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_why's site is back up (whytheluckystiff.net)
443 points by aaronbrethorst 550 days ago | comments


apawloski 550 days ago | link

Guys, unless he actually unveils something, just let this lie. _why did some great stuff, but he's just a man (and he wants to be left alone). If he plans on doing something, then let him, and let's discuss it if he does. But this is getting ridiculous and this sleuthing/snooping is uncomfortable. He renewed his domain name. We should be better than making this into news.

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w1ntermute 550 days ago | link

Are you kidding me? This is a puzzle. He wouldn't restart his website unless he wanted attention.

Edit: an article about _why, for those not in the know: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/03/...

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hayksaakian 550 days ago | link

Great read, thanks for the reference.

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oh_sigh 550 days ago | link

No. _why is not a man, it is a persona. Whoever it is that is behind the persona _why can continue to operate as a private citizen in whatever manner he wants. However, when _why does something, it is going to be noticed and talked about.

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dkarl 550 days ago | link

I agree. If something happens on http://whytheluckystiff.net/ it isn't like a celebrity doing something in his back yard and getting photographed by papparazzi; it's more like a celebrity releasing something via his publicist. Maybe he released something cryptic, maybe it's even premature, but he knows he's messing with something public. Listening to a person's publicist isn't an invasion of privacy.

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charlieok 550 days ago | link

Just to be clear, the act we're talking about here isn't “guy caught on camera walking quickly from back door to car with tinted windows”.

Or “guy spotted at beach with kids and mystery woman”.

It's “guy publishes new content at his well-known internet domain”.

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detst 550 days ago | link

> But this is getting ridiculous and this sleuthing/snooping is uncomfortable.

Maybe it is but it's pretty clear from the other posts in this thread (posted about the time you posted this) that this is the reaction he was expecting. This is him "doing something". If he didn't want people to snoop he wouldn't have given them something to snoop into.

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tsewlliw 550 days ago | link

> If he didn't want people to snoop he wouldn't have given them something to snoop into.

This remark is rather parallel to "she shouldn't dress that way...". If doing something makes some people behave like creeps, its generally the fault of the creeps. And if the would be mystery man is prepping something, I'd rather he unveiled it than a cabal of creepers.

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detst 550 days ago | link

No, this is him very intentionally posting to a public web site, wanting people to discover it, knowing that they would and now they have. Rather different from "she shouldn't dress that way..." for obvious reasons. Your claim (in another post) that he "made it clear that he wants to be left alone" isn't very convincing anymore.

Note that I share your unease with this whole situation but let's not pretend that this wasn't the expected outcome.

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pretoriusB 550 days ago | link

>If doing something makes some people behave like creeps, its generally the fault of the creeps.

That's not correct. If a woman/man comes naked in class, people WILL stare. And it's not their fault, nor is it "creepy", it's only natural.

In any case, this is not what we're dealing with here. Nothing creepy about noticing a website re-activated.

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LaGrange 550 days ago | link

That's not correct. If a woman/man comes naked in class, people WILL stare. And it's not their fault, nor is it "creepy", it's only natural.

Weird, last time I checked I actually could avoid staring at people. Naked people too. Must be a superpower or something.

I do agree on the second paragraph, though — this is most definitely not this situation, it's more comparable to person entering a stage and starting to crack jokes.

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pretoriusB 550 days ago | link

>Weird, last time I checked I actually could avoid staring at people. Naked people too. Must be a superpower or something.

Yes, it must be. Surely it's not normal or representative of the general population. The normal thing to do in such situations is to stare (something that has been milked for comedic effect in hundreds of "hidden camera" pranks).

That said, I don't really believe what you claim. You are probably overestimating your powers of not staring in a kind of Dunning Kruger effect. I'm pretty sure if Megan Fox (or whatever rocks your boat) entered your classroom naked you WOULD stare. A lot.

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LaGrange 550 days ago | link

Yes, it must be. Surely it's not normal or representative of the general population. The normal thing to do in such situations is to stare (something that has been milked for comedic effect in hundreds of "hidden camera" pranks).

The general population did a lot of things it later stopped doing, or did less.

That said, I don't really believe what you claim. You are probably overestimating your powers of not staring in a kind of Dunning Kruger effect. I'm pretty sure if Megan Fox (or whatever rocks your boat) entered your classroom naked you WOULD stare. A lot.

That said, I don't really believe in your claim of estimating what is a part of uncontrollable behavior and what is not, in a kind of Dunning Kruger effect. For example, as a person who has seen a sauna, a mirror, and a public outdoor female-only bath in the middle of a city, I can assure you that I'd only stare if he/she specifically asked me to. I guess that's because I've been breast-feed in the Chernobyl era.

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pretoriusB 549 days ago | link

>The general population did a lot of things it later stopped doing, or did less.

I doubt they've change a lot of thousands of years evolutionary traits like looking at something unexpected and/or sexual attraction.

(Plus it's not like the "hidden camera" pranks I mention happened in some long gone decades...)

>For example, as a person who has seen a sauna, a mirror, and a public outdoor female-only bath in the middle of a city, I can assure you that I'd only stare if he/she specifically asked me to.

We were talking about people doing things DIFFERENTLY (like one woman/man entering a room naked) driving attention, whereas the above example is about people all doing the same thing that is expected in that room (being naked).

I fail to see how this applies. And I'd love to do a "hidden camera" prank on you on this very matter.

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danilocampos 550 days ago | link

> We should be better than making this into news.

So the most favored Rubyist has returned from hiding with a fun new puzzle. Further down, folks are posting interesting stuff about it.

But the finger wagging – people just can't get enough of telling people what they should do and feel. And apparently that's what they want, for behold this top comment.

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apawloski 550 days ago | link

Yup, you caught me.

My point though, is that _why has made it clear that he wants to be left alone, and this HN endeavour seems to violate that. Maybe you're right and it is a new puzzle. And maybe he's back. (For what it's worth I posted that before most of the investigation.) Nevertheless though, given _why's wishes, this makes me uncomfortable, and I don't think it's unreasonable for me to acknowledge that.

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avree 550 days ago | link

You have it wrong. The man behind _why deleted his online presence because he grew tired of the persona and everything around it. At that point, people began searching for _why. This culminated in a Slate article that openly divulged his identity.

That, is of course, crossing the line. If someone wants to distance themselves from an online tag, they should be allowed to in peace.

Now, however, it seems that he's brought that persona back to life. He's posted a new puzzle, and brought his site back. Obviously, he wouldn't do that if he still "just wanted to be left alone." That's why people are excited.

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sha90 550 days ago | link

This timeline of events is inaccurate. _why's name was called out on a mailing list prior to the Slate article publication-- and prior to his vanishing. Please don't rewrite history in favor by pretending "he grew tired of the persona". He didn't quit because he wanted to move on with his life, he quit in a hissy fit because he was outed.

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wyclif 550 days ago | link

First, many of us knew _why's identity long before that Slate article. In the Ruby community, _why was a little like Santa Claus for a while. Just because people were protective of him and didn't want to divulge his identity doesn't mean they didn't know.

Second, I think you're attributing motives to _why that none of us can possibly know. He's never discussed his rationale for leaving, so I try not to project motives onto him.

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jacquesm 550 days ago | link

Let's also not assume that stalking the guy like this is A-Ok because he didn't say you couldn't.

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wyclif 549 days ago | link

Nobody's stalking him.

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mikeash 550 days ago | link

Given that his web site is back up with an interesting message, I'd say it's no longer clear that he wants to be left alone.

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cdcarter 550 days ago | link

He renewed his domain and then published some content on it, in a _why-style puzzle. This is definitely something.

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1qaz2wsx3edc 550 days ago | link

Perhaps, I hope _why returns, but he absolutely deserves his space. WE LOVE YOU _WHY <3.

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corwinstephen 550 days ago | link

I agree with all the other comments here. You're trying to be that guy who eschews curiosity in an attempt to be mature, but that is not and never has been the type of mentality that leads to success, be it in software or any other field. Curiosity leads to creativity, and creativity leads to success. To swim against the current on this one is hardly admirable.

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corwinstephen 550 days ago | link

Also, does anyone else feel like people on Hackernews too often leave comments that deliberately go against the general consensus in a weak attempt to get up votes from fringe users?

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gurkendoktor 550 days ago | link

I disagree with the grandparent, but I think your reason does not make sense. Good manners and success are orthogonal by design.

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dasil003 550 days ago | link

When I ask myself what curiosity leads to, the first thing that pops into my head is the 80s commercial for The National Enquirer:

"Inquiring minds want to know!"

Which probably has the lowest correlation to entrepreneurial success as anything else. Curiosity about business or how the world works is different from curiosity about gossip. Gossip is unactionable to any positive outcome.

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corwinstephen 549 days ago | link

What about curiosity about an unsolved riddle/puzzle?

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zachrose 550 days ago | link

What is success if not the sole telos of your every minute and interaction?

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KVFinn 550 days ago | link

>Guys, unless he actually unveils something, just let this lie.

Point taken, except that _why seems like just the kind of person who would have of fun making an ARG. Which this kinda sorta almost seems like.

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mmastrac 550 days ago | link

Here is the data from IDEAS, NOTES and TEST, converted to PDF format. It's somewhat readable (yes, the files are HP PCL format):

Ideas: a bizarre set of story ideas

http://www.scribd.com/doc/119138391/Ideas

Notes: life tips

http://www.scribd.com/doc/119138393/Notes

Test: A typed test document

http://www.scribd.com/doc/119138394/Test-1

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w1ntermute 550 days ago | link

Here's transcriptions of the texts. There might be some errors, please post corrections (make sure they are transcription errors, and not errors from the original document - there are quite a few of those, perhaps intentional).

On Pastebin:

Ideas: http://pastebin.com/WSfmLDA5

Life tips: http://pastebin.com/PTF4cfDJ

Test: http://pastebin.com/BExqVKpv

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

Full texts (same as Pastebin):

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

    IDEAS FOR SALE
	(All ideas are sold "as-is" with no warranty implied.
	Stories unused within 70 years are forfeit for resale.)

    A boy and a girl travel to the beach together, where 
	they pay a man to xxxxxx receive a bicycle ride from
	his monkey. The ride is very uncomfortable, due to 
	a spoon tied to the seat which keeps whacking their
	legs. Nevertheless, they fall in love and are maried.
	At the end, the monkey is eating avocado with a spoon.
	So that's what it was for. $3

    A girl visits a boot store. In one of the racks, she
	discovers a village of little people that has ssoraly
	been living among the boots. A boy comes off the bus
	outside, sees the girl in the store, falls in love and
	goes and tells the girl he's in love with her. She
	tries to show how the little village works, but he is
	only marginally interested in that. They are wed, $1

    A man eats corn on top of his house. It is his favorite
	pasttime. He marries and dies happy. $3

    Adam and Eve are riding bicycles (naked) in the Garden of
	Eden. They decide to have a race to see who is the
	fastest person in the world. Adam's wheel pops and he
	uses the snake St Satan as a replacement tube. $4

    A retired police offericer struggles to find acceptances
	in the sububan life of Blouder Springs, Colorado. He
	befriends a local fishmonger but still must fight his
	personal demons. XXX 50

    A guy with an enormous chin has the chin surgically
	removed and is promptly married. $3

    A man who collects prisms finds his house inundated
	with refracted light, such that he is transformed into
	a superpowerful albino who masquerades at as a wild
	horse at night. A local fishmonger feeds the horse and
	feeds him a green apple (not knowing the situation here)
	which kills the albino half of the guy. So at night now
	he's a live horse but is dead albino during the day.
	The sheriff's office discovers the dead man and gives
	him a proper funeral. During the funeral, the sun sets
	and the whole horse body busts through the coffin. $12

    A nerdy underappreciated kid wins a raffle and receives
	his own Space Shuttle for a week. He installs a soft-serve
	ice cream machine onboard and teaches a pet monkey to sit
	in the cockpoit. One day, while going home from a birthday
	party in space, the shuttle explodes (a la Challenger) $3
-------------

    Deep Relationships. Notes on the article

    Secrets to deep relationships:
		-> asking deep questions
		-> talking about deep relationships
		   with the person.
		-> going camping with the person.
		-> make the person a part of your 
		   life  (this may not work, though think about
				   it, we live with a mom and dad for many
		   many years, or we may not know anything deep
		   about them - might want to ask that person
		   a deep question to get things going)
		-> make up something deep about the
		   person and then ask "is this true?"
		   ("i heard you have a whole other
			 side to you that is very interesting
			 and i want to ask if this is true")
		-> avoid using pseudonyms, use your
		   proper first and last name and avoid
		   other kinds of lying. (although you might
		   		          want to prepare a short
		   pseudonym that's just for deep relationships -
		   these special names are code for "i know you
		   deeper" and don't take pictures of yourself
		   with the person because pictures make the relation
		   ship not as deep - unless its a very old picture)
		-> touch the person on the arm just once and
		   no more
		-> promise to meet the person one hour from
		   now in the same spot (secret rendezvous technique,
					 good for when you're pressed
		   for time and need a deep relationship.)
		-> joke and laugh - these seemingly light things
		   are surprisingly deep
---------------

On the side of "Life Tips":

    deterioration of the
    team "social" has made
    this a lost art!!
    perfect timing
---------------

Test:

    TEST
    
    
    
    TEST
    RESTAURANT REVIEW
    
    
    
    
    
    
    TEST
    TEST

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Afal 550 days ago | link

/me puts tinfoil hat on

    Adam and Eve are riding bicycles (naked) in the Garden of
    Eden. They decide to have a race to see who is the
    fastest person in the world. Adam's wheel pops and he
    uses the snake St Satan as a replacement tube. $4
Imagine turning a snake into a bike tube. You'd end up putting the tail in the mouth. The symbol for a snake eating its own tail is an Ouroboros (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros) representing cyclicality (hohoho bicycles!) especially in "eternal return".

Funnily enough this cyclicality is mentioned in the idea where a man ends up being a dead albino during the day and a wild horse at night. There's a cycle of the man going from dead albino to a wild horse and even a "Rising from the grave" (http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/rise+from+the+grave) in the idea's description.

Oh.. and here's some info about the symbolism of horses: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/horse-symbol-meanings.html

---

There's quite a few mentions of love and marriage across the texts. There's also a date on the last message (DESOLEE). Could they be related?

Oooh actually look at the second to last point of NOTES and then look at DESOLEE. Of course 18th of April not in "1 hour" but still ;)

One bit I found interesting in NOTES was "avoid using pseudonyms". Could this be something to do with _why detaching from his persona for the last few years?

---

  deterioration of the
  team "social" has made
  this a lost art!!
  perfect timing
I think it's supposed to be "term" not "team". I think we all can guess where's he's getting at here though :) (/me looks up the last point in NOTES)

---

/me takes tinfoil hat off

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abolibibelot 550 days ago | link

Ok. My take on it: this reads like some apocryphal Larry Wall's apocalypses.

What this means is simple: _why switched to Perl 6.

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1qaz2wsx3edc 550 days ago | link

The numbers are interesting: 70 years $3 $1 $3 $4 XXX 50 $3 $12 $3

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jayferd 550 days ago | link

Also the pattern of typos - there's probably some sort of message in here, but I've never really been good at this sort of puzzle.

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unreal37 550 days ago | link

The "50" actually says "50c" in the text, not $50.

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PLejeck 550 days ago | link

The weirdest thing isthe TEST RESTAURANT REVIEW thing, because while the rest look like notes that one is just... gibberish

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edwardunknown 550 days ago | link

I think he might be suggesting you fuckers go outside

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eranation 550 days ago | link

To those who read it now, it seems he updated with new content - SPOOL/DESOLEE (and removed the older ones, IDEAS, NOTES and TEST)

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zacharyvoase 550 days ago | link

HTTP headers indicate it's being hosted from GitHub pages.

I've confirmed this by looking up the DNS records for the domain; they point to 204.232.175.78 which is the (or an) address of pages.github.com: http://whatismyipaddress.com/ip/204.232.175.78

I can't immediately figure out what repo this is being hosted from; a code search for 'DESOLEE' doesn't show anything, so I'm assuming it's a private repo. But at least we know there are git commits happening.

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lsb 550 days ago | link

Désolée = sorry, in French.

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pygy_ 550 days ago | link

As said by a woman. Males would say "Désolé".

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_rs 550 days ago | link

I believe it is used to describe a woman rather than being always said by a woman.

Could describe the girl he has been talking about throughout the documents.

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abolibibelot 550 days ago | link

"désolée" also means..."desolated" or "forlorn" when refering to a place instead of a person.

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Lunatikzc 546 days ago | link

It's french for sorry, desolated would be more related to 'désolation'

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abolibibelot 541 days ago | link

Well, being French and all, I beg to differ: "une lande désolée" can be translated as "a desolated moor". But it's a bit quaint, and yes, désolée usually means sorry (feminine form).

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Lunatikzc 532 days ago | link

Merci pour la précision ...

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marcbeaupre 548 days ago | link

When I use it (i'm french as a second language), I would usually use it to mean something closer to "sorry about that" or "Sorry, but ...". For example, "Sorry, but the road is closed.". I would not use it in the context "I'm sorry for what I did.". So, it's not a direct translation.

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usmanity 550 days ago | link

Could be a private repo.

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espadrine 550 days ago | link

Facts:

0. Since 2012-12-09, the following content was available at http://whytheluckystiff.net/

    Public Print Queue

    SPOOL/TEST	2012-12-09T14:12Z
    SPOOL/IDEAS	2012-12-13T23:26Z
    SPOOL/NOTES	2012-12-19T00:28Z
0.0. The style of writing and handwriting corresponds to that of Why.

0.1. Prints are very regular. There are 4.4 days between the first two, and 5 between the last two.

1. Going to those addresses yields, in essence, the following data: http://d.pr/i/qwo8

2. Now the following content is available:

    Public Print Queue

    SPOOL/DESOLEE	2012-01-06T08:21Z
2.0. The headers that are sent back from the server changed. The difference is shown in this picture: http://i.imgur.com/6mMPQ.png

2.1. It happened within 12 hours of this very thread.

2.2. DESOLEE is the french for "sorry", from a woman.

2.3. It is 2012, not 2013 (may be a typo).

3. Going to this address yields: http://www.scribd.com/doc/119155590/DESOLEE

3.0. A date of April the 18th is stated as the return of the printer queue.

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PLejeck 550 days ago | link

Nice summary, but there's also QUEUE/YOU somewhere in there.

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cdcarter 550 days ago | link

I can't get a QUEUE/YOU or SPOOL/YOU to send me any data. Does anybody have the PCL for it?

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marcbeaupre 548 days ago | link

Someone below posted it.

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fogus 550 days ago | link

Here's hoping he wants Potion back. http://www.github.com/fogus/potion

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pm 550 days ago | link

Agreed, I really liked where it was going.

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pygy_ 550 days ago | link

The language was (is) pretty cool.

I really liked the idea of scoped mixins, that would have allowed to extend any object locally (like, say, add unit conversion methods to numbers), without polluting the whole program. It was never implemented AFAIK.

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espadrine 550 days ago | link

It did heavily influence CoffeeScript, so there's that.

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fogus 550 days ago | link

Syntax only thought right?

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espadrine 550 days ago | link

Right. Jeremy Ashkenas also dropped some of the more controversial syntax along the way, like the use of dots to end a block.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1014080

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marcbeaupre 550 days ago | link

Looks like fun, really. I never actually checked out many of his projects. Oh well, can't do everything.

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tomasien 550 days ago | link

Could someone explain the significance of this for us who don't know? I'd really appreciate it!

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mcpherrinm 550 days ago | link

_why was a notable member of the Ruby community who disappeared without trace one day. He wrote Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby, which was how many people started learning the language.

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tomasien 550 days ago | link

Much appreciated!

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naturalethic 550 days ago | link

I appreciate you.

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dbloom 550 days ago | link

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

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wyclif 550 days ago | link

"Hello, friends and uncles!" https://vimeo.com/5047563

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Cacen 550 days ago | link

while watching this I noticed that the kid in the "tech today live" video mentions his live stream being "usually at saturdays at four pm-." I was unable to make out the rest of what he says, it's around 12:35-12:45 if you would like to hear it yourself. I feel like _why referenced this in SPOOL/DESOLEE with "April the 18th from like four o clock to let's say twelve." April 18th of 2009 (the year this video was made) was a saturday and I'm assuming what I couldn't make out from "tech today live" was some variation of "to twelve." so, "saturday from like four o clock to twelve."

though, even I, am unable to buy into my own crazy theories. I might be insane! I tend to be terrible at these things too.

not quite related to this video, but something I found humorous was the picture he used in SPOOL/DESOLEE http://i.imgur.com/gJR6b.png not too sure but it looks like dogs racing.

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jonah 550 days ago | link

FROGS, it's frogs on a string. (An old game.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uce9hfGBPIU

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Cacen 550 days ago | link

this is wonderful, much better than what I had imagined, thank you.

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_rs 550 days ago | link

he says "usually at Saturdays at 4pm eastern standard time"

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Cacen 550 days ago | link

ah, thanks.

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timinman 550 days ago | link

Why was a prolific coder. He also reached out to newbies and made programming fun.

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jacquesm 550 days ago | link

This so reminds me of this monty python 'Life of Brian' scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krb2OdQksMc

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cloudclear 550 days ago | link

The perfect python reference for a _why thread. That's kind of funny.

import irony

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haven 550 days ago | link

Hooray for _why! :D

Found a fourth PCL: http://whytheluckystiff.net/SPOOL/YOU

http://www.scribd.com/doc/119153889/You

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Maxious 550 days ago | link

This YOU PCL now returns a 404 error.

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PLejeck 550 days ago | link

404ing now. Mighta been something he planned to release later?

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_rs 550 days ago | link

Do you know what timestamp was on this file?

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marcbeaupre 550 days ago | link

This all makes today a very good day. :D

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bulletmagnet 550 days ago | link

Am I the only one who finds this guy's affectations more than slightly annoying?

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uxp 550 days ago | link

I find everyone that feels a need to dig further into the personal life of a guy who 'quit the internet' because people were digging too far into his personal life to be more annoying, personally.

I take his writing style as just being playful, though.

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tjholowaychuk 550 days ago | link

I read most of his guide when I started Ruby, and honestly it was a terrible intro to a language, and his code was always structured as a similar mess

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PommeDeTerre 550 days ago | link

The Ruby community's attitude toward him is absurd, along with the personality cults they've formed around David Heinemeier Hansson and Zed Shaw.

While other programming language communities have their notable figures, there is never as much outright drama surrounding them as we find in the Ruby community. In fact, these Ruby figures are now better known for the drama surrounding them than they are for any software they might've written.

It's really quite strange.

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cowboyhero 550 days ago | link

Figures in similar communities were older (Larry released Perl in his early thirties, Guido was pushing forty before Python gained traction). They also didn't come up in the era of YouTube, twitter, and archive.org.

Thirty years ago Ruby-style drama would have played out as drunken rant at a post-conference hotel bar, or a snide comment on Usenet, or on an obscure mailing list. Not quite the same.

The Ruby guys didn't have the benefit of age, experience, or a certain amount of professional obscurity.

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philwelch 550 days ago | link

I don't think that's quite fair. DHH and Zed Shaw are both famously outspoken and controversial, but the only thing why can be accused of is innocent whimsy. And, as far as I can tell, the Ruby community has no personality cult around any of the three men.

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tomjakubowski 550 days ago | link

What is the "Ruby community", exactly? The set of programmers whose language of choice in certain cases (the web, scripting) is Ruby?

Once you ascribe cult-like groupthink and behavior to a diverse and disconnected group of people who happen to write code in the same language, "leaders" of the cult will emerge from the noise. If you think DHH is some worshipped leader of Ruby programmers, you should read the GitHub comment threads on some of his changes to Rails.

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reinhardt 550 days ago | link

1. Get into a community not particularly known for its maturity.

2. Become semi-famous in said community by publishing a few puzzles and an intro book about programming. Doesn't have to be particularly insightful, mind blowing or even good by common standards as long as it's "quirky" and light hearted.

3. Become a cult symbol by dropping off the internet.

4. Come back after a few years and receive a Second Coming treatment.

5. ???

6. Profit!!!

(Of course I don't think this is an elaborate scheme by this guy and I see nothing wrong in his actions. I am only perplexed and turned off by the drama-seeking mentality of the (supposedly) rational, left-brained individuals that are expected to populate a programming community).

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krrrh 550 days ago | link

It's probably true that rubyists are still "left-brained", whatever that means, but I think they tend to be more on the right side of the left side than other language subcultures. The co-occurrence of terms like "beautiful", "happiness", and "art" in discussions of what ruby means are far higher than in other languages. This is self-reinforcing since a like-minded neophyte will be attracted to a community that talks and acts in ways that she or he finds common ground with. I had learned a bit of python from some well-written but dry books. But Why's poignant guide got me excited about ruby because it was obvious how excited he was by the language, and to some of us that was infectious in the same way chunky bacon is (it's not for everyone).

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jere 550 days ago | link

What kind of drama is DHH known for besides being opinionated? And you're saying he's better known for such drama than he is for Rails?

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slurry 550 days ago | link

With regard to why:

1) Drama: fair point.

2) Personality cult: Not as sure. I've seen more than one newb told "don't waste your time" on the Poignant guide in Ruby forums. why's weakness as a coder is pretty widely recognized. In my opinion maybe over-estimated, esp. relative to people like DHH.

3) To me - I learned Ruby when Rails was in its infancy and the Agile salesmen had barely just hitched their wagon to it - why represents a more innocent period of the Ruby community.

Ruby was really a wonderful place - not-especially talented programmers could explore relatively sophisticated programming language features in a safe sandbox. Everything you'd been doing with Perl or whatever you could do with blocks and lambdas and even call/cc if you didn't mind a huge performance hit (naturally you didn't.)

Maybe it's nostalgia, but I think there was a time when MINSWAN actually meant something. Now, every doofus with a self-rolled YAML parser thinks he's the Steve Jobs Memorial Arbiter of Proper Design over Earth and All Satellites Thereof.

4) Yes, it is strange. But then, this is a Perl- and Smalltalk-based language from Japan.

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jinfiesto 550 days ago | link

I wouldn't say _why is a "weak" coder per say. His style is just as eccentric as his character. He's certainly not conventional, and much of his code is slow, but the ideas are often interesting and beautiful. He also abuses a lot of Ruby's metaprogramming facilities. He obviously coded because it amused him. I think that's probably what resulted in the "weaknesses" in his style.

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vidarh 550 days ago | link

His code is art. And so is his book. It is beautiful, and at times insightful and fascinating. It is not "engineering".

E.g. take Camping (a micro-web-framework that fit in 4K of code) - it is fascinating as a demonstration of some of the things you can do in little space. It is beautiful as art. It has provided inspiration for a lot of us that finds Rails unnecessarily bloated.

It is also totally unreadable for ordinary developers, weird and quirky to the point that if someone had checked something like Camping into one of our work repos, it'd be a "ha-ha, now seriously where is your actualy code?" moment.

The Ruby community appreciates code as art, and is probably more than others inclined to blur the boundary between it and what we will accept or even embrace in production systems. But _why's stuff is mostly firmly on the art side.

There are exceptions, e.g. Hpricot was a nice first try that demonstrates some of _why's skill in terms of creating pleasing interfaces, and he deserves credit for that even though HPricot itself has been largely superseded by Nokogiri.

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zem 550 days ago | link

well said. _why really did exemplify the "coders at play" aspect of the ruby community, doing a bunch of creative and fairly bizarre things for the sheer joy of it.

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anko 550 days ago | link

I like to embrace people for what they bring. Sometimes the best art isn't easy to consume.

The community is like a boiling pot. Sure, handle it the wrong way and you might get turned off, but there is a lot of energy there.

Drama happens when you have a bunch of opinionated people who care deeply about their craft expressing their opinions.

If you can ignore the drama, i think you'll find the creativity more than makes up for it.

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yawn 550 days ago | link

Mission accomplished: you brought all the wet blankets out. Have you created anything recently of note? Let me know when so I can go into the comments of your thread and pour water all over it.

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w1ntermute 550 days ago | link

The guy is a total drama queen, but it's a Saturday night and I'm really bored, so I don't mind indulging him.

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retrogradeorbit 550 days ago | link

I just find it all a non-event. I really am perplexed as why people are so fascinated with him.

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Tichy 550 days ago | link

My impression is he is simply doing his thing, can hardly be blamed for the hype surrounding him.

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