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Eloquent JavaScript, Second Edition eloquentjavascript.net
97 points by fyskij  2 hours ago   29 comments top 10
austenallred 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
I just came here to say thank you. I tried dozens of methods to learn how to program (I'm a marketer) and all of them start with "ok just type this and see what happens." I love the approach of breaking everything down to the essentials and helping me understand the fundamentals. I don't have much cash, but I'll contribute what I can.
pavs 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I want to start learning Javascript (total beginner with few months experience with PHP), can you guys recommend me some good books suggestions as to what frameworks I should get in to?
hmottestad 1 hour ago 3 replies      
The bugs in the background are fun to watch. They actually eat each other from time to time. Though it does seem to require some CPU power and got my fans to spin up a bit.
scottmagdalein 26 minutes ago 2 replies      
To those who've read both, I wonder how [the first edition of] Eloquent JavaScript compares with JavaScript: The Good Parts.
JoshGlazebrook 51 minutes ago 1 reply      
Are there any plans for a chapter on the new major stuff in ECMAScript 6? I believe the target date for the finalization of the spec is still around December? Which is not that far away... time to start shopping for xmas gifts :S
victorhooi 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've just donated 20 euros to this =).

Hopefully he'll reach his target.

talles 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
"from Kashmir to Louisiana to Minas Gerais"

Minas Gerais is the Brazilian state that I live, what a coincidence. I wonder if the author choose randomly...

dmarusic16 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
I absolutely loved the first edition, and I will be chipping in. Great work Marijn.
k_kelly 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I really liked this book the first time around and I'm glad to see it's (possibly) getting a second edition.

But I had to remove the background to finish the page, it really creeped me out.

cliveowen 1 hour ago 1 reply      
That's a lot of money to ask. Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club got bought for $6000. Just sayin'.
IPhone 5C: C is for Cognitive Illusion asymco.com
35 points by kjhughes  1 hour ago   22 comments top 9
austenallred 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Apple is recognizing that the market is actually segmentable. This is the notion that one size does not fit alla radical idea for the brand."

Apple has always had products for higher end and lower end markets as soon as that product becomes established. iPod video (I know that's not the formal name) came out at roughly the same time as the Nano and shuffle. MacBook Pro had MacBook. iPad and iPad mini. Mac Pro and iMac. This isn't new, it's just the first time it's been so deliberate and noticeable.

Cbasedlifeform 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Interesting analysis by Dediu as usual (I'm a big fan and listen to his podcast regularly). I think a lot of people (including Horace and yours truly) are surprised by the 5C pricing strategy -- it's not 5C(heap) but 5C(olor). I just looked at real world photos on Ars of the new models and from my POV the 5C models look like they are designed for kids. (A matter of taste, of course.) If Apple cut the price by another $100 they might make sense as a pricepoint but at only $100 less than 5S it seems crazy to me.

It's notable there's no black (or 'slate') 5C. I guess if one wants a more 'dignified' (again, a matter of taste) one has to go 5S.

I commend to all the interesting Steve Jobs quote found at the end of the comment by markwilcox:

"What ruined Apple was not growth They got very greedy Instead of following the original trajectory of the original vision, which was to make the thing an appliance and get this out there to as many people as possible they went for profits. They made outlandish profits for about four years. What this cost them was their future. What they should have been doing is making rational profits and going for market share." - Steve Jobs.

As a long-time Apple fan and former shareholder I'll be very interested to see how this pans out.

lnanek2 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Not really strange at all that the specs don't differ much besides the case. Apple has always done this. Make a minor change like flash memory size, and charge a heck of a lot more for the higher end version than the difference actually costs to produce. They retain an easy to develop for ecosystem by not having much difference and gain economies of scale on production. Whoever this is doesn't really know much about the computer industry. He probably doesn't even realize desktop processors are often produced as one model and cheaper ones just clocked down to create artificial differences which retaining efficiencies of only having to make one thing.
Terretta 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
The article text states the exact opposite of its own headline:

Under the old model the n-1 variant was meant to be a modest volume contributor to the portfolio, being essentially a cognitive illusion which encouraged buyers to stick with iPhone n at the expense of competitors. However, the new n-1 product (the 5C) has a distinct positioning that makes it seem fresh and not a lesser, stale version of the flagship. It is designed to appeal as a legitimate upgrade for iPhone 4/4S users. It is, in other words, _not_ meant as an illusion, and not focusing attention on the flagship[3]. Rather, it is meant to be a genuine, core product.

IOW, the iPhone 4 vs 4S was cognitive illusion, the iPhone 5C vs 5S is not cognitive illusion. So, C is not for Cognitive Illusion.

Opposite headline is better link bait, though.

crusso 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Such a big deal is being made of this initial pricing strategy for the 5C when it's really such a transient situation.

Apple is going in with a high price on the 5C to keep the brand solid and scoop up profits from early adopters who will just have to have the latest pretty colored iPhone.

My guess is that the 5C's price will erode much faster than the 5S. Apple will do its best to balance the mix to ensure that the product is sold and out there.

Cthulhu_ 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Could just be a sales strategy. "The 5C looks tacky, the 5S looks much better and is only $100 more expensive!" And teenagers will probably go for the 5C, breeding a new generation that likes tacky smooth glossy plastic in bright pastel colors.
weisser 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't pricing a new iPhone (regardless of version) too low have a negative effect on the perceived value?

If the iPhone 5C had the same core components as the 5S I would get it instead because the plastic is probably more durable and I'd like a colorful device as a change of pace from the white and silver Apple products I own currently.

zeckalpha 43 minutes ago 2 replies      
I think they decided they couldn't make the 5 any cheaper in the short term, so they changed their product cycle.
colinm 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
Apple's problem is that they are only relevant in a handful of countries while competing in a global market. Android is crushing them.
Functional Programming Explained braveclojure.com
41 points by nonrecursive  1 hour ago   13 comments top 7
brudgers 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Rich Hickey has a great description of how to think about working with immutable values - what we usually want when we change a variable is simply the next value and so long as we are getting the value we expected, there's no need to name it.

In other words if our current position in an array is 2, what we need to access the next position is the value 3. Creating a variable int i=2; and then mutating it i++; introduces the possibility of side effects. This not to say that at an abstraction layer below our programming language a register won't get incremented, only that our brains don't need to worry about the mechanisms most of the time if we use a functional language.

taeric 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Has there been any exploration into an idea where the problem with side effects is not that they make functions impure, but they are often against the metaphor of the instructions being given? That is, if the metaphor that one is trying to model is traditional mathematics, then of course side effects are terrible.

However, consider a program where the main metaphor is controlling something. Logo, for example. Few people argue, I would think, that the traditional imperative styling there hurts and confuses things.

More extreme, consider stack based languages. These are strictly based on the current state of the program, yet my understanding is if you can fit your mind to that metaphor, it works very very well.

Or, my favorite category, cookbooks. Look at traditional baking directions: "Begin heating oven to XXX, mix dry ingredients in bowl, add butter, whip, ..." Doesn't get any more imperative than that, and yet people around the world often have great success replicating the desired results. (Granted, I often think that the difference in programming and teaching is that humans make an effort to understand what you were communicating, computers typically don't.)

Does this make sense?

kineticfocus 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just watched this decent intro released yesterday... (OSCON 2013: "Functional Thinking" - Neal Ford) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aYS9PcAITQ
jafaku 34 minutes ago 4 replies      
As someone who still doesn't get functional programming, I would like to see a real-world example of how to deal with side effects. Eg: write something into a file or a DB. Because of course methods/functions with no side effects are easier to deal with, it sounds good, but I don't think it would be easy nor convenient to separate every side effect in a real-world program (as opposed to academic programs, where you just write a Fibonacci or whatever). Even in good OOP, you can have lots of side effects in a method.


SeoxyS 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
The third example has an error: ((rand) > 0.5) should say (> (rand) 0.5)
gbog 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have been tempted by functional programming, and it is interesting, but I'm not sure how would be the result for highly complex code.
pat_shaughnessy 53 minutes ago 1 reply      
Another great post, Daniel... keep 'em coming!
No one uses older versions of Internet Explorer by choice ocks.org
19 points by ericwaller  47 minutes ago   10 comments top 8
JoshGlazebrook 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
The title needs an asterisk. Because I unfortunately have the privilege of knowing an older gentleman that purposely uses IE6 on Windows XP. He calls the concept of tabs useless rubbish. And I'm not talking a regular consumer, I'm talking someone who develops actual software.
stephen_g 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think a lot of people just don't know enough to upgrade their browser - I see people using IE9 at work even though we are allowed to install whatever software we want...

IE really needs silent auto-update, and to actually release more often...

johnny_reilly 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's been my (unfortunate) experience that most enterprise / corporate environments lock down users machines heavily in the name of security. And with that goes the ability of the user to upgrade their browser. Oftentimes the reason is that there are old internal web applications which don't work in newer versions of IE / look rubbish in newer versions of IE. It's a pain. And it looks like the death of XP won't mean the death of IE 8 as many Win 7 shops are resisting the upgrade to IE 9 let alone 10.
herbig 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
The folks I know who use Internet Explorer by choice also don't really use the Internet outside of work.
nacker_hews 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
It would be cool to further break this down by time of day. i.e. look at people who use IE8 from 9-5 on weekdays vs. the weekends. Because I bet nighttime weekday IE8 usage dampens the effect.
perpetuated 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
As a non-choice user of IE6, I can confirm that this is annoying.

Especially when articles about old versions of IE don't render in the browser.

hef19898 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Have to agree with conclusion, right now I'm using IE8 and not voluntarily! What's really interessting are the multiple "you are using an old browser" messages you get.
6d0debc071 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder whether the total numbers are significantly lower on the weekends - i.e. if there's a selection bias going on for people who choose to use the internet.
Did you know HTML5's main element? html5doctor.com
74 points by thomasbachem  3 hours ago   45 comments top 11
SCdF 3 hours ago 5 replies      
Has anyone used all of the HTML5 tags in anger? I've tried a couple of times to build something fully "semantic". I struggle to create something that looks good semantically (ie just reading the HTML) and is also laid out on the page in the way I wanted it to be.

There seem to be lots of situations, even in just mildly complicated web pages, where you need to write HTML code solely for graphics / layout reasons that completely breaks the idea of having a purely semantic document.

In the end it just seemed much faster and cleaner to be more flexible with those various structures and to give up on the whole "semantic" document ideal and smash divs around.

I'm ready to fully accept that this is the tables->css revolution all over again and I'm just crap, though, if that's the case.

codeka 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Somewhat interesting, perhaps, is the fact that this page itself has the following markup:

    <main id="content" class="group" role="main">        <div class="main">        ...
I, too, have tried to use semantic markup. Unfortunately, except for the most straight-forward of layouts, it's very hard to do. Though I guess there was also a time when non-table-based layouts was considered harder than it was worth...

nilved 41 minutes ago 1 reply      
I was honestly a little baffled to come into this thread and discover people were having trouble with semantic HTML. It's not hard to use, you just need to be inventive with your CSS. A page without divs, spans, strongs and bigs should be everyone's goal.
brokenparser 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm still waiting for some sort of <bull> or <hogwash> element to markup comments and other such tripe. E.g.:

  <user class="spam">Buy my pills!</user>
It would be even more useful if something like this works:

  <user rel="nofollow">Buy pills    <a href="fizz://example.net/pills">here!</a>  </user>
This is cleaner than putting the attribute on every anchor, I wouldn't mind crawlers skipping marked comment sections entirely either.

chrisfarms 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The ARIA roles ideas seem to address the semantics/accessibility issues much better than semantic tags.

Plus with the direction that the Web Components stuff is going, I think they should probably scrap all the semantic elements, just stick to a smaller set of HTML elements that are "functionally" different. Then tell everyone to create their own tag-semantics by extending the basic elements for their use-case and use the standard roles taxonomy to describe the intent of the user-created tags.

It feel a bit like parts of the groups are not talking enough :)

phpnode 2 hours ago 1 reply      
it's annoying that it can't be used more than once per page. It would be useful to also have a <content> element, e.g.

    <article>        <header>...</header>        <content>...</content>        <footer>...</footer>    </article>

wiradikusuma 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The good thing is it'll be easier for robots to crawl pages to find the, well, main content. E.g. scrapers for websites without RSS support.

The bad thing is if the robot is a search engine spider, people will use try to serve different 'main'.

derefr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds convenient for one major use: letting web-scraping and readability-like tools know that everything outside of <main> is alright to throw away.
jpswade 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Firefox 21, Chrome 26, and a WebKit r140374 have all implemented basic support for <main>.

They have all mapped the ARIA role="main" to the <main> element so assistive technologies can now recognise the <main> element without issue.

Kiro 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I still haven't found one good reason to use any of the semantic HTML5 tags instead of just good old divs. This didn't convince me.
robinduckett 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Responsive Design is Not About Screen Sizes Any More speckyboy.com
58 points by gbelleguic  3 hours ago   20 comments top 8
mgkimsal 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
"To do this, there are heavy tools out there, like WURFL, DeviceAtlas or lighter ones like Browser Gem, that read the user agent string and start from there."

All this time we were told 'browser detection is bad', yet... the only real way to give optimal experiences for mobile is... 'browser detection'.

chrislomax 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It is very clear that this method is still in infancy and we should not be expected to be able to fully accommodate everyone right now. We are working towards a solution.

The fact the DOM is parsed regardless is not a massive issue to me, as mobile browser speed increases this will become a non issue. The issue really is the images, there needs to be some way of telling the browser to completely ignore the image on certain media types, or at least defer the load if it is not meant for this media type then load it last.

There will eventually be a standard for responsive web design but at this moment in time people are doing it the best they can with the tools they have

rorrr2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
It would also be nice to implement LZMA2 support to content encoding in the browsers, which is much better than GZip.

Firefox started doing it, I think.


zeman 41 minutes ago 1 reply      
It's worth adding above the fold (ATF) rendering as a technique. It's aim is to deliver pages on mobile within 1 second and requires a fundamental rethink of the way we architect CSS and our reliance on frameworks like Bootstrap. Ilya Grigorik presented the technique at the latest Velocity Conference and Google have now adopted it as recommendation at part of the PageSpeed Insights tool.


I'm currently working on a service in beta to help designers and developer address these issues through monitoring the front-end build of a website over time. Measurement and comparison is the first step in establishing a baseline and then rolling out these techniques and understanding the improvement.


I also discovered CDNConnect recently which looks like a great service to help optimize and generate images at a bunch of different sizes and formats like WebP easily.


oyvindeh 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Good article!

However, I am curious about the research showing that users will leave a website after 3 seconds. Where was this measured? On desktop, or on a low-end/low-bandwidth device? With low-end devices and/or low bandwidth, most websites will load slowly, and my guess is that performance expectations will be different than on desktop.

Kiro 2 hours ago 3 replies      
How does mobile first solve Excess DOM? As soon as you extend it to desktop you will have the same amount of DOM elements. Are you not supposed to use media queries?
TeamMCS 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Excellent post. My concern with RWD is the page weight. Whilst with the proliferation of 3G and 4G this has somewhat been negated it still leaves a lot to be desired. I dont believe an 'App' is the answer and the original answer, separate mobile sites still feels attractive (both technically, page weight, delivery and recruitment)
terabytest 2 hours ago 1 reply      
If you have a big image meant for desktop users only and you hide it with CSS, I'm pretty sure most modern UAs won't download it.
Google security exec: 'Passwords are dead' cnet.com
12 points by Thereasione  1 hour ago   9 comments top 4
hawkharris 16 minutes ago 1 reply      
I was thinking about password alternatives recently because I was designing a website just for friends and family. I wanted enough security to keep out strangers on the Web, but I didn't want to make people I know memorize a lengthy password.

So I came up with a photo that fills up the screen. A small, invisible grid covers the photo, and the user has to click the image in a special sequence in order to unlock the next image. After a few quick rounds, they open up the content.

I realize that it isn't the most secure approach, but it's much easier to memorize and use than a traditional password (not to mention more fun). If anyone has any advice or interesting anecdotes about visual login systems, I'd be interested in learning more about them.

Thereasione 1 minute ago 0 replies      
There is an article in NYT on this subject: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/beyond-passwords-ne... , although it is mostly about hardware authentication.
JeffJenkins 31 minutes ago 2 replies      
This article is about how two-factor authentication is great and should be used everywhere. It is not about passwords going away.
guard-of-terra 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Passwords are long overdue, it's a walking carcass.

Hard for users to remember, trivial to intercept, easy to lose, not hard to guess.

Just b/c of a submit on HN 1 year ago, 2000+ people use this tool every month. mytextarea.com
6 points by JRambo  29 minutes ago   1 comment top
JRambo 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
1 year ago, I made a simple online text editor and only shared it on HN.

Now, over 2000 folks use myTextarea every month :)

Last months analytics:2,078 visitors34.3% returning visitors65.7% new visitors61.9% search traffic31.2% direct traffic6.8% referral traffic

LuaJIT 2.1 Profiler released gmane.org
32 points by qwertzlcoatl  3 hours ago   9 comments top 4
camperman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
LuaJIT is a work of great beauty and efficiency. I've been working on a commercial product for small ARM boards where rapid prototyping has been essential because of ever changing requirements but the speed of the finished code is also paramount. LuaJIT has made this project an absolute pleasure. It wraps C libraries cleanly, it runs within 5-10% of native code speed on the ARM (I checked because I didn't believe it at first) and it's 100% compatible with all the Lua 5.1 supporting libraries I need. This new profiler will be a great addition to the toolbox along with ZeroBrane Studio's debugger which I just discovered this week and which also rocks.

Mike Pall needs several Jolt Awards.

acqq 3 hours ago 4 replies      
The most interesting conclusions of Mike Pall reflect my experiences: sampling profilers are often much more usable in practice than instrumentation:

As you might have noticed, I had to change my plans compared tothe original approach presented in June. The main problem with theinstrumenting profiler was finding high-precision and high-speedtiming sources for all platforms. (...) The necessary pipeline flushes shadowed theactual timings up to the point where the measurements were lessaccurate than with a sampling profiler! Other platforms offeredonly inaccurate timing sources or none that are accessible fromuser mode. And to top it off, the instrumentation addedconsiderable overhead. (...) I had to scrap that work and decided to go with a samplingprofiler.

And I don't know any other scripting language with a built-in sampling profiler. Does anybody?

rustc 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Slightly off-topic, but does anyone know how I can download the complete mailing list archive data (of luajit)? Many of Mike's posts are very informative and useful, and I'd like to be able to search/read them easily, offline.
otikik 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This. Is. Awesome.
Government Announces Steps to Restore Confidence on Encryption Standards bits.blogs.nytimes.com
161 points by misiti3780  9 hours ago   88 comments top 16
andrewljohnson 5 hours ago 3 replies      
This got my heart beating. There is actual rebellion among academics, and a movement to restore trust in both people and tech. This is the NY Times quoting Matt Green of John Hopkins in the article:

I know from firsthand communications that a number of people at N.I.S.T. feel betrayed by their colleagues at the N.S.A., Mr. Green said in an interview Tuesday.

Thats pretty strong sentiment. Seems to echo the bitterness of Rogaway: http://www.cs.ucdavis.edu/~rogaway/politics/surveillance.pdf

This is an important question of our times, and the cryptography experts should speak up like this. They have the credibility, and the ear of the people and media.

rumcajz 6 hours ago 5 replies      
This is a procedural, not technical problem. It almost seems like the standardisation process open to everyone just enables everyone to insert their own backdoors into the standard.

One interesting way to solve the problem would be to allow differenct mutually hostile entities to define their own standards (US, Russia, China, FSF, Pirate Bay, whoever) and then encrypt using all of them.

That way, even if there is backdoor in each protocol, the only way to decrypt would be all those disparate players to cooperate. It would be like a vault with multiple keys possesed by different people.

ReidZB 7 hours ago 1 reply      
When I saw 'new details' (edit: this was referring to an old title), I was hoping that the backdoor in Dual_EC_DRBG was either confirmed or denied ... in reality, there's not much new here. The NYT confirmed that their previous article was talking about Dual_EC_DRBG, but that's what everyone (edit: in the cryptography community) expected anyway [1].

We still don't know the exact story behind Dual_EC_DRBG. Maybe the NSA carefully crafted the DRBG to contain a backdoor that they knew from the outset. Maybe they didn't notice the backdoor until later (perhaps after cryptographers pointed it out) but ended up discovering the 'key' that allows you to predict the stream, completely breaking the DRBG (this is very unlikely, however). Or maybe they're no better off than the general public.

Annoyingly, there are no concrete details. Internal memos "appear to confirm that the fatal weakness, discovered by two Microsoft cryptographers in 2007, was engineered by the agency". In the latest NYT article, the internal memos "suggest that the N.S.A. generated one of the random number generators used in a 2006 N.I.S.T. standard". (What "generated" really means here is beyond me; obviously the constants were generated somehow. The question is whether or not they were generated with malicious intent. Is the 'generated' part quoted/paraphrased from the memos?)

Now I'm not saying that the NSA didn't have some malicious intent with Dual_EC_DRBG. But we have a stunning lack of any evidence. Internal memos 'appear to confirm' and 'suggest', but the bits provided from them are... lacking. Things certainly seem fishy, but we don't even know the context of the quotes.

I don't know. It certainly wouldn't surprise me if Dual_EC_DRBG was engineered to have a backdoor, but all of the articles I've read seem to carefully use weasel words when talking about it.

[1] http://crypto.stackexchange.com/a/10258/2454

alan_cx 5 hours ago 12 replies      
Before reading this, bare in mind, you wont find many more critical of government than me....That said I have to ask the following:

How can any government accept a situation where communications are so secure that none of their agencies can break it? Essentially law enforcement do need to investigate crime. That has to be right and good for all. Even this anarchist accepts this.

Such a situation is fine for "us", and great for government, in that it means they them selves can communicate with confidence. But to expect government to accept a situation where there is zero way they can snoop or investigate is asking a lot. Its a huge risk to government. So, I think we have to forget that idea completely, as attractive as it is to the likes of me.

As others have said, its procedural or legal, not technical. What is needed is a rock solid frame work and set of rules that properly limit how the snooping is done. What is needed is a universal bill of online or electronic rights. Not just for the USA, but something that can apply to any country and government. I'd suggest it should be developed by an international group, UN backed, and made part of being a member. Or could it be something that has to be agreed to as part of acquiring IP addresses or domain names. Dunno, but tie it in some how.

Ok, I'm not sure that works totally as I have set it out, Im no lawyer, and others may well want to modify it, but we need something international as the internet is international. We all need protection, not just Americans. We need a base level to work from. Something we can all accept as reasonable, workable and enforceable. Most of all, we need confidence in using communications and those regulating it.

m0nty 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The cynic in me says "of course they want us to trust their flawed encryption standards, otherwise there's no point back-dooring them in the first place." I suspect, however, that this has more to do with high-profile businesses complaining about the damage that's been done to them in the last few weeks.
ck2 7 hours ago 1 reply      
With RC4 being used to mitigate beast, we need a solution soon for the web, because RC4 is falling apart http://www.isg.rhul.ac.uk/tls/
mathogre 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It's too fucking late. Government, we don't trust you anymore. You're not a part of us. For once, I'm ashamed of being an American.
j_baker 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I suspect that NIST is just another government organization trying to do their jobs, and I don't think it's fair that their name got dragged through the mud. The truth is that the NSA practically co-opted NIST's decision-making strategy. I have confidence in NIST. Sadly, I don't have confidence in the NSA to not muddy up the process.
pyalot2 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Want to know how to get a secure encryption standard? Do not develop it with the government involved, especially not the US government.
raheemm 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I hate all this NSA spying but they do have a point - if they cant read the communications of the bad guys, how are they supposed to catch them before it's too late. Isn't there a way to accomplish both objectives of security and preserving constitutional freedoms?
RamiK 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Every standards body that is even remotely financed by governments or companies is a lie. (http://www.ecma-international.org/publications/standards/Ecm...)

Committees rulings are a lie. (http://www.textbookleague.org/103feyn.htm)

Even the most seemingly reasonable regulations are a lie. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Truth-About-Drug-Companies/dp/0375...)

The sooner people realize there's no other option other than a direct democracy since governments and companies are untrustworthy, the better.

akulbe 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Golf clap, anyone? Anyone?

This is a huge confidence builder. Huge.

frank_boyd 6 hours ago 3 replies      
You lost me at:

"Government Announces Steps to Restore Confidence"

Zoomla 6 hours ago 0 replies      
under some secret order, they are thinking the oposite
gcatalfamo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
NYT lost THIS much credibility together with the US govt altogether.
benologist 8 hours ago 3 replies      
The weird bit is the NYT did it on their own website instead of Ars. It's also super classy of Ars to cite a second report by the NYT then link to their own summary of that article too!


Why you should not trust emails sent from Google vagosec.org
275 points by tomvangoethem  13 hours ago   69 comments top 13
zmmmmm 8 hours ago 3 replies      
No matter what he tried to explain they just kept replying that he didn't qualify for the reward. It sounds like they have become super defensive about acknowledging bugs because the reporter will immediately try to claim a reward. If so, it's the exact opposite of the intent of the program.

I once reported Chrome because it crashed when I tried to load a 65536x65536 bitmap image. Since it was a crash I, of course, claimed it was a security issue, in the hope that was enough to get a reward. Of course, they didn't accept that, but it does make me think the other side of this issue may be that Google is now receiving so many of these they are unable to properly evaluate them all and applying the "HR" solution (employ someone underqualified explicity to fob off as many people as possible so that only super-qualified candidates get through).

kevingadd 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Arbitrary content injection into signed emails from Google, and it's not a security risk??? Incredibly poor response from them. Props to the author for being patient and trying multiple times to convince them to actually fix it.
iamshs 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Now compare this with the attitude of their Security researcher, Tavis Ormandy, bashing Microsoft's lackadaisical approach towards fixing bugs and has publicly published 0-days twice [1, 2, 3, 4]. Google only moved upon fear of public disclosure, and that too inspite of researcher being meticulous and patient.

Also, thank you Tom for your patience and being responsible. Also, I could not find your name in Hall of Fame list.

[1] - http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9239477/Google_engine...

[2] - http://www.zdnet.com/google-researcher-publishes-windows-zer...

[3] - http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2010/06/15/tavis-ormandy-ple...

[4] - http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9177948/Google_resear...?

roel_v 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Here's an honest question: why do people still bother with the 'responsible disclosure' nonsense? What's in it for them? Days of work, weeks of waiting and frustration, for a 'mention' in some imaginary 'hall of fame'? $1mm over 1500 bugs, that's $666 / bug. That's about a day worth of work if your rates are low and you are in a low CoL area, or half a day or less if you work for Google.

I take it that people who find these vulns do it for fun, even if it's their job - if you don't have a contract to start looking for issues, there is no reason to do so other than fun. So the only reason people bother with 'responsible disclosure' is, as far as I can tell, because not doing so would damage their public persona. But it only got to that point because big vendors pushed the moral superiority of 'responsible disclosure' on us over the last decade. Back in the 1990's (when I was last sort of active in the scene), nobody would think of giving vendors weeks or months of time to fix their own damned bugs - if your PoC exploit worked at 3am (with real, working shell code, none of that 'call ::MessageBox(NULL, "U got 0wned") nonsense), you'd post it to bugtraq at 3:15 so that you could see the responses when you got out of bed in the morning.

f- 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Hey folks,

I am one of the co-founders of the Vulnerability Reward Program at Google. It's one of the longest-running and most generous programs of this kind: since 2010, we have paid out around $1M in rewards for more than 1,500 qualifying bug reports in web applications alone. We take great pride in keeping the process responsive, friendly, and hassle-free.

Of course, it takes just one bad experience to undo much of that. Tom's report is a valid issue. The reward panel - of which I am a member - decided that it did not meet the bar for a financial reward. I stand by this decision, but I think we should have been more forthcoming, precise, and responsive when communicating that. In other words, I think we messed up.

PS. If you ever run into any problems of this type - or just want a friendly soul to chat - please do not hesitate to poke me at lcamtuf@google.com :-)

jrochkind1 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe they can justify thinking it wasn't really a security vulnerability, or maybe they can say, hey, everyone makes mistakes, we didn't realize it was a security vulnerability.

But what the heck is the justification for deciding it's a security vulnerability that needs to be fixed only when the guy says he's going to advertise it publicaly? What the hell is that?

If he had sold it privately, without telling Google, instead of letting them know he'd be advertising it publicly -- then it still wouldn't be worth fixing?

kintamanimatt 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this pervasive mentality among companies that run such a cash-for-bugs scheme. Isn't the idea to encourage people to properly report bugs by rewarding them financially, thereby discouraging them from selling the details to the highest unrelated bidder?

All Google is doing is damaging its reputation.

turing 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I definitely commend the author for his work, but I think that there might have been a slight misunderstanding here. In his last email, the author talks about how public disclosure would "force" Google to fix the vulnerability. But I read Google's response as simply saying that they did not think the bug qualified for the program, not that they didn't intend to fix it. Then again, my reading is definitely influenced by my time at Google and how seriously my team took this sort of thing.
r0bbbo 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I think I might be missing something - as a Google service user, I'd have to update my own name to be Mr Test<!--BAD STUFF HERE in order to perform a phishing attack on myself?
thrownaway2424 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It looks like your options for formatting the content are pretty limited and you can't change the subject line nor the preamble about Google Scholar, so you wouldn't be able to, say, masquerade as a password recovery email or anything like that. Still, I personally feel like any content injection should be treated seriously.
benatkin 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't see the author's name in the linked Honorable Mentions page. Did someone from Google pull it because they didn't like this blog post? Searched for "tom", "Mathias", and "vago". No recent results for any of these search terms.
cryptbe 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow. Give me a break, please. What the OP reported was a super minor issue, and he's already got what he deserves.

His bug allowed him to inject links into verification emails sent by Google Scholar. He claimed that he could inject CSS links too, but that didn't make this problem any worse. Why? Because it's up to mail clients to load the linked CSS stylesheets or not. Gmail, for example, would never load those remote CSS files. If your webmail client does that, it's time to switch to a better one.

So he could inject links, which is annoying, but still a very minor issue. It may make phishing a bit easier, but you know what phishing has always worked against average Joe if you try hard enough. That means that this problem doesn't really give an attacker any advantages that he couldn't do by himself.

Disclaimer: I'm a member of the team that handles VRP.

moloch 10 hours ago 1 reply      
You should not trust emails.
Startup Pitch Competitions have tricked Founders into sharing all their secrets. rudebaguette.com
33 points by waxzce  3 hours ago   16 comments top 7
austenallred 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
If "how many users do you have?" or "What is your conversion rate from freemium to paid?" is a "secret" that would allow someone else to enter your space and beat your startup at what it does, you don't have much of a startup. You have many closer snakes to kill than worrying about competitors entering your space because they heard a stat at a startup competition.
eli 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I probably wouldn't answer some of those questions in public, but not because I think someone's going to steal my idea. They're just none of your business.

It's a big market and this is an execution game. If you think you can jump in late just because you heard I have 100,000 users, well, good luck to you.

jkaljundi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As a smallish angel investor, serial entrepreneur and startup event organizer, I see no problems neither in asking those questions nor answering them, often in quite much detail. Agree with r0h1n it is more about the execution.

True, there are some things none of us will disclose. Don't think someone realistically would expect you to disclose your upcoming deals. Like said, many are also fun probing questions and you should take them as such and turn them to your advantage.

We did have mixed feelings at my current startup, Weekdone team management and collaboration tool when we decided to publish our roadmap: https://blog.weekdone.com/weekdone-product-development-ppp-a...It might give great ideas to competitors or other upstarts. But the value of customers, both potential and existing, knowing this outweighs the secrecy. YMMV.

It's also a cultural thing. The blog is French. Europeans are much more secretive.

On one point in the article: I remember Jeff Clavier (also French, now in the Valley) telling at an event that when mentoring French and EU startups coming to the US, the slide he tells them to always out is the exit strategy slide :) Not for secrecy, but because it's silly to include in your startup's vision. Built a great business and product instead.

r0h1n 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't see it as a "trick" if a founder is willingly answering a question posed to him/her.

That said, I think this is reflective of the shift in software startups where the "secret sauce" isn't your idea or statistics, but the speed & method of your execution.

nemothekid 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I've heard this question so much, that I might as well ask - has anyone ever (in maybe the last 5 years) had their startup idea, copied then successfully executed by Google that led to the destruction of your startup?

I can only really think that once Reader was released it may have killed a couple startups but other than that I don't see the historical context for why this question gets asked so often. Google Drive didn't kill Dropbox, and AWS has yet to kill linode.

morgante 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Founders who protest such competitions are the same types who ask potential employee's to sign onerous NDAs.

Honestly, almost nothing about running a business should be secret. Because that's not where your success comes from. It's all in execution and building a great product/culture. You can openly share all your plans and still see others fail to copy them.

fudged71 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagreed completely with the title, then completely agreed with the article. Thanks for sharing the link. I've been asked some very probing questions by journalists as well.
Brightbox launches new lower cost cloud server tier brightbox.com
9 points by jeremyjarvis  1 hour ago   5 comments top 2
caiusdurling 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
(Full disclosure: I'm a former employee, still have personal servers as a customer.)

Awesome news, still find the service provides more than other UK/EU providers. (I don't use US providers personally mostly because of the added ping times.)

Having things like the cloud firewall & being able to migrate an IP from one server to another _instantly_ just makes life so much easier. Said services being cheaper is only going to make my wallet happier :-)

harrytuttle 42 minutes ago 1 reply      

Cheaper, better, waaaay more flexible, entirely UK based (this might be a good/bad thing depending on where you are)

I'm 2 years into development of my sandbox game, Moonman bp.io
76 points by eigenbom  7 hours ago   51 comments top 21
dvt 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Been following Moonman for 2 years :) I am a relatively quiet lurker on TIGSource but I can't wait until Moonman is finally out (as in.. out out). The playable demos so far have been amazing.

Unfortunately, the start-up community is more cynical than the indie gaming one (blah blah Terraria clone). But, I for one, wish you good luck sir!

I love the indie community because it fosters creativity over success; the process over the end result. Unlike the start-up community (where the exit is what really matters). I dabble in both. The realism on HN keeps me grounded but the naivete on TIG keeps me dreaming.

sspiff 5 hours ago 5 replies      
As someone who tried repeatedly to make a game but never finished (or came as far as you have), I can only congratulate you on doing better.

I could only see the video on youtube as the site is down, but it looks a lot like a "2D Minecraft". Not that that's a bad thing, but a lot of people will dismiss it because of this. Do you have any plans of expanding the gameplay into a direction different from Minecraft?

Impossible 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I find it interesting that you took the classic advice of "just use Box2D" for a 2D platformer and it worked well for you. It doesn't seem like your game using anything much more complex than basic box vs. tile grid collision and doesn't use any of the advanced features of Box2D. No complex constraints, rigid body usage seems simple or non-existent, etc. I could be completely wrong about that though, this is all speculation based on the video and your devlog.

What kind of issues were you running into with implementing tile based collision? Was it intersection tests with slopes? Performance issues? Stability (crashes)?

alx 6 hours ago 1 reply      
babuskov 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
Cool. I was considering making something like this a few months ago. Didn't know Moonman existed. Now I'll just remove that idea from my list and wait for you to finish it so I can play ;)
xerophtye 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Woah! AWESOME! You actually MADE all that? That's the ambitious kinda stuff I only manage to dream about. But you actually BUILT that stuff! Major Kudos! :D

Please put it up on github! I am sure there's a ton of stuff we could all learn from it, not to mention we'd love to help, pushing the project closer to completion.

(Unless of course you plan on putting the game on a market place and earning money from it)

willvarfar 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, hadn't seen http://www.tigsource.com/ nor its forums before! Is it the place to unveil your indie hobby games once they become big and playable?
johnyzee 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks very cool - I love the idea of a deep platformer. I personally feel that (first-person) 3D is way overused, 'because we can', when it usually restricts rather than enhances gameplay.
telephonetemp 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there a standard FOSS world generating library for use in video games? I.e., one that would generate the right kind of 2D and 3D noise, average it out according to parameters, apply "biome" tags to regions, create underground tunnels, etc.? These tasks are probably typical enough that most games need not reimplement them.
eigenbom 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks guys. Sorry about the server crash! Follow me at https://twitter.com/eigenbom for news about the game in future.


brokenparser 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Moonman is Minecraft 2D? I'm okay with this.
eigenbom 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks Hacker News for keeping me sane during that time. :)
CmonDev 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Two years full time? Impressive in any case.
progx 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Cool Idea !Some Minecraft parts in 2D combined with a jump & run... and old console/c64 retro look :-)
mugenx86 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Cached: webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://bp.io/post/1501

Sounds like an interesting game. Too bad I can't see any of the images.

eigenbom 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I uploaded a few images while I fix the server..


tofof 4 hours ago 2 replies      
And here I was excited by the prospect of a Terraria-clone set on the moon.

.... Not so much. More like a terraria clone set on an atari 2600.

Terraria devs, if you're listening - moon! Lunaria! It writes itself.

Kiro 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Fix the server. I want to see the pictures.
chatman 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Moonman? Like Neil Armstrong?
Chrisplux 1 hour ago 0 replies      
muhfreedoms 1 hour ago 1 reply      
yay..another pixely indie game...yay..really..yay
AMD goes ambidextrous, will produces ARM, x86 chips in 2014 liliputing.com
22 points by synchronise  2 hours ago   6 comments top 3
unwind 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a blog-spamming re-post of http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6357992.
harrytuttle 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
For the not-so-old and forgetful amongst us, Intel did this until 2006 as well (StrongARM, XScale)...

Have fab, produce ARM is the reality these days.

thom_nic 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Don't they mean "armbidextrous?"
ZooKeeper vs. Doozer vs. Etcd devo.ps
5 points by hunvreus  43 minutes ago   discuss
How to Advertise on a Porn Website eat24hours.com
545 points by dohertyjf  1 day ago   93 comments top 24
FreeKill 20 hours ago 1 reply      
That was actually a really interesting article. I think it really helps that they were able to come up with a really good set of ads that worked perfectly with the audience on the adult websites. That's always the goal, but execution is never quite as easy as it seems :)
rfergie 16 hours ago 4 replies      
"Of the total traffic generated by our ads, over 90% were first-time visitors to Eat24.com"

Or a large proportion are browsing incognito.

But what a great article!

dnautics 5 hours ago 3 replies      
I read this and it was really interesting. Here's a question, HNdom. Should I advertise my nonprofit* on porn? (I won't use nonprofit funds, I'll pay from my own pocket) Do you think the total nonsequitur will work? Is there any downside?

Sub question: If I were to do it, how non-sequitur-ey should it be? I could play it as "help save boobies" or just straight-man it "help cure cancer"

*we'll be crowdfunding to get an public domain anticancer compound through preclinical trials, it may be effective against triple negative breast cancer, and other other cancers.

kennywinker 18 hours ago 5 replies      
Those pornstar tweets sure do look like paid promotions... article implies they are organic, but they don't look that way to me.
shitlord 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This was hilarious and definitely worth the read. The ads alone have definitely persuaded me to try out their service. The company seems like a breath of fresh air, considering how everyone else avoids associating with porn sites like they're the plague.
brianbreslin 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This was one of the most interesting articles to pop up on hn recently. Kudos to eat24 for sharing that research.

What are some other things that could appeal to porn users? Travel? Legit online dating( ie match/eharmony)? Credit card savings? Subscription services (would dollar shave club do well?)

singold 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Google cache link: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahttp%...

I get a 503, probably HN effect ;)

throwaway2120 19 hours ago 10 replies      
Why is there so little non-porn advertising on porn sites? If CPMs are low, and conversions are good enough, what's up with the ROI gap? Is this really the cost of social outrage? I'm really curious to see if anyone has any theories/answers...
kpommerenke 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Their porn statistics are questionable: they say "2/3 of men admit to watching porn" and "70% of those men are between the ages of 18-24". This implies that at least 47% of all men are between 18 and 24, which is clearly wrong. Otherwise, good article.
nicholassmith 20 hours ago 0 replies      
That was quite an enjoyable article actually, they certainly had fun with it. Clever idea as well, they had a good chance of hitting their target market.
sathishmanohar 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I haven't seen these ads anywhere before. REALLY.

And its a good reminder, instead of competing in places where everybody is already competing, while paying high and raising the price for everybody else. Find a new efficient strategy from a different niche.

Semiapies 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Genuinely ascinating article!

Pity their search threw nonsensical errors when I put in my home address. ETA: Ah, I see the problem. They can't seem to give a message as useful as "We don't provide service to that city/ZIP code/etc." and instead just say, "Oops, something went wrong" or suggest that the ZIP code is invalid.

At least their ad strategy is smarter than that.

kokey 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I always enjoy reading these interesting strategies for marketing to the consumer. However, it makes me a little sad that I can't really apply it to a b2b product.
mdisraeli 13 hours ago 1 reply      
You know you're a hacker news reader when your first thought after reading this isn't "order food!" or "watch porn!", but "I wonder if any fast food delivery websites have affiliate schemes...."
broodbucket 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Seems like the perfect advertiser for 4chan. A lot of traffic, the ads are ALWAYS for porn so people will notice, and the user-base never leaves the house.
terabytest 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the first article on HN I actually had fun reading. The puns were terribly hilarious.
dreamdu5t 10 hours ago 0 replies      
eat24hours is a shining example of a successful, bootstrapped startup that is in it for the long-haul and not out for a quick buck.

It doesn't hurt that they gave me a bunch of free credit for reporting a CSS issue.

BWStearns 14 hours ago 0 replies      
To riff of of AznHisoka, is the eat24 delivery man a new archetype for these sites?

Seriously though well done on their part identifying the opportunity and I hope it works out well for them in the future.

ilolu 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Unrelated question : But whats a good hosting service provider for hosting Adult content ?
lowmagnet 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I predicted that "Wash your hands" wouldn't work. I'm sure a higher percentage of porn visitors are dudes, and dudes don't want to click on other dudes, generally.
AznHisoka 20 hours ago 0 replies      
They should bribe some of those actresses to make a movie with them, and give them 100% free membership for life :)
covgjai 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Best creative I've seen in a long time.
austerity 18 hours ago 1 reply      
If anyone is inspired by this article and feels adventurous, I'm currently trying to sell a 1.5M/day inventory that is mostly across porn sites. Hit me up at dr8ww@notsharingmy.info for dirt cheap CPM rates.
jdkanani 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article.
Unix Commands I Wish Id Discovered Years Earlier atomicobject.com
415 points by micahalles  22 hours ago   233 comments top 50
WestCoastJustin 20 hours ago 3 replies      
If anyone is interested there were several great posts on Hacker News a while about about useful UNIX commands [1, 2, 3]. I have also created several screencasts about command commands like the following [4], and one about the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard [5].

  ls man pwd cd top ps df du cp mv rm mkdir rmdir less cat vi
[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6046682

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5022457

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4985393

[4] http://sysadmincasts.com/episodes/13-crash-course-on-common-...

[5] http://sysadmincasts.com/episodes/12-crash-course-on-the-fil...

vectorpush 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Command line globbing! For the uninitiated:

Let's say my pwd is `/home/projects` and i want to edit `/home/projects/a_huge_sprawling_app/940j_394/lol/flight_controller.rb`

  `vim **/flight_controller.rb` 
opens our flight_controller.rb straight away. In terms of effort, this allows you to basically omit a `find -name` when you're in a rush to edit some damn file where the hell is it again damn we need to reevaluate this directory str...


Double bang to re-use your last terminal entry. One great use, taking all the pain out of forgetting your sudos

  `rm -rf /var/log`  rm: cannot remove `/var/log': Permission denied  `sudo !!`
All evidence of wrongdoing is now destroyed.


Ok, here is an awesome one for users of the ultimate cloud IDE: Vim.

In your local ~/.ssh/config:

  `ForwardX11 yes`  `SendEnv WINDOWID`
In your remote server's /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

  `AcceptEnv WINDOWID`
In your vimrc:

  `set clipboard=unnamedplus`
This has the effect of seamless yank and paste between local and remote vim sessions, no need for ctrl+shift+v.

I love linux.

csense 15 hours ago 2 replies      
My favorite is the parallel jobs feature of xargs. For example, say you want to run a script you wrote called process-video.sh to do some processing on all the video files in a directory (extracting audio to MP3, converting format, etc.). You want to use all 8 of your cores. You could write a Makefile and run it with -j9, or you can do this:

   find . -name "*.flv" | xargs -n 1 -P 9 ./process-video.sh
This immediately forks 9 instances of process-video.sh on the first 9 .flv files in the current directory, then starts a new instance whenever a running instance completes, so 9 instances are always in flight. (I usually set to number of cores plus one for CPU-bound tasks, hence 9 for my i7 with eight cores [1].)

If you add -print0 to the find command and -0 to the xargs command, it uses null-terminated filenames (which does the right thing when filenames contain whitespace).

[1] Logical cores. Most i7's have four physical cores which become eight logical cores through the magic of hyperthreading.

grimgrin 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Replaces the current day of the month with []:

     $ cal | sed "s/.*/ & /;s/ $(date +%e) / [] /"        September 2013     Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa      1  2  3  4  5  6  7      8  9 [] 11 12 13 14     15 16 17 18 19 20 21     22 23 24 25 26 27 28     29 30

fsckin 20 hours ago 6 replies      
One of the more useful bits of ssh is not mentioned: remotely running commands.


ssh username@host "echo $HOSTNAME && sudo somecommand && cat somecommand.log"

There's probably a better way to do this, but in a pinch I can fix a problem on dozens of machines just by altering the host string.

hannibal5 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Unix and Common Lisp are similar in many ways:

1. Both are operating systems

2. Both are conceptually simple.

3. There is always nice command that does what you want but you somehow forget it. I can't believe that Common Lisp has just 900+ symbols but I routinely forget some of them when programming.

kibwen 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I recently used xxd to illustrate the concept of text encoding, and put together a little vimscript to make it easier to visualize:

  "Toggle hex edit mode  nmap <Leader>h :call ToggleHex()<CR>    let g:hex_mode_on = 0    function! ToggleHex()      if g:hex_mode_on          execute "%!xxd -r"          let g:hex_mode_on = 0      else          execute "%!xxd"          let g:hex_mode_on = 1      endif  endfunction
Stick this in your .vimrc, type something, use \h to convert it to hex, change a value, then \h to convert it back and observe how the text has changed. Not super useful, but a neat party trick.

salgernon 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Mac OS: pbpaste & pbcopy

For instance:

pbpaste | fgrep -i "`pbpaste -pboard find`"

To search the copy clipboard with the find clipboard.

tptacek 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Do yourself a favor: unzip the source for ascii.7 and change the order of the tables: hex, then decimal, then octal.

You'll thank me later.

ck2 21 hours ago 10 replies      
I want a command that counts files in a tree like du does sizes but without having to pipe find through wc which is crazy for hundred thousand files.

Can't they just directly access inodes for high speed counting?

casca 21 hours ago 3 replies      
TL;DR: man ascii, cal, xxd, ssh, mdfind
ja27 17 hours ago 1 reply      
xargs. Can't tell you how many times I wrote quickie C programs and awk scripts to do what xargs does.


dredmorbius 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Rather than 'man 7 ascii', there's the 'ascii' command itself.

It will also provide encodings for single characters: $ ascii a ASCII 6/1 is decimal 097, hex 61, octal 141, bits 01100001: prints as `a' Official name: Miniscule a Other names: Small a, Lowercase a

    ASCII 0/10 is decimal 010, hex 0a, octal 012, bits 00001010: called ^J, LF, NL    Official name: Line Feed    Other names: Newline, \n

Kurtz79 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I know it's not exactly an unknown command, but I didn't know about "sort" until last week.

It's freaking fast and convenient, sorts hadoop reduce results like a champ.

ben0x539 18 hours ago 1 reply      
bash(?) thing I wish I'd discovered years earlier: diff <(command1) <(command2) instead of command1 > file1; command2 > file2; diff file1 file2; rm file1 file2
why-el 18 hours ago 3 replies      
`cd -` to go back to the previous directory. Saved me LOTS of time over the past few months.
dagw 17 hours ago 0 replies      
GNU Parallel. My new favorite command. I have probably written at least two or three ad-hoc, buggy, feature poor versions of that command before discovering it.
happywolf 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I recommend Quicksilver on mac, free and powerful. It lets you to find a lot of stuff (application, contact, email, etc.) and manipulate them (send, forward, print, etc.)


PuercoPop 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Protip, you can make emacs use mdfind with (setq locate-command "mdfind")[1]

[1]: http://emacsredux.com/blog/2013/07/05/locate/(setq locate-command "mdfind")

doktorn 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
strings - find the printable strings in a object, or other binary, file. Good command to know of if you want to snoop around in binary files.
wpietri 16 hours ago 0 replies      
A personal favorite: the file command. Through deep magic(5), it can describe the content of a lot of files.
malkia 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have the bad habit of trying out everything in /usr/bin (linux, OX) and in c:\windows\system32 (and further on, digging Program Files / Applications / etc.).

This is how I discovered myself "fsutil" (Windows) :)

brown9-2 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm unreasonably excited about discovering xxd.
JimmaDaRustla 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm always surprised at the lack of general knowledge of Regular Expressions, so egrep would be a huge one for newcomers.
shawkinaw 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I really love pushd/popd.
thejosh 20 hours ago 0 replies      
One of my favourite traceroute replacements, that is installed by default on Ubuntu: mtr !
Kiro 5 hours ago 2 replies      
When do you need man ascii and xxd? I'm a front-end developer so I have no clue about these low-level things but I'm interested and would like to learn.
codegeek 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I love "tail -f" to see realtime updates on a file that I am writing to!!
wildmXranat 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Less +F with search highlighting mentioned in comments is my new fave command. I was beholden to 'tail -f', not that it sucked.
helloTree 13 hours ago 1 reply      
My biggest improvement was about finding out about .inputrc and configuring the Bash to use VIM-keybindings which is pretty handy if you are used to the editor. Also the following mapping from ESC to pressing jf via

imap jf <ESC>

was very nice as I find it much more ergonomic. And to use it in Bash I have

set editing-mode viset keymap vi

$if mode=vi set keymap vi-insert "jf": vi-movement-mode$endif

set show-all-if-ambiguous on

joshcorbin 20 hours ago 0 replies      
One of my favorites: column -t

Examples include:$ df -h | column -t$ column -t -s: /etc/passwd

acheron 20 hours ago 3 replies      
ctrl-R in bash was mine.
bndr 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently discovered ncdu (http://dev.yorhel.nl/ncdu/scr) as an alternative to du. Quite handy.
foobeer 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Never knew about the "cal" command. I especially like that you can quickly look up a previous or future month/year.>> cal 3 1973quickly shows a calendar of March 1973
DavidWanjiru 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm feeling rather good about myself because although I'm a complete novice at linux, I knew the cal command. Yay me! I read about it here:http://linuxcommand.org/tlcl.php
cheese1756 9 hours ago 0 replies      
For the ssh section, I'd also include sshfs. It's super handy when you want to use local (or GUI) applications for a file on a server, or just to mount your home computer as a drive while you are away. I personally use it to mount my backup server's drive on my Chromebook, effectively giving myself a 500GB hard drive whenever I need it.
keithpeter 17 hours ago 2 replies      

    history | grep <keyword>
I use this for <keyword> rsync or rdesktop when I have forgotten the long list of options & directories etc

I also use ctrl R <keyword> at the bash prompt but that only gives me the most recent match.

mpyne 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I believe xxd is actually part of vim and not a Unix command itself. It's used to support hex-editing binary files, but you can see why it's useful in other roles as well.
rfatnabayeff 20 hours ago 1 reply      
There are some other useful commands for organizing the stream of datas for pretty printing:

column - columnify the incoming stream into columns

pr - set up incoming stream for pretty printing including columnification along or across the screen

tr - sanitize input, collapse several delimiters into one

jbaiter 16 hours ago 0 replies      
A great one I found out about recently is 'watch'. Periodically calls a command and refreshes the screen with its stdout.
rabino 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently discovered whatis and I love it.
general_failure 17 hours ago 1 reply      
my favorite is apt-file
tmcb 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm quite impressed no one mentioned 'fg', 'bg', and 'jobs'. Since I got used to them, the number of open ptys in my screen dropped drastically.
gajomi 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to learn of cal!
guard-of-terra 15 hours ago 1 reply      
xmlstarlet is a very nice obscure utility which you will love if you touch moderate amounts of XML.
simonreed 20 hours ago 0 replies      
man units
talles 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't know about the ascii one.
sebnukem2 20 hours ago 3 replies      
How can one use a Unix/Linux system without knowing SSH? How to login remotely without it?
social_monad 15 hours ago 0 replies      
look at:man utf8man syscalls

... and the best hint imo to process malformedfilenames per 'find -print0' is:

find ... -print0 | { while read -d $'\0' fil... # use variable fil}


mpu 12 hours ago 0 replies      
ssh, come on...
Client-side full text search in CSS redotheweb.com
185 points by fzaninotto  15 hours ago   49 comments top 16
Groxx 11 hours ago 1 reply      
First off, this is fascinating, and I love it. I never thought of doing anything like this, and I have no idea how they came up with it. Awesome idea and great execution.

But this:

>The advantage of using CSS selectors rather than JavaScript indexOf() for search is speed: you only change one element at each keystroke (the <style> tag) instead of changing all the elements matching the query.

makes it sound like they just don't know how to write DOM-efficient JS, and probably never profiled it or their implementation. I would be shocked if you can't relatively-trivially make a faster JS implementation, and even more if you can't make a significantly faster 'smarter' one with e.g. a more optimized search index, since you can make tradeoffs the CSS processor very likely cannot.

andrewmunsell 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty cool, but yeah, you have to be careful of CSS injection (as mentioned by the author). There isn't too much harm that can be done if the user is typing this in himself or herself, but if the search query is pulled from the URL there might be some security implications.

For example, enter this into the search field:

    "]), body, a:not([data-index="
This will hide the entire page. The last "a:not" selector is really inconsequential-- I just had to close the opening parenthesis and this just happens to work.

kbenson 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, but I can't help feeling that a better implementation would be to split ethe input on white space, and build a slightly more complex selector such that a search for "term1 term2" would set the style to:

  .searchable { display: none; }  .searchable[data-index*="term1"][date-index*="term2"] { display; block; }
and an empty input would hav eno selectors (or .searchable {display:block;} ).

It's slightly more code, but much more usable.

corford 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Fun hack but since it relies on JS it's difficult to see why cutting IE8 out makes sense for such a negligible speed up (assuming said speed up actually exists).
mistercow 12 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a very clever idea. There are a few limitations that I think would prevent this from being very usable in practice. One is that it only supports a single word. If you type "Ona Bednar" into the field, you get nothing.

Another problem that would only start to show up on a larger dataset is that because the index is all concatenated directly together, it matches strings that span several words. A user searching for their pal Harry Mesbro in the list might be confused to find that typing in his last name also brings up Yvette Hammes.

DigitalSea 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is quite simply a very clever hack. Obviously it isn't up to production standard, but from a hack point-of-view it's thinking outside-of-the-box and I love it. Good to see people thinking of nifty ideas like this. CSS and HTML are getting to the point where they can do what was once only possible in Flash, then Javascript and now in CSS.
Flenser 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It needs separators between the fields in the data attribute, otherwise it could have false positives. e.g. "abe" will find "ona bednar" because "abe" is in the data attribute "an_abe_ndar..."
tantalor 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The advantage of using CSS selectors rather than JavaScript indexOf() for search is speed

Where's the performance comparison?

dpcx 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is interesting, but requires you to transfer essentially your entire data-set to the client, increasing your overall transfer.
namenotrequired 14 hours ago 1 reply      
That is great, I could immediately think of a few possible uses for this. Client side searching can be quite heavy on the machine if there's a lot of data.
a3r0 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The point about it being efficient because you're only changing one element doesn't sound correct. If you change the styles on the page, the browser is at least going to have to iterate over all of the items with the searchable class (assuming that it doesn't build some sort of index). If you did it in JS, you could try to make it more efficient by indexing the data first.
erichurkman 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The biggest drawback that I could do easily in JavaScript is that it can't highlight the matching terms.
legierski 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Pretty cool. The only drawback that I can see right now is the need to send all searchable data twice, increasing overall amount of data that needs to be sent to client.
stultus 6 hours ago 0 replies      
off - the site is not mobile friendly and I hate that.
mck- 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I would probably use Angular's filter for this
pearjuice 14 hours ago 3 replies      
This is cool. But, am I missing something? I can already do this with CTRL+F.
Don't trust me: I might be a spook daemonology.net
350 points by cperciva  1 day ago   140 comments top 15
cs702 22 hours ago 6 replies      
"If you can't see anything because you can't get the source code... well, who knows what they might be hiding?"

Actually, it's worse than that. Even if you can review the source code, you STILL won't know for sure. As Ken Thompson put it three decades ago, "no amount of source-level verification or scrutiny will protect you from using untrusted code."[1] This is because the tools we all use to process or transform source code (e.g., already-compiled-to-binary compilers, assemblers, loaders, etc.) may already contain secret back-doors. Ditto for even lower-level tools like hardware microcode.

While open-source software tools -- and open hardware too -- are much less likely to have secret back-doors embedded in them, there are no 100% guarantees. Ultimately we have little choice but to trust the people who create, package, and distribute all the software and hardware we use but didn't create ourselves from scratch.


EDITS: Added last paragraph. Made minor edits to second paragraph so it more accurately conveys my thoughts.


[1] http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html

anon1385 23 hours ago 5 replies      
>We need an army of software developers on the look out for potential NSA back doors to borrow a phrase, if you see something, say something. And if you can't see anything because you can't get the source code... well, who knows that they might hiding?

Of course this rules out all 'cloud' software other than simple dumb data storage. RMS was right again[1].

[1] "Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman" http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2008/sep/29/cloud.comp...

alan_cx 23 hours ago 1 reply      
"The only solution is to read source code and look for anything suspicious. Linus's Law states that "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow": If enough people read source code, we will find the bugs including any which the NSA was hoping to exploit in order to spy on us. "

I understand the point about software, but what about hardware? If the NSA is corrupting software, then it must be corrupting chips too. How can chips be verified NSA spy free?

parennoob 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Sadly, for most users (read: people who don't program, or read HN, and even those who do), "Read the code and find bugs in it" is probably an impractical defense, although it is the logically correct one from the cryptographic point of view.

An easier way for most people (Read: People who have never heard of cryptography. People who think 'DES' is a Government agency. People who think of an actual python when they hear 'python'. People who think Perfect Forward Secrecy means no one sees your Mom's embarrassing email forwards. There are a lot of such people, probably far more of them than software developers who speak C.) is probably to lobby for change in the draconian laws that authorize and encourage this sort of spookery. It is not a perfect solution, but in the long run, will probably make things easier for the average person.

shin_lao 23 hours ago 3 replies      
The only solution is to read source code and look for anything suspicious. Linus's Law states that "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow

Well. It's probably easier to break into your home, put an eavesdropping device and get your keys. I think it's important to audit code but let's be realistic, you won't defeat an agency that has you on your radar because you use "open source software".

And by the way, Linus Law doesn't make any sense, simply because some bugs cannot be seen just by looking at the source code and also because the bandwidth between eyeballs that don't belong to the same brain is extremely limited.

parley 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time these issues come up for discussion, my mind always returns to some sort of imagined utopia where our software is much more modular, composable and compartmentalizable (grammar?) than todays "mainstream" platforms.

It could enable several different things, like running systems where most modules have access to much less resources of different kinds, allowing less mischief (microkernels, hierarchical resource mgmt frameworks like GenodeOS, etc).

Greater modularity would also mean that basic or common modules would need less changes, requiring new audits less regularly, thus decreasing that load on the community. Of course many vulnerabilities are the result of unexpected interactions between modules, but then a certain composition of certain modules could be audited and hopefully not require any changes for some time.

Being a software engineer I'm not kidding myself with regards to the huge software engineering problems inherent in achieving that, and of course the open source community already performs a lot of code reuse. Many will argue that an argument for more reuse is an argument against fragmentation and thus an argument against experimenting and forking. I guess that's true, but I still feel that more could be split and shared while still experimenting on many other things. There will also always be politics, personalities and the will to reinvent wheels for many reasons, like self-education or implementation pet peeves.

Also, different languages and/or runtimes/VMs and their differing suitability for different environments affect fragmentation greatly. We probably won't ever end up with a single "winner", no matter how much many C/C++/JS/Go/Rust/Haskell/ATS/theorem provers we go through, and for reasons (only some of which are mentioned above) we probably don't want to.

Dreaming is nice, though.

lhnz 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The most damaging thing is that I literally have no idea what is safe now - even good actors might unwittingly have been backdoored at the hardware level.

I'm taking all private communication completely off the internet to minimise my exposure - I do not have enough knowledge or experience to make decisions on cryptography, nor sufficient need to waste time on this.

educating 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> If the NSA can break 2048-bit RSA, it would be a Big Deal

2048-bit is nothing. Here's why:

1. A great mathematician can find shortcuts. Tons of great mathematicians working in parallel will find them faster.

2. A fast processor can eventually brute force a key. Millions of fast processors working in parallel will find it faster.

You are talking about a well-known method with a determinate algorithm. May as well just hand them a cake, because they are going to eat that up.

Why use encryption mechanisms they've trained us to believe in and use? And how could be beat them at a game where they hold all of the talent and power? The only answer is to have dark encryption methods that are not shared, and that change frequently, frequently enough so there is no group of mathematicians with millions of servers that could determine the constantly changing algorithms.

linhat 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I do not know where this op-ed piece was intended for, but I think you should have written it anyway, stating just this feeling of yours. There was/is/will be so much media frenzy about this, every article (even if you think you really had nothing useful to say, which you actually do), op-ed or not, that does not resolve to sensationalists headlines is just really helpful.
minimax 23 hours ago 2 replies      
"I also pay for bugs people find in Tarsnap, as well as scrypt, kivaloo, and spiped, right down to the level of typographical errors in comments."

I think these bug bounties are interesting. Is there something like a market price for one of these bugs? I.e. are other people out there besides Colin willing to pay for bugs in the tarsnap client?

genecavanaugh 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think everyone is overlooking a significant threat. If we have information that is shared, we know when it is changed. The NSA has data that is not necessarily shared, so if the top people decide to "do you in", such as Obama and Romney, they have only to "edit" the data - and you have no way of proving they didn't. Meanwhile, we know the FISC will accept whatever NSA gives them as the absolute truth.
tylerkahn 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't see what the NSA revelations have to do with this line of reasoning.

How do we know you're not (and have not been) selling tarsnap data to a corporation or non-US intelligence agency? This has always been a possibility and it has roughly equal probability to you being an NSA agent even after the Snowden leaks.

deadfece 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad I kept reading past the product plug.
jheriko 23 hours ago 0 replies      
thank you. common sense ftw.

someone who doesn't seem generally surprised that the NSA are involved in espionage of all things... :)

"Despite all the above, it is still possible that I am working for the NSA, and you should not trust that I am not trying to steal your data."

now if you can just get people to pay attention to issues that result in dead children and reduced quality of /real/ life to people instead of overhyped and questionable civil liberties violations... XD

Success at complete quantum teleportation akihabaranews.com
5 points by tux1968  1 hour ago   2 comments top 2
Huge water reserve discovered in Kenya itv.com
189 points by gmatty  11 hours ago   95 comments top 20
JabavuAdams 8 hours ago 4 replies      

Let's concoct some overly optimistic growth statistics for how this will stimulate the Kenyan economy. Let's say 19% for the first 10 years, then 15% for 10 more, then 12% for the next five.

Based on those fudged figures, we'll convince the government to take on excessive debt to pay for water development, etc. projects. Since the figures are fudged, and since we'll do this hand in hand with local elites / kleptocrats, they'll never be able to repay the debt.

We'll funnel this money right back to Western consulting and construction firms.

When locals who are having their lives destroyed by the development projects start to demonstrate, we'll squeeze them until they turn to violence and call them terrorists.

When the real international terrorists join in to fight the evil imperialists (us), we'll drone-strike, death-squad, and black-site them, citing our earlier failure to act in Sudan.

Can you tell I've been reading _Confessions of an Economic Hitman_? I am excited about the new iPhone, though.

PakG1 9 hours ago 9 replies      
I don't claim to understand African issues very well, so take my comments with the grain of salt that I'm very ignorant.

The civil wars that happen in certain African nations are troubling. But what was more troubling to me was reading news how factions would take control by poisoning wells that provided water for citizens. It was unthinkable to me that someone could actually do that, especially in certain areas where water was scarce. Long-term effects seemed to be ignored in favour of short-term war gains. Having never experienced such a difficult situation, I can't process what kind of motivation and thinking could cause such horrific action.

If such water supplies are found in areas where there is conflict, I worry that it only would add to the conflict, as they would be found as key tactical points to conquer and hold. It makes me sick that such good news brings such negative thoughts to my mind.

r0h1n 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Kenya's relative underdevelopment (compared to both western countries and farming countries like India/China etc.) is the reason this aquifer has remained undiscovered for so long.

Nonetheless, I hope the people of Kenya will learn from the mistakes of those other countries when it comes to sustainable utilization of aquifer water instead of the indiscriminate use we've seen elsewhere.


NASA analysis of India's fast-depleting groundwater, including aquifers: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/india_water.html

Economist piece on acquifers drying up around the world: http://www.economist.com/node/17199914

chad_oliver 10 hours ago 0 replies      
That's great news. The aquifer is below a dry and poor region of Kenya, so I really hope that the government will be able to use the water to develop the region.

This region will also have the LAPSSET transport corridor built in a few years. Put together, I'm feeling very positive about the future.

ekm2 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I am amused by the comments on this post and even the story itself.Kenya's primary problem is not a lack of water.Around 70 percent of the land is rich with multiple rivers,which is why it is one of the leading producers of Tea and Coffee.Only some parts of Northern Kenya,around Lodwar have dry spells .Western Kenya has the opposite problem:flash floods that usually occur around April and March.

Corruption and poor management of resources are the major headaches facing the country,not droughts.

ajtaylor 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is certainly great news for the people of Kenya!

I've always wondered how they estimate how long a water resource can last. In this case, they said 70 years. But does that take into account the increased usage/population the area will get now that it has more water? It seems to me that the water needs are ever growing, while the water source stays relatively the same.

eliben 9 hours ago 0 replies      
What ticks me about such announcements is that too often they don't really mean anything besides the media blowing things out of proportion. This is unfortunately very common in anything nutrition or health based, but often applies to scientific "breakthroughs" as well. The media picks up some vague research result and hyping it to make headlines.

I just really hope this is not the case here, because it's truly good news for a dry region where water means everything.

This, along with the large recent oil and natural gas discoveries kind of makes me wonder how many such additional surprises the earth crust hides, that will be discovered soon due to much better discovery technologies and computational resources.

jdmitch 10 hours ago 0 replies      
in this follow-on article (http://www.itv.com/news/2013-09-10/potential-significance-of...) there are a few more details on how Alain Gachet discovered the aquifer:

He takes existing satellite, radar and geological maps of the area and layers them on top of each other to create one all-encompassing study of what lies beneath the soil.

graeme 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Very good news that it is replenished from mountains and thus is not a fossil aquifer. Should make it easier to manage.
sspiff 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally, some positive news out of Africa! Let's hope we (both local governments and groups, and Western "aid") don't screw this up.

I'm not familiar with the Kenyan political climate, so if anyone else has some experience or knowledge about this, could you enlighten the rest of us about whether the government is helping the population as a whole or serves minority interests? Is the country stable? Bordering Sudan, Ehtiopia and Somalia can't be easy.

Jongseong 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Groundwater will become an increasingly important resource, and it will be especially critical in a region that experiences periodic droughts like East Africa. Kenya faces a water crisis, and water cuts were not uncommon even for those with access to tap water when I lived in Kenya around the turn of the millennium (I don't know how it is now).

However, because of its perception as a common-pool resourceland owners think they are entitled to the water beneath their landgroundwater management seems to me to present a particular challenge. Are there any success stories in sustainable groundwater management that Kenya could look at? Kenya does have the framework for managing water resources, but it's a question of implementation and political will. Control over resources seems to often end up in the hands of influential individuals who operate with impunity.

shire 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I lived there for several years so I must say this is exciting I can only imagine how they feel, There are so many undiscovered territories on mother earth I'm just glad there is people out there not giving up on humanity and do what it takes to solve the big problems.
JulienSchmidt 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Exclusive rights on this reserve bought by Nestl in 3.. 2.. 1..?


has2k1 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone know how aquifer sizes are measured? I would guess a sonar based system.
educating 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't something like this happen in the Left Behind series? African nation gets better irrigation and raises food for rest of nation, or something like that?

Granted, Kenya isn't barren.

Maybe they could build a water park.

herbig 9 hours ago 2 replies      
What is ITV.com and why is no other news organization reporting this?
frank_boyd 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Sold to Nestl in 3.. 2.. 1..
muhfreedoms 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Come to Kenya, we got water, Kenya belive it!
glorio 7 hours ago 0 replies      
dont think this article suits in HN
pokoleo 10 hours ago 4 replies      
I hate to be that guy, but is this relevant?
Week 23: Changes jenniferdewalt.com
93 points by jaf12duke  14 hours ago   39 comments top 15
talmand 14 hours ago 1 reply      
As someone with a design background and now work mostly in development, something I learned about myself is that I am now convinced that every single 'web designer' in the known universe should be forced to make a full HTML site (tools of their choice!) that is compatible back to IE8 (bonus points for IE6) and 'mobile friendly'.

Plus accept that web pages are not the same as printed pages.

Wait, that's not all about me learning about myself though. Maybe my background and my current job has given me a less accepting attitude towards 'web designers' that don't learn the canvas they are attempting to paint on?

Sometimes I do feel bad about it though.

Oh! I also should have done more coding in college.

jack-r-abbit 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I can totally relate to her thing about typing. I've been coding professionally for nearly 20 years and can't type for shit. My theory is that typing code is not like typing words in sentences in paragraphs in [whatever]. Code is not structured the same (not always "word [space] word [space] word [punctuation]"). Code is not as linear as an email or story (well.. not the same kind of linear anyway). Code uses a totally different ratio of symbols/numbers/letters/etc (I type more dollar signs and under_scores in a day at work than in a whole month not at work). Well... that is my theory anyway.
prutschman 13 hours ago 2 replies      
She says: "The thing I was missing is that math is just a bunch of symbols that you manipulate to get new symbols out. Coding is basically the same thing. The meaning isnt in the math or the code itself. The meaning comes from the interpretation of the mathematics or similarly, what your code is doing for someone."

This is, I think, the most important thing to understand about mathematics, and failure to understand this leads to the travesty that is K-12 mathematics education in the US. I find it impressive that she came to this conclusion on her own, having started as someone for whom "Math was never [her] favorite subject".

Tycho 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Maths is like programming with terrible variable names.
Aqueous 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm amazed by the creative ideas she comes up with day after day. You're almost there!
sailfast 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I have not unfortunately experienced the typing thing (my typing speed is getting faster), but I can definitely say my appreciation for compact functions and mathematics has increased a great deal.

I would also add to the list:1) In my day-to-day life, precision has become more important. It's tougher for me to accept imprecise statements as they often reflect incomplete knowledge which, as we all know, will lead to "bugs" or lots of head-banging2) Logical problem solving skills have increased right in line with my debugging effectiveness.3) As walls of abstraction get torn down through application of technology and programming, I find it harder and harder to identify and describe technology to non-technology users without cringing (see number 1)

civilian 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I learned to code 3 years ago-- I've worked professional in it for 2.5 years. A couple of changes I've had (that occured fairly early on) were:

1. A nitpicky eye for detail. Even in my non-coding life I seem to be just a bit more detail focused than I usually am.

2. Tenacity and willingness to 'jump in'. I think this was always a strength for me but now, as long as I'm not totally stumped, when I find something (a bug, or a new thing I'm curious about) I will just dive in and explore.

danso 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I check in from time to time and am continually impressed with her cycle of innovation and release...amusingly, if you check her repo, the way she's structured the app is basically batshit crazy (creating a controller for every new app, even though each app is mostly static HTML and JS)...but hey, it works, and it works well, and just goes to show how imperfect implementation isn't the end of the world.

(her controllers directory in the repo: https://github.com/jendewalt/jennifer_dewalt/tree/master/app...)

And yet, not knowing exactly how to structure things is enough to hold back novices and experts alike. The OP just plowed through -- devoting a half year of her life to this -- and will have made more web-sites (or thingies) than I'll make in a lifetime, and doing it for self-enrichment. If only more people had that same attitude.*

* Yes, she's lucky that she has some situation where she can devote a huge chunk of her life to exploring web dev...but it's not as if everyone has to do the half year route...Doing a simple web-page/widget/app a week, or every two weeks, is a manageable commitment for people who are already in the online/web industry.

tiger10guy 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Math isn't the symbols, it's the ideas. The symbols are just a crude way of communicating the ideas.
estavaro 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I was a bit overwhelmed by the many samples that I clicked on.

Someone else posted a link to her GitHub repo and I was glad to check it out some. I chuckled at her using of Ruby/Rails. I was amazed at her using of jQuery.

It pains me to note that what the industry might consider sound software engineering is so detached from the creative tools that she has employed to get this going.

On one hand the industry demands greater quality from their tools. On the other hand the industry seems eager to provide the creative tools used by amateurs-alike to help to get people trained in the tools that the industry might need.

JavaScript really is a puzzle that the industry has been trying to solve. Because JavaScript is far away from what the industry might consider sound engineering principles. But users of JavaScript could make for great employees, so the industry has been trying to figure out a way to create a bridge between the two.

Keep up the great work! I liked playing the Hangman.


frozenport 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Scrolling on `Day 162` is shaky and often misses final position when moving the mouse rapidly.
realrocker 13 hours ago 0 replies      
She is like an unrelenting ant!
mcchen 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Definitely impressed by her tenacity and creativity. But if I were to do the same for self-enrichment reasons, I might go a different route. I'd rather build one or two full-blown apps in 180 days so I can dive in a deeper depth. After all, quality is better than quantity, isn't it?

Though she definitely has inspired me to do something similar.

jqueryin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this a new trend in link spam on HN? Don't click, just downvote.
nickthemagicman 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Women are crazy.
Stop making me sign up medium.com
181 points by fonziguy  20 hours ago   117 comments top 40
patio11 17 hours ago 4 replies      
"If we use gradual engagement, we will have more, higher quality signups" is a testable hypothesis. It has been tested, by many companies. I regret that I am not at liberty to disclose most specific results, but gradual engagement is really tricky to pull off well, and has often roundly failed compared to the traditional get-their-email-first signup screen. This is true even at companies which don't do anything very sophisticated with the email address once they have it, which is (IMHO) generally a mistake in the sort of markets I usually work in.

The one product I can talk about: Back in the day, Bingo Card Creator had one-click guest accounts. Their conversion rate was 2. Not two percent. Two. Ever. They were a cause of a stupendous portion of my support burden. (From the perspective of most of my users gradual engagement means "The Googles ate my work and now you have ruined the day of a room full of third graders, you monster.") The engineering to support them was fiddly, and ripping it out made the application better. (Despite several attempts to improve them I don't think I ever had near the UX work invested to make the experience not be awful. Again, gradual engagement UX is quite challenging. In particular, the handoff between guest accounts and "real" trial accounts is of paramount importance to my business but is meaningless to customers who have guest accounts until they get to school, at which point they will often discover, to their surprise, that failing to make the decision yesterday to give me their email address now means their cards are totally inaccessible. I never successfully figured out a way -- copy, design, workflow, etc -- to avoid having huge numbers of people fail at this use case.)

Discontinuing guest accounts increased signups of "real" accounts and also sales, if I remember correctly. You can eyeball the signup graph here http://www.bingocardcreator.com/stats/signups-per-day Apologies in advance for the unclear axes -- that page hasn't had the underlying code updated in years, and I didn't even consider "Hey if I run this business for forever eventually that axis is going to get crowded."

GVIrish 19 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a major pet peeve of mine with new web services. A lot of them are trying so hard to optimize the sign up that you can't even figure out what the service is and how it works without giving up your contact info.

So instead of giving the user a chance to be sold on what you're selling, you've just turned them away before they can even learn what your pitch is. You've killed an opportunity for word of mouth as well.

Maybe the idea is to select for users who are so eager to learn about your service that they'll give you their email first. Maybe that kind of customer is worth a lot more money.

But I think many people have marketing fatigue at this point, and are only going to sign up for things they know they're interested in. I mean, I wouldn't give my contact info to a store that doesn't even let me into the door until I fork over some info.

crazygringo 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Sometimes, yes. But there are a lot of services where you do need an account to try it at all -- how are you going to try out Mint, or Duolingo, or Path, or OkCupid, without creating an account first?

Obviously you can create "dummy accounts", but they often won't actually give a decent idea of the site's experience (browsing profiles on OkCupid doesn't give you anywhere near the experience of having people message you), and then how is the person going to convert their dummy account into a real one later on, if they never even put in their e-mail or password?

There are certainly plenty of times when sites go overboard in asking too much of you up-front, but it's not always the case.

gfodor 16 hours ago 0 replies      
"Stop making testable claims without evidence."

"Stop making absolute claims about things that may only be true sometimes."

"Stop assuming what frustrates you frustrates everyone."

"Stop thinking that other people cannot see 'obvious' design flaws like you can and didn't think through the tradeoffs involved."

rogerbinns 18 hours ago 1 reply      
It can cost real money foregone as the $300 million button article showed http://www.uie.com/articles/three_hund_million_button/

On the weekend I decided to try some boots from Zappos. They were bought by Amazon 4 years ago, and have "legendary" customer service. Not in my experience. You can login with your Amazon account, but then it asks for your name. Strange. I go to checkout and they want my billing name, street, city, zip, state, same for shipping, card number, expiry, cvc and who knows what else. Turns out that they aren't integrated with Amazon in any meaningful way.

I sent them an email about it - maybe I'd missed something. I got some nonsense explanation about it being for my security. Then they started spamming me about the abandoned shopping cart. At this point I discovered that each cs rep has some "humourous" boilerplate about how they are going to help you, before doing something completely unhelpful. They also don't keep track of replies (an id in the subject or just looking at the in-reply-to header would work) so each one starts a new ticket where a different rep doesn't look at the history and does a completely different unhelpful thing. I've now asked 3 times that they delete my account.

yarianluis 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This article makes points that sound fine on the surface, but ignore reality. There's a very good reason why a lot of sites do this and won't stop any time soon--it works. The article claims some effects to "conversions, usage and how people feel about your product" but is very light on the details of how it actually affects those things.

Getting a user to sign up facilitates a whole range of options (promotional emails being just one of them) that help drive user retention and engagement. I am not advocating making your product obscure until they sign up. The value proposition of your product should be clear, regardless of whether someone signs up or not. But it is not clear that making them signup before they can actually use it for themselves decreases conversion or usage.

The complaint made here will become ever weaker as "Sign Up with Google" and other single-sign-on services become more widespread. Signing up in those cases takes a single click, and my experience is in many cases instantly personalized with my data from other services. This might make some HN denizens cringe, but the average person seems to not mind.

lutusp 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Quote: "99% of sites/apps/services we visit now make you register and go through an on-boarding process before getting to the meat of the product."

That's because signing up is the product. The touted "product" is a fiction, a pander to get you to sign up. Another way to say this is you are the product, the advertised "product" is just bait to lure you in.

If you haven't signed up and the company e-mails you, they're in violation of the Can-Spam Act. Once you've signed up, you become a customer, a category excluded from the sanctions of the Can-Spam Act. So getting you to sign up is not just the most important thing, it is the only thing.

I wish people who wrote articles like the linked one actually knew something -- that might make their articles worth reading.

spindritf 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't mind that. What bothers me is not knowing what a service actually does. Either no summary on their website, or what is much more common -- in follow-up e-mails.

I sign up for a service, or an invite for a service, or even just for a launch announcement, and weeks or months later get an e-mail that makes no mention of what is being touted.

But it's a plague in general. It's very common that Wikipedia has better descriptions of companies or software projects, even their commercial offering than the official website.

Try looking up which language some piece of software is written in. Often, googling it + github and then clicking on the repo breakdown is the easiest way to find out.

jneal 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I very often turn away from sites that ask me to sign up. It doesn't matter how interested I am, if you ask me to sign up without allowing me to see what I came to see, I will go away and forget I ever heard about you.
bambax 19 hours ago 1 reply      
So true; imgur should be mentioned as a service that offers great value without asking you to sign up.

I started urgeous.com with the same idea: blogging without signup. It got zero traction and was/is maybe too complex to use as it is but I still believe in the idea! ;-)

austenallred 19 hours ago 0 replies      
As a marketer, I see the temptation. Whether you like it or not, the things that you sign up for are more sticky, regardless of how good the product is.

It takes a leap of faith as a marketer to let you see a product without getting a way to get you back first. What marketers need to realize is that if you force people to sign up first they will leave in droves before they have any idea what you've created.

I think the optimal landing page is "create an account" with a way to bypass and "see it first."

dools 11 hours ago 0 replies      
We implemented this with Decal about year ago with an online tour that requires no signup[1]. We initially had an online tour which not only required signup but verified your email.

Not only did this mean fewer people would try it out, but it meant we got a great deal of disposable emails.

Our motivation was obvious: we wanted the free tour to get leads. Each time someone created an account to test, some resources were consumed so we needed to make sure we got a "high value" lead with a valid email.

When I watched Kevin Hale's Mixergy interview he talks about the fact that when they first launched the idea of Wufoo on their blog particletree they didn't even have a backend. It just demonstrated to people what it was like to use.

We were inspired by that when creating our own tour and we created a way to communicate the benefits our product offers for both deployment and end user interface in a frontend application that requires no signup or account creation.

Interestingly, not only do we get a better quality of email now, but about 50% of people who take the tour, put their email address in even though we only ask for it at the end.


sspiff 5 hours ago 1 reply      
2013 and we still haven't really gotten to a good, universal single-sign on system.

OpenID seemed like it was going to get us there (at least to me), but nowadays many sites moved away in favour of Google or Facebook or Twitter specific logins, often asking for a little more rights than I'm comfortable giving them.

Still, anything is better than signing up to a site with a username and password, and receiving a mail with your account info in plain text. Since the LinkedIn and Twitter hacks, I've lost faith in the backend developers to treat the storage of account info with the respect they deserve. (at least use a hash and a unique salt per user...)

Sir_Cmpwn 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Another potential alternative: local accounts.

I worked on a site that's very privacy-oriented and users were still asking for accounts. We didn't want to store their information on our servers. Instead, we use localstorage to keep their settings and a list of things they've uploaded. They don't even have to sign in, and they still get the same experience. Try it: https://mediacru.sh

It obviously won't work for everyone, but if you just want to offer users a means to keep track of what they've been doing on your site, consider going locally.

olegp 17 hours ago 0 replies      
We tried this with the web app launcher at https://starthq.com. Visitors could create their app launcher before signing up.

It did not work as expected as users were confused and few completed the process. Right now we ask for the email up front, but don't demand that the email is verified by clicking the link we send them. This works much better and we're seeing more than two thirds of the users coming back after the initial visit.

jurassic 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If I recall, Pandora has a relatively gentle onboarding. You can start a new station without being logged in and it's not until you interact with the site further (to rate, skip, etc) that they start pester you to sign up. I don't know how their conversion rates are, but I appreciated being allowed to at least get a brief feel for it before handing over my contact info.
hmans 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Stop making me sign up. [...] Discuss this on Hacker News."
btoconnor 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This was a major reason for creating my board game web site, BreakBase ( http://www.breakbase.com ). All I wanted to do was play a board game against my friend, and not have to worry about all of the nuances of making an account. Just share a link and play a game. Making an account is an after-thought, if you like using the service.

edit: hyperlinks, how do they work?

jpalomaki 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Instead of abandoning the registration, maybe it could be streamlined to make it easier for the user.

In many cases it would be enough to just ask for user's email address. Giving just some email address would allow me in to service and I could start using it. On the background the system would send me the standard welcome message via email, but that would not require any immediate action from my behalf.

If I decided to become a regular user, I could then setup my password on the service. Maybe the system could point out in the UI that I'm not yet fully registered.

In case I forgot the whole thing and tried to use the same email to log on the service next week, the service would remind me that this email is already in use and ask me to go through the verification process to setup a password.

ig1 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Users expect to register. I've seen UX lab studies testing it, without registration users get really confused and don't understand what's happening with their data.

Conversion can actually drop heavily with non-registration approaches.

Obviously it depends on the app, one where you only need to use it once you can and probably should design your UX to not need it. But if your app actually needs to maintain user state over multiple sessions then creating a user makes a lot of sense.

(Although you can build up user profile over time rather than requiring it upfront)

alexvr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Like nearly everyone else, I despise going through the registration process on every site I try. But certain applications simply don't work without registration. Actually, lots of applications don't. I recently started working on a tiny web app (http://alexreidy.me/apps/WhereIsMyComputer) that lets you find your computer if it's lost or stolen, and by its very nature it's quite useless if you can't log in to see your device's location (and it's absurdly revealing if you alternatively display a page with thousands of names and corresponding coordinates). Since many sites simply wouldn't work without registration, I propose that we make registration more painless (maybe get rid of the whole email requirement and instead delete accounts that don't verify with email if they are clearly spammers or inactive) or, when a registration-free trial is not viable due to the nature of the application, we could design sites with a demo feature or demo video.
josephlord 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I suppose for me there are several categories.

1) If other data or significant user input of any sort is required or possible get a log in so that progress can be recovered. Shopping is probably an exception, I don't generally want an account just to buy the thing.

2) If it is a webservice or API or something similar I won't sign up generally until I have seen a) the pricing b) some documentation and c) had the option to review the terms of service. Going back to an earlier post today about improper use of Google's maps API. Don't hide your sales information (and that includes technical documentation) behind a sign in without a good reason.

3) In some cases I understand the the email address and permission to send me further marketing is the price of access to some information. I understand this and if the offer is good enough I may expect although I will probably decline four out of five times.

state 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else find it ironic that there are so many articles bemoaning the annoyances of web services written on the web service Medium?
ryandrake 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I think Apple's app review guidelines help somewhat in this regard. They specifically forbid apps from requiring registration in order to work. I have had several apps rejected for this reason, and am now careful to always offer a path into apps that can be taken without signing up for an account.

Of course, they seem to enforce this irregularly, but at least their policy indicates they seem get it.

mugiltsr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are not making sign-up mandatory, you would not be able to validate the pain point of the problem. People normally would give you their email address(or even pay through their credit card) if you are solving burning problem for them. For self funded start-ups, this may not work.

However, this technique discussed in the article may work for consumer start-ups where you think of making money later and your present problem is to get millions of users.I assume you have sufficient runway(could be in the form of venture funding) to follow this approach.

snarfy 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why I'll never try feedly.com. What is it? What does it do? Without giving them sign up information, I'll never know.
tarr11 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Count me as the opposite.

I like sites that have lots of screenshots and emails educating me on how something would work before I have to bother using it.

I have seen a lot of sites that let me "try before I sign up". More often than not, this gets me caught in the weeds of the product and it feels like work and I get turned off.

voidgmr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the reason I started working on Streme (http://streme.co). I just wanted to be able to collaborate on a list of links (for sharing music recommendations with my brother) without needing to register for something and then also without having to convince him to register as well.
pbreit 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I suspect we don't hate signing up as much as the OP posits. I particularly dislike the shopping sites such as One Kings Lane that required singnup/login just to browse, but apparently OKL is doing something right since it I believe it's a "leader".

On the contrary, Stripe's guest access always struck me as very odd, and unlikely to be copied. For payments, I'd rather go ahead and signup to get my sandbox account.

shurcooL 16 hours ago 0 replies      
What can I say, it's a good point.

500px does this nicely by giving you an anon user account on your first visit, and you can use the site in full that way. If you prefer to "sign up" and keep your stuff, it can be done.

mikejarema 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Great example of try first, signup later that I coincidentally just discovered is Litmus' email rendering preview system - https://litmus.com/email-testing

They go quite far with it, which was really nice for my specific use case, allowing me to share the results with my team before proceeding with registration.

Now it begs the question whether or not I'll come back later to signup for the service, but regardless they've left a fantastic impression on me as a potential future user.

educating 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The best way to stop making people sign up is to have a universal authentication method that is trusted and used by everyone.

I don't believe we'll see a good one in our lifetime.

But, that would stop an involved sign-up process.

hrvbr 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm building a dating site as a hobby project. I could add a "Just try without an account" option but then, there's still a rather long form to fill to decide who the user should be connected with. Removing only two fields doesn't seem like a very good idea in this case.
lg 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I hate creating new accounts with passwords, etc but I don't mind "sign in with facebook/google/something most people already have".
xarien 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Yep, I completely agree. We actually did exactly this (just last week) and created a QR for a live demo on our landing page (www.infoduce.com). This way people can see more than just a screenshot before having to "sign up."
pjbrunet 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I totally agree. Save to temporary cookies, let me try it. If I want to continue using the product, ask for my email. That's it.
bryanp123 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Totally agree with this article! There are very few instances where a signup is mandatory to "test the waters". At the very least you should be able to observe(not participate) an app/site/whatever without having to give credentials.

Every time I make something new, whether for myself or for work, conversion is the very first though. How can I eliminate text inputs, make less required, or eliminate them all together until the user feels it is worth their time to actually sign up? This is the question everyone creating these sites should ask.

It's incredibly frustrating to make it half way through the hoops on some promising website or app only to be confronted with the "sign up now" to get what you actually came here for in the first place and wasted 30 minutes creating, oh and where's your credit card? You can shove that right up your ass, i'm out, oh and pissed.

How this works is beyond me. I'd rather spend a week, month, year whatever making something better for myself than be bullied into signing up for your crap app.

chermanowicz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
someone should send this to Quora
couchdive 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey, if you don't use our product, At least we can sell your data!
jknfrsj 19 hours ago 0 replies      
How I got hired at a Y Combinator start-up without the necessary credentials hireart.com
112 points by dyll  16 hours ago   56 comments top 26
sker 15 hours ago 4 replies      
One thing to note is that he was hired by one of the co-founders. He would have never made it through HR or a middle manager.

Over the 7 years I've been working as a software developer, I've had many similar experiences. Not once have I been even close to get a project when talking to HR or middle managers. Every project I've landed was because I talked to the technical people in charge or to the owner of the company, even without the necessary credentials.

Middle managers and HR will always apply the "no one got fired for buying IBM" technique to people. CEOs and owners are far more likely to take a chance on you.

mrb 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Is anybody else stricken by the fact that the email seems to be too much like a boilerplate support email, providing little useful information and offering no real information about the next steps? Even in the context of this hypothetical exercise, the email could be made better:

- "we'll be contacting you soon" is vague. The client might wonder if it is minutes, hours, days? When should he be expected to reach back to Support if the problem is not resolved? "I'll be contacting you in the next X minutes/hours" would tell the client exactly when he can expect the next step to take place.

- the support representative could have added "call me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX if you wish to talk to me directly" to make it clear he wants to go above and beyond his job duties to provide fantastic support.

- the mail could be made more personal by using more "I", as in "I attempted to check with the members of my team, etc" instead of "the members of my team [...] aren't available".

onion2k 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Well done. Imagining that you're probably not going to the best candidate (on paper) but having the tenacity to apply anyway, plus being good at what the job actually needs, and, dare I say, being very inexpensive as you're looking for part-time hours and you can work from home is a powerful and heady mix that adds up to the perfect candidate for a start-up hire.

The lesson here is not to be defeated by your own (perceived) failings. What you think is a fault might not matter to a hiring manager. Don't fear rejection. Step up and apply anyway. You never know.

(Plus, if you hire someone like this, your startup gets a really good human-interest news story 18 months later. ;) )

jacalata 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure what the 'necessary credentials' for a remote customer service assistant normally are - anyone know?
will_brown 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this post is more beneficial for start ups/companies/recruiters more than job seekers. The author makes a very honest observation that speaks volumes about the current US job market:

"I know I wouldnt have landed this job if HireArt had been hiring using exclusively resumes. "

For example, I have been unsuccessful in even being contacted/screened by YC companies I have applied for, and in positions I would be highly qualified (not necessarily over-qualified). Example, I am an attorney with 3 years experience practicing business transactions and I applied to Contracts Manager and Legal Coordinator positions.

I often felt if I could only get in front of a recruiter/hiring manager and become a face rather than being just a resume in a pile that would make all the difference, of course companies can not afford to sit down with every candidate. Therefore, I think the author is right on point that performance based application is a good middle ground to be employed by more employers (pun intended).

danenania 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there necessary credentials for being hired by a YC startup? I never had that impression.

Edit: Not trying to be snarky, I just wouldn't foresee the average YC company putting red tape in someone's way if the person demonstrates enthusiasm and value and the company is looking to grow.

Since you got hired by one YC company, even if you felt underqualified, I'd guess there are probably multiple YC companies out there who would hire you. So it seems possible that these 'necessary credentials' weren't real requirements in the first place, just imagined ones.

morgante 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I'm amazed that email was enough to get the gig.

As an engineer who's admittedly not very social, I would have no trouble writing that email. Are standards for non-technical people really this low when someone applying for an engineering position has to go through grueling interviews, code reviews, and resume checks?

(I'm sure that he was a great hire, I'm just amazed that this was sufficient to even get an interview.)

jheriko 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
this is quite interesting.

so i had no credentials or experience when i got my first tech job. although my experience was at a AAA game dev. i became a rendering programmer which is generally considered to be a specialised role as well... this was down to a combination of personal connections, having a rock solid demo and knowing my stuff inside and out.

my experience there was that oxford graduates with 5 years + experience ranged in quality from 'gifted hard worker' to 'dead weight' with a heavy leaning towards the 'dead weight' end. literally you could have replaced some of these people with large rocks and it would have saved the company money.

being able to demo skills is valuable and should be expected during hiring imo, but sadly many employers have not grasped this in their interview and selection process. on the other hand in small high pressure teams avoiding bad hires is super important...

imo this is the genius of the test you were given - unlike almost every single examination and course work in academia, it puts you into a real world situation and demands a solution without warning (knowing when your exam is) support (lecturers) or cheat sheets (textbooks).

spitfire 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Maybe tokenadult will chime in here. But every time they have a how-to-hire thread he drops in a link to a meta-study outlining the most accurate predictors of hiring success[1].The top two by far are general mental ability, and work task sample.

This guy did a work task sample and nailed it. Then he got the job. Kudos for him, and kudos to hireart for using statistically relevant hiring criteria.

[1] Schmit and Hunter 1998, Don't have a link handy.

leeny 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently wrote about how eng hiring is not nearly as meritocratic as it could be. As soon as a company gets large enough to have non-technical people doing filtering, people who don't look great on paper end up getting cut before anyone even gets to see their code.


I would love to see more stories like this, for both engineers and non-engineers alike.

Morphling 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
I feel like the title is little misleading or maybe I'm just bias and I immediately thought that he got a developer job when he is "just" a social media/helpdesk kind a person, which is a job that needs to be done of course, but there are a lot more qualified people to do it than there are engineers
burgeaccount 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This seems like not just good for applicants with weaker resumes, but for all applicants who are serious about a particular job. One problem with open job hunts in the Internet era is it's too easy to apply - applicants can resume-spam companies easily, applying at hundreds of places, and then the companies end up wading through a thousand applications - of course they'll just get discouraged and hire someone they already know. Making it a little bit more difficult to apply for a Job - cant just forward a generic rsum and cover letter - means companies might get only a limited pool if applicants, who actually want THAT job - so if you're one of those applicants, and it's your dream Job, you have a much better shot a really being seriously considered.
6cxs2hd6 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> Since then Ive had a chance to see how HireArt helps its clients follow the same type of process... {{HireArt elevator pitch}}

Not only was the customer service email extremely well-written ---the entire blog post is nicely crafted to deliver this payload paragraph.

IOW I am both cynical and impressed. I see what you did there... and reluctantly congratulate you.

eksith 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Soft skills are a form of credential too. I'd say it's one of the most important credentials you can have.

People can learn to program, learn systems and even learn whole languages. But often, they have the most difficulty learning to communicate empathically and effectively. This is a vital skill that, I believe, is more important than just knowing systems or knowing how to program.

The other stuff you can work on the side.

Talking to people on a humane level seems to be largely ignored or even regarded with condescension among technical people and I think that's really a shame.

mseehase 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Great Story. Stories like this give me back my faith in humanity. Often Companies are looking for the 20 year old senior with 10 year experience in the same job, they are applying for.

However in the startup world the hiring process you experienced at ODesk is very common. Most startups dont have a HR team to do all the personnel stuff. The CEOs and 'techies' decide who is joining the company and they are focused on your skillset. Can that applicant deal with our everyday problems? Which of course makes sense; they dont necessarily need a senior or principle. They need someone who can get the job done.

Im happy for you and wish you best of luck doing the job youve always wanted.

hga 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The Ask The Headhunter guy says this is the very best way to get hired: demonstrate to the hiring manager that you can do the job (and the author is modest, there was a lot more that was good about his prose than that he'd "used proper spelling and grammar", although I'm sure the promptness was critical).

it's better than any set of "credentials", which are a poor proxy for demonstrating this.

It's one reason lots of us test programmers on both simple coding (FizzBuzz or hopefully a bit harder, I also put some code with errors on the white board), and then, at least in my case, work through a design problem with them. All proxies for showing they can do the job.

simonebrunozzi 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great story for the simple reason that ODesk was able to find a very effective way to "test" candidates, without going through the boring, repetitive, outdated task of checking the resume, doing phone interviews, etc.

Well done, and congratulations for your job.I hope that many companies will be inspired by this post.

outericky 14 hours ago 0 replies      
FWIW - in my previous company I/we tried to hire the best people for the job, regardless of credentials and I think we did a good job of it. I take that experience now and apply it to hiring for our newly minted YC company. Same leadership, better pedigree.
photorized 7 hours ago 0 replies      
That was a poorly written response.

"Your clients are important to you", etc.

RougeFemme 12 hours ago 0 replies      
He didn't have the necessary credentials for a tech position at the start-up, but he obviously had what was needed - not necessarily "credentials" - for his current position. Kudos to him.
jchen623 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting and spot on. I've always thought that most interviews (especially at the corporate level) do a pretty poor job of determining who would actually perform well in the specified role, and I imagine a whole host of qualified folks don't even get in the door based on a variety of circumstances that could be out of their control...
chrisgd 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Just continues to speak to the benefit of a probationary period or some other tests that are actually applicable to the job before hiring.

Thanks for sharing.

lebronj 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats! Awesome story and very encouraging. As an employee who was hired based on a "list of credentials" I know how intimidating it can be to apply for jobs. I've heard quite a few of these cases where a company has diverged from the traditional hiring process and has had success and I think it's awesome. The current traditional process is definitely broken and needs change. Enjoy your new job!
twosix 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome story. I'm in a similar boat myself with trying to break into the QA field with no prior experience. I've been turned down from every position I've applied to so far despite teaching myself some Selenium and putting my tests on Github. I'm not going to give up my dream but damn if it doesn't get discouraging after having so many doors closed on you.
tarof 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It's great to hear that someone who didn't have the creds was able to get hired at a start-up. Too often the best people don't get noticed.
onewong 16 hours ago 0 replies      
great story
AutoDesk Releases An Electronics Simulator Called 123D Circuits techcrunch.com
119 points by blackskad  17 hours ago   61 comments top 13
enobrev 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Reminds me of an old idea I had a couple years back. I assume it's a silly idea driven primarily by my own ignorance of these tools and EE in general, but it seemed fun.

The idea was to start out with some software similar to this. Something visually impressive to keep it interesting for beginners, but technically sound to make it useful to those who know what they're doing. It would be open source, internet connected, easily accessible and most importantly simple to create and share ideas.

From there, let people make some interesting things for school, work, play, whatever, ideally sharing said creations and try to raise a community around the tools and creations.

The next stage would be to add a 3D rendering component which would allow people to create "machines" that could be run by their virtual electronics. Something like virtual fabrication. The ideal being to grow those interfaces and try to lead the community towards building virtual robots (that are technically feasible).

The eventual goal would be to build a virtual world on top of all of the above tools. Something like MechWarrior, but with engineers and industrial designers building virtual mechs from the smallest components to the large mechanical fabrication and then getting into all out war against one-another, adding to the mix less technical players to partake in the human elements of combat (generals, soldiers, medics, scavengers for destroyed mechs, etc).

Probably ridiculous, and if all went well I assume it would take years of work and planning, but it seemed like a fun idea to ponder.

mbell 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder if it models the terrible parasitics of a real breadboard.

I imagine it would be really annoying for beginners to build an IR receiver (or whatever) with the software, have it working perfectly, then try to build it on a real breadboard only to spend hours frustratingly trying to figure out why the circuit is oscillating.

moron4hire 14 hours ago 4 replies      
I think there is a lot of value to blowing up your Arduino for reals. When you blow up a couple of Arduinos, you'll tend to force yourself to learn very quickly why it is happening and how to avoid it.

What is so bad about "blowing up a capacitor" or "burning yourself with a soldering iron"? Capacitors are a few cents, each. Buy them in bulk and never worry about needing one again. Soldering iron burns are easy to avoid if you have spent any time in a kitchen.

I feel like this is missing a big point. Arduino is the safe, easy entry point to learn electronics. The danger is miniscule, and whatever danger that is there, is part of the learning process. You need this as much as you need a rice-cooker simulator.

gcb0 14 hours ago 2 replies      
> it allows you to learn electronics using a virtual Arduino board and breadboard without blowing up capacitors or burning yourself with solder on your work table.

With autodesk prices, i can probably buy enough caps and pay someone to solder for me.

mrcharles 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd kill for an app like this that would help teach you electronics at the same time. I've wanted to start doing some robotics stuff, but haven't found much in terms of useful learning resources outside of just buying a full university textbook and hoping for the best.
generj 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess I'm not seeing the advantage over existing software.

Unless there are some tie-ins with their other 123D software to, say, automatically create a hardware enclosure from a schematic.

Scene_Cast2 16 hours ago 2 replies      
How do I add a voltage other than a 9V battery?

What are the current alternatives to this? I'm looking to build an LED driver (possible IC candidates are Linear LT3477, TI TPS63020 and some other TI / Linear chips). I'd kill for a software that would simulate any chips (or even just a crude approximation of them).

ddunkin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't seem as in-depth as something more pure electronics like this:http://www.falstad.com/circuit also as iCircuit for iPhone
zachrose 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Is this based on Fritzing (fritzing.org)?
fnordfnordfnord 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Okay now we need a code debugger with breakpoints. Then, real hardware in the loop!
mflindell 10 hours ago 0 replies      
They really went out of their way to try and rip of Github, it seems like a lot of sites now would rather copy it because developers are used to the design.
rglover 15 hours ago 1 reply      
For someone who's been looking for an easy point of entry into learning this stuff (me), this looks awesome.
qq66 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this similar to Upverter?
The Frameless Geodesic Dome I currently live in rigsomelight.com
703 points by brucehauman  1 day ago   299 comments top 72
finnh 1 day ago 14 replies      
If you want to live in a city, it's not the cost of the house that kills you: it's the dirt.

In Seattle, where I live, my property tax statement tells me that my (large, nice) house is worth roughly half as much as the land it sits on.

Given that these domes don't float, you still need a place to put 'em. If your goal is to opt out of the cost of housing - an evil which this blog post expounds upon at length - your first order of business isn't so much "what to live in" but "where is it going to be".

brudgers 1 day ago 4 replies      
As an architect, I appreciate many of the ideas expressed via the design - in particular seeking a reduced footprint.

However, while many US jurisdictions might not require a building permit for this structure due to its size, it would typically not be exempt from building codes and as a habitable structure and more importantly as a dwelling, the design does not meet fundamental principles embodied in modern building codes.

While the principle of occupant safety is fairly obvious and its susceptibility to liberatarian objections predicable, the code embodies a further less obvious principle, that of first responder safety. Doors and windows have size and operational requirements to allow fire-fighters to get in and back out. Structural systems have structural requirements and combustibility limits for the same reason. Buildings need to be anchored to keep them from blowing into neighboring structures in a storm.

Most people are urbanized, and the structural problems of housing is harder than can be solved by tents in the wilderness. Anyplace that this is a viable alternative for long term dwelling, it is likely that so is a used trailer or a building of recycled and scavenged materials.

Again, I appreciate the design and the aesthetic effort and the ideas it expresses. I just can't get carried away over an academic exercise.

mattjaynes 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. I especially love his focus on reducing the complex down to the very simple. He put a lot of work into simplifying the design and the payoff was huge - only 3 shapes make up the whole thing!

From the article: "The three shapes we derived above amount to a remarkable simplification in fabrication and construction. We have decimated the complexity of the dome."

"Decimated" is the perfect word for it.

Here's a related gratuitous simplicity quote from Rich Hickey (of Clojure fame):

"Simplicity is hard work. But, there's a huge payoff. The person who has a genuinely simpler system - a system made out of genuinely simple parts, is going to be able to affect the greatest change with the least work. He's going to kick your ass. He's gonna spend more time simplifying things up front and in the long haul he's gonna wipe the plate with you because he'll have that ability to change things when you're struggling to push elephants around."


sequoia 23 hours ago 2 replies      
What land is this put on? Did you buy it or is it a friend's? Maybe I missed that part, I didn't read the whole article closely; it's kind of an important question because it may change your project price from $2,100 to $302,100 depending on your location.

A search for "toilet" "bathroom" and "poop" yielded no results however, as did searches for "kitchen" "cook" "stove" and "range." Assuming OP eats food (hackers still do that, no?) and poops, it seems there is more to this living arrangement than is described in this article.

I don't know the situation but put a gun to my head and force me to speculate and I'll say "This guy is living on a friend's land & relying on the resources in his friend's house." There's no shame in that but it's disingenuous to sweep it under the rug and pretend your abode is an "alternative" to a house when it in fact relies on a house.

johnnyg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Loved this post.

I think my favorite part was "I have iterated on this idea a bit." where you post the fails.

It can get discouraging looking at all the beautiful stuff posted and thinking it just sprang out of nothing. Clearly this is neat because you put a lot of work into making it so.

Thanks for taking the time to write it up and share it.

robododo 1 day ago 1 reply      
So... plastic + blue foam + blue foam + plastic.

This sounds extremely flammable. Are any of your materials actually code-rated for a living structure (as you're using them)? Last I checked, stuff like blue foam board needs to be used in specific ways, such as behind fire-rated walls. You cannot leave any of it exposed, or it's a fire hazard.

deletes 1 day ago 1 reply      
How does it fair again strong winds in a storm and occasional hail? Is the isolation good enough to provide comfort in environment ranging from 35C to -15C ?

What is your solution for a bathroom? Where do you shower?

sopooneo 1 day ago 0 replies      
My little backwater hometown in Maine raged with ideas like this in the seventies, just before I entered the world. One or two families still live in buildings of similar feel. But most got normal walls with plumbing and lots of TV's once the children outnumbered.

A few of my generation picked up the torch in the nineties, and I happen to know of one off-the-grid dome lived in by a classmate of mine. Though he's married now and no matter how much "Little House" she has read, I find it's a rare wife that wouldn't prefer a conventional stove by year five or so.

So when I see these posts I smile for my own parents' optimism and naivete. And I also feel desperately, overwhelmingly homesick. That garden reads as Eden to my eye. So props to the builder. I hope you make lots of great memories there.

adaml_623 1 day ago 2 replies      
I like geodesics but I don't think they are any more practical than a Yurt.

This link is written by somebody with quite a lot of experience with domes. http://www.shelterpub.com/_shelter/domebuilders_blues.html

michaelt 1 day ago 2 replies      
In my country I'm not sure what the legal situation would be - as I understand it you can't just throw up a trailer park where you want. And a plot of land with permission for a permanent residence is worth about half the cost of a house. What's the legal situation in your country?

Have you ever invited girls home, and if so how did they react? I think your dome looks awesome and fascinating, but I don't know if everyone would be so enthusiastic?

micro_cam 1 day ago 0 replies      
My parent's moved to the rural north west in the early 70's and knew people who attempted the dome lifestyle. By the time I was born in 1981 they had all moved on and built traditional houses.

There are issues with domes that aren't apparent to the novice builder. Besides questions about if being an efficient use of space the numerous angled joints make them very difficult to weather seal/roof so they tend to leak.

A simple, passive solar rectangular design from sips (structured insulating panels) is much more efficient and quicker to put up. You order the panels pre built and routed for doors/windows/plumbing. Rectangular panels means you need to bolt them together in fewer places.

I think david wright's high sierra cabin is a great example of what is possible using this construction method:


THough i have also seen simpler plans more in line with this dome.

jdnier 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any concerns about living surrounded by all that polystyrene blueboard? Either indoor air quality or flammability? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polystyrene#Fire_hazards
eksith 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love it! I especially like that it is in fact a closer to a proper dome rather than a flat faceted solid since the panels are flexible. It reminds me of an igloo.

We get a fair amount of snow, so if I went about this, there would probably be a frame underneath. There are plenty of tutorials on the web for the assembly of geodesic structures.

This touches on another project that didn't quite take off called the "Icopod" http://eksith.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/icopod

The idea was very similar, but I think the original designer became disinterested and moved onto other things. The fact that you provided exact shapes and sizes makes me more hopeful.

Zarathust 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really like having hot running water and a shower in my home. Lets say that I'm willing to pay extra for this.
staunch 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many people could make money putting a couple of these in their backyards and renting them out on Airbnb.
bwooce 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Dome houses are initially appealing but ultimately and practically have too many flaws to be useful. Single room houses may be an exception.

Read this http://www.shelterpub.com/_shelter/domebuilder's_blues.html and see how many of the concerns are addressed in this design.

Lloyd was passionate about domes, but came to realize their flaws. Most of these are applicable today despite the materials improvements over the last 30+ years.

ctdonath 1 day ago 1 reply      
Bravo! Fantastic attempt (thinking way outside the box), with interesting results (low cost, rapid construction). Great step in the tiny house concept.

Not sure how to reconcile the shape with societal expectations, as we're trained to expect 3+ rooms with rectangular layout (even "tiny homes" adhere). Does look a bit tight inside, at least for usable floorspace juxtaposed with headroom. Cost is impressive (low), but might need something of a sales pitch to motivate living in the 4-digit expense.

I'm most impressed that you did it. Would love the opportunity to try it myself (alas, priorities).

osivertsson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Beautiful and inspiring. Posts like this is what makes HN great.
zzzeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
what's the story on kitchen / food ? (oh right and plumbing, bathrooms, etc).

for this to scale up, we are looking to replace having a traditional house right nearby, right?

are you doing all takeout or something like a camping stove outdoors ?

xradionut 1 day ago 1 reply      
I live in tornado alley in a area with extremely summer temps and the occasional wild fire. These are the domes we recommend:


jquery 1 day ago 1 reply      
The efficient-home problem has already been solved. We call them manufactured homes. They're cheap, and are actually up-to-code for long-term living.
kingmanaz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Corrugated steel is an often overlooked building material, particularly for tiny houses:


Photo taken in Chloride, AZ. Many of the small homes in the town have their original iron siding and are well over 100 years old.

This book has more information: http://www.amazon.com/Corrugated-Iron-Simon-Holloway-Morneme...

erikig 1 day ago 0 replies      
I enjoyed his write-up, his discussions on motivations, as well as the pictures of his early attempts.

I'm a big fan of thinking outside the box (pun intended).

Somewhat related to his thoughts on home structures is the shipping container home movement that has been gradually picking up steam. Insulated shipping containers make great home frames and it would be nice to see similar grassroots discussions on the challenges of setting them up as well as success stories.

Pitarou 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I just want to highlight what's important about this design:


This drastically brings down the costs.

There are still disadvantages, of course -- the inflexible shape and lack of large, flat, vertical surfaces is a problem for most applications -- but the dome is now so much cheaper that, in some niches, they're worth a second look. I can well imagine, for instance, mass-produced geodesic haybarns based on this design.

kpennell 1 day ago 3 replies      
For those who want to work on their projects and live cheap, I've seen:

Live in your car and have a hackerspace and gym membership:http://www.quora.com/Would-becoming-homeless-be-a-good-strat...

Hide out at AOL office

Be homeless in Swedish forest

Move to foreign country where it's cheaper to live

Move to a dome

Added it to the list!

VikingCoder 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can we get a PDF that's 164 pages long, that has each part on its own page that we could print on 8.5x11 paper (centering it, since you used 4x8 sheets)?

Then we could print out own version of what you created, and use some kind of fastener (tape? glue?) to put it together...

sliverstorm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't follow the opining for the "handcrafted" houses of yore, presumably ones that have been around for the aforementioned 5 generations. Have you lived in such houses? They are generally pretty crappy. Nothing is a standard size (making maintenance a nightmare), any and all building materials have started to break down, and the owners have almost always completely neglect updating the house. For example, replacing their old plate-glass single-pane windows.
dalke 1 day ago 0 replies      
Steward Brand, in "How Buildings Learn: What Happens After Theyre Built", "asserts that the best buildings are made from low-cost, standard designs that people are familiar with, and easy to modify. In this way people can gradually change their buildings to meet their needs." (Quoting Wikipedia.)

One example was living in a trailer in New Mexico, which can be winterized by surrounding it by straw bales, then turned into walls, and expanded as needed. Another was living in an old wooden boat, on land, where it was trivial to cut a hole if you wanted it.

That's much in line with the philosophy behind this dome, which several others here agree with.

However, Brand also specifically dislikes domes, because they are difficult to expand, or to add internal divisions. For a single person, who does not need partitions or extra space, this is not a problem. (Nor would it be a problem if it were cheap to tear down and rebuild an entirely new structure.)

For a family or group of people, it is less tenable, as others here have also pointed out.

peller 1 day ago 0 replies      
@brucehaumanTruly exceptional work. This post literally made my day; I can't thank you enough for spending the time to write and share it. I especially like the smart utilization of 4x8 panels with minimal waste and the tiny BOM required for construction. As someone with a fair amount of construction experience myself, the amount of engineering thought you've put into this project clearly shines through.

It's innovators like you who make this world a better place; keep up the great work and don't ever let the critics get under your skin!!

state 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's really refreshing about this is that it opens up something we think of as completely static (housing) to the possibility of continuous improvement. I really appreciate the effort to refine the structure. Our concept of improving our immediate environment almost never extends to the walls themselves.

Clearly your approach is not for everyone, but it's great that you have taken the time to share your experience since it will likely push likeminded others towards experimenting as well.

As an aside, I have some limited experience with these: http://shelter-systems.com/ and it has been a fun and simple place to start. Since they're without a foundation I think they're considered 'temporary structures' in California so they don't require any permits.

Great work!

codezero 1 day ago 1 reply      
Cheap housing is good, but isn't a bigger problem the lack of property? OK, I can afford to build one of these, but where do I put it?
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent article, love the simplification. I recall reading about a guy who was building houses out of burlap bags and dirt and trying to get them approved as acceptable habitable structures in California and was running into all sorts of roadblocks.
saalweachter 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is this significantly cheaper than a standard frame structure with comparable amenities?

I priced out the materials for building a small "office shed" with no electricity or running water, and came up with a price tag of something like $2000 for a 10x10 structure, assuming completely conventional 2x4's, fiberglass insulation, and off-the-shelf doors and windows. I've not yet followed through on it, but I feel pretty confident that you could build a pretty serviceable pretty conventional structure for not-too-much-money in not-too-much-time.

leokun 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does it have plumbing?
lazyant 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Love to see people building and trying out things.

Some architect correct me but isn't a spherical-shaped house the worst case scenario for insulation? you have the biggest volume of air to heat/cool down with the largest surface to insulate and for heat to come in or go out, plus a pretty small surface footprint.

tonyarkles 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is super fascinating! You mention snow, but I didn't notice what part of the world you're living in. I'd be curious about building something like this, but I'm in a part of Canada where -40 and LOTS of snow is a real possibility.
nathanbatson 1 day ago 1 reply      
What kind of rvalue are you able to get from the structure? I'm wondering if this would be viable for colder climates.
Goladus 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The main question I have is not how hard it would be to stack these as with an apartment building, but how hard would it be to connect a small network of these into a single-floor house with rooms for different purposes?
jwallaceparker 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks great!

Key question: do the ladies like it?

S4M 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's really cool, but how do you deal with the problem of burglary?
baddox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just yesterday I found this fellow Paul Elkins via YouTube. He makes some cool (smaller) shelters as well. Like this:


batemanesque 1 day ago 0 replies      
given that so many people don't have any access to housing at all it seems somewhat myopic to criticize the fact that construction generally aims for efficiency rather than beauty.

the dome looks nice but is stuff like this really a viable alternative for anyone other than a small well-off slice of the population? how does the cost of not having a kitchen compare to what you save in building materials?

ebbv 1 day ago 2 replies      
While neat this seems to offer zero advantages in reality vs. traditional housing, unless you're a lone hermit living away from everyone else.

Assuming you have 10-20 people to house, each person having their own dome seems less efficient than building a more traditional house with shared kitchen, bathroom, etc. facilities, since the dome cannot contain those, at least without scaling up significantly at which point its utilization of space becomes really inefficient.


To clarify I'm assuming that:

A) He's living a commune with this, and sharing cooking/bathroom facilities with others. Thus my comment abotu 10-20 people to house.

B) The point is efficiency/ease of housing people. I don't think a bunch of individual (or 2-3 person domes) is any more efficient than one or two traditional houses to hold everyone and all the facilities needed.

jostmey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where's the bathroom?
zwieback 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like it for what it is and enoyed reading the post a lot but it's really not a housing alternative.
quadlock 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like how the plastic panels overlap to prevent leaking as framed geodesic domes often have leaking problems.
prawn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wonder if there'd be interest in a smaller, clear version of this as a greenhouse. Something that could be laser cut and packed down to a postable package. Light enough that you could lift and place it over your seedlings.
num3ric 1 day ago 0 replies      
This homebuilt dome might interest you: http://youtu.be/OQu_FaTKkiE?t=4m46s

This guy's a classic: "My name is Jamie, and I have decided to build a giant robot damnit!"

wolfv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the post Bruce.

Have you considered applying aluminum foil to the outer shell with contact cement, to eliminate solar gain and plastic breakdown?

zacjszewczyk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Absolutely loved this article. Very impressive! I really hope you go on to write more about this dome. I would be very, very interesting in reading more about its construction and some of the challenges you faced along the way.
tootie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where does the electricity come from and where does his bodily effluence go?
krmmalik 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm really interested in ideas like this.

There isn't enough innovation in alternative housing. The cost of buying a house in the UK is astronomical. Even a flat-pack build is still very expensive although a fair bit cheaper than brick and mortar, but you still have to buy land and deal with regulatory policies with regards to construction.

marknowotarski 1 day ago 1 reply      
As I look at the dome versus the trees I wonder: Why do animals seek to isolate themselves from the environment and plants seek to permeate it? No judgement, just curious.
ChrisNorstrom 1 day ago 2 replies      
You know what would be awesome.

If everyone on Hacker News pitched into a fund, bought some land out in the middle a beautiful but isolated place in the rockies and created a weekend getaway for coders using something similar to these little Geodesic Dome houses.

ommunist 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the UK materials cost goes roughly the same nominal, only in GBP. Makes such projects more expensive, but does not make them less attractive. Thank you for sharing.
GDieken 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The reason geodesic homes didn't make it out of the 70s (except at Burning Man and radar installations) is that you can't build a structure more prone to leaking in the rain or even a heavy dew. Solve that problem and domes become a meaningful option. Otherwise they're a mental exercise.
alex_doom 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how long it takes to assemble/disassemble. Might be a interesting structure at Burning Man.
seansoutpost 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tis is really awesome.

If it's cool with you, I'm going to build one of these to house homeless is Satoshi Forest (http://bitcoinmagazine.com/6939/seans-outpost-announces-sato...).

Seems like a rather elegant solution.

ajmurmann 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be very interesting to see the door. Anything I can think off would easier break the structure of the dome or be awkward.
umsm 1 day ago 0 replies      
This particular post presents a very interesting structure / design. But I don't see this solving any major issue. There seem to be better alternatives to this that solve "housing issues".

Why wouldn't you build a log cabin instead of something like this?

jacob_smith 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would love to see some more of the blog concerning windows/doors/electricity -- any showers or water running to the dome?
stevewilhelm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah, what's old is new again. http://www.bagginsend.net/
FriedPickles 1 day ago 0 replies      
First acceptable use of the word "synergy" I've seen in a long time!
hippich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where is restroom?
hardworkisfun 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow awesome, love your writing and thinking Bruce. Would love to hear more about your thoughts on doing what you want, despite not getting paid for it and minimizing your lifestyle.
crb002 1 day ago 0 replies      
Only the shell remains in Montreal. The dome plastic burned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Biosph%C3%A8re
dalanmiller 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where is the toilet.
shadowOfShadow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where's the geodesic toilet?
SamBoogie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dope. All hail Bucky!
volokoumphetico 1 day ago 1 reply      
it would be nice if you could carry this in your pocket and you add water to the tiny pocket sized cylinder labelled "Capsule Corp." and yell "HOY POY" and it will spring to life, complete with furnitures, your computer and everything.
fakename 20 hours ago 0 replies      
paging @FalseMedium
justnope 1 day ago 0 replies      
What Does it Really Mean to be Non-Profit? onolan.org
20 points by robhawkes  1 hour ago   12 comments top 4
philipn 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I suspect the author doesn't live in the US, as a few of his points don't apply to US non-profit law.

In particular:

"A charity (except in special circumstances) cannot pay a salary to anyone. Typically everyone who works for a charity is a volunteer."

In the US, when people talk about non-profits they're usually talking about organizations with the 501(c)3 tax status (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501%28c%29_organization#501.28c...). Those organizations are further classified as either public charities or private foundations -- the former being what people typically mean by "non-profit."

US non-profits almost always pay some people for some of their work. There are restrictions on salary, insofar as you have to explain that salaries are justified to the IRS (this really only applies if the salary is beyond normal market rate).

"A charity must disclose all of its financials publicly, in great detail, and be audited by several government bodies. "

The same is true in the US, though non-profits do not have an audit requirement here. Large non-profits typically hire a CPA to do an audit each year, though, as multi-million foundation grant-givers often require it.

"A charity may only do things which have charitable purpose for public benefit, and nothing else."

This isn't strictly true in the US. A charity can engage in unrelated business, but it's taxed on it and it can't account for a substantial amount of revenue. For instance, most Museums have gift shop, and selling stuffed animals isn't usually their charitable purpose, so the organization will typically pay tax on that revenue.

"A charity receives large amounts of tax-relief from the government for conforming to these rules."

True in the US -- non-profits don't pay income tax and donations are tax-deductible.

davidjgraph 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
I always smile when I hear "non-profit". Last year a US non-profit that dealt with military research was looking to buy from us and asked for a discount because they were a non-profit.

I looked on their website and their annual revenues were in the ballpark of x1000 that of ours. Maybe it's a European view, but I find the idea of a defence non-profit bizarre and the idea we should discount for them on this basis even more so.

By being a non-profit, the main beneficiary is their customers (the DoD I'm guessing) because the pricing doesn't need the usual margin of profit. I'd just be reducing the cost for them, since costs are ultimately just passed on.

My point is, this a boundary case of stretching the ethics of "non-profit" way too far. Yes, non-profit is great for open source, but I would be concerned about using it as a vehicle when large companies are the ones benefiting (which isn't the case with Ghost).

bpierre 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Despite the communication around the project[1], Ghost is still waiting to be open sourced: https://github.com/tryghost

[1] Six months ago Ghost was barely an idea, today it's a thing. A living, breathing, evolving thing. And it's public. http://blog.tryghost.org/

thu 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
So, in the case of Ghost being non-profit, this is just some kind of statement about how dedicated they are. Because I don't see what this brings to the open-source project itself (for instance, anybody can fork it and do whatever they want; the fact the original author is non-profit does not change anything).
3-Sweep: Extracting Editable Objects from a Single Photo [video] youtube.com
325 points by rellik  15 hours ago   61 comments top 30
mwsherman 14 hours ago 1 reply      
The key here is really complementary use of what humans are good at and what machines are good at.

In this case, its fair to say the machine, by analyzing pixels, cant figure out perspective very well. The human can do that just fine, given an interface mechanism.

The machine is good at detecting edges and seeing similarity between pixels. Given hints from the human that this point is within an object and here is the perspective, the machine can infer the limits of the object based on edges/colors and project it into 3 dimensions. Amazing.

DocSavage 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The paper is not out yet, but you can read the abstract here:


breckinloggins 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If you marked shadows and associated them with their source, could you then recover the light source(s) and be able to remove the baked shadows and recast them in real time?

Also, with the shiny objects, could you specify the material properties and have it "back out" the reflection such that the reflection was recomputed as you moved the shape around?

krisoft 14 hours ago 1 reply      
What I was thinking all along: "Oh come on! It can't be this perfect, show me where it fails."And they did!

This is indeed magic. I'm so happy to live in this age, and be part of the "Sorcerers' Guild".

alxbrun 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, super impressive. And meanwhile, Silicon Valley is working on the gazillionth social photo sharing app.
Raphmedia 15 hours ago 1 reply      
This is sorcery!

This technology is awesome. If it's as user friendly as they make it looks, I could see a lot of application for that!

moocowduckquack 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I want this + isketch now, but unfortunately I suspect that jumping up and down and shouting isn't likely to help.


zem 14 hours ago 0 replies      
this is one of the most impressive things i've seen in a while.
martindale 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the single most impressive example of image processing I've seen to date.
dharma1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
most impressive thing for me about this demo is how good the shape detection is (seems way better than magnetic lasso in Photoshop), and how they brought different pieces of separate technologies together to such a fluid experience. And how the presenter sounds about 12.

These guys/girls know what they're doing.

swamp40 9 hours ago 1 reply      

Forget the Photoshop stuff, this needs to be integrated with 3D printing immediately.

Spit out a design file into Tinkercad[1] for some minor adjustments and BAM, you've made a printable 3D model.

[1] https://tinkercad.com/

jostmey 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I am skeptical, although I remain hopeful that my skepticism is misplaced. The "software" somehow seems to know what pattern of colors should exist on the other side of the object. Can someone explain to us how this aspect of the software works?
baddox 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Is there a reason many of these crazy image processing technologies never seem to have actual demos or releases? The only exception I can think of it the "smart erase" idea, which has been implemented in Photoshop as well as Gimp.
snogglethorpe 11 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of cool rendering/modeling research seems amazingly well-suited for the film industry and this is a perfect example ... besides the obvious applications in making CGI versions of real-world scenes, you can just imagine the director saying "oh no, that lamp is in the wrong location in all that footage... move it (without reshooting)!"

I wonder if it's just a coincidence, or whether the mega-bucketloads of money the film industry throws at CGI are a major factor in funding related research even in academia?

atopuzov 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish I had the time to sit down and understand all the math and algorithms behind this. It's awesome.
tbatchelli 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It looks so simple, yet my limited understanding of image processing tells me this requires a ton of research and technology. The pace of innovation is staggering!
lsh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Beltiras 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This video is currently unavailable. Anyone else getting static@youtube?
zxcvvcxz 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Question for the entrepreneurs: how would one monetize such a cool algorithm? I come across plenty of cool stuff like this, but without any idea how they can solve real problems.
jack-r-abbit 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Also awesome is that it handles the background replacement so well. This could also be used to just remove an ugly lamp post, telephone pole, etc from an otherwise good photo. (assuming you can remove objects and resave the image)

Edit: I am aware that Photoshop has some of this available. I've not played with it so I don't know how they compare.

pjgomez 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Simply astonishing... imho this technology is revolutionary.
voltagex_ 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it too much to hope that this tech will be implemented in a program that's within an "average" user's budget? (i.e. non-enterprise).
deadfall 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is really impressive. Do you think it will be years before this actually gets used in public 3D modelling tools?

I vote for this to be used with 3D printer

scoofy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to need to buy more filament...
EGreg 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is awesome - but how do they reconstruct the backgrounds that the objects previously obscured? There must be more photos?
hazz 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is amazing. My first thought is this could allow F1 teams to get a much better idea of what new packages their competitors are bringing to races early on just by looking at photos and video footage and modelling the new parts.
agumonkey 13 hours ago 0 replies      
A worthy successor to SketchPad, beautiful user interface.
DavidPlumpton 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I read this as "from a single photon"
TullamoreDude 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This indeed is very impressing and I see the how much work passion is into this project.But I still have to say it almost only about round or cylindrical objects, there is still a long way to go
olympus 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not a HN etiquette stickler, and I'm not accusing anyone of any foul play, but the actual YouTube video was submitted 17 hours prior to this post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6358080

This is just in case you want to throw a few upvotes their way for being first. This also illustrates that late night (PDT/UTC -8) posts don't get a whole lot of votes and proper timing is crucial to getting lots of votes.

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