hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    11 Mar 2011 News
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Twitter to developers: no new Twitter clients google.com
192 points by samstokes 2 hours ago   86 comments top 41
55 points by danilocampos 1 hour ago 5 replies      
It's the old casino analogy: When you're betting on a platform you don't own, the house always wins.

I don't know much about Twitter politics, but we've got:

- Developer hostility this week

- User hostility last week, with the dickbar

So maybe this is just how it goes now that Costolo is in charge. "Fuck the loyalists, we're here to make some money. Getting sick of these third party tools charging coin for our damn API while we get nothing."

If so, the question becomes: who creates more value on Twitter? Is it the old guard, who use it as a communications and community medium? Or is it the mainstream, following celebrities and talking about sandwiches they're eating, eyeballs to be sold to the highest bidder?

(edit: My hunch is that, too late, the Pareto principle will be discovered hard at work: 20% or less of Twitter users actually generate 80% of the value. I just can't see it as a bland, empty consumption tool. There's surely peril in optimizing toward that.)

It sounds to me like Twitter wants to round up its user-cattle and drive them on down to monetization gulch. Anyone who gets in the way of this is going to be flattened.

56 points by jellicle 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Twitter doesn't want you to build a twitter client that automatically filters out ads in the twitstream, or doesn't have ads on the sidebar like the official client, or in some other way is superior to the official client.

That is, Twitter is planning to monetize by making their product worse, and they don't want anyone offering a service on the level of what Twitter used to offer.

34 points by zaidf 1 hour ago 0 replies      
When companies started releasing awesome APIs for free, we kinda wondered "what's the catch?". Years later, we're finding out.

The hype surrounding free APIs without formal agreements is the biggest farce in the Valley. We are now in that phase of the cycle where this will become more and more apparent as these companies with awesome APIs get serious about making money(and the free API impeding their revenue plans).

Free APIs--especially the powerful ones--should be seen as "cute things" with little purpose beyond experimental side projects. If you ACTUALLY want to build a company off someone's API, get a formal agreement with that company especially if that company insists you don't need one.

So much has changed since the 90s when access to APIs meant paying huge $. And yet, so little has really changed.

57 points by olivercameron 2 hours ago 5 replies      
"More specifically, developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.".

How can a company who's user base has grown to such an amount because of third party clients say something like this? Talk about showing a little appreciation. As someone who develops a Twitter client, it is a huge kick in the teeth.

1 point by alanh 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
As much as this sounds like the beginning of the end, I do have to agree with one gripe:

> For example, some 
developers display “comment”, “like”, or other terms with tweets instead of 
 “follow, favorite, retweet, reply” - thus changing the core functions of a 

Very true. I have accidentally tweeted by “logging in with Twitter” and then “commenting” on comments. Despicable behavior, and it should be stopped. (Alert! Previous statement is narrow in scope!)

24 points by boredguy8 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As an end user (and by no means a power user) of Twitter, I have to say that I don't want a consistent user experience. I want the best user experience for how I use Twitter.

Right now that means TweetDeck, but if something better came along, I'd jump to it. It lets me do things I can't do in Twitter's tools (or that I don't easily see how to do).

So from an 'outsider' on this topic: boo!

12 points by jazzychad 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ugh, that tears it. I'm not doing any more Twitter development unless Twitter acquires me. Not hires me, acquires me.

I love Twitter and have several friends that work there, but I am losing all confidence in developing on the platform when I am not a big-name company with an official partnership.

A 3rd party twitter dev since 2007

17 points by ajg1977 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Thanks for all your help getting us where we are. Now, get out and shut the door behind you".
31 points by olivercameron 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow, this is written in a really weird tone, especially considering it's coming from an official Twitter representative. It doesn't feel clear at all what they want developers to do. Either way, it feels very hostile.
7 points by VladRussian 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"in the name of user(experience)".

Back in the Soviet Union a lot of things were happening "by request of the workers", for example an unpaid [and mandatory] additional day of work on Saturday sometimes.

3 points by fingerprinter 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think what we are seeing is quite a bit of chasm crossing from the platforms. When that happens, the early technical users (who they don't make much money from, btw) get pushed out or at least _feel_ pushed out.

Yes, we helped build the ecosystem and make it a viable company...but if you read "Crossing the Chasm", it is almost a blueprint for what these platforms are going through and doing...they rely on early technical folks to build a base...but eventually need to reject those early users or marginalize them for sake of profit...very interesting read.

3 points by code_duck 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Fred Wilson pretty much announced that the status quo was over for Twitter API developers in an article published last April, "The Twitter Platform's Inflection Point": http://avc.com/a_vc/2010/04/the-twitter-platform.html

Notable quote:

"I think the time for filling the holes in the Twitter service has come and gone. It was a great period for Twitter and its third party developers."

3 points by kmfrk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Man, TapBots just can't catch a break. First they are about to announce TweetBot[1], when Twitter for iPhone (a free, first-party alternative to competitors) is announced, and they recently announced the coming of a re-imagined TweetBot[2].

On another note, I don't understand why Twitter are so callous to throw away their community goodwill on a whim. They already have a lot - just look how they took a stand when the data for one of their users was requested by the U.S. government. And then they do something like this. (After [this](http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2313152).) And the dickbar!

[1]: http://tapbots.com/blog/business/say-hello-to-tweetbot

[2]: http://tapbots.com/blog/tweetbot/tweetbot-is-coming

1 point by otterley 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Can anyone point to language in the revised API Terms of Service (http://dev.twitter.com/pages/api_terms) that implies "no new Twitter clients"? I'm reading it, but I can't find the smoking gun.
2 points by akmiller 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
"As we point out above, we need to move to a less fragmented world, where
every user can experience Twitter in a consistent way. This is already
happening organically - the number and market share of consumer client apps
that are not owned or operated by Twitter has been shrinking. According to
our data, 90% of active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly

If this is true, then what's the point of this announcement. They make it sound like they are already getting what they want...people moving at a rapid pace towards the official Twitter applications. Yet in the same release they come off as scared that the fragmentation is growing. I don't get it.

4 points by JCB_K 1 hour ago 4 replies      
I don't understand why people are so upset about this. It's simple: Twitter Inc. doesn't like apps which are the same as Twitter, or worse. (I don't mean to say that Twitter is bad already: just that Twitter Inc. doesn't like 1. apps recreating Twitter and 2. apps which give a low-quality UI.)

In other words: they urge devs to develop a client with added value. Wether that's apps for "Company Tweeting" or Real-Time Data, it's adding something to the core experience of Twitter.

Most importantly, I think Twitter Inc. still likes "normal" Twitter apps, as long as they have added value: a superior UI. So get devving, and make the new and better Tweetie!

1 point by kouiskas 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Can't wait for Twitter to join Myspace in the slow death club.
2 points by mikeryan 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have to believe that this means that Twitter is looking at turning on the revenues and likely with in stream "sponsored tweets" or some other similar type of nonsense and they don't want third parties stripping out these ads.

Its always been strange that they'd let 3rd parties be a primary interaction model since its very hard to monetize other peoples clients.

1 point by famousactress 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
According to our data, 90% of active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis.

I notice the omission of the words only or even mostly. I'm curious about the raw percentage of tweets from official/non-official apps.. and the percentage of users who use official applications say, 90+ % of the time.

5 points by taylorbuley 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A Consistent User Experience. I believe I've heard that somewhere before... http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/UserEx...
2 points by mkramlich 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Funny timing considering how there's been a noticeable degradation in the Twitter app quality since Atebits got Borg-ified by them. Their plan thus far seems to be:

1. identify best client out there

2. buy it

3. ruin it

4. outlaw all other (well, new) clients

5. ...

6. profit!

2 points by dholowiski 53 minutes ago 1 reply      
March 11, 2011 - Twitter was fatally injured by a gunshot wound to the foot. Initial reports are indicating this was not an accicdental shooting. Twitter will be mourned and missed by a wide variety of tech enthusiasts.
4 points by whatevermatt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
From the announcement:

- Display of tweets in 3rd-party services. We need to ensure that tweets, and tweet actions, are rendered in a consistent way so that people have the same experience with tweets no matter where they are. For example, some developers display “comment”, “like”, or other terms with tweets instead of “follow, favorite, retweet, reply” - thus changing the core functions of a tweet.

While I don't like the idea of 3rd-party services treating Twitter as a white-label medium, it's hard to believe this is coming from the same service that is famous for letting its users establish convention, and then supporting that convention. (@, #, etc)

(Edit: s/email/announcement/)

1 point by Tichy 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
That's a shame, because I am still in the market for a good Android client. Guess there won't be one, ever.
1 point by kpanghmc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
While I understand Twitter's motivation for doing this -- and no, I don't believe it's about consistency -- I think they could have expressed at least some token of appreciation for the devs who helped get them to where they are now.
1 point by trustfundbaby 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
It was bound to happen ... and about time, hopefully it gives someone enough inspiration to come up with something to compete against twitter.

I want to see someone give twitter a run for their money. They're sloppy.

4 points by arpit 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Does anyone think this could rejuvenate something like Status.net (http://status.net/) or any other open system for status updates? (I always hopeful about that)
10 points by MatthewPhillips 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yep. Last paragraph says it all: Use the API for something besides clients.
1 point by guptaneil 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It definitely sounds hostile, but I can see where they're coming from. They want to encourage more creative uses of their API, rather than just flooding the market with hundreds of mostly subpar client apps. They've basically reached critical mass as far as third party clients go. Any additional clients are not going to increase their user base anymore. What they really need is more use cases for the Twitter stream. I don't particularly agree with this strategy of leaving a lot of developers feeling like they just got slapped across the face, but it will be interesting to see where the API goes now.
2 points by phil 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This has got to be at least partially about UberMedia.

Still makes me glad I don't depend on Twitter's platform at all.

1 point by fedd 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
i guess that's what investors call 'feature' as opposing to a standalone product - turns out that many of these clients funded by them are features of twitter
2 points by ekanes 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Surprising: "According to
our data, 90% of active Twitter users use official Twitter apps on a monthly
1 point by radley 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I read it this way:

There's now 75k registered Twitter apps. You're not going to be successful making a generic client. Think bigger: there's plenty of room for success in other Twitter verticals.

(and boooo for the fake FUD headline)

2 points by borism 1 hour ago 0 replies      
consistency and ecosystem opportunities

couldn't he just write "you're fucked, we're the boss" without all this corporate BS speech?

1 point by snissn 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Anybody who in the first place developed and designed a product around a third-party's ecosystem and API has what they have coming
1 point by rmason 2 hours ago 0 replies      
On the contrary this helps quite a bit. There was a cloud hanging over anyone doing anything with Twitter whether they would find their product in competition with the Mother ship itself.

It also explains apps suddenly losing access to the API and then regaining it. Twitter was asserting its control over standards.

I think if you aren't building a client, following the rules and adding value you don't have anything to worry about. To me that is great news.

1 point by ffumarola 1 hour ago 0 replies      
On one hand, I agree in terms of providing a consistent user experience.

On the other hand, I disagree and think people should be able to build whatever experience they want.

1 point by whatevermatt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
To expect enduring openness from a privately-owned medium or enduring stability from a single point of failure is naïve.
1 point by maxer 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
has google not bought twitter yet?
1 point by voxmatt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That is the deafening thud of the other shoe dropping
Angry Bird's “overnight success” only took 8 years. thestartupfoundry.com
121 points by g0atbutt 3 hours ago   28 comments top 8
15 points by Tiktaalik 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's a lot of fun to look into the little unknown games that large, successful, games companies made before they hit the big time.

Blizzard for example had mild success with Rock n' Roll Racing and Lost Vikings prior to Warcraft 2.

Nintendo made lots of arcade games since 1973, many being blatant clones of successful titles, before striking gold with Donkey Kong in 1981. Some of these may have sold fairly well, but the titles are ignored today so they couldn't have been all that good.

Pokemon developer Game Freak seems to have had it pretty rough prior to hitting the big time with Pokemon. The company has existed since 1989 and they put out a number of relatively unknown games before Pokemon in '96. Pokemon wasn't a strong seller at the beginning either.

According to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satoshi_Tajiri):
"Pokémon Red and Green took six years to produce, and nearly bankrupted Game Freak in the process; often, there was barely enough money to pay the employees. Five employees quit, and Tajiri did not take a salary, instead living off of his father's income. Investment from Creatures Inc. allowed Game Freak to complete the games, and in return, Creatures received one-third of the franchise rights."

14 points by seanalltogether 2 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm more interested in finding out how they went from "pretty slow for the first 3 months" to massive sales and attention.
6 points by Batsu 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Harmonix (creators of Guitar Hero, which they sold, and Rock Band) has a similar story. They created a handful of games over a decade or so, all music based, that never really caught on. When they released Guitar Hero and a few karaoke games, they did a little better than breaking even, and with the release of Guitar Hero 2 sales exploded.


15 points by alain94040 3 hours ago 1 reply      
That was definitely worth saying. Most people don't know the back story. I didn't know the details either.
12 points by jakegottlieb 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Overnight success generally takes around ten years. First the person must become an expert. When you first start practicing a new skill set like playing the piano, you may be able to play, but you have definitely not reached your potential. Within a couple of years you are more competent but there are clearly people better then you. At about the 8-10 year mark, you are then an expert. There may be people better than you, but there shouldn't be a huge difference (of course this depends on the person).

Taking ten years to make it as a performer or a even a craftsman is pretty common. Rovio clearly earned their success.

5 points by solipsist 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Spoiler: not everyone can make it big, even after 8 years of trying...
2 points by tnorthcutt 2 hours ago 3 replies      
The OP's link is to the comment thread - here's the article link: http://thestartupfoundry.com/2011/03/11/angry-birds-overnigh...
2 points by dools 2 hours ago 3 replies      
OT: I've noticed recently Americans more frequently interchange "then" and "than". Is this some sort of emerging dialectical shift?
Japan's Strict Building Codes Saved Lives nytimes.com
183 points by brodie 6 hours ago   91 comments top 10
21 points by solson 5 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm not sure I understand the point here. Is it that strict government regulation saves lives?

If so, yes I suppose that could be true. Fewer people would die in traffic accidents if we had a stoplight on every corner, we had to drive Sherman Tanks, and the speed limit was 20MPH. The problem is we'd be way less productive and we'd be much poorer.

If China had Japan's strict building codes from 1980 to present, China's economic growth would have been far slower, but in an earthquake, more people may die in China. Is that a good thing or bad thing? Over the last 20 years, strong economic growth in China has likely saved far more lives than strict building codes may have saved. But that is too complex to get into here.

Also note Japan's poor economic growth during over the last 10-20 years.

Are some people in Japan better off because of strict building codes? Yes, no doubt. Is everyone in Japan better off due to strict building code? much harder to say.

48 points by Vivtek 5 hours ago replies      
All strict building codes save lives. That's the whole point of building codes. Sheesh. You'd think New Yorkers would get that.
8 points by NZ_Matt 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The media are failing to point out that the Earthquake was 200+km offshore. There is a huge difference between an 8.9M 200km offshore and an 8.9M directly below a city. The ground motions recorded were relatively low in the cities and not very destructive. PGV (peak ground velocity) is a more accurate way to estimate the strain put on infrastructure. This shakemap shows that the intensity was relatively low: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/shakemap/global/shake...

Many people said the same thing about building codes after the 7.1 in Christchurch last September. That earthquake was 40km away from the city. Cruelly the 6.3 on Feb 22nd with its epicenter directly below the City showed the difference that proximity to the epicenter makes. Proximity to the epicenter and PGV is almost more important than magnitude when accessing how well buildings performed.

4 points by dmm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Everything has a cost and these costs are not always obvious. Government regulations like building codes and food safety generally ensure that buildings are safe and food is not contaminated, but they do so by defining acceptable things.

There are perfectly safe building designs which would never pass building codes. This is a huge barrier to innovation.

To be legally allowed to construct something that is not explicitly allowed by codes can require years and lots of money to hire engineers and lawyers.

Also, who writes these building codes? It's engineers employed by the construction and construction material industries. They have a perspective shaped by the status quo. So the codes require specific materials and techniques.

Codes also empower lots of unelected officals. A food safety inspector can shut down your plant and force you to throw away all of your products, with absolutely no form of appeal.

I don't really mind building codes. I just wish there were some objective criteria that designs went through. For example, if you could demonstrate your building can withstand an earthquake, regardless of it's method of construction, it's permissible. If you could demonstrate your food was not contaminated with bacteria, etc.

If you give a damn about any of this check out Mike Ohler's "The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book" for the evils of building codes and Joel Salatin's "Everything I want to do is illegal" for food regulations.

4 points by ffffruit 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I find the comparison with SE Asia rather poor with regards to investment as I've been to Sri Lanka and the amount of money that is available for basic infrastructure, let alone anti-tsunami barricades, is negligible compared to Japan unfortunately.
4 points by Hovertruck 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The irony is that this is the top item on reddit right now: http://i.imgur.com/eGSKJ.jpg
3 points by jakegottlieb 3 hours ago 0 replies      
25 people have died in China and they didn't receive the bulk of the destruction. This attests to Japan's high end building codes.
2 points by orenmazor 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I dont have a nytimes account.

not even readability can save me here.

0 points by Semiapies 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure of the news aspect of this. Japan has a long history of damaging earthquakes and tsunamis, and they're famous for their preparations for the same.

Someone needed column inches.

0 points by ollysb 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"Multimedia" seems like such a quaint term now.
Twitter Drops The Ecosystem Hammer: Don't Try To Compete With Us On Clients techcrunch.com
37 points by joshbert 1 hour ago   6 comments top 4
4 points by joe_the_user 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So, is an agregating client like seesmic still allowed?


Edit: I see Seesmic mentioned as favored but the description sounds a lot different than what they describe their client as doing (that is, combining tweets with other alerts, something one might imagine would stand in the way of twitter's precious user experience).

1 point by mttwrnr 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
While it's unfortunate that they're setting the precedent of discouraging certain uses of their API, it's also understandable. They're right to want their product to stay consistent and avoid fragmentation.

The irony of it is that they acquired their official client.

1 point by alanh 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Why was the direct link story from earlier today deleted?
-4 points by svlla 56 minutes ago 1 reply      
Twitter is a long con just like many other successful businesses, for example Google.
Want to move fast? Just do this codefastdieyoung.com
115 points by sghael 4 hours ago   8 comments top 5
1 point by simplify 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Relating to Haml/Sass, you may have heard of the ruby gem StaticMatic. It's a great tool that lets you use Haml/Sass to building quick, static prototypes.

In fact, I loved the concept so much that I began improving upon it myself[1], adding support for CoffeeScript and Amazon S3. For anyone who might find it useful, any testing or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

[1] https://github.com/mindeavor/staticmatic2

9 points by notahacker 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is excellent, very practical advice.

The one caveat I would add which the author glosses over is Test in IE as a high priority unless you have a very tech-savvy audience. Compass/Blueprint abstract away most of the uglier CSS box-model hacks and I agree that IE users can live without gradients and rounded corners. But if the site looks awkward without the CSS3 tricks that don't work on the browser that >60% of your audience uses, you're going to need to tweak that aspect as well .

1 point by tomkarlo 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is a good article, if for nothing else besides that button gem which I somehow haven't heard of before.

The downside is, there will be a bunch of sites that look the same, so folks will want to do some real work and find their own components.

5 points by sunjain 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I liked it. Lot of folks may already know some or most of this. But it is distilled all in once place, and as the post mentions, it will surely help in quickly moving forward with a polished looking app.
1 point by theoj 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Does green convert better than red? Performable seems to like red over green.
IPhone Devs, don't put your private keys for push notification in your webroot google.com
64 points by ssclafani 3 hours ago   12 comments top 5
5 points by ssclafani 2 hours ago 0 replies      
5 points by fuzzmeister 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Fun fact: every single URL on the first page of results also has Apache directory listing enabled.
10 points by BenSS 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm glad that doing it this way has never, ever occurred to me. Would you publish your private ssh key?
3 points by oemera 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Wait. Does that mean I could send messages to all users using the app which is paired to this key? Hopefully no-one finds this out :/
4 points by jonny_eh 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What does having these keys allow?
Fon has decided to open our WiFi network in Japan to all for free martinvarsavsky.net
68 points by aundumla 3 hours ago   6 comments top 3
12 points by melvinram 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Major kudos if they are as wide spread as they sound. I was able to talk with family in Japan using Skype even though their cells were out... so this will definitely help people.
2 points by kmfrk 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
This reminds me that another way for fellow Japanese to help their compatriots would be to remove the passwords on their wireless networks and rename the SSID to "Free Wi-Fi for those who need it".


3 points by rmoriz 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Fon is still alive? Looks like 99% of all German FON APs are gone but still listed on their website…

Maybe they are Big in Japan.

JavaScript Garden github.com
259 points by aundumla 9 hours ago   38 comments top 16
6 points by tkiley 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Excellent write-up! I've learned most of these things the hard way :/ I'm filing this away to recommend to any developers who are setting out to use Javascript extensively for the first time.

One quibble: In the "common pitfalls" section regarding the "this" object, they say that locally-defined functions within other functions never have any practical use. I might disagree: with a little coaxing, you can convince locally variables inside the constructor (both functions and other variables) to serve as private properties of an object; this is the only technique I know that allows for private properties.

(I haven't actually done this in code that has been maintained/used anywhere, I just did it as an experiment and filed it away as a "that's cool" for future reference)

Edit: Here is an example of what I'm talking about: https://gist.github.com/866103

14 points by csomar 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have an idea of what happened to "The secrets of the JavaScript ninja"? I'm impatiently waiting for this book to be released.
4 points by mrspeaker 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This looks like an excellent resource for when you are too lazy to get up out of your chair and pick up your copy of "JavaScript: The Good Parts" ;)
3 points by andreyf 8 hours ago 1 reply      
In the prototype example [1], could someone explain the point or at least the effect of setting Bar.prototype.constructor = Bar?

1. http://bonsaiden.github.com/JavaScript-Garden/#prototype

3 points by Kilimanjaro 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Everyday you learn something new

for(i=0;i<this;i++){ fn(i); }


1 point by ck2 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Very well done.

I'd add under setTimeout and setInterval that anything below 8ms may not work as expected across different browsers/hardware. Even setting 1ms to indicate "as soon as possible" may not occur as expected when repeatedly called.

also: the font size is a little small for my eyes in the code boxes - I can fix it of course with stylish but maybe that can be addressed directly on the site

2 points by extension 7 hours ago 1 reply      
the native prototypes should never be extended unless it is for the sake of compatibility with newer JavaScript features

A bit controversial, don't you think?

1 point by alexyim 3 hours ago 1 reply      
One gotcha I've noticed a lot is when people forget to check for Console object. Or they might do this (doesn't work):


instead of

  if(!window.console) or if( typeof console === 'undefined' )

8 points by senorpedro 8 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by btipling 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Should probably also mention the Function constructor in the eval section. Also object keys are always are type cast into strings so object[1] = "moo" becomes object["1"], this is rarely a problem but can be.
2 points by koraybalci 8 hours ago 1 reply      
great design (in addition to the content). How did you make it? I like the right contents column changing topic as I read.
1 point by hanifvirani 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks helpful and is neatly presented. It would be great to have something like this replicated for other languages.
2 points by Ruudjah 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Well written, clear syntax highlighted examples. Upboat.
1 point by sawyer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Love it; I'll definitely switch to strict equality comparisons from now on!
1 point by wkasel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Very useful.
1 point by simpsond 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Very good job.
Radiation leak reported at Japanese nuclear plant, 10km evacuation radius cnn.com
9 points by anigbrowl 22 minutes ago   5 comments top 5
1 point by jarin 1 minute ago 0 replies      
This is why we should be investing in thorium reactors:


They apparently self-regulate in the event of a power loss, plus they can be used to "burn up" spent fuel from traditional reactors.

2 points by anigbrowl 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Correction: 3km evacuation radius (TEPCO bulletin [1]), 10km radius residents urged to remain indoors (NHK).

Evacuation has been instructed by the national government to the local residents within 3 km radius of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Measurement of radioactive material (Iodine, etc.) by monitoring car indicates increasing value compared to normal level. One of the monitoring posts is also indicating higher than normal level. We will continue monitoring discharge of radioactive material from exhaust stack and
discharge canal, etc.

We have decided to implement measures to reduce the pressure of the reactor containment vessel for those units that cannot confirm certain level of water injection by the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System, in order to fully secure safety.


1 point by anigbrowl 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Situation is somewhat ambiguous, understandable given the confusion and circumstances. Commentator in Japan expressed '90% confidence', however.

http://yokosonews.com/live English audio live, mainly translation of...

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tbstv live japanese tv

Ustream pages have annoying 30 second advert on load.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/index.html English, but slow to update

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/index-e.htm... Power company hourly bulletins

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12720219 some live material, updates a bit erratic at the moment.

1 point by anigbrowl 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
'150 micro sievert per hour in control room' - not so bad as I feared, as long as it's not rising.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20110312-OYT1T00153.h... via google translate.

1 point by ggordan 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Both reactors at the plant have been damaged, and officials say they have "lost control" of the pressure, according to Reuters.[1]

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/fukushima-nuclear-plant-2011-...

EDIT: this is the latest update from business insider

Video: Well-Designed Buildings Sway, But Stay Standing in Japan Quake good.is
24 points by himaniamoli 2 hours ago   1 comment top
0 points by JoeAltmaier 1 hour ago 0 replies      
8.9 earthquake hits Japan usgs.gov
571 points by flyt 15 hours ago   222 comments top 52
48 points by CWuestefeld 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This is what I like about HN. This isn't a particularly "hacker" story, but the perspective here is unique.

On the main stream media, I'll get a couple of statistics and video, then an empty comment about "loved ones trying to make sense of this senseless tragedy".

On HN, I get the facts, but both broader and deeper, from the geological nature of the quake to the effect on other locales. And I get real, unfiltered perspective from those involved -- without the bogus posturing for the human interest feel.

84 points by po 15 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm still feeling shakes every few minutes. It's like living in a house on a block of jello. Long rolling waves. I'm in central Tokyo and our china cabinet was shaken pretty badly:


I know some people up in sendai that I'm a bit worried about.

40 points by jarin 15 hours ago 6 replies      
I just talked to my parents in Hawaii, there's a tsunami warning for 3 am HST. I reminded my dad to sandbag the doors of his restaurant in Waikiki (Vit's Hawaiian Steakhouse) before he closes for the night.

It's just outside of the "tsunami zone" in Waikiki, so I know my dad will probably be working until the police make him evacuate. He did that on the last tsunami warning, and Vit's was pretty much the only restaurant open for several blocks. There was a line out of the door, haha.

19 points by melvinram 12 hours ago 5 replies      
Red Cross and others will likely be jumping to the aide of those who have been affected by this disaster.

If you have a website, please consider adding a message and link to the Red Cross donation website or the link to the donation page of any other website.

To get it up ASAP, I've used the HelloBar (http://www.hellobar.com) on my site. You can see a working version of it at http://www.webdesigncompany.net but really any way that grabs attention would be a good way.

PS: I'm not associated with the HelloBar product but I've sent them an email requesting that they allow those who want to use their product to participate to get an invite to their beta. Hopefully they'll reply here soon.

If you don't want to setup an account or don't have an invite yet, you could copy/paste the following code:

  <script type="text/javascript" src="//www.hellobar.com/hellobar.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
new HelloBar(3823,9104);

The text and link will never change.

31 points by harisenbon 15 hours ago 2 replies      
It was crazy scary, and I was all the way down in Nagoya.
There doesn't seem to be too much damage in Miyagi (where the earthquake was) but some fires broke out apparently.

Luckily, it seemed to be a long, hard earthquake rather than a short hard earthquake, which means that buildings are able to withstand the shaking better. The shaking went on for about 3 minutes here, and there were some after shocks that lasted for about a minute.

The Great Hanshin Earthquake was only a 7.2, and it was much more destructive.

12 points by 1053r 11 hours ago 2 replies      
A small plug for my startup. We created a page partnering with the red cross where folks can donate to the relief effort. http://www.fundly.com/redcrossjapan From there you can donate or get involved via facebook.
25 points by solipsist 15 hours ago 1 reply      
And there's already a growing Wikipedia article on the earthquake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Sendai_earthquake
9 points by jarin 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Text message from my parents in Hawaii just now:

"At 11:01 pm we just had a 4.6 earthquake on the big island"

There's also increased seismic activity on some of the volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest (far left link on each row shows latest activity):


I'm not a seismologist so I have no idea if that's as gnarly as it looks.

24 points by veidr 14 hours ago 6 replies      
An interesting thing I noticed was that all cell phones were completely useless for a pretty long time following the quake. That's normal, but one difference this time, compared with several years ago, is that most people I know no longer have a landline phone at home. People were queuing up for like 20 minutes to use the one old green plastic coin-op pay phone accross the street.

At first, I didn't think to use a phone, since I was sitting at my desk and email worked normally. I could email a colleague in a different building back and forth in neartime while the quakes were happening. About 15 minutes later it occurred to me to try my (naz)iPhone and see if it was useful. It was not--could not make or receive calls, and the test text message I sent did not arrive in a timely manner (took more than 30 minutes).

Just as a data point.

39 points by leot 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is particularly ill-timed for the rebels in Libya.
14 points by koski 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Japan has declared a state of emergency because of the failure of the cooling system at one nuclear plant, according to the Associated Press. Officials say there has been no leak of radiation.

Let's hope this does not get any worse than it is right now.

29 points by aba_sababa 7 hours ago 1 reply      
9 points by koski 13 hours ago 3 replies      
The Tsunamis caused by this that might hit Taiwan etc. can be huge (5 to 10 meters). Or then just 10 cm high. How ever it's moving now 800km an hour.

The destruction is terrible (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xhj2ge_violent-seisme-d-une...)

I cannot explain in written how sorry I feel for the people living in the area.

9 points by ck2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Diamondhead Reef in Hawaii just completely emptied, it's barren of water, nothing in sight.
5 points by malte 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if it's of use for anyone here, but Google has set up a Crisis Response page:


13 points by eekfuh 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Zynga in japan:

and they are still working apparently

8 points by atgm 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Maebashi, Gunma here. I was on the 10th floor of city hall when it happened and bookcases were falling all over; we were trying to hold them up and not really getting how serious it was. That was a few hours ago and we're still getting periodic aftershocks. No sea here, so we don't have to worry about tsunami, luckily.

I was fine during the quake itself and now I'm having an attack of the nerves; it still feels like the ground is moving and I can't stop eating, heh.

Malls and grocery stores are closed, so the local convenience stores are being stripped of absolutely everything.

9 points by kia 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is a video of tsunami caused by this earthquake


5 points by harisenbon 15 hours ago 4 replies      
Also I found this interesting:

A massive 8.8 magnitude quake hit the northeast coast of Japan on Friday, shaking buildings in the capital Tokyo

Why would you talk about the earthquake in Tokyo, when it happened in Miyagi? Tokyo only got hit with a 3 or 4. [EDIT: updated to 5 JMS. Tokyo got hit pretty hard too]

The actual earthquake was around 240 miles away. That's the same distance from New York to Boston.

4 points by bradly 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting to view of all 5+ quakes the past 3 days http://cl.ly/3G0f0t0d1C2Z381s3O31 . Loads of activity in the area. Is that kind of activity common, or could that have been an indicator that there was a chance of a major quake?
4 points by MikeCapone 7 hours ago 0 replies      
4 points by ck2 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I am watching live and they just said all cooling hardware and backups for one of their atomic plants has FAILED and they are advising residents to evacuate. Ugh.
1 point by old-gregg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I never saw a photo of tsunami like this one:
6 points by redial 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Last year I experienced the chilean earthquake. It was 8.8. There were tsunamis in various cities and a lot of friends lost their houses. The days after it the earth wouldn't stop shaking. A new major aftershock every 5 minutes, and a new tsunami alert every couple of hours. For about 3 months. We still feel the occasional 6.5 aftershock every couple of weeks, more than a year later.

It's really sad to wake up and find that it has happened again.

3 points by apsurd 15 hours ago 6 replies      
Is there any system currently able to mass-call all cellphones from any/all carriers within a given geo-location radius? Or any type of push notification service for natural disasters.

Seems like this happened during the day but watching the news made me think about disasters that happen at night. How are people notified to get the hell out of there??

14 points by invisiblefunnel 15 hours ago 2 replies      
2 points by LiveTheDream 5 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by hoag 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What's staggering to me is that the 1989 earthquake in SF was only a 6.8 -- and that made our home in Marin feel like we were floating on a swimming pool. I can't even begin to imagine what an 8.9 is like. Tragic, but apparently expected: Japan's strict building codes will go a long way towards minimizing human loss. If only there were a way to protect against the biblical devastation of tsumanis.
6 points by jarquesp 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Live stream: http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/6810.htm

Or direct 256k: mms://nhk-world.gekimedia.net/nhkw-highm

They have revised the earthquake to 8.4 as of 11:08PM PST.

2 points by T-R 12 hours ago 0 replies      
1 point by mceachen 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're in Hawaii or California, we're in a Tsunami Warning (which is the run-for-the-hills, highest grade warning): http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/2011/03/11/lhvpd9/04/messagelhvpd...

If you're on a coastline, here are the tsunami height predictions: http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/models/models.html

1 point by InfinityX0 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope Ray Grieselhuber of Ginzametrics (YC) is OK - along with everyone else. I am pretty sure he is based around Tokyo. http://ginzametrics.com/ginzametrics-is-hiring-in-tokyo.html
1 point by NZ_Matt 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My thoughts are with those in Sendai and the other affected areas, the helicopter shot on tv is terrifying. The tsunami appears to have been more destuctive than the actual earthquake. The earthquake was a long way offshore (150km) so I imagine the shaking intensity was relatively low on the mainland and the buildings and other infrastructure will be alright.
2 points by cloudwalking 14 hours ago 1 reply      
2 points by Klonoar 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Was pretty crazy. myGengo office had a light break, but otherwise we weren't too badly affected.

Hope goes out to those more affected, looks insane from what I'm seeing.

1 point by cdavid 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Hope everyone in Japan is doing ok - I guess I am lucky that I am out of the country precisely this day, but now starting to get worry about people I know. It is a bit scary to think that an earthquake felt in east of Japan (tokyo, sendai), and also in Osaka where I live, almost 500 km west from there.
1 point by geuis 14 hours ago 1 reply      
People outside of Tokyo Disneyland http://twitpic.com/48dy7s
2 points by junyaogura 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Japanese mobile network operators provides disaster message boards in English.

Docomo(NTT) http://dengon.docomo.ne.jp/Etop.cgi
SoftBank http://dengon.softbank.ne.jp/pc-e1.jsp
au(KDDI) http://dengon.ezweb.ne.jp/E/service.do

3 points by serialx 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Chiba Steel Mill explosion:


It's getting serious.

1 point by golgo13 6 hours ago 0 replies      
As always, check out the national Bouy Center from our friend at NOAA: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/ This is data geek heaven.
2 points by samh 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Airport 2 km inland is flooded, amazing helicopter shots of the water sliding across the land.
1 point by marcusEting 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to see a visual of where the epicenter was:


1 point by sovande 13 hours ago 0 replies      
All quake servers are down in Japan; http://www.quakelive.com/
1 point by newtonapple 14 hours ago 0 replies      
-4 points by suyash 15 hours ago 7 replies      
Is this post appropriate for HN?
-4 points by zrgiu 14 hours ago 1 reply      
OMG! This feels like 2012 (the movie). Seeing that tsunami is breathtaking. I sincerely hope lives aren't lost.
-3 points by mrleinad 4 hours ago 0 replies      
@BBCBreaking: "Japanese authorities to release radioactive vapour to ease pressure at Fukushima nuclear reactor, from AP"

And this is how Gojira was created..

Twitter's Developer Hostility and What You Can Do to Help taptivate.com
16 points by olivercameron 1 hour ago   1 comment top
8 points by michaelchisari 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Important to mention StatusNet and Identi.ca, the open source, decentralized Twitter alternatives.



The Whittling Part Of the Brain jeff-vogel.blogspot.com
65 points by hyramgraff 5 hours ago   12 comments top 7
11 points by jonmc12 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"I have found that, in general, our brains our smarter than we are. They want what they want, and if my brain wants to spend a while in front of a computer screen stabbing orcs, who am I to tell it it shouldn't?"

I have several problems with this statement, starting with the fact that it was derived from a rationalization of the author's own habits, not a meaningful empirical observation.

Further, this is a formula for addiction. Games, porn, gambling, food cravings and drugs are all similar in that they self-enforce a habit through perceived short-term rewards.

Self-discipline is what allows one to accomplish goals. And, it means adapting your brain so that it can supress these hormone driven urges and take action that measurably moves your progress towards a rationally derived goal.

I'm all about some R&R, and fun / entertainment / addictions all have their place. Personally, I become a gamer for about 1 month every 2 years. I even think this author probably has more self-disciplne than he lets on judging by his writing and the history of games he has created. However, the message this article conveys is destructive.

Rationality and self-discipline use a different part of your brain than cravings for short-term rewards. Before you rationalize a time wasting habit, make sure you have adapted your mind to have the self-discipline to switch back and forth. Some people with particularly addition-oriented genetics really should fully abstain from mind-whittling activities if they want to accomplish anything in their life.

My point of view also assumes you are someone who wants to accomplish some substantial goal(s) in your lifetime. If you choose to live a lifestyle of fun / bliss, by all means, whittle away..

3 points by Tycho 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Im always puzzled by the superiority complex people harbour about their 'traditional' pasttimes, especially reading newspapers, watching the 6 o'clock news as if it's important, watching wildlife documentaries, going for runs, etc.

Anyway, in one of those half asleep dazes the other day, I swear I caught my brain 'compiling' or 'defragging' or something. I could feel my eyes doing REM, and I could see or sense a whole lot of information I'd been studying being chunked, parsed and filed away in a more appropriate part of memory. Of course, that itself was probably just a dream...

3 points by ecuzzillo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
4 points by Almaviva 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The argument that "the brain knows better" seems very weak. The brain also wants people to over consume fast food, reward itself with alcohol and drugs, and several other things which obviously aren't rewarding in the context of modern society.
2 points by sliverstorm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I resent the suggestion that whittling is not productive. I've made utensils in the past while in the mountains when I forgot my fork or spoon.
1 point by killerdark 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't buy it. As far as I can tell the this thing Jeff calls Whittling is simply energy preservation behavior. Brains take up 30% of your overall energy consumption. Thinking has a relatively high energy cost to it and people are hardwired to prefer limiting their energy expenditure that does not generate a return (wage, food, etc).
1 point by jakegottlieb 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Whittling sounds like an evolutionary advantage. Imagine if humans hated to whittle; they would hate spending time collecting little things for a big reward. This could be as simple as collecting root vegetables to feed a stoneage family or creating a arrowhead. To me it seems whittling was an important part of evolving to where we are today. Small progress/steps to lead up to something great.
Hasta la Vista, Quora raganwald.posterous.com
35 points by raganwald 2 hours ago   37 comments top 14
15 points by DanielBMarkham 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I've been a member of Quora for a while, but I never got around to participating. There was always something about it that struck me as strange.

I think the problem is that there is an assumption that asking a question and receiving an answer is somehow a valuable experience in itself, and for basic bits of factual information it is. But much of what constitutes "interesting" questions, like the one in this article, do not fit that pattern.

I teach teams how to be agile. For many, an honest question they have is: why do we need you? Can't we just read the book and know all we need to know?

It turns out the answer to that question is very interesting, because mostly no, you probably can't. At least not in the way you think. There is factual information and then there is mastery of a complex skill. I look at it this way: I can show you a movie of a great piano player, you can meet him and get his autograph, we can even read books on how to play the piano.

Will any of that make you a piano player? No, it will not. So when you ask a seemingly straightforward and honest question like "How come I can't play this Bach piece?" I'm unable to give you a straightforward answer that you are going to find helpful. It's going to sound something like "Because you don't know what you are doing. First you must do all this other stuff". Of course, you don't want to do all that other stuff, you want to play the Bach piece. And so there we are.

This touches on another problem -- not knowing what you don't know. When I learned to fly, I found a good instructor and told him about the things I would like to do.

"We're not doing any of that," he said, and then explained what we would be doing. You see, I didn't know what questions to ask first. I simply had some goal.

The worst problem I can see is folks getting answers they are not ready to process. For example, sticking with my agile coach example, somebody might ask me why a team takes so long trying to figure out what it's doing. The "answer" might be something like "Because you've restricted their machines and tools in such a way it's taking ten times longer than it should." but good luck in giving it to somebody in that direct a fashion. They'll throw you out of their office -- especially if they were the ones all along pushing for more controls and complexity. This is a case of wanting a solution to one thing, but having a second thing that cannot be touched. And of course, the second thing is directly involved in the first thing. In situations like this you have to help people figure out for themselves where their own internal model is flaky. Sometimes that takes a while. (Interesting side note: many technologists ardently refuse to believe they could be this way, saying things like "just tell me bluntly". I have found that these folks are the worst to deal with, because instead of seeing life as a journey, they are caught up in black-and-white reasoning. So they are the last people you want to treat that way, because to do so you're basically telling them their thinking is broken -- a concept many cannot process)

10 points by kmfrk 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Recently, one of my Quora questions was suddenly deleted.

The moderator answer I got was "Not a serious question". End of message.

Um, okay?

I'm sure Quora will make an interesting case study, once it's dead.

4 points by jdp23 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Yep. "Not Helpful" really sends a negative message.

Interestingly, one of the Quora moderators did an experiment about three different ways of getting people to give more information on partial answers.[1] None of them worked well. Collapsing was the worst, leading to no improvements and provoking one "aggressive response". Nonetheless the moderator decided that collapsing was the approach to use going forward. Umm ...

[1] http://www.quora.com/Does-asking-people-to-explain-their-ans...

3 points by bertil 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is non-sensical: a similar response to a similar question was up-voted to the roof. It could be Not helpful because it wasn't as cheeky as expected (a hacker over-estimating his tact isn't exactly new), or because that question was trapped in a cluster of users that had negative feelings toward its answers.

I've been trying to make sense of the Question/Follower bi-graph on Quora. Based on very different reactions to similar, but unconnected questions it appears strongly clustered by normative takes, from narrow political frameworks to attitude to entrepreneurship, food, etc. I can't seem to have access to relevant data from outside, though.

3 points by kovar 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Oddly enough, I just posted a enhancement request to HN asking for comments to be required for down voting. I can tell that I said something that wasn't appreciated, but I don't know why - style, phrasing, bad phase of the moon, just "not helpful"?

Getting no feedback other than a downvote doesn't help me adapt to the community. I may not agree with why my post wasn't accepted by the community that is HN, but at least I'll have more information to work with.

4 points by marcc 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I hate that people use Q&A sites as forums. If I ask a question on StackOverflow.com such as "how do i do x on the iphone", I'm pretty much guaranteed to get responses (in the "answers" section) which state that i shouldn't do that. Q&A sites are for questions and answers. How is "it won't get approved for the appstore" a relevant answer? Maybe I don't even care about the appstore. If you think this is a concern, but still have an answer, include it as a footnote. Or just list it as a comment, but it's not an answer.

This actually drove me away from heavily contributing on SO recently.

3 points by pitdesi 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Scoble agrees that "not helpful" is not helpful:
2 points by gojomo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The boilerplate comments from moderators are kinda creepy, too, like shibboleths uttered by cult members.

Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Unhelpfulness is futile.

2 points by ChuckO 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
The first problem is your answer is condescending. To my reading your starting with probably some insider BS about what he's asking. He wants to know where he can find a capable or "rock star" developer. You interpret "Rock Star" as someone with bona fides of a whole different magnitude and then take the opportunity to bitch slap the guy in public. He's not thrilled and takes the opportunity provided to slap you back. There's not a lot of mystery here. Don't not answer questions in order to preen around in public by taking a shot at someones possible misuse of a term that might mean something different to an insider than someone trying to get in or in other words don't be an a-hole.
2 points by l0c0b0x 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sounds to me like your answer should have been entered as a comment. At least on stackexchange sites (sorry, don't use Quora, but I notice there is a comment option) I like to leave comments that are not going to be directly answering the question. Looks like in Quora there you can't vote up a 'comment' though, pitty.
0 points by iterationx 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You answered a question with a question, its a QA site, not a philosophy course.
1 point by gavanwoolery 1 hour ago 0 replies      
@raganwald -

I commend you for your decision. Quora should not even have a down-vote button -- the best answers will go to the top anyway through up-votes. Also, I think there is just as much (if not more) intellectual value in answers that are funny or slightly off-topic. If I wanted purely factual answers, I would ask Google.

-4 points by dbrown26 1 hour ago 1 reply      
If you can't take criticism, don't post in a public forum designed for exactly that.
-4 points by mg1313 2 hours ago 2 replies      
For one flagged answer you quit...that's good...it shows you how big your ego is and how perseverent you are. Good "qualities"...
I had answers collapsed there in the beginning...but I persevered and now I am a quite power user. You should try that sometime...
Is it normal to get hundreds of break-in attempts per day? serverfault.com
137 points by splattne 8 hours ago   63 comments top 20
22 points by jamroom 7 hours ago 3 replies      
You can eliminate 99% of these attempted logins by changing your SSH port from the standard 22 to something else (say 2177 or whatever). Login as root (or su), open the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and change the port number. Save your changes and restart ssh with "/etc/init.d/ssh restart" and you are good to go. You'll want to update any SSH clients you use to use the proper port (-p option on command line). Hope this helps!
17 points by fretlessjazz 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I run Rails and became tired of seeing 404s to standard ASP or PHP software (such as phpmyadmin), so I added this to our Apache conf:

RewriteRule \.(asp|aspx|php|jsp)$ - [F,L,NC]

RewriteRule (w00tw00t) - [F,L,NC]

RewriteRule (phpmyadmin) - [F,L,NC]

RewriteRule (php-my-admin) - [F,L,NC]

That cuts off those requests before they hit a Rails process and suck up any additional resources.

22 points by epenn 7 hours ago 1 reply      
My home firewall catches 20-25 failed login attempts per day, all of which seem to originate in China. I'm tempted to setup a honeypot that'll show a fake bash prompt just to see what gets thrown at it. Naturally I assume there is an elite international force that will stop at nothing to break in and steal the larger original jpegs of my Facebook photos as well as all of my college homework. I'm on to you, elite international force!
5 points by ck2 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You MUST try the free and awesome configserver firewall


It's fantastic. Among a million other things, monitors logs for several kinds failed login attempts and can automagically ban them via iptables (with timeouts if you so desire).

Be sure to donate to keep this fantastic software alive if you use it.

7 points by bediger 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm too lazy and too stupid to put in denyhosts or any of the other anti-guessing software, but I have put in a 7-second delay on password-authenticated SSH logins, as per http://www.aerospacesoftware.com/howtos/ssh-kiddies.html That makes my sshd less a honeypot and more a tarpit.

I also put in an output line so I can see what passwords they're guessing.

21 points by njharman 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd say hundreds is not normal. It is order of magnitude too low.
1 point by jarin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you're running a Rails server on Ubuntu, protecting your server is as simple as deploying your app with Moonshine, with the ssh, iptables, and denyhosts plugins.

It requires maybe 7-10 lines of configuration to have a fairly well-insulated system:

  # config/moonshine.yml
:port: 9024
- rails

# app/manifests/application_manifest.rb
:denyhosts => { :admin_email => 'admin@example.com' }

recipe :ssh
recipe :iptables
recipe :denyhosts

11 points by mike-cardwell 6 hours ago 2 replies      

  sudo apt-get install denyhosts

Job done.

2 points by idm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Use a VPN (openvpn), and attach sshd to your VPN subnet instead of using or your publicly routable IP. This is also great for any other services you might want to administer remotely. It's normal to bind your database/cache to, but you can also bind to an IP in your VPN subnet, which makes it a little easier than tunneling through SSH to access your database.
6 points by tcopeland 6 hours ago 1 reply      
As some of the commenters on serverfault suggested, the easiest fix is to just disable password auth in sshd_config. No need to fool with denyhost's whitelisting and whatnot, just use public key auth only.
1 point by sucuri2 2 hours ago 0 replies      
OSSEC (open source) is very good at blocking those. It looks at all your logs and blocks brute forces via SSH, HTTP, etc...

Link: http://ossec.net

1 point by aquarin 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I have thousands attempts at my nginx server mostly from China and most of them checking for free proxy server. I am even convinced it is some sort of automatic software scanning IP ranges for proxy. Freedom is difficult in some countries.
2 points by eli 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've got a script set up to scan my logs and temporarily ban clearly malicious IPs. It finds a few hundred new ones each day.
1 point by kristofferR 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've noticed this too. Almost immediately after I signed up and created a hosting account with KnownHost, the hacking attempts started, even before I had logged in to Cpanel for the first time.

I got an automated email every time somebody failed to log in, so my iPhone was plinging every few seconds for 30 minutes before I added a filter in GMail to mark those mails as read. I've since installed fail2ban.

1 point by Vivtek 4 hours ago 0 replies      

Well - actually, no. Mere hundreds are kind of abnormally low.

2 points by bkaid 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I created a free test server on Windows Azure a few weeks ago with remote desktop access enabled and had failed login attempts within 2 minutes of the server going live, without publishing the ip address or dns name anywhere.
5 points by mbailey 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes. And I'm sure it's been said: fail2ban
1 point by maratd 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There are really two issues here. One is SSH and the other is HTTP.

SSH is easy. Get a static ip or figure out the ip range for your ISP. Drop any connection not in that IP range using iptables on that port. Done.

HTTP requires more creativity. It really depends on how you have things set up. I have a honeypot default vhost on Apache. If you enter just the IP address for the server, you get the honeypot. That's what most of these bots will hit. The 404 errors caused are very annoying and mess up the logs. On the honeypot, I have a RewriteRule that rewrites anything that would cause a 404 to index.html which is a blank page.

1 point by wingo 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I went to look at my logs and realized I forgot both my own and root's password on my linode. Doh!
1 point by yalogin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
For SSH break-in attempts an easier solution would be to use a random (at least alpha numeric) userid. These dictionary based attacks only use standard, most generic login ids.
Somali Pirate: I made $2.4M From Ransoms in 2010 foxbusiness.com
13 points by jkuria 1 hour ago   3 comments top 3
3 points by netmau5 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
I never guessed there would be pirate VC, I suppose money follows any profit.
2 points by VladRussian 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
the guy participated only in one hijacking, in all the other cases he was an investor.
0 points by kouiskas 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
He should enjoy the money while he's still breathing, which won't last as long as he thinks it will.
Analysis of the conflict among Canonical, GNOME, and KDE gnome.org
32 points by sciurus 3 hours ago   14 comments top 8
11 points by mycroftiv 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Posts like these really show the problems in the current free software development world; balkanization between different stakeholders and bizarre processes that alternate between bureaucracy and anarchy. Watching the tug-of-war between Red Hat and Canonical play itself out in the form of dysfunctional community development process is depressing. I'm aware that watching sausage being made never makes you very hungry, but as a user of free software, I don't feel my needs are served very well by the territorial and political battles being fought.

What makes it even more frustrating to me is that not only are KDE, Gnome 3, and Unity all failing to cooperate successfully on shared resources, but they are all marching resolutely in the wrong direction, regardless of the pleas of the user community. So far as I can tell, everyone hates Gnome Shell, everyone hates Ubuntu Unity, and everyone thinks that KDE 4 has been a big mess compared to KDE 3. I see all of these projects as engaging in a slappy fight as they march together off the cliff of unusability and misguided redesigns.

2 points by mpyne 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
As a KDE developer myself, I have to admit to being very disappointed by the very first section regarding the development of the StatusNotifier specification. Dave complains that there was no problem statement, points out a quote relating to D-Bus, and somehow still entirely misses the point even after claiming to have read through the threads relating to the proposed spec.

The problem statement is easy: Have a way of separating notification items and applications, such that the notification item is part of the desktop and not part of the application. In other words, XEmbed sucks as a way to have notification items in a system tray. Anyone who has ever used e.g. GAIM in a KDE 3.5 desktop with a pixmap background knows exactly what I'm talking about, as GAIM's icon would show up as an ugly box with an icon inside, while the KDE application's would have a notification item with a properly transparent icon drawn.

Claiming that the entire idea was merely to hook up notifications into D-Bus is so far afield that it mystifies me completely, and claiming that no one has ever had issues because of this is patently false. In fact, the VERY EMAIL [1] that Dave quotes has an actual problem statement directly before it:

In the past few months in KDE we worked on a new way to represent the systemtray icons to overcome the following limitations:

-lack of communication between the systemtray area and the items, that mean we don't know about their status, their importance of if they are being used or not

-the xembed process is quite slow and doesn't give control to the systray on the paining

-it's not possible to have more than one systray (useful in multi monitor setups)


I know this because I actually bothered to use GTK+ and GNOME software even with my KDE desktop, but now I wonder if Dave has ever tried the opposite.

I also was passively watching the threads as they happened back in the day, and stating that there was disagreement due simply to lack of a problem statement would be flatly false.

Dave then goes on to accuse Aaron Seigo and Marco Martin of being obstinate in their positions by that point, which simply does not mesh at all with my memory of things. For instance, A GNOME Panel hacker named Frederic Peters mentioned that it would be nice to be able to merge launchers with notification icons [2], an idea that was warmly received, not thrown out [3].

In addition, given that the implementation changed several times during just the KDE implementation period, there would have been no major problems with even incompatible changes to fix problems. For instance Aaron Seigo in reply to Dan Winship recommending a different way to send notification signals over D-Bus mentioned: "yes, this is a nice idea for limiting the bus traffic. would require an incompatible change to the spec, but it is doable." [4]

I'll read the rest of the article, but if this is the kind of "uncontroversial" fact stating that's going to be going on then I'll probably just unsubscribe from the xdg list and get on with my KDE developing life...

[1] http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/xdg/2009-September/011...
[2] http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/xdg/2009-September/011...
[3] http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/xdg/2009-September/011...
[4] http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/xdg/2010-January/01122...

3 points by acabal 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm interested to see how this ends up being resolved (I use Ubuntu, don't like Unity, and Gnome Shell looks to be just as bad) but have only been half-following this drama. This is a really great summary post.

I'm totally unsurprised that Shuttleworth's penchant for decision by fiat and Jobsian cargo-cultishness has driven a wedge between his company and others in the FOSS movement. (For example window controls, before windicators were announced: "Yesterday I decided to move window controls to the other side for our LTS. It's for a secret project. DO NOT ASK ME WHAT THE PROJECT IS."). But I'm also unsurprised that disorganization and what also appears to be at least a little ego and maybe even jealousy has warped things on the other side as well.

7 points by tytso 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The key problem is that the desktop community desperately needs one or more architects who can act as a sheepdog and keep the sheep marching in roughly the same direction.

It's far more critical in the Desktop world than in the Linux kernel because in the kernel, there is enough development in the kernel that there is strong incentive to develop in the upstream sources, and not behind distribution-specific source trees. In addition, the Linux kernel releases on a regular 3 month cycle. So even if we don't have formal design documents, it's a lot easier for collaboration between key kernel subsystem developers, because our patches have to come together and _work_ every three months when we push out a release. (In practice, they had better mostly work by the end of the two week merge window, or there will be hell to pay, and Linus, as the great benevolent dictator, will yell at people, and Make a Decision --- which will usually involve reverting the change which broke things functionally.)

In contrast, the Desktop world has a much harder problem, because (a) not everything lives in one source tree, (b) the kernel largely doesn't have a UI, and there are objective measures of "does it work", and "did the benchmark results go up or down", that either don't exist or aren't as important in the UI world. Questions of whether a UI is "good" or "better" than some other UI choice is a question which can't be easily answered objectively. And that, more than any thing else, is probably why we have three major design centers for desktop development: GNOME, KDE, and Canonical.

One of the things that worries me is that all too often, people look at the way things are done in the Linux kernel, and assume that it will port over to their project. In most cases, the Linux kernel is a much larger and more complex project, and things which we do in the Linux kernel world probably aren't needed in other projects. But in the Desktop world, I think the reverse problem is true. It's a much larger and more complicated ecosystem than what we have in the Linux kernel, and so decisions such as allowing the major subsystem developers to negotiate major technical changes organically and informally might work for Linux, but not in the desktop world. (For example, in the storage stack, there are less than a half-dozen people I would need to consult with in order to come consensus about some change to accomodate PCI-attached flash, and we have multiple opportunities a year to get together and work things out). Hence in the desktop world, hiring a full-time architect who did nothing else but talk to the different stakeholders and try to come to consensus on a common vision is probably something which is necessary, even though we haven't found the need to have someone in that role in the Linux development community.

6 points by gord 2 hours ago 4 replies      
These problems might take forever to solve [as the organisations are large]... In the meantime, I wouldn't be surprised if someone came up with a better technology model as a replacement.

Id like to see a desktop development model more like modern web development - UI in HTML5/javascript/SVG, json data messaging, UI & system events coming from a port [eg. shinetech/eventserver], able to write small server-like plugins in Node.js / C / Ruby / lisp that can provide services and be remoted away from the UI.

Would be nice if some of this was reusable across OSX/Win/Linux. Perhaps my desktop work should be done in the browser?

The old unix guys might have approached it this way if they had the current web at hand to reuse/augment/embellish upon. Maybe this is more in the true spirit of unix than QT/GTK/Xwindows?

1 point by fingerprinter 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"My understanding of GNOME is this: GNOME does not have technical leadership " it hasn't had clear technical leadership since, as I understand it, the creation of the GNOME Foundation (at which point, by design, the board was given a mandate to build and define GNOME, and then soon afterwards removed that mandate from itself). The foundation does not now dictate any vision or direction for GNOME."

This is a huge problem, as I see it. Even in OSS, where you have very capable people, someone needs to provide direction. I'm reminded of a military story, which I will paraphrase.

Single most important thing in warfare is to have a known objective. That way if the person in charge is killed, as is the second in charge, the troops still know they need to take that hill or everyone dies.

I take the same approach to software and it has worked my entire career. If Gnome doesn't have a stated vision/objective, it is no wonder it looks like chaos to someone outside!

Someone from Gnome _should_ step-up and provide some leadership, some technical direction, some market direction or some general foresight that things are going in the right direction. I hope the author is wrong and there is someone already doing this, but if not...

6 points by jdp23 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post. Excellent TL;DR summary, and well-articulated details on each point.

Hard feelings and lack of communication between competing UNIX desktop environments ... where have I heard this before?

3 points by dillon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's so sad that such great ideas are just so dysfunctional.
Show HN: Profile.io - Profiles for Developers profile.io
4 points by dannyr 12 minutes ago   2 comments top 2
1 point by dannyr 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hello fellow HNers:

We built Profile.io as part of StartupBus.

It is currently private beta but I have invites.

You can create an account using this link:


Site is pretty barebones but we will be adding more features and fixing bugs in the next few days.

Hopefully, we'll be selected as finalists for StartupBus and get to demo it on Monday at SxSW.


1 point by dustball 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
My take (dannyr and I built this) -- this is like an "about.me" but for developers. You add your GitHub account, add your programming languages, etc. And (my favorite) you add all the projects you are building -- for example when you add an Android app, it automatically links to the Android Market, pulls in the app icon, etc.

This is meant for developers to have a decent place to showcase their geek. (And the domain is cool, no?)

Thanks, love you all!

Brian and Danny @ SXSW

PS: This app was built on StartBus -- the entire site was made on a moving bus from SF->Austin :)

There's no ‘organic' on the App Store yardley.ca
27 points by erickerr 3 hours ago   15 comments top 6
1 point by alexbosworth 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
We have been contacted by these people who sell access to the 'Top' list.

Zero 'organic' is overstating it, but there definitely is a reason that there are terrible apps in the top paid lists.

2 points by biot 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Something I've been wondering about is why Angry Birds has under 100 reviews while Smurfs Village has over 1200, many of which are nonsense like one which was a 5-star review that said only "ok". I know some apps do a better job at encouraging reviews, but the sheer volume and garbage quality of many of the reviews makes me wonder if they're offering in-game rewards as payment.
2 points by Tycho 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It depends how many apps you're competing against. There's hardly any apps for development/coding, so if you publish something half-decent, your target audience will know about it. Of course that target audience will be much smaller than that for 'social games' or whatever. To publish a social game app, unless it falls into a readily identifiable niché, then it could languish in obscurity regardless of quality.
4 points by consultutah 3 hours ago 3 replies      
What I want to know is the cost to be in the top 100 if you purchase installs.
2 points by wmf 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Can anyone provide some background? How do you "purchase application installs"?
1 point by wkasel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Its 20-30k for paid apps. But often, if the app sucks - it won't stay on top very long.
Rails MVC VS Sproutcore MVC github.com
30 points by gmoeck 4 hours ago   5 comments top 2
2 points by l_frequency 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The easier way to explain it is that Rails is not true MVC (true being defined by the original intention as described by Trygve Reenskaug for Smalltalk). True MVC is an architectural pattern based on the composite and observer patterns and is designed for synchronous apps. This is why Cocoa or Sproutcore are more like true MVC.

Rails is Model2, which is the web adapted version of MVC that is popular in server-side web dev.

3 points by sunjain 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Although Sproutcore and Rails seems to be geared towards different domains(and seem complimentary to each other); the comparison was quite useful because of the simple way it was explained.
The Road to Serfdom, ACM edition behind-the-enemy-lines.blogspot.com
45 points by yummyfajitas 5 hours ago   10 comments top 8
11 points by tomjen3 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a pretty common problem across the spectrum of scientific publishing. The best way to solve this is to dissolve groups like the ACM and make all scientific published facts, notes, journals, etc the legal property of those who founded the research.

In the mean time, the best way to stop this nonsense is to refuse to cite papers from publishers who won't give authors the right to publish their papers outside of their systems and who charge people to access their systems.

1 point by Jun8 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here are my thoughts:

1) Big professional societies like ACM and IEEE will not just dissolve or go away (I vaguely remember being told that IEEE was the largest professional society in the world!). This is a good thing. We need these to manage the complicated management of prestige in the academic fields, e.g. senior members, fellows, etc and arrange conferences and similar gatherings. I am a member of IEEE (been for the past 11 years) and will gladly pay my dues just for these services.

2) However, the outdated paper publishing approach that these societies are pursuing has to be stopped. Now, it won't stop on its own because of the "if it ain't broke" principle. There has to be some definitive act to show the world a better solution. This could be (i) creating a website and put pirated versions of all recent papers (e.g. in the last 10 years) for selected journals, while offering much better search tools than are currently offered at the society web sites; and/or (ii) convincing more and more professionals to put up papers on personal pages, make it prestigious to do so, again perhaps using a central site, similar to Citeseer.

9 points by tytso 3 hours ago 0 replies      
At least for computer scientists, one alternative is to publish at conferences which are either run by Usenix, or where Usenix is a co-sponsor, since at least Usenix requires that the papers be released on the Usenix website w/o any kind of ACM-style b.s. paywall.

At this point, my personal policy is simply to refuse submit or assist with any conference where papers are held hostage behind a paywall, whether it is ACM or some other organization. Fortunately I'm not an academic, and so I don't have to get tenure, so it's relatively easy for me to have this policy. But if enough people do this, maybe ACM will either (a) get this message, or (b) disappear, like the dinosaurs....

2 points by VladRussian 1 hour ago 0 replies      
what is ACM? :)

Personally, the most interesting, for me at least, articles of the last decade - the ones of Perelman's - i read from the arXiv.

Until the last couple of years, having free access to IEEE, i was checking my former branch of science there as well - nothing new or interesting, just minor variations, improvements and recombinations of previous results. Nothing that i'd pay money to read.

1 point by whomelse 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
2 points by k3dz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
3 points by stitchy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. I was not aware of those policies. I'm suddenly very glad I let my membership lapse.
2 points by evangineer 2 hours ago 0 replies      
With these kinds of terms, it seems ACM are firmly on the Road to Irrelevance!
Unconfirmed reports that Yahoo has sold Delicious for $5 Million+ thenextweb.com
92 points by barredo 8 hours ago   59 comments top 14
15 points by raganwald 7 hours ago 1 reply      
To save RiderOfGiraffes a few moments: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2313351
26 points by movingahead 8 hours ago 5 replies      
I have been sticking with Delicious in the hope that Yahoo will sell it off to a good team, who can revive Delicious. Strange that no other company takes bookmarks seriously. Google Bookmarks is a joke - it doesn't even sync with Chrome.
9 points by voxmatt 8 hours ago 5 replies      
My problem with delicio.us was always the amount of time I had to devote to managing everything. I had to manage the links, the tags, my page, the plugins, etc... It's a wonderful service, but I always froze in that moment of bookmarking: what do I tag this? Where am I going to put this that I remember?

To that end, I've been trying historio.us. I'm not so sure about it, but I like that I just click one button and I know that if I really have to find it some day, I can. They killer feature that would make it truly useful is some sort of auto-filtering for what you're inputting.

13 points by hassy 8 hours ago 1 reply      
so having joshu and not selling in desperation is worth at least $13 million
1 point by mckoss 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've been running social bookmarking service Faves.com for a couple of years. We had to cut our team as we were not making enough money to support it.

This year we've actually been cutting features to emphasize performance. I'd like to transition to a subscription model, myself. Prior to pinboard I wouldn't have thought that was an option.

3 points by chrisboesing 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder who the "competitor" is that bought delicious.

The first one that comes to mind is Digg, since Kevin Rose said he would like to buy it and Yahoo contacted Digg if they would by it[1]. The second one that comes to my mind is StumbleUpon, especially two days after raising a Series B of $17 Million[2].

[1]: http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/26/kevin-rose-yahoo-contacted-...

[2]: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/09/stumbleupon-stumbles-onto-1...

2 points by zaidf 6 hours ago 0 replies      
StumbleUpon may be? They just raised 17M...and seem to enjoy buying stuff back.
4 points by rinnku 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One day after we launch a new social bookmarking and community news site - http://www.rinnku.com - and Yahoo calls it quits!

The cowards... :)

1 point by u48998 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I want my browser to develop and improve the History feature so I don't have to rely on manual bookmarking. Strangely, no one is paying attention.
1 point by runevault 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hm if they are really moving it, should probably make a more recent backup of my bookmarks just in case. Though I've not used the service much since word came down they are selling or sunsetting it.
1 point by nivertech 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I interested to know, how much is OPEX per month to keep afloat a consumer web service, like delicious?
1 point by amitraman1 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Bad missteps at Yahoo!. Apparently they have a new faster e-mail. Yahoo email in Flash/Javascript + visual ads really ruined my experience with Yahoo.
2 points by blazer 5 hours ago 1 reply      

Why so under valuated?

1 point by taken11 7 hours ago 1 reply      
hope the will use the old domain again, del.icio.us was so much better than delicious.com
So you think you own your Twitter name? ac31004.blogspot.com
112 points by collypops 10 hours ago   105 comments top 19
31 points by Udo 9 hours ago replies      
Disclaimer: I'm going to assume this really happened, even though it's coming from a slightly suspicious looking Blogspot address, the description itself looks believable.

The surprising thing here is not the obvious injustice or the callousness of the Twitter team. Rather, it's that people think they somehow have a right to use Twitter's services and accounts like they were their property. The same goes for people who build businesses on Facebook and every other monolithic site. I think users need to understand that they are on someone else's turf, and they are subject to whatever the company decides to do. There is no reasonable expectation of fairness, or of free speech for that matter.

That's why building a business on Twitter is foolish. I hear it's done successfully all the time, yet people have to understand this is a very shaky foundation. We're not even Twitter's customers. Advertisers are Twitter's customers. Nobody should be surprised about this, in fact it's a miracle "outrageous" stories don't happen more often.

8 points by pdx 6 hours ago 1 reply      
We need a way to own our online persona's. We have one, it's called an email address at a domain that you registered.

Unfortunately, we don't have an analogous mechanism for instant message traffic. Actually we do, it's called a jabber server on a domain that you registered.

But we don't have a way to publish our short, trivial thoughts to the world, and still maintain ownership of our identity. But, really, we do. It's called RSS.

People should publish their "tweets" via RSS feeds from their registered domain name. You could "follow" people by subscribing to their RSS, and you could "tweet" with a front end on your phone/computer that looks exactly like your current twitter client, but is linked to your RSS feed.

An open source library that made all this easy could be written, for the geeks, and for the non-geeks, there would be services that popped up that would host for you, but since the domain name is still in your name, you can move to another hosting provider at will.

Now, how to get everybody to switch?

19 points by philjackson 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm @philjackson (my name being Phil Jackson, obviously) and there's a Phil Jackson who's prominent in the world of basketball. I've often wondered, if basketball Phil Jackson went to Twitter and said "I want @philjackson", would they give it to him?
7 points by xd 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I found the statement made by the other side insightful: http://www.girl-geeks.co.uk/statement/Girl%20Geeks%20Stateme... [pdf]

"Just for the record, I have personally sacrificed personal savings and a full time salary for the last few years for this cause Girl Geeks. I certainly did not do any of this for self-promotion or gain and believe in supporting those who need it 100%."

She done a pretty good job of promoting herself in the response.

3 points by code_duck 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It certainly appears that as far as these companies are concerned, users are owed nothing and developers are owed nothing. We're just stepping stones on the way to an IPO or exit.

Plenty of micro business owners have found this out the hard way on sites like Etsy or eBay, for instance - they might think that the shop is theirs, and put the URL on their business cards, promote it at craft shows, on their cars, in expensive promotional graphics. All it takes is one idiot admin to close your account, and it's gone (Etsy in particular has notoriously poor practices regarding closing customers accounts, going back for years. There are plenty of of customer service horror stories there. eBay has a long history of NARUing sellers also). I've heard stories about flickr recently, too, deleting accounts - people lose photos, messages, contacts going back years and the company responsible simply doesn't care.

The only thing to do is to have your own domain, own website, use open source software, and know what you're doing technically or be close to someone who does. The only people who can take that away from you is courts or the government. This is also why we need networks that work like Diaspora vs. ones that work like Facebook.

27 points by rtp 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Just because it is within the rights of Twitter to be a dick doesn't mean that it _should_ be a dick, and from where I am standing, Twitter is currently acting like a dick.
6 points by metageek 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems like this is a violation of Twitter's obligations under the ECPA to ensure that someone's private communications are not delivered to a third party.
5 points by njharman 7 hours ago 2 replies      
No, why on earth would you ever think that? I don't own my street address, SSN, Prison ID, don't even own my given name.
2 points by rm445 3 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing the comments here haven't addressed is how Twitter's behaviour in this case compares with how such things have traditionally been dealt with on the Internet. I think there's a reasonable expectation that big Web companies act in a way compatible with the rest of the Net even if they are for-profit.

Consider the Nissan Computer Corporation website: http://www.nissan.com/

Or read about when a company called GAIL tried to take gail.com off a woman named Gail: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2006/d2006...

Now obviously girl-geeks is not a personal nickname, nor apparently was it previously the name of any sort of registered company or other entity, more of an ad-hoc sort of thing. Given that someone later formed a company with this name and trademarked it, should they get the rights to that Twitter name? Would they be able to take girl-geeks.com off a previous owner who was using it in good faith?

My suspicion is that they wouldn't, and Twitter's behaviour is bad netiquette.

8 points by tnorthcutt 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
4 points by svag 8 hours ago 1 reply      
So, the same applies to the "free" web services like gmail and MSN/hotmail? They just can take your username and give it to someone else?
1 point by bo_Olean 3 hours ago 0 replies      
sometimes it feels like we are in illusion about "free" stuffs in internet. Google, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or whatever.. everything they claim to be free.. they cost your time, they change your mindset, they change the overall you. Nothing is free here, its hardly convincing - yet we just embrace so called free stuffs even without a single thought. More pathetic thing is - these free services don't care who you are - they are just doing their business.

what would have been your decision in such situation if you were Twitter Inc, i am just curious ?

1 point by riffic 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've identified the namespace "problem" on twitter for a few years now. This is exactly what you get when you put all your eggs into a single service provider's basket.
1 point by drdaeman 5 hours ago 0 replies      
So, this way or another, path leads to decentralized social networks, where your identity is protected with your knowledge of private key.
2 points by br1 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If I had the money I would trademark unprotected twitter accounts just to have them (temporarily) assigned to me and make more noise about this outrage.
1 point by betolive 5 hours ago 0 replies      
An interesting example related to the ongoing online identity wars. Facebook, Google & Twitter are fighting to get our time investment in their free platforms without giving us the assurance that our investment will be rewarded.

If only the decentralized Twitter proposed a few years ago would have been built, we (users) would have more control about our identity, probably it is a little bit late now.

1 point by kovar 8 hours ago 3 replies      
From the posting: "Last night an organsation called @GIRLGEEKS contacted Twitter to say they had registered trademark for Girl Geeks and wanted the @girlgeeks account for themselves."

The original owner could have pursued similar protection and avoided the problem.

2 points by e03179 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone notice that Druge Report got on Twitter, announced the link and their account was @DRUDGE_? Then a day or two later, it was @DRUDGE.
0 points by knowzie 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I think owning the .com should be the new criteria for owning a trademark.
Carmack: Direct3D is now better than OpenGL bit-tech.net
65 points by bhrgunatha 7 hours ago   37 comments top 8
27 points by Zak 6 hours ago 4 replies      
I find it odd that there was no mention of working on multiple platforms as an advantage of using OpenGL. I've bought a game or three I wouldn't have otherwise because they offered a Linux version, and I suspect I'm not the only one.
5 points by malkia 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Call of Duty does not use OpenGL. Poor journalism.

It's so simple - take depends.exe and run it on the executable, or use procexp, then Ctrl+D and see what DLL's are being used.

Even more simpler - look at the Redist folder - it has DirectX in it.

I'm not really taking sides here - for my personal projects I use OpenGL, and find it easier to use (especially from Common Lisp, Lua, JavaScript), also it has structure that I like better.

5 points by jessedhillon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
5-10 years ago this headline would have been more likely to appear on April 1, as John Carmack used to be a member of the OpenGL architecture review board.
1 point by drawkbox 3 hours ago 1 reply      
id software Rage HD and engine would now have been as easy to port to iOS if it wasn't for OpenGL.

Maybe technologically DirectX is ahead but platform support and inclusion is the reason it is not winning on mobile.

Also WebGL is coming and OpenGL ES 2.0 for mobile and web will be a very similar platform.

Where is DirectX for the web and mobile in that aspect? And why doesn't Carmack try to port Rage to WIndows Phone...

5 points by bhrgunatha 7 hours ago 6 replies      
Interesting that he says OpenGL has been more concerned with backwards compatibility than Microsoft has with Direct3D which is surprising considering Microsoft's normal compatibility fanaticism.
2 points by rbanffy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It certainly is if all you want to target is Microsoft platforms.
1 point by rch 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There are some interesting things happening in the graphics space, driven mainly by low-power/mobile device proliferation. It would be a good time to invent something that changes how real-time rendering happens altogether.
-2 points by zdw 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Multi-platform support is key - for example, where's Direct3D for Android and iOS? All the viable gaming platforms, other than the Xbox 360, are running some OpenGL variant.

PC gaming is dying the slow death of piracy and activation - while games can perform better (aren't held back by 5 year old console/mobile hardware), and have better input (keyboard + mouse for FPS), the game vendors can't make as much money on them.

That said, Microsoft did push the envelope on this - they weren't held back by the committee model like OpenGL is.

Announcing the first Racket Days racket-lang.org
4 points by samth 28 minutes ago   discuss
Change Your Reality (again) with Rejection Therapy's "Blue Pill" Edition thegamecrafter.com
4 points by pauledwards 28 minutes ago   discuss
How to Get to Genius jamesthornton.com
55 points by espeed 6 hours ago   11 comments top 6
6 points by solson 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The article is thought provoking. I'd say genius is a habit. The habit of thinking about things most people don't think about and thinking about them in ways most people won't think about them. But I believe anyone can acquire the habit with practice. The reason few people do, is that it is risky. Unless the individual is extremely socially adept, this habit is social liability. Why, by definition the habit makes you odd and most of us want to 'fit in.' So we tend to think about things the same way as our peers.
9 points by hammock 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great read, not your typical HN amateur blogger overblown post. Understanding intelligence to be the recognition of patterns illuminates why and how things like perspective, experience, solitude, and creativity all play into "genius."

Also a great quote which I had not seen from Galileo: "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." This notion is something I struggle with when revealing insights to others, because people are so often willing to say "well duh, that just makes sense" without realizing that it's actually a novel insight to them.

2 points by Tycho 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I've got a theory about ideas/inspiration. Basically, if you ask a question that has no follow-up/dependent questions, then magically your brain will supply the answer (in a short time-frame). You just need to drill down to that terminal node. Most people stop further up the tree. In fact usually you're not trying to find answers, just to learn something that's already documented. Perhaps also you need the sister/cousin nodes to be in place/known, so that when the idea comes you get that final-piece-of-the-puzzle 'chink,' the Eureka feeling. Granted I've never worked on deep research problems but whenever I need a good new idea to proceed, it tends to come easily. Just by identifying where the missing link should be, you are gifted what it is.
2 points by kristofferR 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Great read. Just a quick note though, you have not installed Disqus correctly. The same two comments are showing on all pages for me.
2 points by sunjain 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This article provides a very good insight into what makes someone a genius (and certainly it is not just the talent). I think perspective/vision is a key thing here, combined with passion and hard work.
2 points by tammam 5 hours ago 0 replies      
very interesting article. It's good to look at the brain from a scientific, hardware/software perspective. I think it's also important for us to observe our thought process to improve, as some call become more aware.
Guide to Microsoft Excel (for SEO professionals) distilled.co.uk
15 points by Roedou 3 hours ago   3 comments top 2
2 points by zacharycohn 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
This article is a great intro to higher level uses for Excel. Thanks for writing it!
1 point by barista 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The article does not mention PowerPivot which is an incredibly powerful tool to do analysis and BI from Excel.
Wayland Architecture freedesktop.org
64 points by alanhaggai 8 hours ago   27 comments top 3
14 points by wmf 5 hours ago 0 replies      
To provide some context, Canonical and Red Hat are promoting Wayland as the future of Linux graphics.
5 points by sedachv 4 hours ago 4 replies      
This was posted before:


I flamed a lot. NETWORK TRANSPARENCY IS IMPORTANT. The effort put into Wayland would be much better put into getting NX standardized as the next generation of X protocol, and developing additional X extensions.

David Täht has some good perspective on X11 network transparency:


3 points by tl 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Does this mean that if you prefer to not use compositing effects, that Wayland is much ado about nothing?
       cached 11 March 2011 23:02:01 GMT