hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    26 May 2017 News
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Apple Is Working on a Dedicated Chip to Power AI on Devices bloomberg.com
96 points by coloneltcb  1 hour ago   40 comments top 8
highd 47 minutes ago 3 replies      
This is probably going to be a hyper parallel fixed point / integer engine like TPU gen1. Doing fast matrix multiply over really small fields is very subpar on CPUs and GPUs. That was the initial reasoning behind TPU gen1 - improving runtime performance.

One question is if it will architecturally be closer to a GPU or an FPGA. The field moves so fast that it might make sense to "future-proof" a bit with a live-reconfigurable FPGA.

shauder 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Knowing them this will be pretty good. The A10 is a beast.
JumpCrisscross 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Could this mean on-device ANI? My deal breaker with Amazon, Google, Microsoft and even Siri is their role in normalising the hoovering up of sensitive data.
deepnotderp 22 minutes ago 0 replies      

This is interesting indeed, although I suppose it was somewhat inevitable.

I'm definitely interested in the architectural details of the chip, but I doubt Apple will open up. Apple has control of the software stack and by extension, what models will run on this chip, so I expect that it will be a little bit more special purpose than general purpose.

wyldfire 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> . The chip, known internally as the Apple Neural Engine,

Is this a real IC/processor for arbitrary software or an abstraction of an underlying GPU/DSP?

cft 36 minutes ago 5 replies      
I have been worried about this trend: if they don't open it up, things like this introduce a disparity between startups that can only have access to GPUs and big companies that make their own proprietary ASICs for their proprietary software, such that startups cannot complete.
strin 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Neural Engine = General Matrix Multiplier?
samfisher83 58 minutes ago 3 replies      
Why not use a gpu. A lot of AI stuff is linear algebra: Multiply accumulate etc.
AMD Announces Ryzen Update: Enables Memory Clocks Up to DDR4-4000 anandtech.com
105 points by jjuhl  2 hours ago   41 comments top 5
frou_dh 2 hours ago 3 replies      
The eternal question with overclocking is... Which tests and for how long does your system need to pass them for it to be deemed a 100% stable overclock? The different PC enthusiast communities and even individual posters within them all have different answers.
IceyEC 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Any word on ECC support for the Ryzen chips?
api 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Does DDR4-4000 really mean that your RAM is now very close to CPU core speed? That could result in a massive performance boost for a lot of things.
jbmorgado 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Just to be clear, do this solve the issues with GPU passthrough in virtualization environments (i.e. KVM)?
hammerandtongs 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Uhoh this kind of removes one of the things holding me back from buying -

"""The last addition should excite those interested in virtualization. AMD has announced "fresh support" for PCI Express Access Control Services (ACS), which enables the ability to manually assign PCIe graphics cards within IOMMU groups. This should be a breath of fresh air to those who have previously tried to dedicate a GPU to a virtual machine on a Ryzen system, since it has thus far been fraught with difficulties."""

People have been fairly successful over the years combining their windows games box into their linux workstation by doing this.

I haven't dipped in but I am pretty tempted.

Can anyone comment on the stability of the linux workstation if the windows vm takes a dump via bad drivers etc? That's my concern is that my linux workstation is highly highly stable and I don't want to borrow problems just to save a box.

PostmarketOS: Aiming for a 10 year life-cycle for smartphones ollieparanoid.github.io
48 points by ollieparanoid  48 minutes ago   7 comments top 6
drcross 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
I hope this takes off. I was happily using a note 4 for years, occasionally buying a new battery because it allowed you to change it by removing the back (remember all the phones that used to do that?). The only reason I had to retire it was because I needed security patches but each update made the phone progressively slower. My new phone has exactly the same features and if I factory restored the note 4 it would run as fast as my new one but phone manufacturers don't exactly like that, and it's something that should change.
jacquesm 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
There is one small fallacy in the decade old PC versus the decade old smarphone comparison: PCs are not status symbols but smartphones are and fashion is a huge component in why smartphones are replaced.

Another driving force is that a smartphone made a decade ago would simply not be able to use many of todays apps because it is missing certain sensors.

so while I hope this will take off I see some obstacles. Happy owner of a 10 year old Nokia here that serves me well, I've tried quite a few smartphones over the years but I never found anything that I really needed that would make me give up 5 day battery life and being 100% drop proof.

evv 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is fabulous! There are millions of old phones out there with decaying versions of iOS and Android. Google and Apple are ignoring them, so these devices are just plummeting in value. This is the perfect market for an actually-open-source mobile OS!

If somebody can get React Native to run on PostmarketOS, then we could start building up an ecosystem of non-walled-garden apps that are compatible with iOS and Android!

jekkar 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is awesome and I've been waiting for something like this to come along for a long time. It's crazy how easy it is to get Linux on an ARM based Chromebook, but nearly impossible to get it on a phone.

Android is a security nightmare and most of us are aware of that at this point. On top of that, Android has been moving functionality off the device and into their services for years making their AOSP offering weaker and weaker. Keep up the good work!

Edit: At some point it'd be nice to use a GuixSD or NixOS configuration file as your "one custom package" instead of an Alpine package. Any Linux on bare metal though would be welcome of course.

wernercd 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
How does "Project Treble" affect this "issue"? The extra layer of APIs that Android will be built on should solve the "Fork for Every Device and Every Build" problem, yes?


nilved 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is a pretty cool idea. I think we really need something like this.
How to Report a Bug to Microsoft schveiguy.com
106 points by Sujan  2 hours ago   30 comments top 13
Namrog84 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Hi schveiguy,

I am just a completely random MS employee, acting on my own behalf, who is browsing HN on my day off from work. I work in Xbox and don't work anywhere related to Excel or tech support. I just repro'd your issue in under 30 seconds in Excel 2016, and also submitted an issue internally on this. I hope it helps :)


Also, I'd highly recommend using the builtin feedback menu, e.g. "send a frown" highlighting the issue. As well as making a post on https://excel.uservoice.com/. I know on my current and former teams, both of these(feedback & uservoice) get looked at quite often, even if there is only a few number of votes on them.

edit: +1 to https://answers.microsoft.com as mentioned by mherdeg

alkonaut 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
First, I think it's good that Microsoft and others separate tech support from bug reporting. Obviously some support requests will be due to bugs - but I'd never ever try to enter a bug via tech support (and this article shows why).

That said, the Microsoft way of bug reporting is utterly infuriating. If a bug like this is reported you want a human response from a developer familiar with the code in question, within at most a few days. This isn't support - I'm not buying a service from Microsoft I'm providing a service. For free.

Uservoice isn't working. It's a site where you vote on silly feature requests, not a proper bug reporting system where you can actually follow the issue being resolved. The bug report menu item in some products seem to take me to different places each time and differnt products do it differently. (and don't get me started on the people that respond on answers.ms... what is their correctness rate? 5%?)

I'm very happy to see that for a lot of the dev related projects you can now usually get a response on a github issue very quickly.

cptskippy 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience recently. My kid was trying to play Minecraft on her iPhone with her friends and it required her to login with her Xbox Account (which is another name for her Microsoft Account) but she didn't have permissions to play online because her account was a child member of a family and I hadn't granted her permission to play with friends.

The Bug was that she wasn't showing up as my child on the Xbox website, only on the Microsoft Account website. So I had no way of granting her permissions.

Unfortunately I tried the Chat support feature first. I was bounced around between Microsoft Support, Microsoft Account Support, Xbox Account Support, and Xbox Support numerous times. Eventually I was told to go fill out a form with a provided support number and that someone would email me.

When I finally received an email it contained links to the knowledge base article I'd found myself and had walked through with support numerous times already. I was even told a different points that I needed to Contact Apple and Mojang about the issue.

After an evening of this I decided to call. I was on the phone for about 2 hours with a guy while we went through all the same gyrations I had done before with Chat support. Thankfully he didn't try to pawn me off on anyone or transfer me to another department.

After eventually conceding that it wasn't user error and in fact a bug, he said he would submit it as a bug and sent me a link to a page where I could view the status of my support case.

The linked page is mostly useless as it is just a log of the emails I exchanged with Microsoft Support however it does have an obscure Status field. I never followed back up on the issue until a week ago when my kid asked about Minecraft again. I checked the Xbox Account website and miraculously I could change her permissions!

For shits and giggles I just opened up the support link I was emailed and the Status is now showing as "New -> TroubleShoot -> Closed". So yay!

I still haven't gotten a response from Microsoft Support about who I should contact at Apple about my issue though...

* I almost forgot! At one point the Xbox team wanted me to log into an Xbox One to try and adjust the privacy settings there. Only problem was that I don't own an Xbox One so they suggested that I some how come upon one on my own because they were confident it would solve my issue.

mherdeg 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Ouch, sounds like this author used a long phone tree and talked to about ten front-line phone support technicians, none of whom were able to file a bug report. Bummer.

Also sounds like one or more of those people advised him to report his issue in the web support forums at https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_... , which in my experience often get really good feedback from employees and expert community contributors ("MVPs"). It sounds like the phone technicians did a bad job of explaining this resource which this author might have mistaken for static help documents (it's not).

Things may have changed in the past few years, but back when I worked in the PM organization that owned updates to this Web Query feature in Office 15 (the prior version), I remember that MVPs and PMs would absolutely trawl those forums looking for user-reported bugs and trying to help get them workarounds & fix the root-cause bug. YMMV of course, but many members of the team spent time every week looking for primary-source user feedback.

I definitely can't blame the author for taking the angle "OK, I tried CS, I'm going to give up and write a blog post" -- certainly very popular these days and works great for getting in touch with a tech company -- but it's too bad that the author didn't manage to get in touch with the community at answers.microsoft.com. The MVPs, employees, and other contributors there are often phenomenally helpful in doing bug triage and devising workarounds or real fixes. Seems like a case where first-line support might have been able to say "we can't fix this, but we know who can" quicker.

sonyakop 10 minutes ago 1 reply      
I would agree with Namrog84 (yes, I'm an MS employee). Also, the Excel UserVoice should allow you to report bugs and I would say should be your first stop for any issues that you encounter (https://excel.uservoice.com/).

Also, I worked as a Product Manager (Marketing) in the Office division for about 3 years, and honestly if you find folks who you know in Marketing, we're all about community and are willing to help get you the right resources and to the right people, regardless if it's our product that you're having trouble with.

Finally, I know for a fact that the marketing and engineering teams are actively engaged on StackOverflow, so if you were able to post something there, they will find it and respond.

jbob2000 1 hour ago 3 replies      
>My bug that I found has to do with Excel 2016. At my company, we have many spreadsheets that use a feature in Excel called Web Queries. These allow one to download a web page, or a table that is on the web page, into cells in your excel document.

Ok, sounds janky, but go on...

>In my particular case, I am using this feature to connect our internal job tracking system that I developed to spreadsheets that are used for calculating pricing and energy savings (our company makes energy savings updates to refrigeration systems), and upload that result back to the tracking system.

Oh god why?? Why!?? What is this Frankenstein system you have created??

oblosys 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
There are also Microsoft teams that don't put you through such nightmare scenarios though. Last night I submitted a TypeScript bug report, and within 15 minutes it was labeled, added to the next-release milestone, and had someone assigned to it.
agrona 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
The real trick is to know somebody who works on the product. Seems to be the only way I've ever seen any bug get reported and fixed.
DamonHD 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ah! Many many moons ago when MS refused to even answer the phone I ended up in frustration telexing (yep!) a guy in MS HQ who turned out to be called Bill Gates, and dramatic things happened quite quickly. That's what we used to do before blog posts...

(It also resulted in my first start-up getting funded.)

ElijahLynn 1 hour ago 3 replies      
That was fantastic!!! And to think, all they have to do is have a "report bug" item in the help menu.
jpswade 1 hour ago 1 reply      
partycoder 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
In contrast, Steve Jobs was known for randomly answering customer support calls to better understand the customer.


partycoder 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
"DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run".

- Microsoft

The reason you are all using MS Excel today.

Sprig is shutting down techcrunch.com
51 points by pjcreese  2 hours ago   13 comments top 8
rjett 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
I would guess any restaurant funded out of the gates with this amount of VC would fail. Call it a food-tech startup if you want, but Sprig and its competitors are restaurants. The reality of restaurants is that their growth is linear, even if they are successful. That's because it takes time to develop trust with the consumer, and even once that is established, people either want variety or their trust can be shattered completely on one off experience. Deploying this much capital on a restaurant concept straight out of the gates would be fine if and only if they managed to execute flawlessly and if VCs were ok not making money for a few years and then churning out 0-15% returns after that. But that's not the VC game.
franzen 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Honestly, not surprising! The unit economics of services like Sprig (and, to a lesser extent, DoorDash) are horrifyingly bad. If you've ever thought about starting a delivery service, this is a worthwhile read. They predicted Sprig's demise last year: https://medium.com/@review/the-food-delivery-death-star-85f9...
vkou 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
Some outrageous percentage of small businesses fail within two years.

Restaurants are a big contributor to that statistic. Sprig was, essentially, a restaurant. Calling it a tough environment to operate in is an understatement.

Sephr 56 minutes ago 1 reply      
Doesn't surprise me. I tried them a few times and the food always seemed mediocre and uninspired.

Near the end of the company's life they switched from fully compostable packaging and utensils (wherever possible) to the standard array of plastic containers and utensils you'd expect from any restaurant, while keeping their price just as high.

anonfunction 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here's the email sprig CEO Gagan Biyani sent out today:


fredrb 49 minutes ago 2 replies      
I only clicked because I read "spring" other than "sprig"
partycoder 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
For a while Sprig was very convenient. I paid the monthly flat fee for delivery for some months. But then it became very hard to get a meal from them:

- Meals would be sold out by noon

- You had a limit. You could order only 1 meal.

- The drink prices were ridiculous. Like $6 for a juice.

So because I could never get a meal, I canceled my subscription and started using other services.

wand3r 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
> {...} Sprig CEO Gagan Biyani wrote in an email customers will receive shortly.

From TC's wording it sounds like they obtained and published this email before it was sent. Maybe just incorrect choice of words; if not then that's pretty bold from TC and unprofessional IMO.

Italics mine.

68000 Tricks and Traps Some assembly language programming guidelines easy68k.com
25 points by rocky1138  1 hour ago   4 comments top 2
TheRealPomax 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I feel cheated, there were way fewer than 68000 tricks and traps in this article.
AnimalMuppet 56 minutes ago 1 reply      
Note: 1986

Ah, what wonderful chips the 68000 series were, at least for the era. So many registers, such a nice clean architecture. Good times.

Change.org Raises $30M Led by Reid Hoffman; Sam Altman and Bill Gates Invest Too fortune.com
115 points by artsandsci  5 hours ago   71 comments top 10
dgranda 4 hours ago 9 replies      
There is much better option in some countries if you want to change some law or government policy. For example, in the UK any British citizen or UK resident can create an online petition to be discussed in UK Parliament [1].

If a petition gets 10,000 signatures, the government will respond.

If a petition gets 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

And source code is available on GitHub [2]

[1] https://petition.parliament.uk/

[2] https://github.com/alphagov/e-petitions

woollysammoth 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is a little frustrating. Dont get me wrong, the site should definitely exist and serves a useful purpose. My criticism comes when I read that they have ~300 employees. They are ranked 1,269 globally on Alexa. Craigslist is ranked 99 globally with only 30 employees. Even more so, on Glassdoor their benefits include Fully stocked kitchen with everything you can imagine, catered dinners, massages, game room, nap room, open and comfortable work space. [1]

The world is kind of in the shitter and Change.org could be the worlds greatest plunger. Not if it continues being a bloated company focused on recouping their massive expenses.

[1] https://www.glassdoor.com/Benefits/Change-org-US-Benefits-EI...

d4mi3n 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I worked for Change circa 2010 ~ 2011. Interesting to see how their revenue model has changed.

IIRC they were previously making money by building email lists for non-profits and other orgs that would essentially contract Change to get them exposure.

From what I read here, seems that wasn't really working out. Not sure what to make of becoming it a crowdfunding platform.

pestkranker 5 hours ago 5 replies      
I would like to see a world where petitions are much more taken into account. Unfortunately, for many leaders, they are not taken seriously.

I hope Change.org can do something about this.

koolba 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Is change.org a for-profit enterprise?

The name suggests otherwise. If so, it's not really an investment in the traditional sense where you'd expect a return.

pvnick 3 hours ago 0 replies      
With the rise in interest in political activism, it's worth reading Saul Alinksy's Rules for Radicals. All sides are moving towards utilization of the tactics and ethics contained therein, and it's helpful to understand how community organizing works in the age of mass media.
tabeth 5 hours ago 4 replies      
I wish there was a TLD that was regulated such that only a legitimate not for profit organization could have it, similar to .edu. Change having a .org TLD is incredibly misleading. It's not a non-profit, and no, B corporations do not count.
ryanx435 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Is sama investing as an individual or is he investing through y combinator somehow?

If it's as an individual this can be interpreted as further proof that he is positioning himself to run for governor of cali in a future election.

supercars 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Every time when Bill Gates kind of people invest on something, my alarm bells start to ring. Something is not right.

Agenda will change for sure, investors will change the company.

dandelion_lover 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I truly cannot understand how such a non-profit website could implement Google analytics, which tracks the users. Any desire to sign the petitions disappears.

They could utilize piwik analytics.

Lyft adds a new app for drivers businessinsider.com
144 points by wyndham  5 hours ago   86 comments top 12
jswny 4 hours ago 4 replies      
I think this is a very good idea! I know many people around where I live who use local Uber drivers whom they trust to schedule early-morning rides to the airport and things like that. The rider will have the driver come to his/her house at the specified time, and then the driver and the rider will both turn on Uber and the rider's request will be filled by that driver because nobody else is nearby that early. This would would make it much easier to do something like that for both the rider and the driver, and I see this as an important use case because it's really the only remaining one which many people would prefer to use a car service or taxi service than Uber/Lyft. It's also much more profitable for the driver so drivers will like this a lot. Great move on Lyft's part, maybe they could consider allowing riders to directly send requests to certain drivers. The point here being that riders using Lyft like a car service have drivers they trust to come on time, not cancel, etc. which are the only potential problems I see here.
Kiro 5 hours ago 9 replies      
So this is of course anecdotal but the only time I book taxis is when it's very important I get somewhere in time, like catching a plane early in the morning. Given the nature of Uber/Lyft it would take a lot before I would trust them with this.
bpicolo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This could be a really good thing if you're an hour away from the airport where you have a morning flight, but a really bad thing if the driver decides that morning to not take you. :)
yiggydyang 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Grrrr... BI no longer works when you have an ad blocker installed.
sverige 4 hours ago 0 replies      
As a rider, I haven't noticed the Lyft app to be slow or especially bloated, so it will be interesting to see if it is significantly faster once the update pushes through with the driver portion removed.
dave84 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, there's obviously a demand for this feature but I wonder if it will change the way the end user books rides substantially or if its just a nice to have.
cjiang 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Chinese Didi had it long ago...
pfarnsworth 5 hours ago 4 replies      
I don't think scheduling a ride a few days in advance actually helps the drivers. One of the best things about Uber or Lyft for the drivers is that they don't have to think about scheduling, they're told exactly where to drive.

If they have a scheduled ride and they forget about it, or they're stuck waiting around to make that ride and lose business, that doesn't seem like it will be popular.

One big thing that Uber needs to fix is the incentive scheme. One of the Uber drivers I talked to said she hated how they were, in my words, gamified into earning their incentive bonuses. And the incentive bonuses change every time, so it makes it hard for them to keep track. That's something Uber needs to change in order to increase driver satisfaction, making it clearer and more consistent on how to earn the incentives which is where the drivers make more. I don't see how Lyft's "Power Zones" are any different from Uber showing where surge is occurring, but if it works, then great.

joelrunyon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone got a non-BI link?
inverse_pi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Everyone loves the underdog
throwaway3589 3 hours ago 4 replies      
e-sushi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's see how that goes...
Charles Simonyi on Intentional Software Joining Microsoft intentional.com
39 points by lx  2 hours ago   32 comments top 10
agumonkey 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Wow, it's been long since I looked into Intentional Software. I was so enamored with their ideas back in the days.

Also reminds me of subtextual (jonathan edwards phd)

walterbell 2 hours ago 3 replies      
2009 article by Martin Fowler on Intentional's Domain Workbench, https://martinfowler.com/bliki/IntentionalSoftware.html

> Afterwards a couple of people said it was the most important demo they'd ever seen, comparing it even to the Mother of all Demos. For many there was a sense that the whole world of software development had just changed.

haspok 1 hour ago 5 replies      
It always amazed me that during their ~10 years of existence they never actually produced anything visible, other than demos. I remember I had been very excited about their "intentional" approach, even though so many years later I tend to think that it is actually an evolutionary dead-end (anyone remembers 4GL and 5GL languages? The late 90s when CASE tools and visual IDEs like Delphi were all the rage?). There is no silver bullet.

I'd love to be proven wrong, though, and hope to see some of the "intentional" stuff in any real software product.

rrdharan 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I had never heard of Intentional Software until I recently read Dreaming In Code[1] where the company is mentioned briefly.

Prompted me to wonder if they were still around, which led me to their Glasdoor reviews page which is sort of entertaining popcorn fodder[2].

Then lo and behold a few weeks later the acquisition popped up in the news. Synchronicity at work I guess.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreaming_in_Code[2] https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Intentional-Software-Revie...

bitL 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What's the difference between Intentional's product and JetBrains' MPS? To me it seems like MPS can do much more and can accommodate Intentional's model as well. Anyone knows better?
AceJohnny2 1 hour ago 1 reply      
For reference, Simonyi worked on the legendary Xerox Alto, where he wrote Bravo, the first WYSIWYG editor.

He later joined Microsoft in 1991, where he started Word.

oh_sigh 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is this massive ontology similar to what Leibnitz attempted with his characteristica universalis?
bluesmoon 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Charles Simonyi is also the person behind the Hungarian Notation of naming variables.
matchagaucho 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Research has shown that handwritten notes are more effective for learning and recall than typed notes, and for this reason pen computing will flourish whenever notetaking is required

Really? This smells like over-fitting the research to justify a desired commercial outcome.

twsted 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"I wasn't able to make anything interesting out of Microsoft so I'm joining them again"
Chipotle Reports Findings from Investigation of Payment Card Security Incident chipotle.com
33 points by rigden33  2 hours ago   34 comments top 6
icelancer 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Why is there no legal recourse here outside of spending my own time/resources to cancel cards and deal with all the BS that occurs with that whenever this happens? There should be financial repercussions, each affected individual should be awarded monetary compensation for their time.
frikk 58 minutes ago 1 reply      
My area was hit, and I did get hit with credit card fraud. I suspected a different vector (shady medical vendor and coincidental timing). The card that got hit was indeed used at Chipotle, but a week after the supposed "time range" indicated on the security site. Maybe the time range isn't absolute.
heywire 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Hopefully this pushes more and more restaurants towards using separate chip-reader (EMV) pinpad devices. I've noticed several area restaurants switching lately (Arby's, Wendy's), and I hope it continues. These devices use point-to-point encryption, meaning that even if the POS machine is comprimised, no sensitive card data can be stolen. The POS machine never sees raw card data.
Splendor 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
No doubt the timing of releasing this news on the holiday weekend was deliberate; intended to reach as few people as possible.
shoover 1 hour ago 3 replies      
What was that thing? It looks like all the stores in my area were hit.
pasbesoin 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
Anyone have the whole list? (I hate enforced drill-down selection for such things.) How many locations?
UIDebuggingInformationOverlay ryanipete.com
161 points by ryanipete  5 hours ago   19 comments top 9
smilliken 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> be sure that the code doesnt make it into your App Store build, else youre likely to get rejected.

Doesn't appear to be the case! Here's a list of 611 apps using this class: https://mixrank.com/appstore/apps?expiration=2017-06-26&list...

Notably, it looks like Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Uber are all using it (or have a dependency that is). There's been a handful that were using it since early 2015, and a surge of several hundred towards the end of last year.

Here's the other related classes:

 UIDebuggingInformationRootTableViewController UIDebuggingInformationTopLevelViewController UIDebuggingInformationValue UIDebuggingInformationValueTableViewCell UIDebuggingInformationValueViewObserver UIDebuggingInformationViewController UIDebuggingInformationValueView UIDebuggingInformationOverlay UIDebuggingInformationValueViewNumber

Kipters 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug: My post[0] about how to call it from Xamarin

[0] https://kipters.net/post/ios-debugging-overlay/

disposition2 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Just a note about your site. The 'Website' link on the left pane, it seems to 404 on just about every page. It looks like it is a relative link, rather than static because the domain is getting appended to the end of each source URL.

Neat find.

gallerdude 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Not surprised all that much of Apple's hidden tools. I'd totally sign a NDA in order to see the hidden past of Apple.
vshni02 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Flex does same + more (network logs) https://github.com/Flipboard/FLEX
CodeWriter23 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Dude! You win HN for the week, at least in the eyes of this guy, currently iOS developer guy. Just yesterday I was thinking to myself, how I needed some kind of tool to help me visualize the view hierarchy. I ended up setting different background colors on various views to understand my problem.

Thank you.

saidajigumi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Related to this, I'll highly recommend Reveal[1], a macOS app which allows for (semi-)live view debugging of iOS apps. Reveal provides view hierarchy info, and renders it on (the mac's) screen in a highly inspectable way.

Specifically, both flat 2D and a really great 3D exploded renderings of the active views are available. This is really brilliant for acquiring a deeper understanding of many initially opaque aspects of iOS view construction.

Likewise, the inspectors let you tweak and adjust autolayout constraint values, frames, bounds, and other view settings live. All together, working with Reveal restores a refreshing amount of the ease of view debugging and iteration speed that I love about working with modern in-browser debugging.

[1] https://revealapp.com/

mchrome 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool. Hopefully they make it public in the next developer release.
jclardy 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder when this was actually added, maybe it is getting ready for an actual release in iOS 11 later this year.
Show HN: Using city permits to map Sonic.net fiber github.com
76 points by ThatDan  5 hours ago   34 comments top 12
unruthless 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome. One of those blue lines is close by, so I looked up my address in Sonic's availability tool[1], and sure enough: "Gigabit Fiber is coming to your locationService is scheduled to be available Dec 2017"

[1] https://www.sonic.com/availability

firloop 5 hours ago 3 replies      
HaloZero 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I was debating about getting it and curious if it really makes that world a difference? Does a gigbit connection make the internet substantially better?

It's almost double the cost of MonkeyBrains another provider that has a strong net neutrality position, custom service, and etc.

TobbenTM 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Not an American, so could someone tldr me what makes Sonic.net interesting? Just better than Comcast/VZ/etc?
megakwood 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Very cool... The map comes pretty close to my house so I put in my address and they allowed me to preorder for October.


throwaway91111 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Looks like it's just san francisco? Might want to alter the title.
ThatDan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Happy to see this hit the front page.

I wanted to share this with the users at https://forums.sonic.net who have been pining for maps but you need a Sonic.net account to post. If anyone is willing to share, I'd appreciate it.

avh02 4 hours ago 1 reply      
not worth a PR (cos it's opinion and a specific application), but if you have aria2c on your machine you can do something like:

aria2c -i permiturls.txt

to download file lists.

derekdahmer 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow I'm 1/2 block away from a fiber line. How do I convince Sonic to do my street?
omgduh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Neat stuff!

I'm pretty sure I saw them out there today stringing some up on my street, and it's reflected on the map.

hackunomatter 2 hours ago 0 replies      
2 blocks from where I live... dammit! So close, and yet so far...
Still Logged In: What Social VR and AR Can Learn from MMOs [video] vimeo.com
44 points by smacktoward  3 hours ago   7 comments top 5
smacktoward 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Since the page doesn't really call out who's speaking, the presenter is Raph Koster, who has a long history designing online games (including Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies) and writing about game design theory.



delias_ 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Having worked at an MMO dev, I think this talk's praises and criticisms are all super on point. The social stereotypes of tech are I think even more pronounced in the games industry, and it would be super if everyone were this conscientious and their companies empowered all employees to have a voice about this kind of thing.

The pitfalls can so easily slip through into emerging social media forms. Making aware the lessons learned from the pioneering days of social videogames is definitely not an easy thing to do simply due to the elitism and proprietary nature prevalent in the games industry.

TazeTSchnitzel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> What ethical implications?

I burst out laughing at that. It ought not to surprise me that Mr. Zuckerberg is like that, and yet.

news_to_me 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic video. As an industry it seems like we tend not to focus on the ethical implications of our work as much as we should. Zuck's response to the speaker (if true) is reprehensible.
Eyght 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I wonder if future popular virtual worlds won't go more towards the 'abandon all hope ye who enter here'-kind of route. That being said, the premise of setting up AI Police in games to avoid abuse seems like an amazing project to work on.
How to build your own VPN if you're wary of commercial options arstechnica.com
128 points by sgeller  7 hours ago   63 comments top 18
AdmiralAsshat 6 hours ago 8 replies      
The problem with a home-grown VPN is that you lose some of the plausible deniability that's gained from a shared VPN. If you have a VPN connected to a privately-owned AWS instance, the IP coming from that AWS instance is easily traced back to you. Whereas if your external IP is coming from a cluster that is shared by thousands of other people using that VPN, it is more difficult for someone to tie that specifically back to you.
rbritton 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I operate my own VPN endpoint for a couple reasons:

1. I frequently need to connect via open, untrusted local networks, such as those at hotels.

2. Many commercial VPNs (e.g., PIA) end up having some portion of their endpoint IPs end up on blacklists and break a lot of sites.

Anonymity from the government is a lower priority than both of the above, and I acknowledge the lack of it in my risk model.

Initially I started out just running a Streisand[0] server, but its scope and overall speed were unsuited for my wants. Now it's just a barebones VPS with OpenVPN running, and I connect to it primarily through a travel router.[1] Longer term I would like to develop an Ansible playbook so that I can quickly deploy a new endpoint at a close VPS when traveling if the need arises for better speed.

[0]: https://github.com/jlund/streisand

[1]: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I92T754/ref=oh_aui_deta...

TACIXAT 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Alternatively, just use Algo. [1] It's a self-hosted, hardened IPSEC VPN that automates setup on multiple cloud providers.

1. https://github.com/trailofbits/algo

xpaulbettsx 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Like, I'm not sure why anyone thinks that:

1. AWS, DO or Linode won't respond to a subpoena

2. That any of those three won't have extensive logging in place, without the privacy goals that a VPN provider would have

You're just switching your ISP to AWS when you do this, which might be better than what you've got, but certainly isn't flawless untraceable security

drewg123 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why is he using AES-CBC rather than AES-GCM? GCM is generally faster & more optimized, especially for hardware offloads like might be present on some routers.

Is there something about OpenVPN that doesn't support GCM?

AlexCoventry 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I have no current need for it, but I'd be really interested to read a step-by-step guide on setting up an untraceable server using cryptocurrency, starting from cash. As others have pointed out, the hole in these instructions is that you have to trust Digital Ocean.
filleokus 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I would like to have a setup like this:

- One VPN to connect laptop on the road with machines at home LAN, and with VM:s on different hosts.

- Have this VPN "exit" via a commercial VPN-provider (for privacy).

Could I easily configure this? Have one of the VM's be the VPN server and configure it to "exit" trough the commercial VPN?

I haven't really managed / configured "real" VPN's, how does local access work? I.e, when I'm at home with my laptop and access my desktop that's on the same network, will the packets flow out to the remote VPN server and back, or can it resolve it locally somehow?

Also, will this break stuff that depend on Bonjour / ZeroConf (i.e Apple Airplay and stuff?)

kitotik 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised that tinc-vpn.org isn't mentioned more in these VPN threads. It's such a pleasure to work with when compared to OpenVPN. You can standup a distributed mesh VPN in minutes.
daxorid 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is odd. The primary point of VPN services (aside from a layer of protection on untrusted networks) is to mix your traffic in with N other random users such that the chance of you being identified as the source of the traffic is 1/N instead of 1/1.

Hosting your own VPN exit node, with you as the sole user, defeats this use case entirely.

hathym 5 hours ago 1 reply      
mverwijs 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I ran across this one today: https://github.com/trailofbits/algo

Based on ipsec, so no extra software to install on the clients. Looked interesting.

nafizh 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This might be a good idea for a startup where they create a plug and play service so users do not have to go through all of this.
the_common_man 3 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the difference between L2TP/IPsec and OpenVPN?
andy_ppp 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I setup something from a script on digital ocean a while back.
kapauldo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
i think nordvpn is like 80 bucks for 2 years seems worth saving this hassle.
borski 3 hours ago 0 replies      
We also built a solution to quickly deploy your own VPN using OpenVPN: https://www.tinfoilsecurity.com/vpn

All open-source, too.

jug5 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Or just use a modern deployment option like https://github.com/jlund/streisand
Performance notes traintimes.org.uk
74 points by Isofarro  5 hours ago   24 comments top 7
DamonHD 5 hours ago 2 replies      
> Of course, it all displays fine if JavaScript is not available, defaulting to visible something I wish I could say was true of all sites.

Hurrah! I am very bored of sites which need you to run 100 bits of JS, often from multiple sites, before displaying any actual content? Why?

As I've said before, I try and make the first ~10kB delivered to the browser be able to render everything important above the fold, and have everything work reasonably in the absence of JS, eg for those of us running NoScript or similar out of caution.


keithpeter 3 hours ago 0 replies      

My daily commute to Walsall has been made extra-efficient through this work

Many thanks, and, for the record, works fine on Seamonkey with NoScript on OpenBSD which is pretty minority.

Well done.

songshu 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This site is great and I used it daily while I lived in London. Perfect for mobile. It's a real kindness of the creator to have kept it so simple and consistent over the years. I can't think of another site with as good a bytes:utility ratio.
ratherbefuddled 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I always recommend this site to anybody booking a train, it's by some distance the best available in the UK.
Veratyr 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Minor quibble but in case anyone wonders like I did, the cases for units are mostly backwards. When he writes "Kb", he means "kB" (I looked at the size of the homepage, which is 10kB).

For anyone wondering what I'm talking about, the kilo prefix is lower case K, the symbol for a byte is upper case B and lower case B is a bit. Kb = kilobit with badly capitalised kilo. kB = kilobyte. kb = kilobit.

Also, interestingly, the JEDEC unit for 1024 bytes is KB while the metric one is kB. This is the only somewhat unambiguous JEDEC unit, the other two are corruptions of metric units.

pjungwir 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Something that has tripped me up a bit with service workers is this:

I can use the service worker to cache all the things, and I can embed their hashes in the service worker so it knows when to refetch code that has changed, but how do I tell browsers to refetch the service worker script itself (to get the latest hashes)? I've read some people suggesting a no-cache header on just that file, although I see that isn't used here, and it seems to defeat the purpose somewhat. How do other people handle that?

EDIT: At least I'm not the only one: https://github.com/w3c/ServiceWorker/issues/893

andreapaiola 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Oooh that is a good work!Very nice.
Declassified memos show FBI illegally shared spy data with private parties circa.com
117 points by shawndumas  4 hours ago   14 comments top 6
CWuestefeld 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
One wonders: is there ANY point at which the Congress or even the Courts will step in and say that the abuse has been excessive? Is there really any threshold, and they're just waiting to see if we reach it? I'm really starting to believe that there's no limit at all. It's the proverbial frog in hot water.
exabrial 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"This same declassified FISA ruling also held that Obamas NSA conducted improper searches of upstream surveillance data on Americans for years" -FTA
dang 1 hour ago 0 replies      
djjdiud 2 hours ago 2 replies      
52 points 2 hours and this is on page two.

Not a big surprise given how pro Government HN commenters can be.

killin_dan 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Oh lord, this is so shocking! /s

Why is state intelligence even a thing? The military is capable of gathering all of the defensive intelligence that we need to protect ourselves.

These state cowboys are out there making deals and cracking my WiFi to see what porn I'm watching in the name of counter-terror.

Nonviolent threats do not necessitate or validate state intelligence imo.

ak4g 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Here's the actual source document.


It appears to be proper judicial oversight of national security operations.

Unsurprisingly, having the rule of law applied even in the pursuit of those who seek to end it is smeared by those who would prefer to weaken the United States' national security and the institutions of liberal democracies the world over.

Show HN: Retro Patents Tech patents turned into art retropatents.com
70 points by Mikhus  5 hours ago   42 comments top 14
habosa 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd love these with one change: drop the text at the bottom! It would be so much more fun to just have the schematic and make my guests have to guess what the patent is for. More of a conversation piece that way.
tbirdz 5 hours ago 4 replies      
As far as I am aware Patent Documents are public domain, and not subject to copyright, so if someone wanted a printed patent poster they could grab the document and take it to any large format printer and have it printed there cheaper than it would cost to order from retropatents.com, and they could do this for any patent they were interested in, not just the limited selection available at your store.

Does Retro Patents add anything unique? Or in other words, why should I order from Retro Patents instead of doing what I mentioned in the first paragraph?

watsonc73 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Happy Friday!

I'm the co-founder of Retro Patents and we're super proud to bring the site to the HN community.

Last year, we were travelling in Europe and we came across a boutique print shop that had a Harley Davidson motorcycle patent in the window. We really liked the minimalist look to it and remembered how we'd used early product prototypes for motivation in the past. There's nothing more inspiring than seeing a world beating product stripped down to its core.

So we started the website you see today to help inspire others to go out and create magic. The prints also look really good as wall art ;)

There's a 15% discount for the HN community if you use the code (HACKER).

P.s. Max Levchin (PayPal founder) bought his own print and shared it on Twitter earlier this week - it was a great moment !

aurora- 5 hours ago 1 reply      
These look awesome - I just ordered the Google PageRank patent! I literally want to hang every one of these in the office. My second favourite has to be the Microchip patent filed by Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor. A close third would be the IBM patent filed by Arthur Dickinson. Really great job with these overall - I'll be ordering some more for birthday presents
mysterydip 5 hours ago 1 reply      
These are great, and something I had wanted to do for my office but didn't get around to yet. May I suggest some actual game patents in your games section along with the hardware?

I don't recall which game off the top of my head, but I've seen some that resemble the gmail/pagerank ones with a sample outlined screenshot or flowchart.

elmarschraml 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Unrelated to the site, but about the patents: How can a specific games console, like the Nintendo 64, be patented?

The name of the product, and maybe some brand-specific design elements, is a registered brand, sure. But a patent is for an invention, and it's not like a specific games console is a new invention - just a variant on the existing invention "games console"?

johnnydoe9 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Found out about this a couple months ago via the Lazy Game Reviews channel, have the PS 4 Controller one on my wall I love it.
kingbirdy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I've seen a lot of similar "patents as art" sites - anything that sets you apart?
dickfickling 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I opened this page in a new tab along with a few other articles I meant to read. After a few seconds, the page title started flashing "Don't forget this" at me. Is this a new way to avoid tab abandonment? I'm not normally one of those people who immediately closes a page that annoys me, but holy shit that was jarring. https://www.dropbox.com/s/a4i3yhsg9jpobhj/Screenshot%202017-...
fascinated 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to some Lodsys or Intellectual Ventures pieces, patents are great
it__guy 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Love the minimalist look.

Suggestion: Perhaps you could add a section for fictional patents from sci-fi universes

- Warp Drive from Star Trek

- Proton pack from Ghostbusters

- Memory erasing device from MiB

- Iron Man's arc reactor

- Batmobile

cubano 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Very smart idea..and nice execution. Great job.

What techie wouldn't love one (or four as a nice matrix) of these?

iamwil 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I learned that Elon's middle name is Reeve.
tgb 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd buy one of the Selectric typewriter for my dad if it were available!
NTFS bug lets anyone hang or crash Windows 7 or 8.1 arstechnica.com
246 points by ivank  13 hours ago   91 comments top 17
monocasa 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, NTFS has been described anonymously as

> a purple opium-fueled Victorian horror novel that uses global recursive locks and SEH [Structured Exception Handling] for flow control.

All though after his post blew up the developer recanted their statements a little, saying

> First, I want to clarify that much of what I wrote is tongue-in-cheek and over the top --- NTFS does use SEH internally, but the filesystem is very solid and well tested. The people who maintain it are some of the most talented and experienced I know. (Granted, I think they maintain ugly code, but ugly code can back good, reliable components, and ugliness is inherently subjective.)


saltyshake 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Original Source (posted on May 22nd) with actual technical details.


Nexxxeh 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Does that mean you could send someone a link, or take them to a webpage with a link, to file://killing string and if they click it, their system grinds to a halt? Can you DoS a Windows box by trigging an antivirus to try and look for that string? Does it impact Server?
eponeponepon 7 hours ago 6 replies      
I often wonder why these special filenames aren't more widely known. I've been using Windows for 25 years now, but first learned about them a couple of years back when I committed a perfectly sensible (or so I thought) directory of auxiliary files from a Debian box and named it "aux/".

Cue arriving back at work on Monday with the rest of my team kicking back waiting for IT to "fix Subversion"...

(yes I did fess up :-) )

phkahler 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I find it odd to think a web browser displaying a page from $some_remote_url would happily try to load an image from the local machine. Never mind the NTFS bug, this is one of those cases where the browser is out of bounds IMHO. The only time it should have access to the local file system is if the user is explicitly doing something like selecting a file to upload somewhere, or saving a downloaded file. I suppose if you're reading a locally stored .html file it should be able to grab other things like images. The ability to exploit this seems like lazyness on the part of browsers. They needed local file access for legitimate reasons and just opened it up.
winteriscoming 5 hours ago 2 replies      
>> Microsoft has been informed, but at the time of publication has not told us when or if the problem will be patched.

Doesn't a bug like this one deserve a responsible disclosure and wait for a patch to be available? The report doesn't state when Microsoft was informed about this, but given the severity of this issue and the fact that they haven't heard back, I would suspect it wasn't too long back.

bjpbakker 8 hours ago 4 replies      
The /only/ way (still) for MS to get rid of the blue-screen-of-death seems to change the color :)
pbhjpbhj 2 hours ago 0 replies      
So if I set someone's desktop background, or $path, to the relevant path ...?

Or share a soft link on Dropbox, or include the file in a zip for someone to unzip?

Also people are saying "this big doesn't work on Chrome browser", surely more interesting is if it works in Outlook Express given the install base. Like can we perma-crash OE by sending an email with a file:///$MFT\crashme.jpg image link??

_nalply 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Can confirm it for my Win7 installation. Open cmd then cd c:\$MFT and your system freezes up. Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn't help, but you can still open one (but completely useless) Explorer window. I didn't get a bluescreen. It's weird.

Update: A hard reset helped and everything is fine again.

super-io 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For many years BSD has allowed mounting NTFS partitions read-only.

One project even allows isolating the kernel driver in userspace.

And then there is third party software, e.g., ntfs-3g.

I sometimes see these '$'-prefixed files when I mount NTFS partitions. They never crashed BSD. But maybe it is possible.

Wondering if Windows 10 partitions still mount in BSD without any problems?

ChiliDogSwirl 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I won't lie... I'm going to have a bit of fun with the guys in desktop support today...
desktopninja 6 hours ago 1 reply      
On Windows 7 (v6.1.7601), enabling UAC thwarts this. In addition IE does not allow file:///c:/$MFT or C:\$MFT
nsaslideface 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Why... why would no-one at Microsoft fuzz their operating system's file browser with at least every possible four-length(?) string?
bitmapbrother 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is going to be the new rickroll.
drinchev 7 hours ago 1 reply      
saltyshake 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Works on Server 2012 R2 as well...
delegate 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Aliens: We come in peace !

Humans: Welcome to Earth !

Aliens: So we notice you've invented the Computer ? What is the name of the dominant and most widely used operating system on this Planet ?

Humans: Windows !

Aliens: Windows ? Melted Silicon dioxide ? Really ? (chuckles :) .. (cough, cough) How stable is it ?

(you know were this is going, right ? )

Humans: Hmm... Well, it's getting stable(r) with every passing decade..

Aliens: Every decade ? Interesting... What if I type "c:\$MFT\123" ?

Humans: Oh that ... it will hang, it's a bug in NTFS.

Aliens: Bug? Infested??? Infesters were here ! Quick, let's run!

Humans: Wait , please, don't go, it's not that bad ! It has Internet Explorer !

Aliens: (waving from the spaceship) Build a new set of pyramids, we'll come back after another 10,000 spins around your star.

Humans: ...

The Right to Attention in an Age of Distraction philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com
80 points by dredmorbius  6 hours ago   32 comments top 9
tdaltonc 4 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm a professional attention engineer. After getting my PhD in NeuroEconomic I built two tools that I think are going to be really important in the coming attention wars.

I strongly agree with the author about the importance of an individual autonomy over attention. I also agree with the author that these tools create an opportunity to empower individual autonomy to a degree never seen before. And I get out of bed everyday to make sure that these tools are used that way.

My tools:



gnicholas 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting idea, but even if there were a protectable right to attention, how would we accommodate differences in distractability? That is, some people are very easily distracted by banner ads, and other people do not find them troublesome (though their behavior may still be influenced by having seen ads they did not focus on).

In the American legal system, we have a concept known as the "eggshell plaintiff rule", which addresses heterogeneity among tort victims (i.e., victims of car accidents or other negligent acts) This rule says that if you injure someone and it turns out that they have some peculiar bodily weakness (like a skull as thin as an eggshell, hence the name), you are responsible for whatever injuries result. It doesn't matter that the magnitude of the injuries was totally unforeseeable.

Although this rule offers one way to handle heterogeneity among people, it only kicks in after a recognizable tort has occurred. In the case of attentional heterogeneity, the threshold question of what type of distraction is too distracting is at issue. So it seems like it would be very difficult to figure out a workable standard here.

That said, I'm very interested in the topic, and actually recently released a new feature in my Chrome extension [1] that visually dims distracting elements on the page. I do hope that we can find a way to cut down on distractions I'm just not sure a new legal right is the most likely path.

1: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/beeline-reader/ifj...

bradfordarner 2 hours ago 2 replies      
There seems to be a basic problem in this argument: a lack of definition of distraction or any discussion of its value.

For example, lets assume the consciousness is an illusion, a sort of biological trick of evolution. In that case, I'm not sure why we couldn't say that all the stimuli from advertisements, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are equal in value to "focused conscious awareness". They are stimuli of a different sort but qualitatively no different than the stimuli of "focused conscious awareness". I'm not sure why we would inherently assume that "focused conscious awareness" is of greater value. There are tons of people now who are living in a permanently distracted state and they seem to have a conscious experience that is not qualitatively different than other people's. They don't slip into a coma or get concussions or die.

Heck, maybe distraction is a better state than attention. After all, don't people complain of headaches when they focus on a problem for too long?

stonesixone 3 hours ago 3 replies      
One thing that intrudes on attention that has been around even before computers is noise pollution. Living in a city, loud motorcyclists and fire (and police) sirens are constant irritations. Unlike visual intrusions, you can't look away or close your eyes. Even plugging your ears only muffles loud sounds.

And in cafe settings where you might be working, there's the problem of people who talk on their phones, as well as not silencing their phone, so you hear a "ding" every time they get a text, etc.

namuol 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you find this sort of discussion interesting, I strongly recommend checking out Time Well Spent: http://www.timewellspent.io/
rwieruch 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazing article, thanks for sharing it. I am highly interested in this topic, even though I have no professional connection to it. Thanks for your deep dive into it!

It quickly reminded me of Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Deep Work by Cal Newport. It was no surprised to find these people again in your article. In one article of mine, I have reflected on this topic as well and concluded how important attention (for instance created through deep work) can lead to a satisfied life (because of flow). [0]

Can you recommend further reading material on this topic?

[0] https://www.robinwieruch.de/lessons-learned-deep-work-flow/

anigbrowl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
He was surprised to find that he was shown advertisements while he waited for the prompt. Somebody had decided that this moment the moment between swiping your card and inputting your details was a moment when they had a captive audience and that they could capitalise on it.

This is precisely what is wrong with capitalism right here - the extraction of value from an unwilling participant. (Please note that this is not equivalent to saying capitalism is completely invalid.)

It's no good to argue people agreed to this when signing up for a bank account of whatever. People need banking facilities and other services; few have the time, inclination, or education to read the absurdly long contractual terms foisted upon them by most service providers, and in any case such contracts are contracts of adhesion rather than negotiations, and it's very difficult for participants in the market to make direct comparisons between competing offerings right now. What's happening here is a form of legal theft of a person's time and attention.

As someone who suffers from severe ADHD, I particularly resent this. It's hard to explain the interior experience to someone who doesn't have an executive function disorder, but think of the magazine rack in a convenience store, with all the photographs, fonts, colors and baity headlines. You see a bunch of magazines, I see a crowd of people screaming at me and causing me to temporarily forget why I walked into the store. Over the years I've had to evolve strategies to deal with this sort of thing, like choosing my route through stores I visit regularly and pre-emptively controlling the direction of my gaze to minimize unwelcome distractions.

Now, I don't blame the store owners or the magazine publishers for this - it's very annoying, but a marketplace is a busy environment where sellers (or brands) compete for buyers' attention, and it's not their fault that I suffer from a disability. But when I'm dealing with a bank or whoever, their underlying business model is the cake and the extra money they make from advertising to a captive audience is icing on top - icing that is basically purchased at the cost of my convenience and train of thought. And even with ad blockers and so on, I'm sure you can easily think of many ways that distractions are imposed on unwilling information consumers, and how those distractions are engineered to be as unpredictable and disruptive as possible so as to capture people's attention.

Now, all of us have the experience of being distracted by things when we're trying to concentrate. But when you have an executive function disorder, the problem is twofold; not only is your attention distracted, but it's a lot of extra work to control your own reaction to the distraction. I have to do that work in public or in a shared workplace, unless I have very tolerant colleagues indeed. But maintaining that control costs effort; when I'm alone or feeling relaxed at home, those control mechanisms are not fully operational, and so an unexpected distraction can trigger an outsize response, which is itself distracting and stressful. Say you're reading an article on screen and you're a couple of hundred words in when a pop-up fades in to invite you to purchase a subscription or somesuch (note, please, the engineering of attention here; hook the reader with the content of that article in order to leverage that focused attention to the advert that is slipped in without warning). You may find this irritating enough that it makes you roll you eyes or frown while you click it away. If it happens to me at the wrong time or too frequently, I'm likely to find myself suddenly screaming FUCK OFF!!! at the screen, which is itself distracting, and now my focus has not merely been interrupted but shattered, and I have a surge of adrenaline with the pounding heartbeat, upset stomach, cold sweats and so on.

Lest this seem like an extended complaint about the world just being too damn complex, one of the odd things about ADHD is that in some contexts it lets me function better than neurotypical people. In a quiet environment like a library or when I'm painting, I can focus in total concentration for hours on end, because I've built up those mental muscles for dealing with a noisy distracting world. Equally, in what are very high-stress environments for other people I feel quite at home - I am that calm and clear-thinking person that you want to show up at the scene of a car accident or other dangerous situation, because those situations are not really any worse to me than having to stand in line at a 7-11 counter. In fact, they're better(!) because I don't have to act as if nothing is happening, something actually is happening and the external world is matched up well with my internal world. In those situations I can assess risk, tell people what to do, get people out of cars without injuring them further, move them to safety, call emergency services, and basically manage everything with no more anxiety than making coffee. Had I had this insight and resources when I was younger I'd probably have gone into photojournalism or something; I've been in several riots, and though I don't participate in them I have to say that I enjoy such chaotic situations rather than finding them frightening or confusing.

Getting back to the captive attention situation which launched this thought, I'd like to conclude with one of my tediously frequent ethical pleas: developers, please consider the implications of what you are being asked to work on. When the business/marketing people ask you to help them leverage the user's attention away from service delivery and toward advertising, you are the only person in the room with the opportunity to speak up for the consumer, and to query whether interrupting them is actually an effective and sustainable strategy, or more likely to drive people away. If you are being asked to do something that you know is going to make the user experience worse, consider asking or encouraging the business people to quantify the aggregated time cost to the user vs the hoped-for profit to your employer, even if you're a solo developer and you are your own boss.

At the very least, ask them how much revenue this strategy is expected to generate, and demand that they furnish you with that information rather than just being a passive agent of their desires. You may be able to suggest more effective and less intrusive ways to create value for both seller and buyer, which is the good, ethical kind of business that makes the world a better place. On the other hand, if you are down with extracting as much value for the consumer as quickly as possible and then moving on (unlikely if you've bothered to read this far, but possible), then you are a Bad Person and you should feel bad about yourself, if only because your selfish tendencies are likely to painfully rebound on you at some point, and changing your outlook may well prove to be more sustainable than making a quick buck.

Thanks for reading.

pixl97 2 hours ago 1 reply      

Sam Harris and Tristan Harris recently had a (pretty long) podcast related to this subject. Well worth listening to if you have the time.

djjeoefndijf 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Well I'm glad HN can put an article with 58 points and 4 hours on the front page while BS like the FBI violating surveillance law gets pushed to the second page.

Right to attention indeed...

Do We Overvalue Bike Lanes? davemabe.com
8 points by Osiris30  1 hour ago   1 comment top
erikpukinskis 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was thinking about this the other day:

What if we had a dotted bike lane on EVERY road, so cars could straddle it, but when trying to pass a bike would have a clear indicator of how much space they need to leave.

You could still have dedicated solid-line bike lanes where you had high bike traffic, but you might not need so many of them because the dotted lane would get you part of the safety/bicyclist comfort benefits.

Edit: I guess this exists. It's called "Advisory bike lanes" http://www.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles/advisory-bike-lane

What's new in gnuplot 5.2 lwn.net
43 points by leephillips  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
mindcrime 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a lot of really useful improvements. Can't wait to get my hands on the new version!
mynewtb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Experimental automatic binning for histograms is something I will surely use. Thanks for sharing this article!
802.eleventy what? Why Wi-Fi kind of sucks arstechnica.co.uk
103 points by adunk  8 hours ago   38 comments top 9
airesQ 4 hours ago 1 reply      
WiFi doesn't have an easy life either:

- It needs to work on unlicensed spectrum, which means that it has to play well with all manner of devices that contend for this spectrum (e.g. other WiFi devices, Bluetooth, IEEE802.15.4). In practice this means that it cannot do much beyond CSMA/CA (i.e. the 'listen before talking' thing). CSMA/CA is a terrible contention mechanism for high density scenarios, and before long much of the air-time is taken by collisions. LTE does not have this problem, it works on licensed spectrum, as such, an LTE base station can just divide the time/spectrum blocks and allocate them to the various contending devices as it pleases (as it owns the spectrum), making almost optimal use of the spectrum that is available to it. 802.11ax will improve on this a bit (e.g. it will have OFDMA, which reduces the collision domain; it will allow the AP do to some coordination, via 'trigger' frames)

- Wifi has a lot of luggage; IEEE 801.11ax will be backward compatible with tens of billions of devices going all the way to IEEE 802.11b, which came out in 1999.

- Costumers don't like spending all that much money on Wifi. This cost-pressure means that we don't have as many people looking into WiFi as we should (people writing drivers; people debugging problems; radio engineers; investment in testing equipment).

- MIMO (introduced in 802.11n), downstream MU-MIMO (introduced in 802.11ac), and upstream MU-MIMO (to be introduced in 802.11ax) are all technically impressive, but also very hard to implement well. (But we are now starting to see the benefits of this, particularly the 802.11ac wave2 devices.)

Anyway, I have high hopes for WiFi, well beyond a billion WiFi chips are sold every year, and it is getting better all the time.

JPLeRouzic 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I dropped out ouf the 802.11 business a few years ago but it seems I am still relevant, after all the article is about 802.11ac, not something about 802.11ax.On the technical side I agree with most of what the author says, but it is only a part of the larger picture.

-First I did my own tests of 802.11ac in 2014 and the manufacturers were correct in their claims at that time. You have to understand that the best speed is when you are in ideal radio conditions and simply you are never in ideal conditions and most of the time you are even far from the ideal case.

- Second, 802.11 sucks but not about raw speed, the MAC layer of most chip implementations is often ultra simplified and the outcome is that it is difficult to be authentified. This is strange as the Wi-Fi chip most often is a little computer and the MAC is implemented in software.

- Third, there are unreasonable economic expectations by users as well as the article's author: Wait you want gigabit speeds, ultra-reliability in challenging radio conditions, and that at a tenth of the cost of a 3G mobile radio?

- Fourth: Your phone has more hard time to cope with that throughput, than the Wi-Fi chip has. Android and Linux in general have many internal buffers because there are layers in charge of different features. The usable throughput is the raw radio throughput divided by the number of buffers. There are research OSes which use pointers instead of buffers, but Linux and Windows use buffers.

xenadu02 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I really want to use Plume... but I don't want my WiFi network to depend on "the cloud". I don't see any reason they should need to upload data about my private internal network to their servers. It means I can't trust them. If they ever went out of business, got acquired, or otherwise shut the service down I'd be left with a bunch of bricks too.

Does anything else do the same kind of mesh dynamic frequency allocation, but without requiring any kind of cloud service?

runn1ng 5 hours ago 0 replies      
m-j-fox 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to work on the 4x4 mu-mimo chip. The way we tested was to connect coax cables from one board to another. You could get about 800MB/s out of the link that way. At home, I measured 100MB/s between two boxes in the same room and maybe 15MB/s to a laptop 3 rooms away. The only way to get something better is to cheat on TX power levels. No amount of signal processing can defeat attenuation through a couple of walls.
jumpkickhit 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm curious about "AX" coming up. Uses 2.4/5ghz bands, just more channels apparently.

"AD" i think is 60ghz, which doesn't penetrate walls too well in comparison.

Who knows, maybe we'll all use special wifi wall paint in the future, just to make the entire inside of the house or business an antenna.

petra 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm curious: what do mmWave means for WiFi ? How ideally for consumers should we regulate it ? And could we achieve, maybe at the lower end of mmWave, an unlicensed alternative that competes well with LTE, in urban spaces?
choward 4 hours ago 1 reply      
If wifi sucks then how do you describe Bluetooth?
ryanlol 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So how does one set up a LTE network in their home? :)
First attempt at restoring Magnetic Scrolls backup tapes strandgames.com
35 points by Isofarro  4 hours ago   5 comments top 4
ggambetta 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I love this kind of thing! I recently did something similar, perhaps lower level, with some ZX Spectrum tapes from 1990. Saved them to wav (miraculously, they didn't stretch or snap!), literally fixed broken bits by hand (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GabrielGambetta/posts/fcXkKmD8d...), and managed to recover my first "game", TOP CAT (https://plus.google.com/+GabrielGambetta/posts/8RkT5K2KR18).

But my real challenge is much more interesting. I have a few tapes with more of my very early software... but they were stored using an extremely proprietary device, invented in my country, so essentially nobody knows that it exists (http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=1000510). I have the raw tapes, but I'm not sure how to get started, even. Probably try to interpret bits and trying to find strings. Exciting times ahead!

m0dest 2 hours ago 1 reply      
They're recovering Magnetic Scrolls from some actual magnetic scrolls. There's something beautifully poetic there.
bhhaskin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What a fascinating project! The tooling source code sounds like a pretty awesome find as well. Wish you guys the best of luck and thank you for documenting your efforts!
jxramos 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I salute your effort! Best wishes.
A Free Wall Street Journal Login, Now Gone buzzfeed.com
35 points by _pius  2 hours ago   17 comments top 3
jjuel 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Great I just now find out this existed and it is too late!
jordigh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have a lot of respect for WSJ for actually having a paywall. I find this a lot more honest than the ad-based "social contract".

Never will I understand the moral obligation to allow a third party to try to manipulate me into buying something unrelated that I don't need in order to be allowed to read what I actually want to read. If you don't want me to read something without paying, then do just that. Don't try to control and subvert my computer to show me ads.

KhalilK 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Buzzfeed, seriously? I know they have some professional investigative journalism articles[0], but this certainly isn't one of them.


Teachers must ditch 'neuromyth' of learning styles, say scientists theguardian.com
141 points by rrherr  5 hours ago   107 comments top 13
teslabox 4 hours ago 15 replies      
It would be more helpful to ditch the 'myth' that age-segregated classrooms are an improvement over the one-room school house.

It used to be that education was something people did for themselves. Parents or a teacher would help children learn what they wanted to learn, when they were ready to learn it. Modern schooling forces children to learn on the teacher's schedule.

John Taylor Gatto wrote extensively of the corrupt nature of institutionalized schooling 15-20 years ago. I guess it's not polite to point out that the system is rigged against children, so Mr. Gatto's insights into more effective teaching have been successfully ignored in recent years.


"Against School: How Public Education Cripples our Kids, and Why" - http://www.wesjones.com/gatto1.htm

Archive.org should have the complete text of "The Underground History of American Education", which was formerly posted in its entirety at http://www.JohnTaylorGatto.com

Also search for "I quit, I think", and ... "The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher"... several copies of these essays are scattered around the internet.

aphextron 2 hours ago 2 replies      
This myth has always particularly annoyed me. It's like when people say "I'm a visual learner". Of course you are. You are a human being. We all learn things more effectively when they are displayed visually in an intuitive way. It's the same mindset that feeds into people thinking they "just aren't a math person". You're not special, it's just pop science BS designed to make people feel better in their laziness.
Pulcinella 4 hours ago 3 replies      
For those wondering what is meant by learning styles. I've written this in the past:

Commonly, with learning styles a student was considered an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner.Timmy is an auditory leaner? He should learn to calculate voltage through lectures and song.

Timmy is a visual learner? He should learn to calculate voltage through pictures and diagrams.

Timmy is a kinesthetic learner? He should learn to calculate voltage through dance.

It's a shallow understanding of how learning really happens. No one learned how to throw a football by singing about it and no one has a strong understanding of circuits and how to design them just by listening to lectures.

ashark 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
> I think the fad about learning styles faded long ago, and I would be surprised if many schools continued to subscribe to the approach. That said, the notion of making teaching and learning more varied in classrooms is helpful and likely to motivate a wider range of students, he said.

LOL no. It's faded in research and education-policy nerd circles, maybe. It's still everywhere in pop culture and among actual k-12 educators. Questioning it will likely get you disapproving looks from teachers, principals, and so on.

(at least in the Midwestern US. Like everything else, until someone comes along selling some BS curriculum/training package that tells them it's wrong, they'll continue to think it's true. Source: am married to a teacher who's taught in 3 states, and am [separately] friends with a bunch of others)

lr4444lr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
A much welcome public statement on this matter. When I was teaching and I chanced upon a colleague who was overzealous about the learning styles theory, I used to respond - if you had a child whom you pegged or tested as a "visual learner" and you wanted to teach him how to distinguish between different bird calls, you'd seriously have him do something like study oscilloscope graphs of the sound waves rather than having him actually listen to the calls?

Taken to its logical conclusion, it defies reason and even basic experience that any knowledge and skills can be better transmitted when conveyed in the modality that lies in learner's unique strengths.

oobey 4 hours ago 3 replies      
So, how should kids be taught? Since learning styles are a myth, would it be okay to skip in-person lessons entirely and just move everyone to individual text-based book learning?

After all, it looks like the idea that "someone might learn better in person" or "by discussing things with peers" is complete bunk, and one method should be sufficient for everyone.

andrewflnr 2 hours ago 1 reply      
And yet, I continue to see anecdotal evidence that something like learning styles do exist. Granted, they don't always fit the classic visual/kinesthetic/auditory classification. For instance, I often learn a new topic best by reading about it, while some friends do better watching videos. And I think we all know that different explanations on hard topics work for different people.

Other people here have talked about stupid things people have done because of a simplistic understanding of learning styles. Ok, fine. Obviously you need to learn a topic in its own medium, and there's limits to what you can teach with song and dance. But let's do enough experiments to actually figure out what's going on, and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There's clearly something there, IMO, even if it's relatively insignificant.

timthorn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The letter itself possibly carries more information than the article: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/12/no-evidenc...
kutkloon7 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"[...] research in 2012 among teachers in the UK and Netherlands found that 80% believed individuals learned better when they received information in their preferred learning style."

What a weird way to put it. Do the others think it makes absolutely no difference in what form the information is presented?

curiouser2 1 hour ago 0 replies      
ITT: self righteous dorks who never struggled to learn anything
steffann 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Teaching should include a mix of learning styles so everybody gets at least some information in their preferred style as a starting point.
ArialAnemone 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Public Schools are horrific squanderings of societal wealth and innumerable years of cognition.

They socialize children into diets that bring on pre-diabetes and diabetes.

It's absolute quackery to say that the massive resources spent have anything near a positive return for most kids.

Schools are for the benefit of administrators and unionized teachers imo.

sinxoveretothex 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This article is a great example of how to write hundreds of words to say "this doesn't work".

This is literally what this article is. "X says learning styles doesn't work", "Y says he's concerned that teachers are taught learning styles even though he thinks they don't work", etc.

I was hoping they would at least quote someone explaining the problem simply and offer a potential solution. Instead, the comments here did a better job at that.

I nominate Sally Weale as a useless journalist.

Mental math pseudo-random number generators (2011) yunwilliamyu.net
56 points by gwern  6 hours ago   6 comments top 4
bumbledraven 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Marsaglia's own explanation of his mental PRNG on sci.math is still the best explanation I've seen for someone who just wants to use it:

Marsaglia, George. "How to generate random number sequences (in your head)" (1999) https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/sci.math/6BIYd0cafQo/U...

DannyB2 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A simple PRNG I used on programmable calculators back in the 1970's. Four steps:

1. Recall seed from register (a number between 0.0 and 1.0)

2. Take reciprocal

3. Chop off the part to left of decimal point (eg, "frac" key)

4. Store back in register as next seed

At this point you have a number between 0.0 and 1.0 in the calculator. (eg, in the X register if RPN)

Every step counted, that was the simplest PRNG I could devise back in the day.

The initial seed in the register was created by hitting the decimal point key and a string of digits filling the calculator display.

zellyn 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I love this. Then again I'm the kind of person who sits wondering, if you were running from an elevated sniper, trying to get to the treeline, would it be effective to change direction after 3 steps, 1 step, 4 steps, 1 step, 5 steps, 9 steps, 2 steps, ... :-)
lisper 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Note that a PRNG built according to the method in this article will never generate the same number twice, whereas a TRNG will do so with probability >0. In some applications (e.g. on-line poker) this can matter a lot.
Slave, Scholar, Stoic blogs.bl.uk
48 points by diodorus  6 hours ago   15 comments top 7
Luc 50 minutes ago 1 reply      
Here's a cool side-by-side comparison of the English translations of the Enchiridion: https://enchiridion.tasuki.org/display:Code:twh,twr,gl,pem,s...

Pick your favourite!

jtth 4 hours ago 1 reply      
hkon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Audiobooks from Audible on the subject is also worth a listen. I listen to epictetus/seneca/aurelius at least once a year.
jackhammer2022 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I like - A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine, provides a good overview of stoicism.
nradam123 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Enchiridion of Epictetus is the best book I have read on Stoic Philosophy.
fapjacks 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I first picked up the stoics in my early twenties many years ago when I started going to war, and I can't recommend them enough. What you get out of stoic philosophy will definitely depend on the translation you pick up. Every time you read a new translation, you'll get something new out of it. I would recommend researching the various translations, or even just buying a variety of translations on Amazon because they're so cheap. You can get all of the typical stoic works (Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca) for the cost of shipping on Amazon. That is incidentally amazing to me. There's a joke about the world in there somewhere. Anyway, I suggest starting with the translation which you find most digestible. Some of them can be extremely difficult, especially if you've never had to read archaic translations.
quickben 5 hours ago 2 replies      
In the same vein, I would warmly recommend Marcus Aurelius notes to anybody wondering what all that and this was/is about.
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