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The feds pay for 60 percent of Tors development. Can users trust it? washingtonpost.com
64 points by lelf  2 hours ago   42 comments top 6
thex86 1 hour ago 5 replies      
The Internet was made by DARPA. Let's stop using it.

I am really sick of these arguments. Do you realize how much research goes into Tor and how many university researchers are associated with it (Cambridge, Waterloo)? Furthermore, can you really think someone like the Tor core developers (Dingledine and Mathweson) can sacrifice their entire reputation just for putting a backdoor? The code is out there. They have a Git repository and they have an active, healthy developer community. It's not like TrueCrypt, where change logs read like, "Minor fixes" and there is no public repository in 2013.

Someone should bring proof of the alleged backdoors or just shut up. Because conspiracy theories are not only stupid, they are annoying. This issue has been addressed on the tor-talk list many times. Please show one iota of proof.

And I say this as a Tor user who has not only donated to the project but also runs a relay.

narsil 2 hours ago 1 reply      
From the Q&A at the end ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XaYdCdwiWU&feature=youtu.be&... ), Grug has this to say on TOR:

"Against [Law Enforcement Officials], it's fine. Against a nation-state, the TOR network has insufficient resources and has sufficient bad actors that it is not actually secure. So if you're going to hack the shit out of the NSA and do really really bad planning and do not actually evalute the targets you are after, you will go to jail."

He also expands on how to unmask a user by controlling both the exit and entry nodes:

"So if you can purchase 300 VPS accounts at $5 each then you can set up 1% of the TOR network and statistically, over a month, you will be able to uncover a large number of users. [...] You are better of selecting your targets so they will not be state actors."

tlrobinson 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The NSA doesn't need a backdoor in Tor when they can do traffic analysis on a large portion of Tor nodes, either by eavesdropping on at least one link between each pair of nodes, or just running the nodes themselves...

<conspiracy>Maybe that's why they continue to fund it...</conspiracy>

marcosdumay 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
That's interesting. Just last week we were bombarded* with several news doubting the security of RSA, then we discover that some kinds of ECC may have back doors. Now we are getting news attacking TOR...

* I'm not accusing anyone. It's easy to believe so much in propaganda that you start to spread it too. One even honestly creates more unrelated reasons to believe. I know that I'll never trust RSA as much again, and will probably migrate to 3kb keys.

abofh 45 minutes ago 1 reply      
Taxpayers pay for 100% of NSA development. Can users trust it?
anxiousest 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Its source code is available for audit and scrutiny, so yeah. If you're looking to spread FUD do that to the closed source stuff.
YC Will Now Fund Nonprofits Too ycombinator.com
348 points by pg  10 hours ago   96 comments top 29
e1ven 9 hours ago 4 replies      
It's interesting to compare the differences between the two applications-

For Profit -https://gist.github.com/e1ven/6467215

Non Profit-https://gist.github.com/e1ven/6467309

Overall, it seems like they've replaced 'company' with 'organization', and dropped a number of questions relating to making money.

Interestingly, many of the questions have been dropped without replacement, even when I would imagine the answer would be very interesting to YC!

For instance, 'Who are your competitors' has been dropped entirely. Nonprofit companies can certainly compete with one another.. But they also often compete with for-profit companies.

Take for example Wikipedia - They're a 501(c)(3) but they've certainly competed with Encyclopedia Britannica, Grolier, Encarta, etc.It might be helpful to keep the questions, but to ask them in a modified way.For instance, "Who is this going to disrupt?"

Similarly they dropped "How do or will you make money?", without replacing it with "How do you plan to you raise money?"

"How will you get users", and "Was any of your code written by someone who is not one of your founders?" were also dropped.

They also haven't (yet) added questions relating to non-profits, such as "Why do you think you will be able to get a 501c(3) classification?"

It's a really interesting idea, and it'll be interesting to see where they grow with it.

It really reminds me of the first few years of YC where they were making it up as they went along, before they started the current cycle of continuous improvements through validated learning.

Watsi was the MVP, now they're ready for Beta ;)

sethbannon 9 hours ago 1 reply      
So proud of YC for doing this. There are so many lessons the nonprofit world can learn from the world of startups. If YC can help great causes scale faster, the world will be better for it.
mikegagnon 9 hours ago 11 replies      
I am very excited for this initiative. However, I think there is a mismatch between venture-funding models and non-profit funding models.

Venture capital economics is premised on founders accepting low initial salaries based on the hope for long-term big payoffs. Which makes it OK for seed funding to be very small (on the order of tens of thousands).

However, non-profits have no hope for long-term big pay offs and therefore have no financial incentive to seek small amounts of seed funding.

In other words, it is sensible for a for-profit startup founder to accept zero salary (or close to it). However, it is nonsensical for a non-profit startup founder to accept close-to-zero salary.

I believe the YC non-profit initiative could still be beneficial to non-profits for the sake of mentorship, networking, etc. But I don't think many non-profit founders will drop their day-job salaries to launch YC non-profit startups.

Edit: s/sensical/sensible/g

RKoutnik 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a great move for YC. They've never been about making ludicrous amounts of money which is one reason they've been able to be so successful. I loved that they funded Watsi and agree wholeheartedly that non-profits can benefit from YC/startup advice in general.

As a side note, I think that we've as a culture have been approaching non-profits entirely wrong [0]. Instead of letting them build structure to actually maximise the help they can give, we require them to be stripped-down organizations so their metrics can show they're giving as much money away as possible. This is why we've seen such a surge in for-profit-but-that's-not-the-main-point companies like Tom's Shoes lately. It's simply the best way to do the most good.

[0] http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about...

studentrob 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great idea! I'd love to see more data-centric nonprofits. The recent This American Life episode "I was just trying to help" discusses this with GiveDirectly. GiveDirectly points out that many many nonprofits are soliciting donations based on anecdotes and are reluctant to produce more data on their impact. I can only imagine that YC-selected nonprofits (and NGOs? Could this go global?) will be more data centric than the rest. Good luck!
lincolnq 9 hours ago 0 replies      
YC is really demonstrating thought leadership here.

It would be super exciting if we started to see overlap between Y Combinator and the effective altruism movement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_altruism), which is people who are trying to make the world a better place in the most effective way.

(I do for-profit startups but am also involved in the EA movement. Please contact me if this is interesting to you.)

hosay123 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd love to apply to this, but most people around me are off having stable jobs, wives, mortgages, children and other such craziness. Is there much hope for accepting a solo founder with a non-profit idea?
jacquesm 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I really love the concept of an early stage investor formalizing their commitment to improving the world by explicitly creating room for non-profits. Now all we need is a later stage fund to structurally commit follow on investment to these non-profit start-ups. YC deserves big props for this and for not just chasing the buck, if not with all their investments at least with these the mission really is to change the world and for the better at that.

Watsi was an experiment waiting to be repeated, looking forward to see which non-profits will make it through here.

clicks 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a wonderful initiative.

I'm someone who's generally very skeptical about the VC ways of doing things (difficult to really describe my feelings here, let's just say some just seem a bit too unapologetically mercenary in my eyes), so this move really sets apart YC from all the other startup-incubators/VCs.

Watsi is fantastic in every way I can think of. I hope more people are encouraged to create nonprofit companies to solve some real problems (read: non-first-world-problems) in a true hackerly fashion.

Michael_Murray 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
Great idea. Think it's a phenomenal idea to apply some of the same mechanisms for building high growth engines to the charitable space. It's a space that needs that type of growth.
cenhyperion 5 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone working for a nonprofit this makes me very happy. The world of a starting non-profit is surprisingly similar to that of a startup. :)
soora 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I am interested to see how this turns out. The amount of money a person donates each year is roughly fixed. Each non-profit is competing for a splice of that donation. So in some ways having multiple non-profits in the same batch is like funding multiple companies which are direct competitors with each other.
dylandrop 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know what the financial motivation of YC to do this is? Is it to diversify the types of companies they invest in? As much as I love to think that venture capitalists give money to nonprofits out of the goodness of their hearts...
robg 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Really awesome to see this.

pg - Can you explain your reasoning on a charitable donation to the "startup"? It seems that if these .orgs are successful one great way to literally pay it forward is into a separate fund that could grow more .org's.

Program-related investments (http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Private-Foundatio...) from a ycombinator.org would seem to fulfill both investments in .orgs and investments in for-profits with a mission.

angersock 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Aaaaaand now we'll start to see a lot of accelerators throwing non-profits in with their other companies, because YC did.

I don't think that--in the vast majority of cases--this will be particularly helpful.

Caligula 10 hours ago 1 reply      
hi pg,Any update on when you will update your 'startup ideas we'd like to fund'?


marincounty 8 hours ago 3 replies      
They need to ask:

1. At what percentage will your entity spend on administration costs?

2. Will you agree to keep it to lessthan 10%, if we give you funds?"

3. Flat out ask the future non-profit, "How much moneydo you feel you will need to run the non-profit. Wouldyou agree to take only what the standard cost of livingin the county you reside--if it succeeds?"

4. Will your BOD contain any family, friends, or relatives?

5.(Sorry if I sound callous; I live in a county where starting a non-profit is a career move. Some of the salaries are mind boggling.)

6. (Note to any future non-profit. I applaud your effortsif they are honest. Just a reminder--if you ever close down the 501(c)3 you can't keep any assets--not even a paper clip. Nothing belongs to you. )

trevorcreech 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey pg, the date on the apply page (https://news.ycombinator.com/apply) is still from the summer term. Cheers.
andy_adams 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been helping a family friend bootstrap her nonprofit, and let me say that it is darn near the purest form of bootstrapping to start a nonprofit. Not only did she have no income to start, but she has no expectations of personal financial gain. She bootstrapped for pure love of her cause.

Funnily enough, in her struggle to get her nonprofit off the ground, I got my idea for my "startup". Bravo to YC for taking an unorthodox step here.

antidaily 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Nonprofits are notoriously non-technical; run by people who just aren't able to use tech to advance their cause. So I think this makes sense.
mathattack 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Great idea. Non-profits frequently run into two challenges: financing and scaling. This helps on both fronts. Providing initial seed capital, mentorship on growth and an audience of rich people (many of whom have committed to giving part of their legacy towards non-profits) will increasing the likelihood of their success. If YC takes on 5 non-profits and even 1 scales, this will be a venture worth doing.
AltruistLLC 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The only true difference between a for-profit and a non-profit is the tax status.

Cosmic level blessings on Paul Graham for doing this. Badly needed. The entire sector needs catalytic infusions of entrepreneurial energy and expertise.

Only 150 non-profits have grown past $10M in revenue since 1970. North Korea has better business acumen. Love to see efforts like this.

Thank you Y Combinator!

user2 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a game-changing equalizer for non-profits! Thanks YC.
wudf 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome and encouraging. I hope it sets a trend.
dannowatts 9 hours ago 0 replies      
this is absolutely awesome to hear and can not wait to see how things progress. a truly great initiative!
vishalzone2002 9 hours ago 2 replies      
can you apply to both the categories..?
davidy123 9 hours ago 1 reply      
That's a really undeveloped idea of "nonprofits" "rich people" and "charities."
bpedro 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting move by YC as a way of paying less taxes and helping nonprofits at the same time!
marincounty 8 hours ago 0 replies      
They need to ask:

1. At what percentage will your entity spend on administration costs?

2. Will you agree to keep it to lessthan 10%, if we give you funds?"

3. Flat out ask the future non-profit, "How much moneydo you feel

NSA Codebreaking: I Am The Other popehat.com
309 points by thecoffman  10 hours ago   83 comments top 11
mpyne 9 hours ago 6 replies      
> The NSA's official response is to suggest that wanting to secure our communications from our surveillance is inherently suspicious and suggestive of criminal activity.

No, their official response is to suggest that encrypting your communications makes you indistinguishable (at their end) from those who encrypt for criminal activity. There is a difference, and there's no getting around the idea that if the set of Bad Actors are to have the crypto broken then it will necessarily involve breaking the same crypto in use by the Good Actors.

Even the NSA also says in the very paragraph quoted that encryption is also used for "nations [...] to protect their secrets" (which is hardly a criminal or illegitimate goal).

Likewise, if the government hires a lockpicker to plant a bug in an embassy then by definition they now have the technical ability to pick locks (even if they don't have the legal permission).

The rest of his points, on the whole, are quite valid but are sometimes answering a question that isn't actually behing asked from the other side.

ferdo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
"Perhaps you think your E-mail is legitimate enough that encryption is unwarranted. If you really are a law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide, then why don't you always send your paper mail on postcards? Why not submit to drug testing on demand? Why require a warrant for police searches of your house? Are you trying to hide something? You must be a subversive or a drug dealer if you hide your mail inside envelopes. Or maybe a paranoid nut. Do law-abiding citizens have any need to encrypt their E-mail?

What if everyone believed that law-abiding citizens should use postcards for their mail? If some brave soul tried to assert his privacy by using an envelope for his mail, it would draw suspicion. Perhaps the authorities would open his mail to see what he's hiding. Fortunately, we don't live in that kind of world, because everyone protects most of their mail with envelopes. So no one draws suspicion by asserting their privacy with an envelope. There's safety in numbers. Analogously, it would be nice if everyone routinely used encryption for all their E-mail, innocent or not, so that no one drew suspicion by asserting their E-mail privacy with encryption. Think of it as a form of solidarity."

Phil Zimmerman, 1994


iandanforth 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"Thousands of Americans have fought and suffered and died to preserve freedom over our history does it make sense to sacrifice freedom now because the state tells us people will die if we don't?"


aray 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It would be great to break through the "if you have nothing to hide" line and push that responsible citizenry need security (and cryptography) as well.

I am also the other.

brown9-2 7 hours ago 3 replies      
"I wonder: what if a substantial number of Americans started using strong crypto on a routine basis?"

They already do! Everyone who makes Amazon purchases, or sends Facebook messages, or does online banking is all using some form of strong crypto.

Does our government treat all e-commerce shoppers as "bad guys"? No.

jusben1369 7 hours ago 0 replies      
So I was really excited then disappointed as I clicked through. I thought it was going to be a developer who helps the NSA crack encryption. No offense to anyone here but the last thing I need is another article around the NSA and snooping from someone.

Who here wouldn't love to hear from a developer who's helping with this and has strong beliefs in their reasons for doing it?

anigbrowl 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I mean I am the "other" contemptuously categorized by my government, a vast category of people with an interest in using encrypted communications to thwart my government's attempt to spy on me.

The government almost certainly doesn't want to spy on you, it just wants to be able to find spies and other bad actors among you.

I have to admit to taking a jaundiced view of these complaints, since for almost 20 years the US has maintained an immigration regime in which illegal aliens have virtually no legal path to residency (despite many of them having no criminal record - unauthorized presence in the US is a violation of administrative rather criminal law, and it only become a criminal matter in the case of deportation and repeated unlawful re-entry); illegal immigrants can be detained incommunicado for up 6 months without any right to a hearing, have no right to provided counsel, and enjoy very few constitutional protections (in general, those extended to 'persons' rather than 'citizens' or 'the people'). Leaving the US imposes a whole raft of additional sanctions on such a person (eg a 3 or a 10 year banishment during which the person may not even apply to re-enter the country) which don't apply to people who stay, and thus create a strong economic incentive to remain, resulting in an entirely legal underclass of about 11 million people who have even fewer rights than ex-felons. 'But they broke our laws' is the response of most people, as if the laws were not the responsibility of the legislators and people who elected them, but had come down from heaven.

I'm not excusing the NSA's overbroad vacuum-cleaner approach to gathering metadata, busting encryption and so on, other than to note it's not very different from the kind of data collection private actors fiercely defend the right to engage in, saying that the onus is on the data owner to use good security. But it's very hard for me to give a sympathetic ear to complaints of tyranny from people who seem happy to tolerate a system that severely curtails the freedom of several millions of their neighbors.

Revisor 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I am the spied upon Other, because I'm not an American. I don't have a voice in your debate, no representative, no senator, no amendment. My only hope is that privacy becomes a generally accepted human right.
devx 9 hours ago 2 replies      
> "I wonder: what if a substantial number of Americans started using strong crypto on a routine basis?"

That may happen anyway, in time, if this situation is not fixed, but it could happen so much faster if companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook (ok, I know I'm really pushing with this one) who have services used by over a billion people would offer very secure end-to-end communications platform, by default, and in a very transparent way (being able to check for sneaky backdoors pre-encryption, or anything like that).

They don't even have to do it for everything, especially the parts which are meant to be more public anyway, but there's absolutely no reason why IM's couldn't be completely private - from everyone and anyone, including the companies themselves.

So what are you waiting for Google, Microsoft and Facebook (and others, too)?

pyaniv 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Well...NSA is built by a democracy. The people wanted war..their representatives gave it. The people wanted spying...their representatives gave it to them. Only a minority doesn't want these. In a democracy, minority loses. Unfortunately, it turns out the majority are stupid..anywhere in the world. So, just have to live with it, hoping they get intelligent someday.
rasur 9 hours ago 1 reply      
We are all The Other now.
Adafruit's Trinket adafruit.com
148 points by smk11  8 hours ago   31 comments top 8
blhack 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this! The attiny85 has been my go-to chip for the last couple of years. They're great.

They're really cheap, which makes them really easy to just put into things. It's also a great way of getting people to think-outside-the-arduino.

IgorPartola 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Or for $10, you could get the TI MSP430 LaunchPad [1]. You can then pop off the DIP chip and mount it however you want. It is nice since the chips themselves are about $1 or so each (depending on which one you get).

[1] http://www.ti.com/ww/en/launchpad/msp430_head.html

tynan 47 minutes ago 2 replies      
For someone who knows nothing much about Arduinos, what are a few examples of projects this would be good for?
kken 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It's very similar to the digispark and is riding on the tails of it. The only major difference is in the pinout.


phunge 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Looks somewhat inspired by the teensy 2.0 (mini USB -- not micro!, bootloader button). This has a lower price point and an ATTiny instead of atmega32u4. I have a few teensys and find them to be really practical.

Does the ATTiny implement USB or is it bit-banged?

outside1234 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This is probably an ignorant/newbie question but what are the connectivity options available with a board like this? Can it do Zigbee or WiFi?
slowdown 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Many people don't find this exciting. But I am excited indeed. You know why? Because to program an Atmel Microcontroller, you need a 'programmer' whose selection itself is fairly confusing for newbies (USB/Serial/etc) and costs as much as $20 for a good one. This one instead is just plug and play, and that's awesome :)
the-kenny 7 hours ago 4 replies      
While I like the Arduino movement very much, I don't see what's so special about this.

It's a breakout board for an ATTiny, with some vreg and an usb port on board. So what?

Google encrypts data amid backlash against NSA spying washingtonpost.com
91 points by esgoto  4 hours ago   86 comments top 14
sjbach 3 hours ago 9 replies      
A salient bit:

  [Eric] Grosse echoed comments from other Google officials, saying that the company  resists government surveillance and has never weakened its encryption systems to  make snooping easier  as some companies reportedly have, according to the Snowden  documents detailed by the Times and the Guardian on Thursday.  This is a just a point of personal honor, Grosse said. It will not happen here.
Some folks are inclined to distrust Google, but there are people here who really, really care about security.

zmmmmm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
My main reaction to this was, ummm, wait - google isn't already encrypting its data internally?!

-- off topic rant --

Such a weird discontinuity in all this ... Google was prosecuted and paid a fine, despite self-disclosing, falling on its own sword and issuing an abject apology, for accidentally sniffing some unencrypted data as they drove past. This was condemned at every level by government.

Now the government is openly sniffing and capturing everything, including our encrypted traffic and deliberately trying to crack the encryption, ... and they don't think it is the slightest bit unreasonable?

How can there be moral outrage about Google's offense and not about what the government is doing that is ten times worse?

ariwilson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just to clarify the discussion here, since the NSA is involved in snooping on internet users along many different dimensions, I think what is being discussed here is encrypting internal Google data being transmitted from datacenter to datacenter via private fiber optic cables. Recent revelations seem to indicate the NSA has set up fiber taps on various company's networks. This encryption would frustrate those tapping efforts.

Legal requests to Google for user data are not affected by this change. Neither is private data at rest, which is still presumably encrypted. Neither are other extralegal avenues the NSA has to infiltrate Google (employee co-operation or intimidation, exploiting zero days to get into corporate networks, hijacking security protocol construction, etc).

Zigurd 3 hours ago 3 replies      
>Encrypting information flowing among data centers will not make it impossible for intelligence agencies to snoop on individual users of Google services, nor will it have any effect on legal requirements that the company comply with court orders or valid national security requests for data.

How does this do anything about pervasive NSA spying? The NSA has broken SSL and VPNs by corrupting the CAs and the VPN vendors.

What would really help is for Google to create a zero-knowledge tier of service and to charge users for using it to replace their ad revenue.

tlrobinson 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Are they suggesting the NSA is tapping intra-data center communications? I hadn't seen that suggested before.

That's interesting. I hadn't considered that could be how Prism works, but it would make sense if these companies weren't encrypting those connections previously. Somehow I assumed they were.

rayiner 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't believe traffic between data centers wasn't already encrypted.
AceJohnny2 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Meh. My most importance source of data in Google's control is my email. They aren't doing much to help me protect myself there. My only wish is that they provide a stable hook for tools like Firegpg [1] to encrypt the email's plaintext.

Their constant tweaking of the textbox led FireGPG's developers to throw in the towel.

I understand that Google wants to read your emails to power their ads. I doubt the fraction of power-users that would enable FireGPG would put a fraction of a dent in their systems.

[1] http://getfiregpg.org/s/home

wbhart 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Fixing this problem may not stop suspicionless spying. But it will certainly make it more expensive. The public revelation that the data wasn't encrypted is surprising, though I had previously speculated on it. See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6264415
adrianlmm 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Google has been cooperating with the NSA, I distrust Google, this looks more like damage control to me.
grandalf 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I think it's too late. Google has shown that it can't be trusted, especially about privacy.
ganeumann 3 hours ago 2 replies      
But if they can encrypt the data so the NSA can't read it--that is, if the NSA can't force them to reveal the data--then why were they revealing it in the first place?
contextual 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I already moved everything away from Google. There's no way I'm ever going back. Trust is gone.
zurn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This language is pretty problematic especially in context of these third party hosted services. If Google have the keys and the encrypted data, what do we know about the security properties.
chris_mahan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's theoretically impossible for the NSA to decrypt the data. In practice, however, it seems they can. So what's the point of encrypting then?

Is Google thinking they are smarter than the NSA at cryptography?

Linode SSD Beta linode.com
61 points by kbar13  5 hours ago   21 comments top 7
jcampbell1 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I know there is this theory that server hardware needs to be more durable therefore you should pay an order of magnitude more, but all of my server workloads are write somewhat frequently, read randomly, and delete almost never. It is my understanding, that commodity consumer SSDs should work fine for this workload.

I assume Digital Ocean is using consumer SSDs, and it feels like it shouldn't be a problem with the exception of the bad neighbor issue.

WatchDog 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sounds over-engineered, slower and possibly over-priced. A consumer SSD will be faster and so long as it is trimmed correctly and not fully utilized, it should be sufficiently reliable.
fletchowns 3 hours ago 4 replies      
This sounds pretty cool! What sorts of considerations does one make when you are deciding between more RAM or SSDs?

Random IO is processed first through the SSDs (the thing that they are really good at) while sequential IO short-cuts to the hard drives - which is pretty slick.

I'm curious, what do you use to develop something like that? Is it build on top of something? Built into the kernel? I wouldn't even know where to begin...

ghc 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time I think I'm done with Linode, they draw me right back in. I guess I'll wait to see about the pricing, but I imagine this will be a serious challenge for Digital Ocean to overcome, since their main selling point over Linode is cheap SSDs VPSs.
andrewcooke 2 hours ago 0 replies      
kind-of related, is anyone using bcache with linux yet? how easy is it to get working? does it speed things up as expected?


jacques_chester 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Too late.

About 8 months too late.

SilliMon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds promising. SSDs have good potential as a cache for bigger backend spinning disks.
0 A.D., an Open-Source Strategy Game indiegogo.com
405 points by dgellow  16 hours ago   82 comments top 26
InAnEmergency 13 hours ago 3 replies      
0AD is the most polished, beautiful open source game I have ever played. This campaign is not about building a new game: the game already exists as shown in the video and is even in an enjoyable-to-play state. Definitely check it out if you haven't already (and it's cross-platform!): http://play0ad.com/
niuzeta 14 hours ago 3 replies      
This is probably not the most constructive comment here, but it's more correct to say open source RTS game than RTS open source game because open source in this case is used as an attributive adjective(pre-nominal modifier) and RTS as a noun-string nominative adjective which modifies 'game'.

Also, your title tries a call to action, that is, the first Help is a intransitive verb rather than a noun. So to is unnecessary there. In which case, Help founding would be a better writing. Of course, if we're to use gerund then the word founding could be better replaced with.

Ah, the pedantry!

willvarfar 14 hours ago 0 replies      
0ad and Megaglest are two great RTS games!

I particularly recall the good stuff re path-finding that came out of sponsored hacking on 0ad last time:

Jump Point Search (A*JPS) goodness e.g. http://www.wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=15270...

tlarkworthy 15 hours ago 5 replies      
I love RTSs. Total Annihilation (TA) was an early favourite.

SpringRTS is an open source game engine that improved beyond TA and actually had UI features that Supreme Commander has drawn inspiration from.

The multilayer is epic, its totally LUA scriptable. People have re-purposed that engine for all manor of weird RTS type games. I sincerely hope this project is going to use that battle hardened, cross platform, actively developed, open source RTS engine rather than roll their own.


B-Con 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been a long time fan of Age Of Empires II. 0AD looks like a clone of it, more or less.

I think I last checked in on 0AD 2 years ago, before there was AI. Back then AOE II had poor performance issues that I really wanted addressed, like wrong colors (fixable by a user patch), only low resolution support (also fixable by a user patch? I forget), and horrible network management on busy LAN games (6 teams with 150 population each? Players will get dropped once battles start).

Then AOE II got picked up by a contracted company for the pure purpose of bringing an old game into the modern world, and HD got released with lots of fixes. It wasn't perfect, but there was much rejoicing.

Anyone played both 0AD and AOE II HD? Any comparison points?

alexlarsson 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Hmm, i wonder if its possible to port this to asm.js + WebGL. That would make it very easy to start playing...
akg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Now only if Dwarf Fortress would be open sourced and combined with the amazing effort presented here -- that would make for an epic game.
phaemon 15 hours ago 2 replies      
When I first heard of a crowd-funded game, I assumed it would be open source and was surprised to find it wasn't. Glad to see it's starting to happen and hope they meet their target. I'll definitely be throwing a few dollars their way!
Aardwolf 15 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks super cool!

Ideal would be if an online multiplayer community evolves around this game. Does the game feature the ability to track multiplayer win/losses and keep some kind of ELO rating or similar on a server? Is it reasonably safe against cheating in multiplayer? Does it allow setting a handicap for less good players?

Thanks :)

shire 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been waiting for a game similar to Age of Empires to come but this just completely destroys Age of Empires, Thanks for this awesome game I will support.
alifaziz 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Beautiful soundtracks too, http://play0ad.bandcamp.com/
akg 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is excellent!

Out of curiosity, how do developers "stay in business"? Is Wildfire making enough off of donations and kickstarter-like campaigns to keep development going strong?

pothibo 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This really looks like Age of Empires 2. It's not a bad thing I was a fan.
biehl 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome. $20 to them. (And finally got around to renewing my FSFE support too!)
kephra 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I fear the price tag is much to high. A tag around $10k or $20k would be much better, as payout is only done for successful campaigns, iirc.
bfish510 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been playing RTS games for ages and the one thing that concerns me is balance. With so many different factions I can imagine this is going to be rather hard to do without a large amount of overlap between them. Best of luck!
shire 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I was absolutely shocked when I saw this, this is so awesome in so many ways. It resembles Age of Empires but much better graphics.

Age of Empires has this thing where you can upgrade your empire to the Castle age or Imperial Age I wonder if this game has that?

ibudiallo 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> This isnt your daddys Age of Empires.

Yes it is. It looks exactly like it. But no complAint. I will gladly back up this project cause I feel like AoE decided to take another route, while this game takes you back :)

caiob 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Crowdfund all the things!
dariopy 9 hours ago 1 reply      
0 A.D. is in development, if memory serves well, since at least 10 years ago. Maybe more. I doubt it will ever be completed.
fry_the_guy 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks like fun, I am excited to try it out tonight
Tomis02 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Do units fire while moving?
atjoslin 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Supported. Go wildfire!
iron77 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Bitcoin donation address please!
ddorian43 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Every fan of RTS games needs to play Metal Fatigue. One of the greatest/unique game ever.
PaulAJ 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Has anyone pointed out that there was no year 0 A.D. 1 BC was followed by 1 AD.
Tesla Model S Outperforms Aston Martin autocar.co.uk
174 points by treistab2  8 hours ago   115 comments top 20
MSM 7 hours ago 11 replies      
I really hate these comparisons. What is the Model S trying to be? A luxury car? A sports car? A trip vehicle? Every article I read compares the Model S to some abhorrently expensive vehicle that does some specific thing poorly in comparison to Model S. I'd be much more interested in reading a top to bottom comparison between the Model S and a similar car. Do it with a BMW M3 or something, a reasonably priced luxury car that still tries to tailor to the sporty crowd.

The Rapide is a $150k car that is outperformed by a $25k Ford Mustang. No one has ever gone into the draft room and thought to themselves "If only I could design a vehicle that cost less to produce than the Rapide AND was sportier!". Outperforming it is not an achievement.

ianstallings 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Performance is all well and good but the cost of an aston martin is for fit and finish in all aspects. Notice the panel gaps on the Tesla versus the Aston Martin. Notice how the interior looks a little clunky on the Tesla S versus the hand crafted interior on the AM. Car companies spend decades accounting for fit and finish and Aston Martin had major issues with it in the past. Tesla owners know that their cars are essentially still in beta and allow such things. But eventually that needs to change. And I'm sure it will. It just takes time and $.

Don't get me wrong, I believe Tesla is an incredible company and doing something awesome. But there's more to a car than just performance specs.

bcaulf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Autocar.uk is an enthusiast news and review site. They are careful about their reviews and it means a lot that Sutcliffe is so excited after driving the Model S. He was a professional racer. Autocar have tremendous integrity and independence unlike many US car mags which ritually praise US models for no reason other than their origin.

But Autocar also do comparisons that don't really mean much, like a track race between an SUV and a trackday special. The rolling start race with the Aston isn't meant to signify anything other than the real world result of the huge torque in an all electric. When the Model S ships in the UK their review will be a must read. This is just a little fun.

redact207 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The car's not perfect, but it is a massive turning point in automotive history. Electric cars have fumbled at the hands of traditional car manufacturers who have just tried to swap out the engine and think that's it. Tesla has not only completely redesigned the car from the ground up, it's also had to jump start the supporting infrastructure with its super charger network.

That's a huge but necessary undertaking to make it a viable alternative to traditional cars with their vast network of petrol stations.

These comparisons between expensive performance cars are fun but they're only done for entertainment value. Ultimately this car is changing the industry and the fundamentals to how automotive transport is designed and serviced.

If ever there was a collectors car, decades into the future this will be it.

realrocker 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Tesla Model S is revolutionary in the sense that it's very ordinary. Everything in there has been done before. Once it becomes a popular choice, Tesla can make down-graded release of the same technologies at even cheaper prices. The average drive range in Asian cities is a lot shorter than in the US. Think of the possibilities!

If only Tesla manufactured auto-rickshaws which is popular in cities like Bangalore. We would have green, silent and "cool" mobility. We would be still stuck in traffic jams but hell, it would be a walk in the park compared to now.

hop 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Elon had a Mclaren F1 as a daily driver after he sold PayPal, so I wouldn't be surprised if they came out with a supercar down the road as their tech evolves and batteries get denser. Ultra low center of gravity, flatter torque curve with no transmission, order of magnitude less parts than a Ferrari engine...

They could murder it on the very top and low end of the market.

ballard 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Top Gear UK declared Aston Martins uncool, so comparing anything to them (without making fun of them) would make the comparee seem less cool.

So the article seems more like a backhanded compliment.

eliben 7 hours ago 5 replies      
The difference in price between fully charging / fueling is particularly striking. I wonder what this means wrt. electric cars and the environment? What would our emissions look like if all cars were magically electrical tomorrow?
etler 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I am not a car guy, but the Tesla cars regularly give me goosebumps.
wahsd 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Something that came to my mind is that the whole German economy, and Japanese for that matter, is in for some seriously choppy waters ahead. I think the Japanese are far more ahead than the Germans, but when you consider just how much of the German economy is dependent on combustion engine driven vehicles there have got to be some seriously anxious people in Germany right now. Worse yet for them if they are not anxious as heck.
vwinsyee 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I had to enable "Brightcove" in Ghostery in order to see the video. Hope this helps anyone potentially confused.
codex_irl 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I enjoy reading about the progress Tesla is making, but I will not consider buying any electric car until the price is < $30k and I can at least drive from the bay area to Tahoe and back for a ski weekend on a single charge.
deusebio 6 hours ago 0 replies      
No one buys an Aston just for the performance. It gets killed in almost every category. It's much more of an emotional connection than anything else. I love them, but know there are countless other cars that can destroy it (911, GTR, etc, etc).
Cyph0n 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For those who also found the custom video player annoying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUW0l7bZn1s
CamperBob2 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Please do not link to auto-playing video pages without indicating that you are doing so in the headline.
moocowduckquack 7 hours ago 0 replies      
So next they need to film them chasing each other in a Bond movie and stick lasers on the wheels, or something, and have lots of explosions. That's how you sell high end cars, right?
beachstartup 6 hours ago 1 reply      
possibly the most amazing thing about the tesla is it turns computer-guys into car-guys.
joshdance 7 hours ago 0 replies      
And my desire to buy a Tesla when I can, only increases.
gilesvangruisen 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Impressive as Rapide is both lighter in weight and more powerful than the Model S (470bhp vs. 416bhp). Both cars have the same amount of torque. (443 lb-ft)
user2 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Elon, take my money.
Random Number Bug in Debian Linux (2008) schneier.com
12 points by pdknsk  2 hours ago   6 comments top 5
alrs 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
Two obligatory links.

1. Debian dev on the openssl mailing list if he can remove the code causing errors in Valgrind: http://marc.info/?l=openssl-dev&m=114651085826293&w=2

2. Developer with a @openssl.org email address giving him the green light: http://marc.info/?l=openssl-dev&m=114652287210110&w=2

Source: http://lwn.net/Articles/282038/

fnordfnordfnord 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I guess it is really hard to write a test suite that would catch these types of weaknesses?

PS Just noticed this is from 2008 (whew, I was afraid it had happened again).

buss 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Note this is from 2008.
pdknsk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Read the last sentence.
mauchter 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This article is five years old; it'd be nice to note that in the title.
PHP Internals - "I quit" and the poor state of PHP Internals - ircmaxell ircmaxell.com
121 points by chrisacky  9 hours ago   91 comments top 16
bowlofpetunias 6 hours ago 4 replies      
The author is complaining about lack of vision, leadership and regulations. And most of us can perfectly understand that, except: those are exactly the things that set PHP apart from most other major open source projects.

It is by far the most anarchic and disorganized major OSS project and yet it still thrives. It still moves forward, it still gets better. Yes, it's design foundations as a language are not particularly elegant (to put it mildly), but that's pretty much the only major thing that's wrong with the resulting product.

According to all known wisdom about how an OSS community should function, PHP should have imploded and forked a long time ago. It should no longer exist.

And yet, despite this "I quit" rant, PHP has had relatively few major conflicts. The PHP way is unique, and while it may offend the sensibilities of people who like a nicely organized and disciplined community ran by a benevolent dictator or inspiring visionary, dammit, it works.

I strongly suspect that any successful attempt to solve PHP's organizational "problems" would actually result in killing it stone dead.

We already have Python and Ruby ea. PHP should stay weird.

ck2 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Subscribe to it for awhile and you'll see.

It also turned off the suhosin author to the point where he moved onto other stuff.

He had some great ideas, now lost (no longer works with PHP > 5.3 )

But Zend shows up and folds back in some great stuff into PHP once in awhile.

Take a look at their now opensourced opcode cache, it's faster than all others.

mappu 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I read php-internals every day, and.. this is totally understandable. There's a lot of opinionated people on that list with totally different visions - nikic, stas, that one guy Lester who is convinced 5.3 and E_STRICT was the worst thing in the world... PHP just appeals to too many people to have a consensus. Possibly the point this was made most clear was when the property accessors RFC was declined on a hairpin vote despite having a majority (and the time that switching to an actual AST-based parser was a non-starter).

Your contributions and voice will be missed.

buster 4 hours ago 0 replies      
An eyeopener for me was reading parts of the discussion how the new namespace seperator was chosen: http://pastebin.com/2iJP4Qhx from https://wiki.php.net/rfc/namespaceseparator)

If you read that IRC log and truly believe that a multi-million/billion dollar ecosystem/environment should be ruled by what reads like kids between 12-16 chatting, then go ahead. I won't. Apart from that there is enough rant on PHP on the internet already ;)

camus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Move to Python, I'm sure the community can benefit from your skills. I see no future in PHP development. If the core is rotten ,you can have the best libs in the world (symfony,doctrine,...) in the end you still need to face PHP architectural problems. Or back to the JVM maybe.
robrenaud 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is super relevant. How to protect your open source project from poisonous people.


Pxtl 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Any large community has these problems. This is the advantage to using forum engines that allow non-anonymous upvotes/downvotes over a naive mail-list - people can silently agree and separate the wheat from the chaff, and consensus becomes far more visible. You can even give the important contributors greater "weight" to the ups/downs (this is not a democracy, contributors are worth more).
astrodust 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd often wondered if the patchwork, self-contradicting, non-standard, anarchistic nature of PHP was a reflection of the mind-set of the creators.
dkhenry 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I think the only hope PHP has of continuing development is if someone big like Facebook can add some direction to it. Maybe they will but I think last I checked even they were giving up on using it for much more then a thin veneer to their back end services.
0x0 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Is this just a case of meritocracy at play?

I haven't followed the full discussion and events leading up to here, but would it be very wrong to assume this just a case of a bystander starting a discussion that didn't really catch on with any of the active maintainers?

gesman 7 hours ago 5 replies      
PHP is addictive.

You can create whole web app in one PHP file from scratch and it will have everything including API and DB management layer and be secure and fully functioning.

And it will work on all servers and on all operating systems.

Millions are made by average developers developing themes and plugins for wordpress.

Hard to beat all that.

#drama is for queens :)

Miyamoto 4 hours ago 3 replies      
HN white knights JavaScript but hates PHP. I can't figure it out. Each language is horrible in similar ways.
bayesianhorse 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Writing in PHP is a war against the platform - that's why PHP code tends to look like a battlefield...
segmondy 7 hours ago 3 replies      
He complains about how internals lacks leadership, so why doesn't step up and fill that void instead of running away?
torino_devc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
There is pretty much new independent PHP engines nowadays, one of my favorite is an embedded PHP5 implementation named PH7 written in ANSI C and following the SQLite3 coding style (very impressive)http://ph7.symisc.net
MrZongle2 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Am I the only one who feels like this is a temper-tantrum of somebody who wanted to be in charge of more toys, punctuated with some salient (but obvious) points about PHP?
Don't use CoffeeScript tysens.us
24 points by L8D  3 hours ago   21 comments top 10
amasad 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is actually almost completely wrong information. The lower-level for loop is much more JS engine friendly than the Array methods (filter, map etc.). So unless you write JS like it's C, for the most part, CoffeeScript will probably generate more efficient code[1]. As shown in the jsperf by @mischani [2]

The only thing that's true is that CofeeScript generates some throwaway code because of implicit returns and the "everything is an expression" rule. However, I doubt that they would cause much overhead, specially with modern JS engines optimisation capabilities.

[1]: http://mrale.ph/blog/2011/11/05/the-trap-of-the-performance-...

[2]: http://jsperf.com/don-t-use-coffeescript

mischanix 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Turns out the comprehension is faster on my setup:


rzimmerman 48 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's no evidence presented here that there's any significant (or even negative) performance impact from the way the CoffeeScript compiles these list comprehensions. Also, if your performance is constrained by a list comprehension, there's nothing in CoffeeScript preventing you from using "Array.filter" instead. By and large CoffeeScript compiles one-to-one with JavaScript and when it doesn't, the resulting code is at least reasonably performant.

I do agree that the default return behavior is probably a bad idea. It probably came from Ruby, and I can see the appeal, but I've often created bugs by accidentally using the implicit return, then adding something to the end of a function. It's not really that big of a deal - I just as a policy always use an explicit return.

city41 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Also as an aside, CoffeeScript will only bother to populate the results array if the comprehension is the last thing in the function. If there is anything else that follows and you never use the result of the comprehension, then it compiles into a simple for loop. This is because CoffeeScript can't know if you actually plan to take advantage of its implicit return in this case.

I have found I've been forced to add a dummy `return` at the end of some of my CS methods because of this. It's one of only a very few complaints I have with the language.

cubicle67 1 hour ago 3 replies      
fwiw, I love coffeescript. I write a game a few weeks ago in it, but I've never shown it to anyone before. Have a look here if you're interested http://quietcode.com/vectroid

I've made no attempts at all at performance tuning yet it runs very nicely in webkit browsers and not too bad in firefox.

hardwaresofton 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey quick question, maybe you should use map instead of filter?

http://www.dotnetspeaks.com/DisplayArticle.aspx?ID=117(random site with example)

map is the functional equivalent of what you're trying to do there, not filter.

rpwilcox 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
The great thing about there being so many Javascript transpilers these days is that you can pick the right language to suit your needs.

Really want / need Google Closure / the latest ECMAScript stuff? ClojureScript supports these things pretty well.

Really like Ruby (or Python) but find yourself in Javascript land? Coffeescript is right for you.

There's some interesting buzz around getting Coffescript more Google Closure compliant, which is probably the better way to go (assuming your targeting front end JS, not Node).

But yes, there are certainly places where Coffeescript generates a crap-ton of code, where if you can pinpoint your Javascript runtime (like in Node's case) you could do more, better, and faster.

smoyer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like CoffeeScript and will continue to use it where appropriate.

But I do wonder why we're stuck with all the cruft to let ECMAScript be backwards compatible. Couldn't we just one time introduce a few breaking changes to clean up the mistakes in the language's design?

And if you're really opposed to that, how about the same strict versus transitional semantics we use for HTML? I'd be happy to be writing code in a clean strict subset of JavaScript.

rcoh 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
It seems that what you actually want is for CoffeeScript to have configurable backends. I agree that it's silly to generate IE6 compatible code when I know that I'm targeting node. This isn't a reason not to use CoffeeScript -- it's a reason to improve CoffeeScript.

Furthermore, as others have noted, your post does smack of premature optimization. Without numbers, most of the claims are all pretty meaningless. Judging by number of instructions is no longer a valid metric on any platform on any level of abstraction and hasn't been since the 1980s.

talles 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet Another Coffeescript Rant
Meet Crystal language in its birthday. It is compiled and has ruby like syntax crystal-lang.org
64 points by carohadad  7 hours ago   40 comments top 11
gregwebs 4 hours ago 3 replies      
This is really interesting. A hypothesis I have on Ruby is that people attribute dynamic typing to it being a productive language, but that Ruby is actually productive for other reasons, in spite of being dynamically typed.

With Crystal, at least when it matures a bit more, this hypothesis could be tested.

There are very logical reasons why dynamic typing at first appears better than static for Rubyists, that I think don't hold up as well after you scratch the surface:

* many Rubyists came from Java, and that kind of typing does slow you down. You need a modern type system with at least local type inference (Crystal seems to have global type inference)

* dynamic typing does actually help develop things more quickly in some cases, definitely in the case of small code bases for newer developers. A developer only has to think about runtime. With static typing a developer also must think about compile-time types, which takes time to master and integrate into their development. The relative payoff of preventing bugs grows exponentially as the complexity of the code base increases and at least linearly with size of the code base.

spoiler 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
It would be really cool if one could write binary extensions/gems for Ruby with Crystal somewhere down the line... far down the line, probably.
vinceguidry 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm putting my faith in Ruby. It might take 10 years, but eventually the performance will resemble C's. It's basically a compile-to-C language right now as it is. There's just a whole bunch of inefficiencies in the implementation. Once they get ironed out, we'll finally be able to have our cake and eat it too. One language to rule them all.
hcarvalhoalves 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting. I really liked the solution for writing C bindings.

Given the syntax looks similar, could it run Ruby source, unaltered?

theseoafs 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I was very excited by this when I read the description, because a compiled language that looks like Ruby is exactly what I've wanted. Unfortunately I'm not super excited by the quirks of the implementation. For example:

    if some_condition      a = 1    else      a = 1.5    end
If I'm working in a compiled and typed language, the last thing I want is a language that automatically gives union types to variables. As far as I'm concerned, the type inference should fail at this point. In the above example, now I'm forcing the compiler to maintain a union which is going to have a pretty significant overhead on every computation the variable `a` is involved in.

nwmcsween 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You cannot have full classical OOP with C like performance. It won't happen without a big fat JIT runtime and more optimization than put into hotspot.
tbrock 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great. Now if we need parallelism we can choose Rubinius and if we require raw speed we can choose Crystal (when it's done) instead of jumping on the JRuby bandwagon.

I respect Charles Oliver Nutter but Java is something I want less of in my life. This seems like a great alternative for people seeking performant Ruby interpreters.

continuations 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Can it use Ruby libraries? People use Ruby mostly because of its ecosystem.
ddfreyne 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a typo: foo2.ord in the first class Foo(T) example should be foo2.value.ord.
blah32497 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Another language with un-googleable name.
NDT 5 hours ago 2 replies      
How is this different from Ruby?
"Chrome-style" Desktop Apps that work today in Firefox firefox.com
69 points by potch  7 hours ago   36 comments top 10
kungfooey 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Is this just a link to the Firefox OS marketplace? I had no idea these could be installed to the desktop, too.
lallysingh 4 hours ago 3 replies      
The first I see is the irony vis-a-vis pre-firefox Mozilla. They had a similar system (I'm looking for the old book I had on it) using a widget set called XUL. I tried using it. It hurt.

I guess the lesson is one of:

  (1) don't make complicated XML-based APIs  (2) stick to standards (e.g., using HTML now instead of XUL)  (3) if your system isn't getting traction, retry in 10 years?

markchristian 6 hours ago 2 replies      
It's a little embarrassing that the Soundcloud screenshot is of Chrome.
Refefer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Apparently uninstalling apps is only easily available currently for Windows and Mac. You have to go through a somewhat manual kludge currently for Linux varieties.

edit: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Marketplace/Mozillian_Preview#Unins...

truebosko 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It's not the best experience. When you install an app, you don't really know where to go to use it. Atleast in Chrome, you see it pop into the apps screen.
dahjelle 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it possible to create a desktop app like this, for web sites of my choice, without using the Marketplace? It occurs to me that Firefox is very nearly able to provide a site-specific browser experience, like Fluid[1], but I'm not sure how to do it.

[1] http://fluidapp.com/

walid 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the reminder. I actually used some apps early on but there weren't many and somehow forgot about them. I'll use some of these desktop apps more especially Wikipedia and SoundCloud.
csuwldcat 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Sad that this PSA even needs to be written, but alas:

* NO, open web apps that run on Firefox and Chrome are in no way linked to non-standard markup languages like XUL. *

Please disregard any users who have made this fallacious assertion.

math0ne 6 hours ago 2 replies      
First time i've seen this. Must have missed the announcement?
javascript4life 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Before Chrome and Firefox there is Pokki, which has been doing this for over 2 years. HTML, JavaScript, and CSS desktop apps, with App Store.


Nginx Is Taking Over the Internet wired.com
209 points by cliveowen  14 hours ago   117 comments top 20
lkrubner 12 hours ago 5 replies      
For my style of coding, and I think many others, Nginx has become dominant because it enables fast reverse proxy. And I think for many large websites it ahs become common to build websites out of many small apps, which run on different ports and which Nginx then knits together.

An example. Assuming you have the domain example.com then you might have an app that handles user login and you spin that up on, say, port 30000 and you map it to port 80 such that is appears as:


You might also have an app that handles user signups which you spin up on port 30001 and you map to port 80 such that it appears as:


You might also have an admin app that you spin up on port 30002 and you map to


You might also have an app that allows users to update their profile information and you spin that up on port 30003 and map that to


And you might have an app that publishes much of your content as static HTML files, which you spin up on no port, as it does not accept TCP/IP requests instead it queries the database and then creates static html files, which you save to some directory such as /var/www/example.com/public_html/ and you map that to


You can see how this gives the sysadmins a lot of freedom to spread load across servers in creative ways if 1 app becomes especially popular, or resource hungry, the sysadmins can rather easily move it to its own server (or set of servers). This is one of the main reasons most big sites move to an architecture like this it facilitates fine grained control of what sort of requests go to a particular server.

This is a flexible style and it allows small, maintainable apps. By contrast, consider web development circa 2001, when many people felt it was enough to put a big blob of PHP in a directory and let Apache serve it as one big app.

Nginx's fast reverse proxy allows developers to focus on building their apps, without having to worry too much the server details. It also offers a cleaner separation between concerns that should worry programmers and concerns that should worry the sysadmins.

(A final point: in my own apps, for information that needs to be shared quickly across apps, like which users are logged in, I use ZeroMQ to knit the apps together.)

dmm 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Nginx has been added to the OpenBSD base system which means it has been security audited and will someday replace the fork of Apache 1.3 as the primary httpd in OpenBSD.


casca 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I suspect that tech people are less concerned with country of origin that many other industries. I'd like to believe that my experience is generalizable and that as a group we're more of a meritocracy. Perhaps it's due to the diversity of people that we routinely work with?
leephillips 12 hours ago 7 replies      
From the article: "Apache would crash, especially when WordPress was really busy. 'We realized that it wasnt super-stable under production traffic,' says Barry Abrahamson, a WordPress 'systems wrangler'"

Given Apache's track record and massive deployment, how could this be possible? Isn't it more likely that the Wordpress people were doing something wrong? Not that Nginx isn't great, but I'm bemused by the occasional suggestions I see that it's saving us from the suddenly broken Apache.

mfjordvald 11 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who was there early on writing documentation and helping in IRC it's extremely nice to see the article mention how volunteers really got this projects documentation off the ground. Hats off to nginx for sharing that tidbit or to the article author if he researched that independently.
badmadrad 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a noob at this system admin stuff but according to my statistics I have gathered, nginx webserver uses 30-50% less of the load than apache.

At first, I poured so much into learning Apache I didn't want to learn this weird obscure Russian alternative but I am sure glad I did.

Under load testing, I can have double the amount of concurrent users without even causing my server to hiccup.

When I was running wordpress and apache in AWS I had to use a costly m1-small instance to maintain the cpu and load needs of apache.

When I made the switch to nginx I doubled the performance and was able to move to a free micro instance in AWS.

In conclusion, moving to nginx saved me money and allowed my server to run more efficiently.

I am a believer in this software. Hopefully, going commercial doesn't ruin it like money usually does.

caycep 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Good to see this get some English language press - I think the only other profile of Igor Sysoev I've seen was a volunteer-translated copy of a Russian language article.
devx 13 hours ago 3 replies      
'Would they have considered obscure Russian software if they hadnt been able to examine the source code? Never in a million years, Prince says. If it hadnt been open-source, we wouldnt have trusted it.'

And that's how a lot of countries will feel about using proprietary (or even open source) software from US in the future, after all the NSA revelations.

LukeShu 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Several of the comments here point out that part of the reason Apache gets a bad rep is that PHP forces it to use the process based mpm, which is bad. Does this mean that it would make more sense to use mod_fastcgi+php-fpm than mod_php? If so, why isn't that being done?
ksec 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what is planned for Nginx 2.0I read somewhere ( The it was suppose to be re-engineered.)

Edit: Herehttp://www.aosabook.org/en/nginx.html

progx 13 hours ago 2 replies      
A long time ago the development of apache walks into a wrong direction. Apache get fat and slow.

For now nginx is first choice for Webperformance, but in some years the next thing will arrive.

imslavko 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Regardless of your Nginx vs Apache Web server war here, Igor Sysoev contributed to Apache a lot: mod_accel - (first?) reverse proxy, mod_deflate, mod_realip.
chrismealy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Anybody know how important epoll was in helping nginx take off?
user2 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Nginx Plus is a great supplement to nginx, especially for corporate users who need a helping hand with the setup and maintenance of any complex system. Thanks Igor!
auvrw 1 hour ago 0 replies      
gunicorn "strongly advises" nginx, so ...
ericgoldberg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
nginx is a joy to configure and work with. I like the style of thinking of "OK, I'll run this on port 7001 and just use iptables to forward 80 -> 7001" Lets you run services as non-root, with the exception of the iptables one time setup.
johnnymonster 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Lets all hope the NSA has not injected back doors into NGINX!
jebblue 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll stick with Apache, thanks.
hipsters_unite 13 hours ago 2 replies      
What a ridiculous article title. Generates so much discursive noise and adds nothing to the subject of the article.
chatman 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Misleading title. A program written by a Russian isn't necessarily "Russian Software".
Applications open Winter 2014 Funding ycombinator.com
106 points by pg  10 hours ago   21 comments top 11
te_chris 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So I've just left a startup that I'd spent far too much time on and am looking to regroup. I'm currently validating a new idea and wanting to take all the shit I've learned and really make something work.

One thing I've learned is that anything that allows focus is good (i.e. YC) so I'm casting my eye towards SF and Startmate in Sydney. The problem is I'm based in New Zealand so it's hard to try and meet anyone involved beforehand and work out more about the program than what people say on here. Has anyone got any tips for reaching out to people involved with YC from a distance? I'm assuming PG's inbox is flooded, but I just want to discuss the program with someone who's got experience with or is involved with it in some way so I can form a better idea of it in my head and work out better prepare myself should I actually fluke and get in. Thanks :)

e1ven 9 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing to note is that the application deadline is 2 days -after- Startup School.

I went to Startup School last year, and it was an amazing experience.

It can be a great place to meet people, tell them about your startup, and get real, honest, brutal feedback about what you're doing right or wrong.

If you're on the fence about applying to YC, go to Startup School, and you'll be convinced and inspired.

If you're already planning on applying, go to Startup School and meet some other founders- You'll get experience talking to brilliantly smart people who are great at seeing through marketing speak and BS. Practice explaining to as many people as you can - It's a great way to make new friends, and will be good practice for your YC interviews.

davyjones 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I am not sure if I can pitch for a co-founder but here goes:

GitHub for CAD. With 3D printing poised to explode shortly, I am predicting a need for versioning of CAD models (along with FEM analyses). Current solutions (PLM/PDM) are very expensive and usually need to be customized. This is a business that is runs into billions of USD per annum and is ripe for disruption.

If anyone is interested, please get in touch at dj@pgxplorer.com.

Kurtz79 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I assume the experiment of considering people applying without a startup idea has not been successful.

What has been your experience with it ?

eshvk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I am very intrigued by #1. Especially because I feel like the only one company out there that is redefining Journalism in the way pg talks about is the NYT. This is a space that I would love to get into (love to write, have math/stats skills). Does anyone other companies working on this side of things?

#1 http://ycombinator.com/rfs1.html

diminish 8 hours ago 3 replies      
YC RFSs look somehow a bit old as of today, especially "build things on twitter". I'm curious what #7 was? See http://ycombinator.com/rfs.html
ajju 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are applying to YC and need advice, help on the application, or just want to chat online or at Startup school, email me. aj at instantcab dot com. I was rejected from the first YC batch, started up anyway, got to ramen profitability and was accepted for W12. So I can give a perspective from both sides of the fence :
kyro 10 hours ago 1 reply      
>The people in your group are what matter most to us. We look for brains, motivation, and a sense of design.

Is that last bit new, pg? And what do you mean by it?

6thSigma 9 hours ago 1 reply      
If we apply early, should we update the application with feature changes to our prototype until the last date? Or do you guys not care too much about prototype updates at this stage?
abracar 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There are no details in the FAQ about the $80k YC VC note, when do selected companies get it? Is it automatic?
bicknergseng 8 hours ago 0 replies      
TechCrunch: Journalists Or Startup Shills? You Decide theawl.com
81 points by look_lookatme  8 hours ago   41 comments top 13
austenallred 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I just realized I haven't been to TechCrunch in months. It's rapidly become more of a press release distribution platform than a "journalistic institution."

And how much interested traffic is it really driving? Look at the number of comments: 2, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0. It used to be full of (albeit low-quality) comments. I don't think that can be blamed on the commenting platform.

As I prepare to launch a startup and close up funding I've made contact with some TC writers, but I don't see a TC writeup as integral to the launch process as it used to be. I don't know if there's anything that would fill that gap -- Show HN, maybe? PandoDaily, kind of? Talk to startups that have been featured there, and they'll be shocked at how little traffic and interest it drove - one app had a full writeup about them and they saw a bump of a couple hundred downloads.

TC is as much of an ego-rub for the founders as it is anything else at this point.

minimaxir 7 hours ago 2 replies      
TechCrunch head editor Alexia Tsotsis published a succinct response here: https://medium.com/p/dbe10eb0874b

Disclosure: I'm a rather frequent commenter on TechCrunch.

benologist 7 hours ago 0 replies      
TechCrunch are nothings now. This year every major story has gone through AllThingsD and other sources, with TechCrunch rushing to post a rewrite.

All they have left is soft-serve YC press releases, major startups posting minor updates, and generic shit like the rest of AOL's content farm churns out.

I won't be at all surprised when next year they announce TechCrunch is re-launching as a category on Engadget who are actively pursuing startups and are much better at spewing out rewordings and zero-impact articles.

achompas 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Love this because, if nothing else, The Awl's writers can...write...circles around the TC crew.
sscalia 8 hours ago 3 replies      
In my experience...

They absolutely, positively will not cover you unless you've raised money.

Even if you have stats that blow competitors out of the water - crickets.

It's been demonstrated more than once that their traffic isn't useful to the vast majority of startups (doubly so for B2B companies).

It's a nice thing to have coverage from them. But in no way needed for a successful launch of a company.

eitally 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Startup shills. That doesn't necessarily mean they don't perform any journalism, or that they don't aspire to be journalists, but the news they've chosen to coverage depends highly on their sources choosing them as the primary outlet for news. That used to make sense, but not anymore, and especially not since 1) Big Media have taken tech coverage seriously, 2) FAR superior sites like Ars & The Verge provide much better general technical cover for the same or similar things, and 3) there are a plethora of niche blogs/sites that delve deeper still into the minutiae of nearly anything you could imagine (consider android police, androinica, phandroid, android guys, android atlas, andcentral, ...). Imho, TC isn't the only one suffering -- Mashable, Pandodaily, etc aren't exactly getting the new hotness first, either.
jerrya 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Why is Disqus a thriving though flawed comment platform and Livefyre a seemingly dead and flawed comment platform?

I don't bother commenting on sites with Livefyre as do most people, it seems.

ChuckMcM 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Every now and then I like to be reminded why I put Middle School out of my mind.
rhokstar 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I boycotted TechCrunch since the quality of their journalism has dropped (circa 2010). Then Arrington leaves and now its an empty shell.
mathattack 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Can they be both Journalists and Startup shills? Very interesting play by play on the fight over there!
Miyamoto 4 hours ago 0 replies      
TC harbors some of the dumbest commentators, and many of them post on their real Facebook account. It's like they don't know how to Internet.
VladRussian2 6 hours ago 0 replies      
from my understanding, western school of journalism is about providing both sides' opinions (like public's on molesting priests and the priests' on themselves), while i don't remember a techcrunch article simultaneously doing both - promoting a startup as well as providing an opposite opinion.

The original posts at "theawl" - i wasn't able to read it beyond the first couple of paragraphs, as it is sounds like an incomprehensible blabber to me, something along the lines of an anxious teenager describing his word argument with another teenager.

boha 4 hours ago 0 replies      
False dichotomy.
Sweden 'a close partner' in NSA surveillance thelocal.se
166 points by yesbabyyes  13 hours ago   38 comments top 9
antocv 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Of course it is, and it was before the internet as Sweden has cables to/from Russia over which most of Russias traffic passes.

Ive heard from former employees at the then government owned Tele company that they had secretly installed black boxes in specific locations.

The FRA-law if you remember, which was passed after FRA illegally surveilled all communications they could get to make it legal, collects huge amounts of data, just like NSA, and then they trade with their NSA/GHCQ counter-parts. One argument for the surveillence was from some right-wing military person "Sweden needs a bargaining chip in the international scene".

jdp23 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The information was presented to the EU parliament by Duncan Campbell -- who broke the ECHELON story 25 years ago. [1]


tokenadult 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Sweden's official foreign policy has been armed neutrality for a very long time, almost as long as for Switzerland. Sweden has not been a combatant power in any war in living memory.

But geographic reality compels Sweden to be aware of who its friends might be in moments of trouble. Some nearby countries that were not combatant powers (at first) were overrun during World War II. So Sweden arms, yes, to be able to maintain neutrality as best it can, and it also pursues an active foreign policy of making friends without making alliances with the countries that best support Sweden's cultural heritage and aspirations for freedom and prosperity.

Here in the land of the Swedish diaspora, where almost everyone knows somebody with Swedish ancestry, the local public university's law school has an exchange program with the law program at a Swedish university. I remember hearing a talk on Sweden's defense strategy given at the law school here in 1989 by a visiting Swedish professor. He, and almost everyone else in Sweden at the time, was quite concerned by repeated incursions into Swedish territorial waters by Soviet submarines on training missions. The Soviet Union and its successor state Russia have an obvious strategic interest in controlling access to harbors in Sweden, so Sweden has an obvious strategic interest in knowing whether or not Russia is planning any hostile moves. Sweden needs to be informed about the outside world to maintain its policy of armed neutrality. The cooperation described in this article is not surprising in that historical and current events context.

AFTER EDIT: I would be delighted to hear from anyone who can let me know what facts they think I have got wrong here, as the pattern of upvotes and downvotes so far suggests that someone disagrees with me, but I'm not completely sure why.

brown9-2 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's pretty safe to say that the intelligence agencies of almost all Cold War era allies are still close partners. Governments on either side still generally regard the other side as potential adversaries.
Sharlin 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It was not that hard to guess that the main impetus behind the FRA law and the capability to spy on the Russians' Internet traffic was the prospect of trading any valuable pieces of intel with friendly major powers, apparently specifically the US. In retrospect it occurs to me that the Americans might actually have been actively lobbying for the law in the first place.
reinhardt 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this mean that the "truly anonymous" VPN providers that have sprung up like mushrooms in Sweden thanks to a supposedly privacy-friendly law are dead in the water?
goombastic 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Given that government has access to this much information and is not using it to hunt down tax dodgers etc, does it mean they are actively protecting the rich?
speeder 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I think.now people.can stop.dismissing those that claim Sweden dislike wikileaks as "tin foil.hatters"
blackcat 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Instead of down voting maybe explain why it is OK that Sweden helps the evil empire.

Fucking useless Eurofags.

Glass gets Connected to 200+ Services zapier.com
44 points by mikeknoop  6 hours ago   7 comments top 3
mikeknoop 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I heard a concern about the quality of the integrations that you might be able to make with Zapier and Glass.

Integrations are of course limited to what can fit inside the "trigger/action" model. However, most of the first-party Glass apps take advantage of Glass in about the same way and you can't extend them like you can with Zapier.

Glass is also a bit limited in how you can consume content. Right now you can read content from Gmail (only one inbox), SMS, CNN, New York Times, and maybe a few others. With Zapier you can push any content you want to the device in any format and filtered in any way.

Some of my favorite use cases while building the integration:

1. Take a photo on Glass -> Upload to Dropbox

2. Send RSS headlines to Glass, when I "share" a headline and add a caption -> Send to Buffer

3. Set up event reminders inside Google Calendar -> Send reminder to Glass when the event is about to start

All said, I'm super excited to see what others start building. Not just developers (we've had access to the Mirror API already) but what real users want to use Glass for.

Zapier users constantly blow me away with their creativity and given an open-ended device like Glass, I'm sure we'll see some super creative use cases.

derekja 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Sounds nice. I've been trying to use IFTTT for similar things, but it's fairly limited. If you add feedly I'll sign up! I'm still trying to find a nice easy solution to save the full text of RSS items that I mark as "save for later" in feedly...
katgleason 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Bobbit worms, undersea predators wired.com
3 points by austinz  24 minutes ago   1 comment top
kbenson 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
The video of it pulling the fish under, and the dround movemnt as it does something to the fish under the soil is disturbing. Nightmare fuel.
The Z-80 has a 4-bit ALU. Here's how it works. righto.com
99 points by kens  11 hours ago   29 comments top 4
rayiner 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The Pentium 4 also had a 16-bit ALU, which computed a 16-bit operation on each of the rising and falling edges of the clock to maintain 1-cycle latency. www.cs.virginia.edu/~mc2zk/cs451/mco_P4.ppt.
pslam 10 hours ago 4 replies      
CPUs of this era were normally multi-cycle for every instruction, but I never expected in the Z-80 at least one cycle was because the ALU was only 4 bit. Love the detailed analysis - and this is just the tip of the iceberg of that site.

One thing I'm missing from this article is an approximate gate count. Obviously going 4 bit was motivated by gate and area saving, but halving the ALU size isn't going to halve the gate count or area, because it still needs the same width bus and extra latches for the partial answer. Or was it critical path? What kind of saving was it from an 8 bit ALU?

acegopher 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. I'm going through the Elements of Computing Systems book/course (a.k.a. From NAND to Tetris) http://www.nand2tetris.org/ and it's been great in helping me understand how CPU's are constructed.

The course actually has you make a ALU from logic gates, so you understand at a deep level just how it's done.

beachstartup 8 hours ago 0 replies      
in high school i learned z80 assembly to hack games on my ti-86 calculator. it's a great chip to learn on.

i remember there was a cross-compiler and a software utility + serial cable ... after some googling:


I'm making introductory level samples for C++11 features. Feedback please. cachelatency.com
31 points by bloodorange  6 hours ago   13 comments top 9
vinkelhake 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Nice articles, some points:

The shared_ptr article should at least mention std::make_shared and why it might be a good idea to use it.

The decltype article could mention std::declval.

The auto article could mention that auto can be combined with 'const' and '&' since auto on its own won't create a reference type. It could also be noted that auto is useful when you're writing generic code and might not know the types you're dealing with.

JoshTriplett 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Very impressive!

Some feedback:

Your cut points between summaries and full articles often fall at awkward points. Most notably, don't put them right after a sentence that ends in a ':'; instead, write the summary to stand alone. For instance, your declspec summary ought to end with something like "Read on for examples of when you might want to use declspec instead of auto.", and your summary of the new random bits should end with something like "C++11 adds a new object-oriented random number generator with many enhancements over the C library version."

Your article tags seem rather redundant to be as prominent as they are; every article has the "C++", "C++11", and "Programming" tags.

In your shared_ptr example, you should talk about when you might need to actually take away the reference from the shared_ptr, so that it outlives the shared_ptr.

bloodorange 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I plan to cover all additions that C++11 brings to C++ and am writing samples aimed at beginner, beginner-intermediate level programmers.

I am doing this to help myself learn and to have a single repository where there is sample code for every single C++11 feature.

The articles are going to be alternating between core language and library features.

Please send your criticism, corrections and hopefully some praise my way.

EDIT 0: minor typo fix

EDIT 1: I announce the articles on twitter with the username CacheLatency

eksith 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like this a lot! Very nicely arranged, but the tags seem a bit repetitive (I.E. C++, C++11, Programming). Unless you're planning to add other languages and categories other than just programming (E.G. "Administration"?) I'd just skip those. The only other thing I'd add to this is a means to search for articles.

Nice work overall. :)

bcoates 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I like it so far.

Is there any sense of ordering, or is each article self-contained? I wouldn't encourage shared_ptr as the smart pointer of first resort, unique_ptr is preferable where it's suitable.

I would also suggest going ahead and giving more guidance on when and when not to use various features, C++11 has a lot of redundant features. This is gonna start shading into matters of opinion, but somebody's got to do it, and for a novice any sane advice is better than nothing.

landr0id 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Very impressive! At first glance I thought you made a typo under <random>.

    for (auto int i = 0; i < 10; ++i) {
After a Google search, I read that there's apparently no difference between 'auto int' and just 'int'. I've never seen this before. Why write both?

minimax 5 hours ago 1 reply      
shared_ptr: 1) It might be helpful to show an example with a bare pointer and then show the improved version with shared_ptr. 2) One good way to illustrate object lifetimes in RAII demos is to create a class that prints a message in the destructor. 3) In practice most people use a typedef for shared_ptr types. Instead of writing "shared_ptr<Class>" everywhere you would "typedef shared_ptr<class> ClassP" and then just use ClassP to declare shared_ptr variables.

auto: I think you can expand a bit on how auto interacts with reference and const qualifiers.

dubcanada 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I think you should keep going, I would love basic snippets kind of like http://cocoadevcentral.com for C++.
bla2 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
two spellos: psuedorandom, conveniet
Trampolines in JavaScript raganwald.com
122 points by austengary  13 hours ago   61 comments top 14
crazygringo 11 hours ago 5 replies      
Genuine question, and this seems to be as good a place as any to ask it. I understand the concepts behind functional programming, and trying to implement them in JavaScript (recently read Functional JavaScript too).

But from my experience, functional programming is mainly useful for parallelization/distribution of computation, because it's essentially mathematical -- functional code tends to be harder to write, understand, and debug, but you do it when you need to be able to split up computation. Kind of like assembly is harder than C++, but you do it when you need 100% optimized computation in a section of your program.

But because there is obviously no multithreading in JavaScript, I've never found a compelling reason to use the FP paradigm in JavaScript. Can anyone enlighten me as to real-world situations where FP makes sense in JavaScript, either client- or server-side? Particularly in web-based projects, which is obviously what JS is for?

imurray 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Did you know that bookkeeping is the only word in the English language containing three consecutive letter pairs? Youre welcome.

Huh. Seems that's pretty much true. Occasionally people don't hyphenate sweettoothed.

    grep '\(.\)\1\(.\)\2\(.\)\3' word_list

numlocked 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully this will be a bit less painful if/when TCO makes its way into ECMAScipt 6 ("Harmony") as it is slated to do: http://wiki.ecmascript.org/doku.php?id=harmony:proper_tail_c...

Regardless, this was an excellent introduction to trampolining.

bsaul 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Very interesting article. But then, frankly, if you're ever in the need for that kind of things, why don't you make yourself a favor and stop using javascript (especially on the server, where there are plenty other alternatives) ?

I mean, if someone comes to me with some server code running a "trampoline" library so that he can perform tail-call optimization in javascript on node.js , he really better have some extremely good justification.

taylodl 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Trampolines are okay, but JavaScript still needs an actual TCO. In this blog post http://taylodl.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/functional-javascrip... I look into the performance of trampolines compared to the normal recursive form. Trampolines perform worse. Moreover, TCO was invented to overcome the performance issues associated with recursive implementations, meaning trampolines perform much worse than TCO.
jheriko 11 hours ago 0 replies      
i've never been much of a fan of this 'fancy new terminology' and generally learn it as needed...

however, there are two things i find scary here - and really both are the same thing

- the idea that a stack frame is something that is not known about- that solving the endless stack frame problem requires tail-call elimination or any other specific optimisation that leaves the code in recursive form

this reminds me of this section in the Michael Abrash programming black book - http://www.phatcode.net/res/224/files/html/ch59/59-04.html#H...

i was shocked at that as well tbh. unrolling that particular recursion by understanding how functions work is something i just did once without any special thought many years before encountering this book... i assumed that programmers generally understand how to implement everything they use, or at least have a deep curiosity about that - but this is a flawed assumption.

now, re writing recursive code to be iterative is something that i know from experience that programmers will shy away from until they get to grips with it. like many tasks it turns out that its both quick and easy and infact always possible, however before learning this they will worry it will be difficult or will take days. its such an easy task a dumb old computer can do it when it compiles your code after all... a human brain should have no problem (!)

if you implement your own stack based iterative method the equivalent to tail-call optimisation falls out naturally without needing to change the inner loop whatsoever (you literally end up writing code like c=a a=b c=a and realise you can omit a) the result is nothing nearly as complicated or expensive as trampolining - although it is a bit unreadable by my standards - implementing trampolining as this article suggests is just as messy or worse.

anonymoushn 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Creating a new function for every tail call seems a bit awful. It's a shame that the more performant alternatives are ridiculously ugly.
RyanMcGreal 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Sidenote: when you run the recursive function factorial(1000), Node.js returns "Infinity".
nonchalance 11 hours ago 0 replies      

    we need space O<em>n</em> for all those stack frames
Why not use the normal O(n) notation?

erjiang 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is an example of trampolining in a Scheme interpreter I wrote in JavaScript: https://github.com/erjiang/foxscheme/blob/master/src/system/...

This way, interesting Scheme programs can be written without using the small JavaScript stack.

It uses an infinite loop that's broken out of by throwing an exception. There are also some other tricks that it uses to allow other things to happen on the page while it runs your program.

mhewett 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You don't seem to be gaining much from this, at least in JavaScript. The Jatha small LISP library that hasn't been updated since 2007 returns factorial(32768) in 5 seconds on a middling machine. (Disclosure: I'm the author of Jatha)
misterdata 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This works even better with ES6 generators: https://github.com/pixelspark/dispatch.js
PotatoPotato 6 hours ago 0 replies      
jQuery script to fix that whole article:$("body").html($("body").html().replace(/rampol/g, "rambapol"));

Happy Friday Everyone!

IgorPartola 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Very interesting and a nice hack. However, since you are already using a while loop, you might as well do this:

  function factorial(n) {      for (var res = 1; n > 0; n--) {          res *= n;      }      return res;  }
Simple, shorter, no overhead from function calls, etc.

From Thomas Pynchon, a novel of the dot-com era and the end of history slate.com
68 points by throwaway_yy2Di  10 hours ago   28 comments top 4
cgh 8 hours ago 3 replies      
A new Pynchon is huge news. And contrary to what some posters here seem to believe, he's not hard to understand, other than certain passages in "Gravity's Rainbow" in which even he apparently doesn't remember what he was talking about. I think a lot of people are simply thrown by his constantly shifting perspectives from one character to another and his weird humour. Plus he has a technical background so he throws a lot of offhand engineering references in there.

I recommend starting with "The Crying of Lot 49", then "V." Both are amazing and both were written when he was quite young (20s). "V." in particular is a stupendous debut novel. I've read it twice and both times I felt a sort of buzz that lasted for a few days, a sure sign I've read something meaningful in some sense (to me, anyway).

robterrell 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of Mason & Dixon, which was the most difficult fun I've had reading a book in English. Gravity's Rainbow was also great fun. If you're a Buckaroo Banzai fan, and why wouldn't you be, you can thank Pynchon for the defense contractor Yoyodyne, which was appropriated from his novel V.
xradionut 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The review is like a thesaurus full of pretense took acid, gorged at a buffet and then purged on a Scrabble board. Hopefully the book is better.
mindrag 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Is that article actually in English? I couldn't understand a damn thing the author was trying to say.

"...like a black pearl from an oyster unfathomable by any other diver into our eternal souls."


16 Major Firms May Have Received Early Data From Thomson Reuters rollingstone.com
153 points by kevando  14 hours ago   118 comments top 12
JackFr 14 hours ago 6 replies      
I don't understand on what legal basis the SEC could force Reuters to stop selling the information to different people at different times. Reuters is simply not under their jurisdiction, and the University of Michigan Survey is not a public good, which everyone is entitled equal access to.

On the other hand, the SEC could forbid registered entities from buying the survey before it is generally available.

More importantly, I think Taibbi's outrage is misplaced - I don't see a victim here.

deveac 14 hours ago 4 replies      
>Specifically, Nanex saw a spike in the milliseconds before 9:54:58 on December 7th, 2012. To be exact, they saw a flurry at 9:54:57.18, nearly a full second before the "third-tier" algorithmic subscribers got their data at 9:54:58 a.m.This is exactly what you would expect to see if someone, or a bunch of someones, had access to the data even before 9:54:58 a.m. In this game you would want to hold your cards until the last possible moment before placing your bets.

A phenomenon not unlike what many of us have experienced bidding for an item on ebay.

Yet another example of the game being rigged. I don't invest for a living, but I've always thought it folly to approach the exchange in any manner other than a long term diversified one (as an individual investor). Maybe it is my lack of sophistication in the area, but anything else feels like gambling to me.

apalmer 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Honestly Stock Market investing is not nor has it ever been for the common man. The hyper aggressive day trading & HFT sector is not for the common man. As for the slow long term investment route, the biggest section that gets abused by the savvy investors is the institutional pensions and such.

Bottom line if you are not going to put in significant effort you are not going to get much out of the stock market except by pure luck, and on average your going to lose... for the common man the effort necessary to make an extra 15% on your yearly income in the stock market, is more than if you did overtime or even went out and got a part time second job to earn that extra 15%

malandrew 11 hours ago 1 reply      
From the point of view of maintaining a just society, the big problem with allowing things like this is inconsistency in enforcement. Either you level the playing field with respect to informational advantages across the board, and you prosecute bad actors with impunity, thus making it unattractive to bad actors, leaving only good-faith actors participating. Or you make it a caveat-emptor market, where no actor has any guarantee of a fair trade, leaving everyone to question any trade they want to participate in. This will drive out all the good-faith actors that know the game is rigged and not in their favor and it will leave only actors who are trading on the idea that they think that the fool at the table is not themselves.

Personally, I'd be very curious to see two parallel markets for securities: one that is completely unregulated where anything goes and one where any bad actor is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, including multi-year jail sentences and fines that are many multiples of past ill-gotten gains.

This would leave every actor with the choice of participating in the market they want to participate in, including both investors and companies. Companies could choose to list their securities on one just one of those two exchanges or both, and investors could invest only in companies on one exchange or on both exchanges.

The problem with the status quo is that the only actor who knows what exchange they are playing in is is the bad actor. The good actor often will not know that his counterparty is acting in good faith or is corrupting the system until after losses are suffered.

Creating a market for markets, where you can choose between unregulated and regulated markets, allows actors to choose which system they prefer to participate in and leaves regulators free to actually enforce the regulations without being soft for fear of what it may do to the market itself, which is exactly what happened in the 2008 crisis. Regulators were scared shitless of really prosecuting bad actors for fear of plunging the world further into a recession.

brudgers 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Why can't I spot the sucker in the stock market?
yoshakezula 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Matt Taibbi is the man - he's one of the only investigative journalists to consistently stay on Wall Street's ass and make reading about it entertaining (and not just depressing).
mattip 14 hours ago 2 replies      
If you're going to engage in an arms war, you better have the best tools. I never really understood how small investors think they can do microtrading, but apparently it is common since the trading sites bombard you with the very latest statistics.
josho 8 hours ago 2 replies      
It strikes me that there is now enough evidence that high frequency trading & algorithmic traders are a blight on the markets. They should either be banned, or protections put in place to negate the arms race they cause. I see this 'early data' as part of that arms race.

Does anyone have any evidence whatsoever that high frequency trading is a benefit? I've read arguments that they are market makers by creating liquidity. But, I've yet to read a compelling explanation as to how they actually achieve that, nor how its provably valuable to the market as a whole.

Mikeb85 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If it's survey data, it seems as though Thomson Reuters should be able to release it however they want to release it.

For individual investors, sitting on the sidelines, watching the carnage and then jumping in is probably the best play. No small investor can beat the machines at their own game, but you can most definitely take advantage of the swings in the market caused by the machines...

smewpy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If there is one thing I've managed to become sure of in my time on earth, it is that existing financial systems are explicitly designed by the status quo to be abused by the status quo.
mkramlich 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I deduced a long time ago that the "Wall Street + Washington DC + Big Media" combined entity/ecosystem is rife with front-running tailored to the Big Money players.
the_french 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Can any legally informed HNer explain the probability of criminal prosecution? The article seems to imply that it is un certain that this is illegal, but to me it seems like this is insider trading at the very least and maybe something else (criminal). The article says on this:

  > There are disagreements as to whether or not this practice is illegal.

Logo, Bullshit & Co., Inc. ia.net
177 points by pascal07  16 hours ago   114 comments top 46
atacrawl 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
The fact of the matter is that none of us knows exactly happened that weekend, including whether it was really a weekend at all. But I think what offends so many people (myself, to a certain extent, included) is that this whole episode, as it has played out publicly, represents a certain obnoxiousness that so many of us have experienced -- executives that are in over their head inserting themselves into processes they have no business being part of, leading to results that are at best mediocre. Throw in Mayer's self-aggrandizing "we did it" post and the amateur hour "30 logos in 30 days" stunt, and the situation resembles a farce. Marissa Mayer was supposed to be Yahoo's brilliant savior, so why is she playing the role of a stereotypical clueless CEO?

These Onion stories in tandem seem appropriate here.



Pxtl 13 hours ago 5 replies      
Personally, I think you're missing the forest for the trees. I think the unprofessionalism, the BS, the Mayer-hands-on thing... that is part of Yahoo's new branding strategy.

It's all about making Yahoo feel more personal. More like your friend. Mayer is trying to personally invite you out for coffee to and talk about the fun she had bashing out their logo.

I'm sure there are refinements that are happening behind-the-scenes after Mayer's "weekend". Hopefully resized forms of the logo will still get some TLC - the public doesn't generally notice when those things happen.

Remember the demographic that Yahoo survived upon - women. Non-geeky grown-up middle-class women. That's why the new logo reminds you of a department store like Macy's, or the makeup counter at Shoppers Drug Mart. That's who Mayer is targeting with this ad, even this blog. It's a huge number of people that most of the technorati ignore - Facebook captured that market practically by accident, and Pinterest is exploding because somebody finally thought to actually aim in that direction on purpose. And what's pinterest about? Craftsmanship. Craftswomanship. Getting your hands dirty on a fun little artistic project.

Like making a logo.

Latter-day Yahoo has always found strength in ignoring the geek elite. They lost the geek elite a long time ago. This includes you, design geeks.

toddmorey 15 hours ago 4 replies      
I've been around adverting for a long time. I've been in agencies, I've freelanced, I've been the client. I've worked with individuals that charge $70/hr and teams that charge $20,000 per day.

The author is completely right on one point: "...the saying in design: 'if it looks right, it is right.'

Here's the dirty secret: All logos are designed in a momentary collision of experience and accident. All logos are, in a sense, designed in a weekend. That doesn't mean it isn't done thoughtfully. But that huge research spend? It sometimes guides the design a little, but it's mostly there to reverse-justify the final result (and of course expense) with the client.

He's also asking us to assume the only thought Yahoo ever put into their logo and apparently, their brand, was that one 36-hour period. And the implication of course is that a large spend with an agency would result in a design that's both more calculated and less contrived.

As the author says, bullshit.

smacktoward 15 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm of two minds on this piece.

On the one hand, the author is absolutely right that a good professional designer can bring things to the process that enthusiastic amateurs cannot. A really good logo doesn't just look cool, it communicates something about the nature and spirit of the company visually. It lays down a marker: "this is who we are." A designer who knows the grammar of visual communication will have a better chance of delivering that than will someone who doesn't.

On the other hand, the author sadly doesn't do a great job of arguing the above point. Rather than, say, taking some great logos and pulling them apart for us to show how they do what they do, we just hear a lot of complaints about how the way Yahoo did theirs was "unprofessional." It makes it sound like the main complaint is that Yahoo had the gall to cut designers out of the process rather than that they chose a path that was more likely to result in a crappy logo, which strikes me as a more powerful (and accurate) complaint.

In other words, outside the community of professional designers, nobody cares if Marissa Mayer hurt some designers' feelings. What they care about is how Marissa Mayer is stewarding the Yahoo brand. If you want to convince them that your way is right and her way is wrong, don't show them how her way threatens your business; show them how her way threatens her business.

mbesto 15 hours ago 4 replies      
Ha, I just wrote something very similiar about this:http://www.techdisruptive.com/2013/09/04/logo-doesnt-matter/

No, its not getting attention. Its gaining trust. Ironically, for that you need a reflective, clear, and consistent brand identity. A different logo powered by bullshit doesnt convey identity and trustworthiness. It conveys desperation.

While the overall sentiment of the article is sound, I slightly disagree with this. First, this whole story of "creating the logo in a weekend" with an "intern who did some motion graphics to convey it's uniformity" is pure and simple, a publicity stunt, and a good one at that.[1] Personally I don't think there is an intern named Max who did that (most likely an agency), but this subtly conveys the perception of something that Yahoo is missing - innovation by small teams. The reality is that Yahoo does have a brand problem (just as MS does in the consumer-mobile space), so they have two tactics they need to implement in order to properly manage the brand:

1. Change the perception of the brand (changing the logo to match the new found brand perception is a good way to do that)

2. Create buzz around the fact that the perception has now changed.

Marissa's plan for the logo did just that. I think it's a good strategy and something Stringer Bell would have been taught in his business class.[2]



mattzito 15 hours ago 2 replies      
It seems odd that the writer first bashes MM for just getting in a room with some designers over a weekend, criticizing the concept of doing something so important in such a slapdash fashion, and then bashes her for polling the company about what they'd like to see in the logo, because it's "Design by polling". But - doesn't that show they did a lot of work upfront, that it wasn't just a slapdash effort?

The whole article reads like a bitter rant from the company that didn't get hired to do the work, instead of a thoughtful discussion of the logo itself (I'm not saying that iA was in the running to do the work, just that the tone is oddly hostile).

gamache 15 hours ago 3 replies      
There are some CEOs who think they can do anything, and design logotype over the weekend.

There are other CEOs who think they can do anything, and start their own space program (with an electric car company on the side).

yesimahuman 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Not to discount the technical analysis, but it still begs the question of whether any of those points matter for non-designers, or for the business. Just because they didn't go through an agency doesn't mean the logo won't be successful and the attention won't help the business.

I hate to bring up Google, but they've done pretty well despite having a history of logos no self-respecting agency would ever produce.

kens 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Five years from now, the logo will be the perfect hook for articles about Marissa Mayer and Yahoo. If Yahoo does well, the logo incident will show her brilliance and how her hands-on work saved the company. If Yahoo does poorly, the logo will be an emblem of how her micromanagement and distraction from the core business ruined the company.

What I'm trying to say is that the stories told in retrospect always make what happens seem obvious, but looking forward, it's impossible to know.

Terretta 14 hours ago 1 reply      
> Next she should try the same with Yahoos server architecture. Ask everyone about the best server configuration and then put together a brief for the system administrators.

Well, yeah, actually. Given a server architecture problem and a company still somewhat silo'd with devops scattered on various teams, asking everyone to weigh in on the architecture would be likely to improve the plan over a single person or even single team coming up with it. Think of the Jainist tale of the blind men and the elephant to understand why.

People unlikely to be able to contribute won't have a strong opinion, while people able to contribute will, from their viewpoint. Strong opinions here represent gaps in what's being done versus what may be needed. And while you may still get a bell curve type of response, you're looking for business case viewpoints that might not otherwise have been considered and tech ideas from the tails that may give you a competitive edge.

I think the author's sarcasm here falls especially flat.

When it comes to a logo, even more so. Logos are about appealing to people, trying to convey something that people connect with. Employees like to feel proud of where they work. Their identity gets wrapped up in the company identity. Asking the whole team what they feel about identity is a great data point.

And more cynically, now all these employees feel as though their suggestions were listened to. Come to Yahoo, where your ideas matter. What a great place to work!

I'm disappointed in iA for suggesting employees shouldn't have a voice in how they see and relate to their own brand symbols.

paulsutter 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Yahoo really needs an internal culture of agility, listening to customers, and working weekends. She wants employees reminded of that every time they look at the logo, even if it means having a logo that's 10% less ideal.
ctdonath 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering if anyone shared my experience on this:

I'd seen a few posts referencing a change in the Yahoo logo. Having not been to the site for a long time (year or more?) I wasn't inclined to see. Then comes this article, which I get sucked into (proper & creative use of obscenity can work), and read the whole diatribe...without knowing what the new logo is. Worked up about the change, having now learned its details without knowing the result, I take a look.

Yahoo.com. New logo...meh. It screams "corporate" without the big-budget expensive-talent origin. It speaks of whimsy and cross-discipline inventiveness...beaten into submission by an unhappy "you did my job and now I have to clean up the mess" department.

The problem isn't that they didn't pay a large sum for its development, it's that there are people who are very good at such things (be it highly paid or tangential hobby) and none of them were on the weekend team. I'm reminded of the story of Steve Jobs calling a top guy at Google late one weekend to complain that their shade of yellow was wrong - and he was right.

SimianLogic2 15 hours ago 0 replies      
How I perceived this article: I'm a thoughtful designer and pissed off that an "amateur" CEO is dipping her toes in my sandbox. Also, if I can bill a client for months of logo design and they see a Fortune 500 CEO doing it themselves they may question if I'm worth it.

(I know nothing about the author, so this is just my perception.)

Yes, there's some validity to calling out the bullshit in Mayer's fluffy post. But equally mixed in are just as many nonsense bits...

moron4hire 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Whenever I hear someone say "not being professional", I replace "being professional" with "conforming to my overly narrow world view." While professionalism is an important concept, it has never been the case that I have seen it referenced properly. Instead, it's usually just some SJ who can't sleep at night unless everyone fits into a little box.
solistice 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Did anyone actually notice the logo changed?

I didn't, and frankly, it seems like such a little change, I doubt many even noticed.

Changing your logo to change your brand identity is the business equivalent of buying new running shoes to start shaping up. It doesn't quite work, does it?

So I'm glad they didn't spend thousands and ten thousands of dollars on a new logo, because if the logo change is just ego stroking for the CEO, there isn't much use of spending months and awe-inspiring sums on it (like that matters).

ChuckMcM 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, that was a great read. So many great collisions of emotions and ideas.

After reading it I understood that the author was deeply offended by the characterization that the Yahoo! logo could be redesigned in a weekend. I get that, they work at a high end logo design studio, it's like telling a Ferrari mechanic you spent the weekend with some tools from Pep boys and tuned your Ferrari to give it an additional 15% BHP. The dissonance of knowing, as a professional in the space, what it takes to re-design a logo, and Marissa's characterization of the same, really irked this guy. That left me wondering how much of that irritation was professional pride.

The meta point the author is trying to make, which is that brand and logo are intertwined but the dependency relationship is backwards in Marissa's post, reminded me of the clothes argument. That is the argument about the phrase "The clothes make the man."

The two sides of that argument are that your a better person if you dress well, and if you dress well you are a better person. Which follows which? Can that even be resolved? I had this discussion with my teenage daughter when she wanted to dress like a pop star, who dressed like a slut. We had the whole talk about how clothes are a sort of 'marketing' for the person you are, and people will set their interactions with you to how you dress first, and the way they know you second. So if their first setting is 'slut' then you may get so pissed off at them that they never get to see the real you, and a friendship opportunity is missed.

So our author has extrapolated that it is how you are as a company, that emerges in your logo, not your logo defines how you are as a company. And I tend to agree with that, but I also know that companies evolve based on how they see themselves. So the argument that Marissa is trying to create a perception which then manifests as reality is certainly plausible. I know when Yahoo! called me a while back (in the Carol Bartz days) and said they were looking for engineering leadership for the Web's #1 media company I thought "Hmm, this is a company that is not in touch with what they are." but it was what they were trying to be.

So my summary of the article is that the author's pride was wounded by Marissa making it sound like Logo design was trivial, and attacked both her understanding of logos and the whole branding process in response. Along the way he gave us a couple of interesting things to think about.

bruceboughton 15 hours ago 0 replies      
>> And what is more efficient than working directly with the CEO on the brand identity? A dream setup. Also, its cheap. A weekend for a logo, instead of paying a branding agency millions and waiting months for something that can be done in a couple of days? Thats smart business!

>> Is it?

Yes. People will bitch about your logo whether you paid $100mn for it or hacked it over the weekend. Logos, like names, don't actually matter much. It is the change that is important, not the design.

hkuo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The author fails to make an important distinction about the people that created the logo.

It's one thing to say that a design agency came in and designed a logo in a weekend. It's another thing to say an internal design team bared down to create a logo in a "weekend" (in quotes, because Marissa may simply be using the term to mean done in a short timespan).

I've worked on both the agency and client side, and the huge difference is that an agency comes in and has to learn very quickly about the client's business (more often than not getting it wrong the first time around) while the people working at the company live and breathe the company culture day in and out. At an agency, you're often jumping between a few clients, but unless you've been the agency of record for a number of years, it is simply not possible for you to have the depth of understanding that an internal marketing team will have. What an agency CAN bring is some fresh outsider thinking not colored by the company's history, but there's no reason the right people within the company can do so as well.

luscious 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Says the guy with a 'strategic design' firm... Bullshit player lobbing bullshit claims at bullshit.

Maybe he's A/B-ing some secondary bullshit article to see what can get better rank on HN. What's the best link bait for placating boredom and wasting attention on derivative industries suckling at the teat.

sfjailbird 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with this assessment - apparently taking this task so lightly (especially given the poor outcome) is a baffling and shocking misstep, so bad that I have to think hard about if there is some hidden angle I'm not seeing, some genius act of extremely subtle performance marketing. It would seem extreme to judge a CEO by something relatively trivial and unimportant such as this, but honestly the way this project was handled makes me very bearish on Yahoo under Mayer.
uptown 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Yahoo!'s challenge isn't their logo. Yahoo!'s challenge is ensuring their brand becomes associated with whatever they do best.

When I think of Google I think of search, ads, and Android, and GMail. When I think of Microsoft I think of Windows, Office and XBOX. When I think of Apple I think of the iPhone, and the iPad. When I think of Facebook I think of photos and privacy (lack thereof).

When I think of Yahoo there's no defining correlation to anything. I realize many people frequent their services - but personally Yahoo! doesn't stand out as "best" for anything, and I don't even know what direction they intend to pursue to change that perception.

felix 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd say the most annoying part (of so many annoying parts) was when he says:

"The hard part is defining what your brand is and what it aims to become."

And then somehow supports that with the opposite:

"Is Yahoo whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh [] human, personal [] proud? Currently, Yahoo is not associated with being whimsical or sophisticated, rather it is mostly boring and dull. It doesnt portray modernity or freshness, it feels obsolete and dated."

Apparently had he been hired, he'd have designed a logo to what he believes are Yahoo's current brand - dullness and obsolescence instead of what he suggested at the outset which is what you want your brand to be.

izolate 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If Yahoo! really wanted to signal their change towards modernity and freshness, they were already sitting on their perfect logo: http://i.imgur.com/VpAwbwS.png
netrus 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I do not agree. The reason logos usually are expensive and take months: Because what else? If I have a multi-million Dollar marketing budget, sure the logo will take a good chunk of that, not only, say one permille (still enough to pay 5 designers for a week). If I want to change the perception of my company, I will not rush.

Does this mean the logo will perform better than one a design student made over the weekend? No.

Do many months of work prevent a failure? No.

In the end, Yahoo wants profit through revenue through site usage through loyal users. Does letter spacing have an influence on this? I doubt it.

AliEzer 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I totally disagree. And yes, it is just a logo. Google logo is still looking like it was made by a 10 years old. Sounds like the author is trying to justify his daily rate. Come on. And when big companies pay millions for a logo, it's not just for the logo itself, it's for all the identity of the company. Yahoo! changed its logo but the majority of the people won't even notice.
ethagknight 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Logo, Bullshit & Co is quite a self-important read. Sure, Mayer's approached is unconventional for a large corporation, and it is more in line with a bootstrapping startup. Yahoo is in financial dire straights, so it is totally reasonable for Mayer to try an unconventional approach, save serious marketing dollars, and go her own way. We don't have to love the result, but at the end of the day, Mayer gave the brand a new face, and she didn't pay much for it.
at-fates-hands 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The ironic thing is their old logo is still in a ton of places, like in their Fantasy Football image on their main login page:


You can also Google it and the image on the right hand side is still the old logo.

As much as she wanted to change it, they sure didn't do a good job of scrubbing their properties of the old logo.

jrs235 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think "it's" working.

"Negative" publicity is better than no publicity.

Look at us! We're talking about Yahoo! now.

EDIT: My point being: perhaps it's not about their logo or the importance of a logo and many of you aren't seeing the bigger picture/goal/objective...

mathattack 13 hours ago 0 replies      
When I read purple prose about logos, I keep thinking, "Let's just measure this to see if what they're saying is right." In general the soft-speak of brands, design and logo can move into meaninglessness. I know it's important. Design is why Apple succeeds. But it also should be something that can be explained in plain (and perhaps measurable) English.
5teev 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Historical note about the logo illustration at the top of the essay (which predates the well-known red logo): it was internally referred to as "Uncle Stinky".
lotsofcows 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I like this sentence: "Your brand architecture is your information architecture." In italics no less.

Could someone tell me what it means?

jpswade 15 hours ago 0 replies      
What the writer fails to notice is that the reason there is a lack of technicalities surrounding the logo is that it's clearly an emotional decision, not a logical one.
evolve2k 14 hours ago 0 replies      
For me spending weeks and months of valuable time achieving a utopian logo would be the greater waste.I personally am very supportive of this let's get everyone we need to in the room and lets get it done approach. It bodes well for how MM might go about solving larger issues facing the company.
GBiT 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Twitter for its first logo paid 15$
antidaily 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Did eBay's new logo get this criticized? Because it's infinitely worse. Then again, the CEO probably didnt work on i, which seems to be the major gripe.
VeejayRampay 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the logo looks awful. It looked awful in the first place anyway but it's well recognized and branded so I guess it doesn't matter much.
dnyanesh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If Marissa Mayer hadn't mentioned about the time taken to design the logo, this post wouldn't exist.
Kurinys 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the fact that you argue the point that yahoo's brand is or is not: (insert completely meaningless addwords)
devanti 6 hours ago 0 replies      
it's simple. yahoo's new logo is just bad. it's exactly what too much thought and group think does.

the logo isn't even aligned properly on their homepage

secstate 12 hours ago 0 replies      
There's gotta be some law of marketing at work here ... yahoo is the pepsi to google's coke ;-)
progx 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What is better?

Write about an own Logo or write a monstrous post about someone, who write about her own Logo ;-)

pagekicker 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great post and spot-on.
dedsm 14 hours ago 0 replies      
so, the whole logo is bad because Yahoo didn't pay millions of dollars on it?
sidcool 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, someone got pissed!
pejer 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I bet this is just a hoax and when the rage is at its peak, the real logo will be revealed.


We ARE a whimsical company, yay for fooling all of you!

coldpie 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Hang on, hang on.

People still visit Yahoo?

Show HN: Ditch Black Text to Read Faster, Easier BeeLineReader.com
680 points by gnicholas  1 day ago   243 comments top 108
crazygringo 1 day ago 11 replies      
Hmmmm... I'm sure it'll need a linked scientific study to actually back up the claim. (And every speed-reading product I've seen has usually had a decrease in comprehension rate...)

It's a clever idea, but anecdotally, from my experience, I'm finding it slows down my reading -- I'm having a hard time processing the blurbs because I don't read "linearly" -- I scan content to find the relevant parts, and the color changes are making it difficult to scan (because my eye can no longer use color to determine what is scannable and what isn't), and multiple columns is actually making it even more difficult (it looks like the blue in column 1 leads into the blue in column 2, instead of the blue at the next line of column 1). By trying to force me to read line-by-line, instead of scanning efficiently, it's making me read slower.

But that's just for short-form stuff. It could turn out to be faster for some layouts, and slower for others. But honestly, I've never felt I had difficulty locating the start of the next line... is this a problem that needs solving? But nevertheless, it's certainly a good example of clever out-of-the-box thinking.

mutagen 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm initially inclined to dismiss this as ugly and distracting, especially with the default colors being very similar to the traditional link/visited HTML colors. It would be worth exploring further if the claimed improvements are true.

I'd especially be interested in exploring ways to incorporate this into better designed color schemes so that it doesn't look so much like a unicorn vomited on the page while preserving the benefits and usability.

I'm also less inclined to dismiss improvements like these after misinterpreting the occasional email from colleagues lately. I don't know if it is assuming I know the full contents from the 3 line summary on mobile devices, processing too much email, or simply not paying enough attention but I've had to slow down and make sure I get things right.

jere 1 day ago 3 replies      
>A study designed and carried out at Stanford University showed an average reading speed increase of over 10 percent for first time users of BeeLine Reader. Many seasoned users experience speed increases of 25 to 30 percent!

So why isn't the study linked?

Regardless of whether or not the claims are true, who in the hell decided for red and blue for the demo's default? The blues/grays themes look okay. IMO, saturated red and blue and probably the two worst colors to use together in a design.

GrinningFool 1 day ago 3 replies      
At first glance: wow that's ugly.

Then I read it. Fast. Consuming nearly at a paragraph at a glance when I usually can digest only a fragment of a sentence up to a couple of sentence.

It's not attractive, but it is clever and innovative - well done!

quadrangle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Others have pointed this out but: "BeeLine Reader is a patent pending technology" Well, there goes any respect I might have had for this. It is not obvious in every respect, but this is such a basic idea, trying to control it for 20 years while people perhaps find it useful and build this feature everywhere is absolutely destructive. I hope their patent is rejected.

FWIW, I liked it.

Daiz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having recently looked into speed reading a bit, this seems to do a quite good job at filling the role of a pacer without actually requiring any manual interaction by the reader. Nice work! Easily beats trying to pace yourself with the mouse cursor or text selection at least, while actually preserving pages mostly as-is.
opminion 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although it is fair to have an opinion about this based on personal experience, remember that performance when reading is a personal matter (anecdotal evidence: the crowd that highlights text for reading [1]; scientific evidence: dyslexia).

So it is good to remember that it might or might not work depending on the way your individual brain works, independently of what the person next to you gets from it.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4839436

cliveowen 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was ready to call B.S. on this but after actually seeing it in action, it seems very reasonable. I wonder why this hasn't been done before. I happen to skip lines very often, I'll definitely try this out.

EDIT: Some feedback after reading a Cracked article with it.

First of all, since the inception of the Readability bookmarklet I've always read online articles with some kind of tool (I started with Readability, then passed to the Safari version and now I've been using Clearly for quite some time and I'm pretty happy about it) and now I'm so used to it that if a particular article doesn't render properly, I just straight out don't read it. The first thing I noticed is that the coloration is applied even to single-line titles, I would do away with it and (maybe) apply it only on multi-line paragraphs' titles. The other thing that irked me is that small images are put on the left side instead of being centered, even worse is the fact that text appears on the right side of the images; I would follow Clearly steps in this regard and always put the text under the centered images. Lastly, I would reduce the text area to 600px of width or better yet, dynamically size it so as to accommodate around 60 characters. As far as I can tell, you totally nailed the font size.

afandian 1 day ago 0 replies      
"It looks like BeeLine didn't improve your reading speed this time through."

Why not show me the stats? I'd like to know, even if it doesn't confirm what you want it to.

RBerenguel 1 day ago 1 reply      
My gut feeling (and the websites I enjoy reading, and what I recently did to my blog) is that line skipping is due to too long lines combined with little font-size and line height. But of course, not all eyes/eye-brain systems work the same, and I'm sure this will be more helpful to some than larger fonts with larger line heights.
josh2600 1 day ago 1 reply      
So this is obviously a problem, right? We had MagicScroll [0] which got a ton of positive hits, and now this. I believe there have also been a few other attempts along the way as well. The crux of the issue is velocity+comprehension.

I don't like magicscroll because of the way the lines scroll down; I find it disconcerting. In the case of Beeline, I can't stand the color scheme.

The goals of both software are admirable and I'd love to see more work in this space, but I don't think either of them have it exactly right. If the designer is on here, consider using an interior design color picker website[1] to find a color scheme that works better than the current one.

In short, this is a problem and it would be valuable to somebody like Amazon if it were polished, IMHO.

[0]https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/magicscroll-web-re...[1]http://colorschemedesigner.com/ as an example.

__alexs 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone else the numerous AOL chat plugins that used to do this back in the day? e.g. http://www.tpasoft.com/fadeit/
vsviridov 1 day ago 1 reply      
I read a lot and I read really fast too. So line skipping is a problem, especially on longer lines.

This thing combines the old Readability bookmarklet with the gradient. I saw the improvement right away, following the line is much easier now!

tl;dr - this is awesome!

mrb 1 day ago 1 reply      
BeeLine Reader applies a color gradient to text that helps reduce "line transition errors" [...] This increases reading speed, particularly on mobile devices that have small screens and short lines

Err. Line transition errors are common on mobile devices, not because lines are short (the shorter the line, the less common line transition errors are), but because people are usually moving, walking, etc while holding a mobile device.

skizm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yikes, harsh crowd here. So many people demanding scientific studies to back up the website's claims.

Better idea: Chill out. Then take 1 minute and read some stuff with it on. If you think it feels better try it for longer if not move on with your life.

No has claimed to cure cancer here, just that formatting text differently might give marginal increases in reading speed.

johnny99 1 day ago 0 replies      
For some reason the color gradients changed the intonation with which I read it--so the whole thing sounded, in my mind's ear, like an eighties valley girl, replete with uptalk, aka the "moronic interrogative."*

"BeeLine Reader is an exciting new technology? That helps people read faster? On computers?"

Maybe I'd get used to it. But if not, a 100x speed increase wouldn't be worth having that in my head. Like, all day?

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_rising_terminal

x0054 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I am dyslexic. I just used the screen reader on the iPhone to read to me the challenge text at full speed. It told me that I read 4% faster with BeeLine on :) apparently the iPhone cares, because I wasn't even looking at the screen.

Insidently, the speak function of iOS is amazing for people with dyslexia. I use it all the time to listen to text at speeds of 300+wpm. I know many of my friends can read at 600+wpm my them selves, but not for a few hours on end. In any case, if you are dyslexic and use iOS, check out the read function under accessibilities.

sequoia 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Add underline to links (many sites identify them only by color, link "disappears" with beeline).

Awesome marklet! Is the source available? I'd be happy to fix this issue up myself if it's in VCS somewhere.

mekoka 1 day ago 1 reply      
Installed, tested with a couple of articles. It does the job it claims to do.

A few things: it would be nice to be able to configure the plugin to limit the color variations. I'd like to try with only 2 colors and with less drastic contrasts. I suspect that only a slight transition between two close colors would already be helpful enough for me.

Now, I'm afraid to get used to the crutch and find it harder to read books after. After using vim to edit almost anything, I have developed the bad habit of pressing ctrl-[ to go in normal mode any time I'm in some text editor, be it in the browser, email client, word processor, whatever.

snowwrestler 1 day ago 2 replies      
You can also reduce line transition errors by increasing font size and line spacing. The font in the "What is it" paragraph is, to my eyes, too small and tightly spaced to be easily readable (perhaps purposefully, to demonstrate their value).
zapt02 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The BeeLine bookmarklets ... may only be used for personal, non-commercial use. ...available for a limited time ... subject to our privacy policy.

Surely the author is not claiming that putting color on text gives them som sort of patentable intellectual property? If this takes off and people will start incorporating this on their blogs, this company will become one of the biggest patent trolls.

simlevesque 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, It feels like the first time I tried glasses. It completely removes any chances of me missing a line. I have a low dyslexia and this just works. Thank you !!
burgeralarm 1 day ago 2 replies      
The testing methodology is quite flawed (at least for the reading speed test on the site). It asks you to read a passage with BeeReader to start out. When you're done, you're presented with questions about the passage before reading a non-BeeReader passage.

The catch is, you will almost certainly read the second passage slower than the first, since you're now looking to retain information for the questions!

The colored passages _feel_ faster, but I'm not sure that counts for much.

trustfundbaby 1 day ago 0 replies      
I could see people licensing this as a mode in apps, that is ... you hit a button and all the text changes to use this color mode to allow you read through things faster. Then you can turn it off if you want to read things a bit more leisurely ... and yes, it did speed up my reading, not sure if that's a placebo effect or actual.
liquidcool 1 day ago 0 replies      
A big pet peeve of mine has been the trend to forgo black fonts for lower contrast grey, and it appears this developer is doing that as well (#333 instead of #000 when "Off" is selected). My hunch is that low contrast text (I've even seen medium grey on light grey!) comes from designing on a fantastic display with 100%+ color gamut and great accuracy and viewing angles. Take a phone/tablet/laptop with an average (lousy) LCD into a brightly lit room (or God forbid, outside) and the contrast goes in the toilet. Is black on white that hard?

The other problem I see (mostly on Chrome) is that headings are anti-aliased, but the body text is not. The difference is subtle, but still noticeable.

homosaur 1 day ago 0 replies      
WOW, I just tried this on some text and although I think I'd need some more objective tests, it FEELS faster, like significantly so.
philip1209 1 day ago 0 replies      
When speed reading, this doesn't seem particularly effective. Perhaps a dot at the end of the line with a particular color that corresponds to a dot of the same color preceding the following line would be better for those who minimize eye movements.
lifeisstillgood 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Can I make the obvious comment: it's not how fast you read text, but what text you choose to read.

Reading super fast over the National Inquirer is not likely to be an overall win.

egonschiele 1 day ago 1 reply      
The bookmarklet wasn't working for me on Chrome (permission errors), so I threw together a Chrome extension with the highlighting code: https://github.com/egonSchiele/beeline
munchor 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find myself selecting text every now and then to make it easier to read. On the examples on BeeLineReader's website, I was surprised I didn't have to select text to read it.

The examples in the bottom of the page really helped me realize how much this helps. Seriously, I read those paragraphs with the "Bright" theme and then I read them with BeeLineReader disabled ("Off") and I could notice my brain working harder.

I realize it looks ugly as other commenters have posted before, there's probably another method that doesn't make the text look so "ugly".

devindotcom 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not worth the trade-off, if you ask me. I would never publish something that looks like this. It is very distracting to me.
gamerDude 1 day ago 1 reply      
I definitely noticed that I could read faster with this. And the colors were super obnoxious, so grayscale was my choice. What I would really appreciate was if it could be done without taking it out of the page I was already on.

I would really appreciate some way for it to automatically do it and not take me to a new page, maybe something I could install into my browser?

enraged_camel 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's funny that so many commenters are complaining about the lack of a linked study. It's as if people are incapable of independently analyzing the claims and reaching their own conclusions.
Groxx 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This has been around for a little while, hasn't it? Like, a year or two at least? I'm reasonably sure I've seen this website before...

Not to say it's not interesting / not a valuable submission. I love the idea, and it seems like it might help me read faster, which is always cool. Just wondering if my memory is correct.

tomphoolery 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't that why proper typography establishes line width limits and a bit of space between each line? That always made it a lot easier to "know where I was"...when I could see the beginning and end of a line of text without having to move my eyes.
jwarren 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I was really surprised to find myself enjoying using this. Great work! Taking the test really emphasised that it's not only faster, it's also "easier" to read. I used the Dark colour scheme, as it was less distracting than the bright default one for me.
mistercow 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is surprisingly effective and awesome.

I created a (very hacky) style sheet to do this in calibre: https://gist.github.com/osuushi/6456804 . It gets a bit out of alignment when a paragraph wraps to a new column or page, but over all it gets the job done.

Edit: I fixed it to do one color transition per line, like the original.

ripter 1 day ago 0 replies      
I learned to speed read years ago, and this breaks that for me. One of the keys with speed reading is that you don't read every single word. With this I was reading every word. It felt slower and tiring.

The test said that it did not improve my reading but didn't say why.

Moto7451 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like this a lot, but unfortunately going to various news sites (NY Times, Slashdot, etc) it seems like the bookmarklet failed or complained it wasn't designed for the home page (in cases where it wasn't a home page).
denzil_correa 1 day ago 1 reply      
Personally, I am not a fan of this "reader". The changing color is a distraction to my reading experience. The scheme I found the least distracting was the "Gray" scheme. But, I am not someone who would use it. Interesting concept though - I hadn't thought about it earlier.

PS - I am a voracious reader.

babuskov 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know about you, but I'm really reading faster. And that's because I'm only reading the red text. I just realized I skipped all the blue content, and don't have a clue if anything useful was written there.
dirtyaura 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting concept. Do they have a research paper out describing the results in more detail?

A couple of problems: 1) beelining doesn't work well with links in text 2) Doesn't work on Hacker News at all.

ecthiender 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a voracious reader and I read pretty fast(never measured it though), and this really sped up my reading a lot. That was impressive.But "patent pending" ? Like someone has already pointed out here, patents like this are destructive and I too hope that it is rejected.
IanCal 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find this incredibly hard to read, my eyes feel like they're being pulled to sudden colour changes. I find this extremely difficult to scan, as well.
Too 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Could work. Look at how kids read initally, they use a ruler to keep track of what line they are at. Even some teenagers do this or adults with dyslexia.

I wonder if it would hamper your normal reading abilities if you start reading like this most of the time from young age.

phaker 1 day ago 1 reply      
2 Suggestions:

1. It'd be very nice if you had a version that tweaks text colors and doesn't touch anything else, i.e. just like on the demo page. When I tested your bookmarklet and it tore up the page I thought something was broken. I only found out that it uses readability because I started digging when it 'broke', you never mention 'readability' in your copy.

2. People will want it enabled by default. You can't do that if you use readability.

jianshen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Also check out http://www.spreeder.com

A different approach but also bookmarklet

count 1 day ago 1 reply      
That page physically hurts my eyes to read.
nazgulnarsil 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just a counterpoint to all the negativity: The increase in speed was instantly obvious for me. Will be giving this a try for a few weeks at least.
saraid216 1 day ago 0 replies      
I did History, used Bright, and got a 43% improvement.

Then I got suspicious. I thought that I was subconsciously affecting my own behavior. (Anticipating a test, for instance. Expecting Beeline to speed up my reading, for instance.)

So I did Nature, used Bright, and got no improvement.

...I need a better blind.

Semiapies 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it awful, as my eyes keep jumping to the color changes, assuming them to indicate some kind of emphasis. Then I have to stop and go, "No, that's not a particularly important word, it's just the Time Cube style they're pushing."

Looking at the text on their site, I suspect (aside from issues like dyslexia) that the real problem is that a lot of people are reading text that's too small and probably has overly-wide lines.

_pmf_ 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The examples are a bit short (line length). It seems to be more useful with longer lines, and confusing with short lines.
moron4hire 1 day ago 2 replies      
well, it significantly mangles things on The Guardian. basically, all of the little "NSA" tags in this article:http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/05/governm...

get wiped out, making the text difficult to understand.

Also, be careful to wait for it to work. I didn't think it worked and clicked it a second time. I ended up with funfetti colors, not smooth gradients.

Fuxy 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it just me or is anybody else thinking that just making lines alternate between colors (think of tables) would do a better job.

Why do we need fancy gradients?

sherjilozair 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would pay to get a PDF version of this. I read PDF documents all the time.
elaineo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any plans to make this available as a plugin for ebook readers?
tonydiv 1 day ago 0 replies      
BIG thanks for not lying to me after I didn't perform any better reading the colored text. I would definitely consider showing the colored text first for some others, and second for others. Once I knew that you were going to ask questions about the text, I became more attentive. Nonetheless, I tried to read as if I didn't know there would be questions afterwards in hopes of not skewing the results.

Once again, thanks for being honest in your test and not convincing me to use something that might not actually help me.

brador 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll be testing this with different color schemes, but yeah, works!

Addition: for eink readers, would underline or italics work in place of color gradient?

usaphp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Have anyone viewed the generated DOM tree? It looks like every single letter has a tag around it, which will make it painfully slow on older computers if you have a pretty long blog post.
x0054 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would like to see a version that does selective highlighting. So it would highlight verbs and nouns, maybe bold famous names and dates, and gray out slightly transition words.
hammock 1 day ago 0 replies      
Easier to read line by line, perhaps. But certainly much harder to skim. If you wanted to skim a paragraph at a time as I often do, the artificial emphasis created by the coloring throws you off.
newobj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. Gave it a bit of a test run and it felt good. I'm definitely going to try it out.
shin_lao 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't make me read any faster and I have the feeling I pay less attention to the content. Am I the only one?
gnud 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, this looks interesting, but doesn't work with HTTPS.Which is a problem.
marincounty 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's a great idea. Every technical book should start using it immediately. There's nothing more depressing than cracking opening a computer book that 500 pages of block typing. I've never known how you guys get through some of those phone books?

It might be great for some fiction?

noneTheHacker 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really enjoy using this. While people seem to dislike the red and blue default, I enjoy it. I am not a big fan of the colors working together but I feel like it works the best for it's intended functionality of the choices you made available. I think this might make reading some things considerably more enjoyable for me. Thanks!
Aardwolf 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow why don't they use this idea in printed books as well?!
ruricolist 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've just learned something about how my own vision works.

Apparently, when I'm reading on screen, somewhere towards the middle of the line, I switch my focus from my left eye to my right. This makes it obvious, because with the color at the end of the line, I switch too soon, and miss the third of the line in the middle.

Possibly this is a consequence of wearing glasses.

hnriot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was skeptical, I took the test, it said I was 23% faster on the fiction, so as much as I think it looks a little ugly, if it really is that much faster, then it's worth it and clever.
limejuice 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tried it out for awhile, and it did seem to help me read faster, but I felt like my brain was been strained. If I started doing this all the time, I'm wondering if my brain would freak out reading regular black on white text.

I'm wondering if just adding reference points along the margin or between lines could accomplish the same thing without having to change the text color. Something similar to the tick marks along a graph axis.

mharrison 12 hours ago 0 replies      
As an author/programmer I would love to see a LaTeX implementation... (If only there were more time in the day)
auggierose 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's say it this way: If you actually profit from a 20% increase in reading speed, then you read way too much.
pmann 1 day ago 1 reply      
One tiny bug: in the survey after the reading challenge, I was unable to change the number of hours I read per day. I tried to enter 1.5, but it won't take the decimal and I was unable to backspace to delete the 5.

Overall, a very cool idea, I was surprised to find that I read faster. It said only 3% faster, but I searched for an event mentioned in the first set of text which slowed me down.

fouc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I suggest avoiding bright blue in your default colour scheme for beelinereader.

The reason is because it matches the default colour for links. I wouldn't be surprised if many people tend to read linked text a bit differently.

Have you thought about using colours like orange, green, purple?

shire 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I could see this working, I tend to read slower with black text maybe because I lose track of where I am during the page. The downside is this hurts my eyes and makes me dizzy because of my computer screen.
marincounty 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like most technical books are filled with a lot of extraneous material. Could you imagine an author whoused a certain color, like green to highlight the important sentences?
Jemaclus 1 day ago 1 reply      
I... I wasn't aware this was a problem.


georgeg 22 hours ago 0 replies      
For some reason i found myself calculating the patterns of blue, red and black and if words like 'the' 'and' always fall on black or red highlights. I guess that slowed me down big time.
rglover 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hideous, but I'll be damned if it didn't allow me to read that page extremely fast. Wonder where this could be used...
prehkugler 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It's iOS 7 for text!

Seriously though, it would be interesting to see this as a feature in new e-readers. I have a feeling that if the e-ink could support it, the effect could be better than books.

seanica 23 hours ago 1 reply      
There's one problem I have with it.This afternoon it triggered a migraine.

I just came back just now, just in case it was a co-incidence, and yep, it was not a co-incidence.

ArekDymalski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does the research provide any info about fatigue after using it?
ahf 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting. Line skipping is by far the most annoying problem that I face when I have to read after a long day; especially on a screen.
xarien 1 day ago 0 replies      
This actually strains my eyes quite a bit, but that's just 1 personal sample.
wffurr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it counterintuitive that this helped experienced readers more. It didn't make a difference for me in their test, and I read constantly. I would suspect this line coloring would help a less experienced reader more.
jasallen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Works for me. Nice.
wambotron 1 day ago 1 reply      
I tried their test and had no improvement in reading speed. I also use my mouse to read on a desktop (highlight end of one line and start of the next) as I go, so I think this product is just not made for me.
joshmn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Totally reminds me of the days when Yahoo messenger was used, and they had that fading, gradient text. Super cool.
jbverschoor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love it..Never install extensions, but will install this one.

Not usable for sites, but very much so for articles

kul_ 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice! Can BeeLine be made to work with MagicScroll? Currenly if i click one bookmarklet the other one breaks.
bal00ns 1 day ago 1 reply      
Aside from the bookmarklet, I love it. Without an extension, though, I don't see myself using it. Hopefully we'll see one soon.
enscr 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's very distracting for me personally. I'd prefer a subtle gradient on the margin to help me keep track of the area where I'm at.
danso 1 day ago 0 replies      
Colored text is often associated with links in the context of HTML...what about striped backgrounds, as is commonly used for table rows?


igl 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Red & Blue are sure good for your eyes!Professionals at work.
flanbiscuit 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd be interested in something like this being used in a e-reader app like Kindle or Aldiko
contextual 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see an iOS app, but nothing for BlackBerry 10 users. Please consider us as well. Thanks!
ChrisNorstrom 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmmm. Is it possible to try this: Make a version that creates a black to grey gradient for every sentence. The beginning of every sentence starts out black and gradually turns grey at the end of the sentence. Then try it switched. Make it start grey and turn black. Test both.

Just wondering what the result would be. Out of curiosity.

vincentbarr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder whether this has an effect on eyestrain or reading longevity.
ahmett 1 day ago 1 reply      
Note to author: does not work on medium.com
dsschnau 1 day ago 1 reply      
can i get this as a firefox extension?
40 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Where is the link to the evidence?
AliEzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there any scientific evidence supporting this?
calipast 1 day ago 0 replies      
As an academic who has to give a lot of conference papers I bet this would be great for reading off an iPad or laptop without losing my spot.
lnsignificant 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually read everything on that page.
armenarmen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ok, this is awesome
jackspringer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tried it and it actually felt quite easier to follow along a line of text.
achalkley 1 day ago 0 replies      
hrhmsorm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow! thats so cool!
Why I hate funnels. tinyletter.com
96 points by kevin  13 hours ago   30 comments top 16
brianr 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is silly. Funnels are a useful abstraction to measure and optimize conversion rates in a multi-step process. How you optimize the steps in the funnel (i.e. spam or not) is up to you.

The "upside down funnel" is really an example of a viral loop, optimistically shaped to imply that loving your customers is guaranteed to bring you more of them. But that is still worth measuring, and once the referrals get to the "try you out" phase, it's worth understanding the process by which they become loyal customers. That's what funnels are for.

bcoates 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not a funnel in the sense of the object that allows you to pour a wide mouthed bottle into a small mouthed one, it's a name for the graph of "how much crap is in your flow" vs "how many customers are still trying to use your awful UI" tends to narrow down sharply and visually resembles a funnel.

You're supposed to hate the funnel! The funnel is what stands between you and a good UX. The (impossibly) ideal funnel is a short length of straight pipe, where 100% of user intent is efficiently converted into action.

badman_ting 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I just see them as realistic. Of the people who use the internet, only some will find out about you. Of those, only some of them will care. Of those, only some will be willing & able to pay, etc.

The thing about flipping the funnel upside-down is clever, but I wonder how much it has to do with scale. Word of mouth can be a great driver of growth when you're small, but what about after that? Plus, the same effect applies where only some will pay you. So I'm not sure how different it actually is.

I agree that trying to make money from stuff you built often involves doing things with various degrees of grody-ness. I think what the author has done here is to think about that in a way that he finds palatable, and that's certainly important. But I wonder how much of this is about changing perception rather than action.

programminggeek 11 hours ago 2 replies      
What he describes "the audience" is part of the funnel. The idea that you have a cloud of people just out there taking in your content or marketing or apps or whatever just means they are sitting at the top of the funnel.

You don't have to treat them like a meat grinder at all. You don't have to push every person "into the funnel". In fact, I would argue that's doing it wrong.

If anything, the funnel should be a set of gates people pass through, more like a filter that at each stage people are more likely the target audience for what you are selling.

For example, when you go into an Apple store, they let you hang out, play with things, and are generally pretty nice to you. They also ask you questions about your needs and wants in product and they steer you towards what they think might be the best fit. Thus, filtering you down to the right product. BUT, if you can't afford the actual purchase, they aren't going to force you into buying or badger you into something.

If more websites treated their funnels like a filter instead of like chute you are trying to force people down, the better off marketing would be as a whole. It actually makes the whole process better because you don't even try to pitch until they are ready to buy.

For example, on a current side project I don't even show pricing until people use the product. I don't even give them the opportunity to buy until they have shown that they will use it. I don't want angry customers saying they bought something that they didn't use and want a refund. So, we don't try to sell until people are happy enough using the product.

We will probably get fewer customers and revenue this way, but our customers will be happier and we will only have customers that use our product instead of people who are paying us because we are good at marketing to them.

codva 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Hating funnels seems sort of weird to me. Especially in this case, where it's just a model of an idea. There is nothing inherently evil about the concept of a funnel. He even makes that point when he turns it upside down and claims it as genius. The act of the trying to force people through the funnel on your timeline instead of theirs is where the problem is. And that act is going to be a problem no matter how you are modeling the customer acquisition process.
chipsy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Re: People who are saying the funnel is still there.

This is entirely a perspective thing; the customers see messages and options, not a funnel. You only see a funnel when you think of it as one.

The author describes a deliberate avoidance of business philosophy based around conversion metrics. Hence if your thoughts are to push them back into the conversation, you immediately taint his purpose. Assimilating any one set of metrics into the prime position will essentialize the business into "make those numbers go up," creating a feedback loop that guides future decisions. That feedback loop subsequently creates its own conclusions about how to advance the business. If you break the loop and construct a different one, with different abstractions, you get a different kind of business. That's the big takeaway here.

SandersAK 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I never understood these types of posts: Take something that is worthy of criticism (the abuse of funnels in user acquisition) and then use hyperbole to make them seem like the worst thing ever.

It's a tool to understand the progression of total audience into customers on a website. Just like CSAT and NPS are both valuable indicators of growth potential.

None of these things are the only thing that matters. And none of them are the best tool or methodology. Just like a spoon isn't the best accessory in the kitchen. That award obviously goes to the garlic press.

RexM 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't like the term funnel, it's more like a sieve...

However, I do think it's a good way to visualize customers that come to your site, but don't end up converting. You can look at those percentages and try to make them better. Whether you decide to "spam the f*ck out of them" or do something more personable and humane is up to you.

JonLim 12 hours ago 1 reply      
In the games industry, especially with free-to-play, you can hate funnels all you want, but they're a necessity to understanding where your gameplay loops are doing well and doing poorly.

I've taken the long view that making a really awesome game leads to people wanting to give you money. However, my personal take on that is that it's just another way to spin funnels, in a less aggressive and predatory way.

If I'm mistaken, I'd love to learn why.

calbear81 6 hours ago 0 replies      
We use funnels as a measurement of product quality all the time, especially in the context of understanding task completion rates and discovering areas for UX/interaction improvement.

The "funnels" that Ben seems to talk about are more about sales funnels where you keep getting pestered once you're a lead but in the context of most e-commerce sites, funnels are a great way to know if there's something about the site that's not working for people.

npsimons 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This can be extended to other mediums - I try to only do business with companies that have minimal advertising (such as Vanguard and USAA). Think about it for a moment: where does the money for television advertisements come from? If you're a current customer of a company running TV ads, you're being bilked, and if you're a potential customer, why would you want to do business with a company that will bilk you just to get more new customers?
rodolphoarruda 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the concept. Using it to measure, evaluate and manage leads that fall into level 1 (widest part on top) is by itself a good thing. I once worked for a large company whose sales funnel had 7 stages/filters inside. Each one of them affecting of being affected by more than one organization. Dealing with it was a pain for most sales guys because it was easy to see where the opportunity was stuck in the funnel, but very hard to see why. I can imagine that smaller less complex organization could easily pull out a 3 or 4 level funnel, go with it and see its benefits.
thomasfrank09 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the traditional funnel concept work just fine - as long as you do step three right.

Do many blogs and services spam their subscribers? Yes indeed - and I have an itchy unsubscribe button-clicking finger for those services.

If you change Step 3 to "Provide even more value", though, then you do indeed get customers that love you. And some of them refer their friends, who come in at the top of the funnel like everyone else - but with some preconceived good feelings towards you because of the recommendation they got from a friend.

Pat Flynn's newsletter is a wonderful example of how to do it right. Almost all of the emails I get from him simply give me more useful information - maybe 10% have ever been strictly promotional.

spolu 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Funnel are shortsighted... Yep. But investors are too I presume?
krisgee 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Upside down funnel looks like an old timey megaphone. Perhaps that's the analogy here, if you have time to shout your message you might as well shout it to a lot of people.
kirke 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Anybody see the background picture behind the article? I'm on my phone, can someone with means extract it and post it somewhere so we can see what it is?
Cloning the UI of iOS 7 with HTML, CSS and JavaScript c2prods.com
102 points by c2prods  15 hours ago   49 comments top 12
apike 9 hours ago 2 replies      
This makes a nice demo and highlights that in some ways, iOS 7 is easier to reproduce using web technology than iOS 6 was.

> Theres been a lot of controversy recently on whether Javascript could compete with native or not, both in terms of performance and of looknfeel.

On the other hand, the controversially difficult to reproduce parts of iOS 7 aren't part of this demo. The real-time blur, the zooming "z-axis" navigation, the 3D animations, and the 60fps scrubbable gestures for going back in the navigation stack aren't here.

While those are all "bonus effects," they're also a lot of what makes iOS 7 delightful to use.

jeena 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Why don't they use proper HTML5 instead of this tag soup?


The rest is a matter of CSS.

[Edit:] moved the code to a gist

SunboX 12 hours ago 2 replies      
https://beta.icloud.com uses new "iOS7" layout, too. Some styles could be taken from there ;)
yesimahuman 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Fantastic post, thanks for sharing! I'm invested pretty heavily in HTML5 on mobile and your demo just reassures me this is the future (it feels great!). I hope you don't mind me using some of this stuff for a new project I'm working on.
solistice 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Uhmmm, your live demo just selfdestructed when I clicked on it. Any chance it doesn't work in firefox?
cheeaun 14 hours ago 4 replies      
This is a very good job. I plan to iOS7-ify my HackerWeb app once iOS7 is released next month, so your article would be helpful to me :)
chucknelson 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty cool. I know this is more of a demonstration of simulating the iOS 7 UI, but I'm assuming to use this for something you'd want the URLs to update as you move through an app?

I may have missed references to this limitation, again, if it even matters for the purpose of the post.

alexfringes 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Nice attention to detail in this. By the way, it seems like the new view's shadow in the original actually loses opacity as that view leaves the screen.Did you look around for the blur effect at all? You mentioned it but any luck beyond that? I've seen some attempts but nothing useful.
flying_d 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Check out http://www.appgyver.com/steroidsIt's still in it's early stages but looks very promising. It gives you native navigation and transitions, amongst other many other goodies.
madeofpalk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Great writeup. I just spent a significant amount of time trying to perfect a CSS UINavigationBar, and still not happy with it
quadratini 11 hours ago 1 reply      
please properly indent the code snippents
TeeWEE 13 hours ago 0 replies      
IOS comes with an (new) UI -> HTML folks clone it -> "Look its cool bro".
Square open sources Kochiku squareup.com
48 points by xophe  10 hours ago   17 comments top 6
pbiggar 5 hours ago 1 reply      
CircleCI (https://circleci.com) offers this right now. We automatically partition your test suite and run it across multiple machines.

Except since it's in the cloud, you don't need to own 10 Mac minis to make this happen. And if you decide you want to split it 20 ways, not 10, you can do that in about 2 clicks.

[disclaimer: I work at https://circleci.com, if that wasn't already obvious]

joeblau 6 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the things i'm really loving about Square is the utilities that they are open sourcing that are not core to their business. I think this is great for the community.
derwiki 9 hours ago 2 replies      
When I was at Causes, we wrote a similar tool called Buffet (https://github.com/causes/buffet, pronounced like the investor) for running test cases in parallel on an arbitrary number of machines; dropped out total build suite time from ~20 minutes on a single machine to 2-3 minutes. We certainly didn't add the level of polish that Kochiku seems to have, though.
vscarpenter 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm curious as to why Square would spend engineering talent on a distributed CI system when you can buy something like Jetbrains TeamCity that does what they wanted to do. This is not meant as a slam and I am also a developer who loves to build things but I would think Square and other companies for that matter would want to apply their limited engineering talents in solving bigger problems that grow the business.

Not looking for a flame war - just curious to get different perspectives.

polskibus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For distributed build, testing this is the best tool I've used: http://www.incredibuild.com/. Unfortunately, it is not open source.Does anyone know of a free alternative to incredibuild with a similar feature set?
nobodysfool 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So now we've gone from adding an 'er' to everything and dropping the 'e' to using Japanese words and proper names for our products. And I was just going to iPost that to my iBlog.
1Password and the Crypto Wars agilebits.com
4 points by halostatue  1 hour ago   discuss
       cached 7 September 2013 04:02:01 GMT