hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    15 Jan 2015 Best
home   ask   best   4 years ago   
Hi, Its Google Corporate Development
1217 points by maxidog  2 days ago   276 comments top 29
MCRed 2 days ago 9 replies      
For a period I was heavily recruited by google. Their recruiters tried a great many variations of attempts to trick me into interviewing for a job. It seems weird that they would do this, because pretty soon, it would become obvious that it was a job interview and nothing more. Maybe there are a lot of talented engineers out there who are doing startups but aren't really committed to them and google manages via the fame of its name and wearing them down to convince them to give up and become employees.

I agree with this article's characterization of it as a scam, as they are pretending to be something they are not. This is manipulative and dishonest. What I experienced was less heinous but had the same elements- misrepresentation, name dropping, attempts at emotional manipulation with tone and timing (the first call being so dead, then enthusiastic in the second- very "HR recruiter", not corp dev.)

Worse, once I'd eventually figure out what was going on, and put one of them off of me, a few weeks later another would show up, with another variation.

cromwellian 1 day ago 4 replies      
I think there's an either-or fallacy here, it could have been an attempt at an acqui-hire, but when the people talking to him tried to push it through, other people reviewed the situation and decided just to offer a generous employment package.

Consider, a single-engineer company with an interesting app and talented engineer, just how much do you expect to be acquired for? Recognize that a $1M-2M offer is about what you could make in 4 years at Google at the appropriate level and with the appropriate amount of restricted stock units.

So, if the amount of compensation would be approximately the same, but the one pathway (acquisition) requires a lot more legal groundwork and expense, and the other doesn't (just extend an offer of employment with generous signing bonus)

I think there's a little bit of ego involved here. It's easy to believe you have a winning app that's going to be huge, and be insulted when other people don't see the potential. ("A mere engineer!? Me?! I'm an entrepreneur who should have more respect!"), but the reality is, very few apps on the app store take off like rocketships, most fail, and so unless you have unique very valuable IP, or have built up a lot of valuable data, chances are, most companies are going to view it as an acqui-hire.

Paul Graham was right, you talk to Corp Dev if you're very successful, or nor very successful (probably going to die). As Kenny Rogers said you've got to know when to fold 'em, and this could have been a situation to negotiate a nice big fat signing bonus.

abalone 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is actually a good example of how to fumble a decent exit for a struggling app. This was written in April 2014 so we have the benefit of hindsight for evaluating this claim:

"Ive already built an X million company in this area that was limited to the UK & Ireland; this time its global and I can easily get to twice X million"

Based on the number of reviews for roomscan I'm going to guess that getting to "twice X million" has not in fact been that easy. The app does show creative thinking though and you can see what Google may have spotted potential in him. $2M would have been an incredible exit for him.

I suppose there is something good in entrepreneurs having outsized, seemingly delusional expectations for their startups. However, it's important to be self aware and not take deep, personal offense at what are reasonable market offers for your work. You can just say no thanks, $2M is too low of a max offer.

What you do definitely not do is have a paranoid meltdown on a blog post and start wildly speculating about deceptive practices like using fake identities and fake meeting requests with zero support. Also probably not a good idea to send over paperwork from your last company's sale to prove how awesome your current company is.

It may be hard to accept the reality of how your project is really doing but don't slip into a bad mental place like this. You may just end up passing on a million dollar outcome.

jaysonelliot 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm having an incredibly hard time mustering up sympathy or concern for someone who feels they were "scammed" into interviewing for a job that could come with a $2 million signing bonus.

Even if it were the "golden handcuffs" situation someone posited in this thread, where the money would come over three or four years, it's a situation most people would be pleased as Punch to find themselves in.

Naturally, everyone thinks they're Tom Brady, and they're going to be the ones to be the next golden boy getting courted by M&A and feted by TechCrunch and all the rest. But most of us are really just the Danny Aikens of the world, working hard, in the game, happy to be paid for what we love to do.

The author wrote an app. By all accounts, it's a good idea, reasonably well-executed. Not world-changing, not something that's going to build a new industry and launch dozens of careers, or a service that will transform people's lives, or disrupt a market. A nice app.

For that, he's indignant that he might get a multi-million dollar signing bonus and a secure job at one of the largest and most influential corporations on the planet.

If there were ever an example of the arrogance and entitlement outsiders pin on Silicon Valley and the startup / tech community, this would be it. Work because you are passionate about it, because you want to build great things and meet great challenges. Be grateful that you have a good life. Life isn't a lottery.

robmcm 2 days ago 3 replies      
I take it the application is RoomScan (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/roomscan-app-that-draws-floo...).

It's bugging me that I can't understand how it works, at least not in a way that would produce accurate results in most environments (i.e. No GPS).


Anyone have any ideas?

bambax 1 day ago 1 reply      
Recruiting is a lot like dating.

Companies are only interested in candidates that won't work for them and people would prefer to work for firms that won't hire them.

For all the talk about "competence" or "love" or even attractiveness or education, the only thing that really matters is social status.

All people ever want is trade up.

There are tricks to make this work; you can fool the other party (difficult and dangerous), you can fool yourself (easy and efficient, but kind of sad), or you can use different scales and engage in some kind of status exchange.

The recruiter needs to be a part of this trade by having some inherent tangible value themselves, to make the whole thing believable; I bet if Larry Page had made the call himself the whole thing might have worked, maybe even without any serious money offered.

But if the person on the other end of the line is a nobody the process is doomed from the start, because it signals there is no status on offer.

On the other hand, sending a copy of a former deal sounds needy and insecure, like a guy a party bragging that he used to date a model once -- something George Costanza would say. Why should anyone care? Are you dating a model right now is what we want to know.

mcv 2 days ago 4 replies      
Fits in nicely with Paul Graham's story not to talk to corp dev at all.

Still, I find myself hoping that someone did turn up on April 9.

LunaSea 2 days ago 1 reply      
If this is all there is to the story it's quite disgusting from Google.
api 1 day ago 4 replies      
"Its a ridiculous ideatouch your phone against each wall and get a floor plan."

Uhh... no it's not. Make that actually work and show it to some architects, interior designers, and real estate people. Be sure to have a mop on hand for drool.

Kiro 2 days ago 5 replies      
I don't understand the problem. Was he expecting a $100m acquisition and was upset it was only $2m? Feels like an overly aggressive reaction to something most people would only dream of.
jschuur 2 days ago 1 reply      
The story ends with an awful lot of assumptions.
api 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get the impression there's an epidemic of big companies trying to "poach startup founders from themselves."

I posted this to the other thread, and I now see that my experience is perhaps tame compared to others.


Like someone else quipped: "oh no! seems like you can't walk down the street today without being aggressively offered a job!" There are worse problems to have. :P

MindTwister 2 days ago 4 replies      
Does anyone have similar experiences with Google?
tlrobinson 1 day ago 2 replies      
Googler #1 doesnt do M&A for [Famous Named Googler]. Shes just a recruiter for Googler #2, whom she knew from the outset.

This seems like a risky tactic. [Famous Named Googler] probably doesn't like [low level recruiters] misrepresenting their relationship with him/her.

samsolomon 2 days ago 2 replies      
What's the best course of action in this case? Surely, it isn't to ignore the email.
mathattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems like a strange scam, in that the only outcome is an offer for employment which one can refuse if they want.
tzz 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does Google ever access your Google Analytics or other Google tools you are using to get more insight info about your website or app? Would they ever do such thing?
kaitari 1 day ago 0 replies      
A less popular takeaway from this article, albeit anecdotal, is that Twitter ads work really well when targeted appropriately.
chetanahuja 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see a googler from the appropriate side respond here and present their side of the story. That seems to be the difference between the engineering and business sides of google... if this was a critique of one of google's technical products, there would be multiple googlers here responding in this thread by now.
kkotak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really don't see how Google or any other company would be so interested in hiring OP or acquiring the product based on what it does. Even in Silicon Valley there are some standards by which valuations are done. This seems like a scam from the other end to gain attention.
idealform01 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be great to have a site that compiled recruiting scams that companies do.

I have been taken by a couple and really would love to have a site that said, "if you are thinking about working for CompanyX, be sure to look out for the following tactics: Z,Y,Z"

CmonDev 2 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to that their corporate culture became too intense and naturally it resulted in some staff becoming deluded. Many people want to work for Google, but not everyone. Maybe not even the majority of engineers.
omega_rythm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Was there a followup to that story? It seems like the author made a lot of assumptions (I read PG article about Corp devs).
blazespin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Downvote me, but jeesuz christ, talk about first world problem...
winston84 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know, if the devil says "I don't do evil", I wouldn't believe him for a second.
davidgerard 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google recruiters are lying weasels? SAY IT AIN'T SO!
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
quiz != interview
anon7933 1 day ago 0 replies      
hharnisch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can Google remove "Don't Be Evil" from their core values yet?
What Happens When You Install the Top Download.com Apps
732 points by DanBlake  2 days ago   379 comments top 51
aaronbrethorst 2 days ago 11 replies      
And this is why Apple created Gatekeeper and made the Mac OS X App Store so ridiculously onerous for developers[1]. The software world is, for all intents and purposes, a thin sheen of gold flecks and diamonds atop a veritable cesspool of shit.

You can just imagine the conversation at 1 Infinite Loop:

    Marketer: The Panic guys are considering pulling    out of the App Store. Maybe we should reconsider    our App Store strategy to make it more inclusive.    Product Manager: Have you seen the top 10 downloads    from Download.com? They literally destroy your    operating system.    Marketer: ...
All that said, I'm disappointed with many of the restrictions that Apple places on iOS and OS X developers, but, after reading an article like this, I'm reminded why these restrictions exist, and that it's our own fault.

[1] and sandboxed iOS apps, and made the iOS App Store the only way to install iOS apps without jailbreaking your phone.

anon1385 2 days ago 2 replies      
Download.com is just the beginning of this crap. At least a lot of people now realise that download.com is shady. Google is just as bad as download.com, but people still think of Google as a reputable site. Even in this discussion people are recommending just googling the product name to find a download. Please don't tell people to do that. It's dangerous.

If you type terms like 'firefox' into google search much of the time the top result (which is actually an ad) takes you to a site offering a version of firefox bundled with toolbars and god knows what other malware. The story is similar for other popular windows downloads. I've even seen these ads crop up for things like Chrome in the past.

For example, here is a search I did just now for the term 'download firefox'. The top result is an ad leading to malware: http://i.imgur.com/Ote9c2k.png

Imagine having to explain to an inexperienced computer user how find to firefox or other common software, without clicking on any of these landmines google carefully disguises right at the top of the results.

I've been bringing this up on HN for a while now and nothing has changed. Many of the sites are the same as they were a year ago. Google does manual review of adwords sites. The domains of these sites have been the same for at least a year. Google knows exactly what is going on, making them just as bad as donwload.com in my view.

Google search ads are probably one of the biggest vectors for malware these days, along side the kinds of big download button ads you see on software sites (many of which are also google ads).





petecooper 2 days ago 5 replies      
Mobile computer tech, here. War story follows.

I handle high single-figures of these adware and/or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) infestations every week.

Mostly it's Windows 7 and 90% adware/PUPs-centric, occasionally ransomware. In the huge majority of cases, the following will get a computer back up and sorted in a sensible amount of (billable) time:

First, bring known-good copies of AdwCleaner, Junkware Removal Tool, RKill and ComboFix on a thumb drive. Same-day downloads are preferred as some detect out-of-date versions and don't play nice. Shut down computer. Restart in safe mode with command prompt. Run explorer.exe from command prompt. USB typically works as usual, even in safe mode. Run each of the applications above as administrator in the order they are listed. Some will require a reboot to complete their work. The reboot should be in normal mode, subsequent restart(s) to run other cleaner(s) should be in safe mode with command prompt. Diminishing returns will take place after the third of fourth cleaner, and allow 15 minutes for a typical infection.

The longest it's taken me to completely clean a computer of was 7 hours, comprising around 18GB of tat. If it's a severe infection, I will recommend a rebuild from known-good factory media after a Windows Easy Transfer export, assuming there's not too much in the way of user content.

As an up-sell, I also offer a better-than-factory reset where there's a clean Windows 7 installed and no vendor-specific junk on there. Computer vendors aren't as bad as free-to-use software vendors, but there's a reason why a adequate Lenovo laptop can be bought in the UK for 230GBP (including sales tax at 20%). Install, updates, and Windows Easy Transfer will typically be around 2 to 3 hours. It's a hard sell with a cheap laptop, especially since some clients are already preparing to buy a new laptop rather than fix the old one.

tdicola 2 days ago 4 replies      
I had to install the DirectX user runtime recently and was pretty shocked to see Microsoft has loaded it up with lots of crapware. First when you click download from its page at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35 you're prompted to set MSN as your homepage, download the malicious software removal tool, and download IE11 (if you're on Windows). Then after you skip that you get the download and when you run it it will try to get you to install the Bing bar in the installer. Overall just a really shady and crap experience, especially coming from Microsoft.

Also agreeing to set MSN as your homepage with the install bloats the download size from a svelte 286kb for the DX web installer to 2.4mb (just to set a homepage!?). Way to completely defeat the purpose of providing a small installer by bundling in crap.

route3 2 days ago 2 replies      
In 2012, YC invested in a company InstallMonetizer[0] which, from my understanding, helps align software products with bundling other installers for additional revenue.

[0] http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/installmonetizer

TeMPOraL 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Because when the product is free the real product is YOU.

I disagree with this conclusion. Also, I have a related issue with some of the opinions I hear e.g. on HN that confuse me.

Many a person says in defense of ads - "but surely authors have to support themselves, otherwise there'd be no site/software", "TANSTAAFL", etc. But this seems to me to be in disagreement with observable reality.

What I see is a strong and direct correlation between amount of ads and crappiness/dishonesty. For websites, it is usually "the more ads there are, the more likely content is wrong/crap/nonexisting and the author is there to take your money". For applications, similarly - more ads means crappier downloads, and - if it's the author's site that's full of banners - the program is most likely shit.

What I observe is that there are two reliable types of sources/downloads: 1) linked on author's site, free and free of ads - they signal that the author actually cares about the content they're providing (see "the toilet-paper companies"[0]) and 2) linked on author's site, that ask you to pay up front - here it signals that the author is honest.

So do the authors really have to "support themselves"? Or is it that the honest ones either do it for free (because they care, and they get money needed to support it elsewhere) or sell in clear terms? And the ad-dependent money makers have no business being on the Internet in the first place?

That's why I also feel no guilt for browsing with AdBlock on - neither the ads nor the ad-serving pages are a good deal for anyone in any way.

As for the Downloads.com, CNET, et al. - I hope that the introduction of Windows Store/package manager will shut them down for good. They're evil, they deserve to be down.

[0] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8319102

Renaud 2 days ago 5 replies      
Instead of dowloading from Sourceforge (loaded with ads and its own devious 'installer'), CNET, Download, etc, there are no-crapware alternatives that offer more management tools as well (remembering your list of apps across machines, automated updates, discoverability):

Ninite: nice, simple, installer: just select apps and let the installer do it all for you.

AllMyApps: all the apps, no crapware (at least for now).

chocolatey: a command-line package manager for Windows




Ninite is clean and great for managing deployment on multiple machines, although it offers a limited number of curated apps (but they tend to be very common).

AllMyApps has tons of apps and the most user-friendly. I could give that to my mum. Only had some minor issues sometimes when it fails to recognise versions to update. It will even recognise and update apps that were not installed through its manager.

Chocolatey has lots of packages and you can create your setup to make it easy to deploy across machines. It's getting more secure and the authors are putting a review process in place to guarantee quality.

I've used all three and they all offer something useful. All allow you to manage your own deployment across machines.

weavie 2 days ago 10 replies      
I regularly get called by people complaining that their computer no longer works. Pretty much every time it turns out that their machine is loaded with crapware. It amazes me how people just put up with random browser windows popping up and having to search via some random search engine that has been imposed on them.

At the minute I just have to put up with spending a few hours removing the worst offenders and then running several different adware removers. It generally keeps them running well for a few months.

I would love to set up a VM so whenever things start going wrong they could just delete the VM and start fresh. Currently VMs are a bit too heavy weight, a lot of people struggle with the concept of working in multiple Windows let alone knowing which machine they are actually working in. I am looking forward to Microsoft implementing containers ala Docker. It will be interesting to see what possibilities will be available for making it seamless and quick enough for a computerphobe to browse within a container.

josteink 2 days ago 2 replies      
I see a lot of comments here about Mac & Ubuntu. I run Ubuntu myself, so no disrespect intended.

That said: If we all do and make everyone else do as we say, replace Windows with Ubuntu & Mac, guess what happens next? The next shitwave of shitware will come to our favourite platforms, and they will find new exploits and new creative ways to fuck us over too.

This is a social problem and technology alone wont solve it. Either users must be taught to avoid things like this (flying pigs be damned) or it must be banned by law. Law which unfortunately knows geographical limits and universal lack of uniformity & coherence.

What's the general opinion on that? I'm obviously all for banning crapware, but lets say the majority was for banning it, and we found a solution for the "global" laws thing... How would you define it, where would you draw the line for what is just poor software and what is actively harmful?

What about remote-control/support-tools? Obviously they can be used for good, but in the wrong hands they can be used for espionage and surveillance and ransomware.

I suspect such a ban would cause quite some debate, even among techies.

austinz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Even the Windows Java client installer tries to get you to install the Ask toolbar (or at least it did; I haven't seen an update recently). I imagine it must be quite lucrative for Oracle; either that, they stopped caring about Java's reputation as a user-facing technology for web content or desktop applications, or users just don't notice these things.
Animats 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's a major indictment of CNET. They're in the crapware/adware/spyware business. Some of the crapware downloaded even bears their logo.

The two programs frantically fighting over the browser home page was amusing.

ptaffs 2 days ago 1 reply      
This timely article appears the weekend I erase & install OSX having clicked the wrong download button on CyberDuck. The Google DoubleClick banner is prominent on the page, the actual software download is "below the fold". I should know better, but I clicked the big green "Download Now" next to the big Yellow duck, and underneath the same-Green Donate button. I ended-up downloading something wrapped in Genieo's InstallMac software, nothing to do with CyberDuck, who I wouldn't even mention except the banner is so prominent on the page. I also, dumbly, entered my admin credentials before aborting the install when it started downloading more components. Within seconds my search engine on all browsers was changed, start-page reset and other configuration including a process left running.

The installed files and modified files were not easy to find, apple provide good help but it's hard to trust the computer once it's executed malicious deceptive code with root privilege.

Clearly this was all my own fault and poor decision making.

rbanffy 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is why I moved my mom to a Mac and then to Ubuntu in, IIRC, 2007. The last time I had to clean up her Windows machine, everything was so completely contaminated with all kinds of malware that I simply gave up. I backed up her most important data (customer data, proposals), cleaned it thoroughly (Office documents can be infected - thank you, Microsoft) and just moved her to a Mac I no longer used. When she started complaining the Mac was slow (it was no longer up to the task of running a modern browser with Gmail in it) I moved her to an IBM desktop with Ubuntu she uses to this day.

She even updates the machine herself through the package manager GUI.

And she's 79.

benbristow 2 days ago 2 replies      
Unchecky is a useful defense against this. Uses about a megabyte of RAM and runs in the background, blocking most offers.


Install it on all computers that I get given being the family/friends 'IT guy'.

robobro 2 days ago 2 replies      
Free software vendors make so much more money by bundling other software than they do by selling subscriptions that its pretty much the only business plan that anybody can consider using. At least Avast is bundling something good, so we cant really argue with it.

Because when the product is free the real product is YOU.

His use of the term "free software" kinda bugs me here. Yes, "freeware" are harmful, but just because something doesn't cost anything doesn't make it bad. Because his article is intended for a general audience, I think he should offer links to legitimate free software vendors. Instead of going on a crusade against "free (and open source) software" he should go on one against "suspicious free (of cost) software sites".

KMplayer does have an option to add an Ask toolbar, but it doesn't have Search Protect. I really don't think that a lot of the big-name software containing trojans on Download is uploaded there by the project developers, but that's just the dreamer in me talking. On sites that let people upload executable files with little-to-no moderation, or on sites that are in and of themselves harmful, malware is unavoidable.

ksk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think in general, this is what happens when companies start failing. CNet used to be a great company, but these days people don't go quietly off into the night. Corporations hire useless MBA types who want "synergy" with the "ecosystem" and "streamlining sales process for customers" (by customers I mean the malware companies, not the website visitors) and other nonsense euphemisms that usually means "we're going to screw someone".

In a saturated s/w market it seems like the only money that's left is in places where people didn't want to go before because of the "that's kind of a dickish thing to do" self-awareness that companies used to have.

While in theory, this is not Microsoft's fault, practically I don't feel comfortable recommending Windows to any family member these days. OSX is good, but a lot of OSX crapware is starting to come with kernel extensions and Launch Daemons/Agents, etc.

jacquesm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Download.com took an executable I made, unpacked it, added a whole bunch of spyware and malware to the archive and re-packed it. I hate them with a passion.
brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
The higher level of trust I place in free software is one of the motivations for my increasing use of Linux. Even Java comes with crapware on Windows, the app store has the standard creepy more permissions than needed business model.

I remember when download.com was a resource and there was good stuff to be had for free. But bad drove out good a long time ago. The official Windows ecosystem is permalogin appStores and what lives outside the walls is a massive web of bad actors who thrive on Google's self-serving disinterest...Why do download.com and Cnet show up in results? They are less benevolent than content farms.

It's not that I hate Windows or experience viruses. It's that I've tired of being paranoid on the one hand and updated by apps on the other. Psychic weight and distraction are two things of which I want less.


Clarification: Windows has a great ecosystem for commercial software and in a business context often has the best options for solving domain specific problems.

gleenn 2 days ago 1 reply      
The article, while informative, feels like a subtle Avast advertisement. It's mentioned 16 times in the damn article, and the author even vindicates it for not preventing problems and also compares it to AVG saying its better.
mkohlmyr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had to use download.com recently. More than anything the experience solidified to me that using Windows is unpleasant. Finding and installing software is a bit like going on an episode of "the dating game" knowing that 2/3 of your bachelors keep a rag and a bottle of chloroform handy in the glove compartment.
jenscow 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is the #1 reason Windows is no longer on my kid's computers; it's too easy to install crap-ware no matter what security package you use.
bbayer 2 days ago 1 reply      
The thing is you don't actually know what these programs are doing behind the scenes. Hijacking browser home page is the most innocent thing.
Anthony-G 2 days ago 0 replies      
Soon after I got my first computer in the late 90s, I figured out that free (gratis) / shareware proprietary software cant be trusted and that I should be wary of sites such as Download.com. After a couple of years, I moved to GNU/Linux as my regular OS but Id still use Windows in a work environment and after working in an Internet cafe, I became an expert in removing malware.

Since then, the situation has got much worse: you used to be reasonably safe downloading FOSS software but nowadays you cant trust Windows binaries from Sourceforge. Even serious software producers such as Oracle have been bundling Ask.com crapware with Java updates. I feel sorry for new Windows users who want to get more functionality out of their PC.

I thought the battle of the malware to dominate the home near the end of the article was funny.

etix 2 days ago 0 replies      
The VLC team experienced the same kind of crapware in 2013 but on Sourceforge and decided to move away.


alexhektor 2 days ago 0 replies      
The irony of the article is that it gets even worse if you're not in a VM. Some adware companies try to detect that for fraud-preventing purposes.
talklittle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Relevant discussion about YC-funded "InstallMonetizer" from 2 years ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5092711
woah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can somebody tell me again about how awful web apps are? I've used hundreds of those of the most dubious provenance and they have never done anything to my os.
Maarten88 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny, at the bottom of this article there's a Google Adsense Ad for a "Free Malware Removal installer". Even their own site needs monetization and is part of the problem.

This article shows pretty well how polluted the Windows software ecosystem has become, it is a huge problem for Microsoft. I hope the Windows Store situation will improve with the next version of Windows.

JamesBaxter 2 days ago 0 replies      
When my relatives get confused by IE or Firefox I tell them just to use Chrome, partly because they ALWAYS already have copy installed due to tactics like this.
mark_l_watson 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the first time in 10 years, I just ordered a Windows 8.1 laptop (I live in a small town, I want to start teaching some free classes at our library, and thought I better also have a Windows laptop).

Someone commented on Amazon that he had to spend 2 hours removing crap-ware from the model I ordered and said he wished he would have bought directly from Microsoft. I looked, and Microsoft sells the same laptops with "signature" branding: this means that they sell you a crap-ware free system. So, I stopped the Amazon order and for the same money bought from Microsoft. I intend to only install Java 8, IntelliJ, git, ssh, and probably Pharo Smalltalk when I receive my new laptop.

A little off topic, but a few weeks ago I wiped my MacBook Air clean by reformatting the disk, did a fresh install, and just installed what I need for writing and development work. Now my MacBook Air runs faster and I recovered a lot of disk space.

accounthere 2 days ago 0 replies      
With so many Windows users and developers how come there is nothing like Debian's apt? With zip-like packages instead of executable files, signed by the maintainers and with a uniform installation ui. The closest thing I know is Chocolatey and it doesn't even comes close.

Even if only open source applications used it, it would be so useful.

xroche 2 days ago 1 reply      
And sometimes the crapware is bundled with legit free/open-source softwares :( (I ranted about that some time ago: http://blog.httrack.com/blog/2013/11/24/i-do-not-want-your-s...)
ZoFreX 2 days ago 2 replies      
> And no matter how technical you might be, most of the installers are so confusing that theres no way a non-geek could figure out how to avoid the awful.

Or even a geek who is in a hurry. I came very close to accidentally installing crapware when I was downloading things from Sourceforge the other day. It's no wonder regular end-users end up with all this crap.

cturhan 2 days ago 3 replies      
I really wonder why people prefer some other websites to download the product instead of its own website. When you type "ccleaner", "kmplayer" etc on google, the first one is always the product website. The second and third ones are the websites distributing product with adware/spywares.
paule89 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could remove all of this malware with Malwarebytes Anti Malware. Buz still had zo reset the proxy settings, because they had been changed. The change was also removed but i had to unclick a checkbox so it doesn't use a proxy anymore. It is so frustrating. I don't know if Windows can sustain it's software model like this. It is just unbearable. Ninite and chocolatey would be great solutions i think.
Aoyagi 2 days ago 0 replies      
The moral of the story is that average users shouldn't use or have access to the administrator account, but that's nothing new, is it?

Oh, and that words like "client", "program", or "utility" are dead. Too bad. I'm surprised they don't call malware "malapp".

jmilloy 2 days ago 2 replies      
I agree that there is a lot of useless software, malware, and annoying bundling on download.com and in the Windows software ecosystem at large.

But seriously, it's not hard to avoid installing a lot of bundled software. I'd be more interested in what happens when you install the Top Download.com Apps without the obviously bundled crap. And I'm certainly not interested in hearing complaints about what the programs do (it's just distracting), considering that you picked them arbitrarily and some of them seem to be doing exactly what they say they will do.

If we're going to bash a software ecosystem, let's at least try to do it intelligently.

ikeboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Driver booster happens to be very useful for what it does. It's the only driver updater that ever worked for me.

Most are useless, and try to charge money, but not Driver Booster. (And you can find a pro key for free if you look around, but even non pro is still pretty good.)

And that stuff in the linked article about drivers updating from Windows Update: many driver updates take a long time to make it there, if at all. I've seen many times that a driver has an update from the manufacturer but it doesn't update automatically.

apetrovic 2 days ago 9 replies      
Microsoft dropped the ball with lack of App Store. With all app store's drawbacks, that's the place where regular user can pay easily without thinking will someone steal his/her credit car number, the place where applications should be harmless, and the place where (and this is important) the user can compare prices between similar applications.

Windows doesn't have the app store. And nobody (read: very, very small percentage) is willing to type the credit car number on some unknown site to pay for some utility. So shareware died, and shareware authors went to the dark side.

rndn 2 days ago 0 replies      
That makes me wonder why anti virus software does not have crapware detection. That would actually be a good task for them.
grandalf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading this makes me well up with empathy for the unfortunate person who installs one of these bundles.

Sites like download.com are fraud sites, which install programs that are essentially viruses. I'm surprised Google doesn't crack down more heavily on them the way it does on warez sites.

Kiro 2 days ago 2 replies      
How can these be legal?
kbenson 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would be fairly humorous if the #1 download.com app, Avast, then proceeded to block every other download.com link (instead of just a few of them, which in itself is funny).
gesman 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Did anyone else noticed how quickly this story was buried off the first page of HN?


z3t4 1 day ago 0 replies      
Selling to private persons is a bureaucratic nightmare in EU! If you managed to market your app and managed to get paid, you now have to be registered for VAT in the country you are selling to. And there are tons of rules like 10 day money back return that are enforced by law in most countries.

If you serve adds (or crapware) instead, you get a monthly paycheck witch require minimal accounting work or customer support.

jtn_001 2 days ago 0 replies      
They are doing it for years now especially after 2009 or something, before that download.com is not so much awful as nowadays.
kristofferR 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unchecky ( http://unchecky.com ) should be auto-installed by Windows.
biomimic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who still installs those standalones?
Siecje 2 days ago 0 replies      
ninite.com does bundle anything with another application.
SimplyUseless 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just plain nightmare
biomimic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't Talk to Corp Dev
671 points by _pius  2 days ago   200 comments top 35
leroy_masochist 2 days ago 3 replies      
I used to be an investment banker and dealt with corp dev guys (gendered pronoun used intentionally and accurately) all the time. PG's article is spot-on.

One additional thing to note is that the diligence process can be an intelligence-gathering bonanza for a larger acquiror. The information they glean can be either harmless to you (data points on employee shares/salaries allows them to build knowledge of early-stage compensation, which is very useful when poaching engineers from other companies) or harmful to you (they see your private information and act on it in a way that damages your business).

For what it's worth, I would advise people approached by Corp Dev types to not only say no as PG suggested, but do so in 10 words or less. The email response should be "No, not interested. Sorry" -- no greeting, no pleasantries, no signature. You won't hurt their feelings and a longer email is just an invitation to them to start a conversation that is going to suck up your time and energy.

If you are interested I would demand a break-up fee as others here have noted, as well as an aggressively worded NDA and a non-hire agreement that stops them from poaching your employees.

Finally, I would also consider the effects that knowledge of an explored-but-abandoned acquisition would have on your employees' motivation if they found out. Generally not good for culture and/or long-term goal orientation.

LargeCompanies 2 days ago 5 replies      
Love to tell my horror story re: my experience dealing with a Fortune 50 company. Under a NDA til May.

We are an east coast start-up and two months into creating our tech/product a large entity in the valley found out about us. This big name invited us out and talked about buying us. Well we have zero strong connections to such people like Paul Graham, but we did reach out to our network. They said, "I don't know if you should go or not, we've never had a billion dollar company like that make such an offer."

I wish I had found this post before wasting 4k on a trip and filing a provisional patent. We're a bootstrapped start-up.

Well when we flew out/got there to demo, this Goliath treated David like crap on a shoe. They invited us to demo, but when we went to demo at their offices in the valley they were blocking our tech from working(worked perfectly throughout every place we tested in the Valley including outside their building). Then they baited us with, "We'd like to work with you, please tell us how you achieved this technological feat." We took the bait and told them our trade secret. They soon left our meeting, then came back and promptly kicked us out! Right before leaving/being shown the door, one of these not so nice big wigs from X company said, "The race is on, better hurry!"

Ok, there was no guarantee of you buying us. We were cool with that. We weren't cool with being treated like crap on shoe and then stepped on and disrespected! It's hard to fathom that X company treats the little innovator guy as they did us.

Is this the normal?

nkozyra 2 days ago 1 reply      
As neophyte founders, my partner and I talked to Corp Dev of two top 8 tech companies. In retrospect, I don't think either had any intention of acquisition despite spending months at a time with us.

We shouldn't have talked to them, but as I said, we didn't know what we were doing. One of them basically had us reverse engineer our stuff through demos for six months and then abruptly ended contact. We heard through the grapevine they had decided to develop their own version, which came to fruition. The takeaway is they probably did this with a few of our competitors and simply took the good stuff. A lot of awful, sleepless nights working with their tech team under the misguided impression we'd see a nice exit.

The next one came not six months later, another one of the big (although aging) ones. As part of the dating process they gave us free access to a bunch of their APIs but nothing else happened or happened incredibly slowly. The takeaway there is they weren't serious, they just wanted to keep us on the hook.

When we talked with VCs later (yes, later), they laughed at our navet and offered essentially the same advice - don't do it. Don't do it unless someone is talking numbers, very, VERY soon after the MNDA.

gaius 2 days ago 6 replies      
Remember a VC doesn't want a company to have a 10% chance at a million dollars, they want a 1% chance of a billion, because that's how it works.

But if you are a founder, a million dollars is probably the best deal for you, and your people, and you should grab it with both hands. Numbers made up but you get the idea.

mark-r 2 days ago 4 replies      
I once worked for a company that was acquired - the founder wanted to cash in on his success and retire early. In the first all-company meeting after the closing, the CEO gloated over how cheaply he was able to get us. That was really grating.

The advice about watching for unsavory tactics is spot on.

chollida1 2 days ago 5 replies      
> Corporate Development, aka corp dev, is the group within companies that buys other companies. If you're talking to someone from corp dev, that's why, whether you realize it yet or not.

Can someone piece this together?

> I remember once complaining to a friend at Google about some nasty trick their corp dev people had pulled on a YC startup. "What happened to Don't be Evil?" I asked. "I don't think corp dev got the memo," he replied. [3]

Hey, Paul Graham not afraid to call out Google! Good for him.

holograham 2 days ago 1 reply      
I used to work in corp dev at a big tech company (not a typical silicon valley). This is pretty much spot on by Paul Graham per usual. I was typically the one doing the initial contact with companies (as a junior analyst on the team). I always found it interesting how many HUGE replies I got back from startups. I rarely ever saw a company take PG's advice and say not interested. Companies that were over-zealous were definitely thought less of while companies that played a more aloof game were chased.

Also I can say first hand all of the shady deal playing is absolutely true. The members of the due-diligence team and even the corp dev director you are dealing with are NOT the final decision makers. We are building an internal package that makes it appealing to the corp dev VPs/CFO to bless (and take to the CEO to bless sometimes). It's several layers of vetting and it's just as tedious and bureaucratic as it sounds.

I will say that the due diligence team typically will want the deal to be successful. No one wants to put in all that work to not buy a company. Corp Dev's job is to buy companies so having deals reach the 11th hour and fall through is NOT good. They pride themselves on stats like companies evaluated/year (wide funnel) and having a small fraction actually go to due diligence and the buying process. At the end of the day though, they want to buy businesses.

noonespecial 2 days ago 1 reply      
Acquirers can be surprisingly indecisive about acquisitions, and their flakiness is indistinguishable from dishonesty

There's some hidden gold right there. Non-malicious business as usual can be just as damaging to you as if they had actively tried to screw you over. Expect it and don't become angry or take it personally.

ph0rque 2 days ago 4 replies      
Imagine what it would do to you if at mile 20 of a marathon, someone ran up beside you and said "You must feel really tired. Would you like to stop and take a rest?"

I wonder if PG knows about The Wall that occurs at ~mile 20 in a marathon, or if it was a lucky coincidence? http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/runnin...

peterjancelis 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the more important advice is: If you do talk to corp dev, insist on a breakup fee upfront, payable if no minimum price has been offered:

"We can talk but I am looking for at least $xxx million and will need $xxxK / $x million if you walk away during or after due diligence, to compensate for my time."

It's only without a breakup fee that Corp Dev can smoke you out...

ilamont 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great to have some examples.

I was also wondering about how the acquihire scenario typically works out. Is it corporate development, or some other business unit making contact?

kika 2 days ago 0 replies      
Happened to me. I didn't sell the company in the end (mtg meltdown, tech acquisition department got dismissed altogether, etc) and the company never recovered from me taking the "rest". Wasted 3 years of my life and $250K of angel money. Guilty as fuck.
api 2 days ago 5 replies      
Great essay. I'm at an earlier stage than PG's target audience for this -- still bootstrapping but experiencing 20-30% month/month growth and getting ready to go that next step (probably seed).

At this stage I've gotten what after reading this essay sounds like the baby brother of this: the oddly aggressive hire attempt. These companies have been not necessarily direct competitors but people in related spaces who might want to add what I'm doing to their tech portfolio or use its techniques in their products.

The interactions have been quite different from any other "job interview" I've ever had. I've said no three times so far to some version of: "your project is awesome," followed by some interesting discussion, followed by a hiring offer. The hiring offers have been decent but not outstanding, and they've included nothing for the project -- no "acquisition" to go with the hire. When I bring this up, the response is that my baby isn't "worth very much on its own," etc. In one case the response was oddly condescending even in its wording, which was discouraging until I went and read all the users raving about my stuff and then looked at my rather nice looking metrics again. In another case it was explained to me that while my product was interesting, I obviously wasn't... "business" enough? That's not how they put it but that was kind of the implication. I interpreted it as "you're not coming off as alpha male enough to run a business" or some version of that.

In retrospect I saw these as negotiating tactics to shake my confidence in moving forward myself. These folks are trying to get me plus a lot (3 years) of code, users, and momentum without actually paying anything for the latter two things. Looks a lot like the kind of hardball PG is talking about-- I assume "corp dev" offers come in when you're at a bit of a later stage.

Now I've got another one in the pipeline. I've decided the best way to deal with them is to go ahead and chat but otherwise to change nothing about what I am doing, to not spend much time on them, and to constantly remind myself that I am the one interviewing them and deciding whether to accept their offer. At this point given the metrics I'm seeing, the offer would have to be very good.

I'd say that the advice in this essay is probably good advice. If you do have the internal discipline/experience to put these sorts of things in a "maybe but probably not" folder, it might not hurt to chat about it with them, but if you have any doubt or if you're too busy just say no and move on. If my current discussion turns out like the previous ones I will probably do the same moving forward.

grellas 2 days ago 2 replies      
Founders build value and then want to realize upon that value. But the typical road to success in the startup world is far from easy. Therefore, founders are vulnerable to manipulation and one of their softest spots is precisely the time when they think BigCo wants to acquire them.

I can't tell you how many times in these cases founders have caved to lowball offers with horrid terms once they have gone multiple cycles with the prospective acquiring company. How does this happen? They ask for what they think they deserve and they get an offer far below that. Having concentrated their efforts on a possible exit, they sound out other channels and find there is no immediate interest. They are then high-pressured by the prospective acquirer to do the deal on a short fuse or the offer will go away. They then begin to contemplate the risks of continuing down the path of uncertainty and begin to contrast this with how nice it will be to continue the effort under the rubric of BigCo, where they will draw a steady salary and no longer have to deal with entrepreneurial risks.

By this time, they are hooked. Then the details come in. It turns out that, low as that $10M (or whatever amount) was, they as founders will have to earn all or a significant part of it all over again by having to vest their interest over xx years once they begin working with BigCo. Do they have protection from termination and the possible forfeiture of their interest? Well, no, not really - company policy forbids this. So, if they want the deal, they will just have to take their chances and, if BigCo terminates them early, that is just the risk they take.

What about elimination of risks? Well, here they must represent and warrant that certain things are true as of the date of closing on the acquisition. For example, they must warrant that their IP doesn't infringe. OK, fine. But what does this mean? In a typical blanket warranty, it means that, if you sell your company and you know you haven't done anything whatever to steal code or otherwise compromise its integrity, you still bear all the risk of financial liability if someone later comes along and asserts, say, a patent infringement claim against your IP. With a multitude of trolls infesting the world these days, this is of course possible. What does BigCo say about this? It puts on its official corporate suit and weightily intones that it expects founders to stand behind their IP and will not allow them to hedge responsibility for it. Therefore, it doesn't matter that you didn't know about the potential infringement claim - if it hits, you pay the price for any liabilities and for any attorneys' fees in defending against it. Is there a cap on this? Well, maybe, but at a high level (e.g., 50% of proceeds received on the deal). As a founder, you wind up agreeing to this once you are committed to the deal because, after all, it is not likely to happen. But as to uncertainty and risk? Well, that still belongs to you on some pretty important issues.

And this is just one issue.

The point is this: once you as a founder start to rationalize, there is no bottom. You have rationalized that you can live with the low price. You have accepted the liability risk. You have accepted the renewed vesting terms without protections. Maybe you also agree to an outsized holdback on the purchase price. And who knows what else. The point is, by this time you are fried. You have no will to fight back. You have no leverage. You are stuck with the wishful thought that it will nonetheless be great to be working for BigCo and to have a chance to continue to realize your dream, even if it does involve some serious compromises.

I have witnessed this sort of thing for years and it always comes about when founders deal with professional acquisition teams from a perspective of relative weakness. They suck you in and then you need to fight like hell to get back into a mindset where you can tell them to take a hike. Most founders in this position just can't do it. That is certainly my experience.

This essay by PG captures the perils of this process in a way that is spot on and extremely valuable as a warning to founders who might succumb to temptation. Be warned. It is exactly as PG says. A truly important essay for all founders.

djb_hackernews 2 days ago 6 replies      
I think anyones answer to "Do I want to sell my company right now?" is mostly going to be "It depends, what's the offer?"

There are of course circumstances where people absolutely do not want to sell their company, but for the rest of us... it depends.

marcamillion 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think one of the more interesting aspects to this is how much PG has followed his own advice with YC. i.e. he made something people (founders) wanted with YC.

That allowed him to craft the entire experience around what is good for founders which worked out to be great for others (including investors and acquirers).

So much so that this advice he is giving, I am sure many other investors have wanted to give publicly before - but they don't want to piss off people who can provide an exit for their portfolio. The whole fiduciary responsibility thing.

But YC companies are encouraged to think of things quite differently - so much so that even if someone as might as Google (who PG pointed out) thumbed it's nose at YC companies to spite PG....they would be much worse off, because of the quality of companies coming out of YC.

That is the power of seeing "make something people want" to it's natural, logical conclusion.

Being able to say and do what you want, to force behaviour change in an industry to benefit your organization and your goals.

This is also why PG is so well respected by those of us on the outside looking in, is because we see the sheer audacity of him giving blunt advice, about specific tactics that only benefit founders. Even if it may hurt him temporarily.

Thanks again for constantly doing this PG. We appreciate it.

danielweber 2 days ago 3 replies      
Earnest: Aren't there other things that corp-dev does, like arrange strategic partnerships and reseller agreements, that can be very valuable for a business?

(My personal experience is that these partnerships never live up to their hype, but my feeling is that one time out of a hundred they give the company a huge boost.)

cpncrunch 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think if anyone pulls the "my boss won't do the deal for the price we've already agreed on" I'd just tell them to politely fuck off. If they really want to buy you, they'll pay the agreed price. Or you might decide you don't want to do business with immoral fuckers :)

Although given that this was google, I would probably just contact one of the higher-ups and tell them "I'm still interested in discussion the acquisition, but I was screwed around by your corp dev guy".

lazyjones 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article is a useful warning. We got talked into a DD with a large german telecom (by our VC who owned 50% back then!) less than 2 years after we started. They looked at our contracts, our internal documentation, asked strange questions and never talked to us in a direct manner. No acquisition happened, they didn't even bother to talk to us afterwards. We felt violated, unappreciated, insufficient. It took 10 years until we were willing to talk about an acquisition again - and only with someone who we knew was a perfect fit due to corporate culture and standing in the industry.

I can imagine that corp dev people know very well that founders who are willing to talk to their kind frequently in a short time must be desperate or greedy and not very passionate about their company.

AndrewKemendo 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you think investors can behave badly, it's nothing compared to what corp dev people can do.

I didn't think it could get worse. Jesus, what is going on with this system?

ig1 2 days ago 0 replies      
A couple of things this doesn't address:

1) Corp dev can also do strategic investment; you probably don't want this at an early stage but can be worth considering at a later stage.

2) Corp dev teams don't magically know that they want to acquire you, assuming they're not connecting to you via an existing investor (in which case they probably have some inside knowledge on you already), they may well just be at the stage of trying to figure out what you actually do and how you fit into the ecosystem. So it might be worth having a conversation but not necessarily giving away any secrets,

3) Acquisitions are like investments, having a warm relationship helps. But they can be time-sinks and you have to judge how much time you want to invest when you're not actively seeking.

robot 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been in this position once and the biggest lesson I had for myself was to aim for profitability and self-support in the company from the start. When you do that you have a much stronger position. One could replace profitability here with lots of user growth + VC money.
orph 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something not mentioned but which is very important is the price anchoring that happens once you get a serious figure out of corpdev.

Future talks will be anchored on the initial figure regardless of your success in the meantime.

golemotron 2 days ago 0 replies      
> And that is the most innocent of their tactics. Just wait till you've agreed on a price and think you have a done deal, and then they come back and say their boss has vetoed the deal and won't do it for more than half the agreed upon price.

Ex-car salesmen?

rocky1138 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder which company it was who recently, mistakenly, spoke to a corp dev, and inspired Mr. Graham to write this!
clairity 2 days ago 1 reply      
i appreciate this as a first approximation of what a founder should do, but it presumes some specific clarity that is somewhat rare (which i'd guess even pg would concede). for example, sometimes you don't know that the person contacting you is corp dev, sometimes founders differ on when they should sell, and sometimes you may have differing feelings from day to day.

in my limited experience, these kinds of discussions usually end in email. they likely wouldn't give you a number, but would it hurt to ask for an offer to see if they're serious before taking a meeting? the "we're focused on growing" answer can always be thrown out to end the discussion if it's not solidly serious.

hnriot 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems to be written very much from the perspective of a VC backer and not the company itself. There are lots of reasons to sell a company, many are ignored by this blog article which does little more than make the M&A guys look like a bunch of used car salespeople. Having been on both sides of the arrangement, getting acquired (twice) both times by Fortune 50 tech companies, and then buying companies I really haven't seen the robber-baron tactics. Obviously every M&W guy worth his salary will try to get the best deal for his company and any CEO getting bought out should have the experience to know the way deals go down. If you're worth X to one Fortune 500, odds are you're worth that to another, meaning the acquiring company has leverage to walk away. This either helps set the price, or the price was artificially inflated in the first place.

There are a lot of very naive startup CEOs out there, that's the real problem, from the Fortune 500 side of the table it's like babysitting most of the time.

programminggeek 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is good advice, especially considered that corp dev could also be seen as a kind of corporate espionage program.
rokhayakebe 2 days ago 0 replies      
YC should have someone in staff to handle these requests. For others there should be a company that exists for the sole purpose of handling these types of conversations, letting you focus on your product while they do the do.

If a buying founder has their biz dev, corp dev, contact a founder then it is safe for the receiving founder to forward that request to his corp dev, inside or outside their company.

rpwverheij 1 day ago 0 replies      
thank you pg
7Figures2Commas 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can talking to corporate development be a huge distraction? Sure. But talking to investors can be a huge distraction as well, and a lot of the things that PG writes about corporate development folks are true of investors. Is PG next going to suggest that startups avoid the Sand Hill Road dog and pony show? I don't think so.

Broadly-speaking, investors today are overvauling startups. Seven figure valuations and ridiculous convertible deals are being handed out like candy to early-stage companies with way more potential than proof. It's a hot market and investors want dealflow, so they're not quibbling. There's also a greater fool dynamic at play.

This in turn leads founders to believe that their companies are worth more than they really are. In many cases, the "surprisingly low" acquisition offers these companies might receive are only "surprisingly low" when viewed through the lens of the angel and VC environment. On their own, they might be quite reasonable.

The big challenge for founders is that a high valuation can be a friend made enemy. It's great to raise a bunch of cash on favorable terms, but lots of companies will eventually fail to live up to their valuations. Once your valuation reaches a certain point and the structure of investments is more complex (liquidity preferences, etc.), founders can easily find themselves in a no-win situation even with a moderately successful business.

As they say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This post seems intended to get founders to forget this.

joegosse 2 days ago 2 replies      
Some companies also call this role "Business Development" or "Biz Dev"
porter 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is that most founders would sell for the right price. Everyone's got a price. How do you know what someone will offer you if you don't engage in these conversations?
ajkjk 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's not strictly grammatically correct but it's definitely a way people would phrase this in speech.

"Why are you talking to someone from corp dev?""That is why.""What is why?""They are the group within companies that buys other companies."

balls187 2 days ago 0 replies      
> ...otherwise comparatively upstanding world of Silicon Valley.

Ask women what they think of this statement.

ETA: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-13/code-of-silicon-val...

Man saves wifes sight by 3D printing her brain tumor
657 points by zaaaaz  1 day ago   125 comments top 21
jpmattia 1 day ago 6 replies      
> Balzer used Photoshop to layer the new DICOM files on top of the old images, and realized that the tumor hadnt grown at all the radiologist had just measured from a different point on the image.

Think about the some of the implications of that statement for a while.

It really is no wonder that the softer sciences have a reproducibility problem.

Shinkei 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Wow... I really hope I didn't get to this thread too late that this just gets buried.

This is a classic example of hyperbolic reporting to try and show physicians as some kind of incompetent lot whereas this 'guy working in his basement with passion and talent' figured out how to hack the entire field of Medicine.

The fact is, nearly all Meningiomas are treated this way because they are overwhelmingly benign and the surgery to remove them is not. If the woman had lost her sight getting this surgery, then our Monday morning quarterbacking would've been entirely different... or not even reported. Also, surgeons in general SHOULD NOT improvise new techniques unless it's specifically warranted because their skill is in their muscle memory and if you upset what would otherwise be a routine craniotomy and turn it into something experimental, you are risking the chance of running into an unexpected complication.

Granted, Radiology can be imprecise at measuring progression of tumors but this is mostly because of inter-observer reliability, sampling errors, etc. that could easily be mitigated by a software-side solution. In fact, there's a lot of research into measuring lung tumors this way. However, issues related to the FDA needing to approve all the diagnostic technology involved are why these are not implemented more quickly--some nifty program to measure the volume of a tumor would probably be against the law to use in a diagnostic setting (IANAL though, I am a physician).

Edit: Another case in point, there is a great technique of placing a new Aortic (heart) valve in place using a catheter from a small puncture in an artery in the leg. This technique (seemingly paradoxically) has a GREATER risk of morbidity to the patient than the open heart surgery approach. There are many hypothesized reasons for this, but it is also a fact that the surgeons are simply better trained in the older open technique and its complications.

mcmancini 1 day ago 5 replies      
I coauthored a paper a few years ago on the intra-observer variability of measurements of brain tumors when using the bidimensional product. An increase of 25% in the BP is taken as an indicator of brain tumor progression. We found that the intra-observer variability is so high, you can get that 25% increase purely by chance. The first recommendation of the medical team, to wait and see, is understandable.
makmanalp 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is an amazing story - and pretty much my worst nightmare. Not necessarily cancer itself, but the feeling and anxiety that you're not being treated and taken care of properly and that someone might be missing something. That doctors are (rightfully) unable to pay proper attention to everyone and everything just due to the sheer number of patients they must see. I know I'm prone to hypochondria, and it doesn't help to read things like this.

I can't wait for a world where we can constantly monitor the body easily, and abnormalities can be detected quickly and unequivocally, and even have software that can aid doctors in diagnosing.

I've read articles where doctors approach such ideas with skepticism, saying that more data isn't necessarily better, which surprises me very much. How can you look at two data points on a curve and guess what the curve looks like?

Anyone else feel similarly?


edit: I see false positives and the cost of dealing with them brought up often in the replies - I think this is an issue exactly /because/ we suck so much at diagnosis.

The argument that what you see may be wrong, therefore you must close your eyes just blows my mind. So you'd rather base timely detection of true positives on random chance?

Maybe if we saw these false positives much more often then we could observe the false positives properly and know how to identify them and improve diagnostics. Or maybe we'd be able to know better when intervening would be more harmful than not intervening. That an intervention would be harmful should not affect the choice to monitor.

And then there is also the issue of the diagnosis itself being potentially harmful (full-body CTs etc) which is equally terrifying and even more conflicting. We can also improve there too.

In any case, this was supposed to be more about the nondiagnosis anxiety, but I'm not unhappy with where this discussion went.

jepper 1 day ago 2 replies      
Interesting article, glad the operation was successful.

The most interesting part of the article is not the advance in technology (nothing new, we've been using 3d prints as models for complicated fractures / bone tumours or even custom prostheses for years (academic centre)) but the low use rate of this technology by most hospitals.

The trick with overlaying follow-up scans is called image fusion and is easy and can be done by one-click applications (for example http://www.blackfordanalysis.com/) but outside of lung noduli i know of little clinical use. I've seen these types of mistake made before and trying to introduce it locally. Image fusion is also an awesome surgical procedure analysis tool (both for research and clinical applications), complimentary to the standard PA examination.

The patient education part is enormously helpful in practice. Cost per patient is however still high quite high for large models. For example a cardiac tumor model was printed with transparent plastic for around 500e. Our bone models luckily are a lot cheaper (non-clear plastic). When the price comes down i hope acceptance will improve.

cafebeen 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Great story--I think one thing to highlight is 3D Slicer (the publicly-funded open source medical imaging tool used for all this):


More doctors should be using tools like this. Hopefully stories like this will help to overcome the inertia in adoption.

swederik 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like I should probably use this thread to plug my startup. We are building a web interface for simple 3D modeling from CT and MRI data (https://www.prevuemedical.com/).

Medical modeling software (e.g. Mimics by Materialise, Slicer) is mainly built for biomedical engineers, rather than radiologists. Our goal is to be Tinkercad to their Autocad. 3D Systems also offers Bespoke Modelling (http://www.3dsystems.com/ja/solutions/services/bespoke-model...) but their emphasis is on visually appealing color models rather than accurate tissue segmentation and anatomical reproduction.

We're really at a turning point for physical reproductions of anatomy. One-off cases are turning up all over the world for various surgical planning/training cases but it's not quite clear whether or not they improve outcomes. Some labs and hospitals are doing good work but we need large patient trials to see if physical models actually help reduce operating room time or recovery time. With positive findings hopefully we will see dedicated insurance reimbursements for surgical planning models. Maxillofacial applications are way ahead in this sense.

One thing that's interesting is that the FDA considers 3D printed anatomical models similar to hard copies of X-rays, and so they are not specifically regulated yet. I expect the regulations to become more onerous, though.

Gatsky 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't be sure from just a photo, but the I suggest that the procedure wasn't completely without side effects. Her left eye is not symmetrical with the right, and the left eyebrow is elevated. This could represent some degree of peri-orbital muscle dysfunction due to the procedure damaging the nerves that supply those muscles. This could improve with time, not sure how long after the surgery this photo was taken. Even if it doesn't, you could say it is a minor side effect compared to losing your vision, but as Shinkei and others have pointed out, it isn't clear whether the vision was really in danger. Takes some of the shine off I suppose...
Gurkenmaster 1 day ago 3 replies      
This makes me doubt the reliability of cancer diagnosis:

>They were understandably terrified, but neurologists who read the radiology report seemed unconcerned, explaining that such masses were common among women, and suggested Scott have it checked again in a year.

Yet at the end of the article they say

>if she had waited six months, she would have had severe, and possibly permanent, degradation of her sight.

graeham 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a cool application, but 3D reconstruction of DICOM images isn't that new. For example, there is the Mimics commercial package that is on version 17, and similar things are actually quite commonly used by radiologists. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimics)

Patient-specific surgery, and computer analysis in diagnosis and treatment is going to be very big (I'm betting four years of my life in doing a PhD in the field). Its always interesting when there is patient or family led efforts in the field, but this kind of thing was cutting edge in research probably 10-15 years ago (I 3D printed aortic aneurysms as an undergrad in ~2009 for a surgery planning project, and it wasn't a new thing then - example http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s100160010054).

Its curious then why 3D printing for surgery planning hasn't become the standard-of-care yet. My instinct is that we'll see more improvements to 3D rendering, planning, and simulation on the computer, but a physical model is not that additionally helpful to surgeons for most cases. Especially considering increased cost and time compared to a computer model.

jeffbarr 22 hours ago 1 reply      
My recommendation: If you ever have a CT scan, ask the imaging facility for a copy of the data. Make an archival backup for posterity and then download some free tools and spend some time exploring and learning about your own body.

The DICOM format is widespread and you can find plenty of tools with a quick search.

gadders 1 day ago 0 replies      
In a similar vein, the chap in this article 3d printed his kidney stone to help surgeons:


Ironically, he passed out due to the pain from his kidney stone when presenting to surgeons on the benefits of 3d printing.

mililani 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering. Does anyone know if the tumor was cancerous or benign? They say that a lot of women have this, so I'm thinking it's benign like an adenoma, but in which further growth can cause later complications.
Flott 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow. Amazing story. Moral of the story : If you can, ask for a second opinion!
iwince 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's reassuring of the human condition that these two stick with it through thick and thin. Charting a course to success even when the medical expert(s) said otherwise.
_almosnow 1 day ago 2 replies      
What's alarming is that a guy in his spare time can come up with a better diagnose than a 'certified professional'...
paulrademacher 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Redundant/distributed/crowd-sourced diagnoses? Instead of a single radiologist, fan it out to many.
harisamin 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is truly amazing. Someone needs to fund this guy :)
ck2 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been skeptical about 3d printing's real uses and how it might be toy but this sold me.

Great solution and ending. Hope it helps others too.

pluma 20 hours ago 1 reply      
"Person saves spouse's x" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?
stefantalpalaru 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Alternate title: Man encourages his wife to go through unnecessary surgery for a benign and symptomless meningioma after she had an unnecessarily complicated thyroid removal in order to avoid a 4cm scar on her neck. Oh, he also made a shitty 3D model of her skull in the process.
Io.js 1.0.0
625 points by elisee  1 day ago   179 comments top 42
duncanawoods 1 day ago 2 replies      
In their words, io.js is "A spork of Node.js with an open governance model".

Hmm. Lets hope the spork gets spooned so that no projects get knifed. If not then I guess we have to hope for a knork so we don't get stuck with a couple of chopsticks.


Forking : Creating a fork to intentionally diverge from main-line development.

Spooning : Merging a fork back into the main line of a project

Sporking : Creating a fork that you would really like to become the next main-line version but you kinda have to prove its awesome first (sporks are pretty awesome)

Knifing : Action killing a project, abandon hope :(

Knorking : A fork replaces the original project which dies off i.e. a fork knifes the original

Chopsticking : Two forks vie for popularity splitting the community and becoming lone chopsticks. Chopsticks need to work together to make stuff happen!

quaunaut 1 day ago 6 replies      
...Okay, normally I roll my eyes at people asking "What does this do" but Christ this is ridiculous.

From the FAQ:

> What is io.js?

> io.js is a JavaScript platform that is compatable with Node.js & npm.

What does that even mean?

Edit: Thanks for those answering. I started figuring out what it was, but sometimes folks really need to learn that "A correct definition" is not the same as "a useful definition". However, if it's as cool as described, definitely might give it a shot.

Edit2: Is this expected to be as stable as Node.js consistently? And how solid is the upgrade path- is it going to be a pain upgrading between versions the way Node used to be, or is there a smoother upgrade process? I guess what I'm wondering is, do I get any benefit from using this right now, or would it be smart to still wait for whatever version they consider release quality?

elisee 1 day ago 0 replies      
(Huge) changelog from the latest stable Node version v0.10.35, including all changes from unstable v0.11: https://github.com/iojs/io.js/blob/v1.x/CHANGELOG.md

Also of interest, the state of ES6 in io.js: https://github.com/seegno/io.js/wiki/The-state-of-ES6-on-io..... Highlights: 'let', generators, promises, template literals, symbols are all enabled by default. EDIT: just realized this wiki page has been updated and integrated into the website at https://iojs.org/es6.html

aasarava 1 day ago 2 replies      
Tip to anyone rolling out a library and wanting others to start using it: It'd be helpful if the home page or the FAQ explained what io.js actually does and why a developer might want to explore it further. "Bringing ES6" is only helpful if you know what ES6 is and have already decided it's something you need. Likewise, the FAQ simply says io.js is compatible with Node.js and npm, but that doesn't give you much to work with. Can someone who knows the project explain the benefits?
_greim_ 1 day ago 5 replies      
I suspect there will be a split in the npm ecosystem now, not so much along node/iojs lines but along es5/es6 lines. There's already been lots of discussion about whether module builders should publish es6 code, or should everything be transpiled down to es5 code in order to keep the ecosystem unified (the unspoken caveat being, around es5).

I think es5 is a dinosaur as of today, so I say go ahead and publish es6 code, and if you want to be nice to es5 people then add a prepublish transpiler that makes something like this possible:

    // es6 people can do    var foo = require('foo');    // es5 people can do    var foo = require('foo/es5');

gobengo 6 hours ago 0 replies      

  $> diff <(node --v8-options | grep harmony) <(./iojs --v8-options | grep harmony)  1,6c1,18  <   --harmony_typeof (enable harmony semantics for typeof)  <   --harmony_scoping (enable harmony block scoping)  <   --harmony_modules (enable harmony modules (implies block scoping))  <   --harmony_proxies (enable harmony proxies)  <   --harmony_collections (enable harmony collections (sets, maps, and weak maps))  <   --harmony (enable all harmony features (except typeof))  ---  >   --es_staging (enable all completed harmony features)  >   --harmony (enable all completed harmony features)  >   --harmony_shipping (enable all shipped harmony fetaures)  >   --harmony_modules (enable "harmony modules (implies block scoping)" (in progress))  >   --harmony_arrays (enable "harmony array methods" (in progress))  >   --harmony_array_includes (enable "harmony Array.prototype.includes" (in progress))  >   --harmony_regexps (enable "harmony regular expression extensions" (in progress))  >   --harmony_arrow_functions (enable "harmony arrow functions" (in progress))  >   --harmony_proxies (enable "harmony proxies" (in progress))  >   --harmony_sloppy (enable "harmony features in sloppy mode" (in progress))  >   --harmony_unicode (enable "harmony unicode escapes" (in progress))  >   --harmony_tostring (enable "harmony toString")  >   --harmony_numeric_literals (enable "harmony numeric literals")  >   --harmony_strings (enable "harmony string methods")  >   --harmony_scoping (enable "harmony block scoping")  >   --harmony_classes (enable "harmony classes (implies block scoping & object literal extension)")  >   --harmony_object_literals (enable "harmony object literal extensions")  >   --harmony_templates (enable "harmony template literals")

untog 1 day ago 2 replies      
As someone who tries as hard as they can to avoid project politics and the like: is this the new Node.js? By which I mean I know it isn't the Node project, but where is most of the mindshare these days? Is io.js a small offshoot or has it taken most of the Node devs with it? Or is it the same code just with a more aggressive release schedule?

Also, when do we go back to one executable already?

maga 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since there are features in Io that are neither in the current version nor planned for the future versions of Node, I guess Io.js should be explicitly specified as an engine in the package.json file of Io-specific modules. Tracking those modules will be a good metric of how well Io is received by the community.
bsimpson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I understand that Node was lagging behind on merging newer versions of V8, but holy hell: how did they have so many patches to the standard library that weren't properly released?
dsissitka 1 day ago 2 replies      
Version 1.0.0 (Beta stability)

The hell? Seems it's intentional:


antouank 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Nodeup podcast 81 about io.js, with Mikeal Rogers, Isaac Schlueter and Chris Dickinson.


jorangreef 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to the team who made this possible. Thanks for your hard work. Looking forward to switching binaries.
drderidder 1 day ago 2 replies      
Node got forked because it got corped. When a corporation sinks their hooks into an active open source project, it's only a matter of time. Mysql, Maria, Hudson, Jenkins... same story. io.js is the way forward, and congrats to the core team.
sambeau 1 day ago 2 replies      
Am I alone in being bemused and amused by this:

  Version 1.0.1 (Beta stability)
Surely the main point of a 1.0 release is "stability" and to no longer be "beta"?

silverwind 1 day ago 2 replies      
OP: sorry to nitpick, but the proper capitalization is 'io.js'.
misterdai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's the most recent minutes (2014-12-19) for the Node.js Advisory Board where they discussed Io.js (while considering their 0.12 release).


ykl 1 day ago 2 replies      
What is a spork, as contrasted with a development fork?
thomasfoster96 1 day ago 1 reply      
From what I can understand, io.js is now node with the latest version of v8 and ES6(+ES7) features enabled by default (as opposed to behind a flag).

I'm wondering, what technical reasons are there for Node not using the latest version of v8 for each release? I can understand Node keeping some new ES6/7 features behind a flag (just as some are behind a flag in Chrome).

_almosnow 1 day ago 0 replies      
From their changelog, it seems that addons changed, does anyone know if current npm packages will still be usable?

Also, good to see bnoorhuids in there.

chadpaulson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Congratulations to the io.js team! I look forward to future releases. Specifically, no longer having to use --harmony_arrow_functions.
Touche 1 day ago 3 replies      
Can this be installed with Node side-by-side or does it take over the `node` name?
nickfargo 1 day ago 2 replies      

  ls -l /usr/local/bin/node  lrwxr-xr-x  1 502  staff  4 Jan 13 20:10 /usr/local/bin/node -> iojs
Is this necessary?

debacle 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is cool and I am excited. I have been playing with Node for a while but the pace towards stable was so glacial I couldn't take the software seriously.
acdanger 1 day ago 2 replies      
"This package will install io.js v1.0.0 and npm v2.1.18 into /usr/local/. The binary /usr/local/bin/iojs will also be symlinked as /usr/local/bin/node."

Why the symlinking as node?

mdemo 1 day ago 0 replies      
io.js version management https://github.com/demohi/ivm
AbeEstrada 1 day ago 0 replies      
In case you want to install it with `brew`https://github.com/smockle/homebrew-iojs
waitingkuo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can unalias my `alias node=node --harmony` now!!
pascalo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a ubuntu ppa for this already?
grandalf 1 day ago 2 replies      
Any advice on whether it's better to use ES6 or Coffeescript?
evantahler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congratulations on the release! Keep moving JS-server-stuff forward!
scope 1 day ago 2 replies      
how would one go about deploying (say on Heroku) an iojs app?
tuananh 1 day ago 1 reply      
it seems it uninstall `node` when install itself.
nubela 1 day ago 2 replies      
How does a 1.0.0 translate to beta-stability build?
dmamills 1 day ago 0 replies      
hard to argue with that changeset
malkia 1 day ago 1 reply      
Without reading, just looking I thought it would be about Steve Dekorte's Io Language targeting javascript.
Killswitch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congratulations guys!
hayd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, that escalated quickly.
nsamuell 1 day ago 0 replies      
And so it begins
hmans 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone fork it yet?
roelvanhintum 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now that browsers are starting to be compatible, lets make js on the server incompatible...
simlevesque 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have no issue with this fork but why oh why did they drop semantic versioning ? Do they want us to waste our time reading every single changelog ?
Exuma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sorry but (Beta stability) looks like it says "bestiality." I would recommend changing that...
DigitalOcean now supports FreeBSD
512 points by barium  23 hours ago   174 comments top 30
TheDong 11 hours ago 7 replies      
The fact that DO had to make this announcement at all is a sign that things have gotten worse for VPSs.

Before, when a company provided Xen or Kvm, you generally would get to have low-level access such as the ability to virtually connect to a serial port or vnc session of your box as it booted. You also, typically, could provide your own ISO images.

Even if you couldn't provide your own iso, being able to interact with the VPS in the above way would allow you to use one of the provided disks and then bootstrap the install of another (this is how I installed gentoo on many providers that didn't "support" it)

DO's stance that you must use one of their images, you can't upload your own, and you can't even use your own kernel (I'm not kidding! If you "sudo apt-get update" to get a new kernel security update and reboot, DO will IGNORE your shiny new kernel because they hardcode the kernel as one they control. See [0]).

This is terrible. We shouldn't be happy that they're adding FreeBSD to the list of images they allow you to use, we should be showing, with our wallets, that their restrictive setup that doesn't allow you to touch anything outside of their tiny garden and exposes you to security issues is unacceptable. We should be using other providers, like Linode, AWS, and GCE, all of which allow bringing your own image in some form.

[0]: https://digitalocean.uservoice.com/forums/136585-digital-oce...

czk 20 hours ago 4 replies      
Just deployed a FreeBSD droplet and I'm not sure if it's just because the host network is busier than my other droplets, but I seem to be getting about half the network performance that I can in a default linux droplet. They are using Virtio, which is good since it doesn't require hardware emulation like the E1XXX devices on KVM. I should probably use a better test than cachefly but just wondering if theres any known tweaks/tips that should be done for FBSD on KVM with virtio devices.

Disk performance is also lacking in comparison to the ubuntu droplet as shown in the pastebin. Could just be because everyone's spinning up fbsd boxes on this host? :)


JeremyMorgan 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Smart move. I will definitely be spinning up some FreeBSD droplets. This will attract people like me who enjoy building lean and mean BSD servers, and give people an alternative to Linux if they choose.

Nice work Digital Ocean, love the way you folks keep pushing forward. Need some tutorials written?

xhrpost 21 hours ago 10 replies      
As a web developer who knows enough Linux to do minimum dev-ops, could anyone recommend some things worth playing around with in FreeBSD? Like "do this and see how easy it is vs Ubuntu!". Or are the gains more long term like better stability?
weavie 18 hours ago 4 replies      
I am very intrigued by BSD as it comes highly recommended here. I just need an excuse to dip my toes.

I need to set up a nginx -> nodejs server for a project soon. Given I have set up a number of linux servers without trouble, how much of a struggle would it be to just use BSD for this new project? Would it be worth holding off and just messing about in a VM, or would my linux experience just transfer directly to setting up on FreeBSD?

phillc73 22 hours ago 4 replies      
While this is great news, BSD support is currently the second most widely requested enhancement to the Digital Ocean service.[1]

I wonder if we'll now see additional storage addressed soon?

[1] https://digitalocean.uservoice.com/forums/136585-digitalocea...

Edit: I've had this theme bookmarked for ages, now might be the time to build it! http://daemon-notes.com/articles/desktop/example

pellaeon 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As one of the authors of bsd-cloudinit, it's super cool to see the project being used by other people.


swills 20 hours ago 5 replies      
There does seem to be one part of their announcement that's a bit off:

  While similar to other open source unix-like operating systems, its unique in that the development of both its kernel and user space utilities are managed by the same core team, ensuring consistent development standards across the project.
Wouldn't it be Linux that would be unique in that they don't do this? Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, all the BSDs, Mac OS X (which is certified Unix) does this as well. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

_nickwhite 21 hours ago 1 reply      
In case someone missed it: The header graphic in this article is a great homage to Beastie, the (original?) FreeBSD mascot, analogous to the Tux Linux penguin:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_Daemon
wtbob 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Great news! I'm personally looking forward to OpenBSD, but now that this is done I bet that will be a cinch.
IgorPartola 20 hours ago 1 reply      
And yet, still no universal support for IPv6, and the droplets that do get it only get 16 addresses. Yes, I am going to complain every time DO comes up in the news until this is fixed.
mrbigidea 22 hours ago 1 reply      
One small step for man, one giant leap toward a PFSense VM in the DigitalOcean cloud.
edwinnathaniel 22 hours ago 1 reply      

Thank you very very much for supporting FreeBSD!

ghc 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Finally, finally, finally! I've been waiting for either DO or Linode to offer this since forever. Now the only thing left on my wishlist is OpenBSD support.
pyvpx 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm wondering what the chances of any other BSD being supported are...? Dragonfly? Open? ...Net? :)

edit: after actually reading TFA, it seems unlikely. Well, it seems like Dragonfly is most likely, if any others.

aurelien 11 hours ago 0 replies      
A service that is a bit ugly, here is what I feel about, you register, you give your credit card, and you just don't know how it will cost.That point is just bad and make me feel that will cost an eye.
cnst 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Do they support IPv6? The IPv6 link from their list of features page just links to their blog entry about Singapore.

What kind of IPv6 allocation do they provide?

zzzcpan 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Just created a droplet and sadly, it is 10.1 amd64 only. Won't be very useful on low-memory VMs. I hope they add i386 too.

EDIT: Anyone cares to explain downvotes?

ketralnis 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Vultr.com for this for a while and they're pretty nice. Slightly cheaper, promises that they don't oversell their servers, and they've had FreeBSD for long enough to have got the kinks out.

They also let you just upload an ISO and install any OS you like from there, which is handy for non-default FreeBSD configurations like ZFS-on-root

barkingcat 21 hours ago 0 replies      
BOOM - time for me to spin up more of these!
schmichael 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Really wish they'd support IPv6 in all of their datacenters. Comcast and T-Mobile universally support it, why don't datacenters?
filmgirlcw 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great news, thanks DO!
nine_k 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much does DO's offer differ from other vendors that allow you to basically boot from your own virtual CD, like AWS or Ramnode.

I'd love if someone explained it.

neumino 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice, but I wish they didn't deprecate Archlinux though :/
ltofbss 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I have so much experience with Linux I feel like FreeBSD I would have so much to re-learn. What makes it worthwhile and how transferable is my knowledge?
ohnoesmyscv 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You guys are awesome! Been waiting.
eklavya 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Time for a benchmark.
jbverschoor 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Migrating away from DO. because if the host dies, your vm dies.

Same as ec2 yes, but aws provides ebs.

cnst 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's kind of ironic that they list FreeBSD's excellent documentation as one of the reasons for consideration, especially considering that their own documentation is so bad!

I mean, what kind of company links directly to blog entries, with incomplete and outdated information, all across their web-site?

Ain't nobody got time to read the blog comments and figure out what's the current status of stuff is.

hiphopyo 21 hours ago 4 replies      
Should have gone with OpenBSD instead to be honest. Half the requests on your UserVoice are for OpenBSD. All the coolest stuff in FreeBSD comes from OpenBSD.

OpenBSD -- the world's simplest and most secure Unix-like OS. Creator of the world's most used SSH implementation OpenSSH, the world's most elegant firewall PF, the world's most elegant mail server OpenSMTPD, the OpenSSL rewrite LibreSSL, and the NTP rewrite OpenNTPD. OpenBSD -- the cleanest kernel, the cleanest userland, the cleanest configuration syntax and some of the world's best documentation.

FreeBSD, on the other hand, is becoming more of a testbed for experimental, some would even say unnecessary technologies: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8546756. It's also having a hard time catching up to OpenBSD: http://itwire.com/business-it-news/open-source/62641-crypto-....

Obama calls for municipal broadband
469 points by davmre  19 hours ago   251 comments top 38
jfb 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Really, he's calling for the FCC to prevent rent-seeking by local ISP monopolies by allowing the option of municipal networks. It's a really good idea; you can tell because of how stridently Comcast/Verizon/AT&T oppose it.
Someone1234 18 hours ago 2 replies      
The ultimate solution is for the government (federal and local) to run the physical side of the internet (e.g. run wires to homes/business, manage the exchanges, etc) but let private companies actually sell the data access directly to the public.

As an analogy this is like the Greyhound Bus Line. When you buy a ticket to go from A to B on Greyhound you pay the bus company money and they provide you the service (and support as required), but the buses actually run on government constructed and maintained roads, bridges, and related infrastructure.

The internet would work the same way, the government does the physical side of things, and that gets paid for through tax and rental fees from the ISPs. Then the ISPs upsell the rental fees to cover support, advertising, and so on to provide end users with the actual service (e.g. they pay $.20/Gps to the government to maintain the physical bits, but charge $.40/Gps to the public).

This is how BT is kind of run in the UK. BT does the physical side of things, but then five or six different ISPs (including BT themselves) all resell internet using that physical infrastructure. Those ISPs then pay BT for the pleasure (and BT pays itself).

This would be one use of eminent domain that I would happily support.

ayuvar 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Municipal broadband is a great idea. A town near me, Olds, just rolled out gigabit fiber to the curb for $57/mo.

Considering most of the other nearby municipalities have to live with dialup or (agonizingly slow) satellite internet, it's been a big draw to the area. I think it absolutely makes a ton of sense for rural areas; if I had a remote job it would be very tempting to head out there and get an acreage.

I feel like splitting it up and having municipalities responsible for their own infrastructure makes it easier for the common man to get involved, too. You can show up at city council and express an opinion or volunteering for a committee a lot easier than walking into a federal building and doing the same.


nostromo 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Municipal governments are a big part of the problem. They make it nearly impossible for companies to build new ISPs.

Municipal governments: the cause of, and solution to, your ISP woes.

It reminds me of housing. 1) Governments restrict new housing. 2) Housing becomes unaffordable. 3) Government builds public housing because "the free market has failed."

mholt 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I live in Provo, which has Google Fiber. As the article says, Google took over their failed public fiber project. (Google purchased the infrastructure for $1.)

Provo is a very unique city. It's a big city, but most of its residents are college students or young, newly married recent graduates. It's also a technology hotspot. Comparing the success of its fiber project to predict the success in other cities is hardly fair. For the record, Google Fiber has really lit up this town. Internet service here is unbearable unless you have Google Fiber (or deep pockets to dish out for Comcast). My building only has CenturyLink, and service just came back up an hour ago after suffering 80% packet loss for the last day. And this is our regular experience.

Competition for ISPs, especially around here, is good (Veracity has been grappling to upgrade their network, and Comcast, well, everyone still hates them). On the other hand, the behavior and quality of service from American ISPs in the last 10 years is inexcusable. While I do think that private companies will do better "in the long run", time is running out for them to prove themselves.

bcheung 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Aren't we trading one monopoly for another? Not sure that is any better. Especially considering the track record of the post office or public education. There would need to be some way to allow competition so there is incentive to provide quality service.
tzs 19 hours ago 1 reply      
It's not clear that the FCC can preempt state laws that prohibit municipal broadband. From the Wikipedia article on municipal broadband [1]:

    In 2000, the Federal Communications Commission    endorsed municipal broadband as a "best practice"    for bringing broadband to under served communities.    The FCC also addressed the question of whether a    municipality was an "entity" under the    Telecommunications Act which mandates that "No State    or local statute or regulation, or other State or    local legal requirement, may prohibit or have the    effect of prohibiting the ability of any entity to    provide any interstate or intrastate    telecommunications service." 47 USC 253(a). The    legal question revolved around whether a state could    prevent a municipality, as its subordinate    government body, from entering the telecommunication    market. In the case of Missouri Municipal League v.    Nixon, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that a    municipality was not an entity under the    Telecommunications Act and that a state could    determine what authority its own subordinate    jurisdictions had.
I have not yet had a chance to look at Missouri Municipal League v. Nixon to see if the above is correct.

It's also possible that the FCC is considering using some different regulatory authority to preempt state laws this time.

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

vlunkr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I can understand the Republican point of view here: the government doesn't care about customer satisfaction or uptime because they can't go out of business. However, american ISPs have proven over and over they are unfair and incompetent. It's 2015 and I can barely get speeds over ~1mbps (I live in Idaho, but still). Maybe they would try a little harder if they had government competition.
mikelbring 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If there is anything that can be done to give me a better option at internet than the local crappy / expensive DSL provider I have to go with now, I am all for it.
duncan_bayne 16 hours ago 1 reply      
From the perspective of a non-American, it's sad to see you taking _another_ step away from laissez-faire capitalism. In what world is it reasonable to take money from people by force and use it to compete with private business?

If people want municipal broadband, let them form non-profits to provide it through voluntary donations. That should be legal, and if it's not, that'd be something to fix.

drawkbox 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope his next step is setting a goal for 1-5Gbps internet access to everyone in this country within 5-6 years based on this. Reward companies for building it to allow expansion and to non economical areas, which could become more economical with it.

Let's build this internet cornerstone for commerce like Eisenhower's interstate system. Everyone can build on a platform that puts us back in competition for internet bandwidth/throughput with the surpassing world. We do not want to be behind in the bandwidth race, maybe if we make it a bandwidth race or war we can make it happen.

randyrand 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Municipal broadband has a serious problem. Namely, those that don't want it are still forced to pay for it. If you don't see how this is unfair competition well... I don't know what to tell you.
lettergram 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah, I definitely want my government running my internet. Not only do they get to monitor all of my traffic (more/easier than they do now), but they also will be in charge of delivery.

I can already imagine it! My tax dollars paying for Comcast level quality service, at the same time I'll be receiving internet in the most "fair" way possible ("fair" being in quotes because who knows what legislation will be placed on it).

Yeah, I'm just looking forward to the day they enforce the whole Google-Verizon frequency band agreement. Or perhaps when they don't sell exclusive rights for fiber connections.

In all honesty, I'll take Comcast over the government any day of the week. At least Comcast has an incentive to make money (hopefully reducing corporate waste). The government will have far more bureaucratic bloat and either fund it with tax dollars or end up charging the same amount. I really loved how the healthcare system has been improved.

Arnor 18 hours ago 1 reply      
> Last year, the Republican-controlled House passed language banning the FCC from banning states from banning cities from building municipal networks.

This should be a case study in every civics class...

lnkmails 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I am from India and one of the major broadband providers is BSNL. It used to be core part of the government (Department of Telecom) but was made a corporate in 2000 (but still owned by Govt. of India which is confusing). Anyways, BSNL is the reason a lot of remote villages in India get mobile & broadband connections. If it were left to private companies, they would never expand the infrastructure beyond urban centers where they could cover a lot of people per square area. BSNL also has a lot of fiber optic deployments that private companies rent in suburban areas to provide service. They get it at a cheaper price and don't have the problem of maintaining them. So I can see how municipal internet can help people. OTOH, there is a huge cost load on the government and people in remote villages don't use Internet much. I wonder if private companies were regulated to mandatorily have presence in all areas and are allowed to borrow government/municipal owned infrastructure at competitive rates, would the situation be better? This way there is both competition and better connectivity.
ochoseis 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> As a result, households there can now get 1 gigabit (1,000 Mbps) service for just $70 per month.

> The Obama administration is also planning to offer subsidies to promote investments in local broadband.

While $70 doesn't seem like an outrageously great deal (it is good), it brings up an interesting point my dad had the other day. Is the true cost of that gigabit internet $100/mo, and tax dollars subsidize $30 while you cover the other $70 as stated? If municipalities truly can provide faster cheaper internet I'm all for it; however, I would hate to have another reason to bump taxes, nor a reason to crowd out competition and remove the incentive for innovation.

jMyles 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Absent from the conversation is the actual obvious generational shift: final-mile mesh networks in every sufficiently large and dense community.
walterbell 18 hours ago 0 replies      
From a decentralization point of view, it's usually not good when a larger construct (federal) wants to impose regulation on a smaller construct (state). But in this case, the proposed federal regulation would encourage more decentralization, as it would empower an even smaller construct (municipality).
metaphorm 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I wish we had seen this more progressive, pro-active Obama 6 years ago.

Squandered his political capital on a shitty health care reform bill, got shell shocked by Republican opposition and crawled up his own ass for a couple of years. Now that he doesn't give a shit about elections anymore he's actually doing something.

crudbug 15 hours ago 1 reply      
A better solution would be: municipalities building infrastructure and private ISPs running on top of it. This will encourage more competition and better service for customers. Similar to other Utilities.
mtrpcic 19 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of people seem dismayed that there isn't a bigger push for a federal run, country-wide internet provider, which I think is crazy. Taking the municipal approach means there isn't a huge cost for nationwide infrastructure, and small towns can develop the network that's right for them, rather than being stuck with what they're told they need from higher up. Additionally, with all the worry and fear about the NSA looking behind the scenes, putting the entire network backbone in the hands of the federal government is basically handing them exactly what they want. I'm all for municipally run internet, and hope this helps move towards that.
meesterdude 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I think its simple. Municipalities should at this point feel responsible for ensuring their residents have good internet access. Its also good for the tax payers, because its money going back into the government, and not into the coffers of some mega-corp who's just going to hoard it.

I think there is a balance to be had between too much government and not enough. I think its easy to sway too far one way or another as history has shown, and neither are particularly good. Corporations will run rampant just like government will, given the freedom to do so.

finid 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> Municipal broadband is controversial especially among Republicans

> But House Republicans don't agree. Last year, the Republican-controlled House passed language banning the FCC from banning states from banning cities from building municipal networks.

You can always trust those guys to work against consumers.

bcheung 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"Obama calls for municipal broadband"

"White House just endorsed CISPA measures, two years after veto threat"http://www.zdnet.com/article/white-house-just-endorsed-contr...


Alupis 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This seems great, but I fear what is may do to the small ISP's (which generally don't pull any of the shenanigans the BIG5 do and are usually pretty pleasant to work with).
finid 11 hours ago 1 reply      
In cities with apartment complexes (most of the southern USA have those), ISPs like Verizon make deals with the apartment complex owners such that only one ISP is officially allowed to offer service to residents.

Clearly illegal, but who's taking them to task?

LBarret 7 hours ago 0 replies      
not to troll and no expert on the topic, but from outside, the US broadband situation is really puzzling. Many countries have cheap broadband and seems to have found good systems to make its market work. The installed monopolies looks like a very wrong decision that cannot be changed without legal conflict.
bluedino 18 hours ago 0 replies      
What are the implications of this? What would it cost to build out fiber to even 10 or 15 % of homes and businesses that don't currently have it?

What kind of insane cyberattacks could you get from 10% of the consumer market having gigabit connections? How much backbone upgrades would there be required?

imgabe 16 hours ago 1 reply      
> The president is asking the Federal Communications Commission to preempt those laws.

Can someone explain this? The FCC is part of the administrative branch right? Don't they work for the President? Why doesn't he just tell them to preempt the laws?

paulhauggis 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm fine with it, if there are laws in place that prevent governments from stifling free speech through Internet controls.
tn13 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah, lets throw more of taxpayers money in the drain. FCC has one job which they cant do properly and now they want to create one more problem.
bcheung 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The government can't even manage its own budget, I don't trust them with the Internet.
3327 17 hours ago 0 replies      
ABOUT TIME. Internet is a utility and time to break the verizon atnt monopoly.
AaronFriel 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Cedar Fallsian here - our broadband service is amazing and unfaltering. The alternative cable company that serves our area on the other hand has weekly and monthly outages, and I regret to say, that's not even purely a residential deployment issue.

In Waterloo, IA, our neighboring town, the city council initially approved then backed out of working with Cedar Falls to participate in a greater municipal fiber deployment. Following a storm in 2009 that damaged utility lines on poles, I believe Cedar Falls moved forward with their plans to deploy fiber and deployed service to almost all homes over the course of a year and a half. The transition was seamless, and since then bandwidth has more than quintupled for the regular tier. I get 50/25 and it's rock solid. The best internet service I've ever had.

On the other hand, as an IT consultant I have businesses I work with in Waterloo. Some of them would like to switch to technologies like VOIP to reduce costs, but their Mediacom cable goes down on a weekly basis. I have one client for whom I have never seen a whole month of uptime, and they have had multiple business days without service in the past year. The only alternative for most of my clients is CenturyLink DSL, which hardly qualifies as broadband with most of the DSLAMs too widely distributed and over-subscribed for reliable throughput.

Mediacom is the same company that signed a letter to congress decrying municipal investment, and published a press release today[1] about how insulting it was that the President chose to support a municipal utility instead of their investment in Iowa.

If companies like Mediacom and Century Link really cared about providing a service, they would support Title II and competition. But they don't. The high barrier to entry suits them just fine, and as a result, internet options are terrible in Waterloo, and technology businesses have fled to Cedar Falls. We've even apparently been named the "Digital Capital" by Google (but I have no idea what that means, I personally think Des Moines has the best access to the backbone with Microsoft and Facebook both opening up datacenters there).

Sure, our gigabit fiber isn't $70 here, like Google offered, but it's there. And my internet service has never been more reliable. I know people who have Mediacom and Centurylink, and they hate it. And unlike their press release speaks about, the fiber deployment wasn't financially unsustainable or a waste of taxpayer dollars. As Mediacom says, "there is no reason to invest even more government dollars in municipally-owned broadband ventures, many of which wind up in financial difficulty."

Well, I'm curious if Mr. Commisso of Mediacom did any fact checking. CFU is self-funded. Even better, CFU actually contributes back to the city's general fund its excess revenue. It's not so much "spending taxpayer money" as it is saving, at least now that it's up and running.

Edited in addendum: Oh yeah, and for something the network engineers here might approve of: even when torrenting at 50mbps, my latency to Google and Microsoft is unchanged (10-13ms) and there appears to be little or no bufferbloat causing congestion. I've been able to play competitive real-time games and Skype while streaming, downloading, etc.

[1] http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150114006231/en/Medi...

javert 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Because it's better to have broadband be many little tyranies than a few big tyrannies.
sp332 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Oh, municipal governments. From the headline, I though he was proposing some national thing.
whoisthemachine 19 hours ago 1 reply      
That title is a little (may I say intentionally?) misleading, by leaving important context out. He is not proposing his government runs a high-speed internet project, he is proposing local municipalities be allowed to run high-speed internet projects, or rather, states be banned from banning them (confused yet?).
gaius 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Saves having to wiretap commercial ISPs, is why he's doing it.
The Rise and Fall of the Lone Game Developer
463 points by putzdown  2 days ago   171 comments top 32
ANTSANTS 1 day ago 5 replies      
More like, the iOS app store gold rush ended. The indie dev scene is thriving on PC. Stop throwing your time and money away developing for a platform overwhelmingly used by people that don't really care about your games, that are looking for brief distractions while they wait in the checkout line, and by and large refuse to pay even a dollar for the privilege. Don't blame the industry because you avoided the platform used by people that actually buy games, play them for hours a day, tirelessly promote the good ones on message boards and amongst their friends, and will actually appreciate the effort you put into your work.

Also, Donkey Kong was not created by a "lone game developer." Miyamoto may have designed Donkey Kong by himself, but he had entire team of contract developers at his disposal.



archagon 1 day ago 3 replies      
Personally, I'd like to think that the good games will still rise to the top. Monument Valley wasn't a fluke; it's a game based entirely about the art and the content, rather than stale one-off game mechanics that could be cloned in an afternoon. It got noticed because it was deep and unique. (Did they even do any marketing?) I've rarely found a game with that same level of quality that got no attention[1].

Most of the time, whenever somebody complains about their games getting no sales and I look at the stuff they've made, I see games that are fun and clever, but very one-note. Like, you can already see how the rest of the game is going to go just by looking at a screenshot. That's not a bad thing, but I don't think it's the kind of stuff that sells anymore. (With obvious viral exceptions that occur unpredictably every so often.) Whereas with a game like Monument Valley, you want to get in and explore it because every single level is unique.

Several years back, the developers of Sword and Sworcery talked about how their business model was entirely about chasing the long tail rather than aiming for the mass market. It paid off wonderfully for them, and I think I hope! it still makes sense.

[1]: Hey! If you liked Monument Valley, you should totally check out Windowsill. Short but gorgeous. Listed as an inspiration by MV's developers. Demo in browser: http://windosill.com

georgeecollins 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have made games for almost twenty years and only one thing has been a constant: People always say it is a terrible time to make games, and a terrible time start a game company. I'm not saying it isn't hard now, or the odds are aren't against you. But its easy to look back on past successes of twenty years ago and forget that most people were failing then too.
d357r0y3r 1 day ago 2 replies      
I had a long stint with game development. Started contributing to MUD codebases as a teenager, later invested a lot of time in XNA and web games, although none of that work was particularly successful.

As satisfying as that work was, I get as much satisfaction from writing Enterprise/B2B apps. The thing about game development is that, when you're years into it, it's just another app. Video game lovers especially start out thinking they want to do game dev and game dev only, but a great many of them would benefit from exploring what are thought of as "boring" areas of development. It's only boring if you don't like making software.

nshunter 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good Article. I'm actively trying to move out of the industry (or into a company that has more opportunity connected with non-games) now after almost 10 years in.

I'm fortunate that my skills are way more transferable than the majority of game developers (I build and lead SaaS teams), but it can be a bit of a slog to actually shift gears.

Games are a place to be if you're really passionate about it or you feel like there's another hill to take. In general tho, there are much more meaningful things you can do with your life (like raise kids). So I'm on the hunt for a job that lets me continue to build awesome products while have the ability to see my kid on a regular basis (not just 6 months out of the year).

arvinjoar 1 day ago 1 reply      
A great game developed by a lone programmer I seldom see mentioned is "Haven & Hearth". It's developed by a (faux) company called "Seatribe", which actually consists of two people, but only one of them (Fredrik Tolf AKA loftar) does the programming while Bjrn Johannessen is responsible for the game assets.

It's pretty cool actually and they'll be releasing a 3D version of it at some point[1]. It's basically a survival MMO with permadeath, and hence a lot of cool stuff has emerged, like world wars and geopolitics, complete with player-run and protected trade hubs and so on. In the game there's no official carebear zones though, but if you kill another player you leave a scent that can be tracked, allowing rangers to exact justice. You also leave scents for vandalizing stuff or stealing things within staked "claims".

No game experience can beat the rush of adrenaline one gets when fighting for one's life in H&H, where you might irrevocably lose a character you've been building for a month or more, and where you get to take away that same thing from the person attacking you. It's amazing.

[1] = http://www.havenandhearth.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3797...

dirkk0 1 day ago 2 replies      
"For the lone game programmer that day has already arrived.


If one sees 'the art of lone game programming' as a genre then this might be true. One successful lonely game programmer leads to a gold rush of many lonely game programmers digging the iKlondike for gold.

But I am pretty sure that there is always room for the brilliant idea that no one can grasp when you pitch it. I personally would have talked Notch out of the idea for Minecraft with the usual arguments (blocky graphics, not state-of-the-art, there's no real goal, etc pp). And when I played it, I was like - omg, I could have done that.

There always will be a lonely (game) programmer doing something extraordinary that you didn't think of in the first place or even despised. And then there is the next Notch, and I will again say - omg, not again.

And some of us have big ideas and don't dare to join the art of lonely game programming.

vparikh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe I am being a bit naive, but I don't think many of those games in the good old days were made with the intention of making huge profits. Most of the people were hobbyists who just had an itch to create the game they wanted to play - and they lucked out that a lot of other people wanted to play their game too.

I think the state of the game market is good -- let the hobbyists of today create the game they want to play - and maybe it will make them a boat load of money. Or maybe they will be happy because they had their vision come true.

Now the big corporations -- well they will just push whatever makes them money.

overgard 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know, I really want a good new game that actually captures my interest. I mean they happen, I still love those games, but I feel like we're over supplied with junk, and undersupplied with genuinely interesting games. I'm hungry and there's a mcdonalds on every corner, but I can't find a restaurant with a gourmet chef. I have so many unplayed steam games right now. Tossed some money on a hope, and after a few minutes realized it wasn't going to work out.

I think the thing that bothers me about this sort of "woah is the small guy" viewpoint is it's like "oh no the brilliant little artists got crushed by the corporations and the me-too hacks".

You know what, fuck that bullshit. Most games right now are asinine. And I mean even the indie wunderkids and the pretentious art games.

Here's the problem: nobody knows how to do this shit very well yet. It'll happen, eventually. They're learning, but it's not really very good right now. I mean people try really really hard. They deserve some success. But as far as the results go, most of them aren't that interesting. I want good games.

jeffreyrogers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since the article talks about hobby development, I want to plug Handmade Hero [1], which is a really cool series of youtube videos (still in progress) of a full, production quality game being built from scratch in C by one person. This was my first exposure to game programming and its really fun to watch along with the videos, plus the guy making them is fairly opinionated about best programming practices, so you pick up so more general skills as well.

It's been featured on HN before, so many people have probably seen it, but if you haven't, it is definitely worth checking out.

[1]: http://handmadehero.org/

graspee 1 day ago 1 reply      
12 hours until Avernum 2 hits steam.


A remake of a remake; all games made by one man.

The second era of the bedroom coder is far from over and you can still make money from it without resorting to cheap, nasty, free2play tactics.

neovive 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is an interesting documentary on Netflix "Indie Game" that chronicles a few indie developers. It does a good job showing the emotional struggles and difficulties in developing and bringing a game to market.
jkscm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tell me if I missed it, but the chance to make a living as an independent game has increased, didn't?Companies get as big as their market will allow it. Saying no one can make a living from games anymore because of the big companies is like sayingthere can be no more start-ups because of Google and Facebook.

The gaming market is big and fast.It's fine if you don't want to run anymore but there are a lot more other people in the race who have a chance of seeing the finishing line.

zinxq 1 day ago 0 replies      
Remove barriers to creating something and the market tends to devolve towards, well, marketing.

Anyone can write a book now - and get it to market. It's never been easier technically to write anything including games. And app markets take away much, if not all, challenges of go to market.

Such markets are destined to get flooded and to (reliably) get noticed in such a market, you need a marketing budget.

Kiro 1 day ago 1 reply      
Have a look at Steam top 100 and you'll see loads of games made by lone developers. I think it's a great time to be an indie game developer!
drawkbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the lone developer, or lone lead developer as it truly is now, is still viable. It is probably better this thinking is out there though. Most games are a small team or require assets of many developers nowadays. The land rush is over but gaming is still the biggest draw.

Most projects we work on are in house or contract and they have a couple or few people on teams. Sponsored games and advergames were also the money makers with flash gaming and will be with WebGL and more. Internal IP or titles also help pad revenues and transitions. Gaming is big in agency promotions. Gaming is bigger still in mobile.

It is very difficult no doubt but even a single developer is more like a team now with things like Unity/Unreal/Cocos2d-x/etc as the engine team, asset stores for many things, contractors for art/audio/design/development and plenty of markets to get into. The age of the from scratch lone developer is over, but there is just as much opportunity as ever for teams of 1-5 or so.

danmaz74 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm floored that this post got so few upvotes. It's interesting and beautifully crafted.
omg_ketchup 1 day ago 2 replies      
We're rising again. We're just building VR software instead of mobile games.
ddingus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Retro is where it's at for lone developers.

Systems are small, expectations low, challenges firm.

I very seriously enjoy the retro scene today. It's possible for ordinary people to participate, even make games others will play and pay for. Homebrew.

Completing that experience was one of those life checklist things. I had a great time and have learned a lot and was able to explore games on a technical level in an achievable way.

Personally, I see this being cyclic. The big names and players will always be there. But little scenes pop up regularly, and those are a treat for those who go looking.

33W 1 day ago 0 replies      
I believe that the niche of the lone game developer is in the bleeding edge. The two examples given show this: a mode of computing was created, individuals made games, then were pushed out. The individual proves the viability for the larger groups who do not want to commit the time or treasure to a venture that will not survive.
taeric 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is odd to read this just after checking for updates on http://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/.

Otherwise, this is no different than any other medium, is it? Content curation is hard. Pretty much period.

zanny 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me - that developer shortage that the big SF companies keep going on about, needing h1b indentured servants working a third under market value to fill positions - ever consider how there are a billion iOS games made every day in a hugely saturated market? You know, thousands of developers and dev companies not making any money. Probably good at what they do if they are upstarting their own projects like that. Might consider working for you if you aren't fixing wages for a decade.
fluffheadsr 1 day ago 1 reply      
funny i learned to program as a kid in highschool so that I could one day make games. I'm now a full time software developer completely self taught, no overhead of a expensive CS degree i didn't need, and I've never even made pong. The closest I came was building tic tac toe. Somewhere along the lines I got hooked on stealing shit from people on AOL and just got pulled away from the thought of games and never looked back.

Ultima Online in my opinion was the climax of online MMO's. Someone needs to build a true sandbox fantasy MMO. CCP has proven that a sandbox done properly will bring in the crowd and keep the doors open.

Someone do it!!

I've tried multiple times however to build/find a team to work with and the team is never dedicated enough to complete even the most simplest of things.

DaveSapien 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent article! Though I'd say, somewhat, that it's still as difficult to make an engaging game as it's ever been. Just the bar has been lowered so much that poorer games are made by people with less ability. I like that anyone can make games now, some cool stuff has been made because of that...but yeah, as I said it is hard. I'm a pro and I've been made homeless because of lack of work (and a moral stance against predatory IAP's). I'm a damn fine developer, but that don't save you from the bottom line of what makes money.
MrBra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one seeing a bit of delusional attitude in this article? Kickstart your ass off with a great game idea and you'll get paid what you deserve while still working by your passion. But wait I am not going to believe the author doesn't know about Kickstarter...
knappador 1 day ago 0 replies      
I dunno about the fall part. I went into the market headlong with a stripped down concept called Reduce on the Play Store and came out with a job before I could even complete feature additions =D It never fails to pay to build something.
InfiniteRand 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's hard to get people to give you money for something you are willing to do for free. Enjoyable creative pursuits tend to be like that for those who are not superstars
laex 1 day ago 0 replies      
What do game devs think about gamejolt.com, where ad-revenue is shared amongst the developers ?
VLM 1 day ago 0 replies      
OP mentions the rush of the 48 hour competition, I think OP might also like:


My new years resolution was to participate this year. Naturally, its the 13th and I haven't even started for this month. But I'll try, maybe this weekend.

NateG 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is true is if you chased the mobile game craze there was a small window where little indie games had traction. A well developed indie game (I would call it an exception at this point) can still gain traction in today's app stores but it is rare. It is true that with the increased supply of games three things have happened. First, the amount of terrible games one must slog through to find a gem has increased. Second the number of gems has also increased which in turn keeps raising the bar of what a "gem" is. Third a race to the bottom began and player's expectations changed and what they are willing to pay with it. The real culprit and difference than the days or yore or even just five years ago is exposure and marketing costs.

I run a small indie studio and our game Pit of War[1] is a very niche game (a PvP, character building, gladiatorial strategy game with text and still images. You don't get much more niche than that!) and we've found great success by managing our resources well and not chasing the latest craze be it flash, facebook, mobile, or what have you. We chose to keep the game on the web and keep full control over it instead of having to pass a judgment committee, or handing over 30% of our revenue to some platform. I found a niche that I enjoyed and had little competition and then built a game and a community around it. That last part is critical these days. I'm sure many of you have heard about "A 1000 true fans"[2], and it very much applies here. If you are using a F2P business model it is your bread and butter.

In 2010-2012 everything was awesome and then something happened in late 2012, early 2013. The user acquisition costs skyrocketed. In the last five years I've seen CPA costs increase 300%-600%. I spent time in Japan and knew some people at an ad agency there that mainly caters to mobile game companies and the CPA on those networks was averaging 700-800 yen (about $7-$8), with peak prices hitting 5,000 yen ($50) when Japanese companies paid out the yearly bonuses to their employees. Five years earlier CPAs were around $1.50 and less. The price increases on their networks have mainly been fueled by four or five companies like Supercell, GREE, DeNA etc. This is where the fairytale ended for a lot of indies and small studios hoping to make a living. It is a rare game that can pay those kinds of marketing costs and remain profitable.

My recommendation to anyone looking to get into indie game development would be to find a niche you enjoy and be the best in it. Build a community around it. Learn how to utilize an ethical F2P business model and last but certainly not least, have fun.

[1] If you are curious about what can be accomplished with a web based niche game you can check it out here: http://www.pitofwar.com

[2] http://kk.org/thetechnium/2008/03/1000-true-fans/

zackmorris 1 day ago 2 replies      
I dabbled in shareware games for roughly 20 years. I had high hopes for making a revolutionary game and my ship coming in like Notch, but what I found was that making a game was never the difficult part. It was always about funding - making rent each month, affording food, etc. It was also about telling people no, because the closest people around me were often the most demanding of my time and energy, even going as far as telling me what I should be working on. I failed utterly on both fronts.

I found (and still find) most games deeply underwhelming, especially when they get high praise for their creative gameplay or plot, because those are the easy parts. Very few games also have solid engineering like Minecraft. That solid engineering is so elusive, so expensive, that its effectively out of reach on an indie budget. The only thing left is cookie cutter games like Angry Birds, which I categorize as the first thing that would come out of any medium. So if all you have is eggs you make an omelet, if all you have is leaves you rake them, if all you have is a physics engine you throw things. Its no wonder that the profit for something anyone can make either rapidly approaches zero or goes into the stratosphere on its own fame like Paris Hilton, creating the illusion of value for an industry that would otherwise have none.

Then I watched a talk by (as I recall) Jason Fried of 37 Signals, who made the rather astounding point that the way to earn a profit is to make something people want and sell it for money. This was after the dot bomb when people were still chasing eyeballs, I wish I could find the video. It was one of the prime motivators that got me to quit my soul-sucking job and flip broken computers for a year, and then get into contracting. It finally hit me that people make money doing all kinds of things because people want them, and I didnt have to suffer the grind in my life any longer, because to work so hard at something people arent willing to pay for is the very definition of futile.

Sooo.. I may make another game. I may sell it at the exorbitant price of $5, $10 even $20. I may not even give away a free demo. All of the other free, ad-based, casual, social games of the world can keep playing house, and bless them for doing so. But people will always want the real games, and I know that because I would be willing to pay for one, should one come along. Im thinking that in this case, if Apple and other companies have really created a race to the bottom economy for games and other apps, then nature will find a way and create more of an egalitarian way for developers to earn an income, perhaps from crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, but more likely from guilds, co-ops and to be quite frank a collective approach that takes the enormous wealth produced by the industry and uses it for something more productive than the hypervaluation of startups. As far as I can tell, were on the verge of total blah just like in 2000 and if everyone doesnt wake up, history is about to repeat itself. If we glorify success and ignore wasted potential, the next thing we sell that people are willing to pay for could very well be a side of fries.

programminggeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
The lone game developer may or may not be a myth, but like many creative pursuits, over time there might very well be 1,000 little game developers blooming, some of which will be quite lovely and people will appreciate, but most will just be ignored. That's not all bad either. Not everyone should make a AAA game.

Some of my fondest memories of games are of the NES games I played as a child. They are still some of the most basic and fun games to play.

Ask HN: What's left for early startup engineers as the company grows?
450 points by tootall  1 day ago   184 comments top 91
deangiberson 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd focus on a repeating theme in your post, "and now they". This suggests that you already see a division between the management of the company and yourself. You haven't been part of the decision making process and feel that all possible angles have been locked out by an outside agency. How much feedback have you given to the company management that you would be interested in those positions before they where "taken" from you? Have you done a gap analysis between your current operating skill set and the expectations for those position? What skills have you tried to improve outside of "developer" recently that would show you are trying to expand your role?

You need to get past the "been told", and start communicating what you want to achieve. It might be too late at this company, but I would bet not, just because these roles are already filled doesn't mean they will stay filled, or that tasks won't outgrow the current holder. Think ahead, and aim for a goal, communicate with every means you have that your ready for that goal.

"Fortune favors the prepared mind." - Louis Pasteur

arielm 1 day ago 2 replies      
As a technical founder I actually face the issue on the other side, which is how to keep those that have been around for 5+ years challenged and motivated. Here are a few things I've learned that might help with perspective:

1. You shouldn't be afraid to ask for what you want. As a founder, it's tough to always know what goes on in everyone's mind. I try as much as I can but when I'm a part of the conversation I will be able to help much more than just being looped in after a conclusion is reached.

Every good developer wants to be challenged. Some want to stay on the technical side, others grow into managers, and some like to blend the two.Talk to the ceo/founders and let them know how you feel. I'm sure they appreciate what you've done so far and will be happy to figure out the future.

2. You're at a very unique position where not only do you know how the entire system works but you also know how it's supposed to work. This gives you the ability to contribute to any of the different roles you mentioned in a really meaningful capacity.

One of the comments said something about not being good at those. I mostly disagree with that on principle. Just because you don't have the training doesn't mean you won't be an awesome manager. Some companies actually don't hire managers but rather promote. I believe LinkedIn is one of those companies, and they do it because they want those the manager will oversee to really trust the manager. That's something that, as a developer, you can do when you've seen the person's work.

3. The skills needed to get something off the ground are somewhat different from those needed to take it to "the next level". It doesn't mean you can't have both, but it is a question you should ask yourself. Do you like the rush and the excitement of creating something new? Or do you like the joy of seeing a large system run smoothly at super scale with time to sleep? Or both.

steven2012 1 day ago 2 replies      
One thing you need to come to grips is that regardless of how smart you are, the VP of engineering is probably someone that has a lot more experience and clout than you do. If they aren't, then the senior management of the company is terrible. If your company has grown to the size of 40-50 people, that's the time when they need real experience to help drive them forward. They can't take a chance on a great programmer who has never managed an organization before or grown it from 40 to 200 people. So you need to accept that.

But you should stick by the VP of Engineering and learn whatever you can from them. Be their right-hand person, and try to become someone that the entire company goes to for technical issues. It's not hard to be the de facto CTO, just make sure you are a part of all the technical decisions, and a positive guiding force for the company. As you become more and more the face of technical decisions, eventually you'll be recognized for it, or you can go to another company in that higher role.

fotoblur 1 day ago 4 replies      
I see a number of posts saying that you're probably not experienced or qualified enough to hold these other positions. However, I don't think the VP of Eng, Dev Mgr, or OPS Mgr could do what you do...essentially help start and build a company from day one.

Those skills you've developed don't have much value at your current company any longer. They are most likely keeping you around for historical value and once the systems you built get replaced its over pretty quick. Take those skills elsewhere and brand yourself as someone who takes a company from 2 to n employees.

Not everyone has your skill set so learn how to market them. I'm on my second company where I was an early hire. I learned that you're way more valuable in the beginning then you are at the end. Eventually I got pushed out by management types because I held on to the notion that I helped build this company and deserved something for it. Don't wait too long to realize it.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 2 replies      
Interesting question you might ask yourself, do you want to be in management or not? Do you want to be customer facing? Or not?

When companies are small the jobs are all blends because they have to be, you just don't have the resources to do more. But as the company gets bigger (presumably through growth and not just a funding bump :-) you can allow folks to focus full time on specific roles which, in theory, gets you better execution of those roles.

A friend of mine once said you often could figure out what role you liked "best" by the first thing you did when you got in, did you check the build? (developer) did you check email? (manager) did you check the web? (marketer) A bit simplistic but it does make for interesting introspection.

As employee #2 you're well connected with the CEO and the other founders, and you can talk about what you want in your future. You should sit down and have that talk with them.

balls187 1 day ago 1 reply      
The rub with startups is that leadership may not have experience with developing careers.

From what you've written, it seems like you really don't have a lot of experience developing careers either, which is one reason to bring in an experienced engineering manager. It's not a knock on your skillset managing a 10 person team and delivering. Just a realization that management isn't something you can just quickly learn on the job.

My advice: have a discussion with whomever the new engineering manager is, and explain your career aspirations and the current dilemma you have.

scosman 1 day ago 0 replies      
At a company with 45 people, all of the roles you mention probably should be dedicated roles/teams. You didn't do anything wrong, you were just successful at growing a company.

If you want to wear a lot of hats, go join another early stage company (the items you mention make an awesome resume). If you want to grow at the current company, pick an area or two (development+strategy or management) and let the ceo know what you are interested in.

frozenport 1 day ago 3 replies      

Be pragmatic: there will be other opportunities which are equally interesting and staying isn't helping. You could be CTO at a different startup. Further, you should be approximately at your zenith at the company and they should be able to provide a strong reference, if you stay dissatisfied your performance and appearance will suffer - along with your potential for future employment.

Also happiness is about the journey (career, parenting, etc). If you're not on a journey you won't be happy!

n72 1 day ago 0 replies      
This exact situation happened to me. If you are at such a distance from the founder that he doesn't care about your place in the company namely you're not considered one of the "important people" your problem is two-fold:

1. Your immediate job won't be as gratifying.

2. (And this is a bigger deal) You won't be in the room during the exit when the money is being handed out.

Re 1, as I saw it, given my equity stake, I should just put my head down and wait for the liquidity event. This worked well, though was a large blow to the ego. Given personalities and priorities of the founder, agitating would have put my equity stake at risk.

Re 2, despite the fact that you may have an iron clad equity stake, there is often money that is handed out in an exit which goes beyond equity. In my case it was about $90mil in retention money. If you're seen as one of the "important people", you'll be in the room when that is being divvied up and can get your hands in the cookie jar (at that point it's just a land grab.) If not, you're shit out of luck, since no one at that point will be looking out for your interests.

So, I would say I would take the long view and not worry too much about the ego/job satisfaction. If you end up set for life, the resentment will fade. (I'm 3 years post liquidity event and the resentment is for the most part gone. Both for the name on letterhead issue and being left out during retention.) I would, however, do all I could at this point to re-establish myself as one of the 'important people' so you can be in the room when the cookie jar is open. In my case, it was impossible since in my obviously biased view the founder was an ass and an idiot, but perhaps your situation is still salvageable.

vessenes 1 day ago 1 reply      
You've got a bunch of options, depending on your interests and skills.

You could be a repository-of-lore brilliant coder / guru. Sounds like this is roughly what the CEO has carved out for you right now.

You could be CTO/Head of Engineering. You may or may not want this job or be suited to it, based on what you've said so far.

You could sink down into the organization as a (hopefully) really rich mid-level engineer and enjoy the ride.

You could do it again as a founder rather than early employee somewhere else.

I think you should figure out what would be best for you, what you want, and then see if the CEO agrees and will make it happen. At some level, if you're a few years into vesting, and the company is successful, it may not significantly change your financial outcome to stay -- you have early stage stock in a successful startup. More could be nice, but it won't change your outcome 10 or 100x, like moving to a founder role would.

Lots of good options; just don't do the west coast thing and stew on it while you write increasingly bitter tweets and blog posts. :) Today is a great day to get some clarity!

timtas 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Where did I fail to claim my part when the company was growing?

You don't give us a clue to answer this. Your whole story is about things that happened. You haven't told us about what you wanted. You haven't told us anything that you did to get what you want. Did you know what you wanted? Did you do anything to try to get it for yourself?

> I should just "be happy."

I call bullshit. If you were happy to passively accept what's being handed you (money, responsibility, acclaim), you wouldn't have made this post. Honest mindful gratitude makes a person happier, but cloaking bitterness with false gratitude, which this sounds like to me, will make a person ever more bitter.

You have to start with what you want.

If you want to keep doing everything like you did before, then you should make a career as early stage CTO. If you want reward and acclaim for that, then you have to negotiate it up front, usually as a nice slice of equity. Be advised, there's risk in that.

If you want to grow with a company, then you won't be able to do everything you were doing before. You will have to focus. And you have to assert your case that you want the role and can be successful in it. To grow with the company in one of these roles, you'll need to cede the other roles to new teammates. You will probably have to mostly stop coding. You will have to embrace the thousand headaches that come with the new role as the company grows.

These are two possible career strategies. There are others. All start with knowing yourself. All depend on asserting yourself.

mtmail 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've heard that before. You were very productive coding, almost too busy and if they promoted you then they would be one good coder short. It was easier to hire somebody fresh with an outside look to think long-term. I expect you will soon be heading a 'special projects' group as a perk to keep you motivated (that group might build a second website or launch in another country or create prototypes so that could be great).The only thing you could have done would be to insist on becoming a/the CTO from the beginning and not let them hire anybody on top. Were you cut for that from day 1? Often investors add pressure to replace parts of the team with 'more experienced' experts, that can also affect founders (being stripped of CEO and president titles).
lurchpop 1 day ago 0 replies      
I went through the same thing at a start-up I founded (with others). It ran for 10 years and I never jockeyed for a management position. I just stayed a developer. In the end the fact that I was a founder who played a giant role in building the company meant nothing. I got sucked into one of many layoffs. No severance. Just back vacation pay and a fake tone of regret from the new engineering manager who made the call. The other founders had already left years before me and went on to even bigger and better things. I stayed because it was comfortable, but I regret not leaving years sooner.

I would guess most people there don't even know who you are, right? They might even know, but they probably don't get it because what you did in the past doesn't matter. Your company is becoming more corporatized and in that environment all that matters is your title. Since now it's likely just "developer" or "senior dev" or something, you're just another scrub with a good backstory.

If I were you I'd update my CV to reflect the contributions you made then start working your network to find the next thing.

ww520 1 day ago 1 reply      
Early employees of a startup are in a rotten deal. They took slightly less risk than the founders, similar pay cut, but with order of magnitude less equity, and with more work in designing and building the product, running operation, doing marketing, and selling to customers. When the company goes under, their loss is the same as the founders. When the company does well and scales up, their positions and roles will be diminished substantially, and their equity would be diluted again and again with each round (later grant is often not at the same scale as the initial option grant).

Early employees are basically jack-of-all-trade doing essentially the same job as the founders (minus the fund raising) in building up the company but with much less of the upside. If you could, be the founder. Don't be the early employee.

dlandis 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Where did I fail to claim my part when the company was growing?

Seems like it is not too late; just talk to the CEO and VP of Engineering and say you want a new role created called Chief Architect or Principal Engineer. As employee #2, it seems perfectly fair that you should get some additional recognition above and beyond simply "developer". If they like you and want to keep you, then I think definitely they would not object.

legohead 1 day ago 0 replies      
Make demands if you still have power/clout left. My story was pretty much just like yours -- I was engineer #2 (after the CTO), I pretty much built the company along with the CTO. I have patents with me as the inventor on them through the company.

Early on I was promised equity in the company, but never got anything in writing (I knew nothing about startups when taking this job).

I was actually treated pretty well as an employee, given good raises, position upgraded to Director level.. but that equity thing was always out of reach, and they kept pushing it off with various excuses. I trusted the CTO, but the CEO was a greedy type.

By the time I put my foot down, it was too late, and they had no problem letting me go. If I had made demands about 6 months earlier they would have been forced to do something or end up REALLY hurting. But I had knew that I had waited too long, so I secured a job before I tried anything. I learned a lot at the company, so I'm grateful for that, and I'm working at a much better and more interesting place now :)

iamjoday 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are doing less things than you used too is typically a sign of growing company... hopefully you will have your efforts payup in a big way... best of luck!

I have always felt that working in startup is like giving a kid 10 toys to play with and taking one toy away every year. It's very normal not liking and feeling of giving up something you own but it is as important for a company to get away from generalized to specialized resources with the growth.

a senior management leader once told, his goal every year is to find, train and pass on the baton of some of his existing responsibilities to next person until he has nothing else left...


wpietri 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Where did I fail to claim my part when the company was growing?

One problem I had in my youth was that I really wanted to be recognized for what I did without a lot of blowing my own horn. If I self-promoted, my victories felt hollow: was I getting kudos for my work, or for my self promotion? So I energetically avoided calling attention to my accomplishments.

Eventually I came to realize that this was a little crazy. I can't expect managers and clients and investors to automatically appreciate all the stuff that it has taken me years to learn to do well. I've discovered that there is a reasonable level of taking credit that is neither sleazy nor slighting of my colleagues. Being modest and self-effacing is good, but it can be taken too far.

So let me answer your question with some more questions: Do the executives know that you did these things well? Have you told them you wanted a position other than as a line developer? Do they know that you're unhappy? Are you regularly discussing your career plans with them?

If you, like I once did, find that stuff revolting, then I'd encourage you to find someone to help you practice those conversations. You shouldn't let your ego speak all the time, but it is ok to let it out of the cage once in a while.

csabia 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You can find analysis and hints on this and other similar situations in the last book from Ben Horowitz "The Hard Thing About Hard Things"http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Thing-About-Things-Building-ebook.... I'm reading it now. There are a lot of interesting insights about how startup Companies scaling works.
jonpress 1 day ago 0 replies      
You have to ask for equity at the beginning otherwise you have no leverage down the line. They don't want dead equity on their books so they are more likely to give you the position you want if you already hold vested equity.

If a company refuses to give you equity, you shouldn't join that company - People don't change like that; if the employer has an exploitative attitude at the start, it's not going to change.

Also, you have to be assertive when you talk to them or they won't respect you and will just use you and put someone less qualified (but more assertive) in your place.

It really sucks, but this is life. You have to lock-in the value of everything you produce before you even start! You can't give other people options because they will screw you.

Not all managers are like this, but most of them (by far) are! I think Silicon Valley might be an exception - Mostly because CEOs there are younger and more optimistic.

spullara 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would focus on technical strategy. It is by far the most high-level, important thing you can do on the engineering side and your point of view should be critical. Is there a CTO? Nothing beats a system wide view to really know where to focus.

I was in your position in 1996 when I worked at WebLogic I was the first server engineer after the founders. To give you an idea of what a crazy career path that can lead to, see my LinkedIn:


I'm still an engineer and code everyday. Just have a lot of other jobs :)

SandersAK 1 day ago 0 replies      
If they haven't elevated you into a senior management role after doing all those things successfully then they're probably fucking up.

if you believe in the company, and the founders, go to them and fight for what you've created and your position. If they don't listen and help come up with a solution to retain you, it's probably time to move on.

ScottBurson 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's time for you to start your own startup. I'm dead serious. You have demonstrated a lot of necessary skills. All you need is a cofounder and an idea. Take your time and be selective. As an experienced technical person you will be much in demand as a cofounder; you have the upper hand and can pick whom you want to work with. Or even do it solo if no one shows up that you feel good about.

Your career path is your responsibility. Don't expect anyone else to care about it, though occasionally someone might.

seeingfurther 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congratulations! You literally built a company and now have what it takes to found your own.

I would vest in peace, learn from senior management (seems like your company hired good senior folks) cultivate relationships both in and out of the company (VC + advisors)... then start tinkering in your free time. Once your options vest you should be ready with an MVP and solid contacts to hit the ground running.

wwweston 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Where did I fail to claim my part when the company was growing?

One thing that might have been better if you cared about not being hired over: ask for the title of CTO or VP of Engineering when you were hired. If they give it to you, you know you're on the same page. And if they won't give it out to you when they're least proven, you can bet that it's unlikely they'll consider giving it to you later when they have more options (and can bring in a new shiny person whose only limitations are those they can discover before hiring).

That's in the past, though. The good news is that you've got a good story here that counters any claim that what you do best is "just writing code." Sit down with the management that's trying to define you that way. Remind them everything you've delivered, just like you told us. After that recap, tell them something like "I've enjoyed contributing to the company's success in all these ways that go beyond writing code, I see continuing to contribute and grow in this way as an important part of my career development." Don't make this about competition with the new VP and ops guy -- let management know you intend to do everything you can to help the new hires make their big contributions too. Just let them know you need a continued technical vision/management role, a title that reflects it (though it's probably not going to be VP), and a path for the future. If possible, come up with some new ideas/initiatives of your own before this conversation, and maybe even a title to suggest. Sell them on a vision of how letting you contribute in this way is going to make everybody more successful, just as it's gotten them to the point where they're at.

And if they don't respond to that... if everything you've written here is true, I suspect there's no shortage of other startups/businesses that might be pretty interested in having you help them succeed.

ziles88 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to be honest here and say you're like the best person for the job you have. The guy who got VP? He's a more qualified manager than you. The guy who does support? He's got 8 years experience and a masters degree. You? You're the best developer they have. This practice is even more common in enterprise. I worked in tech for the largest company on the planet (take a guess) and it was routine to find the best developer was as most a team lead, never management. HR strategically will shoehorn these people but cutting off their avenues for growth. In my experience however, if it's money you're after these companies will happily shell out. It's not money their trying to save, it's expertise. It will also pretty common in enterprise for guys to NOT want to be moved up. Not everyone wants to put their neck on the line, and once you move up it's impossible to move down.
dougmccune 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a similar story in some ways. Employee #1 at a startup, wrote much of the initial codebase, been with the company now for a bit over 7 years. Were 20 people now, and have dedicated people for support, UX, QA, product management, etc etc all of which I used to have a hand in in the early days. I manage a small team of developers (not all the dev, just the clientside team), I still code a good bit (obviously less than before) and Im involved in a lot of product discussions to figure out what were going to build. Weve struggled a lot with figuring out the right title for me, and as long as the actual work is the right mix for what I like then I dont really care all that much. But Ive been recently brainstorming appropriate titles that better reflect what I do, beyond just being a developer (which has been my title since day 1), and Ive come to settle on Technical Director of Product, which I dont think is a real job title in any normal world. I make sure that Im heavily involved in product decisions, because the thing Ive found the most satisfaction in is defining and building product, and shaping the direction of the company through influencing the product development path. And Im grounded in the technical side of that, which is an important distinction to me, since too often product people have no technical background and just lob things over the fence to engineering without understanding the tech side of the house.

So for me the important thing was trying to understand what parts of the job I really want to prioritize (in my case active coding and product definition) and regardless of title making sure I inject myself appropriately. So that means if theres a conversation about a new product were thinking about building I make sure Im in those conversations from the beginning.

If youve been with the company from essentially day 1 you likely have a decent amount of political sway, even if you dont know it. Id start by figuring out which parts of the things that you listed you actually want to stay involved in. As another commenter mentioned, if you really want to wear all those hats then maybe finding another brand new startup is the only real choice. But if theres one or two areas that are dearer to your heart then Id try to figure out how to make that your day to day activity. And Id hope given your history with the team that you can have a dialogue with the founder(s) about how to make that happen. At the end of the day the title doesnt really mean shit, but if youre not loving the work then you owe it to yourself (and they owe it to you) to figure out how to make that right.

Joeri 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is your title? I'm guessing it's developer or engineer. If you view yourself as such, others also view you as such, and you won't be considered for management roles, because you're not a manager. I've chosen this for myself deliberately, and i accept that the cost is that i have to define my role more narrowly. I don't think how long you are at a company matters that much, or even should matter much. As the old saying goes: what have you done for me lately?

I've seen this transition happen myself, where the company grew, got cut up into a bunch of departments, all of which got a manager, mostly external hires. I feel like this way of organizing companies (departments, hierarchical, middle management, etc) is an anti-pattern. Everybody does it because everybody does it, but every dividing line you add reduces efficiency, and I've seen firsthand how damaging middle management is to the agility at the individual level. I don't know what the antidote to this anti-pattern is, but i feel like company structure is a territory ripe for innovation.

lmg643 1 day ago 0 replies      
The main question I have, which I don't see addressed in your description: do you have a meaningful equity stake commensurate with the contributions you perceive you made?

You might need to adopt the "owner's" mentality - which is that as long as these people are growing the value of the company, you are free to focus on what you enjoy the most, while they work to make your equity more valuable.

That said - if your contributions in all these areas are truly valuable, at a small company, there's always a case to be made for someone to be spanning functional areas, if they have the expertise and chops to add value. Probably worth a conversation internally. As others have said, assert yourself a bit.

gitdude 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let me tell you the blatant truth which no founder will tell you: You are just a worker bee for them. They will do whatever it takes for the startup to be successful. So even if you gave your blood and sweat, and single-handedly built the product in the last 2 years, if they think (I should underline they think) that a vp of engineering will do a better job than you - then they will go out, hire that person and probably give them more equity than you.

You should think about what's best for you next. If you think you are not going anywhere, you should cash out and leave.

flagZ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting thread, and I feel it applies to me too... I just recently left my role as a VP Engineering in a 20 people startup. I think there is some disparity here as I am UK based and titles here are a bit different...

When I started, there were already a few people working on it, but because of an office move, nobody stayed. In a way, I am engineer #1, just with some code to maintain already. I had experience as a lead engineer already, but my job here was much tougher, I had to change my role every 6 months, from only coding to only devops, hiring, managing, doing all tech strategy choices, doing resource allocation, doing management meetings, etc...

I was eager to improve as a manager, but I still loved coding. It was very hard to hear that the company was hiring a CTO and leave me no authority. Now that person is full-time.

I tried to be very clear about it, I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I also fully understand that a founder needs to think about what's best for the business and not just people's carreers. I also made it clear I was there to learn, but the reality is that I never felt I was given a chance.

I stayed there a few months to get some learning from the new CTO, vest some more options and then I left. I left because the situation was toxic for me, with a mixture of resentment and miscommunication from their side. I personally think there's not much you can do in those cases... just start again.

Now onto the next adventure...

drawkbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Take all those awesome skills you have learned and do those for yourself on the side.

You have learned why every good developer has side projects, gotta keep the dream alive. Two of my engineering heroes did just that, Scott Adams and Mike Judge. They can also be technical related in games, apps, etc on your own. It is much better that way in the end if you like products to launch with any amount of control.

> Scott Adams has always had several side projects because they gave him energy to endure his boring job. One of these projects became the sketches for Dilbert.


Harness the energy of that boring job into something great, it is the American Dream of Engineers across the land subjugated to the power structures of now.

When you have your own things on the side you are also a little less ego driven at work as you have controllable areas on your own products and it lends to smoother teams somehow. Encourage others at work to have side projects, watch how it makes them relax and work better at work.

Most of all, always do quality work, even if it isn't fun make it fun or gamify it. If you are in a situation that prevents you from doing quality work, then you should move on.

abannin 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are tough questions to ask yourself, and I applaud your introspection. One of the challenges of a rapidly growing company is keeping up with it. Hiring is about finding the right person for the right time. When a company changes drastically through growth, expectations and functions change. The person who did x may be unqualified to do y. In short, the company grows faster than the individual. Another dynamic is that as the organization grows, the need for generalists gives way to specialized employees.

I think this is a very powerful statement you made: "all the tasks I did were less challenging than some critical parts of the code base I wrote from scratch". This tells me that the problems that interest you the most are coding and architecture problems, and that you are happiest when solving those problems. Employees will have the greatest positive impact when they are focused on tasks that they enjoy. But it seems that you desire something more. What is dissatisfying about the current situation? Are you bored with the coding? Are you jealous of others getting recognition? Are you frustrated with the direction of the organization? Are you frustrated that you are no longer "that guy" whom everyone depends on? All of these circle around the same question: where do you want to be?

Leadership comes in many shapes and sizes. It's not just about how many direct reports you have. Fundamentally, great leaders shape the direction of an organization. Employees look to that person for advice, encouragement, and approval. It sounds like the company decided to hire others for formal leadership roles. A very difficult and powerful question is to ask yourself "what is the VP doing that I wasn't able to do?" There is a tactical reason that the CEO hired the VP, and it isn't because of credentials. Perhaps it's his/her ability to communicate across teams, or gain the confidence of management? Don't let your ego tell you "nothing, I'm better than them"; there is a reason they are VP. Different jobs require different skill sets, and understanding where you are strong and weak is critical your success. Being an engineer who kicks out mission critical code is fundamental to the success of the business, but it is extremely different than developing and managing a team. With a humble attitude that is always looking to improve, there is no stopping your career growth.

andrewtbham 1 day ago 0 replies      
When they were hiring all these people... how did you react? did you express interest in these roles?
webdisrupt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Quite frankly you should see this as an opportunity to start your own thing. More importantly I would question why weren't you promoted especially being the one of the first employees? Assuming you have done nothing to piss the founder off, you should be truly appreciated for what you have achieved whilst motivated through career progression etc.

Also bare in mind that this is a normal process for SOME companies as the more they grow the more people are hired so as to try and achieve more (this is debatable) work thus higher revenues.

Personally, I would see what you really want from life and if you are seeking credit/appreciation for your own work then

start a new business or co-found a product or join a startup that is prepared to give out equity

cdnsteve 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here are my thoughts with limited knowledge of your situation.

As employee #2, you are a technical co-founder, period. The problems you have outlined will not be solved be staying at the current company. It's apparent that the owner has chosen to keep you as 'just a dev', even though your contributions are outmatched and significant. It seems opportunity to seize more than what you could have has unfortunately passed you by.

From what you're describing in your post, it seems you're showing regret. Other people have been hired for these positions, even though you built it.

The thing is about being an early employee is that it's a blessing and a curse. Most people don't realize this but the thing is the feeling you get for being the guy that put this company where it's at today is unmatched.

The problem is that once it's built, you go into maintenance mode and it turns into a corporate machine. Everything you enjoyed and discovered during the process is now going through "procedures" and "process". The freedoms gone, other people are here now and they start getting the ears of the owner instead of you.

You feel like you own this company, you should, you built it and partied with the owner for years (guessing here). The biggest regret at this point is that you probably don't own enough (equity) or you were never made co-owner.

You have a choice, stay and give your last effort to be in the position you earned. Or leave, full well knowing that you will likely not be #2 at a successful startup again. We all know that startups getting successful is about the same as winning in the lotto. However, you could be the guy you are describing in your post, the VP of Engineering that gets hired for a startup that is starting to grow...

In either case I wish you the best of luck and as another dev can appreciate the weight of your decision.

slantedview 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a certain role you feel you were overlooked for - VP of engineering? Manager? Or did you want to continue being an engineer? If it was the former, the time to voice your desire has probably passed. If it's the latter - and you really do just like writing code but want some sort of recognition - well, take the money I assume you'll earn and think of that as recognition.
twunde 1 day ago 0 replies      
1) if you haven't already take a vacation.2) What do you want to do? What do you want to focus on? You used to have a lot of different tasks that you probably did a good job at given your constraints but probably didn't excel at. You're now being given the chance to specialize and focus on only a few things. As others have said, your co-workers probably haven't thought too much about growing your career. Once you decide what you want to do have a talk with your vp of engineering and possibly your early co-workers. Your vp should be willing to give you the opportunity to grow especially since you already have a lot of technical knowledge and general company knowledge. Also they presumably hired the vp because he has experience with bigger companies our more mature companies. Take the time to soak up some knowledge.While not a first choice, don't be afraid to leave for better opportunities. You've proven that you can build up a product and accept general responsibilities.
dustingetz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you really young?

I would expect the first engineering employees to know the most about the stack and thus naturally become the engineering leadership as the team grows, which it sounds like you were. If they felt the need to hire above you, it sounds like you were lacking some cross-section of experience that the founders/board want. You should ask them.

pjbrunet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would move on to starting the next business, but maybe you need the steady paycheck? You started company A, company B will be even better.

On a related tangent, I would love to know how someone in his shoes could get crowdfunded to start a new business. What do you advise? (Maybe I should start a new thread and ask.)

staunch 1 day ago 0 replies      
You helped found a company and fell in love with the work of a founder. You can't re-found the same company, so found again!
bernardom 1 day ago 0 replies      
First, congratulations.

Second, let me focus on the management point. You wrote: "I managed an entire team of 10 people without ever missing a deadline of the whole team, and now they brought in an engineering manager"

a) Do you think the (now-bigger) team needs a full-time manager?b) If yes, did you want to become that full-time manager? c) If yes, did you make your desire known?

If the answer Yes, Yes, No, that's ok- lots of people want to continue being individual contributors. It's still on you to work with management to define the right structure that works for you and the company. Maybe you become some sort of Chief Architect. Maybe you help hire the manager.

Either way, if you were as pivotal as you say you were, you should certainly have the CEO's ear to bring this up in a constructive way.

sunir 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's important to understand it's business, not personal. I strongly dislike the comments in this thread that say "Leave". That's an emotional reaction but it doesn't help you advance. In fact, you'll slide back down the ladder. You should just explore what is the best option in front of you and do that.

Really, if you want more responsibility, you have to sell someone else that you're the best person to have that responsibility. No one should give it to you out of loyalty because that is a disservice to all the other people in your organization that are relying on you to fulfill that responsibility.

It doesn't sound to me like you know what you want to do--mostly because you have not explored your options. I will hope you have a good relationship with the founders. In that case you should have an open and honest conversation with them reflecting about your experience so far, that you're proud of the range of experiences you've had, and hence why you think you're ready to do something more--but you're not sure what.

If they are friends, they'll help you. You can ask them to give you feedback on what they felt you did well and what they felt others could do better, so they hired externally. This will give you something tangible you can work on.

If they are really loyal back to you, they'll create an opportunity for you to develop skills that will lead to advancement.

Of course, this conversation is very shocking and anxiety inducing for the founders so how you frame it is important. If you are not accusing them of passing you over, but really genuine about learning and developing yourself, most people will want to help you.

If not, you may find a better opportunity elsewhere. Again, it's just business. Keep in mind, sometimes you have to sell yourself into a role that you're not quite sure you can do--and then do it.

p.s. If you asked me, it sounds like you're interested in a engineering management role, which is not the same as a CTO role. If you have a conversation with the founders, you could focus on that.

scurvy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll be brutally honest. Most of the early employees at most startups aren't very good engineers. In fact they're pretty mediocre. That's why we get the term of technical debt. Take your options and experience and move on to the next gig. Move aside so the better, more experienced people can clean up your mistakes without you fighting them every step of the way.

Maybe it's a psychological thing, but really good engineers are never employee #1-5 at a startup. They just aren't.

gwbas1c 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm in a similar situation, but with a much better outcome. In my case, however, as the company grew I made it very clear what I wanted my role to be.

It's best not to assume that the people you work with know what the best role is for you. I started around the same time as another engineer, but our roles diverged. This was, in part, due to both of us being open about where we expect our career to go as the company grew.

So, if you want to be something different, have the discussion with the people who hired you. They clearly have seen your talents and shortcomings. If it doesn't go where you want it to go, then it's probably time to find a new job.

lunarmobiscuit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Two paths I followed when I faced similar growth issues:

1- Time to create company product #2. Ask for a tiger tea, break out of the hierarchy, and have fun building something from scratch.

2- Move on. Find a great idea or another co-founder, and repeat the startup experience in another startup.

I've done both of these paths. Both can work. Both play on the strength of a generalist who can get a company off the ground, but then who doesn't fit into the subsequent culture of a growth-stage company.

myth_buster 1 day ago 0 replies      
All I see here is positives. Congratulations on building a startup.

Never been in your situation so my suggestions may not be appropriate. From the order you specified the tasks I think for you Technical Strategy aspect ranks highly. I think it gave you great challenges and satisfaction. If that's true then I suppose a role would be that of a CTO given that one of the founder is not playing that role.

Here is Fred Wilson's take on CTO vs VP of Engineering.http://avc.com/2011/10/vp-engineering-vs-cto/

criticas 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you don't know what you want, you have two options.

You can learn to be happy with what you have, or you can determine what you lack, and work towards getting it.

Almost no one chooses the first option. When we don't actively work on the second, we often embrace our dissatisfaction without mindfully working to change it.

tedchs 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have been approximately you a couple times. If it were me in your shoes again, I would leverage the huge amount of knowledge/skills I've acquired and jump into a new opportunity. There are basically 3 directions: 1) start your own company that you will build yourself, 2) find another startup in a similar spot to where you were 2 years ago, or 3) join a big company. I will say a likely outcome of joining a big company is you will be expected to focus, having relatively shallow but deep expertise (i.e. specialization of labor).
davidw 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems relevant: http://jacquesmattheij.com/first-employee-or-cofounder although in this specific case it's not much help.

I think ChuckMcM's advice of chatting with the founders a bit sounds good. You could try and spin it in a positive way... "I was doing all this stuff, and even if it was really crazy at times, I felt like I was growing a lot and contributing a lot, and I feel like I'd like to continue that somehow. What do you think?"

qodeninja 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe it's time to move on.

A company I was at started growing so fast (factor of 10) that it lost it's identity and with it a lot of the things that made it enjoyable/interesting. We opened new offices downtown and in other cities and from then on it was time to pass on the torch.

Clearly, it wasnt about keeping the old guard, but about growth. I did learn a lot and am respected for what I was able to accomplish.

It was a great experience, but sometimes it's good to realize when you're just the launching pad.

Bowing out gracefully was the key for me.

cyberpanther 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I was in your position and not in a lead role I'd be upset too. Either they think your too valuable to lose as a developer or they don't think you can't handle those jobs. Either way you need to express your desire to grow. If nothing happens then it is time to find your next gig. It sounds like your a kick ass developer so I'm sure that won't be hard. Just make sure your next gig knows you want to do more than just development.
wbillingsley 1 day ago 1 reply      
Perhaps if you can't advance inside the company it's time to advance outside the company.

They may well consider you as "an engineer with little prior experience, and we only gave him that role because we couldn't afford someone experienced yet". To the next firm, you are an engineer with experience building a company's central product from the ground up and leading a team of 40+ people in a high risk start-up environment.

mrchess 1 day ago 0 replies      
Eerily close to an experience I've had in my career. Nobody is looking out for your career except yoursel and as the company grew, they left you behind, that's that. I'd attribute this to poor management, as you typically want to keep the core members, but sometimes this does indeed happen.

I suggest you leave and take this experience with you and be more aware during your next professional engagement. At this point, being in the company is holding you back.

onezerozeroone 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can play the lottery ticket game and move on, taking your 2 years of vesting with you.

Only do this if you think you've set the company up for long-term success and it will still be successful even without you there.

Also only do this if you think you can make out better in the long-term (more money, more equity, equally sure thing elsewhere), otherwise just buckle down and ride out the remaining 2 years.

Unless you think your current company is trash, then just bounce.

jchrisa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Speaking as a founder who has tried hard to replace myself (so that I can focus on what I do best, which by definition doesn't fit into an org chart), maybe you'd benefit from switching gears completely, and using this opportunity to learn and experience the business side of things. Probably it would be hard to find a better chance to get a front row seat.
codezero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who do you report to? Did they discuss these hires with you? If you have a good relationship with the founder, you should frankly express what you'd like your trajectory to be and come up with a plan to make it happen. If this isn't something you can discuss with your founder or whoever you report to, then you should look for a better place to work that is willing to listen to you and to help you grow.
csmajorfive 1 day ago 0 replies      
Were you considered for these roles or entirely left out of the process? How much have you actually talked to your management about this?
legendben 1 day ago 0 replies      
People have taken you for granted and don't care about you, period. 1. Be vocal about what you want, be it a raise or promotion! This is America. If you don't ask, you don't get anything. 2. You have other options! Go make your own awesome startup. If you have so many skills like you said, why not? 3. Just out of curiosity, are you white?
alex_mil 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was in the same boat, not sure if I can give advice but I just took another corporate job while my company grows and I advise them and help where projects actually sound fun, otherwise I just don't care

In the meantime I work on building my own sellable tech.

Hope that helps, I'm working on a sweet e-commerce platform right now and building just little sellable tools

alex_millennial 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was in the same boat, not sure if I can give advice but I just took another corporate job while my company grows and I advise them and help where projects actually sound fun, otherwise I just don't care

In the meantime I work on building my own sellable tech.

Hope that helps, I'm working on a sweet e-commerce platform right now and building just little sellable tools

dkhenry 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know how you feel, there are many great engineers out there in the same situation. I think you might be turning the corner to be a founder. You know what needs to be done to scale a company to success the question is can you do it for yourself or just for others ?
DrJ 1 day ago 0 replies      
You will need to fit into one of those positions (if it makes you happy) or leave. You have a valuable set of skills and it's a great time to work on your own ideas.

I am currently in a similar boat as you.

harmonicon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess my question is, since you are employee #2, why are you not any of the guys you have named that "takes care of things". Like, it would be pretty normal for you to be that VP of engineering or Engineering manager. Have you sought for a more senior role?
tzm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lots of good advice here. Sounds like you're in a good position and appear to bring quantified value to companies, particularly to startups. Just reflect on what you really want out of this short life and go with it. That includes the willingness to walk away.
Animats 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could be worse. I know someone who was an early employee of a startup. She had the desk nearest the front door, so she ended up being the receptionist. Five years later, she's still the receptionist.
pfitzsimmons 1 day ago 0 replies      
I went through this exact situation. I joined a company when it was just the founders and me, and then we grew to dozens and then hundreds of people. As we grew, I felt these same slights: I was left out of strategy meetings, I was not mentioned on the website, managers were hired over me, etc. Overall, it felt disconcerting as more and more happened outside of my control, and without my knowledge. At first I was frustrated, then I realized I had the best of all possible situations.

Some notes:

1) If you do not have much experience scaling a team, then it is sensible for the founders to bring in someone with more experience. Scaling team requires more than just hitting deadlines. It is about recruiting, retention, recruiting, managing personalities, career growth, recruiting, managing up, communicating across teams, etc.

2) Everyone's role changes as you grow, for better and worse. For instance, early on the VP gets to have fun setting direction and designing the overall product and strategy. Later on the VP might be spending 90% of their time dealing with conflicts, recruiting, firing, managing up, etc. They may long for the day when they got to play a big role in product development. Early on as engineer, I had the benefit of being able to build an entire product by myself. Later on, the advantage was that I could take vacations and did not have to deal with bugs and outages 24/7.

3) You will have to specialize to some extent. You cannot be the jack-of-all trades role forever, no one can. If you want to eventually have a VP/CTO role, then you will need work with your VP to develop your management abilities. For instance: ask for mentoring, start reading books and articles on management, ask to have a junior engineer put in you, help out with interviews and recruiting. (Note to actually get a VP role, you will probably have to switch to a smaller startup in a few years, using your cred from this gig to get you the job.) If you want to do greenfield development, work with your VP or founder to carve out a role building out innovative/experimental/skunkworks features. If you want to do scaling and architecture do that. There are lots of ways to interesting work and build valuable skills, but you are going to have to choose a course. (In my situation, I alternated between doing experimental/greenfield features and doing scaling/rewrite work on existing tools.)

4) With regards to customer facing roles, I highly advise that your company have a policy that every engineer spend a half-day in support at least once a month. It is essential that developers stay connected to the customer, both so that you can intuitively understand how to solve their problems, and to increase your empathy and motivation.

5) Try to figure out a way to get looped-in informally to the strategic aspects of the business. Make some sort of effort to have lunch or beers with a founder once a quarter. If you have 1:1's or have a wiki where decisions are discussed, then that can be a good thing. The execs understandably want to keep management and strategy meetings to a small number of people, otherwise the meetings suck. But finding a way for you to informally connect and give your two cents can be valuable both for you and the execs.

6) If you want to raise your profile and get your name known, use whatever leverage you have to get some favors. Ask to have yourself put on the web site as "Founding Engineer." Figure out a way to have the founders to introduce you to useful people, and to help you get into some of the more prestigious invite only events, whatever they are in your area. You have to use judgement and be diplomatic, because you might also lose out on advancement if you are seen as angling for a quick exit.

7) Generally, I would recommend sticking with the company as long as it is on an upward trajectory (unless you have a compelling alternative). You will learn a lot as you go, and your reputation will increase with growth.

Eventually I realized that I had the best of all worlds. Why does one want to be a VP? Usually money and status. What sucks most about being a line-level employee? Lack of agency/control. But in many ways it is less fun to be a VP, than to be a high-status engineer, who has enough sway to avoid micromanagement, enough credibility to control his or her own destiny, who can spend their time working the craft that they love. As engineer #2, you get status by virtue of your early employee number, and hopefully and you will get good money from equity stake (if not, then that is truly unfortunate). So hopefully you get the money/status benefits of being an executive, while still getting to work your craft, and still getting to stay in a peer relationship with your fellow engineers.

morenoh149 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would just leave and solve an interesting problem at another company. You have a large chunk of equity. Unless you want recognition - that's a different topic.
psp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe you're experiencing small signs of burning out. Have you thought about taking some time off to think what makes you tick (or even changing a job)?
andrea_s 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do you think the company's management already knows that you'd prefer to keep a more management-oriented role? They may be mistaken in assessing your desires...
oldmanjay 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this "first world" business. Is it a generational thing to be ashamed of not living in a shithole?
flux03 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm looking for a technical partner for this concept.


kylemathews 1 day ago 0 replies      
Leave. That's what I did when I got to the same point as you. Much happier now as technical co-founder of a startup.
spiritplumber 1 day ago 0 replies      
1) Locate VP of engineering and/or engineering manager.

2) If you want their job: assert dominance.

3) Otherwise: flip finger, leave, start your own startup.

pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
If it's a promising company, ride it out 2 more years for vesting. Were you interested in any of the roles you mentioned?
adamkittelson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally if I could eliminate all the aspects of my job that aren't just writing code I would be ecstatic.
legendben 1 day ago 0 replies      
People have taken you for granted. 1. Be vocal about what you want, be it a raise or promotion! This is America. If you don't ask, you don't get anything. Are you an American? 2. You have other options! Go make your own awesome startup. If you have so many skills like you said, why not? 3. Are you aware of your own weaknesses? Maybe there is major weakness about you that stopped you from getting promoted but you are not aware of it!
SeoxyS 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shoot me an email (it's in my profile), I can share my experience with this in private.
MagaManGo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you an owner or an employee? Employees get treated like employees.
pitt1980 1 day ago 0 replies      
sounds like you're in a great position to craft the position you want, and then shop around your experience to other startups

if you get a bite, go back to your startup, say you have another opportunity, see how much they want you

BrainInAJar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope you negotiated for a whole whack of equity.
dcobbe 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested in speaking with you. Bring your experience to my early stage, funded startup and let's talk about how you want to advance your career:


BTW, where are you located?

kyleblarson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did you file an 83b for your equity?
dcobbe 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested in speaking with you. You have the experience I need for my early stage, funded startup:


BTW, where are you located?

krambs 1 day ago 0 replies      
criveros 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jack of all trades, master of none. Go to another start up or specialize.
beachstartup 1 day ago 0 replies      
as a founder, the most striking thing about your post is that you haven't defined or communicated what you role you actually want.

you need to figure that out, ask for it, and if you don't get it, leave.

0xdeadbeefbabe 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why must companies grow anyway?
bluedino 1 day ago 0 replies      
Get involved.


Side project.

tn13 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am unable to see what exactly "you" want from the company. Did you speak to the founders about your career aspirations and they turned you down ?

Did you want to be a manager ? VP of Engineering ?

The way I see it, being developer seemed a natural thing for you. I also assume you must have got significant stock options and you must be drawing lot more salary as well.

michaelochurch 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a common problem. The startup has "grown above" you and it's time to consider moving on, because unless you start playing politics you're going to get demoted with each new hire. Negotiate a better title and salary (you'll probably get something) so you can get a better next job, and see about getting investor contact (preferably of a social nature rather than "presenting to" investors, because you want social equality in order to get investor-level mentorship that persists even if they can't fund your next bit) but you'll probably be out the door in another 6 months.

Don't take it personally. Even if it is personal, it's not worth getting bitter about it. The pro-young ageism only works for Stanford kids; if you're an average 24-year-old, this game still treats you like shit in most cases. The "social climbing" dynamic in startups isn't uncommon. It sounds like they don't have a culture of internal promotion. This will burn them, later on, because people will catch on to the social-climbing/no-internal-promotion culture and everyone will start doing bare-minimum work... but you probably won't be there when it does.

Ask for a VP-level title, even if it doesn't involve you managing anyone. If you don't have the experience to be the VP of Engineering, then you can't expect them to give you that title, but you should get something at the same level, so that you have political equality with these new guys. Even if it's a meaningless VP title ("VP of Technical Culture") it at least shows that they're committed to giving you the credibility that you need to continue contributing meaningfully to the company. No one's going to take you seriously if you're Employee #2 and don't have a title, and you can make this argument in the negotiation. And saying "no one's going to take me seriously if I don't get <X>, and I won't be able to do my job" is a great way of saying "I'll leave if I don't get <X>" without actually saying it; it has the added benefit of speaking from a perspective of their needs (your ability to do your job) rather than yours.

If you want to be a founder or CTO in your next gig, demand investor contact. If they won't give it, the words you want are, "If you're not willing to give me this, the right thing to do is to accelerate my equity vesting, so we can separate cleanly." You're not actually threatening to quit, but you're strongly implying it in a way that (a) makes it clear that your needs aren't going to go away, because you've started to think seriously about the future, but (b) doesn't commit just yet to one course of action. (They could re-up your equity, or give you the investor contact, in which case you'd stay.)

If your founders are good and this just happened "accidentally" or because you had your head down and didn't fight for yourself, you can improve your position significantly. You may not get everything you want (you might have to settle for a Director title and investor contact only to the more junior partners) but you'll make progress and be ahead of most people your age. On the other hand, if they're deliberately fucking you up the ass, then expect them to denigrate your work. Again, don't take that personally either; they're taking a political decision (to grow above and demote you, because they're social climbers) and back-rationalizing it. So don't let that, should that happen, embitter you either; just move on.

Good luck!

How Verizon and Turn Defeat Browser Privacy Protections
442 points by fortmeaded  15 hours ago   139 comments top 26
randomwalker 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Some additional research that came out today, with more details of the various things Verizon is doing / plans to do with UIDH: https://freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/englehardt/verizons-track...

(We collaborated with Mayer on this research.)

Code and data that you can play with to verify these results / do other similar experiments, using our web privacy measurement tool OpenWPM: https://github.com/englehardt/verizon-uidh / https://github.com/citp/OpenWPM

username223 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Classic soulless PR-drone reply here:


"Clearing cookies is not a reliable way for a user to express their desire not to receive tailored advertising,..." Okay, but is it a reliable way for me to express my desire for you not to track me? I assume you ignore the DNT header, and I already block your ads, but still...

"Turn fully supports enabling consumers to express their choice and consent in regards to data use for digital advertising." Choke on a bag of dicks, you sleazy, lying scum.

jimktrains2 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Since Verizon is no longer simply a dumb pipe, does this make them liable for the traffic crossing over their network?
julianj 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Maybe instead of adblock for turn, someone should put together a plugin to generate a random header string sized at about 16k just for *.turn.com.

On a side note, if your browser automatically filled up the remaining allowed characters in the header (depends on the server of course), it'd be interesting to know how that would be handled by Verizon's support since all sites would get a 400 error when their header injection is enabled.

hackuser 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Someone who understands this well needs to write a very short 'elevator' explanation for non-technical end-users that we all can copy and paste. That small act would be invaluable to spreading awareness, which is necessary for any progress.

I was going to send the EFF article to some Verizon customers I know but I realized they would have no idea what it meant. I don't have time to read it thoroughly and write an accurate, succinct summary.

Any volunteers? (The EFF is doing a disservice to the cause by not doing it themselves.)

doctorshady 15 hours ago 3 replies      
It's frustrating, the internet has become such a creepy "you are the product" medium. The more of this I see, I start to feel like I don't want to be a part of it anymore.
shkkmo 14 hours ago 8 replies      
There are two solutions I see.

1) Regulation. Maybe it'll happen, I don't have much hope of it being done intelligently.

2) Feed them garbage data.

We just need a database of live UIDH numbers and a browser extension to inject a random UIDH number from that list into the header.

tempodox 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Indeed, this kind of behaviour on the part of Verizon and Turn should result in criminal prosecution.
cyanbane 14 hours ago 2 replies      
If you were an author (of any sort) could you claim that the transmissions of your material (text) that are under copyright were circumvented (DMCA) via a permacookie under your "moral rights" as an author to publish anonymously?
roque 14 hours ago 3 replies      
My guess is that the "entrepreneurial" solution here would be a combination of: - A browser that doesn't support cookies and provides the server with a client controlled session-id (perhaps a user-id also). - Only uses SSL sessions to avoid middle-box injection of HTML headers (this still leaves the provider with the ability to inject data as IP options / TCP headers). - A micropayment solution that allows content providers to get revenue from content rather than ads.

Anyone working on the later ?

jes 3 hours ago 3 replies      
If someone chooses to work for a sleazy company, say one that aggressively violates a person's expressed desire to not be tracked, I would not want to hire them or otherwise associate with them.

Should the engineers who enable companies like Turn be shunned by other engineers?

covercash 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Somewhat related, does anyone know about Verizon FIOS TV commercial injections and how they possibly relate to FIOS internet tracking?

I have IBD and have been spending a lot of time on UC/IBD related sites lately. I've noticed quite a lot of tv commercials for IBD drugs on TV and mentioned it in passing to my friend. He said Verizon uses tech from RGB Networks and similar companies to inject custom commercials into the FIOS TV streams based on FIOS internet data.

Does anyone know more about this program?

rapht 6 hours ago 2 replies      
It's a wonder to me how no Verizon competitor has jumped at the opportunity to advertise this on a large scale with a message along the lines "it's evil, we don't do that".

If the users really care about this issue, that's what would happen on a functioning market anyway...

yellowapple 14 hours ago 3 replies      
> In fact, Turn has told EFF that they do not believe that either Do Not Track or a user deleting their cookies is a signal that the user wishes to opt out from tracking.

What the fuck, Turn? You got a different explanation for what the fuck "Do Not Track" means?

Are they for fucking real right now? I mean, I've seen my share of grade-A corporate double-speak, but this takes the goddamn cake. Holy fucking shit. Thank God I'm not a Verizon customer in any capacity (that I know of). With this kind of bullshit, I don't plan on that changing any-the-fuck-time soon.

evmar 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It's strange to read this and then simultaneously read people complaining about HTTP2 requiring SSL. It'd surely be nice if law protected us from bad actors but SSL protects from this in a way that (hopefully) can't be circumvented.
userbinator 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel like injecting headers is only the start of something far more pernicious; even SSL/TLS can't stop an ISP from determining and tagging where your traffic goes (and consequently, passing that information onto third parties) - all your traffic goes through equipment on their network, after all. As long as your connection to the Internet is tied to your identity in some way (and there is basically no way a non-free ISP is going to let that be anonymous), they can track you. "Obfuscatory routing systems" like Tor can help, but as long as ISPs can observe the traffic on their networks, they know.
terranstyler 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Frankly, I don't see how regulations or laws should protect the user for several reasons:

Firstly, there are already privacy laws yet it doesn't look as if they apply and that Verizon thinks that even in the case of a law suit Verizon will be able to benefit more than this law suit will cost.

Secondly, even if a court determines that the conduct of Verizon in this case is not legal, the verdict will still be special enough to not be applicable in a loop hole case. So I see protection provided by law as limited.

Thirdly, enforcement is rather difficult and not as obvious as, e.g., a daylight robbery, especially for non-technical observers which I presume to be the vast majority of law enforcement personnel.

And finally, (and rather an opinion) I think government is rather delighted to know who does what on the internet, so I don't see a real motive for them to move decisively apart from some half-* voter appeasement.

karlb 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Seeing as turn is also a verb, this is a great example of a headline that would have been less confusing in sentence case:

How Verizon and Turn defeat browser privacy protections.

Aissen 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's like they are trying to push HTTPS everywhere. It better happen soon.
ferdi265 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Couldn't you fake a false UIDH header if you don't use verizon?

If yes, then people could publish their UIDH and have other people use it as well. If many do this, the unique identification aspect of UIDH is lost.

Something like using a random UIDH from a list of published ones every request.

joelthelion 8 hours ago 0 replies      
That should be illegal, plain and simple.
mhuffman 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if classifying the Internet as a utility might have any effects through possible regulation of this?
jamesdee 10 hours ago 0 replies      
well, this explains Verizon's desire to have anti-class action lawsuit contracts with their customers...
Animats 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm amazed that they're still doing this. Start pushing for Congressional hearings.
dredmorbius 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This may be a tortious (sueable) offense under the Intrusion Upon Seclusion principle. Possibly as a class action:

It is unnecessary to determine the extent to which the right of privacy is protected as a constitutional matter without the benefit of statute. Beaney, The Constitutional Right to Privacy in the Supreme Court in 1962 The Supreme Court Review 212 (Kurland ed. 1962); Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478, 48 S.Ct. 564, 72 L.Ed. 944 (1928) (dissenting opinion of Brandeis, J.); Dykstra, The Right Most Valued by Civilized Man, 6 Utah L.Rev. 305 (1959); Pound, The Fourteenth Amendment and the Right of Privacy, 13 W.Res.L.Rev. 34 (1961). '[I]t is sufficient to hold that the invasion of the plaintiffs' solitude or seclusion, as alleged in the pleadings, was a violation of their right of privacy and constituted a tort for which the plaintiffs may recover damages to the extent that they can prove them. Certainly, no right deserves greater protection' Ezer, Intrusion on Solitude: Herein of Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs, 21 Law in Transition 63, 75 (1961).

To make an intrusion on seclusion claim, a plaintiff must generally establish 4 elements:

First, that the defendant, without authorization, must have intentionally invaded the private affairs of the plaintiff;

Second, the invasion must be offensive to a reasonable person;

Third, the matter that the defendant intruded upon must involve a private matter; and

Finally, the intrusion must have caused mental anguish or suffering to the plaintiff.

h/t Lisa Borel on G+


More at Wikipedia:


Intrusion of solitude occurs where one person intrudes upon the private affairs of another.

Intrusion upon seclusion occurs when a perpetrator intentionally intrudes, physically, electronically, or otherwise, upon the private space, solitude, or seclusion of a person, or the private affairs or concerns of a person, by use of the perpetrator's physical senses or by electronic device or devices to oversee or overhear the person's private affairs, or by some other form of investigation, examination, or observation intrude upon a person's private matters if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

h/t paul beard on G+


Google, as guardian of Android, should look hard at ensuring user protections from this sort of behavior. Ubiquitous HTTPS might be an option (I haven't looked yet to see if the UIDH header can be defeated via that).

The Human Toll of Flashbangs
437 points by markmassie  1 day ago   239 comments top 23
jburwell 1 day ago 7 replies      
The use of flash bangs by law enforcement is horrifying. These tools were design for to support direct action missions by special operations forces, and are, essentially, burning thermite [1] (e.g. able to melt through an engine block). To be clear, a direct operation mission is the use of lethal force to kill or capture one or more individuals or perform high risk hostage rescue. In these types of military operations, the operators run a extreme risk of severe injury or death and the death of the targets is both acceptable and highly likely. The balance of the risks and the battlefield circumstances make their use acceptable. However, law enforcement is rarely permitted to operate under these types of conditions. Their goal should almost always be capture working under the Fourth Amendment presumption of innocence. As such, flash bangs are simply not congruent with law enforcement operations.

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

Edit: grammer and thermite link

ColinCochrane 1 day ago 4 replies      
Bou Bou was sleeping in a portable playpen at the foot of his parents bed when the Habersham County Special Response Team broke down the door to the room and threw a flashbang. The grenade landed on a pillow next to Bou Bous face. The blast blew a hole in his chest, severed his nose, and tore apart his lips and mouth.

That's horrifying. I can't believe that these things are allowed to be used with so little oversight.

In October, a Habersham County grand jury declined to indict the officers involved. Some of what contributed to this tragedy can be attributed to well-intentioned people getting in too big a hurry, the grand jury wrote in its findings.

What they call "too big a hurry" I call reckless endangerment.

girvo 1 day ago 3 replies      
> If she hadnt been selling illegal items out of the home, no warrant would have been served, he said. What you call extreme, we call safe.

Disgusting. The militarisation of police is a blight on our societies progress. And now where I live is succumbing to it too, albeit far more slowly than what those in the US have to deal with. The fact that SWAT teams are using flash bangs and automatic weaponry to raid a woman's house for selling beer without a license blows my mind.

> Department officers testified that their general SWAT training included work with flashbangs even though it wasnt formally recorded in department training logs.

In other words, they're lying to cover their asses again. Like police have never done that before. Disgusting.

SwellJoe 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm so past fed up with police in America. The drug war is pathological. The notion that a cop can kill an unarmed suspect with impunity (especially if they're black or homeless or mentally ill) is disgusting. The belief that "law and order" is a value worth allowing one group the exclusive privilege of breaking any law and causing any disorder they like without consequence simply has to end.

I'm at the point where I think the only sane thing is to dismantle the police, as we know it, and rebuild something less violent, less systemically racist, less prone to imprison or kill the mentally ill, and more aligned with basic human decency.

Talking about how dangerous flashbangs are misses the point of how dangerous the system that wields them is and how dangerous the people employed by that system are. Police have dozens of tools and techniques for destroying human life. As long as they are empowered (and even expected) to use them with impunity, there will be tragedy after tragedy, where children, the mentally ill, and innocent people, are injured or killed or imprisoned.

Not that talking about flashbangs is a bad idea. I just think we're past the point where fixing flashbangs will significantly fix things. This is a systemic problem which can only be resolved by systemic solutions.

6t6t6 1 day ago 10 replies      
I don't live in the US, so I am maybe missing something but, if the police wants to arrest someone, wouldn't be easier to wait until this person leaves the house, grab him on the street and tell him: "Hi mate, we are the police and now you are under arrest".

I don't see the need of assaulting a home.

corndoge 1 day ago 2 replies      
Everyone carries a flashbang, Malette testified. Any time we encounter locked doors, we have an unknown, we have to gain back that initiative.

I understand that police are interested in maintaining control of a situation, but practices like throwing flashbang grenades into houses without looking...these guys seem to think they're Delta Force.

vaadu 1 day ago 1 reply      
There will NEVER be accountability as long as the conflict of interest remains where police actions are investigated by a prosecutor that relies on these same police for him to do a successful job.
Aeolun 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think the problem is so much that flashbangs are being thrown, as that they are thrown when storming the house of someone committing the grave crime of illegally selling nachos.
cryoshon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use weapons against civilians and you get predictable consequences.

Not sure why this is permitted in the USA, starting to think that most Americans are really a bit braindead.

fapjacks 1 day ago 0 replies      
As an infantry combat veteran of multiple tours, the idea that police forces are using flashbangs is disgusting.
beloch 1 day ago 5 replies      
There seems to be some room for innovation here. The police are throwing these things blind. Evidence? Well, I refuse to believe anyone, no matter how debased, would intentionally throw a flashbang into a baby's crib. What's needed is a flashbang that either won't go off if in close proximity to a living being (e.g. perhaps add an IR sensor) or a flashbang that is triggered remotely, so it can be thrown, spotted, and triggered only if in a desirable location.

Personally, I think building a flashbang that's harder to injure people with will simply result in increasingly idiotic behavior on the part of the police. The real solution is to use flashbangs less and with better training. That means regulations and oversight because the police apparently suck at policing themselves. However, the U.S. loves to solve problems with tech even when it's not the best solution, so there's money to be made here.

noonespecial 1 day ago 0 replies      
That the officers involved in these incidents are never indicted is kind of a red herring. They follow procedure and feel like they've done nothing wrong.

The real issue is that we allow a procedure in which occasionally we throw grenades at babies.

k-mcgrady 1 day ago 1 reply      
OT: This is the third of fourth site in recent days that I've been on and thought I was on Medium. The designs all look identical. Medium's design is really nice so I'm not about to complain but it is a bit strange.
lordnacho 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many people were like me, in that they thought the Counterstrike version of a flashbang was representative of the real thing?

I never really considered how they worked until now.

comrh 1 day ago 0 replies      
ProPublica is quietly doing the best journalism of the past few years.
yellowapple 1 day ago 1 reply      
There seems to be a some demand for safer flashbangs (perhaps something with really bright LEDs and really loud speakers). This[0] seems to at least address the brightness aspect of it.

I mean, if the point of flashbang use by LEOs is supposedly to disorient/confuse/distract a suspect during arrest, this seems to be better-suited to that role. And better yet, if they're electronic, they should be (at least hypothetically) entirely reusable, saving a LEA a lot of money in the long run.

[0]: http://www.bluesheepdog.com/2012/03/13/delta-light-ball-flas...

andrewstuart 1 day ago 0 replies      
Outcome of arms vendors needing new markets.
lifeisstillgood 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there anyway to push for or endorse research into police weapons use in USA? I seem to remember a discussion some time back pointing out there was no central registry or even need to report gun use for all police forces.

It just seems that blowing the face off a sleeping baby ought to be the point you start filling in forms and asking questions like "is the person throwing a grenade well trained? Has the information they are acting upon come from as reliable source? Is there post action public reviews?

It seems that some parts of the USA lead the world and some parts still have hay stalks in their mouths.

halfcat 11 hours ago 0 replies      
>At least 50 Americans have been seriously injured, maimed or killed by flashbangs since 2000

I was surprised to see this statistic included. It really makes this issue seem less significant and does not help the argument being made. This means a little over 3 people per year injured or worse. Probably less than 1 death per year. By comparison, vending machines alone kill over a dozen people each year. Was this supposed to say, "we located over 50 people", and not intended to be put forward as a statistic?

ck2 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't even know what to say after reading that article.

How can this be even remotely acceptable to anyone?

I mean they are using them in cases where they know for a fact it is not a dangerous situation - an elderly woman selling beer? They used it TWICE? Really?

briandear 1 day ago 0 replies      
flashbangs are warranted when there is a high threat profile. The problem is that a 'raid' doesn't rise to the level of 'high threat profile.' The problem isn't the police tactics, it's a problem of bad risk management. Police have been considering all manner of crimes 'raid worthy.' If SWAT was going after known dangerous and armed gang members or they were in a hostage situation, flashbangs might be the right tactic; it would depend on the threat profile and pre-raid intelligence. SpecOps operators rarely just blast into a room. Oftentimes there are eyes on the target, including surveillance to determine the threat profile. Cops could have very easily just staked out the house and grabbed the guy when he walked outside. But that isn't as 'sexy' and suiting up in full battle rattle and rappelling from the roof tossing flashbangs, and kicking in doors.

While the drug war is a big prt of this, the larger problem is the lack of meaningful and audited protocols for various situations.

Going after a guy with weed should require a much different approach than taking down a meth lab. Though, a flashbang in a meth lab would be a sight to see.

ted5555 1 day ago 0 replies      
First, the Albequerque incident was cold blooded murder and the indictment is very appropriate.

Second, flash bang use is already dramatically declining so this sory is about three years to late. But nice effort.

darklajid 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure if this belongs on this site. This is .. utterly political.

Reading that article leads me astray and I have to question the sanity of the persons involved, both on the acting side (police) and the justification side (spokesman, random "Yeah, criminals are dangerous and all" crap).

This is the prime example of a cultural clash, of an article that is relevant for the US of A only (I hope there's a debate over there and people that think this usage is okay are somehow considered sane, locally).

For a foreigner like me this is tragic. Every single example in that article was bullshit. Inexcusable and mind-blowingly stupid. I'm aware of the fact that I might be deluded and that the 'real world' - over there - looks different. But seriously, what do we have in common if this is acceptable and 'best practice'?

I Owe It All to Community College
384 points by MaxQuentero  21 hours ago   266 comments top 28
jesseclay 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Another anecdote on the power of community college:

Back in 2009 I enrolled at Community College of San Francisco. I was 19 and had no idea what I wanted to do career wise, so I took broad and rigorous curriculum focused on transferring to UC-Berkeley.

The 2 years I spent there were some of the best of my life. I was frequently pushed and challenged by excellent professors who had true passion for their subjects (a few even had Ph.D.s). I grew a passion for learning Spanish (a subject that I had found painful in high school) among many others and got involved with several extracurricular groups. By my second year I was an elected student government senator and president of the business club. I was amazed by all the school had to offer hungry students and I took advantage of every opportunity. Not to mention I met some of my closet friends in life geeking out in study groups.

When it came time to apply to 4 year universities (fall and spring of my second and final year) I decided to apply to Stanford in addition to my originally intended UC-Berkeley. Just a few months later I was shocked to accept Stanfords offer of transfer admission to complete my undergraduate degree. Going to a place like Stanford would have been unthinkable for me just a few years earlier in high school, back then I had pretty average grades (around a 3.4) and mediocre test scores. Community college let me re-invent myself as a student and start with a completely fresh slate.

When I got into Stanford I eventually started to focus in on a major and skill-set, taking a ton of CS classes in the process. While I hadnt studied CS in community college (although I think they do offer it), I strongly feel the high level of general curriculum I took prepared me to major in nearly anything I would have liked at Stanford. I now work as a full-time software engineer, something I had no knowledge of whatsoever when I first started community college.

No doubt my admission to Stanford is an outlier for community college students (only a tiny percentage are admitted), however a ton of very intelligent and eager students transfer to 4 year universities every year, including several of my close friends. They have now entered the workforce and are highly contributing members to society and the tax-base.

I could go on forever about the benefits of community college (and in some ways how certain things were better than at a place like Stanford), however the short of it is that indeed, I also owe it all to community college, too.

snake_plissken 19 hours ago 7 replies      
The initial proposal from The President costs $60 billion over ten years or $6 billion per year. For some perspective, conservative estimates have put the cost of the war in Iraq at $500 million a day. This proposal would cost 72 days of war.

It's difficult to comprehend how our politicians could have any issues supporting such an initiative.

brohoolio 20 hours ago 2 replies      
$95 dollars a semester.

It shows you how society used to provide resources for people to bootstrap their lives.

The same individuals who benefited from this investment have not decided to pay it forward. They argue for lower taxes and support for education.

jarcane 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a more enlightening, more rewarding, more encouraging experience in community college than I ever have had before or since in any other form of education.

If I can place any flaw on it, it's that the experience was in fact too edifying, and kind of ruined my attempts to survive the painful meatgrinder that was an actual full university education.

eddie_31003 20 hours ago 0 replies      
When I started at my Local Community College, Bakersfield College, in 1997 it was $11 a semester. I think it's up $46 a semester now. I took my C/C++ courses from George Driver. I've recently returned to B.C. as an Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science Dept.
romaniv 19 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm glad that it worked for him, but my community college was a complete waste of time with the exception of two (just two!) courses and the internship program.

I think the true way forward is in replacing community colleges with certificates from online courses (with some in-person labs, probably). It's cheaper and would make for better quality of education.

morgante 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This is pretty far from being a ringing endorsement of community colleges. If anything, it just reaffirms the complete lack of academic rigor they provide.

- He aced an English class by doing "nothing more than embellish the definition I had looked up in the dictionary."

- His recollection of public speaking class was a gorgeous flight attendant.

- He never ended up graduating with a bachelor's degree and pursued a career which depends more on good looks than academic or intellectual ability.

I just don't understand why I should be footing the bill for more substandard students to get easy As, ogle girls, and pursue unintellectual careers. There's already plenty of aid available for intellectually deserving students (read: capable of filling out the FAFSA form). Adding more will just drive up the cost to taxpayers and continue to lower the quality of a CC education.

fatjokes 21 hours ago 10 replies      
> classes I dropped after the first hour (astronomy, because it was all math)

Yet another cultural figure stating without embarrassment how bad they are at math.

pnathan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I went to a community college for my first year. It was a bad choice: the financial gains were minimal, the networking gained was lost when I transferred, and the academic environment was very weak (mostly because the normal major was "sex, drugs, and beer", not the instructors' fault).

Other people I know have had better experiences at CC.

I fully support the idea of community college, in particular, I see it as a righteous place for things like coding bootcamps and trade training in general. Vo-Tech schools get a rough knock - they shouldn't.

One particular grief that has stood out to me is the financial recompense for instructing at a CC. I've looked into it (I am qualified to do so), and I believe I would take somewhere around a 40% pay cut to teach at a CC. That's ... suboptimal.

drawkbox 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The community college effort is a worthy one. With a renewed focus on it, it may help make tuition higher up more competitive. It may also make the freshman/sophomore level basic classes much better.

I know part of this is to battle rising student loans. Loans will be much cheaper if they can have community college as an option to start with that the government won't have to pay higher tuition for. It is actually very smart in solving the student loan issue, the balance of lower tuition and not having to pay for the first 1-2 years of university tuition will be very big.

I think some kids need something to go to right out of high school if noone was there to help them be serious at school. It is also badly needed for adults that might need a change of career or some path forward.

We need to do this and require 1Gbps internet across the US if we want to compete and care about our own infrastructure and people. We need to do this before we fund another war.

fnordfnordfnord 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I am an instructor at a community college, and I have to say that I had earfuls of embarrassing pessimism from my colleagues yesterday. You'd have thought that Obama himself was taking the tuition directly out of our salaries to fund it.
ahallock 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Instead of 2 more years of "free" education, why not ask how we can add more value to the last 2 years of high school, so that people graduate with job skills? This is just an attempt to buy votes, and funnel more money into gov. $60 billion is an estimate, and it will probably be triple that. Look at other gov estimates and you'll see a pattern. How much was the Iraq war supposed to cost? What about that NASA project in Mississippi?
Yhippa 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I love my local community college. I already have an undergraduate degree in computer engineering but several years ago took a class in linear algebra to refresh my understanding of it as well as out of personal interest.

I liked that the class size was small and that the teacher was willing to hear our questions. Some of the people were in the class for what seemed like grade 13 but about half the people were in it for the transfer program to a state university.

I admire the people who are trying to better themselves by taking advantage of community college (a bargain for education compared to the state schools). This is a very smart route whether they are trying to learn some new skills or attend the state schools on the cheap.

For those of you who think that there's no reason for you to look through the course catalog you really should give it a shot. I took an excellent project-based photography course and learned a lot that enabled me to take decent pictures wherever I go. There are public speaking classes, english writing, and all kinds of arts classes. Lots of other stuff like welding and auto mechanics. It's a great and relatively inexpensive way to try something completely different.

bko 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think community college is a great opportunity but I don't know if government funding this will really help many. From what I read, community college isn't very expensive and, since it is so valuable, I can't imagine that many people are on the fence about attending due to the monetary cost. There is a lot bigger investment required in terms of dedication, focus and effort, but I don't think the constraint is monetary.

If the government picks up what little monetary cost isn't already picked up by the state or other groups, this will certainly attract some students to attend but I imagine those marginal students would be a lot less serious and would not benefit from the program. To paraphrase Nassim Taleb, it's always helpful to have some skin in the game.

An interesting statistic to look at is college completion rates [0][1] which haven't improved too much over the last few decades (although certainly on the way up for women). I was pretty surprised to learn that completion rates are only 30-35%. I imagine community college completion rates are even lower.

Even though more people will certainly attend, getting more people into college won't necessarily benefit anyone. For those that aren't able to perform in an academic environment (for whatever reason) are ill-served by the nagging insistence of politicians.

[0] http://www.hamiltonproject.org/multimedia/charts/college_com...[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/new-college-da...

honksillet 11 hours ago 1 reply      
My experience at Glendale Community College was that there was a real bimodal distribution of student, with one peak around very serious, hard working students trying to better their position and another around a group of students that were just going through the motions. GCC and most CCs are already pretty cheap. By removing the already low cost, I fear that proportion of less serious students would skyrocket. (As a service approaches zero cost, the percent of user that abuse that service reaches it's maximum.)
ww520 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Community college is an excellent place for continuation education as well. Over the years I have taken night classes there have nothing to do with my date job, like laws, commercial contracts, real estate, investment, languages, etc. It's a great way to expand your horizon in a classroom environment.
pjmorris 16 hours ago 0 replies      
At loose ends as my senior year in high school passed (long story, short on ambition), I defaulted in to taking a scholarship at the local community college, offered to the top 10% of local high schools. A software engineer moonlighting as an adjunct taught my first course in programming (in FORTRAN, on punched cards, no less!). Somehow, he conveyed an enthusiasm and an understanding that inspired me to continue, to pursue and obtain a BSCS at a state U, and to have a happy career as a developer. I owe it all to Community College (and a whole series of other supportive events).
jschwartzi 9 hours ago 0 replies      
There was a Physics instructor at Pierce College in Washington State who was one of the best Physics professors I had. He was also the hardest. I doubt I would have passed any of my university courses if he hadn't put the fear of god into me.
russelluresti 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For my personal story, I graduated high school in 2001 and wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do. I was good in Math and liked computers, so I was planning on going to a normal university and just finding something in those fields (I didn't have a major or a program in mind, I was just going to go in as "undecided").

However, because of the cost and my own reluctance to get student loans, I ended up enrolling in a community college with the intention of just doing some basic courses for cheaper before transferring. While taking your typical math, science, history, and english courses; I also took an elective called "Intro to Computer Art" or something like that. Mind you, I hadn't taken any art courses in high school at all - no music, drawing, painting, whatever; I only took the minimum requirements and then filled my extra spaces with advanced math, science, and computer science.

I enjoyed the elective and decided to take more in the same program ("Visual Communications"). I explored traditional design, web design, video editing, and 3d animation. At the end, I got my Associate degree in Graphic Design (having never had wanted to be a designer at any time before college). Of course, all the exploration meant I spent well more than 2 years there (I also took things like Astronomy, which I liked after I changed teachers).

From there, I found an internship through the dean of the program who forwarded me an email from a company looking for interns and, afterwards, found my first job in the field through someone I had taken a couple of classes with.

From there, I was able to learn development on the job and change jobs a number of times - each time for a better experience and generally better pay. From a Texas suburb, I've gone to Minneapolis, New York, and now the SF Bay area all based on what I initially learned from community college.

My case is a bit different than what the President is intending, as he seems to see it more for learning a specific skill (like a trade school) instead of exploring what it is you want to do.

I think this is fine, but I really believe that the best case for community college is that it's a great place to explore different programs if, like me, you're leaving high school with no idea what you want to do (as many people seem to do).

owensims1 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The main benefits he reaped from CC are an atmosphere of learning and growth, and the ability to engage with interesting people, not the degree itself.

Both of those things can be obtained outside of college(community or otherwise). Too many people will get the degree for its own sake and simply coast by for this program to be worth it.

elberto34 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I have found that the best math teachers were from community college. One teacher explained the solution to a calculus problem I had developed out of curiosity , and it wasn't even on the curriculum. He didn't have to do that, but I appreciated he did
euphoria83 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I will give it an upvote, if for nothing else, than for the powerful writing. He makes a very lucid point though. Even hardcore capitalists could not argue with the idea that though the success of a man should depend on his efforts, bringing him to a state when he can start making an effort should be supported.
MikeTLive 13 hours ago 0 replies      
public schools were formed to produce factory workers.community college would be the equivalent bare minimum for today.

I can see no reason NOT to support this proposal completely and immediately.

lifehug 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I got paid to go to community college and now I'm getting my masters at UIUC.

It's called FAFSA, and most of my peers did the same. I'm not sure why we need to make it globally free when those who can't afford it can get paid to go.

Also, the solders mentioned to tug at our hearts strings get school paid for.

Soooo why the need for a hug pay check from congress?

marincounty 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a great experiences at the two community colleges I attended. The teachers really seemed to care. Now, my two years at a state college were a waste of time. I only got the BS degree because I wanted something from this state school. To the teachers, and guidance counselors at Indan valley college, and College of Marin; A huge thank you!
Taylorious 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm probably late to this party where everyone seems to be hating on the President's plan, but I'll chime in since this plan would have had a huge affect on me.

I'm one of those people who didn't apply themselves in highschool and didn't have anyone push me to do well. I couldn't afford to go to uni because my parents made just enough so that I couldn't get any aid. They also didn't have money to spare and were smart enough not to cosign loans for me to go to a university. Who can blame them? Its crazy to spend 10s of thousands of dollars to take intro classes that are basically just substitutes for how terrible our k-12 system is. My parents did encourage me to go to college though, so I went to one nearby right after highschool.

I would like to point out that even though its cheap, if you aren't in district its quite a bit more expensive. I think it ended up being around $100 a credit hour where I went since I wasn't in district. I know that is peanuts compared to universities, but if you have to pay out of packet, it adds up really quick, especially with books etc.

I was lucky that my parents let me use their car and live at home for free. Because of this, I could pay for the classes outright by working 30 or so hours a week at minimum wage. Its really depressing to work for months and all summer, saving virtually all of the money you make, and then blow at the start of each semester.

Ultimately this worked out well for me though, because by getting high grades and most of an associates degree, I was able to get significant transfer scholarships and not have to take a bunch of pointless intro classes. I'm not saying that all liberal arts classes are pointless, but some of them are, and it feels like hell to have to pay for those classes out of pocket, especially when you make minimum wage (which was $7.40 at the time). I would rather just read a book on a subject than take a class in something that I only have passing interest in.

I still have some debt from university due to double majoring and adding another year (which is when my scholarships ran out), but I still got out with < 15k in debt. And hey, that's peanuts when you get a software engineering job right out of school. I would have had so much more debt if I didn't go to CC first.

I will say that I meant quite a few people abusing the Pell grants though. People who lived at home for free and had no ambition would get Pell grants which covered their classes and gave them an overage for living expenses. They would just take the easiest classes and pocket the overage check. It was like a job for them. So I'm sure there will be people trying to do the same here, and there will be sleazy schools trying to get a chunk of the money too, but those are just problems that need to be solved.

mindcrime 20 hours ago 11 replies      
I have issues with the Obama plan, not because I'm against community colleges, but because I have issues with how this will (probably) be funded (read: taxes). As a libertarian / ancap who believes taxation is theft, I don't support anything involving spending tax dollars, no matter how noble the end.

That said, I'm a community college grad myself, three times over. I have an A.G.E. (General Education) from Brunswick Community College, and an A.A.S in Computer Programming and another A.A.S in High Performance Computing from Wake Technical Community College. And I have to say, I'm an unabashed fan of community colleges in principle. I just want us to find better ways to fund things like this.

Anyway, I think so highly of the people who come through the community college system (well, some subset of them anyway), that I've often said that when the day comes that we can afford to hire employees at Fogbeam, I intend to recruit heavily at the local community colleges (Wake Tech, Durham Tech, Alamance Tech, etc.) I also intend to recruit at the "second tier" universities (UNC-Pembroke, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, NC Central, NC A&T, Shaw, St. Augustines, Peace, Meredith, etc.

Why? Well, I believe there are really good people to be found - people who are easily smart enough to have gone to Harvard, Stanford, whatever, but just didn't for whatever reason. And if you're recruiting at these schools, you're probably not competing with Google, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Glaxo Smith Kline, Facebook, etc. for talent. Instead, you're competing with the local furniture manufacturing plant, the local electric utility, etc.

So yeah, community colleges are good. I'd just like to see more of the scenarios like we had at BCC back in the day. Some local rich millionaire type (a real estate tycoon) setup an endowment to provide free tuition at BCC for any graduate of any Brunswick County high-school. I'd love to see a concerted, nationwide effort to build a coalition of philanthropists of this nature to fund this "free college for everybody" thing, instead of taking it out of the federal govt. budget.

webwanderings 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome read.
Charlie Hebdo: first cover since terror attack depicts prophet Muhammad
316 points by dnetesn  2 days ago   453 comments top 35
chroma 2 days ago 15 replies      
The Charlie Hebdo attacks show that these days, real satire of Islam can't be done without significant risk of violent reprisal. If you doubt that statement, remember The Book of Mormon. (The play, not the actual book.) Could you imagine Trey Parker and Matt Stone making an equivalent Broadway play about Islam? Could you imagine them calling it The Qur'an to Google-bomb the original? Even if they disregarded their own safety, dozens of organizations would do their best to stop it. Venue owners wouldn't take the risk. Insurers wouldn't accept standard policies. Audience turnout would be lower, fearing attacks. And yet, both religions are similar in their ridiculousness. One just happens to encourage less violence in its hosts.

For a little while, we'll all pile-on the cartoon Muhammad bandwagon in show of support. But after this dies down, who will be the first to step forward with some new blasphemous ridicule? Who will single themselves out, risking their life, their family, their friends?

Whoever does so will certainly be braver than me.

tomp 2 days ago 17 replies      
> Warning: this article contains the image of the magazine cover, which some may find offensive.

It's the first time I've seen something like this on Guardian; I don't even remember it on articles discussing rape, murder or such, which is usually where "trigger warning" applies.

Personally, I find such trigger warnings, and especially "you might be offended" warnings, totally ridiculous. What about me? I find such warnings an insult to my intelligence and a trivialization of people's personal responsibility, where is my warning?

ThePhysicist 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm sure the Wednesday issue will sell out in no time, despite its edition of 3 million, and become a "collector's piece" for those opposing terrorism and violence (as well as for those who want to resell it on Ebay for a profit ;)).

I really admire the courage of the Charlie Hebdo staff, who, just one week after the attack, publish a new issue of their journal.

For me, the main problem now is how we deal with the political consequences of this tragedy: Many politicians already bring themselves in position to create new laws that will allow them even more wiretapping and surveillance. British prime minister David Cameron was arguably one of the first here, as in his recent speech he even puts in question the right of anyone (terrorists included) to communicate in private [1]. Other politicians from (mostly) right-wing parties all over Europe are seizing this opportunity as well and demand stricter anti-terror laws and more government surveillance. I think we need to be very watchful now if we don't wanna loose even more of our democratic freedoms for the sake (or the illusion) of more security.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/12/david-cameron...

neals 2 days ago 11 replies      
I used to think society would, at some point, grow up and leave religion behind.

But lately, it just feels like a far 'lower' form of religion is just taking over. I think that western christianity has made some big strides. For example, by leaving all the violence behind.

Now the violent ones are winning. This makes me sad for the future of Europe.

ThomPete 2 days ago 1 reply      
Charlie Hebdos fight is not a fight for freedom of expression but against self-censorship. I think a lot media and politicians forget that.

We all deal with self-censorship every day as we live amongst each other. Some people have more courage than others and dare take it "behind enemy lines" where other rules apply.

Freedom of expression is a legal right to express yourself without fearing those in power is going to shut you down or prosecute you. We mostly have that and the only people who can threaten it is the politicians which unfortunately is exactly what some of them are going to do.

We already see the first reactions like this http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/new...

And all over Europe there are people taking advantage of the situation and proposing laws that will actually threaten freedom of expression.

lovelearning 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm rather curious why this depiction is considered to be that of the prophet Muhammad. Is it said so somewhere in their paper, or do we all just accept whatever interpretation is handed down to us by the fundamentalists?
Udik 2 days ago 5 replies      
Yesterday the Guardian published the best opinion I've read so far about satire, Charlie Hebdo, the terrorist attacks and our reaction to them. And it's a short comic strip by the cartoonist Joe Sacco: http://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2015/jan/09/...
jpgvm 2 days ago 3 replies      
It takes a great deal to stand up against the advance of political correctness on free speech. Other countries haven't nearly done as well as France.

At the end of the day the situation was tragic but the defence of free speech against prevailing winds is incredibly important.

As for religious extremism... I don't think we will see an end until enlightenment spreads and religion fades into historic irrelevancy.

This is happening faster than people think, especially religious people as they can't see out of their bubble.At least here in Australia the vast majority of people may "identify" as Christian but they don't actually practice any semblance of faith. That being said the Christian lobby parties still have an unreasonably large amount of sway due to being a very vocal minority that leverages this weak "identity" of Australians to further their conservative agenda.

Nevertheless there is less and less children becoming indoctrinated into this nonsense and gaining access to real information sooner through the Internet that by the end of my lifetime I expect religion (in it's current form) in developed countries to be all but extinct.

I think extremism will still be around, it will just be over more real issues and less fairy tale beliefs.

bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
The meaning of satire has lost its edge. People today think satire = political humor, but satire is supposed to be daring, edgy, and in its highest form be:

a) virtually indistinguishable from reality

b) expose the author to real danger and reprisal

c) nearly impossible to reverse on the satirist

Satire has very often been very dangerous to produce, and I think we're being reminded of this right now. It's why satirists take their work so seriously, because it exposes malformed thinking by people who've built their power bases on such thoughts.

In my opinion satire is one of the highest forms of free speech and one of the most powerful tools available for parsing people capable of rational thought and those who aren't.

It's a kind of gom jabbar test and is not for the faint of heart. It's almost a true battle of the pen vs. the sword.

nahiluhmot 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm nervous about the response that these attacks will conjure from the far right. There have already been a good deal of attempts on the lives of innocent Muslims [1] since the attack on Charlie Hebdo, and I find it very concerning that I have heard none of this from the national/international news media. Would these not as well be considered acts of terrorism? Why not report on them? Doing so would seem to unfairly advance the anti-Islam sentiment in France by effectively silencing the acts of terrorism from non-Muslims.

[1] http://mic.com/articles/108206/how-bad-is-france-s-anti-musl...

xianshou 2 days ago 0 replies      
As the article points out, this is essentially the only viable move for Charlie Hebdo. To have so often depicted Muhammad in the past, have most of their staff killed for it, become the focus of a worldwide movement that promises not to be intimidated or cowed by terrorism, and then not publish Muhammad in the next issue? An admission of complete defeat.

That said, bravo.

quonn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Much better than expected: It's defiance and almost turning the other cheek at the same time.
nailer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Edit: actually this is wrong: the Guardian and Independent (left) have published, Sun, Times Telegraph and Mail (right) have not.

Original: it's also worth noting that all the UK newspapers, from both sides of politics, have republished the relevant cover.

Guthur 2 days ago 1 reply      
The article and many peoples reaction comes across as if these two 'individuals' actually represented the Muslim community. This is quite obviously not the case if it is looked at objectively.

And to say that somehow the Muslim community must bear responsibility for the individuals actions is like saying that all the people of France must bear responsibility for every wrong committed in their neighbourhood, or their city, or by their government, were those wrongs not commit by French men and women.

jacquesm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Radical murderous bastards with long toes will use any excuse to ply their trade whether they're anti-abortionists or Islamists doesn't really matter.

What does matter is that:

- this will rub off negatively on all those in Islam that don't distance themselves unconditionally from actions like these

- that it will be used to erode the rights and freedoms of people that had nothing to do with these attacks by railroading laws against the public interest while the anger and the fear are at high tide

- that actions like these make people of all religions look bad, especially those who are more fanatical about their religion.

On the whole, everybody loses.

If your imaginary friend can't be made fun of or you'll flip then you should see a shrink, and if you think there was anything 'ok' about these murders then I'd invite you to join in.

Other than that this is a police matter and politicians trying to use this to push their agenda should be voted out of office by all those who today think they too are 'Charlie'.

big_astrocyte 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is not about Islam but about a school of thought which is not only 100% certain in its beliefs (Quran is the literal word of God) but also likes to impose it on others under the banner of "don't hurt our feelings". I've seen examples coming from Budhism (Burma-Sri Lanka), Hinduism (India), Sikhism (India), Christianity (UK-middle age Europe-African countries). People from even non-islamic religions regularly kill each other for hurting 'religious feelings'.

When someone 'hurts' your religious sentiments, you can't be sure whether it was done deliberately or for deeper reasons. I can see deep reasons in why those cartoons were published.

Anyone against free expression is kinda against science itself. Certain religions will never grow (the word of god is limited to Quran/Bible/Whatever) but science will keep growing. What happens when science ends up infringing on religious feelings? Will we be allowed to publish potential treatment for HIV found in a pig's liver in a sharia state? Even saying that "Charlie Hebdo" did something wrong is taking a step towards a world where science starts becoming bound. This sentiment can easily go out of hand in a matter of 100 years. A perfect example would be Pakistan. A supposedly liberal place 100 years ago ended up forcing its only nobel prize winning physicist into exile, defacing his grave and making sure more awesome scientists are not created. Because apparently, Dr. Abdus Salam (the nobel laureate) wasn't Muslim enough!! I wouldn't take even one step towards intolerance for the sake of our great-great grandchildren.

rauljara 2 days ago 1 reply      
I found it quite moving that the theme of the cover was forgiveness. Fighting extremist hate with more hate has a best case of only shifting which people suffer because it, and a worse case that is truly horrible to contemplate.

I know saying you forgive your attackers will almost certainly not make the world a better place. But there were so many reactions that could have added to the fire. It's very hopeful to see people struggling to break the cycle even in the face of such loss.

Yetanfou 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I fail to understand is the general reaction - or, rather, the absence of such - of 'Islamic authorities' on this and other acts of violence in the name of their religion. There are many complaints about those who point fingers at all Muslims when these things happen, something which would be easily defused by a fatwa (a legal opinion) from some high-placed muftis declaring such acts as 'haram' - sinful. I do not know enough about Islam to know whether there is something resembling 'excommunication' in the Roman Catholic church, but if there is it would make sense to apply it to those who commit such acts of violence. If the perpetrators can no longer claim to be defending their religion they might start to realise that their acts of violence are criminal acts, pure and simple, without any religious excuse.

Such a fatwa - or series of fatwas, as there are many currents in Islam - would take away the cause for the general blame which is aimed at Muslims when atrocities are performed in name of their religion.

resonantcore 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's difficult to be surprised by this turn of events.

It's in poor taste, in one sense, but overall it's the only appropriate response that a satirist magazine could take in the wake of this tragedy.

Followers of Islam the whole world over will continue to ignore these publications nonviolently, though a few extremists might be further radicalized by this decision.

Meanwhile, David Cameron is trying to outlaw cryptography after these attacks. Surely that deserves more of our attention right now?

icebraining 2 days ago 6 replies      
Speaking on Today, [Omer el-Hamdoon, president of the Muslim Association of Britain] said causing offence just for the purpose of offending was not freedom of speech.

Distancing yourself from the extremists [FAIL]

gadders 2 days ago 0 replies      
We're allowed to talk about this now? I thought all the stories on it were getting flagged off the front page?
copsarebastards 1 day ago 0 replies      
These events have really solidified an idea for me that I've been mulling for a while: I don't think I'm in favor of religion as a protected class[1].

Islam believes in inerrancy of the Qur'an. The Qur'an encourages violence. The faces of organized Islam in the west engage in apologetics and argue that this isn't so, but anyone can read this for themselves. Claiming that the Qur'an doesn't encourage violence is just doublethink. Most Muslims believe that the Qur'an espouses peace, only because they haven't read it. But if they actually do read it and realize it espouses violence, then they are faced with a choice: either give up the idea that the Qur'an is inerrant, or begin spreading Islam through violence. All it takes to turn a peaceful Muslim into a violent Muslim is that they actually read and understand their holy book.

Even peaceful Muslims aren't great. Even in its milder incarnations, Islam is sexist and hostile to science.

The interests of Islam are not aligned with my interests. They are, in fact, directly opposed to my interests.

I believe that one of the most powerful ways in which I can act politically is through economics. There is a diner in my town which is well-known for its owners being racist. I don't go there, because I don't want to support racists monetarily. Similarly, I wouldn't hire a person who made racist comments. I believe that there should be significant repercussions for that kind of behavior.

Likewise, I don't want to go to Muslim businesses or hire Muslims. Islam is every bit as harmful as racism, and I believe that there should be significant repercussions for that behavior.

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

RRRA 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm offended by the fact that there is a warning at the top of this page...

Shouldn't it be there all the time then?

How about, we don't believe in anything anymore, or we don't have any integrity?

rikacomet 2 days ago 11 replies      
First of all.. certainly as a Muslim, I condemn the attack on Charlie Hebdo. This is not Islam.

But, if I were to take the liberty to express my own opinion, I would say honestly, I think both parties were at wrong here. First that their have been many instances in the life of our prophet, when he faced not just harsh but inhuman treatment, specially in his hometown of Mecca. Yet he never lifted a finger or even wished for those people to get hurt (there is specific mention of this in Islam). It is against the moral of our religion to engage in such "eye for an eye" notions. Yet people (like the 4 suspects) who are not aware of their own religion and the finer lines tend to do these things when agitated or pushed in a corner.

On the other hand, Religion is a personal affair. People are serious about it, be it any religion. People live and die by the religion, it is the very guide of majority of the people in this world. And if someone portrays something so closely associated to people, it is a kin to playing with their feelings. And that is where things start to get ugly, and such mishaps happen.

Satire is accepted in Islam, as evident from the semi-fictional writings about Mullah Nasruddin.


But the level of Satire in question here, was perhaps too much. Besides the additional fact, that impersonation/impersonification of Prophet Muhammad is highly condemned in Islam. Even if we are to write a play on factual things about him, it is prohibited to have someone portray him (even for a good/just reason). To say that in other words, to Muslims, a graphical satire is acceptable on anyone except the prophets, which includes Moses, Jesus, Abraham, etc. Yet, if someone does want to amuse himself or exercise his liberty knowing that it is something that hurts us, we simply have to ignore him. Things should not go further than that.

People in the west have indeed respected this, as seen in the movie:


Let us understand each others liberties as well as sensitivities, so that by standing firm together, we will all make a better society, both in France and the World.

mknits 2 days ago 0 replies      
My one and only question: How can a religion be based mostly on one book? Surely the book isn't wikipedia or google.

This question applies to Christians, Muslims and Jews.

ziggrat 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Y HN become political?
TIJ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Read news about the biggest gathering in paris ever as a tribute to the legendary cartoonist, terrorists are failing in their objectives.
higherpurpose 2 days ago 0 replies      
If only the governments wouldn't use this "attack on free speech" to umm...restrict free speech. If the terrorists change your way of life, they've won. I thought the whole point of the march was to say that "We are not afraid! And we'll continue to be just as free as ever! Your violence will not scare us!" - and so on.

But nope. Apparently what it meant is that we need more censorship and self-censorship caused by increased and more intrusive mass surveillance:



If the alternative to once in a while terrorist attacks is turning every democracy into Russia or China, then I'd rather stick with the risk of terrorism.

ca98am79 2 days ago 0 replies      
Offering forgiveness in the face of such brutality is very powerful and meaningful to me. It is moving and inspiring. When something so brutal like this happens, I can get depressed and not understand. It is easy to feel a lot of anger about it.

But then in the face of this brutality, when their co-workers and friends were murdered in cold blood, to offer forgiveness - it really does a lot to restore my faith in humanity.

jayess 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there anyone in France willing to take a paypal payment to buy me a couple of copies and mail them to the USA?
Shivetya 2 days ago 0 replies      
How do we obtain a copy in the US? Anyone have a good source?
Killah911 2 days ago 0 replies      
A very interesting cover. I was thinking about drawing a cartoon: a bunch of Muslims sitting around saying "I hate freedom soo much!..."

Note this wouldn't be satirizing Muslims, but rather the fact that we rush to draw these comical worldviews even in the face of such tragedies.

Let's just label it Radical Islam & call anyone that doesn't agree with our definition of "values" a Radical. The Islamic world is in deep shit, not necessarily because of the west. Meaningful change often isnt even a remote possibility in many of these places. The "extremists" are just another group vying for power and legitimacy in a dystopian Muslim world & something like Charlie Hebdo is a PR opportunity.

Religious injunctions aside, what makes criticizing Islam is not just the beliefs that some hold. What makes it dangerous is you're likely painting a target on your back. They won't take on the U.S. army, or the seriously oppressive armies of dictatorships. A journalist, celebrity etc is a great opportunity.

It's not fucking about free speech, unless you believe in a comical worldview where you depict what doesn't match your worldview as I did earlier. The cartoons are funny. I'm all for freedom of speech. But our principles don't make ground realties any different. We should think of the fact that at least we have the luxury of having principles.

In principle, nobody should rob me while I'm going walking down the street. But it's a whole different thing if it's in a rough neighborhood & I'm standing out like a sore thumb.

What happenned was wrong, and my heart goes out to all who are directly involved. And I mean that (A close family friend was recently shot by a deranged lunatic on a shooting spree, leaving him permanently disabled). The violence is senseless and irrational.

Let us them not rationalize it away with a little bias thrown the other way. It's not what I expect on HN. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking it was about freedom of speech. Yes, it has caused fear. Which is why I thought the cover was interesting. It's saying to us: we are not afraid & it's not hurling hate back with a message of forgiveness, which is atypical in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

Surprisingly Charlie Hebdo's cover is more thoughtful & less comical than the inane chatter of people saying "why do they hate us". And that is Brilliant. Alas this attempt at communication is probably lost on a majority of the Muslim world. In truth, everyone wants freedom. Let's take a second to think about what's really at play here.

For the perpetrators of these acts like to win, it requires us to becomes irrational & start becoming hateful and shortsighted. Let's not give in to that

lxc 2 days ago 0 replies      
The face and turban is shaped like a penis
lxc 2 days ago 0 replies      
RobAley 2 days ago 8 replies      
Try that argument with yet another topic :

If you, as a woman, go out wearing a short skirt, to a bar with all of these men, then what do you expect to happen?

I mean, I don't approve of the measures taken by the rapist, but they had it coming, and they seem to have been wanting it.

318 points by tommoor  1 day ago   89 comments top 26
STRML 16 hours ago 5 replies      
This project's homepage uses the same template as iojs.org (https://iojs.org/) and unfortunately also has the same problem: the front page says almost nothing about the project.

What does "call Node.js modules directly from the DOM" mean? I write Node.js code, all day, every day, and I have for three years, and I have absolutely no idea what that means.

NW.js appears to be some sort of "break" from node-webkit, and the copy on the main site seems to suggest that it is an entirely new project. The only useful link I see goes to a Google Groups post that says that node-webkit has been renamed to NW because it is neither Node nor Webkit.

This is missing the point entirely. The tagline should be something lke:

"NW.js is a runtime for building desktop applications using Web technologies. Like WebViews for iOS/Android, NW.js leverages the latest in web technologies (Chromium and io.js) to provide a complete platform for building fully-featured desktop applications using the same technologies used for the Web."

Instead, the tagline seems to be advertising that I can check `process.browser` from inside a <script> tag. That's cool, but somewhat analogous to the tagline for Tesla's newest car saying that it "lets you change songs with voice commands". Nice feature, but doesn't explain the project at all.

I put in a PR for the iojs.org site (https://github.com/iojs/iojs.github.io/pull/50) which is garnering some good discussion but it doesn't appear that anyone is "in charge" so it may be a long time before any sort of major change is merged.

Edit: Let me note that all of this is a shame because both of these projects (io.js and nw.js) are very exciting news for the Node community as a whole and are very well done projects! I don't mean to disparage the work of those teams whatsoever, they are doing a fantastic job.

deanclatworthy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you have got your marketing messages the wrong way around. Your primary message should be that you can leverage web technologies to build native apps. I think the node thing is secondary to that.
z3t4 5 hours ago 0 replies      
NW.js has both the Browser JavaScript API's and the Node.js API's. It is bleeding edge technology witch enable you to make desktop applications the same way you make web apps.

It can be weird if you are used to HTTP server > client as it's possible within a script tag to use Node.js API's.

An advantage with going desktop instead of browser is that you can do much more and it's easier to sell your application. There are for example already games on Steam that are just web apps, but using NW and run "natively" on the desktop.

You do not need an SDK, or full blown IDE, just use your usual tools. I program in Notepad myself. Just write html and JS files and treat NW as just another browser.Then package and distribute your app and the user wont notice or care that they are using a "browser".

sjs382 20 hours ago 2 replies      
It's strange that the icon is a compass, but it's pointing NE (instead of NW).
azinman2 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Only through these comments could I even learn what this does -- build desktop apps in javascript. "NW.js lets you call all Node.js modules directly from DOM and enables a new way of writing applications with all Web technologies." does not tell me that... I thought it meant that in an ordinary web page I could 'require' node modules that used node APIs like stream.

It is all about desktop apps, right?

sync 22 hours ago 2 replies      
This google group message is particularly revealing: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/nwjs-general/V1FhvfaFI...

Looks like they have migrated to io.js as well.

api 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been following this as node-webkit for a while. It's like Qt Quick except it leverages all that's been built for the web and you don't need to waste mental bandwidth learning another new thing.

(Not that I'm against learning new things, but I only do so when there is a reward. Qt Quick isn't "enough better" than the web to justify it.)

hitlin37 21 hours ago 2 replies      
nice to see node-webkit in a new form. nw.js looks to be the right tool to write cross-platforms apps. I used some of the apps written using node-webkit and they run great on ubuntu/linux. I've been thinking of re-writing an old application (written using xulrunner) into a nw.js app.Since i'm new to nw.js, its probably good to ask here. As i understand node suits for the application where I/O are required. My application talks a lot from hardware such as getting setting files using network, sending status over the same. The application has its own protocol for talking over the network socket with other devices over the network. Is nw.js is a good choice for such an app?
alphaomegacode 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great projects & comments.

Am I correct in assuming that the end users need Node Webkit (or NWjs) installed before this runs? That means Node as well?

Instead of doing proof of projects in C# or Obj-C or C++, this could be a great time saver.

I've seen the build instructions but it seems they all need Node installed and the node-webkit path referenced.

kbody 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Any worthy changes or just the name? Like for instance using libchromiumcontent instead of building chromium like https://github.com/atom/atom-shell ?

I also like the node way of not forcing a window and instead using an entry.js to bootstrap anything you want, more freedom, especially handy on tray apps.

beefman 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been making desktop apps for clients with node-webkit for over a year now, and it's a dream. Popcorn Time and Light Table are both built on it (the latter being written in ClojureScript). Happy to see this change and can't wait to try it out!
chrisrickard 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Much better name imho. I love node-webkit, although at the moment I am grappling with mp3 support (finding the right version of ffmpegsudo.so that works with the latest nw version)
oDot 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have a take on how to deal with app's appearance using these kind of tools? While a lot of apps using it look impressive, don't we lose the native look and feel of the OS?
_greim_ 10 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the main use case for this? (e.g. Android or iOS apps, or desktop apps, all of the above, or something else?)
mkohlmyr 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Wrote my first node-webkit app the other week, pretty enjoyable experience overall. Very easy to do as someone with web development experience. Also it seemed appropriate as I was already running https://github.com/mixu/nwm as my window manager ;)
TheAceOfHearts 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't used this new release, but I've played around with it when it was node-webkit. I love the idea of it... But when using it, I found the tooling was lacking. Developing anything on it was tedious :(.
premasagar 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Ooops. I keep reading it as nsfw.js - I'm not sure what that module would do.

Congrats to the NW team.

rtpg 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this a Node-webkit runtime? Like, I install this, and all node-webkit projects can stop bundling NW with the releases?
quickvi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anyone been able to combine this with python? I have some python ML code that would be difficult to port to js and it would be nice to be able to pack everything together.
fersho311 18 hours ago 2 replies      
For my understanding, does nw.js accomplish the same thing as browserify?
mackwic 22 hours ago 1 reply      
By the way, who use nw here ? How ?
k__ 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Good to know that there is still something going on.

A few months ago I looked into creating desktop apps with JavaScript and found Node-Webkit and the Atom-Shell. AS seemed to bloated for my taste, but I found NW was kinda stale, back in the days.

jedisct1 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like this is what Peerio was built with.
bgun 22 hours ago 5 replies      
Not to be That Guy, but why oh why doesn't the compass in their logo point northwest? :)
cheriot 16 hours ago 1 reply      
site under construction

I'll just come back tomorrow then. Seriously, though, is this tool complete enough for people that are focused on building things rather than playing with trendy toys?

evo_9 22 hours ago 8 replies      
How is this different than the already awesome Meteor which hit version 1.0 not long ago (and I have to admit it is rocking my world right now, love it).

Genuinely intrigued and interested, how is this different/better?

Edit: Oh yeah I forgot HN isn't about answering honest questions, if you dislike something then you downvote it... fucking lame.

The problem with Angular
291 points by robin_reala  1 day ago   228 comments top 58
jasonwocky 1 day ago 8 replies      
I don't really follow many of the author's objections. I think he or she left out a lot of reasoning.

"This code reminds me of a simple server-side scripting language such as JSP or ASP thats used to fill HTML templates with database content. These languages have their place in the web development stack but on the server, not in the browser."

Says who? What's the rationale for where a language belongs?

"Although templating is the correct solution, doing it in the browser is fundamentally wrong. The cost of application maintenance should not be offloaded onto all their userss browsers (were talking millions of hits per month here) especially not the mobile ones. This job belongs on the server."

Again, based on what?

"My point is that I expected far more front-enders to embrace Angular. I have the feeling their number is surprisingly low see also the problems my clients had with finding good front-end Angular consultants. "

More stuff based on feeling rather than empirical evidence. And clients have trouble finding good front-end developers these days no matter what the technology is.

"A more important reason may be pushback from the JavaScript community. Angular has evoked some serious criticism."

Find me a framework that hasn't evoked serious criticism from some corner of the Internet.

Look, I'm no fan of Angular. In fact I've never written a thing in it. It doesn't really fit my style of front-end development (and I'm a Java programmer!). I'm more of a libraries-over-frameworks guy. But this article is not very well-reasoned.

pera 1 day ago 3 replies      
I usually have a terrible UX with Angular websites, I don't know if the problem is Angular itself or the developers, but these are some of the problems I usually experience:

-No HTML hyperlinks. This means that I can not open pages in new tabs, which it's very frustrating.

-Slow loading times. Static websites are much faster. Even non-cached server-side dynamically generated websites are faster.

-High CPU usage. To be fare my computer (1.4ghz c2s) is almost 5 years old, but using 100% to render a very simple "About us" page is ridiculous.

-Broken style when using some add-ons. This _only_ happens with Angular.

susan_hall 1 day ago 5 replies      
The reality is, Javascript has problems, and smart people disagree about how to solve those problems. The proliferation of frameworks is a symptom, but the frameworks are not themselves the problem. Javascript has some quirks, that is for sure, and then, independent of Javascript, HTML/XHTML has its quirks. Most ambitious sites today are trying to deliver software as a service, but HTML was conceived as a publishing mechanism for documents. The emphasis on publishing brings in some baggage that complicates any conversation about doing HTML right. Consider the holy wars that have raged regarding the word "semantic". There are many GUIs in the world that focus strictly on visual representation and programming mechanics. Think about Java/Swing, or GTK, or Flash. Swing does not aspire to be semantic, it only aspires to give us a GUI for those who would create a GUI app with Java. GTK is the same, it is for programming environments. But Javascript/HTML is given the task of being both a programming environment and also a publishing platform, with semantics and a hierarchical document object model. This is a confusing burden to put on something that most people nowadays only want to use as a programming environment.

In the short run, I do not know what the solution is. I suspect developers will continue to invent new Javascript frameworks in an effort to create sufficient levels of abstraction to ease the pain of development for the Web. In the long run, the solution for the industry will be polyglot browsers, and polyglot protocols, that can work as a runtime and thus give developers the kind of freedom on the frontend that they already have on the backend. Despite the many brilliant minds working on the issue, Javascript is never going to work as the byte-code of the Web. Something more general is needed. On the server, the JVM gives developers a runtime that allows them to use many languages, and many different paradigms: Scala, Clojure, jRuby, Jthyon, etc. We need that kind of flexibility on the frontend. And we need protocols to support that runtime.

davexunit 23 hours ago 2 replies      
AngularJS is a great example of over-engineering. Pretty much everything is needlessly complex and poorly designed. Learning to use it was difficult, and watching new employees struggle with it was painful. Newer libraries that take a virtual DOM approach like MithrilJS are so much nicer to work with. They are easier to understand, simpler, and faster. I wrote AngularJS applications professionally for a year at my last job, and in hindsight I wish we had spent more time evaluating the other options available at the time. AngularJS got us away from a structureless jQuery mess (not blaming jQuery btw, but technical debt from an application that grew too quickly), but what it created was a new kind of mess that is much harder to fix now that the team bought into the "Angular way".
onion2k 1 day ago 13 replies      
Rendering on the client makes a lot more sense. By sending the user a template followed by the data necessary to fill it out you only send the structural code once. If the user views 100 pages then that's 99 times you've not had to send the HTML required to display the content. That's good news from a bandwidth point of view, an environmental point of view, and, if you're clever about how you code it, a rendering speed point of view because you only have to replace the content in some DOM nodes rather than repainting the entire template. That can lead to a faster display than swapping in the rendered content for some situations (particularly if the changes are small text elements and you have a shadow DOM available eg reactjs).

If you're doing something very complicated and your users have old or underpowered devices then rendering on the server is sensible, but in the modern web it really isn't appropriate.

marknutter 1 day ago 3 replies      
This article is ranting about single-page applications written with javascript frameworks. The word "Angular" was thrown as click-bait because it's the latest whipping-boy. From what I read there isn't a single valid complaint that's specific to Angular.
strickjb9 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't get behind the article's idea that Angular is built by people who are non-front-enders for non-front-enders. It's a bold statement that hasn't been supported.

I'm an avid user of Angular and as far as performance goes: you have to be aware of the hefty digest cycle.

We should all be well aware of the downsides of Angular. Just like any technology, there are upsides and there are downsides. When used right, Angular is a powerful tool and the downsides can usually be mitigated.

If I had to help support this article then I would restate the problem statement: the field of web development has exploded and the barriers to entry are nil. Frameworks now have to be built in such a way that they can hold up to the abuse and misuse by less experienced devs.

LoSboccacc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I disagree with this:

"Although templating is the correct solution, doing it in the browser is fundamentally wrong."

We keep forgetting that the decision of where to run the view logic depends on the environment.

We have swung between cpu and bandwidth as bottlenecks in the last decades multiple times, and that's how framework moved between server side and client side mvc multiple times.

No approach is radically different. We moved to thin client when browser were good enough; increase in bandwidth and smaller latency enabled rich client application, making the browser thick again. Handheld devices however are getting more common, so people are facing problems with all the logic and content being manipulated on the client.

It doesn't mean the thick client solution is fundamentally wrong. Also it doesn't mean we have to invent new strategies and pattern to solve this.

When you take a step back from the technology and return to the problem it was solving, it appears to me that we are just back at the thin vs thick debate, and as before this is not an issue of 'which is better', more of 'which is more appropriate to the topology constraints we have'

cheriot 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've always respected the quirksmode blog, but this article is pure FUD.

Many of the criticisms are general to thick client web apps:

"I feel that Angulars fundamental proposition blurs the line between front end and back end."

"Although templating is the correct solution, doing it in the browser is fundamentally wrong."

Others are intentional ignorant.

"Ouch. Thou shalt eat thy own dogfood."

Google also makes GWT and Dart. Should they use all three on every product? The more resources you have and the more demanding your circumstances, the less any general purpose framework will make sense.

"In other words, Angular requires you to spend a lot of time to teach yourself the Angular way of doing things."

What part of this industry doesn't? Put the logic on the server and you're learning Rails, Flask, whatever instead.

"Google will eventually stop supporting 1.x."

Yes, years after they release 2.0. They've been very explicit about that and it's a better policy than most libraries have.

I can't help but get the idea that the author just doesn't like the idea of doing things differently than he always has. Good luck with that.

DevFactor 23 hours ago 1 reply      
My issue with AngularJS: Debugging is an absolute nightmare, error messages are far and in-between. And when working on a 50k+ line production code-base, one single comma a in a file where it is not supposed to be will shut down the whole GUI. And occasionally, it won't even show where in the console.
aidos 1 day ago 2 replies      
I disagree with the majority of this article.

There seems to be a theme in there that angular is too heavy (Java, templates, performance, time reading DOM on load) for the front-end.

There's really a false premise at play here - that apps these days are as simple as they once were. Imagine for a second that front-end applications are vastly more complex than they once were (because they are). For any of us who have built more complex front end tools, you need something to help you manage the complexity you're now carrying around.

Now the rest of it starts to make sense. More uptake from backend devs than front-end devs? The backend guys have built large complex systems in the past, they know that a tool like this can help them and it's something they're used to dealing with. Prescribed structure to your code? Yup, sounds good - I don't want to spend my day figuring out someone's callback spaghetti or DOM updating triggers from random locations. Front-end templates? If you don't need them and you're using angular you are using the wrong tool for the job.

radicalbyte 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Sorry, I'm calling bullshit on his argument for server-side rendering for increased performance.

Consider a typical SPA:


In my SPA I load one large html document and javascript file in. The html document contains the 30-or-so templates my system needs to use. The script contains logic and localization data for the user.

This is all cached.

As my users use app, Angular makes calls to my REST/JSON services, transferring just the data it requires with a very efficient encoding. Some of the data is even cached in local storage.

Now, imagine that I've moved the rendering to the server. Instead of transferring a couple of KB of JSON data when a user filters a grid, I have to transfer 30k of HTML markup. My HTML could be smaller, but my designers really like to have class names on all elements. Plus the German text I see is really long.


In this rather common scenario the SPA vastly outperforms the traditional server-side render-as-markup sites I was making three/four years ago. Network dominates, especially on mobile. It's not your CPU killing your battery, it's the screen and radios.

If you're making a simple informational site - a newspaper, blog, marketing site - then sure your performance will suffer, but that isn't the problem. The problem is that you're using a excavator to plant a daffodil. You shouldn't even need to use a server-side framework, let alone Javascript.

coldcode 1 day ago 2 replies      
All I know of Angular is the pain our JS devs have using it. If Angular 1.x was so great why is Google tossing it out and building essentially a new framework in Angular 2.0? That would seem an indication that it isn't very good.
wpietri 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article could be right; I don't know the domain enough to say. And it did clarify for me why some people find Angular so contentious: different tribes. But at a number of points where I was expecting explanation, I got bare assertions.

For example, "These languages have their place in the web development stack but on the server, not in the browser." Why's that? Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing languages that pay little attention to the divide, so that you can easily move code from one execution context to another as needed.

Or the already noted bit about client-side vs server-side rendering.

Or "Google aims to conquer the enterprise market, and Angular is one of its tools." Do they? I live in San Francisco and know a bunch of people who work at Google, and I have never heard the notion that they are aiming to own a lot of enterprise-developer mindshare. I'm certainly having trouble seeing how increased Angular usage leads to some billion-dollar revenue stream.

Or this, criticizing Angular's origin as a prototyping too: "I dont think that a rapid-prototyping framework should be used for complex, enterprise-level production code." This from a guy whose favorite language was created for some light mouseover animation and form validation? You could say that Rails fits his description precisely, and it seems to be doing ok in the enterprise.

So I wish this had had more meat. As it is, it seems more like a dressed-up version of "Angular does not match my tastes," than the serious examination it wants to be.

Also, fussy language note: please nobody ever say "pulled straight from the horse's mouth". If you're going to use a metaphor, use it fully and well. Pulling something from a horse's mouth is going to be a disgusting and possibly dangerous operation. One hears something straight from the horse's mouth.

tschellenbach 1 day ago 1 reply      
Written by one of the most experienced JS developers. I wonder how he feels about EmberJS.
izolate 1 day ago 3 replies      
The author hit the nail on the head for me: "The biggest problem for many front-enders seems to be that Angular forces you to work in one specific way."

I'm opposed to opinionated frameworks. which is why I don't use Rails. And why with Python I use pyramid/flask instead of django.

And with JS/node, I've found the commonJS+modules approach a far better means to structure my code than any monolithic framework.

andreyf 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Adopting Angular 2.0 would require them to allocate massive amounts of budget to rewriting code that already works.

I really wish the team would rename "Angular 2.0" to "Angular for ES6". This would make the rebuttal to this point painfully obvious - one day most ES5 code will need to be rewritten / re-architected for ES6 anyway. The cost of rewriting everything is not just for upgrading a framework from 1.0 to 2.0, but to use a (then) modern language.

zirkonit 1 day ago 0 replies      

Monolithic and opinionated, in software libraries and frameworks, will always contrast with lite an modular. Some monoliths end up long-lasting (Rails?), some perish as always, fitting the needs of your target audience is key. Backend engineers, for a JS framework, is as good a target audience as any.

tinco 1 day ago 4 replies      
Now I'm definitely more embedded in the backenders community than the frontenders, but from my perspective Angular.js has been a lot more popular than the author suggests. Of course my only metric for this is hearing other people talk about it.

When we started selecting technologies for a new frontend for our web application about a year and a half ago, I did a quick evaluation of the big frameworks. Looking at the TODO list implementations and implementing a small side project in Angular and a few others.

My conclusion was that the way angular works and how you use it was pretty horrible, and I was quite surprised to see so many so impressed and positive about it. I didn't even think about its performance (as it was promised it was going to improve as it stabilised). The whole idea of the dependency injections and factories, it just doesn't make sense. Within the company my colleagues agreed with my conclusions so we decided to pick something else.

My probably not so popular opinion on dependency injection in dynamic languages is that you shouldn't bother with it. Javascript (and Ruby for that matter) allows you to overwrite both properties and prototypes, this means that any dependency injection can be done dynamically at runtime whenever you want as long as your logic and data is nicely captured in properties. (Note that his last clause is something that often does not hold in Javascript projects as most/many authors love wrapping their stuff in functions with very harshly make lots of things private and immutable)

So designing a whole framework around enforcing this pattern, with a terrible syntax and un-fathomable semantics, on top of a dynamic language, it doesn't sit well with me.

debacle 1 day ago 1 reply      
The problem with Angular is that it's 2005 technology masquerading as the new hotness. Angular existed in 2005 in almost the same state. Why? For people who wrote Java or PHP that didn't want to learn this "new" language, JavaScript. In fact, we had a half-dozen implementations between ASP, whatever the name of Google's solution was at the time, and the Myriad of "MooTools Helpers" and "Prototype Helpers" in PHP.

The reality is that Angular, as a framework, takes you 90% of the way there, just like any other framework, but it makes the last 10% almost impossible to do "right." This is in contrast to JS-based frameworks which don't conflate your entire application to add some questionable ease of use. ReactJS, Knockout, etc, are all superior in that they allow you to do some Angular things without getting in your way when you need to do non-Angular things.

ben336 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can't really verify the authors thesis that most people using Angular are backend developers, but it does seem to have become the first thing everybody tries to learn after JS/jQuery. I've been interviewing a lot of entry level candidates lately, and "I've also started playing with Angular" has practically been a theme song.
bitplanets 1 day ago 0 replies      
"This code reminds me of a simple server-side scripting language such as JSP or ASP thats used to fill HTML templates with database content. These languages have their place in the web development stack but on the server, not in the browser."

What is the problem? I make isomorphic apps and I really like this. DRY

IgorPartola 1 day ago 2 replies      
HTML templating belongs on the server-end? Well, that's... debatable.

I like Angular. It is backed by Google so it's less likely to be abandoned because of boredom. It ibolides the batteries; I don't have to learn about dozens of independent libraries just to get something simple together. It is fast enough. Lastly, Ionic is pretty neat.

That is not to say it doesn't have it's bad parts. I don't care for some of the boilerplate it has and how badly it fails if you screw any of it up. I am not a fan of the built in $http service. The state service and URL routing are also too confusing and often do not work correctly when doing slightly more advanced things (intercepting transitions, rewriting history). But overall, I like it better than, say, Backbone.

benaston 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem with AngularJS can be summarised thus:

"Its marketing and documentation does not correct those who believe it is suitable for web-applications more complex than simple CRUD apps."

As soon as you have an application where you have to reason about the events ocurring in your page, with AngularJS you're lost. Note that CRUD apps are a sizeable proportion if not the majority of applications, so it's brilliant for a massive number of applications.

But for anything more complicated, you're on a knife-edge of performance-problems and ballooning accidental complexity.

buckbova 22 hours ago 0 replies      
> Angular is aimed at large enterprise IT back-enders and managers who are confused by JavaScripts insane proliferation of tools.

I pushed Angular for our team because it was so confining. Keep the code modularized and stick to best practices. Honestly, it's been a joy to work with. Instead of hodgepodge jquery soup, we have structured code that anyone can dive into and follow a common style.

It feels like the old guard keeps pushing back on SPA's. It is a so much more dynamic experience for the user than your typical oldschool postback driven site.

billions 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Angular was written by Google for Google products. It had a big corp audience in mind from the start. It provides developer structure at the cost of agility. This makes sense in large teams where contributors come and go and have varied skill sets. Encapsulation and isolation of scope makes limits the damage one component can do. To achieve this rigidity a lot of background enforcement is required. The result is performance decline and lots of development overhead.
teknologist 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is mostly BS. He's got the knack of sounding like he knows what he's talking about when he actually doesn't. Some examples:

"Angulars ng-repeat directive will create or destroy DOM elements accordingly. This turned out to be quite expensive. ...

... what worries me is that this non-performant mode is Angular's default. Front-end framework defaults should use established front-end best practices. Angulars dont."

He's talking about ngRepeat's "track by" function here and clearly doesn't understand that it can't be switched on by default as the user must specify the name of a unique id used in their data models. There is no way for this to be on by default.

"Although templating is the correct solution, doing it in the browser is fundamentally wrong. The cost of application maintenance should not be offloaded onto all their userss browsers (were talking millions of hits per month here) especially not the mobile ones. This job belongs on the server."

What does that even mean. Consumer hardware contains heaps of resource for web browsing.

"Many front-enders, on the other hand, who have worked with JavaScript and browsers for years and have developed their own coding style"

Cute front-enders with their own adorable coding styles. Code is code. Patterns structure code to increase maintainability. Stop imagining there's a group of people whose work this does not apply to.

"Thats why most Angular developers come from the back-end, particularly from Java. As far as I know this situation where a front-end framework is supported mostly by non-front-enders is unique."

More of this front-end/back-end discrimination bullshit. That's a distinctly enterprise paradigm that just has to go. It's 2015

sakri 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not just Java and Backend guys, I worked with Flash and Flex for 10 years, for me Angular makes perfect sense. I know I'm not alone either. Before these great "framework wars" of Javascript, there were framework wars in the Flex world, with frameworks of varying credibility and endless haters / fanboys publicly pronouncing their butt hurt about their whims. Google any "[enter framework] sucks" and get your opinions validated.
drderidder 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Angular emanated some 'project smells' that have kept me at arms length. The size of the codebase was very large compared to alternatives. Lots of add-on solutions for various problems (ng-this, ng-that) kept cropping up. Articles explaining how to do X or Y in Angular indicated things were probably not as simple as they ought to be. And, it was mainly driven by Google as opposed to a small core team of diverse individuals. The tools that have turned out to be the best in my experience have often had one visionary lead developer, a BDFL-type champion. I expect Angular to appeal more to enterprises, while the early adopters and lean startups shift towards small libraries and microframeworks. I think web components will become more and more important, and that we'll begin to see more libraries to assist specifically with data persistence and synchronization between the client and server.
hodwik 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This guy would have been better off just saying "Angular 2.0 breaks Angular. The End."

They took out {{ }}, $scope, DDO, controllers, jqlite, angular.module, and are moving to ES6 when basically no browsers have even started supporting it.

Isn't that enough? Do we really need to complain about Java developers writing for the web?

acaloiar 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Id say Angular is mostly being used by people from a Java background because its coding style is aimed at them. Unfortunately they arent trained to recognise Angulars performance problems."

If I follow the logic correctly--people with Java backgrounds are not trained to recognize performance problems? Quite the curious line of reasoning.

bceagle 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really just a compilation of previous rants against Angular. If you want to get a more balanced view, you can read my article dealing with a lot of this: https://medium.com/@jeffwhelpley/screw-you-angular-62b3889fd...
breakingcups 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If the author happens to chime in, that big Dutch corporation wouldn't happen to be ING, would it?
msane 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of this seems a bit personal and a bit of a surprise from PPK.

The first few paragraphs are trying to convince you that Angular isn't popular and isn't meant for cool people. You don't need to consult Google Trends to sense that there is an ego on the wrong end of a popularity contest at play, but here it is:


ziles88 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Poorly written article mostly. Largely just fluff and opinion, and rehashing of problems other people have mentioned. I swear everytime I read one, I expect a unique take, but they always end up the same. Two or three paragraphs hinting that it might not be performant, and another 3 or 4 paragraphs talking about how Google doesn't even use it and how Angular is somehow hard to learn. Only thing that surprised me is he didn't tell us about how great React is at the end of the blog.
ChicagoDave 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"Although templating is the correct solution, doing it in the browser is fundamentally wrong."

This statement alone sounds like someone doesn't want to learn new things.

I'm sorry, but I wrote ASP.NET webforms for years and you will pry Angular templates out of my cold dead hands. Of course if you have optimizations for narrow scenarios, then by all means refactor...but most activity in a SPA is pretty simple stuff. A template and a couple of REST calls and you're set.

JustSomeNobody 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I think some of these front end frameworks come from developers looking the bloated mess that is Enterprise Development and they think, "Man! I gotta get me some of that!"


hmottestad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why should I offload templating to the users?

Because it saves me lots of money since I don't need so many backend servers.

We are already offloading lots of stuff to the client already. CSS is a great example of this. We could have a server calculate the colour of some text, or just tell the browser which rules should be used to calculate that colour.

EDIT: For almost two years I've used Angular on most of our web systems at work, and also on most of my private ones where i make the client exceptionally thick and the server is just for persistence.

jscheel 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what I have been saying since 2012. Angular was created by java developers for java developers. It's is an abomination to the frontend.
monokrome 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It is more than obvious that the author of this article really doesn't understand Angular. Also, you can't say that poorly educated developers is a "problem with Angular", and this is essentially the author's primary argument here.

Honestly, how did this make it to the top of HN?

iSnow 1 day ago 0 replies      
>The biggest problem for many front-enders seems to be that Angular forces you to work in one specific way.

I am not sure this is a weakness. While everyone protests change and all developer's heads explode when you force them to use a specific convention, in the real world a common standard of coders in one company is a good thing.

myliverhatesme 1 day ago 0 replies      
How did such a horribly written article with no substance or structure got so popular? This guy just explains how he "thinks" and "feels" with no supporting evidence.

One of his first points is:"I feel that Angulars fundamental proposition blurs the line between front end and back end."

Why? I feel it makes the line clearer. So there.

After I read the entire article I was still left wondering what his point was. He concludes with discussing Angular 2.0

"The 2.0 rewrite is aimed at front-end developers, but may not reach them, and in addition will turn off Angulars current following. I dont think Angular will survive the rewrite."

Well, no shit. Let me get this straight: a front end framework isn't going to survive because it's targeted at front end developers? Who writes this crap?

naeemShaikh27 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just A Crap
arcosdev 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree, specifically with the fact the Angular 2.0 will turn off all the corporate/Java devs and thereby kill itself.
asdrty 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't like that Angular makes HTML pages very much useless by themselves (content-wise without javascript)
mark_sz 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I think bigger problem is with developers who are using Angular wrong way.

Before same story was with jQuery etc.

brainflake 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Really disappointed with the quality of this article. PPK was such a valuable resource back in the day when it came to front end development and always had great content (especially when it came to compatibility issues). I'm not even saying I disagree with him here, but this writeup seems pretty half-assed, at least for someone of his caliber.
nolk100 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't agree with this claim whatsoever - "Angular is aimed at corporate IT departments rather than front-enders"

I'd say it's the other way around, if you read "front-enders" as hobbyists, start ups and SME's. Angular is still far too new and unproven for most big corporate IT departments.

damm 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Angular is the new PHP didn't you know?
hippich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cross-posted to ihateangular.com
ebbv 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is really bad. Having learned Angular and written an app in it, I liked Angular 1.x OK. I think between Angular 1.x and Ember it was mostly a six of one, half dozen of the other question. I went with Angular for my app because I thought "It's backed by Google, they'll grow it responsibly and smartly." Well, color me stupid. I feel pretty burned by Angular 2.0, now not only does the app I wrote need to be 100% rewritten, but everything I spent time learning about Angular 1.x is now wasted effort.

That is the problem with Angular. Angular 2.0. Nothing else this article talks about is really a valid criticism at all. See other comments about that.

at-fates-hands 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just a few points for me about Angular in my own experience. When I first started using it, it seemed rather straight forward and easy to use. I could use it in some of my projects, or build entire apps with it.

Then came the notice of the rewrite. At that point, I pretty much lost interest in it. I mean, if you're going to have a major rewrite and and not make any of it backwards compatible, what's to say you won't do it again in another few years? For me, this was a deal breaker. Why build apps now which be obsolete when 2.0 finally rolls around?

Also, I'm not sure why people think apps have some incredibly long life span. Almost every large enterprise app I've ever worked on only goes about a year, maybe two years before it gets a complete overhaul. Here's a good example:

Large Enterprise Healthcare App:

- First iteration which was the longest and went from 2005-2010. Built on Java and Tables in HTML. Brutal, but effective and easy for the Java guys to maintain.

- Second iteration was from 2010 - 2012. Built on Java and with mainly Javascript and the HTML is cleaned up and tables removed.

- Third iteration was from 2012-2013, Built on Spring MVC, HTML5 and CSS3 with lots of jQuery and Javascript for several interactive charts.

- Last iteration I was a part of was in late 2013 - October of 2014. Completely rebuilt with responsive design, built on Grails, with lots of CSS3, jQuery and some Ember and Backbone pieces.

Even when I left they were contemplating another total overhaul, possibly moving back to Spring, and doing more client side stuff with Angular or Backbone and possibly doing some NodeJs as well. The app basically went from 5 year re-design schedule, to essentially less than 14 months in between overhauls. I'm just chalking this up to a constant parade of contractors who come in and are using the latest and greatest stuff, and then push that for the app. When they leave, nobody has the ability to maintain it, so they just rinse and repeat with contractors and technology.

Either way, my point here is that apps seem to have shorter and shorter lifespans before being completely overhauled. It's like maintenance isn't even really a requirement anymore.

programminggeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my experience, most of what people want can and should be done server side. Instead of big frameworks, something smaller like Knockout can be useful for adding some interactive javascript in a way that is cleaner than the standard pile of jquery.
gaius 1 day ago 1 reply      
IBM invented rendering on the client in the 3270 terminal... In 1971.
jorisw 1 day ago 0 replies      
The final paragraph I really don't get:

> Despite its serious technical problems Angular 1.x is a success especially among corporate developers with a Java background. The 2.0 rewrite is aimed at front-end developers [...]

... says who? I don't know any Java developer who does Angular now, and who ever said front-end devs are the target audience of the rewrite?

doczoidberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Angular 2.0 addresses frontend and not corporate developers? Ridiculous! AtScript is more like Java/C# and supports strongly typing.
skrowl 1 day ago 1 reply      
People here at HN really love to hate on Angular for some reason. This article doesn't even make any sense, but it's still getting voted up.
wooptoo 1 day ago 1 reply      
> I feel that Angulars fundamental proposition blurs the line between front end and back end.


> Angular is aimed at large enterprise IT back-enders and managers who are confused by JavaScripts insane proliferation of tools.

Wait, seriously?

> When AngularJS was first created, almost five years ago, it was not originally intended for developers.

When I started using Angular 3 years ago (ver 0.9) it was already mature enough for serious web development and better (better structured, better documented, better for large web apps) than a lot of other frameworks (like Backbone). Back then it was developed by three Czech guys, that Google employed in the meantime and funded their project.

> Enterprise IT managers also like the fact that Angular closely mirrors the preferences of their back-end developers.

This just pisses me off already.

> Many front-enders, on the other hand, who have worked with JavaScript and browsers for years and have developed their own coding style, tend to have their doubts about Angular.

Yes, because their old code used to be utterly crap compared to something written in Angular. Angular does not let you write such messy code as you could without a framework.

This article is all FUD. I have never imagined that I'll ever see such a bad piece written about Angular.

New, more powerful Google Translate app
280 points by caio1982  1 day ago   83 comments top 25
jamesjyu 18 hours ago 4 replies      
The conversation feature is pretty phenomenal, and comes close to a true Babelfish device. I just tried it with English<->Mandarin with my wife (we both speak fluently), and works pretty accurately and is fast.

I will definitely use this when traveling.

sibbl 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Works pretty well, but so does Microsoft's Translation app for Windows Phone. Having used Microsoft's app for 2 years now, I am really wondering what took Google so long. Google's app offers coloring of the translation and a way more languages. But in the end, it's as fast and reliable as Microsoft's solution on my devices..
thehodge 16 hours ago 5 replies      
Word Lens was the first iPhone app that I saw that really felt like Magic, glad to see it was bought up and put infront of a mass audience (where I assume it will gather data and learn)
covi 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Really curious about the tech / arch. behind its ASR. Must have a lot of nodes and tricks in place to support high throughput and low latency.

If I'm not mistaken, this paper [1] is the last time Google published about the related architecture. We know very little about improvements over the last 7 years.

[1] http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/D07-1090

ballpoint 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be really cool if they could recognise the font (or a close match) and display the translated words in almost the same style.
tonydiv 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Congratulations to Otavio and the Word Lens team, I'm excited to see this in the Google Translate app.
nanexcool 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I speak English, Spanish and Italian. I've been talking to this app for the past hour in those languages and translating to whatever languages have speech output. This is so amazing.
nicklo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Google has published a lot of work recently about using deep learning for language translation with really impressive results. Anyone know if Google Translate is now neural net based? Or would a many-layered net not scale to the amount of API calls that Google translate receives?
atian 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The word lens is impressive. Tried it out on my university ID against some bright light, and it was able to detect even the low-contrast regions. Even my Mac keyboard. It works on almost anything.

It doesn't work on Chinese quite yet.

nness 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Having just spent a month travelling through Japan, I can attest to the brilliance of the Translate app even before this update! That said, the Android version seems more feature rich than the iOS version (maybe I just don't know where to look for the features)
joezydeco 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm just amazed this runs on my iPhone 4. Brilliant upgrade.
Aissen 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Do we know the Word Lens (Quest Visual) acquisition price in the end ?
dzhiurgis 3 hours ago 1 reply      
So what languages are actually supported in conversation mode?

Few months ago spoken Thai input was not supported.

Also, World Lens works nothing like in the animation. The app scans for words and provides translation in a traditional UI, it does not overlay translation over the image.

okasaki 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The photo translation doesn't work offline for me. I downloaded the languages but when I take a photo it just says "no network". I can mark the text but nothing happens.
ninguem2 13 hours ago 0 replies      
English <-> Portuguese needs some work. I had an hilarious conversation with myself.
datashovel 16 hours ago 1 reply      
If they haven't already started doing this, it seems it would be inevitable, to turn this into a full-fledged API for use in real-time communications, like WebRTC apps, etc...

I see that they have an API, but not sure how feasible it would be to use in real-time apps.

ronnier 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is Amazing. Very helpful here in Japan. I'll be glad when the word lens feature supports Japanese.
johansch 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Before this they kept the Android app a lot more powerful. Are the iOS and Android apps finally on par now?
dreen 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately crashes on my Nexus 5 when trying to take a picture :(
hngiszmo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Know what's funny? "This is fucking funny!"

(try it)

tuananh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
OCR is really fast and accurate. Impressive.
m1117 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't translate to indian english and to japanese english...
0942v8653 16 hours ago 0 replies      
As cool as the new features are, the app is now difficult and slow to use the way I used to. Little things, like focusing the textbox when you tap clear, are just missing. I'm willing to take that for the automatic OCR features, but it's just worse for everything else (probably due to their new "Material Design" strategy which doesn't belong on iOS).
unholiness 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Unfortunately, all of their text-recognition is still done on the cloud. So If you're traveling, you most likely won't have a data plan in the country you're visiting, and word lens won't work. This seems like a huge missing piece to me.

It's strange because they let you download language packs so that all the translation (and voice recognition) can be done locally. I have no knowledge in this area, but honestly: is there something fundamental about text recognition that it can't be done client-side?

A Localization Horror Story: It Could Happen to You
259 points by pmoriarty  11 hours ago   167 comments top 40
eloisant 4 hours ago 2 replies      
When I was in Japan I did proof reading for a Japanese feature phone. A major Japanese brand, actually. That was really comical.

There was an Australian guy for English, an German guy, an Italian lady, and me for French. What they did prior to the meeting is:* translate from Japanese to English by Japanese people with a poor English level (maybe the software engineers actually)* translate from weird English to other languages by translators who had only the strings, absolutely no context.

In the meeting we had all the strings, and one person from the manufacturers who had access to the "super-confidential" unreleased device.

More than half of the translations were off because of lack of context. The French guy actually translated "Garbage day" to something like "Shitty day", apparently he thought that was a way to mark in your calendar that you had a really bad day.

Pretty often we had sentences like "delete one", and invariably one of us had to ask "One what? I need to know if it's masculine/feminine/neutral". Of course they didn't prepare to that, it was too late to change the code, so they made us do ugly things like "%n item(s)".

Also the Australian guy was loosing faith into humanity:- That sentence, it's completely wrong, it just doesn't mean anything in English. People will just go "WTF?" when they read that- We're not allowed to change the English strings, they're already validated- .....

dkbrk 2 hours ago 2 replies      
As far as I can tell, the best tool for localisation almost nobody is using is http://www.grammaticalframework.org/. Licensing is a mix of GPL, BSD and MIT pieces.

It's a high-level functional programming language with a dependent type system specialised for operating on language ASTs. It's resource library, to quote "covers the morphology and basic syntax of currently 29 languages: Afrikaans, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Japanese, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Nepali, Norwegian bokml, Persian, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Sindhi, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Urdu."

In essence, once it has the language-independent AST, it can produce output in all its supported languages with the correct tenses, genders, inflections, etc.

It also seems to have tools for assisted parsing, so you could have an english document and interactively parse it into the correct AST. In addition, the text can be parameterised semantically, so if you changed the gender of a person, that could propagate to all the correct locations and update the translations as required.

While it seems the upfront cost may be quite high in having to learn such a complex system, I think the benefits of having reproducible, high-quality outputs into n languages for free could make this highly advantageous in many applications.

neilk 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Side note: as you might expect, Wikipedia's internationalization is the only system that attempts to do quantities and other formatting correctly for every goddamn language on the planet, but is considerably easier for translators to work with than the OP's examples (sorry, Sean ;)

I did some work on bringing it to JavaScript and making it HTML-aware, and since then Santhosh Thottingal has vastly extended it and it's become pervasive at Wikipedia. More projects should use it, or at least learn from it.

Demo: http://thottingal.in/projects/js/jquery.i18n/demo/

Github: https://github.com/wikimedia/jquery.i18n

reidrac 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Slightly OT, mi favourite localization error was in Ubuntu when they had that nice netbook interface (that later would become Unity). The network icon label was "Rojo" in the Spanish localization, that is the word for "red" color. What?

Well, if you translate "Net" to Spanish you get "Red"; and if you translate that again (by mistake), you get "Rojo". There you are :)

whizzkid 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It made me remember the Norwegian customer I had.

I needed to write Norwegian localization strings in a YAML file which did not work for some reason.

After 4 hours of debugging, the problem was;

In YAML, the "no:" string (for "norwegian") defined in a YAML file was parsed as a boolean, and this makes the application broke..

dmytrish 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Kudos to the author of the article for his perseverance in decorating message to fit grammar. I'd go another way, just using more formal and dry format:

    Number of scanned directories: %g    Number of found files: %g
That solves the problem with Slavic languages at least. Italian aversion to 0 may be mitigated with printing 'none', I guess. Please correct me if this form does not fit other languages.

bmn_ 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Article is from 1998 and very much out of date. Read: http://blogs.perl.org/users/aristotle/2011/04/stop-using-mak...
mrfoto 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Funny how Slovene seems to tick all the complications checkboxes :D We have 4 grammatical numbers (singular, dual, plural for 3 and 4, plural for 5 and above), they repeat at mod 100 (so 101 is singular, 102 dual,), it's an inflectional language with 3 grammatical genders, sentence should take a different form depending on whether the user is male or female,
gldalmaso 5 hours ago 1 reply      
In order to avoid these pitfalls, usually I get out of "sentence" mode to "label" mode. For instance: "Directories scanned: 12". Probably not well suited for all cases, but usually good enough for mine, though actually I only have to support pt-BR, es-ES and en-US so maybe that's not saying much.
theoh 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The two Turkish letters dotted and dotless i are often confused by users of poorly localised software. Wikipedia links to a murder case allegedly caused by this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dotted_and_dotless_I

A real horror story.

(Less seriously, Unicode has counterintuitive case-changing behaviours with those letters. If you are working outside the Turkish locale and uppercase a dotless I and then lowercase it, it gains a dot. I am curious about this design decision, since it seems like a basic error in operating a the level of glyphs rather than symbols. Or maybe the opposite.)

barrystaes 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
I dont agree with the article. The author goes about manually implementing localisations, and eventually throwing out GnuGetText. But it DOES have excellent plural support, and a header in your PO file allows chinese to use "nplurals=1; plural=0;" for example: http://localization-guide.readthedocs.org/en/latest/l10n/plu...

Or use plurals as such: https://www.gnu.org/software/gettext/manual/html_node/Transl...

ajuc 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Another thing:

"Are you sure you want to quit?" in Slavic language will have gender of the user embedded. You need to know it to adress user correctly.

You can do stilted "To the person that uses this program - are you sure you want to quit?", but that's insane. So everybody just use male version.

Zarkonnen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Huh. I actually took a stab at solving this problem using language generation with my final year [project](https://github.com/Zarkonnen/A-Natural-Language-Generator-fo...) at university.
olau 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Just in case people are wondering about the horror story: use ngettext which is a function in the gettext library.
DangerousPie 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting, but I am wondering if it is really worth going through all this trouble, just to support a few edge cases.

Personally, I usually don't even notice small mistakes like "1 directories" (or similar mistakes in my native language). Sometimes I will see the correct version somewhere and think "Oh, nice that they thought of that" but I definitely don't expect it.

Are the possible returns of having a "perfect" translation really high enough to justify investing in a much more complex system? I am sure translators who can code functions instead of just putting values into an Excel table will come at quite a premium as well...

eCa 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Also, if you 'localize' something using Google Translate[1], please let the user choose language somewhere in the app.

For example, the Hostelworld ios app[2] requires the user to change language for the entire device. As something of a language perfectionist it leaves the app virtually useless.

[1] Translating to English from other languages works fine for me.

[2] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hostelworld.com-hostels-budg...

cschneid 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is by far my favorite bit of documentation. I have to go look it up every time a manager or client starts asking for localization to justify my high estimates on how long it'll take.
lmm 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've long found that "externalized" translations in po files (or any equivalent) are more trouble than they're worth, for exactly this reason. Translations need to be functions, so they need to be written in a format that's good for writing functions - i.e. a programming language. What we want is a MessageSource interface, and a bunch of language-specific implementations.

Fortunately I work in Scala, so it's very easy to have an "embedded DSL" that's ordinary, first-class code but not much harder for non-technical translators to read or write than the .po format; we can write helpers for grammatical case or numbers or similar. But having the full power of a programming languages there means that when you hit a case you haven't thought of (and you will), you can fall back to just an if/else.

cj 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I created Localize.js (https://localizejs.com), a localization SaaS.

Pluralization is a challenge, but we're able to solve this with some pretty simple HTML tags.

For example:

<div>I have <var pluralize="3">3</var> dogs!</div>

Localize.js identifies the <var> tag with the pluralize attribute, and pluralizes the phrase to any language (including languages like Arabic which can have 6 different plural forms).

anton_gogolev 4 hours ago 0 replies      
And remember the Turkey Test [1].

[1]: http://stackoverflow.com/a/797043/60188

btbuildem 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So the solution is to design and implement your interface in a Slavic language (presumably most complex, as we found so far) and translate down to other languages with less demanding rules?
tinganho 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Please checkout http://l10ns.org It handles the pluralization case pretty well. It uses ICU's messageformat which is a markup for defining plural formatting http://l10ns.org/docs.html#pluralformat
luminarious 4 hours ago 1 reply      
For websites, http://l20n.org seems the most natural version so far. Or is there something better?
js2 1 hour ago 0 replies      
tux3 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Qt takes care of that in a really nice way.

You write tr("I scanned %1 directory.", "", count) and it takes cares of applying the correct translation with the right plurals depending on the number.


TeMPOraL 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I once suggested an idea that maybe instead of strings in tables one could use something better suited for the task at hand like, say, code? Maybe let the tables store not only strings but functions as well, so that you could handle the more complex cases directly?

I remember being hit in the head by gettext manual and told something about translators not knowing how to code.

Heck, I still think it's a neater idea than gettext.

pornel 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The L20n library handles all these cases: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8892273
codefisher 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw most of this coming. I have studied a little Ancient Greek which has the same problem of the Arabic, and Polish which is similar to the Russian, and now I am living in Italy. I guess it is one of those things though as programmers that we just forget about too much, and just expect translation to a mechanical process in the last stage of the development cycle.
pp19dd 3 hours ago 0 replies      
We version (localize) projects all the time, so I thought reasonable logic for seeing whether a string is empty is to check whether its trimmed length was greater than two, allowing for two stray characters that show up all the time in content. For example, someone who's not sure how to translate something would type "??" in a field. So, {if $slide.title|length>2} ... This worked for 4-5 languages.

Then our Chinese (Mandarin) division called and asked me to look into buggy behavior with their translations. Turns out a whole sentence got translated to ... two characters, and wasn't showing up.

nodata 5 hours ago 1 reply      
What if the text wasn't a sentence?
zamalek 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Edit: Disregard, turns out things have improved

> The %g slots are in an order reverse to what they are in English. You wonder how you'll get gettext to handle that.

I learned C/++ after C# and this is one thing that really got to me. String interpolation in C++ is extremely primitive, which would be fine only if more recent iterations of stdlib had something that wasn't so completely incompetent.

For those who don't use .Net, the Italian translation would have been: "In {1:g} directories contains {0:g} files match your query." It doesn't solve all the problems, but being able to specify indices in your template string does solve many.

quotequad 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This just shows the beauty of the Unix way of doing things. Simply:

12 10 4

works in all locales. :-)

aardshark 4 hours ago 0 replies      
iOS localization handles this with its stringsdict format:


pmontra 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Having quite well in mind the most common problems with localization I tend to use strings like this:

Directory searched: 10. Files found: 0.

They are not shiny but a direct translation is OK in Italian and it could be OK in the other languages of the post (Chinese, Arabic and Russian).

peteretep 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this article, and used t send it to none-technical people all the time. <3 Sean Burke, the author
eveningcoffee 4 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR - when you are facing a localization problem - you have to parametrize the units of measurements in your text.
4ad 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder if it isn't better to generate the messages as an AST, and have a language generator, the back-end of a compiler really, that generates strings for each language. I'm sure there will be less edge cases that way.

/edit: wow, downvotes.

abbaselmas 1 hour ago 0 replies      
suddenly love my language (Turkish) although there are special characters.1 elma (apple)2 elma3 elma..10 elma
donmb 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This happens when you are a perfectionist.
aerovistae 6 hours ago 0 replies      
That is so, so awesome.
Show HN: Building terminal dashboards using ASCII/ANSI art and JavaScript
244 points by yaronn01  21 hours ago   44 comments top 24
cgb_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow this is the coolest thing I've seen in the terminal since I discovered a sparkline bash script. I've embarrassingly used gnuplot's ascii output to realtime chart Cisco network interfaces in a shell I'm writing, this looks 1000x better than gnuplot's output. Thanks for sharing.
sgt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It would get really interesting if this combined with the new inline image support present in iTerm2 (only nightly builds for now).

Basically you can do something like :

  ESC ] 1337 ; File = [optional arguments] : base-64 encoded file contents ^G
And then display an image inline along with other text. E.g. that ascii rendering of the world could be replaced by an actual image of the world.

yaronn01 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Hi everyone, I am the author. Let me know if you have any questions or ideas.
warble 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty neat.

I think it's telling that after 50 years, and all the work on GUI's, this is still a good idea.

psp 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of modem days and BBSs. Sigh.
mdcox 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really nice! Just built something quick with it and I find it way easier to work with than something like ncurses, though that might just be because I work with javascript alot. Sorta feels like a terminal based d3 in a way, though not as atomic. Not a huge fan of Node for terminal applications (I'd sooner use Go or Ruby), but this alone might make me use it for things people other than me will use.

Do you plan on accepting pull requests? I'd love to contribute to something like this.

SwellJoe 10 hours ago 0 replies      
That's both adorable and oddly soothing to watch. Moreso than "nice" graphics, actually. It may be that I'm old enough to remember when text terminals were the way we interfaced with the world on bulletin boards...and animated ASCII art like this was common. I want to set it up just to watch it, not because I need it (we have web-based charts already, and I'm in the midst of making them realtime).
tlrobinson 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Neat. One cool thing about this is you could wire up a SSH server to show this when you login. "ssh stats.mycompany.com".

Or you could wire it up to a browser-based terminal emulator like tty.js.

clebio 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Along with using Tmux as your login shell [1], this would be a nice equivalent to something like Conky [2].

Or, replacing `top` with sparklines, say.

[1]: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=935588#p935588[2]: http://conky.sourceforge.net/screenshots.html

tmandry 13 hours ago 1 reply      
At first I thought this was just an awful idea, but after hearing what you're using it for I want to use it myself :P

Did you look into the possibility of "adapting" something like d3 to draw on the terminal? Or does it just lack the abstractions necessary to do that cleanly?

passfree 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is kickass.
morenoh149 10 hours ago 0 replies      
reminds me ALOT of https://www.npmjs.com/package/vtop you guys should join forces
Natsu 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks fun. It almost seems like it might be adaptable enough to make things like an X-Com clone, as well.
Gyonka 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really cool! Seems like it would be easy to extend and link to simple projects, that way I can run this on my second monitor and feel like a real hacker ;)
auvi 15 hours ago 0 replies      
this would cool to connect to newrelic type app analytics data
willempienaar 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome.
simlevesque 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to use it in my current project ! Great work
FleegmanGuy 16 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not 100% clear unless you can read the code.

Where is the data coming from? Seems like a lot of animated data with limited data points specified.

ely-s 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so cool
jszymborski 13 hours ago 0 replies      
ahahah this is great... the map looks like it's something out of War Games
dmamills 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really cool!
yellowapple 14 hours ago 2 replies      
How difficult would it be to split the widgets off into their own independent/standalone terminal applications? I like the idea, but I'd rather lay things out myself with tmux (thus incorporating it into my existing workflow) rather than using the included layout system.

Sorry if this seems like a dumb question; I'm not particularly familiar with Node.js, let alone this particular codebase, so the answer isn't particularly obvious to me.

boydc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
So cool~love it!
andrewchambers 16 hours ago 1 reply      
So bringing some of the web designers into the terminal isn't such a bad thing after all, they have great taste.

I'm partially sad its written in nodejs, but I can't really think of what else it should have been written in.

I think clojurescript bindings would be awesome. The dashboard can be rendered from an immutable app state om style.

dnolen, I'm looking at you :).

BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth, study says
241 points by finid  2 days ago   159 comments top 23
iSnow 2 days ago 4 replies      
>A compound is considered safe (by the Food and Drug Administration) until proven otherwise.

In contrast, in Europe, there is REACH

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registration,_Evaluation,_Autho...

- http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/chemicals/reach/index...

- http://echa.europa.eu/regulations/reach/understanding-reach)

"REACH places the burden of proof on companies. To comply with the regulation, companies must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. They have to demonstrate to ECHA how the substance can be safely used, and they must communicate the risk management measures to the users."

Chemical companies in Europe of course are pushing for TTIP, to get rid of REACH.

goalieca 2 days ago 0 replies      
When everyone started switching away from BPA, I asked one of my chemical engineering friends about it. He said that they switched from a chemical with known problems to one that hasn't been studied yet. This is how it always goes.
ewzimm 2 days ago 4 replies      
Exposure to BPA and similar substances from cans and bottles is probably inconsequential compared to exposure from receipts if you use any kind of hand sanitizer or lotion. A single exposure can equal hundreds of cans.


(Fixed the link, thanks)

jrapdx3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe I missed it, but it should be mentioned that there are many variations of bisphenol: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol

Also worth noting that BPS was reported >10 years ago as producing endocrine disruption similar to BPA. I think it likely other bisphenol variants would do the same.

Part of the problem is not only the use of BP(A|S|.+) as plasticizers but also BP_ is a constituent of polycarbonates, epoxies and other industrially important materials.

The amount of free BP_ in a properly prepared and cured product is likely quite small, but heating, UV exposure, etc., can hasten decomposition or release of BP_. Used as plasticizer BP_ would be more easily transferred and ingested.

As others have said, the safest "plastic" containers are the low surface energy thermoplastics, polyethylene or polypropylene. They aren't pretty and clear like polycarbonate, but they are a whole lot less risky.

IgorPartola 2 days ago 8 replies      
For adults, go get yourself a Hyrdro Flask. It's a double-walled (thermos-style) food grade stainless steel bottle. It comes with a 100 year warranty, and after your grandkids are done playing with it, it's fully recyclable. There are several products like this on the market, but I am a happy Hydro Flask owner/user.

Aluminum bottles are a non-starter: aluminum is toxic to humans, and has to be coated to not leak into your food. Often times there's a plastic liner to prevent the aluminum from coming into contact with your food/drink.

Some steel bottles are crap: they actually do stain/rust, and being non-transparent this can be hard to spot.

Glass bottles are nice, but obviously more breakable/dangerous than metal.

Personally, I don't trust any plastic bottles: not Nalgene not any other kind. Had a Nalgene bottle once; after it took on a stale water odor, I could not get it out with anything. This article particular finding is far from the last one in terms of which plastics do what to the organism.

For baby bottles... I guess the search is on for the next best type of bottle.

teuobk 2 days ago 1 reply      
On an intuitive level, it isn't surprising that a chemical so similar to BPA that it could be an "easy" substitute would in fact also share similar harmful effects.

There are early rumblings (e.g. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2009/090415.htm ) that there might be something similar going on with the replacement of trans-fats with palm oil. Palm oil behaves similarly to trans-fats, which makes it attractive to industry, but then it isn't too surprising that those same similarities might also make it similarly unhealthy.

simplexion 2 days ago 2 replies      
As bad as the original? Can someone link to evidence of the dangers of people exposed to BPAs through plastics?

My understanding is that the whole BPA craziness is the same as the Phthalates nonsense. The problem is if you want to avoid these things, make sure you don't get sick and end up in hospital because then you will be in contact with these like crazy.

fcbrooklyn 2 days ago 0 replies      
"One of the most significant findings is that low doses can be more harmful than larger ones."

Wait, what? This jumped out at me, but the article doesn't really elaborate on the surprising claim.

sowhatquestion 2 days ago 2 replies      
Chemists of HN: Why does this keep happening? Why is BPA or something close to it seemingly required to manufacture plastics? Or to put it another way, why has it been so difficult to come up with an alternative that's distinct enough to avoid BPA's effects on the human body?
ZoFreX 2 days ago 3 replies      
I don't understand why so many people on HN are worried about BPS or BPA. So far studies have shown that it has detrimental effects on the developing brain (in extremely limited animal trials!). Presumably everyone on here is not an infant and their brain has developed... so why are you buying BPA/BPS free bottles?
jhealy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a discussion of these results by an Australian lecturer in Pharmacology: https://theconversation.com/a-fishy-story-zebra-fish-bisphen...

He covers a few points, but here's a key one:

> The concentrations of BPA in this study, while low, are still much higher than humans would be exposed to. It is a bit difficult to relate the exposures of the fish to those of humans, as humans typically do not swim immersed in solutions of BPA day in and day out, but let us look at it from a variety of perspectives.

hiou 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can we change this title to something closer to the original title of the article? The current title is inflammatory and will likely just bring out all the conspiracy nuts.

"BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth, is tied to hyperactivity, study says"

ra 2 days ago 10 replies      
So what is the safest drink bottle to use?

I have a stainless steel one, but it has some sort of lining.

UnoriginalGuy 2 days ago 6 replies      
Can I ask a perhaps very ignorant question:

We have a kid on the way, and now that BPA and BPA free are considered estrogen leaking, what are we meant to buy? However it should be noted that the kid is meant to be a girl, so for girls is this a non-concern since obviously estrogen won't be unusual within their bodies.

userbinator 2 days ago 1 reply      
Possible easy DIY fix: line your bottles with a clean plastic bag, the clear transparent type. That will almost certainly be polyethylene, which doesn't contain any plasticizers like BPA or BPS.
ratsmack 2 days ago 3 replies      
Every "tin" can I have opened, for as long as I can remember, has a plastic coating inside. I've always wondered what material is being used for this coating. Plastic of one kind or another seems to be inescapable.
jostmey 2 days ago 5 replies      
In case you haven't noticed, we have surrounded ourselves with chemicals that our bodies never evolved to deal with, and the list is growing. And as a society we are still dealing with chemicals known to be dangerous. Take asbestos as an example. Everyone knows it is bad, and yet you can still find in the walls of old school buildings, houses, and places of work. Worse, the ban on asbestos was lifted in the USA allowing for materials to contain up to 1% of it.

Someday we as a society will hopefully wake up to the dangers we put ourselves through. I continually find it amazing that human lifespan has gone up, not down.

blergh123 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know what the plastic lids of coffee cups are made from? I drink out of those things all the time :(
nirai 1 day ago 0 replies      
We are totally fucked.
spuiszis 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of the alternative chemicals have not been adequately tested because they dont have to be, said lead author Deborah Kurrasch. A compound is considered safe (by the Food and Drug Administration) until proven otherwise.

I'm no healthcare policy expert but this sounds like the FDA has it backwards.

curiously 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like it's impossible to avoid BPA, plastic is EVERYWHERE.

I no longer use coffee machine because it has plastic parts and it has a rather plastic taste. I now use dripping method without any plastic.

I have become more and more vigilant about plastic in consumables. Would love to have a comprehensive list of items to replace at home.

aaron695 2 days ago 1 reply      
The nutters seem out on mass today.....
Microsoft BASIC for 6502 Original Source Code (1978)
247 points by dezgeg  1 day ago   69 comments top 17
cubano 1 day ago 2 replies      
My father bought our family an original IBM PC (4.77MHz) when I was around 15 years old, after I spent 2 years riding my bike to the local Radio Shack and sitting, literally, in the display window of the store hacking on a TRS-80 and saving my "work" on a cassette drive.

I became good friends with the salesmen (yes they were all men back then) and they liked me working in the window...it helped them sell the system if they could show a 12-year old kid writing programs on it. "How hard can it be if..."

The first real program I ever wrote was in MS ROM-BASIC (that's what I remember calling it, because it booted into it if you didn't put the DOS floppy into one of the two (yes two, we were lucky!) 360k floppy drives it had.

The program was a blackjack simulation and trainer for counting cards. My older brother became infatuated with the topic and I remember reading the books on it and wondering if the math and systems were real or just casino trickery.

So I learned this version of BASIC and went to town, building decks of cards and configurable card-counting systems, and proved to myself that, yes, under certain conditions, BJ counters do actually have a long-term advantage over the house.

It's fascinating to see the actual code that ran my simulations.

fpgaminer 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a fun coincidence, considering I was just about to assemble BASIC for a custom 6502 system. I suppose it is just that, a coincidence, but it gives me an excuse to rant about my silly project for a moment.

To keep myself sane lately, I've been working on a fun hobby project. It's an HTML5 game. You pilot a spacecraft, but the only way to control the spacecraft is through a 6502 based computer. So all flight controls have to be coded yourself on the machine. There are hardware modules for radar, engines, weapons, etc, but you need to write software to control them all. I haven't fleshed out all the ideas yet, but I get a strange kick out of the idea of piloting a spacecraft with a Commodore 64.

So far I've got an asm.js, cycle accurate implementation of a 6502, a bus system which is roughly a combination of the C64 and Apple IIe, and 320x200 4 color display. Just started working on the radar hardware subsystem, and was going to try assembling C64 BASIC for it today. Which is why seeing this article on Hacker News was a neat surprise.

dribnet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some context for this code can be found here [1] in Lammers' great book.

Gates specifically says that "not a line of code went out that I didn't look over" for the BASIC 6502 product. At the time (1986) he said he considered BASIC for the 8080 his "greatest achievement ever in programming" and admitted that he no longer programs himself but does was still looking at code and discussing algorithms with his 160 Microsoft engineers.

[1] https://programmersatwork.wordpress.com/bill-gates-1986/

hsnewman 1 day ago 4 replies      
So I called Microsoft in 1979 after purchasing a OSI C1P and asked some bozo named Ballmer what the cost of the source code to MS Basic for the OSI was. He rustled some paper and said $50,000. My college dreams were destroyed, and I never liked Microsoft after that.
jeffbarr 1 day ago 0 replies      
My first assignment at my first professional programming job (way back in 1980) was to write a 6502 macro assembler that ran on an Ohio Scientific machine. We took those machines and built our own OS and a three-user travel agency automation package that worked remarkably well, given the constraints of 48K of RAM and 2 floppy disks.

I did some research in to hashing, simulated a couple of hashing functions in FORTRAN (I was still in school), and found a good way to optimize the function to avoid collisions on the core set of 6502 opcodes. This earned me an immediate raise from $7/hour to $9/hour.

The assembler ran blazingly fast and I still have the listings for it. As soon as it was able to self-assemble, I added macros for all of the opcodes that rightfully belonged in the 6502 ISA but were not there. Mostly a set of loads and transfers that made the ISA almost fully orthogonal.

MagerValp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Commodore famously licensed Microsoft BASIC on a "pay once, no royalties" basis, and independently kept developing it for its 8-bit line of computers. If you're interested in its history David Viner has posted the source for version 4.75 from 1982 with several enhancements:


ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
As I recall it was written in CROSS (http://pdp10.nocrew.org/its/its.os.org/ai/info/cross.doc)
T-hawk 1 day ago 2 replies      

Huh? The 6502 totally does have a regular unconditional branch instruction, as JMP. http://e-tradition.net/bytes/6502/6502_instruction_set.html

vidarh 1 day ago 1 reply      
While it's interesting to get the original comments, it didn't take long before there were a number of books published with full disassemblies of both the BASIC and kernel ROM's with extensive comments out there, full of disclaimers about how they were "just for reference". It's kinda hard to prevent extensive reverse engineering when the each of the twom ROMs were just 8KB each...
localhost 1 day ago 0 replies      
I learned how floating point arithmetic worked by disassembling the ROMs on my Commodore PET as a child. There I learned that they used a Taylor series expansion to compute the values of transcendental functions. It was fun to see the coefficients in the source.

When I wrote a set of 80 bit IEEE Temporary Real floating point functions for the 6502, I used an early version of Maple running on a VAX that I, ahem, "acquired" an account for running at a local university to compute the coefficients for my functions.

I grew up with this code; it's so awesome to finally see the source!

whitten 1 day ago 1 reply      
What is the provenance for this?How did it get released to the public ?
stuartd 1 day ago 0 replies      


aswanson 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Bill wrote well-commented, well-factored code.
eridal 1 day ago 4 replies      
looks like there is a PHP intruction.

also it appears right in the middle


edwinyzh 1 day ago 2 replies      
Basic is the first programming language I learned !
Estragon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is the source for the 6809 available anywhere?
jacquesm 1 day ago 1 reply      

Hehe, that's been a while.


A Quick Comparison of Nim vs. Rust
217 points by arthurtw  1 day ago   88 comments top 16
andybak 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's feels like a shame to me that the one Python maxim that Nim has chosen to reject is "there should be one and preferably only one way to do it" - from this flows so much of the other goodness of the Python ecosystem. I worry that some of the metaprogramming magic that Nim allows will result in the loss of that feeling that I can view source on almost any 3rd party Python code and immediately feel like I can follow what's going on. Maybe community standards can help restrain this somewhat.


> mapWidth, mapwidth and map_width all map to the same name

Why or why? Editors and IDEs now need Nim-aware search code!?

ot 1 day ago 3 replies      
> Its mysterious that Rusts release version with -i ran slightly faster, though.

That's actually not surprising: a large fraction of time is spent in the map lookup, which in Rust is implemented as a B-tree, thus lookup time is (mildly) dependent on the map size. If keys are lowercased before inserting them, the map ends up having fewer elements.

The Nim version uses instead hash tables, whose lookup time is near-constant (that is, excluding memory hierarchy effects).

skrebbel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like how articles like this help elevate Nim's status. To me, deep inside, Rust always felt like this grand high-stakes project, by wise people at this big experienced company Mozilla, and Nim felt like a hobby project that got out of hand. That's an entirely unfair judgment of course, but I bet more people feel that way. I like that Nim is starting to get the attention it deserves.
pcwalton 1 day ago 1 reply      
The first benchmark is primarily a comparison of Nim's PEG package to Rust's libregex package. The two have very different algorithms, and libregex is optimized to avoid exponential blowup on pathological regexes. It's missing a fallback to the backtracking algorithm at present.

Using rust-pcre would probably mitigate this problem.

gfasdgsfd 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd guess that pulling that try-catch out of the loop would make things go much faster. Nim doesn't use 0-overhead exceptions, so setjmp needs to be called each time the try-catch is entered.

You should also use the re module, PEGs is not nearly as optimized as PCRE.

_pmf_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
From what I have read, Nim has a much better cross-compilation story (i.e. it delegates to the available C cross-compilation toolchain instead of requiring the Nim compiler and toolchain to be compiled for the cross target).

Rust, as I understand, requires the Rust compiler to be compiled for the cross-target; is this correct?

egeozcan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like Nim. I used it for a few side-projects as well. The only thing it definitely needs before feeling really solid is trait (interface, contracts or whatever you call it) support IMHO. Current alternative is "compiler does copy-paste for you", aka templates. See: https://github.com/Araq/Nim/blob/master/lib/pure/collections...
dom96 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are you just using --opt:speed to compile the Nim examples? For maximum performance you should be using -d:release.
TylerE 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm starting to really wish there was a GC-free (or at least) GC optional version of Nim. Nim with Rust's memory semantics would just be the best of everything.
hamstergene 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why don't you run GC_fullCollect() at the end of Nim programs? You may unknowingly be comparing a program which actively runs destructors and frees memory with one that basically leaks everything (because GC does not happen to be triggered).
fiatjaf 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here's a pure code comparison of Nim vs Rust: http://rosetta.alhur.es/compare/nimrod/rust/
joelthelion 1 day ago 2 replies      
One thing they both lack that hinders wider adoption : good IDE support. For me YouCompleteMe support is the only thing preventing me from switching for my side projects.
nim_user 1 day ago 3 replies      
Nim needs to move it's discussions to a mailing list if the authors want to gain more serious developers onboard.

Polling a poorly implemented web forum speaks leaps and bounds about the kind of attitude you need to have to discuss, develop or debug issues around the Nim toolchain.

This is something that Nim developers can instantly do to boost the attractiveness of the language.

Please, do this.

rjammala 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can you benchmark this C++ code on your system for comparison?https://github.com/rjammala/C/blob/master/perf.cpp

I did not add the case sensitiveness option to it.

lmm 1 day ago 0 replies      
It'd be good to see how these new languages compare to established ones that offer similar features - maybe OCaml and Haskell.
errordeveloper 1 day ago 4 replies      
I really wouldn't consider it reasonable comparison, when one language has a sufficient compiler that is written in itself for most part, and the other still only compiles to C.
Google Domains Launches to All in U.S
237 points by KarenS  1 day ago   238 comments top 49
Someone1234 1 day ago 21 replies      
None of Google Domain's features are novel. In fact the article spent most of its time talking about an up-sell. Which isn't to say Google Domain isn't a good product, just that we now should look at price because nothing else seems interesting...

~ Google Domains charges $12/year for .COM, .NET, .ORG.

~ NameCheap charges $10.69/year for .COM, $11.98/year for .NET, and $11.48/year for .ORG. Sometimes with an 18c/year fee tacked on.

~ GoDaddy charges $12.99-13.99 for a .COM but that might increase randomly because they're scumbags.

So my point is that this article claims that everyone is "rushing" to this new product, and while this product doesn't seem "bad" it also isn't exactly market changing. The prices are well within 10% of the market (sometimes higher, sometimes lower) and the features are pretty generic also.

Can someone explain why Google Domains is compelling and not a "me too!" product?

venomsnake 1 day ago 9 replies      
Knowing first hand google support I will stick to namecheap ...
SG- 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have no idea why this is US only other than Google just being extremely lazy. Previously I've always understood why companies couldn't release products internationally or at least in their own continent when it came to rights for content, however I really don't see any reason for this one.

If it's an issue of not wanting to deal with certain country top-levels then so be it and simply offer the ones you've implemented already and add in more top levels in the future.

qeorge 1 day ago 3 replies      
$12/yr - not bad at all. I might recommend this next time a friend asks how to buy a domain.

Namecheap takes great care of me at $10/year though, so I'm not very compelled to switch.

justhw 1 day ago 0 replies      
The last thing I trust Google with is my domains. They can outright ban or disable you just like with any of their products and not offer support or explanation.
uptown 1 day ago 1 reply      
So when somebody steals your domain, do you actually get to talk to a person at Google to help resolve the matter, or is it like every other customer service experience they offer?
m0th87 1 day ago 2 replies      
Don't waste your time on this service. I registered for it years ago while it was still in beta, and it's been nothing but a trainwreck.

The latest debacle: I can't renew my domain. They started sending me notifications a few months ago that my domain was expiring because my credit card is out of date. I can't sign in because of a redirect bug. There's no support to reach out to, and requests for help on forums have gone unanswered.

Alternatively, dnsimple has been nothing but charming to work with.

joshfraser 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been using Google Domains for several months now. I like the simplicity of their user interface and I trust Google to be good at DNS. My biggest complaint is that they don't support very many TLD's. I'd prefer to have all my domains in one place, but they don't support .co yet.
msoad 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was a beta tester for Google Domains for a long time. Here are reasons I'm very satisfied:

- Unlike other domain sellers, Google Domains is NOT trying to sell me anything other than domains.

- Canceling is easy! I don't have to wait in calls with 1&1!

- Customer support was great. They get back to me after an hour if I email and if I call, responses are very fast.

- User interface is clean and clear.

richardlblair 1 day ago 2 replies      
Many people miss the point of this product:

Easily buy a domain, have it automatically hooked into the Google Apps suite of products, and easily hook it up with a select number of third party vendors like Wix or Shopify.

That's what this is about. The ability to create something cool, run a business, without having to worry as much about the technical bullshit.

Great product, and for the ease of use it is well worth $12/year. And yea, I know, $2 more a year than namecheap... but $2/year is well worth the time it takes to setup a domain (even if it is only a 2 minute ordeal).

nostromo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Google: please provide free and easy to setup SSL with every domain. :)
grayfox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to ditch enom. This looks like a good suitor.

No Canadian support yet.

Soon, eh!

throwaway34052 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think google should be in this space.They don't need your $12/year.

The world needs to resist ceeding every last bit Internet governance to these people.

Centralization is death!

jacquesm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd never in a lifetime want to depend for something as critical as domain registrations on a company that can't be bothered to answer its customers. Google has an absolutely horrible record when it comes to end user support and if there is one thing you want from your registrar then it is that they actually answer their phones and email.
blissofbeing 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know if the DNS servers you get with this are the same as the google cloud DNS[1] product?

If so, buying your domain here could be worth it for the DNS alone, as they are anycast, DNSSEC enabled, and fairly fast[2].

1: https://cloud.google.com/dns/docs

2: http://www.solvedns.com/dns-comparison/2014/12

joeblau 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've been using this for a few months now and it's been great. The cool thing is that they allow you to solve the problem of having domain emails pointing to your personal emails so for example blahblah@joeblau.com -> josephblaus@gmail.com. The only challenge with this is that I use Cloudflare as my CDN and Google's email redirects work if you use Google's nameservers.
arifulanam 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's very good news. BIG threat to GoDaddy :D
vld 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll stick with internetbs [1], $8.49-8.99/year for .com and free private registration.

1: https://internetbs.net/domain_names_usd.html

ForFreedom 1 day ago 0 replies      
Takes you to manage domains page without login, if you click on "Manage my domains" - http://ajean.net/google-domains-launches-u-s-u-s/
spb 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only factor on what registrar you use for buying a domain should be their renewal rank on http://domcomp.com.
jastanton 1 day ago 1 reply      
The best feature is that it's not GoDaddy, or NameCheap. Having registered hundreds of domains, dealt with all kinds of customer service and had to perform numerous operations for my domains the user experience matters and though Google hasn't has the best track record with UX they certainly do invest in it more heavily than GoDaddy & NameCheap.
Killah911 1 day ago 0 replies      
I keep thinking of Peter Theil's analysis of monopolies trying to say they're just a competitor in a larger market. There doesn't seem to be anything special here in this offering from google. As a google developer I wonder if the difference will be in more integration and better API access compared to someone like godaddy.
briHass 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if they support dynamic DNS on subdomains and is it RFC2136 compliant? For example, I have mydomain.com pointing to a standard server, but home.mydomain.com updated from pfSense to point to my dyn IP on namecheap.

As usual with Google, technical details are scant.

fugyk 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think integration with other Google products is the main reason they are venturing here. It can offer one click integration to google apps, app engine, cloud compute and blogger. If they offer free google apps for personal use, I think it can be a major selling point.
michaelbuckbee 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised that so far nobody has mentioned DNSimple in this conversation. They seem the closest to what Google Domains functionality is - domain registration and then easy integration with external services.

Also, fwiw they're fantastic.

ksk 1 day ago 2 replies      
>We include 10 million resolutions per year for each domain you register with Google Domains.

Hmm, what does that mean for an average website?

100 readers * 365 days * ~273 (html+css+js+gif/png/jpg) ?

I guess some browsers cache the DNS requests too..

d0ugie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not seeing any mention of SSL certificates. Might they get into the CA game as well?
gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dethroning Godaddy is a noble act of course, but other than that I don't see any show stoppers from Google in managing domains space.

Adding support for more .bullshit TLD's that no one cares about?

Connecting to Blogger?


thekevan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know anything about migrating a domain to Google Domains if that domain was originally published through Blogger, then migrated to Google Apps?
tdicola 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny, I had just switched over my last GoDaddy domain yesterday to start using a different nameserver and finally move it off their system entirely. Might have to give this a try.
longlivegnu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Still no .io support :(
wnevets 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ive had beta access for a while now and havent had any problems yet. The main reason why I switched my domain to google was how seamless it works with gmail.
gesman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Adding Route 53-like feature would be a killer addon that only large company like Google can (if they want to) properly handle.
ereckers 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the email integration is seamless then it's worth looking into for me.
Alex3917 1 day ago 1 reply      
It looks like CrunchBase may have gotten hacked. Their URL for Google points to a spam domain.
jcadam 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using name.com for a while. Been ok so far (and way better than godaddy).
jtwebman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't use it Google is known for not having great customer support. They like to build big and make you support it. Just like the Google Play store. Notice there is no phone number on the site? Not good if you are doing real business and need to get something fixed ASAP.
Eleutheria 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can I pay with bitcoin? or paypal?
balladeer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish I could somehow post this in really large fonts here that a domain name is a service where you actually need support, "real support". When your account (which is linked to dozens of other services and the reason can be an algorithmic false alert in context of any of those services) is disabled you again need support.

And customer support is something Google doesn't believe in.

ilaksh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would be nice if they had an API like Namecheap, or supporte the new TLDs.
marincounty 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm just glad Godaddy has some real competition! Get ready for Godaddy to bring back discounts for annual renewals. hell, you might get a call from Danika personally?
ddingus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I prefer Gandi.net No bullshit.
curiously 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a welcome news. I've had it with name.com and it's horrible webmail. Unable to send email for weeks, support replying with unhelpful answers every 48 hours. Have to pay for whois privacy and bunch of other stuff most registrars give you for free.
peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
....in before "Google has decided to end support for this product; your 10-year-registered domains that last longer than next month will be moved to GoDaddy."

(edit: actually, they'd never voluntarily transfer your domain; they'd force you to transfer it, at some kind of discount. suffice to say i am less than confident)

enbrill 1 day ago 0 replies      
haha of course it's "in beta testing" grow some balls Google
glitterman 1 day ago 0 replies      
They're clearly heading for worldDOMAINation.
debacle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think I would ever rely on Google to host an application critical to my business.
Dirlewanger 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is now complete. With Google Fiber, Big Brother Google will looking over you every step of the way.
bebrown2 1 day ago 0 replies      
The coolest domain name search tool is probably https://domainr.com/
Full-fledged FPS in WebGL
205 points by rinesh  22 hours ago   67 comments top 24
shurcooL 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I think this is awesome! As John Carmack said [1], you can hop in and enjoy in seconds.

What is even cooler, IMO, is that you don't necessarily have to write JavaScript and target WebGL only to get your game to work in the browser. You can write using Go and use packages with 2 backends, WebGL/OpenGL and GLFW/Canvas, to abstract out the platform differences behind a common API.

Then your game can be a single codebase that can either run as a native binary on desktop, or inside the browser.

See a working demo of what I'm describing here:


[1] - https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/553720089674260480

agentultra 18 hours ago 2 replies      
This is great!

Other than for very specific OpenGL ES features or platform-specific acceleration I have a harder time recommending indie developers starting out to use anything other than the web as their platform these days. And with time I'm sure WebGL will catch up (and surpass?). I've played my part in making it happen and will continue for that push. It beats telling people to install this, link that, and all the tooling involved in packaging a game. It even beats an engine: it's free, distribution is built it, the network effects are there.

The developer tools need to catch up but it's only a matter of time.

Update: "platform specific acceleration" being a broad term for targeting platform-specific features; consoles for example or optimizing for specific features of a particular touch interface.

merlish 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool. How do you get other weapons? Maybe I've just missed it, but I've played two levels and have been picking up ammo for other guns but am unable to switch to them with the numeric keys.

Movement system is good and the music & sound effects have grown on me, but the shooting speed is pretty slow. (Again, I still only have the basic pistol though.)

Edit: Never mind, just found a shotgun on the third map. I maintain that the pistol is a bit slow considering the pace of the game otherwise.

hardwaresofton 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have no idea how this doesn't have way more upvotes. I just played through the first level, this game is amazing, I am thoroughly impressed. Maybe I'm easy to impress, but I think it's amazing
nighthawk454 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Really cool! Was pulling 60fps in Chrome on a retina MacBook Pro. Doesn't work in Safari, as Safari doesn't seem to support the Pointer Lock API.
zacwitte 18 hours ago 7 replies      
Kinda cool that Chrome added pointer lock, but the responsiveness of moving the cursor around the screen is pretty shit. Maybe it's mac mouse acceleration's fault?
Retra 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah, is it doing the old "move sqrt(2) faster on diagonals" thing?
cordite 17 hours ago 2 replies      
It is rather annoying that I can't bind my own keys in the same location since it does not allow binding to symbols like ',' or '.' (I use Dvorak)

Please, don't be like mirror's edge, let my bind whatever I want.

jbevain 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The immediate experience is pretty awesome. You just open the web page and you're playing.

It takes longer to download, probably the size of the engine and the assets, but I've been very much impressed with the Unity3D WebGL export of this FPS:


Geee 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Neat, but there's lag every second or so, making it unplayable.
bane 15 hours ago 0 replies      
That was pretty awesome. It's basically a doom remake, tearing everything down to just the basics, but executing really well on them.
davesque 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Love it! I'm an old-school FPSer and have been thinking about taking up a hobby project involving WebGL. This might just give me the inspiration.
ferongr 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Some suspension of disbelief required for that "full-fledged" claim (whatever that means). The mediocre performance, low complexity graphics and Doom-like movement and shooting mechanics are not comparable to any of the "full-fledged" FPSs I've been playing since 2000.
lectrick 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It reminds me of this old game called The Colony


Which I never finished because it was so damn hard lol

rikkus 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Pointer lock working for me in chrome, but left mouse to fire only works intermittently. Assigning space to fire works though.
cbd1984 10 hours ago 2 replies      
What browsers does this work in? I tried it in both Firefox and Chrome and neither showed anything other than a black screen.
Crito 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I really wish retro-style FPSes like this were more common. There is no shortage of retro platformers, but it seems like not many people are making shooters that harken back to Doom or Quake.

Cover systems, realistic weapons, online ranks, etc is all fine; I just wish there were more games like this. I could play this game all day.

The author links to this essay about Doom which I think really gets to the heart of it: http://vectorpoem.com/news/?p=74

tech-no-logical 18 hours ago 0 replies      
nice. loved the pac-man monsters :) the pointer-lock doesn't seem to work in chrome, but works in firefox (with a bit of a hassle from the context-menu that also pops up)
pheo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
absolutely awesome. This is how far we've come.
MrBoomixer 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm pretty sure this is made using ImpactJS for anyone that is interested.
Touche 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Why no full-screen?
curiously 11 hours ago 0 replies      
man this was more fun to play than call of duty
Animats 17 hours ago 2 replies      
The page reports "Your browser does not support HTML5 local storage", because the browser here is configured to block that.

Your game doesn't need local storage. It doesn't get to plant tracking information.

Bitcoin crashes over 25% in 24 hours, under $180
191 points by TylerE  1 day ago   321 comments top 31
tribaal 1 day ago 15 replies      
Yeah, as much as I like the concept of bitcoin (and the blockchain), I don't see adoption becoming anything more than anecdotal.

No interest rate, and you have to secure it yourself? No thanks. My "big bad bank" guarantees me at least a small interest in saving money, and if my card is stolen, I get a new one in 24 hours and all transactions are cancelled. I'm happy to pay some transaction fees ("extortion!") to get that kind of insurance.

Bitcoin is the electronic version of "let's buy a lot of gold and stash it somewhere".

EDIT: Burn karma, burn. Ah well.

sanswork 1 day ago 7 replies      
Not really surprising. 2014 was meant to be the year of bitcoin and it flopped as far as the general public was concerned. Bitcoin picked up some more merchants but they almost universally saw disappointing sales or dramatic drop offs(Overstock the poster child which at one point was claiming serious expectations of $15-20m in bitcoin sales ended up with a 5th of the lower end of their claim).

Mining companies are closing left, right, and centre, and bitcoin exchanges are shutting down for more profitable ventures.

I don't think Bitcoin is dead or even close to dead but I'm pretty sure we've seen its peak.

Unlike the previous bubbles this one was in full sight of the general public with constant media coverage. It's gone to $1000 had most people(in western nations) learn about it and respond almost unanimously with 'Meh'.

heyimwill 1 day ago 1 reply      
On December 23 a Missouri court ordered a winddown of Butterfly Labs and they began a refund plan.....now here is my theory...I was looking at the blockchain and came across a 5000 btc utxo taken incrementally down to 0....it was sold off continuously. It took me to here.https://blockchain.info/address/12WRnQR85ZUT7dhmaHBNL5dde2QL...

Activity on that address started back up on 12/23 the day the courts provided control again. Ive tied it to butterfly labs because a OP_RETURN said paycoin.com linked to Josh Zerlan an employee of butterflylabs.

What is scary is another 90000 unspent coins reside here also controlled by butterfly labs.https://blockchain.info/address/1B9KrM7bjhJ42qJSWr1KJrNTAP1S...

I think youll have butterfly labs forced to continue to sell the remaining 94000 coins in this court mandated wind down in order to provide refunds to those customers....That is a ton of coins to continuously dump...it exceeds 24 hour volume on the largest exchange.

jokoon 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does it really matter ?

Wouldnt it smarter to use bitcoin as a secure way to make payments, but not to keep as a currency ?

For example, if you want to buy something using bitcoins, you just buy the exact amount of bitcoins you need, you make the transaction, and the people who gets the bitcoins just convert it back to dollar.

To escape the fluctuation of the conversion rate, just open a bank that keeps amount in dollar and only do transaction with a corresponding amount of BTC, depending on the conversion rate. It's an easy way to diversify payment alternative, while being pretty safe and avoiding fluctuations of BTC.

I don't see any other way to use bitcoin. It's pretty hairy, but it might be a viable alternative to paypal for example.

btcthrowaway2 1 day ago 1 reply      
I mined about 200 BTC in 2011 and I must say, they have changed my live. I still have 150, so during the passed 4 years, while bootstrapping 2 startups, those mere 50 bitcoins I sold have meant that I have been able to keep both companies running. Without those 50 coins, I'm not sure how I would have continued.

But the most important thing was not the value of those 50 coins. Which really isn't that big a deal. It was the knowledge that "I have a buffer, a reserve" and that knowledge has allowed me to make deals in the interest of future growth, instead of short term continuation. I got to decline offers, that I otherwise would have needed to survive.

Now that both companies are making a profit, I have learned how important it is to have a big buffer and I thank Bitcoin for that. I also thank Bitcoin for the financial independence I now have, even though it is an indirect result.

I still watch the markets and hope some other honest hardworking guy out there gets as lucky as I got.

gulpahum 1 day ago 0 replies      
The reason could be that Russia started banning bitcoin websites. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/russia-blocked-several-bitco...
CyberDildonics 23 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems that most people still don't fully grasp why bitcoin is valuable or for that matter why fiat or gold are valuable. The best explanation I've seen is actually the series of slide the Winklvoss twins put together (when they were taking a break from creeping everyone out).


reddytowns 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this is due to the Bitstamp fiasco.

Because of what ultimately happened to mtgox, when the bitstamp exchange came back online again, a lot of people probably wanted out as quickly as possible, fearing it to be insolvent.

Since keeping bitcoins oneself is too technical, the easiest path to cut ties with bitstamp would be just to sell, and probably many of them did.

jhildings 1 day ago 0 replies      
Low was 152 at Bitstamp, quite a dump https://bitcoinwisdom.com/markets/bitstamp/btcusd
lordnacho 1 day ago 2 replies      
From what I can tell, it looks a lot like the oil price collapse. Not that it's directly connected, because BTC holdings are still very low and not really part of any serious investor's portfolio.

But it looks like a lot of people have invested in extraction capacity, and they need to sell to remove their BTC risk. They're buying the mining equipment in dollars after all. And they know that faster and faster chips will come on the market.

On the other side of the equation, demand doesn't seem to have increased quite as much as expected. You still have to go out of your way to find something that you can buy with BTC. Heck, I have a few BTC and I've never used them for anything, and never come across a vendor of something I wanted who wanted BTC for the item. In fact, there are only three categories of people I've met who were interested: nerds, people who wanted drugs, and people who wanted to launder money.

logic_geek 22 hours ago 1 reply      
People might want to ask the question why the Bitcoin price goes down so much. One reason might be that keeping up network security is too expensive with Bitcoin (proof of work) and the miners have to sell their bitcoins to cover their electricity costs. Now if there is not enough demand for bitcoins then the price declines since miners continuously have to sell to cover costs. This also has been laid out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-TLA3j-ic4 As the guy in the video points out there is not only one way realize blockchain technology and proof of work surely is not the least expensive. Proof of stake systems mitigate the "high cost for network security problem". I suspect that one or more proof of stake systems will be part of the next round of innovation (and the next bubble) based on blockchain technology.
coding4all 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's amazing how so many people are concerned about the dollar price of Bitcoin. If you believe in Bitcoin, you want Bitcoin and not dollars.
stretchwithme 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are oil and bitcoin becoming less valuable? Or is the value of the measuring stick, the dollar, changing?

If you measured how tall your kid is every day and he's 5'1" one day and 4'8" the next and 6'1" the day after that, there just might be a measurement problem.

For whatever reason, the end of quantitative easing or whatever, the dollar is getting stronger.

yAnonymous 1 day ago 2 replies      
If people actually started using it as a currency instead of only using it to trade for other currencies, it would be more stable.
simias 1 day ago 2 replies      
So I can't find anything in the comments: what's the cause for this sudden crash?
ygmelnikova 1 day ago 3 replies      
Went to purchase $100 worth of Bitcoin back in the day at $0.03 ea. CC didn't go through. Thought I would try again the next morning with a different card. After sleeping on it, decided it was probably a waste of $100.

I'm even less inclined to spend $100 now.

bbunix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could be something as simple as a russian margin call... commodities in general are having a rough time.
rajat2109 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bitcoin is the currency of future. It looks promising but to change people's mindset and to get accepted widely, it will take some more time. We just need to be patient and believe in this future currency.
xkarga00 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oil price has also fallen over 80% during 2014 but I guess it's more fun to talk about a "crashed" technology in here.
derefr 1 day ago 1 reply      
Huh. Does this have anything to do with the 1.25-hour mining gap that occurred on Monday?
jasonisalive 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you truly believe in Bitcoin, this is just one more insignificant blip on a path, driven by inexorable network effects, that leads to Bitcoin becoming the sole world currency and savings commodity, leaving the fiat currency milieu of 2014 in the dustbin of monetary evolution. A chance to buy at a relative discount and nothing more.
pearjuice 1 day ago 0 replies      
Which will most likely immediately follow people buying at low and preparing to pump again.
llSourcell 1 day ago 0 replies      
its not about bitcoin, its about the blockchain.
rurban 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great, time to buy!
sagivo 1 day ago 0 replies      
bitcoin is dead. long live the bitcoin!
marincounty 1 day ago 1 reply      
1. Thought it was a scam.2. looked into it and realized I was wrong.3. Looked into building a mining rig.4. Worrried about ROI, after energy and hardware.5. Seems like everyone was mining.6. Knew I competed with entities with deep pockets.7. T.V. news started to treat bitcoins like gold quotes.8. Started seeing bitcoins accepted here.9. Wish I didn't procrastinate years ago.10. Glad I didn't invest in bitcoins.11. I wish it well though. Anything is better that credit card transactions--with their fees. It is still a great idea, and I hope this is just a market fluctuation!
moe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cue the standard HN bitcoin thread with everyone explaining why it is dead, why it could never work and why everyone involved with it is a scam or stupid anyway...
jordsmi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Time to get more cheap coins
jbverschoor 1 day ago 2 replies      
bitcoin, just like oil have dropped because energy will be cheap / nearly free soon.
gchokov 1 day ago 0 replies      
gii 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you see the trend, it is definitely sinking...
UX Check
205 points by mhr_online  2 days ago   43 comments top 16
tlack 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is really handy.

As I do more management (yuck) I find myself having to put together reams of commented screenshots all the time. My process for this is piecemeal - but this would definitely help. Thanks!

A few suggestions:

1. HTML, Google Docs, or PDF output would be faaaar more useful than Word. I'm actually surprised you used Word here. We must have very different work environments. :)

2. I feel like there are usability/UX recommendations other than Nielsen that might be more useful for some audiences. His advice is a bit mundane and abstract for my tastes. Perhaps the https://userium.com/ list could be of use for some. Having options here (which I agree stinks of bloatware) could be interesting.

Oh.. and extra points for using a .CO :)

cgallello 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hi all - I created UX Check as a side project over the past few months and I'm glad that people are finding it to be helpful! There are some awesome suggestions in this thread and I'm already working on a v2, so feel free to keep the ideas coming.
CitizenKane 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey there, really love the extension! It's nice to have something like this and it's a good way to record thoughts and feedback.

Speaking of user experience, you should really use inline installation[1] for chrome extensions. It provides a really nice experience so that users don't need to leave your site. It also allows you to detect if the extension is installed so that way you can remove the install button for people who already have it.

[1] https://developer.chrome.com/webstore/inline_installation

onion2k 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very nice. Something that will definitely prove useful.

Note: The highlight box seems to be slightly misaligned vertically on some sites. On one site I tested it seemed to be ignoring padding-top on the <body>.

iamtew 2 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad there's no Firefox version.
neves 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great service. Bonus link: how to conduct an Heurist Evaluation: http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-to-conduct-a-heuristic-e...
biot 1 day ago 2 replies      
The site could use a UX check itself. :) Using Chrome on Windows:



Also, what would be really handy is the ability to download the result not as a document, but rather to integrate it with existing issue tracking software such as JIRA. I'm sure that's on your V2 plans with some monthly recurring plan.

jmlacroix 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like a great tool!

I've been working on that topic too in the last year. I developed Capian (http://capian.co), a tool to help usability professionals make better heuristic evaluations faster.

I'm a full-stack developer and my partner is a UX designer. There's a lot of missing tools in our space. Great to see other people trying to address them!

gordjw 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks, this is going to be really handy!

Just curious, what do you use to create the docx in browser?

akvlad 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm curious to know how the author managed to take a screenshot of the site? I know there were methods to actually recreate the DOM via some 3rd party library. Not sure if things have changed with HTML5 or others means of doing it.
butler14 1 day ago 1 reply      
Really nice extension. Sorry if these have already been suggested, but here's a few ideas from me:

When selecting "Other" in the heuristics dropdown allow you to enter your own in a text field.

4 levels of severity seems unnecessarily limiting - 10 would be nice

api 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tangent: what a gorgeous web site!
scrollaway 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are you the author? This seems like it would fare better as a Show HN.
Chanie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool browser extension! Thanks for sharing
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
mkorfmann 2 days ago 0 replies      
nice! :)
Italia Startup Visa
205 points by qqwet  11 hours ago   190 comments top 36
gruturo 9 hours ago 20 replies      
One piece of advice from an Italian, who was born and grew up there: It's a suicide, absolutely do NOT do this.We have the best weather, culture, food, wine, beaches, etc, you name it. But opening a business in that dysfunctional country? RUN and don't look back. Between fiscal pressure, crazy laws and compliances, the effective presumption of guilt, completely broken or unavailable infrastructure in the hand of monopolists, it's outright suicide. Companies will favor "friends" and deny you a chance even if you're competitive.Oh and we haven't touched the criminal issues at all. I was lucky not have the pleasure of such acquaintances but don't worry, if you become large enough or successful enough, they will come to you.
SeanLuke 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have friends who did a startup in Rome which went after government grants and contracts for software. I got to watch as they battled nepotism, insularity, incompetence, and extraordinarily sclerotic, glacial movement on part of the government and its affiliates and contractors, both as customers and as providers of standard societal services. Taxation is unbelievably high and bureaucratic for those (like my friends) who were straight shooters and wanted to pay taxes, unlike nearly all their competition, who dodged them.

My favorite story was when they were trying to get internet service in Trastevere. They were required to start paying the phone company (TI) as if they had internet service, and then wait. For three months. Then after they called TI wondering where the service was, they were told TI had sent someone out to install the service but he couldn't find their office. TI didn't bother to call them. So they were then required to go to the back of the queue and wait for another three months, all the while paying, followed by another excuse. This went on for the better part of a year. Meanwhile they ran the whole company off of cellular data plans.

And they're still there, and why? Because Trastevere is one of the most wonderful places in the world. It's worth it to them. But it's not surprising they're in the minority: Italy has a very, very serious brain drain problem.

lucaronin 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Oh come on. Some comments from italians here are really disgusting. Im Italian, live in Italy and run a startup here. I know A LOT of guys who run successful businesses here (not me, yet!), who dont have to deal with mafia, corruption and mandolinos.

Is it harder here than in some other countries? For sure. Are there issues with taxes, regulations, etc? Hell yes.


Its not impossible to build great companies in Italy. And you will be amazed to discover there are upsides too. Technical talent is great (because universities are great, despite all the shit people usually throw at them), and REALLY cheap. Also, talent retention is easier: finding good, rewarding jobs is hard here, so if you build a great company, with a compelling vision, people just stay with you.Quality of life MATTERS: good weather, food, having fun, have an incredible impact on how people work.

Finally, there are opportunities. Since Italy, as a market, is far behind in so many areas, theres plenty of space for startups to innovate and build businesses that have already been proven successful in other countries/markets.

So, please, stop complaining. Its hard everywhere. Somewhere its harder than somewhere else. But thats it.

andreamazz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm italian and one of the founders of an italian startup. Saying that it's hard to work here would be the understatement of the century. The fiscal pressure is insane, the laws are batshit crazy, and there is no startup culture nor respect for the IT in general. Don't get me wrong, I love my country, but founding a startup here is just madness.
jdimov 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Forget the corruption, crazy laws, favouritism and racketeering. The biggest problem you'll face doing business in Italy is the wide-spread, deep-rooted "it can wait" mentality that is really prevalent. No one can be bothered with anything. Be prepared to wait for months and months for trivial tasks that can be completed in 30 minutes. Be prepared for people to cancel meetings at the last minute, then set a new date and time just to miss that one too - repeat ad nauseam. Don't even try to explain the concept of a "deadline" to an Italian.

The worst part is you can't even hate them for this, because they're so friendly and likeable!

Other than that, it's a lovely country. Make your wealth elsewhere and go enjoy what Italy has to offer.

danmaz74 8 hours ago 2 replies      
As an Italian, I have to say that Italy isn't the first place where I would open a startup, but many comments here are really exaggerated. Corruption and crime, in the center and north of Italy (the most economically active part), is nowhere as prevalent as they say. Unfortunately, because of the crisis that really hit hard here, there is a very gloomy sentiment in lots of Italians.

But as a consequence of the crisis, there is a lot of talent that can be get pretty cheap for European standards, especially now that taxation for newly hired workers has been greatly reduced.

Fede_V 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Ehh, I thought I was negative about Italy, but seeing what everyone else is saying, I'm probably the most positive person here.

The pros:

- There are some absolutely excellent open source developers who can be hired much more cheaply than the US.

- Life is excellent. Italy is a really beautiful country.

- Lots of incredibly low hanging fruits. Italy has a lot of great companies that makes excellent products the entire world wants, but have absolutely pathetic IT departments. This is also true in the public sector - several regions of Italy have amazing touristic attractions with pathetic marketing/web presence. This is probably the best reason.

The cons:

- As a corollary to the last pro (about low hanging fruits). Public sector contracts are given to people who are completely incompetent but well connected, who then sub contract it out. The technocratic/political class, especially at the local level, is almost always old, and has gotten their positions because of connections.

- Moreso than outright corruption (unless you live in the South), red tape can be a massive issue.

- This does not affect start ups, but once you grow to more than 15 employees, staff hired full time is basically impossible to fire. This is very slowly getting changed.

I don't think it makes sense to move to Italy if you want to work on the next chat/social media application, but if you have a great idea on how to use web to improve tourism/market high end goods, or you have excellent SaaS software for medium-large sized companies, you could probably do very well, and live very well too.

Basically, this is sort of an interesting (but old) summary of an interesting case study: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121969807244970447 - there were lots of resources, lots of low hanging fruits, and yet due to political squabbling, total ignorance of technology and nepotism the project was a huge waste. Given how low the bar is, it's very possible to do much better.

Small edit:There is a huge generational gap between the 50+ year olds that run the country, and the kids graduating now from University, in terms of attitude towards technology, meritocracy, and entrepreneurship.

talete 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
well it depends what are you working on. It's not a complete hell but it's true Italy is not so business friendly as it pretends to be, especially when it comes to bureaucracy, laws, services. Things are changing, true, and the situation is far better than it was just 3 years ago. The truth: still a lot has to be done yet. But you may find lots of talented developers, skilled people, educated scientists and here living costs and salaries are cheaper than in other countries. In Milan and other cities in the north some local ecosystems are arising. Think of your business, of your target customers, of your needs. Then it might be worth a try. Just do not expect any help by the government or public administration.Source: I am italian, and I live in Milan, I am both a consultant helping small businesses and entrepreneur.
zkhalique 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Russia tried to open Skolkovo, Italy tries to do this. These are nice attempts, but the best way to attract startups is to first reduce government corruption that would pressure businesses that do well.
rwhitman 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A good friend participated in what I think was a pilot program for this a year ago. The Italian govn't sponsored an incubator in Trento, invited entrepreneurs from all over the world to come participate... and then promptly fumbled the visa and business paperwork so badly that a good number of participants packed up and went home early.

I can't remember the details exactly but apparently the visa troubles and business registration red tape made the whole program something of a joke

laex 10 hours ago 5 replies      
One of my Italian friends isn't really encouraged by this. And I quote:

"I think that I close already 2 business in Italy due to the economic crisis, the fiscal pressure when I left Italy was about 65% (not it is more) and in the first year I went there the 30% of the shop in my city have closed (now it would much more)

Even without reading I can tell you that opening a business there now is a suicide. "

andretti1977 7 hours ago 1 reply      
From a business point of view, STAY AWAY FROM ITALY. I'm an italian computer engineer and work as a freelance with VAT number since 5 years and i can say that there are no fiscal or burocratic simplifications and aids for startup.

There is a reason why a lot of italians preferred to create a ltd based in the UK instead of a srl in italy. There is a reason why a lot of italian entreprenuers are moving to Switzerland. There is a reason why a lot of italians base their business in Tenerife (even if i don't accept this fiscal-escamotage, i can't blame them too much).

As an example of the business complications here in italy, even if i own a computer engineer consultancy VAT type, i can't send invoices to Google to get money from GoogleAds: i need to add another VAT specification (paying money) and register my self to the chamber of commerce (again paying) and having a more complicated fiscal management (for my business consultant's joy!) just because at that point, i'm in the advertising business (really? small GoogleAds income is an advertising business?!).

In italy you can go with the same invoices (incomes and expenses) to two different business consultant and they will produce two different tax declarations! And in the case of a fiscal check, you will find that maybe none of them was right! This is ridiculous, but this is the reality of Italy because fiscal law and bureaucracy are a real mess!

Talking about startup: if you read well you will find that there are a lot of obstacles in the opening of a startup in italy: an an example you must set at least 15% of the bigger between income or expenses for R&D, you must have at least a third of the workforce as Ph. D. and you must own a patent...and they call it "innovative startup in italy[1]"...do you find it easy and comfortable? Please, if you understand italian language, go and see Report Startup Stories [2]

Last, it is true that Italy is a beautiful country and that if you own a small business located in the north, maybe you won't have too much problems with criminality, but remember that it is true that mafia has people and hands on the most important political chairs and in the richest businesses. Just think about the recent scandal regarding Rome or the mafia and 'ndrangheta penetration in milan.

[1] http://startup.registroimprese.it/[2] http://www.report.rai.it/dl/Report/puntata/ContentItem-a31ab...

Antomanno 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is my post in italian on the scandalous Italia Startup Visa, i am going to translate in english soon http://antoniomanno.blogspot.com/2015/01/startup-chile-contr...
twsted 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I would never have expected such level of pessimism and negativity from my compatriots. There are many things to improve here and this new effort could be a little step in that direction. Surely many other things must be done and our bad political class has not helped at all.

I've have co-founded a couple of startups here (one http://www.eidosmedia.com has had a very good success worldwide; another one http://catflow.it is gaining momentum) and I continue to have a great optimism for what can be done in this country, maintaining a good lifestyle.

Fiscal pressure, crazy laws? Yes. Is it a suicide working here? Absolutely not.

enricotal 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I really appreciate the Italia Startup Visa effort, but here's the facts...


Italy environment is toxic for a startup.

Italy is a MandarinCracy.

It is a country, not ruled by politicians, but by self serving high level officials. They oversee 4 million strong public workforce, and have created the most complex set of rules & regulations and to justify they own existence along with the highest taxation (80%) on the world to pay for them.


Italy Freelance workforce is great for a startup.

They have a huge freelancers Workforce, (designers and Developers) with the same talent found in the Silicon Valley at the fraction of the cost. ($28K to $40K year salary). They are called "popolo delle partite iva" and are de facto a second level citizen. They do not have the same privileges as the rest of the 50+ workforce. Still.. they will work hard and passion for any project with great critical thinking.

My final advice:

Create a business somewhere else (UK or US) and setup a small R&D development team in Italy

smarques 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I am italian, running a start up in italy. Its a beautiful country, fascinating, great art, food, weather. IMHO definitely and unfortunately not a good eco system for a start up to grow in.
toyg 3 hours ago 1 reply      
As an Italian expat, I do welcome the attempt; I just wonder who would actually apply for one.

If you're in the US, your ecosystem is so much more startup-friendly, there is no point moving anywhere else -- opening a cheap R&D is probably the only reason I can think of, but if you're going for costs savings in that area, wouldn't you get a better deal in Eastern Europe?

If you are in Europe, you don't need a VISA to move to Italy.

The only people who would lust after this, IMHO, are:

1. South-Americans who can't or won't get into the United States;

2. Middle-Easters who can't or won't get into Gulf countries or Israel;

3. the kids of first-generation immigrants in Italy who can't get citizenship (because Italian immigration laws are stupid).

Are these constituencies large enough to create a significant ecosystem? I don't know. They will certainly face huge problems with casual racism in the business sector, if they try to sell in the Italian market. And venture finance for unconnected businesses in Italy is non-existent; the culture is very risk-averse, and capital is too sparsely distributed to make venturing palatable to the average investor.

But hey, good luck. At least they're trying something, I guess.

albertoloddo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Beside all the good of the weather, food, beaches, history, art, women, etc. we all know Italy is a living dead. Europe is a living dead and everything.99% of Successful Italian startups get seeded here and then relocate to uk or us to get series A and better taxes and legal system. But engineering workforce is cheap and very talented.

But there's something that really kills it. It's us Italians. We just love to complain. Yes It's a shit, they are stealing our money and tying our hands, but it's sufficient to ready these comments to understand that the problem is us.

Winners find solutions.Losers find excuses.

I'm proud of being Italian. We are people of love, not people of freedom. I have almost married an american girl and lived and worked there on and off for two years. We have to fight for our country and for our Europe.

Besides that, everything we know will be disrupted and what will be left is just our memories.

I work at an accelerator (registered incubator) I'll be happy to chat with you who want to know more about here.


krumiro79 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Italian here. I've been employed, a freelance and also been an employer (had an ecommerce ltd).

My experience is that Italy is not a fertile place for both employers and employees because of tax pressure, corruption, lack of skilled workers and low salaries.

There's no reason for an EU citizen to choose Italy as there's more chances to succeed in other countries.

Popular companies have moved or planning to move away (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/11...).

micheleb 3 hours ago 1 reply      
ctrl-F "coffee" --> 0 results.

Come on, no mention of the superior quality of coffee we enjoy here? And you call yourselves hackers?

Picture me disappointed.

stefanocutello 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to ask to all these complaining italians that are telling people to stay away from their home country: how many of you are still in Italy and what are you doing to change things?

I don't think that throwing shit (true or not) and scaring international talents from coming to Italy opening their own startup is a good way to help.

Disclaimer: I'm Italian, living and running my company in NL since 3 years.

tobltobs 7 hours ago 2 replies      
If you want to tap into the pool of talented italian engineers you could also open up a shop at the border to Italy in Switzerland and employ cross-border commuter from northern Italy. You would have to pay them more than if you would open up your shop in Italy, but you would avoid these kafkaeske system called Italy and enjoy all the advanteges of Switzerland.
blueyes1977 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I suggest you better watch this documentary "Run away or Stay"http://www.madeoflimestone.com/mofl-vimeo/


gQTZNsXG 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh, sidenote: probably the biggest italian company, FIAT, recently moved (fiscally speaking) out of Italy, towards states with lower fiscal pressure (Netherlands, if I recall correctly).

And FIAT was/is big and competent enough to handle all of the sh*t italian laws impose.

Just saying.

raindog 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice try Italian government. But hey dude, don't do it. We are a sinking ship.
davidw 6 hours ago 0 replies      
As an American living in Italy, here's my perspective:

Italy is a wonderful place, but not a very well run country. Food, geography, history... it's fractally beautiful in that the big, amazing things are worth seeing, but you can also go to some small town and find something fascinating. It's just bursting with great places. The people are mostly a plus too, I have good friends here, and know a lot of smart hackers. When I moved here from San Francisco a number of years ago, I still had plenty of people to talk tech with. Here in northern Italy, people work fairly hard (and I'm sure there are people in the south who do as well), and don't command high salaries for their efforts. In some parts of Italy, corruption is a big problem, but it's not something I have seen much of on a day-to-day level. Of course I don't work in a field where I would, either.

The down side: bureaucracy is a nightmare, taxes are high, and a lot of people are leaving, because they can get more money elsewhere. It's no longer as cheap to live here as it once was, either. The long and the short of it is: no, I would not really consider opening a business here a good idea, although I would consider opening an R&D center to benefit from high quality workers at relatively cheap prices.

Italy is ranked quite badly here for a reason: http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

Italians: it is possible to change, if you work at it. I was able to help accomplish a small change myself, despite not being from here, and not having money or connections: http://www.governo.it/Notizie/Presidenza/dettaglio.asp?d=690... . So, things are not good, but if you're willing to invest some time and effort, they can be improved, a little bit at a time.

Part of the problem, IMO, is the idea that the government should 'guide' things. "Startups are good!" right? So they create a government definition of what an "innovative startup" is, and give those companies some benefits. This means more public employees to look after it, more hoops to jump through, more people trying to make a company that the bureaucrats have incentivized, rather than a company that simply does what it does. Even my own small contribution got watered down in that way: rather than simplifying SRL's (the Italian equivalent of an LLC) for everyone, they created a new category.

That's the wrong approach: what they absolutely need to do is simplify the bureaucracy, and secondly, lower taxes. First and foremost, the number and complexity of them. Paying a lot of taxes is not so bad if it's simple, straightforward, and does not take a lot of time, and you receive something for them. But all the little one-off taxes and the complexity of dealing with others is terrible.

This is all stuff economists and others have been saying for years.

As I mentioned elsewhere: Italy doesn't need to be the best place to do business. It's got lots of good things going for it. It just has to start sucking less.

If you're interested in more of 'my take on things', I write about life in Italy here: http://blog.therealitaly.com/

gQTZNsXG 5 hours ago 0 replies      
As as an Italian expat:

Startups in Italy. Yeah sure. Go on. Lol.


s3nnyy 8 hours ago 5 replies      
Wouldn't this be a great way for non-EU citizens to get a residence-permit within the EU? Then, one could move and work in more lucrative places, like Switzerland. (Full disclosure: I am interested in tech-recruiting in Switzerland - see https://medium.com/@techrecruiting.ch/eight-reasons-why-i-mo...)
jnardiello 8 hours ago 0 replies      
# Sorry LONG comment and need to go to work, little to no time to read again and fix errors. Be kind.

I'm yet another italian (expat to London) and let me state a few things which are not listed on that landing page but that you should consider before applying:

I've worked for a few months in a "startup" inside a major italian incubator (Working Capital). I was developer #1 of the company, and here are a few things I want to tell you about incubators in Italy: 1) The level of mentorship provided is close to zero. Their main role is "office" surveillance. They will contribute with ZERO competence to your startup as they have no valuable experience. 2) There are two kind of companies inside incubators: those "with connections" and those without. Companies without connections were accepted just so that the incubator has some numbers to show off. Those with connections (which is most likely due to the parents of the founders being friend with some excutive in the incubator partners) will receive enough support, will behave without a code of conduct, will make it through the whole process without a flaw while If your company will be on the "no connections" side expect (and I will state this again) to be simply abandoned. 3) Investors, pitches and demo days: they mostly are a bunch of executives from partnering companies who have close to zero experience in investing and who gives zero shit about startups. Again, they will just hangout events because of political connections with incubators and as soon as pitches are over they will leave the presentation flying. Execting any kind of feedback nor real investment is just nonsense. I never saw ANY company in an incubator getting anything from official investors. This is still true if you are a random startup without connection. If you are one with connections, you won't attend demo-day, you won't be doing spitches and you'll be funded anyway. 4) In general the startups level is mediocre to say the best. As the selection process is quite random (remember: you are there so that they can say they are an incubator and get money from the public administration) most of the ideas are just completely random and founder have ZERO technical background. In the incubator I used to work, I was the only developer (and we are talking about 40+ people in the room). Believe it or not. 5) Getting investments won't be easy. Which doesn't mean that if you work hard enough you can still achieve results. It means that nobody wants to invest, there's no investments culture on the investor side and no support from so-called incubators. I saw probably 1-2 companies getting any sort of funding and they took years of "working for free" to get a 250k investment.

So, this is pretty much what you should expect when bootstrapping a company in Italy inside an incubator. Of course this is bureaucratic and tax-related problems aside (which are quite difficult to sort: you should expect to throw tens of thousands of euros to get your company officially started and keep your books in order. These costs will probably exceed any funding you'll get).

A few more things to consider:1) The italian culture is business-adverse. Average People aim in life is to find a stable job in a big-size company/public administration until pension. As a startupper you'll be mostly seen as a young unemployed wasting his time.2) If you are REALLY talented and lucky, you build up the "right connections", get yourself funded and open a profitable company you will likely have to deal with mafia (as someone already mentioned). First hand experience: my uncle bootstrapped a profitable fish-import company. Mafia knocked, asked them to acquire the business paying close-to-zero. At the beginning my uncle refused: His car and house catched fire. Of course institutions did nothing about this. He sold the company and left the country. No jokes here.

So, I could probably go on but I hope you got the point :) Should you apply? It depends I guess from where you are right now. If you want to launch a business in Europe and don't know where to start: then maybe you could apply to be accepted in Italy BUT then you need to have a plan to move either to London or to Berlin. If you think to move to Italy and find a healthy business-oriented environment: you are SO wrong.

Good luck!

unimportant 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I would argue that most countries just make really half assed attempts at creating an international startup environment and this is one of them.

Mostly there are very few investors locally, visas are difficult to obtain, the laws aren't really business friendly at all and not suitable for investors etc.

napolux 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Plus they "forgot" to tell you in that site that taxation is around 55% here in Italy. STAY AWAY!
rabidonrails 10 hours ago 3 replies      
If I remember correctly, Peldi Guilizzoni (Balsamiq) highly discourages against starting a company in Italy. Something about how taxes are collected...
italysinkin 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Here we can see italians still don't get we went through globalization yet.If you open a startup in Italy it doesn't mean you need to rely on the italian market to survive. You can create value at a cheap price and then sell somewhere else.

Also: ever heard of russian/chinese/japanese/american mafias? "People with connections" have more chances everywhere.

Other countries beware of italians with the mindset shown here. I've met them abroad and they all tell the same story which they don't know anything about.

Italy doesn't have the best weather, doesn't have the best food, doesn't have the best people, and so on. It has some good things and some bad things like everywhere else. _DO_ something about the bad things instead of lamenting that you can't get the good things after you left.

ratlike 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Hey, good luck finding a decent internet connection outside of the main cities. My parents live an hour from Milan and they get 3G at best.
stefantalpalaru 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Italy is a great country to live in and I'm not trying to discourage you, but keep in mind that from every 100 you make, at least 66 go to the state.

To put this in terms of time and assuming you're a workaholic who doesn't take vacations, in a year you work 8 months for the state and 4 months for yourself.

And then there's the problem of the state being a jerk and making you pay VAT one year in advance or taxing you based on estimates done with market studies instead of the much smaller revenue you declare.

Something like: "the average company/self-employed individual in your business made 30K this year while you declare only 10K. We're gonna assume you're lying to us and tax you for the market average, mkay? Oh, and we'll need the 22% VAT on the 30K we think you'll do next year right now."

kumarski 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Twitter Sort
195 points by ExPHAT  1 day ago   52 comments top 21
TrainedMonkey 1 day ago 5 replies      
While potentially more efficient than bogosort for larger input size, this sorting algorithm has a serious limitation. I am of course talking about being limited to 140 characters per tweet. This seriously restricts maximum input size you can sort, which in turn severely cuts down on potential applications of this technology. Moreover, without deployed SAAS (sorting as a service) bot, algorithm is not deterministic which will complicate handling logic as you need to account for being forever alone without anyone to sort your numbers.

In short, I would advise against deploying this on production until technology is more mature.

kra34 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hi, I'm with Google Corporate Development and I'd love to talk about your algorithm.
gkoberger 1 day ago 0 replies      
If that turns out to be a bit slow, there's always StackSort:


siliconc0w 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is terrible programming - better to generalize it as a decorator so you can use twitter for any method.
jpatokal 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is almost, but not quite, as cool as the WikiClock.


stonewhite 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do believe this may have a worse average case performance than sleepsort.


abalone 1 day ago 0 replies      
The trick is the algorithm makes extensive use of lazy evaluation.
msane 1 day ago 0 replies      
this warrants a new altcoin which uses tweet-sorted lists of numbers as units of work. #tweetcoin
Dobbs 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought this was going to return them sorted in random order, making a joke about how unreadable the way Twitter sorts conversations is.
Mahn 1 day ago 4 replies      
I wonder what's the efficiency of this algorithm in O notation on average.
askmike 1 day ago 0 replies      
Instead of sorting to verify[1] the tweet has indeed been correctly sorted it might be better to just check the first and last entry. As the dataset might be very large (the current 140 character imposted by Twitter limit is merely an implementation detail).

[1] https://github.com/ExPHAT/twitter-sort/blob/master/main.py#L...

ponytech 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was wondering about correctness, but I found in the code comments: "when there is a reply, we check to ensure they're sorted". What a relief.
blt 1 day ago 1 reply      
give me a break, it does O(n^2) work to verify that the response is sorted and contains the same values.
flavor8 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hardcoding the validation of the reply is an unfortunate obstacle to scaling this - the server would very quickly become CPU bound. They should really have made a TwitterSortValidationService which sends the answer out to the Twitter API, and then listens for a response confirming whether or not the original sort was correct.
mdoar 1 day ago 1 reply      
What about the locale of the user producing a different sort order?
sippeangelo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now when do we get a Twitter bot that listens for Twitter Sort tweets and replies with a result from stacksort?
stevewilhelm 1 day ago 0 replies      
You might want to add an optional parameter "number of matching results" that would be used before sending the sorted results.
artenix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Someone should take advantage of the Facebook hordes to compute something beneficial for the humanity.
yitchelle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cant wait to see other derivatives Facebook sort or Linkedin sort....
JetSpiegel 1 day ago 2 replies      
But Where Do People Work in This Office?
171 points by strangetimes  1 hour ago   99 comments top 32
numlocked 17 minutes ago 4 replies      
I was the engineering manager at my previous employer and we were reconfiguring our office layout. I talked to the engineers and with one exception each person wanted private offices. We set up one floor of the office with high cubicle walls, and a lot of sound isolation. So not exactly private offices, but really a pretty nice setup (with the best equipment and furniture available).

On a separate floor we had a bullpen with ops folks, people who were on the phone a lot, etc. One by one, each engineer gravitated towards the bullpen until no one spent more than perhaps 1 day per week in the dedicated office space. The part of the office that each engineer had claimed to want to work in became abandoned.

I think, in spite of the theoretical want for quiet space and isolation, there's a very human need at work to be in the middle of the action -- to hear what's going on, and to be connected to your colleagues. There were certain tasks and problems for which engineers would walk downstairs and make use of the dedicated space, but it was ultimately not where folks wanted to be on a daily basis.

basicallydan 48 minutes ago 6 replies      
Check out Fog Creek's office: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2008/12/29.html

> Gobs of well-lit perimeter offices. Every developer, tester, and program manager is in a private office; all except two have direct windows to the outside (the two that don't get plenty of daylight through two glass walls).

The longer I spend in this environment (coming up to five years) the less I like it. I like the idea of having large, interesting open spaces for more social activities including work, but most of the work I do lends itself well to being not surrounded by people having conversations or - in some cases - literally just messing around all day.

There's gotta be a balance.

rilita 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Generally software developers at any level are treated as the lowest level of person at companies, even when the company specializes in software. As a result, they are packed in wherever they fit.

The theory seems that developers benefit from feeling like a frathouse of some sort, where they play in most of their area, but otherwise cram together to study for a bit, so that they can go back to goofing off afterwards.

Developers are not treated as professionals. They are treated as animals; herded together to make them work, but otherwise just giving them big grassy fields.

jarcane 52 minutes ago 1 reply      
Having worked in offices like these (in a call center, of all things), I really don't understand how the hell you could get any work done. We had people going home with migraines after two days in conditions like that Facebook photo, and that was just reading scripts into a phone headset for 8 hours. Actually producing anything like an intelligent thought in that kind of corporate tuna can is unthinkable to me.

"We have our own indoor artisanal cheese maker! ... but our actual workspace looks like it was cobbled together after a day of frantic Costco purchases." How about sparing the free Sun Chips and putting some walls in, eh?

davidu 54 minutes ago 3 replies      
People do the open office floor plan because it's efficient and economical, not because it's the the best for the workers.

We designed a ton of cubbies (like in your university library), 1 person private rooms, 2 person conference rooms, etc. in our office to accommodate for the fact that many people need to more privacy and quiet than just headphones. We also break up the main open plans to help quiet the noise and distraction.

We have about 45,000 sq. ft today, and will be adding another 45,000 sq. ft this year. When we do, there will be much less open floor plan. I do think there's a happy medium, with team rooms of 6 to 15 people, depending on role and requirements.

codingdave 1 minute ago 0 replies      
My favorite space was the one we laid out for our startup back in the dotcom boom.

We had large cubicles that housed 4 developers each. We each had a corner, and there was a small conference table in the middle so we could just turn around and collaborate. It was a great mix of a shared environment and private, where it was easy to talk to the folks on your team, but also easy for everyone to just work quietly for much of the time.

ThrustVectoring 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I code in an open office. My solution: headphones, and three 27 inch monitors angled inward. It's not quite as good as walls, but it cuts out enough visual distraction that it works well enough. I've also got an adjustable-height desk that I leave at standing height, so there's not much going on above monitor height.

A big chunk of the benefit of having an office is keeping your visual field entirely work-related.

geebee 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Open floor plan offices are generally pretty unpleasant, but some of the negative effects can be mitigated.

I worked at Sun Micro a while ago (the place that is now Facebook), and we all had offices at the time. However, Sun had also started to create numerous drop-in work centers. One of them was in downtown SF, just south of market.

This was an "open" office with three largish rooms with cubicles and desks, and a smaller number of offices with doors that close (reservable or walk in).

Here's what made it work - one of the rooms was designated a "zone of silence", and it really was enforced. The two outer rooms had phones at each desk, the quiet room did not. Sales people and other workers who needed to make noise worked in the outer rooms, programmers and other heads down people worked in the quiet room.

Not surprisingly, there were plenty of people who wanted to break the rules. This generally happened when all the desks in the loud room were taken. Then you'd get people trying to take phone calls in the quiet room on their cell phones. Some felt that as long as they spoke in a relatively hushed tone of voice, it would be ok (though everyone could still hear their conversation). Others figured that the phone could ring, and they could start their conversation in the room, as long as they were actively walking outside the room as they talked.

What saved it was an office manager who simply wouldn't tolerate it. She would absolutely tell people that they couldn't do this, and that their right to work from the drop in center would be revoked if they continued to do it. She didn't care about their rank, or if they liked her.

I did have a couple of ugly moments about it. I very politely asked people on a couple of occasions not to use their phones in the designated quiet room (with signs everywhere about it), and more than once, they started in on how much more important their work was than mine.

But it was relatively rare, because the signage and vibe of the room really was pretty clear about it, and the office manager was very strict and just didn't have the kind of personality that was easily pushed around.

mbesto 7 minutes ago 1 reply      
1. These are clearly marketing pictures taken by professional photographers. Well done ones I might add. They are meant to demonstrate (perception/reality) what daily life of an any employee is. Not every big tech company is a composed of 99% engineers. Cassandra and HHVM were built there (or somewhere similar), yet people whose only evidence is a bunch of marketing pictures decide to question the design decisions of people with intimate knowledge about their company's organization.

2. There is yet to be conclusive evidence that open offices work or don't work, and I don't expect this to change anytime soon. What is clear to me is that the correlation between good code and office does not exist. Think of how much code has been written in kitchens, garages, vans, etc that may have changed the world...

uniformlyrandom 49 minutes ago 2 replies      
It depends on your responsibilities. If you are in devops, ops or support, open office is great for you.

If you are a coder, an engineer, or an architect, then open office is painful.

If you are a manager, then open office is embarrassing.

gdulli 52 minutes ago 1 reply      
I never thought I'd feel thankful for having high cubicle walls, but here we are.
bunderbunder 31 minutes ago 1 reply      
My company recently built out a schmancy new open plan office and moved a bunch of people from my team there. Based on what I've seen so far the answer is that people don't work in that office. They work from home, because that's the only place you can get any actual work done. They do come into the office one or two days a week, but only so that management doesn't feel like they wasted money on all those ping-pong and pool tables.
ghshephard 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
We should have someone like Ben Horowitz who has been a line manager of engineers, CEO of a large company that cranks out code - both the pure "New technology" type code, as well as the "Lots of framework code" type engineering, comment on this. But, from memory, I think he said something like this:

"Engineering productivity, counterintuitively, appears to increase as you move them out of private offices into contact with one another, both through cross-pollination of different ideas, as well as the energy inherent in working in a team environment. This graph of productivity, though, does have a maxima as density increases, until it begins to once again decrease as the distractions become a dominating effect. With that said, not all engineers are alike, and there are some individuals that are far more effective in a quiet room, than those who benefit from the open office layout. The efficient engineering organization should make opportunities for both types of engineers to excel."

chrisbennet 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
I like this trend toward giant open plan offices - it gives us folks who work in our own quite offices a competitive advantage. :-)
Morgawr 39 minutes ago 4 replies      
I am currently working at Google as an intern and I'm probably going to be the contradicting opinion in this thread but I really appreciate the openspace office we have here. Maybe because it's my first "real" office job, but I do not find much of a problem working here. When I want to be on my own to think on stuff, I just put my headphones on (sometimes with music, sometimes without, since they are good at canceling noise anyway) and it's like being in my own isolated office. And if that is not enough, we have small cubicle-like mini-rooms where you can go and isolate yourself, most people use them to have phone conversations or do interviews, but nothing stops you from working in there with your laptop.

All in all, though, maybe it's my floor that is very quiet but there's not much distraction or annoying background noise as most people are busy working. When they are not working, they go somewhere else (the pub, the relax rooms, etc etc). If they want to have a work-related conversation that lasts more than 5-10 minutes, we have open areas with whiteboards separated from the desk area, or we have separate conference rooms you can use. Most of the time, I enjoy taking my headphones off and listening to a couple of coworkers making remarks on stuff (either work or non-work related), it helps me relieve stress and boredom much more than just staring at a wall or reading some articles online.

Ironically, the major source of annoyance in our floor recently has been the old AC system that sometimes starts making very loud noises and bothers everybody, but this is not the fault of the openspace office so it doesn't count :)

sibelius7th 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why does it have to be either or? Why not provide a variety of different work environments, encourage employees to find the one that best suits them, and work there? I think back to my days at the University. Sometimes a louder, open space was great so I'd head to the student union or the group floor of the library. Or maybe I needed some isolated quiet time, find a private room in the library so I could think. I've worked in places that had only open spaces, and it was very difficult to find any quiet, more private rooms. There are times that I like a more open environment, and I get work done there, but when there are no quiet places I can retreat to when I need it, then it can become very frustrating to get any work done. And no, don't tell me you provide me headphones to 'block out' the noise. Sometimes its quiet I want, not louder noises to block out the existing noises (not to mention the fact that it doesn't block out visual stimulation which can be equally distracting).
markolschesky 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
I used to work at Epic (the Health IT company), which is known for its interesting office design and giving its staff individual offices [1]. Now that I've been working for startups, I've worked in more bullpen-type offices.

A few things:

1) Having my own office did not mean that there weren't distractions. It's impractical to build sound-proof walls between offices and the guy across from me loved to try to sing opera for hours a day. I eventually moved offices to another part of campus for that reason.

2) Likewise, I've worked in open offices that were pretty monastic. Engineers are quiet, everyone is wired in and most people talk on Slack/HipChat. The only interruption was when the mailman would drop off the daily mail.

3) I think the worst thing about open offices are the logistics of staff that need to take phone calls. As a customer-facing programmer that does sales support and configuration assistance it's sub-optimal not having a dedicated space for phone calls. When the perfect storm arises of too many people needing to take calls, everything flies into anarchy where I'm forced to take a call in a common space and try to be quiet. A bullpen that has some separation and accommodation for those needs is ok. A bullpen that doesn't have that is not.

[1] http://www.xconomy.com/wisconsin/2014/09/19/epic-hopes-wi-ca...

georgeecollins 30 minutes ago 1 reply      
Managers like bullpens because they are very cheap. They cram a lot of people into a small space. They don't require the maintence of door locks or even cube walls. People can be moved around very easily.

I think they also like that everyone can look over everyone else's shoulder very easily, which creates peer pressure to work. In my experience, the maangers that advocate this are often the ones that are really spending all their time in special break-out rooms or conference rooms.

kateho 56 minutes ago 1 reply      
As much as it pains for me to say it, I do think small, quiet 1-2 person offices are great for thinking and getting real work done. I believe the IDEO offices in the Bay Area have a combination of a centralised area for discussions and collaboration, but a set of smaller offices for more focused work time. Something which would actually be quite nice to see more of ...
jayess 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I look at those wide-open office spaces and get anxious. I need my lonely, quiet space to work.
kylec 46 minutes ago 2 replies      
Wherever my next job is, I'll make sure to take a tour of the working environment. If it looks anything like these photos, I'll decline an offer.
skynetv2 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have a semi-private office (two of us) in a ~15X15 office with a door, I would not give it up for anything in the world. openspaces are terrible for productivity. too many distractions.
bixmix 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is it a generation gap? Old programmer vs new? The open office trend may be the death of my 2 decade career in writing software.

I do not need a spacious office: a room with a door, a distinct lack of distracting windows, and a 4x6 desk and an overflow side table would be perfect. Closing a door means I can focus and block out traffic, noise and the general hubbub of an office.

snlacks 51 minutes ago 2 replies      
They are kept in Bull Pens because they treat their employees as sterile commodities to be herded around.

You don't become WalMart/Facebook/Twitter by treating your employees well. You become big and profitable by cutting as many corners as you can and keeping revenue up. Publicly traded companies generally get into this-quarter frenzy that never leaves and kills any sort of long term viability as being a company of and for people.

edpichler 15 minutes ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one here that does not like too much silent offices? I like to feel my environment alive, I don't want silence, I want the low noise of smart people discussing, sharing and interacting.
k-mcgrady 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Those office all look nice - until you get to the place where work actually takes place. I don't care if the foosball table is in a nice room or if the kitchen is fancy. I spend 95% of my time at my desk. Focus some energy on making that area bearable.
austenallred 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
I think there's a balance to be struck.

I used to think that programmers complaining about open office spaces were just nitpicking... then I learned how to program. Open offices are a reason for headphones at best and a nightmare at worst.

That having been said, I've worked in spaces where everyone had their own private office. It was great for productivity, but I felt like I never got to know anyone. All communication was forced, which caused a lot of annoying and unnecessary meetings.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but it's probably somewhere in the middle.

skatenerd 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is this some extension / perversion of the original XP principles? I feel like XP Explained talks a lot about office layout and how it can foster communication and teamwork.
txu 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder what do people who disagree with open floor plans think the desks should be like?
motbob 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Would collaboration be hurt by spreading things out?
peterwwillis 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why do people like working in coffee shops?

It's cramped. It's noisy. There's barely enough power outlets (if at all). Uncomfortable chairs. Annoying conversations. Hipster baristas.

Yet people all over the world cram into coffee shops like Starbucks, sucking up the free wifi with a grande half-calf mocha latte, churning out a report or answering e-mails, sometimes even on a conference call. Conditions that could border on sweatshop if it weren't for the food and drink. It seems completely unintuitive.

Are there benefits to this environment? Perhaps.

For one thing, you don't know anyone there; nobody is going to interrupt you, or tell loud inappropriate jokes while tossing a football, and you are so close to people you are forced to focus on what is right in front of you. You get the comfort of being near other humans without any requirement to ever interact with them. Then there's the convenience of easy access to food, a bathroom, and that miracle drug we're all dependent on. Add the internet and a table and chair and it's like some utopian Japanese vision of the future of all offices. The music is a nice bonus.

But there's one thing I think really makes the coffee shop an ideal place to work: no expectations.

You can come and go as you please. No assigned seats. No meetings. No interruptions. Nothing but your coffee and chair and table space and internet. Who cares if it's loud? Who cares if it's impractical to stay there? If you just need to get something done and break away from the commitment to a typical monotonous working life, this is your hideaway.

I think all offices should just be giant coffee shops.

gook 46 minutes ago 5 replies      
Has this guy even worked in any of these environments? I've worked at Facebook and it is surprisingly quiet. If people want to have meetings or talk, there are plenty of conference rooms to take advantage of. Worst case, the free Sennheisers in the tech vending machines takes care of any other noises that you might not like.

I personally work better in an open office environment. I work off the energy of others and it allows me to focus more than being alone in an office.

While I understand if people legitimately don't like an open office environment, this type of article seems like it is just trying to put down these companies with little knowledge about how loud it really is in these offices.

And if you don't like the environment at Facebook/Google/Twitter/etc, just move to another company. Let's not pretend that it is hard to get another job with one of those companies on your resume.

OpenBSD's kernel gets W^X treatment
166 points by brynet  1 day ago   41 comments top 8
SwellJoe 1 day ago 4 replies      
Does anyone have links that would explain this concept in greater detail? I get the meaning of W^X and I even understand the danger of executable memory, and why one wouldn't want it to be write-able (or at least not write-able by untrusted writers), but, beyond that I don't really understand the broader implications.

Also, it sounds like it would be a massive undertaking, even for a small(ish) kernel like OpenBSD, if the kernel wasn't always written with this goal in mind. Is that the case? (I don't see a patch referenced, so I'm not able to judge for myself.)

hlieberman 1 day ago 3 replies      
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't amd64 kernels always going to have this implemented in hardware? I mean, W^X is a replication of the NX bit, which is (as far as I know) mandatory for the x86 instruction set.
haberman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not a lot of context here: I take it this means mapping pages as writable or executable, but never both? And this is being applied to the kernel itself and the pages it maps into kernel space?
userbinator 23 hours ago 1 reply      
There is much mention of JITs and the workaround being to switch page permissions, but here is an example of an SMC pattern that W^X would really not work with; a function that does something the first time it is called, and collapses into a single RETurn instruction thereafter:

    once:        mov byte [once], 195        ; ...do something here...        ret
I have used this technique in applications-level code, where it is significantly more efficient (both smaller and faster) than the alternatives when this "once" function will be called many times. I think it is always important to remember that while W^X and other restrictions have security benefits, they also have downsides in limiting some interesting creativity and the potential to exploit the full abilities of the machine.

carterschonwald 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a pretty neat idea and interesting change! I wonder how having a security model where each page of memory can only be one of writeable/executable impacts JITs though? (I guess thats perhaps why jits often have those landing padd spots at the top of function/methods?)
nbe 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know what 'MI' and 'MD layer' refer to in Theo's message ? Machine Indepedent and Machine Dependent maybe ?
zx2c4 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd like to see the OpenBSD kernel have Grsec's UDEREF and SMEP/SMAP support.
Aissen 1 day ago 1 reply      
So this means you can't have features like ftrace (and kpatch), BPF, or a kernel that re-configures itself at runtime like x86 Linux does at boot once it detects the hardware features. Of course you can work around all that by switching the page W/X bits as appropriate, but it's a bit more complex.

Otherwise it's a seriously impressive feat.

Disproportionately Common Names by Profession
166 points by colinprince  2 days ago   105 comments top 36
teamhappy 2 days ago 3 replies      
> People with these names are more likely than others to have these professions.

Shouldn't it say: "People with these names happen to be in those professions more often than others"?

Anyway, there are a couple of fun ones in there, but I'll let you figure those out yourself. Unfortunately neither my name nor my profession are covered I'm not quite sure what to make of that. :/


They use the same language in their blog post: "Arnolds therefore appear to have a much higher tendency to be accountants than Shanes." That's just wrong, no? By wrong I just mean intentionally misleading. I'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact that they sell an app that helps you find names for you babies though.

anonu 1 day ago 1 reply      
I remember when I joined CMU my Freshman year the big thing was that the previous year there had been more guys named "Dave" that had graduated from Computer Science than women. This kind of reminds me of that. This was circa year 2001.
callum85 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't get why this is presented as a 'chart'. Do the layout and colours mean anything? Or is it just a set of lists laid out in circles for no reason?
vickytnz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Gah, I hate stats that a) don't say where the information comes from b) don't say which part of the world they're talking about (US sites are particularly prone to this). I'm assuming this is from US census data, but it's not particularly obvious. There's a rest of the world, you know....[EDIT: looking at the app, maybe it is worldwide? Still, referring to things like "Republican" doesn't inspire confidence that it's international]
Camillo 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is worthless unless they correct for age. Which they most likely don't, since age is not even mentioned in the post.
marche101 2 days ago 0 replies      

Direct link to the blog that goes in to a few details of how they work out the names.

dghughes 1 day ago 1 reply      
I visited a fire station in the country in my province a few years ago and on the wall were names of the volunteers.

Nearly every one was John Gallant, the surname is very common and it's a small community.

The funny thing is the surname is so common people have nicknames such as John 'Rabbit' Gallant but that name becomes so well-known his son will be called Rabbit Jr.

So the plaque is full of a wild mix of actual surnames and given names and of course nicknames but also the junior of the nicknamed people.

Add to that one family has seven daughters all named Mary.

tarpherder 2 days ago 7 replies      
Its interesting to see the difference in type of names between Football Coach (Dan, Bill, Mike, Jim, Rich, Steve) and Electrical Engineer (Bernard, Eugene, Edwin, Charles, Alfred, Harvey). Short (one vowel each), common, English versus longer (two vowels each) French/"Posh" English names. Correlation between the names and background/educative level seems likely?

Songwriter is interesting too: 4 out of 5 end with a variation of "y".

jMyles 2 days ago 1 reply      
This seems fairly easy to explain: Many given names are passed down through family lines, and many families pass on knowledge, habits, and even professions from generation to generation.

There are lots of common surnames that demonstrate this - Taylor, Cooper, Cobbler, Smith, and so on. Why not given names?

kornakiewicz 2 days ago 2 replies      
Some time ago, I saw a paper when some scientists find that people often tends to have place of live and job which is somehow connected with their names eg. there's more Denises who works as dentists or Louises in Louisiane. I also noticed that in my country (Poland) there's quite more people working in IT with names or surnames which begins on K (Polish word for computer is "komputer"), I'm the case.
crazygringo 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Here's a chart with 6 of the names that are the most disproportionately common in 37 professions.

It doesn't say they're the top 6, just that they're "6 of" -- and having worked with a lot of similar data sets in the past, the results here feel a little overly edited (i.e. exaggerated, stereotyped) to me. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though.

logn 1 day ago 3 replies      
Not sure I trust the results. For guitarists they list: Mick, Richie, Trey, Sonny, Buddy, Eddie. That correlates strongly with famous musician names (Mick Jagger, Lionel Richie, Trey Anastasio, Sonny Rollins, Buddy Guy, Eddie Van Halen). Maybe kids are named after these legends and are pushed toward music, but maybe their software just counted a lot of duplicate mentions?
JohnE008 2 days ago 2 replies      
After we tackled gender inequalities, we can move on to name inequalities. How about introducing name-quotas, that ought to fix the problem.
V-2 1 day ago 0 replies      
The correlation is obviously indirect, since names are correlated with age, social class, region and other demographics, and these are in turn correlated with career choices.

Once the stats were adjusted for the above, I suppose we'd end up with not much more but noise and some spurious correlations occassionally: http://twentytwowords.com/funny-graphs-show-correlation-betw...

theorique 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rabbi - Chaim, Shlomo, Judah, Meir, Yosef, Moshe

Seems sort of ... logical.

ryanmim 1 day ago 0 replies      
Okay so normally I hate people that bring up gender, but there were some interesting correlations between professions and gender here. Assuming there aren't many guys named Sue. For example, meteorologist: 100% male. When I think meteorologist I think newscast in front of a greens creen so this is perhaps a case of my terrible misconceptions showing.

Also, WHY are things separated by color and opacity? If we're going by opacity, apparently one of the most populous and important professions is...race car driver. Really? That's one of the few professions on that huge infographic that is at maximum opacity?

mojuba 1 day ago 0 replies      
... in the U.S. Do these people think it should be immediately obvious to everyone?
normloman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like people alter their name to fit the stereotype of their profession. Lots of drummers named Billy, but I bet it says William on their birth certificate. Same for coaches named Rich, not Richard.
proveanegative 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apparently they don't state what "disproportionately" is supposed to mean. If that is indeed the case I doubt much valid insight can be derived from this chart.
Shengbo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting choice of professions. Race car drivers and musicians seem to have similar names. Other than that I have no idea what to do with this information.
breitling 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an interesting article about how names could have long lasting effects: http://www.livescience.com/6569-good-bad-baby-names-long-las...

Also, many cultures obsess over giving the child a good name with a good meaning as they think it determines their future.

kevhito 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gads, the even got the title wrong. Should be "Disproportionately common professions by Name". Or, actually, all we can tell from the little on that page is that the title contradicts the subtitle. So maybe the subtle that should be reversed. Who knows? Data is fun!
ant6n 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, like, the richer you are, the higher the probability that your first name is actually a last name.
egypturnash 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like how this has "photographer" and "graphic designer" but not "artist". Never mind "cartoonist". Apparently my profession doesn't exist.
Gravityloss 1 day ago 0 replies      
The farmers have the coolest names by far. Or at least to a non-american person, they seem rare. Maybe people in those professions are rarely in the public eye.
priorityfeed 1 day ago 0 replies      
Venture capitalists bucket includes "Guy"... is that from Guy Kawasaki swaying stats to be that high!
spion 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice chart. It would be interesting if hovering over a name also highlights the same name in other professions.
nichochar 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the united states.

Aha funny how people don't define their data correctly, this is an important datapoint

pkaye 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny I know electrical engineers names Bernard, Alfred and Eugene all from the same company...
neduma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Any Indian names? Like Raj, Pabu, Das, etc. included in this study?
phaedryx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know a lot of IT professionals named Mike.
wowoc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Where are the numbers? It would be interesting if it wasn't so vague.
sakri 1 day ago 1 reply      
What about douchebag? Josh, Chad, Tyler, Brad etc?
ommunist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hehe. I am biased to be Electrical Engineer.
rajat2109 1 day ago 1 reply      
Kim- Police officer? The only Kim I can imagine is Kim Kardishan.
       cached 15 January 2015 16:11:03 GMT