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Apple rejecting applications which use Dropbox dropbox.com
702 points by dannyr  2 days ago   345 comments top 52
kennywinker 2 days ago  replies      
This has gone way too far. The other day I downloaded the Google Play Books app. I started it up, signed in.. and nothing. No prompt to go buy books online, no hint at what the app does... just a blank screen.

It's completely scummy. You can buy Apple's iCloud storage upgrade from within the OS, and now you can't even LINK to a place where you could link to a place where if you click the right link you could buy Dropbox storage.

starnix17 2 days ago 3 replies      
I had a simliar rejection because of my app's Rdio integration.

If the user had Rdio installed, my app would open the song in the Rdio native app.

If the user didn't have the app installed, my app would open the song on the Rdio web site in MobileSafari. Apple didn't like this since you could purchase an Rdio subscription on that webpage bypassing the IAP and Apple's 30% cut.

k-mcgrady 2 days ago 2 replies      
After reading through the thread it seems they are rejecting apps because a piece of the Dropbox SDK breaks the App Store guidelines. They are not simply rejecting Dropbox integrated apps.

It's well known that you cannot link the user to make a purchase outside of the iOS ecosystem. It was a huge issue with the eBook apps last years.

I'm not saying I agree with Apple's stance on that but they are not rejecting apps which use Dropbox because they don't like Dropbox. Dropbox is breaking the rules and as soon as they fix that (it seems they already have) there will be no more problems.

robomartin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, the more fundamental problem is this business of Apple taking 30% of everything. I am not disputing their right to set the rules within their own ecosystem. No issues whatsoever there. It's their product and they deserve to do as they wish.

Having said that, that is not to say that I agree with their decision. For almost any business 30% is a huge percentage of gross. In most cases the margin is dangerously close to or lower than this number. What this means is that there are a whole host of goods and services that cannot be offered through the platform due to their fee structure.

Then again, it's their sandbox and their rules.

This is somewhere where companies such as Microsoft could make a significant dent if they keep their paws off the content creator's revenue stream (or take a very small bite). In my opinion a 5% "finder's fee" is reasonable. If they handle the financial transaction then there's the customary credit-card billing stuff.

Two things that iOS does not offer that someone could offer:

1- Less intrusive cut taken from revenues, as discussed above.

2- Open access to I/O, file system and various resources that Apple locks down tight.

As an example, if I wanted to design a general purpose iPhone to RS-232 serial cable, well, it's impossible. You can make one married to a specific application but you can't make one that's a plain-old open-to-all serial port converter. There are tons of applications in industry that could use such a cable, but Apple chokes the hardware side so tight that even something that simple is impossible.

Another example is the choke-hold on proprietary Bluetooth. I'd love to create apps for kids to use to control their Lego Mindstorms with an iPhone/iPod. Mindstorm blocks have built-in Bluetooth. Apple's version of Bluetooth, for various technical reasons, is not compatible with "normal" Bluetooth. The only way to do it is to purchase Apple-approved Bluetooth chips and get permission to build a device subject to their approval...but you can't build a generic device. In other words, you are building a specific speaker that uses this chip and these codes to identify you and the app. Period.

I feel that companies trying to compete with Apple are not seeing the elephant in the room: Closed vs. Open.

josteink 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm surprised it took Apple this long since launching (the relatively overpriced) iCloud before they started acting like they always do: anti-competitive and monopolistic.

In the name of UX ofcourse. It couldn't possibly be because unethical market grabs tend to generate money. Remember: Apple doesn't really care about money. They care about you and all that money they make is just accidental.

AJ007 2 days ago  replies      
I can not be the only one thinking there is an antitrust issue here? I would guess the book thing means Apple is under quite a bit of scrutiny.

While I'm not involved in mobile, I've had similar experiences for over half a decade dealing with the banal, highly questionable, and non-uniformly enforced rules Google imposes on its own advertisers. Some of the stuff is bad enough it makes you think it would fall under RICO if this wasn't a large company but rather an Italian owned waste disposal company.

skrebbel 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is anyone really surprised? This is what happens if you give a single company so much control over your use of devices. It'll only get worse, we all know that, right?
azov 1 day ago 4 replies      
What Apple is doing seems to be completely legal and completely disgusting (and not at all new). Given that there's no ground for legal action, here are a few things we, developers, can do:

1. Don't work for Apple. This one is really the easiest to implement, there's more then enough fine alternatives in the Valley.

2. Don't develop for Apple. Unfortunately, not really an option for most mobile developers. So, the next best thing is "don't develop just for Apple". Make sure that if your customers want to switch, your app is available on other platforms.

3. Don't buy from Apple. Again, not really an option for developers because of #2 (and that's also another example of walled garden - you have to have a Mac to develop for iOS).

One place where government regulation might be needed is to help create secondary market for apps. If I have many dollars worth of apps (or, say, books) and no way to sell them, this is obviously a big barrier to switch. I'd like to see a law requiring companies that sell digital goods to provide a way to transfer those goods to other users.

petercooper 2 days ago 2 replies      
While here, let's remember who'll control the dev certificate validity for Gatekeeper on OS X 10.8. Will we end up with cases where people break arbitrary yet-to-be-defined terms and boom, their standalone app no longer works on a default OS X install?
jsilence 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you complaining about the height of the fence of the walled garden?

Not to be meant as flamebait or trollposting, but as a brief reminder that this is a symptom of a closed ecosystem.

I'd love to add "Remove the cause and not the symptoms", if I only knew a way that could seriously be suggested. But as long as every Joe and his dog simply love the iPhone, OpenSource mobile revolution is in the land of unicorns and golden glitter dreams.

trieu 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is linkbait because it suggests that Apple is rejecting any app that uses Dropbox. That's patently untrue. For example:


It looks like Apple is rejecting apps that use the Dropbox SDK in a way that violates the TOS. But then the headline may as well read, "Apple rejecting applications which use code."

valgaze 2 days ago 2 replies      
To get a sense of Apple's power:

Via Amazon, download any sample chapter to Kindle on iPad/iPhone. Scroll to the end and click "Buy Now" this is what you'll see: http://i.imgur.com/Flqfp.png

This power is good when it comes to muscling user-friendly dataplans from carriers, but with other stuff they are really playing hardball

tnash 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is really going over the line. People are content in the walled garden, but if it starts getting too stuffy in there people will want to leave. Unfortunately it makes "business sense" (read: nonsense) for Apple to raise the walls of their walled garden as high as they can make them. Hopefully at some point there will be enough discontent to remove things like this.
beedogs 2 days ago 2 replies      
Apple's really become a shitty company in the past few years. I was rooting for them when OS X was introduced, but now they're no better than Microsoft in the late 90s, and somehow more arrogant than MS ever was. How does something like this not run afoul of antitrust laws?
jpdoctor 2 days ago 0 replies      
The message is clear: If you put apple in your critical path, prepare for crap like this.
stbullard 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looking at the link, it seems that only those apps using the latest version of Dropbox's SDK (1.2) are being rejected, for violating Apple's long-standing platform policies.

Dropbox has since released a version of their SDK without the offending links.

Is that a fair assessment?

snarkinatree 2 days ago 2 replies      
What's remarkable is that Apple is suppopsedly desintined to be the most profitable company in US history and they still feel the need to do this kind of thing. It says a lot about the character of the company. Pretty sad spectacle, no matter how much money they make.:wq
AncientPC 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why people think this is new.

I created a website that announced the launch of a small mobile app for both iOS and Android platforms. I was told by Apple that my app would not be approved as long as I had links to competitors (i.e. Android) on the web site.

bitops 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since I see a lot of people using the term "antitrust" incorrectly in this article, here is a Wikipedia link on United States antitrust law.


superxor 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a horrible way of treating 3rd party developers. Apple should keep in mind that one of the major reasons any platform has ever been successful is because of a strong suite of 3rd party applications, be it Windows, iOS or Android.

Microsoft is paying its way to please developers and Apple is literally spitting on their face.

I've had very bad experience dealing with Apple for the past couple of months. I am maintaining an app developed using Sencha and PhoneGap. Apple suddenly rejects an update, reason cited was 'the app is not dynamic enough'. When I inquire further, they ask me to implement Push Notifications. Implementing Push Notifications is not a problem, its just that I or my client have no freaking idea what data we could Push to the app. There is just no need for such a feature.

It's obscenely preposterous for Apple to dictate what my App should be. I know I should be grateful that Apple has provided me a platform for writing apps (after all its their ecosystem), but I hope they keep in mind that 3rd party developers like me are an asset to them.

ianloic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple has been doing this with other APIs for a while. If your app links to a way of signing up for an account that could be used to pay for something you'll be rejected. If you mention the existence of such an account you'll probably be rejected.

Personally I don't like being treated like this - as a user or a developer. So I take my time and money elsewhere.

charlieok 2 days ago 0 replies      
The "remote storage" category seems to be the new platform battle. Apps and their per-user storage are becoming more decoupled (which is a good thing) and people are going to be picking a place to consolidate their personal storage. Companies offering this type of service are adding features to differentiate and (probably) increase lockin.

Wherever users put their data, and whatever remote storage developers support with their apps, will become entrenched.

Some big players so far (?):

Google Drive
Microsoft SkyDrive
Apple iCloud?

A stardization effort:

siculars 1 day ago 1 reply      
Someone explain to me how what Apple is doing is not the same sort of monopoly the government squashed with Microsoft. Basically MS used their os monopoly to push IE. Apple uses its monopoly to get a cut of all action on its phone.
hastur 1 day ago 0 replies      
I reject Apple and its products.
vegas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft eventually overcame Apple's superior market position and better product because the market is going to act to increase choice on the part of intelligent consumers of information technology(i.e. competitive organizations).

Apple was able to superscede Microsoft's platform advantage because everything became a web application(thanks Netscape!)

At the moment a bunch of guys with drool on their spreadsheets are trying to turn the world of web applications back into a platform one so that they can collect rent. It seems like this particular escape from freedom isn't going to occur because:

1) A major appeal of mobile devices is the idea that you can give people who are disinclined to serious computer literacy a tool that is easier to secure, and requires less support staff to show them how to use.

* However, it seems unlikely that large profit seeking organizations will thrive by handing their nervous systems over to other large profit seeking organizations.

Ultimately companies are going to want their locked down devices for their less computer literate employees to be completely within their control. Either there will be some sort of arcology/vertical integration type deal where there are all these companies that are in effect subsidiaries of their chosen mobile technology provider, or, the more likely answer:

IBM will make a metric crap ton of money supporting in-house Tizen[0] projects for serious people who don't want their IP floating around their mobile providers network 'secured' solely on good faith and contractual assurances.(ultimately this probably goes for cloud applications as well)

2) The second big appeal of mobile devices is the idea that you can program Angry Birds in your spare time, sell it 'directly'[1] to consumers and quit your day job. It seems to my rather cursory investigation that this isn't happening as much as it could be due to people duking it out nastily to try and secure maximal app store rent, and not doing enough to support developers.

[0] Thank god they stopped calling it MeeGo

[1] Honestly, 30% is reasonable marketplace rent. Documentation needs to be less opaque, and support for marketing analysis needs to be better for it to really be fair rent, but it's the standard marketing upsell in a lot of other industries, so it seems reasonable for apps as well.

andrewparker 2 days ago 2 replies      
Do any of the readers on this thread work at Apple? I'd love to have you chime in. The silence is deafening...
saket123 1 day ago 1 reply      
The sudden rejection of dropbox apps is blamed on 'bad user experience' by Apple, most of us know that its due to iCloud . So, in future if apple makes a games or buys a game company expect your games to be rejected from the app store as they 'are bad user experience' for IOS users or third party games are just not interesting enough. Don't let someone else make your choices , make it yourself.
chj 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is an antitrust issue even if it isn't by law.

sometimes i think developers should unite and pull all apps from appstore to protest.

da_n 1 day ago 0 replies      
At the risk of being labelled an Apple 'fanboi', let me play devil's advocate here. What if I created an SDK for developers that had a sign-up system linking to a new storage solution I had created called Dropboxplus.ru. In any app using this SDK it has a link that regular Joe can click where he is redirected to the Dropboxplus.ru website and offered an account upgrade option where the user just needs to put in their credit card details to 'unlock' new features etc.

Now most people here will know that most consumers are utterly ignorant of what an API or SDK are, and barely even understand the concept of an 'App' (some of the reviews on the App Store I have seen critize Apple themselves for making such an app, they don't even understand there are third party developers who make the apps). My point is I don't think the walled garden is just for the sake of greed, I also think it is for the sake of consumers who unlike HN folk need a walled garden to keep them from doing dumb things. I think Apple want to ensure they can control where the user is enticed to part with money to keep them in their safety net. Do they do this in a fully transparent and open way? No, and maybe this is one area they can improve on to become less opaque, but if you play in their space you need to respect their TOS and this was a clear violation.

j_col 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only thing I feel is sympathy for users who continue to buy Apple products.
peterkelly 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, this really freaked me out when I saw this. I've just spent several months working on an app, which I hope to release soon, of which Dropbox support is a major feature. If they didn't allow my app on the app store because of this I'd have to seriously cripple the functionality of my app to get it accepted.

Sure, there's iCloud, but it's only about 50% there - all the support is there on iOS but there's no generic way to get at your iCloud documents from a PC or Mac in the same way you can with Dropbox and similar services. I'd be happy to support iCloud if it did this but it's simply not there yet.

Dropbox is a hugely important thing for iOS apps, since the iPad provides no generic user-accessible file system. Dropbox is by far the most convenient way I've seen for syncing data between the iPad and your computer, and I think Apple would be foolish to prevent people from doing this because it would make using an iPad for content creation-type work very inconvenient.

Fortunately from reading about this it sounds like the issue can be resolved by changing the way the account authorisation step works. Dropbox have already released an updated SDK and I've just downloaded this to try it out.

sev 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dropbox...design a slicker phone and a better phone OS than Apple, now is your chance!
jsz0 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm usually inclined to believe Apple has some good reasons for doing what they do but this seems like it's crossing the line. The built-in functionality of iOS and the Apple ecosystem is fantastic, and it's understandable they are given precedence, but if they are to so severely limit third party applications access to alternative services it would make iOS practically unusable for anyone outside of the Apple ecosystem. As much as I like iOS I really can't continue using it if I am unable to access DropBox in applications especially since there's no easy way to simply download the file from DropBox and edit it locally. Hopefully someone at Apple realizes this pretty much kills their platform. Cloud storage of different types are only going to become more important. (benefit of the doubt: Perhaps iOS6 has either DropBox integration or some other cloud storage abstraction and Apple wants to start discouraging developers from using a deprecated method of accessing DropBox. If so they should just come out and say it.)
nicholassmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've tried to defend some of Apple's more dickish policies in the past, as logically they make a lot of sense in terms of business requirements, and hey it's Apple's wild ride.

This is fucking stupid though. The 30% cut logic works fine when dealing with items, but trying to apply it out to services is a nightmare as most users either don't care about the paid aspect of the service or have already paid for it.

Plus all this effectively does is say 'if you've got a paid service with an API, you're not welcome'. Less API access on the iOS platform is not a good thing for developers, which makes it not a good thing for users, which makes it in the long run shitty for Apple. Lets hope they pull some sense together and fix the rule properly this time.

salimmadjd 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is the big deal? Lets have some context here first.

One, apple is very clear about their rules. If you're surprised by them, it's really your fault for building a product without reading the guideline.

Two, lets just remember, not long ago, how difficult it was to build or create anything for mobile prior to apple.

Dropbox should just strike a deal with apple quick and give apple their 30% cut, instead of playing the victim here. The other option is the android and google drive, which I'm sure dropbox would rather not see becoming to big.

wslh 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me, the new controlled platforms make me laugh about previous Microsoft monopoly accusations. It seems like in the mobile and cloud space people do not have any voice or are brainwashed because the major part of the people, including HNers are accepting these rules.
marklindhout 6 hours ago 0 replies      
God dammit, this is so stupid. Fuck Apple. Fuck closed source know-it-all fascist companies. RAAAAAGH!
oscardelben 1 day ago 0 replies      
My github app was rejected for the same reason, users without an account could have bought one from the app if they wanted to.
thought_alarm 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's back to the old v0.3 Dropbox SDK for me. What a pain in the ass.
ilkandi 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I must be old; if Microsoft had even suggested taking a 30% cut of every PC application or purchase via the internet they'd have been lynched. Have most developers gone conformist/apologist?
jchrisa 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Facebook SDK uses the same method. I wonder how long until it is rejected.
samstave 1 day ago 0 replies      
the domain "droproxy.com" is available - someone should make a proxy service to dropbox that would bypass apple's actions.
akuchlous 20 hours ago 0 replies      
denismars 1 day ago 0 replies      
At some point a line will be crossed that will forever signify Apple's transition into the Orwellian entity it once rebelled against - that time may be upon us.
salem 1 day ago 0 replies      
If Microsoft pulled a move like this there would be hell to pay
randomStuff 1 day ago 0 replies      
The US gov & EU need to go sue Apple like they did MicroSoft fo they anti competitive behavior w/respect to Windows Exploiter. Apple better recognize, federal trade commission done come after publishers that signed up for Apple's iBooks and agreed to collude on prices. Apple need da see the da light and reform they ways before it be too late and they need da settle wida govament
mrharrison 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is nothing new, they have been doing this for the past year with news and magazine agencies offering subscriptions. Its not in retaliation to Dropbox being in competition with iCloud, its just part of their guidelines for selling subscriptions through the app store. Old news people.
judegomila 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sure the competition commission in Europe will have something to say about this. Maybe a small $X billion fine or so.
eblackburn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I smell and anti-trust suite hurtling towards Apple? Does anyone else?
epaga 1 day ago 1 reply      
Where are all these Apple bashers coming from? If Apple DIDN'T reject the apps using this API, Amazon and many, many devs would have the right to feel pretty angry at the injustice and inconsistency. In-app linking to extra-app purchasing of any kind is explicitly forbidden by the terms. We already had the "debate" about whether those terms are a good idea or not - I believe they're not. But months later it's more a question of Apple being consistent.

So Dropbox updates their API (impressively within a single day!). Done deal. Let's move on to more important things like Apple inconsistently banning the "iKamaSutra" app after it's successfully been in the app store for years. Now THAT stuff scares me as a dev.

bobwaycott 1 day ago 1 reply      
Perhaps I'm the only one who thinks this way (sorry, grew tired of all the arguing about Apple's villainy), but the bigger problem here is yet another app attempting to make money by building itself on top of another third-party app/service that is trying to make money and then crying when things go awry.

Nearly all the complaints I see bubble up here on HN regarding Apple's App Store seem to come from devs who, rather than build a valuable service or app in its own right, think they have some great idea for leveraging other people's products/services/apps/APIs, etc. in some less-than-novel way. There is little innovation, little creativity, little in the way of building an app that is valuable on its own merits.

This is lazy.

Fuck everyone else's APIs and this lame practice of building whizbangs atop someone else's. Build a damn app that is worth something. Don't build shit that depends on your users creating accounts anywhere outside your control.

Honestly, dislike Apple's guidelines all you like (I dislike plenty of them), but take a page from Apple's book and start to think about your app with the users first--think about how annoying it is to start up an app and then have to go through all the hassle of signing up or logging in with other people's/companies' services just to use your app.

Think about your product the way Apple thinks about theirs: depend on yourself as much as possible to deliver an experience you control end-to-end.

ihodes 2 days ago 7 replies      
Flagged for the linkbait title (which is in fact the title of the forum post), but I'd love it if the title we just edited to actually reflect what was going on.

Edit: To answer some comments; it's misleading because Apple is rejecting some applications which use Dropbox. Or, rather, a single one that we know of. For a reason other than "Dropbox is used by the application", to boot. A better title would explain what was actually happening (no offense to OP; I'm glad s/he cut out the editorializing). But I'm sitting here at -4, so it's unlikely this is seen :)

Show HN: Imagine a search engine that removed top million sites from its index millionshort.com
530 points by taxonomyman  3 days ago   193 comments top 80
nostromo 3 days ago 7 replies      
It's interesting to see popularity used as an inverse corollary with quality. Imagine a TV that skipped the most popular programming (goodbye American Idol), or a radio station that only plays non-hits.

Of course, there are great websites out there that are very popular (Wikipedia, NYTimes/WSJ, StackOverflow). I'd love to see a search engine with a better signal for quality than non-popularity (this search engine), or SEO (Google), but it's a fun start. :)

swalsh 3 days ago 3 replies      
The results are surprisingly good. I did some searches for recipes, and frankly without the top 1000 you really start getting some fresh hits. Entries by real people, rather than sites raking up recipes for a hit.
PaulHoule 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is the first off-brand search engine I've seen that's, in some sense, cooler than Google.

For one thing, the huge miasma of spam websites that dominates the SERPs just isn't there -- I hope this lights a fire under Google's butt and people see another world is possible.

zeratul 3 days ago 3 replies      
It means that our ranking algorithms have good recall but very poor precision. We value web page connectivity more than its content. We don't know how to teach machines to evaluate web page for its merit so we hope that a large number of Twitting, Liking and Plusing non-experts will approximate single expert. Millionshort shows that this model isn't good enough.
Cushman 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'd be fascinated to see the kind of SEO that would go on if this took off.

"Bad news-- we're a top 100 hit for several of our main keywords. We'll have to change our URL scheme again."

libraryatnight 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds of searching the internet in the 90's, I'm finding results from pages I haven't visited or heard of before now.

This is really refreshing.

eliasmacpherson 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a breath of fresh air - I'm loving the unpredictability of the top results! It's like flicking through a new set of 1000 tv channels in a different country.
RegEx 3 days ago 2 replies      
I like this idea a lot. I came across a nice, concise explanation of a Buffer overflow


bstar77 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's one pretty big flaw with this approach... For certain searches that do not have "millions of results", you get completely unrelated results.

If I search my name then the results are for names similar to mine, but not actually my name. This makes it completely useless for searching my name. I would think that there are many searches with this problem.

I think there needs to be some kind of weighting system used that dynamically decides the cutoff point. One million is a huge over-generalization for all search terms.

unimpressive 3 days ago 1 reply      
Add a way for me to put this as my search engine in my firefox search bar.


EDIT: In trying to accomplish this task I found an add-on that lets you do this for anything.


bane 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a similar measure that's often used in NLP. Sentences, documents etc. are usually stripped of common or popular terms first and the remaining ones tend to have higher information value.

It's not entirely a surprise that it works for meta-language constructs like the web and site popularity.

waivej 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow... It felt like using Google 10 years ago. I think you are onto something.
pbhjpbhj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would you share some implementation details.

What's your source for the top million sites; where do you get your site list from for the other results?

bo1024 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'd really like to see randomization instead. Return results picked randomly from within the top 10 million or something.
__alexs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well that's one way to break out of the filter-bubble/echo-chamber I suppose. If only our best search technology was based on something better than a popularity contest :(
bicknergseng 3 days ago 1 reply      
Turns out removing the top million results from a search for Google... still returns google. Or google.com.au to be precise.

It's a cool idea, but I'm not sure it's working. I tried "american history" but it wouldn't return anything at all if I changed the "Remove the Top" dropdown.

twelvechairs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thankyou! I can see this being something I regularly use.

It may be a simple idea, but its something nobody else has done before, and I think the creators deserve a lot of credit for coming up with and implementing it. I hope they manage to get something from it. I can see that if the site becomes popular it will just get copied by other search sites.

erichocean 3 days ago 1 reply      
Man, I love this thing. I've already found a bunch of interesting links on path tracing. Bookmark'd.
jtchang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow some of the content there is great. Forget about searching the deep web. For me deep is the real gems buried under the first 100 or so results where stuff actually gets interesting!
goodgracious 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who needs to imagine it? It's here.

Cat is out of the bag.

What is the Alexa list good for? Answer: Filtering out the boring, money-grubbing commercial sites. A truly GREAT idea.

A return to the good 'ole days. The non-commercial web.

Many young people who love today's www never got to experience it as it was before it became overrun with Google-ization and auto-generated garbage.

Take the ball and run with it. We ca reclaim the web. This is only the beginning.

scoot 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's amusing to see all the SEO "experts" that don't make it into the top million:


tnorthcutt 3 days ago 2 replies      
And of course, W3Schools still manages to show up, thanks to their multiple crazy subdomains: http://cl.ly/GFup
serbrech 3 days ago 0 replies      
The results feel actually fresh. It's removing the consumerism layer of bullshit that google serves us everyday.
Also wondering if that has something to do with the "bubble" that google creates around us based on our search history and social network information.

Thanks for that.

hafabnew 3 days ago 0 replies      
Searching for 'python global interpreter lock' yields some interest blog articles describing the problems, also some related articles about approaches to the C10k problem with python (preforking, worker processes, etc.)

A++ would search again.

pjin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Funny, on my first query I found an obscure HN scraper:


pessimizer 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty amazing. I didn't know that the old internet was still there! This may become my new favorite search engine.
heydonovan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really liking this. Instead of being bombarded with content that's just blasted with keywords, I get relevant well-written articles. Not only that, but no more W3Schools in my SERP's. The chance to read an article that's written with humans in mind, instead of Google is more than enough reason to spend some more time using this.
pfarrell 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would prefer if my previous search was populated in the search box after completing a search (since I might want to try the search with a different filter).

It appears you have an "off by one issue" in the sidebar. There's always a blank entry in the list of ignored sites.

Filtering does not seem to be working (or I don't understand it). Searching on "chicken" produced the same results with 1million or 100k removed.

charlieok 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's like a hipster search engine. It's only interested in things before those things are cool.
wazoox 3 days ago 0 replies      
A real serendipity engine. Absolutely great, thank you. I'm finding tons of interesting products and ideas by searching the most banal things :)
dclowd9901 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it just me, or are the results fairly congruent with standard results from a search engine?
yayadarsh 3 days ago 2 replies      
After a few test searches, this is surprisingly effective for things which I had resigned "un-findable" because of poor Google results. This is most apparent on non-technical things, in this case specific Jazz chord fingerings for a guitar class I am taking.

I am very interested as to what comes of this, or rather what is influenced by its implications.

halle_lu_jah 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's what Dropbox thinks about power users:

WSJ: What's next?

Mr. Ferdowsi: We continue to focus on actually solving problems that
real people have and not being distracted by what power users want.

Google has made clear what they think about power users:

No + operators in search.

No web-based code search.

No Google Labs for the public.


Plenty of wood behind the Google arrows, but all the cool ones have been cast out of the quiver.

Just what kind of targets is Google aiming at nowadays?

Millionshort I give you +999,999.

I would give you +1M if you took out the AdSense and PlusOne javascript.

This has been a long time coming.

Alas, DDG and other alternatives are all about _money_.

Search is about _discovery_.

g_lined 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great idea and I see myself coming back to this. It's a shame that a little blog on tumblr or blogspot gets taken out because it's under a big name domain - but this has spam related benefits too.

Great work!

doktrin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm getting odd results with the following query :

Search String : Ruby

Remove From Top : 1000 & 10000

In both instances, the top hit is http://www.ruby-lang.org, which is also the top hit from both Google and DDG.

Am I missing something?

edit: formatting

halle_lu_jah 3 days ago 0 replies      
You think that top results in Google and other commercial search engines are always ranked based on "popularity"?

It would be harsh to call this naive, but it shows a serious lack of SEM and SEO knowledge. Ever heard of "paid placement"?

Many years ago when Digital's AltaVista was our main search engine, it was becoming loaded down with paid placement.

The results were polluted.

Google eventually became the "clean" solution.

But now it's Google that is loaded down with all sorts of commercial crud, much of pointing to Google acquisitions.

And paid placement, among numerous other strategies, new and old, still exists.

The simplicity of millionshort is brilliant.

Filter out the crap.

83457 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just re-found a site I was looking for but couldn't find with google the other day. This could definitely be helpful.
zecho 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Imagine a search engine that simply removed the top 1 million most popular web sites from its index. What would you discover?

A lot of my competitors who are still on the first page of Google results.

chrislomax 3 days ago 1 reply      
Only a little thing, could do with maintaining query strings between pages. It lost my query string and returned no results when I changed the drop down without me noticing.
duck 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great idea, although I think if you could explain it a bit better you could avoid the confusion like several of these comments are showing. I like how my Hacker Newsletter project shows up #2 when searching for Hacker News. :)
Tossrock 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, in a rather meta turn of events, searching for my username on this returned a link to hackerbra.in, which appears to be some kind of HN mirror.
pnathan 2 days ago 0 replies      

Google has really killed the discoverability of the internet for me. I will be experimenting with this.

Best of luck.

tocomment 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think remove results with my search term in the domain name and this would be perfect!

For example I searched for how to start a garden and I can guarantee that startagarden.com is junk. But indie see some useful advice from small blogs etc

rogerbinns 3 days ago 2 replies      
It doesn't appear to work. I did a search for aspirin and the top match returned by this is #5 doing the same search with Google.
brudgers 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would like to see the search engine adhere more strictly to quoted search terms. It seems that they are partially ignored, which gives it some of the same problems that the major engines have.
vidoss 3 days ago 0 replies      
Exactly what I was thinking in 2001 => http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/The_20Other_20search_20engine

Glad to see someone did it now...

felixchan 3 days ago 1 reply      
How did you build this? Are you indexing the entire web yourself? Or are you using Google's index/removing the top 1 million based on domain?
martinaglv 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is it safe to assume that this is how Google's search results would look if nobody did SEO?
ChristianMarks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good idea. It's about time that search engines route around the power-law distributions of popular sites, popular bloggers and personalities to find the gems otherwise buried in the noise.
wonderwhy 3 days ago 1 reply      
What is the ranking used for the top million sites? A search result for "Australia" returns as the top result http://australia.gov.au, which Alexa ranks as 20,615 globally. Actually, a lot of the queries I tried returned Australian sites.


http://millionshort.com/search.php?q=somalia&remove=1000... -- another Australian site.

radley 3 days ago 1 reply      
Please add a favicon so I can see in my (icon only) Bookmarks Toolbar.
mswen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just tried it with a search for some competitive intelligence. I used the 100K removal option. I found a competitor in another country that had not made the top 2 pages on Google. It confirms that others are launching something similar to what I am building... but also the fact that it doesn't bubble to the top on Google means that the market space is not dominated yet.
Suncho 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have been wanting something like this for a while. It's even on my todo list. Thanks for saving me the work. I'll be using it all the time!
hybrid11 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a cool search engine for discovery, but it defeats the purpose when you are looking for a location. Do a search for "facebook", you will not get any result that links you to facebook.com .
garraeth 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this! And am totally going to use it. Removing the top "thousand sites" removes pretty much all the sites I WISH I could have filtered from my Google results anyhow (ehow, w3schools, etc).

One request: please keep the search text in the form field after clicking "search". Just so users can search the same thing multiple times with different values in the "Remove the top" drop-down.

cnbeuiwx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you - very refreshing! DuckDuckGo should implement something like this just for the spirit of it.

The web just got more interesting. :)

tomelders 3 days ago 0 replies      
Should I be depressed that I'm the top hit for my own name?
tsunamifury 2 days ago 0 replies      
Searched my name... Got my website


taxonomyman 3 days ago 0 replies      
8 hours later, we just launched our first re-design. Thanks for all the great feedback and support. More to come.
fibbery 3 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't make a dent in the travel site spam, unfortunately. though I might use this just to permanently remove About.com...
selectout 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure if I found an anomaly or what, but a simple search of "Privacy" returns results from thesaurus.com, merriam-webster.com, truste.com, kelloggcompany.com, and many more that are all in the top few thousand according to QuantCast and Compete.

Great idea though, will definitely try this out some more.

cleverjake 3 days ago 0 replies      
very interesting hack. thanks for doing it
pazimzadeh 3 days ago 2 replies      
Removing Wikipedia might be a mistake. Otherwise, it's great.
halle_lu_jah 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Quality" is subjective.

More relevant is _accuracy_, i.e., you get what you specify via search operators, and results are not influenced by all of Google's silly "factors". You know what you're looking for and how to frame the query. But Google assumes you're dumb and thinks it should decide for you.

Alexa Top 1M is a nice filter because the data comes from the Alexa Toolbar which only the most braindead web users would have installed. So you are in effect avoiding sites that the web's most braindead users would often visit.

Ranking sites based on "popularity" is great until you reach the point where the majority of users are not very intelligent. (cf. search engine users in 2004 with search engine users today.) When you reach that point, you get results where "quality" is determined by idiots (and SEO hats), not a group of intelligent peers.

stcredzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if there's an analogous hack for social news?
mserdarsanli 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow that is pretty awesome. I reached some results I want that I could not find via popular search engines with hours of searching. Believe it or not, this engine is changing my life.
Ben_Burke 3 days ago 0 replies      
i searched for my site and in teh goog i get first page....here i found nothing....so for me this = no good. I understand the base but i dont understand the result
thorin_2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. I was pleased with the results and have already added this site to my Chrome bookmark bar, right between my Google search and Hacker News icons.
wyck 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is an incredible breath of fresh air, what an odd thing to say.
grampajoe 3 days ago 0 replies      
The site's way too wide on my netbook, 1024x600. Also, the list of domains removed from the results covers up part of the results themselves.
carlosaguayo 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you search for "google" and remove the top million results, you still get google main page (in this case, the one for australia and india...)
thar2012 2 days ago 0 replies      
non-popular websites will start seeing some good traffic suddenly. It would be confusing for them :)
mathetic 3 days ago 2 replies      
If this becomes popular, at some point results would disappear since unpopular sites will be pushed into the first million.
it 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like this. Right away I found some new sites about that I hadn't seen before with interesting content.
hsparikh 3 days ago 1 reply      
As someone learning web development, I'd love to get some insights into how one could build this.
taskstrike 2 days ago 0 replies      
you should some how incorporate hipster into the search site's name.
tinyjoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
my website ranked 1st? guess i need to work harder T_T
dude123122 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another Cool feature could be to exclude sites that use Adwords or Paid Search from the list too. Then it would really just be legit sites.
qwertyz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Now if I could add it to firefox's search bar...
digitallimit 3 days ago 1 reply      
I searched for "Hero Academy" and the first result was Google's 5th result, a site called Hero Academy with the url "hero-academy.com". That's not very "million short", IMHO.
Google is making a huge and annoying mistake wilwheaton.typepad.com
516 points by ColinWright  1 day ago   255 comments top 43
VikingCoder 1 day ago  replies      
> It is bad for viewers, bad for video creators, and bad for YouTube's ability to curate and tailor videos to potential viewers.

First, a question: any random person on the internet, without being logged in, used to be able to Thumb Up a YouTube video?

If that's true, then I bet it was very easy to spam. Giving it a Thumb Up, without being logged in, would also mean that none of your friends had any idea that you had given it a Thumb Up, and you could never again find a history of things you had Thumbed Up.

And now, to upvote, you need to be logged in...

What website, anywhere on the internet, allows you to upvote without being logged in? Not HackerNews. Not Reddit. Not Facebook.

By knowing who you Follow, Google and YouTube now have a much better way to find information that you care about. If I search on YouTube for "python", it has a chance to know that I mean the programming language, because of who I'm Following.

Also, every single +1 that you get on your YouTube videos now has a real person behind it. Every single +1 is now worth Gold. Every single +1 has a better chance to go viral, because the Followers of that person who clicked +1 have a chance to see it.

If I search on YouTube for something, and I see "Wil Wheaton +1d this," I'm MUCH more likely to want to check it out.

jes5199 1 day ago 3 replies      
Youtube used to be a demilitarized zone in the social wars. Every social network uses Youtube as their default video provider, every cell phone OS has a Youtube app as the default video app.

Google saying that Youtube is now, fundamentally, a G+ territory means that social video is no longer something we can take for granted; expect Facebook and Apple to jump ship, and Youtube is left with, what, only the loyal G+ users?

I miss the days when Google, Apple, and Facebook cooperated rather than squabbled. The internet has gotten crappier lately.

nextparadigms 1 day ago 7 replies      
In the beginning people complained that Google has like a dozen different "Like" buttons on the Reader, Youtube and so on. Now they complain that they want to use just one everywhere?

I think it's a great move. Personally, I even want them to integrate their G+ commenting system into all their services. It's one of the best commenting systems out there, and certainly much better than the Youtube one. It might even encourage better comments on Youtube.

javajosh 1 day ago  replies      
Google thinks it will die in the long run without social. They realize that all the tech-savvy software product in the world can be reproduced eventually, but secondary, human-savvy products, can never be reproduced. Furthermore, they see the power in adding ever more context to search - see Bret Victor's talk about how 'interaction' is bad, and inferring context is everything. There's no better context than social.

While my visceral reaction is basically the same as Wil's, I actually think that this is something Google needs to do if they believe in this vision. Time will tell if it's justified: when they removed social features from Reader I basically stopped using it. I probably won't stop using YouTube, but this may be annoying enough for me to stop giving feedback (apart from the navigation event itself, of course).

Also on the plus side, since Google insists on real identities on G+ then we can at least look forward to more civil comments on YouTube, which I think we all agree would be a net benefit.

joejohnson 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is annoying, but how is it a huge mistake on Google's part? Sure, they're going to annoy a few people, but I think that these tactics forcing people to use G+ will probably work. People will be forced onto this G+ platform whether they like it or not; the mass exodus threats about any social networking platform never materialize into anything more than a few users deactivating their accounts.
johnnyo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like this was a test Google recently deployed, more information here:


jgroome 1 day ago 4 replies      
G+ is a joke. Nobody outside of the tech and geek industries either wants it or uses it. And yet they carry on doing everything they can just to herd people into creating G+ accounts.

Hey, it might work. Got to get those numbers up, right? But they can't make me USE my G+ account.

jentulman 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think this move comes down to issues of branding with google accounts.

What's happened here is replacing needing a 'Youtube' account with a 'Google' account, which for all intents and purposes has been a Google account for a while now anyway. I have a feeling that this is the beginning of consolidating the various ways in which you hold a google account for any of the services under one G+ bannner.

The problem I see they might have with this is issues of association on non-social networked activity with the G+ social network. I've found amongst my non-tech friends a strong opposition to moving from Facebook to G+ as they perceive Google to be less trustworthy than Facebook when it comes to matters of privacy, and in extreme cases to think that Google is actively evil in its data sucking in comparison.

cargo8 1 day ago 1 reply      
Did you consider that Google just cares about its own operations and future profitability than it does about your startup's future?

Google has realized it NEEDS to have some social layer and influence integrated into its services in order to compete and not fade into the archives of the web. A much lower # of likes from identified users is MUCH more valuable to Google than millions of anonymous likes.

thekungfuman 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's perfectly reasonable that Google would try to consolidate their properties. You used to need a YouTube account to do anything, and they own YouTube and don't feel like managing disparate databases about their users. It may be a minor inconvenience because it's a change from what people are used to, but it makes sense logistically and serves their business interests. They ARE a business after all...
rsl7 1 day ago 2 replies      
As a user this makes me wonder how long it will be before I have to sign up for Google+ in order to watch youtube videos at all? Or to search?
idleloops 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wish these things were decentralised. Somewhere in my browser there should be settings to set up my 'like' service, and the same for sharing and blogging and a whole gamut of activities. Plus a simple way to switch between these, and turn them off.

I have a real hatred for the merging of Google services - and I'm not even sure why. I think it's because it just feels like the erosion of my privacy. I've become someone that uses multiple browsers. I'm logging in and out of services - just because I want to shed my persistent identity - that I probably have exposed anyway.

Not having to sign into different services with different credentials is one of the only benefits I feel I get, and yet I'm doing more logging in and out then I ever did before.

yaix 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree that Goog is currently making mistakes, but this one isn't one of them. Of course they consolidate all the upvoting and liking stuff into one database to then use that in their universal search ranking. Whining about not getting upvoted by anonymous users is a little silly, because your competition doesn't either.

If you want to talk about huge mistakes of Goog, count the seconds it takes to execute all the JS crap they have stuffed even into the simplest of their pages now. Or talk about their failed attempt of a re-design and even them following the current position:fixed; hype, cluttering small screens with headers and footers that don't scroll (the rainbow <hr> of our times).

vibrunazo 1 day ago 1 reply      
They're not crippling functionality to force people to g+. Adding a social layer to existing products can potentially make them better if done right (ie: finding content that was upvoted by people whose opinion you care about, vs randoms you don't care about).

If done wrong it can be crippling. But then it's a problem of that specific implementation, and you could make a constructive critic to improve it. Instead, the author is just raging against g+ for no good reason.

guynamedloren 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Oh, go fuck yourself, Google. This is just as bad as companies forcing me to “like” something on Facebook before I can view whatever it is they want me to “like.”

Wow... can you say overreacting? Is this really that bad? Is it even bad at all? Wow.

gallerytungsten 1 day ago 0 replies      
In a perverse way, I kind of like annoying "upgrades" like this. Because I have even less incentive to use the more-annoying service, I don't use it at all; and thus have more time for productive activities.
Rudism 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the backlash against Facebook's "Like" button replacing the "Become a Fan" button.

Personally, I would be happy to see G+ get a little more traction among my less-techy friends and family which isn't going to happen without Google doing stuff like this.

NickPollard 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is where I show my complete lack of understanding about Social Media, but really, what is the point of a 'like' button?

The web is built on URLs. If you like something and want to share it with people, send them a URL. That's what they're for.

igrekel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Remembers me how frustrated I was when I shared pictures from Picasa with people on my contact list and what it did, without warning me, was to send everyone a Google+ invitation.
dendory 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally I think removing the thumbs up and down is a huge mistake. I understand that video producers don't like them, but guess what, when I load a YouTube video the rating is the first thing I look at, and if it's under 50% I know that the video will be crap. That judgement has been right EVERY time.
TomGullen 1 day ago 1 reply      
> I am adding now: Those upvotes are incredibly important to us, because we need them to earn another season of our show.

I'm assuming the changes are site wide, and not just targeted at you? If so, everyone will get less votes. Therefore it doesn't matter in regards to this point at all. Supply and demand right?

> You don't get people to enthusiastically use your services by forcing them to.

We're talking about a button.

It's amazing how much hyperbole and irrationality comes out the woodwork when small changes are made. How is such an angry meaningless blog post making it's way to front page of HN?

nns1212 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It is just being paranoid by Viddy & Socialcam funding.

Both the apps (and Dailymotion) are deeply integrated with the FB timeline and hence getting a lot of views because of it.

People will laugh if they integrated Youtube with FB timeline. So, I think it was in their best interest to integrate it with Google+.

So, either Google+ wins or Youtube loses. I believe that most likely the latter will come true because of this move.

I think Google should buy social networks like Pinterest, Viddy or Socialcam (and leaving them they way they are) instead of ruining its own products by integrating them with Google+.

Facebook acquired Instagram in spite of it being integrated with Twitter. Google should also play the same game.

lysol 1 day ago 8 replies      
While I appreciate the sentiment and agree with his point of view, his simply telling Google 'go fuck yourself' doesn't really offer an in-depth critique of why these changes or wrong -- it just smacks of the same old 'Everything that's new sucks' sentiment that I can and do find on IRC every day already. Leave the analyses to the real UX folks.
petercooper 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does YouTube share playlist popularity for videos? I've been using YouTube since the early days and have several thousand videos in my "Favorites" folder yet have almost never used the thumbs up/down (I don't see a direct benefit). If I've dumped a video in my favorites for watching again later, that should carry more weight for what WW wants likes for.
alfbolide 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's just funny that people want google to fuck herself while they are perfectly fine to be forced to sign in to comment either on the original article or here.
cnbeuiwx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Stop using Google! You know its a company that spies on your every move, you know they are selling your information to governments, you know they are constantly IN YOUR FACE everywhere you turn on the net these days.

They are even worse than Microsoft was back in the days, when Google came along with a clean search engine and a clean slate. These days, "dont do evil" is as ridicolous as Obamas "Change!" campaign.

Google is a strong supporter of CISPA as well. Whats left to like in this company? They make a good browser and good apps, but its not worth what they are doing to their customers.

naner 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is just as bad as companies forcing me to “like” something on Facebook before I can view whatever it is they want me to “like.”

I don't think it is "just as bad" but it is quite obnoxious.

jal278 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a similar response to "fab" this evening, some kind of design site. It looked interesting but in order to even view a product linked from facebook they required me to sign up. Immediate rage; I can't investigate if the site is interesting enough to meriting signing up because signing up is required to investigate. No thanks.
epicviking 1 day ago 1 reply      
Given that you need a google account to access YouTube in the first place, shouldn't google already have all the data they need here? They don't seem to gain much with this...
Niksko 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Google are doing this because the reason G+ is floundering is nobody is on there.

Forcing people to use it is one way of getting more people on there. If even on in a thousand people stays to look around, that could mean a snowball effect that causes a massive spike in G+ users.

danbmil99 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the mistake here is that a company that collectively suffers from Asperger's syndrome should not try to "bring the social".

Stick to your core competence always.

mgurlitz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tabletop made a huge mistake making their bottom line dependent on YouTube's upvoting system. What if YouTube decides to get rid of the "Thumbs up" system? Or if Google wants a share of your revenue from this service?
See edw519's comments here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2255615
appleaintbad 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is nothing. What I'm more concerned about for Google's sake is all of the people giving up their Android phones for iPhones. It isn't an immediately obvious trend but it will be within the next two years as people's contracts run out.

Google needs to refocus on search and advertising, and put more effort into R&D that might actually have world impact and significant ROI like perfecting and licensing driverless car technology.

taosaur 1 day ago 0 replies      
This... does not appear to be a thing. Wil Wheaton is great and all, but I and most of the commenters on his blog are still seeing normal, non-G+-integrated thumbs up/down buttons.
kwerty 1 day ago 0 replies      
This newest change won't affect me too much because I wrote a Google Chrome extension to keep my YouTube and regular Google accounts separate. However, as the author suggests, content creators will not be so lucky.

Please try my extension if you're interested -


gcb 1 day ago 0 replies      
still less benign then sites that only have facebook's like.

at least g+ is the same 'account' as your youtube one. they already have your data.

PITA still.

est 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Google Plus already fucked up a good portion of faithful GReader users. The share feature used to be a very nice feature used exclusively among a group of people, not it just sucks. Also the G+ button tries to re-crawle the RSS source, so it lags and is anoying as fuck.
dlikhten 1 day ago 1 reply      
Flip side: wouldn't it be nice if everything you had just played well together? I don't see such rage when evernote is going to get the boot in osx 10.8.
leoh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it me, or is this post exceedingly whiny?
gusandrews 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Is anyone else facing a related problem, like I am -- that YouTube inexplicably deleted their videos because there is no Google+ account associated with the YouTube account? That's the only explanation I can see for what happened to an account I created for a client. All of our videos were taken down, and it says they were "removed by user" -- which they most definitely were not. Other data points on this would be appreciated.
loeschg 1 day ago 1 reply      
The one video I checked still had the typical thumbs-up and thumbs-down feature.
gubatron 1 day ago 0 replies      
so I guess this guy won't like all the extra traffic he will get from G+, meh
drivebyacct2 1 day ago 1 reply      
When are people going to just shut up about this stuff? Google is going social. Either get with it or don't. I'm tired of seeing rants everytime they decide to try something new out (by the way, this was a test for less than 1% of their users). If you don't want to participate in Google's social network, you don't get to participate in Google's social network. That includes YouTube and it has for years.

Downvote away, I look forward to the next rant about Google's social unification as if it's a big shock and surprise, maybe we can also discuss semicolons in Javascript.

(everything else aside, I have no idea why they would throw away everything they've invested in the '+1' branding)

Funny, both of my comments shaking my head in disbelief at unexplained Google hate are commentlessly downvoted. Let the rage at Google flow through you and the downvote arrow!

Carmack on why transatlantic ping is faster than pushing a pixel to the screen superuser.com
515 points by eavc  2 days ago   64 comments top 8
CodeCube 2 days ago 6 replies      
I know fanboy gushing isn't really productive. But I'd just like to say that it's so awesome to live in a time when we can start a topic of conversation about someone of note, and there's a chance that this individual will join the conversation personally.
stephengillie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Carmack probably read the Anandtech article (from 2009) on this topic: http://www.anandtech.com/print/2803

So the short answer is: it takes that long to go through all of the processors (input controller/keyb/mouse, usb, cpu, processing latency, gpu, more processing latency, RAMDAC/digital output, LCD pre-processing, LCD output, LCD post-processing, pixel transistor)

He doesn't mention using "game mode" on that display - maybe it doesn't have one. Game mode is supposed to minimize pre- and post-processing to minimize LCD latency, exactly for this reason.

Also note it takes about that long for signals to hit your eye, go through your brain, hit a switch that fires an action, that signal to travel down your arm and back into your finger ~ 113ms.

(How does that line up with 100ms game tick cycles? I don't know.)

karlbunch 2 days ago 10 replies      
LOL I used to own a computer game center and had two dedicated T1's bonded and traffic managed. The CS players would complain if the ping time spiked from 20ms to 25ms to a server and would say it was causing them to miss shots. I reviewed the connections for jitter and all sorts of things and they would never believe that the 5ms didn't make the difference.

To prove the point I downloaded a simple javascript stoplight app that would measure reaction time and told them if anyone could beat my times I'd give them an all day pass. And it never happened.. not even once.. and the times were lucky to be in the 210+ms range. 5ms wasn't causing them to miss the shot..

For those who are interested:


driverdan 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder what the margin of error is on marking when the button push is made. Controller button range of travel makes it nearly impossible to know exactly when the electrical connection takes place from a video.

I think it'd be better to touch wires together or something more obvious to reduce the margin of error.

gavanwoolery 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe I missed it, but he did not seem to go into detail as to how the pixel was plotted. If the pixel was placed in a buffer, and then a texture was locked and the pixel was transfered, this would obviously induce significant overhead on its own (any time you need to communicate between CPU/GPU memory induces a huge lag, in shorter words)...although Carmack knows this better than anyone else.

Also, the actual pressing of the button could use more clarification. When did measurement start? On the button down signal? On the button up signal? As soon as the finger touches the button?

robomartin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am not really clear on the measurement methodology. Why is a game controller involved?

Did he trigger the ping from the same game controller button?

Did the game controller trigger the frame buffer swap on the graphics card?

At 240Hz the lower-right pixel on an LCD will be painted 4ms after the upper-right pixel. Where were the measurements taken.

Yes, LCDs are scanned devices, just like CRT's, you don't see it because of the slow response time.

Lastly, I didn't see any numbers. Where are the measurements?

zobzu 2 days ago 0 replies      
In fast FPSes this makes a huge diff regardless of your ping indeed. Even in, game mode on some monitors/video card setups. You only see it well during LANs when the guy sees you half to a full second BEFORE you see him.

Then you realize no one was cheating, ur hardware is just crap ;-)

zeteo 2 days ago 3 replies      
The total length of wire in a microprocessor is currently on the order of 100km. A signal doesn't have to go through all of it, but processing often involves loops etc. Also considering the delays at logic gates (waiting for clock signals), it's not that surprising that a speed-of-light signal that needs complex processing may travel longer inside a microprocessor than on a straight journey of a few thousand miles across the ocean.
Introducing DuckDuckHack gabrielweinberg.com
400 points by bjplink  2 days ago   70 comments top 30
reitzensteinm 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is absolutely fantastic.

I remember suggesting ages ago that Intel's ark.intel.com should be integrated, so if you searched for Q6600 or 2600k or i7 980 it would show you details of the processor.

I might have a shot at integrating that. Does anyone know about the legality of doing so? I'm sure Intel wouldn't care, but showing the info in a zero click box would seem to be different than merely scraping the pages in order to return search results.

SeoxyS 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is begging to be renamed "HackHackGo." Has such a nice ring to it!
driverdan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here are a few ideas that would be cool.

# hackernews / hn

"hn url" - See if a URL has been posted to HN. If so show the title and link to post + comments

"hn keywords" - Show HN search results with linked title and link to comments

hn could be an alias to hackernews.

# reddit

Reddit's native search sucks in every way possible. Add a reddit keyword with similar functionality.

Adaptive 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is like Google Labs turned inside out. Innovative stuff. I love it. More power to DDG!
cldwalker 2 days ago 1 reply      
For some context on how this has been tried before:

* http://yubnub.org/ - one of the first if not first to create a community around web commands. Primitive string substitution

* http://queri.ac disclaimer: I maintained it for awhile) - a small community of web commands. Supported options, bookmarklets and more. Browser-independent.

* ubiquity, https://wiki.mozilla.org/Labs/Ubiquity, - improved on web commands by having them written in javascript and had an awesome API for combining commands and rendering command output. However, it was firefox-specific.

The main innovation I see with duckduckhack is that they're using github to foster contribution.

blairbits 2 days ago 1 reply      
This seems to me to be a great example of hour DDG can gain an edge on Google. I don't think you'll ever see Google offering something like this; they're too big. A smaller option like DDG has more room to grow, and can take advantage of the crowd like this in ways that Google can't.
rabidsnail 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do you guys already support Mycroft plugins? Granted you can't use them to play tetris in the results list, but they're easier to make (you only need to know how to edit XML) and there are already thousands on http://mycroft.mozdev.org. You just need to add some heuristics to scrape the results out.

Actually, one could make a pretty good search engine that was just a frontend for mycroft that was able to extract results and figure out which plugins to use for which queries.

chintan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google had something like this back in 2007.

Matt Cutts: "An easy way to add new features to Google"

16s 2 days ago 0 replies      
At least someone is innovating in search.
qeorge 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of Yahoo's Search Monkey (RIP). DDG seems like a much better home for this (awesome) idea.


cnbeuiwx 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is more about duckduckgo than duckduckhack, but Im starting to love this search engine. Found out about the "s:d" command that sorts all the hits in descending order.. combined with the arrow keys and the "h" key to get back to the search box, you can search a multitude of search terms reaally fast and efficiently.

And no spying on its users! Google, you can go f-ck yourself from now on.

I love this engine. Thanks so much for creating it!

klapinat0r 2 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly off topic, but can anyone elaborate on the legal handling of displaying the xkcd comics? As they are fetched directly from images.xkcd.com, and do not contain a "discussion", would it still be considered Fair Use, or have they made an agreement with Randall Munroe?
amitamb 2 days ago 1 reply      
VerticalSet is offering similar functionality. DuckDuckGo is starting to go in the same direction.


Although aim is same to make search engine a platform, technologically it is rather different. Would love to hear feedback on this.

charlieok 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have seen duckduckgo popping up in more places over the past few months. I don't know much about them but they're obviously doing something right. This just pushed me over the top in setting them as my default search engine.
matt2000 2 days ago 1 reply      
I couldn't figure it out from the docs, do the plugins get approved by DuckDuckGo? Or does the user have to install them for their own account? I'm a bit confused at how you would mediate between different plugins trying to provide an answer for the same query, etc.
theon144 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yay! I wanted to contribute to duckduckgo a while ago, but found it quite daunting, this is perfect!
evoxed 2 days ago 0 replies      
Switching my default search in 3..2..1..
ekanes 2 days ago 0 replies      
In 10 years, Google could be in serious trouble on the search front. Yes it will take that long. Yes they could actually lose. Rock 'em Gabriel.
jjcm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Crowd sourcing better search results through content plugins. Genius - great job ddg/h guys!
sasha-dv 2 days ago 4 replies      
DDG is getting better all the time. These days, I use it almost exclusively. I love the !bang syntax.
shellox 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's really cool that duckduckgo want to go this way. I think both, the creator of ddg and the users will profit of the ideas, which will come up in DuckDuckHack. The users know what they want, so it's the right choice to let them be part of it ;
kulkarnic 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does ranking between plugins work? Is the order arbitrated in advance?
Natsu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I saw this on GitHub a few days ago (there's, umm, not a lot else in the Perl section) and have been thinking about things to add.

Looks good, guys!

mkmcdonald 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice idea.

I have but one problem, and it's with the site (DuckDuckHack) itself.

Could the author just make the tutorial section scrollable with the rest of the page? The current functionality is quite awkward. It's also ignorant of (most of) the keyboard (home, end, page up, page down, etc.), which is the quickest way to traverse a page.

pirateking 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started using DuckDuckGo for its position on privacy, but that is just one reason of many to use it now.

I have more than a few ideas for hacks, after reading the very nice tutorial. Look forward to playing with it.

_ankit_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to spend a weekend creating a plugin!
whackberry 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Wish I could upvote this twice.
swah 2 days ago 0 replies      
OT: nice signin implementation there!
asselinpaul 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is so cool...
iamgopal 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how google fights on every frontier, and apple being smart always avoid fights.
The UTF-8-Everywhere Manifesto utf8everywhere.org
372 points by bearpool  4 days ago   179 comments top 21
pilif 4 days ago 2 replies      
Really good article. You'll get nothing from me but heartfelt agreement. I especially liked that the article was giving numbers about how inefficient UTF8 would be to store Asian text (not really apparently).

Also insightful, but obvious in hindsight: Not even in utf-32 you can index specific character in constant time due to the various digraphs.

The one property I really love about UTF8 is that you get a free consistency check as not every arbitrary byte sequence is a valid UTF8 string.

This is a really good help for detecting encoding errors very early (still to this day, applications are known to lie about the encoding of their output).

And of course, there's no endianness issue, removing the need for a BOM which makes it possible for tools that operate at byte levels to still do the right job.

If only it had better support outside of Unix.

For example, try opening a UTF8 encoded CSV file (using characters outside of ASCII of course) in Mac Excel (latest versions. Up until that, it didn't know UTF8 at all) for a WTF experience somewhere between comical and painful.

If there is one thing I could criticize about UTF8 then that would be its similarity to ASCII (which is also its greatest strength) causing many applications and APIs to boldly declare UTF8 compatibility when all they really can do is ASCII compatibility and emitting a mess (or blowing up) once they have to deal with code points outside that range.

I'm jokingly calling this US-UTF8 when I encounter it (all too often unfortunately), but maybe the proliferation of "cool" characters like what we recently got with Emoji is likely going to help with this over time.

gwillen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, let me be the first approving top level comment: This document is correct. The author of this document is smart. You should follow this document.

As jwz said about backups: "Shut up. I know things. You will listen to me. Do it anyway."

luriel 4 days ago  replies      
Yes! I have been meaning to write something like this for years.

There is only one thing I would add: Never add a BOM to an UTF-8 file!! It is redundant, useless and breaks all kinds of things by attaching garbage to the start of your files.

Edit: Here is the interesting story of how Ken Thompson invented UTF-8: http://doc.cat-v.org/bell_labs/utf-8_history

pcwalton 4 days ago 6 replies      
Sadly, the pervasiveness of JavaScript means that UTF-16 interoperability will be needed as least as long as the Web is alive. JavaScript strings are fundamentally UTF-16. This is why we've tentatively decided to go with UTF-16 in Servo (the experimental browser engine) -- converting to UTF-8 every time text needed to go through the layout engine would kill us in benchmarks.

For new APIs in which legacy interoperability isn't needed, I completely approve of this document.

cygx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Personally, I prefer UTF-8 as well. However, I think this whole debate about choice of encoding gets blown out of proportion.

Consider the following diagram:

                               [user-perceived characters] <-+
^ |
| |
v |
[characters] <-> [grapheme clusters] |
^ ^ |
| | |
v v |
[bytes] <-> [codepoints] [glyphs] <----------+

Choice of encoding only affects the conversion from bytes to codepoints, which is pretty straight-forward: The subtleties lie elsewhere...

haberman 4 days ago 2 replies      
Totally agree re: UTF-8 vs other Unicode encodings.

But are there still still hold-outs who don't like Unicode? Last I heard some CJK users were unhappy about Han Unification: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_unification

raverbashing 4 days ago 5 replies      

"UTF-16 is the worst of both worlds"variable length and too wide"

Really, the author tries to convince the reader, but it's not that clean cut.

One of the advantages of UTF-16 is knowing right away it's UTF-16 as opposed to deciding if it's UTF-8/ASCII/other encoding. Sure, for transmission it's a waste of space (still, text for today's computer capabilities is a non issue even if using UTF-32)

"It's not fixed width" But for most text, it is. Sure, you can do UTF-32 and it may not be a bad idea (today)

Yes, Windows has to deal with several complications and with backwards compatibility, so it's a bag of hurt. Still, they went the right way (internally, it's unicode, period.)

"in plain Windows edit control (until Vista), it takes two backspaces to delete a character which takes 4 bytes in UTF-16"

If I'm not mistaken this is by design. The 4 byte characters is usually typed as a combination of characters, so if you want to change the last part of the combination you jut type one backspace.

evincarofautumn 4 days ago 0 replies      
For those who don't know it, UTF8-CPP[1] is a good lightweight header-only library for UTF conversions, mostly STL-compatible.

[1] http://utfcpp.sourceforge.net/

makecheck 4 days ago 1 reply      
Markus Kuhn's web page has a lot of useful UTF-8 info and valuable links (e.g. samples of UTF-8 corner cases that people often miss).


tommi 4 days ago 1 reply      
That collection of best practices can hardly be considered as "UTF-8 Everywhere Manifesto" as it focuses on Windows and C++. It's good, but I'd rather see more manifesto like document for all cases on a domain like that.
erichocean 4 days ago 3 replies      
The strangest thing about Unicode (any flavor) is that NULL, aka \0, aka "all zeros" is a valid character.

If you claim to support Unicode, you have to support NULL characters; otherwise, you support a subset.

I find most OS utilities that "accept" Unicode fail to accept the NULL character.

FWIW, UTF-8 has a few invalid characters (characters that can never appear in a valid UTF-8 string). Any one of them could be used as an "end of string" terminator if so desired, for situations where the string length is not known up front.

We could even standardize which one (hint hint). I suggest -1 (all 1s).

UPDATE: I meant "strange" as in "surprising", especially for those coming from a C background, like me.

mkup 4 days ago 2 replies      
I use UTF-8 for transmitted data and disk I/O, and I use UCS-4 (wchar_t on Linux/FreeBSD) for internal representation of strings in my software.

I generally agree with this article, but I disagree with it on the point that UTF-8 is the only appropriate encoding for strings stored in memory, and also I disagree on the point wchar_t should be removed from C++ standard or made sizeof 1, as in Android NDK.

Let me explain why.

In UTF-8 single Unicode character may be encoded in multiple ways. For example NUL (U+0000) can be encoded as 00 or as C0 80. The second encoding is illegal because it's longer than necessary and forbidden by standard, but naive parser may extract NUL out of it. If UTF-8 input was not properly sanitized, or there is a bug in charset converter, this may result in exploit like SQL injection or arbitrary filesystem access or something like that: malicious party can encode not only NUL, but ", /, \ etc this way.

Also UTF-8 string can't be cut at arbitrary position. Byte groups (UTF-8 runes) must be processed as a whole, so appear either on left side or on the right side of cut.

Reversing of UTF-8 string is tricky, especially when illegal character sequences are present in input string and corresponding code points (U+FFFD) must be preserved in output string.

I think UTF-8 for network transmitted data and disk I/O is inevitable, but our software should keep all in-memory strings in UCS-4 only, and take adequate security precautions in all places where conversion between UTF-8 and UCS-4 happens.

And sizeof(wchar_t)==4 in GCC ABI is not a design defect, wchar_t exists for a good reason. I admit that sizeof(wchar_t)==2 on Windows is utterly broken.

breck 4 days ago 4 replies      
How could we avoid acronyms like 'utf-8'?

We can do better than that. Unicode8?

CJefferson 4 days ago 4 replies      
I there a simple set of rules for people who currently have code which use ASCII, to check for UTF-8 cleanness?

In particular, what should I watch out for to make an ASCII parser UTF-8 clean?

antidoh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Text is maddening, the modern Tower of Babel.

Is there a definitive reference, or small handful of references, to learn all that's worth knowing about text, from ASCII to UTF-∞ and beyond?

sopooneo 4 days ago 3 replies      
Can someone explain to me how UTF-8 is endianness independent? I don't mean that I am arguing the fact, I just don't understand how it is possible. Don't you have to know which order to interpret the bits in each byte? And isn't that endianness?
chj 3 days ago 0 replies      
can not agree more! it will be a much better world if we all use utf8 for external string presentation. i don't care about what your app use internally, but if it generates output, please use utf8.
scoith 4 days ago 1 reply      
That page is misleading when it comes to Japanese text: UTF-8 sucks for Japanese text.
UTF-8 and UTF-16 aren't the only two choices within the whole world, which is demonstrated in their choice of encoding Shift-JIS.
alecco 4 days ago 4 replies      
ASCII and UTF-8 are too US centric. That's why adoption in places like China is so low.

Also, if there's variable length encoding why can't we just do a proper way and improve size for the same computational cost?

natch 4 days ago 3 replies      
Strings (NSString) on Apple platforms are UTF-16. The Apple platforms are not exactly lagging behind in either multilingual, or text processing. I wonder what this team of three people knows that Apple doesn't? Or is it the other way around, that Apple knows something they don't, and when it comes to shipping products that work in the real world, Apple has figured out how to do it?
fleitz 4 days ago 7 replies      
tl:dr; Use UTF-8 when you need to use unicode with legacy APIs, never anywhere else.

UNIX isn't UTF-8 because UTF-8 is better, UNIX is UTF-8 because you can pass UTF-8 strings to functions that expect ASCII and it kinda works. This is really the only thing you need to know about UTF-8 and why it's better.

There are few pieces of software that don't have to talk to legacy APIs that store strings natively in UTF-8.

C# and Java are probably the best examples of software that was engineered from the ground up and thus uses UTF-16 internally because it's much less likely to run into issues like String.length returning 32 yet only containing 31 characters. If you use UTF-8 expect this result anytime a string contains a real genuine apostrophe.

"UTF-8 and UTF-32 result the same order when sorted lexicographically. UTF-16 does not."

This is complete and utter bullshit, to sort a string lexicographically you need to decode it, if you've decoded the string into UNICODE then they sort the exact same way.

There are lots of gotchas for sorting UNICODE strings including normalization because you can write the semantically equivalent strings in unicode multiple ways. eg. ligatures.

If you're sorting bit strings that happen to contain UTF-8/32 then you're not sorting lexicographically and your results will be screwed up anyway.

What time is it? wz.cz
351 points by joaopfsilva  2 days ago   79 comments top 22
_djo_ 2 days ago  replies      
This is an art project called 'Standard Time' by Mark Formanek. In late 2007 he filmed a team of 70 workers constructing this clock through 1611 iterations (every minute) for a 24-hour period in Berlin's Sculpture Park. So when originally filmed it was done in real-time.

The flash video here is based on a screensaver that Formanek has made available which synchronises that video to your system clock, making it appear that you're watching the clock as it's being built. It's a clever idea with great execution and the effect is interesting enough that a number of galleries have put screens with the time-synced video on display.

Formanek has since staged a few live re-enactments of this clock being built, though I'm not sure if any others have gone for the full 24 hours.

There's more info, including videos demonstrating how it was done, at the official site: http://www.standard-time.com/

blahedo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Argh! I tuned in at 10:52 and wanted to stick around to see the :00 transition, and the player crapped out just at :59, and when I reloaded the 00 had already been switched, and they were just pulling off the pieces to switch 10 to 11. The next such transition is an hour away!

...wait, how did I get so invested in this?

etfb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it insanely laggy because it's being Slashdotted/Reddited/Hackernewsed, or is it just the godawful Tasmanian internet again?
AlexMuir 2 days ago 2 replies      
And cue the commercials cloned off this.

Absolutely brilliant. I couldn't find any background on it though - looks like a Czech project?

extension 2 days ago 2 replies      
So is this a clever split frame trick or did they actually spend an entire day doing that?

EDIT: Actually, the lighting would be really difficult if it was a trick so I'm going to say it's real.

diminish 2 days ago 0 replies      
Didnt have flash can't see on mobile. I am still curious if "creatives" still got stuck between Adobe and Apple, the two top "creative" tool producers.
rivo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looking at this from my office in Berlin, I thought "wow, they're even using GeoIP and some clever compositing to adjust the background to wherever I am."
supo 2 days ago 0 replies      
The location seems to be Berlin, but the domain is Czech.

It would be cool to have this in different timezones with corresponding backgrounds!

motiejus 2 days ago 2 replies      
Flash version 9,0 or greater is required
You have no flash plugin installed

Download latest version from here

I do not have a flash player on my machine for more than 6 months. This is the first website I encountered that I cannot use at all.

vanmik 2 days ago 2 replies      
they stole this video from (as well as code for playing it)


mike-cardwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be more impressed if it displayed seconds.
maw 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty sweet how it freezes every two seconds, showing an hourglass. How do they do that?
mikeflynn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well it appears that it's time for flash to load forever and then make my fan go crazy.
zerostar07 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Closest affordable equivalent is the Stonehenge clock http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH0HLXnXljY
cbg0 2 days ago 1 reply      
Considering how much work was put into this, the novelty is lost very quickly, for me at least.
marknutter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Time to get a new server
X4 2 days ago 0 replies      
WOW That's awesome!

I highly appreciate the vivid art and message behind this creative construction. We need more crazy people :)

daviddaniel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Peanut butter jelly time?
rahx 2 days ago 0 replies      
flash.. yawn
jdmartinez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Aaaadventure Time!!!
joaopfsilva 2 days ago 1 reply      
Really nice work!! and free time to do that ;)

Ya the location seems Czech Republic!! cuz the domain and the builds..i guess

kayman 2 days ago 0 replies      
cool project. Website feels a bit slow.
I did something similar recently to learn coffeescript. http://currenti.me
MIT and Harvard announce edX mit.edu
341 points by denzil_correa  1 day ago   128 comments top 24
sgentle 1 day ago 5 replies      
Can I just say this is super exciting. In Australia, where I live, there was a very brief period where university education was free. It was before my time, but I remember the feeling I had as a child when I first heard about it - not amazement or disbelief, something closer to "oh yeah, that makes sense". I figured that education would have to be free because otherwise poor people would stay poor forever. Not the most airtight reasoning, but I think my heart was in the right place. I hadn't really considered the resources that would need to go into it, and who would inevitably have to foot the bill.

But this is the best kind of regression. Maybe the childish dream of "hey, let's just teach everyone" isn't so ridiculous now that we have the right technology. I find it easy to get frustrated sometimes thinking of how much power we have at our disposal, and how much of it goes into more efficient cat sharing and other electronic distractions (some of which, in fairness, I like quite a bit). This is a pretty cool example of how much what we do can mean to people: not just entertaining them but radically improving their lives.

The best part, though, is that this isn't even news. This has all already happened. Between the Khan Academy, OCW, Coursera, Udacity and edX it's actually a crowded field now. Great! Large universities move slowly, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who've been pushing for years just to get things to this point. Now things look like they're starting to snowball. It's easy to ignore one university or a crazy startup, but when someone says "hey, uh, half of the Ivy League's on this thing" it gets attention. I'm really looking forward to whatever comes out of edX, but even more to the inevitable answers to edX. It's a great time to need an education.

muraiki 1 day ago  replies      
I'm currently taking courses with Udacity and Coursera, and I've noticed one huge difference between the two that I hope edX learns from: whereas the Coursera class is structured like a traditional class online, Udacity's course designers seem to better understand and take advantage of the fact that the course is running in a web browser.

The difference is a bit difficult to explain. Both have videos, forums, and wikis. Udacity courses are set up as short videos punctuated with many questions and mini assignments (running in an in-browser Python IDE), along with larger homework projects. Also, the forums are continually monitored and new videos are added to clarify concepts that students are struggling with.

In contrast, the Coursera course I'm taking (AI) has longer videos (6-20 minutes) of the instructor mumbling as he draws over and over on ever increasingly confusing Powerpoint slides. Sometimes a video will have one multiple choice question, other times the video will not have any questions at all. The worst part is that only once has the video gone on to explain the question. So if a student has a problem understanding the question, they will have to resort to the forums. There's no follow-up, unlike the questions on Udacity. At the end of each section (about an hours worth of videos) students can take a five question quiz. Granted, the feedback on the quizzes are a lot better -- but it's a lot to expect an hour of instruction to be reinforced by a mere five questions.

Basically, the Coursera course is taught as if I was sitting in a class watching an instructor draw on a Powerpoint -- the fact that it's running in a web browser and can provide a different method of teaching seems to be lost on the instructor.

Granted, this might be a critique of the instructor more than of Coursera itself -- I'm only taking a single course from them, whereas I'm taking two on Udacity. But Udacity seems to understand that you can't just take the experience of sitting in a classroom and put it online: you have to understand that this is a new medium that allows new methods of teaching.

To conclude this rambling post (sorry, I didn't know how to explain what I'm feeling as a student more concisely), if these online course ventures that are popping up all over the place are going to succeed,
they are going to have to use the medium of the browser to its fullest: and in so doing, I think they will have to compete with traditional universities. That's what worries me when edX says the online classes will supplement the in-college experience: I think that you're going to have to beat the college experience to succeed in this market.

droithomme 1 day ago 2 replies      
Most of the press release is about funding and bureaucracy, as evidenced by the number of name drops and shout outs and culminating in which old school administrator will be granted the honor of being the first president of the new initiative, and going straight for brand name of "MIT+Harvard". Reads like a press release out of the 1890s, the last gasp of a struggling and suddenly irrelevant brick and mortar fabulously costly institute of a bygone era.

Conspicuously missing are any specific details about the operation or value other than its brand name and the instantly heavy bureaucracy. It's likely this because they have no specific details yet and the negotiations to date have been about who gets the biggest seats on the board, what compensation packages they can negotiate and who will win the most prestigious titles and positions in behind the scenes political wrangling.

As far as the software that runs it, the old canard of making it open source and having other people build it is just tossed out as if that is a magical solution to design.

Nothing about this smells agile. It smells very industrial and slow. Compare to Udacity and Coursera who each are happily running dozens of classes to hundreds of thousands of students each, responding quickly to feedback, and demonstrating clearly they are up to the modern speed of doing things.

peteretep 1 day ago  replies      
Coursera, edX, and Udacity.

First one to award real degree credit per course wins, I suspect. The Open University already offers this, so it can be done.

chrisaycock 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice to see that Class Central has already been updated to list edX alongside Udacity and Coursera.


dhawalhs 1 day ago 0 replies      
MIT and Harvard have committed to a combined $60 million ($30 million each) in institutional support, grants and philanthropy to launch the collaboration.

This makes it bigger than Coursera and Udacity.

Kilimanjaro 1 day ago 5 replies      
I tried, believe me I tried hard, but video is not my type. Over 20 years I've learnt all I know reading, surfing, browsing the web, not watching videos. I can digest/absorb/ignore a whole page of text in ten seconds instead of being forced to watch boring 10 mins videos that offer only one min of real interesting content.

So, the spot is open for an education tool where text is king, like wikipedia, but with a syllabus.

jb55 1 day ago 4 replies      
I have tried a lot of these new online courses that have been created but I still think they have missed the point, the point that khan academy got right. I don't want to plan my life around weekly assignments. I keep getting emails about about assignment deadlines, causing unneeded anxiety which puts off the whole learning experience.
saintfiends 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let me just tell you all how awesomely happy I am reading this. So many mixed emotions, all positive I must say. Made my eyes all watery.

I don't expect everyone to understand, most of you here have had some sort of formal higher education. Where I live high-schools only offer Business or Science with Biology, Chemistry and Physics. That is it. Being fascinated with computers from an early age it is what I wanted to study. But in order to get any higher formal education one must go abroad, which means a lot of money, more than I or my family could afford. So until very recently I have been getting my education through books, articles, tutorials et al. This was OK, but I always felt I was missing something, felt like it was all a bit fragmented. I have pieces from here and there but never the complete thing. Then came along Mitx, Coursera and Udacity. So I started watching all these lectures and boy did all things fall into place. You have no idea how great it feels to actually know that you know something after a long time of uneasiness. It brought some completeness to my life.

Of course I'm nowhere near where I want to be. This feels like end of an era. I can't help but smile to see traditional education systems come to an end and see it all unfold in my lifetime.

makmanalp 1 day ago 1 reply      
"EdX will release its learning platform as open-source software so it can be used by other universities and organizations that wish to host the platform themselves. Because the learning technology will be available as open-source software, other universities and individuals will be able to help edX improve and add features to the technology."

Is anyone else worried that this'll be a one-sided "we released the damn source in a zip file" style open source? When administration has such a big stake in a project like this, I hope they will allow community style open source. It's harder to justify each design decision you make to a bunch of whining disagreeing third parties on a mailing list, but ultimately I think it's for the best.

sravfeyn 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's great MIT and Harvard are combining forces. It completely makes sense. Offering similar courses individually to the same Internet Audience is waste of resources.

By the way, all of these courses from Udacity, Coursera, MITx lack one unique thing. These videos can't reproduce the passion of the teacher in a live class-room. In that respect they are little boring. While they are excellent resources, kind of manuals to learn stuff, to actually 'improve the experience' they need to pump passion into video lectures.
More than these video lectures I like the actual recorded class room lectures that are kept online for public. Like cs50.net and Tom Mitchel's Machine Learning.

Does anyone else feel this 'passion deficiency' in these courses, like me?

molsongolden 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sounds like they'll have more classes now but still no information regarding a way to make the classes meaningful to most employers (certificates, credits, etc...).
ilaksh 1 day ago 0 replies      
To what degree do these initiatives incorporate the latest e-learning knowledge/ideas?

Also, to what degree do these and other e-learning curriculum or processes align with rapid change in relevant technology knowledge and skills?

I think that these types of programs can call into question or clarify the distinction between academic and vocational knowledge/experience.

What good is a programmer who isn't able to recognize the difference between an algorithm which takes exponential time or memory versus one that is linear? On the other hand, what good is a programmer who wastes his time optimizing an algorithm because he didn't know how to use the profiler or worse, was just using an outdated library or technology platform?

michaelqlarson 1 day ago 0 replies      
stephenlee 1 day ago 0 replies      
Online education will change the world. Anyway, it's a good thing to the world students. Cheers! I'm hungry to learn.
easp 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great to see. For the last week or so I've had this uneasy feeling that much of the potential of this wave of elearning was going to get strangled by patents, and other IP concerns. This looks to me to be a big chunk of openness and prior art being set free. That won't stop the trolls, but it's a start.
septerr 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does it say anywhere how Harvard+MIT will price their courses? Will they be free? I should read the article myself and find the answer, but the webpage design, the font and the rambling text is uninspiring. Like an academic paper! (sorry)
venturebros 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have taken numerous amounts of online courses from h.s on up. The classes I truly enjoyed were hybrid courses when the class would meet every so often. I loathe 100% online courses I like having people around to ask questions,see how they did something,etc. Posting on a messageboard just doesn't give the same vibe.
snarkinatree 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't take part in this for "credentials". I would do it for the sake of learning. Some of that acquired knowledge might be applied for commercial gain, some might not. Does it matter? The cost is the cost of an internet connection and time invested in learning. Hopefully what they produce will closely mirror the course contents and requirements for their undergraduate courses.
kin 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's really great how private universities are putting education online. My friends and I have been watching the free Stanford iTunes U videos and have learned so much in iOS development.
varunsaini 1 day ago 0 replies      
Online education platforms are future, I am not saying that class room education is going away but both can compliment each other. I am taking Udacity classes (one class at a time as it is very easy to get overwhelmed and join 3-4 classes and don't complete any)and I like it.
peedy 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have one simple question,
Can I access the material if I have failed to enroll a course in time ( in general for Udacity / Coursera )?

Even if I get access to the videos and assignments, it is fair enough.

iunk 1 day ago 0 replies      
are they using Windows?
Apache/2.2.22 (Win32) mod_ssl/2.2.22 OpenSSL/0.9.8t PHP/5.2.17 Server at www.edxonline.org Port 80
or just spoofed.
willwill100 1 day ago 0 replies      
- The UK is so far behind in this regard.

- This will certainly be at least part of the future of education

Google open sources key piece of Street View technology google-opensource.blogspot.com
337 points by mierle  2 days ago   51 comments top 16
mierle 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is a key component of Street View. We're really happy to have released this. When we started writing Ceres, there was nothing available like it. It's state of the art; a real contribution to computer vision and other fields which need large scale nonlinear least squares.

Part of the reason I worked on this in my spare time (my real job at Google is something else) was to get it integrated in libmv (http://code.google.com/p/libmv) and subsequently integrated into Blender. This opens the door to many sophisticated tracking features, like autocalibration, rolling shutter, multi-shot solves, tripod solves, planar tracking, and more.

EDIT: Changed link title to make it more provocative

sparky 2 days ago 3 replies      
Awesome! I just filed a few bugs with patches that let it build out-of-the-box on Ubuntu. There didn't seem to be much in this space outside of levmar ( http://www.ics.forth.gr/~lourakis/levmar/ ); levmar is great for what it does, but some friendly competition is most welcome from my perspective.

It's really surprising how broadly applicable non-linear least squares is.

ot 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Automatic differentiation

This is extremely cool. The documentation seems to be a WIP on this, can anyone comment on what kind of cost functions are supported by automatic differentiation?

EDIT: it would be also interesting to see how this compares to Theano [1], which also does symbolic differentiation and can JIT to native code and GPU. It is a largely more generic framework, but I'm not sure how well it can handle large sparse problems.

[1] http://deeplearning.net/software/theano/

cft 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's no Instagram, no Facebook, this is technology, not Hollywoodisation of Silicon Valley
jacquesm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Neat, what a pity that real hacker news gets under-appreciated!
jetsnoc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for your contribution. It's great to see a giant, who's gained so much from open source contribute back in a significant and meaningful way! For those interested it appears it was open sourced under the "New BSD license."
JoeCamel 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Johnny Lee has written a short post about Ceres: http://procrastineering.blogspot.se/2012/05/today-sameer-aga... "If I find the time, I might try to post some tutorials on using Ceres. Because I believe this is one of the most powerful tools in modern engineering, and no one ever taught it to me in undergrad or high school. It's like the difference between doing long division by hand and then being handed a calculator."
strebler 2 days ago 1 reply      
What exactly is the operation being done in the video? My best guess is a noisy set of GPS coordinates / panoramas being repositioned via bundle adjustment on the street view panoramic captures. Or something.
joelthelion 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is much more than a key piece of Street View. It's an awesome building block for thousands of very diverse AI applications. Great contribution!
eliben 1 day ago 0 replies      
From a cursory look - that's a nicely organized, formatted and documented piece of code. Well done.
slig 2 days ago 1 reply      
In the video they figure out the road inside a tunnel, with no GPS data. How does it do that?
pkh80 2 days ago 0 replies      
It'd be great if this is just the start of a trend where Google supports open source mapping tech that would make projects like OSM more viable (for reasons why its not currently viable see my other posts.)

Its a bit like Google being the biggest supporter of Firefox, even though they are also a competitor (Chrome.) Though Google supporting OSM is more like Microsoft supporting OpenOffice, since Google has such a large monopoly in maps right now.

rmc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Google has often contributed code to the open source world (like this). However they don't AFAIK release any data. Google drove cars around the world photographing everything. But they claim copyright on it all. If they allowed derivative works of it, then Open Street Map could bloom and benefit massively.
jlapenna 2 days ago 0 replies      
The video in the link is awesome. So that's how Google figures out roads and stuff!
julienr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good job !
fgcallari 2 days ago 1 reply      
RubyMotion - Ruby for iOS rubymotion.com
317 points by acangiano  9 hours ago   164 comments top 41
stephth 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I love writing Ruby code, but today I'm finally at a point where I also feel happy and productive with Objective-C. What made my eyes bulge is this:


No XCode. Instead of obscure and impenetrable project files, a convention over configuration Rakefile. Clean and Ruby-like workflows and repositories.

While you can certainly configure an Xcode workspace to program in RubyMotion, we do not provide any support for Xcode out-of-the-box. We do not believe that Xcode makes a good environment for Ruby development (or development in general). Ruby also makes it very easy to write great Domain-Specific Languages that can be used as elegant alternatives to graphical user interface or data modeling tools. [1]

Laurent Sansonetti gets it. I've been writing iOS code for three years and have never been able to figure out how to have a frictionless workflow around XCode, everything about it is convoluted. The idea of automating frequent development tasks with Ruby generators and DSLs sounds exciting and promising.

[1] http://www.rubymotion.com/support/#faq

jeremymcanally 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This is from Laurent Sansonetti, the original author and long time maintainer of MacRuby. It doesn't say that anywhere until after you buy it, which they should really change since that made me go from "Uh, did some random guys just take MacRuby's code and hack in some extra stuff to sell it?" to "Holy crap so THIS is what he's been working on!"
sjtgraham 8 hours ago  replies      
I don't see the point of this. Objective-C is not hard to learn, and with ARC, blocks, the new literals for NSArray and NSDictionary, etc, Objective-C has actually become pleasant to write IMO. The example RubyMotion code also doesn't look very nice either.

The problem with Rubyists (being one for the past 6 years I feel qualified to say this) is in general they want to use Ruby for everything. It's not always the best tool for the job.

octopus 7 hours ago 1 reply      
A suggestion for Laurent Sansonetti will be to release this similarly with the way Xamarin has released Mono for iOS. Basically you should be able to download and use the library for free in the iPhone/iPad simulator and you will need to buy a license if you want to be able to export the app to the actual device. This licensing model has the advantage that is similar with what Apple does for developing apps for iOS.

This will let you, as a developer, try and learn to use RubyMotion before you actually buy a license.

sant0sk1 8 hours ago 4 replies      
This is really awesome, but I found some bad news in the FAQ:

> Because RubyMotion implements a dialect of Ruby that is statically compiled, regular Ruby gems will not work in RubyMotion. We provide documentation which describes how to architect gems to work with RubyMotion.

zbowling 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Part of me is happy. Apple pushed MacRuby before Lion and effectively killed it internally going forward after the ARC announcement. MacRuby relies on the GC capability of Objective-C which is incompatible with their new ARC baby. Just a few days ago I wanted to take a backend framework we wrote and build a command line tool to call some of it's methods in MacRuby (lots of command line parsing and Ruby has good facilities for that) but forgot we converted that framework to ARC. No dice.

This looks promising but at the same time I really wish the backend compiler was open sourced and worked on Mac and not just iOS.

jwarzech 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I've played around with what seems like ever alternative framework under the sun (Titanium, Rhodes, PhoneGap, MonoTouch, Corona) and have been pretty frustrated with how clunky they usually feel. However with everything its claiming and the decent price point I'm toying with purchasing site unseen...just wish I could try it for a few hours first.
bherms 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Just a note, not sure if this is intentional, but the audio on the video is in stereo, but with no right channel.

edit: also, please stop the heavy breathing into the mic. Driving me crazy!! :)

smoody 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"At the end, a RubyMotion app looks pretty much the same as an Objective-C app." ( from bottom of: http://www.rubymotion.com/features/ ).

pretty much the same as an Objective-C app? Anyone have any clue as to why they didn't state apps in the two languages would look identical?

spicyj 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks really cool -- would be nice if there was some way to try it out before buying.
robomartin 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I am not criticizing. This is a perfectly neutral question:

Isn't the issue with a lot of these "look Ma, no Objective-C" approaches in that there are always little nagging issues here and there?

I mean, Apple is constantly moving Objective-C/Xcode/iOS (notice I didn't say "forward"). Isn't it somewhat dangerous to adopt peripheral approaches for development rather than staying (suffering?) with the Apple-provided tools?

Now, if someone has an alternative IDE that truly allows me to record Xcode to a DVD and perform a ritual burning ceremony of said DVD...that would be something.

tobiasbischoff 8 hours ago 4 replies      
nice, but where is the advantage over just using objc? the hard part of coding for iOS isn't objc, it's learning how to use all the API's.
melvinram 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Will apps created using this have any problems getting approved with App Store?
drpancake 5 hours ago 0 replies      
From the screencast it looks like they altered Ruby syntax by adding named parameters to conform with Obj-C's way of specifying prototypes. I guess this is a trade-off for the fact that Obj-C has some unusual syntax that has no real analog in Ruby -- if you've ever tried developing with PyObjC you'll be familiar with how odd it looks.
tommy_m 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool free 50 min video on RubyMotion -


jballanc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Be sure not to miss all the sample code: https://github.com/HipByte/RubyMotionSamples

In particular, for those looking for a side-by-side comparison of what it means to use Ruby instead of Obj-C, be sure to check out the GestureTable sample: https://github.com/HipByte/RubyMotionSamples/tree/master/Ges... which was based on the JTGestureBasdeTableView: https://github.com/mystcolor/JTGestureBasedTableViewDemo

e28eta 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The most exciting part of this for me is the automation and integration with Apple's tools.

For instance, built-in TestFlight rake task, or build and run on device/simulator. I'd love to borrow some of that for a CI build system (which for me is currently a large shell script that could be improved on).

I'm also very interested by the interactive REPL that can run code inside my application. LLDB is good, but falls short for me occasionally.

toisanji 8 hours ago 1 reply      
How does memory management work with ruby and iOS? I did not find the information on the website.
octopus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is huge from a programmer productivity perspective.
jgavris 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand all the hate for Objective-C, and at the same time love for Ruby. Objective-C is far easier to read, with named parameters and types everywhere. Ruby is often so minimal that you need to interpret the whole program yourself to understand what's going on...
typicalrunt 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What's with the price difference between Canada and US orders? It's CAD$152.82 versus US$149.99.

With the Canadian dollar currently worth about 1 cent more than the US, I'm surprised to see that there is a price difference at all.

instakill 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Are there any example apps in the wild that were made using RubyMotion?
derekorgan 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks very promising. I love Ruby and I initially hated Objective-C but I have to admit now I find it very powerful. The biggest missing link here seems to be the Storyboard. Its a really nice option in xCode. Have I missed something, how are layouts defined separately from code?
sunjain 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Now there is an alternative to Objective-C in iOS development(for Rubyists). This is similar to development of Coffescript. There is nothing wrong with Objective-C, it is just that folks who prefer the elegance and beauty of Ruby have an option. I think this will be great combination - beautiful & elegant language for creating apps on a beautiful platform.
guynamedloren 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> RubyMotion is built on top of iOS. You have access to the entire set of public iOS APIs and can also use 3rd-party Objective-C libraries or Gems

So this should be compatible with cocos2d right?

sthulbourn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's nice, I'm new to using ruby (I've been an iOS dev for a while now), I'd give it ago.

But I assume it uses storyboards in the same way as ObjC, set it in the target and in the Info.plist, and it figures it out... it'd be nice to see it working though.

pepijndevos 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought Flash got in trouble for targeting iOS with something not originally written in JS or ObjC, is that still true?
ScotterC 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I could see this really taking off.

My worry is that it would take off so well that the ruby gem community could get fragmented into libraries for RubyMotion and libraries for regular ruby projects.

damian2000 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sounds awesome - gives me another reason to buy a Mac.
davidrupp 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Purchased. Good job, @lrz. Glad to know your departure from Apple and (apparent) distancing from MacRuby were in a good cause.
anuraj 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Problem in search for a solution? Apple is walled garden - provides the best integrated IDE for iphone development that is a pleasure to use. Language is just a small part of the puzzle. For each task, the best suited environment and language. There is no panacea.
hemancuso 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if this comes with the ruby stdlib?
jstepien 4 hours ago 0 replies      
At the very beginning of the presentation he underlines the importance of the static compiler RubyMotion is based on, yet at 7:30 when he compiles a file with a name error in it the compiler doesn't even file a warning. Such non-existent methods and other similar errors should be caught at compile time if we're talking about solid AOT compilation.
riffraff 5 hours ago 0 replies      
anybody understood what rubymotion offers over the standard macruby?
edit: got it, static compile and no gc
tlear 6 hours ago 1 reply      
No interface builder? Depending on what type of apps you make it can be a big issue I think
TheSmoke 5 hours ago 1 reply      
so, we need a mac for this. right?
vldo 8 hours ago 2 replies      
missing trial period so i'd rather wait for mobiruby
EternalFury 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'll say this again: No programming language is fundamentally bad.

Bad programmers have a tendency to move from language to language, blaming their tools for their lack of skill.

This stuff is exciting.

daniel_sim 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Should make for some good bridge FU on hypercritical this week...
freditup 4 hours ago 1 reply      
My thoughts:
"Hey! This looks pretty neat. Oh it's $150 on sale, forget this. Oh it's only for macs, glad I never bought this piece of garbage."

That being said, it could be great, I have no idea.

shapeshed 5 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a reasonably new language called HTML that is a good development platform too. Works on all devices.
I'm Giving Up Reading for a Year curiousrat.com
278 points by easonchan42  20 hours ago   101 comments top 27
bdhe 19 hours ago  replies      
This is as good a place and thread as any to write out some questions that have been bothering me. Maybe HN can help out.

I've seen over the past several years several such posts (leaving facebook, leaving the internet, etc.) and they have a very raw emotional appeal to me. Some sort of a fast or a ritual quality to the entire idea.

Do others here constantly wonder about their internet habits? I may be generalizing, but being uncomfortable or suspicious of gradual habits we develop, does that show characteristics of "getting old" and "conservative"? The get-off-my-lawn type of mentality?

The same argument extends to smartphones, and "new fangled" tools such as twitter/foursquare/etc. Do others also perceive some tension in embracing a new lifestyle.

Or am I overthinking it, and it is just a general equilibrium-maintaining feedback mechanism we develop through life. Because, with the internet (especially reddit and HN) and ubiquitous access to email/information through the smartphone I find myself, for the first time, cautious about embracing new technologies in a way I never felt before (not even when I got my first computer, or the first time I had cable TV ... of course, I was a kid back then).

/end rant

tdfx 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of the "general public" that I encounter have already made this commitment, but for a much longer duration.
switz 20 hours ago 4 replies      
Unfortunately, the person who this post is directed at won't see it for at least a year.
padobson 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I love this piece. The Verge has become the philistine's Rolling Stone. It has all the pretentiousness, and none of the cultural value. Everytime I read something on the Verge, I can't help but feel like there's an air of timeless importance being attributed to things that will be forgotten a year from now.

This might also simply stem from frustration over a systemic failure of technology writers to do their material any justice, or the press in general failing to keep people properly informed over the last 25 years.

But maybe I'm curmudgeonyly. Maybe there is value in knowing about a bamboo phone[1] while SOPA and CISPA threaten to turn it into a weapon against us. There could be some good reason for me to know that Kanye is banging a Kardashian while our President is allowed to assassinate US citizens with a simple say-so.[2]

I guess if I get a nice piece of satire like this every now and again, I'm good with it.

[1] http://mobile.theverge.com/2012/2/2/2766670/adzero-bamboo-ph...
[2] http://m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/obama-lawyers-citizen...

TheBiv 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I understand the satire, I just would rather see this in the comments of the original article. This feels more like a slap rather a thoughtful critique.
pinchyfingers 18 hours ago 0 replies      
w1ntermute 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Ironically, Paul Miller probably won't see this parody because he's not using the internet anymore.
BasDirks 18 hours ago 0 replies      
> but being uncomfortable or suspicious of gradual habits we develop, does that show characteristics of "getting old" and "conservative"? The get-off-my-lawn type of mentality?

Sounds like the opposite.

I have over the past 3 years lived abroad for a total of ~4 months, in Italy and France. I helped build a house and a shed. I had my laptop with me, but internet was limited to an hour a day, 56k is still pricey. Once in a while I flip my world upside down, and it always makes me stronger. Sleeping in a 2x2m tower with spiders bigger than you've ever seen before is good for you, and breaks a lot of habits.

rubashov 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't find this as quite a ridiculous idea as the satire presumably assumes.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. --Albert Einstein

zobzu 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm giving up on giving a fuck for a year!

Stay trendy my friends.

(I actually started this one quite a few years ago and it's still going strong. Allow oneself to think on it's own a little more easily!)

SatvikBeri 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually got a lot of benefit out of seriously cutting back my reading a couple of years ago. I found that rather than coming up with my own arguments and using examples from what I'd read to support them, I was just citing arguments from various books I'd read. It wasn't that I'd lost the capacity for original thought, but my mental habits had changed from trying to come up with something on my own to purely synthesizing and citing material I'd read elsewhere.

Some more extreme but shorter versions of this that I've tried include putting myself in an environment with no words for a few days, and spending a day blindfolded.

squiid 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm also an avid reader, bordering on obsessive. As you described, I read not only devour books, magazines, and blog posts, but signs, labels, billboards, and anything else where words are printed. I just spent four months in South/east Asia, mostly Thailand, and because I can't read Thai script, my eyes and my brain have had a much needed break. I've been able to focus on reading only what I've conciously chosen to read and have eliminated all the 'passive' reading I do by habit. I've also been able to focus much more intensely on my work without distraction. For anyone who has the ability to work virtually and needs to focus deeply onas project, I highly recommend such a trip!
callil 19 hours ago 0 replies      
A bit over the top. I have hope that his being away from the internet will force him to report of the personalities of tech by talking face to face or over the phone. I think in depth personal stories and interviews of tech founders/engineers/designers etc. are fascinating. It's a great opportunity for The Verge to set itself miles apart from the competition.
obtu 12 hours ago 0 replies      
http://youtu.be/EC0TDci9hqg " as mocked by Mitchell & Webb (That Mitchell & Webb Look series 2)
willurd 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I was giving up before it was cool.
winkerVSbecks 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah yes the I'm giving up_______ trend. I said the same thing in the post Paul Miller made. If you want to give up aspects of your life or stop using certain services " can you even call the Internet a service anymore " good for you. I will not to judge you but FFS stop making public announcements. If you're really doing it for yourself. Keep it to your self.
QuarkSpark 19 hours ago 0 replies      
hilarious stuff!
you should also consider logging your last 3 hours of reading and post it online, like how your targeted audience for this post of yours just recently did! :D
sparknlaunch12 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Why? Surely a balance can be made?

I'm giving up reading "giving up" blog posts.

drivebyacct2 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm honestly surprised it took this long.
swah 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This isn't doable... I'll try to stick with "start your day as a producer, not a consumer".
jezclaremurugan 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You should do AMA in reddit.
zhoutong 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Giving up reading is just "harder" than giving up the Internet.
ifewalter 19 hours ago 1 reply      
"No reading"? What do you do to SMS, email, parking tickets, expiry dates on foods, music details, your watch, video games........ Except you're gonna lock yourself in a room and have a maid do everything, quit kidding yourself. And please reply all our questions and comments, 'cos I'm sure you came back to read them.
corwinstephen 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The Internet is Y-Combinator for sarcastic satire.
verminoth 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha ha ha ha, so great.
lwat 20 hours ago 1 reply      
So brave
bashzor 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's laughable what he does for pageviews. If you read all, you'll notice that's quite the only reason.

Also if you read all, you might have discovered the Readability link at the very bottom. So just when you're done reading, the site offers to make reading it more comfortable.

How Geniuses Think creativitypost.com
254 points by tokenadult  4 days ago   94 comments top 25
thaumaturgy 3 days ago 5 replies      
A reasonable book covering some of this topic is Origins of Genius by Dean Keith Simonton.

Unfortunately, aside from being excessively wordy and light on supporting evidence for some of its assertions, it suffers from the same problem as this article and most of the comments here: people can't agree on what a genius is.

Debates about the foundations of genius are meaningless until we get a better idea of what a genius is. Some people, like this article's author, try to limit the term just to those people in history that have made significant advances in some field or another. But, then they cherry-pick their examples, usually from a list of their personal heroes, and then try to draw some conclusions from that.

Feynman wasn't a household name until really just a few years ago. Citing him as an example of a genius, and then going further to say that he was ("acknowledged by many to be") the last great American genius, is supremely silly. There are brilliant people right now working in every field; what do you think the odds are that, many years from now, after their death, at least one of them might be regarded as a genius by someone writing next century's version of this same article?

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Mensa, a worldwide organization of self-described geniuses, who even have a very serious test to keep out all of the non-geniuses. Should they not be regarded as geniuses? Why or why not?

If we're going to spend any time on utterly vacuous navel-gazing like this ... I think we ought to at least agree first on a useful definition for the thing we're trying to discuss.

jacquesm 4 days ago 4 replies      
Think of 'genius' as something you get for free.

You can make up for that lack to a certain extent by applying yourself. A person applying themselves with merely average innate ability more often than not will outperform a person born with some windfall. This goes for money, brains, the lot. Apply yourself, that's half the battle.

Plenty of people never learn to apply themselves and that includes plenty of geniuses and people born into wealth.

The best part: whether or not you apply yourself is under your control. What you're born with is the luck of the draw.

And knowing a few things will make it that much easier to learn a bit more, knowledge begets more knowledge and insight.

joe_the_user 4 days ago 2 replies      
What an empty and contentless post!

It isn't that we should dismiss the unique contributions of people like "Einstein, Edison, daVinci, Darwin, Picassos, Michelangelo, Galileo, Freud, Mozart et all". These individuals certainly made contributions beyond what be measured by a number-of-manipulations-per-second IQ test and some of these approaches can even be somewhat systematized as "lateral thinking", "wholistic thinking" "getting outside the box" and variety of others.

But lumping these high-performing individuals together with the single glittering generality "genius" leaves us less enlightened for the trouble. Edison and Einstein, for example, were worlds apart and while we can find commonalities between them, we can find commonalities between any two people. And there we are. At another logical level, a "genius" confronted with some given problem might say "what do these things have in common" yes but a moron, an opportunist and a lazy thinker might do the same. One more try folks.

mvzink 4 days ago 3 replies      
Genius is a sort of myth. For example, people seem to have the idea that before Charles Darwin, biology was in a dark age without any ideas other than intelligent design or some such. Well, no, Darwin was actually relatively unoriginal in his ideas about evolution, which was already commonplace in biological circles. He really just added a bit of sciency-but-not-quite-scientific rigor and coined the term "natural selection", then got famous for it.

I know several drastically unsuccessful people who exhibit the traits in this article. None of them have stumbled upon an idea or work that would cause society to label them a genius.

I don't think a genius is very different from any other person. It's just that a genius gets lucky with their novel ideas. Society calls them geniuses really just because people know their names.

I guess my gripe is simply that genius is a social phenomenon, not a trait of an individual, and that it's really quite embarrassing that everyone goes around licking the metaphorical feet of everyone they can think of who did something interesting, or "genius".

That said, I do think this is an interesting article, and knowing how to think like a "genius" is probably worth quite a lot.

nikcub 4 days ago 9 replies      
> Richard Feynman, who many acknowledge to be the last great American genius (his IQ was a merely respectable 122).

I've always wanted a quick, one-line, anecdote as to why IQ is bullshit. I think I just found it.

bane 4 days ago 2 replies      
I've long thought that the model of "genius" as a "really smart person" was a hopelessly flawed model. There are simply too many different kinds and measures of "smartness" to collapse all of them under such a simple umbrella.

For example, consider the notion that IQ is a measure of capacity. To wit, let's use an extended and natural analogy -- a container.

Consider a notional container measured only by its depth.

A yard of beer is 36 inches (~91.5cm) tall and most people would consider this a lot of beer. This plays out in people who are extreme specialists -- extremely knowledgeable in only one or two areas. But are they geniuses?

So we have to consider breadth. I have a large mixing bowl I use when marinating meat that's about 26 inches (66.04cm) across, and most people would consider it to hold a lot of meat. This plays out in people who are extreme generalists, not particularly good in any one area, but can cut across disciplines easily.

Yet both containers pale when compared to a 55 gallon (~208.2L) drum in terms of volume. Yet the drum is not as tall as the yard of beer and not as wide as my marinating bowl!

But volume is not the only thing that matters!

I wouldn't pour molten steel into any of the containers above. And I've used stoneware that cracks when used with extremely cold liquids.

What about containers with different compartments that can hold both?

We also know about people who have perfect recall but almost no creativity, and creative geniuses that can barely remember their own name.

Can somebody who is a generalist only know about several topics or can they synthesize it into something new and novel?

How about the person that, regardless of depth or breadth, can see far reaching implications -- second, third, forth degree effects -- when new information is presented? Or the extreme tactical thinker that can react to new things with extreme speed?

Napoleon and Einstein are both commonly regarded as geniuses, but the nature of their intelligence couldn't be more different.

calibraxis 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't know what a "genius" really is, unless it just means someone who's a) prolific in an intellectual field, b) releases high quality work and c) maybe contributed to a fairly "revolutionary" understanding of their field.

But it's unlikely that Feynman is "the last great American genius". Maybe the most well-known example is Chomsky (but there are no doubt many others), and he answers his emails quickly. So, it's not like we necessarily have to pore through notebooks and quips of dead people, guessing at their mental states.

ktizo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I tend to phrase this as intelligence by attitude.

You get people who are bright, but have virtually no curiousity and who stay within their specialism of knowledge, often due to setting a high value on others views, so not wanting to look stupid.

Conversely you also get creative and determined slow people. And they will thrash the merely bright in almost any problem that contains significant depths.

sidman 4 days ago 1 reply      
In the text it states that "Genius often comes from finding a new perspective that no one else has taken".

I think this is clear and people not even considered geniuses can also perform this feat. The defining part is that geniuses seem to come by those alternatives so easily, its just always there. So for example if we devote years to programming we can tell ourselves OK, if i have a problem invoke all my years of experience and look at this problem from many different angles, we can formulate and combine our thinking into something unique that even surprises ourselves because the combination of all the data we we know to get this new idea is far greater then adding the single idea's and pieces of data that we have. Over time we can build on that to get better ideas.

But if i say ok, i know the method of thinking like X helps me do great things when im programming and i try to do the same for say math problems, if i havnt had the experience no matter what I tell myself, i just can not look at the problem from different perspectives or if i do, its not such a great leap, its incremental. Its still step by step, A->B not to A->C, it still follows a logical thought process and we do not surprise ourselves by our solution

For the genius it seems after reading something once or by some method unknown (and having no experience) they can still have all those different perspectives. Then it leaves us normal people thinking, how did they get from A->C without going through the normal steps A->B->C ... this is specially the case when the individual is very young and has managed to soak that information without college or any formal learning ...

casca 4 days ago 2 replies      
This article lists a few characteristics that intelligent and successful (for some definition thereof) people have. The characteristics seem to be neither necessary nor sufficient and the examples are clearly cherry-picked. If there's any scientific or research basis for asserting them, the author hasn't shared.

It's like the author looked a some intelligent people and superficially extracted their secret. It's like looking at a successful company and concluding that the reason for their success is that almost everyone is titled an Associate rather than their flat hierarchy.

sopooneo 4 days ago 0 replies      
First you have to define what you mean by "genius", preferably in some way that is at least generally consistent with the commonly understood meanings. Then you have to assemble an unbiased set (very difficult) of people that fit your definition. Then you have to see what styles of thought that you didn't explicitly or implicitly filter for by your definition are also largely (and disproportionately) present in your set of geniuses.

Then after you have found you styles of thought dominant among geniuses, you have to see if they actually work as predictors.

I don't feel that the author of this article did these things.

lhnz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have been working and thinking in many of these ways but as I am not prolific at creating revolutionary ideas I suspect that this mindset is not enough for genius to arise. The article also lacks consideration over the positional requirements for acclaim.

There is an extra strategy that is missing and I feel is of utmost importance. You must be in the habit of normalizing your knowledge. You need to generalise and compose ideas into principles. Without doing so, it is extremely difficult to quickly and correctly compose and verify new ideas, draw relationships between them, and visualize at the appropriate level of abstraction.

Does anybody else keep a text file of recurring patterns that occur in thought, biology, architecture and nature?

delluminatus 4 days ago 2 replies      
This article is quite interesting.

I thought it was good that the author restricted himself to a description of genius traits, instead of implying that applying these traits would make one a genius. At least, until the summary, where he threw that out the window.

It's important to not engage in some kind of magic thinking here: altering your behavior patterns to match "genius" behavior is self-defeating. When one is dealing with the kind of outlier that a genius represents, wholesale emulation is an insufficient strategy to duplicate their success.

zdw 4 days ago 0 replies      
The "making lots of stuff whether it's good or not" is my biggest issue - frankly, being prolific results in faster iteration on ideas, which contributes to genius.

I find that I tend to self-edit before I've even started on something, which prevents me from doing what I want. I chalk this up to over-ambitious perfectionism, which is a negative trait in this case.

jakeonthemove 4 days ago 1 reply      
First of all, IQ tests are bullshit.

Second, everyone can be a "genius" as long as they put a lot of work into anything. It doesn't take much to become better than the average person - you just have to be slightly better.

Once you start working on something for a long time and thinking about it more than 50% (arbitrary, but about right) of all your waking time, your brain will dedicate a big part of its new neurons and synapses towards that, leading to new thought that would've otherwise never occurred.

Genius also directly relates to discipline - if you don't have the self-control (whether through willpower or some sort of OCD-like disorder) to learn and create something, anything, you'll be just average.

zobzu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Genius is just a word. As someone said before, we're all geniuses. It's all about your willpower to use it, train it, or not.

It's often not even about working hard, training hard, or something. It's just having a proper state of mind, and the right conditions.

As simple as it sounds, it's complicated. If it was simple, we'd all be happy right now. Not because we'd feel like geniuses but because we'd be able to achieve _anything_ we want.

Even thus, some points of the article correlate with having a proper state of mind, for example, you need to be able to think out of the box (note: you don't need 3 f. paragraphs to express that idea). You need to attempt to have a complete understanding of things, from every angle.

But all this still boils down to will power and proper conditions.

My 2 genius cents anyway.

drumdance 4 days ago 0 replies      
A more in-depth exploration of the topic is in Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


astrofinch 4 days ago 1 reply      
I stopped reading when they quoted Freud as a genius.
repos 4 days ago 0 replies      
All these comments seem to be missing the point.. Sure these aren't the traits that make up 'genius, sure 'genius' probably can't even be quantified or reduced to this level, but nonetheless these are all qualities we can learn from and adapt as we pursue our own paths.
Mz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Re finding a needle in a haystack: On an email list for parents of gifted kids, some folks shared the unconventional "mom, you are a retard" reactions of bright kids to this proverbial problem. The one I recall: Set the haystack on fire. The needle will survive but the hay will not.
ericHosick 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think Genius is the ability to take two different ideas, merge them, and come up with a new idea: invention through prediction. Children are amazing at this until it is torn out of them via the education system, peers and adults (in general).
Zaheer 4 days ago 0 replies      

IMO that's the best section of the article. Einstein learned by failing and reiterating. That's exactly the type of mentality that entrepreneurs should have.

K2h 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the point that there are often more than one possibly "right answers" and many people look to give the same answer everyone else is giving.

..others, look for other, strange, non traditional right answers. I like those people.

5partan 3 days ago 0 replies      
No mention of polyphasic sleeping?
peanuteldrummer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Most of these geniuses also fall under 10% of the worlds' population : Lefties.
Why Instagram is so fast at uploading photos speakerdeck.com
253 points by daviday  2 days ago   102 comments top 29
ot 2 days ago 1 reply      
Their motivation for speed is very well put:

"mobile experiences fill gaps while we wait. no one wants to wait while they wait"

Awesome quote

ambirex 2 days ago 3 replies      
A little devil's avocate: Isn't Instagram primarily a photo sharing app? I'm not sure why people are complaining that it starts the upload on filter completion.

My only question is how long are photos not marked as user initiated uploads kept?

skeletonjelly 2 days ago 4 replies      
So Instagram has photos I don't click "upload" on. Well that's nice to know.

Edit: So I tried to use a proxy on my phone but it looks like Instragram on Android doesn't honour the wireless proxy server. Anyone else want to do some digging?

eli 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think that's playing dirty at all. I think it's quite clever.
ajross 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Google+ Android app does basically the same thing. It syncs everything from your camera to the cloud (configurable, but I believe the default is to sync always when on wifi), where you can choose to share them at your leisure. It's actually really handy. My wife is routinely not uploading cute kid photos to Facebook from her iPhone because it's too much of an annoyance (or because she doesn't want to compose the text to go with it). I can do it at my desktop whenever the mood hits me.
jeffjose 2 days ago 2 replies      
Gmail used to do that with their attachment. You choose the attachment, and it silently starts to upload. Most applications wait for you to hit "Send" to start uploading.
lucaspiller 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know what the sign up slide is about (http://speakerdeck.com/u/mikeyk/p/secrets-to-lightning-fast-...)? Do they create a user account when you hit the form, then fill it in with your details asynchronously later?
hk__2 2 days ago 2 replies      
Chrome does the same, when you right-clic on a file and select "Save as…", the download begin in a temporary file, and then when you select the emplacement where you want to put the new file, it moves the temporary file in it.
tomerv 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not an Instagram user, so I may be off base... but why not start uploading the photo right when the user snapped it, i.e. before selecting a filter. Then apply the selected filter server-side on the original photo. That way you save a few more seconds while the user is selecting the filter.
rogerchucker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I trust Instagram to not engage in monkey business with my data. Having said that, this is flirting with the path-address-book kind of privacy-related scrutiny. There has to be a way of telling the user at WHAT POINT the data has started uploading. The progress bar of photo uploads has to mean what it shows or else it is a plain and simple deception (even if it's in the name of performance and user experience). I can't tell if this will erode trust though but don't be surprised if a few make a loud noise about it.

Privacy concern and trust form a chicken-egg problem. I wish the Stanford-esque brains behind these tech companies had a better grasp on it.

stcredzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Everything he says is completely applicable to online games. Online games need to be designed around responsiveness. Another way to put it: the online game design should be pervasively focused on creating the illusion of low/no latency.

An example in an online game I'm designing: damage and deaths are finalized with a one second delay. This way, the clients can optimistically render ships and combat effects, but everything is still verified/finalized on the server.

veyron 2 days ago 3 replies      
Where in the TOS does it allow them to upload photos that the users don't explicitly select?
waveturtle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I assumed this was the case because the "time since" label on a freshly posted photo is usually between 10-20 seconds, indicating they had my photo well before I tapped "Done." I think it's a pretty genius little UX hack to make the process feel quick.
bdittmer 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really surprised by the number of commenters who didn't figure this out already?
phil 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a great deck. Unless you're working on a photo sharing app, this slide might offer more generally useful advice:


r0s 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've always wondered why client side resizing isn't more popular, it would give a major edge over any web upload.
sikachu_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found it brilliant first time I founded that out myself. It's more like improving user's experience from their end.
cskau 2 days ago 2 replies      
Doesn't that mean they actually start grabbing the photos before really getting permission from the user?

Surely they probably got it covered in the Terms, but it still strikes me as playing slightly dirty..

zobzu 2 days ago 0 replies      
FYI Google instant (which is integrated, at least in AOSP) or smth does the same, by default. That is it uploads your pictures instantly to Google picture thingy.
You can turn it off thanksfully.
phil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did Instagram v1 had this feature?

They added high-res photos in v2 and the early upload seems like maybe an attempt not to have the app start feeling much much slower.

MrKurtHaeusler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Surprised most are concerned on privacy grounds. My first thought was, wow this could chew up many users monthly bandwidth quotas.
joe-mccann 2 days ago 0 replies      
The iOS SDK I'm building at work ultimately does the same thing. Much better UX.
junto 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have just realised that Intagram have an abundance of phallus photos that were never intended for upload!
jinushaun 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always suspected that.
j2labs 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's the little things...
togasystems 2 days ago 0 replies      
We used the same idea with video uploads.
hswolff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why is Speakerdeck polluting my back history? :(
jpkeisala 2 days ago 0 replies      
I though it was slow
bratsche 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seriously, why is this on hacker news? This is ridiculous. I'd downvote this if we were on reddit. :)
High Court: The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK ISPs bbc.co.uk
249 points by udp  3 days ago   213 comments top 26
MattBearman 3 days ago  replies      
The ruling is mostly full of shit:

  Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists

I'd like to see evidence to back this up, innocent until proven guilty and all.

  The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale

No, it doesn't. TPB doesn't provide any content at all. Not only that, but it also provides links to non-copyright infringing material. Eg: Some of Nine Inch Nails recent releases have been legally made available over bittorrent in 24/96 high quality.

  Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works

According to wikipedia, TPB earnings in 2006 were $102,035.05 US, and expenses in 2009 were $112,590.40 US (couldn't find data for the same year) but they can't be making a huge amount of profit on those margins.

But the thing that really gets me is our government giving itself power to censor the internet.

DanI-S 3 days ago 1 reply      
At the risk of hyperbole: Lobbying is a catalyst for the destruction of democracy, and should be cut and cauterised from our civilization like the cancer that it is.

Anybody running on the platform of diminishing the corporate voice to its legitimate, proportional volume would certainly have my vote.

Whether or not piracy is morally excusable, I am certain this form of legislation is not what the British public wants.

Tim-Boss 3 days ago 3 replies      
Within minutes of any major ISP implementing a "block" a few thousand people will post on facebook/twitter/blogs and websites links to the plethora of proxies/TOR tunnels/Open DNS settings and VPN's that will instantly negate any ISP level "block" (sarcastic quotes intentional).

This will cost british ISP's hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds to implement and manage, and will at best only delay any would-be knock-off-nigel 30 seconds or so while he learns about proxies et. al. and configures a browser.

Security theatre at its worst...THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!

tomp 3 days ago 0 replies      
> "The biggest culprits of this, really, are the younger demographic who just haven't been convinced that doing this is somehow morally uncomfortable.


Good luck with that. More probably, when the "younger demographics" grow older and get more voting power, they will likely vote /against/ such corporate tyranny. This means that the music industry has some 20 or so more years of prosperity, at most.

alan_cx 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does any body really still use TPB as a first stop site? It is usually my site of last resort. To me this is a bit like some weirdo government still freaking out about Rock 'n Roll and Punk Rockers.
drucken 3 days ago 1 reply      
Next up: ban Google (including its torrentable Custom Search Engine), Bing and all other search engines listing torrents? Or just ban all search engines except those sanctioned by BPI/MPAA etc.?

The irony is that at this point The Pirate Bay is just a collection of merely 90MB of magnet links which can be downloaded anywhere on the Internet in the blink of an eye.

josscrowcroft 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has to be a classic example of closing the stable doors after the horse has bolted.

They're scrabbling around, trying desperately and litigiously to cling on to whatever semblance of the pre-internet golden years they can, but it's too late. We've got a taste for free shit.

For better or worse - it's not going anywhere. They'd have to cut off our hands to stop us from getting what we want.

The worst part? The harder they make it, the less likely I am to feel good about paying for content.

TomGullen 3 days ago 1 reply      
It doesn't particularly concern me that this particular website is being blocked, as it's purpose is pretty obvious. Blocking it is laughably futile but it does send a clear message out.

What does concern me though is that this is a foot in the door for the government to block other websites they object to in the future.

TamDenholm 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know when this comes into effect? Also, does it only affect the ISP's mentioned in the article or ALL ISP's?

Guess i'll just have to use a TPB mirror from now on then...

anons2011 3 days ago 4 replies      
Are we trying to emulate China or Iran? Obviously a block like this for any tech-savvy person is absolutely meaningless.
lifeisstillgood 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's It.

I finally broke. I have been reading for going on two years about SOPA, PIPA, GCHQ snaffling everything in sight. And this is the straw that broke the camel's back.

I have just ... written to my MP.

Dammit. It will achieve nothing, but I am going to keep pushing. I know why they are doing this, but ... please please please, stop choking off industries that might just help us compete against the global behemoths down the road.

andr3w321 3 days ago 2 replies      
I hate the whole ethical argument when it comes to copyright infringement. The fact is an unenforceable law is pointless and should not be law. I don't know what the solution is -- and I wish people would spend more time debating and talking about a workable solution rather than complaining, but blocking sites that link or illegally host copyrighted content will not solve a thing. Remember when illegal music downloads stopped after napster got shutdown? Oh wait, a hundred more files sharing clients just took it's place.
pbhjpbhj 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't stand it.

How can the BBC claim to be impartially reporting copyright infringement when they call it "piracy"?

It's illegal, it's often immoral, it's not shooting people and stealing their stuff though and sufficiently different, in a moral sense, to make such a claim preposterously immoral in itself.

gouranga 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's getting like a nightmare vision of capitalism in the 1980s. You know like Robocop or Gremlins 2 where the city sold out to corporations. Corporate interest over common sense.

We'll just have to mail DivXs to each other like we did in the late 90s when bandwith was low...

arethuza 3 days ago 1 reply      
Presumably this is the English & Welsh High Court - not sure if this would apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland?
debacle 3 days ago 3 replies      
Clearly this will stop piracy.
dafunnie 3 days ago 2 replies      
Didn't they try to block porn sites last year? David Cameron ostensibly proclaimed that 'porn sites corrupt the British nation' or something in that vein. The UK is beginning to get a tad too draconian for the 21st century.
cnbeuiwx 3 days ago 0 replies      
The dark forces behind these organisations couldnt care less about music being pirated. What they really want is a censored, controlled internet where free speach is not anonymous.

You have to understand that the Internet is the only medium not built as a pyramid, where you can control the entire pyramid by controlling the leader. Nobody controls the entire Internet today, so its quite scary for the dark ones. Despite all their power and money, they cant stop the free flow of information on the Internet.

andrewfelix 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't agree with shutting down TPB, but I kinda sympathise with the porn industry. They have solid streaming credentials and go out of their way to make content accessible as opposed to companies like HBO. Is their a legitimate excuse to pirating porn?
sagarun 3 days ago 1 reply      
One can argue that The Pirate Bay just facilitates copyright violation, It never violates any one's copyright. In fact lot of artist's are publishing content through The Pirate Bay.
maz29 3 days ago 0 replies      
I see a google trend coming in the form of 'How to access piratebay in the UK?'
horsehead 3 days ago 0 replies      
What the hell? Aren't there more important things out there to tackle than copyright infringement? Sure it's illegal. But there is a massive campaign against pirates, but seriously -- surely there are bigger problems than this to tackle ....

edit: also, i love this quote
"We should keep blocking them - they are stealing music illegally."

it's clearly ok to steal music legally. Just as long as you're not stealing it in ways the authorities deem appropriate. </tongue-in-cheek>

RobertKohr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yippy, the more the goverment tries to control the internet, the more it will go underground, and the more tor will gain in strength.
sebkomianos 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what would happen if TPB started operating as a general search engine. Like, Google, let's say.
known 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sharing is not illegal. Selling is illegal.
PiracyApologist 3 days ago 1 reply      
From the guidelines:

  "What to Submit
On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting.
That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to
reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that
gratifies one's intellectual curiosity."

Clearly the community has spoken in submitting and then voting this up to be the #1 story on HN. However, I'm having a hard time finding what is intellectually gratifying about these kinds of articles other than in a Slashdot YRO-style basis where different people chime in on censorship, arguments over linking vs hosting, morality of piracy, etc.

Maybe having been a long-time Slashdot reader I've seen these arguments played out ad nauseum. When I started regularly participating in HN over a year ago I found HN to be refreshing in that these kinds of stories didn't make it to the front page. If anything, I'd expect a good hacker would find a blog post detailing lesser-known aspects of the bittorrent protocol interesting. Or a blog post discussing technical workarounds were such a block to be implemented. As I've been around long enough, I'm officially qualified to say that I'm saddened to see HN turning into Slashdot/Reddit.

The Dawn of Haiku OS ieee.org
246 points by jhack  4 days ago   110 comments top 17
beosrocks 4 days ago 2 replies      
dr_dank's comment on Slashdot ( http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=66224&cid=6095472 ) pretty much sums up its awesomeness:

BeOS was demonstrated to me during my senior year of college. The guy giving the talk played upwards of two dozen mp3s, a dozen or so movie trailers, the GL teapot thing, etc. simultanously. None of the apps skipped a beat. Then, he pulled out the showstopper.

He yanked the plug on the box.

Within 20 seconds or so of restarting, the machine was chugging away with all of its media files in the place they were when they were halted, as if nothing had happened.

If you've never played with BeOS on an old Pentium II, it's hard to imagine the kind of performance it was able to squeeze out of that hardware. Here's a rough idea:


thristian 4 days ago 3 replies      
I like the idea of Haiku OS, but from what I've heard, for binary-compatibility reasons (kernel drivers? All applications? I'm not sure) it still ships with GCC 2.95.

Requiring a compiler over a decade old for a modern OS doesn't seem like a good long-term strategy.

nsomething 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was an occasional user of BeOS 4 and 5. Got the free upgrade to 5 in the mail.

It's anachronistic I know, but I think the biggest issue with the OS was timing. If the FOSS movement had as much commercial maturity as today, I think the story of BeOS would be way different. It was pretty well placed at the time in terms of offering a solid media experience coupled with a POSIX compliant environment. I'm pretty sure it would be used like OS X is today by many devs, but without the hardware lock-in.

It was super fun to use BeOS, I just didn't have a workflow that matched it at the time.

eslaught 4 days ago 5 replies      
"Where BeOS drove ahead of other operating systems of its time (and where Haiku is still ahead of contemporary operating systems) is that each individual application uses many threads. The core of the application itself has one thread, and each window the application creates has a thread."

I might not have been around when BeOS was first created, but this is certainly not a new concept today. I don't think I can name a major OS today that doesn't support this model. Both Android and iOS are well known for this technique, but they were hardly the first to adopt it.

timc3 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am really happy that there is a project like this. more choice in operating systems can only be a good thing. Well done to all involved.
dbaupp 4 days ago 3 replies      
> Linux, for instance, is based around a core"called a kernel"that was originally designed for use in servers and only later modified for desktop systems

As far as I understand the history of Linux, this is just plain not true: Linux was originally a toy project with little focus on either desktop or server systems.

Am I missing something?

crusso 3 days ago 0 replies      
I LOVED BeOS back in the R3-R5 days. I switched over to it completely for a time and started writing software for it. Work carried me in a different direction, and my hobbyist enthusiasm lost steam as I saw that Be was going nowhere corporate-wise. Once Apple decided to go with NeXT instead of BeOS as the basis for its new OS, that was all she wrote. I was disappointed with the technology decision by Apple, but that was way offset by getting Jobs back into the company... and we all saw how well that turned out.

Anyhow, the C++ API of BeOS was amazing. OSX/Objective-C still don't give you that OO access to the OS feel that BeOS had. My one major gripe with their approach was in the way that they managed run-time binding -- it was very brittle from release to release of the OS. As a developer, you had to ship separate binaries for each OS release you wanted to support. Nasty.

I'd love to see Haiku take off and become a viable platform. If for no other reason, just to have a reference version of how things CAN BE DONE.

That cheerleading aside, I have to say that with a fresh OS install, my OSX Lion 2009 PB performs great. Very snappy, runs cool, starts up quickly. It's only when you start installing all your apps, VMs, widgets, drivers, and misc. junk that it slows down. Would Haiku do any better if it had that rich of a software environment?

niels 4 days ago 1 reply      
I remember trying BeOS back in the days. It had a nifty feature where you could download an executable and install directly from inside windows, and then boot up in BeOS afterwards. I used to hang out at OSNews where OpenBeOS was heavily promoted and discussed when they started the project. Sure is a long time ago.
appleaintbad 4 days ago 3 replies      
"What really sets Haiku apart, though, is its efficiency and speed. On my three-year-old desktop computer, Haiku boots up from a cold start in 10 to 15 seconds, and when running it uses only about 170 megabytes of RAM."

Sounds good to me, but 10-15 seconds running on what specs?

Also, looking at the video, it seems like this OS is stuck in the 1990s. That is fine as long as it runs a standards compliant browser, but it just seems lacking based on this video- has this changed?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixvppiSB7hc

I do like that it is just the basics though.

javert 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Linux, by contrast, has hundreds of APIs..."

Wait, there's only one set of system calls into the kernel. What exactly are they talking about here, anyone know?

pazimzadeh 4 days ago 4 replies      
The problem with open-source OS's is that they can't take advantage of things like attractive fonts for the user interface.

There has got to be a better open-source font than what Haiku is currently using (http://www.haiku-os.org/docs/userguide/en/deskbar.html).

ldng 4 days ago 0 replies      
Could someone knowledgeable comment on SSD support ? How does Haiku behave on SSD ?
grandpoobah 4 days ago 2 replies      
At some stage they must have asked themselves, with all the effort they had gone through, couldn't we just make a serious offer to buy the BeOS IP?
brackishlake 4 days ago 5 replies      
"Haiku is probably the best positioned to challenge the mainstream operating systems like Microsoft Windows and Mac OS."

This is an absurd statement. Stop wasting time solving problems that don't exist for 98% of the market. "More choice" is not a better than if the choices suck.

"Within 20 seconds or so of restarting, the machine was chugging away with all of its media files in the place they were when they were halted, as if nothing had happened."

This was really cool in the early days of BeOS. But that was more than a decade ago.

People of earth: there is a talent crisis right now. The world needs great developers to build awesome apps for a whole new class of machines. If you feel an urge to "start from scratch" " help rebuild everything for mobile. It's a big job, there are too many projects and not enough developers, and you'll be contributing to a seismic shift in computing.

Stop solving problems that don't exist for most people. Build apps that people will use. Do big things that address 98% of users. These guys clearly have dev chops that I admire, so don't waste them on a project like this.

sslemon 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Generally, there is one thread for each application and one for the operating system's user interface as well."

I think the article writer meant "process" -- there are many threads per process, and that is present in most "contemporary operating systems". If this is their (Haiku Inc.'s) attempt at PR... they are not doing it well.

kisom 4 days ago 0 replies      
Back when I wanted to get involved (I had a lot more free time), I saw it as an opportunity to have a graphically friendly operating system á la OS X, but actually completely open source.
nitinmartolia 4 days ago 2 replies      
Just started downloading Haiku ,looks cool to me.
Why Use Postgres craigkerstiens.com
245 points by craigkerstiens  3 days ago   142 comments top 20
famousactress 3 days ago 4 replies      
Left out the fact that Schema-changing operations are transactional (big win over MySQL).

[Edit: In migrations, specifically. Also! No mention of the MySQL dual-license JDBC driver malarky... Not that it's a success of Postgres' as much as it's a failure of MySQL's... ]

I'd never heard of Window Functions (not an Oracle user, and been on MySQL for a few years... left Postgres for replication and haven't made it back quite yet).. but I desperately want them. The idea of effectively aggregating over groups in a group by (which is how I understand these Window doohickeys) is something I come up on a few times a year and get really frustrated by.

I think the only killer feature I'm left wanting from some RDBMS at this point is managed-sequences... The idea that I have a related list of things that I want to keep a sequence column for, and would like the database to understand the concept and help me maintain it.

gouranga 3 days ago  replies      
I really disagree with this. The more features you use from your DBMS vendor, the more you shoot yourself in the following departments:

- scalability. Logic and processing in the server is bad as it means you can only scale up and not scale out. Scale up is damn expensive. When you need that 64 core 96Gb machine to run it all on with 6 replicas will see what I mean.

- complexity. The DBMS is a black box which sucks up tight coupling almost instantly. Coupling is bad for maintenance and scalability. SQL always ends up with heavy coupling.

- lock in. Those features only work with postgres so you're stuck with it forever or induce a lot of cost to move away when a better solution comes along.

- schema. Maintaining schema and dependencies is hell on all but a small system.

These facts come from 20 years of using databases.

Stuff that will save you: Use your DBMS as a simple flat store akin to a document store. Use a CQRS based architecture and encapsulate ALL of your logic in code. If you have to go at least partially relational for god's sake use an ORM that supports several databases well. Make a provider independent app level backup/restore facility such as the one with JIRA or TeamCity. NEVER hire a DBA - they exist only to create walled gardens to protect their existence.

My current gig has cocked up on all areas and it's costing them over 40% of their turnover keeping it alive.

Happy databasing :)

DrJokepu 3 days ago 4 replies      
PostgreSQL is awesome (I really love it), now let's do some complaining:

* I'm not fan of doing backups with pg_dump. I think it would be a lot more awesome if I could tell the database to back itself up in-band. Even better, I would like to be able to ask the database to schedule its own backups, instead of having to set up my own cron jobs (or equivalents). Commercial databases can do that.

* The sad state of libpq (the C API). Libpq is where PostgreSQL really shows its age. It's very cumbersome to use and can't do (or can't do well) a bunch of things the raw protocol is capable of. Since almost all PostgreSQL bindings are built on libpq, none of the bindings support these features either.

* It would be cool if it was possible to kill sessions in-band (other database servers can do that). With PostgreSQL, the only way to shut down misbehaving sessions is sshing in to the database server and doing a `kill` on the process of the session.

* The infamous COUNT(*) fiasco.

CoffeeDregs 2 days ago 2 replies      
I know this isn't a MySQL versus PostgreSQL thread, but I was bitten by MySQL today...

The issue: I ran a SELECT with a WHERE against a column that is an "int(11)", but I meant to run it against another column that is "varchar(255)". Something like:
SELECT * FROM table WHERE wrong_column = "1abcdefghijk";

Somehow MySQL cast a "varchar(255)" to an "int(11)" with a value "1" without telling me. WTF? My result set was approximately 1M rows. I expected 1 row, so knew the result was wrong... But what if I had expected more than 1 row? Then the bizarre results from MySQL would have appeared to make sense.

imperialWicket 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you are doing anything serious with GeoSpatial, you should be using PostgreSQL with PostGIS.
zzzeek 3 days ago 6 replies      
Great points. I'd love to see someone tackle how to get a corporate environment to consider Postgres over MS-SQL. We weren't able to, due to MS-SQL's great amount of "out of the box" functionality regarding automatic failover, mirroring, clustering, etc. PG of course can do all of this but to convince the DBAs to throw away their point-and-click interfaces so that we could start writing custom scripts and listeners from scratch wasn't really feasible.
dahlia 3 days ago 0 replies      
The one of the biggest advantages of PostgreSQL is GiST (Generalized Search Tree) which is based on the theory of indexability.

> One advantage of GiST is that it allows the development of custom data types with the appropriate access methods, by an expert in the domain of the data type, rather than a database expert.


> Traditionally, implementing a new index access method meant a lot of difficult work. It was necessary to understand the inner workings of the database, such as the lock manager and Write-Ahead Log. The GiST interface has a high level of abstraction, requiring the access method implementer only to implement the semantics of the data type being accessed. The GiST layer itself takes care of concurrency, logging and searching the tree structure.

> [...]

> So if you index, say, an image collection with a PostgreSQL B-tree, you can only issue queries such as "is imagex equal to imagey", "is imagex less than imagey" and "is imagex greater than imagey". Depending on how you define "equals", "less than" and "greater than" in this context, this could be useful. However, by using a GiST based index, you could create ways to ask domain-specific questions, perhaps "find all images of horses" or "find all over-exposed images".


If you are already using PostgreSQL though have not known about this fact, I highly recommend you to learn about GiST. It is the most powerful feature of PostgreSQL as I know.

jamesli 3 days ago 1 reply      
Both Postgres and MySQL are great. In history, Postgres emphasized more on feature development instead of performance, while MySQL took the opposite approach. It depends on your engineering and operation requirements to choose which one to deploy. Most of OP's points, however, need to have further consideration, IMHO.

- "While replication is indeed very important, are users actually setting up replication each time with MySQL or is it to only have the option later?"

Replication is not an option. It is a must-have for any serious products, both in scaling and in operation.

- Windows functions: They are wonderful and I love them. But it is not an important factor at all.

- Flexible datatypes: True in certain scenarios. It allows to create certain types to map a business object with unusual requirements. Otherwise, the requirements have to be implemented in application logic. But data type of Array? IMHO, use of Array data type in relational database usually means there are some issues in data modeling and design. The performance is another issue. If you have to use array, consider NoSQL options.

- Functions. Although I am a database architect, I use database functions only for simple poking around. For any serious work, I prefer to write application code. It is easier to maintain, to test, and to extend. I don't want to have a big muddy ball. I prefer to have structured, well-decoupled application code.

- Custom Language. Same as above. Why not just write application code?

- Extensions: Geospatial is awesome. It is better than that in MySQL. But for many extensions, I prefer not to do the computation in database. Databases are usually the most expensive resources (in operation costs) and are usually the
performance bottle neck. It would be better to have the computation in app servers. It is easier to scale and it is cheaper.

- Custom Functions: see above.

- Common Table Expressions: Recursive queries are awesome. I t is nice to have for ad-hoc data inspection, but I wouldn't encourage its usage in application code. The risk to use it wrong vs the benefits are high if used in application code.

ironchef 3 days ago 0 replies      
You left out one of my faves. Parent / child tables (ie tabular inheritance). Makes time series stuff so much nicer as pruning over time can be performed with truncate as opposed to "delete from".
joevandyk 3 days ago 0 replies      
ActiveRecord 4.0 will support postgresql custom types, by the way. https://github.com/rails/rails/pull/4775 Thanks @tenderlove!
ret 3 days ago 0 replies      
List of reasons is so short...

For example since 9.1 Postgres support foreign data tables - other data sources is available for user as regular table; there are many drivers: MySQL, Oracle, external pg server, and even plain files.

Since 9.0 there is support for per-column triggers.

sunsu 3 days ago 1 reply      
Call me lazy, but this is why I don't use Postgres:
Amazon RDS is MySQL

Its that simple. I can spend a lot of time setting up and monitoring a Postgres cluster, or I can spend about 5 minutes configuring a MultiA-Z RDS instance. However, the moment Amazon offers Postgres on RDS instances, I'll make plans to switch.

gmac 3 days ago 0 replies      
Also: fast (having a properly smart query planner) and, in my experience, fantastically reliable.
cageface 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty impressed that something of this complexity can be implemented entirely in C. People complain about the lack of tools for building higher level abstractions in C but this shows that with the right code discipline it can scale quite high.
jfb 3 days ago 1 reply      
Two I particularly like:



Oh, and yeah, a BOOLEAN datatype. That's one in the eye to Larry Ellison.

What would make it absolutely the bee's knees would be a decent data language on top of that lovely data engine. Something closed over composition, with a simple, orthogonal syntax. NoSQL in the truest form " not a blind rejection of Codd's algebra, but something LESS DUMB STUPID THAN THE WRETCHEDNESS THAT IS SQL.

rfurmani 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is there a good inexpensive hosting option for postgres aside from just running it yourself? Sort of like RDS on Amazon? Alternatively a DBaaS host for postgres?
gbog 3 days ago 2 replies      
Two points:

- using pg'a arrays is using SQL against its grain. If you need multiple phone records per user just create a user_data table with three columns (user, key, value)

- the number one reason to prefer PostgreSQL over MySQL is just correctness. Every second query I write in MySQL get a wrong answer.

ddorian43 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a software that balances databases on different servers just like mongodb sharding works, by range? So for example i have a SaaS and each customer has 1 database. And the databases are migrated from one server to another automatically? If not is there something similar? Thanks
ams6110 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love that there are so many options for writing stored procedures. There is the traditional pl/pgsql (matches quite closely to Oracle's plsql) but also Tcl, Perl, Python, Ruby, Lua, and others.
alexchamberlain 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great article.

As someone coming from a Maths background - instead of pure CS - I'd never heard of some of the features you highlighted. If you consider expanding the article, please could you put in a line or 2 explaining what a feature is?

Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate) torrentfreak.com
247 points by llambda  15 hours ago   93 comments top 16
breckinloggins 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The actual ruling[1] has some interesting stuff besides what is covered in the article summary:

- Discussion about a time when it WAS possible to associate an IP address with a specific device and that, for the purposes of allowing discovery, it was REASONABLE to assume that the traffic from that device was initiated by the owner of that device. This has important implications for the future, as IPv6 may make "one ISP IP per actual end device" common again

- Some hilarious footnotes describing the hypocritical nature of the claims of this and plaintiffs in previous cases. In one case, a plaintiff made a claim that part of the reason for vigorous copyright claims was to "protect minors", when the very plaintiff had a teen porn website. Another footnote was about this plaintiff (K-beech) attempting to claim the moral high ground when in fact the person behind the company was the same who previously tried to extort adult book store owners with violence and bomb threats.

- A VERY interesting footnote which points out that it is still somewhat of an open question whether pornographic works are copyrightable at ALL

- The fact that, in the case of pornography, plaintiffs often rely on defendants settling even though they are innocent, simply because they don't want their name published in association with a video called "My Little Panties #2"

- Abusive tactics by the plaintiff to use information provided by discovery to harass defendants to settle. This includes asking for phone numbers and email addresses which, the judge observes, aren't necessary for servicing defendants and are mostly used to further the plaintiff's aggressive settlement tactics

- The hilarity of seeing things like "Maryjane Young Love
Gangbanged" in an official court filing

- And a whole section that's arguable more important than the IP address opinion...

Plaintiffs in these cases usually file a joinder[2] of claims and combine 10s, 100s, and sometimes 1000s of defendants in a single suit. However, the judge argues that even if he were to grant discovery on all the John Does in the case, he still might sever the joinder because:

- It is transparently an attempt to avoid paying the ~$350 filing fee for each claim. The courts, he says, don't take kindly on losing that much revenue simply because the fees don't fit the plaintiff's business model

- Joinder rules require, among other things, that the group of defendants must be related by the action “arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences” and “any
question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.”. In a wonderful display of deeply understanding the technical matters here, the judge argues that the technical nature of BitTorrent (to wit: that multiple parties seed the same file at the same time) does not alone satisfy the joinder requirement, simply because the user is not usually aware of these technical details.

- That, in any event, these co-defendants are only related by technical protocol and not case fact. Because of this, each defendant would still get to retain counsel, call witnesses, and defend him- or herself separately. In addition, the rules of joinder require certain actions that would involve n*(n-1) separate filings and would complicate the discovery process. This, the judge points out, turns an otherwise simple case into a massively complex one and thereby goes against the very reason why joinder was created in the first place.

In my opinion, this has the potential to be an even bigger setback to the copyright owners' tactics than the IP address opinion. If joinders like these are routinely severed because of these reasons, it would certainly make the "mass lawsuits against thousands of unnamed defendants" tactic a losing business model.

[1] http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/92215098 [scribd fullscreen]

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joinder

jnorthrop 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an important decision not only from a "piracy" perspective but from a "privacy" and "information security" view as well. Many US laws and regulations revolve around protecting personally identifiable information (PII). If this judge's conclusions stick then we have some freedom from having to protect IP addresses, which show up in just about everything we log and collect.

That could be gigantic to those who deal with HIPAA, PCI, GLBA, etc. Although I guess this has no impact on the European Union regulations and what they consider PII -- those are much tougher to deal with anyway.

brudgers 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This may be a two edged sword.

It also means that collecting data based on your IP is not an invasion of privacy. With IPv6 there is the potential for much finer grained assignment of IP addresses to such an extent that an IP address could become uniquely identified with an individual more readily than today.

jasonkolb 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I've often thought that if you really wanted to pirate something, just start an S-corp for ~$200 and put your cable account in its name. If you get sued, tell them to litigate until they're blue, the company is going under.
acak 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This may make mass lawsuits difficult but I wonder if this means anything from an individual harassment perspective. I guess the next question is this (if someone can shed light on this from a legal perspective):

Is detection of copyright infringement through or from an IP address enough to get a warrant issued that allows searching of the devices belonging to the individual using that IP address (or happens to be connected to the internet through that IP address)?

nextparadigms 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Wasn't this ruled several times already in other trials? How many times does this have to be proven in Court before the other judges start throwing away such cases?
CWuestefeld 12 hours ago 7 replies      
While I understand that today there are potential problems, it seems to me that a person ought to be responsible with what's done with his property. If he lets someone use his gun, he's got some degree of responsibility, and if he lets someone use his communication facilities, he's assuming some as well.

Today this is difficult, since the average person doesn't have a clue how to set up a secure network. But this is a usability problem more than anything, and if our laws demanded that this be do-able even by somebody's mom, then I think manufacturers would address that usability problem.

strictfp 10 hours ago 0 replies      
A better analogy: a router is like a phone switch. A router allows several computers to share external IP just like a phone switch allows several phones to share an external phone number. If you get a call from a switch number you don't actually know which specific person behind the switch is calling.
Rudism 13 hours ago 5 replies      
I believe this is similar reasoning to why a lot of states have made red light cameras and speed cameras illegal. The owner of the car is not necessarily the person who was driving at the time, and it was the driver (not the car) who broke the law.
exim 10 hours ago 1 reply      
There is no such a concept as "BitTorrent Pirate".

Where do you get these?

paraqles 12 hours ago 0 replies      
So if the ip is not longer a personal date, then could it be used to track down "pirates".
But the conclusion must also be interpreted in the offer direction. So is the ownership of an ip, and the trackdown of the person behind, not enough for the proof of guiltieness in the act of "piracy".
I think that the second part would not be in sight of a particular company.
alexchamberlain 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I correct in thinking that in the UK, the internet subscriber is responsible for what is downloaded/uploaded on their connection, regardless of whether they actually did it?
rbanffy 11 hours ago 2 replies      
If this doesn't create a push towards IPv6, I don't know what will...
mhb 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this reasoning work when I don't want to pay for the pay-per-call calls I made on my phone?
dcesiel 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully higher courts will make similar judgements.
PiracyApologist 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't this fact obvious to any hacker worth their salt? This doesn't gratify my intellectual curiosity (per the guidelines). Flagged. Please keep these articles on Slashdot/Reddit.
Best Practices Exist For A Reason tomdale.net
243 points by jashkenas  1 day ago   88 comments top 17
jashkenas 1 day ago  replies      
The main problem with appealing to "best practices" is this: One man's best practice is another man's anti-pattern.

Between semicolon-free folks and JavaScript traditionalists, who gets to play the role of the expert? If Node.js is popular, does that mean that Isaac's comma-first style is "correct"? (https://gist.github.com/357981)

In the absence of a quantitative engineering method with which to evaluate either approach, isn't it a purely personal and political choice?

jtchang 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is my love/hate relationship with JavaScript. There is often more than one "correct" way to do things and there is a lot of disagreement in the JS community about what way is "best".

Contrast this with Python where the overarching rule is there should be one, and preferably only one, obvious way to do things.

bitops 1 day ago 0 replies      
JavaScript and semicolon controversy aside - I'm always happy when I read a post written in this style. It's clear (at least to me) that the author has taken the time to think about what they're saying, and they present clear arguments. I always hope that more people write this way; in the style of what I feel is real discussion.
benatkin 1 day ago 2 replies      
First, Isaac Schlueter isn't advocating against best practices with ASI. He's advocating for an alternate best practice that you disagree with. In that very article he suggests an alternate place to put the necessary semicolons.

Second, the CouchDB thing isn't because of a lack of best practices, it's because the wrong best practices were misapplied. And in the end, its use of best practices prevented it from severely hurting CouchDB's reputation.

The best practice is that password data should be stored as a salted hash, so if the database is compromised, the original password can't be retrieved. It's rare that the salted hash is intended to be public information, and that's what the CouchDB people did. What they should have done is realized that since they're deliberately sharing the hashed passwords, the original best practice doesn't apply, and they need to break it down and reexamine it (probably a good idea anyway for a project of its size). And they should have reached the conclusion that SHA1 is much too weak and/or that the salted passwords shouldn't be shared. In the new version, CouchDB 1.2, where an effort to correct the problem was made, the passwords aren't public. But at least, aside from the encryption strength, they got the hashing right, in that they used salts so rainbow tables can't be used. SHA-1 is easy to brute force for simple passwords, but as passwords get longer and contain more than dictionary words, it gets harder to brute force. It's easy to communicate that they screwed up, and easy to communicate that it's no worse than Sony password databases that were compromised, but the truth lies somewhere between the two, and can be seen by carefully considering the details of the case.

hef19898 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If I could I would up-vote this post twice at least! And it is not the Java, node.js, where-do-you-put-your-semicolon part of it. I don't undersand any of it. No, it is more the view on best practices. And there, I completely agree.

I'm part of HN not for very long, but what strikes me are the similarities between supply chain management and programming in some aspects. The purely technical issues are out of scope here since I cannot judge them, it's more about the principles behind. Like in this case here.

Best pratices provide a guideline and are condensed experience. They are by no means the only or best solutions, rather ones that can be applied in a lot of cases withou screwing up. That said, one should also reach a point where understand them. One has to in order to understand when to use them, most people get at least to that point.

What you actually have to do is reach an understanding of not only when to use best practices but one of knowing why you use them. This is not true mastery, but it will get you far enough.

Ultimately, you need people who know when to use a best pratice, when to ignore them and when to actually brek conventional wisdom. What I see a lot lately is people doing the last to bits without having understood the best pratice's when and why in the first place.

For me, that's the key message of this post, and this point is valid in every industry, sector or task at hand.

fizx 1 day ago 0 replies      
With respect to style and syntax at least, this is why I like golang. There is one true way to format a go program, and there is a compiler/autoformatter to enforce it.
bertzzie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also relevant: Most best practices exist without explanation. We are supposed to just use it without question. I think that's what Issac meant with "fears and lies" (not that I agree with his statement). Raymond Chen puts it great:

Good advice comes with a rationale so you can tell when it becomes bad advice. If you don't understanding why something should be done, then you've fallen into the trap of cargo cult programming, and you'll keep doing it even when it's no longer necessary or even becomes deleterious.

source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2009/11/04/99170...

madhadron 1 day ago 1 reply      
The real question is why anyone takes obviously wrong artifacts in JavaScript like omitting semicolons and flagrantly wrongly designed this binding seriously. This isn't an issue of best practices or personal preferences, it's aspects of a ubiquitous language that are simply and unequivocally broken.
nherment 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Very well written post.

However, I found it to be of little value. When fully reading Isaac's post (http://blog.izs.me/post/2353458699/an-open-letter-to-javascr...), it appears to not diverge much from what you've written.

I consider myself a beginner in Javascript and did not find Isaac's post the least condescending. I actually learned a few things and am very glad he took the time to explain how things work. Because honestly, I won't read the ECMAScript spec unless I need to.

I'm actually one of the people who never use semi-colons to terminate statements. That's for personal projects. Where I work, we (as a team) decided to use them. And that's fine, but I prefer not to use them.

Isofarro 18 hours ago 0 replies      

Best practice is about a practice that helps create maintainable code. Code is maintained by people. So a best practice is really about getting the best code delivered by the people you have in the most appropriate time possible, and code that can be maintained by those same group of people and others who may be brought into the project at a later date.

Insisting on semicolons means that the bar to entry for being able to develop and maintain a JavaScript code base is lower. Also, we can spend more time thinking about the purpose of the code rather than it's syntax. That helps when it comes to debugging, spending more time thinking about what the code is trying to do rather than losing time figuring out whether the syntax without semicolons is causing an unintended side effect.

The lack of semicolons argument reminds me of the Python versus Java argument. Choosing python gives you a much smaller range of people who could work on your project, but on average the quality of that developer would be better than if you opted for Java.

The advantage of the non-semicolon stance is that they are increasing the minimum level of competancy before someone can work on their project. The disadvantage of the non-semicolon stance is that they are increasing the minimum level of competancy before someone can work on their project.

jimmyjazz14 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Many best practices work well because they mean you don't ever have to think about uninteresting problems (like ASI) ever again. I know the rules of ASI but I honestly have never had to think about them because, I don't need to; I just put a semicolon at the end of my lines.

If you ever have to do network and systems administrations you will come across loads of best practices because needing to memorize every last rule and edge case of all the software on your systems would be truly maddening.

That said, it is always good to know the why behind best practices and not follow them blindly.

mistercow 1 day ago 0 replies      
>By couching it in these terms, it implies that anyone who follows best practices has given in to “lies and fear!” Who wants to be swayed by that?

That is some fairly brazen rhetorical sleight of hand. Schlueter is obviously not attacking the following of best practices. He is saying that semicolons-everywhere isn't a best practice and he gives an argument that the most common rationales given for the practice do not hold water. There are a few flaws with his argument, but what it certainly is not is a general condemnation of the following of actual, bonafide best practices.

Pretending otherwise is akin to accusing someone of "siding with the terrorists" because they argue that people should be allowed to take bottled water on airplanes.

ZenPsycho 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Having too many semicolons will never ever cause you a problem. Having too few almost certainly will. Why is this an argument? Don't we have enough bugs to deal with? just use the semicolons, or get out of my way.

Most arguments about style are almost certainly pointless, but if you are faced with a choice between two styles, one of which may cause a problem sometimes if you don't know what you are doing, and the other style, which will never ever cause you a problem, it seems the choice is kind of obvious, no? Particularly since the guy doesn't really make a case for what his objection to semicolons actually is to begin with. He doesn't like the look of them?

DannoHung 18 hours ago 1 reply      
God I hate JavaScript. It's the C++ of the new millenium. 10 gallons of shit in a 5 gallon hat. Dominant only because of switching costs.

Fuck Javascript. Good parts be damned.

Produce 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Best practices are invaluable when used as a guideline. They are abhorrent when used as a rule.
evanlong 19 hours ago 0 replies      
And that is why... you use node.js. checkout out @whyyouusenodejs on twitter.
madrobby 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good to know that depending on the author of an article, some stories don't get flagged and disappear from the front page of hacker news.
A Relevant Tale: How Google Killed Inktomi diegobasch.com
245 points by nachopg  9 hours ago   71 comments top 19
nirvana 6 hours ago 1 reply      
This was a very interesting read. I was working for a vertical search engine in this very same period. I, and the other engineers, also attempted to get our management to recognize what google was doing right. Unfortunately, we were delayed greatly by bad technology choices forced on us by venture capitalists (e.g. "build your search engine on top of Oracle! they say they have full text search, it will save you time!"[1]) and management short-sightedness ("our future is selling audio video search results to ISPs and portals, not being our own portal." -- this despite google not being a portal.) They actually got worried when the search box on our homepage started getting more queries than some of our larger customers.

Now, FWIW, I'm building another search engine. Instead of 20 engineers we have just me. Instead of 4 years, we're going to do it in one. While I have no interest in going up against google (different plans entirely) the radical change in leverage you get with open source and PAAS or IAAS, combined with Google's having taken their eye off the ball and run off to chase Facebook down a blind alley, means that something like DuckDuckGo actually could take real share away... maybe. (%1 of google's volume would be "Real share" right?)

[1] Oracle did have full text search but did not have the performance or per-machine-efficiency we needed, so it cost us a lot, and it was a constant fight to get it to do the kind of queries our relevancy algos required. we had a constant stream of consultants in from oracle HQ, and in the end dumped it and wrote our own db from scratch in about 4 months.

paulsutter 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Great article. One note: Google's dynamic abstracts were not only very useful, they also improved perceived relevance because they let users see why the pages were selected.

When I was at Altavista, we were also blocked from doing dynamic abstracts by cost.

Google's main advantages were:

- managed by the founders with a total focus on search and measurable results

- google's hiring process produced a very strong team early on

- strong focus on controlling costs from the beginning (Altavista's use of the DEC Alpha was a huge handicap.

lacker 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It was clear that Yahoo.com was the definitive result for the query "yahoo" so it would score a 10. Other Yahoo pages would be ok (perhaps a 5 or 6). Irrelevant pages stuffed with Yahoo-related keywords would be spam.

As someone who worked on search quality at Google for some time, this bit jumped out at me as a terrible mistake. The correct way to judge results for the query [yahoo] is:

(a) Where is yahoo.com? At the top?

(b) There is no (b).

It seems like a slight difference, but it leads to the wrong priorities. For the query [yahoo], it does not matter if spam or non-spam is in spot #5. The only thing that matters is where you put yahoo.com.

wavesplash 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Inktomi killed Inktomi long before Google helped put the nail in the coffin.

What the article doesn't say is Inktomi had a dual sided business. One side was in Caching Proxies the other was licensing a search API.

Inktomi decided to focus on the caching proxy business and de-emphasized their search product, only to watch the proxy business evaporate as internet bandwidth became cheaper/better.

The focus on a shrinking market (proxies) and the lack of focus on growing market (search) killed them. Had search been a priority from the beginning things may have ended very differently with Inktomi creating their own front end.

avichal 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I just realized that Google won on search the way Apple has won on smartphones. They control the full stack -- frontend, relevance, indexing, advertising -- and tightly couple these pieces. Inktomi couldn't control the user interface the way Google can't really control the interface on Android.
cabalamat 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
If the stock went from 25 G$ to 250 M$, that's a decrease of 99% not 99.9%.
zmmz 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Relevant: http://youtu.be/E91oEn1bnXM

It's a recording of a very very good talk by Inktomi co-founder Eric Brewer called "Inktomi's Wild Ride - A Personal View of the Internet Bubble"

darrellsilver 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Another lesson from this article: If your engineers refer to those who make decisions as "the execs" instead of "we": Quit.
chrisacky 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I had no idea that that Diego worked on Inktomi. Although it makes sense why IndexTank worked fantastically.

If I had to pick one reason why Google triumphed (and you can only pick one), I think it would be their Page Rank algorithm. It added that extra bit of awesome-sauce to and already tasty stew.

bstar77 8 hours ago 2 replies      
After I had switched to Google, I never understood why all of the competition just disappeared over night. You would think they would have given it a fight, but that never seemed to happen. At least this article gives a little insight to that. I still wonder what happened to Altavista.
gaius 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Not competing with your customers is a not-invalid reason, tho' there are real-world examples that go either way.
kloc 8 hours ago 1 reply      
After reading the "Tale" it appears that Inktomi killed itself. It is a good example of what happens if top dog companies fail to innovate in face of sudden superior competition. RIM is another example, but would be wrong to say that Apple is killing them. Apple is just making and selling superior products.
lubujackson 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Most interesting to me is that Inktomi had all the power to beat, acquire or replicate Google but didn't have the right mindset. They were operating under a few bad assumptions:

- search is a commodity for licensing (making them resistant to launching a "cleaner" engine that would alienate their clients)

- what worked for a smaller internet (100 million pages) could scale appropriately with the growing internet (100 billion pages) without rethinking everything

- "Page rank" only helped relevance (it was also about spam)

I think Google is stuck in a rut of their own right now. Here's some faulty assumptions I think Google is making:

- users always want faster, more direct answers (rather than controlling the filtering/categorization of their searches)

- users want Google to predict what they mean rather than clarify what they mean

- algorithms > human decisions

kenrikm 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Why I switched to google.

A) it was fast, it loaded fast.
B) it was not filled with ads and pop ups.

Only one of those is still true.

dm8 6 hours ago 1 reply      
That was a good read. I remember I used Yahoo for searching the web. Due to relevancy factor I moved to Altavista (but it didn't improve anything until the day I found out about Google and still use Google). I didn't know that Inktomi was powering search at that time. If Yahoo was so dependent on Inktomi or Google for its Search, I wonder why didn't they work on Search by themselves. After all they were information organization tool. Why did they ignore such a huge market. VC's were going crazy for funding search engines and number of search engines companies were either getting funded or going public. Based on these signals and the traffic they had during dot com era, they could have easily built substantially good search engine; yet they ignored it. Can anyone shed light on it?
FilterJoe 8 hours ago 2 replies      
According to a friend of mine who worked on the search team, Inktomi shifted its (management and CapEx) focus away from search and onto other projects. He thought at the time that even with the constraints of not competing with their own customers, there were things they could have done to better compete if management had chosen to do so.

Edit: fixed typo

brown9-2 7 hours ago 3 replies      
In the next year and a half the stock went down by 99.9%. In the end, Inktomi was acquired by Yahoo for 250M.

This is unrelated to the main point, but does anyone know if Yahoo re-used a significant amount of Inktomi tech acquired for that $250M? Or was it spoiled?

gruseom 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I remember why I switched to Google: 1. speed, 2. simplicity. Relevance, meh. Never noticed much difference there. This led me to believe that PageRank was more about marketing (brilliant marketing) than technical edge.
RedwoodCity 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Secure Shell chrome (killer) app chrome.google.com
232 points by cgs1019  3 days ago   167 comments top 37
gfodor 3 days ago 4 replies      
this is insanely awesome. as it stands right now, yes its "just ssh". But open up the developer toolbar and you'll notice this thing is rendering HTML inside of webkit. It doesn't take a genius to see this is a few baby steps from making it possible to render arbitrary graphics in the shell. edit: I might go out on a limb here and say this project is something that is going to be looked at as a real inflection point a few years from now.
ajross 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know that this really rises to the level of a "killer" app. Serious ssh users are, of course, already quite happy with their terminal emulators and use platforms that support them natively. I find it very hard to believe (though I'm willing to be surprised) a chrome extension is going to present me with the performance, platform integration, or keyboard navigability I get and demand from gnome-terminal. I'd probably be happy using it from friends machines, etc...

What this will do, however, is hopefully end for good the mess of "How do I expose a command line application to my windows-using friends such that they aren't confused and won't hate me.". And there's a whole lot of value to that.

sequoia 3 days ago 6 replies      
I opened chrome to check this out, but it wants me to "sign in" to install the extension. For me this is a bridge too far: I don't care to tell google about every single extension/application (extensplication?) I'm using.

Like many people, I'm trying to step back from google/facebook snooping, and this would be a solid step toward such big brothering. I suppose next they'll see what email providers I use and whom I correspond with with mutt or whom I chat with on other services with finch etc.. Why expand google's data-gathering "attack surface"? And all this for... (?) what does this offer that sets it above my current terminal client?

Someone please tell me if there is any technical reason I should need to sign in to add an extension (in particular this, or some game).

eridius 3 days ago  replies      
Can someone please explain to me why I would possibly want to run a terminal emulator inside of my web browser, instead of just using the terminal emulator app that my system ships with?
comex 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not very impressed... although it's partly implemented in HTML (only partly - even though modern JavaScript engines should be more than capable of handling SSH, the implementation is just OpenSSH in Native Client), this is no citizen of the web, and never can be, as trusting an app to connect directly to arbitrary ports and handle all your SSH connections fundamentally subverts the web's security model. Benefits over a native app:

- It's sandboxed - big deal, if sandboxing SSH were a real concern then it's a call to sandbox-exec(1) away.

- It could theoretically be extended to support HTML-based console interfaces - but sticking a web view in a regular terminal would solve this just as well with less overhead.

(Note the lack of benefits that usually apply to webapps: multiple browser implementations; written in a high-level language, which increases hackability [you might be able to get some of that]; don't need to trust the app; page-based paradigm allows deep linking.)


- Slow. The FAQ says it's intended to compete performance-wise, and it's reasonably fast, but comparing the behavior of 'ls' or, more dramatically, 'cat /usr/share/dict/words' or 'yes' (try interrupting it) demonstrates that it doesn't quite hold up. *

- You have to trust a silently updating, non-downgradeable app with your data. I guess people already do this with Chrome, but terminal emulators don't exactly benefit from constant updates in the way browsers do.

- Non-native - if you're on Chrome OS, this is a benefit, because Web is native, but on other operating systems, you lose the look and feel of the OS (from Terminal.app: useful cmd-tab, transparent window backgrounds, Lion fullscreen mode, Lion auto reopen, other applications can launch the terminal, native keyboard shortcuts, ctrl-w...) for no reason.

- The current version requires an account(!!)

- The current version is buggy - when I try it, just typing "ls" messes up the terminal so that it's not fully scrolled down. I guess this will be ironed out soon, but existing terminal emulators are highly stable.

*edit: or 'bb', heh - Terminal doesn't exactly handle it well (it's a good demonstration of the superior performance of xterm), but at least it doesn't hang like this terminal

Nitramp 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who occasionally ends up on Windows having to do Terminal work, thank you. A proper terminal emulator on every platform (well, every platform I care about) is a huge win.

I might even move to this entirely if it adds support for key auth; having a consistent environment across all devices on which you work is a big win, even if the native terminal emulator might be integrated better with the OS.

On a related note, I used to cringe whenever I had to do anything on Windows; such a foreign environment. Nowadays so much has moved to the browser that I hardly notice, modulo some text editing shortcuts. The browser is really about to become the operating system.

ig1 3 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone code reviewed this to make sure it's not stealing credentials, etc. ?
javajosh 3 days ago 1 reply      
To all those who question the value of this, it's that we now have a new ssh client that runs everywhere Chrome runs. Additionally and non-trivially, the innards of the terminal UI is now exquisitely accessible to the legions of developers who know HTML and CSS. Presumably it's a small step to embedding cross-domain SSH into a webapp.

That said, there are minuses. The big minus is that Chrome, like literally every piece of software that handles the download and installation of other software, provides an entirely new way to discover, download, and install software. The instructions for downloading putty for windows is simple and stable over time. The instructions for installing this plugin are Chrome specific and unstable over time.

Overall, I'd say this plugin has marginal positive value.

lawnchair_larry 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is cool hack but a terrible idea. Why do I want some bloated web browser wrapping a lightweight terminal?
drivebyacct2 3 days ago 2 replies      
I thought NaCl couldn't open raw (tcp) sockets? I thought it was limited to WebSockets.
philjackson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't believe how great it looks and how responsive it is. I've been running an emacs client in it for a while and other than C-n opening a new window it's practically perfect. Huge props to the team who wrote this.
rufugee 3 days ago 2 replies      
On Ubuntu 12.04, I get this, and then it seems to hang. Anyone have this working on Linux?

  Welcome to Secure Shell version 0.7.9.
The list of Frequently Asked Questions is available here: http://goo.gl/m6Nj8
Connecting to wellsj@greensboro.timco.aero, port 22...
Loading NaCl plugin...

iandanforth 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is freaking awesome. I have been waiting for this for so long. I look forward to using this all day to see how it holds up.
tantalor 2 days ago 1 reply      
Public/private key authentication seems a bit spotty. From the FAQ,

    > Can I connect using a public key pair or certificate?
Sorry, not yet.

I successfully authenticated with a private key,

    debug1: read PEM private key done: type DSA
debug1: Authentication succeeded (publickey).

However, authentication agent forwarding (ssh -A) did not work,

    Permission denied (publickey).

Also notable is that this app does not have access to the OS X Keychain, so I have to type in my lengthy passphrase before authenticating.

api 3 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I don't like the browser for everything. Neat, but not something that would shake my world.
zobzu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yay NaCl chrome only app!
Yay for standards!

Oh wait a minute...

gabeiscoding 3 days ago 2 replies      
Very cool, but I fired up an emacs session and hit Ctrl+N to start scrolling through a file.... doh!
aidos 3 days ago 1 reply      
Works really well, nice and quick. Call me stupid, but I'm not actually sure how to launch it (clicking on "Launch App" from within the webstore works but that's surely not the only way).
driverdan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool and so close to being useful. Until you can use certs and use them safely it isn't very useful though.
andyl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to install this plugin without signing in to Google?
sedachv 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you just want a terminal emulator in a web browser, Paddy Mullen ported urxvt to JavaScript a few years ago: https://github.com/paddymul/rxvt-js
Karunamon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Works pretty well considering its status, though it doesn't like to play along with the hard status bar on my screen sessions.
simonster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Produce 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an amazing killer app. Never before could I SSH into a remote machine from a desktop computer. </sarcasm>
wavephorm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does it work in the latest (hexxeh) ChromeOS release?
kalmi10 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can someone explain how this is possible within the web's standard security model?
sprayk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I believe this is the same terminal that replaces urxvt as the non-VT terminal in the newest version of ChromeOS (IE the one you access with Ctrl-Alt-T). I was worried when I switched to the dev channel on my Cr-48 and crosh opened in a new tab instead of a chromeless window.
AjithAntony 3 days ago 1 reply      
Edit: I take back my comments about the keyboard shortcuts: http://git.chromium.org/gitweb/?p=chromiumos/platform/assets...
VeejayRampay 3 days ago 0 replies      
As killer as it is, it says it's a beta and it has known bugs on the page. Use with caution.
mp3jeep01 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really interesting, would be even better if it parsed my SSH config file. Interested to see how this progresses.
c0nsumer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Neat, but it's be very nice if it automatically used the configured HTTPS proxy.
vhost 3 days ago 1 reply      
Tmux seems to work wonderfully. I bet Chrome Book users are stoked.
andrewguenther 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is the same shell as the one included with the latest release of Chrome OS (Aura UI).
hiker 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used to spend 99% of my time in Terminal and Chrome. Now I can start spending 99% of my time in Chrome.
president 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tabbing and zoom support did it for me. Very. Awesomee.
Arcanis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does not work with local area network. I've tried to ssh on my VM.
base698 3 days ago 0 replies      
GREAT! Now Google can mine my shell for AdWords. I look forward to seeing what Ads I get on android after a good fsck
My Prime Factorization Sweater sonderbooks.com
218 points by ColinWright  4 days ago   50 comments top 8
ben0x539 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do people often walk up to the OP and start trying to identify country flags?
muyuu 4 days ago 1 reply      
2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97

After just 5 or 6 different colours or so, which happens very soon, it becomes hard to distinguish them without context. But this is not a big problem thanks to order consistency. For instance, check 57 and 58, just next to each other with the tone of 19 (second factor of 57 = 319) looking very similar to the first factor of 58 (229). The converse is also true: 3 is a similar tone to 29. But thanks to order consistency it's easy to tell which is which. I'd say the only problem with this is not being obvious, and also the ordering being somewhat confusing, as I'd expect normal writing order for numbers.

merraksh 4 days ago 1 reply      
That's an excellent idea for a T-shirt.
chrisacky 4 days ago 4 replies      
I really wish that I could remember the article/movie/show which I read/watched but it was talking about creating a universal language.

This would be not just for people living on Earth but also life outside of our Solar System. It would make sense that if there was a universal language that it would be based around some mathematical form. At least something which should be constant through the universe.

martininmelb 4 days ago 1 reply      
I showed this to my 9-year old daughter. After explaining it to her, her first question was 'Can I have one?'. I told her that it was a one-off. She then asked me to bookmark the page for her.
JoeAltmaier 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd start with zero. Bugs me that the right-hand side is 10 not 9
paduc 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering. Could this be considered a meta-explanation of what a prime number is?
reinhardt 4 days ago 2 replies      
A perfect gift for Sheldon Cooper.
Probabilistic Data Structures For Web Analytics And Data Mining highlyscalable.wordpress.com
212 points by aespinoza  2 days ago   8 comments top 4
pjscott 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is probably the most readable article I've seen on the topic. If the author is reading this: your article is good and you should feel good.

One more fun thing about Bloom filters: generalized, they're not just a way of testing for set membership. They're a way of getting an upper bound on some function of a finite input set. For example, suppose that I have a set of a million names and how tall that person is, and I want a data structure that will give me an upper bound on the height of a person given the name. I know, this is totally contrived, but here's what you could do:

1. Make an array of height values, initially zero. Call it heights.

2. For each name, get several hash values: h1, h2, ... hn.

3. For each hash h, set heights[h] = max(heights[h], height). In other words, you're only pushing the height values upward.

4. To get an upper bound on a person's height, hash their name and look at your heights array. The upper bound is min(heights[h1], heights[h2], ... heights[hn]).

(If you want to be very technical, this works not only for numbers, but for any set that supports max() and min() operations. A Bloom filter for set membership uses such a set with two elements, 0 and 1.)

mwexler 2 days ago 1 reply      
What a great read. I am always curious what might be a good user experience that lets a user select "time" vs. "precision/accuracy" in an interface. A slider comes to mind, but has anyone seen a clever implementation that lets users choose how they want an answer delivered?
Estragon 1 day ago 0 replies      
These techniques are quite sensitive to the distribution of the data under study. For instance, if the numbers being processed by the LogLog counter aren't uniformly distributed, the cardinality estimates you get from it could be arbitrarily biased.
thecroat 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey eeeverrrybody. So if my brain melted, and I only understood about half of this, where do I got to learn more to better understand this? I love this stuff, but my melon can only retain/understand so much without going insane.
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