hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    4 May 2012 News
home   ask   best   7 years ago   
Why RubyMotion Is Better Than Objective-C joshsymonds.com
18 points by Veraticus  52 minutes ago   15 comments top 12
nanijoe 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I would have killed for this about 2 years ago, but now that I learned Objective C, I'm comfortable enough with its quirks that I can just use it to get stuff done..
Having to learn the nuances of RubyMotion in order to do stuff I already know how to do, is probably very very low on my priority list.
e28eta 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
I agree that for some people, RubyMotion may be better than ObjC. I'm not one of them. Regardless, I think your Ruby code examples could have been better chosen:

- I'm a huge fan of Ruby's || operator, but probably wouldn't use it to dequeue or create a table cell, because the line is way too long. Perhaps this is fixable with a return after the ||

- creating labels programmatically seems like a poor example because I'd do that in my storyboard, and it would take zero lines of code. Or 6 lines of XML for 6 labels, if I'm being pedantic.

gte910h 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
The lack of IB support makes the otherwise "Ruby that Looks Too Much Like Objective C" a bit of a net loss. You lose IB, and the ability to easily integrate the approaches all the thousands of examples and questions do.

I'm very interested to see where this ends up however. I'd love to do iPhone programming (with IB support) in python or ruby. Just not with this tool, just yet.

randomdata 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Xcode may be unstable, but you can write Objective-C in any text editor. And since Xcode shells out to regular command line tools, you can do the same under any environment you wish.
shawnwall 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ramblings like this are a premier example of what is wrong with engineers today. If you are afraid to learn or use tools outside of ruby, you are not a true engineer. The world does not revolve around ruby.

Get some real iOS development under your belt before you make these broad assumptions.

fusiongyro 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm not finished with the article, but so far it reads like "Look at this Ruby code! It's much nicer than this Objective-C code! See! SEE!!"
rabbitonrails 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
As someone who has developed and released iOs apps in Titanium before (write JS / coffee, compile to native app), I am curious about RubyMotion's performance. One of Titanium's weaknesses is that it is extremely inefficient in certain views (e.g. tableViewsRows) to the point where if you are loading/sorting any appreciable amount of data you can only display a few labels within the view without the app grinding to a halt -- on average iPhones.

I am not sure if the RubyMotion approach is different than Titanium -- does anyone know whether it is faster and why?

pbnjay 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
The REPL/debugging looks "better" than iOS obj-c, but I'm not seeing any other "better" here. Ruby syntax is not "better" than obj-c syntax, it's just different.
mattetti 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wrote a somewhat more balanced review based on my experience with RubyMotion over the last few months (beta testing) http://merbist.com/2012/05/04/macruby-on-ios-rubymotion-revi...
frou_dh 21 minutes ago 1 reply      
Not that it's an invalid position, but when Apple-centric developers proclaim 'ObjC > C++' in such a matter-of-fact way, I always wonder how much that is based on actual real-world experience.
stevencorona 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
RubyMotion looks awesome, but I'd really love to have IB support
debacle 20 minutes ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why anyone should have to justify this. It's like saying "Why C# Is Better Than C."

It's a higher level language, which allows you to get more work done faster. Case closed.

Vert.x " JVM Polyglot Alternative to Node.js infoq.com
104 points by lnmx  4 hours ago   38 comments top 13
Uchikoma 47 minutes ago 3 replies      
Finagle works fine. Thank you. Love it. But it does not take off. Why?

What all the JVM Node.js clones are missing and what Node.js sets apart are async libraries. There is no async (MySQL) JDBC driver for starters. If your IO drivers are not async, your async container is not very useful in real life.

andrewvc 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm really excited about this. While node-js is a great project, it still doesn't have the awesome instrumentation and tooling around it the JVM does. Additionally, real threading is damn nice, and the JVM definitely has that.

Combining this with languages like ruby, clojure, and scala seems like a definite win.

jhspaybar 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm one of the weird ones, but I absolutely love types and would probably write everything in JS if it had typing similar to Java or C++. As it is, I'm using Java on Jetty instead for my current web application but would love to see a really solid event Node.js style typed framework. With that said, at this point I'm not sure I'd give up my Servlets, frameworks(like CometD) for doing WebSockets, and the other niceties that a true servlet container gives me. I can't wait to see where this goes though!
Animus7 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Impressive. It's basically a kinda-sorta-rewrite of Node.js APIs on the JVM.

Looking through the docs, the main difference I see is that this is opting for a comparatively heavy-core approach which contrasts with Node's ruthless minimalism + third-party modules.

For example:

-file system access is convoluted with HTTP handling: req.response.sendFile()

-pieces of web framework functionality by default, but no full solution (RouteMatcher)

-integrated WebSockets with a novel but unconventional accept/reject API

-heavyweight SockJS integration

It will be interesting how all of his plays out. And I'm definitely interested in hearing evidence for claims such as

> a run-time with real concurrency and unrivalled performance

dap 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
From the article:

> InfoQ: What about running a real-time app on the JVM vs. on Node.js, with respect to debugging, monitoring and operations?

> Answer: I'd say monitoring and operations are really the concern of the environment in which you deploy vert.x than vert.x itself. e.g. if you deployed vert.x in a cloud, the cloud provider would probably provide monitoring for you.

This makes it sound like a toy. How can I deploy something to production when I have no way of seeing what it's doing? How is a cloud provider supposed to provide debugging/introspection for JavaScript running on the JVM (by means of a brand new facility)?

sehugg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Looks like a user-friendly interface to Netty and Hazelcast with some special sauce sprinkled in. I love Netty, and Hazelcast is, er, interesting and hopefully getting more reliable. Should be fun.
anuraj 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is most welcome. Hope they continue to support this effort. We need more light weight approaches in established languages like Java.
abeatnik 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The install pre-requisites recommends that Windows users install a linux VM - but I found the beta 11 version works directly.
mattgreenrocks 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I was hoping it provided an alternative ideology to node.js in the form of fibers.
wiradikusuma 3 hours ago 1 reply      
i wonder how is it compared to servlet container (e.g. tomcay and servlet spec?
lucian1900 4 hours ago 0 replies      
So it's more like Twisted (a library) than Node (a runtime + a library).
treenyc 3 hours ago 1 reply      
also look at http://ringojs.org
pan69 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Trying to install this on Ubuntu. Is it me or is the "binary" download link [1] not really a binary download link?

[1] https://github.com/purplefox/vert.x/downloads

Day Against DRM fsf.org
54 points by bootload  2 hours ago   25 comments top 5
driverdan 1 hour ago 2 replies      
From 2010. Don't people look at dates before posting?
aspir 1 hour ago 5 replies      
I would take posts like this from the FSF more seriously if they proposed or endorsed a solution, rather than simply proposing a protest.

FSF may claim to be about "Free as in Speech, rather than Free as in Beer," but DRM straddles both of these points. Yes, we're restricted in the products that can utilize DRM files, but DRM also exists to protect ownership rights. Its a complex system, and one that can't simply be "abolished" without some suitable alternative to protects both interests.

There are lots of theories and examples of alternatives to DRM that protect the rights of both the creator and end user. I'm just disappointed that the FSF didn't propose one of these, or their own, as a viable solution. It's easy to point fingers, it's tough to propose meaningful solutions.

MaxGabriel 42 minutes ago 2 replies      
Recently I've been researching autonomous cars, and I haven't explored this idea much, but could DRM have a role in preventing users from modifying the software that drives their car, or other life-and-death scenarios?

Like I said, it's just an inkling at this point, any thoughts?

mkr-hn 1 hour ago 2 replies      
This press release sounds like a declaration of war on content creators. You won't kill DRM by tut-tutting it. You kill DRM by changing the minds of content creators who use it. You won't do that by waging a war on them.

What does one do to participate in this anyway? The press release wasn't clear.

skerrit_bwoy 2 hours ago 1 reply      
lol irrelevant
Overpriced Developer Conferences amberweinberg.com
115 points by duggan  5 hours ago   86 comments top 30
robomartin 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Having participated in conferences in the US and Europe I can say that there are real cost structures to organizing a conference that just can't be avoided. I've done this at venues such as the LA Convention Center, Las Vegas Convention Center, MGM Grand Convention Center, RAI Convention Center (Amsterdam), ICM Munchen (Munich) and various hotels and smaller venues.

In general terms I find the European venues and smaller American or European hotels far more pleasurable, simpler and cheaper to deal with.

The unionized American venues are very expensive and can be a nightmare to deal with. Want coffee in a room for visitors? Sure. It'll be $200 for a gallon. Want a light turned off above a booth? No problem, it'll cost $350 for a union electrician to go to the breaker panel and quite-literally flip a switch. Need to bring some boxes on a dolly to a booth? Can't do it. Once you enter their domain union members need to handle even the most basic of jobs.

In general terms, large venues are expensive, union or not. The union part just skews the cost curve because of how bloated and unreasonable things can become. Add to that insurance, guarantees and other fixed costs and you have a solid formula for high prices for attendees. And, if you are after a venue such as the LV Convention Center, well you'll have to sign a contract and pay a large chunk of money upfront a year ahead of your event.

Then there's the issue that someone alluded to: What do you actually get out of conferences. There are some where you might just meet a person or learn about a technology that is a game changer for whatever it is you are doing. That's priceless and always worth the cost of admission. More often than not, at least in my experience, conferences are very disruptive and do more harm than good. Why?

If you are an exhibitor very soon conferences become these artificial and unreasonable deadlines that almost require you to make announcements. This means that mad scrambles happen around them to get to that point. This can disrupt a company for weeks, both before and after a conference.

As an attendee, you might also delay acting on purchases in order to see the above-mentioned announcements at the conference. The problem is that most conference announcements are vaporware --requiring months of additional work to be real products. By waiting for the next shiny thing you delay your process. And then, of course, there's the huge disruption of sending a whole team to a conference for three to five days --or even more if it requires traveling out of your country.

For a large class of things I have personally found that the quality and depth of information available on the internet is significantly better than what you can get at a conference. I have avoided conferences for three years now, and, I must say, I have learned a lot more, been more productive and made better decisions because of it.

adrianhoward 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like the conference Amber went to was a bad conference. They exist. Both expensive and non-expensive ones :-)

A few thoughts...

1) Price != Value

Just like everything else in life the price tag is not the way to judge a conference. It's the value received. Some free conferences will be worth £1000 to somebody. Some £1000 conferences will be worth nothing to somebody else. Some expensive conferences will suck universally. Some free events will too. If you want to know what a conference will be like - go look at previous years. Go look at the speakers. Go talk to people who have attended. Figure out if it's the right conference for you.

For example, I was scheduled in as a speaker at last year's Agile 2011 conference. As a speaker it would have cost me about £6k to attend once you take travel from the UK, hotel & lost work hours into account. That's money out of my pocket - I run my own business.

I couldn't attend at the last minute due to family illness. Judging by previous years not attending has lost me money. Agile 2011 is worth more that £6k to me and my business. To somebody in a different business, or with different skills - probably not.

Another way to think about what conferences provide - ask yourself what your day rate is? How many working days of value are you expecting to get from the conference?

2) Experts need events too

Yes there have to be events with a broad appeal for "high schoolers, college students and newbies to our industry". But there also needs to be events for "people who already know everything you'd need to know about the presented topics".

The latter might not enjoy the former's events. The former may not enjoy the latter's events. Finding a balance that will attract and entertain both groups is really fricking hard.

3) Cost of large events

I've been involved several times with organising conferences both small (e.g. BarCamp Bournemouth - 2days, 75ish people, free) and large (Agile 2010 with 1400ish people, five days, $1-2k & Agile 2012 - probably about the same). Anybody who thinks large conferences are massive money spinners has never been involved with organising a large conference :-)

Large conferences are not usually cheaper to organise because of economies of scale. Quite the opposite if anything.

For example take the venue. For small conferences you can often cadge a venue with some sponsorship, or find a small one in a slack period running cheap. You're flexible because you can change location on very short notice and there are usually multiple venues in a town or city that can support you.

For large conferences there are few venues that can support you. Those venues' business is based around extracting every last penny from large events - and they're very good at it. They need to be booked months, sometimes more than a year, in advance. Which brings in a whole set of different organisational and cash-flow issues... They often require a guaranteed minimum income from the floorspace, which gives you much less flexibility of resizing and scheduling. Short version - it's really freaking hard.

Then there's insurance. Speaker compensation. Programme selection. Managing submissions (if you have an open submission process) and/or finding speakers. The folk needed for security, health & safety, catering, etc. Food. Wifi. Transactional fees. Power. AV. Publicity. Etc.

mgkimsal 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I've run a conference for freelance web devs 2 years in a row, both times at a loss (though the loss is shrinking each year) but have tried to keep the ticket prices down, but also try to cover some expenses for speakers (hotel or travel for speakers from out of the area, primarily).

Tried to keep tickets at a max of $99 the first year. Bumped up to $149 second year (with cheaper 'early bird' tickets both years). Bigger issue was trying to get sponsors to help defray costs. Given the nature of our conference - freelance web professionals (devs, designers, etc) - surprisingly a lot of companies weren't interested because we weren't 'targeted' enough. I may have just been getting polite brush offs, but I'd contacted 45 companies - many of whom sponsor other tech conferences - and had 3 sponsors the first year. A few only want to send a speaker and schwag, but no money. Conference venues and catering staff don't like to be paid in bobbleheads and cup holders, unfortunately.

A note on schwag - I basically hate it. I think it's wasteful, and going to conferences where I've paid hundreds of dollars, then given a bag with a bunch of plastic crap made in and shipped from China just gets my goat. So we don't do 'bags of crap' at my conference. I don't think too many people have missed it so far.

gentle plug - http://indieconf.com is setting dates for this fall in North Carolina. I remember inviting Amber to come speak at our first conference two years ago, but the timing didn't work out - perhaps we can get her to come this year. :)

nadam 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I've never attended any conferences in my life (and I have been programming for 25 years (16 years professionally)). I can buy books, read online, watch videos online on more programming topics than I have time/capacity for. My tolearn.txt is quite long all the time.
For networking among programmers there are more than enough online communities.
Business networking would be very useful (basically meeting people who need my knowledge/expertise and learning about business opportunities), but how can I do that among people who want to sell the same thing that I want to sell?

I am not saying that conferences are not useful, just I did not find the motivation yet to attend one.

Apreche 3 hours ago 3 replies      
The other problem with these conferences is their size. Most of them are very small. If you only have a few hundred people, the cost of the venue and such isn't divided by a large enough number. This is because these developer conferences are often so specific in their subject matter that the audience is small, and also because of the high price.

I would like to see a convention, not a conference, that is for programmers, period. It should be gigantic like the big geek conventions PAX, Comic-Con, etc. Price could be $50 for three days. Thousands of us would be there. Lots of money to be made selling space to exhibitors. I would go every year.

dustingetz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
warning, contrarian opinion:

when i have questions about why something is, i try to examine people's incentives and doing this i've found I can usually figure things out. with this in mind, here's a speculative perspective to why dev conferences are expensive.

why do speakers speak? The most attractive speakers are super busy with their projects, and they're the most visibly good at what they do so they're at the tip-top compensation. Speakers speak because it gets them visibility - it helps them recruit, it helps them network, it helps build their company brand.

Ever notice how the speakers always have private speaker-only lunch rooms, and speaker-only bar events? Its because the speakers have less interest in networking with the masses. Being a speaker is a decent signal for being among the highest value people in the room. the speakers want to network with other speakers.

Altruism is a motivator, but I speculate, much less of one. If you're speaking at conferences "for the good of the people", you're probably not busy enough, and it will slow down as you become busy, unless it also provides something you need. so as a speaker grows his credibility, he tends to become less interested in the actual conference, perhaps a bit jaded even.

Why do tickets cost much? Most tickets are expensable. The market for headliner speakers drives competitive comp. A first-class venue in vegas will draw a bigger crowd, even if its just people who want to party for a week. More tickets = bigger conference.

This is why you go see Douglas Crawford speak to a room full of experienced developers and he gives some high-school level talk about "javascript the good parts". We get it man, the whole room owns your book. But we're all still at the conference, even if most of us don't realize that while we're wishing to learn something from the headliners, all we actually bought was a ticket to be in a room with them.

perlgeek 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It seems this was a conference organized for profit, so the high price tag doesn't seem very surprising. I have been both at for-profit and "grass roots" conferences, and I like the latter much better.

I have also helped organize a conference (German Perl Workshop 2012), here are some key facts:
* price: 75€ regular fee, 50€ for speakers, 250€ for people sent by companies (yes, most were there "for fun" on their own expense)
* duration: 3 days, 2 tracks
* roughly 90 visitors
* free catering in the coffee breaks and for lunch
* rooms provided by the local university (quite a cost relief)
* social event sponsored by a local (but not small) company
* a few small sponsors
* conference t-shirts and bags for free
* in the end, we had a bit of money left over

I guess you can go to quite some length if you have volunteers organizing things.

vetler 2 hours ago 0 replies      
JavaZone in Oslo, Norway costs 1033 USD (or 5950 NOK) - a lot of money, and inflated by low dollar and high krone. Although I don't have any statistics, I believe few individuals pay this themselves - most participants get their company to pay for it. It's a great conference. Two days, seven (7) tracks. Food included, and lots of it. At the end of the first day there's ClubZone, which includes free beer.

Is it overpriced? Perhaps. It could probably be done cheaper. The money seems to be going to make a great conference, though, and as long as most people don't pay for it themselves, I don't think it's a big problem. It's really the place you want to be if you live in Norway, so perhaps it is a bit unfortunate that it isn't more accessible to people who can't get their company to pay for it.

Great conference, highly recommended. Many, if not most talks are in english. Unfortunately, the website seems to be broken at the moment: http://javazone.no

Videos from last year: http://vimeo.com/tag:javazone2011

jperras 3 hours ago 1 reply      
As a frequent conference attendee and speaker, a lot of the points that this post enumerates resonate with me. Our profession seems to have a love affair with conferences, and it's been getting worse year after year.

I believe a large part of the problem is that many conferences are priced with the idea that the fee will be covered by corporations that pay for their employees to attend, as opposed to being covered by an individual. Businesses have an easier time justifying a $1000 conference ticket (especially if they're able to recruit or scout out new potential hires at said conference) than an independent consultant.

But, conferences don't need to be quite so expensive. Conference organizers just need to reorganize their priorities. The best conferences I've ever attended (and paid for out of my own pocket) had less than two hundred attendees, were not held in a hotel, and had an incredible focus on the local community.

The best example of this: http://brooklynbeta.org/2011. Total cost for the conference was $100, and an additional $100 for the (optional) special event held the day before the conference, both of which included food, coffee, sponsored after-parties, more beer than we could finish, and the list of attendees and speakers was the best that I had ever seen.

People need to start voting with their wallets a bit more. Stop going to conferences that suck.

[Disclaimer: I now work for the organization that runs Brooklyn Beta, but did not work for them when I attended the conference in 2010 and 2011]

ScottWhigham 3 hours ago 0 replies      
While I'm not a "fan of expensive conferences" per se, I thought this was a bunch of junk. FTA:

"I'm a huge proponent against expensive conferences, as I feel that the point of these conferences in the first place is to get the community together to learn and meet each other."

As The Dude once famously said, "Well, that's just like, your opinion, man."

I don't think that at all; I think a conference that I pay for should be a learning experience. I think that, for $1000 or $2000 that I should be able to get vicarious experiences from attending the sessions/demos/labs that I would either (a) not have been able to receive elsewhere, or (b) not been exposed to. It should replace my time at a training class, for example, except that it should be broader experiences.

Networking is fine but dude - you simply have it wrong if that's what you think programming conferences are all about. And you have it wrong if you think that tech conference attendance fees are paid for by the individual programmers/devs who attend. Oh sure, there are some folks who pay for these huge costs out of their own pocket but, by and large, this is a "job perk" or a "job training" event that is, thus, paid for by their company.

Sorry but, for most companies, there is no "networking" budget for the programmers/devs.

jrmg 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's important to separate the question of whether _this_ conference was badly run, and too expensive, from whether all conferences are.

This conference sounds like it was terrible. A well run conference, though, costs a lot more to stage than you might expect. Andy Budd wrote an illuminating article on the subject last year: http://www.andybudd.com/archives/2011/09/theres_a_lot_of_non...

kayoone 4 hours ago 0 replies      
These overpriced tickets mostly come from the fact that companies/agencies send their employees there, book it as an expense and dont think about it.
If every attendee had to pay this with his own private cash, i am sure the average ticket price would be much lower.
daleharvey 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Ignoring the details of this particular conference, I think its mostly wrong to say 'conferences should be priced to cover X'

There are conferences that go all the way from free to > $5000, I am constantly hearing about the amazing experiences at certain very expensive small conferences, as well as people enjoying the cheaper events (I recently helped out organising a conference that charged £50 full price).

Obviously we dont want anyone to be ripped off, but generally if you have an expensive conference the organisers and the speakers have to justify that cost, and if they do so great. We also dont want to alienate new people from attending conferences, but as long as their continue to be free meetups and cheaper conferences as an alternative, I dont see the problem

nextstep 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Sure, it would be great if these conferences cost less. It be nice it my rent were cheaper, too.

But this author ignores the economic reason why these conferences ticket prices are so high: because they can be. WWDC and Google's I/O have no trouble selling out (both in under a day this year). So unless they are going to make these events much larger, there isn't going to be room for students and newbies anyway.

petercooper 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This could be called "Overpriced [anything]." It seems someone went to a conference they thought didn't offer value for money. Sad, but it happens.

People pay $200/hr for developers who don't get the job done, too, but that shouldn't diminish other developers who charge $200/hr and provide good value. So it goes with conferences. A TED ticket costs thousands of dollars, for instance, but people seem to enjoy going.

The people who claim conferences should "only" charge enough to cover their costs, though, strike me as weird. That's like saying developers should only earn enough to cover their living expenses or that all software should be free. Sure, some conferences have altruistic motivations, but some are run by businesses who work hard at it and, well, deserve to make a profit.

andrewmcdonough 2 hours ago 0 replies      
As a response to this problem, a few London-based ruby developers set up a no-frills ruby conference called "Ruby Manor". Talks were chosen democratically from the community, and were of a very high quality. They have had three so far, for, each for under £15 for a day, and they had enough money left over at the end of the day to buy us all a few beers. I think more than anything, they wanted to prove that you could have a great conference without charging large amounts of money:


jonheller 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I kind of agree. I've attended two conferences for the past few years: Pubcon and An Event Apart.

Pubcon was priced at $699, and included three full days of sessions, with 5 different tracks. I learned a lot there, and felt it justified the price.

An Event Apart was $899 the first year I registered, I believe, and this year is $1045. I work for a small company that pays these expenses, but I couldn't even justify asking for that this year.

I know that I am paying to see some of the "biggest names" in the industry. Several of these people are excellent and entertaining, and I don't doubt their knowledge in the field -- Dan Cederholm and Jared Spool specifically.

But do I really need to pay over $1000 to hear from the "biggest names"? I'm not sure if it's worth it. Yes, Eric Meyer is a genius at CSS, but how do I somehow explain the ROI of using slightly more optimized CSS? Or one year AEA had a speaker who spent almos the whole hour somehow relating fashion magazines to web development. Ugh.

I guess what irks me is feeling like I'm paying extra for the celebrity status of some of these speakers, when in reality, I'd most likely learn just as much _useful_ knowledge at a Wordcamp or one of the multitude of sub $200 conferences.

TomGullen 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd love to attend more conferences but as the author says it's too expensive to justify the cost in a majority of cases.

I did always wonder why they are so expensive. Are they the big cash cows we assume them to be? Or are they far more expensive to run than we think them to be?

roqetman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe more "gatherings" and less conferences are the way to go (invite a speaker once you have an interested group) - kind of like the way these BSD guys in NYC do it: http://www.nycbug.org/
ColinWright 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Some actual figures:

For the last two years I have run the MathsJam conference, and I'll be doing so again this year. Last year the fee covered lunch Saturday, dinner, accommodation, breakfast, lunch Sunday, all tea, coffee and biscuits, and all sessions. No bag, paper, pen, coasters, pins, or other swag. Nada. You want it, you bring it. We didn't pay the speakers, and last year we had 60 lightning talks of 5 minutes each.

Fantastic atmosphere of 120 enthusiastic people who love their subject and wanted to share stuff.

10% discount early bird, 10% discount for the unwaged.

Full price: ukp165 (which is about usd200).

That covered expenses with basically no head room. Note that accommodation was included, as was a ferry from the local train station.

talmand 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My problems do not just include the ticket, here in the U.S. there seems to be a desire to have conferences in the most expensive cities possible. New York, Boston, LA, SF, etc. It seems as if there's this bubble filter that makes these people think developers are only in these locations. Please note, developers are everywhere, think about it.

Often times the airfare and hotel equal or go beyond the costs of the conference ticket. Therefore I don't go to a lot of conferences, it's just too hard to justify them. At this point I'm more apt to look for more training-like gatherings where the speaker will discuss actual code instead of just talking about whatever random subjects. A speaker describing his favorite topic fits fine for local meetups and the like, I once spoke on a one of my pet peeves to a local meetup and it was great. I suggest that people look for more of that type of thing these days.

robotmay 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I was incredibly excited when I found out Euruko is only £65; every other Ruby conference is extortionate. I don't care about fancy venues or freebies; I want to meet other people and learn something new.

Most of these conferences are pricing out the people who actually want to learn, and instead mostly just filling their seats with people who know it already.

kapowaz 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
> The next conference of the day is Future of Web Design. I believe these tickets are well above £1000.

She could have at least checked before making this nebulous claim; the most expensive ticket at FOWD London is £695+VAT, some way shy of ‘well above £1000'. It does somewhat undermine your argument if you pull numbers out of thin air…

fridek 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Overpriced conferences are a great opportunity for local user groups. I'm a member of one and we often invite one of the local conference speakers to do a free, less formal talk after the first one.

Honestly, I believe that a conference ticket should only cover a venue and speakers travel cost. Even with this days economy it's not hard to find a sponsor and with ticket price around 100-200 euro it's certainly possible to provide great experience AND free beer.

ticks 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Having attended several conferences and paid for the tickets, I can only conclude that they aren't worth the price. It's a good excuse if you want to travel far or if your employer is paying though.

Those that benefit most are the speakers, often well paid, free travel and accommodation, other freebies, usually a VIP event beforehand, they pimp their book for little effort, are often employed to do so, repeat same talk at other venues etc.

digitalclubb 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I love how everyone screams about the 'open' web and yet these conference tickets are priced so highly.

I think conferences are a fantastic idea.. you meet like-minded individuals and hear from really passionate presenters but the prices are crazy and thus I have only ever been to 1.

I understand how there are certain costs to be factored in like venue and speakers costs but come on, there must be something that can be done so developers from all backgrounds can take part in such events.

Su-Shee 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm seeing the same thing in Berlin these days - tech conferences of all kinds, usally 2 days, tickets ranging from 300,- euros up to 1200,- euros.

Even if employers would send their developers to one of those two or three times a year - how many developers from different countries can even afford those prices? Half of europe simply isn't that rich and doesn't pay nowhere near that high salaries.

On top of the two-days event you'd have to add hostel/hotel and travel (train or flight) - even with my (in comparison) rather high german salary I think twice if I really want to pay several hundred euros for an event of two days.

And conferences don't have to take place in hotels, there's all kinds of venues - some hotter, some less so - one could meet with 50, 100, 500 or 1000 people. Some developer conferences simply take place in rooms of the local university for example. (Usally a not so hot location, ok..)

I would really like to see that developer's conferences stay (really) affordable for _all_ of the intended audience.

gouranga 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Having not been to a conference for 10 years, is there anything I'm missing.

I gave up after seeing no value and crappy hotels too often.

keva161 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I went to a conference a few weeks back that was £300 a ticket. Factoring in accommodation + travel. The cost was well over £500.

Was it worth it? Not really.

The talks were put on YouTube and the 'goody' bags weren't that great.

Some of the speakers were ok but I guess I would of rather put that money elsewhere.

It wont stop me from attending conferences but lesson learnt.

kelvin0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Clicking on the link to this articles freezes systematically my Firefox!
How to Move Doom Characters in WebGL in 50lines of JS learningthreejs.com
45 points by jerome_etienne  3 hours ago   8 comments top 2
fmstephe 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh man, every time we see this kind of thing it makes life that much harder. :)

How can we not suffer with only 24 hours in the day. We have children and jobs and projects already under way. Every week we seem to have something so exciting land in our laps that it is hard to sit still.

Roll on the future.

It was a little disappointing to see frames drop to 35ps on fullscreen (my colleague got the full 60fps). But it can only get better and faster from here.

sohn 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
What the hell, what Doom is that. Maybe I missed it?
Functional Languages 101: What's All the Fuss About? infoq.com
14 points by espeed  1 hour ago   discuss
Learn to read a sentence of Chinese in 3 minutes memrise.com
97 points by bmj1  6 hours ago   37 comments top 14
tokenadult 4 hours ago 5 replies      
This is unintentionally an illustration of how LOUSY general (all-languages-included) materials for language-learning are. I am a native speaker of English who acquired Chinese as a second language at adult age during the late 1970s and early 1980s, gaining professional work as second-language teacher (Chinese for English speakers and English for Chinese speakers) and translator and interpreter. I don't like Rosetta Stone materials (as I have seen earlier editions of those) for the same reason that I don't like this Memrise lesson: the lesson is based on frameworks of learning Spanish or French for English speakers, and the lesson doesn't work nearly as well for Chinese, a non-Indo-European language.

The astute criticism already given in another comment has full force--the lesson here doesn't do a thing to teach a reader how to pronounce Chinese. Moreover, the lesson totally muffs up Chinese grammar, because "汉-好学" is not a
"condensed form" of an expression that would include a copula verb in Chinese such as "汉- [form of verb 'to be'] 好学" but rather the sole grammatical way to convey the idea in Chinese. Chinese grammar prefers stative verbs to combinations of copulas and adjectives. The word and character etymologies are also treated abominably poorly in the Memrise story. I never advocate filling one's mind with junk just to have memory hooks for learning new information.

This approach doesn't lay a good foundation for successful learning of Chinese by a native speaker of English. The tried and true textbooks by the late John DeFrancis from Yale University Press and their accompanying audio recordings reflect an older period of standard northern Mandarin, but are much better resources for learning Chinese than Memrise. Especially, DeFrancis's Beginning Chinese Reader is still the royal road for learning to read Chinese, the subject of the article kindly submitted here. DeFrancis made a very careful analysis of reading difficulties second-language learners of Chinese encounter. That is published in condensed form in the front part of Beginning Chinese Reader, and in full form in the classic article "Why Johnny Can't Read Chinese" in the Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association.

As Confucius said, 學而時'之 不亦說乎, so there is no substitute for practice in language learning. Language learning is overlearning, and learning languages well takes time.


Two kind replies below raise questions about what I've written above. I was asked about James Heisig. I have perused his books about Japanese (another language I have studied, not as much as Chinese). Doing some looking-up just now to answer the question, I would say that the James Heisig interview


gives, in Heisig's own words, cautions about using his texts as a comprehensive approach for learning literacy in Japanese. For memory aids for Chinese characters, I much prefer Grammata Serica Recensa by Bernhard Karlgren, a less popular but much more accurate reference book.

On the issue of "royal roads" to language learning, I am aware of the work of the Foreign Service language program and of its frequent failings. United States diplomats sometimes attain amazing success in learning languages--I met one once who was the best non-native speaker of Mandarin I have ever met, and who apologized for his Mandarin while saying that Lao is his stronger foreign language--but many United States diplomats are hobbled in their work by poor command of the relevant languages, which plays little role in the selection process for United States diplomats. I'm very respectful of differences among learners and agree with Israel Gelfand that "Students have no shortcomings, they have only peculiarities. The job of a teacher is to turn these peculiarities into advantages." That said, there is an irreducible body of fact in any new subject that each learner has to learn somehow, one hopes with the guidance of a good teacher. The late John DeFrancis was a very good teacher indeed of Chinese, and by validated test, most of the best readers of Chinese as a second language in my generation came into their reading ability with help from his textbook series. The approach taken by Beginning Chinese Reader is certainly better than that taken by the James Heisig popular books on Japanese, if I may say that to tie together the two kind comments.

nirvana 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This didn't work for me at all. I think telling a story like that is good, but you gotta tell us what the characters are/mean at some point. You can't just start using them an expect us to get it. At this point I think the character for children is one, the character for characters is children with a roof and the character for learning is an excited child with a roof. I don't know if this is correct or not because the sentence "thus X means Y" doesn't appear before X started getting used... when you have 3 uncertainties in my head, then I stop reading because its hard to know what you're talking about because there's too much you haven't answered, and I don't expect you'll get more clear as I go further.
aidos 4 hours ago 5 replies      
I've always wondered what would happen if you read a big book (like Lord of the Rings) that was translated progressively into another language. So it starts in, say, English and finishes in Spanish. At the start the sentence structure could even be in Spanish form (word ordering-wise) and words are progressively switched to Spanish as the book goes on.

Probably wouldn't work at all but it'd be an interesting experiment.

westiseast 3 hours ago 2 replies      
it's good - Chinese has an extremely steep initial learning curve, and this would be a good start. I also think the methods are sound (ie. mixing the word in, substitution, the way the actual tool tests you).

It does feel very limited. I think you'd outgrow this in a couple of weeks TBH.

For example, this article gives 子 as one of the first characters, and says it means "child". It does, but it also doesn't. On its own it is purely conceptual, and only has meaning combined with other characters. If you said "my 子 is 4" then that makes no sense. It can mean bullet (子弹), atom (原子), son (儿子), or a generic "thing" measure word (eg. -子, conman).

An early learner doesn't need to know the word for 'bullet' or 'atom', but it's not good either to tell them that "子" means child and then they think they can say "child" in Chinese. What's the parallel in English? It's like teaching you "pre-" and saying that means "early", and then you run around saying "He arrived pre-". Why not just teach the word for child (孩子) and then substitute that? Then you learn to recognise meaningful words and not conceptual characters, which is actually the key skill in reading Chinese.

You have to start somewhere, but I wish that more Chinese learning tools/books used modern learning methods like these, but with better linguistic accuracy.

eric-hu 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I grew up in a Mandarin speaking household failing to learn Chinese when my parents tried forcing me to. I forced myself to learn in college for personal reasons. Oftentimes, this was hard, really hard.

Having said all that, this page was quite a joy to read. I know all those characters, and the page has one big flaw for learning these characters--the pronunciation. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic way to express the meaning of these characters.

If anything, I'd say that it captures the essence of Chinese characters--building up new meaning blocks by compounding basic pictographs together. This is the premise of the Chinese 'radical' system--radicals are the subcomponents of characters like the "child" and "female" characters that comprise "good".

Developer aside: the majority of written Chinese is comprised of about 1000 or so radicals. This may seem like a lot, but having learned enough to recognize them has helped me even in development--I feel like I learn hotkeys, plugins and VIM commands a lot faster than my coworkers because I forced myself to learn how to memorize.

CitizenKane 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This article unintentionally highlights one of the difficulties in learning Chinese characters, that understanding them and reading them (in Chinese) are two completely different things. While understanding the meaning (Chinese characters are fun to learn!) isn't too difficult, getting to how it would truly be read is more tricky (the Pinyin for Mandarin being hàn zì hǎo xué).
raldi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The amount of rage in these HN comments makes me think MemRise must really be onto something.
jiyinyiyong 3 hours ago 1 reply      
You will be confused when there are much more characters to learn. It's not a general rule to learn characters like this. Even Chinese characters might be invented like this 2000+ years ago, the shape of them haved changed for several times. The meaning of most characters cannot be judged by its share.

Reading posts on Chinese forums( ruby-china.org , zhihu.com , douban.com , weibo.com ) I think would be benefit, the phrases and sentences used frequently in daily life are always better for people who are still learning, comparing to novels or something like that which contains many language skills.
Ancient Chinese is not a good choice, it's a bit hard for a big part of us to read, Though many articles in acient Chinese was teached in school, it is rarely used during conversations. (Like Haskell, it's great but not widely used.)
And I speaks Chinese well, I'm worrying about how to learn English well.

naush 1 hour ago 1 reply      
-学 is the kind of confusion you run into only when you learn simplified Chinese. If I have to interpret 学, it looks more to me like a person sitting in a house on fire; whereas the traditional form 學 is a man holding 爻 in his hands in order to learn his fate, hence "learn". Similarly, 覺 is one who sees (見) his fate. Chinese characters are created with all sorts of clues for you to pick up. It is unfortunate that some of these clues got taken away with the simplification of the language. 學 is not only more distinguishable than 学, but takes the same amount of effort to type.
stralep 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been using their service for Spanish for almost a year... Really useful for expanding your wordlist.
tapiwa 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Almost reminds me of the Lingua Latina method I used to learn Latin.

You basically read a text that is totally in Latin, with occasional images to guide you.

It starts off very simply, and gradually introduces new vocabulary and grammar. You intuitively learn as you go along.

The books are out of print, but you can still get them on Amazon.

stephenlee 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm from China, I think the method for familiar with Chinese characters is creative and useful. But if you want to learn the real Chinese, the most effective method is using it. I often watch the video on Youtube and make tweets on Twitter.
And I'm benefit from it for my English. So you can communicate with Chinese people on Youku(like Youtube) and Weibo(like Twitter) directly, though those websites' designs are not so friendly. We're pleasure to communicate with you.
Produce 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Started losing me at: 学 - - creative teaching & boring teaching, I don't understand how those two stack and what they mean in unison. The last paragraph lost me completely.
tomjen3 4 hours ago 0 replies      
That was an interesting idea. To bad it I nearly couldn't finish it because of all the bigotry.
Feds Seized Hip-Hop Site for a Year, Waiting for Proof of Infringement wired.com
11 points by chaostheory  1 hour ago   discuss
Dangerous Things You Were Taught In School forbes.com
90 points by tokenadult  3 hours ago   46 comments top 13
ap22213 2 hours ago 3 replies      
When I was a poor kid from the rust belt, I dreamed of becoming an adult and getting a Phd. and talking deeply with the intellectual elite. I never got that Phd. but I became happily upper middle class, and thus got to hang out with a lot of Phds., often from good schools. Not surprisingly, many of them came from upper-class areas, and upper middle class or wealthy families.

What surprised me of this bunch was the general lack of curiosity, passion, and depth that many of them had - it jarred my world view. These were people that I dreamed of being around, when I was a kid. And, they just seemed like normal people, nothing special.

Over much time and after talking with many of them, I realized that many had pursued the Phd. (or equivalent) not because of any innate passion or ability, but just because that was what was expected of them. They did it because that's what people did in their world. It was then that I realized that many poor kids from the rust belt probably just did what they believed that people did.

rglover 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I wish I could recall the name, but I read an essay on the general concept of this topic not too long ago. Essentially the author referenced how schools are stratified into a series of groups: lower class, lower middle class, upper middle class, and elite (not sure if these are 100% accurate).

The author explained (from a series of in-person observations) the differences in education at each of the various levels. Children at the lower class level were taught to always listen to their teachers, be on time, and not to question things too much. Jump to upper middle class and the children were taught how to organize into groups or promote consensus (much like a mid-level managerial position). Finally at the top, children were given less concrete homework and were asked to explore their creativity. They were also taught to question their teachers, and most class time was spent as a dialogue between the group and not a lecture from the "instructor."

Really interesting topic and I wish more people paid attention to these things. Imagine where we'd be as a society if we didn't mold each other into groups or social brackets. Blows my mind.

kitsune_ 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Errr? I don't know what schools are like in the Unites States, but I was probably taught the exact opposite of what is presented in this Forbes Article. For instance:

"The people in charge have all the answers." > My history teacher would like to have word with you.

joedev 2 hours ago 5 replies      
"On average, a four-year degree is the equivalent of an investment that returns 15.2% a year." -

Stay in school kids.

Tangaroa 3 hours ago 0 replies      
For a similar take on the school system, here's John Taylor Gatto's essay The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher:


PaperclipTaken 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's a big difference in how students are taught and what students are thought to think from school to school, which is mostly correlated with income bracket. It's not that our leadership structure or general society has this 'keep the poor down' mentality, it has to do with the general mentality of the teachers and the general mentality of the students.

Think of the demographics of the teachers. In low income areas, the teachers are much more likely to be people that grew up in poor income areas themselves. Generally, that also means that they will be less familiar with higher-level concepts like 'when given lined paper, write the other way.' Even if they've heard these quotes and can tell you what they mean, they are less likely to be able to answer questions like 'Why 5 paragraphs?' and 'When in real life am I going to use the Pythagoras theorem?'

In high income areas, you are much more likely to get teachers that come from high income families themselves, which means they are much more likely to have gone to a reputable school. My high school (William Fremd High School) is seated in a high income area, and actually had several teachers (2 or 3) with Oxford level degrees. Many teachers in the English department actively rejected the idea of a 5 paragraph model, and told you to write the essay 'until it was done.' Many of the teachers, having been through some level of engineering school themselves, could tell you that the Pythagoras theorem is very important to things like Architecture and mechanical engineering, and that the seemingly useless mathematics you are learning actually have very powerful real life applications.

ntkachov 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Most of these things, I think, stem from the fact that it's much easier to take care of a class that believes in all 9 facts, than to take care of a class that doesn't.

How many teachers could justify the 5 paragraph essay if all the kids started questioning them on the arbitrariness of that number?

If you reward that kid that's really easy for you to take care off the others will follow, right?

Standardized tests measure your value because they measure the teachers value (in paychecks).

I have little respect for the school system. It's basically rigged to make the teachers lives as simple as possible and make the kids as miserable as possible.

lucian1900 3 hours ago 0 replies      
gravitronic 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Having gone through north american public schools I definitely agree with most of the article's points.

However most of those graphs make absolutely no sense. Clearly the author was being a free spirit on "how to make a graph" day.

ktizo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I always suspected that the way that schools were set up was borrowed heavily from the old establishments for training the children of the lower ranks of the aristocracy in how to be military officers.

The regimentation and rote of your average maths classroom was obviously never designed for teaching the subject, yet is the main memory of the experience for most people, rather than what is supposedly being taught.

johnohara 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
True danger is serious business. Approaching an unexploded IED is dangerous. So is going in to reactor #2 to pump out radioactive water.

There's a difference between incorrect and dangerous.

srconstantin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the prevailing mood among people who think of themselves as "business people" is nowhere near risk-averse enough.
dsirijus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It could be argued that all those sentiments listed are actually driving force that accounts for most of the creativity now.
The lasagne theory of game design joostdevblog.blogspot.com
10 points by exch  1 hour ago   discuss
Roger Penrose Says Physics Is Wrong, From String Theory to Quantum Mechanics discovermagazine.com
32 points by ColinWright  3 hours ago   13 comments top 6
aidenn0 12 minutes ago 1 reply      
Of course by this definition of wrong, Newtonian mechanics is wrong, which didn't stop me from taking a 400 level course on it.
ilitirit 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This quite an old article.

> From the September 2009 issue; published online October 6, 2009

mike_ivanov 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Note this: "I was unbelievably slow ... we had to do this mental arithmetic ... I was struggling away to do these tests ... I was at least twice as slow as anybody else."
drallison 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Not much content in this article. Read his books to get a feeling for the breadth and depth of his thought.
zmj 55 minutes ago 1 reply      
It's so sad to see old age claim a great mind.
gwern 1 hour ago 2 replies      
> And yet the 78-year-old Penrose"now an emeritus professor at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford"seems to live the humble life of a researcher just getting started in his career. His small office is cramped with the belongings of the six other professors with whom he shares it, and at the end of the day you might find him rushing off to pick up his 9-year-old son from school.

Wonder if that's his kid? If I were feeling particularly sour today, I'd look up how much extra risk of birth defects etc using 69 year old sperm (rather than a more normal 30-40s) entails.

Entrepreneurs in Prison kashflow.com
21 points by stu_bradley  2 hours ago   10 comments top 7
tedkalaw 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
This reminded me of Sudhir Venkatesh's book "Gang Leader For A Day", parts of which were described in Freakonomics. Some of his findings included an organized corporate structure of a big gang, a gang member with an econ degree who wanted to put his education to use, etc. Pretty interesting read.


bmelton 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
At the risk of sounding glib, I don't think that's how most drug dealers in prison began dealing drugs.

I could be way off, but the scenario he posits, wherein all hits mates are buying weed and he arbitrages, is probably not how most drug dealers come into operation, and certainly not how I suspect the prison-time crowd got into it.

chasing 24 minutes ago 1 reply      
First, it's prison. So, y'know, punishment on some level. In addition to rehabilitation. So my gut reaction is that I'd rather see more educational programs going on. Especially since a lot of "entrepreneurship" is really just either scammy behavior or flat-out fantasy (my start-up's the next Facebook!). Especially when the education isn't in place.

That said, I'm not entirely opposed to the idea. But, as a tax-payer, the idea that someone is getting free room and board on my dime while they make a good income grates a bit. What does it cost to keep someone incarcerated for a year these days? $40k? If the inmate were to repay this -- the sort of rent and bills every other entrepreneur has to pay -- then the idea would be more palatable.

maeon3 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
Being a good entrepreneur is more than identifying opportunities for arbitrage and executing on it and rolling profits into the system that can fuel more arbitrage. It's also taking into account the sustainability of the system. Evaluating the legality of the arbitrage is more important than the skill to profit from it.
peteretep 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Perhaps worth pointing out is that the author has spent some time in prison, which doesn't appear to be explicitly mentioned there.
mistercow 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
But here in America we punish our prisoners, no matter the cost to society!
stevengg 1 hour ago 1 reply      
maybe we can get Hans Reiser back working on file systems from prison someday, even when it became clear he had killed his wife there is a part of me that wanted too see him get off to keep working on ReiserFS
Airplane boarding simulations menkes76.com
31 points by ColinWright  2 hours ago   27 comments top 12
mcargian 1 hour ago 1 reply      
None of these simulations seem to take into account the usual activities that delay boarding:

* Not all of first class boards early, many flyers stay in the lounge till later and then hold up the aisle getting their bag into the overhead

* Passengers board together regardless of boarding order. Friends flying with an elite member can board early and not with their group.

* When the overhead is full passengers must swim upstream to bring their bag to be checked.

* Although there are plenty of bathrooms near the gate, many passengers insist on using the lav the minute they board. They again end up swimming upstream holding up the queue

* Seat stealing - whether intentional or not, some passengers help themselves to a roomier exit row seat (or on one occasion I've seen them in first class) hoping no one shows up to take that seat. Once the passenger with that seat arrives, the original passenger has to get their belongings, perhaps clear the overhead and again possibly fight their way against people boarding.

Southwest's self serve seating helps in some regards, but this style of boarding will never be used my the major carriers - at least in the U.S.

edit: typos

TheFuture 24 minutes ago 1 reply      
Maybe this is completely dumb and impractical, but could there be a way to remove the seats from the plane, individually or in groups, maybe on a track (overhead?) like a roller coaster, so that there could be a large boarding area with plenty of room for people to get situated. Then once everyone is in their seat, the seats would roll and lock into position.

This would also allow you to quickly deplane, but have the next group of passengers already seated, ready to slide into the plane.

The boarding problem is human, and also spacial. And you can't really get rid of the humans, but you could change the space.

Freight transport has been containerized, how can we do it to passenger transport?

tocomment 36 minutes ago 3 replies      
Here's a clever idea I just thought of. The airline could keep the overhead bins locked while everyone boards. So everyone just comes in and sits down, keeping their belongings on their lap. (It seems like that would be a lot faster)

Then once the plane starts taxi-ing the overhead bins unlock and people can put away their belongings (since you have to wait at least ten+ minutes to taxi and take-off it seems like this wouldn't cause a slowdown.)
Plus you'd get an extra efficiency because the person in the aisle can load the bags for everyone in his row.

Should I patent this ... :-/

shalmanese 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
Surely airlines can just do this empirically rather than rely on simulations. Why not just A/B test a bunch of different boarding methods on different flights and time what works the best?
epo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My experience (in the UK) is that the time is dominated by people being slow to put their bags away, or putting bags away then blocking the aisle while they take off jackets or getting bags back out to extract a book.

Also airlines tend to board from front and back simultaneously, which isn't always an optimization as people join the shortest queue regardless of where their seat is.

Rhapso 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
It does not help that a lot of American companies do not use any of these methods, they use front to back in sections.
davidu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Most of the fail to understand that people like to board in groups based on association. eg, families like to board together. That mucks it all up.

Also, people are stupid and can't self-sort.

I must admit, Southwest's boarding always feels like the absolute easiest. You just get in line by number and sit wherever you want.

TheFuture 22 minutes ago 2 replies      
Stop charging fees to check bags, and start charging fees for carry-ons. Airlines should WANT checked baggage. And so should TSA.
rabbitonrails 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
How about this idea:

Much of the congestion is caused by people stowing their bags overhead further down the plane than their seat, then having to reverse against traffic for X rows to sit down. Also there is a large fixed time cost once the overhead bins fill up and X passengers are forced to check their bags; they have to haul them all the way to the front against traffic.

What if a system was installed at the security checkpoint that recorded whether a passenger were boarding with a suitcase, and then assigned them a bin overhead. The bins would have small LED screens that displayed the passenger's name or seat number. An algorithm would match the bins to the nearest seats, and reduce or possibly eliminate downstream luggage-stowing. It would also be able to tell passengers that they were too late, the bins were full, and they would have to check their bags.

Difficulties --

   * some bags are small or irregular, can fit 2 in a bin  (measure bag during X-ray?)

* initially people won't understand the system leading to chaos

tocomment 1 hour ago 5 replies      
Does anyone know why back to front boarding is slower than random? That's doesn't make sense to me.
Eduardo3rd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much plane size impacts the efficiency of system, particularly in the case of the random boarding process? I flew on Southwest and American Eagle last week and thought about this for a while. On Southwest people were able to choose their seat based on their position in line, but that choice was harder for some people than others. On American Eagle (pre-assigned seats) the plane was so small (16 rows of 3) that they didn't bother with boarding order outside of priority status. People randomly tried to get to their seat on the plane, but it seemed like that was faster on a per-person basis than Southwest. Perhaps choice slows the system down?
omegant 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I would like to see real boarding times, also It would be nice to see the effect that all the bigger baggage (due to the baggage fares) that it is carried aboard. This is one of the biggest drags when boarding, even more with a full airplane as the last 20 pax are not going to find enough space for their hand luggage anywhere.
The day he was arrested, Anonymous's "Sabu" helped the FBI arstechnica.com
36 points by iProject  3 hours ago   6 comments top 2
mahmud 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I read elsewhere that he is the sole guardian of the two daughters of his aunt who's in jail. They're aged 6 & 10, IIRC. The kids have no one else and they would be shipped off to state custody if he ever goes away. Under those circumstances, I understand him wanting to go home before they come back from school.
JoachimSchipper 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Truly, there is no honor among thieves.

This surprises me, actually: he was willing to invest a ton of time and effort in this, but rolls over at the first sign of trouble? It's not like it's surprising that he eventually got caught...

Galaxy S3: Did Samsung just out-iPhone Apple? extremetech.com
11 points by 11031a  30 minutes ago   4 comments top 2
diminish 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Judging from the photo, iphone looks too thick compared to Galaxy S3. And the roundness makes it unlike the iPhone, which means the designs now diverge away.
saturdaysaint 9 minutes ago 1 reply      
Another embarrassingly bad extremetech article.
As An Author, Why I Truly Hate Ebook DRM disruptiveconversations.com
13 points by danyork  2 hours ago   3 comments top 3
jgrahamc 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
I, also an author, 100% agree with this. Also, the royalties that authors receive (roughly 10% of what the publisher receives after the retailer has taken their large, say 50%, part of the cover price) is tiny.

When you consider the months of work to write a book and divide by the return it's not hard to see why authors have a hard time getting upset about 'lost royalties'.

spatten 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Prophasi 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't love DRM, but the hyperbole could be notched down. In particular, this cliche:

"DRM starts from the premise that all readers are slimeballs and thieves."

Such a dire pronouncement doesn't logically follow. DRM starts from the premise that there exist many slimeballs and thieves. Next, that we should thwart as many as we can with technology, even at the inconvenience of paying customers, presumably yielding greater profit than in the absence of DRM.

The first assumption's undeniably true; the second is open to much debate. But "all readers are scum" is a needlessly cynical attitude to read into it.

Codecademy redesign codecademy.com
18 points by equilibrium  2 hours ago   14 comments top 9
AVTizzle 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Huge improvement over the last chromed out pseudo-jukebox guys. This is simpler and more intuitive. It's easier for me to see my progress and where I've left off, which was my biggest concern with the jukebleh.

What's with the color scheme? It kinda seems like Codecademy is looking for an identity and throwing darts at a colorwheel. There's some variance in the theme between the home screen, tracks/courses/lessons, and the lessons themselves (and the jukebox that lives on! reborn on the "non-track courses page!).

Also - When it comes to the changes to the menu screens and such, why the friction? What's wrong with just laying it all out simply on one page? All the courses with their lessons linked out on one page, separated by section, like our friends at Khan Academy? Right now there IS a learning curve to using your interface.

This is an improvement from the jukebox, but when you compare it to Khan Academy's one-page smorgasbord, there IS friction before the good stuff.

(<3 Codecademy. Thanks for doing.)

paul9290 52 minutes ago 1 reply      
CodePupil just launched (in preview mode) and we'd love to hear your critic.

We just submitted a Ask HN http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3928702

Appreciate any and all feedback - thnx!

allisonhouse 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Indeed! Just published a little blog post about these changes: http://codecademy.com/blog/8-tracks-gets-a-design-upgrade
debacle 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
This just after I pointed about a dozen people to Codecademy yesterday.

Hopefully it doesn't suck.

equilibrium 51 minutes ago 1 reply      
definitely a far better design than the previous iteration, feels more intuitive
jboggan 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
I miss the old-old UI, from before the HTML and CSS lessons were added.
millzlane 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I liked that it would show your progress immediately after you log in.
commanderkeen08 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Lookin lot like Treehouse bro
kyriee 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's fungly.
UK to science publishers: don't follow recording industry down the tubes arstechnica.com
9 points by evo_9  1 hour ago   1 comment top
ivan_ah 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
The original speech° is very well worded. The science publishing industry is definitely going to see some changes soon.

Technology will play a key role no doubt, but I think the bigger issues are cultural. The problem to solve, if we want to get rid of the big publishing houses, is how to rank the world's scientists. Ranking is important if you want to pursue a career as a researcher and because funding agencies use these rankings when allocating el casho.

The issue is bigger than open access. It is the very nature of scientific communication that is about to get an upgrade.


° : http://www.bis.gov.uk/news/speeches/david-willetts-public-ac...

       cached 4 May 2012 16:02:01 GMT