XX in Tech
It’s simply a part of life: sometimes, when you emerge from the depths of the Internet to refill your Star Trek mug with Stumptown coffee, you accidentally encounter a real live girl. You know, that genre of human being that has boobs and always keeps a copy of Lean In on her desk. Your heart might skip a few beats as you’re forced to pass by her, dreading having to interact with someone outside of your favorite IRC channel. A wave of relief hits you as she keeps her eyes glued to the floor and doesn’t acknowledge you: you’re safe. For now.
XX in Tech
It all started at a conference devoted to Python. Developer evangelist Adria Richards heard a couple of guys behind her making sexual cracks about big dongles and “forking repos,” and, in a moment of frustration, called them out on Twitter, posting their picture and CCing the conference organizers.
One of the guys was shortly thereafter fired. Today, after an Internet uproar that spilled over into a DDOS attack on her employer SendGrid, Ms. Richards has also been fired–publicly.
And so begins accountability in the age of the creepshot, where you can be called out in public by thousands for something snarked to the dude next to you–and where the person who did the calling out gets called a jerk too.
The discussion board from the mind of Y Combinator founder Paul Graham is a place where some of the smartest people on the Internet congregate to flaunt just how smart they really are…in order to impress Paul Graham. An arbiter of influence in the science and tech sphere, it can send impressive amounts of traffic to even the most self-aggrandizing of Svbtle blogs, which is why so many people try to game the voting system. But it also provides an accepted way of ranking what’s important to certain players in the tech world.
A few weeks ago, a piece of porn for self-quantifiers shot up to the top of Hacker News. It was created by NYC’s very own Chris Kennedy–a Betabeat poachable–and was intended to remix and remaster the traditional boring résumé layout. The Hacker News crowd went so crazy for Mr. Kennedy’s invention that he promised to launch a version for others to use as well.
Today, just two weeks after he publicized his own Status Chart, Mr. Kennedy and backend dev Richard Owens have opened up the platform to other engineers and designers.
Space the Final Frontier
Maybe, despite a week of SPACE FEVER, you still aren’t sold on the idea of NASA. Maybe sexy mohawk-rocking scientists and sick panoramic images of an alien planet leave you cold. After all, it’s not like we’re sending real-life human astronauts anywhere anytime soon.
Well, oh ye of little faith, behold wtfNASA, a single-serve site devoted entirely to answering the question, “What the fuck has NASA done to make your life awesome?” Merely one example of many: inspired the design for your Speedo bathing suit. You’re welcome.
However, it appears the creator of this entertaining little site has neglected a very important contribution to American pop culture for which NASA is at least tangentially responsible: I Dream of Jeanie. We demand more Major Nelson.
It’s pretty rare that a “Show HN” post actually makes it to the top of the front page of Hacker News, as a lot of them are just half-baked startup ideas. Not so with fontBomb, a delightfully fun plugin that lets you blow up the text on your favorite (or least favorite) websites.
fontBomb is an HTML 5 plugin by Canadian programmer Philippe-Antoine Lehoux. As one commenter put it, “So awesome. Spent 10 min blowing the hell out of hn. Now instead of raging against trolls I can simply blow them up.”
Down in the Valley
If anyone is familiar with the Valley’s success method du jour, it’s Diego Basch. Mr. Basch founded IndexTank, a hosted search tool that was acquired by LinkedIn in 2009. Today, he hit the front page of Hacker News with a post about how to exploit Silicon Valley “for profit (and maybe fun).”
Mr. Basch’s parable is a familiar one: An average Joe goes to Silicon Valley, raises money even though he doesn’t really agree with the VC’s philosophies, builds a company with the express intent of getting acquired by a larger company, sells the company and makes bank. Only then does he finally have enough money of his own to build something he actually cares about.
Code or Be Coded
The “learn to code” meme probably reached its pinnacle around the time Mayor Bloomberg announced his dedication to the initiative, but it has now begun the inevitable slide into backlash territory. Who would have thought that a fluffy gesture of commitment to a burgeoning New York industry would tip over into controversy? This is why we can’t have nice things, Internet.
In a post published today on his popular blog Coding Horror, Stack Exchange founder Jeff Atwood publicly decried programming newbies’ hilarious attempts to learn the art of code. As if you pathetic wannabes could ever know as much as he does about coding.
Alley vs. Valley
The “I’m moving to New York” letter has become quite a genre as of late, and recent UT-Austin graduate Mike Miller decided to hop on the bandwagon with a post outlining the reasons he’s packing up for the Alley instead of the Valley post-college. Sure, there’s more diversity and less of a commute, but you know what Mr. Miller is really looking forward to in New York? Meeting all you single ladies!
Let's Talk Trolls
Don’t play with matches in a dry wooded area. Don’t put a detailed rant on Hacker News unless you’re prepared to start a fire.
An anonymous pastebin post from this weekend slammed the MongoDB database architecture and in particular the support from 10Gen, the AlleyCorp company with deep ties to MongoDB. It quickly raced to the top of Hacker News and from there around the developer community.
The screed got a ton of attention, to the point where 10Gen CTO Eliot Horowitz jumped into the comments on Hacker News and addressed the complaints point by point. Mr. Horowitz conceded that a lot of the issues where known complaints about MongoDB, but also highlighted the fact that many details from the post didn’t match up to any of what 10Gen offered or any of their customer records.
In fact, deep in the comments on the Hacker News post, the “originator” of the pastebin post appeared to claim he was just a troll testing the masses to see who were sheep.