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Mozilla's Rejection of NativeClient Hurts the Open Web chadaustin.me
17 points by chadaustin 2 hours ago   19 comments top 6
9 points by mahmud 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
Completely disagree.

I don't even think Google "adopted" NaCl, it's still more a private project of a few, compared to Chrome(OS) and Android.

NaCl is one of those technologies that I secretly hope fails. Pull the plug on x86 already, FFS.

Saying that the Open Web needs an app-store to compete with the walled gardens is also a fallacy. Quite the contrary, the web competes with the walled gardens because it doesn't have such master-record. You will see this pattern repeat itself; the chaotic nature of the web beats any attempts to impose "order" upon it. Cf. the dismal failure of dmoz and other curated directories, compared to search engines.

If you want to use performance critical software that pushes the limits of your machine, download it, use Java or whatever.

I doubt the app-store model will survive long term; individual merchants and vendors tend to move faster than the infrastructure that houses their shops and supports their business (almost literally.) The moment a few merchants diverge from the proscribed machinery of the market, and exploit inefficiencies, as they will, is the moment you will see this model come apart at the seams. If the entire model isn't killed along with its platform by changes in technology.

The one good example I can give you is the buildings built throughout South East Asia to house street-vendors. Specially in Cambodia and Vietnam, the governments built multi-story shopping centers, just piles of concrete, and invited vendors to push their carts in and congregate. The markets might have looked like proper malls at some point, but with time, they're just shaded bazaars like any other street market, except this one isn't dried by the sun and there is no drainage. Over time, the building has all the appeal of a street market, except you have to climb up some slippery stairs tightly packed with pickpockets. However, most higher-end merchants gather around the vertical-bazaars and open proper walk-in shops with more products, better presentation, and all the amenities of a private property (fan, seats, water cooler, bathroom, TV/radio, etc.)

11 points by DjDarkman 2 hours ago 3 replies      
It's ironic to me, how self contradictory the title is. NativeClient is not a way to make the web more open, in fact it's a way to make the web more binary/obscured.

Low level memory access, pointers and the likes are the 'horrors' Java/C#/<name your high level language> programmers are running away from. The author fails to point out why would anyone want low level memory access.

> Preemptive response: But NativeClient is x86! Basing the open web on a peculiar, old instruction set is a terrible idea! That's why I point to LLVM and Portable NativeClient (PNaCl). It's not a burden to target PNaCl by default, and cross-compile to x86 and ARM if they matter to you.

This seems to imply that the browser should have a compiler that complies the low level bytecode into real machine code. The author should realize that this would be almost identical to running an SWF or a Java plugin, which makes the whole idea pointless.

1 point by jorangreef 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
The web is starting to come into its own thanks to relentless efforts to improve a limited set of tools: HTML, CSS, Javascript. What the web needs is not more tools, but for the tools it already has to continue to be improved.
3 points by mycroftiv 2 hours ago 1 reply      
If NativeClient is available as a plugin, can't Firefox users benefit from the technology regardless of whatever Mozilla thinks? I like the idea of lightweight x86 sandboxes like Native Client and vx32, but I understand why Mozilla isn't very interested in them. As long as nothing is done to actively hinder their development and use by those who are interested, is there really a problem here?
3 points by EGreg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I disagree with the article's sentiment. I'm glad the web is focusing on Javascript. Here's why: the web is a nice, text-based environment that is safe to execute on your computer. Each web resource may contain active scripts but they are pretty innocuous.

Native applications are binary and can do all sorts of nasty things. Sure, this sandbox is supposed to be safe, but what if it's not? When an application is delivered over the web, one should really make sure that it wasn't somehow changed or sabotaged. Right now this is impossible. At the very least, this proposal would have to be implemented so we can trust what is being downloaded: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2024164

Here is what I suggest: native libraries should expose their objects to javascript, which should do the majority of the work. Kind of like PhoneGap does on the phones. These native libraries (like OpenGL, say), should be served from cdns over httpc:// and the user agent can verify that they are safe after downloading them.

1 point by JoachimSchipper 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Considering NaCl in the context of papers like http://eprint.iacr.org/2010/594 timing the CPU cache to break AES) is... interesting. You'd hope that Google would have considered such issues, but a quick search doesn't yield anything.
Best Website Designs of 2010 line25.com
41 points by d4 7 hours ago   23 comments top 9
14 points by dpcan 5 hours ago 1 reply      
What I wouldn't give to watch YouTube videos of some of these designers putting these sites together. Everything from how they get the background textures, to adding gradients, shadows, altering colors, everything. It would be amazing.

I'd probably pay to watch a 10 part series from an accomplished designer who goes start to finish designing some of these nice sites.

2 points by redthrowaway 2 hours ago 3 replies      
As a disinterested observer, I can say two things:

1) They're pretty

2) They piss me off

These sites scream style over substance. I can't think of an Alexa top 500 site that uses this kind of design. The only one I frequent would be Grooveshark, and their design is highly functional.

Between facebook, gmail, reddit, HN, and the various blogs and news sites I visit, 98% of my time online is spent on sites that look nothing like these. Even Hipmunk, while very web 2.0, is completely function-focused. These sites seem like they're pretty for the sake of being pretty, and I couldn't for the life of me say what a single one of them actually does.

5 points by ryanwatkins 3 hours ago 1 reply      
These are 'pretty designs', some even just a one page, above the fold bit.

More impressive would be comprehensive site design and UX for a site with a significant amount content, and not just a pretty home page.

3 points by iamjustlooking 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Have there been any good looking regular websites released this year? A lot of best of lists tend to just be a list of portfolio and design studio websites.
2 points by danw 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer the Drawar best of roundups because at least they provide a few paragraphs of explanation for each screenshot explaining what makes it exceptional: http://www.drawar.com/posts/2010-best-designs-2nd-quarter
2 points by wahnfrieden 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there lists like this of great design examples, except focused on web apps? These lists always let me down since they seem to bias static information sites over web applications, which is what I'm interested in. These are great designs, but mostly unhelpful to me because of this.
1 point by navs 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
jQuery appears to be the staple of modern web development/design. With javascript turned off, quite a few of these sites still remain pretty and usable.
2 points by Complete 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Not a single one makes use of the full width of the screen. All static layout. My websites all make use of the full screen width. I still think dynamic layout is better for usability. What do you think?
1 point by beoba 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there a way to just filter all posts containing '2010' in the title?
Open Source Cola wikipedia.org
25 points by zachallaun 5 hours ago   8 comments top 5
4 points by csmeder 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I followed the link to "Coca-Cola formula" http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Coca-Cola_formula&... and read:


80 oil orange

40 oil cinnamon

120 oil lemon

20 oil coriander

40 oil nutmeg

40 oil neroli

1 US qt (946 ml; 33 imp fl oz) alcohol

50 oz of sperm


I'm guessing that last line is wrong... However, for half a second I was like really? I know they use cow sperm in hair products but in coke? Its got be a wikipedia joke right?

3 points by andreyf 1 hour ago 1 reply      
How about this one, instead? http://piumarta.com/software/cola/
1 point by wmf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, the good old days when you could get VC money for a vaporous P2P startup, then blow it on marketing that was completely unrelated to the company's business. It was just about ten years ago. I still have an empty can in my cubicle.
2 points by ygd 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how it tastes...
-1 point by jeffreymcmanus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
10 year old story
Charlie Stross: Reasons to be Cheerful antipope.org
78 points by bkudria 10 hours ago   15 comments top 6
15 points by tajddin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
You know what? He's right. With the world being a bigger, more communicative place, it can sometimes seem like things are getting worse, but the truth is, it's getting better.

I look forward to the years beyond.

4 points by jfb 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank Christ for the near extinction of dracunculiasis, which while far from the worst plague afflicting the world is certainly one of (if not the) creepiest. Let's get onto river blindness and pulmonary leishmaniasis next K THX.
5 points by iwwr 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The ghost of Malthus will continue to haunt us, despite the constant invalidations of his premises. The world can sustain more people, with longer lifespans and higher standards of living.
3 points by blinkingled 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Nothing like measured, well reasoned cheer to start the new year with!

But someone had to rain - a commenter points out a similar article Dave Griffith posted on usenet in 1997 which he reread and found the difference between '97 and now is actually rather depressing). I couldn't find the 97 usenet post he is referring to but that's a good thing anyway :)

2 points by roadnottaken 7 hours ago 3 replies      
"My mobile phone today is significantly faster and more powerful " and has a higher resolution display and more storage! " than my PC in 2000. "

That can't be right...

3 points by jacquesm 10 hours ago 1 reply      
New Years Resolution: Learn (e)Lisp? github.com
4 points by gordonguthrie 1 hour ago   discuss
Minimalism: It Works kirindave.tumblr.com
109 points by tnm 16 hours ago   48 comments top 10
12 points by crux 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't understand what people like KirinDave are referring to when they discuss Minimalism. Anything beyond drill-down UX exercises like eliminating information clutter in visual design seems to immediately break down. Assuming we're talking about something more general than eliminating the widgets from our blog sidebars... What ARE we talking about? I guess I could imagine it going one step higher, into a campaign to stop ourselves from reading blogs and Hacker News when we should be working, ie., the logical evolution of our collective obsession with GTD and similar systems from a couple years ago: a slightly doctrinaire insistence on techniques for productivity. Which is great, especially if you're a 'knowledge worker' (I'm not).

But I still lose the plot when we start actually using the word big-M 'Minimalism', or when we start invoking Zen. Zen is many things: spiritual practice, proto-psycho-exploration, a system of psychology, a system of ethics and epistemology"but I'm not sure it has anything to do with anything that the leading Neo-Minimalists have deemed worthy of inclusion into their morning workflows. Keeping a blog, for one, is not a very Zen thing to do. In fact, the practice of Zen is in part anathema to nearly every technique of thought that a knowledge worker employs in his job. It's a refutation of the construction of narrative, of pattern-recognition, of comprehension, and finally of cognition. It's an attempt to obliterate our own understandings of the world, to destroy our conceptions of objects, uses, signs, signifiers, others and ourselves, to be replaced with pure being and hopefully compassion. And it's DEFINITELY at odds with the all-inclusive rapid-fire content-association that is at the heart of tumblr culture. But I don't see how the practice of Zen has anything to do with the way one orders one's workspace, if one never considers what one is doing with one's mind, or one's content. I don't see what possible use, that is, it would be to invoke Zen and minimalism when describing how we choose our text editors if we allow what we're writing to remain entirely unconsidered.

Which is not to say that I think these Neo-Minimalists are a sort of religious hypocrite for not practicing Zen in all walks of life. The people whose blogs I see reflecting the practices of Neo-Minimalism seem like interesting, intelligent people, writing about the same sort of thing we have been writing for years: technology, culture, memes, funny videos, food, beer. I just don't understand what they could possibly think all the fuss is about in any realm beyond what window manager they've decided to use.

I've heard a couple people talk about getting rid of all the things they don't use, which seems nice, too. But it's a housekeeping exercise. You can't possibly expect me to believe that only having five shirts in your closet will make you a different person, or even a different worker. What is the _there_ here? I haven't heard anyone discuss eating the same thing every day. Or listening to the same music. Or paring down their vocabulary. What does one do? What is there besides being able to create uninterrupted expanses of negative space (which I concede are very nice) and then appreciating their aesthetics?

16 points by ksowocki 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I was wondering when an article like this was going to show up on the HN front page.

The follow-up article gets it right. Minimalism is at its core a "process of prioritizing your life and working towards concrete goals without giving in to distraction", NOT just blindly getting rid of stuff. It is immersion, but only in one thing at a time. It is about reducing your tendancy to over-extend yourself, and focusing on the things you really need, both intellectually and physically.

Can we all just admit that the original article, http://vivekhaldar.tumblr.com/post/2525332092/minimalism-is-... , was just link-bait intended to elicit a response and/or rise from the HN community? The original article contains so little method to it's analysis and represents such a fundamental misunderstanding of minimalism that it bears little water intellectually. Not to be rude, but I'm surprised it made it to the front page.

26 points by treblig 15 hours ago 5 replies      
This Museo thing has to stop. It's cute, it looks real friendly in titles, but dear god, do not typeset an article in it.
7 points by trotsky 14 hours ago 1 reply      
No big surprise that a disciple of neo-modernism would present their arguments with a title straight out of an apple marketing campaign.
1 point by yason 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think there are basically two reasons why one maintains a minimal set of possessions.

One is dumping out most of your stuff because while part of you would still like to have them you think you'll be happier that way. (And because others are doing it also so there must be something on to that.)

The other one is having learned to not need that stuff any longer.

3 points by beoba 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Read a few of these to know everything you need to know about minimalism: http://www.google.com/search?q=minimalist+site%3Abikesnobnyc...
2 points by closure 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I agree that the article by Vivek is totally misinformed.

I've taken a couple stabs at minimalism (of possessions) in my life, staring when I moved from Austin to Seattle in 1995. I'm doing so again after relocating from Seattle to San Francisco a year ago.

There is absolutely no doubt that I've been happiest during those periods when I've had the fewest 'things'. I look back at the time when I downsized from a 1000 sq. ft. apartment in Seattle to 500 sq. ft. studio as the most productive and enjoyable time of my life.

Since moving here to SF, my wife and I have almost halved the space we occupy from a 1600 sq ft townhouse in Seattle to a very comfortable 850 sq ft. in San Francisco. I continue to get rid of the stuff and replace it with either 'virtual stuff' (e.g. electronic books) or just happily do without (e.g. espresso machine).

The main reason I 'upsized' from the small apartment to the large townhouse was that I felt like at my age at the time (30) I was 'supposed to'. I was the only one of my friends/work-mates that hadn't gotten married and/or had children, and bought a house. Oh, what a mistake! Now, ten years later, I'm so glad I'm back to shrinking the possessions in favor of a leaner, simpler life. For the first time since I was 16 I do not own a car. I have no debt (and with the exception of the townhouse and a couple years of credit card debt, I haven't since 1998).

I'm totally sold on continuing down this path, as she is as well. We don't plan on having children. We are both 40+ and enjoy the idea of moving around some more, perhaps even relocating overseas in time.

1 point by astrofinch 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Each author is using their own definition of minimalism. There's no point in arguing over whose definition is better.
1 point by bayareaguy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon
-1 point by anigbrowl 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Nimrod programming language force7.de
22 points by prog 6 hours ago   5 comments top 5
5 points by srean 2 hours ago 0 replies      
From the docs:

  Case is insignificant in Nimrod and even underscores are ignored: 
This_is_an_identifier and ThisIsAnIdentifier are the same identifier.
This feature enables you to use other people's code without bothering
about a naming convention that conflicts with yours. It also frees you
from remembering the exact spelling of an identifier (was it parseURL
or parseUrl or parse_URL?).

This has been discussed on Reddit before. I do not like this convention. Its a nuisance if you want to search the code for a particular identifier when it has been spelled in multiple ways. I find it jarring to read code where the same variable has been spelled differently. My brain flags it every time and I have to remind myself that they are the same thing. I can possibly retrain my brain, but I do not want to do that because in almost all other contexts case and underscore does matter.

To me it appears to solve a problem that isnt much of a problem. It is fairly easy to detect misspelled identifiers during code compilation.

3 points by Jach 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There are a lot of awesome things about this (it's like a semi-perverse grab bag of my favorite languages!), but some aesthetic decisions that rub me the wrong way unfortunately... Still, I'm going to keep an eye on it, and push it just below Perl 6 on my List of Languages to Really Learn.

One of the nicest bits that kept my interest:

    # There are bindings to GTK2, the Windows API,
the POSIX API, OpenGL, SDL, Cario, Python, Lua,
TCL, X11, libzip, PRCE, ODBC, libcurl, mySQL
and SQLite.

1 point by wbhart 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm stunned. I've spent a year looking for a language with
that set of features, and I mean, I really tried!

There's a few odd choices. The use of some fairly bizarre operators for unsigned integer arithmetic is slightly weird (a bit like *. for floating point operators in O'Caml). And it seems to be bootstrapped from Pascal, which is a curious choice given that it compiles to C. There's also no built-in bignum type, (though this has the positive
benefit that the author is still free to license it BSD -
use GMP for bignums removes that possibility).

1 point by Groxx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Will definitely have to investigate this with a less-sleepy brain. I very much like what I'm sure I parsed correctly, though :) Ease of metaprogramming + native compilation = happy hacking, in my book.
1 point by srean 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Some older comments are here http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=606892
C Macro Tips and Tricks mikeash.com
36 points by yan 9 hours ago   8 comments top 4
1 point by conductor 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hmm.. Bad coding in the site engine:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "index.cgi", line 509, in <module>
File "index.cgi", line 499, in main
if 'iPhone' in os.environ['HTTP_USER_AGENT']:
File "/home/mikeash/lib/python2.6/UserDict.py", line 22, in __getitem__
raise KeyError(key)

3 points by thristian 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I particularly liked the troll he linked to at the end: "The C Language Is Purely Functional" http://conal.net/blog/posts/the-c-language-is-purely-functio...
1 point by Xuzz 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Great article, although I'd prefer if there was a bit less of a focus on Objective-C and Cocoa, since all the rest applies pretty much the same to plain C.

(However, that technique with blocks looks like a good solution to the "many statement expression in macro expression" problem, would that work with C++0x lambdas?)

2 points by jimbokun 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What a wonderful advertisement for Lisp macros.
Breaking a WoW addiction pixelpoppers.com
251 points by dreeves 1 day ago   173 comments top 43
21 points by cletus 21 hours ago 4 replies      
I'll add my perspective to this as someone who was addicted to a similar game.

I started playing Everquest (EQ) soon after launch in 1999 and leveled pretty quickly hitting the max level cap at the time (50) not long before the first expansion came out. At the time played wi an American guild (I'm Australian) and the time difference stopped me doing things with them most of them time since I had a 9-5 job. My server split and I went with them. The new server was fairly desolate and I ended up getting booted from lack of participation. That, combined with how my class had been screwed by the expansion, caused me to quit.

But I ended up selling my stuff on eBay for ~$3500 so it wasn't all bad. But the story doesn't end there.

Atually anoeth factor was that I was moving to the UK for work. That first year the was one of the most productive of my life. I had no Internet access at home (2001), no TV and a fairly active social life. Due to living in a cheap area of London, renting a flat and subletting the rooms and the low rate of effective taxation of contractors I SAVED in excess of $100,000 that year.

After some drama with flatmates (subletting was financially beneficial but a hassle) I moved closer to work. Suddenlyinsread of an our commute each way I had a 5 minute walk. I got cable Internet and bought a PC and a TV.

I started playing EQ again. New server, new class, starting from scratch. I leveled quickly and went through a series of guilds. Raiding can be a huge timesink. This period was the most fun I had in an MMORPG ever.

Later that year I got laid off as in the aftermath of the telco bubble bursting the previous year (it was 2002 by now).

I'd always wanted to learn a foreign language soi moved to Germany and enrolled in intensive learning classes.

But I still kept up with EQ. I transferred servers to a high end guild. The guild was American so I ended up sleeping from 7pm to 1am, playing EQ from 1am to 8am, going to classes til 1pm and then playing til 6pm. I never really adjusted to sleeping at these times.

But I did go to classes. After they ended I stayed and was playing up to 16 hours a day. In the end I got kicked from the guild for doing something I shouldn't have, which was probably the best thing that could've happened.

Still I view that time now as a wasted opportunity. I did learn the language but not as well as I could have and I certainly take full advantage socially or even to see and do things there.

But not before I'd gone back to my old company (they were hiring again) and my weird schedule had brought me into conflict with a toxic project manager, ending that job only a month after it had started.

2002-03 was a pretty terrible time in the UK contractor market (39% unemployment amongst those who hadn't left the industry). It took months to find a new job. I'd also lost that "social" outlet of EQ so was pretty cut off. It was actually a fairly dark period for me.

I have played MMOGs since then but never to the same intensity and, frankly, I think the magic was gone. I'd seen it all before. Even now I think all these games are fairly formulaic with the same basic mechanics and psychological devices (compulsion loops, etc).

What I learnt about myself is that I'm fairly singleminded. This can be used advantageously as I'll dwel on a problem at work until I solve it. But if I have an unresolved issue personally it can, in a way, consume me--or at least consume my attention.

I do think I'd be better off without a TV or even without a home Internet connection. But I guess balance is my personal cross to bear.

Are these games dangerous? Possibly but I tend to thinkpretty much everything is dangerous to some people. Alcohol. Gambling. Trading. Even working out. It ultimately comes down to personal responsibility.

EDIT: One last thing I'll add: one problem with this kind of game is the longevity (timesink) nature. You see a similar (but much less severe) problem with tabletop RPGs. Because you invest so much time it increases your threshold for putting up with crap, basically.

In RPGs it might be a 7 hour session where nothing happens. In MMOGs it's spending 1-2 hours LFG (looking for group), a week figuring out a raid encounter, spending an our doing a CR (corpse recovery) and so on.

These days my leisure gaming activities are dominated by tabletop board gaming of the Euro variety (Agricola, Age of Steam, Reef Encounter, Le Havre, Dominion and so on). These tend to last 2-3 hours tops and, as such, have very little "downtime". I find it a much more rewarding experience than huge timesink games of any variety. Plus it's actually social.

On a side note, if there is anyone in NYC with interest I playing such games, contact me via my info. :)

EDIT2: fixed some typos (typing on an iPad is error-prone), :)

40 points by xal 19 hours ago 5 replies      
It seems to be stated as a fact in this discussion that you can't play a game such as WoW and do anything other productive on the side, but it's a lot more nuanced.

Anecdotally, I've been playing WoW almost non stop since it launched and have been raiding once to three times a week. During this time I also got married, had a kid, founded Shopify, overtook the CEO role, grew it to be a multi million dollar business. In this community that seems far from being a failure.

I'm engaging in anecdotal junk science here but my theory is that the people who really loose themselves in games like WoW are people with very poor time management skills. I'm convinced those people have always been around before. However, previously almost all activities came with some inherent caps on the time you can productively spend on those. All sports wear you out and force you to stop after some time. TV repeats pretty quickly and there is no original content during the night. Reading works but that's a socially fully acceptable timesink.

WoW is just extremely good game that fulfills a lot Maslow's needs, especially the top ones. There is a great asymmetry in the lure of this game and the established defenses of some people.

I think one of the key parts of parenting for our generation will be to equipt our children with the time management skills and the willpower to handle and enjoy games like WoW properly.

31 points by ramanujan 21 hours ago 3 replies      
What WoW needs to do is start hooking in-game rewards to real-life rewards.

For example, a deal with 24 Hour Fitness where you need to attend for 30 days in a row to unlock some kind of sword. The biometric system at 24 Hour is now sophisticated enough to permit this kind of tracking [with your permission of course].

I'm completely serious. This is an inversion of the Zynga model in which real life money is exchanged for worthless virtual goods. It's more like worthless virtual goods are dangled as an incentive for real life improvement.

There's a lot further you can go with this concept (hooking it up to location based apps, for example), but if we're talking about a "game layer on the world", start with converting an unhealthy dependency into a healthy one.

48 points by forensic 1 day ago replies      
Caveat: it's very easy to extend the criticism of WoW to life itself.

Working all these years to be a paramedic, going to school, going to work, for what? To drive some people to the hospital? They're all just going to die anyway. Life is meaningless!

What the author is really saying is: "I find more meaning in the real world than in WoW."

But this isn't necessarily true for everyone.

Having said all that, I think WOW is more dangerous than heroin.

6 points by stevefink 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Haven't had a chance to read the article yet - but I already see where this is going. I essentially lost a chunk of my life from 21 to 23yo playing EverQuest with a guild that was rated one of the best to ever play the game. With that came the caveat of constantly being the first at conquering new expansions, leveling as fast as possible so you CAN conquer the new expansions, and end less other power play moves (questing for keys, blah blah).

Long story short - my life was rather pathetic during these times. I found myself so immersed in the MMORPG world that I'd pick raids and my friends in the game over family/friends for any circumstances. Birthday parties, engagement parties, night out with friends at the bars, hacking all night on something that can potentially change the lives of people one day -- all gone. Zero motivation, zero care in the world except to get that new robe for my necromancer.

I remember my friends would drive by the window and start screaming for me to come out with them for once. I would literally turn off the lights in my room so they couldn't tell if I was home or not. Sad.

We had raids that lasted from 6pm on a Friday night and wouldn't end until 12am on Saturday. Anyone remember Veeshan's Peak in Kunark for EQ? Not only was my social life directly impacted by way of never having a significant other, I wasn't picking up any new programming skills, my family was constantly on my case, and my close friends eventually just stopped calling, they gave up. What was more embarrassing is the once in a blue moon when I would show up some where, the comments were unbearable. "Oh look, Steve decided to join us instead of his MMORPG friends for a change."

I am not exactly sure where I am going with this - but one day when I woke up and saw five empty 2 liter bottles of coke with ten boxes of pizza collecting, lying next to my desk, I was disgusted with myself and my lifestyle. I was over weight. I probably didn't shower as much as I should have. I was disgusted with myself and my lifestyle. I was burning the most crucial years of my life away on something meaningless. These are the times to be learning and exercising your brain beyond its capabilities as learning only gets more difficult through out the ages. I bet most of you were writing bad ass code when you were 21,22,23 and learned a lot faster then than you do now if you're part of the older HN crew.

Given my competitive nature, I was never able to play an MMORPG casually. I had to be #1. Being #1 requires a lot of dedication (ie, time invested), and if you are not willing to put in the time, don't bother, you'll never be as good as the other guy or have the same inventory or capabilities as them. You'll be average at best. I have the sense that a large population of HN does not settle for average given the intelligence of the community.

Long story short, the only escape I had was to go cold turkey. Going cold turkey doesn't mean saying "Ok, I'm not going to login ever again" - that never works out. You always get sucked back in at some point. I had to go the drastic route. I had to sell all of my assets, which sold for $5,000 USD at the time. There was times when I was going through withdrawals and wanted to purchase my account back, but the original buyer refused. Thank god he did.

Saying that this was one of the smartest things I've ever done would be a huge understatement. I've achieved things I'm personally proud of since quitting playing any MMORPG including the following:

- I have a healthy balance of a social life and work life.

- I am respected among my peers for building new technologies/infrastructure out.

  - I got married to the love of my life and had a baby girl with her, which is now the most important person in my life.

- I have worked at startups where I've learned priceless lessons.

- I bought a house that I would never be able to afford if I stuck to MMORPGs as my skills were no where near as blossomed as they are now - I'm assuming I'd be working an entry level job somewhere filling in Excel spreadsheets if I kept it up. Even then, I'd be lucky.

Good riddance. Do I still think about the days I played and get a small itch? Sure. I even keep in touch via Facebook with a lot of the people who suffered a similar addiction to me. Will I ever touch another MMORPG? I can guarantee you on my daughter's name that I will never get involved in one again. Fortunately my addiction now includes a healthy balance of time with my family, building awesome technologies, eating right and working out.

8 points by slyn 1 day ago 3 replies      
eeeeehhh. As a very avid WoW player of some years now, I would say WoW is something that can easily be something that holds your "life progress" or whatever you want to call it back, but it can also just as easily be played at a successful level (define that however you like) without that effect as well.

In the guild I'm in now and a guild I was in in the past I see both: players who are quite literally on welfare or unemployment and just play WoW and other games all day (colloquially "living the dream", mostly tongue-in-cheek), while others have what I would consider successful lives. One of our best priests works as some sort of company programmer or server maintainer/admin. Our best healing druid entered his first bodybuilding contest sometime in September of this year and plans on doing another next August iirc. Our guild/raid leader has an office 9-5 selling toys to retailers or something like that. Lots are in college, myself included. An old guild officer of mine was a Googler. A decent amount have wives/kids/gfs/main squeezes. etc.

I think the best argument of the post is the social obligations point. There are definitely some people who do "no-life" for the guild and such, but again, I think this is a some do some don't thing (as well as being limited to basically people in guild leadership situations). For every guild leader or officer I know who hasn't left a dead-end guild because of a feeling of obligations to the guild, I probably know twice as many officers who did left anyways, and 3-4x as many raiders who did as well. Anecdotally speaking, I left a guild where I was probably next in line to be guild/raid lead for a much better one, and am now debating doing some sort of ESL teach/travel program next year despite having been an officer in my new guild for roughly 6 months now.

9 points by merijnv 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone who has played and stopped WoW for significant times over the past years. I think the article has some valid points about the addictiveness of WoW, on the other hand I feel that the choice between "real" work and WoW as presented here is a false dichotomy. "Real" work and WoW are not mutually exclusive.

The writer says he started playing he has spend his time working out. I started swimming for 40 minutes each day while playing WoW, a habit I continue now that I stopped.

He also states what if you spend the time you invest in WoW into achieving your goals. But you can't just work 24/7. I spend 8 hours a day doing research and hacking at the university, when I get home I just don't have the focus left in me to code or study. In the past I spend this time playing WoW, right now I spend this time reading fiction or hanging in front of the TV.

Now probably there are people who lose themselves entirely to the game and can't bring up the discipline to also work on their goals, but as everything in life, its really just about balancing yourself.

PS - I actually found myself being more productive during my WoW playing times then during my non-playing times. Reason? If I needed to do something I would not allow myself to log in until it was done. WoW was more addictive then procrastinating so I'd just knuckle down and do it. Now if I need to do something I find myself reading HN instead of just doing it...

11 points by bretpiatt 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is playing a social game where you interact with other people any different than going out to a club or bar? Joining a bowling league? A cycling group? A health club where you go to regular group exercise classes?

The meme that video games are inherently evil needs to go away. Why is it socially acceptable to join many clubs and spend time with those people all the time but not "people on the Internet"? Like the Internet is somewhere only people that can't make "real friends" go..

Addiction to anything is bad but playing WoW or any other online game doesn't mean you're automatically "a loser" in the rest of your life -- and I don't mean just casually playing. There are people in all of the top guilds achieving high ranked world kills on new content that are also successful in other areas of their life.

9 points by awt 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's my perspective as the friend of someone who became addicted to WoW:

I lost a potential programming buddy/co-founder. we used to collaborate on projects, but eventually WoW took up all his spare time. We both graduated with CS degrees, but he is now unemployable. He played WoW instead of working (he worked from home), and has never spent any time outside of work maintaining his skills. I say worked because he no longer works. Hasn't for the past 3 years. Right now he's into starcraft. It's frustrating to me that he and others I built relationships with in college have chosen this path.

5 points by DanielBMarkham 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Game makers (and some website owners) are discovering what some religious and cult leaders have known for thousands of years: you don't have to give somebody a drug to make them an addict. People are perfectly capable of generating their own addictions without external chemical help.

I _think_ what's going to happen is that we come up with a new moral code -- much like the thing where drinking before a certain time was considered bad, or the idea of doctors prescribing pain pills for themselves anathema.

But really, it beats me. We have a generation of people addicted to a sedentary activity in a way that's never happened in human history. It's very difficult to predict how all this will play out.

4 points by amh 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I know a guy who's really, really into football. Watches hours of games every other night or so, has a "fantasy" team that he's constantly fretting over and checking online stats for, etc.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that distinguishes this obsession from a WoW habit is that more people like to watch football, so it's accepted.

People who get seriously addicted to WoW are usually either looking for any escape from reality, or they have the type of personality which tends to get addicted to something, whether it's online games, math puzzles, tracking railroad schedules, or whatever. There's no question that these people might act in unhealthy ways, but WoW is the symptom of their problems, not the cause.

(disclosure: I used to play WoW regularly)

5 points by ThomPete 1 day ago 2 replies      
The problem for me with games like WoW, EQ and so on is that they aren't based enough on skills so to compensate you need to spend a lot of time in the game.

To contrast. In a game like Quake you are only as good as your Rail-gun aim it's pure skills. Or StarCraft for that matter again skills based.

The advantages from these kind of games in combatting addiction is that they are hard to become good at. you can't just get powerleveled up the latter.

The skills stays with you, the same is not true in WoW.

Having seen a couple of friends dropping out of university for a year because of games like EverQuest and WoW my advice is:

Don't play games where it's the avatar that gains power. Only play games that makes you a better player.

4 points by Luyt 1 day ago 2 replies      
I play WoW for five years now. When I started, I used to be an occasional player. But when I hit level 60 (that was the highest level a few years ago) it was impossible to advance further without being in a regular raiding guild. So I started hardcoring: obligatory raids from 19:00 to 23:30, each evening, five evenings per week. Lower attendance was not tolerated. And gathering/grinding materials for potions/powerups afterwards, util 01:00 or so. This took place in a few months around the summer of 2006. The reward was worth it: access to all high-level content, epic items, and being member of the most succesful guild on the server. However, after a few months hardcoring like this, the game felt more and more like a boring job. One day I realized that with this playing style, I would quickly lose all interest in this game, which I didn't want, so I quit the guild (only hardcorers were allowed to stay in) and changed to a casual player, which I still am today.

I didn't want to quit altogether because there was so much more game content to check out (I enjoy the sights & sounds of WoW very much), and so many other classes to try. Up until then I played exclusively Holy Priest.

Blizzard must have somehow realized that players weren't able to get any further without hardcoring. The last years they have created more and more features for the casual player: the Dungeon Finder system, player-vs-player battlegrounds, cross-realm instances, other reward systems; all these have lessened the dependence on a guild.

I now sometimes fire up WoW, not everyday, and play a few hours. I still like it, after all these years (and 3 expansion packs).

6 points by paraschopra 22 hours ago 1 reply      
patio11, we need you here. Where are you?

From what I know, Patrick used to spend a lot of time playing WoW. It will be interesting to know what he actually got out of the game and what made him stop playing the game (assuming he has indeed stopped playing the game)

1 point by ryan-allen 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How interesting.

I had been playing like mad since the new expansion came out. The other night in a dispassionate drunken decision I cancelled my subscription AND permanently deleted my characters. I wasn't a hardcore player but over about 14 months I had 1500 odd hours racked up across maybe 10 characters. Around 65 days play time.

I woke up the next day with a pretty bad hangover, but suddenly had a lot of spare time that I usually didn't feel that I had.

I went for a bike ride, caught up with friends, read bits and pieces of some books, played piano and hung out with my dog. Instead of a 16 hour stint trying to 'gear up for the new cata raids'.

Last night I had dreams that I was playing though... But I can't go back, everything is gone! To go back would mean starting again and I don't feel like sinking two months of my spare time into 'levelling up' again.

6 points by dreeves 1 day ago 0 replies      
Related is Paul Graham's essay on the acceleration of addictiveness: http://www.paulgraham.com/addiction.html

(And to add a shameless plug, my own article on akrasia: http://messymatters.com/akrasia )

3 points by swombat 1 day ago 1 reply      
My own experience: http://inter-sections.net/2009/02/21/destroying-the-world-of...

Yes, if you have the right kind of mind, WoW is a soul-sucking, life-destroying monster. Don't let it into your life.

3 points by trotsky 20 hours ago 0 replies      
5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted


1 point by trotsky 21 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems like the problem is the addiction. The author seems to acknowledge this is the title, but goes on to mostly treat WOW or gaming addiction like it is semi-unique. Granted, blizzard intentionally includes many elements that are more or less designed for addiction (quite common in the industry/genre) and that intention is troubling.

But otherwise it does seem like it shares a lot of traits with other addictions. You can waste your life away watching TV, playing games, shooting heroin, blogging, gambling, refreshing facebook, whatever. To be sure certain of those tasks seem much more likely to lead to addiction (warcraft/heroin) but it's clearly not the only factor.

There is also the question of whether addiction can be a pre-existing condition more or less waiting to go off. I am far from a psychologist, but I know that drug addicts often suffer from depression or other mental problems and it seems likely that instead of the drugs causing them, at least some times it was the condition that lead to the drugs (though I'm sure they become heavily intertwined). Are WOW addicts more likely to be depressed or agoraphobic? It seems quite possible. Would they have all developed this because of the game? I don't know.

I would like to see the industry self police itself a little better. Online games may always be addictive, but are lots of "brain hacks" intentionally being used by the genre to extend lifetime engagement. They're easiest to see in the more transparent copies - Zynga, foursquare, xbox live achievements. Maybe they should need to cut the most manipulative of these out or suffer chinese style regulation. We do, after all, try to shield kids from alcohol and tobacco.

3 points by dfischer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Meh, quit gaming a while back but recently want to try it out again but more just to cool off as a "hobby."

I used to think games were evil and against productivity but no longer. I work a lot. I just want to chill out and relax some times and blow shit up. Maybe do a raid or two, so what?

It's no different then spending 3 hours watching a TV show on Netflix or something similar.

It just depends on how you want to spend your time. If it makes you happy, sure.

I think you need a real job before you can consider gaming a hobby though. Otherwise it can lead to a "full time life gig."

Girlfriend will also help make sure you're not wasting your time.

I'm lucky if I can squeeze out 8 hours a week on games. If that. There's weekends though that I have the whole day to myself and I prefer to play a game for a few hours than go to a club and get drunk.

1 point by adriand 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's all part of the culture of entertainment we've developed, that is surely partly to blame for the economic situation that western societies are finding themselves in. These anecdotes about individuals extrapolate easily to millions of people who are fixated on various ways to waste time.

I played WoW for about six months when it first came out, and since stopping playing it (and most video games in general) I've often wondered what our society could achieve if the immense creative and mental exertion spent on games was spent on tackling real problems instead.

Certainly some people are working hard at meaningful things and using games as downtime, but I suspect they're a minority.

3 points by brianwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Although WoW is a much better game than Farmville, with a substantially different business model, their tactics are fundamentally the same: use your social obligations to keep you clicking. Exploit your friendships, sense of reciprocity, and the joy of being part of a group with shared goals. Turn it all from something commendable to something frivolous that serves mainly to increase the game developer's profits.

This put into words something I've been thinking about for a while, but struggled to articulate. There's something wrong when we start doing this to friendships.

1 point by cheald 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The author touches on something that is very important: if you're playing WoW as a substitute for accomplishing things/meeting people/etc, therein lies the problem. At the end of the day, WoW is cheap entertainment, and needs to have priority as such.

I've met friends through WoW, but that hasn't supplanted my need to have real friends. I've accomplished things in WoW, but that hasn't been a substitute for accomplishments in my actual, real life. Heck, to extend the metaphor, I've even made good money with WoW, but it's not a replacement for my normal income.

When you let the the serotonin rush from a raiding achievement replace your desire to accomplish tangible things, then you're in trouble. If you use it as entertainment, an augment to an existing healthy life, it's an entirely different story.

At the end of the day, your gear and achievements and whatnot don't mean anything; they are just trophies of time committed. That's fine, as long as that's all they are; when they become a substitute for real success or social involvement, you've crossed over from entertainment to dependence, and it's a long, dark road from there.

1 point by charlesdm 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's my perspective --

I've played WoW pretty hardcore for a little bit less than two years before I quit. For me, I can actually say that the experience was beneficial to some extent. This was around 4,5 years ago, before I even knew HN existed.

Before I started playing the game, I heard some of my friends talk about raiding. For people that are not familiar with the concept, once you reach the maximum level in the game you join a guild. Once you're in that guild, you can go into dungeons with people from your guild and slay bosses. These bosses drop items that in turn allow you to upgrade the gear of your character. The cool thing about these bosses is that some of them actually quite challenging to beat. Once every couple of months, the developers of the game add a new dungeon that you can clear with your guild. They were also talking about these high end guilds that apparently consisted of insanely good players that would clear these dungeons before the masses did.

To give myself a challenge I decided to play the game but with a goal in mind, join one of these guild. Once I managed this I would quit. I began as a noob. I levelled up a character and joined a guild. Once I outgrew this guild I joined a better one.

I played for around a year in this specific guild. While playing here I actually met two people that I would call friends. Their background is so different from mine that the chance is so slim that I could have met them in real life. We've met up several times (in real life) and if I needed their help they'd be there for me. In this guild I was also in charge of leading the group of players through the dungeons. You're in charge of communicating how to do certain things and during the fights you give guidelines if something goes wrong. I raided 4-5 days per week from 19:00 - 23:00ish in this guild.

I then managed to join the guild that was N°1 at that time, together with one of my friends from my previous guild. In this guild, it was all about achieving the world first kill of a boss. It's great when you arrive at a boss and you have no idea as what to expect and how to kill it. It can be a pretty hard puzzle sometimes. If you're not there as one of the first you can read up on proven ways to handle the fight, which is less challenging. Also, contrary to popular belief, these guild usually play less then the other guilds. They go all out when a new dungeon is released (1-2 weeks) and then they play one 5 hour day a week for 4-5 hours a day and they wait for the next one. The funny thing is, the majority of the people that were playing here were also working as lawyers, programmers or were entrepreneurs. I spent a couple of months with the guild and once we cleared the last dungeon and had to wait for the next one, I quit. After that, I also quit the game.

Many people told me I was addicted to it, but considering it was rather easy for me to quit I'd say I wasn't. I was working towards a goal.

So what have I learned? I personally see life as a game. You win some, you lose some. Regardless of what you want to learn or achieve, you can. Also, communication is important in whatever you do, especially when you're in a leadership position. Oh, and I had a great time playing it. :)

1 point by araneae 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I quit Reddit cold turkey by deleting my account. I have only occasionally looked at the front page since then, but it hasn't re-hooked me; getting rid of the orange-red compulsion and the karma score was really effective at breaking the addiction.

Now if only account deletion was enabled on HN...

1 point by jimfl 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been playing WoW for 4 years, now off and on. My co-workers at the time, some of whom are still my co-workers at a different job, got me into it.

I have found that a good way to moderate my play is to refuse to make appointments to play with others at a specific time. This effectively keeps you from hardcore raiding, and minimizes real-world conflicts around the game (affectionately referred to as "wife-aggro"). Eventually, I get pretty much capped on gear and stats, get bored, and set the game aside until there is new content. (Yes, I am playing Cataclysm after a hiatus in the Fall).

I am 44, and pretty much in the best shape of my life, because my attitude is that I'd MUCH rather have skis, snowshoes, hiking boots, or Five Fingers attached to my feet, than a game keyboard under my fingertips. I have never been to a gym.

I don't have as many side projects as before WoW, but I try to make sure I'm getting that out of my system at work now: making interesting things out of interesting technologies.

1 point by nevinera 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I dislike this type of article, because it seems predicated on the notion that everyone experiences these games in the same way. I've had no trouble keeping my gameplay moderate; it's not that difficult.

The problem is not the game, it's that people don't know how to directly improve their real life. The steps aren't obvious, and you don't get to start with the knowledge that simple persistence will win nearly any task you can set yourself.

The game is a symptom, not a disease.

2 points by somethingdotcom 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I just wanted to add my 2 cents relating to gaming addiction. I've never played WoW so I can't comment on that. But I was kicked out of college indirectly due to my addiction to Counter Strike.

I dunno if the same is true for WoW but one of the reasons I believe Counter Strike is so addictive is the time you have to wait after you get killed, before the next round starts.

I believe this is due to the fact that variable reinforcement schedules are more resistant to extinction:

"Skinner also looked at variable schedules. Variable ratio means you change the “x” each time -- first it takes 3 presses to get a goodie, then 10, then 1, then 7 and so on. Variable interval means you keep changing the time period -- first 20 seconds, then 5, then 35, then 10 and so on.

In both cases, it keeps the rats on their rat toes. With the variable interval schedule, they no longer “pace” themselves, because they can no longer establish a “rhythm” between behavior and reward. Most importantly, these schedules are very resistant to extinction. It makes sense, if you think about it. If you haven't gotten a reinforcer for a while, well, it could just be that you are at a particularly “bad” ratio or interval! Just one more bar press, maybe this'll be the one!"

Counter Strike is a variable interval schedule. Once you die you have to wait an unknown amount of time before you can play again. This makes counter strike playing behavior more resistant to extinction and I believe one of the big reasons why people get so addicted to it. If you respawned the second you died in Counter Strike (as you do in deathmatch) I'm fairly positive there would be a much fewer number of people addicted to the game.
I believe this is quite a big factor in addiction. I haven't heard of anyone addicted to any FPS deathmatch multiplayer game. I'm sure there are some, but much less so than games like counter strike where you have to wait.

2 points by Void_ 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Short version:

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other."

Long version:

Compared to other kinds of entertainment (books, TV, sports, friends) -- World of Warcraft makes you think about it even when you don't play it. The longer you play the game, the more addicted you are, the more you think about all the things you're gonna do. That's how the game's designed.

You think about the game when you're not playing it. It's hard to really focus on something else if you're thinking about the game.

Does that sound familiar to you? If you're a hacker, if you are excited about computers, then it must. It's same with hacking and programming. It's the same principle. For example I tried a little Node.js magic the other night and the first thing I did in the morning was getting live comments to work. Then I found out there could be another cool feature, and so on. Excitement. That's what drives hackers. Call it addiction, whatever. Unlike, WoW, you're doing work, you're making money.

So please, don't be ever excited about WoW. You don't wanna waste your precious excitement thanks to which you make wonders with programming on WoW.

You can do both, but you can't be addicted to both. Which one will you choose?

7 points by stuaxo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Exactly why I don't play these, also why I don't try crack or heroin.
1 point by Tycho 21 hours ago 0 replies      
An article about the psychology of gaming which I found quite interesting:


Personally I'm finding my interest in games is waining. A whole bunch of very impressive AAA games came out this year - in the past I would have played all of them, this year I only played Bad Company 2 and Halo Reach. I think I no longer have the time/energy to make that initial investment in a game, where you jump through a bunch of frustrating hoops until the fun starts and/or you feel immersed in the game world. However, I still enjoy the competition online - outsmarting other humans in a game of skill and strategy. So I play Bad Company 2 on Live frequently, but I don't pursue the social component of it (friendlists, clans etc). I'm not sure if I'll ever get bored of that.

And for that reason I avoid WoW like the plague: endless human competition, massive social aspect. Bound to be addictive (mind you, i'm not sure what you actually do in WoW gameplay. the adverts are all cutscenes)

3 points by Sharanga 23 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you avoid this trap? How do you prevent [subject] from hooking you into a shadow of what you really want? The answer is simple: don't [do it] blindly. Consider what it is you get out of [subject] . Nearly everything the [subject] provides can be found better and more real elsewhere.

Fattening foods? Alcohol abuse? Sex Addiction? oh, WoW.

This is written with the assumption that the reader cannot think for themselves and is quite insulting to anyone that reads past half of these subjective assertions.

"at the same time there was something disquieting about the fact that all these people were still around"

Sorry your friends didn't die, change all of their habits entirely, or live up to your random expectations of what constitutes too much and too little involvement in a computer game.

Seriously though, its been out how many years, and using plenty of comics and quotations to express this point, its taken you 18 months to regurgitate this same tired public service announcement? This is just trolling literate people that have thought about playing games in the last decade!

2 points by lwhi 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't ever played WoW - and I doubt I ever will, but I would have imagined that the skills gained as a 'guild leader' would be commutable to a lot of management level jobs?

Is this a fair assumption?

2 points by scotty79 20 hours ago 0 replies      
No game in my life was nearly as addictive as reading HN (or digg before that, or watching news on tv before that).

Games in my life reach at most level of wikipedia reading. 12 hours grind once in two months and casual use now and then.

WoW ? if I wanted to do chores all day, I'd get a job.

2 points by drndown2007 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantasic write up. I don't know if anyone has seen "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (pretty good - I enjoyed it), but there is a part where the heroes enter a casino. Everything you could wish for was there and so nobody left. And it was a trap -- it's sole reason was to entrap people so they never did anything with their lives. Your description made me think of WoW in that way. I'm sure WoW's intentions aren't evil (they just want your money!) but the outcome is the same.
1 point by jshen 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think people are primarily motivated by social status (after basic needs are taken care of). The deal with WoW is that it becomes your social status to the people you spend most of your time with, the other people in WoW.
1 point by rnernento 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Good read. I'd like to add that a lot of the good parts of WoW, (PvP, Social Interaction, Character Customization) have equal or better equivalents in other games that take up far less time. League of Legends, Call of Duty, Counterstrike, Warcraft/Starcraft can all easily be played with friends and in moderation.

Devils Advocate:

Who are we to say what a "real" accomplishment is. Maybe spending 6-8 hrs in a virtual world every day makes that world real to someone. If that world becomes reality then goals met in the virtual world are real accomplishments to them. In the grand scheme of things isn't life just trying to be happy killing time until we die. If I go to the gym every day but spend most of my life miserable is my life any more fulfilling than someone who spends 8hrs a day playing WoW and loving it?

6 points by ezf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Drugs: My anti-World of Warcraft.
1 point by Keyframe 22 hours ago 0 replies      
If I could only do this with reddit and hn, but work instead of working out!
1 point by harscoat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gaming like cigarette, do it once and you are smoker forever.
-1 point by SeanDav 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually it all comes down to a simple choice - Do you want to take the red pill, or the blue pill....
-1 point by lessallan 20 hours ago 0 replies      
See this video? "Rogue Complex" funny shit.
-4 points by rcavezza 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Haha, this shows how much of a jock nerd I am. I thought WoW meant Work Out World, haha.
Learn HTML5 from Google html5rocks.com
40 points by rafaelc 10 hours ago   5 comments top 5
3 points by erreon 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's pretty awesome how many HTML5 resources have come out of the wood work. Yesterday, I decided to add Geolocation to my first mini web app and in just a little bit of surfing around I was able to learn enough to get it working. This one is presented very well and I'm sure I'll be referring back to it quite a few times.
1 point by zitterbewegung 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the chromium lead developers gave the presentation in the examples at a google technology user group meeting. It was nice to have someone answer questions about specifics on html5 and cross compatibility (one of my concerns). I sort of was spoiled because I found about htmlrocks.com on reddit but it seems to give a great way to showcase html5. Then they gave everyone a google cr-48. The meeting was run by google / (Chicago android / Chicago Google Technology User Group http://chicagoandroid.com/
2 points by sp332 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Please make better use of it. We don't want a new blink tag.

Thank you!

8 points by solipsist 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This would be a good New Year's resolution: to learn the in's and out's of HTML5
0 points by rgbrgb 9 hours ago 0 replies      
WOW, this is old.
Hotlinking to jquery.com will be disabled on January 31, 2011 jquery.com
131 points by Uncle_Sam 20 hours ago   88 comments top 13
24 points by cletus 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Frankly I'm surprised jquery even allowed this to begin with. Now there will be sites that rely on this tha break, some of which won't be fixed for ages (if ever).

I guess I shouldn't be but I'm still surprised people would even do this given that Google s offering the service for free. Hotlinking has always been antisocial.

35 points by DanHulton 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I like the one comment about serving up evil.js to hotlinkers instead (https://github.com/kitgoncharov/evil.js/blob/gh-pages/evil.j...).

How have I never heard about this hilarious script before?

31 points by zbanks 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Crockford used to prevent hotlinking to his JSON library (its now on github) in an interesting way: right at the top there was an alert() line that you had to remove before using.

This would probably be the best way to transition. If they add an alert to their library and leave it up a week, most people should notice and fix it.

21 points by ajpiano 18 hours ago 1 reply      
We did a lot of analysis of the sites that were actually hotlinking, and are planning to reach out to those that are above board and should know better. By and large, however, most of the sites that were hotlinking were porn/phishing/generally nefarious, which weighed heavily into our decision to pull the plug relatively soon. Serving people who need jQuery and jQuery UI documentation, etc., is a higher priority than not-pulling-the-rug-out-from-under networks of porn sites - people who have more than adequate access to their own hosting and distribution resources.
1 point by iwwr 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
The jquery people are being incredibly generous. Others would have just tweaked the JS to produce some shock site or text to the effect "you are a bandwidth thief".
6 points by dedward 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Always seemed to be to be a bad practice from a security point of view - you are putting the security of your site in the hands of whoever is hosting the .js

This also applies when .js is dynamically included as a type of API call to embed widgets and whatnot - but in those cases there's a necessary reason - it's the only practical way - but for a simple .js, you should be managing your own .js library and publishing on your own (including all the speedup tricks you know you should be doing)

1 point by rbanffy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Ways to solve the problem once and for all:

- Listing the sites that hotlink it would be a nice idea.

- Changing the script on the hotlinked files to pop-up a warning that the site is doing something improper and urging people to contact the owner.

- When that doesn't work, break the sites.

6 points by jasoncartwright 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Perhaps a little harsh. Is the problem bandwidth or connection quantity? If it's bandwidth then they should just 301 to the Google CDN.
1 point by mark_h 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Now is probably a good time for a reminder: http://scriptsrc.net/

(Up to date CDN links for a bunch of javascript libraries, including jquery)

1 point by mike-cardwell 19 hours ago 2 replies      
It should be trivial for them to scan their access logs for referrers, and then send a mailshot out to each domains webmaster address.

To me, that seems like the polite thing to do.

2 points by quinndupont 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Damn shame. I used to hotlink during testing when I was too lazy to download the actual JS and host it. It was a nice way to build wicked fast little sites.
1 point by Fluxx 15 hours ago 0 replies      
When the change is made, changing the results of the HTTP GET to some javascipt comments explaining what happened and pointing them to some CDNs which offer the same service would be a good idea.
Cambridge University refuses to censor student's thesis boingboing.net
460 points by r11t 1 day ago   57 comments top 19
69 points by blhack 1 day ago 1 reply      
>Cambridge is the University of Erasmus, of Newton, and of Darwin.

This is a very elegant way of giving them the finger.

59 points by jburwell 1 day ago 1 reply      
First, he thrusts the knife in, then violently twists it -- "Accordingly I have authorised the thesis to be issued as a Computer Laboratory Technical Report. This will make it easier for people to find and to cite, and will ensure that its presence on our web site is permanent....". Classic.
38 points by liuhenry 1 day ago 0 replies      
3 points by fleitz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tend to disagree with the banks' assessment that it will undermine public confidence. The research gives the public one more piece of information to judge the risks for placing their money in a financial institution.

The banking sector as participants in a free market who frequently advocate for opening of more sectors of the economy to the free market (and rightly so) should be encouraging such research. The research gives consumers of banking services more accurate information to consider when deciding how accessible their money should be. Additional information allows consumers to make more informed choices regarding the trade offs between security and convenience. Banks could offer insurance to their customers to protect them against the risks while still keeping the benefits of increased convenience.

It's an opportunity for the banks to differentiate their services and cater to the needs of their customers. Yes, not having a PIN is less secure, but it's also more convenient, with proper positioning of their products banks should be able to offer tailored solutions that better address the needs of their customers.

10 points by rlmw 1 day ago 1 reply      
To be fair I didn't read this the first time it was on HN - I'm inclined to think that the title of the post is more descriptive than the original, and its deserving front page material, even if it is a duplicate.
12 points by yesbabyyes 1 day ago 1 reply      
Link to original letter - oh boy this is a good read: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/Papers/ukca.pdf
1 point by marcamillion 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Intentionally or unintentionally, this has got to be one of the best pieces of marketing for research inclined students and faculty that they could have ever produced.

So much so, that the skeptic in me thinks this was intentionally leaked.

I had always considered possibly applying to the University of Cambridge, and I know they are Ivy League...but this letter, firmly solidifies them as a contender for any higher education I might pursue.

36 points by instakill 1 day ago 1 reply      
Brilliant. If only more institutions had a spine like the one displayed here.
7 points by nsdsudf 1 day ago 1 reply      
Prof. Anderson shows good character.

Let's talk about the other side. Businesses have always acted this way when it comes to computer security (for at least the last 15 years, feel free to cite earlier examples). By now they probably understand that what they're doing is wrong, from a security perspective. They may even understand that issuing takedowns increases publicity. Still, business are sociopathic, they don't care about the legitimacy of their actions. They have a staff of lawyers they're already paying for, and a responsibility to defend trade secrets and protect their product base. So they marshal their lawyers, essentially for free, and maybe they get something out of the effort as a result. If they don't, nothing much was lost, and they generally don't care about their perception in the security community. Same old story. This incident is less about someone standing up to a bully and more about someone weathering another wave coming out of the ocean.

4 points by emilepetrone 1 day ago 0 replies      
BBC video on chip & pin findings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yyfcHSXZLc
3 points by drivebyacct2 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the third time, we get it.
3 points by isomorph 1 day ago 1 reply      
He's a good lecturer too. Funny how being a good lecturer and being a badass correlate.
1 point by GrandMasterBirt 1 day ago 1 reply      
"we have no choice but to back him. That would hold even if we did not agree with the material!"

Reminds me of a Frankin quote: "Sir, I disagree with you, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."

2 points by kwoks 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Am proud of being in the University of Cambridge.....we don't produce apps.
1 point by raghava 1 day ago 0 replies      
>You complain that ... and indeed to censor it.

The penultimate para in the original letter, wow! A befitting answer to a bully, and how! :)

1 point by koski 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder when Cambridge starts to be blocked by the banks then ... :
-4 points by Tarski 1 day ago 3 replies      
Wouldn't it have been far nobler to approach the banks affected by the exploit with these findings rather than publishing schematics for the exploit into the public domain?
Cracking Any GSM Mobile Phone bbc.co.uk
16 points by brennannovak 7 hours ago   6 comments top 4
1 point by cnvogel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Previous report on this talk by arstechnica.com:


1 point by huhtenberg 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> Key to grabbing the data from the air were cheap Motorola phones which can have their onboard software swapped for an open source alternative.

Wasn't there a news bit not long ago about law enforcement agencies being puzzled by criminals buying/stealing loads of cheap Motorola phones?

1 point by coin 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is one advantage CDMA has over GSM, it's much harder to intercept CDMA http://www.denbeste.nu/cdmafaq/eavesdrp.shtml
1 point by msh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
But, remember, this is a crack for GSM (2g), it is not a crack for UTMS (3G).
How To Avoid Getting Fired From Your Own Company techcrunch.com
82 points by chrisyeh 18 hours ago   39 comments top 10
20 points by tptacek 11 hours ago 0 replies      
A few more tips, if I may be permitted to leverage my own experience and the experience of my friends and acquaintances:

* Avoid personal drama. I suspect that in more cases than we realize, management-level changes happen simply because people stop working productively with each other. In particular, you need to be prepared to DISAGREE AND COMMIT; to be able to signal that even in cases where you disagree about the direction of a decision, you aren't plotting behind the scenes for its failure.

* Stay close to the money. Most of you are tech people. As a tech person in a moving company, you can basically be doing three things and still be perceived as someone who is executing: you can be shipping product improvements, you can be doing "marketing engineering" (ask Patrick what this means, but, briefly: "things that improve customer acquisition or customer LTV"), or you can be talking to customers/the market. There seems to be a huge trap for techs in startups in the "CTO" and "Chief Scientist" and "Architect" roles; AVOID THEM.

* Be strategic about roles and hiring. This stuff about palling around with the board may be important, but from what I can tell, the game is won or lost on the org chart. Don't hire people who are going to ladder-climb around you. This is one aspect of Startup Soap Opera Drama that is not overhyped: the market is lousy with people who, for good reasons or bad, have a primary goal of being one of the key people on the m-team. A simple trap to avoid: if you're the Dir/E, be very careful about who the VP/E is; if she can't be you, aim for your kid's godmother. Similarly, if you're in Product Management, even as VP/PM, be very careful about VP/Marketing.

* Be careful about demotion. Clarifying special case of the previous note: in a lot of biz cultures, there's basically no such thing as a "demotion"; usually there's only termination, lateral moves, or "constructive" demotion (hiring SVP/M to oversee and eventually consume raw the VP/M, then EVP/M for the SVP/M, etc). If you allow yourself to be demoted, and your m-team is a bunch of assholes (not an infrequent occurrance), you can be perceived as weak.

* Keep zeroes out of the m-team. Human resources doesn't belong in the m-team. The Dir/M in a single-product company where a VP/PM handles 99% of marketing doesn't need a seat at the table just to represent "Marketing". The less vital a role is, the more likely they are to be a magnet for bullshit politics.

* Be customer facing. I think I said this already: if you aren't committing code that the company will sink without, you should be meeting customers or partners constantly. Be very careful about getting sucked into the conference circuit. It's easy to convince yourself that a particular conference is important to your business but be perceived by everyone else in your company as a tourist.

* Be on the same page with your board. In two of the cases I've been directly involved in, the conflict underlying a planned coup was at the level of "are we going to grow the business or are we going to position the company to get bought". It seems like you need to have an eye for the kinds of decisions that involve liquidity. Early on, your board may be worried that you're tilting the game for an early exit; later on, especially if you aren't on the original founding team, you may be perceived as an obstacle to bizdev when your VC just wants to get rid of a board seat gracefully. You don't have to agree on every decision, but it seems like you really do have to be perceived as having aligned interests.

* Be extremely cautious with metrics. Anyone who's ever managed a sales team knows about "sandbagging", where the guy running a region lowballs the numbers so he can sail over them and collect bonus accelerators. A lot of devs have a natural habit of being optimistic --- about schedule, about product adoption, about support costs, about COGS --- all of which gives the management team ammunition down the road.

25 points by dedward 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Answer: Re-evaluate what the meaning of "yours" is. This should be obvious to anyone. Once you start selling off ownership of your company to others, it's not just "yours" anymore.
7 points by kylec 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it possible to draw up an employment contract for yourself that has steep penalties if you're terminated? That way, even if you lose control of the board there's still a strong disincentive to getting rid of you.
7 points by mkramlich 15 hours ago 1 reply      
this is yet another reason why I want to always bootstrap and retain 100% equity (or at least controlling share if I give out grants). So much pain, hassle, risk avoided. You might have to grow slower, maybe, depending on the particulars. But I think it's worth it.
3 points by ScottBurson 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that under some circumstances, getting fired from one's own company could be cause for celebration. If the company is at least reasonably successful, it means that someone else has grown to feel a sufficient sense of ownership and responsibility about it that they're willing to put themselves on the line. And it sets you free to start the next one. Isn't that what you really want to do anyway?

-- Not always, I know. But thinking about various businesses I can imagine trying to start, most of them I wouldn't be so attached to that I'd want to keep doing them forever. And I can easily imagine that once I got over the shock of getting fired, I could come to appreciate the opportunity to move on, particularly if I got a little cash in the bargain.

1 point by Eliezer 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If this is a big concern to you, get your money from VCs and angels that aren't in the habit of firing founders. The Founders Fund, as I understand it, has an explicit policy of not funding anyone they think they might need to fire, because they expect that if you have to fire the founders the company is probably going to tank anyway.
6 points by keiferski 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Step 1: Don't give up a significant portion of your company.
3 points by bakbak 15 hours ago 2 replies      
"The only way to be totally fireproof is to own a controlling stake in your company"

I wish the article was on 'how to own, keep and maintain controlling stake no matter how many rounds of funding you do' ...

4 points by helmut_hed 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of the article reads like Power and Politics 101; I was relieved to discover this part at the end:

You should also bear in mind that sometimes, the coup plotters are right.

1 point by tgflynn 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a really good argument for doing everything possible to go solo.
Build a new year clock with an SQL query? Sure, why not explainextended.com
55 points by kungfooey 15 hours ago   7 comments top 5
7 points by jfb 13 hours ago 1 reply      
EXPLAIN EXTENDED is one of the most informative technical blogs I follow. I heartily recommend it, and not just for this admirably insane bit of hackery.
10 points by ecaroth 14 hours ago 0 replies      
what a brilliant waste of time. Love it!
1 point by rbitar 8 hours ago 0 replies      
After seeing this marvelous bit of hackery I've subscribed to blog. Anyone with that level of curiosity must certainly have other interesting knowledge to share.
2 points by wizard_2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This got sent to my dba team. =)
1 point by djhworld 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Very nice.

Unfortunately the very sight of SQL of that breadth and length gives me motion sickness

Steve Jobs Understands Team Building taosecurity.blogspot.com
99 points by sant0sk1 21 hours ago   33 comments top 9
24 points by matwood 19 hours ago 5 replies      
It's amazing how many successful business types like SJ or PG recognize that people are the most important thing, and still the majority of high level managers view people as completely interchangeable cogs.
15 points by Bud 20 hours ago 2 replies      
This is what made interviewing at Apple so exciting recently. I didn't get this particular job (and plan to apply again), but the adrenaline rush from realizing that all the folks interviewing me were extremely bright, talented, motivated, and into their jobs was instantly addictive. It's very easy to understand why Apple works and how it keeps its people motivated.
7 points by hop 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Really wish Steve could expand beyond the soundbyte and go deeper into how they hire, manage, do product dev, etc. Very much looking forward to the biography he is supposedly working with Walter Isaacson on.
5 points by hubb 19 hours ago 1 reply      
reading this quote:

"When you're in a startup, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. "

gave me some immediate deja vu. pg quoted jobs jobs in 'how to make wealth', one of the better essays that made it into his book.

"Steve Jobs once said that the success or failure of a startup depends on the first ten employees. I agree. If anything, it's more like the first five"

11 points by panacea 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Most people who read this article will self-identify as an 'A+ player'.
3 points by jfb 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It is largely true that the quality of the people (from HR to security to engineering to the trainers at the gym) that I dealt with at Apple were excellent, but one seldom noted problem is that in an intensely competitive environment, there is little more demotivating than running into a jobsworth, particularly one that you have to work around to get things done. It can really derail the train.
2 points by Stormbringer 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I talked at one stage about starting a business with another IT guy. He had many fine attributes, such as being fiercely adamant that if any manager ever described a person as an asset or a resource, that they would get sacked.

People deserve respect, not to be objectified by describing them using the same language as things that are bought and sold and casually discarded.

6 points by premake 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Related John Sculley interview on Jobs from October. It's a lengthy read but incredibly insightful for fans of Apple and great minds in general:


1 point by far33d 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Ed Catmull always says that his approach to hiring was to find someone smarter than himself and that meant he was the dumbest person left @ Pixar.
How To Manage A Tech Career antipatter.com
52 points by SeanOC 16 hours ago   6 comments top 3
3 points by kapilkaisare 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> "The path of least resistance is to try and gain seniority at small or obscure companies. From there you create legitimacy for your seniority in larger companies. Experience in the larger company will in turn make smaller shops take a chance on you for a more senior position."

Working in larger companies earlier on - when you're fresh out of college, for example - can often ensure you end up learning a very tiny portion of the development lifecycle. Moving from there to a smaller outfit, where you would assume greater responsibility, would leave you realizing that you know very little about the big picture.

7 points by sayemm 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post and a wonderful read to kick things off for 2011, thanks for writing this.

On a related note, I often think about this quote from Benjamin Franklin:

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

2 points by JohnnyBrown 14 hours ago 1 reply      
>"for some reason I'm seemingly out on the end of the axis as far as risk-tolerance is concerned"

I wonder whether most people would rate themselves above or below average in terms of risk tolerance. Is this something we tend to have a good picture of, or is it more like the Dunning-Kruger effect?

Open Source Contribution Etiquette tirania.org
48 points by rayvega 16 hours ago   12 comments top 7
10 points by ScottBurson 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow, I had never heard of someone doing major reformatting, reorganizing, or refactoring on someone else's code before submitting a patch! I would say that anyone who would do such a thing doesn't understand what it means to work with other people!
1 point by michaelchisari 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've always thought a general etiquette guide and howto for contributing to open source projects would be useful.
1 point by barrkel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Indeed, the code formatting style used by Mono (eg spaces before argument parens like "SomeMethod ()") is one of the biggest reasons I'll probably never contribute to it. I can't change the existing style, but it makes my eyes bleed to read, so I avoid it.
1 point by joe_the_user 15 hours ago 1 reply      

"The maintainer is in for the long-haul, and has been working on this code for longer than you have. Chances are, he will keep doing this even after you have long moved into your next project."

That might be a common pattern but it seems like it's sort-of a dead end pattern. If put yourself out there as The Maintainer in that way, you've basically said no is going to be able to make major contributions without you - going it alone become a self-perpetuating process and it's indeed not surprising that no one will stick around.

I have a large project that I hope to release in the next 1-3 months. I've put a large amount of effort into it. I'm also putting effort into making the code good enough that others can come on board and make significant extensions to it. Following the existing code style certainly but quite possible rearranging functionality, breaking up and rearranging function if it's useful and so-forth.

A VCS like git that lets everyone have the branch they like can be good here. Do what you love and inclusion in the main branch should follow sooner or later...

2 points by Sidnicious 13 hours ago 0 replies      
SCM (a la GitHub pull requests) really helps with this. When your contribution is reduced to a line-by-line diff, it becomes clear what the essential changes are (and satisfying to make the diff as short as possible).
1 point by dedward 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It helps to keep clear the distinction to "contributing to someone's open source project" and "writing code for an open source project".

The code might be open/free, but the maintainer of a given instance/repo is ultimately in charge of at least that.

2 points by mariusmg 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Who does that ? Each time i had to fix something in a OSS project i touched as little code as possible. Everybody knows is no fun working with code written by somebody else.
Zombie.js: insanely fast, full-stack, headless testing labnotes.org
59 points by tswicegood 18 hours ago   15 comments top 7
4 points by croby 14 hours ago 1 reply      
First, great work on this implementation. I can't imagine all the work that must have gone into this.

To me, this seems to only solve a corner case in the main problem of JS testing - testing the DOM without a browser. The first question that comes to mind is, is a DOM even useful in a headless browser when it comes to JS? For now, grant that we're only testing presence and manipulation of DOM elements and no CSS manipulations or accuracy -- which I'd argue is a decent case for testing. Now, testing presence and manipulation of DOM elements in the abstract isn't very useful, as different browsers might treat DOM manipulations differently. Using a headless browser that no one actually uses doesn't solve this problem.

I'd see a case for this in running something like QUnit[1] test that just test JS completeness, but again, implementations differ so testing in one environment that no one actually is using isn't good enough.

The only thing that I've come up with for a solution for actually testing JavaScript in a robust, real-world way is using QUnit and Selenium[2] to define the tests, with Testswarm[3] actually running the tests. This setup allows unit tests to be run against JS by itself (QUnir), mock interactions to take place to ensure bindings work properly (Selenium), and have these executed against real browsers in a distributed manner (Testswarm).

I concede that this isn't an ideal solution, and I wish there were more people working on solutions like Zombie.js that would combine all of these in one so that JS could finally be apart of our continuous integration testing. The only (sic) thing preventing this solution is that it needs to have headless, identical implementations of all the browser's JS engines and DOM parsers in order to be valid.

[1] http://docs.jquery.com/Qunit
[2] http://seleniumhq.org/
[3] https://github.com/jeresig/testswarm/wiki

3 points by hammerdr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Reliable headless DOM implementations are one of major obstacles for JS as a first class language. Kudos and thanks to everyone that is working to solve this!
1 point by wildmXranat 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this load external styles, or javascript files? What about the images and does it evaluate any script tags?

I have done a few albeit scattered attempts at headless or semi-headless html/js unit tests. What I found out to be a good middle ground is running is this:

Run selenium server and firefox on a remote server. Trigger tests via a task queue, which at the moment is Gearman, have firefox draw to a virtual frame buffer.

What that does for me is cover pretty much every case that a real browser does, and completeness is key in my point of view. I would like to see how Zombie compares on the completeness side and then speed.

2 points by gojomo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Any chance this could run in Rhino or does the node.js dependency demand V8?

Feature for feature, how does this compare to HTMLUnit?

1 point by arnorhs 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the cleanliness of not needing a browser.

But it seems like you'll have to duplicate a lot of functionality and as soon as there are a couple of things you can't test against or that don't produce the exact same result then this becomes unreliable.

Am I wrong?

1 point by bokchoi 13 hours ago 0 replies      
How does this compare to env.js?


1 point by EGreg 17 hours ago 2 replies      
does this thing actually compute the rendered coordinates properly, as a browser would? Can I load jquery and call offset() ?
WakeMate Warns Users Of Major Safety Issue techcrunch.com
66 points by wensing 20 hours ago   8 comments top 4
1 point by MichaelApproved 1 hour ago 0 replies      
At what point does the wake mate management team get fired for all the screw ups they've caused? It's amazing how many customer issues they've had developing this product. Sure, the concept might be great but the team in charge just seem to be in over their heads.
4 points by invisible 14 hours ago 2 replies      
"...isn't specific about what the exact problem is..."

I would presume it saying "the power brick is defective" is a really, really good specification about what the exact problem is with regard to a "safety issue." TechCrunch also labels it as "USB Charger" (which makes me think of just a regular USB cable) when in the email it says the "USB charger brick." What I REALLY hate is that TC never, ever goes back and fixes grammatical errors/typos/misleading statements when it screws up an article, it just adds an "update" at the bottom of the article. Have they not heard of TL;DR?

At least the notice email was well written.

15 points by coolswan 19 hours ago 1 reply      
2 points by jgalvez 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The first thing I thought when I read the headline: zombies.
Overcome Fear in 2011. Get Rejected On Purpose modernhomemodernbaby.com
40 points by ambitious 15 hours ago   24 comments top 9
15 points by wwalker3 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Having to reject someone can be a very stressful experience. I don't like the idea of purposefully inflicting that stress on others unless there's a chance we both could benefit.

"Getting rejected on purpose" sounds like I'd be picking situations where I know for sure I'll be rejected -- an inappropriate proposition, an undeserved request. I don't want to do that to someone else just to try to desensitize myself to rejection.

2 points by forensic 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"Rejection Therapy" is the inaccurate, possibly dangerous meme version of a real therapy - in vivo desensitization.

Conquering fear is done by facing your fears not by intentionally going out with the expectation that things will go bad. Pessimism is just another defence mechanism from the true vulnerability of ambiguity.

This meme is just psychologically wrong in so many ways.

- Seeking rejection creates a self-fulfilling prophecy where you will be more likely to be rejected.

- When you are rejected in this way, instead of processing it maturely, you're going to say "Oh it was part of my rejection therapy. I didn't really even want or expect to be accepted. Add one point to the scoreboard!." This is an attempt to dodge the reality of what happened - rejection is a negative thing. It's not the end of the world, but it also is probably not cause for celebration. You aren't fooling anyone (including yourself) by telling yourself it is positive. Anytime you are rejected from something you care about you are going to have sad feelings at the least. The way to handle these is to face them, own them, feel them, realize they will go away, and try again another day. But inflicting this on yourself on purpose is masochism and unhealthy.

- For most people, experiencing a lot of rejection will not make them less fearful of rejection, it will make them more fearful. They will come to expect rejection more and then avoid behaviours that they believe will lead to it.

- The effective, scientifically proven way to face your fears is to do it piece by piece, in small bites, and to recognize that if you are not allowing yourself to be truly emotionally vulnerable, you are not really facing your fear of rejection. The fear of rejection is about asking for something you want and then feeling the uncomfortable vulnerable feelings of ambiguity. It's about making yourself emotionally vulnerable - you genuinely want something and will be happy to receive it and sad to be denied it. This is true vulnerability. You cannot avoid the pain of rejection, you can only learn to process it when it happens, and to have the courage to risk that pain because you know it's all for a greater good. But inflicting this pain on yourself needlessly is masochistic and will likely lead to more phobias and anxiety, not less.

Those who are having trouble with fear - look up systematic desensitization and in vivo desensitization. Also, remember that true courage means allowing yourself to be vulnerable. And vulnerability means allowing for the instance where you feel bad. A coward is someone who finds ways to avoid any chance of feeling bad. A courageous person is one who is willing to risk losing something he desires because he knows that it is a smart risk.

7 points by david_shaw 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Rejection therapy has gotten a lot of coverage on HN recently, and for good reason.

A lot of people on the Internet use rejection therapy to get over their fears of asking the cute girl out for coffee or going to the trendy nightclub they've never entered before. Here at HN, however, I think rejection therapy is able to really shine: sitting down for lunch with some VC's or C-level executives takes courage, and pitching your idea is literally asking for it to get shot down. It takes a lot of courage, but in the end it's worth it to take the risk for the slim chance of reward. In fact, many aspects of the startup lifestyle involve putting your neck out there in hopes that someone will see your idea and love it just as much as you do.

I haven't played the "Rejection Therapy" game, but I feel like everyone is afraid of getting rejected from something. It gives me the holiday season warm fuzzy feelings when I know that people are following a system that will improve themselves.

9 points by rorrr 14 hours ago 2 replies      
One great way of doing this is to interview for jobs that you think you're not qualified enough for. I've gone to so many interviews over the years, that after a while it doesn't matter if some company X doesn't take you. You just stop worrying.

I have a couple of friends who never go to interviews, unless their skills match the job description almost perfectly. They rob themselves of chances to get more money, more experience.

"Son, let women figure out why they won't screw you. Don't do it for them." -- Shit My Dad Says

5 points by jacobroufa 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great! One of the reasons 2010 has been so wonderful for me is because of the lack of fear I've had! It took awhile for me to get over all of this... half of 2008, all of 2009, and the beginning of 2010 were all wasted because I was too scared to do anything!

Two years of my life could (and would) have been better spent working in a field I love on projects I enjoy with people that constantly push me to excel but because of the rejection I experienced (mostly in my own head, mind you) in the first half of 2008, I froze and was unable to get past it. Well, thank [insert higher power of choice here] for that because this year I'm back on the horse and 2011 brings nothing but amazing potential and a blank slate every day for me to fill.

To anyone stuck where I was: Keep pushing forward. When you realize that the rejection is your own head working against you, you'll finally feel free. It gets different!

9 points by FrankBlack 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"This week, each one of you has a homework assignment. You're going to go out and start a fight with a total stranger...
You're gonna start a fight...and you're gonna lose."
4 points by dustingetz 13 hours ago 2 replies      
or just go learn how to pick up girls. the skills are relevant to entrepreneurs.
1 point by sown 13 hours ago 1 reply      
For me, it's not so much fear but more as resignation. I can how an interview will end up within the first few minutes.
1 point by buckwild 12 hours ago 0 replies      
you don't need to get rejected on purpose to overcome fear.
Google sent him a CR 48 with Windows 7 On It mustangevolution.com
38 points by bcrawl 10 hours ago   14 comments top 5
13 points by bcrawl 10 hours ago 2 replies      
tl;dr Guy receives a CR48 with windows 7. Contacts google/google groups. No one has any real answer how this could have happened. Google product guy sends him an email with RMA details. Participant complies. But before sending it back he dumps the BIOS out. Some one from chromeOS forums successfully flashed their BIOS with this one. So this works.

I fully understand that one should use these CR 48 laptops for what they are intended to be for. That is testing purposes.

ChromeOS forums: http://www.chromeoslounge.com/cr-48-chrome-notebook/607-wind...

Youtube link: www.youtube.com/?v=sy9JzYTP4xc

Right now google uses Verified Boot, meaning that only Google-signed images will be bootable. More info on this process here. http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/chromiumos-design-docs/v...

CR48 doesnt have a regular bootloader like grub or lilo. Some more info on CR48 BIOS from their site. https://sites.google.com/a/chromium.org/dev/chromium-os/deve...

initrd is typically handled by the bootloader, which reads the specified image from the disk into RAM and passes the address to the kernel as it's invoked.

The Chrome OS BIOS is a modified EFI BIOS. The bootstub is a standard EFI Application, but it's embedded in the kernel image in a dedicated partition type, rather than accessible through a FAT filesystem. To decrease boot time, the BIOS does not discover or pass the standard disk drive handles to the bootstub, so the bootstub doesn't know anything about disks or filesystems. There is also no Compatibility Support Module in the BIOS. In theory elilo or grub2 could replace the bootstub, but they would have to reimplement some of the device discovery functions normally done by an EFI BIOS.

If you want to take this on, go for it. That would let us create a kernel partition that just contained an EFI bootloader, which could then chain-boot to external USB drives, etc. That might be kind of cool.

7 points by Bud 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow. The site this link takes one to is perhaps the most annoying website I've seen all month. Possibly all year.
2 points by bcrawl 8 hours ago 1 reply      
ok, I think the chromeos forums deleted the thread. They are not in any way affiliated with google btw. Here is the screenshot which has instructions from the guy who said he flashed.

Here is the BIOS which came with that CR48 Windows 7 laptop. http://www.sendspace.com/file/wp9nb6

This guy flashed his regular CR 48 bios with the above one and was able to boot back into Chrome. http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=10302232&postcoun...

Ok, just got done with this. I can verify 100% working. Instead of installing another OS though, I just rebooted after the BIOS flash and surprisingly Chrome started up! It erased the stateful partition and then reboot and voila I am back in Chrome -- with the notable exception -- of now being able to get into the BIOS.

Simply awesome.

1 point by EwanG 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Figures. No CR-48 over here, and I was even planning to really and truly only run Chrome OS on it.

Then again, maybe Google is waiting to send me their gTablet... yeah, that's got to be it :-)

Milton Friedman's Free To Choose freetochoose.tv
43 points by pinchyfingers 16 hours ago   11 comments top 4
8 points by hebejebelus 14 hours ago 3 replies      
I hate sites that don't tell me what they are at first glance. I don't know what this is and I'm not going to watch a video to find out. I am an average user with a short attention span, and I'd give you advice on targeting people like me, only I'm not sure what it is you do and whether average users are your target audience.

Please. All it takes is a paragraph. Hell, you don't even have an "About" page.

Edit: I'm sorry that this sounds unnecessarily harsh, but it bugs me to hell that I have no idea about what I'm looking at. =]

3 points by racecar789 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I like how Friedman explains his logic in the first half of each video, then in the second half, invites 5 people with opposite opinions to his own and debates them. The older series is better.

This video (and also Commanding Heights shown on PBS) had a great impact on my economic views.

Nothing causes more harm than good intentions.

1 point by mkramlich 13 hours ago 0 replies      
i like the simple site layout. i wish more sites were like this. easier on my eyes and brain and easier on my computer. one design suggestion I have is to add some kind of About blurb or page.
-1 point by kokoito 15 hours ago 0 replies      
New Year's Resolution: Lanuch a website/day for 2011 websiteadaychallenge.com
8 points by gersh 6 hours ago   9 comments top 4
6 points by beoba 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't this just going to produce a bunch of incomplete crap? Notable that the announcement page itself is displaying a broken html tag (as of this writing).

Might be more useful to think of a real project you've been meaning to do, splitting it into day-sized chunks, and working out a schedule for completing those. Don't be too strict about this either, otherwise you'd risk getting burnt out after a couple weeks.

3 points by jaekwon 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Nice. What language / framework will you be using for the first batch of releases?

And what will you do when a site requires attention? e.g. with a traffic surge? Are the old sites going to stay up?

Finally, are you thinking of registering 365 different domains? Oy.

1 point by forensic 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Looks like he already achieved his goal on January 1st - his site got a million hits.
3 points by executive 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Not a chance. Even one a week would be a stretch.

I will release 5-10 apps/sites in 2011.

Boredom Enthusiasts Discover the Pleasures of Understimulation wsj.com
59 points by jamesbritt 19 hours ago   24 comments top 10
18 points by steveklabnik 18 hours ago 2 replies      
> After a much-needed break, a drawing was held. Some of the winners got a DVD called "Helvetica," a 2007 documentary about typography.

This one really cracked me up.

2 points by dkarl 7 hours ago 2 replies      
"We're all overstimulated," said Ms. Lee. "I think it's important to stop all that for a while and see what several hours of being bored really feels like."

There's a difference? To me, overstimulation is incredibly boring. Overstimulation is the siren that tempts me to the next thing before I grasp the thing in front of me. Overstimulation is the nagging fear of missing something that makes me miss everything. I have to narrow things down and slow things down before I can engage with anything. Like alcohol, overstimulation is a depressant that feels deceptively like a stimulant, and reliably makes me stupider though it often makes me feel smarter. Maybe I'm just too slow for the 21st century.

8 points by binarymax 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Sadly I can think of many instances where I encountered boardroom powerpoint just as uninteresting and pointless as that of Mr. Ward's tie collection.
2 points by petercooper 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet in trying to be boring, they ended up choosing unusual novelty topics that are relatively interesting when compared to truly dull pop culture pursuits like American Idol or Dancing With The Stars.
5 points by ZoFreX 18 hours ago 1 reply      
"Then he began reciting the names of every single one of 415 colors listed in a paint catalog: damson dream, dauphin, dayroom yellow, dead salmon…and on and on and on."

I had that paint catalogue! We made a game out of trying to remember the names based on their (frequently ludicrous) descriptions. Good time killer on a long journey.

4 points by alexwestholm 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's very true that most people are overstimulated, but I don't really get how people find a lack of stimulation boring. The things described in the article definitely do not sound interesting, but I can only imagine letting my mind wander off into more interesting/productive territory when confronted by them. The possibility of just wallowing in a lack of interest seems kind of lacking in creativity...
3 points by javert 18 hours ago 2 replies      
This article doesn't explain how boredom is "pleasurable" or why people would want to go to a boredom conference. Could somebody explain it to me? Is this some kind of a joke?
2 points by JoshCole 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I got bored halfway through this and didn't finish it. The section on the conference itself felt so much like the Onion I think it could be copied verbatim into one of their articles without seeming out of place.
0 points by klbarry 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The conference actually seemed quite interesting to me (as well as some of his blog posts). But my tastes would be called boring by many.
2 points by bingaman 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"Boredom is counter-revolutionary"
R2-D2 creator Grant McCune dies cbc.ca
22 points by Mithrandir 12 hours ago   6 comments top 3
3 points by kqr2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Hiis spirit will live on through the works of many diy / homebuilders of R2 units:


7 points by glhaynes 10 hours ago 1 reply      
2 points by thwarted 8 hours ago 1 reply      
...he created R2-D2 and many of the creatures that populate the film.

Does that include the other R2 unit, the one with the bad motivator? That's one of the few Star Wars toys I had as a kid.

Cassandra vs MongoDB vs CouchDB vs Redis vs Riak comparison kkovacs.eu
272 points by kkovacs 1 day ago   83 comments top 18
36 points by antirez 1 day ago 2 replies      
I like this article: while it is for sure not the definitive guide to NoSQL, it is a short description mostly about facts that people new to the field can use to get an idea about what a good candidate could be for initial experimentation, given a defined problem to solve.

That said I think that picking the good database is something you can do only with a lot of work. Picking good technologies for your project is hard work, so there is to try one, and another and so forth, and even reconsidering after a few years (or months?) the state of the things again, given the evolution speed of the DB panorama in the recent years.

While I'm at it I like to share that in this exact days I'm working at a Redis disk back end. I've already a prototype working after a few days of full immersion (I like to use vacation time to work at completely new ideas for Redis).

The idea is that everything is stored on disk, in what is a plain key-value database (complex values are serialized when on disk), and the memory is instead used as an object cache.
It is like taking current Redis Virtual Memory and inverting the logic completely, the result is the same (working set in memory, the rest on disk), but this implementation means that there are no limits on the data you can put into a single instance, that you don't have slow restarts (data is not loaded on memory if not demanded), and there isn't to fork() to save. Keys marked as "dirty" (modified) are transfered to disk asynchronously as needed, by IO threads.

If everything will work as I expect (and initial tests are really encouraging) this means that Redis 2.4 will exit in a few months completely killing the current Virtual Memory implementation in favor of the new "two back ends" design, where you can select if you want to run an in-memory DB or an on-disk DB where memory is just an LRU cache for the working set.

13 points by ghshephard 1 day ago 3 replies      
Worth adding HBase?

Much below Stolen from their overview page (All needs to be confirmed): http://hbase.apache.org/


MAIN POINT: Hadoop Database


PROTOCOL: A REST-ful Web service gateway

This project's goal is the hosting of very large tables -- billions of rows X millions of columns -- atop clusters of commodity hardware.

HBase is an open-source, distributed, versioned, column-oriented store modeled after Google' Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data by Chang et al. Just as Bigtable leverages the distributed data storage provided by the Google File System, HBase provides Bigtable-like capabilities on top of Hadoop. HBase includes:

Convenient base classes for backing Hadoop MapReduce jobs with HBase tables

Query predicate push down via server side scan and get filters

Optimizations for real time queries

A high performance Thrift gateway

A REST-ful Web service gateway that supports XML, Protobuf,
and binary data encoding options

Cascading, hive, and pig source and sink modules

Extensible jruby-based (JIRB) shell

Support for exporting metrics via the Hadoop metrics subsystem to files or Ganglia; or via JMX

HBase 0.20 has greatly improved on its predecessors:

No HBase single point of failure

Rolling restart for configuration changes and minor upgrades

Random access performance on par with open source relational databases such as MySQL

FOR EXAMPLE: Facebook Messaging Database

BEST USE: Use it when you need random, realtime read/write access to your Big Data.

6 points by benblack 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article is mostly marketing phrases from the websites of the various projects. Sadly, much of it is inaccurate, extremely skewed, or otherwise not useful for the stated purpose of comparing the listed databases.

For example, CouchDB having a "Main Point" of "DB consistency" might be the case, as it is for Redis, when there is no replication. In replicated configurations, it is definitely not true. Further, the MVCC is weaker in many ways than in a Dynamo system like Riak as you have no way to influence or discover consistency between replicas.

I'm sure folks expert in other systems can identify similar errors in the rest of the post. Can someone explain to me who the target audience is for all these NoSQL comparison articles? They are universally poor, yet universally popular.

18 points by littleidea 1 day ago 4 replies      
Apples vs Oranges vs Strawberries vs Pineapple vs Grapes

Apples usually stay crispy unless baked. Good in pies.

Oranges can be sour (or sweet). Do not bake.

Strawberries are red. Good in pies, advise against baking.

Pineapples are rough on the outside. Good fresh, baked, grilled, fried, debatable on pizza.

Grapes come in many colors and sizes. Great fresh or turned into alcoholic beverages.

(Not the worst introduction to fruit, but perhaps superficial? Amirite?)

6 points by arethuza 1 day ago 4 replies      
My understanding is that in CouchDB you can't guarantee that older versions of documents will still exists (they might be there, but they could have been removed by compaction or not replicated).

However, there is a fairly nice way of storing older versions of documents - hold older versions as file attachments on the document. See:


3 points by nl 1 day ago 1 reply      
CouchDB & MongoDB both share one property that this comparison misses (or mentions only in passing).

Both are schema free datastores. For me, this is the biggest, most useful difference between them and traditional SQL databases, because it makes things easy that are very, very hard (or inefficient) on an SQL database.

It's probably also worth noting that other NoSQL solutions don't share this advantage. For example, Cassandra requires all nodes to be restarted to apply a schema change, which can be quite a big deal.

13 points by ocharles 1 day ago 4 replies      
> While SQL databases are insanely useful tools, their tyranny of ~15 years is coming to an end

This shit, AGAIN? Really? No, they are not.

7 points by kkovacs 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's a nice closing word from @jzy:

A SQL query goes into a bar, walks up to two tables and asks,
"Can I join you?"
"No, but you can enjoy the view."

Sorry :)


4 points by markoa 1 day ago 0 replies      
What we're missing are similar arricles that go into disadvantages and implications on deployment.

Eg I have found out that deploying Tokyo Tyrant in a Rails project requires you to write some sčripts to ensure that things run properly. Also the db size has to be set in configuration in advance.

MongoDB OTOH is not designed for a single server environment, has a very small max document size, easily gets corrupted if process is stopped etc.

1 point by lukev 1 day ago 2 replies      
Interesting and useful.

One major feature differentiator is something it doesn't really talk about, though - how conducive is each system to Massive Data?

For example, he kind of has a bone to pick with Cassandra, which is probably justified. But from what little I know, one of the features of Cassandra is that it's designed to scale pretty much to infinity. That may be true of a couple of the others, but for some (like CouchDB) it isn't a design goal at all.

3 points by schmichael 1 day ago 2 replies      
Under protocols you may want to specify MongoDB's as BSON and Cassandra's as Thrift. That would be more helpful than "binary/custom".


Also Redis's main selling point is it's extensive data structure/operations support. "Blazingly fast" really depends on what your workload is and what you're comparing it against.

1 point by redthrowaway 1 day ago 2 replies      
So if Cassandra writes are much faster than reads, why would Reddit go that route? Their comment server is consistently breaking on them, and it would seem that a sub-optimal choice of db might be partly to blame.
2 points by waratuman 1 day ago 2 replies      
You mention that some of these solution could be used in the Financial industry. I would be cautious of using these, especially since some are eventually consistent. If you are just tracking data these may be fine though.
3 points by fjabre 1 day ago 1 reply      

Using it in a recent project and it's been working great for us.

2 points by mikeytown2 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was hoping HandlerSocket would be in here. If you don't know about it, check it out http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1886137
4 points by jchrisa 1 day ago 1 reply      
Couch actually uses a first-write wins model (MVCC optimistic concurrency) not a last-write-wins model. The difference between those two is huge.
1 point by laran 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice writeup. A good survey of some key tools in the NoSQL space. Thanks!
1 point by ares2012 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm curious why you wouldn't include HBase as it's the dominant solution for NoSQL in systems requiring data consistency?
Do something new every day in 2011 something-new.org
4 points by jevans 4 hours ago   1 comment top
1 point by jevans 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably not even to the point of being a minimum viable product yet, but I've ran out of time (it's past midnight!) so here it is. The idea is to enable tracking/sharing inspiration for doing something new every day in 2011. The inspirational subreddit is here: http://www.reddit.com/r/somethingnew

The code's available here: https://github.com/artfuldodger/Something-New

I'm pretty new to RoR and am a horrible designer. If anyone wants to jump in and help, that'd be awesome.

       cached 1 January 2011 11:59:02 GMT