hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    15 Feb 2011 News
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How India's banks killed the future of commerce cleartrip.com
71 points by sankara 3 hours ago   32 comments top 8
1 point by JonnieCache 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the law that existed up until recently in south korea mandating that all financial transactions had to be encrypted using ActiveX. Yes. You read that right. It is as mad as it sounds.


8 points by radicaldreamer 1 hour ago 3 replies      
India has a lot of public policy mishaps such as this. It seems that the people making these rules oftentimes don't do adequate research regarding what's feasible for such a large developing, and rapidly changing country.

A couple of other examples:
There was recently a rule to limit SMS spam by limiting each cell phone to receive a max of 100 texts per day, there still is a rule where you can't entering the country twice within a certain number of days without getting prior permission, IIT students were arbitrarily limited in the number of hours they could spend online because some administrator thought they should get out more, etc.

8 points by microarchitect 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Notice how they made the post on Feb 14, but show only data for Feb 1. Is it really surprising that the first day with the new system saw fewer transactions? Making claims that this move "permanently hobbles India's mobile commerce" based on evidence like this is surely unwarranted.

I really think 3D secure is a good move. All it requires is entering your internet banking password at the time of making the transaction. Is this really so bad for usability?

3 points by rushabh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
India's systems are generally not designed for the "new entrants" and most of the incumbents design the system with walled gardens to protect themselves.

For a startup like us who have a web based software like basecamp, there is no way we can charge subscription services. Infact no payment gateway exists for us to take credit card payments from Indian customers.

Thanks to PayPal, we can serve international customers much easily. I have a lot of anger against the people who run India's large services as if its an entitlement, without caring for the new entrants.

2 points by senthilnayagam 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have stopped using credit cards online for over a year, prefer online banking based payments, because it is one username and 2 passwords(authentication, transaction)

I dont like 2 factor authentication, especially with mobile/sms, when I am abroad or travelling, I still can do my transaction

0 points by goombastic 29 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is nothing. Every time somebody finds an easier way of doing things, the government and the babucracy finds a way of muscling in and making it as bad as all the earlier options. Some of it is not bad, but others are nuts. I should start a list.

- Vehicles registered in one state cant be used for too long in another state

- Banks have insane policies

- Online electronic tax filing requires that you complete the process in paper format as well. To complete the electronic process you have to send it in by normal snail mail as well. And you cant get acknowledgments.

- Universities don't recognize each other between states


1 point by Charuru 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems to me like it was the government that started the whole mess.
-4 points by trainindia 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel this is a good thing!

If you are stupid enough to fail to use and understand the new system, they you wont be able to purchase it.

And thus they will end up avoiding huge credit card debt's like poor Americans.

Also hardly anyone buys from Amazon and only pathetic people buy from apple iTunes.

190,000 req/seq (micro benchmarks) ... Haskell webserver shootout continues yesodweb.com
33 points by dons 2 hours ago   discuss
Nokia Plan B nokiaplanb.com
249 points by wybo 10 hours ago   135 comments top 37
72 points by johnrob 8 hours ago 4 replies      
MeeGo smartphones and tablet devices will offer overwhelmingly superior experiences and applications than iOS and Android based competitor products

That is one bold statement. I don't know if I'd bet the company's success on a claim like that.

53 points by latch 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I know they are saying it's coming soon, but this is really missing 9 bios. You have a definitive plan for what you'll do if elected to the Board of Directors, which is a great start. But writing an open letter, asking for something so serious, without a paragraph-long bio on each one of you is crazies in my book.
72 points by ajg1977 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Plan B: Fire a couple of execs and keep following the strategy that got us to this point.
7 points by mjfern 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the authors are underestimating the challenges of commercializing and then gaining market share with the MeeGo platform.

First, there is a question of development and time to market. By the time Nokia launches MeeGo and handsets, Android, iOS, and others (WP7, RIM, Palm) will be further entrenched in the market (e.g., market share, brand, hardware partners). Second, there is the fundamental issue that succeeding with MeeGo hinges not only on the OS but also on a thriving application market. Because of the application markets, there are strong network effects with mobile platforms. These network effects make it very difficult for a new platform to break into the space.

To complement investments in MeeGo and WP7 for the smartphone market and Symbian for the feature phone market, Nokia should immediately invest in an Android strategy as a fail-safe. I understand this conflicts with Nokia's historical strategy of controlling both software and hardware, but it's quite possible that Android will eventually emerge as the winner-take-all platform in smartphones, aside from Apple/iOS and several niche platforms. If this were to happen, Nokia's singular bet on MeeGo (or WP7) may destabilize the entire company.

In short, I propose that Nokia pursue a four-pronged strategy, pushing forward with MeeGo, WP7, Symbian, and Android -- Symbian for feature phones, which still account for roughly 80% of the worldwide mobile phone market, and MeeGo, WP7, and Android for the smartphone market. As uncertainty is reduced over time regarding 1) the potential of each of the smartphone platforms and 2) the pace at which geographic markets are shifting away from feature phones to smartphones, Nokia can appropriately adjust its investments. By making investments in each area, and adjusting the relative amounts over time, Nokia can better ensure its survival and prosperity despite the quickly evolving mobile phone market.

29 points by harshaw 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I did a bunch of work with Nokia back when I was working at Orange. We had a project to build push to talk software on Series 60 phones. Besides the idea that push to talk is a horrible idea, my job was to work with Nokia to make sure the software worked properly. We had some lower level software from our hardware provider (Kodiak Networks) and some UI code that we had built ourselves.

As these projects tend to go, things didn't go well. due to various issues in the Nokia closed source software layer there were a number of bugs we (Orange & Kodiak) couldn't fix. We decided to fly to Tampere (one of Nokia's R&D locations) to fix the problem.

Tampere is a lovely place to eat Reindeer. However, not once did I meet an engineer who could get shit done. Not once - Nokia never paired us with a serious developer who could even attempt to fix issues in their code. They surrounded us with product manager wankers and threw in a 22 year old engineer who wasn't able to make much progress debugging the problem. The Kodiak engineer was all ready to attack the problem with a dev board and a JTAG but no one would let us in the lab. What a clusterfck. Apparently a good bit of the S60 development wasn't even done in Tampere (or Finland). I think it might have been done in Japan. I think these sort of issues are what the author of the article alluded to regarding distributed development teams.

Perhaps I only saw a small slice of the Nokia culture. But it was really* bad.

I'm glad the guys behind nokiaplanb.com are passionate about fixing Nokia. Much as I think the M$ alliance is a waste of time, I admire Elop's bold actions. I can't see continued development of MeeGo as useful. What I have seen to date has been unimpressive and late. Additionally -why not just use Android as the base OS and innovate on top of it?

18 points by elithrar 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think a couple of things are obvious, from knowing some Nokia employees:

a) These 9 are young, and likely Finns " who are generally proud people and who are guarded against outsiders (like Elop)

b) They are software developers. Most of their Plan B focuses heavily on Meego and keeping development and R&D in-house. With Meego 'out' (or close to it) and WP7 in, software development resources at Nokia are likely to be slashed, and so of course they'd want to contest the decision.

The biggest problem I have with their plan though, is this:

> Return the company to a strategy that seeks high growth and high profit margins through innovation and overwhelmingly superior products with unrivaled user experience.

Return? Nokia & Symbian might sell a ton of phones in the global market, but they certainly haven't had high margins nor growth over the last few years. They can't 'return' to the way things were, because that strategy is no longer viable in today's market. To carry on as if Apple & Google aren't kicking your ass is a sure-fire way to lose everything.

8 points by nl 4 hours ago 1 reply      
http://nokiaplanc.com/ is up :)

No affiliation, but I think it's funny.

(For those who don't get it, Nokia was originally a rubber goods manufacturer)

9 points by dreaming 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Assuming this is genuine, it is too little too late.
Nokia needed someone to come and say this before the decided to jump ship.

Its staggering to think of how many resources nokia have, and how little and slowly they've innovated. Nokia has been falling behind for a long time.
One thing I always found disheartening was their desire to compete against themselves, and ignore others, as illustrated by them releasing an older version of symbian for their business phones, while using the new symbian for their media phones, but it seemed there was no place to get 'the best' nokia. It was always a choice, but one that didn't seem to have an easily identifiable consumer flagship. Just N's and E's and everything in between.

5 points by cookiecaper 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Supposing they did get elected, I would expect they would cost Nokia a lot of money, possibly ultimately bankrupting the company, from litigation MS would inevitably bring and probably win. It would be a huge embarrassment to WP7 and MS if Nokia backed out, and if there's any way MS can swing damages for that kind of thing given their contract with Nokia, and I'm sure there is, they will definitely do so. I think that the ship has sailed and they're stuck with WP7 for the term of the exclusivity arrangement.

If these guys want to make Meego the dominant smartphone platform, they're going to have to do it with something besides Nokia.

2 points by gnaffle 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think people are forgetting that Nokia _did_ make a very innovative platform back in 2005 with Maemo at the GTK-based Hildon GUI. If they hadn't stopped innovating and had gotten others on board except for Intel, that platform could have been Android today.

It's true that they managed to kill it through sheer incompetence, including alienating a lot of first adopters by discontinuing product support for the internet tablets. But there's obviously brilliant people at Nokia, just like there were brilliant people at Apple before Steve Jobs.

Now, if Apple had ditched MacOS when Steve returned instead of using NextStep, and instead went with Windows, and shipped a WP7 phone instead of a phone with OSX, where would they be today? They _might_ have had the iTunes ecosystem, if Microsoft would have allowed it. Their "differentiating features" would be at the mercy of Microsoft and their strategic plans.

I guess people are right that you need an app ecosystem to compete in the smartphone market today. But the iPhone sold like hotcakes for more than a year before it had apps. If Nokia made a phone that users really wanted, I think the app ecosystem would have followed. Instead, they're using their huge market presence to give Microsofts platform the same boost.

6 points by artsrc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I have an idea, startups.

Have some former Nokia lead engineers and managers, start working on that plan.

Have some other managers and engineers work on the Android plan.

Have some others compete with Nokia to make better WP7 phones.

Gets rid of 100 layers of management, etc.

10 points by spiralganglion 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't own any shares in Nokia, I have never nor likely will ever own a Nokia phone, and I don't have any real insight into the nuances of the situation.

But as an avid spectator of the evolving mobile platform "war", this sort of coup d'état would be amazing to witness from the sidelines, no matter the outcome. Therefore, and for no greater reason, I really hope this goes through.

1 point by mfukar 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have 3 questions:

- Who are you?

- What is the rationale behind your plan?

- How does your proposed course of action deal with Nokia's current issues?

all of which were left unanswered.

1 point by pnathan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the "make Nokia leaner" part. But I don't think they are in touch very well with the marketplace. Personally.

I'm considering putting together some fun and easy mobile games for some mobile device in 2H 2011. I can select iPhone, Android, or, I guess, WP7.

I'm looking for a platform that has these features:

* Nearly free to register and start developing
* Provides app store & DRM mechanism
* Doesn't eat too many profits.
* Ideally, lets me program very fast, think Ruby on Rails or similar framework.

Okay, so that doesn't exist as far as I know. If Nokia can reboot to provide the above - then they can probably provide a fourth option.

Nothing I've read so far indicates that they are going to roll that route.

1 point by jodrellblank 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If they had a clue based on modern software practices, they would make it easy to support them.

From the bottom of the AGM questions page:

Who has the right to participate in the AGM 2011 and what is the last day to buy shares if I want the right to attend and vote in the AGM?
Each shareholder, who is registered on April 19, 2011 in the Register of Shareholders of the Company, has the right to participate in the Annual General Meeting. A shareholder, whose shares are registered on his/her Finnish book-entry account, is registered in the Register of Shareholders of the Company. A shareholder, who wishes to participate in the Annual General Meeting, may register for the Meeting by giving a prior notice of participation no later than on April 27, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. (Finnish time) by which time the registration needs to arrive in the Company.
- http://www.nokia.com/agm/2011/in-english/questions-and-answe...

Although their plan is not in the list of proposals. How does it work? 1 vote per share or 1 per shareholder? Can I buy 1 share (which stock name on which exchange?) and support them? If not, and only big shareholders count, why the twitter popularity campaign?

What specific goal(s) do they have (how many people, doing what?)

1 point by mambodog 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I think their biggest challenge with going down the MeeGo route would be acquiring the kind of App ecosystem that iOS and Android have. I reckon their best bet would be to implement something like Alien Dalvik[1] to allow very easy porting of existing Android apps to MeeGo, and make their 'app store' as seamlessly alike to iOS and Android's (including working with top app developers to encourage them to bring over the most desirable apps).

Once they can be seen as having the same big name apps as the other two, I think MeeGo has much more of a chance of being competitive, rather than being a 'third world country' of a platform.

[1] http://www.allaboutmeego.com/news/item/12571_Alien_Dalvik_ho...

4 points by c141charlie 5 hours ago 1 reply      
We are seeing the beginning of the commoditization of the smart phone industry. Smart phones will become ubiquitous and intense competition among handset manufacturers will erode profit margins.

While I admire the passion that fueled this letter, their goal to "offer overwhelmingly superior experiences" seems foolishly optimistic. How will Nokia differentiate from the plethora of Android derivatives, iOS, WP7, Web OS, and Blackberry?

5 points by cloudwalking 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't think smartphones can win without apps, and the OS market is getting pretty saturated. If iOS, Android, WebOS, and WP7 all have more users, when am I ever going to get around to writing MeeGo apps?
2 points by jan_g 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm, usually shareholders don't run the company. They own it. Stuff like choosing the tools, organization of R&D department and so on should be in the hands of the management. That's why you pay them.
3 points by kongqiu 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Long ago (~2002) when I lived in Beijing, a vendor at the city's Silk Market had Nokia-brand socks on offer. I suspected they were fakes. The Marlboro-brand shirts were decent, though...
5 points by pjy04 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I like their developer plan. Focus on two areas of main development and eliminate a lot of the waste on the PM/Manager level.
2 points by gills 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"We're young shareholders, and our plan is...get this...young software developers."


1 point by gacba 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I give Nokia Plan B a solid D- for too little too late. MeeGo got a horrible reception today by Intel (http://www.slashgear.com/meego-preview-at-mwc-2011-disappoin...) and it's obvious why Nokia abandoned it at this point, even for a bad choice like Win Mobile 7...what other choice did they have? Symbian? Bleeding market share like gutted cow. Android? Can't differentiate in that space.

So to hear these 9 disgruntled folks say they're going to stick with a bad plan and make it happen sounds like lunacy to me.

3 points by beefman 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Increase the lifespan of Symbian to a minimum of 5 years

Glad you're not going to any shareholder meetings of companies I own shares in...

4 points by ashr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Plan B? Not Really. More like a wish-list.
1 point by azharcs 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think a quote by Henry Ford sums up the the whole Plan B and their approach.

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." ~ Henry Ford

1 point by cageface 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that they see outsourcing and distributed development as bureaucratic and inefficient. I wonder if this sentiment is becoming more common in the industry.
1 point by paolomaffei 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Do they have a chance?
1 point by ReadyNSet 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Well all you want is Nokia's $billion to spend however you want and at the end of the day if you couldn't make it you'll just stand up dust your hands and move on. if the Plan is so good you can take MeeGo which is open source or heck even Android and make the best phone/OS/EcoSystem out there surely you wouldn't have any problem attracting VC funding would you?
2 points by haguhagu 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Their statement sounds like ones that come out of politicians. That can only end well...

I was watching some meego videos on youtube, it does not look that impressive and launching the phone usually takes a full minute. Whats up with that. Its an early build i guess, but as software ages, it generally gets more bloated meaning even slower.

1 point by oomkiller 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like a good start, but going with MeeGo is a fail in my book. Intel and Nokia should throw their weight behind Android and focus on making the best, fastest Android phone, with better features than anyone else.
1 point by olalonde 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Would it really be possible to cancel the deal without getting sued by Microsoft?
1 point by Kilimanjaro 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with all points, except one, spend half resources in meego and the other half in android, just to be sure.
4 points by jfm3 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Not all top talent is young...
1 point by teyc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
young chaps calling for a revolution. Not even listing credentials. This is not going any where.
1 point by Xpirate 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I got sort of an open question: Is there a platform independent API for development for WP7, iPhone and Android? It'd be great to write for one idealized target and have it run on all three ... or more if they make serious inroads.
2 points by billbub 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow! Who are these guys? What do they know about building a mobile ecosystem? Young how young? Looks to me like a bunch of kids who are scared to put their name out ..
New Chrome extension: block sites from Google's web search results googleblog.blogspot.com
419 points by dannyr 13 hours ago   182 comments top 49
117 points by Matt_Cutts 12 hours ago replies      
I just wanted to say thanks to all the people on Hacker News who asked for this option. We'll look at offering a "block site" option directly in the search results over time, but it takes longer to write, test, and launch that code.

In the mean time, use this extension to clean up your own search results and tell us which sites you don't want to see in Google.

64 points by dsl 13 hours ago 10 replies      
1. http://bit.ly/gTADhE

2. Click Install, close page

3. Open each of the links below in a new tab, click block on the first result

4. Win.















Edits: fixed formatting, added suggestions

This method is fine. The actual data sent to Google when you block a domain does not contain the search query (or the referrer).

This is what gets sent when you block a domain:


and unblock:


(Interestingly the CSRF token is broken when unblocking.)

14 points by jmillikin 13 hours ago 2 replies      
1. Does this remove results from each page, or from the resultset? In other words, if 7 of the first-page results are blocked, will I see only 3 results on that page?

2. Any plans for a Firefox extension? I'm willing to install Chrome just for running Google searches, but would rather add it to my main browser.

e: After a month or so, I would absolutely love to see the top 10 or so blocked domains. It's OK if you can't do this, but it would be interesting/amusing.

6 points by ck2 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Why do I need to use Chrome and then an extension if this is being offered by Google?

Make this a google labs feature directly for Google itself in the personalization options.

(also please make it available via a URL option, not just cookies or javascript)

7 points by georgemcbay 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Well played, Google.

Not only did you just make your search engine 50 times more valuable to me, but you've just ensured I'll be spending almost all of my browsing time inside Chrome.

11 points by macrael 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Why make this a Chrome extension rather than a google labs type feature?
10 points by jjcm 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Any chance we can get the blocklist transfered via sync in the next iteration of this plugin?
6 points by vaksel 12 hours ago 3 replies      
would be cool if there was a subscription option where you can subscribe to some master list that gets updated by people you trust.

or just simply a bulk insert

4 points by jellicle 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Free karma points to whoever creates a corresponding Firefox extension...
19 points by arnemart 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The website used as an example in the first screenshot (http://thecontentfarm.tumblr.com/) just made my day.
3 points by lawfulfalafel 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't anyone else kind of bewildered by this?

I mean this is kind of like if a kid pissed all over the floor in wal-mart, and when you notified an employee about it they gave you a mop to clean it up yourself.

2 points by WesleyJohnson 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Assuming it's a normal extension and has to abide by the same rules that Non-Google Authored extensions do, the extension manifest indicates the extension doesn't have access to do any cross domain posts so all the filtering is done client side. Digging a little deeper, it looks like the blocked sites are stored in Chrome's LocalStorage, which if memory serves me correctly is somehow isolated per extension.

It should be relatively easy to listen in on the background page while the extension is running and write a script to extract the list of blocked sites or update it with a master list so you don't have to block dozens or hundreds of sites manually.

Not that I think everyone should blindly block everything everyone else does on HN; I personally loathe Experts Exchange, but I do find an answer I needed from them now and then.

I was more curious than anything.

Update: As "dsl" posted above, it does look like the extension makes a call out to a Google Endpoint to record the block as well, but I don't believe that call actually filters the data for you. That's still done client side. So it's probably best not to call the end point directly or update the blocked sites list directly, but actual use the extension as intended?

13 points by brianwillis 13 hours ago 10 replies      
So HN, what sites are we all blocking?
3 points by Kylekramer 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Good work, squeaky wheels.

So: will this eventually be a search settings option once it is less beta or permanently an extension thing?

3 points by runevault 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Normally I don't post this sort of thing (try to focus on valuable content) but dear god THANK YOU!

I'm cackling maniacally while I block expertsexchange, Mahalo, and several other sites. I'm so happy right now.

3 points by SwellJoe 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like I just got a new upgraded Internet.
4 points by raintrees 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I was just griping about this to my wife yesterday. The noise is drowning out the signal in my recent searches...
2 points by zitterbewegung 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Although this is Chrome only this is a great extension that I believe a few people on this site wanted. I remember other people made a mashup but this looks like a slightly better solution. I wonder why they don't want to do this server side though?
2 points by ramki 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought i was the only one doesn't want to see "experts exchange" in google search results. No, i'm not alone... :) :)
Looks "experts exchange" is annoyingly very famous...
2 points by nooneelse 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey, I think I "called" this a few days back... yep: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2199498

This little bit of successful nerd prognostication cheers me up more than perhaps it should, but oh well.

1 point by jonmc12 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Google should make one of these for Bing also - with the option to send google my Bing blocklist.
1 point by saturdaysaint 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice. My first target - every local restaurant result I get that appears before either (1) the official restaurant website or (2) Yelp. Local search results are always gunked up with yellowpages.com and local newspaper spam. Also, I find it highly suspicious that urbanspoon has consistently better placement than Yelp, despite having consistently weaker content.
2 points by rsoto 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Having a big company behaving like a local one-- listening to the customer's opinions is really nice.

However, this is a feature that Google actually had. Why did you remove it? I accept the Search Wiki was not particuarly a success[1], but the remove option was very nice.

Alas, thanks for listening. I'll be waiting for the server-side option.

1: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/searchwiki-make-searc...

3 points by enmanuelr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
You mean I never ever again need to see a search result pointing to experts-exchange?! This is the best gift ever! And it's not even my birthday.
1 point by Jem 13 hours ago 2 replies      
"If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results."

If that happens, what's to stop this being used by companies to influence the results to get rid of competitors?

2 points by RazorSky 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I was just bitching about experts-exchange last night and wanted this feature. Thanks for sharing.
1 point by narkee 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Why should I have to be signed in to my Google account to be able to use this functionality?
2 points by kaffeinecoma 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank god. Goodbye to: devcomments.com. osdir.com, and mail-archive.com!
3 points by atomi 13 hours ago 2 replies      
>...explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results

Democratic censorship.

1 point by barista 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to block Bing from copying search results using this? ;)
1 point by EastSmith 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I know this questions is asked in different forms couple of times in the comments, but here it is again:
1. Will there ever be Firefox extension which do the same?
1 point by algorias 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks promising, but I'm unsure about the security angle. Google has just added a way for anyone to "DDos" competing websites into oblivion. I hope there are measures in place to prevent that.
1 point by mythobit 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I created a site on app engine that essentially does the same thing via Google Custom search engine. Granted mine isn't as integrated or user friendly but still. The site is: http://blacklist-search.appspot.com/

Why can't Google offer something like this rather than only allowing it via a Chrome extension?

1 point by hackerku 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I know this is a legit extension from Google.

By why is this extension not marked as Verified author? https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nolijncfnkgaikbjbd...

The "nolijncfnkgaikbjbdaogikpmpbdcdef" makes it look suspicious as well.

1 point by stcredzero 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to try it first thing. I hope all of my Chrome instances sync the block entries.
2 points by billmcneale 9 hours ago 0 replies      
answers.yahoo.com, here I come.
2 points by measure2xcut1x 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If this ends up being used as a "voting" system that factors into determining what sites show in public SERPs, folks could crowdsource competitor blocking using say Amazon's MTurk to knock competition off of Google, no?
1 point by ChuckMcM 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I note with mock irony that this works fine on blekko.com in any browser. You push the "this is spam" link in the SERP results and poof, its dead to you.

(Disclaimer: I work at Blekko)

0 points by natmaster 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like an excellent feature. Just seems kinda weird that Google would start using user-click data when they were complaining so much about Bing using it.
1 point by presto8 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome extension!

An option to hide the icon from the toolbar would be nice.

1 point by donbronson 13 hours ago 1 reply      
When I first read the headline, I assumed it meant blocking all of Google's sites from the SERPs (Youtube, blogger, etc). Perhaps this would be a nice way to rule out any potential nepotism.
1 point by hedaru 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it also integrated with WOT (Web of Trust) way to block and report bad sites? How if so?
-1 point by Upset 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.
George Orwell
-1 point by Upset 9 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.
George Orwell
-2 points by Upset 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
George Orwell
-1 point by Upset 9 hours ago 0 replies      
One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.
George Orwell
-2 points by Upset 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
George Orwell
-1 point by Upset 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?
George Orwell
0 points by Upset 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this tool will be "Very Misused" by a lot of people just to SQUASH their closest competitors. I can see some companies hiring "paid blockers" to squash competition websites and even in the Search Engine world you watch Microsoft and Google block and report each others sites in an even continuing search engine war what a sad day for free speech George Orwell 1984 :(
Racket 5.1 Released racket-lang.org
73 points by gcr 6 hours ago   6 comments top 5
9 points by mattmight 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Racket has been rocking my world lately.

In particular, I love that you can arbitrarily define (or redefine) patterns for the match construct using macros.

It leads to some damn elegant code:



1 point by robinhouston 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
In case I'm not the only person who thought “What's Racket”, it's the language formerly known as PLT Scheme. It was renamed last year.
3 points by prog 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Racket seems to be really neat with support for features like JIT and futures (which have been around before 5.1).

The other day I tried a simple benchmark (nothing elaborate - just fib) and found it to be significantly faster than Python. Unfortunately I don't have the numbers right now.

Does anyone have any experience to share regarding the use of Racket in a production app?

9 points by gcr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Summary for the impatient:

- A completely new GUI and drawing layer. Replacing 200,000 lines of C++, Xt, Win32, and Carbon with about 30,000 lines of Racket that builds on Gtk, Win32, Cocoa, Cairo, and Pango. Nice.
- Web server changed semantics
- Scribble documents can now hold any image
- Module dependency tools

1 point by boskone 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Back using Racket after a long hiatus. Racket I never should have left you. There are but two languages I'll use. Racket and Scala.
12,000 Requests per second with Nginx, PHP and Memcached martinfjordvald.com
58 points by SteveMorin 5 hours ago   23 comments top 6
26 points by rkalla 4 hours ago 4 replies      
For 4 years I tried to run my WordPress site off of Apache + PHP.

For the first 3 years it was Apache+Prefork+mod_php+WordPress (default setup for any on RedHat-based or Debian-based setups for the longest time).

Any time I would get a story on Slashdot or Digg the site would die for at least half a day... god I hate it.

I went from a 1GB RAM VPS to a 12GB dedicated machine in 3.5 years trying to get it to stop crashing whenever I would get a flood of traffic and was never able to. I pushed back on the idea of being a Linux sys admin for so long because I didn't want that hassle, but alas, I had to bother with it.

Finally at about the year 4 mark I decided no REAL site on the planet was running with this configuration since it didn't seem to matter the hardware you threw at it (yes I tweaked the Apache setup/mod-list tirelessly to scale with the improved hardware). I finally started digging into how real human beings setup Apache and came across the argument for using the "MPM worker" as opposed to the default pre-fork worker.

Made sense to me; less 30+ MB processes running around answering questions.

After that change, it helped a little... I have no hard numbers on hand, but it felt like a small improvement.

I kept digging and soon ran across the one-hacky-but-now-officially-supported method of using Apache + a family of PHP VM threads pre-launched and called via FastCGI to execute the .php pages from my WordPress site, the computer-science part of my brain loved this idea... the Java-trained side of me suddenly made me realize that prior to this with Prefork and mod_php, every time someone was connecting I was spinning up a new Apache thread and a new PHP VM every single time (please correct this if wrong... this is how I understood it).

With FastCGI I could have a family of say 20-some PHP VM threads living in harmony and responding to Apache constantly asking them questions.

After rolling that change out at about year 4, I noticed a big improvement; maybe about 50%.

At my next Slashdotting the server got REALLY slow, but hung in there; no crashes. I thought it was odd that all that hardware still couldn't host things snappy... it seemed like every other day I was clicking a link off of Hacker News or Reddit front page to some dude's personal blog that was responding very quickly to me and I was positive these people weren't spending $300/mo like I was on dedicated hardware to run their blog.

So I kept digging.

As you guys probably know, when you start searching for what sucks about Apache two things come up more than any other: "use nginx" or "use lighttpd" -- I had read that early versions of lighttpd had some memory leak issues (I think long-since fixed) and had a handful of Ruby friends that loved nginx... so I decided to stay up all night one night and port the site over.

25mins later I was done.

Yea so that was a lot easier than I expected. The only painful part was using some heavy handed redirect logic to convert my WP-SuperCache rules over to nginx (the author wasn't supporting nginx yet, but I think he does not).

I would point out that the server load with nginx running with NO CACHING (WP-SuperCache disabled, all queries execute PHP and perform a MySQL query) was something like 1/4 what my Apache/MPM/FastCGI/PHP/WP-SuperCache-enabled setup was using.

Once I got WP-SuperCache up and running on nginx, the different was stupid-big. The nginx/WP-SuperCache setup was using 1/8th or 1/10th the system resources that the Apache setup had been using.

Soon there after I got Slashdotted with a peak of roughly 400 users on at a time and the server load barely crawled beyond a 1 (screenshot):

Overall I couldn't be happier with nginx. I think there are probably people that live in oxygen-rich test chambers inside of military bunkers who were bread to tweak Apache that can optimize it to have comparable performance, but that wasn't me. Out of the box nginx has been fantastic thus far.

And that is my little story related to this subject... for what it's worth.

4 points by jacques_chester 4 hours ago 3 replies      
A core issue for modern websites is one of cache invalidation. The linked article essentially sidesteps the issue, with the in-memory speed of memcache obscuring the problem.

For traditional LAMP-style document-producing engines, cache invalidation strategies rely either on TTL (leading, as he says, to stale data) or on polling the source data (leading to an unavoidable performance hit, amortised over the improved speed of the cache).

Leaving aside TTLs, the key issue is that cache invalidation is driven by GET and not POST requests. I wrote a thesis proposal where part of the concept was to drive all cache invalidation from POSTs. New comment added to a story? A regeneration is queued up. New post on front page? A regeneration is queued up.

Firstly, you can improve both staleness by only regenerating when new data is added, and you improve performance by not needing to poll the source data for currency every time you touch the cache. In an ideal situation you could come close to raw HTTP serving speed.

You also allow some degree of dynamic responses to load. Under high rates of POSTs you can batch up regeneration events to prioritise the GETs.

However, I won't be pursuing that project -- I've been accepted for one I was more interested in.

2 points by edanm 2 hours ago 2 replies      
A question I hope someone here can answer:

I'm now working on my first major webapp, so I've been learning how to be a sysadmin, pretty much from scratch (almost no previous experience with running webapps, lots of experience with other things though).

Anyway, I've been trying to find resources to help learn, but it's been extremely difficult. These are the questions that are still bugging me, hopefully someone here can point me to some good reading about them. Note that my stack is Python/Django over Apache (mod_wsgi) right now. Also note that my site has a "ping" system, where each client connected continuously pings the server every few seconds to see if any new info arrived, making me have to handle a larger amount of requests per second, I believe.

The questions:

1. What kind of load do I need to handle? Is 12,000 requests per second terrible/good/great performance? How do I go about figuring out how many people are online at once for most sites? How do I even estimate it?

2. How can I test the performance of my application? I've learned that Apache Bench is used a lot, but are there better tools?

3. What are the best tools to help me monitor and understand the load on my server?

4. How do I go about understanding the bottlenecks in my application? Right now, my Apache process is taking most of the cpu. What does that imply about where I should optimize?

Sorry to braindump, but I've been looking for answers to these questions online and haven't found any clear help.

3 points by ck2 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The real bottleneck in any apache setup is apache.

For those that need hassle-free backwards htaccess compatibility, try litespeed.

But there a few nice alternative to apache these days.

1 point by ertug 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I am also experimenting with full-page caching and cache invalidation. Here are my prototypes:



0 points by 51Cards 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Just about enough to sell tickets to Comic-Con.
The Secret to a Happy Marriage: Do the Dishes, Put Out, Don't Talk So Much wsj.com
195 points by alexwestholm 12 hours ago   130 comments top 24
51 points by abalashov 11 hours ago 3 replies      
This is the first popular publication article I've seen that has given the very important cognitive overload aspect of nagging--and especially multi-pronged nagging litany, which seems to be the most common kind--the treatment it deserves:

   But when it comes to nagging reminders about what your
spouse still has to do after a long day working for the
man"take out the recycling, walk the dog, write a
thank-you letter, defrost the chicken, fix the
stereo"keep a lid on it. Economists talk about
“information processing costs,” or the costs incurred
from processing, absorbing and filtering information.
When information processing costs get too high, we
tend to become paralyzed.

28 points by hartror 11 hours ago replies      
I would group it all into one tip:

Make an effort with your relationship.

Like everything good in life it takes work to have a good relationship. If you make an effort to have a good relationship, applying thought and energy day to day, you will grow a healthy satisfying relationship.

5 points by narrator 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I think American women forget that marriage is a team sport not a struggle for feudal dominance of one partner over the other. It seems with American women there is always a very precise accounting of slights, perceived or otherwise, that are used to demand payment in humiliation or suffering of the other. It's like they're on the "Women team", always thinking to themselves what the "Women team leaders" will think of them in every situation in their struggle against the multiple centuries of male patriarchy-- instead of being on the family team. They destroy relationships to please the contrived abstract ideals they've been indoctrinated to worship and fight against their desires for a relationship based on team work and mutual shared goals.
21 points by patrickgzill 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Marriage is not "50/50" ... it is 100/100 ...
13 points by mhb 12 hours ago 1 reply      
4 points by 3pt14159 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Comparative advantage is the name of the game. My parents have been doing that for years, even when my mom ends up with some manly work (tall house + lots of Christmas lights) and my dad ends up with some non-manly work. It works pretty well for them.

They even optimized which kid helps them, I worked better with my mom (I was all about getting a list of chores and powering through them when I had time, and so is she), so I ended up working with her for the weekly chores. Shutting up and getting stuff done really does make one happy.

10 points by megamark16 11 hours ago 0 replies      
That's exactly what I do, and my wife and I agree that we have a pretty happy marriage :-)
2 points by brc 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The comments in that article are bizarre - there's a lot of frothing going on. Particularly from young, unmarried women who seem to have missed the point of the article. It's like they hate the idea of being a housewife so much they want to attack anything that even remotely suggests it.

The problem in all this venting is that the advice is given to both sexes - it just discusses using comparative advantage to split up tasks, don't nag each other and slip between the sheets as much as possible. If you realise that the advice could equally apply to a gay couple you can see there actually isn't any gender bias in the article at all.

4 points by theorique 9 hours ago 0 replies      
(warning - ZOMG TEH POTENTIAL SEXISM alert!)

This sounds a lot like the advice to women from the Tom Leykis show:
"Stay slim, Long hair, sex anytime, shut up!"

4 points by kingkawn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Having fun together rather than parsing out your problems is the key to success. Sometimes you have to do the Talk, but if it becomes the norm you're doomed.
3 points by civilian 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of you are getting caught up in stereotypes. When I read this article I didn't see it as being specifically written for men or women-- shouldn't both parties be doing these things?
5 points by johngalt 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The secret to writing a linkbait title: reinforce stereotypes.
9 points by yatacc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
it seem ridiculous to tell married people they should have sex (with each other)

lmao on the (with each other) emphasis :)

3 points by rmah 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I posted a link to the book the WSJ article is based on earlier today: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2218045
5 points by chopsueyar 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Do the dishes. Buying a dishwasher was one of the best purchases for our relationship.
2 points by kungfooey 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been following the author's blog at http://www.spousonomics.com/ - some fluff, but in general it's pretty good.
1 point by teyc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Comparative advantage does not work in marriages. All hands on is much better. It is the same with family cookouts, spring cleaning, etc. More hands, less work, and there is less cognitive load whether work is being doled out fairly.
6 points by sin7 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Marriage satisfaction = love making - fighting
1 point by kgermino 12 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by jscore 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe in America.

Things work very differently in the rest of the world.

2 points by tt 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a saying in Vietnamese culture that goes along the line of "Compatible husband and wife can empty the Pacific." I live by that.
1 point by fefzero 11 hours ago 2 replies      
"But the real reason [married people gain weight] is moral hazard, or the tendency to take more risks and behave more irresponsibly when there are no consequences."

I'd never equated being overweight as behaving irresponsibly. If everyone thought this way, would we all be thinner? If my spouse can't nag me to lose weight (see #1), is there anything she could do to encourage it, or is it all on me?

1 point by sigzero 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"A happy wife is a happy life."
-2 points by OasisG 11 hours ago 7 replies      
Then party like it's 1950.

ETA: With the growing number of men who refuse to pick up every check, plan every date/event, act as sole provider for the family, purchase gifts regularly for their other half, etc. for fear of marrying a woman who is too focused on money... I'm really beginning to wonder what women are getting out of this marriage deal anymore.

Answer to Why did Google feel that Google Wave was a good product? quora.com
13 points by rpsubhub 2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1 point by InclinedPlane 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Because Wave looked cool in demos.

Because it required interesting technology and was challenging and fun to implement.

Because it solved problems (granted, all of the easiest and least important problems).

A lot of products are brought to market through the same flawed process. Look at the Segway for a perfect case in point.

1 point by waterlesscloud 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
The answer seems to be that they didn't think it was a good product, it was just a bone to keep someone around?
Poll: Which version of Google Chrome are you using?
12 points by us 2 hours ago   18 comments top 15
1 point by yread 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
I sometimes use http://www.chromeplus.org/ it is supposed to be more careful with my private data
5 points by richbradshaw 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There's also the beta builds, which are somewhere between regular and dev.
1 point by dekz 30 minutes ago 1 reply      
Been using the Developer build on OSX for quite a while now, (of Google Chrome, not Chromium). Can't say I've experienced any noticeable faults in any of the versions I've updated to.
1 point by aawc 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Canary & Dev on Windows, Dev on Mac and Linux.
4 points by rburgt 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I use the beta build, there are four different release channels actually, look here: http://www.chromium.org/getting-involved/dev-channel
2 points by imrehg 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm on Arch Linux, self building the latest one every couple of days from http://build.chromium.org/official/
2 points by moeffju 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Chromium nightlies, updated every few days.
2 points by kenok 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Regular release. I should match at least what a regular user is using on webdev.
2 points by SamReidHughes 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Other, a user-modified build of Chromium.
1 point by anigbrowl 1 hour ago 0 replies      
10.0.648.45 dev desktop/10.0.648.20 dev cr-48
Why the difference? I have no idea.
2 points by mhunter 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
+1 Beta
1 point by IvarTJ 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just Chromium.
1 point by JacobAldridge 2 hours ago 1 reply      
1 point by robotron 1 hour ago 0 replies      
1 point by timothyp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I use the beta build as well.
Nokia Plan C nokiaplanc.com
39 points by dools 6 hours ago   5 comments top 5
1 point by terhechte 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
That looks like a promising future.
1 point by clu3 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
i can see nokiapland.com soon will be bought, even though plan C looks pretty promising. lol
3 points by joelandren 3 hours ago 0 replies      
MeeGo about 20 thousand miles before needing to be rotated.
1 point by makeramen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
i laughed.

the fact that this exists is terrible news for nokia.

2 points by dolphenstein 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe they could offer them with different coloured, interchangeable covers?
Hi-Res Panorama of the Sistine Chapel vatican.va
64 points by ajaykam 8 hours ago   19 comments top 10
2 points by keiferski 5 hours ago 2 replies      
So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that.

Great movie that I just had to quote. I really hope to visit the chapel someday, and this site only reinforces my desire.

6 points by whatrocks 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Until this, I thought the only painting was on the ceiling. Wow, I need to travel. Was just reading another thread about logo design, and then I look at this..
2 points by civilian 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The interface is clunky. I don't like how the format is "the farther you are away from the point you started on, the more you accelerate." I prefer to have my mouse cursor stuck to one location, which I can then move around.
1 point by patrickgzill 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It is a little clunky, and you can see some stitching errors (or possibly lighting errors if they lit it in sections), but wow.
1 point by jamesbkel 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Can't say I've spent much time on vatican.va and from a quick look at the site, it's not obvious... is anyone aware of any similar work done by the Vatican to make this sort of thing available online?
2 points by timerickson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish they would have mapped the images to a 3D rendition of the chapel. It's not overly complex that it couldn't be done.
It would fix the distortion issues present when you're not staring at the artwork at 100% zoom.
3 points by exch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Did anyone else chuckle at the copyright notice on the floor?
1 point by rosstafarian 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Beautiful. I was only a child when i was in rome (5-6 years old) it's things like this that really make me want to visit again and see this
1 point by chunkyslink 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Mute button please?
0 points by hybrid11 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Formula for love: X^2+(y-sqrt(x^2))^2=1 wolframalpha.com
177 points by carusen 14 hours ago   38 comments top 14
12 points by ck2 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Since the human heart looks nothing like the "heart shape" we all know and use, I wonder where that originated...

Dang, wikipedia knows it all:


The seed of the silphium plant, used in ancient times as an herbal contraceptive, has been suggested as the source of the heart symbol.

Oh, also http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28x^2%2By^2-1%29^3-x^2...

15 points by iwwr 13 hours ago 2 replies      
10 points by philh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
3d version: (x^2+(9/4)y^2+z^2-1)^3 - x^2z^3-(9/80)y^2z^3 = 0


6 points by jacobolus 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Mathworld has some better ones:
1 point by zerd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, this one looks a bit better:


1 point by scorpion032 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Also possible in Polynomial function alone.


3 points by jawee 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This one was fun at school today:


1 point by hoag 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
This whole thread is way too cool, loved it!
4 points by nailer 13 hours ago 5 replies      
Isn't the square root of x squared just x?
2 points by porterhaney 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Circles rolling around circles http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Cardioid.html
1 point by GanjaHacker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
1 * (x^2+(y-sqrt(x^2))^2=1) would be a Bob Marley song.
1 point by maddalab 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Who does sqrt(x^2) for abs(x) ? Speak about accidental complexity in love
-1 point by zinssmeister 12 hours ago 1 reply      
so awesome. that's all.
-2 points by tintin 13 hours ago 0 replies      
And ofcourse: 1 + 1 = 1 ;)
Court confirms: IP addresses aren't people (and P2P lawyers know it) arstechnica.com
56 points by shawndumas 7 hours ago   1 comment top
7 points by tbrownaw 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In [this particular part of?] the UK; personhood of IP addresses may vary by jurisdiction (hm, do each of my 2^64 IPv6 addresses get to vote?).
Steve Jobs: "I'll just sue you" (2010) jonathanischwartz.wordpress.com
138 points by ootachi 13 hours ago   35 comments top 7
12 points by joe_the_user 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting - Sun didn't fold when Apple threatened them but there wasn't a suit either.

The thing is, it seems there are examples of open source companies or developers folding when presented with the "whiff" of a patent suit. See: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/archive/index.php/t-234073.htm...

Further, as I recall, it has been speculated that Nokia's Apple suit involved a demand by Nokia that Apple cross license its UI patents. http://www.businessinsider.com/did-nokia-sue-apple-to-access...

The thing is, if Nokia had previously been "coding around" Apple's UI, it's not surprising that their UI sucked.

It's easy to imagine that the more timid an organization, the more willing they are to be pushed around by an over broad claim.

Altogether, It would be a good thing to provoke Apple into actually suing someone for violating "their" UI controls: Threats people back away from put a bully in a more powerful position than threats carried through.

22 points by pohl 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For comparison, here is a screenshot of Concurrence:


2 points by pmorici 6 hours ago 3 replies      
This reminds me of a recent experience I had disputing some parking tickets in federal court. I did some research ahead of time and going in I was certain that if the case went to trial I would win based on the facts alone.

To avoid a trial the prosecutor first offered me 50% off my two tickets which I politely declined citing that I was certain I would win based on certain facts which I laid out.

30 minutes later while I was waiting for my trial to begin he came and offered to drop one ticket and give me 50% off on the other. I again politely declined stating that I was certain I would win based on the facts I had laid out earlier.

Then right before the trial was about to begin the prosecutor came in and dropped both tickets. I know many other people who got a ticket under the exact same circumstances and just paid it.

Point being whether a dispute is about millions of dollars of software patents or 160 dollars in parking tickets it pays to know the facts well and stand your ground convincingly and unemotionally.

3 points by nika 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been observing Apple and Steve Jobs since the late 1970s. I'm guessing that many of you were born well after that point, and have grown up your whole lives with this mythology about Jobs.

It's a load of bunk. Jobs is charismatic, but he found early on that due to his charisma, reporters liked to tell tall tales about him. Always looking for the "human interest" side of things, or something to spice up their reporting they'd exaggerate. So he stopped giving interviews, figuring that would give them less to work with, and in doing so he overestimated their integrity. Instead they quickly figured out he wouldn't give them the additional attention of debunking them, so they just started spreading whatever rumor or gossip or fabrications sounded good.

Jonathan Schwartz is not a reporter, but he can say whatever he wants, knowing that Jobs is not going to waste time disproving it. Doing so only brings more attention to the faux controversy.

And of course, Apple haters, who really don't need much prompting anyway, will simply take it as the gospel truth.

I'm sure Apple's right and attempting to point out this is just silly, because those who believe will believe anyway because they want to.

Look at Job's stanford commencement speech. That's the real guy. Always has been.

5 points by dailo10 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Postscript: Oracle bought Sun and proceeded to sue Google with the Java patents it had acquired.

Ironic given the "egregious" Kodak suit he writes about.

7 points by joblessjunkie 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Tip to bloggers: put your NAME on your blog somewhere.
2 points by cyrus_ 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an utter minefield for any startup. While the big companies find themselves in a state of mutually assured destruction, new companies can be attacked by a billion dollars worth of lawyers if they start to compete.
Announcing Soulmate, a Redis-backed service for fast autocompleting seatgeek.com
83 points by ericwaller 10 hours ago   18 comments top 11
9 points by timr 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you really using the technique described in the Redis auto-complete page? Doesn't that method take a lot more RAM than is necessary using a more specialized approach (i.e. a trie)?

Also, from what I can tell, every query is log(N) in the size of the completion set, instead of linear in the length of the query/suggestion (again, like a trie). Seems like this might have trouble scaling to large suggestion sets.

6 points by jedsmith 9 hours ago 1 reply      
As a UX note, I've always quietly loved autocompletes that aren't just a flat list of terms, but actually contain structured information organized in an intuitive fashion. The design of the suggestions on SeatGeek is fantastic.
3 points by dmix 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The example autocomplete on Seatgeek.com is indeed impressively fast.

I might have to use this in my next service.

5 points by ncavig 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Would be cool to have an example of this running on websockets and get rid of the request/response latency that most autocompletes have. Keep the socket open when the text field is focused and you should be able to cut down the response time even further without that overhead.
1 point by dhruvbird 3 hours ago 0 replies      
How many phrases of length 30 could you handle with 1GB of RAM?

Or do you have numbers on the mean length of a phrase you handle currently, the number of such phrases and how much memory it takes?

1 point by kingkilr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The UI on seatgeek is almost identical to what rdio provides, I wonder if rdio is using it.
1 point by siculars 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh, oh yes. Thank you kindly. I was literally about to embark on this very feature. Let's take a closer look...
1 point by jarin 10 hours ago 1 reply      
How ironic, this is perfect for the dating site I'm working on :)
1 point by kin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome work guys! I really hope this type of UI becomes more widespread. On a side note, I've always thought the guys over at www.glyde.com execute it quite well.
1 point by Detrus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
My first few searches took a while, then every search was pretty fast. Is it the load?
1 point by jbendotnet 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice work.
SongKick (YC S07) Raises $2m More to Out-Innovate Other Concert Alert Services readwriteweb.com
21 points by marshallk 4 hours ago   4 comments top 3
6 points by jl 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I love Songkick. I've gone to a whole bunch of concerts that I never would have known about if it hadn't been for them.
1 point by retube 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have to say, their website looks, feels lovely.
2 points by adrianwaj 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
How does SK make money? Ticket commissions?
IBM's Watson starts on Jeopardy Tonight jeopardy.com
228 points by KevBurnsJr 18 hours ago   135 comments top 26
23 points by brown9-2 17 hours ago replies      
You can watch the PBS Nova episode about the building of Watson for free on their website (about 60 minutes long, aired Feb 9 2011):


One question I have about Watson that I don't recall being mentioned in any videos or articles so far - what sort of interface does Watson receive the questions over? Is Watson performing speech recognition or getting the text of the question via some sort of interface?

64 points by swanson 17 hours ago 2 replies      
"a';DROP TABLE 'knowledge'; This type of attack is commonly used by hackers."

Game over, Watson.

8 points by kj12345 17 hours ago 2 replies      
One thing I'm interested in is any skew in the questions from normal. In particular I hope they ask linguistically tricky questions where you can't even figure out what's being asked at first. I felt like they went a bit easy on that front in the preview round:


5 points by ugh 17 hours ago 4 replies      
It's a shame that this is (necessarily!) such an insular challenge. Everybody knows what chess is all about, I fear that the impact of this game will be limited to the US or the Anglosphere. Just as an example, there has been no Jeopardy on German TV since 2000, it's not really a part of German pop culture and because of all the puns it doesn't translate well.

(Question for native speakers: When watching the practice round [0] are you generally able to keep up and answer the questions? The speed with which the game was moving made it nearly impossible for me to follow or enjoy the game. I would like to know what the experience is like for native speakers.)

[0] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFR3lOm_xhE

16 points by chaosmachine 18 hours ago 5 replies      
Is there somewhere to watch this online?
9 points by waxpraxis 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently finding out what information we're allowed to share about how the avatar works and what went into developing it. The problem is we're so far down the totem pole I probably won't know for a while yet. :-/


3 points by savrajsingh 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Did anyone else notice that the vignettes about Watson's creation featured IBM researchers using MacBook Pros? So much for "International Business Machines." ;)
4 points by 3pt14159 17 hours ago 1 reply      
2 points by thought_alarm 6 hours ago 0 replies      
And be sure to stick around for Wheel of Fortune, where two previous champs will take on an Apple II+. Beep.
12 points by sambeau 18 hours ago 1 reply      
A valentine's day gift for us single geeks
5 points by powrtoch 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Anybody know whether this will be live or if it's pre-taped like most jeopardy episdoes?
3 points by phren0logy 15 hours ago 2 replies      
SPOILER Link to final score for those of us who are curious, but not curious enough to watch:


5 points by shortlived 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In case anyone is interested to know Watson's opponents: Watson will compete against Brad Rutter, the current biggest all-time money winner on Jeopardy!, and Ken Jennings, the record holder for the longest championship streak [source: wikipedia]
3 points by olalonde 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Suppose Watson scales cheaply (it doesn't), would it be serious threat to Google? My guess is that it would be but I'd be curious to hear HN's take.
4 points by Charuru 13 hours ago 5 replies      
Shouldn't IBM start their own search engine if they have algorithms like this?

Or conversely, maybe Google should buy them?

4 points by KevBurnsJr 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Is there somewhere in Silicon Valley to watch this together in person?
3 points by umjames 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Much of success on Jeopardy is not just deciphering clues in the answers, but your timing on ringing in to give the question. I'd imagine a machine could get really good at getting the timing down. Does Jeopardy have a way of varying who rings in first to keep things more fair?
2 points by tremendo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
http://twitter.com/robotwisdom has some results from the show, don't know how he was able to see it already.
2 points by icedpulleys 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In case anyone missed it the first time around, the nytimes mag had a pretty good writeup on Watson back in June -- might be worth instapapering and reading later if you're going to catch the broadcast this week:


As an AI researcher I'm excited to watch this week. Even if it's not the most elegant artificial Jeopardy player imaginable, it raises the public profile of a lot of AI & ML topics and might encourage and inspire other groups to tackle ambitious projects.

1 point by tocomment 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Why does Watson need so much computing power? I don't know of many NLP algorithms that are so intensive?
4 points by kirpekar 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the reminder. DVR set.
1 point by jal278 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm sure there are those that disagree strongly, but I feel like this isn't as much an advance for AI as it is another interesting combination of filtered human-structured knowledge and computation power. Just as Deep Blue brute-forced chess, this is mostly a brute-force of another, albeit more open-ended domain (i.e. Q/A).

I'm not arguing that this isn't an impressive accomplishment, but that the statistical-learning stream of research is likely a conceptual local optima that yields the best results in the near term but is probably unrelated to the way we ultimately achieve a creative, general AI.

2 points by Kilimanjaro 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see Watson as a web service.
1 point by lorax 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope someone writes down all the answers (questions?) and feeds them into google so we can have a Google-Watson showdown. (Oh, we need a third contestant, how about bing too).
1 point by AARC233 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is interesting. Way to mix it up Jeopardy
0 points by tpatke 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I assume this is pre-recorded and IBM would have cancelled it if they didn't like the outcome.
The Python Paradox is now the Scala Paradox kleppmann.com
100 points by hendler 12 hours ago   35 comments top 10
19 points by al3x 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is from 2009. Scala has only improved since then, although it's still not a "mainstream" programming language by any stretch. You can talk to a crowded room of programmers who either haven't heard of Scala, or have heard of it only in passing and don't really know what it's about. That's fine.

Programmers who are interested in learning and growing will always be attracted to new languages and technologies. What's interesting about Scala is that it's not solely academic. You can learn and do useful things with it at the same time. Later, when you've learned more, you can go back and improve your old code for added beauty and performance. That's a fun process, I think.

4 points by Stormbringer 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Upfront I want to be very clear that I'm not hating on any of the languages that he mentions in the article. okay, maybe secretly hoping that Ruby will go die in a fire somewhere, but let's put that aside.

What grieves me as I read that article is that it seems like he had a perfectly good way of doing it simply and easily, but then decided to go for a much more complex and risky solution (with what _he_ describes as poor tooling) ... for what? Simply to increase the difficulty level?

Take the analogy of a backyard pool. Instead of just running up to the pool and doing a bomb (or even a belly flop), he has to climb up on the roof of neighbours rickety garage, where he is going to attempt to do a triple twist half pike helicopter/superman maneuver in order to score higher from the judges. Problem is, he's got a real risk of either missing the pool entirely or cracking his head open on the concrete.

I'm not saying we should never use new languages or techniques or tools. What annoys me is that given the choice of doing something simple, or doing something complex, he chose the complex way, and then piled on the risk, with a side order of complexity.

From the article:

"Shortly after working this out and drawing my architecture diagram (a pretty insane-looking tangle of boxes and arrows on a sheet of paper)"

Shouldn't that have been a pretty big red flag? Sure he found some superstar programmer to pull it off for him, but I can't help but think that a little bit of darwinian natural selection would have been in order here.

The annoying thing is that you see this all the time in the Enterprise. Time and time again someone with architect in their title goes and makes an appalling horrible mess of the design, leaving the poor bastards at the coal face to sort it out and try to make the abominable crime against nature, reason and common sense actually work.

6 points by hassy 12 hours ago 3 replies      
It's "whatever programming language is not mainstream paradox" to be precise (and the author of the blog post would agree since he also nominates Haskell, Erlang, and Clojure). Which is obvious. And since "whatever programming language is not mainstream paradox" is a mouthful, "Python paradox" is a much better name. Those unfamiliar with the term can always be directed to PG's article to enjoy.

EDIT: Using "esoteric" languages can also be a good long-term hiring strategy. It's pretty easy to get a place in people's minds as the "go to" company to work with a language. Google did that with Python, Twitter is doing it with Scala, Basho are doing it with Erlang.

3 points by StavrosK 11 hours ago 5 replies      
Does anyone know of a concise way to learn Clojure or Scala? I'd like to learn one of these languages, but I don't want to wade through interminable books to do it. Rather, I'd prefer it if there were a place where I could quickly pick up some basics and get a few ideas/exercises I could work on to discover the language on my own, a bit like "Learn Python in 10 Minutes" (http://www.korokithakis.net/tutorials/python).
1 point by benreesman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
scala is quite complex. it has O(m + n) complexity from functional and "object oriented" (single dispatch, backported type system) requirements, plus whatever their interactions cost, plus the novel shit. I admire anyone who really grasps it in it's entirety.

as a mere mortal I gravitate to simpler things.

4 points by l0nwlf 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> Of course Sam cannot live on technical stimulation and my gratitude alone

Alas. If only we could live on technical stimulation alone :(

1 point by BonoboBoner 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been reading books about Scala and used it for scripting here and there. I gained some Scala experience over the last years, yet it still amazes me how often people state:

"Scala is not ready yet, but when it is, it is gonna take over Java as the next big language".

Years have passed and this has failed to materialize. Maybe it will never be 'ready enough' to take over? What do you think?

2 points by bootload 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"... Of course times have moved on, and Python (and Ruby, for that matter) are definitely entering the mainstream. They are still fine languages, but they no longer carry as much of an early adopter aura about them... what are the new technologies to look out for? ..."


3 points by jleader 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Previously discussed on HN: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=831817
1 point by gtani 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What would Feynman do? msdn.com
171 points by cruise02 17 hours ago   34 comments top 10
23 points by hristov 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Whoever this guy is should try to make a point without putting words in Feynman's mouth. It is downright disrespectful. I know that everyone knows that Feynman did not say these things, but it is still disrespectful.

Also it shows an enormous ego. Mr. Lippert thinks he is as smart as Feynman but he is not; he just makes Feynman sound like a pedantic asshole.

Mind you I agree with his point that those questions are silly, but again he can make this point without bringing in Feynman's corpse and using it as a sockpupet.

40 points by rflrob 16 hours ago 3 replies      
When the original "If Feynman Applied for a job at Microsoft" was posted (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1866305), a lot of people commented that this doesn't actually sound like something Feynman would say. Sheldon Cooper, maybe, but Feynman would have loved the simple, elegant solution that relied on no extra tools.
1 point by loup-vaillant 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Brain teasers and real life just don't work the same way. The trick is to distinguish them.

If a bridge can only support 2 people, maybe it is better to not cross it at all. If you do have to cross it, maybe you can trust your tamed tiger with the goat. Pirates aren't rational agents that use silly rules for sharing the treasure. An egg that doesn't take a scratch when falling from the 13'th floor belongs to wonderland. Few women would kill their cheating husband right away. Fewer still would rely on the perfect rationality of others, and the mayor's to do so.

And so on. Brain teasers are fun, but many people (not just Richard Feynman) don't accept their weird assumptions right away, and instead assume a real-life setting.

12 points by teamonkey 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Without wanting to drag the discussion down, it seems remiss not to link to this image that's been going around forever.


12 points by gwern 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The Feynman I know from the _Feynman Lectures on Computation_ would have quickly disposed of the information-theoretic problem posed, and then have gone on to discuss all the interesting variants.
4 points by tomsaffell 15 hours ago 3 replies      
..And why is the solution you were clearly driving me towards one which takes advantage of an undocumented and unreliable epiphenomenon..

Since when has the thermal performance of a light bulb been undocumented and unreliable? I would think that designers of light fixtures and shades rely heavily on the documented thermal performance of light bulbs, and rate their products for compatibility with a range of bulbs accordingly.

6 points by anupj 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think Dr. Feynman talks in such a cryptic language, if you've read his books you would know that he actually talks/writes in a very lucid language. But the person mentioned in the interview does sound like a certain "Sheldon" from the "The Big Bang Theory".
1 point by Confusion 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I find this story unlikely, but probably for a pretty uncommon reason. Here's the thing: I heard this question a number of times before (never in an interview; always on the interwebs), but never attempted to solve it and never read a solution. As I was reading this paragraph:

  Can I assume that the lights and the switches are correctly
wired according to the National Electric Code of the United
States? That is, that the switches interrupt the hots, not the
neutrals, that the switches are standard-duty switches rated
to interrupt 15 amps of 120 volt alternating current, and so on?

I instantly realized the intended answer. I don't doubt for a second that if that just happened to me, it would also have happened to Feynman (because I blame being a physicist for what just happened), immediately after first thinking of that important signalling word that he was supposedly about to speak.

2 points by juiceandjuice 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Feynman would have a better approximation for the resistance of a human. 1K is just way too low.
0 points by shubber 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Does your team usually write code whose correctness relies upon undocumented and unreliable correlations, correlations whose magnitudes can vary widely as a result of implementation details?"

I loved this implication on a Microsoft website.

The Great Gatsby - For NES greatgatsbygame.com
91 points by vanrenen 12 hours ago   25 comments top 15
9 points by iuguy 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite pieces of American literature. I don't even know how this can exist. It just makes no sense. It would be like making Jabberwocky Kart Racing or something.

The worst thing is it doesn't seem to be that bad a platformer either!

3 points by scw 4 hours ago 0 replies      
They've put the source code for the project up on bitbucket for anyone interested: https://bitbucket.org/charliehoey/gatsby/src
12 points by kentbuckle 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The Japanese title on the about page translates to something like "Heart-Pounding Library: The Legend of Gatsby", which is how I think the book should have been titled.
17 points by gatsby 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm flattered.
2 points by roryokane 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I've never played an NES game. Is this a spoof of NES games based off of movies and books " do those games have about as much connection to their original work as this one does to The Great Gatsby? (Which is to say, do those old NES games have cutscenes that make no sense without already having read the book, a style of gameplay that is inappropriate for the setting, and setting-appropriate art and music?)
1 point by j_baker 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Dear God... why?! This brings back nightmares of my freshman English class in High School.
1 point by Jach 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I didn't like the book, didn't like the movie, but the game.. I like it. Died against the first boss.
1 point by zppx 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh man, I just began reading this book four days ago, it's my current book to read while commuting, and it's pretty weird to think that tomorrow this will probably be in my head when I read a chapter... maybe this will be too much and I'll put the book on hold for a month or so.

The game itself is a nice classic platform.

4 points by jacksonpollack 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice. The too-smooth gameplay (and the all-star credits) give it away. I like the Mega Man-esque ending.
1 point by starpilot 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The music in the first stage sounds familiar, anyone familiar with it?
1 point by Fargren 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The game sporadically decides to ignore all my keypresses. It looks good until it becomes impossible though.
2 points by orls 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is actually a really, really well put-together platformer! Fast, just enough of a challenge, cute and fun, and brilliant music too.


1 point by Groxx 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone managed a no-death game? Does it do anything differently?
1 point by Sniffnoy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh man, I totally thought this was real until I looked at the contact page. Though the credit to "N. Uematsu" was certainly surprising! I suppose putting in credits to "Bun Bun" and "Yuukichan's Papa" was appropriate as one or two of the level musics were rather Mega Man-ish.
1 point by afhof 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The entire repo is 125 MB?
Greplin (YC W10) Grabs $4 Million From Sequoia For Social Search techcrunch.com
131 points by ssclafani 15 hours ago   27 comments top 8
51 points by aepstein 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Not only was Daniel (and his co-founder Shai) the youngest in our YC batch, but they built and launched a couple of different startup ideas in the time that the rest of us built a couple of features.

Daniel easily could've packed it up when he lost his cofounder - Shai had to go back to Israel a week or two before Demo Day. Instead, he built a prototype of what would become Greplin (in a week), pitched it to investors at Demo Day, secured funding from Sequoia, and is riding a rocketship.

When PG and YC say that they invest first and foremost in founders, this is a perfect example of what they're talking about. Every startup hits a rough-patch, and some even look like they have no hope at all, but the best founders persevere against crazy odds and will themselves to succeed.

5 points by ankimal 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I would love to know what their stack looks like and if they re using any open source libs especially what they re using for indexing and search.
11 points by troyk 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats Daniel, sometime would like to know about the backend rewrite
3 points by grandalf 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone who applied to Greplin for a job based on the programming challenge looking for a job? Let me know b/c my company is hiring for two engineering positions in SF.
2 points by wildmXranat 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the idea of searching my own online service accounts, but how do they implement visibility layers ? There are reasons why online services don't allow indexing content.

The outcome could be either really good or a privacy nightmare.

1 point by surlyadopter 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Last week Greplin gave all(?) of it's beta testers a free upgrade to the premium tier of service. That was a nice touch even though I have not yet found a use for their product.
2 points by 6ren 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a great example of launching, then improving: if there's a real market need, users will forgive everything else.
1 point by moomba 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I never heard of this site until now. Its a great idea. I really wish I thought of this. Not only is it a fun project, but it has the potential to be used by a great many people. I wish the Greplin guys luck with this.
I have seen the future and I am opposed core77.com
165 points by cwan 18 hours ago   63 comments top 16
28 points by grellas 17 hours ago 6 replies      
This is a thoughtful piece written by a tech-savvy author who expresses concerns about the idea that we, as tech consumers, will be subject to the greed-driven restraints placed upon the technology we use by various corporate interests.

The unstated premise of the piece seems to be that, as technology matures, control over it becomes consolidated in fewer hands, each of whom has a proprietary interest to limit its ultimate use in order to serve its short-term profit interests. Thus, service providers charge high roaming fees and structure their charges to serve their interests at the expense of consumers while apps that are offered come increasingly within walled gardens where proprietary overlords dictate all terms.

I believe this is all true but disagree as to its alleged threat to our future as tech consumers. Human innovation in a free enterprise system tends to take on a force of its own that overwhelms individual corporate interests. If this were not the case, then our current overlords would be Barnes & Noble (for books), Tower Records (for music), Blockbuster Video (for video rentals), Western Union (for instant messaging), IBM (for enterprise computing), and so on. These were yesterday's corporate giants and they each declined in their influence specifically because they failed to anticipate key trends in technology and thus became laggards instead of leaders.

Telco service providers, of course, have incredible power and will use that power to further their particular narrow interests if at all possible. This has resulted in a variety of frustrating user experiences. Even here, however, technology will tend to outrun their long-term ability to dictate terms. Those who are old enough will readily remember the outrageous expense, while traveling, of "long distance" charges, of the scarcity of reliable phone systems in many countries, and of the difficulty often incurred while wanting to make a call of trying to find an available phone booth while on the road. We are worlds removed from that old environment today owing to amazing advances in technology, and we as consumers are far better off than before in spite of the hassles, inconveniences, and expenses we experience with our service providers.

I resist walled gardens and proprietary traps in the marketplace as much as the next guy but these too do not threaten my choices in the long run. I may or may not like what Apple does but Apple will not control the future any more than the companies listed above. Corporate control in this sense is powerful but ephemeral - absent government restrictions that give it quasi-monopoly status, it lasts only as long as a company serves important needs of consumers. Once that slips, so too does the corporate dominance (over the long term). I may be wrong about this but, given what I have observed over my lifetime, I take a much more relaxed view of it than does the author of this piece.

16 points by Create 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh dear. Don Norman has discovered why free software is about freedom and what the cloud business model is really about.

"One reason you should not use web applications to do your computing is that you lose control," he said. "It's just as bad as using a proprietary program. Do your own computing on your own computer with your copy of a freedom-respecting program. If you use a proprietary program or somebody else's web server, you're defenceless. You're putty in the hands of whoever developed that software."[1]

He dismisses GNU/Linux right off the bat, even though the very reason why GNU was even born[2] is the very same problem he is starting to admit (given where he worked, I think he saw this ...but now that he no longer seem to profit from it enough to even get his blackberry roaming payed for him by The Company Overlord -- welcome to the reality of the majority).

Just visit http://www.debian.org/ and download http://www.libreoffice.org/ and do something about it, instead of musing and whining (I am awaiting a functionality he would need that is missing).

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/sep/29/cloud.compu...

[2] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

3 points by cletus 16 hours ago 3 replies      
It's an interesting post. A few points:

> But what I see developing seems driven by greed and profit...

Yes, it's called "capitalism".

> For me, the future would bring forth solutions to our needs and wants...


> design that provides value in a sustainable and responsible manner...

"Sustainable" is an extremely loaded term. Basically, you get it when the market demands it. If you see it as important, it's not a failure of the producers: it's a failure of the consumers to demand or the governments to require it.

The rest of the post talks about nascent issues of balkanization, which is the natural path of progression. Consider the examples of railroads in the US and the road system in the UK. In both cases, they were initially private endeavours that were likewise driven by "greed and profit". Arguably in both cases the high pricing stifled innovation and in both cases, the systems were eventually nationalized.

In the UK's example, nationalization fostered trade (the roads were all toll roads previously). In the case of the US railroads, nationalization can arguably be seen as a disaster so there are mixed results of this.

Ultimately though the story is one of commoditization. We are still in the pioneering days of these technologies and as time goes on they will get cheaper and ubiquitous to the point where people through the instrument of governments will start to see such services as basic rights, much as is becoming the case with Internet access, which many countries are starting to see as the "fourth utility".

"Greed and profit" propelled us from an a hunter-gatherer and agrarian existence to manned spaceflight and the global Internet. Don't be quick to dismiss or disparage "greed and profit" as there has been no greater catalyst for human advancement.

As for his talk of "open standards", I refer you to Dave McClure's "Open is for Losers" [1]. We may find open desirable philosophically but it is not the natural product of a market--at least not an immature market. Open standards are the byproduct of commoditization.

As for synchronous Internet connections:

> Why would it harm companies to provide equal access?

The predominant form of broadband access in many countries is ADSL. The "A" is asynchronous in this case. ADSL2+ is up to 24M down and 1M up (2M with Annex M). Gain more upload speed and you lose download speed. So this isn't an artificial restriction: it's giving consumers what they most likely want. You can buy SDSL links. They have lower (relative) download speeds and generally higher cost, mostly because they're a business product as a general rule.

> I fear the Internet is doomed to fail, to be replaced by tightly controlled gardens of exclusivity.

I don't. I see such walled gardens as merely transitional. The "greed and profit" that drives them pulls us all forward and makes a bucketload of money for a few in the process. For a time.

> Today it is too easy for unknown entities to penetrate into private homes and businesses, stealing identities and corporate secrets.

Not really. If you run a Windows machine directly on the Internet (ie not via a router that does NAT, etc) then you kinda get what you deserve.

The fact is, the closed devices the OP bemoans are actually much safer for such things and that's almost by definition because as soon as you get a complicated mess like Windows, faults are inevitable.

TL:DR the sky isn't falling.

[1]: http://venturebeat.com/2010/05/19/dave-mcclure-open-is-for-l...

7 points by joblessjunkie 17 hours ago 2 replies      
This piece is short on big-picture thinking. None of its complaints hold up under scrutiny.

Mobile internet access while traveling abroad is expensive and unreliable because it's new. Yes, there are commercial forces that try to maintain high prices as long as possible, but short-term profits never hold up forever. Fifty years ago, every phone bill in the US was payable to AT&T, and long distance calls could cost dollars (not cents) per minute. Thirty years ago, we gained multiple long distance carriers and prices fell quickly. Twenty years ago, we cut the cord, but cell phones charged by the minute and came with draconian contracts. Today it's common to lease a service with an near-infinite supply of minutes, that lets you call anywhere in the country for a flat rate. It's incredibly cheap compared to long distance of twenty years ago. All this, despite the evil resistance of profiteering corporations.

Sure, Microsoft laughed at Apple and Sun when they approached to develop a common standard platform. Times change, and high profits are constantly under attack. Microsoft completely missed the internet boat -- not a single protocol in use on the internet today comes out of Microsoft. Google and many other corporations offer free products that compete favorably with Microsoft's expensive products of yore. It must have sucked to compete with Microsoft in the 90's, but here we are, and where is Microsoft? Sinking billions into R&D in the race against Google.

Over and over, new technologies lead to incredible profits for a few, controlling corporations, but inevitably these situations aren't permanent. Our internet faces censorship threats from governments and exclusivity threats from corporations, but these controls, like others before, won't last.

So what is Mr. Norman going on about? Short-term profiteering? That's what covers my paycheck, and makes all this possible. Privatization of the internet? Maybe temporarily, but if that doesn't truly benefit the public then it simply can't endure against technological advancement.

24 points by nick_urban 18 hours ago 5 replies      
Does it strike any one else as at least a _bit_ disturbing that he thinks his "mind" is in his smart phone, and finds no problem with this other than that service providers are greedy?

An obvious way to avoid becoming beholden to service providers is to retain some independence from our devices. It's not like people didn't travel before the invention of the iPhone.

5 points by zeteo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
"as the business potential became obvious to corporate warlords, they struck, [...] getting willing governments to enact rules, regulations and laws to protect corporate interests"

Aye, there's the rub. Corporate welfare programs are the root cause of everything he's describing, and of a lot of other problems with today's economic system. Restrictions on competition, created by the government, have been a major obstacle to everyone's welfare since at least the 18th century (Adam Smith rails against them at length in Wealth of Nations).

4 points by hammock 16 hours ago 0 replies      
What worries me about this post is that the most salient solution to one of the main complaints (roaming fees) is to have one giant worldwide provider of mobile broadband. And it's not hard to imagine why that might not be so good.
4 points by jamesaguilar 18 hours ago 1 reply      
1. Buy a SIM card in your destination country. 2. Profit.
3 points by wybo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is basically the main thesis of Zittrains 'The Future of the Internet: And how to stop it'


Agree that it is a problem. Quite brave, by the way, that he speaks out about this as a (former) Apple VP...

1 point by zokier 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I for one think that (reasonable) asymmetrical internet connections are mostly a good thing. I mean, could you imagine a residential internet connection that really would handle eg slashdotting? On the other hand, you can get cheapo VPS or a piece of cloud for a fraction of a cost of a actual server, and includes internet connection, probably at least 100M, but likely a Gigabit. And because of high download speeds, you can actually put eg HD videos on your VPS and people will be able to actually consume them.

And that VPS will have probably far less limitations on the content you are distributing via it compared to a residential connection, partly because the higher competition. And if your VPS provider decides to shut your revolutionary website down, it's trivial to move to an another provider, compared to switching your home connection. And additionally VPS is easier to anonymize if you need/want to. Your home connection will always point to your home, and to you.

1 point by keiferski 18 hours ago 0 replies      
My phone translates foreign languages, provides maps and directions, recommends restaurants and tells me the news of the day. It lets me communicate with friends around the world and in general, allows me to function. All my knowledge depends upon access to communication services: my email, my calendar, my maps and guidebooks. But all of this is at the mercy of the service provider.

While I agree with his post on the whole, nearly all of those smartphone apps are available offline. His point is more valid when it comes to content.

2 points by pnathan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of McLuhan's thesis on technology: for each advance, something is effectively lost.

That said, I recommend the author bring a paper book along whenever he travels.

2 points by scelerat 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with many of Norman's concerns.

To the extent that connectivity and access are increasingly becoming essential to a modern way of life, commerce, education, etc. and considering the clear direction towards consolidation, oligopolization etc., ISP/cable/wireless providers increasingly look like natural monopolies. Somewhere on the spectrum of a public national highway system, public utilities, or a regulated broadcast and telecom systems, probably more towards the latter.

There are lots of good reasons for being concerned, and historical lessons abound.

1 point by tjmaxal 14 hours ago 0 replies      
What about consumer responsibility? caveat empetor and all. Capitalism only works when we the consumer are willing to buy what is out there instead of holding out for better offers.
1 point by Synaesthesia 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Wonder why he writes his column in Word, I can think of no tangible benefit. In fact writing in Word on a Mac is really annoying because you get no spell check access.
1 point by PonyGumbo 18 hours ago 0 replies      

I can see that you are.

MeeGo Preview Shows Why Nokia Embraced WP7 gigaom.com
22 points by nl 6 hours ago   8 comments top 5
4 points by rabidsnail 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Shame. Maemo was actually pretty good. I used to have an n770 and it was a nice, usable little device (if underpowered). It had an app store in 2005 (which was an apt repo with a web interface in front of it), and there was a decent app selection since it was so easy to port linux desktop software to it.
4 points by neworbit 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Did anyone really think this was a surprise? Symbian? Not gonna do it. Nokia clearly bet the future on Meego, decided that it wasn't going to cut it, and hedged with WP7 instead of Android (because they weren't going to be competitive with the rest of the world who had a year's head start on Android devices).
1 point by kajecounterhack 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who doesn't really like the name MeeGo? I don't know anything about it beyond the wikipedia page nor am I making any judgement regarding it as a platform, but I think the name is kind of goofy. Haha.
1 point by goombastic 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Progress: plodding on despite your neighbors, commentators, pundits, and others disparaging you. Changing directions due to group think and not sticking to plans will kill any project.

Remember that people throw stones only at trees that have mangoes.

-4 points by dolphenstein 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Embraced like you embrace a smelly alcoholic uncle/aunty in a family gathering. Sickening but unavoidable.
Which company is the biggest? A primer on corporate valuation arstechnica.com
26 points by sinzone 6 hours ago   9 comments top 3
3 points by jacques_chester 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How cash balances are measured is a matter for considerable debate.

In general, it's important to distinguish cash balance and flows from investments vs operations.

Banks often report their vast cash balance under operations, as holding and lending cash is their core business, not something they do on the side.

Accountants like to project this aura that they're perfectly predictable categorisers of financial truth, but it's bunk. When you can change a company's reported cash balance by billions of dollars through a clever argument, you're well and truly into the land of politics.

2 points by brc 4 hours ago 1 reply      
A good way to think about market cap, is if a company had 100 equal shares, and those 100 shareholders stood in a room. Then if 2 of them traded shares and told everyone what the value of the company was, and the other 98 didn't say anything, so the statement of the 2 goes down on record. That's market cap. It's the instant opinion of a minority of shareholders as to the going value based on the trading value of a small percentage of shares. In other words, it means absolutely nothing.
2 points by mkinnan 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow! This article certainly gives you a different perspective on how companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft really are small as compared to giants like GE, Exxon, etc.

What blows me away is that Wal-Mart has 2 million+ employees! A piece of information that would be interesting as a comparison is the number of government employees there are in different countries ...

Programming languages are being deleted from Wikipedia reddit.com
417 points by budu 1 day ago   257 comments top 41
141 points by jacques_chester 1 day ago replies      
Here's the main offender:


One of his arguments is that these languages are often only mentioned in conference proceedings.

How you get to be a PhD student in computer science without realising that conference proceedings are the leading distribution mechanism for knowledge in the CS research world is a mystery.

I may only be a humble honours student, but the central importance of conferences over journals has been drummed into me over and over by my professors.

51 points by Udo 1 day ago 3 replies      
The implication of deletionism as a philosophy is that readers cannot be trusted to make up their own minds about the merits of an article even if it contains positive and negative feedback markers.

The whole deletionism fiasco at Wikipedia is ultimately a software and UI failure. Misguided people who in most cases could never write a good article (or even improve an existing one) themselves are running amok because the system is re-enforcing the belief that their only talent, destroying information, is also a valid form of contribution. It is no statistical accident that rampant wiki deletionism is even more intense in ..."strict" countries such as Germany.

At the same time it is important to note that a lot of articles have serious shortcomings and are in need of improvement. While deleting them is in my opinion unforgivable as long as they contain useful information, I believe Wikipedia could profit from a more modern approach to article rating and validation. If substandard articles were allowed to continue existing albeit with low ratings and missing validation tags, Wikipedia as a process could focus more on improvement as opposed to gleeful pruning. If they concentrated on more constructive measures and included better ways of gathering user feedback for quality control, they could also provide former deletionist users with a UI option that simply prevents them from ever having to see an article that is below a certain quality threshold. Everybody would win.

As it stands today, Wikipedia increasingly fails at its stated mission of being a repository for the world's knowledge. Sadly, I don't believe it is possible to change Wikipedia in any way, ever. Someday, someone will have to come along and fork it.

21 points by jedsmith 1 day ago 4 replies      
I don't remember who said it, but I read something recently which I thought was amusing and not serious (paraphrasing):

> All that donation money, and they still can't afford enough hard drive space to avoid deletionism.

The guy allegedly doing the flagging has responded on his user page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Christopher_Monsanto

Edit: The quoted comment was in jest, and too many missed this, so I'll reinforce that by adding 'and not serious'.

8 points by larsberg 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm sort of surprised by the surprise here. As a graduate student myself, my peers and I have all come to the sad conclusion that Wikipedia is good for breadth and bad for depth, at least in CS (I cannot speak for other areas). The primary issue seems to be the combination of deletionists and campers. The former we see in this case.

The latter is something my theory friends complain about. According to two of them who have tried, attempting to expand or correct any of the fringe topics in algorithms and graph theory is futile because of the instant-reverters who will simply revert any change they make.

Of course, what's most disturbing to me about this is... dear gods, man, you're at Princeton! If you don't understand what the contributions of Alice ML are to the field, walk down the hall and talk to Andrew Appel! Or David Walker, if Andrew is too hard to track down. I would hope that by this point this student has learned that there is a lack of fidelity in the search engines for anything published in the 90s and earlier, as the scanned PS converted to PDF is neither as well-indexed nor as comprehensively available (e.g. Springer-Verlag work from that time is frequently not indexed in scholar/citeseer due to a lack of non-subscription links, particularly if published by someone who is no longer in academia).

Fortunately, most of the work in PL was done in the lifetime of people still working. If you're too busy to do a thorough search of relevant work, you can sit down and talk with the people who were there when concurrency was first being introduced and formally modeled to understand Alice's place and contributions (or lack thereof, if that's the conclusion you come to).

9 points by joshfraser 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Christopher has posted this update on his profile:

Dear internet,

You guys win. I will stop nominating pages for deletion.

I wasn't doing this to troll or to slam any language community. I was just trying to help -- I read the WP guidelines for inclusion, and whenever I came across a language that didn't seem to meet said criteria, I nominated it for AfD. I think, with respect to Wikipedia's established notability guidelines, my arguments for deletion were airtight, which is probably why the articles were eventually deleted. I'm not sure my actions warranted the kind of internet-hatred I received as a result. If anyone thought what I was doing was wrong, they could have just sent me a friendly message and I would have politely discussed the issue. Few took this route, and I am sorry that due to time constraints and an overwhelming amount of invective I could not reply sensibly to everyone.

Since the internet seems to care more about keeping these articles than I care about deleting them, I'll stop. I personally think a lot of the articles should have been deleted. I think that ALL articles I nominated for deletion fail to meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline. Here's a challenge, then, for the internet: instead of spamming my Wikipedia talk page (which I don't really care about), why don't you work on fixing WP's notability guideline for programming languages? Otherwise, some other naive editor will eventually try to delete them. Perhaps they won't have as much experience dealing with trolls and flamebait as I have had, and will become very hurt and confused. Nobody wants that :(

This was fun. Now back to real work, I guess...

15 points by tibbon 1 day ago 1 reply      
In reading about this I came across a few things that I honestly wasn't aware of for Wikipedia, which made me feel these deletionists are even more silly than I prior thought



The Notability guidelines often both me really, as they are a somewhat silly set of 'rules' in many ways and not everything fits into a nice and tidy system. For example, Christopher M seems to feel that his understanding of the requirements if that all languages must be cited in well published and cited academic papers and there is no other way around it. That's just silly. There could be new and growing languages that are of importance, or older ones that were important at the time, but that there weren't papers for and aren't being actively used. Do they each have a purpose and for the people who is researching things via the Wikipedia important? Yes. They are.

I feel that there is more to be lost by most deletionist activity than there is to be gained. The risk evaluation here almost always (except in cases of spam and self edits, which are frequent) should lean on the side of having more information available, not less.

47 points by seancron 1 day ago 1 reply      
The thing that makes Wikipedia useful in my opinion is not the notable topics I can lookup somewhere else. It's these long tail articles about esoteric programming languages and non-mainstream topics.
45 points by protomyth 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tend to contribute money to certain projects. I won't give to Wikipedia because they treat conference proceedings with less respect than an episode of Gossip Girls.
17 points by gojomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a reference knowledge-base to complement Wikipedia that will loosen the 'notability' requirement in favor of 'true and useful'. Otherwise, it will share the same licensing and a wiki-centric edit model.

The project codename is 'Infinithree' ('∞³'), and I'm discussing it pre-launch at http://infinithree.org and (Twitter/Identica) @infinithree.

13 points by jeswin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nemerle has 209,000 results on Google, and the first few pages are stacked with relevant, well-written articles. How is this not notable?

I played with this language a few years back and thought it had great promise(when C# was much less capable). I have read the exact Wikipedia page you deleted, and it got me to write some code in Nemerle.

* Btw, this might get some publicity for Nemerle (and the other languages).

6 points by burgerbrain 1 day ago 0 replies      
While reading Nemerle's deletion discussion page, I can't help but notice what seems to me to be some degree of racism on the part of the deletion advocates, particularly Christopher Monsanto. Where the many sources in English, instead of Polish and Russian, I can't help but think that perhaps they would not have been dismissed out of hand. RSDN.ru being dismissed as a "mere tutorial"? Ugh! Read it yourself and make up your own mind though.


12 points by Jun8 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ahh, time for another Wikipedia deletionist pie fight! On the one side, elitist editors who are so saddened by even a single unnecessary HD spin that they want to clean clutter. On the other side, fans of (supposedly) esoteric knowledge.

The narrator of Foucault's Pendulum, when he decides to be freelance researcher, says that his main principle will be that all information is equal, nothing is more precious than the other.

5 points by grav1tas 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the problem is pollution of the main lists of programming language articles by entries that Mr. Monsanto considers to be inappropriate for listing...wouldn't an appropriate compromise be removing them from these programming languages lists? This seems like a shortcoming in Wikipedia's policies? This way the data is preserved, but not related to the main search spaces. If you look a language up on Google, it will still be there because it will be indexed.

Otherwise, Mr. Monsanto has every right to push his agenda on Wikipedia insofar as it is within the bounds of legal play on the site. Attacking his character gets nobody anywhere, and probably adds credence to whatever he's doing. If you're really concerned about deletions of your favorite PL articles, sit on them. If a request for removal/deletion (I don't know the wiki-jargon) pops up, just dump all over it. Even better, improve the articles. He can't get something deleted that's not mediocre. Agents like Mr. Monsanto will actually improve the quality of your average article one way or the other. I'm impressed that somebody would bother reading so many articles and post meta-data about them....especially on a topic that so few people engage in.

It's curious that pages that don't meet Mr. Monsanto's criterion of having been cited in a 'top-tier' publication. There are so many articles on Wikipedia that do not have ties to anything real. Is it really fair to hold PL topics to academic-level standards? What if somebody considers PL an art, or something other than semantics and formalisms? This does happen, and people who create new languages from languages that aren't considered much in the PL community might actually fall into these categories.

I think Mr. Monsanto would do well to spell out his criteria for what isn't desirable in precise and formal terms.

37 points by awj 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure what the solution is, but something seriously needs to be done about the requirements Wikipedia has in place. Especially when applied to open source software, the notability requirement, combined with the definition of reliable sources, make invalid assumptions about the common media for discourse.
8 points by nerfhammer 1 day ago 2 replies      
The solution to this problem that mollifies wikipedia admin culture is to make these pages into sub-pages of huge articles. E.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_in_The_Simpsons .

This is a lot less useful way of doing things but it flies almost completely outside the deletionist radar. There is little cultural dance pertaining to the the concept of notability for mentioning something in a list, and no bureaucratic pseudo-procedure for a deletionist to wield against such practice.

8 points by tokenadult 1 day ago 2 replies      
All anyone needs to do about this is find reliable sources to improve the articles that are being nominated for deletion. Really. If some wikipedian who knows about published, reliable sources about each of the languages simply adds some source citations to the articles, all will be well.
6 points by w1ntermute 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's about time someone created a anti-deletionist (inclusionist?) Wikipedia overlay that keeps copies of pages that have been deleted. Perhaps some kind of framing, while ugly, could be used to keep server load to a minimum while allowing people to access all of Wikipedia through that overlay site.
5 points by cyrus_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming languages are like Pokemon. Only a few of them are strictly notable in isolation (Pikachu). But there are hundreds of others that small communities are interested in, and the metavalue of having all of them described on Wikipedia is high.

I don't understand what the cost is. Why don't you make a list of "notable" programming languages so that people who want to browse around can skip the less influential / new ones like Nemerle. But to delete hundreds of languages (and if you apply these rules, you need to delete hundreds of languages, you've missed lots of them) is a travesty.

9 points by tty 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find it funny that the guy hasn't made a single contribution to Wikipedia. All his edits either directly remove content or nominate it for deletion. Apparently besides the dislike for programming languages, he also hates it when certain scientists have "Dr." next to their names on their Wikipedia articles.



>Raj Reddy ‎ (dr. is so unnecessary)

>Randy Pausch ‎ (dr is unnecessary)

>Benjamin C. Pierce ‎ (Don't need dr.)

and so on

6 points by mukyu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Getting people to rally around anything that someone is trying to have deleted is a sure-fire way to get it deleted, protected from recreation, and basically never coming back. It is like some kind of 'defend the hive' kind of reaction.
3 points by basugasubaku 21 hours ago 1 reply      
It's interesting that there is no longer a Nemerle article on the English Wikipedia, but there is one on the Japanese, Polish, Russian, Finnish, Tajik, Ukrainian, and Chinese Wikipedias.

You can see this by going to, e.g., the Japanese article (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemerle) and looking at the language links at bottom of the left sidebar.

So if you are a speaker of one of those languages, you're still in luck :-P

2 points by cabalamat 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I recently created an article about Sunder Katwala (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunder_Katwala) who is the head of the Fabian Society (a prominent UK think tank).

The article had been up for less than a month when someone requested speedy deletion, despite the article having ample evidence of the subject's notability. Deletionists are out of control on Wikipedia, and need to be stopped. I've thought about writing articles and though "no, why bother, some deletionist will just delete it." and I'm sure many others have been similarly dissuaded.

To this end I'm building an inclusionist fork of Wikipedia. The main difference it will have is there will be no notability guidelines, only verifiability ones.

4 points by cema 20 hours ago 1 reply      
When a graduate student, a researcher, spends so much effort in order to delete knowledge (or, more precisely, hide it), I find it mind-boggling. It goes against the very essence of science.
5 points by udoprog 1 day ago 0 replies      
The notability requirements do not sufficiently cover "expert" subjects like PLs. Chris mentioned this himself, yet used it as a justification for these articles, this is known as Doublethink (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink) and clearly indicates a second agenda.

Not anyone can invent a programming language, it's not comparable to your pet rock band. Chris, you clearly displayed that you are not capable of handling this subject satisfactory and you've displayed arrogance in response to peoples distress.

Simply put - marking the articles for deletion was rash, and in the larger sense unjustified.

3 points by Tichy 1 day ago 0 replies      
There was a time when I didn't understand the need for Wikipedia, as I figured every kind of information would just be retrievable with Google (or another search engine).

Now Google and Wikipedia are failing at the same time. Bad.

5 points by ilitirit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Information on these type of languages is exactly what I expect to find in an encyclopaedia.
7 points by carsongross 1 day ago 1 reply      
@chrismonsanto has this thread (and the reddit thread) caused you to reevaluate what we, the programming community, consider 'notable'?

The easy reaction would be to focus on the flamers, harden your heart and drive ahead. The wise man, here, stops and thinks for a bit.

Restore Nemerle.

9 points by Uchikoma 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wikipedia is about power and the kick you get out of it.
2 points by bane 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Somebody just created a new stub for Alice ML and Nemerle. Let's start filling them out!


Nemerle appears to have been frozen and deleted

Alice has gone down 3 or 4 times, but it's now up for the last 10 minutes.

They're down again, looks like semi-permanently.

3 points by tommorris 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The Nemerle article is up for deletion review (DRV), and there is at least one admin supporting overturning the decision:


1 point by mckoss 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia has had deletion issues for a very long time. Note that there are also vague rules that allow admins a procedure called "Speedy Deletion". It lets them remove content w/o debate or public visibility. The deleted page, and all discussions about it just disappear (only an admin on Wikipedia can recover it).

One criteria that can be used for Speedy Deletion is:

    No indication of importance (individuals, animals, organizations, web content)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Criteria_for_speedy_d...

It's a very subjective measure, yet it encourages over-zealous Wikipedians to expunge content.

The spam problem is very real for any user generated web site. I think it would be more ideal if Wikipedia didn't delete anything - but rather marked pages as being of low quality, or not meeting their standards, and perhaps removing those pages from their search index.

Here's what I wrote about this problem in 2007:


2 points by rbanffy 23 hours ago 1 reply      
So, what languages were deleted? How much disk space was reclaimed by the deletion? How much bandwidth will that spare?

If someone thinks the language is not notable, there is a discussion page attached to the main article where such things can be expressed. The obscurity of the language can also be communicated in the article itself. While lots of us can be pretty sure Nemerle will have no lasting impact in the field, they can be wrong.

1 point by gaoshan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I saw that the language he is working on for his PhD was listed on Wikipedia and flagged for deletion. Then I saw that that page had initially been created that same day solely for the purpose of marking it for deletion.

Seriously, person who did this? I thought wasting time browsing news sites like HN and reddit was bad enough but this... this proves that the internet is a very serious business indeed.

3 points by drallison 1 day ago 1 reply      
I certainly oppose deleting programming languages, obscure or not, from wikipedia. I went to the site to try to register a complaint but could not find a way to do that. It seems that meta-comments are not really handled well withing the wikipedia framework. Or did I just miss the right link.
3 points by bane 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This kind of stupid crap is why I and many people no longer contribute to wikipedia.
0 points by mrmekon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The two main arguments for why these articles should not be deleted are:

1) The languages exist, are supported, and are used by many users

2) There are other bad articles on wikipedia

Both of these are, unfortunately, terrible arguments.

In response to the first argument:

Wikipedia's rules state that for an article to exist, it must be proven notable by certain types of accepted references. That does not include tutorials, blog posts, software's official website, or questions on support websites/forums. These rules are unfortunate, and have been sources of much arguing, but they still stand.

We, as programmers, get upset when information that is useful to us is removed. The rules exist for a reason, though; one place where they are often enforced is the addition of video game articles. There are hundreds of thousands of video games with significant user bases. Wikipedia has made it a point that it does not intend to be a catalog of software that exists, and for that reason video game articles are deleted often. In order for software to legitimately qualify for an article, it must be significantly, demonstrably important. Existence and popularity is not enough.

In response to the second type of argument: existence of violations does not justify other violations. If don't think the blue slime from Dragon Warrior deserves its own wikipedia page, mark it for deletion and argue your point, but don't reference it as why your bad article with weak references should remain.

Wikipedia has a LOT of articles that are against its rules. We have become used to these, and depend on them, so we get upset when the rules are enforced. Have a look at the actual rules and I'll bet you can identify plenty of articles you have read that are in violation:




2 points by EGreg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I believe there are specific requirements for something to be considered "notable" on wikipedia. Simply fulfill those requirements for each language page and you're good, no?


1 point by bane 15 hours ago 1 reply      
1 point by mrphoebs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Though, I can see Christoper's Point of view, I wonder about the cost-benefit of this kind a cleanup would be. The main reason seems to be to unclutter the listing of topics in wikipedia. How many people navigate Wikipedia through lists, isn't search more often used? In which case the central argument behind deleting factual information would be more costly than beneficial(even though it doesn't live up to wikipedia' notability standard).

BTW, Why the hostility? and the mob mentality. I thought he articulated his arguments clearly and quite well without malice.

1 point by Perihelion 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm offended on behalf of all of the smaller projects who basically just got told that their work is worthless.

I'm also offended that the value of a project seems to be based on how well someone can market it. If your project hasn't made a name for itself, then it's worthless, right? Personally, I'm content to hack away on things that no one has heard of because I enjoy what I'm doing. If someone else happens to find it useful, that's awesome. However, deleting things from the Mecca of knowledge-seekers in an attempt to purify it in this manner is nothing short of crapping on the ideals that Wikipedia was built on.

3 points by petegrif 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is absolutely appalling.
Neovella: Instantly co-author stories with your friends neovella.com
30 points by kirubakaran 8 hours ago   24 comments top 10
8 points by thebooktocome 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a great idea, but they need a new landing page. Rage faces are okay for Reddit, but using Y U NO guy is borderline racist.
1 point by erikpukinskis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Does anyone remember "Yarn"... Amit Gupta (of PhotoJojo, The Daily Jolt) made it way back in the day (like '00 I want to say). It was a really cool app along these lines.

Doesn't seem to be any evidence it ever existed on the web, but it looked awesome, and as I remember had some cool interaction design.

4 points by nyellin 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This looks interesting. I wonder if it will have any influence on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.)

Link: http://www.nanowrimo.org/

On a slightly different note, I did NaNoWriMo this year with a friend. I would have loved a way to quickly give/get live feedback with my writing partner. If there was a community of other writers who also wanted to take part, that would have been incredible.

I suppose that I could have used Google Docs, but something geared towards writers would have been amazing.

2 points by hartror 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Gah I don't mind using Facebook Connect for sites but when they ask for everything and the kitchen sink in the permissions dialog I balk and drop out of the funnel.

Why does neovella need access to my facebook chat? Sure there might be a legitimate reason but they certainly haven't explained it to me!

5 points by endlessvoid94 7 hours ago 2 replies      
There's nothing on this page except a login form, without a button. Am I missing something?
1 point by jiffylu 2 hours ago 1 reply      
So... they own the stories we create? I was going to say, this would be a great way to write open source text books but not if Neovella owns the content.

"2. Copyright. The content, organization, graphics, design, and other matters related to and created in Neovella are protected under applicable copyrights and other proprietary laws, including but not limited to intellectual property laws. The copying, reproduction, use, modification or publication by you of any such matters or any part of Neovella is strictly prohibited, without our express prior written permission."

1 point by endlessvoid94 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I like this a lot.

However, I question whether or not making it realtime is the right way to go. I could be wrong, but it seems that stories like these would work best on a more laid-back timeline. I was about to start writing a story, and then I saw there was a "duration".

I set it to "no limit", and noticed that I can't write anything without someone else. Why? It's valentine's day, and most of the other folks I know who'd be interested are all busy. So I'm stuck unable to use your site. I should be able to do SOMETHING by myself.

I love the idea, though.

2 points by mkramlich 6 hours ago 0 replies      
the service description on the front page pretty much sounds like Reddit comment thread behavior
1 point by Groxx 7 hours ago 0 replies      
That's an absolutely hilarious website xD Very nicely implemented too!

After a minute of poking around: when you "hide chat" or "hide info", they lose their mouse-over which would probably be "show chat".

1 point by neoveller 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Any thoughts on the Browse page? The books on the shelf are representative of a few attributes of the books. Width represents page length, height represents view-count, rating in stars is displayed, number is of authors, and letters represent the genre of the neovella.
Quora To Oddly-Named Users: Papers Please techcrunch.com
142 points by achompas 18 hours ago   115 comments top 41
37 points by ck2 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Real names on a forever-archived internet that follows you around for life is possibly the stupidest policy I've ever heard of.

What prevents someone from signing up in your name and posting something that would certainly prevent you from getting hired in the future?

Also, what if someone "internet famous" or even worse "real life famous" wants to contribute something?

There has to be a better way to control trolls.

If Quora is going to demand ID, they need to ask ID from EVERYONE before their account is active to prevent fake Steve Jobs, etc. not selectively.

Otherwise I recommend you sign up using your dog's first name or your elderly neighbor's name.

110 points by RiderOfGiraffes 18 hours ago 3 replies      
I registered with Quora using my legal name as documented on credit cards, my library card, my utilities bills and my drivers license. My account was blocked, and I was asked to register with my "proper" name. So far my replies have been ignored.

So I've left.

19 points by dabent 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I know from experience the difficulties an unusual name can bring, but Quora hasn't called me out just yet. I value their desire to build an authentic community, but other sites have grown without resorting to this sort of tactic. Fakes eventually are known based on their posts.

Speaking of fakes, Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake has had all kinds of problems due to her (real) last name:
http://caterina.net/archive/001011.html At worst, I've been asked if I was "one of them foreigners" by a landlord years back.

36 points by user24 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like Quora could do with reading patio11's myths about names: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-b...
9 points by buro9 17 hours ago 1 reply      
On the website I run, I ask for an email address during signup.

All I do to check whether someone appears to be real is to use Rapportive in Gmail and see whether they appear on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.


I don't force users to use real names, I think there's a real benefit in allowing people to use aliases. Rapportive allows me to really quickly grok whether the alias has an underlying real ID in terms of fighting spam and trolls.

It's hardly a fool proof technique, but it answers the questions 9 times out of 10 which removes any need for me to create obstacles for my users to jump through.

PS: Interesting aside: I really loathe Facebook due to a personal incident in my life that occurred on there. Rapportive were kind enough to understand this and then to write an exception into their codebase such that it never prompts me to connect with Facebook. Talk about customer service.

24 points by georgecmu 18 hours ago 6 replies      
After all, unless you're Cher or Sirhan Sirhan, nobody has the same first and last name.

One of our top managers' name is Herman Herman. 10 years ago or so, he was working next to a guy, whose name was Martin Martin. Of course, Martin Herman was lurking nearby as well.

22 points by naner 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Targeting "fake-looking" names is useless if anyone can register with a realistic fake name with no scrutiny.
20 points by BarkMore 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is amusing. Quora might think that my real name is fake, but that's not a problem because I registered with a very ordinary sounding fake name.
12 points by hkuo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
One need only look at the quality of comments on a site like Hacker News to see that "real names" is not a requirement for quality and valuable discussion.

No doubt, real names would be an effective aspect to quality content, but if the system of verification is flawed, it's meaningless.

6 points by statictype 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Ugh. I can respect their desire to force people to use real names in order to keep discourse civil and intelligent.

But that's an awfully big rathole to crawl into.

See also: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-b...

6 points by citricsquid 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I have no problem with displaying my full name (and address etc) but something irks me about forcing my full name to be displayed, it should be optional, if I want to use a username (which more people will recognise me by) why shouldn't I?
100 points by jister 18 hours ago 8 replies      
Why is Quora given so much attention?
4 points by lesterbuck 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Last June I signed up for Quora, but it rejected my full name. I use "III" in my full name, and their form validation rejected it. Apparently I had committed the pre-crime of trying to enter my name in ALL CAPS. That put me in a foul mood, and I sent a testy email to Quora about a site that was so super focused on real names couldn't validate a common suffix. I received a very quick, professional reply from some programmer that he was sorry and they had already fixed that. So I am a Quora member, but I don't pay much attention to the site.
8 points by eik3_de 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I knew a guy in college that had the name "Harrison". He was from south-east asia. In fact, he told me that from where he comes from, they don't have such thing as first and last name, his name was really just "Harrison". But since no one in the "western world" could handle that, he used Harrison both as first and last name.

Lessons for me: things might be very different on the other side of the globe. Don't try to arrogantly believe you can judge wether things can be true or not from your limited experience and imagination.

3 points by vaksel 18 hours ago 0 replies      
personally I find this is very retarded...faking your name is easy.

All you have to do is make a new Facebook account with a real sounding name, and noone would be the wiser.

So whats the point of wasting valuable resources enforcing something this stupid?

5 points by Macha 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The assumption that those not wishing to disclose a real name have dishonest intentions (and that is what it comes down to), irks me. Personally, I prefer pseudonomity online. But apart from me, let's pick a more famous example or someone who was pseudonomynous online.

Would Quora have allowed _why?

4 points by EGreg 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If their approach lets fake but English sounding names go through, then they shouldn't discriminate against other names, period.

If Quora wants people to use their real names, they should require them to link their facebook account -- and these days, even that is a poor guarantee of real names. Let's face it, people are striking back at the "real names" thing by altering their names on facebook, because you never know what they're going to make public by default next.

3 points by georgieporgie 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I signed up on Quora the other day and spent some time poking around. It appears to be a synergy of Yahoo Answers and the Lake Wobegone Effect.
3 points by ANH 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I registered real first name, real last initial and they demanded I change in a couple of emails. Sorry, not gonna do it for a site I'm still on the fence about. I promptly deactivated my account and don't plan to return.
4 points by cj 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook identifies my friend's first name as fake and forces her to spell it wrong. The name is Sushi.

Her name is currently set as Sushii to compensate.

4 points by awj 16 hours ago 0 replies      
So ... Quora doesn't want legitimate users?

It's a pretty sad troll that can't figure out they need to make "real-sounding" names. Basically you're filtering out the twelve year olds that will try to write 'fuck' and 'shitcock' everywhere. That can be accomplished more effectively with some simple analysis on post content.

Instead, you're really only making life hard on legitimate users that don't match your dramatically underinformed notion of a "proper" name.

0 points by jerf 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Godwined in the title. Wanting to be able to conclusively identify someone you are doing business with (as Quora is) is not being a Nazi, it's a foundation of civil society. It may be a bad choice by Quora for other reasons, they may be handling it poorly, you may disagree with them even if it is otherwise perfect, but it is certainly their right to decide with whom they are doing business and with what level of reliability in the identification. They aren't Nazis for that. Unless they're actually collecting accurate identities for the purposes of more efficiently murdering entire ethnicities at some point in the future? (And I mean, killing them, not merely "killing their account on Quora". I think the Nazis would be a smidge less reviled if they had merely cut the Jews out of participation in public fora.)

And this article takes other political potshots for no good reason... "birtherist"? I think birtherism is silly too, but what's that potshot doing in the middle of this article?

1 point by Supermighty 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I love that I can use different pseudo-anonymous handles on different websites.

It gives me a chance to experiment and explore different facets of my life and personality that I wouldn't feel comfortable doing if that exploration were tied to my real name.

Maybe Quora isn't the place for experimenting with identity.

The Internet used to be a place where we were able to freely express ourselves. Increasingly it seems that we can only express ourselves if it's congruent with our IRL selves.

3 points by pcorsaro 18 hours ago 1 reply      
The whole thing is ridiculous, but I want to point out something else the editor said that bugged me and seemed unnecessary: "...in order to use a site approximately as useful to the world as Yahoo! Answers."

Do people really think it's that bad? I really like Quora for the most part and think it's way more useful than Yahoo! Answers.

1 point by mkramlich 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't mind if people use fake names to protect identity. I don't like astroturfing and sock puppet accounts. The conflict between trying to allow the former and prevent the latter is at the heart of Quora's dilemma on this issue.
4 points by humj 17 hours ago 0 replies      
So what if you were lady gaga or something? Would she not be allowed to use quora without her real name? Or are fake names okay if you have celebrity status?
2 points by hncommenter13 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I live in the United States, and these double-names do sometimes occur. For example, I met someone named Daniel Daniel, who is a very successful analyst at an investment bank in New York. (I'm not him, but the name stuck with me when I met him in business school.)

You can find him on LinkedIn (along with other similarly named folks): http://www.linkedin.com/in/danieldaniel

2 points by yalogin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why Quora is given attention at all. I asked a question about the efficacy of various ad providers on facebook and got no replies. The surprising part was the question got about 4 views. I got better replies on reddit. Its just one question but given that its popular amond the tech and valley insiders I expected to get more views at least.
1 point by ig1 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Facebook have exactly the same policy. They have an automate filter which they run names through and if it doesn't pass they require some form of id.
2 points by bluecobalt 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I just tried to login to Quora and discovered that I, Blue Cobalt (true legal name), have indeed been blocked as well. Quelle surprise!

I understand their tired reasoning, but don't agree with arbitrarily forcing your users to do anything.

I've messaged them and am awaiting a reply.

1 point by Sniffnoy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You know, they could just explicitly ask people to use their real names ("We recommend you use your real name" or something similar). If all the first few users do this it might catch on. Works on MathOverflow, though admittedly that probably has as much to do with the content of the site itself as the recommendation. But prohibiting pseudonymy on the internet is just stupid.
2 points by yuhong 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, I use my real name almost everywhere, but if I was running a website, I would not go so far to require it.
2 points by FirstHopSystems 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I also loved the fact that I get a message from a Anon admin telling me the rules state everyone has to use their real name. Coming from an Anon admin..if it's automated at least tell me the host name.....
1 point by agnesberthelot 15 hours ago 0 replies      
As the admin of the forum of my own website, I understand the Quora admin's wariness for "oddly-named" users (definition of which is highly subjective, BTW). However, in my opinion, one is innocent until proven guilty ... so unless they provide proof that they are spammers, as admin I don't think I should do anything. But of course I'm sure Quora would have this covered in their Terms of Service details. As we can see, the result is bad PR and the site gives a very unfriendly image.
1 point by codeglomeration 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe it's part of their long term strategy. For now just require validation of fake sounding names. But as soon as you have critical mass, roll out the requirement for everybody to validate their names with valid IDs in order to continue using the system. That would make sense for the current state or requiring IDs for fake names.

Then they can go to advertisers or just blatantly sell the data if it doesn't work out.

Regardless if their intentions are good or bad, this data in the wrong hands can cause nuisance.

1 point by cshenoy 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Why not require them to be on LinkedIn and verify through that? Or verify through Facebook? Granted there are trolls on both but it's better than requiring ppl to send a scan of their gov't ID.
1 point by u48998 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Quora is an idiot. Internet should have its own revolution to get rid of such idiots from the wire.
1 point by ddkrone 15 hours ago 0 replies      
What exactly are they trying to accomplish with this policy? The stackexchange network of sites has "fake" names all over and yet they do business just fine.
-1 point by sfphotoarts 16 hours ago 0 replies      
To be fair to Quora, it is their service and not some tax -payer funded government program, so they can accept whomever they choose on their site.

These are their accounts to loose and I don't see why this is even news, or a blog post. So what if you can't come up with a name that sounds real.

For a q&a site these guys certainly get a lot of HN attention.

-2 points by rbranson 17 hours ago 2 replies      
This is really lame, but parents, do heed: if at all possible, try to name your kids something normal. This is going to get much worse WAY before it gets better.

Obviously you can't predict all cultural phenomenons (for instance, if you named your child "Ken Ryu" before Street Fighter hit the shelves) and you shouldn't do it just to please ignorant folks or know where your child will be living in the future ("Kumar??? What is that, like 5 O's and 2 U's?"), but don't intentionally make life difficult on your children just to make yourself laugh or to fulfill some nerd agenda.

-4 points by byrneseyeview 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Real names are part of Quora's premise. They can afford to reject people who make that hard to pull off. If they'd been founded in another country, they'd presumably have the same problem with some standard American names, but since they weren't, Hasan Hasan's argument falls a little flat.

If he needs to use it, he can go by a middle name. I go by my middle name, because I share my first name with my father. No TechCrunch drama required.

So you think you could build your own Groupon? thenextweb.com
24 points by moses1400 7 hours ago   14 comments top 5
4 points by jiffylu 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is more about if you were in Groupon's shoes could you have done the following...

Yes. I think I could build my own Groupon... in fact hundreds of people have and many are quite profitable.

Could I build it to scale? Could I build a sustainable business that will be there for the long haul or be significant enough to be acquired? Could I find an untapped niche that the group buying biz model could exploit?

The writer doesn't even list many accomplishments and the barriers to entry that Groupon has created (besides capital and what access to capital buys you i.e. PR, buying competitors, buying super bowl ads.

He should have said... Could you compete against Groupon's salesforce? Could you compete with their ever decreasing cost of customer acquisition? Could you compete with their high gross margins while you are forced to cut your margins to compete?

3 points by us 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Most of those people are idiots. Even if you don't take into account everything listed in that post, considering you need enough people to tip a deal for it to work is hard enough. In the early stages of building a Groupon clone, the toughest challenge is getting enough people on board day 1 to tip a deal. If you don't get enough people and the deal doesn't tip, you already suck. Most people who aren't in the marketing world don't realize how difficult this is and I'm sure this is at the top of the list for many of the 2000+ Groupon clones as to why they fail. The ones that succeed are those lucky enough to get enough users early on to tip onto the next stage. But even then there are more challenges than merely how "simple" an idea Groupon is. And Groupon isn't the only exception. Every startup has a list of challenges people on the outside can only begin to imagine.
2 points by malloreon 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty sure Groupon has more than 1 employee.
2 points by jawartak 6 hours ago 2 replies      
'Put together a business plan to raise the $1million needed to take it from an idea in your head to an actual business'. How would you possibly spend $1M simply getting a Groupon clone started?
3 points by hackscribe 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Cloning Groupon is the easy part, the hard part is executing.
Finding similar items using minhashing toao.com
67 points by sadiq 13 hours ago   20 comments top 10
16 points by agazso 12 hours ago 1 reply      
In practice there is a certain kind of minhashing that is used in key-value stores, which is called a Bloom-filter.

Basically it is a probabilistic bitmap index for quickly telling if a certain elem is in a set. It is used in BigTable, Hbase etc.


The Jaccard similarity (or Jaccard index) mentioned in the article is used for finding similar items in a big set. E.g. Google News uses it for aggregating articles on the same subject.

5 points by siculars 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Sergei Vassilvitskii (of Yahoo! Research) went over this first class of "COMS 6998-12: Dealing with Massive Data", http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~coms699812/ just a few weeks ago. Very interesting stuff. The class is dealing specifically with large data handling in both parallel processing and streaming techniques.

It looks as if a major component of the class is mathematical distillation of complex problems trading exact matching for acceptable probabilistic bounds. When you are able to do these math tricks you can cut an O(n^2) or worse problem down to O(n log n) or better problem which is the real win.

4 points by swanson 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Good article. I like that it was more approachable than a journal paper -- as a developer, I am interested in these kind of algorithms but sometimes I don't even know where to begin searching. And as someone without a math PhD, I appreciate the simplifications and real-world applications.

I don't know what you have planned for the next article in the series, but I would recommend adding code snippets in a language of your choice. I would have liked to see your example implemented in python or ruby to make it more concrete.

6 points by yakto 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Looks really, REALLY, similar to this article: http://knol.google.com/k/simple-simhashing


1 point by jarin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Looking into it, I found a Ruby implementation:


Which depends on a Ruby implemenation of MurmurHash2:


Anyone have any idea what the 23 is for?

  # 23 can be any unsigned 32-bit integer (i.e. from 0 to 2**32 - 1)
hash_number = MurmurHash.murmur_hash("somestring", 23)

2 points by nreece 11 hours ago 0 replies      
2 points by sfphotoarts 12 hours ago 0 replies      
You might want to take a look at http://code.google.com/p/scipy-cluster/ for some code in Python that allows systems like this to be built quickly.
2 points by Wawl 12 hours ago 0 replies      
You can also find similar items using neural networks. There was an awesome talk about that at pycon 2009 : http://us.pycon.org/2009/conference/schedule/event/71/

Neural network data mining can also sometimes survive missing data or extrapolate from unknown instances.

1 point by arnoldoMuller 9 hours ago 0 replies      
-3 points by ajays 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm sorry, but this article is poorly written. The Google Knol article, http://knol.google.com/k/simple-simhashing , is much better.

It is clear that the author does not understand what a hashing function is. He says, "Your programming language of choice's API will almost certainly have a few acceptable ones within arm's reach", but that's not true. Firstly, what is a programming language's "API" ? Secondly: most languages that I'm aware of have no builtin hash functions; they are usually libraries (I know, I'm getting pedantic here). And thirdly: most hash functions that you'd find in a library don't return a floating point value that you can operate on with a "min" function (or even an int value). They typically return a string of 40-, 128 or 256 bits (depending on the function). So you'll need to map the hash returned by your hash function to a value that you can compare; for example, by grabbing the last 4 bytes and treating them as an unsigned integer.

       cached 15 February 2011 09:59:01 GMT