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Alexis Ohanian and Dan Kaminsky will address Congress on Jan 18th forbes.com
43 points by nextparadigms  59 minutes ago   3 comments top 3
d_r 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else irked by Forbes' need to use a "revenge of the nerds" picture there? I feel like the SOPA argument is probably inherently skewed for most Americans, and it is bitterly unfair.

Pro side: "we're stopping evil foreign counterfeiters, we're helping save American jobs, we're looking out for your safety."

Con side: "complicated sounding tech mumbo jumbo, this will break the internet, and some references to China/Libya"

Which side would you support if you didn't know any better?

SOPA affects more than just the "nerds." How can the messaging be improved? How can it be made more compelling to resonate more with laypeople?

Why aren't the "influential" people focusing on the message?

aspir 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is a step in the right direction, but this level of action should not stop after SOPA. The tech industry is so large and powerful in this current era that it's due time that it begin to develop a more powerful voice in Washington.

SOPA has made it this far because our congress does not have a reliable technology lobby to educate our lawmakers. SOPA would have been killed already if this lobby existed in full strength; and this industry has the funds to have actually created this presence many years ago.

We should focus on stopping SOPA, of course, but after this episode, something needs to be put in place to prevent this from happening again.

tmcw 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the bill that threatens to block large swathes of foreign websites for alleged copyright infringement, have complained that Congress has yet to hear their voice.

Foreign websites? This, combined with the fact that they're referred to once as 'haters' and twice as 'nerds', makes me think that Forbes is worthless at writing about anything except how rich blue-chip CEOs are.

The New Web Typography microsoft.com
145 points by cleverjake  3 hours ago   66 comments top 22
codyrobbins 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am completely, wholeheartedly, emphatically, and unabashedly in favor of finally bringing control over OpenType features to CSS"finally!!

But this syntax they've come up is an absolute horrifying mess. Ugh. Please say it ain't so!

  font-feature-settings: "smcp=1”;
font-feature-settings: "swsh=1,cswh=1”;

Seriously"that's how you get small caps and swash? Seriously?? These look like optimization flags for a C compiler, not CSS.

I'm guessing that these are probably mapping through to the underlying OpenType features directly somehow to support arbitrary aspects of a particular type, but it still needs to be less of a mess for the “normal” stuff.

Why can't it be something readable and self-documenting?

  font-features: small-caps, contextual-swash;

pg 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Incidentally, the title they chose is an ambitious non-coincidence:


Jabbles 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is what I want! Not nice fonts, but competition!

Microsoft stepping up and implementing desirable features in their browser is exactly what we (as users of the web) need in order to move technology forward.

In the same manner, I hope Microsoft pushes hard with Windows Phone; not because I own one, but because I want the whole industry to move forward faster.

ComputerGuru 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Guys, the sections change to display the actual features when you hover over them with the mouse.

I literally spent the better part of 5 minutes reading the text and comparing Chrome, IE, and Firefox to search for the kerning changes and fractions support, because I just couldn't see it.. Until I accidentally hovered over the sections and the content changed to match.

sc00ter 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"If you want the real deal, get a browser that supports OpenType like Internet Explorer 10+ or Firefox 8+."

Downloads IE10... "Windows Internet Explorer Platform Preview is only supported on Windows 8 Developer Preview." Oops!

PS. Microsoft: This -> / isn't a backslash, this -> \ is. (A common mistake, but not one I'd expect in article on Typography.)

wlievens 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I was reading this, thinking really nice, adhering to such meticuluous styling.

Then I saw this was microsoft. My mouth literally[1] fell open.

[1] I know what that word means

nitrogen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Fractions created with the backslash character can be clunky and confusing. With the Fraction property turned on, backslash-based fractions can be automatically transformed into true fractions.

If an article about typography doesn't even know the difference between a slash and a backslash, how are we ever to get people to stop saying backslash when talking about URLs?


shuzchen 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool. My wish-list of typographic features were kerning and alternate glyphs, both of which are on this list. However, I'm still hoping for the day when we get a real baseline grid.
spiralganglion 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"Once-inaccessible design features such as small caps, swashes and fractions are now access through CSS"

On a website drawing attention to type, one should be extra attentive to the content of their writing.

It'd be just like grossly aliased images on Adobe's Photoshop site, or a pile of computer parts around the genius bar.

hm2k 1 hour ago 2 replies      
TIL Google Chrome doesn't support OpenType.
duhoang 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is rad, but Microsoft handling of fonts in their browser is so terrible in the past that I hesitant to jump on this bandwagon.

They got a long way to go to convince designers to take them seriously.

micheljansen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone understand why ligatures do not appear to work on Webkit? From what I understand, setting "text-rendering: optimizeLegibility" should enable ligatures on Webkit [1], but I cannot see them on Chrome and Safari where I do see them on Firefox.

[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en/CSS/text-rendering

pothibo 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Very cool stuff.

However, it would have been cool if they included font-stretching so you can manipulate glyphs.

funkah 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I really, really dislike that style of numerals. It just looks like they're bouncing all around the baseline. Please don't use that, designers. Different != good.
smackfu 1 hour ago 1 reply      
At headline size, some of those ligatures look terrible.
ChuckMcM 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know the definitive patent status of OpenType?
bh42222 53 minutes ago 1 reply      
Will Microsoft truly favor OpenType over ClearType: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ClearType
mark-r 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Ironically the site features don't work in IE8.
alpb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I opened my Firefox after a few months and upgraded it to 9.x just to see what Microsoft have achieved. Great work indeed but I'm not sure it is worth changing and messing the CSS standards. Some of them were already achieveble by doing a few tricks like using different fonts IMO.
rabidsnail 1 hour ago 3 replies      
While we're on the subject of @font-face, _please_ only use it as a replacement for images. I'm tired of waiting 30 seconds for any text to show up on the screen because my computer's busy loading a font file. The web is not a magazine stand. Don't treat it like one.
justinph 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's almost too bad microsoft squandered any credibility they had on web standards years ago.
sp332 2 hours ago 0 replies      
They use prefixes for experimental features. It's not part of an official spec yet, so each browser is implementing different features with different syntax. Eventually, when they agree on a feature set and syntax, they will move it into the common namespace by dropping the prefixes.

Also, please use normal English.

MacGap: Desktop WebKit wrapper for HTML/CSS/JS applications github.com
28 points by maccman  1 hour ago   8 comments top 3
mceachen 35 minutes ago 3 replies      
Sitting next to the developer of MacGap (we both work at Twitter), the first thing that I asked was "what about Fluid?" http://fluidapp.com/ -- and Alex's first retort was that this was open source, and free.
taskstrike 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
LocalStorage seems broken on the mac which makes it a bad platform to develop webkit apps in. (It does not persist across program runs)

In fact, if either websql or localstorage worked in cocoa webkit it would be great.

sjs382 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Does something like this exist for windows?
True Scala complexity mit.edu
122 points by plinkplonk  5 hours ago   57 comments top 11
modersky 1 hour ago 11 replies      
First, I think a blog post ending with "bring on the flames" should have comments enabled, otherwise it's not really fair. It comes across as whining without wanting to listen to advice or a response.

Second, I think the blog post is useful because it shows what's wrong with some (fortunately very small) part of the Scala ecosystem, and because it points to a way to fix it.

Here's a quick recap: The author tries to add arbitrary operations to Scala's Seq abstraction without changing its source code and wants them to work also on arrays (which are plain old Java arrays), without any extra work. Arrays in Java support: length, index, and update; that's it. There is as far as I know no language in existence that allows the precise thing the author wants to achieve. And there are many variations, such as adding only to Seq or only to Array that would be really easy in Scala but still impossible in most other mainstream languages. The author then throws all the machinery he can think of at the problem to still achieve the same non-result. Well, tough luck. He might have hit a thing that's simply impossible to do in a generic way, given the tools we currently have. In fact, I have not checked whether there would be a way to achieve the result that he wants because that's beside the point. There are always limits to a generic formulation that will force you at some point to treat things on a case by case basis.

The problem is that, in trying to achieve his impossible goal, the author (mis-)uses a lot of the most powerful features of Scala, and concludes that Scala is simply too complex for helping him achieve the result. I believe he wrote this blog post to prompt the maintainers of Scala to add even more power to the language so that he can achieve his goal (the only other motivation I can think of is that he's trying to actively damage the ecosystem he writes code in, but that would make no sense to me).

My response will probably not please him. I think that we need to take away sharp knifes from people who have a tendency to cut themselves. I was always proud that in Scala you could do in a library where in other languages you had to change the compiler. Inevitably, some of this is cutting edge stuff. We have tried many times to clarify the boundaries, for instance when I defined the Scala levels


But we can't prevent a developer who prides himself to "stroll right through level L3" to get hurt.

So, I believe here is what we need do: Truly advanced, and dangerously powerful, features such as implicit conversions and higher-kinded types will in the future be enabled only under a special compiler flag. The flag will come with documentation that if you enable it, you take the responsibility. Even with the flag disabled, Scala will be a more powerful language than any of the alternatives I can think of. And enabling the flag to do advanced stuff is in any case much easier than hacking your own compiler.

I would be interested to read your comments on this proposal.

dxbydt 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Regarding some of the "brainteasers" posted in the article, I am assuming that most of them are simply bugs that will get ironed out in version 2.9.2 or thereabouts ?

eg. The following fails:

Set(1,2,3).toIndexedSeq sortBy (-_)

But doing the same in 2 steps, ie. after assignment, works

val xs = Set(1,2,3).toIndexedSeq; xs sortBy (-_)

I have been bitten by this several times now, so I don't unnecessarily chain > 2 functions even if it does compile ( which also solves one other brainteaser posed in that article )
Have also seen the problem with the add function, when I wrote a matrix manipulation library.

def add(x: Int, y: Int) = x + y

add(1,_) fails, but add(_,_) works. Even though the error message " missing parameter type for expanded function" seems reasonable, and providing the parameter type ie. add(1,_:Int), does compile, the bahavior is hard to explain to newbies.

His point about hanging your hat on asInstanceOf[...] and the resulting code being clumsy...ok, guilty as charged, but then you only have so many hours in a day, and mgmt is paying $$ to solve boring business problems ( compute the asset quality of five million loans in thirty lines of business over twelve quarters using scala ) and not mucking around ( add a filterMap to the scala collection library to get an idiomatic Scala implementation )

I enjoyed the programming snippets in the article very much, but I still don't get what the point of the rant was. He goes on and on about "lack of acknowledgement of complexity", but what does that really mean ? Does he want like a gold star ? Even if everybody acknowledges that scala is complex, what then ? Eventually some of it will get fixed & the rest will not & life will go on. Why be a downer at such an early phase of growth of the language ? All this talk of excess complexity will simply scare off the early adopters. Java has been around for 15 years and we still don't have decent generics. Scala is so far ahead in such a short time. Patience, etc.

jashkenas 4 hours ago 8 replies      
Fantastic post. The most salient excerpt for me:

    def filterMap[B,D](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D]): D
def filterMap[B,D <: GenTraversableOnce[B]](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D]): D
def filterMap[B,D <% GenTraversableOnce[B]](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D]): D
def filterMap[B,D[B]](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D[B]]): D[B]
def filterMap[B,D[B] <: GenTraversableOnce[B]](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D[B]]): D[B]
def filterMap[B,D[B] <% GenTraversableOnce[B]](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D[B]]): D[B]
def filterMap[B,D[_]](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D[B]]): D[B]
def filterMap[B,D[_]](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D[B]], ev: D[B] <:< GenTraversableOnce[B]): D[B]
def filterMap[B,D[_]](f: A => Option[B])(implicit b: CanBuildFrom[?,B,D[B]], ev: D[B] => GenTraversableOnce[B]): D[B]


> The answer to our original question? It turns out none
> of these are correct. In fact, *it is impossible to insert
> a new method that behaves like a normal collection method.*
> This, despite the heavy advertising of enrich my library.

Stuff like this makes think about how, despite all of the problems with using it in libraries, it's lovely that many dynamic languages can be extended in your application with little fuss.

    # Ruby.

class Array
def filter_map

// JavaScript.

Array.prototype.filterMap = function() {

harryh 4 hours ago 2 replies      
A lot of the items the post author describes as complex you can't do at all in other languages.

"Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay

I don't think the blog author gives particularly great examples of simple things that are made complex by the language. He simply gives examples of things that are inherently complex that scala at least makes possible.

jberryman 4 hours ago 0 replies      
hp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One source of Scala's design is Java interoperability, much as C++ has to live with its C legacy. This compromise may also be why people are able to use Scala in practice, though; they need to talk to Java libraries or need the performance of a language that maps straightforwardly to the JVM.

Scala is a functional/object-oriented hybrid, making it more complex than a purist language in either mold. It always lets you do things in a Java-like way - you can use it as "Java with less boilerplate" and touch almost nothing Scala-specific. Then it adds functional programming alongside.

To me this feels very natural; I like objects for the big-picture structure, but I like to write algorithms and manipulate data in functional style. If you need raw performance in some hotspot, write a Java-like while loop with mutable state; otherwise, write something nice and high-level (and the JVM will still be much faster than a "scripting language" however you define it, e.g. http://blog.j15r.com/2011/12/for-those-unfamiliar-with-it-bo...).

Scala does fix some Java warts that are legitimately complex or confusing in their own right. For example, primitive and boxed types are less strongly separated; there's no "static", just nice syntax for singleton objects; collections are 100x nicer with far less noise; a nice multiple inheritance design; covariance eliminates a bunch of nasty hacks; better ways to specify access controls; there's a decent way to factor out exception handling; case matching is _awesome_; and _so_ much less boilerplate in general.

I'm not sure the static vs. dynamic religious war can ever be resolved, but static types feel less broken and less verbose in Scala than in Java. Java makes you lie to the type system, or do something unnatural, much too often. Scala hasn't cured every such situation, but it's cured a lot of the most common ones, and greatly reduced the need for manual type annotations.

Scala gives you the conciseness of Ruby, but with static type checking, higher runtime performance, and interoperability with existing Java code.

Some tradeoffs of static type checking remain, such as compilation times.

People do go on wild goose chases trying to push the language farther than it's ready to go. I've done it myself. I agree with the article that there are lots of areas to improve and appreciate the constructive write-up.

But on the other hand, the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good. I certainly would not choose to go back to Java, even as I'd love to keep seeing Scala get even better.

dkhenry 4 hours ago 2 replies      
After reading a bunch of these articles and really walking away unimpressed this one is fantastic. It does a great job of showing how cryptic you can make Scala code. It also shows that the same topic on which half the article is spent explaining can be boiled down to four lines of less "Scala Like" code. As a pragmatic user of Scala I don't see why the fact that you _can_ do some amazing but cryptic things with the language is a detriment. Its like pointers in C or templates and multiple inheritance in C++. Some people say that the developer shouldn't be given such capabilities since it can lead to cryptic and possible dangerous code. I am of the opinion that the additional flexibility the features provides is nothing but a benefit and that its up to the developer/organization to make sane limits on what can be used.
reinhardt 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Just wow. My eyes started glazing over at "views don't chain. Instead, use view bounds" and he completely lost me on the next slide with generics. I had Scala in my mental TODO/Maybe list but after skimming over this post I think I'll pass.
adriaanm 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it would be great if we could replace implicits by:

1) a simple mechanism for "enrichment" (aka. retro-active extension, virtual classes)

2) functional type-level computation (as opposed to the mini-prolog engine that is implicit search + type inference).

Reducing complexity is complicated, unfortunately. We [have been|are] thinking about both of these alternative features, though.


ps: The following part of the article is inaccurate: "Turns out that Scala will search up to one level up the type hierarchy for a matching shape for the implicit."

Check out the "implicits without the import tax" part of http://eed3si9n.com/implicit-parameter-precedence-again. The implicit scope includes all the superclasses (and their companion objects) of all the parts of the type of the implicit value that's being resolved.

j_baker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a confession to make. I voted this article up simply based on the title. Even if it turned out to be incredible link bait (which it didn't), I'm just happy that someone out there is at least recognizing the desire to have a reasonable discussion of this issue.
oacgnol 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much of an impact it would be if Scala simply had better documentation. I love the terseness of the code and the complex things you can do, but I'll be damned if I could ever glean ideas from looking at method definitions rather than code examples.
Reddit successfully pressures Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to back off support of SOPA reddit.com
163 points by chaosmachine  4 hours ago   50 comments top 6
jerfelix 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This headline is pretty misleading.

Ryan never supported SOPA. He came out against it. And this event came after Reddit guys said they should pressure him. And then clueless Reddit guys take credit for successfully pressuring him.

I would hope this HN crowd knows about correlation and causation.

danso 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It's not clear that he ever supported SOPA, just that his form letter wasn't explicitly against SOPA when Reddit decided to work against him:
OstiaAntica 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Rep. Ryan's statement is significant and helps the cause in both the House and the Senate. Ryan is a widely respected policy leader for Congressional Republicans. It is also a strong stance for him to publicly oppose another Republican's legislation, while the bill is still being considered in committee.
rbanffy 3 hours ago  replies      
Online piracy is not a legitimate problem. It's an unavoidable side-effect of having easy and cheap duplication and transport of digital goods. Industries have to innovate to adapt to new technologies and circumstances.
iso8859-1 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I think sad how much of a popularity contest politics are. He doesn't really respond to the arguments, just uses the boilerplate "freedom" stuff. You can turn that statement right around, and it'd still make sense. I wish politicians would actually have the time and commitment to know what they were legislating. This system is broken.

Turned around:

> The internet is one of the most magnificent expressions of freedom and free enterprise in history. It should stay that way. In order to do that, we must close those evil sites so that we can have better conditions for the corporations and they will continue to provide jobs and security to our economy.

ward 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Must we have politics on Hacker News...

Edit: It always ends up in bickering about viewpoints anyway.

Disqus Research: Pseudonyms Drive Communities disqus.com
8 points by simanyay  14 minutes ago   4 comments top 3
xster 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
I completely agree with the conclusion of the infographics, but just from the point of view of the approach... wouldn't it be a possibility that people aren't necessarily avoiding real names but rather facebook profile access?
waqf 3 minutes ago 1 reply      
This page seems long on cute fuzzy pictures and short on content. They don't say what discussion forums they sampled: most likely, their own. They don't describe their methodology in detail (I looked in vain for a link to or citation of a proper experimental writeup.) And what did they learn?

As far as I can tell, they learned that people who bother to sign up for forum accounts ("pseudonyms", in their terminology) make more return visits/contributions than people who use least-effort ways of logging in (existing Facebook account, or anonymous contribution).

Well, that's a surprise.

zeeg 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I love that we're able to publish research like this.
The $40 Standup Desk opensoul.org
153 points by bkeepers  7 hours ago   81 comments top 35
dmethvin 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Before you trust a few thousand dollars of equipment to this desk...

The brackets there are mounted backwards; the long end should go against the wall. When they rate the brackets to hold 1000 pounds, it's based on a load at the center of the short side. But really the risk comes from the mounting. If you mount a 30-inch-deep hunk of desk on it there is a much higher stress on the mounting points since the long desk acts as a very effective lever. If you lean against the edge of the desk it may well pull the bracket out of the wall--especially if you use typical screws rather than lag bolts to mount it to the wall.

If you are mounting something like this in a corner, as being done here, the whole setup could be strengthened by mounting a ledger board against the right-hand wall to support the entire depth of the desk. Really you should have a support on the front-left corner as well, which can be done either with a dowel or furniture leg (you can get either at a hardware store).

dredmorbius 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a profession that's had standing desks for centuries. They're called draftsmen (architects, artists, and others). You'll find a great number of adjustable (height and angle) desks searching for "drafting table" with prices starting below $100 (new or used), and, well, as with much furniture, sky's the limit.

They can be used as standing desks or (with a stool) as a seated workstation. As noted in comments below, many drafting stools have some sort of footrest.

A few models (the less expensive ones look a bit unstable):

... or search Craigslist.

Add a monitor clamp/mount (either on the desk or on the wall behind it) and you've got a workstation solution. A hutch, shelving, or cabinet above, and an enclosed pedestal cabinet, and you've got a full desk.

Timothee 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's funny how we (typically) are just fine spending thousands of dollars for electronics but have a hard time doing it for furniture. (I'm doing it myself: I'm on the couch or the dining table when I work at home)

This guy has well over $2,000 on this $40 "desk", even though this equipment will lose a lot more value over time than a good desk. A MacBook Air will be worth barely anything in 5 years, while you can probably make a desk last half a career at least. Same for a good office chair.

imperialWicket 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Senseless self plug - It's not adjustable, but for between $100-$200 (depending on quality of parts and whether or not you elect to sand/stain/seal) you can build this: http://imperialwicket.com/diy-adjustable-stand-up-desk-for-u... .

It's not quickly adjustable, but with the removal and replacement of some bolts, you can adjust the main desk area from 30" height all the way up to 52". Built into the cost are four additional shelves of various sizes.

My idea was that if I was going to spend close to $200 on it, I wasn't terribly considered about quick adjustments (and I agree with nick_urban that a high stool/chair is perfect if necessary). However, I wanted to be sure that if I needed a non-standing desk in the future, this could be easily altered. I could also easily adjust it to accommodate visiting/alternative users - which is harder with many of the wall-mounted stand-up desks that are out there.

marknutter 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I found that without being able to easily switch between sitting and standing, standing work stations will probably not work for most people. I bought a geek desk and it solves the problem beautifully, but having two separate desks for sitting and standing is a cheaper solution if you have the room for it (or having a very tall stool).
gte910h 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
This honestly looks like a great way to smash a $1000 ACD on the ground with great force.

Shelf mounts aren't made for lots of shearing force cause by constant up and down pressure like that.

While the desk looks cool, I give it about a 1:10 chance of coming off suddenly within 5 years of daily use.

chaostheory 6 hours ago 4 replies      
If you want a 'stand up desk' that is freestanding, IKEA has the FREDRIK in two variants for $119 and $149:



It's easy to build. It's sturdy, and it looks good.

jashmenn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
fwiw, I'm designing an open-source cardboard adjustable standing desk. Here is my crappy first version:



replicatorblog is going to help me by suggesting some stability and aesthetics improvements, but if anyone else cares to join in, you're more than welcome.

The slots will be cut-out so you can adjust according to your height. My goal is something that can by cut with a CNC/laser cutter and then sold for ~$20.

hapless 7 hours ago 7 replies      
An inexpensive standing desk is nice, but I don't think I would be any happier standing continuously than sitting continuously. Unfortunately, rapidly adjustable sit/stand desks are insanely expensive.

I think this person has found a heck of an in-between position. It's not $40, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a geekdesk.

stevejalim 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Seems a good number people like the idea of a motorised adjustable desk, but the price is a deterrent.

I have a GeekDesk, or what near-as-dammit is one, via a UK importer who gets them from Europe and, personally, it's been the best £400-500 [edit: $600-800 USD, give or take] I've spent on hardware, ever, given that I spent most of my waking hours sat/standing/leaning at it. But I appreciate that it's not an easy price point for everyone.

So, question, with a view to a market opportunity for someone: how much would you be willing to pay for a strong, motorised, adjustable-height desk? Reply with a dollar figure, and if someone's already replied with a similar sum, upvote that instead. (Starting a whole poll seems OTT)

dkokelley 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I had a standup desk made from heavy-duty shelving storage (See: http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId=prod...)

I figured this would be good because I could have the surface area of 5 desks take the square footage of one. The only thing is that with this desk doing any sort of paperwork is impractical. I had a keyboard tray that pushed me out too far from the desk to lean over my paper/books, and the ergonomically ideal height for the monitor base was too high for me to comfortably reference papers. I switched to a simple IKEA corner desk and chair, and re-purposed my shelves to be regular storage (although I kept the space open for monitors, should I want to work standing on another computer.

Jun8 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"Hanging a shelf is taught in Adulthood 101."

I think I must have been sick the week they taught that. I still have great difficulty doing it (or building anything, working "with my hands").

jarin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A little more expensive, but I made mine by taking an L-shaped IKEA Galant desk with extension and putting cinder blocks underneath the A-style legs. Felt pads are important to keep it from sliding off the blocks, but works great and gives you a TON of desk room :)
rwmj 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My walking desk, IIRC the cost was about $400:


wr1472 2 hours ago 0 replies      
That's not a desk, that's a shelf attached to the wall.
fuzzythinker 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My $40 no mounting/screwing, better monitor height solution:



* $20 - 4 legs + desk board: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79831622

* $20 or less: boards from a hardware store, dimensions:

- top monitor stand backing + side boards: 3 of ~12"ht x 10"depth

- bottom backing + side boards: 3 of ~12"ht x 15"+ depth (can be narrower in depth if lean against wall)

- monitor stand board: width desired x depth of monitor side boards

- desk board: free with the ikea legs. If want different dimensions, depth should be at least 18" so monitor can further away from you.

- bottom legs attachment board: width desired x depth of corresponding sides

* optional: $20 plastic sliding keyboard drawer to keep papers/notes. Got mine from Frys.

beagle3 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I got this from amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QA0EHI/ - goes from too-low-to-sit to too-high-for-work (I'm 6' tall), is sturdy enough for a laptop, and has lockable wheels. Best $50 I've spent.

Might not be able to carry your 26" screen if it is too heavy, but it's a damn good way to see how well you fair with an adjustable standing desk. And it also doubles as an over-the-bed desk ...

Helpful suggestions: Attach a long-cord power strip to your mobile table, so that only one power goes out, and that it doesn't kill your non-magsafe-connector when someone kicks the power cable.

Also, use a large binder clip to attach mouse/keyboard/monitor/network cables to the table if you use a laptop and take it with you often.

hogu 6 hours ago 0 replies      
track shelving also works, and is adjustable after you install it.
aedocw 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been a huge proponent of the standup desk for probably two years now.[1] One thing I see people get wrong ALL the time is the simple ergonomics - the top of the monitor should be at about eye level, and the keyboard should be just a little beneath the height of your elbows.

I made a simple folding standup desk I could put on top of a regular desk[2] and it's been fantastic. Very simple, easily folds flat, and sits nicely on top of just about any desk or table. If anyone wants details (and the sketchup file I planned with) just let me know!


zachrose 3 hours ago 1 reply      
$8 stand up desk: eight 8" cinder block cubes at about a dollar each. Stack two high under each desk leg. Throw a piece of lumber between the top front cubes for a footrest.

At the very least it's the cheapest way to decide if you like a standing desk.

kylecordes 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I briefly tried an arrangement like this, which has just one surface for both keyboard and monitor. It worked horribly for me, though perhaps I am odd.

It works much better to have the keyboard at a good keyboard height, and monitors at a good monitor height. I've built a couple variations over time, see my 2010 version partway down this page:


NHQ 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I built my own 3-tiered, sit-down or stand-up desk, link to pic below.

Seated, the monitor is the right height for me, so as to keep my head up and neck straight. When I want to switch to standing, I just move the keyboard to the top level. I make the switch once or twice per day. And I can sit cross legged on the lowest platform (I dont like bucket/office chairs).

That was v0.1 of the desk, constructed in a few hours. the As you can see it is not production ready :p


izak30 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I got this one http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S49843462/ They sell a stool that's the right height for when I do want to sit down, but it's uncomfortable enough that I do stand most of the time.
wyclif 4 hours ago 0 replies      
mpercy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool idea. I've done the standup desk thing before at work with a tall chair as a sitting option. I actually ended up using the chair most of the time so I switched back to avoid constantly vaulting up and down, but it was an interesting experiment for about 2 years.

One concern I would have about this particular configuration is the lack of a keyboard tray. Ergonomically, you would want your eyes about level with the top of the monitor or maybe a few inches below the top. At the same time, you want your keyboard to comfortably sit below so that you can keep your elbows at about 105 degrees or so. With the addition of a keyboard tray, and possibly a monitor stand, this can be a really nice long term ergonomic setup.

Found some tips on ergonomics at the link below, and these are inline (no pun intended) with what I have heard from the mandatory ergonomics training at my employer.


simpsond 5 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who still sit 8+ hours a day: Work on the boss or setup a budget for an adjustable stand up desk. Having a fixed height requires that you adjust if you want to add a floor mat, wear different shoes, or want to throw a treadmill down. And sometimes, after standing for hours, you just want to sit down. Spending $800 dollars is justified for anything that is used 8 hours a day.
sreitshamer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I just built some boxes out of plywood and put my existing desk on them. It was still a bit too low (my back was hurting) so I added a 2x4 on each side between the box and the desk leg until my back stopped hurting. Works great and very inexpensive!
wahnfrieden 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Either the keyboard is far too high, or the monitor far too low. This is like laptop proportions - awful ergonomics.
zerostar07 4 hours ago 0 replies      
My standup desk: Procrastinate on the ipad, walking around the house. Sit only when you write code.
willimus 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Great low budget idea. My biggest gripe is that facing the wall is bad feng shui. I know that most folks consider feng shui a bunch of nonsense, but I like many of it's principals.

There are several low cost desk choices at csnoffice.com. I have this roughly $300 desk:

Here's a $100 desk...

wyclif 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Standing desk improv: http://instagr.am/p/GHAmP/
charlesju 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I just put a bunch of old computer books on my desk, in conjunction with a few Amazon boxes, and that seems to be sufficient. I actually have two desks. A standup desk AND a sitting desk, and I transfer my laptop between the two. This seems to be the best balance of sanity and health for me.
benvanderbeek 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"A stud finder or old man that knows how to knock on the wall and tell where the studs are."

Would you just search Craigslist for the old man? Sounds tricky.

nilchameleons 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea. I've always been more comfortable standing at a kitchen counter or using the adjustable-height computers we (no longer) have behind the genius bar.
metaobject 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The free startup desk: your kitchen/dining room table (or, it you don't have one of those: two cardboard boxes and a piece of wood)
Your body wasn't built to last: a lesson from human mortality rates gravityandlevity.wordpress.com
106 points by aespinoza  5 hours ago   28 comments top 6
reasonattlm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The body can be considered as a system of many redundant components, with aging as the result of progressive unrepaired damage to those components. This is a model that works very well. For further reading, you might look at the application of reliability theory to aging:



Once you start to think along the lines of damage and repair, you inevitably end up in the SENS camp. It's the logical place to be.


Bodies are complex systems and all complex systems can be prolonged in their period of prime operation by sufficiently diligent incremental repair. Developing a toolkit to do that for humans is the point of SENS the research program, with the point of SENS the advocacy program being to help people understand that the scientific community well understands in detail what needs repairing.

For more on the biochemistry of damage-that-causes-aging, explained for laypeople, you might look here:


panic 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You can find the original, less ad-encrusted version of this article at http://gravityandlevity.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/your-body-w....
jessriedel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The chance-of-death plots should be logarithmic, so we can tell if this exponential is really a good fit. On linear plots, it's hard to distinguish exponential decays from 1/x^n decays.
drumdance 4 hours ago 1 reply      
My dad used to joke that if he made it to 80 he was going to take up smoking again. Alas, he only made it to 79.
fragsworth 3 hours ago 7 replies      
Evolutionary theory would also suggest that we have some mechanism to ensure our deaths. Longer lifespans cause fewer generations per time period, resulting in less adaptability as a species.
kingkawn 1 hour ago 1 reply      
That graph showing survival probability as near 1 for age 0 can't be correct, since mortality is significantly higher in birth and immediately after, then drops for a long time, then shoots up again in old age. This is at least true in westernized countries that have medical care available.
ShowHN: AlreadyHN, a bookmarklet that checks if the current page is on HN elias.kg
87 points by eliaskg  6 hours ago   26 comments top 11
Pewpewarrows 6 hours ago 2 replies      
If you're using Chrome, this extension works great to let you know about pages being on HN:


chetan51 5 hours ago 1 reply      
A while ago, I posted a bookmarklet called Hacker Panel that actually shows HN comments for the current page. Do check that out too!


Todd 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice. I'm often conflicted over whether to bookmark the actual page or the HN comments. Sometimes the comments are so valuable, I'll bookmark them instead, since I can always get to the page in question from the comments. This provides a nice alternative. Thanks.
ImJasonH 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why does this load JQuery for nothing but a simple JSONP request?
jaequery 1 hour ago 0 replies      
any idea why gethoneybadger.com doesn't get detected with this when it was posted on HN just a week back?
vaksel 5 hours ago 2 replies      
doesn't HN do that already? or is that only for exact match links?
nsxwolf 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how I earn a living doing what I do, and have never heard the word "bookmarklet". Reading the definition I know what they are, I've just never heard the term until now.

One nice thing about HN is that I can admit to such things because of the anonymity. It sure is an embarrassing feeling.

fady 4 hours ago 1 reply      
whoa! great bookmarklet. very useful indeed. how long did this take you to make?
username3 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Removed confirmations, added page title. http://pastebin.com/ySr5PnKu
Ryan_Shmotkin 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I use a chrome extension. Shows you a orange bar on the left that slides out with comments.


deutronium 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, thats really nifty, thanks for making it!
PHP compiler for .NET php-compiler.net
24 points by kjventura  2 hours ago   3 comments top 2
yread 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
I know the guy who wrote it originally. A real hacker. He wrote it way before this DLR extensions, I think it was even in .NET 1.0 and it was already sort of usable. He knew a lot from Rotor (the open sourced part of .NET) and he was using it to hack the internal memory structures (ie. the Object structure) of .NET without reflection
davidklemke 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I've used Phalanger in one of my side projects and it works really well. The PHP library I was using (http://code.google.com/p/phpsc2replay/ if you're interested) isn't simple but there were only a few minor modifications required to get it up and running as a full .NET library.

Only complaint I'd have would be that it locks up Visual Studio every so often on large PHP files. Apart from that it pretty much works as advertised.

Complete, stand alone Stanford machine learning course notes holehouse.org
185 points by alexholehouse  10 hours ago   13 comments top 7
nosignal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Here are my notes (on github). Nowhere near as polished as this version, and probably reveals more about my process of understanding than machine learning itself, but if we're sharing: https://github.com/mechamoth/ml-class/blob/master/ML_Notes.o...
denzil_correa 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the great resource. I wish there was a way every student could share notes with everyone.
pigs 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this, especially for annotating the lectures. It's much easier to skim/review this way. I was rewatching the computer vision pipeline lectures over the weekend when it occurred to me that they might not be available when the new class starts.
mavroprovato 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Just something that caught my eye: In the introduction, you have written "clarification problem", which of course should be "classification problem".
coho 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you good sir, wish more people shared their quality notes like you!
metaobject 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow! What a great resource, thanks!
ya3r 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Why not a git repo on Github? So people can contribute.
PyCon US 2012 Conference Schedule pycon.org
47 points by stevejohnson  5 hours ago   13 comments top 6
jnoller 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just to add to things - we have some pretty awesome stuff:

PG and Stormy Peters as keynote speakers: https://us.pycon.org/2012/keynotes/

An astounding number of sponsors: https://us.pycon.org/2012/sponsors/

Amazing tutorials: https://us.pycon.org/2012/schedule/lists/tutorials/

Startup Row: http://pycon.blogspot.com/2012/01/pycon-startup-row-2012.htm...

A PyCon 5k Run: http://pycon.blogspot.com/2012/01/inaugural-pycon-5k-fun-run... all proceeds to charity)

And we're raffling off a robot!


jnoller 3 hours ago 2 replies      
As always, I am hanging around ready to answer any PyCon related questions!
Sukotto 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I am a long time perl user looking to pick up python this year. How much value would this conf be to someone like myself who knows a lot about programming but practically nothing about python?

I see that there are some intro-talks.... are they worth the overall admission price?

tocomment 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
What do you reccomend for ground transportation?
tocomment 31 minutes ago 1 reply      
Hasn't the schedule been out for a few weeks?
askedrelic 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm looking forward to my first PyCon, meeting a bunch of new people, and getting some new ideas!
Kickstarter 2011: The Stats kickstarter.com
9 points by ambirex  1 hour ago   3 comments top 3
k-mcgrady 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Does anybody know the reason Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments which prevents anyone outside the US using the site?
agscala 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
I find it incredible that 46% of projects were successfully launched through Kickstarter. Kickstarter is one of those fantastic services that enable people to do cool things that normally wouldn't have been able to be done, and I love that they are so successful at helping people follow their dreams.
DyumanBhatt 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear this just before I launch my campaign!
UK Government Betrayal of Open Standards Confirmed computerworlduk.com
170 points by strawberryshake  10 hours ago   49 comments top 9
Silhouette 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Point of order: Please be careful to distinguish between the concepts of open standards, portable data, and Open Source software in this discussion.
hammock 21 minutes ago 1 reply      
Can someone summarize what is going on in layman's terms?
tomelders 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Just emailed 10 Downing street asking for an explanation, if they have one. I encourage other people to do the same.
jiggy2011 5 hours ago 2 replies      
This article is a little vague.

Personally as a UK Taxpayer I don't really care whether the desktop PCs and downing street or Whitehall run Windows , Linux or Mac they could run Haiku for all I care.

What I am more concerned about as more government functions can be interfaced with online is whether this will be done using the most standard and open data formats etc possible.

If I need to buy a specific piece of proprietary software to submit my tax information online or if all applications for public sector jobs are distributed in the latest MS Word format that I can't open without buying a new version of Windows and office then that is something I at least potentially care about.

tehwalrus 9 hours ago 2 replies      
As a Lib Dem, I'm actually very embarrassed about this. Especially since it was Vince Cable's department (BIS) who seems to have led the charge against OSS from within government. Ridiculous.
fractallyte 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Considering how the previous government blew 12 BILLION pounds of the nation's money on the infamous NHS project (http://www.cs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~ifs/Teaching/Socio-tech-syst...), I'd have thought they should now be treading very, very carefully in matters of national IT policy...
JS_startup 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The author certainly didn't make an attempt at being objective or hiding his allegiances. Most humorous is his assertion that businesses should have no voice in the decisions of government because that is "interfering"
mjwalshe 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I know we have to use this shoddy half assed TCP/IP instead on the nice ITU/ISO standrads that all the countries agreed to years back :-
jwcacces 9 hours ago 3 replies      
The problem with this article is the sensationalism.

Did Microsoft lobby? Certainty, did they "interfere with a sovereign nation's decision to create a level playing-field"? Please, give me a break, they interfered with your desire to do something, and whether right or wrong, the last time I checked, you weren't a sovereign nation.

New Documentary Features Y Combinator-funded Wattvision kickstarter.com
28 points by jtflesher  4 hours ago   2 comments top 2
d136o 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Savraj is innovating on many fronts, from being a hardware based startup, to entering a field that hasn't seen much disruption in a long long time.

It's a great example of a startup that isn't just one more social-something-or-other, and it happens to hit right on #27 on y-combinators "Startup ideas we'd like to fund".


peterzakin 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Are We in a Social Networking Bubble? rogerandmike.com
38 points by leepnet  5 hours ago   17 comments top 9
jjguy 3 hours ago 1 reply      
>For entrepreneurs, the key message is to be really careful about doing a social networking startup in 2012. The social networking wave is about to crest. There are very few ideas and opportunities in this space that aren't crowded.

We take a too-narrow definition of social networking. If we want to find the next big thing in the Internet, we need to take a step up the stack of abstraction and think more broadly about connections.

Human beings are wired to connect. It's fundamental human nature, and the subject of the still-new social neuroscience field. [1]

Evidence of this is pervasive throughout our culture. Relationships, marriage, cities, tribes, fan clubs, Hacker News itself - _connecting_ in a meaningful way with other people is what we do.

The Internet's success is it's ability to facilitate connections, making them easier, more personal and more meaningful: email, IRC, instant messaging, gopher, the web, facebook, twitter - it's not just facebook and twitter that are "social networking," every successful Internet communications technology has improved the state-of-the-art in allowing us to connect with each other.

So don't consider "what's next for social networking" -- or "the social networking wave is about to crest." The label restricts your mind. Ignore labels, think big. Consider human nature, relationships and how you can connect us to each other in a more meaningful way. Perhaps you'll find the essence of what the pundits will call 'web 3.0.'

1 - http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2006/10/22/how-to-read...

InclinedPlane 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes, but no.

Let's remember that "social networking" is a very, very big thing. In essence it is the foundation of most major communication networks, including the old phone network and the modern internet. It is more than just the little windows into socialization and networking that twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc. represent.

People trying to make the "next facebook" or twitter or what-have-you are going to have problems due to the saturation of very capable competition. But that doesn't mean we've plumbed the depths of facilitating social interactions through software, there's still plenty of room for innovation and disruption.

feralchimp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
All other things being equal, yes, it's better to get in on the next thing early than to get in on the current thing late.

But the variables that go into a) when you came up with your idea and b) how convinced you are that the idea is worth pursuing are Not Independent of the wave functions discussed in the article!

Part of the reason you're convinced that your social networking idea is sound is that there are concrete examples of successful businesses operating in the space.

At the end of the day, you either believe in your idea's potential to create value for investors in virtue of creating new/increased value for users, or you don't.

If you do, go for it and live with the wave phase you're dealt.

If you don't, waiting around hoping to pitch it in Next Thing terms probably isn't going to help you.

larrys 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"In the early phases of a technology wave, massively powerful gathering forces exist below the surface, but only a handful of visionary technologists, entrepreneurs, and investors really see what's starting to happen."

As someone who might be considered "visionary" in that I bought many domain names way back in the non-obvious mid 90's I don't even agree with what this statement says.

You think something is going to happen and you take a gamble that you are right and try to limit your downside risk. If you knew you were going to be right you would gamble even more. But rest assured that for that gamble to work out many things would have to happen and the payoff is certainly not quick and certain. Most importantly if enough people take enough chances in different areas statistically some are going to be correct in their assumptions because of things beyond their control and many will fail for the same reason.

And statements like this stating that you should stay away from the froth and "Generally, [you] are better off finding the next gathering wave and a blue ocean of opportunity" are worthless. Essentially find something new to gamble on and you might be the one that guesses correctly about the new new thing. If it were only that easy. It's not.

fufulabs 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Google, Facebook, iPhone, Android, Tumblr, etc. had markets that seemed all stitched up (i.e. search, social network, smartphones, iOS dominated smartphone market, blogging).

I would hazard a guess that in 2012-2014. Facebook would have taught the mass market of the concept of social network and grease up adoption of more specialized ones thereby widening the addressable userbase for players that have a great product.

We can see this happening with Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, Reddit which are all social networks with 1 or few social objects at the center.

For example, Facebook has 800M and Instagram has 15M. thats 1.8%. I would guess that as Facebook gets more and more bloated - that ratio (1.8%) will get bigger as more & more users will need a more insular group and specialized features. In turn, niche social networks will have a higher ceiling of XX% of 800M/1B total social-network-exposed people (courtesy of Facebook - the social network gateway drug so to speak)

rhizome 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
I hate to go Napoleon Dynamite, but you can't know from inside the bubble. The question to ask is whether there is anything for social networking to grow into? What are its horizontals and verticals?
alain94040 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Worth reading, from someone who has a bit more insight than your average blogger.
dreamdu5t 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
No more "bubble" talk until you actually define what you mean by "bubble."
djbender 4 hours ago 0 replies      
before reading: emphatically yes.
       cached 9 January 2012 23:02:01 GMT