,

Thank you so much for posting this. We all make mistakes, and for each of those, there could be ten thousand HN'ers who would come along behind us and say something like "But how could you do X? That's stupid!"

Everybody wants to read business porn. Nobody wants to sit down and hear the ways they will likely screw up. Guess which one is more effective. We need this.

This took guts to do. It is one of the more useful posts I've read, and it will have a positive impact. Congrats.

38
jozefff 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dang, that's rough Seth. Thanks a ton for sharing though. It's hard enough to go through those kind of struggles, but to be honest and let others know the difficulties you faced and own up to mistakes you made is really valiant. Kudos to the max.
39
danielweber 4 days ago 1 reply      
No matter how smart you are, the only way it makes sense to do your own taxes is if your business is taxes. Otherwise, hire the woman who spent years learning this stuff and devotes her entire cognitive load to the task to do it for you.
40
krytork 4 days ago 0 replies      
This guy is totally irresponsible. The thought that he had the financial well being of other people in his hands makes me sick. There should be a law that prevents people like this from starting another company.
41
_RPM 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seth,

I really enjoyed reading your article. It was extremely insightful, and I hope to read more articles posted on your blog in the future.

42
jlas 4 days ago 3 replies      
Wait, so are you telling me that in 3 years no one noticed that taxes weren't being deducted from their pay?
43
MattBnB 4 days ago 0 replies      
Such an awesome article. Minimal, simple and well said. Taxes would suck to f up
44
andrewstuart 3 days ago 0 replies      
Let he who is without guilt cast the first stone.
45
jasonlaramburu 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, sorry to hear about all this. Are you going to return the remaining investor money?
46
rmcfeeley 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the brave post, Seth. Glad to see all of the support here, deserved, and appreciate your honesty. Best wishes for the days ahead
47
SomeCoolName 4 days ago 1 reply      
This was a very useful read, thank you!
48
ajb 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really uninformative headline. Hmm, what would be better? Maybe "Management Mistakes Founders should never make" (not all of use are reading this for the startup stuff, believe it or not)
5
Trello Spins Out of Fog Creek With $10.3M
588 points by moritzplassnig  4 days ago   161 comments top 36
1
johnyzee 4 days ago 7 replies      
Cool to see Fog Creek succeed like this. I've been following Joel for almost fifteen years (the now defunct Fog Creek message boards were some of the best on the internet for a couple of years).

From the beginning Joel made a simple assertion: Hire great people, give them a great environment, then sit back and watch them kick ass. He said this before all of this became conventional industry wisdom (and probably played a major role ushering it in). With products like CityDesk, FogBugz, and Copilot failing or seemingly meandering, it didn't really seem like much would come of it. But they kept at it and look at them now. I guess good software does take ten years (give or take) [1].

Of course it didn't hurt that Joel is one of the best bloggers who ever done it, and I'm sure at least Stack Overflow benefited tremendously from being seeded with Joel's captive audience, but they have still executed the hell out of it and continue to do so, and obviously continue to spawn awesome stuff on the side.

[1] http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000017.html

2
filmgirlcw 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love Trello. We use it as our editorial workflow board at Mashable (meaning it is where stories live from assignment (or sometimes conception) to the various editing/publishing phases. We use it to visually see what is publishing next, to see embargos or scheduled posts for different areas and more importantly, to see what everyone else is working on.

To me, that's the hallmark of a good tool: when it can be used in an industry it really wasn't designed for (publishing workflow) as if it was built for that purpose.

Props to Joel and to Trello!

3
DigitalJack 4 days ago 5 replies      
I like trello and use it for personal stuff occasionally, but the work I do just can't be hosted somewhere else. Legally. So I hate web apps and cloud this, cloud that, mostly because they are no good to me.

The type of work I do would change before the need for controlled local hosting will--in other words it might be that mine line of work will become obsolete or transform so dramatically that the requirement of controlled local hosting is moot. That would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.

4
vojtech 4 days ago 1 reply      
Co-founder of Trello Joel Spolsky wrote a blog post about today's news. Worth reading if you're interested in the thinking behind the deal: http://indexventures.com/news-room/news/trello-raises-10m-se...
5
wsxcde 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great to see Trello, Fog Creek and Joel doing well.

Joel/Fog Creek are one of the few entities in the startup ecosystem that I read about and think to myself, I want to be a CEO like Joel and build a company like Fog Creek.

A lot of startups claim they want to "change the world." And I think Joel can actually claim to have done that thanks to his influential blog and the humane company culture he's setup at Fog Creek. And this is without even counting stack exchange.

6
jhonovich 4 days ago 1 reply      
So Trello is not currently profitably? "Fog Creek is profitable and could afford to fund Trello development to profitability." Given its growth rate and presumably low sales / marketing expenses, it would seem to be easy for them to be profitable.

What is their revenue? There's 4.5 million 'members' though less than 25% have used it in the last 28 days, from what the chart shows http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2014/07/24.html

Is it just that very few of these people are paying currently? I do see they are adding a business class tier now.

7
uniclaude 4 days ago 4 replies      
That's great!

Trello is one of those apps that you can dismiss too fast because you think it doesn't do enough, but which to come back to because everything else is too complex. I've been using it extensively, and it has almost gone viral around me. As in, every time someone needs to manage a project, I hear "Hey, what was this simple project management software you told me you're using for everything you do?", and there comes a new Trello user.

I even remember using it for managing my own time when I was working for a large Japanese company that was using excel spreadsheets to manage projects, so I could have a clear interface and use a quick and dirty piece of JS I wrote to generate the sacrosanct Daily Reports I was asked to provide.

8
weavie 4 days ago 5 replies      
It's incredible how such a simple idea could become so big.

I'm sat here trying to think up some grand scheme that's going to make me my millions. Its a great lesson that really all I need is a simple idea. The key is in the execution. Take that simple idea and develop (and market) it to perfection.

9
andygcook 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how this type of spin out works? I would imagine FogCreek has an ownership stake in the company for "seed funding" Trello with resources.
10
8ig8 4 days ago 0 replies      
FogBugz users: Did you know you can drag FogBugz cases into Trello cards? Spolsky shared the secret...

https://twitter.com/spolsky/status/433355023636897792

11
executive 4 days ago 5 replies      
We would use Trello if they added two things:

1) simple way to delete a card, list, or board (not this archive nonsense)

2) multiple lists in a column

12
nilkn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is Trello getting its own office space or will it still cohabit the same space as Fog Creek?
13
chucknelson 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using Trello daily for over a year now to keep track of projects and tasks at work, and it has been great. While I sometimes freak out that Trello alone holds my work to-do list (instead of nice, safe paper and pen), I have yet to experience any significant downtime or lost data.

Good luck to them!

14
jogzden 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's really great to see good things coming Trello's way with all of this. Those guys have worked ridiculously hard at it.

I distinctly remember them keeping Trello running through a disaster and keeping all of it's users informed. Great job, guys!

15
juvoni 4 days ago 0 replies      
Trello's simplicity and ease of use almost makes you feel like you're using pen and paper and that's truly powerful and why so many people can learn how to use it with so little onboarding.

Trello has a good balance of blending to your workflow and having your workflow blend to it.

I was even able to find a clever way to use trello to manage all of my personal reading: http://juvoni.com/trello-book-reading-management/

16
ksec 4 days ago 2 replies      
$10.3M for How many %? And what is it value at?

I couldn't find the information anywhere.

17
mehrdada 4 days ago 0 replies      
> In 2010, the company spun off Stack Exchange Inc.

This is not what actually happened. As far as I remember, Stack Overflow had nothing to do with Fog Creek per se, except for Joel begin a founder of both. Stack Exchange Inc. grew from Stack Overflow Internet Services LLC which Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky were founders of. Fog Creek did not make Stack Overflow.

18
8ig8 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Fog Creek, which was founded in 2000 and is owned by employees

What happens to the Fog Creek employees? Do they have a stake in the new companies?

19
Brajeshwar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to Trello. I user Trello for almost everything, from planning what to buy/not-to-buy, travel planning, to choosing a school for my daughter.
20
k-mcgrady 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great news, congratulations. I'm interested to hear what people think about it's chance of survival now. As part of Fog Creek they started monetising Trello and had a chance of building a long-term business. Now with the investment there is greater risk they will end up acquired and shut down. On all the Trello threads here people have always been very worried about that scenario.
21
sahil_videology 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the funding from a happy gold member. I use it to manage (and not forget) all the many small things I need to do or to keep track of ideas for the future. One of the biggest features is that is does not mandate a workflow because it's just boards with lists with cards. I use it in ways partly inspired by Kanban, Getting Things Done, and the typical calendar.
22
krosaen 4 days ago 0 replies      
After trying so many tools, pivotal tracker, asana, google docs, Trello was so refreshing and easy to use I immediately became an evangelist. I think a key feature is you can share it with non-techincal folks and it makes sense to at least some degree right away. Yay Trello, happy you will be around for a long time to come!
23
fred_durst 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the biggest things I loved about Joel and the entire Fog Creek / SO history is that it always felt like a company. A real business with real people. Not a cartoon and not a sweatshop. I hope with this news Trello continues down that path.
24
skrish 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing to see the journey of a a blogger & company I have admired for the past 15 years. His blog was one of those inspirations for me to want to start building my own business. Big fan of Trello here. Many congratulations.
25
tenzinnorgay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love how Trello is customizable to everything I want. Easy to integrate with other services, utilize their card feature and generally make task management easier. Very happy for the Trello and Fog Creek team. Look forward to seeing how it evolves on its own these coming years!
26
chiubaka 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow that's pretty cool. Didn't realize Trello wasn't already it's own thing.

What do you all use Trello for? I've tried a number of different task management systems, including Trello, but I haven't yet found a use case for Trello feels 100% perfect. Curious to hear how others are using it!

27
zkar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone else seeing lots of parallels in functionality between Trello and Google Keep (keep.google.com). I have been using keep a lot since google got rid of their google.com/ig homepage. Not finding a overwhelming reason to migrate to Trello.
28
doorhammer 4 days ago 0 replies      
disclaimer: There's absolutely no real thought about how I'd implement this as I'm saying it.

I like trello a lot. I'm practically obsessed with it.

It works really well for my small teams and my personal life.

A couple people have said it doesn't scale well to larger teams (with necessary ymmv disclaimers).

I wonder if that's because of how inherently formless and simple it is (which I think is its strength). It's a very general metaphor that narrows to lots of specific use cases easily. It'd be interesting if there were more optional constraints you could add to boards/cards/etc to formalize a specific workflow. I'm just shooting from the hip here, not sure what that would look like.

29
deevus 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love Trello. I have used it for several years now at work and for personal projects.

One thing I would like to know is what the hell is Yammer? Microsoft bought them out for 1.2 billion and I've never heard of it.

30
joshbert 4 days ago 0 replies      
Trello is such a fantastic tool, I use it every single day. It has stood the test of time for me, unlike Evernote, Clipboard and many others. This is fantastic news, kudos to the Trello team.
31
blowski 4 days ago 0 replies      
On a side note, Fog Creek is only linked with Stack Overflow, in that Joel Spolsky is on the management team of both - http://meta.stackexchange.com/a/53251
32
richardwigley 4 days ago 12 replies      
I would be interested if anyone has used this for project management?
33
sergiotapia 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish Trello would allow me to keep track of time for individual cards. None of this 'addon' nonsense, just bake it right in there. :)
34
mark_integerdsv 3 days ago 0 replies      
Used Fogbugz at my second real job in the world. Read a ton of this guys blogs.

Good on ya man!

35
ireadzalot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos to Trello team! I use it everyday to track my personal work. I used it on web and on mobile apps.
36
AndrewDucker 4 days ago 3 replies      
You're being downvoted because you're not adding anything to the conversation.

If you have _specific_ things you dislike about Trello, or advice for people to make it look more how you'd like, then _that_ would be something that people would be interested in (and vote up).

6
Math Intuition Cheatsheet
466 points by jgrodziski  4 days ago   64 comments top 18
1
bithive123 4 days ago 4 replies      
I am often saddened by how much easier it has been for me to acquire computer science versus mathematical literacy. Embarrassingly, years after a poorly-timed calculus course left me thinking I had to be able to prove the central limit theorem in order to use calculus, the biggest barriers have turned out to be things programming as a discipline has learned to avoid; encouraging varied and/or terse notations, opaque variable naming schemes, and arbitrary use of jargon where simpler terms would suffice.

A friend of mine who is a physicist once complained to me that every time he had to install some scientific software package on his computer, he had to deal with a litany of arbitrary things which seemed to have nothing to do with his task. I countered with my experience learning math and joked that at least programmers are willing to occasionally refresh our idioms and notations to better reflect our mutual understanding.

2
arianvanp 3 days ago 1 reply      
I started my 1st year in college doing both math and computer science majors. I really love math but I just hate how (especially calculus and linear algebra courses) they just don't work on growing any intuition at all. in contrast, in my CS major we had a linear algebra class (ugh overlapping classes, huh) as well and we used computer graphics as a case study to learn about the basic concepts which was really fun and enlightening.

Eventually I just ragequit math because I didn't have the patience and time to search for the intuition myself, which is a pitty. I'm really happy I followed the classes about mathematical proofs, groups etc because I really enjoyed those but others were just painful.

Anyhow recently I discovered this blog too up my math concerning computer science is this: http://jeremykun.com/. It's a tad more advanced than this but I'd really recommend it. His blog is freaking amazing and always a joy to read. Math as a sidehobby it is! :)

3
fenomas 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is terrific. I'm mathy enough to know e to several places, and use it in programs occasionally, but if you'd asked me how it might be intuitively derived I'd have been at a loss. And that's just for something inside my comfort zone - the article on linear algebra is just as illuminating.

This looks like it will be my commute reading for the week. But more than that it just makes me happy that it exists.

4
akrolsmir 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd read Yudkowsky's popular "An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem" as well as a few others, but the article on this site made me feel like I actually understood it for the first time. The examples were clever, short, and simple, while still demonstrating how powerful Bayes' Theorem can be.

The concise explanations here seem more helpful than semester-long university courses I've taken. I definitely look forward to exploring his other articles on math and programming.

5
gajomi 3 days ago 1 reply      
What an excellent collection of articles (well, I only ready a few, but I would like to think my experience extrapolates to the rest)! But I don't think "cheatsheet" is really the right word. Really this is a collection of short expository writings on particular mathematical concepts. And very well done, I think, to the point that calling it a "cheatsheet" (which I associate with a haphazardly conjoined sequence of facts and tricks out of context) is to do it a disservice. Or maybe the name choice has some marketing value?
6
jgrodziski 3 days ago 1 reply      
For me the best one from Kalid is the explanation of the fourier transform:http://betterexplained.com/articles/an-interactive-guide-to-...

This article is simply amazing, moreover Kalid is an humble person and references his inspirations from several people over the web.Thank you very much Kalid for the time you dedicated to share all this wonderful resources.

7
NoPiece 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really like this cheatsheet, it is very inspiring actually. You should consider doing a version written for elementary school aged kids. You need to get buy in while they are still young!
8
adamwong246 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sure could have used this site a couple years ago when I was in school!
9
ithinkso 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea but I personally really enjoy and prefer 'math english'. At first it may seems odd but after a while you get used to it and it's actually easier, you just scan through epsilons, deltas knowing exactly what they mean. Intuition has edge-case scenarios, double-meanings and almost-truths. I don't know why, but I think intuition (pseudocode math as someone had named it) gives a little bit of a 'illusion' of knowledge. You think you got it but are you really?
10
omnibrain 3 days ago 0 replies      
Those explanations remind me of Feynman's explanation of elliptical orbits.
11
RobinL 3 days ago 1 reply      
This September, I'm starting tutoring A level maths to underprivileged kids for a charity after helping them with GCSEs last year. This looks like it will be really helpful. Thanks!
12
curiousDog 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is gold. Please do point to more resources like this.
13
agumonkey 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love the content, just wishing for some of their views on explaining electronic circuit design.
14
Sharma 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this! I just read a small portion of Integration and trust me, it all make sense now!
15
factsfinder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like there are a lot of things i need to learn in maths
16
FlyingLawnmower 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great work. Please keep adding examples!
17
pawannitj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Are there other resources like this on Math?
18
Mistral 3 days ago 0 replies      
Super, but no induction!
7
Terraform
415 points by pandemicsyn  9 hours ago   94 comments top 33
1
616c 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Mitchell, do you even sleep? Every time I see one of your tools, I feel like I need to pay you a hefty sum to teach me how to start coding productively, cuz Hashicorp output seems ferocious. Keep up the good work.
2
mahmoudimus 8 hours ago 2 replies      
One of the main strengths of something like cloudformation, is that we can use libraries in languages we're comfortable with to build a programmable DSL.

A great tool, at least for Python, that exposes this is: https://github.com/cloudtools/troposphere.

This gives me the full power of python, so I can build abstractions, use inheritance and encapsulation to specialize certain things.

We've done a lot of work to automate our infrastructure provisioning, but I'm interested in the abstraction layer Terraform provides -- especially for multiple providers.

How can we bridge the gap that is left by Terraform from having a fully complete programming language to define infrastructure (which has downsides but in my opinion, more upsides)?

3
dkarapetyan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I use HashiCorp tools and I recommend them wherever I go. The reason I do that is because the tools are built with very specific use cases and are grounded in actual practices and backed by solid theory. None of their tools are something that was hacked up over the weekend. Looking forward to Terraform taking over the provisioning/deployment landscape.
4
cwp 9 hours ago 2 replies      
How does this compare with Nixops or Disnix?

It sounds like it would be possible to plug nix-based provisioning into Terraform, and use it to manage the high-level cluster structure.

Edit: downvotes? whatever for?

5
mongrol 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to Ansible? It appears to be operate in the same space/level.
6
diggan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Some read-worth links:

Homepage - http://www.terraform.io/

Introduction - http://www.terraform.io/intro/index.html

Documentation - http://www.terraform.io/docs/index.html

Sourcecode - https://github.com/hashicorp/terraform

-

Seems usable and I'm excited to try it out. I like the idea of "execution plans" and the declerative way of setting up the architecture.

7
akoumjian 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Salt Cloud provides most of these features. If this kind of thing interests you, you should check it out: http://docs.saltstack.com/en/latest/topics/cloud/
8
clarkdave 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks everyone at Hashicorp! This tool looks awesome. I wish it had been around years ago so I might have a nice version-controlled set of configuration files instead of a bunch of wiki articles and post-it notes ;)

I have a quick question I didn't see covered in the docs. Is there a best practise way to organise Terraform configuration files? Specifically when using it to manage different environments (e.g. staging, prod, qa). I'm thinking of some sort of folder structure like this:

  /    production/      web.tf    staging/      web.tf    qa/      web.tf      test-servers.tf
So, `terraform apply production` would then plan and apply changes for production servers, `terraform apply staging` the same for staging, etc.

Would be interested to know if you have any thoughts on this, or if there's some sort of paradigm you folks are using internally.

9
lkrubner 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Off-topic: it is interesting to me how different companies seem to dominate a space for a few years, and then recede. It's a common pattern. I can remember in 2009 when it seemed like RightScale www.rightscale.com was the dominant force creating tools to take advantage of AWS, but nowadays I never hear of them, never see anything interesting come from them. All the interesting stuff is happening elsewhere.
10
errordeveloper 5 hours ago 1 reply      
On the page about integration with Consul [1], I read "Terraform can update the application's configuration directly by setting the ELB address into Consul." The questiomn is whether I can do somewhat other way around, i.e. set get information from Consul and point ELB to it, somewhat like Synapse or SmartStack... Or may be I don't need service discovery tool for this yet and can just use TF without Consul, simply configure the components of the infrastracture and the ELB? The point is just to simplify the first step and avoid adding logic to support Consul lookups in the apps... What's the easiest way here?

[1]: http://www.terraform.io/intro/examples/consul.html

11
fideloper 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Feels like a big meta tool!

It reads like you can use any provisioning software, use any server provider supported, use any DNS provider supported, you just need to write a bunch of configuration.

I think I like this, but it sounds complex :D

12
courtf 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Just stumbled across this project with the same name, and at least some of the same goals:https://github.com/UrbanCode/terraform
13
mihok 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is pretty awesome. My question is how well does this integrate with and already setup infrastructure? Or would I have to recreate the system to get going with Terraform?
14
rsync 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I cannot wait to dive into this. We (rsync.net) will absolutely make our storage a usable component in terraform.
15
wernerb 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I have been developing a tool that is almost the same called 'ozone.io'.. It leverages CMT tools such as puppet, ansible, chef. Not by writing plugins, but rather have users write or extend scripts called 'runners' that install and execute the CMT tool per node. You can checkout a prototype chef-solo runner at https://github.com/ozone-io/runner-chef-solo.

Parallel deployment of multiple clusters is also covered. It too is handled by a directed acyclic graph based on dependencies on other clusters. I am on my own and I am writing it for my thesis which will come out pretty soon.

It is created as an engine that expects cluster state. A sample input file can be seen here which is the only state you need to launch something. https://gist.github.com/wernerb/35a06e08a4d4e6cb02aa

The whole thing works declaratively, so it converges your infrastructure to the desired state. By increasing the nodes for 'smallweb' it will undergo the steps defined in the cluster lifecycle. It will then also update the configuration of the nginx load balancer.

As you can see each cluster is pinned to a provider/instanceprofile, and one of the things I am adding are affinity rules so the cluster deploys to multiple locations/providers.

It is not ready to be opensourced but if any wants to see, contribute or see more I can give view access.

What do you think?

16
onedognight 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> The ~ before the Droplet means that Terraform will update the resource in-place, instead of destroying or recreating. Terraform is the first tool to have this feature of the tools which can be considered similar to Terraform

While not multi-platform, AWS's Cloud Formation does just this, it takes as its input a stateless JSON description of a set of AWS resources and their dependencies. Given a change in the desired state, it will do its best to update resources rather than creating them from scratch when possible.

17
sciurus 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It looks like Terraform is launching with decent coverage of AWS resources. Thinking of my own usage, the main ones missing are ElastiCache and CloudWatch. I'm not sure how you can setup a useful autoscaling group without the latter.

EDIT: There's an issue tracking adding more at https://github.com/hashicorp/terraform/issues/28

18
arasmussen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Based solely on the name and the logo, I was really hoping this was going to be an awesome game :P
19
cetra3 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Would this be a good fit or are there any plans to include providers for hypervisors (VMWare, Virtualbox, Xen etc.. ) Or even containers (i.e, Docker)?
20
cdnsteve 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Considering Packer is written in Go, can you shed some light on this platform, what languages did you decide to use?
21
devcamcar 6 hours ago 0 replies      
How would you compare Terraform to something like Razor? I think it might be a good one to add to your "vs Other Software" section:

http://puppetlabs.com/solutions/next-generation-provisioning

22
jimmcslim 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there a way to encrypt variables and provide a password to decrypt when executing a plan, so that I can commit my API keys, passwords, etc to source control without fear? I'm thinking something similar to Ansible and its 'vault' concept for variables (sure Chef, Puppet, etc have something similar).
23
eudoxus 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Does Terraform have any service failure related features, ie if an instances fails?
24
lukebond 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if an API is planned? If I want to manage infrastructure from code I would love Terraform to be an option.

As a (predominantly) Node.js developer, I'd probably use pkgcloud for this sort of thing. Terraform supports a great range of providers and has some more advanced features, so I'd love to play with it as an alternative to pkgcloud.

25
ogig 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Offtopic but i guess you, hashicorp guys, would like to know; there is a typo on the geometric animation. It says "Build, Combine, and Launch Infrastucture_", should be Infrastructure.
26
bfish510 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My one gripe is the font choice on your homepage. Makes it very annoying to read.
27
joeyspn 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't keep their pace! Another amazing tool from Mitchell and his crew. Hashicorp well on its way to become a DevOps juggernaut...
28
jscott0918 7 hours ago 1 reply      
What is the licensing on the source code?
29
earless1 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks like a great tool. I was going to use CloudFormation to setup a new VPC in AWS, but I will give this a shot instead.
30
_random_ 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"Terraform" - seriously? Making world a better place through constructing elegant hierarchies for maximum code reuse and extensibility?
31
peterwwillis 4 hours ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: Terraform is modular virtual infrastructure automation. [I would say it's an orchestration tool, but that usually implies datacenter-wide resources, and this just seems to apply to cloud service providers]

"[..] Terraform combines resources from multiple services providers: we created a DigitalOcean Droplet and then used the IP address of that droplet to add a DNS record to DNSimple. This sort of infrastructure composition from code is new and extremely powerful."

Well, "new" in the sense of "we created another thing to automate infrastructure deployment and configuration". I have worked with various amalgamated solutions that do this for the past 12 years. Of course they mention that in the software comparison section, but it doesn't take away from the fact that this isn't new by a long shot.

"Terraform has a feature that is critical for safely iterating infrastructure: execution plans. Execution plans show you what changes Terraform plans on making to your infrastructure. [..] As a result, you know exactly what Terraform will do to your infrastructure to reach your desired state, and you can feel confident that Terraform won't surprise you in unexpected ways."

So it's declarative, and it has a dry-run mode.

The thing that really bugs me is the idea that you should be creating "code" to do rote tasks such as changing resources or deploying things. You know what the single most problematic thing about infrastructure changes is? Human error. It's a simple fact of user interface design that humans are less likely to fuck up a point-and-click interface than a command line program that you have to feed a hand-edited config to. And automated config generation can arguably be more error-prone.

Automation/orchestration should not simply make things happen automatically. It should make things work more reliably, and require less expertise to do so. To be frank, any code monkey with a few weeks of free time to kill can create a tool that does exactly what this one does, and that's why there are dozens of them that all do the same thing, yet we always need a new one.... because they all stink at actually making things work better.

This comic isn't just funny, it's a truism: https://xkcd.com/1319/

32
tvon 9 hours ago 2 replies      
FWIW, I find the purple and blue here a bit painful to read:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0ki0m7967x5tvn6/Screenshot%202014-...

33
pdenya 9 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a devops tool named Terraform, nothing to do with terraforming.
8
NPR One
413 points by antr  13 hours ago   166 comments top 28
1
minivan 12 hours ago 15 replies      
Cool, hopefully it will replace the All Songs Considered audio stream (which is great).

Side note: Is it just me, or this "scroll to reveal stuff in steps" is a bit frustrating? It seems to be used more and more often and I am sometimes puzzled by the fact that I'm missing the scrolling step. I try scrolling and get either too far (which shows half an image coming from above) or don't get anywhere (which makes me scroll more and skip steps).Here's an example: http://www.spendeeapp.com/

Am I doing something wrong?

2
mmanfrin 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I really appreciate NPR. They truly try to embetter their offerings. It's nice that we have a source of news that is not beholden to advertisers or corporate interests (although the number of 'This content was made possible by donations from...' I hear at the end of the larger shows is a bit worrying).

I just wish Says You would release their episodes as a podcast.

3
ruytlm 11 hours ago 15 replies      
This is all well and good, but why does everyone need to have their own damn app?

This is the biggest problem with audio apps these days - you get everyone trying to make a similar thing, and because they're all competing they all try and lock each other out of their own products.

What would be so much better is a content-agnostic platform, that'll let you play whatever the hell you want - whether it's music, talk radio, podcasts, whatever.

Seriously - why does everyone assume that if I want to listen to e.g. NPR, I only want to listen to NPR?

4
dctoedt 12 hours ago 7 replies      
If this catches on, it might disintermediate (EDIT: or accelerate the existing disintermediation of) the local public radio stations, which will then lose donations, which will then be less able to do local reporting. (Of course I'm not sure our Houston public radio station does all that much local reporting to start with.)
5
anigbrowl 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Good stuff, but your feed will be 'hadcrafted'? No it won't. That specifically means a human being involved in structuring your feed at the other end I seriously doubt that's the case. Words have meanings beyond their emotional marketing value, subverting them for commercial ends will eventually erode the trust of your audience.
6
arcticfox 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I was hoping that I could say: "Yes, I like Radiolab" and "No, I don't like Wait Wait Don't Tell Me", but that doesn't seem to be a feature. This would be perfect if they added it!
7
techpeace 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Rather than some aimless techie kvetching, I'd just like to pass along a hearty congrats to the folks who made this happen. Great work, and I'm excited to use it!
8
CapitalistCartr 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Every corporate/large organization Web site wants me to use their app. I already have an app! It's the Web browser. It already plays video and audio.
9
x1798DE 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't understand why this needs to be an app. I listen to many things that aren't NPR, and I don't want to switch between BeyondPod and NPR One just to get some sort of curated list. This reminds me of a few years ago where a bunch of podcasts were offering personalized apps that just downloaded the archives and maybe some extra content. I might have paid for the extra content, but I didn't need an app on my phone for every podcast I listen to.

Assuming the killer feature here is that it's curated or somehow personalized, and not just something that plays all NPR shows (the page is a bit vague), it seems like you could replace this with a service that generates personalized RSS feeds on the fly, server-side. That way it can integrate directly into your own podcast-listening workflow, where you might have plugins or some specific setup that you prefer to use.

10
ejfox 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I scrolled through this whole thread looking for a mention of Swell who have been my go-to app for this purpose for the past couple of months (feels like it's been forever though, can't imagine life without it).

I pretty much get NPR hourly news updates, Fresh Air, interspersed with episodes of Marc Maron's WTF and some random stuff like A16Z and stuff from the BBC. It's pretty much ideal.

I love NPR, and before Swell would just have the local station on all day, but I find that NPR doesn't make enough content to fill up a whole day of straight listening (at least not enough content that I like) - I wonder if the NPR One app would automatically find shows from their archive that I might be interested in to fill the time.

I'd be curious if other users of Swell will be switching to this app, or if they, like me, see it as a slightly different and improved model to tie together content from a variety of different sources.

11
kbenson 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm relieved they have an android app. From listening to NPR, one could almost think andoid was some niche player, based on the amount of free press the iphone gets. That may have eased up some recently, but for a while it felt like they had some meeting where they decided to replace "smartphone" with "iphone" in everything they said.
12
brianbreslin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
My first thought was "I hope this is paid like pandora." I would love to be able to purchase content in app, or at least contribute through the app. Maybe split the proceeds with my local npr station so we can end those annoying fund raising drives.
13
marineboudeau 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug: WNYC is experimenting in this space as well with Discover [http://www.wnyc.org/mobile] - contains our local, national content but also others': NPR, PRX, etc. It works on the subway, while you're offline.

We're really excited about NPR One, too and glad to be part of it as well.

14
tomjen3 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Beware if you use google or facebook to login to it (what the fuck do you need to login in the first place) it requires the right to get your friends lists and to post content on your behalf.
15
meandave 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty great, I actually hacked together a little terminal interface to search through all of their stations and stream straight to your shell. Started pulling it apart to also provide a webaudio interface. Looks like they have that covered now though
16
danielweber 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Scroll down broken here. First I have to click on the page to get scrolling to work. Then as I use the space bar to scroll down, the dots change but often the text does not.
17
jonmagic 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Why does the app need microphone access? I missed the blurb when you first open the app and can't seem to figure out how to replay it now.
18
djhworld 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I love NPR and listen to a few of their podcasts via PocketCasts.

Not sure if I'd actually use this app, but just wanted to say you guys in the states are fortunate to have NPR producing top quality radio!

19
grrrando 12 hours ago 6 replies      
Anyone else find the concept a little weird? NPR is already like this in many ways (heavily left-leaning) so this argument is already somewhat moot, but: hearing news stories tailored just for me sounds ignorant. News shouldn't be a thing which I am allowed to filter based on my biases.
20
zellyn 8 hours ago 1 reply      
On my Nexus 5, this went through the login/signup process, but now crashes on startup. Every time.

Anyone else had better luck?

21
rglover 12 hours ago 8 replies      
Super cool. Only thing, though, is that they should be charging for this. Seeing as how NPR stations rely on listener donations, this seems like a missed opportunity to earn some extra revenue and bolster the budget for stations.
22
chris_mahan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
National Personal Radio?
23
thekevan 11 hours ago 1 reply      
No browser version?
24
ck2 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not for my desktop browser too?
25
m1117 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like using AGOGO that includes NPR too
26
ForHackernews 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope it's better than the "This American Life" Android app. I'm still angry that I spent real money on a buggy mobile interface that freezes and crashes for podcasts that are free in a normal browser.
27
mikeash 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the idea. I listen to NPR a fair amount but it's always a bit hit or miss as to whether I'll catch it at an interesting moment, since my listening is basically "whenever I happen to be in the car, or possibly out for a walk where I don't want to enjoy quietude." I work around it to an extent with podcasts of shows I like, but that works poorly for anything related to news.
28
hodgesmr 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Xbox One.

Pandora One.

Ubuntu One.

NPR One.

Stop it!

9
Today Rails turns 10 years old
393 points by chancancode  3 days ago   79 comments top 28
1
jaredcwhite 3 days ago 4 replies      
At this point in time, Rails is basically the reason I have a career, get paid, and provide for my family. Sure, any programmer could say that about any framework/language/platform they use regularly I suppose, but in fact Rails is the first platform I've been able to leverage to get great jobs and work with great people. Before that, various combinations of WordPress and homegrown PHP code were my bread-and-butter but I also did projects in Java, Python, and others. (I still shutter when I remember what I had to go through to work in Java...)

I think the thing that was so amazing about Rails when it really got popular was that you could build almost any sort of web app you could imagine and everything would just make sense. The full-stack, the conventions, the fact it took much less time to get something working than its competitors...it was SO much easier to build stuff and stop reinventing the wheel.

I can't tell you how many times in the PHP world I had to figure out how to write code to send hand-tuned SQL to the server just to do basic stuff. Obviously, these days you can do cool framework-y full-stack stuff in PHP as well, but in many respects that was a response to the rise of Rails. (Actually, I must admit, I built a PHP 5 framework somewhat inspired by Rails before I jumped onboard the bandwagon...what prompted that was Zend announcing their PHP 5 framework, at which point I figured I'd either drop my framework and go with Zend or...just go with Rails, learn Ruby, and stop fighting it. I'm so thankful I decided to do just that!)

So thank you Ruby, and Rails on your 10-year birthday. You have made this programmer a happy man.

2
Argorak 3 days ago 1 reply      
I started learning Ruby for fun roughly 6 months before the first release of Rails. Although I rarely use Rails today (more because I rarely work on full-stack projects), it paved the way for a lot of the Ruby community today. That was a lucky coincidence, but I can draw a pretty direct line between Rails and me making a living off Ruby, running two conferences in the space and having met a lot of awesome people in the community.

Most people don't realize how ground-breaking Rails was back then. It basically went against the common assumption that long up-front setup is just part of the project. I seriously had people complaining that they couldn't bill as much on small projects if that became standard. The 15-minute blog might be a joke today, but back then, it was an awesome way of showing that Rails focused on making things quick to start (I don't like to say easy, it never was).

I am also surprised on how much of the general concepts from the 0.x versions survived. Sure, things have gotten bigger and parts got replaced, but the general structure is still the same.

Thanks for all the effort and love!

3
100k 3 days ago 2 replies      
If you're interested in some of the milestones along the way and the context of web programming back in 2004 and 2005 when Rails came out, I made a timeline for my talk at RailsConf this year: http://www.recursion.org/looking-backward/

It was fun to research all this stuff. It's interesting to see how far back some of this stuff goes. For example, Rails gets much of its power from Ruby's flexibility. Ruby is heavily inspired by Smalltalk. The first research version of Smalltalk came out in 1972! The MVC pattern was also first developed at PARC, back in 1978.

4
ascendantlogic 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's easy for people to bag on Rails because like anything, as time goes on things evolve and pain points are discovered, etc. But as someone old enough to remember writing Servlets + JSP + miles of XML configs, Rails was such a HUGE HUGE HUGE thing. I remember being so blown away by how fast and easy it was to stand up a new web app. We take that sort of thing for granted today but for those of us old enough to remember stuff like Spring and JEE 1.3, it was incredible.
5
tcopeland 3 days ago 1 reply      
I remember going to RubyConf 2004 in Reston. DHH was there talking about Rails. I was sitting there with like 30 other people listening to him and thinking "I dunno man, cgi.rb pretty much does the job for me". If I had been thinking straight I would have rewritten RubyForge in Rails and never looked back... oh well!
6
tobinharris 3 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, I'm now 38 and recall falling in love with Rails at the age of 28. I was battling with .NET WebForms at the time, Rails was a breath of fresh air. Martin Fowler got me into Ruby about 6 months before Rails popped up. I still write Ruby + Rails almost every day.

Oddly, I'm starting to think Java might be the future of everything if it can shed it's huge_config.xml + FactoryFactoryFactory obsession, which I believe is happening :)

7
julianozen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looking for Rails developers with 11 years experience
8
tortilla 3 days ago 1 reply      
It would have been interesting to see HN's reaction when Rails was introduced.

Show HN: Ruby on Rails (rubyonrails.org)220 points by DHH 3 hours ago | flag | 312 comments

9
pavlov 3 days ago 5 replies      
In web frameworks, "MVC" has come to mean something quite different than what it originally meant in desktop GUI frameworks like Smalltalk and Cocoa.

Was Rails the first framework to use this interpretation of MVC? Or did it come from somewhere else?

10
Bahamut 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty amazing how much influence Rails has had on web development, even in ecosystems other than Ruby.

Personally I've found myself fighting Rails when trying to do things in it, but it is one of the tools I started out learning since the number and quality of tutorials out there seem vast. I too owe something to Rails for being of generally good quality.

11
TenJack 3 days ago 0 replies      
12
Luyt 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in Rails, I transcribed an interview with DHH about many things, including Rails, which he had with Randal Schwartz on the FLOSS podcast:

http://www.transcribed-interview.com/dhh-rails-david-heineme...

"The architecture of Rails is that it's going to be full stack. Which means this is not going to be just one piece and then you have to go out shopping for another ten pieces to build an web application. I wanted something more... you have the entire box. With Rails today, just using Rails and nothing else, you can build an awesome application from the bottom up. That meant including the database, the templating, the MVC structure, bla-bla-bla. The core reason of why I wanted to do this was because I wanted all the pieces to fit together just as well as an integrated Apple stack. Apple products were definitely a leading inspiration for the design of this."

13
justinweiss 3 days ago 1 reply      
After a few years of Java and C# (especially in finance) I came really close to leaving the software industry altogether. Ruby, and then Rails, brought me back into it.

They returned the joy and excitement I felt when I first got that ASCII eye to blink from the 250 lines of BASIC I typed in from the back of a magazine.

And I've never been happier as a developer.

14
rco8786 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's fitting that the post above this is an app that started as Rails 1.0 and is currently at 4.1
15
davidw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Rails really hit a sweet spot. It has the right culture and organization to attempt to not go too far off into spaghetti-code land, yet it's also very much about getting things done in the real world rather than writing a bunch of boilerplate junk.

I started using it sometime in about 2005/6 and am still very happy with it.

16
hazelnut 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting to see Google Trends chart about Ruby on Rails:http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=ruby%20on%20rails&cmp...

Sad to see it fading away. But to be honest ... I am not using it anymore.

17
guard-of-terra 3 days ago 1 reply      
I suddently feel very very old. I do that a lot these days...
18
arthurnn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hello Brazil. First post ever in a Rails app =)https://twitter.com/arthurnn/status/492715391362154497
19
jdwyah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Man I feel old, but still Rails has aged fabulously. Just wrote a post last week about how Rails is still great. http://blog.forcerank.it/blog/post-natal-part-3-technology-d...

I don't know if it's just me being an old man, but every time I see people fighting with grunt / angular / ember I think of dhh and his "look at what I'm not doing".

21
lowglow 3 days ago 1 reply      
Rails is amazing. I wouldn't use anything else for prototyping my system. Baked-in best practices and easy-to-use, there hasn't been anything else that comes close imho.
22
nathancahill 2 days ago 1 reply      
After 10 years, is it fast yet?

http://www.isrubyfastyet.com/

23
kitwalker12 3 days ago 1 reply      
damn...didn't feel this old even when I turned 30.
24
sergiotapia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Birthday Rails, I make a living writing software and because of you I'm happy doing it!
25
jgalt212 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good bless Rails. It turned developing professional web apps into a low headcount highly iterative process.

That being said, I don't use Rails. I use Django, but we all owe a debt of gratitude for the path it illuminated.

26
rmrfrmrf 3 days ago 0 replies      
* sheds tear * it's almost old enough to be CEO!
27
justinzollars 3 days ago 0 replies      
web development that doesn't hurt! (cake)
28
ezmobius 3 days ago 0 replies      
what up 10 years of rails.
10
The New York Times Calls for Marijuana Legalization
347 points by ingve  2 days ago   189 comments top 22
1
sharkweek 2 days ago 1 reply      
Two plugs I always make during any drug law discussion on HN:

One - The Economist's 2009 article "Failed states and failed policies" - http://www.economist.com/node/13237193 you might have to Google the title to get around a paywall)

Two - The documentary, The House I Live In - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125653/ trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0atL1HSwi8)

Both make such a fascinating case that drugs should have never been a crime and punishment issue, but rather one of public health. I highly recommend both for a read and a watch, and both will articulate the case far superior to anything I would be able to write here.

2
k-mcgrady 2 days ago 7 replies      
I sincerely believe the only people who are against legalisation of marijuana are those who don't understand it's effects on a person and those who are easily susceptible to propaganda and fail to do their own research on the subject. I can't think of even one legitimate reason for it's prohibition. If you argue for prohibition based on health consequences or risk to society you should also be arguing for prohibition of alcohol and it has been proven beyond doubt that alcohol prohibition was a really bad idea.
3
resdirector 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a step in the right direction. I strongly believe that marijuana legalization is good for the economy -- personally I've come up with brilliant, practical ideas while stoned[0]. Many of which I have gone on to implement and generate wealth. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Think Steve Jobs and Apple etc.

[0] I hope the nomenclature evolves re marijuana. "stoned", "bong", "skunk", "chronic", etc conjure up images that are too tightly aligned with negative stereotypes IMO.

4
benmarks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not a user, but after being a bartender for years - and knowing many who do consume marijuana - there seems to be no logical reason to punish (let alone _incarcerate_) people for something which is ultimately less destructive than what I was allowed to push for so many years.
5
krschultz 2 days ago 3 replies      
So the real question now becomes - which organizations with political clout are still fighting to keep Marijuana illegal?

I've actually never smoked weed in my entire life (seriously). I have no interest in smoking weed once it is legal either. But I'm very sick of paying to support a stupid wasteful policy. So who are the people that are actually fighting to keep it illegal? I honestly can't find them, I'd love to read their arguments.

6
bkeroack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't use marijuana because it would have incredibly bad effects on my life, but I support legalization.

I tend to be bored easily. Normally boredom inspires me to get out of the house, do something productive, write some code, etc. Marijuana is a boredom cure. After using it, I could stare at a wall for five hours and be deeply fascinated and content. I cannot afford to waste time staring at walls. I need to be productive. Therefore marijuana is a bad idea for me, but I don't believe the state should make that decision for everybody.

7
icebraining 2 days ago 3 replies      
To the Americans around here: do you think this will have any important effects? It seems to me it could have, if it had been done ten years ago, our if the NYT was a newspaper aligned with a more conservative line, but nowadays I'd expect most readers of the Times to think "took you long enough!"
8
pessimizer 2 days ago 1 reply      
General legalization and amnesty is the way to go. This piecemeal recreational legalization is only happening in the whitest states in the country, and not helping the primary victims of the drug war.
9
coreymgilmore 2 days ago 4 replies      
Full legalization has a single major hurdle for me: testing for a person's level of "high". Think of this as a blood alcohol content breathalyzer test. There is a definite method for determining the amount of alcohol inside a person's body and laws use these limits for punishment.

This is highly important. No body wants someone "high as a kite" operating a vehicle. It is not in the public's best interest to have very high people driving just like having severely drunk people driving. Its all about safety.

You could frame the argument that marijuana is similar to other medicines (OTC or prescription, labeled with "do not drive or operate machinery") but the attempts to legalize marijuana for all uses - recreational - negates this point. If people can use marijuana at all times, any time, than a method of ensuring a using person is not endangering others is needed.

To sum, legalization requires a definitive method to measure "highness" to ensure safety for the public. Once this occurs and people know the rules and levels at which they can be high, then legalizing makes sense.

10
tdicola 2 days ago 1 reply      
Neat animation effect as your scroll down the page. Is it using SVG to animate the morph from star to cannabis leaf?
11
bobbyi_settv 2 days ago 1 reply      
From the end of Part 1 of the editorial series:

> On Monday at 4:20 p.m. Eastern Time, Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, will be taking questions about marijuana legalization at facebook.com/nytimes.

12
TheSoftwareGuy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Kind of off topic, but can we talk about how beautiful of a webpage that is?
13
drewblaisdell 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm truly curious: which problems related to marijuana use (intoxicated drivers, access by children, etc.) do people think might worsen in a state where marijuana is legalized?

It seems obvious to me that marijuana legalization would alleviate the two aforementioned issues by raising awareness of marijuana-related DUIs and eliminating distribution networks that sell to children, but I probably haven't considered other problems associated with widespread marijuana use.

14
clarky07 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was really glad to see states starting to do something about this, but this should really be changed at the federal level. It's less bad for you than alcohol and cigarettes. The war on it is just so costly and absurd on so many levels.
15
bbarn 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm pretty neutral on marijuana legalization. If anything, I'm for it as I feel like it's a bit of a red herring for the media to discuss and ignore other, more important, issues.

That said, NYT, the morphing graphic of the stars in the US flag turning into pot leafs? That's just tasteless. Let's not go from illegal to "symbolizing our country" in one op-ed, eh?

16
xiaoma 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even decades ago, people as influential as Milton Friedman were arguing this and explaining the costs at length:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLsCC0LZxkY&feature=youtu.be...

17
mhb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any explanation why the editorial board of the Times is writing this now, after many decades of harm have already been done? Has something changed or do they just feel as if the bandwagon is big enough that it is OK for them to climb aboard?
18
bavcyc 2 days ago 1 reply      
19
nether 2 days ago 1 reply      
And in a decade or two, legalization of prostitution.
20
stevekemp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice XSS attack against the comment-page there. Oops.
21
andyl 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've lost many friends and family to drugs and alcohol. Tremendous loss. Most can use with no consequences, but not everyone. I believe legalization will result in more casualties.
22
cnst 2 days ago 0 replies      
> we advocate the prohibition of sales to people under 21.

What a fucking racists! The article started so well.

11
CoreOS Stable Release
345 points by brynary  3 days ago   66 comments top 9
1
rckclmbr 3 days ago 5 replies      
We recently switched (like 2 weeks ago) our project from deployment on ubuntu servers via 'git pull' managed with supervisord to docker/coreos/fleet, and it's been epic. While coreos is built for large clusters, we run a 3 host cluster in ec2, and couldn't be happier. We switched from multiple servers running 1 instance of each service to load balancing all instances on these 3 hosts. This increased uptime, made deployment and management easier, and gave us the benefits of docker as well (verifying things work locally).

There's only 2 real problems, both of them very minor:

* fleet managing state. We've had to manually kill containers sometimes, and destroy systemd services before we could start it again.

* all EC2 amis use ebs backed instances. We haven't used a higher-IOPs ebs backed instance because the only delay we see are in startup times (which doesn't matter, just longer rolling deploys). But an instance-backed ami would be nice.

2
netcraft 3 days ago 5 replies      
It looks like Digital Ocean hopes to eventually support coreOS: http://digitalocean.uservoice.com/forums/136585-digital-ocea...

I can only find a tweet that linode is "considering" it: https://twitter.com/linode/status/488045339023532032

anyone have any other information re vps vendor support?

3
JohnTHaller 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm a bit confused on the licensing here. CoreOS says it's Apache 2.0 licensed. But it also says its Linux. If it includes the Linux kernel, as it appears to, then those bits is licensed under the GPL and can not be re-licensed as Apache 2.0. So, it's a bit disingenuous to claim the whole package is Apache 2.0, since it isn't.
4
brynary 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm very excited about this release. CoreOS, Docker and etcd are a great fit for one another. I love the separation of concerns that is provided.

IMHO, the weakest part of CoreOS is fleet (https://github.com/coreos/fleet). Compared to the other components in the stack, it just feels very inelegant. The systemd configuration syntax is complex and ugly. I wonder if there will be work invested to upgrade fleet to something that is as elegant as e.g. etcd/Docker/CoreOS itself.

5
otterley 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm puzzled as to why it's called "stable," while at the same time it appears to require btrfs-on-root to be useful (i.e. for hosting Docker containers) but that part is "experimental."

Can someone from CoreOS clarify?

6
outside1234 3 days ago 0 replies      
Super great to see CoreOS making it to its first stable release. It really feels like the future.

I've been reading about using vulcand to do frontend deploys and traffic management (http://coreos.com/blog/zero-downtime-frontend-deploys-vulcan...) and using ambassadors to do dynamic routing to backend stores (http://coreos.com/blog/docker-dynamic-ambassador-powered-by-...)

But it is hard to get my head around this - has anyone actually tied all of these concepts together in a deployment that they've written up?

7
jvandyke 3 days ago 4 replies      
Flynn 1.0 release in 3, 2, 1... crosses fingers
8
devNoise 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using Vagrant/Virtual to run Ubuntu LTS for my Javascript dev env. Does it make sense switch to CoreOS? I generally run it as a headless server. No X-windows or GUI needed.
9
jimmcslim 3 days ago 2 replies      
I know Hyper-V isn't particularly sexy around these parts but it appears to work there as well. It doesn't support the Hyper-V integration services but that's par for the course for most Linux distributions.
12
Dear Instagram
341 points by stanleydrew  13 hours ago   124 comments top 26
1
bhandziuk 12 hours ago 7 replies      
Dear Bolt.co,

I truly wish you luck in your fight against Instagram. Name stealing is a rough game. I know because I have been traveling on Bolt buses for 8 years now (http://www.boltbus.com/). I know there is some confusion because you have basically the same symbol. Maybe there aren't too many ways to vary a lightning bolt shooting through an "O" in the word "Bolt" but I welcome you (and Instagram to try).

Sincerely,A bus rider.

2
uptown 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Clickable link to the Bolt homepage: https://bolt.co/

I always find it annoying when the blog company logo doesn't bring you back to the company's homepage.

3
brandonmenc 12 hours ago 3 replies      
> Imagine how it would have felt if Google or Apple or Facebook had launched a photo-sharing app called Instagram in 2011.

"Bolt" is a short, common word. "Instagram" is not (it's also more descriptive.)

Unfortunately, the days of naming products desirable things like "bolt," and being able to defend them, legally or not, are over.

The strange-made-up-word naming trend is annoying, but at least you're guaranteed a name no one else wants.

4
ivraatiems 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a well-written appeal. I'm sure, however, that there's no intention of getting Instagram to actually do anything - the fact it was posted publicly, along with the "hurts us more than it hurts you" line makes that obvious to me.

But maybe that was obviously the point to everyone, and my comment is rendered unnecessary.

5
goodside 12 hours ago 4 replies      
It's hard to have much sympathy when your app already has an identical name (and a very similar logo) to a mobile web browser launched four years earlier: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolt_(web_browser)
6
pathy 12 hours ago 0 replies      
uspto.gov doesn't seem to allow linking directly to trademark filing but search for Bolt and the first two results appear to be from Bolt.co.

One was filed in the 22nd and the other on the 23rd July 2014. Seems like something they should have done earlier but I do feel for them none the less, potentially going up against FB's legal team seems less than fun.

>"IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer application software for mobile phones, namely, software for use in text, voice and video communication between users. FIRST USE: 20131014. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20131014"

7
enthdegree 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The #1 way to spot a mushy web3.0 social startup is to see if they named their product a generic, overloaded dictionary word. This is a really irritating recent trend. Every time I see one of these I can almost hear the 'profile picture in a circle' of the CEO pitching the name to me:

'its a really utilitarian, no-nonsense product for People Who Just Get It Done, like me & my team, so naming it out of the common English vocabulary was really the most natural expression of this'

Naming your products tired names like 'Bolt' is not bold, it's just uncreative. It helps no one: it's pretentious, it makes your product harder to find (regardless of 'how dissimilar it is to previous products'), and it makes your brand less memorable. Why would anyone want to do this to their company or their customers?

Maybe people who perpetrate this sort of situation will continue to have tensions like this one and the trend will gracefully(?) self-destruct. Hopefully the people who are capable of building valuable products will choose names which don't cost them!

8
baldajan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Bolt - you will likely lose this case, Facebook knows this. Don't litigate.

Bolt is used too often and the only way you would succeed in a reverse confusion trial is to show that you own the Bolt trademark when it comes to mobile communication - no easy task. Just look at FiftyThree's USPTO application for "Paper" and the letter of protest that was submitted.

You only recently filed for the mark in the USPTO, and even by some miracle you get it through the PTO, Facebook/Instagram can still file a Letter of Protest or file an Opposition in the TTAB.

Unfortunately, even though you have rights to the name Bolt, you likely won't be able to enforce it. That said, neither Facebook nor Instagram can successfully litigate against you in court.

9
dimillian 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Also, Facebook have a library named bolt: https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2014/01/30/let-s-b...
10
karjaluoto 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote about this topic a few months back, when 53 was upset about Facebook using the "name" Paper: http://www.erickarjaluoto.com/blog/the-perils-of-naming-your...

tl;dr Using a word to name a company is easy, but indefensible.

11
coldcode 12 hours ago 0 replies      
These days people seem to prefer using actual words as names which can only result in conflicts like this one. At least names like Flikr are pretty unique.
12
rahimnathwani 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The app icon for Facebook Messenger has a bolt. It's a mobile messenger app. It uses a bolt as the main part of its logo.
13
bdcravens 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The beta name for the first version of Adobe's ColdFusion Builder (IDE) was Bolt.
14
toufka 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of when Facebook did this with Papers[1] too.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7171724

15
MichaelApproved 12 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't see a trademark claim for the name Bolt on their website. I bet, had they gotten one, they would have an easier time defending the name. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
16
eddieroger 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This appeal reminded me of HipChat's situation with Messages for Mac, and the similar (but better responded to) action they took [0]. It doesn't look like Bolt did anything to lay claim to the name, and they probably don't want to go up against Facebook's lawyers. Besides, they only support Android at the moment, so to any iOS user, Bolt is completely new (and, likely, same for Android, but at least they had potential to know the product).

0. https://blog.hipchat.com/2012/02/17/they-may-just-be-chat-bu...

17
stasy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it might actually make yours get more popular if they use the same name (hop on the bandwagon of their marketing
18
huntleydavis 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is a risk that bolt.co and really any startup that chooses a short 'techy' word as their company name has to factor in.
19
daddykotex 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I hope they change the name.

Since Instagram is owned by Facebook and Facebook has launched Slingshot, a Snapchat rival, I'm wondering why they need another one?

20
enthdegree 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The #1 way to spot some 'mushy web3.0 startup' is to see if they name their fledgling product some generic, overloaded dictionary word. My perception has always been that owners choose this sort of name to market their product as 'truly the most no-nonsense utilitarian solution, for people who Get Things Done like me & u.' There have been a lot of these lately. Chosing a dull name to be cool isn't helping anyone and I hope collisons like this latest groupthink help the trend die quickly.
21
dethtron5000 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked at a startup in the late 90s called Bolt. It's hard to protect your name when it's a short, commonly-used word.
22
issa 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I humbly suggest changing it to "The Bolt". It's cleaner.
23
TallGuyShort 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish them luck, although using the name of a common machine part as a brand is kind of asking for collisions. I'm also not sure it's wise to base one of your first steps in a potential legal battle on an open letter based on leaked information...
24
badman_ting 12 hours ago 1 reply      
There was nothing named "Bolt" before Mr. Benton's product came around? Really?
25
yoavush 12 hours ago 1 reply      
downloaded Bolt as the only way i can support from afar..
26
danvesma 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Lets go with "Dolt"
13
We Experiment On Human Beings
312 points by dochtman  12 hours ago   94 comments top 19
1
nostrademons 7 hours ago 1 reply      
When I was still on OKCupid, I once wrote a Chrome extension to hide the pictures. I found that I had, in general, a much better experience with the site - I'd actually read people's profiles, I sent better messages, and I got more responses. I eventually gave up on it when a site redesign changed some of the #ids I was depending on and I didn't feel like revamping the code. But interestingly, my eventual girlfriend had terrible pictures - the grainy, multiple-people-in-the-background sort you're never supposed to put on a dating site. Setting up our first date, she was like "We don't need to exchange numbers, you know what I look like", and I was like "Actually, I'm not sure I do, here's mine." (Okay, I didn't actually tell her her pictures were terrible until we'd been dating for six months or so, but that was the general sentiment.)

I think it's one more example of when people's emotions and desires lead them to suboptimal outcomes. Most of the cues we associate with beauty and sexual desire evolved back in the savanna when health and fertility were very real risks; being able to pick up on which potential mates would be able to carry healthy offspring to term and nurture them until adulthood was very important then. Nowadays, the far greater risk is that you'll hate each other and fight all the time, but this has only been a concern since people started living long enough and in close enough proximity to care.

2
zach 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought Experiment 2 was a great example of the pain of trying to fit your users' feelings into an "ideal" model.

When we started LALife.com, it was with the idea of making a real estate site with lots of great statistics and quantitative data. We gave grades for how safe things were, how good the schools were, multiple heatmaps, assessor data, census data, nearby amenities -- a buffet of data. And sure, people who also fit in the mold of trivia collectors thought this was amazing.

But the more we talked to people, the more we found out that they really didn't use this data, even when they said they appreciated it. We had really overshot the market -- users almost never delved into the statistics, yet took our grades as absolute authority. What people wanted first of all was just insight about whether it was a "nice place" or not, a maddeningly vague concept.

Ultimately, we trashed countless tables and statistics and scaled it back to one number. Yes, one 0-99 number that shows you, well, how "nice" a place is to live. We were so afraid of generalizing things like this because everyone is different and has different priorities and so on. But trying to make things custom for everyone is a losing game, and it turned out "is it nice?" is something everyone already knew intuitively.

So insanely, we went from having 50 extra data points on a home for sale to having one "superscore". But a funny thing happened, which is it became much more successful in the site's actual mission, to help people understand a home's neighborhood without having to visit in person. And now we're providing an insight that is compact enough that we can put it everywhere and people can digest it instantly.

So although we would ultimately like to give people a more data-conscious mindset, the tool and the user need to agree on that commitment. So we're accommodating the user's actual mental model while we work towards expanding it.

PS: We have our scoring model working nationwide, but as you have seen from the Zillow thread, it's hard to get nationwide home listings. We're working on getting homes for rent on http://www.padrank.com/ so you can sign up there if you want to see how it works throughout the US.

3
blt 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Heh heh. I recently got a message from okcupid saying "Because of a diagnostic test, your match percentage with <user> was misstated as 31%. It is actually 91%. We wanted to let you know!" I had a feeling something like this might be involved. (I messaged that person anyway, because they had a funny username, so I guess I supported their point.
4
rockdiesel 11 hours ago 5 replies      
Nice to see a new blog post from OkCupid.

They haven't updated their blog since April 2011.

5
ssl_love 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey OkCupid How about some SSL Love?

"For the hundreds of thousands of users searching for that special someone through one of the largest free online dating sites, the love fest may be coming to an end. OkCupid is putting users privacy in danger by failing to support secure access to its entire website through HTTPS. Every OkCupid email, chat session, search, clicked link, page viewed, and username is transmitted over the Internet in unencrypted plaintext, where it can be intercepted and read by anyone on the network."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/hey-okcupid-how-about-...

The Heartbreaking Truth About Online Dating Privacy:https://www.eff.org/press/releases/heartbreaking-truth-about...

6
andrey-p 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I really enjoyed reading this.

On the flip side (as an OKC user), I've also had moderate amounts of fun trying to figure out their algorithms by trial and error.

For a while, I discovered I could figure out who scored me highly on their Quickmatch [1] feature by visiting it repeatedly - the ones who gave me a high score always came up first. This doesn't seem to work anymore.

[1]: If you haven't used OKC, the idea is: you score potential matches 1-5. You can tell if someone scored you highly (but not who) and if both of you give each other 4 or 5 you get a message "introducing" you both. If you're an A-list (paid) member, you get to see who scored you highly without scoring them.

Edit: tweaked phrasing as per comments.

7
jessriedel 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> I found a similar thing: once they got to the date, they had a good time more or less regardless of how good-looking their partner was. Heres the female side of the experience (the male is very similar).

I'm skeptical it was similar, at least if you were to measure the thing that actually matters: whether or not the person wants to go on a second date. ("Did you have a good time" is probably equating to "Did the person avoid doing something terrible" in the survey.)

It's ludicrous on its face to think that men, if they choose a blind date partner based on conversations and profiles, will want to go on a second date just as often with a beautiful woman as with a plain woman.

8
adamzerner 10 hours ago 5 replies      
Is anyone surprised that only 1/5 people who are 90% matches have a "conversation"? I don't use dating sites, but I'd think that people who do want to converse, and who better to converse with than 90% matches?

But I guess there's a lot of matches, and you can't talk to everyone, which would explain the low numbers. Still a bit surprising to me.

Edit: What you guys said makes sense, thanks. My lack of knowledge of dating sites lead to a bad intuition.

9
pervycreeper 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised no one has commented on the ethics of "Experiment #3". Feeding false data to users is not something that should be taken lightly.
10
rabbyte 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think the sticky point is whether or not we should be experimenting with people to find what works and what doesn't. It's about respecting users as humans and not simply data points. How does OkCupid know that conversations "went deeper" or how often emails and numbers were exchanged? Were the participants aware of that level of scrutiny or is that tucked away in the ToS? Most people I know aren't even comfortable talking about their OkCupid, they use it as a means to an end and place trust in the service to be discrete. Do these experiments fall in line with user expectations?

I'm not saying you have to find these experiments upsetting just that when people are upset it tends to be about treating users like honorable guests and not about whether or not we should be allowed to tinker with services to find the right solution.

11
tomjen3 11 hours ago 1 reply      
>But we took the analysis one step deeper. We asked: does the displayed match percentage cause more than just that first messagedoes the mere suggestion cause people to actually like each other? As far as we can measure, yes, it does.

Hm, that is unexpected. Wonder how long it will last.

12
wcdolphin 7 hours ago 0 replies      
But you never did so with the intention of eliciting a negative psychological response.

That to me is a distinct difference, both in practicality and morality.

13
interstitial 10 hours ago 3 replies      
OKC experimented with the matching process -- the express purpose of their site. Facebook experimented with mood manipulation -- something they have no permission to do -- regardless of the fine print. Facebook is a very bad landlord, but people don't want to move.
14
bshoemaker 1 hour ago 0 replies      
#clickbait
15
lifeisstillgood 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Basically, people are exactly as shallow as their technology allows them to be.

Just a quote that resonates ... The design and architecture of our online environments will affect our happiness as much as anything else.

16
ianstallings 7 hours ago 0 replies      
For the record not every site does these type of experiments. I've been programming websites since the 90s and I've never experimented on my users like this. The most I've done is swap in and out user interface features to see which one has a better response in a typical A/B test. It's not the same as telling a lie to a user no matter how you split hairs about it. They're overstating their case because they happen to be in the business of matching people up.
17
krallja 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Doesn't load completely in IE11.
18
iamleppert 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What a bunch of pointless data and hubris to prove that, yes, people are predominately fueled by the laws of physical attraction.
19
foolrush 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I suspect that the cavalier sentiment OKCupid has approached the discourse with will not go well for them.

Will be interesting to observe the sociological takedowns of this post.

14
How to find your Uber passenger rating
321 points by aaln  1 day ago   187 comments top 37
1
madeofpalk 1 day ago 6 replies      
This is a lot easier than the Charles MITM proxy I used to intercept the Uber iPhone API calls to determine mine. I feel kind of silly now that I didnt bother checking the web API.

I also made a web scraper to get my uber trip details (incl. route driven), save it to JSON and map the trips all at once. http://i.imgur.com/Q1W59rD.jpg. Here's a quick dump of the code https://github.com/joshhunt/uber. It's pretty rough and it makes a lot of assumptions (e.g. metric system and AUD). I never really plan on looking at it again, so your milage may vary.

I also found their API structure to be quite unusual: They make a call to something like `api.uber.com/` with POST data of something like

    {        url: '/api/user/123123123',        method: 'get',        location: [lat, long]    }
and you'll recieve a response back of something like

    {        responseData: {            username: 'madeofpalk'            ...rest of requested data...        },        vehicles: [            ...list of all vehicles and their locations...        ]        ...other data that wasnt explicitly requested but comes through with every request...    }
I had never seen this pattern before, and thought it was quite unusual (especially for a 'new hip startup' that uses Python and Node.js). Anyone care to comment on why they may have choosen something like this?

2
po 23 hours ago 2 replies      
My twitter stream is now full of people, some of whom I am sure do not have the skill to evaluate if something is a JavaScript security threat or not, who have copied and pasted a random script they read on the internet into the developer console. Granted, this one is pretty simple and easier to evaluate than most, but still you really get why Facebook hacked the console to warn people not to do that.

edit: This tweet said exactly what I was thinking when I saw all of this. https://twitter.com/s_m_i/status/493609377958723584

"Also this uber thing shows folks will copy and paste commands they dont understand without a second thought if the incentives are right"

3
rdl 1 day ago 8 replies      
I don't get why Uber doesn't tell me the exterior color of UberX cars coming to pick me up. I have no idea what a "Nissan Versa" is; knowing it's a blue minivan would be helpful.
4
politician 22 hours ago 4 replies      
I have absolutely zero interest in my Uber passenger rating.

If they decide to start being ridiculous, I'll decide to start taking cabs again -- at least the cabbies generally have a clue about how to get to places, and don't bother with questions about "what route would you like me to take you on". The fastest route, thanks.

5
finnn 1 day ago 4 replies      
I somehow have a 4, the lowest in this thread (that I've seen so far). I wonder what I did, I generally try to be polite to the drivers and I rarely use the service, so I suspect I got one extremely poor rating? I can't imagine when though.

Anyway, looks like you can go and pull the token out of the page and just do

curl https://m.uber.com/cn --data '{"messageType":"PingClient","token":"xxxxx","app":"client"}' | jq .client.ratin

to check it programmatically. Could be interesting to have a service detect somehow that you'd just finished a ride and show you the new score (and possibly the change, etc)

6
korzun 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I just want to point out that customer support will be happy to give you your rating.

Just ask.

7
philip1209 1 day ago 2 replies      
The window.Uber variable has a lot of interesting information, like "isAdmin," data about the last vehicle I rode in (interior color, exterior color, model year, capacity), last driver's phone number, "activeExperiments" which I assume are multivariate tests being run against me, etc
8
narsil 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Lyft shares something similar via their API as well.

`curl -H "Authorization: fbAccessToken <fb access token>" https://api.lyft.com/users/<lyft user id>` provides some basic profile, credit card, location and referral information but nothing about ratings. The lyft user ID can be obtained by logging in at www.lyft.com/login and viewing the source.

9
zoba 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Or, alternatively, you can just ask your Uber driver when you get in the car. Much easier, and likely won't be "fixed" by uber for a long time.
10
yskchu 22 hours ago 3 replies      
Looks like they closed it :-/

window.Uber.pingData.client.firstName, lastName, email all work, but rating is now "undefined".

11
the_economist 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been aware of my Uber passenger rating for about a year. When I first found out about it, my rating was a 4.9. Once I realized that I was being rated, I worked really hard to be the perfect passenger. I had my rating up to a 5.0 for a few months. Then I got lazy about being perfect and it has since dropped to a 4.8.
12
aliston 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't get why this is included in the window.Uber pingData. It seems as though your rating is something that isn't necessary and shouldn't be surfaced client-side.

Anyone have some insight into why this data is there in the first place? Is this an accidental leak, some sort of optimization or something else?

13
zobzu 1 day ago 4 replies      
I've only had a few rides and ive 4.9 (ie someone didnt rate me 5.0). Meh.

Then again, I don't feel bad rating drivers because they sell me a service, I'm rating that (it wouldnt even have to include their name - it probably shouldn't. then again I'm european, we seem to have slightly different ethics).

I feel bad that they rate us because we don't provide them with anything.

That rating is going to be saved, sold and shared eventually.

14
chatmasta 1 day ago 4 replies      
What kind of details do you think go into this rating? My guess: how long driver waits for you to get in the car, how drunk and annoying you are, how much you tip (do they see this before rating?), how profitable your ride is.

I suspect most drivers, like most passengers, give a 5.0 to almost everyone, but dock points for being a dick. It just seems there's no other way to differentiate passengers, since they'll be paying the fee regardless.

15
aioprisan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of useful data in window.Uber.pingData.client. For instance, I can see that my credit card profile is on braintree.
16
jwilliams 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm. Suspect there is a bug with this - All my ratings are five, besides a handful of zeroes. At least a couple of the zeroes I remember being perfectly amicable rides (I mean, I'd assume something extreme is necessary to get a zero)...

My suspicion is that zero is equivalent to unrated, so shouldn't be in the sum?

17
rlu 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know why Uber doesn't easily just give you your own rating? If I know my rating is low then I know I should work on improving it if I want to continue using Uber...

Seems kind of like a win-win-win for all three parties (Uber, driver, myself)

18
schnaars 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I've just asked my driver and they tell you.
19
lawrencegs 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this reverse-rating system is only for US. Even though I'm from US, I had only get the chance to use it abroad (Jakarta). And when I check it, my rating is null. Is it something to do with the fact that Uber driver in Jakarta are actually professional car-rental driver?
20
rco8786 23 hours ago 1 reply      
4.9!

I use uber multiple time per week and have for years. So I guess I'm not an asshole.

21
blake8086 1 day ago 3 replies      
So if you check this after every ride, you'll know exactly what everyone rated you, right?
22
thejerz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I live in Philadelphia and I've taken uber around 50 times. I have a 4.8.
23
saalweachter 1 day ago 3 replies      
Are there any drivers in the audience who can tell us what different ratings mean?
24
michaeldwan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't think of a single reason the user rating is hidden from the user. If anything, knowing your score is low would help explain why rides are often unavailable.
25
girvo 23 hours ago 1 reply      
The site now says that the mobile site is unavailable. Perhaps they've taken it down to fix this? I'm in Australia, so maybe that's it.
26
swang 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if `window.Uber.pingData.client.activeExperiments` is the test groups you're currently in at the moment...
27
Zhenya 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Game's over - result is now null.
28
taroth 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice hack. I imagine using it to see if a driver gave me a good rating or not based on the delta between my new score and old score.
29
joshwa 23 hours ago 0 replies      
On my browser, the rating is at

    window.Uber.Ping.Client.attributes.rating

30
burntcookie90 23 hours ago 1 reply      
this is also visible if you view the source on m.uber.com, ctrl-f for "rating".
31
corylehey 14 hours ago 0 replies      
even easier method, ask your next Uber driver what your rating is.
32
sunasra 23 hours ago 0 replies      
dont they show officially?
33
mxpxrocks10 1 day ago 0 replies      
awesome- this was great. 4.9
34
mrvladnov 1 day ago 0 replies      
this is dope, got a 4.8
35
trekky1700 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome, happy to find I have a 5/5 too!
36
thrill 1 day ago 0 replies      
5.0 (I've never used the service - so it looks like it's all downhill from here...)
15
Rolling your own CDN for $25 in 1 hour
310 points by mxpxrocks10  1 day ago   88 comments top 17
1
natch 1 day ago 5 replies      
Nice. For tutorials like this it would be nice to see more details on the "how" of each step. For example:

"We setup DNS info to point here (both NS1 and NS2..."

That's great, but it would be nice to see:

"Using the geodns web-based configuration tool, we setup DNS info to point here (both NS1 and NS2..."

or

"Running <insert full command line here including tool and all options used here> on <insert environment here>, we setup DNS info to point here (both NS1 and NS2..."

or

"By editing /etc/<file> on the <some environment>, we setup DNS info to point here (both NS1 and NS2..."

In other words specifics are always really great to include.

But still this was a really great writeup, not just for the overview it gives of one lightweight approach but for the comments it has kicked off.

2
xxdesmus 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd recommend CloudFlare if you want AnyCast geo-DNS, and a free CDN. We don't charge for bandwidth or our DNS service.

Disclosure: yes, I work at CloudFlare but the previous details are simply facts.

3
kbar13 1 day ago 3 replies      
rolling your CDN on VPS instances isn't exactly cost-effective, and is probably more of an exercise for fun than anything else. Unless you need features out of your CDN that you can't get from existing CDN providers, I don't really see the point.

also kind of unusual that this blog post is by the president of MaxCDN.

4
akerl_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm more than a little bit concerned that the article doesn't point out the serious risk of running a single DNS server for the records.

I get that they're trying to keep things simple for their demo, but unsuspecting folks following this guide are in for quite a shock when their GeoDNS is taken out by a single physical server fault.

5
edoceo 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This is similar to the process I used to build http://gcdn.org/ which I and a few clients + friends use on multiple projects. We used to use RR but GeoDNS has proven to be awesome and reliable. Full NS control makes it easier to do rolling upgrades or maintenance too. Excellent write up.

More notes on GeoDNS http://edoceo.com/howto/geodns

6
AdamN 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Now with libcloud (http://libcloud.readthedocs.org/en/latest/compute/drivers/) you can use multiple platforms in order to get all continents represented.

Including Africa (http://kili.io) where I'm at.

7
danielrhodes 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I would highly recommend Varnish using S3 as a backend origin. Add to that a few 100TB.com dedicated server and you have an extremely cheap CDN with pretty decent bandwidth and minimal maintenance.

CDNs have the advantage that they control more of the stack so can do more precise routing and have more edge nodes in more places. However, under the right circumstances, you can take the above quite far before a real CDN becomes necessary.

8
ksec 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it be better on Linode? Since they have wider selection of PoP. But i wonder if the port speed would be a problem.
9
ColinCera 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm wondering if it would be useful to plug groupcache into this. It's what Google uses for serving downloads (e.g., Chrome downloads). Inherently distributed and self-balancing. I might give that a try.
10
fakeyfake 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of this article about hosting a CDN on digitalocean for the dash documentation software.

http://blog.kapeli.com/a-poor-mans-cdn

11
jpmonette 1 day ago 1 reply      
Definitely nice to see a real-world example of how to use Docker.
12
Oculus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Cool article for understanding the basics of a CDN. What sort of page load improvement can one get by adding geographically distributed servers?
13
fmela 1 day ago 2 replies      
Thanks for sharing. Note that there's a typo in the link to Ewan's github profile (should start with https, not ttps).
14
adarshr 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Why is this page blocked by my UK work network?
15
leapius 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent tut!
16
lingben 1 day ago 1 reply      
or you know, if your concern is cost, go with cdn.net and pay as you go for a kickass global cdn network

full disclosure, I have no business or personal connection to them

17
hiddenpearls 20 hours ago 0 replies      
that's awesome +Chris
16
Banned for Life
308 points by lubomir  17 hours ago   264 comments top 53
1
_petronius 16 hours ago 11 replies      
The author used other people's content, packaged them into an app, and then repeatedly submitted the same app (with one minor modification -- the use of someone else's content) to the Play store. 'Beta' apps or apps that you write for close friends/family can be distributed via other means than the main app market.

This article admits that he ignored all of the warnings he was given, and now accuses Google of unfair business practice. I don't buy it.

There's a lot of logical contortion going on to dump the blame for this back on Google. "The suspension email stated that I was trying to impersonate another company" is followed quickly by "Well since Google was silent about the exact reason for suspension..."; he even admits to intentionally ignoring the warnings he was given because "if I thought a human at Google was giving me the warning, I might have listened more carefully."

That is, at best, negligently poor reasoning. At worst, it's a contemptuous disrespect for the other party you're engaging in business with, which is pretty good grounds for them exercising their option to terminate that business relationship.

Google, Amazon, etc., are for-profit commercial service providers. If you're going to violate their policies, they will stop working with you, regardless of the impact on your business. Anyone who depends on a third party supplier for anything, in any business context, should keep that in mind -- they have no duty to you beyond whatever contract you have signed (if, of course, you have signed one).

2
JamesMcMinn 16 hours ago 5 replies      
The author used others people's content and spammed with play store with official sounding apps, then ignored warnings to stop. Got caught and punished for it, now Google won't let him do it again.

Honestly, it just sounds like Google were doing the right thing and protecting it's users from low quality spam apps.

3
Cthulhu_ 15 hours ago 3 replies      
> Anyone using my simplistic beta quality app would know instantly that this is not official

A silly assumption that both generalizes the audience and is ignorant of copyright laws, imo. Not a valid argument in a court situation either. I could make the crappiest Geocities site out there, but as soon as I put a Google logo somewhere, people may assume it is an official Google site or affiliated with it.

> One of my apps contained the channel id for Vice.com. Since the length of the app name is so limited I decided on Vice TV

Yup, there you go. Using a brand name, showing a brand's video - intent isn't the issue here, the author was impersonating Vice.com there.

The author is guilty of being naive and lax about copyright and trademark laws, imo.

4
jpwagner 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Sure Google is a private company. Sure this means they have no formal responsibility to this developer. Programmatically, he seems to deserve to be sanctioned: he violated their policies for several weeks with several different apps.

I emailed Google back and asked them to tell me exactly what I need to change to be compliant with the rules. Is it the icon? The name? The disclaimer? What? Google refused to give me any additional information.

But if his story is true, he makes good faith efforts to be compliant. What, if any, is the social responsibility a company has that owns half the market of mobile development platforms to people that could potentially make a living using their platform? Monopolies/duopolies throw a wrench in the invisible hand, and I'm not sure there's a clear answer.

5
justinpaulson 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"These warnings to me felt like the warnings on a plastic bag telling you not to put it over your head"

And yet you still put the bag over your head and took a deep breath! Why not just remove the ten apps and use common sense to determine that naming your apps after another company's product is a bad idea??

6
oskarth 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Did OP do something wrong? Yes, definitely. Is being banned from all other Google-related activities forever without recourse proportional? No. The response - being the sum of all its direct consequences - is tyrannical, and worse, automatic and faceless. Unless you enjoy being A Perfectly Obedient Citizen (TM), the only real lesson here is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Use Google, use Apple, but beware of letting them have full control of important parts of your life.
7
mimog 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Good. I wish all the people developing crappy and useless apps, flooding the place, would get banned. You publish 10 different apps where the only thing that changes is the youtube channel, and claim you were beta testing? I hope Apple and Microsoft ban you as well.
8
danielweber 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If you ever find yourself making this argument:

I didnt think they would mind, I thought I was doing them a favor. Pointing people to their great content. Its free advertising

then stop. Other people don't want your "free" advertising.

9
true_religion 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anyone read the list of other developers who've gotten suspended?

> http://blog.hutber.com/how-my-google-devlopers-account-got-t...

This guy here writes an app called "Sex Diaries Alpha", and has it rejected because of pornographic purpose. He then assumes that its because he used a picture a cartoon donkey as the icon, so he reploads "Sex Diaries Test" with a picture of a cartoon girl instead.

More repetitions follow. He never once thinks its perhaps the name 'sex diaries' or the stated purpose of the app. Nope, maybe its the fact that this picture has a nipple, or this is cartoon bondage.

> http://andrewpearson.org/?p=681

This guy writes an app and stuffs it with 100s of keywords (as one could see by checking the same app in the 3rd party app store), then he complains he isn't in violation because you could play all those artists through his generic music player, and google didn't cap the number of keywords you could use. So he's not in violation. He knows this for sure, because he's an attorney.

> https://groups.google.com/forum/#%21searchin/android-develop...

This guy says that Google transfered $4000 of android sales into his adsense account so they could pay him for non-US sales, but they failed to verify his account since he didn't have $10 worth of adsense budget. Then they disabled the entire account due to invalid clicks on a dead-end blog. If his story is actually true, he should get a lawyer and I feel this is really the time that Google customer service would be nice.

10
M4v3R 16 hours ago 3 replies      
> I continued to be an Apple fan until they announced the walled garden and the app review process for iOS. I am totally against having to get permission from a corporation to write and sell apps (...). All Apple products are banned in my household to make a statement about programmer freedom.

> Now my Google play account and Google Wallet account are both banned for life. Im no longer able to write Android apps ever again, and my family and I cant even use Google wallet to purchase from Google Play.

So much for programmer freedom. Apple is at least very explicit about its rules. Google seemingly lets you do whatever you want, but then bans you if you do something that they don't like. Now of course one can say that the ban is justified, as author clearly misused the Play store and didn't follow the guidelines.

If he did try to do that on the App Store his apps would be probably instantly rejected, but he would not be banned. The funny thing is that there's a big chance that he would then write a blog post about how App Store is a "walled garden" and that on Play store that would be OK.

11
IanDrake 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft was known as the Borg, but that was poorly placed. Google has been more of a Borg than MS ever was.

Google has decided to automate everything. There is no way to get actual help across their entire product line. Having problems with your adwords account? It doesn't matter if you spend $20K month, you get automatic email responses to your queries with obnoxious links to the help system that you've already read.

While I agree that author did more wrong than he realizes, he also asked Google for an explanation to their objection, to which he received no response. I guess the Borg NLP engine was down that day and couldn't find the appropriate form letter.

Whatever you think about this author, you can't deny the danger of relying on one ecosystem so heavily. Google is the worst. At least Apple would have denied his app with a reason which he could have corrected.

12
baldfat 16 hours ago 1 reply      
March 25th post that was on Hacker News at least twice already. This is the only article on his blog.

Here is hi github page: https://github.com/sgehrman He is still developing. I am wondering what the updated status is on this? Seems that if he is still developing he isn't banned for life?

There already were some petition at https://www.change.org/petitions/sergey-brin-respect-the-eff...

13
neil_s 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Summary: No sympathy for the blog author, but its still terrifying how broad Google's ban-hammer can be if you run afoul of them.
14
arsalanb 16 hours ago 1 reply      
After just skimming through the post, I have a question for OP. Why did you create 10 different apps? Why not just one app, that gave the user the ability to enter a channel name and check out all their videos? I think that's better, both in terms of not spamming for the lack of a better work the Play Store, as well as UX.

I'm afraid the actions taken by Google in this case can be justified, since publishing 10 apps a day is a dubious figure. However, I'll give it to you, they could've made the regulations regarding this a little more explicit and visible.

15
TuringTest 16 hours ago 0 replies      
...and thus, the natural consequences of walled-garden markets begin to rear their ugly heads.

It was all love and rainbows while the gold rush held it promise of instant richness and fame, wasn't it?

16
mikehall314 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It's an unfortunately common idea that copyright violation is sometimes okay because it amounts to "free advertising" for the organisation whose content you're co-opting. I was disappointed to see that argument made here.
17
yonran 11 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of people think that the author deserved the punishment for his stupidity. However, I think he had an important point that needs to be discussed: that he was dismissed without a fair hearing and was banned for life from services unrelated to the one on which he committed the offense.

I think this is a growing problem that more people need to be aware of. We do not have the right to use modern marketplaces (such as the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, Google Adwords, AirBnB, Ebay, Uber, etc.) Instead, we have permission from corporations to use them. If an individual bases his livelihood on sales through one of these and then makes a mistake, the company is likely to ban him, destroying his income. There is currently no guarantee of due process or proportional punishment. When you are banned from the majority marketplace, one often has no real alternative. Can anyone make a living selling his goods on the second most popular auction site?

I think we need to fight for the right to due process and fair punishment online.

18
fishnchips 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't call the OP blameless but there is a lesson here: it is dangerous for a professional software developer to become too invested in one technology or platform, especially with a capricious corporate overlord behind it.
19
joshdance 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the best comment, which was buried in the replies was this:

"There is a guide and it's pretty clear: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answ...- For example, if your app displays the brand, icon, or title from another app [...] your apps can be suspended and your developer account terminated."

20
ericfrederich 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Don't believe you

You were a die hard Apple fan boy since '85 even during their darkest times... then you can't provide your users updates within hours so you...

"threw out my macs, smashed my iPhones, switched my whole family to Ubuntu and Android."

http://www.reactiongifs.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/dont_b...

21
tomordonez 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I understand that an app is content wrapped around a concept.It is common sense not to use a known name unless you are asking for trouble.I could make a news app. Do I want to name it CNN?No, unless I am authorized to use that name.It is naive to think you can use just any name, even if you meant good. You are looking for trouble.Next time call it something else. The video app. Learn by Watching...I mean you couldn't come up with another name?
22
pessimizer 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Would they have cut off his Nest? If google since G+ thinks of itself as a single product, it might not be smart to let them into your house, or to depend on them for anything important.

That being said, these kinds of apps are what make the phone app market a cesspool. Would the iOS app store accept youtube channel viewers?

23
avz 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm absolutely astonished by the degree of egocentric delusion, arrogance and lack of self-criticism displayed by the author:

* he smashes thousands of dollars worth of equipment because the producer's business model no longer fits his idea of freedom,

* he writes a trivial wrapper app with no original content or behavior,

* he spams Google Play with ten versions of it hard-coding different YT channel IDs in each,

* he values this contribution to the Android ecosystem on about $500,000,

* his apps obviously infringe on trademarks and possibly copyrighted content,

* he ignores multiple warnings and app suspensions, because they don't tell him precisely what to change,

* he considers Google to be under the obligation to handhold him through the nature of his violation of the terms and conditions,

* after all this he continues to think he is in the right,

* he writes a rant and expects to receive sympathy riding on general disappointment in devs community with Google's admittedly lacking customer support.

Wow.

24
dictum 14 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Don't repackage other people's content. Especially with their trademarks attached. If they had no role in creating the app, don't be a jerk. If you want to make a video app, make a general-purpose video app and teach your users how to add channels.

2. I can't help but appreciate the karma angle of someone who tried to repackage web content as apps getting bitten by the gatekeepers of the walled garden.

3. Ah, Google, the business that would certainly still exist (and be as large and powerful as it currently is) had it been forbidden to ever skirt the limits of copyright law...

25
pnathan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Google is extremely well known for poor customer service in account management. That should not surprise anyone at this point. Automated bans and automated denial of appeal are pretty par for the course from the stories I've read.

That said, I'm not sure I actually side with the author outside of that point of agreement. Looks like the apps were mega shady.

I would advise the author to (1) not place their trust in a corporation again, and to secure their business & personal affairs against single points of failure, (2) not make shady software, and finally (3) consult a lawyer on the implementation of the law and contracts.

26
tuhrig 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand his whole logic. He publishes the same app 10 times for different channels. One after another gets banned and he even thinks this proves that the rest is OK. He says that he made "beta apps written for my kids", but he puts it on the biggest app store in the world. He says an app to display videos is worth 50.000$, 10 times the same app is worth 500.000$. He says it was a free project, but he made it to collect user data for his commercial project.
27
chasing 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"Because I had listened to the leaders at Google say that the open web, open source and freedom are important values at Google, and I fully agree with that ideal."

"All Apple products are banned in my household to make a statement about programmer freedom."

"I believe in freedom, not blind obedience."

This guy comes off as being a bit naive. And/or dishonest in his telling of this story...

28
pronoiac 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I knew I'd seen this before. It looks like Medium's wacky URL structure is bypassing the dupe checker. If you search for the hex code at the end[1], you get the previous discussions.

From when this was first posted in March:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7478975

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7569454

From May:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7855337

[1] like this: https://hn.algolia.com/?q=c62f2404f66#!/story/forever/0/c62f...

29
chrisBob 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The author should also do a quick search (perhaps with bing, DuckDuckGo, or Yahoo) on PayPal accounts being blocked. He recommends this as the safe option, trusted option, but I have seen more PayPal banned for life rants than google ones. With PayPal you can loose your account just because your customers are using stolen cards.

The lesson should be that basing a business on any single external resource could be an issue, and you should approach it carefully.

30
bg451 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> The suspension email stated that I was trying to impersonate another company, and that this was forbidden.

> I decided on Vice TV

> I didnt plan on trying to sell Vice TV

> I was also secretly hoping I would get a contract job out of this or someone might say, Hey, add my blog and Facebook pages and Ill buy the app from you.

The last quotation isn't necessarily in context with the third one, but nonetheless this guy was either stupidly naive or ignorant.

31
piratebroadcast 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to make Android themes back in the day. I would wait until a game got really popular on iOS and count on Android users checking the Android app store for the same titles. I'd sell an "Angry Birds" phone theme for 99 cents. Many Android users werent that technologically savvy and thought they were buying the actual game. This went on for about 6 months. I was making serious money. Eventually they caught on and I was banned from the store. I was a kid and doing something a bit douchey but I definitely understand banning me.

This guy doesn't quite seem to feel the same way.

32
X-Istence 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple is banned in the household, because walled garden, and yet he doesn't see the Google Play Store as a walled garden... oh boy, this guy is going to go far.
33
kelvin0 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Google's 'normal' support is horrendous and it takes forever to get someone to even pretend to help you. We had a paying google app engine account for our company... I've dealt with them, and it`s a pain to say the least.Now I can only imagine how they treat people who they consider 'deliquent' (not saying that the author is one)
34
ripb 16 hours ago 2 replies      
>1 app, 2 apps, 10 apps? Did it matter either way? I could have posted 50 apps if I wanted

>So I was using the app store as my beta testing platform.

>I was planning on taking all these apps down in a few weeks anyway.

>I thought I could get maybe 20-30 apps suspended without repercussions

>In this age of Google, its now obey or face an instant lifetime ban. This is progress? What does the future hold if we are forced to strictly obey and understand every legal gotcha in Googles terms of service? I believe in freedom, not blind obedience. I made some mistakes and would have removed all my apps if I had known the true consequences.

He spammed the Google Play store with multiple unfinished versions of the same applications for "beta testing", received warnings which he chose to ignore and then got banned for his gross abuse of the service.

Instead of "I messed up, here's a warning to others" it's a case of "why don't Google let me mess around with their service as much as I like? This is oppression, this is America goddamnit, where's muh freedom?!?"

Zero sympathy. Well done to Google on taking down one of the many people spamming the Play store with junk.

35
izzydata 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there anyway to call google help directly? I've heard plenty of stories of google automated email support that never adequately explains anything, but I'm curious if you can actually call them.

If anyone has seen the movie "The Internship" there is a scene where they all have to learn how to do phone support. I would find it very weird if that is entirely a lie and it is nearly impossible to call them.

Also he smashed his apple devices because he disagrees with their ideals? That seems kind of immature.

36
Donzo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
He wants to know the difference between an app and the web: see Chubby Checker settlement.
37
desireco42 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I had this happen to me with adwords, once you get your account suspended or even before that, it is hard to get anyone to talk to you or have a way to correct issue. If you are fresh at it and clueless you are almost certain you will be banned.

Mostly this is due Google not having customer support, so you are just interacting with machines.

It would be easier if we had more options, this way if you get kicked out by apple and google, nothing else is left.

38
the_real_bto 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The escalation from written warning to banned for life is a huge leap to make in one step.

A month long suspension would get the point across.

39
aaronem 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I started laughing at the bit about all Apple products being banned in his household to make a statement about freedom, and I just didn't stop.
40
FiddlerClamp 14 hours ago 0 replies      
He could sell the app outside the Play Store, of course. Nothing can stop him from doing that (trademark issues aside) and collecting payment via PayPal, etc.
41
wldcordeiro 11 hours ago 0 replies      
That this guy was banned from Google Play is meaningless. He would have been banned from the iTunes Store as well for apps like this. This post is just getting traction because it's Google and HN has an axe to grind against them.
42
Karunamon 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeahh.. I'm finding it really hard to have much sympathy here. Spammy single-content-source apps like this are a plague upon the store.

Furthermore, the author's ignorance of trademark really doesn't win them any points.

43
venomsnake 13 hours ago 0 replies      
He is wrong. But the technology giants wield way too much power and must be tamed.
44
JimmaDaRustla 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The ignorance hurts my bones.
45
0x0 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If he spent even 5 minutes looking at the ios sdk, he'd see that there's no review process involved in distribution of beta apps to customers...
46
henrygrew 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Google is a bully to say the least and they are not as open as you might think, i learnt this when my adsense account got suspended.
47
bitJericho 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I love how the tl;dr bit is at the end of the article. If I were too lazy to read the entire article, why would I scroll to the end before closing?

"If one of their algorithms thinks youre a bad guy, youre banned for life."

In his case scratch out "thinks" and put in "knows"

48
remon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR version "Didn't read the rules, broke the rules, :("
49
VLM 15 hours ago 3 replies      
"Google could have, and still could block my gmail"

They have a different revenue generation business model for gmail.

My son's account was blocked, couldn't figure out why, and they wouldn't say. I suspect some kind of data mining thing where watching more than 5000 blitzwinger videos on youtube "proves" you're a kid or a teen. He does like his video games...

He falls into that gap between being old enough to have an account per google's rules, but young enough to not have his own credit card or a drivers license (they'd accept a scanned copy of his DL, but he's not 16 yet) so the only option to reinstate his account was to get Dad (me) to charge 50 cents on his CC to "prove" he's of legal age.

So part of the gmail business model is to hold kids (teens) accounts hostage with a threat of permanent deletion until Dad pays 50 cents. I'm not annoyed at the 50 cents, gmail is worth a large multiple of that. I am annoyed that at a random time long after BAU was initiated, they felt like charging us for fun.

It is possible the gmail biz model of randomly applied fees could be applied to play store / wallet accounts.

Not sure if OP would have flown off into as much of a rage for a $50 reinstatement fee, or if he'd be like me, pissed off at the "business agreement" being unilaterally rewritten at a later date. Either way, the gmail biz model does appear to be superior to the play/wallet/app store biz model, at least GOOG would get some revenue, however little.

I assume based on evidence Google dropped the "don't be evil" motto a long time ago.

50
jeffehobbs 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Duh.

Honestly, why don't you just use a friend's account?

51
logicallee 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I stopped reading at "So, I threw out my macs, smashed my iPhones, switched my whole family to Ubuntu and Android." (Because nobody does that, specifically the first two things.) BTW until this line I was relating strongly with the author and especially the stuff about supporting a family.

Never got to find out the meat of the story. Oh well - it was promising and I was looking forward to it, I kind of wish I didn't realize what I was reading. (i.e. a fabrication.)

Basically, I don't find the sentence credible, nor am able to read it in context as an exaggeration or metaphorical, it's presented as fact, and I lost interest.

This is written by a marketer, not a developer. i.e. it's "a paid lie" (if we are cynical), or more generously it's allegory, that I don't have time to read. None of this stuff happened, in my judgment.

Granted I didn't read the 3900 word essay so I could be wrong - I stopped at word 278. It's just my impression that this story takes you for a ride.

52
api 12 hours ago 1 reply      
"I was a die hard Apple fan since 1985 and was an Apple developer all through the darkest days of the Apple death spiral. I continued to be an Apple fan until they announced the walled garden and the app review process for iOS. I am totally against having to get permission from a corporation to write and sell apps, and I certainly dont think I should be forced to sell my work through their store and their store only."

Regardless of the merits of this particular authors' case, I'm frankly astounded that more people don't seem to care about this aspect of mobile platforms. I remember the uproar the Microsoft caused in the 1990s with their "trusted computing" trial balloon, and the uproar that locked PC BIOSes continue to create today. Yet you change the form factor a little and nobody cares. Wow.

53
PythonicAlpha 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The OP made some grave errors with his apps. But is it really a good reason, to not tell him, what was going wrong and instead swinging the big hammer on his head (life-long ban)?

Google once started with the slogan "Don't be evil".

By being the new "Judge Dredd" of the internet, it can just become, what it never wanted to be. All that, just because Google tries to drive technology to its extremes ("customer-service from hell").

This is going to be more and more important, because there exist only very few major app-stores and very few major internet-payment systems (gladly, there the situation could still change to the better). But I know, how much Paypal was criticized because of his behavior and being a semi-monopolist in internet payments.

With our today's trend to centralization -- I don't want to put my fate into the hand of one of these new Judge Dredds.

17
EFF Asks Judge to Rule NSA Internet Backbone Spying Techniques Unconstitutional
289 points by rosser  3 days ago   104 comments top 6
1
rustyconover 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think we should all look at the example of Mohammad Ali's appeals to the Supreme Court regarding charges of dodging the draft. In a documentary about Ali, I recall the one of the supreme court justice's clerks going back through the record, and it turned out the Ali's beliefs (being a member of the Nation of Islam) did qualify him as a conscious objector much like the Seventh Day Adventists. Before this point the courts has ruled the N.o.I. didn't deserve the same treatment for its members. Ruling for Ali posed a large problem for the Supreme Court, if they ruled in a way that set a large precedent that many people could claim they were objectors the country would have huge problems feeding the established "war machine" (the draft). So the justices went back through the record and found a technicality, as such they found a way Ali wouldn't be found guilty of dodging the draft due to a procedural error. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_v._United_States for all the details.

I expect if the court comes to review the facts in this matter they will either be impeded in succeeding due to national security concerns or find a way to decide for the plaintiffs in the smallest possible way to not upset the established order. Very rarely are judicial decisions groundbreaking in precedent. They are more like the tree trimmers of legislation and executive privilege, they typically only trim branches not cut down entire trunks as this ruling would possibly do for Internet surveillance.

So this the world we live in, encrypt your life.

2
suprgeek 2 days ago 2 replies      
One of the points that I hope will be fully put to the sword is the tortured definition that the NSA & Govt. uses of spying. That argument is phrased approximately as: We are making limited digital copies of stuff (-possibly all internet traffic) that is stored in encrypted form and not actually "reading" it.It is only accessed in a much more limited & narrow context for investigations using "minimization" techniques that respect the fourth amendment. So we are not really spying in an unconstitutional manner...

This is almost sure to come up if the case proceeds without being torpedoed by the national secrets defense..and I hope the EFF absolutely prevails in crushing this malarkey.

3
dm2 3 days ago 6 replies      
I'd argue that the NSA needs to retain limited spying capabilities, but with very very strict control of how the data is used and stored. Dragnet surveillance is not acceptable or necessary.

It's the sharing of this information that should be dramatically limited. Other government agencies (at federal, state, and local levels) need to be prevented from actively spying on citizens. Corporations also need to be prevented from spying on citizens, they are just as bad and just as careless with data.

I'd love some discussion on this topic, please convince me I'm wrong.

Of course there needs to be more regulation on the long-term storage of this data (1-2 years max seems sufficient) and the sharing of this data (absolutely no sharing with other agencies unless it's a major threat to national security) and absolutely no sharing any access of these databases with foreign governments.

The NSA plays a critical role in keeping the country safe. It's becoming easier and easier for crazy, misguided, and foreign enemies to harm the nation and it's citizens, somebody has to protect us.

Other countries are not going to give up their NSA equivalents and eliminating the NSA would cripple US intelligence. Knowledge is power is especially true when dealing with the scale that governments deal with. The fact is that the US is one of the prime targets for terrorism, both independent and foreign nation sponsored.

4
SoftwareMaven 3 days ago 2 replies      
I can't imagine a scenario where this could be viewed as not infringing, yet I'm not holding my breath. Even if it were found to be infringing, I have little hope the NSA would stop dragnet-like behavior.

I keep hoping the water will get shut off to the datacenters across the valley.

5
iandanforth 3 days ago 1 reply      
Has standing been granted? That's been a huge stumbling block for these cases in the past.
6
cowbell 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also in violation of international laws and treaties signed by the US.

http://www.vox.com/2014/7/17/5910299/5-ways-obama-may-have-v...

18
Learning to Read excerpt from The Autobiography of Malcolm X
279 points by kcovia  2 days ago   153 comments top 11
1
dwolfson20 2 days ago 5 replies      
Everyone should really just read the entire Autobiography.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Autobiography-Malcolm-Told-Haley/d...

Also, they should spell "Malcolm" correctly. :)

2
sq1020 2 days ago 1 reply      
For those who feel uncomfortable with Malcolm's former creed that white people are devils and the black race is superior to all others, please do take note of the fact that he did convert to mainstream Islam near the end of his life thus disavowing any such racism or black supremacy.

As Malcolm so eloquently stated:

"America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white - but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color."

You see, orthodox Islam, from the very beginning, espoused equality for all races. In fact, race in Islam is an inconsequential matter. Take for example, one of the greatest and most respected companions of the Prophet Muhammad was an African: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilal_Ibn_Rabah

The fact is that the Nation of Islam could not be any further from orthodox Islam. In fact, an orthodox Muslim could never possibly even consider one who believes in the NOI's teachings to be a Muslim. It's a shame that the NOI usurped the name Islam and applied it to its organization which really has absolutely nothing to do with a religion with such an illustrious history and tradition.

3
lclarkmichalek 2 days ago 2 replies      
> At one-hour intervals the night guards paced past every room. Each time I heard the approaching footsteps, I jumped into bed and feigned sleep. And as soon as the guard passed, I got back out of bed onto the floor area of that light-glow, where I would read for another fifty-eight minutesuntil the guard approached again. That went on until three or four every morning.

I did something similar as a child, with my guards being my parents (oh what a metaphor). Looking back, as someone who does not read a vast amount any more, I was privileged with both the means, and the inclination, to have such a habit. God knows it made me who I am.

4
sitkack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Such a wonderful mind and finely tuned level of metacognition. The arc of the voicing in this passage is beautiful. It saddens me that the world has caused people like him so much pain.
5
parasight 2 days ago 1 reply      
If I only could read all the books I want to read. I can't count the books I bought and only read half or not at all. The stack of to-be-read-next books grows and grows. And now after reading this text I just ordered Malcolm X's biography.
6
PaulAJ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Somewhat reminds me of Terry Pratchett's habit of attributing his education to his local public library.
7
novacole 2 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite book of all time.
8
thrush 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's amazing how empowering reading is. Benjamin Franklin used to stay up reading the books dropped off at his brother's printing press, and Warren Buffet supposedly reads 5 hours a day as part of his standard work schedule. Forget 10,000 hours, I'd like to know how many words the most successful people have read in their lifetime.
9
redmaverick 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this also a good way to master programming? i.e Take a reference book/open source project and type out everything till you internalize it?
10
Balgair 2 days ago 1 reply      
"You couldnt have gotten me out of books with a wedge...my reading of books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life."

I'll pair that quote with this, please consider giving yourself: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-re...

11
oldmanjay 2 days ago 9 replies      
what a shame that his intellect ended up wasted on reactionary racism. understandable in a sense, given time and place, but still... a waste.
19
How I ended up conducting successful tech interviews with just 1 question
253 points by bubblicious  2 days ago   131 comments top 34
1
ruswick 2 days ago 24 replies      
The problem is that this method disproportionately hurts people who don't have the time or energy to effectively hold two jobs (one full-time position at their day job and one as an independent developer or open-source contributor by night) because of family, friends, or some other facet of life beyond their laptop.

I think it's totally unreasonable to expect that everyone spend every minute of their lives coding or to have some kind of deep, personal connection to the code they write.

This thinking is ridiculous, and doesn't really appear in any other industry. Do you care whether your accountant's idea of an enjoyable Friday night is sitting at home making more spreadsheets? Would you demand that your eye doctor go home and craft her own lenses in her garage for fun? Competency doesn't require fanaticism, and no employer should expect that their employees devote their entire lives to their occupation.

If I want to code for 8 or 10 hours a day, go home and enjoy myself in the little free time I do have, then wake up and do it again, I don't see why that makes me an inferior employee.

This just seems like more misguided, unjustified cultural absolutism that is so prevalent in the industry.

EDIT: For those saying that the article doesn't necessitate spending massive time outside of work writing code, the author clearly conflates the two. "i have always been convinced that those who love code do not restrict their coding activities to their work. they take home that love and continue to create for fun as a hobby." Personally, I think passion could be a valuable heuristic in hiring, but the author seemed to imply that passion is only measured by your willingness to work outside of your day job. At the very least, that seems to be his expectation of good candidates, and his hiring process clearly disadvantages people who can't or won't code 24/7.

2
asuffield 2 days ago 8 replies      
The flaw in this method is that it assumes there is only one kind of developer: the lone architect, who builds fine tents out of whatever is lying on the ground and then departs.

What it won't get you is breadth of experience, operational background, full-stack thinking, or people who can look at somebody else's work and say "here are the ways in which that is going to blow up in your face, two years from now". (Anybody care to add to this list?)

If all you ever do is bootstrap new projects from nothing then maybe that's the sort of people you want to hire, but it's probably not enough to build a sustainable product.

3
kabdib 2 days ago 3 replies      
One of my favorite questions is, "Tell me about the best bug you've ever found."

It's a great touchstone. Sure, it's subjective, but it gives valuable insight into someone's level of skill, how they approach problems, how they do diagnosis, and so on. Are they scientific? Do they hate on people and their code? Do they follow through with testing?

I've gotten answers ranging from "I don't know" (which is a fail, by the way) to full-stack expositions that boil down to bad code generated by the compiler, to someone finding and solving a fundamental design problem in a years-long project.

Any sufficiently senior engineer will have a tale of a bug that they tell in the circle around the campfire when the kids are tucked away (and probably still listening anyway). And if you're not a seasoned vet, I'd still like to hear about the race condition / double free / syntax error that took you a while to find.

4
randomfool 2 days ago 2 replies      
In these free-form discussions I find it really important to politely disagree with some technical decision of their project to see how they take the feedback and defend the decision. Red flags are when they either cannot accept disagreement or come up with questionable justifications. Correct answers include clear explanations of what the trade-offs would be and clear rationale for their original decision process.
5
Goladus 2 days ago 1 reply      
tl;dr:

The question he arrived at is: ... will you please tell me about the best project that youve ever created?

Then watch for enthusiasm and pay attention to the details. The goal seems to be to identify someone who really enjoyed and takes pride in a program they've written.

6
xur17 2 days ago 0 replies      
From an interviewee's perspective, these are my favorite interviews too. I get to talk about something that interests me, and have a discussion about the different decisions I made. If the interviewer wants, they can dig into specific details, or ask more pointed questions about the programming language. I find trivia questions off-putting, and tend to limit the depth of discussion into my skills.

And to the people saying that this necessitates projects outside of work - I don't see why it does. You can talk about school projects, projects from previous jobs, etc.

7
warcher 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's always surprising how often interviewers fall back on "API Jeopardy" when trying to make hiring decisions. Maybe it's just because my career hasn't really allowed the luxury of getting deep on any technical stack and staying there, but I just don't keep the details of obscure function calls in my head all the time. And I have to wonder at the utility of testing a developer on having memorized the kinds of things that they will always, ALWAYS be able to look up when they're actually working.
8
crazygringo 2 days ago 2 replies      
On the one hand, this resonates with me... the last time I was doing a round of interviewing (being interviewed at several companies), one person asked this question -- and it was the one point when I really "lit up" and really enjoyed being interviewed.

On the other hand, I wonder if it really produces results that are any better. At least, with a quiz, you can give it to current employees who work great, and discover the quiz turns out to be worthless. (As the author described.)

But with a open-ended question inviting open-ended answers, how can you tell if it's really working? Of the many coworkers I've had before, I can think of one who certainly would have aced the question -- a programmer through and through -- but who was fired after a few months due to poor work ethic and sloppiness. Because while he had enthusiasm for programming, he had no time for "standards" or "teams" or "business needs" -- things like commenting code, communicating well with others, following through on commitments, etc.

So I wonder if the author is going to discover, after a few more months, that there are a few more questions than just this 1 question that also matter just as much...

9
falsedan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like a more structured technique called GRASS, described in Ovid's 'Agile Companies go P.O.P.' presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/Ovid/a-14058644/22

The basics are: ask the candidate to describe a project they worked on (that they enjoyed, listed on their resume, or anything). Ask follow-up questions until you find out: the Goal of the project; their Role on the team; what Actions they personally took to reach the goal; whether the project Succeeded or not; and Speculation on what they would do differently in hindsight.

Repeat until they run out of projects to talk about, or you run out of time.

10
cottonseed 2 days ago 1 reply      
The best advice I've seen on how to structure an interview came from Nick Corcodilos of Ask the Headhunter [1] fame, from his book Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job [2]. If you want to show someone you can do the job (or see if they can do the job), do the job, or as close as you can get to it in an interview setting. Anything will be selecting for indicators that will be more or less correlated with job performance.

[1] http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/articles.htm

[2] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0452278015/ref=as_li_tl?ie=...

11
gregwebs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Others have noted that the best way to interview is to see if someone can do the job is to have them do the job or the closest thing to it. For the typical developer not available for freelance I combine this approach with the approach in the article.

Show me some code from a project of yours and I will ask you to add a feature, fix a bug, or maintain it. The project can be something really simple. It is hard to learn new technologies without creating some kind of simple project.

This is a second interview, the first interview is by Skype to figure out the logistical/cultural fit, go over resume, and then spend some time talking through a technical issue.

This worked very well for my first hire. The downside of this approach, and a big reason it is not done is it requires an hour of preparation time for the interviewer to understand the candidate's code, run it, look for bugs, and figure out what to ask about. I think it is a much less arrogant way to conduct interviews though and a much more rewarding process for the candidate: they get to delve further into something they already have interest in.

12
dzink 1 day ago 0 replies      
To add on to the "Tell me about a project you are most proud of?" question, having gone through different stages from burnout to re-kindling of the hacker within, I can see it measures attitude well, which is crucial. For aptitude, however I would go a few layers deeper. "What was the toughest problem you have worked on or solved?", "How did you solve it?", "What did you learn?" the choices of problems tell you as much if not more than the answers about where the candidate's passion stands. Are they vague or specific? Do they use industry terms or are they self taught? What types of issues make their eyes spark? etc. If you are hiring entry level people, passion is most important, but if you need to have people who hit the ground running in an area, nothing beats a nice rigorous interview, with some code writing involved, in addition to your question.
13
nwhitehead 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you are limited to one short question, a better choice is to ask them: "Teach me something technical you've learned recently." You can evaluate their answer on technical depth and correctness, communication skills, and timeliness of the topic. And if they can't think of anything they've learned recently, that tells you something as well.
14
kika 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's almost exactly what I was doing for years. Two differences:1. I sometimes ask 1-2 technical questions, for example if the candidate claims exceptional knowledge of some important (for us) technology, but his/her resume doesn't show extensive use of it. Like: "You say you know CouchDB inside out, but you've used it only once and not for long, interesting.... Can you tell me how the _changes feed works - if I listen on this feed do I get just the changed documents IDs or whole documents?"2. Instead of "what's your best project" I ask more aggressive question - "imagine I give you 1 million dollars right now and in return I want to be a part of what you use it for - a share of profits, credits in the movie, etc. What would you do?".

Edit: ah, the almost mandatory third question: why do you want to leave the job you're currently having?

15
zeroonetwothree 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that every week there's a post on HN about the "right way" to do interviews. It's too bad there's never any research done to actually test these strategies. I don't believe that you can get a good answer just from personal experience.
16
dj-wonk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really hope that the magic question is useful, and I agree that many boilerplate Java-specific questions are misguided and less useful. Still, but I find it unwise to bet everything on one question.

Did the author collect data once he perfected his technique. Is there data?

In my experience, the best tests have many questions, including "experimental" ones, because you want to be able to test your hypothesis against various data points.

I'm also not saying that everything needs do be quantified. Open ended questions are very useful. But why not at least collect the data and tally it to the best of your ability.

17
fillskills 1 day ago 0 replies      
In addition to hiring people passionate about coding, I have found out that anyone who is really passionate about something (music/surfing/rock climbing etc) is a good programmer. Some of the best programmers I worked with were either crazy about programming or passionately followed through with something else in their lives. The key being that they followed through with their passion. Has anyone else seen this? Or is my data too limited to my personal experience
18
nardi 1 day ago 0 replies      
The real problem with this style of interview question is that it is good for those who talk well, and bad for those who don't talk well. I have seen my fair share of candidates who are great talkers, but can't code for crap. The interviewers who didn't ask coding questions loved them, but those of us who made them code knew they sucked.

You should have stuck with programming on the white board. That's the right way to find good programmers.

19
coldcode 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you, finally someone who gets the idea. Though I like to ask two questions, one the best project you ever worked on, one the worst project you ever worked on. You can learn a lot about a programmer by the details they relate in both cases.
20
sheepmullet 2 days ago 1 reply      
My best project was 12 years ago and I hated it at the time.

If you had asked me about it while I was working on it, and I didn't sugar coat, I bet you would have said no hire.

Secondly, it has just taken me 10 minutes to remember the details in enough depth to have a proper conversation about it. Again that would probably be "best work behind him...", or "doesn't seem to know the details....insincere" etc.

This question is easy to game and disadvantages people who aren't prepared for it.

21
rbobby 2 days ago 1 reply      
Shows up to the interview and then spends 5-10 minutes quietly reading the candidate's resume and making notes. Not very courteous and makes for an awful first impression.
22
danmaz74 2 days ago 0 replies      
The "tell me about your best project" question is great, but I always combined it with one apparently simple programming question, like giving the quadrant from the (x,y) coordinates. Maybe the OP is able to understand how logic-minded his candidates were just from talking, but many times I was disappointed from the actual ability to write down some code (even discounting the stress of the situation).
23
fiatjaf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see this kind of passion about personal projects and excitements about doing something only in the programming field, maybe some other fields, but never fields like dentistry or civil engineering.

Am I missing something? What prevents people from other fields from having "personal projects" to be excited with?

24
rdtsc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ok this is good. I have been facing the same problem. I did fizzbuzz, we have the quiz I also often ask about he "favorite" or most challenging "project", but I don't dwell enough on it. But now I think I should. I like this, I will have to steal this idea.
25
cportela 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm fairly certain I can't pass this test even though I've tried. Just haven't had the skills yet for what I want to make and the stuff I've made doesn't impress the people I want to be with.
26
chazu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great article. Despite the comments decrying this 'one question' as unfair, I think we can all agree that having a real passion for programming is the single most important thing in making it from nooblet to competent and confident developer.
27
ScottBurson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like to ask a variant of this: "what's the most interesting project you've done?" If they come back with something that impresses me, I take that as a good sign.
28
recalibrator 2 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR Please tell me about the best project that youve ever created
29
capkutay 2 days ago 0 replies      
With all the APIs and frameworks that make churning out good looking, usable apps a relatively simple process, I don't think this is a good question by itself.
30
Tomis02 2 days ago 0 replies      
Give it a couple of months, it will start not feeling right again.
31
netforay 1 day ago 0 replies      
My interview question was similar "What is the biggest program you have ever written" (As I hire only freshers). Problem is, not even 1% seems to pass this test. For those who are talented but lazy till now, I offered another choice, or "Can you do me a small Snake game now"?
32
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 2 replies      
Everyone seems to have missed the most important part of the article "this was in France, and you can't just fire someone so if you hire badly you are stuck with that person forever"

The US has the most liberal/right wing/psychotic labour laws in the Western world, and as such the best approach is to hire anyone not an idiot and fire them once on the job experience teaches you if it's a good fit.

This results in massive turnover, and little incentive to improve the interview process

I'm not sure where I am going with this but I am amazed that the local labour laws are not mentioned on this three (afaik)

33
reality_czech 2 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone knows that the only question you need to ask is "how is this an issue?"

http://27bslash6.com/interviews.html

34
insaneirish 2 days ago 4 replies      
I can't take seriously someone who doesn't capitalize letters appropriately.
20
Mojolicious Perl real-time web framework
252 points by megahz  20 hours ago   69 comments top 17
1
ThePhysicist 14 hours ago 3 replies      
It's great to see such an awesome Perl project on HN, especially these days when most folks here write Python, Ruby and JS and love to make fun of those "nerdy old Perl hackers".

I mostly use Python these days myself but I'll never forget the sense of power that Perl gave me when I learned it back in the late 90s (prior to Perl I had programmed in Turbo Pascal and Basic). To most programming enthusiasts back then it was what Python is today: A great, easy-to-learn, fun language that let's you solve almost any problem with just a few lines of code, mostly thanks to a huge ecosystem of powerful libraries (CPAN). Granted, the object-orientation felt more like a hack than a normal language feature (because it was one), but all in all it's still a really great language and just as powerful as Python, JS or Ruby.

2
doesnt_know 18 hours ago 4 replies      
The "installation" instructions wgets a script (over http) which in turn curls a raw github link of cpanminus which is "a script to get, unpack, build and install modules from CPAN" which then downloads and installs the perl module.

How many developers or "power users" would have just ran that command without even thinking about it?

I guess signing packages with trusted keys and serving them over https is far too lame for devs these days.

(Not that I'm calling out this particular project, it's seems to be crazy popular to offer "curl some.script | bash" as installation instructions lately for some reason.)

3
f055 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Mojolicious for about 5 years now - from somewhere around v1.0 - and it's been awesome. The more I learned the easier and quicker things got. Now I use if for all my backend needs, from SaaS, APIs to real-time websockets - and there's still a ton of things Mojo can do but I never tried them. Not to mention Perl itself. And CPAN.

Let's face it - Perl is magic ;)

4
fibo 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Mojolicious is best Perl web micro framework, remember that the Author also started catalyst. Dancer is similar but I don't like dsl. Mojo is very fast, powerful and expressive with a lor of features, mature and more perlish. Try Mojolicious::Lite, there is no other web Framework that can write an app in a single,file.
5
perlgeek 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I've done a few small projects with Mojolicious, and it's been real fun to work with.

The only thing that's missing is a book that explains the concepts in more depth than the documentation. (I believe some folks in the community are working on that).

6
elb0w 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is such a great project. I remember when it started back when I used to work in perl. The main devs on it are awesome. If I ever build anything in perl again that needs an webserver it would be this.
7
lazyloop 19 hours ago 0 replies      
My favourite IRC client is built with Mojolicious! http://convos.by/
8
blue1 18 hours ago 2 replies      
The problem with framework reviews is that they are mostly written by people that have used just that one (not surprising since it takes some time to become proficient in such things), and always the conclusion is, oh it is awesome.

I would be much more interested in a comparison with the alternatives, for example Mojolicious vs Catalyst, but apparently very few people are able to do that.

9
sarciszewski 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"curl get.mojolicio.us | sh"

Delicious! Let's pipe data retrieved over raw HTTP and pipe it directly to sh. It's like one of those Head-On commercials (remember those?) only with digital cyanide.

10
vijayboyapati 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been developing with Perl for almost 20 years and am a great fan of it. I think it's not difficult to write easy to read and understand Perl code (although it's also not difficult to write awful Perl code). I'm very interested to learn more about Mojolicious. I've been using and really enjoying Perl Dancer, which from the example on the landing page of Mojolicious looks very similar. Could someone familiar with the two give me a summery of the differences and pros and cons between them?
11
odc 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the combo Mojolicious + Mango (the MongoDB driver). They allow to build a completely non-blocking applications very easily.
12
pimlottc 19 hours ago 3 replies      
What exactly is a "real-time" web framework? Is that anything like being "web scale"?
13
__Joker 17 hours ago 3 replies      
If say I want to build a web application and new to Ruby, Python and Perl. But I want to use one of the RoR, Flask (or Django), Mojolicious. Which one should I go for. I.e. either one it had some advantage than other ? Rather, I know Python so I should go for Flask, argument.
14
Daviey 18 hours ago 0 replies      
As web frameworks go, I prefer the experience of Django.... but a recent project I did with Mojolicious was a really fast experience to 'get something' together, whilst also staying out of the way.
15
instakill 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Existing libraries around modern web frameworks sure do have a unicorn obsession.
16
joeclark77 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to love Perl... it's been about 15 years, though. What a great excuse to learn it again!
17
chawk 15 hours ago 4 replies      
People still use Perl?
21
A Traditional City Primer
236 points by nopinsight  2 days ago   152 comments top 26
1
twelvechairs 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is my field. I trained as an architect and work as an urban designer (somewhere between an architect, landscape architect and planner). This article hits on some good points but misses a lot of others. Some dot points to keep it short:

* People (especially those with children) often prefer to live in houses with space which are more private rather than in narrow apartments (required if you want low building heights and for everyone to walk everyhwere) on top of their neighbours. Do you really want to hear 3 screaming babies next door every night. Because that's how it works.

* Modern business don't work in low desnity environments like this. You simply need to be as accessible as you can to as wide a market (of workers and other businesses you work with) as possible. Maybe once we are all working on the internet it will shift this way - but it hasn't gone far yet.

* Even the 'traditional cities' shown will have outskirts with houses which are a pain to walk to rather than just apartments in a centre.

* There is no single 'traditional city'. There are differences even across Europe. England has its widened-road market squares. Italy has its hill towns. Places like Japan usually built out of timber (which doesn't last) rather than stone. Etc.

* There are plenty of examples of tower cities with bustling urban environments and low car ownership. Like Hong Kong. Dehumanising? Perhaps. It depends on your definition.

* Most 'traditional cities' couldn't be built for anywhere near the same cost as a modern development.

Overall though, this is pushing in the right direction, just not quite thought through as thoroughly as it might be.

[edit] Perhaps the most successful attempt at building in this vein in the west recently has been Poundbury, England. It was Prince Charles' pet project. It has done some things well (like managing to break the highways codes) but in the end perhaps still isn't as nice as a traditional town or as attractive a location for modern living as other places being built. You can see it in streetview here: https://www.google.com/maps/@50.712904,-2.463939,3a,75y,145....

2
rayiner 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've always found the "cars are freedom" angle a little odd. There's no bigger interface between your typical middle class American and the police/legal system than the automobile. The very fact of driving a dangerous two-ton machine around on expensive publicly-owned infrastructure spawns registration, taxation, regulation, enforcement (traffic cops, DUI checkpoints, ticketing, traffic courts), etc. A car isn't freedom, it's just the easiest way to get in trouble with the law.

Another thing I find interesting is that suburbia is spawning manufactured human-scale areas. E.g. Atlantic station in Atlanta: http://vccusa.com/i/projects/atlantic_station1.jpg. Reston Town Center in Virginia: http://www.fairfaxcountyeda.org/sites/default/files/photos/r.... They're planning on building an above-street level plaza in Tysons near the new Silver Line stop, because the street level of that area is beyond redemption: http://assets.macerichepicenter.com/FileManager/Tysons/Heade....

3
chestnut-tree 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think this is a rather romanticised view of a traditional city. I don't want to live in a city dominated by cars, but that doesn't mean the best alternative is to build extremely narrow streets.

All cities need contrasting spaces. Even the medieval town or city was marked by narrow streets that led to an open piazza or square. The feeling of walking from a confined narrow space into a wide open expanse can give a feeling of exhiliration. It's something architects continue to use today inside buildings. Think of the walk through a corridor into the grounds of a stadium and the excitement it generates. Or the excitement of walking through a corridor in a theatre before you enter the large expanse of the auditorium.

The scale and proportion of buildngs in relation to one another creates a sense of enclosure that can either feel comfortable or uncomfortable. The author calls the extremely narrow streets "intimate" and they are in many cases, but they can also be claustrophobic (especially if you live in them).

For housing, not everyone will want to live in streets as narrow as the pictures in the blog post. Who doesn't prefer long views out of their window? (Preferably of some greenery) That doesn't mean building huge spaces between houses as is often the case in modern car suburbs. But there needs to be enough distance to psychologically feel you have a sense of privacy from your neighbours.

Here is a random Victorian street (in a very expensive part of London) that I think has a good scale. The road is not too wide. Cars are parked on the street rather than in garages. The houses are of fairly high density. This is a better template for housing than modern car susburbs in my view. But it won't be for everyone.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.556208,-0.165162,3a,75y,36...

4
graeme 2 days ago 2 replies      
Thanks for this. I moved from Toronto to Montreal, and am much happier for it.

In Toronto, I felt a malaise. I couldn't articulate why. When I told people why I moved, I would say "Montreal has old buildings, a mountain, bilingualism, and....narrow streets".

No one ever got the streets, and I never had seen much discussion, so I couldn't convey why that mattered. This drives it home. It's the human scale.

I now live in the plateau Mont Royal. It was a neighborhood made possible by transit, but most of the streets are narrow and meant for the use of inhabitants.

I am in the middle of a square grid; on a quiet street. A three minute walk north, east, south or west sends me to a different, bustling commercial district, each with their own distinct flavour. Side streets in other directions have their own shops, and there are residential streets extending ten blocks in any direction.

I spend 90% of my time within a 5 minute walk of my house, and yet have a world of options to choose from. And almost every bit of it is human scale.

Not accidently, rents are highest in this part of town, and this is where the tourist come to experience "charming, European Montreal".

Some people talk about increasing density by building high rises in the plateau. I wonder why they don't talk about building more plateaus.

(Note: Rents are actually quite low across the board in Montreal. A one bedroom can be had for less than $700 per month in the plateau.)

5
Balgair 2 days ago 5 replies      
Yes, yes, charming little streets.

However, having just last week spent a few nights in Weimar, Germany, I can say I do not like it. Weimar is a very little city. It is a perfect example of the OP. Lots of tiny streets, no right angles, nothing over 5 stories, taverns, hotels, children, a little chapel, window boxes with flowers on every window, etc. Truely, it did feel like traveling back in time. Heck, there is even a music school there to honor Bach's time in the city.

And that, the music school, is the exact reason why I disliked every single night there. The SOUND! Yes, the cacophony of practice on 15 different instruments died off at about 10pm. But then all the students went to the bars to knock off until about 2 am. And, the drunker you get, the louder you are. Yes, it is the summer time, yes, it is a music school, that is unique. But I feel the point still stands, the sound is a big problem, not just in Large cities, but equally as in these human scale ones

Don't get me wrong, I love having my apartment. I love that ability, even in LA, to walk across the street or down to 7-11. I like that i have weird neighbors. I like that my cat has other cats to play with. I like having little kids running around. But I HATE the #17 bus at 6am on Sunday. I HATE the Harleys blasting down Santa Monica at 4am. I HATE the damn Ambulance in the middle of a nice romantic dinner or in a movie theatre.

I think that nice reduction and cancellation is the largest step to a better urban environment. Being able to play guitar, at proper volume, in an apartment, without hearing my neighbor's washing dishes, the cars outside, or the newly wed couple 2 windows over is a fantasy. A fantasy that engineers and architects might be able to make real.

Why did everyone move to the suburbs? One, among many reasons, was so you could get a proper night's sleep.

6
cjf4 2 days ago 1 reply      
This did a good job of highlighting the benefits of a traditional city and an awful job of recognizing why American cities and suburbia are the way they are, which is space.

What's the stereotypical American Dream: a house, a yard, a family, and white picket fence. And while a stereotype, I think most Americans would prefer to have some sense of personally owned space in their domicile. A traditional city wouldn't be very good at providing this.

There's certainly a cost to be paid for this individual space, which the post did a pretty good job of pointing out. But to completely ignore the benefits of suburbs and why the culture created them in the first place is not a recipe for change.

7
istjohn 2 days ago 0 replies      
It was interesting to read this with another HN post in mind from a month ago, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7965077, a Wired article about the observation that increased road capacity paradoxically does nothing to decrease congestion as people just use the roads more. Road building has a coercive effect in that many of its costs are born by everyone, and there is no way to opt out of those costs if you live in the city. Everything is more diffuse and less pedestrian friendly and moving about the city is more expensive. If you opt out of car ownership, you bear the expenses without enjoying the dividends. People who can't afford to drive suffer a sort of regressive tax. They do not drive but nevertheless live in a sprawling city built for cars with dangerous roads, ungainly parking lots, sprawling commercial districts, and inadequate public transportation.

Roads are terrific for creating distance to separate rich from poor. Those with means can hunker down in their gated community in the suburbs with a spacious private back yard and drive their air conditioned SUV to the parking garage downtown without even suffering a whiff of the common people on the street.

Walkways and public transportation democratize the city. Everyone enjoys the fruit of public investment, and everyone rubs shoulders on the subway or railcar. Common areas create a public forum where an inclusive community can form. The streets and sidewalks and alleys are used by everyone, not just those who cannot afford to drive past them. So it is in everyone's interest to make the city streets a safe and healthy place to be.

8
platz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Strongly resonates with Christopher Alexander's "The Timeless Way of Building" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Timeless_Way_of_Building
9
carsongross 2 days ago 3 replies      
The hills around the bay area could be filled with smaller scale, well built cities like this, if Americans were civilized and tasteful enough to demand them.

But... we aren't. Rather we will get sprawl and ridiculous techno-mansions.

'murica!

10
sdotty 2 days ago 2 replies      
"The only thing you have to do to build a traditional city - an environment where people naturally want to walk - is to build Really Narrow Streets; "Then pictures of several architectures of buildings are shown along very narrow streets, but nothing more than 4 stories high.

My first thought when I read this was, the narrow streets constricts the heights of the buildings possible because if the buildings are taller than a few stories, the windows will not get light and there will be lack of wind, fresh air and sense of openness. When every building has to be short, how can you meet the demand for housing? Perhaps I'm biased because I live in Jersey City, across from NYC with its own share of residential high rises. Where are you going to house all the people who cannot afford to have a place to stay, due to high cost of housing, due to low supply, due to short buildings?

11
archagon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess this is a divisive topic, but I agree completely. Every time I visited one of these cities in Europe, it Felt Right in a way living in the US never did. "Human scale" is a great way to put it, and I think it's actually a two-way street (so to speak). I feel much more content being a living cell in an ancient, twisted, organic city rather than a replaceable tenant in some downtown highrise or suburban townhouse. You can see it in the decor: the narrow streets of traditional cities take on the attributes of their owners, whereas you'd be lucky to see an occasional window poster in a big US city.

In addition to the traits mentioned in the article, there's one other feature that my ideal traditional city would have: proximity to nature. I want my home to be close to water, to have hills in view, to be littered with trees and greenery. This necessarily limits the size of the city, but I'm OK with that. Smaller cities have the additional advantage of having a tighter community and having better access to things like street markets, which are notoriously absent in the US.

Tangentially, I really enjoy artistic representations of what happens when the two styles mix: http://www.agraart.pl/pics/dziela/091_yerka.jpg. See also Imperial Boy.

12
thomasfl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Building new urban cities that doesn't suck is extremely capital intensive, but also potentially very lucrative. New cities that doesn't suck needs laws that ensure the city will continue to stay that way to. The economist Paul Romer has proposed the idea of charter city.

I can recommend some of Jan Gehl's writings. The man who made Copenhagen into to one of the most liveable city on the world, with more than 40% of the population commuting by bikes.

Last week I came back after two weeks in the southern parts of France. Visited old cities like Conque, Couvertoirade, Belcastel, Toulouse, Albi and Cordes. Nice to see human scale towns where no two buildings are a like, but still they all look similar.

13
guard-of-terra 2 days ago 0 replies      
Istanbul's Fatih and Beyoglu districts come to mind as an example of a very large traditional city. And it's perhaps the most pleasing place I've been to - in my whole life.

(Not just because it's a traditional city, but still)

14
wdewind 2 days ago 6 replies      
Wow this is an incredibly short sighted and "get off my lawn" piece. The author completely negates the massive cultural multiplicative affect humans get from living millions at a time together, among many other advantages.

I'm a New Yorker, so I'm biased, but I don't see problems with any of the types of living, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. The author writes as if this is not a preferential thing.

To be honest, this isn't HN quality: it's poorly written, and poorly reasoned. The author is not an expert in city planning and doesn't seem to understand even the basic challenges being solved.

15
gipp 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure that going back to the exact sort of city we had pre-modernity is quite viable or desirable -- but I do think (or rather, hope) that something more "human-scale" is in our future, even if it isn't exactly this.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that self-driving cars are the catalyst. Car services -> Lower car ownership & drastically reduced need for colocated parking -> More easily hidden away infrastructure -> More livable cities.

16
seszett 2 days ago 4 replies      
I agree with most of the author's points, however... isn't it too late to think about that, in the US?

I might be wrong, but I don't think a lot of new cities are still being built there, so it would be necessary to destroy city centers to re-build them in a more human-friendly way? I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Otherwise, I completely agree. The last time city centers were rebuilt here in France in large scale was in bombed cities after WWII, and they were transformed into car-friendly places (some of them really ugly). Only today are we trying to turn them back into pedestrian-friendly cities... but the wide avenues stay, it's better because there are less cars, but it's still not as nice as narrow paved streets (I'm thinking of the recent overhauling of Nantes' center, here).

17
Systemic33 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen the same kind of narrow streets in LA, which gave the same cozy feeling. I'm talking about places like The Grove in LA.[1]The difference between these and the authentic type of narrow streets is, that the grove is a privately owned estate area, that can set its own rules.Whereas the authentic ones are owned by the city, and don't just close for the night or ban alcohol, or what not.

[1] https://www.google.dk/search?q=The+Grove+LA&tbm=isch&tbo=u&s...

18
lelf 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'd love if the photos were tagged with city names
19
legulere 1 day ago 1 reply      
Those narrow streets are illegal because it's a problem for the fire department.

I have lots of old cities here in my region that stayed small (<10k inhabitants) and only few of the streets are narrow

Another problem is that you're pretty limited in city size if you can only walk: people don't want to commute for more than 1 hour daily

20
peter_l_downs 2 days ago 2 replies      
How does this work out for people with physical disabilities?
21
rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd rather go completely the other direction -- maybe some tiny clusters of 50-100k square feet of living/work space shared with voluntarily self-selecting people, like a modern farm or industrial park with some nearby housing, but tens of kilometers separating these clusters.
22
heydenberk 2 days ago 0 replies      
>> Chicago is over two centuries old, and has street widths that rival those of any modern highway

Chicago wasn't incorporated as a city until 1837. It was the 10th biggest city in the US two decades later, but still, it's much younger than the east coast big cities.

23
traughber 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic. Great breakdown of the different city types.
24
coder23 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is simply needed to calculate which type of city can support more people/area.

If a large mall can provide more goods to people that smaller shops that take the same area, then it is better.

25
VLM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Only one pix was taken during winter. No pix of commuters during precipitation. No pix were taken in hot weather (at least the majority in pants not shorts).

For the 1% or so of the worlds surface that never goes below 40F or above 70F and only rains at night, walkable architecture sounds pretty appealing.

For the other 99% of the worlds surface, as soon as economically possible for to own a car, they're going to want a car to get out of the weather.

I say this as a guy who considers hiking/backpacking and walking the neighborhood to be "recreational".

I wouldn't want my livelihood and lifestyle to depend on walking in a heat wave, a cold snap, a snow storm, a thunderstorm. Its fun for recreation but not serious stuff, like living.

26
VLM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Serious book idea: A treatment of new urbanism as an authoritarian conspiracy theory.
22
How to take over the computer of a Maven Central user
241 points by akerl_  5 hours ago   66 comments top 26
1
abalone 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I understand the need to raise money for projects, but the attitude[1] that security is an optional "premium" feature needs to end.

It should be no different from shipping broken code. You can't just say, "oh, well we offer a premium build that actually works, for users that want that." Everybody needs it.

Evernote made this mistake initially when SSL was originally a premium feature. They fixed it.

Granted, there are degrees of security but protection from MITM attacks is fundamental. (Especially for executable code!)

[1] https://twitter.com/mveytsman/status/491298846673473536

UPDATE: @weekstweets just deleted the tweet I was referencing where he described security as a premium feature "for users who desire it" or words to that effect.

2
moxie 5 hours ago 2 replies      
At Open Whisper Systems, we wrote a small open source gradle plugin called "gradle-witness" for this reason. Not just because dependencies could be transported over an insecure channel, but also because dependencies could be compromised if the gradle/maven repository were compromised:

https://github.com/whispersystems/gradle-witness

It allows you to "pin" dependencies by specifying the sha256sum of the jar you're expecting.

3
technomancy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
For Leiningen at least the goal is eventually to be able to flip a switch that will make it refuse to operate in the presence of unsigned dependencies. We're still a ways away from that becoming a reality, but the default is already to refuse to deploy new libraries without an accompanying signature.

Edit: of course, the question of how to determine which keys to trust is still pretty difficult, especially in the larger Java world. The community of Clojure authors is still small enough that a web of trust could still be established face-to-face at conferences that could cover a majority of authors.

The situation around Central is quite regrettable though.

4
akerl_ 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not specifically named in the article, but the software shown with the firewall popup is Little Snitch, and it's great:

http://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html

5
femto113 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps as a stopgap Maven Central (or a concerned third party?) could publish all of the SHA1 hashes on a page that is served via HTTPS. This would at least allow tools to detect the sort of attack described in the article.
6
jimrandomh 1 hour ago 1 reply      
My main experience with Maven has been downloading some source code, and having to use Gradle to compile it. It went and downloaded a bunch of binaries, insecurely. There were no actual unsatisfied dependencies; it was just downloading pieces of Gradle itself.

I would've much rather had a Makefile. Build scripts and package managers need to be separate.

7
jontro 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a horrible policy made by sonatype. A better alternative of mavencentral should be created...
8
chetanahuja 2 hours ago 2 replies      
If I understand this correctly, maven based builds can contain dependencies on libraries hosted on remote servers. golang build system has (or had) something similar too. Witnessing this trend take hold is astonishing and horrifying in equal parts. Not just as a security problem (which is clearly obvious) but also a huge hole in software engineering practices. How can anyone run a production build where parts of your build are being downloaded from untrusted third party sources in real time? How do you ensure repeatable, reliable builds? How do you debug production issues with limited knowledge of what version of various libraries are actually running in production?
9
jnbiche 3 hours ago 1 reply      
npm has the same problem of sending packages over http, but it's even worse since on average each node package uses about a billion other packages and because injecting malicious code in JavaScript is incredibly easy.

And to be clear, just http here is not the issue. It's http combined with lack of package signing. apt runs over http, but it's a pretty secure system because of its efficient package signing. Package signing is even better than https alone since it prevents both MITM attacks and compromise of the apt repository.

In fact, apt and yum were pretty ahead of their time with package signing. It's a shame others haven't followed their path.

10
MrSourz 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm torn on how I feel about security being a paid feature in this case. Here the onus is being placed on the user, yet many won't be conscious of the choice they're making.

The tiff mentioned in the article was interesting to read.> https://twitter.com/mveytsman/status/491298846673473536

11
clarkm 4 hours ago 2 replies      
So in principle, it's doing the same thing as:

    $ curl http://get.example.io | sh
which we all know is bad. But in this case, it's hidden deep enough that most people don't even know it's happening.

12
avz 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Exposing your users to MITM attacks in order to encourage donations? Pure evil.
13
finnn 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Evilgrade (https://github.com/infobyte/evilgrade) is a similar tool that works on a wider variety of insecure updaters. Perhaps a module could be written? Maybe one already exists, I haven't played with it in a while
14
pjlegato 4 hours ago 2 replies      
All of Maven central is only 180gb, according to https://maven.apache.org/guides/mini/guide-mirror-settings.h...

How hard would it be to just mirror it to S3 and use it from there via HTTPS?

15
jc4p 5 hours ago 1 reply      
jCenter is the new default repository used with Android's gradle plugin, I haven't used it myself yet but it looks like the site defaults to HTTPS for everything: https://bintray.com/bintray/jcenter
16
brianefox 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The project to offer ssl free to every user of Maven Central is already underway. Stay tuned for details.
17
tensor 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The biggest problem with this policy is that new users, or even experienced ones, are likely not aware of it. This is a very serious problem that should be addressed quickly.

edit: and with websites everywhere routinely providing SSL, it seem crazy that it has to be a paid feature for such a critical service.

18
fiatmoney 2 hours ago 1 reply      
So if they need some money, what is a better revenue model for them?

- charge some token amount of money to projects (harms the ecosystem, probably not a good idea)

- charge some amount for projects to host old versions, or for users to access old versions (same idea as the first, just less so)

- charge for access to source jars

- paid javadoc hosting

- rate-limiting for free users (the "file locker" model; particularly effective at convincing people sharing an office IP into paying up)

Any others?

19
0x0 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many enterprise apps have been backdoored through this flaw over the years by now.
20
sitkack 4 hours ago 0 replies      
luarocks has the same problem. You don't need SSL, you need the packages to be signed.
21
akerl_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks to whomever changed the title; I didn't like the original title, but couldn't come up with a better accurate one.
22
dandelany 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry to nitpick, but you might wanna fix this typo: s/pubic/public :)
23
wernerb 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is indeed a problem that needs to be addressed at some point. The MITM possibility has been mentioned before at SE http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7094035/how-secure-is-usi...
24
iancarroll 4 hours ago 1 reply      
What firewall is that? Looks nice.
25
jgalt212 2 hours ago 2 replies      
> When can this happen? If you ever use a public wifi network in a coffee shop

Just don't do this. There is no such thing as a free lunch (or wifi).

26
foo-licious 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's java who cares?
23
A Conference Stole My Identity
236 points by jballanc  4 days ago   142 comments top 25
1
TheMagicHorsey 4 days ago 4 replies      
This guy completely misunderstands how intellectual property around brands and names works.

Copyright doesn't protect your brand name. Trademark does.

Trademark doesn't give you blanket protection that stops every other person on earth from using your trademarked term. What you get instead is a highly context-specific protection. A trademark protects the use of your trademarked term in a specific service/goods segment. When you see trademarks like Ford, Apple, or Google, that seem to have unbelievably wide protection for their trademarks, that seems to span across wide spans of the market, that is because their brands are very well known, and because the use of their brand by a third-party could create a confusion in the consumer as to the origin of the goods/services.

If there is no confusion in the minds of consumers as to the origin of a message/good/service, then the use of a trademarked term is not restricted.

In this case, this guy is virtually unknown. Not a single person thinks he is the one running this conference. Its clear the conference is being run by other people.

You cannot claim an absolute property right to a silly sequence of words just because you think you said it first, and because you made a domain.

Yes, the domain and the twitter handle should be yours by right of first occupation. But nothing more.

edit: changed "absolute nobody" to "virtually unknown" to address rudeness concerns.

edit: with regards to the charge of rudeness leveled against the conference organizers: In a world literally flooded by brands and names, name collision is not rudeness, it is almost inevitable.

2
tedchs 4 days ago 8 replies      
Or maybe, you know, nobody knew about this guy's sense of the string "futurestack" and New Relic's marketing people brainstormed for a good conference name (increasingly difficult) and just went with it. You do not have exclusive, global, all-contextual moral rights to the string you happened to choose as your usual internet handle.
3
socrates1998 4 days ago 3 replies      
A lot of people are talking about how this guys doesn't understand Trademark law. Well, no shit.

This conference stole his identity. He isn't claiming he has a right to the name.

What the conference did was legal, but still not right.

All too typical of people trying to build themselves up in status.

They knew about this guy and they then they checked to see if he trademarked it. They knew they were legally okay, so they went ahead with it.

Legal move, but a dick move.

4
jayvanguard 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is a weird case. I can see why he is pissed but you don't have global rights to your name let alone your internet handle. Ask anyone who suddenly finds themselves with the same name as a famous person. Google-slapped!

Should the company have considered this? It is a toss up. If a lone person using an internet handle is the bar to avoid any naming conflicts you're pretty much screwed in coming up with a name for anything.

5
mcguire 4 days ago 0 replies      
My name is Tommy McGuire. I am unaffiliated with Maj. Thomas B. McGuire[1] or McGuire Air Force Base[2] or any of the other people on the internet who may or may not use the name "mcguire" or "T. McGuire" or anything similar.

Tl;dr: This is the world's smallest violin, playing "My heart bleeds for thee."

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

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

6
stefanve 4 days ago 1 reply      
To me the most bizarre (and possible only) thing is that twitter suspended your twitter account instead of second coming of FS
7
morgo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I also use the same handle as a conference.Me: @morgo Conference: @morgo_nz

I impersonated them with flight of the conchords jokes in 2011:https://twitter.com/morgo/status/128488872165384195

Immature on my part. Very happy not to have my twitter account suspended :)

8
mgcross 4 days ago 1 reply      
If I were in this situation, I'd probably try to sell them the domain for a fair price (>$10k), go on vacation with part of the money, and use the rest for a rebrand when I got home.
9
thefreeman 4 days ago 3 replies      
the account was registered 16 minutes ago something tells me its not official...
10
damon_c 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's not easy to stop an identity campaign once it's been started but it really seems like the conference people at least tried a little bit with their fs14 and "{future}stack" branding.
11
trjordan 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Lew Cirne" anagrams to "New Relic".

"Future Stack" anagrams to "Astute Fucker".

I think the folks at New Relic just have a thing for anagrams.

12
knd775 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really hope his account gets unsuspended... That is rather ridiculous. No one checked his account age before dropping the ban hammer?
13
kordless 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's hysterical that the Pirate Hoover Shirt is at the top of the post and then at the bottom he was angry because someone offered him the shirt to try to make him feel better. I mean, what could be better than being offered The Best T-Shirt Ever Designed? (I was in the room when we came up with the shirt design, and I can tell you it was a happy time.)

Sadly, that just pissed him off even more, which is a sign something is wrong somewhere with something.

> a narcissist [1]

[1] http://futurestack.com/static/about/

14
DarkIye 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Your hasty "this is a rant" cover does nothing to compensate for the fact that nobody cares.
15
null_ptr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good unique handles are only getting scarcer as the internet grows older. I wonder what people will do 20 years from now.
16
Glyptodon 4 days ago 0 replies      
What sucks is that eventually lots of people will assume he stole the name he uses from the conference...
17
Benjamin_Dobell 4 days ago 0 replies      
So it turns out there are a lot of people in the world. Name clashes happen... all.. the... time!

If you're that pedantic about a pseudonym, get a trademark.

A mate of mine just 2 days ago had a 12 year old bug him on twitter to sell his twitter handle for $12. The kid has a terrible YouTube channel under the same name with plenty of videos 'tea-bagging' people in computer games and just generally being incredibly obnoxious. You know what my friend did?... laughed.

18
ErikRogneby 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if @mentions on twitter meet the "substantial likelihood of confusion" test for trademark infringement?
19
logfromblammo 4 days ago 0 replies      
You don't actually have to register your trademark with anyone. You just have to use it and defend it like a badger sow in front of a litter of pups.

Nowadays, that effectively means putting an IP lawyer on retainer and subscribing to a brand monitoring service. Any one of those worth their salt will advise you to register your trademark, simply because it makes their job easier if anyone attempts to infringe.

The net result is that it is only worthwhile to pay for the maintenance and upkeep of a trademark if it is actually making you money. Individuals and smaller entities should instead rely primarily upon their own names, to build up reputations and personal relationships using trade dress that can more easily be enforced by the secretary of state's business records and management staff. Impersonation of someone else's actual identity can prompt criminal prosecution, rather than a more difficult civil suit.

This guy at futurestack does not quite grasp the legal concepts involved. Based on actual usage, he could make a case for a trademark over journals and periodical publications. If he found a newspaper or magazine calling itself futurestack, he could force them to change their name. As we know from frequent patent industry complaining, adding "on the Internet" to a thing does not make it a different thing. Blogs are categorically the same as newspapers.

A trade conference is not a newspaper. It does not matter who attends. A trade conference for plumbers and steamfitters is categorically the same as a conference for web developers, or one for science fiction authors, or one for sasquatch hunters. There is no confusion between the actual things. No one arrives at the conference and says, "Hey, where are all the blog posts?". And no one visits the blog and says, "So where do I pick up my name tag?".

So the instant he decided to impersonate the conference with his own web presence, he was infringing upon their trademark. Bad idea. They have more money and more supporters. He needs to back away immediately, apologize, and attempt to create some measure of cooperation. It couldn't hurt to add a disambiguation header to the blog that redirects accidental conference-related visitors to where they actually wanted to go.

20
blackdogie 4 days ago 2 replies      
Unless you have a relevant trademark, there isn't really much you can do here.

He doesn't really have any claim to exclusive rights to this particular mix of words.

21
codemaster3000 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why was this removed from the front page?
22
Practicality 4 days ago 0 replies      
Have we considered that the reason for the account suspension is likely because the logo is FU?
23
peterkelly 4 days ago 1 reply      
and that's... why you always register a trademark
24
newrelic 4 days ago 4 replies      
You don't own the name unless you file for a trademark, feel free to sue if you think otherwise.
25
simi_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Account suspended lol.

https://twitter.com/futurestack

24
Googles $1B purchase of Twitch confirmed
237 points by owenwil  4 days ago   96 comments top 20
1
jacquesm 4 days ago 4 replies      
Assuming this is all true (the article is sourced poorly): Justin and team very much congratulated, that was a long road from justin.tv to twitch.tv and now an exit of this magnitude.

Hard-won, very much deserved, also a case study for a successful pivot.

" We do know that Twitch investors who participated in past rounds are pleased that they will be getting significant returns that are multiple times the amount they originally invested. "

Suggests that it was one of the investors that leaked the story to venturebeat, pretty classless, and really not-done in those circles.

2
demosam 4 days ago 2 replies      
The (forced) merge of my YouTube account with Google account was one of the most painful experiences I've had to undergo and I still suffer from issues and annoyances that has brought about.

I can't be excited about this acquisition because all I can think about is how they are about to slowly and painfully destroy the Twitch experience. What can we expect? Forced merge of Twitch accounts? A forced G+ page for every channel? Some kind of horrible Hangouts integration? Real name policy and its reversal in 3 years? Share this stream with your circles? Pervasive ad infestation? Exceptionally annoying wiggling bell on top right that demands my attention just to let me know that some person I've never heard of has invited me to an event I've never heard of on Google+? A new "clean/functional/consistent" interface that changes often and only gets monotonically worse over time?

3
pyrocat 4 days ago 4 replies      
"In March, Twitch represented 1.35 percent of all Internet traffic"

Wow, I didn't realize Twitch had that much traffic. That's something to be proud of.

4
Fuzzwah 4 days ago 3 replies      
Is this going to lead to a crack down on playing unlicensed, non-royalty free music on streams?
5
yulaow 4 days ago 2 replies      
I am surprised that others concurrents let Google buy it considering it was the only "serious alternative" to some functionalities of youtube.

The monopoly of Google on video streaming is even stronger now

6
sama 4 days ago 2 replies      
where the definition of confirmed = "an anonymous source says to a semi-accurate publication".
7
orik 4 days ago 1 reply      
What's going to happen to people streaming Nintendo Games? Are we going to have another youtube situation?
8
sharpneli 3 days ago 1 reply      
Let's imagine the worst case scenario:

Forced Google+ accounts with realnames. Because no-one uses an alias in gaming scene ever.

Automatic Content ID. Oh you played a bit of music even accidentally on background? Blocked.

Oh nintendo wanted to block your game stream (http://www.zeldauniverse.net/2013/05/16/nintendo-cracks-down...).

This game is not available in your country!

I know these are exaggerations. But at least some of them will be eventually implemented. That means it's time to switch services. Anyone know of any good almost as easy to use one?

9
outericky 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to team twitch. It was one of the first offices I walked into that made me wish I worked in a place like that. So much energy. So much fun.
10
ntakasaki 4 days ago 7 replies      
I was hoping for a Windows Phone Twitch app soon. I guess this kills any chances of it given how they refuse to make a Youtube App and even lawyered up a took down a Microsoft made one over a year ago with no sign of an official app still.

There is no place for Windows Phone in Google's ever expanding empire.

Google's Mission Statement: To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

They should tack on a ",except on Windows Phone" to that if they wanted to be truthful.

11
heed 4 days ago 1 reply      
Will ycombinator receive anything from this as they initially funded justin.tv (where twitch spun off from)?
12
jzelinskie 4 days ago 2 replies      
I hope at some point down the line this leads to the adoption of streaming VP8/VP9 codecs and using an HTML5 player rather than the resource hog that is Flash.
13
ChuckMcM 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm tempted not to believe it since it makes sense to me :-) But more seriously, back when I played WoW I spent many hours watching some of the tougher boss fights on Youtube. Automating that process is a great way to unify those page views. And its a fairly strong 'you are a gamer' signal so probably a more valuable piece of advertising realestate.
14
crazypyro 4 days ago 1 reply      
"You must be logged into Google+ to view this comment" spam will be returning to twitch chats....

Either way, congrats to the team. As a long time user, I can't help but feel that this will only hurt the twitch.tv experience in the long run though. Maybe the improved stability for other regions will be a large enough benefit to offset any other changes.

15
nwh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sweet. That's another website on which I'll be fighting Google Accounts.
16
wldcordeiro 4 days ago 0 replies      
As expected there's a ton of negativity towards Google in the comments here. Congrats to the Twitch team and I hope that Google and Twitch do some interesting things with this acquisition.
17
ollerac 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm imagining that within a few months Google will buy the twitch.com domain name.
18
Finbarr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the Twitch team!
19
0xisaac 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great, twitch is fucked.
20
pdknsk 4 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe Google can fix Twitch not working in 32-bit Chrome on Linux now. Or better yet, introduce HTML5 video.

https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=295984

25
Zillow to Acquire Trulia for $3.5B
246 points by julio_iglesias  14 hours ago   144 comments top 18
1
chatmasta 13 hours ago 14 replies      
I interned for Redfin last summer. This is a really interesting space, and most people don't realize that Zillow/Trulia are operating drastically different businesses from Redfin.

Some background: The US real estate industry is broken up into regions (e.g. SF bay area, Orange County, Lake Tahoe, etc.). In order for a brokerage [1] to operate in a region, it needs to employ agents specifically licensed in that region, and have a real office there. Importantly, each region also has its own data feed of listings, called an MLS feed [2]. Amongst real estate agents, the MLS feed in each region is considered the primary source of real estate listings. If a house is not in the MLS, it's not for sale. BUT, only brokerages have access to MLS feeds.

There is no standard for MLS software. It's truly terrible. No joke, in some regions, the MLS service -- responsible for all real estate listings in that region -- is an archaic Windows program running on a desktop in some guy's Lake Tahoe cabin. Generally, MLS feeds are similar in structure, but there is no semblance of standardization, API, or developer-friendly solution for accessing it. Every region has its own MLS feed with its own structure, access restrictions, weird rules, etc. It's a nightmare to develop against.

Zillow and Trulia set out to solve this problem. They are listing aggregators, essentially filling the same role as MLS software. But because Zillow and Trulia are not brokerages, they cannot access the MLS feeds. So they have to get the data on their own. They depend on real estate agents manually inputting their listings into the Zillow/Trulia platforms. Nowadays, most agents do input this data, but that was not always the case, and IIRC Zillow/Trulia still only have something like 80% coverage compared to MLS feeds.

So Zillow and Trulia are simple listing services. They are basically advertising platforms for real estate agents. Their revenue model depends on agent referrals, paid listings, etc. They have no direct role in selling a house.

REDFIN IS A BROKERAGE. Redfin actually employs real estate agents who will help you buy a house. And instead of earning commission proportional to sale price (a huge moral hazard -- see: Freakonomics), they earn commission based on customer satisfaction. So Redfin agents are inherently motivated to work in the customer's best interest, instead of their own, which is getting the price as high as possible.

Because Redfin is a brokerage, it is entirely different from Zillow and Trulia. This is the reason that you only see Redfin in "some" areas (although they have coverage in most major metropolitan areas at this point), while Trulia/Zillow are nation-wide. When Redfin expands to a new area, it needs to establish an office, hire and train agents, file paperwork, etc. This takes time, but often when Redfin gets to a new area, there are already thousands of customers who have been waiting for them to launch there.

Also, because Redfin is a brokerage, it has access to MLS feeds. So Redfin gets its data directly from the source, instead of depending on real estate agents to enter their listings directly into its platform. Because of this, Redfin has 100% coverage in all the regions it serves, compared to ~80% (IIRC) of Trulia/Zillow.

So now it looks like the market will come down to Redfin vs. Trulia/Zillow. I'm curious to see how this plays out. On one hand, Redfin has a far more defensible model -- they have an office in every region, and actually make a lot of money from each listing. And they have a far better value proposition for the customer. Why would you use a real estate agent trying to pump the price as high as possible, when you can use one who will be paid entirely based on your satisfaction rating?

On the other hand, Zillow/Trulia have wider reach. There is nothing stopping them from opening a brokerage in their most popular markets and simply copying Redfin's model. But if they do that, they are already way far behind.

Personally, and I'm biased because I worked there, I think Redfin is going to "win" this battle. There's no reason why Zillow/Redfin can't coexist harmoniously, but I expect we will see Redfin making far more money in 10+ years than Zillow.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_estate_broker[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_listing_service

(EDIT since this is getting so many upvotes: I DO NOT SPEAK FOR REDFIN AT ALL, I DO NOT WORK FOR REDFIN. I worked there one summer last year.)

2
IgorPartola 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Having bought real estate, I can say that Zillow/Trulia are both a blessing and a curse. They are great in that you can see what's been listed for a while, scan a map, and generally put a pretty interface on house searches. This I imagine is their great advantage. I also found my mortgage company through Zillow's mortgage rate search.

Their big disadvantage is that their records are not updated as fast as the conventional MLS. The house I bought recently came on the market 7 days before I made an offer. It was not on Zillow even by the time we had the contract signed. The sellers, for whatever reason, put a very reasonable (possibly even low) price on the house, and I was at the end of the search, having seen enough locations in the area to know that this was a great value.

Another random personal experience: when I first saw Zillow I remember thinking "who needs real estate agents if you have all this?" Then I got an agent to buy my first house. All I have to say is "you do not know, what you do not know." While I do wish that agents simply took a set fee instead of it being a (very large) percentage of the purchase price, they provide a hugely invaluable service. I am not saying it's impossible to buy real estate if you don't have an agent; but if you can do it, you are probably a real estate agent.

3
scelerat 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Just adding some anecdata to the chatter about these sites and the experience of buying a home:

I began searching for a house in the East Bay about two years ago, culminating in a purchase in June 2013. The first year or so I was using Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia to track availability, prices and neighborhoods. While I got some good information, it wasn't until I started talking to an agent with about thirty years experience in the region that I actually got good leads. The listings on all of these sites seemed to trail the MLS leads she would get by days to weeks. I made several offers over many months, each one more than the last, each time watching the stock get thinner and bids climb higher. My agent was not only finding good potential properties, but also providing a lot of perspective and emotional support.

The house I ultimately bought was something she found via her network of colleagues before it even was placed on the market. I made a bold offer and gulped at what I was putting on the table, but in retrospect I was fortunate considering what's happening in the bay area housing market right now.

Maybe I'm a dummy, but I cannot envision going through the process without a real human pro providing guidance and leads.

4
ssanders82 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I trade stocks as a hobby and I was wondering what I'm missing here. This morning Zillow offered .444 shares of Z for TRLA. Currently (1:50 pm EST) TRLA is trading at only a 0.411 valuation of Z. What's to stop me from shorting Z and buying TRLA to lock in the difference as profit? It seems both have agreed to the 0.444 ratio. Is it a regulatory issue? What else would cause the deal to fail?
5
hodgesmr 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Zillow 2013 revenues: $225M, profits: -$12.5M

Trulia 2013 revenues: $175M, profits: -$17.8M

6
rgovind 12 hours ago 2 replies      
All real estate news and websites are biased and always suggest you that buying a home is a god think. In the SF bay area, I hear real estate agents speak on the radio. Before recession, they said you should buy a home immediately so that rates may increase....Then during recession they say you should buy a home as rates have fallen to historic lows..for last 1-2 years, whenever you hear...they say the interest rates are low, so you should immediately buy it, irrespective of dynamics between interest rate and price of house.

I wish there was a website/service which actively debunks what real estate agents, radio channels are propragating.

7
themartorana 14 hours ago 8 replies      
Does that leave any real competition in the space?
8
Cybernetic 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It will be interesting to see how the home value estimates play out. Zillow and Trulia each have their own methodology for determining a home's value and the disparity between the value of each service lists can be significant.

I purchased a home two years ago in Portland, OR (South East). At the time of my purchase, its price on Zillow was listed as ~$70K less than it was appraised for (I had two appraisals and both were within $1K of one another). Trulia listed the value within $1K of the two appraisals.

In two years time, the value on Zillow is listed as the original purchase price. On Trulia, the value is ~$60K more (it is based on an average appreciation of 8% annually of homes in my neighborhood).

I know a home's value is only what someone is willing to pay for it, but the disparity in estimates between those two services has always bothered me.

9
jscheel 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I listened to Sami Inkinen talk about how proud he was that Trulia was the underdog to Zillow several months ago. I assume that the acquisition talks had probably already started, even as he was talking about this. I'm not incensed at this, I just think we need to be honest with ourselves. When your competition wants to buy you, then you've probably done something very right. But everybody has a price and Zillow obviously found theirs! Congrats to them, they've done a lot for dragging the real estate market kicking and screaming into the future.
10
balor123 9 hours ago 1 reply      
A question for the RE insiders here. What restrictions are there for building services off Redfin/MLS and Zillow listings?

Am I allowed to blog about listings or do I need to be an agent to use image and listing data? I get mixed opinions elsewhere about whether this falls under fair use.

I notice that Redfin provides OpenGraph annotations but the TOS disallow sharing. Am I permitted to share on Facebook, Pinterest, etc? What about on other websites? Is it possible to build a vertical search engine based on these details?

11
carlmcqueen 13 hours ago 1 reply      
A different article, which I'm having trouble tracing back now, mentioned that this acquisition is more like the same company owning match.com and tinder.

Does anyone know if the intention to leave both up?

article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-28/zillow-to-acquire-t...

"Rascoff said in an interview that the deal to buy Trulia signals that Zillow is creating a portfolio of online real estate brands, which lets the company appeal to the broadest audiences and attract the biggest set of real estate advertisers. The strategy is akin to how IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) has multiple online dating brands such as Match.com and Tinder, he said."

Seems odd to leave both up when they're so similar.

12
Nicholas_C 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like every time I see an interesting deal Qatalyst Partners are involved (Priceline/OpenTable, Elance/oDesk, Yahoo/Tumblr, probably some more I'm missing). Those guys get to work on some really interesting stuff.
13
epc 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Curious how this impacts Streeteasy, which Zillow just bought some time in the past year. Streeteasy is the defacto MLS (in a sense) for NYC (Manhattan doesn't have an MLS, nor does Brooklyn. Uncertain about Staten Island, Queens or Bronx).
14
bjorns 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My first reaction was this headline has to come from a markov chain built out of Business Insider and My Little Pony.
15
smackfu 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The thread from when this was just a rumor: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8081176
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LukeB_UK 12 hours ago 2 replies      
As someone from the UK, I've never heard of either of these sites.

Kind of amazing that a business that's limited to one country can be worth so much.

17
tindrlabs 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Trulia was so much better then Zillow -- reminds me of Flipboard buying Zite.
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lcm133 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't sleep on Homesnap!* Snap a photo of any home to find out all about it* Similar to Redfin in terms of model and data access* Unique iPhone, iPad, Android and Web experience

http://www.homesnap.com

26
Ten Thousand Years
222 points by ZeljkoS  2 days ago   129 comments top 38
1
kevinconroy 2 days ago 3 replies      
Q: Why not just bury it deep enough so that no one can dig it up?

A tl:dr; Earthquakes and rain.

A: If you bury drums of radioactive material you want to make sure that they stay sealed. However, on a 10,000 year time span, you cannot assume much. A very strong drum right now could be very weak in 5,000 years. Or, with one strong earthquake 2,000 years from now, it could crush the drums you've buried deep in the desert. As rainfall seems from the surface and into the water table, it will pull the radioactive material with it, then making the water supply unsafe.

Yucca Mountain was a popular site for a long time because it's a deep salt mine. Salt mines are interesting because it means that it's been impossible for water to flow thru them for millennia, which is the time scale you're concerned about here. From an engineering stand point, Yucca Mountain was just about the perfect solution, but it got killed politically because being 100 miles away from Las Vegas was "too close" for elected officials to stomach.

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

Although the design questions are fascinating, the bigger issue that we need somewhere to store all of the nuclear waste. It's actually sitting in a variety of temporary facilities right now that aren't as safe as WIPP or Yucca mountain simply because it's very hard to get politicians to agree whose backyard gets to be the forever home for our spent fuel rods.

Source: My father has spent the last 20 years of his career with the Department of Transportation and Department of Energy working with transportation of hazardous and nuclear waste and took trips out to Yucca Mountain and WIPP.

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Houshalter 2 days ago 5 replies      
I actually read the paper this article is summarizing, and it's incredibly interesting. I can't find it anymore, but I did find this excerpt:

>The panel roughly defined the intended message with the following:

This place is a message... and part of a system of messages... pay attention to it!Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

This place is not a place of honor...no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here... nothing valued is here.

What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

The danger is in a particular location... it increases toward a center... the center of danger is here... of a particular size and shape, and below us.

The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.

The danger is to the body, and it can kill.

The form of the danger is an emanation of energy.

The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.

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Jun8 1 day ago 3 replies      
If you want to see the futility of external marking schemes consider the case of Gobekli Tepe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe) dating to 10th-8th millennium BCE. This place has inteersting structures and reliefs of mostly animals that are not currently understood. What's more:

"The site was deliberately backfilled sometime after 8000 BCE: the buildings were buried under debris, mostly flint gravel, stone tools, and animal bones that must have been imported from elsewhere."

The reason for filling it up, which probably took enormous resources at the time, is unknown. Why would they bury the site? Maybe something "bad" is buried there. But we know that anything that can harm us now wouldn't be technologically possible 10k years ago. Still ...

And you know what: We're digging it up!

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curtis 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that if you're going to bury nuclear waste then you just need to bury it deep enough. The idea is that any future humans even capable of digging the material up wouldn't need any signs to tell them the material was dangerous. Instead, they be sufficiently technologically advanced that they could figure this out for themselves.
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dhruval 2 days ago 3 replies      
We are not giving humanity enough credit here. The standard nuclear hazard symbol would suffice.

Even assuming there is some sort of civilization ending event, and specific knowledge of nuclear technology disappears.

People are certainly smart enough to recognize a pattern of distinctive symbolism and learn to associate it with danger over time.

A good example is cargo cults that sprung up in the Pacific Islands in WW2. Groups of people without much previous contact with modern civilization learnt to associated 'airplanes' dropping aid supplies with food. Despite having no previous knowledge of what planes are and how they function.

I imagine future primitive cultures would learn to associate the nuclear hazard symbol with illness in a similar manner. And would probably end up constructing their own mythical narratives around the symbols.

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mjn 1 day ago 0 replies      
A tangential nitpick, but perhaps interesting from a history-of-symbols perspective:

...the skull and crossbones permeated culture as a symbol of danger. By the late 1800s, it was starting to be used as a symbol for poison. Then in the 1940s, the Nazis adopted it for their SS death head divisions.

The chronology here is a bit off: The death's head was not introduced into the German military by the Nazis, but by the Prussians, in the early 1800s. It was then used periodically by both the Prussians and later Imperial Germany. Following the fall of the Kaiser, it was used by the Freikorps (right-wing paramilitaries) during the Weimar Republic. And finally by the SS. The Nazis did introduce some new symbols (especially some runic and pagan stuff that the SS liked), but the totenkopf is a classic symbol of German militarism that they merely continued, as part of their glorification of Imperial Germany and especially the Freikorps.

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rbanffy 2 days ago 1 reply      
We may eventually need to burry something nasty and difficult to destroy, but I would assume that long before nuclear waste storage becomes a cultural problem, we will have figured out how to build an MSR that can burn most of that stuff. And, when that happens, whatever's left can be safely kept for a much shorter time.

Instead of thinking about the interesting problem of keeping the next civilization safe, could we direct some more effort to the boring problem of spent fuel reprocessing?

8
PeterisP 2 days ago 3 replies      
This feels like overkill. What warning signs do naturally occuring underground deposits of radioactive or highly poisonous minerals have?

Any hypothetical future large-scale miner would have the technological capacity to detect danger and avoid an ecological catastrophe - it's not like that you suddenly go from soil to stores of uranium, the existane of a facility is rather obvious.

A hypothetical future band of explorers w/o capacity to detect radiation might die, but not cause an ecological catastrophe. Death risk for such far-future explorers exists in any abandoned facility, and is acceptable - deserves no more attention than such risks caused by abandoned firearms/munitions, structural integrity of those buildings, or risks of falling in concealed holes there. A hundred thousand abandoned apartmentment buildings will kill more explorers than such a buried waste storage facility.

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richardw 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's almost no message you could put there that would stop humans from wanting to take a look. If there were warning signs on the pyramids, would we have stayed out?

"They kept their greatest treasures here and left these warnings so their enemies would stay out".

"How bad could it be? Surely we're advanced enough to open it! We have spears, nothing could harm us".

"This stuff is great. Put it on your arrows. Put it under the bed of your enemy".

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blaze33 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's a documentary called Into Eternity[1] following the construction of the Onkalo waste repository in Finland which is designed to last 100000 years.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_Eternity_%28film%29

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hliyan 2 days ago 1 reply      
If the symbols are the problem, why not discard them entirely and demonstrate the actual danger in increments? What if we create concentric rings of gradually lower levels of radiation around the site? The closer you approach, the more you notice the effects of radiation -- lack of bio-matter in the soil, radiation sickness, etc. Of course, it won't be a zero-casualty solution. A few people might become sick or die by the time they figure out the danger. But for a 10,000 period, (high probability * low exposure) seems better than (low probability * catastrophic exposure).
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rtpg 2 days ago 6 replies      
We seem to have this huge fear of humanity collectively forgetting things, this idea that has seeped into so much fiction as well, but is it really founded?

Even before digital storage and the like, is there really any relevant information that has been lost in the past 150 years? And as to the whole "language barrier" thing, we figured out hieroglyphs with a much smaller corpus.

Hell, we know about the meaning of loads of sites from over a thousand years ago.

I feel like we'll have ways of knowing what the site contains forever.

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justinpombrio 2 days ago 4 replies      
The "sequence of events" seemed pretty solid. I like how the tree grows between the 2nd and 3rd panel, and actually makes the order you read them in unambiguous.

It passes the alien test: if humans were exploring an alien world, and came across those pictures, but they were in circles instead of boxes and showed aliens instead of humans, and the trees were instead some plant that grew there, and the panels were shown right-to-left instead of top-to-bottom, and the radioactive symbol was replaced with some other symbol, I think a thoughtful human would still understand.

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arghbleargh 2 days ago 0 replies      
It might not be an accurate comparison to consider how language has been lost in the past 10,000 years to predict how much will be lost in the next 10,000. Surely nowadays we leave behind many more artifacts than before, and our literacy rate is much higher. Of course there is always the possibility of a catastrophic event, but even in that case it seems unlikely that future humans won't be able to reconstruct most of the English language, unless the event is so catastrophic that digging up nuclear waste is the least of your worries.
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parm289 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why don't we launch the nuclear waste into deep space? Seems like that would avoid the burial problem described here, and since space is mostly, well, empty space, wouldn't inflict much harm to other bodies.
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gdubs 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I just remembered that there's an excellent Star Trek that deals with essentially this problem. [1]

Data gets amnesia and exposes a whole society to nuclear material, and as the audience you watch helplessly as the villagers fail to recognize the terror associated with the nuclear hazard symbol.

1: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thine_Own_Self

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omegant 1 day ago 0 replies      
It just amazes me how most comments and even the project itself is based on the idea that in 10000 years civilization will be much inferior than current ones. I know you have to prepare for the worst case scenario, and that's how it must be planed, but still seems that our imagination runs wild.

Some comments talk about it, but I think the reason is missing. ANY kind of sign, text, symbol, phenomenon, structure, will only draw attention. No matter how dangerous it seems, people will be attracted to the mystery. The more dangerous it seems the more they'll get attracted to it. Its about attention and the lack of it.

The best option is to make it seem like nothing it's there, no buildings, no signs, anything. Just bury it deep, restore the natural environment, create a natural park (restricted if you want while the memory stands) and if possible remove all economic incentives close to the park, so the population is reduced overtime, ideally till 0.

Another option I haven't seen mentioned could be to bury it in a geological subduction zone (at considerable deeps of course), so over time all the radiation gets dragged deep inside the earth by the tectonic movement. This would cover the 200000 years problem I guess. I don't know if there is such a zone that could be useful or safe enough for this, or if the geological tempo is fast enough to be of any use.

Edit: Iphone typos, and some editing for clarity.

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ejr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if we can apply the same lines to map English as we do other languages. English, largely through conquest and trade, has become the de facto language of technology and science, much as Latin was in its heyday. But we know Latin was exclusionary as the Christian clergy and the erudite were the most fluent in it. English, by contrast has democratised access to the common folk.

It was even in use in the Star Trek universe aboard Federation ships, but that may not be too unrealistic. English, I mean, not the aliens or warp drive.

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rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think there are two viable solutions here.

1) Reprocess high-level nuclear waste. Potentially build a storage facility for 100-300 years (about the limit of what we can do using totally normal techniques in technology and business/government, with minimal risk) to store what we can't immediately use.

(Low level would still need to be dealt with, but for that you can go for extreme dispersion or geologic storage or whatever, since the cost of things going wrong is a lot lower.)

2) Subduction-zone storage; generally this requires putting waste under the sea in an area like the zone off Vancouver, and having it slip into the mantle.

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timonv 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Why don't we create a rosetta stone variant ourselves? Put up the same text in the world's current major languages, I'd be curious to see if it would be really undecryptable. Plus, we might be doing future historians a big favour.
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jimworm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Physical effects could be used in combination with symbols.

The current trefoil is enough to warn the people of today, so that should continue to be used.

If knowledge of the trefoil is lost, however, the actual radiation would serve as a warning. Much smaller, but still dangerous quantities of waste could be stored around the world, with just enough of a barrier around it to remain confined while curious individuals exploring around it would contract radiation sickness, but survive for long enough to warn others about the danger and the associated trefoil symbol.

The main storage area should have much bigger versions of the trefoil, but not so big that a person would lose perspective and not know what they're looking at. The size should convey to anybody who knows the meaning of the symbol that this is serious business.

If the smaller quantities of waste are abundant and accessible enough, and the main storage area inaccessible enough, then it would be unlikely for anyone to come across the main storage area before learning the meaning of the symbol.

22
revelation 2 days ago 2 replies      
How did humans know ionizing radiation was harmful (to them, anyway)?

And no, the answer is not "a previous iteration of intelligent life left them dubious comics, sounds and symbols".

Any life form advanced enough to be bothered by the effects of nuclear waste will presumably be capable of learning.

23
Symmetry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of course we always want things to be as safe as possible, but the longer lived an isotope is the less radioactive it is. At some point this waste is going to be less dangerous than naturally occurring uranium deposits. Maybe that is the 10,000 year mark they're shooting for and I'm just ignorant but if it's only 100 or 1,000 years then it's possible we're being more paranoid about this than is reasonable, especially since all of this material is sitting in temporary storage now.
24
industriousthou 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sure I'm missing something here, but why can't we drill down in a geologically stable area (like Australia) far below any water table and bury it?

I'm imagining a bored out cylinder in solid bedrock just wide enough to stack barrels made of some kind of space-age material, like 15,000' down.

I don't know much about the drilling tech, so it might be totally impossible.

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tormeh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly I would go for the "man impaled on spike" idea. If they sacrifice like that to the gods in the future then they deserve what's coming to them.

Combine that with things that we have deep evolved fears of: Snakes, spiders, scorpions and others and I can't see why they would enter a site containing statues of all things associated with death. Sure, an Indiana Jones or a couple of hundred would die, but as long as the shielding is thin enough to inflict a quick death I doubt many would try to copy them.

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cpeterso 1 day ago 0 replies      
James Lovelock, author of the "Gaia hypothesis", suggested dispersing radioactive material over a large wilderness area. The effects in any location would be lessened, animals can quickly adapt, and (for the wilderness preservationists out there) few humans would want to develop that wilderness area.
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Thiz 1 day ago 1 reply      
DO NOT ENTER. RADIOACTIVE ZONE.

Write it in chinese and english.

It is more likely we will be speaking two or three major languages in ten thousand years. The trend is toward unification.

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mesh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Extensive information on this here:

http://www.wipp.energy.gov/picsprog/articles/wipp%20exhibit%...

and the original call for submissions here (pdf):

http://prod.sandia.gov/techlib/access-control.cgi/1992/92138...

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amass 2 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with the comic strip drawing is that it could be interpreted as meaning things associated with the trefoil take away sickness and sadness if you read the pictures in the wrong order. I don't think a growing tree is strong enough to convey the correct order of the drawings. Inhabitants of the future could just assume the trefoil-material has some negative effect on trees as it heals the sick.
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VMG 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd like to point out that 99percentinvisible is an amazing podcast and everybody should listen to it.
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robbles 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's wrong with just a skull by itself?

Despite all the shift in cultural significance attached to skull&crossbones, etc. that the article discussed, I don't see how any culture could interpret a human skull by itself as anything other than a symbol of death.

32
agumonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
As mentioned in the comments, people should watch 'onkalo into eternity'. This is IRL science fiction (if that makes sense). Scifi-esque questions we're dealing with now.
33
alexvr 1 day ago 0 replies      
'Ten thousand years that is a long time'
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bsherrill 1 day ago 0 replies      
Build pyramids on top of it
35
anarchy8 1 day ago 3 replies      
Why don't we eject it into space?
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NoMoreNicksLeft 1 day ago 0 replies      
This endeavor misses the whole point. There are two possibilities for 10,000 years from now.

1. Humanity is extinct.2. Humanity is extant.

The first possibility means we can ignore any need for markers, let's focus on the second.

If people are still around, there are two possibilities.

1. They still understand radioactivity enough to detect it beforehand, or to recognize it after it has made people sick.2. People have no sophisticated culture that can understand radioactivity.

Only if the latter is true, would any warnings be necessary.

If this is the case, what obligation do we have to those people? Literally any action we perform right now could lead to the eventual death of some arbitrary person thousands of years in the future. Butterfly effect and all that.

Is this place going to make the human race extinct? Possible, but unlikely. So we're talking about killing a few hundred people in the next few million years, supposing there is some sort of Hollywood-esque unfolding of history with its apocalypse and long-haired swordsmen going on quests in the aftermath.

We already do our nuclear (and other) engineering knowing that people are going to get killed. Hell, when we build bridges, we know that statistically one or two will be killed. And when a nuclear power plant is built, it's even bigger... someone will likely be killed. Over so many years of operation, someone will be killed (and not necessarily from some Three Mile Island thing, a person will be stressed out in the office and have a heart attack).

So if in the span of 10,000 years some savage dumbasses who fucked up and wrecked civilization die of radiation poisoning, what's the big fucking deal? Refusing to deal with our need for nuclear power, refusing to build the waste disposal facilities that such needs because we can't come up with some universal symbology to mark it as a dangerous place... that might be the reason that technological civilization does drop dead.

37
autokad 2 days ago 0 replies      
skull and crossbones would have been a terrible idea, if i came accross such a thing i would have thought i found black beard's treasure, or something
38
jqm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually live about 100 miles north of the WIPP site. I'm fairly unconcerned about danger.

This area was an inland sea ~250 million years ago (the continents were gathered together in Pangaea at the time). The salt deposits in the mine that WIPP occupies are precipitate from this sea drying down and are very deep.

If the site were collapsed (which I understand it will be at some point) people with primitive tools won't be digging it back up. It is simply too deep. It isn't going to erode down to the level they can either in any reasonable period of time....i.e. millions of years. A society technologically advanced to dig this stuff up presumably will be aware of some history and/or be able to decipher what is written on the marker. Unless civilization disappears in which case it will take a long time to re-develop the technology needed to dig that deep starting from ground zero.

Also... people need a reason to go to great effort. I just don't see future people digging that far in the earth out of curiosity and with no immediate economic benefit.

But just in case.... if you need a marker to discourage them, how about instead of abstract symbols we put some pictures of the effects of radiation on humans with the material containers notably present in the picture?

The one thing I guess that could become an issue is the amount of oil well activity in the area. It is geologically stable, there are no earthquakes, but maybe fracking could change that. I hope they are taking future fracking into account in their equations.

27
Emacs and Vim
220 points by mklappstuhl  3 days ago   265 comments top 33
1
Gonzih 3 days ago 5 replies      
Wanna have fun with emacs? Try to integrate evil mode nicely in different plugins. Especially if you use totally different key bindings in vi (non qwerty layout for example). It was very painful experience for me. Yes, vim is far from ideal, yes neo-vim is looking like to be next iteration in vim evolution, yes no parallel tasks execution is pain. But at the same time there is vimproc. For clojure integration there is fireplace.vim which is also amazing in my opinion, for git there is fugitive. I don't see any real comparison in this post, more like "I was bored with vim, now I use emacs".
2
asuffield 3 days ago 10 replies      
Gah, the tutorial keybindings! They are mad. I've been using emacs for a very long time, and I can't imagine using those to navigate. Emacs has perfectly reasonable default keybindings these days, they just aren't the ones mentioned in the tutorial.

Command: move down one line

What vi uses: j

What the emacs tutorial suggests: C-n

What I use in emacs: the down arrow

3
orthecreedence 2 days ago 1 reply      
Emacs + evil, sure, but please don't forget vim + slimv. I tried emacs for a bit when I was first jumping into lisp, but was also evaluating vim at the same time. After about 6 weeks I was having fun with vim. About a year later, I was really fast in vim. Fast forward another year or two, I think in vim. There are no modes or movements or searches. There's just what's in my brain and it sort of writes itself. Granted, I'll stop and think to record macros here and there, but otherwise it's all really fluid. Add the fact that I do lots of server admin to the mix, and heyyyy there's vim already there. How ya doing ol' buddy?

Then you add slimv to the mix. Honestly I never gave slime a fair shake. I barely scratched the surface. But once I got slimv up and running, I felt like I didn't need to learn emacs+slime. Maybe there are some things I don't know about that I'm missing out on, but slimv, like vim, let's me think in lisp.

So if you're a lisper and you like vim, don't jump ship yet! Give slimv a shot.

4
cies 3 days ago 13 replies      
Emacs+Evil is the next Vim.

And yes, CtrlP is probably the thing you'll miss most.

But all the other things I got from switching from Vim to Emacs+Evil easily outweigh the missing CtrlP.

Vim was great, until I wanted to customize it heavily. It is simply not made to facilitate things like: child processes, SSH, understanding my code, a visual interface for Git.

5
athenot 3 days ago 3 replies      
Whether it's vim or emacs, I've always been amazed how these tools can become an extension of the brain like an instrument whose purpose is to materialize a thought process. Framed that way, the editor wars look like a pianist debating with a violinist of the superiority of their respective instruments to convey human emotion.

Watching a seasoned vim or emacs user create, mold, shape, reformat text like it was a piece of clay in the hands of a potter is truly inspiring.

As for me, my instrument of choice is Sublime Text (which, I guess, downgrades me to the status of a flute player), though I occasionally use vim for Ops stuff. I think there are some mac-centric UX patterns that I have a hard time giving up.

6
tach4n 3 days ago 1 reply      
Another option for "modal" editing in emacs is god-mode(1). It lets you use emacs commands without modifier keys. I have it set to change my mode-line color when it's activated, it's great if you want a little taste of vim but not the problem of trying to shoehorn vim key-bindings into emacs.

1. https://github.com/chrisdone/god-mode

7
grundprinzip 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know why, I find this post greatly uninformative. Yes, you can have some kind of Vim mode in Emacs (as you can in Sublime) and yes it takes time to remember key-bindings. If you have years of experience in Vim, why would you expect to get used to Emacs keybindings in a short time?

It's like moving to a foreign country and then continue to buy and to eat only your old local food, and go out and talk to only people from your old home. You will miss so much.

8
nick_riviera 3 days ago 2 replies      
Until it goes wrong or you have to delve into elisp or you get carpal tunnel...

After 20 years of switching back and forth I decided I wanted an extensible editor not a programming language with an editor built in. That's worked well for me.

I really always just want the simplest thing that will work as I need to rely on it entirely and understand how it works. If I was to use emacs, I'd probably use mg as shipped with OpenBSD.

9
elwell 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm... this post didn't seem to say that much. We got a couple points and then a sudden conclusion. Just saying...
10
bmoresbest55 3 days ago 8 replies      
I still do not undertand the devotion that people have with these text editors. I prefer Vim however I could see myself using it soley or even half the time. I feel like I know the basic commands and it is fast but with the ease of a sublime text or something similar why do people still use these pieces of software so frequently? (Not a rhetorical question)
11
12
gergles 3 days ago 2 replies      
I do wonder what it would be like to use an editor where the main cursor navigation was forward/backward incremental search. One case of this is the Canon CAT[1] word processor, which used "LEAP" keys for cursor movement (and nothing else).

I'm often curious how productive it would be to use while coding.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_CatBonus link: http://clickamericana.com/media/advertisements/the-canon-cat...

13
sousousou 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm both a vim and emacs user. I love vim for all the reasons everyone always mentions, but emacs comes out ahead consistently basically because emacs-lisp is so much more usable to me than vimscript. I find it much easier to create or modify plugins in emacs... Don't like the (often overfeatureful) functionality of a plugin? Change it!
14
Igglyboo 2 days ago 5 replies      
So when i'm programming I find myself spending far more time thinking about what to type next than actually typing it, seems to me like there isn't much to gain by learning vim/emacs or am I missing something?
15
rdtsc 3 days ago 3 replies      
> I completely do not understand how anyone can use Emacs default keybindings.

I completely do not understand how switching modes is a good idea in an editor. It just doesn't fit in my brain somehow. I start typing and randomly end up pasting and cutting. I want to paste and cut it randomly types my commands in insert mode.

Emacs cords are pretty intuitive to me. I don't know many: just moving, saving, creating 2 windows, search & replace, cutting and pasting. There are hundreds more, but you can get away with a few basic ones.

Save needing to rebind the Ctrl key to CapsLock, emacs key-bindings are optimized to not have to move the hands to the mouse or arrow keys, which I appreciate. Vim's are as well, but again I don't like modes, so there is that.

16
weavie 3 days ago 2 replies      
The last time I tried Emacs+Evil I found that when pressing Ctrl+[ there was a slight delay when moving back into command mode. I was constantly tripping up when typing furiously.

This alone was enough to move me back to Vim. Everything else about Emacs was awesome. I would love to go back if I could get over this one problem..

17
jeffreyrogers 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was looking at Slackware Linux the other day and came across this page http://www.slackware.com/install/softwaresets.php. I enjoyed how emacs got its own software set due to its size.
18
pvaldes 2 days ago 0 replies      
(I'm currently toying with the editor able (ql:quickload "able") (able:start), so at this moment, I'm not in a good position to figth at those thumb wars... but, as long time and happy emacs user, I need to tell the world that "little pinky" is alive and tipping, thanks)

You can have it all, emacs, and vi... so, what is the bigg fuss?

19
bshanks 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use emacs with the 'viper' mode extension, along with a custom keymap that i made that places the keys i use most on and near the home keys: https://github.com/bshanks/viperre

I actually use viperre with a Colemak keyboard map, but there's a QWERTY mode too.

20
elwell 3 days ago 1 reply      
My main concern with Emacs (at least on Windows) is that it actually crashes every now and then. I haven't dealt with many programs in the past few years that do still that.
21
therealmarv 3 days ago 4 replies      
So many Emacs articles the recent days... please tell me: Should I really switch to Emacs as a web developer? Is it really superior to SublimeText and Brackets for a web dev?
22
laichzeit0 3 days ago 4 replies      
I like that he mentioned CtrlP. It's the single plugin that prevents me from switching to Emacs.

There is currently nothing in Emacs (last I played with this was 3 months ago) that is 100% equivalent to CtrlP. There are some close approximations but they're not as good the real deal. I can understand how Emacs guys won't even notice this because they've not worked with something that's better than the best they have, but for Vim guys it sucks.

23
jeffbr13 3 days ago 2 replies      
Vim's home-row commands are great... Unless you use a non-QWERTY keyboard layout.

A lot of developers forget that there exist other methods of input, and mnemonic-based shortcuts are one of those things that make a lot more sense than attempting to optimise for a tiny reduction in finger-movement (which ought to be the domain of the input-device anyway).

24
sprayk 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really wanted to use Org-mode, but my vim muscle memory and lack of knowledge of keybindings to do useful things like copy/paste and move around with more than just arrow keys were preventing me from being productive. Finally got Evil installed and haven't looked back! Evil and Org-mode work great together.
25
dang 3 days ago 4 replies      
Is anybody besides me still having the problem with Emacs on Mavericks where the OS X distnoted process gradually eats up gigabytes of RAM? It seems to have to do with running multiple instances of Emacs.
26
rorykirchner 3 days ago 0 replies      
emacs-prelude is a nice way to get started with emacs if you are a vim user: https://github.com/bbatsov/prelude

You can enable the prelude-evil.el module and start out with a nice set of bindings. It would be sweet if there were some more pull requests to make the evil-mode bindings in prelude more closely match vim.

27
Yuioup 3 days ago 3 replies      
I use Vim on Windows. I tried to learn Emacs but I keep running into roadblocks because of poor Windows compatibility of plugins.
28
elwell 3 days ago 1 reply      
Brace yourself, an editor war will follow... and people commenting on the presence of an editor war... like this comment.
29
mcguire 3 days ago 0 replies      
This weekend's project: ed mode for Emacs.
30
santiagobasulto 3 days ago 0 replies      
"a pretty decent piece of software"?
31
azinman2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Vim.
32
jheriko 3 days ago 1 reply      
notepad and other modern solutions... they are ubiquitous for a reason. typing is such a tiny part of programmer productivity compared to thinking...

... do a little more thinking and never have this problem again, learn to adapt to whatever text editor is on the system etc.

33
mercurial 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's still too slow for me. I have often several vims open, usually for a short time, and I'm not going to start a daemon in my session to have a decent startup time, that's unreasonable. Also, even setting a theme like solarized dark turned out to be a headache last time I tried. I think I'll wait for neovim.
28
Show HN: Streisand Silence censorship, automate the effect
230 points by jlund  4 days ago   53 comments top 19
1
ritchiea 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can you clarify what this does? Even after reading the readme it's not clear to me what it does or what the use case is. And the phrase "silence censorship, automate the effect" is confusing since censorship is an attempt to silence others. I am familiar with the Streisand effect, where an attempt to hide information serves to publicize it. Does this library propagate secure, encrypted servers? So if you feel in danger of being censored you can quickly spread your message to other servers? Something more than that?
2
serf 4 days ago 3 replies      
I like the concept, but I am troubled by the idea of people running cookie-cutter scripts to set up systems which are then left in charge of real-world anonymity.

Could the suite of things installed by this software package be used as a profiling vector in the future? How could that be avoided if so? I know that your userbase is slim now and mass profiling probably doesn't apply yet, but it's something to consider.

Are the installed defaults known to be sane and secure? That's another huge worry when the configuration is taken out of my hands initially.

Sorry for the worrisome comments. I like the idea,

3
patcon 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome! Thanks! Might be great to kick off the readme with some anticipated use-cases, just so people can understand right away who the target audience is without reading through all the features. I mean, if I'm from a place being censored, all the bullet points will probably scream at me, but if I'm not, it takes a bit to determine that this product isn't particularly meant for me :)
4
jlund 4 days ago 3 replies      
I am happy to answer questions about this, if anyone has any. Or if anyone finds any bugs or has other feedback, that would also be great.
5
iuguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is similar to a project I worked on a while ago, Lahana[1] but on steroids.

I like the approach, although it requires a little more knowhow to set up. What would be really cool (if not already in) would be to ask the user which services they want to run on setup. Not everyone will want/need to run all the services, running extra services may make it easier to compromise an instance.

Jlund - if you feel like it, take a look at the lahana code[2] and if you feel like implementing a VPN-Tor routing bridge feel free to use what you like. Drop me a message if you get stuck. I don't have a lot of free time but will help where I can.

[1] - http://lahana.dreamcats.org/

[2] - https://github.com/stevelord/lahana

6
thegeomaster 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just a thought: in order to make these servers more undercover, you can bundle in a port-knocking daemon (knockd) and have all ports initially closed. This setting should be easily changeable, but it will also tremendously help impair a third party's possibilities of profiling and figuring out valuable info about the server.
7
paulannesley 2 days ago 1 reply      
Probably worth pointing out that this wont anonymize your traffic instead of coming from your home IP address, it will come from the IP address of a server registered against your name and payment details.

That's not to detract from the functionality it does offer; just making sure people don't get the wrong idea.

8
chatmasta 4 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome. I'm actually building a company right now around an almost identical product. We aren't open sourcing it yet but we will eventually. Would love to talk about this with you (email in profile).

Any plans to integrate AAA with radius or similar? Any plans for squidproxy?

Also, I'm planning on working on a tool to easily deploy Tor hidden services as soon as I get some time. I think there's value in that aspect of your project alone -- maybe consider breaking it off on its own.

9
dmourati 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice work. Love that streisand leverages ansible.

One thought, you ask for AWS credentials. Mine are already stored in ~/.aws/config for use in the official aws cli which I think I recall wraps boto. It would be nice if the streisand setup could figure that out for me.

10
organman91 4 days ago 1 reply      
I hope that, besides Starcadian, you also listened to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VQdVA2hjsA
11
heyalexej 4 days ago 1 reply      
I just walked through the live demo eof provided (thanks). It looks very promising and well thought out. How many users could the smallest Amazon box handle in a real world scenario?
12
arj 3 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone run this on an amazon micro instance? I'm wondering how much is needed for this to run, I'm guessing not much, hence the question :)
14
aridiculous 3 days ago 0 replies      
This kind of work is so important to offset the threat of complete top-down control. Thank you!
15
mixologic 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm kinda concerned that if I star this project I'll get flagged in some NSA database.
16
cpa 4 days ago 0 replies      
I made a long comment on the history of the right to be forgotten on another thread that just fell off the frontpage. Definitely relevant to this thread too!https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8083211
17
nomnombunty 4 days ago 1 reply      
Question is will this circumvent the great firewall of China
18
eof 4 days ago 0 replies      
(currently live) instruction example: http://jsbin.com/wutonaka/1/
19
eof 4 days ago 1 reply      
Dockerized "pre-reqs" for streisand:https://github.com/gdoteof/docker-streisand

so you can just do

    docker run -i -t streisand

29
GCC 4.9 is doing some seriously crazy shit according to Linus Torvalds
211 points by jdoliner  2 days ago   231 comments top 11
1
userbinator 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a long-time Asm programmer who has read a lot of compiler-generated code (usually for RE purposes), I completely sympathise with Linus - despite all the research and improvements, compilers are still very stupid, and will routinely generate code that no sane human would. The widespread notion that compilers can almost always generate better (faster or smaller) code than a human is probably closer to myth than reality. The one thing that is certainly true is they can compile orders of magnitude faster than a human can, and that's usually the main reason for using them.

I think the x86-64 ABI is also partly to blame for this mess - IMHO it's far too complex (e.g. the "red zone") and makes it easy for these bizarre edge-case-bugs to occur.

"Spilling a constant" is something I've never seen before and I'd probably WTF the first time I saw it, but thinking about it more carefully, it might actually be a wise choice in some cases - x86-64 unfortunately allows very few instructions with 64-bit immediate values, and those few instructions are very long (opcode + 8-byte immediate), so it could make sense to store some constant in memory, on the stack, for a while and put it in a register when it's needed with some moves - 64-bit r/m move with 8-bit displacement is 3/4 bytes. Of course that's not what GCC is doing here; that last move instruction is 6 bytes alone (mov + mod/rm + disp32.)

2
e40 2 days ago 4 replies      
More and interesting conversation happens here:

https://gcc.gnu.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=61904

4
quarterto 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone give a layperson's explanation of what exactly GCC 4.9 is doing wrong here? I'm not fluent in Assembly and/or compiler internals. What's changed from 4.8?
5
kazinator 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've noticed it also has idiotic warnings. I have some code with macrology that generates lexically scoped typedefs, which are sometimes not used. I do not wish to be warned about these, damn it! Who cares about a typedef at lexical scope that is not used? It's compile-time only. What's next; a warning about every file-scope typedef that has not been used? "Hey you included <stddef.h> but never used ptrdiff_t!"
6
jonahx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever you think of his language and attitude, the guy deserves some love for working a Goonies reference into a complaint about the GCC compiler.
7
andrey-p 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed reading this even I don't understand any of what the bug is actually about. There's something about people who have taken swearing to a virtuosic level.
8
GFK_of_xmaspast 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is deep into 'dog bites man' territory; Torvalds NOT being an asshole is the newsworthy story.
9
Aardwolf 2 days ago 14 replies      
What's up with the many insults? A bit of professionalism amongst developers would be nice...
10
AgathaTheWitch 2 days ago 8 replies      
Linus Torvalds says something thread on HN.

Prediction before clicking: Half of the thread, or more, will not be about what he says, but about his tone and "professionalism."

Never change HN. Never change.

11
parax 2 days ago 5 replies      
Just use LLVM:http://llvm.org/
30
Elvish An experimental Unix shell in Go
217 points by networked  2 days ago   75 comments top 23
1
xiaq 2 days ago 1 reply      
Author here. Wow, I completely didn't expect this to hit HN this early. I did a talk at FUDCON Beijing 2014 (slides: http://go-talks.appspot.com/github.com/xiaq/elvish-fudcon201...) and warned that "this might eat your ~, so don't post this on HN yet". My original plan was to only post this HN when it's usable, and by "usable" I mean I use it as my login shell on my laptop. (My login shell is still /bin/zsh for now.) But apparently someone else just came across it on the Internet and I should have put up this warning in the README. :)

I'm on the go now, and will come back to add more details and try to respond to questions here.

2
comex 2 days ago 6 replies      
Huh, wow. I was recently thinking about and prototyping a shell seemingly very similar to this. Explicit goals I have in common include:

- Focus on the lispy parts of sh - prefix functions everywhere and a simple, regular syntax. Not that anything with FD redirections as a primitive can get anywhere near S-expressions' simplicity, but shell is naturally more regular than most programming languages (even if bash goes out of its way to be complex).

- Be a real programming language that doesn't make you reach for awk or perl (separate, incompatible environments) to do moderately complex things sanely.

- Emphasize using pipelines rather than 'backwards' function application to naturally string together operations.

- Emphasize lambdas.

- Typed (i.e. non-string) pipes.

- Syntax highlighting.

- Nonzero-exit modeled as exceptions. (I think elvish is doing this, but I haven't reviewed the code in detail.)

Things I want but don't see in the readme include:

- A story for passing typed data around between processes (potentially in different languages) rather than just builtins. I'm not sure exactly what the story should be, but it should exist.

- A somewhat more succinct syntax, with metaprogramming kept in mind.

- A JIT, eventually.

There seems to be a lot more in the first category than the second... give up? But elvish isn't anywhere near done, and I want to do things all my own way for once. I'll keep going, and post my project on HN if it gets anywhere. :)

But to the OP, congratulations on elvish. Hope it gets finished and seriously takes off.

3
heavenlyhash 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tangentially related: readers interested in alternatives to bash might be interested in a golang library called Gosh that provides shell-ish dsl, which you can see an example of here: [1].

Author here; I use it regularly to replace bash scripts in system glue code -- using golang channels to pipe data between shell commands is awesome. It's heavily (heavily!) inspired by amoffat's "sh" library [2] which lets one call any shell program as if it were a function.

But, Gosh exists to scratch some itches as a shell scripting alternative. It's nowhere near the full-fledged interactive shell environment Elvish is gunning for. Elvish looks to have a very exciting future :)

[1] https://github.com/polydawn/pogo/blob/master/gosh-demo.go

[2] https://github.com/amoffat/sh/

4
thinkpad20 2 days ago 4 replies      
This looks really cool and promising! I was thinking of a shell along these lines, props to you for writing it.

I do take issue with one of the things you wrote though:

> a more complex program is formed by concatenating simpler programs, hence the term "concatenative programming". Compare this to the functional approach, where constructs are nested instead of connected one after another.

There's nothing about the functional approach that necessitates writing "nested" functions, as you describe. With higher-order functions, you can structure your code in almost any arbitrary way. In particular, haskell's >>= operator has this behavior, and you can easily write an operator like

    x |> f = f x
to facilitate something like

    2 |> addOne |> timesTwo |> show |> reverse |> putStrLn
Or whatever one desires :)

5
mathetic 2 days ago 2 replies      
Heavy use of backquote might be a problem because it's one of the first keys to drop when keyboards are localised.
6
LesZedCB 2 days ago 0 replies      
The shell looks great, good work!

On a side note, I have to say I love README's that look like this. The author did a couple things I really like. 1) They attributed feature ideas to the people they got them from. 2) They listed the good things right along with the bad/lacking. 3) Screenshots.

7
e12e 1 day ago 1 reply      
"It attempts to prove that a shell language can be a handy interface to the operating system and a decent programming language at the same time; Many existing shells recognize the former but blatantly ignore the latter."

Wasn't that the reasoning behind csh[1]? (She scripts csh by the c source). Did you have a look at plan 9's rc[2]?

I welcome attempts at new/better shells -- doesn't look like elvish will be my saviour (partly due to the heavy use of backticks) -- but there is always need for fresh blood in the battle for the terminal.

I suppose that "vi keybindings that makes sense" and "a programmable line editor" is meant to indicate that rlwrap isn't good enough? I must say, after a few years (has it really been years) of "set editing-mode vi" in .inputrc, I actually think it works kind of nice with (plain) bash. I suppose there's room for improvement in terms of history editing etc... But either due to lack of imagination or force of habit, I've never really felt a pull towards zsh (or fish, or other "improved" shells). But playing around with ipython and/or Conque for vim has made me consider looking for greener shells than bash.

The secret, I think, is to avoid doing to much in the shell, and rather try to subtly improve on the "simple programs build complex pipes"-idea. I actually think some rethinking of core command line tools (cat/tac/tee, grep/sort/uniq, seq etc) might be a better investment than "better syntax".

Not that better syntax is a bad idea -- a "strict" subset of modern bash would be good, with saner handling of words/expansion/substitution -- essentially defaulting to proper checking for empty variables ("${might_be_empty}a" == "a") (but isn't [[ -z "${var} ]] always better anyway..?), always defaulting to "${var}" rather than $var, ${var}, and preferring var="$(some_command_that_outputs)" to var=`dirty backtick command`...

Essentially getting rid of all the crazy old cruft that's needed for backwards compatibility, and defaulting to sane, modern versions (it's what's hard about scripting (especially posix [k|b])sh -- there are 5 wrong ways to do everything, 2 mostly right and 1 perfect -- but which is perfect often depends on context...).

[1] I'm not a csh-fan, for some reasons, see:http://www.faqs.org/faqs/unix-faq/shell/csh-whynot/ But mostly I'm just grumpy and conservative, and having mostly figured out how to properly get things right in ksh/bash, I stubbornly refuse to use something else ;-)

[2] http://swtch.com/plan9port/man/man1/rc.html

8
ridiculous_fish 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, that name looks familiar!

Best of luck to xiaq, a fellow fish shell contributor. It's definitely good to see more innovation in the ossified command-line shell space.

Assuming this is planning on using Go's concurrency support, it will be very interesting to see how it deals with the nasty interactions between fork and multithreading.

9
qmaxquique 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey guys! For anyone who want's to try Elvish without having to deal with golang compilation and such, I just created a terminal.com snapshot. Just register and spin up my elvish container. https://terminal.com/tiny/UtZ8VSgWJL

As it's in development, I will upgrade it again in a couple days.

10
nawitus 2 days ago 2 replies      
If I type 'mplayer ' and press tab in a folder with only one video file, but multiple text files, does this shell autocomplete the media file? It's pretty frustrating that even the most basic stuff like these are not enabled by default on your average Linux distribution. I wonder if everyone simply stopped developing unix shells.

I'm aware that one can install support for proper autocompletion by installing additional stuff. That shouldn't be required, smart autocompletion should work out of the box. I don't want to configure and/or install stuff for every single application that I use.

11
jalfresi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been tinkering about with writing my own shell at home, as an excerise in learning more about unix etc but bumped up against the limitation in that proper job control is currently impossible to do from within go (off the top of my head it was something to do with the inability to set the process group correctly for forkexeced processes). How did the author get around this, or does Elvish not have the ability to put processes into and out of the background?
12
zokier 2 days ago 3 replies      
It would be nice if

    put 1 2 3 4 5 | filter {|x| > $x 2} | map {|x| * 2 $x}
could be written just as

    put 1 2 3 4 5 | filter > $_ 2 | map * 2 $_

13
chrissnell 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hmmm...it's not building for me:

  $ go get github.com/xiaq/elvish  # github.com/xiaq/elvish/edit/tty  dev/go/src/github.com/xiaq/elvish/edit/tty/termios.go:20:   undefined: syscall.TCGETS  dev/go/src/github.com/xiaq/elvish/edit/tty/termios.go:24: undefined: syscall.TCSETS  dev/go/src/github.com/xiaq/elvish/edit/tty/termios.go:49:   cannot use &term.Lflag (type *uint64) as type *uint32 in   argument to setFlag  dev/go/src/github.com/xiaq/elvish/edit/tty/termios.go:53:   cannot use &term.Lflag (type *uint64) as type *uint32 in   argument to setFlag  # github.com/xiaq/elvish/sys  dev/go/src/github.com/xiaq/elvish/sys/select.go:66: not   enough arguments to return
I opened up an issue for you: https://github.com/xiaq/elvish/issues/16

14
jkbyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many alternative shells popping up recently. Someone already mentioned the Fish shell [1] in this thread. There is also Xiki [2] and its recent Kickstarter campaign [3].

[1] http://fishshell.com/[2] http://xiki.org/[3] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/xiki/xiki-the-command-r...

15
nathell 2 days ago 3 replies      
Clojure has -> specifically to facilitate writing pipeline code that doesn't read backwards.
16
pjmlp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Xerox PARC environments and their derivatives keep being partially reinvented.

I really wonder how computing would look like if those systems had succeed in the market, instead of UNIX.

17
anon4 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unrelated, but I would like to note that you shouldn't use subpixel anti-aliasing in text in images, especially ones that will be shown by a web-browser. You never know whether the user's screen is rotated or not; if it has three subpixels per pixel, or if it's pentile or similar; or if it is high-DPI and therefore the image is zoomed; and even if none of those are the case, a lot of people dislike the coloured fringes.
18
jonathanyc 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome! Necessity is the mother of invention, and all that. The idea of using lispy syntax while dropping the requirement for the outermost pair of parentheses is definitely a neat idea - I'll try the shell out in practice to see how much easier it makes usage, but it seems like it would allow for 99% of the consistency of Lisp/Scheme less 20% of the annoyance for general shell usage.

Looking forward to what's in store.

19
sgt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get this error:

clang: error: no such file or directory: 'libgcc.a'

20
bnegreve 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really like in-shell floating point operations. But this:

    > / 1 0   +Inf
Is not the correct answer - even as a limit - since the limit of 1 / x (when x -> 0) can be +Inf or -Inf.

21
Dewie 2 days ago 0 replies      
> It attempts to exploit a facility Shell programmers are very familiar with, but virtually unknown to other programmers - the pipeline.

Really?

It seems that Unix pipes are the go-to example of what you might call pipeline programming, as if it originated there or because every programmer is a shell-programmer first and foremost. But I'm not sure that this is such a secret technique exclusive to shell programmers - object-oriented languages can and does seem to like to use "fluent interfaces", I think its called, which has the same pipelining style. Functional programmers are able to and probably find it convenient to use a "pipeline style" on longer expressions that are essentially long chains of function application or function composition - they just have to flip the order of the operators for function application and function composition, respectively. This is possible in languages like Haskell, and I think it is even pretty idiomatic in F#.

22
sobkas 2 days ago 0 replies      
So will it work with a gccgo?
23
bubersson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yep, I just read that as Elvis with Sean Connery's accent... Nice work though.
       cached 29 July 2014 04:11:01 GMT