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Helios helios.io
143 points by olivercameron  1 hour ago   14 comments top 12
prezjordan 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
I swear, Mattt must code for 40 hours a day. The sheer quantity (and quality!) of his ships is mind-boggling.

This looks fantastic, I'll definitely be checking this out!

andrewljohnson 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Neat, I already use mattt's CLI tool for interfacing with the Apple dev site: https://github.com/mattt/cupertino
nathan_long 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm impressed that the name includes the substring "iOS".
pasbesoin 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just FYI, Helios Software Solutions in England is the maker of the longstanding and widely distributed Textpad text editor for Windows. In case this would present a potential name conflict. (I don't know -- just mentioning.)



ryderm 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
I havn't done enough iOS to really speak intelligently about it, but this looks like a great place to start without limiting flexibility.

Although "an extensible open-source
mobile backend framework" seems to say that it also applies to non iOS, it doesn't seem that it does. Is it more suited for iOS, or iOS only?

saddino 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've been thinking that Parse (and StackMob, Kinvey et al) need to provide a similar self-deployable solution at a reasonable price; this might be the motivation they need to do so.
dracoli 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is really nice. Huge time saver for apps that only need a basic backend for certain functionalities.

Can this potentially also work for other mobile platforms?

Gertig 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Really looking forward to trying this out, owning your data definitely goes a long way.
bdotdub 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
This looks awesome - a Parse.com you can deploy yourself!
keeran 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
Good to see some potential (and OSS!) competition for Parse :)
coob 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've recently been working on a Node backend for IAP verification and providing signed S3 URLs for downloadable content - something like this would have halved the time it took. Good work Matt!
juanbyrge 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
NICE!!! So much better than parse
We call ourselves innovators, but most of us are really just iterators evernote.com
176 points by pgrote  3 hours ago   91 comments top 37
edw519 2 hours ago 4 replies      
We call ourselves innovators, but most of us are really just iterators...

That's a fine line. The most significant innovations are often iterations. (Google comes to mind.)

Why do we do this? Because we want to get rich, of course.

I disagree with "Because we want to get rich". And I definitely disagree with "of course". Real hackers do this because we just have to. It just so happens that currently it's also a great way to make money. Many of us hacked long before it was this way and many of us still hack for little or nothing (side projects, open source, etc.)

But technologists used to work on big problems.

We still do, probably more than ever. But if you're busy reading Techcrunch and going to conferences and hackathons, you'd probably never know about what the other 99% of us are doing.

They did it because technology is about improving the human condition...

There are many ways to do this, all with relative importance. Putting a man on the moon was definitely cool, but so is getting fresh produce to your supermarket (which probably benefits more people). Like a football team, we hackers all do our part in the blocking, tackling, running, throwing, catching, and scoring. It all counts.

Just a few of the things I've contributed to in the past few years ("sexy" is in the eye of the beholder):

  - people get the right prescription medication on time
- firetrucks and ambulances get to where they're supposed to be
- parts that go into cars and planes are properly certified
- prisoners are kept in jail
- those same prisoners get proper medical care
- electronic equipment gets assembled properly and on time
- medical supplies get dispatched to where they're supposed to
- insurance claims are processed properly
- quality data is properly maintained for food items

cllns 2 hours ago 4 replies      
> A few months ago, a startup developer friend said to me "I don't understand why poor kids, ghetto kids, don't do startups to get out of poverty."

I've got just about zero tolerance left for people who don't acknowledge their privilege.

jdminhbg 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> But technologists used to work on big problems. Not First World problems, but whole world problems -- sending humans to the moon, ending poverty, ending disease.

Having enough surplus capital that we can take a three day trip to the Moon seems pretty First World to me.

Which technologists worked on "ending poverty" as a primary goal? Did we stop working on ending disease? We can't seem to decide whether we are spending way too much on ending disease or way too little.

Articles like this keep popping up but they don't really seem to have any point other than being self-congratulatory to the author and likeminded audiences for how much they care about Important Things instead of Uber, which is just for taking a car from SFO to Moscone (oh wait except it's not, it actually turns out to have side effects that are significant benefits to immigrant women who would otherwise be shut out of the cab industry: http://transpoplanner.tumblr.com/post/40777853649/is-uber-em...).

austenallred 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I see every innovation as a conglomeration of different things one has experienced. Or in other words, iterations.

This goes to the core of creativity: Creativity usually comes from combining things or ideas that are normally compartmentalized in others' minds. Have you ever noticed how most of the startup founders you know have a wide diversity of experiences to draw upon? Most of them have lived in foreign countries and are well acquainted with subcultures most of us are barely even aware of. The reason curiosity is such a positive trait is because it gives you more inputs to operate off of. The article gives a perfect example:

"A long time ago, when I was a columnist at the Las Vegas CityLife, my editor called me up one day and asked if me if I ever wanted to find out what was in the storm drains under the city. And because I have notoriously poor self-preservation skills, I grabbed a Mag-Lite and headed on down." That's the kind of crazy, insatiable curiosity that ends in you seeing the world differently. That's why innovators seem so crazy, but what they're doing makes complete sense in their minds.

In other words, in my mind it's impossible to draw a line between "innovation" and "iteration," because every innovation is really an iteration of different ideas no one had ever really put together before.

fijal 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry, but just stop living in your bubble and you'll be fine. There are great people out there doing great things, using technology, they just don't happen to be prominently featured on the site that takes "what can be delivered in two weeks" to new levels. Look for example at the stuff praekelt foundation is doing - http://www.praekeltfoundation.org/ videos are short enough for most attention spans), or actually, wikipedia.
jwoah12 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> But technologists used to work on big problems. Not First World problems, but whole world problems -- sending humans to the moon, ending poverty, ending disease

I see this sentiment a lot these days, and I can't help but wonder if this is a case of looking into the past through rose-tinted glasses. Just like how people always talk about the "good ole' days" while selectively forgetting about everything that was wrong during that time. Could this all be selection bias? Decades ago, the barrier to entry to become a technologist and start a tech company was a lot higher. Writing software was harder, more expensive, and fewer people were trained to do it. Therefore those people had to be especially passionate and skilled at the craft. I think this subset of technologists still exists and is probably even larger than it was "back then," but since there are so many more developers out there today, they make up a smaller percentage.

lubujackson 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The innovator-iterator argument seems to be a red herring. The real issue here is building bullshit apps vs. helpful apps. I think focusing on making helpful apps is a more important message to developers than trying to "fix poverty in Africa" which is a nice goal but not something any web developer is likely going to impact.

The reality is no one is going to come up with an idea like mFarm without REALLY understanding that audience. You won't understand an entire ecosystem just by sitting on the corner. If you want to help Kenyans, instead find some promising Kenyan entrepreneurs and offer to be their code monkey, review their code or host their website. I think humility is crucial if you want to contribute to a market you don't fully understand.

jiggy2011 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Totally agree.
Something that I find worrying is that there is an increasing share of the capital converging at top of society.
The result of this is that if you want to build a profitable company, you are best off getting revenue by targeting these people rather than the middle and lower classes. Unless you have a product like tobacco or farmville that happens to be addictive of course.

So there are more people worried about solving problems like "I have a house full of massive TVs but I still need to press the remote to change channels!" than problems like "I'm poor and can't get a job".

The accepted Wisdom on HN seems to be that if you are targeting average consumers you better make your product free because they don't have money to pay for it. So you still need to build the business model around high net worth people (like advertising companies).

a_p 1 hour ago 1 reply      
My favorite resource about software innovation is David A. Wheeler's list of the most important software innovations.[1]
Most of the items on the list are from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and 90s; just one is from the past ten years (Wheeler was at first ambivalent about even adding it). He also makes the point that it is okay not to be innovative, and quotes Linus Torvalds:

  "People want to hear about the one big idea that changes the world, but that's not how the world works. It's not about visionary ideas; it's about lots of good ideas which do not seem world-changing at the time, but which turn out to be great after lots of sweat and work have been applied."


rmrfrmrf 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the kind of post that happens when someone gets so wrapped up in startup land that they lose all context of the "real world."

These "first world problem"-solving companies he's talking about are really just B2B companies made to help the ACTUAL, real-world problem solving companies do their jobs more easily. No customer cares about MailChimp. No consumer thinks about Twilio. They're not solving first-world problems, they're solving BUSINESS problems.

Downplay the importance of those companies all you like, but making one company's business operations better in turn allows that company to reach out and help more people.

bguthrie 2 hours ago 0 replies      
From the OP:

    But technologists used to work on big problems.

Many still do. And some technologists used to work on small problems, and some still do. There never was a perfect time in which every technologist ran around working on the Biggest Problem They Could Find.

calinet6 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Completely agree, great article.

There are a lot of companies working on a lot of very small problems these days. It's natural, since the economic imbalance makes it more worthwhile to solve small problems for a large number of people who have disposable money to pay for small solutions.

But there are big problems out there that we should be inspired to solve.

Let's solve the meta-problem: what's holding us back from being able to think of solutions to the bigger problems facing humanity? What's the cause of our collective myopia?

up_and_up 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> mFarm isn't hot and sexy. It's not the kind of thing that generally gets a Valley VC to reach for their wallet.

My friend and I built TargetMobi, http://www.targetmobi.com along a similar vein. In Africa, SMS is everywhere and our goal was to help companies and organizations connect with their users via SMS.

Unfortunately, we found zero Angel/VC interest in this and have since pivoted a few times.

I think the overall approach still has potential though.

lmm 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Are porn sites really that easy to make money from? The impression I've had from here is that while there's lots of money to be made, there's also lots of competition and the business relationships you need can be difficult to obtain and keep.
Ixiaus 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with the sentiment of the article, Steve Blank gave a somewhat more enlightening talk about this topic at SXSW (I can't remember what it was titled, but here's the slides from the talk - it's all I could find: http://www.slideshare.net/500startups/steve-blank-stanford-s...)

"Porn" was a terrible example, btw. I imagine Porn is more difficult to get rich at then by copy-pasting and iterating on an idea in a space where VC funding is flying and it's the "popular" thing to do.

Porn, I'm sure, is extremely difficult to raise funding for and I'll bet licensing from the actual producers of porn is costly. What about user generated porn sites? I'll bet their revenue models are even more scary and only a few actually make it by pushing camsite adverts on you.

[EDIT] To finish what I was saying, I believe as a programmer, not porn but HFT or working for finance/quant firms would be a good parallel for "getting rich".

squozzer 2 hours ago 0 replies      
>But technologists used to work on big problems. Not First World problems, but whole world problems -- sending humans to the moon, ending poverty, ending disease.

Sending humans to the Moon was (and apparently still is) a First World problem, unless you intend to terraform and colonize it with a social cross-section of humanity.

Smart people are still working on the other big problems, but they require a lot of time and resources -- heavily concentrated in a relatively small number of organizations I might add -- while the rest of us have to satisfy ourselves with making money and a life relatively free of heroic deeds.

obviouslygreen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is certainly true for a lot of people who work in startups. However, the author seems to believe that "we" encompasses not just him and his short-sighted friend, but anyone working on a startup.

1. No, not everyone in this position confuses "iteration" with "innovation."

2. No, not all people who are working on startups or startup products consider themselves "innovators."

3. No, all of us certainly do not confuse "poverty" with "lack of startup initiative."

Yeah, most of what "we," in the sense the author seems to mean, do is iteration (at best). But suggesting that this is a standard mistake is a confusing assumption and, to me, suggests that beyond the iteration/innovation mistake, the author has made so many generalizations that by making one point he's missed several that are painfully similar.

mongol 1 hour ago 0 replies      
YES! That is so true. How many times have you not heard "we should not invent the wheel again". To this I always thought to myself (but seldom said) - but the wheel is invented over and over again. New wheels for new purposes, better working for their purpose, whether F1 cars, Jumbo Jets, trains, trolleys, carts etc etc. However it is so true - the wheel is not reinvented, it is improved, iterated over again. And it is just like it should be
mtp0101 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
False dichotomy out of helping the poor/helping the rich.
Taking advantage of the neomarxist undercurrent of bay area culture and the information technology industry by framing technology as a method of helping the proletariat escape their unfortunate circumstances.
Innovation/iteration binary unclear and implicitly related to the helping the poor/helping the rich binary.
It is a bad idea to go sit in a poor area with a forty to come up with startup ideas relative to other things one could do.
Other than drinking a 40 and loving the poor, the author offers little specific guidance to entrepreneurs.
orangethirty 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Being an iterator is the right thing to do. Real innovation happens over time (innovation follows the same process as evolution). You can't simply invent a car without a wheel. Imagine trying to build a car without every learning the dynamics of a wheel first. Instead of focusing on making new things, go ahead and pick something that exists and improve on it. Don't build the next Facebook, but improve upon it. Don't build the next Google, improve upon it (which is why I'm doing Nuuton). Iterate. Improve. In ten years, you will have a completely new product by working on the same old one.
RougeFemme 1 hour ago 0 replies      
But technologists used to work on big problems. Not First World problems, but whole world problems -- sending humans to the moon, ending poverty, ending disease.

Point taken, but. . .not sure I agree that technologists were that involved with trying to end povery. Well, they were certainly involved, but I don't think they were the drivers. And I think sending humans to the moon was definitely a first world "problem" - not even on the list of priorities for third-word nations.

drcube 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Even Newton stood on the shoulders of giants. Iteration is innovation. Sometimes you just happen to be lucky enough to stumble on something big and important when you're iterating. But it's the same process, it only looks different in hindsight.
jacquesm 1 hour ago 0 replies      
We can call ourselves whatever we want. In the end it does not matter at all, it is what others will call you what matters.
kayoone 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Innovation isnt black and white and happens on many levels.

Theres your innovative app that lets you hire private taxis for getting around town.

Theres your new 3D Game Engine that introduces a few new features and pushes the boundaries of computer graphics.

Theres a guy in india building cheap bicycles from cardboard.

Theres your electric car company that pushes our understanding of a good all-electric car to new levels.

Theres your Space company that makes Space endeavours a lot less expensive and wants to put humans on Mars in 10 years.

This is all iteration, standing on the shoulders of giants and all, but its also innovation, just on completely different scales.

gdubs 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm reminded of a book "Old Masters and Young Geniuses"[1]. The author makes a case that experimental iterators make their biggest contributions at an older age, whereas the artists who take bold conceptual leaps often achieve artistic success at a much younger age. Neither approaches are considered more or less innovative; some just arrive there more quickly.

1. http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8019.html

tjbiddle 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I know this is the smallest part I could take out of the post.. but Fremont - Ghetto? Maybe OP meant East Palo Alto, or Oakland, but IMO Fremont is one of the safest, homey places to live in the Bay Area.

But then again, maybe I'm hanging out on that "One Block" - But I guess that block encompasses 12mi^2 :-).

More on topic - I wouldn't agree completely. Some startups are new completely, some are building things a little bit better, some are just using technology to re-invent something for the 21st century. If you're limiting your example startups then you can make any point you want.

chipsy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It really shouldn't matter whether you're doing one or the other. You need availability and quality of other things in your ecosystem to make the big leaps. And when you do make the leap, it tends to look trivial.
michaelwww 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There's an app for tractor roll-overs. That's innovation by the author's definition:


alxbrun 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Regarding iteration vs. innovation, I'm so mad each time I hear about Square, Stripe, Balanced, etc. etc. as innovations in the payments space.

Find me a way to get rid of the absurd 3% worldwide tax that Visa, Amex, Mastercard take on every payment for almost NO added value (well there was added value 30 years ago, but today ?) and then, OK, let's call this innovation.

clintjhill 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't forget to look at industries where maybe there already exists large solutions or organizations, but aren't doing as much as can be done to help those that need it most. Education and Healthcare are a few of these. You might not make billions of dollars improving Kindergarten classes in North America, but you could "change" the world.
pgrote 3 hours ago 0 replies      
News article discussing the event where presented:


Hario 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the best thing I've read on Hacker News in a long time.
kurtko 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
Iteration != innovation, but the two certainly can overlap in a venn diagram.
ibudiallo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The author may have used the words innovator and iterator, but I think the stronger message is just we need to stop valuing useless but addictive technological feats and go for what actually make a difference.
ececconi 1 hour ago 1 reply      
How is sending a person to the moon a whole world problem? what "problem" did it solve in the world?
D9u 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Sequence, selection, & iteration."
These are the foundations of software, so how should we not be iterators?
gmu3 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like the author somewhat contradicts himself when he implies the poor ghetto types will never be innovators but says the rest of us are all blinded from the "very real problems that the rest of humanity faces." If you really felt that way, wouldn't the ghetto types have a big advantage if they can get over their resource problems.
Explicit vs. Clever raganwald.com
27 points by raganwald  45 minutes ago   3 comments top 3
akavi 1 minute ago 0 replies      
I feel like more than anything, this demonstrates the value of lightweight lambdas.

    var totals = splat(get('total'))(orders);

is definitely nicer than

    var totals = orders.map(function(o){return o.total;});

But there really is not much difference between the coffeescript versions:

    totals = splat(get('total'))(orders);

totals = orders.map (o)->o.total

jiaaro 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Cleverness for it's own sake may be a bad thing, but cleverness in general isn't bad.

The really important thing is that when you do something clever, you ensure that people who use your clever function/module/library/webservice don't have to also understand your cleverness.

Leaky abstractions can be worse than no abstraction.

ante_annum 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
It seems like there's a learning spectrum that defines what's explicit and what's clever. If you're not familiar with HOF, then functional programming is always going to appear clever. But as you learn, things lose a bit of magic.

I think the key to a team being explicit vs clever together is that everyone has about the same understanding of explicit vs clever.

Vega: A Visualization Grammar on top of D3 github.com
72 points by mmaia  2 hours ago   12 comments top 5
seliopou 2 hours ago 4 replies      
This makes me feel funny. I can't exactly put my finger on why, but here's an attempt.

At first glance the purpose of this project is to make it easier for non-programmers to create visualizations. It's basically d3 without JavaScript, with the added ability to render the visualization using canvas instead of SVG.

When I look at the examples, I get confused. I know d3 and I expected to see less complexity, less manual layout setup, and less explicit data dependencies than I would see in the equivalent d3 code. The only thing that this seems to simplify is the declaration of the range of scales when they depend on the width or height of the canvas.

But maybe I was mistaken on first glance. Maybe the point is not to make it easy for non-programmers to create visualizations, but to make it easier for programs to make visualizations? JSON is easy to generate and to parse. JavaScript is neither.

jheer can you chime in here? Anybody?

th0ma5 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Some of the best uses of D3 show understanding of every part of the process from getting, understanding, and cleaning the data, to thinking about its structure and designing interactions that let the user really get a feel for what is being presented. I think this project helps a little bit somewhere in the middle of the process, and ignores the rest of it.
carterschonwald 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm very very excited about this. Mostly because it will make writing a d3 backend to some data vis tools i'm hacking on much easier.
tvst 14 minutes ago 1 reply      
Nice! A ggplot-like grammar-of-graphics-inspired library was definitely missing for the web.

Keep up the good work.

roarkmaan 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
This seems like a potentially valuable way to shift some of the standard PDF reports I generate in R over to dynamic web pages.

I had heard Hadley Wickham talk about rendering ggplot2 graphics using d3 and am wondering if he'll be using this standard.

Vayable (YC S12) Launches Destinations techcrunch.com
24 points by jamievayable  1 hour ago   1 comment top
priley 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Can't wait to use this for my next adventure.
Show HN: Mosaic " Use multiple iPhones as one big screen mosaic.io
36 points by igul222  1 hour ago   28 comments top 14
magicseth 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The Junkyard Jumbotron lets you use all sorts of devices, and it's web based. You arrange the screens in the positions you want, and each one displays a QR code. You take a picture of them all together, and the Jumbotron breaks the image up in to the right pieces:


mortenjorck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I really like the business model here: Free, simple standalone app that serves as a fun proof-of-concept, supported by a commercial SDK for the inevitable ideas you'll come up with. Smart.
piyush_soni 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
Just wondering on your business model. Do you really expect there would be many people with so many iPhones to use this for the purpose of making a big screen? Because those who don't already have, would probably just buy one big screen IMO...
paul9290 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
Nice... us hackers must be thinking the same thing lately - let's use multiple IP devices to do X.

We just released...

SpeakerBlast - Turn multiple friends' IP devices into one massive stereo system.

Checking out Mosiac ... i wonder what other uses of multiple IP devices can be put to use to?

haraball 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here's another relevant project by Seb Lee-Delisle:


zalew 1 hour ago 2 replies      
were you aware of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_%28web_browser%29 when choosing the name?
nwh 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It's a pity they need such new devices, I've got a box full of old iPhones and iPods that this could have been used on.
undershirt 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Very neat art experiment and interface implementation. I love it. I can see a lot of fun social table top games using this.
rjvir 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I saw this live at PennApps - it's incredible. It truly feels magic.
ricardobeat 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Props for the very clever position detection!
leeoniya 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
most expensive screen ever.
gailees 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is really neat...what would I want to use the SDK for though...?
romeonova 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
If only I have multiple devices laying around.
sebastianbruce 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just downloaded it, loving it so far!
Check you're wearing trousers first robertheaton.com
222 points by FailMore  6 hours ago   45 comments top 17
edw519 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice post.

Whenever I run into a fresh technical problem, I often think of this:

"Why does Grandma remove the chicken's legs when she makes soup?"

Aunt Dorothy: "It's easier to cut the chicken when it's cold that when it's hot."

Uncle Bob: "Greater surface area better infuses the broth with fat."

Aunt Sue: "To allow the dark meat and white meat develop flavor on their own."

Aunt Jean: "Smaller pieces allow the chicken to cook faster and more thorougly."

Grandma: "So that it fits in the pot."

zacharyvoase 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes, 100%.

One thing I've enjoyed so far about being a contractor (but not a consultant) is that even as a relatively junior developer, I get to see the dirty internals of many different companies, and spot patterns between them. This is one of them.

I've been at companies that decided to switch to hot new NoSQL distributed fault-tolerant join-free key-value vector clock databases, when really they only needed to add a couple of indexes to a few heavily-queried fields. I've seen language switches and full re-architectures based on perceived performance problems, but the complexities of the new architecture made request latencies worse (c.f. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-system_effect).

The best approach I've seen so far is described as 'list, rank, iterate'. Profile your problems aggressively, rank the issues in descending order of importance, and greedily work your way down the list, fixing them.

abstractbill 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Excellent post.

The first question I ask myself, as an engineer approaching a new problem, is "How can I cheat? What's the 90% solution that will take 10% of the time?" (The next question is, "Is 90% enough?").

I'm always surprised by engineers who don't think this way.

smcl 5 hours ago 2 replies      
The "STOP SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY ON HELICOPTERS AND MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS" line reminded me of this piece, from the excellent Armando Iannucci Shows:


bjhoops1 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a pleasant delusion to believe that all our problems require hard solutions.

Love this! So true.

I'll never forget my first job out of college, a Senior Developer told me something along the lines of "Nothing we do is cutting edge. You will almost never need anything more sophisticated than brute force algorithms and database I/O." And yet we managed to create some pretty cool products for our users. Good article.

RKoutnik 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Working on trouser-color problems is also a form of procrastination. It's much more "fun" to tackle big problems with lots of code that will get Big Results.

I always try to start my day with something really boring and basic for this reason - Things like "Add X to DB class" are tedious, but they help bootstrap my brain into a place where I can tackle the bigger problems (if I need to).

johngalt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.

You'd be surprised how many big strategic decisions are made on top of a mountain of opinions. Try to be guided by what is happening not what should happen.

noelwelsh 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I enjoyed this article and I agree with the main point it makes. I want to quibble about a smaller point, which is that intuition is not always a reliable guide.

The author gives a few examples where they got stuck in and fixed the "obvious" problems. My experience is that what is a problem is not always obvious. Furthermore, while the big wins might be obvious, you'll miss many small wins if you're not carefully tracking stats. These are the main lessons of A/B testing.

DoubleMalt 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post. It's a trap I tend fall into myself far to often. And it's the same direction as DHH's famous rant about winning in Vegas.

It's a virtue too rarely seen, that you should try to solve a problem with the minimal set of code possible.

Everything should be as simple as possible., but not simpler. (Sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein, even if he probably never uttered the exact words)

austenallred 3 hours ago 1 reply      
While I get the point of the article, I have to say that nearly every time I run split-testing or multivariate testing I am surprised at the results. Honestly, at this point I'm somewhat convinced that sites that are uglier convert better.

So while I agree that a lot of things we can overcomplicate, it's not safe to say "Just go with your intuition." It doesn't have to be as cut and dry as "once users get 10 friends they keep coming back," but don't use that as an excuse to not look at your data.

wolfgke 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think these solutions are simple. I personally consider the highly technical solutions far more simple, since there are scientific properties like falsifiability, lower bounds etc. that you can use to analyze these kinds of problems.

On the other hand for the problems written about in the article there are no such methods known. Thus they are far more complicated. The only property that enables us to apply them in our world is that our society brainwashes people into common sense (which is far, far away from good solutions; common sense only delivers solutions that barely work).

So I still believe (more than ever) that hard problems require hard solutions. But I define "hard solutions" differently than the article.

hipsters_unite 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My dad worked his way up (several companies) from being an engineer to a technical manager and most of his success was from repeating 'keep it simple' at key junctures, so far as I can tell.
lesinski 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're just a dude or a small start-up then sure, avoid analysis paralysis. But if you work at a bigger company, you have to test and bring in data to make changes -- otherwise, your stuff will lose out to other priorities.
benjaminwootton 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Want happy blog readers? Check you're not hijacking peoples back button first!

(Just kidding, it was a great read apart from that!)

zimbatm 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In short, identify the problem, solve it. Not, choose a technology that you like and hope it's going to solve your vaguely defined problem.
pluggerguy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"He says, there are no easy answers! I say, he's not looking hard enough!" Bart Simpson
jorgeleo 5 hours ago 0 replies      

Occam Razor

Better simple than easy

Show HN: Chardin.js, beautiful instructions for apps github.com
63 points by heelhook  3 hours ago   22 comments top 11
ryderm 43 minutes ago 1 reply      
Looks really nice, but I always feel that if you need some kind of guided tour for your app, you've already shot yourself in the foot.
munaf 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Very cool!

I think it would be worth displaying each message one at a time with a delay in between (that way they could function as a sequential tour in addition to coach marks).

bluetidepro 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Very well done! I personally like this style of on-boarding versus the "tour" style where you have to click around a bunch of times to see everything. Again, nicely done!
atestu 1 hour ago 2 replies      
And it works in IE8! Thanks for this.
tpsc 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Very impressive. It doesn't respond well to resizing the browser but maybe it is just a matter of playing with css "position" or something. Also, great name!
rajivtiru 2 hours ago 2 replies      
This is awesome, I literally was going to research javascript intro/tutorials today. Off to a great start!

Have you tested across browsers? I just need it to work in webkit/mozilla. maybe ie10.

fam 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It doesn't open again in Firefox 20
zimpenfish 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Overly picky, I know, but it doesn't cope with font size changes...
codeoclock 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Really cool, can't wait to use it :
rel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Simple and elegant, very nice :)
shayonj 2 hours ago 0 replies      
looks neat :). Good one.
94% of Americans Cannot Name One Chinese Brand. Can you? hdtradeservices.com
14 points by dsugarman  36 minutes ago   15 comments top 10
bbuffone 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
When you are not open about letting people into your market; it is not easy to get out of that market either. i have lived in china for 3 years so i would be cheating to answer this question.

In general, i find the chinese web applications to be a viable alternative to many non-chinese web apps (weibo.com, games...) my new favorite is wechat.com made by tencent.com. it is the best mobile communicator that has been developed.

guard-of-terra 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Poor US Market Strategy and Execution"
Is it really an example of a poor marketing?

If you are a chinese brand, do you win by positioning you as chinese? Really, do you? Do you want to be associated with walmart, chinese hackers and mao ze dung?

I think if you are a chinese brand, your best marketing strategy is to focus on quality and affordability of your wares, not on your chineseness.

rikacomet 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised to see this on front page :(

I don't know a single Kiwi, Australian, Mexican, Brazilian brand. So what? Its not as if, 94% of Americans were interviewed :/

we have some serious war mongers here people!

minopret 13 minutes ago 3 replies      
Besides Lenovo? I had seen Alibaba.com come up in my searches for electronic knick knacks. It's impressively huge. Baidu Baike comes up in discussions of what could compare to Wikipedia, although I'll admit I wasn't able to spell it without searching for it. I'm aware that there are additional Chinese sites in the top 10 on Alexa, but I couldn't name them without looking.

So I imagine that, like me, a lot of Hacker News users can think of a couple of Chinese brands.

stuaxo 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I like how their link to "the four fatal mistakes of trade show blah" goes to a 404..
johnward 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
because other companies utilize china's manufacturer capabilities and market the products with their own brand
Aloha 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Huawei, Lenovo, Wouxun.
13b9f227ecf0 7 minutes ago 1 reply      
Are Taiwanese companies Chinese or not?
unix-dude 11 minutes ago 1 reply      
Pretty sad, considering quite a few popular smartphones are re-branded ZTE and Huawei phones.
smooradian 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
Cathay Pacific, Air China
Our Regressive Web medium.com
21 points by lukedeering  1 hour ago   9 comments top 4
spindritf 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
The demise of USENET was the first great regression for me. I still haven't found a forum quite as convenient as a news client.
webwanderings 27 minutes ago 1 reply      
I don't think we are regressing because the AOL of olden days was an indicator of why the Flipboards of today is successful and why Google Reader is dead. We were never progressing to begin with because the mass was not interested in curating their own, rather, they are happy with the apps buttons, the beautiful looking magazines and what not.
api 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The PC revolution is regressing too. We're going back to mainframes and jailed devices.
davedx 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
What about new sites like Instapaper and Newsblur?

And Digg (OK, OK), Reddit, Hacker News?

We're losing some things and gaining others. The web isn't regressing, it's evolving.

Microsoft Launches Windows QuickStart Kit For Mac Developers techcrunch.com
113 points by lanthe  4 hours ago   77 comments top 27
uptown 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Great deal. For $25 + shipping you get a Windows 8 Professional license, Parallels 8, and a USB stick. Just change the "disabled" attribute on the order button, and you're all set.
zampano 58 minutes ago 1 reply      
Well, that was disappointing. Spent about 20 minutes trying to get in on this, only to find out it is sold out when the site finally loads. If they want developers to give Windows 8 a spin, they'll need to put in a little more effort to make this process less of a pain.
ja27 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Besides building Windows 8 apps, I think you can even build Windows Phone 8 apps with this. It looks like Parallels now has support for all the virtualization / SLAT stuff that the WP8 emulator needs. (VMWare Fusion 5 has this as well.)


powertower 1 hour ago 0 replies      

Just tried, submited payment info, got message back after a minute.

jefflinwood 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is an excellent idea for Microsoft, but this web site has cratered under the load.

I'm assuming they're using Stripe from the little message on my JS console, but I'm having some serious trouble getting it to accept my payment (in Safari on Mac OS X, Chrome isn't connecting at all).

EDIT: I am getting "something went wrong :(" after clicking submit, two or three times now.

TomAnthony 22 minutes ago 2 replies      
Sorry if I missed this - but what do you get on the USB stick that isn't the same as downloading Parallels / Win 8 / IE10 combo they offer on the site?
xradionut 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The cynical developer inside me thought, "Windows 8 has so little traction among Windows developers, Redmond is trying to attract Apple developers out of desperation."
rajivtiru 2 hours ago 4 replies      
This is what i got after forcing the jsonp callback: "Product sold out! Thanks for shopping."
geekbri 4 hours ago 2 replies      
A more direct link to the page to get the kit


geekbri 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks like swish is a little bogged down at the moment. My connection attempts are timing out :)
dmix 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds great.

Parallels + pirated windows 8 isn't too hard to set up, but for any billable rate, $25 is a good deal.

2_ghosts 2 hours ago 1 reply      
My checkout experience:

Enabled the button, clicked it, nothing happened. Looked in Firebug at the Network console, saw a failure come back from the 'Pay' step.

Triple-checked my payment info, clicked the button once more. 25-30 seconds later, I got two consecutive "Something went wrong" javascript alerts. A minute or so later, I got two confirmation emails, lacking any useful details. I'm guessing I was charged twice.

Once it is possible to log into the site, I will see what my order status says. Right now /login continues to time-out.

dsuriano 43 minutes ago 1 reply      
Makes me wonder if Microsoft would ever consider releasing IE for Mac OS X again. That would seem to be a good way to make sure Mac Developers target IE...
Tomdarkness 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Every time I submit the order I just get a javascript alert with "something went wrong :(" No idea if the order went through or not...

Edit: Got an order confirmation via email. However, I really think when you are dealing with payments you should implement a more detailed explanation than a javascript alert of "something went wrong"

throwaway1979 3 hours ago 0 replies      
No ... I just got mine. Kudos to Microsoft on this one. My money is going to a good cause and I get to give Windows 8 development a chance.
Wonderdonkey 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Sorry, we are sold out of this item." Aw.
adlpz 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this mean you need to be a registered Apple Developer (with the ID and all the jazz..)? I can't get to the site to check, it keeps timing out.
hmottestad 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This just hit engadget.
keesj 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Sold out
andzt 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Guys... stop clicking the link so I can get my order through.

k thx

magomandrake 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Well played MS.....
panzerboy 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I managed to order, got the email but swish.com/login doesn't load.

Also, what are the credentials? Wasn't asked for any password ...

planetjones 3 hours ago 2 replies      
:( USA Only...
Tortoise 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't work at all for me. Been trying for 15 minutes. :-(
jeromegv 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It worked for me, site was slow but I was still able to submit the order
matdrewin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sold out :(
dsl 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The frustrating experience of trying to order this is why nobody wants to deal with your platform... sigh
Netcat " The swiss army knife of networking mylinuxbook.com
127 points by giis  5 hours ago   30 comments top 18
sliverstorm 1 minute ago 0 replies      
My favorite use of nc to date:

cat disk.img > nc

nc > /dev/sda

calinet6 4 hours ago 2 replies      
No better way to get the absolute maximum possible use of your pipe with the absolute minimum amount of security! Netcat has saved my butt when that 12GB package absolutely, positively has to be there within the next minute.

One of the coolest network utilities around. It's literally like a cat piped through the network. These are all great examples.

kaeso 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I couldn't really survive without socat:
stiff 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ngrep is another awesome tool that is a networking equivalent of a common UNIX utility (although a more loose one in this case):


Also +1 for socat as a netcat replacement, having SSL there when needed is really helpful. I use it a lot for testing when developing network applications, replacing one end point with a fixed set of responses or even typing stuff in interactively etc.

thomaslutz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Nginx - the swiss army knife to avoid webserver overloading after getting frontpaged on HN (currently seeing error 500 from Apache only).
c-oreills 4 hours ago 1 reply      
See also ncat - netcat for the 21st century: http://nmap.org/ncat/
pjmlp 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Except it is not Linux specific, rather a UNIX born utility.
matugm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I love socat, way more powerful than netcat, it also supports SSL and IPv6, I wrote about some netcat to socat examples here http://www.blackbytes.info/2012/07/socat-cheatsheet/
vinhboy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This really cool. I have always wondered if there was tool to quickly open a chat between two computers. It's nice to learn about this.
sigil 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Network REPL, with autocomplete and history:

    rlwrap nc ....

3am 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think PowerShell has its own idiom for doing this. You might want to look into BITS (and related PS cmdlets), too.
chm 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems there are better alternatives to netcat, i.e. socat and ncat. Why should I choose either? I'd like to learn how to use such a tool, but I'm not a CS major.
jnazario 3 hours ago 0 replies      
nc is ancient but flexible. want encryption? pipe in openssl's command line to encrypt a stream. i'm pleased to see it so widely deployed.

for fun, find the original hobbit nc source code and read the comments. the complaints in there about writing a portable utility and dealing with platforms' weirdness and brokenness.

zyberkiddy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Few months earlier, when I was learning shell programming, I created a simple file transfer script using netcat (nc) and zenity (for little GUI).. Can be used to transfer files inside LAN.. It was actually made to use inside our college lab for my non technical friends..


fduran 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Just in case: if you like ncat and networking tools check out also scapy http://www.secdev.org/projects/scapy/demo.html
amenghra 3 hours ago 0 replies      
make sure you checkout socat. It's netcat on steroids (http://www.dest-unreach.org/socat/)
gtrubetskoy 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Why is it a Linux netcat command? What about the FreeBSD netcat or the Solaris one?
NoodleIncident 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Site's down. Didn't know that HN hugged so hard...
How to Model Viral Growth: Retention and Virality Curves linkedin.com
23 points by rahulvohra  1 hour ago   discuss
Close.io (YC W11) Raises Funding To Improve Communication For Salespeople techcrunch.com
39 points by SteliE  2 hours ago   8 comments top 6
philfreo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd love any product feedback if you're in sales. http://close.io/

For technical details about how we built it, check out http://blog.close.io/post/45202900854/the-tech-stack-behind-...

asdf333 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Congrats guys. Way to pivot to other ideas, hang in there and keep things growing!
tjbiddle 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats Phil, Steli, Jason, Thomas, and any other engineer who's creeped in there since my last visit ;-)!
ryandelk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome - congrats Phil, Steli and team!
kirsch 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Great news for the Elastic team.
zoea 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Great product Steli!


Yahoo! Mail Partners With Dropbox To Add File Attachments techcrunch.com
52 points by hoov  2 hours ago   44 comments top 14
goronbjorn 2 hours ago 2 replies      
> This is good news for both companies, specifically Dropbox. This brings an all new audience to the service, which has become a mainstay in the workplace. The company has yet to crack the consumer area

That's completely backwards. Dropbox started as a consumer tool and is now creeping into the workplace.

jwwest 2 hours ago 6 replies      
> Yahoo! Mail is still the #3 most used mail service in the world with Hotmail and Gmail in front of it.

I'd love to see numbers of how many people ACTIVELY use these services and not just total email addresses. Many, many people I know of use Yahoo and Hotmail for spam traps, or set an email address there up long ago and then long ago abandoned it.

Claiming "most used mail service" is either very misleading, or sloppy writing.

colinsidoti 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool. Dropbox seems to be pushing hard to become the goto for email attachments. If Mailbox doesn't win, they'll still have market share with Yahoo.

Mostly surprised Yahoo would do this - I can't imagine we'll be seeing a similar deal with Gmail/Outlook.

shanelja 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Is there really any need for this?

Maybe I'm a little traditional but last time I checked Microsoft handled this just fine on their own, is Yahoo Mail really in such a bad place that they need to outsource their file attachment hosting?

When I'm using outlook, I click on a file once and it downloads, simple as that, I don't want to have to screw around signing up for yet another service just to use it.

I don't really care how amazing Dropbox may be, if I have to screw around accessing another service instead of just clicking "download attachment" then the user experience is already ruined for me.

webwanderings 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Yahoo already had an attachment service through another company. I can't even recall the name of it now.
loceng 2 hours ago 2 replies      
They are playing catchup to competitors, and they are diluting their own profits / sharing them with others - which is fine, though I hope they realize this. And I hope they have a very solid agreement with Dropbox.

Google so far will still win in the overall big ecosystem. You just can't compete with the synergy and safety of one organization fully controlling / having full management capabilities over all of the pieces.

fatjokes 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Cute, but I'm still not using Yahoo! Mail for anything except spam.
ibudiallo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yahoo mail is amazing, and I am referring to the classic version. It looks like they are working hard to get some attention. Now this is much better news than their latest acquisition
kevingibbon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats Yahoo! and Dropbox! Looks like a great integration. Very similar to what Attachments.me has done for gmail to Dropbox, Box, Skydrive and Google Drive.
af3 1 hour ago 0 replies      
expect Yahoo! toolbar in the Dropbox installer soon ;)
Pro_bity 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If anyone is curious, this is the first step to monetizing email beyond ads. Fast forward a few years and the store as much content as you want (Gmail model) will be an exception not the rule.
ngoel36 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Gmail->Mailbox->Dropbox->Yahoo Mail
taopao 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the implications are for legal document retention?
qued 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Unless I get some free DropBox space by using Yahoo, I don't care.
An Interview with Computing Pioneer Alan Kay time.com
47 points by technologizer  3 hours ago   22 comments top 5
nlawalker 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'd say it's not modern computing he's unhappy with, but modern people.
ricardobeat 50 minutes ago 4 replies      

    Apple with the iPad and iPhone goes even further and does 
not allow children to download an Etoy made by another
child somewhere in the world.

Kids can publish native apps if they want to, there are plenty of examples around. But regardless, you can share anything over the web. What about Android? Does it "not allow children to download etoys" too? This is pure vitriol.

alexjeffrey 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm a little disappointed that the interview didn't mention COLA/STEPS as I think this is by far the most interesting thing Kay has worked on of recent. Obviously he's been an innovator throughout the history of computing and it makes sense to interview him abotu the overall direction of the industry, but it'd be great to hear about COLA especially as there's very little written about it aimed at a non-academic audience.

http://www.vpri.org/vp_wiki/index.php/Main_Page is the primary resource about COLA at the moment, if you're curious.

thewarrior 35 minutes ago 0 replies      

    "much of the iPad UI is very poor in a myriad of ways."

Why does he say this ?

waterlesscloud 2 hours ago 1 reply      
"There was always a “cloud” in the ARPA view of things " this is why we invented the networks we did."

All part of the plan.

Principles of Software Engineering, Part 1 nathanmarz.com
12 points by ananthrk  31 minutes ago   discuss
LevelUp is Down to Half Its Former Headcount, and Needs to Raise Money Fast streetwise.co
40 points by smit  3 hours ago   14 comments top 11
krschultz 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't know much about the startup, but I was definitely rooting for the founder Seth after his father died in a skiing accident last year on Mt Washington (with Seth present). Tough year for sure, hoping things work out for him and everyone else at LevelUp.


ry0ohki 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This to me was an example of too many pivots. First a FourSquare clone, then a Groupon clone, now a Square clone. Seth seems like an interesting guy, but it's hard to feel the company doesn't have the right focus, always hopping to the next thing without perfecting the last one.

I remember I went to a bar that actually had LevelUp when it first launched in Philadelphia, and no one there had any idea what it was. Finally they got the manager on the phone and he had a vague recollection of talking to some rep about signing up. That just showed me how the marketing/education aspect was completely missing, despite their slow thorough rollout.

xoail 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Mobile payments is such a hard push right now. It might be useful to both merchants and consumers to jump on board but man the technology barrier is the killer in getting anyone comfortable using it. We are toying around the idea of mobile payments at carddrop running some pilots and I admit its disappointing despite the advantages advertised. The only company that could find Okay success is Starbucks through their prepaid mobile card. Even Google wallet seems to be struggling. I've seen LevelUp in couple of stores and I made sure to ask how often people use it to pay and the answer is always almost never.
ben1040 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've used LevelUp a few times when it seemed novel to me, but that's about it. Just last week I got an email from them offering me a $2 credit to a frozen yogurt shop near my office, and I figured I'll stop in for a froyo for next-to-nothing. I get there and they don't even have the scanner on the counter anymore. Oops.

Honestly I think Square, with their auto-tab functionality, is the only mobile payment system I find myself consistently using as it is the only option that reduces the amount of work I do. Google Wallet, LevelUp, and friends require that I hold up the line to dig out my phone, unlock it, open an app, and present it to some reader. That's more work than just pulling out my wallet and giving them a card out of it.

nym 2 hours ago 1 reply      
They should integrate bitcoin, I stopped using levelup after a little while, but I would like to pay with bitcoin everywhere where levelup is accepted.

Just my 2 cents :)

mpayments 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Interchange zero was such a weird move. They were losing money on every transaction and they decided to get to scale by losing even more money on even more transactions!

When SCVNGR pivoted from daily deals to this it seems they forgot to pick up a business model on the way.

jefflinwood 2 hours ago 1 reply      
At SXSW Interactive this year, LevelUp was pushing big for its mobile app payment technology.

I'm curious about the market for payments with mobile apps - to me it seems similar to QR Codes, where pundits get excited over the possibilities, but users just aren't interested. I'm guessing this is different outside the US, where credit and debit cards are extremely popular.

adamio 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What service is LevelUp providing? A loyalty club and CRM for only customers that use LevelUp? It seems that shop owners are either town between forcing a major change on customers or just having a LevelUp POS incase a customer wants to use his phone to pay for stuff. For this to be sustainable, shop owners should have incentive to go LevelUp only. Also are the reduced merchant fees contracted?
mikec3k 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sad, I use it all the time since most of my favorite places use it and they don't support Square Wallet.
bigsteve122 2 hours ago 0 replies      
it all starts with thinking a green, bizarre little troll could actually build a profitable company that is easily repeatable by anyone with 2 years of university
zaidf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Leading with the words "LevelUp is Down..." is not the smartest choice for a headline.
Most popular tech companies in Silicon Valley hackerrank.com
8 points by rvivek  29 minutes ago   discuss
Google App Engine " SMS and Voice Integration With Twilio developers.google.com
60 points by shakes  4 hours ago   23 comments top 7
sologoub 3 hours ago 2 replies      
That's great, but telecom is still agaist GAE ToS:

"4.3 Restrictions. Customer will not, and will not allow third parties under its control to: (f) use the Service to operate or enable any telecommunications service or in connection with any Application that allows End Users to place calls to or to receive calls from any public switched telephone network;"

Source: https://developers.google.com/appengine/terms

A question was asked about this a few months back and a GAE PM basically said use it at your own risk. Here's the thread: https://groups.google.com/d/topic/google-appengine/c8u71g5Cc...

Hopefully, this is a signal that they want to sort this out...

pdknsk 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm disappointed by this poor integration. I had hoped Google would at least make importing libraries somewhat easier by including them as official third party libraries.


This is just marketing. For some actual added value, Google could've made the whole process of acquiring tokens and billing transparent. Click a button in the App Engine dashboard, and it gets new tokens from Twilio which are billed through Google.

27182818284 51 minutes ago 1 reply      
For (I think) a year now I've had a toy application I wrote one Saturday that uses GAE with Twilio. It is just a joke line where Twilio reads off a joke to the caller and let's them vote up/down on it. Twilio is so easy that it was only about 2 hours work one rainy Saturday to get it up and running. It has worked without errors ever since and is still using the initial deposit I gave Twilio.
zabar 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The Twilio api is so simple that this "integration" does not bring much except exposure for Twilio and $20 of Twilio credit for appengine users. We have been using Twilio to send SMS from our appengine app for months now without any issue. In any case a good news.
josh2600 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Good for the Twil' homies. Congrats guys. More distro is good distro.
nileshgr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't know about other countries, but it's quite costlier compared to GupShup, which operates a similar service in India.
themckman 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Sort of meta, but pretty much every article related to a google service will get a comment like this. It seems HN goes through these cycles where something gets a lot of attention and then every article even tangentially related gets at lease one boiler plate comment like this. It happened a lot a while back when "questions as headlines" was the hot topic to jump on. There'd always be that one person that'd be there to post the wikipedia link to the article about it. I see it when there's articles about animal intelligence. You'll get someone who posts that Hitchhiker's quote about dolphins. It's boring and a lot of times, those comments end up at the top of the thread.

Now to address your comment about Django. It supports Django, just fine[0]. The problem hasn't been with supporting Django, but supporting the Django ORM and that's merely because of the GAE data store. And that wasn't ever limited to GAE, you couldn't use it with any non relational data store. That problem seems to have been mitigated by the existence of django-nonrel[1], however.

[0] https://developers.google.com/appengine/articles/django
[1] https://github.com/django-nonrel

I'm disappointed by Instacart dentafrice.com
172 points by calebio  3 hours ago   100 comments top 20
llambda 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Instacart continues to disappoint me: I had a detailed conversation with one of their drivers: the driver relayed to me a number of disappointing and distressing aspects of their employment, including an opaque policy regarding tip dispersal, differences in compensation between new and old employees, e.g. commission for new employees, and other shady discrepancies.

Now compound this with a general degradation in quality of service: Recently I've had a driver attempt to deliver the wrong groceries to me, in fact the driver almost left before I could tell them that these were not the groceries I had ordered...prior to that I've had several incorrect or missing items that I was billed for. I wonder if this push towards changes in their driver employment terms has led to a overall lowered quality in the service? This is just speculation of course, a number of factors probably contribute to this. But the bottom line is my experience as a customer has continued to deteriorate.

I had reached out to Intacart directly over email to try to understand how the drivers were compensated so I could determine how much to tip the drivers. I also inquired about the exact mark up over the base cost of an item: I feel like I'm being charged at minimum three times over the base cost: 1) mark up 2) delivery fee 3) driver tip. Contrast this with Uber, who roll everything into a single fee that I never have to think twice about. At any rate, I never received any response from Instacart and I'm still not sure how to appropriately compensate the drivers. It's really disappointing that Instacart has both declined in quality and made it more difficult for me as a customer to understand them as a regular expense.

I would probably be better off just walking to the grocery store or taking a cab: at least then I know exactly what I'm paying for and can anticipate the rough cost.

apoorvamehta 58 minutes ago 3 replies      
Hey Caleb,

CEO at Instacart here. I want to apologize for the way you, and a small number of other early adopters of Instacart Express, were treated.

It's true that we changed the policy for Instacart Express so that orders under $35 were charged a delivery fee. We also did a poor job of notifying our customers of this. We did send an email, but due to a bug a handful of customers, yourself included, never got the email. That sucks, and we're really sorry.

Please rest assured we will refund you any delivery fees AND any subscription fees that you have had to pay as a result of this.

We are in the process of reaching out to everyone who could have been affected with the next steps.

Again, I'm really sorry we screwed this up and we're going to make it right.


nlh 1 hour ago 8 replies      
I have mixed feelings about posts like this. I understand the point -- public shaming to resolve a service/pricing issue, but I don't like the way its handled. It's the same sort of things reviewers do on Yelp (and why I find most Yelp reviews to be essentially worthless) -- "I have a specific, personal customer service issue with this business, so I'm going to make it as public as possible in an effort to drum up support"

On the one hand, this will (or at least should) generate a response from Instacart, and perhaps will have its intended effect - a policy change / refund / etc.

But on the other hand, I don't like the feel of how these things play out. Customer has issue. Customer makes contact with company and receives response. Customer not satisfied with response so instead of escalating within company, customer decides to "go public" and shame company.

And now this thread has turned into a piling-on of everyone's personal Instacart issues. Is this productive? Is this helping Instacart improve or is it just a cathartic airing of grievances?

I just feel like these sorts of things hurt the company more than help them, and it feels vindictive.

I could be totally off-base here, but such is the way of gut responses...

bpatrianakos 56 minutes ago 4 replies      
I'm disappointed in this post. A person has every right to be upset about a situation like the one the author describes but to frame it like the company is doing something wrong and quitting in protest is a bit childish to me.

Okay, they changed the policy. Companies do that all the time and as much as we don't like it, most often they need to so they can either continue to be profitable or just to continue providing their service. This seems like such a case. (Imagine Instacart's yearly customers ordering a banana from the grocery store and not paying any shipping fee - this was probably done to prevent abuse).It's disappointing but not out of line.

They sent out a notice. One person and their two friends didn't get the memo. That's truly unfortunate but then to wonder out loud if an email ever got sent out at all is another point against the author. The insinuation is that the company is lying.

This genre of blog post has gotten out of hand. It was once reserved for truly egregious acts. Now every time someone falls into an obvious edge-case they blow the whole thing out of proportion.

The bottom line here is that the company had to change their policy, they sent out notice of that and the author is framing them as the bad guys because he didn't get the memo. It's okay and understandable to be disappointed by being charged for something you thought you wouldn't be charged for but nothing underhanded happened here so it's not alright to frame Instacart as the villain.

ruswick 1 hour ago 2 replies      
This is why I'm weary of relinquishing my credit card information to companies. I have no oversight and the companies can alter the terms arbitrarily. Despite the fact that this may be illegal, the amount of effort and money spent litigating wouldn't be lucrative at all. So, effectively, people are stuck tolerating these sorts of dubious, consumer-hostile alterations to terms.

People are infatuated with decrying the evils of advertising-centric business-models, and are weary of giving their email address, search history, etc. to companies, but willingly relinquish their bank accounts and credit cards...

Long story short, never trust companies, especially when they have the capacity to surreptitiously take your money.

Matt_Mickiewicz 2 hours ago 8 replies      
Sounds like they are re-living the lessons learned by Kozmo (anybody remember them?). Free, local delivery is a tough business, and people will absue it without minimums.

Kozmo learned that customers would order a pack of gum... expecting free delivery (which they did honor... until they went out of business).

Always really good to know what went before you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kozmo.com

darkchasma 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I wouldn't think that they can change a contract mid way through without express consent. Maybe they're hoping it's small enough that no one will lawyer up?
josh2600 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Bad press; simple fix is to grandfather the existing subs for 1 year and implement new policy on new subs.

They should fix this before it blows up...

vegashacker 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Just had to go back and check my receipts. I have express and all my orders were over $35 since January so no bad surprises for me.

I wonder what's going to happen with Instacart. Some days I love it. Sometimes it just seems so expensive and frustrating. We were driving home from Sacramento on Sunday and wanted to make a pasta dish for some out of town guests. It seemed perfect--get our shopping done while we were stuck in the car. But what ended up happening was every item was
"commonly out of stock" and so we're supposed to pick a replacement. But the suggested replacement for, e.g., asparagus was broccoli. Other items were similar. And at least on iphone, we didn't know how to pick a better replacement. So we ended up scrapping the order and stopping by Safeway on the way home.

Writing this, I wonder if a first-class concept of recipes in Instacart would improve the situation.

And since I'm babbling, I'll just add that although I haven't tried it yet, I'm excited by the idea of ordering Instacart to someone else's house (say, I'm at a dinner party and we need some ingredients.) Of course the minimum for free delivery does make this potentially less useful.

dsl 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Instacart does a lot of shady stuff. Anyone who has made the mistake of allowing push notifications for the iOS app knows what I mean.
OGinparadise 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Unless I got it wrong: He paid $100 for free deliveries a year instead of paying $7.99 each order. Instacart changed it and started charging him $7.99 on orders under $35. Solution is to give his money back (maybe pro-rated) or honor the original deal. But Instacart doesn't have a choice, sending someone to deliver you a $5 ice cream isn't sustainable
ChrisNorstrom 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think this a perfect opportunity for us to learn about Man-pologizing.


When men pretend to apologize while blaming someone else for their mistake.

Example: "I'm terribly sorry that you didn't get my email with important changes to the terms that affects your bank account, I'm sorry it's your fault you didn't get it."

Most men man-pologize and blame someone else, anyone else, for their mistake in an attempt to not hurt their egos. My father and brother and many other males do this. I used to do it too until I broke out of the habit after catching myself man-pologizing several times.

The opposite of this is fem-pologizing, the female act of blaming oneself for everything

pplante 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I still want my refund on items I never received from Instacrap. There are about $15 worth of groceries that mysteriously never made it to me, but I still paid for.
mikegreco 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've mostly stopped using Instacart, but my account is still active and I didn't receive an email either.

I would love to use Instacart again, but my new apartment ( 1/5 of a mile to the east of my old digs) in Sunnyvale isn't supported. If it were for a month or two while they roll out I'd cut them slack, but it's been this way for a year now. There appear to be some seriously compounding problems going on over there, I would expect they aren't too happy about Google entering the market as well.

derrida 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm disappointed by rampant consumerism and a culture of entitlement.
matobago 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Instacart has another subscriber (me), bad press it's often good for startups...
alxbrun 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Tough decision to make, Instacart:

- keep the policy unchanged, and lose your customers, or

- remove the $35 minimum, and lose money on every order

Welcome to the real world !

rogerclark 1 hour ago 0 replies      
their website looks shitty. that's what disappoints me
jodrellblank 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Put the TL;DR at the top!

TL;DR Instacart offered a premium subscription called Instacart Express that waives delivery fees on all orders for $99 a year. They seem to have silently changed their policy and now charge $7.99 p/delivery on orders that are under $35. They also claim to have sent an email regarding this policy that at least 3 people have not received nor have they publicly posted any announcement of this policy change on their website.

bdcravens 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
We're lean! We're innovating! We're disrupting!

The fact that a company chose a pricing model that doesn't fit anymore doesn't mean they get to dismiss their customers like this. How are we to know that they weren't pulling a bait and switch:

1) Offer pricing model too good to be true (Express was announced in August)
2) Get hockey stick growth, get VC (they closed $2.6M round in October)
3) Change terms
4) Profit!

Imperative vs. Declarative latentflip.com
46 points by philip_roberts  2 hours ago   42 comments top 12
MattRogish 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I really like SQL. Sure, the language has warts but the ability to concisely represent WHAT you want, not HOW you want it, makes it very readable once you understand the simple constructs and how to properly design tables and indexes (not very hard).

For example, consider the problem of finding the second largest value in a set.

In SQL, I'd do something like:

  SELECT MAX( col )
FROM table
WHERE col < ( SELECT MAX( col )
FROM table )

It's pretty readable, and can almost be read in plain english: "Get the next biggest value from the table where it's smaller than the biggest value."

How might you do this in Java?

But look at all the other ways you can do it in that thread. None of them are very readable. And, they can hide subtle bugs that you won't find just by reviewing the code.

Ruby has a pretty concise example if you happen to know the trick, and that the sort performance isn't miserable (kind of a gotcha question):

This is a very simple example, but as you scale up to more complex problems I almost always find SQL is fewer lines of code, more readable, and far less buggy (SQL tends to either work or not work - I find much more subtle bugs in a 30 line Java algo than a 10 line SQL command).

hackinthebochs 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure I agree with some of the examples in the article. The examples used paint declarative programming as basically abstractions over details. The problem is that there is no line where an abstraction crosses the boundary into declarative programming. It's not really about abstractions but about control flow. If your code has a specific order it has to run in, then its imperative as you're still describing the steps needed to perform the action. SQL is declarative because you're describing the output set rather than the steps to generate it. Functional languages are considered declarative because of the fact that pure functions can be rewritten, optimized, lazy evaluated, etc by the runtime. I have a hard time considering map/reduce/etc in isolation as examples of declarative programming, as they're usually used in conjuction with an algorithm that most definitely has a defined execution order.
hermannj314 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Lately, when I code in C#, I write the code I wish was possible with the goal of trying to code to the problem as stated in the requirements. This way the code that solves the problem looks almost exactly like the description of the problem. That is step #1.

Step #2 is doing whatever is necessary to make that code work. Sometimes this means using the more interesting stuff like reflection, dynamic objects, expression tree visitors, etc. but I find that subsequent issues keep getting easier to deal with. This is because step #1 is naturally building a DSL for your problem domain and you start to find that what you did in step #2 is quite reusable.

I've been programming for a while, so I have experience with the imperative, "write the code that solves the problem" approach and it works too, but I am having fun with the "write the code that describes the problem" approach more.

Just my two cents.

octo_t 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Prolog is declarative programming take to the maximum (excluding things like Answer Set Programming/clingo etc).

In Prolog you ask questions.
For example:

then it goes away and says "yes". Or you want to know if any subsets exist:

B = []
B = [1]
B = [2]

This makes it really really nice for some surprising tasks (Windows NT used to ship with a prolog interpreter for setting up the network)

icebraining 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Map and other functional constructs may be declarative, but I only "feel" like I'm programming declaratively when I'm coding in a language like Prolog.

The fact that, with unification and backtracking, you can not only get a result for a query, but also "pass a variable" as an argument and get a possible value makes it seem much more like a mathematical expression and less like a computation.

For example, I can define some relations:

  parent_of(john, mary).
parent_of(mary, eve).

grandparent_of(X, Y) :- parent_child(X, Z), parent_child(Z, Y).

And then I can simply run a query:

  ?- grandparent_of(john, eve).

But I can also make it fill in the value for me:

  ?- grandparent_of(john, X).
X = eve

'grandparent_of' is not some piece of code, it's an actual declaration of a relation between the terms.

Of course, you can do unification and backtracking in other languages, but Prolog is designed for it.

PeterisP 2 hours ago 1 reply      
On the flip side, it also drastically changes the typical errors.

In imperative style, most of your mistakes or carelessness will usually mean that the machine makes a wrong result or crashes in the process - a bad 'what'.

In declarative style, most of your mistakes or carelessness will usually mean that the machine will take a bazillion times less efficient way trying to make that result, possibly taking 'forever' or running out of memory - i.e. a bad 'how'.

Uchikoma 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't think the author gets declarative right. It feels like he bolts a cool word onto some things he uses. Call me old fashioned, but I think Prolog is declarative, map() and reduce() are not.
taeric 1 hour ago 2 replies      
It is not just as programmers. Consider, most cookbooks. Then consider the directions that come with Ikea furniture. Of course, the real beauty of both of those examples, is that they are a mix of declarative and imperative instructions.

For some reason, it seems we programmers are adamant that it must be one or the other. Consider all of the examples, either purely imperative or purely declarative. Why not both?

simonv3 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
I work with a bunch of UX designers, and as the only developer here I'm often confronted with their question of "why can't I just describe what I want done?"

Their apprehension of tackling code is one I don't immediately understand, but I do get that they don't want to think about the how, rather the what. It's a funny parallel.

Here's a great video by Bret Victor who saw this problem, and tried to fix it for animation:


ExpiredLink 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What is the result of procedural programming? Functions that can be used declaratively! The purpose of procedural programming is to encapsulate and consequently eliminate "telling the 'machine' how to do something".

PS: What happened to 3GL vs. 4GL?

toki5 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Great article, but one thing that's sort of glossed over here, and that I half-disagree with, is this:

>But we also get to think and operate at a higher level, up in the clouds of what we want to happen, and not down in the dirty of how it should happen.

The author mentions this at the end, but I feel it should be stressed more strongly: The dirty of how is important. The author presents a big "if" here, which is: if the function we've built to abstract away some ugliness performs in the best, most efficient way possible, with no drawbacks, then, yes, abstracting that functionality away and forgetting it is okay.

But to me that's a big if. It is just as important to me to understand and recognize that map is fast, efficient, and to understand why it's fast and efficient, so that someday, if you come across a situation where map does not apply, you will know why, and you'll be able to use something better.

Being up in the clouds all the time is, to me, a pipe dream -- we must always be cognisant of the ground on which we built this tower of abstraction layers.

iambot 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer the imperative style personally, I like things done the way I want ... I kid, great write-up though.
Quantopian's algorithmic trading platform now accepts outside data sets pandodaily.com
30 points by jbredeche  3 hours ago   4 comments top 2
fawce 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's an example of fetcher in action: https://www.quantopian.com/posts/new-feature-fetcher
spitfire 1 hour ago 0 replies      

Now add risk management. It's not sexy, but it is table stakes.

Side Projects: Learning experience vs. Distraction ryanabbott.com
37 points by abbottry  3 hours ago   20 comments top 7
hkarthik 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a great post. Back when I was a corporate developer doing .NET, I never had many side projects. Maybe just a library or simple utility to do things like move photos around.

Now as a developer primarily working in Ruby, I always feel the need to have a side project to hack on in addition to my day job. The side projects allow for unsafe experimentation with new technologies. After a reasonable amount of vetting, I find that I'm able to make better decisions in my day job as a result. I think most Ruby developers today work in a similar fashion.

The startups that I've worked for never had much concern about what I did in my personal time, but now that I'm working for an acquired company that's part of a big corporate entity, it's a little different. I get more of the looks, comments, etc and can't be as public about my side projects. Also I can't take the side projects as seriously (i.e. get paid subscribers) because that could jeopardize my employment. I'm okay with this for now, but I understand that many would find this appalling. I think you just have to find the right balance between what's good for you versus what's good for them.

h2s 3 hours ago 6 replies      

     > they thought for some reason they owned everything
> I created, at any time, ever (sorry, no)

How common is this? I have yet to encounter it, but if I did I'd consider it an enormous red flag. It sends some very strong messages:

    - We lack the respect for you to even be subtle about
leveraging the asymmetry of our power relationship in
order to try to fuck you.
- None of your potential future colleagues here are likely
to be passionate about their craft, because people who enjoy
making things of their own don't sign our contract.

I'm aware that employers are often willing to compromise about things like that during negotiations, but by that point the message has surely been sent.

tudorconstantin 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The managers that forbid their employees to work on side projects are plain dumb.

The most important gain for the employer is the fact that the employee trains himself on new technologies, for free, in his own spare time.

The risk would be that the employee might leave if his side project is a success. With around 4% rate of high success in the startup world, the risk of leaving is quite small.

nbashaw 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm also a big fan of side projects. Problem is, i'm a product guy, and the whole point of what I do is to try and make things people want. Not learn a new technology. I still haven't been able to find the right balance. Any advice?
emackn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
When a company makes claim to your after hours work, Is that the line between a "corporation" and "start up"?

I saw this at a previous company (some say it's common place). They put the legal-sleaze into the stock option documents saying employees would have to seek written consent for work outside of the company. So classy!

ibudiallo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I work on my side project every spare minutes I have. Tools that I create on the side have benefited my employer so much. If they were to give me a hard time it will be their loss. I can always quit and work in my own, smaller pay check but you get peace of mind.
cdelsolar 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I've used my various side projects to learn technologies that I then use in my actual job. For example, I first tested Redis on my side project, as well as a JS/CSS compressor and a newer version of Django.
Saddle: Scala Data Library github.com
26 points by aklein  3 hours ago   15 comments top 10
wheaties 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As one of the colleagues of the author of this library, I can give my semi-biased opinion. To be honest, having worked in a previous life with Numpy+SciPy, the appearance of Saddle in our tech stack made the reasoning of complex numerical code easier. I'd suggest using it not just for it's performance (quite impressive for a JVM based library) but more for it's clear API. Expressible code (clean code) is debugged faster and maintained with less overhead. This library will let your code become expressive as a numeric library can be without sacrificing some of the nicer language features you've come to rely upon (map, flatMap, etc.)
jfim 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
It took me a while to realize there were implicit conversions in the companion objects that are necessary in order to get useful functionality out of the data structures.

It might be worth adding an example to make it a bit more explicit in the documentation, such as:

  import org.saddle.Vec._
Vec(1,2,3).median // Returns 2

Other than that, it looks pretty cool, I'll go use it right now. :)

Edit: Formatting.

saintx 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was sort of sad to learn earlier this year that the scalala project had become inactive, and when a friend pointed me at Breeze, the first thing that concerned me was that it seemed to "do ALL the things!", rolling in a bunch of other functionality along with a scalala revamp. What I really wanted was an elegant, fast, well written numerical computing library in Scala, and this seems to be it. This is great. Now all we need is to be able to tell this to use GPU hardware acceleration under the hood for things like FFTs and we're set!
achompas 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
Congrats, Adam!

Do we have performance information yet, even on some basic, common use cases?

Also, the docs mention EJML as the backend for Saddle's data structures--do you have any thoughts on using EJML?

JPKab 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I love pandas, and I think this is going to be great.

Is there something like this for Clojure? I guess I'll have to pick up scala too. Coursera here I come.

pathdependent 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thank you!

Most of my colleagues do data analysis in Python given Numpy+SciPy. I like Python, but if possible, I'd rather do as much of my development in a single language, and I prefer Scala.

This library certainly does not replicate the extensive functionality offered in Python for data analysis, but it does have the potential to seed Scala development. I for one will be perusing the code this weekend, and picking an avenue for subsequent exploration.

joshklein 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the release. I can think of at least one big organization I've talked to that was chomping at the bit to try pandas but had too much of an existing commitment to Scala to take the Python plunge. [Disclaimer: brother of OP]
wiradikusuma 2 hours ago 1 reply      
How does it different than https://github.com/scalanlp/breeze?
wandermatt 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
I didn't see sparse vector support. Assuming I didn't just overlook it, is it on the roadmap?
shawnalaken 2 hours ago 0 replies      
lightning fast!
Healthvis R package " one line D3 graphics with R simplystatistics.org
19 points by tel  2 hours ago   1 comment top
billwilliams 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Another similar project I've seen is https://github.com/nachocab/clickme

Haven't played with either, just throwing it out there.

Ongoing malware attack targeting Apache hijacks 20,000 sites arstechnica.com
32 points by hornokplease  3 hours ago   27 comments top 5
danielparks 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There is more detailed information available under a few of the links in the article.

Information about what an infection looks like, the attack method, etc: http://malwaremustdie.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-evil-came-bac...

From skimming the article, it sounds like it attacks control panels (mostly Plesk?) and possibly WordPress for remote shell, then does some sort of local privilege escalation. It then adds a module to Apache or Nginx which injects malware into served web pages under certain conditions.

More information about distribution: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2013/03/05/rogue-apache-modu...

betterunix 3 hours ago 2 replies      
It is interesting that the malware hijacks ssh as well. This make me think that RHEL's approach to confining services using SELinux is a good idea, although it is possible that this malware also exploits some weakness there.
rwmj 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have any hard facts about this? eg. Versions of Apache that are vulnerable, which extensions, CVE numbers?
D9u 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just have a look at your server's /var/log/auth.log file.
I see hundreds of intrusion attempts every day.
(not running Apache)
lovehashbrowns 1 hour ago 1 reply      
One of my servers has Webmin on it, which I rarely use. I'm not sure if deleting it would break anything on the backend so if I were to block the port it uses with SELinux, would that pretty much alleviate the problem until I was sure that removing it would not break anything?

I've already checked the server for any rogue Apache modules and nothing appears out of place.

Never mind. There is a stop script.

Western Union May Offer Digital Currency Services Similar to Bitcoin mobile.blogs.wsj.com
46 points by metaverse  4 hours ago   29 comments top 8
gesman 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Buying bitcoins is a convoluted process especially outside of USA.
Western union certainly has infrastructure to speed-up this process for anyone who is willing to pay their outrageous fees.
swang 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Where is the appeal in a WU created digital currency?

1. This will probably mean WU wants a cut of all transactions in any digital currency they create... for life.
2. No benefit over fiat currency?
3. Not anonymous.
4. All the "coins" are controlled by WU.

VMG 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It is unclear if this is an April's Fools joke. It's not far-fetched enough to be funny.
th0ma5 52 minutes ago 3 replies      
What is stopping someone from looking at Bitcoin, changing something simple, and competing immediately?
PaulAJ 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
As in, how can we respond to this competitive threat that undercuts our business model while still maintaining our current revenues?
edgesrazor 4 hours ago 2 replies      
With the coverage the Bitcoin exchange rate has been getting, this was just a matter of time.
BrokenPipe 3 hours ago 1 reply      
If bitcoin is going to be here in 2 years then I think it's undervalued. In some exchange it has reached past $111
acd 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully hackers can bring us sound money again. Sound money as in money not debt money created out of thin air.

The FED is privately owned by the big banks, see "The creature from Jekyll Island". The senator Aldrichs daughter who was on the island was married to one of the bankers. The by bank created new debt money out of thin air blows up assets bubbles that the central bankers later ride in and try and save, by saving the debt bubbles losses are socialized ie its burden is put to the people through inflation instead of the bank owners/bond holders taking the losses. Central banks centrally plan the price of new money by controlling the interest rate.

It would be good if more viewed the documentary film "The four horsemen".

Videos from the Julia tutorial at MIT julialang.org
41 points by ViralBShah  4 hours ago   12 comments top 4
shared4you 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Couple more suggestions:

1. In the REPL, highlighting of matching parenthesis/brackets (like in CLISP) would be good.

2. In the top-level Makefile, add a target "make distclean" to mean "make cleanall". distclean is the "GNU standard" [1]. Similarly "make mostlyclean" could clean everything except major dependencies.

[1] http://www.gnu.org/software/make/manual/html_node/Standard-T...

lincolnq 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Julia is a huge step forward in practical programming languages. I was super impressed when I saw it at Strange Loop last year, and they've made strides since then.
shared4you 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I just saw that you have a run() command for invoking the shell. Would be cool to just use ! (like Matlab) or %%! (like IPython).

BTW, the lightning round is awesome. Thanks विराळ् :)

klrr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Julia looks a bit like Lua.
       cached 2 April 2013 19:02:01 GMT