hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    11 Nov 2010 News
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Kinect reverse-engineered; open driver available adafruit.com
257 points by jgrahamc 7 hours ago   70 comments top 8
10 points by iamwil 7 hours ago 8 replies      
The code for the camera.c is here:

I've always wondered how people reverse engineer these things. Do they just guess what the interface might be based on the chips? Or are they able to probe it somehow through the port?

25 points by st3fan 7 hours ago 1 reply      
So much for "With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering" ... :-)
9 points by markbao 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Oh man. Ordering one ASAP. So much cool stuff could be done with this. Going to try to create a gestures thing so I can browse my email from bed.
4 points by InclinedPlane 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a misleading title. The Kinect sensor has been hacked, but Kinect proper is a combination of hardware and software. Arguably the more interesting aspects of Kinect are in the software.

That being said, this is still pretty cool, it'll be interesting to see what people come up with using this technology.

31 points by olalonde 7 hours ago 2 replies      
That was quick.
2 points by joshu 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I would have thought there was some onboard CPU on the kinect, based on the power requirements (it can't be powered by a USB port alone.) If so, I suspect that any heavy lifting the unit does is probably by software that uploaded to the camera via USB at startup.

Anyone have further details?

1 point by andrewcamel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What would be very interesting, is if you could mod the device to work with a better camera. Then, it would probably be useful in the photography industry. Maybe it would allow you to correct issues with lighting? It would allow someone editing pictures to easily select a part of the picture in the foreground or background. With selections being much easier, you could enhance specific parts of photos to make them stand out around other less-important parts without much effort at all.

I'm sure there are many more applications for this technology in the photography and even videography industry. Any ideas?

2 points by augustl 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I always wanted to be able to set focus on windows by looking at them. Perhaps that can be achieved with a Kinect.
There is a puzzle embedded in this page... weebly.com
18 points by drusenko 1 hour ago   10 comments top 6
3 points by thought_alarm 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Solved it! That customer support position is so mine.
3 points by michaelhart 46 minutes ago 2 replies      
I solved this a while back and posted my results on Twitter.



I'm not sure if this was the expected output, as there was no exact confirmation. But I assumed it was right.

4 points by kentbrew 40 minutes ago 2 replies      
Weebly folks: if you really want to recruit decent front-end people, please put this puzzle on a page that isn't chock-full of table-based layout, inline styling, and other icky crap.
1 point by geuis 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Dear Weebly, please come up with a new puzzle. This is now at least the 3rd time I've seen your puzzle. Time for a new one.
1 point by drusenko 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
In case anybody is confused: There is a puzzle embedded in our jobs page (http://www.weebly.com/jobs.html).

It's not meant to be incredibly difficult, just fun and challenging enough to take 30 minutes or so.

2 points by ajaimk 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Took me 10 minutes to solve the puzzle (i love puzzles) but I'm not too keen on the job posting (still in college and want to finish it). Thanks for the fun but sorry.
Here's Why Someone Would Seek Rejection for 30 Days Straight mynorthwest.com
26 points by caseyalbert 1 hour ago   6 comments top 4
4 points by holdenc 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's another name for rejection therapy -- it's called sales work.

Typically it's the kind of sales work hackers dislike. But plenty of people have built good careers around a sunny tolerance for rejection. Real estate agents, insurance sales people, cold callers, door-to-door sales people -- all of them experience many rejections for each closed sale.

One successful sales person told me that "it's just a numbers game." I still think about this with every rejection I receive.

3 points by quickpost 1 hour ago 0 replies      
1 point by jpwagner 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
is it still worth the effort to try things that you don't actually want?

seems to me that not only will you not feel the pain of rejection, you also won't be able to reap the benefit when there's an unexpected yes.

3 points by dspeyer 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I really want to see a journal of someone who tried this: what they asked for, what was surprisingly accepted and how rejections were issued.
The nil-nil philosophy. sahillavingia.com
17 points by sahillavingia 1 hour ago   5 comments top 3
2 points by jat850 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I liked (and remembered) when you posted the comment. I like the blog post as well. It's a great mentality to live by but the level of discipline to stick with that mentality must be a real challenge. And discipline is already a major lacking factor in my life; insight on how to improve that would be welcome, from anyone.
1 point by sudonim 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
The idiom "Don't rest on your laurels" means essentially the same thing.

"to be so satisfied with your own achievements that you make no effort to improve"


1 point by baddox 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
His example assumes that widening your lead in a rugby game when victory is already certain is in fact better.
An Open Letter to Wired Magazine: We're breaking up cindyroyal.net
64 points by tswicegood 3 hours ago   47 comments top 17
6 points by aresant 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think this is more a case of mistaken identity.

Where did Wired get all the journalistic cred that Cindy seems to be lamenting the loss of?

I've been a reader for years, and it's essentially Maxim for geeks.

Add to that Wired readers are overwhelming male - 75% according to their latest media kit:


Conde Naste is in the business of making money with Wired, not journalism.

Or is that too cynical?

19 points by joelmichael 2 hours ago 1 reply      
She makes a good case. I'm no die-hard feminist, but this strikes me as trying to appeal to that most basic element of their mostly male readership at the expense of their female readership.

Wired shouldn't be about that. Even though the whole magazine is kind of campy, and more reminiscent of science fiction than any serious study, this strikes me as more distasteful than funny or sexy. I don't want Wired to become prudish, but they have an opportunity to lead by example here.

11 points by mrduncan 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Things were looking up a couple months ago when you published that great article on Caterina Fake of Flickr and Hunch fame. That could have been a cover‚ Instead you went with Will Ferrell‚

Like it or not, a magazine with Caterina Fake on the cover just isn't going to sell as well on news stands as one with Will Ferrell on the cover.

7 points by aneth 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't have much sympathy for the shameless use of breasts argument, as that's just American prudery.

Having featured only a few women for actual accomplishments could be a real problem - except that it can probably be at least somewhat explained with a few observations: How many women did you see at Startup School this year? I'd guess the number was under 5%. What percentage of successful tech entrepreneurs you know are women? How many women are in YC? Based on these number, women may be over-represented for their digital accomplishments on Wired covers.

I do hope that changes, I'm always happy to see women entrepreneurs, and Startup School attendance is by no means a valid scientific study, but it does give us some indication as to why so few women are featured.

5 points by petercooper 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As Dan Savage said, I'm glad to be a man because we seem less complicated (though he was commenting on genitalia). If Wired had a picture of some guy's schlong on the cover, I wouldn't, as a man, find it "unfriendly." I can't even imagine how it feels to be so intimidated by pictures of other people. Stick goatse on a magazine and it probably wouldn't stop me buying it.

But any decision to stop reading Wired seems wise to me - it has its moments but the odd issues I buy when traveling are packed with gimmicks and populist dross. Pick up magazines like Communications of the ACM instead (sadly not at airport stores) - no gimmicky covers or chesticles in sight there!

3 points by Legion 49 minutes ago 1 reply      
A lot of comments to this article are about the declining quality of Wired magazine.

So, that leads to the question: is there any other technology-centric print media worth subscribing to instead?

9 points by Female 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I am a woman, and I subscribe to Wired, and my reaction when I opened my mailbox and found that cover was "Oooh look, honey, boobies!" Quite literally.

I guess I should, as a caveat, mention that I'm very sex positive and not entirely straight. But I personally believe that bodies aren't obscene, no matter what context they're in. Even if that context is an attention-getting cover on tissue engineering.

Trust me, that's a pretty good use of boobies.

3 points by mrduncan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wired's cover browser goes back to 1993: http://www.wired.com/wired/coverbrowser/
8 points by MarinaMartin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I read the first paragraph of this article and thought "this article is clearly written by an angry female." Lo and behold, the author's name is Cindy.

Go Wired magazine for choosing your covers based on what will sell and not based on the loss of the five readers who might be offended by it. They can read "Bitch" (which is somehow not an offensive name for a magazine if written by feminists?). If Wired doesn't sell magazines, Wired doesn't exist.

13 points by sudonim 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Open question: Why do many women in technology make their gender the focus of their work?


3 points by dotBen 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I have wired magazine sent to me for free (I'm actually not sure exactly how that came about) and I'm this close to calling them up and just having them stop the subscription all together - I barely even read the magazine, probably spending less than 5 mins skimming through it before it goes into the trash or the bathroom.
1 point by gkoberger 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't get Wired's strategy. It seems now they're doing anything for readers- you can get a year subscription for $3.99 (if you find a good deal online), and they go with controversial covers like naked women and proclamations that "The Web Is Dead."

Why can't they charge a bit more for a subscription ($36/year is still only $3/issue), and publish much higher quality content? I'd rather pay more for quality than read what they currently mail out every month.

3 points by OneWhoFrogs 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Keep in mind those of us still in high school. My mom is the one who collects the mail and the latest cover led to an awkward conversation.

It is wholly unnecessary for a technology publication to have that cover. At the very least, they should have limited it the newsstands.

2 points by mcantelon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
People still care about Wired Magazine?
1 point by sabat 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For me, the silly covers are only part of the problem. The rest: (editor) Chris Anderson's hyperbole. The web is dead! Everything will be free!
1 point by nkassis 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm got to admit that for the first time I had to make extra effort to hide the cover of my magazine while reading it in the subway.

I don't personally care about it one way or another but they sure can't say it wasn't meant to be provocative.

1 point by kiba 3 hours ago 2 replies      
So what if Wired Magazine have a gender imbalance over its lifetime. What's the issue here?

Is it more about being offended that wired magazine don't offer equal coverage to women entrepreneurs? Maybe there aren't just many tech entrepreneurs to cover.

Airbnb (YC W09) launched an iPhone app airbnb.com
51 points by mrduncan 3 hours ago   6 comments top 4
1 point by sudonim 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Did you (Airbnb) do any research before deciding to build an iPhone app? Or was it primarily motivated by "cool" factor? (both are valid in my opinion)

I've had around 20 people stay at my place through airbnb and I think one person had an iPhone. At least in NY, many people visit from overseas where iPhones are not as prominent.

OTOH, Managing bookings on my iPhone is gonna be sweet.

6 points by Timothee 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Not surprising coming from AirBnB, but this app looks very, very polished.

It doesn't look much but the customization of all these standard UI elements (e.g. UITabBar as mentioned by sudont) makes a difference in the end. I would say especially in their market where I have seen websites with more than dubious interfaces.

7 points by sudont 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Of note is that someone finally made the UITabBar very pretty.
2 points by ganjianwei 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like we have a candidate for next year's Apple Design Awards.
thesixtyone (YC 09) explores a new direction on iPad ycombinator.posterous.com
31 points by JMiao 3 hours ago   6 comments top 6
6 points by oldgregg 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is cool. If they can make creating interactive content as easy as they make it to consume that would be amazing. There are quite a few artists that I would be happy to pay 20 bucks for a really compelling ipad experience.
2 points by idoh 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
They are really great designers trapped in a terrible industry.
4 points by bigbang 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the most beautiful apps I've seen. Wish I had owned an ipad.
3 points by andrus 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I really disliked the redesign of thesixtyone. It was an interesting reconceptualization of what the website could be, but I still find it annoying to use in an actual browser.

Seeing Aweditorium, the direction they've taken makes all the more sense to me. The game elements in thesixtyone and the mini-map in Aweditorium trigger something really nostalgic in me. It will be interesting to watch these elements converge between the two services. I just wish I had the hardware to enjoy this.

2 points by rishi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
wow sweet demo. nice work. I also loved v1 of your site.
0 points by leif 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Readers, start your downvoting engines...

new direction heh heh

Gmail: Trap my contacts now (warning when exporting contacts to Facebook) google.com
399 points by bjonathan 14 hours ago   153 comments top 31
149 points by ck2 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I approve a warning 1000% - it's not like they are stopping you from exporting.

This will slow down my AOL-using friends who gave away all their contact info to Facebook and now I get pelted with spam from Facebook using my name and list of friends (and I don't even have a Facebook account).

Google has never spammed me or share my name and location, Facebook does it all the time, pick who's more evil.

26 points by portman 11 hours ago 6 replies      
Le sigh.

I think Google has lost sight of something very simple in this fracas:

With Google Contacts, the user directly manages his contacts' email addresses.

With Facebook, the user delegates management of email address to his contacts.

These are not the same thing. The Google contacts team seems to think that Facebook is an address book just like them. They are not. And to me, that failure to understand the differences is the root source of all this tomfoolery.


Edit after some very welcome discussion downstream:

On GMail, my contacts' email addresses are MY data.

On Facebook, my contacts' email addresses are NOT my data. The FACT that I am connected to my contacts is my data, but any information about those contacts does not belong to me.

This is why Facebook is not an address book, and pretending it as an address book where "your data gets stuck" is bound to lead to frustration for everyone.

1 point by kmavm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Here's what Google had to say about social networks and email exporting less than one year ago:

"Mass exportation of email is not standard on most social networks ‚" when a user friends someone they don‚t then expect that person to be easily able to send that contact information to a third party along with hundreds of other addresses with just one click."

The occasion was Google disabling exporting of contacts from Orkut to Facebook. I happen to think that both Google then, and Facebook now, are perfectly correct. However, I am curious how those who see Google as clearly in the right, and Facebook as clearly in the wrong, would reconcile Google's statement and actions of a year ago with its statements and actions of the last several days.

Edit: citation http://techcrunch.com/2009/10/26/orkut-slows-hemorraging-to-...

25 points by nkassis 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm just waiting for the backroom deal between the two that will allow two way sharing between only them.
9 points by ukdm 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Is this a new warning page that has been added following Facebook's actions, or one that has been around a while?
16 points by RoyceFullerton 13 hours ago 2 replies      
"I recognize that once it‚s been imported to another service, that service may not allow me to export it back out."

I could see how this could scare the average user into thinking their contacts are moved from Google to facebook and stuck there, thus loosing their ability to use them within Google's products.

Do you think this is the intention?

15 points by corin_ 13 hours ago 2 replies      
It's so nice of these two companies to be spending their time and money creating this great entertainment for all of us
1 point by phjohnst 8 hours ago 2 replies      
There is a point that hasn't yet been mentioned here about the fundamental difference between an address book, and Facebook.

Facebook is okay to be a dead-end for contacts' emails, since the email upload is used once to find others on the service. After that, if you need to contact someone else on Facebook, you can do so with a wall post or an inbox message. The email address is irrelevant.

With an address book, you need it to be portable, since the medium is accessible from many different locations and services.

The fact is that you dont need to get your friends' contact details out of Facebook. You sign up for Facebook to make Friends on Facebook and communicate over Facebook. Not to communicate over email, etc. (And certainly not over a rival network.) When you add someone to your address book, you do so to communicate with them over email, or phone, or whatever, which are inherently completely open and interconnected systems. [Surely there is a debate to be had here about the ubiquity of Facebook as a platform and that it should be open - could you imagine Facebook Clients? But I dont believe that's a debate about exporting existing contact info.]

To that end, Google warning users about the terminal nature of their exported data is unnecessary and only confuses the process of finding friends for users (who, by the way, aren't thinking about data portability, or building up an address book/contacts list on Facebook, they're thinking about making Friends on Facebook, to communicate over Facebook)

TL;DR: This whole mess doesn't matter, and Google is only making things complicated for users.

1 point by jasonkester 11 hours ago 8 replies      
As luck would have it, I picked today to set up a Facebook profile for me girlfriend. I'm now really angry with Google.

It used to be a 30 second task to sift through your address book and check off people to send friend requests to. Now, thanks to Google behaving like children, I need to figure out how to export her contacts as a text file so that I can upload it to Facebook.

Google, please stop.

You are pissing off your customers.

Edit: subsititure Users for Customers in the previous sentence if it helps you to parse it. The end result is still the same: The people who use Google's service are being punished by Google for the actions of a 3rd party.

2 points by chrischen 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Google should also point out that if Facebook lets you export your friends' emails then your friends can do the same to your email. And that if that happens one bad or compromised friend can give yours and everyone else's emails to spammers.

Same thing can happen with Google Contacts, but the difference is that on Contacts you give out your email. On Facebook you signup with an email and then you "friend" someone.

3 points by scrrr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting how the tide seems to turn. My Conspiracy theory:

I think Facebook might have gone to far with Facebook Deals. Now Groupon, its friends and other bystanders start to react less kindly to Facebook's business model: Copying ideas from other websites with nothing in return. Oh, well.

1 point by trevelyan 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Google is being silly. First because they're breaking the usability of THEIR own site out of an invented vendetta against a company that is just using the feature they created and made available. If they don't believe people should be able to export data from Gmail they should stop offering it generally and compete against other email providers with a more closed platform, not whine about reciprocity from sites that are not in their business.

Second because they are in the wrong. The last thing in the world I want is my friends on Facebook to be able to give MY email address to random third-parties in return for free virtual pets or whatever Zynga is giving away this week. Google's moralism would mean much more spam and a far worse experience with Facebook. My being a "friend" with someone does not imply permission to let them give my contact information to third parties. Who is Google to say otherwise?

1 point by illumin8 13 hours ago 2 replies      
The warning says: "Here‚s the not-so-fine print. You have been directed to this page from a site that doesn‚t allow you to re-export your data to other services, essentially locking up your contact data about your friends."

I think this is misleading - Doesn't Facebook allow you to download all of your data, just like Google? As much as I dislike Facebook's privacy policies, the mudslinging seems a little thick from both sides.

Facebook and Google - two of the biggest privacy violating companies on the planet. May you live in interesting times, indeed.

2 points by kwamenum86 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I am not sure if the back and forth between Google and Facebook is intriguing or just childish at this point.

Neither is doing this for the users. They are doing it to help their services grow and ultimately to help their bottom line grow. Believing anything else would be naive at this point.

4 points by atourino 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that their wording pushes their anti Facebook data locking agenda, intimidating novice users. To me, this goes against their "don't be evil" company motto.
4 points by paraschopra 13 hours ago 1 reply      
"Select one or more options. Cancel and go back"

I liked this. So Godfatheresque!

4 points by joakin 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Fortunately this gives more info to average users about their data and what's happening with it

Maybe they will care some day ...

1 point by ajaimk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Alternate heading: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
1 point by sdrinf 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there any publicly traded betting pool for this? I've got 10 bucks saying FB will open up their data silos (at least for Google) within the next 12 months :)
1 point by sssparkkk 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe google is trying to get facebook to open up now, so it'll be in time for everyone to be able to use it to migrate to Google Me.
2 points by janulrich 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's great how they used check boxes to make the submit button appear. It makes it more likely that people will actually read the warning.
1 point by pama 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I just used this link and saved my contacts, just in case this story leads to more dramatic actions. I also tested the register complaint button and, sure enough, my complaint was duly registered (though nobody explained what this means). Interestingly enough, I could have done both in one step, by checking both boxes and getting a long button reading: "download my contact information and register complaint".
1 point by zoowar 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Ironically, control of personal data ends once the data has been shared, by you or any of your friends. Terms of Service often enable a company to collect and share your data as they see fit.
1 point by oemera 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a really clever move from Google and I think many people will read this and stop giving there data to Facebook.
I have a dump feeling about giving all of my data to Facebook cause they have sure enough.
Otherwise: it's free and they are making money with your data right?
0 points by dsplittgerber 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It allegedly registered my complaint without me being logged-in, so whatever they do, it's for show only?

This reeks of a cheap shot.

0 points by gizmomagico 12 hours ago 2 replies      
This is such bullshit.

A service that won't let me "get my contact information out"? Nice way to frame this in terms of "openness" too, apparently riding "open" for all it's worth with Android is not enough.

Can I just "get out" all of my personal information from Google? No? Isn't Google "open" enough to let me do it?

We think this is an important thing for you to know before you import your data there.

Did you also think it was super duper important with a cherry and smarmy bullshit on top to let me know before you gave Facebook my GMail contacts behind the scenes when I was registering there earlier this year?

No, and I was disgusted when Facebook started suggesting them for "friends" right away.

1 point by eiji 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Facebook could allow users to "Opt-in" an email export.
If I'm not "Opt-in", only my name would be exported by me and my friends.

We all know that Opt-in is like "does not exist", but they could at least say they are open.

edit: They could even sell it as a privacy feature ...

1 point by luckyland 11 hours ago 0 replies      
But does it work with Orkut?
-2 points by gabrielmazzotti 11 hours ago 0 replies      
jajajaja Gmail rules!
-2 points by wooptoo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A big middle finger to FB.
-4 points by alain94040 12 hours ago 1 reply      
What bothers me is that Google is taking the stance that they have the right to lock my data in their service if they feel like it.

That's why that position, to me, is untenable. Don't do evil indeed: you just conceded the other side (Facebook) their main argument (that they don't have to be open, only if they feel like it).

Things I wish I knew the day I started Berklee sivers.org
109 points by gnosis 7 hours ago   47 comments top 18
38 points by dbrannan 6 hours ago 4 replies      
I really like the martial arts saying he uses:

"When you are not practicing, someone else is. When you meet him, he will win".

I remember years ago when I was on the swim team I had missed two practices. My coach said I had missed 4 practices, and I tried to correct him but he said, "You missed 2 practices, but your competition did not. So now you are 4 practices behind your competition."

I always remembered that.

11 points by hasenj 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the "be valuable" advice. It's what all college students should keep in mind.

The point of education is not to get a "certificate" that proves to your future employers that you went through the motions of education.

The point is to make yourself valuable.

I'm surprised how many people are oblivious to this.

So many people view education as nothing more than "something boring you have to do so that you get a decent job". Where a decent job is "something boring that you to do to make a decent living".

There's a contradiction there somewhere: if everything you do is boring, how "decent" is your living? really.

What's their idea of a decent living? "Getting paid enough to pay the bills and send the kids to school and make them not have to worry about doing any work". In other words, a decent living is the ability to make your children's life just as boring as yours is.

None of this brings any happiness.

2 points by RK 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I attended music school for a short time after college (not Berklee). After having done a very tough BS in physics, I found the slow pace of the music theory classes pretty frustrating. I worked ahead, but not at the pace I probably could have. I very much agree with his point about not letting others (i.e. courses) set the pace.

Also, having another degree I think I had a different perspective than many of the high school graduates that where there with the idea of becoming a rock star or whatever. Most of the instructors, etc, made their livings by teaching, playing random gigs, doing essentially anonymous studio work, and odd jobs. Music is a very hard business. This reality seemed mostly lost on the majority of the students. I decided that I was probably happier to have a "real" job and play music on the side.

3 points by sp4rki 6 hours ago 1 reply      
how much does the world pay people to play video games?

Actually if you're good enough, plenty of money. It's not a matter of how many people do it, it's a matter of how much better you are than the many people that do it are. Amateur programmers shouldn't be making software for Bank of America, the same way an amateur musician shouldn't be playing for Dream Theater. The interesting thing is that one generally doesn't notice when you cross the line that makes you a professional, which is generally delimited by profitability.

If you can make money with your abilities it's because there are a bunch of people that can't, but never make the mistake of thinking that because a lot of people do something it means you can't make money off it. Oh and of course, the person with such abilities that doesn't take advantage of them to make money doesn't deserve them (with the exception of the multitalented who leverages a 'better' skill or the person leveraging those skills in a risk filled endeavor for larger profits).

8 points by Zev 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Stay offline. Shut off your computer. Stay in the shed.

I bookmarked this and stopped reading after that. Nice reminder to get back to coding for me.

3 points by alexophile 5 hours ago 0 replies      
On point #2 he references his training under Kimo Williams, which he wrote about at length last year:


1 point by baddox 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> Berklee is like a library. Everything you need to know is here for the taking. It's the best possible environment for you to master your music. But nobody will teach you anything. You have to teach yourself.

Sounds exactly like a library, except (I presume) extremely expensive. I only went to college because I assumed (correctly) that at least a few great minds would be there. What's the upside to Berklee?

3 points by osuburger 4 hours ago 0 replies      
While I can respect what the author is saying, I don't think everyone should follow this advice. While I've definitely had my fair share of time spent in the "shed", working on projects for both school and my own side ideas, I don't think a true college experience can be had by being like this all the time. There is nothing wrong with occasionally being distracted by your peers; I've had lots of great nights going out for a couple drinks on a Wednesday night just because I can.
In the end, it all has to be about balance in my opinion. Definitely go (far) above the bare minimum, but I know I could never stay sane without the occasional break or fun night out.
2 points by sayemm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I freaking love this, thanks for posting it

A ton of great lines in there, as Derek Sivers is an amazing writer jam-packed w/ wisdom much like PG, but this is my most fav one out of the pack:

"But the casual ones end up having casual talent and merely casual lives."

2 points by zzzeek 5 hours ago 0 replies      
He is right you need to shed a whole lot more than you might be motivated for.

But also, success in the field of music requires a level of social assertiveness and competence that is way beyond what it is in technology. Nobody cares about your cool grooves or whatever, you have to fight to stay on board. But oh you can build my ecommerce site for me ?

I got out of Berklee in '92 and basically dicked around trying to get non-shitty gigs for a few years, not going to enough jams and auditions, until an ocean of interest and money came at me to do anything related to computers, after I had sworn them off to be a musician. I was interested in eating and not living in a box. The market decided for me on that one - scratch and claw your way to get some real music gigs, or step into this plush world of "wow you can program ?". Wish I could play again.

3 points by zackattack 5 hours ago 0 replies      
his tales about kimo make me wonder why they don't hire kimo to come in and restructure their courses.
3 points by sgoranson 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Disagree strongly with #6. It's too easy to find counterexamples of brilliant artists who've created immeasurable value and died penniless. Market value != intrinsic value.
2 points by deutronium 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Really loved that post.

Especially the quote "The casual ones end up having casual talent and merely casual lives."

1 point by LiveTheDream 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"Do not expect the teachers to teach you."

I am all about teaching yourself and internal thirst for knowledge, but this is a bit depressing.

1 point by tibbon 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Seeing my alama matter on the top of HN was unexpected. Sounds like someone learned a great deal of life at Berklee- unfortunately many don't.
1 point by tomjen3 6 hours ago 1 reply      
>When you emerge in a few years, you can ask someone what you missed, and you'll find it can be summed up in a few minutes.

>The rest was noise you'll be proud you avoided.

Yes -- almost, but you will properly feel that there are one or two things that you didn't experience that you will miss not being a part of.

1 point by thefool 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The don't get stuck in the past bit is a fine line you have to walk.

Its dumb to spend your whole creative life simply reproducing ideas that seemed obvious decades ago. You can get a lot better if you know what other people did, and then consciously build on it.

-3 points by nolite 7 hours ago 1 reply      
this is my new hero
How I built 7books in under 4 weeks 7bks.com
100 points by revorad 7 hours ago   50 comments top 19
31 points by nopal 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Thank you, thank you for creating a product blog whose header links back to the actual product page.

It seems like every other product blog that I visit is intentionally keeping me from being able to navigate to the actual product!

19 points by almost 5 hours ago 1 reply      
First thoughts: yeah yeah 4 weeks isn't that impressive. But then... that included learning to program from scratch?!? Wow.
6 points by kyro 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Jesus, 4 weeks? That's awesome. I've been learning on and off for a few years now, and have recently buckled down to finally get something done. What are some lessons you learned for building your next project? Also, it seems like you've got a good eye for design. With a bit more practice and experience, you could likely make some great looking sites. It certainly looks a lot better than sites I've seen made by more seasoned coders.
6 points by topcat31 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Update - the site just fell over :(

I've activated billing in app engine but no idea how long it takes to come online. Really sorry guys - I assumed the free quotes would see me through! Hopefully it comes back soon.

edit - looks like the billing just kicked in... Phew. Sorry about that! looks like I caught it just about in time. If you saw the 404 page my apologies. I've loaded it up with credits so it should stay up now

3 points by zzzmarcus 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I built a similar site - http://www.instabrary.com awhile back which is pretty much the exact same idea. It's running now but since I moved to Heroku you can't register. I should look into that.

The Rails source is here: https://github.com/marcus/Instabrary

4 points by topcat31 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Holy wow - thank you so much everyone for your feedback and comments! I leave for 2 hours (taking a tour of Zappos in Vegas, amazing and life changing btw) and this thing goes crazy!

I've enabled billing in appengine as I'm nearly over quota:


If anyone has any tips to optimise my outgoing bandwidth it would be very much appreciated! Hopefully I caught it in time to avoid any real outages. I'll try and keep an eye on it though.

Ok - right off to trawl through the comments and responses and reply!

Thank you all :)

2 points by jessor 4 hours ago 1 reply      
> I'd strongly recommend anyone starting out developing something to find some kind of mentor. I wish I'd had someone I could have asked for help but in my case...

So is there already a hn spreadsheet up somewhere where one could find a, say, rails mentor? :)

6 points by neilkod 6 hours ago 3 replies      
As someone who within the last two weeks picked up app engine and created an MVP of my own http://www.pubcontweets.com, I can not only relate to your story but also applaud you for sharing the it as well as your code. Thanks.
6 points by Jabbles 6 hours ago 2 replies      
How much did that domain name cost?

These are similar, they may help inspire you for features:

Keep it up!

4 points by zachster 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really great. I love the concept and simplicity.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Use the Amazon API to autosuggest book titles and author names.

2. Normalize the lists. That is, count up which books are recommended the most and use those statistics to recommend books.

3. List similar lists on each list :) Lists that list the same books might be related. If they list two or more of the same books, they're probably related.

But even if you don't change a thing, it's still a great little project!

2 points by vidar 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Good for you, it always warms my heart to see someone taking these first steps. Try to notice your own reactions, its good to be reminded of when you yourself were a novice.
1 point by tommusic 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Great job learning a language (and an infrastructure) with such speed!

I've been building something with a similar aim on and off for a long time now, and it's neat to see in the comments that there are at least three others already out there.

I wonder if there is something that will lead to more widespread awareness/adoption of sites like these. Or are we better off trying to pick a target market smaller than [all book readers]?

Some good food for thought as I try and finally finish my own entrant into the space.

1 point by javery 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is awesome - I built a site called 22books a couple years ago as a way to learn Ruby... it took me a little longer than 4 weeks but I think I launched with more functionality.

I haven't done much with the site but it actually ended up getting used by teachers and librarians so I would feel bad ever shutting it down.


2 points by tlack 5 hours ago 1 reply      
to go from not knowing how to make a <form> to doing all of this in 4 weeks is majorly impressive. and the site has a really nice, unique look and feel. good work!
2 points by MisterWebz 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Very impressive. I've been learning Python for almost a whole year and I haven't even got one completely functional app. I've got tons of unfinished ones though.
1 point by zhyder 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Feature request: show book cover art.
3 points by johnconroy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Hell of a good job. Learning to code & build a web app from scratch in 4 weeks is mighty impressive.
1 point by kingkao 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if you can pull in some images from amazon of book covers.
1 point by dmel 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Did you learn Python first?

or did you learn it as your learned google's app engine?

Announcing Google Refine 2.0, a power tool for data wranglers google-opensource.blogspot.com
54 points by Anon84 5 hours ago   14 comments top 6
5 points by thejefflarson 1 hour ago 2 replies      
So I'm on ProPublica's web team -- the organization mentioned in the first video -- and we deal with the types of messy data Refine is made for on a day to day basis.

We've been using it pretty much daily for about 5 months now and cleaning messy government data used to be time consuming and destructive, with google Refine it's so easy and fast to join, cleanup and do rudimentary analysis on said data.

It especially shines when you have to merge many disparate data sets into one. My colleague, Dan Nguyen, did just that for our Dollars for Doctors app:


and he scraped the data from reports like this:


(one company even put the disclosures up as a flash movie).

Of course we could write scripts, use grep/awk/sed or import it into a database, but Refine is really it. I encourage you to give it a try if you have questionable data you'll need to clean.

3 points by Griever 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is huge for me. I manage an inventory system for several government contractors and you'd be amazed at the thousands and thousands of inconsistencies you can find. Sometimes it takes days, and on one occasion, two weeks to completely sanitize them.

After a quick trial with this, I'm sold. This is truly amazing for people with similar jobs such as mine.

7 points by JonnieCache 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I can now finally see a glimpse of a bright future where all my ID3 tags are rationalized.

I never thought this day would come.

2 points by syllogism 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's nice that they've done this, because it makes powerful data operations available to non-programmers. I'll be sticking with my Unix command line tools, though.
1 point by zachster 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is pretty neat, but it seems like an advanced version of Google Docs Spreadsheets. I wonder if they'll roll these features into that. The OSS project is nice for confidential data, but I think a lot of people would use a hosted version. Anyone going to set one up?

I literally just did the same exercise as demonstrated in the second video, parsing a Wiki document (the list of world religions) from Wikipedia. But it took about 30 lines of PHP.

Maybe they'll add the ability to import a web page as a data source, and export the script that does the transformations as a python script?

Okay. I'm rambling...

1 point by Tycho 4 hours ago 2 replies      
speaking of google, is it just me or did they just introduce a brand new 'preview' button (with pop-up) beside their search results? that wasn't there before right?
Amazon S3: Multipart Upload aws.typepad.com
40 points by abraham 5 hours ago   12 comments top 6
8 points by jluxenberg 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Not to be confused with the "multipart/form-data" encoding type for form-based file uploads. This is not an implementation of that protocol for S3.
1 point by blantonl 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
What is an acceptable use case for this few feature?
1 point by neilc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Limitations of the TCP/IP protocol make it very difficult for a single application to saturate a network connection.

I'm just curious, but exactly which "limitations" are those? I can believe that parallel connections help in practice (especially when fetching small objects), but for large objects, I find it surprising you can't get reasonably close to saturating a single network connection with a modern TCP stack (e.g., using TCP window scaling).

3 points by bgentry 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Based on the docs, it appears that this also allows you to upload segments of files without knowing the final number of segments or the final file size.

This will be pretty damn useful for piping the output of some process generating a large file (i.e. video transcoding) and beginning the upload before the file has been fully created.

1 point by bshep 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I did not find this in the description for the service, but I'm wondering what happens if you have a crash or power failure while doing a multi-part upload and dont have the 'upload-id' stored anywhere.

First of all the storage for the data already uploaded is reserved and there is no way to release since you cannot abort the upload without the 'id'.

Second of all there doesnt seem to be a way to list active multi-part uploads, you can only list the status of an upload for which you have the 'id'.

Any ideas?

1 point by shib71 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is very good - uploading large files is a PITA. Now all we need is a Flash client we can add to a website, and we'll have a reliable way for website users to upload huge files.
Was the Wheel of Fortune One Letter Solve Really a Miracle? esquire.com
119 points by DanielN 9 hours ago   57 comments top 16
22 points by mechanical_fish 8 hours ago 3 replies      
My general impression is that the cryptographers routinely do stuff that's an order of magnitude more mind-blowing than this. [1]

More people need to read The Codebreakers.


[1] Alas, I just have to marvel, because for some reason my mind doesn't anagram well. I just don't have the knack. To me high-level Scrabble playing looks like a superpower.

24 points by thinkalone 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Most of the article is only worth skimming through, but don't skim so fast that you miss the kernel at the end ;)

> Sometimes, people who don't understand any better confuse the mundane with the divine, mistake hard work for lightning bolts. They couldn't pull off that same stunt, and so they convince themselves that nobody else could, either. Her brain can't possibly work that way, that fast. There's no way she solved that puzzle on her own. The game must be rigged.

> Or Burke has a gift, and she improved it with study. She practiced. She found the little edges and secrets that make large-size success possible; she did every last bit of the math. She earned her way to her place behind the wheel, and then, on that fateful day, in that particular pattern of rectangles and lights, she saw all that she needed to beat it.

18 points by nollidge 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Ken Jennings (the Jeopardy genius) has a blog post about this as well [1]. It seems to me once you start down the decision tree starting with "I'VE GOT" at the start, your average native English speaker should be able to get the right answer quite easily.

[1] http://ken-jennings.com/blog/?p=2250

13 points by bfung 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The Price Is Right article mentioned in this article is pretty awesome also:
4 points by napierzaza 6 hours ago 0 replies      
<quote>she immediately begins breaking it down into smaller pieces ‚" "chunks," she calls them</quote>

I'm not sure you have to qualify that as something she calls them. I think a lot of people would call those "chunks".

3 points by wccrawford 9 hours ago 1 reply      
No, it wasn't. I looked at the still frame for about 20 seconds and got it myself, before I saw the video.

It just took a little logic about what words could possibly be in certain places, and the rest was filled in by phrases I heard in the past.

Edit: Don't get me wrong! It took guts for her to do that. If she got it just a little wrong, she gave the next person a LOT of hints and it likely wouldn't get back to her.

1 point by run4yourlives 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING ‚" didn't come close to fitting the puzzle, but it made I'LL seem an unlikely starting point. Because HAVE is the word that probably follows I'LL, and here, Burke was searching for a three-letter word.

Um, what?

I'll GET

I'll SEW

I'll AGE

I'll BAY

I'll BET

I'll DIG

I appreciate that none of these conjure memories of phrases off the top of my head, but the idea that "have" is often the only option following "I'll" is simply not true.

Let's face it, she's quick on her feet, smart, familiar with phrases and - most importantly - got lucky.

3 points by Gimpson 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This American Life did a great show this summer which included a story about a man who figured out the pattern in the board on the 80's game show Press Your Luck and took them for a lot of money. Definitely worth a listen:


Now that I look at the rest of that episode, it also included some coverage of the Cambridge Innovation Center's Elevator Pitch contest, so all around a good listen for the HN crowd.

2 points by shasta 8 hours ago 6 replies      
Apostrophes help you alot. I solved the following puzzle with no letters:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ' _

_ _ _ _

Category was "Thing".

(Err, formatting isn't helping. That's two words, with 9 spaces, an apostrophe and a 10th space in the first word, and four spaces in the second word).

1 point by stoney 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure the phrase itself played a part here. Just imagine it - you've figured out something that fits using only one letter. You're probably feeling a little bit excited, but it's a bit of a gamble to guess - how many other phrases might fit? Do you have a good feeling about it...?
1 point by AgentConundrum 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Even discounting all of the logic involved in this instance, people do occasionally just get lucky.

When I was in the fifth grade, we were playing hangman in class and my friend Chingfei managed to discern "White Men Can't Jump" from only two or three letters. An impressive feat, proven by the fact that I remember this 14 years later.

A "miracle" is really something with an extremely minuscule chance of occurring, but with enough trials you'll eventually get a positive result. Even the Biblical "water into wine" could happen under the laws of quantum mechanics, but it's an insanely long shot.

Still, in this case it was logic, not luck, that played out, since no rational person would just guess at solving the puzzle so early in the game.

2 points by Jach 8 hours ago 0 replies      
More letters is actually helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPsbY8LLVlY
4 points by jonbishop 8 hours ago 1 reply      
She's got a great quote in there about luck:
"I really believe that luck is preparation meeting opportunity"
3 points by MBlume 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Followed the embedded YouTube video and was rather disgusted by the comments on it. Almost all suggested she cheated, and half suggested it in an incredibly disgusting/demeaning/sexist way. Is this what the broader culture assumes when a woman pulls off something clever?
1 point by dholowiski 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds like the classic 'overnight success' (after toiling for years in obscurity) stories- a great lesson for all of us.
1 point by andyv 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Of course, who could forget the puzzle in the "Family Guy" parody of WOF:



On Google's 10 Percent Pay Hike . . . And Antitrust Law wsj.com
32 points by grellas 4 hours ago   discuss
Go (lang): one year ago today golang.org
59 points by fogus 7 hours ago   40 comments top 5
2 points by spyne-02139 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
If IRC activity correlates to interest in the language, then data shows a bleak picture of interest in go-lang. Here is the total character count per day as a percentage of the activity on November 12, 2009.


X axis is days (approx) since 11/12/09
Y is % of chars as compared with the busiest day (11/12/09)

I've used the language for big projects and little projects. The strict error handling is fantastic. I like everything about the language except one thing. Just one, and it's a big nasty thing. I hope Russ, Rob, Iant or someone from the development team reads this, because it needs to be said, and others have said it, and it's the reason I stopped programming in go. Go might not need generics, the go development team might not need generics, but I DO! You wonder why there isn't a rocking go web framework? Because generics would be a huge help and no one wants to piece together a tedious solution immediately deprecated by the announcement we've been waiting a year for, "Go is getting generics!" All I want for christmas is generics ... and a pony.

1 point by tav 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
Having bet my entire startup on Go, I am really thankful for the steady, but measured, improvements to the language. It's been a real pleasure to work with.

It may not be as beautiful as CoffeeScript (which we also use), as rich as Python, as safe as Rust, as concurrent as Erlang, or even as hackable as Ruby, but it certainly offers an unparalleled set of features which is hard to find in just one language ‚" decent standard library, decent syntax, decent performance, super easy concurrency, a helpful and reasonably sized developer community, a relative level of stability, automatic memory management with good enough control over memory use, usable interoperability with C, native client support and even a standard testing framework.

Thank you and happy birthday to all the fellow Go developers out here on HN.

15 points by Jabbles 6 hours ago 2 replies      
It continues to amaze me how much is packed into the Go language. It's not perfect, but the language specification is something that you can easily read in one go; something that is impossible for languages like C++. This results in more intuitive behaviour and, in my limited experience, fewer bugs.

I hope other language designers take note of Go and put more emphasis on simplicity in the future.

I would also be very interested to know which companies are using Go, and for what.

2 points by SoftwareMaven 4 hours ago 1 reply      
From the tutorial: "The language forces the brace style to some extent."

Well, that's it. If I can't have a brace-war tearing the dev group apart for months and kill productivity, I want nothing to do with that language. What's next, significant white space?

2 points by Detrus 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Hopefully with people from the dynamic languages camp trying the language they'll clean up the syntax. It's ugly and makes a lot of the example code hard to read.
AirBnB raises funding, launches iPhone app cnet.com
20 points by bkwok 3 hours ago   4 comments top 2
3 points by yosho 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I like how Sequoia is doing early stage seed rounds now. It sets them up perfectly for the Series A.
2 points by Stevenup7002 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Congratulations guys!
Google fires employee who leaked memo on raises huffingtonpost.com
26 points by variety 2 hours ago   39 comments top 12
27 points by ajaimk 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Honestly, I'd fire an employee who leaks a memo out. Not for doing it. But for being stupid enough to get caught.
5 points by aneth 45 minutes ago 1 reply      
If they didn't take action, then "CONFIDENTIAL: INTERNAL ONLY
GOOGLERS ONLY (FULL TIME AND PART TIME EMPLOYEES)" would turn into a joke. Now people might listen - or at least leak more carefully.
3 points by mmastrac 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Is Google using some subtle permutation on every version of the email sent out?

All it would take would be swapping "--" for "...", "ie"/"i.e."/"eg"/"e.g." You should probably compare your local copy of an email with someone else before leaking it!

22 points by tszming 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Google is going to fire the employee who leaked the firing.
2 points by joshu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Or maybe they announced that they dis it just to keep people from doing it in the future.

Not like someone is going to stand up and say that they weren't caught (or at least not till they leave their jobs.)

2 points by InclinedPlane 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.
2 points by variety 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Talk about carrots on a stick.

What underscores the utter ruthlessness of Google's actions is that it's impossible to imagine that the leaker meant any harm at all coming to Google from their what they did. If anything, they were probably nothing if not deeply proud of Google in that moment; and giddily euphoric -- and thought it could only help Google for the world at large to know of its generosity to its employees.

Had they only known.

2 points by jpwagner 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So was there really an ad smack in the middle of the email?
1 point by nspiegelberg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Good thing Google took a hard stance on data protectionism! Wait, where have I heard about data protectionism again?


1 point by patrickgzill 1 hour ago 0 replies      
He probably used his Gmail account ...
1 point by bretthellman 1 hour ago 1 reply      
wait a sec... Is it really a 10% raise? "we're moving a portion of your bonus into your base salary"
3 points by scott_s 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Telling the world that Googlers are all going to be walking around with $1000 cash in their pockets is a threat to their safety.

I think that's a weak argument. First, I doubt Google is literally going to give everyone cash. Second, a 10% pay increase is not a life-changing amount of money.

Netflix wins a longbet from 8 years ago. longbets.org
179 points by JustinSeriously 12 hours ago   48 comments top 14
11 points by drats 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Esther Dyson's bet "By 2012, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times will have referred to Russia as "the world leader in software development" or words to that effect."


The Computer History Museum gets $10,000 if she loses, I guess they should start planning an exhibit on old Russian computer technology.

But to be less smug for a moment why anyone would think this is beyond me. While the Russians did achieve significant technological advances in the 20th century, and implemented an impressive education system with regard to mathematics and computer science there are so many other factors which play into this. Namely Russia obtaining a score of 2.7/10 for corruption in 2002 from the Corruption Perceptions Index and sliding down to 2.1/10 in the most recent ranking putting them in 158th place. Further they are ranked 143rd on the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom. India with 87th on corruption and 124th on economic freedom, not great, has plenty of English speakers and a more impressive computer science educational infrastructure, as well as being cheaper. The stories of people dying in Russian prisons after resisting corrupt government shakedowns are just horrific and I am not aware of any Indian equivalent. But I suppose if you invest there as she does, you need to talk it up.

11 points by cobralibre 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Maciej Ceglowski had a similar, if less grandiose, site called Wrong Tomorrow, but it looks like it's down:


I don't know if the site is only temporarily down, or if it's been abandoned, but it's a shame if the latter. The idea behind Wrong Tomorrow was chiefly to hold pundits accountable for their frequently bad predictions. You can read his site announcement, where he explicitly mentions sites like Long Bets and how Wrong Tomorrow differs from them:


12 points by chrisaycock 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"By 2010, more than 50 percent of books sold worldwide will be printed on demand at the point of sale in the form of library-quality paperbacks."

Vint Cerf challenges with, "At some point, laptop or smaller devices with high quality displays and suitable access controls for intellectual property will make the sale and consumption of books, sound and movies through these devices practical." He goes on to cite the "iPOD" as an example.


15 points by klochner 11 hours ago 0 replies      
David Peterson nailed it in the comments in 2003:

  NetFlix claims to have more than 13,500 titles and more   
than one million members. You order the movie on the
Internet, you just can't watch it until all of the bits
of the movie arrive. They just happen to be delivered
to your mailbox and you have to put the bits into your
computer or dvd player.

-- Posted by David B. Peterson on May 16, 02003 at 12:32AM PDT

10 points by icegreentea 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Reading the comments (I love that the years are written as 02002) this one particularly strikes me..

"...The net works differently than that... and Content owners have missed (and will continue to miss) it for 3 reasons: 1) Technophobia coupled with crippling ego (too cool to look dumb they fear the pipe) 2) Misguided content protectionism (go back and watch 'The Power of Myth'... again! It's the 'story' damnit!) ..."

This is 8 years old (and proven somewhat wrong), and we're still saying it, in some form today.

10 points by blaines 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow good find. I especially like this bet, Warren Buffett v. Protege Partners, LLC.

  ‚Over a ten-year period commencing on January 1, 2008, and ending on
December 31, 2017, the S & P 500 will outperform a portfolio of funds
of hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees,
costs and expenses.‚


7 points by steveklabnik 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I like the RESTful urls, check out bet #1: http://www.longbets.org/1

We've got a while, but it feels like an appropriate bet.

6 points by antidaily 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Service Temporarily Unavailable

Cached version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:cyGf1Tn...

4 points by alextgordon 11 hours ago 2 replies      
It's amusing that Eric Schmidt is the challenger on http://www.longbets.org/4 in light of Google's autonomous cars.
2 points by stellar678 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or did this seem completely inevitable and kind of on the cusp by 2002? We were building fileserver-based VOD services just to save our Internet connection from the torrenting masses in shared housing situations around this time.

This seems like a risky one to bet against, at least from a technical perspective.

I suppose it is true that it was still a pretty open question whether anyone would manage to negotiate licenses with the media producers to do VOD, but Bell doesn't even touch on that issue.

5 points by blntechie 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I would love to see (or not see) how the predictor wins this bet,long bet making a decision and awards the stake.

‚Large Hadron Collider will destroy Earth.‚


1 point by herrherr 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Another proof that you may look like a fool when trying to predict the future (Bell's argument).

Also interesting in this context: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1887215

1 point by iwr 12 hours ago 2 replies      
For a foundation thinking ultra longterm, they have a flaky server.

"Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.
Apache/2.2.11 (Ubuntu) Server at www.longbets.org Port 80"

0 points by rudasn 11 hours ago 0 replies      
now this is an interesting site!
Your eyes suck at blue nfggames.com
50 points by siim 7 hours ago   22 comments top 8
20 points by bradleyland 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Ugh. We don't have an entirely clear picture of how our eyes physically detect color, much less how we perceive it, but there are serious problems with the argument the author makes here. You cannot simply take a color photograph of a scene, split it in to three channels, then point out that the blue channel is "dark and contains less detail" as evidence of our inability to perceive the color blue. The fact is that the blue channel really is darker because of the actual lack of blue light in the photo.

The trick here is that the areas that have a lot of detail (her face, for example) contain less blue. If you use a color meter to inspect the areas around the girls face, you'll find that there is less blue light present. That makes sense, considering that our skin doesn't contain a lot of blue pigment. This fact is exacerbated by the fact that the author overlaps the channel samples in a way that places emphasis on the areas impacted the most.

Basically, the author fails to understand the additive color model. We don't notice the pixelation of the blue channel in this photo because the result of the alteration is to introduce a low-contrast color in to the photo where the aberration overlaps: yellow. If you look closely, you'll see that the areas where you see cyan and magenta in the red and green channels are replaced by yellow in the corresponding blue channel alteration. The effects are diminished by two factors: there isn't much blue luminance present to influence the other colors, and yellow contrasts poorly with most of the colors in the photo where we notice it (the hood is white).

If you were to take a color-neutral photograph and split out the RGB channels, you'd perceive the same level of detail in all channels.

EDIT: I'd kind of like to take back that last statement about perceiving the same level of detail in all channels. I don't know that you would, but that's not the primary thing that bugs me about the author's argument. My main point is that his argument is flawed, not his assertion. I don't know enough about human color perception to make that argument.

12 points by rix0r 6 hours ago 2 replies      
> This is how DVDs work: a high res green image and two low-res images, one for red, one for blue.

Not true. MPEG-2 uses the YCbCr colorspace, consisting of a high resolution Luminance signal (brightness) and a low resolution Chrominance signal (color). So in fact, all color information is subsampled, green is not treated specially.

2 points by ajg1977 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Trivia: DXT compression (the texture compression used in virtually all modern games) uses a 5:6:5 format for end channels giving the green channel the extra bit of precision, for exactly this reason.
4 points by DrStalker 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Does the article mention that images taken with a digital camera (with a few exceptions) only sample 1/2 the green pixels and 1/4 each of the red and blue ones?


There will be more information in the green channel because that is how the camera is built. I'm sure somewhere there is proper research that was was used in developing the Bayer filter that indicates the human eye is more sensitive to green, but this looks like a case of bad methodology ending up with the right conclusion through luck.

2 points by clay 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This plays into something that Robin Hanson was doing with colors. Blue = Far Mode = grainy, picture unclear and far away. http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/05/color-meanings.html
2 points by mfukar 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering how much of this isn't an artifact of that specific picture; how do we know the RGB distribution in the original pic isn't skewed away from blue? That might explain why there's little information in the blue channel, right?

edit: no -> little

1 point by olalonde 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't have thought so given that blue is the favorite color of most people[1].

[1] http://www.joehallock.com/edu/COM498/preferences.html

1 point by jarin 6 hours ago 1 reply      
That is pretty neat, although I'm not sure I understand all the outrage. "THE DVD FORUM IS STEALING OUR PIXELS!!"

If your eye doesn't notice the difference, are you being "bilked"?

Using WolframAlpha to Hack Text CAPTCHA joelvanhorn.com
79 points by joelvh 9 hours ago   36 comments top 8
4 points by jluxenberg 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Was curious about the "text captcha" service. It's a collection of questions with MD5 sums of acceptable answers.

They provide an API, but I think this is a case of a project being a "service" to keep the database of questions from being free. There's no technical reason for this to be a service, and it's not a terribly complicated product that would be difficult to scale. It's a static database!

Might be neat to create an open-source bank of these CAPTCHA questions. Maybe I'll throw something together this weekend.

1 point by liuliu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The idea: randomly pick one word in the input and make it to be the answer. It seems from the demo page that most of the answers is already in the question. Suppose 50% of questions that have answers in them, and suppose the average length of the question is about 10 words, you have 5% chances to get it right. and with a computer, this is a quite easy one.
6 points by notyourwork 8 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a very interesting application of WolframAlpha but it appears to be purely luck when "success" was the result. Using things such as "2nd item in a..." or "7th digit in..." work in a lot of cases but lets talk about a few.

"2nd fruit in bear apple goat orange" would result in apple because it is looking for second in a list and neglects context of fruit.

"7th digit in abc123def456ghi789 " would result in d when it should be 7. Again not understanding context and merely looking at logical construction.

1 point by aneth 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm mostly impressed that someone found a use for WolframAlpha.
1 point by phwd 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I am not sure I understand what he is saying. All the "results" that he is talking about are the interpreted inputs for the application to process.

So for," What is seven hundred and forty four as a number? ", the interpreted input is a NumberQ function taking the main part "seven hundred and forty four as a number" and evaluating whether it is a number or not. The real result is true.

The zoologist one has already been talked about. The rest other than the 7th digit question are all false.

There are many different choices for the inputs, for example with the colour question

The 2nd colour in purple, yellow, arm, white and blue is?

There seems to be some popularity going on.
The first choice as input is yellow and the second choice is blue. To further test replacing yellow with black leads to blue as the first choice.
Then again even if you were to use the interpreted inputs you would have to determine the syntax for wolfram which last time I checked is not available and is basically a guess the syntax game.


If someone would care to enlighten me on how this could actually work I would greatly appreciate it, otherwise this method does not seem like it will work. Nice creativity though.

3 points by gojomo 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Some ALMOSTs could be turned into SUCCESSes with a few postprocessing rules-of-thumb, like:

- the CAPTCHA usually wants a single word or number

- the desired word is usually the rarer or later one

2 points by elliottcarlson 8 hours ago 1 reply      
After testing alternate versions of the three successes (to see if those were based on luck), only two remain to be successful; Changing "The 2nd colour in purple, yellow, arm, white and blue is?" to "The 2nd colour in purple, arm, yellow, house, white and blue is?" causes the question to fail.
1 point by zith 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If someone would like to try with some more questions and can't bother to write a screen scraper for the demo page, I scraped a few questions a while back:


Flash Mob gone wrong ashitvora.info
112 points by ashitvora 11 hours ago   31 comments top 5
23 points by danw 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Original source: http://www.tomscott.com/mob/. From the guidelines: "Please submit the original source". That's not quite the same as embedding something in your own blog and then submitting your own blog.
10 points by petercooper 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Get Tom Scott a slot at TED! He's a legend, and the same guy who ran as a pirate in the Westminster constituency at the last UK election.
3 points by tvon 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't care for this, it reminds me of slapping an "e-" prefix on something just to indicate that it's now somehow "internet ready".

More to the point, people acting like idiots is nothing new, but I think we'd all still be shocked if this actually happened, just like we'd be shocked if any kind of gathering resulted in a riot and 23 people dead.

25 points by wavewash 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm so glad this story is not true.
3 points by moskie 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't get the point of this.

Yes, it's possible. But so what? A person in the early 20th century could have constructed a similar boogeyman scenario involving those new-fangled flying contraptions: watch out! Someone can take a plane across the country to kill you in mere hours! Yea, and?

Clear explanation of the Apache/Oracle fight slashdot.org
23 points by nl 4 hours ago   2 comments top
2 points by kls 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Yep that pretty much sums it up. If Apache leaves that would be bad news for Oracle. There is a good deal of Java products that use Apache libs is some shape of form. I would venture to guess that it has to be near 80% of apps at least. I can't think of a single Java project that I have worked on that did not use Apache libs. They are even in the app servers IBM and Oracle's. If their is one group that I can think of that could kill Java with their absence Apache would have to be the one that comes to mind. While it may not kill it, it would be the shot that send a mass of developers out looking for the next big thing.
Dear Mom and Dad ... zachklein.com
65 points by callmeed 9 hours ago   29 comments top 14
27 points by edw519 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Nice, but still waaay too technical for my mom and dad...

Dear Dad,

My customers are small business people (retailers, wholesales, doctors, lawyers, etc.) who own computers that have replaced their file cabinets and some of their clerical employees. Those computers came with lots of stuff in them but need more as their business changes or they discover stuff they forgot. I upgrade their computers with the stuff they need. We call that stuff "software". They pay me. Well enough for me to buy you dinner Sunday night and take you to the Steeler's game. What do you say?


Dear Mom,

I sit in an office writing all day long. I have a fridge and a microwave and occasionally go out to lunch with people down the hall. When it gets cold I wear the sweater you bought me last month. I love what I do. I write stuff, kinda like Stephen King or Danielle Steele, but business stuff, not fiction. My customers love what I write for them and they pay me well, so you never have to worry about me again. I showed Uncle Lenny what I was working on and he thought it was great. I'll pick you up for lunch and a trip to the mall at noon on Saturday. See you then.


4 points by jakarta 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd suggest that the author browse some of the old Buffett letters, you can get some good tips on how to communicate complicated topics to ordinary people:


1 point by icefox 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Too bad the marketing department put it in a box that wont fit anywhere. Probably could mod it into a normal box though...
7 points by akozlik 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Just wanted to say that's an incredibly slick approach at a sales letter. Rather than directing the letter to the consumer it's directed to Mom & Dad, which creates an audience to whom the concept can be explained in a simple manner. There are all sorts of emotional responses to this approach too, which creates warm and fuzzy feelings toward Boxee.

Well played sir.

1 point by newobj 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I find it fairly sheisty that Boxee Box does not support Netflix. Or rather that they are ambiguous about its support on Boxee Box. It's displayed plain as day on the introductory video on boxee.tv. There's been a lot of "we can't say anything until launch day" kind of stuff. Well, it's launch day and as far as I know there's no Netflix on Boxee Box, so just say it. I came within an inch of buying this thing until I read the fine print and realized that Netflix is only available on PC and Mac versions of Boxee due to use of Silverlight.

Other than, great software. If it ran Netflix and Hulu+ on the Box, it would be a no brainer for purcahse. But as it is, without Netflix, I have to wonder if Apple TV2 is the right way to go, esp. at 50% the price.

At this point I just assume Hulu+ won't work on anything. It barely works on our iPad, and that's a supported platform.

Hopefully Roku will support Hulu+ before the end of the year.

1 point by zavulon 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been a Boxee user for a long time, and I was SO excited about the Boxee box. I was about to click "Pre-order", and at the last second I thought "Wait, what's the size of the hard drive?.."

And that's all she wrote. I cannot believe they didn't put a hard drive in there. For me, that completely kills the purpose of this thing ...

3 points by pclark 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Boxee is literally one of my most favourite startups - right up there with Dropbox etc. Boxee has changed how I consume and discover media. It is incredible.
3 points by mike_h 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This actually left a bad taste in my mouth -- the "I should call more often" leading directly into press-release tone conveys anything but familial warmth and respect.

Is your audience geeks who don't call their mom? Then maybe it's OK. Is your audience moms? Then you might want to tweak it some more.

1 point by mxavier 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It is unfortunate however that he indicates the problem is that most of the content he watches that isn't on user-generated sites is via Hulu or Netflix. As far as I know, Boxee currently does not support those two platforms. I'm not blaming boxxy as I'm sure there are complex legal/financial constraints at play, but imagine what a compelling product it would be with access to Netflix and Hulu content. Ideas like this should keep cable company CEOs awake at night.
1 point by martythemaniak 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think boxee may just the best solution out there right now - it seems they've hit a sweet spot between the cheap-but-simplistic appleTV and the expensive-and-ambitious-but-half-baked Google TV.
1 point by moshezadka 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm lucky...my mom had to recuse herself from the committee where they decided on whether to buy the software my company makes (for obvious reasons).
2 points by bcrescimanno 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I know I've made this comment before; and I'm not trying to distract from what a great product Boxee is. However, without the major sports leagues taking back their streaming rights from cable providers and allow people to sign up directly, as much as I love this box, it sadly won't be able to replace cable TV. :(
2 points by danio 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"available to buy in over 30 countries" ... leads to ...

"The page you asked for does not exist
You may have followed an out-dated link, or there may be an error in our service.
We apologize for the inconvenience."


1 point by roadnottaken 8 hours ago 0 replies      

Pretty slick website. The background video effect is pretty rad.

Airbnb Raises Cash to Expand Budget-Travel Service nytimes.com
14 points by bkwok 3 hours ago   discuss
Are Text Messages Killing, or Saving Us? sbms.blogspot.com
3 points by sbmws 34 minutes ago   discuss
Recommendation Letters Cost Women Jobs physorg.com
13 points by sitmaster 3 hours ago   4 comments top 3
8 points by kevinpet 1 hour ago 1 reply      
There's a tacit assumption that the discrepancy in emphasis and word choice is based on gender stereotypes, completely ignoring the possibility that men actually tend to be more aggressive and women actually tend to be more communal.

The statement "Subtle gender discrimination continues to be rampant," is completely unsupported by the evidence.

If we accept the common claim that women are discouraged from being assertive and behaving in "male" ways, then wouldn't we expect to see an behavioral difference? If there is a behavioral difference, wouldn't we expect that to be reflected in letters of recommendation?

This is shoddy science (failure to control for confounding factors) and implies shoddy social policy (maybe we shouldn't use letters of recommendation). What makes it worse is that it ignores what would be actual useful questions like the study that asked people to describe a video taped baby's behavior with some told the baby was a boy and some told it was a girl.

3 points by nopassrecover 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Or, you know, women might on average actually be more kind, communal and tactful hence why their recommendation include these terms...

Men might on average also be more ambitious and outspoken.

This could be attributed to research suggesting women value interpersonal relationships more than men and that men take greater risks than women (hence terms like outspoken, assertive and daring).

2 points by sliverstorm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think it's telling that I knew subconsciously the instant I saw the 'communal' list that I would never, ever want a colleague or superior to describe me that way, while I'd be happy to have any of the 'agentic' list applied to me.
How to Make a Webcam Intruder Alarm with Mathematica wolfram.com
26 points by nswanberg 5 hours ago   6 comments top 3
3 points by nswanberg 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The real news here is the CreateScheduledTask[] and related functions.

"...I could use an infinite loop, but that would lock my Mathematica completely. I might want to run overnight computations at the same time, or have other events happen periodically, so instead I program a scheduled interrupt (another new capability) that will suspend any running Mathematica program, run this command, and then return to the program."

Mathematica hasn't previously had a way to manage a long-running process by itself. For a long time this would have been accomplished by calling Mathematica kernel from another program using a linking library. Not very difficult but it still would have been another step. Now it's built in. Cool.

2 points by oostevo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is sort of off-topic because it's not using Mathematica, but this[1] is another really neat intruder detection system that I've found that's surprisingly accurate.

It's based on a technology[2] created by the guy who made Palm.

And here's a guy trying to fool it and mostly failing.[3]

[1] http://vitamindinc.com/

[2] http://www.numenta.com/htm-overview/education/HTM_CorticalLe...

[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXtaZSHs77A

1 point by vinhboy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Last summer I bought a webcam with a built-in server. I was going to do something like this, but never found the time. Thanks for the reference link.
Python progression path - From apprentice to guru stackoverflow.com
114 points by limist 12 hours ago   22 comments top 5
12 points by njharman 10 hours ago 2 replies      
The top answer seems to be for the question "How do I learn to program Python using only the functional style". Which is FAR from being a Python Guru. A Guru knows how to use Python for many styles and to mix them for optimal effect.

#11 "balance" is laughable based on the preceding ten.

Some things missing include:

  * properties (glaringly so)
* slots
* meta classes
* dynamic code generation / data as code
* emulating various types and the rest of __methods__
* know thy standard lib
* distribution setup tools, et al
* documentation epydoc, sphinx, docutils, et al
* profiling and performance

Also from the top answer.

"... Python class. Claim it could be "better" implemented as a dictionary plus some functions"

Um, that is almost all a Python Class is.

6 points by steveklabnik 11 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm really into the whole "code as craft" idea, though a lot of my thoughts on the subject aren't fully baked.

It seems to me that we're at a place with software where we were with, say, civil engineering in roughly 2000 BC or something. This date is horribly wrong, but what I mean is that we're building basic structures, and we're okay at it, but when we try to do anything larger, we're failing.

At some point, we'll be able to make larger buildings, bridges, and roads... but we're not there yet. It seems like the best path forward is to follow is to do exactly what early engineers did: an apprenticeship model. Yes, software is based in math, but so are bridges. We've got a better grip on the math now, and it does help us build modern bridges, but at first, we had to schlep along.

I'm starting to ramble slightly, so I'll cut this off. And as I said, this is only a half-baked thought... but I think this 'apprentice -> journeyman -> master' path is an intriguing way to move forward with software.

2 points by plesn 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The first answer is interesting but I don't understand step 10. Imperative is a model with state and deterministic sequence and Haskell constructs like state and IO monads form imperative DSLs (with some typing burden/advantages). I don't see why the strategy pattern is particularly interesting here (but I see why imperative structures like mutable arrays and associative arrays are interesting). I don't see either why I would especially forget all those design patterns outside of imperative code : for instance the presentation of Connal Elliot "Tangible Functionnal Programming" is a great exemple of the use a kind of MVC pattern precisely to avoid using imperative constructs.

For me at least, the balance lies more in the use of state (easy in python) or the cost of abstraction (no inling and TCO).

3 points by Kilimanjaro 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Learn to simplify and beautify.

We learn new tricks just to make our code simpler and prettier. As a side effect, we code faster and with less bugs.

2 points by Estragon 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is like saying you can be fluent in Japanese by learning the grammar and saying nothing about the vocabulary. Fluency with the libraries python offers is far more important than whether you express yourself imperatively or functionally.

That said, I'm off to the library to borrow a copy of Real World Haskell.

Install Android 2.2 on a jailbroken iPhone over the air mobiputing.com
56 points by hardik 8 hours ago   10 comments top 5
4 points by shimon 4 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI: if you install this, boot into iDroid, and can't figure out how to reboot: The power button is simulated by holding the iPhone's home and lock buttons simultaneously.
3 points by kevinelliott 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been helping with iDroid and Bootlace, and I can tell you that a lot has progressed over the last couple of months. Power management has been a huge priority, and while some of it is there now, much more is to come. Also, it runs incredibly slowly on a 2G, but quite reasonable on a 3G, and absolutely awesome on a 3GS. In fact it feels faster on a 3GS than on a real droid phone.

Part of the reason that it runs hot is the screen power management is incomplete, so it's always on, albeit dimmed. This should change soon.

3 points by timmorgan 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Anyone know how well this works, I mean for real -- not just as something to play with?

Last video I saw of Android running on iPhone seemed very buggy and sloooow.

3 points by ableal 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, I've been occasionally watching the efforts to put Android on the HTC HD2 (WinMo 6.5, left behind for 7). Seems to be going well, with reasonable battery life, etc. although not "over the air" install. Look up the XDA developers forums.
1 point by hasenj 6 hours ago 0 replies      
nice, hopefully now I can try the 8pen thing
       cached 11 November 2010 03:59:01 GMT