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1
The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks theatlantic.com
56 points by ssclafani 2 hours ago   18 comments top 10
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7 points by Matt_Cutts 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Good for Facebook. From the article, it sounds like they did two major things: 1) shift all Tunisian IP addresses to https instead of http. 2) anyone who logged out/in while the keylogger code was running was shown a social CAPTCHA. The CAPTCHA asks you to identify friends in photos.
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3 points by csomar 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I didn't see a shift from http to https in the protests day. However, pages that report anti-government news, asked their audience to use https://login. so they can open censored pages.

Back to Facebook, it had played a very important role and was key to the protests success. In the past, information is spread through word of mouth. There isn't trust, when it's spread that way and also no images or videos. The information that arrives isn't quite adequate.

Emails and forums are good, but due to Video websites censoring, they can't play an important role, since only a few fraction of the Web users in Tunisia can run a proxy.

Facebook changed everything, anti-gov. pages have from 200K to 600K fans. That's more than the half of the connected Tunisian population. In the last days, activity on Facebook was terrible, I would estimate that I post 50 to 100 videos, status and images; same for my friends.

Information spread essentially from these few pages with huge popularity. In a discussion, Admins seems to be using proxies and VPN to make secure connections and they have an anonymous Facebook account to communicate with the protesters (receive videos, photos, and information).

The urgent news would take only 30 minutes at most to spread through the network. Most of my friends, spend all the night (and dawn?) until late 4 and 5 A.M.

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2 points by pilif 1 hour ago 2 replies      
A couple of things:

1)how sure can we be that switching to SSL really got rid of the sniffing going on? I'm asking because I assume that it's totally within the capabilities of the government to sneak-install a CA certificate on clients.

Or they don't bother and trust people to just click through the security warning.

2) is that "identify your friends" check maybe a bit pointless as the needed answers can probably be determined using data from already hacked accounts.

3) playing devil's advocate here: if the laws of Tunesia allow for the government to do such things, is it Facebooks place to violate those laws? And: could they be pressed into giving away that data anyways due to political pressure from wherever?

I wouldn't use Facebook to post anything that I would not want a third party to see - unless I encrypted it beforehand.

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2 points by ilamont 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I admire the company for the steps that it took to protect the passwords of Tunisian users, but the story of how it responded surely can't help its efforts to get into China and other states that rely on information control to stifle dissent.
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2 points by gojomo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Bravo, Facebook.

In short, there were indications that the government was swiping passwords on each new Facebook login. Within days, Facebook switched all Tunisian sessions to HTTPS, and required people whose passwords had likely been compromised to go through a password-reset based on identifying pictures of friends.

(Also, the article suggests that Facebook is a more important news and organizing outlet in Tunisia than Twitter.)

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5 points by payothl 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is in french but the code used by the Tunisian dictatorship is here: http://www.hackerzvoice.net/node/105
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2 points by piramida 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"The country's Internet service providers were running a malicious piece of code that was recording users' login information when they went to sites like Facebook."

Right, for all those pre-21st century sites that still don't enforce SSL for authorization. It should be a standard, not a counter-measure.

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1 point by bcx 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Perhaps the article doesn't have enough detail in it. But it sounds like ISPs were just sniffing HTTP packets for usernames and passwords.

It doesn't sound like a directed attack on facebook, though perhaps it was a session replay attack.

The real question for me, is why didn't facebook already require SSL login.

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1 point by Joakal 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
What's happening to the ISPs for collaborating with the previous government on these requests?
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1 point by wyuenho 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Mmm, does that mean the Tunisian ISP modified the login pages from Facebook to include a key logger?
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500 Startups: How to Create A Startup in Japan (In 10 Easy Steps) 500startups.com
20 points by robert_mygengo 1 hour ago   8 comments top 5
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4 points by davemc500hats 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Robert: how do programming talent & costs in Japan compare with US / other locations?
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3 points by scottcard 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Love the quote "if the probability of 'risk X' is lower than the probability of your company not surviving to the next milestone, forget about it." It's like an extreme transformation of the 80/20 rule to apply to the world of startups.
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1 point by mono 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this post and the funny title.
Main lesson: take your business serious but focus on more than this.
"The great path has no gate".
-Masanobu Fukuoka
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1 point by mskyrm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Very sound advice from some outstanding entrepreneurs with a great business here in Tokyo!
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1 point by Schmelsson 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Cool! Looks like these guys are really doin it!
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Show HN: EDW, quantitative analytics, machine learning. mediafederation.com
42 points by a904guy 3 hours ago   14 comments top 9
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4 points by michael_dorfman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Based on the headline, I was really expecting a post explaining that edw519 had been silently replaced by a bot for the past few weeks, and that we've all been participants in a Turing Test.

For a moment there, I was seriously impressed.

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9 points by aothman 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks impressive, particularly if those are real trading results.

One concern I immediately have is overfitting, particularly for claims about how various difficult values have been optimized to be the "best possible". It looks like the parameter space in use is truly enormous and so it would be very easy to come up with hypotheses that perform fantastically on your dataset but terribly in real life. This seems like it would be a first-order concern, while the ability to run tests in a single day seems second-order if those tests are producing garbage outputs.

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4 points by benmccann 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why don't the values for year-to-date and month-to-date match? Is it a fake mock or a bug?

Why is Liquid Equity significantly greater than Account Value? Is it another fake mock thing or are you currently employing a leverage slightly greater than 3x?

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3 points by ajays 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks interesting. Even though it's closed-source, the architecture is interesting.

As an amateur, I'm always stymied by the lack of data. For intra-day trading, where do you get the data?

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5 points by copper 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Since this article doesn't mention it clearly, the demo is really nice, and worth a look: http://edwardworthington.com/
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1 point by chr15 1 hour ago 0 replies      
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1 point by spitfire 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you look at his P&L sheet he has some largish drawdowns, with a lot of neutralish trades. I'd prefer to see smaller, but more consistent wins.
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1 point by gaspard 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Applying these engineering forces to build a huge "casino winning" software is a waste. What happens if it works ? We have the over-super-rich who can build and maintain such machines that get richer and the rest of us with debts and taxes. I hope such experiments accelerate towards a Tobin tax: fast speculative machines (nanotrading) will just die away and we will get back to "investment" based trading not casino.
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1 point by b0b0b0b 1 hour ago 0 replies      
When modelling hypothetical trades do you account for slippage and transaction costs?
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CSS3 toggle-button without JavaScript simurai.com
37 points by rafaelc 4 hours ago   13 comments top 6
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8 points by alanh 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Probably goes without saying:

This is pretty cool and fun to inspect & maybe draw inspiration from, but please don't ever use code like this in production. Cool code ≠ reliably cross-browser, accessible, or maintainable code.

Dear downvoters, I'm not criticizing the experiment or the visual appearance of this trick. I love following simurai.

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1 point by mcs 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
I added items to my back button history. Really annoying.
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2 points by ahrjay 2 hours ago 0 replies      
His code uses an invalid technique that go against the spec[1]. You cannot add generated content to a replaced element IE8 and Mozilla follow the spec, webkit and Opera don't. It's a shame that this is the case.

[1]http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-content/#replacedContent

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1 point by ivankirigin 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This fails on chrome on os x. The background windows flashed when toggling.
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1 point by benjoffe 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This doesn't work in Opera.

A better approach in my opinion is to use a checkbox (hidden) with a label pointing to it, then the styling can be applied with the CSS '+' selector, though this won't work with IE6, at least it's using sensible markup.

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1 point by gue5t 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using a more efficient and portable approach for a while. It looks something like this:
http://www.autoplay.org/content/object-icon-checkbox.gif
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Bookmarklet turns any webpage into a wireframe volkside.com
58 points by arpit 6 hours ago   18 comments top 7
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14 points by mcantor 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I feel like a moron for asking this, because clearly at least 18 people liked it enough to upvote without explanation, but...

Why would I want to do this...?

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1 point by vlisivka 7 minutes ago 1 reply      
You may also look at "Topographic view" or "Topographic page layout" bookmarklet. See https://www.squarefree.com/bookmarklets/webdevel.html .
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7 points by matt1 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very cool.

I'm working on something similar, which you might be interested in if you like this. jMockups, my startup, is a web app for designing high fidelity mockups. Kind of like a web-based Photoshop for designing mockups, if that makes more sense. I've been working on a new tool for the last two months that lets you import any existing webpage into jMockups, which means that you will be able to instantly redesign and share any webpage in only a few clicks. It's a bit buggy still which is why I haven't launched it, but I'm really excited about it. Combine that with a wireframe toggle that I plan on adding in a few months, and you've got a killer web-design tool (hopefully). :)

If you're interested in trying it, check out jMockups [1] and if you want early access to the import feature when it becomes available in a few weeks, shoot me an email: matt@jmockups.com.

[1] http://www.jmockups.com

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1 point by seancron 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish it didn't try to wireframe every object on the page.

In my opinion, wireframes are usually more helpful for organizing information on the page, than creating a perfect mockup of what the finished page should look like.

Lots of grey bars, as shown on the wireframe for this page, aren't very useful for organizing information. Instead, they make it seem much more cluttered and complex than it needs to be.

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2 points by jopas 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Mcantor, that's a fair question, please see "Why would anyone want to do that?" in my original introduction: http://www.volkside.com/2010/12/introducing-wirify-the-web-a...

Matt1, jMockups sounds cool, I'll have to have another look. We are currently working on OmniGraffle export for Wirify, here's a preview: http://www.volkside.com/2011/01/preview-exporting-wirify-wir...

Thanks everyone for having a look at Wirify, much appreciated! Give me a shout on Twitter if you like: @jopas

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1 point by jackolas 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems really encumbered, lots of logging, restrictive license...
I mean it seems nice but theres no guarantee its going to be around.
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1 point by waratuman 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Aren't most people trying to go from wireframe to webpage? lol
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Hacker News Tokyo Meetup #5 " Friday, Feb. 4th makeleaps.com
18 points by po 3 hours ago   6 comments top 5
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1 point by Xixi 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
I should be there.
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2 points by atgm 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm interested, but on the fence. How many people usually go to these events?

I live out in Gunma, so a train ticket and hotel room would be a pretty major investment for me.

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2 points by rgrieselhuber 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Any plans for another one between mid-March to mid-April? :-)
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1 point by jamii 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Bah, I leave Tokyo on the 2nd. Any HNers want to grab a beer before then?
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1 point by itaru 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Will show up.
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Tim Cook Is Running Apple, but Not Imitating Steve Jobs nytimes.com
88 points by ssclafani 8 hours ago   45 comments top 11
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18 points by staunch 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Most people seem to be in complete denial.

No one else could have done what Jobs did with Apple in the past 10 years. No one else will be able to do it in the next 10 years.

Replacing one multi-talented genius with five talented geniuses does not produce the same result.

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18 points by SoftwareMaven 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This quote, IMO, is telling:

"While Mr. Jobs obsesses over every last detail of Apple's products, Mr. Cook obsesses over the less glamorous minutiae of Apple's operations."

That is why I agree with Bob Cringley that Cook won't be Apple's next CEO. I think having somebody who doesn't obsess about the products is the wrong thing at Apple. You can have a COO obsess about running the details.

3
14 points by iamclovin 5 hours ago 4 replies      
I have to say I'm kinda surprised that no one has mentioned Jony Ive as a potential successor. Successive keynotes have given me the impression that Jobs trusts Ive and Ive seems to have a similar obsession for making beautiful things. I even remember Jobs referring to Ive as one his best friends.

Jony Ive and Tim Cook in my mind will form a very potent team.

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25 points by mcritz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple will be fine. My heart goes out to Steve & his family.
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7 points by dr_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
When Thomas Edison passed, innovation did not come to a halt. Steve Jobs may well recover from his illness, I certainly hope he does, but nevertheless like the rest of us he is not immortal. At some point in the future, and maybe it's even happening now but we don't realize it yet, another innovative genius will come along and change the world. Maybe not at Apple, but somewhere. This is pretty much a guarantee.
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5 points by fnazeeri 7 hours ago 5 replies      
Given Jobs' medical history and the high profile of AAPL, I'm really, really surprised that the company has not telegraphed a management succession plan.
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4 points by taitems 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Man those Samsung ads were obnoxious, any time I got remotely close to them they kept triggering. And clicking the close "x" took me to their desired website. Frustrating.
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1 point by epynonymous 1 hour ago 0 replies      
an aside firstly, new york times is horrible for forcing you to register to read articles!

though jobs is great at delivering marketing launches and making sure things get done the right way, jonathan ives was strongly behind the soft and hard interface designs of most of the past few years' apple gear, this will not change anytime soon.

what probably changes are the wwdc's and product launches, they won't be as cool, but who cares, you'll still buy product.

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1 point by g0atbutt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For those that hit the NYtimes ridiculous pay-wall, this login is available:

username: jack@splat.com
password: fthis

I got it from bugmenot.

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1 point by colinprince 7 hours ago 0 replies      
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Delegate or die: the self-employed trap sivers.org
352 points by razin 17 hours ago   66 comments top 21
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20 points by DevX101 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I agree with the importance of delegating, but perhaps the work-at-home, not getting any questions after two months was also related to a major employee problem Derek mentioned somewhere in another post: employees began to feel as if he was too distant, they were doing all the work, etc, etc.

If I recall correctly, there was mutiny brewing among the employees and was the main reason he decided to sell the company.

This doesn't take away from what I think is great advice in this post, but maybe those employee issues were inevitable side effects from the super-delegation approach.

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60 points by StavrosK 17 hours ago replies      
To be honest, though, you already had 98% of the delegation problem solved. The biggest hurdle isn't telling employees "here's what we stand for, I trust you to make decisions according to our philosophy". The biggest hurdle is to actually find people you can trust with it. It sounds like you already had a team of competent, skilled people whom you just micromanaged, and then realised they were competent enough to act on their own and let them.

This is trivial compared to actually finding such people (at least for me, I guess).

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5 points by cookiecaper 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I learned about this at one of my old corporate employers. One of our local contractors was ostensibly doing very well, and I presume he was making a lot of money, but when he wanted to go on vacation, he couldn't leave for over eight months because of his obligations that he had to personally fulfill for clients. Seeing this and thinking about the futility of being self-employed in the name of freedom but running your business such that you are more trapped than a normal "working-for-the-man job" in almost every sense, I decided I would always delegate aggressively when I had the opportunity to do so in my own businesses.

What's the point in having millions of dollars if you have never the time to enjoy any of it? Also, a company that is overly dependent on one individual is unable to ever exceed the capacity of that individual; he becomes a bottleneck that slows (usually to a complete stop) the growth of the whole company. In a few years when he finally cracks, the whole thing goes down with him.

I'm glad Derek found this out before it all collapsed; many business owners don't.

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4 points by melvinram 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Sivers,

I'm in the process of doing this exact thing myself. I'm creating on average 5 training videos a day since my business is pretty much all web and information based.

I've already started being a lot more productive. One thing that I hadn't thought of was having them create the training themselves.

The first draft of these videos are fairly crude as it's mostly a brain dump and I'm figuring out the best way to explain what is in my head. This means sometimes I spend 15-20 mins to create a 5 minute video or 2 hrs to create a 22 min one (example from yesterday) when you take into account retakes and editing.

I could just create a crude one and just have them create the clean version after they learn it. It would save me at least an hour a day. Not too shabby. Thanks for that.

Mel

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9 points by seltzered 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Derek, you've been a huge inspiration for me, but I remember hearing you say at a conference that your employees started to hate you a while after working remotely -- to the point that you shutoff the website for a few hours to realize you needed to sell the company.

Do you have any thoughts on what can be done to keep rappore up amongst employees in the office while still working remotely?

NOTE: sorry I don't remember where you said it, might've been towards the end of your lessconf presentation http://b.lesseverything.com/2010/2/3/derek-sivers-speaks-at-...

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9 points by stellar678 16 hours ago 2 replies      
What did you do to keep the manual clear and organized enough to be useful? Many companies I've worked with have an internal wiki for information like this, but things seem to go south pretty quickly and it becomes hard to distinguish stale content from relevant content.
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5 points by beagle3 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Not a lot of love on HN for Tim Ferriss, but his first book "The 4 Hour Work Week" is a great discussion of the self-employed trap.
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1 point by eliben 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My experience is that this applies to "normal" management as well, not only self-employed. A manager of a team above some size can't possible know and control everything. Either he finds a way to delegate, or his team will be disfunctional.
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3 points by KevBurnsJr 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This level of communication is hugely important not just to employers but employees as well.

I want to know that my boss trusts me enough to let me make these sorts of decisions.

Bad managers will not bother to rise to this level of communication - or in some cases will purposefully withhold it in order to maintain their dominance.

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3 points by dave1619 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems like the author built a good system for operations that required little of his time, so he could focus on innovation. It's interesting that in order to delegate operations, he had to build a system (or manual in this case) to train people and keep standards consistent.

Derek - I'm curious how you handled innovation. Was it by yourself? Or did you have a team for that?

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2 points by markessien 10 hours ago 0 replies      
One important thing in delegation, I find is to not fix things yourselves, even when they would be easy to fix for you. Explain the theory behind it and let them fix it themselves, next time they do it better.

Also, if you over-delegate, make sure you have properly consolidated power at the top. When your employees get too independent, they start to get ideas about creating their own company or they start refusing to take instructions.

12
1 point by MrFlibble 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hire smart people and let them do their job. If you can, after a few weeks break in period turn them loose and step back unless a serious problem arises.

Micromanagement = Macrofuckups

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4 points by cyrus_ 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like the advice about asking your employees to keep a manual where answers are kept. Way better than trying to start with some sort of comprehensive statement of principles.
14
3 points by tristanperry 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Great advise. And I too recommend The E-Myth Revisted by Michael Gerber; it's definitely a great book and can really help to establish in one's mind the right way to go about working on your business and not in it, a key distinction.
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1 point by gord 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Dereks post are invariably excellent..

Im sure Im not the only person expecting him to publish a physical book with all these articles in one place.

Title?

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1 point by rokhayakebe 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a technical problem. In companies the same questions get answered forty times. I finally gave up and spent a weekend writing an app that fixed the problem for me.
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1 point by tedroden 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Love this idea. I build my entire business around it: http://www.fancyhands.com
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1 point by zeynel1 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems a better explanation of "process" than attempted here http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2131105
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1 point by maheshs 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I read somewhere "If you are the candidate of work it is difficult to delegate".
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0 points by mableflapster 12 hours ago 0 replies      
hmm, this smells kind of familiar. Some of it is almost a direct quote from page 110 of "4-hour workweek". Good advice for sure, but I question the originality.
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0 points by mono 12 hours ago 0 replies      
No need to read the article. The title is all you need to know!
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Rob Pike: Geek of the Week simple-talk.com
36 points by signa11 5 hours ago   4 comments top
1
8 points by signa11 5 hours ago 1 reply      
this is my favorite take away from the whole thing:

That need to rewrite is important and often neglected when coding. Modern programming languages, especially object-oriented ones, are interface heavy. This means that before you can make anything happen you need to write down a lot of preliminaries, often making important API decisions before the best design has emerged. Once it does emerge, there's so much written down already that it feels counterproductive to back up and rework the interfaces. These languages create a penalty for rewriting that encourages working around early design mistakes rather than fixing them. I believe this dependence on interfaces before code is a major reason for programs being so much bigger than they used to be.

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3 Features everyone must borrow from Facebook codingwithlove.com
5 points by Void_ 1 hour ago   1 comment top
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1 point by henrikschroder 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Uhm, why mention Facebook if you don't list three features that are unique to Facebook or were pioneered by them? Seriously, invites, notifications and comments are hardly new concepts. They're good concepts, but they have nothing to do with Facebook.

If you want to mention something that was pioneered by Facebook and that you should copy, then it's the use of real names instead of usernames or handles. This feature is what allowed people to connect with each other over Facebook when having no other communication channel, i.e. reconnecting with old friends or classmates.

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How to use PR Firms at Startups (bothsidesofthetable.com)
12 points by manoloe 3 hours ago   1 comment top
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1 point by mariust 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Indeed a nice article, I think that PR is very important for a startup, I would say that is viral, we all know todays startups from press, and when we visit they're link we become users if the product they offer is indeed one of the best on the market
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How I Screwed Yasser Arafat out of $2mm (and lost $100mm in the process) jamesaltucher.com
5 points by cturner 54 minutes ago   discuss
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Sean Parker: "The Social Network" is a complete work of fiction thenextweb.com
77 points by rblion 10 hours ago   41 comments top 15
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29 points by numair 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is sort of a bunch of BS, but I think it shows what a great guy Parker is underneath it all. Eduardo was a real asshole to Parker for a long time (please do remember that Eduardo was the guy who basically dictated the story in that cheap book), which I never understood -- after all, it was Parker's mad genius that created most of Eduardo's wealth. Perhaps Eduardo has finally gotten over himself and "forgiven" Parker for making him a billionaire, since this re-writing of history is far from how things were even 6 months ago.

The movie wasn't all that inaccurate. Sean Parker is crazy. The thing you don't see in the movie, however, is that Parker's craziness is actually what made Facebook successful, and what took it from being another boring nerd project to the center of modern culture.

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5 points by neilk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A tangent to this: I happened to look at Eduardo Saverin's Wikipedia page today, and there's this ongoing problem of people rewriting it to reflect what happened in the movie. Because they sincerely believe it's accurate, I guess.

In the movie, Aaron Sorkin has one of his characters deliver a strong rebuke about how blogging can cause permanent damage to reputation. But he himself doesn't seem to feel the same responsibility when writing a major Hollywood picture.

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15 points by corin_ 9 hours ago 1 reply      
A small point, but one that really irks me because so many websites do it.

  *in his own words, "the movie is a complete work of fiction."*

Actually they weren't his own words, they were words that TNW added in to give it context. They should have written:

  *in his own words, "[the movie is] a complete work of fiction."*

You can't take two different parts of what somebody said and stich them together, even if it makes it more clear what was meant, it's still misquoting.

edit: Same point about the other quotes they take, most of them are edited away from his actual wording.

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12 points by diego_moita 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Regardless of what Parker says, isn't it obvious that the movie forces too much in the most elemental Hollywood clichés? There are many scenes in the movie that show the manipulation:

* A bus full of hot girls arriving to be used for sex

* A programming competition where the crowd cheers at each line of coded Python. The coders drink a shot to commemorate.

* The hero hacks one site in one night when drunk and in 2 hours it crashes the network

* All nerds are socially inept but still Zuck has psychological insights about what the site needs to succeed.

* Teenagers outsmarting experienced lawyers with witty responses.

* Sex, booze and testosterone is what drives every man.

Really?

5
1 point by yardie 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sean Parker sort of reminds of a couple of guys that lived in the neighborhood I grew up in. If you ever saw the documentary Cocaine Cowboys these are those guys. Guys with humble beginnings as pilots and fishermen (in the 80s before the war on drugs got the DEA AWACS and nightvision) that stumbled onto something that made them insanely rich. After hearing their stories about 80s Miami and reading stories about Parker I can totally draw the parallels between them.

Its quite possible that most of the other characters were fictional but the writer seems to have nailed him.

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8 points by twidlit 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a feeling that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Sean Parker has a lot to gain by dismissing his portrayal as fiction. While Eduardo Saverin has lots of reason to demonize him, I would think it has some grain of truth to it. After all, if Parker is such a swell guy, why is he kicked out of every company he founded?

For the movie, I think Sorkin just created one dimensional people from character nuggets to serve the story he was trying to weave.

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2 points by davidmathers 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Sean Parker was one of Nick Denton's favorite subjects back in the Valleywag days. e.g.:

This friend showed up with her boss for the meeting, and Parker was nowhere to be found. The receptionist said Parker hadn't been there all day, she didn't know where he was, and didn't know how to reach him, and suggested they wait. So wait they did " for nearly an hour, at which point a bedraggled looking Parker showed up wearing sunglasses and looking unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed.

Undaunted, they began the meeting, hoping to close the deal that day. Barely a few minutes into the meeting, Parker interrupted the AllPosters exec's presentation and said he couldn't concentrate, volunteering that the reason he couldn't concentrate was that he'd just woken up " he said he'd been up all night partying with some "friends" he had met out at a club. He then proudly took out his camera phone, called up some pictures of he and a friend in various states of undress with tawdry-looking topless girls, and asked "what do you think " pretty hot, huh?" as he slid the phone across the table to them.

http://valleywag.gawker.com/221242/sean-parker-would-rather-...

8
18 points by citricsquid 10 hours ago 0 replies      
who'da thunk it?
9
4 points by 37prime 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The movie "Social Network" is a Fiction inspired by real life event. The story itself was re-created from pieces of one sided stories and some publicly available records.

The movie would be really boring if it were following the real life story. Aaron Sorkin is making it into a movie, not a re-enactment.

During the productions, many of the crews were laughing when they heard Justin Timberlake was cast as Sean Parker. Especially for those who know of Sean Parker based on their research and personal knowledge. David Fincher is really particular about making this movie, because it is his passion.

Consider "The Social Network" as a movie inspired but not based on true event.

10
2 points by brc 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not surprised by this. In fact prior to sitting down to look at HN I was reading 'the accidental billionaires' while (ahem) taking care of business. Of all the characters portrayed in the film (and book), Parker is the one played by the 'star'. It is him that is shown to have a lavish lifestyle of drinking and womanising. He is the protagonist to Eduardo, he is the one caught by the cops. Clearly the book and thus film is heavily slanted towards Eduardo's point of view - the others didn't contribute - so Parker probably got off the worst.

I've no idea of the level of fiction, but clearly his character must have a fair bit of it. And if it were me, I'd be making sure that level of doubt was clearly established in people's minds.

11
3 points by mcantor 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Jeez, is everyone a god damn expert on Facebook now?
12
3 points by toddh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That's probably why it made such a good movie. Hard to imagine how boring the real-life version would be.
13
4 points by desigooner 9 hours ago 0 replies      
guess it's been a while since Parker was in the news ..
14
1 point by elvirs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Parker must have hated the cocaine and underage girls scenes.
15
1 point by swah 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Couldn't have imagined those two (Parker and Coelho) talking about Facebook.
15
Teeth LEDs nytimes.com
49 points by ryvita 8 hours ago   25 comments top 12
1
23 points by kmfrk 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I sometimes wish that people's personalities were printed on their forehead, so I could stop wasting my time on the obnoxious and stupid ones.

This comes pretty close to fulfilling that wish.

2
5 points by hugh3 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Some random Japanese trends are destined to go mainstream in the west, while others aren't. This seems to fall firmly into the latter category.
3
1 point by loup-vaillant 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hem, the photos and the second videos are fake. The light sometimes doesn't match the mouth.

The first video is quite funny, though.

4
6 points by theklub 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty sure people have been putting glo-sticks in their mouths to accomplish this very effect for many years. The concept isn't new.
5
3 points by corin_ 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I found http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Throwies/ far more interesting than the teeth lights.
6
2 points by wnoise 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Body decoration is nearly a human universal -- it's unsurprising that new technology will be adopted for this, though whether this particular fad will take root is doubtful.
7
2 points by fleitz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to see these on the playa this year.
8
2 points by tomhenderson 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny to see this on HN after seeing something very similar at a Ramstein concert on Friday night. The singer has a cheek piercing which he feeds a wire through to light up his mouth.

Good photo here: http://en.affenknecht.com/first-professional-pictures-from-t...

9
1 point by apitaru 4 hours ago 0 replies      
While this particular project seems like a novelty item, I recommend taking a closer look at Daito, one of the artist-hackers mentioned in the article. I enjoyed digging a bit deeper into the works on his site.

http://www.daito.ws/

10
1 point by jhen095 6 hours ago 1 reply      
These would be pretty cool with a few extra features. Say flashing in time with music or sound as you are speaking. Or wirelessly connected so that they sink and can act out 'symphonies' of light displays. Great for advertising!
11
1 point by kujawa 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I think JWZ put it best when he said "Dear Japanese people ..."
12
-2 points by raphar 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The concept is not worthless: It could be a useful punishment to give these 'glowing teeths' to the avatars of cheating/bad behaviour players in your favourite online game.

It would have been a success in counter-strike!

17
eBooks compiled from top StackOverflow topics/answers hewgill.com
167 points by Tycho 16 hours ago   35 comments top 14
1
8 points by chrisaycock 15 hours ago 0 replies      
A similar set-up I like is FAQoverflow:

http://www.faqoverflow.com/

Instead of eBooks, the content is visible directly in the browser.

2
2 points by kunjaan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to view these in my android?

Nevermind, figured it out. Downloaded Amazon Kindle, moved the downloaded file to the kindle folder in the sdcard.

3
1 point by kanru 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For the curious of how this was compiled, and the source:

http://ghewgill.livejournal.com/145305.html

4
7 points by wybo 15 hours ago 4 replies      
Neat, but .pdf's would have been nice...
5
3 points by thirsteh 14 hours ago 1 reply      
wget commands for all of the books: http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=HWnj8hBC
6
1 point by enterneo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
suggestions for a mobi viewer for Mac OS X?
7
1 point by thomas11 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Excellent! I just loaded a few on my Kindle, and they work great. Thanks!
8
1 point by minhajuddin 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The author should probably provide links to zipped versions of the file. Would definitely save his and other's bandwidth.
9
3 points by maxer 11 hours ago 0 replies      
would have paid for this
10
2 points by teichman 11 hours ago 2 replies      
What do people use for viewing .mobi files on linux?
11
1 point by RobGR 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Can you give any information or share any scripts about how you generated and converted these ?
12
1 point by nibblebot 6 hours ago 0 replies      
brilliant idea, stackoverflow on kindle :)
13
1 point by daniel_iversen 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well done, that's very neat and useful! Thanks.
14
1 point by topbanana 14 hours ago 0 replies      
What a great idea. Thanks
18
Making sense of your credit card labnol.org
11 points by varunkumar 3 hours ago   5 comments top 3
1
1 point by corin_ 20 minutes ago 1 reply      
I feel I'm being moronic, and will come back to this in an hour or so once I've finished some work and do the maths again... but I've checked with four cards (two credit cards, two debit cards, all VISA) and none of them result in a number divisible by ten. Results were 107, 98, 107, 106.

Having read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luhn_algorithm I'm either doing it right, or I'm way more tired than I thought. Each card number is 16 digits long, so for (from the left) digits 1, 3, etc. I double them, then I add the sum of those doubles to digits 2, 4, etc.

i.e.

  1234 1234 1234 1234

Would be:

  ((1 * 2) + 2 + (3 * 2) + 4) * 4

I feel really dumb for writing that out given it's already written out in this article, and on Wikipedia, but either I am being really dumb or my four cards are all invalid.

EDIT: Here is an old card number (card is long expired), and to be safe I've swapped various numbers around (but only swapped even position numbers with each other, and odd position numbers with each other, so it shouldn't effect the check sum). Could someone kindly tell me if I'm being an idiot?

  5658 4612 3826 9730

2
1 point by mcantelon 1 hour ago 1 reply      
>9 is national assignment

...as in state applications, like national ID cards?

3
1 point by Sniffnoy 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
That's a weird way of doing checksums. Summing digits preserves residues mod 9, yet the final check is mod 10. Weird.

(Now how do the 3 additional verification digits on the back work?)

19
The end of the "Comics Code Authority" comicsbeat.com
15 points by jcr 4 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
6 points by jcr 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a lot more (damaging) information on the "Comics Code Authority" in its wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics_Code_Authority

They're responsible for not just censorship but also fear mongering, racism, sexism, and the list of abuses goes on and on.

2
4 points by brudgers 3 hours ago 0 replies      
>"the paranoid days of the commie scare " a period much shorter in its reign than the current post 9/11 world"

In the US "red scares" started just after the Bolshevik Revolution and the cable networks are still ranting about socialists nearly 100 years later. Long after Mcarthyism passed, public high schools still had mandatory "comparative economics" courses as a requirement for graduation.

20
Who is Mark Bao? Meet the 18-year old entrepreneur behind Threewords.me thenextweb.com
92 points by dwynings 13 hours ago   53 comments top 7
1
21 points by markbao 10 hours ago replies      
Thank you all so much for the awesome support. :) It's been a pretty insane roller coaster of a month, and I'm (unfortunately) starting college again in a few hours.

The interesting part of all this is that it's actually helping me develop my next step. Not in terms of startups, but in terms of life. In other words, is college something I'm sticking with long-term? Or is time of the essence and the need (and my parents' need) for a degree less vital?

Edit: also, how good is the startup community in NYC? I love the city, but not sure about the startup environment.

2
14 points by Aetius 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Amy Chua would be proud ;).

Congrats Mark! I'm always happy to see young entrepreneurs do well.

3
10 points by iag 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Gotta give credit where credit is due. Mark, congrats on successfully selling off Threewords.me. Best of luck in your next startup.
4
2 points by lzell 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Mark, congratulations on the sale and good luck with your future businesses. In the video linked above, you say that you don't know for sure what caused threewords.me to go big after a few days of little activity. Do you have any theories?
5
2 points by leon_ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Hmm, a guy gets lucky and sells a really simple website and is now an entrepreneur/hacker genius?

It's stuff like this that makes me wanna read HN less.

6
1 point by axod 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool to see a writeup on a success :)

Doesn't say what everyone wants to know though - how much it sold for.

Also this is funny and sums up the domain name business for me:

> "He finally sold to Kevin Ham, an Internet entrepreneur who owns 300 million in domain names including God.com and Satan.com."

  god.com gets no traffic
satan.com fares even worse

Just because you have a one word english name .com domain, doesn't mean anything.

7
15 points by jraines 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Mark has been an active member of this community for 3 years. So while it might not be of interest to someone who wandered in from Techcrunch two months ago, some people are interested in a story about someone they've seen on HN for a long time.
21
Ask HN: What company were you at when the dot-com bubble burst in mid 2000?
24 points by TheBiv 3 hours ago   21 comments top 18
1
1 point by po 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I had just left a mobile healthcare company (Palm VII's and Palm V's with a giant data sled!!!) I had founded in college with some friends that was doomed for failure.

I had just graduated and started at a small mobile company (hockey-stick growth!) that was trying to convince distributors that putting cell phones in Coke machines to call home was a good idea. I was told the company was planning to double in size that year. I was the last guy they hired.

About 4 months later I got laid off when the company went from 60 employees down to about 10 in one afternoon. I felt horrible. I then went through a get-hired/layoff cycle despite giving 110% effort at each new job. Oddly enough, each new position paid better and I sharpened my skills. I learned the art of the interview, and I learned that sometimes getting laid off has nothing to do with you.

Being rejected and forced to claw my way into the field with little experience was good for me, but for a while I overvalued job security.

I learned this: always have a few months living expenses in the bank. When the music stops, you won't have time to run and grab a chair. Live on Ramen and pickles until you have saved up enough and then make that number your new "empty". If you increase your cost of living, increase your reserve. Bank account:2mos is the new Inbox:0

2
2 points by muhfuhkuh 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was in a software company with a product that made it easier to interoperate with different OSes. I was doing tech support on e-mail and phone duty and did QA work on the side.

The #1 thing is to sniff out the signs of a poorly run company which, believe me, even if you couldn't care less about the machinations of business much less have never run one, you can still see the warning flags a country mile away.

When there is no clear oversight of who is keeping tabs, you're in trouble. This ill-fated company company had a staff at most 60 and yet we had a tech closet with _literally_ a laundry basket full of RAM; for WHAT? I had no idea. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

I knew it was over about 6 months later when the CEO hired a friend to run marketing and the guy ordered Aeron chairs for him and his hangers-on "team". Then we had a huge blowout shindig replete with house band, Filet Mignon and an open bar. Everyone was completely wasted and well-fed. It was glorious.

3 months later we were all laid off.

3
2 points by InclinedPlane 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was working at a tiny company (at times just me and the president/owner) providing shopping cart SaaS. Initially I quit 'cause I was tired of working there but continued on as a contractor at higher pay for several months. I left completely when they stopped being able to pay me. I can't tell if they're still around but the company certainly hasn't lived up to its potential, they never made a serious investment in technology and have fallen hugely behind all of the competition.

My title was irrelevant due to the size of the company.

Short lessons? Probably to get out sooner rather than later when you recognize deep problems in a company.

I wish I knew how much my skills were worth back then and a better way to market them.

4
2 points by masonmark 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
In 2003 I was just a few years out of college, working for ClickSitez Japan, K.K., a startup trying to convince VCs that people were going to do their photos on the interweb tubes. We had angel funding and a prototype/demo with one and only one error-free path through it (the "shining path", one of our advisors called it, and the name stuck). We on the engineering side divided our time between coding the prototype and helping the bizdev guys pitch it to anybody who'd listen: VCs, other dot-coms, even NTT.

My business card read VP/UX, which was supposed to mean "Vice President, User Experience". Like a lot of dot-com startups at the time, we had like 7 vice presidents of this or that, with only 2 staffers below VP level.

What I actually did know then, and simply wish I had factored into my decision-making processes more, was that the dot-com bubble was a bubble and that trying to play the stock game in a bubble isn't fundamentally different from playing blackjack. Bootstrapping is preferable to chasing investors, in retrospect.

Of course, everybody knew it was a bubble; the technology stock analyst I was dating at the time told me, "Yeah. It's a bubble, but it's still paying out. So there will still be money to be made here, until the day comes that it was a bubble."

It was March 2000 when that day came, as near as I can recall. We never got that next funding round, and as it started to become clear that the party was over, the three of us who could code went our separate ways, and the company was acquired by some short-lived web consulting company, which was in turn acquired by somebody else, and ultimately was bought by the posterboy of dot-com Internet flameouts, marchFIRST.

The most valuable lesson that has stuck with me is that none of these people--investors, analysts, "experts", bosses, underlings, dot-celebrities of the day--knew what the hell they were talking about.

I'm not saying that I did, mind you--nobody did. That's why these things are assigned descriptors like "revolutionary, disruptive technological paradigm shift". Because nobody knows what the hell all the effects are going to be.

Not many of the things such hyperbolic labels are applied to actually turn out to do all that much disrupting. But the dot-com revolution was different--it was a bona-fide Gutenberg-level event, and for all the billions of dollars that were bandied about and the huge transfers of wealth and the frenzied investment in it, that was really just a pretty minor part of the whole picture. The impact of the Internet becoming a mainstream part of modern human society goes much deeper than that.

And that's what made it fun to be living and breathing every day. Despite all the missed opportunities and inevitable what-ifs looking back, I'm glad I was there.

5
1 point by tomh 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was working for a IT recruiting company, managing a team that essentially was pulling down and parsing every resume from the job sites at that time - Monster.com, Dice.com, HotJobs, etc. Recruiters were on the phone every day to try and find guys who knew all the 'hot' tech at the time - Vignette was a really big ticket item, for example, with six-figure salaries and a high percent for recruiters.

It wasn't a 'boiler room' mentality--far from it--and we had plans to really grow, after creating our own database of resumes.

Of course, that ran out of steam when the bust came and there was only really one company which had the resume database market covered, and that was Monster. By that time, I had moved on to another company called ArsDigita. Hmm, out of the frying pan...

6
1 point by jolan 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
Motorola. "Remote Access Server/Software Deployment Engineer".

I learned that I never wanted to work for a big company again. It was a big ordeal to a manager's sized cubicle for me so I'd have the proper space to do my job (build and image servers).

The good things I learned were process/project management, UNIX in a production environment, and an appreciation for Sun workstations.

7
3 points by robflynn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was working for a company in Irvine, CA that did VoIP/telephony.

Some of our stuff was pretty neat. We ended up open sourcing part of the project. It was a C++/CORBA system that allowed for passing of messages of different types (calendar, bulletin board, e-mail, faxes, and voicemails) across the various transports.

It looks like the sourceforge site still exists: http://tucan.sourceforge.net

Ironically, the company was called Difinium at the time it folded and I ended up moving from there to Digium doing similar things with Asterisk.

8
1 point by aeden 1 hour ago 0 replies      
CTO at a domain registrar. Our company actually survived the pop and eventually was "sold" for other reasons. The main things I learned from that experience was that it is important to be conscious of competitor pricing and how it affects your market. It's ok to be more expensive than your competitors, but you have to differentiate to back that up. Being expensive just because you're ignoring the marketplace will end up causing trouble. Also, be frugal and focus (although I don't think I really learned this until after I failed numerous other times - sometimes I still wonder if I have learned the lesson).
9
2 points by dpcan 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I was a developer at a startup that specialized in creating some cool fleet management software for the trucking industry, as well as some way-ahead-of-its-time mobile technology (WAP).

I personally believe that if this company re-booted and started up again today, it would rock.

10
1 point by davidw 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was working at Linuxcare. I wish I knew more about business and economics then - I was pretty focused on the open source stuff.
11
1 point by pan69 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was working as a developer for a large outsourcing organisation (Capgemini) in Europe at that time. What I remember the most is the enormous amount of middle-management that was retrenched. Most people I knew in tech seem to have made it through the burst in one piece back then.
12
1 point by warmfuzzykitten 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
WebGain, a company that could not have existed without the bubble, though it staggered on through 2001. First wave of layoffs in November, the company died 5 months later.

Taught me to never value stock options more than common sense.

13
0 points by philfreo 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was 13 or 14...
14
1 point by toadi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm getting so old I already have experienced several bubble bursts ;)
15
0 points by wlievens 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Born in '83, so in 2000 I was in high school :-)
16
1 point by ericgs 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Wasn't the .com bubble more mid-90's than mid-2000's?
17
1 point by Strunk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm from '90, so in school... :)
18
0 points by phirephly 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Cupertino Middle School. B-)
22
Always pay your web developers utilitybidder.co.uk
282 points by twapi 1 day ago   100 comments top 25
1
75 points by patio11 1 day ago 5 replies      
As much as I like "Geek wins, hah!", I would suggest not modeling this as a good practice for self-employed folks here. It is 2011: GoogLinkedBookTwitEtc have ensured that you have exactly one professional reputation. You may think future clients will see the righteousness of your actions. Consider whether available evidence suggests that you are a good judge of the character of clients.

Come back to this post in two months if you don't buy this prediction: it is highly likely he doesn't get paid.

There are better ways to avoid nonpayment. Work with better customers - reputation works both ways. Get references if required. For projects of nontrivial length, agree to milestones and bill on successful completion. Delivery of functional code should practically always be a milestone, which would eliminate most of the downside risk here. Charge a premium, both to scare away bad clients and to cover the numerous sources of risk to your ability to pay rent, of which total refusal to pay is only one.

2
34 points by jasonkester 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Anybody who's done any consulting has run into this client before: Things are going great, then for seemingly innocuous reasons, invoices start taking longer to pay. Eventually you find yourself six weeks out and start asking plain questions over the phone. Things rapidly go downhill from there.

The key in situations like this is to always stay professional. Stop working immediately and make it clear that you'll start going again as soon as the check clears, but stick to the high road. The client will turn petty on you, will come up with all sorts of slanderous attacks on you, your work, and your character. That's fine. Let him vent. Then calmly explain once again the concept of "work for hire", and how you're perfectly happy to continue doing work for him, provided he pays his bills.

This may or may not work. On the off chance he pays up, you get to put him on weekly invoices payable immediately on receipt. If it doesn't, chances are you're out a bunch of money. Either way, try to suppress your natural geek sense of vengeance. You're the professional here. Never act otherwise.

Now, as a pro, you do have one option. Since your invoices are itemized and dated, and source control is itemized and dated, you're well within your rights to accurately roll back the deliverable to the state it was in after the last paid bill. Tell the client that you don't want him to pay for any work that he's not 100% satisfied with, and as such you have retracted your invoice as well as the work it covered. You'll keep the associated changes archived in case he wishes to purchase them in the future. You wish him the best of luck going forward and regret that you'll be parting ways.

3
33 points by noonespecial 1 day ago 1 reply      
If one insists on this course of action, it might not hurt to throw in a little plausible deniability.

Instead of a landing page throwing your tantrum, have the site mysteriously break and just show a cryptic error message, then just be too busy to fix a problem for a client who hasn't paid anyway. Gently suggest that paying clients come before deadbeats.

When the inevitable legal backlash comes, simply shrug and say you were getting around to it and remind everyone that there might be someone in arrears with a large payment or two. Plus interest. And late fee.

4
35 points by raynimmo 18 hours ago 4 replies      
I thought I had better write an explanation as my actions here seem to have kicked up a bit of a furore, undoubtedly that was my intention, although maybe not on this scale, more of an attempt to embarass them.
I am not sure of how much I should go into as I signed an NDA with this client although the contract that it was attached to ended in October; maybe someone with better contract law knowledge than me will know more, either way I will try to be vague.

A little about me: I am a freelance developer, educated as a software engineer in Edinburgh then started leaning towards web development a few years back. We quit Scotland 4 years ago to come and live on a tropical island in Thailand where I could take my time winning small jobs, enough to earn what I needed.
Indeed its been quite a successfull last few years, winning many jobs for web development and graphic design, all of my clients have came back for more work. The fact I havent updated my portfolio or blog in over a year is a testament to how busy I have been.

The bare details: I very good friend asked me to help him build a website and a backend system for his staff to use in their day to day business. I quoted a ridiculously low sum of money compared to western standards but a worth that I felt I deserved for the work considering I live in Thailand where the cost of living is less.

The contract was for 6 months initially for a fixed fee split over those 6 months. With regards to the system, which has swollen to quite a full featured product, something I am very proud of, possibly my best piece of work to date, just a shame it wont appear on my portfolio now.
The specifications for the sytem over the course of the development had many more additional specifications added to cover internal aspects of the system that were not originally envisaged, obviously not fully taken into account when originally quoted.
My contact at the company was good, he understood the pitfalls of custom software development and when I explained to him about why the project has taken longer he understood and we carried on regardless. As I said the contract ended in October, the same month they stopped paying me when they suggested that they wanted to suspend my weekly payments and pay me a lump sum upon completion.
I understood their reasons then for doing this and since the project was behind schedule I aggreed to this.

Now I find myself within 2 weeks of delivery of the full system, so I start getting my invoices together for the last 14 weeks of development. I forward them to the client and I am more or less informed that there is no way they are gonna pay that amount. Lesser amounts are then offered, tied to some crazy scheme regarding "support" over an extended period, god knows where the payment for the "support" period was coming from.

In the end it was a stalemate, I felt I deserved my meagre salary, it will cost them a lot more for a UK dev to finish this where their daily wage is more than my weekly wage, so I always thought I would win through. This is actually their second attempt at building this piece of software, the first one was a non-event with an indian company.

The company even flew one of their guys out here to help me finish off the system - my friend, the guy whose idea this all was, he wrote the 'spec' for the software. He has tried to get the UK bosses to agree to this and that but they wont budge, I feel there is apower struggle within the conpany but I wont go into that as it is pure speculation.
In an attempt to help them understand software development, that sometimes you dont
know all of the variables until you start, etc, etc, I forwarded a number of websites and blogs that had interesting articles regarding the development process and reasons for their failure or late delivery, I was told it was pointless sending them as they wouldnt read them as they dont care. One of them was even supposed to have said "why do we need a website?" , now how am I supposed to convince this guy about the trials and tribulations of building a customised piece of software.

So yeah, talks broke down, I felt pissed off, I then sent archives of updated files for the system to my contact, not really updates but resetting the systems development back to where it was when they last paid me over 3 months ago. I then done the same on the server system that their staff were helping bug test. I then; foolishly now I think, put their site into maintenance mode and switched the maintenance page to say "You aint paid me, you suck". The site structure that was there is still there, if somewhat unfinished, all I changed was the maintenance page; I am sure any Drupal developer knows how easy that is to switch off. I also added an extra variable with encoded content onto the $closure that would display if they managed to get it out of maintenance mode. Encoded it just to make it that bit harder to find and remove :)

I do regret doing this, not because of my actions, but as I said before, the guy whose idea this was is a friend, he is a third of the board, it was the other two thirds that swayed the vote though, and I feel bad for him. I know I am not getting paid, my money is long gone, I wouldnt have done this if there was a chance of reconcilliation, I have known that for the last few days, they wont agree to my demands and I wont agree to theirs - stuck in the middle.

I have now changed the offline message to simply say "You aint paid me" and have removed the encoded $closure and I dont intimate that "they suck" anymore, its amazing what the harsh light of day makes you see.

I see a lot of flamers and haters out there, no doubt a few of you will come back on and berate me for doing this, as I said, my actions were harsh and misguided, but if a client bumps me in the future I would probably do it again.

As a developer you learn something new every day, be it a sweet bit of javascript or some cutting CSS technique, this project taught me lots over its course. The biggest lesson I take from this though is how to handle clients that become problematic, how to word contracts to cover all eventualities during development and that rash actions are usually regretted in the harsh light of day.

So yeah, thats my 2 cents worth.

What would you have done, I would love to hear what actions others would have taken.

5
36 points by cubicle67 1 day ago 1 reply      
my dad (now retired) was an old school sign writer and had this sort of thing (non-paying clients) happen to him on more than one occasion.

One I remember was a shop where he spent a few days signwriting the entire front. Lots of work, most of it up on 14' tressels, and at the end the owner refused to pay. Said he didn't have to, and there was nothing my dad could do about it.

Except there was - dad went back one night with a roller, a long roller pole and a large tin of white paint, and painted the entire shopfront out. Still din't get paid, but it had two effects: one, the owner needed to get the job done again, and two: the next guy hired would be asking some awkward questions, like why did it look like the job had already been done but then painted over...

6
37 points by tzury 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have once ran into a similar situation which the man simply refused to pay the bill (of nearly $20K). I was simply not being able to reach the man on the phone or get a response by mail.

Knowing taking this into the court of justice would take around 3-4 years, I have simply set auto-redirect to random porn sites (picked the top 25 out of Google).

It took about half a day since the man have had his lawyer send me a letter saying something similar to: "we will pay you all what you asked for .... "

I am not sure this was the right thing to do, but I was quite young and enthusiast by then, and I have invested allot of money in that project (hardware and bandwidth contracts - VPS were not invented yet at that time ;-)).

7
27 points by iwwr 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Sequence of tweets:

anyone got any suggestions what to do when a client wont pay for increased development costs for work you have already completed?
5:01 AM Jan 18th via web

Should I change a bad clients site to a page that says they aint paid me and then change the password?
7:08 PM Jan 20th via Twitter for Android

this is what I am reduced to http://bit.ly/badpayers
8:34 AM Jan 21st via web

Followed by about a dozen identical tweets, until it got picked up by HN.

Note the key section: "when a client won't pay for increased development costs".

8
8 points by philiphodgen 17 hours ago 0 replies      
As a non-web developer (I'm a lawyer) I learned long ago that there is a financial point at which the balance of power switches from me to the client.

When the client owes me a trivial amount of money I can afford to walk away from the job if I want to. If the client owes me a lot of money, now I am shackled to that client (and the job) because I am chasing my own money.

The key is to never let the client owe you too much. For me this number is about $2,500.

The way I solve this problem is

(1) by getting a substantial amount of money up front; if I get ANY guff from the prospective client when I ask for money, I know how I will be treated for the rest of the project and I may choose to back off at that point.

(2) watch the invoicing very carefully and if they are slow in paying, stop work until they pay. Mr. Pavlov's ideas are in action here: the client is rewarded for slow pay by halting of work with a message "Hey you owe money."

9
10 points by iwwr 1 day ago 2 replies      
10
10 points by Isofarro 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"This website is in the mail. Coincidentally, the same mail that you, dear customer, used to send the payment cheque. I'm sure it will arrive, any day now."
11
16 points by phylofx 1 day ago 2 replies      
According to his website, guy's a Scot and living on a small island in Thailand, Koh Phangan to be precise. Good luck with taking legal action.
12
6 points by callmevlad 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems very unprofessional and amateurish - on the part of the web developer. Yes, maybe the client didn't pay, but resorting to this type of public lynching will a) kill any remaining chance of compensation/reconciliation and b) probably damage the reputation of the web developers.

I've had my fair share of clients who didn't pay for various reasons. Sometimes, small claims court was in order. Sometimes, having patience and giving a struggling client time (literally almost 5 years) led to a payment in full (plus interest!) completely out of the blue. The guy's business picked up, and now he's still a super happy client.

What goes around comes around.

13
5 points by muppetman 1 day ago 1 reply      
He's pretty bitter!

He also changed the footer of the main site!

It's a Drupal site, so you can get an idea of what it looks like non-offline by going here: http://utilitybidder.co.uk/user/

14
2 points by dusing 18 hours ago 0 replies      
My company deals with university sports teams, so often this is a state institution paying us. Most invoices are paid net 60-90 despite the terms in whey contract being net 30 + fees after. Occasionally and predictably we have clients in the net 120 or worse camp. There is no dilute about the work or the billing, just the finance office not doing their job, not getting the correct POs etc... We have one Job right now we did in august and have not been paid for despite having a PO to start. Did I mention this is the third year we have done similar work for them?

If we did something like this we'd be out of business. At large companies the person you sell to is not the person who pays you and creates all kinds of problems. All you can do is work the system and try to plan for it in your pricing. We just give less discounts and charge more for the hassle up front. Puts a hurting on the cash-flow though. We never not been paid.

15
2 points by ndl 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm still not sure why I upvoted this. I think because it was surprising - high entropy. I'm not sure if I consider this "right," but you have definitely made waves.
16
1 point by axod 21 hours ago 0 replies      
17
2 points by westbywest 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be kinda funny if this were all actually a viral advertisement for USwitch.
18
1 point by qlewty 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You may wonder why this site is offline, if you are reading the source then you are most probably a web developer
that has been paid to change this.

					I put this here as the company in question broke our contract and left payments outstanding, 
as a last resort I put their site offline, what else could I do.

Make sure you are paid up front, even if you have a contract, they aint worth shit.

-- Source code comment, haha.

19
1 point by guynamedloren 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's brilliant. I didn't catch it at first, but then I returned to the page and read the copy and it's very, very clever.
20
1 point by shareme 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem here is not non paying clients..

Its refusing to do proper pre-client interviewing to weed out non paying clients.

21
1 point by venti 19 hours ago 0 replies      
You should also have a look at the comments in the HTML source of the site. :-)
22
1 point by cafebabe 23 hours ago 1 reply      
By looking at the guys "recent work" and his blog, I tend to understand the behavior of his client...
23
1 point by jes5199 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Hoax?
24
-4 points by marcuswestin 1 day ago 0 replies      
kudos
25
-4 points by mmaunder 1 day ago 7 replies      
Groovy, I hope they don't sue your ass. What you've done is not dissimilar to what the US did to Guantanamo prisoners when they suspended habeas corpus. Sentence without trial. In future I suggest you take your lack of payment up with the relevant authorities rather than demolish the building they paid you to build.
23
We, Robots nytimes.com
22 points by solipsist 7 hours ago   8 comments top 3
1
2 points by zachallaun 6 hours ago 3 replies      
010011000110010101110100001000000111010101110011001000000110001001100101001000000111010001101000011000010110111001101
011011001100111010101101100001011000010000001100001011101000010000001101100011001010110000101110011011101000010110000
100000011101000110100001100001011101000010000001110100011010000110010101110011011001010010000001100100011000010110111
001100111011001010111001001101111011101010111001100100000011000010110001001110011011101000111001001100001011000110111
010001101001011011110110111001110011001000000110100001100001011101100110010100100000011000010110110001101100011011110
111011101100101011001000010000001110101011100110010000001110100011011110010000001100011011011110110111001110110011001
010111001001110011011001010010000001101001011011100010000001100110011011110111001001101101011100110010000001101111011
101000110100001100101011100100010000001110100011010000110000101101110001000000111010001101000011001010010000001101111
011011100110010100100000010010010010000001100001011011010010000001100011011101010111001001110010011001010110111001110
100011011000111100100100000011101010111001101101001011011100110011100101110

edit: Unfortunately downvoted, as my comment wasn't without meaning.

2
3 points by ph0rque 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, what a neat bifurcation of opinion/position between the first and second pages...
3
-3 points by ajpatel 6 hours ago 1 reply      
NYTimes log in wall...not worth it :-/
24
Why you should read academic papers rafaelcorrales.com
89 points by rafaelc 15 hours ago   27 comments top 9
1
33 points by parenthesis 14 hours ago 2 replies      
A positive side effect of regularly reading good academic papers (or books) is that fluffy blog posts etc. are, in contrast, readily perceived as vacuous, and are thus easily ignored. [To be clear, the present blog post is a good one: it makes a good point, and is no longer than it ought to be.]
2
5 points by kabdib 8 hours ago 1 reply      
If my employer didn't provide access to the ACM online library, I would pay for the dues myself.

It would be nicer if access were free, but even at 'prox $200 / year it's a great deal.

I daresay that keeping up with the ACM papers has extended my career by at least a decade.

3
5 points by jseliger 14 hours ago 0 replies      
There's another reason to read their papers, which I describe in "How to get your Professors' Attention " along with Coaching or Mentoring" (http://jseliger.com/2010/10/02/how-to-get-your-professors%E2...): you want to signal to your professors that you're worth investing in. Most people aren't, and one way to distinguish yourself is to read their work, since the majority of students"even those who say they will"won't.
4
14 points by mindcrime 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A semi-cool place for finding interesting papers to read is here:

http://www.reddit.com/r/compscipapers

5
1 point by nazgulnarsil 1 hour ago 1 reply      
also: textbooks are cheap (anything behind the latest edition has high supply and low demand as all of last year's students dump them).

you can receive tomes that cover vast swathes of human knowledge for the price of a sandwich. trying to educate yourself online usually doesn't compare to a really excellent textbook.

6
5 points by kia 13 hours ago 0 replies      
While I agree that many scientific articles are worth reading, I think that it's almost impossible to read everything even in your field of interest. The point is to get the most interesting and important ones.

So I suggest reading what is called Review articles following the references if necessary.

7
4 points by orangewarp 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Like others are mentioning, I've always found it curious how difficult it is for people outside of academia to access good journals and articles. It's even more puzzling because in academia we're always trying to shout to the world that this knowledge ought to be utilized. That said, I think some fields have a much better relationship with industry than others. In my field of education, it's a rather big problem disseminating findings to the front line. As for tips, I've found that a good way to stay on top of knowledge broadly is to read edited handbooks and reviews. These sources might not be the newest but they certainly condense a lot of good empirical findings that have been tested over time and highlight the most important branches and directions. It's also kind of interesting to find who the grad students of the most prominent figures are and read their papers, proceedings. A) They're dying to talk about their stuff, B) They have the guidance of an experienced scholar, and C) They have that energy to drive into quite interesting and new territory.
8
7 points by dimatura 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You can't just 'consume and digest' any paper that you come across. It's like trying to drink from a firehose. Assuming you already have a field of interest, I recommend looking at the last few years of the top conferences and journals in that field. That will give you what's trendy right now, of course. To find 'landmark papers' in a field, one way is looking at suggested readings from (possibly graduate) course websites (e.g. from OCW) in the topic of interest.
25
Startup School 2010 Recap andybrett.com
20 points by DanielRibeiro 7 hours ago   discuss
26
Hacker Shows It Doesn't Take $8 Million to Clone Qwiki newsgrange.com
108 points by sharescribe 17 hours ago   44 comments top 11
1
85 points by banksy 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Qwiki won Runner up for "Best Technical Achievement" at the Crunchies the other night. Fqwiki is a statement meant to illustrate how ridiculously naive we have become with respect to "innovative technology". Neither Fqwiki nor Qwiki belong even remotely in the same league as Google's Self Driving Cars (which won for Best Technical Achievement).

Building a great company is about more than a hacked-up prototype built in six hours and, with luck, Qwiki might achieve this status. At the same time, however, Qwiki is being disingenuous in promoting a nonexistent technological breakthrough that falsely sets expectations for what "technical innovation" actually means.

Misinformed investors and entrepreneurs will only bring us closer to a bubble that may some day pop. Don't let the hype fool you.

Yours,

Banksy The Lucky Stiff

2
20 points by dangrover 16 hours ago 5 replies      
Sigh. Tech startups aren't ever about the tech. That's not the point.

Qwiki isn't about panning around images and playing back TTS. I know that wasn't what the developer was thinking, but I find people making this mistake a lot. Thinking of Facebook as a basic CRUD app you could put together, etc.

3
6 points by melvinram 17 hours ago 4 replies      
I just saw Qwiki for the first time today and watched the Natalie Portman qwiki at http://www.qwiki.com/q/#Natalie_Portman and you can count me in as a fan.

The clone (viewable at http://banksytheluckystiff.github.com/fqwiki/) definitely does not compare. It's like comparing the first version of Yahoo to today's Google... and Qwiki hasn't even started to improve their product yet.

Obviously the author doesn't care for the qwiki format but they are being short sighted. It could be quiet useful, especially as it improves over time in areas of giving you options in how much depth you want, the voice synthesizer, etc, by providing just enough info in a pleasurable format.

What I do hate about qwiki is their name. It associates them with wiki's/wikipedia in my mind (without knowing what it is) and it personally is a major turn-off.

4
6 points by btipling 17 hours ago 1 reply      
> over really disruptive ones like CloudFlare

CloudFare provides a great value, but how is it 'disruptive'? Seems like that word is becoming utterly meaningless. Being better at something than your competitors just makes you a good competitor it doesn't make you disruptive. Let's only call something 'disruptive' if it's destroyed an entire industry. P2P disrupted the music industry. Google and Wikipedia disrupted the local library.

Just being a new startup with a flashy website doesn't make you automatically 'disruptive' whether you're Qwiki or CloudFlare.

5
4 points by jpadvo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is disingenuous for several reasons.

1) They just received $8 million in funding to further develop their product. I.e. That money hasn't been spent making it a better product yet.

2) A few hundred lines of markup does not a product make. What about servers, security, user accounts, marketing, documentation, etc?

3) Polishing a product so it looks nice and has very few bugs is a huge amount of work. If he made a slick, bug-free clone I would be impressed.

3.5) ...especially with an automated system like this. It is easy to create something that automatically generates a shoddy result. It can be fiendishly hard to automatically generate something useful often enough for people to rely on you.

6
2 points by imkevingao 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Qwiki's value is no longer in its website because the overall Qwiki site is not too complex, but the value lies within its brand. Winning the TechCrunch award, Qwiki is like TechCrunch/AOL's baby. they talk about it 24/7. Free publicity. 2ndly people know about Qwiki, it is now a person's first instinct when they see a Qwiki type of interactive website. Not everyone knows the site, but for those who does, interactive wiki is forever labeled as "Qwiki". That's something hackers cannot clone.
7
1 point by aufreak3 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone here who digs Qwiki's approach to presenting info? I tried it a little bit, found it mind-dumbing, and promptly went back to wikipedia. Anyone found it good for kids maybe?
8
3 points by erik_landerholm 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The same thing could of been said about twitter when it first came out. Recreating the feature set would of been very easy, but ultimately the feature set was not what made them successful.
9
3 points by sharescribe 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The hype cycle is a beautiful thing when you are on the receiving end. Unfortunately many worthy projects and concepts never get that opportunity.
10
1 point by bl4k 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anybody have a link to the HN thread where the clone was first submitted? I can't find it, thx
11
11 points by dusing 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Give him 6 more hours...
27
Google May Let Users Personally Blacklist Domains To Fight Spam searchengineland.com
52 points by w1ntermute 12 hours ago   40 comments top 12
1
22 points by brianwillis 11 hours ago 5 replies      
This article is speculative at best, but I can't say my heart didn't skip a beat at the prospect of never seeing experts-exchange.com in my search results ever again.
2
2 points by jsz0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
That would be wonderful. After the 3rd or 4th SPAM farm I usually decide the information I was looking for wasn't really that important and give up. The Instant Search feature was kind of the breaking point for me. It showed me how useless most of my carefully crafted search terms really were. You can sit there and type it in 30 different ways but you're going to keep getting the SPAM results over and over again.
3
5 points by elsewhen 10 hours ago 1 reply      
An alternative that you can implement right now, is to create your own custom search engine powered by google that gives you very deep control over which sites are excluded from the results. google has made it easy and surprisingly powerful: http://www.google.com/cse/
4
3 points by gojomo 10 hours ago 3 replies      
For some queries, not necessarily all, I'd also like to be able to block all sites containing AdSense.

An obscure advanced search operator would be fine. I don't mind having to type it, or having it clutter my query-text. Options for blocking other ad networks, or all, would also be appreciated.

If Google offered this, it would be a strong indicator that search functionality is offered without any contamination by revenue concerns.

5
4 points by beoba 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this would help with domain squatters, in some situations. Who'd buy a 'used' domain that's already built up a reputation for being filled with garbage?
6
3 points by Natsu 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Can't you already just use -site:example.com if they're spamming you? I usually only get spam results when I'm searching for something that doesn't actually exist, in which case spam is the only thing around for it to show me.
7
3 points by niallsmart 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like it would be a great way for Google to experiment with crowdsourcing results quality. If there's a ton of people blocking, say, experts-exchange.com " that should feedback into their search result quality ranking.

Of course scammers would attempt to game this system too (by, for example, blacklisting stackoverflow.com) :)

8
2 points by mistermann 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Prediction: this will not happen. But, I would love to have to eat my words.
9
1 point by skbohra123 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Once I block sites I should be able to export my list of blocked sites which anyone can import. And there can be several personal search profiles. Makes sense to anyone?
10
1 point by buckwild 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm still holding to my argument that black-listing is a fools errand. Spam is in unlimited supply. What we REALLY need is a white-listing system, which is probably easier said than done...
11
2 points by wybo 10 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who might have missed it, the Blekko (http://blekko.com/) search-engine already allows one to do this in a quite powerful way, and Google's plans might have been a response to it.

(the beauty of improvement through competition...)

12
1 point by infocaptor 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You could already remove sites from your search results when you are logged into gmail. This would be an extension of the feature, like if many people are removing results from their search then maybe put them at the bottom or give them lower rank.. interesting
28
The evolution of computer displays arstechnica.com
14 points by evo_9 5 hours ago   4 comments top 4
1
3 points by wazoox 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The article forgot important milestones, like the SAGE graphic displays and lightpens.
2
2 points by InclinedPlane 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is a bit unbalanced. It begins with discussing both the hardware handling the display and the display itself, but ends up only talking about the former, leaving development of the latter off at CRTs. This doesn't do the subject justice as there have been huge changes in the latter over the last several decades, and a lot of potential for the future.

Modern displays use LCDs, OLEDs, plasma, DLP, e-ink, or other technologies. There have been some pretty astounding improvements in each of these over time, in resolution, pixel density, energy efficiency, etc.

3
1 point by leoc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
From the point where the article introduces raster graphics, it's overly focussed on microcomputers. No mention of the Xerox Alto, equipped with semiconductor memory and more or less the first computer with a bitmap display and a bitmap framebuffer? Or of the SuperPaint system at Xerox, which introduced colour graphics and animation? http://www.rgshoup.com/prof/SuperPaint/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperPaint Both of these machines were up and running from 1973, long before microcomputers brought these things to the masses.
4
3 points by nevster 3 hours ago 0 replies      
No mention of Apple 2's or Commodore 64's is a bit odd.
The Apple 2 was the first major breakthrough in making colour displays available to home users.
Amiga certainly has it's place - it was just a disconcerting jump in the article's history.
29
Dungeons & Dragons ruled a threat to prison security abovethelaw.com
64 points by wybo 13 hours ago   57 comments top 13
1
16 points by stcredzero 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This makes me think of Weird Al's "White and Nerdy"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9qYF9DZPdw

I attended a military academy, which mildly resembled prison in a few respects. We weren't allowed out of the dorms after 7pm, and an instructor would make sure we were all in bed (checking off our names on a checklist) and turn the light out in our rooms for us. Then he'd stay there and make sure we didn't leave our rooms until just before Reveille.

The jocks and bad atitude cases would sometimes dress up as commandos in all-black outfits and go on "missions" to sneak off have trysts with girlfriends or pull pranks (like shining the breasts of one female statue on campus.) They'd often get caught, which was bad because it was technically a dismissal offense. Me, I was part of a group that snuck around after lights out to gather and play D&D. Actually, we didn't sneak. We just put on dress uniform, and the security guards assumed we were Officer of the Day.

No, I did not have a girlfriend in High School.

2
32 points by tzs 13 hours ago 2 replies      
The arguments the gang "expert" made about similarities between D&D player organization and gang organization would apply equally well to many organized religions, such as Catholicism. I wonder if a prison could get away with banning that?
3
21 points by jarrett 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The court applied the Turner test, which is very similar to the rational basis test: the plaintiff was burdened with showing that the threat of gang formation was "so remote as to render the policy arbitrary or irrational."

This may strike some as odd, given that 1st Amendment cases typically use strict scrutiny, not rational basis. But, here's the catch: it doesn't apply in prison! In prison, your 1st amendment rights are more limited, and something akin to the rational basis test does indeed apply. To quote the court:

"In Turner, the Supreme Court determined that prison regulations that restrict inmates' constitutional rights are nevertheless valid if they are reasonably related to legitimate penological interests."

So, despite the apparent silliness of banning D&D, it seems the prison was within its rights to do so. The prison system may, at its discretion, inflict all kinds of petty punishments upon prisoners. If you're sent to prison, your rights are sharply curtailed. That's what the court decided in Turner, so that's the way it is.

Whether or not this is good policy is, of course, open to debate. It depends on what balance you want to strike between the punitive/rehabilitative purposes of prison. I'm of the opinion that criminal justice ought to be primarily aimed at reducing recidivism, but then society at large doesn't really agree with me.

Here's the full decision:

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1498113.html

4
15 points by kemayo 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I do wish that US prisons would decide whether they're in the business of punishment or rehabilitation. You see a lot of talk about rehabilitation, of course, but so much of what goes on in there seems to have no purpose but to punish people. (e.g. broad societal tolerance of prison-rape, or petty tyrannies such as those described in the article)

I'd prefer that they came down on the side of rehabilitation, of course... but I'd settle for /honesty/ about their goals.

5
11 points by pjscott 10 hours ago 2 replies      
What happened to the idea that D&D led to Satanism and suicide? This was a big deal back in the 1980s. You never hear about it anymore, and yet I haven't heard any of the old scaremongers actually admitting that they were wrong. Ditto for Satanic ritual abuse, which used to scare people out of their wits.
6
3 points by mcantor 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Predictably, I used to play Dungeons & Dragons in high school. Just as predictably, I didn't lose my virginity until I stopped.

Um... it's 2011. Are we really still making "nerds can't get laid" jokes? I mean, Vin Diesel plays Dungeons & Dragons. I'm not offended or anything; the author is clearly joking, but it seems pretty low-brow for the opening hook on something posted to HN.

EDIT:

It's an established fact that Dungeons & Dragons is a bigger threat to human reproduction than all the gay marriages in the world.

Oh whoops. OK... complaint retracted. I expressly condone the usage of dated nerd jokes if used to setup a punchline this hilarious.

That'll teach me to comment before reading the rest of the friendly article.

EDIT 2:

I thought this sounded familiar... this is from January, 2010! Obligatory: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/1/27/

7
8 points by Tycho 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I misread the title as 'Dungeons & Dragons used to test prison security'. Like some sort of walkthrough/role-play testing

    You are in a room with 2 prison guards
The guards are armed with batons
A mase spray can has been left on the ground
There is a fold up chair in front of you ...

8
5 points by jlesk 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Related to D&D and startups, my current project is a web-based virtual tabletop for roleplaying, built on node. =)

http://tabletopquest.com

9
2 points by phenylene 8 hours ago 0 replies      
10
1 point by tehwalrus 10 hours ago 0 replies      
this made me sad. I am tempted to post them my set of 20 sided dice.
11
-4 points by mobileed 9 hours ago 1 reply      
this is irrelevant topic, for one, and it's also irrelevant in terms of even getting a voice! Once you go to prison for what this guy did (1st degree murder with a sledge hammer) your rights are no more. And when you have no rights, you don't even have a voice on the matter. You are to rot the rest of your fcking life in a jail cell. (period)
12
-1 point by SoftwareMaven 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Personally, I think the reasoning is completely bogus, however, I'm all for not allowing people to spend their day playing D&D while I and other tax payers pay for it (and I'll expand the D&D to anything that does not fall in the restitution or rehabilitation buckets).

On the other hand, I could see D&D being a good rehabilitation tool.

Personal rant aside, D&D sure seems like it would be a LOT better than some things I've read about in prison, but I also don't know the dynamics of prison life. Maybe the hierarchy of thugdom exhibits in potentially anything with a "leader" there.

13
-2 points by jrockway 11 hours ago 4 replies      
I used to think that blogging couldn't hurt your career. Then I read this post.

From the sidebar:

This post is authored by Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney of Kinney Recruiting, sponsor of the Asia Chronicles. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates and partners in Asia than any other firm in the past four years.

Then we have the following professional-sounding quotes:

I used to play Dungeons & Dragons in high school. Just as predictably, I didn't lose my virginity until I stopped.

any D&D “gang” member would find themselves tossing salads faster than you can say

I stopped reading at about this point. If you are going to do a legal analysis on your bullshit placement firm's blog, try to err on the side of being too professional. If you are going to make jokes, try to at least be funny.

       cached 24 January 2011 09:59:01 GMT