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Samoa to jump forward in time by one day bbc.co.uk
44 points by JacobAldridge  2 hours ago   26 comments top 12
corin_ 25 minutes ago 1 reply      
Here's a question that's purely hypothetical, and is so unlikely to ever need answering that is basically isn't worth asking, but I'm intrigued none-the-less.

Let's say there is <something> that requires a certain length of time, whether it is a 3 day waiting period to buy a gun (totally made up law, I have no idea about Samoan laws), or some prize given to any Samoan who turns 100 years old. Would it go by number of actual days, i.e. how many 24 hour periods have passed, or would it go by date?

Yeah, two terrible examples, and like I said, I doubt the answer would ever have any practical use. And for that reason, perhaps there is no definitive answer. Is there?

JonnieCache 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
...a great disturbance in the Net, as if millions of Samoan sysadmins cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
ars 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
Here's a picture of the date line in that area: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/61/Internati...

There's one spot where you can cross the date line 3 times traveling strictly west to east and not changing your latitude!

vorg 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
Two years ago Samoa switched from driving on the right to driving on the left, to fit in with Aus/NZ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8243110.stm

This continues the broad change in foreign policy.

iwwr 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Similar problems are for people doing business in Europe and the Middle East. Some countries have Thursdays and Fridays off, others have Fridays and Saturdays. In Israel, Friday is a half working day.
urbanjunkie 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Smart move - I was thinking whether this might act as a model of how other trading blocs to be more closely temporally clustered, but I think this is a special situation, facilitated by the date line and the geographical proximity of Samoa to Australia.

IOW - probably wouldn't work if eg India and Brazil wanted to get cosy.

MicahWedemeyer 22 minutes ago 1 reply      
How long are we going to continue sharing this hallucination of "time zones"? Long live UTC, the one true time. Death to all the pretenders!
Djehngo 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Anyone fancy going to a some websites, setting your time-zone to Samoa and putting 28 dec 2011 into some date fields (birthday, shipping date etc.) to see which ones crash?
tuhin 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we're losing out on two working days a week."

Are not they gaining two days in the 5 day week. Just like US-India, there is always somebody from the company working and available due to the 12-13 hour gap.

orofino 34 minutes ago 1 reply      
Shouldn't the onus fall on the commercial sector to conduct business at the time that makes the most sense? If this means shifting the work week by a day for your employees so that you can do more business with your largest customers, then so be it.

This would yield flexibility, what about all the Samoan companies that still do most of their business with the US?

IDisposableHero 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
It doesn't say which day they'll skip.

I'd pick a Monday.

bzupnick 49 minutes ago 4 replies      
im sorry samoa but, thats ridiculous. Whats going to be the date? are they also gonna skip a day like that? and a day isnt just some thing. its a pattern that dates back thousands of years just for them to disrupt that pattern
The Rise of the Front-End Developer eduhub.nl
36 points by sudhirj  2 hours ago   6 comments top 2
edo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if there's a guide anywhere on how to write the 'non-nerd hackable code' described here? Sweet article btw.
narag 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Hmmm, the list of skills, that should be interesting because it seems to be the core of the "millionaire" thing, is in Dutch. Ouch!
Programmable OLED watch by Texas Instruments and Fossil metawatch.org
22 points by growt  1 hour ago   5 comments top 5
corin_ 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
There is suprisingly little information on their site, considering it is due for release on June 30th (even that date isn't on their site, but on their distributor's product page.) The cost will be $199.

I imagine that developer information will come during/after Google IO this week, as right now, there are just six marketing bullet points on the site.

The distributor's page does have a little more information:

    Add your own thread to the watch for special functions
Use the Meta Watch low-power application framework
No need to open the watch for in-circuit debugging
Uses TI SPI-BY-Wire
Leverage the Bluetooth radio and remote protocol for communication
Sample code which is an Open Source Android SDK project demonstrating watch connectivity to an Android phone. The project demonstrates watch idle screen use as well as notifications for: CallerID, SMS messages, alarms, calendar events, music control, email and IM.

mhd 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'll buy a bluetooth watch as as soon as it has a speaker and a mic. Apart from the occasional "Dick Tracy" "head"set usage, this would be quite useful for recording meetings or notes to yourself.
6ren 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think the technology is already beyond this, and that an ipod nano in a watch form-factor, with the power of one or two generation old iPod Touch, is just around the corner.

Look at the popularity of the TikTok/lunaTik: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1104350651/tiktok-lunati...

unwind 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This looks quite cool, a bit daring to come out with two different form factors immediately. I can imagine that an application designed for the digital watch's 96x96-pixel screen doesn't port naturally to the analog/digital hybrid (a.k.a. "grown-up watch", heh) model's dual 80x16-pixel screens.

Haven't checked the SDK though, perhaps they've handled this split and abstracted it away.

Personally I also find the "whoa we're revolutionary, clearly that means we must have a fake-Russian design" thinking quite tiring.

bxc 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
TI has had a similar looking programmable watch out before. Going by what's available on google searching for people developing with that one, there was no uptake at all. I wonder if that will happen for this one too?


LastPass Disclosure Shows Why We Can't Have Nice Things throwingfire.com
426 points by thirsteh  13 hours ago   71 comments top 12
pstack 12 hours ago 4 replies      
This is to be expected when you have ignorant people reporting on things that they are not willing to educate themselves about. Anyone who wrote sensational garbage about the LastPass event didn't bother to understand how LastPass works and what the real potential of any breach could be.

Frankly, it leaves me exhausted in the same way the regular stream of sensational ignorant responses to violent video games, boobs in video games, or explicit lyrics in music leave me exhausted. It's extremely difficult to fight an ignorant public being exploited by a willfully ignorant and sensationalistic media.

The likes of Tech Crunch et al who should be in a position to counter such mainstream media reactions and behavior are all too often, unfortunately, jumping right into the fray and showing that they can be just as counter-productive as any big old-media outlets.

martinp 12 hours ago  replies      
This is the only sane post I've read about this incident. All the major tech sites blew it way out of proportion. LastPass did everything right, and yet every headline was along the lines of "LastPass has been hacked, panic!".

They deserve better, especially seeing as how transparent they were about the whole situation and how they handled it.

arn 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Wait a second. I mean it's nice and all that LastPass was being overly cautious. But how reassuring is it that they noticed an anomaly but weren't able to figure out what it was?

And this is a serious question, as I'm no expert in the field, but it seemed strange to me that they couldn't explain what actually happened with any certainty.

rkalla 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't know if there would have been a way for LastPass to disclose this information without getting the response they did, but in addition to the stupid the coverage they got, they pulled me in as a customer after seeing how goot they were at what they did. So I think there were good fallout from the coverage as well.
scotty79 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Does LastPass know my passwords?
If so, why it needs to know my passwords?

I thought that my passwords are encrypted on my computer with master password known only to me, but same master password leaves my computer every time I log in to LastPass site via their website.

Could someone point me to where it is detailed how they manage without knowing my password or where it is explained why they need to know it?

pdenya 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this reaction. Signing up for an account with them now after seeing how seriously they monitor security.
mike-cardwell 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope that LastPass realised that they would receive this negative publicity by handling this event so publicly, and that they went ahead and did it anyway. That would show great integrity. If something similar happens again and they sweep it under the carpet to avoid a repeat of this bad publicity, then they're the same as every other company.
fmavituna 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree on the overall subject but I'm still shocked that LastPass hasn't got anything better than "spike in the traffic" IDS, better logging etc? If you are in a business with this kind of data you have to expect to get hacked everyday and you have to be ready for it. Even your business plan should include this stuff.

Unless they have a really awkward reason not having proper idea about possible hack is not a good sign.

extension 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A security breach is never OK. Disclosure helps but does not absolve anyone. We cannot accept that these things just happen.

Besides, it's a password manager. Of course it's going to be held to a higher standard of security. It failed at the one and only thing it is supposed to do.

karamazov 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Hopefully people using the service and those interested in it will read past sensationalist articles, and actually check out the service.
16s 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The explanation given (slight chance others may have accessed encrypted password data) and the action taken (locking user accounts) don't go together and led to the media frenzy.
Spztac 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If LastPass doesn't understand the ramifications of getting hacked, then they should proceed "business as usual".

Acting like a paranoid password host will get you no where. LastPass is not to be trusted. They got what they wanted, publicity that the have no idea how secure their service is.

Alex Payne - Rules for Computing Happiness al3x.net
32 points by franze  3 hours ago   16 comments top 8
mhd 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Never got the emphasis on laptops, unless you travel (a lot) and/or tend to spend a lot of time in coffee shops/college lectures/meetings. You'd want a good, large display (or two/three) anyway, and you usually have less troubles and more options with desktops. And for those times when you need to move around, a small auxiliary device will do, too (ipad, tablet, netbook, old/cheap laptop maybe even a smartphone).

Less true for the current crop of Macs, of course, where decent expandable desktop systems are way too expensive and laptops have a high entry cost. It would probably still be worth looking into getting a ipad/imac combo over a MBP.

noelwelsh 1 hour ago 0 replies      

  Do not use your text editor for tasks other than editing text.

To Emacs, everything is text. At least that's how I square the Church of Emacs with the Church of Alex ;-)

mmavnn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Might be worth a (2008) flag, especially if any of Alex's opinions have changed inbetween.
maayank 1 hour ago 3 replies      
sigh couldn't come at a more appropriate time for me. Alas, isn't these three contradictory:

* Use as little software as possible.

* Use software that does one thing well.

* Do not use software that does many things poorly.

I have a "good enough" workstation with 4GB of memory. No matter how much tweaking I do to eclipse.ini, Eclipse still crawls to an halt when I work on our large Java project... Alas, I can't just change it to VIM + command line svn. It would be a mess.

mapleoin 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Thoroughly delete all traces of software that you no longer use.

This is just a waste of time. Do you really care about 70KB that some lib that some other lib that was used by a program that you only used for a week used used?

Derbasti 1 hour ago 1 reply      
well spoken!

But most importantly, always remember that the three most important components of your computer really are:

* your chair

* your input devices (mouse/keyboard/…)

* your monitor

Also, if you feel that your computer is getting a bit slow, consider updating your hard drive (possibly to an SSD) before shelling out a far greater amount of money for a new computer.

hopeless 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
The title is open to misinterpretation! I thought it was about how to compute happiness (which sounds ridiculous but piqued my curiosity!)
ChrisBeach 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Good points, particularly the strong support of Macs.

I have doubts about any technologist that would choose to use Windows in their personal life.

The United Cities of Startupbootcamp startupbootcamp.org
6 points by lrgco  51 minutes ago   discuss
Hacker News Meetup in Copenhagen on Wednesday - if you read this you qualify :) meetup.com
26 points by neek  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
amix 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Cool to know that there are Danish hackers on Hacker News :-) If somebody comes by Aarhus and wants a coffee drop me an email.
iens 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I can't join myself, but why don't you meet at Labitat.dk ?
Visualizing Time with the Infinity Hour Chart dougmccune.com
72 points by Garbage  7 hours ago   11 comments top 4
Devilboy 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not convinced that this has any benefit over just using a circle with 24 hour clock
irrelative 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This sort of data would be beter visualized using line graphs (or sparklines) to easily compare the values. Vertical alignments of data make it easier to compare other values and scan visually.
rnadna 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Interesting. Perhaps I'll try this out for my display


of light levels (an early-stage project designed for high schools).

gt384u 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The use of the infinity symbol seems really confusing. I would think a circle with midnight mapped to the top and noon to the bottom would make for a considerably more natural mapping. I'd find myself confused by the twist in infinity switching up whether clockwise or counter represented the flow of time.
Bitcoin money ≠ the Gold Standard. bitcoinbulletin.com
63 points by spenvo  3 hours ago   61 comments top 12
hasenj 2 hours ago 5 replies      
I don't like how people get defensive around capitalism; "our ideas are not at odds with capitalism", ok, so what if they were? If an idea is at odds with capitalism, that doesn't necessarily make it a bad idea.

For instance, I think the idea of free software (RMS style) really is at odds with capitalism; but so what? This is not a good reason to agree or disagree with the idea.

chipsy 2 hours ago 1 reply      
All economies are built on some combination of trust, fakery, coercion and hard work. The underlying rationale of a currency backed by "real material" is that it can be trusted to last. It can be trusted more than any government. Governments can fall quickly.

Bitcoin hasn't proven itself to the degree of gold. It doesn't necessarily have to, though. It just has to look _better_ than alternatives, within some useful timeframe of economic activity(i.e. more than a year or two, but probably less than a century). And, as the original author wrote, it might fall apart suddenly, but then it is basically the same risk as a government-backed currency.

sharpneli 2 hours ago 2 replies      
This current debacle shows that economists and hackers look at bitcoin from completely different perspectives.

The rant was based mostly on issues of economy disregarding the technical side completely. This response to the rant however disregards the economical side of the rant almost entirely. It's sad to see two groups of smart individuals talk completely past each other.

msy 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see some of the many bitcoin evangalists about the place convert their life savings, serious cash, into BitCoins and keep it that way. Talk is cheap, particularly when it's abstract economic theory.

Then I might think it's got something in it rather that looking like a volatile ponzi scheme that geeks are keen because they think they're in early and going to make mint.

gritzko 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Technically, BitCoin is hardly scalable.
As every participant needs to be aware of every transaction, that gives O(N^2) computational/storage cost, assuming N is participants and transactions~participants.
May be cured by a dedicated central server storing all the transactions, but then it is not P2P anymore.
sgornick 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Incidentally, Bitcoin will be discussed on Tuesday's This Week in Startups @TWiStartups


"Oh yes, we'll talk about poker and #bitcoin on Tuesday's #TWIST. Guest Amir Taaki has experience w/this business model."

I'm assuming the host will be @Jason Calicanis.

olalonde 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm oversimplifying here, but it all boils down to Keynesian economics[1] (steaming rant) vs Austrian economics[2] (this submission) if anyone wants to dig deeper in the subject.

tl;dr: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQnarzmTOc

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynesian_economics

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_school

nateberkopec 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
A gold standard is a tool used by a central banking authority to promote stable prices.

A bitcoin is actually designed not to be controlled by a central monetary authority.

So, of COURSE Bitcoins aren't the new gold standard. That's like comparing apples to giraffes.

Myrth 1 hour ago 1 reply      
If someone still didn't get it - the whole original post was a hilariously executed troll. The author very clearly states this:

"See, a bitcoin rant is almost too over-the-top for me. Asking why I think bitcoin won't work is like asking why the sky isn't red. I mean, wait, you think it is red? You actually took that seriously? Oh boy. Where do I even start?"

"For the record, I'm stupid and trolling. That's why it was hard to tell."

Steko 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The link ignores most of the arguments made in what it purports to reply to:

No response to the Great Depression argument.
No response to the governments will declare it illegal argument.
No response to the offline argument.
No response to the potential hackability of bitcoins.

Other then that it's a slam dunk.

contactdick 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Just on a brief look at BitCoin the question I have is generating blocks of bitcoins which requires computational power earns 50 bitcoins. Firstly that seems fairly arbitrary but secondly, what would happen if the currency became commonly used and a large company with a lot of computational power decided to get involved i.e google / facebook / microsoft. Wouldn't they end up monopolising a large portion of the bitcoins?
vrsmn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
the comments that guy made against bitcoin just smells like good and old FUD.

Linden dollars didn't tried to replace US Dollars.

Japan: After the earthquake and tsunami, back to school bbc.co.uk
5 points by swixmix  45 minutes ago   1 comment top
swixmix 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
This article is for everyone who evacuated Japan and are now returning.
It may have been difficult to leave, and it may be hard to settle back down after returning. But, it's probably no where near as difficult as this.
Twitter and Facebook Both Quietly Kill RSS staynalive.com
117 points by ssclafani  11 hours ago   32 comments top 12
bradleyland 10 hours ago 3 replies      
The title is a bit of a double entendre. At first reading, I thought the claim was that (once again), Organization X had killed RSS (figuratively). As it turns out, Facebook and Twitter have, quite literally, killed RSS within the scope of their own systems by removing it from key locations.

In my view, RSS was never the right tool for this application anyway. Social networks are naturally conversational in nature, but you're only a part of the conversation while you're there.

In the economy of my attention, both Facebook and Twitter occupy a different position than the RSS feeds I follow. Facebook and Twitter are there for when I want them, but my RSS feed is the kind of thing where I try to at least review every headline. I don't want to miss anything in my RSS reader, but I'm perfectly content to miss out on large portions of what occurs on Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter is probably closer in function to RSS -- for me, anyway -- than Facebook, in that I rely on it for "pushed" information that I rarely respond to (think service outages and status updates). This could, theoretically, have been fulfilled by RSS, but for some reason, I never made use of RSS that way.

I think one of the reasons for this (Twitter as a popular info-push medium) is that you can respond easily through Twitter, even if I only do it on rare occasions. Status blogs provided an avenue for response, but you often had to have an account on every blog... Ugh. Twitter is also great because you don't have to dig through the service website; you simply search Twitter for their company name and follow.

Facebook, on the other hand, is purely entertainment for me. I use it to keep up with friends and converse in a time-shifted manner. I cannot imagine collecting RSS feeds from Facebook streams.

Based my usage patterns, I don't see this as "killing" RSS for me in a general sense. Maybe I'm a dying breed though.

pstack 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I have no interest in ever directly using Twitter and there's not enough content on there for me to bother with any workarounds. I currently use RSS for the one Twitter feed I bother to follow and if they ever really do get rid of RSS for their site, I'll just stop using even that. Not that much of a loss.

My habits are such that if you don't offer RSS feeds of information I want, I probably won't ever get your information or go to your site. You're not going to sucker me into "visiting regularly", just because you don't offer an RSS feed. I'll just move on and get what I want somewhere else.

eli 10 hours ago 1 reply      
UPDATE: Dave Stevens shared a hack around this in the comments that you can use with the Twitter API.

Using a well-documented feature of the API? That is not a hack.

hammock 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have an example of RSS being used/picked up by the mainstream user?
ankrgyl 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is super interesting. RSS has gotten really slow and bad, and a few years ago FriendFeed started to push for improvements with the Simple Update Protocol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Update_Protocol).

The world should move to a standardized JSON-based, OAuth compliant API, but unfortunately having two big, competing players like FB and Twitter means that things will probably partition into camps. It'll be interesting to see what happens when new websites start publishing content: will they define their own new standard or clone FB/Twitter?

kevinchen 10 hours ago 1 reply      
99.99% of users will not notice or care.

I can see a use case where devs who don't feel like building for Twitter's API will want to use RSS to quickly get a user's recent tweets. But I don't think this will significantly impact anybody's anything, and it feels like the author is exaggerating the consequences.

petervandijck 10 hours ago 0 replies      
And thus become even more walled gardens (a proprietary API doesn't count as "open").

The pendulum is still swinging towards "closed", but I sense it's about to swing back.

voidfiles 8 hours ago 0 replies      
RSS is awesome, and standards help ease integration, but we need to stop freaking out about RSS.

What we need to focus on is making sure companies endorse open data. Allowing users to get data in, and out in a reasonable format.

smogzer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
speaking of rss feeds, does anybody have a list of "social" or "information" (weather like) sites with support for rss feeds ?
dholowiski 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Rss was just a transitional technology. Twitter and Facebook have made it far easier for normal people to get news updates, and for developers there are API's. RSS will live on for podcast delivery (at least until apple dropsre-invents" podcasting) but other than that, let's just let RSS rest in peace.
pavel_lishin 9 hours ago 0 replies      
> Unfortunately, it seems #2 was not accidental, as it was never fixed.

That does not necessarily follow.

hollerith 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I notice that Google Reader still lets a person subscribe to someone's Twitter.
Open Letter To New Programmers akash.im
16 points by krat0sprakhar  3 hours ago   discuss
Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves zdnet.com
41 points by Garbage  7 hours ago   2 comments top 2
fader 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Matt is a fantastic guy and almost frighteningly smart. But for all his expertise he's one of the easiest people to work with and for that I have known. I'm sure he'll do well in whatever he does, and I'm very glad to know that he will continue to be involved with Ubuntu even after leaving Canonical.
Censorship, Governments, and Flagellating Google vortex.com
15 points by meadhikari  4 hours ago   1 comment top
ableal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As an appreciator of vintage BSTJ issues (in particular the 1948 C.E.Shannon vehicles ;-), I liked this bit:

[...] it was widely argued that a single page and a single table from the November 1960 edition of The Bell System Technical Journal -- in fact, this page and this table [1], triggered the rise of telephone network hopping “phone phreaks” [...]

[1] http://lauren.vortex.com/bstj-bluebox.jpg

How To: Spend your investors' money stu.mp
112 points by jnoller  13 hours ago   19 comments top 5
frederickcook 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the investor expectation on runway for a seed round like attachments.me did? 12-18 months?
shafqat 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Very helpful benchmarks. Anyone know why there should be a premium per employee for a platform as a service company? Why is PaaS any different from any other startup with regards to a per employee burn rate?
softw2 8 hours ago 1 reply      
My question is, how do you get $500,000 for a feature you can get by clicking "Show Search Options" in Gmail? I do get the bigger picture but I don't see how to monetize it or prevent Google from mimicking it a 1000% better if it gets popular.
crcastle 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I love stuff like this. It's like answering a question to which everyone wants to know the answer but is too ashamed or overly confident to ask.

It would be interesting to know the variance in responses. I know this wasn't meant to imply statistical significance, but I'm just curious what these results would be with a larger and more random sample.

EGreg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
We hire overseas, so we get by on around $6,000 per month per employee.
First month as a start-up founder in Portland, OR trekdek.wordpress.com
44 points by turoczy  8 hours ago   9 comments top 4
fearless 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you moving to Portland to found a startup or to look for a job? Your experiences would be very different depending on which one it is.

If you're looking for a job, going to tech events and networking meetups is great idea. If you're building a startup, all you need to do is go head down and work on a product/prototype, which you can do anywhere, at least until you get to the stage where you're actively fundraising.

Finding a cofounder will be a lot easier if you already have a prototype/early version to show that you're not just an "idea guy".

robinduckett 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you a Northampton Townie who got the irresistible urge to migrate to to Portland, Oregon?
dmd149 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Ha I'm gettig a lot more views when you posted this.
sandwiches 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The dream of the 90s is alive.. in Portland.
Long-Prized H-1B Visas Lose Cachet wsj.com
34 points by ubasu  7 hours ago   27 comments top 10
maxklein 5 hours ago 5 replies      
I will say something: Just from perception, the U.S does not feel attractive anymore as a place to work in. Americans are whining constantly online about how terrible their country is, on my recent visit I was shocked at how dilapidated the place looks compared to europe, the value of the dollar is falling rapidly, and there is this undercurrent of anti-immigrant sentiment that is broadcasted via the media.

In the past the U.S felt like the open and powerful place where everything can be achieved, but now it no longer feels that way. So many new countries are now nimble and growing with markets opening up - while the U.S is going exactly the other way. It's restricting and shrinking, markets are getting closed.

Worst of all, with the weak dollar, earning money in the U.S doesn't get you a lot of money to send home anymore.

_debug_ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
To me, it's interesting that almost no discussion of the H-1B touches on another topic that is widely discussed, too, but in it's own mindspace : the U.S. is now a scary place. The eager use of tasers by the police and the presence of the TSA goons on trains and buses in addition to airports add unpleasant possibilities to the anti-immigrant sentiment (not to mention the moral questions about the whole War on Terror, Guantanamo, etc;). I have never heard of instances of immigrants getting tased just for looking different, for example, but these are things to consider when immigrating to a new country : are they friendly, are they peaceful? Do I want to be associated with them? Am I that unhappy in my own situation that I really need to go to such a place?
jerrya 5 hours ago 1 reply      

Professor Norm Matloff's H-1B Web Page


The H-1B work visa is fundamentally about cheap labor.

Though the tech industry lobbyists portray H-1B as a remedy for labor shortages and as a means of hiring "the best and the brightest" from around the world (which I strongly support), the vast majority are ordinary people doing ordinary work. Instead of being about talent, H-1B is about cheap labor.

Employers accrue Type I wage savings by paying H-1Bs less than comparable Americans (U.S. citizens and permanent residents).
Employers accrue Type II wage savings by hiring younger, thus cheaper, H-1Bs in lieu of older, thus more expensive (age 35+) Americans.
Both types of wage savings are fully LEGAL, due to loopholes in the law and regulations. The problem is NOT one of lack of enforcement.
Use of H-1B for cheap labor extends across the industry including the large mainstream firms., facilitated by the nation's top immigration law firms. It does NOT occur primarily in the Indian " body shops," and it DOES occur in the hiring of international students from U.S. university campuses.
The underpayment of H-1Bs is well-established fact, not rumor, anecdote or ideology. It has been confirmed by two congressionally-commissioned reports, and a number of academic studies, in both statistical and qualitative analyses.

Even former software industry entrepreneur CEO Vivek Wadhwa, now a defender of foreign worker programs, has confessed,

I know from my experience as a tech CEO that H-1Bs are cheaper than domestic hires. Technically, these workers are supposed to be paid a "prevailing wage," but this mechanism is riddled with loopholes.
Wadhwa has also stated

I was one of the first [CEOs] to use H-1B visas to bring workers to the U.S.A. Why did I do that? Because it was cheaper.

singular 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Personally I've always been put off by the perceived (let me know if I've got this wrong) ease with which American companies can get rid of you, and the short notice they can give you (2 weeks is what I've heard) - here in the UK the law is heavily weighted towards the employee.
nickthedart 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that the web has made the "dark side" of H1B more widely known. H1B holders often feel like indentured servants. There are many stories of people who slaved away for years while trying to get a Green Card but didn't get one in the end. Also , post 9-11, with the associated paranoia and security hassles, living a plane flight away from your extended family, especially in the US, would seem far less attractive. Its a pity because there are some great tech opportunities in the US right now. My solution would be , the US needs a better tech visa program where people have a chance to stay in the US on a more equal footing with Americans (and thereby become employers themselves, which helps Americans too). Also the US needs to stop treating every normal innocent visitor like they're a potential threat of some kind.
mtviewdave 5 hours ago 0 replies      
>They cite former H-1B holders such as Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, and Vinod Dham, an engineer behind Intel Corp.'s Pentium chip, as proof of its value.

The H-1B was created in 1990. According to Wikipedia, Dham started at NCR in Ohio in 1977, so I doubt he ever had one. Sun was founded in 1982, so Khosla couldn't have had an H-1B either.

jerrya 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Companies say they need H1-B visas because they can't find capable workers locally. At the same time, the same companies usually force all applicants to submit resumes online to a central HR service, where the HR department is usually completely unqualified to determine on any but the grossest levels who is qualified and who is not.

I say any company that wants an H1-B visa worker at location X must have a way for applicants to turn in a resume at location X and be seen by a hiring manager at location X.

If they are not willing to do that, than they are not serious when they complain they can't find competent local workers.

cloudhead 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe if they removed the irrational restrictions and complications around it, they would have more talent coming in the country. Most startups can't afford to go through the H-1B process, and many candidates just don't meet the criteria (4 years of school or 12 years combined experience).
ktsmith 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The numbers that USCIS is publishing can be seen here: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f...

edit: Those numbers show the applications accepted, not the number received.

meow 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Could it not just be explained in terms of dollar value (actual and projected) instead of harping about missed out talent.. Since most of the companies that take in H1-B applicants operate globally, their cost of recruiting employees locally could have gone down (due to depressed job market and low attrition rates) making local recruiting much easier. In simpler words thanks to the fed printing press, local workforce might be becoming more competitive :)
2011 Logo Trends logolounge.com
173 points by tortilla  19 hours ago   16 comments top 8
replicatorblog 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Another trend I'm seeing a lot of is the "Script" logotype reminiscent of hand painted signs from the 50's. Three pop to mind: AirBNB, Frid.ge, and Instagram, but I know I have seen many others. It's a great look the only question is how well it will hold up relative to more pure geometric forms.
neilk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I went looking for the trends in previous years.

In 2007, "Rubber bands" were cool. http://www.logolounge.com/article.asp?aid=hjP

In 2008, "Loops"

In 2009, "3D curls"

In 2010, such logos apparently became uncool. ;)

In 2011, these logos were back in style again, as "Banded"

I'm not denying that trends in design exist, but they tend to be much slower than year by year. This type of article is just about establishing Logolounge's brand.

eps 17 hours ago 1 reply      
To be fair these are not trends per se, these are similarity patterns in Logolounge submissions. Logo design community is very large and diverse, and while there is some stylistic and conceptual copying and imitation, it tends to be a self-limiting phenomenon, simply because a good logo needs to be unique.

It is also worth noting that Logolounge is basically an annual lottery with $100 entrance fee with the prize being an inclusion in one of their books. Not every logo designer enters, nor does the stuff they receive is all high-quality original work. So the trends they are seeing while interesting are not exactly representative.

ataggart 7 hours ago 0 replies      
>It feels like what people believe a logo to be is also becoming more transcendent.

I don't understand why so many people write like this. It's a logo, not a metaphysical experience. It seems everyone involved with "design" read the Pepsi Redesign doc [1] and took it as a lesson in good writing.

[1] http://www.scribd.com/doc/25437499/12112331-Pepsi-Breathtaki...

treeface 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me too much of the colourlovers "trends" that tend to be more representative either of little-changing, long-term trends or whatever sampling bias they might have at any given moment.
TorbjornLunde 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I find the idea of trends with logos quite silly. A good logo (and brand) should outlast short-lived trends.
alanning 17 hours ago 2 replies      
The NORDKYN logo at the end of the article drives my OCD mad.

I love it!

(Although I question whether the general audience would understand the point of the radar chart)

thomasfl 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The animated Nordkyn logo is really beautiful and clever http://www.visitnordkyn.com/ (turn on flash to see).

Also, brown is back!

Why Not All Earnings Are Equal; Microsoft Has the Wal-Mart Disease forbes.com
46 points by vrikhter  10 hours ago   38 comments top 10
lionhearted 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I like Microsoft, but as a disclaimer before my analysis - I bought 400 shares of Microsoft stock a little bit ago at $25.79 per share.

Here my thoughts:

-Microsoft's price/earnings ratio is around 10, which I feel is pretty good for a company with a lot of stable revenue base and a chance at upside.

-This article talks about Microsoft's poor performance in tablets, which is true and worrying. I'm not sure Microsoft will make that ground up. They do have an excellent research division, though, and I'm wondering if they can make a strong showing in the next generation of technology after this. I don't know what that'll be, but new input devices should be coming online. The Kinect is amazing, I was really blown away playing with one in Singapore. If Microsoft can build on that to do alternative input and the next generation, they could have a huge renaissance.

-They have a very solid installed base. Government and business are very likely to keep running on Windows and Office. For consumers, even if tablets totally take over - and I'm not sure that'll happen - late adoptors will be buying those pre-installed Windows laptops and PCs just like always.

-$50 billion in cash reserves means they've got a lot of time to figure something out going forwards. Lots of cash + some very stable covering their fixed costs + big research division = seemingly a pretty safe buy with some upside.

I don't think it's a good stock to buy for short term appreciation - it might well go down over the next 2-3 years. But I'm comfortable holding it for 10 years. I think there's a decent shot it pays well in dividends and holds its value and a decent shot for lots of growth and appreciation.

Of course, maybe the house does fall over. Do your own research, etc, etc, etc.

fleitz 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Customers don't need to be excited about your products to make a boatload of money.

I don't think anyone is excited to buy gas at $4 a gallon, but that doesn't make it an unprofitable business to be in. MS has been running with out it's founder for years and has been moderately successful.

If one is to believe the reality distortion field that Jobs is central to Apple's success then his health problems pose a major problem to the long term value of the stock.

Apple has some very serious competitive risks (Android) and some very serious internal risks (Jobs' health). Apple's stock price is based on the idea of maintaining 30% growth for the next few years, that's a much more difficult goal than to lose 2% per year. Also, Moore's law is still relevant in the mobile market meaning that people replace their phones fairly frequently to get better hardware support. A mobile phone from 5 years ago is clearly inferior to most people whereas a computer from 5 years ago is mostly adequate for most users. What this means is that there is still time in mobile for a major competitor to emerge. The desktop PC market is locked up and belongs to Microsoft. The desktop PC running Windows is also a core part of the business to a lot of companies in the same way that Mainframes are to the financial industry. Yes, Microsoft's Desktop PC business will continue to decline for years, but it's a steady essentially risk free revenue stream. The mobile revenue stream is still largely up for grabs.

Microsoft also has big inroads into enterprise sales which could solidify WinPhone 7 in the enterprise which would bring in some pretty big bucks.

kenjackson 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The problem with this article is that it is based on an incorrect thesis, which is that MS revenue has stalled. It hasn't. See:


MS revenue has continued to climb to this very day, with only a drop during the recession. Outside of Apple, there aren't many companies that wouldn't take this type of revenue growth at this size.

The article makes a mistake a lot in the tech sector make which is that if MS isn't doing better than Apple then its in serious trouble. Doing worse than Apple is hardly an insult. There are probably no more than a couple of companies in the world that are doing better than Apple. Yet, there are few F500 companies that can match MS's revenue/profit growth -- yet almost all can beat its market cap growth.

wglb 9 hours ago 4 replies      
So while the article notes several times that "Microsoft is not making items that customers want", it seems that this is addressing the consumer customer. But isn't Microsoft addressing what the enterprise customer wants? And isn't this a serious chunk of where their income is coming from.

While I am not seeing flaws in the argument here, I am slightly skeptical, as for multiple decades I have witnessed many people underestimating Bill Gates, and now I wonder if that continues.

(I remember a time where Intel was skeptical of compilers produced by tiny companies such as Microsoft--they got no respect whatsoever.)

carsongross 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The world is addicted to exponential curves, and yet everywhere we look, we see logistic curves in a finite world. Unfortunately, it is quite profitable to con people into thinking that the latter is really the former. Our whole financial system is built on this fraud, from the VCs on down.

Microsoft ran up the logistic curve, stalled out and, sure, made some bad decisions.

Apple made some bad decisions, went way down the logistic curve, and now is climbing back up it.

That isn't to say there aren't lessons to be learned by looking at the two companies. It is to say that one of the premises of the article, that there is some exponential growth curve that all companies need to stay on, is flawed. I would expect no less from one of the chief financial ponzi rah-rah mags, though.

edoloughlin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Is there anyone out there with a background in economics who could explain why it's reasonable to expect a company's revenues to grow indefinitely?
I get that there's inflation, so there will always/usually be some upward pressure, but surely there are natural limits?
cubicle67 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I did a quick sum of the quarterly losses in that chart, and came to a total just shy of $8 billion
jimbokun 8 hours ago 2 replies      
It would seem "Wal-Mart disease" is a good place to look for start up opportunities. Look for companies suffering from Wal-Mart disease, then think up ways to compete against them.
josephcooney 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Not surprising. In 2005 they hired wal-mart's COO. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/aug05/08-04Tur...

Edit: (or to be more pedantic, they hired Kevin Turner, a Wal-Mart executive to be their COO)

timfpark 8 hours ago 0 replies      
the Microsoft COO is from Walmart, so its hard to see why anyone should be surprised by this turn of events.
My first iPad game: Stats and lessons whatupdave.com
67 points by whatupdave  12 hours ago   10 comments top 6
flyosity 11 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a gigantic difference in sales potential when you choose to make an iPad game (like the author did) and an iPhone game. The iPhone & iPod touch market is way, WAY bigger and has a much larger financial upside. If you want to make a game that can reach the largest audience of buyers, make it for iPhone, or universal, but not iPad only. The title of the submission is misleading.
keyle 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Am I the only one to like the original design better than the robot one?
nischalshetty 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Very insightful... More liked the point where you described how you had to start cutting down on stuff so that you get to release it.... I think deciding on one feature and one feature only, developing it and throwing it out to the world is a good idea most of the times :

1. Gives you an opportunity to test if people like what you have to offer

2. You have a ton of features lined up in your head but based on user feedback you would know how to prioritize them

tomjen3 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If anybody else wants to play around with 3d game development turbosquid ( briefly mentioned in the article) is a great way to start.

If you can spare it, play around with blender for a week and you should be able to make simple models (ships, guns, etc) and tweak more complex ones.

kore 5 hours ago 1 reply      
As someone planning to build some iOS games as a side project, I really appreciate this info.

Some questions for you:

Have you considered offering your game for free for a limited time to get your game out there, so it can hopefully find some more coverage? If so, what made you decide to keep it a paid app?

Did you consider any other game dev tools, such as Unity?

Did you reach out at all to any mobile gaming sites or blogs to try to get coverage for your game? If so, did you have any luck?

JMiao 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah, how I despised the PS2 DEV TOOL. The only cool thing about it was the look on people's faces when they'd see it...right out of that scene in Aliens when Ripley walks in on the Queen.
Ask HN: FB banned our page without any reason
27 points by CWIZO  3 hours ago   24 comments top 10
nedwin 2 hours ago 1 reply      
You need to get in touch with an account manager. They're actually really easy to deal with if you know the right combination of words, as with most things.

We managed to get a clients FB page vanity URL switched from an old page to a new page within about half an hour of sending an email - something we thought was a long shot.

Hit me up if you need a hand, my email is in my profile.

gojomo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Keep in mind the coverage a few weeks ago that indicated there are some automated/judgement-less processes at Facebook, based on number of complaints/flags, that can take Pages down. See for example:


So don't assume Facebook has already judged you; as soon as someone there looks at it, it may get fixed. (Sucks in the meantime, but like Google and Craigslist, outsourcing lots of the moderation to the semi-anonymous masses can generate collateral damage even if it usually is a win.)

briandear 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Good luck. You might as well try negotiating an unblock with China.
beatpanda 1 hour ago 1 reply      
codeup 1 hour ago 1 reply      
FB's practices are well known and should've served as a warning. You shouldn't rely on this being resolved now. I ain't saying it won't be resolved in a good way, but just don't rely on it.

Even if your page is restored, think about alternative marketing channels. Don't make yourself depend on the services of one attractive but unereckonable company.

DiabloD3 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Businesses and websites really need to quit putting their faith in FB. When their accounts get closed like Mojvideo's, it affects their brand viability in a negative way.

Getting banned by FB is the new getting banned by PayPal.

adaml_623 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you have any guesses why you were banned?

Maybe Facebook has the impression that all the Pokemon videos available on your site are copyright violations or something? I'm not sure whether that kind of stuff is illegal to host where you are but it's the kind of thing that companies seem to care about these days.

jrockway 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Do you expect a response at 3AM on Monday morning in Facebook's main time zone?
jschuur 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How long has it been since your appeal?
kmfrk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Try asking on Quora. It's a longshot, but there are a couple of people on Facebook who check it regularly.
Maker of free games suggests how much to donate with fun visualization cheapass.com
45 points by uberc  11 hours ago   6 comments top 4
jimbokun 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Pretty funny that "Street Performer / Homeless" is expected to pay more than "Student / Teacher" (probably accurate, too).
corin_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope for the sake of their wallets that people working at startups don't take this chart too seriously. Based on the job postings I've seen in the past 6 months an awful lot of people would be paying the "rock star" rates!
judofyr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think comparing with other products (coffee at Starbucks, burger at McDonalds etc.) might be more effective.
weareschizo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I would like to see an A/B test with and without that chart to see what the difference in donation rates is.
I think the chart probably helps, but always better to gather data right?
Unthinking Machines: Artificial intelligence needs a reboot, say experts technologyreview.com
81 points by pldpld  15 hours ago   50 comments top 21
tansey 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Overall, I'll say that the general sentiment of this panel is half true.

On the one hand, machine learning research has grown to such a large field that the signal to noise ratio has dropped dramatically. Lots of people try to squeak out another ICML or AAAI paper by making an incremental improvement that gets 94% accuracy instead of 92% on some set of benchmark tasks. This phenomenon is true across almost all academic disciplines, however, and is more an indictment of the "publish or perish" environment than anything else.

On the other hand, some of the things these (famous) researchers are noting is complete FUD:

>The answer is that there was a lot of progress in the 1960s and 1970s. Then something went wrong.

Yep, things got hard. People early on thought that the difficulty of picking fruit would increase linearly over time. If they could pick all this low-hanging fruit in such a short span of time then surely in X years we'd be at point Y! Unfortunately, it turned out that the landscape was much steeper and fraught with local optima.

As a machine learning researcher, I do try to focus on high-level problems that haven't be tackled before. My startup[1] is an example of that, and the extensions to it that I'm researching are as well. But does it really count as revolutionary from an academic sense? Probably not.

The fact is that at this point, everyone has thought of something closely related to whatever you want to work on. Even if you've found an institution that enables you to explore freely, big impacts are really hard to come by these days. And when they do, older academics like the ones on this panel don't want to give credit because it's just another incremental improvement in their eyes.

I suppose it's just frustrating to hear these guys sit at a panel and complain that AI researchers need to get to work-- they're AI researchers! Why aren't they doing anything? They have tenure and all the free time in the world. But they don't want to do that. They want to sit back and judge people while pointing to contributions they made forty years ago as proof that they can judge.

Being critical of others' work while not producing anything of value is just mean-spirited. Put up or shut up.

[1] http://effectcheck.com

onan_barbarian 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Patrick Winston, director of the AI Lab, rounded up the usual suspects in this article: early attempts to make money off AI, not getting scads of defense megabucks, and 'balkanization' into well-defined subspecialties such as neural networks or genetic algorithms.

He didn't hit on the fundamental problem (to quote (allegedly) Brian Reid from his AI qualifier): "AI is bogus".

If only we could resume pouring defense dollars into the money pit of Strong AI; each strong AI researcher could be given a metric butt-ton of money for vaguely defined projects like those pushed by Winston. From the article:

"Winston said he believes researchers should instead focus on those things that make humans distinct from other primates, or even what made them distinct from Neanderthals. Once researchers think they have identified the things that make humans unique, he said, they should develop computational models of these properties, implementing them in real systems so they can discover the gaps in their models, and refine them as needed. Winston speculated that the magic ingredient that makes humans unique is our ability to create and understand stories using the faculties that support language: "Once you have stories, you have the kind of creativity that makes the species different to any other."

With clear-cut and sensible goals like this, success cannot be far away now, can it?

knowtheory 5 hours ago 1 reply      
You can tell this article was written by someone who doesn't follow artificial intelligence and neural networks.

How? Because people in the field of neural networks and AI would never claim that Minsky "pioneered neural networks". To the contrary (and as Minsky's wikipedia article " i'm sure the source of this claim " obliquely notes), Minsky's pessimism about the abilities of neural network computing lead to the abandonment of artificial neural networks as a major research topic.

That alone should make one skeptical about this author's depth of knowledge about artificial intelligence.

Beyond that, this article and the quotes therein, are just flat out incorrect. There are people who are attempting to analyze behavior, model it, and build systems that mimic this behavior. They're called cognitive scientists. This approach is taken by linguists, psychologists and philosophers all.

But this stuff is incredibly difficult to analyze, let alone model correctly. It annoys me to hear the opinions of the panelists reduced to "oh gee, why isn't anyone doing more holistic research".

When i read the actual quotes by Minsky, Partee and Chomsky, i hear the three things i expected to hear, and that each academic has been saying for years.

1) Chomsky, an old school linguist, doesn't like systems that we can't introspect and verify as correctly modeling human behavior.
2) Partee, who is responsible for recognizing the power and importance of Montague Semantics and linguistic pragmatics, states that AI requires world/state modeling that is equivalent in complexity to that required for robust natural language processing (a position i agree with)
3) Minsky thinks nobody is trying hard enough, and that the constraints put on researchers from actual implementation has lead us down a blind alley.

Lastly, Sydney Brenner complains that neuroscientists can't see the forest for the trees. I guess he's not familiar with all the research in cognitive psychology, trying to model cognitive facilities like memory, language use, decision making, attention switching and more.

That we haven't "solved" AI or made thinking machines is a misleading claim that is contrary to all of the awesome stuff that humans have built in the past 10 years. Look at all of the stuff that Google has built and tell me that we don't have thinking machines that can understand (or if you'd like to be more circumspect, predict) what we want. Tell me that Watson wasn't a marvel of not just engineering but modeling intelligence.

The major editorial thrust of this article is an incorrect platitude, which isn't supported by reality or the assertions and claims made by the panelists (whom i each respect for the work they have contributed to the broader field of cognitive science), and it annoys me that this claptrap pastiche is being passed on as journalism.

We have made progress, and we will continue to make progress.

fleitz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Pure AI doesn't need a reboot, they just need to start solving practical problems, if you look at what Google does it's essentially AI. The problem with AI as such is that it over promises and under delivers while there is tremendous benefit possible to society with the existing research that has been conducted. The essential problem are there are few vertically integrated companies that can turn AI R&D into commercially successful products which can further fuel more AI R&D.

AI needs to move out of subsidized R&D and into productization similar to how Bell labs worked. I actually think this is a much bigger problem that extends to most sciences. There is a lot of scientific research out there that is being poorly monetized.

jallmann 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"AI" nowadays is a mess. I could write a book on why I feel this way, but a lot of it has to do with the prevalence of narrowly defined, domain-specific algorithms that need to be heavily tuned to fit your usage parameters. Even then, you can't always be sure they'll work well.

AI is not an easy problem, otherwise we'd have made more progress by now. And unfortunately, barring a major breakthrough, there won't ever be a "one size fits all" approach to AI (or at least a less fractured algorithm landscape).

It's all pretty disillusioning, especially if you started out as a bushy-tailed CS undergrad with visions of a grand unified theory of artificial intelligence.

stralep 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Winston speculated that the magic ingredient that makes humans unique is our ability to create and understand stories using the faculties that support language: "Once you have stories, you have the kind of creativity that makes the species different to any other."

Any idea to where is this coming from? Any related articles?

brendano 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Everyone on the panel is quite senior -- the comments have the flavor of "darn young researchers these days." It might be interesting to hear from AI researchers under 40 about this.

Second, on the question of statistics and language; there's an excellent Fernando Pereira essay which addresses, among other things, Chomsky's old opposition to statistical theories: http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~pereira/papers/rsoc.pdf

rsaarelm 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure just how important the humans being different from other animals thing is. We've got a billion years of evolution of multicellular life, working up to the brain of the not-quite-human primates, and something like two million years in which humans developed their unique traits. Wouldn't be my first guess that all the heavy lifting happened in the last couple million years instead of the other 998 million.
CurtHagenlocher 14 hours ago 1 reply      
So, a bunch of symbolic logic vets are bitter that statistical techniques are producing better results than they were ever able to?
davidhollander 12 hours ago 1 reply      
>Winston said he believes researchers should instead focus on those things that make humans distinct from other primates, or even what made them distinct from Neanderthals.

According to cognitive science, this is capacity for analogical reasoning. Compared to the other self-aware, social, tool using animals exhibiting emotion such as dolphins, elephants, and the great apes, what sets humans apart is our massive capacity for analogical reasoning that leaves dolphins in a distant second.

In other words, humans can not only think in terms of relations, but how relations relate to one another much easier than any other animal.

olalonde 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Weird, I submitted the same article yesterday and got only 5 up votes: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2525463.
hooande 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Is anyone on hn working on technology that is similar to a human (or even a rat) in it's ability to learn and form hypotheses? I've only known one or two people who actually tried it, and it usually didn't last long.

Personally I feel that most of the benefits that come from "strong ai" can be duplicated with basic statistical analysis. In the spirit of Peter Norvig's "more data beats better algorithms", I think we might all be better served by making an effort to gather and structure as much data about the world as possible. It's not as sexy as creating an artificial sentient being, but over time I think the results would be similar.

Detrus 12 hours ago 1 reply      
There was a similar theme two years ago http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2009-12/scientists-...

I think the main problem is computers are still too slow, so it's difficult for individual researchers to experiment. Saw a paper a year ago about deep belief networks on GPUs, seems like the field is not even taking advantage of current hardware. You need several modern GPUs to run the equivalent of a bee brain in reasonable time.

empiricus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In a couple of years we will start seeing a lot of computer vision applications - and robots will be one of them.
This is because the computing power has just got at the needed level.
Once you have vision you can really start applying the other old AI stuff like planning, etc.
Of course this is not Artificial General Intelligence, but it is a step forward and it will greatly improve the visibility of current AI.
6ren 11 hours ago 1 reply      
> Chomsky derided researchers in machine learning who use purely statistical methods to produce behavior that mimics something in the world, but who don't try to understand the meaning of that behavior

[He's not deriding these, but] statistical methods can be used to infer models: you have a series of models, and you measure how well each one models the data, and you include a measure of the complexity of the model (e.g. the choices (information) needed to specify that model). The model requiring the least information wins (related to Occam's Razor).

forensic 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If the status quo is a problem at all, then it's a problem with all of modern academia.

The problem will only be solved by better ways of selecting and supporting academics. Fix how stuff is funded and you fix the issue.

iwwr 14 hours ago 3 replies      
As an aside, is there progress in a formal definition for the English language? Have other natural languages been formalized yet?
karolisd 12 hours ago 0 replies      
To create anything resembling human intelligence, you'd have to create it the way human intelligence was created.

Imagine you are God and you have the tools to create a universe and it's laws. And you want humans, but you can't just make them.

The universe you create will need to have the right laws of physics such that a self-replicating molecule (essentially a program, right?) will arise. And that the molecules can mix with each other and new combinations can arise. And you need molecules that can form bubbles so that cells can happen. And you need a bunch of elements for all sorts of things.

Then the world needs to apply the right selective forces for the whole evolutionary journey to happen.

And if you do it right, you'll end up with human like intelligence, an intelligence motivated by something, survival and reproduction.

indrax 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"Read the Sequences."
zwischenzug 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I notice Hofstader wasn't there. Maybe we could have a whip round and send them Fluid Analogies?
dmfdmf 9 hours ago 2 replies      
AI is an epistemological problem. What stalled AI is the lack of a comprehensive theory of concepts and theory of induction. All the traits cited in the article that distinguish us from the animals are derivatives of reason. Whenever these supposed intellectuals get around to realizing this fact they can all eat crow and thank Ayn Rand for solving the problem of concepts and leaving significant clues to the solution to the problem of induction.
Solar Fire Breakthrough openfarmtech.org
92 points by ph0rque  17 hours ago   12 comments top 5
mrb 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Solar thermal power has always looked much cheaper to me, compared to photovolcaics.

Even Google recognizes its potential. They invested in a solar thermal power company a few months ago: http://venturebeat.com/2008/05/13/brightsource-snags-115m-fo...

loup-vaillant 3 hours ago 0 replies      
What impresses me most is how accessible this is. Even a child could operate this solar panel. I also feel you don't need many specialized skills to build it from scratch once you have the schematics.

We need more ideas like this. [edit]: FrojoS' links show they do have more ideas like this.

FrojoS 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I wasn't aware of this huge project [1].
This one seems to be only a smal part of it [2]. This really looks awesome and game changing! I'm very excited to see if I can contribute.

[1] http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/Main_Page
[2] http://openfarmtech.org/weblog/2011/03/open-source-micro-fac...

adrianwaj 13 hours ago 1 reply      
http://www.zenithsolar.com/ looks more advanced - pv and thermal.

What are the efficiency of mirrors these days? I'm sure better mirrors equals more power.

Concentrated solar power (solar thermal) also uses mirrors but in closer range to the water:


pieter 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is interesting, and as for comparison, the construction cost of this is just a bit higher than for nuclear ($1/watt at 25% capacity for this vs $5billion / ~1.2GW at 95% capacity for nuclear), though that doesn't include labor for the solar.

As for comparing operating cost, I have no idea. Obviously this is meant for poorer countries, but I can't imagine how much work would be involved in turning 5billion square foot of mirrors. The nice thing about this is of course the scale; you can just have one guy maintaining a small installation.

Bitcoin iOS app open sourced github.com
118 points by milkshakes  20 hours ago   26 comments top 6
milkshakes 17 hours ago 1 reply      
it seems like they're also doing some sort of ad hoc distribution for those without dev tools: https://testflightapp.com/join/25bf5108ebf60dd935baa57f36856...
jerguismi 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I have also created one bitcoin iPhone app which Apple rejected: https://github.com/kangasbros/BitcoinWatch-iPhone

It is a just very simple app for following mtgox USD rate/market depth/last trades.

CrazedGeek 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anyone put it on a Cydia repo yet?
nextparadigms 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Will there be an Android version?
recoiledsnake 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Mostly useless, because it will run only on jailbroken iDevices.
The Free Software Foundation is now accepting Bitcoin donations fsf.org
75 points by Tsiolkovsky  16 hours ago   13 comments top 2
quanticle 10 hours ago 7 replies      
Serious question: how is the FSF going to turn its Bitcoins into dollars? The one thing that's been keeping me away from Bitcoin is the fact that I haven't seen any really large Bitcoin -> "real currency" sites pop up.
edward 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You can see their transactions with Bitcoin Block Explorer:


PowerShell Specification licensed under the Community Promise msdn.com
63 points by brudgers  16 hours ago   36 comments top 10
thwarted 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This means that now anyone can implement PowerShell on any platform they want to. We know some of our most passionate customers sometimes work on platforms that can't run PowerShell today, so when writing this specification, we wrote it in a platform neutral manner.

We hope to see implementations on all of your favorite platforms. This would benefit the industry, our partners, and our customers. We told you that you should learn PowerShell and we would do everything we could to make it the best investment you ever made. Specifying the language and enabling the community to implement it is yet another step in that direction.

It's interesting how many open source projects are expected to, and do, port their projects to Windows, but Microsoft expects the community to do the work of porting their projects to other platforms. Now obviously, Microsoft isn't usually the one doing the expecting, but Microsoft has a lot more resources than any random person doing a port in their freetime.

I remember when Apache wasn't available for Windows; and I remember when Microsoft "let" the Mono team write their Silverlight port.

This is all just marketing. They can say they are open and working with the community, but they are offering something empty: anyone who wants to use Powershell, or has experienced its value, is already working on Windows and most likely isn't interested in working on any other platform. And thus there is no one (or close to no one) who is both interested in doing and qualified to do a port. And I think Microsoft has shown their track record of working with the community only to continuously leave community products at least one step behind the moving target that is their "standard", often defined as whatever the latest from Microsoft offers. Everyone else's ports are seen a lesser because they are behind the "official" release.

Now, obviously, different implementations are good for the standard and market overall, and only serve to strengthen it from a diversity standpoint. But it's interesting that Microsoft is actively encouraging forks of their projects when they've, in the past, cited forks as a deficiency of open source.

y0ghur7_xxx 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The language specification is only in docx[1].

Microsoft, just put an HTML page with the spec online. There is no need for a docx file for a language specification.


jkahn 14 hours ago 5 replies      
As someone who occasionally has to write PowerShell, I can say with confidence that is an abomination of a language with a horrible syntax. I hope this never gets implemented on any other platform when there are so many superior alternatives.
profquail 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Since no one else has mentioned it:


There's been a (partial) port of PowerShell to Linux/Mono out there for a few years; maybe having the language spec will allow the project to go a bit further.

keyle 15 hours ago 5 replies      
I've limited knowledge of PowerShell but I can't see why I would want it in my OS? Don't we have enough with bash, ksh etc.?
hexis 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Can anyone explain why Microsoft uses a "Promise" instead of a "License" as seems standard in the industry?
Osiris 15 hours ago 1 reply      
We hope to see implementations on all of your favorite platforms. This would benefit the industry, our partners, and our customers.

It seems they think there is a benefit for themselves to see PowerShell implemented on other platforms.

leif 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Considering wrapping the perl interpreter to get a performant powershell implementation.

Extra lols from the "download spec page":

  > Supported Operating Systems:Windows 7;Windows Server 2008 R2
> Microsoft Word or Word Viewer

me_again 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is likely most useful for remote-controlling windows boxes from some non-windows endpoint. I can see that being handy for a unix-centric admin forced to admin exchange, for example.
chrisjsmith 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The community promise is worthless:


Instapaper like Article Extractor open sourced github.com
91 points by beagledude  19 hours ago   13 comments top 7
petercooper 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I created something similar in Ruby: https://github.com/peterc/pismo
johnwatson11218 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else interested in seeing something like this used with zap reader? Zap reader takes articles and renders them a word at a time in the same spot on the screen. You can adjust the words per minute, I can understand stuff in the 300 to 500 wpm range. I think their ui is not very good and it seems to just read through a page, including navigation and header/footer.
yesimahuman 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks interesting. There is another good project that does this called Boilerpipe: http://code.google.com/p/boilerpipe/

I recently developed a web service that performs these sorts of operations called Linguini (http://linguini.me). The service hasn't been officially launched but it's in beta and usable. It can extract html/blog text through JSON web service calls and can tag names/companies/locations in that text.

tomjen3 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Super nice, I was playing around with the idea of running an article extractor and running the output through festival (with a little clean up the output is surprisingly good, and certainly a lot better than it used to be a few years ago) so that I could hear blog post while I was working.
dageshi 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Stupid question, what's the legality or the "rules" on extracting pic + chunk of text from random websites?

Are there any rules I presume there must be?

beagledude 19 hours ago 1 reply      
list of all the unit tests with the extraction results:
Immortal 19 hours ago 0 replies      
There's also a C# port of Readability algorithm: https://github.com/marek-stoj/NReadability which is being used by InstaFetch - an Instapaper client for Android (http://instafetch.immortal.pl/).
       cached 9 May 2011 12:02:02 GMT