hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    9 Jul 2011 News
home   ask   best   7 years ago   
1
Quartzy (YC S11) Brings Order To Science Lab Supply Cabinets techcrunch.com
61 points by thankuz  1 hour ago   12 comments top 5
1
arkitaip 16 minutes ago 1 reply      
Love the fact that you can try the demo account without paying or even signing up.
2
prayag 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Now here's a company that's solving a real problem. Great going guys.
3
anandkulkarni 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Very interesting! The real challenge for Jayant and Adam will be getting their tendrils deep into existing sales processes in labs.

It's a sector that's prime for disruption - much like Octopart before them, these guys are primed to disrupt a messy space. Looking forward to recommending it to the local labs.

4
nabraham 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Awesome job Dr. J!
5
seto28 1 hour ago 1 reply      
YC S11
2
FuzzyWuzzy: Fuzzy String Matching in Python seatgeek.com
67 points by chrisvoll  2 hours ago   7 comments top 6
1
ianl 41 minutes ago 1 reply      
I can remember the pain of doing this as a first year intern at a sporting odds aggregation site, the biggest challenge was dealing with the invalid xml and non standardized naming scheme. Montreal Canadians, The Habs, etc.

Our eventual solution was to use a trained matcher, but obviously it was not ideal since human intervention was required :(

2
aonic 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I did something similar for product matching across a Yahoo! store with products in a Amazon merchant account.

I had a set of products from Yahoo! that needed their equivalent product in a set of products from Amazon. I indexed all the Amazon products into Xapian and let the search functionality do its magic by using the Yahoo product title as the search keyword. It also had a scoring mechanism and worked flawlessly for my needs.

3
skawaii 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This looks pretty awesome. I remember when I was thinking about making a quote Website back in college. I had just learned about the Levenshtein distance algorithm in a class and was exciting about finding a real-life (re: non-contrived) scenario to apply it to.

Anyway, this looks like a really useful library. Glad it's freely available.

4
ecito 1 hour ago 0 replies      
woah this looks really useful. Is there a gem for ruby that does this? I've just been doing the first 'String Similarity' step using levenshtein distance
5
johnrob 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Thanks, this will be useful for many screen scraping tasks!
6
wisty 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Well, it expands difflib. It looks a bit like what google-refine does.
3
How Running A Business Changes The Way You Think kalzumeus.com
285 points by JacobAldridge  8 hours ago   65 comments top 19
1
patio11 7 hours ago 5 replies      
As always, I'm happy to talk about it. I think I specifically owe jdietrich a shoutout for his comment here http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2667481 . I knew in the back of my head that I care about being happy. It was not obvious to me other people cared to read about that aspect of the business.

Back to our regularly scheduled tactics/strategy discussion next time.

2
JacobAldridge 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Well we now have a better idea of the psychology behind 58,363+ Karma.

Patrick - as a business (not competent programming) guy who runs his own small business, and consults / coaches many much larger businesses, this was probably the article of yours I've had most empathy (and a thrill of excitement) reading. I mean, the HN-man-crush has been there for years, but I really received a lot of value feeling your feelings of suddenly being an international business consultant and being good at it. Even your writing style here seemed more ... feely, though that may have been me.

And if that empathy gives me any credibility to support a key piece, more people should add 50% (or more - one of my mentors told me recently to 2x + $150 my price) more often. You are almost certainly more experienced and confident than you think you are. Recognising that is paying massive dividends for me.

3
ChuckMcM 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Fascinating story and great insights. I think you undervalue your introspection.

It raises an interesting question though, if you were in a class that graded on a curve, did you do just enough to get an A or did you always get enough to insure it would be an A minimum?

Then the harder aspect of that, did your getting an A ever result in someone else getting a B grade? If it did would that make getting the A 'better'?

The question relates to the 'game' aspect of success. At Google, for example, when I was there it had a lot of money and not a lot of real[1] projects. So a number of people used gamification as a means of defining success. Specifically they would seek out 'win' such as having their project grow at the expense of others, or create the maximum amount of change in the shortest amount of time, or any number of ways to create a scoring system and then to 'win' based on that scoring system.

The insight you had, and I came to later, was that if you're button is 'win' and you take away the obvious 'company gets "better"' scoring system, people invent their own.I concluded that one of the jobs of 'management' in that scenario, is to help define a scoring system that allows folks who are 'wired to win' be successful and not be destructive to those around them.

[1] 'real' in the sense that few projects would make money for the company or cause it to lose money, they existed primarily as science projects to keep the engineers busy.

4
kyro 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This was great, Patrick.

I've been going through a hugely eye-opening period of my life where I'm learning lessons that your article echoes. The largest of those lessons are: A) Your main obligation is to serve yourself and to allow yourself to make decisions you are truly happy with, and B) Much more than "It's not about what you know, but who you know", I'm finding that it's really about "what you know about how to deal with people you don't know." And for me, not knowing about the latter prevented me from realizing the former, and your story about missing the Delta flight not only validated those points to me, but really hit home.

Additionally, I'm finding that the way I viewed my dealings in life and overall progression as a person was completely backwards: I would look at my past attempts, from social to professional, as a long string of failures that would only continue to stretch onward, both discouraging me and crushing my confidence. But in looking at my attempts as isolated, bunkered events, the spread of potential damage is significantly decreased, which has done quite a bit to boost my confidence in that I'm more willing to take that much more of a risk. If the bomb blows up, leave the bunker and move on to the next one with your newly acquired knowledge and experience. And no one really remembers that bomb exploding as the explosion was merely a psychological dramatization. I know you somewhat touched this point in a more business-negotiating context, but it's one that's had a universal effect on how I deal with others in any context.

Anyway, really nice writeup; I enjoyed it quite a bit! More articles like this one would definitely be appreciated.

5
GotToStartup 4 hours ago 3 replies      
"I have since found that many, many people I respect likewise worry they're faking it. Anybody in my audience got the same issue?"

It's funny, when I started out in the professional programming world I had a ton of confidence. I felt unstoppable. Back then, I didn't know shit about programming but hey, how hard could it be. Then I started learning and slowly my confidence starting dwindling away. The more I learned, the less confident I became. I was humbled by the smart people I learned from. I realized how little I actually know. Now I'm noticing how big of an issue confidence has has become.

"I have found that actually showing confidence issues, on the other hand, does not do great things for one's business"

I've found that showing lack of confidence hurts in most areas of life. The less confidence I speak with, the less people take me seriously though. It's ridiculous. Now, whenever I speak with certainty & confidence, it feels like I'm faking it. It's a huge internal struggle and it's interesting to hear others perspectives on this.

6
Omnipresent 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I've been coming to HN for months and months always dreaming of doing something on the side along with my megacorp job but I have not started on anything. If I get an Idea, I wonder about it for 2 to 3 days thinking about reasons why it won't work and forget about it. I think about at least opening my own small consulting company on the side but then think how would I get any clients. This has basically been going on for quite a lot of months. But I end up going home, sitting in bed and still contemplating things. For what its worth, I was happy before being bitten by the startup bug, I guess not knowing what things CAN be like is better than knowing what things CAN be like but not being able to do anything about it. Knowing that I need to change my attitude and finish things, reading this article made me fill and mail the registration for my LLC.
7
ignifero 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Many things one can relate to in there. For example, I just realized I also like praise for vanity/insecurity reasons. That's also the reason to write this comment.

Confidence? You need to become a little macho to survive in business, but it's also addictive. Overconfidence is a double edged sword, it's good to keep the humility to yourself.

Whether having your own job/business can change you? I believe not, it just allows you to be 100% yourself, disinhibited, not trying to cover up the sharp edges of your character that you usually cannot display when you are a gear in a corporate machine. For me it was also sort of like going back to childhood.

And it's a lot of fun (but i think that's the endorphines from the sense of power you get).

Historically, excluding feudal and industrial/postindustrial europe people were a lot more entrepreneurial, they would either be farmers, cobblers, smiths; in general people were in charge of their art. Maybe they were also happier back then.

8
icey 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This should be recommended reading for anyone suffering from self-doubt before making the leap into self-employment.
9
astrofinch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Does the median investment banker really make that much? I was under the impression that the mean investment banker income was high, but there was a large amount of skew due to high salaries of the folks at the top.

I was also under the impression that the job involved a soul-crushingly large workload...

10
matthiasb 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Money is also the convenient method of keeping score for optimizing businesses, which feels like a game to me. I really enjoy winning games with complicated rules sets, especially by optimizing the heck out of play, because optimization is often as much fun as actually playing the game."

It reminds me a very inspiring talk by Seth Priebatsch called "A game layer on top of the world". I was at SXSW 2011, you can listen to it here: http://schedule.sxsw.com/events/event_IAP000325

11
justinph 4 hours ago 6 replies      
I take great umbrage with his graph depicting teachers both as relatively high paid and not working that hard. He says he's been a teacher, but given the plot on the graph, I highly doubt it. It's way harder than you think, and unless you're a tenured professor at a university, teachers make shit.
12
mashmac2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A (humorous but) very engaging similar story: http://lifelessboring.com/less-boring-life-start-time/

Less facts, more stories, but another perspective on the 'be high status' concept.

13
vaksel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
the confidence to charge more is very important.

if you know what you are providing is quality, you can charge for it and people will pay for it. Sure you'll get a bit more rejection...but those cheapskates wouldn't have appreciated your work anyways.

and hey if they say no, you can always go back a few weeks/months later, and tell them that you are running a discount

14
Create 1 hour ago 0 replies      
These are old basic ideas[1] on pursuing happiness, in a slightly rehashed way, with the ask culture (how does that work in Japan?) thrown in with some randian self determinism.

[1] Schopenhauer http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10741

15
klbarry 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an excellent article, and fascinating to read. However, 5/6 of the way down the page, a blue share bar appears on top that I cannot click out of. It is quite annoying.
16
kenjackson 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Good article, but have serious reservations as to if he knows the full extent of being a paperboy. That's a surprisingly hard job.
17
aklein 6 hours ago 3 replies      
RE: Working harder is not correlated to more money

But what about working smarter? Sure, such a thing is harder to measure, but it's pretty much the only gauge when you're talking about meritocracy. Working harder, not smarter, is the make-work bias.

18
astrofinch 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In three words: "Be high status".
19
Tichy 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank you for the inspiring write-up!

Btw, is it intentional that the blog suggests sharing the link on Delicious? Is Delicious still a secret weapon perhaps?

4
Google Singleton Detector google.com
78 points by jamesjyu  3 hours ago   47 comments top 11
1
SlyShy 3 hours ago 3 replies      
In case you are wondering why singleton's are bad practice in Java, here are two reasons off the top of my head.

1) Dependency hiding.

Singletons are rarely based around as parameters. Rather, methods simply access and modify them as necessary. This can be obviously convenient in a lot of places, but it makes looking at method signatures less reliable a way of determining dependencies.

2) Global state.

Singletons are global state, more or less, and are thus difficult to maintain. Bugs involving global state can be hard to detect, and global state isn't even amenable to testing, because the order of your tests start to matter. Side-effects bring a lot of troubles.

Edit: I guess this is redundant with the information on this page. http://code.google.com/p/google-singleton-detector/wiki/WhyS...

2
Jasber 2 hours ago 4 replies      
As a new Objective-C programmer, I recently ran into the global state problem with an iPhone game I'm working on. I needed some settings that could be accessed/changed from many different classes. I was told the AppDelegate isn't the right place to put this.

A singleton SettingsManager was suggested, but singletons always get a bad wrap.

So is this a good use of a singleton? What would be the correct way to handle this?

3
ecaradec 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I learn how bad they were and why from this article :

https://sites.google.com/site/steveyegge2/singleton-consider...

That's a good read

4
eneveu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Misko Hevery - one of the developers of the GSD - has a blog were he talks about testing, dependency injection, and global state. He hasn't posted a lot recently, but there is a lot of interesting stuff if you dig through his archive.

http://misko.hevery.com/

5
RandallBrown 3 hours ago 3 replies      
GSD doesn't only detect singletons; it detects four different types of global state, including singletons, hingletons, mingletons and fingletons

uhh, what are hingletons, mingletons and fingletons?

6
sc00ter 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was genuinely expecting a hack that parsed google+ profiles to figure out who's single... doh!
7
brazzy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If the point is to find hard-to-test code, wouldn't one find it automatically while writing tests?
8
swah 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Example of stuff that was modeled erroneously as a Singleton?
9
DrewG 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Read Google Singularity detector. Was disappointed.
10
epidemian 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Isn't a "mingleton" the same as a named constructor, or am I missing something?
11
czDev 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Aren't singletons the whole goal of Spring?
6
Pair.io: on demand cloud pair programming environments pair.io
41 points by scorchin  3 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
swanson 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It wasn't that clear to me from the video what was being offered by your service and what was being done with tmux or other CLI tools.

Is the benefit that you will spin up an EC2 instance from a config file in a repo and then me and my friend can work on it? Or is there more benefits to pairing with your service, like the collaborative editor?

2
dasil003 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What is used for the instance configuration? What assets/scripts come from pair.io as opposed to what comes from my repo?
7
Create a Robot Image from any text string RoboHash.org
230 points by e1ven  10 hours ago   88 comments top 26
1
e1ven 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Morning,
I created this as an extended-weekend project, after realizing that I'd need these hashes as a part of larger project I'm working on.

Basically, Text goes in, Picture of a Robot comes out.

Where I'm using this is sort of like an identicon, to help quickly identify a poster's 4096-bit public keys, and see if you're talking to the same man.

Is it perfect? No, but it's a quick visual guide to any text, in the form of faces, which are easy for people to remember.

2
praptak 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It's similar to the StackOverflow April Fools' Unicorn Avatars: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/37328/my-godits-full...

Which you can try out at: http://unicornify.appspot.com/use-it

3
tptacek 7 hours ago 1 reply      
You write really good web site copy.
4
MattBearman 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I love this, simply because http://robohash.org/mattbearman kinda looks like me :D

My one criticism is that it took me while to figure out (and I'm web dev) It wasn't clear until quite far down the page that you need to just put the text string after the URL.

I'd recommend having a text box into which pasted text can be robohashed prominent on the homepage, as well as clearer instructions.

Edit: just noticed there is a text box, was that there before? It could definitely be more noticeable :)

5
erikwiffin 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be awesome if http://robohash.org/google.jpg generated a jpg, and http://robohash.org/google.png generated a png.

It would be even more awesome if http://robohash.org/favicon.ico generated a .ico file.

6
Luc 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Very very nice. This has convinced me to use this technique for non-player characters in a game I am working on. I see you licensed the artwork from three artists. Did you have it especially drawn for you, or was it already released under some CC license?
7
aquark 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant.

We have a stress testing tool that uses little images of various robots in its UI to represent different test patterns ... now I can automate them!

8
carbocation 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If/when you debut the [robohash] watermark in the image, it would be great if you would also debut a paid plan without the watermark. Plus, paid plans give people confidence that your service will continue to exist.
9
wicknicks 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow! Very nice morning treat :-)

R2D2 and C3P0 look like this:

http://robohash.org/c3p0.png
http://robohash.org/r2d2.png

C3P0's got horns!!

10
jawns 8 hours ago 2 replies      
So THIS is what the Googlebot looks like!

http://robohash.org/google

11
andrewcooke 9 hours ago 2 replies      
this is cute. if anyone is looking for a more abstract approach i threw some code together a year ago that generates colourful "mosaics" - http://www.acooke.org/hash-icons.html i really need to improve the page and release the code...
12
evilswan 9 hours ago 2 replies      
OMG - π-bot has a cylindrical head! http://robohash.org/3.14159
13
FrankBlack 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this is broken. I entered, "Bite my shiny, metal ass!" and all I got was some weird, Barney-like purple robot. I'd suggest special sub-routines for certain phrases including, but not limited to: "Ex-Ter-Mi-NATE!", "Danger, Will Robinson!", "Crush, Kill, Destroy!", "Beedeebeedeebeedeebeedee!", "We've got movie sign!", "Blah, blah, blah", "I'll be back", etc.

;)

14
wbhart 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If I put a % anywhere in the string (except at the end where I think it is ignored) it doesn't give me my robot, but a broken link!
15
ayanb 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The Html source has a random robot as part of the author signature. This is neat!
16
tomatohs 4 hours ago 1 reply      
An easy way to flip the images left and right would be great. I love the first set of robots, but I wouldn't use them in my website as they'd be placed on the far left of the browser window, looking away from the page.
17
capnrefsmmat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What sort of "Super-Awesome new forum" is this for?
18
LXicon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
if you go to http://static1.robohash.com/ you get the same page as http://robohash.org/ but the IP used is not my IP.

nice project though. :)

19
jjclarkson 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The similarity between http://robohash.org/yes

and http://robohash.org/no

is striking.

20
tibbon 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Any open/permissive license on the output and/or code?
21
nawariata 9 hours ago 1 reply      

    Dr. Chandra, RobotCrunch

Subtle jab at Arrington? =)

22
jonovos 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Strange. No matter WHAT STRING I ENTER, it ALWAYS creates the SAME robot. Is this site just a psychological experiment designed to collect user names??
23
melipone 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I like it but shouldn't it do similarity instead of producing a unique bot? For example, "similar" strings should produce similar bots.
24
cwe 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sad to see Bender in this state: http://static1.robohash.com/bender
25
cappaert 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone else notice the Microsoft bot has a 7 (as in Windows 7) on its head?

http://robohash.org/microsoft

26
rhdoenges 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I love some of the alt-text on the robots. Very polished.
8
Try Blogger's New Interface blogger.com
48 points by sahaj  4 hours ago   21 comments top 9
1
timdorr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It looks nice, but it doesn't feel quite right.

Too much functionality depends on iconography, which leaves me having to map pictograms to actual words. It's OK for me to read some words. You're going to have to translate the interface anyways.

And there's very little use of contrast or color to help determine what is going on. My blogs and the reading list don't have a lot to differentiate each other, so I was initially confused where I would even go to post to my blog.

Also, the "New Blog" button is confusing. Are people really creating that many new blogs that they need a huge, highlighted button for it? I thought it was to make a new post (using "blog" as a verb, really), so I was confused when I click it and got something else.

Pretty attractive update, but fairly bad functionality and usability.

2
benwerd 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Inexplicable. I'm pretty sure Google just released some kind of new social product (although I've been having trouble finding links around here). The word on the street is also that Google has some kind of reader app (the name escapes me). These two things are what this Blogger interface does, so why on earth aren't they integrated?

Instead, they've taken a similar starting point (lightweight, white-heavy design that runs using Javascript and back-end data) and created something lifeless and disconnected from everything else.

This is Big Company Syndrome at work; exactly the kind of thing that you'd expect from a company like Microsoft, rather than the company that just released the best web app in years.

3
timmaah 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What happened to the new templates they announced at the end of March? I liked the look and was hoping to try one out for a personal project.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/fresh-new-perspective...

4
forgotusername 2 hours ago 1 reply      
It's pretty, but I'm left wondering why they bothered to launch it without the Google+ "funeral bar" integrated, or whatever you want to call it.

I find these UI refreshes an irksome feature of web software. They tend to appear on a day and time when you're most stressed, horking their newfangled wares with pop-ups that only do harm to the software's usability. Recent examples: the new Facebook chat sidebar abomination, the new Gmail people sidebar.

5
carterschonwald 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is nice! It also fits the pending revisions of blogger etc to unify the google ui styles etc.

one thing I recently discovered about blogger that won me over is this: you can have you default draft template include the right commands to import the mathjax javascript into every post, so I can then just write inline and display math latex naively with \[ some math \] and \( math \) and it'll just work! (both in preview of post, and the live post!)

6
plusbryan 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Nice to see Blogger getting some love. They seemed pretty stagnant for awhile.
7
fribblerz 1 hour ago 1 reply      
All the design changes since the launch of G+ could use some decrease in padding imo .
In netbooks the real content will start halfway across the screen - lot of unnecessary scrolling, looks good though .
8
swanson 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone mind posting a screenshot? I'd like to see the UI but I don't want to create a blog on Blogger just to see it.
9
CoryMathews 2 hours ago 1 reply      
They are doing browser detection instead of feature detection.

"ERROR: Possible problem with your *.gwt.xml module file.
The compile time user.agent value (opera) does not match the runtime user.agent value (unknown). Expect more errors."

9
LinkedIn Surpasses Myspace For U.S. Visitors To Become No. 2 Social Network techcrunch.com
28 points by jmjerlecki  3 hours ago   10 comments top 6
1
ignifero 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Social network is a broad term. I don't think the demographics of myspace and linkedin are related, in the sense that users dont jump from one to the other, so the title is misleading.
2
lukeschlather 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What's more interesting to me about this graph is that for all the supposed dominance of Twitter, it's actually still less influential than MySpace if this graph is accurate.
3
clobber 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Anyone else not fully convinced by Comscore's numbers or traffic data from any other site like Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, etc?

These are estimates until they actually have tracking pixels on the sites they measure.

I do think LinkedIn is making considersable progress and would like to see sites like Monster and CareerBuilder (relics of the dot com era) put to rest.

4
antimora 3 hours ago 1 reply      
A more accurate headline is: Myspace drops below LinkedIn.
5
jmjerlecki 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm still amazed Myspace gets that much traffic. I have no idea why anyone visits that site. Are their music offerings enough to keep driving traffic?
6
zalthor 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wait, seriously, who uses Myspace?
10
Lua/APR - proper standard library for Lua peterodding.com
75 points by piranha  6 hours ago   16 comments top 6
1
davidhollander 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Only downside with LuaAPR is you're back to writing Apache style servers, with an OS thread for every connection instead of using non-blocking sockets where possible (Didn't find any support for nonblocking sockets or a select\poll variant in the linked docs)

For my Lua server [1] I currently use the nixio library from the LuCI project and polling instead[2]

Although the downside of both nixio and Lua/APR library is the use of compiled C bindings to manually interact with the virtual machine.

The exciting development with LuaJIT is the high performance FFI that allows you to make system calls and create structs directly from in Lua[3], so I am currently considering switching from nixio to ljsyscall when I do a new version [4]

[1]https://github.com/davidhollander/ox

[2]http://neopallium.github.com/nixio/

[3]http://luajit.org/ext_ffi_tutorial.html

[4]https://github.com/justincormack/ljsyscall

2
wildmXranat 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is very nice. It's good to see examples weaved into the site on how to use it. If anything, main libapr site could use something a bit better than the Doxygen output manual as reading the unit tests from the actual source is more approachable to me than their documentation.
3
xolox 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Hi all, author of the Lua/APR binding here. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them here. I haven't gotten a lot of feedback on the binding yet so would love to hear what people think about it!
4
compay 3 hours ago 1 reply      
That's a very useful library, and also great example of how easy it is to hook into C code from Lua.

Another one which I prefer personally because it's more comprehensive, is Steve Donovan's Penlight. If you have a background in Python you might enjoy using it:

https://github.com/stevedonovan/Penlight

5
BasDirks 4 hours ago 6 replies      
Don't mean to hijack, but could I be referred to a good introduction to Lua? I keep hearing about it, but it's one of the few languages I know NOTHING about, and I have a free weekend!
6
shubber 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have to admit, that's kind of brilliant.
11
AMD's master plan to topple Intel - Back to the top on a radical GPU theregister.co.uk
44 points by ableal  4 hours ago   11 comments top 5
1
Create 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Strangely, AMD had almost always better technical talent/product in terms of architectural design, but always stumbled on intel's business practices (see computer history museum panel) and manufacturing weaknesses.

For the better part, they made a better x86 for their time: 386, 486, K5 (core), 3DNow (all the SIMD intel lacked, and the MMX patch in response was a joke), 64bit (which intel was late by years) etc. comes to mind. I hope it will be different this time.

2
Groxx 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've been waiting for them to make more official announcements to this effect, and more details - there's been more than enough info to imply this is their goal for quite a while now. And I feel I must say: WANT. If this succeeds, it'll be a game-changer in almost every way.
3
rbanffy 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd love to be able to go back to the diverse ecosystem we had in the 80's, but I don't see how an architecture that deviates significantly from the x86 norm could gain traction in this Windows world.
4
wlesieutre 1 hour ago 0 replies      
How about Bulldozer sometime soon? I've been putting off my upgrades to see how it compares to Sandy Bridge, but that Q2 2011 launch didn't exactly happen.
5
amattn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The architecture reminds me of the PS3's Cell processor, but not as insane.
12
Do What You Love or You Will Destroy Yourself adamconrad.posterous.com
43 points by acconrad  5 hours ago   14 comments top 6
1
mkn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Drivel. All of it.

Right off the bat, try these on for size: Do What You Can Tolerate, And You'll Get By; Do Something You Hate If You Have To, Otherwise You'll Starve; Do Something You're Indifferent To But Pays The Bills, Or You Won't Be Able To Afford Anything; or, Do Whatever Comes Along And Have Fun In Your Free Time. Those are your writing assignments. 1000 words or less. Due tomorrow.

A healthy dose of realism would help the author along, as would taking the attention-whoring down a notch or two.

I spun into a soulless depression--working by day, working by night

And now the author is in his manic phase, which will also pass. Seriously, if you're in "soulless depression," don't change careers, get mental help.

Cognitive behavior therapists would call what the author is doing "awfulizing." He's making the consequences of a course of action out to be far worse than they really are, and working himself up over it. "Oh, it would be absolutely awful if I had to do X for a living!" Well, no. You could develop coping skills instead of insisting that everything has to be perfect in order for your life not to be awful.

Oh, well. It takes all kinds, I guess.

2
WalterSear 2 hours ago 1 reply      
For most people, this is absolutely the most self-destructive advice possible, since they have not learnt how to foster a love for things that meet either their needs or wants - which is something that you fortunately learnt early on, the easy way, at 15.

Give someone without a viable skill set this advice, and watch them go to art school/form a talentless band/become an unemploued actor/rapper.

But yeah, fuck soul sucking jobs. I'm so bad at them, and they are so bad for me, I've sworn off them too.

"Do you have the ability to throw yourself against the currents of our culture and recognize that you are not the center of your life? The tasks and summonses are the center. Your happiness and your worth are a byproduct of how you engage them. Most of us are egotistical and most of us are self-concerned most of the time, but it's nonetheless true that life comes to a point only when the self dissolves into some larger task and summons. The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It's to lose yourself."

http://adamconrad.posterous.com/do-what-you-love-or-it-will-...

3
sliverstorm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Two problems:

1) The more I love what I'm doing, the more I let it consume my life. My job cannot be my life.

2) The more I love something, the easier it is to burn out in 2-4 years.

If you find yourself doing something you really love, pace yourself and don't let it consume your life, and your love will live long.

4
wazoox 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sometimes, to get what you love you need to sacrifice something else that you love, too. To be able to stay with my sweetheart (I'm still with), 15 years ago I had to quit my activity as a musician, arranger and artist to get a job bringing enough money to live with.
Your job is only one part of your life; if your life is balanced enough, nothing more than 25 or 30% of it.
5
rfrey 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
More timeless advice is to love what you do.
6
acconrad 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the story of how I tried to start my own start up on nights and weekends and couldn't handle the balance. I may have lost the love of my life, and it's forced me to examine what I really want to do with my life, and how everyone needs to do what they love. I'm submitting this in the hopes that others don't go through the same mistakes I did, and perhaps others could share how they've been able to find balance or the trials and tribulations you've been through to find happiness in life.
13
Functionality, Gamification, and Feedback Loops bokardo.com
7 points by thankuz  1 hour ago   discuss
14
Courtney Love does the math (2000) salon.com
157 points by hezekiah  10 hours ago   48 comments top 11
1
api 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Generally speaking, the creative industries are full of people and businesses that operate by screwing over creative people.

They view creative people the way a miner views a resource in the ground: as something to be strip mined and then discarded. I've encountered raw contempt... in a sense they are jealous of the ability of creative people to be creative, and this fuels their desire to co-opt it and take some of that glory for themselves.

But, part of the reason there's so much of this is that creative types are often horrible businesspeople and have no desire to learn. Instead, there is this myth that you get "discovered" and then someone else does the business for you.

Reality: you get "discovered" by a predator. If you don't want to be prey, you have to do it yourself.

Edit: this doesn't mean you have to be a 100% indy do-everything-yourself self-publisher or bootstrapper. But going into things with your eyes open, reading the fine print, and thinking like a businessperson is part of doing it yourself. Businesspeople do go into business with other people and other businesses, but they don't think "wow! I'm getting discovered, now I'm set!" They think "hmm... what's the value proposition here?" and they run spreadsheets and they look for hidden places where they might lose value or not get enough value for their money. Then they push back, and negotiate. Think like this or you get screwed.

Oh, and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

2
alanh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, what a read! Thanks!

1. Related: Michael Jackson calls head of Sony, his record distributor, a devil. What a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt6zVypo72E

2. Love's thesis: Through lobbying and collusion, the big labels (she calls them distributors) essentially own artists, which she calls “slaves” and “sharecroppers.” Following, an excerpt from the Sponsorships section.

> When I agreed to allow a large cola company to promote a live show, I couldn't have been more miserable. They screwed up every single thing imaginable. The venue was empty but sold out. There were thousands of people outside who wanted to be there, trying to get tickets. And there were the empty seats the company had purchased for a lump sum and failed to market because they were clueless about music.

> It was really dumb. You had to buy the cola. You had to dial a number. You had to press a bunch of buttons. You had to do all this crap that nobody wanted to do. Why not just bring a can to the [venue] door?

> … They were a condescending bunch of little guys. They treated me like I was an ungrateful little bitch who should be groveling for the experience to play for their damn soda.

> I ended up playing without my shirt on and ordering a six-pack of the rival cola onstage. Also lots of unwholesome cursing and nudity occurred. This way I knew that no matter how tempting the cash was, they'd never do business with me again.

> If you want some little obedient slave content provider, then fine. But I think most musicians don't want to be responsible for your clean-cut, wholesome, all-American, sugar corrosive cancer-causing, all white people, no women allowed sodapop images.

> Nor, on the converse, do we want to be responsible for your vice-inducing, liver-rotting, child-labor-law-violating, all white people, no-women-allowed booze images.

And that may be the least interesting part of the screed.

3
clobber 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
4
daydream 9 hours ago 2 replies      
See also: The Problem With Music by Steve Albini

http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

5
joejohnson 9 hours ago 7 replies      
I can't believe Courtney Love wrote this. I had a low oppinion of her, but this seems really well written. Also, she's a fan of Neal Stephenson? That quote almost makes me wonder if this were written by some nerd and attributed to her...
6
wtvanhest 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I do not disagree with Courtney Love that the system is not great for artists but the solution is probably not in the distribution method, or the structure of the financing. It is most likely in solving the cost problem.

If it costs $500,000 to produce a record, like she says it does, that would create limited room for a great number of bands and artist to record. The market size ($s of world wide discretionary income) can only support a certain level of production.

Figuring out how to lowering that number would be far more productive than trying to create the next huge app which helps starving artists with terrible recording quality get their music heard or some other distribution method.

(She also fails to add in concert revenue which may be lucrative for artists)

7
ldar15 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a promising start-up, with several hundred users in specific geographic locations. I will need "$4.6m" to scale, and I want to take out $1m for the cofounders.

In our market, 32,000 such companies launch each year, and of those, only 250 generate more than $200,000 in revenue. Only 30 generate $20m.

What is a fair percentage to offer the VCs?

Yes, I appreciate that there are many differences between bands and start-ups, but if, as she says, only 250 of 32,000 albums sell more than 10,000 units, then this $10m the record company makes from her band must go, in a large part, to cover the costs of funding all the bands that dont make it. Maybe they are still making a handsome profit, but its not as unjust as she makes out.

8
nate_meurer 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Be sure to read the part about Mitch Glazier, starting half-way down.
9
viggity 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Please don't editorialize in the submission title

"Exactly how record companies screw over successful artists [2000]"

would work just as well.

10
MostAwesomeDude 4 hours ago 0 replies      
From one musician to another: Do not get signed. It will destroy you. :c
11
badhairday 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I remember reading this exact article when I was in a middle school music education class.
16
XKCD's Randall Munroe on Google+ requiring your gender to be public google.com
408 points by macrael  18 hours ago   266 comments top 38
1
cletus 9 hours ago 8 replies      
I have mixed feelings about this. I'm a guy so obviously don't have the experience (any) women have but I will say this.

Three things will essentially give away your gender:

1. Your stated gender;

2. Your name (with a high degree of accuracy in most cultures that I'm aware of); and

3. Your photos.

So for (1) to have any impact, (2) and (3) must be hidden. Since all profiles are public, I'm not sure you can hide (2).

Give all that, I'm not sure I understand the rationale for hiding gender but, like I said, I don't have the experience.

That all being said, I really don't see the issue with hiding it.

I strongly encourage people who feel strongly about it to be vocal about it and ask for either the ability to have it not stated or to hide it (like you can with things like the number of "followers" you have).

EDIT: on the accuracy of gender prediction from Facebook profiles:

http://cis.poly.edu/~ross/papers/NameCentric.pdf

I realize this isn't exactly the issue here. Most people concerned with harassment probably aren't worried about computer models that can predict their gender based on their name, information from their profile or their writing style. I imagine harassment is far less systematic than that.

EDIT2: I would contend that a bigger factor in whether someone gets harassed is how they present their profile rather than a single field.

For example, if your profile is public, has pictures of how partying and getting drunk, has many messages about what a party animal you are and/or your dating life, some will see that (rightly or wrongly) as an invitation for attention (good or bad).

I would be very interested to hear from people who have been harassed or bullied online or have been the victims of such crimes in the real world and hear how they use social networks and how they present themselves online. I suspect they tend to keep everything private.

I'd also be interested to hear how important it is that gender is shown on a profile. It's all well and good for us to speculate about this but I really would like to hear from some people with first hand experience.

2
fleitz 16 hours ago  replies      
I take great offense to my culture being defined as "relentless treatment of women as objects teaches them that they are defined by the one thing that men around them want from them"

Yes some people do that, but VERY few. It's as silly as thinking that all gay men speak with lisps, yes some do and those that do are very identifiable as likely gay. Yes there is always that guy in the bar that is inappropriate with women, and he will get noticed, but did anyone bother to look at the VAST majority of men who do not engage in that behavior. These are also the same idiots who are getting into bar fights with other men. This doesn't make it acceptable but it's hardly a hallmark of my "culture". There are people who just don't respect other people in every culture.

As to being bigger and stronger, perhaps we should look to the nation of Japan and the feats its military was able to achieve with men roughly the size of north american women. Women are perfectly capable of defending themselves, not that they should have to, just like smaller men are perfectly capable of defending themselves, not that they should have to. These are again averages and if you look at the deviances you'll see that there are a lot of women who are larger than a lot of men.

Also, keep in mind that a man is twice as likely to be assaulted as a woman so from a statistical perspective it is men who should be fearing for their safety
as they post their gender online.

I personally think it's a good idea for Google to make the settings private but it doesn't need the invocation of chivalric myths and the slander of an entire culture for it to happen. Frankly, the idea that women can't defend themselves and we need to add privacy settings to protect them seems more to perpetuate the ideals of chivalry than feminism.

3
Dove 5 hours ago 0 replies      

    Many women grow up with a sense of physical 
vulnerability that's hard for men to appreciate. Our
culture's relentless treatment of women as objects
teaches them that they are defined by the one thing
that men around them want from them"men who are
usually bigger, stronger, and (like any human)
occasionally crazy. This feeling"often confirmed by
actual experiences of harassment and assault"can lead,
understandably, to a lifetime of low-level wariness
and sense of vulnerability that men have trouble
appreciating.

This is so absolutely dead right on the money, I find myself wondering where a male author gets such an insight. I feel this way, and I was raised in idyllic suburban circumstances surrounded by loving and honorable men.

(Edit: Here's an old comment of mine on the phenomenon of women preferring gender anonymity online: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=750413 )

4
silencio 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm just glad Google+ has an "other" option to begin with. Facebook lets you hide gender (which would be nice to have in google+), but they only offer male/female.

Really, I'm more disgruntled that Google+ lets you put down your relationship status and types of relationships you're looking for, but no way to specify which genders if any you are interested in talking to. I've been mulling over removing that part from my google profile because I can't mark that I'm only interested in women for relationships and dating. I have some female friends that would prefer to talk only to other females as well, it doesn't even have to go as far as preferences for dating.

Human sexuality and gender is so complicated that I'm willing to give a pass to any company that at least tries to make an effort to be more inclusive. They sure fall short here and there, but maybe with better education and awareness and bug reports, that will change.

5
JabavuAdams 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
Some data points:

1) I'm a 6'3" brown guy. I never get heckled when I walk down the street. I'm reasonably handsome, but in general, I don't have the sense that a lot of women are checking me out as I go about my daily business.

I was surprised to learn that my wife would get catcalls when she wasn't with me in our old somewhat sketchy neighbourhood. It never happened when she was with me, so I was like "WTF, people actually do that?"

2) At a previous job, I had a long walk to the coffee shop in suburbia. One time I was walking about 20 m behind a couple of women. I found one very attractive. I noticed that almost without exception, guys driving in oncoming traffic would crane their necks to look at her. I sometimes do this too, so I'm not suggesting that this is wrong per se, but it is very noticeable.

Imagine you're just stepping out to run some errands. Almost every guy you see checks you out. I'm not going to argue about whether this is right or wrong. I'm just pointing out that many women's experiences are very different from men's. It's a weird vibe when you can't go anywhere without being obviously on display.

3) Tall people get paid more than short people. Many short people I know are very aggressive, as though they've become accustomed to defending their turf. I'm taller than almost everyone I meet, so when I'm in an elevator with someone taller, it feels wrong. Subconsciously I'm thinking about how I'd win a fight with them. You could argue that this is just weird and neurotic, but my wife says the same thing. She knows how to incapacitate a man, but again there's just this back-of-the-mind threat assessment that's overlaid on everyday situations.

4) Sexually, mechanically, it's less threatening to probe things with your appendage than to let something into an orifice. In a non-sexual context, you'd poke a lot of stuff that you wouldn't eat. In many cultures male-male anal sex isn't considered gay for the top. Only the bottom is gay. So there's probably something biological going on here.

So to all those arguing about probability of violent sexual assault, etc. You're missing the point. It's a completely different vibe, and you won't be able to speak intelligently about gender and social issues until you understand that.

6
scythe 10 hours ago 2 replies      
>Many women grow up with a sense of physical vulnerability that's hard for men to appreciate. Our culture's relentless treatment of women as objects teaches them that they are defined by the one thing that men around them want from them

Daaaaaamn are people ever good at misinterpreting this line. It doesn't matter whether women are at actual risk; it's about the perception of risk. They're your customers, not your students or children or friggin' royal subjects.

Answering the question of actual risk has basically turned into a playground of competitive sophistry. On the other hand, perceived risk is goddamn obvious, and it's what matters. You don't start a social network by alienating people, regardless of whether they're 'right' or 'wrong' to feel the way they do.

7
macrael 17 hours ago 6 replies      
He's written about gender very well before.[1] It is certainly a subject that I don't know very much about, but I appreciate that it can get very complicated very quickly. What are the good reasons for requiring it to be public?

Secondly, do you think that "other" is enough? To what lengths should developers go to handle rare corner cases?

[1]: http://blog.xkcd.com/2010/05/06/sex-and-gender/

8
redrobot5050 8 hours ago 0 replies      
FTA:

>> Our culture's relentless treatment of women as objects teaches them that they are defined by the one thing that men around them want from them"men who are usually bigger, stronger, and (like any human) occasionally crazy. This feeling"often confirmed by actual experiences of harassment and assault"can lead, understandably, to a lifetime of low-level wariness and sense of vulnerability that men have trouble appreciating. <<

I want to comment on the attitude Randall is projecting in the above referenced quote. It's a commonplace attitude in the modern world today. That a woman's only protection is a man's forbearance. I feel this attitude is also toxic to our social fabric -- it really is just another form of gender bias. Attitudes like this lead to strange unintended consequences: Single, unmarried men cannot be seated next to unaccompanied minors on a plane. Men are now less likely to come to the aide of a screaming or crying child in public.

Just because some Vikings rape and pillage does not mean that all men do. Just because my grandfather was of German descent and fought in WWII should you assume he was a Nazi (he was a medic for the Allies).

Google+ is supposed to have privacy options "superior to facebook". (And considering they also have access to our search history and email, they had better be). Women online (and this is likely not their first social networking experience) have the same access to those privacy tools as everyone else. Let them block the harassers and those that objectify them.

(But still some really good points made about co-opting "Other").

9
jordanb 17 hours ago 4 replies      
This seems like a really pointlessly long rant that boils down to a feature request: Change the "other" category to "other/not-disclosed".

Also do these women who don't want to disclose their gender really need Randall Munroe to file the bug report for them?

10
nl 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The linked essay[1] is worth reading. I had no idea that sex testing was so complicated - it explained to me a lot about why sex-testing for (usually) women's sport isn't as simple as I'd assumed.

[1] http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Essays/marriage.html

11
dazzer 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Guys, lets not get carried away by the issue here.

The issue is NOT about gender identification. It is Google+ not providing the ability to hide your gender on your profile (I won't say they're FORCING you to post your gender).

The issue of Gender Identification is merely an example provided to justify the usage of such a feature. So let's avoid a massive gender debate here, when you can read all about it in the post itself.

12
rimantas 17 hours ago 8 replies      
I don't get this trend at all. Something is wrong with priorities and perceived risk vs. real risk.
It's pretty difficult to assault someone physically over the internet (http://bash.org/?4281). On the other hand, woman broadcasts her gender when in public. Will x years from now we all be walking in some kind of uniform enclosures as to protect from anyone knowing if one is male or female?

Also, in some languages name is very clear indication of the gender. And even some ambiguous nickname won't help, because in some languages you usage of verbs, adjectives etc. differs depending on gender.

Recently I saw a story about some kindergarden in Sweden where kids were not allowed to say "he" or "she" when talking about person but rather had to use something equivalent to "it" (I don't think English has equivalent to that, Russian language has "оно" for neuter nouns).
To me it looks extremely stupid. But I guess it is easier just to ignore our differences than teach to cherish them and respect the other side.

13
vacri 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I've always found Munroe's position on gender equality weird - despite what he says, he 'others' women in his main work. Female stick figures have long hair, even if the strip has nothing to do with gender. Male stick figures have no such indication. That is: 'male' is 'default'.
14
olalonde 15 hours ago 1 reply      
He's quite a bit harsh with his own culture (presumably the American culture). American culture is way ahead of most cultures in terms of respect for women. Travel to Africa, Asia or South America and you'll realize your culture isn't all that bad. (Disclosure: I'm not American)
15
spiffworks 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there any particular reason that Buzz and Plus need public profiles? I really like Plus, but I have a friend who has voiced a few significant concerns where it defaults to public on some occasions(such as when you change your picture). Especially given that Plus is so integrated with the rest of Google's services, I want to fully understand the privacy implications before committing to it.
16
andreyf 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Why not simply reword the question to ask whether you prefer to be referred to as a "he" or "she"? In the rare case that it doesn't align with your genetic or anatomic gender, it's not exactly the end of the world.
17
ignifero 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The main question to ask is: do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? For developers, when google opens up their platform, having the gender by default will make it easier to make a better interface and use pronouns correctly. On the other hand, i dont know many apps that distinguish gravely between men and women. The name of a person and their photo is usually enough to infer sex anyway. So, they're just making it easier for a developer to have the sex of the user. Another useful variable would be language.

I actually think the friends' list maybe should be private, but gender should be public by default. I think Mr. Munroe's concerns are completely unjustified. It's kind of horrifying too, it paints things as being really bad for women in america; I doubt it's really that bad. I find the whole "attracts more attention" argument rather weak. After all, when you introduce yourself in the real world, its apparent from either the looks or voice whether you're male or female.

18
ern 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure why Google is getting a free pass on the public profiles requirement. Every other social network I've used has an option to block search engines from indexing your profile.
19
ignifero 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I support the ability to hide sex as an option, clearly on the grounds that more options are better. But the logic presented here to support it is really wrong. It's the same logic by which women hid themselves in burqas, long dresses, and the shadows of their men for centuries. If anything, having sex open might encourage everyone to be more aware of the issues that arise and fix them.
20
kevinpet 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The argument that it follows from name is a red herring. If I create a photo sharing service, should I require you to list a race and justify it by saying that it can be inferred from your photos anyway? To summarize:

name: relevant because it's the center of identity, which is what the product is about.
sex: not a necessary feature of a public profile.

If 99.9% of your users say "um, sure, I wouldn't mind sharing that", and 0.1% say "hell no, I absolutely don't want to share that", then you make it optional unless there's some important reason to not make it so.

21
JohnLBevan 16 hours ago 0 replies      
One advantage of publicly disclosing information about gender is that you know it's public. It's possible to glean someone's gender from the language they use (see
http://bookblog.net/gender/genie.php), meaning people who kept their gender private may be lulled into a false sense of security. Admittedly I still agree that you should always have to option to select which of your details to make public (or to limit which groups/circles this information is available to), but thought I'd chuck in a counter argument to keep things interesting.
22
afterburner 9 hours ago 0 replies      
So he's saying extend the ability to make profile details private to the gender field. Sounds fine and logical to me.
23
parfe 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Every single reply to his post includes a picture. Tempest in a teapot.

It seems even people who care about this issue enough to post don't care enough to protect their likenesses.

24
Tharkun 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm all for not asking for gender information in the first place. It's completely irrelevant in all but very few situations. Ending up in bed with someone who has different bits than you expected, is awkward. Everything else is just pointless.

The only real reason why computer systems ask for gender information is so they can address you "properly". Some languages have neutral pronounds (their, them, etc) for that, others don't. If your users are using a language where this doesn't exist, tough luck for them. I'm sure every language at least has some kind of rule (ie "use male pronouns when in doubt") of dealing with these situations.

My Facebook profile at least has the option of not showing my gender, even if it doesn't let me select Other or NoneOfYourDamnedBusiness.

25
asdpalpl4444 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The reason is this: Advertisment!

Advertizers pay more if the ads are "targeted", the more information you have the more "segments" of customers you got. Google gets 98% their revenue from advertizing, which means they want as much information as possible to target as good as possible so that they can sell you more crap!

Just try to give as little information as possible everytime you deal with companies as google.

26
hexadecimator 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Google have taken Randall's feedback into consideration and have added the feature to hide one's gender on Google+ profiles.

Women using the service are reporting that their low-level wariness and sense of vulnerability has lessened somewhat as a result.

"Hiding female identity from male view on the internet is very important and is likely to lead to real social change," a spokesperson from Google added.

27
tmcw 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As a heterosexual, male-identifying, rather vanilla-sexed individual, I instinctually chose 'Other' nonetheless when I signed up for Google+, much like Facebook, which still refers to me as "you" or something like that. Computers are not for that.
28
thurn 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it correct to say that there are two genders, but not that there are two sexes? Since gender is only a social construct, presumably the prevailing views of the society in question are what defines it?
29
brianmatter 14 hours ago 5 replies      
i'd love to know what makes "Radall" the expert on what "Many women grow up with"
30
benmmurphy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
i don't see how an option to hide your gender solves randall's problem. if most people who are hiding their gender are women then hiding your gender is a credible signal that you are a woman.
31
jrspruitt 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I understand the issues that arise with forcing people to expose more about themselves, than they are comfortable with. From a personality standpoint, my google+ account is a well defined sliver of who I am as a whole, by design. Mostly because I consider it something that could be put on a resume.

As far as the social issues of such public knowledge, I wonder, is hiding from the problem, by sexually, racially, and or religiously homogenizing profiles ever going to help cure the problem in society that makes, making these things public, an issue? Certain males, act like jackasses around women, is putting them in an isolated bubble going to cure the problem?

Does training people that you can't say xy or z around people of a certain race, stop them from being racist? It just makes them Pavlov's Dog, they know saying those things are socially bad, and keep saying and doing the same exact things, when society is more lax about those things being said or done to a different group of people, say, homosexuals.

Sure it makes it harder for them to find people to act that way around, making it seem like its less of an issue, but does nothing to change the mentality that causes the behavior, they'll just find someone else to do it to, that is more socially acceptable, like Muslims. Hiding from it, is not the way, dealing with it, which is going to cause some discomfort is the you cure it.

32
paganel 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This all could be have been averted had Google not forced its users to make their profiles public.
33
beatpanda 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Diaspora got this right, and Google+ should have copied it that way they copied the UI for aspects for "circles".
34
9999 7 hours ago 0 replies      
That Randall Munroe is a real person's person.
35
mikecaron 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This BLEW MY MIND.
36
baby 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This subject is so much interesting it is now the top submission of HN frontpage⸮
37
philthy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh fuck off! If you want to be a woman, you're a woman, a man, then you are a man.
38
temphn 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Everyone, including Randall Munroe, is free to note the "obvious fact" that men make most unwelcome sexual advances.

No one is free to note the "obvious fact" that men make most of the welcome technological advances.

17
Live coverage of the last Shuttle launch (STS-135, Atlantis) nasa.gov
158 points by whiskers  12 hours ago   74 comments top 23
1
jgrahamc 10 hours ago 2 replies      
It's sad to see the Shuttle go without a replacement. And to jog my own memory of the day I saw the shuttle in the UK, here's a set of pictures from the day Enterprise visited Stansted Airport in the UK: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike_ward/sets/7215760339467228...

I was there as a boy standing against the wire fence with my father to see this amazing machine. Bloody marvellous!

2
Cherian_Abraham 7 hours ago 0 replies      
4 among us today, in an aging vessel slipped the surly bonds of earth, and with outstretched hands touched the face of God.

- Borrowing from Peggy Noonan, Aaron Sorkin & John Magee

3
ender7 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Being able to watch a live video feed of the launch is pretty amazing. Previously, TV coverage (if it existed at all) was terrible. This makes me wonder what the fate of NASA would have been if the past few generations had grown up with access to this kind of coverage. I'd like to think that NASA would have had a lot more support than they currently do.
4
TeMPOraL 8 hours ago 0 replies      
They did it!
Congratulations to Atlantis crew, NASA, and everyone involved. Maybe the Space Shuttle program wasn't exactly cost-effective and had it failures, but it sure sparked imagination of many, me included.
5
jasonkester 10 hours ago 4 replies      
There's no timer on the feed, but at the moment they appear to be vacuuming. I'll take that as a sign that it's not going to launch in the next hour.

Anybody have an actual time when that's supposed to happen?

6
hugh3 10 hours ago 2 replies      
It's strange to think that in fifty years of manned spaceflight, NASA has only ever built four types of spaceship: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle. The Shuttle had a good run. It was both technically awesome and in many ways ridiculous and pointless. Anyway, time for the future now.
7
brudgers 10 hours ago 1 reply      
In 1979, I watched the Enterprise+transporter fly in to Kennedy for the first time from the Indian River - that was a long time ago. Hell, it's even been 25 years since I turned on the TV to see Dan Rather using a model to explain the various external tanks and knew something bad had happened.

So while it is the passing of an era, with the ISS at the sharp point of manned space flight, I'm not about to let nostalgia cloud the objective fact that it doesn't matter whose hardware gets us off the ground and out toward the stars.

[edit] But that's not to imply that shuttle launches aren't really cool.

8
Killah911 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Just saw it from Cape Canaveral. Quite an extraordinary feeling to watch and feel the very last shuttle take off. What makes it even better is that there was only a 30% chance that the shuttle would take off due to the weather. In my mind I'd written it off, being an entrepreneur, I should've known better than to do that :-P
9
dsmithn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations to NASA for the successful launch.

Time to focus on our next space endeavors.

10
chippy 10 hours ago 1 reply      
View it in VLC
Media > Open Network Stream > Address
http://playlist.yahoo.com/makeplaylist.dll?id=1368163
11
jbri 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's somewhat sad to see the shuttles go, especially without a replacement immediately to hand. Though hopefully the end up the shuttle program will pave the way for a manned launch vehicle that can get us out of LEO.
12
teoruiz 10 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a bigger version of the video here:

http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/135_splash/index.html

13
seles 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank goodness for HN, wouldn't have wanted to miss that.
14
knarf55 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It's sad to see that we are retiring the US Shuttle program. In a recent article in the Economist about how the space race is now dead, the US is now are reliant on other countries to send folks up into space or the ISS ... even though they are planning on retiring the ISS in 2020.

I'm hoping that the privatization of the space programs (like SpaceX or Virgin Galatic) gets enough interest to fuel more funding and research into space travel though only a handful of rich folks could ever pay for a ride in one of those programs ...

15
Splines 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I find the Nasa stream is timing out. The UStream one is more stable for me:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/ustream.html

16
127001brewer 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This was an amazing, historical moment of our time. I even ran outside to grab my two-year-old son so he could watch it on TV with me. (Although he doesn't understand the significance, he keep saying "Space ship, daddy! Space ship!")

Hopefully, mankind will continue the exploration of space...

17
evilswan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone else see that plain text ASCII character randomly appear on the in-cockpit views?
18
delinquentme 9 hours ago 0 replies      
http://twitter.com/#!/NASA/status/89341036589101059

"The countdown has entered a 45-minute hold at T-9 minutes."

19
clobber 9 hours ago 2 replies      
What will happen to the International Space Station?
20
huihe9849hjjgkg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for letting me watch this NASA. Wow.
21
delinquentme 9 hours ago 1 reply      
just verified the time:

+/- 2 mins

EASTERN: 10:40 am
CENTRAL: 9:40 am
PACIFIC: 7:40 am

22
lgeek 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there a stream which doesn't require Flash?
23
sung1 9 hours ago 2 replies      
This is so sad. Are we betting on SpaceX to get us back into space now?
18
Selenium 2.0: Out Now seleniumhq.wordpress.com
88 points by mattyb  8 hours ago   20 comments top 13
1
pivo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A couple of years ago my company was in the process of purchasing QTP, an expensive testing product. I had suggested Selenium instead of QTP, but for whatever reason we went with QTP.

But we couldn't afford QTP licenses for everyone who wanted or needed to use it, so some people started writing tests in Selenium instead. Two years on, we're getting rid of QTP and switching entirely to Selenium. We're not doing it just cost reasons though, people just like using Selenium much more than QTP.

Hats off to the Selenium team for such a excellent tool!

2
npongratz 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Official website here: http://seleniumhq.org/

For those who don't know what Selenium is (or forgot, like me), it is a system for testing web applications. It includes the following components:

+ Selenium IDE (Firefox add-on for creating and replaying tests)
+ Selenium Remote Control (run tests in multiple browsers and platforms)
+ Selenium Grid (run tests in parallel across multiple servers)

I'm not affiliated with the project, I just wanted to provide a quick intro for those in a hurry to learn a bit about it.

3
3am 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to trying it out. Many, many thanks for providing such an excellent tool. I was writing automated tests before Selenium, and it has been a seismic change in browser automation. Between you guys, JMeter, and Robot there really is a credible open source automated testing stack now.
4
chsonnu 3 hours ago 1 reply      
For those who prefer using Ruby, try the ruby bindings:

http://rubygems.org/gems/selenium-webdriver

Now wrap your tests in RSpec and you're good to go.

5
senthilnayagam 8 hours ago 1 reply      
congrats guys, awesome project saving drudgery for web developers and testers across globe
6
heyrhett 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Great job guys! It seems like there is an opportunity here to build a good testing service around selenium grid. Has anyone done that yet?
7
jasonkolb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Selenium has always been one of my favorite projects. You can tell someone has been thru the stress-test wringer if they know its ins and outs. The newer grid stuff looks great, although I haven't played with it yet.
8
jc123 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Was using 2.0beta3 of Selenium2 with IphoneDriver for around 4 months and it has been great. The quality was very good that I don't see a need to rush and switch to the actual 2.0 release :P Great work to the team!
9
timxpp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Just to mention another tool: For quick regression testing I found the iMacros for Firefox addon very easy to use: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/imacros-for-f...

I also like its ability to read CSV files out of the box ("table driven testing").

10
adovenmuehle 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I used the 1.x versions of Selenium pretty heavily at my last job and the JavaScript selectors could get pretty hairy (even with jQuery).

Does anyone with experience with Selenium 2.0 know how much of a boost WebDriver gives for performance? Especially doing tests of a SPA with a lot of AJAX could get hairy and slow.

11
neves 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Selenium is one of the my hidden tricks to get good karma at my jobs. Everywhere I work I find a need for Selenium and everybody thinks it is awesome.
12
fuzzylizard 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice work and a giant Congrats to the entire Selenium team
13
bobobjorn 7 hours ago 0 replies      
great work!
19
Treating Students as Gifted Yields Impressive Academic Results, Study Finds duke.edu
99 points by tokenadult  9 hours ago   40 comments top 14
1
MarkMc 8 hours ago 2 replies      
There's a great book called Teaching As Leadership which devotes a full chapter to the effect of expectations on a student's performance.

My Kindle reader for Mac won't let me copy and paste, but the following extract from the book is so good that I will type it out:

---------------

While the self-fulfilling prophecy of high expectations is well established by research, in our experience, the most compelling evidence of this idea's power comes from the many testimonials we receive from strong teachers. Crystal Brakke, for example, is a teacher who in her first year teaching eighth grade in Henderson, North Carolina, took her students from almost 70% failing the state literacy assessment to over 80 percent passing it. Ms Brakke shares how her high expectations helped change the academic trajectory of one particularly challenging student.

"The Wilson," the self-appointed nickname of a young man named Scott, was a living legend at Henderson Middle School. He was nearly sixteen years old and had already spent three years at the middle school. The crowds would part in the hallways for him. He ruled the school, and he knew it. He also knew that, probably quite realistically, he would be promoted to high school no matter what he did this school year - we just couldn't keep him in middle school another year. So my second-period class quickly became his personal playground...and I realised that if I didn't do something soon, the year would be lost for both him and the other twenty students I needed to teach...Scott wasn't ready for high school - he was reading at a fifth-grade level.

So I got together with the other teachers on my team, who were facing their own struggles with Scott, and we came up with a plan that was supported by both Scott's grandmother (his guardian) and his older brother, Richard, whom he idolised. We called him into a team meeting, and he sauntered in, ready for whatever we could give him - in-school suspension, after-school detention. He'd seen it all before. Instead, I told him that is schedule had changed: he would now be coming to my class first period and working with the cluster of "gifted and talented" students in that class. Honestly, you could see the color draining from his face. I explained that I realised what the problem was - that it wasn't him; it was me. I wasn't teaching him what he needed; wasn't teaching to his level and expecting from him what I knew he was capable of doing. That's when he just flat out called me "crazy".

But the next day, Scott came to my first-period class. He sat down, and didn't say a word for the next ninety minutes. That's when I knew we were on to something. I can tell you for certain that progress came slowly, very slowly. Some days I had to fight just for him to keep his head up, but then one day, he brought a pen and pencil to class. I almost cried, I was so executed. Another day, he raised his hand to answer a question. He had started participating, and that was the end of behaviour problems with "The Wilson".

By January, he was just another kid in my class and was sharing insights into "Romeo and Juliet" that made my jaw drop. My favourite memory from that year came when one of the seventh-grade teachers approached me after a staff meeting, asking, "What are you doing up there with Scott Wilson?". It turns out "The Wilson" had made a visit to the seventh-grade hallway to chat with some of his old teachers and let them know that we had finally figured it out: he's gifted.

2
temphn 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Highly implausible "study". In reality unintelligent kids in gifted classes do very poorly. This is not about hope, it's about convincing kids who would be perfectly happy as mechanics to go into debt quixotically pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

If true, every company could turn their employees into geniuses by telling them they were. No need for genes, slogans will do the trick.

In other words, more of the same neo-Lysenkoism that was behind "No Child Left Behind". Lysenko maintained that rye could become wheat if people just wanted it enough. In its pop manifestation today, Gladwell similarly maintains that ten thousand hours of training can turn anyone into an expert on anything.

HN readers nod at such articles and then ignore them in real life, hiring the super smart regardless of prior experience.

3
sc68cal 9 hours ago 4 replies      
There is a good quote that is always passed around in education circles: "The soft bigotry of low expectations"

Educators that have low expectations for certain students will not challenge them and hold them accountable for their work and studies. The student will pick up on this fact. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy.

I'm glad that they are beginning to quantify this piece of common wisdom. Perhaps this will break the bad habits and mindsets of some educators out there.

4
dolinsky 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Along side the findings reaffirmed in this study, I think it's prudent to mention the impact that language can have on a child's confidence. Specifically, the work done by Carol Dweck [1] and her colleagues have shown just how influential language can be in setting a fixed-mindset vs a growth-mindset in children.

In short, praise effort, not intelligence.

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

5
Darmani 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I initially did terribly in school. I often refused to do assignments or did them in a smart-alecky way, acted out violently, and became one of the principal's most frequent visitors.

In second grade, I entered the school's gifted program, and my academics improved greatly. Was it because of the quality of the instruction? No; it primarily consisted of hanging out with a few of the smarter kids in my year, playing computer games, and occasionally learning the names of Roman gods.

Of course, my problems did not disappear either; I still did not fit in with the kids who surrounded me over 90% of the time. It was not until I left my school district for a magnet program that my problems began to disappear and I began to develop ambition (and it still took some time to adjust).

I expect a lot of people will try to interpret these results to say that kids are smart because they went through a gifted program. For me, that's not what happened.3

6
jeggers5 27 minutes ago 1 reply      
I observed something similar with dyslexia. A friend of mine is dyslexic. However he was only told that he was dyslexic a few months ago. Before he was told, he could read fine, and was quite good maths. Almost immediately after he was diagnosed, he started stumbling over words, and skipping sentences; he also dropped down to the 2nd last maths class from the 2 highest.

It's v. unscientific I know but it's an interesting observation all the same.

7
Shenglong 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Being a gifted student is no great feat in today's education system. This article is a perfect example of poor information. Just because you manage a 5-10% increase in the number of gifted students (which is arbitrarily defined), does not mean you get any sort of increase in the quality of the top students.

Some students are simply smarter than others - and I don't think that's a point anyone can argue. Some debate on different types of learning, and specialized subjects, but from my experience, the gifted students do well in every subject (music/arts an exception). By having more gifted students in a class, it is absolutely inevitable that more time will be spent teaching certain subjects, more clarification will be required, and material will probably need to be dumbed down at least a bit.

While this can create an increase in the pure number of students who reach a certain level, it is unfair to the actually gifted students who require an absolute top level of stimulation.

We've seen that economic communism doesn't work, and I'd bet an arm and a leg that intellectual communism doesn't work either.

8
disgruntledphd 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not news.

This idea, in fact, has been around since the mid 1960's.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_Effect
Well done to Duke for replicating and publicising it though, as it never seemed to percolate into practice.

9
noduerme 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's a corollary too, which the University failed to study (but should've)...which is that if you treat people like infants and feed them fox news garbage 24/7, they act like idiots and society collapses. Go figure.
10
Vivtek 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Jesus.

Educating students works. Film at 11.

If schools had the resources to give everybody a tailored gifted program, then yeah, America might not suck. Unfortunately, we have other priorities.

11
scelerat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The corollary is that just because you went through a gifted program and were a high-achiever doesn't mean you're necessarily smarter or better than anyone else. You just had more help along the way.
12
balloot 3 hours ago 2 replies      
This study doesn't tell us anything we didn't know. Yes, when you give kids the best instructors and best resources, they do better.

The "success" in this study is that regular kids in a regular class end with 10% of kids testing for gifted, and regular kids in a "gifted" class show 15-20%. That simply is not that impressive or surprising.

The problem is that good instructors and resources are limited. And while those things would help anyone, you maximize their value by giving them to the kids on the gifted track. We, as a country, would be worse off if we didn't do this because we would be letting the truly talented go to waste in the name of "fairness."

13
ak217 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Treating students as gifted requires extra resources. Which comes back to the basic notion of getting what you pay for.

On the other hand, this economics doesn't work that well in American public schools. They are crippled by teachers' unions which deny performance-based compensation, and funding is seriously skewed toward athletics (though I think in most schools that's funded more by the parents' direct contributions).

14
keithnoizu 3 hours ago 0 replies      
20
HBS Student Creates Smartphone App To Detect Malaria bostinnovation.com
51 points by mixednuts  6 hours ago   48 comments top 12
1
athom 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Oh, wow...

Okay, I just spent the better part of an hour working on a comment on this (hey, I just passed a hematology course, sooo... ;), and then, as I finally got around to checking out the website, I catch this line in the video (emphasis mine):

"All that's really needed from an individual is a drop of blood from the finger to create a thin smear on a slide for analysis with standard protocols."

That's a lot different from what the linked article claims (again, emphasis mine):

"A single drop of blood from the patient is required then smeared on the microscopy lens."

Smearing the lens directly seemed an interesting idea, although it poses a few challenges I'll touch on shortly. However, a close listen to the video makes it clear that's not what the project purports to do. The Lifelens "hardware" -- the lens -- is just meant to give a phone camera microscopic capabilities. How well that works isn't too clear, but it's definitely not the same thing.

It would actually be quite difficult to get an acceptable specimen on a tiny lens. The standard laboratory method is to place a drop of blood on a slide, then use another slide to draw it out into a thin film. Here's a quick video that shows a pretty good example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA6ce-3sYgk

Note how the tech drags the slide back at an angle over the drop, then pushes it forward almost immediately. It takes good timing and a lot of practice to get it right, and then you have to find just the right part of the specimen for a proper analysis. What you get in a typical thin smear is a range of population densities, from a clumpy mess of cells crowding and overlapping each other, to rarefied lines and clusters of cells spaced widely apart. The nice, evenly spaced fields shown in the article are just a small region of the full sample, usally a couple fields behind the feathered edge. Getting that is a challenge just in the laboratory. On a tiny lens in the field? I'll believe that when I see it, and this is just the second step! (Getting the sample is the first) The specimen still has to be stained.

While RBCs with their hemoglobin do en masse make blood red to reddish-purple, individual red cells don't actually show a lot of color without staining. Nor do white cells; they just look a bit larger and grainier than reds. To better examine cell structures, a stained specimen is needed. The standard analytical sample is a Wright stained thin film smear, which requires three different stains be applied and washed in sequence. This stuff doesn't just wash off, either, so don't expect to use the same lens twice. Again, however, that's not what the project actually claims to do. What it does claim, on the other hand, strains credulity in other directions.

Sad to say, but a half-sphere lens on a phone camera does not a microscope make. Without going too deep into details (I hope), proper microscopy requires close attention to the properties of light and lenses. You can't just point a powerful lens at a specimen and expect to get a good image. You also need to ensure sufficient lighting, proper contrast, and control your depth of field!!!

I cannot emphasize that last point enough! Even squashed nearly flat under a cover slip, any specimen you examine is still three dimensional, with details you can only see by shifting the microscopic stage up and down by very small amounts. The depth of field is very narrow. A professional scope's fine adjustment is fine enough to shift focus on a cell from "front" to "back" and anywhere in between. As you might imagine, that requires keeping the stage very, very still. That's why scopes have specimen stages. You won't get that out of a phone camera without clamping it down.

That's what made the article's statement so interesting. If an acceptable specimen could be obtained by smearing the lens directly, the fixed position might allow for proper analysis, but that's not what the project purports to do.

It might be interesting to see where this project goes, but at this point, it's still looking very alpha to me. I'd wait 'til they show this thing in action.

EDIT: Minor spelling error.

2
maxklein 4 hours ago 4 replies      
The sad part is: This app is basically useless. Malaria has very distinct symptoms. Malaria also has a 3-day pre-roll period where you know you are about to get malaria, but you are not yet in bed. Also, Malaria is the #1 drug every chemist stocks in malaria-infested areas. Furthermore, taking a malaria pill even if you don't have malaria has no side effect.

What this means is that if all the criteria of bad luck come together:

1. Person does not know the symptoms for malaria

2. There is no chemist around who stocks malaria pills

3. The illness for some reason instantly hits the person without the pre-roll period

...then the person for whom all these criteria comes into question is about 99.99% not likely to have an Android phone around. And 100% not likely to have a lifelens attached to the phone.

3
tedjdziuba 6 hours ago 3 replies      
> Enter Cy Khormaee, a Harvard Business School student, and his team at Lifelens.

I believe you mean "HBS Student Takes Credit for People who Created an App to Detect Malaria".

4
stephenhuey 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The article claims that 90% of 8+ million childhood deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are caused by malaria, but the World Health Organization says it's responsible for only 20% of child deaths. Moreover, the latest estimates for annual deaths from malaria (all ages) is 780,000. In any case, it's a lot, and I'm glad this team has delivered a useful tool!

http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/index.html

http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/26/malaria-deaths-are-dow...

5
marshray 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Next, the application's user simply has to know the difference between a healthy blood sample and one infected with malaria

So...it's a microscope lens for a smartphone? Isn't that something already developed? What about this app "detects malaria"?

6
jhamburger 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Great feel good story, hard not to see a ton of potential in the 1st world market too though. Imagine a comprehensive self-diagnosis app?
7
yaix 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Its basically a microscope in a smartphone.

However, I see a few practical problems when these high end phone get distributed in Africa by some aid organization. Because an expensive high end phone is also a good gift. I hope they will maintain statistics of how many of these high end phones actually reach the medical centers. And how many of them remain in the med center after a year. Sometimes its better to just send a microscope that can not be used for anything else but blood samples.

8
hobonumber1 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What's the deal with all the snarky remarks? They made something with the intention of solving a serious problem. Cut them some damn slack.
10
rcavezza 5 hours ago 4 replies      
I feel there's a huge flaw in the logic with this application.

If these people could afford smart phones, they probably wouldn't have a huge malaria problem.

Am I missing something?

11
_shane 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The fact that it's a smartphone, or that it's running Windows 7, or that it was developed in Silverlight doesn't seem to have anything to do with the fact that we're looking at a glorified microscope.

Surely there's a cheaper way to get a microscopic image of a blood sample in Africa than flooding villages with Windows smartphones.

12
sliverstorm 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hope they've considered the fact that the sample will need to be cleaned off.
21
60% of all NBA players end up poor cnbc.com
37 points by hezekiah  4 hours ago   33 comments top 11
1
jedberg 1 hour ago 8 replies      
What I don't understand is why the players association doesn't do something about it.

In theory, they could do something like this: All monies paid to players go into a common fund, which is managed by the player's association. Each player gets a small stipend from this fund for entertainment and housing. The rest remains in the fund, and the player gets a statement every year showing how much they earned from playing and how much from investing. Hopefully, after a few years, the investing is making more than the playing, showing the player that investing is good.

Then upon retirement, the following happens. 2 million is set aside and put into a fund. From that fund 5% is paid every year to the player, with the rest being reinvested. Then the rest they can choose to either remove from the fund, or keep in the fund and get earnings payments, or maybe take some out and leave the rest. The hope being that they saw their statements and know that investing is good.

But even if they don't, they still get that 5%, which starts at $100K/yr and in theory goes up with inflation, which should be more than sufficient to keep them from being totally broke.

They could do the same for football players, who tend to have the same issue.

2
jfruh 3 hours ago 3 replies      
It's also worth remembering that a pro athlete if he's lucky has a career that lasts 15 years, tops. Most play significantly less. Contrast that with the average person's working life, which usually lasts 40-50 years. So sure they make a lot per year but once they're done, they're done, since they tend not have much by way of marketable skills. Saving and investment is the smart thing to do, but it's also a difficult thing to tell a 21-year-old who suddenly has more money than he's ever seen in his life.
3
radioactive21 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Not a surprise at all. I have read many stories like this and the problem is that many of them come from poverty. They get money and they feel very guilty, so they give money to any friends or family that asks. This is why many have such huge entourages.

One player was paying rent for 15 of his friends. It wasn't some cheap place either, but at high rises in a big city.

He also paid for 20 cell phone bills, on top of buying house for his parents, brothers and sisters. Paying all the bills eating out with his close friends, paying for rides and flights.

4
daimyoyo 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think that anyone who comes from lower to middle class backgrounds and makes a substantial amount of money quickly faces the risk of losing it. Lottery winners, people who receive large court judgments, and pro athletes have consistently shown that as with most things, large amounts of money can be easy come, easy go.BTW: The NBA player turning down a $30Million contract and then going broke is quite funny to me.
5
vannevar 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The article quotes a statement by the NBA Player's Association to that effect, but does not substantiate it. As far as can be determined by a Google search, no one ever corroborated the claim and since the Player's Association has a vested interest, I wouldn't trust the assertion.
6
dlikhten 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Cool. Not a big surprise. Take a person who is focused on playing sports, sports, sports, training, sports, and oh yea, training who also is poor, and shove money in their face the thing they will do is buy everything they could.

The problem is that most people didn't get the necessary financial education.

The bigger problem is that I doubt these people are very good at math and financial management so they probably ignored the warnings of "I need x dollars per year to sustain this life style, if I get fired tomorrow due to uncontrollable circumstances I am fucked". In the end lots of money needs investing. This is a problem for the middle class and even bigger for the upper.

7
AlexMuir 1 hour ago 1 reply      
8
protomyth 1 hour ago 0 replies      
nice article on the MLB pension plan with mentions of various other leagues: http://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-nhl-nba-mlb-retirement-pe...

[add link] http://www.thestreet.com/story/10983698/1/even-pro-athletes-...

9
jgmmo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is just like the studies of lottery winners.

"Nearly one-third of lottery winners become bankrupt.

“The CFP Board made an offer to the National Association of State and Provincial Lotteries to provide the organization's members with information to distribute to winners. The Investment News article highlighted the lack of financial guidance many winners receive from state lottery agencies; estimates show that nearly one-third of lottery winners become bankrupt.”
Source: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc
http://www.cfp-board.org/bulletin.html

more studies on lottery winners:
http://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id...

10
jhamburger 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What exactly is the definition of "broke"? Declaring bankruptcy and having your house foreclosed doesn't mean you're broke like a homeless person is broke.
11
rickdale 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
The fault doesn't fall 100% on the athlete. Bad loans, high risk loans, were given to these people just like the rest of America but on a much larger scale. Yes I agree they spend lavishly, but all of them have over financed themselves!
22
Oh Yes You Can Use Regexes to Parse HTML stackoverflow.com
190 points by draegtun  14 hours ago   68 comments top 19
1
scott_s 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I classify this as a parser using regular expressions rather than parsing using regular expressions. That is, his regular expressions don't parse the document. He wrote a parser, and uses regular expressions in that parser.
2
rickmb 12 hours ago 4 replies      
And for the next ten years, flawed attempts at imitating this will show up in production code all around the world...

I'm not saying he shouldn't have (I've certainly learned something I didn't know), but let's face it, posting this on StackOverflow is like handing a loaded gun to a bunch of children and telling them not to pull the trigger.

3
d0m 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Errr.. Did he just wrote an html parser (and then used it) to prove everyone that you can use regex to solve the use-html-parser-instead-of-regex problem?!

It's like if I suggest someone to use Python instead of ASM to solve a simple problem, but then someone try to prove me wrong by writing a python interpreter in ASM and then USE it to solve the same problem!

Also, that being said, I feel like the post is more a brag about "I'm the creator of a popular perl book and perl rocks your language here's why blahbahblah".

4
masklinn 13 hours ago 1 reply      
You can use perl's string-matching facilities (which really are not regular expressions at all[0]) to parse HTML.

[0] in fact it was a rather neat idea to rename those "patterns" (or something along those lines) in Perl 6. Unfortunately this name change has been rolled back. Shame.

5
michael_dorfman 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Meanwhile, the highest-rated answer in StackOverflow history says otherwise:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1732348/regex-match-open-...

6
gjm11 12 hours ago 1 reply      
A slightly more accurate summary of Tom Christiansen's excellent answer there would be: "Oh yes you can use regexes to parse HTML, but you usually shouldn't, unless what you want to do is really, really simple."

Actual quotations: "Even if my program is taken as illustrative of why you should not use regexes for parsing general HTML -- which is ok, because I kinda meant for it to be that"; "That was kinda my point, actually. I wanted to show how hard it is." (the latter in response to someone else who said "You can write a novel, like tchrist did, or you can use a DOM library and write one line of XPath").

7
ratsbane 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You still can't use A regular expression to parse HTML. Of course you can use a set of regular expressions and some other logic to parse HTML. There's shouldn't be anything surprising about this post.
8
jdnier 1 hour ago 1 reply      
In the spirit of Tom Christiansen's lexer solution, here's a link to Robert Cameron's seemingly forgotten 1998 article, "REX: XML Shallow Parsing with Regular Expressions".

  http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~cameron/REX.html

"""

Abstract

The syntax of XML is simple enough that it is possible to parse an XML document into a list of its markup and text items using a single regular expression. Such a shallow parse of an XML document can be very useful for the construction of a variety of lightweight XML processing tools. However, complex regular expressions can be difficult to construct and even more difficult to read. Using a form of literate programming for regular expressions, this paper documents a set of XML shallow parsing expressions that can be used a basis for simple, correct, efficient, robust and language-independent XML shallow parsing. Complete shallow parser implementations of less than 50 lines each in Perl, JavaScript and Lex/Flex are also given.

The syntax of XML is simple enough that it is possible to parse an XML document into a list of its markup and text items using a single regular expression. Such a shallow parse of an XML document can be very useful for the construction of a variety of lightweight XML processing tools. However, complex regular expressions can be difficult to construct and even more difficult to read. Using a form of literate programming for regular expressions, this paper documents a set of XML shallow parsing expressions that can be used a basis for simple, correct, efficient, robust and language-independent XML shallow parsing. Complete shallow parser implementations of less than 50 lines each in Perl, JavaScript and Lex/Flex are also given.

"""

9
retube 12 hours ago 7 replies      
One of the best and academically proficient answers I've seen on SO. And if I understand correctly turns on its head the old refrain "You can't use regexes to parse HTML", of which I've always been a staunch proponent.

Now I understood the reason _why_ you can't use regular expressions to parse HTML is that HTML is usually not regular. Is this true? Does this solution in perl work because of the extended capabilities of perl regexes?

10
jgrahamc 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the point here is don't use regexps for this. Some time ago I got into a spat with Eric Raymond about this very subject. Bottom line is that there are nice libraries for HTML parsing out there. Use one: http://blog.jgc.org/2009/11/parsing-html-in-python-with.html
11
scrrr 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't the theory that for a regular grammar you can use regexp, for a context-free grammar you need sth. with a stack (= parser).

HTML isn't regular, though, is it? So if there's not (even an implicit) stack in his example, this won't work for the general case.

12
parenthesis 12 hours ago 0 replies      
For quick-and-dirty extraction of data from HTML documents, lynx -dump can be useful.
13
draegtun 14 hours ago 0 replies      
And related this previous HN discussion on different SO question RegEx match open tags except XHTML self-contained tags (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1487695)
14
profquail 10 hours ago 0 replies      
For parsing HTML, I'd recommend using a purpose-built HTML-parsing library instead of bothering with regular expressions. (Though, like the author of that answer wrote, regex's can work just fine for parsing small snippets.)

An interesting fact: you can parse HTML/XHTML (correctly) with some of the popular regex implementations. (Note the word implementations.)

15
benmmurphy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
it doesn't handle script tags correctly for the example cited. anything between <script> and </script> shouldn't be interpreted as html.

<html>
<head>
<script type='text/javascript'>
var tag = '<input type="hidden" name="foo" value="bar"/>';
</script>
</head>
<body>
body
</body>
</html>

./html_input_rx test.html
input tag #1 at character 57:
name => "foo"
type => "hidden"
value => "bar"

but very cool and could probably be fixed to handle that case quite easily.

16
reirob 12 hours ago 1 reply      
When I need to extract data from HTML I use XPath. But to do so I have to use the combination of following tools

iconv: necessary only when the page is NOT encoded in UTF-8

tidy: used to convert from HTML to XHTML which is XML. I call it as

xmlstarlet: to extract data from the XML file using XPath.

I find XPath a much better and much reliable tool for HTML data extraction.

17
sambeau 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm just disappointed that he didn't use the flip-flop operator ..
18
jpr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Now you have two problems.
19
wazzupflow 9 hours ago 0 replies      
best part is in the answer just below this one:
"1. You can write a novel like tchrist did..."
23
A new method of making electricity from sunlight economist.com
51 points by spottiness  7 hours ago   10 comments top 5
1
scythe 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Bismuth telluride is a compound of bismuth and tellurium. This would seem pedantic were it not for the fact that tellurium is rare as gold.

There's another tellurium-based pipe dream in the form of cadmium telluride solar cells, which have the lucky coincidence of being highly efficient and very cheap to manufacture. Unfortunately... rare as gold.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_elements_in_Earth%... -- tellurium variously at 0.005, 0.001, and 0.001 ppm, and gold at 0.0011, 0.0031, and 0.004 ppm. So "similarly rare."

Friends don't let friends try to save the world with tellurium.

3
serichsen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Cute. Even the current photovoltaic cells do not make economic sense. Why should a five times more inefficient method be better?

If anything, they should look whether there are other temperature gradients they could use for this, but I suspect that the conversion still is not great.

4
rflrob 5 hours ago 2 replies      
The question they don't address is what the relative cost of these thermoelectric cells is. I'll grant that they're still in prototype phase, but some mention of the estimates of cost would be nice. I, for one, have no idea how much bismuth telluride costs.
5
pbhjpbhj 4 hours ago 0 replies      
>liberating electrons from a semiconducting material such as silicon. Or you can concentrate the sun's rays using mirrors

// Or you can concentrate the suns rays in organic material growing bio-diesel crops. Bit more lag but it's still essentially solar energy capture.

25
Interesting C code a1k0n.net
172 points by geekzgalore  14 hours ago   18 comments top 5
1
tintin 12 hours ago 6 replies      
"in six lines of C"

I'm not impressed. It could be done in 1 line of C when he left out the line-breaks.

I don't think obfuscated code is interesting. It's unreadable. And therefore it's hard to learn something from it.

But it's nice he is explaining the code. Now that is interesting!

2
mrpollo 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
the javascript port is awesome too

http://jsfiddle.net/mrpollo/jeNau/

tho i cant make it run yet on jsfiddle

3
jseban 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting indeed. But weird that he uses obfuscated code when doing a piece of explaining how it's done. Or do people actually write for loops like those? :P
4
sirk390 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, impressive. And I love your humour about warnings :)
5
xedarius 11 hours ago 3 replies      
'warnings which real programmers ignore' ... That tells me pretty much all I needed to know about that article.
26
Zynga Acquires Toronto's Five Mobile, Creates Toronto Mobile Studio techvibes.com
29 points by vantech  5 hours ago   4 comments top 2
1
coryl 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know what FiveMobile has worked on in the past? Looks like their a dev shop, with not much experience in games.
2
reducedjuice 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Ameet and the team at five!
27
Carmack: Unquestionable that mobile will surpass consoles industrygamers.com
65 points by kenjackson  9 hours ago   37 comments top 13
1
copenja 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Title is misleading...

If you read the article Carmack is saying that the processing of power of mobile devices will exceed current generation consoles, not that the sales will.

About sales he says:

"Could the bottom drop out on the triple A market because everyone's playing Angry Birds? It doesn't seem to be happening. The numbers don't show that. We're selling more big titles than ever before, despite having all of these other platforms out there."

About processing power he says:

"it's unquestionable that within a very short time, we're going to have portable cell phones that are more powerful than the current-gen consoles."

2
cletus 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I've said it many times: Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony need to be worried about... Apple. The iPad (more than the iPhone IMHO) is becoming and will become a massive gaming platform.

The move towards 3D realism on modern consoles (Xbox360, PS3 and successors) has driven up costs, driven down release cycles and basically given things that many (if not most) people don't actually care that much about.

The App Store has proven there is a serious market for lower-priced games with wide distribution, something the content industry as a whole has failed of grasp over the last decade or more in spite of the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

3
programminggeek 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I think that it's a bit surprising that a company like say SEGA or EA or whoever hasn't got together and put out a gamer-oriented Apple/GoogleTV type device. Think Apple TV size that used existing bluetooth PS3 or Wii controllers or controllers designed for the system.

Certainly with dual/quad core chipsets, we are close to or past the power of the Wii and if there was a better industry standard around such things you could even create a kind of built-in "meta console" platform within TV's. Then you don't even have to buy a separate device, your TV just plays games as long as you have a controller. That would probably sell more HDTV's than 3-D TV technology would.

All I know is if you can get an ARM chipset that can reliably spit out 720p games at 30fps with reasonably good quality, built into a TV that had say 10,000 games available for under $10 (I'm looking at you iOS and Android), parents woudln't buy their kids 360's or PS3's. They'd just buy apps that run on their tv.

4
falcolas 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Anybody who thinks that mobiles will replace consoles for gaming doesn't actually seriously game (or perhaps it's more accurate to say that they aren't interested in games more complicated than farmville or Angry Birds).

Consoles (and PC's for that matter) offer up several things that phones can not offer.

1) Decent controls. Controls for phone based games are terribly imprecise; to the point where even games specifically designed for phone controls don't always do what you want them to do. Even phones with hardware controls are uncomfortable for someone like me to use for a long period of time (Such as the PSP Go and it's new mobile successor)

2) Gaming on large displays. I don't mind my mobile gaming - I've owned most handhelds since the gameboy - but I don't want to play Rage or Skyrym on a screen less than 11" diagonal.

3) Stable hardware specs. I don't have to worry that my 3 year old 360 won't play Skyrym when it's released. I do have to wonder if my original droid will play the latest hotness in games.

4) Stable internet connections. I've tried an MMO on a phone; the lag was unacceptable.

5) I can play on a console all day long and not worry about battery life.

6) Textures. No handheld can match the texture resolution of the consoles, simply due to the storage requirements for the graphics & limitations on realistic bandwidth use to download a game on a phone.

Sure, the current consoles are starting to show their age. But their _launch_ titles still look better than any phone game I've ever seen, and we're nearing the point where new consoles will start making their appearance (see Nintendo's recent announcement about their new console).

5
nikcub 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It will happen, and Sony and Microsoft only have themselves to blame for failing to figure out the console upgrade path and what consumers want. The hardware in the latest xbox and playstation is now over 6 years old, and what you can buy with a $150 mobile device almost surpasses it in pushing polygons.

I don't understand why they do not keep the console operating system consistant, and update hardware every 18 months. xbox loading times, game prices etc. are a pain when the alternative is to boot up your phone or browser and play for 5-10 minutes at a time. Sony had the Ericsson partnership they did nothing with, and Microsoft had Microsoft .. and nothing came of either.

The more exciting element is gaming moving to the browser. webgl is coming to the mobile browsers soon. I just happen to be watching this demo video yesterday of RAGE running on webgl in a browser:

http://youtu.be/d0S2dsuSxHw

bit of a 'holy shit the world is changing' moment

6
6ren 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Disruption occurs when the incumbent more than meets the needs of its customers ("overserves"), and the entrant meets those needs well enough - and also meets the next-most important need of customers. (A very simple model of customers is that they have ranked needs - once the first-ranked need is met, they focus on the second-ranked need etc)

So, mobile phone voice quality is not as good as landline quality, but good enough - plus, you can use it wherever you are. Microcomputers are not as powerful as mainframes, but powerful enough - plus cheaper and smaller. While some customers in some circumstances may still need the extra quality/power of the incumbent, the big profits go to the disruptor.

Do console graphics overserve most customers? If not, how close are they to it? (Note: while there is obviously room for improvement, the key question is whether customers want that improvement. If they are overserved, the improvement just doesn't matter.)
Apart from the popularity of casual games, one test is that PC versions of games have better graphics than current consoles - yet, the console editions are outselling them. It seems that customers value something other than graphics.

7
copenja 2 hours ago 0 replies      
2010 app store game revenue: About 1 billion

COD Black ops sales in first 44 days: over 1 billion

References:

http://blog.itchannelplanet.com/2011/02/apple-dominates-glob...

http://www.bgr.com/2010/12/21/call-of-duty-black-ops-sales-s...

Note: To calculate app store game sales I am taking the total sales and inferring the amount through the statement that "over half of sales are games".

8
seanalltogether 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think iPads and Android tablets could completely swallow the console market if they had more sophisticated control inputs. Right now touch screen controls are a really limiting factor for games, and I hope someone figures out an elegant solution to this.
9
chaostheory 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I may have missed it in the article (I didn't think Carmack mentioned this), but I think the main reason mobile gaming will surpass consoles is the speed of mobile device hardware evolution vs the consoles. iOS devices get major changes / upgrades approx every 2 years, while Android devices get major changes / upgrades every 6 months or less. Compare this to the traditional console hardware life cycle where you only get major changes at a minimum of five years, but typically at 7-8 years before they retire something after a decade.
10
smackfu 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If people would pay $650 for their consoles, they would have faster processors.

This is a place where the subsidized phone model really helps.

11
sbochins 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of the people that play Angry Birds weren't gamers before these type of games came out on smart phones. It is these gamers and others that don't currently play these casual games that will make up the vast majority of game players in the future.
12
iwwr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There are still physical limits with battery power and overall heat dissipation. Perhaps they'd be overcome with a new power source, like a fuel cell.
13
jasonkolb 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I could see the gaming market being split fundamentally between the casual and high end experience. You either play HTML 5-like games or you want 3D kinect-driven large-screen immersive experiences. They're almost fundamentally different experiences, trying to serve both of them with 1 device seems foolish.
28
Nexus S to serve as brain for 3 robots aboard the ISS geek.com
37 points by adeelarshad82  6 hours ago   4 comments top 4
1
51Cards 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I love seeing commercial hardware re-purposed for things like this. Sometimes we forget just how flexible these little devices we all carry around can be.

Second thought: Angry Birds in Sssspppaaaaaccceeee....

2
martythemaniak 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the Open Accessory was the most significant announcement of Google IO this year. It'll be interesting to see what kind of stuff comes out of it.
3
benatkin 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Do they wish that the Nexus S had an SD Card like I did?
4
hammock 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"Hello, Dave."
29
The Results: #AskObama Town Hall analyzed twitsprout.com
59 points by michaelrlitt  7 hours ago   18 comments top 6
1
davidhollander 4 hours ago 2 replies      
During the interview http://askobama.twitter.com/ at 42m20s, they claim that 10% of the questions are on Education, whereas twitsprout shows only 2% were on Education.
2
shaggyfrog 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"Board" should be "Broad", if anyone who created this is reading.
3
eprajogo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been looking forward to this since I saw the awesome insight a couple of days ago, and you guys totally delivered! I love the twitter dashboard too!

Great designer(s) you have on your team, please keep analyzing :)

4
highriseo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. I wish more companies would take the time to show data in meaningful ways.
5
serichsen 6 hours ago 1 reply      
OK, where are the answers?
6
lazyemily 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome! Love Twitsprout :D
30
RIAA Accounting: How To Sell 1 Million Albums And Still Owe $500,000 techdirt.com
137 points by vabole  14 hours ago   53 comments top 11
1
mdasen 10 hours ago 3 replies      
So, the question I have is: how many of those bands/artists make it?

The article mentions an advance of $1M. I think the $20 per CD rate claimed in this album (1M CDs sold is claimed to be $20M in sales) is a bit high (then again, I haven't bought a CD in a while). Suffice it to say, I'd lower that to $10-12M gross and maybe $7-8.4M when costs are accounted for. Even with digital distribution, I think the iTMS/Amazon are taking 30% which would lower $12M gross to $8.4M after Apple takes its cut. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I've heard/seen an album costs around $10-12 on iTunes and Apple takes 30% of that. I can't imagine physical stores (who have the overhead of real-estate and employees) taking less. I mean, 20% breakage fees are outrageous, but arguing that selling 1M albums equates to $20M gross is also outrageous since CDs don't cost $20 a piece.

So, how many of these bands succeed? If I gave a $1M advance to ten bands, would nine of them sell a million albums or only one of them? Thinking of it like an investment, that's an important question. If only one of them sold a million albums (and the rest failed), it would mean that I've put out $10M while the CDs sold grossed $12M (and probably $8.5M after the selling store takes its cut, before any other costs). In this case, there isn't a lot of money for the successful band to be well rewarded. Even though they brought in 8x what was invested, there was only a 1 in 10 chance of them succeeding and a lot of that money is going to subsidizing the investment in the failed bands. However, if 9 out of 10 sell a million records, around $75M is being brought in (after the selling store's cut) while $10M was invested and so there should be plenty of money for the bands/artists to be well-rewarded for their success.

I'm not saying that there aren't dirty tricks being used. I simply don't know how often bands that get these advances do well. If the risk is that most ventures are very unprofitable, it means that the ventures that do become profitable don't get well-rewarded because of the risk involved.

There's also the issue of the amount of money. In this case, it's $1M. That isn't a sum that most people can come up with and, as such, commands a premium. A lot of the larger VC investment comes after a team has shown that it can get a bit of traction. Places like YC invest early, but it's small amounts.

In the end, if you believe in yourself and think there is little risk, it's always best to invest in one's self. However, it can be hard to stomach the risk if the costs are high and the industry failure rate is also high. I'm sure that the record companies are making off with loads of money unfairly, but what's absent from the article is a sense of how many bands that get the advance make it and how many fail. That's a critical piece of information that could turn their whole argument on its head. And without that information, it's impossible to realistically evaluate fairness. I'm no fan of record labels. I think they're an antiquated system in an age where digital recording, editing, and distribution can allow people to create high-quality media. However, if the article wants to convince me of its merits, it needs to offer some statistics about the success/failure rate of the bands/artists getting the advances. If the success rate is 90%, they have a good point. If the success rate is abysmal, it casts some doubt. I'd say it casts more doubt on the system of offering advances (than offering a defense of record labels) and argues for a more efficient initial production, but that's the hacker ethic in me.

2
Produce 9 hours ago 0 replies      
And I'm supposed to be against piracy? I have no problem giving money to people who deserve it but these people do not deserve a single penny from me. The other issue is that by paying for CD's, I'm directly funding the unethical legal bullying that these companies are undertaking.

Really, it's the same issue with the government. I, for one, do not want to fund operations which kill people in foreign countries. I don't care if it's a 'democracy', I don't care if there's a hierarchy and that I'm supposed to vote to make myself heard. I simply want to cut funds to things I don't agree with but the issue is that doing so results in an entity orders of magnitude bigger than me bullying me into submission.

3
seanalltogether 12 hours ago 3 replies      
The crazy thing to me is that the deal is structured more like a loan then an investment, and yet they are still only entitled to 10% of net income. Could you imagine a tech entrepreneur accepting that kind of a deal from a VC?
4
ethank 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I hate this headline. This is not RIAA accounting: its having a bad lawyer and not negotiating a good deal. I've been in plenty of deal meetings and seen the good and the bad.

The good artists retain most of their rights, negotiate a buy out of master recording rights, retain all fanclub/merch rights, etc.

The labels try to gun for 360 rights, but the fact is while there was a brief moment when they could deliver on the promise of the 360, that moment has long passed.

If you are a band, and you want to be a multi-platinum act selling world wide: get a really really good lawyer and sign with QPrime, Frontline, Red Light/ATO, etc.

Let me repeat: GET A GOOD LAWYER.

5
Confusion 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar: Courtney Love does the Math: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1714338
6
exch 10 hours ago 0 replies      
A guy named 'merethan' posted a great essay on the subject in 2010. It gives a good explanation of what the music industry is about and why it still operates the way it does, without going too much into the financial details.

The original article is in Dutch, so I translated it into English a while ago: http://site.jteeuwen.nl/misc/copy_is_my_right.html

7
vermontdevil 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I still don't understand why musicians continue to sign up with record labels?

With all the other options out there, the record labels should not be the first choice for any aspiring musician.

8
rndholesqpeg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Steve Albini's explanation is much more colorful and now almost 15 years old, http://www.negativland.com/albini.html
9
sanswork 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know why he left out the $300,000 advance from the final calculation on how much the artists make? I'm not sure if that was just an oversight or if there was a valid reason for it.
10
hluska 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I can't imagine how any band could be stupid enough to sign a contract with a big label and expect to make money off of album sales. The money is in touring and selling merch - bands should learn to look at selling albums as a promotional expense that helps them line up tours and sell overpriced t-shirts. Or, there is always the indie fortune 500...
11
hezekiah 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Really good article. Mentions the different fees, how they are calculated, their amounts for a typical successful album. This kind of info you normally don't come across.
       cached 9 July 2011 00:02:01 GMT