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Optimizely (YC W10) Launches Interactive Mode, Cross-Browser Testing, and More optimizely.com
49 points by dsiroker 2 hours ago   6 comments top 5
1 point by jdp23 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Kudos to Optimizely for continued progress. It's great to see A/B testing get steadily broader adoption and it's great to see them riding the wave while helping it along!
1 point by jessedhillon 40 minutes ago 1 reply      
A/B testing is one of those things that, as an engineer, for me it's very tempting to just write it myself. I've tried a couple of solutions:

- Split Test Accelerator may actually have been written by a monkey who was accidentally taught PHP, judging from the code.

- Google Web Optimizer seems to have been written as an afterthought, judging from the simple nature of the tools you get. When I last used it, it was actually just Javascript which you include, that on loading it simply does a search and replace of elements. Sure, it gets the job done, but as a somewhat savvy user, that approach doesn't leave me feeling confident in it.

I don't know what mechanism Optimizely uses to execute tests but it seems similar to the Google way -- which I admit is the only way I could think to do remotely hosted A/B testing like this. Optimizely looks a little better in that they host the assets you might want to test.

I welcome anyone who wants to build a solution that doesn't seem like it's bolted on.

2 points by dtran 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Way to go Dan and Pete! Didn't get a chance to play around with it, but the cross-browser testing and interactive modes sound like really useful features even outside of the context of A-B testing.
1 point by maneesh1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Much easier than using Google Web Optimizer. Cross Browser Testing is a huge add-on and going to save a bunch of time.
-2 points by bagus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A/B testing, so easy!
Fancy: first bootstrapped language targeting Rubinius VM other than Ruby rubini.us
34 points by tianyicui 2 hours ago   11 comments top 4
2 points by railsjedi 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
Rubini.us is looking like it's starting to gain a really solid community behind it. I'm looking forward to switching to it in the near future (probably if/when Heroku starts supporting it)

This article is making me wish could make CoffeeScript run within the Rubinius VM, and have access to the same objects and libraries of my Rails app.

Wish I had time to build that. Maybe someone smarter than me with some free cycles could take this project on :-)

2 points by SingAlong 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Nice. It looks like the syntax is inspired by Javascript and Ruby.

A previous blog post on the Rubinius blog mentioned that they'll be talking about a Language Toolkit sometime soon.

2 points by drivebyacct2 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Is it petty of me that the unmatched single quotes drive me insane?
1 point by bakkdoor 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Btw, here's a list of current features I forgot to link to in the post: https://github.com/bakkdoor/fancy/blob/master/doc/features.m...
How to build your own "Watson Jr." in your basement ibm.com
69 points by flapjack 3 hours ago   14 comments top 4
5 points by gojomo 2 hours ago 2 replies      
My hunch is that 90-99% of all Jeopardy questions can be answered with information in Wikipedia/Wiktionary, properly understood.

So I'd start with Wikipedia: ~30GB uncompressed full article text. Break it into chunks; canonicalize phrasings to be more declarative, and include synonyms/hypernym/hyponym phrasings (via something like WordNet), so that various 'cluesy' ways of saying things still bring up the same candidate answers.

Because it's free and compact and well-structured, throw in Freebase, too.

Jeopardy goes back to certain topics/answers again and again. So I'd scrape the full 200K+ clue "J!Archive", and use it as both source and testing material (though of course not testing the system on rounds in its memory).

And I'd add special interpretation rules for commonly-recurring category types: X-letter words, before-and-after, quasi-multiple-choice, words-in-quotes.

I think such a system might get half or more of the questions in a typical round correct, and in a matter of seconds, even on a single machine.

2 points by srean 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I somehow cannot give up daydreaming wistfully about a personal CM-5. From a previous discussion on HN it seems it still is going to be an expensive thing to build as a toy project. Particularly because of the hyper-cube inter-connection. Not sure if the source code for star-Lisp is available. But I think an emulator lives on at Sourceforge.

Edit 1: Here it is http://sourceforge.net/projects/starsim/

Edit 2: Just doubled checked, the Sourceforge repository has no code !! But I found it here http://examples.franz.com/category/Application/ParallelProgr...
@dhess Thanks a lot for that link. I just ordered a copy :)

2 points by tel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Search optimization: No, this team focused on making IBM Watson optimized to answer in 3 seconds or less. We can accept a slower response, so we can skip this.

That makes me laugh. I'd guess that search optimization effort has a power law response here. 3 seconds is extraordinary, 1 minute is tricky, 10 minutes is possible after some solid effort, 3 days-heat death of universe is what you get without optimization.

Not saying you actually ignore it. It's built into those libraries they casually throw around. Just thought the wording was funny.

6 points by kirpekar 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Watson has become an unbelievable marketing tool for IBM.
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Startups 4 Years Ago amirkhella.com
260 points by amirkhella 9 hours ago   44 comments top 24
49 points by pg 6 hours ago 1 reply      
He's right. The most important thing we tell each YC batch, immediately after interviews, is start now. Startups should be building stuff and talking to users, and not much else.
18 points by edw519 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Great post!

AFAIC, Success = (BuildingStuff) * (TheValueOfEverythingElse)

If you're not building stuff, it doesn't matter how much value you get out of everything else. Zero is still zero.

Sorry it took you 4 years to learn that lesson. It took me a while too. I don't really know how long because I don't look back. I suspect none of us should.

15 points by mattmanser 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I am a little more pragmatic about this whole thing, without HN I really wouldn't have realised the benefits of MVC, Memcached, JQuery, SEO, github, the options for charging for an app, Python, the concept of bootstrapping, timing attacks, how easy it is to become a contractor, incubators, even the realisation that you don't need funding to setup a web app. And many more that don't pop into my head now. It's made me a more confident programmer.

There is a lot to be gained in coming here and reading the blogs, the advice. Perhaps more from the comments. Admittedly there is a fair bit of noise and distraction too.

There are benefits as well as negatives, I think it's one of these cases of all things in moderation. I go to the occasional startup meetings and developers meetings near me for fun and relaxation, not because I think it will gain me riches. Because it interests me. Occasionally it motivates me (seeing Rob Wilmot (freeserve) and Joel Gasgoine (myonepage/bufferapp)).

While get it done and ship is a lesson I sorely need beaten into me at this last stage of development, I for one do not begrudge myself these distractions.

12 points by DanielBMarkham 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It is better to make $5 a month on something you created than spend a million dollars on learning how to build the perfect startup.

The more I learn about startups the more I realize that the answers are not found in a book or on a blog somewhere. Startups are about synthesis, not instructions. That means until you execute, you don't know what you're doing. Hell, you don't know what you're doing even after you execute.

Also the more I learn the more I realize that me sitting around and writing comments like this are a big part of the problem. Both for me and others.

Back to work.

30 points by sabat 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't be an entrepreneur by association. Be an entrepreneur by action and results.

That's one of the best things I've ever seen on HN. It (unfortunately) hits close to home.

10 points by tjmaxal 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I am Milton from Innotech and I hate my life. I'm stuck where I am because I am working full time and a full time student. But neither is really satisfying. I can't seem to raise enough capital to get my ideas off the ground and I can't seem to think of any good ideas that require no capital and can be completed with only a few hours a week.

But I will graduate eventually, then I will make more money and get out of debt. until then all I can really do is watch
things from the sidelines and keep learning.

3 points by TimothyBurgess 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Whenever I get an idea nowadays, I do something to pin it to my reality, and to make it tangible. I do it in a quick and ugly way, then figure out how to do it better, and learn only what I need for that.


After reading a number posts/articles similar to this, I feel like I'm pretty lucky to have gone the route I've taken. Being young and full of myself and thinking I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to is also a big factor, I'm sure. But it's also of course had negative impacts.

When I left my old lifestyle ("rockstar" lol emphasis on the quotations) I immediately dove into the little side project I was working on while in the band... and said, "Alright I'm gonna turn this into an actual business. Should be pretty easy... there's definitely tons of bands and management out there who would use it and I've already gotten most of it done." Little did I know, after working on it for a month, I saw vast potential in the basis of the project and decided to start over but make everything insanely flexible. Being arrogant as I was, I figured it wouldn't take more than a month or two. But of course it added on a few more months of (hard!) work and now almost 8 months later I'm literally less than a day away from actual release. (Look out for a rate my startup thread, hopefully tomorrow! ;))

Now, my determination (more like obsession) to get it 99% to what I'd imagined it to be months ago has led me to probably a situation that could be better. I probably could have released the app months ago at 50% and received awesome feedback along the way molding its design to exactly as customers want... while having a much larger customer-base and awareness than I do currently (practically none! :()... but I was afraid it would get a bad reputation early on and turn off more customers in the long run. But now in retrospect, if I'd known this from the beginning I'd have gone in a direction that allowed me to release much earlier without compromising the app's reputation. My mind was just so set on that one full idea I had from the beginning. I guess next time I'll be more prepared!

3 points by light3 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of my favorite violinist, his one of the cleanest players you'll find:

Once he was asked what music piece he thought was most difficult to play, his reply was something like:
"Either you can play a piece or you can't, there is no difficult, difficult leads to friction in your playing"

The 'not best' players when faced with difficult passages will consciously or subconsciously have fear of it and stress out, this is will cause tension and can be picked up by the viewer.

Milstein's was known for taking any musical piece he liked and 'hacking' it till he knew it inside out, for every passage he will try all sorts of fingerings. An average player will be content to play one fingering well, relying mostly on muscle memory, but Milstein would study a piece and really play from his head, at each moment he could choose between different fingerings. Thats how he thought and practiced, and if you look at his performance he is always relaxed because his preparation is so thorough and he played from his mind.

5 points by dlevine 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I know a lot of people who could tell you the name of every startup that launched on TechCrunch last week. Pretty much none of them have been successful. My advice to most of these people is "take a month off of the blogs and actually do something."
3 points by lsc 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think networking, from a business perspective, is a lot like display advertising. It's more about building credibility for when you need it later than about the immediate sale. You want people to say "Hey, I've heard of that guy before."

Several competitors, when they wanted out of the business, approached me about buying them out for cheap. I even went through with one of the deals (the customers and some of the other assets, but not the name, of tilenetworks now belongs to prgmr.com. We'll be announcing a KVM product at some point based on the tilenetworks stuff.)

But much like advertising, it's not much use until you have something to buy or sell.

3 points by Tycho 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem with all the blogs/interviews/features about strategies or lifehacks or whatever is that if it hadn't worked, would they have bothered to write a blog about it?

Meaning, hundreds of other people might have tried and failed with the exact same thinking, but you don't hear about them, making success stories seem more significant than they really are.

3 points by r00fus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the "wasted time" the author refers to is, in fact, time needed to get ready. Some folks won't need as much of it (or any at all), others will need more.

In the end, finding that "fear of not starting" is incredibly important, but I posit that could only be found by the author after his "walk in the wilderness".

5 points by laf2019 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Good post, I've been through a similar situation. I worked for some large evil company, and needed all of those meetups and blog posts to validate the idea that I wanted to work on or at a startup. But I am not sure that cutting them out totally is a good idea. They do help you build your network, and some people you meet at these events CAN actually be helpful. Maybe like with alcohol, it is good in moderation. But I agree, it is easy to get swept up in the spirit of entrepreneurship but never become one.
4 points by Macsenour 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post!

I would add one thing about momentum: don't be afraid to say "I'll get back to that problem" and focus on keeping the momentum going. This has made a HUGE difference in my project. A feature could have stopped me in my tracks, I bypassed it to keep development going and now it turns out that I don't need that feature. It could have stopped my process for weeks, but now, not at all.

Just, keep track of those things so you can get back to them later.

13 points by jonny_eh 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article despite the irony of advising people to not read it.
1 point by rblion 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Truth. Theory and practice are not separate, they are one. I am learning this myself right now. I finally realized the only way to change the fruits (results) is to the change the roots (actions). Consuming empty information are like consuming empty calories. It adds nothing but confusion and wastes nothing but time and energy.

BTW: Favorite HN post of the month. :)

1 point by davidwparker 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Good advice; Do you have other startup advice? I'd love to read all about it!

Isn't irony great; momentum and actually doing work is super important. Really good post.

2 points by Zakuzaa 8 hours ago 1 reply      

    I stopped reading startup news and blogs for few weeks, and I realized I didn't miss anything related to my products.


2 points by bconway 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post. The discrepancy between the title and the URL made me smirk, even though it was probably not relevant.
2 points by jrubinovitz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I use technology entrepreneur sites for inspiration when I'm getting sluggish after working the day job all day. Devoting more energy to "learning about being an entrepreneur" can be really unproductive. The best learning will be done by doing. I agree with this link.

Now it's time to go back to work!

1 point by bfe 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think a valuable complement to this is the idea of finding the fastest minimum viable product you can create and start getting feedback on, and if the original idea would take months to launch, then trying to plan a path to it through a space of increasingly involved products that are viable at every step from the most quickly launchable initial product, even if that doesn't bear much resemblance to the original idea.
3 points by visava 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I stopped reading techcrunch a year back.
I will stop reading HN for the next 60 days
1 point by phankinson 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Bhahaha. I bursted out laughing when I saw Milton.

I agree with most of the points, but one thing I've learned in my years doing web startups is making sure their is a need for your product. Lots of Lean Startup principles are unbelievably useful at showing your idea has legs before investing any time or money into it.

1 point by spydertennis 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish someone had told me about startups 4 years ago :-).
DrChrono (YC W11) Makes The iPad A Doctor's Best Friend In The Exam Room techcrunch.com
107 points by nikhilpandit 6 hours ago   75 comments top 19
16 points by logjam 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I understand the motivation for these applications, but anything that, in a room with a patient, takes one away from interacting with the patient has drawbacks. A lot of docs are taught NOT to use this kind of device in the room. Even burying your nose in the patient's chart, of course, is problematic. Using it outside may have its advantages, but in the room it's ideally two humans and not much between them.

And if you'll forgive me, I have a hard time believing an app like this will drive pad adoption by physicians. Most docs have pads because, well, they just like toys.

Some docs have used laptops, which are a lot easier for data entry than these pads, and these don't require turning away from the patient either. In my experience, it's not common for physicians to write their progress notes in the room with the patient. Certainly writing a prescription and sending that to a pharmacy directly makes sense in the room, but there are classes of prescriptions where that cannot be done. Looking up drug interactions may be useful, but dedicated applications like eProcrates and other dedicated apps probably have become standard for that and I'm not sure I'd trust an "everything and the kitchen sink" app like this more than dedicated solutions (eg, these drug interaction databases require constant updating and care).

Billing info and medical data combined on a view is a no-go, if that's there. They don't belong together. Period.

Probably most importantly, most of us would need details about security of the transmission and storage of medical records before considering this at all. Someone said below this app is "HIPAA compliant", but I'm leery of that overused phrase because the HIPAA requirements are quite vague, and as far as I know there is no actual certification for something like HIPAA compliance. Vague claims of "HIPAA compliance" are likely NOT going to impress or satisfy juries and medical licensing boards. In addition, some information (depending on the state) requires more stringent care; for example, mental health records, record of drug abuse/dependence, etc. Hospitals and clinics typically have dedicated IT departments who put into place much more security than HIPAA requires. If someone hacks a system like this, the fact that you require passwords and do some encryption is not going to cut it if you can't demonstrate you are using standard of practice medical record security measures.

Specifically, many physicians would want to know, at a minimum, complete details for:

- backup, recovery, and retention policies for all data.

- logging mechanisms in place to track access and change of data. By "access" tracking, I mean a record of every last living creature who views the data, at any time, for any reason, and that includes everyone at "DrChrono", the employees of any firms that manage their servers, etc.

- audit mechanisms and schedules.

- policies Yet Another Third Party ("DrChrono") would have in response to subpoenas, direct request from patients for their medical records, requests from insurance companies, etc.

30 points by benmathes 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Good luck with this one. After spending a couple of years working on something like this, I found the following:

  1) A majority of doctors are in small private practices
that reinvent the wheel of how they run their practice.

2) All of these doctors are extremely pressed for time
and are practically _always_ behind schedule.

#1 means you need to build heavily-configurable software, and #2 means the doctors don't have the time or energy to learn and configure your software. At best you can get the practice managers to force it down the doctor's throats, which doesn't exactly help either.

Record keeping is to doctors like text editors is to us hackers. Imagine if a doctor had built your text editor; They're probably very smart and energetic, but they don't really understand your problem and how much you personally need specific things just so.

1 point by dr_ 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Personally I am pleased to see more of an effort being made of late with advancing health care technology.
It's a fact - doctors are using the iPad. I see more and more of them in the hospital. I'm not certain whether this will lead to widespread adoption or is just a novelty. In our hospital you can use the iPad to first log into the hospitals Windows based network, then log into HMS, which only works with Internet Explorer. Given how tedious a process this is, and to perform order entry using this technique, to me doesn't seem like its going to last long. I'm thinking a 11" MBA would come in more handy.

In the office, tablets should be used to review patient data, but the physician should probably not be entering any data - such as writing up the progress note or billing - while in the exam room. This takes away from the physician patient relationship. So to review data, tablets can be helpful, but are not exactly revolutionary. Real changes in how healthcare is delivered will be determined by how data is collected and how it is interpreted (like the Crimson Initiative).

Still, considering that EMR systems like AllScripts are charging over $600 a month PER physician (and that's at a "special" discounted rate for a few years), it's nice to see companies like DrChrono taking a stab at it, to see if they can offer something better, or equally compelling, for a cheaper price. A lot of existing EMR systems are bloated with features that most physicians will never use, and don't even really fully understand.

1 point by jason_slack 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I worked on an EMR app for a while and DrChrono feels very childish. HIPAA compliance seems like a back seat at this point instead of first priority.

Maybe a dr would pay $99, but the first HIPAA lawsuit they are going to spend $99,000+ defending all due to software.

I also have to admit that DrChrono reminds me of Dr Mario Nintendo game..

6 points by flyosity 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is probably a solid idea (I have a friend working on a similar app) but I've gotta say, the user interface looks horrendous. Form fields slapped anywhere, nothing is aligned with anything else, the sizes of UI elements are all over the place so there's no visual hierarchy, it looks incredibly amateurish.

I know that for an app like this doctors are probably looking at functionality first, but it'd be nice if one of the first iPad apps in this niche actually looked decent. Right now it looks like Interface Builder exploded.

3 points by tom_b 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I work with electronic medical records on the research side, integrating clinical patient data with medical research and clinical trials. However, I work with a large teaching hospital rather than small practices.

A home run offering for our environment would include a migration path for data from years (and many thousands of patient's data) currently in a patched-together system with 40 years of duct tape holding it all together. Top it off with a massive dose of free text data fields (so no easy field extraction) and you're looking at a huge custom effort to pull it off.

But . . . I think there is room here for something that does something nice with machine learning and NLP. Some folks looking into this have found that even free text in path reports contains a significant amount of exploitable structure from a data mining perspective.

And once you solve the migration, you'll have to go around the heavily entrenched IT groups holding the duct tape. But, it would be a big win for patients and most physicians are looking for a better solution . . .

2 points by alphaoverlord 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm interested in learning how DrChrono is planning to market to physicians.

I personally think DrChrono is going for a diminishing slice of the healthcare pie. The current trend in healthcare is that a decreasing proportion of physicians are working in small private practices - the cost of healthcare infrastructure, logistics, and billings means large practices and hospital based have significant savings on scale and tremendous bargaining power with insurance and etc. This kind of app, with the appointment scheduler and prescription system, seems very much geared to small private practices.

I imagine this kind of system will make limited leeway in large healthcare practices and large academic institutions - this is the difference between enterprise software and web applications. Epic and the like, despite being aesthetically unpleasing and rather cumbersome, is dominating this segment of the market. It's not even a question of cost - these solutions cost much more than competitors, but there is a perceived level of stability and a proven track-record. In both culture and priorities, I think YC companies are not as well prepared to offer enterprise solutions. Large institutions are fickle, full of politics, and without a dedicated sales team, difficult to sell to.

They are definitely going for the "meaningful use" incentives as part of healthcare reform - the healthcare reform gives physicians incentives to adopt an EHR (electronic health record) system and going for the sex appeal of using ipads - but I am wondering if that is enough incentive to adopt an electronic health system. Personally, I type 1000x faster on a keyboard than with an iPad, and speed would be an consideration - ie. even as a physician-in-training (hypothetically with comfort in technology), I would have to look hard to decide whether to use such a system.

As a medical student, don't think there is enough of an market for general primary care physicians and not enough specificity (currently) to most subspecialities. There are a lot of older physicians that have limited comfort in medicine. I would imagine there is a good market for concierge medicine practices - the kind of places that already have iPads and are interested in distinguishing themselves from the market.

5 points by 2mur 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm a physician. I would love to hear about you implemented HIPAA compliance for both the iOS app and for the web service. I think it is a huge problem for any healthcare startup with potentially serious penalties (even criminal!) for mis-implementation. It is a serious third rail.
5 points by jrockway 5 hours ago 1 reply      
So what happens when Apple pulls this app for $arbitrary_reason? Are your medical records gone?
2 points by ihodes 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems as though people may not know what exactly goes on in an exam room, and how exactly is the one taking notes. Often, especially with specialists, there's an MA or RN taking notes. Note only that, but this seems vastly superior to digging through a pile of charts or working with an ungainly EMR system.

The market has been BEGGING for this, and this looks like it might be the right answer. Good luck!

2 points by JSig 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Three years ago when we took my daughter to her first pediatrician appointment, the doctor brought a laptop into the examining room with her. The doctor barely looked at my kid. She just sat there typing away looking at her machine. In my mind technology had become a barrier to the doctor/patient (parent) relationship. It was very frustrating. But, there were many things frustrating about that Dr. so it could have just been her. We quickly found a much better one.

So, maybe you should design the interface good enough that docs want to use it but not too good that they use it all the time. Or you can put some alerts in there so that when the doc has been watching too many videos, it reminds them to look at the patient..... just kidding....

2 points by togasystems 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I just finished a large project for a healthcare company in Canada. I wish the drchrono team the best of luck. Here are some pointers to watch out for in the healthcare industry.

1. Doctors can be extremely cheap. I had to port over a legacy dial up system because the doctors would refuse to upgrade to high-speed.

2. The entire industry, at least here in Canada is ass backwards. It takes ten people to do a single task. You will run into having painstaking long conference calls

3. Multiple standards. Every provider has there own standard that sometimes overlap.

4. Older doctors barely know how to use a cell phone, let alone an iPad. Luckily these doctors are fading out fast.

5. Market to the secretaries. They will pitch to the doctors anything to make their life easier.

Good luck guys....hit me up if you have anymore questions.

1 point by robryan 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My girlfriend does some admin work at a hospital that uses meditech software, seems like the kind of old bulky enterprise software startups are trying to replace. It covers a lot of areas in hospital admin as far as I know, more than just the doctors interactions with patients. I have mnetioned it would be great for doctors to take out the middle man and use things like ipads so this seems great for that.

Just wondering if you have thought about integrating into the big bulky industry standard type software? (of course I could be off on what most hospitals use, sample size of 1)

3 points by atgm 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The idea of doctors using iPads scares me; I know plenty of people who make casual typos with numbers on the iPhone or iPad as it is -- the last place I want someone doing that is in a hospital or doctor's office.
1 point by kmfrk 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I really don't like your UI, but on another note, Jay Parkinson is the guy you should seek out and ask for advice. He's probably the go-to guy in innovating health sector tech.


1 point by axod 5 hours ago 1 reply      
how is this better than the existing computer systems doctors use? (It's on a iPad doesn't cut it IMHO)
2 points by allangrant 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know anything about this industry, but the UI looks stunning.
-4 points by krazook 6 hours ago 0 replies      
this is revolutionary...wow.
-4 points by earino 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Company launches practice management software. Film at 11.
How do programmers in the west see programmers in the east? stackexchange.com
22 points by nsoonhui 1 hour ago   9 comments top 5
1 point by bugsy 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
That's an interesting discussion on stackexchange. Don't miss the matching question posted at the same time, "How do programmers in the east see programmers in the west?"


A lot of the remarks there by eastern programmers reflect on their own view of their fellow programmers in the east. The answers show a high level of awareness of the problems caused by the cultural expectations to follow orders and obey the structure and hierarchy.

10 points by tastybites 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Any discussion like this always conveniently forgets:

1. Japanese programmers wrote a huge proportion of cutting edge video games in the 80s, 90s, and 00s.

2. China (and Japan, and Korea, and India...) has a massive domestic consumer and b2b internet, written and scaled by domestic talent. It's much bigger than the US internet.

3. You better believe Koreans and Japanese write a WHOLE LOT of firmware. When was the last time your TV or BluRay player or Toyota ECU crashed? China is clearly playing catch up here - Chinese electronics crash all the time lol.

Of course then there's always the people who don't consider Japan to be "the east"... which always makes me laugh.

6 points by kaptain 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The discussion on stackexchange focused more on whether programmers in the east, generally speaking, are of sufficient quality. Living in China and going to a local university learning chinese, I've feel that a lot of the symptoms described in the discussion are more of a result of education systems.

A lot of my Chinese friends have expressed the need to get a good job, thus there is pressure for them to be in a major that 'guarantees' that: computer science/engineering is seen as desirable in that light. Having attended one of the computer science classes, I've seen two striking things:

1) Only a small percent of the people in this major are have an actual interest in the topic. The rest hope to get some administrative job in a big company and that this degree will be their ticket in.

2) There is a mechanical sense to the way projects and assignments are done. The philosophy seems to be: if I follow the steps that the teacher gave then I am able to solve this problem. There isn't an emphasis on analysis or synthesis. I attribute this to the emphasis on rote learning.

These two things make it easier to see why the symptoms described in the discussion occur. In addition, I noticed that the level of education is quite behind my own college experience. They were learning things in their third-year first semester that I learned in my first-year second semester.

As a side note, I don't go to one of the top tier universities; I was told that my university is a second or third tier university, so I suspect that this is the reality for most Chinese computer science students.

1 point by ireadzalot 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Part of it has to do with the fact that countries in the east have high brain drain problem. Those who are smarter end up in some college/univ. in the West. If you are in the US, look at the some of the best CS colleges and the number of foreign students studying CS - quite diverse and lots of students from East.
1 point by biobot 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One stark difference between programmers in the east and west is that in the east, people tend to stay in one company much longer. I think that effectively limit their development. Those who are in the west tend to be much more well rounded.
JQuery Waypoints - execute a function whenever you scroll to an element github.com
113 points by moeffju 7 hours ago   15 comments top 5
9 points by joebananas 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool and all, but... It's stuff like scroll analytics that keep NoScript in my list of must-have addons. That kind of stuff is just super creepy in a working-for-the-feds-in-snow-crash kind of way.
7 points by chrisbroadfoot 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or does this feel really slow?
3 points by shib71 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Nicely modular functionality. Would be even better if the events were implemented as actual jQuery events.
5 points by skilesare 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This didn't work on my iPhone. I wish it had.
3 points by sramam 5 hours ago 1 reply      
cool use of waypoint scrolling to mimic tab traversal on the homepage.
Wired's Review of the Motorola Xoom wired.com
20 points by ssclafani 2 hours ago   13 comments top 5
4 points by ekidd 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
I had a chance to experiment with a display model tonight, after a week of testing Honeycomb programs with the emulator.

It's definitely a slick piece of hardware, and it's very fast. Video looks good. Without a Google account or a network connection, I could only test a few applications. The first-party Google apps looked great. The third-party apps looked promising but immature, though I expect them to improve rapidly. The glass seemed to hold a few more fingerprints than the iPad, or perhaps they're just more noticable against the dark holographic theme of the desktop.

As consumer, I'd be drooling over the hardware but holding off for a month or two. As a developer, I'm buying one tomorrowâ€"this is a sweet machine to hack for, and I can live with a few rough edges.

2 points by blinkingled 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Feels like it was rushed out - LTE upgrade needs that you send the hardware back to Motorola, the OS seems a bit buggy and there are not many optimized apps available yet.

On the other hand the hardware is great, the OS is mostly there and apps will most likely be there before long. The iPad's existence for a year and the looming 2nd gen makes situation worrying for Motorola - if it wasn't for the iPad, these would've been the points that would be ignored.

3 points by ugh 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I like Engadget's review better: http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/23/motorola-xoom-review/

Summary: Apple's March 2 announcement better be good.

1 point by rkalla 58 minutes ago 1 reply      
1. Mentioned nothing about battery life or performance. I'll admit performance is possibly a geeky request but for a mobile device going up against the battery-life king, that is annoying.

2. Moto should have started with the WiFi only version first, seen if people were interested and moved up from there... but entering the market at $800 with no appreciable "big win" over the comparable iPad (that is cheaper)?

Why would you do that.

1 point by dsuriano 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm curious to see how Flash will effect batter life when the Honeycomb version is released.
Breakup Notifier Shut Down By Facebook techcrunch.com
163 points by ssclafani 10 hours ago   133 comments top 24
43 points by edw519 8 hours ago 4 replies      
In the brick and mortar world, it's extremely difficult to secure financing, investment, or even revenue if you're more than 50% dependent on an outside entity for your survival.

Yet in the digital world, 100% dependency on another entity is becoming more and more common. Sounds like a high wire act without a net. Best to find other distribution outlets before you lose your balance.

66 points by theli0nheart 8 hours ago 8 replies      
It's been a crazy 36 hours since I last posted here about my weekend project. This morning, I woke up to an email from Facebook Platform, saying that the application has gotten disabled.

Full text of the email is at http://lts.cr/PRh

I'm not using stream.publish, and I'm checking for updates as little as possible. Also, it seems it was deleted from my apps...so they didn't just disable it. It's gone for good.

I may open source the code, if anyone wants to run copies. Let me know.

Update 1: I just messaged Zuck, hopefully he can respond with some more details.

Update 2: I tried to appeal the decision using Facebook's little form (http://www.facebook.com/help?faq=17553), but it wouldn't go through for my account. My friend tried it, and it worked. Don't really know what to think about that...

Update 3: Maybe this is a Harvard v Yale thing?

35 points by raganwald 9 hours ago 7 replies      
Meta-question: Will this termination inspire the same anti-"proprietary walled garden" rhetoric as Apple's imposition of new terms for subscription sales? If not, why not?
68 points by jdp23 9 hours ago 1 reply      
And they disabled his personal account too. Not the best way to get yourself to be seen as a good platform for developers.
17 points by DanielBMarkham 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This introduces a new way to get kicked out of a walled garden: become too successful.

I hate to be cynical, but of course it's always been that way. The only way to get punished in a walled garden scenario is to embarrass the garden owner or bring too much attention to yourself.

19 points by il 9 hours ago 4 replies      
And has reached 3.6 million users overnight. That's incredible! I bet the developer is kicking himself for not monetizing with ads right away, that's a lot of traffic and a lot of money.
11 points by shrikant 8 hours ago 0 replies      

I wonder if he's feeling honoured yet? :-)

20 points by ggordan 9 hours ago 2 replies      
"Facebook has also, inexplicably, disabled his personal account."

Sure they can try and justify blocking the application by saying it made 'excessive API calls', but how do they justify disabling his personal account?

13 points by rorrr 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a warning to you. Don't develop for Facebook. They essentially are a tyranny, you can't really take them to court for blocking you.
6 points by acangiano 9 hours ago 0 replies      
41 points by soulclap 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Breakup Notifier's relationship status: It's complicated.
2 points by 100k 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else remember singlestat.us? They did the same thing (on MySpace) back in 2006. They were shut down almost immediately.


7 points by Tycho 8 hours ago 0 replies      
They're probably mad they didn't think of it first.
2 points by jacques_chester 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes, when facing an sudden, arbitrary decision with no appeals process, high ceremony seems like a good thing.
5 points by initself 7 hours ago 0 replies      
My dreams were crushed exactly like this with MySpace. That's why I don't touch the stuff anymore.
3 points by rexf 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> "We're willing to comply with whatever they want us to (within reason)."

This app wasn't taken down because of "an inordinate number of stream.publish calls."

The question is how this app falls within acceptable behavior. Is it closer in nature to the acceptable practices (such as the FB Newsfeed where you see friends' recently changed statuses)? Or is it closer to behavior that FB wants to dissuade (such as an app showing how many times a given friend has viewed your profile)?

3 points by kevt 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know what can get an app shutdown by facebook? Apparently, Dan received this from fb: "For example, if an application is making an inordinate number of stream.publish calls and receiving a large number of user reports". What exactly is an inordinate number of post? Was Breakup Notifier spamming signed up users' post stream to get the word out? Or was it just an extraordinary number of api calls that FB was not use to getting?
2 points by makeee 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Did you post to a users facebook stream without asking them explicitly if they wanted to share breakup notifier on facebook? What exactly resulted in the stream.publish calls?
1 point by ot 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe the TOS prohibit this usage of the API? For example the "unfriend notifier" applications are forbidden and Facebook strictly enforces this rule (I remember at least a couple of iPhone applications that got shut down).

Even in this case, they should have given some explanation.

1 point by jarin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Well that was quick. Who's gonna notify the notifier?
1 point by motters 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You can always be kicked out of a walled garden.
2 points by davidk0101 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This started to interfere with facebook's own stalking experience so they shut it down. Don't need to be a genius to figure out that out.
3 points by Peaker 7 hours ago 0 replies      
We will miss the open web.
0 points by vchien 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Could I get a copy..:P
Cappuccino 0.9 cappuccino.org
119 points by klaaspieter 8 hours ago   27 comments top 11
6 points by cpr 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Is anyone else astounded that none of the team members seem to be from the original set of developers? Are they entirely gone or just not in the driver's seat any more?
4 points by ludwigvan 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Here is a comparison with gwt: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2933266/gwt-vs-cappuccino

I am not experienced with gwt or cappucino, but it seemed that they aimed similar things, developer not needing to deal with html, css, dom etc.

Actually, it seems the real contender is sproutcore here.

6 points by chubs 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I've always been honestly curious... why Objective-J ? Is it simply so that mac developers can start using cappucino and feel comfortable?
7 points by nciagra 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This was a huge release, we'll be around to help anyone who wants to get started with the new version or Cappuccino in general. Find us on Freenode at #cappuccino or the mailing list, http://groups.google.com/group/objectivej.

Thanks to everyone that helped make this release happen!

3 points by kno 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Cappuccino Team, I have always been amazed by your courage of entering the web tool world and your perseverance in doing what you do. Can you please share you progress so far, who uses your tool and what public application were build using your framework. Please don't take this the wrong way. Thx
4 points by Me1000 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks to everyone who has put so much work into this release. We couldn't have done it without the support of our awesome community.
1 point by johnfox 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Cappuccino keeps getting better. I'm looking forward to giving an afternoon session on Cappuccino for Cocoa developers at NSConference UK: http://ideveloper.tv/schedule/details?event_id=3
3 points by Slevenbits 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing amounts of amazement inside this release.
1 point by smog 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I first thought that this was the cappuccino tool that pretends your working: http://linux.softpedia.com/get/Utilities/Cappuccino-19343.sh...
2 points by sgt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats.. good work!
2 points by mafis 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing release
Why can't we all use standard libraries for commonly needed algorithms? acm.org
80 points by snth 8 hours ago   31 comments top 12
32 points by haberman 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Counterexample: zlib.

Everyone uses zlib. It's hard to find a binary it's not linked into. I doubt anyone reimplements it -- what's the point? Maybe some people copy it into their source tree, but what's wrong with that?

The key? Make sure people have heard of it, and make it as unobtrusive as possible. The author's "libmd" fails at the former, and PGP, GnuPG, and OpenSSL fail at the latter. There is no good reason not to Just Use Zlib. Quoting from their website: "A Massively Spiffy Yet Delicately Unobtrusive Compression Library."

zlib is my inspiration.

14 points by anonymous246 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Weak article. I thought he would talk about some more examples. And then talk about the difficulties in learning a library vs. rolling your own. Easy-to-copy code (MD5) was copied. Well duh.

Lots of people have talked here about the difficulty in reusing OpenSSL. I once had the distinct displeasure of trying to reuse ffmpeg as a library.

In addition, why must every language have it's own standard library. Is it possible to have a source code format for standard libraries which can translated into other languages?

There's a good article waiting to be written about this topic, but this is not it.

5 points by tptacek 4 hours ago 0 replies      
PHK picked a really bad example with secure hash functions.

All of these algorithms are so simple, and have such a simple interface, that copy-pasting the C code is actually easier than linking a library.

And in their most common use case, they're coupled with a bunch of other crypto code which already exists in one of several large crypto libraries (like cryptlib and openssl). So most of the critical mass of "roll this into a library" effort goes into those libraries. Meanwhile, the people who just want hashing don't want to link all of OpenSSL.

9 points by cpeterso 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Linux developer Rusty Russell wrote a helpful article about designing C libraries to be easily configured and reused:

"On C Library Implementation":

For such an important subject, there is little practical discussion or good examples of library design. Compare the number of books about C++ object-oriented design versus the design and packaging of C/C++ libraries.

The best reference I know is John Lakos's excellent (but ancient: 1996!) book on the subject: "Large-Scale C++ Design." Here are some excerpts from the book.



9 points by jrockway 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Incidentally, I really want to use the shared memory logger from varnish in my own app, but it seems to be quite embedded in Varnish. (It is not tightly-coupled code-wise, but it is build-wise.) Anyway, although it's commonly needed, it's not a library... and Varnish is the author of this article's project! :)

(I'm not complaining, I'm going to try and library-ize this code very soon. But it's odd that someone that feels the need to write about how people should do this hasn't done it in his own project yet.)

1 point by swaits 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
phk. definitely one of my heroes. big time contributor to FreeBSD, but most importantly, inventor of "THE BEER-WARE LICENSE".
1 point by alok-g 20 minutes ago 1 reply      
I have always wondered this. Even algorithms common discussed in computer science books are not there in C or C++ standard library. (PS: This discussion is not about negatives of C++). I once emailed Dr. Bjarne Stroustrup about this; more precisely non-existence of even simple tree algorithms from C++ standard library. He just pointed me to implementation of some sorted list using red/black tree "internally".
1 point by skybrian 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you want the same algorithm to work everywhere, you can't write the library in C. It will have to be written in some intermediate language with generators for all common scripting languages. The closest thing I know of that's widely used is the generators for proto buffers. We need something like proto buffers for algorithms.

Ben Laurie has started on this: http://www.links.org/?p=864

2 points by abecedarius 3 hours ago 0 replies      
People often point to monoculture as a security problem: "Clones are vulnerable. Computers need sex!" I'm not endorsing this argument, but it's curious how neither side seems to mention the other when they're making their points.

I once reimplemented much of SNMP because the standard library for it seemed too crufty; a year or two later a whole lot of programs were hit by the announcement of vulnerabilities in that library. (Unfortunately the employer who was going to open-source my code never got around to it.)

18 points by iuygtfhnjmn 8 hours ago 1 reply      
In a language that left the string library as an exercise for the student?

Where you can't even link libraries built with different version of the same compiler on some platforms.

2 points by T_S_ 6 hours ago 1 reply      
"overwhelmingly this is just pointless copy-and-paste of identical source code in blatant disregard of Occam's three-quarters-millennia-old advice."

So isn't this analogous to asking why there are so many implementations of the quadratic formula in various books? I think the problem is real, but this doesn't seem to be the proof of it.

If programming allowed us to use equational reasoning then such cutting and pasting wouldn't be considered a problem at all. We would simply recognize the formulas, perhaps with the aid of computer. Unfortunately we tossed away that option the first time someone designed languages that allowed statements like "x = x + 1". Maybe it's time to rethink that decision.

3 points by wglb 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I remember when Communications of ACM used to have computer science articles.

Who says one of the bedrock ideas of good software engineering is reuse of code libraries holding easily accessible implementations of common algorithms and facilities. is really the case? One of the better pieces of software known (qmail) avoids libraries because of unknown side effects.

Software reuse, I think, is the desire of a certain kind management and not so much computer scientists or engineers. How much reuse is in PAIP or TAOCP?

Brunch - lightweight html5 framework using backbone, eco, stylus, coffeescript brunchwithcoffee.org
84 points by tosh 8 hours ago   23 comments top 11
6 points by Semiapies 6 hours ago 1 reply      
A hair more informative than a list of technologies and some slogans: https://github.com/brunch/brunch/blob/master/readme.md

Really, that's the only thing that comes dangerously close to a concise explanation of what this project actually is - and it makes it sound like a couple of programs that generate a fairly typical MVC website folder structure and auto-compile a few types of files whenever they're changed.

If Brunch is more than that, it might be worthwhile to at least have a gloss of what else it does around, even if the rest of the documentation is in progress. Otherwise, the understanding of any awesomeness is going to be limited to people who're going to plumb the code or went to that Vienna user group presentation. :)

5 points by dmix 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This would be perfect for a project I'm working on if it supported HAML-JS/SASS (optionally replacing eco/stylus).

Is the framework extendable in this respect?

4 points by clyfe 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar project: Capt - https://github.com/bnolan/capt by Ben Nolan ( Anyone remembers behaviors.js for Prototype way way before jQuery ? )

Also see: Faux - https://github.com/unspace/faux

4 points by catshirt 7 hours ago 1 reply      
for what it's worth, the meat here is really only in jquery, backbone, and underscore. the rest is either redundant or preferential, no?

edit: downvotes welcome, given an answer to my question.

3 points by tosh 8 hours ago 2 replies      
we just presented brunch at the vienna javascript user group (viennajs.org).

we still need some input on good client side testing tools that would make sense to be integrated with a js framework. further we need to get rid of some rough edges and will focus on providing documentation and examples.

currently we would like to get feedback on the chosen toolchain and love to hear suggestions on how to improve their integration (we currently ship a file watcher, still need to add uglify support and different build targets - build.phonegap.com, chrome webstore, …)


2 points by albemuth 5 hours ago 1 reply      
kool-aid overdose! It makes me want to build something just for the sake of playing with cool tech
3 points by 9elements 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm currently working on a haml parser that supports coffescript. Would be awesome if the template logic would be agnostic.
1 point by martinkallstrom 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like a really good fit to what's currently going on in the community. Get working hard on the documentation and keep HN posted on how you progress!
1 point by andreasklinger 8 hours ago 0 replies      
seen the presentation at viennajs. looks very promising.
1 point by pstoellberger 8 hours ago 0 replies      
had a look at it a couple of days ago. looks indeed very promising!
-1 point by Breefield 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Simply based on name alone it reminds me of my project Crumb: http://breefield.com/crumb/
IBM Watson's team Q&A on reddit reddit.com
60 points by hootx 7 hours ago   27 comments top 5
4 points by gojomo 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Alas, my somewhat-skeptical question came in late and got little support:


What determined the use of exactly 10 racks of 9 maxed-out (32-core, 512GB RAM) 4U Power750 servers? For example, would Watson have done better with more hardware? Or could it have made-do with far less, after all the bulk pre-processing of, and training on, source material was finished?

(My intuitions about the necessary amount of reference data and topical associations â€" written up at http://redd.it/fnixm â€" made me think way less hardware should have been required, at least at the very end during the match.)

6 points by trickjarrett 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I also feel that they sort of jogged around the buzzing in question. Obviously Watson has to calculate and decide his answer, but there is no denying that he was very fast on the buzzer in the game.
2 points by Jd 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Question 3 was the most interesting but data on parsing remarkably incomplete. As far as I can tell, we have only lists of possible ways to break down the data without any explanation of how or why one possible way is preferred to another.

Case in point (1):How it decides to treat "Treasure Island" as a proper noun. We see only "modifies(Treasure, Island)" -- indicating that it treats treasure and adjective modifying island, then suddenly in the semantic assumption phase they are treated as a compound.

Case in point (2). We are given:

        island(Treasure Island)

location(Treasure Island)

resort(Treasure Island)

book(Treasure Island)

movie(Treasure Island)

I assume what he is giving us is method names written in Java with "Treasure Island" as the single argument that return a value indicating the likelihood that "Treasure Island" is what the method name refers to. This is extraordinarily interesting. However, it is not at all clear which methods are chosen and why, if they are run in some sort of sequence or simultaneously, etc .

Case in point (3) : "Builds different semantic queries based on phrases, keywords and semantic assumptions." This is very vague but indicates that Watson generate a set of queries which it runs against its own internal search engine ranking answers presumably based on the quality of the initial search and the confidence of the answer. Would be very very cool to have an example.

All in all, wets the appetite but leaves one wishing for more hearty fare (or a job at IBM!).

3 points by trickjarrett 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Some interesting nuggets in here, I had watched the Nova specials on Watson etc. I would have liked to have had a question about the team, their work stress etc., but otherwise a fun read. I especially enjoyed the step by step parsing and examination of a question in the process of how Watson would work through it.
2 points by baddox 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One could make the argument that since Watson is trained with English information and English Jeopardy! clues, English is Watson's native language. Sure, there's Java down to Assembly beneath Watson's understand of English, but the same goes for native English-speaking humans. English speakers aren't biologically any different than, say, French speakers.
Eth0 no more? dell.com
128 points by PassTheAmmo 12 hours ago   45 comments top 13
10 points by javanix 11 hours ago 1 reply      
From the limitations section of the wiki page linked in the article:

Not all add-in cards have a method to expose their Linux interface name(s) to external port mapping. biosdevname may provide incorrect names for such. Discussions are ongoing on the netdev mailing list to standardize a method of exposing such mapping.

Seems like this would be kind of a deal-breaker for any wholesale move like this. I'd be fairly surprised if this got any widespread adoption anytime soon.

10 points by iuguy 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I can understand why people will resist this, thinking that somehow renaming eth0 to em0 or similar will break stuff, but here's the rub: It'll only break stuff that's badly written.

There's a right way to enumerate network interfaces and a wrong way (which is dependent on the language you're using for enumeration - the wrong way is assuming that eth0 is the only network device).

Bear in mind that the new convention is not entirely dissimilar to how WiFi cards have worked on Linux for some time, so the only things that will break will be things that:

    a) Assume eth0 instead of enumerating devices
b) Have a legitimate reason for using eth0 only (I can't think of one, but I wouldn't be surprised if one existed)

12 points by zdw 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Mac OS X and Linux are the only OS's that I'm aware of that put all ethernet nics in the same device namespace.

Everyone else has separate device namespaces for - you might have an fxp0 , rl0, hme0, etc. on any BSD or Solaris machine.

Rather than looking in /dev, they really ought to be parsing the output of ifconfig -a.

7 points by rdtsc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is a whitepaper from Dell that discusses some of these issues and provides some of the solutions. It is a couple of years old but still relevant:


5 points by 16s 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The BSDs have always done this... if I recall correctly, em is an Intel based NIC.

em - Intel PRO/1000 10/100/Gigabit Ethernet device


Edit: Reading more of that thread I may be off-base here, but naming a network interface em that's not powered by certain Intel chipsets will be very confusing to BSD users. Just my 2 cents.

13 points by eklitzke 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There was a pretty good discussion about this on LWN a while back, I recommend it to anyone who wants more information (both the commentary their, as well as the linked article): https://lwn.net/Articles/424859/
5 points by beoba 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks like this could solve the problem of network interfaces renaming themselves after reboots. Hooray!
4 points by spydum 10 hours ago 0 replies      
People will whine and complain about this, but it's about time some sanity was brought to Linux's network device names. The eth* enumeration has been terrible for quite a long time, especially when dealing with servers housing multiple interfaces. And if you don't like the solution, they explicitly say you can just set biosdevname=0 on the kernel params and carry on with the previous insanity.
1 point by dhughes 1 hour ago 0 replies      
With eth changing to em and mile long IPv6 addresses it's going to be a strange world.
3 points by samuel1604 8 hours ago 0 replies      
From a quick look on a fresh ubuntu small server install it does not seem there is much that reference eth* scheme :

  ~$ sudo egrep -Irl 'eth[0-9]' /etc /usr 2>/dev/null |wc -l

1 point by d135-1r43 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I assume any consumer OS will generate a symlink for compatibility reasons.
-2 points by chopsueyar 10 hours ago 0 replies      
'know' one knows?
-2 points by BlazingFrog 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"... something else that know one will recognise ..."


Mach's designers simply assumed that systems would be rebooted often enough clozure.com
93 points by zachbeane 10 hours ago   54 comments top 5
15 points by jarin 9 hours ago 6 replies      
I wonder if that's been fixed in the OS X/Darwin version of Mach, seems like the only time I ever reboot my MacBook is for system updates.
5 points by pinko 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Relevant: http://www.usenix.org/event/osdi04/tech/full_papers/candea/c...

Microreboot â€" A Technique for Cheap Recovery

"A significant fraction of software failures in large-scale Internet systems are cured by rebooting, even when the exact failure causes are unknown. However, rebooting can be expensive, causing nontrivial service disruption or downtime even when clusters and failover are employed. In this work we use separation of process recovery from data recovery to enable microrebooting â€" a fine-grain technique for surgically recovering faulty application components, without disturbing the rest of the application."

11 points by mobilemonkey 9 hours ago replies      
I'm not going to pretend I know what Mach is, but around here, (big company that you're familiar with), rebooting/bouncing the servers is pretty much how issues are dealt with. "Response times outside of SLA: bounced the server." "Database connections timing out: bounced the server." "Users experiencing high load times for pages: restarted JVMs. Then bounced the servers."

Root cause seems to be "server up too long."

7 points by bm98 7 hours ago 1 reply      
My favorite Linux bug (since fixed):

https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=97373 System UPTIME reported incorrectly):

"Steps to Reproduce: 1. Boot Linux system; 2. Go away for 497 days; 3. check uptime"

3 points by aidenn0 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"Hello IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?"
Warn HN: How to accidentally, irreversibly nuke your Facebook account
107 points by jpadvo 6 hours ago   38 comments top 14
20 points by dalke 5 hours ago 1 reply      
To be safe, I browsed with "links."

"To make a test account, register on Facebook as you normally would. Then, when logged in to the test account, go to this URL: http://www.facebook.com/developers/become_test_account.php

Personally from reading only to this point I would assume that it makes a new account, rather than make the current account become a test account. Even though that description is embedded in the URL, it isn't in the English text.

The warnings come afterwards, starting "A few important things to note". I think the description is ambiguous, and don't get the impression that it will trash your personal FB account.

This is such a nasty security problem it's not even funny. I haven't (and daren't) try. But if people start putting that URL on lots of public sites, and people click on it, then it will make a lot of people angry with FB. That suggests a solution - post the direct link to HN and other sites and get enough people to click on it that FB has to respond. Not a nice solution though.

Even worse, it looks like it's a regular GET request, which isn't supposed to have these sorts of side effects. (Again, I haven't tried.)

2 points by mendicant 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
I know at least a few of you thought it... what would happen if people were tricked into clicking that link and button. Kind of an a-hole thing to do.

However, it does make me wonder how fast they might find a fix for it if it were to happen to enough people to make it a priority. Or even, how many people it would take to make it a priority.

2 points by jesseendahl 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Looks like they've updated the post:

"UPDATE 2/23/2011: See the latest test user documentation."

2 points by btilly 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Does Firesheep still work with Facebook? How many times do you have one teenager at another teenager's house, with access to the computer? It just takes a minute and the damage is done.

Why on Earth would they have a misfeature like this?

3 points by cool-RR 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why I never use my real Facebook account when developing apps. I have a special John Doe account from which I manage all my apps. I think this is the only solution to their incompetences.
7 points by PCheese 5 hours ago 2 replies      
EDIT: I just confirmed this no longer works. =(

I think all you need to do is disassociate your account from the Developer Test Accounts network via your profile settings page: http://www.facebook.com/editaccount.php?networks

That should revert it to a regular account.

8 points by stanmancan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Lucky. It took me about half an hour to figure out how to delete my account. On purpose.
5 points by onan_barbarian 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this relevant?


If so, the lesson here is that Google is your friend...

1 point by cont4gious 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think it's interesting that the idea of deleting an account on a web service is "incomprehensible" (a bit out of context, but still relevant). It's kind of funny how reliant we've become on a few companies and services.
3 points by rottencupcakes 4 hours ago 1 reply      
You should ask this question on Quora.
2 points by what 4 hours ago 1 reply      
You say there was a button that said "Make [Your Name] a Test Account". I think it's pretty clear what that button does. If it were actually labeled "create test account" it might be different.
2 points by jpadvo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Has this happened to anyone else? Does anybody here work at Facebook and know something about this?
1 point by pan69 3 hours ago 2 replies      
That's why you'd use browser A (say Chrome) for browsing and browser B (say Firefox) for anything to do with development.
-1 point by shareme 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Cool we can nuke facebook accounts! Quick lets get people to click there!

Sarcasm aside..doesn't this sound like an MS adventure?

My 1st experiment with Feedback Army precheur.org
6 points by henryprecheur 1 hour ago   1 comment top
1 point by raffi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this. I run Feedback Army and one of the most rewarding things about running it is hearing (or reading) stories like yours. Glad it's working for you. It's a service that definitely came out of this community (I developed it after reading an HN post asking if such a service existed).
How to Sell your Company jacquesmattheij.com
165 points by ZeroMinx 15 hours ago   16 comments top 8
66 points by sivers 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I never thought I would sell, but I got three offers in one week. I told them all no. But after thinking about it a while, I told them all yes.

Thing is, Amazon was not one of the three. And I always thought that Amazon would be the perfect daddy for my baby.

So after the first three companies were looking at my books with NDAs and LOIs, I asked a connected friend to introduce me to someone at Amazon, and told him why. I was surprised how quickly someone at Amazon got back to me, and they were a contender until the end. (I chose a different company - one of those first three, after all.)

It makes all the difference in the world to have multiple interested buyers.

Any time you hit a snag in negotiations, you really have to be 100% sincerely ready to walk away. Actually believe, to the core, that until the final signature and wire transfer goes through, the deal might not happen, and you're OK with that.

1 point by rexreed 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Good article - I noticed that my comments from HN were quoted a few times in there... might have been good to put a bit of attribution, or at least highlight them so it's obvious they are HN quotes. Some parts show the quote marks, but others don't. Specifically the two deals mentioned (the lowball and the bait-and-switch at closing) were ones I posted about in the original HN post.
6 points by tchock23 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of the best articles on selling a company I've come across, and I've read my fair share of them... I recently had a negotiation that went to a few days before closing and we stepped away. I've since been through various up and down periods of regret for stepping away, followed by relief. It's a nightmare, and I think Jacques accurately captured what to consider in this article (I wish I had this available before!).

I would be really interested to read articles around market timing of acquisitions if anyone on HN has come across something as good as this post by Jacques. I've found a few articles here and there, but mostly written by M&A guys who are pushing to have more deals to broker.

6 points by duck 14 hours ago 1 reply      
with the thread now deleted (for good reasons, which is why I'm not linking to it here)


Why was it deleted?

6 points by rexf 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Very long, but very worthwhile read. It's about how common sense isn't common sense. Assume the worst will happen, always be ready to walk away, and only a final signed contract with money in your bank means anything.

One specific thing I learned from reading this:

> Typically value that is there today should be reflected in the 'cash' portion and value that is still to be built in the 'stock' portion.

This makes sense because you are getting paid in cash for the value at the time of selling your company. Whereas the stock is contingent on future performance and not a 100% sure thing.

2 points by bconway 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If it was to stop working for a big company and to chart your own path, think about whether or not selling to a large company with a mandatory employment period (with serious consequences in case you break that contract) is for you at all.

Could someone give an example of a mandatory employment period with "serious consequences"? Most discussions I've had with people who have left early from a post-acquisition environment centered around forgoing their stock vesting or retention bonuses (to them, it was worth the loss). Assuming no one's breaking non-competes or NDAs, I'd be curious to hear what else is under consideration.

1 point by bencollins 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have any insight into what point (size/complication of the deal) you transition from getting representation from a lawyer versus lawyer + investment bank. I could imagine a good M&A lawyer would be enough representation to navigate a less complicated deal but when is an investment bank necessary?
1 point by tjmaxal 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone else note the different mentalities between seeking more capital and outright selling the company?
Why You Need a Co-Founder bigbangtechnology.com
13 points by maxcameron 3 hours ago   8 comments top 4
4 points by Swizec 2 hours ago 1 reply      
As a guy who very recently split-up with his cofounder, I can say that having a cofounder is awesome and much better than going it alone, but if they aren't also a partner and willing to pick up your slack when real life crap is going on next to the startup crap ... it isn't going to work out.

Also a word of advice: When crap starts going on, on either end, the proper solution isn't to stop talking to each other for a few weeks.

1 point by orky56 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
When seeking funding, having a co-founder or team looks much better to an investor than a sole founder. If you take a look at YC, I believe Dropbox is the only (or one of the few) with just one founder. Having more than one demonstrates that there is less risk through complementing abilities and checks/balances. Also, it can get kinda lonely...
2 points by rottencupcakes 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think Steve says it best:

> My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other's negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are not done by one person, they are done by a team of people.

I think this applies to co-founders too.

2 points by maxcameron 3 hours ago 1 reply      

I'm the author of this article. You should read it if you've been following the debate about whether you're better off with a co-founder or going it alone.


Inception - The movie, explained through C code thechangelog.com
73 points by oscardelben 10 hours ago   16 comments top 5
28 points by dkersten 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't really understand the buzz about Inception. I found it very easy to follow and not all that exciting. Primer was a lot more mind bending and more interesting to boot. Inception just felt like the actors were spending the entire movie saying "look at us! This is exciting! And confusing! Now be confused!".

To each his own, didn't do it for me though.

5 points by steveklabnik 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll own up! I found this on HN yesterday: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2252909
3 points by Tycho 8 hours ago 3 replies      
There's an official Inception game/app for iPhone. It purports to tap into your dreams, if you leave it running while you sleep.

Basically it plays a little bit of music and sound effects, and also processes external sounds and plays them backwards and stuff like that (it would pick up on you talking in your sleep). It also uses the movement and light sensors to go through different phases. There are different 'dreams' (basically sound generation algorithms) that you unlock somehow by using the app. One thing that bugs me though is, people always told me not to sleep with headphones on in case you strangle yourself, and for this app that's pretty much required.

When they said Nolan was keen on making a groundbreaking game, I really wasn't expecting this.

4 points by jamesgeck0 9 hours ago 1 reply      
The source code is located here[1]; for some reason it wasn't directly linked to in the blog post.

1. https://github.com/karthick18/inception

1 point by bitsai 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Fascinating. Would love to see this done with other languages/concurrency mechanisms, like Erlang actors, Clojure agents, etc.
How To Be a Consultant, a freelancer or an independent contractor (2009) jacquesmattheij.com
52 points by renofwon 9 hours ago   4 comments top 2
9 points by dminor 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm starting to think there's some sort of conspiracy to keep jacquesm from leaving through daily submissions from his blog.
2 points by steveklabnik 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just by upvoting it, you've saved it. http://news.ycombinator.com/saved?id=klbarry

It's in your profile, by the way.

StackOverflow's Careers 2.0 stackoverflow.com
72 points by phwd 11 hours ago   48 comments top 14
21 points by spolsky 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Here's our blog post announcing Careers 2.0:


14 points by johns 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I hear they addressed this in the Q&A after their presentation at LAUNCH, but I'd like to see them pull in more external services. StackOverflow is only one small part of my online identity. GitHub is much more representative and I'd like to include things like my Hacker News and Twitter stats as well.

I recently made a rough mockup of what I called 'Devume' to show the concept behind a living resume for developers: http://screencast.com/t/FRwVor0hnm If anyone wants devume.com and @devume to make it real, it's all yours.

7 points by adityakothadiya 9 hours ago 1 reply      
For a new user who visits this site for the first time, the "2.0" doesn't make any sense. Why add version number to your product name? It's fine to write about it in blog post announcement. But when I visit your site, I don't care which version it is. I know I'm using latest version that is live.
10 points by Glide 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Strange. It lists jobs near Alexandria, VA just fine on the front page. But when I click on the More Jobs it tries to find jobs in Egypt.
5 points by hopeless 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a shame there's still no decent PDF export option other than the less-than-ideal print-to-file route. I don't want to have to maintain yet another copy of my CV.
3 points by tomh- 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There are still bugs, I cannot change how many years of experience I have with languages. Currently stackoverflow thinks I have 10 (!) years of C# experience. That must mean I have designed the language...how can I change this?
7 points by phillytom 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Can anyone comment on whether or not they have found advertising on the SO jobs board to be a good source of candidates? I listed a position there in December for a systems engineer with EC2 experience and got no responses - I've had much better luck with Startuply for example.
2 points by dabent 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I did a test search and found a Erlang/Android job "by the beach." I don't job surf very often and I'm not currently looking for another day job, but this has to be one of the coolest job listings I've seen:


3 points by baltcode 11 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems the site is grinding to a halt with the traffic. I think it's a good idea. Just the other day I was thinking, what can you really do with reputation? I think this is going to push the peer-review process to new limits with more kinds of "attacks".
1 point by AndrewHampton 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems like a great fit for the stack exchange sites in general. They're building communities of experts in various fields and now you can hire someone who proven to be an expert in that field by going to careers.[stack exchange site].com.
3 points by mtrn 10 hours ago 0 replies      
In this case, going with the mainstream is nice: No more fees for job seekers.
2 points by nestlequ1k 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Site seems pretty busted at the moment. I'm sure they'll have it back up working again soon though.
1 point by ghurlman 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It lists my first employer under "most recently at" - somebody got their sort direction wrong.

Edit: Looks fixed. Quick work!

1 point by rhizome 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is excellent, I'm working on something identical for a different demo! There must be something in the internet-water.
Should You Sell Your Company? bhorowitz.com
36 points by paul 8 hours ago   2 comments top
1 point by rokhayakebe 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the most difficult part after selling your company is walking away with loads of money and still have some employees not have much.

I fundamentally believe that companies should be created to bring like minded people together and solve problems they find interesting. Along with that founders should make it a responsibility to create wealth for all employees. Imagine what it would mean, when you joined a company to be 100% sure it will pay off your mortgage in 5 years.

I would like my $0.37 refund, please. lucasmccoy.blogspot.com
5 points by lucasbmccoy 1 hour ago   16 comments top 10
11 points by cfinke 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> I'm sure to this lady her time is worth much more than $1.48 per hour

Sometimes, it's the principle. During my wife's last pregnancy, our insurance company would overcharge us by $20 for every single pre-natal checkup; we debated the merits of calling in (every time), sometimes spending up to an hour getting through the phone tree to the person who could correct the error, and we decided that even if we theoretically value our time at more than $20/hour, we'd rather not let our insurance company slowly squeeze money out of us that they weren't entitled to.

9 points by MikeMacMan 29 minutes ago 1 reply      
People make decisions based on principle, and the information they have at the time. The shopper probably didn't anticipate that it would take 15 minutes to correct her purchase. She probably didn't have a good feel for what the price difference would be. She knew she was paying more than she should, so she said something. I don't think I would act any differently.
1 point by nl 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
In related news, a man died unhappy and alone today. Before he died, and looking back, he remembered the time a girl had asked him to drive her home. After some extremely advanced math he had given her a cab fare and stayed at work

But fortunately he had fully optimized his earning potential.

2 points by democracy 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I worked in a theme park and we had a discount coupon so the customer could buy 2 meals with a 50% discount for the second meal.

Only in August, after 2.5 busy months one customer complained and spent maybe half a day arguing with the cashier, then with his manager, then with food supervisor, and finally with guest relations people. He got his 1(!!!) cent back. It was an error in the POS system that manages all the cash registers. However, he also saved many pennies for future guests, also hopefully the park reviewed the POS logic for other items and thus could have fixed similar errors and saved even more money for the customers.

So sometimes someone's wasted day is a benefit for many other people.

4 points by jellicle 59 minutes ago 1 reply      
Monetary value of time probably isn't even on the top ten list of "reasons why humans do things". This isn't news. Not everything - in fact, not anything - can be reduced to money.
9 points by alanfalcon 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Don't underestimate the limitations of the fixed income, or the spare time of the elderly. The year I worked at Rite Aid was not the best of my life.
1 point by zdw 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's actually a TV show on "Extreme Couponing" http://press.discovery.com/us/tlc/programs/extreme-couponing...

Coupons are wonderful advertising as they can attract customers that may not otherwise even entertain purchasing a product or service, but have a processing cost on both the buyer and seller's end.

The point isn't the money, the point is keeping that customer in the future.

1 point by orky56 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
I guess the opposite principle is the when people don't submit their rebates for big ticket items. On a per hour basis, they would be making a killing. By failing to do the rebate, that opportunity cost is painful.
1 point by tastybites 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
At least she didn't pay with a check!
1 point by joelrunyon 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one here thinking: Why did she buy 12 candy bars?
Judge rules Ex-Microsoft GM can't work in his new Salesforce job techflash.com
35 points by ssclafani 7 hours ago   24 comments top 4
6 points by tptacek 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Not for nothing, but the noncompete situation for a GM isn't the same as the situation for general staff. It's easy for me to get up-in-arms about the harm noncompetes cause developers and marketers and operations people. Less so for someone with P&L responsibility.
23 points by aidenn0 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Oh yeah, add the unenforcability of non-compete agreements in California as one more factor in the success of silicon valley.
6 points by millerc 6 hours ago 1 reply      
About time we see consequences for signing a non-compete agreements, if you ask me. Everyone I know signs these without giving it more consideration than running a yellow light, and expect to run away free the day after they leave.
3 points by iuygtfhnjmn 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I bet they aren't planning to sue the new boss of Nokia though !
WordPress names their 3.1 release: Reinhardt wordpress.org
156 points by yahelc 13 hours ago   98 comments top 29
143 points by photomatt 13 hours ago 5 replies      
Hey guys -- for the past 7 years we've named every release after a jazz musician, as you can see here:


Usually no one notices, and the codename isn't even in the tweets or announcement email, just a sentence that clearly links to the jazz musician's Wikipedia page. (It's not like Ubuntu codenames that are widely used.) We also put a fun plug for djangoproject.org to the end of the "future" section, which hopefully will also introduce some new people to their project. I haven't seen anyone tweeting the codename except to complain, so I don't think this is going to confuse anybody think we're rewriting in Python. (However much they may want that.)

That said, apologies for the unintended controversy. In hindsight, we probably should have used "Reinhardt" to have the same effect of honoring one of our favorite musicians without anyone getting confused with a fellow Open Source project.

Now to work on 3.2 Sinatra! (Kidding, Ruby folks.)

27 points by yan 13 hours ago 1 reply      

"The obvious answer is to rewrite WordPress with Django"


5 points by mmaunder 13 hours ago 1 reply      
In July this year the Django (as in framework) mark, assuming it's the one below, becomes incontestable, which strengthens it's case a lot if they sue Wordpress.

It's also generally a strong mark as it is what TM attorneys call "arbitrary" - like Apple computer.

If Django doesn't sue, they weaken their trademark. You have to enforce your rights to your trademark if someone infringes or a later infringer can use your lack of enforcement as an argument against you.

The reality is that Django probably won't sue and it doesn't matter because few people Google for Wordpress releases by release name.

From the USPTO:

Word Mark DJANGO
Standard Characters Claimed
Serial Number 78680396
Filing Date July 28, 2005
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition April 25, 2006
Registration Number 3117015
Registration Date July 18, 2006
Attorney of Record Michael B.Hurd, Warren N. Williams, Stephen D. Timmons, John M. Collins, Thomas H. Van Hoozer, Thomas B. Luebbering, Andrew G. Colombo, Scott R. Brown, Tracy L. Bornman, Tracey S. Truitt, Michael Elbein, Joan Optican Herman, David V. Ayres, Kameron D. Kelly, Gregory J. Skoch, Jennifer C. Bailey, Cheryl L. Burbach, Matthew P. Harlow, and Sam M. Korte
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

17 points by trickjarrett 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The code name is only ever used in these posts as far as I know, it's the version number which is most used for referencing the install type. It's not that big of a deal.
43 points by frankwiles 13 hours ago 1 reply      
They might want to check the footer of djangoproject.com ahem. "Django is a registered trademark of the Django Software Foundation.", pretty sure this infringes.
31 points by yafujifide 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Android names their 3.1 release: Windows.
8 points by imgabe 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't this just asking for a trademark lawsuit from the Django software foundation?
7 points by cabalamat 13 hours ago 1 reply      

I'm currently working on a blogging/messaging website. Maybe I should call it Wordpress? :-)

30 points by sebastianavina 13 hours ago 0 replies      
damn, they really want to contaminate google search results...
7 points by code_duck 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What's with the edited title on HN? Now most of this doesn't make any sense.
9 points by ecaroth 13 hours ago 0 replies      
They weren't unaware of the Django project, as their link for 'on using PHP' actually points to django's homepage. Friggin weird.
2 points by rdtsc 13 hours ago 2 replies      
If they were in a completely different area, for example if they were selling baskets, Django would have been perfectly acceptable.

But calling a blogging platform Django is just stupid. It might also be unethical as some pointed out Django is a registered trademark.

I can see this happening:

- "So how do I get started with WordPress?"

- "You have to download the latest Django release"

- "Oh, ok"

(downloads latest from djangoproject.com ...)

9 points by mwg66 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Rather poor judgement.
4 points by joelhaasnoot 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Didn't even know they had codenames for wordpress, but this one sounds surprisingly similar to something python-y people claim to be great (can't judge it myself
3 points by tomlin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This has influenced me to name my releases after Ninja Turtle characters. Hoping for a ROCKSTEADY RC opportunity.
3 points by EGreg 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe it now says "Reinhardt" on their page, and not "Django". So you can rest easy. Sure, there might be a guy named Django Reinhardt, but surely of someone called their project "George" and another person called their project "Washington", it would be ok right?
3 points by beaumartinez 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Off-topic: Poor title rename; it should include that it was renamed "Reinhardt" from "Django" so as for the discussion to make sense.
5 points by nir 13 hours ago 0 replies      
So what? What makes this a #1 story in HN?
3 points by alloallo 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Okay, so everyone thinks that WordPress shouldn't use the name of a well-known jazz musician, but they're perfectly fine with the fact that the Django Software Foundation has trademarked Django, a common Romani word/name?

WordPress certainly doesn't own the name Django, but the Django Software Foundation shouldn't have any particular right to it either if things were fair.

(Oh, btw., I'm a happy Django user - but I'd still be pretty upset if someone decided to trademark my name).

4 points by eddanger 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The guys behind the Reinhardt framework are going to be mad! http://www.sitepen.com/blog/2008/10/09/reinhardt-a-client-si...
1 point by masklinn 10 hours ago 0 replies      
OK this page makes no sense whatsoever, how much edition has been going on in this thing?

Let me see if I understand what happens from the apparently still available press releases and puff pieces on the web: WordPress 3.1 was actually released using the codename "django"?

5 points by forgotAgain 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it April 1st already?
2 points by kongqiu 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow. I'm going to start using this approach with my own app...

ParkGrades 1.0 codename "Hotpot"

ParkGrades 1.3 codename "Yelp"

ParkGrades 1.5 codename "Reddit"

ParkGrades 2.0 codename "Apple"

8 points by fluorescentLAMP 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I would have loved to sit in on this meeting ...
8 points by silent1mezzo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Will Wordpress 3.2 be named Rails?
0 points by rhizome 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Is this evidence that WP is feeling the heat from frameworks?

I can imagine that after years of using WP there would be a significant portion who are looking for something more full-featured or performant or whatever, there are myriad reasons for changing platforms. That reasonably intelligent (or moneyed) people can so easily learn or hire to write a completely custom site seems uncontroversial. The enterprising RoR or Dj coder would do well to sniff around WP site owners.

In other news, WP has a new version coming out, which I imagine was the real point of WP starting this controversy. Cheap publicity, blog mentions, yadda yadda. Learn from history: upgrade early and often!

2 points by iamdave 13 hours ago 0 replies      
At first I was like "Heh.."

But then I looked at my calendar and realized it wasn't April.

1 point by hackermom 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I smell trademark infringement. I really do wonder if this wasn't a "prodding" on purpose after all.
2 points by pfarrell 13 hours ago 0 replies      
WordPress 3.2 release: "Microsoft" just announced
What's it like getting your DNA results back from 23andMe philosophistry.com
72 points by philipkd 12 hours ago   45 comments top 15
16 points by bkrausz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, my 23andMe results told me I was a Tay-Sachs carrier, and my parents already knew they both weren't, which brought up some interesting questions on both my past and future. Fortunately I'm more likely to assume tests are wrong than my parent's cheated, but it was the future thing I was more concerned with.

I later found out I was part of the 23andMe data mixup[1], so the results I had for a week actually weren't mine. Kind of killed my faith in the system, and when I got my actual results they were quite boring. At the very least it makes a good story, worth the $99 in my book.

[1] http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/06/Sample-swaps-at-23...

9 points by ghshephard 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I managed to get one of those $100 23andMe deals, so I bought Christmas presents for my mother, brother, sister in law, niece and nephew (Actually, I bought them wayyyy in advance on DNA Day - couldn't resist a great deal). About 7 weeks later, everybody's profile came online, and the relative finder instantly identified all of us and our probable relationship to each other (it was correct, in all cases). It's interesting that I share more genetic similarity with my brother, than I do with my mother, even excluding the Y chromosome. It took a bit of thinking before my brother came up with the example of identical twins, who would share almost 100% DNA.

As far as cousins - I have about 100 relatives discovered through the relative finder - lots, and lots, and lots of 5th and 4th cousins, and a few 3rd cousins. No second or first cousins yet.

I originally purchased my kit about 4 or 5 years ago for $1000, so the $99 cost is a huge jump in such a short period of time. It's important to note that 23andMe doesn't do a full DNA Scan, but just samples it in important locations known as SNPs. Watching the trends on singularityhub.com, I'm guessing that a full DNA scan will be available to the individual consumer for $1000 in about five or six years.

6 points by endtime 11 hours ago 4 replies      
I've done 23andMe as well. If anyone's curious I'm happy to answer questions. Without prompting, I don't have much to add other than that the relative finder doesn't seem to work quite as well as I'd hoped. I do have one distant cousin on 23andMe, and it did find her, but assigned higher confidence/probability/whatever to a few tens of people who mostly seem not to be cousins. This might not be their fault - I imagine a very small fraction of the population is even on 23andMe - but I still haven't found any long-lost cousins yet.

Edit: On reflection, this is probably because I'm an Ashkenazi Jew, and we have a relatively small gene pool and relatively cyclic ancestor graphs (at least when considered undirected). If your ethnic background is broader/less insular then the relative finder will probably work better for you.

3 points by JacobAldridge 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Combining two recent HN discussions here - this one, and one yesterday on the difficulty in getting insurance in the US (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2247560)

What are the consequences (immediate, or further down the track), not so much of using a service like 23andMe (I imagine it will be a fairly standard part of medical testing in X generations) but of posting on your blog that you're (to paraphrase) 1.90x as likely to contract Parkinson's?

2 points by tibbon 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm glad I did it, and the results didn't freak me out/scare me or lead to any massive revelations. For the $100 I paid, it was worth it. For the $500 that they normally charge, I felt it was too much.

The stuff about family origin/history was pretty boring for me and just confirmed that I'm as white/boring as they come. Both lines from Europe? You don't say... But for someone who doesn't know that they are 100% European, it could be interesting to see what else is in your background.

4 points by ihodes 10 hours ago 0 replies      
EDIT for history: [The original comment was by edw##, regarding the strength of his ancestor's sperm. It wasn't a bad post, I just felt it was inaccurate/confusing.]

Though poetic, that's not at all how you should look at it.

Those sperm carry the same DNA. That DNA is the pattern your proteins are crafted with. That pattern (in conjunction with the environment you live in) is what determines how "sturdy" you are. You are not that sperm.

Think of your DNA as the bash program, and the ENV variables as a sort of control flow (like in many programs). The end result of the computation is you.

The "strength" of your father's (and forefathers') sperm is important, sure, but from an evolutionary perspective. Those 100,000,000 sperm were, for all intents and purposes, the same.

23andme isn't about telling you what you already knowâ€"though that's certainly an interesting confirmationâ€"it's about telling you what you don't know. Or at least giving you an idea about it, and the raw data that largely determines how you turned out (given your env vars).

2 points by kenjackson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Has 23andMe done any targeted work w/ adoption sites and such? I know from talking to adopted friends, they often don't have info on family medical history. This would be really useful for them.
2 points by larrik 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is posted on the very same day I heard from 23andMe received my and my wife's samples. Spooky.

(I actually bought the kits on DNA day last year, and just haven't gotten around to sending them in until now, so this really is weird for me)

1 point by RK 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't get mine done, but both of my parents had theirs done. My dad's was pretty much as expected, as far as ancestry (my grandmother is an avid genealogist). On my mom's side there is a lost of uncertainty about our ancestry. Of course, because you only see the mitochondrial DNA result for a female, its not as informative for someone who is probably a mix (like my mom). I think an admixture test will be the one that's really useful.

My dad downloaded his raw data and is enlisting me to use some of the 3rd party tools out there to do some other comparisons, but I haven't really dug into it yet. Home bioinformatics...

1 point by jeffthebear 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I got on the deal for $100 on DNA day and found that most of the results I got back were interesting and cool to show my friends but it didn't change my life/habits in anyway. Most of the 23andMe's data is currently targeted for people of European descent and there isn't a whole lot of data on people of African and Asian descent in their database but even many of the European traits have varying confidence markers based on genetic data we have available today. I am hoping that much more data will be coming in the future but at the moment I wouldn't accept the results as gospel.
1 point by cowmixtoo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to get more use out of the raw data 23andMe produces from your DNA sequencing I encourage everyone to check out this free / GPL'd Firefox plugin my company created.


1 point by Jun8 8 hours ago 1 reply      
My big question is: does 23andMe get to keep the DNA data, what does the User Agreement say?
2 points by jcookster 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like one of their competitors (pathway) has posted about an open position for a developer http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2255109
0 points by axod 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Never understood why people pay money for this. It seems crazy to me.
1 point by GvS 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Interesting service. Anyone know something similar in Europe?
Discussions on the future of R r-bloggers.com
4 points by fogus 1 hour ago   discuss
Solving The Hacker News Problem al3x.net
376 points by tianyicui 1 day ago   265 comments top 68
86 points by edw519 1 day ago 4 replies      

                 Quality of HN Comments Over Time
| . .
| . .
q| . . . .
u| . . . . . .
a| . . . . .
l| . . . . .
i| . . . . .
t| . . . you are here -->. .
y| (that's all)
'09 '10 '11

(It must be that time of year again...)



102 points by pg 1 day ago replies      
I think if we could see random frontpages from days a few years ago, we'd find that the top stories weren't that different, and that there was the same "jack of all trades, master of none" aspect to the site that Alex complains about. It may be that a site whose design spec is to satisfy hackers' intellectual curiosity would necessarily feel that way.

Maybe I'll write something to regenerate past front pages, so we can check if things are different now. That should be possible, because news.arc has always logged vote times.

61 points by jacques_chester 1 day ago replies      
Ah yes, the cycle of website life.

* Hot new community forms at Site X.

* Site X residents refer to themselves as the New Wave of whatever. Much better than older Site W because of features/members/dynamic/demographics 1, 2 and 3!

* Site X's reputation spreads to former hot new sites T, U, V and W. Site X begins to attract more and more new users.

* Site X denizens begin linking articles at T, U, V, W and vice versa.

* Site X begins to exhaust natural topics of conversation. Denizens of more than 3 months standing become sick of 100th
"What does Site X think about AlphaGamma?" post and begin to slap down newbies.

* Someone reminisces out loud about the Golden Days of Site X.

* Discussions on Site X become more and more about Site X. Extremely intelligent individuals begin to earnestly argue that their proposed feature will save Site X from itself.

* Someone proposes or launches Site Y. A how new community begins to form there ...

I've been watching this same story play itself out since Slashdot circa 1998.

57 points by tptacek 1 day ago replies      
For what it's worth: I feel safe saying that most high-karma users of HN have a variety of severe concerns with it. My experience asking this question over email has generally been one of getting gigantic essay-length responses.

In my official capacity as "representative of people dorky enough to have karma this high", we do officially declare: stuff's broken. Needs unbreaking.

15 points by johnrob 1 day ago 2 replies      
Another reason HN may be boring: we've beaten a lot of the common topics to death. It only takes a handful of articles about "how to pitch a VC" to soak up most of the relevant advice on the subject. While posts often present a unique combination of previously mentioned ideas, it's becoming increasingly rare to actually find something new if you are a regular here.
6 points by icey 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would very much like to have http://startups.ycombinator.com/startups/ and have a more narrow focus on startup related news and entrepreneurship.

The constant stream of front-paged political arguments and noticeable increase in mean-spirited commentary in the threads has caused me to spend most of my time on HN logged out. It used to be that I'd read the comments before I'd even read the story to see if the story was worth reading. I wonder if it's possible that pg doesn't notice the degradation in comment quality as much because the trolls have been here baiting him since the very early days.

I don't think HN is irrevocably broken; I'm glad that pg is helming the ship and I think he's doing an admirable job of it so far (I think the ranking algorithm in use for the front-page stories is one of the best anywhere). But HN used to be great, and now it's merely good.

I think that a lot of people who have been here for a long time have thought about what's changed here, and how it could be fixed. I know I've littered more than a few mailboxes with lengthy emails about what I think is wrong, and what I think the solution is. Reading this thread kind of tells the story - a point has come where the community is large enough to have factions that value different things. "Anything that good hackers might find interesting" works when you have a small group of people engaged in conversation. It's less useful when you have mobs of people who have come with different ideas of what they want to get out of this site.

In the early days, HN felt like it was a problem solving tool; a way to find out what cool things people were working on, and occasionally to ask for advice. The community was humble, competent, and full of people who actually made things. Those people are still here, but there's a self-aggrandizing element here as well. The group of people who seem to think that someone else's success somehow reflects poorly on themselves, the bloviators and blowhards who believe that a volume of arguments somehow makes up for the measurable factuality of arguments. I don't really know what the solution is to this. I thought if there was a way to ignore people it might make a difference, but after some experimentation I think that that's a dead end - there is too much chance of missing something truly interesting from doing that.

All this being said, HN has had an immeasurable positive impact on my life - The people that I've met through HN (both in person and virtually) are some of the smartest, most amazing people I've known. I'll get to use the things I've learned from HN (and more importantly from the people in it) for the rest of my life. I can't think of another site on the net that has come even close to making such a huge impact.

I can't imagine missing out on all of this if HN had been invite-only when it launched. I didn't know anyone when I first came here. I didn't even know who Paul Graham was.

Instead of complaining about it, I think those of us that have been here for awhile owe it to pg to actively try to improve the community. It's become too large for him to handle on his own. Yes, there are moderators, but they're an invisible hand that only act as a corrective force.

We're a creative lot. I'm sure we can figure out some way to improve this community from the inside.

14 points by sachinag 1 day ago 2 replies      
As a longtime MeFite and a longtime member of this community, I believe that most of the issues could be dealt with by having obvious and active moderation.

As MetaFilter, not only do we know who the mods are, we know which mods are on call at what times. (And there's 24/7 coverage.) HN relies very heavily on a flagging system, but it's just not as responsive to stuff that is broken as is a human who's responsible for what's on the front page and what's in the comments. Having a handful of humans who are responsible for curating the front page (and possibly also pinning really good stories from new onto the front page) would solve most of these problems. Is this less democratic? Sure it is. Would the unfairness be worth it? In my opinion, yes.

This problem just isn't solvable with code; it takes benevolent dictators.

12 points by redthrowaway 1 day ago 1 reply      
All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. HN is succumbing to the problem pg tried to address: dilution. Thing is, reddit already came out with an excellent solution with their subreddit system. This simply wouldn't be an issue if there were different sections for tech, hacking, programming, startups, science, finance, and general interest. Keep all of the deeply technical stuff in one place, the cruft in another. Let's face it, the people who are complaining about lack fo deep tech are also likely to read and enjoy one of Spolsky's blog posts. There's no need to ban the latter to protect the former, just keep them in separate sections.

Now, HN isn't trying to grow, so there's no need to have user-created subreddits (sections, I suppose). Just make 8 or so that people care about, and add another if there's sufficient demand.

I really shouldn't be crediting reddit with this, as the solution existed long before them. All HN needs to do is follow the forum model and have different sections. It's too big to only have the front page.

5 points by mkramlich 1 day ago 2 replies      
My suggestions for tweaks to improve the site:

1. hard ban on purely political news ("Egyptian leader stepped down! OMG!")

2. hard ban on gender-specific things ("i'm female, went to bar during hacker conference, got groped, OMG!" -- yes it was hacker conference, but gosh subtract the 'during hacker conference' and you have real life, it's independent of tech, not specific to it or due to it, just a life thing with guys and gals)

3. particularly if hard bans (enforced by a set of trusted admins) on the above topics are not added, then allow submitters and admins to add/edit content tags for each post; then allow logged-in users to submit content filters so that when they see, eg., the front page, it can suppress all posts with certain tags (eg., pure-politics, gender, sports, religion, etc.)

4. optional for-small-periodic-fee premium accounts, which allow those users to exercise extra features like smarter content tagging/filtering, sorting, user following, user submission/comment filtering (so you can blacklist blowhards and pedants from what you see, even if they are not banned from the site overall)... I'd personally love to blacklist anybody that ever does a comment reply to me that is (a) rude, or (b) idiotic, or (c) overly pedantic (some is fine, we're nerds, goes with territory, and some precision is valuable, sometimes). Blacklists could be flat files, one user per line. We could share them among each other privately. I've bookmarked a few "ahole-or-idiot" users but I'd love it if I could have them automatically stripped from anything I see on HN in the future. Actually, I'd love to have this feature on all social/forum/news sites I visit.

5. fix the "type comment, hit submit, get error page saying something doesn't exist, so you have to go back, copy your text, hit Refresh, paste the text back in, hit Submit again" bug/feature. that drives me nuts. feels like impl side-effect rather than intentional UX

6. don't have the up/down arrows so close together when viewed on iPhone

7. don't allow just anyone to downvote any comment. or at least, they can't downvote it beyond 1 point, below which is penalty land. right now, any dumbass can downvote a comment of mine from 1 to 0, which then reduces my overall lifelong site karma by 1. Just because they disagreed with me. Or they're an asshole. Or they accidentally hit the downvote button (see 6). Instead, have a minimum karma requirement to issue downvotes, and/or only admins.

HN is great, despite it's imperfections. But I'd gladly pay up for premium features. HN Gold? HNGold.com (YC-W11)?

EDIT: added a few items

11 points by malandrew 1 day ago 2 replies      
Forking of sites has the same problems as forking open-source projects. It exacerbates conflict, forces people to choose sides, and ultimately both forks typically end up poorer because of members lost.

Instead, the best solution is to evolve Hacker News as a product.

My personal opinion is that we should put Hacker news in the hands of the YCombinator alumni. Founders and first employees (CEO, CTO, lead designer, first engineer hire and first design hire) of YC startups would probably make the best moderators and admins.

In fact, I would say that it's probably time that PG spin off YC as a full-time startup, assigning control of the design and codebase to one talented UI designer, one talented developer and one talented product manager.

For the site to keep growing in a way that maintains quality, it needs more functionality that it has. The two features that lack the most are filtering and combinatorial game mechanics.

Filtering is necessary so it is easy for the the hardcore tech articles to be easily found by high-karma members, so they can vote those articles up. If it's not findable, it's not voteable. Filtering is also necessary for people to extract the most value out of hacker news. Most users don't want 100 front-page articles everyday. They probably want 10-20 of the highest value articles. Less is more.

Combinatorial game mechanics like those on StackOverflow would help as well. Upvoting/downvoting is limited in that it will always fall victim to the masses. Giving special voting/tagging/burying rights to distinguished members (very high-karma users and YC founders and employees) would go a long way to helping eliminate the crap.

I think I speak for most members here, when I say that I don't want Hacker News to be a democracy. I want it to be a technocracy. I want the smart and accomplished people to control what is good and should be visible to all. I've got only 260 karma points, and personally I don't think that should be enough karma points to allow me to upvote a submission. 500+ karma points should be the threshold to be able to vote an article to the frontpage.

5 points by davidhollander 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Simplest solution

Limit the number of links submitted per account per day to 1.


Prevents spammers and karmafarmers from submitting the entire TechCrunch\Wired back-catalog at a rate of 25+ a day.

Further Analysis

Increasing the scarcity of a resource (link submission ability) will increase the value of items it is traded for (links).

HN already gets the independent code submissions people want. They just die an early death on the new page due to overcrowding by webzines\newspapers with builtin linkbait titles. This reduces the rate of dropoff for independent news.

10 points by dschobel 1 day ago 6 replies      
How to solve the signal/noise problem? Amplify the signal.

Call it undemocratic, but insight and perspicacity is not uniformly distributed so it's absurd that pg/$whoever_you_respect's upvote on an article counts as much as anyone else.

As a simple experiment, it would be interesting to see a view of the frontpage based only on the upvotes of people who are above a certain avg-comment karma threshold (since the site is predicated on karma as a quality indicator) and the idea that people who write insightful comments won't upvote crap stories.

4 points by pclark 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Come now, I can't be the only one that finds the Hacker News quality "good to great"?

If Hacker News is about hackers in a startup sense, it's good that the front page has everything from: Movies being in decline - Ruby concurrency explained - A torrent meta search engine - Windows 7 SP1 launch - iPad2 being unveiled.

There are far more elements to hacking than programming, just as there are far more elements to startups than programming. And I dig that Hacker News is so varied.

I think there is a vocal minority of people that get irritated by bicycle shed debates (+1 from me to allow collapsing comment threads on my machine) or people wanting to only read about programming or hacking - the latter of which is laughable because I am pretty sure you'd be sick of Hacker News if it was 100% a specific topic (I have some scars in the field of sorting content users will enjoy...)

Guess what: there are millions of non technical silent people on the internet, and a huge amount of those people visit Hacker News every day - and love this destination. The amount of random non computer scientists I meet in Cambridge that love Hacker News is staggering.

9 points by Mz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm probably one of those darned newbies who isn't a real hacker and is screwing the place up. (Sorry.) So I wasn't around in 2008 (or whenever the Glory Days were). I don't feel like this article or other discussions about the issue have really given me a good idea of what HN supposedly once was that it isn't anymore. I wish I could get such info. I think that kind of information would hold out some hope of figuring out a real solution -- a means to raise the bar or deepen the discussion or whatever it is that people are wanting.

I know there are other large forums on the internet but this is the largest one I have personally participated in. I think such large forums are breaking new ground, socially, in ways that do not compare to sites like Facebook. Where else can I actually speak with my 80K closest friends? If I am in a room of 500 at work (and not on the stage, because I am not one of the big wigs), only a handful of people around me can hear anything I say. We all can listen to the presentation, but we cannot converse. Here, any and all of us can converse. It is unlike anything you can do "IRL". I suspect that is part of the issue: No one really has a model for how you manage that kind of social interaction. And the models we do have break in that setting.

Just thinking out loud.

5 points by doron 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gated communities are effective means of preserving the identity of communities, they all employ some bar of entry whether racial, religious, ageist, or economical.There are many social maladies that are also unique to the gated community, the insularity often breeds all sorts of creepiness. Preservation all to often morphs to Stagnation.

Artists are often the shock troops of a neighborhood gentrification, after the studio loft, comes the artisan coffee, some renegade youths, a young lawyer or two, and before you know it, the neighborhood just ain't what it used to be.

I would Posit that a website calling itself "Hacker News" immediately opened itself to all kinds of interpretations. The term "Hacker" seems to be as hotly debated as "Artist" and justifiably so.

The Hackers, introduced others who identify with the Label, and still others who probably do not, but nevertheless find it of value to their venture.

When the neighborhood changes, you are free, within your means, to move to another place. Sometimes you yourself change and require a change of scenery.

When a startup grows to a full company, many times you lose something while gaining another, and vice versa. Many in this forum have made those choices on their own, so it should be familiar ground.

It is almost heretical to mention it here, but perhaps there is no algorithmic solution (if there is a problem) to the complexity of human relation, expression, and motivation.

More people, more heat, Entropy.

5 points by petercooper 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's definitely not what Alex is semi-proposing but I've been running RubyFlow - http://rubyflow.com/ - for a few years now and it totally stole the MetaFilter model, just for Ruby-only stuff. No "votes" and points scoring - just interesting posts from people in the Ruby community coupled with me editing posts for format and deleting anything that's blatantly spam or offtopic. Seems to work though I have been tempted to go in the voting/Reddit/HN direction with it.. maybe I shouldn't!
17 points by jmm57 1 day ago 2 replies      
As a low-karma, long-time lurker, I'm not sure I've ever really seen the kind of submissions he is looking for. Can someone provide examples of submitted content that would meet his criteria of deeply technical discussion worthy news?
2 points by krschultz 1 day ago 0 replies      
In theory, centrally planned things make a lot of sense.

In practice, democracy usually comes to a better solution, even if it is not perfect.

HN is driven by votes, the community is getting what the majority wants right now. The only way to really improve HN is to change or limit the community. You can tweak the rules only to limit certain actions to high-kharma users, but if there is pent up demand for some kind of story it will make its way to the front page.

1 point by protomyth 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Almost all sites that have comments and user moderation concentrate on the comments and up voting / down voting them. Normally, when dealing with people, I don't remember the individual quote that made me think they were brilliant / a troll, I wrap that up into my sense of them. If I'm flipping channels and see someone who has struck me as a brilliant commentator, I stop based on the visual cue of their face. Names are kind of hard (is this the guy who called me a $%$% or was he the one who really knows python?).

I guess I wonder if the same thing keeps happening on
"comment moderation" sites, isn't it time to look at the ways your view could be based on your (not the group's) opinion of your fellow commentors? I don't have a technical suggestion, but I will probably think a lot on it.

3 points by doorhammer 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the crowd has cycled so much, I wonder if maybe this isn't the best solution for the desired outcome.

Granted, I haven't been visiting tech-specific boards for more than a few years, but I'd generally agree that the more technical articles are what I'm interested in.

I think I'd be interested in a board that was geared toward programmers/hackers, but didn't use a typical karma/point system. I'd like to see one that perhaps utilized karma, but under a collaborative filtering system. So, in a simple for-instance, if a small subgroup of people tend to upvote articles that I do, those articles would be given more weight, and similarly those who downvote articles I upvote would be, from my perspective, given less downvote weight, while at the same time there might be a different subgroup that was weighted to value their downvote more. Perhaps give people the ability to tweak the tolerances of their collaboration. Give them the ability to say "if this guy has X karma and ignores someone's articles and votes, then I want to ignore them too"

Of course, this might be
1. a completely naive idea,
2. an idea that's already been tried and failed
3. an idea that's already being used
4. something to time-consuming for people with real work to do or
5. an idea that's unworkable and that I'm only having because I just started reading books on, and experimenting with, machine-learning ;)

Though even if it existed, I probably wouldn't use it. I already waste half my day reading the few articles that interest me on hacker-news, heh

it sucks that when you design any system or any set of rules, and humans are going to interact with it, you have to think "how are these shady bastards going to subvert my beautiful creation?"

3 points by peterbraden 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think that if you stay at any online community long enough, you begin to perceive a drop in quality - even if that drop does not exist.

IMHO opinion, there is plenty of signal in the stream. What has happened is that the interests of the community have diverged. I'd be far more interested in ways to focus on things that I was interested in, within the stream, than narrowing the flow of information.

On my wishlist is a way to pipe the HN stream through a Bayesian filter based on articles I've enjoyed, and make an RSS feed of articles I'd be interested in.

4 points by teyc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where is the data that shows HN has degraded? We aren't seeing kitten pictures. A scan of the front page shows the mix of articles being programming, startups, tech.

I'm not sure what Alex wants? More discussion around PG's hackers and painters?

3 points by rubashov 1 day ago 0 replies      
The basic complaint is that social sites grow into mobs. The solution is rather obviously: halt growth. You have to limit the number of active users to some vaguely Dunbar-ish number or you inevitably wind up with a lowest common denominator mob.

Metafilter did this, right? For a couple years they said "No new accounts."

I think scaling a social site to a very large number of members without deteriorating badly is impossible. It's a matter of human nature and mobs.

2 points by RiderOfGiraffes 13 hours ago 0 replies      
In response to some of the points being raised in the thread, and to provide some sorely needed data, here are some snapshots of the HN "newest" page taken since Feb 2009:


3 points by vidar 1 day ago 2 replies      
Perhaps pg is too busy these days to really tend to HN? God knows I would be if I were carrying his load.
3 points by jefe78 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've come to realize in my short time here, that dissenting opinions are dangerous. I've learned to respect the karma gods and pander or, post my opinion and delete it before taking too hard a karma hit.

Its sad to see that an informed, but non-conforming opinion is taken as fact and karma-nuked.

3 points by doron 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Illustrated Guide to Flame Warriors is a handy reference: http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/index.htm
2 points by danenania 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm fairly new, but I think HN is great. The level of discussion is way, way higher than other similar communities I've seen, and I think the general focus on tech issues with splashes of other topics is perfect. Seems like a successful self-regulating community if I've ever seen one. People just like to complain.
2 points by Pooter 1 day ago 0 replies      
The solution, ultimately, is for the site to wither and die, and be replaced by something else that will have the same fate. This is what happens to all things, and to all human social groupings in particular, from ancient Rome on down to your nuclear family.

If you're tired of it, start something else. Or hang out and jump ship when the next great thing comes along. Trying to preserve the golden age is rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship.

1 point by mcav 1 day ago 1 reply      
HN would be better if it were invite-only like Dribbble. I'm not a member of Dribbble, but it's a good example of why restricting community growth is beneficial.

We're too late for that here. I don't think PG has enough bandwidth or interest to truly solve the problem. New users will continue to join, adding noise to the signal, unless HN changes course. It's going to become more generic and more biased the longer the site stays open.

I hesitate to suggest more moderation as some posters suggest. I'm already uncomfortable with the murmurs of unfair moderation in the system here.

1 point by jcsalterego 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems there's always been reluctance to add features, for the sake of simplicity. Personal messages, for example, would have been useful in many, many instances, but instead we find ourselves checking out the plain-text profile and finding alternate methods of communication.

This limitation has also sprouted ancillary sites attached to the HN Tree of Life, such as searchyc.com, hackermonthly.com, and hnrecap.com as mentioned in the post.

In a similar vein, carving out a sub-HN seems to be: a) downloading the source code, b) bringing it online at another domain and c) announcing via "Tell HN".

All in all, unless someone with >10^5 karma decides to take the time and add some community features to HN (for various values of "community" and "features"), we're all going to continue and see more noise and many different signals.

As an aside, I wholeheartedly appreciate the name, "Bloomfilter."

1 point by cmars232 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There is no hacker news problem if you realize that all sites up to this point in internet history are either heavily curated for quality and limited in scope or self-moderated with a one-dimensional, imperfect karma game, and thus chaotic and ephemeral.

Such is the nature of suchness until someone figures out a better game that more properly engages human nature.

Crying over the demise of HN is like crying over a naive hill-climbing algorithm when it gets stuck.

2 points by hammock 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everyone here has seen this same lifecycle play out at just about every online community there ever was. Doesn't matter whether it was open or closed. It's a fact of life.

The solutions offered are top-down culture modification and just plain don't work. Adapt, and wait for the next HN to come along. You can't stop the train.

1 point by bootload 1 day ago 0 replies      
"... I think HN does a crappy job with general tech news and a so-so job with content that's specifically relevant to startup founders and employees. These days, HN does a downright terrible job with deeply technical topics; that's the area I hear the most complaining about on Twitter and in private. Since deep tech is HN's weakest point, let's go after it. ..."

The weakness of the argument is that the engineer/developer/programmer view is a subset of the interests hackers, founders and entrepreneurs. I draw a clear distinction between tech guns for hire who only want depth as opposed to those who want to solve technical problems and maybe innovate which requires both depth & breadth.

1 point by zaidf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Or may be after a while our perception about something changes disproportionate to the actual change?

That's basically boredom--and it can happen even if you consume something good for a long time. That "good thing" doesn't change so much as your perception of it.

1 point by T_S_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Put some teeth into karma. Make more karma mean bigger upvotes and downvotes, say 1 extra point for every 500 points of karma. It doesn't have to be linked to when a person joined. It's elitist like a journal or university, but at least anyone can read HN, and good posters will rise. Problem solved?

EDIT: Oh yeah. 1 week comment lockout for negative karma, with a grace period for newbies to learn how to comment.

1 point by cfontes 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Every single community driven website on earth have being thru this kind of cycle the only way to stop this is to start a new one that will end getting into this cycle again. It's a matter of the amount of people using it, on the beginning only very early adopters and people passionated about that specific topic (here tech startups)are in, as years go by more people that have more interests start to join and post things they think is good, and then the topic changes to a more general subject.

I like this community and I think the quality will always fluctuate but the most of it will always be very good content for people in a hurry.

Thanks for all of you who help this place being nice.

1 point by georgieporgie 1 day ago 0 replies      
If sites want to claim some sort of community and continuity, they're going to have to place newbies into virtual reeducation camps. Want to see the newest links? You have to read through 10 comments from an '07 post first. Posted a link to an internet meme? Back to the virtual reeducation camp with you.
1 point by jpwagner 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, obviously posts/discussions like this can actually be contributing to the "problem" as some see it, but I'll make one point I don't see made here.

For me personally, I've learned a lot and grown a lot over the course of the 4 years I've been lurking and occasionally contributing here. So for me, a smaller percentage of the stories/articles/posts/discussions appear as insightful as they once did. I don't mean to knock HN in any way, in fact my point is that that fact is not a "problem" to me. New users are joining everyday and everybody who makes the effort to learn and contribute gets something out of HN.

It's what brings me back 17 times a day.

1 point by nbashaw 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It's important to separate concerns, and I think there are three main things people are complaining about:

1) quality of submissions
2) quality of comments
3) quality of community

It's the second and third that I think have declined. It's not because the people are any less smart, it's that there are just too many of them. It becomes difficult to keep a mental model of everyone in your head, so you start seeing everything as disembodied text, rather than human beings speaking to one another, with a history of shared experiences.

IMO, this is a solvable problem. You can use avatars and display our locations next to our comments, or even just make our names a little bigger. Anything to humanize the conversations.

1 point by nhangen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just want to speak up as a relative newcomer that feels I've learned enough about this place to speak my mind without being afraid of retribution and can do so with a basic understanding of what works/doesn't work here.

I really like it here, and it's my 1st stop after Gmail every day, and often more than once per day. Nothing is perfect, but as far as I'm concerned, this is as good as it gets.

1 point by kedi_xed 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's simple really. Digg was good, then it got popular, Reddit was good, then it got popular. I've increasingly visited HN more than Reddit to get my old Reddit fix, as I assume others have, and so popularity has increased and now the quality is degrading as people want their karma fix or 2 cents.

There should be a brainstorm on this. I'm starting to realise I want comment submissions from well known or quality submitters. Not just your average kid or someone who is trying to troll.

The other issue is one-off opinion pieces on some guys blog. HN feels like every programmers chance at 15 mins of fame. Why Ruby On Rails is X times better than this (adudecodingblog.com), My way of speeding up Python (pythonlover.com), etc. having someone like pg, of Joel, or big wigs viewing items or articles like these, offering actual real world advice, and providing comments.

Maybe a subscription based hackernews, where the kudos goes to the legends of the industry, interns are made, and I get my intelli-fix and boredom disguiser because I'm stuck in a cube-farm polishing PL/SQL wondering how the hell I got here and when can I play that stupid COD:Black Ops with its really crappy hit detection. Why do I keep playing it?! Why haven't I asked for a bigger paycheck? Why am I not contracting? How is it that the kid I use to teach programmer is now earning more than me? Oh well, keep surfing...

1 point by howlingmime 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This has probably been said before (and/or above), but perhaps each article should be tagged and users should subscribe to only those tags of interest to them. In addition, a social component to HN would be useful -- for instance, allow me to recommend a story for someone or for stories of interest to my friends to be ranked above the norm. Our friends make great filters!
2 points by mickeyben 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very well written article. I think he has some good points. I'd really like to see a 'deeply technical' alternative to HN and hope he'll find the good guys !
1 point by ck2 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Remove points from users (keep on submissions/replies for positioning).

Problem solved by changing motivations/behaviors.

1 point by wyuenho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why can't HN force categories on every posts? Have the community create and curate the categories, and select their own categories on HN to read. Just a blanket vote up/down button hardly measures how valuable anything is for any particular group if that group is not constant.
2 points by reedlaw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could this phenomenon be in any way attributable to nostalgia? Personally, I find any online community loses attractiveness after a certain period of time.
1 point by adrianwaj 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with Alex, I think the success of HN has led to an overflow of people dissatisfied with HN who have made HN a success in the first place (and some with YC itself.) I posted two ideas that could be of interest to such people here:


1 point by d0m 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe experienced HN (read as a mix of high karma + there since the beginning), could have a bigger impact on which articles are chosen. I honestly don't mind a "dictatorship" selection where chosen members could remove useless post / select useful one.
1 point by JoshCole 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing worth noting is that reversion to the mean doesn't have to be a bad thing. For example todays mean level of education compared to the mean level of education a few hundred years ago is very different. A good question to ask might be, would submitting this increase the mean level of discourse on Hacker News? It is the same sort of thing as what is in the guidelines, but reworded for greater relevance.
1 point by SeanLuke 1 day ago 0 replies      
This was discussed before: http://hackerne.ws/item?id=1934367

I had a comment which I guess I should link to rather than repost: http://hackerne.ws/item?id=1934605

2 points by alexknight 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly I'd love to pay for a Hackernews account if it meant weeding out some rather distasteful people. Not saying that is the be all/end all solution to the problem though.
1 point by jsmcgd 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I now check 'new' articles more often. There are a lot of gems in there that are not voted up.
4 points by tianyicui 1 day ago 2 replies      
IMO, a tag system like StackOverflow or Quora seems a good way to go.
1 point by jaekwon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, I'm taking on this challenge. Al3x, can you send me an email at jkwon.work@gmail.com?

Also, I'm taking suggestions for seed users. There will also be a HN Karma cutoff where everyone above a threshold can join. You can nominate HN users or yourself here.

2 points by alienreborn 22 hours ago 0 replies      
One solution can be to give read-only access to new users and charge a very low one time fees for upvoting, submitting and commenting. Only people who are serious about contributing will pay for it.
1 point by tomrod 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wait... he complains on his post about not submitting his blog posts to the community.. which then gets submitted to the community and upvoted (albeit probably not by him). Does that sum it up?
1 point by mkr-hn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like (s)he wants a Less Wrong for startups.
4 points by mthreat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Case in point - this article.
2 points by gabaix 1 day ago 0 replies      
what about tagging? automatic or crowd-powered.
Seems a great way to sort through the noise.
tags could be "technical", "startup", "YC" etc.
1 point by dave1619 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another HN challenge... as discussions get longer (like this page), it gets more chaotic and more difficult to follow.
1 point by adrianwaj 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone here think crowd-sourcing due-dilligence on startups would be a good idea?
2 points by newguy889 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Political stories simply need to be killed with prejudice.
1 point by aDemoUzer 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Part of the problem is the basic UI look, hence I am working on a new UI for it: http://peri.me/2B1A/
2 points by ddkrone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reeks of elitism.
1 point by pdaviesa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty soon you guys will be telling the kids to turn down that damn music and stay off your lawn :)
-4 points by p90x 1 day ago 0 replies      
5 points by mcav 1 day ago 0 replies      
If he wanted to advertise for BankSimple, he could've done a heck of a lot better than a passing reference in a blog post about HN.
       cached 24 February 2011 05:02:01 GMT