hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    11 Apr 2011 News
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1
The US Government Keeps Harassing a UW Researcher Who Speaks for WikiLeaks thestranger.com
291 points by biafra 7 hours ago   74 comments top 14
1
44 points by neilk 5 hours ago replies      
You know what's really sad? I met a programmer the other day who works in a related field, and he categorically states he never wants to meet or correspond with Jake. He couldn't deal with the level of harassment that Jake is getting.

And it is straight up harassment.

2
14 points by erikpukinskis 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I highly recommend the film "Trumbo", about the Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted for refusing to say whether or not he was, or ever had been, a member of the communist party.

It is extremely relevant to all of this discussion, including the question of whether one should sacrifice the wellbeing and safety of one's family in order to promote a cause that's somewhat secondary to them.

Lots of people lied under oath, or turned other people in in order to protect their families, because they didn't want to "risk it". But Trumbo and several others stood up for their right to free speech and paid dearly for it.

3
18 points by shareme 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Interesting side note:

Did you know the law or precedent being cited that allows customs to seize computers, cell phones, etc can be circumvented by just fed-ex'ing the device across the border?

Now tell me, if I know this than why cannot a suspect of illegal activities such as a Mobster, credit card phisher, etc do it? They already do it folks..

4
30 points by _delirium 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Bay-Area hackers might also know him as a cofounder of Noisebridge, fwiw.
5
37 points by Bdennyw 5 hours ago 1 reply      
WTF is an Army officer doing intergating an American civilian at the airport? They have no jurisdiction or authority off base. Military activity in a civilian context should sacre the shit out of everyone.
6
46 points by jevinskie 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It's simply disgusting, how the government can simply harass people without bringing any cases against them, preventing them from defending themselves.
7
20 points by ioerror 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm flying back through Texas in a few hours from Serbia.

I wonder if this article or any of the others will change the way that Customs and the rest of the Federal Government treat me?

I'm guessing "no" - care to take any bets?

8
17 points by ghostDancer 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"Land of the free , home of the brave" but the government prefer to defend freedom of speech in other countries not in USA. It's the same song in almost all the western countries, we talk about democracy and human rights , but we support dictatorships all over the world, and forget about rights when we want.
9
2 points by zyfo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What does the US Government gain by doing this? It's not obvious to me that the deterring of similar opinions being voiced really outweight the current and future negative publicity.

It would be interesting to hear inside stories about what kind of conversations are going on on how to best handle Wikileaks. Perhaps via Wikileaks itself?

Also, I'm very grateful that people like ioerror exists. Stay strong and best of luck.

10
4 points by dhume 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much of this it would take to get him to seek asylum in another country?
11
-1 point by benlopez 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I would be more concerned if the government were not harassing him
12
-2 points by danenania 4 hours ago 0 replies      
These people are going to get theirs. The Arab revolts are eventually coming to America. Anonymous is just the beginning.
13
27 points by blhack 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm having trouble coming up with reasons that this isn't appropriate for HN.

A programmer, who just-so-happens to be a founder of noisebridge, is being harassed by the federal government for participating in an online newspaper.

He's effectively being harassed for participating in the types of things that programmers participate in. Since this is hacker news, most of the people here are programmers, meaning most of the people here are interested in it, meaning that it's appropriate.

tl;dr: programmers tend to be interested in news about programmers and how their activities as programmers can effect them.

A parallel might be a musician being harassed by their government for writing anti-war songs, and a story about it being covered on a music website.

14
-1 point by colinplamondon 16 minutes ago 1 reply      
I haven't heard a decent argument on how Wikileaks isn't a terrorist organization, and why the principal members aren't enemy combatants.

The scattershot releases show that the goal is to hurt the US, not to affect change. There was real legitimate news in the releases so far- hidden in mounds of classified information that had no news value beyond exposing sources, risking lives, and slinging mud at the State Department.

There's HUGE value in an organization like Wikileaks, as shown in Tunisia.

Wikileaks itself, though, has shown that it is blatantly anti-American, risking the lives of our allies and sources. I really, really hope that one of the splinter groups takes off, with a bit more respect for the human cost of these kind of releases.

2
How to build toddler app UIs. gabrielweinberg.com
75 points by elehack 3 hours ago   18 comments top 7
1
3 points by Stormbringer 55 minutes ago 3 replies      
I would add the additional thing that if you have a big green button and a big red button, the toddler is not going to have the same good/bad stop/go associations with those colours. A big red 'exit the app and go spend money' button is going to get pushed just as much as the 'go back to the game green button'.

From the article:

"Finally, here are some gripes with iOS:

•Home button needs an off switch. I need some way to disable the home button or make it harder to access during app play, e.g. a triple click or some other morse code sequence.

•Need a way to hide videos. Eli knows how to get to the videos. He can find the icon no matter where I put it. I can disable videos through restrictions, but that doesn't really solve the problem. I would really like to be able to hide this icon like you can do for system icons on Windows. Another option would be to put the restriction on the icon itself and force me to enter the password when clicking on it. Come to think of it, this would work for the home button too.
"

I very much disagree with the first point. It makes your app a 'trap' that even an adult might not be able to figure out how to exit from. This is a stunningly, spectacularly bad idea and violates the whole "the user is in control" illusion. If the easiest way to exit your app is to reboot the machine ... then your app blows, and you suck.

If the kid is pressing the home button a lot, and this annoys you, then you have to think about your goals. Toddlers like to bounce from one thing to another a lot, and they love to be in control (because they have so little control of everything else in their lives).

We think of toddlers having short attention spans, but sometimes the converse is true, toddlers can also have amazingly long attention spans - the classic example being the kid who sits there and bangs a pot with a wooden spoon for endless hours.

If the toddler is exiting too often from the app, maybe the problem is not with the home button, maybe your app is just not engaging enough.

I saw (for instance) one toddler who could spend hours making the angry birds fly the wrong way. When they do they make indignant squawks, and he loved that. Without fail any adult who watched him doing that would quickly become bored and try to show him how to 'do it right'.

---

With respect to the videos, I'm not sure what the problem is, is it bandwidth? Is it easy access to age inappropriate content?

2
7 points by sambeau 3 hours ago 1 reply      
There's some great advice here.

It amazes me how often apps built for toddlers make fundamental mistakes: interactions that little, fat 'starfishy' fingers can't manage; instructions in text rather than voice or picture.

Flash games are the worst for this: at least with an iOS game drag and drop is easy and intuitive for a toddler - but trying to drag and drop with a laggy mouse is hard. Toddler will accidentally scroll the containing browser window or switch apps, which is very distressing for them. A simple, locked full-screen browser would be a godsend for many parents (which is what an iPad is).

I have found young children cope fine with the one button. Once they learn not to touch it until they are finished they are fine - if they accidentally push it they know what happened.

It's also great to see quality, intelligent software appearing for small children: Balloonimals is a constant favourite, Ramp Champ should be rebranded for the under-5s as it has just enough gameplay for them.

Something interesting: as my kids (6 & 8) have grown up playing iPhone games with tilt control they get very frustrated when they play games with button-only control. They naturally try to tilt the device. It shows that the next generation of gamers have no need for physical buttons - something that we were told was essential for gamers.

I've been meaning to write a blog post about this subject for years.

3
2 points by ceejayoz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'd really love a version of the iOS YouTube app that would let me limit it to specific users and/or playlists I've created.

My two-year-old twins love watching Sesame Street videos, but this afternoon they managed to pull up a woman in underwear talking about sex off the 'most popular' tab.

4
1 point by joetek 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Need a way to hide videos."

Agreed, but even better would be a way to limit users to a certain folder or screen. I keep all the kid-friendly apps on one screen, but inevitably they go exploring. I'm always worried that they'll send gobbledygook to an email, or a status update on twitter or facebook. It'd be great to separate these apps.

For that matter, it's too easy to swipe to another screen. My youngest finds the app he wants, but he'll try 4-5 times to click the icon, and end up partially swiping to another screen.

It's also too easy to go into edit mode. My oldest has figured ou that when it goes all wiggly, to press the home button, but my youngest just gets frustrated that he can't start a wiggling app.

5
1 point by syllogism 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Geez. I have no children in my life (even from friends or relatives really), so I never even thought of this. Very interesting.
6
1 point by duck 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
One related question that I was just thinking about this weekend was if people have similar purchasing habits for toddler/child apps compared to apps for themselves.
7
1 point by martincmartin 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Does anyone have suggestions for good Android toddler apps?
3
Google's Social Strategy cdixon.org
13 points by rrhoover 36 minutes ago   discuss
4
Mockup previews of Appleseed 1.0, feedback appreciated. appleseedproject.org
20 points by michaelchisari 1 hour ago   18 comments top 6
1
4 points by jedsmith 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The mockups look great.

Gut reaction is that you are clearly inspired by Facebook, but there's only so many ways to peel this particular orange. I'd consider a primary color change as a quick and painless way to distance the two; I think it's the blue that's keying me to Facebook the most. There's an argument about whether that's fair, that they psychologically own social blue in my mind, but better to differentiate (in my mind).

2
3 points by michaelchisari 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I've gotten some criticism that Appleseed's design and user experience was lacking, so I decided to work on a set of mockups for where I'd like to see Appleseed go for a 1.0 release. While we're still on version 0.7.9 (publicly), I usually feel that solid mockups can set good guidelines for building software for the future.

I would love to hear HN's thoughts on these, I'll be taking criticism to heart as I break these out into HTML over the next few weeks.

3
3 points by sthatipamala 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What concerns me is the emphasis on open-source and decentralization on the front page. They are marketing the features like this is a software product, which is not how one should market a social network.

If they ever want this to appeal to anyone but alpha-geeks, they should emphasize how the unique features make the _experience_ on Appleseed better than it is on Facebook/other networks.

4
1 point by sudonim 13 minutes ago 1 reply      
I took a quick look through the mocks and my gut tells me it's a little too ambitious for a first version. Focus on one problem real people have that other social platforms don't solve well, and do it well. Cloning facebook's featureset does not a social network make.
5
2 points by phlux 40 minutes ago 1 reply      
I hate the blue. I think the UI is facebook 2.0 completely, and while I think they are well done - I think they look like a cold corporate site profile and is one of the things that I have always hated about facebook - the UI is really not that good. Sure its functional - but you cant argue that its something revolutionary.
6
1 point by blhack 39 minutes ago 1 reply      
Looks really really really really nice. Did you design it, or did you hire somebody?

A+ Job.

5
ISteve: The Steve Jobs authorized biography go.com
9 points by dr_ 32 minutes ago   discuss
6
Don't Store Passwords, Generate Them When Needed 16s.us
16 points by 16s 1 hour ago   6 comments top 4
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1 point by nikcub 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
the encryption used to store passwords is rarely the problem, the strength of passwords and users remembering them is.
2
7 points by shib71 22 minutes ago 1 reply      
How is remembering the pass-sentences different from remembering passwords?
3
1 point by biot 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
However, this IS a master password only with a salted hash added on top. From the FAQ it uses a phrase like "Tubby loves tacos!facebook" runs it through SHA1 and spits out Facebook's password. Someone who shoulder surfs your keyphrase can now use this technique to generate passwords for any site, whereas using something like Password Safe or the various other password storage methods would need to both shoulder surf your master password as well as obtain your encrypted password file.
4
3 points by keyle 21 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm confused. Can I get a real-world example out of this?
7
A list of startup accelerator programs shedd.us
42 points by philipDS 4 hours ago   17 comments top 13
1
1 point by Stormbringer 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've often thought that for the exceptionally bright but really technical hands on programmer that some of these startup incubator or shared workspace environments might be the ideal place to work.

The problem is that at any one company there aren't enough challenges to keep you interested, you're the heavy hitter, the impact player. You can come on the field, and in 15 minutes score more goals than everyone else put together, but then you get bored and need to go off and do something else. I think there is an analogy to science - there is the big glamourous science with its breakthroughs, and then there is the 'janitorial' science of the guys who coem along behind and tidy everything up.

The problem with trying to create a 'floating' programmer type position is how do you compensate them? But that will come back to a much more fundamental (and unsolved) problem, how do you measure the input of programmers.

Additionally, if we buy into some of the recent discussion about personality types and programming, it may be that the best impact players are the manic/depressive types. They might come in to the shared workspace for two weeks and flit from company to company solving an amazing quantity of problems... and then they go and hide under their bed for four weeks and you don't see them again for a month. Someone's got to keep the momentum going in that time (so we can't all be impact players).

Additionally, thinking back to the times that I've been the guy to walk into the room, take a quick glance at the other programmers source code and say "there's your problem" and then ride off into the sunset, you really need to have some kind of base level of understanding of what they're trying to do.

For me I think I also have 'language snobbery' issues. I'm not going to want to help some 20 year old MBAs put some scammy B2B together by coercing two fundemantally different PHP frameworks to talk to each other (and even if I did the compensation would be even more of an issue, because they'd never believe just how difficult it is).

So it'll probably always be a pipe-dream for me...

2
1 point by nhebb 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
The portlandten.com link is dead. I don't know if there's an official voice for the Portland startup community, but Rick Turoczy at http://siliconflorist.com does a pretty good job rounding up the local startup news (among other topics).
3
1 point by yurisagalov 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Great list, I figured I'd give you a few more for the corner of the world that I do know:

Toronto also has "Basecamp Ventures"/Mantella Venture Partners (http://mantellavp.com/), which is focused on early stage companies. PushLife (which just last weekend sold to Google for a reported ~$25M) was a graduate of that system.

There's also the Waterloo Accelerator center (http://www.acceleratorcentre.com/), which is part of the Ontario Center for Excellence, and is loosely affiliated with the Toronto counterpart, MaRS (http://www.marsdd.com/)

edit: removed the Velocity accelerator, I saw you have them mentioned under university affiliated :)

4
2 points by treblig 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Another to add to the list:

10xelerator.com was launched last week for this summer in Columbus, OH. It's $20k, and grant-based w/ no equity stake.

5
1 point by rgrieselhuber 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In Japan, there is also Open Network Lab, run by Digital Garage, the company responsible for bringing Twitter to Japan, Netprice and Kakaku.com (both are big players in ecommerce there).

http://onlab.jp/

6
1 point by toast76 2 hours ago 0 replies      
We've just graduated from the first intake at an Aussie program called StartMate (http://startmate.com.au)
7
1 point by Alex3917 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There's also MagicBeansInc.com in San Francisco, and Startup-Insights.com in Taiwan.
8
1 point by bdclimber14 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One of these I noticed isn't actually a startup accelerator in the sense that they offer funding. GangPlank is more of a collaborative workspace than anything.
9
1 point by rbreve 2 hours ago 0 replies      
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1 point by ndaugherty18 1 hour ago 1 reply      
For people just out of college there is a new one launched at The Ohio State University http://10xelerator.com/.
11
1 point by hansy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Does the "brand name" of an accelerator matter? I figure more well-known accelerators come with a larger, more established network to pool from, but I imagine there must be a great deal of merit to be gained from any accelerator you choose, right?
12
1 point by metachris 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Good list. I think it would help to sort them by country first and then by city though.
13
1 point by triviatise 4 hours ago 2 replies      
someone needs to make an app that lets you enter your info once and then auto submit to all the accelerators.
8
Chatroulette for text messages randtxt.com
41 points by mayop100 3 hours ago   16 comments top 10
1
9 points by oniTony 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Yup, just like chatroulette

    Message received from 858-XXX-XXXX at Sun Apr 10 2011 21:59:46 GMT+0000 (UTC) 
What nonsense do you speak of? The humanity!
Reply received from 724-XXX-XXXX at Sun Apr 10 2011 22:28:29 GMT+0000 (UTC)
8========================D

2
2 points by hugh3 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Oh hooray, now I can pay ten cents a pop for what I used to hate getting for free!
3
6 points by blantonl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
cellphone providers all over the world are now scrambling to make absolutely, unequivocally sure that this goes viral.
4
3 points by orenmazor 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I built this a few months ago on twilio as well, and spent a massive amount of time trying to dispel the "chatroulette for ____" angle :)

my initial testers all got nailed with $30+ cell phone bill increases because Twilio only has american numbers. and canadians can't text american numbers for free anymore.

if anybody wants the code, it's built in django and I own www.texted.in with it (currently down since djangy is going away)

5
1 point by corin_ 3 hours ago 0 replies      

  Message received from 479-XXX-XXXX at Sun Apr 10 2011 22:26:23 GMT+0000 (UTC)
I'm from England!
Reply received from 626-XXX-XXXX at Sun Apr 10 2011 22:29:32 GMT+0000 (UTC)
I am fasting, but it's not going very well.

If only Twilio would support international messaging by default so I could have got that reply, and had a message to reply to.

6
2 points by MikeW 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Lissn.com reminds me of a far more polished "chatroulette for text" except I was able to talk to a lady in Japan for half an hour about the recent tragedy on Lissn, and I didn't have to disclose my cellphone number to anybody or get billed for using the service.
7
1 point by blantonl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I never, ever participated in Chartoulette, but for some odd reason I immediately tested this out.

And, I have to admit - it's a winner.

It's like the Cracker Jacks of text messaging. Every text is a winner...

8
2 points by frankdenbow 2 hours ago 0 replies      
i believe there was textslide that did something similar. Will try it out!
9
1 point by shazow 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool application of Twilio!

I'd feel more comfortable trying it if my SMSs weren't publicly displayed.

Although I did just upgrade my SMS plan to 1,000... Hmm.

10
3 points by ithayer 3 hours ago 2 replies      
would be cool if it supported mms.
9
Tux - A Shell for Sinatra Apps tagaholic.me
16 points by cldwalker 2 hours ago   4 comments top 2
1
3 points by 1gor 7 minutes ago 1 reply      

  While working on a sinatra app recently, I noticed 
that sinatra has no rails equivalent to rails console.

racksh (Rack::Shell) is a console for Rack based ruby web applications. From the README at https://github.com/sickill/racksh :

"It's like script/console in Rails or merb -i in Merb, but for any app built on Rack. You can use it to load application environment for Rails, Merb, Sinatra, Camping, Ramaze or your own framework provided there is config.ru file in app's root directory /.../ It loads whole application environment like Rack web server, but instead of running the app it starts irb session. Additionally it exposes $rack variable which allows you to make simulated HTTP requests to your app.".

2
1 point by mikiem 49 minutes ago 1 reply      
Hmm.. And unfortunate name. Tux is the name of the Linux penguin mascot.
10
World's 2nd deadliest poison, in an aquarium store near you discovermagazine.com
7 points by dailo10 47 minutes ago   discuss
11
Sedtris: Tetris in sed doslash.org
54 points by waterhouse 6 hours ago   13 comments top 5
1
5 points by waterhouse 6 hours ago 1 reply      
For learning about sed, this is the best resource that I've seen so far:

http://www.grymoire.com/Unix/Sed.html

2
4 points by bluesmoon 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Weird, I posted this exact same link with the same title a month ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2303109

Does HN use the URL as a primary key or something else?

3
0 points by w1ntermute 5 hours ago 3 replies      
4
1 point by benatkin 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I downloaded and played it. It didn't disappoint!

I was left wondering whether the game speeds up, though, and if so, how it works. Anyone know?

5
1 point by zorked 2 hours ago 0 replies      
12
[YC W11] InPulse Adds A Smartphone-Like Experience To Your Wrist Watch techcrunch.com
29 points by citizenkeys 4 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
3 points by erohead 3 hours ago 0 replies      
In response to some of the comments from our post in Feb (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2221579), we've updated our Terms and released local build instructions: http://www.getinpulse.com/guide/local/.
2
1 point by hugh3 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Interesting-looking product. But a hardware product, already in beta, sounds like an unusual match for a YC session that hasn't even started yet.
3
1 point by citizenkeys 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've met these founders. They seem cool. InPulse is hosting a hackathon at Hacker Dojo next Saturday. See you there! http://hackinpulse.eventbrite.com/
13
Ask HN: Summer Internships in the Bay Area?
37 points by Jarred 2 hours ago   8 comments top 6
1
2 points by mncaudill 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
Flickr is currently looking for an intern. Email me at caudill at yahoo-inc.com if you want to write a bit of code for us this summer! We're set up in the Financial District in SF.
2
2 points by diN0bot 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
CloudKick/RackSpace is hiring (full time and interns): http://jobs.rackspace.com/search/?q=san+francisco&search...
3
3 points by makuro 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
You might want to give InternMatch a try:

http://www.internmatch.com

They've also got a competition going. Not sure what timeframe its internships are for, but here's a link:

http://www.internmatch.com/500-interns-competition

4
4 points by thurn 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
Kind of late to be asking, isn't it? I'm doing an internship at Facebook, and I'm reasonably sure they've finished hiring interns (about 300 of 'em).
5
3 points by 101north 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
Check out internmatch.com to find one. They're a 500 Startups company (most recent class), and seem to have some decent inventory on there already. Good luck!
6
1 point by danielbru 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Name: Teens in Tech Labs
Size: 4
URL: www.teensintech.com
Position: Intern (Dev & Business)
Email: daniel at teensintech.com
Skills: Dev (HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript)
14
Clever Algorithms: Nature-Inspired Programming Recipes cleveralgorithms.com
118 points by binarray2000 12 hours ago   9 comments top 3
1
1 point by rbxbx 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
I like how none of the comments actually have anything to do with the post, however at the time of this writing it's up to 113 points. I understand that links to the original discussion were posted, however if you're aware of those, why are you upvoting _this_ thread? Does anyone actually peruse the content they're upvoting these days?

I thought the author did good job collecting these algorithms, and certainly can't be faulted for releasing it for free. Now as the style/usefulness/code quality goes... I feel less warm and fuzzy. I'll definitely keep this book lying around and have enjoyed reading through it from time to time, but calling it a 'book' proper seems a bit of a stretch, to me.

Once again... thanks author. Great reference, and etc... just .... y'kno.

2
26 points by DupDetector 11 hours ago 2 replies      
3
0 points by mambodog 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Is binarray2000 someone's alt account? Because they are quite old, haven't been active for several months, and now have 3 items at the top of the homepage. Just curious.
15
Convert JSON to a Unix-friendly line-based format github.com
41 points by adulau 6 hours ago   15 comments top 9
1
6 points by haberman 6 hours ago 1 reply      
"Everyone I know prefers to work with JSON over XML, but sadly there is a sore lack of utilities of the quality or depth of html-xml-utils and XMLStarlet for actually processing JSON data in an automated fashion, short of writing an ad hoc processor in your favourite programming language."

Actually there is just such a suite of utilites! See https://github.com/benbernard/RecordStream

2
4 points by jedsmith 5 hours ago 1 reply      

    import os.path as p

Renaming imports to single letters bugs me. I went to see where it's used, and it isn't. Binding pyflakes to Cmd+S in TextMate was the best thing I ever did, and it would have caught this. pyflakes is seriously awesome in that role, and pylint before committing.

I'm also surprised that simplejson is used, instead of the built-in json in Python 2.6 and up. A good solution is:

    try: import json
except ImportError: import simplejson as json

3
2 points by sigil 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe you're solving a different problem, but I'm not sure emitting one key-value pair per line is ultimately the way to go:

  $ echo '[{"a": [{"b": {"c": ["foo"]}}]}]' | jsonpipe
/ []
/0 {}
/0/a []
/0/a/0 {}
/0/a/0/b {}
/0/a/0/b/c []
/0/a/0/b/c/0 "foo"

In my own work, I've built up a suite of stream-based nested record processing tools that accept & produce JSON, protocol buffers, and a unix tab-delimited format. For the unix format it's been more useful to stick to the standard one-record-per-line thing, and let the user specify what fields to extract and their order.

Here's a depressing example of the fun you can have with new media and old unix tools, to give you some idea:

  $ mill io -r json -w texty -W fields=in_reply_to_screen_name < tweets.json | \
grep -v -E '^(None|)$' | sort | uniq -c | sed -e 's#^ *##' | \
sort -k1,1 -nr | head -5
258 justinbieber
248 ddlovato
184 gypsyhearttour
164 Logindaband
145 Louis_Tomlinson

4
3 points by zpoley 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is my contribution to Unix friendly JSON command line tools (requires Node.js and NPM): https://github.com/zpoley/json-command. Here are a couple other good ones:
http://kmkeen.com/jshon/
https://github.com/micha/jsawk
5
1 point by sigil 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. For faster flattening of nested structures into paths -- and the inverse operation, unflattening -- you could use this Python C extension:

https://github.com/acg/python-flattery

Full disclosure, I'm the author. ;) It uses "." as the path separator, but would be easy to allow "/".

6
2 points by y0ghur7_xxx 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not just use Rhino or any other stand alone javascript interpreter?

http://www.mozilla.org/rhino/

a simple example

echo 'x=[1,2,3];x[1]'|js

7
1 point by brendano 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The use case is a bit different, but I wrote a little converter to TSV, adding in a header. I mostly use it for input into R, but I use it a lot. It only works for fairly flat JSON objects. https://github.com/brendano/tsvutils/blob/master/json2tsv
8
1 point by edd_dumbill 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Line-based processing is still important! This work reminds me of an article I wrote 11 years ago covering Sean McGrath's work on PYX"a line-based format for XML"see http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2000/03/15/feature/index.html.

That work derived from that of Charles Goldfarb on SGML, dating from 1989 on ESIS, ISO 8879.

We'll always be downsampling to something we can use with sed, grep and awk. They're too handy not to.

9
6 points by tebeka 6 hours ago 1 reply      
cat foo.json | python -m json.tool
16
Plone 4.1 - Is it any faster? hannosch.eu
11 points by rbanffy 2 hours ago   3 comments top
1
1 point by arctangent 2 hours ago 2 replies      
We use Plone at work - not my decision I would like to stress. I can't stand it. I've never understood the reason to use an object database and the performance is absolutely terrible :-(
17
The jQuery Divide:Understand where jQuery ends and JavaScript begins slideshare.net
122 points by binarray2000 12 hours ago   63 comments top 13
1
9 points by krosaen 7 hours ago 0 replies      
IMHO the most important "clean code" boundary for web apps is a non-enhanced interface (plain old forms). From there, pages can progressively enhance until the cows come home with jquery plugins and complicated interface code, but as long as you know it boils down to a form submission, it's easy to understand what is going on in the application. The form is the model into your web app, and everything else is just sugar.

And whether working on an android app, a QT application in C++ or a jquery based rich client interface, rich client functionality is always somewhat messy in my experience by nature of having many complex interactions in a stateful environment. I certainly don't see using YUI as a silver bullet to alleviate the complexity. As long as it is always clear where the boundaries between the communication between the client code and the server / and its model, you will maintain a clean and maintainable core.

If you want to ditch the idea of progressive enhancement and work directly with a web api to your server, then similar rules apply; as long as it is clear that "this page / widget presents a snazzy interface to update this model" you can remain sane in the organization of your app.

Finally, if you have a super rich interface like Asana, pivotal tracker or google wave where the entire page is presenting many models at once in many forms, then a functional reactive approach may help, using something like backbone or what luna script promises to be. But using a framework like that has its own cost and complexity and IMO is overkill for many of the web apps out there.

2
24 points by troels 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not so sure I buy the premise that jquery is unsuitable for large scale applications. I think it is based on an assumption that jquery should provide a framework for these things, but really - what jquery is, is a framework for the controller layer of an application. If you want to use it, you have to provide the model level framework your self. I don't think this is the fault of jquery anymore than it would be the fault of Sinatra.rb to not provide the functionality of Rails.
3
9 points by perlgeek 11 hours ago 6 replies      
So, how does one become a good, non-spaghetti-code javascript developer for the web?

I don't really like js so far, but there are just no alternatives in some cases. And my code ends up like those counter examples. Where can learn how to organize it properly?

4
2 points by Fluxx 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
jQuery is popular because you don't need any programming experience to be productive. I was introduced to jQuery by our in-house web designer like 3 years ago because he used it and really liked it. He spoke HTML, the DOM and CSS and so does jQuery. And there are far more HTML/CSS literate people doing Javascript than there are CS-educated software engineers doing Javascript. In fact most software engineers I know don't know crap about Javascript. Thankfully I read "Javascript: The Good Parts" and have a much better appreciation for the language.

I also like jQuery as well. If you're doing simple DOM manipulation, AJAX and light javascript work it's hard to do any better. But I think there are superior choices for some more heavy lifting JS projects.

5
11 points by emehrkay 9 hours ago 3 replies      
People at my job call all JavaScript jQuery, it is so annoying. Even more annoying is that their code (jQuery or not) plain sucks
6
2 points by rodh257 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't like presentations like this. What suggestions or solutions were offered? Perhaps the audio mentioned some good resources to use to learn how to properly architect a complex, Javascript/JQuery heavy application, or perhaps I just missed it in the slides, but to me it just seemed like a rant. Sure it's identifying an issue but it would be a whole lot more useful if it gave some links to books/articles/etc with details on how to layout your code in a maintainable manner.
7
11 points by joetyson 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see it mentioned very often, but google's closure-library has some really phenomenal patterns for building maintainable javascript. Its worth checking out Michael Bolin's book, Closure: The Definitive Guide, which goes in depth of the Component and Control frameworks.

I've been using the library for 2 or 3 years now, and I am always surprised to see it has such a small community.

8
18 points by ichilton 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is a video of the talk you refer to: http://jsconfeu.blip.tv/file/4308069/
9
7 points by jokull 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I was hoping for a Backbone.js mention. A tool like that will get you a long way in structuring your frontend code.
10
4 points by nezumi 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Hey! That's exactly how my jQuery code looks! I think I just got seduced by all the closurey goodness that comes with Javascript (my day-job languages don't let me do that.)

I'm not going to ask how to write good code, but I think this is a fair question: can someone point to a coding standard / style guideline for Javascript + jQuery?

E.g., when to choose a single-use named function over an anonymous function? When to bind jQuery results to variables vs. go crazy with chaining? Any advice on good selector practices? Good html naming conventions?

I'd love to see all that stuff documented in one place. It must be out there somewhere.

11
2 points by mcdaid 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice presentation, I am not sure about most people here but I started using jQuery because the documentation was excellent, easy to navigate, with lots of examples. Hence trying it out was simple and I got hooked.

At that time IMO the other libraries apart from YUI, did not seem to have everything in place to learn how to use them quickly. I was put off YUI at the time because it seemed incredibly verbose, this has since been improved.

Also I think a distinction can be made between using jQuery and using the widget factory which does allow for more modular maintainable code.

12
2 points by chopsueyar 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe the MVC design pattern doesn't work so well with jQuery in the view, acting as a controller and also for display logic.

Surely there is a design pattern that does not try to shoehorn AJAX via jQuery into what was once an MVC pattern?

MVC for webapps was around long before AJAX, yet the design pattern remained the same, after the widespread introduction of AJAX in webapps. Until very recently, there has been little traction in an 'evolved' design pattern, incorporating what the js is doing.

13
5 points by OzzyB 9 hours ago 1 reply      
About time someone came out and said this, good job.
18
Remember the "Insecure by Design" Dropbox article? [I] automate[d] the process reddit.com
14 points by kmfrk 3 hours ago   discuss
19
Piet: programming with pixels dangermouse.net
21 points by pankratiev 5 hours ago   3 comments top 2
1
2 points by jazzychad 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome, I love Piet! I wrote the "Alpha" example program on http://www.dangermouse.net/esoteric/piet/samples.html as an exercise to learn Piet while solving Card #234 of Perplex City - http://perplexcitycardcatalog.com/1/234/

All of DM's esoteric languages are pretty interesting: http://www.dangermouse.net/esoteric/

2
1 point by mtogo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So are we just going to keep submitting this every day?
20
Student project: Use smartphone camera to diagnose malaria, save lives technorati.com
15 points by dctoedt 4 hours ago   3 comments top 2
1
3 points by semenko 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not that useful. It's very easy to identify malaria on a peripheral smear with minimal training (and a much cheaper microscope/lens instead of a smartphone).

There's an even easier malaria rapid antigen test that requires no microscopy: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/diagnosis_treatment/rdt.html

In many nations with endemic malaria, however, treatment is many times just empiric -- diagnostics are a luxury.

2
1 point by melling 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a big ad for Microsoft Windows Mobile 7, which may gain traction in developed countries but the phone is too expensive for the developing world. This is not the $5 solution that is needed.
21
Perfect timing: a bug that only shows up in the first 250ms of a day nokia.com
30 points by gregschlom 6 hours ago   6 comments top 5
1
3 points by Stormbringer 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
The architecture/design part of this article sounded a bit odd. For the sake of 'purity of design' or something like that he decided to eschew constructors, but then it turns out that an un-initialized timer is not useful... which to me is the classic example of when you do provide a no-args constructor with a smart default...?

These sorts of designers annoy me. They've disappeared too far up their own backsides for the sake of some arbitrary aesthetic. Moreover by leaving traps like this in their own code they always get out of their depth, and it's the pragmatists like me who have to go in after them and rescue them.

My rule of thumb when choosing between great art and great pragmatism is to make life easier for 'the next guy'. Because 9 times out of 10 you're the next guy.

2
4 points by pdaviesa 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
We had a strange bug that only surfaced on the last day of every month. One of our directors asked what we were doing to troubleshoot this bug. I responded that we were a bit more focused on troubleshooting bugs which occurred every day.
3
4 points by arethuza 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of the time we had a data encoding bug that only happened when the length of the data was a multiple of 57.

At first it appeared to be random then a colleague noticed the commonality in the lengths of the data that had the problem and after that replicating it and fixing it were relatively straightforward.

4
2 points by mrspeaker 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic work! But bug finds like this make me cringe. You can guarantee that your client, or your client's boss, only tests your app out when they get home - at midnight. And you're reduced to a mumbling, sobbing mess as you tear down and rebuild your code yet again.
5
2 points by qntm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Bugs in time-based code are great. The most amusing example I've seen was an intermittently-failing automated test case which, I discovered after careful scrutiny of the results database, failed only on Sundays.

There's also the classic time zone unit test "convert this Europe/London timestamp to America/New_York time, verify that it is now 5 hours behind", which, due to Bush's pointless Daylight Saving shift, now fails for two weeks twice a year. Of course, two weeks is just short enough and the bug is just inconsequential enough (the time zone code itself is working correctly, after all, it's the test case that's broken) that the regression goes away before anybody fixes it.

I can only imagine how much otherwise robust code flips its lid when presented with, for example, a leap second. It's the number one argument for the use of mock objects in testing.

22
GitHub launches Issues 2.0 github.com
317 points by kneath 1 day ago   49 comments top 16
1
45 points by jpcx01 1 day ago 2 replies      
These guys produce an entire awesome startup's worth of development every couple months. Definitely need to be paying more attention to the how of what they do. Luckily Tom's quite the excellent speaker and writer. When he talks, I listen.
2
12 points by jwr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
We're using FogBugz now and this functionality comes dangerously close to being a real alternative.

I'm glad, because I think Fog Creek has stagnated and FogBugz isn't developed much anymore " competition is good for everyone :-)

3
5 points by lemming 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The milestones are a welcome addition, but the removal of priorities and voting is a real pain. I had a bunch of issues painstakingly sorted into priority order and they're now essentially shuffled.

The UI is still a little bizarre as well - no bulk select? No way to go to the previous/next issue from the actual issue? Colours of tags not displayed in the issues list view? I can sort by number of comments but not order them myself? I guess some of these might be considered bugs which will be fixed with time but others are really strange choices which don't quite seem to fit with the rest of the GitHub UI.

4
32 points by r00k 23 hours ago 2 replies      
The cool part is that Kyle Neath deployed Issues 2.0 during his lightning talk at CodeConf. Quite badass.
5
10 points by Corrado 18 hours ago 1 reply      
While I really, really like the new Issues 2.0, I think the biggest news I got out of the article is pointers to PJAX. I may be behind the curve but I've never heard of it and its so cool I think I'll use it in my next project. :)
6
12 points by dotBen 1 day ago 3 replies      
Anyone care to give their thoughts on GitHub Issues 2.0 vs Pivotal Tracker?

(sorry, I know question-in-a-question is a little poor form, but I only really care for the opinions of the HN community on this rather than asking more widely)

7
16 points by ctide 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hopefully this means search results that link to issues will stop being completely worthless and incredibly frustrating.
8
9 points by systems 14 hours ago 0 replies      
OT,
I wish Github would start offering unlimited private repo + limited collaborators say 5 or 10 for a reasonable price
9
45 points by mcrider 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like how a reputable company still has screenshots with bug comments like "Ship the fuck out of issues2". I love GitHub.
10
7 points by tomjen3 16 hours ago 2 replies      
hmm, am I the only who wishes that issues where simply files in a directory inside the repository?

It seems crazy that when you fork an old version, you have no idea which bugs have been fixed and if you later merge again you have to manually track down which bugs have been fixed.

11
3 points by th 23 hours ago 3 replies      
This is great. Milestones and assignees are the only things I've found myself missing in Issues besides file attachments.

Now I just wish there were a way to mass edit issues without checking each one individually. It's going to be a pain to migrate every issue in our 1.0 tag to Milestone 1.0.

12
6 points by Me1000 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats guys! Can't wait until the API to bring http://githubissues.heroku.com up to date with all the new features :)
13
1 point by viraptor 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there some up to date comparison of github / bitbucket now? It seems like they fixed the issues view already and the last big difference is the number of private accounts allowed without paying. Is there any other outstanding problem with any of them?
14
1 point by swah 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the attention to detail such as their label foreground/background colors when selected (it seems that some have white foreground, some have "letterpress" effect, depending on the contrast).
15
1 point by nivertech 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I abuse GitHub by using private repository just for my TODO list management.
16
-1 point by blatherard 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I chuckled when I read the word "triforce" near the beginning of the article. I assume they're either referring to the Legend of Zelda or an offensively-named 4chan meme.
23
The Ultimate HTML5 Tutorials and Useful Techniques dzinepress.com
81 points by binarray2000 13 hours ago   8 comments top 5
2
11 points by geoffw8 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Weird, loaded and put me at the bottom of the page. HTML5 Technique? ;)
3
2 points by delinka 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Chrome does indeed jump way down the page on load. No idea what possible "technique" this would be other than "weird out the reader."
4
1 point by lean 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Usually don't see these blogspam "32 Great Links About [keyword]" on HN.
5
1 point by domness 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Links just return back to the same page, and right at the bottom..
24
Create & Deploy a Node.JS App on Nodester in Less than 2 Minutes youtu.be
23 points by cmatthieu 6 hours ago   11 comments top 4
1
5 points by kawohi 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I really, really, really, REALLY, hate screen casts when the person who is in it has his cam up while coding. ITS SO ANNOYING! I don't want to see your face. I want to see the CODE!

It's alright in the beginning/end. I don't really mind showing your face for the intro. But while coding, please keep it off!

anyways, it was a good screen cast though, thanks.

2
1 point by marcomonteiro 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Please put [video] in the title.
3
1 point by citizenkeys 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Liked the presentation! I like the production quality with all the zooming. What apps did you use for the awesome picture-in-picture screencast?
4
1 point by lucj 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Big fan of heroku for months, I've just became big fan of nodester in only a couple of days :) Screen cast is really good. Nodester is a real cool stuff, it's a real pleasure to do everything in command line. Good job Chris.
25
Astronomers may have witnessed a star torn apart by a black hole discovermagazine.com
82 points by wglb 13 hours ago   25 comments top 4
1
8 points by JacobAldridge 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This occured just on two weeks ago, for definitions of two weeks that encompass plus or minus 4 billion years.
2
2 points by mryall 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I was confused about which were actual images taken of the star and black hole. The first one looks like an "artist's impression" - is it just the grainy picture at the end which actually captures it?
3
1 point by portman 10 hours ago 3 replies      
IANAA (I am not an astrophysicist) but isn't the accompanying image very different from what actually happens when a star crosses the event horizon of a black hole?

I thought that when an object crosses the event horizon of a black hole, to an observer outside the event horizon, it will look like the object just slowed down and sort of "suspended" there. I didn't think it would emit a burst of radiation.

(This is just from reading Brian Greene and Michio Kaku, so my understanding could be way off the mark.)

4
4 points by GvS 7 hours ago 0 replies      
26
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality fanfiction.net
165 points by ssdsa 19 hours ago   27 comments top 9
1
1 point by hugh3 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
This makes me sad. I feel like the author is a smart guy who should probably be finding something better to do with his time than to write Harry Potter fan fiction.
2
11 points by aw3c2 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I was very spectical about this. It sounded like a typical "atheist misantropic know-it-all" thing. I gave it a try reading on my mobile phone on train rides. As it turns out this is a very well written (!), entertaining, witty different take on the whole Harry Potter universe. Harry Potter actually is the "atheist misantropic know-it-all" (yes, I am using wrong words, sue me) but the story is not. It actually evolves around his struggles with himself because of those character traits. It is very exciting, funny and as I said, professionally written. Highly recommended!

The epub is missing some formatting and paragraphs (as in empty space) though, I read it in fbreader. Nothing too bad but you might stumble on them.

3
16 points by alexpeake 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Also, if you don't know, the author of Methods is Eliezer Yudkowsky, (http://yudkowsky.net/) research fellow of Singularity Institute (http://www.singinst.org) and a founder of Less Wrong (http://lesswrong.com), a community advancing applied rationalism. If you live in the Bay Area, the SingInst community is excellent.
4
25 points by phamilton 18 hours ago 2 replies      
This seems to crop up on HN every 6 months or so.
5
7 points by JoshCole 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Some new chapters have come out since the last time this hit the front page. So it could be argued that this is new content.
6
6 points by cypherpunks 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of the few things that occasionally made me happy when I was depressed a few months back. I wish there was some way for this to see wider circulation.
7
3 points by Tichy 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there a way to download the whole book? Train journey coming up...
8
-4 points by chrisfarms 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Harry Potter played by Sheldon Cooper
9
-4 points by alexpeake 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality was recommended to me at Ephemerisle (http://ephemerisle.org) by a Singularitarian (http://singinst.org) because I was relating a curious fact about my own childhood. I grew up in a cupboard under the stairs in a school of witchcraft and wizardry and have a funny birthmark scar on my face, but I studied science in my cupboard to become a rationalist who uses games to re-enchant people with science, making me a sort of reverse Harry Potter rationalist and making me the precise target audience of this particular fanfic.

I have been recruiting Singularity Institute people ever since, including one of my cofounders.

27
Sourcing a 3d Printer reprap.org
29 points by ph0rque 8 hours ago   1 comment top
1
3 points by sambeau 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The most exciting news from this project is that it has gone from costing $3000+ to just $400 in 3 years.

If they keep innovating at that rate we could see some seriously useful kit in a few year's time.

28
Ask HN: Help me open source my existing "Github for music" startup?
35 points by anulman 4 hours ago   12 comments top 5
1
2 points by beaumartinez 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Although the submission you speak of was deleted, its discussion thread wasn't[1].

YouPhonics certainly sounds like a good idea, capturing the "social" aspect of GitHub. I assume it allows you to mash-up and remix peoples tracks? That would be killer, and I'm sure people using services such as SoundCloud[2] to host their tracks would quickly migrate to it. (If you have the time, post an guest login here for us to demo it.)

I second rch's motion[3] to GitHub YouPhonics' code•even if it is ugly and hacky (depending on your level of perfection, whose code isn't?!). If anything, you'd make all the effort you put into it even more fruitful.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2429930
[2] http://soundcloud.com/
[3] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2430432

2
1 point by choxi 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
3
1 point by dmounce 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It'd definitely be cool to see YouPhonics open sourced. There are a decent number of desktop-based OSS out there that do similar things, but not usually polished, and certainly nothing I know of that's web based.

I'd love to help out however I can.

4
1 point by k-mcgrady 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a pretty cool idea. I'm sure DJ's and artists creating remixes would find it really useful. I don't know how much help I would be specifically but sticking the project on GitHub sounds like a good way to get some traction.

If you get it going I know I would definitely use it (and if I can help with any of the coding I will).

5
1 point by rch 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How about creating youphonics as an org on github?
I'd look for something to help out with, given a public repo.
29
Is programming the new math? infinigons.blogspot.com
63 points by pankratiev 13 hours ago   23 comments top 8
1
8 points by mian2zi3 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Physical education is the new math. Students don't like to be trapped in stuffy classrooms. They want to be outside and run around in the fresh air and sunshine. Over the semester, not only have my students improved markedly in physical fitness, but they've learned critical problem solving skills. We're playing football. They've developed increasingly sophisticated plays, analyzed defenses and developed counter-strategies. They fluidly execute novel strategies informed by planning and an awareness of the evolving whole-field situation. Clearly, PE is the new math.

WTF? Math has specific content and method. A proof is not a program. A for loop is not an integral. Your vaguely technical subject is not a substitute for math just because your students seem more engaged. Teaching people to think logically isn't the point of math, any more than it is the point of history, biology, literature or, yes, even programming. If your students have fuzzy feeling when problem solving, they probably have fuzzy ideas about math. They haven't been taught clearly. If they're uncomfortable with reasoning in math, they haven't been forced to develop intellectual independence. And foisting of "check the steps" on a computer won't help. And don't get me started on how naive an ideas of correctness that is.

2
6 points by klochner 6 hours ago 2 replies      
A common gripe from young students when learning math is "I'm never going to use this!"

With programming, it's much easier to motivate the subject matter - students want to learn the math so they can improve their projects.

Similarly, I found linear algebra and linear programming much more interesting when I was studying economics, and classical physics much more fun when writing little javascript animations.

So maybe applied math is a better approach at the intro levels. I'm just not sure how we get there from existing math-centric teachers and curricula.

3
1 point by candeira 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
The problem with "I'm never going to use it" is that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Further down the line, this attitude excludes you from jobs and opportunities where you need to be able to use it.

I say teach math (up to algebra and basic trig and calculus) and programming in every high school. Dropping out is so much easier than dropping in at a later age.

4
12 points by yaks_hairbrush 12 hours ago 4 replies      
I had a rather bruising experience last fall "teaching" precalculus to a lecture of 180 students. Although I'd try to engage the students and explain how the stuff is useful, the students would have none of it. I got scathing reviews about how I was teaching stuff that wouldn't be useful until calculus 2 (which is, of course, a feature and not a bug).

We're fundamentally talking about 18-year-olds with bad attitudes here. If we can engage them with programming as opposed to further disengage them with math, I'm all for it. Anything that hastens the realization that learning is your own responsibility would pay great dividends to the students.

5
3 points by georgieporgie 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I always found math to be problematic because it builds on itself, yet math classes vary so much by school and teacher. I ran into difficulty in a graduate level course simply because I had never once been shown algebra with inequalities.

Also, you don't get instant, positive feedback, and immediate indication of whether your solution is correct as you do when programming.

6
1 point by ahlatimer 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a short stint as a research assistant for a prof who's using programming to teach high school seniors and entering freshmen math skills [1]. I'd have to ask him how the research is going now, but the preliminary results were encouraging.

[1]: http://sites.google.com/site/computationalsystems/

7
1 point by noblethrasher 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Some subjects just cannot be taught from authority. The problem with math education, as I see it, is that primary and secondary school math teachers really can't answer too many 'why' questions (for a variety of reasons such as lack of knowledge or lack of time).

Teaching math from a programming perspective (or vice versa) should work since you must (as opposed to 'shall') model problems you care about in terms of math.

8
1 point by fleitz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Iterative programming is the new arithmetic, Functional programming is the new math.
       cached 11 April 2011 02:02:01 GMT