hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    18 Nov 2013 News
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1
Code Firefox codefirefox.com
188 points by robin_reala  3 hours ago   26 comments top 9
1
fhd2 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I love contributing to Mozilla. I contributed to a bunch of projects in the past years, including Chromium (a very friendly bunch BTW), but Mozilla makes me feel like I'm a real part of this, not just some guy sending a patch.

- Literally everything they do is in the open, volunteers can participate a lot if they want to, even start new projects. (~50% of their employees remote, I guess that helps a lot here.)

- They're mentoring people new to a project really well - I love this even though I prefer to just dive into the code myself.

- They call you a "Mozillian", send you foundation/company/product updates, invite you to Mozilla Summit (I was there this year, and it was amazing) etc.

- Mozilla is not profit oriented, they just care about their mission: Moving the web forward and keeping it open. Makes me feel like part of a good cause, as opposed to unpaid labour.

All in all, they really got this figured out. I can recommend them to anyone who wants to contribute to something big/important.

2
josteink 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very welcoming sort of page. Good job!

Compare this to most open source projects of this scale, where you will have people just tell you "to look it up in the wiki".

This wiki, if you're lucky enough to find it and find the right article, then often only has a 50% chance of being up to date and therefore missing some crucial information, causing you to spend days getting your build-setup still not working.

Before you even get to contributing, you're already meeting roadblocks on roadblocks and a dismissive attitude to your offer for help.

This on the contrary, looks very inviting. Kudos to Mozilla :)

3
bdg 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Wow this is great work! When I was working on my first patch I actually looked for video tutorials on this but came up short. The text tutorials are quite extensive but you tend to miss a thing or two (in my case, I struggled with the qnew feature of the SCM, forgot to tag the reviewer in the commit, and even worked on some files I didn't need to).

I struggle a bit to find parts of the software I can work with, and I suspect that's because I only have a 40 000ft view of the project, rather than a part-by-part exploration of how things are connected. There's a lot of code in there to read through. Unlike the MVC web applications I'm familiar with, I don't understand where to put what code to change something, how to write a test, or sometimes how to test things like crash conditions that should trigger new exception handlers I put in.

This is an awesome start, but to get closer to the goal of a large number of developers contributing meaningful work on the project there's more to be done by the people who can explain the project in better detail. Perhaps this is an opportunity for an online "learn to program" course?

4
adrianb 2 hours ago 3 replies      
It would help to have the steps described in text next to the videos as well. Not only because some steps can be boring to watch for some people, but it would also help to be able to copy-paste URLs and command line options and so on.
5
WasimBhai 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The people at Firefox are absolutely great help. Those of you who have time on your hands, please do contribute to making an already awesome browser, even better.
6
k__ 3 hours ago 4 replies      
"I'm blessed with a loving wife and 3 amazing sons."

What's the deal with this? I've read it in many rsums...

7
serge2k 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, and I wish more projects would do it.

Unfortunately I can't work on firefox at this point, but this is still awesome.

8
frm1001xplrr 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty awesome. Though I'll probably never code dekstop apps, something like this for Addons would def. trigger a coding spur.
9
CalinBalauru 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Would like to see a guide on setting up things in Linux also
2
You Can't Beat Politics with Technology (Peter Sunde) wired.co.uk
53 points by pkallberg  1 hour ago   22 comments top 8
1
tikhonj 53 minutes ago 1 reply      
The actual quote is: "You can't beat politics with new technology all the time."

This is very different from the current HN headline! After all, sometimes technology changes everything so much politics can do little more than try to catch up.

People like to say "you can't solve social problems with technology". It's a statement that's true enough of the time to be common wisdom but not enough to be a natural law. Sometimes technology does help with social problems.

This isn't to say that politics is unimportant. It is still central. But I think dismissing technological solutions out of hand is also shortsighted. I particularly think this of BitCoin, which feels like a monumental change. BitCoin could, ideally, liberate transactions between individuals and significantly reduce barriers for anything from microtransactions to donating to fringe political causes. It certainly won't solve all our problems, it might even solve none, but I think it'll definitely make for a better world.

I really liked Balaji Srinivasan's speech on "Voice and Exit". BitCoin was an example of "exiting" the existing financial system and providing an alternate means of conducting transactions. Viewing it as such, just using and supporting BitCoin is inevitably a political action, limiting the absolute power of the government. To me, this makes BitCoin one of the technologies to really watch for future social change.

2
mseebach 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
There is a tendency for people successful in a particular domain to believe that their brilliance mean they have something insightful to say about politics. Mr Sunde is a brilliant technologist but this interview reveals that he has a high-school level navety about the democratic political process.

His ideology is mainstream statism (there is no particular evidence of communism or socialism imo) and his general, overarching idea is the exact same as every other young, idealistic candidate, from every mainstream political party (give or take a couple of slogan-sized marginal political differences): That everybody who already got elected are complacent about changing the system, and if you'll only elect me, I won't become complacent then everything will change.

The root problem, of course, isn't that we should just elect better politicians, it's the iron law of bureaucracy.

And this is where I disagree fundamentally with Mr. Sunde: Technology is exactly what we can use to beat the bureaucracy. Uber and AirBnB is doing more than 100 Peter Sundes running for office to reform taxis and rental systems, Bitcoin is a powerful and plausible agent of reform in the banking sector. There are tons of community owned banks and while they do some things differently on the margins, at the end of the day, on the broad lines, they're just like the big, commercial banks.

Finally, this: "This includes setting up cryptocurrencies that are difficult to monitor and tax (Sunde is a firm believer in taxation, since it allows communities to build shared infrastructure)". This is rich coming from a guy who made his name helping people avoid the taxation of Hollywood through a hard to monitor technology.

3
moocowduckquack 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of some of the argunents from "Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions" by John Gray

"The core of the belief in progress is that human values and goals converge in parallel with our increasing knowledge. The twentieth century shows the contrary. Human beings use the power of scientific knowledge to assert and defend the values and goals they already have. New technologies can be used to alleviate suffering and enhance freedom. They can, and will, also be used to wage war and strengthen tyranny. Science made possible the technologies that powered the industrial revolution. In the twentieth century, these technologies were used to implement state terror and genocide on an unprecedented scale. Ethics and politics do not advance in line with the growth of knowledge not even in the long run."

4
kaoD 1 hour ago 4 replies      
The interview makes clear he has a communist/socialist mindset.

Community owned banks? We have those in Spain, and those were the main culprits of Spain's banking crisis because they were just politician's toys both on left and right wing communities.

It's not that we distrust politicians: people just can't be trusted, not even the people with good intentions! Economy can't be regulated effectively and public banking demands high levels of regulation to prevent bad behaviour... which is very hard (impossible?) to do right. People with money will always be able to go around good legislation, while the common citizen still has to fight against the system's errors.

He proposes fighting the State with the State instead of with techonology. My opinion is that more State won't fight the State, it will just make it a bigger monster to fight against.

5
kaoD 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Much of his time has been spent dealing with "haters" from the encryption community.

Hahaha! Oh wow! Let's see what "haters" means:

> One of the main criticisms [...] is that [...] it doesn't allow individuals to connect their own trusted servers [...] ("even though controlling the network is currently the only thing you can do to keep from being spied on," says Sunde)

I would say a controlled network creates a single point of failure and a narrow target for espionage (e.g. Lavabit).

> and that there are no plans to release the source code

Security through obscurity? Who wants audits from the community, when you can just call them haters, right?

> Sunde sees these critics as elitist. "We want to give decent encryption to everyone -- not just tech people. But the tech people are the ones who are really upset that they can't connect their own server. We decided quite early on to stop listening to them."

Who's the hater here? Is closed source/optional personal network really going to hinder massive adoption outside of tech circles? Does it matter at all?

6
Radim 42 minutes ago 1 reply      

   "We need a revolution instead of a technology evolution."
I think we need a system that pays more attention to the reality and results, and less to ideologies and ideas. And whether that improved process is based on technology or not is secondary.

I mean, improve the process itself, try to add explicitness, hard data. Not another this-seems-like-a-brilliant-idea-lets-try revolution, followed by oops-maybe-not.

Some time ago, I made a fun sketch of how the feedback process works in politics vs technology: http://radimrehurek.com/2013/10/technology-vs-politics-round...

7
thaumasiotes 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is purely a response to the title.

There is a popular line of thought that goes something like this:

1. Owing to politics ("ethical considerations"), working with human stem cells is, at best, quite difficult.

2. That doesn't apply to nonhumans.

3. If the technology appears, people will start to wonder why rich people can get (hypothetically) anti-aging treatments and limb regeneration for their dogs, but the same processes aren't available to humans.

4. Politics loses, technology wins.

That example is quite specific (and suppositional), but I'd say the principle is sound.

Another example might be the Japanese suppression of guns. Technology won out. (Yes, it took a while. I'm comfortable with that.)

8
read 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
it's important to not think that we can solve problems with better technology

I'm surprised he says this. Effective solutions often come from a side angle, not a frontal attack. Why would a frontal attack in politics work?

3
Bloomberg News Suspends Reporter Whose Article on China Was Not Published nytimes.com
83 points by 1337biz  3 hours ago   27 comments top 8
1
r0h1n 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Interestingly while Bloomberg suspended this reporter; prepares to lay off 50 people [1]; and possibly shutter its investigations division [2], [3], there is "good" news too: 'NewCo', the Pierre Omidyar-Glenn Greenwald news venture just brought on board NYU's Jay Rosen.

>> Out of the press box and onto the field - http://pressthink.org/2013/11/newco/

As Bill Bishop (one of the best 'China experts' on Twitter) recently said:

"Perhaps the new omidyar news venture can hire some of the excellent Bloomberg journalists in the projects and investigations team"

https://twitter.com/niubi/status/401645221022142464

==============

[1] http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303...

[2] https://twitter.com/niubi/status/401618179878686721

[3] https://twitter.com/niubi/status/401618756192858112

2
doe88 2 hours ago 2 replies      
China is now such a big market and a big power that every industries, countries downplay any criticism. I think one of the biggest example is Hollywood, it has long gone the time where there was movies on the Tibet, now Hollywood is even making special versions of its movies to include few minutes with chinese actors (see Iron Man 3).
3
Fuxy 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Aren't they just ignoring the important things in order to remain in China.

If they're not going to report on meaningful things what is the purpose of them still being there then?

I suspect it's money but that just confirms my suspicion of them not being real journalists.

4
confluence 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
There's was a certain point in my transformation from an optimist to a pessimist where I was just so angry. I was angry at news organizations for not having the balls to fight for their readers. I was angry at all the myths and lies I was fed, from meritocracy, to religion, to honor and loyalty. I was angry at businesspeople for rigging the game, and I was angry at politicians for helping them. I was angry at myself for believing and trusting in what I was told. I was just angry at everyone. And it was at this point that many youth would've become militarized, thinking that revolution was the answer. I did too. That is until I realized that revolutionaries are no different. They're just more of the same; people telling more lies to fuck over more people so that they can drive their precious fucking Mercedes past homeless shelters and slums. I'm still angry, but now when I read the latest bit of depressing news I just seem to laugh. The NSA spied on everyone? Good luck filtering that river of shit for useful intel guys. JPMorgan bribed the daughter of the Chinese prime minister? Haha investment bankers are such whores. Finance papers are too pussy to investigate totalitarian regimes? I think a new tagline is in order: All the news that's fit to print ... money.

I call this coping strategy the John Stewart method.

I think it's because nothing really surprises me anymore. I've just reached peak cynicism. So nowadays I just try to make light of the absurd brutality that is the world that we live in, because doing otherwise just seems pointless.

All the world is a farce.

/rant

PS: I'm not a conspiracy nut or anything like that. I'm just disappointed with the local incentive driven actions that some people take at the expense of society at large some of the time.

5
genericacct 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Considering they're also pushing BTC to no end -AND- they've been caught reading their customers' communication with no authorization you can draw your own conclusion about about bloomberg's integrity as a news organization.
6
moocowduckquack 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
You obviously haven't bothered to read the article then.

What really is the point of putting in the effort of commenting on something, when you cannot be arsed to put in the effort to comprehend it in the first place.

7
frank_boyd 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Forget the "media". Drop your stuff at WikiLeaks.org
8
lucb1e 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Site gives DNS errors for me (Netherlands), but it seems I'm able to ping it(?!). Anyone else with trouble?
4
Browser logos github.com
92 points by napolux  4 hours ago   34 comments top 16
1
wfunction 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if the old Chrome [1] and Firefox [2] logos are available too? To be brutally honest 3D is better than 2D.

[1]: http://www.google.com/landing/chrome/ugc/chrome-icon.jpg

[2]: http://people.mozilla.org/~faaborg/files/shiretoko/firefoxIc...

2
gulbrandr 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'd love to have the logos in SVG format.
3
derefr 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is fascinating; I was aware of hardly a third of these. I wish at least the lesser-known ones came with a tagline to explain the point of them/their major features, though that's obviously not the goal of the project.
4
maaaats 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Wow, half of the logos are featuring a globe of some sort. And of those, many of them have an animal surrounding it.
5
NKCSS 3 hours ago 2 replies      
6
etfb 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The browser ponies make it all worthwhile.
7
cheeaun 31 minutes ago 1 reply      
What, no IE5? I mean IE<6? And Netscape too :)
8
jackmaney 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm glad that this repo exists. However, to play Devil's-Non-Lawyer-Advocate, is there any danger of trademark infringement for some of these logos (especially IE)?
9
nettletea 3 hours ago 0 replies      
When you see all these logos in a list, none of them particularly shout the web at me. I'm not smitten by any. The only standout one was the little spaceman with the earth in his visor's reflection. All a bit drab save for Iceweasel. I think I prefered the netscape logo.
10
chris_wot 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What, no love for Dillo?
11
adventured 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Kind of disappointed this isn't on there, if only for old time sake:

http://i.imgur.com/NJWpCbk.jpg

Surely there's someone out there still using Netscape.

12
simgidacav 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Where's my xxxterm/xombrero?
13
arthurvondyck 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for sharing. This will save me a lot of time.
14
tbarbugli 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Ok, I am impressed
15
Kiro 4 hours ago 2 replies      
What is this?
16
MrMeker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What is this doing at the top of HN? Maybe that 4chan thread had something right.
5
Advanced Javascript and Web Debugging Techniques badoo.com
58 points by dmitri1981  3 hours ago   19 comments top 8
1
niyazpk 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
One small tip I would like to add:

Writing code in Conditional Breakpoints - So lets say you want to modify the value of PRICE, but only if ASIN == 'XYZ', then you can write:

if(ASIN === 'XYZ') { PRICE = 20 }

as the condition for your breakpoint and instead of breaking at that point, the value of price will be changed only for that ASIN. Helped me a lot during involved debugging sessions.

2
bazzargh 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The thing I really miss when debugging js (compared to other debuggers) is the ability to skip files when stepping. Seeing the innards of jquery/backbone/underscore is usually no use to me, I only want to look at our site's code.

I know I can get that effect by liberally sprinkling my code with 'debugger;', and could even automate that, but still...

3
Bahamut 48 minutes ago 2 replies      
I should add that console.log has its pitfalls - in particular, it will log objects by reference, so if you are doing some manipulation later in a block, the value that may be displayed in the Chrome inspector may reflect a value that was manipulated later on in a block of code.
4
maaaats 1 hour ago 0 replies      
When needing a quick console to mobile I have previously used jsconsole[1] with great success. Weinre can be a bit overkill to set up just for logging some simple statements.

[1] http://jsconsole.com/remote-debugging.html

5
thejosh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh man, weinre is one project that needs love now Adobe has their grubby hands on it.

It's really handy for mobile debugging.

6
tucaz 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't call "debugger" advanced, but it is certainly useful.

Didn't know about the DOM breakpoint, though.

7
duiker101 2 hours ago 1 reply      
the remote debugging is already implemented in both Chrome and Firefox. Opera too as far as I know but it's not as simple as the others.
8
Trufa 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very interesting and helpful. Thanks for posting.
6
Bayes and Big Data: The Consensus Monte Carlo Algorithm research.google.com
22 points by Anon84  1 hour ago   2 comments top
1
bazzargh 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
Any hint as to how this differs from other parallel Monte Carlo algorithms? Or is it an application of those methods to big data? (People were doing parallel Monte Carlo at least as far back as the early 90s - my own research topic on exact nuclear calculations was basically obsoleted by the superior scalability of that approach)
7
(One of) the reasons why CG animation takes so damn long strangecompany.org
7 points by thenomad  17 minutes ago   discuss
8
Password hack of vBulletin.com arstechnica.com
16 points by eksith  1 hour ago   4 comments top 3
1
buro9 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
This explains the email received a few days ago:

> We take your security and privacy very seriously. Very recently, our security team discovered sophisticated attacks on our network, involving the illegal access of forum user information, possibly including your password. Our investigation currently indicates that the attackers accessed customer IDs and encrypted passwords on our systems. We have taken the precaution of resetting your account password. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused but felt that it was necessary to help protect you and your account.

> To regain access to your account:

> Visit the vBulletin forums at http://www.vbulletin.com/settings/account

> Enter in your existing password followed by your new password, twice for confirmation.

> Save this page at the bottom.

> Please choose a new password and do not use the same password you used with us previously. We also highly recommend that you chose a password that you are not using on any other sites.

> If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our support team at http://www.vbulletin.com/go/techsupport or support@vbulletin.com.

> Sincerely,

Of course I reset the password to another generated LastPass one, but I did wonder what the scope of the attack was.

2
CalRobert 15 minutes ago 1 reply      
When I was working with the company that produces vBulletin, I wasn't exactly dazzled by their competence.
3
CalRobert 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
9
GitHub Rsum resume.github.io
173 points by jmduke  8 hours ago   62 comments top 22
1
ultimoo 6 hours ago 9 replies      
> As a software startup owner I really enjoy when people send us their rsums and they include their github account so we can see tangible work they have done.

I sometimes feel very insecure when I read statements like this. I consider myself a good and a passionate programmer with "above-average programming skills", if there is such a thing. However, I have (so far) never been able to manage contributing to open source projects in any significant way. Sometimes I have been too busy with work projects, sometimes it has been a busy life at grad school, sometimes family, sometimes I have been plain shy, and so on. I have put together a bunch of great hacks at places I have worked, which sadly I cannot open source. But I see dozens of people whom I know who are naturally prolific in their oss contributions, manage to attract a high number of twitter followers, etc. and I wish I were more like them.

Do startups really look at github contributions as the ultimate measure of one's tech chops or are looking for people who go that extra bit and make time in their schedules for contributing back to the community?

2
krrishd 7 hours ago 8 replies      
Personally, I like http://osrc.dfm.io simply because it provides way more detail and insight into the user. Just my opinion though, this is still pretty cool.
3
bennyg 1 hour ago 1 reply      
As a guy who routinely has his resume tossed because of a lack of technical degree, Github is a godsend for the auxiliary benefit of companies that want to take me serious can find my code there. I routinely have stuff trend in Objective C and it's slightly frustrating when interviewers think the toughest question is what's different between an NSArray and NSMutableArray because my resume says "Majored in Graphic Design."

I love contributing to the community, and that's obviously the first reason why I push OSS, but that extra hiring benefit is extremely helpful for other coders like me who don't have a technical degree.

4
volaski 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Alright, this website basically turns https://github.com/mojombo into http://resume.github.io/?mojombo , which is uglier than the original and doesn't even add anything new. How did this get 22 points in 50 minutes and is #1 now?
5
taude 1 hour ago 0 replies      
One thing that struck me as painfully obvious about this is that the actual coding aspect of someone's job is only a small fraction of what makes them a good hire. Not to mention, they might have JavaScript or what-ever language is good for an open source part of a system, but if they're working in DevOps, DB guru, etc. none of that comes through in this.

I don't think I'd call this a GitHub Resume, more of a formatted GitHub summary that could be part of someone's Resume.

Sure, if you're inundated with so many resumes that you can't decide where to start (doubt this is a problem most companies have) this might be a good place to start.

6
aabalkan 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This project is at least 3 years old. Interesting it has got picked up by HN folks again. For those not familiar with GitHub pages, somebody got username "resume" in order to create this page. I had to explain this because this actually looks like something GitHub launched, just like http://status.github.com/ but it is not.
7
mpermar 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
As I haven't seen any comments about it. Some friends of mine created already a while ago Masterbranch http://www.masterbranch.com

It does not only builds your resume from Github but from many other repositories as well. Not sure what is the current status of the project though.

8
rcthompson 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Hmm. This is missing my most popular repo, https://github.com/DarwinAwardWinner/ido-ubiquitous

Probably because for historical reasons, my repo is not the "root" on GitHub (it started out an an anonymous snippet on EmacsWiki and someone else put it in its own GitHub repo, which I later forked).

9
outside1234 6 hours ago 0 replies      
To be useful, this needs to also crawl the projects I contribute to, not just the ones under my account. I am a maintainer of a project under another github account but that completely escapes this tool.
10
bendmorris 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately, this ignores forked repositories. The open source contributions I'm most proud of were to projects that I didn't start, so none of them are listed here.
11
lucianp 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Personally, I don't like the idea of a GitHub/OSS resume.While for others this is great, it does not work for everyone.Many of us are not able to contribute to open source projects...

How many professionals are asked by their future employer about the work they do for free in their spare time?Would you ask a doctor how many patients he/she treated for free? Or a lawyer how many cases he/she did for free in their spare time?I don't think so...

By all means, I think contributing back to the community is a noble, great thing to do (and we should all strive to do it), but this should not be considered the sole measure of one's technical skills.

12
gnufied 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting but deriving anything from this one is near useless. For example, this completely fails to list any of my current open source project because I created them under my organizations name.
13
philliphaydon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This doesn't work for me :( shows me just repositories I create for blog posts, but not the organizations I own to show my main repositories.
14
hackernewsguy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Some of my most important projects are open sourced under my company's account and this won't show any of them even though I contributed 90% of the code. This only shows my personal side projects that are done for fun. Any chance this could change in the future?
15
bergie 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this was a lot more interesting GitHub visualization: http://osrc.dfm.io/bergie
16
lifeisstillgood 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty fantastic. Some combination of this and LinkedIn will mean I can give up word docs forever !
17
draegtun 4 hours ago 0 replies      
See also... Perl Rsum which works of your CPAN account (via MetaCPAN) - http://perlresume.org
18
priyadarshy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I would not want an employer to use this to evaluate me because it is called my "github resume" and somehow implies that it is my summary of my experiences, abilities, skills and potential.

You don't need to be an active github user to be a good developer (I am not even a good developer) and you should be able to present your resume as you deem fit.

Obviously if this allowed me to own my account and easily customize how my github works gets displayed I'd be more interested. Until then, this feels like pushing my github work through a meat grinder and evaluating the sausage instead of me.

19
seivan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This also pretty coolhttp://osrc.dfm.io
20
philip1209 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Intriguing - I was expecting a Jekyll-based static resume
21
CatsoCatsoCatso 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The use of percentages within the example resume's made me wince.
22
binarnosp 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is spiraling out of control
10
How the Feds Took Down the Silk Road Drug Wonderland wired.com
13 points by hepha1979  1 hour ago   3 comments top 2
1
belorn 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
If this has not been posted before, its good to see that all the worries about the tor protocol can be laid to rest.

They did not identify the server by some advanced technical hacks against tor. They used simple basic police methods and arrested an administrator with the use of an undercover agent posing as a drug seller. The administrator purchased a kilo of cocaine, and by doing so, gave his home address to the undercover agent. After interrogation, they gained user credentials that even included DPR's private messages.

This could have easily been a episode script for the wire.

2
jdmitch 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
This seemed a bit worrying:

Federal agents say the use of Tor and Bitcoin were major obstacles for them and that investigating the site was uncharted territory that involved a reversal of their usual investigative methods. Instead of starting with probable cause against a specific suspect who is already identified and then obtaining a search warrant to collect more evidence, the investigation of Silk Road involved collecting evidence from the site first and then trying to identify individuals.

Sure it is "uncharted territory" in terms of the technology for maintaining anonymous identities, but shouldn't most investigations start with evidence of the crime and an empirical investigation into who could have committed it, rather than starting with suspects and trying to link them with the crime? Maybe I am naive, but sounds like dodgy criminal investigation methodology to me...

11
Breakout in 30 lines of JavaScript jsfiddle.net
6 points by aves  43 minutes ago   4 comments top 3
1
mrspeaker 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
30 not counting the (block * lines) of HTML ;) If you're comparin' code size - my favourite was from the first JS1K comp - a nice looking platformer in 1K!: http://marijnhaverbeke.nl/js1k/
2
aves 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
3
neomech 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
That's Breakout not Arkanoid.
12
Sputnik - Simple and practical RSS reader szwacz.com
9 points by hepha1979  1 hour ago   5 comments top 4
1
eknkc 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Mac app is not signed, makes the os nag about unidentified developer.

I'm fine with running it but a lot of people might not bother with security settings.

2
eksith 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like this! I'm right now reading Ars on it and it works pretty well.

A tiny request: Would it be possible to allow changing the background graphic? Maybe a wallpaper of my choosing? Also, a method to "archive" in addition to saving tagged articles would be awesome. Having to tag if I want to keep an article permanently each time may be a bit cumbersome.

Edit: Oops, nevermind about the background image. Found bg.jpg in Sputnik\app\visual\images ;)

3
knodi 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
After google reader was killed out sadly my RSS feed reading has come to a halt.
4
daveid 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This looks nice, but will there be a Linux version?
13
Frontend: The web visual editor (kickstarter) kickstarter.com
56 points by marizmelo  6 hours ago   46 comments top 20
1
bbx 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Although Frontend is impressive, the target market is a bit blurry. As a front-end developer, I don't see myself using such a tool. And non tech-savvy people would probably feel a bit overwhelmed and would still have issues designing a decent layout considering it's not their job.

For some time, I've had in mind a service where people could easily build their websites. A bit like Squarespace (which is amazing) but with a different interface. For many clients who only need a homepage, a contact page, an about page, and some content pages, I usually end up building a custom WordPress theme because its admin interface is efficient and user-friendly, and because I have much experience in it. But still, I don't consider it the best tool for the job.

I'm not a great programmer, but I have UI, UX, and front-end skills. I'll probably try to develop a workable draft of this app I have in mind, but if anyone is interested in building an easy-to-use platform for non tech-savvy people, feel free to contact me. I have some ideas about how the workflow should be and what features it should have.

2
sorich87 4 hours ago 4 replies      
A shameless plug for my own similar open source project with an already functional version http://www.brickseditor.com/. It uses Bootstrap for the layout but there are plans to support other frameworks. It's built on AngularJS. I'm currently working on it full time. Maybe there could be some way we could collaborate if this Kickstarter isn't successful?
3
elsurudo 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
Looks to me like it works pretty much just like Suarespace (except self-hosted and open). The way Squarespace makes it easy for non-web-designer folk to put together nice-looking websites is excellent, so it's a good model to work from.
4
alco 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It pains me to see how he repeats the same action for each subtitle-block element, doing the same thing 3 times total. Imagine you had a scrollable area with 20 blocks.

If it's a mockup editor, then it should be easy to customize from JS to make anything useful from the mockup.

If it's a site builder, better add support for templates, so that one would then be able to drag and drop data (e.g. json) onto the canvas and bind it to a template to automatically populate a whole set of elements at once.

P.S. No matter how slick your UI is, if it's not programmable, it's not useful.

5
jwarren 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Bro, do you even Bootstrap? Edit: Sorry, it's not Bootstrap, it's their own framework. Though visually it's very similar.

But seriously, I'm not sure who this is for. It looks like there's quite a technical hurdle to setting it up - node.js and vagrant aren't easy to install for a novice user, and they aren't suitable for any shared hosting environment that I've come across.

I imagine (possibly incorrectly) that the market for simple point and click interfaces wouldn't necessarily overlap with that of people who are comfortable setting up complex hosting environments.

Now, as an online subscription model, I think it could be quite competitive. That's an entirely different route which definitely has a market.

6
eonil 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks cool. But nothing related to Photoshop. They can say this something like iWeb or DreamWeaver, but not Photoshop at all.
7
glazskunrukitis 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you seen Webflow[0] and Froont[1]?

[0] https://webflow.com/

[1] http://froont.com/

8
kayoone 5 hours ago 2 replies      
The open source part of it is cool, but i still have a couple of issues with it:

+ why do you need 75K as a minimum ? Sounds a bit high, even for 2 people

+ They say its built with node, but what about the frontend of frontend ? Only jquery ?

+ does it support bootstrap or other layouting frameworks?

+ when will they let people contribute to it ?

Id really like something like this being open source, but in that case i feel it would need some more flexibility to be integrated into CMSes and Frameworks. Abstracted reusable components to plug it into existing systems, some kind of Content Repository integration for versioning etc. If thats the plan, ill fund in a heartbeat.If its meant just as a downloadable tool to built basic websites it wouldnt have much appeal to me though.

9
meerita 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is Microsoft Frontpage all over again.

I'm sure they will have market: people who don't have the money to contract serious developers, and some novel developers who may like this idea, but in the end, I think it's a product with few possibilities.

10
joosters 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The reward structure is odd. For example, the 'super backer' $1000 level is limited to 200, yet the rewards given (e.g. The memory stick) are unlimited in the previous levels. Why artificially limit yourself to 200?
11
ilaksh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Do the components include back-end Node.is code also? If so I really hope your project becomes popular and is open source. Because I think that developers should code components not UIs or reinventing Crud or email sign up forms. So this is the right direction for developers not just designers or novices. The popular approach with a lot of manual code for basic things like layout and other things is very dumb. Components are the way to go.
12
kanakiyajay 3 hours ago 1 reply      
1.How is it different from macaw or Adobe Muse ?2.I did not understand why are you using a custom web framework xtyle , instead why not go for Bootstrap ?.Its already used by millions and you also save a lot of time.3.Components feature sounds exciting , but how much similar is it to angular directives.4.What is target market ? front-end developers or non-tech people?
13
sycren 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The product looks amazing but the Kickstarter reward levels need to be rethought.
14
mooted1 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Webflow, an existing product, is much more powerful and pretty affordable. Macaw, if it's as awesome as it looks in the demo, may be better than Webflow.

This, this is thoroughly underwhelming. Sorry.

If open source is your biggest differentiator, I think you should emphasize this. Being able to use this as a part of other environments would make it much more compelling. Maybe change up the kickstarter page?

15
korussian 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This seems to be more or less exactly the same as http://jetstrap.com
16
izolate 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It irks me that this is called Frontend. It's not, it's design. Call it Design. Or Frontpage 2013. Whatever. Frontend is a development skill, which requires intricate knowledge of markup and javascript languages/frameworks.
17
duiker101 5 hours ago 1 reply      
there are many of this apps already, and while there are a couple that are nice my question is: has anyone actually ever used any of this for something serious?
18
brickcap 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice. What technologies are you using to build Frontend?
19
incimou 2 hours ago 1 reply      
What about https://rukzuk.com/en/ ? Not open source but the only tool I found which has integrated CMS. Website says it's even extendable with custom code.
20
dennyoi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have no ideas - create secure messenger...or web builder.
14
Read less HN johnmurray.io
326 points by johnmurray_io  15 hours ago   123 comments top 67
1
fhd2 15 hours ago 5 replies      
I can see how HN is bad for the author's well being, but certainly not for mine. I don't feel bad about reading other people's success stories. I don't feel any need to switch languages/frameworks when reading about new/hyped stuff.

It's all just information, what you do with that is up to you.

2
sarafiq 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
HN and proggit are two great sources of consuming technology related information. I usually spent 20 mins in morning and add the interesting looking articles on instapaper for reading in free time. I don't think it's making me less productive at all and HN comments are great at deciding what to read.
3
peteforde 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Some might find it interesting that I consider part of my job as a tech strategy consultant is to keep up with what's happening on HN.

I try not to open every link or anything, because I procrastinate just like everyone else. However, some of the value that I provide my clients is knowing about changes to their competitive landscape before they do.

Tightly coupled with both experience and a willingness to offer strong, thoughtful opinions on the day's tech news, I am often able to be the most honest and disconcertingly knowledgeable person at the table... all thanks to scanning HN a few times a day.

I owe much of my livelihood to your often link-bait posts, so thanks. :)

4
michaelwww 15 hours ago 4 replies      
I've noticed that a lot of writers in tech generalize their experience to everyone in the community. Several times a day I'm struck by someone who talks about his/her experience like it's a common experience, when it may or may not be. I think it would be safer and more relatable if the author had said "HN - Bad for My Well Being," but of course that doesn't sound as portentous.
5
Segmentation 15 hours ago 7 replies      
Still not nearly as bad as Reddit. Subreddits have value, but look at the front page of Reddit. Zero value. On any given day, of any week, month, or year. Reddit's front page is 100% wasted time. I demonstrate this by asking to myself: Ten years from now what will Reddit's front page look like? Answer: The exact nonsense memes and image macros posted today.
6
tzury 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I live in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Some of the stories I read at HN appears on "mainstream-media" a day or three later. In most cases, Hacker News makes the local technology news "no-news".

As for the author's opinion, media, by definition, usually cover the exceptional stories, great success or failures, but not the daily challenges each of us is coping with, while struggling to generate more leads or turn a lead into a deal (yep, same letters, reads backwards).

I love stay in sync with the remote Silicon Valley and HN, the stories and the comments help me get that.

Thanks PG and the other guys for putting this site together and maintaining this site for us, entrepreneurs all over the world!

7
zmmmmm 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I have a different problem with it, which is that it invariably makes me feel pretty incompetent, because no matter what subject comes up, people with 10 times my level of skill in fields that I consider myself relatively competent in start discussing things and I suddenly feel quite completely devoid of any skill at all. Even on a simple thing like posts about typing I find people lamenting how they are only able to output 60wpm while I measure myself at 48wpm. Part of my problem is that I tend to be a generalist and know a lot of things quite well rather than single specialist topic at extreme depth.

How this all plays out in my head is a complex thing, but overall I feel like it is bad for my self-image. It is just very hard to keep the perspective in mind that I might be in the top 20% of people in a field but the top 1% will be the ones who start commenting on a specialised topic on HN. Add to that the different personality types hiding behind people's pseudonymous identities and you are getting a super distorted picture of the world.

8
k-mcgrady 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I've noticed a different bad thing that happens to me when I am active on HN. I become very argumentative IRL. On HN it's fun to engage other people, debating, disagreeing and arguing your point. It's constructive and usually we all get something from it.

I noticed that the more time I spend active on HN (in comments) the more I tend to correct friends when they make a mistake or vigorously argue a point of view on something not that important (these aren't bad things the but the frequency with which I was doing them annoyed me and my friends and it wasn't just the important stuff I was arguing, it was stupid things).

When I logged out of HN for a while this behaviour slowly started to improve. I couldn't stay away for ever though but I am much more aware of the effect and try to stop myself before I get too deep into a stupid debate/argument both on HN and IRL.

9
Sakes 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It depends on how long you've had an HN account. At some point the content seems to get repetitive. It's pretty easy to ignore the content that you've seen before.

But in the beginning it is a wealth of information, giving you insight into what should be expected when trying to start a barebones new company.

So you gorge on the articles until you rarely get new insights from them. Then, naturally, your addiction to HN ends. (Typically this starts the "remember when HN was good?" comments)

Now if you are addicted for other reasons, like you feel socially involved here, that I can not speak to. But if your addiction is content, that will fade once you've had your fill.

10
jonathanjaeger 15 hours ago 1 reply      
While I think all of OP's points are valid (loss of productivity, focus on things that are too positive or negative, unactionable items, etc.), I think there is a flipside. I'm not saying you should spend an exorbitant amount of time on HN, but I think many come for the community and shared purpose. It's like getting your Reddit fix without having to worry about cat photos and memes. There are many tech-related articles here that aren't about frameworks or success/failure.
11
VMG 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Just looking at the current headlines, your characterization is completely off.

But I agree with the larger point -- HN is addictive and biased. Moderation is key.

12
nettletea 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Time is precious.

The issue I have with HN (and other Forums), is that there is a lot of repetition in the comments. In part on HN this is probably not helped as it's difficult to overview and digest threads, especially if the comment trees are large. Comment verbosity and positional changes also make it difficult.

I think that is why in part people come, post, then move on. Necro-posting, even a day late is pretty pointless if you want to add to the general discussion.

I think I'd rather comments have a character limit. Or to get people to post summaries of their posts as titles. And/or some tl;dr; post mortems on comment threads.

13
mcphilip 13 hours ago 1 reply      
HN, like all news sources, is a mixed bag of content that has varying degrees of relevancy to its readers. Very few people have time to read all of the Wall Street Journal on a daily basis, much less benefit from absorbing that much information, and the same thing applies to HN. However, HN still provides a great source of current and emergent trends in the startup world. If one isn't able to consume this site's content in a way that's beneficial to them then the blame is squarely on their own lack of discipline. Writing blog posts extrapolating one's personal tendency to misuse this news source to some general rule of thumb is pointless.
14
james33 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually took around 2 months off of Hacker News over the summer when we were coming up on a big deadline with the beta launch or our new game, and I must say I noticed a significant uptick in productivity over this period. Completely fasting; however, hasn't turned out to be the best idea since I'm now more addicted than I was previously. The newsletter idea is probably the best of both worlds.
15
themodelplumber 15 hours ago 0 replies      
>>The solution is not to read absolutely no news at all.

A question: What makes you think so? I've gone months and years at a time without reading any news; it's a fantastic feeling, and if something is really important you'll hear about it from a friend.

Just as "read less HN" may not be applicable to everyone, "you should probably keep reading the news" may not apply to others, or at least others may have had positive experiences quitting the consumption of news media.

Scary, I know ;-)

16
GuiA 15 hours ago 0 replies      
HN is an online community, where people go because they feel that it fulfills them in some way (maybe because they plan to do a startup of their own one day and reading about other startups makes them dream, because they like debating with others, etc.).

I suggest the ridiculous notion that you should do what makes you happy, and if going on HN fulfills some part of your being - no matter how irrationally - then go for it.

17
nilkn 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of the few technical communities online where I post comments. The problem I have with reddit is that downvoting is too rampant. I also enjoy the focus here on startup companies, even though I'm not a founder. reddit seems to have this bias against startups which is overly cynical and even demoralizing. To me, the startup scene is (part of) what makes the software industry interesting and distinguishes it from, say, chemical engineering. If I ever do decide to become a founder, the information I've picked up here, almost by osmosis, will undoubtedly be invaluable.

Regarding posts about new languages or frameworks, I really don't think anybody is seriously suggesting you go rewrite your production codebase. That's silly hyperbole. Lots of people here actively work on side projects or they may be in the planning phase for a new startup with no code written yet--situations where they can legitimately consider using a newer framework or language.

18
alaskamiller 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I started reading Hacker News back in 2007. I got busy, really busy around 2010. I came back in 2013.

Nothing's changed. Still the same type of talk, same type of links, same type of mentality.

19
sean-duffy 15 hours ago 1 reply      
There is definitely a flipside. I wouldn't be nearly as up to date with tech if it wasn't for HN, and last summer I managed to get an internship at a startup that I would have had zero chance of finding had I not seen them in a "Who's Hiring?" post on here.
20
lazyjones 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I do not feel qualified to determine the psychological effects of HN on readers, but the author has some valid points. HN does leave one with the impression that there's this "get rich fast" club of 20-something entrepreneurs who are getting huge valuations and 8-figure cash investments for unfinished and seemingly unimportant niche products and unfortunately, you, the reader, cannot be part of it. This might be frustrating for people who work hard on their own startups and cannot get anywhere near this VC craze because they live on some other continent. Then again, it has no real impact on their own efforts, success is not made by VC or hype, it's the product that counts.
21
hgezim 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The loss of productivity and loss of focus in my work is exactly why I created http://HNdigest.com .

However, the content that I get from HackerNews is priceless, so quitting makes no sense.

22
iguana 14 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR don't read HN if you're easily influenced.
23
Surio 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Your article did strike a chord with me, simply because I had the exact same epiphany that you write of, a few months ago, and have been spending less time on HN since.

So, point of my commment is, add me to your anecdata count, of another one that thought in the same way and arrived to the same conclusion.

24
duck 12 hours ago 0 replies      
John, thanks for the Hacker Newsletter mention!

Of course I'm a bit biased, but I think curated newsletters provide a lot of advantages, several of which are listed in the post. Another one that I would add is the ability to focus on a particular topic or area that you find useful. I created a (curated) list of a lot of them recently - http://www.kaledavis.com/2013/09/06/newsletters-newsletters-....

25
barbs 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it weird that I read Hacker News for none of the reasons he lists? I'm rarely interested in reading about startups succeeding or failing, or new frameworks or languages, but I am interested in reading about cool things people have done with technology, or even non-tech related news. I guess I'd probably be more suited to slashdot's content, but I prefer Hacker News' format so much more.
26
S4M 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to add on the 4chan thread: "HN: why HN is bad for you".
27
jpatte 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I use HN as a kick in the butt. Whenever I feel down or demotivated I just browse to HN's home page, see what amazing work is being done in the tech world while I'm just sitting there, remember that I want to be a part of it, and go back to work with my motivation restored.
28
jheriko 14 hours ago 0 replies      
actually i love all of this stuff on HN. i really don't agree with the argument presented here - as well presented as it is.

hn is a resource where the stories of the kind listed in this article are available at all. for me this is important because i want to read those stories, i want to learn from the mistakes of others and see what other people /think/ worked well for them. sure it hurts my productivity, but so does the beer i would drink, the movie i would watch or whatever else that i would do in my down time because that is when i read HN for the most part.

what is bad for my well being here is all the 'self-entitled prick with first world problem' stories. i have no respect for them and it saddens me that the community as a whole seems naive enough on average that this stuff is considered news and not just 'smart' people embarrassing themselves with an utter lack of common sense or life experience. it makes me genuinely angry. the worst part of it all is that these stories and promoting them feed the very cause you fight against... see just thinking about draws me into wanting to collectively slap the majority of the community around the face and tell them how it is, you know the good ol' sciency way by pointing at data and examples littered throughout history instead of jumping on some crazy emotional bandwagon.

enough.

29
D9u 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I rarely read every article on page one, and many of those that I do look at I only read a couple of paragraphs, as was the case with this article.

Ergo, I disagree with the premise of this article.

30
pcmonk 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Regarding the curated content option, I don't think that would be a good option for me. I come here to learn about the unusual and non-mainstream tech stuff. Of the 20 frameworks, it's true that I can only really learn one, but I probably am not going to want to learn whatever one the curator decided was best, because the curator is going to choose the most popular/hip/mainstream one, since that's the one that would be of interest to the most readers. I come here not to learn what's popular, but rather to learn about the things that aren't popular.
31
weisser 14 hours ago 0 replies      
HN can be like FB - highlight reels that people sometimes compare to the full view of what they are experiencing.

There are also posts about failure but I'd say they are a bit less common than the ones about success.

32
Houshalter 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Something I've considered doing is taking HN and/or reddit posts and then applying a machine learning algorithm to figure out what kinds of articles I like/dislike and automatically filter out the ones that are likely to waste my time, or at least improve upon the existing sorting system and make it more personalized.
33
rfnslyr 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're that weak that you can't even read HN without properly filtering shit in your head, you shouldn't use the internet. What a terrible and pointless article.

Very thin blogspam at the very least.

34
peterashford 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me that often HN is an echo chamber for people who want to feel superior about their tech choices - an attitude that's inherited from it's creator PG. I mean, "Blub programmers"? Can you get any more elitist?

I view HG as a boy's club for programming fashionistas. It just happens that sometimes amongst all the posturing there's something genuinely valuable.

Regarding the OP - I think that HN is fine as long as you learn to skim and filter.

35
ktran03 9 hours ago 1 reply      
HN has been a blessing for me. It has taught me so much about startups/consulting and everything related. And the comments section is tremendously valuable. As an avid forum reader (self-proclaimed) I have the experience of knowing how to comb through the comments and be able to quickly extract what's important. Only a fool reads everything and interprets it on face value.

Sometimes in the comments what's written isn't important, but the thought process behind that writing could really help excel one's career (if one's able to discern it). I have to pay homage to the tremendously experienced consultants here, in which I've learned so much from, and has helped my career unequivocally.

36
tajddin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it goes without saying that it's all about your objectives and perceptions. Objectively, HN is a valuable resource to stay informed of micro-innovations in the tech industry.

I'm not someone that's insecure about what I don't know or how smart I am, as I'm constantly trying to improve all areas of my life; as a result, many of the posts here are inspiring and help set a fire under my ass to get out there start doing.

37
cjfont 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I must have missed all those articles about languages/frameworks you need to learn immediately. Generally I feel pretty comfortable with the tools I have now and don't feel threatened if I see some new cool tech everyone's excited about, but it does make interesting reading.
38
vojant 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it "complain about HN week" ? If you got problem with HN stop reading it, simple as that. We don't need your "awesome" advices how to read stories on HN, we don't need to hear that HN sux. I dont think anyone here got problem with filtering the content, if you dont want to read another startup stories you just don't. I do not see any problem here.

Hacker News is still awesome community, people here usually have awesome attitude. It keeps me motivated.

39
ekianjo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Another post in the do this, do that, because it's better for you fashion. Since when people are going to stop writing with so much entitlement ? What do they know what works for me anyway ?
40
d0m 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I use HN to test if internet is working. Don't do this, worst idea ever, but it's built in my muscle memory. It also happens that I read HN in a tab, and then open a new tab and get on HN again. Muscle memory.
41
Al-Khwarizmi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Too much of something is bad for you. News at 11.
42
dredwerker 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I shall invoke Sturgeon's Law: ("ninety percent of everything is crap." )

Sturgeon's revelation, commonly referred to as Sturgeon's law, is an adage commonly cited as "ninety percent of everything is crap." It is derived from quotations by Theodore Sturgeon, an American science fiction author and critic: while Sturgeon coined another adage that he termed "Sturgeon's law", it is his "revelation" that is usually referred to by that term.

The phrase was derived from Sturgeon's observation that while science fiction was often derided for its low quality by critics, it could be noted that the majority of examples of works in other fields could equally be seen to be of low quality and that science fiction was thus no different in that regard to other art forms.

43
webhat 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know, this looks like a thinly veiled ad for one of the newsletter published by Peter Cooper.
44
frank_boyd 2 hours ago 0 replies      
In other words:

"Why I read less HN and you should, too!"

45
ninetax 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Those are some great newsletter recommendations!

Anyone have any more?

46
mgrouchy 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the Pycoders Weekly mention John!
47
return0 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to read less HN, but i can't find something better.
48
johnjourney 15 hours ago 0 replies      
in a couple of hours we'll see

HN - Why It's Actually Good For Your Well Being (medium.com)

49
codecrusade 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Technology ADD is a issue I have been struggling with for some time. The compulsive urge to chase every new framework is real and I do not know how manage it as it eats through my productive time.
50
ludzone 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure how many of you do this, but I often find myself looking something up on HN, just out of curiosity of what was discussed and what people thought about it.
51
mikesickler 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the difference between consuming content and letting the content consume you. HN can't harm you unless you allow it to. Don't blame the content.

Sometimes there's no excuse for self-discipline, critical thinking, a healthy perspective on life, and self-esteem. I don't say this flippantly. All of the above are lifelong challenges for most people (myself included).

52
mbloom1915 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think most people visiting HN choose to read what is relevant to their interests and goals, as well as submitting similar content or submitting something perhaps breaking news in the tech industry for the day
53
asmman1 13 hours ago 1 reply      
http://johnmurray.io/log/2013/03/13/Nothing-is-Interesting.m... How can someone answer any question in there if there's no any comments area?
54
shocks 15 hours ago 0 replies      
noprocrast! :)
55
clamprecht 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You may be right. (hits refresh)
56
apierre 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My girlfriend is reading the Daily Mail like I read Hacker News. I don't know which website is worse for our well being but I try to read the day best voted submissions and it is enough to keep me updated with everything else.
57
danso 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually think the discussions on HN are pretty good, even the political ones. There are some well thought out people here, and then people who I would've empathized with years ago when I was younger and not more exposed to the way the world works. Both sides are helpful to read and be aware of.

But I mainly read HN for the tech news. I'm one of those people who will learn about Github/Twitter/Heroku being down from here. All the big hacks are posted here and thoroughly discussed. I probably would've never played around with CoffeeScript, Angular, Go, and Dart without them being endlessly discussed around here. I wish I had something like HN when I was in college.

58
newbrict 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I think we all read the 4chan post yesterday, this is just a reiteration of that
59
stephenaturner 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This could be said about nearly all tech news sites. At least HN is a cross-section of sources...
60
thangh9 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I just check HN twice each day to find some news for my blog
61
KamiCrit 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Really i'm just here for the hardware and debugging stories.
62
jpmec 10 hours ago 0 replies      
So your saying read more stackoverflow? :-)
64
felipelalli 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I read this on HN, so I'll keep reading.
65
michaelochurch 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Out of 250 Hacker News posts that cross my transom in a given week, I might open 30 links, decide to actually read 6 of those thirty tabs, and learn something from three of them.

This is still a better ratio than most websites. Sturgeon's Law applies. 90% of everything is crap, another 9% is of decent quality but not relevant to anything I need to do-- leaving 1% that is worth it for me to read. So I'd say that HN's numbers are on par, if not slightly above it.

See, I'd really like to dislike HN. Paul Graham used to be an iconoclast (with some serious technical chops-- go read On Lisp-- deserving of much respect) fighting the stodgy establishment of VC-istan. Having seen the failings of investors nearly destroy his business on several occasions, he tried to build something new and different: a fast path to funding and access so startups could focus on building instead of bullshit. But now that he is the establishment, he's not fighting hard enough. Then there is the issue of HN's abysmal quality of moderation, for which he must accept responsibility. So I really want to dislike HN and tell it to fuck off wholesale...

... but, the problem is that, in spite of these negatives, there's just a lot of really good stuff that ends up here. Reading less HN is good advice, but there's enough high-quality stuff here (in submissions and comments) to make it worthwhile.

66
tux 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Very good article thank you :-) I'm surprised HN haven't removed it.
67
dblacc 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it ironic this is posted on HN ?
15
Google's Decline Really Bugs Me blackhole12.blogspot.com
319 points by blackhole  14 hours ago   190 comments top 43
1
timr 11 hours ago 9 replies      
If you ask me, one of Google's biggest strategic successes was their ability to convince an entire generation of engineers that they were something other than a company. The way many (otherwise intelligent) people talk about it, you'd think it was a religion.

What you're seeing here is not the shattering of a dream, but of an illusion -- Google hasn't been a scrappy, idealistic startup for many years. It's a fine company, but it's a big company -- a collection of tens of thousands of people, all motivated by different hopes and dreams. No institution of that size behaves consistently, let alone consistently benevolently.

In other words: stop setting up false idols, and your reality won't be shattered when they disappoint you.

2
dudus 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
The stock market thinks differently. GOOG is above 1,000 for a while now.

Of course you may dismiss my point rapidly since the Market is more interested in Financial profit than any other thing. But the same thing can be said about Hacker News.

What bothers HN readers/writers will not, necessarily, bother the average consumer, the same way what really boost the Stocks may don't matter to average HN reader.

Despite the fact that HN hates the new Gmail Compose, and the new Youtube comment system these are still the most compelling offers in their fields for the average consumer.

HN seems to have the urge to not only discuss their opinion but try to flush down everyone's throat and then generalize broadly.

Google's Decline here could be better written as "Google Decline, among hacker news readers."

3
matthewmacleod 12 hours ago 11 replies      
What's with the sudden outpouring of Google-hate of late?

I totally get that Google is changing, and has been doing so for a while. But I don't see that as "evil," and I'm struggling to see why anybody would.

Google around maybe five or six years ago was a wasteland of shoddy, broken, unintegrated products, many with half-assed, confusing interfaces. That's been tightened up - many of their products are now substantially better; there's a coherent account and profile system in place; the weak products have been culled. Their focus is a lot better.

I'm probably using Google resources less than I used to - GMail's interface pisses me off, the new Maps layout is infuriating, and search is broadly speaking totally broken for me in places. I'm also acutely aware that Google's audience has changed - it's no longer tech-savvy early adopters, but almost everybody who has an Internet connection. Unfortunately, the interests of the minority groups of users are going to fall by the wayside as the business evolves.

To some extent, that's great - it opens up gaps in the market where other products can get a look-in. If Google's search sucks, I'm sure a competitor will pop up. Same with Gmail, or Docs, or Hangouts etc.

There are unsurprisingly some areas in which Google's record is not 100% clean - they stopped supporting RSS, removed XMPP federation, require profile verification (apparently) - but in most cases, I can certainly see how the business or technical case for these could legitimately be made. These are not evil actions - they're just ones that you (and I) don't agree with. Fair enough - we're under no obligation to use Google's services. In the meantime, they continue to develop a huge diversity of open-source software and protocols, and I hear it's still a great place to work.

I guess at the end of the day you could be right - Google has declined from your perspective. But I doubt that's true from the perspective of their wider user base.

4
birken 13 hours ago 5 replies      
Here are 3 pertinent facts related to your post:

1) When I worked there, long before Larry Page was CEO, 20% time barely existed and Google cared a heck of a lot about making money.

2) The share price going up makes employees, former employees, and all sorts of non-"wall street investors" very happy.

3) Your hacker news about section links to your Google+ page

5
IBM 13 hours ago 2 replies      
They are the new Microsoft but they're trying to avoid the same fate of companies like Yahoo and Microsoft; i.e viewed as stodgy old companies that aren't great places to work. The perception about Google needs to be "innovative" which is why there is lots of PR about their X Labs initiatives. But if you think about all of the high profile ones, they aren't really attractive businesses.

Driverless cars? It's technology that all the major car companies have been working on for years and is close to market. This means they aren't going to create a business of licensing that tech to them. Are they going to get into the high capex business of car manufacturing?

Google Fiber? Same story. Capex heavy business with lower margins than being an ad company. It also takes a lot of time to scale it up and roll it out to cities.

Most of these things are for PR rather than real businesses that will be successful and change Google's revenue mix from 90%+ advertising to anything else. Even in their core business, Cost Per Clicks continue to trend down. This is a deterioration in pricing power largely being driven by the shift to computing on mobile devices. Their latest quarterly results were good because they are essentially "making it up in volume", but there is a limit to how much ad inventory you can squeeze out of all your properties to keep driving aggregate clicks up without pissing off users or trashing your products.

6
gilgoomesh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The paragraph involving Steve Jobs is a misquote at best or a completely wrong at worst. If you read the article that paragraph links, it doesn't mention "maximizing profit" or money at all.

I think this paragraphs reflects badly on the entire article it makes the article appear to be a struggle to create a connect-the-dots conspiracy behind Google's actions (evil Steve Jobs told Larry Page to be evil and now Google is evil).

Steve Jobs told Larry Page to gave a strong focus on key products. You could certainly argue that Google are too strongly focussed on AdWords and Google+ but that's not the point that McClure argues.

7
dictum 13 hours ago 2 replies      
> Now it's just another large company - only concerned about maximizing profit.

> Google was a company that, for a time, I loved. To me, they represented the antithesis of Microsoft, a rebellion against a poisonous corporate culture dominated by profiteering that had no regard for its users.

Maybe You're Just Not Their Target Demographic Anymore

Google had better ideals, sure. But I'd say their current actions are actually making Google's products better for more people. Unfortunately, as their products improve for the majority of people, they become less accommodating[1] of early users and people who actually care about privacy, restraint in advertising, and domain-specific needs.

However, OP doesn't provide specific examples of what Google did that made him worry, just a general discomfort with Google that's been voiced countless times since their IPO.

I hate their general attitude about privacy, their gradual shoving of ads everywhere, and the usual we-are-open stuff used to divert questioning, but maybe it's time to admit that Google is just getting better at things that don't matter to you.

[1]: It's a false choice, yes: they could keep honoring their initial principles and still grow and profit, but has any behemoth corporation ever done that?

8
buyx 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Google has always had a massive weakness: feedback.

Feedback on products is atrocious -Google Now on my iPhone shows me a route home that would send me the wrong way up a freeway, and I don't know where to report it. Years ago, I ran into a serious issue with Google Desktop, and the bug was poorly documented.

Their maps data in Johannesburg has some annoying data issues, and is rewriting the geography of the city, because it is relied on by third party sites. They do respond to some Maps reports, and other problems can be fixed in Map Maker, but some are too big.

The common thread in these problems is that Google has very poor feedback mechanisms - a problem that has existed for years. Given their success in organising data, you'd think there would be a way for them to handle feedback efficiently, and in a standardised way across products. But feedback doesn't seem to be a priority. A few months ago, HN became an unofficial support board, with various tales of woe posted here, and then fixed by Googlers

If they get their feedback and bug reporting right, I'd be willing to cut them some slack: as a company, they aren't particularly abusive. Wanting to clean up YouTube comments is commendable and overdue, and their search engine remains very useful. It's easy enough to lock down a Google+ profile if you want, and to tweak Gmail to be less annoying.

9
codelust 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Unsurprisingly, companies (especially ones that are growing) do change and those changes impact their relationship with their customers/consumers. Tech is no different on that front, where it is different is that, unlike your department store, tech is something that you carry with you almost all the time. Understandably, people do get upset by this a lot more than what a similar change at a department store would result in.

I have been a fan of Google and have used a lot of its products over time. The company has been changing for a while now and a significant part of that change is that it is making the transition from being someone in the background (the advertising business), to someone who wants a front seat in everything digital. Consequently, its product line will also start to reflect that change.

And one of the obvious outcomes of such a change is that a lot of us who have used Google's products extensively from the early days are no longer the primary target group for the company. Early adopters rarely form the mass market and it is the same in the case of Google. Products like Gmail were never front line products. These happened to exist by leveraging existing tech within the company. With Glass, Android etc., these products are now moving to the front lines for the company.

I still use Gmail extensively, most of my video is consumed on Youtube, I still use search, Android and Drive (for online docs & Keep, not file sync). My main Google account does not have G+ on it and while things are not perfect, it is so far usable. I've rarely commented on YT, can't rate anything anymore on Play Store, but I can live with all that, at least for now.

I fully expect the situation to worsen for people like me in the years to come on Google, but that is OK. It will eventually lead to newer products coming into the market and that is always a good thing. Email will be the first thing I will switch and I think that will happen before the second half of 2014 swings around.

All said and done, I have been happy with Google being around -- they revolutionized search, made email an enabler than a pain (better storage & spam management) and every now and then I discover something awesome on YT that makes so grateful that it exists. It has given me much more than what it (and NSA ;-)) probably has taken from me.

Irony in all of this is that all this while everyone has criticized Google for being an ill-organized one-trick-pony! Maybe the OTP was a better company after all, eh?

10
devindotcom 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah, I had many of the same sentiments that I wrote up around the time the death of Reader was announced (http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/17/god-damn-it-google/). I can't really look to them for inspiration any more, which is a greater loss than I would have admitted a year or two ago when I finally admitted Google was no longer Google. Oh well. Next!
11
kailuowang 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I agree that Google is becoming a lot more intrusive towards her end users and the incentive behind it is probably profit. But at lease for software developers, from my experience, we as a group benefit from Google MORE than 5 years ago.

Chrome

AngularJS

Go

Selenium Webdriver

dart

Even Google Hangout with screen share helped our distributed team a lot.

5 years ago, what did Google offer? GWT?

And, of course, the search engine, we developers probably use it more than many other groups users. I hardly heard anyone use alternative search engine for day-to-day software development related search.

All these are of zero cost to us.

12
ttunguz 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The main argument in the article is that as Google has gotten bigger, its profit motive has become more important to the company, which is negatively impacting new and old products. While Google may have to continue to generate more revenue growth from AdWords and AdSense and YouTube in order to keep the stock going up and generate more cash, the majority of Google products aren't at all impacted by profit motive. In fact, most of the product initiatives at Google sap profit.

Android is a multi-billion dollar bet on mobile OSCalico is a billion dollar bet on extending lifeChromeOS is a multi-billion dollar bet on laptop/TVChromeBrowser is a hundred-million dollar bet on browsingGoogle Glass is a multi-billion dollar bet on next gen devicesSelf driving cars are a multi-billion dollar bet on, well, self driving cars.

None of these, save perhaps Android, has any chance of driving material revenue to the business in the next five years. Most of the hardware bets Google makes are money losers because they routinely subsidize hardware.

When I was there, I launched two product features that each cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars and were visible on the earnings-per-share number in the quarterly revenues we reported to Wall Street.

The argument might stand on Google.com, where the number of ads has increased. But for the majority of products (Gmail, Drive, Spreadsheets, Docs, Keep, Maps, Calendar, Books, Finance, Music, etc), it's hard to justify a profit motive argument.

13
d4nt 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Google, and tech companies in general, should not be trying to innovate despite the need to make money, they should be trying to innovate because of the need to make money. If Google have lost that culture of innovation because of a short term need for operational efficiency then it will hurt them in the long run. People have observed how Microsoft failed to capitalise early on the internet, the smartphone explosion and the tablet explosion because of a poor culture. While that effect takes many years to hurt the bottom line, it is real and it hurts. If Google go down the same road then that is them failing at plain old capitalism, not the death of some alternative utopian dream.
14
znowi 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I loved the early Google. A lot. But it's dead now. What's left is just the name and a dusty plaque in the corner that reads: don't be evil.

It will still attract smart people, but they will be of other kind to match the new company culture. The kind that joins Microsoft and Oracle. Those who follow the protocol, happy in their bubble, with the prime goal of maximization of profit. At all costs.

15
wrongc0ntinent 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Back when I was showing off my Google T-shirt, this is what they were (archive.org): https://web.archive.org/web/20001203022500/http://www.google...

A lot more's changed than just a CEO.

16
jdreaver 13 hours ago 3 replies      
> Larry Page worshiped Steve Jobs, who gave him a bunch of bad advice centered around maximizing profit.

What is so bad about maximizing profit? If you make a profit, it means people are willingly giving you money for the service you provide. You make more profit when people feel they benefit more from your service. People can complain about Google until the end of time, but as long as the cash keeps flowing then Google is getting the signal that everything they are doing is in the interest of the consumer.

Now, I don't know if the "decline" of Google, as asserted by the OP, has actually affected their bottom line, because I'm not on the board at Google. I just think it's silly to throw around the word "profit" as if it's some sort of evil goal. Profit is the foundation of a monetary-based economy, and therefore modern human civilization. There is no signal available that is as efficient as profit as a proxy for the wants of the consumer, and how to most efficiently allocate scarce resources.

17
stephenr 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Steve jobs didn't say to maximise profits. He said make great products, rather than simply adequate products.
18
Tloewald 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see Steve Jobs's "bad advice" having anything to do with maximizing profits but with maximizing excellence and surviving.

Apple in the late 80s and early 90s was an unfocused beacon of creativity that led to the company nearly going under (PowerPC, OpenDoc, Taligent, Kaleida, Dylan, Newton, QuickDraw GX, AV macs with video conferencing when QuickTime barely worked, Copland).

Was the advice bad? Quite possibly. But it was sincere and i don't think profit was the motive.

19
6ren 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Search engines have zero switching costs, so mainstream PR is a key competitive advantage for Google (not engineer PR). Their massive capital investment in server farms (esp. for google suggest) is another.

20% time was a long-term strategy to lead new technologies instead of being disrupted by them. Google+ is a short-term strategy to avoid being disrupted by facebook.Long-term self-interest is often close to "good" (so close it may be why it's good).

oblig snark: Instead of turning evil, Google be like Sun - die, and be reanimated by evil piecemeal.

20
wpietri 10 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the most salient facts to me is that Google was formed as a rebellion against the existing search companies and their business practices. I think "don't be evil" and "organizing the world's information" were entirely sincere, and I miss that spirit. Now I can't really distinguish them from any other company.

As hegemons go, I guess they're still better than average. And they're way better than Microsoft. But Google's decline makes me wonder where they're going to bottom out.

21
amaks 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs' advice was not (only) to maximize profits, but to consolidate the products, reduce the number of products "because Google was all over the place". That's from the Steve Jobs autobiography by Walter Isaacson. So far, it looks like Larry Page took Steve Jobs advice to his heart and executes precisely on that vision: all products get integrated together (including through the Google+), innovation rate is still high and growing, company is super successful in post PC world.
22
shmerl 10 hours ago 1 reply      
> They founded the company with the motto "Don't Be Evil", and the unspoken question was, how long would this last? The answer, oddly enough, was "until Larry Page took over".

This is probably very to the point. "Don't be evil" was Sergey Brin's push, and Larry Page doesn't seem to share it.

23
SilkRoadie 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I am not sure decline is the correct word.

Google's choice of direction really bugs me.

Scrapping the 20% developer time is fine. Cutting down projects to focus the company on a handful of products is cool. I never used Reader anyway.

What is worrying is the way Google is becoming more and more creepy. They have so much information about you and with the increasing rollout of Google+ I feel more and more like I am being stalked.

Even when I am not on Google sites their ad's follow me around. It used to be relevant ad's. That was ok. Now I visit the Alienware website and all I see are Alienware banners everywhere I go for the next week. Its freaky.

Now Google+ wants to do away with your alias and force you to use your real identity. Why would you ever want to do that? For a while there was a warning "be careful what you put on Facebook, it could get you fired." Google are trying to make that "be careful what you put on the Internet."

Perhaps some people will improve the quality of their comments.. I think a far better chance is that someone looking for me will find a 4 year old opinion or me playing devils advocate in an arguement and think I am a bigot, ill-imformed, stupid, whatever as a result..

The fact is that I want my email and my documents to be linked to me and my name. Anything else I would like to be attached to a throwaway name like the one I have on HN. Something I can abandon without worry that my opinions in 2013 will survive as "internet fact" for years to come.

24
hartator 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> waiting until an investor accidentally makes the world a better place in the process of trying to make as much money as possible

What the what?

I don't agree with the article. I feel the main issue with google is its laziness. No more legacy internet explorer support, imposing a bad google + whereas make it better...

25
bambax 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Turns out adult supervision wasn't all bad.

I remember some time ago, probably 2002-2003 (?) when Bill Gates said something along the lines of "every tech company goes through a period of love at the beginning, and then that love turns to resentment; Google is in the middle of their "love" period and Microsoft is way past it; but that will change".

And, like a newly wed, I remember thinking: nah, that can't change. My love of Google will never fade.

Yet here we are; today no company annoys me more than Google; every decision they make seems bad. Like most people I still use their products, but every time I do I wish I didn't, like when I was driving a Renault.

26
auggierose 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I admire the guys who can pull off something great with just 20%. I could not do that. When I have something that excites me, it soon grabs 100% of me.
27
mililani 11 hours ago 0 replies      
When Google Voice and free calls stop being free, I'm completely jumping off Google's bandwagon: gmail, google voice, google search, etc...
28
guybrushT 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Reports of Google's decline are greatly exaggerated :) G+ is annoying, but these days no large company can make all their users happy, with all their products/features/changes, all the time. The so-called erosion of 'Don't be evil' has just become more apparent now, but as long as I have known google, they always made money from ads - and ads are fundamentally evil (IMHO).Search, maps, email etc are quite nice and I use those everyday. Fast, reliable, solid products - vastly improved since I first used them (many years ago). Where is the decline?
29
SideburnsOfDoom 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Article says "To me, they represented the antithesis of Microsoft"

IMHO all they are is following a similar trajectory around 20 years later than Microsoft.

30
dschiptsov 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It is not a decline, it is just "maturation" or even "over-ripeness".

Speaking for a decline, it is rather a decline of interest in "internets" in general and especially social networks in particular. It is no longer a "shiny new thing".

So, Google, as FB, are trying to squeeze everything what is left from G+ and its flagship Gmail, just because everything switches to mobile and a chat is a new email.

That is why they are pushing Hangouts and FB pushes Messenger, which both wants to hijack your SMS app. But chat apps are too simple and it is not so easy to push ads here, because users will just switch to less annoying rival's service.

So, let's say that it is a decline of browser-based "internets", and email as a default way of communication, not just Google or FB.

31
dpmehta02 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This article would have been much more persuasive had it specified the actual decisions made by Google that illustrate exactly how that company has "lost its way" (i.e., chosen profit over solving important problems).
32
lazyjones 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Google was the antithesis of Microsoft as the author writes and is now doomed to become the same. It's a monopoly that has come to dictate its terms for maximum profit and resilience against competition. By becoming "evil", it is opening opportunities for a new antithesis of itself. Perhaps Twitter will take that spot, perhaps some entirely different company from the Far East? That's the way it goes ...
33
RexRollman 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think Google is "evil" but I do think it really all comes down to how Google makes their money. They are not like Microsoft or Apple, who actually sells things to end users.

I suspect we will see the same thing with Twitter too, as they seek to monetize their service.

34
mempko 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Only reason to be disappointed is if you expected something else out of capitalists....
35
brosco45 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Yeah, I noticed Google interviewers are no longer showing enthusiasm during the interview, it's a very worrying sign.
36
MichaelMoser123 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am sick of all this Google bashing here on HN; that's what is bugging me, really.

Come on, its a company, they don't owe you anything;They sell your data, yes, but it's still the best search engine, by far; to me it's a tool, and yes, they also use their customers as tools to sell adds, that's what the internet is all about - pushing adds.

They could still do worse, they could push much more adds than they do now, but they don't; That's something that few people seem to notice.

37
vuck 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I really wish people would shut up about Google's "ideals". They're a company, not a messiah. Companies operate on a midpoint between what they want to do and what they need to do, and Google (like every company) has slid towards their "evil" neccessities over time.

Don't like it? That's fine, neither do I. But stop preaching about a morality that was never there.

38
yapcguy 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The rot was setting in long before Larry Page became CEO. For me, the first sign was GMail and their broken/perverted IMAP model.
39
stretchwithme 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh, poor Sergei and Larry, duped into taking bad advice from Steve Jobs.
40
untilHellbanned 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" -Mark Twain/Google
41
michaelochurch 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This is not worth getting "bugged" about. I say this as one who made that exact mistake. It's really traumatic to see those who are supposed to be leading fail, but it's an ahistorical truth not worth getting emotional about.

I don't care to speak about Google, but more generally, here's something everyone needs to know. Regarding the way we assess companies, it's probably the truest thing in the world. Here it is: reputation is positively correlated with past moral decency and negatively correlated with future* moral decency.*

That might seem strange, but keep in mind that organizations change and, within 5 years, it will be a different set of people. Doing the right thing begets a good reputation (such as that held by Microsoft in 1997, Google in 2013, Silicon Valley until recently) but that reputation also admits complacency. If the same people were in charge, they'd possibly continue doing the right thing. But a new set of people inherit that favorable standing and use it as an excuse to get away with bad behavior. This is as old as dirt. It's why there is a centuries-old hatred of inherited wealth and position in all modernized cultures.

The same applies to "Silicon Valley". It's easy to look at its fall from grace with hatred and disgust; but the fact is that the people now on top are 50 years separated from the ones who built it; so why, exactly, is it a surprise that the ones on top now are so shitty? It shouldn't be. They inherited the reputations of their forebears (which is why they have favorable tax laws, a "cool" image not shared by more traditional companies, and their pick of top young talent) but not the values.

Preventing this kind of moral decay requires growing slowly: very slowly. Look at Valve, weighing in around 330 people after 17 years. If they'd had VCs breathing down their necks to reach 2000 people at 5 years, there's no way they could have maintained that open allocation culture.

If something grows organically and sanely, then there is a chance for there to be enough stability that reputation carries a positive signal (because past good behavior is a likely sign of the future) but if it grows at a venture-capital pace, reputation almost always predicts low moral decency in the future (especially since that reputation is usually bought from the tech press, not established organically over years).

42
mangala 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Here Here!
43
SloughFeg 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I stopped reading at "I'm not female, so I don't have to worry about getting thousands of rape threats every month". Inserting unsubstantiated claims for shock value into an argument just detracts from any other points he is trying to make.
16
NSA email addresses from Adobe leak pastebin.com
44 points by TheBindingVoid  2 hours ago   19 comments top 7
1
jstalin 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
How are those passwords encoded?
2
galapago 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess not all the users were verified:

162156813-|--|-jfnsdibsdibfsdibfusdbfusdu@nsa.gov-|-diQ+ie23vAA=-|-|--

3
pritambaral 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What is the significance of this? It's not like they all signed up with Adobe to backdoor them. ('Coz if they did, that would be an extremely stupid way to go about it.)

Probably legitimate users.

4
lysium 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Looks like fake entries; root@nsa.gov, really?
5
heydanreeves 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like that one of the hints is "1 to 6"
6
disdev 1 hour ago 3 replies      
A few NSA.gov.cn addresses too...
7
motyar 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
nsa.gov.cn ? really?
17
Australia 'spied on Indonesia President Yudhoyono' bbc.co.uk
18 points by peterkelly  2 hours ago   10 comments top 4
1
dodyg 32 minutes ago 1 reply      
I am Indonesian. Look, we know other governments are spying on our President. This comes with the job - however, tapping the personal phone of the First Lady is pretty much beyond the pale. She's not an elected official. This is done in a bad taste.
2
tinco 1 hour ago 2 replies      
If it would be rather awkward if instead of more peace and transparency, the Snowden files would lead to more open animosity and even war.

Of course blame should never fall on Snowden, but I think it is a given that close countries spy on each other. Nations act on self interest, it is very important to know what other nations are doing around you, or you could be caught unawares, like Europe was when the Blitzkrieg started.

3
threeseed 54 minutes ago 1 reply      
I really don't understand why HN tolerates these political articles.

Newsflash: Countries have always and will always spy on each other. It's human nature.

4
gadders 1 hour ago 1 reply      
In other news, "Dog Bites Man".
18
Ask HN: I've been plagiarised by a tech writer on Forbes, what should I do?
10 points by MarcScott  37 minutes ago   7 comments top 4
1
tomwalker 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Send them the bill for your content? Ask for a cut of the revenue from the advertising on the page?
2
skidoo 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ask to speak to the child in charge.
3
sherm8n 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's common for larger blogs to syndicate content, but they will always credit the original author with a link back. Even then they ask for your permission. Looks like they didn't do that. Email the editors to state your case.
4
w_t_payne 31 minutes ago 1 reply      
Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Not sure you can do anything except ask for attribution, and maybe a link.
19
DevTools Snippets: Turbo Boost your Browser's Devtools with awesome snippets bgrins.github.io
23 points by X4  4 hours ago   1 comment top
1
filipedeschamps 1 hour ago 0 replies      
devtools is becoming one of my favorite tools, everyday discovering something new.
20
U.S. Agencies to say Bitcoins Offer Legitimate Benefits bloomberg.com
87 points by a3voices  10 hours ago   28 comments top 5
1
AshleysBrain 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't "we have no plans to regulate bitcoin" just the least embarrassing thing they can say between that and "it is not actually possible for us to regulate bitcoin"?
2
spoiledtechie 8 hours ago 9 replies      
What's the best and easiest exchange to get into? Lets just say to start buying bitcoins?

also, what's the best API to use to start charging my customers with bitcoins?

both serious questions.

3
bfell 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
There seems to be a common fallacy that is propagated by media that bitcoin is untraceable. A visit to blockchain.info pretty easily dispels this myth. Bitcoin is anonymous (in the same way that cash is) but it is not untraceable. If money being exchanged to/from bitcoin is coupled with the same money transfer regulations as standard currency it ends up being more traceable than standard currency because there is a log of all transactions. This is likely why there won't be much resistance to bitcoin from regulators as long as they can control the endpoints.
4
maaku 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Did I miss something? Bernanke's comment basically boils down to "no comment", phrased in the polite speech Senate committee hearings. What's the news here?
5
Fuxy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm saddened that legislation in the UK is so awful that it's virtually impossible to run a legitimate bit-coin business.

This is going to come back to hurt the UK economy in the end.

21
Third Party Sellers Need To Rethink The Amazon FBA Program startupnation.com
131 points by hippich  13 hours ago   48 comments top 13
1
Lazare 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Here's an interesting hypothetical.

Step 1: User A purchases a shrinkwrapped DVD with excellent packaging from a counterfeiter in China.

Step 2: User A sells the DVD to an FBA merchant, who forwards it on to Amazon.

Step 3: User B buys the DVD from Amazon; due to commingling they get the counterfeit DVD. Before they can open it they get hit by a bus.

Step 4: User B's executors sell the DVD back to an FBA merchant, who forwards it on to Amazon without a second thought (since it's a shrinkwrapped DVD straight out of Amazon's warehouses.

Step 5: User C purchases the DVD from the FBA merchant, opens it, and finds its counterfeit.

In short, the FBA/commingling stuff means that merchandise you buy directly from Amazon can be untrusted. In turn that means that, as an FBA merchant, even merchandise that came directly from Amazon can be untrusted. Any shrinkwrapped DVD that has passed through an Amazon fulfillment warehouse is actually of entirely unknown provenance; it could have been purchased at a stall in Shanghai for all you know. And if your business relies on never selling a counterfeit DVD, then that means nothing you buy or sell can ever touch an Amazon warehouse.

I doubt this is a real concern (this is the first I've heard of any issues with counterfeiting and FBA), but it's still an interesting structural flaw. Given Amazon's volume, they're probably shipping out multiple counterfeit DVDs right now, under their own shipping label as well as that of various FBA merchants.

Fascinating.

2
droopyEyelids 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Mysterious.

"80 companies were sued in the past 12 months".

Where did the new counterfeit items come from? Is someone making them and feeding them into these guy's pipeline? How does that happen?

How were there enough counterfeits to sue 10 companies a month? What did the purchase history look like for his last buyer of a new "the mentalist"?

Did the author mean to imply that Amazon might have shipped a forged copy that Amazon procured?

Why is the tone of the article so glib? Why was it posted on a site like that, and where is the follow up, now that it's a year later? And whats with his next article about selling xbox games in June

I'm a cynic and conspiracy theorist, but I can't help but wonder if this tribe of amazon merchants found a source for "new" DVDs that was too good to be true, and looked the other way while passing them to amazon. A more outlandish theory would be that the rights holders set these guys up to destroy huge volumes of used merchandise.

3
beaker52 2 hours ago 0 replies      
4
pseingatl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The Seller (Amazon client) operated his business from paycheck to paycheck (i.e. invoice to invoice) with no reserve fund, no insurance and no set-aside for legal. He lost the lawsuit because he never filed an appearance. There are lots of lawyers who would handle such a case for much less than a $25,000 retainer. At the end of the day, though, if your business depends on Ebay, Google, Amazon or their ilk, you have no security.
5
cm2012 10 hours ago 2 replies      
As someone with 20,000 units in FBA right now, that is horrifyingly scary.
6
Fuxy 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Why do I have the feeling this is just a blanket lawsuit and product may not even be counterfeit.

Big companies do it all the time and smaller companies that don't have the financial means to defend themselves loose because justice is blind to everything except money.

7
diydsp 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, we really need to re-establish the practice of using signed, contracts, (as opposed to clicking through a web page) negotiated to protect both parties in order to further the healthy practice for all.

A clause to protect the seller would read as simple as "seller shall not be liable for counterfeit media as long as intent was demonstrated to sell legitimate merchandise."

The situation sounds to me like a case of someone abusing power/authority to confiscate a large quantity of product or knock someone else out of a market.

8
hga 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Certainly avoid buying books sold through this process, Amazon doesn't pack them carefully like it does their own books.

And I must say, I always wondered why Amazon seemed to be so "fair" to apparent competitors. Looks like "seemed" was right.

Also emphasizes the wisdom I read a while ago about YC not touching music related startups with a 10 foot pole. Media with insane rights holders does not sound like a safe domain to play in.

9
arprocter 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
I haven't been involved in Amazon in a few years, but when I was, buyer feedbacks could really turn sales off and on like a switch.

A seller needs to have 'good' feedback to show up in the More Buying Choices box on a listing - getting a couple of silly negatives ("I ordered the wrong item and they sent me what I ordered! 1/5") on a Friday night can push you down so you only show up on the Used and New page for the weekend resulting a lot fewer sales.

I also recall that buyers leaving 4/5 instead of 5/5 carried more weight than it should've done because then you didn't have 'perfect' feedback

10
grealish 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Email jeff at amazon.com he sometimes personally responds or forwards problems to his minions to fix.
11
bemmu 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This story is frightening, but at the same time inspiring too, considering the volume they managed to achieve. Seems like everything would have turned out OK if the product had not been media. Slightly confused about how the second business ran though, as it says they bought private collections of DVDs, but they must have been new, otherwise couldn't put them co-mingled on FBA.
12
sjg007 7 hours ago 0 replies      
So if you do use FBA.. Tag everything?... even the new shrink wrapped stuff... Then you can verify if it was yours or not.
13
brianbreslin 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope something good eventually comes of this. I wonder if they do in fact destroy your media or do something else with it when you pay for destruction?
22
Why Should Engineers and Scientists Be Worried About Color? (1996) ibm.com
66 points by nvr219  9 hours ago   13 comments top 5
1
pyalot2 5 hours ago 2 replies      
If you care about color, you should not miss "The importance of being linear" http://http.developer.nvidia.com/GPUGems3/gpugems3_ch24.html and corresponding discussion on wrong gamma in a variety of programs http://www.4p8.com/eric.brasseur/gamma.html

The prettiest gradients won't look good if the output color doesn't match the displays gamma.

2
maho 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I completely disagree with the first example - rainbow map vs. custom color map for height data on a geographic map. The custom color map is designed to show a step at 0, which highlights the coastline. Depending on what you want show, this is very misleading! Besides the water, there is nothing special about the coastline. The rainbow map, on the other hand, shows how shallow the slope of the coast is, and how sensitive the coastline is to changes of the ocean level.I also don't share the author's concern that rainbow color maps can introduce "bands" in continuous data. Maybe it's because I had to read so many of them over time, but in all except one of the examples, the rainbow color maps gave me at least as much information as the alternative encodings.
3
stinos 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Rather interesting, but can anybody point to something more practical? Ie some application or website that, given a couple of colors or preferences or sample data, constructs some sort of optimal color scale, preferrably also usable for the most common form of color-blindness?
4
phorese 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Being colorblind, the bottom row in Figure 5 is completely useless to me. I can also not distinguish +1000 from -1000 on the left side of Figure 1.

Publishers, please use color only when it's really neccessary, and then please have some colorblind person available for sanity checking! While it might be hard to find someone with the less common variants, you can at least cover red-green.

5
aldanor 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Trivia: their perception rule-based system is called "PRAVDA", which means "The Truth" in Russian.
23
Australia bugged the President of Indonesia news.com.au
22 points by C1D  3 hours ago   6 comments top 3
1
victorhooi 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Yeah, I'm not exactly sure how this is news.

Australian-Indonesian relations have always had their ebb and flow - East Timor, the boat people, and the Bali Bombings are only the latest things to rock the relationship.

And I'm pretty sure they knew we're spying on them (or tried to) - and I'd put my money that they were spying on us as well.

The mock outrage is amusing, but unless you've been living under a rock, you'd know that nation states do these sorts of antics all the time.

People like Assange and Snowden seem to love rocking the boat, and causing trouble - but spying and diplomacy have been a part of state relations from before cuneiform writing.

Quite frankly, I'd much rather professional diplomats play these sorts of games, and we get to live in relative peace, than the outright carnage, war and bloodshet that characterised the thousands of years before this.

2
7stark7 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Please don't link to Murdoch tabloids.

A better story from earlier today: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6752274

Every government engages in espionage, including Indonesia. Very few details are known about this particular case.

Snowden is the point of interest here.

3
markyc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Indonesia needs to fake shock and pull the ambassador to save face, but it's really not "news" that governments spy on other governments.

it's all part of the big puppet show they put up for our benefit ;)

24
Advice from Harvard Business School's Class of 1963 hbs1963.com
64 points by brianliou91  10 hours ago   14 comments top 6
1
GFischer 2 hours ago 4 replies      
Most of the advice is good, but I disagree with some generalizations:

"My one big mistake in life has been providing a trust fund for my five children. Im very comfortable paying for an education for as long as they want to study in a reputable university. However, providing additional funds so they could have a lifestyle beyond what they have achieved on their own was a mistake." - DICK RESCH

I don't know how big that fund was, and it might have been a mistake in his particular case - but I can tell you that the opposite (not providing any financial help under the "you must get ahead on your own" mantra) creates a lot of bitterness - missing U$ 10.000 for a down payment to buy a house (which I wouldn't mind having loaned, not a giveaway) and having to keep on paying rent and toiling at an awful company, while your parent inherits several millions, hurts. So does not having the possibility of asking for seed money for a startup, and having other people deny you by saying "your wealthy father doesn't invest in you, so why would I?". (note: I'm 32, I know I should have some money saved away by now, but I did make mistakes - actually I think I prove my point, not giving money doesn't guarantee your children won't make mistakes :P )

2
goshx 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Work hard.Be honest.Help others." - PHILIP B. SMITH
3
brisance 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for sharing this! I internalized some of these lessons from my own life and it has made me feel a bit better about similar conclusions reached.
4
meisterbrendan 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"Have fun. You'll be dead a long time." Love this.
5
fvrghl 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think Paul Rosenbaum's advice for careers is particularly relevant for programmers:

"Keep re-inventing yourself through self-education, because industries change quickly."

6
thoughtexps 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This might be interesting as well to those who admire this article: https://medium.com/p/1b1cde25627a
25
Mercurial developer responds to "Switch to git?" groups.google.com
190 points by St-Clock  15 hours ago   175 comments top 13
1
ggchappell 12 hours ago 14 replies      
Articles like this worry me a lot.

Most of this post leaves me thinking, "Why should I be worrying about things like this?" A fair amount of it leaves me at least somewhat boggled; I suspect I'm not alone here. The idea that a user of a DVCS needs to be familiar with issues like these tells me that something is seriously wrong with the design of DVCSs.

Remember, a DVCS is a tool we use to track and store data related to a project. The project is what we are interested in: the Python or C++ or LaTeX or whatever. Git, Mercurial, etc. are just there to help us keep track of the real work. Time spent dealing with the intricacies of Git is time not spent on the primary task -- the thing that Git is supposed to help us with.

Consider filesystems, which are also tools used to manage stored data. If I'm writing some Python thing, I don't proclaim to everyone that I'm storing my work on a ReiserFS volume, and I'm thrilled by the fact that ReiserFS indexes its metadata using a B+ Tree. I just store my data.

I think a well-designed DVCS would be thought of in much the same way. Clearly, current DVCSs aren't. Something is very much amiss, folks.

2
jheriko 13 hours ago 14 replies      
i am worried about the popularity of git to be honest. i'm convinced it is popular rather than good.

"I've really tried to 'get into' mercurial's mindset several times now, but never could, whereas, IMO, git's model is simple and powerful. "

I find it hard to understand what this means, but this is typical of the arguments i see for using git. really the core concepts of DVCS are the same no matter what tool you use, and actually i consider the things that git does differently to hg to be demonstrably and measurably counter-intuitive and in some cases dangerous.

the biggest problem by far is that git is dangerous out of the box - it can destroy your work very easily or leave you in an unrecoverable state.

why can't i roll back a merge in one step if i didn't configure things to be able to do that? why does my branch disappear when i merge? how do the jenkins guys break their repo so casually and find themselves struggling to recover it?

i believe this is the robustness mentioned here: "The changeset graph is in some sense more "robust" in that it's just there and doesn't change on its own initiative"

mercurial seems loathe to alter history - which is pretty sane and common sensical seeming to me, git does it as part of how it is 'supposed to be used' which frankly sounds as mad as travelling back in time to shoot your grandfather. for these reasons - to me - using git is asking for trouble (it has caused me trouble and i switched to hg for precisely this reason).

i cant reasonably recommend git to anyone... which is a shame. other than that flaw it is really quite rich and powerful and has other advantages over mercurial - including (perhaps foremost) its enormous popularity.

EDIT: watch as this gets downvoted from hipster gut responses instead of thought :D

3
tracker1 14 hours ago 4 replies      
I really appreciated that this response was not overbearing, or just raw opinion, and rather compared many of the similarities and differences from mercurial to git, and how they approach similar issues differently.

Honestly, I've struggled in moving from SVN/TFS to GIT, but it's been worthwhile.. having local branching, and being able to work locally is great. I can't really compare this to hg, as I haven't worked with mercurial at all.

The company I work for has moved a lot of its' development to a github enterprise deployment, and it's been interesting. I like git extensions for windows, though it's a bit rough around the edges. It's also a bit limited in terms of VS integration, but I can manage. I think that Tortoise + Ankh was a better combination overall in terms of the polish of the tooling, over what git currently offers.

I tend to now work with a few console windows open, and have been using the command line much more.

4
St-Clock 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I quit using Mercurial around 1.4 and was happily surprised by all the improvements in 2.8 (shelve, bookmark improvements, etc.). Martin Geisler's reply was both thoughtful and respectful, a rare sight in this debate.
5
shadowmint 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I think the big summary of this post comes down to, if you don't have something like:

    [extensions]    shelve =    histedit =    rebase =    mq =
As a git developer using hg you're going to be frustrated by all the things 'hg doesn't support'.

It doesn't actually not support them, they're just (for some reason?) shipped with hg but not turned on by default.

6
fhd2 13 hours ago 0 replies      
After 4 years of Git and 1 year of Mercurial, I like them roughly equally. I love cheap local branches, I also love MQ. They're just tools, I wish people could get over this kind of stuff.

If this is really about getting more contributors, I suggest a GitHub mirror. We do that, it's not a big deal (hg-git is pretty good), and it does get us more contributors.

7
DigitalSea 13 hours ago 3 replies      
It's refreshing to see someone with a level-headed response who doesn't fly off the rails defending their source control tool of choice, unlike what you usually see with developers of well-known frameworks like PHP and Ruby. I don't personally use Mercurial myself, but it doesn't seem like a bad source control choice, anything is better than SVN, right? Git and Mercurial both seem like great and sensible choices.
8
philliphaydon 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think Mercurial is the issue here...

Google Code is the issue... Didn't realise people still used that, its worse than Codeplex. Atleast use Bitbucket or something that makes it easier for people to contribute to while still keeping it with Mercurial.

I've found bugs in stuff before and ended up using a different project/library for the sole reason that I found out its in Google Code and the amount of effort involved in using the site let alone raising an issue or fixing it just wasn't worth it.

9
MikeTLive 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Ive been using perforce/p4 since 97. the last 8 years have been coupled with P4V and the eclipse plugins. My workflow is virtually identical to the much offered Git branching model [0]. Turn it -90deg with time left to right. Rename "develop" to "trunk". and think of "master" as being the release labels. release and feature branches are created from the build label of the previous release needing special changes that can not just go into trunk or when we want to do a minimal patch-only release. a developer makes local copy of the portions of the trunk they want/need.the server knows who has what opened for edit/add which makes checkins fast. only the change must go in.same for regular update of my local workspace.we rarely have people editing the same exact file and if we do its a simple resolve in P4V during your commit or integrate activity.

So far, there are FEW benefits i see to using, or switching to, GIT:LOCAL REPOSITORY - I have the whole repo for what i am working on so can work remote easierLOCAL VERSIONING - I can create lightweight local branches that duplicate only what is required without resync of my local repoPOPULARITY - all the cook kids are using it so lots of ops utilities now are built expecting it to be there under the covers.

I can live without the LOCAL benefits. I have for 8 years.I worry about the third - popularity vs. merit.

Where are the concrete comparisons showing all the features and functions of these solutions side by side and how they compare for a student, startup, or enterprise?

EDIT: found a newer perforce:git comparison on the perforce site[1]. The LOCAL REPO/VERSIONING is available with P4SANDBOXING.

I suppose modding me down is appropriate since i picked up on the POPULARITY aspect of the discussion and don't have any Hg experience. However, it seems these discussions just keep happening and there is no one-true-solution or approach. they each have merits and faults. it will be the careful consideration of these that leads to your own solution implementation. The popularity of GIT appears to be its strongest argument.

EDIT2: located a GIT-v-Perforce on SO.[2]

so many of the diffs, however, have been met with sandboxing

It really appears the strength is in popularity - everyone else uses GIT so you should too

[0]: http://nvie.com/posts/a-successful-git-branching-model/[1]: http://www.perforce.com/sites/default/files/pdf/perforce-git...[2]: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/222782/git-vs-perforce-tw...

10
encoderer 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Having used both extensively, Git at one job, HG at the next, now Git again, I mostly have this to say:

Both tools lack polish.

The biggest piece of mis-information I'd like to clear up is that often times a user new to either of these makes a few mistakes and then the cold hand of death grabs them and they're certain they lost work. You never really do. In Mercurial, the permanent nature of named branches and in Git the reflog both serve you well. Seek help in such a case, because if you think you lost work, you almost certainly didn't.

Edit:

Also, if you're using HG and not using patch queues, you're doing it wrong. Just sayin'

11
eddiegroves 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Mercurial's changeset evolution sounds really powerful and seems to address the 'git rebase and force push' problems that can occur.
12
riannucci 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Author/thread starter here: Really didn't think this post would have generated as much interest as it did when I created it... :D

It's a fairly enlightening thread though. Mad props to Martin for a fantastically thoughtful reply!

13
oleganza 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"The local revision numbers play no role here -- btw, they're just an (arbitrary) ordering of the commits in your local repository. No magic there."

I disagree. Mercurial is famous for its "simple" revision numbers that differ between repositories. These revision number are magical as they can suddenly change when you merge some branches and older commits get pulled into your history. Since mercurial and git are mostly about collaboration, non-stable identifiers can be very confusing.

26
Shell script mistakes pixelbeat.org
94 points by reinhardt  14 hours ago   29 comments top 7
1
barrkel 10 hours ago 2 replies      
The single biggest shell script mistake is not handling whitespace in file names correctly, and it's almost impossible to do correctly if you have weird file names: embedded newlines, leading and trailing spaces, embedded tabs. Embedded quotes can be tricky too, especially if you're writing a script that generates a script.

That bit, writing a script that generates a script, happens surprisingly often in bash. It's cheaper to pipe a stream to sed that converts it into a shell command than it is to iterate over all the lines, and individually pluck out the arguments for the commands you want to execute. Leaving the script as something that outputs shell commands also lets you inspect what it does before committing to it (by piping it to bash).

2
BCM43 13 hours ago 9 replies      
I find that after a shell script gets to be over 3 or so lines, it's easier to switch over to python or perl. Do others feel the same?
3
knweiss 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I recommend the shell script static analyzer ShellCheck: https://github.com/koalaman/shellcheck
4
sateesh 4 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the subtle shell script mistake which I was unaware was that if a shell script is modified, currently running instances of the script might fail [1].

1. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2285403

5
bloat 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great page in the same vein - bash specific, but quite a bit more comprehensive.

http://mywiki.wooledge.org/BashPitfalls

6
gwu78 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This example

  for $file in *;do wc -l $file;done
could be reduced to

  for $file in *; { wc -c $file ;}
in some POSIX-like shells.

Is the for loop even necessary?

    echo wc -l * |sh 
But...

http://www.in-ulm.de/~mascheck/various/argmax/

7
memracom 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Let's not forget unit testing. After all a shell script is code and code should be unit tested.

https://code.google.com/p/shunit2/

27
Two million Raspberry Pi sold raspberrypi.org
230 points by alexandros  23 hours ago   111 comments top 19
1
Theodores 20 hours ago 12 replies      
One of those two million is sat under my desk, collecting dust. I know a few others that are, and, I wonder what percentage of that 2 million are in the same situation?

Because you need a few bits and bobs to get your pi working there is a major disincentive to complete and finish whatever that hobby project was to be. Hence the situation with my pi - the wait for bits and bobs, a small bout of illness and the initial enthusiasm gone.

I think that the price of those extra bits and bobs is also quite a bit. Sure, everyone has spare power supplies and SD cards knocking around, but maybe not a spare video lead, keyboard, mouse, whatever is needed for the project. Just one of these parts missing from the misc. hardware drawer means a hurdle to getting started.

It is bit like buying a barebones car where you just need to put in a motor, a few seats, a few door panels, oh, and paint it yourself. You would learn a lot about auto engineering, for sure, but, it would cost more than initially expected.

What I would like to see is a raspberry pi that works like a 'hardware virtualbox', networking over USB, power over the same lead so you just plug it into your PC/Mac and you have something right there, ready for whatever web/hardware development needed.

2
joezydeco 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd like to hear a little about the educational successes that RPi may have achieved since launch. That was the goal, right?
3
whyenot 18 hours ago 3 replies      
I am using two of those two million RPis with camera modules to record pollinators visiting flowers (backpackable; activated by motion; solar powered). I'm still ironing out some kinks with the software, but the quality of footage produce by the camera module, the low power requirements and the flexibility you get with the RPi are really pretty amazing considering the price.
4
Ihmahr 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I am running two Tor nodes on two raspberries:

https://atlas.torproject.org/#details/B679923178D2B63F22C984...

https://atlas.torproject.org/#details/0A7028F6600F940D1A680A...

A single pi can push about 600 kb/s. This includes a lot of circuit requests and other encryption. Thinking of buying some more.

5
blisterpeanuts 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I got a Pi and a case and connected it via a USB-to-MIDI cable to my electronic piano, and now I can play and record performances to midi files on the Pi. Really cool. It basically gave my piano a technology update so I don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for one of those newer keyboards with a USB port.

My next mini-project is to build a web app that can run these midi tools and list the performances in a nice UI, so that I can control the piano with a tablet or phone on the wifi network (using something other than an SSH terminal).

I am thinking of getting a couple of other Pi's for webcam use. I had one hooked up to a cam but it kept dying for some reason. Maybe because of the cheap wifi dongle.

It's an amazing little gadget and the sky's the limit on what you can do with it.

6
melling 21 hours ago 4 replies      
What's the plan for future devices? It would be great if some low cost device like this would have a 12-18 month upgrade cycle and create the sort of buzz as an Apple or Samsung device. Moore's law has benefits at $30 too. Maybe release a $99 version every year then make last year's model available at $35. Get Intel involved? They're really working hard to get into low-power devices.
7
ck2 21 hours ago 1 reply      
What's great is now you can just pop onto Amazon, order a model B for $40 shipped and have it at your door in 48 hours.
8
roel_v 16 hours ago 2 replies      
How reliable are they as always-on 'servers' wrt running off an sd card? Doesn't it wear out the card in a few months time if you consider all the writing to /var/log? Anyone had one running for close to the two year's it's been out now?
9
royjacobs 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I absolutely love how ubiquitous these things have become. They're genuinely useful for a lot of different purposes but, to me personally, I like how eco they are. I realize this sounds a bit eco-hipster, but I really mean it: Whereas people used to have big media center machines under their TVs, you can just pop a Pi underneath your TV, install RaspBMC, and that's all you need. It takes 3-4w, nothing more. Lovely.

Having said that, a 60" TV and surround sound receiver will probably also take a least a few watts, if I had to guesstimate :)

10
rcarmo 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Too bad that miscellaneous issues prevent them from getting an Android port out -- regardless of RAM and CPU requirements, I've been trying to get a decent accelerated web view going on it since I first got one, and _nothing_ works well enough (Qt5 took forever to stabilise - and still isn't quite there yet, X11 still has no hardware acceleration, there are no browsers that take advantage of Wayland, Firefox OS is still not stable enough, and even the JavaFX preview ships without a web view).

But hey, they can play back video pretty OK, so I eventually settled on a mix of video and live streaming a desktop browser rendered on a normal PC:

http://the.taoofmac.com/space/hw/RaspberryPi/Streaming

Thing is, omxplayer crashes out of the blue for no apparent reason (either halts the player process or locks up the RPi _completely_, on any hardware rev) and have an alarming tendency to corrupt SD cards, so I'm moving to the Beaglebone Black ASAP.

They do make very nice low-power servers (I have one doing AirPrint via CUPS for iOS devices), though, and of course I try out a bunch of things on mine - if it runs quickly enough on a Pi, then it's blisteringly fast on a "normal" machine.

11
JetSetWilly 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I have found mine very useful. It turned my old USB printer into a fancy-pants wifi printer. It has been running tiny-tiny rss since google reader shutdown. It runs an irc bouncer for me. It runs a dyndns updater for me much better than my buggy router.

It would also run an rss-full-article-fetcher process I wrote but it turns out to be impossible-mission to get ghc to compile or cross-compile anything for arm.

I've found it really useful for lots of low-power bandaid solutions to various problems I have had.

12
cabbeer 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Would I notice any performance gain from using a cheap pc over a pi for something like BT sync?

The Pi's processor is equivalent to a 300MHz Pentium 2, and that's kinds scary.

13
lanewinfield 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Although perhaps better suited for arduino, I have one sensing bathroom availability in my old office. http://briiiiian.com/bathroom-f-graf
14
dil8 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I just got mine on the weekend! I have it set as a home theater PC with Rasbmc, so far I am absolutely loving it.
15
middleclick 20 hours ago 8 replies      
I would love to get a Raspberry Pi but I don't know what I would like to do with it. Suggestions?
16
atmosx 19 hours ago 1 reply      
A website to buy second hand Pi in bulk might work.
17
source99 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Who is buying these? 2 Million is way above hobbiest usage.
18
thearn4 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Great little boards, I use these as mini portable file servers/Git hosts in my lab.
19
mtgx 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder when they plan to make one based on Cortex A53/ARMv8. I assume sometime in 2015, to get it a little cheaper?
28
Snap Out of It: Kids Aren't Reliable Tech Predictors wsj.com
74 points by dkasper  10 hours ago   68 comments top 19
1
bowlofpetunias 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I agree with the headline, but the argument is crap.

Kids aren't reliable predictors because of a few fundamental lifestyle differences with adults: they don't spend much of their day working away from their friends, and their social network is usually within physically short range. For kids, everything in their lives happens within a short space of time within a small radius.

What works for kids may never work for adults, including the adults they will become, and vice versa.

So it's hard to tell whether the popularity of something amongst kids is a sign of a social change, or just a kids thing. (The latter not necessarily making it a fad, it could work for multiple generations of kids.)

Of course the even less reliable interpreters of such signs are old school dead tree journalists...

2
pmarca 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Any minute now, all of this inconvenient, annoying change will stop and things will go back to the way they used to be, when adults writing for newspapers headquartered in New York decided what people think!
3
moinnadeem 8 hours ago 4 replies      
As a 16 year old, the main use for Snapchat is a photo sharing service. Students take a picture of themselves, caption it, and send it to their friend(s). Think of IM but with a photo attached to each message. However, the conversation is based off of a photo, and only used for short conversations. Awkward phrasing but get what I mean?

However, at the same time, teens are more willing to send racy photos if sent over snapchat. They just view this as an added bonus, not the core feature though.

4
yeukhon 5 hours ago 2 replies      
> There is only one problem with elevating young people's tastes this way: Kids are often wrong. There is little evidence to support the idea that the youth have any closer insight on the future than the rest of us do.

And we grew out as kids and we actually were the one pushed social network and youtube to its fullness. High school kids and young college undergraduates are kids right? I remember Youtube back in 2005 when I was a freshman in HS.

I agree that buying snapchat is a risky investment. In fact, I am not really sure if that's going to make Facebook stronger. What is Facebook lacking? One of my friends today said "John I like the new Facebook messenger update. It's pretty!" I agree with my friend the messenger app is getting better. But what is taking Facebook down?

It's the way we share photo and videos. Frankly as someone who tries to become a successful security engineer, I can be lazy and agree to FB tracking me as long as my money isn't stolen. I can accept that and try to keep as little sensitive personal data like whether I am still a virgin away from the Internet. I can do that. Kids like me just want to enjoy socializing with friends and the Internet as much as possible.

So if you own things like Instgram or whatever social app you have, integrate that fully into your product. Why is GIF still not supported in Facebook? I heard they used to support gif in the early days of Facebook.

I am not saying there is an easy solution. I don't know and don't think anyone has any idea what would be the coolest yet functional comfortable interface Facebook should have. We need to focus on what people want to see. Facebook, GMail they are just becoming everyday's gadget. It is not exciting. Snapshot is exciting, maybe. Maybe it will continue but I know people soon or later will change to another one. We need to look at what FB messenger can't do that snapchat can.

5
001sky 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Something is wrong with the premise of this article.

It goes on to say that most companies that mad it huge were not "initially popular" with young people. But that is a bit of a sleight of hand for two reasons: (1) many of those businesses were <invented> or revolutionized by young people or students; and (2) it ignores the role that young people played in the discovery/momentum/tipping point to their widespread adoption. In otherwords, the two most critical parts of their value realization. Lastly (3) is the category of items that were or are only relevant in the land where (1) and (2) already happend. These are essentially "derivative works" in terms of their core value. Things like LinkedIn (derives value from FB proven use case); and Gmail (widely adopted and propogated through google) etc. come readily to mind. Out of context, they would likely be worth an order of magnitude less than they are perceived today.

Once you eliminate all that, there is really not much left in the article. The premise and idea may still have value, but whatever value that is must be found using different examples and explanartions, IMHO.

6
wellboy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the author doesn't know how to prove a hypothesis that's why the article is confusing.

He tries to prove that kids are not predictors of successful startups, but then he cites successful startups that were popular with adults. That's not how you make a prove, you can't make a prove of x causing y by showing that z causes y.

For this article to make sense, the author has to find out if the ratio of successful startups that were initially popular with kids is higher that the one of successful startups that were initially popular with adults.

Example: If 30% of startups that were initially popular with kids became successful and 42% of startups that were initially popular with adults became successful, then his hypothesis holds true. That's how you prove a hypothesis, but not at all the way the author did it.

7
clarky07 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think kids can be reliable tech predictors, but you have to look at the service and why the kids like it. Is it something that also translates reasonably with adults?

Facebook started with college kids, and the value seemed obvious to me at the time. I was not surprised at all that people continued to use it after college and that other adults joined when it opened up.

Snapchat on the other hand, doesn't seem to have the same kind of value proposition. The thing it seems to be used for is teenagers sending things they don't want adults to see. As a general rule, this is something they will grow out of, and not something that will spill over. I have no use for snapchat, and I'm quite confident that I never will.

Now, obviously Snapchat has a lot of users and they are sending a lot of messages, but that doesn't mean it will grow into mainstream adult usage. Lucky for them, we keep making new teenagers every day.

8
pcurve 7 hours ago 2 replies      
"How many of the products and services that you use every day were created or first used primarily by people under 25?"

And the author goes onto mention how Google, youtube, twitter, gmail, pinterest were never targeted under 25.

Maybe so, but under 25 were certainly the early adopters of them.

The author failed to make a decent case for his argument befitting of the link baiting headline.

9
danso 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Other things that kids have flocked to that haven't quite panned out as long-term, large-impact businesses: Formspring, Livejournal, Xanga, Chatroulette, Fart sound apps, snap bracelets

There's nothing inherently wise about what a kid thinks is a worthwhile thing to do. I can only guess that those who target them know the power of peer pressure, so if you get many kids roped into your product, then you'll get many, many kids -- and presumably, their parents. Other than that, hard to see the wisdom in pre-adult crowds.

10
calbear81 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been following fashion bloggers more closely as I believe they are a huge part of the success of services like Tumblr and Pinterest. I can remember when I first heard of Pinterest was because some blogs my girlfriend followed posted links to these new-fangled "photo pinboards" and a year later everyone was using it.

I'm not saying that fashion bloggers or kids for that matter are always right but perhaps there's something about the environment in college that makes services that are catered to these people much more likely to spread (the desire to fit in, to look cool with the next new thing, etc.). On the fashion front, tastemakers will be tastemakers, as much as the HN crowd may not be the target audience, fashion/style are important to a lot of folks.

11
6ren 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Please cite examples of technologies that kids embraced and did not become successful.
12
skrebbel 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I alone in the conspiracy theory that SnapChat's founders are just pranking us for the heck of it? "We're 23, we can code just fine, the worst thing that can happen if this all goes south is that we get a job somewhere."
13
drpgq 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm never really been a fan of Farhad Manjoo's writing when he was at Slate and now he's jumped to WSJ. Hopefully his replacement at Slate is better.
14
mariusz331 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you think this would affect Snapchat?: Apple or Google adding a self-destruct feature to text/picture messages.

Interested in getting some opinions.

15
desireco42 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Of course kids are good predictors. They have time and enthusiasm to discover something new that will allow them to communicate, alternative channel. When it becomes mainstream, they will leave, like they are leaving fb.

Does SnapChat is really worth 3bn or more, nobody knows for sure.

16
thornkin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What this means is that kids' tastes change and as they grow up, so will their tastes. Being popular with kids does not the next Facebook make. Instead, you are more likely to be ChatRoulette, MySpace, LiveJournal, etc.
17
therobot24 9 hours ago 2 replies      
The article reads like a jealous 30-something founder/ceo/evangelist/whatever_is_trendy writing off snap-chat as a 'boy-band'. Facebook offering $3 Billion shows that snap-chat is indeed starting to eat facebook's lunch (future users)...you know facebook, the company geared toward teens, college kids, and in the last few years, older adults. So maybe the article is right, kids aren't indicators toward the future of tech (kindle, ipod, whatever), but they are indicators of the multi-billion dollar market that exists for them that Facebook current resides within. The author needs to throw out the "i know more than you" attitude and look at the market that snap-chat has either created (facebook not gearing toward teens) or is stealing.

This should especially ring with HN, as everything i've read here is about how if you have some crazy idea there's probably a market for it.

18
DanielBMarkham 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I love cranky old guy columns, especially when the author is self-aware enough to point it out. Very nicely done.

Having said that, the problem we have with startups is stated rather simply: startups do not succeed or fail based on somebody's ability to argue whether they make sense or not. That's why these beauty contests masquerading as business plan competitions or swimming with the sharks or whatever are such bullshit. It's not about whether you can make a reasoned argument one way or the other. It's about market traction. That's it.

Now everybody and their brother wants to play armchair epidemiologist. What are the "risk" factors associated with startups? Do the youth really play out? What should team sizes be? And so on. And no doubt some of these tidbits of data are actually showing promise.

But arguments like this always fall flat, which, incidentally, is one of the reasons that HN "rate my startup" comments need to be taken with a huge grain of salt. You don't reason your way to success. You test your way there.

19
na85 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Ehh, I feel like this is written from the perspective of the investment industry, who foolishly pumped money into the incredibly-overvalued Facebook IPO.

No dismissive hand-waving can account for the fact that Facebook has little room to grow, and next to no goodwill among younger users. Anecdotally, I can say that by far the largest users of facebook on my feed are 50-somethings posting the sort of libertarian pseudo-intellectual shit I used to get forwarded to me in emails by my grandparents.

Kids might not be reliable tech predictors but if they aren't adopting your product with no room to grow outside the Kid Demographic, then good luck to you.

29
Amazon bares its computers bits.blogs.nytimes.com
112 points by DLay  16 hours ago   64 comments top 15
1
colmmacc 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Full-disclosure: I'm an engineer at Amazon Web Services.

"Mr. Hamilton later said privately that Amazon had developed original statistical methods to limit damage from catastrophic failures."

I don't think it's what James is referring to (as it's just the tip of the iceberg), but at Re:Invent we also released Infima - a library for service-level fault isolation and fault tolerance using Route 53 for endpoint discovery;

https://github.com/awslabs/route53-infima

The techniques in Infima give some insight into how we think about multi-tenancy and availability, as well as provide a framework for building other services on top of EC2, Route 53 and so on.

2
bluedino 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
>> Mr. Hamilton also said Amazon was not interested in participating in industry standards discussions, which could publicize its many technical advances.

What are the side effects of this in a few years, when all of the high-end stuff has been designed 4 different ways by 4 different companies?

What happens when Dell and HP's server businesses are shells of their former selves? When Cisco is but a memory as their biggest customers have began designing solutions in-house?

You'll have to go with the cloud. You just won't be able to get the best of the best equipment without doing so.

3
jsnk 15 hours ago 6 replies      
>All of our engineers are focused on reducing the costs of computing

If this is so, how is it that a startup like Digital Ocean that's only 2 years old find a way to provide $5/month plan that's running on SSD while m1.small on EC2 which is slower than DO costing me around $40/month? At this rate, I should probably buy a server myself and run it at home.

I like AWS and its ecosystem, but I am tired of Amazon continuing to provide shitty service for a ridiculous cost.

4
eitally 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that they focus on all the infrastructure they design and build/commission themselves. They are also a big customer of my company (http://www.newisys.com/Products/products.shtml). Coincidentally, they call out Facebook at the bottom of the article, in context of the Open Compute Project. Facebook had airflow and overheating problems with their intended OCP design and our Newisys engineers helped with some design adjustments to resolve those, too. Now Facebook is buying cheap Taiwanese-made (Quanta & Compal) OCP-design servers and shipping them to us (http://sanmina.com/) for racking, systems test, and shipping to their DC in Lulea, Sweden (https://www.facebook.com/LuleaDataCenter).

So yes, these guys all do lots of tough engineering work, but it's not in isolation and not without assistance from industry veterans whose careers it has been to ensure properly functioning data centers and networks.

5
b0b0b0b 14 hours ago 0 replies      
James Hamilton's blog is not to be missed:

http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/

6
venus 15 hours ago 4 replies      
> 1.5 million requests a second, and holds trillions of objects

My god. I used to think I was a bit of a rock star, with (rails) web sites exceeding 100 requests/second on my resume. 1.5 million requests per second ... I cannot even really imagine that.

7
kevinchen 15 hours ago 2 replies      
> Google publishes some technical papers about its big computers, but does not talk about things like the semiconductors it has developed internally to handle computing at this scale.

Google designs its own ICs now?

8
locusm 14 hours ago 1 reply      
A Dell account exec told me last week that Dell had built and implemented the Sydney AWS data center - any truth to that statement?
9
mwilcox 15 hours ago 1 reply      
"You've reached your limit of 10 free articles a month." ugh.
10
kraemate 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone have the link to the original presentation? Particularly intrigued by the statistical fault tolerance.
11
11thEarlOfMar 13 hours ago 1 reply      
What is rather mind boggling is that Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo all have multiple, huge data center installations and, they are all profitable companies. It does not seem to be a zero-sum game yet for market share, and the growth in the world's appetite for storage and access is still not fully served. Can they all wind up 'winning' with profitable operations founded on web infrastructure?

How much storage does one Internet citizen occupy, anyway?

12
badmadrad 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The price will bottom out eventually and Amazon knows this. What we are really seeing is an infrastructure arms race and that is why AWS is costly. They are not building AWS for the individual user long term. They are building it for the enterprise. Eventually as bandwidth and computing power increases and cost decreases it may be feasible to run your personal blog out of your house or use a VPS on Digital Ocean. However, as we become a global community you will have to think about your application on that scale to be successful and that's where AWS can find longevity.
13
rottyguy 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Not really meant to be a slam, but startling to me that even after all these years, Amazon still has a PE of 1330+.
14
anan0s 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm a bit skeptical on the fact that such companies do not disclose their custom infrastructure design. So their value is both in hardware optimizations as well as software ones ?

being a grad student myself, I'm wondering if we'll ever see any specific technical aspects on infrastructures that could drive systems research and provide real problems to be attacked...

15
dschiptsov 9 hours ago 0 replies      
VmWare is a much greater waste.
30
PiCloud has joined Dropbox picloud.com
43 points by aseidl  10 hours ago   17 comments top 8
1
cschmidt 9 hours ago 2 replies      
As a very happy user of PiCloud, I'm sad to see it go. It is a shame they had such A-list VC's (Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Greylock Partners), who don't have an interest in just a good solid business. They only wanted a huge, home run.

I've been looking around for a good replacement, and there is a gap. PiCloud really had three components. The first was an ability to run code with arbitrary dependencies with no more than a second start up time. PiCloud called them environments. This is really the same problem Docker is addressing. Both were using LXC and AUFS to solve the problem. Unfortunately, Docker-as-a-service is very early days. People like orchardup.com are getting there, but so far only have hourly pricing. There is enginedock.com which has per minute pricing, but is it super early on. I'm in a "Docker gap", where these services are really not at the same level that PiCloud was.

The second was the nice Python API, RESTful interface, and the command line interface for triggering off jobs, querying when the finish, and getting the results. That part will presumably be open sourced, but it is really all tied in to the hosting portion.

Then the third level is to have a bunch of machine you can load balance across, to allow per second pricing on AWS. They had such lovely high memory, high CPU machines to run on. The split up some of the biggest EC2 cluster instances, and you could run each process on your 1/8 share. The nearest current replacement is iron.io's IronWorker. However, they only have 320MB per job, which doesn't work for my application. Also Heroku workers are billed per second, but they only have up to 1GB of memory. I'm hoping that this (new?) entity Multyvac can serve that role successfully. Hopefully, they'll tell us more detail on this soon.

Anyway, best of luck to the PiCloud team. You were great. Especially Aaron who did much of the tech support. Thanks.

2
ibejoeb 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh man, two things: first, I wonder what DropBox will do with PiCloud, and second, I feel like a dodged a bullet. I kinda hate saying that, since it always turns up on these threads, but it's just true.

I had been working seriously on converting a financial application to run on PiCloud. It's mid-November. In the hundred days until they cease operations, I would have had to deal with 10-K filings for my clients and scramble to get the hell out of there, just in time for Q1. What an absolute mess that would have been.

No other time would have been much better, and I know there's an API compatible replacement in the works, but I've been there, and I'm sure something would have freaked out.

Whatever happened to having some kind of reasonable transition period where the buyer continues to support all of its clients? PiCloud, your product was really neat. DropBox, I really wish you wouldn't just hit it and quit it.

3
dwiel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
At PlotWatt, we've been using the picloud's pickler for a while in our own implementation of the picloud job queue. We don't have all of the bells and whistles that their service did, but running our own queue made it easier to control the details like the number of machines, environment and network configuration, though we tried them out first before their environments feature was set up, so they might have solved most of those problems by now.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in seeing even a bare-bones python function queue based on picloud's pickler, get in touch and maybe we can open source what we have and build it out a little more. Its not open source right now just because its tied into some of our other libraries, but if there is interest, we could probably split it all up.

4
gpjt 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sorry to see these guys go, they were a great company to have in the Python space (though they did branch out to other languages, I think).

When we started PythonAnywhere they were right up there on the list of potential competitors, though as it turned out our early adopters steered us more in the direction of hosting and lightweight computation (ping an API periodically and do stuff with the results) rather than heavy-duty computing.

The big problem with VC backing is that they really want $1bn exits. For them, Heroku's $200MM exit to Salesforce was almost a failure. I guess they couldn't see PiCloud going that way, so they chose not to invest again. Better to put the cash into a more likely-looking moonshot.

IMO this is a pity, because there are a bunch of smaller-than-$1bn but still solid companies that are getting starved of funding. The business-to-developer space is particularly prone to that kind of issue; it's less of a winner-takes-all market, so the big wins that VCs want are rarer than they are in other markets.

5
zokier 3 hours ago 0 replies      
What's PiCloud and what's Multyvac, and what does all this mean?
6
curiouslearn 9 hours ago 1 reply      
So sad to see PiCloud go. They made parallel computation so easy to implement. Their service was really well-built.
7
kunle 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Just checked out www.multyvac.com, which has webvan, boo.com, etoys and lehman brothers listed as customers. What's the joke? Not sure I get it.
8
joschu 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Love the Isaac Asimov reference in "Multyvac"

I use Picloud for my CS PhD research, I hope to be able to continue with Multyvac or the open-source version.

       cached 18 November 2013 14:02:01 GMT