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1
Black Swan Farming paulgraham.com
689 points by siavosh  7 days ago   303 comments top 4
1
paul 7 days ago  replies      
The counter-intuitive nature of startup investing is a big part of what makes it so interesting to me. In most aspects of life, we are trained to avoid risk and only pursue "good ideas" (e.g. try to be a lawyer, not a rock star). With startups, I get to focus on things that are probably bad ideas, but possibly great ideas. It's not for everyone, but for those of us who love chasing dreams, it can be a great adventure.
2
mixmax 7 days ago  replies      
There's a pretty interesting lesson for potential YC candidates, particularly the ones that get turned down, here.

When you interview a startup and think "they seem likely to succeed," it's hard not to fund them. And yet, financially at least, there is only one kind of success: they're either going to be one of the really big winners or not, and if not it doesn't matter whether you fund them, because even if they succeed the effect on your returns will be insignificant.

What this means is that YC is not looking for sustainable businesses, but homeruns. Which is entirely fair, that's the business they're in.

But you and your startup are in a different business: Your measure of success isn't the same as Ycombinators. If your startup ends up making you a million dollars a year you will probably be very happy and rightfully call yourself a success. But as the post points out that won't be enough for YC since they need to fund a lot of other startups that will inevitably fail out of their minority share. Thus they need a much bigger success.

If you get turned down for YC it might well be that your idea is just a sound business idea that YC doesn't consider just crazy enough that it might make them a billion dollars. But that doesn't mean that it won't make you a million.

3
patio11 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is a very interesting essay, if for no other reason that when smart people observe that other smart people have mental blocks against believing the truth of measurable features of material reality, that suggests a market inefficiency. Persistent market inefficiencies should always ping your radar a little bit, because exploiting them makes you rich.
4
cperciva 7 days ago  replies      
Quoth pg: It would hurt YC's brand (at least among the innumerate) if we invested in huge numbers of risky startups that flamed out.

Paul, you're sounding like a venture capitalist who is worried about whether he can find investors for his next fund.

I would posit that the people whose opinions you should care about are potential founders; and that their primary concern is themselves, not the performance of a fund (oops, I mean class) as a whole. You're damn right that it would hurt YC's brand if 70% of each class didn't survive past Demo Day -- because for an individual founder, success is pretty much binary, and having a 50% chance of becoming a millionaire is more attractive than having a 5% chance of becoming a billionaire, despite the 100-fold reduction in mean wealth.

You may be in in the business of farming black swans, but if they're all you worry about you'll find that all the swans end up laying their eggs elsewhere.

3
RIP Vile Rat, EVE Online Diplomat, IRL State Dept Rep Killed In Benghazi themittani.com
529 points by HistoryInAction  4 days ago   261 comments top 15
1
sanswork 4 days ago 7 replies      
I'm an Eve player. I'm a TEST member so for quite a while I've been an allie to the alliance he was a member of but thats not why I know him. I knew VR because he was one of the most well know and well respected diplomats in the complex and amazing game of eve.

For those that don't play the game you have allies(who are called blues) and enemies(reds), and neutrals(greys) TEST(reddit) and Goons(SomethingAwful) always would joke about their ability to shoot blues(allies) for fun. But it would always require a trip to Vile Rat to sort it out.

I didn't know the man personally but I have respected him for a long time in a game that I really enjoy and from that I honestly feel personally connected to him. I have a lot of friends in this game who actually are personally connected to him.

Eve is fun, eve is empires with consequences, eve is taking a risk and losing it all. Something I think the traditional HN crowd would enjoy.

RIP Sean

And condolences to your family and your many friends around the world and all the people that have seen your messages, watched your diplomacy and looked up to your lead.

EDIT: for people up voting me for this. I appreciate the thought but I don't feel comfortable collecting virtual points for this. Instead of an up vote please just post a reply.

2
jahmed 4 days ago 5 replies      
Theres something missing from this all.

(12:54:09 PM) vile_rat: assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures

This is Sept 11, 2012.

This (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/09/20129112108...) article updated at 7:02(GMT?) reports the death. The video in that story was uploaded to youtube by Al Jazzera 9 hours ago which would be midnight Bengazhi time (EET) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcm_Ss0ExZg.

So at some point roughly after 00:00 EET when the Al Jazeera footage was shot, where we see what is described as 1500 protesters and thousands of riot police, and 7:00 EET an American IT worker is shot and killed in a consulate.

I don't see who gains from staging protests on a sensitive day and letting an American get killed. Of all the people who would be at a consulate the IT guy happens to be the unlucky one. I don't think this was a 'normal' protest.

3
Udo 4 days ago 0 replies      
He was also a moderator at SomethingAwful.com. Here's the thread about his passing: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=350...

Corresponding Middle East thread (go to last page for coverage of the incident): http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=339...

There is an article in Eurogamer about him: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-09-12-us-official-kil...

4
seagreen 4 days ago 0 replies      
"If you play this stupid game, you may not realize it, but you play in a galaxy created in large part by Vile Rat's talent as a diplomat. No one focused as relentlessly on using diplomacy as a strategic tool as VR. Mercenary Coalition flipped sides in the Great War in large part because of Vile Rat's influence, and if that hadn't happened GSF probably would have never taken out BoB."

Sounds like a man who was good at his job. I feel a lot better about the State Department knowing they hire people like this. The comments say he had a family, I hope they're taken care of. RIP.

5
jcurbo 4 days ago 1 reply      
RIP Vile Rat. I didn't know him personally but I feel like I did, through being an SA forums member and playing Eve Online in Goonfleet for many years. He was a moderator on SA and well known for being a great, helpful guy. Truly a sad day.
6
batista 4 days ago 3 replies      
I was saying back in the day in another HN post that the so called Libyan "protesters" were a bunch of crooks and mercenaries picked up and supported to topple Khadaffi. The Libyan case had nothing like the _real_ popular protest in Algeria, Egypt etc.

Why? Because Libya was stable under Khadaffi (as stable as those kind of places get) and people had it relatively very good. And yet he was portrayed like some Dr. Evil plotting to takeover the world, so that the western masses will cheer when he got toppled and foreign interests get the oil and natural resources.

And the very thing was hailed as a "triumph of democracy" etc (what a democracy, when foreign leaders cheer when an adversary is beaten to a pulp -- gone are the days when even Nazi generals were treated with respect by the western officers when captured).

Well, it didn't last long, now, as predicted, Libya will get to be another unstable, civil-war, dogmatic islam nightmarish country.

7
rdl 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is really sad (I remember trying to play EVE from Baghdad, but the latency made combat really painful, so instead I just read kindle books...).

I wish DoS had more "continuous" force protection levels; they seem to go from ~nothing (relying on host nation) to absurd overkill, with nothing in between, unlike DoD and others who have multiple levels.

8
krobertson 4 days ago 0 replies      
RIP Vile Rat. I didn't know him, but as an Eve player I've felt the impact of his influences there.

Didn't expect to see this on HN. Interesting the differences in comments between here and /r/eve.

9
timee 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was on the other side of the war when Lokta Volterra was swept away and saw the carefully placed agents disrupt and cripple the defense and organization. Those events pretty much killed EVE for me as I lost everything in the game and had no desire to rebuild.

Looking back 6 years later, it's fascinating how we touch each others lives through these communities. While I never knew VR, I can't help but to feel connected to this State Dept official in Libya. RIP.

10
malloreon 4 days ago 3 replies      
SA mod too, all around nice guy.
11
martindale 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a mass rename of a great number of "outposts" in the game to honor Vile Rat: http://evemaps.dotlan.net/outposts/changes
12
jeremyrwelch 4 days ago 0 replies      
Strange times we live in. Blessed to be able to learn from and interact with amazing souls, no matter where they are in the physical world.

RIP.

13
flexd 4 days ago 1 reply      
A major norwegian newspaper just published a picture on their front page of someone being dragged out of there.

I am not going to link it because nobody should have to see that. Especially not anybody who knew him.

Every picture that could mean someone is identified is usually blurred out before being published, but not today apparently. Seeing the picture made me feel sick and disgusted with how the media operates.

I did not know Sean but as an former EVE player I have heard of him.

My thoughts go out to his family and loved ones, and to those of you that knew him. I am truly sorry for your loss. :(

RIP Sean

14
dbcooper 4 days ago 0 replies      
And now the US ambassador to Libya has been killed. Another successful foreign intervention ...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19570254

15
ddfisher 4 days ago  replies      
Terrible. RIP. :(

What can we do to stop things like this from happening again? There's clearly no quick-fix overnight solution, but there should be some set of actions we can take to slowly reduce/eventually eliminate this kind of violence. Any ideas?

4
Show HN: We got tired of asking 'What browser are you using?' and created this aboutmybrowser.com
508 points by ashastry  6 days ago   175 comments top 29
1
dsr_ 6 days ago 4 replies      
Let me make a suggestion: for reporting, return a URL with a set of word codes rather than numbers and letters.

https://aboutmybrowser.com/dog_walrus_banana_door

If you figure out a set of 1000 short words that are not too close to each other and easy to pronounce, four of them gives you a trillion possible combinations. If you window it so that the first word is always the same on a given day and keep a record of that list, you can differentiate a billion combinations in a day and have a good check that the information was gathered recently (or else is a thousand or more days old.) http://www.manythings.org/vocabulary/lists/l/ will get you common words, as a start.

2
jasonkester 6 days ago 2 replies      
Cool. How about adding a way to automatically fire off a web hook after sniffing the information. As in:

"Thanks for reporting the issue. Would you mind following this link so that we can get some information about your web browser? https://aboutmybrowser.com/?to=mysite.com/browserhook

Or better, let me sign up for an account and register a named webhook with you, as in, https://aboutmybrowser.com/mysite, that would automatically forward information from anybody hitting it to the webhook url I'd configured at mysite.com.

That would rock.

3
jonasvp 6 days ago 7 replies      
Wow, talk about synchronicity... I put up our site doing the exact same thing last night! Design-wise you're definitely ahead, however. :-)

Our version is at http://www.browser-details.com. When you sign up you get your own subdomain - or you define a CNAME under your own domain [premium]. You can upload your logo, define a list of recipients, and your clients can send the browser details directly to one of those recipients/departments.

We still need to change the color scheme (I wanted to launch at the end of the week, so it's straight Bootstrap for now) and finish the translation to German. Also: Premium version!

Feel free to be a beta tester! Also: all the best to the OP, great idea! ;-)

4
aidos 6 days ago 2 replies      
There's also supportdetails.com which has a feature to let you customise [1] the recipient email etc so people can easily forward the details through to you.

[1] http://supportdetails.com/?sender_name=example&sender=em...

5
derleth 6 days ago 2 replies      
500 Errors:

Lynx on Linux: https://aboutmybrowser.com/1909674851

w3m on Linux: https://aboutmybrowser.com/1942341369

links on Linux: https://aboutmybrowser.com/3183933151

elinks on Linux: https://aboutmybrowser.com/3918182904

Also, it works just fine on Firefox with NoScript blocking JavaScript from your site.

6
lordlarm 6 days ago 3 replies      
With Maxthon I get "We're sorry, but something went wrong" (https://aboutmybrowser.com/398693348)

Also, why are you using (ugly) unofficial icons for some of the browsers (Opera for example)? :)

7
kibwen 6 days ago 1 reply      
That's an interesting Firefox logo you're displaying. Rather than featuring the generic "Planet Mozilla" globe, it appears to be using a map of Earth centered on Japan. The fox looks a bit sleeker as well.

For comparison, here's the official Firefox branding page: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/brand/identity/

8
emilsedgh 6 days ago 1 reply      
Seems nice. A couple of things:
1) It would be cool if it gets shorter urls so it would be usable on phone.
2) It detects Safari on Linux for me. Im using Konqueror. https://aboutmybrowser.com/848858317
9
stanleydrew 6 days ago 1 reply      
A couple of things:

I have cookies and javascript turned off in Chrome on Android. This apparently is too much to handle as I keep getting the standard rails request failure page.

I switched to the default android browser where I run JavaScript and accept cookies and was told I was running Chrome on Linux.

I then went back to Chrome and hit "request desktop site" which just changes the user agent string and was told I had Chrome on Linux. But also was told that I needed to turn on JavaScript to see the rest of the details. Why? It's just text.

10
cnlwsu 6 days ago 0 replies      
Love it, I forwarded it to our QA and support team. One problem seems to be since the url bar is automatically updated (redirect?) with the current results people ended up bookmarking it instead of the just "aboutmybrowser.com" so they saw FF come up as a result in IE and such when opening in other browser.
11
anonymoushn 6 days ago 3 replies      
It looks like it detects the resolution of the primary display. I'm not sure if there's a way to pick the "right" display, though.

  Screen Width        1440
Screen Height 900
Browser Width 2560
Browser Height 1368

12
pdw 6 days ago 1 reply      
> We're sorry, but something went wrong.

Iceweasel 15 (rebadged Firefox) on Linux.

13
josteink 6 days ago 0 replies      
Latest (regular desktop) Chrome on Windows 8 gets reported as Windows NT.

I mean.. Sure there's probably quite a bit of remnants from the Windows NT codebase here and there, but it's probably not very useful for reporting to support etc.

14
johns 6 days ago 0 replies      
Please make the 'Copy Link' button the biggest primary looking thing on the page. Like 48px big big.
15
sassyboy 6 days ago 0 replies      
As geeks, we tend to forget sometimes how trivial questions such as "What browser are you using" leave some users completely stumped. Heck, there may be so many people who do not even know the meaning of a browser. This seems a simple yet great way to get the required info. Kudos!
16
twog 6 days ago 1 reply      
Another great tool that does this is http://supportdetails.com/ I like how aboutmybrowser allows you to grab a quick link to share.
17
tsieling 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. We did the same thing a few months ago and released it as open source: http://denimandsteel.com/work/browser-wink/
18
CJefferson 6 days ago 0 replies      
You don't make a great use of screen space. On my laptop, the very bottom thing on the page I can see is a giant 'chrome' logo. I initially assumed all you were doing is displaying the icon of my web-browser. 2/3 of the screen height is basically empty, apart from one tiny text box.
19
ottbot 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's unfortunate that when using IE, both this and supportdetails.com only give versions as specific as "Windows XP" and "IE 8", whereas I get more detailed version info using Chrome on OS X.

I'm trying to track down an IE issue and would love for our support team to get customers to use something like this. But we need more info to make it easier to reproduce the problem.

20
cabirum 6 days ago 0 replies      
Windows 8 (rtm) is detected as "Windows NT"

https://aboutmybrowser.com/647576433

21
robbiea 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think if you add a "share via e-mail" feature right underneath it, it would be awesome.
22
prateekdayal 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is our weekend hack. Would love your feedback.

The app is primarily for people doing customer support to understand if their users are using supported browsers and right plugins (like flash etc).

Info link - https://aboutmybrowser.com/?nr no-redirect since we want it to be zero click for your users)

23
rlu 6 days ago 0 replies      
Any modern version of Windows will show up here as "Windows NT". I think you should be able to determine the correct version through the user agent string. "Windows NT 6.2" is Win8, 6.1 is Win7, 6.0 is Vista.
24
klodolph 6 days ago 0 replies      
I noticed that it's not at all fazed by user agent spoofing. Nice.
25
Steko 6 days ago 0 replies      
There's a feature in a few iOS browsers (Atomic, Sleipnir at least) to report as something else to avoid broken mobile sites or whatever.

There are a number of firefox add ons that do the same, this one has site specific settings which is exactly what I needed and it works great:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/uacontrol/

26
ivankirigin 6 days ago 2 replies      
The screen size vs monitor size looks incorrect
https://aboutmybrowser.com/3056072335

I'm browsing on a second monitor

27
pavanky 6 days ago 2 replies      
It is identifying both chromium and firefox as chrome on Linux. The User Agent String looks suspicious too..

http://imgur.com/eYdlo,XjsOH

EDIT: I am on ArchLinux if that helps.

28
irfan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hoping to see wget info, tried getting it via wget and it showed something went wrong :-(

https://aboutmybrowser.com/2691400901

29
ddffnn 6 days ago  replies      
Suggestion: Check the version against the latest release and kindly notify visitors if a newer release is available. Provide the link to make it easy to upgrade.

I've often had family and friends ask me why some site or service doesn't work but they don't know if their browsers are up to date. I would love to start by directing them to a site like this and telling them to upgrade if they aren't using the latest version of their browser.

5
Depression lies wilwheaton.net
488 points by bane  5 days ago   227 comments top 3
1
jdietrich 4 days ago  replies      
I am rather disappointed by much of the discussion in these comments.

The HN community has always taken pride in being careful, analytical and data-led. If someone were to advocate an unproven cancer therapy based on anecdote, they would rightly be harshly criticised.

The evidence base for SSRIs is extremely poor. The most favourable metastudies indicate only a very mild benefit, similar to that of many non-drug interventions like exercise or conversation with friends. Other metastudies show only a weak effect in the most severely depressed patients. There is known to be a very serious problem of publication bias, with major statistical irregularities indicative of the non-publication of unfavourable trials.

We feel confident in making statements about the nature of depression, but in truth we know almost nothing with any degree of confidence. The long-held serotonin hypothesis has proven to be completely baseless and there is no good evidence that depression has a neurochemical etiology. fMRI data is often used to make the case that depression has neurological rather than psychological origin, but this is very poor reasoning; The brain is not merely a passive vessel for the mind and environmental influences can cause substantial structural changes to the brain, as seen in chess players, sportsmen and myriad other groups.

It is entirely possible that the idea of depression is itself a cause of depression, in much the same way that the western presentation anorexia nervosa has been imported into Chinese culture and is slowly replacing the far more common indigenous eating disorder, which presented as idiopathic digestive problems rather than a psychological aversion to food based in body image. It is entirely plausible that the belief that low mood is a medical disorder which cannot be ameliorated by the patient is itself pathological.

I believe that the only statement we can make about depression with any confidence is this: We aren't sure if "clinical depression" describes a phenomena that can be meaningfully thought of and treated as a disease, but we do know that if you do something that you believe will make you feel better, you will feel better.

2
huggah 5 days ago  replies      
We have an incredible capacity for denial and self-deception. For years, I would periodically drop into severe depression; I would stop sleeping, stop eating, stop answering my phone or email. I wouldn't leave my room for weeks on end; on a few occasions I was so successfully reclusive that people worried that I disappeared or died called the police to investigate. A few times I almost did die; I think the biggest reason I never committed suicide was that I didn't have the willpower for even that.

Years. Call it 6, with bouts every 8 months. One semester of 'A's, one semester of 'F's.

Of course this caused me to fail classes and lost me friends, opportunities and respect. But every time I recovered I thought to myself "Wow, that was awful. Glad I'll never do that again!" I had to lose my fiancée and my funding in grad school before I finally accepted to the fact that this might be a problem. That there might be a cause other than being lazy. Because, you know, laziness makes people curl up in an empty bathtub and cry for 24 hours. That's normal, right?

Thanks to Wil for posting this. It's important to reach out to sufferers as well as their friends and family. It takes a lot to recognize when you or someone you know has a problem, even when in retrospect it's blindingly obvious.

3
jetti 4 days ago  replies      
I'll preface this with the fact that I know that people will see me as being cold or just generally not agree with my opinion but I am going to share it with you all anyways.

I have experienced this first hand. I have attempted suicide twice in my life and have gotten help for it. Because of my experience, I think I have come out of it with a different view which is this:

Suicide is somebody's choice and theirs only to make. Does it affect others? Yes, of course. But I still believe that it is up to the individual to make that choice. I remember thinking after my attempts and hearing how it is a "selfish way out" that the my family too, was being selfish, for I was suffering and medication and therapy just wasn't doing anything yet they selfishly wanted me in their lives just as I wanted to end my life and stop all of the pain.

A few other things that I just want to throw out there because I'm experience an odd flood of emotion. The assumption that suicide is bad is solely based on the notion that life is better than what lies beyond, which is something we just don't know. Also, people call suicide the cowards way out or giving up. I just don't see that. To me, it is just not delaying the inevitable. We all die. It is a fact.

6
There is something magical about Firefox OS rawkes.com
431 points by robhawkes  3 days ago   257 comments top 4
1
cs702 3 days ago 2 replies      
According to this blog post, Firefox OS is already providing native-like performance in a standard JavaScript+HTML+CSS environment. (By "native-like" I mean fast enough that the application will feel native to users.) If this is true, then I would agree Firefox OS is a game changer, because it means that ALL modern web applications can run unmodified at native-like speeds on mobile devices. The number of apps available for the platform is already in the many millions. Very exciting!

--

Edits: changed "ALL existing web applications" to "ALL modern web applications," which better reflects what I intended to say; added a bit of context in response to robhawkes's comment below.

2
zacharyvoase 3 days ago  replies      
> In short, Firefox OS is about taking the technologies behind the Web, like JavaScript, and using them to produce an entire mobile operating system. Just let that sink in for a moment " it's a mobile OS powered by JavaScript!

This kind of happened before: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_webOS

What went wrong? Well, apparently[1] there were some big performance issues"and IIUC Gecko has some of those already.

[1]: http://www.slashgear.com/hp-ipad-2-webos-testing-double-touc...

3
lifeisstillgood 3 days ago 3 replies      
I apologise for writing a long post - I have not time to write a short one

There is a reason MBAs are taught market analysis. Its important to position your product for maximum effect (usually maximum profit, but that may not be the case here)

The arguments for FirefoxOS seem to be

1. It's OSS
2. It's Web-technologies only
3. It's aimed at the "emerging" markets' mobile users
4. It runs on cheaper hardware better than the competition

1 and 2 are great. And no-one but us cares, except in 20 years when no child has even seen a line of code because OSS gets wiped out as all PCs are replaced by mobile devices.

(This is the reason I want this to succeed, and I want laptops to be certified FreeBSD compliant. It matters!)

Anyway this is about market positioning, not OSS. So.

Its a well-known truism that don't be in the middle of any market - you get squeezed from both ends.

The emerging markets have adapted enormously well to only having SMS and no smartphones (see anyone in Mumbai). That is not going to go away, so the true bottom end of the market is SMS capable devices. They will probably just give them away.

If Firefox OS says we are not as good as iOS then thay are squarely putting themselves in the middle of the market.

Aim higher folks. The world is not segmented into feature phones and smartphones. It is segmented into one market "I want to use a networked mobile app to get laid or get cash." You will never be the bottom end - that belongs to sending cash by SMS, or selling your harvest with a text.

So its the top of the market - what the cool kids have.

And so, 1 & 2 might just be our saviours. Apple made a great new product that was catnip to the coolest kids in the West. Firefox OS is geeky cool - it might just appeal to the coolest kids not in the West. And they will want to buy the 'best' phone - aim high folks.

I hope you succeed.

4
mtgx 3 days ago  replies      
Mozilla, please don't allow carriers or manufacturers to modify your OS! You need to set the right tone from the very beginning. Otherwise you'll never get that kind of power back later on.

Sell it to them as an alternative to Android. That's all they need to know if they want it or not. If they want more, you can go elsewhere.

7
Ask PG: What Is The Most Frighteningly Ambitious Idea You Have Been Pitched On?
397 points by npguy  4 days ago   185 comments top
1
pg 4 days ago  replies      
I'm sorry if this is an unsatisfying answer, but if you mean convincingly pitched, I couldn't answer a question like that without disclosing the long-term plans of startups that would prefer to keep them secret.

If you mean unconvincingly pitched, it would probably be the applications we get from people who've discovered new power sources that violate the laws of physics.

8
Give people an iPhone 4S, tell them it's an iPhone 5 thenextweb.com
386 points by countessa  3 days ago   251 comments top
1
raldi 3 days ago  replies      
It seems like the people who say the "new" one is thinner, lighter, more elegant, etc, all have cases on their phones.

So in essence, the case sets your phone back a generation or two.

9
Proof Claimed for Deep Connection between Prime Numbers nature.com
385 points by shashashasha  6 days ago   89 comments top 19
1
impendia 6 days ago 1 reply      
I personally know Brian Conrad (quoted in article). He has an encyclopedic knowledge of algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry, I would say that he's in the top ten people worldwide who could reasonably assess whether Mochizuki's proof is correct. And he has a great nose for bullshit, and little patience for it.

He is taking this claim seriously. He doesn't necessarily believe it's correct (presumably he's a bit careful in what he says to the press), but he seems to think it has a shot, and is worth paying attention to.

2
tlb 6 days ago 1 reply      
Changed to the Nature article that this is a repost of. The SA article had borked formatting, losing superscripts.
3
mmaunder 6 days ago 1 reply      
Any implications for RSA and other algorithms? [RSA relies on factoring the product of primes being a hard problem]
4
magicalist 6 days ago 3 replies      
this is for the abc conjecture[1] (I was thinking maybe they were being headline-y about the Riemann hypothesis before I clicked through), which, if proved, would be extremely interesting due to the number of conjectures and other theorems that have been shown to be equivalent to it or direct consequences of it.

The proof will be well beyond me, but the conjecture itself is pretty accessible, as are many of its connections.

This line from the article was confusing:

> Fifteen and 17 are square free-numbers, but 16 and 18 " being divisible by 42 and 32, respectively " are not.

but that's supposed to be 4^2 and 3^2, respectively.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abc_conjecture

5
colanderman 6 days ago 1 reply      
It states that for integers a+b=c, the ratio of sqp(abc)^r/c always has some minimum value greater than zero for any value of r greater than 1. For example, if a=3 and b=125, so that c=128, then sqp(abc)=30 and sqp(abc)^2/c = 900/128. In this case, in which r=2, sqp(abc)^r/c is nearly always greater than 1, and always greater than zero.

Obviously I'm reading this wrong -- because as stated (and assuming that a, b, and c are positive integers) this seems trivially true -- sqp(abc) cannot be zero, r cannot be negative, and c is finite, so therefore sqp(abc)^r/c is greater than zero, QED.

Does Nature mean that the quantity does not approach zero as r tends to infinity (or some such)? Their example sure doesn't seem to indicate such.

6
dude_abides 6 days ago 3 replies      
Relevant meta-commentary on the proof by Marty Weissman and Minhyong Kim:

http://mathoverflow.net/questions/106560/philosophy-behind-m...

7
gwillen 6 days ago 1 reply      
Warning: This article is mangled by the flattening of all the superscripts in it. Given that it's about powers, the math is all but unreadable. You have been warned. :-
8
freyrs3 6 days ago 2 replies      
Here's a presentation of the mathematician the article is about. It's on the nature of "Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory"[1] which apparently was the work leading up to the proof.

[1] http://www.kurims.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~motizuki/Inter-universal%20...

9
dudus 6 days ago 0 replies      
From Wikipedia:

> Mochizuki entered Princeton University at age 16 and received a Ph.D. under the supervision of Gerd Faltings at age 22. In 2002, he became a professor at the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences in the Kyoto University.

Very impressive.

10
cecilpl 6 days ago 2 replies      
I found the formulation of the theorem difficult to digest, but the wikipedia version was much clearer:

For every ε > 0, are there only finitely many triples of coprime positive integers
a + b = c
such that
c > d (1+ε),
where d denotes the product of the distinct prime factors of abc?

11
samstave 6 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone explain in lag terms what the implications of this may be.

Just the phrase "deep connection between prime numbers" sounds really interesting, so, if this were true would there be any practical application of this in the next (N) years that would not be possible without this proof?

12
bvaldivielso 6 days ago 1 reply      
Ok, I've read [1] that this guy has developed a new set of mathematical objects and techniques which he is (almost) the only one to understand.

That means that if someone wants to check if the proof is right, he'll first have to learn how to use all these objects.

I'll guess we won't have a tested proof for some years.

[1] [SPA] http://gaussianos.com/posible-demostracion-de-la-veracidad-d...

13
lelf 5 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.kurims.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~motizuki/Inter-universal%20... " oh, I need some time to accept this is not machine generated :)
14
bradleyjoyce 6 days ago 1 reply      
What are the practical applications of such a proof? I'm genuinely curious.
15
ipince 5 days ago 2 replies      
This guy's thesis has an approachable explanation of the conjecture, as well as some of the interesting theorems that it implies (including an asymptotic version of Fermat's Last Theorem):

http://jeffreypaulwheeler.com/Masters%20Thesis.pdf

16
aliz 5 days ago 1 reply      
Shinichi Mochizuki's homepage is worth a look :)
http://www.kurims.kyoto-u.ac.jp/~motizuki/top-english.html
17
Mordor 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is it naive to say these proofs are overly long - that there's something a little simpler behind them?
18
kzahel 6 days ago 3 replies      
19
fasteddie31003 5 days ago 1 reply      
If there is some kind of connection between prime numbers, wouldn't a lot of the current work in encryption be thrown out?
10
GoDaddy's DNS Service is Down godaddy.com
380 points by davewasmer  6 days ago   288 comments top 2
1
mmaunder 6 days ago 5 replies      
Some data that may help:

If you're in the rare situation of using GoDaddy DNS but don't use them as a registrar, then you're in luck. Simply sign up with a new DNS provider. They will give you their DNS servers which you need to set as the DNS servers that are authoritative for your domain. Then sign into your registrar and change the authoritative DNS servers for your domain. There will be a propagation delay but once it's done you're all set.

If you are in the extremely common situation of having registered your domain through GoDaddy and also use their DNS service, then you have a problem because to move to another DNS provider you need to sign into GoDaddy.com to make the change I've described above i.e. change which DNS provider is authoritative for your domain. You can't do this until GoDaddy.com is back online. So what I suggest is that you sign up for a new DNS provider and then keep checking GoDaddy.com. As soon as it comes back online, sign in and make the change to your new provider as quick as you can.

Other data:

Whois requests for godaddy domains are currently failing because whois.godaddy.com is offline due to name resolution failure.

Godaddy's twitter feed is a good source of updates, although they are claiming to be making progress and all my godaddy DNS hosted domains are still offline, so it seems to be more marketing speak than real data: https://twitter.com/godaddy

As mentioned, Anonymous seems to be behind it as three tweets on their twitter account seem to indicate: https://twitter.com/AnonOpsLegion

I don't think the scale of this attack is fully understood yet. According to the CBC, GoDaddy hosts over 5 million websites (not sure if that's DNS, registrar, etc) so expect this to be big news and potentially the next political football.

Edit: And finally, http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/ is down for everyone because it's over quota. Via Reddit which is also covering this: http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/znvwk/godaddycom...

2
drivebyacct2 6 days ago  replies      
If you are using GoDaddy for anything, you deserve what you get. If you are using GoDaddy for not just registration but also for DNS, I would just fix it as soon as possible and not tell anyone.

Also, do backups, use good password practices, and everything else that everyone knows and the lazy will still fail to do.

Oh, 20 seconds in and a downvote. I can take them, I didn't ignore the last 8 problems GoDaddy has been responsible for lately and am not hurting from this outage.

11
Blizzard is secretly watermarking WOW screenshots ownedcore.com
374 points by mike_esspe  5 days ago   93 comments top 21
1
citricsquid 5 days ago 0 replies      
Some speculation in the thread about whether or not it's JPG artifacts, but if you make it to the 2nd page (post #21) someone included some information proving it's intentional: http://www.ownedcore.com/forums/world-of-warcraft/world-of-w...

Edit: Page 6 includes confirmation from a (supposed) Blizzard representative that this is for NDA leak tracking: http://www.ownedcore.com/forums/world-of-warcraft/world-of-w...

2
ChuckMcM 5 days ago 4 replies      
We'll add this one to copier watermarks, printer watermarks, and fax machine watermarks.

So your account id and realm is available as a watermark in the screen shots, what nefarious problem does that cause? (I can imagine it helps identify griefers and people who cheat and brag)

3
nitrogen 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm growing increasingly tired of technology being used by the large to monitor the small. I'd like to see an RFS from YC for companies that use data mining, machine learning, etc. to the advantage of the individual.
4
sabalaba 5 days ago 1 reply      
One reason Blizzard would do this is to combat RMT + selling your account to a third party. All they would need to do is set up a crawler on eBay or any other website where somebody has posted a screenshot of their account for sale, then dole out a warning / suspension / ban.
5
kibwen 5 days ago 3 replies      
'in order to avoid any further watermarking, type: /console SET screenshotQuality "10" which will set the quality of your screenshots to the maximum and create screenshots that do not include the watermark.'

If this was nefarious, I doubt they would give you such an easy way to disable it. Though I am curious what the default value of screenshotQuality is.

In any case, steganography remains awesome, as ever:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steganography

6
cousin_it 5 days ago 1 reply      
So it looks like Glyph Lefkowitz's "extremist" opinion on software ethics http://glyf.livejournal.com/46589.html was completely right. When a program does something the user doesn't want, the programmer is in the wrong. Programmer is to user as lawyer is to client. We need a recognized and binding way for programmers to submit to this code of ethics.
7
zwdr 5 days ago 3 replies      
The only problem here is that Blizzard didnt encrypt the information in the screenshots. I can understand why they would embed this info, and 9/10 of those cases are ethically sound, but I wouldnt want some random skiddies get this information.

So why wouldnt they encrypt it? Not enough space?

8
hcarvalhoalves 5 days ago 2 replies      
Clever, although I believe it's unethical.

It starts like this. How far from the day companies do this with the images you take with your mobile, with the videos you stream, etc.? The world will turn into a DRM fest.

9
ericcholis 5 days ago 1 reply      
Being a former player, I can think of some good uses for this technology.

1) Automatically attaching image galleries to the Armory* profile of characters based on account id

2) Easy to give credit to players providing screenshots for Blizzard run contests

3) Opens the Armory API a bit more

Obviously, these can all be exploited due to the "openness" of the screenshot format.

*For the WoW illiterate: The Armory is a public database of player's characters, items, achievements, etc...

10
debacle 5 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting technology. Would be cool to see this put to good use. It's a lot easier to get someone to post a screenshot than it is to get them to email a dump.
11
markszcz 5 days ago 2 replies      
Curious question here: If you take the screenshot you get from WOW and open it up with photoshop/gimp/paint and save it now as PNG or different format, would it be possible to degrade the quality of the dots rendering it useless to be tracked?
12
yen223 5 days ago 5 replies      
Why would Blizzard want to watermark their own screenshots?
13
andrewljohnson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Secretly seems a little strong... is there any sort of effort to cover this up, or did they just not mention it in the patch?

I don't fault them for not mentioning it in release notes - if I make a change to my apps that the user won't notice, I don't mention it in the release notes.

To the extent that they introduced a security bug, they should admit it and fix it. But that's a technical lapse, not a moral lapse.

14
rtkwe 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't see the huge issue here. There's no real private information given by this, it's just character name and realm.
15
makmanalp 5 days ago 1 reply      
I can see this being partially helpful when verifying that in-game screenshots have not been tampered with (for example. for support, when you claim you had an item and it disappeared etc), but I don't know if there are that many copies of it duped across the image.
16
jc4p 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just on my machine or does every single part of that web page start off a Amazon referral pop-up to Mists of Pandaria on click?
17
lostlogin 5 days ago 0 replies      
He give instructions on how to find the watermark. Am I missing what you mean?
18
talloaktrees 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure whether to be upset about this or proud of the technical achievement
19
mike-cardwell 5 days ago 0 replies      
Textbook example of why proprietary software is bad for users.
20
zdouglas 5 days ago 2 replies      
I find the title inflammatory and ignorant; I would downvote this if I could.

While I applaud the tenacity in prospecting and divulging the methods at which Blizzard has employed to create such "tracking" "watermarks," I highly doubt this is to discourage or indict anyone. Quite frequently, screenshots are used during support requests.

As the author states, "we [...] verified that there is no pattern included in high quality screenshots." I find this highly suggestive that Blizzard was rather interested in an easier way to debug their program, and the mode slipped out in production.

There's a work around, please remove your tinfoil hats.

21
p_sherman 5 days ago 0 replies      
All speculation, guess work, no external sources, no reproducible results.

Paranoid stoners is my guess.

12
Pdf.js: PDF Reader in JavaScript github.com
359 points by pykello  2 days ago   89 comments top 28
1
jowiar 2 days ago 7 replies      
1) From a technical perspective, this is damn cool - exceedingly well done. Color me very impressed.

2) I hope I never actually see anyone using this on a website, attempting to make things "easier." Between Scribd and Slideshare, and Adobe trying to force its hideous crash-prone plugins into my browser, there are already enough people making a mess out of what is one of the more well-thought-out aspects of OS X. Give me a link to a PDF, which Preview.app handles in wonderful fashion any day.

3) It would make a sweet browser plugin on browser-in-a-box platforms and other platforms that don't have a nice native implementation (which upon further reading seems to be the goal).

2
jpallen 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really excited for this for http://www.sharelatex.com and other similar sites that are actually generating a PDF for you. With native PDF viewers there is no way to interact with the viewer via javascript and even just having the viewer stay on the same page when your reload a document (with minor changes) is impossible. Pdf.js means that we'll be able to do this easily, as well as other cool things like letting letting the user sync between the PDF and source.
3
ianb 2 days ago 3 replies      
I use this a lot, and it really does work. It renders everything, and renders it well. The one thing that doesn't work is maps " just too many vectors, and Javascript/Canvas/etc just can't keep up. Otherwise I'm very happy and don't feel nearly as much resentment towards PDFs as I used to.
4
Mizza 2 days ago 0 replies      
XSS injections on these are gonna be fun..
5
winter_blue 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used to use PDF.js for a while (on Linux), until I switched to KParts because it was having difficulty rendering certain kinds of PDF documents. KParts uses the same underlying engine that powers Okular (KDE's default PDF reader.) It renders everything properly and is much faster than PDF.js. It reminded me of Foxit on Windows. KParts might be only available on Linux though...
6
cpeterso 2 days ago 0 replies      
Firefox already bundles the pdf.js reader. See https://bugzil.la/714712.
7
thebigshane 2 days ago 1 reply      
Two questions:

1) In Firefox 15, the demo page adds two new options to my right click menu: Rotate clockwise and Rotate Counter-clockwise. Is Firefox recognizing pdf.js (since it appears that they are related) or pdf.js adding menu options? I didn't know JS could do that.

2) Isn't Javascript an embeddable language inside PDFs? I'm pretty sure I read that javascript is used, not necessarily for animations but for run-time dynamic layouts. If that's true, is pdf.js "eval"-ing that javascript?

8
bpatrianakos 1 day ago 1 reply      
I came across this a few months ago while trying to implement a solution for turning HTML into PDFs server side. This is definitely cool and useful but it's usefulness is limited for now as native PDF readers on the desktop are preferable. Even on iOS the built in reader is nicely done. Chrome on Windows and Mac always opens PDFs in a tab and handles it well I think. That said, this can definitely be of use in Chromebook type situations. I'm sure it'll end up in Firefox OS too which I have hi expectations for. The awesome thing about Firefox OS is that it's all JavaScript and good old fashioned web technologies under the hood so this will fit right in.

So alas, I'm still searching for an easy way to convert HTML to PDF server or client side. I haven't looked at the code yet but I do wonder if one could get that functionality out of this if they wrestled with it enough. (I know there are other ways to turn HTML to PDF but a client or server side script to do so really is the best solution for my situation).

9
wheaties 2 days ago 3 replies      
Now if someone would just do this for .docx, .xlsx, and such I'd be set.
10
Roritharr 2 days ago 3 replies      
i've stumbled upon PDF.js a while ago because i was looking for js tool that allows me to extract data from pdfs... sadly i'm still looking for a good lib to do just that.
11
mwexler 2 days ago 0 replies      
I presume that copy to clipboard could be added to this as well, yes? Cool project.
12
dutchbrit 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a big user of PDF.js, I have to say it's great for basic PDF documents. However, complex vectors don't render nicely with this
13
senko 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have first seen this a year ago (when it was publicly announced, IIRC). It was a cute tech demo but easily broken, and quite slow.

This ... is mind blowing.

14
Aissen 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's in Firefox since version Firefox 14, but disabled by default. Activable with "preview in Firefox" in options/filetypes/pdf.
15
uams 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is super cool.

While I can't imagine myself using it anytime soon, it's clear that web applications are improving at a far faster rate then native applications and, with t large enough, the first derivative means that web will eclipse native.

This seems like an academic exercise at the moment; it's to prove that you can replicate a native experience only.

However, it seems that this could be vastly improved by playing to the strengths of the internet. The only online apps that have beat native ones so far have been because of cloud storage and collaboration. First, use filepicker.io or something so this can open my online files. Second, bake some collaboration into it.

16
andrewla 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just as interesting, in my mind, is the inverse library -- jspdf [1] lets you create pdfs in javascript. For automatic document generation, I find I can quickly whip something up in jsbin or jsfiddle that will give me a pdf I can download and do whatever I want with.

[1] http://jspdf.com/

17
chj 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is amazing, but sadly slow.
18
davedx 2 days ago 0 replies      
The demo looks really impressive, well done. Adding this to my toolbox! :)
19
gbraad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Next up, a good ePub reader for use in firefox and firefoxos. Breaking free of the only two rendering engines in use...
20
tete 2 days ago 0 replies      
Works nicely since it is Firefox's default viewer. No more need to install a one, yay!
21
jrl 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, I love it. I can read PDF files without leaving the browser, in any browser. I find it slightly distracting to switch to a third-party application.
22
famoreira 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty cool! Anyone knows if there is support for PDF annotations?
23
klr 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have this error with Firefox 9.0.1:

currentPage is undefined http://mozilla.github.com/pdf.js/web/viewer.js Line 285

24
jjmanton 2 days ago 0 replies      
from someone who has worked a lot with PDF, excellent work.
25
3ds 2 days ago 0 replies      
On Firefox OS this will be the default PDF viewer.
26
leberwurstsaft 2 days ago 1 reply      
On an iOS device with retina display it's awfully blurry, probably just not rendering to a big enough canvas.
27
antonpug 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sweet. Going to keep this in mind for when my site needs a pdf viewer. Awesome tool
28
dude8 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good Job!!
13
Xiki: A shell console with GUI features. xiki.org
356 points by rkrkrk21  4 days ago   117 comments top 19
1
aiurtourist 4 days ago 4 replies      
As much as I love to see people iterate on the boring old command line, this will never catch on.

1) It's too difficult to remember all the tricks to make it useful, and the cost of memorizing tricks that I saw in the first screencast isn't worth the efficiency it provides.

2) It's too difficult for new users to remember the tricks that are supposedly "better." It's a lot like Python vs. Perl -- Perl is a really smart and clever language, but you can type just a few characters more to write Python and it'll be a lot clearer as to what's going on.

The one exception to all of this is the MySQL stuff I saw. The MySQL prompt has sucked for a long, long time, and building SQL queries is something you do iteratively anyway.

All of the above said, I still think this is pretty neat. But I won't use it.

2
roryokane 4 days ago 4 replies      
The home page needs bigger calls to action. I wasn't confident about the screencast link being useful because it was so small. I also had to hunt for the installation link " it turns out it's under the “Code” section.

The “hero unit” at the top should contain a big link to install it (appropriately worded to indicate that it's just sending you to instructions in a README on GitHub). Another big button link to the screencasts would probably help, since most people won't understand what Xiki is without them. Alternatively, have a “features” page with a list of features and large, static screenshot demonstrating each of them.

3
Avshalom 4 days ago 2 replies      
So, it's Acme?
or well not per se acme, but plan9 terminal style.
4
antihero 4 days ago 4 replies      
I guess I could give emacs a shot, just whenever I've seen people use it it looks like they're pressing a shitload of keys to do the most basic of stuff, despite having amazing macros to do rather complex stuff.

But aside from that, this looks fantastic, it'd be interesting to see if more text editors could be ported to it (e.g. Sublime Text 2)

5
bithive123 4 days ago 0 replies      
This would be fantastic as a sort of "dev/ops live wiki/shell" for small IT departments. I already spend time writing shell scripts and wiki pages so that my coworkers can perform some of my job functions while I'm gone, this takes it to a whole new level where the shell script is the documentation is the dashboard is the README. It's glorious.
6
davidp 4 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe I lack imagination, but even though the tool provides many interesting solutions, it doesn't seem to "scratch an itch" for any problems I need to solve.

The screencast narrator asks a number of intriguing "what if you could XYZ" questions, but it doesn't actually answer them, leaving the listener to come up with useful applications. Well, what if I could do all those things? I would like to have heard more about what higher-level problem(s) these solutions address, and why these are better solutions than what I'm already using. Something motivated the developer(s) to write this, but I can't immediately tell what that motivation was.

7
jamesbritt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Previously posted:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4483750

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3506613

As with the last time I tried it, it still doesn't work. Crashes right away trying to read from some tmp file.

8
hollerith 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'd be more inclined to try this if I saw some indication that the designer(s) had studied Plan 9 or the best Smalltalk GUIs.

I tire of trying out software with new bright ideas not informed by a knowledge of the best of the old bright ideas.

EDIT: added the 4 words in italics.

9
freshhawk 4 days ago 0 replies      
That's really interesting stuff.

I've got a hobby project that I work on on and off that's similar (although I'm a vim guy no evil mouse clicks) with a heavy org-mode influence. Some of the features you demo in your screencasts are inspired.

I'll be following Xiki closely and probably stealing some of your ideas for my own project.

Good work, I'm glad to see people experimenting with new ideas in modern keyboard based power user interfaces.

10
zobzu 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Vim support is very partially implemented"
Well bleh :)
11
mcantor 4 days ago 1 reply      
This looks cool, but I spent 20 minutes trying to get it running and couldn't make it happen. Maybe the next time it gets posted on HN, the installation process will be a little more mature!
12
ned 4 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent, really cool. On OSX, this is what AppleScript and Automator should have been.

Would it be possible to tap into GUI applications via OSX UI Scripting, and maybe mirroring the app's menus with Wiki menus?

13
eschulte 4 days ago 2 replies      
Among the things that this resembles, I would include Org-mode for Emacs. Org-mode's support for execution of embedded code blocks provides very similar functionality (ships as part of Emacs 24).
http://orgmode.org/manual/Working-With-Source-Code.html
14
systems 4 days ago 0 replies      
well, the integrated database shell looks nice, specially since it should work against different db systems

i think if they limit their focus on have one shell to replace anything that have a shell ... yet offer a better shell experience, they will have a winner

i believe they could be going to too many features so far that those comments comparing it to emacs seem to have a point ...

15
nadinengland 4 days ago 2 replies      
Cool, it's different from other shells out there. I am still waiting on TermKit to become 1.0. https://github.com/unconed/TermKit#readme
16
cbsmith 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's like Emacs... only not. ;-)
17
platz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Characteristic of editing via Modes, previously seen: The Mother of All Demos: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mother_of_All_Demos

Are we going to see more of a return to Modal editing?

18
Bro_Merch 4 days ago 2 replies      
The last time I saw this posted I installed it on 2 computers. One was running Mac OS 10.8.1, the other BackTrack 5r2. I have it installed on both and the command xiki-status returns "running" but I have not got it properly implemented in any text editor. I have tried in emacs and vim on both. If anyone gets it to work, especially in vim on Mac (which is very limited), please let me know as the instructions are not helpful, there is no helpful discussion on website and and the only option is to file a bug report. My problems aren't a bug, they are lack of info available.
19
wffurr 4 days ago  replies      
The plural of "URL" is "URLs". No apostrophe.

Looks like a neat idea. Not entirely clear what the "cmd-return" is supposed to do. Run a command?

15
Dear Programmer, I have an idea mkrecny.com
316 points by mkrecny  5 days ago   132 comments top 15
1
padobson 5 days ago  replies      
I'm always looking for a co-founder, whether I'm the geek or the suit. When a suit approaches me to be the geek for their idea, I usually give them some simple technical task to do - like setup a Tumblr or a Twitter account for the idea. Then I'll often ask for something businessy - form a C-corp for the idea or file a provisional patent.

Finally, before I even consider opening my laptop to code their idea, I want some paltry measure of idea validation. Are you selling a product? Good, find someone who will pay you to do the task manually before we program it. Are you looking to give the service away and monetize the user base? Good, get 5000 emails from a landing page describing your idea, or get 1000 followers on Twitter for your idea's account.

If they can do all this in a day or even a week, then they're quality co-founder material. Any longer and it's a judgement call. Most won't get past step one, and you certainly didn't want them as a co-founder.

2
loumf 5 days ago 0 replies      
Mostly, I want to hear that they know that their idea is not the end of their contribution -- that they are going to spend as much time as I spend on technical things getting market validation, building traction, creating content, acceptance testing etc.

Usually, I get the sense from these kind of emails that they think the idea is so great, that just by itself, it's more valuable than the time you will spend implementing it (or even comparable).

3
Swizec 5 days ago 0 replies      
They usually understand when I tell them that "Equity isn't tasty".

Some of them then offer money, which can be traded for things that are tasty. They are the ones I usually end up working with.

4
its_so_on 5 days ago 4 replies      
there's another route. break down what you want to do and you can basically get it done for free. For example:

--------------

Requirements.

1. requisition an Amazon EC2 instance for me.

No other steps.

--------------

then a tech guy on IRC will do it for $5. Next, you want to get someone to do the following. I need a programmer to put a plain rails installation on my amazon ec2 instance.

--------------

Requirements.

1. Install rails on my amazon server.

No other steps, no configuration.

--------------

Then someone from IRC will do it for you, shittily, for $10.

Next, you want to do the hard part. "I need someone to create a page in my rails installation that says Enter your email address in the box below. It doesn't have to work. Like this: http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tryit.asp?filename=tryhtml_for...

--------------

Requirements doc:

1. The following code translated into a rails app that doesn't have to do anything:

- http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tryit.asp?filename=tryhtml_for...

There are no other requirements.

--------------

Someone will do it for you for $5. Next you would say:

"I need to get this rails form working." and link to the page showing the non-working form.

--------------

Requirements doc.

1. Whenever a user submits their name and address on the following rails page __________ it should be added to a database connected to rails.

There are no other requirements.

--------------

Someone on IRC will do it for $10.

Next you would requisition a non-working table of other names who have used that field. Next you requisition someone to get the table working.

Next you requisition a change from "name and email address" to the REAL point of your form. Maybe you're building an online trading platform where people can enter information about collectable turds, and you will be monetizing this.

--------------

Requirements doc.

1. Change "name" and "email address" to two different fields I give you, keeping the application working.

No other requirements.

--------------

Someone will do it for you for $10.

In this way you can boil the chicken slowly, and by the time you've blown through $85 you'll have a complete turd-trading platform with built-in recurring billing and a % commission your turd platform takes on every transaction.

Yes, not everyone can pull it off. Your main risk is that you have to kind of screen the fifty-sixty programmers who will be comming in and out of your amazon instance.

But with a little dedication, you can pretty much get unlimited work for free and get to keep 100% of it. The point is to only do one super-simple thing at a time.

I guess you have to have some technical understanding of what's happening behind the scenes to pull this off though. Maybe enroll in a quick seminar :)

Good luck with your turd platform.

5
j45 5 days ago 0 replies      
Partnerships are harder than marriage. I have learnt so much about successful friendships and relationships from successful partnerships.

Getting on the same page, and staying on the same page is the defining challenge of partnerships.

If reports of how much YC focuses on the co-founder relationship are true, I think it's a big part of the secret.

The healthiest partnership that I enjoy is based on a tough/fair love approach of mincing no words, but having a deep, deep respect and trust for the others abilities and judgement based on one thing: We know what we know, and we know what we don't know, and we don't bs.

We work to get the hell out of each others way and instead support and push each other forward so we keep moving, inward, onward, and upward. I want to make sure in partnership, that 1+1 = 11, not 2. If our collective footprint isn't larger than any two normal people coming together, the leaps we have to take will take that much more work.

When finding a partner, one relationship for me has been forming since high school, through university, and now a friend doing some consulting for me. We have solved complex problems with differing opinions for over 15 years. I have found the bliss of knowing everything that we build will be built at least as good as I would have imagined to do it. (I code or can sell, but not both at the same time very easily). If he's hell bent on doing something a particular way to be kinder to ourselves in the future, great. He's usually hell bent on avoiding premature optimization, though, so again, the balance is there in a way we both agree. Having the chance to work together on in consulting, with one of us

I don't care to argue details that my partner understands better. If there's a scenario I need explained until I get it, I focus on asking for input and teaching on that. Likewise, my partner treats me the same.

Partnerships reveal not just the good, but the bad and ugly. You need to know how your partner will be at your side and have your back in times of challenge, stress, trouble and disagreement. Stress, and disagreement is guaranteed. How you both approach resolving and being in a place of mutual agreement is critical. Really, it's about learning to communicate early, often, and openly. If you can't do that, like any marriage, the relationship suffers from what it could have accomplished. You need to know how to disagree and be able to constantly say "You might be right / I don't know / Let's find out." without fear.

6
Joeboy 5 days ago 6 replies      
I don't think I've ever received the kind of email the poster is talking about. Is there something wrong with me?

Edit: I do get a reasonable number of cold(ish) recruitment emails, but they mostly seem to be for real jobs. I'm not seriously worried about not receiving lame proposals, although I appreciate the sympathetic thoughts :-)

7
javajosh 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's a little like having an idea for a book or a movie, and going to an author or director wanting to "collaborate" to make the idea a reality. The simple fact is that it's hard to render ideas into any form that is widely digestible. Just like directors and authors, programmers "prechew" ideas. There are some surprising rewards to learning how to do this, in that much like a sculptor or a painter one realizes that the medium is actually rather influential, and how pleasant it is to "go with the grain" for any given project. But still, it's hard to learn how to prechew software ideas into reality, it is often not a pleasant task, which is probably why emails like this one have such an unpleasant character.

Although, wanting to have a pet geek to do your bidding is entirely understandable. Heck, I've been guilty of wanting that myself! And, I guess if I had the dough (or the charisma) I could have one. But an idea is an insulting offer - like offering $20 for your house.

8
noonespecial 5 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, at least he told you the idea. Most of the time when I get this email, the project is suuuuper secret and I'm just supposed to take the senders word on the awesomeness.
9
daemon13 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am surprised [may be even amazed] that these kind of articles are making it to the HN's front page on a regular basis.

There are tons of people with muddy wishful thinking that can not execute even if you put the gun to their heads. This statement covers both commercial and technical side. If these people approach you, say no... unless they can offer money for your efforts.

Only the minority have required knowledge, experience, focus, will and smarts to execute on any kind of idea and build a proper business. It easy to recognise such people [based on hiring 101] - look at their past successes. If these people approach you, say yes... even if you are offered shmequity [but check the legal docs].

I have a feeling that most of such articles are driven by the ego thing, and help people to validate their self-worth. Not sure this the most effective way for self-validation.

My another feeling is the SV people are living in a kind of rosy bubble and are constantly patting each other in back to help their view of the world hold together. Well, may be do something of value?

P.S.: of course the above does have certain generalizations, but smart people shall have not hurt feeling, yes?

10
louhong 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'll throw in my 2 cents as typical HN 'suit'. For background, I do have a technical co-founder and am working on something currently and we've been working together over a year and are on our second project.

First, I think the OP's response was perfectly acceptable. Its important as a technical co-founder to determine quickly what the "suit" can bring to the table although I do think he left out some valuable skills like marketing, user adoption, team building. He did include 'industry experience' which is critical. (edit: I also recall my co-founder then asking me situational questions like how I would market x app, who would use it, pricing, etc to see if I've thought through the process)

Second, one aspect that I see missing often is chemistry. Over the last few years I've attempted multiple projects with several different people and I can't stress how important chemistry is with your co-founder and/or team. I actually really enjoy hanging out with my co-founder and consider him a friend and we regularly hang out (with each other's families) and that kind of trust carries over to our work. Trust is something you can't quantify so for those in search of co-founders, don't just look at credentials but look at the person too.

My last thought is that although you're a 'suit' like I am, you need to make an effort. There is a general curve that says in the idea phase the majority of the workload is done by the technical co-founder. While true, I do my best to try and offset that. It gives me no joy to sit on my ass while my buddy is coding to 3am every night. How would it make you feel if you're busting your ass pitching, getting customers, and doing cust dev while they are at happy hour? So to respond to this I do my best. I've picked up basic design skills (PS/AI/FW), I've gotten his help to install ruby and learn basic HTML/CSS so I can make easy changes. I alternate every few days from doing something design centric, customer oriented (get feedback/lead gen), to thinking about our product direction.

So my take aways are: ask questions, figure out if you can work together, and make sure everyone is willing to put in the work to make it happen.

11
yesbabyyes 5 days ago 0 replies      
Most of the "ideas" that come to me in this way are not really ideas. It's more like "a blog network", "streaming audio" or, in a few cases, more like "a blog". If it's someone I know, I discuss with them and try to give them some advice on what a situation would look like where I might be interested. Usually, I try to give some tips on how to start small. Usually, they don't, but keep on trying to build a team, or get someone to give them money.

There was a post like this on HN some time ago (a few months or perhaps a year) which I found well put, not too harsh while shedding light from the author's perspective. Does anyone remember this article?

Edit: I found this[1], it might be the one but I think I remember a better one. This one[2] about NDAs is also good.

[1] http://martingryner.com/no-i-wont-be-your-technical-co-found...

[2] http://blog.jpl-consulting.com/2012/04/why-i-wont-sign-your-...

12
jiggy2011 5 days ago 1 reply      
To be honest I might consider some sort of profit/equity split with somebody who had a really good idea (and had done the research to prove it).

Sometimes between reading stuff like HN and working on code all day I feel like I'm a bit too close to everything to really evaluate ideas rationally. Every time I've had I can usually think of 100 reasons to shoot it down and make it seem like more effort than it's worth.

The problem I guess is that most of these ideas aren't really that good because the person thinking of them hasn't really considered the effort and cost involved.

Reminds me of being back in school where a handful of us had learned very basic BASIC programming. Naturally we decided "shit, let's make an awesome game and be rich!". Of course such a project attracted entire legions of hangers on who wanted to be "game designers" or "level designers". Nobody thought that making a few shareware text-adventures or sprite based games would be cool, everybody came with ideas about how to make the next Doom or Sonic except even more ambitious.

13
rcavezza 5 days ago 1 reply      
At one point in time I was the person writing these emails. Now, I'm the person getting these emails.

It is hard to be an entrepreneur when you can't make things. If you're good at selling, you still need something to sell.

14
dmor 5 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely goes both ways. "Dear Business Person, I have a side project" and I heard you are good at getting customers/funding/partnerships/employees - can we get coffee for an hour so you can tell me how to achieve these goals so I can raise some funding, or maybe you'd like to be an advisor and we can meet a couple times each week for free. Sometimes a polite no works, but often I am surprised by the degree of entitlement people seems to feel when making this kind of ask, and have to decline multiple times before they get it.
15
Kilimanjaro 5 days ago  replies      
Don't fall for that idea trap. Just ask for money. If they don't have it, tell them to get funders and hire you as a first programmer AND equity if they really want you.

It is always better to have something in your pocket than 50% of nothing.

17
Boosted Boards (YC S12) Unveils Its Magical Electric Skateboard techcrunch.com
303 points by skdoo  5 days ago   167 comments top 7
1
jdietrich 5 days ago  replies      
These contraptions are illegal to use in public and if they become popular the laws against them will be enforced immediately, because they're incredibly dangerous.

It is impossible to provide effective braking on a skateboard. The rider has absolutely no means of impeding their forward movement, so even if the board has effective brakes it's just going to throw them off. This is a minor problem if you're rolling around a skatepark, but it's a Big Fucking Deal if you're commuting in traffic.

It might be conceivable to overlook this failing if it weren't for the fact that tiny unsuspended wheels have almost no capacity to absorb bumps and road defects. Anyone who skated as a teenager will remember being thrown to the ground by a small piece of gravel stopping the wheel.

Add 2000w of tractive power and city traffic and you've got a recipe for disaster. Someone is going to die, their family will sue and they will quite rightly win enough money to bankrupt a small company. Boosted Boards are marketing their device as a vehicle and advertising it's suitability as a means of transport, which completely obliterates any defence they might have had. The laws against unlicensed motor vehicles will be enforced and the police will start confiscating them on sight. The electric skateboard returns to it's rightful place in the gimmick section of a sporting goods store, next to the mini-scooters and the moon shoes.

The bicycle has been a safe, practical and sustainable means of transport for over a century. Modern bicycles are lightweight, efficient and have excellent ride quality and braking. Short-range urban transport is a solved problem in all but marketing - Americans remain inexplicably certain that cycling is not for them.

2
johnyzee 5 days ago 4 replies      
I have been riding an electric skateboard through Copenhagen for a few years (Evo 600: http://en.evo-skate.com/street600wood/). We have great bicycle tracks all over the city which is ideal. The principle of the board is the same, board strapped with an electric motor, controlled by IR remote in the hand. I'll share a few thoughts.

First off, my board has a 600 watt motor and does around 20mph, which is fast in the city. I overtake most bicycles (people's faces are priceless). I cannot fathom what a 2000 watt motor would do, seems kind of life-threatening honestly. I haven't had any accidents, flew over the top a couple of times when I hit a high edge, par for the course when skateboarding, but I wouldn't want to go any faster.

My board does around 10 kilometers per charge, which is enough for a commute in the city. Not sure how well a 2000 watt motor would fare, I definitely could not accept less range. But my board has the older SLA battery, a lithium battery probably evens the score, while being lighter.

How easy is it to drive? You need experience skateboarding or you'll have quite a learning curve. The accelleration needs a good stance to not get dropped off the back, same with breaking vs. flying over the front. Turning is even more cumbersome than with a real skateboard because the board is so heavy, so you need pretty good technique (and space).

About safety: If you fall off, drop the remote etc. the board stops, the IR must be in your hand to activate and has a short range either way, so no chance of the board running away from you. As soon as you stop accellerating the board slows right down, and you can brake with the engine too (big advantage over a real skateboard). The engine is engaged all the time so you can't just roll like on a real board. Hopefully these guys solve this problem, would be useful if you're out of battery.

About sound, it's not annoying but not quiet either, your regular medium-sized electric motor. In the street it's not particularly noticeable.

About legal issues: It's illegal in the street but no one cares. I pass patrol cars all the time and most don't notice that it's not a regular skateboard, or don't care.

3
mmaunder 5 days ago 3 replies      
Some context: The average electric bicycle has a 300 watt motor. These baby's have 2000 watt motors (or 2 x 1000 watt motors, I couldn't tell) that are roughly a 5th of the size of an electric bike motor. Include a battery big enough to power that motor and the fact that they're adding regenerative braking, which electric bikes don't have, and this is a seriously awesome engineering challenge.
4
brokentone 5 days ago 4 replies      
This is way cool, but the company has a few challenges to face to be "serious, eco-friendly transportation devices that could replace your bike, scooter, or maybe even your car."

I live and work in manhattan and for the summer I've been skating to and from work nearly every day (40ish blocks). According to my research, skateboards are considered "play" devices. Whereas bikes and all motorized vehicles are required to be in the street, skateboarders under 14 must wear a helmet and are not allowed to ride in the street. Older skateboarders have the option, but not the requirement to ride in the street. With the narrow streets, stop and go traffic, out of control cabbies, and people not used to looking for skateboarders, I feel much safer on the sidewalk.

There is a law that prevents the reckless operation of skateboards on sidewalks (http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ADC/19/1/3/19-176.1), and I always take care to be courteous and provide plenty of space to all pedestrians.

Where there are bike lanes available, I'll take them, as that also seems to be a legal option, but I've had more run ins with pedestrians in bike lanes than on the sidewalk.

I've been stopped by cops twice and told I could not ride on the sidewalk, yelled at by private security and pedestrians, and had pedestrians step out in front of me without looking when I had complete right of way in the bike lane--causing me to have to bail.

This said, for any company looking to use skateboards to revolutionize urban travel, education campaigns at all levels will be necessary.

5
qq66 5 days ago 4 replies      
Interesting that YC companies are now raising money with Kickstarter instead of VC... great if you can get it.
6
jazzychad 5 days ago 3 replies      
No motorized skateboards in CA :( http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21968.htm

However, I wonder how strongly this is enforced...

7
mahyarm 5 days ago  replies      
Are they waterproof? Could I ride this in Seattle & SF rain all the time without damaging it? Otherwise it's just a fair weather vehicle and it's not something I can rely on.

If not, why would I choose this over all the other electric skateboards?

Is it safe to use on the steep downgrades you have in SF? Is it useless to use when going uphill on those same hills?

18
Full quote of what Mark Zuckerberg actually said about HTML5 tobie.me
295 points by ttaubert  4 days ago   113 comments top 16
1
melling 4 days ago  replies      
The context wasn't really necessary. I think we all believe HTML5 has a great future. Hardware gets better at a rapid rate and HTML5 (CSS, Javascript, etc) is still improving. The point is, and was, that it's probably best to produce native apps at this time, for the majority of apps. Facebook, for example, needs a 5 star app.
2
ollysb 4 days ago 3 replies      
"One of the things that's interesting is we actually have more people on a daily basis using mobile Web Facebook..."

this is testament to just how bad the app was.

3
gubatron 4 days ago 5 replies      
Issues I have with HTML5:

- Javascript

- Javascript

- Javascript

- Fragmentation like no other

- Lack of APIs

- Sandboxed environment

- A bunch of morons writing "frameworks" without a clue of computer science (same thing as many popular Wordpress PHP plugins written by people who have no clue of even how memory allocation is supposed to work)

- A bunch of other morons copying and pasting the work of other morons.

- No real memory management

- No real anything or poor support at anything (no sockets, no primitive types, no threads, cross domain BS)

- Internet Explorer

- Javascript

- Internet Explorer

- Javascript

...

It's just not what the foundation was meant for.

It only took Steve Jobs talking about how bad flash was and closing the endless array of development options that we have outside Objective-C and HTML5 to make the world try to reinvent the wheel in javascript, all the while ignoring the fact we have more powerful desktop computers than ever, all the while putting more money in the pockets of those that run cloud infrastructure.

I hope more guys like Zuck come out on the record and let the world know this is ludacris, that all these decades working on out of this world compiler optimizations and technology that's light years away from the browser can't be forgotten.

Yes, we need to be in the browser, but give me a break, Javascript?

It's just sad seeing the turn of events of our industry going in this direction, I'm glad of this whole "App" revolution and Zuckerberg saying this at his first appearance after the IPO, I hope it sobers up a bunch of decision makers.

4
joshaidan 4 days ago 3 replies      
"...One of the things that's interesting is we actually have more people on a daily basis using mobile Web Facebook than we have using our iOS or Android apps combined. So mobile Web is a big thing for us."

I find this part of the quote interesting. Those people who use mobile web, what platform are they using? Are they using iOS or Android based devices, and using the web? Or are they using other lower end phones?

Could this number actually decrease if Facebook linked to the apps in their emails, rather than the mobile site? (I guess this might be hard to pull off, but would be better in the long run)

5
grandalf 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it was mostly the design of FB's mobile web app that was bad, not that it was made in HTML5. It was too heavy and didn't optimize well to the iPhone screen size.
6
tokenizer 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a web developer, this is a great thing to hear. Larger companies should focus on the web, and with this context, I don't have to be worried anymore about learning a native phone language.
7
islon 4 days ago 2 replies      
"One of the things that's interesting is we actually have more people on a daily basis using mobile Web Facebook than we have using our iOS or Android apps combined." That's a hint of how crappy those native facebook apps are. It's barely usable.
8
dpham 4 days ago 0 replies      
Context absolutely matters! Techcrunch sold the article as Facebook betting too much on HTML5, period. His quote was that at the time 2 years ago, it was a mistake betting too much on HTML5 over native for their mobile application. And it's true, 2 years ago and even now, most phones have a hard time handling Facebook's intensive need in HTML5. It's true, Facebook could have spent more engineering resources improving the HTML5 spec and push it forward, but anyone saying context doesn't matter is just being ignorant.
9
jpswade 4 days ago 0 replies      
Zuckerberg is right. HTML5 isn't suitable for the direction Facebook is going which is photos (hence why they bought Instagram).

LocalStorage quotas cannot be made bigger than 5MB[1].

I remember trying this Mozilla-built webapp[2] out in Google Chrome, it just didn't work.

1. http://htmlui.com/blog/2011-08-23-5-obscure-facts-about-html...

2. https://hacks.mozilla.org/2010/02/an-html5-offline-image-edi...

10
akennberg 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to work on mobile products at Google using both, HTML5 for mobile and native. When betting on HTML5 you get the benefit of quick updates across multiple platforms and smaller team size. However, most of your time is allocated towards finding work arounds for strange browser bugs. Mostly glitches in the UI. With native, things work the right way most of the time, so you can quickly create exciting new features, which excites the team. The down side of native, is that you'll be implementing that exciting new features N number of times for each platform.

Now that I am doing a lean startup, the reality is that the first app will be re-written completely. My bet is to focus short-term on one platform and write using native code for speed and lack of bugs (higher moral). For longer-term multi-platform play and if you plan to stay small and lean, I would recommend HTML5 or a hybrid.

11
Zigurd 4 days ago 0 replies      
That's a tautology: users prefer a Web interface over sucky apps. Which says fairly little about what user might prefer when the apps don't suck.
12
markmm 4 days ago 1 reply      
HTML5 is fine, but it's for developing web UI's not mobile apps. Sure it would be nice if all the main mobile OS's used the same language and frameworks but they don't, people need to get over that and start developing natively.
13
mmuro 4 days ago 0 replies      
No, the context is irrelevant here because Techcrunch got it right. It's a direct quote.
14
gadders 4 days ago 0 replies      
The main issue I had with the Android Facebook app wasn't that it was particularly bad in itself, it was just that it depended on a perfect, always on mobile data connection.

These things need to work on an asynchronous basis, more like email, to get status updates, post to walls etc.

15
beerglass 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess what he really meant is hybrid apps (native apps with HTML 5 rendering inside them) are not ideal..
16
pyrotechnick 4 days ago  replies      
This is what HTML is capable of: http://ro.me
19
Elon Musk: "I would like to die on Mars" businessweek.com
275 points by kposehn  2 days ago   137 comments top 10
1
shawnee_ 2 days ago 2 replies      
On the assumption that people will be living on earth for some time, Musk is cooking up plans for something he calls the Hyperloop. He won't share specifics but says it's some sort of tube capable of taking someone from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes. He calls it a “fifth mode of transportation”"the previous four being train, plane, automobile, and boat. “What you want is something that never crashes, that's at least twice as fast as a plane, that's solar powered and that leaves right when you arrive, so there is no waiting for a specific departure time,” Musk says. His friends claim he's had a Hyperloop technological breakthrough over the summer. “I'd like to talk to the governor and president about it,” Musk continues. “Because the $60 billion bullet train they're proposing in California would be the slowest bullet train in the world at the highest cost per mile. They're going for records in all the wrong ways.” The cost of the SF-LA Hyperloop would be in the $6 billion range, he says.

The estimated cost projections for the bullet train project keep getting bigger. I've seen estimates as high as $68 billion: and that is for construction alone (not including maintenance, etc). If Elon Musk can come up with a better idea, I hope we can remove enough of the red tape (that incidentally makes endeavors like this so expensive) to at least let him try.

2
Bud 2 days ago 5 replies      
Now that Jobs is gone, Elon is probably the coolest guy in the world. Can't wait to see what he comes up with in the next 10-20 years.
3
codex 2 days ago 6 replies      
Given Mars' weak gravitational field, extremely low atmospheric pressure, lack of breathable oxygen, deathly cold temperatures, and weak magnetic field (leading to high levels of radiation), he may well get his wish. Many others will likely get this wish against their will.

If he would like to get a taste of realistic Martian colonization here on Earth, may I suggest living underground in a windowless tank, surrounded by a partial vacuum, next to a nuclear reactor.

4
mej10 2 days ago 3 replies      
How about... you know, not dying? At least in the foreseeable future.

You can do a lot more awesome engineering and science and exploration if you don't die after ~80 years.

5
juiceandjuice 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's statements like this that have made me seriously consider applying for a job at SpaceX.
6
AYBABTME 2 days ago 1 reply      
I recently discovered who Elon Musk was and I'm always astonished to read about him, and realize that he seems to have all the dreams that I have; plus the money, the wisdom and the experience to accomplish them.

I never had a model or a 'hero' in my life, but I find it hard to deny Elon this role. He's kind of imposing himself to me.

For some parts, he pisses me off. He doing it removes me the feeling that my dreams were mine. On the other sides, my pride motivates me to accept his theft as a challenge to try at surpassing him.

Now I'm only 25, so I guess I still have the time required to get on par, if I keep working hard enough.

7
jboggan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have always told myself that ending my days on another planet will be an absolute definition of success for myself no matter what else I don't manage to accomplish. It's a sufficient but not necessary condition. In ten years I hope to be working in a business related to space exploration.
8
johnnyg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, you and me both Mr. Musk.
9
damoncali 2 days ago 1 reply      
Enough of the hero worship. If Musk gets on one of his rockets in 15 years and launches it towards Mars, he will certainly die. Long before he reaches Mars.

Yes, he's a great, fascinating man. I enjoy observing this stuff as much as the next guy. But Good God - stop slobbering on yourselves. This is marketing fluff of the highest order.

10
vannevar 2 days ago  replies      
I love what Musk is doing, but both of his current engineering successes---Space X and Tesla---involve building well-understood vehicles, just faster and at less cost than competitors. Doing entirely novel projects like a manned mission to Mars or some new kind of mass transportation system are orders of magnitude more difficult and uncertain, and I think he's grossly underestimating the time and cost for either of his more ambitious new goals. I'd like to see him make plain vanilla space transportation and electric cars into business successes comparable to PayPal before he moves on to Mars and Hyperloop.
20
Dropbox dives into CoffeeScript dropbox.com
274 points by varenc  3 days ago   192 comments top 2
1
crazygringo 3 days ago  replies      
Where I work, we moved the project I work on to CoffeeScript about a year ago, and I've been using it ever since.

Putting syntactic sugar aside, while some things are very welcome (list comprehensions, ===, ?), there are two main reasons why I would be wary of using CoffeeScript again:

1. Complete lack of documentation for syntax. Because there are basically no more braces and parentheses, CoffeeScript just tries to guess what you're doing, as far as I can tell, based on a bunch of internal heuristics. Unfortunately, there's no way for me to learn how to write parseable code without constantly pasting into the coffeescript.org site, and seeing if CoffeeScript understands it or not. This is the first language I've ever used where the syntax rules are essentially unknowable, and a lot of time gets wasted trying to discover them through trial and error.

2. Unexpected side effects. For example, functions return the last evaluated value by default. If you're using $.each(), and your function's last line is something that returns false (like a separate function you call), then your $.each() loop will terminate unexpectedly early, since jQuery does that when it receives a false. So CoffeeScript isn't just a wrapper around JavaScript, but it really changes its behavior. Another example: CoffeeScript gets rid of function hoisting. A significant JavaScript feature, completely gone.

I personally am slower to code in CoffeeScript, because I know JavaScript 100% inside and out, but with CoffeeScript that isn't really possible, because so much of its implementation is undocumented. I mean, many times you're forced to end a line with a backslash in order to continue it, and even the existence of that necessary feature isn't mentioned once in the docs.

But a lot of people seem to love the syntax, and that seems to outweigh the negatives for them. I personally don't find JavaScript that ugly, but coding in a language I can't ever fully understand gives me a huge headache.

2
jlongster 3 days ago  replies      
This sounds so much like some geeks wanting to hack. That's it. There isn't really a good reason to convert a codebase with tens of thousands of lines of code from js to CoffeeScript.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But seriously, every single problem with javascript they mention is never a problem for javascript developers. You simply learn what's broken, and deal with it. Dealing with it is usually one line of code (or even less), making sure you just use ===, etc. It's really not a problem.

These kinds of posts smell a little like FUD to me, which is what I have a problem with.

21
The World's Lightest Electric Vehicle kickstarter.com
270 points by zachallia  5 days ago   164 comments top 5
1
pg 5 days ago  replies      
This is one of those things that's like Google in the sense that it seems to be just an improvement on existing technology, but in fact is enough of an improvement that it's qualitatively different.

In all the startups we've funded I don't think I've seen one whose product was so enthusiastically embraced by YC partners. Three bought one of these boards. One says it "changed his life."

2
IanDrake 5 days ago 5 replies      
This sounds cool, but (IMO) it's actually a bad idea. When I was in my late teens / early twenties, I essentially had a 180HP version of this.

It was a lot more expensive back then: $4,000 for the 1984 Chevy Blazer and $0 dollars for an extension cord we found in the garage, but going going fast on a skateboard, no matter what the method, is dangerous.

The worst part of this idea is "braking". I can assure you the only good way to brake a skate board at speed is a power slide, which you need to be an expert to do.

I've hit sand at speed and, even knowing it was coming, the slight braking power of the sand was enough to throw me. It's difficult to explain, but between knowing how far to lean against the braking force AND managing your balance side to side on the trucks, it ends up being harder to pull off than a good ole power slide.

That said, a roller blade version of this would be cool.

3
noonespecial 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been building that project over and over since I was 14. My first try was a "Vision Gator" skateboard with a 35watt brushed dc motor and vacuum cleaner belts for drive.

It is astonishing (and more than a little awesome) that you can pack 2kw of motor power and so much range into so small a space now. Oh how I wish parts like this had been available in 1989.

4
typicalrunt 5 days ago 5 replies      
Great idea. I'm surprised nobody has done this before (but they probably have, I'm no longer a skateboarder).

But I'm wondering about the prices. $10 stickers and $40 t-shirts are still advertising, so people are paying to advertise for your company? That doesn't seem right.

In reality, they are really trying to push people to spend $1200 for a board. Even the $1099 pledge is a complete rip-off since you spend $100 less than the pledge that gets you a board, and they only give you a $100 coupon when you buy your first board for full price. That doesn't make sense.

A suggestion: create a small batch (5) of $500 or $700 pledges that provide a board. That kicks everyone into gear to get that pledge as soon as possible and fight over the $500 pledge spot.

5
thomas-st 5 days ago  replies      
Seems like it's illegal to use in California: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21968.htm
22
The XX shared their new album with only 1 fan to see how it goes viral. thexx.info
270 points by eliaskg  5 days ago   79 comments top 28
1
dpcan 5 days ago 1 reply      
It looks like they track our geo-location and the referring website.

I like watching the animation, and it's a cool site. What would be more awesome (IMO) is if they took this information and created a visualization of the path their band took to finally reach me.

So, it showed them on the map, in their garage playing, to the studio, to distributing the track to that one guy, to him posting it to a website, to another guy re-tweeting, to some kids posting to Facebook, and finally reaching me on Hacker News - and do this with a map with photos on it as well.

Over time it would just get longer and more interesting. Especially if they let me link myself to the site somehow with a photo so when others watch their path, they see the people that got them there.

Just a thought. Kind-of like the beginning of that Movie "Lord of War" where they follow the bullet from manufacturing to the hands of the warlords to it being fired.

2
SquareWheel 5 days ago 7 replies      
As somebody that opens a dozen HN tabs at once, I do not appreciate the automatic playing music.
3
vannevar 5 days ago 1 reply      
You're never going to get virality from an experiment involving a band that has already had a hit record. The best you're going to get is to see how quickly the music media finds out that the link was released.
4
simias 5 days ago 3 replies      
I can see a problem with this, when I open the link the URL remains the same (i.e. the "referrer" part is not updated). If I were to share it I'd just copy/paste the URL, in effect meaning that I won't appear as a "node" in the graph. I wonder if that's why the graph seems very "centralized" around a few points.

Unless it's because I refused to share my location. They should explain why they need it beforehand, I would never allow that by default (I only understood the point once I saw the map).

EDIT: Also, it will probably not take the retweets and similar into account, as the URL will remain the same. Overall it's an interesting concept but I doubt it'll provide any worthwhile data.

5
mmaunder 5 days ago 1 reply      
That's pretty, but it doesn't look viral. One expects to see one point going to somewhere between 1 and a large number which spreads to somewhere between 1 and a large number and so on. It should look more chaotic and more like a fractal I'd think. This looks like one fan spread it to a huge number. So I'm guessing there is missing data e.g. the first fan getting too much credit.
6
eslachance 5 days ago 1 reply      
The "stream" animation is very laggy in Firefox 15, but works fine in IE9, so I guess "In collaboration with IE" is more "optimized for IE"...

I kinda like the music though, and the social experiment is nice. I'm assuming the massive spike in sharing that stems from the US is actually this post right here!

It would be nice to have some solid stats, as well as some info on my own share. With the mass of wires it's hard to tell whether someone actually stems from me or not.

7
brittohalloran 5 days ago 1 reply      
Ahhhh, hence the "this website wants to track your location"
8
wmblaettler 5 days ago 0 replies      
The concept is very cool, but I find the UI lacking. I'd expect to see a cumulative expansion from patient zero, with a more continuous timeline. This appears to show the current visitors at that moment in time, which could allow for the viewer to see how visits fluctuate with time of day and surges grow larger over time, but it fails to even show this very well.

Of course it's easy to criticize, so props for the neat idea and decent execution.

9
tnorthcutt 5 days ago 0 replies      
Neat idea, and pretty visualization. I think they could have done a lot more with it, though. For instance, sometimes dragging the slider to a point produces no result (other than colore dots on the map - no sharing lines, though).
10
crisnoble 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is very cool, awesome visualization from an awesome band. Weird that IE sponsored it but beautiful nonetheless.

If you want to listen to the album with the ability to skip tracks I recommend NPR's first listen: http://www.npr.org/2012/09/03/160323435/first-listen-the-xx-... interestingly the first listen was published Sept 2nd, and Sept 3rd is the first day for the linked data viz)

11
ewolf 5 days ago 1 reply      
"A collaboration with Internet Explorer" and everything's jaggy on a big screen " can't deny the irony. When will Microsoft finally learn how to properly use web technology?

Regarding the link copy issue: They could've just added an automatic redirect/URI change on page load. Too bad they didn't think of that.

12
Dn_Ab 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the idea is worth more than the act.

By actively talking about how, if 1 fan can make something viral you have created an external something that can catalyze the spread. The idea of 1 person trying to make something viral is interesting in itself and will help generate the impetus that just might carry it through to 'viral', independent of the music and the action itself.

It matters if that 1 fan is a highly connected node or only 1 or even 2 from a highly connected node with each having a high reshare probability.

Good idea. Used up now I think.

13
Matsta 5 days ago 1 reply      
Essentially a good idea, but really badly executed. Looks like a flash website from 2005
14
scelerat 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is this Patient Zero the first person to whom they gave the track, or the first person to share the track resulting in viral distribution?

There is a difference. Dead ends are possible and entirely likely.

15
Paul_S 5 days ago 3 replies      
doesn't work for me (FF15) - stuck at 100% loading :(
16
tankbot 5 days ago 0 replies      
Cool idea but as others have mentioned, the 'viral' visualization is pretty but doesn't represent any one-to-many shares.

Also, poor China... They don't get to play.

17
nodata 5 days ago 2 replies      
Aren't The XX from London? What does the starting point represent? The hosting server at Microsoft?

Edit: Duh :(

18
opminion 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the music.

I am probably the only one put off by the northern hemisphere in what looks like Mercator, so won't moan about that ;-)

No thanks for the automatic play on page load.

19
jamesaguilar 5 days ago 0 replies      
The scroll bar on the right doesn't work for me, but other than that, it's cool!
20
error54 5 days ago 0 replies      
"In collaboration with Internet Explorer"

Doesn't even have a good fail back on IE 8 which still has a good percentage of the market.

21
zackbloom 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a little unclear why they're plotting this on a map of the world. Isn't virtually all of the spread over the internet? What is the relevance of physical location? It'd be more interesting to see what online communities were involved (referrer data).
22
zenocon 5 days ago 0 replies      
sadly, if you live in cape horn you can't play. sidenote: all the "..grr...flash...grr.." comments on here made me chuckle (hint: right-click). it sounds like a good album.
23
cgil 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to see the clustered areas of popularity, ie. NA and western Europe. Are they limiting distribution/tracking in Eastern Europe and Asia or is there no fan base there?
24
mnicole 5 days ago 0 replies      
Listened to it on Rdio this morning, now I feel like I cheated.
25
morgannnn 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love this. They're such a creative band, cool when they take a real interest in their fans, elements outside the music itself
26
eyevariety 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love how Hacker News has a bunch of pissed of nerds that are mad that a website advertising music plays said music.
27
circa 5 days ago 1 reply      
Yeah but this leaked weeks ago. When was this launched? Still really cool.
28
propercoil 5 days ago 0 replies      
cool track (Angels
23
Why I went from Python to Go (and not node.js) orel.li
265 points by zemo  2 days ago   189 comments top 6
1
ak217 2 days ago  replies      
Lots of sentiment, not much substance.

Concurrency support is possible in Python, without gevent-style monkey patching (or callback madness). Have a look at concurrent.futures and http://www.dabeaz.com/coroutines/index.html. It really needs a lot more work before it's part of the language's DNA, though. Also, pypy needs much wider adoption as quickly as possible, to address the speed problems (and its STM branch holds huge potential).

For me, Go's major shortcoming is its community's lack of focus on readability as compared to Python.

2
juddlyon 2 days ago  replies      
"... as a Python programmer, I was the member of an elite cabal of superhuman ultranerds, smarter than those childish Rails/JavaScript/PHP/whatever developers that couldn't write a bubble sort or comprehend even basic algorithmic complexity, but more in touch with reality than the grey-bearded wizards of Lisp/Haskell/whatever that sat in their caves/towers/whatever solving contrived, nonexistent problems for people that don't exist, or those insane Erlang programmers who are content writing sumerian cuneiform all day long."

This made me laugh, thank you.

3
stcredzero 2 days ago 1 reply      
If someone created a debugging environment for Go based on a VM, which also let one recompile source from within the debugger then continue execution, then it would be, for all intents and purposes, as productive and immediate as the old Smalltalk environments. You'd have the same small-grained cycles of inspecting state, modifying code, rewinding the stack to the place of your choosing, then getting immediate feedback.

Source code changes could be saved as log-structured patch files, which could then be thrown away or applied to the source tree as desired. One could also steal some ideas from the Smalltalk Change Log tool by adding similar editing, search, and filtering commands.

With tools like this, one could recompile for "interpreted debug mode," have complete visibility and control of runtime state to debug a problem, then take the resulting patch file and apply it to the source tree. It would be a best of both worlds scenario -- all the enhanced debugging of an interpreted runtime with the type safety and speed of compiled code.

4
it 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would help a bit if the article included at least roughly equivalent Go code next to the Python code. The Go code is wordier, but maybe it takes less time to write because it doesn't require as many decisions (libraries etc.) as with Python.

        package main;

import (
"fmt"
"net"
)

func main() {
hosts := []string { "www.google.com", "www.example.com", "www.python.org" }
c := make(chan string)
for _, h := range(hosts) {
go get_ip(h, c)
}
for i := 0; i < 3; i++ {
fmt.Println(<-c)
}
}

func get_ip(host string, c chan string) {
addrs, err := net.LookupHost(host)
if err != nil {
fmt.Println("Host not found:", host)
c <- host + ": <error>"
return
}
c <- host + ": " + addrs[0]
}

5
ricardobeat 2 days ago 3 replies      
Ah, code comparisons. I don't see much difference in the Go code vs Javascript, except for the extra comments and logging in the js. How about this?

    var cluster = require('cluster')
, http = require('http')
, os = require('os')

if (cluster.isMaster) {
os.cpus().forEach(cluster.fork)
} else {
http.createServer(function(req, res){
res.writeHead(200)
res.end('Hello world')
}).listen(8000)
}

6
mietek 2 days ago  replies      
Dimissing Erlang and Haskell with a wave of the hand, while seriously considering node.js? Carry on, nothing to see here.
24
PostgreSQL 9.2 released postgresql.org
263 points by lest  6 days ago   77 comments top 13
1
metabrew 6 days ago 2 replies      
Since postgres has basic json type support now, and PL/Javascript exists, it's only a matter of time until an extension appears that lets you deploy javascript applications directly to the database.

Who needs CouchDB or Node.js when you can just say CREATE EXTENSION 'couchnodegres.js'

2
craigkerstiens 6 days ago 0 replies      
We've been pretty excited about this release to come for some time at Heroku as its loaded with great features. In addition to the JSON datatype here's a bit of a longer list of features that are pretty noteworthy in the release:

- Allow libpq connection strings to have the format of a URI

- Add a JSON data type

- Allow the planner to generate custom plans for specific parameter values even when using prepared statements

- Add the SP-GiST (Space-Partitioned GiST) index access method

- Add support for range data types

- Cancel queries if clients get disconnected

- Add CONCURRENTLY option to DROP INDEX

- Add a tcn (triggered change notification) module to generate NOTIFY events on table changes

- Allow pg_stat_statements to aggregate similar queries via SQL

- text normalization. Users with applications that use non-parameterized SQL will now be able to monitor query performance without detailed log analysis.

3
mattdeboard 6 days ago  replies      
I am actually pretty excited about the native JSON support, and overall I am a huge fan of Postgres, but this is the most press-release-y press release ever* . By that I mean that the quotes are way too "perfect", the kind you only see in press releases. Some PR or marketing guy wrote them then showed them to the person to whom they'd be attributed to get their ok. Nothing inherently wrong with it, just struck me as funny.

* having written more than my share of press releases in my time

4
einhverfr 6 days ago 2 replies      
My two favorite features are not so high on the PR docs though.

The first is SECURITY BARRIER and LEAKPROOF which gives us an ability to rethink how to multi-tenant applications. This is a game changer and will get even better in future versions I am sure.

The second is NO INHERIT constraints, which I will certainly be making good use of. It is also a complete game changer when it comes to table inheritance and partitioning, and my main use will be things like CHECK (false) NOINHERIT to ensure that a table in fact never has rows of its own.

There is an amazing amount of good stuff going on around Postgres right now. Postgres-XC was recently released, and more. It is an amazing data modelling platform and ORDBMS.

5
r4vik 6 days ago 0 replies      
6
rabidsnail 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was expecting the json support, but SP-GiST is a very welcome surprise. http://www.postgresql.org/docs/9.2/static/spgist-intro.html

User-extensible spacial index types. This makes Postgres perfect for online machine learning.

7
spitfire 6 days ago 3 replies      
Now someone please make usable tools for it on OSX.
Postgres badly needs front-end tools of the quality of sequel pro.

I am a huge fan of Postgres, it's never let me down. But data exploration, ad hoc querying and such is a pain in psql. These tools are badly needed.

8
EvanAnderson 6 days ago 3 replies      
I'm always impressed by the PostgreSQL team.

Personally, I'm excited about the range types and I can see immediate usefulness for them. My own applications aside, anything that helps developers create schemas that are better able to handle temporal data is a good thing.

9
jeltz 6 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I love about PostgreSQL development is all the small nice fixes added in every version.

Of the small fixes in 9.1 my personal favorite is probably the cleanup of pg_stat_activity. There are also many other nice small fixes like improved tab completion for some commands and the ability to set environment variables in psql.

10
lest 6 days ago 0 replies      
"PostgreSQL 9.2 will ship with native JSON support, covering indexes, replication and performance improvements, and many more features. We are eagerly awaiting this release and will make it available in Early Access as soon as it's released by the PostgreSQL community," said Ines Sombra, Lead Data Engineer, Engine Yard.
11
forgotmyhnlogin 6 days ago 1 reply      
The absolute best feature of 9.2 is that you can now add \x auto to your psqlrc file and never have to suffer unreadable results again
12
tosivakumar 5 days ago 0 replies      
We are excited about Cascading Replication because it reduces network data transfer over WAN when we have multiple Read Replicas within and across datacenters.
13
gtirloni 5 days ago 1 reply      
mysql only gets mentioned 2 (now 3) times in this thread? oracle seems to be doing a job!
25
I feel I am building a new Google Wave pivory.com
258 points by cheshirecat  6 days ago   98 comments top 40
1
ChrisNorstrom 6 days ago 0 replies      
Magnificent. Simply wonderful. This feels like a prototype for the future of forums. It's got its little UI flaws here and there but I understand why and almost all of them can be fixed easily. Very nice work. So much potential.

- There's no reason to have the scroll bar of the thread list on the left. Hiding it unless you hover directly over it is also not a good idea. It should appear when the mouse hovers anywhere over the entire thread list.

- I strongly hate non-browser-native scrolling (scroll by javascript in an effort to style the scroll bar using css and javascript). It never feels right, or fluid. There IS a way to hide the scrollbars until the mouse hovers over the element that requires scrolling. Example: http://www.repcmods.com (abandoned prototype) (hover over the horizontal galleries) It's all done using css :hover and no javascript. The element with the scrollbar is set to overflow:hidden and on :hover it's set to overflow-y:auto; It may or may not work for you. Fix everything else first before coming back to this one.

- It's missing some white space toward the bottom making it feel really cluttered down there. Give the #left_panel and #mid_panel elements a padding-top:12px; and give .xpadbox a margin of margin:0 24px 5px;

- Also give the element #mid a padding-top:9px; so its lined up correctly. You'll have to also move up the links on in the top right of the mid panel to match as well.

- When posting a reply, the "preview" and "post" links should really be buttons not just text and they should be on the left and the text "sign up to bump, Online: 1002 users, etc..." should be on the right.

- When I open up the setting tab in the threads list it needs to stay red so the user knows they need to click it again to close the settings.

- Get rid of the dashed border bottom between threads and posts. It's too visually intrusive. Change it from dashed to dotted, instead.

- Hiding controls under the whole "to top/toggle functions" bar is completely unnecessary. As a young designer I used to hide a lot of elements thinking it would look nice and minimal and clean. Later on I find out it's one of the worst things you can do to your users. Your design is already minimal, it's already clean, don't over do it. Just keep the elements there, don't hide them.

There's a lot of confusing UI here but that's the end of my free consultation.

2
creamyhorror 6 days ago 5 replies      
I love this. I love the deliciously clean design, the immediate type-and-post functionality (reminiscent of IRC), the loose feel and structure of the forum that makes it a wonderful base for customisation in any aspect. I wish this were in Ruby/Rails; then I'd set it up on my site. It's precisely the sort of forum I've been looking to implement, especially the two-column format and the IRC-style text entry box.

(I wonder how I could get it to interface with a Rails app? Would there be problems just connecting it to the app's database, to get/store user accounts and stats, for example?)

Here's the github repo containing the open-source fork of it: https://github.com/cheshirecats/CuriousWall

Thanks cheshirecat, you've done a great thing here.

3
lmirosevic 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is great, I love the feel of this and the value it creates (which I'd describe as "live structured conversations").

Here's some suggestions, keep in mind these are essentially my personal opinions:

-Try putting some thought into making the functionality a little more intuitive, by this I mean to try and not necessitate having to hover too much to discover functionality. As a designer I know how difficult this is to do without spoiling aesthetics, so good luck (but I think you need to do this).

-Host this as a SaaS and make money, I image businesses would love to use this as a way to gather user feedback and talk to users.

-Categories would be nice. Right now it's just one "board" (in the traditional "online forum" sense where the set hierarchy is forum>board>thread>post). I'd find it cool if I could say visit a "sports" category, or a "Tech" category, and especially a "Hacker news" one. Think subreddits.

-The "navigation" is a little unintuitive, on the left column where it says "Threads", "Lists", "Users". When in threads mode, the other modes are listed underneath it, suggesting that they form a child relationship to Threads, whereas they're really siblings.

-I'd dispense with the little arrows under "Home" on the left column, and move the refresh button onto the same line as the Create and Home links/buttons. It doesn't really add anything. Up and down could be implemented using infinite scrolling and would be more intuitive. Left and right could be replaced by making aggregating all the different views ("My threads", "Users", "Replies", etc.) into a flyout or dropdown list, accessible by hovering the currently active mode title. This would also mean you could dispense with the 3 bottons on the bottom left next to the settings button.

-Speaking of that settings button, it doesn't have much to do with searching, instead I'd move it closer to the "user button", which you don't really have but will definitely need. Opening the user pane on the right, and then clicking the username to reveal "log out", etc. isn't easy to find.

-You probably don't need all the corner hovers, they don't really do anything useful IMHO.

-Fluid layout so it works well on mobile devices

-The reading mode is cool but you probably don't need it everywhere.

Good luck, I love the idea. Hope this goes somewhere.

4
moondowner 6 days ago 4 replies      
There's a fork of Google Wave that's alive and kicking http://rizzoma.com

Here's a screenshot: https://plus.google.com/100419497458726670190/posts

Though I like Ivory's goal and aspirations.

5
mcgwiz 6 days ago 1 reply      
I don't want to be misconstrued a "bad HN commenter", so I'll say first of all, technically amazing. Also, UX is consistent and aesthetically pleasing (though admittedly incomplete; lots of actions are unexplained... e.g. what's the difference between Focus and Shift).

Technical and design accolades aside, IMHO I would not call this an improvement on existing discussion forums. In Part 4 of his post "Building a Better Online Community", he implies that a major problem is the signal to noise ratio. This web app has not solved that problem.

The extremely low barrier to participation, while inline with privacy ethics and democratic ethics, unfortunately removes important incentives to creating quality content. It is however, successful at enhancing anonymity and removing the (burdensome?) requirement of identifying oneself.

Let's take a step back and re-assess what we're looking at. It's not an improved discussion forum, it's an improved chatroom app, plain and simple. And for that, I credit it with certain innovation.

6
ricardobeat 6 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the deceased oak.io[1].

Scrolling is broken (and slow) on an iPad, it's apparently using some javascript scrolling lib that could be replaced with -webkit-overflow-scrolling: touch;

[1] http://blog.oak.io/

7
Andrex 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's a very nice design, but I feel removing dates is a mistake. It may be that older topics lose their value as time goes on, however that's a problem that can be fixed on the community level (by encouraging people to bump old threads, instead of discouraging it -- which is a learned behavior.) I feel like you gain very little in reality by removing dates, and you otherwise lose some very valuable or interesting info.
8
davewasthere 6 days ago 1 reply      
Spent a little bit of time playing on this and really really impressed.

I've written a progressive enhanced forum (for mobile) and think there's a lot of room for some re-thought ways how forums could work.

But!

I did find navigating around PIvory a little hard work. I definitely had to think and discover. A lot of menu options aren't visible until you click in certain areas. That's great from a clean-design point of view, but frustrating for a new user.

I love the grey scheme, with the only colour being when you hover over icons. That said, hi-lighting your posts (and leaving your image always in colour) would be nice.

It really is an awesome effort. I'm inspired.

9
StavrosK 6 days ago 1 reply      
I have no idea what it is, but I think I like it. It feels nice.
10
gwern 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hah, it's funny (Baader-Meinhof style) that I'm suddenly running into pivory.com here on Hacker News - my first introduction to it was a few hours earlier today as part of a little Bitcoin extortion scheme: https://plus.google.com/103530621949492999968/posts/5p1G9CZP...
11
lhnz 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is what my TODO list would look like if I was you:

* Markdown.

* Remove "guest" from the Users list.

* Reading mode should have much larger text. Remember what sites like Instapaper, Readility, ReadItLater have given people.

* Some way of voting up insightful comments. I don't think the shit storm that you're currently experiencing in spam is currently solved...

* Tiny icons hiding lots of features and the awkward way of getting to the 'reply' links is poor usability.

12
mladenkovacevic 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's great. I love the math formulas and how you can right click to get them in different formats and change display settings. On further examination I see that this is a function of MathJax, but great job integrating it into your application.
13
prawn 5 days ago 1 reply      
Hi cheshirecat,

Any tactics for blocking repeat trouble makers? You mentioned blocking by IP in your docs.

I've run a forum (1,100 posts/month) for about eight years which also allows anonymous posting as well as accounts/avatars/etc. Users blocked by IP usually reconnect with their ISP to get a new IP and run amok anew. I also have blacklisted words and phrases which can stop some problems, but not all. I end up blocking IP classes from anonymous posting to eliminate troublesome regions.

Any plans/thoughts beyond that?

(Found your forum concept initially confusing, but I greatly admire your effort and the thought that's gone into it. I think you've created something intriguing!)

14
agscala 6 days ago 1 reply      
If you had nested comments, then maybe you can make the claim of being similar to Google Wave.

The design is great though, and the formatting on posts is excellent

15
swalsh 6 days ago 1 reply      
I have no idea what this is, but i'd suggest adding "Categories" The signal to noise ratio here is just to small. Nothing seems relevant...
16
tsurantino 6 days ago 0 replies      
The only real problem with this website is the navigation. I usually just get very lost on which parts of the site I am on because there is very little of indication of such info.

Other than that, this site seems pretty neat!

17
pestaa 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow I'm speechless, this is wonderful. Going through the code, I see the widest spectrum of issues I hate about PHP in just these few files, yet the result is absolutely fascinating.

This a testament as to how the tool does not really matter in good hands.

This must be running on the custom-tailored C++ HTTP server, Ivory: https://github.com/cheshirecats/Ivory

Why did you feel the popular options don't cut it for your needs?

18
asynchronous13 6 days ago 1 reply      
I would like to evaluate the site, but it is nearly impossible to view from my phone (iphone, safari). If I zoom in on an area, the page resizes itself and remains unreadable.
19
lis 6 days ago 0 replies      
Did not work on my iPhone. Double tapping zoomed in as expected, but afterwards the design resized itself again. The result is quite funny ;)

I like the idea, though. Looks great on bigger devices.

20
Mikushi 6 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice and simple, I like it. Thanks for answering the questions over there, always curious about the inner workings of such things.
21
brador 6 days ago 0 replies      
I hate to be that guy, but you called it a startup so...

What's the revenue model here? How's it going to make money?

22
fumar 6 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool simple design. I clicked around a few things. The only part that seemed "off" was having the "Post" button on the left side.

I like the expand button on the top right. Its nice for longer posts. Definitely keep the good work.

23
orangethirty 6 days ago 1 reply      
Feedback

This is what I get when I try to visit the page:

Your browser does not have window.WebSocket object :-(

Try the lastest version of Chrome or Firefox or Safari.

I know that I have to update, but realize that not everyone has the latest/greatest stuff out there. Also, if I visit your page without JS it doesnt show anything (at all).

24
hnriot 6 days ago 1 reply      
The back button seems to be broken/disabled by this which is very annoying to break default browser behaviour.
25
state 6 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me a bit of http://are.na
26
MojoJolo 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think I'm having some problems with scrolling. But anyways, good job!
27
mauro_oto 6 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed the feel of the interface. One suggestion: make it so that IJKL scrolls the right panel, the way WASD works for the left panel.
28
JacksonGariety 6 days ago 0 replies      
Damn I can't go "back" on this site in Safari 6.0
29
yehanyin 6 days ago 1 reply      
I like the design, simple and clean.

The title sounds inflated but you win me, :)

30
thedangler 6 days ago 0 replies      
I was looking at the git repo and I couldn't seem to figure out how it was doing all the asyc connections. I looked at his source code and he is using websockets which I don't believe is in the git repo. Correct me if im wrong.
31
dreamdu5t 6 days ago 1 reply      
It'd be awesome if you used progressive enhancement so it still worked without JavaScript.
32
kumarski 6 days ago 4 replies      
http://www.rizzoma.com is much better.

The founder himself stayed at my place using airbnb this summer. I'm a YC alum. He has one of the most interesting founding stories I've ever heard. He is a Siberian-Kazakhstani hacking competition winner who knows Judo and runs a series of small businesses in Russia. Bars that partake in sportsbetting-all Legal. He designed the software as a way to manage his businesses with his founders and grew it into something more.

33
lenkite 6 days ago 0 replies      
Google Wave had threads. This appears to be missing.
34
mietek 6 days ago 0 replies      
Why not Markdown?
35
l0c0b0x 5 days ago 0 replies      
Dear sir, your prototype (really?) is just beautifully awesome!
36
nerdo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Because it's being used to talk about the scrollbars in it?
37
d0m 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just to make sure I understand.. It's IRC on the web? Is there anything I am missing? I.e. Compared to grove.io.

But design wise, it's simple and clean, I like it :)

38
binaryjohn 6 days ago 0 replies      
I like it; a fresh new look at forum interaction
39
caycep 6 days ago 0 replies      
hopefully it fares better than wave - good luck!
40
francov88 6 days ago  replies      
Amazing. Use it. That is all.
26
Skeuomorphism skeu.it
256 points by speednoise  6 days ago   101 comments top 23
1
shinratdr 6 days ago  replies      
So skeuomorphism is now anything besides Windows Phone style "pure digital"? Shiny = glass, black texture = leather, blue texture = denim, etc? That's going to be really, really boring.

I don't know why texture is such a bad thing. Of course you can overdo it like anything, but personally I prefer Reeder with a light paper-pulp backing texture instead of a plain light peach background.

For example, what is so bad about this?

http://skeu.it/image/24908403424

It almost feels like people are calling it skeuomorphic so that's how they expect the developer to feel about it. I don't think regular people look at these as real world metaphors, expecting them to function as they do in real life. That feels to me like a theoretical user posed by developers that doesn't actually exist.

In reality, people see it for what it is. Design flair. Whether or not it's unnecessary or helps the user with the app is missing the point entirely. Design that's pleasing to the eye shouldn't get in the way and cause problems, but it doesn't have to accelerate your use of the service to be positive overall.

Aero Glass is a great example. It gets mixed opinions, but I think we can all agree that it's far better than Luna and IE actually looks pretty great with it. There is no skeuomorphic benefit to having glass everywhere. It's simply design flair. With that in mind, I still prefer it.

2
tb303 6 days ago 2 replies      
Hey all. I'm the curator (punch me in the feelings for saying that) of Skeu.it.

Thanks for the support!

I'm enjoying the debate here and won't get too much into it. For those arguing what is and isn't skeuomorphism, you're missing the point of the showcase.

Skeu.it, as specified on the masthead, celebrates arbitrary and gratuitous user interface decisions. Specifically, this means the misappropriation of visual artifacts designed for evoking familiarity in both form and function.

So yes, in my joyfully entitled opinion, using a big piece of frosted glass, with paper hanging from a rope, with magic buttons that somehow exist on lined paper, is a foolish design choice. Really, I wouldn't even call it a design choice, I'd say it's more just a collection of photoshop tutorials masquerading as an interface. Unnecessary skeu is the 2012+ version of the House Industries' "Crackhouse" typeface (http://www.houseind.com/fonts/crackhouse) appearing on every website and flyer 10 years ago. It's a classic, recognizable typeface...but stare at that for a moment, think back to how it didn't really make sense to announce free puppies or a car wash in deconstructed type, and let the understanding wash over you. Mmm, delicious understanding.

I have no hate towards skeu ("skeuomorphism must die" is silly) at all. In fact, I defend it:

http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-advantages-of-skeuomorphic... (from last year, a bit outdated)

Thanks again, and please send any good candidates my way (@303, @skeuit) for skeu.it!

Edit: Proper capitalization, the official end of my majuscular laziness.

3
Smudge 6 days ago 1 reply      
My designer friend and I are laughing so hard at this that we're crying.

In all seriousness, this is the perfect tool for showing people how skeumorphism can be taken too far. I actually like many of these designs, but the point is that the metaphors don't actually help, and sometimes only add to the confusion. (Denim weather app? Pea coat button loops for on/off switches?)

4
its_so_on 5 days ago 0 replies      
I personally hate recognizing anything. If you think about it, even distinct text characters one next to each other are a skeumorphism from movable type.

Obviously the only correct interface is a simple vertical list where hovering over invisible areas of the screen reads you out loud an option and then clicks it. Actually why read it out loud at all, a skeumorphism from interacting with a person.

The only correct interface is a blank screen representing state with groups of pixels that turn off and on without any skeumorphism, but simply representing the state the program is in. Like the LED light showing whether your monitor is off or on, but 1280x1024 of them.

anything other than that is just art monkey fluff, designers butting into electronics where they don't belong.

a good rule of thumb is: if you recognize what's going on instead of having to decode it, you are dealing with bullshit overpriced overdesigned fluff.

5
nileshk 6 days ago 1 reply      
The audio plugin example is typical because the vast majority of music production software exhibits a great deal of skeuomorphism. I personally don't like this because it increases the cognitive load in trying to figure out an interface, and I don't feel like it helps make things more intuitive than a non-skeuomorphic interface -- rather the opposite, it becomes more confusing.

This is one of the reasons I like Ableton Live ( http://www.ableton.com/suite-8 ): it has a simple, consistent user interface elements and the entire user interface happens to be vector based. Not only is it easy to navigate and understand, but the fact that it is vector based allows it to have a resolution-independent interface that can be zoomed in/out. Which addresses another problem with music production software: they tend to use tiny fonts and other UI elements which makes it hard to read when used with a high-PPI monitor and/or when the monitor is far enough away from the user (which seems to often be case in many studio setups). And once you've done a highly graphical skeuomorphic interface that uses lots of bitmaps, scaling doesn't always happen smoothly.

On the other hand, many people like skeuomorphic interfaces when they've had past experience with actual audio hardware. Reason ( http://www.propellerheads.se/products/reason/ ) is one such example where the interface is so skeuomorphic that is often considered a hardware simulator. People who have past experience with such hardware often love Reason because they are able to draw upon past experience to understand the interface. I suppose in this case, this is a very appropriate use of skeuomorphism.

People like me who don't have experience with such hardware aren't necessarily going to appreciate this, though some people will enjoy it even without past experience with hardware because some people simply enjoy visually appealing graphical interfaces. So it's a tough call which group of people is in the majority and who you want to cater to. Personally I like music/audio software to focus on it's core task of being a music creation tool, and less on being graphically impressive; but that's just me.

6
bluthru 6 days ago 3 replies      
If skeuomorphism didn't have a name, I bet no one would give a shit.
7
MatthewPhillips 6 days ago 3 replies      
See to me, some of these examples aren't skeuomorphic. This for example, I've never seen a leather item in meat-space with aluminum buttons. Or a big platic/glass button.

http://skeu.it/post/29492973628/in-space-no-one-can-see-you-...

8
egypturnash 6 days ago 1 reply      
Remember when you were 4 or so? And you had a "busy box"? Just a bunch of levers to move, buttons to push, dials to turn?

A well-done skeuomorphic interface, I submit, can be a busy box for grownups. What's wrong with having a few things in your life that partake of both "toy" and "tool"?

9
dm8 6 days ago 2 replies      
As a designer, I couldn't agree more. Skeuomorphism can be great if done right. Nowadays visual designers (who are wannabee UX folks) think any sexy texture (leather patterns) can increase usability of an app. Even startup founders think the same. They don't realize design is not the shiny new coat of paint, design is how it works. In fact if your users think "it works fine", it means you've done great job. Your objective is not to hear "wow it has sexy design".
10
clarky07 6 days ago 3 replies      
I don't understand all the hate for skeuomorphism lately. Who cares if the todo app uses a design that makes it feel like a leather bound paper notebook. The point of design is to make something functional and beautiful. As long as it doesn't actively make the functionality worse, and some people like they way it looks, what is the problem?
11
kbutler 5 days ago 1 reply      
Skeumorphism is including or retaining historical design elements for now non-functional purposes.

The author asserts that Microsoft's Metro design moves away from it, but his screenshot of Metro shows several instances:

- a paper shopping bag icon
- MSFT stock symbol
- icon of analog alarm clock with bells
- gear icon for control panel
- manilla folder icon for windows explorer

And does anyone else cringe at the HTML slipping through on AT&amp;T?

The simple fact is that building on previous experience is useful. Anachronistic visual remnants of previous technology can lend familiarity to a new interface, reducing learning curve and increasing acceptance (e.g., rivets on denim jeans).

Sometimes designers go even further and purposely introduce even more skeumorphic elements, going for a "retro" feel.

Some people like it, some people don't. It isn't always done well, and it isn't always done badly.

12
Groxx 6 days ago 0 replies      
Evidently built by someone with a skeued sense of humor.
13
tsahyt 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to go against what seems to be the opinion of lots of designers and bloggers these days and say: I actually like skeuomorphism, if it's well executed.

EDIT: I'm talking about visuals now. How it affects usability is part of "well executed".

14
Evbn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Updated title no longer matches the content of skeu.it, which displays extreme skeu, not just skeu in general or quintessential examples of skeu.

Also, skeu.it is really about textures and fail skeu, not actual skeumorphism, which is about retaining obsolete details from a previous form, not just pleasing textured imagery.

15
mbesto 5 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of one of the first biggest lessons I've learned about the web - make it better than reality. Sadly, Jakob Nielsen found this out in 1998 [1] and we still can't get past it.

> It is painful to use the Web, so we need to reward users: give them something new and better that they didn't get before.

[1] http://www.useit.com/alertbox/980308.html

16
hakaaak 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think the main point being made is that the design shouldn't be distracting unless that is the point of the design. For login forms to be hanging from keys, and paper to be hanging from bolted glass panels is nonsense, and a distraction. Unfortunately what different people find appealing, others find distracting, but that's what usage metrics and testing are for- to help determine what does and what doesn't work.
17
scott_meade 5 days ago 0 replies      
The anti-skeuomorphism crusade is more distracting than the designs it calls out. If I were a designer and if I had any influence, I'd add some gratuitous skeu-ness to a design just to attempt to calm the skeuphobia sweeping the design world.
18
thomasfl 5 days ago 0 replies      
LOL "COME ON DOWN THE THE SKEU WAREHOUSE! WE'VE GOT LINEN! WE'VE GOT WOOD!" http://dribbble.com/shots/662571-Mo-Tab-bars?list=following
19
lovskogen 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if skeuomorphic designs will be looked back at and be viewed like we now view the interfaces from the 90s, with huge amounts of bevel and emboss, shadows and gradients.
20
simba-hiiipower 6 days ago 1 reply      
best line: FUCK USABILITY WE HIRED A 3D MODELER AND WE'RE GOING TO GET OUR MONEY'S WORTH!

http://skeu.it/post/28492549355/crysonic

21
brendanobrien 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you're still complaining about this, I'm here to tell you to move on.
22
believeUme 6 days ago 0 replies      
Skeu is saccharine, and that's why it sucks. Mouthful of gloss. Yuck.
23
adjwilli 6 days ago  replies      
This is pretty awesome, but I wish they had called "Skeu You" instead.
27
How I Learned to Defrag My Brain alexhillman.com
257 points by alexknowshtml  6 days ago   81 comments top 27
1
thejerz 6 days ago 9 replies      
I've kept a file called "ventures.rtf" since 2007. Quite simply, it has every business idea I've had that's worth writing down. Every year or so I go through and delete the stupid ideas. To say this has become the most valuable document in my life is an understatement. It is my career, in a file.

I used to keep a larger, more generic "spark file" but I found it got to be too big to navigate. So I throw away more ideas now, and only write down ones that have serious merit, placing them in specific files instead of a "kitchen sink" catchall file.

I also have "possible programmers" and "possible designers" files, which I've kept since 2007. These are just lists of great people that I've found over the years, and may wish to hire at some time. I've initiated relationships with some of these people, knowing that one day I might want to bring them in to one of my ventures.

Finally, I have a "rules to live by" file. I've kept this since November 2011, so it is much younger than the rest. So far, it's about 560 succinct adages. I work on it for 30m-1h ever day. I study life and draw conclusions, abstracting the particular instances I experienced into broader maxims.

I review this file before any major decision is made. It's sort of like a file on disk that I can load into my memory; it puts my mind in an optimal state before making a decision. It's like putting everything I've learned into my brain's electro-chemical RAM banks. The quality of personal and business decisions has increased 10000x since starting this particular file.

2
eggbrain 6 days ago 2 replies      
One of the biggest issues I've found is that many developers say they are uncreative -- they have the talent, but they say they can never think of ideas that are useful to build.

So, for those of you wondering how you can even start building a "sparkfile", I'll give you my secret: whenever I'm annoyed with something I'm doing, I'll analyze why I am annoyed, and out of that usually comes an idea. A few months ago, I was annoyed that Hacker News was the first place I learned about password leaks, sometimes weeks before the companies emailed me -- leaving me insecure for quite a while. If only a computer could scan headlines across different tech websites looking for the latest companies to have password leaks, and would email you the second it saw anything.

48 hours later, I built leaknotifier.com to do just that.

For me, I crave simplicity. Whenever something that I think should be simple to do takes much longer than necessary, I start brainstorming how I would simplify it. If I ever feel like I'm on autopilot because I'm doing the same thing over and over, I figure out ways to automate it. If you ever feel frustrated and start to think "if only they just _____", start actually figuring out why they don't just do X, and if there is no good reason, start developing it.

3
kiba 6 days ago 0 replies      
I also read the Where Good Ideas Come From book, and I especially like his commonplacing idea. However, I didn't compile them into a sparkfile. Instead, I compile my notes into this personal web page: http://kibabase.com/articles/notes-and-thoughts

It's full of random ideas like fear inoculation, legoization, animated qr code, and some half completed essay like self quantification, synthetic blood vessel, and why choose prosthesis. I am constantly rewriting them as well as adding ideas and citations. I also reread it everyday.

4
david_shaw 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think a lot of us entrepreneur types have files, Moleskins, txt documents, blogs, etc. that are similar to 'The Spark File.' It's an excellent tool, and keeping track of ideas, inspiration, projects, and more is a vital part of organizing your thoughts.

One thing that differentiates this particular implementation is the consistent (but not constant) review of ideas, as well as the consolidation of ideas that seem to go well together. The creation of "full" ideas vs. "half baked" ideas is a really interesting concept, and I feel that I learned a lot about idea formation, even from just a four minute video.

While ByWord seems great for offline editing (and I'm certainly going to give it a shot), I've had a really great experience using Trello for my "spark file." The separate "cards" that Trello supports allow me to have different categories of ideas that I can then individually consolidate. For example, I currently have cards for:

- Startup (ideas for ventures I'm considering.)

- Posts (blog posts I'd like to write; either expanded versions of HN comments, or stories in and of themselves. This comment will likely go right in there as well!)

- Research (security & appsec research I'd like to conduct, as well as particular technologies I'm interested in. My to-learn queue.)

- Software (non-startup related software I'm building or would like to build.)

In the end, I can't help but agree and evangelize Alex's post -- the human brain can only keep track of so much on its own, but with help and organization, we can be much more productive!

5
tep 6 days ago 2 replies      
To log bits of information quickly I added this to my .bashrc:

log(){ date >> ~/log/$* ; cat >> ~/log/$* ; }

I try to keep it simple but I keep several files.
There is one for general ideas which is called "projects", another one to log new words I've learnt called "voc.en" (English is a second language for me)
and so on.

For example:

log projects <enter>

write something cool...
<enter>
<ctrl+c>

--------------------

cat log/projects

Mo 10. Sep 07:16:02 CEST 2012

write something cool...

6
smoody 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have a single OmniOutliner file with all of my ideas and random thoughts. It is much better to have tools that support ad-hoc organization than tools that limit you to a flat space. It's so easy to create outlines in OmniOutliner, that it would be silly not to. Definitely recommend it. Before that, it was emailing ideas to myself with a tag in the subject line.
7
danso 6 days ago 2 replies      
I think doing this as a single document works well...but I like to do this with text files in a dropbox folder. The file name serves as the description of the idea, and the textfile contains any details/updates I have in mind. Ordering by date-created or updated seems to work fine. A little more overhead but allows for "overflow", when some ideas have more meat to begin with.
8
billswift 6 days ago 0 replies      
That looks like a weak version of "How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought you Think", http://www.speakeasy.org/~lion/nb/ . You don't have to dive completely into Lion Kimbro's system to find parts of it very useful. Especially the use of speeds for quick jottings and the binders for organizing things so you can find them again. No matter how much of his actual system you might end up using though, reading his book about it will open your eyes.

My initial system is similar to his, but I found transcribing everything into computer better, mainly because of easier searching, and because it made sharing information that applied to multiple projects easier.

9
karpathy 6 days ago 0 replies      
I do something very similar but with my research. Ithink Scientists have basically known about this for a while, and it is one of the primary reasons we are encouraged to keep a research journal. It is essentially a diary of all the ideas for algorithms and things to try that I randomly come up with, and it works absolute wonders. I review it completely from time to time and I am almost always guaranteed to find some brilliant idea that the old me had a while ago, and I completely forgot about since. Sometimes an old idea can combine with new context or mindset and magic happens.
10
taude 6 days ago 1 reply      
There's a whole book on this type of topic called "Making Ideas Happen" that discusses the idea of the "Backlog" for all your ideas. There's also a dedicated website called http://99u.com/ that supports the materials in the book. Check it out.
11
sesqu 5 days ago 0 replies      
I started with a couple of flat files. Then I used a notepad, then I moved to Xfce Notes (one of my favourite pieces of software), and lately I've been moving to a folder of text files.

While this is certainly an important habit, I wouldn't call it defragmenting. Sometimes I do refine or rewrite my notes, but occasionally delete them entirely, and sometimes find myself more confused, having tied together too many concepts. One thing I have learned is that my thinking changes so much over time that conveying information, even to myself, is surprisingly difficult.

12
lpolovets 6 days ago 4 replies      
I recently read "Pragmatic Thinking and Learning", and the author recommends setting up a personal wiki for stuff like this (and for personal notes in general). A wiki is a good fit for an idea repository because it's easy to link ideas together, have them reference each other, etc. I installed Zim Wiki a few days ago and am already feeling like my mind is less fragmented.
13
tedmiston 6 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting how many of us here mention some concept of an idea log across media such as wikis, paper notebooks, text files, the web, and others.

My own implementation is a journal, each day in its own plain text file. I track the major milestones in my day and prefix ideas with "Idea: " so that I could easily grep all ideas into one list if needed. (However, I haven't done that yet. I tend to let them sit and incubate rather than act immediately.)

I'm curious about 3 things:

(1) What motivated the start of such behavior for others?

(2) How do you react to your idea log with respect to balancing focus between current projects / work, and speculative projects?

(3) How do others account for visuals such as sketches or interface ideas which are often easier to create with analog tools?

14
sedachv 6 days ago 1 reply      
15
jasim 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using the awesome Notational Velocity to keep track of TODOs, my 'Spark File', expenses, confidential information, personal diary etc. etc.

The contents are encrypted through a TrueCrypt virtual volume and the volume is saved into Dropbox.

I've found this to be a great setup - the searchability and keyboard centric navigation of NV provides a friction free environment to quickly record content.

16
te_chris 6 days ago 1 reply      
As a songwriter I do this instinctively as part of writing songs. I'll often jot down ideas on a note book or into evernote then revisit everything later. It's a great habit to be in, the revision can be enlightening - as the author says - and can lead to much better insight.
17
willholloway 6 days ago 0 replies      
Creative types have cool new ideas all the time.

Some have an idea and think "it would be cool if someone did that", others do it.

The problem most doers have when they get a new idea is they are already working on a cool idea.

These new ideas will distract the driven, unless they write them down in a trusted system.

I always wrote ideas down in notebooks, but I don't like paper's distributed, non-indexed characteristics as a persistent storage medium. Also, being in my 20s I like to move to a new city every couple years by plane and staying completely digital makes this lifestyle easy.

I wrote an app called IdeaList to solve this problem for myself, I was almost finished with it and about to ship when a consulting project with an urgent deadline came by that was too good to refuse.

I've been using it myself and its increased my peace of mind considerably to know all my Awesome Ideas are there.

This post reminded me that IdeaList is something worth releasing because its a slick solution to a critical problem.

I'm going to charge a very small amount to keep the service viable, but anyone from hacker news that might be interested gets a free lifetime subscription if they email me today at will@willholloway.net

18
plehoux 6 days ago 0 replies      
http://myide.as I builded this small app last year as a way to quickly share my "sparks" with friends anonymously or not.
19
lostapathy 6 days ago 0 replies      
I use Trello for this. I have a board with a few lists, each with a different category of idea on it. When I get a new idea, I add a card for it. As I develop the idea, I add to the card.

At some point I either archive the card out, or I setup a new board/list/card elsewhere to actually pursue the idea.

20
jeffpersonified 6 days ago 0 replies      
In just skimming through comments, it's interesting to note how many people already keep this habit, myself included - my spark file can be found in the back cover of my notebooks... Keepin' it analog.
21
jamesmcn 6 days ago 1 reply      
I started doing something like this in paper notebooks in the early '90s. The main difference is that my notebooks keep all of my notes. This makes the review process a lot more tedious. Maybe it is time to start a new notebook for ideas, and keep that separate from the "note" books.

Edit: one advantage of the paper process over the various software / cloud solutions is that I can still read those ancient notes. Love the cloud for business, but it is tough to beat ink and bound paper for personal records that you want to keep for a long time. An added bonus is that you can occasionally entertain visions of holding a bonfire of your old notes and starting fresh.

22
mrtunes 6 days ago 1 reply      
i have notes scattered around evernote, dropbox, index cards, moleskines, iOS notes. i think it's time to compile them into a spark file!
23
jtauber 6 days ago 0 replies      
I started implementing https://thoughtstreams.io the last few weeks for very much this kind of thing.
24
bemmu 5 days ago 0 replies      
After keeping a thoughts.txt diary for a year, one of the best things is that I can grep my thoughts.
25
stretchwithme 6 days ago 0 replies      
Separating the doing from the thinking about what to do is the one reason why the Getting Things Done approach works.
26
azarias 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have found OneNote to be an excellent tool for this. One of the main apps that make it worth running a VM for me.
27
ZombieFeynman 6 days ago 1 reply      
I switched my brain to linux and haven't had to defrag in years.
28
iPhone 5 apple.com
255 points by CoachRufus87  4 days ago   481 comments top 2
1
mtalantikite 4 days ago  replies      
To talk about the software, I've been using Apple Maps in beta for the past couple of months, and having no transit directions while living in NYC is enough for me to consider a switch to android.

Trying to take the subway to unfamiliar parts of the city forces me to use google maps in the browser. Addresses seem to be hit or miss -- I've often spent time searching for an establishment or address just to give up and use google maps in the browser.

I've basically had to revert to how I got around the city prior to having a smartphone -- use my computer and remember how I need to get there before I leave.

Apple Maps is potentially a huge fail for anyone living in a major city.

2
chuinard 4 days ago  replies      
How is the 'biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone' simply a taller screen and newer processor? What about NFC? Wireless charging? Sorry Apple, but this just isn't that impressive.
30
Am I An Outlier, Or Are Apple Products No Longer Easy To Use? battellemedia.com
251 points by rkudeshi  2 days ago   250 comments top 3
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jpxxx 2 days ago 3 replies      
Much of this is dopey nonsense but he's correctly describing a few Real Problems.

-- iOS devices blowing their asset layout and 'Othering' out is a Real Problem that used to happen far too often. The only fix beyond a backup+restore is to remove and re-add photos and music. If that doesn't work? Time to restore up to 60GB over USB2! Whee. Good luck explaining this to mom.

-- The built in Mac applications and frameworks are frightfully poor - it's unacceptable from a company that prides itself on quality. SyncServices is still a flaming travesty, Mail.app spontaneously corrupts messages and passwords, Spotlight can die in twenty different ways, iCal is a UI disaster, Address Book has completely broken sync options... the list goes on and on and on. Of all of these, I think Mail is the absolute worst. Three total rewrites and it's still neurotic on a good day.

-- iPhoto is goddamn slow. No matter what, no matter where, no matter when.

iOS is an order of magnitude more usable for two orders of magnitude more people with an order of magnitude fewer issues and two orders of magnitude fewer things to go wrong that makes an order of magnitude more money for them. So I think that's where he Lion's share (haha) of Apple's QA is spent. Sadly, I fear OS X will never receive that same level of care.

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eckyptang 2 days ago  replies      
I'd agree. This is the sort of stuff that lead to me dumping my MacBook in 2009.

I found that most of OS X worked pretty well and the UI looked good, but when it came down to actually being consistent and productive, it fell over pretty quickly. There were a lot of nuances and rather basic problems which got in the way of literally everything I did from my iPod not playing certain mp3s (very frustrating!) to import and export problems in iWork, automator deadlocking, iCal losing data, Mail sending emtpy messages.

I had some hardware problems as well (not charging and cable fraying after about a month) and while they dealt with them instantly, they shouldn't have occured.

Not a great experience. I've switched to Lenovo and Windows and everything pretty much just works.

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ghshephard 2 days ago  replies      
I've read the article front to back twice. Carefully - and I'm still not 100% certain whether it's a troll, or for real.

The interesting thing is, many of this persons problems come from Apple trying to support multiple platforms, instead of locking the person into a single unified environment.

Others (like iPhoto starting to suck after 10,000 pictures) were an issue in the first couple releases - but it's not uncommon for people to have north of 100,000 photos, and get reasonable performance in recent releases.

The difficulty hitting the search magnifying glass was interesting - I wasn't even aware that magnifying glass existed. You normally just scroll to the top - now I can do it faster. But - it makes sense - what's just one above the letter "A" - the search icon.

All in all - I'm believing it's an article whose genesis was a user who got hit by an edgecase/bug on their iPhone, and then turned it into a generic rant about all things Apple.

But the problems this person are having do seem to make it clear to me why, if anything, the OS X platform / iPhone are too flexible. There are lots (lots!) of users out there who would trade some of that flexibility for more predictable performance/ease of use.

And thus, Sandboxing.

       cached 17 September 2012 04:11:01 GMT