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"Was LinkedIn Scammed?" nytimes.com
103 points by mmastrac  4 hours ago   23 comments top 13
msy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who feels that if I'd put in the blood, sweat and tears to build a company to the point where it could be IPO'd I'd be more likely to gouge my eye out with a rusty spoon that open it to the sharks, sociopaths, speculators and manipulators of wall st and the open market?
DavidSJ 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
The fact that the stock more than doubled on its first day of trading " something the investment bankers, with their fingers on the pulse of the market, absolutely must have known would happen...

No, this is an absurd claim. Investment bankers are not clairvoyant.

trotsky 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The underwriters also have a responsibility to all involved not to over price the ipo to take advantage of transient demand. If they do, and the stock ends up under water within a few days to months they run a serious risk of pissing off both their investing clients and the newly public company. Opening down or trading below what the stock priced at in the short term has a strong stigma attached to it and can make retail and institutional investors think there is something systemically wrong with the company regardless of the fundamentals.

There was an editorial in the WSJ on friday that strongly suggested the price action in LNKD has to do with the current easy credit environment driving money into riskier assets. I agree this seems likely. Certainly it seems difficult to justify the valuation on any traditional metric. If when pricing the ipo Morgan also felt that any frothy demand was based more on the easing environment than real interest in LNKD as a company, perhaps they were right to hold the pricing a bit more conservative than the market was suggesting.

After all, they already had increased it by almost 33%, and the current QE program is scheduled to shut down in June. Many smart people appear to be betting on interest rates climbing after the program ends, that may take enough money out of the market to cause someone like LNKD to correct.

Another thing to keep in mind is that LNKD offered a relatively small amount of stock as compared to many offerings. This kept supply low and could have contributed to the large pop, but also means that they probably have plenty available for a potential secondary offering, which could allow them to profit from these very price moves down the line,

SeanDav 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Having worked in the industry for a long time I have no doubt that Invest Banking Firms are greedy fucking bastards.

However, in this situation it is more a case of damned if they did and damned if they didn't.

Before the IPO there was a fair amount of nervousness about a big launch of yet another dot com. It is easy to look at this with the benefit of hindsight and say - they should have known the share price would more than double but I doubt they purposely got it that wrong.

alex1 1 hour ago 2 replies      
One of the reasons LinkedIn's share price jumped so high from its IPO price of $45 was because of a very low float. There are too few LinkedIn shares trading on the public market. It is not that easy to get your hands on LinkedIn shares right now, even if you are willing to pay market price. This artificially raises the stock price.

I believe 7 million shares were floated out of ~94 million outstanding shares. If more shares are floated, the price per share should go down (not considering other factors) as there will be a larger supply of shares in the public market. The assessment that the investment banks that the IPO should be priced at $45 sounds more reasonable had all 94 million shares been floated (speaking hypothetically; this never actually happens).

For this reason, valuing LinkedIn by multiplying 94 million (total outstanding shares) by the current stock price on the NYSE (as most news articles have been doing) is probably not a very accurate measure.

alanthonyc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Break out the Adam Smith?

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public"

joelmichael 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Prior to the IPO, everyone was saying $45 was absurdly high. Now it's absurdly low.
zach 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like a great topic for a NYTimes business-section infographic:

Which underwriters price IPOs most accurately and which ones leave huge amounts of their clients' money on the table?

adamtmca 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not a scam. Inflammatory banks are evil stuff with little to no support.

In hindsight it's easy to say they should have known it would get to this price but in the weeks leading up to the IPO it would have been pretty difficult to justify pricing at 80. The current price is difficult to justify and may not hold beyond this initial frothy period.

Add to that the greater downside of underpricing and I just don't think the author is really making much sense.

pbreit 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I like Henry (Joe...not so much), but they are being idiots. Pricing an IPO is not quite that easy. And a 100% pop is not the end of the world for the company. In fact it is pretty neat.

Henry's analogy is asinine. Better is the owner of a 10 unit building renting to a tenant for $1000 who turns around and rents for $2000. The owner, without doing anything, has just increased the value of his building by 90%.

awarzzkktsyfj 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Google's Dutch auction IPO pricing looks even more appealing after seeing this. Too bad it took a recession for them to get the bargaining power to demand a Dutch auction.
jonah 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The story on MSFT's IPO was fraught with uncertainty and concern over who-gets-what in the pricing scheme:


horofox 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It wasn't a scam, just take the fact that "[LinkedIn] became the first major American social media company to go public" and you should notice that it happened due to (1) managing an IPO is HARD (2) web social media is young.
A blog system written in Go - with a telnet frontend fettemama.org
26 points by jemeshsu  3 hours ago   3 comments top 3
enneff 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Love it. Just like the BBS' of yesteryear.
thefox 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Very nice! Just like the Packet radio of yesteryear.
imperialdrive 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Simply amazing
The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity cat-v.org
19 points by vimes656  2 hours ago   5 comments top 4
zyfo 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Some very apt observations there, good read. Interesting and pithy lens to view the world through.

One dimension that struck me as missing: What about indifference? Surely there's a difference in quality between say helplessness and indifference, even if it isn't captured in the win/loss-for-me/you framework.

Many behaviours can be explained by indifference, as it's not obviously right or even rational to think of the Total Humanity Utility as a goal-in-itself. There seems to be an assumption of utilitarism hidden there.

ableal 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
The First Basic Law prevents me from attributing a specific numerical value to the fraction of stupid people within the total population: any numerical estimate would turn out to be an underestimate.

We could always start with 100% and see how it goes. I suspect this upper bound method was applied by more than one writer.

Never mind the quibbles, it's good to see this one back. As the footnote says, there's genius in it.

stretchwithme 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
A lot of truth here, but one statement seems incorrect:

"If all members of a society were perfect bandits the society would remain stagnant but there would be no major disaster."

There would be no incentive to actually work, as everything presumably would be stolen. So I don't think stagnation would be the result. A steady decline back to hunter gatherer seems more likely.

vimes656 40 minutes ago 1 reply      
Sometimes stupidity is indistinguishable from pure evilness. That's why I believe it's more practical to focus on removing inefficiency instead of corruption.
WordPress Discontinues Support for Internet Explorer 6 readwriteweb.com
82 points by ssclafani  7 hours ago   14 comments top 4
steve19 6 hours ago 2 replies      
They are only discontinuing support for the admin part of the package which is very javascript heavy. The default frontend theme will, I am sure, continue to support IE6 for a long time.
hxf148 5 hours ago 3 replies      
It's funny, I have been around so long in this game that I remember never really liking Netscape, ever.

IE3 in some ways made web dev fun and interesting again. Then IE4 took over and I was pretty happy using it as Netscape grew fat and slow. Netscape 4 was ok and that was the short lived first era of decent browser consistency.

I don't remember much about IE5, head down developing and skipping classes but I do remember when MS broke all our hearts with IE6. It started out all so well then it turned to mush and our faces melted as we glimpsed the future carved in exceptions and special handling.

Web dev from then until very recently has been haunted and stunted and repeatedly annoyed by efforts to include IE6 "Support". Out of a perverse loyalty to doing things well in all browsers and an employer's choices have meant that I have been one of those making an effort all these long dark years. Ten years with a corporate network that I believe is still running IE7 in compatibility mode today taught me lots of useless IE skills and.. creative thinking.

Thanks WP for joining the kill IE6..7..8 effort. 9 isn't bad but they will probably screw it up.


barnaby 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool! Wordpress are becoming part of the solution.
ck2 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There they go trying to be "hip" again, thinking they are important enough to cause trends.

They also stopped supporting PHP 4.4 which means hundreds of thousands of legacy installs no longer do automatic updates because their update code (purposely? lazily?) has a few lines that don't work under PHP 4.

IE6 is one thing to go "meh" about but WordPress installs that do not do fast easy updates are time bombs.

Einstein Was Right: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment nasa.gov
210 points by tableslice  12 hours ago   23 comments top 6
tzs 11 hours ago 4 replies      
It's not all that epic. These effects had already been measured by other experiments and were found to agree with general relativity to much more accuracy than the GP-B measurements. What GP-B brought to the table was a direct measurement, as opposed to indirect measurements used by the other experiments.

However, because the way they measured it pushed the limits of engineering, if GP-B had NOT agreed with GR there is good chance the results would have been dismissed as most likely due to equipment flaws.

While it is in general a good idea to confirm measurements, especially using different techniques, in a case like this where the confirmation will be much less precise than the other experiments and will likely be rejected if it fails to confirm, you have to wonder why this was funded over other projects.

The answer to that turns out to be simple: politics. When space scientists ranked all the proposed missions under consideration, GP-B came in dead last. However, its proponents went to Congress, and got Congress to override the normal process for prioritizing missions, forcing NASA to move it to the front, ahead of more scientifically worthy missions.

There are a lot of very worthwhile scientific missions that we can't fly due to budget limitations. It's a shame to see $750 million of the limited budget go to a mission so far down on the importance list.

scottdw2 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Did the experiment use a control? That is, did they put other gyros in places where space time should not have been twisted and observe no deviation?

If not, how do they know that the deviation was in fact caused by twisting space time?

ColinWright 11 hours ago 0 replies      
wallfly 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to find out if using Hans Montanus's non-canonical formulation of GR (which involves a Euclidean metric and perfectly flat space-time) would yield the same numerical predictions, just with different "book keeping".

That would put a different spin on the notion of Einstein "being right" as I think a lot of folks subconsciously equate GR with the "strangeness" of the Minkowski metric and non-Euclidean space-time manifold.

known 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My understanding is we should benchmark everything with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light
Vivtek 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I initially read this "Einstein was right, announces results of epic space-time experiment", which would have been epic and a much more interesting story.
The Next-Generation Browser: No URL Bar conceivablytech.com
13 points by peternorton  2 hours ago   6 comments top 5
nicpottier 43 minutes ago 1 reply      
The more things change the more they stay the same.

Remember AOL's use of keywords to go to specific pages for companies before the days of the web? A future without a URL bar gives Google that much more power, which is just how they want it.

In that future you'll type all your urls in the google search box, and they get to show you ads for similar sites or topics, assuming you are lucky enough to be near the top.

I wonder how long before Google introduces a 'keyword' product where you can register a specific keyword to go straight to your domain.

Andrex 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Having tried Chrome's "Hide the toolbar" feature in Chrome Canary, I can honestly say I prefer having the URL bar hidden. There will be some growing pains, for instance extension badges are not yet available under this setting, and the back/forward/Wrench buttons look a little out of place, but I do agree. No URL bars is going to be the standard pretty soon.
seshagiric 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
If somebody makes it easy to show my favorites without using a separate toolbar for it, I think that will be far more cleaner UI than show/hiding address bar.
jbk 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
What I don't get about this trend (I must be missing something) about software hiding every toolbar (and sometimes useful ones) to get more "vertical space" like "vertical space" was a very valuable asset, while the computer industry is forcing everyone to screens with less vertical resolution...

Moreover, since most websites are fixed-width and that computers are moving to 16/9, I don't get why browsers (I know, not Opera) make it very hard to make vertical toolbars (like shortcuts and bookmarks, for example) on the sides...

quattrofan 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
the disappearing URL bar has been happening in the Android browser for as long as I can remember
Node.JS v0.4.8 released nodejs.org
13 points by jemeshsu  2 hours ago   discuss
Jobs on the importance of saying "no" forbes.com
85 points by brennannovak  8 hours ago   11 comments top 9
sivers 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems it's a career-long motto of his. Here's my little story from when he told that to a room of record labels in 2003: http://www.oreillynet.com/onlamp/blog/2004/08/say_no_by_defa...


In June of 2003, Steve Jobs gave a small private presentation about the iTunes Music Store to some independent record label people.

My favorite line of the day was when people kept raising their hand saying, "Does it do ___(x)___?", "Do you plan to add ___(y)___?".

Finally Jobs said, "Wait wait - put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes could have. So do we. But we don't want a thousand features. That would be ugly.

Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It's about saying NO to all but the most crucial features."

aridiculous 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Almost all company leaders are aware of the importance of design, simplicity, and usability. The problem isn't lack of information. They know about Apple products. They want to be Apple. But most of them never end up with a product or service that is like what they say.

I really do think good product design is all about the courage to follow through on obvious good ideas (like the article said). It's the thing business execs need to get through their skulls. The hard part isn't thinking of good ideas or innovating, it's discipline and courage. They all say they want simplicity and good design, but inevitably cave to deadlines, politics, and short-term financial decisions.

It's unbearably frustrating to watch in my company.

bluekeybox 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this quote by the sculptor Rodin: "I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don't need."
bumbledraven 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done.
kleiba 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the $n-th iteration of that same article I've read.
alastairpat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The title should read "Jobs on the importance of saying 'no'" - the apostrophe is incorrect.
wattsbaat 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember reading a similar article about Linus Torvalds (saying no to the inclusion of much code in the Linux kernel codebase). The gist of the article was that he spends much more time rejecting new code than he spends actually coding. I can't seem to find the article now though...
dorian-graph 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Reading this reminded me of some words from Henry David Thoreau:

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone."

joelthelion 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That's just one business model. Crap sells as well, with a lower margin but a higher volume.
BankSimple: We have cards banksimple.com
284 points by timf  17 hours ago   137 comments top 22
meterplech 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This is very intelligently done. I'm glad they are releasing the cards to just a small set of people first to check that everything works. People are very wary of any issues with their money/with their bank and absolutely any problem at the beginning would seriously hurt user adoption. Start slow and make sure it works.
paulitex 16 hours ago  replies      
Only 4 days after losing their Lead Engineer.
orijing 16 hours ago 7 replies      
As I understand it, banks make a large amount of revenues from fees and such. How will BankSimple succeed if it doesn't use that? How will overdrafts work? Will the check just not go through?

I love that they are trying to revolutionize the banking industry, and I wish them well. But I'm afraid that they'll succumb to adverse selection to the greatest degree. The reality is that most of a bank's customers are not profitable (without the fees), which is why they institute these ridiculous fees to either drive them off or make them profitable. If BankSimple can make these previously-unprofitable people profitable again without surprise fees, they'll be a great success.

Let's hope that happens.

Aloisius 17 hours ago 6 replies      
Can someone please tell me the benefits of BankSimple over all the other online banks or your local credit union? I'm afraid I don't get it.
olivercameron 16 hours ago 2 replies      
If any industry was waiting for a startup to come along and revolutionize it, it's the banking industry.
pbreit 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think BankSimple is going to struggle to find customers with its current proposition. The fact is that people are not as unhappy with their banks' fees, customer support or websites as BankSimple thinks (or at least suggests). People like branches and brands. The one thing people do like is products which is how ING broke into the business but an approach that BankSimple appears not to be pursuing.
Aloisius 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Wait. I think I get it now. They're like mint, but with account management?
RexRollman 16 hours ago 3 replies      
BankSimple sound interesting but they will have to be offering something really awesome for me to even remotely consider doing business with a commercial bank ever again. (There days, I only deal with credit unions.)
steve_b 16 hours ago 4 replies      
I've always wondered why after winning something (or in this case, getting 50k sign ups), people say "I'm humbled." I think the truth would be the opposite: "Wow, looks like I'm pretty awesome after all."
zitterbewegung 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or does it seem sort of odd that they don't mention the FDIC anywhere on the page (whether they will be insured) You can't advertise that you will be FDIC insured?
joshfraser 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Judging by the IIN of the card in the picture it looks like they are using Visa behind the scenes.
achompas 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm pulling for BankSimple's success thanks to the abysmal nature of banking customer service. Hidden fees, long wait times on phone calls, ATM fees, ridiculous procedures to dispute charges...

With that said, how is BankSimple anything but a middleman? In my eyes, they fill one of two potential roles:

1. They're a customer service wrapper for banks, which means banks pay them to provide support. So banks are their customers, right?

2. They actually manage your money for you---a "broker for personal accounts." How do they generate revenue in this case?

#1 and #2 are both problematic. In a way, I'm the opposite of Aloisius: I clearly see BankSimple's benefits (Mint + support + SmartyPig), but I cannot understand how they will generate revenue while staying loyal to customers.

strlen 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The use of the phrase leaning into it is highly appreciated.
bluegene 16 hours ago 1 reply      
In traditional banking, UX is an afterthought but from what I see, for BankSimple, banking takes the backseat but UX rules. I say this coz there's no details on FDIC, interest rates, etc.
IMO, instead of doing Banking; they can sell their product to banks
uniclaude 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds great. Props to them if they can disrupt banking.
The fact that they're not a real bank but some entity that works with partners to provide FDIC insured products is reassuring from a customer point of view. Not sure about how they will do their marketing though.
Now, I hope that we, non-American customers, won't have to wait too long for this service.
DanI-S 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see someone like this be the first place to seamlessly incorporate a Bitcoin exchange into personal banking.
oofabz 9 hours ago 0 replies      
What's the big deal about BankSimple? They look about the same as most credit unions. My credit union has a good website & iPhone app, and doesn't charge hidden fees. They pay interest on my checking account.
evo_9 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea. I wish it were 'MortgageSimple' though - the mortgage industry is in serious need of an overhaul even more than banks right now.
jimktrains2 16 hours ago 0 replies      
So, this prob isn't the place, but instead of cards or short range radio, I thought plugging into headphone jacks and having the phone do transactions (akin to what short range radio would do). Doesn't require any modification to phone and is backwards compatible with almost all phones (that have their won sdk (Symbian, iOS, Android, RIM) or use J2ME or BREW.

I wouldn't be able to bring this up myself (I just do code, hardware and banking is beyond me at times), but I would never object to being included with people who could:-D

Anyway, ::shrug::, just thought I'd place the idea out there since I feel it's good and like to see someone do it.

truthseeker 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I am surprised that so many people are willing to open a bank account with someone you've never heard of.
I couldn't even find if they are FDIC insured.

I know several friends who wouldn't use mint.com.
For them, it is a single point of failure. You can explain all the technical details you want but there is no way to get past their fears.

When shit hits the fan, you can expect the US govt. to bail out Bank Of America. SimpleBank? I am not so sure.

hvass 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Competition is always good!
reftvfds112 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Poor site design. I can't read the vision statement. White out. Fixit. Simple
JSONSelect jsonselect.org
6 points by creativityhurts  1 hour ago   3 comments top 2
cubicle67 28 minutes ago 1 reply      
I think I'm missing something here, because I can achieve the same using normal js

  stuff = {
"author": {
"name": {
"first": "Lloyd",
"last": "Hilaiel"
"drinkPref": [
"thing": "JSONSelect site",
"license": "(cc) BY-SA"

> "whiskey"

arethuza 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
That made me wonder if there is something that uses an XPath like approach rather than CSS selectors, turns out there is just such a thing:


These tools could be fun for writing map functions for CouchDB.

Startup vs. Lifestyle Business (A Short Comparison from a Guy Who's Done Both) corbettbarr.com
69 points by wallflower  8 hours ago   12 comments top 6
scottyallen 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"I wanted to start a business doing something I enjoy that let me live a great life now."

I wish we as a valley entrepreneur culture valued this more.

I quit my fulltime job at a startup recently, with the goal of starting my own company. I spent a bunch of time having fairly in depth conversations with potential cofounders. Really sharp people, many of which who had solid, well validated business ideas with significant investor interest.

But I couldn't fully commit. In the end, I realized it was because deep in my heart, I wanted to have a great life now, not at some unspecified (and uncertain) point way in the future. So I decided to focus on building a business that generates solid cash flow and which doesn't require a 60 hour workweek for me to maintain, once I get it up and running.

The process of going around and explaining my decision to everyone who I had been talking with awkward. If you liken the process of finding a cofounder to dating leading up to marriage, then the process of "breaking up" was akin to going around to all of the girls you're dating and telling them you're gay. "We're both attracted to different things", and, "I respect your lifestyle choice" were common phrases:) People were supportive in a "That's nice for you, I'm glad you're following your heart, but I would never choose that" sort of way.

It's a shame that the valley culture is so focused on big, home run hit businesses. We're now in an era of entrepreneurship where very solid cashflow businesses can be created with very little capital, and significantly lower risk than a big homerun hit business. Yet, as a community, we treat them like the uncle whose lifestyle everyone accepts but no one wants to talk about. A lot of the advising, incubators, and accepted best practices all center around taking funding and growing as big as possible as quickly as possible, above all else.

If any "lifestyle" entrepreneurs want to grab a cup of coffee sometime and swap advice and/or encouragement, drop me a line - my contact info is in my profile.

EECS 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been on both sides as well, having done many lifestyle projects and businesses as well as building startups including successfully getting acquired and I have the opposite view.

I strongly believe that the main reason the author claims he prefers a lifestyle business really boils down to financial reasons and freedom of time associated with running a simple lifestyle business. But if you're in a position where finances are no longer an issue, it boils down to what you really want to do. For me, having been through both and having both do well enough to financially secure me for life, the concept of doing a business to "allow me to live life now" doesn't really apply. I can technically not work by choice and just enjoy life to the maximum extent doing whatever (financially related or not) or do projects on the side to fill up time if that's my hobby.

Instead, I find that I have a tremendous passion in doing startups, where the lifestyle IS the life I want and I don't really care about doing all the other so called "living life now" junk because this is living life at its best in my definition. I am the type that would rather not travel, hit up happy hour, or do other leisurely things in lieu of running my startup doing something cool or what I want to do. I rather focus all my spare time building a startup anyway. So to me, to some extent, it seems like the authors decision is base on the fact that financial, no matter how small of a factor it currently plays, is still a determining factor nonetheless (read associate of time included). The OP can feel free to correct me if this isn't so.

It also doesn't help that it seems the OP only has one startup experience to relate to and its one that didn't succeed (not counting the experience portion; which can be considered success or not separately) and ended up making him and his cofounder split ways (which even on the best of terms and all could still have some influence). Just my two cents.

After all is said and done, it also reflects how many people consider getting into doing a startup under the notion of either not wanting to work for somebody else or because of financial wins, less so because they just have a strong passion for doing startups (similar to people who do open source projects that aren't commercialize to an extent). I'm not saying the OP is like that in any way, but as the old mantra goes, do what you love. And if you love doing startups, freedom/finances isn't going to change your love of the game.

Side Note: I lived in SF for over three years before moving down to the Valley (Mountain View) in favor or startup life over city living. While SF is still very tech centric, in my personal honest opinion, it doesn't hold much of a candle to the Valley itself and majority of the people I've ever talked to arguing in favor of living in SF, are to a large extent, arguing for a life outside of the startup world. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that but the distinction should be made for non-Bay Area residents who may not understand the difference. (Again, personal opinion)

Lucadg 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have been living the lifestyle business for more than 10 years now.
Here in HN I feel a bit ashamed of:
- not having raised millions
- not having made millions
- my small company staying small for so long.

but who cares? What I wanted was traveling and travel I did.
The author is right to point out that there's an (easier?) alternative to make it big.
Make it now.

hxf148 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I have worked corporate government web development for over a decade (sigh). I helped bring in use of open source and php there and in a way it has always operated as a startup with constant staff/tech changes.

But going it alone in the real world has been a teacher of many new lessons. I am struggling everyday to balance working towards a goal while maintaining the present reality. I am not alone in my current startup (http://infostripe.com) but it's pretty much down to me right now to finance, develop, market, and support it. Developing and managing growth are tasks I actually crave to do and my goal right now is to build an idea slowly, work hard, refine and iterate the results until it begins to take on a life of its own and we can afford specialists and consider investment.

I would say for sure that until you do reach the point of stability in your code and business model that you are living a particular lifestyle. Any time you can find to get closer to profitability is your life. I've watched many small business owners go through the same startup cycles. Some make it and some don't. It just really comes down to the fact that if the thing you are going after is something that you Love to do it will ultimately get easier if it is a decent idea. The something whether code or knitting is the thing that you want to do so figuring out the rest just enables your passion.

I believe ultimately that being able to think up, program and execute technical and/or products and craft ideas for making coin online is an ever growing small business of the now and future.

killerswan 7 hours ago 1 reply      
There's also the alternative of working for someone else's lifestyle business.........
jingerso 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Let me guess, you are non-technical?
Bit Twiddling Hacks stanford.edu
26 points by wglb  5 hours ago   10 comments top 4
haberman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It is amazing what you can accomplish with bit twiddling.

I've been working on a Protocol Buffer decoder, and I was looking for ways to optimize varint decoding. On a Google-internal list I asked how you'd transform the 64-bit integer:

    0aaa aaaa 0bbb bbbb 0ccc cccc 0ddd dddd 0eee eeee 0fff ffff 0ggg gggg 0hhh hhhh


    0000 0000 aaaa aaab bbbb bbcc cccc cddd dddd eeee eeef ffff ffgg gggg ghhh hhhh

Not two hours later I had several impressive transformations that I never would have come up with on my own. The two most effective:

    b = ((b & 0x7f007f007f007f00) >> 1) | (b & 0x007f007f007f007f);
b = ((b & 0xffff0000ffff0000) >> 2) | (b & 0x0000ffff0000ffff);
b = ((b & 0xffffffff00000000) >> 4) | (b & 0x00000000ffffffff);


    b +=       b & 0x007f007f007f007fULL;
b += 3 * (b & 0x0000ffff0000ffffULL);
b += 15 * (b & 0x00000000ffffffffULL);

I don't know how these guys come up with this stuff.

scorchin 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Whenever a discussion on rearranging bits and bytes comes up, I can't help but recommend Hacker's Delight by Henry S. Warren http://amzn.com/0201914654
Thasc 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I had no idea there was a patented way to compute the absolute value of an integer. Insane.
adrianN 3 hours ago 5 replies      
Nowadays things like these should only be interesting to compiler writers.
Stallman's Dystopia vivekhaldar.com
293 points by gandalfgeek  19 hours ago   119 comments top 17
kwantam 18 hours ago  replies      
Freedom is almost always lost in small steps.

Sure, discontinuities happen in extreme cases (e.g., the WTC's destruction -> the PATRIOT Act), and when they do a lot of people notice. The more subtle losses in freedom that occur gradually (the DMCA and its progeny, for example) are harder to notice until one day you look back and say "huh, how did we get here?"

The concept of the Overton Window [1] is interesting and germane here. 20 years ago the idea that you couldn't lend a book you own to your friend or loan them the new album you just bought would have seemed insane. Over time, a gradual shift in the concept of ownership has changed the scope of the issue to the point where many people would now accept that it seems reasonable that you can't lend your books to someone else.

People at the edge of the Overton window are like our canaries in the coal mine. Gradual shifts in the window are hard to notice from the middle, but easy to notice as the "edge" passes over you. In that respect, to me RMS seems most valuable to us for precisely the reasons others call him a crackpot.

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

ataggart 18 hours ago 5 replies      
There are a few fundamental differences the author doesn't take into account:

1. There is nothing stopping you from lending out your kindle.

2. The notion of "lending" doesn't really apply to electronic books. Absent copy protection, you can just give someone else a copy. With copy protection, to mimic "lending" some infrastructure needs to be in place to give someone else access rights to a copy of a book while simultaneously depriving you of your copy. And of course this is controlled by the seller, since they're the one putting the copy protection in place.

3. I can't copy/paste from my paper books either, at least not in any way that's not also available to kindle owners.

4. Every choice involves trade-offs. There is no morality involved here, much less the sound of jackboots. There is only what people value. Many seem to value the convenience of having their whole library in a small device over the ability to "lend" individual electronic copies. Those who feel differently can stick to paper books, or electronic books unencumbered by copy protection.

aneth 18 hours ago  replies      
Major flaws in both points here:

1) You can lend your Kindle out all you want and let people read your books, just as you could before. You just can't duplicate the book onto someone else's Kindle or in any other way, just as you couldn't before. This is a reasonable restriction and not any worse than it was with a physical book, which you are also prohibited from scanning, photocopying and distributing outside of fair use.

2) You can not copy/paste a physical book either. I agree that this should be allowed, but it's not a dystopian future - there is no loss over physical books here, only gain.

Perhaps Amazon should allow some sort of way to help with "fair use" citations, and maybe they should remove restrictions on public domain material. On the latter though, those are generally available for free from many sources, so the fact that you can't copy/paste on your Kindle is an inconvenience, not a dystopia.

sambeau 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Here in the UK you break the law when you lend a book without the author's permission.


  Restricted acts
It is an offence to perform any of the following acts
without the consent of the owner:
Copy the work.
Rent, lend or issue copies of the work to the public.
Perform, broadcast or show the work in public.
Adapt the work.

The UK govenment have to pay for the right to lend books in public libraries:


  The payment per loan is 5.98 p

lukifer 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The underlying issue here is not one of legality or technology, but rather economics. Market transactions are based on scarcity, and the ability to cheaply copy information which is expensive to make eliminates that scarcity, resulting in a market ecosystem that is unsustainable without legal and/or technological measures.

Call me a commie if you wish, but I don't think this problem can be eliminated without rethinking capitalism as we know it, at least regarding "intellectual property". (This is arguably a self-healing problem, in that struggling entities will be forced to innovate new business models, as has been happening in the music space for the past 10 years.)

In the meantime, those who care deeply about these issues can {a} stick to real books, {b} pirate (note that you can pay and pirate if you like), and {c} keep yammering on about the issue with the hope of swaying more people to value their freedoms, thereby influencing the market.

jxcole 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This article complains specifically about not being able to copy from a book in public domain to somewhere else. If you are seriously having this problem, I recommend checking out


They have a lot of good materials there if you are interested in older books.

joe_the_user 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Many of the details Stallman describes in The Right To Read were taken from existing proposals for the "National Information Infrastructure" (proposed by among others, Al Gore).

The basic approach of using "cyberspace" to impose this approach predates the popularity of the Internet. In fact, the popularity of the Internet postponed a lot of plans that were already on the agenda of various powerful forces.


cwp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Nah. In the future people won't think that lending books is "nasty and wrong." They'll think it's silly. They'll ask "why would I do that, when I can just give him a copy?"
yesimahuman 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Consuming locked down content is a choice, and we live in an age of an immense amount of choices. Should content producers have to do everything we say just because we choose to consume their content? Lady Gaga is not a public servant. You are not entitled to copy her work, or even put her songs on your own youtube videos.

Lady Gaga never had to exist in the first place. The fact that she does enriches some of our lives, but we must understand that content is a production of someone else's and it should be treated as such (just as we wish our users to respect the hard work we put into our web apps).

EGreg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The free market will ultimately decide. They can't lock us down when someone else will make a reader where you CAN copy things.

But first, the free market will have to dismantle the government protections that enforce monopoly rights for authors. That will only happen when we find a better system. Subscriptions may be that system.

gallerytungsten 18 hours ago 2 replies      
The combination of e-book adoption and an efficient market for used books (eg, abebooks.com) mean that finding and purchasing real books is easier and lower-cost than ever. While some may consider real books inconvenient, I find the fact that no batteries are required rather refreshing. So I keep buying them and don't worry about DRM restrictions.
sambeau 17 hours ago 0 replies      
codex 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Emacs Shrugged? Stallman has more in common with Ayn Rand than people realize!
brandall10 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Before the advent of the printing press books cost as much as a small home. Only the wealthy could afford them, and libraries were created to others could use them. Arguably you could say an actual book was more valuable than the material it contained, on average.

Before the advent of the personal computer, computers cost as least as much as a small home. Arguably you could say the computers time was more valuable than the people using them, and people shared them in research and industrial labs.

Both items have become many orders of magnitude cheaper and plentiful to the point of commoditization. eBooks are still competing with hard copy works so the price differential isn't quite there. But once that industry capitulates look for them to drop significantly.

Personally I like the scenario where a friend recommends me a book for $2 that I can purchase for $2 myself vs. him paying $10 and letting me borrow. I like to pay for things that bring value to my life, and in a way he's subsidizing my usage.

0ffw0rlder 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The kindle DRM is pointless and an idiot tax ;). All it takes is one visit to library.nu or similar sight and all books are free, and pdfs.
chrisjsmith 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Just a reminder - you can always stick your Kindle in a photocopier. Works quite well!
Typhon 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Note that a software that doesn't let you copy and paste doesn't prevent you from copying text.
You can copy it manually to a computer, or write it by hand.
This is poorly designed software.

If there were a law preventing you from copying the text, now that would be a problem.
But there is no such law as far as I know. In fact, I live in a country where, so far, such copying of any book is expressly authorised as long as it is for private use.

As for the kindle, I don't understand which of its function couldn't be performed just as well by a small laptop, but I barely know what it looks like, so I may be wrong.

Cool, but obscure Unix tools kkovacs.eu
377 points by larelli  22 hours ago   90 comments top 32
gnosis 20 hours ago 4 replies      

  abcde            - CD to mp3 ripper
apg - random password generator
base64 - better than uuencode
boxes - draw any kind of boxes around your text
bsdiff - binary differ
bspatch - binary patcher
bvi - binary vi (yet another hex editor)
ccx2 - console xmms2 client
clive - flash video downloader
dvipdfmx - dvi to pdf converter
enfuse - poor man's HDR
get_flash_videos - yet another flash video downloader
glark - advanced grep
indent - code beautifier
lshw - list hardware configuration
mcurl - multiple part downloader using curl
mktemp - safely create temporary files and directories
msort - sort records in complex ways
netbrake - bandwidth limiter
od - octal dump
par - paragraph reformatter
par2 - archive verification and repair tool
ped - sed done right with perl
pinfo - color info reader
pipe.vim - make vim part of a unix pipe and allow it to
edit the pipe contents
pv - Pipe Viewer: a tool for monitoring
the progress of data through a pipe
pydf - pretty df (disk space viewer)
qmv - use your favorite editor to rename files
(part of renameutils)
qodem - modem program that can do serial, telnet, ssh,
zmodem, kermit, etc
rdiff-backup - like rsync, but can do incremental backups
recode - like dos2unix and unix2dos, but with many more encodings
recordmydesktop - make screencast videos
remark - great logfile colorizer (part of regex-markup)
rkhunter - find rootkit infections
rlwrap - add readline editing support to any command
safecopy - data recovery tool (better than dd)
sponge - soak up stdin and write to a file
(for things like pipeline editing)
sux - su while transferring X credentials
unbuffer - force flushing of stdout
upx - executable compressor
utimer - countdown timer and stopwatch
vared - edit shell variables (part of zsh)
watch - run a command multiple times and display the output
(with differences highlighted)
xdotool - simulate keyboard and mouse activity
xxd - hex dump
zargs - a version of xargs that makes the find command redundant
(part of zsh)
zed - very small and fast vi-like editor (part of zsh)
zrun - automatically uncompress arguments to command

SandB0x 18 hours ago 1 reply      

          ====        ________                ___________
_D _| |_______/ \__I_I_____===__|_________|
|(_)--- | H\________/ | | =|___ ___| _________________
/ | | H | | | | ||_| |_|| _| \_____A
| | | H |__--------------------| [___] | =| |
| ________|___H__/__|_____/[][]~\_______| | -| |
|/ | |-----------I_____I [][] [] D |=======|____|________________________|_
__/ =| o |=-~~\ /~~\ /~~\ /~~\ ____Y___________|__|__________________________|_
|/-=|___|| || || || |_____/~\___/ |_D__D__D_| |_D__D__D_|
\_/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \__/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/

SeanLuke 19 hours ago 2 replies      
> nethack & slash'em

> Still the most complex game on the planet.

Dwarf Fortress.

cygwin98 20 hours ago 0 replies      
tsort -- perform topological sort

I bet very few people here are aware of its existence, even it has been part of Unix since Version 7. I recently discovered it and have used it to solve some project Euler problems.

tybris 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently discovered nl and felt sad about the amount of time I had wasted figuring out how to add line numbers to files.
zerosanity 21 hours ago 2 replies      
How is vim an obscure tool? I'm pretty sure quite a few people use vim daily. After looking over this list, I suspect it's also true for many listed programs.
eru 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Have a look at `join', it joins lines of two files on a common field. Together with `cut' and `grep' you can use text-files as relational databases.
rizumu 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've discovered a lot of new apps from the post and comments. Give ncmpcpp, an excellent ncurses mpd client, a try and say goodbye to GUI music players.


Also in line with tmux, checkout teamocil and tmuxinator on github.

lysol 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If rsync is obscure, then I'm a dumpster wizard. That's a wizard that lives in an overturned dumpster.
kkovacs 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi guys,

Kristof here, creator of this particular list. First, thanks for the kind words! :)

I'll maybe add more tools when I have some time to make more screenshots. It's surprisingly more time consuming than it seems :)

Also, I'm a bit of two minds with the whole list -- many people think that some of these tools are already not "obscure" enough, while others suggest adding even more trivial ones like ifconfig or grep. I'll have to think about this a bit :)

Once again, thanks for your feedback!


oyving 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I really like pipe viewer (pv). I wish it as more common in base installs of Linux.


younata 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Even though these aren't really obscure, but they're worth mentioning as some of the best unix "tools" I've seen:

    Irssi - irc client
Mutt - email client

These are mentioned mostly because he included the newsbeuter rss client (which is amazing, I highly recommend it).

IProgrammer 12 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who want to learn how to write their own UNIX tools, and specifically, how to write tools that work well with other UNIX tools, such as the shell and friends, this article may help -
Developing a Linux command-line utility:
IvarTJ 20 hours ago 1 reply      
You don't need stdio.h to use puts.

I was in the process of making something similar before I found what I wanted " rlwrap. It provides readline line editing capabilities to command line applications that don't support them, such as netcat.

brcrth 21 hours ago 3 replies      
htop, tmux/screen, xargs, vim/emacs, rsync, rtorrent, ack are far common to everyone I know (direct and indirectly) that uses the command line.
newman314 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's one that I find does not get a lot of mention but is quite useful when you need it.


nickolai 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Its amusing to see nethack and cowsay listed as a full-fledged unix 'tool's.
jefffoster 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a few of my favourites.

agrep - approximate grep based on edit distance).

GNU Global - source tagging system that integrates with the shell (less -tfunc displays the function given in the shell).

xmllint - xml validator, pretty printer and schema validator.

sharmajai 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently discovered 'bc'. It stands for 'basic calculator' or more precisely from the man page - 'arbitrary precision arithmetic language'. It is all but a basic calculator, with better floating point precision capabilities than Java/Python.
guard-of-terra 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Another cool one is xmlstarlet.
It's like grep and sed and some on top, but for XML files.

Especially, xmlstarlet sel lets you select whatever data you want from XML files, being a command-line XSL templates generator.

Don't know anything else useful for XML, so it fills a vacuum.

freedrull 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Libcaca and its various programs:


Also, there is neercs, a terminal multiplexer that uses libcaca:

chow 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My obscure favorites:

yafc: The best command-line FTP client that nobody's ever heard of. Local caching, tab completion, bookmarking, SFTP, and other generally awesome stuff.

clex: Full-screen file manager for command-line junkies. Configurable directory display, smart name completion, enhances the command line without seeking to replace it.

oinksoft 17 hours ago 0 replies      
`ncdu` is a godsend. It's like `du` but usable for troubleshooting.

None of the following from this list are obscure: screen, vim, rsync, xargs, curl

I'm tempted to put ack in that list.

pearle 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post! It introduced me to a few tools I wasn't aware of previously. The main OS on my laptop is Ubuntu so this is very appreciated.
pstadler 15 hours ago 1 reply      
mytop - a `top` clone for MySQL
malux85 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of these aren't obscure, but it was a good read, and I didn't know about slurm.

So over on one of the test machines I apt-get install cowsay ... One of the other devs here is going go get a surprise next time he logs into one of the webservers ... ;)

zbowling 18 hours ago 0 replies      
cowsay is used on craiglist's 404 page.
lewispb 19 hours ago 0 replies      
My operating system doesn't have a package manager ;)
joelthelion 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Apparently he hasn't discovered autojump yet :-D
ericmoritz 19 hours ago 1 reply      
And all these are replaced by Emacs :p
thdn 19 hours ago 0 replies      
why nmap is not listed?
hassy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like he's running them on OSX which means they're likely to work on BSDs too.
Want Hacker News Comment Scores Back? Check out HNPoints.com hnpoints.com
196 points by HNPoints  17 hours ago   139 comments top 31
blhack 16 hours ago  replies      
If we're going to open a new dialog on this:

Has anybody noticed the drastic decline in quality of links and comments in the last month or so? I think one of the problems is that, without comment scores, new users don't have feedback from the community on how they're supposed to act. There's no way for them to learn the culture.

So it's September, but with no way to tell the new students to mind their manners.

michael_nielsen 16 hours ago 1 reply      
On the issue of scores vs no-scores, it'd be possible to A/B test this, so half of HN users see scores, and half don't.

Metrics to track might include the number of comments made, number of hits on the site, number of upvotes / downvotes, and probably many more.

Some people obviously feel strongly about this issue, and it might be necessary to take steps to prevent gaming of the outcome. Keeping the metrics secret until after the test would help with this. So would publicly announcing that only a small (say 10%) but undisclosed subset of users will be used to determine the outcomes of the testing. So any individual user wouldn't know if their behaviour would affect the results, and so would have little incentive to waste their time trying to affect the outcome.

It'd be nice to take a data-driven approach to resolving this question.

user24 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Yeah, having got past the initial "ooh, this is cool" phase, I do actually think HN was better off with the comment scores.

For example, I was looking at a popular submission the other day and someone had said "Hey is there a PHP port of this?". Back in the day, I'd be able to see how many points it had as a rough indicator of how many other people would have found a PHP port useful. Now I can't tell if that was just one guy, or if 50 people thought the same.

Please, PG, bring the points back? (and while you're at it, stop new users being shown in green?)

tokenadult 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The submitted site is interesting. I will not go to the trouble of contributing any scores I am aware of to the database, however. Here in this thread, we are once again in metadiscussion about whether or not it was a good idea for HN to experiment with not showing users the comment karma scores of other users, a change that happened not long ago. When pg wrote his post "Ask HN: How to stave off decline of HN?" just 47 days ago,


he wrote, "The problem has several components: comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb that (c) get massively upvoted."

That's still the key issue. In the view of the site founder, who has had a registered account here for 1684 days, many of the high-scoring comments carried a false signal of quality, likely to mislead users about which comments are factually accurate or helpful to the community. If some change of voting rules or comment karma visibility brings about higher scores for good comments, and lower scores for mean, dumb, or other bad comments, that is helpful to all readers of HN.

Feel free to review the site guidelines


and the site welcome message


for guidance on what is desired here and thus guidance on how to vote. I defer to the site founder on all issues of site governance. I have found HN largely to be a worthwhile website for my 914 days as a registered user, and my interest is mostly to make sure that the site founder and the members of his volunteer editor ("curator") team


continue to enjoy the site and find it useful for themselves. They are doing a good job, and I want them to have incentive to keep up the good work. On my part, I have been able to find good comments more readily since the comment karma scores were hidden than I was before.

CWuestefeld 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It really bothers me that so many people here seem to be saying "I am capable of scoring articles fairly, but the rest of the community seems not to be able to think for themselves, falling victim to group think and a herd mentality."

This seems like a lot of fundamental attribution error [1] going on here.

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

gnosis 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I much prefer the new HN, without visible comment scores.

When comment scores were visible, it was obvious that many people would just vote with the herd, downvoting comments with lots of downvotes, and upvoting comments with lots of upvotes.

This is still a problem, since HN still tends to put highly rated comments near the top, and low rated comments near the bottom. But it's not nearly as much of a problem as it was when comment scores were visible.

I think the quality of comments has increased with the new system, and I find myself reading more of the comments now that the scores aren't visible.

I also find myself voting less, and voting only on comments I personally feel are exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.

One change I would like to see HN experiment with is making the score of a given comment visible only after you've voted on that comment.

This will both encourage voting and also satisfy people's curiosity, while still discouraging voting with the herd.

larryfreeman 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In my view, the comment scores made the site more fun and more social.

One thought is that maybe the score gets hidden if it is 1 or less. I think that scores are especially interesting when it highlights a great comment or provides feedback to the person making the comment.

The ordering of comments without a score is a good example of why a visible score is needed. You assume that the best comments are on top but it is not clear how good are the comments below the top one.

Since the scores were removed, I have been commenting less often and often ignoring many of the comments below the top ones.

blhack 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I love this. A hacker approach to getting the points back :)
jcr 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Typing is kinda difficult for me on most days, so I don't comment much.
I vote a little bit on comments, when I bother to read them, but I tend
to vote-up more on submissions. I've also have been known to do a lot of
flagging on the /newest queue (and even triggering the "excessive
flagger" threshold).

I do try to remember to make new submissions for all to enjoy, but the
irony is, this means I'm off somewhere else looking for interesting
stuff rather than finding it here. The stuff that I find interesting
is new tech, engineering, security and science developments (i.e.
hacking up new solutions and analysis) along with a small splattering of

The speed of churn on the /newest queue means some of my submissions are
not even seen. On average, there's maybe two or three other people here
with similar interests to mine, or better said, they appreciated the
submission enough to up-vote. But that is on average, so plenty of my
submissions vanish into obscurity with no notice. --This is not a
complaint. Other people have other interests, and the fast queue
progression should be expected when there is no barrier to entry.

The trouble is, the fast queue means submitters get very little USEFUL
feedback. If you post some link-baited controversy, getting 1000+ points
on the submission is not too unusual, but it probably isn't noteworthy
new hacking. The good hacking stuff on HN seldom hits the main /news
page, instead it's buried deeply in the /newest queue. --It has always
been like this. Blame human nature. If you look at /classic or do some
HN spelunking by item?id= or hit archive.org for old snapshots, you'll
find the main /news page has neither improved nor declined.

I think gaining points for submissions is unfair. In my opinion, I think
a submission just says, "Hey, I thought this was interesting, and you
might too." When a submission is sincere, it's just a friendly gesture
with good intentions. But we all know how good intentions work. Whether
or not the submissions is ever seen by others here, or more importantly,
is interesting hacking to them is generally unknown, even to the
submitter. The displayed up-votes on submissions are really just a
popularity contest feeding on link-baited controversy.

Another reason why gaining points for submissions is unfair is a
submission has vastly superior visibility compared to a comment. I
believe PG has some secret sauce running to address the visibility
discrepancy. As far as I've been able to divine through observation,
points from submissions don't count towards the "average" listed in your
profile. Well, it seems that way on my account, but I think even older
and more active commenting members (grellas) may have their average
calculated with both submissions and comments. (Don't get me wrong, when
grellas posts, I read it, and usually up-vote. I doubt I'm alone on that
so his exceedingly high average might be warranted from comments alone).

So the display of points on submissions fails to be particularly
valuable metric. Similar could be said for the display of points on
comments. I refuse to care what other people think of you or your
statements, and I would prefer avoid being biased by displayed points so
I make up my own mind on whether or not I find your comment interesting.

For notes, it was tptacek that made the suggestion to remove the display
of comment points in the "Stave Off The Decline of HN" thread from PG. I
thought his idea was brilliant, possibly because I had the same idea,
but as usual, tptacek thought of and posted it first. If you want a
discussion to be useful, turning it into a game is entirely
counter-productive. Worse yet, the display of points creates an unfair
game due to manipulations of visibility, cognitive bias and other

Since the removal of comment points being displayed, there has been far
less one-up-manship in the discussions, and people are more polite
because they are not competing for points in a game. You are now more
free to just state your opinion without worrying about whether or not
others will agree or disagree with you. As long as you're not being an
ass about it, you can generally post uncommon or even controversial
opinions without repercussions.

Some have (repeatedly) argued that the lack of displayed comment points
results in a loss of context or loss of a valuable metric for deciding
what is worth reading. I'd argue the opposite (and slightly less popular
view) that displayed comment points fail to offer any real usefulness
and are mostly harmful. --Just like whether or not my submissions are
interesting, the usefulness of displayed comment points is a very
subjective matter of opinion. Some find it helpful, but others consider
it harmful.

To you, my opinion about comment points does not matter. You already
have your own opinion. And there is the very reason why displaying
comment points doesn't really matter

ignifero 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Science says that blind crowdsourcing is generally better: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-05/17/wisdom-of-cro...

One could find arguments for both sides, though:

- HN is not a crowd, it's a niche community

- Voting is not blind even now.

- The number actually encourages voting, since it serves to remind that your vote will change than number

- It's good to know whether your vote will have little impact or will move the comment upwards

- The site should encourage more people to vote, the more people vote the better.

ignifero 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I liked it for 2 weeks, but, as a data driven person, i would like to be able to see the scores . What was the incentive to hide them again?
wccrawford 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm onboard, but I think it's funny that this is the only thread I've seen numbers in so far.
resdirector 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Goodness and badness is subjective. Up/down voting should exist only for the purpose of recommending articles to each individual user. This is far different from the typical use of up/down which is to recommend articles to the collective, which is not robust against influxes from other communities, e.g. reddit, digg etc.

In other words, when I log in, I should see my own personal HN list of stories, that have been submitted by people I respect (i.e. people I've previously upvoted), or people that they respect etc.

I call this idea PeopleRank.

marknutter 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Seriously, just bring the friggin' scores back. I feel this experiment has run its course and at this point it's really just more irritating than anything.
spottiness 14 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a huge asymmetry in the power of HN users between those that can down-vote and the rest. The problem is that many of the "powerfuls" use their privilege to punish other users based on disagreements, whims, or simply to silence opposite opinions. It is OK to indicate the popularity of a comment by moving it to the top but it's wrong to silence an unpopular comment by fading it away. That should be reserved only to comments that violate the rules: spams, trolls, shameless ads, etc.

Put the unpopulars at the bottom or indicate the degree of popularity with a number, but don't disappear it. Fading away honest unpopular comments is a big turn off that ultimately harms the debate.

user24 16 hours ago 1 reply      
How about throwing the code[1] up on github?

[1] The XPI is a slim greasmonkey-compiled script which just loads http://hnpoints.com/hnpoints.js into the page

DTrejo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I would love to see information from PG on the following in relation to the recent changes in HN:

    - increase/decrease in activity of users with highest karma
- increase/decrease average in comment score, normalized
by time after post of OP
- amount of time the highest rated posts stayed on the front page
- trends for # of flags

Also, it would be great if he put the guidelines on the
submission page.

I've posted this before, but haven't heard anything.

tristanperry 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks for this; I've installed it. I don't really think that disabling the public points has lead to better discussions.
ck2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Take away points from people too.

Only submissions themselves should have points.

That way there is no "ego" - it's only about the articles.

nikcub 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you filtering on the server side for cheating?

(I am testing it with this very comment)

Edit: No

Double Edit: well it was 99999 for a moment, back to 1, so you are doing something. gg.

KeithMajhor 16 hours ago 1 reply      
How do you infer comment scores. The order of comments appears to be determined by both score and elapsed time. You'd have to have pretty exact knowledge of how it worked. Is that information available?
ozataman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Dear PG, please bring back the vote counts and vote-based sorting. If you want to give the option, make it a per-user setting to disable.

My recent approach to having to weed through ALL comments to find the interesting ones has been to completely avoid reading them and switch to different channels of obtaining information (blogs, apps, reddit, etc.)

ryanto 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess I don't really get the point of this. The whole idea of ditching points was to see if it could generate better discussion. By using this extension you are re-enabling points (even if only for a few select users). That re-enabling is going to encourage those users to go back to their bad posting habits... or so we would assume if the original theory that points cause bad posts is correct.

I know a lot of you love your points, but maybe we should see if no points really does generate better discussion rather than trying to find a way to create a point system.

PS: I think points is really tricky, it rewards people for great comments, but it also rewards those stupid-one-line-no-thinking comments. Maybe only show points for comments with more text... whatever, thats a whole other subject.

noneTheHacker 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Apparently Websense filters the site as "Potentially Damaging Content Sites."

I am not saying this thinking that the site is potentially damaging. Websense is pretty dumb about most of the things it chooses. I just wanted to let HNPoints know that because it blocks people from seeing it from behind a Websense filter.

smosher 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I was relieved when the scores disappeared. The less unnecessary information the better, I find. Besides, I think score visibility just promotes groupthink.

I don't use score sheets with my friends. Moderation becomes necessary in a pseudonymous environment, but there's no reason for it to become visible where it's not necessary. Reply-order shuffling and grey-out seem to be a pretty good fit there.

taphangum 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope everyone on HN installs this.
togasystems 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Quick question that is off topic, but did you do the design for that page yourself or did you purchase it off some sort of theme site? Just wondering cause I love it.
brandall10 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you so much for doing this.
chrishan 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I knew someone will do this.
plasma 7 hours ago 1 reply      
OT: What do names highlighted green mean?
mtogo 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks for this! I was hoping pg would fix his own site, but since he won't i guess the community will have to.
Red Bull's Billionaire Maniac businessweek.com
4 points by forcer  1 hour ago   discuss
Skip Flash, Build Animations in HTML5 With Hype (YC W11) mashable.com
178 points by ryannielsen  17 hours ago   63 comments top 27
pavlov 15 hours ago 1 reply      
They have an icon designed by Susan Kare. Nice touch!

Hype looks cool, I'll certainly buy a copy -- if only to see if there are some ideas I could crib...

I'm somewhat disappointed in myself because I had a bit of a head start in this market with my Radi app 5 months ago [1], but I've failed to come up with a credible path towards shipping it.

I've made six releases since the first beta with nice new features and solid improvements (IMHO), but finishing an app of this type is really difficult. Just writing the documentation will take weeks. Then coming up with some interesting tutorials and demo material may be the most difficult part because it requires inspiration and talent -- and also marketing empathy to understand what the potential customer wants to see (rather than what I think are interesting features from a technical perspective).

Congratulations to Tumult. Apparently they're only two people and they've done a great job. Compared to my lonely one-person team, that one additional person can make all the difference between shipping and getting stuck :)

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2040844

bentruyman 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I apologize for the following rant:

1) If you care about accessibility or SEO at all, this tool is not for you.

2) Once you begin an "app" using HYPE, you're locked into their platform. There's no feasible way to maintain rendered animations without the software. I want to be able to bust open my favorite text editor and update stuff on-the-fly when I need to.

3) Just getting off of a project that involved heavy use of CSS animations, transitions and transforms, I can honestly say they're not that hard -- _especially_ to achieve the effects they show in their demos.

4) The types of websites they're promoting as good use cases are the types of sites we all used to be annoyed by when they were created in Flash. Not that this tool forces anyone to create crappy websites, it does enable it though. No splash screens plz.

IMHO, CSS is not meant for keyframe animations. It's not. WebKit might have a @keyframes implementation, and it does work for basic animations. But it just doesn't make sense for heavy animations.

CSS-based effects should be used as added sugar if the browser supports it. Maybe your modal windows opens with a subtle rotation/scale effect, or your slide show has some 3D perspective effects. But your entire website/app shouldn't hinge on a single piece of software trying to solve your animation woes.

nborgo 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Hopefully this doesn't come off as too harsh, but would anyone mind telling me why Hype is better than Flash? Judging from their gallery, it's just as bad. It only "fixes" the CPU hogging part of Flash (and, presumably, Flash's lack of mobile support).

It still takes a long time for the initial page to load. We don't even get a loading bar, just a blank page and "Built with Hype" for seven seconds. When it does load, we still have to sit through all the pieces of the page sliding into place. The demos look like Flash pages straight from the 90s. And I dare suggest that Flash sites could be more SEO friendly.

Hype seems like all the annoyances of Flash under a different name. It seems to encourage bad, flashy design just as Flash did, which makes me wonder about your "[t]his is a very designer-friendly process" quote.

cookiecaper 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome. This is just what's needed to take the crown from Flash. Flash is really a designer's tool, and if you don't have a designer-friendly IDE you're never going to replace it. I'm pleased to see someone progressing on this front, though of course we'd much prefer to see an open-source IDE.
paraschopra 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't $30 VERY low for this kind of app? Can any of the founders comment how they arrived at this pricing?
joelhooks 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This confused me at first because of the kickass Hype Framework built FOR Flash from Joshua Davis http://www.hypeframework.org/
krishna2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If it is going to be an annoying animation that is getting in the way of getting things done, I will skip it or the site, no matter what it is built in.

Frankly, I don't miss the Flash animations - 30 seconds of nonsense I have to click through before I get to see the real deal. Thank god for FlashBlock. Now I wonder if this will make folks say "ah, so you have flashblock, eh ? how about this ? html5 animations ftw...". Hopefully this will be put to more good use.

michaelpinto 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Adobe should have gotten their act together instead of whining about the iPad. Flash has become so un-friendly that I can see a product like this really hurting Adobe.
JofArnold 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This thing is so damn useful for creating iOS mockups which can be rendered anywhere. Killer use case, IMO.
efields 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Web dev/designer here.

Coding CSS3 based animations is currently a pain in the butt, but its certainly interesting to learn and definitely invaluable to understand how CSS3 keyframing works. Likewise with JavaScript.

Hype looks like a great tool for one-off sites like the provided demos, but integrating animated objects created with Hype looks nearly impossible. WooGrit produces this js:


… which references resources such as http://static.tumultco.com/hype/gallery/WooGrit/WooGrit_Reso...

Hype will certainly have its place with the coming onslaught of HTML5 ads (/ducks), but from this developer's point of view, its a niche product.

tfincannon 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I might be able to use Hype for a client project to replace a Flash animation. But I need to know what versions of Internet Explorer that Hype animations will work with (most likely using explorercanvas). I couldn't find browser compatibility information on the website.
bradleyland 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Any plans to integrate audio playback tools? This is so very close to what we need for authoring interactive ebooks in the education sector, but audio is critical.
rglover 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this will really open up how people use CSS3 animations on their sites. It's important that this isn't used as a crutch, though. Minor animations should still be coded by hand so the designer/developer is aware of how everything works. Cool stuff, though. Curious as to how this will match up against something like Animatable (http://www.animatable.com)
xiaoma 16 hours ago 1 reply      
As someone coming from the visual arts side, I have to say that Adobe Flash is an amazingly great tool, and CS5 can already export to HTML5.

Does Hype add anything substantial to that or is it mainly competing on price? Is there a trial version?

melling 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone compare this to Sencha's product?


splatcollision 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats on your release! Glad to see a growing market for modern web standards animation tools. I'm building my own CSS Animation tool as well, so the more the merrier. I'll have to check out your approach and get down to work on my next build.
JonLim 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like a good start, but their animations seem really sluggish on my Macbook. Could just be me though!
iaskwhy 14 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the browsers support for this?
divcraft 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Try our product DivCraft - http://www.divcraft.com - built by the MockFlow team

Tool for building flash like HTML5 web content.

mannicken 10 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the major advantages of Flash is in its compatibility with Illustrator/Photoshop. I can literally create a vector sketch in Illustrator, copy paste it over to Flash and keyframe myself an animation. Shape tweening and Illustrator == epic win.

Anything like that in Hype? I'd imagine one of the ways would be to use something like .svg and perhaps an open-source tool, but I'm still not sure it would reach the level of Flash&Illustrator.

I mean, as a web-developer/animator, I'm all up for a cheaper product that doesn't require viewers to install Flash, and integrates into JavaScript perfectly. I am very interested in where this goes and might be one of the first users.

whatever_dude 14 hours ago 0 replies      
So this is another way to create animated banners... only banners that take more power and performance to be displayed, plus still locked to their platform.

Gotcha. What an advance.

dylanrw 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a fun app to use and kinda neat the tricks you can learn from it. One issue I have is that the markup/css is not the cleanest in the world but it definitely gets the job done. Go Hype!
Meai 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Why are you only releasing for the mac app store?
suyash 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Does this application allows full customization as well, integration with 3rd party api's? Is the code available once you download the app?
wcchandler 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anybody have a crack for this?

// sarcasm

ritcho 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Anybody tested with a wordpress setup?
grumpyoungnerd 14 hours ago 0 replies      
im cuckoo for cocoa canvas! there its been said at least once.
The next, next big thing oreilly.com
14 points by Garbage  4 hours ago   1 comment top
rflrob 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm willing to believe hardware will be a big thing again soon: the transition of 3d printers and scanners from industry to hobbiest suggests there's room for even broader consumerization. Cory Doctorow's Makers is a compelling vision of that future.
RIAA Wants To Start Peeking Into Files You Store In The Cloud techdirt.com
3 points by ygreek  56 minutes ago   discuss
EFF: Apple Should Stand Up and Defend Its Developers eff.org
112 points by grellas  15 hours ago   19 comments top 7
roc 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm having a complete inability to reconcile the reporting on this subject with the patent in question [1].

All the reporting mentions this as a problem for In-App Purchases, but the patent in question seems to only deal with soliciting user feedback. Is there some required rating component involved in In-App purchasing that runs afoul of this patent? [2]

Because I'm missing the part where developers necessarily infringe on this patent as a part of using the App Store or In-App Purchasing in general.

[1] 7,222,078

[2] I've admittedly only purchased in-app a few times, and I can't recall ever seeing it. And I get notably annoyed when apps throw the pop up asking me to rate their app as-is. So forcing me through a rating widget, I'd think, would stick out.

r00fus 14 hours ago 0 replies      
EFF aside, Apple genuinely has a strong interest in sort this out soon.

Putting FUD on the table for app development is a bad thing for their platform and profits.

I expect Apple to do something smart to aid their developers in this case... I only hope it doesn't amount to paying off the patent troll.

That would be a worst-case for other platforms and their developers, as this would competition blocker.

invertedlambda 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Putting aside all discussion on the validity of software patents, Apple really has an obligation to step in and muscle Lodsys to the ground. And I expect that is exactly what they will do.

I doubt anyone at Apple thought it would be a good idea to push tools onto people that would then get those people sued. So most likely, Steve is in the process of releasing the Kraken, telling it to head straight for Lodsys HQ.

By Monday, Lodsys should be a smoldering heap, sunk to the bottom of the ocean by the all-powerful leviathan.

And there shall be much rejoicing.

As an aside, I started to write a thoughtful comment but this stuff is so inane that it really just requires Apple to apply some ass-kicking-fu and make this crap go away.

hvs 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My guess (and I could be completely wrong) is that Apple is working behind the scenes in some way to take care of this.
togasystems 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Anybody know if Lodsys is targeting and Android, WebOS or Windows 7 developers?

Clickable link to the patent http://www.google.com/patents?id=nA2AAAAAEBAJ&zoom=4&...

whatever_dude 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple? Doing something for its developers?


akadien 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm sure I'm wrong (and will be summarily slapped down), but I can't help but think that it is more than just possible that Apple would expose small/indie developers like this just to cull the number of apps in their store.
Private Jet Tracker (WSJ database of all private jet flights 2007 " 2010) wsj.com
15 points by nradov  5 hours ago   discuss
Firefox add-on with 7m downloads secretly tracks your browsing history iwtf.net
151 points by toni  19 hours ago   55 comments top 21
nikcub 18 hours ago 1 reply      
"This add-on has been preliminarily reviewed by Mozilla."

What that entails:

"When performing a preliminary review, editors will review the source code for security issues and major policy violations, but will not install the add-on to test functionality in most cases. Preliminary review will be granted unless a security vulnerability or major policy violation is discovered."

From: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/developers/docs/policies/re...

Extensions marked 'experimental' are not fully reviewed. Which is why they probably left this plugin marked as 'experimental'.

You can't blame the users since they are installing from a Mozilla page and trusting the brand. I hope this triggers a review of those procedures at Mozilla, since I would consider sending back every site you visit a 'major policy violation'. Very scary.

Edit: they may also want to change the 'experimental' policy and set a time limit to how long an extension can remain experimental, and not list them in the default directory unless users (more advanced users) specifically seek out experimental extensions

fligtar 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm from the add-ons team at Mozilla.

We've looked into the Ant Video Player and found that it does send information about websites users visit in order to power its ranking feature displayed for each website, and also includes a unique identifier in this communication. While this does not violate our policies, we do require it to be disclosed in the privacy policy and the add-on's description. We have contacted the developer and asked them to correct this.

The developer has been in communication with us and says that they destroy all user-identifiable information from their logs, and that their privacy policy and add-on description will be updated to reflect that. They'll also show a notice about this on their first-run website.

Additionally, the AntRank feature that uses this tracking can be disabled.

Add-ons publicly available in our gallery have been reviewed for security problems, and add-ons that aren't marked as experimental have been fully reviewed for a range of other issues as described in our hosting policies. Because developers set their own privacy policies and can update them any time, it is more difficult for us to review them for compliance with their own rules. We encourage users to always read an add-on's privacy policy if one is provided and to use the Report Abuse link if anything suspicious is noticed.

sudonim 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It also makes you wonder what "Verified Safe by Norton" means on the page for their video downloader.



The community rating contradicts norton's rating.... sigh.

mickeyben 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't really see the issue here, isn't all of that stated in the privacy policy of the extension ?


Ant.com collects non-personally-identifying information when you are visiting our site or using our software applications, this infomation made available typically from web browsers and servers. Some of the infomation type is: the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of the web page from wich you came, the date and the time for each page you view, settings such as browser languages, etc.

Ant.com also collects infomation made public to us that can be considered personally identifyable, such as your internet protocol (IP) address. Ant.com does not use such information to identify its visitors and does not disclose such information.

dedward 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Privacy policy or not - if it's purpose is to be a video downloader, but it tracks stuff when you are doing something other than video downloading - it's sneaky at best, however it's presented.
zerosanity 18 hours ago 1 reply      
A quick fgrep found the code making the requests to their servers: http://pastie.org/1932287

Edit: Further code browsing points to the "rank" feature. They rank all URLs that are http/https and the host isn't "localhost". I'm guessing, but if you turn of ranking in the preferences, it will stop logging your page views.

masklinn 16 hours ago 1 reply      
And that's why I have Little Snitch on my machine.
raintrees 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Bigend at work? Blue-Ant? Thanks, Mr. Gibson...

And thanks to Simon, I am having a hard enough time with my work and personal to do lists, testing all of my tools for their extranet behaviors is not something I look forward to adding to them...

gluejar 14 hours ago 0 replies      
about 150,000 people have downloaded the bit.ly preview add-on, which tells bit.ly everything you visit: http://go-to-hellman.blogspot.com/2010/05/bitly-preview-add-...
rsoto 18 hours ago 1 reply      
The lesson here: don't install shady addons, just as you aren't installing every damn toolbar out there.

Also, this is enough to sue, isn't it?

benmccann 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not familiar with Mozilla's add-on policies. Is this an issue due to the user tracking? Or is it because the privacy policy didn't make it clear this was happening?
cake 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I've seen this before in an other smaller extension (I can't remember which) while I was studying how it worked, but fortunatly the code was commented.

Firefox extensions are just plain zip files, I wonder why he hasn't checked the code.

derleth 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The Ant Video Downloader has been reported as spyware.
neanderdog 17 hours ago 1 reply      
do a 'whois' on ant.com. I thought it interesting.
spydum 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet another reason to browse through an interception proxy. Know what you are sending -- it can be enlightening.
suyash 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You should talk to a good attorney and file a Lawsuit against Mozilla and Ant.com, this could be big!
willidiots 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like an overreaction, imho. This is likely a case of poor Privacy Policy writing and general ineptitude, rather than deliberate evil.

From their feature list:
"Easy to use : when a video is detected, the download button becomes clickable." - i.e. our plugin sends all URLs to us for analysis, we respond telling the plugin whether to activate the button

"Integrated Traffic Rank indicator for all the sites you visit." - i.e. we need a way of measuring unique visits to everything

Still, interesting, and good on this guy for bringing it into the public eye.

runjake 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Spoiler: Submission title is bait. He calls out "ant video downloader".
feydr 17 hours ago 0 replies      
oh no! say it isn't true!!! it tracks our browsing history!!??!?! that's like as bad as dropping bombs on 8 year olds in iraq isn't it!
natmaster 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Chrome tracks your browsing history... why do people suddenly care when there's an addon for Firefox that does that?
WalterGR 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Like Apple products, Firefox branded itself as malware proof.



"“Beware of spyware. If you can, use the Firefox browser.” - USA Today"

"Privacy and Security

Built with your security in mind, Firefox keeps your computer safe from malicious spyware by not loading harmful ActiveX controls. A comprehensive set of privacy tools keep your online activity your business."


While that's technically correct - Firefox couldn't (can't?) load ActiveX controls, therefore it could't load harmful ActiveX controls - the Firefox extensions system has permitted installation of executable code for a long time, if not since its inception. Since that's what ActiveX is, more or less, Firefox has never been any more secure in that respect than e.g. Internet Explorer.

Like Apple products, as Firefox becomes more popular (and therefore a jucier attack target) there will be more malware that targets it.

WebP: A new image format for the Web google.com
42 points by pud  9 hours ago   16 comments top 3
dave1010uk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a post from the Chromium blog [1], which has more details. It also states how Google is already using it in Gmail, Picasa and instant search previews.

Google is in a great position as they can write a spec, release a browser implementing the spec and update their sites (which account for a substantial portion of the web) in such a short time. In essence, there is no "chicken and the egg" problem of who goes first.

This also happened with SPDY [2], which Chrome already supports and most Google sites now use instead of HTTPS (for Chrome, at least).

I think we can expect Google to do everything they can to make the web faster.

[1] http://blog.chromium.org/2011/05/webp-in-chrome-picasa-gmail...

[2] http://www.chromium.org/spdy

kylec 8 hours ago 5 replies      
I can understand Google's reason for making and promoting WebM, but is there really a need for another image format? Yes, it may be X% smaller than JPEG for the same image quality, but does that really matter? Compared with video, the bandwidth for serving images is practically nothing, and even with universal adoption by browser and operating system vendors it will still be years before you can rely on all your clients having WebP support.
astrodust 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Until they sort out the video tag and the audio tag they should keep away from messing up the img tag in the same way.
The flying men of Yungas valley aljazeera.net
29 points by NonEUCitizen  7 hours ago   7 comments top 6
StavrosK 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
By the way, aren't coca leaves, apart from being chewed by the locals as a narcotic, also used to make, you know, cocaine?
Luyt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is all very interesting and such, but using a simple, basic aerial tramway is not the same as flying.


+1 for the YouTube movie link [1], very illustrative. This is a documentary well worth viewing. I was surprised that the cocaleros remain a good sense of humor despite their dangerous (and subsistent) living style.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZEN-qA0e94

thangalin 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Anyone know how to get a mailing (shipping) address for the flying men of Yungas valley, or their families in La Paz?

Looks like they could use new harnesses, clips, and pulleys.

BasDirks 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The way he routinely ties the knot to the bag his kid's in, and then calmly takes off (around the 3 minute mark).. I guess one can get used to anything.
tentonwire 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who lived in coastal ecuador for 6 months, and also visited Costa Rica for 2 months, I'd like to confirm the unbelievable absence of the "seven deadly sins". Most of the people in the rural areas live with the sole purpose of bettering the future of their children and community, and the concept of exploiting others for personal gain is completely alien to them. I feel that the subtitles do not do Severo's character justice both when he is talking about why his family lives in La Paz and also when he sees his family for the first time in a month.

Also, tourists may ride these cables in Costa Rica, where they are referred to as ziplines.

tep 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why you should build an open-source startup teambox.com
78 points by michokest  15 hours ago   61 comments top 5
pkteison 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I worked at an open source startup once.
I was -shocked- to repeatedly run into the misconception that because the code was open source, anything -using- the code was open source.

I saw several potential sales get tanked because the customer had an advisor who believed that if they used open source to develop their website, they would no longer own the content. For example, a furniture company thought they would lose control of their pictures of the furniture. Another blog style site thought they would lose control of the blog posts they wrote. Literally, I am not making this up. It's like believing that Microsoft owns your document because you wrote it in Word.

No amount of discussion, examples, or logic would dissuade them. I can't imagine how this idea survives, but I saw it as recently as a month ago in a comment here on HN (which of course I can't find right now), so it's not completely isolated.

I'm not sure open source was a net win for the startup I worked at. Due to complicating some sales and assisting a few competitors, it wasn't a clean slam dunk.

kenjackson 15 hours ago 5 replies      
This is a bit disingenious. When your core product is a hosted service, its a lot easier to be open source. There's a lot more into using your product than just compiling it.

Take a standalone product like Camtasia. It works really well and its worth the money to buy it. But if it was FOSS and I could just donwload the sources, build and it use it, and only had to pay for support -- well I probably would never buy it. I've never needed support with it. It's so easy to use, I've never had a need for support (in fact, that's partially why I'm willing to pay for it!).

Figure out what your business model is first. And then do what makes sense. Open sourcing often does, but not always.

wccrawford 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Alright, you've convinced me that making life harder for myself is somehow a way to get and maintain customers. What should I make? /sarcasm

The only good piece of advice here is to be awesome so your customers will love you and your product. ... I'm pretty sure that's common sense, and everyone would do it if it were that easy.

droz 14 hours ago  replies      
I still don't "get" the allure of open source. As a consumer of my product you are not entitled to anything other than the functionality it provides. That's what you paid for. If you want more than that, then you should pay more to get the source code and knowledge that went into making the product.

I just find it striking how people want to give their product (source code) away for free, without limitation. Just seems like such a waste and detriment to the software engineering profession (i.e., why pay someone to write something when you can go get it for free and piece together yourself).

michaelchisari 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There is the issue of attracting venture capital if your core product is open source. It simply isn't there the way it is for proprietary startups.

On the other hand, selling services and hosting means an actual revenue stream. Strange world we live in.

Wikileaks releases All Secret US Cables related to Pakistan dawn.com
114 points by d0ne  17 hours ago   1 comment top
credo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
To be clear, this is the first time that these cables have been released to a Pakistani newspaper.

Wikileaks released the cables to an Indian newspaper (the Hindu) a long time ago.

See http://www.thehindu.com/system/topicRoot/The_Pakistan_Cables... for Pakistan-related cables and http://www.thehindu.com/news/the-india-cables/ for India-related cables

Here is a quote from Julian Assange in early April.

I am tempted to say, based upon my reading of The Hindu that it is in a position to report more freely than these other papers are in their respective countries. That may be, I suspect, not just as a result of the strength of The Hindu but as a result of the weakness of the Indian federal government as a structure that is able to pull together patronage networks and suppress journalism as a whole in India. While it's certainly true that each one of the factions involved in Indian national politics is able to exert pressures, I think it is encouraging that India as a whole has not turned into one central pyramid of patronage, which is something we do see a bit in other countries like the United States.

Assange Interview transcripts are at http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article1688846.ece

Picking BackType vicngtor.tumblr.com
36 points by konsl  10 hours ago   3 comments top 2
sunkan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
From afar, I think you made the best decision. BackType is probably one of the few companies in the valley tackling hard tech.
myprasanna 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Victor - I'm the co-founder of likealittle.com; Curious to hear about how you saw our growth, and your experiences in the dating market. Would love to get in touch: myprasanna@gmail.com
Esther Dyson: Can the Internet help bring about democracy? slate.com
7 points by tokenadult  4 hours ago   2 comments top
nazgulnarsil 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"The Internet may have made this transition seem too easy. In Internet communities, it's fairly easy to build consensus. Membership is voluntary, and people who don't like the rules can leave (or they can be kicked out: there is no requirement for due process). Moreover, many resources are infinite on the Internet. People aren't fighting over scarce housing or lucrative jobs. They are befriending one another, sharing information, and accumulating status, points, and experiences."

housing and jobs are scarce because of shitty government, including shitty democracies (arguably mainly due to the monetary policies of the biggest shittiest democracies).

poverty is a solved problem. it persists because it is profitable for the people with guns and money printing presses for it to persist and no one will stand up to them. at least not without nukes.

the scarce resource argument is bullshit. humans are net wealth producers if you leave them alone. this is doubly true since we cracked the atom. the reason we have unsafe, waste producing nuclear reactors instead of thorium reactors is because governments wanted plants that could produce weapons grade material.

Unix System Programming in OCaml ocamlcore.org
71 points by swannodette  16 hours ago   11 comments top 4
danieldk 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It may be interesting to note that Red Hat's Richard Jones wrote some nice system utilities in OCaml, such as virt-top and guestfs-browser:



Xurinos 13 hours ago 2 replies      
For those like me who internally struggle on which is the preferable language to study in depth (OCaml or SML), here is a practical source for SML:


iskander 14 hours ago 2 replies      
The few times I've made small utilities in OCaml have proven satisfying (quick to code up, correct once I made it past the type checker). I wonder if the Jane Street folks ever use OCaml in the places people usually stick python or shell scripts.
wazoox 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Side note: the original french version is here : http://cristal.inria.fr/~remy/poly/system/camlunix/index.htm...
       cached 21 May 2011 10:02:01 GMT