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Governments shouldn't have a monopoly on Internet governance googleblog.blogspot.com
78 points by michaelcgorman 2 hours ago   14 comments top 7
11 points by pierrefar 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Before we get all up in arms about governments taking monopoly, we should remind ourselves that the "bottom up" approach being championed here gave us the Google-Verizon open internet proposal in August. As I understand it, the proposal have implied net neutrality for wireline services but has an opt-out for wireless internet. So the bottom up approach is not a guarantee that it will produce better policies.

But on balance, the bottom up approach has certainly been good for the internet. I just want to keep it in perspective.

References for the Google-Verizon deal:



1 point by jdp23 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wikileaks highlights how governments' interest can differ from the "citizens of the Internet" (for lack of a better term). Of course governments do act as an important counterweight to keep corporations from abusing their monopolies on internet governments ....

From a governance perspective, who speaks for "Google users"?

1 point by steadicat 19 minutes ago 1 reply      
"Governments shouldn't have a monopoly on governance."

Isn't governance what governments are for? Granted, governments are dysfunctional in many ways, but suggesting governments let others govern seems a bit silly. Who else is going to govern? Should we let corporations sit on committees, next to officials, forgetting that officials were elected, and corporations were not?

There is no guarantee that companies are going to take care of our interests better than governments do. And let's not forget that governments are dysfunctional largely because of the influence that corporations themselves already exert on them.

1 point by mattmanser 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
The very premise of this article is totally ridiculous.

The beauty of the internet is that you can easily share vast amounts of digitized information with anyone without having to be in the same place.

Not that it's governed by X or Y. And the IGF doesn't govern it anyway.

In the end this forum is a total joke anyway, a pointless waste of money, much like many parts of the UN from which it stems. Any actual decisions are made elsewhere.

And even if it did matter why should we support a bunch of companies and academics taking part in this sort of thing? Who elected them? What if it were Zynga sitting on this committee instead of Google? Would anyone be outraged at their departure?

2 points by locopati 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Already posted using a direct link to ISOC story
2 points by vdm 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"bottoms-up" is mentioned twice. Spellchecker?
1 point by iwwr 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The inter-networks are too important to be governed by anyone, be they governments or companies. Government implies coercion and regulations, regardless of where it comes from.

Not that the regulators won't try, they will be adamant about their "right" to "bring order" over apparent chaos.

Don't Glorify Dropping Out theatlantic.com
19 points by J3L2404 46 minutes ago   6 comments top 5
5 points by AndrewWarner 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
College is broken.

Anyone who paid and went for 4 years, knows its an inefficient use of time and money.

What we need to do is stop glorifying college.

4 points by lhnn 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
This man offering the scholarship to 'stop-outs' won't instantly make the university system collapse.

If I had a great idea and an investor was $100k confident in the monetization of it, I would probably drop out, too. The author's whole premise is that dropping out is universally bad and should be discouraged, and that staying in school is universally good. Neither are true.

The article also misses the point: Where might we be if some of the 'usual celebrity dropouts' hadn't dropped out? What if they had said, "I'll get a real job first, then work on my idea." The world might look very different.

Non-Ph.D. entrepreneurs and academics can peacefully coexist.

1 point by ams6110 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you drop out, you can always "drop in" again. People drop out all the time for all kinds of reasons, then go back a year or two later and finish.
1 point by Aloisius 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Speaking as a high school drop out, I wouldn't recommend it for the vast majority of people. College is useful for the people you meet as much as the education you receive.

That said, in Silicon Valley, a few companies on your résumé, a single high profile company and/or a major achievement is more than enough to compensate for a lack of education.

Outside of Silicon Valley? Well that's another story.

2 points by kiba 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
With all due respect, Peter Thiel doesn't encourage everyone to drop out. He thought that college is indeed suitable for probably a great majority of young people.
Write your passwords down jgc.org
30 points by duck 1 hour ago   26 comments top 16
12 points by mikeryan 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Its funny I worked for a startup that got acquired by Comcast, and eventually we started having to follow the Comcast security policy which made us change domain passwords every month with requirements around using strange characters etc.

I'd say about 50% of the people ended up with their current password on a post-it on their monitor or desk.

1 point by jasonjei 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's an interesting concept because passwords could be infinitely more secure if everything adopted a two-factor authentication system with something physical that you carried around like an RSA SecurID. Unfortunately, even that system risks being compromised, and like the sheet of paper, highly inconvenient.

But on the other hand, your garage door works with a rolling keY too, and you're also SOL if you lose your opener (unless you, ironically, have a keypad).

2 points by crocowhile 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
> (I have a second copy of that sheet left with a friend in an envelope)

I love jgc but here he's making the same mistake most people make when they speak about security: assuming all readers have the same need for security and run the same risks. They don't. There is no point for my mom to adopt this system, it's way overkilled for her. (I think there's no point for me either).

One needs to explain to users two things: the first is that there is a big difference between being A target and being THE target. If you are just A target, picking one password for each website you subscribe to is more than enough. If you are THE target, then people will get to you, no matter how secure you think you are.

5 points by michael_nielsen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I use Bruce Schneier's password safe: http://www.schneier.com/passsafe.html
2 points by samuel 21 minutes ago 1 reply      
So you have a paper on your wallet, which can be used to obtain every password you use, using an intricate and very specific "algorithm".

Then you publish the fact itself and the algorithm in your blog(real name), which, besides, doesn't depend on a passphrase (which could turn your method in a sort of dual factor authenticator).

The paper could be photocopied and returned to your wallet and you'd never know.

Please, don't talk me about how many bits of entropy your passwords have. They aren't secure.

4 points by iuguy 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is and isn't bad advice. Writing your passwords down and storing them in your wallet isn't necessarily a good idea. You may be able to secure your wallet, but there may be somewhere better to secure it (such as a house safe).

Rather than writing the passwords down, use a decent tool like 1password (http://agilewebsolutions.com/onepassword) or Keepass (http://keepass.info/).

2 points by corin_ 43 minutes ago 1 reply      
Personally I don't see any reason for having them completely randomly generated.

'thIs1smyp4ssw0rd19%2' isn't any less secure than another 20 character password that includes lower+upper case letters, numbers and special characters.

Obviously, if you do something like 'c0r1np4ssw0rd" then it may get to the stage where enough people do that for crackers to expect it (maybe it already is, but as long as you follow his third and fourth rules ("Use mixed-case, numbers and special characters" and "Use passwords of at least 12 characters") you really should be fine, and you'll have an easier time memorising them.

(I can remember multiple 20+ character passwords that would be very difficult to crack, and have no need to write them down.)

1 point by joshkaufman 28 minutes ago 1 reply      
An easy way to create your own...

Copy this empty table: http://pastebin.com/tzbd7FCt
Fill it with this random password generator: https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm

Be sure to use a fixed-width font.

2 points by Abid 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
I always have a question come to mind whenever I read these kinds of guidelines: what percentage of computer users have ever had their passwords compromised?

I'm guessing there's no real way to gauge this because I've never seen a study nor heard anyone else touting one and yet, complex password protection guidelines are always being recommended. Why?

2 points by stevelosh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Use 1Password, make sure your passphrase for that is long enough to be secure.

Write that passphrase down and put it in a safety deposit box if you want people to be able to retrieve them after you die.

1 point by aquinn 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
I read a story on HN a while back about a guy who used an algorithm to generate his passwords. Don't have the link but something like combining easy to remember bits of personal information. e.g mother's name, kids birthday, maybe changing the case of these. Also adding something site specific like the last three letters of the url backwards. It's easy to remember passwords this way but if one gets out they're all vulnerable if someone looks closely.
1 point by DanI-S 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Although this method may be great for you, it doesn't seem worth it to me.

Having your passwords hacked or guessed is bad because it's a hassle, and it can lead to you losing time and money.

This method of password generation/storage is also a hassle, and definitely leads to losing time (which may translate to money).

I find it far easier to come up with a reasonably long and complex 'base' password, then tag an extra bit to the end depending on which site you're accessing. Since our memory is strongly context dependent, it's easy to remember the extra little bit for the site you're currently on.

1 point by ali001 24 minutes ago 1 reply      
I think that a better solution is to use pwdhash. Check it out here:


It's a browser extension for Chrome and for Firefox that seamlessly hashes the concatenation of your master password and the domain name of the site you're logging into. This produces a different password for each site, and requires you to remember only your master password.

The extensions were created by Blake Ross (big name in the firefox community), as well as Collin Jackson and Dan Boneh who are highly regarded security experts at Stanford.

Also, if you're interested, I've created a command line utility for Mac OS X that exposes the same functionality:

1 point by kirinkalia 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't store passwords in my wallet either and find this system far too cumbersome. I think if you're really concerned about security, you should never "remember" your password on any site -- see story about stupid criminal who stole a Washington Post reporter's laptop and posted photo of himself on the reporter's son's Facebook page: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/story-lab/2010/12/post_4.html the security of the teen's FB page isn't getting the same play as the stupid criminal angle).
1 point by cliveholloway 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In related news, when I'm on a non essential site that requires a password, forces a weird restriction ("Your password must contain at least one number and one non word character) and won't let me save it in Firefox, I just copy the password, log out, bookmark the login page and then add #password to the URL and bookmark that as the new login page.

Then, come login, I can just copy the password from the URL.

1 point by jdludlow 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Back in 2005, I did something similar for a while after this [1] was posted to /. Eventually it became too annoying, and I switched to Password Safe and then to 1Password. Both are, in all ways, better than that slip of paper.

[1] http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=152097&cid=12762...

What to Read to Get Up to Speed in JavaScript reybango.com
61 points by stsmytherie 3 hours ago   12 comments top 5
1 point by petercooper 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not a book and not a blog, but if you want to keep up with the latest JavaScript stuff on a weekly basis through e-mail: http://javascriptweekly.com/

Yes, it's mine but it's had kudos from folks like Steve Souders and Amy Hoy and almost at 3000 subscribers so I don't feel too bad pimping it. Latest issue is at http://javascriptweekly.com/archive/5.html if you want a preview.

10 points by kls 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What if I had to Choose Just 3 Books

You selection is good but I can't believe that in the "if I could only get three" section, Crockford's the good parts is not #1. I mean it is the seminal work for JavaScript, it should be the first or second book anyone considering doing serious JavaScript should read.

3 points by vladd 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Try to separate the JavaScript language from the additional bindings that the platform gives to you.

If you learn client-side JavaScript for use inside the browsers, differentiate what's a language feature and what's part of the DOM.

If you learn server-side JavaScript, start by looking over the CommonJS standards as they tend to be the common denominator across the server-side JS implementations.

And... experiment. Write a .html on your desktop which references a sample.js and use your browser to check it out and modify the code. Don't rely on technical knowledge for more than a couple of hours without trying out the things in practice. Or, for server-side JavaScript, you can get a free hosting account and browser-based editor at http://erbix.com (+), using just OpenId (i.e. your Google account) to sign up.

(+) Disclaimer: I'm affiliated with Erbix.

3 points by dstein 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
When studying a language, one does not typically start with an abstraction library.
0 points by gte910h 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Eh, in my opinion, unless you're doing server side javascript, the thing you need to learn most about when doing javascript is dhtml. The actual javascript language isn't the hard or strange part of the experince.

Most of his links seem to point to actual language esoterica. Only 1 seems to really point at DOM interactions.

Delicious's Data Policy is Like Setting a Museum on Fire readwriteweb.com
106 points by cwan 4 hours ago   38 comments top 14
32 points by PaulHoule 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Back in 2004 I wanted to use Kleinberg's hub-and-authorities algorithm on Delicious, and I ran a crawler on it anyway, despite the robots.txt file. I got blocked, and when I complained, I got an email from the founder telling me to buzz off.

I've long seen the no-crawling policy of Delicious plus the Roach Motel API that was all about getting people to put their data in but not about letting people get it out as the dark side of "Web 2.0"; often we hear about an API as if it were a gift, but it's often a self-serving effort to take our data and give nothing back in return.

10 points by ams6110 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The loss would be a shame, but calling it a "sick tragedy" is a bit of a stretch. Unmaintained, the data will get stale fairly rapidly, and it won't take long for another service to step in. There's a vacuum here, and someone will fill it.
7 points by tibbon 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Err, if I was writing a scraper today, I'd just ignore the robots.txt

I dunno if Geocities had a similar robots.txt, but it didn't stop several groups from archiving it (which was the right thing to do in either scenario).

1 point by unexpected 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't understand why Yahoo doesn't try charging for it. Monetizing it was tough, definitely, but it's been shown that actually CHARGING customers (as opposed to going with a straight advertising model can work).

If you're going to shut it down anyway, what's the harm in trying? Maybe have a "stay of execution" for a quarter - tell users you're going to charge $10/month for the service, and see how many users sign up. If you can break even, why not keep it?

1 point by agentultra 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's not terribly difficult to backup your bookmarks using the API. I wrote a script a while ago that does just that and dumps everything in a neat little sqlite DB.

I'm sad to see delicious go as it's a great collaborative tool and has awesome powers when combined with instapaper.

(btw, if anyone wants a copy of my script you can get in touch with me through my site listed in my prof)

1 point by rb2k_ 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> Nope, Yahoo! blocks all automated extraction of data from Delicious.

Uhmmm... this worked for me:

curl --user user:password -o DeliciousBackup.xml -O https://api.del.icio.us/v1/posts/all

I only have 280 links on there, so maybe it is limited somehow. I really hope it is, otherwise this would be REALLY a poor job on the part of readwriteweb.

1 point by _corbett 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm a huge user of delicious, with 2906 bookmarks and 3100 tags. In fact, if I were to pick one Web 2.0 site, it would be this simple straightforward one. I use to organize new lines of research (into an intellectual matter or something as inane as a hotel) and to keep track of anything I find interesting or useful on the web, particularly those things which took more than a few minutes of googling to discover. It's a huge supplement to my memory.

Really sad to see it go.... If yahoo had asked me to pay I'd happily have done so (I pay for Flickr, Spotify, Last.fm, RTM and many other oft-used services happily)

2 points by adambyrtek 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm not a native English speaker, but shouldn't the phrase be "library on fire" instead of "museum on fire"? The analogy comes from the ancient Library of Alexandria, which was set on fire by Caesar.
2 points by akshayubhat 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I can only think of using 80legs as a crawler, since its distributed enough to make sure that you don't run into any IP address based rate limitation. But it's just a guess.
1 point by glebk 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
This python API into Delicious could give you a place to start:


Unfortunately Delicious will throttle you if you hit the service more often than once a second so you might not be able to get too much valuable information.

2 points by iuguy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes it's a PITA, I subscribe to certain tags via RSS to get interesting stuff to read. The loss of that is quite big for me. Saying it's like setting a museum on fire is a bit too far though.
0 points by cilantro 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope posterous is hard at work building a delicious clone!

edit: Not completely sure why you all hate this comment, but fwiw I was being sincere not snarky.

1 point by chapel 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I took a peek through the site and I really don't see a way to scrape everything, or even most stuff off of their site. You can get the 200 pages of the most recent bookmarks for any particular tag, but that seems to be about it.
1 point by Stwerner 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Funny, I was playing around with scraping bookmarks off delicious a while ago with a rails app.
Introducing Word Lens questvisual.com
896 points by jf 17 hours ago   227 comments top 84
115 points by solutionyogi 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow. Just Wow.

I had to put the App to test.

Printed some simple English words and tried it out.

Original paper:


What the App shows in REALTIME:


Comparison with Google Translate:


[EDIT: Note, Translating Muerto Fin to English in Google Translate, does result in 'Dead End'. Can any Spanish reader clarify why the original Google Translate chose to translate 'DEAD END' to 'callejón sin sali'.]

[EDIT: So let me get this straight. Their program, running on iPhone [256MB RAM, 600 MHz ARM CPU], can take a live image, perform OCR, translate, create another image with the translated words. And all of this happens real time? Wow.]

I think it's really hard to get a 'Wow' reaction from HN crowd. And you have hit a home run! As someone else said in this thread, you are going to make boatload of money. Congrats!

32 points by aresant 12 hours ago 3 replies      
The walls are coming down so fast it's making my head spin - job well done!

I immediately sent the link to a dozen people, about half wrote back "How much is it?" and "How do I download it?"

Since QuestVisual.com is clearly going to sweep the entirety of the internets by this time next week a few friendly conversion suggestions:

a) Change your button to "Try Word Lens FREE - Click Here"

b) The logo under your button looks like another button, just get rid of it.

Dropped you an email if you'd like the Conversion Voodoo team to bang out a new page tomorrow AM gratis that's ready for installation by noon PST :).

104 points by acangiano 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Whoever created this deserves the boatload of money they are going to make. It has the potential of radically change the experience abroad for people traveling in foreign countries.
36 points by stevelosh 15 hours ago 2 replies      

I downloaded the app, bought the Spanish -> English pack, and tried it with some simple phrases in a big TextEdit window on my monitor. It flickered a bit, but I expected that from a monitor. It got them right.

Big deal, common phrases are easy -- I could just buy a phrasebook. Then I tried a random phrase from the Spanish version of "Dive into Python":

    Una función, como cualquier otra cosa en Python, es un objeto.

It flickered like before from the monitor, but it was easy to read the translation:

   A function, as any other thing in Python, is a object.

Perfect? No. Usable? Absolutely.

As soon as a French -> English pack is released I'll buy it, even if it's $100.

This is the kind of thing that would make it possible for me to move to Montreal. I love that city, but don't know French. I could learn, but it would take time and I'd be lost like a baby gazelle on the Serengeti while I learned.

This app could ease the process of moving to an entirely different country. That's amazing.

Hello, future, it's nice to see you.

11 points by yurylifshits 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Re-posting here from my blog http://yurylifshits.com/lessons-learned-from-the-launch-of-w...

    The lessons I learned today from Word Lens

Everything is secondary to compelling usecase. Word Lens has strange company name (QuestVisual), no logo, crappy landing page, and no PR preparation. But its darn cool! And that's what matters.

Assembly innovation is really cool. Every piece of Word Lens was here, but nobody made a perfect combination before today. Academic researchers will never do another Word Lens, as they are overfocused on novelty and hate just-assemble-the-pieces work.

Clever freemium business model. Word Lens is free, but you have to buy language packs. "erase words" and "reverse words" are free demo modes to prove that the app really works. Note, that you can even turn it into subscription model with dictionary updates.

BlendBack is the heart of this invention. Word Lens goes like this: (1) detect and recognize characters, (2) translate, (3) produce text in similar colors and shape and blend it back to the picture. The last step is the most innovative and can be used beyond Word Lens. E.g. one can do "Bar Code replacer". Turn your phone on any barcode and see some picture there. Can be used as a cheap replacement for road signs and ads.

No connection required. This is extremely important. 3G is unstable. WiFi is not everywhere. 4G has not really arrived yet. When you travel, your carrier can not cover you perfectly. I can see more and more essential apps that will not require connection. "Yelp in a box" anyone?

Global appeal. This is not another geek's app. It is mom and pop's app. It is an app for every country and and every village. We need to spend more time outside Silicon Valley to find needs like this one.

Science fiction inspiration. Part of the reason for press craziness is that Word Lens matched the science fiction story (Babel fish from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"). We love seeing SF concepts turning into reality. Let's reread old classic and implement all other concepts from there :)

    What I would do next

Obvious: add more language packs. Asian languages can be a bit of a challenge (recognition is harder).

Brainstorm pricing. A lot of options are available: different price for the first month, bundle prices for several languages, one-time price discount (a la 23andme), subscription model, enterprise package.

Put on hold all talks to investors and potential acquirers.

Immediately start working on versions for other platforms (Android, Blackberry, Nokia, WinMo). Hire another person to do just that.

Run a contest: iPhone for the best "Word Lens in the wild" video.

25 points by frisco 15 hours ago 1 reply      
These guys are going to have some hard decisions to make in the next few months. This has such incredible potential I'd be really sad to see it get bought and languish as a side-feature at Google. Run as a business, rather than a free technology project liable to be side-lined on whatever whim, and really developed for the next 5 years, think about what it could be! I mean, just look at what it is today on day one!

The offers will come, that much is certain; I can only hope they decide to go for it and turn this into something great.

9 points by seldo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
One day tourists are going to buy "holiday glasses". They'll walk around Paris, stop at a nice restaurant, put on their glasses, and read the whole menu in English. Then they'll order by pointing. Hell, they can do this with their phone right now, the glasses just make it easier.
82 points by johndeweese 16 hours ago 14 replies      
(hola, i'm john deweese, one of the creators)
good to hear the early positive response, and we look forward to your insightful feedback (support@questvisual.com) -- mention this site so we pay some extra attention.

i hope this app will be nice and disruptive, and we'll be looking carefully at what people expect and how they actually use it. it's a platform, and we're really excited about the directions it opens up.

thanks for the link, cheers!

22 points by dholowiski 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I showed this app to my 60 year old semi-technophobic parents and they immediately understood it. They are ready to buy an iPod touch to use with this app for their next cruise. My mom guessed the cost of a language at $50 and was shocked to hear the actual price.

Screw zuckerberg, The developers of this app should be on the cover of time magazine.

1 point by 27182818284 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
It is amazing that you can get a piece of software for free (with language packs for an extra low price)

This is something the US military would have paid millions and millions for in the past. Now, you see people say, "I'd even pay fifteen whole dollars for that app"

haha, oh wow.

9 points by ianferrel 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I downloaded it immediately. Making it free to try and selling the dictionaries is a great sales model. The demo mode does a mirror-image reversal of the word to show you that it can detect words.

I was using a 4th gen iPod Touch, so lower-res camera and no flash.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get it to work as well as I'd hoped. I tested physical copies of a few things:

1. Mac OS X Snow Leopard cd case. Black sans-serif text on white background. This worked the best, with the word-reversal consistently getting "Snow" and "Leopard" reversed with little flicker. "Mac" seemed to go in and out. OS was rarely replaced, and usually along with "Mac" as though it were part of the same word.

2. C++ Programming language book cover (http://pixhost.info/pictures/631454). Dark blue serif text on white. This almost never worked. When it did recognize letters, the recognition shifted so much that the word was a constantly moving jumble.

3. Throat Coat tea bag. White serif text on Red. At any point in time, about 50% of the words were recognized and reversed.

You can take a snapshot, and each word it recognizes is highlighted, which is pretty cool.

I would definitely buy something like this that handled non-romance languages to English.

1 point by jodrellblank 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wordlens, wow and thank you!

(Here's me desiring this a couple of years ago:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=569558 )

21 points by jonursenbach 16 hours ago 1 reply      
A friend of my girlfriend is part of the team that made this and he gave me a demo of this 5 or 6 months ago and even back then when it was in an early alpha form I was absolutely blown away by this thing.

Seeing this thing in action in real life is life changing.

9 points by bobf 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I work in the translation industry, and the interesting part of this to me is the implementation. Generating the resulting translation image in real time is a unique idea that is probably hard to make work well. OCR on a mobile device without a network connection is not as difficult as you might think (read: it can fairly easily be done on Android with tesseract-ocr, at least). Also, instead of the typical rule-based or statistical machine translation you get on the web, think of translating word-by-word as simply substituting words from a key/value dictionary list.

Having said that, I'm always glad to see interesting translation being developed and getting such a positive reaction on HN. Congratulations to Word Lens on launching!

13 points by zzleeper 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I agree that it's impressive, but the flash video felt like cheating.

For instance, no spanish speaker would EVER say "LO TRADUCE EL TEXTO" (@ 0:20), or "ROPAS OPCIONAL" (@ 0:50). They just picked some words in spanish that made sense when translated, but my guess is that average translation would be much more awful

21 points by cavorite 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The product seems amazing, but they are somehow cheating in the video.

The signs (in Spanish) have grammar mistakes, but they are automatically translated to correct English sentences. I have a few examples:

- The third sign says "Lo traduce el texto", but that sentence doesn't make sense. It should be "Traduce el texto" or even "Se traduce el texto".

- 'Ropas opcional' sounds strange to me, although it may be accepted in some countries.. It should be something like 'Ropas opcionales'.

I tried both examples in Google, Bing and Babel Fish and the results were OK, so I don't think that Word Lens translator is very accurate.

    "Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will 
the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to
apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke
such a question."

12 points by glhaynes 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Saw this comment on TechCrunch, sums it up perfectly:

When I was a kid, I would have bet all the money I would ever earn that we'd have flying cars before the ability to do something like this with a phone. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

1 point by mrchess 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm reading comments on this app on other blog sites and people say things like "translations suck", "not worth your time".

Times like this remind me how ridiculous consumer expectations can be. People still don't get that product development takes time and energy -- they just like to criticize with their elitist expectations only because they own an iPhone.

But yes, this app is great. Keep it up!

20 points by kmfrk 16 hours ago 0 replies      
To quote Fry "Shut up and take my money!".

What is the ETA on French and German?

20 points by jorgem 15 hours ago 3 replies      
AUDIO OUT for the blind.

EDIT: People with limited vision are often considered blind, so they could use this app.

11 points by zacharyvoase 16 hours ago 2 replies      
If Smartphone + Wikipedia + Google = Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then this is the Babel fish.

And I'm sure that it will also, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different cultures and races, cause more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

9 points by muon 11 hours ago 2 replies      
They could have stopped at just translating and printing it on the screen, but they show it the original form, that is the difference between doing things and doing the things beautifully.

I am spellbound.

5 points by knieveltech 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I. Am. Totally. Floored. Just wow. The last time I checked in on assisted reality apps for the iPhone there where cheesy laser tag apps and stuff to hang tag clouds in random locations. Interesting I guess but nothing to produce a visceral response. If I where you your shoes I'd see about buying a wheelbarrow for the money that's coming your way.
11 points by bigmac 15 hours ago 1 reply      
So, predictions on how long until Google buys these guys? I'd guess within the next 7 days.
10 points by stcredzero 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This might just be the first commercially successful mainstream application of augmented reality.
28 points by veb 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This has to be the first real iPhone application that's actually impressed me. Something that can definitely change lives.
1 point by brosephius 2 hours ago 1 reply      
for the sake of being contrarian, why all the freaking out? it's cool and all, but it's OCR + translation, two things computers are already pretty good at (not to mention word lens seems to be doing word-for-word translation, not context-sensitive).

yeah doing it so fast on a mobile device is impressive, but am I alone in thinking this isn't going to change the world?

2 points by bambax 8 hours ago 0 replies      
John Deweese, "one of the creators" says here that "it's a platform".

Here's one thing they could do: open the platform to distribute dictionaries from third parties.

Questvisual could still sell "basic" or "standard" dictionaries for each language pair, but they would also sell competing dictionaries, that could either try to address the problem from a different angle (phrase translation vs. word translation), or be specialized dictionaries: legal, medical, etc.

They would take a cut, of course, and they would create a market that they would curate. Great wins for everyone!

4 points by ericflo 14 hours ago 4 replies      
I just caught myself thinking: "I hope they got a software patent on this, they deserve it." But I usually hate software patents unequivocally. So, yet again, a real-world use case reminds me that nothing is so black and white.
5 points by ig1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope you guys are on AWS or something, because your server is going to get a lot of traffic over the next few days...
4 points by sliverstorm 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Do you see yourselves extending this to languages based on non-Latin characters? This could be an amazing, amazing tool for Chinese characters- both for foreigners and natives.
3 points by KeithMajhor 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Hacker Newsers usually downvote brief congratulatory comments. Seeing "you win" take home over 20 points is indicative of just how exciting this is.
3 points by hebejebelus 6 hours ago 0 replies      
That's truly fantastic. I don't have much use for Spanish->English, but I'm going to buy it anyway for the sheer "wow" factor. Congratulations.
2 points by alex_c 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's easy to feel down when reading the news, but then something like this comes along and... the future's going to be so cool! :)

I don't care if it even only works 20% of the time right now. The rest is elbow grease and faster hardware - it'll get there.

It's not every day that you consciously realize - hey, the world just changed today (for the better!).

2 points by iuguy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Just bought it, this is indeed impressive stuff. I bought both English -> Spanish and the other way around. Not being a big speaker of Spanish I wasn't sure how good the translation was but the Spanish to English is good enough for my travels next year.
3 points by covercash 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like an English to English add on so I can get dictionary definitions of words using the 'pause' feature. This would also make visiting URLs in print extremely easy!
1 point by kilian 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This app is too cool, but it seems a little over eager. Here's me pointing the app at a mosaic: http://desmond.yfrog.com/Himg612/scaled.php?tn=0&server=...
4 points by forkrulassail 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems dead.


You don't have permission to access / on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Apache/2.2.16 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.16 OpenSSL/0.9.7a mod_fcgid/2.3.5 Phusion_Passenger/2.2.15 mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/ Server at questvisual.com Port 80

2 points by ghshephard 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Cute undocumented (that i could find) Easter egg on the Reverse Words feature - It also 'corrects' the spelling. heh. (Discovered when it insisted the reverse of "Shephard" was drehpehS
2 points by alain94040 12 hours ago 0 replies      
At first the demo didn't work at all for me. Nothing would happen at all. Then I tried to click on a few buttons, and text started dancing left and right, with no apparent reason.

Then I got better at it. It seemed to reverse the words and letters more or less fine.

Then I spent the $5 on the product for Spanish (could be handy). I'll happily spend another $5 on a French version.

And I know how to impress everyone tomorrow!

2 points by m0nastic 11 hours ago 0 replies      
That was the fastest $10 I've ever spent in the App Store. I'll echo most people's sentiments, this is seriously cool (although I must look like an idiot walking around my apartment pointing my phone at everything).
2 points by solutionyogi 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Another cool real life example:


4 points by plusbryan 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This app makes me want to travel, right now, so I can just try out the app. Amazing.
4 points by stevenrace 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Quite the understated title - a feat well worth hyperbole.

Can you speak upon the origins of the software?

Did this stem about from other projects/research (Edu, darpa, lone disillusioned coder..)?

I presume one could use dictionaries of things other than plaintext? Say symbols, objects, patterns?
(for signage and 'custom' use)

Are you opposed to this being 'opensourced' at any time?

4 points by pclark 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks so magical and incredible I can't believe it'll work reliably in the real world. If it does, wow.
17 points by codybrown 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Can I install this in my contact lens?
6 points by atomical 14 hours ago 1 reply      
How many people are on the team that created this?
1 point by mcantor 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I would pay $50 to have this on my Android device.

In a heartbeat.

1 point by bajsejohannes 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is mindblowing! I hope you make it for Android as well.

A minor thing about the webpage: If I want to share it on facebook (and I do!), it does not come up with any sort of summary or images, like it normally does for links. Now, I don't know exactly how it gets this information, but I would definitely find out if I were you.

5 points by ebaysucks 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the first time in the last few years that I have been WOWed by new technology.

Huge congrats, this really is magic to me. If you asked me yesterday I'd have told you it's impossible to do.

3 points by keyle 16 hours ago 0 replies      
That is really awesome. I can't wait for them to add more languages. And it's cheap... Anyone travelling would pay for it.
1 point by oozcitak 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is amazing and has great potential. Imagine word-lens for conferences: record the presentation -> translate the slides with Word Lens -> publish the translated slides live to the conference audience. There are hundreds of ways of making money from this technology, the iOS app should only be the beginning.
3 points by relix 17 hours ago 0 replies      
That's very, very impressive. Traveling would be so much easier with just this app, amazing! Let's hope they'll support Asian languages in the future, for round-the-world coverage.
3 points by revorad 16 hours ago 4 replies      
This is one of those times you have to admit it's not ALL about the execution. Good ideas do matter. And they are rare.
3 points by sportsTAKES 15 hours ago 0 replies      
So cool! Cannot wait for more languages...

Holy smokes, when is the Chinese version going to be available?

Let me know if you need help with a Portuguese version, seriously.

Agree with some of the other comments that their logo and site design could use a boost.

Killer idea, love it.

2 points by oscardelben 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the first time I regret not having an iphone (I have an ipod touch without camera). Good job guys!
27 points by trotsky 16 hours ago 0 replies      
You win.
1 point by bambax 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks extraordinary by the HN comments; unfortunately the site is down right now... ;-(

La rançon du succès, I guess.

2 points by tomelders 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I give up. I will never make anything this amazing. What's the point now I've seen this.
3 points by michaelleland 16 hours ago 0 replies      
And when they get Swedish, I'm in!

The awesome thing is that once the platform is there, they could easily open it up to other languages and get them rolling too--though they might have to really think before diving into languages with a different character set, such as Japanese.

1 point by toumhi 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one to be surprised by the overwhelming reaction of the HN crowd? Doing word by word translation is not so exciting from a technology point of view, is it because all the other apps doing translation on a phone are crap? I believe there are libraries that already store language translations, right? Seriously wondering why everybody is jumping and shouting how great and disruptive this is.
1 point by brendano 10 hours ago 0 replies      

One note, it'll be hard to get really good translation quality without a network connection, because good models require tons of CPU and memory -- Google Translate is far better than word-for-word because it uses such things.

2 points by brianbreslin 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I would pay $20 for japanese, chinese, korean, russian, arabic, and hindi language packs. seriously. if i was traveling around the world, I would HAPPILY drop $100 into this app.
9 points by timerickson 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I have witnessed the future.
2 points by kevinelliott 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, so Douglas Adams' babelfish is real, only it's an app for iOS. Fantastic. You've got an exciting venture on your hands!
3 points by foresterh 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Even though I have no use for it, I bought the English to Spanish to try it out. I'm blown away and these guys deserve to take away Facebook guy's man of the year award... amazing...
3 points by EwanG 15 hours ago 0 replies      
So am I honestly the only person who's first thought on seeing this is... ooh, give me a Japanese pack and I don't have to wait for scanlations anymore?
1 point by bl4k 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome. This should help me find my way around Redwood City
3 points by keiferski 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Very impressive. I'm curious to see how it performs in the wild though -- can it translate signs outdoors just as well as in a studio? I really hope so.
1 point by elblanco 14 hours ago 0 replies      
What's next, universal translators that also make everybody's lips move correctly for the language we are hearing? Perhaps Star Trek got it correct?

Amazing...Android app next?

3 points by xlorm 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Do most mobile translation apps not require internet connections? That part surprised me. I had assumed most apps do the work on a server.
1 point by koski 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This might be a game changer.

The product is so cool and it seems to work so well, I have to admid that I am a bit jealous. I would have been proud to be able to say "I did is".

To the executing team responsible of the application: be proud what you did. Great work.

I am so happy for these guys. You believed it's doable and you did it. Congratulations once again.

I would love to read the "project diary". How long did it take to, what were the unexpected problems, etc.

4 points by mrphoebs 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Simply Brilliant
2 points by gce 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Really beautiful and executed beautifully.

Just one small piece of feedback on the "commercial." It's a bit confusing for the first 10-15 seconds or so. I was too busy looking at the iPhone screen and not the billboards. Can I recommend an animated version with v/o?

Great work!

Edit: One more piece of feedback. The icon isn't nearly cool enough for how cool this app is. My prediction is that you guys are going to make a boatload of money, hire a designer sooner rather than later to spiff anything up.

2 points by happyrichpinoy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The Japanese to English pack can't come soon enough. Manga comics here I come!
1 point by gursikh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see this technology applied to augmented reading / writing (i.e. look up any word/person/place on a printed page).
1 point by uast23 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Is that the coolest thing I have seen recently ?
1 point by ebaysucks 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Why the name Word Lens? I had to come back to this thread to remember the name after talking to my brother about it.

I think "Babylon App" would be a perfect name for this app. Just my 2 cents.

2 points by anonymoushn 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I will pay you $500 for this when it can read Chinese and Japanese.
2 points by The_Igor 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is impressive! I could have really used something like this on my trip to Japan!
1 point by binbasti 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd pay at least $50 for a Chinese-English language pack. And even just 50% accuracy would be ok.
1 point by pekinb 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone at questvisual say more about the platform? I have some ideas I'd like to try.
-4 points by cpr 16 hours ago 2 replies      
The promo video's gotta be a fake--figuring out the fonts used & fitting in the same space with perfect color, etc.? Nope.

Would like to see what it really does.

-4 points by rabble 15 hours ago 5 replies      
Totally awesome, but there's a big problem. Most of the time when you're in need of translation of text you find like signs, it's because you're in another country. That means data is very expensive, because your fancy iphone is locked and roaming.

It's awesome, many people may download it, but it will get very little use. :-\ They should probably charge like $5 or $10 for it, make money on people WANTING to use it, not on them actually using it.

Unless i'm mistaken and it's doing the image processing all locally, in that case, they've got a smash hit.

What's missing from this list of YCombinator-like accelerators/incubators? launch.is
13 points by jasonmcalacanis 1 hour ago   10 comments top 8
1 point by danielh 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
HackFwd, based in Hamburg, Germany, active in Europe http://hackfwd.com/
2 points by japherwocky 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Momentum, in Grand Rapids, MI: http://momentum-mi.com/
2 points by binarymax 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Thanks for this. Any chance to expand the list overseas?
1 point by RickFromSA 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
Spark Charleston, in Charleston, SC: http://www.sparkchs.com/
2 points by bradleyjoyce 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Tech Wildcatters in Dallas http://techwildcatters.com
2 points by amoore 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Think Big partners in Kansas City, MO: http://thinkbigpartners.com/
2 points by bullcity 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Joystick Labs in Durham, NC http://www.joysticklabs.com/
2 points by moali8 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Great list! Thanks for putting it together!
Why strong property rights are important: Columbia U vs the little guy nypost.com
52 points by cwan 3 hours ago   21 comments top 10
6 points by lambda 55 minutes ago 7 replies      
This article uses language which far overstates the case, and ignores many facts. For instance, it claims that the government is "seizing" the land, which indicates taking property without compensation; eminent domain, however, requires paying fair market value for any land taken (it's basically just an offer to buy your land that you can't refuse). The article uses incorrect terminology ("public domain" when "eminent domain" is meant, though it uses the correct term later). The article sets up strawmen, like the politicians who denounce property rights, without ever quoting any politicians as actually denouncing property rights.

The article tries to position Columbia University as a big bad meanie, only catering to the rich and wealthy; while Columbia is a large institution with considerable resources, it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and while it does have many rich and well connected students, it also provides need-based scholarships so that anyone who gets in will be able to afford it regardless of their financial status. For many less well-off students, top tier and Ivy-league schools can be more affordable than lower tier or state schools, as there is much more need-based financial aid available.

Now, I disagree strongly with eminent domain being used to buy land and resell it to private for-profit developers. For an educational non-profit like Columbia, it's more of a grey zone. Using language like "seize" and implying that Columbia is a big rich bully doesn't really help to clarify this situation.

21 points by lftl 2 hours ago 2 replies      
One of the few things to be proud of in Alabama politics, is that we immediately passed an amendment that disallows the use of eminent domain in situations where the property will pass to a private owner.
10 points by ams6110 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.

John Adams (http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s15....)

2 points by presidentender 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have one philosophical law which governs my behavior and the behavior of my idealized society: no rational agent should ever use force against another. Private property law can't be derived from that, but it's a useful secondary axiom for avoiding the use of force.

The court's decision in this case does mean that force has been used against the property's owners.

4 points by jwhitney 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It sounds like a real pisser for the owner of the businesses, but it's hard to take the article seriously when it's so loaded with populist sneering. The first line is the giveaway: "We often hear politicians and pundits denounce property rights" -- do we really? I don't know if I've ever heard a US politician explicitly denounce "property rights" as a broad category. It isn't necessary to keep harping on the broader issue -- just tell the story and it should be clear whose rights are being violated, if any.
6 points by jimmyk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know any details not given in the article, but one would think the Supreme Court would welcome the opportunity to rectify their previous decision on eminent domain. Or perhaps they're hoping everyone has forgotten that the land taken in that particular case remains a giant sand lot and don't want to bring it up again. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London
3 points by javanix 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If true, this is by far the most intelligent article I've ever read from the Post.
10 points by iwwr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
So private universities now have the authority of eminent domain to exercise "architectural vision"? This is theft of land.
2 points by yardie 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is the the same New York City where the main industry is the transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich right?

So why am I not surprised when the courts do exactly that?

3 points by pslamnp2 2 hours ago 0 replies      
legalized plunder
Woman With No Fear Intrigues Scientists livescience.com
45 points by arondeparon 4 hours ago   21 comments top 8
1 point by Groxx 1 hour ago 0 replies      
>Researchers put out their best foot to try to scare the patient, who they refer to as "SM" in their write-up in the most recent issue of the journal Current Biology. Haunted houses, where monsters tried to evoke an avoidance reaction, instead evoked curiosity; spiders and snakes didn't do the trick; and a battery of scary film clips entertained SM.

The rest of the article aside: I don't think that's quite conclusive. After a few such trials, it'd get merely interesting or boring, and I have to wonder how skilled at frightening specific people researchers can ever be. On a more fundamental level, I highly doubt you can even perform an accurate test along these lines with a person's consent.

"People" as a whole? Easy, someone's always afraid of something at-hand. A single person, who knows what you're doing? Unlikely. Case in point: a little work with acclimating to spiders, and I'd pass those tests with flying colors. Haunted houses and scary film clips fall somewhere between mild amusement at the attempt and outright boredom, and I like snakes. Plus, snakes don't have legs / claws; get the head under control, and you're fine.

8 points by rokhayakebe 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Not only does she not fear, but it appears she cannot assess danger (picked up a snake).
1 point by gyardley 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Research into this could have clear and fascinating military applications. They're already well aware that a controlled psychopath is an asset:


1 point by cheriot 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Previous studies with this patient revealed she can't recognize fear in facial expressions, but it was unknown if she had the ability to experience fear herself."

People have been say "it takes one to know one" for a long time, but real evidence that we can't recognized something unless we have that same capacity within ourselves would be piercing.

Tell me again why are so many self proclaimed good people are convinced that everyone else is evil?

2 points by Monkeyget 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Fearlessness is a trait of psychopaths. It appears that the amygdala is dysfunctional in psychopaths :

" the amygdala is crucial for stimulus"reinforcement learning and responding to emotional expressions, particularly fearful expressions that, as reinforcers, are important initiators of stimulus"reinforcement learning. Moreover, the amygdala is involved in the formation of both stimulus"punishment and stimulus"reward associations. Individuals with psychopathy show impairment in stimulus"reinforcement learning (whether punishment or reward based) and responding to fearful and sad expressions. It is argued that this impairment drives much of the syndrome of psychopathy. Stimulus"reinforcement learning is crucial for socialization, for learning that some things are bad to do, and individuals with psychopathy fail to take advantage of standard socialization techniques."


3 points by srean 2 hours ago 1 reply      
While one may want to be fearless or without the ability to feel pain, they are essential emotions and sensations. The lack of either can be life threatening.

Its common among those who cannot feel pain to have bitten of their tongue or crushed their own teeth or jaw bone. Inability to feel pain is often accompanied by inability to sense temperature. People afflicted by this disease rarely live beyond their 20s. The reason being that they cannot monitor and correct for their bodies inner core temperature. The run a way fever or hypothermia turns fatal.

2 points by joshrule 2 hours ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that most of her other emotions function normally. It was my understanding that the amygdala facilitated a number of emotions, not just fear. Am I wrong?
0 points by known 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think she is suffering from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASPD
Cash Cow Disease: The Cognitive Decline of Microsoft and Google ronburk.blogspot.com
64 points by rbanffy 4 hours ago   44 comments top 12
33 points by btilly 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Some articles make you stupider for having read them. This is one of them. It is full of nice sounding misinformation that you'd be better off forgetting.

The original purpose of the XBox was to kill the profit margins on Sony's cash cow, the playstation. It succeeded in that, and Sony is no longer threatening Microsoft across a range of areas. This was a wise strategic move, and profit was not the main motive.

According to Google's Q3 release, Google's annualized run rate on mobile is over a billion dollars. Android is a disproportionate share of that. Android is not a waste of resources for Google. It is a profit center.

As for Wave, it was a great experiment. It didn't work out. But lots of ideas from Wave are showing up in docs. I think it was a worthwhile risk to take, and Google learned something from it.

The one thing that I agree with the article on is that Microsoft's mobile strategy is severely broken. But the reasons for it are more complex than simply saying that Microsoft has a bunch of cash.

And now I'm going to try to forget having read that article.

6 points by raganwald 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Putting my investor hat on here:

Cash cow businesses have a cash flow that they either return to investors or reinvest themselves. The only metric for success reinvesting the cash flow is whether the company's stock grows at a higher rate than investors could obtain for themselves if they invested the dividends in the market.

Microsoft has consistently failed this test. It doesn't matter whether their investments are purported to be defensive to protect their main businesses or offensive to develop new sources of cash flow.

Defending Windows from competition, for example, is only useful to the extent that it helps the company's stock grow. If the stock does not grow, it would be better to preside over a gradual decline while throwing off as much cash as possible so that investors could invest the remaining dwindling cash flow in better companies.

Google is an entirely different animal because their stock is much more attractive to investors. As long as their stock continues to grow, management are able to get away with much more "wasteful" attempts to get lightning to strike again. But the moment its stock plateaus, they will be subject to the same merciless metric from me, namely can they establish that they can manage the company's stock price such that reinvesting cash is superior to giving it to shareholders to invest for themselves.

12 points by RodgerTheGreat 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I think this article is a little off-base. Having money and a less than dire need to survive does not automatically stifle innovation. Microsoft has an enormous amount of management overhead and process that grinds brilliant engineers and their output into a fine paste. They have cannibalistic internal competition for resources and teams are actively discouraged from sharing code and cooperating. You might argue that their war chest allows this insanity to continue, but it's not the root of the issue.
20 points by evilmushroom 3 hours ago 4 replies      
This article is poorly thought out. He accuses Google of stifling innovation, then he spouts this gem:

"Meanwhile, at Google, the cash cow is search-driven advertising. That allows the company to encourage engineers to waste 20% of their time on "projects", like Google Wave."

Apparently he thinks that
a) A company should only stick to its core product. (and some how this is innovation)
b) If a company experiments it is "waste" and crushes other smaller companies stifling innovation (which is why twitter got crushed... oh wait)

Waste of my time reading this.

4 points by eitland 3 hours ago 0 replies      
One of Microsofts bigger problem might be that improving anything might break their stranglehold on consumers and other companies.

See http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1991950 / http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/ej32l/we_are_the_hotma...

where the hotmail team seemingly can't understand the reason why someone would need IMAP support when ActiveSync exists

3 points by SeanDav 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Disagree with this article. There was a rather good article on hacker news a few weeks ago which made a lot more sense as a reason for Microsoft/Google/et al dropping projects. Wish I could remember the name so I could link to it.

The essence though is that the Googles of this world have completely different sets of requirements to the startups of this world. Additionally the public has expectation of the Googles that are vastly different to their expectation on smaller, younger company's. This is not Google or Microsoft screwing up, but rather dropping products that don't meet their requirements or what they perceive are the requirements of the public/customers.

I am no fanboi, almost the opposite in fact as far as Microsoft is concerned, but I do respect the power of these companies to lead and to innovate.

1 point by david_p 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
Failed experiments is what makes science go forward.

How can people who make a profits of innovation (yes, the shareholders he is talking about) ignore so much on the process that leads to innovation ?

This is why I believe there is a problem with the stock market : people who buy stocks don't have a clue, they just want to gather profits.

This only lead to shortsighted investment, pushing management to take "actions" to reassure clueless shareholders like him.

1 point by Aloisius 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
He did get one thing right. Google starves the valley of engineers (as does Facebook). Their starting salaries are now so high for even straight-out-of-college grads that it actually harms startups.
6 points by shanked 3 hours ago 2 replies      
According to the author, Apple should have never developed the iPod, iPhone, or iPad....
1 point by unshift 2 hours ago 1 reply      
this guy is an idiot. the whole point of other products, 20% time, diversification, etc. are to not only create other cash cows but allow tolerance for a product's growth/earnings to slow down. ever hear of "don't put all your eggs in one basket"?

the simple fact is, when you have a cash cow, you got extremely lucky. it's really hard to duplicate that so you do your best to support it and keep it going by creating an ecosystem around it and expanding it wherever you can. see: gmail, google webmaster tools, MS SQL server and friends, and so forth.

his real gripe seems to be, though he may not realize it, that companies aren't operated as short-running events that generate a burst of money for shareholders and then fizzle out and die. he doesn't seem to like the long-haul approach that has kept e.g. MS in business for 30 years.

3 points by jk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Well.. nice thoughts.
But didn't gmail start off in one of those "wasted" 20% of time?
0 points by known 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think Obama should focus on creating overseas jobs for Americans.
Dropbox hits 1.0 dropbox.com
213 points by mattyb 13 hours ago   52 comments top 14
17 points by mike-cardwell 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I find it interesting that they specifically mention "TrueCrypt support". What does this support entail?
10 points by jaxn 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I think this points out how arbitrary software versioning is. If you ask me, Dropbox is way past a "1.0" release. In honesty, this sounds more like a "Snow Leopard" than a "Cheetah". (meaning that it is under the hood performance tweaks, not features that most people will understand or appreciate).
21 points by jolan 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Is there no auto-update? I'd prefer not to have to manually update 6 computers with me being lazy and all.
7 points by chadaustin 11 hours ago 1 reply      
3 points by rmorrison 12 hours ago 1 reply      
It's great to see Selective Sync in there! The only other big feature I'd like to see is an easy way to host several Dropboxes on one computer!
3 points by RK 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Is the Linux version up yet? I couldn't find it on dropbox.com (even though the button says 1.0.10) or by updating my repo.
2 points by MikeCapone 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm always happy to hear about software getting faster and smaller rather than more bloated and buggy (I had to install Adobe Reader 9.x on my girlfriend's dell Vitsa laptop and I swear it took longer to install than a clean windows installation). Kudos to the Dropbox team!
1 point by u48998 3 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing I'd hope Dropbox does well is not get stuck with syncing when a program is running. I had my evernote database file in dropbox folder but it wouldn't syc if evernote is on. It wouldn't sync if I keep my pwsafe on. I now wonder how is it going to handle if I selectively sync Firefox bookmarks. I have to shut down these programs in order for dropbox to sync, which makes no sense.
1 point by nivertech 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a dual boot machine Ubuntu/Windows.
Dropbox installed on both OSes.
The problem "My Dropbox" folder is duplicated for each OS and takes twice as much disk space.

How can this be solved?

1 point by jkaufman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Still no way to set read/write permissions on a user-by-user basis? Makes it difficult to manage my less tech-saavy sales reps when they are always editing and moving files around.
1 point by aristidb 4 hours ago 0 replies      
They say "Download 1.0.10 for Linux" on the Homepage, and all you get are way outdated packages.

If you don't have 1.0.10 for Linux ready for public consumption, don't advertise it. If it is ready for public consumption, don't hide the download in a forum posting.

2 points by netcan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope 2.0 is dropbox for your house.
1 point by MrJagil 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I have always been wondering why Dropbox needs to have so many threads going on in OS X. Does anyone have an explanation, and does it actually stress the system in any way?

(they just bumped the thread count from 16 to 18 for me in 1.0)

2 points by hinting 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Are larger accounts coming anytime soon? I'd kill for 250gb.
Open Web Analytics openwebanalytics.com
57 points by kingsidharth 7 hours ago   11 comments top 5
3 points by AlexC04 2 hours ago 0 replies      
In my spare time I've been working on an apache weblog rollup for piwik. I wonder if this one has something like that... or even if it'd be a little easier in OWA? Piwik has made a number of choices that prevents the rollup of logfiles (for now) - I'd be happy to abandon the heatmap and screen resolution metrics for historical data ... just so long as it meant I was able to add my historical data to the system.
3 points by leftnode 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'll give it a look, certainly seems interesting.

One question though: at a cursory glance through the code, the author switches between normal PHP brace syntax:

  if ($something) {
// do something

and the alternative PHP brace-less syntax:

  if ($something):
// do something

Is there any reason for the inconsistency? I usually reserve the alternative syntax for templates since it integrates well with HTML and the normal syntax for the actual code.

8 points by patd 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Anyone has tried this and www.piwik.org and could tell us what are the main strength and weaknesses of those ?
1 point by mise 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if my server can handle more hosted solutions!
0 points by dotcoma 6 hours ago 1 reply      
please, someone: a wordpress plugin!
Governments shouldn't have a monopoly on Internet governance googleblog.blogspot.com
24 points by tswicegood 2 hours ago   3 comments top 2
2 points by markbnine 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The title is kind of extreme. Google is complaining about not being able to participate in the IGF, a forum for the United Nations. As far as I know, the UN is still about nations, not corporations.
2 points by locopati 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Duplicated here...

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2016379 original ISOC post that the Google post builds on)

EDIT - fixed the link (which is the same as the child post)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2016434 (same link but without the query params - HN really should be smarter about comparing links in that regard)

Hey Yahoo, Can you please open source Delicious? kommons.com
382 points by codybrown 19 hours ago   80 comments top 27
56 points by simonw 18 hours ago 3 replies      
joshu on Twitter: http://twitter.com/joshu/status/15492062459731968

"@cdixon open sourcing it would be an enormous pain in the ass. selling it not as bad but yahoo infrastructure and auth problematic."

Besides that, open sourcing delicious wouldn't solve the problem - someone still has to host it, and maintain it, and import several million people's bookmark collections in to it. That takes significant time and money. Having the code is just a small part of it.

A smarter thing to do would be to campaign for the (public) data to be released as a huge data dump, ready for people to run their own analysis on (an Amazon Public Data Set for example). This too has plenty of problems though - under what terms should that data be licensed? People's bookmarks belong to them - would they be happy with their contributions being released as part of a massive data set for anyone (including sploggers) to do anything they liked with it?

16 points by patio11 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm pessimistic: it takes vastly more work to keep it alive, via either OSS or selling, than to kill it. Nobody who Yahoo cares about will notice any news related to Delicious, for fair or foul.
20 points by kloncks 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The actual code doesn't matter.

It's the tens of thousands of man hours that have been spent creating one of the best indexes with careful tags for millions of pages. The data's what makes Delicious matter.

And, if you open-source the data, I see people crying foul over privacy.

16 points by thesethings 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Google has open sourced: Jaiku, Etherpad, Wave among other things, before closing them down.

Open sourcing it wouldn't solve the discovery/hosting part, but I still think they should do it.

I'm sure it wouldn't be "easy," but it wouldn't be unprecedented.

Yahoo! folks also should take a look at dataliberation.org, for best practices on getting on data out (also a Google joint).

(Nope, I don't work for Google :D, just think they've done some good things in this space. )

18 points by coverband 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Why bother with the code? The value is with the existing links database, and since it belongs to the users, Yahoo shouldn't have the right to sell or distribute it freely.

Since users can already import/export their bookmarks, the only support Yahoo needs to provide is keeping the import API open for a little longer after the site is shut down. Of course this assumes that users would want to migrate their data to a replacement service.

4 points by initpy 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is not a copy of delicious, but I wrote this yesterday in a hurry. http://selficious.appspot.com - It imported my bookmarks and I use it to manage them and my future ones (add, edit, delete). The code will of course be opensource. I just need to clean it a lil' bit :
5 points by revicon 17 hours ago 2 replies      
For ppl who haven't exported their bookmarks yet, I wrote a quick webapp to help (for the command line skittish)


5 points by alexqgb 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Since Yahoo! probably wants to avoid the embarrassment of seeing Delicious flourish under different management, they're unlikely to change course here.

But having >1,000,000 people with freshly tagged and exported links in a standard format seems to provide an opportunity to those who think they can do better.

One request for whoever that is: can you add the 'sort my links by popularity' feature that Yahoo! never developed?

4 points by illumen 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel sorry for all the people let go just before xmas.
4 points by bobds 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I want Open Source Federated Delicious. Anyone wanna help make it?
1 point by code_duck 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there anything particularly special about the code which would make it interesting? The value seems to be in the concept, and then the content produced by the large user base.
3 points by codybrown 19 hours ago 7 replies      
We are also compiling stories about present use cases of Delicious. If you are a user, post them here and I'll update the question.
3 points by ahupp 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Can anyone recommend a replacement for del.icio.us, ideally one that can import my existing data?
1 point by nl 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Pfft. The code is pretty worthless without Yahoo's infrastructure.

More interestingly, I wonder how much Yahoo would sell it for?

3 points by UsernameInvalid 14 hours ago 0 replies      
There is an open source clone of Delicious, Scuttle: http://sourceforge.net/projects/scuttle/
1 point by greenlblue 18 hours ago 2 replies      
There are many alternate services of the same type. Just export your bookmarks into the new service. I don't see what the fuss is about.
1 point by Andrenid 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I doubt we'll see it open sourced, or saved in any form by Yahoo. It's too much cost/effort for them, when that's the reason they're scrapping it in the first place.

What i'd like to see is people quickly rolling out tools that help us get our Delicious bookmarks into other sites easier. Eg into Google Bookmarks. That currently requires you to install the Google Toolbar and import them through that (ugh).

3 points by adrianbye 17 hours ago 0 replies      
why not hand the data over to DMOZ to take care of
2 points by Void_ 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Yep, open sourcing wouldn't help anyone. By the way, I think it's written in PHP and Symfony framework.

This service just needs to stay alive.

1 point by ffffruit 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Couldn't we do a service where delicious users can export all their bookmarks (bar private ones if they want) and then send them onto a aggregator so a new service can pick up where delicious left. I am assuming here that technically delicious is not (very) challenging, its the data that is precious.
1 point by known 9 hours ago 2 replies      
There should a legislation. If company stops support or goes bust it should open source the software.
1 point by withoutfriction 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not try the Xmarks method? Seeing as a fair number of people are paying for pinboard as a replacement, Yahoo could ask people to commit to paying $10 (outright or per year) to keep their delicious account.
1 point by jlft 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The most valueable assets are its data and brand. I would be suprised if there weren't already similar open source services.
1 point by zeeg 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey Yahoo, or anyone else, please build an open source app so it loses all monetary value.
1 point by johndbritton 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Donate it to the Mozilla Foundation.
1 point by jamespitts 17 hours ago 0 replies      
...but only the earlier perl code base :)
1 point by vahidR 16 hours ago 0 replies      
very good suggestion ...
Yahoo is Shutting Down Del.icio.us techcrunch.com
465 points by jmorin007 22 hours ago   284 comments top 68
48 points by seldo 21 hours ago replies      
The writing has been on the wall for delicious for years. They never made any money, never found mainstream adoption, never made use of the enormous flow of user sharing data they were getting to do anything interesting. They have been operating on a skeleton crew for years. Such a shame.
70 points by petercooper 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Please, Yahoo, distribute the final public-facing database for free. There are millions of links organized in there and it's an incredibly useful repository. If that data is lost, we just lost thousands of man years of tagging the Web.
86 points by Ixiaus 21 hours ago 7 replies      

  curl https://{your username}:{your password}@api.del.icio.us/v1/posts/all > bookmarks.xml

19 points by Jun8 20 hours ago 4 replies      
Noooo! I love delicious and am using it daily, it's one of the reasons I don't completely switch to Chrome (since the plugin is not as good as the Firefox one). OK, time to dire off the API and suck off all the bookmarks.

Where should I put all my bookmarks? What other bookmark service has a nice browser plugin, APIs, etc?

After this I'm also convinced that Yahoo is hopeless.

16 points by ig1 21 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems a bit crazy that they're shutting down services like delicious and especially Uproar (which is actually in a growth market!).

I'd be shocked if there aren't other tech companies interested in buying the tech, the userbase and the employees (who've just be made redundant presumably at some expense).

What's the justification to shareholders to shutting down as opposed to selling ?

51 points by pavs 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Ideas and startup goes to Yahoo to die.
7 points by kloncks 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Any idea on how much money Yahoo's actually losing by just running Delicious?

Side note: I've always wondered why Yahoo hasn't tapped into the vast amount of good data that is Delicious to supplement and improve their search engine? Talk about having access to a firehose.

Side side note: Seriously, what company does layoffs a week before Christmas!?

179 points by joshu 22 hours ago 6 replies      
39 points by idlewords 21 hours ago 3 replies      
It's been a busy day over here.
31 points by nostromo 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Time to back up those flickr photos.
8 points by lotusleaf1987 21 hours ago 0 replies      
AllthingsD is confirming that Del.icio.us will be shut down: http://networkeffect.allthingsd.com/20101216/following-layof...
18 points by kqr2 22 hours ago replies      
Where's the best place to migrate all of your Del.icio.us bookmarks?
8 points by umjames 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Well there goes months' (nights & weekends) worth of iOS side project work down the drain. I have a very large delicious bookmark collection that I was still posting to as of this week.

Does anyone know if delicious' demise affects pinboard's API service in any way? Since pinboard's API documentation just links to delicious, now would be a good time to archive the delicious API documentation.

17 points by gms 21 hours ago 5 replies      
Delicious is a black hole for me. I have 95 bookmarks, and once something is bookmarked with it, I never visit it later. Is this unique to me?
6 points by lkrubner 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Damn, I wish I had the money to make Yahoo an offer. I worked on a service in 2005 that was suppose to compete with del.icio.us, but our service never got off the ground. I've always admired the basic idea of del.icio.us, and I think there are a million interesting things that could be done with that site. Surely if Yahoo is shutting it down, they'd also be willing to sell it cheap? I wonder how cheap?
4 points by DevX101 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Open question: How could Yahoo have monetized delicious?

I'll start: Use the browser plugin to deliver highly targeted but low profile ads to users. The targeting would be based on the longitudinal interest data they have for millions of users, many of whom have been tagging their interests for months or years. For active users, I think this data is better than facebook targeting info.

5 points by djacobs 20 hours ago 2 replies      
One reason I don't sign up with every new startup that comes along--even if they're innovative and helpful and better than the competition--is that I don't want to invest time in something that could fail. And every time I see a web service fail, even if it was no longer a startup, I lose hope that good services can last. Seeing this, for example, I'm not likely to put stock in an online bookmarking startup any time soon.

It seems to me like this is one way that the failure of large companies can lead to the failure of unrelated startups. And it sucks.

6 points by kirubakaran 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Automatically backup your Delicious bookmarks here : http://www.favbot.com/import-delicious.html

OAuth import will be up soon.

8 points by colbyolson 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It will be sad to see Delicious go, if it indeed does.

I would also like to point out http://pinboard.in/howto/#import

14 points by zoomzoom 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Who makes a decision like this? The only reason I have a Yahoo account is for delicious.
5 points by philfreo 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really annoying... I have over 3000 bookmarks on del.icio.us all nicely tagged, nice browser plugins, use it every day, etc. Definitely hoping to find an alternative that isn't a step backwards...
3 points by iamwil 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if it'd even be possible to donate it to some foundation that preserves influential websites.

It'd be a pity to leave delicious and just trash it, instead of archiving it somewhere.

6 points by phillian 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Regardless of whether or not Del.icio.us is being shut down, Blake Irving's reaction to his screencast being "leaked" was completely uncalled for:


"@bpm140 @joshu Really dude? Can't wait to find out how you got the web cast. Whoever it is, gone!"

3 points by shrikant 21 hours ago 0 replies      
More money for Maciej. More features for Pinboard. More happiness for us early birds who got in at a sub $2 price :)
4 points by wslh 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Welcome to the Cloud!

Seriously, companies must take responsibility for the data. It's important to note that delicious also has private bookmarks so it's not possible to just backup the repository and distribute it.

In my opinion the best way to solve this is to set up an auction for the "delicious asset".

9 points by Keyframe 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Google, buy del.icio.us from yahoo, please!
1 point by sireat 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Very sad news. At least, delicious has the export option.

For someone with almost 9000 bookmarks it came out to 1.7MB .html file. (and yes, tags are in the source)

I wasn't using Delicious to full extent, as my needs were simple, just cross browser, cross platform, cross machine bookmark service.

Will have to check out Pinboard, Historious and other alternatives mentioned in this thread.

2 points by blahedo 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Also hiding in there: Altavista. Now there is a venerable piece of web real estate"fifteen years ago it was the place to go for web search. I didn't even know it was still around....
1 point by famblycat 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm looking to move my bookmarks somewhere else. But frankly this has really soured me on trusting anyone with them. I want them to be 'in the cloud' so I can access them from everywhere, but also under my control. Does anyone know if there are any apps available out there which I can install on my own hosting and can serve as a bookmark manager?

I already have a personal wiki for my notes and lists, but I'm looking for something a bit more specialized for bookmarks. I like the concept of tagging my bookmarks, which a wiki doesn't offer.

3 points by Dramatize 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I've gone to use Delicious several times but stopped short at the login screen.

There's no way I'm going to use a service when I have to create a Yahoo account.

Same goes with Flickr.

1 point by u48998 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to use Dropbox to keep/run bookmarks from cloud? I am assuming with the latest version, I should be able to selectively backup Firefox bookmarks. I would then only be missing RSS feed (if only people would come up with the way to provide local RSS ability to average users).
9 points by Complete 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Why do big companies shut down websites instead of selling them?
1 point by atlei 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So I guess they don't make enough money on it, then ?

I wish the general attitude would change to "I'm willing to pay for services that I find useful" instead of "Everything should be free !!!!"...

1 point by jamesbritt 19 hours ago 1 reply      
What's funny is that Delicious had changed their UI (again) recently, making it harder to save bookmarks with appropriate tags. It's as if the developers or managers don't actually use it themselves, or have no idea how large numbers of people are using it.

So I've been looking around for an alternative. I've been using Diigo, though the UI (at least for the bookmarklet) is not all that much better.

The comments here about Pinboard, though, motivated me to go sign up. I figure, better now than later after the exodus drives the cost up. :)

5 points by jmboling 19 hours ago 0 replies      
delicious should have marketed itself to the mainstream as a search engine with a 100% human curated database
0 points by mmaunder 19 hours ago 0 replies      
On the one hand it's sad to see technology that many people were (and are) passionate about get axed like this. But on the other hand it frees up space for innovators to come in and implement even better versions of products that have proven traction.

Shameless plug: I run http://feedjit.com/ and our core product is very similar to mybloglog, so while it's sad to see what Scott and his team built get cut like this, it opens up opportunity for us and we are very passionate about the space.

2 points by dbingham 20 hours ago 0 replies      
What are the chances we can talk Google into buying it? I just started using it and it's beyond amazingly useful!

I don't want to lose the ability to save bookmarks this way.

Is there anything out there on the web that duplicates the functionality?

1 point by dopkew 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Some alternate bookmarking services...

Google Bookmarks, Pinboard, Historious, Diigo, Netvouz, Favbot, Favilous, Licorize, Wonderpage, Wheatt, Wajam, Markr, Xmarks.

Please add others which I may have missed...

4 points by fs111 19 hours ago 0 replies      
In case you use the firefox extension, you already have a full copy of your bookmarks in the ybookmarks.sqlite file in your firefox profile.
1 point by jgilliam 19 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a Twitter petition to Yahoo getting a lot of action: http://act.ly/2ul
2 points by camiller 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I have to admit, since I started using Xmarks I pretty much stopped using del.icio.us. My last addition to del.icio.us was July of 2008.
1 point by proee 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Why can't they sell it? I'm assuming there is a buy with the amount of traffic and user-base? I don't understand why they would shut it down.
3 points by to 19 hours ago 2 replies      
is there any contact for interested buyers?

sent e-mail to delicious and yahoo - if anyone knows a quicker contact let me know! THANKS!

1 point by ronnier 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a been working on a replacement http://toadjaw.com but haven't opened it up to the public. It allows importing from delicious.com. Anybody interested in using it?
2 points by tocomment 21 hours ago 6 replies      
Anyone want to do a weekend hackathon with me and build a replacement? We could probably capitalize on delocios shutting down to get some traction.
2 points by kadavy 21 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems silly that they would just shut it down. Have they even tried to monetize it? I would pay ($50 a year) to continue to use Delicious. Maybe they can sell it?
2 points by davidw 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Well shit... I use that data for langpop.com :-/
1 point by Tichy 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Dumb question, but couldn't they try to sell it again? Is that never an option, once a startup has been bought?

I realize they probably have added some Yahoo specific stuff, like single sign on, so disentangling it might be too costly?

2 points by bhudman 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is sad. I use delicious daily, and I actually use it as a search engine - The ones that are most bookmarked is usually what I am looking for.

Another advantage is that I can share links form multiple machines.

I am avoiding chrome until they have something like noscript plugin (which will likely not happen) in firefox

2 points by ffffruit 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't get it - Yahoo is shutting down a service where humans are obsessively tagging a shitload of handpicked URL from the abyss that is the internet these days and they cannot figure out a way to keep this alive?

Am I missing something here?

1 point by elrodeo 10 hours ago 1 reply      
First Google Wave, now Delicious. I was using both of them. That Delicious will probably shutdown is bad enough. But WHAT IS WITH ALL OF MY CAREFULLY TAGGED BOOKMARKS? Even if I can export them somehow, what I'm gonna do with them?

Now that's exactly why I am -- and always was -- against webapps and my data being in a cloud.

3 points by coverband 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I am a heavy del.icio.us user today. What alternative bookmarking site should I switch to that supports tagging?
1 point by jamesbritt 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like Pinboard has gotten popular.

"Due to massive traffic today, imports may take a while to complete. Sorry for the delay!"

2 points by Tichy 19 hours ago 0 replies      
What bookmarking service, if any, is everybody using these days?
1 point by mark_l_watson 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I just exported my bookmarks with tags. Inconvenient, but not too bib of a deal. The worse thing is that I used to share my bookmarks with other people - have to work out another way to do that now.
1 point by awa 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Question: I know how can i get a html file for all the links. Can I get a text file with just the list of urls
1 point by DanielRibeiro 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Diigo, Stubmleupon, Xmarks. Many alternatives. Are they any good when it comes to tagging and browser integration?
1 point by fleitz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
They should just put their logo into the sunset column and be done with it. Yang pooched the only hope they had of returning their shareholders money.
1 point by JamesNK 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Time to move my bookmarks from Delicious.

Google Bookmarks looks like a possibility. I don't care that it doesn't have the social thing and I want something with good browser integration.

Does anyone have an working instructions for migrating to Google Bookmarks? Most sites refer to this page which appears to be broken - http://persistent.info/delicious2google/

2 points by joe_the_user 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there a reason they can't sell it?
3 points by revorad 21 hours ago 2 replies      
StavrosK, jump on this!
2 points by ra 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I would pay $5 a month for delicious
3 points by yesimnathan 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess I'll have no more use for my yahoo ID.
2 points by 1336 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting choice of words: "sunset" instead of, say, "shut down". It's clearly a weasel word, and using a noun as a verb makes it all the more jarring.

Say what you mean, Yahoo.

1 point by meattle 20 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're looking for a Delicious alternative, then also worth checking out is:


(a list of over 50 bookmarking services)

1 point by binaryfinery 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The only yahoo service I use. And daily. Wo.
1 point by unicornporn 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I just exported my bookmarks from Delicious. The resulting html file was 5.5 MB. I guess that tells how much I've actually used Delicious. Sad to see it go...
1 point by yogsototh 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The day Yahoo bought delicious I immediately switched to Magnolia first and now I use diigo and I am _really_ happy with it for a long time now.
Canada obsoletes CAN-SPAM and replaces with an Opt-In system returnpath.net
25 points by mike-cardwell 5 hours ago   3 comments top
11 points by jws 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Summary: Canada passed an email law[1] with teeth. It applies to anyone sending email to a Canadian and takes effect in September.

(Still too long? Let's just call the Canadian law CAN'T SPAM.)

There are three tests, any of which will allow unsolicited commercial email.

• Existing relationship between sender and recipient. (purchase, contract, donor, volunteer, member)

• The recipient prominently publishes their email address and the mail is related to the recipient's professional capacity.

• Recipient signed up for it.

The law and its enforcement will begin to be explained in January.

[1] http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?La... the meat is in section 6, but notice it is written in an "exception" model. It seems a little insane until you get to the end of the section and catch the exceptions.

The Best Services for Migrating Your Delicious Bookmarks lifehacker.com
18 points by cwan 4 hours ago   3 comments top 2
1 point by euroclydon 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Pinboard and Diggo sound useful. I've tried in the past to use a bibliography plugin for Firefox, but it was too cumbersome.

I would love to hear succes stories about these two products, like how having all your web information tagged, cached, and distributed across reading devices has been the secret weapon in your life or job.

0 points by lincolnpark 3 hours ago 0 replies      
so its official?
10 years of Openwall Linux slashdot.org
12 points by tuebor 3 hours ago   discuss
When a great idea isn't enough: Why the “Last.fm for news” died thenextweb.com
11 points by zeedotme 2 hours ago   8 comments top 5
2 points by frb 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Sorry, but his article is really one-sided. It just blames the lack of funding for the failure and disregards other factors and challenges of a startup.

As I understood Readness was somehow funded (4iP) but the funding was then cut off for some reason. They tried to get into YC but failed and then decided to kill the service/startup.

What I read from the article is that the founders weren't trying hard enough.
What about other sources for funding? Sure, YC is nice, but it isn't the only place in the world to get funding.
To how many other investors have the founders reached out? What about the numbers (users, pageviews)?
What were they going to make money from?

> "When we returned from San Francisco, we realised that the funding and resources required to iterate Readness into something that could attract hyper-growth, were far higher than we had available."

This reads like: "We weren't abele to get the funding that easy and decided to kill the service after a half year of operation."

How about slow and steady growth in contrast to hyper-growth? More PR? (I would have been a potential user, if I knew it existed).
Most startups take definitely more then 6 months to build a solid user base, features and to get funded. It's very hard work.

As long as you are somehow growing and improving the service, you're good. Don't count (on) money, build a business/service and work hard. If you need money to cover your costs of living: bootstrap, do consulting, take another job.

What I basically want to say is that while funding might an essential aspect of your startup, it's not the only one and the solution to everything. So, don't blame it always on funding!

2 points by ajays 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm not so sure it was that great of an idea. Do I really want everyone to know that I secretly checked out the video of Miley Cyrus taking a bong hit? Or that I visit the Fark 5x a day?

Not everything that can be shared should be shared, people. :-)

2 points by smoody 1 hour ago 0 replies      
But why couldn't they get funding?
1 point by daralthus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wow, why I haven't heard of this?
First delicious now this?
I was just waiting for voyurl because of the potential, then bam there was already one and it is now closing...
1 point by stuaxo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Where TF is last.tv.

Lastfm for tv would be the best thing since er... lastfm.

On Why Open Source Developers run Mac OS X sharms.org
43 points by sharms 2 hours ago   82 comments top 28
10 points by ekidd 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I bought a MacBook Pro 3 years ago, because I was sick of dealing with ugly PC hardware and I had gone through one-too-many 30 hour sessions trying to get suspend/resume to work reliably.

I've been pretty happy on the Mac. But I miss Ubuntu's giant repository of binary packages, and I've recently fallen in love with XMonad's automatic window management.

So now I'm running Ubuntu in VirtualBox, and I'm enjoying it greatly. And I've learned my lesson about Linux laptops: I'm going to buy a premium laptop from a high-end Linux vendor, and let somebody _else_ worry about drivers.

12 points by Apreche 1 hour ago 4 replies      
In my experience it's heavily tied to whether you are a GUI person or a command line person.

Most of the developers I know are using Macs, with only myself and a few others preferring Linux. The Mac guys use the terminal, as it is a necessity. But they are relatively slow at it. Most of them don't even really use tab completion as much as they could, if at all. They also use the mouse very heavily, especially in their web browser, finder, and text editor.

The developers I know that prefer Linux, including myself, freaking fly on the keyboard. We hardly ever touch the mouse. We tab complete like crazy. We use a ton of keyboard shortcuts for everything. Doesn't matter if we are vim or emacs, it's keyboard keyboard keyboard.

I think the explanation is very simple. If you are a mouse using person, and you compare a Linux system to a Mac, the Mac will be more comfortable, especially with that great touchpad. If you are a keyboard person, the Mac will drive you insane and Linux will be happy land. People tend to change their software rather than change themselves, so mouse people end up on Macs.

5 points by rwl 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
Cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahttp%...

I'm not an "open source developer." But I do write code from time to time that I am happy to share with others. I run Debian on a desktop most of the time; essentially the only program I interact with outside of Emacs is a web browser. I do have a Macbook, though, that I use as a second computer when I'm away from home.

I am constantly frustrated by OS X.

The biggest reason is one of the `features' mentioned in the article: the `./configure && make && make install' routine seems to constantly break on OS X. This is a problem for me because much of the software I use (or try to play around with) doesn't specifically target OS X, so there generally aren't pre-compiled binaries available, and often the build instructions do not provide helpful hints for OS X users. I used to work in a lab that ran entirely on OS X. Compiling scientific libraries (e.g. SciPy) was frequently a recursive nightmare of trying to compile or otherwise install various dependencies (in SciPy's case, I remember the lack of gfortran being an issue).

Often, the problem has to do with missing libraries or figuring out how to set CFLAGS to cope with Apple's non-standard paths, both of which are headache enough. But sometimes the errors are just incomprehensible -- at least to someone without serious C knowledge -- and then I'm stuck.

Sometimes, Apple has done the hard work for you of properly configuring and installing popular Free programs (e.g. Emacs, Python) but the versions are Apple modified, can be difficult to get to work with outside libraries, and are often very old.

(I'm venting a bit here because I have been suffering from these sorts of problems fairly acutely in the last couple of days, but it really does seem to be an issue every time I want to use something on OS X: from Emacs to Python to Git to whatever else, something always seems to go wrong, even if it's not a dealbreaker.)

The bottom line is that OS X is a long way away, for me, from being an environment in which I can comfortably use all the software I want to without too much time lost down the rabbit hole of configuration. And I don't even spend most of my time programming! So I'd have to disagree with the sentiment of the article.

10 points by vog 1 hour ago 2 replies      
From the article:

"And this, I believe, is why great developers tend to move towards OS X (yes, there are plenty of exceptions)"

With all due respect, this reads more like an Apple advertisement than a well-thought conclusion.

First, I find it somewhat strange to declare those who stay with FreeBSD or Debian as "exceptions", thus implying that moving to OS X is the norm. This is not backed by any numbers. There are just some anecdotes of some people switching to OS X.

Also, that statement implies it is meaningful that some great developers switch. However, that detail isn't relevant at all to understand to process. OS X is comparatively new, so of course people are still looking at it and some of them move over. And of course some of those people are great developers, as in any random group.

To make this more clear: Among the people who are switching, there are naturally a lot more mediocre developers than great developers (as in any random group), but the article wouldn't sound nearly as sensational if the author had written: "thousands of mediocre developers switched to OS X".

Also, a lot of people switch from a proprietary system (like OS X or Windows) to Ubuntu, Fedora and many other free software systems. However, those aren't nearly as celebrated as those who switch to OS X. Why is that?

This article is so strongly biased that it is hard not to mistake it for an Apple ad.

6 points by agentultra 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm an open source developer and I have absolutely no desire to switch to OSX. I don't really spend much time fiddling with my setup and I probably gain a lot of productivity by having an environment that is completely customized to my workflow.

Personally I'm running Arch w/ stumpwm on vanilla X. All I need is emacs, ff, and a couple terminal windows. No distractions at all; no windows hiding other windows, no tabbing through three or four windows to get to the one I want, nothing popping up in my face, no bloat-ware monitoring useless information. My fingers almost never leave my home row while I work.

I don't really know what this article was trying to get at. I'm sure there are lots of developers who do use OS X, but I don't think that choice really has much to say about open source developers as a whole and probably less to say about developers who do not switch.

It's just an operating system.

16 points by mindcrime 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Fedora Linux "just works" for me on my laptop (a 2 year old Toshiba Satellite), and I don't necessarily fall into the "fiddling with stuff and rebuilding stuff for grins and giggles" routine, FWIW. I will concede, however, that I am one of those people to whom F/OSS is an ideology, and I strive to avoid using any proprietary software as a matter of principle. Hence my refusal to own or use anything put out by Apple. :-)
3 points by rb2k_ 1 hour ago 2 replies      
And this is why they should use caching :)


A common trend among many of the best developers is to see them posting screenshots running OS X. Many of the best developers, some my personal ‘developer heroes', have made the switch to OS X.

It's All About the Mentality

I respect and admire programmers like @migueldeicaza, @mitsuhiko, mandrake, @dhh for all they have accomplished. One thing they all have in common, present day, is running OS X. Mandrake cowrote Enlightenment (which is the original really cool window manager for Linux), Miguel started Gnome, and the majority of code both Mitsuhiko (wrote almost every useful Python library ever) and DHH (Ruby on Rails) write run on Linux backends to say the least.

What are they most known for? Problem solving skills mixed with actually producing / releasing.

Linux is Open Source

And this, I believe, is why great developers tend to move towards OS X (yes, there are plenty of exceptions). A critical piece of writing software is focus. When a problem solver uses a Linux desktop, they are immediately confronted with the possibility of being able to modify every part of their system. When a problem solver runs OS X, their options are severely limited, by design.

I think all of us are guilty for hunting down PPAs to get a backported browser, or running ‘./configure && make && make install' at some point. And when you have programming skills, source code can turn into a detriment to productivity when you start modifying projects outside of what you intended to accomplish. All of a sudden you start hacking a project for a few minutes, and wake up days later in a coding haze with all of that time lost.

Personally I have had experience with this while using old Linux distributions. We have SLES 9 systems and SLES 10 systems here at work, and in the past year I have spent countless hours hacking Sprint 3G wireless drivers, USB over IP, Firefox 3 and countless others to work on these older systems. Why? Not because they are the primary goal, but because I could, which in turn took up time from things I actually “wanted” to do.

Time is Valuable

Watching one of Miguel's presentations, he mentions that he does not have enough years left to “worry about memory management” and that they leave that to the younger folks. This is the crux of the argument. For programmers, there is far too much opportunity for distraction at every avenue. We don't know how long we will be here for, but certainly we know that nothing we care about will get done as long as our focus is spread so thin across the spectrum of Linux.


This is all just food for thought, not a judgement against any form of desktop or usage pattern. For reference, I am still running Ubuntu on my desktop, and being wildly unproductive on the tasks I want to finish.

3 points by doron 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Anecdotal evidence from my experience finds this to be true but only when you consider the type of developer and his field.

Opensource web oriented platforms (i.e web developers who commit code to web based projects in accordance to open source code licenses) use OSX in my experience by overwhelming majority.

Lower OS Level developers tend to stick with Linux or BSD

In some instances it didn't make any sense at all, the pains I saw developers trying to install couchDB on their OSX platform (i think it is a easier now), it was far easier to do this on ubuntu.

Developers also have aesthetic impulses, and OSX looks good and feels good, for most people, better then any X based GUI other platforms have. This is also an issue with the relative comfort different developers have with the Terminal.

Much can be said about this practice, no dog fooding might make open source less viable in the long run.

7 points by samd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Apparently, just like real people, programmers just want shit to work when said shit is tangential to their project.

Ubuntu does a mostly good job at that, at least for me.

8 points by st3fan 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I can understand his argument about tinkering and distractions, but personally for me it is all about apps. If Linux had the same polished apps like OS X has then I would probably use Ubuntu as my main OS.
3 points by Groxx 1 hour ago 2 replies      
>When a problem solver runs OS X, their options are severely limited, by design.

Hardly. On the surface, sure; that's part of the appeal. Underneath? GCC's a couple keystrokes away. There's even http://www.opensource.apple.com/ which has kernels[1] and lots of low-level code you can hack away at. Less than an OSS Unix distro? Absolutely. But not by all that far.

[1]: http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1504.9.17/

5 points by vital101 1 hour ago 3 replies      
A once asked a professor of mine why he used Mac OS X instead of Linux. He said to me "Linux is free, so long as your time is.".

I think that really gets the point across. While Ubuntu and a few others have made great strides in getting things to "just work", OS X is still the king in that regard.

5 points by huxley 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For many open source developers/contributors, open source is not their entire life.

The majority of open source users/developers/contributors are pragmatic about the utility of open source software (it does a job they need done and the access to open source code makes it better), but there is a very vocal minority for whom open source/free software is an ideology (there's nothing wrong with that either).

I'm 100% open source on the server. The combo of Ubuntu, Django, Nginx, Gunicorn and Postgresql has made me very productive.

I like futzing with servers, I hate doing it with notebooks. OS X might not always "just work" but it does for most cases that matter to me.

Other people might own consoles or use Microsoft Office (or Google Docs) or other stuff which isn't open source, but that shouldn't affect their support for open source in the areas that matter to them.

1 point by michaelchisari 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm an open source developer, and I run Mac OS X for one reason:

I find it's interface to be, hands down, the best I've ever used. Since I work, essentially, two full time jobs (my day job, followed by Appleseed at night), I frankly don't want to have to wrestle with my operating system, even just a little bit.

I used Linux for years, haven't really used Windows since XP was released, and switched to Mac OS X about three years ago, and I'm not really interested in going back. I'm a fan of picking and choosing your battles, as opposed to adopting an approach of total purity, so right now my focus is building open source social networking, and if a closed system helps me do that without tearing my hair out, then I find that to be an acceptable compromise.

2 points by rbanffy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I see Macs are very popular in the Python and Plone communities. Rails, too, has its fair share of Mac users. Lots of Java developers who use Eclipse/Tomcat/MySQL form a more even split among Windows/OSX users. Linux/BSD notebooks don't seem to be as common on Java-related FLOSS events than in other similar events.

I prefer Linux. Actually, I would be happy with any Unix-like OS with proper system-wide binary package management and a modern GUI. I can live with the occasional quirk when some part of the computer cannot function properly because it was never properly documented. I know that, by the next OS release (right now, that will be in about 4 months), it will.

Also, BtrFS is very interesting (although it doesn't compare to ZFS, but that's another can of worms)

5 points by riobard 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For me OS X = A *nix desktop that actually works (no more tinkering with various peripheral devices, drivers, etc) + generally better-designed hardware + much more higher quality apps = more time left to do other things
2 points by rbanffy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Because of "504 Gateway Timeout" errors? ;-)

edit: I really wish I could read the article.

edit 2: Now that I am able to read it:

> When a problem solver uses a Linux desktop, they are immediately confronted with the possibility of being able to modify every part of their system

Yes, but some of them never do it. They modify it once to tailor it to their needs (I check-out my Emacs configuration) and never touch it again. When I moved to Linux in 2002 or so, I spent some time trying skins and desktops and so on. Now all my computers use the default look and feel provided by Ubuntu. The last 4 years have been like that.

1 point by compay 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
#1 reason for a developer to run Linux: KCacheGrind. Compiling and running this on OS X is a terrible PITA. I'm not aware of any native Mac app that's even remotely as good for analyzing profiler output.
4 points by maximilianburke 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't agree with the point made regarding having to build ones own software. I've found I've done as much "./configure && make && make install" on OSX as I have done with Linux -- if I'm using something that hasn't been updated in MacPorts I'm going to be building it myself.
2 points by sandGorgon 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
Robert Love @ Google (http://robert.love.usesthis.com/) - author of Linux Kernel Development and ex-Ximian developer.

Laptop (though admittedly non-coding) - Macbook Pro.

'nuff said.

3 points by zoomzoom 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Something else to consider is the rise of the cloud - people buy apple hardware and then ssh into their linux boxes, or run them as VMs locally.
2 points by phamilton 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think there are three main factors for the switch over the last few years.

1) Apple switched to x86

2) The MacBook Pro unibody line is just a solid laptop with a great design.

3) The iOS "bubble", where iOS developers are in high demand.

2 points by foljs 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Even Linus Torwalds used an iBook with OS X --he wrote his book in it. And at a time, he used a Powemac G5 as his desktop machine, although that one was running Linux ( http://news.cnet.com/Torvalds-switches-to-Apple/2100-1003_3-... ).

Now, the lure of an OS X machine for an OSS hacker, is that besides the system "just running", with minimal hunting and improvising, they also need/want/like to have several apps not available as Open Source, or with sub par replacements. Stuff from running Photoshop or Omnigraffle to connecting their mobile phones and being able to see and edit their video captures with a minimum of fuss.

Of course, this only holds true for OSS hackers that are "pragmatic" and just use what they think is best for their needs, not for hardcore "Libre Software" types.

1 point by jcfrei 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
I could see myself switching to a Mac because they have very nice laptops. a macbook pro or a air is a fine machine.
on the downside: the keyboards suck and it would require me to setup a dual-boot system.
3 points by bryanwb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
At the GSoC 2009 Mentors conference, I was amazed that a majority of attendees were running OS X
1 point by savoy11 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"Open Source Developer" is not a job or career or profession. How many people out there really make their money checking in open source code? 0.1% of all developers? 0.01%? Most people do it in their free time, use it as marketing tool for their consulting/commercial offers, etc.

Miguel de Icaza for one might have Macbook, but I am sure it at least dual boots to Windows. It would not be possible otherwise, since he needs to run .NET non-stop and copy/paste code from Reflector to his Mono implementation, or whatever they are doing to clone .NET to Mono.

And I am pretty sure Apple Software has nothing to do with how they really win their bucks. So no need to look for logic here - they just like the shiny hardware cause they are geeks. That's it. No rocket science or philosophy here.

1 point by dedward 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Not sure I buy the reasoning - but I will say I have seen a trend where previous unix guys (usually linux, some bsd - as per the demographics) end up going for the apple laptops just because of OSX.
1 point by gcb 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Because they don't.

Saying that Miguel de Icaza represents open source developers is just wrong. I respect the guy very much. But he's a completely different beast than the average open source programmer joe

Now most of the ones in academia do use mac (and used SGI workstations before that) just because they have a fat allowance for gear and they have no idea how to waste. so mac is the obvious way to go if what you need is to waste money.

Mechanical Turk: Now with 40.92% Spam. behind-the-enemy-lines.blogspot.com
137 points by Panos 14 hours ago   23 comments top 4
22 points by gcv 13 hours ago 1 reply      

My experience with MTurk suggests that Amazon has mostly abandoned the product. Amazon still uses it for product classification, but does not participate in the community forums (even on the official AWS MTurk developer forum). No new features have appeared in several years, and enhancement requests have fallen on deaf ears.

That said, MTurk still works. The API still does what its documentation claims. People still perform tasks. Payment still works.

20 points by andrewljohnson 13 hours ago 4 replies      
At first, I thought MTurk was good for getting translation work done, and checked by others. It worked OK, but I had to be clever to avoid the cheaters who would ignore instructions not to use machine translation. After refining my tactics, talking to a lot of workers, and fending off the crooks, I got a few decent translations (for my iPhone app).

Then I tried a new tactic. I hired some pros from various translation websites. All were more expensive (money-wise) than MT, but the results were better, and I spent a lot less time. Some were even close to MTurk prices.

So, I don't use MTurk anymore. Maybe if I had a more mindless task I'd try again, but it is a lot of hassle.

I know this isn't exactly what the author means by "spam" - but even the workers on that site are often dishonest. It's a total black market.

1 point by ig1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think mturk is vastly underdeveloped, there are all sorts of things people could be using it for, but don't simply because they don't know about it or it's too complex.

Before I started my current startup, creating an mturk competitor was something I considered, but the fundamental problem is handling the payments. Most payment processors wouldn't touch you due to the risk of fraud without a huge (>1mm) deposit.

Paying individuals small amount of money is hard, you pretty much have to use paypal, and if you're lucky enough not to have your account suspended they'll completely rip you on the charges. And you'll still carry all the risk of people trying to use your system for money laundering.

7 points by staunch 13 hours ago 3 replies      
It's unbelievable that no one has swooped in to crush MTurk given how little Amazon has done to develop it since 2005(!)
Android 2.2 FroYo Offers Huge Performance Gains: Dell Streak Tests hothardware.com
11 points by MojoKid 3 hours ago   5 comments top
2 points by ergo98 3 hours ago 2 replies      
2.2 offers big theoretical performance improvements over <2.2. We all know that.

The graphs on this, however, are ludicrous. It's putting the 2.2 device up against 2.1 devices, adding questionable statements like "Even Samsung's 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird chip can't compete versus the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip in the Streak, when the Epic 4G is running Android 2.1 -- but over a 3X improvement from Android 1.6 to 2.2 on the Streak?"

Yes, JIT offers big performance improvements. It doesn't somehow make the Snapdragon a better chip, however.

Google Books: Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books sciencemag.org
17 points by georgecmu 4 hours ago   4 comments top 4
1 point by moultano 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here's what I've done with it: http://moultano.blogspot.com/2010/12/history-through-google-...

This tool is absolutely amazing.

1 point by corin_ 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I rather enjoyed getting this link in my twitter stream, a comparison of 'morals' vs. 'breasts': http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=morals%2Cbreasts&...
3 points by roadnottaken 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the original HN submission, which links to the full-text of the article:


1 point by spravin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Here's the tool:

I just found that misunderestimate was not invented by Bush but the word predates him by a century

World of Goo for iPad Now Available 2dboy.com
39 points by daniel_levine 8 hours ago   8 comments top 3
1 point by thehodge 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this just a direct port or are there special levels for the iPad, I already have a version or two of this and if it has extra content I might be worth a buy but if not... I think I'll leave it
3 points by benjoffe 8 hours ago 3 replies      
It would be neat if they allowed multi-touch to let you place several blobs at the same time, it would make it easier than the desktop version and would warrant specialised levels to take advantage of it.
1 point by roadnottaken 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the first App that makes me want an iPad. The Wii version was amazing.
The Largest Prison Strike In American History Goes Ignored By US Media deathandtaxesmag.com
201 points by gnubardt 16 hours ago   83 comments top 16
16 points by Goladus 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The article is wrong.

This was covered in the NY Times. The articles were published on the same day.


Edit-- Actually, this was covered in the NYT 4 days ago, and the article was submitted to Hacker News and ignored:


Plus, the issue of it being "ignored by US media" is not covered by the article in anything resembling an intellectual way, and merely serves as a sensational hook to get people reading a story already covered by other sources.



46 points by Dove 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Their demands seem entirely reasonable to me. I'm ashamed to belong to a society in which such demands must be made, more so that they would be ignored.
30 points by sage_joch 14 hours ago 8 replies      
"... prisoners in Georgia are forced to work without pay for their labor--seemingly a violation of the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude."

I hadn't thought about that before, but that's a very interesting point. The fact that such a high percentage of the prison population is black makes it hit home a little harder.

10 points by aheilbut 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Based on the accuracy of the headline, I'm not sure how much trust I have in the source. Doesn't seem as if this news is being ignored by the MSM:

Prisoners Strike in Georgia

Some Georgia Inmates Return to Work

19 points by j_baker 14 hours ago 3 replies      
"We have the Crips and the Bloods, we have the Muslims, we have the head Mexicans, and we have the Aryans all with a peaceful understanding, all on common ground."

Whatever's happening, they must have done something terrible to cause that.

25 points by smokeyj 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I think it's important to note that breaking the law isn't necessarily unethical, therefore we should carefully consider our treatment towards "criminals". The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with Georgia leading the US. It isn't pretty.
13 points by sliverstorm 14 hours ago 0 replies      
At the very least, it seems like it'd be a good idea to respond to this positively if only to encourage non-violent, instead of violent, prison protests in the future.
8 points by tptacek 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Somebody connect this to Hacker News for me. If this is Hacker News, what human rights story isn't?
4 points by J3L2404 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"Today marks the end of a seven-day strike where tens of thousands of inmates in Georgia refused to work or leave their cells until their demands had been met. The odd thing is, that until today, no one had ever heard about this strike."


I posted this NYT article 4 days ago. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1996994

2 points by J3L2404 5 hours ago 0 replies      
In the 1830s de Tocqueville reported on a reformatory in Massachusetts where the prisoners had a voting system in order to make decisions about mealtimes and exercise etc. The interesting thing was the way in which the voting worked. All prisoners had a vote regardless of disciplinary actions but if you stayed out of trouble you had two votes and this system worked very well according to Alexis. Tocqueville in America was quite a good read, although long, and has many insights into early America.
5 points by gnubardt 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There's also a good interview about the strikes on Democracy Now with prisoner advocate Elaine Brown.

“Repression Breeds Resistance”


4 points by anonymoushn 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Easy fix to crowding due to budget cuts: Release all prisoners who are held only on drug charges.
1 point by aberkowitz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see how the strike dissipates, or fails to dissipate, based on the effectiveness of prisoner's communication networks.
0 points by iwwr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Non-violent, therefore not newsworthy.
-4 points by lhnn 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I believe prisoners do have minimal rights, and to the extent feasible, should get a decent meal and perhaps reading material. Weights and playgrounds? Not so much. They should be busting rocks or chopping wood, or something else that is not fun.

Make prison too cozy and beneficial, and you give an incentive for crime.

Also, an alternative cost-cutter to triple bunking prisoners is to incarcerate fewer people, by decriminalizing victim-less acts (cough cough).

-4 points by nodata 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Poor conditions and substandard medical care are also on the inmates' list of demands.

Somehow I doubt that..

What should a self-taught programmer with no degree learn/read? stackoverflow.com
79 points by sayemm 13 hours ago   33 comments top 12
40 points by plinkplonk 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response.

I don't know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter."

A good (non generic) answer to "What should I learn?" (asked by a self educated programmer here) depends on the answer to the question "What (kind of programmer) do you want to be?"

Step 1, answer the Cheshire cat! )

10 points by 16s 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I would suggest learning algorithms and data structures. I know that is suggested a lot, but I did not realize how little I knew until I studied these things. And I think that is part of what makes good programmers stand out as these things apply to all languages.

I then looked at my primary programming language (C++) differently. I wasn't just always using vectors any longer. I knew when to use them and when to use a queue or stack or hash.

In short, studying algorithms and data structures and then applying what I studied in C++ made me a better programmer.

6 points by TomOfTTB 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm surprised Donald Knuth's Art of Computer Programming only got 1 upvote. I've never considered the series a good fit for beginning programmers but for someone with 7 years under their belt who is looking for depth of knowledge I really can't think of a better choice of reading material (Plus there's a nifty box set coming out next year:http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Programming-Volumes-1-4A-Boxe...)
7 points by ajb 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Read recent phd theses. They always have a few chapters at the front giving an overview of the state of the art of their subject area, to prove that the candidate knows it. As for subject area, just sample widely - it's impossible to know what will be useful in advance, and in any case it's all exercise for the brain.
9 points by hsmyers 12 hours ago 0 replies      
First thing to do is realize that for many (most?) older programmers, this is the norm. Being self-taught in the days before Programming as a major or Comp-Sci for that matter isn't a new thing for the profession. That said, best thing to do is to continue the methods/procedures that got you to where you are. Learn more, read more. There are always other languages to learn and certainly more books to read. There are many lists of 'Best Computer Books for Language Foo' out there as well as 'Best Computer Books in General'--- find them and start at the top, bottom, middle, where ever you want. I tend to divide reading into what I think of as the classics and the practical; the classics are programming texts that apply to all languages, the practical are those that apply to a particular language. When it comes to reading in general, remember Sturgeon's Law--- '90% of everything is crap' this is particularly true for the 'practical' category, so spend time reading in the bookstore before plunking down cash...
4 points by dotBen 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm in the same boat (10 years of experience, a good 6 doing serious programming work) with no degree.

However, because I know I will always do web programming I have definitely not focused on issues like compiler design, low level memory management [1], etc because most of the languages I use are either interpreted or compiled to bytecode and thus those areas are irrelevant

I would therefore argue it very much depends on what kind of work you wish to do - sure read some more in depth stuff but if you are doing web programming spending some of that time on product development knowledge, server administration, etc might be more beneficial.

[1] clearly some memory management is important in languages like Java and Objective C but using the built-in alloc/dealloc functionality is not really "low level understanding"

2 points by equivalence 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing that struck me about some of the recommended reading on the list was that I suspect some of the books in the highly voted answers are probably not recommended texts on a good CS course (as is the author of the posts wish). I mean it's been a while since I took an undergraduate course but there were very few books recommended that looked at the more practical side of computer programming - apart from maybe in the first year of your course, and I'm assuming the author was looking for more in depth reading. Senior years on many CS courses tend to focus on theory behind topics which is something that I think is probably a lot harder to get motivated to read than say Code Complete. I mean you really have to want/need to learn Edmonds' graph matching algorithm as things like that are not comfortable reading. It's the reason why I think doing a CS course has some benefits as it's not often you are forced to approach the subject in that manner. That said, the accepted answer has probably provided a decent list of books with a more academic slant.
2 points by alexwestholm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing I found useful as a self-taught programmer was getting outside of the dominant programming paradigms. Though I'd like to disassociate myself with the over-the-top PG fanboyism that sometimes goes on here, I must admit that his lisp books were a great help in breaking out of the imperative and OO worlds, and were a major influence on me at an early stage.

Even better, PG has now made On Lisp available for free: http://www.paulgraham.com/onlisp.html.

0 points by samd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How to Win Friends and Influence People, because you're going to have to sell yourself better than the people with degrees.
2 points by deutronium 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You might be interested in the lectures from MIT on Comp. Sci


2 points by JakeSc 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I had been programming for years before I got to college. I'm "self-taught", but until I got to college, I hadn't learned any of the academic aspects of programming. Learning how to analyze code, in addition to how to write it, was one way in which formal education really helped. Read about complexity analysis, for example.
-1 point by to 8 hours ago 0 replies      
the manual.
Support is marketing investment"An interview with Dean Levitt from Mad Mimi supportbee.com
15 points by nithyad 5 hours ago   discuss
Netflix: Lessons We've Learned Using AWS netflix.com
220 points by jeffmiller 23 hours ago   59 comments top 12
18 points by jemfinch 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Their "Chaos Monkey" approach reminds me of an excellent paper on "Crash Only Software": http://goo.gl/dqDII

The best way to test the uncommon case is to make it more common.

18 points by ergo98 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Reading both this entry and the one that explained why they went with AWS, I'm left confused about why they ever went to AWS in the first place.
13 points by aristus 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty sure "session-based memory management" should be "memory-based session management", ie they kept user session state in memory.
5 points by briandoll 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This reads like the 'fallacies of distributed computing' paper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacies_of_Distributed_Comput...).

While the likelihood of failure (or added latency, impacting upstream changes, etc.) is greater in large-scale distributed environments for which you do not control vs. your home-grown datacenter, those scenarios are just facts of life in distributed environments.

An awesome side effect of hosting an app in a cloud environment is that you must face up to those fallacies immediately or they'll eat you alive.

12 points by c2 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the AWS architecture caused Netflix to write better code ( read: more durable, more fault tolerant ). Less assumptions baked in the code, and it will be easier to port it to a new data center/cloud architecture if AWS doesn't meet their needs.

As Netflix continues to scale, these changes will make managing that growth much easier.

A lot of you seem to take this post as being negative against AWS architecture. I take it more as a good collection of common things that you need to watch out for in distributed environments, specifically the dangers of assumptions within your current infrastructure which may change dramatically as you scale.

5 points by wccrawford 23 hours ago 4 replies      
I want a Chaos Monkey, too!

Actually, that was my first reaction, but after thinking for a moment, that isn't really a reliable way to test. If you make changes to something, you don't know for sure if the chaos monkey hit while you were testing a certain thing or not. Proper unit tests would seem to be a lot more useful.

5 points by Jd 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Basically the gist is: You need to be prepared for anything to stop working at any time.

The tone of this post indicates to me that the criticism and problems experienced by Netflix with AWS are understated, which I can understand given their position as a flagship AWS customer, etc.

2 points by wglb 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting: The Chaos Monkey's job is to randomly kill instances

Another way to say "If it ain't tested, it's broken".

1 point by sabat 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'll bet other companies (e.g. Heroku, Dropbox) that use AWS/EC2 would have similar things to say.

I did have this one question, being a guy with an IT background: they expected stability? Really? I always expect host/app/system failure, and am pleasantly surprised when it doesn't happen.

2 points by dochtman 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Lesson they have not yet learned: including a HTML title tag in their Blogger templates.
1 point by byteclub 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If you do decide to adopt your very own pet Chaos Monkey in your next project, make sure you ARE able to gracefully degrade your service in case of failures. Otherwise your customers will see the monkey in action, manifested by "we'll be back shortly" messages. It's easier said than done, since a lot of the time all of us forget to write (or feel lazy, or have no idea how to properly handle) the "else" statements in case of errors/unavailable services/unreachable databases.

Otherwise, good idea. It forces you to think about the perils of distributed environment from the very beginning, as opposed to leaving it to be an afterthought.

1 point by kondro 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Hardware is always going to fail eventually. Moving to AWS caused NetFlix to write better code to deal with these failures.

Failures were always going to happen, even in their own datacentre. What they have now is a more fault-tolerant system which should have less downtime overall.

LHC: No black holes, string theory ramifications arstechnica.com
43 points by Nick_C 10 hours ago   12 comments top
3 points by Maro 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I actually submitted a version of this yesterday, but then deleted it, because it didn't seem relevant to Hacker News. Problem is, there are so many models in String Theory, I don't think this negative result will be a significant detriment for stringy researchers. From what I know, string theory is more of a framework than a concrete theory.

From TFA:

Contrary to some reports, this result doesn't mean the death of string theory, only the particular flavor that predicted black holes at these energies...

       cached 17 December 2010 17:59:01 GMT