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1
Fabrice Bellard: Portrait of a super-productive programmer (2011) smartbear.com
309 points by Baustin  7 hours ago   111 comments top 23
1
DigitalSea 6 hours ago 9 replies      
My theory is that Fabrice is not human and most likely a creature not of this world. Seriously, how the hell can someone be so talented and amazing and above all remain such a nice guy? Fabrice is a down to Earth and amazingly talented individual who will go down in history; text books will reference him, heck he'll have a movie one day (maybe not). I don't care if this is an old article, Bellard deserves to be on the frontpage of HN multiple times, he's earned it.

For me, the LTE/4G base station running on a PC that he did is mindblowingly amazing: http://bellard.org/lte/

2
jgrahamc 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I too think that Bellard has produced a ton of cool stuff, but bear in mind that the list given on that site spans 20 years of work. You can do a lot in 20 years. That's not to put him down in any way, but if you find yourself comparing your output to his make sure you consider the time span.
3
xentronium 6 hours ago 2 replies      
He also authored jslinux[1] in 2011.

This guy is amazing and I am truly envious.

[1] http://bellard.org/jslinux/

4
rayiner 3 hours ago 2 replies      
For the sake of discussion, I'm going to throw some fuel on the "should you go to college?" fire. One of the things that's evident in Bellard's achievements is that he has a tremendous depth of domain specific knowledge, especially in signal processing. This is unsurprising, because he studied at Ecole Polytechnique, France's premier engineering school, specializing in telecommunications. See page 4-6 of this PDF: http://www.freearchive.org/o/55dfc9935a719fc36ab1d1656797273....
5
ishansharma 5 hours ago 1 reply      
"If there's a secret to this superhero-level productivity, it appears to have less to do with comic-book mutation and radioactivity, and far more with discipline, confidence, rigor, and many years of practice."

This is one line that you should take away from the article. Most of us think that highly productive programmers are magicians but we forget that they are just like us, just hard working and disciplined.

6
yorak 6 hours ago 9 replies      
The question from previous discussion remains unanswered. How does he finance his production of top notch open source software? At least for me, the day to day churn of my day job leaves me too mentally exhausted to chase the crazy ideas I get from time to time, let alone finish them.

Imagine a world where hackers, artists and artisans could follow their passions and could chase crazy ideas without a risk of losing the roof on top of their heads and butter over their bread. How many Bellards, we as a humanity, would have running around flinging great code, solving great problems and giving away the fruits of their hard work?

I think we could afford it if we really wanted. If the world just accepted that because of automation fewer and fewer people are needed to work in production (food, items etc.) a huge untapped innovative potential is waiting to be unleashed. In playing Civilization this would be easy, just a click and your society has changed the emphasis of it's production to sciences and art. But how to do this in real life?

I guess I just have to wait and see if the government of Finland gets around and issues citizen's income as propagated by the Green party. That would be a start and the consequences would be really interesting to see.

7
kragen 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Agreed.

Other programmers who seem super-productive to me include Julian Seward (bzip2 and valgrind), Larry Wall (patch, rn, and perl), Ken Thompson (Unix and substantial parts of Plan9 and Golang), Aaron Swartz (web.py, Open Library, Demand Progress), Steve Wozniak before his accident (Apple I, Apple II, Integer BASIC, a hardware video game, SWEET-16), of course Bill Gates (BASIC-80 and various other early Microsoft products), Niklaus Wirth (Pascal, Modula-2, Modula-3, Oberon), and maybe Darius Bacon, although none of his free-software projects are widely used.

None of them approach Bellard's level.

I think Bellard has another important thing going for him, beyond discipline and followup: he tackles important and difficult problems, things that are barely within anybody's reach. He's mostly not working on another text editor, another online chat system, or another casual game.

Who are your candidates?

8
bthomas 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see a list of projects he started that didn't work out. Amazing list, but he must've had some duds at some point.
9
barefoot 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like the first link to his personal website in the article is broken:

http://bellard.og

I was going to report it on their main website so I looked for a good way to get in touch with them and found a contact form which seemed to be geared towards sales and had a number of (unrelated to my task) required fields. I'm too lazy to fill out something that is going to get routed to the wrong place and requires me to enter my phone number, position, country, and area of interest on top of my email address and name.

So, I thought I'll just call them.

I called the main phone number and had no way to speak to someone there. The phone prompt simply diverted me to email sales. Heh.

There was a brief period of time where I wondered how a link could remain broken in an otherwise good quality article for over a year. That mystery has been solved.

10
wazoox 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The guy is also incredibly nice. I started using QEMU in 2003 and it was a huge relief in my work; so one of my colleague decided to send a "thank you" email to Bellard. Bellard replied very nicely on how happy he was that we found QEMU useful, and even gave us his phone number.
11
steeve 4 hours ago 2 replies      
To think that 99% of video on the web today is possible because of FFmpeg is mind blowing.
12
stiff 3 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing I miss is more very productive people like this sharing the way they work with the world. There are some nice screencasts at destroy-all-software[1], and there was a great screencast some time ago about writing a ray tracer in Common Lisp[2], but for the most time it is really hard to get a chance to learn from great programmers by directly watching them work at something, and that's a pity because it's one of the best ways to learn. If anyone has any more similar resources, please share. I am aware of PeepCode's PlayByPlay [3], but found it so-so so far.

[1] https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/

[2] http://rudairandamacha.blogspot.com/2012/09/writing-simple-r...

[3] https://peepcode.com/screencasts/play-by-play

13
aninteger 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Fabrice is awesome. I am also extremely impressed with the code written by a guy that goes by the name of Bisqwit. He has multiple videos speed coding here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Bisqwit
14
hallowtech 4 hours ago 9 replies      
> Bellard, born in 1972, began practicing his own coding techniques first on a TI-59 scientific calculator, at the beginning of the ‘80s.

I wonder how many people have started their programming experience on a TI calculator. I had the same way in with a TI-85.

15
limmeau 6 hours ago 1 reply      
16
malkia 2 hours ago 0 replies      
My personal programming heroes:

- Edi Weitz - http://weitz.de/ - Lots of Common Lisp libraries (cl-ppcre)

- Mike Pall - http://luajit.org/ - luajit off course

17
logn 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome article.

I like the bulleted conclusions at the end, but this nugget in the middle is my favorite:

"While he moves every few years into new and fertile unconquered territory, he exercises patterns that have served him well over and over: cleanly-styled C, data compression, numerical methods, signal processing, pertinent abstractions, media formats, open-source licensing, and “by-hand parsing.”"

I think sometimes for me I tend to wander from one technology and field to the next, but there's definitely something to be said for focusing a bit more on certain languages/technologies and what you're interested in.

18
incision 3 hours ago 0 replies      
On my shortlist of people who I read/think about any time I might feel complacent about my own development.
19
hobbyist 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Old article resurfacing again on HN, neverthless he is everyone's idol
20
notdrunkatall 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a link to or know how he came up with his formula for the computation of pi in base-2?

I look at that and... I just want to know: how?

21
fexl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I downloaded his pi computer from http://bellard.org/pi/pi2700e9/tpi.html and I don't see the source code for the "tpi" program there. Is that source code available anywhere?
22
carlob 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The link to his website goes to bellard.og instead of .org
23
supervillain 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Fabrice Bellard is the man!
2
Why "Google buses" are killing San Francisco lrb.co.uk
20 points by hoverkraft  43 minutes ago   8 comments top 7
1
decklin 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
> but the passengers were tech people, so withdrawn from direct, abrupt, interventionary communications...

Not sure this writer has actually had to deal with many "tech people".

2
WestCoastJustin 4 minutes ago 1 reply      
I was wondering what these "gleaming white, with dark-tinted windows, like limousines, and some days I think of them as the spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed to rule over us." actually looked like:

[0] http://sfcitizen.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ip2ku-c...

[1] http://sfcitizen.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_003...

[2] http://missionlocal.org/wp-content/themes/calpress/library/e...

3
baddox 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Someone doesn't like young people who work in tech.
4
hoverkraft 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Interesting point about public transportation -- by creating a private bus system, tech companies are actively suppressing demand for better public transport between SF and the valley.
5
suyash 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not much about bus but other problems in city like rent and housing that we already know about.
6
MechaJDI 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm not really buying it...
7
nefasti 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
TLDR
4
Why Would You Ever Give Money Through Kickstarter? nytimes.com
26 points by mecredis  1 hour ago   12 comments top 5
1
chez17 21 minutes ago 1 reply      
As a progressive younger person who has been swimming in internet culture for 15 years now, I find my attitude, wants, needs, and desires are almost completely left out of pop culture. The news rarely people with my point of view on it. The games I like to play are rarely made and instead it's CoD 143. The music I like isn't on the radio most of the time. I feel like there are a lot of people like me who like niche things they've found on the internet yet get no respect in the more 'mainstream' world (NOTE: I'm not using that world with a negative connotation). I like random stuff. Things like KickStarter give people like me a say. It lets me 'invest' in a project that would not get picked up by the normal distribution channels. It's almost a political statement. If I have the ability to throw Tim Schafer $20 so he can make a game without the normal pressures of the modern gaming industry (make it appeal to as many people as possible which inevitably leas to dumbing things down) then I'm going to give it a shot. It's literally the only way I see to get involved. It's putting my money where my mouth is.
2
laserDinosaur 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've given money to a few KS campaigns, and while there are a few I don't regret there are certainly some I look back at as being a sucker at the time. I donated to Double Fine based on the knowledge that they have had a hell of a rough history with investors and publishers. The chance to get a game out through donations was offset by the fact that no investor would touch their game. Investing in their game was under the pretence of we either fund it and make it, or the game never gets made. I also invested some money into the Shadowrun remake, a new studio run by some industry vets who as I far as I know are making their first game. In this case I feel like I got suckered - A new company, a classic IP, industry vets - It would seem like a great bet by an investor. But it seems to me that they got to have their cake and eat it too - They get to have people invest their money into funding their development, but if they become the next EA/Activision (and who is to say they won't), they don't owe anyone jack all in returns. It's a suckers bet. They want to risk the money of other people, but not share the spoils at the end of the day.

I was talking to a friend the other night about this and we came up with a metric to measure KS campaigns by. It's a simple question of "Would this interest an investor?". If the answer is no but I think it's an interesting project I'll throw some money towards them. If the answer is yes, they should be offering the rewards of an investor, not just pan-handling for money and shifting the risk to fans.

3
jiggy2011 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Surely in many cases the incentive is to get a pre-order of some item, possibly at a reduced price that you might not have had a chance to purchase at all otherwise?
4
dantheman 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think kickstarting with the expectation that you receive something is the wrong idea. I think it works especially well for funding people to create media or fund performances. It's a way for us to help fund/create the world we want to live in.
5
MaysonL 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
First Kickstart I ever backed (back in 2009) was to help a friend take her play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Purely friendship, and pride in her accomplishment.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/635470598/dawn-of-quixot...

5
TPB AFK: Watch and Download The Pirate Bay Documentary torrentfreak.com
69 points by derpenxyne  3 hours ago   17 comments top 5
1
jiggy2011 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
Is anyone else getting a terrible download speed for this?
I'm on the 720p torrent and getting 65kps despite there being thousands of seeds.
2
paulhauggis 1 hour ago 6 replies      
Peter Sunde is all about freedom and "sharing". Yet, his site "Flattr" charges a higher service fee than any other service of its kind.

Here is from the flattr site:

"On incoming revenue you keep 90%. When you add money to give to others or withdraw money you earned you only pay a fee to the payment provider you choose."

So, they charge 10%. Paypal doesn't even charge you anything close to this. I also like how they tried to make it sound like it's not that bad, by talking about how much you actually get to keep rather than the fee itself.

I guess you need to make a profit/pay for server/infrastructure costs...so do artists, movie makers, and software developers.

It's so easy to take the hard work of others and in most cases, against the wishes of the original content creator, and just give it out for free. Anybody can buy a couple of servers, index a bunch of content, and put it up in a foreign country.

TPB isn't fighting for your freedom. They are helping in the demise of independent artists. Sure, you will always have a few people that play for free because it's fun, but because of the current state of the Internet (the new generation feels like they are entitled to music and anything else online, for free), it's going to be very difficult to actually make a living unless you are signed to a major label.

3
mtgx 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't Youtube have better font support for subtitles? Or is this the fault of the people uploading them? I almost always find subtitles on Youtube too small and hard to read from more than 1m distance.
4
dewey 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you enjoy this movie you should also watch http://www.stealthisfilm.com/
5
ameen 44 minutes ago 2 replies      
Rather than glorifying the act of piracy, this movie does a wonderful job of exposing the founders.

One of them is an Alcoholic right-wing racist, another a drug addict.

Peter Sunde seems to be the only person who who seems vaguely normal.

I wish teenagers, children and other "pirates" realize that there is no glory in associating themselves with these sociopaths.

7
Cube (YC W12) Goes Deeper Than Your Standard iPad Register techcrunch.com
27 points by swohns  1 hour ago   19 comments top 7
1
jonknee 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why limit to an iPad? For retail applications a tablet seems less useful (for starters, it's much easier to disappear when you turn around than your standard kiosk type machine).

With Windows 8 adopting touch there are lots of touch enabled PCs out there.

2
nlh 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Looks interesting - glad to see some competition heating up in the POS space.

Any way to try out the service without fully signing up for an account? There are a few features I'd like to see if it has (that almost every other iPad POS lacks) and I don't want to create an account just to sandbox....

3
Domenic_S 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Gordon Ramsey has outfitted several restaurants on Kitchen Nightmares with iPhone-based (or other "new gen") POS systems, and I'm interested to see if they still use them.

There seems to be so much going on in this space, especially with the advent of low-cost, high-performance touch devices. I'm a little surprised I haven't heard of some massive win yet, like a major retailer transitioning. Kitchens are at least high-volume, I wonder if they're a good indicator.

4
coffee 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The challenge in this space is not the technology, or more cool/useful features.

It's merchant adoption.

It's a massive barrier to entry when a local business has invested upwards of 10's of thousands of dollars on their existing POS system. Or, the flip side of the coin is that they have zero desire to get anything more technical than a $60 register from PriceClub. This is scary stuff to most local merchants.

It's a super long term play to get market share.

5
sethbannon 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Cube certainly seems to have more dimensions than Square.
6
rckrd 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm interested to see how big a share of the market the "artisan store or coffee shop" is.

And how are they able to offer 2.5%, while Intuit and Square charge 2.75%? You would think that for non-enterprise customers, they would charge more.

7
bsimpson 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Does that qualify as trademark infringement? I can definitely see the case for customers being confused by the similarity to Square.

edit: Can someone please explain why this is being downvoted? I'd like to make sure my contributions are constructive.

8
Balancing text for better readability adobe.com
119 points by dave1010uk  5 hours ago   62 comments top 14
1
mcargian 5 hours ago 9 replies      
I think it's odd that a post about readability has grey text (#686868) on a white background. Next to the black screen grabs the text is very light.
2
dpcx 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Why not just use the Knuth-Plass algorithm as implemented in http://www.bramstein.com/projects/typeset/?
3
wnoise 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For plain text, see "par", a much nicer version of "fmt".

http://www.nicemice.net/par/

4
antirez 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Any list of quality web typography resources accessible for programmers? Thanks
5
decklin 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I long for something that would just wrap all big paragaphs of text at 70-ish characters without hacking at element widths (I've tried user stylesheets, scripts... nothing satisfactory). If this were implemented, I imagine it would be easier to do that.

(For example, the first line of the first paragraph of the post renders as 134 characters on my screen. Maybe I am just old, but I find this hard to read.)

6
pjungwir 1 hour ago 1 reply      
For subtitles and ledes, or really anything larger than the main body text, I actually prefer the <br/> solution. It's important not only to break in a pleasing shape, but also to break at grammatically-sensible points. So it's better to say:

    Take the blue car
to the shop

vs

    Take the blue
car to the shop

or

    Take the blue car to
the shop

7
fudged71 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Chrome still doesn't support CSS3 hyphenation. I wish they would, because it has a huge impact in web typography. http://caniuse.com/css-hyphens
8
lnanek2 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Ugh, I really hate newspapers and the like that stretch out words and letters randomly just to have it make a perfect block. Random spacing to meet your criteria of prettiness does not improve readability. This person centers too much is his problem, I think. Just left align, read down the page with every line starting in the same spot, stop when done. Yay. Most web readers don't even read every word anyway, they skim, and you are producing something anti-skimmable by not keeping a nice solid left line where all the text starts wherever possible.
9
psadri 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a very legitimate addition to CSS. I bet we will see it in a future release. It makes a lot of sense for headings. I hope it will not get abused for other text blocks (but I am sure it will).
10
milliams 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The simplest solution to a similar problem (a single hanging word in a headline) that I've seen is to replace the 'space' between the last two works with an &nbsp; This forces the last two words to stay together as a unit. It can be automated with a simple piece of ECMAScript.
11
sc0rb 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. Grey text on a white background. This is really annoying to read on a matte screen.

A little ironic given the subject matter?

12
muglug 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Lovely idea. One might also consider the special case of two centered lines, where many have an aesthetic desire for the first to be longer than the second.
13
kjsudi 23 minutes ago 1 reply      
guys why dont you use the betaX45 algorithm??!!
14
spennino 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't it be easier and give you more editing control to just put text in a <pre> element? Seems like it would be hard to algorithmically determine what will visually look good
9
In Defense of Copy and Paste zacharyvoase.com
28 points by zacharyvoase  2 hours ago   21 comments top 10
1
stcredzero 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> This may come across as a straw man argument

Big time. The refactoring in this case was ill advised. When things started getting hairy, it should've been backed out.

Piling too much flexibility in one function is a common mistake. A justification for copy/paste it does not make.

I worked at a shop with this rule: don't try DRY until you've seen at least three repetitions. I think this saves one from premature refactoring.

Another way to put it: Refactor when the code speaks to you, that is when need is evident. Keep the result only if its a significant improvement. Avoid refactoring only because you are enamored of refactoring. (Or enamored of a rule.) Goes for any programming technique/tool, really.

2
toomim 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I love copy & paste! I also defended it in this scholarly article: http://harmonia.cs.berkeley.edu/papers/toomim-linked-editing...
with a video: http://youtu.be/1wo_7MTdWWI
3
bunderbunder 1 hour ago 1 reply      
That example under the When Tools Make It Worse section - uggghhhhh. Why would anyone actually do that? That isn't DRY refactoring, that's cargo cult refactoring.

DRY is not, was never, and should never be about unnecessarily replacing clean, well-factored code with @$2!% shared mutable state. The goal is to normalize your code, not to micro-optimize for keystroke count. No. Nonononononono. Just no.

4
mwcampbell 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
In defense of the single flexible function, I think the hypothetical business requirements are pathological. Or perhaps the hypothetical developer is taking a pathologically literal interpretation of them. Who would want pagination in one view but not another? As for the profanity filter, that should probably be a preference of the currently logged-in user which is applied to all feeds which that user views. (It should probably be enabled when an anonymous user is viewing any feed.)

I suppose some developers don't have the freedom of suggesting alternative specified behavior that is nicer to implement. In some cases I have not had that freedom. But in this hypothetical case, when pressed, the person setting the requirements ought to value consistency.

My own experience has been that I tend to do copy-and-paste because it's easier, but then regret it later. I don't think I've yet erred too far on the side of trying to follow the DRY principle.

5
danso 1 hour ago 2 replies      
OK, I'm obviously missing something, and part of the problem is that I'm not a Python programmer so my brain is obviously in "skim-mode".

Couldn't the problematic DRY pattern be alleviated by refactoring the following call:

    filter_profanity = kwargs.pop('filter_profanity')
tweets = Tweet.objects.filter(**kwargs)
if filter_profanity:
tweets = itertools.ifilter(lambda t: not t.is_profane(), tweets)
return render(request, template, {'tweets': tweets})


Into something like:

    def tweet_list(request, **kwargs)
...

tweets = get_filtered_tweets(kwargs)
...

def get_filtered_tweets(**args)
filter_profanity = args.pop('filter_profanity')
if filter_profanity
etc....
end
return tweets
end


Why does the logic for the Tweet filtering have to be encapsulated in the rendering function?

// edit:

What might help is if the OP showed how the non-refactored code would look with the profanity_filter and pagination features. I agree that his refactored proposal is confusing...I'm just having a hard time imagining how the non-refactored version would be less so.

6
pjungwir 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
One rule I try to follow is to avoid refactoring when the shared code is "coincidental." Perhaps this is another way of expressing what the author says about business logic.

I've definitely worked on projects where developers created large, unwieldy, hard-to-grok, buggy abstractions in the name of DRYing code. I'm pretty aggressive about making code DRY, but simplicity and readability are more important.

The effort I'll tolerate in pursuit of DRY also varies by language. I've been doing some Android work lately, and I'm finding that things I would have done DRY in Ruby require too much added complexity to make DRY in Java.

7
jiggy2011 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Isn't this what functional programming is for?

You have several pieces of code that follow a very similar structure and logic but perform very different purposes for the program. So you try and generalise the structure of the code?

8
tterrace 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think the first step the author took on the refactoring path was one I wouldn't take. It breaks the "do one thing" rule and the rest of the post is the pain that naturally follows from having an over-generalized method that tries to do too much.
9
taeric 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I really really like this take. Refactoring is usually pitched as something that is completely orthogonal to solving the actual problem you were given. I think too many of us (clearly, I'm projecting) are weary of anyone else going on a refactoring spree because we see it break down things that were just fine separate. Often with only "warm fuzzies" being the actual gain. The progression shown in this post is really really good.
10
BoredAstronaut 43 minutes ago 1 reply      
Straw man thinks DRY applies to two-line function. Straw man is a straw man. Also, less code > DRY. In fact, less code -> DRY. If refactoring makes for more code, not really DRY. More like taking a principle to its illogical conclusion. Compression is a process of diminishing returns.

Although there are certainly times when a factoring two lines into one line is better. Like when it's self-documenting, or when those lines otherwise add noise to part of another function.

Sometimes a new function is not the right approach to avoiding repetition. If you can't write a function to adhere to DRY, use a macro or equivalent. In C/etc, macros are wonderful if used well.

10
Newell reveals major PC flaw, the future business of games, and fear of Apple extremetech.com
20 points by evo_9  2 hours ago   29 comments top 6
1
tedunangst 1 hour ago 6 replies      
I really hate free to play. Having tried a few games in this category, I generally realized about ten minutes after installation I didn't download a game, I downloaded a money funnel. A lot of my gaming these days is casual on my phone, where this shit dominates the marketplace. I sincerely wish apple would create a separate $5 max spend gaming category (even a lot of paid games seem to make most of their profit from iap).
2
suresk 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm primarily a PC gamer, although I certainly see the benefits consoles bring to the table (cheaper, easier, much better for in-person multiplayer).

I'm really dreading the death of PC gaming for one reason - controls. For a lot of game types, nothing comes close to the keyboard/mouse combo. For example, how many good RTS games have shown up on consoles? That is largely because of the input situation.

I really think there needs to be a rich, precise input device for consoles, and I don't think things like Kinect, as cool as they are, are the answer. When I see games like StarCraft, Company of Heroes, and World of Warcraft ending up on consoles without being horribly dumbed-down, I'll feel a little better.

3
drucken 1 hour ago 7 replies      
So much self-serving rhetoric.

How are "input methods" a major PC flaw? The platform is almost completely open!

Even closed platforms use input methods that can often interroperate with PCs. Or the input methods are independently available for the PC.

The only thing of interest in that speech would be just how much Newell is struggling to hedge his bets, yet completely ignoring the elephants in the room, e.g. his console competitors...

4
archagon 1 hour ago 2 replies      
As a longtime gamer, I desparately fear the idea of a locked-down, touch-based, and endlessly monetizable future for my favorite hobby. What if the PC simply becomes unprofitable for major game releases because of the tablet market, ARM, or whatever else? What if gamers get used to touch controls and buttons become outmoded? What if the Facebook model of "social" games consumes every other genre? I can only hope that Newell's get-out-of-jail-free card will work as intended.
5
ameen 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Gabe Newell is only trying to realign himself. The Windows-download market is getting crowded with better and more efficient service providers - GoG.com, Humble Store, Desura, GMG, GG, Impulse, etc.

Valve will be beaten by both bigger and smaller competitors (Ouya, Apple, Sony/MS), all thanks to Valve time.

6
cduser 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
I did not watch the video, just read the article.

What is the "major PC flaw"? The input methods that did not evolve? Kinect says hello! Apart from that, many gamers use controllers on PCs.

11
Netflix's Culture Document (2009) slideshare.net
10 points by bcardarella  1 hour ago   4 comments top 3
1
jtbigwoo 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
We talked about this back in 2009: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=740524
2
tvladeck 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
I read this, and I had a ridiculous number of "Aha!" moments. A few for me:

-Context vs. control: In any place where your expecting creative contribution, it makes literally zero sense to define the contribution by the input. You hire people for their output, not their input.

-Vacation tracking: If you're not tracking how many hours the employees do work, you're already not tracking how many they don't work -- by definition.

-Generous severance: This way your managers don't feel bad firing people that aren't a good fit.

3
bcardarella 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
This document is a fantastic read, highly recommend everybody to check it out
12
Source of the famous “Now you have two problems” quote (2006) regex.info
93 points by thewarrior  6 hours ago   20 comments top 10
1
raldi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There's actually a little more to the story than that. On 2007-01-09, I
wrote to David Tilbrook:

    Hi David .. I came across a web page
(http://regex.info/blog/2006-09-15/247) investigating the source of the
following quotation:

"Whenever faced with a problem, some people say `Lets use _____.'
Now, they have two problems."

The author of the site seems to have gone through a lot of trouble to
hunt down the original author of the quote. The best he was able to do
was discover a Usenet sig from 1988 attributed to "D. Tilbrook."

I was wondering if this was you -- if so, I think you should contact the
author to set the record straight. His post was recently linked from the
news aggregator site Reddit, at
http://programming.reddit.com/info/xlov/comments and quite a few people
have been reading the story and discussing the quote.

He wrote back:

    I can lay claim to being the author, but I cannot remember when or where
I first used it.

Zalman Stern worked for me at CMU so may have quoted me, hence the
attribution to him.

Actually one of the funnier incidents regarding my "famous" quotes was:

"Software is the only business in which adding extra lanes to the
Golden Gate bridge would be called maintenance" -- David Tilbrook -
circa 1981

I was at a meeting when the speaker used this quote and attributed it to
David Parnas -- I was appropriately indignant.

-- david

P.S.: Do we know each other?

The answer to his postscript was no. :)

And he later replied again to add:

    By the way, I think I coined the phrase at a European conference in
Dublin circa 1985.

I was talking about the difficulty maintaining portable software when
supposedly "standard" tools (e.g., awk(1)) differed from system to
system.

Then later someone pointed out to me that it was appearing in various
signature lines which I suppose led to its being spread.

I forwarded it all to Jeffrey Friedl (the author of the linked post), but I
guess he figured the comments already did a good job covering the story, or
maybe he wanted to get explicit permission from David to repost the emails
but never got it. But I think David's reply is interesting and compuhistoric
enough that I don't want it to die in my GMail archives -- and so I'm
posting it again here.

2
FreakLegion 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Slight tangent: Anyone interested in the substance of the post should also read Russ Cox's "Regular Expression Matching Can Be Simple And Fast" for why Friedl is wrong:

http://swtch.com/~rsc/regexp/regexp1.html

3
ericb 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I have found holes in google's newsgroup archives previously. It surprises me because it should be such a small amount of data in today's terms. It has enough historical significance that you'd think they'd care for it better given their mission to organize the world's data and make it universally accessible.
4
lutusp 4 hours ago 2 replies      
It's a shame that regular expressions are so often associated with Perl, as though they're a single topic. It's like speaking of astronomy and astrology in the same breath.
5
nathanstitt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like the backhanded comment jwz pays Perl in the comments. To paraphrase: “Perl; it's not as bad as sed.”

Could really apply to everything. “Php; It's not as bad as Perl” (maybe). “Java; It's not as bad as C++”, etc.

Thinkgeek, are you listening? Would make an awesome geek coffeecup/T-shirt set.

6
breck 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting quote by Zawinski in the comments:

    Third: obviously I got Kelly's joke about “streams of
bytes”, uh, that's why I quoted it. It's funny, and it
makes the point (which I fully agree with) that the
decades-old Unix “pipe” model is just plain dumb,
because it forces you to think of everything as
serializable text, even things that are fundamentally
not text, or that are not sensibly serializable.

7
homosaur 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article, thanks to the author for chasing down and cataloguing another entertaining and fine piece of geek lore.
8
MattBearman 3 hours ago 2 replies      
...and now I understand today's XKCD [0] - I'd never heard this quote 'til today either. All is right with the world again :)

[0] - http://xkcd.com/1171/

9
icanhasfay 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Today's relevant xkcd:
http://xkcd.com/1171/
10
rplst8 2 hours ago 0 replies      
That broken link in the article is working fine for me. Did Google repair the issues with the Deja News archive?
13
What's the point of writing good scientific software? bioinformaticszen.com
22 points by michaelbarton  2 hours ago   19 comments top 10
1
Xcelerate 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I've been debating about whether I want to open-source the scientific code I've been writing. A lot of it could be useful to other people in the molecular dynamics field.

I recently introduced my advisor to Github, and he thought it was a good idea; however, there were a few hesitations. The first, most importantly, is the likeliness of a bug. If you put your code on a very public website like Github, there is a chance it's going to be scrutinized by everyone in your field.

Now, unless you are one of the best programmers who has ever lived, there are bound to be bugs in your software, and when someone discovers them, it could have a deleterious effect on any journal articles you've written that used that code. The issue is that even though most bugs do not lead to significant changes in results, you would still need to redo all of your data to make sure that is the case. The software industry has long recognized buggy software as a reality, but I don't think the scientific community is as tolerant of it (hence the reason a lot of people hide their code).

For my MD simulations, I use the well-known LAMMPS package. Bugs in it are discovered all the time! (http://lammps.sandia.gov/bug.html). So I think there needs to be a collective realization among the scientific community that these are bound to occur and authors of journal articles can't be persecuted all the time for it. A lot of computational work is the art of approximation anyway so I would just lump "human incompetency" under one of those approximation factors.

Despite this risk, I think I'm still going to release my code at some point as I would personally welcome critique and improvement suggestions. I'd like to think I'm a better coder than most scientists since I've been coding since I was twelve in multiple language paradigms and have won a major hackathon, but eh, who knows. I'm quite sure my environment isn't up to industry standards because I've always coded solo rather than in a team.

2
ylem 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
I would say that you should look at what stage you are in your career and what your goals are. If your goal is to become research faculty, you should focus on getting high impact papers out of the door--software is a tool for helping you do so.

If you find yourself re-using that bit of code, then it may be worth cleaning it up and making it maintainable. If people start sending you requests for it, then it may be worthwhile open sourcing it, documenting it, maintaining it, etc.--but only if you have time.

I do make open source scientific software as part of my job, but I'm at a later stage in my career and it's not something I would have a science postdoc work on--it's just not fair to them and their career prospects within science...

Recently, someone asked for some reduction code that I've developed and I realized that while it was documented, I didn't have time to refactor it and clean it up--finally, I just put it on github and told them to contact me if they had questions--they were happy to have it as a starting point for what they wanted to work on. So, if you believe that you've made something worthwhile, but don't have the bandwidth to maintain it and other people might find it useful, sometimes it might be better to just put it out there and let people play with it--no guarantees, but it may help someone else get started...

You can get a large number of citations in some subfields for writing commonly used software--but it may or may not help your career. For example, I have friends at various institutions around the world that tell me that their management gives them no credit for developing useful software (complete with lectures, updates, documentation, etc.)--they just release it because they feel they should and most of them are also already tenured in their positions.

Good luck!!!

3
JohnBooty 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"I have previously believed that converting any code you've created into a open-source library benefits the community and prevents reinvention of the wheel [...]

I have however started to realise that perhaps something I thought would be very useful may be of little interest to anyone else. Furthermore the effort I have put into testing and documentation may not have been the best use of my time if no one but I will use it. As my time as a post doc is limited, the extra time effort spent on improving these tools could have instead have been spent elsewhere."

From a purely selfish perspective, I've found that documenting and cleaning up my own code benefits me in the future. Even if it's a one-off, single-purpose utility that I'll never use again in the future, I often find myself needing to borrow bits of code from my old projects. ("Oh, I solved this problem before. How did I do it? Let's dig up that old, old project...") At which point, present-day me benefits if my past self bothered to actually document things and make sure they're reasonably robust.

There are countless other reasons (moral and pragmatic) to document, test, and open-source one's code, of course! Many of them more important than the ability to crib one's old code, I'd argue.

But the author seems to have considered (and discarded) them...

4
abraxasz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"I have begun to think now that the most important thing when writing software is to write the usable minimum. If then the tool becomes popular and other people begin to use it, then I should I work on the documentation and interface."

That. Like someone pointed out, I find that documenting and testing the key parts (that is, those I know at least I will reuse) is always a good investment of my time and prevents major headaches down the road. I've been experimenting with project structures that clearly separates the set of tools and functions that will be reusable, and those that are one shot. I focus all my testing efforts on former, and cut myself some slack on the latter.

Btw, I speak from a "scientist" perspective, and nothing I say applies to professional software engineering (I mean, I don't think it does).

5
lmm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Like everything else in software, code quality should be feature-driven. Write the minimum to do what you need to. If you find that your code's poor quality is becoming a problem (whether because it's slowing your own development down, or other people aren't using it and you want them to, or whatever reason), do something about it then, but not before.
6
tmarthal 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I used to call the scientific software that I was writing, "paper-ware".

You aren't building a system for other users, you aren't really doing anything other than one-off analysis to create charts, which will be explained in a paper.

Things have changed somewhat since the early 2000's, but the concept remains the same. Nowadays, for interesting or controversial results other scientists want to be able to verify your results. However, that is usually more related to your data and how you processed it, rather than your software algorithms (which should be explained in the paper, and can be recreated from that).

So do these systems need to have reams of documentation? Probably not. However, if you leave the system for two years and come back to work on it, or figure out how it used to work, then you best have enough commenting with a thorough readme about some of the decisions you made and why. It's more analogous to scripting rather than software engineering.

7
roadnottaken 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is debatable, but IMHO your job as a post-doc is to learn new things about biology and publish papers on what you've learned. If you can document your code along the way, that's great. But if it's taking up a bunch of your time then it's probably a misguided effort.
8
gwern 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Funny, I was just comparing the incentives for releasing scientific software to those of releasing well: http://multiplecomparisons.blogspot.com/2013/02/making-data-...

And now I hear this questioning the value of writing up and polishing scientific software!

9
elchief 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was just thinking the other day about how good academic software is getting. And how useful it is to society that masters and PhDs are making software for the research.

Look at RapidMiner (developed at U. Dortmund), Stanford's CoreNLP, and the brat rapid annotation tool. These are better than a lot of commercial tools. They are more text-analytics than bioinformatics, but same diff.

10
wallerj77 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm curious, is there a place where you can submit your software to the community and tag it as relevant for doing A, B, C. So that others can use it to do the same or even build it further. I have limited experience with software in your field - but it seems like there isn't a good way to find tools already built to address your needs, or at least close enought? Am I wrong or miss something?
14
Steve Heymann Should Be Fired tarensk.tumblr.com
125 points by aangjie  6 hours ago   65 comments top 9
1
gyardley 2 hours ago 3 replies      
The comments on this post are depressing.

Whatever your attitude about the White House's goofy petition site, the efficacy of 'online activism', or what-have-you, Aaron Swartz's grieving partner thinks signing this petition will help shed a little light into the circumstances that led to his death.

Maybe she's right, maybe she's wrong, but either way, it only takes a second to do - so just go sign the damn thing.

2
twoodfin 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Heymann saw Aaron as a scalp he could take. He thought he could lock Aaron up, get high-profile press coverage, and win high-fives from his fellow prosecutors in the lunchroom. Aaron was a way of reviving Heymann's fading career. Heymann had no interest in an honest assessment of whether Aaron deserved any of the hell he was being put through.

Is there any evidence for any of this seeming mind reading?

3
driverdan 3 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm so sick of these useless White House petitions. Yes, they can bring a small amount of attention to issues but otherwise they accomplish nothing other than making people feel good for "signing" a petition.

Has there been a single White House petition that resulted in anything other than an official comment?

4
jmodp 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The death of Aaron Swartz is a loss to his family, his friends, and to society. The focus on the prosecutors, however, makes me uneasy. I can support a review of the conduct of the prosecutors but I can't call for their firing. From what I have read, the conduct of the prosecutors was close to standard procedure. If it was wrong of the prosecutors to make an example out of Aaron, it is equally wrong to make an example of the prosecutors. This should not be about revenge although such feelings are understandable. However, it is the whole judicial system that needs review (and reform).

The focus on the prosecutors takes the focus away from other discussion we should be having such as the following.

Why should these cases linger for so long?

Why is our justice system so dependent on plea bargaining?

Why can't we create have a hacker legal defense fund that would keep cases like this from bankrupting defendants?

Why should expert legal advice be only available to those who can afford it?

What should we tell a friend who is planning to commit a crime on behalf of a cause?

Was Aaron's cause worth anyone's life? This should be a question for everyone, not just prosecutors.

Is any middle ground possible in the conflict between rights holders and advocates of free information?

5
corporalagumbo 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Why not lynch him? If we're going to do mob rule, we should do it right, no? Pitchforks and torches and all.
6
qschneier 2 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI the petition link is here https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/fire-assistant-us-...

To me signing the petition is simply to let others know my attitude, and to let those who hold the same stand know that they are not alone.

7
idm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I finally created an account so I could sign this. I didn't sign for Ortiz because I thought she may have had a distant relationship to the case. However, as Heymann's direct supervisor, I thought she erred in that role. Heymann, on the other hand, really does sound like he has a history of throw-the-book-at-them antics, and I think there's a strong need for greater scrutiny of his career and trajectory.
8
sylvinus 2 hours ago 1 reply      
she mentions 11k signatures but the current count is 2,737. What happened? Did they remove duplicates?
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/fire-assistant-us-...
9
geoka9 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Do I have to be a constituent to sign?
15
Fixing Google Analytics for Ghostery ejohn.org
35 points by lispython  3 hours ago   13 comments top 5
1
thezilch 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not convinced the defined track function is fixing what's described. If following Google's instruction for "installing" ga.js [0], there shouldn't be any sites breaking that block ga.js from loading. That is, Google suggests var _gaq = _gaq || []; at the start of the script installation. If ga.js never loads, _gaq is still an array and can be pushed onto to your heart's content. If you're concerned with an ever growing array of garbage, the suggestion in the comments is great:

  __gaq = __gaq || {push: function(){return 0}}

[0] https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection...

2
gav 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I see this more frequently, sites are adding dependencies on third-party Javascript for tracking, and when they are unresponsive (or blocked with something like Ghostery) the site's functionality breaks.

This is especially worrying for e-commerce sites, you don't want to prevent people adding things to the cart and losing orders.

3
apaprocki 2 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing that you need to keep in mind -- if you back-off from CDN loading to loading a local copy, you'll almost never be testing that scenario so be careful that a massive influx of local requests in a CDN-is-down scenario doesn't melt things. It brings up a broader topic of reliability testing.. every one of these branches inserted into the code creates another point at which performance/load metrics change. Testing all the various combinations can be difficult.
4
OGinparadise 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
AFAIK, no site breaks, even if you block them totally via hosts or Ghostery.
5
ahmednadar 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have not been so fan of most of google work. I do have Gmail account, but that's it. In the past I used use other services such as, search, websites, doc, Google+, ... but not any more. Even Chrome, I use it for testing and nothing else.

Few years back, Chrome has launched what is been described as Evil EUlA [https://duckduckgo.com/?q=google+chrome+evil+eula] because of what the EULA at that time contained, as fellowing:

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content, you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

Now its been changed:
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services.

Although they clean their evil mistake but i never used Chrome, i lost respect for them.

As its clear Google search engine is the best even after Bing attempts. But still i don't trust them, I see they know more about me as user while using their search. I did not need that much time to find out they do collect data, track every thing I search for. Recently I ran into [http://www.duckduckgo.com] where they set them self different from Google as "We believe in better search and not tracking." Then i said bye bye google search.

I have ghostery installed in Firefox and I love it. Basically I block any script for Analytics, tracking, privacy and advertising.
Check out what AdSense do behind the scene: [http://www.ghostery.com/apps/google_adsense]

Data Collected:
Anonymous (Ad Views, Analytics, Browser Information, Cookie Data , Date/Time, Demographic Data, Hardware/Software Type, Interaction Data , Page Views , Serving Domains)
Pseudonymous (IP Address (EU PII), Search History, Location Based Data, Device ID (EU PII))
PII (Phone Number)

Data Sharing:
Anonymous data is shared with 3rd parties.

As you see while you are searching your info (which google got them for free, because you trust them or you don't know) is been sold for third parties.

I want to feel safe and not been watched for what I browse and search online. That's why I like my new trust search engine [http://www.duckduckgo.com]

16
Introducing django-db-tools - A read-only mode for your Django app craigkerstiens.com
32 points by craigkerstiens  3 hours ago   8 comments top 5
1
notaddicted 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the general idea, if you want some "insurance", you could also set the database user that the application uses to SELECT only permission.

Have you ruled out using a router? (like https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/dev/topics/db/multi-db/#us... )

2
condiment 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an elegant starting point for implementing read-only mode in a Django app.

The appearance of buggy behavior can be expected if this is used on a site that does not strictly implement a REST interface (ie. POST to /resource/new/ instead of /resource/), but that's a flaw resulting from the individual implementation, not from your library, and even with an appropriately RESTful interface you'll still need to display messaging to the logged-in user when GET_ONLY_MODE is set to True.

You mention wanting to provide a generalized means of providing messaging in the template, but I've found that library templates are almost always inappropriate for inclusion into an existing application except in the most trivial of cases. An alternative to generalized messaging might be to implement some crazy logic in process_response() to disable all forms.

I also wonder whether environmental variables are appropriate for this type of change, since administering environmental updates across multiple servers requires a deploy strategy outside of the traditional Git schemes that people set up.

That said, I'll be watching the project to see where it leads. Congrats on the launch.

3
raverbashing 2 hours ago 1 reply      
If I'm not mistaken, making the site 'GET only' will also prevent logins, since form data (login) is submitted using 'POST'
4
maciejgryka 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks really good!

Just a thought - when using the GET_ONLY_MODE you should probably be careful with your sessions if you're storing them in your database right?

5
drchaos 2 hours ago 0 replies      
nice idea! A possible extension would be to allow POST to LOGIN_URL as an option, so users could log on (but not edit anything).
18
Rack - Important Security Upgrade github.com
45 points by dpaluy  5 hours ago   20 comments top 5
1
ChuckMcM 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The RoR security issues have been depressing for me. My daughter had a credit card stolen from a web site, built on rails by a third party for the owner, the owner didn't know what powered the web site, they had a really "easy to use" tool for putting things up there. A code audit showed the site had been completely re-done to appear the same and provide a card harvesting service forwarding card information to the Ukraine.

How many more of these are there out there? tens? hundreds? thousands?

2
ufo 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I searched a bit and found patches that I think help to explain what was going on and how severe things worse. I'd appreciate if anyone could confirm I found the correct stuff and if anyone could help explain what happened (in particular, I don't understand why the timing attack bug would lead to a remote code execution)

-----------

The first bug seems to be in some function that checks if you can find a file in a folder. Currently the funtion counts the number of ".."s to make sure you don't go out of the folder you started the search in (emitting an error if the depth becomes less than 0) however, this does not take into account the possibility of one of the intermediate folders in the pathbeing a symlink, meaning that the `./symlink/../bar` is not the same as `./bar` and therefore ruining the logic. The fix seems to be a hack to transform `./xxx/../b`s into `./b` by hand, without passing it to the fylesystem.

https://github.com/rack/rack/commit/6f237e4c9fab649d37504825...

The second bug seems to have to do with `==` not being safe and them having to do a "secure compare":

https://github.com/rack/rack/commit/0cd7e9aa397f8ebb3b8481d6...

edit: apparently the problem here is the time that `==` takes to run depends on the inputs. This means an attacker can do multiple carefully crafted requests and use this timing information to guess your secret key stuff. I still don't know why guessing the secret stuff would lead to remote code execution though.

3
wildchild 2 hours ago 0 replies      
4
Robin_Message 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How bad is this? I assume they say that Rails-based sessions are secure as they are HMAC'd with a secret, which a timing attack won't break unless the Rails HMAC testing is broken.
5
static_typed 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Another day, another Ruby security bump.
Sigh.
Serious point - as Ruby seems to attract all the younger generation of programmers these days, and the current trend seems to be dev early, release early, security hole early, could this be turned around by more experienced hands joining the community?

Could the Ruby way become a bit safer and more secure in time?

19
Start a timer via the url alrt.io
51 points by bpierre  6 hours ago   23 comments top 15
1
zerovox 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been using http://e.ggtimer.com/ for a while, seems a bit more comprehensive.
2
bajsejohannes 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Simple and cool. How about making the URLs more human readable:

    alrt.io/2minutes50seconds

or

    alrt.io/2m50s

instead of

    alrt.io/2%20minutes%2050%20seconds

The %20 makes it really hard to parse.

3
_phred 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Now, on alert completion do this:

  window.location.href = 'nyan.cat';

Neat little app, nice to see a simple non-Flash version of http://e.ggtimer.com

4
Kiro 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you missed the point of this. Try again.
5
rochoa 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The timeLeft -= 1000 approach is not the best one because setTimeout doesn't guarantee when the next tick is gonna happen.

Just open the JS console and type:

  for (var i = 0; i < 1e7; i++) {}

You will block the JS execution and your next tick will happen when the loop finishes. Using new Date().getTime() should do the job.

Edited for formatting.

6
chch 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Note: if you put in a time in hours higher than http://alrt.io/80063993375h
(such as http://alrt.io/80063993376h ), your timer may go off a second early, as it skips the first :59 on Mac OS X Safari/Chrome, going straight from :00 to :58.

I don't imagine this bug would cause much misfortune, though.

7
wesbos 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Great idea! Is the source anywhere? Would be cool too language processing for something like http://alrt.io/three%20hours
8
rythie 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it needs to be able to flash the favicon, when you have several tabs open, you can't see the title change.
9
atomical 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Cool, always good to have a countdown timer for monotonous things like stretching.
10
piqufoh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Well there's one hour and three seconds I'll never get back.

Neat idea - will be great for timing board games.

11
otibom 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is pretty neat. But I'm having a hard time understanding why should this be a web app ? When are we getting seamless installation of things like that ?
12
d23 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Am I misunderstanding something? I tried starting it thusly: http://alrt.io/3%20hours%2022%20minutes

Is the point not that it can handle a variety of input?

13
nono-atwork 2 hours ago 0 replies      
would be nice to have window.focus() added to your notifyWindow() javascript function, that way it gets my attention. :-)
14
momchenr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
what about milliseconds? no love there? :)
15
orensol 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool.
21
Ten Thousand Cents tenthousandcents.com
81 points by hansbo  8 hours ago   22 comments top 11
2
bruceboughton 5 hours ago 2 replies      
>> The project explores the circumstances we live in, a new and uncharted combination of digital labor markets, "crowdsourcing," "virtual economies," and digital reproduction.

How does this explore "the circumstances we live in"? I'm not knocking the project, but that is a bold, unsubstantiated claim.

3
habosa 3 hours ago 1 reply      
People in India spent an average of 11 minutes to make one cent? I must be reading those statistics incorrectly. I know work is cheap on MTurk but it's not THAT cheap.
4
uptown 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me a little bit of tiles.ice.org, the old collaborative drawing site from the ANSI art group iCE, where you were each provided the edges of the neighboring tiles from which to extend your own piece of artwork. The site is down now, but some of the creations that came out of there were phenomenal.
5
ScotterC 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. Also reminds me of Ai Wei Wei's Sunflower Seeds [1]. Where millions of chinese laborers hand made and painted millions of porcelain sunflower seeds. Wonderful parallels of thinking that Amazon Turk is the West's version of labor.

1. http://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/ai-weiwei-unloads-millions-...

6
JimmaDaRustla 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Awesome!

Laughed out loud in my cube at the white block by the tip of his nose.

7
TomGullen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome project! Didn't understand it at first when I was hovering until I read the about page. Really really cool art!
8
jpswade 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought it looked familiar. I remember when this came out in 2008.

It's a shame it's not updated...

9
0xdecaff 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Virus?
Kaspersky flags the site as trying to load http://feedma.com/cgi-bin/v/v.cgi//v in the homepage.
watch out.
Wepawet seems to think its clean.. shrugs
http://wepawet.iseclab.org/view.php?hash=e8b60fe27c3cfcb149d...
10
djrogers 1 hour ago 0 replies      
-- Missing Plug-in --

ugh.

11
notdrunkatall 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Elegant, I like it.
22
I found your mitten tapestry.is
14 points by slbedard  2 hours ago   13 comments top 6
1
sjs382 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Jennifer Gooch worked on an identical art project at least 5 years ago. The website used to be onecoldhand.com, but it seems to be a link farm now.

You can read more about Jennifer's project at http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/innovation/2008/winter/one-cold-... or watch a presentation about this project at http://www.allartburns.org/dorkbot/dorkbot-200801-jenn.m4v 244 Mb M4V)

2
kolektiv 2 hours ago 2 replies      
That's very cute. But the pedant in me will not let this pass without noting that many of what you've found are in fact gloves. Mittens do not have fingers. I'm sorry to have to point that out :) On the other hand (groan) you are helping the semi-gloveless too, so well done for that.
3
jack-r-abbit 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Brilliant! I've often thought about doing something like this... but with shoes. Except mine was more of a market place where people who found one single shoe could trade with other people that needed a match... even if they were not originally belonging to the same person. Obviously my idea is doomed to flop... but it sounded funny.
4
blaze33 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
There is a lost gloves collection at Oxo: http://www.oxo.com/UniversalDesign.aspx #ifoundmanymittens
5
gesman 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sort of like dating app for mittens? :
6
tolar 2 hours ago 0 replies      
thank god someone found my mitten! it's the one on slide #3. thanks @slbedard!!
23
Patents and Innovation: Evidence from Economic History [pdf] aeaweb.org
16 points by asdf333  3 hours ago   1 comment top
1
Someone 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
25
Show HN: Create GIFs and PDF e-books from video files github.com
4 points by mark_olson  41 minutes ago   discuss
26
Important Conversion Metrics You Should Watch liamkaufman.com
10 points by liamk  2 hours ago   2 comments top
1
nathanstitt 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Good points. An additional one I've found useful is an enthusiasm meter.

How you define that will be application dependent but I always aim to be fairly stringent.

For a forum, something like, "Number of users that make at least 3 posts per week that are longer than 100 words" would be a good one.

Watching that number can give you an outstanding early warning system, alerting you to problems that might not be immediately obvious.

As soon as your most enthusiastic users stop being quite so enthusiastic you need to know.

28
Soros: General Theory of Reflexivity (2009) ft.com
44 points by Anon84  5 hours ago   17 comments top 6
2
SatvikBeri 4 hours ago 2 replies      
You can find the rest of the lectures here: http://www.ft.com/intl/indepth/soros-lectures
3
wahsd 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting he left out capitalism in his list of ideology -isms in spite of its imposition, maintenance, and exploitation by force and violence that is simply more covert and pernicious. Once we are on the way to understanding that violence is not only the clobbering someone over the head, but also the institution and system in place that advantages one over another, then we will be getting somewhere.
4
gadders 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think Soros is kind of glossing over his wartime history a bit there.
5
tocomment 2 hours ago 3 replies      
What's the actionable investment advice here? I couldn't seem to figure it out.
6
001sky 5 hours ago 1 reply      
October 26, 2009
29
jQuery.payment stripe.com
411 points by Lightning  1 day ago   66 comments top 14
1
mey 1 day ago 4 replies      
There are several incorrect assumptions about this library

  Cards can be up to 19 digits
Bin ranges are constantly updated, so cardType in static code is a broken concept.
I expect in the future American Express will issues cards longer then 15 digits.
Minimun card length is 13 digits not 10

I don't feel like validating the luhn check, but historically I've seen systems that don't correctly handle the luhn check of variable sizes.

Edit: Reference material http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_card_number
If you are actually getting into credit card processing, please talk to your acquirer about data feeds of this type of info on bin ranges.

Edit 2: Wikipedia claims Maestro has 12 digit cards, but I've never seen one in the wild, I could be wrong about 13, but it's the assumption we've made processing international payments.

2
niggler 1 day ago 2 replies      
EDIT 2: appears that the issue was fixed: https://github.com/stripe/jquery.payment/issues/1

Original Message:
The card number is not linked to the CVV length:

343725117665768 is a valid american express number (generated from http://www.getcreditcardnumbers.com/)

Their CVV numbers are 4 digits, yet the inputs

    343725117665768
12 / 21
123

seems to pass ...

EDIT: filed issue: https://github.com/stripe/jquery.payment/issues/1

3
lbarrow 23 hours ago 0 replies      
4
kt9 1 day ago 2 replies      
The thing I love about stripe is that they're so focused on building the best customer experience and software that solves customer problems!
5
batuhanicoz 1 day ago 1 reply      
This may be useful with Node too. I wish it wasn't a jQuery plugin but a framework independent library.

(I'm aware I can use jQuery on the server-side, but why load jQuery only for a credit card number validation library?)

Other than that, this looks good. :)

6
nirvdrum 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Supporting 4 digit years might help on the usability front. I'm probably a special case, but I forgot what the format was, as it disappears immediately upon clicking on the field, and naively went with a 4 digit format. There's no helpful error message on the demo page either -- the field just highlights in red.

I don't immediately how much is just how that form was constructed vs. what's done in the JS lib.

7
borski 1 day ago 3 replies      
The JS load is failing on this page. :(

  Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 403 (Forbidden) https://raw.github.com/stripe/jquery.payment/master/lib/jquery.payment.js

Uncaught TypeError: Object [object Object] has no method 'formatCardNumber' jquery-payment:50

8
sethist 1 day ago 2 replies      
This looks nice, but I ran into an immediate usability issue. The Card Expiry requires a leading 0 for January. It seems like bad UI to prevent a user from enter 1/13 or 1/2013 in those fields.
9
alpb 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why I love Stripe, thanks for contributing bits and pieces to Open Source world!
10
jordan_clark 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very nice. They just keep making it easier and easier to use their service. Good job @stripe!
11
TazeTSchnitzel 18 hours ago 1 reply      
The fields seem nice, but use the cursor keys to edit and they fall apart.
12
theycallmemorty 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't it bad form to add 7 functions to the jQuery plugin 'namespace' in a single plugin?
13
fijal 9 hours ago 0 replies      
any hope for us poor souls that dwell outside of the United States?
14
remear 23 hours ago 1 reply      
No formatting occurs when input is pasted into the field. Is this by design?
30
What Really Killed the Dinosaurs? slate.com
63 points by tokenadult  6 hours ago   58 comments top 11
1
abcd_f 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The best theory I heard to date is this -

The moon is getting slowly away from the Earth. If we extrapolate backwards, it's obvious that at some point in dinosaur times it was mere meters away from the Earth surface and that's what kill the dinosaurs - they were knocked off by the moon.

2
c3d 1 hour ago 3 replies      
One thing I've always wondered about is what would remain of anything humanity built in 65 Myrs. If there had been a species of very smart dinosaurs populating the Earth for, say 100kyrs, and having a nuclear-capable civilization for say 200yrs... would we even see it?

I keep toying writing a book around the idea that a spaceship full of dinosaurs returns to Earth, having aged very little (Langevin's paradox), and find the planet populated by the offsprings of these pesky tiny egg eaters. Kind of like Planet of the Apes in reverse.

Oh well, if only I had time to write more than HN comments ;-)

3
SeanDav 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The article kind of contradicts itself. First saying that the asteroid impact theory is pretty outdated and then not really coming up with anything other than maybe it was asteroid impact and/or volcanic activity and/or changing sea levels.
4
3minus1 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm no scientist, but I do think it's interesting that the theory of a massive asteroid destroying the dinosaurs arose in the age of nuclear weapons. The article mentions a newer theory involving climate change, which seems to befit the present day.
5
Ntrails 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This idea was punted around for a long time and gained momentum during the “dinosaur renaissance” of the 1970s. By 1996, paleontologists had begun to find fuzzy, fluffy, feathery dinosaurs that confirmed what had been proposed on skeletal grounds"birds are just an offshoot of the dinosaur family tree.

There is a part of me that wants this to be the result of a mischievous entity watching from on high and thinking "oooh, I should probably hide some bones to match that theory, why didn't I think of it when I put the dinosaurs there in the first place..."

6
achalkley 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Dinosaurs are still alive today. Birds are avian dinosaurs. What I like to see are those dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets in the supermarket and thinking about how you're really eating dinosaurs.
7
tocomment 5 hours ago 6 replies      
I never understood why small dinosaurs wouldn't have had the same likelihood of survival as small mammals?

Also why didn't dinosaurs living in the sea survive this?

I've always had the suspicion there was something more going on to wipe out an entire animal kingdom at once.

8
veryOdd 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is very odd. Just today an article was published in Science that reinforces the theory that the Chicxulub impact was responsible (although the system was "under stress" before):

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6120/684

9
agrona 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is the first I've heard of the Deccan Traps. Interestingly, they're "almost" on the opposite side of the globe from the Chicxulub impact (21'N 90'W to 17'N 77'E).

I wonder if their formation or activity might have been caused by the impact?

10
bad_user 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Judging by current-day mammals and comparing them to current-day reptiles and birds which have a lot in common with dinosaurs, mammals may have been smarter and more fit to survive in general, especially to changing conditions.
11
pjungwir 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Since birds are dinosaurs, I wonder what the evolutionary history is of the big birds like emus and dodos. Did they come from medium-sized dinos?
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