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If the Earth were 100 pixels wide distancetomars.com
972 points by oseibonsu  4 days ago   207 comments top 60
brownbat 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'd really like to see a few more markers:

1) 3100 px: Farthest humans have been from Earth (Apollo 13, April '70: 400,171 km)

2) 10 px: Gemini 11, farthest from Earth on non-lunar mission (Sept '66: 1,374.1 km)

3) 3 px: Apogee of ISS (farthest a human has traveled for... a while: 424 km) (I'm probably forgetting something, can't find a good list of spaceflights by distance...)




Taking Earth's diameter as 12,742 km (though it bulges by about 43 km in the center), we're saying that's 100 px. So if my basic algebra is right (no promises) you can convert the above km values to px by dividing by 127.42.

ohazi 4 days ago 8 replies      
Is anyone else a little bothered by the fact that the reported speed was 1/5 the speed of light, yet the flyby necessarily increased to well over the speed of light in order to actually get you to Mars before you got bored and closed the tab? Traveling at the speed of light would have taken 5-20 minutes. Traveling slower than that would have taken even longer...
austenallred 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is the first time I've actually been able to comprehend the perspective of distances so big they don't mean much as a number. Thank you.
shardling 4 days ago 4 replies      
It bothers me a little that they show the motion against a starfield like that -- the stars are so far away that they won't shift perceptibly even on a journey to mars.

I mean, I don't have any better ideas, but given that the whole point is to give an idea of scale I wish they'd come up with something else. :)

codeulike 4 days ago 1 reply      
This simple graphic of the Earth and Moon and the distance between them, to scale, is also pretty thought provoking


edit: just large image:

crazygringo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very rarely have I seen a single idea so perfectly illustrated. Impeccable timing and presentation. Unexpected, every step of the way. Kudos.
pjungwir 4 days ago 3 replies      
Here is a photo of the Earth and Moon, with the to-scale distance between them. It makes a great desktop background:


maurits 4 days ago 1 reply      
My favourite scale of the universe picture:


ErrantX 4 days ago 1 reply      
Oh this is fantastic! My father teaches astronomy to kids (he has a mobile planetarium that he takes around schools [1]) and one of the main pain points he has mentioned is communicating a sense of scale to them.

This is elegant because it mixes the concept of "imagine this orange is the earth, mars would be in <nearby town>" within the constraints of a web page.

Kids have difficulty visualising distances in an abstract way - but time is much simpler. And the length of the scroll to Mars really emphasises this.

Great visualisation.

1. http://www.starlincs.co.uk

rkuester 4 days ago 2 replies      
Cool site, but it's "If the Earth were 100 pixels wide, ..."



fusiongyro 4 days ago 3 replies      
What's frustrating is how much better of a candidate Venus would be, if it weren't for its atmosphere. It's closer than Mars and larger too.
vadman 4 days ago 3 replies      
Not sure if it's a bug or a typo, but the "width" (diameter) of the Earth is 12,742 km, not 6,371 (which is the radius).
mark-r 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to see the Sun included on the opposite side of the scale. Its diameter is 109 times that of earth, making it 10900 pixels. Would be just as impressive a demonstration.
stcredzero 4 days ago 1 reply      
"At the current state of space technology, it will take at least 240 days to get to Mars"

Uh, no. The person who put this together obviously hasn't read a lot about proposed plans for Mars missions or even understands how transfer orbits work. 150 days is a likely practical limit for today's technology, but it's not a hard limit. Spend a little more fuel, and you could make it 149 days.


DanBC 4 days ago 0 replies      
The few pixels to the low Earth orbit and ISS is gently depressing. When's the last time a human went further than that? 1972?
S4M 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's nice but his scale is wrong. He states that the Earth is 6371 km large, while in reality, it's twice that, as 6371 km is just the radius of the Earth, and what you really see is its diameter.
CmdrKrool 4 days ago 1 reply      

Unfortunately though, on my regular setup of Firefox on Windows, the background image abruptly 'runs out' shortly after the "You're currently travelling at 70000 pixels/second" message appears, leaving me with a blank white screen. I believe this is due to this browser bug I've just found out about: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=816917

Fine on Chrome though.

DavePaliwoda 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hey guys, Dave here, made the site.. Really amazed by how much coverage this thing has got, and really surprised by how poor my maths were. Not surprising given I failed both maths and physics at college. Really happy to be inspiring debate, I've gone over my sums and given it another shot


klenwell 4 days ago 0 replies      
On the way to Mars, there was a flash and the screen went white. I guess I didn't make it.
joeycastillo 4 days ago 2 replies      
One thing that's always gotten to me about this distance is what it means for communication latency. Mars is 20 light-minutes away. If we sent colonists, communication would be a 40-minute round trip. No phone calls home, no way to have a chat with friends or loved ones; at best they could send a message, and wait 40 minutes for a reply. That's far away.
lifeisstillgood 4 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. I never actually reached mars - just the gut wrenching distance to the moon made me realise how amazing the Apollo program was - whatever gets us to Mars ...
pjungwir 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the scale model of the solar system strewn around the Boston metro area. If you live there, it's pretty fun to visit all the planets. One year the MIT Mystery Hunt had a puzzle related to it.
VLM 4 days ago 2 replies      
Nicely done. A biology scaled version would be cool. Like if a virus was 100 pixels wide...
biot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Using this site, I was able to make the Kessel run in less than 1200 pixels.
b_emery 4 days ago 1 reply      
If the Earth radius was 100 pixels, the average depth of the ocean (~4km) would be less than 0.1 pixels. I once had a professor hold up piece of paper and say "this is my scale model of the pacific ocean". Took me a while to realize he wasn't joking.
3327 4 days ago 3 replies      
if I leave it running will I get to mars? just out of curiosity? ( i do have better things to do ).
Aardwolf 4 days ago 0 replies      
If the Earth were 100 pixels wide, then what we consider "space" is 1 pixel above its surface. One pixel...
devgutt 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why not?

  (function () {
var d=1;
setInterval(function () {
'rotate(' + ((d>36) ? d=2 : d++)*10 + 'deg)'})},100);

Please, consider Africa as Asia ;)

solox3 4 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps this is relevant: Opera's rendering glitches mean that we cannot go to Mars with the latest version of Opera on Windows.
triplesec 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bug Report: I'm afraid this crashed between the Moon and Mars, just as some "you are travelling" text came in on the LHS and then it just went to whitescreen. Firefox 19.0.2 on Win7-64Home. In case you can catch it. (yeah ok so my laptop's not Linux, sue me!)
leeoniya 4 days ago 1 reply      
related: interactive scale of the universe http://htwins.net/scale2/
rsingla 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see one of these for the other planets in our solar system. Maybe even Pluto!
ygra 4 days ago 0 replies      
A little strange handling of the class attribute in source. I'm fairly sure it also requires an = after it.
Gravityloss 4 days ago 0 replies      
The starfield should not move anyway, because of parallax. The stars are really far away and the sky looks the same on Mars and Earth.
vjk2005 4 days ago 0 replies      
Though not as cool as this, I used a similar scrolling idea back in 2011 to visualize a star that was one million times the mass of our sun â€" http://vjk2005.tumblr.com/post/4497783697/a-star-half-a-mill...
brass9 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing! Despite the factual inaccuracies, it's a wonderful job! Two thumbs up!
ldh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful, I love it!
stuntgoat 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd really like to see something like this for the anatomy of a cell! Nice work!
Unoeufisenough 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mars is pretty far, but 240 days doesn't sound so bad. In the age of explorers, the first human sailors to circumnavigate the earth took 4 years to do it. A handful of them even survived the journey!
dinkumthinkum 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like this. Good job, very creative!
igorgue 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mars is fucking far.
ikkyu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this Bill Nye episode


KerrickStaley 4 days ago 2 replies      
Mars is a desolate, inhospitable rock floating in an immense void. I can't understand why people are captivated by the idea of living there.
mysteryleo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was thinking there'd be a scary monster that would pop out along the way
rikacomet 4 days ago 0 replies      
please also mark the Lagrange Points

plus Sun, that would be really cool!!

ckvamme 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool. Anything that sheds light on how amazingly double awesome the Mars Rover Mission is makes me happy.
chloraphil 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did anyone else make the return trip and get disappointed there was no "welcome home"?
broabprobe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Says we wont get to Mars until the 2030s, I think the Mars One project and others would beg to differ...
romeonova 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was hoping to see something new on the way back from Mars. well done though!
kyrias 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the fonts look horrible in FF20/Linux x86-64..
ttrreeww 4 days ago 0 replies      
Should have switched to warp 1.
mprinz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great stuff! Would be great to see some other planets or facts in there.
xdenser 4 days ago 1 reply      
it says it is traveling at 1/10 th of light speed. it takes less than minute to get to Mars in pixels, but from other sources I know it takes 13 minutes for radio signal to get to mars. Something does not play here.
angrybeak 3 days ago 0 replies      
And only 53 pixels wide?
Is it even worth going there?
rplst8 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad he didn't decide to do distancetobrunomars.com
tahoecoder 3 days ago 0 replies      
You should speed up the rate a bit when going to mars, and just tell the user that the velocity is higher now. It takes up too much of our time, to be honest.
crapshoot101 4 days ago 0 replies      
very cool - thank you.
bobiambob 3 days ago 0 replies      
View in Safari on iPad, and change tabs while scrolling, then come back mid-scroll. Gotta love the iPad rendering.
MacG13r 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very Cool!!
ashwinaj 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Thumbs up!!
Roger Ebert dies at 70 after battle with cancer suntimes.com
823 points by tptacek  3 days ago   167 comments top 45
tptacek 3 days ago 6 replies      
Fitzgerald said "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." Ebert seemed to have a knack for thinking all the thoughts simultaneously, and then getting their product onto a page:



One of the truly great Internet writers. My favorite:


(It's not what you think!)

The blog is getting crushed right now but most of this content is in Google's cache.

sho_hn 3 days ago 4 replies      
While it might be cheap to remember a critic by something as sensationalist as a scorcher - and Ebert was of a higher caliber than to build a career on the entertainment value of them - his review of "Highlander 2" has been a favorite of mine for its good-natured bickering about the gaping holes in the film's logic: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19... Cache: http://web.archive.org/web/20121026130620/http://rogerebert....)

I think what set Ebert apart is that he consistently judged films in the context of their ambitions. An action film was good so long as it had effective action; films purporting to be more cerebral in nature had rather more to answer for. He resisted the ivory tower most other writers with his level of film knowledge would climb.

danso 3 days ago 3 replies      
Ebert made his name in movie criticism but he was one of my favorite writers, period. I've read him since I was in junior high...it sounds silly now, but the way he would give four stars to what seemed like just a shallow blockbuster action movie but then justify it for doing shallow action wonderfully...that taught me a lot about how to judge things on what they purport to do, rather than just against what you, the writer, prefers.

As good as his four-star reviews were, I still loved reading his 0 to 1 star reviews. He was at great at ripping movies as he was as exalting them.

chaz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just two days ago, he announced he was taking a "leave of presence."

  Typically, I write over 200 reviews a year for the Sun-Times that are
carried by Universal Press Syndicate in some 200 newspapers. Last year,
I wrote the most of my career, including 306 movie reviews, a blog post
or two a week, and assorted other articles. I must slow down now, which
is why I'm taking what I like to call "a leave of presence."


3am 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am maybe a little older than some of the readers here, pushing on the lower end of middle age, ie, I had to memorize phone numbers/rotary phone at home when I was very young, I had a Walkman, MTV had only one station and it played music, etc. Perhaps I could have said Gen-X and saved some time.

Anyway, I remember Siskel and Ebert on television before there was much of an internet to speak of. Now if you look out over the landscape of people who successfully adapted to the new landscape of social media it's predominantly much younger. I think it takes a special kind of mind to reinvent one's self past a certain age, and Ebert did so very well (for whatever reason, George Takei comes to mind, also). But it was brave of him to do so and I think it is ...helpful to all of us that have grown up online that some members of his generation are/were willing to put themselves out of their comfort zones and share their viewpoints and experiences in that way. RIP.

edit: " ...and get up to change the TV channel" of which there were ~10 outside of cable, and some would require rabbit ear contortions. If I could give you more than one upvote I would have :)

jstalin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ebert and Siskel did a show on gay cinema back in the early 80's that treated the issue seriously, without snark or contempt. I saw a video of that episode a few years ago and my respect for both men increased dramatically.


parfe 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ebert wrote an article in 1997 about 2001: A Space Odyssey which changed the way I watch movies. He made me start thinking about why the director and his characters do things rather than caring specifically about what they were doing. His work will stick with me for the rest of my life.


jgrahamc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well, fuck.
stcredzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of young people look at his scathing wit and try with varying degrees to emulate that. His hallmark, and one of the fundamental sources of his scathing wit was his integrity. If you're careful about writing/saying what's true, and if you're doing it because writing/saying what's the truth is your motivation, then you can be great like he was.

If you're just after attention and want to be known as a scathing wit, please sit down, pipe down, and refrain from adding to the noise.

Basically, if you do it, do it because you have something to say.

publicfig 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a shame to hear. He was one of the people who really got me into film (amongst many others I can presume). He'll be missed.

A friend shared an article Ebert wrote in 2011 about death that I absolutely love that I feel is incredibly relevant now. In the article he states “I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear.", which I feel is a beautiful attitude to take. The whole article is worth a read and can be found here:


wcfields 3 days ago 4 replies      

I'll just leave one of my favorite quotes from Ebert about a movie that is actually one of my all time favorite comedy.

"This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels." [1]

- Roger Ebert review of "Freddy Got Fingered"; April 20, 2001

[1] http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20...

gpmcadam 3 days ago 0 replies      
A wonderful (and timely) tribute to Ebert from The Onion:


clicks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very sad to hear. I read his reviews, not really to know how a movie was received and whether or not it is worth watching (though you can do that too), but to get a nice summary eloquently discussing the motifs, symbolism, and story line of a movie after actually having watched one. I don't know where I'll get that now.

Two big thumbs down :-(. RIP Ebert.

jennyjenjen 3 days ago 0 replies      
My best memories of Roger Ebert were at the Conference on World Affairs at an event called Cinema Interruptus. The CWA lasted five days and was open to the public. Every single day of the conference, there was a Cinema Interruptus session. On the first session, attendees watched an film in its entirety. Over the next four sessions, the film was stopped - sometimes after a few minutes, sometimes after mere seconds - and Mr Ebert discussed the film with the attendees. Attendees were welcome to make their own comments, too; sometimes it was a hassle as there are people who just enjoy hearing themselves talk. But it was a great memory of mine that Mr. Ebert called one of my observations "astute." I was able to say hi and shake his hand after one of the sessions, and I was certainly impressed at how a person of such extraordinary merit would contribute his time every year to our beloved CWA in Boulder.

He will most definitely be missed.

marquis 3 days ago 0 replies      
A good conversation right now with his friends on WBEZ, his home NPR.

Great quote from Rick Hogan: when he was writing a review about a movie he loved, "He was writing a love letter to a friend".

zwieback 3 days ago 0 replies      
Roger Ebert on the mystery of how the rice cooker knows your rice is done:

"How does it know? There are no dials and settings on the Pot. As far as you can tell, there is only a heating element beneath. There doesn't look like room for anything else to hide. How does the Pot know how long to cook the rice? It is a mystery of the Orient. Don't ask questions you don't need the answers to. The point here is to save you some time and money. If you want gourmet cooking, you aren't going to learn about it here."

source: http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2008/11/the_pot_and_how_to_u...

crapshoot101 3 days ago 1 reply      
From the THR review - part of the reason I liked Ebert - he wasn't fundementally getting his rocks off on being a cynical asshole:

“I am, beneath everything else, a fan. I was fixed in this mode as a young boy and am awed by people who take the risks of performance.”

e40 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the truly good humans on the planet. I will miss him.
rubyrescue 3 days ago 1 reply      
The shear breadth of his career is just astounding, his consistency in reviewing film after film for years. Inspiring for all of us.
stevewillows 3 days ago 1 reply      
I admire Roger Ebert so much for the way he dealt with his cancer and the problems that resulted from it. Truly someone who took a really bad situation and rose above it.

He will be missed.

jfc 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I admired about Roger Ebert was his ability to demonstrate wit without rancor, something very few writers seem able to do.

When I read his letter to Jay Mariotti--in response to Mariotti's less-than-dignified departure from the Sun-Times--I couldn't help but be impressed by Ebert's thoughtfulness. I found myself going back to the letter, sensing that I had overlooked something. I finally realized what it was: the tone of the letter. It was ultimately hopeful!

The conclusion of that letter made it clear that Ebert was no fan of Mariotti's, but it acted as more of a rebuke than an indication of deep disdain.

A rare talent, indeed.

leejoramo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can think of no better way to learn about the art and history of movies than to read through Ebert's Great Film articles. He did such a great job of putting films in context. I loved how his "Great Films" articles always had a good mix of films from the first movies to recent years.


buf 3 days ago 0 replies      
"I'll see you at the movies" - Roger Ebert's last words. I still remember seeing his TED talk http://www.ted.com/talks/roger_ebert_remaking_my_voice.html
webwanderings 3 days ago 2 replies      
I was bowled over by Ebert's fascination with Dark City and I really liked it the first time I watched. However, many years later, I watched it again and it left me bewildered as to why I liked this movie in the first. As much as I like and respect Roger Ebert, I think he was dead wrong on his fascination with this movie. Great movies do not fall off of the imaginative pedestal, only the bad one does.

As a professional movie critic, he earned respect through his craft, but I think world of cinema is better off without any movie critic.

Rest in peace. One of my favorite quote of his:

“I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state.”


octernion 3 days ago 0 replies      
Holy cow, what a loss. One of the few film critics whose reviews I always enjoyed (even if I didn't always agree with him).

And he just wrote about having a leave of presence! I will miss him immensely.

DilipJ 3 days ago 1 reply      
surprised to read that he was an early investor of Google. I wonder how that came about?
sergiotapia 3 days ago 0 replies      
His name is synomymous with film reviews. A legend passed away, his reviews will remain in the ether, ready to be read by the generations to come.
mtoddh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, sad to hear that - ironic that cancer was what got Siskel too back when the two of them were doing reviews together - remember "two thumbs up"?
brownbat 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been digging through talk show clips with the duo on Youtube. There are some good ones, but really, if you have a similar impulse, save yourself some time. Just watch Red Coat Black Coat's retrospective, a little commentary, but a lot of just clips of their interaction:


Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXk3N8EvnWc&feature=youtu...

jellicle 3 days ago 5 replies      
Ebert was a great film critic, but oddly, no one here seems to be talking about his one gigantic blind spot, which is his enduring and impenetrable belief that video games are not art, could never be art, and have no artistic merit whatsoever. His half-hearted apology - "I still believe this, but I should never have said so." - is in no way a retraction or backdown from that belief.

This is totally wrong. Movies are a subset of video games. Eventually, Ebert's remarks on video games will stand as a laughable monument to a by-gone era.

So. Ebert had the potential to be the first great video game critic, ever. His massive background in movies would have served him well. But he didn't have the fortitude to make the jump.

Who's going to be the first great video game critic ever?

markgx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, he just wrote his "A Leave of Presence" post the other day.
xxpor 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wait what? I thought I had just read this morning the cancer had returned. I guess he really pushed on til the very end.
zwieback 3 days ago 0 replies      
He was a national treasure.
waterlesscloud 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ebert wasn't just America's Foremost Film Critic, though he was that.

He was also America's Foremost Film Lover.

Universal sadness being expressed across the film community today.

bobthedino 3 days ago 0 replies      
I always loved Ebert's re-appraisal of The Big Lebowski in 2010:

"If a man has a roof over his head, fresh half-and-half for his White Russians, a little weed and his bowling buddies, what more, really, does he need?"


hans0l074 3 days ago 0 replies      
R.I.P Mr.Ebert - I've spent many an idle hour reading his works, many of which, quite frankly, were more entertaining than the movies themselves and opened a whole world of cinema to me.
afreak 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's really sad to see him go. There are very few movie critics out there left who have an objective point of view rather than those who are just doing it because the seat needed to be filled and luxurious tickets were passed to the publisher.

I also will have to say the best portrayal of him was in Jon Lovitz "The Critic", where Siskel and Ebert were having a feud and it was up to Mr. Jay Sherman to reunite them.

Animaniacs did a good portrayal of them too.

fudged71 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Ebert for an IAmA interview on reddit in 2010. People still message me thinking that I'm him.
yarou 3 days ago 0 replies      
A sad day indeed. Roger Ebert had the courage to stick to his intellectual integrity, unlike many film critics in this day and age.
crapshoot101 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jesus. What a brilliant effing writer, whether you agreed or not, and a fundamentally decent man.
mikec3k 3 days ago 0 replies      
shill 3 days ago 0 replies      
suyash 3 days ago 8 replies      
Someone needs to find 100% cure against this deadly disease. So much money is spent on cancer research every year and what are the results..almost zero.
mprinz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I loved his critics. Except those where I had a different opinion.
KevinMS 3 days ago 5 replies      
What can you say about a film reviewer that gives Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3.5 out of 4 stars?


I don't get all this praise I'm reading here. Despite being witty, a national treasure, and whatever, he had one core job to do, and he was terrible at it.

Blink: A rendering engine for the Chromium project chromium.org
696 points by cramforce  4 days ago   303 comments top 46
macrael 4 days ago 11 replies      
So, I'm pretty sure this is a correct history:

1. Google builds a new process architecture into Chrome as a product differentiator. (It was a major part of Chrome's initial marketing)

2. WebKit 2 is built (mostly by Apple?) to bake the same type of architecture straight into the core framework -- anyone using WebKit can use it and get the same security/stability benefits.[1]

3. Google says that the pain in maintaining their separate, non standard, process architecture is too much of a burden to continue to contribute into WebKit proper, so they must fork.

Why can't Chrome implement WebKit 2? Are there major advantages to Chrome's process model that are not present in WebKit 2? Is there a reason why WebKit 2 cannot be patched to provide those advantages?

This seems like a failure of open source.

[1]: see the first paragraph on http://trac.webkit.org/wiki/WebKit2

cpeterso 4 days ago 8 replies      
The good news is no -blink prefixes! Blink, like Mozilla, will avoid shipping vendor-prefixed features:

  Historically, browsers have relied on vendor prefixes (e.g., -webkit-feature) to 
ship experimental features to web developers. This approach can be harmful to
compatibility because web content comes to rely upon these vendor-prefixed
names. Going forward ... we will instead keep the (unprefixed) feature behind
the “enable experimental web platform features” flag in about:flags until the
feature is ready to be enabled by default.

mythz 4 days ago 2 replies      
Alex Russell has a good analysis about the move:
bmuon 4 days ago 3 replies      
Standing ovation. This is most welcomed news since Opera's move to WebKit to keep the current browser innovation pace.

Coupled with Mozilla's announcement of its partnership with Samsung to move Servo forward this is great news for the future of the web. Hopefully multi-process/multi-threaded rendering engines will address some of our current performance gripes with the DOM and open the gate for even more complex UIs and interactions.

dave1010uk 4 days ago 1 reply      
This paragraph makes me happy:

    From a short-term perspective, monocultures seem good for developer 
productivity. From the long term perspective, however, monocultures
inevitably lead to stagnation. It is our firm belief that more options in
rendering engines will lead to more innovation and a healthier web ecosystem.

From http://www.chromium.org/blink/developer-faq

mikewest 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Chromium team will be running a Hangout tomorrow to answer any questions that pop up. Hit this Moderator page to ask whatever's on your mind: engineering leads Darin Fisher and Eric Seidel, product manager Alex Komoroske, and developer advocate Paul Irish will be more than happy to answer: http://google.com/moderator/#15/e=20ac1d&t=20ac1d.40&...
ebbv 4 days ago 10 replies      
I can't help but think that forking WebKit is a business based decision since Apple controls WebKit.

This blog post doesn't make an engineering based argument* so I'm left with the business ones. Which sucks.

* - Just vague "we need to innovate faster" boilerplate. Which is what business people say when there's not a solid engineering based reason.


At the bottom of the project page are some engineering reasons:


Each person can judge whether it's worth forking or not.

saddino 4 days ago 0 replies      
A little out of left field here, but if anyone is interested in working on the other multi-process browser (for OS X at least) I've just released Stainless as open source. Stainless was a hack that actually became quite popular while we Mac users waited for Google to release Chrome for our platform. http://stainlessapp.com
gioele 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain this benefit:

> Establish a simpler, stricter tree-gardening system that does not require 2 full time engineers per day


nickporter 4 days ago 3 replies      
Super excited about this! There was a long discussion on the webkit mailing list after google tried to add support for multiple language VMs in webkit. The goal was to have a native Dart VM.


If I remember correctly, the patch was not merged in. I guess now google can do whatever it wants!

oscargrouch 4 days ago 1 reply      
Chromium have a very agressive innovative agenda, compared to other players.. im sure they will benefit from this move..

They were probably carrying webkit in their own shoulders anyway, cause nobody does so much experiments as chromium team does..

If they have the energy to do it.. thats good news for us :)

drivebyacct2 4 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting timing, given the Samsung+Mozilla+Servo news today.
mtgx 4 days ago 3 replies      
So when can we expect Chrome to use Blink?
tambourine_man 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very sad news. This seems more of a political/economical move than a technical one.

Two of the biggest players (and now arch rivals) sharing what's arguably the most strategic piece of code there is, couldn't last very long.

It's a shame though. It was probably the biggest open source success story.

An open source monoculture is not the same as a proprietary monopoly.

jacobr 4 days ago 1 reply      
So what will the new User Agent string be? "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) Blink/537.33 (KHTML; like WebKit; like Safari; like Gecko) Chrome/27.0.1438.7"? Hopefully people will finally start using feature detection rather than user agent detection...
account_taken 4 days ago 1 reply      
Competition is good. Nobody wants to be left behind by Google, so time for Apple and MS to step it up again.
checker659 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone from the chromium team answer few questions?

1. How does this affect the build system?
2. Will Blink always remain a fork of Webcore, or do you plan on replacing all the bits and pieces from Webcore with your own code?
3. Are we still stuck with the LGPL license?
4. Does this change anything in the spectacularly lacking source documentation / porting guidelines front.
5. You mentioned stripping out a lot. Will this have a significant impact on the size of the codebase?
6. Will the rendering architecture be changed completely? Or, is the render layer hierarchy still intact in blink?


Toshio 3 days ago 0 replies      
A Short Translation from BS to English of Selected Portions of the Google Chrome Blink Developer FAQ:


Lightning 4 days ago 3 replies      
Just a few weeks after Opera decided to switch to Webkit. Interesting.
slacka 4 days ago 2 replies      
> "For example, we anticipate that we'll be able to remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 filesâ€"comprising more than 4.5 million lines"

On my 2GB netbook, chrome has gone from my preferred browser to unusable due to the high memory footprint of recent builds. I wonder if this cleanup will help get the memory down to something reasonable like where it was up until Chrome 10 or so.

cpeterso 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought the WebKit monoculture was supposed to be a good thing? ;
danpeddle 3 days ago 0 replies      
About enabling experimental features via flags - I hope there will be an option buried in there somewhere for curious people to "go nuts" and enable a large slew of functionality in one step, appropriately warned. I can see that being a pain, but much easier than having to go one by one on obscure features with a non-technical audience.

I love seeing what creative devs are doing out on the fringes, and having to dig around in flags every time something new gets added could potentially get pretty annoying. The benefit of vendor prefixes was this - if you were on a latest version, not just dev/canary channel, there was a lot which was turned on by default, even if theoretically it wasn't stable. That was actually quite a good driver of fresh technique and innovation, seeing this straight away, despite the major hassle of bloated CSS.

It's inspirational seeing people who maybe aren't totally technical being able to get their hands on very fresh stuff without having to completely hand hold them on every step required to get it going.

Really, a lot to be said on this topic, but just wanted to mention this as didn't see it discussed yet.

leeoniya 4 days ago 1 reply      
is this a fork of webkit2 with the split process model built in?
ttrreeww 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, finally an attempt to speed up the DOM
Uchikoma 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, another web rendering engine, some more years with a buggy Selenium alpha driver which doesn't work so people need to do manual tests. Progress!
obilgic 4 days ago 0 replies      
Off topic, How do you clone a project like that big? Git is still trying to receive the objects %1 of 2,200,337
xxgreg 4 days ago 1 reply      
These bits from the docs are really interesting. Can anyone here explain them in more detail? (I've also posted them as questions in moderator)

"we'd like to explore even larger ideas like moving the entire Document Object Model (DOM) into JavaScript. This has the potential to make JavaScript DOM access dramatically faster"

"Removing obscure parts of the DOM and make backwards incompatible changes to obscure parts of the DOM that benefit performance or remove complexity."

dave1010uk 4 days ago 1 reply      
Will Blink have any direction from non-Google employees, in the same way WebKit has non-Apple reviewers?
jacob019 4 days ago 0 replies      
removing old code feels so good
meomix 4 days ago 1 reply      
And so begins phase 2 of embrace, extend and extinguish. It's just what large tech companies do now days.
alan_cx 4 days ago 0 replies      
midko 4 days ago 0 replies      
You can read more about the intended architectural changes at Blink's project page:
beshrkayali 4 days ago 4 replies      
Does this mean that Chrome for iOS will be revoked out of the AppStore?
Siecje 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't Google just make its WebCore open source and then merge with Webkit2 and make everything better?

Google doesn't make money off Chrome...

AaronMT 4 days ago 2 replies      
So which Chromium will Opera be based on now?
tantalor 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anybody have a link to their source tree?
AshleysBrain 4 days ago 1 reply      
Named after their favourite HTML tag?
programminggeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, a rendering engine that optimizes performance for the <blink> tag!!!
speg 4 days ago 0 replies      

  , mall,

deadc0de 4 days ago 0 replies      
A Microsoft-worthy move..
rhapsodyv 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! Chrome will support <Blink> tag! Great! :-P
supervillain 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well I just killall chrome processes anyway for my desktop to be usable, these multiple and dozens of chrome processes is an absolute nuisance, and it crashes my machine, my desktop, chrome is not even reliable coz it crashes on me everytime. if you want to get pissed bigtime, use chrome.
hiker 4 days ago 1 reply      
oellegaard 4 days ago 3 replies      
I know it might be an unpopular comment, but I really don't like this. I had hoped every browser would eventually use the webkit rendering engine. I have a hard time feeling sorry for those engineers that have to maintain compatibility, when I think of the many frontend engineers that now have to test a different rendering engine :(
Joeri 4 days ago 3 replies      
Google seems on a "replace open with less open" streak, with google reader and caldav shuttering, and now this. The caldav situation especially i cannot conceive as anything but a business decision given that they're keeping it around for those people they like.
Why Rackspace Is Suing The Most Notorious Patent Troll In America rackspace.com
596 points by grimey27  3 days ago   101 comments top 23
robomartin 3 days ago 7 replies      
I've said this here before more than once. The solution is for tech companies to fund a massive entity who's only purpose in life is to mercilessly sue patent trolls. Destroy them. Go after their patents. Invalidate them. Make it so costly to even attempt to enforce a bullshit patent that they will only dare take that step if they have a really good solid patent.

If the top 100 companies in tech donated just ten million dollars a year to this effort you would instantly have a one billion dollar "kill the trolls" fund. If the fund is not fully consumed during the first year it could become three or four billion in five to seven years. How many trolls are going to be willing to go up against any company with that kind of a war chest to protect it?

Small entities would contribute less. The way I see it, in the US alone, this kind of protection is easily worth $50K to $100K per year for a small entity.

Yes, we are at a point where you might have to consider paying a membership fee to a troll protection association that is equivalent to the salary of a full-time employee. Sad.

The US government ought to also provide a sizable chunk of money to this fund as well as tax-exempt status. Say, a billion dollars a year. Considering the economic damage being done this is chump change. Now you have a kill-the-trolls association that, through public and private funding, could end-up with nearly ten billion dollars in five to seven years. Scary enough?

I am not one for government getting involved in private matters, much less blowing money like they did in Solyndra and others. However, this is a government-sponsored monopoly that they crated. You and I did not create this. This mess is 100% on government hands. And, like most things government does, it eventually went off the rails. It's an absolute mess. They have a responsibility to fix it.

The first step is to grant a sizable amount of money to a private entity that will shield entrepreneurs from trolls. They should hand over the money and get out of the way. Consider it reparations for running such a fucked-up patent office. Then they can go off and take ten years to reform the system.

Oh, yes, they should also make the patent invalidation process 100% free. In other words, anyone should be able to file a patent invalidation action and it should be 100% free. Then we could crowd-source patent invalidation runs on all the patents held by trolls. Form crowd-sourced teams that target trolls and file away.

Seriously folks, this is war. And in war you have to have more powerful weapons than your enemy. The enemy has the power of the monopoly they were granted by the US government. What they don't have is unlimited and massive capital. An association of practicing entities --no trolls allowed-- with billions of dollars available to mount a shield and defend members would be massively intimidating.

The association's mission statement should state that all engagements will have, as a goal, the invalidation of the patents in question. In other words, if you screw with us we will go directly to rip those patents out of your hands. No middle ground. No deals. No mercy. Attacking us means you, as the attacker, risk it all and you better have a real patent.

How many trolls are going to risk that? How many will do it after one, two or several are absolutely decimated in court and their patents invalidated.

One more thing. If a non practicing entity has a patent invalidated they are also put through a bankruptcy style procedure whereby a trustee takes a look at what moneys were derived from licensing the invalid patents. The idea is to refund ill-gotten funds to those who paid the fees.

In other words, hit them with a nuke.

EDIT: Also, on the subject of patent invalidation. This should be ripped out of the hands of the government and run just like a trial. I don't know exactly how it works today, but this is what I have in mind: A judge is appointed to oversee the process. A jury of people well-qualified in the patent's subject matter is assembled. Both parties present their case. The jury deliberates and decides. Fast, efficient and 100% in private hands with the blessings of the US government. Rough strokes.

rayiner 3 days ago 5 replies      
> In actuality, it is a bit more complicated. Our dealings with this particular troll reach back to December 2010 when IP Navigation Group (IP Nav), as agent for a supposedly secret patent owner, now known as Parallel Iron, accused Rackspace of patent infringement. IP Nav told us that they could not divulge the details of their infringement claims â€" not even the patent numbers or the patent owner â€" unless we entered into a “forbearance agreement” â€" basically, an agreement that we would not sue them. IP Nav was worried that as soon as we found out what their patents and claims actually were, Rackspace would sue to invalidate their patents or for a declaration that Rackspace does not infringe. We were unwilling to enter into such a one-sided agreement, so we negotiated a mutual forbearance agreement that required either party to give 30 days' notice before bringing suit.

That's some shady shit right there.

ChuckMcM 3 days ago 4 replies      
Interesting, patent trolls have reached the level of public relations foil. I think its great that Rackspace is suing these guys but I found the press release made me feel like I do when somebody is trying to impress me with all of the charities they've donated money to. Mutual forbearance agreement? Seriously? Why not sue them right then and there when they foisted that bit of "strategy" on you and charged them with criminal extortion?

My reasoning is like this, either you infringe or you don't. So the patent holder can say "We believe you infringe claims x, y, and z on patents q, r, and s." Or they can't. So if someone tells you infringe but they won't tell you the patent or the claims, and they are threatening to sue anyway, that is a protection racket and actionable under the RICO statutes as far as I can tell.

kevinalexbrown 3 days ago 2 replies      
Whenever I see several different groups behaving in a manner I find obnoxious, I wonder incentives encourage this kind of behavior, and how those incentives might be reduced.

One such way is countersuit, which Rackspace is doing. If everyone (successfully) countersued, the incentive to be a patent troll would diminish.

There might be other ways. Is there some common property patent trolls depend on that might be penalized or forbidden? I've noticed that patent trolls rarely seem to produce anything. Perhaps some sort of "use it or lose it" clause, in which patent holders have a certain amount of time to effectively license their technology to some degree of effectiveness before they can't enforce infringements.

It works in other areas. For instance, in my home state, many people would love to live in the country extremely cheaply, so there's an incentive to set up dubious Christmas tree farms to get nice tax rates. To combat this, you have a certain number of years to turn a profit, and if you don't, you lose the farm credit.

(here's an example of why they do this: http://www.huntingnet.com/forum/wildlife-management-food-plo...)

codesuela 3 days ago 1 reply      
It is awesome to see a company put their money where their mouth is, the good will with the dev community they are building with this will easily exceed the costs of fighting a troll in court.
51Cards 3 days ago 0 replies      
I host at Rackspace. I'm glad (sincerely) that they are using some of my money for things like this. This makes me happy.
rdl 3 days ago 1 reply      
I was hoping it was Intellectual Ventures.
austenallred 3 days ago 1 reply      
It would be awesome to see this trend continue; I wouldn't mind seeing big companies suing patent trolls for every possible misstep available.
A1kmm 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to see a patent troll lose a case, but their breach of contract case seems a bit weak (without seeing the actual contract, since they didn't include 'Exhibit B' in the PDF).

As I understand it:

* Parallel Iron owns IPNav.

* IPNav and Rackspace signed a contract saying that IPNav won't sue Rackspace without giving 30 days notice first.

* Parallel Iron sues Rackspace without giving notice first.

* Rackspace sues Parallel Iron and IPNav for breach of contract.

But IPNav and Parallel Iron are separate legal entities, and so unless Rackspace can argue that they can 'pierce the corporate veil' (which might be difficult if they followed appropriate standards to separate the companies, which I presume lawyer heavy patent trolls would be careful to do) and treat them as the same legal entity, IPNav isn't responsible for Parallel Iron filing the suit, and Parallel Iron isn't subject to the contract entered into by IPNav.

Disclaimer: IANAL

at-fates-hands 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious why more smaller and medium sized businesses haven't banded together to form some kind of larger entity to combat these trolls.

There's security in numbers. If I was a patent troll and knew if I was going to sue a company like RackSpace and knew they had 25-50 companies standing behind them with a large pool of legal and financial resources, I'd be more apt to try and find an easier target.

danielpal 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can anyone explain if it's possible for this patents to just go from one company to another? Like what's is stopping IP Nav and Parallel Iron from just creating a new corporation and transferring their IP if Rackspace succeeds in this lawsuit?

Seems like they can just start shell companies in order to avoid being counter-sued.

eykanal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Question for someone who knows something about patent law: does Rackspace have a chance of actually making any money here? Simply based on seeing other stories like this, it seems that all these trolls operate through shell companies, which can simply declare bankruptcy without (1) every paying any actual fees and (2) without hurting the parent. Is that true here as well?
ams6110 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm all in favor of fighting groundless patent infringement claims, but a bit surprised to see so much commentary from Rackspace about a pending legal matter. The normal lawyer response would be "we don't comment on pending litigation."
recloop 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most notorious patent troll in America is Intellectual Ventures. It's just that because of their clout and their team, they don't get called out.
gesman 3 days ago 0 replies      
+1 for Rackspace.
ceautery 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the use of "duck test" in this. Just like the notorious Interplay manager decreed for the queen animations in Battle Chess... we should get rid of the duck.
saraid216 3 days ago 1 reply      
Somewhat OT, but I'd love to see the term "patent troll" entered as official legal jargon.
yoster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Patent trolls are useless. These people do not innovate at all. They purchase, or file for useless patents, and turn around and sue everyone for the almighty dollar. There has to be a stop, and I applaud Rackspace!
avaku 3 days ago 0 replies      
Respect Rackspace! Maybe I should switch to you from AWS :)
ropman76 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a nice legal term for "I hope Rackspace gives them hell"?
dannowatts 3 days ago 0 replies      
scream it from the mountains:


jarmitage 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where's the petition against patent trolls, America? (Or has this been tried already / would it fail?)
kislayverma 3 days ago 0 replies      
Don't Copy-Paste from Website to Terminal thejh.net
585 points by dave1010uk  20 hours ago   234 comments top 40
NelsonMinar 19 hours ago 9 replies      
Why would I bother copying and pasting the code to my clipboard when common industry practice now is just to invoke the output of curl directly?

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go)

moonboots 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Bash and Zsh provide shortcuts to open a text editor where commands can be pasted and edited before running (Ctrl-x Ctrl-e in bash, need to enable in zsh [2]). I've been using this on Linux not for security but because I'm still confused by X11's primary and clipboard selections [1]. It seems like every time I try to paste a github repo link, I get the last chunk of code I copied and vice versa.

[1] http://www.nongnu.org/autocutsel/

[2] Sample .zshrc to map edit-command-line to Ctrl-x e:

  autoload edit-command-line
zle -N edit-command-line
bindkey '^Xe' edit-command-line

edit: fixed shortcut for bash

edit: forgot about my .zshrc

raymondh 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Nicely done! Here's the underlying source:

    <p class="codeblock">
<!-- Oh noes, you found it! -->
git clone
<span style="position: absolute; left: -100px; top: -100px">/dev/null; clear; echo -n "Hello ";whoami|tr -d '\n';echo -e '!\nThat was a bad idea. Don'"'"'t copy code from websites you don'"'"'t trust!<br>Here'"'"'s the first line of your /etc/passwd: ';head -n1 /etc/passwd<br>git clone </span>

networked 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Perhaps the real problem here is that, as noted by Ted Nelson back when the concept started to gain popularity, "[the computer clipboard is] just like a regular clipboard, except (a) you can't see it, (b) it holds only one object, (c) whatever you put there destroys the previous contents." The presented vulnerability hinges on (a), and, Glipper [1] notwithstanding, (a)-(c) is still the default behavior in every GUI I use.

[1] https://launchpad.net/glipper

comex 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Well... yeah, but even without hidden text, what are you going to do after you clone the repository? Probably `make` or `ruby something.rb` or any number of other commands that can run arbitrary code. If you don't trust someone, you shouldn't be trying to clone their git repo in the first place.
miles 17 hours ago 1 reply      
joliss 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I suspect that the only way to effectively mitigate this is in the terminal application, by displaying a confirmation with the pasted text before accepting any multi-line[1] paste. For example here: https://code.google.com/p/iterm2/issues/detail?id=594

[1] There may be other dangerous characters besides newlines, e.g. escape sequences. I'm not sure if it's possible to make an exhaustive list for something like Bash. Perhaps one has to guard against any paste?

SG- 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm confused why this is even allowed by the browsers, you shouldn't be able to send something else to the clipboard. Are there any browser extensions that can 'fix' this issue?
dave1010uk 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Note: if you don't trust this, paste into a text editor!

It works with this CSS:

    position: absolute; left: -100px; top: -100px

hollerith 19 hours ago 5 replies      
One of many examples by which making the web a better "application-delivery" platform makes it less secure, less reliable, less predictable and more tedious in its original role of sharing text, images and links.
LogicX 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Pasted result is:

  git clone

/dev/null; clear; echo -n "Hello ";whoami|tr -d '\n';echo -e '!\nThat was a bad idea. Don'"'"'t copy code from websites you don'"'"'t trust!

Here'"'"'s the first line of your /etc/passwd: ';head -n1 /etc/passwd

git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/utils/kup/kup.git

cirwin 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Good terminal emulators (xterm, urxvt, iTerm2, etc.) have support for "bracketed paste mode" which can be used to fix this problem in zsh: https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/pull/1698 original code: http://www.zsh.org/mla/users/2011/msg00367.html)

It's probably easy to write a similar fix for bash.

Tyr42 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Actually, since I tried to copy it by triple clicking, which selects one line (at least, I expect it to. It's what sublime text does). That didn't copy any of the malicious text, and it just stopped between the clone and the url.
Justsignedup 1 hour ago 1 reply      
ok, honestly, where is the ability to disable clipboard manipulation or similar techniques? Browsers need to do this. I have NEVER seen value if a website's ability to modify my clipboard.
mobweb 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, crazy, never really thought about this as an attack vector but it seems pretty obvious. I must confess that as a person who solves many problems by Googling I have directly pasted terminal commands from unknown websites countless times...
ck2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Can browsers fix this behavior?

It seems like a security hole for many reasons.

The default should be to copy plain text as highlighted, and advanced right click for html based copying.

andrelaszlo 19 hours ago 3 replies      
I usually put a # before anything I paste into a terminal. Mostly because I sometimes get a newline at the end, but it will disarm this behavior too. I'm not sure if it works in all situations though. Edit: Won't work! Use a heredoc (<<paste) or the editor method suggested above instead.
jayferd 18 hours ago 4 replies      
I mean, untarring a downloaded tarball from somewhere and running `make` is just as dangerous, right? Only there you can make sure the checksum matches, but people skip that step all the time.
Qantourisc 19 hours ago 1 reply      
IMO this is the browsers fault.
One expects to copy the selected (visible) text.
But kinda hard to fix ...
seldo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Or possibly "don't follow instructions from people you don't trust", regardless of what they tell you to do.
dechols 19 hours ago 4 replies      
So the answer is to paste it into an editor first?
bluetooth 19 hours ago 2 replies      
This is really just an extension of clickjacking - modifying the UI to trick the user into performing an undesired action. This is a pretty novel idea, and considering how many websites make use of this to slap their permalinks into copied text (albeit with flash, usually), I'm surprised this hasn't been thought of before.

It would be an interesting experiment to sneak a harmless command after every snippet on a site like commandlinefu.com.

Edit: Also while playing around, I remembered irssi actually has a defense against this. If you try pasting multiple lines, it can detect this. It presents you with a prompt asking if you really intended to paste >5 lines into the text field. I wonder if something like this could be implemented in a shell?

melicerte 2 hours ago 0 replies      
what I usually do before pasting insecure clipboard content to a terminal is that I start with a double quotes character "
Once I see the real output, I just have to remove the quotes (<ctrl-a> <del><return>
Thrall 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a subtle hint that all is not well if you try to select the code using triple-click: it will only select one half at a time, suggesting it is not the one-liner it appears to be...
vxNsr 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This doesn't seem like such a big deal

You have one of two ways to combat this:
1) always copy things to notepad first so whatever it is that you copied you can verify is what you meant to copy

2) Use the inspection tool of your browser to copy it from source where things can't really be hidden.

I usually do #1 anyway because of weird formatting and characters

pnathan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Well done, sir.

Thanks for bringing this up.

munimkazia 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Did it stop working for anyone the second time? I tried it once, and it worked (gave me the warning and first line of my /etc/passwd file). I wanted to show it to a coworker but it mysteriously stopped working. It is just copying the displayed text now. Kinda weird..

Using Google Chrome 26.0.1410.43 on ubuntu 12.10 64bit.

cmsj 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Out of interest, does anyone know of a Mac utility which will intercept the default paste shortcut and pop up a confirmation of what is going to be pasted, with a really quick interface to the previous few items that were copied to the clipboard?
jeromeparadis 14 hours ago 0 replies      
That's why I always paste to my text editor and copy from there before pasting anything from a Web page.
kyllo 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, but not just that. It's also important to make an effort to understand what commands you are typing into your shell before typing them (Google them first if you don't know).
jpswade 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Unless it's from a trusted source...
Achshar 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Select the text and right click to copy. The trick is over when the "search google for 'malicious text' comes up instead of the command in chrome.
vishnumenon 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I was just thinking it might be cool to have a service that site owners could include via JS that would ensure that the content in a div is the content seen by the user. It could have a little stamp that says "Verified by SuchAndSuch" in the corner of the div. Should I try to make this? Any obvious issues? Is it worth it?
gyepi 19 hours ago 0 replies      
FWIW, I use shell mode in emacs most of the time and it happily accepts, and buffers, multiline commands until you hit enter, unlike the terminal.
mistofvongola 18 hours ago 2 replies      
This is another reason I always type a '#' before copy/pasting any long commands. The main reason is that I sometimes want to edit a long copied command and sometimes a newline get caught in my 'copy'. The '#' prevents it from accidentally executing.
fidz 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In bitbucket, you could simply copy paste clone command in the text field. Isn't text field is far more safe since there should no hidden element?
anarchotroll 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Copying with pentadactyl using Y shows exactly what has been copied on the status line at the bottom of the screen.
keekdown 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmmm...I just hasn't been thinking about such things
umarrana 5 hours ago 0 replies      
shit you almost killed me
chickopozo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
How is this news? Its been done so many times I've lost count.
French homeland intelligence threatens a sysop into deleting a Wikipedia Article wikimedia.fr
547 points by GabrielF00  2 days ago   188 comments top 34
ErrantX 2 days ago 6 replies      
Wikimedia France just published an article (in English) with more details: http://blog.wikimedia.fr/dcri-threat-a-sysop-to-delete-a-wik...

What's distressing about this is that they found a French Wikipedia sysop who they could identify in real life and "summoned" him to their offices (I presume from the language it was a summons he couldn't refuse). Then forced him to delete it there and then, despite no prior connection to the article, or else be detained.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of them wanting to delete the article, or whether it had super-secret information, there is only really one response to what they did; What. The. Fuck.

The precedent they are setting is something like "if you are involved in a website where someone else does something we consider problematic, you could be in trouble. If we feel like it".

lifeisstillgood 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think this is a really revealing story. Not revealing as
in what the French Government were worried about specifically but as in the changing of the world.

Firstly the grey world of interesting classified information - it has long been the domain of Janes' Ships and similar publications - who themselves had been "trusted" not to go too far, and only occassionally (as in the reveal of the Stealth bomber as an airfix kit in the late '80s) does it come to mass public attention.

This resulted in a grey world where secrets were not actually secret - just private.

Secondly - the loss of privacy. We worry about it for individuals - but it is happening to governments too, and faster. And they, like us, have not accpeted the new reality - there is no privacy. Facebook can determine if you are having an affair, are gay or ill. Combined tracking of sites and queries can reveal almost anything about ourselves and our medical conditions. Concerned your employer might know you are rethinking your sexuality? Don't Google "gay bars". Don't friend anyone. Remove the battery from the iPhone before going out for the night.

The same goes for governments - if it is not a secret, it is
open. And it is not a secret because you say so - its a secret because no-one knows.

Thirdly this leads to a simple choice - decide on the things you are going to keep secret. And keep them secret with all the resources of the State. This clearly does not work in the "I say that is secret and you will now forget it" approach taken here. It works in the not F$%king telling anyone sense.

Fourthly - Most things will be open - its not feasible to hide a 100ft tower in the middle of the French countryside.
You cannot keep a plane secret. You cannot keep a prison secret. In fact there is not much in an open andinquisitive society you can keep secret.

What does this leave? I am not too sure. Secret rendition flights are monitored by plane-spotting enthusiasts and soon will just be a google-satellite search away.

I think it will be a better world - less secrecy usually means better function, but there is a really big threat - the tempting way to keep things secret is to keep everything secret. Shut down the open, democratic society. Shut down inquisitiveness. Piece by piece.

And we do need to fight that at each and every turn because until governments get it - this is their default, tempting solution. Fighting terrorists? Lets torture some. Nuclear strike warning network under threat? Put wikipedia under French control.

My only suggestion is as follows: define National Security. Something like a reasonable belief that this things will threaten to destroy 2% of GDP or 1000+ deaths of citizens.
Embarrassment to Politicans? Loss of a couple of agents? Not likely. So when someone quotes National Security, people listen. And if you quote it for a wikipedia article - woe betide you.

If we do it right we shall slowly find that like online security, you get it right by actually being secure.

Lesson here - security by secrecy, is no security at all.

onemorepassword 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not defending the idiotic actions of the DCRI here, but try looking at it from a non-American perspective.

American organizations appear to bend over backward to be of service to American intelligence interests around the world, but tend to act arrogantly if approached by local authorities over local matters, to the extend of openly violating the law of the country they're operating in.

For all we know (I'm neither a lawyer nor French), French law requires the whole publication to be taken down immediately pending further procedure. In that case it's not surprise that something designated a matter of national security gets escalated fast.

Wikipedia's blunt refusal has probably pissed the French of more than the actual content of the article.

johnchristopher 2 days ago 1 reply      
If, like it randomly happens to me, the link takes you in the middle of a french discussion, you just need to scroll all the way down to get a much more explicative message from the WMF about the chain of events.

I always have a hard time navigating wp discussion pages. Here is what looks like a more informative post that the one linked in the title of this HN post. EDIT: disregard that comment about the title as it might be a navigation problem on my side.

> First, my apologies for speaking in English in response to this thread, but I fear my French would not be adequate to convey what I would like to. If someone who is fluent in English and French would be so kind as to translate my message so that everyone on this thread can understand it, I would very much appreciate that. The Wikimedia Foundation's legal team was contacted by Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur in early March regarding the French language Wikipedia article entitled "La station hertzienne militaire de Pierre sur Haute". The Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur requested that we delete the article in its entirety under the claim that it contained classified military information. I responded to Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur, requesting more detailed information because it was not apparent what classified information the article could possibly contain from a plain reading of the article. The Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur repeatedly failed to provide any further information and simply continued to make a general takedown demand, despite my explanation that we could not remove the information without more information from them. Eventually, I had no choice but to refuse their request until they are willing to provide me with more information so that I can properly evaluate their claim under legal standards. The community remains free, of course, to retain or remove the article as it sees fit. But at this point, we do not see a demonstrated reason to remove it on legal grounds. --Michelle Paulson, Legal Counsel (WMF)

And this is "Remi"'s first post about the whole thing (rough translation and report):

> Bonjour,

> je vous informe que l'article Station hertzienne militaire de Pierre sur Haute vient d'être supprimé par mes soins. Cet article contrevenait à l'article 413-11 du code pénal français (compromission du secret de la Défense nationale). La police française m'a convoqué en tant qu'administrateur, suite au refus de la Wikimedia Foundation de supprimer cet article en l'état des éléments fournis.

> La remise en ligne engagera la responsabilité pénale de l'administrateur qui aura effectué cette action.

Remi M. (d · c). À Paris, ce 4 avril 2013 à 11:11 (CEST)

In a nutshell:

- He deleted an article about a military radio station (Pierre sur Haute) ;

- he states that that article violates article 413-411 of the french penal code (violation of state defense secret) ;

- french police asks him to come to their office for a little chat (can't recall the english legalese for this) following wikimedia foundation refusal to delete the article. Him=a wikipedia administrator.

- he finally states that any admin who restores the article would face legal and penal consequences.

I understand from this first post that it is implied he deleted the article after the whole wikimedia refusal to delete the article but don't quote me on that and check for the exact chronology of events yourself when it surfaces.

There is also now a debate about the role of wikipedia admin on articles and their rights to delete or endorse responsabilities (I haven't read everything yet, take my rough report and translation with a grain of salt).

stefantalpalaru 2 days ago 2 replies      
I find the fact that an intelligence agency does not understand Wikipedia scarier than the actual bullying. These are people allowed to circumvent the law in order to protect the country. People who do counter-espionage and counter-terrorism it what amounts to a police state. If they can't figure out this, how are they dealing with the serious stuff?
mseebach 1 day ago 7 replies      
A couple of points:

- The laws on official secrets typically (and uncontroversially IMO) forbid any unauthorized handling or distribution of classified material. This is not a US-pandering post-9-11 knee-jerk thing, it goes back at least to WWII, and probably much longer.

- Many facts are classified, even though they don't appear significant. Sometimes they indeed aren't, sometimes the motivation is that a multitude of such facts collectively suggest something which is significant.

- Telling an uncleared person what is classified amounts to giving that person even more classified material that they're not allowed to have. Obviously, so is saying that there's classified material on the page at all, but arguably less so.

- There are some items on the Wikipedia page in question that have "citation needed", ie. they are not immediately obviously sourced from publicly accessible material. Chances are that the problematic material is among those facts.

AndrewDucker 2 days ago 4 replies      
I suspect we're about to see the Streisand effect in action.
thotpoizn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Suddenly I cannot think of a single thing QUITE so intoxicatingly interesting as what the French might be up to with this radio station on Pierre sur Haute!

Surely it must be just sinfully rich with secret sauce, mystery, and espionage! If only there were thousands of like-minded, curious individuals with the wherewithal to investigate and help bring these wonderful mysteries to light...

jontro 2 days ago 4 replies      
The french intelligence agency has done many mistakes in the past. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior is seen as one of the most counter productive operations done my military agencies to date
rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see Ms. Streisand works for French Intelligence now. I hope this gets a South Park episode, too.
sp4ke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fellow living in France here.

For those who want to learn more, the radio station built at this site is part of a Tropospheric Scatter Communication Network (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropospheric_scatter) named Ace High and which is used by NATO for military and civilian communications.

You can see it here on a map with other TSCN networks

avar 2 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason the submitted story links to the original insertion of that notice, but it's been updated a lot since then (including a translation into French and an ensuing discussion): https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Bulletin_des_ad...
D9u 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article has been updated to reflect the current controversy.

Perhaps this is the sensitive portion?
The most important part of the site is the underground part, used for transmissions dispatch: at a speed of 2 Mb/s, communications from the towers are analysed, then redirected to be transmitted as appropriate.

benbataille 1 day ago 3 replies      
While I agree the situation underlines a real problem, I don't think it lies where people think. If you read the text, you will realise that, even if they are really clumsy, the issue here is not so much the DCRI than French law itself.

Let's look closely at what is happening :
1 - The DCRI aks the Wikimedia Fundation to delete an article from Wikipedia because it's infringing article 413-11 of the French penal code.
2 - The Wikimedia Fundation refuses arguing the order should state which piece of information in the article is classified.
3 - As the Wikimedia Fundation is an american organisation, the DCRI turns itself towards its French arm, the French Wikimedia and its representative.
4 - Under pressure, the president complies and removes the article pointing that people putting it back will be breaking the law.

Well, actually, he is probably right. While I understand why the Wikimedia Fundation took a stand and refused to remove the article, as silly as it seems, the fact remains : In France, putting classified information online is illegal even you don't know they are classified.

Let's look at the article 413-11 :

First, this article is aimed at everyone not mentioned in article 413-10. Article 413-10 lists the sanction for people which are legitimately depositary of a state secret. Thus, article 413-11 concerned anyone knowing a state secret without being mandated.

Now, there is three points in the article. The first one says that the mere fact of knowing classified information without being mandated is illegal (yes, even by accident). The second one that destroying, stealing or copying such information is illegal (yes, it's unnecessary considering that to do that you have already committed 1). The third (unnecessary too) states that sharing this information with the public is illegal too.

So yes, if the Wikipedia article contains classified information, Wikimedia France already broke the law and its legal representative is liable and yes it's laughable.

But now, the best part. Do you know why there is so unnecessary part in this law ?
Because it was changed in 2009 ! Previously, article 1 only criminalised illegally acquiring classified information, not knowledge of it. But, you nailed it, transforming unknowing citizen into criminals was obviously a necessity to protect us against terrorists and the amendment was passed in a state of general indifference despite some warning from the press (for once).

So, if you want to blame someone, blame the French parliament and the French people. It's entirely our own fault (you can also do some lobbying if you happen to be French, the new government might hear you but I doubt it).

slacka 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a link to a pastebin of the original article dated July 20, 2012 before it was deleted. Also includes a link to the video that started the controversy:
bmmayer1 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's next? How easy would it be for French officials to decide that something that's critical of the president or the ruling party may be a threat to state security and censor the internet accordingly?
wolf550e 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia is full classified information, the same way as Jane's and Aviation Week is full of classified information. Intelligence agencies read this stuff and try to sift disinformation from genuine leaks. Counter-intelligence agencies try to act cool and make the enemy suspect the information is inaccurate.
dreamdu5t 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ideas are not property. Government secrets == thoughtcrime.

The "intelligence" agency doesn't even understand how Wikipedia works! Scary.

edouard1234567 1 day ago 0 replies      
One simple suggestion to prevent this from happening in the future : require each deletion to be approved by another Wikipedia representative in a DIFFERENT COUNTRY.
HunterV 1 day ago 1 reply      
I grew up in France, this isn't unexpected or unusual for the government to do.
But it is a perfect example of why administrative rights (the ability to delete/censor an article) should reside in a country that has complete freedom of the press, America.
kghose 1 day ago 1 reply      
What I would do as a real intelligence agency is start inserting fake information into the article.
PaulHoule 1 day ago 0 replies      
I dunno, you've gotta watch out for Wikipedia.

I know a guy who had a rare car, of which there were twelve in the world. One day some people came and tried to steal his car and the cops told him to get the photo taken down because this would encourage future attempts.

epo 20 hours ago 0 replies      
What is it with this moronic word "homeland"? This was the DCRI, an internal security organization. "Homeland" is a fascist-style euphemism which the Americans have become conditioned into using.
Vlaix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny how the overreaction mostly comes from foreigners or people involved with Wikimedia activities.

It may have been handled abruptly (if it were properly handled, there wouldn't be any significant article about the event anywhere), but the DCRI is perfectly within its rights and was right to have the info taken down.
No, information isn't free or benign. The right info in the right hands can be destructive, and I'm glad there are people watching out so that our national soil remains more or less safe. Knowing about very sensitive compounds _isn't_ a right nor a liberty.

Furthermore, it's not for the Wikimedia Fondation to assess the sensitivity of information, they merely provide efficient ways of spreading it and should stick to that.

raonyguimaraes 2 days ago 1 reply      
ballard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not to reach for the big "let's invent a new policy" stick, however does wikia have guidelines for those contributing articles where there is obvious life-and-limb danger to subjects, and by-proxy contributors? Also, don't contributors have some basic moral duty to not reveal things (0days, troop movements, etc.) that puts others in immanent danger?
polynomial 1 day ago 0 replies      
Was the article later restored by Wikipedia? It doesn't make any sense that it would have been permanently deleted.
wilfra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somebody, somewhere in France should go on strike.
froggyDoggy 1 day ago 0 replies      
So why not put the article back up? if its already public knowledge? and Just lock it to teach them a lesson?
ancarda 1 day ago 0 replies      
And initiate the Streisand effect; I'm now digging around to find the article to read what sensitive information is hidden from me.
mzr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Liberté, égalité, farterai....ahh nevermind
brianstorms 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's an article about the site with interesting photos... it's in French but use Google Translate to get the gist.


kefeizhou 2 days ago 1 reply      
Simply deleting the article doesn't erase it from the internet. If the content is really that important people who want it badly enough can still find it in archives and old database dumps.
How I Busted a Thief Who Tried to Sell My Camera on Craigslist petapixel.com
429 points by missy  1 day ago   160 comments top 32
elliottcarlson 1 day ago 3 replies      
A few years ago, my wife made a mistake and left her purse in her class room as she went out for a smoke break - while it was a pretty poor decision to leave her purse unattended, this was a class of about 10 students that she thought she could trust. As she was driving back home, she realized she didn't have any money for the toll to cross over the bridge - which should not have been the case. Luckily the toll booth clerk let her through and my wife really didn't think much about it other than that she may have just not had money on her after all.

Later that evening we get a call from Chase asking about a string of purchases on her credit card - panic mode sets in and she realizes that one of her credit cards is missing. Luckily, my wife puts the phone on speaker mode so I can hear the full details of the conversation - and the Chase rep goes through the list of locations the card was used that day. I take note of all the locations, times and dollar amounts.

With this information in hand, we both headed to the first store on the list, a GameStop located about 10 minutes from the school, and the first purchase attempt happened 15 minutes after school ended - the culprit wasted no time. We speak to the manager of the GameStop who understands the situation and is eager to help, but only with the presence of the police. We call up the police and are able to explain everything that has happened, that we want to file a report, and that we are on location of one of the stores who has the camera footage already loaded if someone could come out. We waited about 45 minutes and finally a patrol car shows up.

We start the process of explaining what has happened so far, that we have the full list of locations and times - and just need their help to be able to positively identify the thief on camera. They agree and we are able to access the back video room to attempt to identify the person. Sadly, GameStop (at least this location) had really poor recordings and it was hard to have a 100% confirmation - it could've been one of two classmates and we weren't certain. The next location was a Target, literally around the corner. We went over there, with the two police officers, who went to speak to their security office. Unlike GameStop, we had to wait outside until they had loaded the exact time - I guess to prevent us from seeing any other information/transactions. It turns out that Target had a security system that can take the credit card number used, automatically go to not only the right time, but right checkout aisle and show close ups of the person AND the card being used. One press of a button and the video was burnt to a DVD for the police officers to take back as evidence.

In the end the class mate was trying to buy Playstation 3s to be able to sell, so she could pay off the fines that she received for committing identity theft when she was a minor.... She received 6 months in one county for the theft of the card, then another 8 months for using the card in a different county. Additionally her mom was arrested since they noticed that she had a warrant out for her arrest so they just took care of that one as well.

curveship 1 day ago 6 replies      
In two decades of bike commuting, I've had my bicycle stolen three times, and with a lot of effort and a lot of luck I've recovered it all three times.

#1: I was 19 and had ridden it to a local swimming hole, stashing it in the woods. That sounds dumb, but this was in a county of only 4,000 residents, so you didn't expect much theft. When I came back, it was gone.

How it was recovered: that same day, I went to every house within a mile and asked if anyone had seen it. Four days later, a dad and his son showed up, saying they'd found it abandoned in some woods.

#2: (same bike, a decade later) I parked it behind my house, out of sight of the street. I started out locking it, but over the years I got to be relaxed about it. One morning about 7 AM I hard footsteps and a bike being wheeled down my driveway. It was a shared driveway with my neighbor, and he was also a biker, so I figured he was just heading out early. Nope, that was my bike being stolen. I never found out if the thief knew it was back there or wandered back and happened upon it.

How it was recovered: I live in a smallish city (300,000), and figured if I just kept my eyes open, I'd see it eventually. It became a habit to scan a bike rack whenever I walked by or locked up. Sure enough, two years later there it was, right next to me as I locked up my new bike. It still had the registration stickers from my college on it, so it was easy to ID with the police. It turned out that the current owner had bought it from a pawnshop. She ended up being the true victim, as I got my bike back and she didn't get her money.

#3, eight years later: I had run to the library to pick up a book, only to find that my lock, which always lived in my bag, had been left in my daughter's bike trailer after a weekend excursion. I stashed my bike in the middle of the rack, jammed in between two others. No one can tell it's unlocked, right? Wrong. I came out ten minutes later and it was gone.

How it was recovered: I mailed a picture of my bike to every local listserve. About a week later, a woman wrote me saying she thought she'd seen it on a porch in her neighborhood. "Great!" I thought, and asked her what the address was. Then the conversation started to feel strange, and she eventually stopped replying to my messages. Two weeks later, she finally replied, sending a picture of the bike. It was definitely mine, as I had installed some custom parts and stickers. When I wrote that I was absolutely positively sure it was my bike, she finally gave me the address -- it turned out it wasn't a "neighbor" but a young married couple with whom she was sharing her apartment.

I decided to ask the police to come with me when I went to recover it, which they very kindly did. The husband who had stolen the bike wasn't home, but his wife was. She claimed he'd "found it on the side of the road with a free sign," and that "he would never steal." Clearly hogwash, but in the end, I didn't press charges for two reasons. I went back with a police officer to talk to the couple, and it was very clear they were terrified. He was a young teacher and being convicted of this crime would end that career. My gut instinct was that they weren't habitual thieves. They were both smart, college educated, but just getting started in their lives and without much money. He clearly really wanted my bike. (For the record, it was a semi-desirable fixed gear road bike). He'd fixed up a few worn parts, replaced others with ones that matched his style, etc. In the end, I decided to believe that it was a one-time crime of passion and to let him go with a stern talking-to from the police and a pointer towards the local bike co-op where he could build up his own bike.

Phew, long story. Anyway, if you lose something ... keep trying!

rdl 1 day ago 5 replies      
If true, I'm pretty sure this wasn't in San Francisco or Oakland. I could maybe see one of the smaller Peninsula PDs helping out like this.

Confronting a thief in person is pretty dangerous (if the police weren't there); there's a non-zero chance of a fight, possibly involving a knife or gun. If you theoretically have a CCW and can be legally carrying a gun for self defense, it's still physically dangerous, and legally risky (a lot of legal/self defense advice is that if you're going to confront someone like a cheating spouse or whatever, you should not have even a legally owned gun with you, since if things escalate, it can get much worse.) Even a "righteous" self defense shoot in California is probably going to cost you $50-100k in legal -- absolutely worth it to save your life or the life of someone you care about, not really worth it for anything else, including breaking up strangers fighting on the street.

Much safer to just gather information and give it to the police.

I don't know how much risk I'd be willing to take for a $350 camera. (if it had a 5.0 f/1.0L or 1200mm, capture/torture/killing might be appropriate, though)

danso 1 day ago 1 reply      
An interesting story, I'm glad it worked for the OP...I had been robbed at gunpoint sometime ago in NYC. The cops helped as much as they could but nothing above and beyond...for example, the fact that whoever had my iPod was now using my Netflix account through it didn't really register much interest (and a Netflix rep claimed to not be able to track the IP that device was using...huh?).

I did set up a fake account on Craigslist to pretend that I was looking to buy an iPod of my specific make and model (it wasn't a common color/size) and found a couple of people who were selling such an iPod, but they claimed to have original packaging, which would not apply in my case (though I guess if you're good at being a fence you can get packaging from somewhere).

Mostly, I learned how annoying it is to search through Craigslist noise.


edit: Some commenters have noted that the OP's story sounds fake, on the grounds that a big city police department wouldn't take interest. Well, yes and no.

My good friend had her iPhone snatched in a park during the day. She chased the perp on foot and managed to get the attention of police and, in her words, no less than two unmarked police cars suddenly showed up. They chased the perp into the projects but at that point, there was nothing the police could do. But they did take her to the station to look at mug shots and file a report.

In my case, I had left my phone unerased for a week (it was Android) and turned on the tracking program, which allowed me to locate him approximately with GPS and even record sound and take photos. I found where he was staying on two different occasions but the police declined to check it out...and I don't begrudge them since a 100-foot radius in a NYC apartment complex is quite large. Also, my detective was involved in investigating an unusually public and brutal crime that weekend and couldn't get back to me.

In other words, the NYPD will call out the troops for a crime in progress, or if you have an otherwise extremely solid lead, as in the case of the OP. Otherwise, yes, they will not go out of their way to track your stolen goods, because they operate on the assumption that it's been sold on the street (in my case, I doubted my phone had been sold, because the Android program lets me know how many times someone has tried to unlock the passcode and other usage info about the phone...it definitely hadn't been hard-wiped to be resold yet).

brc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, here is my stole and recovered story.

I was tending to my front garden one day when I see this massive shirtless guy walking up the road with a huge pot plant. It was a weird scene so stuck with me.

Later that day two Thai guys walk up the road and ask me if I had seen anyone with a pot plant. I tell them that I had, they tell me they own the local Thai restaurant down the road, and someone has stolen the big pot plants from out the front. I gave them a description of the guy, but I told hem I didn't know where he went.

Anyway, next morning I get up, and one of my pot plants is missing. After cursing for a while, I sat staring out the back window musing on life. When I realize what I am looking at is my pot plant in the back window of an apartment three buildings away. A very low rent building known to house questionable types (the local nickname was junkie towers)

So I got out the zoom lens, took a a couple of pictures and hunted through my garden photos until I found a picture of the said pot plant. I went down to the police station with the photos and told the my story. Well, the police like nothing more than an open-and -shut case. So they got a warrant, and went around and knocked on the door that afternoon. What they found was a veritable treasure chest of goods taken from around the neighborhood, with pot plants being a particular specialty. The police told me tehy're easy to sell at markets and don't have serial numbers etc. but there were bikes, lawn furniture, you name it, anything that could be stolen without breaking and entering.

The guy turned out to have a warrant for his arrest for an assault charge, and a couple of other things. The detective eventually asked if I woid testify at a hearing against him, which I agreed to, despite being a bit nervous of the size of the guy and his previous assault charge.

The big day in court came and the defending attorney made a big song and dance and tried to suggest that the fact that his client had an identical pot plant to mine was mere coincidence. I suggested that the amount of combinations of pot plants was a very high number of permutations, to which he triumphantly declared that given there were possibly thousands like it, it coudld be merely similar and not exactly the same. I countered with the fact that the odds of a similar pot plant showing up at the exact same time as mine went missing were too high to be mere chance.

Anyway, the guy went to jail, I forget how long now. Th detective told me it was some of the best civilian witness testimony he had seen (I'm sure he says that to everyone). I got my pot plant back, complete with evidence tag that I left on for fun until it disintegrated.

I must say, being in the witness stand was quite harrowing, having to point to someone in court and argue you're not a liar. I had shaky and sweaty hands afterwards, a combination of nerves and adrenalin. All that over a $20 pot plant, but a principle was at stake and was not going to let this creep get away with it.

ISL 1 day ago 2 replies      
Big ups to the folks who created stolencamerafinder.com (looks like one person associated with it is named "Matt"), who gave the author a critical tool.
robbiep 1 day ago 0 replies      
How good are stories of recovery.

My bike was stolen from the hospital where I'm a student. 3 years of going there and never a problem, this night I walked outside and my bike was gone.. The thief had kindly left the chain lying ont be ground where he had cut it.

2 months later and I still hadn't given up on my beautiful 3 yr old trek road bike, Red Lightning. On a whim I checked eBay about 3am (late night studying) and listed all bikes in Sydney.

At 100 per page you can get through them fairly quickly.

Red was on the 6th page with my custom parts still attached.
Called he police who came around at 3.30 in the morning- gave them the website, emailed them my serial number and other photos and they went around the next day and recovered it for me-

Such a win!

Unfortunately still took another 2 months to get it back from the police, but it came back and is still with me to this day

xlance 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have a similiar story. Left my laptop in the car, came back and found the window smashed. Had installed Prey on the laptop, and after jogging around the neighborhood (wearing a suit straight from work) for half an hour I get a e-mail. Location, picture of the guy - everything. I run down to catch a cab, but then I suddenly see a police car. Wave them over, they call up another squad car that was 50 meter away from where the guy was sitting. We come down (5 minute drive) and they already have him in chains. It took maximum 4 minutes from he opened the laptop until he was surrounded by cops.
wazoox 1 day ago 0 replies      
To compensate for all these theft stories: in summer 2008, while in an amusement park in Denmark, I stupidly left my camera on a picnic table. When I came back (without much hope) 15 minutes later, several people, identifying me from my concerned glances around, came to tell me that my camera was safe and guided me to the park guy who was keeping it.

BTW, in Denmark bicycles are parked everywhere without any lock but a small wheel lock that doesn't attach the bike to anything, but only prevent the rear wheel from spinning. Of course most people don't even bother closing this pretty useless lock.

JDGM 12 hours ago 0 replies      
My headmaster in primary school once gave a great assembly on keelhauling where he went into all the gory details of this punishment. As an 8 year old boy, I was gripped.

The part which has really stayed with me is that he said the only offense for which keelhauling was the automatic punishment was stealing. The reason he told us was that on a ship everyone has to trust each other and theft ruins that system. Stealing a shipmate's property, no matter how small, puts the whole ship in danger.

I often wonder whether it would be a net improvement to extend that severity for theft beyond a boat. Whenever I lock up my bike it bothers me what this simple act is saying about society. I now live in a country where it feels as though theft carries a far greater level of social unacceptability, a far higher level of shame associated with it. I like that. In the UK where I grew up however, sometimes taking things that are not yours is reframed as a kind of opportunistic cunning and craftiness. I hate that.

dkrich 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome. There's nothing I hate more than thieves and there are few things more aggravating than having personal property violated or stolen.

A few years ago I had a bunch of cash and my debit card stolen from a gym bag. I tracked the purchases for the next day and then cancelled the card. I tracked the thief to a gas station nearby where he/she had put close to $100 on it. I asked the gas station owner to review the surveillance tapes, but as luck would have it, they weren't running any surveillance at the time. I filed a police report but was never able to catch the thief.

My only problem with the story is the part about having a friend ready to tackle the thief if he tried to run. This is very risky, not only because you are risking the friend's safety, but also because if the thief gets injured you could be on the losing end of a lawsuit. You have to be very, very careful when it comes to physical aggression. If you try to restrain somebody you had better have a damn good reason or you could be guilty of false imprisonment or false arrest.

weisser 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this FB screenshot from the blog the actual person that stole the camera?


Over 22k followers? It seems like this was a fairly petty crime for someone with that strong of an influence. I wonder if the motivation was monetary or for the sheer thrill of stealing and reselling something...

enjo 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've had 3 computers stolen from me in my life. Twice out of my car, and once when my house was broken into.

Just once I wish a thief had been this dumb.

gambiting 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really cool story.

I had my bike stolen a year ago in the UK, and it was a really nice mountain bike worth almost a thousand quid.
I hoped it would be easy to find, since I gave the police pictures, serial number of the frame, and most importantly - the brand of the bike(Kellys) is completely non-existent in the UK, they never sold their bikes there,and I brought it with me from my home country. So I thought, it should be quite easy to spot among all other brands, since it's pretty much one of its kind. Well, I was never able to, never popped up on Ebay, Craigslist or any other trading websites. I really do wonder sometimes what happened to it.

pixelcort 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would be curious who invited the person, or how the person found out about the party.
alenart 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is just like the story of the guy whose stolen bike from Portland showed up in Seattle's Craigslist. IIRC this guy didn't have support from the police and set his own sting operation, the a-ha thing here was that he used Burner to make it look like he had a Seattle area code:
lucb1e 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, police helping anyone in a situation like this? Like, you ask them and they come and help the same day (or at all)? I don't mean to be harsh, but based on personal history and what I've heard from friends and acquaintances, that's a first.
azernik 1 day ago 1 reply      
The most interesting part of this story to me - the guy checked the serial number of his camera by uploading a picture taken by that camera to an online tool, which I presume read that out of the EXIF tags. It was useful in this case, but it's still somewhat creepy that every picture some significant subset of people are taking includes personally identifiable information.
Luyt 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is quite scary:

"The cops questioned him for a bit [...] and arrested him. It turns out he had a very realistic airsoft gun on him, which would have made running away with the camera a helluva lot scarier. When he was fingerprinted at the station it turns out this guy also had a warrant out for his arrest, and that he was using an alias all this time."

A guy running around with a realistic looking gun, a warrant out for his arrest, and this person just visited your party yesterday night. Brrr...

starky 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I was reading this story and found myself smiling after every paragraph because I had gone through pretty much the exact same story. Except that it was a Nintendo Wii soon after it came out.

In my case the police officer that got the guys information after I brought it in decided to go meet the guy himself because he recognized the name. Had the console hand delivered to me that night after matching the serial number.

bambax 1 day ago 0 replies      
> My DSLR (...) which I learned photography on

Oh. Nowadays people learn photography using a "D" SLR... That makes me feel so old!

PS: thanks for the info about http://www.stolencamerafinder.com/, very useful (and not something you could have used with a non-D SLR...)

auctiontheory 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good job!

All this story lacks is a serious beatdown, or at least a tasering to the balls.

kamobit 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is awesome, but after going through all the trouble to protect your identity doesn't putting this up online undermine your efforts?

You mention days of the week in the post as well as some details of your exchange with the thief in your replies to his Craigslist ad. He could likely tie it back to you easily if he was informed of this story.

victorhn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Two undercover cops for a camera? What an awesome police department. In my country i am skeptical i could get that kind of support for a camera, most probably i would file a report where the investigation would go nowhere ( if there is one ).
aaron695 1 day ago 3 replies      
You have to be carefully with stories like this, often the reason they go viral is not for nice reasons.

To me it seems the enjoyment is someone gets hurt and we get to be guilt free in doing it because the hurt person is 'clear cut' bad.

Sure that's why we enjoy most movies and computer games, but I think taking it to real life is a step again.

There's a nasty undercurrent in these sort of things on the internet like nigeria scammers scammers.

Always remember more often than not the people participating in these crimes do it due to mental illness or desperation.

I'm not saying let them get away with it, I'm not saying don't blog about it. I'm just saying in my opinion perhaps try not to celebrate it to much.

triplesec 1 day ago 0 replies      
Much less hassle than this guy last year who got his bicycle back from a thief. This was an expensive bike, so he had to fly to another city to retrieve it.


itistoday2 1 day ago 0 replies      
TommyDANGerous 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great story and perseverance. Huge props and very happy you were able to get your camera back. This gives us hope when we are faced in this kind of situation. Great read, thanks!
ateev23 1 day ago 0 replies      
I dont know who you are, i dont know what you want but if you take my dlsr away, i will find you.
helloamar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lovely plan
_fs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fake... No craigslist buyer or seller ever arrives on time.
Sujan 1 day ago 4 replies      
Sorry, but this sounds fake.
Stop working so hard medium.com
387 points by jpadilla_  4 days ago   162 comments top 44
webwright 4 days ago 10 replies      
Empirically, people who succeed on a grand scale work their asses off because they love (or are addicted) to their work.

So no, you won't be as productive if you aren't addicted to your work, don't love it, and/or don't think about it all/most of the time. (aside: yes, you need to eat well and exercise and take a breather from time to time).

That said, productivity/achievement might be a bit overrated. Will your life be better and will you be happier when you achieve your goal? Will you ever achieve it? Most of us disregard the fact that wealth is not remotely correlated with happiness and still hunt for the big payday.

[edit: lots of folks are asking for data. FWIW, I founded and ran RescueTime, so I was hip dip in this world for a long time.

The data actually shows that, for line workers, hours worked have diminishing returns. However, when you look at people at the top of their game (executives, etc), they work extreme hours. Correlation does not equal causation, of course. But when you look at the most successful/productive people in your circles, how many of them talk about work/life balance, have lots of hobbies, etc? Maybe they're successful DESPITE their crazy work hours, for all I know.]

noelwelsh 4 days ago 14 replies      
On this theme, I've found having kids has actually helped me be more productive. I don't have the opportunity to work crazy hours. I know I can't catch up in the evening so I have to make every day count. Because my hours are limited to a standard working day I never burn-out, and I'm motivated and ready to go each and every day.

When they were really young it was rough (no sleep, etc.) but now they're a bit older it generally works out well. (Modulo illness. They are both currently coming down with something and it's going to wipe out at least two working days.)

crazygringo 4 days ago 2 replies      
Here's one way to think of it. Suppose you're working on a new product, and you have to decide whether to spend 30 hrs or 60 hrs / week on it, over the next two years.

If the difference is between failure in the first case, and success in the second case, then it's either a bad product, or you're bad at planning. If you work half as much, then maybe it will have less features, but a good product should still be viable. And everyone knows predicting how your software will adhere to a schedule is impossible, so the chances are good you wouldn't even get it to work at 60 hrs/wk.

Obviously, an order of magnitude difference in effort should produce a qualitative difference in your product. You can't replace ten good programmers' time with just one.

But picking startup ideas that require you to be working 80 hours a week, is just bad planning -- it's waaaay too risky. When you live in a first world country, and are doing this out of choice (not survival), it's insane to sacrifice your health like that.

If an idea is really good and really sustainable, truly a good business idea, then there are much healthier ways of finding success than working 80 hours weeks -- finding partners, networking better to get investment, etc.

I'm not advocating anything silly like a 4-hour workweek. I'm just advocating realistic expectations, realistic risk management, and realistic work-life balance.

You might get hit by a car two years from now. You don't want to have neglected all the wonderful things in life, like relationships and experiences with people, in exclusive pursuit of a startup over those two years. Even not getting hit by a car, there's a large chance your startup will fail. Don't throw away your life in complete pursuit of a single thing -- healthy balance is key.

lubujackson 4 days ago 0 replies      
After working on a few startups, my experience is that when you operate in crunch mode for a long period of time the line between "crisis" and "normal" blurs and you simply can't distinguish or effectively scale your effort to the situation. This is especially harmful for entrepreneurs when they have to deeply consider their strategic options or programmers when they are trying to refactor code.

I can't tell you how many hours of development I've wasted simply because I didn't want to spend an extra hour thinking through the implications and instead tried to "get 'er done."

I DON'T agree that this means you have to work less than 35 hours a week and take long walks on the beach. I've had really productive times working 100 hours a week. But when you feel burned out or stressed, when you have trouble prioritizing your efforts, when everything feels like it's "way behind" you are going to make mistakes and put effort in the wrong place. It's important to stay balanced, but "balanced" means different things to different people at different points in their career.

bjhoops1 4 days ago 2 replies      
My last semester of college, our capstone course saw me at the head of a team of 5 CS students building a video game. Some of the other teams frequently pulled all-nighters trying to meet the course's ambitious deadline, but the whole semester my team and I never did need to work through the night. We ended up doing better than most teams, too. In fact, the team that "won" spent even fewer hours working than we did.

Anecdotal, to be sure, but I found the inverse relationship between hours worked and quality of product quite interesting.

cheald 4 days ago 0 replies      
Work smarter, not harder.

One of the things I quickly learned when I started working from home was that if I listened to my body, I was massively more productive when I was at my desk.

Tired? Go nap. Restless? Go run. Stuck in a rut? Go hang out with a friend or play a video game or watch a movie or find something to get your focus off your work.

I found that I could work more and be more productive simply by stopping working when my body(/brain) said "hey, quit". We're not built for 8-5 shifts.

andyl 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really hope my competitors adopt the "Stop working so hard" mentality.
ruswick 4 days ago 1 reply      
He seems to present a polarized interpretation of work. Either one can race towards burnout by working 100 weeks or they can enjoy 6-hour days, frequent vacations, etc. Both of these are untenable for most people. The majority of people work fairly diligently and their jobs take up the preponderance of their time, but aren't necessarily working hours that are unhealthy. People who work 40-70 hours per week generally fall within this category.

He also doesn't confront the fact that many if not most time commitments are immutable. Most people have certain tasks and obligations need to be done periodically and take a relatively static amount of time. This time expenditure is stable and unlikely to change or disappear anytime soon.

For instance, I know that, between school, various scholastic obligations, and the occasional bit of freelance or personal work, I put in roughly 65-75 hours per week. Obviously, this takes up the majority of my time, but is not all consuming; and I don't believe that it is having any substancial adverse effects on my health. Moreover, these hours are unavoidable, and I couldn't circumvent them even if I wanted to.

In its essence, this post is advocating for the right things insofar as it is encouraging work-life balance and discouraging subjecting oneself to dangerous working hours, but takes a fairly myopic view of work and makes suggestions that aren't really tenable in many situations.

kirinan 4 days ago 2 replies      
I agree, which will be much to the chagrin of the community. I spend less time working, and more time thinking. I find that I am able to get more things done in a shorter amount of time if I have fully thought through exactly what I am doing before I do it. I don't just mean the normal thought process, I mean the meta thought process (is what I am thinking truly accurate). It makes my work a lot better, and I often have to work a lot less to make something that is higher quality. I often out work the people who work twice as much as me, and my work quality is higher. Getting things done is important, getting things done right is more important. If this takes me more time, then so be it. The market doesn't go who gets done first, it goes to the person who does it best.
omnisci 4 days ago 0 replies      
My boss (Academic scientist) told us that we had to work a 70-90 hour work week to be successful in this business.
I found that funny as I don't count my productivity in hours work, but in the amount of "product" I produce. "Working hard" shouldn't be a function of time, and I think more people need to appreciate that.
This tends to be a little more difficult for people to do however, as it typically requires a lot of hard work up front. For example, it took me a month to figure out how I could make a 45 minute procedure turn into a 7 minute procedure while still maintaining the same quality. But I got it working and I can do 6 times the amount of work in the same amount of time.My free time can now be spent doing other things, such as working on a startup:)
People just don't do this for some reason. Put the initial investment into what your working on, make it as efficient as possible, and then reap the benefits while being productive AND having enough time to post cat videos on facebook:)
kbouw 4 days ago 1 reply      
At my current age (25), I don't necessarily agree with this. I do understand the philosophy behind "work smart, not hard", but when I come across these posts where someone is claiming "work less, do more", i question whether they're truly passionate about what they're doing.

My personal opinion as a startup founder, is that there is no such thing as work/life balance. Your startup is your life and your work should contribute to it.

That aside, the post is rather misleading. You're giving advice to others on working less hours and smarter but had you worked smarter previously, you may have a different opinion.

I prioritize my health, take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes (pomodoro technique), and get at lest 7 hours of sleep each night, all things which you seemingly didn't do.

For now, all I can say is that I hope my competitors are reading this and nodding their heads.

dgbsco 4 days ago 1 reply      
The "40 Hour Work Week" is, and always has been, a total sham.

It's a "factory production" mentality transplanted into the modern workplace - where our fruit is our creativity, not a number of units produced.

trxblazr 4 days ago 6 replies      

hi HN, I'll take the opportunity of this thread to ask for some advice. My current employer (a billion $ startup, ~200 employees) is asking all of us to work Saturdays (on top of the 12-13 hours I already work daily).

I value my weekends, a lot. It's not that I don't want to work. I love work and on weekends, I still do. I have spurs of intense creativity and code productivity, but I want to keep those weekends for myself.

How do I tell my employer that my weekends are not for sale? What should I expect from them if I say no more?

kilroy123 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just started a new job where the work week is 34 hours. (1 hour on friday is for happy hour) So 9-5, with no overtime.

I know this sounds crazy, but I feel like I have a lot more energy left after the day is over.

I also notice no one really wasting anytime during the day, since there's one less hour to get work done. No hour of chatting, surfing HN, etc.

tyang 1 day ago 0 replies      
This makes sense for most of us.

But if you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or Elon Musk, do you work smart but not that hard or do you work smart and work hard like they did?

PAULHANNA84 4 days ago 0 replies      
Too much argument over this. Yes, for the majority of individuals over working is going to physically, mentally and emotionally drain them as they're generally trying to balance a separate life. The individual who wrote this article stated that he has a wife. Perhaps spending less time with his wife had some repercussions associated to it. Perhaps he likes his business but isn't completely in love with it. You can't really speak for everyone, that's for sure. It all depends on your purpose, your motive. What's your driving force? Why are you conducting business to begin with? I myself am a business owner and have been working non-stop for the last 10 years (from 18-28). When I'm not working, I'm still mentally engaged. I don't unplug or clock out. To me, it reminds me of when I was a child addicted to gaming. I would blissfully spend 12 hours playing my Sega or Super Nintendo in pursuit to beat whatever game was at hand. When I was at school I was thinking of ways to beat the level that I might have been stuck on for a few days. This is called passion, it's rare but it does exist so although I appreciate the article, I must ask to not advise everyone this same idea.
alphakappa 4 days ago 1 reply      
This advice requires some serious caveats, so be very cautious about following this. I would go so far as to say that this some really bad advice. Here's why:

Once you reach a certain station in life, it's possible to sit back and think about being more effective while not working long hours. In fact, it's probably a great idea since it's easy to get addicted to working 7 days a week with very little sleep and that can wreak havoc on your health, relationships and happiness.

However, barring luck, people don't generally get to that station in life without working those long hours. If you want to be really good at something, it generally requires extreme dedication (yes, I know some people are just naturally talented, but I'm not talking about them). Unless you are one of those lucky ones, you _should_ be working really hard to master whatever it is that you need to master. Ignore people who are already successful trying to tell you to take it easy.

Also, unlike what Kyle says, people are not always working those crazy schedules to out hustle their competition. Often it's just passion and addiction to their own work and the desire to create something good (competition be damned)

athiercelin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just like this post tries to claim "The Hustle™ is bullshit" so is this post.

It's not work hard vs work smart. It's both.

For me, if I sleep less than 8 hours I'm brain dead => 0 productivity.
I am more productive at night than during the day.
I need to change regularly the project I work on, so I am always working on several things at once.
For instance, I am less productive 50hrs a week on the same project than 100hrs a week on several one.
And the list goes on and on..

It's up to each and everyone to see where you start loosing productivity and what makes you a better worker.

As a CEO, this ability of self improvement is something I am always looking for in my employees. (but it's rare)
The last thing I am looking forward to do, is checking the clock. When you pay someone the big bucks, it's not to be changing diapers.

The only thing that is for sure is that in term of productivity, there is no black and white truth or rule.

phryk 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can second that. I've been working 30 hour weeks since last year and am more balanced and relaxed since then. Working less also helped me downsize my depression and (as of lately) procrastinatory tendencies. It also gives me more energy to work on my own projects and interests.
noahrsg 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think in the future companies will realize they can retain exceptional talent by implementing a four day work week. As more and more hackers get older and have kids they will be drawn to companies that support an actual work/life balance, as opposed to the status quo of "its startup life of course you work 60 hour weeks."
wellboy 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you know exactly what do to, be it writing a pitch the whole day or writing a new feature for a week, you can not shower for the whole week and only eat junk food.

The essence of the post for me however, is that you shouldn't just sit in front of the screen figuring out what to do next. If you arrive at that point, take a brake, hit the gym, reorder your brain. The best ideas come when you do something completely unrelated to your startup and you should do something like this at least 1-2/week.

There's no use in accelerating when you're going in the wrong direction and 5h spent on a great new idea that you just had, is much better than 100h that still won't work. :)

miles_matthias 4 days ago 2 replies      
So how do you do this if you get paid by the hour? Obviously you can raise your rate and decide how much you need to work for your sanity and for how much you want to earn, but is there anything else?
jgreen10 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are such things as "big days". If you have a degree to finish, a conference paper, a demo, a seasonal feature, a lucrative work project, etc. Those are the times when I might neglect my body for 1-2 weeks, sometimes up to 4. Sure, you do have to return back to a normal, stable life after that and maybe have a little break.

In all aspects of life, success is about performing at your peak at just the right time.

mrmiller 4 days ago 0 replies      
While I agree with the author's general sentiment here, he doesn't offer any evidence for his claim (besides anecdotal). Many successful people do put work first, plain and simple.

I choose to spend time not working because I value things other than wealth/power/work (as most people do). But if you want to make a lot of money, working 100 hours a week is a pretty obvious way to do that, IMO.

pagejim 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you have time to write long blogs and exhaustive comments, then I am not sure you are really working hard enough on the thing you love the most.

And that is why most people here on HN (me included) might not ever get know what it is like to be in the "zone".

Hence this whole debate of working hard or not working hard or productivity is all really BS.

markdown 4 days ago 0 replies      
Says man who has essentially 'made it'.
brandonhsiao 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article isn't very convincing. (I'm not saying he's wrong.) His point is that working less makes you happier and more productive, but he doesn't really talk about how or why or give any cases illustrating such. All he really ends up arguing is that overworking is bad, which is nothing new.

For what it's worth, though, I agree with what he's trying to imply. If the amount of time you work is increasing by n and your work quality is decreasing by n^2, you're screwed.

kylestewart 4 days ago 0 replies      
This has been one of the hardest lessons I've had to learned. Really, I'm still trying to get it right.
thrush 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone please explain to me how this applies to students? I have read a lot of articles talking about enjoying life more and working more efficiently (the 4-Hour Work Week is perhaps the most convincing literature I've read on this topic), and although I actually wholeheartedly AGREE with this mindset, I can't see how I can start applying these ideas until I'm out of school.

Are students forever bound to their over-demanding schedules? Or is there some way for us to embrace the philosophies of freedom and joy prior to joining the real world?

-Senior Undergrad Studying CS

kwikx 4 days ago 0 replies      
I tried shifting from measuring how long I work to measuring results. And it was more traumatic. I would be agonizing everyday that I was taking so long to come up with anything concrete. It was especially true for doing anything creative, where its not really correlated to time spent.

What I would really like to know is how to shut off the entrepreneur guilt. There's always something to do at any time, and you're perennially guilty.

orangethirty 4 days ago 0 replies      
No, no, no. What you should do is work smarter. Instead of blindingly working hard, just work hard on the things that provide results. I work 12 hours a day (at the least), but only on the things that get results. I learned to just let go and re-focus quickly.
hello_newman 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think this is all true, but you could also make a viable argument for working more. I personally love the satisfaction you get after working those long days. It's like a high you get after an intense run. It helps that I personally love the work I am doing, so working 16 hour days feels like 5 hours. I am only 21, maybe it catches up with you the older you get, but for now 16 hour days are fine by me.
Elizer0x0309 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! The audacity on two things:
1. Stop trying to cap my passion by throwing a number of hours I can spend doing it.
2. You built a "Task" app. I'll consider any opinion from you when you're actually contributing to the advancement of our species rather than tagging along old created technologies.
bugsbunny4341 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. (Proverbs 23:4)
kris121 4 days ago 2 replies      
kyle if you read this then please answer me. I am going against your voice. It's not make me thing that you are right.

For you You are "Former Founder". I am sure you have a lot of penny and future safe in your pocket.

What about people who new newcomer and newbie. Is this applied to us. I am weak in English and programming both. Are this applicable to everyone who just got started. I means this strategy help them to do.

You make me confused.I hope someone can tell me the difference & reason about mine and their thoughts.

jfinnson 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the issue of productivity extremely depends on the person.

For me: I like to work 4 14hr days with a 2 hour gym break in the middle. Not 4 days in a row either.

This works for me because the gym really breaks up my work day and I am most efficient when I get "in the zone". Also, when I am in the zone, I hate being interrupted or leaving work. It takes 2-3 hours for me to get into the zone some times though.

I am 24 years old, the lead engineer at my company, amateur personal trainer, and power lifter.

sylvainww 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's not easy finding that right balance, if there is one. Some people (like me at times) also like to work by doing sprints (2/3 crazy weeks) then resting (3/4 days vacation).
Buzaga 4 days ago 0 replies      
Won't read because the arrows are mapped to changing articles.
goggles99 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think someone else tried this before. It is not working out very well though. Who was it.. Oh yeah - it was France...
hallomac2013 4 days ago 0 replies      
And how exactly are you going to output more quality without more working? Can someone please explain this to me?
stevebot 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I could do this, but it sounds to good to be true. I think I need to follow the postscript...
scottbartell 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article is the perfect length.
latifnanji27 4 days ago 2 replies      
Elon Musk is a great example of this post.
TheSOB88 4 days ago 1 reply      
Conversely, start working( harder ).
Don't use Linksys routers superevr.com
385 points by zachinglis  2 days ago   144 comments top 23
NelsonMinar 2 days ago 11 replies      
The modern equivalent of a Linksys WRT54GL is the ASUS RT-N16. It runs OpenWrt, DD-WRT, and Tomato variants really well, does 802.11n (only one frequency) and has plenty of memory and flash storage for extra hacking. The ASUS RT-N66U is frequently advised if you want 5GHz 802.11n as well.

The other router mentioned in this article, the Linksys EA2700, doesn't seem compatible with third party firmware. And apparently the Cisco firmware is buggy, no surprise there. It is an awfully cheap Dual-Band 802.11n router, but if you can't put working software on it it's useless.

I don't understand why some major router manufacturer doesn't just sell routers pre-installed with Tomato. It's easy to use, stable, and works way better than any crap the router companies cobble together. Flashing new firmware on a stock ASUS router is too complex for ordinary consumers.

spindritf 2 days ago 3 replies      
Or just put OpenWRT[1] on it. It's a real Linux distribution with a package manager and everything. You can even disable the webinterface, if you don't trust it, and use SSH.

EDIT: WRT54GL is pretty old and it won't run the default build of OpenWRT Attitude Adjustment (the newest release). It also probably won't have enough memory to operate the package manager or the webinterface.

But I do have one running a custom build. The only downside is that you need to decide which software to include upfront. Their build tool is rather friendly[2].

EDIT2: You can have a VPN server and any routing you like on OpenWRT, same with Samba, radvd, vnstat... There are even webUI pluings (luci-app-whatever) so you can control those from the webinterface for ease of access. It is a real Linux distro that just happens to run on routers.

[1] https://openwrt.org/

[2] http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/build

UnoriginalGuy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Linksys went from being the "iPhone of home networking" to being something I won't recommend. In Cisco's care the company has gone from being a market leader to a dud.

Now a lot of people might say "I doesn't matter who makes it, I'll just flash OpenWRT or DD-WRT onto it!" But I say to that, "then why buy a Linksys?"

Asus for one example are cheaper, they often have external antenna giving you more power and flexibility (both literally and figuratively) plus and most importantly they can be flashed with OpenWRT or DD-WRT at your pleasure.

Even without the security issues there is no good reason to buy a Linksys.

Right now I am using my ISP supplied "router" in cable-modem "mode" (i.e. just dumb pass-through to ethernet) and have a cheap MikroTik/RouterOS device sitting behind it which was cheaper than most retail grade routers but with the functionality of commercial grade equipment.

RouterOS might not be as easy to use as DD-WRT, but if you can use it then it is far more powerful as a web-based environment. Just for one example, want a VPN server? RouterOS supports IPSec/L2TP, PPtP/GRE, SSTP, and OpenVPN. Basically everything. The list of its network functionality is almost endless...

brooksbp 2 days ago 7 replies      
I highly recommend Mikrotik to anyone fed up with traditional consumer wifi routers/APs. I dont know how they compare to other vendor hw eg Asus + OpenWRT, but this little guy has been rock solid and a joy to use: http://routerboard.com/RB2011UAS-2HnD-IN
lazyjones 1 day ago 0 replies      
My Linksys router has had Tomato on it from the first day, it's the only sane thing to do (OpenWRT or DD-WRT would work too) when closed-source software is regularly exploited and not patched in a timely manner - and when noone knows what kind of government-friendly backdoors exist in such products (made by companies that earn significant revenue from government contracts).

Also, there's plenty of very cheap router hardware coming from China nowdays, from TP-Link you can get OpenWRT-capable routers for less than $15, so there's not much point in paying a lot more for Linksys products.

moonboots 1 day ago 1 reply      
It should be pretty easy to upgrade vulnerable WRT54GL routers. Any volunteers to setup a page that POSTs a newer firmware like OpenWrt or Tomato?
jiggy2011 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this a problem if I have DD-WRT?
cdjk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a fan of pfsense [1] on an alix board [2]. The alix boards a little pricey for a router, but has a real amount of memory (256MB). The only downside is that pfsense, since it's based on FreeBSD, doesn't support any 802.11n cards, so you're either stuck with 802.11g, or using a separate access point like I do.

Add in a managed switched and you have the start of a real network at home.

[1] http://pfsense.org/
[2] http://pcengines.ch/alix.htm

mikecane 2 days ago 1 reply      
Having looked at the post, doesn't he really mean don't buy "these models" of Linksys? Or are all models open to certain vulnerabilities?
fsckin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Google Cache of the site since it's having issues. [0]

I enjoy my Asus RT-AC66U. [1] Best commercial router I've seen, and Asus Merlin [2] firmware makes it better.

[0] http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:JNu4Z9X...

[1] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320...

[2] https://github.com/RMerl/asuswrt-merlin

jrabone 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just buy Draytek. Playtime is over. Pricy but mine lasted 7 years before I replaced it with another Draytek (for dual WAN support). Bomb proof and great VPN support out of the box. I bridge my parent's network to mine over VPN, and the Linux servers at either end provide failover DNS, mail etc. So useful, especially for remote support.
autotravis 1 day ago 3 replies      
My ISP makes me use a "gateway"[1][2] with a wireless router built into it. In the name of reducing electricity usage, I forego running my own router and surrender to using theirs. I would be willing to bet many others do the same. I wonder how secure it is?


FollowSteph3 1 day ago 3 replies      
What recommendations do people here have for an entry level commercial router instead of a high consumer level router?
dz0ny 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use Linksys routers, but not with default software (which we know is "limited"). I would recommend alternatives from here http://tomatousb.org/mods
sctechie 1 day ago 2 replies      
Let me just get this in before the cries of JUST INSTALL OPENWRT come raining down.

Your mother / father / grandmother / etc are not installing openWRT on their routers. Installing one of these CISCO home routers is pretty much hacking yourself. And, just update the firmware is not gonna work.

Try it one day, go up like 10 people and ask them what's a firmware. If the user isn't technical, you're going to get a 0/10 correct responses.

mschuster91 1 day ago 0 replies      
Half-OT: does anyone know a DD-WRT/OpenWRT compatible WiFi router with support for 2.4/5 GHz WiFi, as well as VLAN on the ports? Bonus points for individual VLAN assignment to the individual ports.
underdown 1 day ago 0 replies      
What? Linksys routers are a great deal - you can find them at goodwill for $5, flash the firmware & configure it in 15 minutes and they work great. My one beef is why don't they put a cheap fan on them when they cost upwards of $100 now that they come with a cisco logo slapped on them.
duncans 1 day ago 1 reply      
Mitigating factor, the attacker would need to have been granted access to your network in the first place?
danielweber 1 day ago 1 reply      
I mostly-bricked a Linksys doing a security analysis on it. It still works, but the UI is completely locked up; I can change nothing on it.
Sami_Lehtinen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Shouldn't 'hardware' firewalls be secure? And everyone knows that software firewalls are crap. Isn't this common knowledge with professionals. ;)
Arainach 20 hours ago 0 replies      
So this researcher went from notifying Linksys to open disclosure to the internet after only a month? That hardly seems responsible.
seqizz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is just what topic meant:

Error 102 (net::ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED): The server refused the connection.


drakaal 1 day ago 1 reply      
OpenSource is a vulnerability not an Asset according to #5.

For small projects which few contributors I would agree but, for projects as large as OpenWRT and DDWRT and such, I don't agree.

How a banner ad for H&R Block appeared on Apple.com without Apple's OK arstechnica.com
348 points by ben336  14 hours ago   137 comments top 27
nkurz 13 hours ago 6 replies      
Facebook eventually addressed the issue by making the site accessible over HTTPSâ€"though, as the authors of the 2008 paper note, HTTPS can be a "rigid and costly" solution.

This same excuse has existed for about as long as HTTPS, which dates to Netscape Navigator 1. Is it still that "rigid and costly"? Is there a technical reason that this is an unsolvable problem?

Considering the increase in computer and network speed over the last decade and a half, it seems strange that this would still be the case. Perhaps it's just that without pressure from competitors there is no pressure on the sites to solve it?

mmahemoff 12 hours ago 4 replies      
TLDR: ISP injected script tag ads.

I heard on the latest This Week In Security that Comcast was apparently not just injecting JS, but injecting bad JS. Meaning that closures weren't used, so name collisions could occur with the actual sites users were visiting.

For this reason, I can see HTTPS becoming standard, even for public, non-logged in users. I'm in the process of updating my site to be all-HTTPS and recently got confirmation (as much as one could ever expect) from Google there's no SEO penalty (http://goo.gl/sbtxq).

Uchikoma 6 hours ago 1 reply      
My problem with HTTPS is Google: They push it on every front, but - for various reasons - consider HTTPS and HTTP different pages, meaning you do not get link juice from any HTTP links if you're site is HTTPS only.

(1. don't listen to people telling you otherwise, it's an expensive experiment 2. redirects do not transfer all the juice, they count as links themselves, from my experience it's like not having external links to your site at all 3. If you do not depend on Google b/c you're SaaS, go for HTTPS only)

yk 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Thinking about ad injection, it is actually quite scary what a ISP can do. Not only is it easy to display ads (or possibly even malware), but even worse my ISP is installed as a default CA by Firefox. So that they can even inject into SSL connections, with the only "warning" that the certificate was signed by the ISP...
bonaldi 6 hours ago 2 replies      
HTTPS will not prevent this: the ISP can issue their own CA to their users and then decrypt/encrypt https as it passes through them. (Many corporations already do this). What will prevent this is legislation and/or competition.

It amazes me that US Internet access has very little of either. All the drawbacks of monopoly Internet, with all the drawbacks of unregulated Internet.

degenerate 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Original (and better imo) article here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5486006
nfm 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember reading about someone with neighbours that were stealing their wifi. You can do much more interesting things with a proxy server than just inject ads: http://www.ex-parrot.com/pete/upside-down-ternet.html
rgbrgb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Did anyone else have trouble hitting the back button after that article? I find that equally skeezy.

Edit: It seems they've mapped command-back-arrow to a non-default action. Not cool.

niggler 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Is Ars just ripping sites now? Although now changed, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5505890 pointed to an Ars article from yesterday (that reached the front page) that was basically a copy-paste of an SE question
sigzero 13 hours ago 2 replies      
It should be made illegal if it isn't already. Since "any site" did not consent, doesn't this injection really "change" their site?
girlvinyl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know the CFAA implications here? My system is a "protected" system, this would clearly be unauthorized access.
8ig8 13 hours ago 0 replies      
zmhenkel's Reddit comments if anyone wants first person accounts:


deepblueocean 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This is probably the best counter-argument to the best counter-argument that gets leveled at the people promoting HTTPS-everywhere. People like to say that HTTPS everywhere would break transparent cacheing by ISPs. After all, HTTP is designed to allow caching proxies to exist inline and still supports dynamic content gracefully (er, somewhat, anyway).

But in fact the same features that make transparent caching easy make this kind of shenanigans easy. There are tons of companies in this space now. Not just people like NebuAd and R66T, but lots of "subscriber messaging systems" like FrontPorch (which I've heard sells messaging data for behavioral advertising) and PerfTech (which has assured me that they do no such thing).

This should be an easy way to push back one of the last "real" arguments against using HTTPS everywhere. There's no excuse not to be running your site on HTTPS all the time - it protects you and your users from all sorts of mischief for a minimal overhead.

kevinburke 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't you know it, the CMA Communications (the ISP mentioned in the post) website is not accessible via HTTPS. "View My Bill" and similar link you off to a third party domain.
_conehead 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Holy cow. It seems this has had a direct effect: they're no longer injecting javascript into webpages. I just tried Amazon, eBay, and a few others where the script injection used to be present, and it's no longer there.

I absolutely can not understate just how happy I am about this.

oracuk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
We have had a similar case publicly exposed here in the UK a little while ago with Phorm and British Telecom:


There is a good chance that such practices may be found to be illegal in a UK court (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act primarily with some discussion about applying the Data Protection Act or Computer Misuse Act) but they haven't been tested yet. Both companies very quickly stepped back from the 'trial' they were conducting when it became clear there might be public support for a test case.

prodigal_erik 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Yet another reason blindly running javascript from unknown parties is a bad idea. Whitelists for progressive enhancement I want should always have been the default.
kgosser 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Anyone else find it interesting that R66T is vaguely read as "ROOT" -- this is some kind of cruel joke, right?
cstrat 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have always wondered how long it would take for this sort of behaviour to kick off.

This is to the internet what global warming is to the earth... well that might be too far, but this is high tech pollution at its worst.

ck2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm terrified to let them tamper with it but Congress really needs to make laws that regulate ISP behavior in the USA. They will never do it on their own.

The problem with such a bill is it will have a dozen riders for very horrible things.

olalonde 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is quite common in China. Even the largest ISPs do it.
AJ007 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The "root" of the problem -- on what marketplace are these display ads being sold?
fauigerzigerk 8 hours ago 0 replies      
So an internet provider inserted ads into web pages and two bloggers blogged about it.

I hate this ultra-low signal to noise style of writing anyway, but using it for a tech piece is more than ridiculous. This isn't a 1970s western movie, nor does it appear in the NYT arts & culture section.

IheartApplesDix 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a brave new world out there. Well, I knew this would happen eventually, and I got a lot out of the internet while it lasted. Shit, the last 15 years of my life have been grand thanks to the net, but now it's time to kiss it goodbye.

I, for one, welcome our new corporate master feudal lords.

anoncow 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Did he complain to the FTC?
_conehead 13 hours ago 1 reply      
As exciting as this is to be posted on a high-volume website, I honestly doubt CMA is going to change their practices on this issue.

If anything, the Acceptable Use Policy change on the 4th was a sign that they'd be reluctant to change their stance on this issue at all. They honestly don't care.

mbloom1915 12 hours ago 2 replies      
why wouldn't all ISPs do this for the economic incentive? Is advertising going in this direction?
Facebook Home facebook.com
311 points by samuel02  3 days ago   220 comments top 68
danso 3 days ago 17 replies      
To echo a complaint that is common when designers show off prototypes/imagined-redesigns...what does all this look like when your friends aren't as attractive/good at photography? I'm talking about the Cover Feed function. In the life stage I am now, I'd say that my Facebook Phone would be showing random baby photos 80% of the time, food photos 10% of the time.

I'm also curious how that feature interacts with what I've observed to be normal FB usage. When I want to post a status, I post a status. When I post photos, it's usually as a batch, not many with captions. I think that's how most people do instagrams too.

So, if you have a home screen feed focused on your newsfeed...how will statuses be "attractive" looking? Using the user's default cover image? But those are extremely horizontal. The only newsfeed entities that contribute beautiful photos with substantial text that are in my newsfeed are companies and brands (OK, and George Takei).

dotBen 3 days ago 4 replies      
I take issue with the problem statement: "today, phones are built around tasks and apps. To see what's happening with your friends, you pull out your phone and navigate through a series of separate apps."

Firstly, the value to me in owning a smartphone and paying the charges associated with it is ultimately task orientated - from running my business, to getting driving directions, to wanting to play a specific genre of music at the gym. That's actually where the value is in my phone. Maybe I don't fit the demographic, but I don't want those to become second-class citizens over friend communications.

Secondly, it's very hollow to define the problem as 'your friend's activities are spread across multiple apps' when their solution only promotes Facebook activity to the fore.

My FB friend's activity is currently only contained in one app - the FB app. Their solution only removes the checking of multiple apps because those other apps (non-FB social networks, IM networks, etc) are going to be relegated into obscurity and no longer top of mind.

How's that ultimately helpful to my real, technology agnostic, friendships?

bretthopper 3 days ago 7 replies      
Regardless of your thoughts on the actual Home product, this product page is incredibly well designed and thought out.
eggbrain 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think the biggest thing for me is that my smartphone has always been a "private" thing for me, a place where I can choose to interact with people, or spend hours playing Angry Birds.

With this phone, I'm forced into an environment where I feel like I need to be social all the time, and I feel that might wear on a lot of people.

wavesounds 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think were all missing the point here, there's now a "facebook phone". For a certain demographic facebook is the most important thing on their phone. It doesn't really matter if home is a huge inovation or not, it only needs to be slightly better then iOS and Android for using facebook and this demo will adopt it.

Facebook is opening up a new market for themselves and with a phone for $99 its very easy for someone to say "mommy I want the facebook phone" and get it.

Soon "facebook phone" will start appearing alongside "iphone", "droid", and "windows phone" as common vernacular. By partnering with att & htc and building on top of android they have now gained access into the cell phone industry with no investment in hardware, cell towers or in creating a new OS, just redesigning a home screen.

Theres a huge potential upside with very little risk involved. Its a good move on facebooks part.

Sodaware 3 days ago 1 reply      
The one thing Facebook has taught me is that I'm far too ugly to use social media.
lost_name 3 days ago 3 replies      
Sometimes, I hate being such a cynical person.

I see what appears to be a fine product, which adds a lot of desirable features for communication -- chat heads look especially nice -- but all I can really wonder is what else Facebook might be mining out of my phone usage that the regular Facebook App doesn't do already. Maybe they want to take over SMS messaging on the phone completely and route it through Facebook (centralized chat, it's not even unreasonable), or perhaps automatically upload everything and let you filter expoosed data after the fact (which is too late to trust that it's ever gone). When it comes pre-installed on the phone, they don't even have to ask for permission for everything.

mongol 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ok so now they can log every interaction you do on your phone. Look out for new permissions that you need to change the defaults to, or else your friends will see updates such as "Mongol just dialed his friend John". "Mongol is playing Wordfeud". "Mongol has an appointment with his dentist".
JumpCrisscross 3 days ago 1 reply      
In its present form, where I risk my SoHo friends' strip poker party greeting the workplace every time I whip out my phone, Home targets Facebook'a beachhead of college students.

Adding geographic and temporal modality, e.g. enabling Home if I am not at the office and it is not between 9AM and 6PM on a weekday, would broaden its appeal.

jordn 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think what Facebook are going for here makes a lot of sense.

The home screen at the moment is a fork in the road with the choice of dozens of different app paths to take. What they're planning on doing is removing the extra step needed to start interacting with the content.

It's similar to how they changed the original facebook app. Instead of starting by presenting all the options of which part of facebook you wanted to go to (profile/photos/newsfeed/messages etc.) it instead went straight into the news feed.

This presumably could work just as well with the whole phone. Although my concern is that facebook is only a small subset of my sources of interesting information on mobile. It seems highly limiting for it to only show facebook app content. Maybe there's a possible opportunity for a competing, open 'home screen' app to bring it all in.

leephillips 3 days ago 0 replies      
"From the moment you turn it on, you see a steady stream of friends' posts and photos."

Sounds like a self-flagellation device for masochists.

"Upfront notifications and quick access to your essentials mean you'll never miss a moment."

Except for most of what's important, which you will miss unless you put that phone down.

"And you can keep chatting with friends, even when you're using other apps."

Please kill me.

On the page design: I'm not as impressed as many of the commenters here. It's nonresponsive and requires horizontal scrolling.

skylervm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for all the great feedback. It's awesome to see how much everyone likes the site.

I was the designer and Nick Kwiatek (http://nkwiatek.com) built it. Elisabeth Carr wrote the content, Peter Jordan and Nate Salciccioli made the videos. It was definitely a team effort and feels great to be able to share it with everyone.

volandovengo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just looked at all the videos. I wanted to like this but I'm really unimpressed. I don't understand why anyone would install this.

All my friends seem to be using Facebook less and less and this seems to be another way to lock me into Facebook's ecosystem. While they could easily allow you to contact your friends in all the ways which you normally communicate with them - SMS, Email, Phone, the only thing they integrated in was Facebook messages.

By making this, they are basically saying that people want something in their hand which provides them random information they can swipe to. People want this random info soo sooo much, they we've made it the home screen + doing anything in apps is the exception.

Hovertruck 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, it feels like I'm looking at a product page on Apple's website. Pretty.
uptown 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm skeptical that some of what winds up on the FB home screen won't include some form of advertising.
uptown 3 days ago 2 replies      
What happens to Facebook when the original generation of users have kids and those kids see Facebook as their parent's social network?
charleslmunger 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is going to suck. And I think that because Facebook apparently doesn't have any engineers who do "plumbing" - uninteresting work that's necessary.

The core Facebook app still has a software menu button pop up, because they're not targeting a remotely recent build of Android. There is not a single jellybean-style rich notification anywhere to be found. The MediaUploadService doesn't stop itself if media upload is turned off, and it shouldn't even be on because android 4.x broadcasts an intent when a picture is taken anyway.

As we saw in a post about a month ago, monkey patching dalvik is sexy and interesting to work on - the fact that their codebase is so convoluted that they have to is a symptom of sloppy engineering.

tg3 3 days ago 3 replies      
The greatest benefit of a facebook phone to me has nothing to do with photos, status updates, etc (although I am likely in the minority). Facebook, to me, has become an address book of all of my friends, with contact information that updates itself when it changes.

If facebook replaced my address book with my facebook friends list, and texting and calling to them "just worked", hopefully using facebook-to-facebook over Wifi when available, it would be a great phone.

bsimpson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I was interested until I heard they'll be putting ads on my lock screen.
Systemic33 3 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook is so obsessed about telling me what my friends do, when i meet them, whats there to talk about? I think we are getting to a point where the digital social networks are ruining the actual social networks; the actual social network is just diluted.
Just my opinion.
notaddicted 3 days ago 0 replies      
Given that Facebook listed "Mobile" as a major risk to their future [1], this seems like a proportionate response. It seems like every tech giant wants the be at the top of the heap, to control software that is as close to the user as possible. In this case Google Glass looks pretty smart, you can't get any closer than a quarter inch away from my eyeball.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2012/05/09/facebook-t...

InfinityX0 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook, like Google, has the goal of getting users to use their service more - as they are an advertising platform. Google Glass means people will search more - when they're away from the computer. Google investing in better internet means people will have quicker connections, which means they'll again means they'll be searching more.

Here, by increasing the likelihood people are engaged/interested in Facebook status events, Facebook will drive users back to their core platform, whether it's their core app or the desktop version - where they will, indeed, get more impressions for their advertisers. I doubt they are dumb enough, though, to actually do this through the home screen of our phones.

alaskamiller 3 days ago 0 replies      
When you can't own the hardware chain the next best thing is creating a virus masquerading as a platform.
tjbiddle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like their pre-order page (http://www.att.com/facebookhome) is 404ing.

On topic - I personally wouldn't use this. Facebook belongs as an app. More integration is (almost) always nice, but I really don't need a phone dedicated to the social network - I'd prefer to move farther away from it.

ereckers 3 days ago 1 reply      
Everyone in that video seems to be having fun. Must be good.

The design of the production page is nice though. The video mast is kind of what I've been waiting for for a long time. It's nicely implemented.

InclinedPlane 3 days ago 0 replies      
This falls into what I'd categorize as "solving the easy problems". It's something that companies do all the time. And sometimes it's worthwhile, but often it means that a company doesn't understand the business it's in very well and doesn't have a clue how to innovate.

Personally I believe that there is a huge amount of room for improvement and innovation in social, and when I see a company like facebook merely working on the "make it prettier and easier" aspect I can't help but wonder how long until a disruptor wrecks their world.

jechen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have my doubts about the launcher and would much rather have Twitter take on the endeavor given I derive much more utility from its network (highlighting stories on my Twitter feed seem a lot more relevant in practice when it comes to things I care about having on my phone's lock screen), but Facebook did one hell of a job with this product landing page. Props to their design team. (Ah! The video header! It's so pretty! And not a single man in sight!)
throwaway1979 3 days ago 1 reply      
A variant of this idea was implemented by Motorola on some of their phones (which I used for a few weeks before returning it). I forget what it was called ...motoblur? The concept was pretty neat but it drained battery like nothing else. I wonder what the battery implications of Home are.
dasil003 3 days ago 0 replies      
Regardless about how you feel about the actual functionality here, as an entrepreneur you have to be impressed with Facebook's ability to continually ratchet up engagement year after year after year.
acc00 3 days ago 1 reply      
I could not help but notice one of their Cover feed screenshots showing an advert -- http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v2/yY/r/fNNR8sV8Y3W.png .

OK, this one I think I get. Why have full-screen standby ads only on Kindle?

hcarvalhoalves 3 days ago 0 replies      
Next thing you know, your phone homescreen is showing a full-size ad. Clever.
daigoba66 3 days ago 0 replies      
It turns your Android phone into Facebook. I'm amused by the App Launcher description: "Get right to Facebook, Instagram and other essentials". Because the only reason I use technology for social media things...

But to be fair there might be a certain demographic for which this makes sense. And in many ways it's a lot like what Microsoft is trying to do with Windows Phone (but I don't know how successful that is).

The product seems pretty cool even though I'd never use it.

joosters 3 days ago 1 reply      
What new privacy holes will this introduce? I wonder if the facebook home will be constantly monitoring your location, recording app usage, grabbing your text messages, etc. Basically, are you surrendering the rest of your phone data to facebook?
cadetzero 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why don't they fix Facebook on android before releasing a new product? It frequently "shooooops" for me - crashes, lags, hogs resources, and otherwise does unexpected things.

I'm very wary to install any software from Facebook on Android.

canibanoglu 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ok here's my two cents.

-It does look great. But I'm also curious as to what will happen if my friends are not good photographers. How about when they post pictures of what they have eaten?

-I most likely take my phone out of my pocket more than a hundred times each day, they got that part right. Sometimes I just use the phone screen to check the date and time. Sometimes to check if someone has called me or texted me/mailed me. If I'm the only one who checks his phone's screen in order to learn the time, then this is probably a moot point. If not, it's going to be annoying.

-It's all good and dandy to be connected to my friends all the time but I use my phone for what it was meant for, phoning other people. It's very rare that I take my phone out of my pocket to check up on friends through social media. If I want to check up on people, I call them. If I want to do it over facebook or similar, I use the apps.

-Ads. It's most likely get ugly and annoying, fast.

skywalk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone notice how the main video on that page is almost exclusively women using the app? Guess that's linking in to the idea others have quoted here about the attractiveness factor of the photos in question.
Le_SDT 3 days ago 1 reply      
Funny how the video contains only women... <sarcasm> like if facebook was the only site most women would go on</sarcasm> :)
JSadowski 3 days ago 2 replies      
I like Android intents and all, but I think Facebook is misguided if their plan is to release a new version of Home every month. The intent preference is only remembered for the same version of the app... that means if they choose to update the version the user will be asked if they want to launch the intent with Facebook Home again ("Just Once" / "Always").
film42 3 days ago 2 replies      
The site says $99, however, upon clicking preorder, we see it costs $450 without a contract. AT&T of course says, "*Requires 2-yr contract with qualifying voice and data plans. Activation fee applies." So this cool little idea just got a whole lot more expensive.

I say wait for the rom to leak, and then dual boot it on a new Nexus 4.

UPDATE: Sorry, I misread, this is just an overlay. Still though, the point still stands.

staircasebug 3 days ago 2 replies      
How long before the app starts showing ads on your home screen?
state 3 days ago 0 replies      
Could someone who is really excited about this talk about their enthusiasm?
hoverkraft 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this remind anyone else of the ill conceived Motorola Rokr? http://img.iguor.com/2012/11/112752-apple-ceo-jobs-introduce...
zwieback 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this will exacerbate the problem of people looking at their phones while driving.
obilgic 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pre-order link is broken


beerglass 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think it really is bad news for Apple... if more such stuff starts coming exclusively on Android, then it is bad for Apple. And very good for Google. (posting this to get some insight, not to initiate ugly debate among Apple/Google fan-boys
theprodigy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think Facebook home won't be disruptive. There is so much more that goes into marketing and selling consumer products.

Home is a good win-win deal for facebook and HTC. Facebook can collect valuable social data from mobile devices and optimize ad delivery for users of that phone. HTC has the ability to use Home as a way to differentiate its phone in a very crowded market where the average consumer sees little differentiation between different smart phones outside of the iphone.

jjsz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't give >1% of my battery power to an app like this, especially coming from Facebook. Back when I used the Facebook app and Facebook it drained too much of the battery.

Now if feedly launches something like this, where the photos and content come from RSS feeds, you can sign me up for beta testing. You could take over and kill Chameleon, Apex, Go, and Trebuchet easily.

joshuasortino 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to point out that this is the first Android phone which didn't emphasize the logos and manufacture. Most Androids have a horrible cluttered physical design, partly because manufactures slap their logo right on the front.
myko 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks pretty neat. I might end up installing it just to avoid using the abomination that is the official Facebook for Android app.
orangethirty 3 days ago 0 replies      
What a landing page. Almost makes me want to start using Facebook again. Now, this is the step before Facebook forks android, and builds their own apps store. And then they build their own signature phone, then a tablet, and so on...
ehudla 3 days ago 0 replies      
Branding suggestion for competitors: "A grownup's Phone" for any phone that does NOT have facebook on your start/home screen.
wildster 3 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook are trying to do to Android what Google is doing with Chrome to the desktop.
songgao 3 days ago 0 replies      
Despite the fact that I feel weird about Facebook making a phone, I have to say this page is awesome!
tonycoco 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is going to be so cool when I hang out with my hipster friends.
nQuo 3 days ago 0 replies      
A few of my own thoughts and observations. Content (from your friends that you see) really is king. http://bit.ly/10CinIx
PavlovsCat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Home? Home is where my heart is. So among other thing, that means it's where facebook isn't.

Ugly on the outside, even more ugly on the inside -- what's not to ignore, until you burn it down?

donaldguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is anyone here aware of a "chat heads" like chat UI for desktop computing? Seems like there is nothing about the idea that makes it only a good design on mobile platforms.
machbio 3 days ago 1 reply      
Lot of False Likes will happen - due to low quality phones..double tap means a like.. it will be the biggest concern for mobile users with facebook home installed
SSilver2k2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Link to pre-order giving anyone else a 404?
fotoblur 3 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't look like its for anyone over 30.
aurelius83 3 days ago 1 reply      
So basically, this seems like a widget to me. What am I missing?
Buzaga 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook is so dull :/
sunkencity 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wild Palms here we go.
starikovs 3 days ago 0 replies      
What if my FB account will be disabled? ;-)
littlemerman 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks awesome.
nokya 3 days ago 0 replies      
yuvadam 3 days ago 0 replies      
Did Facebook just jump the shark?
Stop externalising your life jshakespeare.com
309 points by daGrevis  4 days ago   152 comments top 76
calinet6 4 days ago 4 replies      
The funny thing is, most people I know completely agree with this viewpoint.

"Yep, it's tearing the fabric of society apart alright. It's creating a generation of self-interested media whores."

But wait, aren't you one of them? Didn't you just post a picture of those tacos you made last night?

"Yeah man, they were freaking awesome tacos."

Yes, it's a little narcissistic. Yeah, it's disruptive to your actual in-the-moment experiences. You can go overboard. You can also strike a balance, and it just becomes a thing you do sometimes, it's not going to kill you, it's not going to actually change the fabric of society. It's going to make some people annoying. Sort of like punk rock or emo or neon colors or television. Whatever. We'll adapt.

And it might have positive effects too. I made those tacos last night (heh, yeah, it was me, and I totally posted them to Facebook) because I saw my friend cook some mexican last week (posted to facebook) and it looked good. That friend of mine posts pictures of food she makes all the time, and it inspires me to cook more. We discuss the food, I ask for recipes. This isn't just narcissismâ€"it's interaction. To ignore that positive effect just because you notice a subtle and possibly true behavioral shift is short-sighted.

My humble opinion is that most people are self-aware enough to know the externalization of their lives is detrimental on the large scale. They know enough to put down their phones or iPads for the important moments, or even the routine ones. We're all collectively learning how to make our lives work with this level of interconnected communicationâ€"it's a new thing.

I completely agree with the sentiment of this article, but I think most people do. I think people are constantly going to be looking for better solutions to this problem. I don't know if Facebook will find that solution, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: the social network that integrates with life and human behavior the best will be the one that overtakes Facebook (if you're going to try, please bring on a social psychologist in your first 10 employees).

The internet will not always be like this. It's immature, it doesn't fit quite right yet. But it will get better. And if it doesn't, it'll just continue to be slightly annoying. Not the end of the world.

bobwaycott 4 days ago 4 replies      
Externalizing isn't just pictures. It's words, as well. They are often more powerful than pictures, when in the right hands. I find it a bit amusing that the OP externalized his trip in an article about how people shouldn't externalize--describing not just where he was (Singapore!), but how long he was there (a whole month!), the food (exotic!), sights (there were so many!), and his reasoning, as well (to impress!).

While I agree with some of the intent and observations he made, it carries a strong tone of I just realized I was doing this thing, don't really like the reasons I think I had for doing it, and am going to make excessively broad generalizations about everyone else who does what I perceive to be similar.

The article would have been better to leave out that last bit. You see, there are potentially as many reasons for people [over]sharing as there are people sharing. Since when does taking a picture of/with/in a piece of art require 'bringing a unique interpretation of the artwork to the table'? Who is the author to determine if the pic-taker is sharing a 'hidden gem with their followers'? If I'd visited the Barbican and snapped a pic of the Rain Room to share, it'd be because I thought it was an awesome experience that, while perhaps not hidden to locals, would most certainly be unknown amongst the people I'd share the photos or video with. I enjoy experiencing art, as do many of the people I know. They'd enjoy experiencing the art through a photograph or video.

I have very fond memories of watching hours of videos whenever my grandparents returned from a trip somewhere in the world. I specifically recall being amazed by VHS footage of the pyramids when they returned from Egypt. I was about 10 years old. Those grainy videos changed my life. My way of thinking was forever altered. The world was no longer what I saw around me in the city and desert surrounding Los Angeles. It was huge, incredible, majestic, awe-inspiring--and, more importantly, it was there for ME to experience, investigate, enjoy, and re-share it with others. I began diving into studying the histories, cultures, and languages of parts of the world that captured my interest. I rejected the idea that was so prevalent in my family that America was this awesome Promised Land, better than everyone else in the world, because the US didn't have the incredible things I saw in those home videos and my weekly trips to the library on Saturdays--the Pyramids, Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Taj Mahal, castles, 600-old libraries, multi-thousand-year-old cities ... you get the picture.

I'm so glad my grandparents externalized parts of their life. I'm also really happy when friends do it, because it reminds me of just how much is still out there to experience.

Do I care about last night's tacos? Nah. But I can digest those on the way to seeing the pictures of your trip to Budapest.

JDGM 4 days ago 1 reply      
My parents' generation would share holiday snaps or even host slide show evenings for neighbours after traveling somewhere. I think that photo sharing on Facebook etc. is just the modern version of that and as back then, we have people who find this obnoxious, interpreting it as a form of bragging.

I believe it may be a little bit bragging, but is mostly validation-seeking. Many people just seem to be wired in a way that craves a social response to their behaviour. Call it neediness, insecurity, whatever...I think the kindest thing is to simply identify it as a personality trait.

Back in the slide show days I remember being impressed by the stance my parents took which was to sit back and enjoy the holiday snaps as much as they could, because the person showing them was getting something out of that.

Today, I will act interested in a dream a co-worker wants to tell me, not because I am particularly gripped by how they "were flying, but also not, and everyone's face was Graham from accounts", but because it seems to make them happy to have someone listen. If simply clicking a "like" button or posting a thoughtful comment can give someone warm fuzzies (and we know it does) then I'll do it.

ohwp 4 days ago 6 replies      
Waiting for the pope: http://i.imgur.com/sNTmp4s.jpg

In my opinion you miss a lot around you when you are constantly staring at the screen of your device.

Two days ago I was sitting at a birthday party. The guy next to me constantly took pictures sending them with Watsapp. I never spoke a word to him because he was busy with his phone all the time.

I'm still not sure what to think about that but I don't think I like the change.

shadowrunner 4 days ago 2 replies      
My point requires a back story, but I think its worth it:

A few years ago several teenagers loitered everyday outside my apartment window. Sometimes they skateboarded, other times jumped off a wooden ramp with their bikes, but always did they curse and swear.

Especially one kid, who was the ringleader. Every second word was the f-shot. An angry kid.

So one summer evening, as I was trying to get work done but hearing this caustic stream of vulgarity outside my window, I decided to straighten these punks out. I went on my balcony and yelled at them to chill it with the bad language.

They looked at me as if I was an alien, then continued swearing as soon as I left. Louder this time. They swore even more from then on, especially the ringleader kid. He was angry for a kid.

I was getting angry too. Even with my windows closed I could hear the cursing. I was tempted to threaten them, to really let them "have it", but in a rare moment of sanity realized that I can't force them to do anything. I can only change myself and how I respond to them.

So I changed myself, and instead of getting angry, I decided to help them. I started a dog walking business and hired the ringleader to walk the dogs. That way he'd be busy and earn some spending money.

I gave him business cards with his name on it and bus tickets whenever he needed to get somewhere.

Turns out it was his first job ever. I later found out he had behavior problems and had been expelled from High School.

I befriended him and showed him how to go door-to-door to get clients. He didn't have a dad around so I was probably the closest thing to it.

He stopped swearing after that, and so did his friends. I didn't even ask them to.

Unfortunately his unemployed mother was evicted about a year later, and he with her. I haven't seen or heard from him since.

Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

crusso 4 days ago 1 reply      
I started with Usenet and email back in the late 80s. When the Internet boom hit ten years later and everyone's mom had an email account, I spent years agonizing over people who were unable to quote a forwarded reply properly or who couldn't grasp the fact that Bill Gates wasn't going to be paying anyone for the amount of email sent around.

But you know what? Most of those people have learned a decent bit of netiquette. They even know the word "netiquette". They got over the newness of email and the web.

I'm seeing people getting over the extreme narcissism as well. They've tweeted going to the bathroom enough so where it's no longer a thrill. They've posted enough pictures of their meals to facebook or wherever.

I think that most of this behavior is just a phase that will pass.

moron4hire 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a big part of why I stopped using Twitter. Of course, every tool has its uses and misuses, and Twitter can be an excellent way of discovering new content from favorite producers, but using it myself turned into a popularity contest.

PG writes about popularity contests in Hackers and Painters, and how geeks prefer doing and learning over winning popularity standing. I didn't read H&P until after I had quit Twitter (and largely quit Facebook. Facebook is nothing more now than "email from my mother"). But that resonates well with me. I found myself tracking trending hash tags and trying to come up with witty, pithy tweets that I could also hashtag in kind. I had specific strategies that I would test and track the retweets and replies. It was kind of sick, looking back at it now.

But looking back at my internet life, it wasn't always like that. If you consider the BBS and web forum to be proto-social networks, this type of behavior (in certain communities) was neither broached nor tolerated. A much greater emphasis on discourse existed. In certain online communities, posting "+1" or "first" (or its more recent analogs "this" or "feels") was a fast track to banning. But those networks had something that Facebook and its ilk lack: administrative moderation, either by a staff of people or by community members with elevated privileges.

They were also geared towards the long form of prose, rather than the pithy-saying style. Twitter still has it's 140 character limit; it is considered the culture of Twitter. Facebook for many people functionally had the same limit as they interfaced with it through MMS. I don't know if they still do now, but at one time Facebook had a character limit on status updates and replies; even if those limits were removed now, the vast majority of Facebook's users are trained towards them now, and we see a new article every week talking about Facebook being unable to attract "new, teenage" users. Similarly, Tumblr's easiest levels of contribution are the reblog and photoshares.

When the discourse is so severely limited, then there can't be a discourse. People will revert to what is easiest: posting things that are not meant to engender discourse. People brag, always have, it's natural. But the signal to noise ratio is much worse now because services like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook make the noise so much easier to create than the signal.

EDIT: sorry, typos, still on my first cup this morning.

zeteo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Many people have heard the phrase "conspicuous consumption", but it's only half of Veblen's analysis. It counterpart, "conspicuous leisure", is arguably at least as important. Typical social proof that you're doing well is not just buying a BMW, but also showing that you didn't have to work hard for it. This is communicated most effectively by advertising the time you can afford to spend on non-economic activities: tourism, cooking, amateur photography etc. There are, of course, many other good reasons to engage in these pastimes. But their importance as a means of social display should not be underestimated.
tedks 4 days ago 2 replies      
"you are not enriching your experiences by sharing them online; you're detracting from them because all your efforts are focussed on making them look attractive to other people."

Humans are social animals. Everything we do is focused on making ourselves look attractive to other people. People who don't do this are typically not liked by others. The fact that most people do the behaviors the author describes and yet are liked by others seems to indicate that they've succeeded at making themselves look attractive.

Of course, there are plenty of strategies to make yourself look attractive. Some people might dress in mainstream fashion, hoping to pull it off well enough that they can distinguish themselves from all the other people doing it. Others get tattoos and piercings and make themselves unappealing to all but a niche subgroup, within which they have less competition.

I find it hilariously ironic that the author is engaging in the very same behavior (right down to posting the hacker news discussion link in the footer!) as the people they attack. Only humans can do this.

adam-a 4 days ago 0 replies      
Most "normal" conversations could be cast in this narcissistic light, if you wanted to. People tell each other about the interesting things that happen to them, and not about the mundane, sad, or private things. An awful lot of conversation is about establishing common ground and consists of "Have you seen that film?" "Yeah, I saw it. I liked it, the actor, he was in another film, did you see that?". Back and forth exchanges of, fairly dull information. Of course people get into deeper conversations as they get to know each other, and these are often sparked off by the dull stuff. This happens on Facebook too of course, though often it's privately, and so less visible.

I think the negative reaction from a lot of people is mainly the shock of the new. Like it or not your children will use online networks and sharing as part of their normal social landscape. You can either bemoan them all as unnatural monsters, or realise that these things are inherent to social interaction, and not a problem caused by techcnology.

papa_bear 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's possible you're just thinking too much about it. A lot of people look back on the things they've shared as a way of maintaining a personal photo album. My facebook definitely has a more complete photo history than any one device I own, and it's almost effortless to throw the photos I take up there.

That, and I don't mind seeing the things my friends are doing - it gives me ideas for things I want to do in the future. I used to disdain the "humblebrag" nature of sharing random photos, but I've been getting into a much more "fuck it" attitude recently. It's going okay.

Karunamon 3 days ago 0 replies      
>But I think our reasons for sharing experiences on social media are more cynical than that. It's not sharing, it's bragging.

No. Stop. You do not speak for every user of social media, or most of them, or even a significant fraction of them.

>We end up with a diminished perception of reality because we're more concerned about choosing a good Instagram filter for our meal than we are about how it tastes.

Does anyone aside from a minority of people who can be described with various adjectives, but I'll settle on "attention whore", actually work this way? I don't. Nobody I know does. Do you?

Balance in all things. This is just another blasted "social media is teh evulz" post dressed in flowery language.

For what it's worth, this is why I think Glass and its descendants will be the next big thing. You remove the friction from sharing, you remove 98% of the author's complaints (and the complaints of those "social media blaarrrgh" types). When sharing becomes as simple as just looking at something and saying a magic word, or nodding your head, or touching your temple, you don't have to throw brain cycles at operating some kind of device, it just happens naturally.

prawn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Each to their own.

I enjoy seeing what my friends and family are up to, including the minutiae that might not otherwise come up in conversation. In participating, I also have an easy history of the things I've done to look back over. My wife loves TimeHop reminding her, via social updates, what she was doing on the same day a year ago. "Remember this?" Cue much reminiscing.

Further to that, all social sharing serves as developing a personal brand and there are social and commercial advantages to that whether all doing it realise or not.

"Paint a picture of it."

I almost laughed at this bit. Why not allow even more time for contemplative thought by first creating inks from scratch, using ingredients relevant to the original experience and naming each combination of colours to evoke just the right memories?

cpressey 4 days ago 1 reply      
> It's not sharing, it's bragging.

Some would call it "narcissism", which (with an appropriately nuanced meaning) I think is more accurate than "bragging".

I strongly agree with the article. Sharing your experiences with social networking isn't necessarily about needing to get validation from others on your experience in order for the experience to feel complete for you... but for some people, it is. And I have to wonder, the more prevalent social networking becomes, are more and more people going to use it as their image-of-self crutch? And I have to wonder, what does such a society look like after a few decades? It's a bit like Warhol's "15 minutes of fame", except minutes are the wrong unit of measure. Everybody's a 15 milligram celebrity...

mark_l_watson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I enjoy externalizing :-)

My wife and I travel a lot and I like to write a daily diary that I send to family (and friends who "opt-in"). I often include a few pictures. There is often some down time travelling, and journaling experiences makes a long wait for transportation, etc. enjoyable. I enjoy reading my own travel logs years later.

I live in the mountains (Sedona in Central Arizona) and when I go on really long hikes (I am leaving on a 6 hour hike in 45 minutes :-) I always send a picture to my Dad and some remote friends who occasionally travel to Sedona to hike with me.

pkorzeniewski 4 days ago 0 replies      
My thoughts exactly. Let's be honest, most people share stuff on FB/Twitter to show off, they project an idealised picture of their life - photos from parties, trips, concerts and so on with one clear message: "Look at my awesome life!". Who cares? Why is it so important to know everything about everyone, all the time? Why share every bit of your life with hundreds of people you barely know?
jshakes 4 days ago 0 replies      
Apologies for the downtime, here's a cached version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?hl=en&safe=...
FajitaNachos 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've had a facebook account since 2006. I never post anymore. The only reason I haven't completely deleted it, is because it's a decent way to stay in touch with old acquaintances. I don't tweet. I don't check in anywhere. I don't post to instagram. It's just not an appealing to me. Other than close friends/family, people don't really care what you are doing.

Facebook and other social outlets are a way for people to humbly or not-so-humbly brag about what they are doing, and for those people consuming the content to be envious or critical of it.

I enjoy the fact that I can step away from the computer at any moment and not feel the urge to repeatedly check Twitter, Facebook etc.. and just enjoy life. I don't think I'm missing out on anything by not socially sharing my life on the internet.

DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 0 replies      
"It's not sharing, it's bragging..."

Turns out social media is freaking way tricky. If you share bad things, well, people don't want to hear it. If you share happy news, well, people think your life is perfect. So its damned if you do, damned if you don't.

My concern is that instead of young adults being the imperfect people that they are -- forming cliques, being sexist or ageist, and so on -- we're teaching kids how to "fake" having the right attitudes. So yeah, you can be as misogynistic as you want, just don't let it show up on social media.

So the real harm social media does is to ourselves: it teaches us fake friendships,fake conversations, and fake storytelling. This will have lifelong negative consequences for many.

Nursie 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the author has had some sort of compulsion/addiction to posting pictures on the internet.

Not everyone does that.

frogpelt 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Internet is only 20 years young. In Internet years that is ancient but technology and the way people use it always goes through progressions.

Early on, the Internet was largely about research and news.
Then, people realized they could shop online: E-Commerce, dotcom bubble.
Step 3, everyone could have their own little domain, Blogs and personal websites.
Then, the Internet became the place to be entertained, video, music, games.
Now, we can be social and share everything with our network of "friends".

Obviously this is just one guy's synopsis and it's probably out of order in some ways. There has also been lots of overlap during the progression.

It's not that strange that we are where we are. When I was a bit younger many people I knew had personal websites. Then they migrated to blogs. Now they're on facebook and twitter. They'll move on to something else.

The social aspects of the Internet will morph into something else. The fundamentals will stay but the methods and purposes will change.

ardit33 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sharing is caring (to a certain degree), if your sharing is not just pure bragging, the I can see only positives on it. E.g. somebody sharing on how good the food is in a new restaurant is genuinely happy about the experience and wants his friends to check out this restaurant too, as they might like it as well. This is good motivation and basic human nature
. Vs somebody that goes in a very expensive restaurant (that everybody knows about) and shares just to brag about it/ show their social status (this might just elicit envy from their friends, another basic human emotion). Delivery style and context are very important in this case.

On the other hand I have friends/ acquaintences that don't share at all and just keep it to themselves. To me this is selfish and just as bad as over sharing. A good friend will share both good and bad news. People that share over selectively, or dont share at all are on the selfish side.

tunesmith 3 days ago 0 replies      
A large part of sharing because people want to live vicariously through other people. And sharers know this, and so they help out. That is exactly what it was like for my Europe trip last year - it was a big enough deal to me personally that I wanted to record it as one of the highlights of my life, and I had friends and family that I knew were excited about the trip. So I shared with lots of detail, and they loved it.

I think the sentiment in the article is more one of the side effects when the system gets out of whack magnitude-wise in one direction or another. Perhaps you're (not the poster; anyone) sharing habitually with no intent behind it, or perhaps you're resentful of your friends, or perhaps you haven't challenged yourself recently to go out and do something new or formative.

But when used to share an actual highlight, with people that care about you and are apt to be happy about your highlights, it's a transaction that benefits both sides.

jetti 4 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the College Humor parody of "Photograph" by Nickleback called "Look At This Instagram" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn-dD-QKYN4).

I've seen many comments in this thread from people who believe this is a passing trend, however, I have a hard time believing that. I think that this is going to continue because the oversharing and posting everything is a way for those with low self esteem to make themselves feel better. It's a way for those who feel like they have no control to have some control over what their perceived life is like.

basicallydan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Personally, I agree. I know there are differing opinions but I don't care most of the time what my friends & family are up to in real-time. They'll tell me when I see them. I like to write about things I have done if I have some opinion of it, or if I'm proud of an achievement, but that's about it. People don't necessarily need to know what I'm doing right now if it's nothing particularly special or new.

Conversely, I don't need to necessarily need to know what they are doing all the time. But if they feel the need to share, fine. I just hope that if they read this post, by you, they might critically think about their current behaviour.

eksith 4 days ago 0 replies      
All the more reason to hurry up with those ocular implants! Never miss the stream while you record it. ;)

But seriously, the genie is out of the bottle. There's no going back to the pre-sharing days as we've come to notice our memories are fleeting... as are our lives. In essence we're the culmination of our expriences and these days, we're (I think) subconsciously leaving evidence of our existence, just in case everything else of our proof of impact on the world is lost.

I'm not happy that we've completely substituted interraction with persons in favor of the interface, but I don't think leaving behind the sharing culture altogether is the solution. We'll (over)share, as long as the technology exists. I think the only solution is to make it as unobtrusive as possible so as to not miss input of the real world with our own organic senses.

In a strange way, I can see this as the true appeal of Steve Mann's EyeTap or Google Glass. Absorb your surroundings with your synapses and NAND. What your synapses will miss, the NAND will store for decades or more. All the while augmenting your sensory reach.

papaver 3 days ago 0 replies      
reminds me of the buddhist quote:

"If while we are washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as they were a nuisance, then we are not 'washing the dishes to wash to wash the dishes.' What's more we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes....If we can't washes the dishes, chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either."

i remember going to a gdc after party where they had a burlesque show for entertainment. 75% of the crowd had their phones out recording the event while watching the dancers through their phones. so sad.

there is little more fulfilling than enjoying the present moment. its fun looking into the past and sharing but it comes nowhere near living in the now. weather that is during the act of eating or washing the dishes...

wallflower 4 days ago 0 replies      
My social commentary - there is immense peer pressure to do this - especially in the younger communities. A long time ago - we got the 'Jones family update' holiday letter once a year - a push update - now we can get fragments of it in real time...

“You could have this really amazing night, but if you didn't get a picture, it's like it didn't happen,” said Ms. Parr, 22, a senior at Gettysburg, whose friends often order designer outfits from the Rent the Runway Web site because incessant documenting makes wearing anything more than twice taboo. “It's crazy how much pictures consume our lives. Everyone knows how to pose and how to hold your arm and which way is most flattering, and everyone wants the picture taken with their phone.”


mattezell 4 days ago 0 replies      
I find myself being as guilty as any on this front - constantly thinking that my 'friends' (all ~200 or whatever of them in that list) actually care and need to know that I am eating/drinking/viewing/visiting/riding/doing/etc whatever it is that I am doing...

While I am ashamed to admit, I can recall more than one such instance where I am among friends having a drink, and I decide to check in - then I realize that I have to tag people, then I have to search for location because it didn't correctly pull up, then I have to re-do it all because I accidentally backed all of the way out of the initial post... Then I have to do it all over again to G+.. "Oh, what was that, friend? I wasn't listening completely as I was carrying out the super important ritual of sharing with the world that we are sharing this tasty beverage in this dark downtown pub instead of paying attention to our ongoing conversation about the next great thing in social media and connectivity..."

Is it the end of the world? No. Is it hurting my relationships - so far, I see no indication of that... Is it perhaps a bit annoying to have to repeat yourself a couple of times because you couldn't be heard over the glow of cellphone screens as they were being used to check in on FB? Yeah, just a little bit - but we'll live...

But really... Don't worry... Glass is here, kicking our assimilation into the next higher plane of online existence.. With some future revision, we will be controlling it all via eye movement and facial gesture - and so you will then be relieved, instead of annoyed, to learn that your friend wasn't having a seizure or a severe facial spasm, but instead were just tagging you in a post on Facebook and G+ simultaneously...

The reality is - we wouldn't do it if it weren't fun or providing us something that we (the majority of the collective) were looking for... It scratches an itch - albeit a narcissistic one at times... While I agree with points here and found the post to be an entertaining read, it's not (yet - or likely ever) that big of a deal... It now seems pretty apparent, with the success of MySpace, Facebook, G+ and other such social sites, that we all like it - the person posting about their drink at the pub and the person liking the check-in from their couch... That's the beauty, I guess - it's pretty much an opt-in activity - you either have an account and participate or you don't...

bjhoops1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great post. Reminds me of Neil Postman's Technopoly - written just before the advent of the internet. The main premise there was that we live in an age of unprecedented amounts of information, yet our ability to parse that information and filter out the unimportant is diminishing, if anything.

Much as I love the man, I'm glad for Mr. Postman's sake that he has passed away and been spared seeing his most dismal prognostications realized in all their mindless glory.

andrewfelix 3 days ago 0 replies      
This really spoke to me. Perfectly articulated why I am not on Facebook.

"This is the curse of our age. We walk around with the tools to capture extensive data about our surroundings"

Less and less people are actually enjoying and engaging good moments in life and instead trying to construct a frame around said moment that will look good on FB/Twitter.

JohnLBevan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the effect this has on me. I look at Facebook at the weekend and see some friends were up hours before me to run up a mountain, others have gone into London for the day to see an exhibition then head to a restaurant. I stayed up late the night before watching (and of course, sharing) YouTube videos so missed the best part of the day, but now I see that I'm failing to live life. As a result I up my game and rather than have breakfast and lounge about I head out looking for interesting things to do to justify myself. . . then on Monday when I get a coffee and someone asks "What did you do this weekend" I'm saved of the infamous answer "Just chilled really", which is post Facebook world speak for "Nothing".
Now to wait for the up votes and ensuing rush of self-esteem. . . Anyone? ;)

Subconsciously believing everyone's better than you forces you to up your game and thus get more out of life.

pepperp 3 days ago 1 reply      
>What were people actually saying by Tweeting about their visit?

They are telling others about their life experiences. It's called communication, we do it in real life all the time, why can't we do it online? If somebody told you what they did on the weekend, do you respond "you are fulfilling your obligation to have to share"?

lmm 4 days ago 1 reply      
>The key thing to remember is that you are not enriching your experiences by sharing them online; you're detracting from them because all your efforts are focussed on making them look attractive to other people. Your experience of something, even if similar to the experience of many others, is unique and cannot be reproduced within the constraints of social media. So internalise that experience instead. Think about it. Go home and think about it some more. Write about it in more than 140 characters; on paper even. Paint a picture of it. Talk about it face to face with your friends. Talk about how it made you feel.

I think this is precisely backwards. Social media sharing enhances my experience rather than detracting from it, precisely because it is so artless: I'm not thinking about how to describe where I am or what it looks like, I just check in or send a photo. If I were to follow the advice in the second part of this paragraph, I'd be doing exactly what the first half warns me against: focussing my efforts on how things look to other people.

sheri 4 days ago 0 replies      
I also feel its the modern day version of 'keeping up with the jones's'. I have my startup, which I've been working on for the past few years. After being inundated with images of new babies, houses, cars etc, its hard to resist trying to show my life in a better light.
heymishy 4 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with your viewpoint totally - and others may disagree as they have a vested interest in encouraging consumers to share - but it is an trend that is becoming increasingly prevalent. I think your main point is that we are sliding towards the sharing-for-sharing's-sake end of the sharing spectrum rather quickly and perhaps without realising it, and that its something to be conscious of.
avenger123 3 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciate where the author is coming from but is this really an issue? I mean, how big a problem is this really?

I would imagine most of us have more important things to do than spend our minutes uploading pictures to social media sites. I guess if you are the attention grabbing kind, it works but within my sphere of colleagues and friends I just don't know anyone that does this. And, yes, I am talking about technical people that understand what Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are.

Maybe I'm a minority but I suspect that probably not.

JulianMorrison 4 days ago 1 reply      
Like it was so much different when you were staring at the holiday you weren't actually experiencing through the viewfinder of a polaroid camera, back in the day.

Don't blame twitter for this.

polskibus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Yeah, kill the growth model for most "social" companies. The amount of noise is really counter-productive. I know one can just turn it off, but I don't want to live in society where most don't turn it off and focus on presenting life to others instead on life itself.
phryk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just for the record (pun totally intended): I fucking hate it when at a party/rave/concert everybody and their damned mother is standing around recording everything. Especially on the dancefloor. Especially especially if they then are all like "Dude, could you stop moving around, I'm trying to record this!1!!".
Tsagadai 3 days ago 0 replies      
The key thing to remember is that you are not enriching your experiences by sharing them online; you're detracting from them because all your efforts are focussed on making them look attractive to other people.

But that is the point for many people. Most people aren't doing things to personally enrich themselves, they are doing it for others.

moultano 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I share what I'm doing, sharing with my friends is secondary to sharing with myself in the future when I look it up again.
snowwrestler 4 days ago 0 replies      
Look at it from the other perspective: I really like to check Facebook or Twitter and see what my friends and family are doing, what they're enjoying, what they are thinking. By sharing these things, they are also making me happier.
meerita 4 days ago 0 replies      
I prefer my life now than it was before when internet wearing diapers. Before, I had to eat all the drama from everyone I had to meet in any circunstancie, many times, I had to be a listener to really idiots dilemmas or silly issues i really didn't give a shit just because often you can not choose when and whom to talk, well, actually, yes, but that also carries a price: be repudiated because you had decided not to tolerate such interactions.

The offline world can give many joys but also do not forget that it can bring many dilemmas too. And in my experience has shown me that dilemmas abound more rather than the joys.

I interact with people more now than before and this does not keep me from choosing what conversations I get into the offline world. But I preffer this much because people is on their stuff and not bothering each other without reasons.

jorgeleo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I tried to read the article and I can't, he blames it on the database...

The irony

hoytie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find that for a lot of people documentation has replaced experience. I watched a performance a week or two ago, and a guy in front of me took photos and videos for 20 minutes straight then abruptly got distracted and walked away. It struck me as precisely the symptom of working to externalize your life so much that you forget to actually experience it.

Thinking in terms of narcissism, distraction, oversharing, externalization, etc, I've realized how scary and absurd the Google Glass marketing is. It's been marketed as something that will let us come back to reality and genuine interpersonal relationships, when it's only going to indulge our tendency towards sharing and distraction even more. I think that in order to market Google Glass effectively they had to make the absurd claim that even easier access to the internet will cure our anxious attachment to it.

acjohnson55 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like Facebook. Not the company, but the service they created. I get to be myself with my friends, but just remotely. I can name about 20 people who were just acquaintances in "real life" but became good buddies via Facebook. A lot of them are people with whom I have heated online arguments over politics, religion, and economics. But we respect each other for it.

There are definitely people who don't fit into my Facebook paradigm. Those people have their posts demoted. After a small amount of effort configuring my feed, I now get content I mostly actually enjoy from people I mostly actually want to hear from. It's quite nice!

swalberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of http://5by5.tv/superhero/8 audio, 4 minutes
slant 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I attempt to curate the capturing of an experience, it is normally for myself later in life to be able to look back on the event. I may share my experiences on occasion, but my efforts in capturing these things are rarely for the sake of others.
joyeuse6701 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the point the author makes goes beyond the shallowness of 'he's posting on social media, what hypocrisy, look at his externalization!' I think the take away is that by our society's knee jerk reaction to share a picture or write a short micro-blerb describing an event as it happens, that we actually degrade the moment for ourselves. We cease to be immersed in our own world completely but end up stepping in halfway into the virtual as we prep that filter, or select careful word choice and tag very particular people to reap the benefits of our narcissism.

I think it is important to make the distinction that the act of externalization or sharing of an experience as some have mentioned should not be completely written off. There is a positive way to externalize our experiences, and it requires more effort and thought. As a general rule of thumb I would argue that experiencing something, reflecting on the experience afterword, and presenting it in a meaningful way meant for longevity is the method most preferred. Sometimes we can't wait until after the moment. Sometimes we need to take a picture now, but the filter and the posting can happen later. The insta-thought that you had that you'll forget may need to be jotted down, on the phone, or in a notepad, but it should not require a complete entrance into social media and draw you away from the moment like it currently does.

The best experiences I had in Facebook was not waiting for every single picture to come out and following someone's life as it happened, it was waiting for when that big album from someone's trip was finally uploaded. There, in one stint you could immerse yourself vicariously in the experience that someone had. When a breakup would happen, instead of reading the vacillating short thoughts and daily experiences of someone going from gleeful to miserable, it was always better IMO to read a reflection that someone had after several months of thought and introspection.

There is a proper way to use social media and share, and as we are, aren't using it to it's full potential. Remember when your papers in school had a minimum word limit? The point was that you had to put in effort when you wrote something. Instead, we get a max of 140 characters and the incentive to share NOW without any real foresight into what we post. That should change, I hope it changes.

rocky1138 4 days ago 1 reply      
My first thought when reading this is 'hyperbole', as in the writer is giving this subject much more weight than it deserves.

My second thought is to recommend unplugging from the most prolific of tweeters, writers, and facebookers. This way you're not hit with the firehose and anything worthwhile will be distilled up to you by someone who is.

nekgrim 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mind-reading tweets sender is the future. And mind-reading instagram with google glasses.

More seriously, balance is everything. Take photos, then put away your phone/camera, and enjoy the view.

kislayverma 4 days ago 0 replies      
The key thing to remember is that you are not enriching your experiences by sharing them online; you're detracting from them because all your efforts are focussed on making them look attractive to other people.
I wouldn't agree with that fully, because I (and I assume many others) often share stuff because I think it's cool and others might like to check it out. Think of the number of time you have discovered neat stuff because someone shared it.

So if you are sharing compulsively and simply in order to make yourself seem awesome, that's messed up - but it is also the cost of content discovery on an ever expanding internet.

alexanderclose 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ricky Van Veen (College Humor, Vimeo) has an interesting talk about this whole online sharing thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-...

I tend to agree with him, that we share and document the parts of our lives that matter to us, to help create our identity. It's the same way people drive a car that fits or fill their closets with their style of clothing. It's an outward expression of who we believe we are, and how we view the world.

Look at how teenagers use tumblr. They curate content to exactly match themselves.

methodin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Could be that everyone just wants to feel special and induce envy in their peers. The desire to be great drives a lot of human interactions.
lorddamien 4 days ago 0 replies      
I always have this conversation with my girlfriend:
- My point, being her experiencing everything through a small lcd screen, no matter how much pixels or which fancy word like retina is using.
- Her point, she will be able to keep memories as you can forget something, but the picture would be still.

On one side, I do agree I would like to have pictures and videos from my childhood and my experiences as a teenager. Going further, I would really enjoy to have them from my grandparents.
On the other side, we have 2Teras worth of disorganized pictures.

hcarvalhoalves 3 days ago 0 replies      
We post photos of the places we have been to and comment about things we have done for the same reason our ancestors painted their life in the cave's walls:

If we don't leave our mark, it's as if we didn't existed.

mathnetic 3 days ago 0 replies      
The author makes a leap here:

>We end up with a diminished perception of reality because we're more concerned about choosing a good Instagram filter for our meal than we are about how it tastes.

I'd like to see some data on the effects of documentation on an experience. You could track things like perceived immersion in and overall rating of an experience with and without an effort to document it.

madrox 4 days ago 0 replies      
I still remember how social media revolutionized the tech scene in San Diego, where everyone is spread out and can't mingle that often. Instead of monthly meetups where people kept asking "what have you been doing in the last 4 weeks?" it was "tell more about X you were saying on Twitter." Dialogue became more deep and dynamic.

We can't close Pandora's box. Might as well figure out how to make it work for you.

stefanix 2 days ago 0 replies      
The life stream is really just the small talk of the social network. It's not particularly interesting but it enables the next step. Communities of practice and group action do rely on people syncing up their interests first.
presspot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, My most responded-to tweet ever was when I had what what was one of the worst days of my life and I tweeted that sentiment: raw, emotional, unfiltered.

This to me is instructive. People respond to your vulnerability and humility. Nobody has an easy life. It's potent to own up to that.

melistress 4 days ago 0 replies      
"It's not real life, of course, because people overwhelmingly post about the good things whereas all the crappy, dull or deep stuff doesn't get mentioned."

I think social media is what you make of it and who you stack your social media accounts with. If you stack them with people who only post how awesome they are, this is what you will get out of it.

My Twitter feed is a rollercoaster. I have people who share their awesome moments and their horrible moments and their thoughts and hopes and dreams and their humour. If you "follow" just anyone just because you want to be popular and have a lot of followers, you ARE going to get a lot of junk and no real content. Rather than "stopping our externalizing" I think that we, as the viewers of our social media feeds, need to take responsibility for the kind of people we choose to have in our feed.

Honestly, trying to tell people what to or not to post is like censorship. Stop burning the books and instead make a choice not to read them. Fill your life with content that makes you happy.

lesinski 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is an outrageously superficial analysis of sharing... It's natural to want to share experiences. This is what we do socially every time someone at work asks "how are you?" or when a friend comes over for a beer. Calling it "robotic" is a huge generalization.
thewarrior 4 days ago 1 reply      
I cant reach it . Does anyone have a mirror link ?
theprodigy 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's called humblebragging. Without the millions of people looking to find unique experiences to "humble brag" about Facebook would be very boring and wouldn't be as successful.
awjr 4 days ago 0 replies      
We have a rule. No electronic devices at the dinner table. Ever.

If we're out with friends and our kid is 'bored' then we usually let her play on her tablet. It's the upgrade from crayons and paper when she was young.

scott9s 3 days ago 0 replies      
I totally agree with the premise, but (there's always a but) attitude and happiness can be manufactured artificially. So, if sharing on twitter/facebook help me to see where ever I am in the here and now in a more positive light. then the fact that I'm sharing is forcing me to look at it positively which then is in turn making the experience more happy and memorable. Hypothetically speaking. There's some assumptions there.
aiftw 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's narcissistic to imagine that you matter at all. This "age of the internet" is about bootstrapping the entity that is larger than ourselves. It needs enormous amounts of data to even have a chance at understanding the world. Please keep blogging about what you just ate. Take lots of pictures. Log everything.
antisocial 4 days ago 0 replies      
Noble Silence:
"Before you speak ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?"



racl101 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think you could summarize the entire story with "Stop trying to capture the moment in your smartphone, and start LIVING IN the moment."
ankitaggarwal 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just wait, Google Glass is coming soon :)
3dptz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Stop complaining about opt-in social media.
jgeerts 4 days ago 0 replies      
This post is just plain beautiful.
kahawe 4 days ago 0 replies      
This has for a long time been my only explanation for twitter. All the hash-tag and "centralized communication is awesome" came later. Twitter started out when blogs were popular and people were doing this "externalizing" on their freshly-setup blogs regardless of how little they had to say. The problem was you still needed a computer to access your blogger-or-whatever account since there were hardly any smartphones and even worse, you actually needed to write a little bit even when you just wanted to show off because most successful blogs back then were not one-liners with a pretty picture because all the "cool" kids were writing long entries so you had to too.

Enter twitter. They were the first ones to offer text-message (SMS) to website publishing for free and internationally. This was huge, even for me who giggles at "web 2.0" to this day. This is why it's 140 chars only and this was the main reason it ever got people's attention in the first place, now "everyone" could easily publish all that vital information about their pet's last bowl movement at any given time of the day from everywhere. And even more importantly, they could do all that showing-off in a much more efficient and easy way since it was only 140 characters so they did not have to bother with coming up with some "lorem ipsum" like entry to accompany their showing off. It was being able to show-off without feeling guilty about not writing a long blog entry. Reaping all that sweet peer-approval with hardly any of the work you needed before. twitter quite literally enabled this conspicuous showing-off and made it en vogue. Since all the "cool" kids were showing how great their lives are, so you had to too, right?

And now for something completely (or slightly) different. One of my real-life friends does that showing-off on fb in an even cheaper way that I haven't seen anyone else doing so far and I just find it even more ridiculous and it has become a pet peeve of mine. Without failure the last 30 to 50 posts he made were pictures of some sort of object of more or less conspicuous consumption and as text he would just write the one or two words describing what is on the picture - and then, to somehow add depth and give it more "meaning" without anything actually being there except showing off and to make it look "smarter", he would add a smiley. That's it. So imagine posts like:

"whiskey :-)"

"enchiladas :-)"

"sunset :-)"

"<insert expensive watch> :-)"

"someotherexpensivecrap :-)"

One of these days, the internet curmudgeon in me is going to call him out on it and properly ridicule him for it!

not_cool 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow, cool blog. Let me share with some friends.
Taping of Farm Cruelty Is Becoming the Crime nytimes.com
300 points by praptak  4 hours ago   195 comments top 25
edw519 3 hours ago 3 replies      
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
yuvadam 3 hours ago 3 replies      
This is nothing but plutocracy fighting its final battle.

No one is actually suggesting that animal cruelty is OK. But when documenting such (immoral, mind you) acts raises awareness that eventually harms business, in the meat and dairy industry in this case, then big money raises its head in the form of legislation that favors the $$$.

We see the same pattern when hackers are cast as the new terrorists.

kyrra 1 hour ago 4 replies      
This is not meant to defend cruel people, I just want to raise a few points about farms.

While I have only been to small farms, I have definitely seen what some people would consider animal cruelty. But I think it's important to understand the mentality of people that work with these animals.

Animals on farms are seen as property, not a pet in any way. Most owners and workers of animals distance themselves from the animals to keep themselves mentally healthy as they will be putting these animals to slaughter to sell or eat. When distance yourself from an animal, you won't be treating it as nicely as you would your family dog.

When talking about farm help, they may hold a grudge against the animals they are working with. A friend would work his uncle's farm every saturday to help clean up after the pigs. His job was basically shoveling pig poop for 8 hours (or other equally not-fun jobs). It would take a day before he smelled normal again. Doing this kind of work can make some people resentful of the animals they work with.

Farmers and farm help see animals as money, so they won't do anything that could jeopardize being paid (won't damage the product).

When people are disconnected with the animals they are working with, it is easier for some people not to be so nice to those animals. This isn't to say that all people working with animals will be abusive towards them, but it creates an opening for those people that aren't as nice to take their anger out on the animals.

TomGullen 3 hours ago 3 replies      
"One of the group's model bills, “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act,” prohibits filming or taking pictures on livestock farms to “defame the facility or its owner.” Violators would be placed on a “terrorist registry.”"

This sounds like a line out of some futuristic dystopian film

DanielBMarkham 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
I am totally for people being able to expose farm cruelty if the goal is an open debate to enact political change. I wonder, however, if sometimes people use their free speech rights to terrorize potential supporters and advocates, folks who are unfamiliar with reality and context, in order to raise money through FUD. That doesn't mean I don't support their right to free speech. Just means that the speaking part and the recording part need to be considered separately.

I added that caveat because what we're going to see is all sorts of people with all kinds of interests taping things, especially with drone technology and ubiquitous surveillance. This isn't somebody writing a play, novel, or an editorial. It's somebody taking something that you thought was private and displaying it for the world to see, inside their own editorial frame. It's something we should think about carefully. While I am completely in support of MLK's right to make the speech "I have a dream", I'm not so sure I'd be in favor of somebody secretly taping him with a drone while he was creating it. And then creating their own political content around that tape.

Case in point: here's an article I was going to research and rewrite last week but didn't have time. In Australia, animal activists are planning on using drones to tape farmers looking for cruelty.


Would you want anybody with a political cause access to your property whenever they wanted to make recordings to support their political point?

simonster 23 minutes ago 1 reply      
As an animal researcher, I'm of two minds on this.

Obviously, it's better if animal cruelty is exposed. The practices mentioned in the introduction definitely constitute cruelty. They should not be allowed to happen, and whistleblowers should be permitted to record them so that evidence may be presented in court.

On the other hand, people with ties to animal rights organizations have a habit of finding animal cruelty where there is none. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Spring_monkeys for a classic example. The pictures produced by PETA portrayed a researcher's work as an open-and-shut case of animal cruelty when, in fact, the research was scientifically justified and it was ambiguous whether there was any negligence in the way the animals were cared for.

mdkess 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Why not require video cameras be installed in factory farms, and have footage independently reviewed? I feel like a lot of this abuse is due to poorly educated workers in a stressful environment and no observation.
hmottestad 4 hours ago 9 replies      
I love these short pieces on stupid legislation in the land of the free.

Makes me so happy I don't live there.

Who in their right mind would even propose such legislation. What kind of immoral, capitalistic people are in charge in the US.

lprubin 1 hour ago 2 replies      
If you eat factory farmed meat, eggs, or dairy, you are almost guaranteed to be supporting animal cruelty. There are many fantastic books and documentaries detailing the horrors and dangers of factory farming and I've linked to a few below. This is an open secret.

I would be willing to bet that almost anybody here, once they've looked deeply into factory farming, would come out the other side and look at factory farmed animal products in a completely new light.

Do you truly want to stop farm animal cruelty? Investigate this industry and consider no longer buying factory farmed animal products.



ianstallings 3 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a creepy trend going on in the world and it's always been around, but it's gaining steam - the restriction of information. Make it illegal to talk about or simply ignore it becomes the standard. "These aren't the droids you're looking for" as they speak to the world.
johndavidback 4 hours ago 1 reply      
As a US citizen, this scares the crap out of me. If the government is actively and publicly preventing people from exposing rampant crime, it speaks volumes. At least if they were trying to be covert or slick about it, it implies they know what they are doing is wrong.
joering2 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
"But a dozen or so state legislatures have had a different reaction"

May we know them by names? "state legislatures" is a body, not a actual person. I want to know the names so next time they knock at my door asking for a vote, I know what to say.

snarfy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I doubt all the people signing on to this even know it's happening.

American Legislative Exchange Council:

It might help to contact your representative and let them know about this article and that you associate them to it, and to protecting animal cruelty.

TomGullen 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Can't the people filming the cruelty just re-brand themselves as undercover journalists and get all the protection journalists receive?
pyre 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Even in the most extreme of cases, I don't see how claiming that A.L.F. even is a 'terrorist' organisation. Sure they 'liberate' the animals from their owners, but you don't call a burglar a terrorist. Seems these days like "breaking the law in the furtherance of a political cause" is the new definition of terrorism (rather than using violence to sow the seeds to terror), and we're creating more laws to make more terrorists. Gotta fuel the War on Terror somehow I guess...
patrickk 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder what would have happened if this kind of legislation was in place for the guy who filmed the Mitt Romney "47%" video.
Egregore 2 hours ago 0 replies      
From original article: but they can be like seeing open-heart surgery for the first time.

“They could be performing a perfect procedure, but you would consider it abhorrent that they were cutting a person open,” she said.

So should we now ban the taping of heart surgery?

lectrick 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Burying your head in the sand was always an excellent survival strategy.
btipling 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Here's a crazy idea, stop eating meat. It's energy inefficient and cruel.
S4M 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Can we, as a hacker community, do something about this kind of abuse - irregardless whether taping animal cruelty becomes illegal or not?

My idea would be to set up some kind of wiki leaks for those videos, where animal rights militants would be able to anonymously post their videos.

CurtMonash 1 hour ago 0 replies      
At this point in the US, censorship laws like this usually get defeated. Fourth Amendment/privacy/etc. are the areas where I'm more worried about civil liberties.

That said, the reason they get defeated is, in large part, because of the outcry when they're attempted. I don't want to minimize the need to keep fighting for freedom.

gizmo686 1 hour ago 1 reply      
For anyone fammilar with the US legal system, would you need to be tried for breaking this law before you can challenge it in court (where you would be on the hook for criminal penalties), or can you proactivly challenge such laws without breaking them?
gerhardi 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Why did the original posting get deleted? On to the topic, this is just ridiculous, how can anyone vote for such a law?
pm90 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Putting the issue of legality of such legislation aside, it kinda surprised me that the farm-owners/workers were not more concerned about the kind of cruelty going on in their property. Do these people not find the videos incredibly unsettling? How can they allow these things under their watch?
gyardley 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Sure, it's a silly law, sure, it probably won't survive constitutional review, and most definitely, true cruelty to animals is a crime.

But this is also a rather predictable backlash against groups who aren't looking to correct occasional violations of regulations in the meatpacking industry, but shut down the industry as a whole - devastating local communities by getting rid of a ton of low-skilled jobs. Since we're not exactly making more low-skilled jobs these days, many of the people affected will be impoverished for life, taking their towns with them.

Given that, it's not at all surprising that employees, employers, and local politicians are responding very aggressively. Any industry under the same threat would respond the same way.

New GitHub Pages domain: github.io github.com
291 points by xPaw  2 days ago   90 comments top 25
nikcub 2 days ago 2 replies      
Poor form not crediting Homakov, GitHub. Credit means a lot to security researchers (that is all a lot of us are working for).

If you aren't even giving simple credit, you are asking to be compromised the next time an issue is found. GitHub is large enough and prominent enough where it should have an entire bounty program, let alone giving a blogger a link.

molecule 2 days ago 1 reply      
Egor Homakov's write up of the session fixation and CSRF vulnerabilities that this addresses:


k3n 2 days ago 5 replies      
Not sure yet how I feel about the .io bandwagon that seems to be going around; I think I mainly don't like taking a TLD that is specifically designated for a country and attempting to attach a different meaning to it. I just don't know if my pedantry is justified... Yes, I know it's been happening forever, but that doesn't make it right.

I do like the delineation between official Github content and user-content, but there definitely other ways to go about the problem without buying into the latest TLD fad.

balac 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is certainly good news for HN, more than a few times I have been misled into thinking a pages.github.com submission was an official github announcement.
pkamb 2 days ago 3 replies      
When I go to http://pages.github.com/, I see absolutely no way to make a Github Page. How do you set one up?

EDIT: I know I could probably find the info in an FAQ, if I needed to. My point is that the images on that page seem to show a nice wysiwyg online editor for creating and publishing pages. I'm looking for a big call to action button that takes me there, similar to how easy it is to publish to https://gist.github.com/.

ibrahima 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great all around, I hate all the links that show up here as from github.com when they're actually from username.github.com, or even gist.github.com. Though I guess this doesn't say anything about gists, maybe they should move those to their own domain too. Although I really think HN should show the first level subdomain of a domain if one exists.
blake8086 2 days ago 1 reply      
From what I understand, this is the same reason Google uses googleusercontent.com
wereHamster 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will github pages finally support SSL?
thomseddon 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a real pain that "project pages", i.e. serving the gh-pages branch from username.github.com/project aren't being redirected, for example: http://nightworld.github.com/odlnorth just 404's

Is this an oversight or am I missing something?

evmar 2 days ago 1 reply      
The docs for user pages appear to have been auto-rewritten to name the repository with a .io suffix, but the cited URL doesn't seem to work.

See https://help.github.com/articles/user-organization-and-proje... , click the defunkt demo link.

thomaslutz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is that why http://litecoin.org/ is down?
ZoFreX 2 days ago 1 reply      
Security vulnerability 3: Websites could sniff passwords of users with password-saving browser extensions. If the extension autofills the username and password (and some do out of the box), then a bit of javascript on a GitHub Pages site could have stolen those users' Github passwords.

Excellent move on GitHub's part here.

logn 2 days ago 0 replies      
"If your Pages site was previously served from a username.github.com domain, all traffic will be redirected to the new username.github.io location indefinitely"

i.e., Phishers, no need to change your email templates!

goldfeld 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is in turn nice for people using .io domains, the weight of Github's many blogs and official project pages will lend trust to the TLD.
jbox 2 days ago 0 replies      
"As a general rule, it's not possible to securely allow arbitrary user-provided content on a subdomain."

This rule is also good to keep in mind when choosing a domain for non-production environments!

wyuenho 2 days ago 0 replies      
This change just reset all the Tweets and G+ count for my project to 0. Is there a way to claim those back?
enrmarc 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Remember to migrate the threads if you are using Disqus (Admin -> Tools -> Migrate Threads -> Start Crawler).
timedoctor 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think .io is a much better choice than .co, because .co is easily confused with .com. .io is so completely different that it is less easily confused with .com.

Note that overstock totally rebranded their domain to o.co and found that a very large percentage of visitors were typing in o.com instead of o.co and they were losing a very significant amount of traffic.

camus 2 days ago 1 reply      
or , do like heroku : something like github-pages.com or github-space.com , mygithub.com , etc ... github.io / github.com still a bit confusing...
modarts 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's next aside from trendy hipster TLD's located in the Indian ocean? I mean I/O amirite?!?!?!
hcarvalhoalves 2 days ago 1 reply      
No one thought about pages.github.com?
downrightmike 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like saas companies so much more than traditional ones largely because they offer support effectively.
Test case: Try to find the number to call to replace your bluetooth headset.
r4vik 2 days ago 0 replies      
this was a long time coming; excellent move
woli 2 days ago 0 replies      
Had a misbehaving page because of this.

An email notification would have been nice Github.

lingben 2 days ago 1 reply      
is the css not loading for anyone else?


The Jellyfish Entrepreneur priceonomics.com
269 points by aandon  4 days ago   40 comments top 22
lubujackson 4 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats to this business for forging ahead with someone no one else was daring to do. But I do have a bit of an ethical dilemma with the lean startup concept of setting up AdWords to sell something that doesn't yet exist. Especially something like a $25k installation in a restaurant that seems to have turned into a total trainwreck (spilled tank, "other minor problems," then ultimately abandoning jellyfish altogether).

I don't know what the solution should be. Is it on the restaurant to do their own due diligence here? Or should he be (and maybe he was!) upfront about the lack of expertise and do the initial install for minimal profit?

jrabone 4 days ago 5 replies      
Hmmm. I don't know where they are in terms of sentience, but I kinda feel sorry for the jellyfish. It's the main reason I don't keep pets of any sort, but particularly fish. I love aquaria, but even the truly huge ones don't seem large enough - take the Lisbon Oceanário for example - hard not to feel sorry for that one Sunfish (maybe a metre across) just swimming in circles around a huge cylindrical tank.

Keeping cephalapods would be a great engineering challenge, in terms of what's necessary to make a viable habitat, but it seems so cruel given their apparent intelligence. Perhaps these things shouldn't be cheap?

MatthewB 4 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Jellyfish Art. I saw one sitting in my neighbor's window about a year and a half ago and was immediately in awe.

On a separate note, I'm always excited when I see a new blog post from priceonomics. They always choose super interesting topics, do a ton of research, and express the info in a succinct way. Good stuff.

moultano 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is it at all plausible to set up a tank with jellies that breed and sustain their numbers? I'm remembering a friend's fish tank that was perennially full of snails, because the snails laid eggs on the walls of the tank much faster than they died out.

Could the jellies be captured and shipped in polyp form to cut down on the cost?

yosho 4 days ago 2 replies      
I have the Jellyfish tank and it's pretty cool, however, all the Jellyfish died after about a month. They were too hard to find, get caught up in the rocks a lot, and feeding was a pain. However, we still have the tank and use it to hold tropical fish now.

I would suggest that they go into the tank business and focus on unique designs, that's a scalable business with a big market. I wouldn't buy the Jellyfish again, but if they had another interesting tank, I would get that.

ph0rque 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great article, Mr. Andon. We at AutoMicroFarm are in a very similar boat, as you know.

It's fascinating that the barrier to further growth is breeding jellyfish to fill the demand of a cheaper aquarium, once it's released to market. Is Jelly Fish Art (the company) focused on researching the science of scaling the process? Have you looked into selling other exotic aquatic animals that fit the aquarium you've developed?

sheri 4 days ago 2 replies      
>The supply chain worked this way for a year. Then one day, the tropical supplier went to his jellyfish catching spot and couldn't catch a single one. All of them were gone. Every week he checked out the same spot, but every week he went home empty-handed.

This is simply unacceptable. His achievement at the expense of local fauna is not to be applauded, but condemned. Regardless of whether jellyfish feel pain, exploiting nature is such destructive ways is simply ridiculous in this day and age.

Sad that so many comments here completely overlooked this, and focused solely on success at any cost.

kapsel 4 days ago 1 reply      
I bought one of these, their latest ones, from a German company about a half year ago. It arrived, I followed the instructions and got it up and running within a couple of hours.

It takes at least a couple of weeks to settle, with the added reef salt and everything. Then I was going to purchase jellyfish - and found out that they actually cost more than 50$ a piece, because of overnight shipping (from Germany, I live in Denmark).

So I started doing some research on the tank, and read about 5 horror stories about how they always died within 3 days, even after following instructions very accurately.

I later emptied the tank, and now it's sitting in the attic.

Build quality is decent, but not perfect. After sitting still for about 3 months, the top lid started bending/skewing quite a lot, now it almost doesn't fit anymore. It's also quite noisy, not something that you'd like to sleep in the same room as.

If anyone wants a jellyfish tank where the jellyfish apparently dies within a couple of days, I have a cheap one for pickup here in Copenhagen.

kanamekun 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a great interview with Jellyfish Art on Mixergy from November 2011, with a lot more detail on their pre-YC history:
nick007 4 days ago 0 replies      
I own one of their modest desktop tanks -- what an awesome piece of craftsmanship. Feels like it was made by Apple.
agent462 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a long time reef keeper so I instantly jumped on this with the kickstarter campaign. Like many that bought this tank they were littered with issues and flaws in the design that sent the jellyfish to their death.

I consider my reefing keeping ability as advanced with a 220 gallon main display. This tank was also advertised for beginners. As someone who understands the ecosystem, how to mix the salt/water and test for common parameters I would highly discourage this tank and jellies to beginners.

This tank had too many issues.

There are competitors:

They may cost more but the reviews are much better.

6ren 4 days ago 0 replies      
One great strength here is the smallness of market. Easy to dominate. Unattractive to large competitors.
realdlee 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great blog post (as usual from Priceonomics). I'm sure many people (myself included) would become Jellyfish Art customers once Alex can nail the lower price point.
elliotanderson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've had a tank on my wish list since I first saw it on Kickstarter.

Sadly, we only have one distributor in Australia and they mark the price up 110% for just a basic tank setup. There's an untapped market over here, only problem is in the distribution channel.

beneth 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cool product!

1 quick suggestion: on your sales page food is listed in ounces. I think it would be more helpful and may increase conversions with impulse buyers to list that as "X months of food".

spo81rty 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a great story and example to others that there are a million ways to make money.
shloime 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really fantastic article. We sell the tank on Outgrow.me and have only received positive feedback from our customers thus far.
caseyf7 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did you write a blog post about living in a van in SF? I see people doing this and I've always been curious about it. I would love to hear what that was like.
up_and_up 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Alex made the sale, but now he had a problem: he had to deliver on the tank he promised. Alex had a general understanding of jellyfish tank construction based on googling around and talking to experts, but he didn't have enough expertise to deliver the product.

Daring and a bit crazy.

orangethirty 4 days ago 2 replies      
What type of e-commerce platform are they using?
yoster 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great article! I have been a small entrepreneur myself from time to time. I am currently working on something in the tiny scale, and would like to one day do the same thing on that type of scale.
carsongross 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Then they can lower their prices grow again."

That would be deflationary and, as we all know, deflation is the worst possible thing that could happen, ever.

(Great story on true entrepreneurship in action and, in particular, the focus on lowering, lowering, lowering costs and bringing more to more people.)

Why does this png display differently in Chrome/Firefox than in Safari/IE? stackoverflow.com
268 points by miorel  1 day ago   38 comments top 17
Centigonal 1 day ago 2 replies      
The the image consists of a checkerboard-style pattern of pixels. The "dark" pixels form the apple image, while the "light" ones show the pear. The answer to the SO question suggests that the gamma correction information (which is used by Chrome and FF, but not by older IE) makes the image darker, blacking out the apple and revealing the pear. Without gamma correction, the apple is visible, and the pear becomes a light-colored ghost.

edit: I put together the pieces! yay! :D

joenathan 1 day ago 2 replies      
Even stranger on Windows 8 the thumbnail shows up as an apple but when opened the Windows Photo Viewer shows it as a pear.


justin_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Using Photoshop I tried to make my own image like this.


It's a mix of Tux and the GNU logo.
The strange thing is that Firefox shows Tux, and Chrome shows the GNU logo. Very strange considering both Firefox and Chrome show the pear. My understanding is that the GNU logo (the 'lighter' image) should be shown if the gamma correction is applied. Does anyone know what's going on here?

EDIT: By removing the iCCP color profile chunk, the image displays properly in Firefox.

For anyone interested in making one:

First, I put the two images on separate layers in photoshop. I changed the output levels on Tux to be from 0 to 210, darkening it slightly. I changed the output levels on the GNU logo to be from 215 to 255, making it very bright. Then I used a layer mask on the top layer with a grid pattern to mix the two images. The saved image was a mix of the relatively normal Tux pixels and the bright GNU pixels.

The final touch was editing the gAMA value in the PNG. Using the free program, TweakPNG, I set it to something very low, like in the pear image: 0.02. And that was it!

friendly_chap 1 day ago 1 reply      
I will use this trick on all of my online published images - the IE version will say:


Steuard 1 day ago 0 replies      
The thing that puzzles me is that the image opens in GIMP showing the apple (incorrectly, apparently). I would have thought that GIMP would be entirely aware of embedded color/gamma information like this. (It certainly makes enough of a fuss about color profiles practically every time I open an image!) Is the gamma somehow encoded in a less-standard way, or is GIMP just less clever than I thought?

(My copy of GIMP is a bit outdated, but that shouldn't be a big deal for a basic feature like this, right?)

derleth 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of KOOLEFANT, by Magnus Bodin:


This goes back to the late 1990s; the page mentions MSIE for Solaris.

shurcooL 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminded me of an old trick that worked in IE6 or so, where they would use alternating pixels to take advantage of how selection highlighting worked in IE6 to make another image appear when you select it.
ajtaylor 1 day ago 0 replies      
What was interesting to me was that in Chrome, if you scroll the page you can see a faint version of the apple until you stop scrolling, at which point all you see if the pear.
dclowd9901 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I drag the window, it flickers both.
eitland 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think this has some interesting applications in spearphishing etc:

You know the Bob Boss uses IE so you send a link to a "specially crafted" web page that uses an image like this to show the boss a completely smart solution (place high value object in this location inside vault) and ask him if it is OK. Now just get Bob to forward the link to the web page to Alise who uses some other, known web browser and she sees a map with a location outside the vault.

Just a thought: for now if you own the server anyway you can just do browser sniffing and send two completely different images..

sankha93 1 day ago 0 replies      
IE10 shows a pear. It became standards complaint or what?
ancarda 1 day ago 2 replies      
Interesting that Chrome (on OS X) displays a pear. I was under the impression Chrome used Core Graphics which would have exhibited this behaviour too?

Maybe not.

mlex 1 day ago 1 reply      
On my Retina monitor (Firefox Nightly), I see a pear but also the apple, though very faintly. Saving to the desktop gets me an apple, as expected.
baby 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm using firefox and it glitches when I scroll. So I can see the apple when I scroll. I doesn't seem like it should be the case.
marcolz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Safari on an iPad mini, first edition, shows an apple (obviously) and very faintly a pear.
yjyft846jh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this question on JPEG images: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3937885/cross-browser-inc...
tssva 1 day ago 0 replies      
Chrome on Android shows an apple
My Code made it to a Hollywood Movie securitytube.net
251 points by infoseckid  2 days ago   87 comments top 17
ErrantX 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is slightly meta, but it's nice to see the attitude of the OP here. It quite matches my own.

It's always disappointing to see my work appear somewhere else without credit, but usually it is not worth moaning about. At the end of the day, he put that material up to be helpful to someone - and even if it wasn't used in the way it was intended, or with appropriate credit, at least it was still helpful.

It's a good attitude to have, I feel.

Especially as it means he gets to feel "cool, my work is in a hollywood movie" rather than "they stole my work". A much more positive feeling :)

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure which to be more amazed by, that someone recognized their code in a small snippet in a movie, or that a movie maker actually used networking code when the plot called for it.[1]

[1] As opposed to "The Terminator" who came from the future running a bootleg copy of the Apple II boot roms :-)

WA 2 days ago 3 replies      
The most interesting part is that they even bothered to take source code that is loosely related to security stuff and not just took any source code that came across their way.
commanda 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find it amazing that somebody actually knew OP's code well enough to recognize it in the trailer. Or maybe someone searched github for the strings they saw instead? Either way, pretty cool - I'd love to have some code in a movie too!
friendly_chap 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is really cool. It's amazing that even at big budget movie studios, the general workflow is the same as everywhere else: copypaste an as fast as possible solution from the internet...
I guess no matter where they work, people remain people, and budgets are tight.
anonymouz 1 day ago 0 replies      
NMAP has often appeared in movies too: http://nmap.org/movies/ .
ot 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this is enough to make his Bacon number finite.
reeses 1 day ago 2 replies      
ÄŚeskĂ˝ Wikipedia has the code as well. http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_socket

I'm not sure whence the code was lifted, but it would not surprise me if they just grabbed some code from Wikipedia and assumed it was freely usable.

D9u 1 day ago 0 replies      
Considering the way Hollywood bristles at "piracy" of their own products, I suggest raising holy-high-hell over this example of Hollywood "piracy" of the code in question.
akandiah 2 days ago 1 reply      
If it weren't for the code comments, it would've been hard to notice that it was the OP's code. It's sometimes very hard to find the differences between C-based POSIX/BSD socket code written by multiple parties - especially when it comes to the set-up routines. Kudos to the OP!
Snowda 2 days ago 3 replies      
If I was the OP I would just ask them to stick my name somewhere in the credits and call it a day.
jfaucett 2 days ago 4 replies      
that's awesome. I love the OP's attitude : "How do I feel about this? Great :) If not me, at least my code made it to a 3 second clip in a Hollywood Movie :) ". It kind of makes me angry for him though that they didn't even bother to give him a credit or ask him if they could use it in anyway. The least anybody can do is give credit where credits due when using open source libs.
joshka 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great, but what's the license on the code? Isn't this a breach of copyright?
markolschesky 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember when I worked for a company that made hospital computer software. They were on top of the industry and growing, yet at one point totally geeked out about the fact that their software was going to appear on a show like Gray's Anatomy. Hollywood is the greatest.
samwillis 2 days ago 0 replies      
You could probably get a credit for that, maybe...
hackshare 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found this to be interesting. Good to see Hollywood using real code. You can use this on resume :)
pressurefree 1 day ago 0 replies      
dont get stuck in command mode on us...
Experience the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing firstmenonthemoon.com
242 points by wsieroci  2 days ago   31 comments top 12
fjarlq 1 day ago 1 reply      
Apollo Guidance Computer programmer Don Eyles analyzes the program alarms that could have aborted the landing:



iuguy 1 day ago 1 reply      
That was truly brilliantly presented. It's things like this that the Internet were invented for.
rurounijones 1 day ago 0 replies      
At first I thought this was going to be some sort of flash game, That was incredible.

My main thought is the amount of stuff the astronauts had to deal with while the moon is looking mighty big in the windows.

It appears to be the very definition of a high stress environment.

js2 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you can't get enough of this, let me recommend:

A Man on the Moon - http://www.amazon.com/Man-Moon-Voyages-Apollo-Astronauts/dp/...

And the HBO series based on it:

From the Earth to the Moon - http://www.amazon.com/From-Earth-Moon-Collectors-Edition/dp/...

tofof 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can read and listen along manually to every lunar surface operation at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/frame.html. This is dozens of hours of audio (unfortunately in 12ish-minute segments). The transcript is annotated with helpful things, too - interviews with the astronauts in question to gain more understanding of what was happening, technical explanations and photos to explain what a particular device is, etc. There are a scattered few video clips as well for the most visually interesting moments.

The companion Apollo Flight Journal covers the rest of the missions - but doesn't contain audio, and is missing 13, 14, and 17 (but has 7-10, which of course aren't in the surface journal). It's still full of interesting annotations though.

davecap1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I recently read "Failure is not an option" by Gene Kranz (FLIGHT on Apollo 11) so I thought this was pretty cool. Great book too: http://www.amazon.com/Failure-Not-Option-Mission-Control/dp/...
mikecane 1 day ago 1 reply      
OK. That website made it feel like I live in The Future. I grew up in The Space Age (Project Mercury onward) and I still get chills whenever I see TV programs or movies about it. Now this site too.
verygoodyear 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh, wow. That was stunning. Heart in my mouth the entire time, I cannot imagine what it was like to watch that in real time.


Always worth a read for more context and 'Moonshot' is pretty good for Apollo 11.

echobase 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of great links shared in these comments... I'd like to mention a very interesting article on the near-disaster of Apollo 13: "Apollo 13, We Have a Solution" - http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/space-flight/apollo-13-we...
chewxy 2 days ago 4 replies      
Finally! Conclusive proof that the moon landings were faked! It can be done on a computer!

edit: clearly sarcasm. I wonder, they've gone all the way till the Eagle has landed, why not go further and include Neil Armstrong's small step for man recording?

morganwilde 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone not old enough to have seen this take place live, I did appreciate this presentation so much. Now one can only wonder when will our generation bare witness to us landing on Mars?
ColinWright 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is absolutely fantastic, but isn't it interesting that when submitted 159 days ago (in the interests of full disclosure - yes, by me) it got one comment and just 4 upvotes.


Clearly this is an item of interest to the HN community, and equally clearly last time it was missed by so many people. So:

* Does this mean that HN is in some sense sub-optimal?

* Is this a problem?

* Is this a problem worth fixing?

PostgreSQL 9.2.4, 9.1.9, 9.0.13 and 8.4.17 released postgresql.org
239 points by edwinvlieg  4 days ago   99 comments top 12
timdorr 4 days ago 2 replies      
The commit that fixes it with a few more details: http://git.postgresql.org/gitweb/?p=postgresql.git;a=commitd...

    An oversight in commit e710b65c1c56ca7b91f662c63d37ff2e72862a94 allowed
database names beginning with "-" to be treated as though they were secure
command-line switches; and this switch processing occurs before client
authentication, so that even an unprivileged remote attacker could exploit
the bug, needing only connectivity to the postmaster's port. Assorted
exploits for this are possible, some requiring a valid database login,
some not. The worst known problem is that the "-r" switch can be invoked
to redirect the process's stderr output, so that subsequent error messages
will be appended to any file the server can write. This can for example be
used to corrupt the server's configuration files, so that it will fail when
next restarted. Complete destruction of database tables is also possible.

Fix by keeping the database name extracted from a startup packet fully
separate from command-line switches, as had already been done with the
user name field.

The Postgres project thanks Mitsumasa Kondo for discovering this bug,
Kyotaro Horiguchi for drafting the fix, and Noah Misch for recognizing
the full extent of the danger.

Security: CVE-2013-1899

gingerlime 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Heroku was given access to updated source code which patched the vulnerability at the same time as other packagers. Because Heroku was especially vulnerable, the PostgreSQL Core Team worked with them both to secure their infrastructure and to use their deployment as a test-bed for the security patches, in order to verify that the security update did not break any application functionality. Heroku has a history both of working closely with community developers, and of testing experimental features in their PostgreSQL service."

I believe all the heroku hosted postgresql servers are externally accessible and there's no way to filter access by IP.

Of course hindsight is always 20:20, but perhaps it's a good idea for heroku to consider adding some basic (optional) firewall layer to allow customers to control who can connect to the hosted db?

Disclaimer: I'm not a heroku customer. I did however consider moving our pg's over to them a little while ago.

edwinvlieg 4 days ago 0 replies      
More information about the security release can also be found in the special FAQ:


facorreia 4 days ago 1 reply      
"This update fixes a high-exposure security vulnerability in versions 9.0 and later. All users of the affected versions are strongly urged to apply the update immediately."
Bootvis 4 days ago 4 replies      
I'm not an expert so I'll ask here:

Is there an attack vector if you run PostgreSQL locally, no untrusted users are able to create connection strings and do not allow remote access?

It seems to be no but I prefer to be sure ;)

ipsin 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm a little confused about their release strategy. Perhaps someone can explain it to me.

They took their repositories private to secretly develop the bug fix. Then they released the fixed versions along with what seem to be enough details to trigger the bug for anyone who hasn't patched.

Sure the patch contains the same information in source form, but if they'd gone light on details while saying "seriously, go get this", there'd probably be fewer curious vandals trying to delete your database while you're reading HN.

simon_kun 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's testament to Canonical that Ubuntu 8.04 LTS still gets security patches backported to 8.3. If you (still) have servers running Hardy, it's 'apt-get upgrade' time: http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/usn-1789-1/
joevandyk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorta surprised I don't see people complaining that this release contained other changes besides the security fix.

Lots of folks complained about that (unintended) ActiveRecord change in Rails during the last security update.

dkulchenko 4 days ago 3 replies      
So if I have no databases that start with "-", I'm not vulnerable? Didn't quite understand what they meant by that.
instakill 3 days ago 1 reply      
Should one update the local postgres version? Any write ups on how exactly to go about it?
calpaterson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ubuntu repos already seem to have the fix
octo_t 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is the main vulnerability I presume

> A connection request containing a database name that begins with "-" may be crafted to damage or destroy files within a server's data directory

I just. No words.

Firefox Nightly Gets New Baseline JIT Compiler mozilla.org
234 points by barkingcat  2 days ago   101 comments top 10
simonsarris 2 days ago 5 replies      
MAJOR EDIT: The first tests I accidentally ran against aurora (22a) and not the nightly (23a). Running against the nightly, the numbers are much closer, though sometimes better on either 21 or 23a for some simple things.

But running the typed array/pixel manipulation test, 23a seems twice as fast as the beta!


Please feel free to confirm using http://jsperf.com/canvas-pixel-manipulation/6

Original post below, with erroneous benches removed:


Hmm, I have a lot of HTML canvas-based performance tests, so I plucked two of them to give a small comparison a go. Comparing the results of these simple exercises doesn't seem too promising.

The first test I used was a simple one that merely sets every canvas propery (some can be time consuming): http://jsperf.com/can-attribs

And the second one tests different ways of filling single pixels: http://jsperf.com/filling-pixels

From a practical standpoint canvas performance matters very much to me, but my tests probably aren't the best metric. Are there better tests that could be used to see the difference between the old and new compilers here?

edit: on a test comparing typed arrays to plain, performance seemed nearly (merely?) identical: http://jsperf.com/canvas-pixel-manipulation/6

antonios 2 days ago 2 replies      
The amount of innovation coming from Mozilla has been staggering the last year. IonMonkey, asm.js, impressive memory usage improvements (Firefox is now by far the least memory hungry browser among the modern ones), new baseline jit...Rock on, Mozilla.
tambourine_man 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also, to remark on recent happenings… given the recent flurry of news surrounding asm.js and OdinMonkey, there have been concerns raised (by important voices) about high-level JavaScript becoming a lesser citizen of the optimization landscape. I hope that in some small way, this landing and ongoing work will serve as a convincing reminder that the JS team cares and will continue to care about making high-level, highly-dynamic JavaScript as fast as we can.

Great answer.

codesuela 2 days ago 3 replies      
If someone could answer me this it would be much appreciated:
The blogpost describes the current flow of code as such:
Interpreter -> JaegerMonkey -> IonMonkey

Is process repeated every time I open a website or do browsers cache the generated bytecode? What about popular libraries? Will jQuery get JITed differently for every website that has it?

VeejayRampay 2 days ago 2 replies      
Damn this browser business is getting crazy these days.

I wonder if we'll look at how the browser performs in say 5 years from now with the sense that 2013 was basically the dark ages. Exciting times...

corresation 2 days ago 6 replies      
While the great sunspider battles will be great for the future, practically does this really matter? Does it really have any impact at all for an average user, where, I suspect, the up-front costs of JIT never actually pay themselves off.

This isn't intended to be Luddism, and these improvements will benefit future apps, but so much is made about JavaScript performance (see the hoopla about JIT being disabled for embedded browsers on iOS), yet I seriously doubt it makes an ounce of difference in the real world, where the overwhelming majority of the performance limitations exist in the DOM.

sergiosgc 2 days ago 1 reply      
How feasible would it be to have webservers compile javascript and serve it to the browser already preprocessed (as far as possible)? The same URL could be used, but a different mime type acceptance signaled by the browser using the Accepts header. The webservers, instead of returning text/javascript would return application/javascript+moz22.

Then, most of this race towards hotspot optimization would be less important.

crucio 2 days ago 2 replies      
is there a way to signal to the browser that I'd like all of my JavaScript to be compiled as best as possible and that I don't mind my users waiting while this happens? Could this be useful for complex games where start-up speed may not be deemed as important as runtime performance?
ritonlajoie 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not a javascript nor browser pro but I wonder why the compilation is done client side. Cant's the servers do it and send the jit code to the client instead?
happy_dino 2 days ago 1 reply      
... which finally adds support for a common bytecode format, usable as a compilation target for various languages.

Oh wait, that would actually be useful.

Better just design yet-another JIT compiler to speed up that language design train wreck that is Java Script.


Our tiny jQuery/Bootstrap rich text editor is now open-source github.io
227 points by gojko  1 day ago   79 comments top 22
podperson 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Speaking as someone who has just implemented a similar editor (but only dependent on jQuery) this editor has serious problems. To begin with, the UI does not respond to the selection (what will the bold button do given the current selection?) and using contentEditable DIVs will make 508 compliance horrendous (the selection is lost when a label gains focus). (Our editor allows either divs or iframes, but the latter is pretty much required for solid usability, unfortunately).

The magic is all in execCommand, but you also need to be aware of cross browser issues and execCommand's limitations (e.g. IE won't style using CSS which is a huge pain. ExecCommand can toggle bold but not background color). In the end we use execCommand to create spans and then style the spans.

Nice support for touch styling, speech input, mobile cameras, and dropping images though.

samarudge 1 day ago 2 replies      
This looks nearly identical to http://jhollingworth.github.io/bootstrap-wysihtml5/

So ima take the hit of being a stupid person and ask, what's the difference? Why should I use this over bootstrap-wysihtml5 (or why should I use bootstrap-wysihtml5 over this)?

uptown 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm curious about the voice-input feature. In your example, it's activated by clicking the microphone - but could a website activate this without a click (or by tricking a user into clicking something they thought was performing some other function)? Providing the ability to listen in and capture the audio from a user's location without any prompt seems like a huge potential security issue to me.
malloc2x 23 hours ago 2 replies      
But does it work?

A couple minutes of basic usage (FF20, Linux) have me in pain:

- CTRL-B (and presumably other shortcuts) doesn't always take effect immediately. Sometimes there is delay, sometimes it seems necessary to let go of CTRL for the event to get flushed, sometimes nothing ever happens at all. Multiple hits without letting go of CTRL also behave erratically.

- Focus stays on formatting buttons and requires manual click to get back to text widget. Several times I wondered where my text was, only to realize focus was on wrong widget.

- By far the worst thing: the way formatting codes are handled leaves me crying for WordPerfect's Reveal Codes. Make some text bold, unbold the text after it, type something right after the bolded text, it isn't bold, hit enter for new line and type something, now it became bold again. Argh!

I like the idea of this, but presently there are some rough edges.

andrewingram 1 day ago 1 reply      
FYI, the toolbar buttons change size on hover, it's a little distracting. It looks like they're getting thicker borders on the sides.
otterley 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Minor editorial nit: "Boostrap" (sic) is misspelled on the front page. Thanks for putting it up, though!
theone 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I really miss the ability to resize, move images. Every time try to move image, the chrome tab crashes.
ahultgren 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Was really thrilled at first, this could be exactly the kind of wysiwyg-editor I've been looking for. Unfortunately it seems the markup returned by .cleanHtml() is completely useless (see http://pastebin.com/uwpSMKsi). If I could get proper markup (paragraphs, headlines, not a thousand divs) and maybe the possibility to edit the markup myself this would be the perfect editor.
primaryobjects 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It's nice, but I'm more of a fan of direct inline editing on the web page via HTML5 contenteditable=true. The Aloha Editor http://aloha-editor.org does this very well. I've actually just recently added their editor to my node.js mini cms, called ContentBlocks http://contentblocks.herokuapp.com
jplur 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Very slick and great filesize. I've been working on a wysiwyg document editor and am very tempted to use this. My only problem is with contenteditable in general, which is hard to convince to use <p>'s. I'm rolling my own paste function and optimistic about getting the functionality you have, but definitely not in 5k ;)

Also, do you have any idea of a resource for valid/invalid nesting rules for inline and block elements? I'm currently sanitizing to keep block elements at the top level.

darkchasma 1 day ago 1 reply      
Although I like the idea of these, I'm far too paranoid to allow any user to use them.
dwelch2344 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks pretty cool. One thing I don't get tho: How does the image upload work? Does it just base64 encode it and use inline images?
tambourine_man 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks nice, can't insert images with desktop Safari though (ML, latest).

Will it have a “code“ button (check generated HTML)?

jplur 23 hours ago 0 replies      
http://codemirror.net/ is a very pleasant way to set up code editing text areas.
vindicated 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering why a file upload dialog opens up when I click in the empty area beside the 'redo' button in the demo (FF 19). Is it just me?
btipling 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Was able to complicate the styling by getting bold that I couldn't unbold anymore.
m_mueller 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is anyone aware of a bootstrap based wysiwyg editor that also supports tables? So many cool editors omit this, but it's one of the most common rich text tools people want in business applications.
deepak-kumar 1 day ago 1 reply      
How is the performance on iPad? Do you guys do full strength testing on iPad etc.? It would be great if it can be optimized for other device browser as well. Good job. Keep it coming.
tuananh 1 day ago 0 replies      
not bootstrap-based but I found [redactor](http://imperavi.com/redactor/) really good. It's not free to use though.
reyan 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hotlinking raw.github.com assets has a rate limit. The demo is not working properly (apparently because of jquery.hotkeys.js).
archildress 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like this could be really useful, nice work. Unfortunately I'm not having any luck entering text on my iOS6 iPhone.
lingben 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm having trouble with the bold button
Google going its own way, forking WebKit rendering engine arstechnica.com
223 points by kolistivra  4 days ago   99 comments top 17
tgandrews 4 days ago 6 replies      
To me it sounds like a good thing. We end up with 3 major rendering engines on the desktop; Gecko (Firefox), Trident (IE) and Blink (Opera and Chrome) and 2 major on mobile Blink (Opera and Chrome) and Webkit (Safari). This I think will help shake up some of monoculture.

Chrome definitely doesn't have any level of domination over the enterprise market like IE6 on Windows did. That was the problem with IE6 not the browser per se - it was revolutionary when it was released, MS just killed the team. The chance that enterprises will stick with Chrome is very unlikely.

As it stands at the moment, the only downside is the duplicated development between the Safari and Chrome teams. Webkit will suffer, but the web won't. Apple don't care enough, the web isn't the top of their priority list.

If anything, the iOS monopoly of mobile web traffic (in the first world) is a problem which certainly isn't changed by this fork.

That's my two pennies worth.

doe88 4 days ago 2 replies      
> Google also argues that the decision will introduce greater diversity into the browser ecosystem and might mitigate concerns that the mobile Web in particular was becoming a WebKit monoculture.

Ahah so much hypocrisy condensed in this sentence. Yeah it's constraining to share code and have compile time #defines but if every vendor did the same there wouldn't be any common project.

hp50g 4 days ago 7 replies      
This reads like:

"We're not sharing our stuff anymore as it's costing too much".

A the risk of sounding like a paranoid nutbag, with stuff like NaCl, SPDY, Dart etc, it sounds like Google have their own agenda.

darkchasma 4 days ago 0 replies      
WebKit has prevented google from pulling an IE6, so this effectively frees them to eff it all up.
sukuriant 4 days ago 0 replies      
A number of people were complaining about how not enough common implementations on the web was a bad thing; and how everyone using webkit would lead to complacency. Google forking webkit to make it its own might be just enough to keep them all different enough to keep standards going :)
cnlwsu 4 days ago 0 replies      
nugget at the end: "there won't be any -blink or -chrome CSS prefixes; like Mozilla, all new experimental features will require developers to enable them in the browser's options page"
jevinskie 4 days ago 0 replies      
Will this help unshackle WebKit2 development (an alternative to Chrome's multiprocess architecture)? It seems to have stagnated for quite some time.
msoad 4 days ago 1 reply      
My understanding is that Dart VM will be in Chrome soon.
slacka 4 days ago 0 replies      
> "For example, we anticipate that we'll be able to remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 filesâ€"comprising more than 4.5 million lines"

On my 2GB netbook, chrome has gone from my preferred browser to unusable due to the high memory footprint of recent builds. I wonder if this cleanup will help get the memory down to something reasonable like the level it was before Chrome 10.

kapranoff 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some people here are confused about the business side of making a browser for Google. I even saw mentions that Google Chrome is just a good will project to make the Web a better palce.

While that is partially true, Google Chrome also has a very strong business strategy behind it.

Right now it is the main distribution channel for Google Search. Every download of the browser is converted (with a probability, of course) to more searches or to a switch-over from another search engine.

For quite a long time (several years) search engine quality has not been selling itself. Many people do not notice any real difference between Bing/Baidu/Yandex/Seznam and Google.

Google invented search distribution with Google Toolbar (which was a tremendous success from business side) and right now Google Chrome is the new Google Toolbar. One of the main KPIs for Google Chrome product is Google Search market share. Specifically they directly optimize for Google Search share from inside Google Chrome which when multiplied by the share of the browser converts into money.

Just wanted to clarify things, sorry if not mentioning Blink made this comment an off-topic one.

linuxhansl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure what to make of this statement:

"the costs of sharing code now outweighed the advantages"

Does that mean Google will only be a good open source citizen as long as it is advantageous to them and on a project-by-project basis?

Edit: Well it is part of Chromium, which is open source, so maybe I was too rash.

smallegan 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like competition but I hate having to test for yet another engine. Really hoping that developing for webkit will still result in well rendered sites/apps on blink.
EGreg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Noo! Why can't we have one, nice open source target? At least I hope they all support the standards.
fuck_google 4 days ago 1 reply      
A Short Translation from Bullshit to English of Selected Portions of the Google Chrome Blink Developer FAQ:
eluos 4 days ago 0 replies      
They are removing the <blink></blink> tag?!? PITCHFORKS OUT
stdbrouw 4 days ago 0 replies      
Too bad it's not relevant to the situation.
JamesPDX 4 days ago 4 replies      
Google just realizes it cannot pretend to be a nice guy when the world no longer spins around it. So much for "do no evil"...
Google Paid This Man $100 Million sfgate.com
220 points by jmount  1 day ago   107 comments top 22
simonsarris 1 day ago 3 replies      
I find this fascinating. It almost smacks of game theory. A land-mined game of incentives, anyway.

Think of the sheer amount of considerations that go into a decision like this. Higher-ups at Google must acknowledge:

* Offering someone an enormous sum only after someone else has made you an offer can be off-putting. Consider the many articles written about never making counter offers[1], or never accepting them.

* Along the same lines, if you're not offered a large enough sum to stay, you might take it as an insult. "They're only offering me this much money after I've considered leaving?" Google certainly made sure the sum was large enough, by any count.

* Offering an enormous sum to one person may tempt others to fish out offers from other companies. Others may feel like they're never going to get a raise unless they are courting or being courted actively.

* Google's decision-makers (or check-writers) have to be careful about the number picked. They want to send a message to the person, and to other companies, and to the market. But they probably don't want to end up paying $100m for every high value employee. Luckily for Google, if its gonna be a cash arms-race against other companies, there are few that can do serious battle with them.

* Speaking of high value employees, while you might get person A to stay, you make make resentful group B. After all, there's already a comment here: "It's only a matter of time before us little developers get's similar packages!" It's not a stretch for anyone to sympathize with that view.


And then, at the end of all that, people in a room pursed their lips together and quietly nodded while somebody pulled out the (metaphorical) checkbook. This guy is staying, it's going to be this much money, and we're going to make it purposefully public knowledge. Signals everywhere.

It seems to be a dangerous game. Others may (as a default) suddenly feel unappreciated since Google hasn't made them an offer to keep being a Googler, and perhaps hasn't approached them with any considerable raise in some time. 100 million ensures that you keep a single employee, but how many do you alienate at the same time?

Hard to blame Google's decision, I'm sure they gave it much more thought than I have. I wish I could know what they're thinking, it's just so fascinating what goes into this.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3549384

flyinglizard 1 day ago 7 replies      
Reading this, his compensation is the least amazing part. If this article is true, it should have been titled "A Story Of Competence". Does anyone have any doubt the guy is generating Google this money many times over? It's simple math. It has nothing to do with curing cancer, economical equality or anything else. He's something that's worth X and pays back many X.

I can understand why this comes as a shock to some; it may be difficult to accept that another person doing his 9-5 job can bring so much value to a company. I always suspected such value creators exist (Jobs would be one).

So good for him for delivering, and good for Google for acknowledging and compensating accordingly. And good for me too; I'm taking my first steps as an advertiser with Google and I'm really liking what I'm finding so far.

michaelochurch 20 hours ago 3 replies      
You know what? Fuck that.

Nothing against this guy. If it were $1 million, or $3 million, I probably wouldn't bat an eye.

A hundred million for a non-technical executive would be OK, if engineers had basic autonomy and open allocation. Then (and only then) they'd actually be able to afford (morally speaking) a $100M payout to a non-technical executive.

Don't call yourself a technical company if engineers in the $100k-200k range can't even fucking change projects until 18 months in (and often not even then, due to a corrupt performance review system) but you're running a private welfare system for non-tech executives.

I know all about Hanlon's Razor ("never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence") but somewhere around the 5-standard-deviation incompetence level I go back to malice because 5-sigma is just awful rare. Paying a non-tech executive $100M while engineers making < 1% of that struggle to get a decent project is 8, 9 sigma at the least.

Choke on a fucking taint, Google. Choke. On. A. Taint.

(Or just implement basic autonomy/open allocation for all engineers. Then we're cool no matter what you pay your execs.)

NelsonMinar 1 day ago 1 reply      
Original source for the article, with better formatting: http://www.businessinsider.com/neal-mohan-googles-100-millio...
avenger123 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a classic story of really good negotiation.

Getting the very serious offer from Twitter was the best thing to happen to Neal.

I can only imagine the negotiation with Google that he must of had. It probably went on the lines of something like this -

"Hey, I really love it here at Google. I am really excited with what we are working on and want to deliver it but this Twitter offer is just something that I can't ignore. I am looking at the financial future of my family and I would be doing them a disservice if I don't consider this offer seriously. Is there anything we can do to just make this offer go away."

Neal had the upper hand. Worst-case scenario for him would be that there would be no change. He would continue to work at Google. Next best case scenario would be that he would be working at another mega-tech company, and getting better compensated with potentially even greater upside.

Google was in a position of weakness in either case. If they did nothing and he left, it would amount to even more collateral damage as others would get the message that Google can't compete and Twitter would make even more offers to others.

By paying him out, they basically paid him the opportunity cost in real dollars that he may have had if he moved to Twitter.

In all of this, Neal's professionalism would have tipped the favor on his side.

wallflower 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a job for life and then some.

If you compare this with full professorship (academic tenure), that will cost the university about $4 million (assuming $60k/yr - probably $6-7 million if the university is upper echelon). So conservatively this is 10-15x what tenure is.

Neal Mohan sounds like the business equivalent of Jeff Dean [1]

[1] http://research.google.com/people/jeff/

cridal 1 day ago 5 replies      
Wow. Definitely, an interesting reading. And a special guy, no question about it. On the other hand, the guy didn't cure cancer. Doesn't it give anyone pause to thin that the topic of conversation is 'ads'? You know, those little annoying things you would never click, and which get in the way of your normal life.

I mean we're talking about billions of dollars. So much human talent, skill, intelligence taken away from really important things... Just sad...

Evbn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone remember when DoubleClick was the most hated company on the Internet? Spying on users, displaying obnoxious ads? The Evil that Google was to Not Be?
rckrd 1 day ago 1 reply      
The article mentions an "epic 400-500 page Powerpoint document" outlining Mohan's strategies.

In the rare chance that this is floating around the internet, does anyone know where it would be or more information on it?

vannevar 20 hours ago 0 replies      
They say Mohan is the visionary who predicted how brand advertising would fund the Internet, turned this vision into a plan, and then executed it.

Some say 'fund', others might say 'destroy'. What's in a word?

capred 1 day ago 4 replies      
Does anyone know if these types of $100M numbers are actually true? I think it makes a great headline but wouldn't everyone at senior ranks get packages like this making it unsustainable?
SeoxyS 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google's purchase of DoubleClick seems to be considered a huge success. I'm curious how the $750M purchase of AdMob is seen in the company. Does anybody have an insight or references?
yekko 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's only a matter of time before us little developers get's similar packages!
genericresponse 1 day ago 2 replies      
The article makes a point to say that he started with a job that paid a "humble" $60,000 per year in 1997. Based on my quick and dirty run on wolfram alpha, that is the equivalent to $120,000 per year today. Not so much of a humble beginning for a second job out of college.
iamvictorious 1 day ago 0 replies      
It makes sense ... the guy is running a multi-billion dollar new business line for Google that is their most meaningful business outside of search ads.
dyno12345 1 day ago 1 reply      
Note to self: Become an executive.
SKy33 1 day ago 0 replies      
This happened at a time when Google was bleeding top management talent to Facebook and Twitter.

Sundar Pichai was also offered $50M. As things have settled down, I doubt if this would happen again, at least anytime soon.

Tycho 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm thinking either this story is entirely sensationalized, or Google are scared that this guy will take his roadmap and go execute it elsewhere. Like he has seen upcoming trends and Google know they have to be first to act on them. I wonder what they could be...
namank 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wonder how it worked out...

Did he hand in his resignation and was asked to reconsider? Did he tell them he wanted more money? Did they find out about the twitter offer from outside sources and arrange for the bump?

How did the semantics play out?!

whnevan 1 day ago 1 reply      
"They'd spent the months prior trying to turn Twitter into "a real company" after years of neglectful management."

Anyone care to explain how the management was neglectful? Serious question.

dkwak 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've always been curious what display advertising is and how it generates so much revenue for Google. Are there any good resources to learn more about what exactly goes on behind the scenes? Do those little ads on my gmail sidebar really create billions in wealth? Or is there some super secret illuminati-esque subliminal advertising going on?
erhanerdogan 1 day ago 0 replies      
According to story, he did use Powerpoint. It is bothering me.
Geocities Bootstrap Theme github.io
219 points by itamarb  20 hours ago   59 comments top 37
molecule 20 hours ago 0 replies      
So we can expect more duplicates since GitHub has switched their Pages TLD from .com to .io?


ChuckMcM 19 hours ago 0 replies      
God this is priceless. I appreciate that it wasn't playing a snippet of 8 bit MIDI music in a short loop which is looped mid-phrase during a key signature change.
iSnow 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I have forgotten just how ugly parts of the early web were. This theme is pure genius, it reminds me of the olden times :)

That it still is reactive makes it even more surreal.

Toshio 20 hours ago 0 replies      
On behalf of everyone who is old enough to have lived through this hell, congratulations on the accuracy of depiction.
tuananh 20 hours ago 1 reply      
marquis 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Can you make the dropdown menu crash my netscape as it tries to load an applet?
pilif 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I especially liked what you have done to the form elements. Even more so as that was completely impossible back then. There was no CSS and form elements didn't allow much styling via attributes either. Probably because they were mostly implemented as native controls which in turn don't offer that many styling options.
telecuda 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Missing a RESET button on every form
brandonhsiao 19 hours ago 8 replies      
I'm 17; was the internet ever actually this bad? That spinning "HOT" gif next to "Buttons" is giving me cancer.
Lexarius 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The "Guestbook" got a chuckle out of me. Haven't seen one of those in years.

Then I realized that we just call them "the comments section" now and put them on every article.

cgcdesign 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The missing images icon is a fantastic touch, it's only missing an annoying mouse cursor effect (I'm guilty of using them).

This bought a tear to my eyes, right before the burning, but it's very nice.

Also, did I see rounded corners and the lack of nested tables?

ZirconCode 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Many people I know have never experienced the beauty and plethora of colors the web once was crafted from, finally I can share!
Thanks for bringing back varied palettes and animations!
kadavy 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Not ugly enough. You need to make the white space less uniform, and the line-heights less generous.

Just kidding, this is terrible. Great work!

DanBC 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of people say they love this.

Has anyone done the HN redesign yet? There seem to be plenty of choices for voting arrows. (http://netanimations.net/arrows.htm#.UWHUTKLrwcA)

oakwhiz 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It's using the right way to make webpages... but it feels so wrong.
heroic 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what internet should look like again!
cpolis 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of the good ol' days when JavaScript was just used for annoying cursor effects and the like.
vidyesh 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like we already have a implementation http://canhasbitcoin.tk/index.php
dstroot 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow - this is spot-on! I most definitely built a few of these in my day and even used the same "user construction" .gif.
Great trip down memory lane. Thanks for reminding us what not to do. ;)
siculars 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this so much. Really brings me back to a simpler more colorgasmic/motiontastic time.
realrocker 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why I got into programming. The web was just too cool back in the day.
cmer 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. Nothing can go wrong!
CoachRufus87 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This put a smile on my face. Thank you Geocities for first sparking my interest in coding.
account_taken 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for reminding me how cool my geocities pages were. Flat UI meh. I got the hammer with baloon pants bringing life to my page!
BIackSwan 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it just me or does the background lead to a 3D effect? Most visible effect here - http://divshot.github.io/geo-bootstrap/#buttons
mtct 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh God, my eyes...my precious eyes!
booruguru 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If you showed a teenager this theme, I don't think they'd believe the web was ever that ugly.
bmmayer1 20 hours ago 0 replies      
SkittlesNTwix 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I had a visceral reaction after this page loaded. Well-done on the theme.
iambpentameter 20 hours ago 0 replies      
You're 6 days too late :)
davidcelis 19 hours ago 1 reply      
At least it's responsive.
afandian 20 hours ago 0 replies      
border-radius? Sacrilege!
kclay 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This brings back so many memories
thomasjames 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The internet's darkest hour.
asc123 19 hours ago 0 replies      
is it responsive
saadazzz 19 hours ago 0 replies      
such a troll!
maxpert 20 hours ago 0 replies      
hahahahah OMG
Donating my Xbox plus.google.com
215 points by ecaradec  1 day ago   121 comments top 25
unalone 1 day ago 6 replies      
When I was a kid I hated the Xbox, hated Halo, and hated how it seemed to create a new model for playing games. It was released when I was in middle school, and I remember there being a sudden and abrupt shift in what kind of gaming mentality there was.

Prior to the Xbox, console games were largely focused on lush, whimsical landscapes with mechanics that required some puzzling to figure out. At least, the games that kids played, anyway; I know Unreal Tournament and Doom and Quake were big, but looking back I think those games all had a whimsy to them as well. The arsenal in Unreal is way sillier than anything Halo's ever had to offer (even Halo's energy sword seems kind of rote). And the major titles on the N64 and Playstation and Dreamcast were titles like Mario and Sonic and Crash Bandicoot â€" colorful worlds, puzzles often based on platforming. Developers like Nintendo and Rare had a knack for creating controls and visuals that seem to reward you for getting into them, so that even Rare's Goldeneye 007 felt like an utterly silly game. (Proximity mine in the toilet!)

When Halo came out, it was immediately apparent that this was Microsoft's grand new vision of gaming â€" "realistic" graphics, self-seriousness, achievements, and an ugly competitive edge. My memories of Halo are almost all multiplayer, obviously: generally, six kids sitting by a machine, two of them unhappy because they sucked and consequently were cycled out every other game, meaning they didn't get practice time either. The local teen center turned into a place where a bunch of bro-types would hook up their Xboxes and play each other all night, screaming at one another between rooms. The TV that was used for movies got co-opted into another Xbox resource, so eventually the whole place became a Halo pit. And online Halo (which started with 2, if I recall correctly) changed the dynamic yet again, in a way that's familiar to all of us: kids cussing at one another, players generally acting like little shits.

Some of that all would have happened without Microsoft's "Xbox is a manly console for men" marketing push. But you can absolutely look back and say that Microsoft influenced developers in a bad way. Sony made a push to "cut Microsoft off" with titles like God of War, which are similarly quote-unquote epic. Halo opened the door for Tom Clancy games, Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, on and on. A number of older game developers decided, when they made the change from 2D to 3D, to pursue a similarly "gritty" realism. Now there's a gaming culture wherein genres are solidly defined and there's excruciatingly little variation between game mechanics, visual style, or design mentality, at least in the AAAs. And it's because of how relentlessly Microsoft pushed to divide the market.

The old designers either shifted their styles along with this, or they ran out of steam. Sega hasn't made a good game in over a decade â€" I won't even blame that on their pursuing a "mature and edgy" vibe with the Sonic franchise, though they seem to think that's what gamers want. They just ran out of ideas for where to take Sonic. Rare had a couple of late-era successes, mostly Viva PiĹ„ata, but the only thing they've done in five years is Kinect Sports games. And Nintendo? They still stick to their old style, but this many years on Nintendo's flaws as a game developer are showing. Aspects of their games which were totally forgivable when they were building for N64 or even Gamecube are starting to feel like irritatingly deliberate decisions on their part now. And you know what? That would be okay if Nintendo didn't sometimes feel like the only company still pushing that particular aesthetic. If they were one company among many, it wouldn't matter so much, but they're singlehandedly trying to push against the currents of every other game developer on the planet, and it's increasingly becoming clear that they're just not good enough to carry that all by themselves.

Obviously, this is a view of just a limited slice of gamer culture. Indie games absolutely borrow from the old-school design mentality more than they do from the Halo mindset; I've seen more whimsy and fun in a single Humble Indie Bundle than I've seen appear on the Xbox 360 since its release. Even there, though, you can feel the influence somewhat, and it's spoiled some games that I really wish I could have enjoyed (namely Bastion). And you do have both occasional lighthearted breakouts (Katamari Damacy) and games that use the self-serious mentality to incredible effect (Demon's Souls). This is a fad which will pass with time, though I'm not so pleased at the thought that our next big wave of developers are the ones developing for mobile and Facebook. Angry Birds and Farmville are not a fun influence. But that's just the way it goes. There'll always be good stuff if you know how to hunt for it. I just miss the fact that for a decade or so, the best games were at the top of the heap or close to it. I don't know if I realized how lucky I was as a kid until that ended. The 90s were a great time to grow up a young gamer.

kenjackson 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an odd post in that almost nothing rings true to me. The PC much more than the console was all about keyboard mashing.

And post Kinect launch MS seems even less about hardcore gaming.

We don't even need to spend billions to get people to play them.

What does that even mean considering I've never heard of them?

realo 1 day ago 3 replies      
IMHO his article was a good read. I even fell for the Spry Fox thing and actually visited his website.

Judging by the colorful first page of the site, his games seem cool and fun... Want to see them... I click PLAY, with a Sunday morning expectation of something interesting coming up.


A f*ing Facebook login screen. I am not a Facebook user. Never will be. Too bad. I look again at his web page with a sense of loss. _His_ loss of my attention.

Back to my Sunday morning coffee, on to the next article in HN.

aaronbrethorst 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I hear what he's saying, but I find it ironic that his current gig is making freemium games for mobile, which I believe is a far more damaging trend than FPS games like Halo ever could be.

Knock Bioshock Infinite for delivering dollops of voice-acted plot progression along with explosions, headshots, and the like, but at least it doesn't require me to pay a buck-ninety-nine to buy the coins to buy the lockpick to unlock a door. (or wait 12 hours for my city to produce enough coins to buy the lockpick. Whatever.)

jasonpbecker 1 day ago 2 replies      
I sympathize a lot with what was written. I grew up on the Nintendo consoles (my father got an NES from my mom for their first anniversary, which was less than a year before I was born). I really enjoyed playing games straight through my N64 I had as a young teen. But games after that lost a lot of appeal.

At the time I thought it was because I was growing up and just wasn't into it any more. Sure, I used to think spending hours playing Super Mario RPG, Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo Kazooie, or Megaman X was a fun afternoon. Maybe I just grew up.

But there have been a few games that have come out since that I have really, truly enjoyed. Games like Psychonauts, Portal, Pikmin, and maybe a few other non-P games (e.g., Twilight Princess which is a half-P). Increasingly I have begun to feel like I didn't stop loving games, the games I loved just didn't exist anymore or were too hard to find.

I like using a controller. I like playing something I laugh at. I like playing something that stitches together a few basic motions/controls in complex ways to challenge me. I like playing games that are fun with friends or fun for friends to watch you play.

So for now, I mostly try and keep an eye on indie games that are cheap on Steam that work well with an Xbox 360 controller (which is really quite nice) on my Mac Mini. Occasionally I come across something fun and well done. But whereas I could rattle off 50 games I would love to play with my kids one day that I consider "classic", almost none of them were created post-Xbox. That's a shame.

OGinparadise 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm driven by ideals that fit poorly with an industrialized console monoculture: What if games can connect people? What if they can improve the world? What if they bring happiness and joy to our lives?

His company as founded a few minutes ago, 2010 in real years http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spry_Fox . Give it a few more years before the holier than though attitude, who knows what you'll do during the next downturn. See Zynga

ChuckMcM 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder about people exposed to this sort of action from middle school on:

"Filling out the gaps in the 7-12 hours ride are moments of rote game play with all possible feedback knobs tuned to 11. Blood, brains, impact. Innovation is located at 11.2. This makes you feel something visceral."

Having cognitive issues similar to being exposed to porn from this age on. We are starting to read about people who've come forward and said they are unhappy with their sex life and have tied it back to their early porn exposure. I wonder if there isn't a similar effect in recreational activity.

In high school one of my friends was an adrenaline junkie, they were crazy for that feeling of being right on the edge. They satisfied that edge by doing crazy things which could have killed them (sadly eventually it did). But most of my friends weren't affected and while a roller coaster ride was exciting, the lack of adrenaline when hiking didn't ruin hiking for us, or sailing.

So do we have people who can't spend their spare time doing something like reading or walking because it doesn't give them a jolt of adrenaline, like we've had folks say they had troubled being satisfied with "normal" sexual relations ? Any thoughts on how we could test that?

iMark 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm not a games developer, but I can relate to what Daniel wrote about game forms, after playing Bioshock Infinite.

I love the game, but I did so mostly for elements of the design and story, rather than the game play. That it was an FPS connecting the story rather than a puzzle game, for example, was almost incidental to my enjoyment of it, and given the story, I think a series of Myst-style puzzles would have been a better fit.

Wouldn't have sold nearly as well, of course, and there's the rub.

bmalicoat 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The author is making some pretty big generalizations IMO. While I agree there is a culture of gratuitously violent games -- which the market responds positively to -- there are also many incredible games that feature no realistic violence. Fez, Minecraft, LIMBO, and Braid come to mind. I work on the Xbox Platform Team and I feel like we have an accurate representation of the interests of the gaming world (and in fact the non-gaming world -- many people simply don't play games). Maybe things were/are different on the teams actually making games, but my team is very well-rounded. We play FIFA, Spelunky, and Trials Evolution in our down time...obviously the bro-est of games.
jaimebuelta 1 day ago 0 replies      
I totally understand him, as I am also "that kind of gamer". I don't have a taste for FPS and I've never owned a console. I play mostly on iOS devices, and before that, Flash games on the PC.

But let's not forget that those games are HIGHLY successful, and it clearly seems that there is a huge market for those. I am not surprised that some game companies (MS among them) treat those games like "the only true way".
Fortunately, it looks like the gaming industry is expanding and other alternative games are also being created and are easily accessible... Probably the game industry will be more diverse and fragmented as a result, which is great for gamers with not a taste for blockbusters... But while enough people like to play violent FPS, the games are going to stay...

outside1234 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to refute this whole post with one word: Kinect
hollerith 1 day ago 0 replies      
We do not like to discuss it, but a lot of people get a kick out of inflicting harm -- "fucking shit up" in other words -- and some game developers pander to that.

I remember a blog post from the late 90s or early 00s that pointed out that the marketing material (trailer or ad copy) for one FPS bragged about the realism of the gore, e.g., of the blood that spurted from the wound when you shot someone.

LordIllidan 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think it's just bro types working on Halo, Gears and other FPSes. There was an article (also posted here, I believe) about a woman developer's origin story. http://caitiem.com/2013/03/30/origin-story-becoming-a-game-d... - She worked on Gears and Halo 4.

There's a time and a place for all games - the mindless shoot em ups, or the whimsical indie types. Or the serious Dark Souls types. Or even the cinematic types with a ridiculously large cinematic to gameplay ratio.

maked00 1 day ago 0 replies      
True, true.
This also applies to most game publishing houses, not just the mothership.

There is a group-think mob mentality that ravenously follows the whims of top management as 'hip' and mere players are referred to as scrubs and considered not worthy to make suggestions or criticize.

Go to any popular MMO forum and criticize any portion of the games supposed backstory, and prepare for the waterfall of developer lead fanboy rage in response.

There are various tropes baked into this culture. All the 'bros' know that universally pet classes must always be second class citizens. Don't overlook how pay to win, and lottery style 'mystery boxes' that asian cultures are so fond of, almost overnight became fixtures in almost every online game now.

taude 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I enjoy playing indie games as well as the corporate blockbusters. I'm glad there's a market for both. However, Is it just me, or can anyone else not wait for Battlefield 4!
muyuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is so glorious I almost want to undelete my Google profile to give my first +1 that never happened.


Still, great post with which I sympathise greatly.

chaostheory 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm happy he went indy. His company seems to be doing well. http://spryfox.com/

I've seen both Triple Town and Steam Birds featured on the App Store. I think both were in the top 10 at one point or another.

baby 1 day ago 3 replies      
> Strategy over button mashing!

That made me think of QTE. We never needed those things, but still they gave it to us. And keeps giving it to us. It's lazy gameplay, it's a "I'm a developer, I have a cutscene and I'm too bored to integrate real gameplay into it".

iam 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Has it ever occurred to the OP that maybe the Xbox 360 was such a huge success precisely because of the culture of the employees there?
verygoodyear 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's funny that in some ways iOS and Android, arguably the most widely used gaming systems atm, actually foster the kind of games he's talking about wanting to make.

There's still the mainstream bro games, but it does seem developers have more of a chance to make a living off their ideas.

emiliobumachar 1 day ago 4 replies      
Rule #1 of blogging: if you mention your company or service, it should be a link. I don't have hard data, but I think the need for googling "spry fox" (or guessing the url, spryfox.com) lowers the number of people who go on to the OP's site by a full order of magnitude.

Good post otherwise.

jccalhoun 22 hours ago 0 replies      
so he was working for the company that made the hardware and was shocked to find out that the company was very invested in maximizing the market for their hardware?
mrjava 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great post and good luck with the new games!
lolwutreddit 1 day ago 1 reply      
BlokkiesJoubert 1 day ago 1 reply      
As usual, it is per definition very bad for men (white men) to have something - a club, a community - of their own.
Media Queries are a Hack ianstormtaylor.com
215 points by ianstormtaylor  3 days ago   74 comments top 25
acabal 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been thinking about adding a mobile version to Scribophile lately but reading about the craziness of media queries and browser support is kind of scaring me away.

I think the core of the problem is that CSS was designed to style documents (because the web long ago was more or less a collection of text documents), but as the web evolved, it became necessary to use CSS for styling UIs--an entirely different beast from documents.

This twisting has led to the state we're in now, where CSS creates the problem it tried to solve: updating a style on a medium-complexity web site requires digging through a minefield of complex and interconnected CSS. Yes things like SASS or LESS can help but they're not an ultimate solution, nor are they a web standard, so tying your horse to one of those carts can limit you in the future.

Maybe in CSS5 they can add proper object-oriented syntax and element queries to help increase modularity and reuse and decrease cascading and media query complexity.

russelluresti 3 days ago 2 replies      
I feel you're approaching the problem in the wrong mindset. You're imagining that you have one module and that's all you ever have. Instead, think of a the CSS module (your .testimonial module) as an interface - a blueprint to implement different types of .testimonial module variations.

The BEM architecture calls these "Modifiers" (http://csswizardry.com/2013/01/mindbemding-getting-your-head...).

When I look at your example, I don't think of a .testimonial object in two different contexts (one vertical in the sidebar of the signup page while one horizontal on the pricing page). Instead, I think of two different variations of the .testimonial object. So while your .testimonial class may define certain global styles, you change what you need by variations like .testimonial.vertical or .testimonial.horizontal (though I wouldn't actually use those names, but you get the idea).

This requires making a decision on when to apply what classes, but that's okay. You shouldn't be trying to abstract away actual UI decision-making to an automated tool or process. You seem to think that settings rules and logic to be executed based on those rules (when x, execute y; when y, execute z; etc.) will mean you always end up with a usable interface. However, this is not the case.

Ultimately, UI is not "write-once, use anywhere", and that's okay.

mistercow 3 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like this would be a great thing to implement "shim-first". Create a solid spec that defines the way it should behave, then write a JS library that makes the spec work in current browsers. Then you have a set up where browsers can implement it natively and only improve performance without changing behavior.
mgkimsal 3 days ago 2 replies      
Open question - who is really involved in developing the CSS specs and specific implementations for specific browser? Is it people who would also end up being end users, or people with a more theoretical/academic background?

I ask not to be snarky, but ... I've never really been satisfied with CSS. CSS proponents have shouted me down (figuratively) for being a 'tables' holdout, but it felt to me like we traded super-nested tables with ALIGN and CELLPADDING attributes for box-model hacks and numerous interpretations of the word "may" and "should" from years-old spec docs; it didn't feel like that much of an improvement in many cases.

Do browser makers consult 'regular' web developers before coding in new browser-specific CSS extensions?

crazygringo 3 days ago 2 replies      
What I think we're starting to need is a separation between CSS for visual styling (font-size, border-radius, background-color, etc.) and CSS for layout (float, margin-left, etc.).

The first can only be done by CSS in the browser. But the second can be accomplished via CSS, or by JavaScript.

As the web evolves, CSS for layout is increasingly not keeping pace. But it's not unreasonable to think that we could do away with it altogether.

Is there anything preventing someone from creating totally new layout models, based on new formats, that are parsed in JavaScript, and essentially turn everything into div's with position:absolute? And get recalculated upon window resize etc.?

This would completely free us from existing layout limitations of CSS, to do the exact kind of things like element queries, or whatever else we might think of.

I'm just not really sure what the performance implications would be like.

masklinn 3 days ago 0 replies      
TFAA apparently decided on an eye-grabbing headline rather than one which matched his article. It probably works, but it's sad: his actual thesis is that media queries are insufficient or the wrong tool.

As acabal notes, the core issue is that CSS was originally for styling documents, and media-queries work in that framework: they're about laying out or formatting a document, not a component within the document.

Which is of course the wrong approach if you're creating distributable/reusable components and blocks. Media queries are not a hack and are probably necessary: the final author will use them to lay out his site/page responsively.

But they're not sufficient, because the inner layout of a sub-element is impacted more by the element's size than the viewport's (the sub-element's positioning and size on the other hand are affected by the viewport).

All in all, the article is a good note of a real problem. But its headline stinks for the usual reasons.

jiaaro 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. In retrospect, when we needed general conditionals in CSS, we got just one, very specialized one, and the rest was swept under the rug.

How did I miss that until now?

rwhitman 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is such an excellent point. Media Queries have been bugging the hell out of me lately for a reason I couldn't put my finger on, and I think you just nailed it
ianstormtaylor 3 days ago 1 reply      
The problem is that you're triggering the media query off the window's width still, and not the parent element's width. So it runs into the same problem mentioned in the article.
pkrein 3 days ago 0 replies      
This all makes more sense in the context of TJ Holowaychuck's new Component package management tool (first link in the article). Component gives a sane structure to building small, modular js+css+html+assets components. https://github.com/component/component
artificialidiot 3 days ago 0 replies      
So, until we have a full blown prolog interpreter for CSS layout calculation, someone will always complain CSS is not sufficient. What a surprise...

Maybe we should update CSS to include object oriented features too. Then we can have abstract factory methods for our reusable components. Throw in an optional type checker for good measure while we are at it.

Please people, CSS and HTML only ever have had a single layout algorithm. Maybe it is not terribly flexible but it is good for limited width and unlimited unknown height presentation of a single stream of content. If your content genuinely calls for a different layout, please consider using something else other than CSS and HTML.

While I appreciate the endless efforts to workaround and improve the layout capabilities of CSS, may I suggest embracing the limited nature of this stack and design accordingly?

Maybe, if we admit the "content" arrive, is rendered and consumed sequentially, we would relieve ourselves the burden of beating CSS into submission whenever we want to diverge; with the added benefit of making life easier for those who can't see.

You wouldn't shy away from a little bit of challenge of learning something more suitable for you purposes, right?

wubbfindel 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if a javascript/jquery helper could be used as a fill for now?

You could set up size points for an Element like this (mobile first approach) :

$(".testimonials").when-min-width(400px, "medium").when-min-width(800px, "large");

Then you're CSS could look like this :

// do basic stuff, and small display stuff

// do medium display stuff

// do large display stuff

Hmm. Maybe I'll build it.

smoyer 3 days ago 1 reply      
The ability to compile Java to Javascript is only one of GWT's benefits ... the ability to package the associated HTML and CSS into "modules" and later import the modules you need makes web pages the collection of components the author desires.

I can create similar self contained components in JSF and several other languages (frameworks), so I'm wondering if the problem is the author's development technique.

bzalasky 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've encountered one scenario where element queries would be incredibly useful: web app designs that include sidebar navigation that toggles open and collapses. This design pattern makes responsive design a little bit more difficult. The main challenge is that the width of the main content pane changes depending on the state of the sidebar. Your media query to scale down an element or rearrange a layout, often has to default to happening at a greater window width than otherwise necessary (if the sidebar is collapsed), because of the potential for the sidebar being open. There are some gross ways to work around this with JS, but I don't think it's worth it. An element query would make it easy to watch the width of the main content pane, independent of the sidebar pane's state.

If you create an account at Stipple.com and log in, you'll see an example of what I'm talking about (disclosure: I'm an engineer at Stipple).

websitescenes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Your not using media queries correctly if your having these issues. If you want widgets to be responsive to a parent element then make them fluid. The fluid technique has been around since the beginning and doesn't require media queries. I keep seeing people talking about crazy new units and grid systems, etc, etc. Just learn how to use media queries correctly... Sounds like you are using too many breakpoints. General breakpoints with percentage widths can do anything.
capisce 3 days ago 0 replies      
The web should take a cue from QML when it comes to creating self-contained and reusable components: http://qt-project.org/doc/qt-5.0/qtqml/qtqml-documents-defin...
tholex 3 days ago 0 replies      
Media queries are still necessary to lay out the page you've described. The primary containers of your pages all need to move around based on the size of the top-level container.

If you could only rely on your parent, that would also be problematic - the size of a component would be dependent on its chain of parents. If you were reusing the same component within further containers, say 3 different pages, you might want two to look the same despite a size difference, and element queries don't help you anymore. You just need a .testimonial.compact class, have slitghtly different media targeting, and now you have two types of testimonials that you can use on further pages.

Element queries could also easily create strange loops that cause the threshold to be crossed recursively, if the parent bases its width on the child. This is the case with inline-block elements and the property-which-must-not-be-named.

thatthatis 3 days ago 1 reply      
While we're complaining about the faults of media queries, allow me to add my largest perturbation with them: As a user, I sometimes want the "full" site when I'm on my phone/tablet.

With media queries, it's essentially impossible to let users choose their format experience.

paul9290 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is there any SEO benefit of using media queries over pointing to a subdomain with a separate stylesheet. I.E. m.domain.com ?

Personally, for reviewing Google Analytics I just prefer making my web apps & sites responsive. Though responsive can take quite of bit of time.

yuchi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had that same idea more than once, to propose a local per-element media query.

In fact the concept itself of querying the whole window to understand the dimension a portion of it will occupy... well it's strange.

At the same time, have you considered the implications of such a structure? A local media query could change the queried properties. Dangerously recursive.

In fact you COULD reach what you want using seamless iframes. I tinkered my head with such an option sometimes.

ipetepete 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are some good points made in the article. The responsive or one-for-all approach is still in its infancy. There will be issues, but I see an evolution in this that will ultimately lead to very succinct reusable widgets as described by the OP.

This is definitely one to grow on.

craftedpixelz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is currently the main issue still holding RWD back right now.

I blogged about the same issue not long ago: http://pxlz.me/44

barkgolgafrinch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Exactly! This is part of a more fundamental problem with the whole concept of responsive web design... It can't be just about media queries. I blogged about this some time ago, and plan to amend with links to this article. Well done. Here's my post --
folkelemaitre 3 days ago 0 replies      
We has a similar issue to solve. One part of our app is comparable to the inbox of an email client (list of messages). We launched a new dashboard view, where people could add all sorts of charts and also lists of messages. We used the same code / css for that, but here as well we wanted to hide / unhide certain things in the message depending on the width of the widget. We finally added some very simple (and highly restrictive) js code to make it happen in some way. Check this gist to see what we did: https://gist.github.com/folke/5314876
aphexairlines 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shadow DOM and web components probably give you the document root context you need for that example to work.
Association between muscular strength and mortality in men (2008) [pdf] bmj.com
209 points by davidtanner  3 days ago   199 comments top 24
tokenadult 3 days ago 5 replies      
The most statistically astute comment posted here so far is the top-level comment by micro_cam


pointing out that the study design here doesn't involve random assignment to strength training of any kind, but rather just observation of the study population over time. Sure, it's a good idea to be stronger rather than weaker. Moreover, it is plausible that exercises that tend to develop strength (as measured in the study) have health benefits above and beyond merely developing strength. There is certainly no reason not to exercise based on this finding. But there is also not a strong reason to predict a longer rather than shorter life from your personal strength measurement, even though the study did the usual kind of regression analysis to control for other independent variables. Simply put, this was not a treatment-control study design,



so no inference of causation is supported here. The authors were careful to write the word "association" (which is honest), and the authors were careful to investigate all-cause mortality in this study population (which is thoughtful), but we don't know yet how much you or I can improve individual lifespan by doing strength-building exercises.

AFTER EDIT: The comment by micro_cam, which deserves your upvote for getting me started on my comment, is especially astute because it mentions that this was not a genetically sensitive study design. To answer the question posed in one of the replies this comment received, that will eventually be an issue worth looking at, which sorts of "endophenotypes" gain the most benefit from what sort of exercise. But we are nowhere near that level of precision of investigation yet. The statement about limitations of the study at the end of the submitted article mentions more issues.

Picking up on something I learned from the late Richard Feynman's comments on the Challenger explosion investigation, I would like to see a scatterplot of these data displayed over the calculated regression line, to see how much uncertainty still surrounds their model. As it is, the confidence intervals around the death rates for different categories of strength overlap considerably, so there are some strong people with the same mortality risk as some of the weaker people.

unoti 3 days ago 12 replies      
I've been doing strength training (the program is called Stronglifts 5x5[1]) with freeweights for about 9 months now. I just turned 44, and I've never felt better, and I'm stronger now than I have ever been. The program I use describes 3 simple exercises to do 3 times a week, and each workout takes me 30-45 minutes. Very little equipment is needed. It's hard to find good information about this on the net that covers both what exercises to do, how to do them, and how to eat. This program covers all of that, taking you from lifting an empty bar right on up. It's totally free, with an option to pay if you want personal consultation.

I used to have knee pain, and I don't anymore. I used to get a sore back from coding all the time, and I don't any more. I seriously recommend trying strength training.

[1] http://stronglifts.com/stronglifts-5x5-beginner-strength-tra...

micro_cam 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is important to note that this is a study of people who happened to be stronger, not people who were randomly caused to be stronger (ie by randomly assigning workout routines). Larry Wassermann has a great write up on the distinction with regards to inferring causation vs association here:


It is good that they attempted to control for things like cardiovascular fitness but on there are also confounding factors like genetics and selection bias that are harder to look at (ie maybe the genetic variants that make it easier to build fast twitch muscles are what has the protective effect and increased strength training won't help someone without those genes).

That being said I highly endorse bouldering and rock climbing in general as a way to build strength and move towards a healthy life style for people who don't enjoy typical gym workouts.

mindcrime 3 days ago 1 reply      
I used to dabble with some amateur powerlifting (I could deadlift 420 and squat about 340 at my peak), and I have to say, there's something really addictive about lifting weights and getting stronger. Knowing that it can decrease your chance of death makes it even more compelling.

Sadly, I, like so many other people, "fell off the wagon" and more or less quit lifting, gained a bunch of weight, and now, a few years later, I find out I'm diabetic and I wind up in the hospital with a life-threatening condition known as DKA.

Moral of this story: Get your ass in a gym and lift some weights! And step away from the buffet table. Don't be stupid like me. Especially for the younger folks here, and the people who are already in good shape, if you ever take one bit of advice from an "old guy" take this one: Take care of your body. When you're 20, even 30, it's real easy to assume that you don't have to worry about your diet, about exercise, etc... it all seems to come so easily, and it's SO easy to rationalize not going to the gym, eating that extra Snickers bar, drinking those couple of extra cans of Coke, etc. Don't do it. It will freaking catch up with you, sooner or later. Don't wait until you're 40 and lying in a hospital bed to think "Oh, maybe I should clean my diet up and get some exercise".

reasonattlm 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hand grip strength. Pretty much all other measures of frailty - such as muscle mass. Time spent jogging. Time spent not sitting. Time spent being active.

All of these correlate well with mortality. Causation is harder to prove on these longer timescales. e.g. more likely to be strong and exercising because you are more robust, or more likely to be more robust because you are strong and exercising. Or if both, as is likely, to what degree and circumstance.

Is it being strong, or is it side effects of processes that are involved in building and maintaining muscle mass the old fashioned way - e.g. hormetic effects of regular exercise, that cause mild cellular stress and thus boost housekeeping processes to better maintain tissue?

Studies in shorter lived animals support causative roles for exercise and maintained muscle mass in long term health. For other data points, one could look at, for example, the fact that calorie restriction (not normally noted in conjunction with building strength) considerably reduces age-related loss of muscle mass and strength through a range of not fully understood mechanisms.

guylhem 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why are so many people discussing the evidence here?

If one seriously believes the BMJ would let a questionable study be published, think again. I'm not saying everything that is published in high quality peer reviewed journals is absolutely true, but it is subject to so much scrutiny that is unlikely to have an evident flaw in the reasoning, or at least some that is not properly mentioned in the article or letters to the editor.

Which leads us back to why are so many here angry at the conclusion - because many answer seem emotionally charged.

Among the tools offered to you to try to increase your lifespan, and especially the "high quality" years, is physical effort.

There is even a very positive message there - you don't have to be in a perfect physical form, or do sports, to get the gains- muscle mass alone is enough.

If you have had health problem, say broken bones, reduce mobility, pain, whatever, you can still get some of the positive advantages of muscle mass with weight training - which can be done at home, in a gym, anywhere.

You may not get as much benefits as somebody fully healthy (ex: if you hip is not working, it will be a problem to train both legs, etc.) but it is still better than nothing!!!

Exercice, as in improving the muscle mass, is well known to have positive health effects. If one does not exercise, the blame is not to be put on the lack of time, but rather on the lack of proper prioritization.

jstanley 3 days ago 6 replies      
In plain English: stronger people live longer.
enraged_camel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a scientist, and this is wild conjecture, but one possible reason why people who workout live longer is that working out boosts happiness (releases endorphins) and reduces stress, and both of those have been shown to contribute to a long life.
richardlblair 3 days ago 4 replies      
I've never been one for strength training. I just like to run really hard for a short period of time... Guess I will need to change that.
antirez 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just in case after reading this you want to start exercising, I strongly suggest the following two resources:

* http://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/wiki/faq

* http://simplesciencefitness.com/

I have been doing strength training for a couple of years now and I can ensure you that it changed my life: better health, better quality of life, better code (I'm more focused).

dalys 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to point out that when looking only at persons aged <60 OR persons with a BMI >25, the strongest (upper) third group did NOT have the lowest death rate in this study. Instead it was the "middle" group in both cases. Admittedly with not much of a difference from the upper group. And again, this study did not claim causation between strength and mortality, but association.

Although if we just play with the thought and assume a causation between strength and mortality and if you are under 60 years of age or have a BMI over 25 and you want to minimize your mortality rate, your one-repetition maximum (1RM) strength goals in a lifting weight / body weight ratio would be x:

  Bench press: 0.7 < x < 1.1
Leg press: 1.4 < x < 1.9

nnq 3 days ago 1 reply      
Related brain-snack concerning muscle tissue and cancer: http://www.ted.com/talks/eva_vertes_looks_to_the_future_of_m...

From it: "skeletal muscle tissue is resistant to cancer, and furthermore, not only to cancer, but of metastases going to skeletal muscle" (not entirely true, you have rhabdomiosarcomas, though they are rare and may originate in connective tissues, but she's definetely on to something).

albertsun 3 days ago 1 reply      
Published 2008? Hacker News seems to be developing a strong interest in fitness and weight lifting.
ErikAugust 3 days ago 1 reply      
Was thinking of putting together a HN/Digg style site for fitness links (example here: http://erikaugust.com/sportslinks/)... Good idea? Or am I missing a site out there already (outside of the sub-Reddits)?
chaosphere2112 3 days ago 0 replies      
To quote my wife (Biostatistics grad student), "The confidence intervals for cancer deaths are wussy."
reedlaw 3 days ago 1 reply      
What about the risk of osteoarthritis? See this discussion: http://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/s2kzg/my_doctor_tol...
jcfrei 3 days ago 0 replies      
Starting Strength is one of the best books on building strength, written by Mark Rippetoe and Jason Kelly. they propagate (among others exercises): squats, which is a single exercise that trains about 60% of your body.
wahsd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like "Association between muscular atrophy and mortality in men" would be more accurate and clear.
scottrogowski 3 days ago 1 reply      
One important thing to keep in mind is that the upper third average bench press measured was 83.8kg (~185lbs). That is still a light bench press by the standards of those in the fitness and bodybuilding industries. I would imagine that there is a limit to the longevity gains that could be made from muscle strength and that these gains might start to reverse for bodybuilders and other strength athletes due to the increased strain it is putting on your heart and other organs.
candybar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be much more interested in the same study without adjusting for BMI, because adding muscular strength would increase one's weight when not accomplished by reduction in body fat. As it stands, it's not controversial or surprising, because body fat loss would make you stronger relative to your BMI, without any increase in strength.
boldpanda 3 days ago 0 replies      
The writing in these research briefs is horrible. It's nearly impossible to even deduce what point they're trying to make.
EA 3 days ago 2 replies      
"We love CrossFit. It is great job security." - my physical therapist

edit: my point being that from the PT's POV, the more intense the strength training, the more likely a serious injury will occur during training.

dbruce 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's likely that healthier people are stronger on average....hence getting stronger by doing strength training will not change things.
3327 3 days ago 6 replies      
here is my 2 cents. Im a coder, developer but I am ripped (sorry for the self love) I work out like crazy and actively surf / kitesurf, rockclimb. So my gym sessions have always had a purpose - to make myself stronger per the requirements of those sports. So my 2 cents - get of the whey protein. don't take it do not touch it. I have no scientific evidence but way too many people are on that and no long term studies. Only evidence is this: A good friend fellow athlete (sailor olympic level windsurfer) healthy as none other, got a heart attack at the age of 33. He looked into my eyes and said he never took anything (when i asked if he doped of any sort) and he only took whey. Made me get off it. Difference in phenomenal. You get "cut" lean, stronger muscles, just eat well. Not to mention your body gets conditioned to the "easy" absorption of nutrients that come from whey and gets lazy. There thats my 2 cents.

TLDR - get of whey protein, you'll get stronger live longer.

Apple's iMessage encryption trips up feds' surveillance cnet.com
208 points by donohoe  4 days ago   146 comments top 29
ComputerGuru 3 days ago 6 replies      
It's interesting how easy Apple's iMessage model would lend itself to being a mass-deployed, heavily-used, CA-based asymmetric encryption network.

As I understand iMessage, when you attempt to text a number a background thread fires and checks with Apple's iMessage servers to see whether or not the number is associated with an iMessage account, then returns the end-user account details to your device so it may send a digital message addressed to that user to Apple's iMessage servers.

Replace that digital ID with a public key. Private keys are generated and kept only on your iDevice. iMessage servers are your CA. Each iDevice has a unique public key.

At this point you have a very secure, end-to-end encryption scheme. No warrantless snooping is possible, and even Apple is unaware of your message contents.

Now depending on whether you want your design to be CALEA-compatible or not, Apple can issue a new private key to the government and add it to "your" list of public keys on their CA to allow the government to intercept future messages after they have obtained a warrant. If you think you can go toe-to-toe with the FBI and exempt yourself from CALEA by claiming the design of your infrastructure does not permit for message interception, you can tweak the CA around a bit. Only one public key per user, pass private key symmetrically encrypted with a password only the user knows from one device to the other via a "secure" side channel when adding new iDevice to user's iMessage account or other workaround.

I'm absolutely not a security person, and none of what I say should be taken except as some ramblings that might have some hint of an idea beneath them. I already can think of a dozen weaknesses in this system, this kinda works only if you assume you can trust Apple to play within the rules of the framework they're making, i.e. not to try to intercept your private key, log your keystrokes, automatically add a second public key recipient to your messages, etc. Fact of the matter is, you are at their mercy. tptacek, please be gentle in gutting me.

Edit: Thanks for that link, daniel. It is comforting to know that there is indeed some base level of security. If CALEA-compliance is achieved by adding the fed's public key to a list of destination public keys for a message, that implies you should actually be able to find out whether or not you're being monitored by simply checking for new/unknown/unexpected additions to your list of public keys. Of course, there are other methods of doing this that wouldn't be as easy to detect, e.g. maybe there is an out-of-band request for additional public keys to send to, maybe the fed's public key is already embedded in the device and is being used invisibly every time, etc. etc. etc.

Edit2: For people wondering if syncing of old iMessages between devices means iMessage doesn't work like this, I don't think that's the case. I believe that's done via iCloud (i.e. backup of previously decrypted messages), as when you add a new Apple ID to iMessages on OS X, you don't get the old messages for that account, only new ones. So it's another attack vector, but not inherent weakness in the iMessage design.

nodata 4 days ago 4 replies      
Dear criminals,

Please use iMessage more, we promise we definitely can't read your messages.

Lots of love,



dmix 4 days ago 1 reply      
> "it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices" even with a court order approved by a federal judge.

And even more importantly, impossible with a warrantless wiretap as well.

This new wide-spread adoption of encryption is law enforcements new enemy.

runjake 4 days ago 2 replies      
About a year ago, a SA from a certain three-letter agency who was pretty fluent in technology (our conversation largely centered around Bitcoin) mentioned that iMessage is not end-to-end encryption. That, to his understanding, it was client<-->apple<-->client TLS encryption.

I think I might actually side with the tin-foils on this one. In any case, iMessage isn't a (well-)documented protocols implementation, so I wouldn't rely on it for security.

Edit: Public scrutiny seems to back up the SA's claim [1].

1. http://imfreedom.org/wiki/IMessage

pedrocr 4 days ago 4 replies      
If I was the DEA and had a way to break the iMessage encryption, this is exactly the kind of article I'd try to have someone write.
anologwintermut 3 days ago 0 replies      
As the end of the article hints,this is highly unlikely to be actually true and more so the result of incompetence on the part of Apple and the DEA. It is most likely more of the we need better law enforcement access to stuff FUD that is used to insert backdoors into systems that actually weaken security even if you trust the government, then an actual problem

Apple appears to act as a certificate authority for IMessage [0]. At the very least Apple could man-in-the-middle any (and scarily) all their traffic. The article implies that they'd have to do this before the first message is ever sent between to parties. Presumably, we'd hope Apple has the ability to re-key the service since phones get stolen and lost, so they can forge that process to insert the bogus key. We'd probably also hope that your key is not shared across all of your devices, so it might(though its not as likely as the rekey protocol) also be possible to add a device as that is "the feds"

Yes, both of these would require active work on Apple/ law enforcement's part to forward the messages to their intended recipient. However, this isn't that much work and 2) for actual wiretaps you typically need someone to monitor the tap so you don't record information not covered by the tap(we see this in The Wire).

Lastly, there is precedent (all be it Canadian) for companies being forced to exploit vulnerabilities in their system. [1]

Also, this ignores the fact that apple has device backups of most people's devices and can probably extract keys from them ( even for the encrypted ones, its likely with a poor password)

[1] http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2007/11/encrypted-e-mai/

fnayr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why shouldn't I work for the NSA? That's a tough one. But I'll take a shot. Say I'm workin' at the NSA and somebody puts a code on my desk, somethin' no one else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it and I'm real happy with myself cause I did my job well, but maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East and once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels are hiding, fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with get killed.
Now the politicains are sayin' "Oh send in the marines to secure the area, cause they don't give a shit, won't be their kid over there gettin' shot just like it wasn't them when their number got called cause they were all pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southy over there takin' shrapnel in the ass. He comes back to find that the plant he used to work at, got exported to the country he just got back from, and the guy that put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job cause he'll work for 15 cents a day and no bathroom breaks.
Meanwhile, he realises the only reason he was over there in the first place was so that we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price, and ofcourse the oil companies use a little skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices, a cute little ancilliary benefit for them, but it ain't helpin' my buddy at 2.50 a gallon. Their takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, of course maybe they even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martini's and fuckin' play slolum with the icebergs. It ain't to long til he hits one, spills the oil, and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic... so now my buddy's out of work, he can't afford to drive, so he's walkin' to the fuckin' job interviews which sucks cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him cronic hemroids and meanwhile, he's starvin' cause everytime he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special their serving is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State....
so what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure fuck it, while Im at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe, and join the National Guard. I could be elected President.
A1kmm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Whether or not the software is secure from Apple is a moot point if Apple can, at any point in time, deploy an arbitrary software update that only affects a single device.

I presume Apple has the ability to send a backdoored update to iMessage to any user they want, and probably to obfuscate it well enough to not tip anyone off. Therefore, if DEA can get a warrant requiring Apple to provide technical assistance, Apple has at least one route to get message plaintext.

smoyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Smart Jabber users (those who want privacy) exchange public keys, encrypt each message with the recipient's public key and sign each message with their private key. Unless a private key is compromised, the recipient is guaranteed the message came from the sender and that the body is only readable by the recipient.

I've been using keys with both Jabber and e-mail for a long time ... what we really need is the clients to use encryption as their default mode.

smackfu 4 days ago 1 reply      
This article and the DEA doc is confusing. It seems to mainly be saying that having a warrant to intercept cell communications won't get iMessages because it doesn't go through the cell carrier.

It's implied a bit that it is encrypted end-to-end and that Apple can't get the contents... but it doesn't seem to actually say that anywhere. This comment on StackExchange says the encryption is only from sender to Apple and Apple to recipient, so Apple has the plaintext: http://security.stackexchange.com/questions/18908/the-inner-...

Also, wouldn't the same issues have come up with BBM?

zimbatm 4 days ago 7 replies      
> They [the DEA] can also send a suspect malware, purchase a so-called zero day vulnerability to gain control of a target device and extract the contents

Made me chuckle. Given that zero day are mostly available in black markets how can they justify to give money to criminals ?

archon 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, if they're caught in other ways than via the surveillance, does that open up criminals using iMessage to further prosecution based on the notion that they used encryption to conceal a crime?
lucian1900 4 days ago 1 reply      
The sad part is that iMessage's encryption appears to be of dubious quality. Even worse, the protocol is not public, so there's no way to audit it.
mindcrime 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good. Isn't that the point of encryption? F%!# the DEA anyway. Now we need to get more people educated on the importance of using strong crypto to protect their private communications.
Zimahl 3 days ago 0 replies      
We don't want to have a system where you're needlessly imposing burdens on thriving industries or even budding industries

Messaging is superfluous on the internet. Everything has it from Words With Friends to World of Warcraft. I understand that not all messaging systems are encrypted but being required to put in a backdoor for a government agency to spy on messages is a fair amount of work. Would you have to log all messaging too and for how long?

Dylan16807 4 days ago 2 replies      
All this worry about electronic messaging makes me wonder something. Can they get a warrant/order to intercept your physical mail and read it in transit? I'm wondering if they're actually less able to tap than in the past or if they're just whinging.
josho 3 days ago 1 reply      
Several years ago I worked with a senior tech that had previously worked for the NSA. For his personal private data he secured it using nothing less than 4096 bit encryption.

Due to his confidentiality agreements he couldn't provide specifics about the NSA's capabilities, he only would share his own personal security practices. After that discussion I concluded that if the US Government wanted to know something about you they could find out. Not only by technical means, but by any channel you could likely imagine. These guys are smart, the idiots you hear about in the media are field agents, not the back office folks conducting the real security work.

Since that time I've also assumed that the US has encryption technology that is at least 5 years ahead of public research. Today, I assume that means the US has access to a functional quantum computer and anything using today's encryption standards are left insecure if the right 3 letter agency wants to know.

nsxwolf 3 days ago 0 replies      
So, this article is untrue? Apple has the messages in plaintext on their servers, thus the DEA could in fact subpoena them? I'm getting mixed messages. Consensus?
runn1ng 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is the code open for scrutiny? No? Then it's not secure enough for me, sorry.
mtgx 3 days ago 0 replies      
I bet it doesn't even use OTR. You can't just rely on Apple to keep it secure. I do hope Google's upcoming Babel service is at least as secure, but I also hope it uses OTR.
telecuda 3 days ago 1 reply      
IF a court order (40+ page Title 3) were provided to surveil a criminal suspect, do you believe that Apple/iMessage and VoIP services should be required to respond to law enforcement intercept requests?

If yes, then legal and technical frameworks are needed where service providers outside the traditional telcos can respond. This is the gap that has been widening since the introduction of the smartphone.

It's not a huge problem right now since most criminal communication that police are interested in is still done over traditional voice, SMS, and email (where these providers are already interfaced with law enforcement).

joshdick 3 days ago 7 replies      
So what if DEA can't decrypt it? The real question is: Can the NSA decrypt it?
yalogin 3 days ago 1 reply      
The one thing that stands out from that article is that iMessage is the most popular encrypted chat program in history. Is this true? Isn't gchat encrypted as well?
kunai 3 days ago 0 replies      
tl;dr, government bureaucrats upset because they can't spy on innocent civilians.
rmrfrmrf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Boo hoo?
blueprint 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's a trap!
EGreg 3 days ago 1 reply      
So the government wants to make laws to prevent people from securely talking to each other?
shmerl 3 days ago 0 replies      
OTR is better.
mattbarrie 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not for long.
URLs are for People, not Computers not-implemented.com
204 points by Kop  3 days ago   151 comments top 41
potatolicious 3 days ago 4 replies      
The example about Amazon is inaccurate.

Here is an Amazon URL:


Is it completely clean? Nope. It contains a lot of information that feed into the backend, but the core URL is this:


This URL will take you to the correct page, every time, and it doesn't take a genius to figure this out. It also doesn't take a genius to figure out what this page is about before you even paste the link into your browser. By putting the human-relevant portion of the URL as far forward as possible it's able to accomplish both priorities: giving the machine as much information as possible, and giving the human as much information as possible.

The trick here is that "Bioshock-Infinite-Premium-Edition-Xbox-360" is entirely superfluous. It is entirely there for SEO and human readability purposes. This URL works just fine and leads to the same place:


Amazon isn't blind to these issues. So sure, you can take this very last URL and try to make a point about obfuscated URLs, but that's not what's actually in use at Amazon. It seems odd to pick them as an example when they're not even a violator.

[edit] It looks like HN truncates long URLs for display, which only goes further to prove the point.

blauwbilgorgel 2 days ago 5 replies      
Good URLs are:

- Short over long. Consider removing useless words from the url like news.ycombinator.com/tips-for-designing-good-urls

- Concise. To the point, describe the page content from the url

- Use lowercase. Generally the best idea, for sharing links and technical issues (Apache is case-sensitive sometimes)

- Consistent. Stay consistent, make a style guide for URL's if necessary

- Conscious of trailing slashes. Stick with trailing slashes or no trailing slashes. Redirect to preferred form.

- Logical. Follow a logical structure, that follows the structure of the site. A good URL might read like a breadcrumb: site.com/category/product-name, this works for silo'ing your content. Other sites (such as news sites or without a category) might benefit more from the shortest url possible.

- Using dashes for spaces. No underscores, + or %20 spaces.

- Not using special chars. Consider replacing Ă© with e and removing any non-alphabet non-number character like: ' " (

- Canonical. There should be only 1 unique URL in a search engines index with a page content. Use canonical or 301's or smart use of URL's to make sure this is the case.

- Degradable. What happens if a user visits example.com/category/product-name/ and then removes the /product-name/ part? The URL-structure should allow for this and example.com/category/ should return content (preferably the category description)

- Timeless. If you have an event and you set the date inside the URL, then after this date has passed, this URL gets less valuable. Either 301 these aged URL's to the current event URL, or make it so your URL's can be "re-used" for future events. Cool URLs don't change.

- Optimized for search. Use a keyword tool, to find out what users might be searching for and use the relevant keywords inside your URL. Keyword in URL is a (minute) ranking factor. Bolded keywords in URLs help discoverability.

- Not using excessive dynamic variables. These will confuse your users and search engines.

- Flat over deep. Hiding content away in many subdirectories can hamper readability and search engine crawling. Avoid example.com/cat/subcat/subsubcat/widgets/green/second-hand/widget-deluxe/reviews

- Extension agnostic. An URL ending in .php, .py, .xml, .htm etc. can be changed to another extension in the future, requiring an update or inconsistency in the URLs.

- Not spammy. Good URL's don't repeat (slight variations of) keywords or (ab)use extensions like .font or .shoe

- Not disclosing technology. There is little reason to add cgi-bin to your URLs (unless you want to confuse your competition). An extension to really avoid is the .exe extension (mapserv.exe?doc=15)

- Non-traversable. When using document IDs all URL's can easily be scanned/traversed in a loop or manually. Including URL's not yet ready/or never meant for publication.

- Secure. Not susceptible to injection, XSS etc.

I'd say URLs are both for humans and machines.

wcoenen 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm especially annoyed by http://outlook.com. When I go there, I get redirected to a garbage URL on http://login.live.com, and then automatically to another garbage URL on http://bay156.mail.live.com where I can see my inbox. Yuck.
samwillis 3 days ago 0 replies      
The seminal writing on this is by none other than Tim Berners-lee:

"Cool URIs don't change"


k3n 2 days ago 0 replies      
The more accurate claim would be: "DNS is for computers, not people", because that is actually true.

URL's are for both, and so you see hints of both concerns represented. Once your routing passes a certain level of complexity, there is no way to make both functional and human-friendly URL's.

The only thing that users should really be concerned with WRT to URL's is the DNS portion; pretty URL's are just that -- pretty -- and a rose by any other name... Ultimately the user should either have trust in your FQDN or not, at which point the actual URL is inconsequential.

EDIT: additionally, a URL is not a UI element, and the user should never even need to see or know about any particular URL (much less its scheme), only that interacting with an anchor tag named "profile" takes them to the profile page, for example. It's up to developers to translate URL's to human-friendly counterparts.

apaprocki 3 days ago 1 reply      
URLs having any meaning at all strikes me as bias. If my parents visited a SSL site (say, a bank) and the address bar simply displayed the company name and nothing more, they would not miss URLs at all.

This is also why your parents and grandparents can just type random text into an address bar to execute a search instead of having to go to google.com or type in something cryptic like google.com?q=thing%20i%20want.

drunkpotato 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a good and oft-neglected part of UI and API design to keep in mind. I especially like the discussion of the implications of hierarchical, semantic URL's in improving user trust and likelihood of clicking.

Much like with database design, it's easy for programmers to take over the task of URL design and make it easy to use from the write-first, read-never programmer perspective. User considerations come later if at all. I like the reminder to pay attention to these factors. We should all be reminded to question our first impulses; are we making something good for us or good for the user?

richardwhiuk 3 days ago 3 replies      
These are all good ideas, but there's part of me that wonders that because they are all being broken by Microsoft, Google, Amazone (as demonstrated in the article and in the comments here) that the importance of them is overstated.

URLs are fundamentally for web browsers to translate into a domain name lookup, and a HTTP request. They are for computers - the fact that we've managed to convince humans that they should care about them, that they should be decipherable by humans, is, IMHO a failing of the web as is.

On a side note, I note that films are starting to use Facebook URLs by doing [FB Logo]/trancethemovie which the user is intended to translate into https://www.facebook.com/trancethemovie

johnchristopher 3 days ago 2 replies      
>Edward Cutrell and Zhiwei Guan from Microsoft Research have conducted an eyetracking study of search engine use (warning: PDF) that found that people spend 24% of their gaze time looking at the URLs in the search results.

>We found that searchers are particularly interested in the URL when they are assessing the credibility of a destination. If the URL looks like garbage, people are less likely to click on that search hit. On the other hand, if the URL looks like the page will address the user's question, they are more likely to click.

I wished someone at MS would follow up on that and fix the whole bay0X.cdn url jumping everytime I connect to outlook/hotmail.com

UnoriginalGuy 3 days ago 5 replies      
I blame the tools...

Most tools and frameworks are designed from the ground up to be document-focused. Some even going as far as to purposely simulate a document when none exists (e.g. Tomcat).

Let's take PHP, ASP.net, and Java. They make up the majority of the internet right now. With RoR and MS MVC being outliers.

It is VERY hard to develop applications in them without a document focus because they use documents to direct functionality (e.g. logout.php and login.php might have different underlying functionality).

Now, yes, web-servers do support request redirection, so you can redirect from /logout to /logout.php, but such "magic" is time consuming because there is a disconnect between the underlying framework which "understands" pages and the dumb web-server which just does what it is told to do.

Even if you just automate it so you strip out the extension (e.g. strip ".php") you still wind up /thinking/ about things from a document perspective rather than a functionality perspective (e.g. "this functionality is on THIS page, this functionality is on THAT page").

We just need more modern frameworks where from the ground up the thing is based on a hierarchy rather than documents/files/etc. This should all be dictated by the framework, not the server's filesystem.

njharman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree. Except hierarchical is problematic. The world is not hierarchical. Or, rather it is composed of innumerable hierarchies, some disjoint, some overlapping, some redundant, some varying with time, and which one to apply and what the levels are is a huge bikeshed / distraction

Chair example:






products/wood/four legs/padded/black/chair

ad nauseum.

cargo8 3 days ago 3 replies      
While I do appreciate clean URLs, the reason behind all those random obfuscated query parameters in Google's url is not a mystery. They are hidden indicators that are only available at query time and/or experimentation flags and things like that to improve the results. URLs only need to be readable for the portion that the user inputted or is consciously aware of, the rest is for computers.
jader201 2 days ago 3 replies      
I disagree with many points of this article, and actually feel the reverse is true:

URLs are for computers, not people.

To me, a URL is an address to a web site, not the title (or description).

If I want to find somebody's address on a map, I don't go to "Bobby's House". I go to "123 Main Street, New York City, NY". If I search for Bobby's house, I'm not given "Bobby's House" on a map, I'm given a surrogate street address.

If humans are expecting the URL to look pretty and descriptive, then the issue here is that we've conditioned this expectation and we should instead condition users to expect succinct, surrogate URLs that only serve the purpose of identifying the article you're trying to reach.

Additionally, I think the fact that search engines highly weight their optimization on a URL is terrible and counter-intuitive to the purpose of a URL. This is what <title></title> is for, and other <meta></meta> headers.

The URL should not determine a page's rank in search results, at all. At the very most, it may make sense to factor the root domain into SEO, but that's where it should end. This isn't the 1990's when much of the web was static HTML pages that could be given whatever meaningful file names. In today's world where the web is dynamic and mostly made up of user-driven content, URLs are designed to route the user based on one or many identifiers, which are often surrogate identifiers, and not natural or meaningful identifiers.

Edit: I do agree with the point about useless garbage in the URL (like the Google search examples) that are there only in the interests of the site and tracking/analytics. I think URLs should only serve to get the user where they need to go, and contain exactly enough data to get them there.

alanh 2 days ago 0 replies      
My own notes on URL as user interface include a number of ways you can improve your URLs and allow users to guess them: http://alanhogan.com/url-as-ui

I also list a number of positive and negative examples from the wild.

duck 3 days ago 1 reply      
A study conducted by Microsoft found URLs play a vital role in assessing the security and credibility of a website

Why then do most Microsoft sites not follow this finding? Also, a lot of their products break it as well (I'm looking at you SharePoint and CRM).

igorgue 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I read somewhere that a good number Flickr's users just hack this url: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/<tag_name>;

Like somebody else said, I blame the tools, the requirements (but we gotta track the referring url of the referring url!!!), and the programmers.

stormbrew 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kind of a tangent to this, but I'm always really amused by generated clean-looking urls that cut out short words. It's very common to have the word "not" or "no" drop out and produce a headline with completely inverted meaning.

Mayor Not Dropping Out Of Race After Scandal

redact207 3 days ago 3 replies      
"If the URL looks like garbage people won't click it"

I'm not so sure of this. URLs that are over-optimised seem link-baity to me and I'm more inclined to not click it.

sravfeyn 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a side-note, I have made a movie web-app where you can just enter movie name into URL to get it's rating & trailer, like www.instamovi.com/#<ANY_MOVIE_NAME_HERE>. It works for keywords as long as they are spelled correct...like http://instamovi.com/#bourne
TazeTSchnitzel 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'd like to see a mechanism to pass data to a page in the URL once, but have it discarded such that the URL the user sees and the URL used upon refresh lacks it. This would be nice for all sorts of things:

* That pesky analytics stuff (rel= on YouTube for instance) which you don't want to re-send on refresh or when someone passes on the URL to someone else (because now your data is inaccurate)

* Error messages specified by URL parameters (we only want to show them once)

* URL parameters containing secrets allowing someone to access a page (we don't want to accidentally pass them on)


mikecarroll 3 days ago 1 reply      
While I agree that URLs should be considered intrinsic to good UI, social media is also undermining the value/importance of semantic URLs.

Why put extra work into making your RESTful URL structure more semantic, in other words, if Twitter if just going to shorten them to the point that they are no longer fully readable, or Facebook is just going to hide them behind a preview view?

benackles 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty basic, but often ignored advice for information architecture.

The article linked to [1] was also pretty interesting. The line that caught my eye was "The URL will continue to be part of the Web user interface for several more years...". Keep in mind that was published in 1999, therefore Nielsen seems to be implying that he believed the URL will eventually become less relevant as a part of the UI. I don't see this happening anytime soon on the "web", but it's certainly true on "mobile".

Modern Web Application frameworks such as WordPress, Ruby on Rails and many more are forcing good practices on the web moving forward. Most startups today are following all the practices detailed in this article as a result of the frameworks imposed on them.

[1] http://www.nngroup.com/articles/url-as-ui/

danso 3 days ago 2 replies      
The OP lost me at the Google example. The search URL is one URL that is completely unnecessary to be clean. Google wants you to get used to using the omnisearch box because it can provide such niceties as auto-suggest, instant results, etc...plus, the google query interface is no longer just a text bar, but voice activated...it works against Google's UI/UX intent for you to get used to hacking things in the URL address.

And yes, for hacker types this intention of Google's seems overbearing...but for the other 99.9% of the population, google is likely more interested in making search uniformly accessible than making clean URLs

devindotcom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ha - I wrote about this at length years ago, even photoshopped little examples:

I think it should be done, but I think it would have to be header data explaining the "layout" of the URL, not a standard URL scheme.

bobwise 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well obviously URLs are for people because raw IP addresses are unsuitable, but that doesn't mean that textual URLs as they exist today are our best option. Even well-designed URLs are too complicated. "https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5498198 is mostly devoid of meaning even to me. I can tell that that URL is referencing a discussion on Hacker News, but "Hacker News" or the title of the article are not present in the URL.

Hierarchical URLs betray the underlying model of the internet as a series of interrelated documents. People don't care about understanding the layout of files on a web server; they just want to open Facebook, or their email, or perform a search. Nobody types "http://www.facebook.com into their browser. They either click a bookmark or type "facebook" into the search or URL bar. What happens next is up to the browser.

The best solution would conform to the already existing mental model that people have. They don't think of a website as a bunch of documents on a web server (despite the shared vocabulary with printed media - words like "page" and "bookmark"). Their mental model is probably something like buildings on a city block. You can pick one to go into, and when you're inside you can do things and learn things that are unique to that building. Rooms are connected by hallways and doors. There are windows where you can see outside or into other buildings. You can bring things with you into the building and take things out when you leave. To get back to a room in a building that you've been in previously, you can either go back to the front door and follow the path you took originally to get to the room, or you can "bookmark the page", which is like a shortcut directly that room.

danibx 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only URLs I care about are the main domain URLs. And I dont even type them. I just use Google to reach the main site. It is faster than typing a full URL. Even more on mobile devices.

Or for commonly accessed sites I just type a few letters on my browser address bar. reddit.com is actually re+enter. news.ycombinator.com is actually ne+enter to me. After I reach the main site I usually click around or use the site's search bar.

So, I would say that good URL names are a secondary optimisation.

I would prefer to focus on this priority:
1) A good unique domain name;
2) Good SEO;
3) Good site information architecture;
4) Good internal site search.

fudged71 2 days ago 0 replies      

This is the worst offender, in my opinion. It makes any link really ugly to share.

ckluis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Missing element:

this is fantastic for SEO: Main-Category/Sub-Category/Specific-Item - is practically screaming look at my site heirarchy and look how much data I have about furniture -> chairs -> chair manufacture -> chair model

kristopher 2 days ago 0 replies      
URLs are for Browsers. Go to any asian country where most, if not all of the population, searches for the websites and content they require.

The goal in designing a good URL is in a scheme that allows the site to grow without "abandoning" URLs.

ch 2 days ago 0 replies      
What this boils down to is that there is space on the Web for both human consumable, and machine consumable URLs.

If a URL becomes a popular for human usage, it is a safe bet to keep it as it is, that doesn't mean you cannot have all sorts of gobbledygook URLs which also get you to that same resource.

There is no need to have this be an either-or proposition.

cdoxsey 3 days ago 1 reply      
His examples aren't helping his case. If the most successful store and the most popular search engine don't use pretty URLs why should anyone else care?
danielnr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks to this post, I decided enough and enough and I started on a user script that redirects different URLs to their "pretty" version. It currently supports Google Web Search (Google Instant Search is not yet supported), although I'll be adding much more when I get home and in the next few days. I've named the script "Prettify-URL" and it is available here:



Note that this is absolutely not meant to be an end-all solution to the problem, but instead a ray of sun in a thunderstorm of ugly URLs. The core responsibility still lies on the developer, this just tries to make things a bit more bearable.

snowwrestler 3 days ago 2 replies      
Just to review: examples of sites doing it wrong include Google and Amazon, two of the most successful websites ever. Doesn't seem to have hindered their growth much.

I like a clean semantic URL, but if I'm being honest with myself, I know that is just my opinion. I don't know of any real-life correlation between URLs and business outcomes.

nicolethenerd 3 days ago 1 reply      
I disagree with the "https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5489039 versus https://news.ycombinator.com/5489039/if-the-earth-were-100-p... - its in contradiction to the author's earlier point that URLs should be "hackable". With the former style, I know that if I want to see other hackernews articles, I can just change the number (granted, it's not the most efficient way of browsing HN) - with the latter, I can't modify the URL w/out knowing the title of the article I'm looking for.
Oompa 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but think of Kyle Neath's blog post about this in 2010: http://warpspire.com/posts/url-design/
liotier 2 days ago 0 replies      
URL are for computers too !
frostnovazzz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have to say it depends. Some are for people and some are for machines.
NameNickHN 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are people who say that clean URLs are SEO crap. What do I say to those?
orangethirty 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quick question: Other alternatives to URLs? I'm not very informed in the subject.
D9u 3 days ago 1 reply      
If URLs were really for people we wouldn't see people sent to prison for manipulation of URLs.
ianstallings 3 days ago 1 reply      
While I understand the need and implement this on every site I'll be the first to say I really don't care about this and I think it's stupid. Just my opinion.
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