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I'm learning to code by building 180 websites in 180 days. Today is day 115 jenniferdewalt.com
1438 points by jenniferDewalt  2 days ago   341 comments top 98
sivers 2 days ago 19 replies      
Theres this great story from the book Art and Fear, that's very appropriate here:


The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.

All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the quantity group: 50 pounds of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on.

Those being graded on quality, however, needed to produce only one pot albeit a perfect one to get an A.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the quantity group was busily churning out piles of work-and learning from their mistakes the quality group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.


Advance congratulations to Jennifer. This is amazing.

freyr 2 days ago 3 replies      
So many hurt egos in this thread.

If you think what she's done is impossible, have you ever devoted 70/hrs a week to a personal endeavor for 6 straight months? Would you have the willpower and perseverance to stay committed and focused?

Also, these are cool sites, infused with a lot of creativity and a refined aesthetic sense, but it's not as if she's claimed to have written an OS or compiler in 115 days. Much of the javascript code is covered extensively in brief online tutorials. Maybe, given 10 hours, you couldn't ingest a tutorial and put your own spin on the concept, but thinking that nobody else could do that is a bit arrogant.

cgcardona 2 days ago 3 replies      
Really great idea Jennifer! This is the kind of initiative and creativity that will surely land you multiple job opportunities.

It reminds me of the steps which I took to transition into working on software professionally full time.

I came to programming relatively late in life when I was 26 and found out that my wife was expecting a baby.

The sudden change facing my wife and I made me take a hard look at my skill set to decide how quickly I could provide for us.

I decided that my interest in setting up wordpress installs as well as tinkering with Photoshop/Illustrator was the surest, safest, and quickest path to a successful career and decided then and there that within 6 months I would have a job as a junior web developer.

To help accelerate this I signed up at my local community college for courses related to getting a web design certificate. Ultimately I took 2 semesters (1 of which was a compressed summer semester) of classes including CS-1, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, InDesign, HTML/CSS, PHP/MySQL.

Soon I began to get the feeling that school was moving too slowly. I had joined the W3C HTML5 Working Group and was also participating in the WHATWG and started to realize that I was learning much more by hacking on code in the evenings than I was in class.

During this time I started to create a portfolio showcasing new HTML5 APIs as they would become available across different browsers. Mostly I did this out of my own passion for web standards and wanting to understand the most cutting edge APIs as soon as they dropped. However this portfolio soon became incredibly valuable with regards to landing a job.

During the second semester I got the chance to interview for a local android dev shop (this is in Santa Cruz, CA). I got the job but didn't find Java to be a good fit for my skills at the time and after a couple of months transitioned to another local dev shop.

This company was a rails shop building an app for Walmart's internal network. I got the job based on my HTML5 knowledge and soon found myself learning rails.

Around this time I made the decision to quit going to school and to focus full time on my job. I was at this job for about a year until the company unfortunately went out of business.

Since I left that job I've spent a year and a half at trulia.com where I was on the mobile team building m.trulia.com, Trulia's native windows 8 app, and the suite of webservices powering Trulia's native iOS/Android/Windows apps. Currently I'm at cardfree.com where I'm working with ruby on rails.

The reason I posted this tale is to encourage you to continue what you're doing! When I look back at my short but exciting career I notice that though I feel fortunate to have gotten a couple of semesters of training at a junior college it was mostly always the projects and initiatives which I undertook in my personal and spare time which ended up being the most valuable for me.

There is so much opportunity and demand in the consumer web and electronics space right now that showing this initiative and creating such a strong portfolio will surely land you multiple job offers if that's what you are looking for.

Either way excellent work and I wish you the best of luck going forward!

wellingtons 2 days ago 7 replies      
I have to ask: How on earth do you find the time to do this?

As much as I'd love to do this in order to get my hands dirty on web development and out of systems, I can't ever fathom having the free time available every day consecutively.

I mean, for someone "learn(ing) to code" on Day 1 and by Day 15 doing "Dropping Boxes", it just seems a little far fetched. Obviously you have had a good portion of coding experience and are using -some- level of resources, or you are a savant.

I don't mean to sound rude, I just feel like the readers deserve a deeper level of explanation and cited resources, rather than believing you reinvented Conway's Game of Life by day 108.

Edit: I have to add that this is all very excellent work and good on you for sticking to your goals so far. Clearly you are a very talented individual. Cheers.

cocoflunchy 2 days ago 2 replies      
whbk 1 day ago 1 reply      
From her Facebook, September 2009:"If you don't know already, I've created an iPhone app! I've been working really hard on this and have had lots of fun taking pictures of myself and my friends. Oh, what it does is gives everyone in the picture a HOT or COLD rating. The app is called ruHOT and is available for download for the iPhone and Android phones. Check it out!"

So yeah, highly doubt this is truly her first rodeo. Cool project(s) nonetheless and impressive dedication.

jbp 2 days ago 0 replies      
This kind of dedication is inspiring.

From http://blog.jenniferdewalt.com/post/51616616313/day-58-explo... :

"Tomorrow I head to Pennsylvania to host a bridal shower and bachelorette weekend for my sister. Between the pre-wedding festivities and visiting with family, Im going to be pretty limited on time for building websites. But, the show must go on and I am excited to see what kind of goodness I can create under pressure."

Congratulations Jennifer.

headcanon 2 days ago 3 replies      
I suppose the hardest part of doing something like this, at least for me, would be coming up with a list of ideas of exactly what to create - not just coming up with 180 things, but 180 things that I can reasonably expect to accomplish in one day. Did you come up with that list beforehand, or do you decide today what to do tomorrow, or something in between?Some other random questions that come to mind - What's your daily schedule like during this period? How many hours do you typically spend on a single project? Are you also working during this period, or did you save up some money beforehand?
keiferski 2 days ago 10 replies      
Wow, this is really inspiring. I see that she's hosting them all on her personal domain, but I have a question, if anyone has an answer. What's the easiest/most cost-effective way to host a large number of sites on different domains?

Learn how to use a VPS? Static pages with NearlyFreeSpeech? I've got a zillion ideas (and after seeing this, will be building them soon) but they need to be on separate domains. Paying $5/month or whatever for each is obviously not optimal.

mehulkar 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is awesome. Reminds me of the girl who learned to dance in one year by recording herself every day. Also reminds me of Seth Godin who recommends starting the day by producing rather than consuming and follows the practice by writing a new blog post every day, without fail.

Consistency is so hugely important. Quality is born from quantity.

jqueryin 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great and all, but I do have to call BS on no previous coding experience. Perhaps she had plenty of HTML experience and wouldn't regard that as coding experience. If you look at her early examples, even on something like day 3, you find the following in the source:

    * Inclusion of a CSS reset stylesheet    * Inclusion of jQuery 1.9.1    * Usage of HTML5 footer tag    * Inclusion of the HTML5 shiv JS
If this wasn't boilerplate HTML being used, I have no idea where a beginner would know these three things on day 3. Perhaps just stumbling upon the right project?

Also noteworthy is the inclusion of an external JS file for loading Google Analytics. Most people have no idea what this is or how to set it up

txutxu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I take my hat off by personal challenge and the technical side of the project.

But I put more kudos on "publishing it".

I'm a self-taught which now can say I'm more than a decade in the industry, but I think I could never publish my "learning" projects because maybe I'm ashamed of their quality.

I think what you have do is nice, and more important is well presented for others to see. So you maybe encouraging others to do the same.

That is the spirit. Great.

jmtame 1 day ago 0 replies      
I looked through your comment history to see if you already answered and couldn't find it. What happened when you got stuck? I'd suspect there were points where you couldn't figure something out; it tends to happen when you become frustrated and you have to take a break. You mentioned that you had no previous programming experience. How much time did you spend learning before you created the first app on day 1?

I ask because this goes against the pattern I've observed in most students. I was involved in starting Bloc, which is an online programming bootcamp. I think the #1 value proposition is having a person there to help when you get unstuck. It's fascinating to see you overcome the learning curve on your own which affects most people trying to learn.

Just so I can fully understand: did you have any human interaction or assistance during this entire time? That to me is the most impressive part of this. A lot of us had TAs, professors, group projects where we worked closely with others. I don't know a single person in my own network who has learned to program on their own without any human help.

Hope it doesn't come across as if I'm belittling what you've done or seem skeptical, this is really impressive!

rdouble 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did you pre-plan the ideas for the websites?

When doing art, I used to set goals like "do 30 drawings in a month." However, I've found that I just draw the same stuff over and over again if I leave it at that. I have to actually make a theme (draw 30 plants) and even get a detailed list (draw a jade plant, a hydrangea, etc) in order to actually make any progress.

I am curious if you did any planning like this regarding the choice of sites you made?

eat 2 days ago 1 reply      
These comments are infuriating, but not unexpected. So many people who have likely wasted their last 115 days attempting to find every fault with someone who clearly hasn't.

OP: Excellent work, and keep it up. I hope you take the criticisms and disbelief for what they truly are: incontrovertible evidence that you're doing something very right.

ekr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to ignore all the malicious comments about how fraudulent this is. This is an amazing achievement, and it reminds me of a much better way of improving your skills.

Last time I wanted to build a ray-tracer, I starting using the PBR book, and then started learning about Fourier series and transforms, about signals etc. This of depth-first aquisition of knowledge is not very adequate for the average human mind, whose curiosity and motivation are much better served by achieving many short and tangible results, a so-called feedback loop.

Seeing Jennifer and her progress, I'm determined to start a similar project: 1 demo (not necessarily 4k/64k) coded in asm/GLSL per week.That's after I actually finish writing my hobby OS, which is being done in the same DFS fashion (started reading Tanenbaum's book on Minix, it has plenty of references).

DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. It's inspiring. I like the rules you set for yourself - a blog post to accompany every website, and releasing the code on github.

It's important that people know the WWW is not out of their reach, and that they can create stuff. This post, and Neocities, strongly feed that "democratisation" of the Internet.

Next it might be a nice idea to do 4 websites, one a month, but polish them so they're standards compliant, as accessible as possible, etc.

stevewilhelm 2 days ago 0 replies      
In the next couple of weeks you might want to look at secure authentication and authorized resource access, scaling, sessions, cross-platform issues, internationalization, adaptive design, etc.

Also might want to revisit some of your existing websites to get some exposure to refactoring, bug fixing, prioritizing feature requests, test based development, performance profiling, etc.

ansdkfus13 2 days ago 0 replies      
This story indeed is very inspiring. I'm a business major turned front-end designer. I worked as a financial analyst for a semi-conductor company for two years and realized I want a career that fosters my creative side. Working with Excel, though I got very good at it :P, all day long made my day very dull and monotonous. I got my husband to teach me how to code (he's a CS major, working as a product manager for a SF company). Now I am fairly proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, CSS, HTML, and Javascript. Then I made a Python program which analyzes the proper excess inventory to keep for the semiconductor company I worked for, which got me a lot of recognition (the program was prob elementary level and messy but got a credit for being a financial analyst that can code). I quit my day job and I'm working on my startup, for which I'm doing all the front end coding and some of back-end coding as well. Also relocating to SF to pursue this new found passion. I wish the best of luck to Jennifer and other people like her.
espadagroup 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally someone posting a challenge they're undertaking when they have at least accomplished already some of it. I hate seeing people announce that they are about to do something. This is much much better.
alcuadrado 2 days ago 0 replies      
To be honest, as soon as I read the title I thought "but if you force yourself to deliver something new every day you want have enough time to actually learn new stuff in between", and you proved me wrong. Congratulations!
akurilin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Basically, work a lot. Make sure there's always a chunk of work that's new and challenging, a form of deliberate practice. Also make sure there's a chunk of work that's reinforcing what you already know until it becomes second nature. Rinse and repeat. Kaizen.
donaq 2 days ago 0 replies      
You are super awesome. I have been programming for years and I still don't know how to do some of the stuff you've done for your websites. I'm sure I could easily learn how to, but then it's easy for me because I have the advantage of years of experience. To be able to get to where you are within 3 months is astounding to me and that tells me something about the validity of your approach, so I'm gonna shamelessly rip you off the next time I need to learn a new skill.

Somebody hire this person!

booop 2 days ago 1 reply      
In a similar vein, here's a thread of a complete rookie starting from scratch who turned into a fantastic artist by drawing a sketch every day : http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=870

I guess this works for learning programming too.

t0dd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very impressive. It reminds one that complaining about "too much work" is often just a poor excuse for petrifying in a niche of self-satisfaction and comfort. I can't read all of this, browse what you've accomplished in so little time, and doubt the feeling great things are destined for you. Congrats!
jorgecastillo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am really impressed this gal sure has a promising future as a software developer. I must also say this made me a little sad, she has done in days what I haven't been able to do in years.
kenster07 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have mixed emotions, not about the author, but the implications of this thread. It is great that she shows such dedication to the craft. But has dedication to a craft really become so rare that it is worthy of 900 plus points on hacker news? I know countless software engineers who work their tails off every waking hour, myself included. Do we all deserve hacker news posts? Or should we elevate our expectations?
ValG 2 days ago 0 replies      
An additional anecdote comes from Jerry Seinfeld, (comedian). He says that his goal when he got into comedy (and still to this day) is to write jokes every day. Create a chain of joke writing and keep track of it in a physical way (in his example, a calendar that he marks off with an X every time he sits down to write). You create momentum that you don't want to break, and even though you might not be writing good jokes (good code, etc...) every day, there is still improvement going on. [1]

All anecdote, but it seems to point to the fact that the value of iteration on DOING is more valuable than iteration on PLANNING. (i.e. plan a little bit, and do a lot).

[1] http://www.writersstore.com/dont-break-the-chain-jerry-seinf...

styrmis 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really great! There are quite possibly many better ways to spend 180 days if you wanted to make money (#1 would probably be completing every Rails tutorial available) but I don't think that is important here. Rather, I find her approach inspiring and it's something that can be applied to any endeavour.

One nice thing that she will have, even if she doesn't make it through the full 180 is a record of her earliest creations through to her latest. Like when keeping a journal she'll be able to refer to it when she's feeling low and see the progress she's made, and she'll have a record of what she's done that transcends her memory.

At my first job I was lucky enough to report directly to the Technical Director of the company who took the time to mentor me on what it means to be a good software engineer. The first thing he had me do is to keep an engineer's journal. The benefits of this would only become clear a few weeks down the line but clear it was: I would encounter a problem I knew I had solved before but couldn't quite recall the solution to; I would flip back to find my notes and there it would be. Fast forward a few months, then a year and the value received from this simple act of keeping an organised journal far exceeded my expectations.

I have since kept the habit going but I feel that more can be done here. On one level you can keep notes for yourself and improve your own productivity. A level up would be to write those notes up on an internal wiki. One level up further and you've polished them into material you can publish to a wider community. One level up again you can inspire others to do the same through your efforts. One such effort that I have seen (outside of Jennifer's) that I think is completely worth anyone's time to explore is Journey of an Absolute Rookie: Paintings and Sketches (http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=870), 10 full years of recorded progress of a beginning artist that blew my mind. Warning: you may lose a lot of time to that forum thread!

There is something beautiful and powerful in things that have been worked on and tended to for years, things that cannot be rushed no matter what: the only way to have 10 years of recorded progress today is to have started 10 years ago and to have kept it up for the duration. What a present to give to yourself!

carlosgg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bravo!! I really liked this:"I think the best way to learn is to solve problems that you actually have. This is the primary reason I decided not to follow a course or textbook. By following my own path, I can tackle new concepts and problems in the most logical order possible, which is precisely when I have them. When I have questions, I look them up on Stack Overflow. If I need to make a big jump, like starting a new language or platform, Ill bootstrap off of a textbook only until I get off the ground."
Tycho 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've thought of doing this before. Make one attempt every day, and see it through. Not just for websites but for other skills like songwriting, drawing, short-story writing, and also other types of programming. Needless to say I never went through with it, but it's good to see someone who has.

Taking songwriting as an example, what's interesting to me is that basically anyone can try it. Sit down with a note pad, think of a tune, and make a verse-chorus-verse-chorus song (chords and riffs are optional extras). No doubt people like Paul McCartney do try this every day, but then there's the vast majority of people who never make the attempt once in their life, despite their being no real barriers.

jbranchaud 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jennifer,I've skimmed through a handful of your projects and they are all very creative, fun and thoughtful. I'd be excited to see what you could do with d3.js (http://d3js.org/). Check it out if you haven't already!
karolisd 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is inspiring and I'm not sure why. It's not technically impressive, there's far more impressive tutorials and snippets a single Google search away. It's something about the persistence and a desire to learn and improve. It's about the beginner's mind and artistic whimsy. I get to see someone's thought process expressed through a hundred tiny websites.
pwelch 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone else mentioned, I think the hardest part is coming up with idea.

Most of these are really cool! Awesome job.

dantheman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Super Impressive, dedicating the time to accomplish this remarkable.
zaph0d 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos to you Jennifer. I hope your path inspires many other aspiring programmers.
iguana 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, humbling, and inspiring at the same time.

(There were 180 comments on this story, now there are 181)

j45 1 day ago 0 replies      
How admirable, good for you. I don't have anything more to add than my sincere appreciation for seeing what you're doing, it's a fantastic example.
auggierose 2 days ago 0 replies      
So many envious comments here, ridiculous. Jennifer, this is really inspiring stuff!
zwieback 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic and I'm also glad to see that most of the comments are positive. I was almost afraid to click on the comments link.
bencollier49 1 day ago 0 replies      
Incidentally, does that remind anyone of the "Cascade Cassette 50"?


The work is of profoundly higher quality, though, I just mean in terms of volume!

DarrenMills 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a great way that learning to code can produce a ton of content and experimental innovation. Code Academy (and others) listen up: What if everyone produced content while learning to code?
fnbaptiste 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. When I read the title I was expecting a bunch of exercises in layout with different slick UIs and such. I was very surprised by how creative each of these were. They're very fun to go through. And in the end, when it comes to getting a job, this kind of stuff looks way better than "went to school, got this degree".
anishkothari 2 days ago 1 reply      
Brilliant. Good for you! Suggestion: add some contact information in your profile
apathetic 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi, what day-to-day tools did you uses to create these? I wish I did something like this too instead of just playing all day :(
cheez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good on you, your progress is amazing. If you want a job, you'll get it.
dataduck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jennifer, you mentioned you weren't following any kind of course - how did you decide what to build on the next day?
eagler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations! I'm impressed how you just got started rather than waiting for "the perfect moment." Your persistence and progress are inspiring. Also, your work doubles as a collection of engaging content ideas for teaching beginning programming :) Thank you!
xmmx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want to learn from your code, but it looks like it's all hidden somewhere?
javadi82 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks so much for posting this. This is the most inspiring "show HN" I've seen here.
realrocker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Unimaginable patience.
zinssmeister 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty cool, but I think spending a bit more time with a bigger project instead of doing 180 small ones would be more beneficial. But maybe her goal is to jump into bigger/long term stuff after the 180 days. Either way, congrats for getting out there and building stuff!
jaekwon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tried to splode a bacon bit, but it would not splode.Very disappointed.But love the execution. Good job and keep going!
chatmasta 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Impressive dedication, and even more impressive creativity.
happypeter 1 day ago 1 reply      
Amazing story, love it. Yes it's all about building wonderful things. I've been doing one screencast per week since 2011, I have to say it's really really lots of fun.
tourbillonfunk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, a huge congratulations to you! I'm just starting my journey to become a programmer and am dedicating the same amount of time. You're dedication, patience and work ethic really inspire me! Awesome job on all of your projects.
sanjkris 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just made my middle-school kids' summer break more interesting. If you take all this js knowledge and add android/ios skills, you can increase your hourly fees by 10X. I myself would hire you for my mobile suite of apps.
thejacenxpress 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was leaving the film industry and unemployed for a year. I only did about 4-5 hours a day (had $$ saved) and got far enough to get a great job, but wow. I like that you're not just BS-ing 180 days, but actually challenging yourself.
franze 2 days ago 0 replies      
i like day 114 http://jenniferdewalt.com/image_palette/page was looking for an online quick to user color picker just yesterday
jumby 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is fizz buzz broken? A random number is nice, but what if not divisible by 3 or 5 - what do I enter? Example: I got 559.
throwaway3030 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a software engineer. I love this style of learning.

However, if the idea of building 180 different websites in 180 days sounds so unappealing to me I actually winced when I read the title, should I find another career? (real question)

I'd rather do the opposite thing, sell my laptop and do 180 drawings or sculptures in 180 days.

valokafor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great Jennifer, you have just greatly inspired me. I will get started, maybe do one site a week instead of a day since I have this thing called full time job!

Keep it up

mjhea0 2 days ago 1 reply      
i'd love to hear more about the resources you are utilizing. plus - how do you find time to work on this for 10 hours/day!?
Abundnce10 2 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like the majority of her Github commits are happening during 6pm-12am http://imagebin.org/265513
amerika_blog 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't launch this kind of project without some kind of ace up my sleeve.

I'd either prepare it in advance, vamp it all from the "tutorials," or have some backup code somewhere.

That would be necessary to avoid having a mundane interruption cause the project to fail.

sonabinu 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is inspirational ... find time to dedicate to learning something new
barlet 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great.- she is learning to code- she works hard- she is creative with her ideas - everyday- and she is communicating very well - and getting better at it.
gnus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jennifer, you are just plain amazing. You are my inspiration.
gabeguz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is inspiring. I've been programming for years, and don't think I'd be able to create something new every day for 180 days. Major props.
shire 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow this must really time consuming. Really great work. Inspirational
abinop 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dear Jennifer, something tells me this will be the most difficult of the 180 days. If all this buzz does not distruct you, nothing will.
calebhc 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing your work. :) I really love the Window Master!
exizt88 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, but note that Mondrian uses stripes of varying width -- it adds a lot to the piece. Consider trying to make the width individual stripes changeable. This might even provide even some insight into Mondrian's art.
devgutt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I had time to do similar approach solely to learn new things using HN: Hacker News University.
circa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great job! Will stay tuned for the 65 days left!
atmosx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats, it's amazing what you have achieved.
ab21 1 day ago 0 replies      
bobwaycott 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome, Jennifer. Keep up the good work!
alexdowad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome stuff, Jennifer! Congratulations!
keefe 2 days ago 0 replies      
180 iterations of the same website in 180 days and you have a company :]
vinhnx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Way to go, Jennifer.

Best wishes for you!

austinrory 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is super smart. also, it gives me a good guide for ideas for the sites i want to build as i'm learning to code. THANKS!
tdd1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool! That's DEF fun and creative!! :D
akivabamberger 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea. Way to go, Jennifer.
progx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cant wait until Number 180 when you build a complete Web Framework ;-)
maxmem 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who has the time or money to teach yourself to code in 180 days?
marincounty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Steven King vs. Vladimar Nabrakov
smooradian 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a new hero.
dwdwzzz 1 day ago 0 replies      
i'm curious what kind tools are you using.
rubyclown 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's 180 HTML & Javascript PAGES, not 180 WEBSITES! Big Difference.

Nevertheless, congratulations on your dedication.

wcy 2 days ago 1 reply      
My plan is to learn how to code by reading the code for 180 of Jennifer Dewalt's websites in 180 days.
RakshaC 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really Wow! Quite inspiring.
ron1986 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great Work! Keep Going !!
maxisnow 2 days ago 0 replies      
How cool! Keep it up!
hydralist 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is inspiring
kavithag 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very inspiring! Keep up the good work!
mrcactu5 2 days ago 0 replies      
lucb1e 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought you said "websites". You mean pages with a single purpose.

It's a good idea though and you probably learn a lot from it, but I wouldn't say that I'd made 180 websites after completing this.

Ubuntu Edge indiegogo.com
1149 points by ergo14  4 days ago   378 comments top 91
cs702 4 days ago 5 replies      
The $32 million fundraising goal might seem overly ambitious, but it's actually more realistic than it appears at first glance, because at $600+ per unit the campaign needs only around 50,000 buyers worldwide to be successful -- or a bit over 2% of Ubuntu's enthusiastic user base, which was estimated to be greater than 20 million in 2011.[1]

PS. I just ordered one, as I LOVE the idea of an unlocked phone designed and built from the ground up by Canonical specifically for Ubuntu users, with minimal interference from wireless carriers.


Update: When I posted this comment, the total raised was under $50,000. Less than an hour later, it had risen to over half a million dollars.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(operating_system)#Inst...

ealexhudson 4 days ago 8 replies      
I upvoted this because I think it's an interesting experiment. Attempting to raise $1M+ every day for a month, though, I think is insanely ambitious. Asking people for $830 for a device that they won't get for a year is asking a lot, particularly since the specs aren't worlds away from current phones (two years time, and probably $500 would get you a device with those specs, unlocked).

Worse, I just don't even get the use case. If I have to dock it with stuff to make it work, that means I need some kind of installation. Spending more money just so I can carry my PC around instead of having at home on a desk - hm, really not sure about that. People who use their mobile as a primary device tend not to have any sort of desktop, and I don't really get the impression they miss it that much.

fingerprinter 4 days ago 3 replies      
From nearly every perspective, this seems like a no brainer.

1. The hardware they talked about would be better than anything out there now, most likely better than anything in 2014.

2. They mentioned dual boot. If you don't like Ubuntu, you can put on Android and have a better phone than anything out in the next year.

3. You'll get the first Ubuntu production phone.

For $600 (today) or $830 (not today?) this is a freakin' no brainer.

Casc 3 days ago 2 replies      
A bit late to the party on this post -

I think the next shift we see in mobile will be anointing the phone as the arbiter of identity vs the current situation in which our desktop / laptop OS user loosely holds the title.

I've previously expressed affinity for a future in which a device (smartphone) becomes a wallet for saving state, identity, data & applications all served by an OS that adapts based on operating environments while maintaining familiar UI/UX. This is the closest implementation I've yet to see (smart phone driving extensions and adapting to its environment by allowing full desktop OS), and I hope funding comes through just so we can inch a bit closer to making this reality.

Dropbox / cloud storage / iCloud have taken great strides in reducing the friction involved in types of device to device transitions, but we're still not truly mobile, and I'm not convinced they're the solution as opposed to being supplementary. Saving state, using your phone as identity, and carrying your data & applications with you is, what I believe, the next iteration of mobile.

Whether this information transfer is accomplished by associating devices together via the lan, a physical connection, or what have you, I feel there needs to be a physical badge component in transferring identity, and the smartphone may be it. A two factor auth of sorts for your digital self between your smartphone and a 'dumber' device.

Consider the possibilities in cars; no more fighting that quirky car UI to get directions or search through a music library. Parental controls ensuring new drivers don't drive at extreme speeds or attempt to text while driving. Abolishing keys. All possible when you have a portable device equipped with identity attributes working in conjunction with other devices and their input extensions.

28.8mm to go!



ChuckMcM 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty ambitious. Presumably they are not going to build the phone, they will do like Google and Apple and Microsoft did and find someone who is already building phones, to build them a bespoke phone. One then wonders how many units you have to commit to buying for LG to spin a variant of the Nexus 4 for you. Certainly its more than 100K phones, which gets you into the 'best' price for components (some vendors of phone parts (like some of the flash chips) won't talk to you unless you order 100K pieces).

Clearly there is a value proposition to having knowledge about all the bits in the phone, but as I discovered with the Android phones, working at Google, there are some bits which are protected in a variety of ways (basically most of the radios in phones these days are all software and that blob (the stuff that makes the radio 'work') is strictly licensed. It was, for me at least, an unexpected additional cost for the radio stuff. (I imagine that business model started with soft modems where the line access chips were $1 and the code to turn them into a 56Kbit modem was another $9 each).

Regardless of outcome, this will join a number of attempts at making a Linux phone. I wonder if anyone has collected all of the attempts into a single space.

falcolas 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love crowd funding, and this seems like a great project. But please, before you pledge money, remember one thing:

This is not a pre-order: nothing guarantees that you will ever get anything for the money you've put in.

By pledging money, you become an underprivileged investor. Sometimes, you'll get your money's worth. Sometimes, you'll loose that money. If that's OK by you, then great. If you want a stronger guarantee of getting what you pay for, then this is not the platform to use.

BenoitEssiambre 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a preview of things to come on other mobile OSs in the same way the openMoko open source phone was a harbinger of the first iPhone.

This Ubuntu prototype phone shows that the technology is ready for good phone/desktop integration. You can be sure Google and Apple are working on their own version of this and probably doing it with much more resources. Microsoft's attempt at convergence was premature and resulted in two OSs that superficially look the same but aren't really integrated.

I do think Ubuntu has much more chances of succeeding than openMoko ever had.

This indiegogo approach is a smart and bold strategy that could bring higher level of development resources than open source projects are usually able to get. Open source is good for getting a great community and great ideas together but often the thin margins and low barrier for competitors means we don't get the level of investment necessary to bring the polish, documentation and support necessary for mass appeal. A kickstarter/indiegogo approach could help with this under-investment issue.

Will it be enough? As a longtime Ubuntu desktop user, I can only hope.

drcode 4 days ago 11 replies      
Does anyone really still want a phone you can plug into a monitor? This would have been a dream product back before broadband and wifi became ubiquitous, and before extra PCs became so cheap.

Nowadays, it seems like a much better design is to have multiple devices with different form factors that can access shared data via a cloud.

(unless this product is meant as an NSA-proof system, but I don't see that it makes a very convincing product for that use case either...)

aroman 4 days ago 3 replies      
I really really hope I'm wrong (because I really believe in Ubuntu's vision), but what I'm gathering from this is that Canonical really has no idea how to make money.
javis 4 days ago 2 replies      
If the Ubuntu Edge reaches its goal of $32,000,000, Indiegogo makes $1,280,000 off it.
oscilloscope 4 days ago 2 replies      
I want this. I already pay an Ubuntu premium for System76 computers. Anyone who has the Dell dev edition does the same.

But, Canonical, can you please extend the $600 price point for at least a month? This sudden 24 hour sale is too much of an impulse buy.

ohaal 4 days ago 1 reply      
This has been a dream of mine for several years now, and I believe Ubuntu (with Touch coming around) is currently the OS best suited for this task. However I do have some concerns which still go unanswered. Until then, I'm holding back my pledge.

1: I realize this is their first attempt at this, but if this phone doesn't support 2+ monitors, then this simply won't work as a desktop replacement. HDMI-output is nothing new. Who still uses a single monitor on their desktop?

2: I didn't find any mention of docks. I'd be interested to see if there would be any future plans to create different types of docks. I.e. tablet dock with extended battery life (like the Asus PadFone), desktop dock with 2+ 1080p+ monitor output. Preferably with the docks allowing USB connections, so that we are not stuck with buying new gear all around. Maybe even a laptop style dock?

3: Context awareness. Not sure if this is already addressed, but it'd be nice if when I docked it at work, I'd have the option of continuing where I left off yesterday. Achievable through profiles combined with some NFC cleverness? Personally, I can think of a few contexts I'd set up myself: desktop@work, desktop@home, laptop, tablet, HTPC, nightstand, car... and of course, phone.

4: Waterproof. If I'm going to walk around with my personal computer in my pocket, it'd be nice if a splash of water didn't kill it.

Zigurd 4 days ago 2 replies      
I would like to like this, but there are some red flags: It seems like they are engineering their own high-end hardware. Are there really no off-the-shelf platforms for this? No ODMs from which they could order 10k units, including the GPU driver license?

Supposing they could get 10k units for $500 each, that means they could ask for $1M or $2m and be far more certain of hitting their goal. Why not do that?

It seems as if they are trying to fund development of Ubuntu for phones on the back of this hardware project. Or, unlike Jolla and Tizen and Firefox OS they lack launch partners, so they are doing a "Microsoft Surface." Maybe the $900M write-down of Surface hardware made them think $32M is a doddle.

Ubuntu should run nicely on Surface RT hardware... They could make an offer.

sciurus 4 days ago 1 reply      
"If we dont reach our target then we will focus only on commercially available handsets and there will not be an Ubuntu Edge."

That makes so much more sense to me that I'm having a hard time understanding why Canonical would even attempt to design and manufacture their own handset.

runn1ng 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am not the right person for this, I guess.

I constantly break my phones by smashing them (by mistake) into various solid things or water, so I never buy any phone more expensive than 200 dollars. I really won't buy a phone for 830 dollars.

ericfranklin 4 days ago 0 replies      
"We'll replace glass with sapphire crystal. A material so hard, you'll need diamonds in your pocket to leave a scratch"

I got a laugh from this because the back of my iPhone 4 had a few big scratches in it literally from carrying diamonds in my pocket (My company sells lab-grown diamonds).

pavs 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is excellent marketing, if they get funded, they will prove that there is a market for this and it will make news for being the biggest crowd funded campaign ever. It will be all over the news and even people who have never heard of ubuntu will take a notice.
sz4kerto 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, lot of marketing speech from a platform targeted for geeks.

BTW: sapphire crystal is extremely heavy and shatter-prone compared to GG3, for example. There's a reason Corning makes so much money.

codex 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Edge is trying to solve a problem in hardware which is best left to software.

The problem: when you move between your devices, your apps look and act different, and they don't auto resume your state. But that's just because the software isn't mature yet. Eventually you will be able to compose a draft in Gmail online, unfinished, and the Gmail app on your smartphone will open to the draft automatically, and cloud apps will work the same everywhere--on the phone, on the desktop, and on the web.

And even if the apps are not completely identical, they will be good enough: I can switch from driving my car to a rental car without any issue; the interfaces to a car are fundamentally similar across all cars. So too with apps on various devices. It's just not a big deal. This is actually good for the Edge as most desktop displays do not support touch (and wouldn't work well if they did) so you'll still be shifting between touch and mouse, or touch and keyboard.

Solving this problem in hardware is sub-optimal: you'll always be fiddling around with monitor, keyboard, and mouse cables; your CPU, GPU, and RAM is limited; and your Internet connection will be slower from the phone than it would be had you plugged in to your 100Mbps+ cable connection from your cheap Ubuntu or Mac desktop.

x0054 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love the idea, but I simply do not see how they can make it work at this scale. Based on the numbers they will be ordering around 40,000 units. Can you really buy custom made components in small quantities and expect to get acceptable prices?

The only way I can see this working is if they partnered with a company who will be making this phone anyway, basically a phone that looks almost exactly like Ubuntu Edge. So basically they would start with maybe a $200 (to make) top of the line smartphone from one of the big manufacturers, and then spend $600 upgrading it with sapphire lens, fastest ARM CPU, 4GB ram and all the SSD memory. Here is the thing, I can see this working, because they can sell these phones at cost, or below cost, as an investment into the ecosystem. So, this might actually be a $800 phone that costs $800-900 to make.

However, I am worried about some of the unproven components like the sapphire lens and silicon-anode batteries. Can they find suppliers, and can they make it work in the phone. And will they have to recall all 40k of those phone when the battery expends to 4x the size or blows?

The problem to liking it with Formula 1 is, in F1, the engines, the cars, and all the other components are blown all the time, and then get rebuilt, tested, refined, and tested some more, by people who know what they are doing, not consumers.

I like the ambitious project, I just feel like they really need about 4x the budget or more to pull this of.

mongol 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is it realistic to deliver the phone at this time frame, given the vagueness of the specs? My only crowdfunding experience (Pebble) was not pleasant in it's long delays, and they gave the impression of being closer to production than Ubuntu Edge. Also, what previous experience does Ubuntu have of hardware design and manufacturing. I also realize that they can source this, like from Taiwan as they mention, but they still need to be significantly involved.

My prediction is that backing will slow considerably now when the lower backing price point has closed.

lettergram 4 days ago 0 replies      
The price for one of the phones doesn't seem all that outrageous, I know if you wanted to buy a Samsung Galaxy S4 it's like $700 without a contract.

Being a college student I currently can't afford it, but I up voted and hope it works out. In the future I would love to buy a phone like this, it looks awesome.

marcamillion 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know this may seem silly, but just reading this little copy below the 'Contribute Now' button...made me chuckle:

This campaign will only receive funds if at least $32,000,000 is raised by Wed 21 Aug 11:59PM PT.

Oh...just $32M. Even though I read the $32,000,000 above and as of this posting they have already raised $3.2M, I am accustomed to seeing "this campaign will only receive funds if at least $50,000" or some other reasonable figure is there. Almost feels like an April's Fools.

Alas...I hope they achieve it - if nothing else for the history they will create....and the shockwaves it will send through the VC community.

Every time a crowd-sourced project passes some psychological barrier - say $1M, $2M, $5M, $10M it makes people perk up.

If they pass $2^5M....that will send shockwaves.

cupcake-unicorn 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm kind of torn about this. While I would like to see more diversity in the phone world, I wish that the focus this time was more on the open hardware and specifications. If Ubuntu is pushing this phone tied to the Ubuntu OS, they're really not that much different than what Apple and MS are doing with their mobile devices.

I'm assuming and hoping that if this launches, the hardware and software will be open enough for people to start making their own OSes. It's just unfortunate, and I feel in a way backwards thinking, to make this Kickstarter with such a huge funding goal and not have the focus be on why it's important and why it stands apart - which is I believe the open standards for hardware and software.

I'm just not a big fan of Ubuntu as an OS, and I'd love to have a phone that was so open that I had as many options in distros as I do on the desktop. I'd much rather see a Kickstarter for a completely open hardware phone that encouraged people to be creative with both the hardware and the software, which I don't think this project is going to promote other than an afterthought.

primelens 4 days ago 0 replies      
Canonical really seems to believe in the convergence of multiple computing platforms. They've staked a lot on it and ticked off a lot of people in the process. I don't know if it'll succeed, but I sure love seeing them try with such gusto. Succeed or fail, this sort of choice and innovation (not to mention debate)is what makes the FOSS community so interesting.
infinii 3 days ago 0 replies      
Currently they are at $3.2M which is only 10% of their target. Yet the $600 level is sold out. If they had removed the cap on $600 orders, I could see this getting funded. But not if they expect the bulk of their money to come in at the $830 level.
dangoor 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting that 27 people have opted to pay the $830 today, rather than the $600 that they could have paid.
greganon 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a successful crowdfunder myself, I almost cringed when I saw how many "rules" this campaign was breaking. Extremely high fundraising goal, long video, and almost no compelling reward options for people who love the idea but don't have $600 to spend. However, I think they've done at excellent job of understanding their target market. They know that early adopter/open source community relishes cutting edge hardware and a chance at becoming a consumer test group for the next step in mobile computing.

Additionally, they explain their thought processes around how they will choose the display and camera specs, which is much more powerful than explaining what the specs will be. I truly feel like I am funding an intelligent group of decision makers rather than a large scale manufacturing process.

I can't wait to see the results of the campaign and to hopefully have one of these phones in my hand!

gcr 4 days ago 0 replies      
How does this compare to Mozilla's Firefox OS? Are both phones similarly "open source" in terms of hardware and software?
kenferry 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Although our core business is software for PCs and the cloud, we know the phone industry pretty well too."

"Weve scoured the research labs of the biggest companies and most exciting startups for the latest and greatest mobile technologies to specify the first-generation Edge."

Do the people involved actually have hardware experience? That's not clear to me, and the second passage gives the impression of treating a phone as a collection of parts.

32 mil is a pretty risky first project

shmerl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is it going to use normal glibc EGL drivers for GPU, or it will use bionic ones with libhybris?
mwcampbell 4 days ago 2 replies      
I thought about backing this myself, but then I remembered that it's our propensity as developers to get the best hardware for ourselves that leads to resource-hungry software, which means a poor experience for the less fortunate of our users. In that light, it seems to me that a super-high-end phone like this, particularly one aimed at developers, is obscene. So I won't be buying one of these. Indeed, I'm thinking of deliberately buying a low-end Android phone whenever I eventually decide to switch from my iPhone 4.
buro9 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is the opposite of what I want.

What I want is a hub device along the lines of a Huawei Mifi device that will share a 4g connection with numerous other devices using a low power hardware and software stack, perhaps the latest Bluetooth.

Then I want my phone to be less powerful, to run most apps on the cloud and generally do little more than render things prettily.

I want camera lenses, display surfaces, input devices (keyboard, pen/stylus, augmented reality glasses, headsets, etc) to all mesh together, sharing bandwidth for intra-device communication... and ultimately all using the hub for communication.

I no longer want large and ever more powerful and feature rich phones or computers, I want to smash things up and have a choice of small bits that each do one thing very well.

Basically Star Trek communication device and then a lot of peripherals.

rsynnott 4 days ago 1 reply      
> at least 4GB of RAM

This seems... odd, or the 'at least' bit does. The first 64bit ARM chips are due late next year, and will be very much server-targeted.

napoleoncomplex 3 days ago 0 replies      
There might be some financial sense in backing this, whether you intend to use it or not. If it does not get funded, you get your money back. If it does get funded and made, you'll be an owner of a limited edition run of a beastly phone, whose resale value will probably be significantly higher than its current price.
girvo 4 days ago 0 replies      
To start with, I was skeptical. 32mil? But, I watched the video, and realised that Ubuntu are trying to achieve what I've always dreamed of and asked for: an enthusiasts phone at the cutting edge.

I've backed it. I hope that this is the future of mass produced electronics.

tonyblundell 3 days ago 2 replies      
I really like the idea of an Ubuntu phone, but the desktop thing is just weird.

I really can't see a use-case for it.

Aside from a drastic increase in the chances of dropping my entire computing resources in a toilet, or leaving them in a pub, usable desktops can be had for around 200.

And you still need a desk at home with a monitor, keyboard and mouse. At a time when people have largely ditched that idea in favour of a laptop or tablet form-factor.

The fact that it's on Indiegogo suggests they've tried to get commercial investors and failed because it's unmarketable, which is frustrating because I think a straight Ubuntu phone could really make an impact.

reactor 4 days ago 2 replies      
Reached 100+ K in an hour!!!
fdm 4 days ago 1 reply      
>We also believe the race for ever higher resolution has become a distraction. Beyond 300ppi youre adding overhead rather than improving display clarity.

This isn't completely true, higher PPI improves readability (and looks) of the text that's written using more complex characters like Chinese Hanzi or Japanese Kanji even beyond that line at smaller distances. Here's an image that illustrates this:


Not to mention it's useful for displaying 1080p without losing information.

pieterhg 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have not been this enthusiastic about a product since the introduction of the iPhone, iPad or Google Maps and I'm not even a Linux-fanboy.

I love how they are pursuing convergence of desktop and mobile, I haven't seen anyone try this successfully yet.

ldng 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wait a second ... 32 millions ...rings a bell. Isn't that current Canonical debt ?
shmerl 4 days ago 1 reply      
Using crowdfunding wastes a huge part of the raised money on taxes. It looks like a sign of Canonical not being able to find investors. Jolla for example did, and I take it as a sign of maturity and expertise in the field.
hayksaakian 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can I assume this won't work on Verizon?
mromanuk 4 days ago 3 replies      
"For a phone to run a full desktop OS, it must have the raw power of a PC. Well choose the fastest available multi-core processor, at least 4GB of RAM and a massive 128GB of storage"

I would love to be wrong but I'm not buying the promise of a (real world functioning) PC on a phone. ARM based chips are 1 order of magnitude slower than a desktop x86 counterpart, currently there is no such processor to perform as desktop. Maybe they are going the intel road, anyway the indiegogo pitch sounds more like wishful thinking than a real plan.

umsm 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love this concept, but I can't help but think:

If apple releases the next iphone with an hdmi compatible connection, that would eliminate the benefit of this, no?

mariusmg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding the desktop side....hardware wise we're not there yet but personally i'm convinced that this is the future (maybe in 5-10 years if Intel and AMD keep it up ? ). Single device which will be desktop, phone, game console, ebook reader etc.
kub 4 days ago 1 reply      
The 4.5" 1280x720 screen kills it.

It needs to have at least 5" 1920x1080 to display 1080p content without destroying information and to match or exceed the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 (and S5 since they ship in 2014).

And preferably non-Pentile AMOLED.

And also removable battery and one or more SD/micro-SD slots.

It's a pity since everything else seems great.

ubersync 4 days ago 2 replies      
Am I missing something? How is this phone any different from say Google Nexus 4, or Samsung Galaxy S4? E.g. Google Nexus 4 has almost the same specs other than RAM, Storage and Dual LTE. But it is only for $300.

More specifically, how does the Formula 1 analogy fit in? This phone is priced about the same as iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and has almost the same specs.

Jhsto 4 days ago 0 replies      
Any idea does this also ship from UK? That's a big difference for Europeans since else we have to pay for the high import taxes (24% here).
lelf 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is all cool of course. But will it last more than 2 hours on one charge?
mbesto 4 days ago 1 reply      
I only have one question - battery life? This is the only thing that matters if it becomes a hinderance, and the only thing that doesn't matter if it's not.
quackerhacker 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so happy Canonical is pushing this innovation. As soon as I heard about their initial attempt in mobile OS on a Atrix, I knew this is where computing had to be going.

That phone's design looks so slick too!

mindprince 4 days ago 0 replies      
In just 4 hours, it is at $703,945. Already the 9th most funded project on Indiegogo.


jonrx 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know how viable a crowd-funding campain can be for a smartphone.

1 year until delivery seems fair for the makers, but unfortunately the competition will during this time release new devices with better specs.

Looks cool though. Reminds me physically of the Motorola DROID RAZR.

RRRA 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, but we'll need a faster selling rate, any friends? ;)http://movebits.net/2013/07/23/ubuntu-edge-funding-level/
dschiptsov 3 days ago 0 replies      
Something must be wrong here.) If it such a good idea, then there will be a long queue of big shot investors, like that one before the Apple store.

It seems that Canonical have only good concepts, but not a world-class engineering team (like Google's) to make it real.

sneak 4 days ago 0 replies      
Man, that guy needs to spend some of his money on a body language coach.
tcoppi 4 days ago 1 reply      
They don't even have final specs nailed down, and they're trying to raise $32 million for a production run?
nnash 4 days ago 1 reply      
I really think they're overestimating who they perceive their target audience to be. 830USD is more than an unlocked iPhone 5...
AndrewGaspar 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is it just me, or does it seem like Canonical is taking all of their design cues from Microsoft at this point? Ubuntu's mobile OS uses all the same kind of edge swipes that Windows 8 uses and this phone looks like a small Surface.
boothead 4 days ago 0 replies      
$32 million? Well they mention formula 1, are they bootstrapping a new team maybe?
harel 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was just talking about me wanting a mobile device I can call my phone and my laptop at the same breath. Something I can take in my pocket and hook up to a keyboard/monitor setup when needed.
ender89 4 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like it will only be available to people who support the crowdfunding. I'd love to buy one, but I'm on CDMA at the moment and committing to buying a phone 9 months out seems a bit idiotic, especially when you consider that I'd have to switch service providers before I can even use it. I think I would buy the phone (I love the concept) but its not something I can commit to so far in advance, even if it means missing out entirely.
laxatives 4 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one not using paypal for large purchases? I came home just to verify my paypal account (required for purchases over $500 and needs a check to get the routing info), but it takes 2-3 days to complete the process. I would love to support this project, but it doesn't look the logistics of it are going to work out for me.edit: Just got off the phone and my account was actually restricted for some reason. I'm in for one at the $600 rate.
ludoo 4 days ago 1 reply      
32 million dollars? 830$ for a device, when high end MTK based phones cost max 300 (Zopo, THL, etc.) on the European market, and less than that in China?

They haven't got a clue... Why don't they start making working ROMs for existing phones. If they targeted a few existing high end phones and the ubiquitous and cheap MT6589 models (quad core, many with full HD screens) they might have a better chance of starting to spread their OS and intriguing users and developers.

bshanks 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would have preordered it if it had a physical QWERTY keyboard.
tomphoolery 4 days ago 1 reply      
Well that's fucking awesome.

But uhh...doesn't Canonical already have money? :P

lucb1e 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Forget gorilla glass, we have crystal!

I liked that part

narzac 4 days ago 0 replies      
I admire this effort. However what we need is a fully free phone (Hardware schematics, source code). I am really disturbed about all that network connection, GPS yet so little transparency.

Have you ever seen a movie, where the rogue agent does not take out and destroy the phone, like it is a devil work :P

Any knowledge on hardware schematics, source code, license issues?

codezero 4 days ago 0 replies      
$600 is a lot to go all-in on a phone that won't hit the market until May 2014. The specs look great, but who knows what will happen in 6-8 months.
eutropia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Canonical, put Intel in this thing. 22nm Silvermont or 14nm silvermont will make this thing a beauty to behold. Reach out to your contacts within intel, because that will offer the performance you are looking for!
stephensikes 3 days ago 0 replies      
A few stats for the past hour (0900-1000 EDT, 23JUL):

$18,000 raised,$14,940 from Ubuntu Edge (18 handsets, 83% of total),8 undisclosed donations

Translates to $432,000/day and $12,960,000 for the next 30 days.

legierski 4 days ago 2 replies      
is it possible to download this "Ubuntu for Android" application that they are showcasing in the Software video, running on Nexus 4? Can't find anything about it...
jwarkentin 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love the convergence thing. I've been predicting and hoping that things would get to a point where I could just have one device that I use for home, work, and everything. Canonical is making it happen and I will do anything I can to support it and be a part of it!
reirob 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does the $830 perk include as well the docking station additionally to the phone? Or is it the phone alone?
aram 4 days ago 1 reply      
Dummy question:

"Dual LTE antennas"

Does this also mean double the radiation?

skizm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can I hook this up to my Verizon account (which I currently still have unlimited data on)?
davidbanham 4 days ago 0 replies      
I want to hook this up to an Oculus Rift.
rikacomet 4 days ago 0 replies      
32,000,000... I missed a zero, first few times I read it.

If they make it, I will give a damn about Death Star not getting funded :P

jamesbrennan 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what 'Fastest multi-core CPU' actually equates to. Has anyone found technical specifications that include a more specific value than 'fastest'?
tled 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can I program, build and install app right on this device without the need of another machine(macbook, pc)?
mtgx 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great if it came straight with the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture (a quad core Cortex A57 chip, I suppose), although that would mean being released in 2nd half of 2014, but they should probably wait until they can put Ubuntu 14.10 (Mir-only) or at least Ubuntu 14.04 LTS anyway. Coming with stock Android 5.0 or 5.1 would be great, too.

Why no 802.11ac Wi-Fi though? By then pretty much all high-end devices should have it (HTC One and Galaxy S4 already have it).

alexose 4 days ago 0 replies      
I ordered one, but there's absolutely no way this is going to crack 10 million, let alone 32.
gummydude 4 days ago 0 replies      
God's phone
chaselee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Money well spent that it was.
tele_throwaway 4 days ago 0 replies      
More importantly: 37 people decided they wanted to pay $230 extra?
dakimov 4 days ago 1 reply      
What a talentless useless bullshit.
izietto 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why not 1920x1080??? WHYYYYYYYY?????
vonskippy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Shuttleworth has a 2012 net worth of $500 Million USD plus - yet he wants the common Ubuntu fanboy to fund his latest project?


txutxu 4 days ago 1 reply      
So how this works... ?

I fund, then Amazon tracks what I search by default on my machine ?

Or I fund and you FIGHT AGAINST a project maintained by voluntary people ?

OK, I 'll NOT fund you.

sublimit 4 days ago 2 replies      
Haha oh wow. They're charging hundreds of dollars to add a free OS into a smartphone. And they expect to get 32 million just for the promise. Someone lock these people up before they do some real damage.
Victory Lap for Ask Patents joelonsoftware.com
1034 points by jaydles  4 days ago   148 comments top 44
Stratoscope 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is an awesome project. I've signed up and will see what I can do to help shoot down patents!

There is one true and important point in the article that isn't supported by the example given:

> This patent was, typically, obfuscated, and it used terms like pixel density for something that every other programmer in the world would call resolution, either accidentally (because Microsofts lawyers were not programmers), or, more likely, because the obfuscation makes it that much harder to search.

The patent uses "pixel density" to refer to the physical size of the pixels on a display. This is a fairly common term, with over five million results in a Google search. I've used the same phrase myself for over 10 years with the same meaning.


"Pixels per centimeter (ppcm), Pixels per inch (PPI) or pixel density is a measurement of the resolution of devices in various contexts: typically computer displays, image scanners, and digital camera image sensors."

Of course here we can see where the terms get a bit confusing: "...pixel density is a measurement of the resolution..."

But display resolution these days usually refers to the number of pixels, not their physical size:


"The display resolution of a digital television, computer monitor or display device is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed."

Advertisements and spec sheets almost always use "resolution" this way, for example the MacBook Pro specs on Apple's site:

"Supported resolutions: 1440 by 900 (native), 1280 by 800, 1152 by 720, ..."

Forgive me if this seems like nitpicking, and I completely agree with Joel's point here: patents often do use unusual terminology to obfuscate what they're talking about.

This just isn't a case of that. The patent is using the correct term, and it even does a very good job of explaining what it means:

> A particular characteristic of display components that may affect presentations rendered thereupon is the pixel density of the display component, such as a pixels-per-centimeter measurement. It may be appreciated that such characteristics may be independent of the size of the display component (e.g., two display components of the same size may present different pixel densities; conversely, two display components of different sizes may present the same pixel density) and/or the pixel dimensions of the display component (e.g., two display components displaying a presentation with a particular pixel dimensions may do so with different physical sizes).

jasonkester 4 days ago 3 replies      
Pure Awesome. Shame there's not a way to do the same thing to existing software patents. There are plenty (~40k/year according to the article) of bad, obvious nonsense patents already out there. It'd be nice if there were a simple process to appeal and invalidate them with similar demonstrations of prior art and obviousness.

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing some Wikipedia-level-OCD focused on this site to stop the roughly 100% of bad applications for new software patents dead in their tracks. Imagine a 2014 where zero new software patents were issued.

EDIT: Incidentally, patentlyobvious.com is just a parked domain at the moment. It seems like the obvious choice for a place to host a site like this.

zmmmmm 4 days ago 2 replies      
There was an extremely depressing AMA on reddit a while ago where a patent examiner explained that what all of us consider "prior art" will be completely ignored by a patent examiner:


The bar for prior art is very high - it has to be published in a recognized medium. Most specifically, unless it has a date that the patent officer can verify and cite (and a self stated date on a web site is not "verifiable"), it can't be considered because it is not possible say for sure it came earlier than the patent filing. So - some random thing on the internet - not published. Even an actual real product made and sold by a company - not published. Even standard industry practise, established for years, if not written up and "published" somewhere, may not qualify as prior art. In one comment he says:

"You may be right, that is how everyone does it. But if there is no documented prior art for us to search, we are out of luck rejecting it."

This explains why so many things that software developers routinely do end up in patents. Some of them are just so obvious that publishing it in a formal way is redundant. Yet that is the same bar that the USPTO is applying for rejecting patents. So the patent system itself is enriching the pool of obvious patents that get through.

Anyone using this Ask Patents site really needs to sit through a mini-tutorial explaining these things before they start, or they will waste more time than they save.

mixmax 4 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations to the stack exchange team for getting this going. It's an incredibly good idea, maybe you could patent it?
throwawaykf 4 days ago 4 replies      
somewhat active on Ask Patents. In fact, I've submitted an answer that is pretty sure to kill at least one Google patent application, and possibly another from Uniloc.

A few comments on this article:

1) This is a very unusual case; most answers (and almost all questions) from "lay engineers" completely misunderstand the scope of the patent, since they don't even know what claims are. And even if they do, they are very lax at interpreting claims. And even then, most posters frequently misunderstand the terms used (case in point, Spolsky's very post! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6084884). All this leads them to post irrelevant prior art.

That does not mean there are no useful answers at all; there are, but they mostly come from people who are somewhat versed in patent law (such as agents, lawyers and examiners). Some re-wording of claims, such as what Micah Seigel does in his posts, helps, but for the proportion of useful answers to go up, we need more education about how patents work for this to be useful. It's really not that hard; heck I did it!

2) It's wayyy too soon for a victory lap because that was only the first non-final rejection, for which a response has already been filed. Statistically, this application will undergo 2.5 more rejections [1] and (based on my guestimate) at least one Request for Continued Examination (RCE) before being abandoned or (more likely considering the applicant) issued with much narrower claims.

3) Patents are worded so not (primarily) to be obfuscating, but rather because of legal, technical and some silly historical reasons. For instance, pronouns are very rarely used because any indefiniteness can be cause for invalidation. Obfuscation will not help much, because you are not trying to get it past lay engineers, but patent examiners, who have a technical background and are (usually) adept at reading patentese. Complaining about how hard it is to read patents is like a Blub programmer complaining about Lisp. You simply need to learn the language to appreciate what you are reading.

4) Most "software" patents (which can't even be cleanly categorized as such) are not crappy, at least with respect to all other patents. There are studies presenting this view [2, 3], but it's also based on my experience having read hundreds of patents. Almost none are revolutionary, but just as few are really as bad as the media portrays. The PTO has gotten pretty good at finding prior art (interestingly around the same time Google came around), and the really broad patents are dying out.

The "crappy software patents" view is common mostly because tech media routinely publishes uninformed (or disinformed? [4]) rhetoric, mostly because they garner some easy rageviews, and audiences accept it without critical thought. I do think the bar for non-obviousness should be different, but solving that is a difficult, almost-philosophical problem.

5) In response to various comments on this thread regarding pay-for-prior art schemes, initiatives such as Article One Partners already exist.

I am not a patent lawyer or an agent, but I believe in the patent system, as I have actually worked for the mythical small-guy firm that was ripped off by the big guys and almost died, but eventually prevailed with patents. You don't hear these stories much because typically the small guys don't have the PR budget for it [4]. (And also because many of those with patents turn to trolls, who like to keep a low profile.)

I have only recently become personally invested in the patent system, but I want all inventions, including mine, to be truly novel and worthwhile. And I want people to get off their butts and do something rather than complain about patents on HN. This is why I support Ask Patents.

[1] http://www.uspto.gov/dashboards/patents/main.dashxml[2] http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=650921[3] http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=970083[4] http://www.paulgraham.com/submarine.html

creamyhorror 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good lord, it's actually working! Full steam ahead, boys!

If only we'd done this a decade or two ago. How about some reevaluation of granted patents?

edit: The original title, "Joel Spolsky, patent killer", was better :/

skore 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Since patent examiners rely so much on keyword searches, when you submit your application, if you can change some of the keywords in your patent to be different than the words used everywhere else, you might get your patent through even when theres blatant prior art, because by using weird, made-up words for things, you've made that prior art harder to find.

Wouldn't it also make sense to build up, maybe at the same time, a sort of "counter-thesaurus"?

As in: If you find prior art where the thesaurus method has been used to obscure terms in the patent, enter those as an example into a database. When another patent is looked up, individual terms that show up in the database have a "there are alternative terms for this" marker applied to them.

This might also make it a lot easier to make automatic search for prior art feasible again.

rayiner 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Sometimes you have a picture that you want to scale to different resolutions. When this happens, you might want to have multiple versions of the image available at different resolutions, so you can pick the one thats closest and scale that.

This is basically mip-mapping, and was described in a 1983 paper: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=801126.

DannyBee 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, this sounds great and all, but I don't see any proof that it was ask patents that caused the examiner to find this, rather than the examiner's standard search?

In fact, the search history, on PAIR (look for 4-11-2013 SRFWSearch information including classification, databases and other search related notes) does not say ask patents was used, nor does the search strategy (document code SRNT).

It could be the USPTO has not gotten around to noting this yet, but the only entry I see that could be related is the NPL entry, which of course, has no image available (god i love PAIR), and does not say it came from outside the search.

Don't get me wrong, I think askpatents is great, but i'm skeptical considering how examiners actually work.

eliasmacpherson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I had a bad attitude dealing with patents in my last job, refusing to take part on the basis that I hadn't come up with anything novel. I noticed a member of staff with views on patents in line with mine taking a more active role. He took part in the patent meetings, but instead of merely offering nothing up, took active part in finding prior art, thus preventing time wasting patents going to the office. He took special pleasure in finding prior art by current employees at the same company, preferably in the same arm.

I am impressed by Spolsky's positive attitude to do something about the problem, I bid ask patents continued good fortune!

shabble 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know whether participating in a public forum like this could used in future proceedings against the user or their employer as evidence of 'willful infringement'?

I vaguely recall something about large corporations discouraging engineers from reading potentially relevant patents due to the possibility of greater damages if they were later proved infringing, since demonstrating that they didn't take any inspiration or details from the patent is quite difficult.

Not wanting to spread FUD or anything, but it strikes me as a potential exploit for patent trolls to discourage participation if it's a significant risk.

maximilianburke 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like the concept of Ask Patents but at the same time I wonder if it is possible that participation on Ask Patents could be leveraged by malicious litigants to seek treble damages.

For example, if the company I work for is being sued by a troll for infringement, could the troll see that employees have been participating on Ask Patents and therefore a reasonable assumption could be made that they're reading/reviewing/participating in discussions on patents, and therefore they knowingly are infringing? Would this something that either I or my employer should be worried about?

ChuckMcM 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is an excellent result. I worried when the idea of helping the PTO uncover prior art would be controlled by the attorneys filing the patent (which is to say they would be a filter between the examiner and the external sources) but if the examiners are going directly to the source then this will really put a crimp in bad patents being issued.
yummyfajitas 4 days ago 2 replies      
One thing I don't understand. Suppose a patent examiner does not ask on Ask Patents about a patent application, but I would nevertheless like to submit prior art.

How do I do so?

ISL 4 days ago 3 replies      
Trouble is, what killed the patent was prior disclosure from the researchers.

The same thing has happened to friends of mine; an undergraduate's summer research presentation may have betrayed patentable inventions. An effect of the 1-year prior art rule is to force researchers to keep mum about what they're doing and to generate greater numbers of incremental patents.

If you're interested in the free flow of information, using a researcher's own publications to kill patents may not help the cause.

Prior art from other work in the past? Bring it on!

jacques_chester 4 days ago 0 replies      
In another patent thread some time ago I identified what I think is the core problem with software patents, which is abstractability. I used the example of a tractor being generalised into transportation, so I was nodding along with Joel's example.

This is because that's how software development often proceeds. We start with the concrete problem, then notice a pattern that encompasses a class of concrete problems, then a pattern that describes a group of classes of problems and so on. Building abstractions is literally what we do as a profession.

Now, as Joel points out, the rational strategy is to take the highest-level, most abstract version of your invention to the patent office to see what will get passed in. So patent applications are written like matrioshka dolls, with a super general case on the outside, and progressively more concrete descriptions as you go deeper. Somewhere near the bottom is the original thing that started the ball rolling.

mathattack 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow - crowdsourcing the removal of ludicrous patents. This could be the killer app of StackExchange. Well done!
praptak 4 days ago 1 reply      
It would be cool if there was a way to penalize high number and high ratio of rejected patents from a single company. OTOH I don't see a way that allows genuine mistakes from small shops while being immune from big bad corps acting via shell companies.
joshuak 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is great! I don't truly believe that no software patent should ever be granted, but we should definitely weed out the bullshit ones.

I would think mipmapping would be the core prior art, and that's from 1983. But I suppose anything over a year older then the application is good enough.

Also note there is another technique for patent manipulation which is to provide a provisional patent application (to start the clock) which can't be granted, then continually refine and the application as time goes by. In a worse case scenario you could taller a general patent into a specific patent based on someone else work, and have a patent already in place that will predate the new invention.

gbog 4 days ago 2 replies      
An idea that might help in killing patents: Have one daily sticky post on HN (ala job post) with a short description of a pending patent and a link on where to post prior art. It is very likely some reader will be able to provide this prior art.
neilk 4 days ago 2 replies      
It would be great if others could attach bounties to certain patents. Of course then the patent examiner would have to pick "winners", answers that helped the most.

Also, like Quora, does the StackExchange system allow one to register one's fields of expertise, to have questions suggested to you? (I'm not a big participant on SE but I know it may be hiding that feature from me, because it slowly reveals features based on karma).

Anyway I'm sure this has been thought of before, just curious if it's on the todo list.

vishaldpatel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Idea: Make reading patents a mandatory exercise for students. Assignment: squash a patent application.
wavesounds 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why is this acceptable? Would we allow police detectives to out source solving a crime or garbage men to outsource picking up the trash? Why can't the patent office just hire good people like this guy who can figure this stuff out in 10 minutes? Perhaps the cost of filing a patent should increase each time you do it so the same people don't just keep flooding the patent office with this junk.
chrisb808 4 days ago 0 replies      
> How cool would it be if Apple, Samsung, Oracle and Google got into a Mexican Standoff on Ask Patents? If each of those companies had three or four engineers dedicating a few hours every day to picking off their competitors applications, the number of granted patents to those companies would grind to a halt.

I'm kind of surprised this isn't happening already.

linuxhansl 3 days ago 0 replies      
This! What the author describes is exactly what happens.

Our lawyers even admit that. The company I work for gets sued for a bogus patent every week(!), so we were all ask to file patent applications. I didn't, but I got involved in some applications as co-inventor anyway.

This isn't - and not been for a long time - about inventions.

Nux 4 days ago 1 reply      
Brilliant! Too bad however that so much energy needs to be wasted on SHIT like patents.
pjdorrell 3 days ago 0 replies      
Be aware that there is a backlog of "secret" patent applications in the US, where the patent application can be kept secret until such time as it is granted, at which point the easy invalidation described by Joel is not allowed.

For example the Twitter patent was granted, even though there is prior art (mine), and even though I submitted my prior art as soon as I found out about the patent. But I got a reply along the lines of "too late, the patent has been granted". It turned out that the application was kept secret until it was granted, thus guaranteeing protection from any prior art not already known to the patent office employee assigned to that patent.

The "new" US patent laws require an application to be made public after 18 months, but there could be thousands upon thousands of older patent applications benefiting from the secret option.

netcan 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really, really cool.

Its actually some part of governing delegated to the public. A part they can be good at. I wonder if the crowd can be authoritative, rather than just helpful. That would let them tackle obviousness, not just prior art I could see a stackexchange-like. It might be that they can tackle it now, if good methods/guidelines exist for objectively determining obviousness.

dgesang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Two quick thoughts:

1. Swap the burden of proof: couldn't much of these issues with software(!) patents be avoided just by forcing the "inventors" to check for prior arts themselves and prove (somehow) that they actually did do that?

2. Make them pay: What about a (huge) fine when the patent does not get approved eventually or when prior art was found during the approval process?

mooreds 3 days ago 0 replies      
From my friend who is a patent examiner:

"The Mexican standoff bit would be neat. The AIA allows for third-party submissions directly into the patent application file. I am not sure that any of the larger companies would do this, but I think a devoted engineer in some of the smaller companies could use askpatents to stave off predatory patents."

snowwrestler 4 days ago 1 reply      
> An example might help. Imagine a simple application with these three claims:

> 1. A method of transportation

> 2. The method of transportation in claim 1, wherein there is an engine connected to wheels

> 3. The method of transportation in claim 2, wherein the engine runs on water

> Notice that claim 2 mentions claim 1, and narrows it... in other words, it claims a strict subset of things from claim 1.

> Now, suppose you invented the water-powered car. When you submit your patent, you might submit it this way even knowing that theres prior art for methods of transportation and you cant really claim all of them as your invention. The theory is that (a) hey, you might get lucky! and (b) even if you dont get lucky and the first claim is rejected, the narrower claims will still stand.

I'm pretty sure this is not accurate. To my knowledge, the claims of a patent are considered only as a whole, not individually, so there should be no fear that this is somehow trying to patent "methods of transportation" broadly.

To make a broad patent claim, you can't have any narrowing claims on the same patent. Put another way, the maximum scope of claim by a particular patent is defined by the narrowest claim in the list.

Lawyers--correct me if I'm wrong.

maqr 4 days ago 4 replies      
> The number of actually novel, non-obvious inventions in the software industry that maybe, in some universe, deserve a government-granted monopoly is, perhaps, two.

Any idea to which two he might be referring?

ThomPete 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to get an insight into that world I can really recommend when Patents attack Part Two.


drpgq 4 days ago 2 replies      
How about just increasing the costs for filing and maintaining a patent as a quick way of getting rid of some of the really weak ones? Say double the fees and see what happens.
nixarn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would a reward system make sense? Money to the one who gets a patent rejected?
kazagistar 3 days ago 0 replies      
If the patent office cannot do this work themselves, they should offload to the private sector: small bounties for prior work, paid out of a fraction of the filing fee. It costs a few hundred dollars to submit a patent... thus, they could easily afford to give out a hundred or so for each comprehensive dismantling.

TLDR: Give people financial incentive to destroy patents, and they will be ALL over it.

jackschultz 4 days ago 2 replies      
> How cool would it be if Apple, Samsung, Oracle and Google got into a Mexican Standoff on Ask Patents? If each of those companies had three or four engineers dedicating a few hours every day to picking off their competitors applications, the number of granted patents to those companies would grind to a halt.

Wouldn't the result of this be that the company who finds out that they have the earliest implementation of the code in question be able to get the patent for it?

strudelfish 4 days ago 0 replies      
The "How to Read a Patent in 60 Seconds" article mentioned seems to be down (danshapiro.com). Does anybody have a copy or a alternative link for it?
flaktrak 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice win but I have to say the bit that really got me excited was this

"My dream is that when big companies hear about how friggin easy it is to block a patent application, theyll use Ask Patents to start messing with their competitors. How cool would it be if Apple, Samsung, Oracle and Google got into a Mexican Standoff on Ask Patents?"

How great would that be?

seeingfurther 4 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't this the job of the patent examiner?
milkmiruku 4 days ago 0 replies      
Like http://www.peertopatent.org/ but with the momentum of the SE platform/network. Good stuff.
wiseleo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Check out the caption I got for this article from USPTO ;)http://prntscr.com/1h0c3u

It says "Resolution"

mcantrell 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great first step, but can we sustain this and keep more patents from being granted. Everything hinges on community involvement, so hopefully we can build and sustain a community that does this every day.
jingo 3 days ago 0 replies      
The original title on this was:

Spolsky, Patent Killer

Forgotten Employee (2002) sites.google.com
724 points by bgar  3 days ago   287 comments top 69
jcampbell1 3 days ago 8 replies      
And this is why you do "ghost employee" audits. In a past career I used to work in the Controller's office for one of the Big 3 auto companies. One day, I was sent some bullshit email that I needed to do about 100 audits including "ghost employee audit" and check a box on a web form that all were complete. For shits and giggles, I decided to take it seriously. I altavista'd "ghost employee audit" and learned it is a reverse recon of the payroll system.

I did the audit by making every manager certify a list of employees. I found two employees that none claimed. One dude was well known within the plant and fixed any broken motors. No one had heard of the other guy. I convinced the payroll clerk to just stop paying the other person. He got pissed, and eventually tried to get a union rep, but the union decided not to rep him.

It turns out this "ghost employee" had collected over a million dollars in salary and OT, yet not worked in about a decade.

I asked about an award for the savings, but I was shot down because the union didn't want to let it out that they didn't rep a guy, and the company didn't want it known the ghost employee audits weren't actually being done.

In the end, I realized I was rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic, and switched careers by becoming a programmer. Haven't looked back since.

dirktheman 3 days ago 9 replies      
I was in a similar situation once. I was outsourced to another company to do a rather specific sysadmin job. After a couple of months they switched systems, making my job obsolete. For some reason however, I never actually met the IT-manager. We nodded at each other in the hallway, sure, and he new I was the outsourced guy, but Im sure he never knew what I really did. In fact, nobody knew what I did exactly. Even before the system swap, since it was a very specific task. Apparently he wasnt aware that I was hired as a sysadmin for the previous system only, or maybe they replaced some paperwork, I dont know. Fact is that for some reason my contract wasnt terminated.

After a while, I began coding my own projects. Which was a bit of a challenge, since IT wouldnt let me install software. I did have Notepad, and a WAMP-server on my USB thumb drive. Mind you, I did not have an office of my own, it was basically an office garden. Co-workers (testing, helpdesk, project management, not too technical stuff) could watch my screen directly. So I had to disguise my project websites as a corporate intranet page. Every once in a while someone would say wow, that looks difficult and I would say well, you know. Mind you this was just basic HTML and PHP stuff.

The next problem was internet access. They did have internet there, but most websites were blocked by IT, and they were monitoring internet traffic, too. So I learned how to set up a proxy server, and figured that if I kept the amount of traffic down Id be allright. Besides, I couldnt have my coworkers seeing me browse SO all day, right? Its amazing how resourceful you get when your resources are limited!

The funny thing is that when you look busy yet can still find the time to help others, people hold you in high regard. They even sent praise about me to the IT manager, who came down to me once and told me he heard great things about me, and he passed the praise on to my outsourcing company. After a year or so I learned a great deal about web development, and finished a couple of side projects. I started to get some remorse. As funny and unique as the situation was, it didnt feel right at all. Eventually I quit (to everyones surprise, because I was doing such a great job!), moving on to more challenging work, and above all a more fair way to make money.

What struck me from those days is that nobody in my department actually knew what the others were doing. For all I know everybody was coding up their side projects in the boss time. And that was just my department, let alone the whole company. Large corporations (Ive worked for several) are just so inefficient, I think that at least 50% of all employee hours is wasted on politics and sherades. The number is even higher if you count in useless meetings.

usea 3 days ago 11 replies      
A college friend of mine (with CS degree) was hired as an automated tester about 6 months ago. The project he was hired for and assigned to was put on indefinite hold right after he was hired. He's an "asset" on that project, all of which are frozen. But because he's a new employee, he can only be on one project at a time, so he has no responsibilities. He has a weekly meeting with his manager, where he informs her that he's still doing nothing and he'd be happy to do anything, while she replies that he has nothing to do. Also he is not allowed to use the internet for non-work-related tasks.

Recently the CTO has begun roaming the halls in his department. The CTO gets upset upon seeing my friend doing nothing. So he has to look busy all the time. He spends hours of his day typing nonsense into Word.

I told him he could be doing any number of things to improve his skills (which are lacking already). He is disillusioned with the corporate world at this point, his previous two jobs not being much better. Instead he applied and was accepted to the master's program this fall. My hopes for him are not high, but I don't know how to encourage him.

ChuckMcM 3 days ago 3 replies      
It made me sad reading it. I've met folks like the character portrayed, idling along because they can, never improving anything. Eventually they will get dismissed, and after being so may find that they are completely dysfunctional having forgotten the habits needed to get things done, and perhaps developed habits that work against them. Unemployed, hungry, and often homeless they turn to drugs or alcohol and slowly circle the drain. There was an interview with somebody who could have been this character on the CBS evening news when they were doing a story about the long term unemployed. He hadn't been employed in over 3 years and had no transferable skills from his old job and in the past three years had not developed any new skills. So very very sad.

It is one thing to build up enough savings such that you can live off the 4% annual draw down stipend like MMM advocates, and then wasting your time. It is something else completely to be depending on someone else to pay you a salary.

secretdark 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a slightly different take on this 'forgotten employee' story.

I was made redundant by a large, rather famous web-giant once, only they managed to screw it up (forgetting that firing employees in Europe, especially in a large group, is apparently somewhat harder than firing employees in the US). As a result, their intention of firing 120+ techies in our office in one day turned into a 4 month long arbitration period (exacerbated by the fact that we only found out we were all fired via a company-wide webcast, intended to only be broadcast to the surviving employees. They had actually forgotten to come tell us we were fired.)

Since we were all still technically employed during this arbitration period, we were vaguely expected to come to work. Since our managers were all fired as well, though, no one really bothered checking. Since they'd fired an entire department - an entire floor of one in a large, beautiful building - the floor was filled with 100+ geeks, all on a paycheck but with no expected output. Some simply didn't bother coming in, deciding instead 'to work from home.' Most, however, did come in - to play the Wii & foosball, work on their own projects, and idly look for new jobs. A few small startups came out of it. A few fun open-source projects.

My favourite aspect of it, though, was that my old manager made it his personal job in the remaining time to ensure that each and every one of the people he was responsible for had a new job waiting at the end of the 4 month period. He organised recruiting drives with local startups, got everyone's CVs, even rented a pub one evening so we could all catch up with a few local startups.

That large web-giant is hiring again apparently. Not many of my old colleagues are interested, it seems.

peterjancelis 3 days ago 4 replies      
In my first job I was 'on the bench' literally ALL the time, from October 2008 to when I quit mid 2009. It was a strategy consulting job (at one of the famous 3) and I was assigned on a bank bailout project that kept being delayed.

It is hugely depressing as you are doing nothing productive yet you can never plan to have the next x months available to do a project on your own.

What most bugged me down was the BS busywork, which kept coming as the office was small enough for people to know I was on the ever delayed project. If I could do it again I would just go skiing fulltime and tell them to fire me or staff me, but I was an extremely ambitious 22 year old and stuck in a role that is generally considered at least a 2 year commitment.

I finally quit 9 months in, with my "mentoring partner" reassuring me the project really would start in 2 weeks. Literally 20 minutes before he had said that there had been an email from HR that it was delayed again. The idiot just didn't care. When I asked him to explain how the company had not wasted my time over the past 9 months and why I should trust their promises going forward, he went all office politics on me saying that this was an evaluation only I could make. That was the last insult to my intelligence that I tolerated from that company.

I'm still extremely angry over it, as I was doing everything right. I had a ton of savings in index funds already and had it all planned out to work hard and retire extremely early. When I quit I was so depressed that I did not even fight for the extra 3 months of severance, which I'd have gotten if I had let them fire me officially. I also didn't stay another 3 months so I could take unemployment benefits. The bit of money in the company pension plan was also lost as it had a 12 month vesting schedule. Basically, here was a guy who had been top of class all his life and with a savvy personal finance plan, so broken from 9 months of soul destroying nothingness that he quit without any backup what so ever.

It took me 3 years to get over it. Literally, for 2 years and 4 months I sat at home reading stuff. It was only when I was almost 26 and completely broke that I applied for a startup incubator, got in, and got back on track somewhat. Now that that company failed, the rational thing would be to apply for a rails developer job. I found some rails shops that I like, but I just can't get myself to press "send" on the application email. I don't think I will ever trust anyone enough to work for them fulltime.

If you're still reading this at this point, take away one lesson: Do not hire ambitious, talented people if you don't know FOR SURE you can give them meaningful work. Better to remain friends with a talented person who is now working for somebody else than to employ him and turn him into an enemy for life. (Because yes, I will have my revenge and it will be fucking brutal. Legal, but oh so brutal.)

sharkweek 3 days ago 2 replies      
Long, amazing read -- I remember it from the SA forums years ago when I was in high school --

I remember wondering then just how long I'd be able to take a job that paid relatively well but offered no... accomplishment.

Well fortunately for me, that opportunity came a few years later while working for one of the large banks! The answer to my earlier question was six months; I had worked a few years through various positions into operations, only to fall into a role with little managerial oversight and no responsibility, it got boring so fast...

fsckin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've heard a few similar stories, here's one about an engineer who was 'too senior' to lay off when an office closed:

They wound up with nearly zero responsibilities. Same as this story, they were relocated to a remote office and never assigned a new manager.

Once a month, they received an email from someone on the QA team with updated i18n strings for the latest software update. Their sole duty was to append the strings, commit, and verify the build wasn't broken. They replied to QA with a single word: "Done!", and that was all they did.

In their free time (as I recall) they made mobile games and about three years in, the company went into Chapter 11 and seeing the writing on the wall, they turned in their resignation... to whom, I don't know.

justtopostthis 3 days ago 0 replies      
For internet historians:

This was originally posted on the Something Awful forums in 2002 by user Moonshine. Here are links to the original threads.

Part 5: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=332...Part 4: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=306...Part 3: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=260...Parts 2 and 1 are gone.

ggreer 3 days ago 1 reply      
In case anyone's curious, this story was posted to HN a few years ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1320310

It's interesting how similar the comments are.

kabdib 3 days ago 0 replies      
When Atari fell apart in 1984, we discovered an office in New York City with about 20 "employees" who did nothing but collect paychecks. We figured it was an organized crime thing; I don't know whether there were actual people, or just an empty office.
austenallred 3 days ago 6 replies      
Honestly reading this makes me a little bit sick to my stomach. Do you know what most people would give for that amount of spare time? I could build so much, learn so much, do so much... or would I just sit there and play snake?
EnderMB 3 days ago 1 reply      
My first job was at a "non-technical" startup, in a technical capacity. Despite being essentially a beginner, I was able to build a good product and web presence for us, and after almost two years we were acquired by a huge company.

The new parent company separated the technical team and moved them into their own department in the main business, and left the rest as a separate entity (which has now been dissolved). As a part of the new team they were invited to their companies Christmas party. It's tradition for many people to get hilarious drunk and say things they shouldn't. I had left the company as this point to take a job elsewhere, but the friends I worked with saw some crazy things. One story that stood out was about one guy who was drunk, and spoke. He hung around with the new people and told them about the company.

They then asked him what he did, and he said "oh, nothing really, just this and that".

He had worked there for twelve years, was promoted in his eighth year to work under a manager, but after his manager left he was never assigned anywhere else in the company. During this time, the recession hit, and some restructuring was done, and he was promoted to manager of his department, despite him being the only member in the department. His project was long-finished by then, and he just stuck around, did around an hour of work a day helping others.

I hear that he doesn't slack off though, and that he spends his time improving his skills, uses up his training budget to gain new skills (apparently he gets a lot), and basically does the stuff around the office that no one else wants to do, like rewriting a ton of their internal systems.

Finster 3 days ago 2 replies      
Guys. If you ever think you might be stuck in a meeting as described in part 2, you can set up a rule on ifttt.com to call you if you send them a text message. That way, you can pull the same trick with a single phone.
mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think many folks are missing that this is art. On the surface it's a story of someone who games the system. A level beneath it's about someone losing their ambition as they get sucked in to gaming the system. It could be a larger political allegory in addition to it's critique of large corporate machines. It certainly isn't the truth, but by sucking us all in it is definitely good writing.
steven2012 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not exactly the same, but I felt like a forgotten employee at Yahoo when I was there. I had enough work for maybe 1 day a week. The rest of the time was spent doing nothing.

Unlike this guy, though, I quit after 9 months (and started looking for a job after 6) because I was worried that my technical skills were being eroded. Unlike this guy, my career is way more important to me than collecting a free paycheck, and I'd rather be earning my keep than sitting around screwing the system.

regal 3 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of my two years working for the U.S. Defense Department as a contractor. For a few months I worked with one of the highest ranking individuals in the building, I did a great job and finished much faster than they expected... and then after that there was no work to do, no matter who I asked, and all I could do was come in late, leave early, lift weights in the building gym, and pretend to work. No one really knew what I did.

The only thing that doomed me was when I eventually found myself unable to keep from falling asleep and snoring in meetings. Tried everything I could think of... chewing gum, drinking water, screaming inside my head. No use; the dozing and snoring in plain view of everyone else continued. I think that clued them off that something was amiss, and I started being told I didn't need to come to meetings anymore... and was gone a few months after that.

CountHackulus 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I was in university I had a similar experience for one of my coop jobs. I got hired to do testing, mostly print testing, and managed to automate my full day's work into about 2 hours with diff and grep. Then the company acquired another very large company, and my entire team got either laid off or reshuffled. My entire row of cubicles was empty. My manager had no clue what to do with me, so had me make a "web event portal" where he could track the latest events in certain places. It was a nice 2 weeks where I learned SQL and JSP, but I was still low on work.

I ended up writing a rasterizer from scratch, then writing a text mode demo, and also using my used paper (print testing remember?) to make progressively more complex origami. That was the one coop job I wasn't sad about leaving, on my last day I just handed the person who used to be my manager my pass and walked out.

iliis 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised nobody mentioned the Bastard Operator from Hell yet. It's a similiar story if somewhat more violent and on the technical side. Recommended reading for every sysadmin.


Uchikoma 3 days ago 2 replies      
This happened to a colleague of mine, he was the sales director of the company (ISP in the mid 90s) we worked for, and after 3 take overs in a row - and 3 times changing of mouse pads, business cards and email addresses in a short time - he had no responsibilities left, had no boss but was on the payroll. He quit after some months of being bored.
davidjgraph 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, we do know this is fiction, yes? He was about to lose his job and happened to catch a VP having a five knuckle shuffle that same night. Interesting read, but untrue.
NoodleIncident 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was _convinced_ that the globes were hiding drugs and that the "seeds" were something else... but it was just globes.

Engrossing read.

BellsOnSunday 3 days ago 1 reply      
I had a job for about a couple of years that gave me enough spare time to read Proust's 1.2m word epic In Search of Lost Time. There was some work to be done but it never took me more than an hour or two, and then my boss was quite happy for me to drift off to the Belle Epoque. I couldn't really get into reading it at home because, as the father of young kids, I was too busy most of the time and you really need to concentrate on P's page-long sentences. I alternated between leisurely, engrossed reading and teaching myself web development skills...happy days!

At the same Not that I consider reading Proust a waste of time,

smurph 3 days ago 0 replies      
I worked with a guy like this who didn't realize he was doing nothing useful. He thought that printing updated spreadsheets and reading random documentation was worth his likely 6 figure salary. It was no secret though, all of the younger employees knew about him. I think the managers avoided dealing with him because they were afraid that he would wind up assigned to their team and bringing their productivity down. He would get really upset whenever we got an email about a new VP or Director being promoted, because he though he was in line for that sort of thing. Eventually he convinced his manager, a remote guy who didn't really know who he was, to promote him to a senior engineering position. I left soon after that.
drewying 3 days ago 3 replies      
We have a guy kinda like this at our current company. He is a co-founder of the company. When our angel investors came in there was some drama and disagreements. End result he was demoted and stripped of all his responsibilities.

They can't fire him since he helped found the company and has some protections. But he refuses to do anything they ask him. Now both sides have given up. Guy won't even come into the office most of the time.

I don't know if it's a position I ever want to be in.

Killah911 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm having a hard time believing the post. It's way too entertaining. I feel like I just watched an episode of The Office. Sure there are inefficiencies in corporations, but coupled with this type of storytelling and walking in on a VP in such a compromising position, it just seems scripted.

Not to mention, I was in a similar position for a couple of months. But given that I'm generally a hard worker (much like the guy in the post), I almost went crazy for not doing anything productive and ended up writing code for much needed tools at the company. And I don't think I could put up with not doing anything for that long. So, something smells fishy about this story...

coolnow 3 days ago 0 replies      
I opened this expecting to skim and come to the comments, but i'm absolutely enthralled. I just got up to get a cold drink and i'm going to savour this properly. Thank you so much for posting this!
Schwolop 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't know where the hell that came from, but I just laughed my arse off for a good quarter hour over here!
datalus 3 days ago 0 replies      
The story has internet fiction written all over it. Definitely one of the better examples of it, still a good read 11 years on :)
bjhoops1 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was incredibly engrossing and amusing. It was interest timing to see this, since today is actually my last day working as a contractor/consultant at a large financial company doing a job that repeatedly left me with days or weeks on end with no real work to do. What made it more painful was that this place blocked Gmail, Facebook, etc. so I was pretty much relegated to reading HN articles and screwing around on Twitter.

Somewhat amusingly, they blocked POST requests to Twitter, but not GET requests, so I could view tweets, but couldn't post any. Fortunately, I was able to use Buffer to get around this. :)

Happy ending - after 10 months in the corporate jungle, I am now going to work remotely for a startup! Very excited to be part of the startup scene instead of peering in from the outside.

kstop 3 days ago 0 replies      
In a previous workplace, there were multiple redundant management tiers on the technical side, and lots of managers were well-known for never really doing anything apart from attending meetings and finding creative ways to get out of doing performance evaluations. Which usually involved buttering up one of their employees and fobbing the work off on them. Some of them had only a couple of reports. I know of at least one who had none.

Then came the "solution." A program whereby managers had to spend 90 minutes a week on the floor talking to their employees. Work was actually supposed to stop while this happened. This got inserted into everybody's objectives.

I found this particularly galling because I'd locked horns with a couple of the worst offenders in some of the few meetings I'd managed to dodge, and because, managing a team of 15 devs, I already made 1-on-1 time available to them weekly and easily spent 90 mins a day with them doing actual work. (You just can't manage technical folk without some involvement and understanding of their daily challenges. There's a respect issue otherwise, on both sides.)

The program came and went. Nobody failed the objective, though after the first week the usual suspects just hid in their office or spent their 90 minutes playing with their phones. And when the next budget crunch came, management layers only increased (because they were all high performers going by their performance review) while people who did actual work got laid off.

Of all the stuff I saw in that corp, that one annoyed me the most (and it wasn't even the most serious - 7-figure vanity projects were a real problem).

zik 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to know what Moonshine's doing now and how long he managed to keep up the subterfuge.
nicolethenerd 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not quite the 'forgotten employee' story, but when I started a new job a few years ago, the company ordered me a Macbook Pro (or so they claimed...) While I was waiting for it, they gave me an old Linux box to work on, but I didn't really set up a full dev environment because it was temporary and the laptop would be here "any day now". Weeks passed, we checked in with support repeatedly, no sign of the laptop... but it would still be here "in a few days" or "next week", so I continued to put off customizing the Linux box and just installing things slowly, as I needed them.

Finally, 6 weeks after I started, we hired a new dev. Support immediately handed him a Macbook Pro that they apparently just had lying around (that is, the one they ordered for me 2 months earlier). My manager thankfully made sure it went to me, and the new dev received his own machine two days later.

reledi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't there a story about a guy who was in a similar situation at Apple or Microsoft and built a well-known piece of software during that time?
chaostheory 3 days ago 0 replies      
This was first posted on HN about 3 years ago.


I agree with the old comments. It's probably just a nice fictional short story

Dogamondo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Enthralling read. That was 11 years ago. I wonder if he stuck around to see the 2008 recession and somehow miraculously made it through. If not he would have had a huge redundancy pay out given his tenure.
antitrust 3 days ago 1 reply      
From the previous thread:

The book "Whatever" by Michel Houellebecq describes this situation very well, and is very funny.

Some quotations from it:


And a great interview:


warmwaffles 3 days ago 0 replies      
I read this a long time ago and I found it amusing then and I found it amusing now. Truth or lie, it is still a fun story.
wahnfrieden 3 days ago 0 replies      
The images are gone, but there's one left in the original forums posting: http://i.imgur.com/9ioHLCt.jpg of the VP.
jgeerts 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this real? This sounds a lot like fiction, all these things happening, the shady deliverer, the globes, the dog/hjob thing, crawling out of the window when feeling haunted, finding his boss jking off and giving him his freepass.

Anyway, this guy has to become an author.

hosh 3 days ago 0 replies      
You know, I've seen many comments that lamented how this guy is wasting time. Yet this is what someone looks forward to when setting up enough passive income to cover living expenses.

In 4HWW, Tim Ferris talked about his emotional breakdown when he realized he had set things up so he had nothing to do.

It's something to think about, examining just what is the motive and underlying emotional current behind the lamentations of "wasting" time.

Besides which: the guy had also a period of his life where he worked his ass off and was obviously coasting on the goodwill and reputation generated from there. People respected him and seemed to think he was very busy, because in the past, they've seen him work the 70 hours a week.

KeepTalking 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have seen employees at a large high tech firm do something similar.

Basically the person "X" was told don't bother applying for time off if its less than 10 days. Well "X" has done travels around the world without ever taking any vacation time off.

unimpressive 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was trying to find this a few weeks ago. I often wonder what I would do with so much time and free money...

EDIT:>I placed a sign on the wall next to the bumper, seen below.

Does anybody have a backup of the picture?

agilebyte 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Upper management written all over him".
allannienhuis 3 days ago 0 replies      
That was a great waste of time. Now back to the rest of my HN feed...
kilroy123 3 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't help but get sucked in to his story.

Still, a bit sad, he didn't do something better with his time. Eventually, this guy had to have gotten fired. Wonder what this guy does now.

phryk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been thinking about switching jobs for a long time; I guess 'workplace safety inspector' is now on the list of jobs I'd potentially apply for. :F
HackyGeeky 3 days ago 1 reply      
!!!This person can change his life !He could learn something from scratch & become a master at it given the spare time he has.

I think he lacks the motivation and doesn't have a good friend circle..

Sad to see that someone with so much potential is now slowly withering away..

Not too late ! Rather - never too late.

gaahrdner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a similar story, except this guy did it for 11 years.


C1D 2 days ago 0 replies      
All I could think about is having the ability to work on side projects full time with pay.
meisterbrendan 3 days ago 0 replies      
that was equal parts hilarious and depressing. I dislike how completely CONTENT the author seems to be in DELIBERATELY wasting his life away. Come on man--you can do better!
thomasfromcdnjs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Post-modern short story, loved it too!
nathana 3 days ago 0 replies      
:%s/Something Awful/Hacker News/g
ivanbrussik 3 days ago 0 replies      
frigging brilliant - longest fiction ive read in about a decade
chillzilla 3 days ago 0 replies      
This guy and Kafka...
tsax 2 days ago 0 replies      
This had me laughing, crying, fearful, among a whole host of emotions. Amazing. Bravo.
karlgrz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I enjoyed every word of this, real or not. Great story!
ryantcarter 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is epic, is there any more I can read?
xmpir 3 days ago 0 replies      
nice read! I cannot understand, why the guy is happy with doing nothing...
alagappanr 3 days ago 0 replies      
An amazing read. Loved it.
mydpy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome.
iamtyce 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is amazing.
mh_yam 3 days ago 0 replies      
So good.
elleferrer 3 days ago 0 replies      
loved it.
Dr_chaos 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is weird,

I read this on reddit last night under /r/askreddit or something, it was a comment buried half the page down 2 comments up. I stayed up WAY past my bed time to read it, amusing story.

THEN i find out it is the top spot here :| what am i going to read this morning !!!!!:(

qoo 3 days ago 0 replies      
jesalg 3 days ago 0 replies      
cafard 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The Director of People Services - AKA, Human Resources Nazi. I was a Warsaw Jew, face to face with Himmler."

I guess I shouldn't be astonished that people can write such stuff, but I think I'm allowed to be disgusted.

dano414 3 days ago 0 replies      
I sometimes think these stories are made up by HarvardMBA types? I was honestly, too lazy to verify the source.I have seen guys like this--15-20 years ago, but thoughttimes have changed? The one thing that always alwaysirked me about programmers--game testers, etc; is the undeserved Hugh egos that went along with their bag of random "talents"--some of you. Those days are long gone--I thought? I honestly believe anyone who dosen't have to break a sweat at work is lucky.

That said, I still think these stories are going to be much nore common. I hope true BS sniffers farret outthe honest bloggers, from some lackey with a degreein psychology.

I'm not sure why this story irrated me. I know I need to follow with "I could be that guy?". But I work differently. If I don't like a company--I smile, whileI destroy the entity. Just being truthful.

Obama Promises Disappear from Web sunlightfoundation.com
618 points by 1337biz  22 hours ago   145 comments top 29
Buzaga 22 hours ago 8 replies      
~Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.~


pvnick 21 hours ago 8 replies      
I see this as largely coincidental, and nothing nefarious. If you follow the link from the page to the archived version [1], look among the dozens of subjects, click on Ethics, scroll down to near the bottom of the page, you'll see the single paragraph he's referring to. It makes up for about 0.1% of the total content. It's unlikely the administration took down an entire website just to hide Obama's whistleblower promises.

What's more likely is that that, since Hope/Change was the old slogan and "Forward" has replaced it as the new slogan, it's time to take down the old site because it's simply outdated.

C'mon guys let's show a little critical thought and stop looking for conspiracies where they don't exist. It's bad for our credibility. Things are bad enough as it is with the stuff the NSA is actually doing.

[1] http://web.archive.org/web/20130515024407/http://change.gov/...

zdw 22 hours ago 1 reply      
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Whistleblowers are frequently viewed by people who disagree with them as whiners, complainers, disgruntled people with axes to grind, and frequently they are all those things, often with nothing more than circumstantial or spurious claims.

Not everyone's a Snowden.

rdtsc 22 hours ago 1 reply      
So his supporters are right. He does keep his promises.


By slowly removing the ones he hasn't kept from the list.

ibejoeb 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this is sensational, but it got me looking around the archive[1], and it's a pretty good read.


Improve Intelligence Capacity and Protect Civil Liberties

* Improve Information Sharing and Analysis: Improve our intelligence system by creating a senior position to coordinate domestic intelligence gathering, establishing a grant program to support thousands more state and local level intelligence analysts, and increasing our capacity to share intelligence across all levels of government.

* Give Real Authority to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board: Support efforts to strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board with subpoena powers and reporting responsibilities. Give the Board a robust mandate designed to protect American civil liberties and demand transparency from the Board to ensure accountability.

* Strengthen Institutions to Fight Terrorism: Establish a Shared Security Partnership Program overseas to invest $5 billion over three years to improve cooperation between U.S. and foreign intelligence and law enforcement agencies.


He f'ing nailed 2 of those.

[1] http://web.archive.org/web/20130425003939/http://change.gov/...

mkr-hn 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Regular civics reminder: the Executive is supposed to be the weakest of the three branches of government when it comes to domestic issues. If you want a president who's decent at his/her job (foreign affairs, proposing policy), but don't want him/her meddling with domestic affairs, elect a better congress.

This means actually going out to vote in primaries and main elections at the city, county, state, and federal level. All of these determine how much influence and power the federal government has, and whether or not they're doing a good job.

It's true that finding useful information on most candidates is impossible at the moment, but that's solvable.

ewoodrich 21 hours ago 1 reply      
So just to be clear, President Obama's staff took down a transition website that was primarily a link to whitehouse.gov, and this is somehow a scandal because of one of many campaign promises included on the site?

Sure, I guess it could be some sort of conspiracy, but it's equally possible his staff wanted to consolidate web presence. The title on the other hand, implies some direct connection to the whistleblower segment, which has no supporting evidence.

drawkbox 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"When one knew that any document was due for destruction... it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away..."
gojomo 22 hours ago 2 replies      
We have always been at war with whistleblowers.
konklone 22 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a simple discovery, but an important one. Change.gov was the President's official transition website, and included a vision for his presidency. It's a central piece of the historical record of the US, and they yanked it from the Internet.

It doesn't matter whether or not the Administration was trying to remove something specific: taking down the content at Change.gov is un-American and un-Internet.

prawn 14 hours ago 1 reply      
How likely is it that the pre-pres Obama was as-advertised, but he's now operating with top-level knowledge about the US's place in the power struggles of the world? And that knowledge pushes him to act against some of the friendlier statements he's made in the past?

Could the strength of the US WRT China (for example) be on a knife-edge that warrants the back-pedalling we're seeing?

sehugg 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This section of the site has been removed and "revised" before, notably in 2008: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/changes-at-cha...
steve19 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Can't someone just file a FOIA request to get a copy of the entire website?

(Just in case archive.org or other archivers missed some of it)

Vivtek 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Change I'm forced to believe in.
obtino 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Throughout the years of my life I have learned of certain inalienable truths. The fact that politicians are not trust-worthy is one of them.
downandout 18 hours ago 0 replies      
From NSA to prosecuting reporters for...well...reporting, it is quite clear that one Obama ran for office and a different one actually took office. They are trying to get rid of all the evidence of the many misrepresentations he made in order to get elected, probably so that the next round of Democrats running for office aren't also seen as liars and hypocrites.
CamperBob2 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Well? He promised "change," didn't he? It changed.
6chars 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I agree with the first commenter on the link. This is quite a reach. It's unlikely that the order to take down an old, unmaintained site would have come from someone who's in on some sinister agenda to revise history.
christiangenco 21 hours ago 0 replies      
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
msgilligan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
About this time there occurred a strange incident which hardly anyone was able to understand. One night at about twelve o'clock there was a loud crash in the yard, and the animals rushed out of their stalls. It was a moonlit night. At the foot of the end wall of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces. Squealer, temporarily stunned, was sprawling beside it, and near at hand there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint. The dogs immediately made a ring round Squealer, and escorted him back to the farmhouse as soon as he was able to walk. None of the animals could form any idea as to what this meant, except old Benjamin, who nodded his muzzle with a knowing air, and seemed to understand, but would say nothing.

-- George Orwell, Animal Farm

joering2 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote about this 31 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5933806

But is this news surprise to you??

We needs to focus on jobs and middle class and stop wasting time on phony scandals!!

[1] http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/24/obama-repeats-carneys-phon...

This comes after:

- IRS scrutinizing and unconstitutionally profiling people while spending $5MM on "trainings", shutting down operators due to gov cuts while giving contractors 80MM in bonues? phony scandal!!

- 4 US Officials dead in Benghazi almost 1 years ago, no answers, no credibility (people in charge promoted) phony scandal!!

- 1 US Official dead, hundreds of people dead mostly on Mexico soil after DOJ's Fast And Furious mismanage? phony scandal!!

- DOJ spending time on possible civil lawsuit against Zimmerman, while since the tragedy at least 600 murders done by one race on another in Chicago alone. phony scandal!!

- NSA spying on all americans and foreginers intercepting all possible traffic illegally unlawfully and unconstitutionally? phony scandal!!

- Salandra: hundreds of millions given without proper checks to Presidents friends? phony scandal!!

thret 17 hours ago 0 replies      
There's something seriously wrong with the entire political system when every single person here is like 'well yeah, he's a politician'.

Those who seek power are not worthy of that power.

mtgx 22 hours ago 1 reply      
You know, ending the mass surveilling would be a huge achievement on its own (probably by repealing the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act) - but what I'd really like is to get so much support from the people and the Congress, to eventually impeach him. Now that would remain in history, and would teach future presidents a lesson about overextending themselves with the spying. Obviously people like Alexander, Clapper and Holder would be gone in the next second, too, and the FISA Court disbanded.
informatimago 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In France we have a saying about politicians' promises: "Les promesses n'engagent que ceux qui les coutent.", ie. " Promises are binding only to those who listen to them.". It must be a good thing they try to erase them from the web.


thetron 21 hours ago 0 replies      
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Allower 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If this surprises you well then, you are as dumb as they come
rangibaby 20 hours ago 0 replies      
We've always been at war with whistleblowers
AcessoNegado 19 hours ago 0 replies      
arcosdev 21 hours ago 0 replies      
And that is why you fail.
A 97-Year-Old Man Who Draws Using Microsoft Paint from Windows 95 thisiscolossal.com
570 points by tvladeck  3 days ago   136 comments top 38
freework 2 days ago 14 replies      
If there is such a thing as a software hall of fame, MSPaint deserves to be in the inaugural class. Microsoft has written some real crap over the years, but MSPaint is no one of them. Its a shame that Microsoft seems to have left MSPaint behind after XP. I've tried all the open source MSPaint alternatives, and none of them even come close to being as good as MSPaint. Its like the "Super Mario Bros" of desktop software.
DigitalSea 2 days ago 0 replies      
In an age of Photoshop and Illustrator this guy is drawing in an archaic painting program I used when I was in single digits and producing some awesome results.

I don't care whether or not you think MsPaint is lame, old or other debatable points about it, you can't argue this piece in particular 'Rambo' is awesome: http://hallasko.com/collections/prints/products/rambo

Being creative has nothing to do with what tools you use at the end of the day. People were creative long before the digital age and this guy has proven you don't need the latest, greatest or most expensive tools to produce a piece of art. Just an idea and any means to explore that idea is all you need.

This is nothing short of inspiring to me. Probably one of the most positive and inspiring things I've seen on HN in a long time.

peterkelly 3 days ago 6 replies      

Just goes to show it's not about what tool you use, it's about your skills and what you can do with it.

We would do well to remember this in all the programming language debates we like to have here.

beforebeta 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read this and I think - what would the creator of MS Paint think if he read this story. As a developer and a creator, if I would ever read a story like this, about a product that I had created, I would think my life to be complete. Stories like this inspire me to keep stretching the boundary of what is possible and to keep creating...
unimpressive 3 days ago 3 replies      
This story illustrates two things that invalidate a lot of excuses.

1. It's probably not too late to start a new skill.

2. For digital drawing/painting in particular, the tools probably aren't as important as most people think. (Though to say they're not important would be lying. Bad tools shorten your life.)

coldcode 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't care what some fancy digital artist complains about above. It's beautiful. You try painting something beautiful with 90% of your vision gone. I imagine you probably dislike Michelangelo's work since he didn't use Photoshop either.
bane 2 days ago 1 reply      
A quote I once heard but can't remember the attribution "you don't need better tools, you need to do better with the tools you have"

also http://readwrite.com/2013/06/11/excel-is-an-art-form-these-b...

fear91 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's always amazing to hear senile (but still sharp) people talk.

97 years of existence must teach a lot about life and what is really important.

I wonder what could be achieved in one particular field of expertise if you devoted all that time to it. It's over 500,000 hours of possible learning ( for a 90 year old ). Some say that 10,000 hours is what takes to gain mastery ( I know this is controversial ).

I like to imagine myself mysteriously falling into some other dimension where I am forced to live for 1000000 years and practice one craft, then returning and comparing my skills to those who had only one short life :) It helps to push the boundary of what seems "impossible" a little bit more.

kabisote 2 days ago 0 replies      
Two statements from Grandpa that made an impact on me:"I got a lot of patience. That's what you really need anyway." and "When I worked I always had to do something to please the client. Now I can do whatever I want."
stephth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone found any of his paintings in native resolution? I'd agree if you said that was a requirement to fully appreciate pixel art.
D9u 2 days ago 0 replies      
Windows "Paintbrush" was the application that piqued my interest in computers back in 1991.My artistic skills are definitely less than acceptable, and my inability to color within the lines in my grand-children's coloring books is proof.But with "pbrush.exe" I was ushered into an entirely new realm where even I could draw a straight line, or perfect spheres and polygons.

However, none of my art work ever looked as awesome as that produced by Mr Lasko.

iopq 3 days ago 2 replies      
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb3A1TdqXugthis one is more impressive to me than his artwork
sp332 2 days ago 0 replies      
The title reminded me of "Hyperbole and a Half" http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/11/dogs-dont-unde... which manages to fit some pretty complex emotional expressions into mspaint-based stick figures.
cdhack 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sometimes old tools are better, they have a stable operation and a lower CPU and memory usage. Maybe some famous tools like Photoshop should review their products carefully, they do have abundant functions, but to a certain extent, are they useful or practical for most common users?

Best wishes to this great man.

jrarredondo 2 days ago 0 replies      
After a while, most HN posts just fade away in my memory.

I will remember this one forever.

akadien 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is cool. It demonstrates that imagination is more important than tools. I'm going to code in Notepad.exe today as a show of support.
Lazaro4100 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have to admit that the video made me tear. As a graphic artist myself, this man is my ultimate hero!
mokash 2 days ago 0 replies      
We spend so much time discussing to death the tools we use, time which should be spent using them instead. This man just got on with it.
ftwinnovations 1 day ago 0 replies      
This was so inspirational and amazing that I purchased two prints for my office.

Nice work grandpa!

Roonerelli 2 days ago 1 reply      
On a similar note, you can send in suggestions to this guy and he'll draw them in MS-Paint


There are a lot of really funny ones in there

phektus 2 days ago 0 replies      
I fell in love with computers during high school, where my teacher would allow me to play pokemon via gba rom in exchange for creating our school brochures and flyers using MSPaint. I have the honor of making the first soft version of our school logo, which the school only have in paper back then. Surprisingly, I didn't learn Photoshop in college and just went full speed to programming, which I hated in high school as it was taught using Visual Basic.
xwowsersx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just came here to say this was awesome. Really moving. Inspired by how full of life Hal seems even at his advanced age. Also, really nice to see technology enhance someone's life in such a wholesome, simple way.
semicolondev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use Paint:

1)when I'm bored.http://www.flickr.com/photos/bhu1st/4911339994/

2)when I've to crop/edit quick screenshots

3) while teaching students about web design process (I do design/prototype quick web page layouts using paint).

4)meme generator ! Stitch images quickly to share it online.

While switching to Linux or other OS I sometime unknowingly try to hit win-r->mspaint.

BasilAwad 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great story. These are also the type of stories that should be shared to build bridges between different cultures and communities. The elderly are our nation's treasure.
zw123456 3 days ago 0 replies      
Whether you are using ancient tools like brushes and oil, or the most cutting edge paint program out there or MS Paint, or whatever, it is the artist's skill that matters.
emitstop 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the most inspiring videos I've had the pleasure of watching. This gives me hope for when (if) I become an old man myself. I do a lot of creative work, and if I ever lost the ability to do or experience those things. It'd just be devastating. Time goes by so quick.
baumgarn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice guy and paintings.Still, I am fed up with the obtrusive "pitch" narrative of these kind of videos. If the resulting sentiment is mainly due to technical style, what does that say about your real values?
dmotles 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yay :) The video made me very happy. Thanks for sharing.
japt 2 days ago 0 replies      
it's not the tool it's how you use it
alinspired 2 days ago 0 replies      
This should be called "A 97-Year-Old Man Who Draws".. MAN capitalized
hablahaha 2 days ago 0 replies      
Prints! Shut up and take my money! Oh, that's a lot of money...
ivanbrussik 2 days ago 0 replies      
this man is inspiring, what a beautiful story

i love MS Paint - I work in a large marketing firm and use it everyday sometimes on advertisements that a million people see

enemtin 2 days ago 0 replies      
MS Paint. What a classic.
lettergram 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm impressed.
cjh_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Truly stunning.
calandoa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who DARE challenge the power of MS Paint?


koft 2 days ago 0 replies      
keepingcom 2 days ago 1 reply      
No layers... wow. I wish I still had win 95 to try to draw without any layer
Google Chromecast google.com
555 points by Zaheer  2 days ago   315 comments top 77
tolmasky 2 days ago 13 replies      
This is exactly what I've been wanting the Apple TV to be for ages. The only thing Apple TV is actually good for is Airplay. There doesn't need to be an OS or a UI for the Apple TV: your phone or tablet will be a better experience for typing and searching for content every time. Its a fool's errand to try to design a UI for a TV that isn't dreadfully painful to use: no one ever wants to interact with something 10 feet away.

This is what the future of TV should be: people should just think of TV's the way they think of their jamboxes: a higher fidelity dumb pipe for their existing content. If Apple turned the Apple TV into an HDMI dongle that solely included AirPlay and included it for free with every iPad and iPhone they sold, it would truly disrupt TV. If I knew for a fact that every new iDevice owner was necessarily and AppleTV owner, I would immediately start making AppleTV-enabled experiences. Overnight the iPad would become a real competitor to game consoles as well.

It just seems so obvious that this is the right way to go. The apps should live on the brain (your device), and the TV should just be an auxiliary screen, nothing more (We certainly don't need YET ANOTHER SDK for writing TV apps). Here's a fun exercise: go to your local Apple Store and ask them what an Apple TV is for today. Then watch them fumble around mentioning "oh if you have Netflix" and "isn't cable hard to use" and just the sheer lack of vision for the product. If it was just AirPlay it would be as easy to explain as an iPod speaker. If they did this, then you could also imagine indie people shipping TV Shows as apps as a viable model for the first time, completely skirting Cable networks.

jcampbell1 2 days ago 11 replies      
> Power cord required (not shown).

What the hell is this about a "power cord". The specs and details are totally not clear. Is this not powered by HDMI? If it requires a power cord, these images are deceptive marketing.

ChikkaChiChi 2 days ago 5 replies      
I think people aren't understanding how awesome this technology is:

1. Every time someone shows you a YouTube video, you spend 10% of your time watching it and the other 90% thinking about that one video you know of that's funnier. With Chromecast, you can queue that sucker up for nexties right from your own phone, without interrupting the video that's currently playing.

2. Chromecast does NOT use the resources of the device used to control the TV for processing...its don't on the dongle itself. This will save battery power, minimize bandwidth consumption, and you can do other things with your phone while watching things on the TV.

3. If it can run Chrome, it can cast to Chromecast. Apple, Microsoft, and Google devices playing together in one ecosystem. No more throwing the babies out with the bathwater.

4. $35.00. Thirty-five dollars for a device that ups the WAF most HTPC nerds have dreamed of for years! I would have bought this at $100!

This is what the Nexus Q was meant to be, but hardware drove the price down dramatically.

I haven't been this excited about a new piece of hardware since the iPhone. This is a game changer.

untog 2 days ago 3 replies      
Worth noting- the $35 Chromecast dongle comes with three months of free Netflix membership (including for existing users), which makes the thing very cheap indeed.
pwthornton 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm a little confused by this device, and I haven't been able to find the info from Google.

Is it that this device acts like an AirPlay receiver of sorts and accepts a video feed from an approved device or is it that the device simply acts as a remote and the device gets its own stream from Internet sources? The latter is much more intriguing than the former, although both have issues for sure, but hard to complain for the price.

It's an interesting concept either way. I don't see it as a huge threat to the Apple TV or Roku, as both do a lot more and have dedicated controllers. Using an Apple TV with an iPhone is nice in some respects, but the wifi connectivity isn't great. A Bluetooth pairing would be exponentially better. It doesn't appear this device uses Bluetooth either.

As I see it, I could envision having an Apple TV or Roku for a main TV and something like this for another TV or for a computer monitor than can support this.

pyalot2 2 days ago 3 replies      
"Sorry! Devices on Google Play is not available in your country yet.We're working to bring devices to more countries as quickly as possible.Please check back again soon."
ryandvm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious to see what kind of Chromecast support they build into Google Hangouts.

Right now we have meetings on-site and usually have one person in the meeting running a Hangout on a laptop to communicate with the remote folks. Being able to have a "portal" to all the remote attendees would be awesome.

joosters 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whats the privacy policy? Do I need a Google / Youtube account to use it? Just what data is shared with Google? E.g. Will all my viewing habits be stored? Will Google ads on my browser suddenly target me based upon my TV use?
dm8 2 days ago 2 replies      
If it works as advertised, this could be disruptive. They made it dead simple to stream content from any device to your TV. So anyone can use it, particularly the older generation.

Potential for number of apps that could be developed is endless. Apparently, Washington Post is building an app on top of it (http://t.co/dTWesNOoIC). So possibilities are endless. And good news - another step towards making cable TV irrelevant.

P.S. I just bought one. Can't wait to play with it's SDK.

darkchasma 2 days ago 1 reply      
Chromecast is not available in your country.

I live in Canada. Apple seems to be able to make this stuff work, why can't anyone else?

rlu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if you can stream non-online videos? Like if I have a video file on my computer and want to play it on my TV, does Chromecast allow for this?
jscheel 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm confused. Can it grab and process the stream itself? So, if I pull up netflix on my phone, start a video, then force close netflix, will it still be playing?
martingordon 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's $35, but it only offers the Airplay receiver functionality of the Apple TV (I don't think it will do display mirroring of computers and Android devices though).

From what I've read (please correct me if I'm wrong), the Chromecast doesn't function as a standalone device. In other words, you need a smartphone/tablet/computer to play things on it. It doesn't have its own interface where you can browse and play content like the Apple TV does.

smackfu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Makes much more sense as a product than last year's Nexus Q.
amalag 2 days ago 3 replies      
Will this bypass the need for a Hulu Plus subscription for TV watching? Hulu plus allows you to watch Hulu on a big screen device in addition to tablets.
tremendo 2 days ago 3 replies      
Nice, since the Play store says "We are out of inventory. Check back soon." https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=chromecast&...I'm confused about it being USB-powered. Does it need to be plugged to both HDMI and USB at the same time?

Edit: The Buy button forwards to the Play store, where it's "out of inventory". They could change the wording to "Sold Out!" and then brag about that.

kleiba 11 hours ago 0 replies      
With Chromecast, you can easily enjoy your favorite online entertainment on your HDTVmovies, TV shows, music, and more from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome

...as long as you live in North America.

edtechdev 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is useful for educational purposes, too - wirelessly streaming from a chrome browser or chromebook to a projector (via hdmi to vga adapter).

(An alternative if you have a laptop connected to the projector is to run AirServer to act as a virtual Apple TV, and then either airplay from your ipad or run AirParrot from a windows tablet. Of course Chromecast will be the first solution to work from android tablets, too, since Miracast solutions still seem to be non-existent or not so great.)

rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how best to use this with a local Plex Media Server. I only really have one projector/ht directly attached to the media server right now, but in a future where I have N TVs throughout the house, it would be nice to have a $35 device on each to stream content. AppleTV support is pretty weak for PMS.

I'd really prefer wired gig-e, though. 802.11n is borderline for a busy network with several video streams. At that point I'd end up running a bunch of separate wifi APs, which raises the cost to where real wired devices start to be cheaper again.

rplacd 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Chrome and Android teams don't seem to be great bedfellows, it seems - it isn't clear to me what demarcates Chrome-branded products from products running Android in areas far from their original targets.
Ricapar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any word on if I can stream whatever is on my Android screen to this?

There are many times where I have pics on my phone (either via the phone's camera, or Picasa, G+, etc) that I want to show people at home - but there's no easy way to show them without having to pass around a tiny screen.

lnanek2 1 day ago 0 replies      
This doesn't seem much different from the MediaLink HD that HTC has had for over a year now. Although that ran Android and this runs Chrome. Both were capable of talking to NetFlix and other content URLs directly once they got the WiFi information from your device. This helps devices save battery since they don't have to download the data just to resend it, and don't have to transcode anything.

That said the MediaLink HD often had lag issues that kept it more in the realm of presentations and media and made it difficult for real time games. Even for presentations I'd often carry my own WiFi AP around with me or find ways to get it just to connect between the phone and device to avoid them. Home performance is probably better than conference and event performance.

I recently tried a Netgear Miracast adapter to send HDMI from an HTC One and the lag is completely gone. I haven't tried Google's implementation of Chromecast yet, but I'm suspicious it won't be nearly as lag and trouble free as a WiFi Direct only device like the Netgear, though. You have a whole extra OS running device in the chain to make things a pain. So I'm suspicious the extra complexity isn't worth it for this class of devices.

shanselman 2 days ago 0 replies      
It'd be epic if this supported ALL the "AirPlay" type tech...PlayTo, AirPlay, whatever "throw my video up there" formats exist.

I like the price and ordered one, but if it only supports Google's format, that'll be a bummer. I want this for AirPlay.

marcamillion 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is cool....the only thing that is a bit annoying is the fact that the audio won't be 5.1, it will likely be stereo.

I mean, for YouTube videos it doesn't matter.

But if you are streaming a movie or something, then that may be an annoyance.

But that could just be me.

This is assuming that you have a digital audio source plugged directly into your receiver ofcourse, as opposed to your TV.

kayoone 1 day ago 0 replies      
So it seems not to be an actualy HDMI reciever that just outputs your devices screen on the TV so that you can do anything with it like playing back moviews, playing games on the big screen etc ?Thats that, i had hoped it was basically a Miracast reciever..HTC has a similar device called the Media Link HD which does this, its $90 though but seems to be the way to go for me as i dont want to be limitied by whats possible in chrome.
ambiate 2 days ago 1 reply      
The device has a microUSB port. The microUSB powers the device. The device plugs into the HDMI port. The device requires a microUSB powered cable to operate while plugged in through HDMI.
lotu 2 days ago 3 replies      
Okay maybe this is really obvious, but how do I tell a device with no input which wifi network to connect to and what the password for it is?
vinhboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a $35 AppleTV. Well played google.
mahyarm 2 days ago 1 reply      
They should make a cheaper audio only version for the speakers in your bedroom, etc. Kind of like the airport express. Maybe one with just a stereo jack and one with the same ports as the apple TV.
Rayne 2 days ago 1 reply      
This device is really appealing, but I am extremely disappointed that it can only mirror chrome tabs. I'd be much more interested in this device if they would throw out some native applications to mirror a whole screen like Apple's Airplay can.
majurg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, just purchased mine. I was a little peeved that my nexus 7 didn't have HDMI-out, but this device looks perfect.
kayoone 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome that its so affordable. HTC has a similar device called Media Link HD which costs around $90 and i considered buying it. Chromecast all the way :)
elleferrer 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's powerful, it's cheap ($35 vs $99 for Apple TV) in no time, this device will be on every other tv. Just imagine all that data...this is definitely a game changer. This is awesome.

Here's an article on the Difference Between Chromecast and Google TV (an Interview with Google's SVP of Android, Chome, and Apps: Sundar Pichai) http://allthingsd.com/20130724/sundar-pichai-on-the-differen...

jasallen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google may have just won the game, with an infinitely more simple approach than Apple TV, Xbox, and PS. What disruption is all about. Not a Google fan boy, but bravo.
solnyshok 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some compared this to AppleTV, but I would love to point out sellers of overpriced hdmi cables ($20-60, gold plated bla-bla-bla together with new TV). Also, Samsung sells wifi dobgles for their SmartTVs for $60-80 in my country. Hopefully that business will get more reasonable...
TomAnthony 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not available in the UK, but given the specs I'm unsure what should prevent it working as is in the UK?
tjbiddle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like if you refresh enough it will allow you to purchase - Just ordered one. Took a lot less time than the Nexus 4 ordering process ;-)
zaidmo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I dont understand how you stream content from your device to the Chromecast.My PC has Windows Media Player, my Windows 8 phone has XBox SmartGlass. Would these applications allow you to stream to the tv. I am abit lost...
dtparr 2 days ago 2 replies      
Has anyone seen thing regarding how setup works? That is, how would I choose a SSID and enter my wifi password since my 'remote' would normally talk to it using wifi?
sergiotapia 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does this work internationally? I mean, it's just a dongle. Can I have a friend purchase it in the US and have it work fine in Bolivia?
tejaswiy 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wish this did a full laptop display mirroring like AirPlay. Looks like this only works with Chrome, so it looks like I can't rent / download a movie on a different service (say iTunes) and play it on my TV.


bostonvaulter2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did they stop offering the three free months of netflix? I don't see it mentioned anywhere on the page or amazon listing anymore.
umsm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll buy this once there is wide adoption. I would like either a Bluray player or VLC to support this.
mrbill 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just bought two - one for each TV in my house. I already have tons of media-streamer devices (TLBB XBMC, Pivos DS, Roku, etc) but they should be nifty.
cyanbane 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this works as an access point I wonder what the pairing will consist of and how easy it would be to stream "things" to neighbor's houses.
ctdonath 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any bets on how soon Apple respond by opening the long-rumored AppleTV App Store?
nausher81 1 day ago 0 replies      
Chromecast chrome extension works on PS3 YouTube App.

I just tried today and noticed, with the Chromecast extension for Chrome (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-cast/boadge...) installed.

I am now able to push YouTube videos from my laptop to my PS3 (YouTube App). This makes searching videos just so much more easier.

scarlson 1 day ago 1 reply      
At the same price as a Raspberry Pi, why would I want one?

For me, the only benefit I see to the Chromecast is frequent travel for use on hotel televisions. Otherwise, an HTPC is going to provide superior functionality at the same cost.

johnmurch 2 days ago 0 replies      
So it's like an apple tv where you can push streams from your iOS or andriod device (e.g. youtube) but what about browser/app integration?

I would love to be able to create a "widget" that sits on my tv and has internet. I could think of a ton of things. Like snapchat but for videos .. just saying :)

msoad 2 days ago 1 reply      
What is maximum video bit-rate this can handle? Can this do real 1080 with 7.2 audio?
eloisant 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any doc about what developers have to do to support Chromecast?
etler 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's cute how Google checkout pretends they don't already know your home address and phone number. :)
ttflee 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can smell the blood in a niche market.


alpb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Would it work to stream MacBook screen to a TV?

Because the system seems generic and it could bring AirPlay to any TV.

mrbill 2 days ago 1 reply      
Listed, but not yet available to purchase, on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DR0PDNE
sthomas1618 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will I be able to use free Hulu on Chrome through it? If so, this could make subscribing to Hulu Plus unneeded.
induscreep 2 days ago 0 replies      
So it's a portable Apple TV...very interesting to see all that functionality in such a small form factor.

Still, nothing that a 5$ HDMI cable from my PC to TV cannot accomplish.

teamonkey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Best Buy is listing the model number as "H2G2-42"
jeena 2 days ago 0 replies      
As always I'm not allowed to buy it because I live in Europe (Sweden).
smmnyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this is why Google never released a YouTube channel for roku devices.
mmcclellan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm, this specifically mentions Chrome for Mac and Chrome for Windows. That very well may mean no capability for Linux yet. It also doesn't implicitly say Chrome OS, so maybe Chromebooks won't work either.
YellowRex 2 days ago 1 reply      
So who is writing an app to trigger streaming from a local network file share?
leetreveil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone want to buy one for me and ship it to the UK? I'll make it worth your while...

Email me: leetreveil@gmail.com

jahmed 1 day ago 0 replies      
So its a streaming Chrome 2 Phone.
etler 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry OUYA. This will play any android game. :)
general_failure 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great Roku 3 competitor! Except roku can't play youtube.
cpprototypes 2 days ago 1 reply      
The "Buy Now" page has two options now: Google Play and Amazon. If I buy it through Amazon, do I get the 3 months netflix? Or is it only through Google Play?
pawrvx 2 days ago 0 replies      
V2 feature requests:Support MHL (Power over HDMI)Windows Chromecast audio driver/chromecast monitor. So any media player can play to Chromecast...
mikeleung 2 days ago 0 replies      
its available to purchase on amazon now: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DR0PDNE/ free shipping with prime

fyi you can probably still cancel your order on google play store, I cancelled mine 45 mins ago...

wnevets 2 days ago 3 replies      
I already have a "smart tv", what does this give me that I dont already have?
zensavona 2 days ago 0 replies      
As always, not available in Australia...
GoNB 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a 30" desktop monitor (Dell u3011) that I use as my "television". I can now stream a video from my iPad to my 30". My monitor doesn't have speakers. Can I still listen to audio through headphones connected to my iPad? I'm assuming yes.
subb 2 days ago 2 replies      
As always with Google, you need to ask "What's the marketing strategy behind this? Why are they making this device?"

My guess : Yet another way to consume more medias / using Google services.

ampsonic 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder how long until they are available on Amazon.
shuri 2 days ago 0 replies      
readysetgo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh I thought this was hacker news, not advertising for giant companies that don't need it news.
Hacker News Folks Get Long Overdue Thanks linuxlock.blogspot.sg
540 points by reactor  6 days ago   138 comments top 18
mixmax 6 days ago 4 replies      
While this is a great and heartbreaking story that makes me proud to be an active member of HN it's also a symptom of the totally broken US healthcare system.

From wikipedia:

The United States life expectancy of 78.4 years at birth, up from 75.2 years in 1990, ranks it 50th among 221 nations, and 27th out of the 34 industrialized OECD countries, down from 20th in 1990. Of 17 high-income countries studied by the National Institutes of Health in 2013, the United States had the highest or near-highest prevalence of infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancies, injuries, homicides, and disability. Together, such issues place the U.S. at the bottom of the list for life expectancy. On average, a U.S. male can be expected to live almost four fewer years than those in the top-ranked country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($8,608), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (17.9%), than any other nation in 2011. The Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in the quality of health care among similar countries, and notes U.S. care costs the most.


nwenzel 6 days ago 5 replies      
Great story of compassion and triumph. So... How do we make it scale?

Is it mandatory insurance? Insurance doesn't make everything affordable, but it probably wild have been helpful. Though maybe the co-pay would have been $50k.

Universal tax-payer funded insurance? The term "tax payer" is interesting because politicians and pundits forget that we're all tax payers in one form or another. Granted some pay more, some are net consumers of govt services. But tax payers mean us, and those with more earned income more than those with less. I think the main difference between taxes and donation is choice.

Single-payer or government provided healthcare? Pretty sure that no one would identify the government as the picture perfect example of efficiency. Plus, putting elected officials or their appointees in charge of handing out goods and services doesnt seem to be sustainable. Not that putting profit seeking entities in charge has yielded the ideal result.

Making drug providers, healthcare providers and everyone else in that supply chain non-profit? Profit has enormous motivational powers. Not always for good. But it is pretty amazing what can be accomplished by organizations setup to create wealth.

Big Data? Sorry, I couldn't resist. Well, lets use that as a proxy for innovation. It would seem that greater opportunity for innovation would help. Lower barriers to trying new drugs, procedures, diet, treatments would allow for potentially lower cost solutions to be created.

Separating health care from your job? Of your insurer only needs you to be healthy until you find a new job, there's not much in incentive for long-term healthcare and preventative screenings to identify tumors and other problems before they become an expensive problem. Though that would seem to be an arguement in favor of a single payer system.

Sorry, I don't have an answer. Hopefully, great stories like the OP continue. But if we don't make it scale then we haven't really done all we possibly can do.

jaggederest 6 days ago 1 reply      
The real thanks goes to the oncologists. I'm pretty sure they would have shrugged off the monetary losses to save a life.
twstws 6 days ago 3 replies      
This is truly a wonderful story. But it makes you wonder how many others in a similar situation weren't so fortunate.

I lived in the US for two years, and I never understood the aversion to government healthcare. The Canadian system is far from perfect, and I know there are failures. But it's still a lot better than soliciting for online charity on a case by case basis.

I'm impressed and humbled that it worked in this case. Just a little disturbed that it was necessary at all.

foobarbazqux 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's great that people here helped him out and that a life was saved, but it's also sad that some US citizens - in this case a veteran - have to beg for healthcare.
shinratdr 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody is turning this into a political issue. This IS a political issue. The only people who argue otherwise are Americans that selfishly support the current system in their country.

Well bully for them. If they want people to stop "politicizing" issues that are entirely the result of the political game they play, then maybe they should stop being so selfish when a story like this comes up and some poor American has to pass around a hat so he can continue to live.

The minor inconvenience of ruining some feel-good story for you is nothing compared to the blind eye you choose to turn in regards to everyone out there who has the exact same problems but doesn't have HN to turn to to fund their treatment. One is barely an issue, the other is a travesty that you can help to change.

Expect this to come up every time until it's no longer needed.

p4bl0 6 days ago 1 reply      
This story makes me glad to live in France and have such a good healthcare system.
mathattack 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow - that a tear jerker that's hard to respond to. Glad to hear he is well!
relaunched 6 days ago 0 replies      
I remember when this story was first posted. It's not often in life that someone gets a happy ending. It's a moment we can all revel in.
barking 6 days ago 0 replies      
HN : 1 USA health system : 0
dmak 6 days ago 0 replies      
I honestly thought this was going to be a SEO success story when I saw the white hat vs black hat picture.
zhemao 6 days ago 1 reply      
What's with all the extra periods in the title?
sgt 6 days ago 0 replies      
Well done to HN. You cared.
gojomo 6 days ago 1 reply      
Any link to the original thread?
kenshiro_o 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am very happy for you! It's amazing what a community can do when its focus is directed towards a single goal.
WasimBhai 6 days ago 6 replies      
I have often wondered given the kind of cost involved in good health care in USA, along with college fees, why don't more Americans move to Europe for health care and education where it is probably free most of the time?

P.S.: I am from Pakistan.

denzil_correa 6 days ago 0 replies      
Feels good to be part of such a community.
wozniacki 6 days ago 0 replies      
Often the least mentioned and discussed approach to solving the healthcare morass is the customer driver model of healthcare.

David Goldhill is the author of Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--and How We Can Fix It

He advocates restricting the insurance system gradually and phasing out eventually, to increase accountability and vastly improve delivery standards.

His father was afflicted by a series of hospital infections that compounded his condition and eventually killed him.

When admitted in hospitals, he was thrice subjected to medical procedures that were meant for other people.

This Atlantic article is eminently readable.

How American Health Care Killed My Father





The slippery slope 90percentofeverything.com
506 points by justinph  3 days ago   135 comments top 27
csallen 3 days ago 12 replies      
I'm going to nitpick a bit here, mostly because it's entertaining to play devil's advocate on a topic that's always met with such one-sided responses on HN (in this case: dark patterns).

My question is: Why should a company make it easy for people to do exactly what it doesn't want them to do?

Sure, outright trickery and lies are almost unarguably immoral. And the author definitely identifies many examples of that. But there are other instances where I just can't agree with classification of the UX as a dark pattern.

Let's take The Ladders, for example. In order to cancel, you have to fill out a form with a few required fields. What a shady, underhanded, and downright spiteful trick! Or is it? Most cancellation forms online will take you through an intermediary confirmation step, anyway. What's so evil about requiring a small form to be filled out? The questions are directly relevant to the act of canceling, and if you truly don't give a shit, you can fill it in with gibberish. Even if you give honest answers, you could be done with this form in literally 5 seconds. It almost certainly took you longer to fire up your browser and navigate to their site, anyway.

My point is: The company is not attempting to trick you or obfuscate the truth. They know that the presence of the form will likely lower their cancellation rates by a marginal amount, yes, but there's nothing immoral about lowering cancellation rates. And the form isn't nearly long enough to be considered difficult or unreasonable, so it's not like they're attempting to frustrate people into staying. In the end, it convinces some people to change their minds, but nobody gets hurt.

Compare that to, say, The Ladder's decision to auto-renew monthly subscriptions while hiding that fact at the bottom of the page in small gray font. Or to email subscriptions with no unsubscribe link. Or to burying opt-out checkboxes within gigantic forms. In these cases, companies are outright tricking people.

casca 3 days ago 4 replies      
To disable Ad Tracking under IOS, go to Settings > General > About > Advertising > Limit Ad Tracking to On

This is a worthwhile read (with excellent examples) on the ubiquitous "Click here to not receive third-party messages" pattern.

shurcooL 2 days ago 2 replies      
Spotify came up with a sneaky one.

I recently signed up and it only asked for some basic info. By default, of course, all email notifications are turned on. When you try to turn them off and save changes - it won't let you save because one "mandatory" field is incomplete [1].

So you're forced to add more info if you want to turn off email notifications.

It's not a big deal, but it falls in the same category. I like the company less now.

[1] http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/4800/jfgt.png

peter_l_downs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Long, but worth reading a great overview of shady techniques that many startups may feel are worth employing to bump their growth stats.
zallarak 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very well written. When you turn against your customers' welfare, you're almost always going down a path of failure in the long run.
purplelobster 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish there was a browser plugin or something that displays all the blackhat manipulation a site employs as you visit it, and give alternative options.
mariusz331 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's funny. I'm on the phone trying to reach a student loan representative right now. I keep pressing 1 for English, 4 for a student loan representative, 1 again for the type of loan, then I'm back to pressing 4 for a loan representative. It's an infinite loop!

I try hitting 0 for an operator but then I'm prompted to give a 4 digit extension for the party I want to reach.

Aloisius 2 days ago 1 reply      
I actually had to design one of these dialogs for LinkedIn for the new who viewed my profile when we flipped it to a tit-for-tat system (you show me your name and I'll show you mine).

We spent weeks changing the language to be as clear as possible without being overly verbose. I admit that the first (unreleased) rev probably was a bit shady, but in the end we ended up with something that's primary goal was to inform.

I'm super glad we went that way too. Being upfront and clear turned out to be the way to go. Sure we didn't get instant benefit like you'd get with an opt-out, but the conversion rates were very good even when we spelled out what we were doing.

Fuzzwah 3 days ago 6 replies      
Enjoyed the article, but I had to read it using the Clearly extension because the native web page is extremely laggy for me. I'm on a Win8 machine running current Chrome. It seems like such a simple design but hot damn does it chug when I scroll.
namenotrequired 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great article. This reinforces the "Data informed, not data driven" mantra - you can optimise a feature on your site for a single metric but always take the human effects into account.

It also shows the importance of talking to your users in person. An A/B test may prove that ticking a box by default will get so and so many more users opting in, but it can't show you the look on their face when they realize what you just did to them.

nissimk 3 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of the android ui for turning of WiFi when the screen is off. It used to be on one of the settings pages. Now you have to go to settings, WiFi, menu, advanced. There are numerous articles in the Google index of people having trouble finding this option. It makes a WiFi only tablet last for a very long time without recharging if you don't use it too much. Why would they want to hide that option?
Too 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want all these patterns collected in one page, try booking a flight with Ryanair.
aspensmonster 2 days ago 1 reply      
>"Brand relationships are like human relationships."

No. Brands, corporations, and other legal fictions are not human. They're tools explicitly designed to generate profit. This is their fundamental purpose, and as such, they can never bear any significant resemblance to human relationships.

Aside from that, it's certainly an excellent write up. And I like the term too: Dark Patterns.

gfodor 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you're making an empirical argument that these techniques provide more harm than good, you need evidence. If you're making an argument that they are just evil and if you do them you should have trouble sleeping at night, that's another argument altogether. I'm not sure which of these two arguments the article is trying to make, but it's very short on the empirical side.
khawkins 3 days ago 0 replies      
One large claim made here is that while Dark Patterns may increase subscription rates, they hurt brand image. Are there any scientific studies measuring the magnitude of such damage? Perhaps the occasional irritation is worth 5 others "duped" into accepting more advertising.
dreamfactory 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not to defend but for context most of this stuff isn't new and just looks like the direct marketing industry applying their well-honed scammy techniques. If you look at the old record and book clubs that used to advertise in magazines it's the same story.
6cxs2hd6 3 days ago 4 replies      
I thought in the EU you're legally required to do opt-in. You're not permitted to do opt-out.

How can the UK Post Office do opt-out?

Is this some UK exemption from the EU law?

Or is it the typical government exemption from its own law (like e.g. how politicians exempted themselves from the US CAN-SPAM law)?

alexdimitrov 3 days ago 1 reply      
in iOS7 Advertising is in Privacy. Maybe apple are taking notes.
suyash 3 days ago 1 reply      
So what is the final state of the switch be if you want your self NOT to be tracked or reduced the amount of tracking : OFF or ON ?
na8ur 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice article.ethics! this is the problem of our society. the next article should be about making people sensible. How to reward them for been responsible. The thing is people don't care about their live. Managers change jobs, people accept NSA... Might be intresting to compare Customer-Live-Time-Value und Business-Model-LiveTime-Value. What if they knew that the bomb will be nightmare?I would love to see numbers? How about calculating Update-Costs of the SW to "how about having a new business model". The aren't these "dark pattern" businesses VC driven?
nathas 3 days ago 2 replies      
All I'm going to say is that even though it's awful The Ladders have all those tricks, they're successful.

Not saying the ends justify the means, but I wonder how their business would look otherwise.

zipop 1 day ago 0 replies      
Or you could be like Facebook and just ignore request to unsubscribe by hitting their unsubscribe button.
JacobSingh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing post.I have a pitch for a startup: It's an NGO which regulates email-marketing. To receive a certification of fair practices you have to abide by certain rules.

Users can see a badge indicating that you are a member or not. Eventually gmail and others will have to add a setting on whether to allow emails from non-members or not and until then, browser extensions will do the work.


lifeformed 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this site really need to be over 15MB large?
hugi 3 days ago 0 replies      
How intentional.
kamakazizuru 3 days ago 1 reply      
way too many images - whats the TLDR on this?
captionobvious 3 days ago 2 replies      
This article is complaining about the steps apple took to prevent guid tracking but framing it as being done explicitly to trick the user.
Riding the New Silk Road nytimes.com
473 points by pak  5 days ago   153 comments top 32
btilly 5 days ago 9 replies      
Time to trot out trivia. As the article points out, the Silk Road faded in importance in the 1400s. But it doesn't say why.

There were three major reasons why it faded.

The first was the final fall of Constantinople in 1453, ending the last remnant of the original Roman Empire. This made trade with Europe harder.

The second was the development, initially by the Portuguese but followed by others, of direct sea routes to India, and then China, which bypassed the much more expensive land routes.

The third was the opening up of the Americas as potential sources of commodities.

The result was a long-term economic and military decline of areas like the Middle East. The extent of which was not realized by the West until Napoleon conquered Egypt.

haberman 5 days ago 6 replies      
Wow, the presentation of the photos really made an impression on me -- it's just like Harry Potter. It's amazing that even after almost 10 years of YouTube, having video presented to you in a slightly different way can give you a feeling that you're experiencing the future.
kiba 5 days ago 5 replies      
Did anybody thought of the black market site "silk road" rather than the actual Silk Road before clicking on the link?
dclusin 5 days ago 6 replies      
It seems to me like we're finally witnessing the birth of a 21st century news paper. The New York times has always been well regarded for it's journalism. Now we're starting to see what can be accomplished when a credible journalism outfit is complemented by equally credible digital designers.
jowiar 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is a pretty sweet/different use of D3. If you poke through the source, you end up with this file:


In addition, d3's scales are used to set up the variable-rate scrolling (see kazak.interaction.scroll function).

xal 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, the new york times is doing some incredible work. They are really moving the web forward.
cm2012 5 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, I really wanted that to continue the path all the way to Europe. Really just a treat to use. The smoothness of the "gif-like" images just smashes typical video in my mind.
cocoflunchy 5 days ago 8 replies      
It's great to try new formats, but the experience is completely broken on my now-slightly-aging Windows laptop. I wish web developer/designers would test their pages on regular hardware instead of 27" iMacs or rMPB...

The scrolling is horribly lagging, and the gifs/videos are all black:



adamnemecek 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is the first time I've seen gif-like videos used in a news article.
pcl 4 days ago 1 reply      
7000 miles in 18 days is 16 miles per hour on average. The article mentions that the trains move at 50mph, but doesn't say if that's the max speed. But regardless, even if we assume 40mph average, that's a lot of time sitting around not moving at all. I wonder where that time is spent, and how much more of it can be removed from the process. It's presumably largely customs checks, which seems like a straightforward problem to optimize.
rlt3 5 days ago 2 replies      
The presentation for this was incredible.
Ellipsis753 5 days ago 3 replies      
I actually disliked this page design.The image and text always faded to black before it went off the top of the screen. I am in the habit of moving text to the top of the screen to read it. It kept vanishing as I did so meaning I'd have to move the text I wanted to read down to the middle of the screen.

Did this not happen to anyone else?

zrail 5 days ago 0 replies      
I want more! Why is it just one section!?
dmazin 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty much how the future of photojournalism was imagined. The only difference is that it's not on magical video paper, which isn't that far away anyway.
pmorici 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's a nice design but the article seems like a puff piece to me. Is this really the future of newspapers? Nice graphics combined with a folksy story about transportation trends in the shipping industry?
dirktheman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was suspecting a story, well, the other Silk Road. I was pleasantly surprised by both the journalistic value of the piece and the excellent presentation. I'm on an iPad, and the images and scrolling map worked flawlessly. Superb!
guard-of-terra 5 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this route was financially impossible. Looks like I'm proven wrong.
Fice 5 days ago 2 replies      
Great use of HTML5 video! These clips are in WebM, what is shown in browsers that don't support it?
WasimBhai 5 days ago 0 replies      
Pakistan and China are also planning a railway network between China's eastern provinces and sea port in Karachi. Coupled with the above, this can create rail routes between the Europe, east and the far east, i.e., India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore. Amazing.
runn1ng 5 days ago 0 replies      
...and I was expecting an article about buying drugs through BitCoins. Oh well.
EGreg 5 days ago 0 replies      
I thought they were writing an article on the Tor-hidden network that is home to tons of black market transactions
ww520 4 days ago 0 replies      
OT: Nice article and nice pictures, but hijacking the up/down arrow keys is a really bad UI design. You don't know what are all the screen sizes out there and changing the behavior of the up/down arrow keys make viewing the pictures very frustrating on a smaller screen computers.
NKCSS 4 days ago 0 replies      
Too bad the video's are very glitchy here on Chrome; black screens, having to scroll up and down various times before something loads; the snow article a while back was a lot better technically.
joshfraser 5 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciated the keyboard shortcuts to jump through the pictures. Loved the attention to detail here.
jamesdelaneyie 5 days ago 2 replies      
That soviet train tracking system looks beautiful. Wouldn't mind that on the wall of my office.
hippich 5 days ago 2 replies      
I see mentions of security, but from pictures it is just few men without any (visible) weapon most of the time. Even given these men, i believe on a so long distance, there are many desert places, where nobody is present.

Question - how such a valuable shipments protected against someone, who will try to disconnect few cars, crack open 'em and steal all these laptops on trucks?

cclogg 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting seeing all of the random things that North American companies do around the world that we (in general) have no idea about.
lnanek2 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good job NYTimes designing another high quality story site. This is what the coder community should have made instead of an exact clone of the last one that caused so much trouble.
D9u 5 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the book "Danziger's Travels."


josephpmay 5 days ago 5 replies      
This may look great on the desktop, but its pretty horrible on mobile.
niico 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, now thats taking journalism to a whole other level.
DaniFong 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why I cancelled my TechEd talks goodenoughsoftware.net
473 points by ohjeez  2 days ago   176 comments top 24
BrentOzar 2 days ago 6 replies      
I've spoken at TechEds in the US and Europe, and been in the top 10 for attendee feedback twice.

I'd never speak at TechEd again, and I told Microsoft the same thing, same reasons. The event staff is overly demanding and inconsiderate of speaker time. They repeatedly dragged me into mandatory virtual and in-person meetings to cover inane details that should have been covered via email. They mandated the color of pants speakers wore. Just ridiculously micromanaged.

sriramk 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is sad because this is the opposite of my pre-Microsoft TechEd experience.

When I was in school, I got asked to do a demo for a Senior VP's keynote at TechEd to demo how a student would use Visual Studio. My parents happened to be in the vicinity and I was chatting with them outside the conference venue when a Microsoft employee walked by and asked who they were. When I told him, he asked me to get them inside so they could watch my talk in the big keynote hall, no passes required. That's the only time my dad has ever seen speak me in public and was a very special moment - it probably influenced how I perceived Microsoft and it's employees at a young age.

This particular case smacks of no one with any such decision making authority (basically a full time employee at Microsoft) present there who could help.

danso 2 days ago 1 reply      
What I appreciate about the OP is that he has plenty of reason to get mad, but he also recognizable the failure as a result of systematic flaws: the lack of point people and support staff, for instance. I hope I can show as much reasonibility as the OP if I ever get caught in a shitty bureaucratic mix.
singular 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can understand (though find it ridiculous) that they didn't want to give his wife a ticket, but to propose simply leaving her outside the venue alone? What the actual fuck? Was there not a human-based moment of common sense here, or at least marketing sense from Microsoft?

When people behave like that, the umbrella of some corporate behemoth doesn't prevent me from from feeling pessimistic about people (both those in question and often generally.) Sigh!

shanselman 1 day ago 2 replies      
This sucks. However it's never been my experience, and I've brought my wife to a half-dozen techeds on three continents. Sounds like systematic misunderstandings that added up into one big mess.

(I've ignored the dress code for 15 years, FWIW)

Stealx 2 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who as exhibited at TechEd before, it's a poorly run event contracted out to the lowest bidder... just like he said.

It's the Microsoft way, their events are a reflection of how Microsoft truly is.

interpol_p 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow this is horrible. I hope Microsoft does something to rectify this.

I had the complete opposite experience speaking at One More Thing in Australia. The organisers completely took care of my wife and infant son, were constantly on-hand to provide any assistance. They went beyond what I expected.

joshuaellinger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Repeat after me:

    Microsoft 201X is IBM 199X
Then everything starts to make sense: Surface. TechEd. Windows Phone.

ceautery 1 day ago 0 replies      
It sounds like they treated you poorly, and I'm naturally inclined to side with people who would abandon the exposure that a set of TechEd talks would bring in favor of not ignoring his wife, but...

...did you make your wife's inclusion part of the contract? To the folks you dealt with on site, it may have seemed that you were springing something unexpected on them at the last second. "Hey, my wife gets in free to take pictures or I walk."

Yes, it should have been trivial for them to allow that, but is it possible you came off as a bully? I wouldn't have made the same decision as they did, but I can imagine a scenario when bringing up your wife in the 11th hour would have gotten my ire up a little.

edandersen 2 days ago 12 replies      
I don't think they expected him to bring guests to a tech conference. What if he brought his kids as well? Grandma? Free $2000 tickets for all? Remember that the hired guns at these events are not paid to think, just follow orders. He should have got special clearance weeks in advance for free entrance for his family - that's the uncomfortable truth.

He will probably live to regret this as a speaking gig at TechEd as a non-MS employee is not to be sniffed at and now he has shunned the Borg - whom he must be pretty invested in skills wise to be invited in the first place. His wife could have gone and done some sightseeing while he works for a few hours.

alan_cx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Off topic, but I do love his web site.
marcamillion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is definitely one of the more reasonable 'rants' I have seen.

I would be hella pissed if this happened to me too.

Thanks for the heads-up. After this, I wouldn't even go to a TechEd much less speak at one - I know that you need to be invited, and I am not being so presumptuous to assume that I would be, just saying that if I were....after hearing this story and MSFT's non-response, I wouldn't entertain it.

lnanek2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've run into some bad situations due to lowest bidder staff at conferences as well. One travel agency agreed to a bulk rate, then started charging everyone full price after the first 5 or so people. Meanwhile there were plane and visa deadlines and the like and they did this while they had visas in hand, preventing people from going elsewhere for travel and still making the trip.
lazyant 8 hours ago 0 replies      
OP acted correctly, actually he could have gone to his talk and explain briefly to the attendees why he was leaving.
lancewiggs 15 hours ago 0 replies      
For the antithesis of this: webstock.org.nzFamous for spending love and effort on speakers.
xutopia 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know a conference that refused to let a pregnant woman in.
subsystem 1 day ago 3 replies      
Meh. While they sure could have been more accomodating, 30 minutes before a talk is not the right time bring up your deal breaking demands.
chadkruse 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many +1-as-a-service startups we'll see in the next YC batch.
thehme 1 day ago 0 replies      
This conference doesn't seem to be about tech anymore. Glad people are spreading the word, so MS can control & fix the damage. Tech conferences should be cool, interesting, and educational, all regardless of what you wear.
joeevans 1 day ago 0 replies      
Developers! Developers! Developers!
blackprawn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Too bad to hear of your experience. Having stopped MS development 15 years ago I don't miss the way that company treats developers.
ohnjohn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't releasing the detail about the color of pants allowed in breach of some NDA ;)
joeevans 1 day ago 0 replies      
Duh. Microsoft.
Goon 1 day ago 2 replies      
So let me make sure I get this correct - you brought your wife to a conference that it costs nearly $2k to get tickets too and you expected your wife to be able to get in, sans purchasing this ticket. I think your expectations of what you bought are off. Would you expect to get your wife into a movie theater free? A music concert? Unless you worked out special arrangements well in advance how did this even evaluate to a workable situation in your head? Now you rant on HN to get some publicity from the easy to please anti-MS crowd.. can you please post up a "How Go changed my life" article next while we're trolling?
Block NSA funding for collecting the call records of all Americans DefundTheNSA.com
452 points by sinak  3 days ago   220 comments top 30
mcherm 3 days ago 4 replies      
Important point:

(This point was made clear in the actual page, but some of the comments suggest that not everyone understood it.)

The title to this posting (and the name of the website) are misleading. This is not a proposal to block funding for the NSA. And that's good, because such a proposal would have NO chance of passing, and would probably be a bad idea anyhow. Instead, this is a proposal to block funding for NSA collecting records on American citizens that are not being investigated. Which is a much more reasonable position.

sinak 3 days ago 3 replies      
Just a quick note to add that this was built over the course of 5 hours by four developers as part of http://taskforce.is, which was pretty much assembled here on Hacker News.

Please take a few minutes to call. It's amazing how low conversion rates are on calling campaigns like this one - a factor of 100 lower than email asks - but this is really critical. We only have one day to make this happen.

If you're interested in helping with campaigns like this in the future, you can sign up here: http://sina.is/rritf.html

A big thanks to Thomas Davis, Jens Nockert, and Beau Gunderson for building the site.

nakedrobot2 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is something real, tangible, and valuable that we can all actually do. All of this month I have felt powerless. This is something within everyone's power to do, and it can definitely help start the ball rolling back the way it came.

It is pretty unfortunate that there is such a short window of time in which this information can be disseminated. I can imagine if there were a bit more time, this could really spread over the whole Web, as the SOPA outroar did. Anyway, we have to do the best we can, with the time we have.

glesica 3 days ago 6 replies      
The stock market doesn't get hacked? Are you kidding? Did I miss a /sarcasam tag? The stock market is a hack. If the stock market doesn't get technologically "hacked" it's only because it's so easy for the well-connected to hack already. And you want to make our government itself exactly that easy to hack?

The vast majority of Americans don't care about most issues. In fact, I would go so far as to speculate that there is no American who cares deeply about more than a handful of issues. But giving everyone a vote would give everyone the opportunity to sell that vote to the highest bidder, whether literally or figuratively.

You know who will vote on every single solitary proposal? Old people. Old people who think a monitor is a computer and the Internet is a series of tubes that young people use to give each other venereal diseases. As it stands today, we can shine light on corruption, Snowden helped with this. In a HUGE direct democracy, how would we even begin to figure out if someone had usurped control? Would it even be illegal to do so? Instead of writing letters to our representatives we'd all just end up sending daily letters to our grandparents begging them not to blindly do whatever Rupert Murdoch tells them to do.

brown9-2 3 days ago 3 replies      
Instead of voting to block funding for programs, why not repeal the laws that enable those programs in the first place? I don't understand this logic.
clicks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks good, is to the point, very convenient -- tells you what to say, who to say it to.

Wonderful job guys. I think this is going to be a pretty effective grassroots campaign.

johnpowell 3 days ago 1 reply      
We elected Bush in 2004 when he had Tom Ridge upping the terror alert every week before the election. It never seemed to go down. But it always managed to go up to red every week.

I think we have hit the point that you can't really roll anything back. If you do and 9/11 v.2.0 happens you are politically screwed. And, unfortunately, it is all about the next election and soccer moms.

s_q_b 3 days ago 2 replies      
This won't work. Even if they defund the existing programs, the IC will just change the codenames and move them around between departments, as they did with TIA. The technology will live on.

The only way to really end these programs would be a full public debate followed by a statute that outright bans them. Anything less is a PR move.

sebkomianos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do we really believe that "a vote" can change such things? Do we really believe that we can avoid such situations (= non-transparent governments) within the current system?

I mean, when did you actually vote FOR the NSA funding in the first place so that you can now believe that you can defund it by voting against?

grabhive 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nearly everything that the NSA does is Top Secret, so can we claim to know anything about its activities? Why do we believe that we have the power to defund it, when we don't actually know where it gets its money, or how much it receives? Are posters here aware that the CIA has long been accused of being involved in the global drug trade, as a means of self-financing and leveraging power?

Despite the recent revelations having vindicated the world's tin-foil-hats, we still seem to collectively lack the stomach for darker conspiratorial notions. To be in step with reality, it may be important to build up a bit of tolerance. I'm not making any claims (because I just don't know), but I see absolutely no reason to assume that democratic process applies to these agencies. They may have gone rogue; they may have always been rogue. Their global network may be the actual, de-facto world government. Would it really surprise anyone at this point if a convincing leak exposed such notions? What would we do then?

Let's stop imagining that Law will take care of this problem so we can at least assume a proper direction for our efforts. Which is to say, let's dispense with some of our convenience and fashions and start writing software the right way -- the paranoid way.

To quote the eternal R. Buckminster Fuller:

"In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete."

DanielBMarkham 3 days ago 1 reply      
No, no, a thousand times no. Hey, I'm the biggest fan of anonymity and privacy you can find. This is not an answer. It's an emotional over-reaction.

Countries need intelligence agencies -- they are the best way NOT to fight future wars. SIGINT is a useful function when used against foreign leaders. It's just a terrible idea when used against the population as a whole. Separate the parts that work and are useful from the parts that are destroying the country. Just don't lump it all together.

Unilaterally disarming is not a way forward. The only thing you accomplish by doing that is allowing dozens of other countries to spy on you without your knowledge. How is that a solution? These movements are in real danger of becoming "useful idiots" for others who wish us harm [1]

The only solution here is parity, i.e., whatever blanket surveillance is going on by corporations and the government regarding every citizen should be available to all citizens. This policy would naturally severely limit these kinds of operations without asking us to make broad decisions about delicate matters.

If you insist on defunding something, de-fund and kill the TSA. Then eliminate DHS and have the work go back to the separate agencies. But don't take a flamethrower to something which has a useful, important purpose because the politicians changed their mission to something terrible.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useful_idiot

rb2e 3 days ago 1 reply      
The NSA is the heart of the intelligence gathering apparatus of the US Military Industrial Complex. Like it or not, this bill will pass either tomorrow or another day, tacked on to another bill. It is strategic to the military and the country.

There is no way in hell, this bill will not pass. You can scream, occupy the streets, protest, do whatever but it will not change a thing. It will go through.

The US military Industrial Complex is vast. It lobbys hard. To vote against it is to be called un-American- you know its BS but the talking heads will say it. Its powerful but that isnt the point of this post.

Truthfully, our governments have been spying on us for a long time. My country, the UK was reading the mail and telegrams long before the US. Then it was listening and recording phone calls. This is just a step up. As technology increased capabilities, the net has grown wider. From ECHELON to this.

Civil liberties does not mean anything to them as the mindset has stayed the same no matter how much you may scream or complain, realistically it will not change a thing because at the end of the day, the country will have enemies and it needs an intelligence gathering capability. It wont give a damn about our rights as it tries to secure itself.

Yuioup 3 days ago 7 replies      
I have a question.

It's pretty much a safe bet that the NSA runs Open Source Software. You can't do anything on the internet these days without using FLOSS.

I'm not an expert in software licenses but can't GNU, Linus, Mozilla and all other Open Source contributers revoke the NSA's license to use their software?

Surely Open Source licenses, just like any other license, can be revoked?

spaznode 3 days ago 1 reply      
Makes sense hn would too vote such a stupid idea. If it didn't exist already something like it would have to be created.
vaadu 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The bill gives taxpayer money to fund defense programs, including NSA surveillance."

Why does it take money to defund an operation? Doesn't "defund" mean to not allocate money for.

Obama says he will veto. So what? If no money is allocated for said programs where is the budget for them coming from?

These NSA programs are only the tip of the iceberg of intrusions. <a href="The http://www.govexec.com/technology/2013/04/consumer-bureau-de... Credit Bureau</a> collects all financial data on US citizens and obamacare will be collecting and sharing everything medical with numerous federal agencies.

snsr 3 days ago 0 replies      
More info - http://rules.house.gov/bill/hr-2397

Amendment #100

coldcode 3 days ago 0 replies      
The best way to rein in the NSA is make it difficult or impossible for it to find and hire employees and contractors. Without people it cannot function.
donohoe 3 days ago 1 reply      
I called all three of my listed representatives - the phone was answered almost immediately.

It took less than 5 minutes of my time. It may even take you less. It was quite pleasant.

Do it now!

ndesaulniers 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just called my representative! I spoke the receptionist, who was very nice. I told her repeatedly to support Representative Amash's amendment to HR-2397. She requested my full name, zip code, and email address. Happy to help, from Restore the Fourth San Francisco!
culshaw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Remove the funding and they will get it from elsewhere; that 50 years worth of data just became market research.
dfc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't congress say no to funding the stealth MH-60 SOF variant and later see tail rotor of a stealth MH-60 SOF variant in someone's backyard in Abbottabad?
bjeanes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Man, you should put a big "call with Twilio" button right on the page to dial straight out to the representatives then and there.
miga 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if this is good idea.

Their database may be worth too much on a commercial market, and what if they may be tempted to become self-funding.

Abundnce10 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish there was an email option instead of having to call my congressman.
Ackley 3 days ago 0 replies      
Their secret budget will see an increase if this happens...
sauravt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was shocked for a while, since I read it as defendthensa.
mtgx 3 days ago 0 replies      
In theory it sounds nice, but how many black ops and secret budgets already exist? "Defunding the NSA", will just mean its "official" budget will be cut, and under everyone's noses, they will keep being funded through secret budgets.

I'm not saying it shouldn't happen - eventually - but first the priority should be to repeal the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, and end the secret FISA Court, or at least overhaul it in such a way that it's public, judges get elected in a much more democratic way than simply having one person naming them, as it is right now, and allow adversarial hearings, and for people to be able to use FOIA against this sort of spying.

If it's done on an American citizen (under a proper warrant - and not en masse), then that citizen should be able to request a FOIA for it, and get an almost completely unredacted document. If there's an investigation done on him currently, then at most he can get a few months delay, to a year. After that everyone should be able to use FOIA to get these documents.

dsschnau 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh snap - my rep proposed this bill. Cool!
Dr_chaos 3 days ago 2 replies      
LOL Fools

You know that the CIA run most of the drugs in and out of the great US. You know that they have massive surplus cash? Like so big they don't really know what to do with it

These 'government' bodies can and will exist without government. This is how they fund most if not all their black ops, that way nothing needs to be on the books.

if we stopped public money, I doubt it would even make a dent

snitko 3 days ago 6 replies      
I think this is fighting the symptom rather than the cause. NSA is a symptom of a much larger problem, which is taxes. If you didn't have them, you wouldn't have to demand those things in the first place, because all the money you'd give would be given voluntarily and to organizations that you choose and think are important.
Practical Typography practicaltypography.com
450 points by dchest  2 days ago   159 comments top 41
danso 2 days ago 4 replies      
IANAL, but I'm purchasing the OP's other book, "Typography for Lawyers" ($10 on Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/Typography-for-Lawyers-ebook/dp/B005JV...

Partly to thank the author for writing the OP, but also because I find it just fascinating that he found a niche not just in typography, but the importance of typography in the legal arena.

Seems like there should be an equally important niche for a book, "Programming for Lawyers", much of which would involve batch document scanning and analysis.

SCdF 2 days ago 3 replies      
>If thats impossible, you can still make good typography with system fonts. But choose wisely. And never choose times new roman nor Arial, as those fonts are favored only by the apathetic and sloppy. Not by typographers. Not by you.

OK, I appreciate the advice, but why is Arial bad? I mean, I can't even tell the difference!

Reading deeper:

> My aversion to Comic Sansking of the goofy fontsprobably comes as no surprise. But why Arial? Arial was created as a Helvetica substitute. To many, theyre indistinguishable. But to typographers...

Right. So what I get from that is, if you care about making sure your content is fashionable to typographers, don't use Arial. Otherwise (i.e. nearly all the time) Arial is fine.

pron 2 days ago 14 replies      
A very interesting read.

I've always been interested in fonts, but I have a question regarding their price. Why are they so expensive? I don't know how long it takes to design a good font, but is it longer than writing a good smartphone app? Font pricing feels outdated. It feels from an era when publishing was done by large companies.

If I could buy an excellent font for $10-$20 I would literally buy dozens. But font designers are making their work a serious expense, making me ask myself "is it worth it?" In most cases, the answer is no.

WickyNilliams 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel bad just coming here to post a link, but another great resource is Mark Boulton's "Designing for the Web". It's been released as a free book online[1]. (I'm not affiliated with this in any way)

It has lots of detail on typography, but focussed around the web. It also covers things like colour and layout amongst other topics (e.g. research and workflow, which I find less insightful). It's a great and fairly quick read :)


scrrr 2 days ago 3 replies      
I find this page hard to read: http://practicaltypography.com/summary-of-key-rules.html

Perhaps it looks good on a tablet computer. But it feels odd to learn about typography from a page that feels difficult to read.

chalst 2 days ago 3 replies      
> One space between sentences: Always one never two. Some topics in this book will offer you choices. Not this one ...Or more generally: put exactly one space after any punctuation. - http://practicaltypography.com/one-space-between-sentences.h...

Sigh - another source for a rule that shows evidence of thinking like a writer, not as a typographer. We can forgive Bringhurst, but ... the single vs. double space choice is a false dichotomy in a world with proportional fonts, font expansion, stretchable space, and the like, since there is no such thing as the width of a space.

TeX, for instance, allows the space after sentences to stretch more than interword space, and gives inter-sentence space that is 1/3 wider than interword space where there is no space (default for CMR).

bertzzie 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've been reading the "How to pay for this book" page [1] and noticed that there the author said:

> I programmed a new web-publishing system.

I seem can't find any other reference to that, and still not sure about emailing the author directly yet. My google-fu failed me on this one. Anyone know if the author's system has been published or sold?

Thanks before.

[1}: http://practicaltypography.com/how-to-pay-for-this-book.html

jschulenklopper 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting compilation of sensible, actionable advise on typography... but there's one choice that IMO hinders usability for this site: the absence of an clear(er) indication of hyperlinked text. The small caps is too subtle (for me), and also against one of the rules mentioned: "Never use unlining, unless it is a hyperlink". That at least suggests to underline hyperlinks.

This use is also in contrast with Nielsen's advise since 2004: "Textual links should be colored and underlined to achieve the best perceived affordance of clickability, though there are a few exceptions to these guidelines", on http://www.nngroup.com/articles/guidelines-for-visualizing-l...

aw3c2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Dismissing Courier as monospaced font and suggesting his own: http://www.fontbureau.com/fonts/AlixFB/characters/

Look at that, the lowercase L looks like a one.

Brajeshwar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Almost half-way through it and I'm learning quite a lot of new things. Btw, for those who deal with web typography, you should look at Typeplate[1]. That's an awesome typography starter kit for your project.


mrottenkolber 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just read to the 10 minute guide to verify my fears: While some points are correct, the 10 minute guide doesn't teach you anything.

Ihmo every (web-)designer should read at least a few essays from Jan Tschichold: http://www.modernism101.com/tschichold_form_of_the_book.php

And I say that as a typography enthusiastic software engineer. The thing about typography is, when you do it right, it pretty much doesn't leave any room for creativity. There is one right way to print text in a given format.

For the web I can only insist that the users choice of font and size should be respected. From there on you can only work in EMs. The first rule is that a line has to span 8-12 words. That leaves you a text width of about 66em. The line height should be 1.2 times the size of the font, e.g. 1.2em. Every element of the text (paragraphs, headings, listings, tables, images, ...) should be spaced by multiples of the line width to keep the text rythm (important).

To get an idea what I am talking about you can visit my web site:http://mr.gy/services.html

PS: justified alignment is to be avoided since the browsers lack proper algorithms. bSad but true.

melloclello 2 days ago 3 replies      
Oh man, he's hating all over Times New Roman.


Times is great! I would say that any hate for Times is a repressed memory from the days when it was the default font in Microsoft Word. I mean, wow, remember this?


prewett 1 day ago 1 reply      
The author seems to have advice that sounds interesting, but from a casual reading he doesn't seem to say why his advice is correct. Why is single-spacing to short? Why is line spacing 120-145% of the point size? Why is Times New Roman bad (I personally think it is really bland, but what is his reasoning)?
jimhefferon 2 days ago 4 replies      
Does anyone know of a place where a person could get brief advice about suitability of various fonts? Something like, "A humanist font is characterized by .. and is most natural in a less-staid document, such as a work of fiction" (Please don't write me that it is wrong; I made that up as an example of the kind of thing a type-ignorant person like me might find useful.)

I don't expect to become a brilliant designer, I am only hoping to avoid what an expert would regard as ghastly errors, or perhaps better said, to help me make some reasonable choices.

pasbesoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I owe a permanent and longstanding debt to Don Knuth for giving me a grounding in typography via his now renowned blue-covered TeX book.

At the time, it was perhaps unique in its perspective.

It was so well written that, regardless of how much computer technology has "advanced", I suspect it would still be a good, useful, and entertaining introduction.

Unfortunately, my copy was the victim of some flooding and I don't currently have ready access to go back and revisit it. But if you have access or are particularly intrigued, it might be worth a look.

cpr 2 days ago 0 replies      
The section on PostScript for printers is quite dated--most printer drivers now rely (at least in the Mac OS world) on the OS's PDF-style rendering, and just ship bits to the printer.

PostScript itself (vs PDF) is pretty much a dead letter at this point.

jongold 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting book but confusing advice from someone who seemingly knows what he's talking about.

The very first chapter starts with three hyphenated lines in a row! Im imaging my typography professors facepalming right nowhttp://practicaltypography.com/typography-in-ten-minutes.htm...

ics 2 days ago 0 replies      
Matthew Butterick is a pretty interesting guy, with an interesting background: http://typographyforlawyers.com/about.html

This looks great, I'm anxious to give it a thorough going-through in the next couple days. There are some good tips outside of just type as well, including this bit from the resume sample:

"Avoid dense text by using a second page. [...] Students, this advice doesnt apply to you. Youve only got one page of material. Really."

0xdeadbeefbabe 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love this font, and I'll probably buy it. I want the designer to get money for it.

But, what is this about read only fonts? If the browser can see the font then the browser can steal the font (I mean the program and the user of the program respectively).

If it were my font I'd aim for detecting cheaters instead of preventing cheaters. Maybe the font file can include an hmac? When I don't need money, either after death or maybe before, I want them to steal my font so it becomes popular (more popular than Arial so the world will improve). Until then I'll litigate, or publicly shame or whatever I want.

Also this part of the license made me laugh (http://mbtype.com/license/):"If you have unusual or excessive technical support needs, I can terminate your license by refunding your license fee."

shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Page has a design flaw - links aren't stressed in any way except for capital letters. Only accidentally I figured that it was actually a link. Not intuitive. Other than that - a very interesting article.
MrGando 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to know if there are some resources for typography on mobile (iOS). At WWDC 2013, it became very clear that iOS 7 will make a huge push in the use of typography as one of the main ways to give an app more personality. In the past the emphasis was put on world-like textures, graphics, etc.

Any advice on this matter?

martin-adams 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've only had a brief scan and this looks excellent. It's the type of thing I'd love a printed copy on my desk for.
jvzr 2 days ago 2 replies      
The one thing that bothers me is the whole first chapter. The point of the book is to give advice on typography. And the point of the first chapter is to tell the reader that the writer has to get to the point or else it's a waste of the reader's time:

> Writing as if you have unlimited reader attention is also dangerous, because running out of reader attention is fatal to your writing. The goal of most professional writing is persuasion, and attention is a prerequisite for persuasion. Once the readers attention expires, you have no chance to persuade. Youre just giving a monologue in an empty theater.

Well, then... Don't write that chapter and let's get down to business! I guess I'll skip that chapter.

Edit: Oh boy. I hadn't read about Violet's and Trixie's resums. I like typography and give it a great deal of thought in every digital undertaking; but I will surely not hire Trixie because she used a better template: she gives less information and the whole resum feels like it has as much negative space as content. When, and if, I hire someone, I want information, not thin air.

Edit 2: Another thing, regarding the 1.25 to 1.45 line-height he recommends. I feel like it's a lawyer's thing. Anything smaller than 1.5 looks very clamped, and most times people use 1.5 to 1.75. Kudo for the font size though. My poor eyes are grateful.

aidos 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've jut spent 20 minutes or so flicking through this and I felt I've learnt a lot already. Will definitely be giving this my full attention.
samweinberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm. The font used on this website, Equity Text B, was created by the author.


president 1 day ago 0 replies      
Matthew Butterick is an entertaining character. Here's him at the Write the Docs conference 3 months ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J6HuvosP0s. Great intro talk to typography for beginners.
frogpelt 2 days ago 0 replies      
The chapter about Times New Roman is written in Times New Roman.

That's neat.

sengstrom 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you are going to make the case for alternatives to Times New Roman (http://practicaltypography.com/times-new-roman-alternatives....), wouldn't it make sense to include TNR in the lineup?
bambax 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a fantastic resource; it's unfortunate that the site is so slow (HN effect maybe?)
buttproblem 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder if someone could shed some light on this (from type composition straight and curly quotes):

> Computer scientists and documentation writers, take note: straight quotes and backticks in software code should never be converted to curly quotes. Those marks are, of course, part of the functional syntax of the code and must be reproduced literally. While fans of LaTeX have often written me to trumpet its typesetting superiority, Ive never seen any LaTeX-created documentation thats gotten this right.

As a LaTeX user (and not a very good one) I'm not too sure what I've been doing wrong.

Ashuu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to a Kindle edition or a pdf. It would be great read on the move.
cinger 2 days ago 1 reply      
nice clean site,

whenever i see talk of typography i always run to the thoughts on monospace fonts,

perhaps lawyers lack the same needs from monospace fonts as programmers...

both of his suggestions for courier alternatives:

FB Alix... his own,

Courier 10

; lack even basic needs such as easily distinguishable 0 and O and 1 and l...

of course i type this comment into a textarea using courier... that then prints Verdana... on a site arguably for people interested in programming and its tangential influence,

so perhaps i am the only audience

induscreep 2 days ago 0 replies      
The serif font looks real good...it's called Equity Text if anyone's interested.
typografy 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is seriously awful.

He's using some kind of condensed serif at an enormous size that makes it very uncomfortable for screen reading. His list numbers are illegible, misaligned, and extremely far away from the list items. He sprinkles SMALL CAPS everywhere FOR SOME REASON. The contents page is particularly bad, using a Futura-esque font against a serif at the same size, with bizarre spacing, failing to make a hierarchy or pleasing design.

There are many great design documents. This is not one of them. If you want to improve your design skills, do yourself a favor and avoid this charlatan.

jbaiter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great design and usability, and from briefly scanning through it, excellent advice to boot.I would love to have this in a nice hardcover edition!
plg 2 days ago 0 replies      
their css file seems to have fonts defined in base64 byte strings?
Qtz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! This is valuable to me. Since I am starting to make typography.
Qtz 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is exactly what I need. Since I am starting to make typography.
adityaathalye 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bookmarkn'd and entweetinated!
codeoclock 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Bad fonts"?
njharman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Typographers need to (some do) accept and distinguish between print and web typography. Too much is claimed with little justification other than "cause that's the way printers have been doing it for 200 years". The world changes, need to evaluate and adapt.

Also, this mixed in writing / content advice. Would be stronger if it was just typography.

btw as a user I fucking hate curly apostrophes and emdashes.

Passive Income Hacker vs Startup Guy mkrecny.com
421 points by mkrecny  12 hours ago   233 comments top 50
patio11 11 hours ago 5 replies      
The conversation has been known to continue:

SG: "You should join our company as chief growth hacker, since it's a great fit for your skills and experience. You'll work 100 hour weeks. We're thinking $60k a year and 0.5% sounds fair. Come change the way the people $VERB."

PIH: "Where do you get to the part of the sales pitch where I get something out of this deal?"

SG: "Did we mention the free soda?"

(I'm joking... but not by much.)

potatolicious 11 hours ago 4 replies      
This post makes me happy :)

> "Worst of all, PIH is probably not trying to make the world a better place through technology."

Don't worry, PIH, Startup Guy isn't either.

There are really two main camps of startup founders I've met. There's the type that really wants to bring a vision to life - they have a pseudo-religious fervor about something, whether it's gaming, transportation, lodging, or something else. They really want to change the world, and it's not just talk.

Then there are ones that are really in it to make money. They want to create a company, exit, and go do what they really want to do. Sit on a beach, roll up to the club in a Rolls Royce, travel, whatever.

It's a sliding scale. Every founder has some balance of being genuinely passionate about what their company does, and the desire to just cash out. All said and done though, the founders I meet tend to lean much further towards the latter than the former.

bpatrianakos 10 hours ago 5 replies      
What a crock. I get that some of this may be tongue in cheek but I really despise this attitude. There's this sort of weird pseudo-religious belief that by virtue of being involved in a startup you're somehow doing the world some great good.

Your new social/local/mobile app isn't world changing no matter what kind of hustler you are, no matter how much hype you put out, no matter how much money you raise. Anyone can be a capitalist for good or bad whether its exploiting a niche market segment on your own or with a startup.

I believe that regardless of whether you're on your own or do a startup, if your motivation is purely financial you can still do the world great good. Similarly, do-gooders with a grand vision can harm the world. Your stupid little messaging app can connect people from around the world and change the way people communicate (throw in some good crypto and you've done even more good for private comms) or your energy startup that's supposed to change the way we fuel our vehicles and provide clean cheap energy forever can end up doing great harm to the environment or put millions out of jobs as a side effect. These are obviously very hypothetical examples but the point is that there's no "motivation + execution = ethical/unethical success" formula.

There's way too many shades of gray to even be able to consider generalizing like this post does.

lifeisstillgood 9 hours ago 4 replies      
What is a passive income hacker. All I really understand is someone reading the 4-hour work week, and then writing a fifty-dollar pdf on how to feed blue canaries a vegetarian diet with really long sales letters.

I would quite like five figures a month working from starbucks, so if I am missing a trick let me know

ilamont 11 hours ago 6 replies      
No, the business is bootstrapped.

Bootstrapping is not a crime.

So you just work out of coffee shops and stuff?

Dumping the office or co-working space saves at least a few thousand dollars per year in rent, and potentially transportation costs and commuting time as well.

He's not funded or seeking funding, he doesn't go to the networking events and hasn't been through an accelerator.

I don't care for these things either. They tend to be time sucks and overly focused on investors.

Look, I am skeptical of those Tim Ferris apostles whose "passive income" businesses are based on spammy blogs, apps, and affiliate sites. But don't sleight startup businesses because their methods of operation don't fit your definition of a startup.

lukeholder 11 hours ago 12 replies      
Can anyone identify a few example passive income apps that a single developer has managed to support? I know of bingo card creator, but what are some others?
guard-of-terra 10 hours ago 1 reply      
"Worst of all, PIH is probably not trying to make the world a better place through technology. He's basically exploiting a narrow arbitrage opportunity and is probably either unethical or lazy."

Is this serious? It's epically funny if it is.

Even if PIH is trying to make world a better place, he doesn't have to do that on his "billed" time. He has a lot of time to spare for that.

applecore 11 hours ago 10 replies      
Does Passive Income Hacker actually exist, or is this conversation a fantasy?

How many people are there making five figures ($10,000+) in profit a month with their SaaS product? Working by themselves, for only "20 minutes a day", with a full day of product development "every few weeks"?

ezl 10 hours ago 2 replies      
1. The "unethical or lazy" is what the counterparty says to feel better about their own lives when they're failing. It's human nature to want to believe you're pursuing the best path.

2. I don't understand why people like to draw such a hard distinction. It doesn't upset me that some people prefer sushi to steak. People are entitled to their own lifestyle choices without judgment of those who make alternate choices. This isn't just a software/business/career choice issue. Paleo people love telling everyone else that their diet is the best. Many vegetarians often evangelize to others and imply there are serious moral imperatives at stake. Just because someone isn't doing what you're doing doesn't make them "lazy" or "unethical". On a side note -- I think "pursuing narrow arbitrage opportunities" is often something someone would say with disdain, but that's my flavor.

3. Most startup people aren't particularly making the world a better place anyways.

I'm sure a lot of that is written tongue in cheek, I loved it until the "narrow arbitrage opportunities" and "lazy/unethical" ending.

snoonan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Ok, I'll speak up as a "PIH". There are a lot of ideas that help people that will never touch VC money or can support a company with all of its overhead. It's not out of laziness. It's how a great programmer should look at all problems -- what here is redundant, manual and gets the most bang for the dev time and CPU cycles?

When you're a team of 1, your I/O bandwidth is almost infinite. If it's all in your brain, you don't have to explain anything, write anything down, have meetings, draw on whiteboards, etc. Your available time to work collapses down to solving specific business problems with every line of code or web page update. Imagine a case where you never have to compromise, argue, make brain dead concessions or spend resources on proving your position. Assuming you are right, and have a good head for business, marketing and writing half-way decent code, you can solve a small problem every efficiently. There are a lot of $20k-200k problems out there to solve that are not worth it for a company of any size to even touch.

OldSchool 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Of all income sources, I have to say the passive sort is the most desirable and scalable. You can have as many meaningful hobbies as you want if your bills are paid, unrelated to your participation in commerce.

Sadly, risk-free investment returns have been decimated by 0% funds from the US central bank. We can only hope that we are reaping more rewards through active business as a result, but Fed policy has really punished those who have been financially prudent.

maayank 11 hours ago 0 replies      
"But what about dev, marketing, customer service etc?"

"I've automated 95% of the non-dev. The other 5% of non-dev I deal with in about 20 minutes a day. Every few weeks I'll have a big dev day."

Any books/resources with a lot of real world case studies? I'd be very interested to hear many different accounts of such businesses. Here and there you see it on HN, but is there one that has many together?

Dewie 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It is apparent from the comments here that many don`t realize that the author is being sarcastic. I wonder what it is about the delivery that this fact isn't obvious enough? Because I think that there has to be something with the article if so many interpret the tone of it incorrectly.
rwalling 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Oh man...he had me until he called thousands of people, many of whom I know personally, "probably either unethical or lazy."

I think we can all agree that there are multiple ways to approach startups.

The misstep Myles makes is to assume that one approach is somehow superior to another, and then take the further step of insulting everyone who is striving for something different than what he sees as the best option.

We all have opinions on this topic, and it's an interesting discussion to have. But let's try to avoid dogma and judgment.

What's right for your unique situation isn't necessarily right for the 100,000 other people with similar ambitions, but who may be in vastly different life situations or just have different goals than you do.

Oh, and call me when you're 40, married with 2 kids and a mortgage, and you're coding Perl for a bank because none of your startups made you the millions that TechCrunch promised.

pmelendez 11 hours ago 3 replies      
"He's basically exploiting a narrow arbitrage opportunity and is probably either unethical or lazy"

This sentence made me uneasy. I am not good identifying sarcasm so it might be that but... How one would jump into that conclusion without knowing any detail?

On the other hand, lazy is different from being not ambitious. I had several friends like that (not making 5 figures per month though)and I find that is a very legitimate way of live.

superconductor 10 hours ago 4 replies      
I tried doing the passive income thing. I set up dozens of blogs with adsense, amazon affiliate links and sold software.

What happened surprised me: it was soul-crushing. I felt dirty. Turns out that meaningful work is what fulfills me. Making "free" hands-off money doesn't excite or inspire me. Totally a learning experience.

doctorfoo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Yay, now I have a label for what I am. A passive income hacker. I don't make a lot (maybe $3K / month), but I work only ~half hour a day on my main money spinner, answering support emails. (Plus, maybe a few months solid every year or so on updating the tech.) I designed it so it doesn't have a DB or user account system, to reduce the complexity and make it easier to scale by one person with only certain skills. Users regularly ask for an account system. I don't add it; I have competitors who do have an account system, and there's no way I could compete with them by myself. A certain subset of users appreciate the simplicity of my service.

When users email me support questions, they get a personal response from the guy who made the thing. They probably don't realise either, since most contacts start with "hey X team" or "hey X guys".

Having said that, I do work a full day, on attempting to start other passive incomes, and on more fun things that have less chance of earning. So I'm not quite living a pure passive income dream yet.

6ren 10 hours ago 2 replies      
A self-running business seems cool and magical - like creating a living thing... life! But, I think, for truly passive income (meaning it runs itself), he's right that it does have to be some kind of arbitrage opportunity, that will tend to stay around. By definition, it isn't intrinsically interesting or satisfying. But, in itself, there's nothing wrong with that.

OTOH, I'm not saying startup guying is the only solution - just that satisfaction requires ongoing work. Once you complete your startup (for example), you have to find something else to do - another startup, create YC... something.Why not just do what you find satisfying in the first place? It could be a startup. It could be just to make money (e.g. Warren Buffett loves making money). Or it might be something else.

Here's a twee story about a hand-to-mouth fisherman http://www.rinkworks.com/peasoup/richman.shtml

arbuge 11 hours ago 1 reply      
"He realizes that Passive Income Hacker (PIH) is not a hustler, he's not funded or seeking funding, he doesn't go to the networking events and hasn't been through an accelerator."

This article rubs me wrong. This paragraph really rubs me wrong. If you're good at hustling for customers, you're a hustler where it matters. Funding (non-customer funding i.e), networking events and accelerators are secondary - lots of America's biggest businesses have been built without them.

The "passive income guy" described in the article reminds me of the Plenty of Fish founder by the way. Most "startup guys" would probably kill to be in his position...

richardlblair 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Unethical?? HAHAHAHA. PIH supports themselves, and their family. They aren't a drain on the system, and owes nothing.

Realistically, Startup Guy is pissed because his photo sharing website that allows you to apply filters isn't getting traction.

scottmagdalein 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I think he's being ironic.
isaacb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This started out so well and I was hoping it would end along the lines of "different hackers with different goals," but steered way off course to some vitriolic attack on the casual hacker lifestyle.

I think if anything, bootstrapping your product to success is far more respectable than taking large sums of seed funding and potentially throwing it all away when you find that your market doesn't even exist.

10dpd 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone whose Twitter account has been suspended as a result of using the OP's "Passive Income" hack, I wish he would spend more time thinking the project.
icedchai 11 hours ago 0 replies      
So, PIH has a profitable business. "Startup guy" is a bullshit artist.
galactus 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What do we win by promoting these caricatures?
makmanalp 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's just such a truism these days that every company has to (often recklessly) aim for massive growth and fund that by selling off the company, that there's just a lot of cognitive dissonance when you present that that's not the only way companies can work.

It's not necessarily all derision, it's just the mind trying to reconcile new information with old.

lovesgreen 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like jealousy. If you can automate the way you get money, you have 23 hrs and 40 minutes a day to do something without any profit motive for true good. Startups, business, and making money don't have to be a religion.

Bill Gates will do more good with the money he made than he did by creating software.

rdouble 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This was like reading an excerpt of the HN version of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" but with the opposite conclusion.
readme 10 hours ago 1 reply      
>Worst of all, PIH is probably not trying to make the world a better place through technology. He's basically exploiting a narrow arbitrage opportunity and is probably either unethical or lazy.

Is this supposed to be what "startup guy" thinks, or is it also the opinion of the author? Seems like a pretty jarring assumption, if you ask me.

vvpan 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This article is arrogant and pretentious. Come on, it trivializes one side while glorifying the other beyond reasonable. It seems to say that if you work on a startup you are the cool kid, and otherwise you are loser. Just like high school.
iblaine 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I have to disagree with this post. Passive Income Hackers are usually hustlers with more street smarts than technical skills. Startup Hackers are the opposite.
PhasmaFelis 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Huh, are there actually Startup Guys who want to "make the world a better place through technology?" I thought the basic plan was "build and maintain an amazing, indispensable service for exactly long enough to get bought out by Google/Microsoft/Yahoo/Apple, then retire to Tahiti while the new owners fire everyone and ruin the product."

e.g. Siri before Apple: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/siri-do-engine-appl...

MitziMoto 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I honestly cannot figure out which guy (PIH or SG) this article is "making fun of" (maybe it's both?). I've read it twice now, and it can kind of go both ways.

Maybe that's the point.

rubiquity 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Startup-ers can be some of the most self-important people on the planet. "Passive Income Hacker" is making a living for himself and quite possibly his family as well. There's a lot of nobility in that.
bluekite2000 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I m a developer in New York. I have a few good engineer friends I met while living in Vietnam. If any of you here happens to have a product that qualifies as a passive income product and need a tech partner let me know.
nathas 11 hours ago 1 reply      
How does one become a passive income hacker?
vladmk 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who dislikes this post because of theassumptions it makes on startup founders? Statistically moststartups are bootstrapped, this was written by someone who is arguably caught up in the silicon valley hype, you don't need to get funded for everything...Also the other guy has obviously built something called a "lifestyle business" google it if you don't know what that is, the noob startup guy is way too nooby to know what that is. Unless the hacker guy is a hacker and is doing something illegal, I don't see why the conversation should get awkward...
purephase 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I so want to be a PIH. I just can't get enough free time to put my shit together as my day job sucks it all away.
duncanwilcox 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Counterpoint (old but relevant):


The article paints non-startup guys as parasites. That's so needlessly polarizing.

The more common definition of the Passive Income Hacker is "lifestyle business", i.e. a business where you don't seek a 10-100x exit.

Personally I think if all you've done or plan on doing is an app or website, calling it a startup is kind of silly.

sockgrant 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It was a great read, until the end where in the last sentence it was really ambiguous whether he was being sarcastic about "He's basically exploiting a narrow arbitrage opportunity and is probably either unethical or lazy."

Everything was so obviously tongue in cheek until that point.

But, the ambiguity was actually welcome because it forces the reader to wonder and in turn choose their position.

It's a fun read.

jackschultz 11 hours ago 1 reply      
So what if startup guy disagrees with the choices of PIH? This is another example of conflicting ideologies, and luckily, no one can do something about it. Imagine if there was a politician who didn't like the approach PIH was taking and worked to ban it because he didn't like it. This seems very farfetched, but there are examples of this happening. The ones that come to mind are the banning of sharing recourses, like AirBnB or any ride share program.
joshtronic 4 hours ago 0 replies      
as a PIH and a father, I have to chime in and mention that my lazy & unethical self gets to spend a great deal more [quality] time with the family now that I'm no longer working 24/7 at a startup. sadly, no one ever gets man of the year for being a good parent.
allinzen 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As a former passive income hustler turned startup guy - this is so true. What's most important is to be comfortable with what you do regardless of others opinions. That's the one thing I could do without in start up land. The prosthelytizing.
brendoncrawford 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Changing the world is the new blinking text, or rounded corners.
kbenson 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I love how his comments section is hacker news.
chenster 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The last line I suspect is out of utter jealous.
kennstone 3 hours ago 0 replies      
:D, Get Income invest on your own business, then get customer to make it grow. It must more satisfied then look up for investor :)

Btw you must see in the end, is there FBI or any kind police knock on your door :p

So make sure your business clean!!! Cheers

unlimit 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Loved it, brought a smile to my face. This is exactly what I am trying to do.
wnevets 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I would rather be the PIH, how do I become him?
ivanhoe 7 hours ago 0 replies      
making the world a better place... mostly for themself, though...
Snowden asylum still under review, stays in airport for now rt.com
395 points by message  2 days ago   221 comments top 31
pvnick 2 days ago 9 replies      
It seems he accepted Putin's terms to not release anymore information. I wonder if that means no more information coming out, period, or that since most/all of the information is now with third parties that it's their responsibility. I doubt Putin likes being disrespected with loopholes and technicalities, but I more-so doubt that Snowden would halt the revelations altogether for the sake of his own safety. I suspect this was discussed and that Russian officials agreed to the continued release of what is no longer under Snowden's control.

Does anybody have any more information on that?

scrrr 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wish him all the best. He's done many countries a great service. He inspired the search for truth and he made us realise that our politicians (and technology providers) are a bunch of disgusting LIARS.

I hope that he will be able to have a good life in Russia, in peace and security. And that his deed will inspire future whistleblowers.

tomelders 2 days ago 5 replies      
Well I think this is more to do with Russia thumbing it's nose at the US rather than protecting an individual from tyranny. But fair play to Snowden, it's good news for him. But If I were Snowden, I'd be quietly sneaking out of Russia very soon lest the political winds change and he suddenly finds he's a very valuable pawn in a very dangerous game that he can't win.
jitbit 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm Russian. This is done only to annoy the US. Russian gov-t has nothing to do with freedom of speech etc. It's just to tease the White House.
jeena 2 days ago 2 replies      
Good for Snowden that he is not homosexual or leaked "Gay propaganda" so he won't end up in jail in russia ... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/opinion/russias-anti-gay-c...
hannibal5 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just want to point out that if Snowden would have been spying for Russia or China, he would not have any these problems. Countries don't return people who spy for them.

His knowledge is very likely still valuable and he could turn into traitor any day and Russia would take good care of him. He would get money, pension, citizenship and nice Datcha to live in. He is this predicament because he has not given up his principles.

Justsignedup 2 days ago 0 replies      
in a backwards twist of fate... Russia is protecting people from the United states for freedom of speech.
anuraj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Snowden has completed his historic duty - now he can fade into the annals of history as a man who stood for something.
denzil_correa 2 days ago 0 replies      
For now, Snowden stays in the airport says his lawyer. However, considering the tone of the statement it looks like he will soon receive one.

    cnnbrk: Lawyer: Snowden hasn't yet received document that     would allow him outside of Moscow airport. 

twentyfourseven 2 days ago 2 replies      
This news made my day. The safety of Snowden has been on my mind for weeks. Hopefully he'll make it all the way to sunny Bolivia.
ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fortunate for him he is not gay (as far as we know) as that's illegal in Russia and would prevent entry?

In any case I hope he stays safe and I thank him for his sacrifice.

brianbreslin 2 days ago 2 replies      
So a few questions here:1. Will he get KGB (or whatever the current equivalent is in Russia) protection?2. Is this allowing him to leave just being done to make it easier for the US spooks to snatch him up? 3. Where does he go next? And how does he get there?
ryguytilidie 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious how Snowden has been living in this airport. Is he literally sleeping in the terminal or is there an airport hotel he is staying in?
gexla 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much pay he would get as a sys admin in Russia. He might want to leave that bit about stealing secrets from his employer's client and leaking them to the world off his resume.
k-mcgrady 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Snowden's temporary asylum request is still undecided and he is to remain in Sheremetyevo airport's transit zone for now, Reuters is reporting, citing the whistleblower's lawyer."

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/24/edward-snowden-m...

canadiancreed 2 days ago 3 replies      
Guess relations between Russia and the US aren't as important after all.

Always found it odd (possibly ironic?) that he left to countries infamous for not being well known for their love of free speech. Then again as one poster here put it, where else would he go that isn't as restrictive and doesn't have an extradition treaty with the U.S.?

Wonder if this will inspire whistle blowers in Russia now?

wellboy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does that mean he accepted the demands of Russia of not being able to disclose any further information anymore?
pdknsk 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if his next target is Wladiwostok. It seems less complicated to get to Latin America from there, if he still wants to.
petercooper 2 days ago 2 replies      
There's an inch thick of delicious, buttery irony spread over a slice of Onion-tasting bread here. Asylum granted by a state that once sent 14 million people, primarily those who didn't agree with the authorities, into forced labor camps with millions meeting their deaths from malnutrition, exposure, and summary executions.. and which is still attempting to outlaw homosexuality.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire!

mikegioia 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can honestly say I didn't expect this to happen. Hopefully Snowden can rebuild his life in Russia.
ramanan 2 days ago 0 replies      
The situation is still evolving. The article has been updated since the initial HN posting and the title now reads 'Snowden asylum still under review, stays in airport for now - lawyer'.
caycep 2 days ago 0 replies      
For some reason the theme music from "Hunt for Red October" keeps playing in my head...
shreeshga 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SORM: Snowden's next target.
falk 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder why Glenn Greenwald or the Guardian hasn't written anything about this yet?
notdrunkatall 2 days ago 0 replies      
Be careful out there...
dpatac 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like the title of this is a lie as the article states something different. I hate being lied to and manipulated.
baby 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just a stupid question but where did he sleep if he had to stay at the airport?
SurfScore 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Tom Hanks movie "The Terminal" seems rather relevant here.
dschiptsov 2 days ago 0 replies      
...after writing down and signing the "pokazaniya" on everything he knew.))
jensC 2 days ago 0 replies      
I simply wish him good luck!
As Feds Demand the Keys, Preparing for the Death of Public-Key Encryption vortex.com
389 points by ColinWright  1 day ago   287 comments top 34
a3_nm 1 day ago 8 replies      
> Public-key cryptography as we know it today may be rapidly approaching the end of its useful lifespan.

No evidence in the article substantiates this bold statement.

- "pressuring major Internet firms to provide their "master" SSL keys for government surveillance purposes": this demonstrates a weakness of centralized public-key infrastructures, it does not follow that public-key cryptography is doomed. (See: web of trust.)

- wiretaps, snooping, etc.: everyone is welcome to grab a copy of the ciphertext, this does not prove that cryptography is futile -- quite the contrary.

- "concerns about the security of widely used cipher algorithms and a range of other associated exploits": vague.

- "it is prudent to at least assume that intelligence agencies around the globe may still be working several steps ahead of public "state of the art" in crypto tech": unfalsifiable.

- "forced the hands of chip manufacturers to include "special goodies" for surveillance purposes": I am willing to fear deliberate plausibly deniable weaknesses on accelerated hardware implementation of crypto primitives, e.g., PRNGs, but it seems very hard to believe that implementations of public-key crypto using general purpose instructions could be somehow identified by the CPU and somehow tampered with in a way which would be non-obvious somehow.

- "when governments really want to target someone, they'll find some way to compromise the associated computers directly -- either through phishing or other malware attacks, or via in-person "black bag" jobs to physically alter systems as they might feel appropriate": humans are the weakest part of cryptosystems, and if they have physical access then they win; nothing new here.

In conclusion:

> I believe it would be fully appropriate for us to be considering alternative methodologies for data protection that are sufficiently outside the existing public-key "box"

Public-key cryptography is a tool. It certainly does not form, in itself, a full "methodology for data protection", but nothing in the article justifies that has lost any usefulness in its current form.

downandout 1 day ago 7 replies      
This kind of thing makes me think the Snowden disclosures actually emboldened the NSA in some ways. Their nightmare scenario occurred, and nothing happened. Nobody even got fired or "resigned". The public's tepid reaction has brought our nightmare scenario to life - we taught secretive government agencies that they can now do anything they want without fear of public backlash. These kinds of requests can now dramatically increase, with neither judges, politicians, or the NSA itself living in fear of anyone.
johngalt 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's a neat argument that the Feds have.

If you send traffic unencrypted: 'You have no expectation of privacy, because you're broadcasting information publicly.'

Turn on encryption: 'Clearly you have something to hide, and deserve additional scrutiny. It's still not a fourth amendment violation because we are just compelling a business to give us your keys'

thewarrior 1 day ago 2 replies      
Have no doubt about it, this marks the beginning of the end of online privacy. Now that even the U.S. govt is asking for the TLS Certificates there is no country that has the moral high ground on this issue.

I'm from India and when I heard that the Indian government was asking Blackberry for its encryption keys I thought "Hah these people are so ignorant! They don't even know how public key encryption works!!". In hindsight it doesn't look very foolish. In fact they're openly building a surveillance system called CMS which has no checks and balances even on paper. Unfortunately in a country like ours with has so many other pressing issues it isn't a big deal yet.

Recently some governments tried to orchestrate a power grab of the internet via the ITU but it was vetoed by the US. "Its better to let the US govt. have a monopoly on the internet", or so I thought. What with all their constitutional protections and all. Recent developments have shattered my hopes.

The NSA's worst case scenario has already happened. Other than some modest outrage on the internet nothing much has changed. In a sense it shows a tacit acceptance of mass surveillance by most of the public. Hence my opinion that recent events mark a turning point.

With noone having the moral high ground its quite likely that all world governments and corporations are soon going to come to an agreement on permanent mass surveillance . What then ?

rdl 1 day ago 7 replies      
Sounds like not "the death of public key encryption" but the golden age of building technical controls into hardware/software which cannot be subverted by the operator, even in the face of a state agent with a gun.

Assuming the right tech is developed and deployed, this is going to be far better for everyone in a few years. Yes, it will be shitty for a year or two, but by 2020, if we actually have real technical security, it will improve security and trust for end users. Rather than "trust us", it will be "trust us, because...".

wahsd 1 day ago 4 replies      
Something that people have apparently not quite connected is that these developments are incremental steps towards and can already be considered within the spectrum of mind reading. The only reason that that a majority of today's people do not recognize the situation as squarely in mind reading territory based on examples from literature and popular culture is that the the technical limitations still retrain government, with great frustration.

Although the same heeds of danger did not suffice in the early 20th century, we are facing the same mechanics that led to the world war. We are at a nexus of an ugly transition into the consequences of the information age the same way that humanity would ultimately face demise at the nexus of the consequences of industrialization leading up to the World War, first and second part.

The problem is a generational one; the baby boomer generation, with it's industrial age mindset is incapable from internalizing the consequences of their unprincipled actions.

dasil003 1 day ago 1 reply      
> To be clear, this is not to assert that targeted, justified intercepts should not be possible under appropriate and realistic court supervision.

Why make this disclaimer? To avoid being branded a fringe anarchist?

It seems to me that we should absolutely be building intercept-proof communication privacy to the best of our ability since A) there's no such thing as perfect security and B) anything of importance eventually comes into contact with the real world where governments have immense power and don't need backdoors to do their job.

leef 1 day ago 1 reply      
This article seems to be mostly FUD. Per-session, ephemeral SSL keys are available and are used by at least Google [1], CloudFlare[2], and others.

No keys are stored, no keys can be given to the NSA.

1 - https://www.imperialviolet.org/2011/11/22/forwardsecret.html

2 - http://blog.cloudflare.com/cloudflare-prism-secure-ciphers

rlpb 1 day ago 3 replies      
A logical conclusion to this is that if/when governments start forcing people to supply them with their private keys, they will also start forcing companies producing encryption software to include backdoors.

At this point, I'm thankful that we have Free Software. With access to the source code, forcing the insertion of a backdoor is futile, since somebody else will fork and remove it. With Free Software, we'll still be capable of running our own encryption in a way that government intrusion will still be detectable by ourselves.

Unless, of course, governments then ban communication about backdoors, or instructions on removing them, or distributing source code altogether.

digitalsushi 1 day ago 1 reply      
The only thing I get really spooked over, is that eventually it gets to a point where the government starts demanding passphrases for hard drives with no hidden encrypted partition.

Am I being paranoid? Someone sensible please dilute my paranoia.

anovikov 1 day ago 1 reply      
Broad solution to all this is building your lives in business in a way government can have a minimal control of. Just do what it requires and keep everything else encrypted and anonymized. And don't rely on government for anything, for we are heading for a world of global government failure: people and institutions are going to ignore and circumvent them all, and make them dysfunctional. In a way, that will be like communism: there is little government can be of help nowadays, and it is more and more becoming a nuisance.
macspoofing 1 day ago 5 replies      
Does the Federal government not understand that this (idiotic) mass scale surveillance is bad for business? All the big American companies generate most of their revenue outside of the US. Majority of the user-bases of the big Silicon Valley tech companies are foreign. This only works if there is a level of trust in the American system and American government. What are they thinking?!?!
mrmekon 1 day ago 0 replies      
And as Feds demand skeleton keys to buildings, prepare for the death of cylinder locks?

Prepare for a change in how we use it, not for its death.

forman00 1 day ago 2 replies      
If anyone's interested in learning more of how you can use the private key of a server to monitor all communications: see, for example, US Pat. 7,543,051

It describes a way to passively/non-intrusively ("invisible to the server") capture and analyze all network traffic using a cable-tap.

Bottom of column 8: "In order to accomplish decryption in a timely manner the secure traffic decryption unit needs the private key of the server. Usually providing the server's private key to another device would be considered a security flaw, since private keys are not meant to be communicated to any other party. But since it may be assumed that usually the server's owner or operator will use the present invention to monitor his/her own server, providing the server's private key to the secure traffic decryption unit does not pose significant security risks."

kenster07 1 day ago 0 replies      
Articles like this miss the main issue.

Privacy rights should not have to be enforced at the public key encryption level.

Before all the sensationalists start going wild, remember that the NSA almost got defunded very recently. That is where the real frontier of this debate should be.

At best, this episode exposes how vulnerable public key encryption is. But let's not go off the reservation.

masswerk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just a thought:For the better half of the 20th century, i.e. after WWII, Europe has been confronted and living with acts of terrorism from numerous sides (Israeli just after WWII, Palestine, left-wing, right-wing, nationalist, etc, etc) with several severe casualties. Europe's democracies (for the better part at least) stepped back from drastic surveillance measures at will. (Partly because of the example of the Eastern block. Look up: Stasi.)It worked anyway.

So: There is no possible deal of security versus freedom as it has been proposed for the last 12 years or so. Sorry.It does not make sense. There is no proportion between the losses of freedom and identity, the investment, and the reported "less than 50 use cases" for the whole surveillance system. Please stop. Immediately.

Just saying, while we are losing digital identity.

cmircea 1 day ago 2 replies      
I treat email in Gmail as publicly accessible, same for almost everything I do on the web casually.

My business data lives in Amsterdam (Azure EU West), critical services we use are based in Europe. At least in my case I couldn't care less if the big US companies handed out SSL keys.

zokier 1 day ago 2 replies      
There is just so much more to public key crypto than public web SSL/TLS.
jasonkolb 1 day ago 1 reply      
If they're not careful they're going to endanger what access they have now. If secure communication as we know it ceases to be actually secure people will start (are now) figuring out how to go around points of failure. Meaning, if they push on this too hard they'll lose their ability to listen in on targeted communication because people will have more faith in unsigned than signed keys.

All it takes is one leak of this data to throw the entire idea "gimme your private key" requests into the domain of F###ing horrible ideas.

teeja 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The whole cert structure has always been a house of cards. As evidenced last year, e.g, with the Turkish provider ...

Since I first looked through the original Netscape, I've never had -any- reason to put so much trust in the hands of these Blue-Ribbon names. Or any ISP, for that matter. If US intelligence goes through with this, then only end-to-end (which has been deliberately stalled off and roadblocked and stonewalled for decades) will be left.

At that point we'll find out just how much power we've left to defend the privacy of our communications, our relationships, our finances and our movements. The Cryptocat guy may yet become a legend... or someone like him.

niels_olson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Due to the nature of SCI compartmentalization, I suspect that if this happens, they're going to end up in something like symlink hell, where some FDA inspector in Kansas has root on Facebook via 4 degrees of ssl certificates.
tallpapab 1 day ago 2 replies      
Please forgive my rudimentary (and possible erroneous understanding. There are three things important to public-key encryption. The public key, the private key (together called the key pair) and a certificate. If I understand it the cert is just to give confidence that you have the correct public key. So the NSA having access to the cert is a non issue as everyone has access to same. That's its purpose in life. Also the public key is publicly available or the system wouldn't work. The only sensitive things are the private keys. Is this right so far? If I want to encrypt a message to someone I need to use that person's public key. I use the cert to make sure I have the right one. Now the message can only be decrypted with the private key. So how can the NSA decrypt such a message? They would need the private key. The ISP doesn't have it. Even if they have the private key don't they need a pass phrase to use it?

Not sure how the above applies to https or to ssh. Still, in both cases I don't think access to the cert breaks things. Indeed access to it and the public keys are essential to it working at all. (I guess one can operate without the cert too if you trust the source.)

Mordor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Any country with secret laws and secret courts cannot be trusted, so it's only the death of US encryption (chips, software, hosting and services).
chris_mahan 1 day ago 2 replies      
The only defense against government snooping is air gap. Don't connect your stuff to the Internet.
cantankerous 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really, this article is silly. SSL keys will remain useful for authentication. If you want to make sure nobody's got the master key, just do a double-Diffie-Hellman and you're square...provided the person snooping on the master key isn't trying to use it to MITM you. That's a whole other bear entirely, though.
tallpapab 1 day ago 1 reply      
All this increased digital surveillance comes at a time when the US Post Office is under artificial financial pressure. Just last night the news reported a plan to eliminate direct delivery to the door in favor of some sort of community mail box facilities. Interesting coincidence that physical letters (whose contents are still protected by federal statute) are being discouraged while unprotected content is being collected.
acd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe we should not trust central key emitting authorities but each other and our friends instead. For e.g. the government could run shadow CAs which normally perform their duties but at demand provide MITM certificates for them.
ptaffs 1 day ago 0 replies      
The monitoring program is costing an awful lot of money, the data centers could be doing real work streamlining government processes and making the administration more efficient. We know governments, corporates, sys admins will snoop and should be objecting to our tax being used for a probably useless effort to process this raw data. Discuss tax rather than privacy, everyone cares more about that.
Yourfags 1 day ago 0 replies      
Technology changes and so does the world, whether we like it or not. The question is always, who will come out on top

I'm not really trying to be snide, but it really is an issue that's been sort of hanging around since the before I was born (1980s), who's going to control the internet and how, and whoever does is probably going to have a lot of power

aidenn0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Didn't moxie marlinspike have an idea for replacing the current SSL trust chain?
diydsp 1 day ago 0 replies      
As Feds hire contractors to do this work, the work will leak out of the contractors hands into the hands of those with money, such as foreign organized identity thieves. It's not just about hiding furry porn from the "Murican Gubmint," but about protecting our financial info from foreign thieves.
jensC 1 day ago 0 replies      
Arrrg! Forget about the cloud. I'll host my servers at home, unplug them at night and watch my log files over the day :)
mtgx 1 day ago 5 replies      
Why can't PFS be a solution for this?
jokoon 1 day ago 0 replies      
well no one has to obey them.

why so much fuss about it ?

Canada's Start-up Visa gc.ca
355 points by tsenkov  4 days ago   246 comments top 38
mjn 4 days ago 10 replies      
Summary of the conditions:

- Secure $75k in angel funding or $200k in venture funding, from a list of designated Canadian funders.

- Score relatively highly on a language test in either English or French, for both verbal and written ability (note that everyone must take this test, even those coming from English- or French-speaking countries).

- Have satisfactorily completed at least one year of higher education (no degree required).

- Depending on family size, have a minimum of $11k-$30k in the bank initially to support yourself.

jacquesm 4 days ago 8 replies      
Some bits and pieces of info for those considering this:

- remember to sign up for OHIP (or the local equivalent) as soon as you arrive, there is a time limit on how long you can wait before signing up after arriving in Canada. If you don't do this in time you will not be covered.

- Canada has some pretty severe weather in the winter, everywhere except for the area around Niagara falls and Vancouver. The latter is the better spot all year round. Big cities are your only chance to mitigate the worst of this, rural life is brutal.

- Don't make any irreversible moves (giving away stuff, actually moving) until all the paper work is done. I made the mistake of believing a bunch of government officials during my own move to Canada on an entrepreneurship visa and it cost me dearly.

- Elsewhere in this thread someone asks why not go to the US, well, (1) free (and good) healthcare, (2) a bit more laid back business climate. That said, the laid back atmosphere and the different venture capital climate make it a lot harder to get off the ground in Canada. Cost of living is slightly lower than in the US for most parts of Canada.

- Outside of Waterloo, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and maybe Quebec City it's going to be hard to find qualified employees. In Ottawa you'll be bidding against the government.

- No matter where you want to go in Canada you'll have to score reasonably well on the French language test. Even if that's the only time in Canada you'll ever use your French. (imho this is a ridiculous requirement, and that's with 5 years of French under my belt and a ton of exposure, you simply don't need it unless you plan on living in Quebec).

- Paperwork processing in Canada can be terribly slow, it is basically the luck of the draw whether your paperwork will be processed in weeks, months, years or even decades! (no kidding...).

I could go on like this for a while, if you have any specific questions about moving to Canada (but not about this program) feel free to ask.

ramanujam 4 days ago 2 replies      
The bad part: The investment has to come from a canadian VC or angel firm. It doesn't clearly state if it is a requirement though [1].

The good part: As many have already mentioned, it is a permanent residency status and not just a temporary visa. It comes along with all the health care benefits and social benefits as what Canadian citizens get [2]. So even if your first business fails, you will have the opportunity to start another one or find a job.

[1] http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?q=653&t=6

[2] http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/newcomers/about-pr.asp

frankcaron 4 days ago 3 replies      
While this is great in theory, it's likely not going to lead to anything other than one marquee Toronto Star story about the foreign entrepreneur who found success in Canada.

Canadian VCs are far too risk averse and conservative; that's why the uptick of start-ups in all areas of the country, even Toronto's own would-be "Valley" of Liberty Village and the Junction, hasn't fielded much in the ways of success.

Until Toronto VCs start taking more risks and going down the road of helping people experiment (much like YComb itself), I don't see this doing much other than acting as a talking point for why Canada is a good place to live.

(I say this as a Torontonian who has worked almost exclusively for start-ups in the GTA and is now moving to San Fran to work for another one).

untog 4 days ago 1 reply      
Theoretically this is fantastic. I'm in the US on an H1B visa and there's no clear path for me to be able to start my own company. My visa still has a couple of years left on it, but this is something I will be watching closely.

Of course, the US could implement a similar program in a heartbeat. And by "in a heartbeat", I mean "never, because the government in this country is utterly dysfunctional".

bishnu 4 days ago 3 replies      
The conditional on Canadian funding thing is killer. There is so little VC in Canada.
galactus 4 days ago 1 reply      
The canadian "citizen and immigration" service is seriously understaffed (thanks, Mr. Harper!). Some consequences of this:

* It currently takes more than two years in average to process a citizenship request.

* The CIC stopped accepting any new application from canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their parents or grandparents for permanent residency.

So, this all sounds good in paper, but Im skeptical about how well it will work in reality.

3pt14159 4 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone is doing a story on this I have photos from the announcement that are CC released :)


petercooper 4 days ago 5 replies      
proof of having completed at least one year of post-secondary education

Seems oddly arbitrary. Most visas with educational requirements go for the complete degree, not just one year of education. All the tales of "drop outs" who make it big force their hand? :-)

mathattack 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a shot across the bow of their Southern neighbors. The US needs to get our act in gear. Vancouver and Toronto are already world class cities.
jdangu 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a designated list of VC/angel group investors:http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/business/start-up/eli...
jrn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stop complaining about vc, or culture; Canadians regularly blow billions on prospective mining companies on tsx-v. which never report any revenue.

Alberta spearheaded a funding model in the oil patch in the 90s, which is now accessible to the other provinces, which I believe could be useful in the tech sector. The capital pool company, http://www.tmx.com/en/listings/listing_with_us/ways/capital_...

We get a bunch of proven tech execs together, they issue shares, then they have 24 months to go find something worth buying and growing.

So instead of serial entrepreneurs, I believe we could also foster midlevel serial ceo's for instance I would buy stock in a jaquesm, pg or whoever, headed shell company to go and buy out some up and coming tech.

At least I think you could kickstart building a company out of aquihiring zombie startups. I would do this but I'm a no-name.

ronilan 4 days ago 2 replies      
Had I been younger, and had no permanant status in North America, I would have followed this with whole my heart.

File the paper work, pay the fees and when the visa is stamped, just pack a small car and drive north.

Too bad I'm too old...

... and that I already did just that a decade ago... :D

joshaidan 4 days ago 2 replies      
There are a lot of smaller cities in Canada, i.e. cities that are not Vancouver, Toronto, Waterloo, Ottawa, etc. that are trying very hard to build their own start-up communities. You may want to consider these places if it suits your idea.

For example, I live in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and there are a lot of grants specific to our region because we're considered a northern community. Since we're smaller, there's less competition, and more people will be willing to help you and promote your startup.

Also, if you're startup is involved in medical research, definitely consider Thunder Bay because there is a big medical research community and it's one of the areas the city is trying really hard to build up.

Take a look at these websites for more information:http://www.nwoinnovation.ca/http://www.tbrri.com/ for medical related startups)

Lastly, the cost of living in places like Thunder Bay (in particular housing) is much more affordable.

danielsiders 4 days ago 2 replies      
What's the possible reason for the education requirements? Shouldn't VC support and sufficient financing be enough?
k-mcgrady 4 days ago 0 replies      
The education requirements are strange especially considering they only require one year. e.g. I started my business in the final year of high school and although I got accepted, decided not to attend University. I would be denied a visa. However someone who decided to drop out at the end of their first year of University would be accepted for a visa.

Doesn't seem to make much sense. Does anyone know how strict these requirements are yet?

neilrahilly 4 days ago 0 replies      
The best thing the Canadian government could do for Canadian tech entrepreneurship would be to work with the US government to make it easier for Canadians to work in the States and Americans to work in Canada. That, more than anything, would help the skills, knowledge and resources required to build good software companies flow between Toronto and SV.
icco 4 days ago 3 replies      
Pretty interesting. Is there an equivalent to 500 or YC in Canada? What are the best tech cities in Canada? I know Vancouver and Quebec have universities with good CS programs, but that's about it.
rogerchucker 4 days ago 3 replies      
Let's say an average person has a great idea but to come up with that idea she had to go through a lot of schooling and industry experience. Also she needed to earn enough to have a solid 11-13K bank balance. I have a feeling to attain these objectives that person would have to be in her mid-30s. How does a person at that age naturally adapt to a new country, when all she has experienced and adapted to so far is another culture in another country?
danielsiders 4 days ago 2 replies      
I would rather have temporary worker visas for startup employees. Our biggest labor problem has been the difficulty of getting programmers who didn't go to college into the US. We'd move to Canada in a heartbeat if we could get the developers we wanted colocated with us.

How about N temporary worker visas/amount of VC funding?

hbharadwaj 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the impact would be across the different types of startups. I see this as a boon for foreign entrepreneurs but there are associated downsides as well. For one as an example, if you are planning to start a service based start-up, you may have to manually grab users until your start-up picks up steam.

Based on the numbers from International Telecommunications Union, US has 10 times more online users. I am pretty sure online services and in general start-up success is also tied to your market size. Heck, the first thing they taught me in Management Consulting is to size up the market. I am sure you can get a Temporary Business Visitor visa to the US but as always, this complicates the story.

All in all, as someone from India, looking to start something, I am thrilled by the news but I am not going to apply until I run out of all options in the US. Just my $0.02.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_...

sim0n 4 days ago 0 replies      
I imagine that the one year of required secondary education will prevent a lot of founders from applying for this visa (I would be one of them) but I can understand why it's required.
euphemize 4 days ago 6 replies      
Went through the different links - does anyone know how long this Visa is valid for? If it's on that page, it seems to be hidden somewhere...
jhull 4 days ago 1 reply      
If an American VC firm opens an office in Toronto, does that count as Canadian VC money?

Seems like a good idea for American VCs to open incubators in Canada. Would allow them to global deal flow while only worrying about the regulations of Canada. Plus its quicker to fly there.

mjhea0 4 days ago 0 replies      
i'd like to hear more about the startups that have made the move from the us to canada. from my perspective, this seems great for startups looking to get into the us market by making a stop in canada, growing, and then attracting us investors.

it will be interesting to see the long-term affects this has. will startups stay?

also, i would love to see an article about the canada startup community in general. canada's economy is well-balanced and from what i can tell pretty risk-adverse. how well people respond to the influx of startups that must take risks, gamble, and move quickly in order to survive?

vijucat 4 days ago 5 replies      
This might seem a bit superficial, but one of the reasons I fear a move to Canada is the weather; not the weather per se, but whether someone like me born in a tropical country would adjust well to the cold? I'm concerned that I would relapse into a depression ushered in by the winter blues (used to be depressed in my 20s, not sure why, it went away after 30, not sure why either), and lose my productivity. As a separate topic, it's slightly unsettling how much the ability to work hard defines many of us.

For context, I was born in South India and currently live + work in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, the temperature is around the same number as you see for, say, Victoria, BC, except for that the former is in Celsius while the latter is in Fahrenheit! :-)

joshsharp 4 days ago 0 replies      
Surprised nobody has mentioned http://startupvisa.ca/ which has a list of investors and a lot of help on the whole process.
tomjen3 4 days ago 2 replies      
There is only one problem with this: it is Canada, not the US.

Why would I want to do a start-up in Canada, rather than say the UK or Germany or Chile?

kamakazizuru 4 days ago 0 replies      
looks great - does any one here have any experience with any of the listed VCs/Angels? I can only spot 1-2 familiar names..
falk 3 days ago 0 replies      
If Canada wants to attract start-ups, they should get rid of software patents.
dshanahan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm an American who started a startup in Vancouver, BC before this Visa existed. If anyone has any questions about doing that or would like suggestions/introductions to people in the area let me know.
raverbashing 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks interesting.

You can apply as soon as the PAFSO strike ends...

oscargrouch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nah.. Think i will pass.. i prefer establish myself in Rio (already a brazillian citizen by birth .. rsrs) better weather.. same level of funding ..

but it kind of have make me wonder.. for some time..(pretty good news anyway)

mjhea0 4 days ago 2 replies      
i know that business taxes are relatively low, but what about personal incomes taxes? how will this affect having to pay double taxes (both us and canada). i believe you can write off the taxes you pay overseas, but you have to pay the difference in us taxes.
thehme 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is really interesting. I wonder why the US has not encouraged this more.
devb0x 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't have that kind of money.

Is it easy to get a VISA as a developer?

jathu 4 days ago 0 replies      
YES! FUCK YES! Go Canada!
sneak 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ha, low taxes.

They forgot the big one:


New Course: The Design of Everyday Things udacity.com
340 points by dpatru  1 day ago   55 comments top 15
millerm 1 day ago 4 replies      
The "Design of Everyday Things" is probably one of the best books I have ever read on design. It's poignant for any designer of anything a human interacts with. Even though this book doesn't touch computer interaction it's completely relevant. Bonus: everyone you know who reads this book, or takes this course, will annoy you a little with the overuse of their wonderful new word "affordance". :-
kjhughes 1 day ago 2 replies      
The quality of Udacity courses combined with an updated "Design of Everyday Things" plus Don Norman's direct involvement makes this course sound very attractive. The Udacity "Introduction to Computer Science" course by David Evans, by the way, is excellent. It is the one that I chose for by sons to take online this summer. I liked the balance it provided between pragmatic programming (Python exercises completed and evaluated in-browser) and CS fundamentals (BNF introduced in first lesson, for example). This new design course may have to be next on their list.
jpatokal 1 day ago 5 replies      
In case the name doesn't ring a bell, The Design of Everyday Things is an extremely readable introduction to usability, and an absolute classic in its field:


You'll never look a door the same way again... particularly if it has a handle but still expects to be pushed open.

maaaats 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's so weird seeing prices on courses, coming from Europe. With that said, I've taken a course heavily based on this book. It is mandatory for all comp. sci. students at my Uni. Many didn't like it, being to "soft" when they wanted to hack, and complaining that "most of it is sooo obvious". And yes, it may be obvious when spelled out, but far too often overlooked and forgotten. I quite liked it.
ThomPete 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why you would want to take a course with that book. What on earth do people expect to get out of that they can't get from reading the book?

Don't get me wrong, it's a great book, but it's popular because it's easy to understand, not because it necessarily contains actionably insights or complex issues that require a course to unveil.

lovskogen 1 day ago 3 replies      
Don Norman has just released a new version of this book seems like a smart move to do a course.
msvan 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's interesting how many design links pop up here. I came here with a technical background and developed an interest for entrepreneurship reading HN, and I think that in the same way a design interest develops in those who are already sold on the idea of doing a startup. It'll be interesting to see what collective interest will develop here after design has become a core part of the "HN mentality".
swamp40 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another great quote from the book:

The same technology that simplifies life by providing more functions in each device also complicates life by making the device harder to learn, harder to use. This is the paradox of technology.

The paradox of technology should never be used as an excuse for poor design.

~ The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

drcube 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've never read this book but of course now I have to.

I'll suggest reading Henry Petroski's stuff, too. "The Evolution of Useful Things", "The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance", and "To Engineer is Human" all make the case that the design of things around us are shaped less by insight and more by evolution, incrementally building on the mistakes of the past.

If "The Design of Everyday Things" is half as interesting as Petroski's books, I can't wait to read it.

mathattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to give this book away to all my employees who were involved in GUI design. It is great about respecting and understanding your users, even if on the surface it's about door handles.

I wonder how this will play into Udacity, as I view it more as a platform for short quizes and testing via code. This is more a book on conceptual understanding.

cgag 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It's strangely hard to do, but I'll go ahead and admit I found the first couple chapters incredibly dull and put this book down.
sc00ter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wonderful book, but if Norman is updating it, I really hope he drops the 'POET' backronym. It was contrived and awkward, and it's repeated inclusion felt seemed more like a slight to the publisher who changed the name from Psychology Of Everyday Things to its more approachable name.
lnanek2 1 day ago 3 replies      
Don't bother trying to sign up, after they get you to make an account they tell you:> The Design of Everyday Things> Were still making this course but we'll let you know when it's ready!

Pretty annoying it gave me the option of Google/Facebook login, then made me fill out information anyway. The whole reason I picked Google to login is because I don't want to fill out a registration form for site number 1000.

jfb 1 day ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see how the course is designed, given that nobody has yet to really figure out the design and pedagogy of online teaching. It'd probably be worth checking this out.
krmmalik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Has anyone had any luck signing into the udacity course on their ipad using either facebook or google login? My attempts keep resulting in a blank white screen.
UK Porn Filter Will Censor Other Content Too, ISPs Reveal torrentfreak.com
330 points by llambda  12 hours ago   159 comments top 46
InclinedPlane 11 hours ago 7 replies      
This deserves a lot more of a response but for now I'll just leave this:

Liberty is about the ability of the individual to do things that others disapprove of. You don't need liberty if everyone else approves of your actions. As a corollary, the exercise of liberty does not require a justification, because it's a liberty, practicality or "usefulness" or what-have-you play no part in it. It's onerous to require someone to justify their right to look at porn. It's even more onerous to ask people to put their name on a list as someone who desires the ability to look at porn. And indeed this is how freedoms are eroded. Because once you put things on a different footing and you require people to justify their freedoms then it becomes ever more difficult to justify anything. Can you justify eating a cheap, greasy cheeseburger? Can you justify watching "Jersey Shore"? Are you willing to?

These are precisely the same sorts of tactics that have been used since the dawn of time for busybodies to rein in individual freedoms of others, and thereby to obtain greater authority over others.

People often dismiss out of hand the notion that tyranny could possibly take hold over the first world democracies of the west in the 21st century. And to that I can only sigh. Perhaps it will not be known as tyranny, perhaps someone will come up with a different, more apt name once (if) we are in the clutches of it, but it will be every bit as bad and every bit as difficult to throw off, if not more so.

ferdo 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Sorry for the 19th century text wall, but this is so pertinent that it hurts.

"Next in importance to personal freedom is immunity from suspicions, and jealous observation. Men may be without restraints upon their liberty: they may pass to and fro at pleasure: but if their steps are tracked by spies and informers, their words noted down for crimination, their associates watched as conspirators, who shall say that they are free? Nothing is more revolting to Englishmen than the espionage which forms part of the administrative system of continental despotisms. It haunts men like an evil genius, chills their gaiety, restrains their wit, casts a shadow over their friendships, and blights their domestic hearth.

The freedom of a country may be measured by its immunity from this baleful agency. Rulers who distrust their own people, must govern in a spirit of absolutism; and suspected subjects will be ever sensible of their bondage."

The Constitutional History Of England Vol II (1863), pg. 288

by T. E. May


rsync 9 hours ago 0 replies      
2010-2012 may well have been "peak internet".

Three years ago, or so, I was thinking about[1] the idea that we may have been witnessing something akin to peak oil, or peak credit.

At that time I was discussing it in terms of network fragmentation and net neutrality ... but a collection of different censorship regimes around the world degrades it[2] just as well...

[1] http://blog.kozubik.com/john_kozubik/2010/12/peak-internet.h...[2] "it" being the "homogenous, globally routed Internet as we have known it."

Nursie 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Well DUH!

Some of the politicians like to say it'll be the same sort of system that's on mobile phones here. These have two characteristics -

  1. The filter is full of holes  2. What's blocked is pretty arbitrary
For instance, I was at a music festival last year (Beautiful Days), and access to the online site map and festival schedule was blocked as 'adult' content. The festival itself was full of kids and teenagers (brought along by their parents) for whom the info would have been useful. To get around it, I installed Orbot (Tor for android), because they only care about censoring the web.

EGreg 12 hours ago 0 replies      
First they criticize the Great Firewall of China. Then they start building it themselves. And who better than a Chinese network operator to do it? After all:

"The Public Pledge on Self-Discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry is an agreement between the Chinese internet industry regulator and companies that operate sites in China. In signing the agreement, web companies are pledging to identify and prevent the transmission of information that Chinese authorities deem objectionable, including information that breaks laws or spreads superstition or obscenity, or that may jeopardize state security and disrupt social stability."

-From Wikipedia

Shish2k 11 hours ago 1 reply      
A possible silver lining - if you're against the filters that currently exist (blocking child porn), someone might infer you're a paedophile, which would be bad for you. If you opt out of porn filters, you'll go down on a list of people who want porn. If you opt out of everything-filters, the only thing that can really be implied is that you want access to something, which is somewhat less easy to blackmail with.
glesica 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Which is, of course, an excellent reason such projects should never be tolerated in the first place. Government-mandated filters simply should not exist. Full stop. It's an easy question: Does the law in question require that access to publicly-available information be blocked in any way? If yes, then it is a bad law.
markbao 11 hours ago 4 replies      
The terrifying reality of censorship, as told through the lens of that of China:

"I knew of some Chinese migrants to Australia who watched a Tiananmen 10-year anniversary documentary, and apparently tears just streamed down their faces.

They had no clue that it ever happened."

whamill 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There are two aspects to the current debate:- The 'child porn keyword' web search filter mandated on all UK ISPs with no opt-in or opt-out- The 'opt-out porn block' which will be applied to all internet connections, from which people can opt-out in order to receive unfiltered results.

The first part hasn't received as much attention because it's harder to write a punchy article about the malicious nature of a government-supplied permanent search filter blacklist, and it isn't as easy to attack as the blocking of legal content such as pornography but this is where the real danger lies.

Once the government add all their 'illegal search terms' to the blacklist and have the appartus for such wide-ranging censorship set up, what is to stop them from adding terms unchecked and unguided to filter any "unwanted" material from web searches? If this had existed in the US, for example, when the NSA Verizon/PRISM stories were leaked, how easy would it be for them to simply add "Edward Snowden" or "The Guardian" or "PRISM" or even "NSA" to the search term blacklist? They would easily justify it on the grounds that the material leaked was classified or damaging to national security.

At this stage a majority of people would in hindsight agree that this leak is hugely important and in the public interest, but if these terms were blocked by the government then what?

Tyrannosaurs 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see some direct information on what was actually said by the ISPs and where it's come from. This article is a lot of speculation based on a statement that they've said something and then an existing service offered by one ISP. Clearly they're not going to block games and dating sites which this service does so it's not clear why we should assume that it's any sort of useful template for what's proposed.

ISPs have a stated objection to these proposals (if only because they understand what's really involved) and it feels to me a little like this could just be spin from their camp. Suggesting that this is the start of wider censorship would certainly be a way of pushing the public against it which would suit the ISPs cause.

None of which is to say that what they're saying is wrong or that it's good bad or indifferent, just that my reading of the article is that it doesn't really have much to support it's claims.

All that said we know for sure that the proposals will block things other than porn if only because it's almost impossible to accurately define porn or build a perfect filter for it based on whatever definition you have. There will be false positives and negatives both in terms of definition and implementation, meaning that stuff will absolutely be restricted which shouldn't be (and let through when it should). Good luck running an on-line site such as Ann Summers or Agent Provocateur, even when you're allowed shops in the high street.

x0054 10 hours ago 2 replies      
In my previous line of work, as a criminal lawyer, this is how this would be used:

Q: "Mr Smith, isn't it true that you willingly removed a filter on you Internet connection, places there for your safety, and the safety of your children, and now your connection allows you to watch hard core porn?" A: "But... I did it because.."Q: "Yes or no, Mr. Smith? Did you ask for the filters to be removed?"A: "Yes, bu..."Q: Thank you, Mr. Smitha

Fuxy 12 hours ago 4 replies      
There's no feasible way of blocking circumvention tools without causing massive collateral damage.

If they block SSH tunnels for instance no sysadmin will be able to do their job. Same for VPN. A lot of people work remotely.

I will laugh my ass off if they try to do that.

At the same time I won't be able to access my VPS anymore :(

smnrchrds 4 hours ago 0 replies      
When widespread Internet censorship started in Iran, they promised it will only be used for porn. Being a religious country, no one protested. I don't say everyone agreed, but because of all the stigma attached to porn, no one said a word or lifted an finger. What started as a porn-only filtering system expanded exponentially. Little by little, the number of unavailable websites grew. Nowadays, most of the internet is inaccessible from Iran. To name few instances:

YouTube, Vimeo and all other video-sharing websitesFlickr, imgur and all other photo-sharing websitesWordPress, Blogger and all other blogging platforms (and every blog on them)Facebook, Google+ and all other social networksBBC, CNN, NPR and almost all foreign news agencies...And also HTTPS rarely works. They have limited the HTTPS bandwidth so much it's impossible to use Gmail without a headache, in an effort to encourage everyone to disable it, thus making it easier for surveillance.

Dear British friends, it's a slippery slope. Don't let the same thing happen to you.

varmais 11 hours ago 2 replies      
There was a debate in Finland when the child porn filter was introduced a few years back. One guy had a website where he kept database of sites which were blocked but did not contain any child porn. Aftermath was that the site was added to list and that raised even more questions about the whole censorship idea. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapsiporno.info)

Unlike in Britain, the consumers did not have an option to opt out from the filter although it seems that majority of ISPs don't use it. Later on ISPs were forced to block piratebay.org and there have been discussions about blocking online poker sites etc, because Veikkaus enjoys monopoly in gambling and betting business in Finland.

javajosh 10 hours ago 2 replies      
You know what would make a lot of sense? Install these filters on every new device sold in the UK. Make them configurable, and even uninstallable, but defaulting to "blocked". That way if and when people choose to unblock something, it's a private matter between them and their device.

This achieves both the stated goal of protecting people from malicious content, and the freedom of people to consume malicious content, if they want to, in private.

nodata 12 hours ago 1 reply      
It turns out that the slope was very slippery indeed.
mcintyre1994 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Absolutely no way they'll ship with social networking blocked by default, it'll be dead on arrival. Every household will want social networking, and will enable that if they just skip through and realise they can't get to Facebook. Once they do that the whole systems pointless unless people actually see some benefit.
dcc1 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Us hackers need to make a new "web" a web where censorship is not possible and everything is encrypted, a "web" with no single points of failure, a "web" where domains cant snatched or censored, a "web" like the web used to be :(
w_t_payne 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's see which way the wind is blowing .... hmmm... I sense an opportunity for profit!

I think that I will create a business to develop technology that lets us block undesirable thoughts. We will use an EEG cap as the sensor, some machine learning to detect undesirable thoughts, then a bone-conduction speaker to play distracting and disorienting sounds whenever our detector is triggered.


Do you think I could get some government funding for this?

cle 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I can only interpret this as a power grab. This is not a sensible solution, it's an opportunistic solution.

I think many people in modern society don't understand the power of data. The NSA scandal has shown how much people underestimate the power companies can have when they own everyone's data. And similarly, they underestimate the power that a government can have when it owns everyone's data.

We need to do a better job of showing the lay person how much they're underestimating the value of their data, and how much power the data aggregators have.

frobozz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Pope is Catholic, Vatican reveals.
nutmeg 11 hours ago 1 reply      
If the concern is actually about enabling people to restrict what their children see, why not create and distribute a free, open-source software package that citizens can run on their own?

Obviously the question is rhetorical, but I'd like to see someone ask it.

majke 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I tried to look it up, but UK's law is still a mystery for me. Can someone help: what is a definition of ISP in the UK?

Especially: is a VPN provider an ISP?

Additionally, what definition of ISP is used in Mr Cameron's proposal?

buro9 10 hours ago 0 replies      
HN users in the UK should note: The default blocked items includes "web forums", potentially including HN.

You would have to opt-in to viewing such content as the default has you opted-out along with porn, violent material, extremist and terrorist related content.

triangle 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If you live in the UK, please consider signing the petition to stop the filters: https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/51746.

At the moment, it's sadly languishing at a mere 21,000 signatures. If it reaches 100,000 then that should trigger a parliamentary debate. I'm also going to send an email to my local MP. Does anyone have any other ideas for fighting this censorship?

huherto 11 hours ago 0 replies      
At least to me, the big problem with porn is that it can rise your thresholds of excitement, make you insensitive, and you can even become an addict. But our kids will (hopefully) live in a world where porn is prevalent. We should teach them (at the appropriate age) that it is something that they can enjoy but should be careful not to abuse it.

Anyway, the idea of getting the government involved on blocking porn (or anything) is really bad. I rather live in a world where we have to teach our children to be responsable than in a world where the government decides what they can and what they cannot see.

dobbsbob 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This filter is for the coming austerity cuts Cameron is about to roll out. He saw what happened in other countries and took a preemptive measure to be able to filter Twitter and other online protest organizing during times of "national security".
pavanred 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably a long shot but I was wondering if eventually this censoring functionality can be used to draw boundaries over the internet. Once you have the infrastructure in place to censor then there's very little needed to do extend the filters to censor other content.

For instance, nationalize the internet, perhaps block services from companies from other countries or tax such services to promote indigenous companies that provide similar services. The reasoning can be why not promote local businesses and provide them incentives by taxing or levying duties on services from other countries instead of letting a company from some other country making all the profits.

edit : typo

reidrac 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know how things are going to change but I ordered Talk Talk a couple of days ago and they only ask you if you want content filter and antivirus filter on; whatever you choose they say you can customise it later in your control panel.

So far I like what I have seen. I just don't want any filter, thanks, and I did't have to say why (ie. porn or anything else).

cmircea 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand one thing: how will this filter actually work?

Say I use Google or Bing or whatever over SSL. All traffic is encrypted end-to-end. How will the ISPs know I am searching for a forbidden term? Are they going to request a CA to issue certificates for google.com to ISPs?

ollysb 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The whole thing comes a bit unstuck when you realise that BT has had a system in place that allows parents to protect their children for years. The new approach doesn't seem to provide any benefits but succeeds in pissing off a great number of users.
fastball 12 hours ago 1 reply      
So what are the speculations on circumvention?

Would an unblocked proxy suffice, or do we think UK internet users would need to purchase a VPN?

Also, is the idea to block porn sites, or any site that contains pornographic content, like NSFW subreddits?

ollysb 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Slightly tin-foil, but any thoughts on the timing of this story? The intersection between those talking about the NSA and those that will be angered by the introduction of internet censorship is pretty perfect.
nly 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if Tim Berners-Lee has come out to say anything about this?

I believe he's expressed views in favour of net neutrality and against censorship in the past. With his participation in the Olympic ceremony perhaps, if he were to get in the news, the public would pay some attention.

xedarius 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have a problem with what your children are exposed to lock them in a box, not the internet.
spdy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The state nanny approach to internet censorship.
coldcode 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If everything goes through a filter then anything can be tapped and recorded as well.
runarberg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The internet filter at the caf I'm connected to at the moment (Stofan in Reykjavk, I'm sure some of you know the place) actually blocked me [following this link](http://www.siminn.is/lokad-a-sidu/).
cLeEOGPw 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If the block itself is only a technical measure, it only boosts alternative access methods. But if they make it illegal to do things like watch port or download torrents without government permission, like they do now with the requirement to hand over private encryption keys to the officials require them, then GB will become worse than China in the freedom of information flow aspect.
diminoten 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. $5/month VPN subscriptions will come with routers, pre-configured.
worksaf 12 hours ago 0 replies      
So basically its a business deal between Huawei and the UK and they're using the angle of "Think of the children" to sell the idea.
mcantelon 7 hours ago 0 replies      
i.e. D-notices.
Sephiroth87 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Doesn't really surprise me, since it's basically the same thing we already have on mobile connections...
grabhive 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The rapid growth of circumvention technologies is now assured.
pasbesoin 12 hours ago 1 reply      
As I've been saying for years, the Great Firewall of China is -- or was -- the prototype.

Look at its early history: Built with "Western" technology and consulting.

Did you think all these firms were creating a one-off?

And, the following observation is perhaps stretching the interpretation a bit (or not), but I find it somewhat ironic that, after all this, it is a Chinese company that is pushing this implementation forward. Use domestic market access to acquire the knowledge (sometimes, by hook or by crook), and then use your control of your own labor market to undersell the competition.

rqfowler 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The sad story of Facebook Platform pandodaily.com
321 points by rpsubhub  3 days ago   100 comments top 31
austenallred 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's worth noting that a lot of the apps that Facebook "killed off" (iLike, Social Reader, RockYou, Zynga games, etc.) really did detract from the user experience. Let's take Washington Post's Social Reader as a case study. You had to authorize the app in order to read the articles (that were often loaded with linkbait-y titles), and any time you did read (or click on) an article it automatically shared it with all of your Facebook friends. Zynga is another example; I'm sure I wasn't the only one constantly bombarded with invites to Whateverville. I had to unfriend some people to avoid them, because there was no way to turn them off.

It felt like these apps had found a hack that was taking advantage of the platform, but really this was just the result of the platform being poorly designed itself. The selling point for developers who picked up on it was, "You can make everyone who uses you spam all of their Facebook friends." Unfortunately spam, especially when it's coming from your friends, works like a charm. Facebook eventually had to stop allowing that before it let itself turn into a MySpace filled with little widgets.

Facebook's real problem wasn't just that it wanted to own everything itself, but that it didn't build the platform the right way in the first place.

jgon 3 days ago 2 replies      
Reading this article the one idea that persisted in my head was that this was a case of people not really knowing anything about ecology trying to create an ecosystem. Sure they used the word "Platform" and maybe that was actually the first clue, but what they really wanted was an ecosystem of actors creating increased value for their domain.

I think that my favorite piece of writing by Cory Doctorow is his essay "All Complex Ecosystems Have Parasites" and I thought of it early into this piece. Any ecosystem of any interest will always have parasites within it. When you attempt to indiscriminately remove them all you almost invariably end up with something sterile and far less interesting. When I discover a weed on my lawn, my reaction isn't to burn the lawn and pave it. Sure I wouldn't have any weeds that way, but a concrete sheet is far less interesting (to me at least) than a lush lawn. So I suck it up and deal with the weeds on a case by case basis, because that is the only way to do it without torching the rest of the ecosystem that I want to maintain. It seems like Facebook, when faced with the weed problem, went the concrete sheet route, torching both the parasites and the rest of the actors that actually made up the ecosystem. Sure, it means that there are no more weeds, but it means that there also aren't any of the other organisms that create value in your ecosystem.

Another thing to consider is the energy cost of "putting down roots" so to speak in an ecosystem and evolving with changes. An organism has to spend energy to establish itself within an ecosystem, and it also has to spend energy changing itself to adapt to changes in the environment. Every joule of energy it spends doing this is a joule it doesn't spend enriching the ecosystem it is a part of. Going back to my lawn, I don't change the soil composition every year, and I also don't pull up the grass and set it back down to resod every 6 weeks. Eventually it would die, because I would be forcing it to spend all of its energy adapting to changes I introduce rather than helping the ecosystem thrive. And then I'm back to my barren field problem.

I don't have a good ecosystem analogy for competing against their developers, but I will note that it can be framed in energy terms again. Any other organism, after watchers other repeatedly expend their energy in a particular ecosystem only to be crushed will likely decide against attempting to establish themselves in your ecosystem and instead choose one of several other competing ecosystems, even those that appear initially less attractive, because what is the use if you likely end up failing anyway?

So, my takeaway given only my shallow knowledge of what happened based on this article is that other organizations attempting to establish an ecosystem (and that is really what they want when they say platform) and reap the numerous benefits that an ecosystem can produce should spend some time thinking about how ecosystems become established and thrive in the real world before charging clumsily forward with their own naive attempts.

mratzloff 3 days ago 6 replies      
Facebook made three clear mistakes:

- Not building in a revenue model into their platform, like Apple did with iOS. This is so stupid.

- Not creating clear and consistent access rules around the social graph and notifications, with the ability to throttle down (but not altogether remove) access for offenders. They could even automate the throttling based on user feedback (in the form of clicks).

- Breaking things constantly. My brief, frustrating experience maintaining a Facebook application consisted of the app breaking every two weeks as Facebook somewhat randomly changed things without warning.

All of these were pretty foreseeable.

freshhawk 3 days ago 1 reply      
Facebooks inconstant behavior on Platform, however, has never been malicious. Rather, it is a result of an engineering-led culture"

Seems me and pandodaily have a different definition of "engineer". I'm not an engineer, as I don't have an engineering degree, but I do feel bad for my friends who do, are professionals, and get grouped in with the type of programmers who are just haphazardly winging it to this degree.

"has never been malicious": heh, the argument is that encouraging businesses to rely on a platform that intentionally and knowingly doesn't deliver isn't malicious because the root cause is incompetence or not caring. Not sure about that one.

DominikR 2 days ago 0 replies      
My experience with building an alternative Android Facebook client (which naturally uses almost every part of the API):

1) Just keeping up with documented and undocumented breaking changes is probably a full time job.

2) Expect that some feature of the API breaks every 2 weeks, especially login on their Android SDKs cannot be relied upon.(reliable for me is the industry standard for server uptime usually advertised - 99.99999%) If your application just uses few parts of the API it probably once every 1 or 2 months.

3) Substract 0.5 to 1.0 points from the rating of your app in the Android or iOS app store, depending on how heavy you rely on Facebook, because of the instability of their APIs.

4) Expect to spend at least a day per month writing bug reports. (Or just give up like I did)

5) You will do lots of reverse engineering to work around the bugs which they are constantly creating at a mind blowing rate.

My final conclusion after almost 2 years of working with their APIs (as a good actor) for my app (link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.flipster&h...) is that I will never ever ever build again something that relies that much on Facebook.

If I need a friends list in a future project, I'll just use the users telephone book, like I already did on a VoIP/Messaging app for mobile that I built for the company I work for.

If I need private messaging I'll just set up my own XMPP server.

If I need login, I will sure as hell save myself the headache of using their fucked up (and even when it is working - bad converting) login, and build one myself!

aaronbrethorst 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is ridiculous. Facebook is the de facto identity provider for a large fraction of mobile and web. If Facebook had let their platform continue in the original direction it was going, it would've choked off their core value prop (social networking) with spam.

And the Facebook Platform has provided significant value for non-games, too. Spotify, for instance, is only as popular as it is because of its early integration with Facebook.

Could FB have handled their platform better? Yes absolutely. The constant API changes and failures caused no end of headaches for developers and significantly reduced their platform's value. But, I think the claims in this article are ridiculous.

callmeed 3 days ago 4 replies      
Here is the money line (IMO):

> Outside of games, there has been no killer Facebook app.

Given the current policies, I'm not sure what killer app could exist other than maybe dating.

I've done a lot of fiddling and prototyping on the Facebook platform and API (albeit mostly on the business/page side). With every-changing policies and API specs, no startup founder should consider anything more than Facebook "features"never anything your business model hinges on.

haberman 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article fails to consider the (possibly very legitimate) reasons why Facebook backed away from this.

To me, the two biggest ones are:

1. As others have said, spammy apps hugely detracted from the experience of using Facebook.

2. I haven't seen this discussed elsewhere, but I think it's huge: Facebook apps were never allowed to serve dynamic content on people's profile pages. This significantly impaired how rich, useful, and "social" these apps could actually be.

For example, I used to work for BillMonk, which was a way of tracking social, informal debt between friends. It should have been a perfect app for Facebook. But it wasn't possible for us to serve content in our widget that would give you up-to-date information about how much you owed a friend (or they owed you). You had to "push" your updates to this content, as I recall, but it wasn't technically feasible for us to push content updates to Facebook every time there was a change to our database.

I think Facebook imposed this limitation very deliberately for a very good reason: if an app could serve dynamic content, it could also monitor how users were using Facebook. Someone could create a "stalker" app to tell you who was visiting your profile. If such a thing existing it would significantly deter people from using Facebook. You'd have to think before every click about the social implications of visiting the next page.

It's an important part of Facebook's model that you can look at whatever you want without looking like a stalker.

at-fates-hands 3 days ago 3 replies      
Weve designed Facebook Platform so that applications from third-party developers are on a level playing field with applications built by Facebook"

I can't imagine people were so naive they would think Facebook would let this platform be a "level playing field".

jliptzin 2 days ago 0 replies      
A very well-written and judicious obituary of Facebook Platform. I started building for it shortly after it launched, in late 2007. I had high hopes for it; I felt I was at the forefront of 'the next big thing,' like others, so I invested a lot of my time into it. I made apps that served millions of people, one of which reached #1 in DAU at one point among all apps (back when they ranked apps by DAU).

As a lone developer keeping up with the changes and additions wasn't easy - I literally ran the gamut - from FBML to FBJS to FQL to xd_receiver.htm to the JS SDK to FB Credits to Graph API. Initially I cut them some slack - it was a new platform, and we all make mistakes.

But things never really got better. I couldn't tell you how many times I came across 4, 5, 6 different ways to do the same (seemingly simple) interaction with the platform, only one of which worked, and of course not the officially documented method. Or inaccurate or nonexistent API docs. Or how many times my app would suddenly break without pushing any changes - I became accustomed to just waiting it out until Facebook would release a patch for whatever they broke, and have to tell my users to just wait it out. This would usually occur Tuesday night/Wednesday if I remember correctly.

Solutions to problems would usually lie in an obscure forum post after about 10 minutes of googling, posted by another friendly developer who probably tore his hair out looking for a solution. Ah, the camaraderie. Here's a recent one I just came across (and they're not hard to find) http://stackoverflow.com/questions/16649634/ios-url-scheme-f...Accepted answers that start with "Facebook seems to have..." and end with "change or remove them completely at will" tend to give developers more than a few gray hairs.

It also doesn't help that Facebook tends to treat developers like sheep. At first this didn't bother me - after all, they weren't forcing me to build apps for them, and I was free to leave at any time. In the early days I'd contact developer support (I don't think there's a published number) to report bugs/issues, suggest improvements, or genuinely ask for help with a problem. I never got a single non-automated response. Not once. So I stopped wasting my time and just became more and more bitter with every breaking change.

The 30% credits tax was the inflection point of the downfall. IMHO, that was a "me too" response to Apple's iOS platform (coincidence that they came up with the same fee structure?) and was, for me, the tell-tale sign that they were no longer interested in their developers' well being. Yes, I understand they need to make money. I am all for ringing the cash register. But Apple and Facebook are different platforms. Apple has a highly trafficked worldwide app store. They let me put my app icon on my users' home screens (that's valuable real estate), and I could push out unlimited notifications to my users' devices to keep them engaged and coming back with one click, among other things. Facebook has no such equivalents. I guess you could argue you're paying for the viral distribution, but after they've heavily curtailed their viral channels and people have become more and more immune to app invites, there's really no way to get free distribution anymore from Facebook. You still need to be buying ads, mostly from them.

If they wanted to make money and curtail spam, all they had to do was charge developers by each notification, invite, or newsfeed post they'd send out. Set a fixed price per message, or use a competitive auctioning system like adwords. The crapplications would never be able to afford their own spam.

I've since migrated my apps away from Facebook, either to mobile or on standalone web sites. Needless to say, my life as a developer has gotten a lot easier, and since I have more time to focus on improving my apps rather than keeping up with breaking changes, I'm doing better than I ever have before.

dasil003 3 days ago 0 replies      
Admittedly I did not make it through the whole article, but the comparison to iOS early on is laughable. The difference is A) access to a social graph of your friends and their trivial online activities vs B) a powerful touch screen computer in your pocket.

The Facebook API did not have some incredible mishandled potential. Instead, it was a very cool and forward-thinking API that had to constantly be modified to fight spam and keep up with Facebook's rapidly evolving product (which is a couple orders of magnitude more engaging now than it was in 2007 I might add).

Sure the Facebook API could have been better managed. Documentation and stability could have been better for sure. Maybe even the features could have been better. But the Facebook API is not a world changer. The Twitter API is more along the lines of a world changer, but they decided they needed to build the most profitable business possible and being plumbing was not in the cards. The Facebook API is a way to bolster the core Facebook product (which is amazing, probably the most engaging product ever created in human history short of addictive substances). This idea that if they just did right by developers it could have been so much more amazing is just a cyberpunk fantasy. The Facebook API could never be more than a reflection of a product.

Looking back on the mashup era, the future is not going to be from the goodwill of corporations to provide amazing APIs. Rather it will be open source, open protocols and open data that allow for true advancement in the state of the art.

s3r3nity 3 days ago 1 reply      
<dropping knowledge> What many people don't know is that the motto never was intended to be "move fast & break things." Rather, it's "move fast and don't be afraid to break things." Slightly less bold, yes, but definitely more empowering to feel confident and not be afraid to take risks.

There's a bit of internal debate that now that the phrase has been shortened that it's used as an excuse to be sloppy for the sake of "getting shit done" (as they say at Box). Still, given that I used to work at places where mistakes were consistently held against you, I like the idealism here.</dropping knowledge>

zachallia 3 days ago 0 replies      
The two most painful patterns over the course of Platforms early life were:

1. The lack of timely bug fixes and the lack of internal Facebook developer contact with external developers. The only consistent employee at Facebook in the IRC channel was Joel Seligstein. I also actually directly heard one of the Platform PMs say that she thought "triage" meant high priority. They did hold events but that was more a social gathering than anything.

2. The ridiculous lack of spam control and enforcement of policies on the large developers. It's easy to see why people started disliking apps looking back at how much time users had to spend sifting through spam notifications!

steven2012 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has unfortunately been my experience with the Facebook Platform as well. I remember talking with someone 5 years ago, saying that Facebook would be the one site that they log into in the morning, they would get their daily news, their friends updates, their word processing, etc. They would never have to leave the site.

Instead, it hasn't done any of this, and their best attempt at monetization is "Would you like to buy your friend a gift on their birthday?"

It was obvious with Zynga how quickly things could go viral, and yes, sometimes things were extremely spammy, but for the most part, you could have a lot of fun apps on Facebook. Now, there are almost no apps left, except core Facebook. The only thing people appear to use it for is to get login information, or for mobile-type contacts information.

I tried making my own Facebook app, and ran into a bunch of issues, including really poor documentation. You couldn't even google for things, because things changed so quickly that you couldn't tell which was the most recent information. It wasn't a pleasant experience at all. It's too bad, because like the article says, there was so much more potential than what it has turned into. And I know people have been saying this for years, but I really am seeing a lot more of my friends simply stop logging into Facebook now, because it's boring. It will be interesting to see if they have what it takes to make bold, innovative moves to make the platform more attractive again.

jeena 3 days ago 0 replies      
Back then I also was working on a Facebook app, not only working but I even finished it. You were find restaurants in whole europe and book a table right from facebook inviting your friends and stuff. We were just kicking in the advertising machinery when we found out that one of our core features, messaging your friends (about that you got a table for all of you) wasn't allowed anymore. This was one of the main reasons our application never took of, the other was that FBML was really slow, so while I had a normal HTML view which rendered in perhaps 300 ms the roundtrip for FBML from the browser to a facebook server then to our server then back to facebook and finally to the browser always took more then two seconds.

But honestly, even if I was disappointed about all the fuckups we as developers had to deal with, as a user I am really happy about the fact that there are no attention claiming apps on Facebook, it is actually therefore I still use Facebook, in my free time as a normal user.

coldcode 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe Microsoft will buy Facebook and kill two birds with one stone.
killermonkeys 3 days ago 0 replies      
For all this article's many faults, at least it is long-form and has more than two sources. I hope PandoDaily continues to support long-form journalism and I hope they inspire other tech blogs to do the same.
sidcool 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have had a difficult reading relationship with pandodaily. After some good initial articles, they started producing trash. This article, for a change, is reasonably good.
mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the "Release now, figure it out later" came to haunt them. By accepting so many crappy apps, the overall experience declined. They also got no revenue out of it. Yes, some of the 3rd party apps were leeches on the motherships. Many more were innocent victims. Now we have an environment of diminishing utilization, and no apps. How many people really use Facebook now more than 12 months ago? Or 3 years ago?
dano414 3 days ago 2 replies      
My problem with facebook; it's a reminder of how muchour current society bothers me. At first is was cute--kind of, but as the time went on it just got nauseating.The narcissismThe birthdaysThe baby picture--animals fine, but enough with your spawn.The touching quotesThe pictures of what you ate.The head tilted portrait.The reminder that people don't change.

Actually, the only facebook posts I can stomach are from the Amish--sad, but true.

shmerl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Right now, social networks are closed platforms, Zuckerberg said. And today, were going to end that.

Impossible (for Facebook). Open platforms are open decentralized social networks like Diaspora. Facebook will always have profiles exploitation interest and it's a failure by default for anyone caring about openness of the Web.

thetrumanshow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook likely used the platform as a way to spam you and all your friends by proxy. Thus, the apps took the heat and Facebook got the boost in growth it needed. Well executed I say.
lazyBilly 3 days ago 0 replies      
Their platform is ok. It jittered a lot, and I'm really not a big fan of the social graph, but some stuff is good, some stuff is bad, it's on the balance ok.

The problem is that they're selling advertising access to their people. That's all they're selling, via direct ads or graph access and 'sharing'. Impressions. Period. So there's a very natural friction between people who are investing a bunch of dev time and expecting their impressions for free and facebook, who doesn't want you to piss off their users with a bunch of spammy ads without at least paying them for it. So facebook is locking it down, little by little, and all the devs who were used to getting something for nothing are seeing their marketing vector dwindle little by little (unless you pay).

The whole 'review process' I found extra annoying, though. I will tolerate that shit from Apple, but not from facebook.

mindcrime 3 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook Platform, as conceived, was just a bad idea anyway. Zuck nailed it when he said that "today social networks are closed systems" but here's the kicker - Platform didn't really do anything to change that. They wanted people to build apps to run inside of Facebook, not to communicate with Facebook. They weren't ever tearing down the garden walls, they were asking everybody else to move into the garden with them. And most people didn't and the people who did (mostly) realized that it was a mistake.

I think they finally moved on from that a bit, but the "let's run an app inside a social network" thing was always of very limited value.

hans 3 days ago 0 replies      
we really thought fB was going to become the user auth + data persistence layer for the entire web as they were pumping this platform idea: like noone would need to build user account storage ever again, and all the world would base their user accounts on top of fB ... that would've been worth billion$ but n0t g0nna happ3n.
_sabe_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's like a curse in the software industry to innovate oneself to death.
ergit 3 days ago 0 replies      
"North Americas Kik"

Why not just say Canada?

untilHellbanned 3 days ago 0 replies      
Welcome, surprisingly honest reporting on facebook by tech press.
azeemk 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is cool. On MSFT buying someone, I hope it ends up being bbry
Existential Depression in Gifted Children davidsongifted.org
316 points by JacksonGariety  5 days ago   175 comments top 51
simonsarris 5 days ago 15 replies      
While I've read a fair bit of existentialist works I've never seen this term, but I think I know what it means. I also think the article would be improved by just titling itself "Existential Depression". The narrow focus is odd, even if true, and might serve better as a footnote.

There's the strangest feeling I come across from time to time, and I think "come across" is the only good way to describe it. Everyone has bouts of doubt and melancholy, I think or would like to think, but there's something much larger that creeps up that becomes harder to relate. In spite of the difficulty to describe, I could imagine anyone might feel this way, not just gifted children.

I always called it "The Cosmic Sadness", which is a name that I came up with after experiencing the feelings while I was reading about heat death of the universe (and associated articles) on Wikipedia[1]. This feeling ends up upsetting (not quite right, maybe disquieting) me much more than things like the death of a pet or a family member.

It doesn't only have to do with cosmological things, but I think it addresses the scope of the feeling, where you get this sensation of being so zoomed out, so encompassed by (perhaps) all that might be, that you have a hard time coming back down to being you.

It's like when you ponder the plight of some character in a novel you're reading, and you empathize enough to get a little upset, then you remember that none of that is real and its OK you've gone one level up now back to real life, no one is suffering like the character in the novel. You "snap out of it" - There's de-escalation, and some relief. But with the cosmic sadness there is no going up one level, it's all there to ponder and still real. No snapping out of it.

I was shocked by how this article ended because the only way of coping I have (other than mere time), to de-escalate this feeling, is literature and poetry. I tend to read several poems a day[2] as a kind of cathartic ritual, and poetry brings a comfortable way to remember (or re-realize) the very meaningful and concrete parts of experience, so I end up surrounding myself with it, finding the most comfort in it.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe

[2] For example Where to Live, by Du Fu: https://gist.github.com/simonsarris/5472121

Du Fu is a favorite of mine because he lived during a time that experienced one of the largest losses of human life on the planet (an lushan rebellion), so a lot of his poetry dithers between bleakness and hope. Somehow this makes it easy for me to reflect (perspective) and draw some inner sympathy for everything.

tokenadult 5 days ago 1 reply      
From the article, which is about a topic I discuss frequently in other online communities (including online communities hosted by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates the website hosting the submitted article):

"In essence, then, we can help many persons with existential depressions if we can get them to realize that they are not so alone"

And this is why I strenuously oppose the term "existential depression" as a supposed designation of something that is rare in most people and more common among people who are "gifted." There is no evidence of such a thing. Rather, treating giftedness as a condition of life different from what most of our fellow human beings experience magnifies the sense of aloneness that too much of the gifted education literature promotes among people identified as gifted.

When I was young, I read a science fiction story by author Philip K. Dick in which he made a statement I have seen made in much the same form by many of the lousier authors on gifted education: that if your IQ is high, you are as different from above-average people as retarded persons are from normal people. That's baloney. The social distance hypothesis of IQ has little empirical support, and seems mostly to be a cultural hang-up of twentieth century America. When I lived in east Asia (after majoring in Chinese language at university) as a young adult, I discovered a new cultural perspective, the cultural perspective that if a person is smart, there is hardly anything better to do with the smarts than to learn how to get along with other people. As Confucius said, ("wherever three persons are walking, my teacher is surely among them"). Whatever my IQ score, I have plenty to learn from essentially everyone, and plenty of reason to feel kinship with my fellow human beings.

There is, however, a kind of isolation of the gifted that must be specifically counteracted. And that is the isolation of the gifted education literature, like the article kindly submitted here (by an author I have met at several conferences on gifted education) from the mainstream literature of psychology. Most gifted education gurus, and the author of this article is a salient example, have their highest formal degrees in education, from schools of education (such as from a "directional state university" that historically was a "normal school" for training teachers). The most rigorous research on human psychology--and psychologists have recently been painfully aware that all too little research on psychology is rigorous at all--



is gained by persons whose highest formal degree is in psychology, from a major research university. Very little of the best insights gained from recent decades of psychological research seeps into schools of education, especially those schools of education that have programs in gifted education.

The late author Dabrowski mentioned promptly in the article kindly submitted here and in much gifted education literature is an admittedly obscure writer (as acknowledged in the only book that collects commentary on his ideas,


which I read part of recently) who produced essentially no testable hypotheses. Dabrowski's ideas are vague and open-ended enough to allow making up dozens of anecdotes when speaking at conferences on gifted education, but provide no guidance whatsoever to help young people face tough issues in personal development.

The bottom line: the term "existential depression" is a euphemism used in the gifted education community for the same depression experienced by many people of varied IQ levels. The correct statement in the article submitted here is the statement that you help people experiencing depression by encouraging them to feel less isolated from the rest of humankind. And one of the best ways to do that for gifted people is to emphasize their commonality with the rest of humankind, rather than their IQ scores or poor fit age-graded school programs.


Arun2009 5 days ago 0 replies      
I googled Dabrowski and Positive Disintegration Experience and was led to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_Disintegration

I found the following especially interesting:

Dbrowski also described a group of people who display a different course: an individualized developmental pathway. These people break away from an automatic, rote, socialized view of life (which Dbrowski called negative adjustment) and move into and through a series of personal disintegrations. Dbrowski saw these disintegrations as a key element in the overall developmental process. Crises challenge our status quo and cause us to review our self, ideas, values, thoughts, ideals, etc. If development continues, one goes on to develop an individualized, conscious and critically evaluated hierarchical value structure (called positive adjustment). This hierarchy of values acts as a benchmark by which all things are now seen, and the higher values in our internal hierarchy come to direct our behavior (no longer based on external social mores). These higher, individual values characterize an eventual second integration reflecting individual autonomy and for Dbrowski, mark the arrival of true human personality. At this level, each person develops his or her own vision of how life ought to be and lives it. This higher level is associated with strong individual approaches to problem solving and creativity. One's talents and creativity are applied in the service of these higher individual values and visions of how life could be - how the world ought to be. The person expresses his or her "new" autonomous personality energetically through action, art, social change and so on.

angersock 5 days ago 2 replies      
The only two real issues I've got with this article are that it limits itself in scope to the "gifted" and that it limits itself to children.

As for the latter issue, I suspect that this may fit into a broader work or area that the author presumes readers are familiar with--these issues are certainly seen in teenagers and afterwards.

As for the first point, a bit of a cliche but still accurate is the saying "The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike"; at some level, everyone I've met sharp or dull, gifted or not has run up against some version of the four issues (death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness). It may take until middle age and a house and a picket fence and seventy grand in debt, but it hits eventually.

One of the best realizations I've come to is that everyone, at some level or another, faces these problems in their own way and that I should try and respect their experience--because for them, their existential conflict is at least as severe as my own, their circumstances and stakes at least as dire.

What struck me as interesting was the author's specifically calling out touch as a mechanism for grounding and comfort--this struck a chord with me when I read it. It's part of the reason I have dogs: there is a very real touchable physical presence of pet, something to hold and hug and pet when you're mulling over some of the day's shittiness.

tl,dr; life's a bitch, get a dog.

MichaelAza 5 days ago 3 replies      
I cried a little.

I'm 18 and since 3rd grade I was in a special class for gifted children. I know this feeling so well, from my experience and from those of my classmates and friends, it literally hurts.

I'm no psychiatrist but from my nonobjective personal experience depression in gifted children and your regular "normal" teenage depression are completely different, in symptoms as well as in cause, which I think the article illustrates nicely.

I think the people criticizing the article for focusing on children and on gifted children specifically don't understand it's a whole different world. There are whole fields of study in psychology, psychiatry, education studies and other fields that focus on gifted children because they need a completely different system to thrive. People, especially family and educators, need to know about this.

asolove 5 days ago 1 reply      
A somewhat different response is found in "The drama of the gifted child," which argues that gifted children, having been singled out for attention because of their impressive abilities, become dependent on validation from authority figures and then have trouble adapting to self-directed life as an adult: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0465016901
narrator 5 days ago 1 reply      
The book that taught me to spiritually make sense of a world that is a constant let down was "The Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov. The author wrote it in secret while living with totalitarianism and meaninglessness in Stalinist Russia.

If you're not in the mood for a book, there's a great mini-series adaptation that was produced in Russia in the 2000s that takes about a week to watch. It does an almost perfect job of reproducing the book. I don't think it's available online.

Vivtek 5 days ago 2 replies      
Gifted children are intense? Has the author ever actually been around children? They're all intense. That's the nature of children!

Of course, they may simply all be gifted until they're hammered into their little social boxes; I've often thought that. Some of us weirdos just can't be hammered as efficiently, or break before bending or something.

kapv89 5 days ago 1 reply      
I faced this "existential" crisis of a pretty severe nature in my college years. I kept reading stuff about psychology, philosophy, and physics in the hopes of an answer. The first breakthrough against this existential demon came in the form of a course "non-linear dynamics and chaos", the ability of chaotic equations to exhibit life and nature like behaviour, and understanding that life is chaotic, and so is nature. The second one came when I realized that philosophy and reason itself are handicapped, insufficient, powerless against this existential dilemma. The third one came while reading Carl Jung and his work, the fact that consciousness is a very small produce of the biological system that is human body. Fourth when I read Nietzsche's "On Truth and Untruth", which again showed how our speech has taken the form of animal's claws, we fight, threaten etc mostly by what we say, that's like a higher level of abstraction over the physical equivalent. Then there was Tolstoy, who pointed out that its logical that we humans, if we really want to stay true to ourselves, need a god, or something higher than ourselves to believe in, because logically, if you are going to die, there is no reason to live, yet every human and animal does. Then there was "Black Swan" by Taleb, which drilled the idea into my head that we humans don't know even a tenth as much as we think we do. And then there was programming, actually building systems that exist outside of you and do something.

Over the years, I developed the worldview that as human body is formed by numerous of organisms working together, and how futile would it be for a "red blood cell", in all its consciousness, to ask "what is my purpose ?", the same way its futile for human to ask about his/her place in the universe. I started trying to live more like animals do (or rather, how a human animal would live if it only had nature imposing rules on it), copying nature for decision-making, and general wisdom (it even helps me with my work). We humans are basically nature forming a greater system , the human society, which then again competes with many other greater systems formed by other organisms, and till now, has been doing pretty well.

I also have given up trying to control my conscious thought and efforts too much. I trust the biological system that this consciousness came out of to provide me with a better judgement than I can come up with consciously.

Its been around 2.5 years since i cleared up the existential crisis in my head, and my growth since then has even astounded me. I have become better, much better in all spheres of life, and I can't remember a time I was more happier than these 2.5 years

molbioguy 5 days ago 2 replies      
Giftedness is misunderstood. That even highly educated audiences don't get this is evident in some of the comments here. Giftedness is terribly named. It is more affliction than blessing. Giftedness is rare. Gifted kids are not the same as brilliant high achievers. They have high IQ's but are also underachievers (by regular standards, not some elevated bar) and often dropouts. They should be highly successful but are not and often commit suicide. Gifted children are routinely dismissed as overly privileged or advantaged kids, and usually do not get any special needs attention in schools. People see their intellectual side and ignore their emotional needs and problems. I can say from personal experience that while gifted kids are exceptional in many ways, they also tend to lead difficult lives with many challenges because they are so deeply misunderstood. Even by their own parents.
sidcool 5 days ago 3 replies      
I faced some of these issues during my early teens. It went away after that. Now I am 29 and facing the mid life crisis that the author has mentioned. It's a confused state of big dreams and crushing reality.
asveikau 5 days ago 4 replies      
Not sure why the emphasis is on children especially. This seems to affect thoughtful people of all ages.

Or maybe, in that thoughtful, existentially-depressed way, the author is just understatedly asserting that adults are just big children. That would probably be overthinking it.

6ren 5 days ago 1 reply      
"As intelligence goes up, happiness goes down. See, I made a graph. I make lots of graphs." - Lisa Simpson
nate_martin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Site is giving a 500 error, here is the gcached version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:piXqTtN...
fexl 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The article says that freedom refers to the absence of external structure, as if it's a grim state of confused aimlessness. I say that freedom refers to the absence of external coercion, which is a happy state of purpose and possibility.
meric 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have felt those things before but then one day I had an epiphany. Everything in this universe, living or dead, are all made of the same universe, like gems cut from the same rock. So that even when I find myself having difficulties with someone, something or even idea, I remind myself that we're all in this together. The universe is us, its what we choose to make of it. The universe isn't just one state of the universe but rather the transitions between one state after another, just like how a movie isn't just the current frame I see, but rather all the frames put together, and although the movie is going to end, we don't know how the story is going to go. That part, is up to us, so let's create something beautiful.
danbmil99 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have to point out that a good percentage of people seem to gravitate towards religious, spiritual, mystical, or other basically non-reason-based thought patterns, I suspect to help alleviate this sense of existential hopelessness. Perhaps these "gifted children" find it harder to go down that particular route, for obvious reasons.
AYBABTME 5 days ago 0 replies      
Let's all get in a circle and talk about our experience as gifted children.
jwheeler79 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I was in the third or fourth grade, I had an extreme form of this type of depression that lasted for maybe a year or longer. Instead of just reflecting on the meaning of life, I worried reality might not be real and understood even then at my young age there's no way to prove the people around me weren't constructs of my imagination. I came to these conclusions independently without ever hearing of Brain in a Vat, Evil Genius, or watching The Matrix, and it was very terrifying back then.

As I've grown up, I still realize there's no way to prove the world around me is real, but I'm glad I encountered this theory so young because I've had a good while to be motivated by the fact that it doesn't matter if it isn't real. What matters is what I do with this experience and how much joy I get out of it.

JacksonGariety 5 days ago 0 replies      
If a mod sees this, they should change the URL to this:


The link I posted was a re-blog on a website with a nicer reading experience.

zachlatta 5 days ago 1 reply      
A well written piece. The excessive use of "gifted" works against its intentions though. By referring exclusively to "gifted" children the author is throwing up a wall. Everyone has different levels of care and thought when it comes to the world around us.
csense 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think there are two separate issues here:

(1) Existential depression, and

(2) Gifted kids have difficulties because adults don't talk to them as equals, and their concerns and thought processes are difficult for their peers to comprehend.

hayksaakian 5 days ago 2 replies      
"The average person believes themselves to be above average"


ausjke 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have two kids both starting at age4 questioned me about death. I don't believe in God so it's hard to calm them, but there is no better way to comfort them, so I say we will all go to heaven when we die.

One day we visited my grandparents cemetery,my boy started crying, and asked me why my grandparents are buried here while I said people went to heaven when they are dead. I had to say that our body remains here, but our soul/spirit go to heaven and we live there.

Then one night he tears again, then cry, when I ask, he said if it's just spirits/souls go to heaven, we won't even have a face there, our family will never be able to recognize each other, and we won't be able to re-unite in heaven.

I almost cried myself.

alexvr 5 days ago 5 replies      
I think this is a really pathetic reason to be depressed. And these "gifted" people have it all wrong. No, the laws of physics don't directly dictate that all governments be democratic, or that people drive on the right side of the road. But if they thought about the world on a deeper level, they would realize that there is structure, and that it's breathtakingly-beautiful (albeit subtle and not always easy to pick up on when you don't explicitly seek it). No, you don't get to be a teacher's pet for your whole life, and you don't get paid for doing well on IQ tests. But one person can have an impact on the world: sometimes, a very pervasive, meaningful one. I fail to see why some gifted children can't appreciate the world and their existence enough to at least have a good time and explore it a bit. You only get to do it once, and you won't get the chance to do everything the world has to offer, but you should consider yourself lucky to be conscious in the first place. My theory is that kids labeled "gifted" end up dwelling on their "ability" to the point where they actually think they are entitled to something outside educational institutions. Or maybe they fail to realize, to their chagrin, that IQ grossly belies proportional intelligence, especially after a certain point, and that IQ tests don't measure what it takes to make a meaningful difference in the world. People like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are unequivocally gifted, but they don't dwell on it; they don't statistically determine the probability that they will make a difference; they don't spend their time researching IQ tests or bragging about their intellect; they go out and do their best to change the world. And they do.
themodelplumber 5 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed reading that--especially the poem at the end (I remember mentally rolling my eyes the first time I read it, thinking the message was self-evident. But in this context it's just wonderful).

I do wish this sort of message could be part of an effective, formulaic prescription that could be doled out to web surfers who are suffering. "Depressed about things? Just keep scrolling down...watch this TED talk, heed this advice, read this article..." My friend who surfs the web all day and who tells me he has his suicide all planned out--I wish he could stumble on these things more often. Maybe instead of a "CSS Site of the Day Award" badge there could be a "Contemplating Suicide?" badge...

Another example, I wish I had learned before I became a film major that imagery is powerful, and that our brains can confuse on-screen trauma with real trauma. I suffered needlessly--and that sounds ridiculous and maybe funny, thinking about a film major with wide eyes wondering just what he signed up for--but I watched things that I will never forget, and that have become part of a mental burden I work to release now that I'm a bit more experienced in discerning what I can and can't handle.

I guess it pains me to think that while there are things we can do to ease others' pain, there are many extremely simple, almost thoughtless ways by which that existential depression worsens. Watch the wrong film. Read the wrong book. Make the wrong song lyric your mantra. (Wrong...well, maybe inappropriate is a better term; something that takes into account one's personal state) Traditions, cultures, microcultures...transcending that sort of thing is harder than most people realize, and certainly doesn't happen on autopilot.

amerika_blog 5 days ago 0 replies      
Having some experience in this area:

Gifted children are aware just how dysfunctional this society is.

They aren't fooled by shiny things. They look at the structure of things and analyze them.

Thus they're a high-risk group because while most people see a few scattered small problems, gifted kids see one big problem.

Naturally, there are solutions to that including contexting and acceptance therapy, but those are never provided.

I bet they'll find gifted kids have a higher suicide rate, too, especially as an empire nears its collapse.

e12e 5 days ago 0 replies      
"In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion." -- Douglas Adams
INTPenis 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not saying I was ever overly gifted, I was just a very introvert child who spent a lot of time thinking and through that became depressed about my seemingly pointless existence.

Well I just wanted to say that what helped later in adult years was discovering true love. I know it sounds corny but once you realize that life on this earth is short, and that short time can be used to experience great feelings of love and togetherness with other humans, you do feel less depressed about it.

return0 5 days ago 0 replies      
In the end all psychology boils down to our brain circuits. It is interesting that nature has shaped us so that we have a constant existential anxiety, maybe it even served some evolutionary purpose (or maybe not, and it's just a side effect that becomes more evident to the few gifted children)
oneiros 5 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me a bit of the short film "Kid's Story" from The Animatrix. It revolves around a teenager who is waking up to the possibility of the matrix who finds himself alone in a world full of people unaware of its existence. He seeks the help of those who are woken up, specifically, Neo. In a way he is like these children, aware of the fleeting nature of life, waking up to these issues.

I recently had a psilocybin mushroom trip that resulted in a bit of temporary derealization during which I needed one of my friends to hold me just so that I knew I was real. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life, but through it I learned that our existence in this world is entirely a perception of the mind, and that we create our reality through each and every action we take and each thought that we make. Particularly one of my most profound insights was that the concept of time is irrelevant, for there is only the now, and when one is able to perceive the now, then one can be free from the grasps of what if and can one see what is.

I find it difficult to convey these feelings with other people, as I often find them saying things like "yeah, that's interesting", but I can see that they do not truly understand. There are some that do however and for those who do I am grateful. For the children and those of you who find yourself in this "existential depression", I can only offer this...

Create. Create art, create music, create life. If you can leave something behind for the rest of the universe, then your life was not for nothing, for you created something, were a part of something. This at the very least is all that we can do, and that is okay, for even if all you can do is make someone smile, you have created a ripple in the world that will manifest itself as a wave in the lives of those who carry on.

davidxc 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think almost everyone struggles with this type of depression at some point in life.

I'm not sure how much being gifted has to do with it. Strangely, one of the things that has helped develop my framework for life is a fanfiction (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality) [1], written by Eliezer Yudkowsky.

I think it's been recommended several times before on Hacker News, but it really is a great fanfiction. The protagonist is an atheist and transhumanist who wants to defeat death.

The author has also written many other essays that I find interesting and sane. I'm an atheist who has occasionally struggled with the idea of death and meaninglessness, and his essays were the first viewpoints that seemed to make sense. [2] [3]

[1] http://hpmor.com/

[2] http://yudkowsky.net/other/yehuda

[3] http://lesswrong.com/lw/sc/existential_angst_factory/

I really recommend that anyone here who has struggled with existential depression to read the above three writings. Of course, it's very possible that you'll still be depressed, in which case you'll need to look for other solutions.

But Eliezer's writing helped significantly in cleaning up my life views.

hypertexthero 5 days ago 1 reply      
Another literary cure for the Great Sadness is Isaac Asimov's [The Last Question](http://filer.case.edu/dts8/thelastq.htm).
j45 5 days ago 0 replies      
It is a unique experience at a young age when one especially feels that there is not a soul they can truly speak to, almost to the extreme that it is a luxury to feel understood.

Since this isn't your usual teenage angst, making friends who are older than you can help a great deal.

Realizing man has pondered the same things, for hundreds and thousands of years gives you a chance, to access their thoughts in the form of books, literature, poetry.

smegel 5 days ago 1 reply      
> it is because substantial thought and reflection must occur to even consider such notions, rather than simply focusing on superficial day-to-day aspects of life.

What elitist garbage.

pallandt 5 days ago 1 reply      
Very thoughtfully written piece. One would wonder what this has to do with HN, but the content is universally applicable, therefore not only in regards to children. Plus, we could suppose that the majority of HN's users consider themselves gifted :) Anyway, read the article folks, you won't regret your spent minutes.
amasad 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how the "gifted children" whom were raised on religious believes react to the same sort of "ultimate concerns"
peter303 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've only experienced this right after high school, college and PhD graduations. These were long term goals that dominated my life. There was bit of emptiness once these goals were achieved. Plus there was a dispersion of the social communities I had lived in for long time. This emptiness did not last long as there were always new projects around the corner afterwords.

I expect the same feeling after job "retirement" and expect it to last as long.

andrewcooke 4 days ago 0 replies      
It has been my experience that gifted and talented persons are more likely to experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression.

is there any evidence (beyond the author's "experience") that this is true?

future_grad 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great article. Sadly, I wish it wasn't focused on the gifted. I bet a lot of children suffer with existential depression and I also can imagine how hard it is to have to listen to the bullshit answers they will inevitably receive to their deep questions.
mumbi 5 days ago 1 reply      
I remember thinking these 'existential' thoughts that cause depression my first day of pre-school. I am not as intelligent as a lot of people, but I know that I'm not unintelligent. I began failing my classes in school when I was 9, and my depression was beginning to really develop. I would walk around the playground, by myself, thinking. By 15, I had renounced my belief in God and refused to be brainwashed by anyone who wanted to tell me otherwise.

I'm 25 now and after a lot of drugs and alcohol, I believe in God, again. I read the Bible, not as often as I should, but at least I read it. It makes me feel better.

For those of you who are 'former Christians', I recommend you try to bring it back into your life. It does help, I promise.

dschiptsov 5 days ago 0 replies      
The French philosophy of the last century said nothing about children.) In some sense a realization of absurd and meaninglessness require some experiences of ageing adult which children simply cannot have. They cannot realize the attractiveness of youth and meaninglessness of that attraction. Time to reread Age of reason or something.
miga 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd encourage statistics check.

It is common that many of the "containment regimes" that are supposed to motivate children are more ruthlessly enforced on gifted children to "help them reach potential". And it is known that overly harsh rules induce depression too.

dsugarman 4 days ago 0 replies      
parts don't make a lot of sense, not every gifted child is trying to spend every waking hour on improving their talents. I don't know a child that doesn't enjoy play..

I find that a lot of gifted children are opposed to authority, which causes frustration with non-stimulating class work assigned by poor teachers.

CurtMonash 5 days ago 0 replies      
Woody Allen already covered this in a scene in Take The Money And Run.
pteredactyl 5 days ago 0 replies      
The fact there's something rather than nothing. 'Nothing' - like absolute zero - is only a referential concept. Beware of introspective traps. Light, breezy and not trying too hard.
JacksonGariety 5 days ago 0 replies      
Aaaaaand it's down.
DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 0 replies      
As a gifted child, I had a lot of this. It was finally in my 30s when I realized that existentialism for me was really the only way forward. I really wish I had been exposed to these ideas earlier (However I'm not sure I could have absorbed them as a young adult)

Over the years I've become somewhat of a shill for the Teaching Company, which offers college-level courses on CD and DVD. Robert Soloman's "No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life" is an excellent introduction to existentialism. Highly recommended. http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.asp...

In my mind, if we are going to encourage and nurture kids at both ends of the spectrum -- highly functioning and less functioning -- we should provide some kind of intellectual bedrock to allow the gifted an anchor to succeed.

jokoon 5 days ago 0 replies      
ok, I'm gifted and depressed, how can I get a job ?
paranoiacblack 5 days ago 0 replies      
TIL: Children can be Nihlists too? Does it really take a gifted child to see the futility in the majority of life or to understand our insignificance? This is something that should be fairly obvious to anyone without privilege, not only children.
Ideas for Computing github.com
313 points by samsquire  5 days ago   97 comments top 31
Erwin 5 days ago 4 replies      
This reminds of this: http://www.squidi.net/three/ which attempts to define a large number of computer game gameplay mechanics.

Maybe we need more forwarding-reaching fiction in our world. More essays on computing futurology, grand envisioning of what we can achieve with software. Even ambitious prototypes of a new way to do something (like Lighttable)

A lot of what I see are tooling details, lot of boring effort duplication on mostly-identical languages and lot of nitpicking/bikeshedding comments like: well, you may have a good idea for solving world cancer, but your article does not work in my weird mobile browser, so your credibility is shot.

Where's our version of "The Mother of all Demos" ?

unimpressive 5 days ago 6 replies      
I've thought of some of these independently. (It's good to see somebody else did too.) We could probably make more progress if we all kept a list like this publicly. Or even privately, with snippets shared where appropriate. I know if I went through some old journals I could scrounge up a decent list myself.

One I had:

Bash scripting in the style of hypercard.

Hypercard was described to me as a system that had a set of functions and let the user make programs out of them. Bash syntax is simple enough that making an interface that gives you the power of shell without degenerating from the original should be possible. The output should be a regular text based bash script, allowing others to edit without the program and the user to see what's going on underneath.

EDIT: A second idea to go with the first:

A utility that allows you to create a GUI window from the command line. This could be used in conjunction with the Bash script editor to make graphical programs that the user can easily incorporate into their (presumably window based) workflow.

igravious 5 days ago 1 reply      
This a well of useful and thought-provoking ideas.

I would like to point out a general theme though. A lot of these ideas seem most relevant to technical savvy people and I think why a lot of them (especially UI stuff) have not been implemented is because interfaces must cater to everybody.

Perhaps what we need more of is a dev mode switch (s/w or h/w) like the Chromebook has which enables a lot of these ideas so that the ordinary user is not overwhelmed.

Some of the ideas in the list are aimed at a general audience though. So perhaps each entry in the list needs to make a note of who the target audience is.

ChuckMcM 5 days ago 0 replies      
One I keep noodling on is the one 'Ethical Me' which, on its face works well for ethics but it works for other things as well. Like documenting things you bought because they were 'more secure' or 'higher quality' etc. Understanding the meta-data of what is security 'worth' or quality 'worth' would really help inform product managers about whether or not investing resources there makes sense from a product desirability standpoint.
microcolonel 5 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of these are already done, like command autocomplete.

Many show a lack of vision, why are we thinking about putting buttons and windows all over the place, adding complex nonstandard headers willy-nilly to our emails when we could be thinking about important things like indexing the vast power of existing UNIX tools in a voice-controlled environment?

jfb 4 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I've wanted for years is a small, pocket-sized and battery operated blob of storage with a well-defined API, where all of my data lives. Not the cloud, because no, thank you; and not an external drive. I want something that my phone, my laptop, my TV, my workstation can use as a canonical data storage location for everything in my life.

Ideally this would have a fast radio, so I could just leave it in my bag while I'm walking around listening to music on my phone; and a high-speed physical connection so I can plug it in if necessary.

txutxu 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've like many of the ideas. Inspiring. +1

I don't understand very well how would you like to implement the "93 Shell Output Pinning". Usually I do that with an array variable.

aroman 5 days ago 1 reply      
#87 "Interface Coalescing" is precisely implemented across OS X, notably the Finder for file I/O.

Also, you spelled "Coalescing" wrong :)

quasque 5 days ago 0 replies      
The email metadata idea reminds me of EDIFACT, or at least what it was intended for - a standard electronic format for commercial transactions. It predates the WWW though, so looks quite 'ugly' by today's standard of using markup language to describe data. However I think it would be a good starting point for coming up with a broadly applicable data schema.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDIFACT

yannis 5 days ago 0 replies      
No. 36 Reminds me of Knuth's literate programming, which I attribute as the major reason for the continuing success of TeX/LaTeX. It needs a major rethink/revamp to move it on to the full spectrum of computer languages (what is available in python or haskell) is not fully satisfactory and has not really caught on.
dsego 5 days ago 1 reply      
Well, number 9 already exists in some form on OS X. You can't drag because it drags the window, but if you click on the file name in the title you get a dialog with some file options (rename, move, duplicate, ...).
Mindless2112 5 days ago 0 replies      
#64 Peer to Peer Backup is almost met by DataHaven.NET [1], the drawback being that it uses a central server to keep track of virtual credits.

[1] http://datahaven.net/

salgernon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm waiting for the sparrowOS guy to comment on this thread. Despite his hell-banned status, I've been impressed with what he as an individual has come up with. He seems likely to have implemented many of these features for his edification.
markm208 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am working with some students of mine on something like 89, 'Code Journeys'. We call it Storyteller.


It allows one to comment on the evolution of code rather than on individual sections of it. Currently, there is not a good place to write down why things have evolved the way they did. There is a search/filtering interface to find only the interesting bits of history.

freework 5 days ago 0 replies      
The email metadata idea looks a little like this: https://github.com/priestc/LibraryDSS
thisisrobv 5 days ago 1 reply      
I had high hopes for this and was immediately turned off by #3. I still can't believe that their are developers who believe that design is just the pretty layer on top of their functioning infrastructure. It's not.

That said, I wish there was a site that connected people with complementary skill sets around similar product ideas.

nathanathan 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's an idea I've been thinking about in the vein of the "create this" and api competition ideas (and the repo itself I suppose). I've found that on Stack Overflow questions of the form "Is there software that does x, y and x?" will often get locked. However, I think a site like SO for finding software could be really useful. And when you don't find it you've just identified a niche that hasn't been filled that someone could come along and make software for. It would be possible for developers to gauge demand by the number of up-votes/bounties a post gets. It could use many of the same mechanisms from SO like voting/comments/reputation/merging related posts, but perhaps adding some structured ways to describe ideas would facilitate better searching.
miguelrochefort 5 days ago 0 replies      
I came up with most of these ideas independently. If you look at them, you'll realize that most share the same patterns, and actually are similar ideas.

I'm currently working on something that superficially looks like #4, but includes at least 20% (potentially more) of these ideas (or make them obsolete).

Most of them are trivial, and I'm sure much of us didn't get anything new from this list. Heck, I could come up with 50 more just like that (but maybe not that related to programming).

alexjeffrey 5 days ago 1 reply      
some of these are really interesting ideas. I have one to add to the mix: go implement them! As technologists we all have unprecedented power to create change at our fingertips and I'd love it if you could come back with a list of great ideas, _with some of them implemented already_.

[note] the biggest one for me is the "life engine" - I would happily pay you 50/month for this!

jnazario 5 days ago 1 reply      
on the Package Manager-Package Manager front (idea 12), i bet you could bastardize chef to do this. it already has the translation layer for multiple package managers (yum, apt, pkg-add, etc).
lifeisstillgood 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like #4 - life dashboard.

I don't quite know how but these will have to go on the occasional tinkering list.

pietro 5 days ago 1 reply      
Number 22 is more or less how Windows PowerShell works.
14113 5 days ago 0 replies      
I find 54 particularly interesting, a site with detailed overviews of different stacks, along with instructions, or links to instructions on how to get started would be very valuable.
maged 5 days ago 3 replies      
The added features of email metadata can be achieved without the added complexities of adding metadata to all email, with a simple NLP solution. Gmail already does this with date recognition and google calendar integration, as well as the new email 'categories.' It'll be cool to see it expand so any application can take advantage of it (i.e. key management software and joining a new website).
beech 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on something similar to #73. Web Of Trust Recommendations at http://reqqi.com/

I also keep a spreadsheet of ideas that I'm probably never going to work on, this might have inspired me to publish my own list.

Also, if anyone is interested, Reqqi is hiring

jitnut 5 days ago 1 reply      
Loved the idea of EmailMetaData. I was thinking on similar lines on creating a smarter email system for businesses.
pknerd 5 days ago 1 reply      
#54 sounds cool. How about doing something similar for comparing Enterprise Systems/Applications?

Anyone to join hands with me?

jlgarhdez 5 days ago 2 replies      
Number 8 already exists with fish shell. It indexes the man pages as you have suggested.
oliver_FF 5 days ago 3 replies      
"8. Command Auto-complete" This would be awesome.
achille 5 days ago 0 replies      
lambda 5 days ago 1 reply      
Meh. A lot of these sound like those ideas that any programmer comes up with, about what would be great, without ever actually putting the sweat in to turn a vague idea into something that actually works.

I have probably as many half-baked schemes in the back of my mind. We probably all do. Why is this list particularly interesting?

Heck, lots of these ideas sound downright bad. Adding operations for "put in new folder" and "pull out of folder"? Don't we already have plenty of ways to do this? A basic set of primitives (create new folder, move files to folder, whether done through the UI or on the command line), allows you to compose those simple actions into the more complex ones, rather than having some giant menu of everything you could ever possibly want to do with files that you need to navigate through.

I'm just not sure what the value of long lists of vague, half-baked features ideas for random software is. Why not actually build one or two of these? That would be far more interesting.

What Is That Box? When The NSA Shows Up At Your Internet Company readability.com
312 points by wikiburner  7 days ago   94 comments top 22
beloch 7 days ago 8 replies      
Maybe I just don't pay enough attention to this, but this is the first place where I've read that Google and other large companies are being paid for monitoring their customers. This is making my sleaze-o-meter spike. What are the rates like? Is it per user? Per message? Per kilobyte? It certainly couldn't be per arrest...

Sometimes it seems like the rabbit hole just keeps going deeper, but then you realize it's a damned sewer!

Terretta 7 days ago 0 replies      
We had to facilitate them to set up a duplicate port to tap in to monitor that customers traffic. It was a 2U (two-unit) PC that we ran a mirrored ethernet port to.

[What we ended up with was] a little box in our systems room that was capturing all the traffic to this customer. Everything they were sending and receiving.

And yet his lawyer could have written a truthful denial that they'd given the govt "direct access to the server". See how that works?

kabdib 7 days ago 2 replies      
So, mount webcams in the datacenter. Point them at your racks (front and back, to show cables). This isn't a bad idea in any event, because sometimes it's good to know what Figby Tenthumbs recabled on Monday morning when he was hung-over.

Now make access to the cameras public.

"What's that new box?"

"We can't say."

"Ooohh, I see. Noted."

Watch the watchers watching.

Sanddancer 7 days ago 2 replies      
I used to work for a webhosting company, and had similar experiences. We'd get requests for Men In Nice Suits to come in, rack up a nice non-descript 3u box -- this was a few years prior to this experience, so I'm certain that the tech's improved since then. As was described, the box just sat there, eating power, under orders Not To Touch Under Any Circumstances, until the federales came back in to take their box back.

Thinking back about it, again, this seems a lot of how the feds can keep things like this from getting out. The people that know are given the gag orders, the sysadmins racking and unracking know it's better for their careers, and their not staying out of jail, not to say that they have weird boxes on their network which have mirrored ports going to them. It's there, it's suspect, but the consequences for discussing a suspect box make it difficult to really discuss things.

rachelbythebay 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's not always the NSA. Some of my datacenter friends told me stories about times when "a box" would appear and they were officially to not go within 6 feet of it. Of course, actually working on neighboring customer boxes meant sometimes violating that (without telling anyone), but for the most part they would stay away.

I seem to recall they were chasing down online pill vendors this way. One little box with power and two Ethernet ports can collect a whole bunch of evidence, after all. They get what they need, and then they remove it.

This was 10 years ago... or more. I can only imagine what happens now.

phaer 7 days ago 0 replies      
I think the this excerpt is a fine description of the problem with secret courts and so on:

"These programs that violate the Bill of Rights can continue because people cant go out and say, this is my experience, this is what happened to me, and I dont think it is right."

Sukotto 6 days ago 3 replies      
Wait. They show you the warrant requiring your compliance. But you don't get to keep a copy of that paper?

How do you later prove that you were required by law to make the actions that you did? How do you ensure that you comply completely with the instruction if you can't compare your action to the original warrant?

That seems strange.

j_baker 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is likely the reason why lots of tech firms give the NSA access to their servers. It's better than having a box installed on your network.


coldcode 7 days ago 0 replies      
If everyone said go stuff yourself and published it on the internet, eventually they might get the message. But no one wants to be force-fed in Cuba.
LekkoscPiwa 6 days ago 0 replies      
The whole American society is gagged and that's the problem. If you don't like unconstitutional actions of the US Government then you are called:1. Traitor2. 9/11 Truther3. Terrorist

That's where the apathy originates from.

I strongly believe that in the USA of today saying out loudly that a radical change is needed to get the country back on its Constitutional track could make one a terrorism suspect. If they can label 82-year old nun a terrorist and try her in court on this nonsense, then why not me or others who speak out loud ?

femto 6 days ago 0 replies      
Under such circumstances, why not extract as much monetary compensation as possible from the government and donate it to the EFF, ACLU, or similar?
thingummywut 7 days ago 2 replies      
"A number of [larger] companies are getting paid for the information. If you go establish a tap on Googles network, they will charge X amount per month. Usually the government pays it."

This is directly contrary to what every "larger" company has repeatedly stated in response to Prism. People actually think that the companies are not only forced to keep silent, but release public statements lying?

aspensmonster 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm very curious to know if these little black boxes could function as a MITM. I mean, if you're already there mirroring everything that's going across...
jimwise 6 days ago 4 replies      
Dumb question, but the author kept running a TOR node at a site he knew was under NSA surveillance? That doesn't strike me as very responsible...
kephra 6 days ago 1 reply      
/me wonders: why a link to readability who is just framing buzzfeed.com and not a link to the original site?

And why do 245 people upvote it without noticing this link bait?

D9u 6 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for speaking of your experiences with the rogue spy apparatchik which has recently reared its ugly head and I'd also like to thank you for running a Tor node.

Together we stand, for freedom. For America.

exit 6 days ago 2 replies      
could someone run an isp with a completely public inbox, so that they couldn't receive a FISA without it becoming public?

are companies obligated to have a private means of contacting them?

relaxitup 7 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder what the website was... The only one I can think of that might possibly get this treatment might be Maddox, but thats total speculation of course.
tlongren 7 days ago 1 reply      
So do these companies approach the government and say "Hey, give us $1000000 per month and we'll just give you full access."?
vaadu 6 days ago 0 replies      
What if this ISP instead cancelled the service of the business to be tapped?
captainmuon 6 days ago 0 replies      
I would be tempted to quit my job on the spot if I'd receive one of those orders... (Not earning that much anyway so I could deal with it.)
LLVM Intermediate Representation is better than assembly popcount.org
298 points by majke  2 days ago   218 comments top 21
munin 2 days ago 3 replies      
A few points:

-LLVM at the IR level still has platform specific information - calling conventions, vector types, pointer widths, etc.

-what was true then is still true now: http://lists.cs.uiuc.edu/pipermail/llvmdev/2011-October/0437...

-typed assembly languages have existed for a while, no one uses them

kwantam 2 days ago 9 replies      
This is interesting and pretty awesome. I can imagine having a lot of fun making a toy compiler that emits LLVM IR directly.

Practically speaking, is there a good reason to do this in non-toy software rather than the more-or-less standard practice of using C as an IR? That gives you, in addition to compilation via LLVM, the ability (in principle) to use gcc, icc, et al. (In practice, in many cases people end up using compiler-specific extensions in the generated C, which does impose limitations on portability to other compilers, but that's certainly avoidable.)

I suppose if you are dynamically generating things that need to be compiled as quickly as possible, eliminating an unnecessary compilation step could be a significant advantage. It doesn't seem like such a constraint would apply in most cases, though.

mjn 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm intrigued by this idea, but it seems tricky to really use portably if your goal for writing asm is to carefully manage register usage and SIMD instructions. Sure, the syntax is portable, but to get the "right" result, i.e. one that maps directly onto the fast machine code you had in mind, you need to know something about the target architecture, e.g. how wide its SIMD instructions are, and how many registers it has. And if you want it to be fast on two architectures that differ considerably, you may have to write two versions of your LLVM IR, at which point you're losing some of the benefit of an IR. You do still get the advantage that it will at least compile to something on platforms you hadn't previously heard of, but most projects will just use a straight-C fallback function for those platforms.
nullc 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if the substance of the article actually backed up the title... it doesn't really show this: Yes sure, it's more portable: but plain C is way more portable still.

The places where assembly is justified these days tend to be SIMD inner loops where intrinsic use isn't effective (e.g. due to compilers being pretty lame at vector register allocation) and where a lot of gains can be had by bitops level micro-optimization that depend very precisely on the instruction behavior. I would be surprised if writing LLVM IR was actually better than using intrinsics in these cases.

If it were so it would be neat to see it an example of taking some well optimized multimedia codec library and converting (some of) the SIMD asm into LLVM IR and showing equal performance would be impressive.

ihnorton 2 days ago 2 replies      
Julia is a pretty cool platform for playing with this kind of thing in a REPL environment - you can dump LLVM IR and corresponding disassembly for any function, with source line annotation (some things are rearranged by the LLVM optimizer, but it is usually close). No inline IR support yet, but it's a great way to understand the relationship between high-level constructs and machine code.
josteink 1 day ago 0 replies      
To be fair x86 assembly is horrifying.

I've worked with other (mostly Motorola-based or some sort of embedded) architectures, and while a bit cumbersome to work with, the assembly was clean and understandable.

Back in the days assembly was my primary way of getting things done, in part because C-compilers cost money back then and I barely had money left after buying a computer.

Once the "PC" (and thus Intel) had won the war and I set foot in X86-country, I started looking at the assembly. It took me less than a week to decide to give up assembly forever.

So yeah. It doesn't take much to be better than X86 assembly.

ezy 2 days ago 0 replies      
This needs better examples. I find:

  v4si multiply_four(v4si a, v4si b) { return a*b; }
Much more readable, and just as portable. There's a typedef for v4si, of course, but you do that exactly once and then ignore it. The IR produced is identical, and therefore just as portable.

gsg 2 days ago 1 reply      
The author invokes the idea that writing assembly and writing compiler passes are similar enough activities that you can substitute one for another, but that is not the case.

Good thing, too - I don't even want to think about how buggy and slow compilers would become if random people started jamming passes into them based on nothing but expediency.

acqq 2 days ago 1 reply      
In the examples given under "vectors" I don't see if they are also multiplatform -- not every platform has "process 4 floats at once this way." Also I don't see the encoding of assumptions of alignment. Not every processor has the same even when the "main" architecture is the same (even x86 generations differ).

I remain suspicious that IR is the only representation you need if you do want to do the things on the assembly level. I welcome examples of somebody in the know.

The another topic is how often IR is going to change.

zqfm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I was under the impression that the LLVM IR was subject to change at a whim. That may be something to keep in mind if you intend to target it directly.
syncopate 2 days ago 1 reply      
It should be noted that on the official llvm irc channel (#llvm@oftc.net) people do not like llvm's IR being called a "progamming language". Rather it's intended to be a representation of llvm's internal data structures. It may look similar to a programming language for sure but it's not the intent behind it. It's a representation that should help compiler engineers debugging their llvm-using parsers.

Also, if you've ever looked at clang's "-emit-llvm" output you will notice that there are some parts of the IR which are hard to be generated by humans, e.g. dgb by sequential number references.

See e.g.: http://llvm.org/docs/SourceLevelDebugging.html#object-lifeti...

waynecochran 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with writing LLVM IR code by hand is that is must be in SSA (single status assignment) form which is a pain for humans, and requires graph algorithms to insert phi nodes in the basic blocks. What we need is a non-SSA LLVM IR assembler that converts to SSA -- this would be nice for human authors.

BTW, I taught a compiler course where I gave a project that translated a "turtle graphics" functional language into LLVM IR: http://ezekiel.vancouver.wsu.edu/~cs452/projects/turtlecomp/....

astral303 2 days ago 3 replies      
The exciting thing would be to see applications compiled to LLVM IR get JIT'ed. Finally C or C++ apps that could inline through function pointer or virtual function calls at runtime.
artagnon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I doubt it has any practical application outside llvm.git. Why would you want to write assembly by hand in the first place?

1. To bootstrap. There's various architecture-specific bootstrap code to load the kernel into memory in linux.git. The project largely depends on GNU as to assemble reliably; llvm-mc doesn't work half as well.

2. To try out new processor extensions. When new instruction mnemonics come out, assembler have to catch up. I'm not sure why anyone would want to use LLVM IR here, because those instructions are architecture-specific anyway.

cylinder714 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a related subject, Dan Bernstein of qmail fame created a portable assembly language a few years ago, called qhasm: http://cr.yp.to/qhasm.html The idea is that processors do pretty much the same things, but with different assembly language syntaxes. With a portable subset, one could then use translators to convert qhasm source into whatever dialect required by ARM, Intel, PowerPC, et cetera.

The latest source code dates from 2007, and it's only a prototype, but it's a clever idea.

dbecker 2 days ago 13 replies      
How many people still write assembly, and for what purposes?
AYBABTME 1 day ago 1 reply      
This reminds me that I need to learn some assembler. I have a hard time finding resources on conventions, project layout, best practices, tooling. If anybody's experienced in an assembler, I'd love to have some tips and pointers.
monstrado 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cloudera's Impala SQL query engine uses LLVM to maximize performance, here's an article published recently talking about how it's used.


carterschonwald 2 days ago 1 reply      
For those wanting to play with llvm as a library but would rather not deal with C++, the llvm-general Haskell library gives you nearly every power of llvm (aside from link time optimization, and writing new optimization passes) in a nice high level lib that's already being used for a few interesting compilers out there.
swah 2 days ago 0 replies      
And C is better than LLVM, from a post a few days ago :)
crb002 2 days ago 0 replies      
glibc is nuts for not having an LLVM port.
David Cameron cracks down on online pornography guardian.co.uk
298 points by mariorz  4 days ago   349 comments top 79
conroy 4 days ago 14 replies      
> Every household in Britain connected to the internet will be obliged to declare whether they want to maintain access to online pornography

These declarations will only be used to shame public figures once the list is leaked.

> The possession of "extreme pornography", which includes scenes of simulated rape, is to be outlawed.

Video footage of two consenting adults, acting out a scene, will be illegal to own. With this on the books, it seems a short hop to outlaw videos of simulated murder.

> The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is to draw up a blacklist of "abhorrent" internet search terms to identify and prevent paedophiles searching for illegal material.

A single search can now land you on a government list of accused pedophiles.


Everlag 4 days ago 2 replies      
`The government today has made a significant step forward in preventing rapists using rape pornography to legitimise and strategise their crimes and, more broadly, in challenging the eroticisation of violence against women and girls`

What? In what world would 90% of ANY porn be legitimate?! I want rapists using strategies found in the fake garbage you can find online, at least then they will be less effective than they could be.

`And, in a really big step forward, all the ISPs have rewired their technology so that once your filters are installed, they will cover any device connected to your home internet account. No more hassle of downloading filters for every device, just one-click protection. One click to protect your whole home and keep your children safe.`

That's fucking censorship and I THOUGHT WE ALL AGREED THAT IS A SIGN OF FASCISM. Seriously, how many bloody times can someone use `FOR THE CHILDREN` as an a valid excuse? I hope this fellow gets put out of office with no pension. He is committing widespread censorship of an entire nation. And the people appreciate that. People also appreciated that Hitler brought Austria and Germany together in anschluss as well as the fact that he returned them from 40% unemployment. Funny how short sighted the people are.

`You're the people who have worked out how to map almost every inch of the Earth from space; who have developed algorithms that make sense of vast quantities of information. Set your greatest brains to work on this. You are not separate from our society, you are part of our society, and you must play a responsible role in it`

I see, you want the people who have been working for their entire lives to better the human race to take their valued time and put that towards your endeavors of censoring anything that could potentially offend the parents of children? I'm sorry, you are what's wrong with the world.

I say we should build systems designed specifically to undermine these authoritarian measures.

bhickey 4 days ago 4 replies      

I doubt the Tories have a clean house in this regard. Every time some politician or other 'moral leader' starts pontificating about moral panic, I get suspicious that they're just trying to ban their vice. Clearly if they're so vocally opposed to it, they mustn't be partaking, right?

  Glenn Loury and cocaine.  Mark Foley and the exploitation of children.  Eliot Spitzer and prostitution.  John Ensign and 'family values'.  Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, countless others and homosexuality.  The Conservative Party and Back to Basics.
The list of hypocrites goes on and on and on.

fauigerzigerk 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's amazing how politicians keep conflating these 4 things:

(a) Voluntary acts between adults

(b) Fantasy

(c) Preventing the use of porn by adolescents

(d) Protecting children (and others) from horrific crimes

In my view, the reason for that "mix up" is simply old fashioned prudery and religious fanaticism. (d) is the only thing that governments should care about.

JDDunn9 4 days ago 4 replies      
Are there any real studies on the "corrosive influence" of porn on children? I'm pretty sure every young teen boy has seen porn these days. The only actual studies I'm aware of say that porn reduces actually violent sex crimes. It acts as a substitute.
harrytuttle 4 days ago 3 replies      
Considering my mobile ISP (GiffGaff) thinks that the ThinkPad wiki is pornographic, I genuinely can say all this is going to do is break the internet.

The last thing we need is a broken Internet here. The economy is fucked enough already.

Add to that the whole is censorship right debate (it's not unless it's opt-in), the pre-crime list this generates and we're right into blatant fascism.

Where do we even start at fixing all this? I think we're helpless.

adamnemecek 4 days ago 3 replies      

can't believe that people still fall for this shtick

bulatb 4 days ago 0 replies      
> The possession of "extreme pornography", which includes scenes of simulated rape, is to be outlawed.

Certain scenes in Game of Thrones might trip this rule. More interestingly, the show is partly filmed in the UK.

I guess Martin, Benioff, and Weiss are all a bunch of criminals. But all those scenes of people stabbing, slashing, and killing each other with all kinds of blades are not a major THREAT TO CHILDREN in a country with a knife-crime problem.

hoggle 4 days ago 1 reply      
There is an awful lot of populist policies coming out of the UK for the last couple of years. Is the current state of the economy really that bad?

Usually that's when politicians concentrate on less demanding, more emotional issues.

Also, nice power-grab right there - cause you never know!

"Sorry Angela, I can't open that WikiLeaks link you told me about." "Nigel, could it be that you forgot to let your porn filter be lifted?"

This is bad and as always not only for UK citizens because politicians like to look at other countries for inspiration and validation. Clearly in Austria some pundits will applaud this.

shanelja 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is a move to shame those who watch pornography, that you have to ring someone up and say "Yeah, I'm trying to jack off here but for some reason pornhub won't load... Yeah... Uh... I'd like you to remove the porn filter please?"
iuguy 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to try and do something about this, donate to the UK equivalent to the EFF, the Open Rights Group[1]. See their rather sane and well thought out views on this here[2]

[1] - http://www.openrightsgroup.org/

[2] - https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2013/cameron-demands-ac...

fsniper 4 days ago 3 replies      
Same tactics everywhere,

Mandatory internet Filters on every ISP as a precaution against pornography or child pornography. Same crippled laws as Turkey. Nobody is prevented reaching porn. But most of the time filters are used against so called "piracy", "extremist" political or "regional" views and these kinds of political agendas. Currently websites pro-evolution are struggling censorship.

andyhmltn 4 days ago 2 replies      
Why are people so afraid of pornography? A healthy society is one that promotes sex. Not one that censors its citizens for 'the children.'

Don't get me wrong: People that look at children and the like should be caught and prosecuted. But really, the way to go about that isn't to ban ALL of pornography. Are we to ban butter knifes incase someone goes on a rampage with one? No, we identify the issues that cause someone to do that and go after them.

I don't see the point in spending millions of pounds blocking search engines when those millions could be spent on the core issue. If someone wants to look at illegal illicit images, I can guarantee you the majority aren't going to search for it on google using their home internet connection.

netcan 4 days ago 0 replies      
The news here is not the moral sentiments of the legislators. Porn (and sex generally) has been banned or restricted in pretty much every time and place. Think of TV. Different countries have different standards of what is allowable but the internet's median porn sites' contents would not be allowed anywhere near television.

The news here is more subtle. What the internet is, was, how it works and how its changing. It no longer feels like an anarchy that no one can control. We can argue about the why and how but I don't think we can dispute that the internet is no longer unregulatable, anonymous anarchy. That is the news here.

Governments, large corporations and other traditional power sources feel they can exercise influence and control over the internet. It's within their jurisdiction and physical capabilities.

foobarbazqux 4 days ago 6 replies      
Personally speaking I would be glad to have this filter, but I wouldn't want to force it on other people. So if people got a choice about enabling the filter I would be okay with it, i.e. if it was opt-in. In that case it's providing a service to people who need a human barrier to help them stop looking at porn if they have a problem. Any preventative mechanism that you set up for your own sake is pointless when you have root.

Are there any arguments against an opt-in filter? The legislation is for an opt-out filter.

astrange 4 days ago 0 replies      
> challenging the eroticisation of violence against women and girls

I wonder what the legal tests for that are here? Non-consensual fantasies are very popular among women who don't actually want to be victims of crimes. Will they ban romance novels?

Then next they could go after the female fandoms for Loki from the Avengers movie, yandere characters, and those girls who write love letters to serial killers. Okay, maybe the last ones could use some help.

mariorz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Submited title was: "Every household in England obliged to declare whether they want to access porn".
will_asouka 4 days ago 3 replies      
> "I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest. You have a duty to act on this and it is a moral duty. If there are technical obstacles to acting on [search engines], don't just stand by and say nothing can be done; use your great brains to help overcome them.

>"You're the people who have worked out how to map almost every inch of the Earth from space; who have developed algorithms that make sense of vast quantities of information. Set your greatest brains to work on this. You are not separate from our society, you are part of our society, and you must play a responsible role in it."

Yeah, come on clever technical people. Get it sorted. We've decided you need to uninvent nuclear weapons as well please. Immediately.

What embarrassing ignorance from a major public figure.

muyuu 4 days ago 0 replies      
This stinks. I don't want a great firewall of Britain filtering my access to the net China-style, site by site. We let this trend advance and they'll be whitelisting in no time. And when you complain about the extreme surveillance you will be branded a paedophile and a rapist.
shimfish 4 days ago 1 reply      
My Israeli ISP has a default porn filter. I had to call and cancel it because the proxy broke svn. No, honestly, it did.
cinquemb 4 days ago 0 replies      
> All police forces will work with a single secure database of illegal images of children to help "close the net on paedophiles".

Let me guess, David Cameron is going to appoint himself to head some special committee to dole out who gets to access to said database

This is going go down well in history

toyg 4 days ago 0 replies      
The fact that they're bringing it up now, while half the country is on holiday and the land is in the grips of the best weather for almost a decade, is worrying. It means they might actually be serious about it.

And serious they might be indeed, considering they need some cheap win after years of economic mismanagement. The economy keeps stalling and the 2015 General Election is getting closer; considering bureaucratic timescales, if you want anything to actually be done by then, you need to start now.

Sigh. I guess it'll be a win for Swedish VPN providers.

jackschultz 4 days ago 3 replies      
First off, I hate it how they always try to frame new laws as trying to "protect" people. The same with airline searches and the whole PRISM deal.

Also, I read somewhere on the subject of child pornography that allowing those people to look at images cuts down on the act because they seem to "get their fix." I can't remember where I read this so I can't provide a source, but it seems to make sense.

yenoham 4 days ago 3 replies      
TL;DR - "Yea I guess, but..."

Personally I don't have huge a problem with the default filtering; most households (with or without kids) don't have the knowledge to effectively enable filtering for all their devices - giving them 'protection' by default, and allowing the option to have full access is currently what most - maybe all - mobile phone operators do in the UK anyway in 3G/GSM connections.

However, its important that the opt-out is incredibly straight forward - an online form for example (ideally during signup with a new provider) - no need for 'humiliating' phone calls where you have to explain why you want to see Super Army of Boob 2, for example.

I do wonder what this will mean when accessing sites like The Pirate Bay - which often have boobs-a-plenty in the sidebar ads. Does it mean that people who visit sites that happen to have 'pornographic' ads ALSO need the filtering off.

My bigger concern here is that these measures will very likely do nothing to stem child pornography (and I would hazard a guess sexual abuse in general); my reasoning is that I don't imagine your average paedophile just opens their vanilla browser in the morning and Googles for '[child related sex terms]' - surely this kind of activity hides behind systems such as Tor?

One other thing that springs to mind; presumably, unless there is explicit legislation against this, ISPs can now sell your filter preferences for marketing purposes; perhaps putting you in some 'boxes' you wouldn't want to be in.

eksith 4 days ago 0 replies      
We should all applaud David Cameron for supporting small businesses. Escort services have been in the dump lately due to the proliferation of free/cheap filth; this will finally give much needed boost to the local economy.


I'm wondering if a sizable number of the public is brave enough to get their names into the opt-in as a virtual "I am Spartacus" and two fingers to Cameron.

MarkMc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this policy electoral suicide? Sure, there's a vocal minority who want to 'think of the children' and are backing Cameron's plan. But I'd imagine the vast majority of the population want to view pornography without putting their name on a smut-list. These people aren't going to form campaign groups but will be happy to express their view in the anonymous confines of a polling booth.
moocowduckquack 4 days ago 1 reply      
How is this going to work if people https to sites outside the UK?
beedogs 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's almost as if the US and the UK are trying to one-up each other in the race to fully implement a fascist police-state.

Seems like the UK has just taken the lead.

mtp0101 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a kid, my parents tried using parental control software on my computer to block porn and other inappropriate content. This turned out to be helpful because it motivated me to learn how to exploit the software.I applaud Mr. Cameron's inadvertent efforts to enhance the computer skills of his nation's youth.
summerdown2 4 days ago 0 replies      
> The possession of "extreme pornography", which includes scenes of simulated rape, is to be outlawed.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?

Once Upon a Time in the West?

A Clockwork Orange?

Titus Andronicus?

Remember when RIPA was only supposed to be for terrorism?


jpswade 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is because it's very difficult to argue with "think of the children".

However, when we were kids, we traded pornography on floppy disks, so this solves nothing.

hkmurakami 4 days ago 0 replies      
This honestly makes more sense as an opt out for parents to utilize for their children...
DoubleMalt 4 days ago 0 replies      
Actually that would make Zeffirelli's production of "The Taming of the Shrew" borderline illegal.

Along with many other respected works of art and culture.

The Anglo Saxon penchant for pruderish grandstanding combined with the British desire for an overbearing nanny state is a truly disturbing combination.

Unfortunately there are a lot of sheep on the British isles (as everywhere)

joshuak 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is, stupidly, in direct opposition to the trend towards a popular understanding of "power exchange" relationships.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/books/fifty-shades-of-grey... (not even a new idea)


Dear Mr. Cameron, you just saw how the gay marriage issue went and you where quick to jump on board. You really want to be on the wrong side of this issue?

Beware the Red Menace--er I mean child pornography (insert fear of the moment mongering here).

bollockitis 4 days ago 1 reply      
In other news, VPN usage in the UK skyrockets. Strict measures to be taken to reduce sexcrime.
aspensmonster 4 days ago 0 replies      
>Once those filters are installed, it should not be the case that technically literate children can just flick the filters off at the click of a mouse without anyone knowing.


Ouch. My sides.

philip1209 4 days ago 0 replies      
How are they enacting the filter? Would switching DNS from the cable company bypass it?
frozenport 4 days ago 0 replies      
I doubt this will have much effect on English youth as they also have the earliest self reported loss of virginity in the civilized world!

See http://www.nuigalway.ie/hbsc/documents/godeau_2008_contracep...

Fuxy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great another excuse to ban millions of sites under the disguise of protecting children from porn or catching child rapists.

Let's talk about what this really is. It's just the governments way of telling us what porn we should watch and banning anything they think is "not normal".

And if some legitimate sites get mixed up in this this filter we're suppose to believe it's an honest mistake right?

Stay away from my porn Cameron or I'll fuck you up.

summerdown2 4 days ago 1 reply      
A comment today on Nicky Cambell's bbc phone in:

> I'm a social worker, and once this goes into force, I will know that any household where the kids have access to porn has come from a parent making a conscious choice to let it happen.

ollysb 4 days ago 1 reply      
According to the guardian's article at [1] it appears the system will actually be opt-in. From a leaked letter sent from the Department of Education to the ISPs:

"Without changing what you will be offering (ie active-choice +), the prime minister would like to be able to refer to your solutions [as] 'default-on'"

active-choice+ is a set of filters that may be enabled on request.

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/21/david-ca...

lazyjones 4 days ago 0 replies      
We've had similar attempts in several countries before, mostly argued for with the fight against child pornography. This has nothing to do with pornography, Cameron wants a censorship infrastructure so he can prevent access to sensitive "leaks" and other content that his regime might find dangerous.

Just don't get dragged into a for/against pornography discussion, it's pointless in this context. Even if you're naive enough to believe Cameron is actually trying to censor pornography, ask yourself whether such an infrastructure can and consequently will be abused.

conradfr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I guess we would live in a wonderful world if there was no children and terrorists.
ciderpunx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Its going to be against the rules to look up offensive terms like, say, "child abuse imagery".

Which presumably means that the legislation will have to use the term "child abuse imagery". Which means that it will be impossible to look up the legislation using a search engine. One has to wonder how we are expected to know whether or not we are complying with it given that we shan't be legally allowed to search for it.

TomGullen 4 days ago 0 replies      
He does this for "moral" reasons yet recently vetoed the minimum alcohol price proposal:

> We do not yet have enough concrete evidence that its introduction would be effective in reducing harms associated with problem drinking, without penalising people who drink responsibly.

Where's the "concrete evidence" for this new stuff?

Not something anyone can challenge either without putting their reputation on the line.

JanneVee 4 days ago 0 replies      
>> If there are technical obstacles to acting on [search engines], don't just stand by and say nothing can be done; use your great brains to help overcome them.

>> "You're the people who have worked out how to map almost every inch of the Earth from space; who have developed algorithms that make sense of vast quantities of information. Set your greatest brains to work on this. You are not separate from our society, you are part of our society, and you must play a responsible role in it."

Do I read this right? So they don't care how expensive or hard the problem is to solve they just demand it to be solved. And even if the solution is bad or expensive, both customers and taxpayers must still pay to have it implemented. Got it.

vincie 4 days ago 0 replies      
Should crack down on Facebook instead. Here in Australia at least, I have read of more people being murdered by someone they met via Facebook that through a pornography site.
mcintyre1994 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mr Cameron tells us that he's terrified of what his children can access online. You'd think with access to some of the UK's most intelligent brains he'd be able to master parental guidance of internet usage without legislating it.

Isn't this just telling parents that the internet will suddenly be safe, a government sanctioned message to that effect is quite a bit stronger than your ISPs salesperson. Of course, the filter will either resemble China or have holes so assuming the latter any responsible parent will still want to monitor their children's usage.

The effect of this law seems to be constrained to making David Cameron (and other not-very-technically-knowledgeable parents) feel that he's a responsible parent, but to be honest I'd rather taxpayers pay for a nanny for him than for this ridiculous law - cheaper and much more effective.

bruceboughton 4 days ago 0 replies      
The one hope in all of this is the inability of ISPs to filter accurately, especially with innocuous false positives. A lot of mobile providers in the UK already have opt-out adult filters on their 3G services. They frequently block things such as websites about bars & pubs.

If the filters are this poor and the blocked page banner tells you how to, a large percentage of people will opt out making this an ineffective "watches porn list".

goggles99 4 days ago 5 replies      
Yeah, porn should be at the fingertips of every man woman and child. Porn leads to healthy lifestyles and healthy sex lives, cultures and communities.

Just look at life before porn existed. Never any healthy societies or sexual relationships then - they did not even exist. What harm could porn possibly cause anyone? Putting into someones mind a fantasy of how sex really can and should be? How could that ever cause any future sexual relationship to suffer in any way?

How could putting sexual assault video or images into any 10 year old's mind - images that they will never come out, how could that ever cause any potential problems with their natural sexual development? Inconceivable.

People in a truly free country should be able to get their free porn on YouTube whilst buying their methamphetamine (legally) outside (or even inside) of the local welfare office. Now that it the country that I want to live in...

marshray 4 days ago 1 reply      
I commend David Cameron and his party for doing more than anyone else this week in promoting privacy-preserving technologies such as Tor, VPNs, HTTPS, etc.
rayj 4 days ago 0 replies      
How about he does something productive and bans 50 shades of grey.
SG- 4 days ago 0 replies      
It seems it would be better to have an opt-in list instead of forcing everyone into it by default and making a list of those that didn't want it.
confluence 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm consistently astounded at England's ability in the last couple of decades to move towards the fictional UK societies we see in 1984 and V for Vendetta. It's almost like the people have come to the exact opposite conclusion that the authors were trying to impress upon their audiences.

> "Wow, censorship, totalitarianism and mass surveillance are great ideas. We really should implement them."

Secondly, it is impossible to filter information within a society that doesn't have North Korea like tendencies. As soon as this filter goes up, people will just rent servers overseas, and get their internet via encrypted lines that aren't subject to censorship.

Banning porn is like trying ban alcohol. Everyone knows that it's a vice, everyone still does it (isn't 20% of global internet bandwidth porn?), and banning it just puts money into the hands of organized crime.

Thirdly, won't a bunch of mainstream award-winning films that come out every single year become illegal under this act? Games too for that matter. Say good bye to crime shows and violent film in the UK.

Finally, this is just one step away the Great Firewall of China. The argument that we need to protect children from the "corrosive" aspects of society might expand to other political parties, or ideas that aren't in the interests of those already in power.

The thing with censorship is that as soon as a you do a little, it's funny how quickly that becomes a lot. You just have to think of the children now then don't you?

goggles99 4 days ago 1 reply      
OK, here is the difference. I know, I know - censorship generally is bad. What will they (the government) consider "harmful" next? information right? political opinion, it's book burning, this is a slippery slope ETC.

The aforementioned things do not have the consensus of psychologists and other professionals in the world agreeing that the content in question can cause psychological harm to a certain percent of society (particularly children).

That is the difference. The legal guardians of those who know that the potential is higher that their children may be affected negatively by pornography should be able to have the ability to make it harder for them to access it.

I see a lot of posts here talking about parents putting filtering software on their computer. Well, there is always easy ways around those. How many kids have iPhones today with unfettered internet access? how many kids use a public library? how many kids know computers better than their parents or grandparents and can get around any filtering software that may be installed on their home computer?

I remember the uproar at the proposition that porn content be delivered over an .xxx domain. Why was there such an uproar? How was it censorship to classify content that could be dangerous to some? Are movie ratings censorship? Are 8 year old kids legally allowed to buy tickets to NC-17 movies? It seems like the precedent had already been set.

It was all about money of course. The porn industry knows that the younger a person watches porn for the first time, the more likely they are to continue watching/purchasing porn indefinitely. The porn industry WANTS minors to view the porn. They do everything they possibly can to entice them at the earliest age possible. Does anyone think that the porn industry is high on the ethical and moral hill and would never take advantage of children to make more money?

Why should anyone outside the home have the power to do this? Why do parents have such little power and so little and ineffective tools to limit their child's exposure to pornographic material?

This is no more censorship than current laws requiring that porn mags be put on shelves a certain distance from the ground in retail stores so that 8 year old kids generally cannot reach them.

Gonzih 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sweet, list of people interested in pornography. And that information will be stored inside government infrastructure. Leaks are coming, public shaming is coming.
mcantelon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good way to be able to implement "D-notices" on the web. Sigh.
bittired 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it is great that David Cameron is trying to protect his country.

But, I think the implementation of anything that restricts the internet before content gets to the client will take things down a bad road, which is why similar efforts keep getting struck down in the U.S. When you give the power of restricting communication to the government or even to a contractor for the government, how will that not be abused? You may as well let them open every bit of mail and every parcel and check to see what you are wearing each morning to ensure it is appropriate.

hide_nowhere 4 days ago 0 replies      
And like usual, we'll find the public figures responsible for pushing such regulations on morality will be those most likely to be the biggest offenders.

But this isn't about "protecting the children" from porn, is it?

I'm on the wrong side of 40, and I've been online for 28 years. Professionally involved in the software and bitplumbing of "the web" for all of my adult life. I saw jwz's camo cube and montulli's fish tank with my own eyes, and years before that, wrote software alongside visionaries guided by the promise of building online communities and the freedom of information.

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this.

The people making these rules are incapable of building the surveillance apparatus without our involvement. Take this opportunity to look hard at what you're creating, and examine the motives of the people you're building it for.

vjvj 4 days ago 0 replies      
Trying to garner popularity because:a) This is something most people hate, and he is taking a stance they will sympathize with

b) He singles out Google as needing to do more. Google has received a lot of bad press recently due to tax avoidance. Therefore, criticizing Google will go down well with a lot of people.

DanBC 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's scary just how idiotic he sounds when talking about this.

He did an interview with the BBC Radio Four programme "Woman's Hour". He sounds computer illiterate.

gordaco 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's baffling how many times the "think of the children" excuse gets used to, actually, treat everyone as children. Won't somebody please think of the adults?
noptic 4 days ago 0 replies      
Best get one of those:http://www.streetshirts.co.uk/sites/streetshirts.co.uk/conte...

Disclaimer: No I do not get money for this.

rythie 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this will actually be able filter SSL sites. Even if it can, it's not going protect from people using Tor or VPNs.
alexchamberlain 4 days ago 2 replies      
So, what stops a technically literate teenage boy from opening an encrypted VPN connection to a VM and tunneling traffic through that?
merlincorey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just curious... So depictions of violence against men are still going to be okay?

And we think we've come so far with gender equality...

ogwyther 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is a more fundamental problem here than the law itself. People who fail to understand any aspect of the internet, should not be allowed to legislate against it in any way. It's madness.
Mordor 4 days ago 0 replies      
You know it's time for an election when politicians start talking about morals. When will they ever learn?
loceng 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wrong for too many reasons - especially linking child pornography with pornography - the former actually being child abuse, and later being consenting adults.
FellowTraveler 4 days ago 0 replies      
This has nothing to do with porn.

Porn is just a good justification for getting a "Great Firewall of China" system implemented in the UK.

vfclists 4 days ago 0 replies      
This law only shows the kind of filthy, dirty, sleazebags our politicians have become.The whole idea is to create a database of people who are happy to view porn on their internet connections. The concept is so outrageous that it simple boggles the mind. What kind grubby vote seeking laws are politicians going to come up with next?
tragomaskhalos 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anything done in response to a campaign by the Daily Mail can only be a bad idea ...
lobe44 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think society as a whole is a bit too hard on pedophiles. Even rapists have an outlet to relieve their sexual frustration and can go to counseling without still being called a monster.

Pedophilia is just like any other sexual orientation. It is not something you just turn off, pedophiles need counseling and ways to relieve their sexual frustration. Things like CG porn and Lolicon for example should be legal. It is just not realistic to tell pedophiles to just stop and then put them in prison for the rest of their lives when they act on their desires, they will most likely be stabbed because even among criminals pedophilia is the worst of the worst and you are more likely to be stabbed if you raped a 15 year old than a 16 year old.

And this whole argument that watching fake rape porn will turn you into a rapist is bullshit. It is just like the argument that violent video games turn you into a violent person.

aunty_helen 4 days ago 1 reply      
This would be a good segue into blocking anonymising proxies as well. For the kids of course.
ulrikrasmussen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, this just went through parliament without any problems? I may have lived under a rock, but this is the first time I ever hear about this. Is this just a proposition from the English government, or is the new legislation already accepted?
bjoyx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Translation:"Im not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger"->"Im making this speech because I want to moralise and scaremonger"
lotsofcows 4 days ago 0 replies      
Weasel generates easy headlines without doing anything useful. FTFY.
mixxer 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't wait until David Cameron learns that you can anonymously buy drugs on the Internet and have them shipped directly to your house.
waqasx 4 days ago 0 replies      
upvote if you think this is just a cover story to increase internet surveillance and put internet in government control. USA does it to protect itself from 'terroeists' we all know how well that turned out. but since theres going to be no public outrage over freedom to watch porn, this trickster will fool his public this way.
Leaked report shows high civilian death toll from CIA drone strikes salon.com
283 points by stfu  4 days ago   151 comments top 24
spodek 4 days ago 8 replies      
Growing up in the 70s, we looked at news from the Soviet Union and other authoritarian regimes as blatantly untrue propaganda. By comparison, our press and government practiced transparency -- they may have lied, but not on the scale the others did.

I keep slipping back into believing the United States government believes in honesty and transparency, at least relatively more than other governments. In some areas it might, but not on major issues like war.

It's painful to watch a government that instituted the Marshall Plan actively destroy its credibility like this. Or to think of the consequences. Or to see them play out.

peterkelly 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here's an idea. Now this might sound a bit crazy, but hear me out:

How about working to prevent terrorism by not murdering innocent civilians in other countries and inciting massive hatred towards the US from those affected and their fellow countrymen?

Can you imagine what would happen if another country was carrying out drone strikes in the US, with similar numbers of casualties?

DannyBee 4 days ago 3 replies      
My recollection is the CIA considers any military aged males in the area of a strike to be enemy combatants, which could be one cause for significantly different numbers.

Here we go:


"It is also because Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent."

jaebrown 3 days ago 3 replies      
Some of the comments on Salon are just sad. A death is a death. Whether it's 900 or 2, drone strikes that kill innocent civilians are unacceptable. Trying to justify it by saying that there is only a small death toll number is inhumane. We can not say are objective is to protect innocent life and then take innocent life. Giving precedent to American life makes us and NATO forces seem like evil pretentious bastards. We constantly create enemies with these tactics. If your mother, brother, sister, etc.. was killed during one of these attacks, it makes it easier for you to join an extremist group to bring down the countries that had anything to do with their deaths.

From my readings, it seems that a lot of these group's efforts are a lot less religious motivated and more revenge motivated now of days, hence the increase in extremist groups post 9/11. The US foreign policy since President Truman has set precedent on innocent American life and those of our allies. Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I think all of this boils down to three words a woman from Brooklyn, NY famously said best in a popular Pop-culture rap song "Money, Power, Respect". In that order as well.

War is money, so keeping an enemy is important. If the US ended its War on Terrorism today, there would be no other organization, faction or nation willing to step up to be Public Enemy #1. Sure we have those that could be considered (Iran and North Korea) but they tremble in a NY minute if chosen to take up the title. A defense budget pumps trillions into the US economy; which creates return for shareholders, jobs, tax revenue (personal income), and enforces the US Foreign Policy of democracy everywhere. More spending, more borrowing; which has been the trend of the US in the past decade.

Power and respect are essential to America's continued dominance as a super-force and leader amongst nations. We take a different stand on power than other rich nations. We concentrate on using our power for evil instead on good by focusing on fear. We attempt to bully with the fear of us stepping into a foreign situation; which has been manipulated over time and thru history to seem that are presence brings a win for us or our allies.

Respect gives others faith to continue to believe in the US; which means continued belief in the US dollar. Any lack of faith in the US dollar means lack of investing; which then turns into countries like China trying to salvaged what money they have left on their US bonds and other securities; which do not allow them to hit maturity. We then pay out what we owe; which will be nothing because that is what we have. The results are a depression because our debt is now our currency to the world and that is deflation.

Just my thoughts, first time I typed them out or shared for anyone to hear other than the audience I gather when talking about tech, startups, student load debt, sports or politics. Sorry about no data or sources, I just got into the zone typing but this comes from my research as an undergrad and somewhat grad student.

MarkMc 3 days ago 7 replies      
I've never understood how these two positions are logically consistent:

(1) We do not torture people on principle

(2) We use drone strikes that sometimes kill innocent bystanders because the ends justifies the means

In the case of torturing someone, you are inflicting only pain (which is not as bad as death) on someone who is probably guilty of a crime (which is not as bad as inflicting pain on someone who is completely innocent).

In the case of drone strikes that kill innocent bystanders, you are inflicting death (which is worse than pain) on a completely innocent person (which is worse than killing someone who is guilty of a crime).

Now I understand that torture is unreliable and that is a good reason not to do it. But if you do not use torture on principle then to be consistent you must also not use drone strikes on principle.

TallGuyShort 3 days ago 1 reply      
I doubt most of the other deaths were ever given much of a fair trial, so the implication of innocence should probably be applied a bit more broadly. You know, since we're defending democracy and all.
knodi 3 days ago 2 replies      
Its stuff like this that turns people into terrorist, also known as freedom fighters to others.
gmuslera 4 days ago 0 replies      
This numbers are a bit higher


And that only counts Pakistan. Afganistan, Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen were attacked by drones too


bloaf 3 days ago 6 replies      
Most people I see comfortably opining on drone strikes seem to be doing so without the discomfort of thinking the issue through. My thought process is this:

Say the US were to find evidence that a Canadian terrorist group was planning an attack on the Joe Louis Arena. We would inform the Canadian government who would then go, arrest the terrorists and put them on trial. This seems to be what drone critics think should happen in countries like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. There are some pretty obvious problems with that position.

Countries like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia all have weak, corrupt, ineffective governments. Naturally, they also have weak, corrupt, ineffective police forces. Normally, the US government doesn't care. The US government is responsible for US citizens, and Pakistan's problems are the responsibility of the Pakistani people's government. However, the US now perceives some groups within those countries as threats. We could give the Pakistani government all the info we like, but unlike Canada, we can't realistically expect that to result in the arrests of the terrorists. Even if we tried to give lots of support to their police forces, it is almost certain that the terrorists would be informed about any and all police movements (e.g. Bin Laden lived down the street from a Pakistani military academy.)

So what should we do?

Ignoring the threat is too great a political risk. If Pakistani terrorists executed so much as a single attack on US soil, you better believe the headlines would read: "Politicians knew of terrorist threat, failed to act."

No US law enforcement agency is effectively equipped to police Pakistan. We can't ask NYPD to go police the Pakistanis, that's stupid. The FBI is the best candidate, but their responsibilities are primarily investigative; the actual subduing of the terrorists is outside their purview.

The only other real option is some form of military action. Technically this violates Pakistan's sovereignty, but who cares? Pakistan is a weak government, it can't even police its own country. It's politicians may object, but it is not going to start a war with the US. Moreover, Pakistani terrorists not only kill lots of Pakistani civilians, but also are incredibly costly[1]. Therefore, many politicians will actually support the US's intervention, even if they have to publicly distance themselves. Obviously military intervention carries the risk of civilian casualties, but remember that the US government's responsibilities are towards US citizens. It is the Pakistani government's responsibility to protect Pakistanis, and it is a failing of the Pakistanis if they have not created a government capable of protecting them.

What sort of military intervention should we use? We could send in soldiers to try and arrest the terrorists, but that is slow, risky, and expensive (we need holding facilities, transportation, etc.) Drones are the obvious alternative. Not only are they cheap, they are pose about zero risk to US personnel. People mention that drones may create terrorists, but if we assume that Pakistani public opinion is proportional to the number of deaths, then terrorism (which has killed far more innocent Pakistanis than drones [2]) ought to be significantly less popular.



droithomme 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stanford's independent research into this came up with different numbers on overall deaths, and on civilian deaths.


bayesianhorse 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a big fan of the drone war. But I don't want to see it only from the one side. The big question I am asking myself is: What is the alternative?

In Pakistan for example, the government condemns the drone strikes and vows to stop them. Well, they could, instantly. They can just "really" ask the US to stop it, or they could put pressure on the US by closing their borders for Afghan logistics, or they could even shoot them down. But they don't. That makes me think the Pakistani government is in tacit collusion.

The alternative to these drone strikes is not peace eternal. If there is no pressure on the Taliban, they would become a bigger problem and headache for the Pakistanis. They would have to send troops into these areas.

I highly doubt that Pakistani troops "cleaning" or even just policing the tribal areas would yield a significantly lower death toll among civilians...

runn1ng 3 days ago 1 reply      
They are foreigners though, so it doesn't matter that much
D9u 3 days ago 2 replies      
One would expect better from a nation whose president was a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
confluence 3 days ago 2 replies      
Not that I'm defending the actions of the drone strikes, but assuming the numbers in this report are correct, it does seem to kill a lot fewer civilians than an invasion and full blown war would have, both in relative and absolute terms. With the Iraq war we've had over 100K civilians killed to ~40K combatants. Thinking logically, drone strikes would've severely reduced the number of civilians killed, whilst simultaneously increasing the number of combatants in both real and absolute terms for both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Whether or not the combatants killed actually were combatants, or whether or not this should be done morally are for other people to discuss. But assuming that the other option would be say a full blown invasion of Pakistan or Yemen (and I'm NOT saying that it is), looking practically, if a military action had to be conducted (and I'm NOT saying that it must), I'd pick it in the form of drone strikes any day of the month.

ianstallings 3 days ago 0 replies      
What disturbs me about this issue the most is how it's rationalized because the previous administration also did the same thing. It's like we can't seem to see Obama for who he is because he's always compared to GWB. It's like saying a Pinto is a great car, because it's not a Yugo. People can't think straight because they've been blinded by partisanship. We can't even talk about the issues clearly, let alone determine the right course of action. I wish we could fix that.
scotty79 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why these drone strikes are not considered acts of terrorism by international community? Are they in some way approved by the countries where they take place?
6d0debc071 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've never really understood why they don't arm drones with cannon rather than missiles. Under computer control, those could be incredibly accurate. Can't imagine there'd be much collateral damage from them.

When you have a stock of air to ground missiles, everything looks like a tank?

Then again the entire drone command system strikes me as laughably badly designed, I dare say that's responsible for a hell of a lot of unnecessary deaths from bad situational awareness.

j_baker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the sad part. I have no reason to believe the Pakistanis on this. There's likely some hidden political agenda behind this, and they've likely cherry-picked the data to make us look bad.

And yet, I still trust this data more than the CIA's.

semiprivate 3 days ago 0 replies      
These drones make us terrorists. Never knowing if the next time you or your children go outside will be the time they get destroyed by a faceless, human-less, bomb slinging, heat sensing machine in the sky is fucking terror. We're fighting terror with terror.

No matter what happens, terror has won. We as a nation are fucking terrorists.

jheriko 3 days ago 0 replies      
this stuff is not hidden... and this 'leaked report' is a distraction from the even worse truth. its not hard to find figures from reputable sources if one goes looking, and in a large part of the world its common knowledge that this sort of thing is perpetrated by the US... :/
pivnicek 3 days ago 0 replies      
The robots that drop bombs from the sky could never be the good guys. Who would go see such a film?
e3pi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like to think these internal whistle blowers have gained moral backbone by Edward Snowden's example. May there be more leaks to foment righteous outrage and correct this disregard of slaughtering innocent foreign civilians. Whistle blowers and the net are now the new 4th++ estate.
mtgx 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes outlined in the document, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated to be civilian victims, 94 of those are said to be children."

And that's just the ones they are "declaring" as "innocent", while the administration unilaterally decided who's guilty and deserves to be assassinated with a drone, as an "enemy combatant".

jevyjevjevs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Homeland is REAL!
Amashs Amendment To Defund NSA Program Fails 205-217 techcrunch.com
276 points by llamataboot  2 days ago   159 comments top 22
tptacek 2 days ago 9 replies      
Copied from the other thread, because it bears repeating:

I think it's important to keep in mind that the 12 vote margin is comfortable for Amash and supporters of new NSA restrictions and uncomfortable for its defenders.

Here's why: opponents of Amash wielded an argument that "split the vote". Representatives who voted against Amash could have done so for one of two reasons:

(1) They actively support providing the NSA with unchecked access to cell phone metadata under the "business records" provision of PATRIOT, or

(2) They don't support that access, but can't support a broad amendment that potentially de-funds whole NSA programs, and instead need something finer grained to correct NSA with.

Meanwhile, everyone who supported Amash believes strongly --- so strongly that they're willing to do something disruptive to NSA --- that new checks on NSA are needed.

(I think Amash was a good amendment, if only because it would force the House to do its actual job and carefully regulate intelligence collection; if it caused a temporary shitstorm, so much the better --- it'd be a well-deserved comeuppance for a legislature that has been derelict in its duty to oversee these programs. But you should be aware that opponents of Amash had a persuasive-sounding argument for voting it down even if you believed new regulations were needed.)

I think this was a pretty hopeful vote.

KevinEldon 2 days ago 3 replies      
Your representative is probably on Twitter. If you've got an account tweet how they voted and what you think about it. Be polite. You can of course email and call them too to share you viewpoint.

Find your Representative - http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Amash vote - http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll412.xml

pvnick 2 days ago 0 replies      
Twelve votes? That's it? Wow, that's incredible. The first real tide change we've seen since the passage of the patriot act. Those who voted Nay seemed to do so because "metadata isn't covered under the 4th amendment."

Wait until they find out the NSA is raking in the call contents too [1]

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/29/glenn-greenwald-nsa...

kristopolous 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm knowingly paying an organization to openly wage cyber warfare and espionage operations on me?

Splendid. At least we may get a few good HPC and IR publications out of it.

Actually, it will probably be outsourced to contractors who will squander it away without producing anything.

Unless, that is, the next 9/11 gets planned using twitter hashtags. Actually, since the Sandy Hook shooter openly talked about his plans on 4chan, I'm guessing that even a twitter campaign would still "pass under the radar".

I bet the only real consequence is that someone will lose a laptop with like, everybody's social security number and financial history on it. It's going to be so awesome.

lettergram 2 days ago 2 replies      
Republican: 94 yea 134 NayDemocratic: 111 yea 83 Nay

Pretty close and party lines didn't seem all that important.

guelo 2 days ago 2 replies      
If congress were to pass some law (over Obama's veto) limiting the intelligence agencies, what is to stop the administration from coming up with a secret interpretation of the new law that effectively ignored it? They are already in violation of current law, as the author of the Patriot Act has stated.

Democracy has been completely subverted at this point. We need impeachments and new anti-secrecy laws.

s_q_b 2 days ago 0 replies      
Repost from another thread on the same issue:

I really do commend everyone involved in this effort. This is how the system is supposed to work, citizens making their voices know, and the legislature acting upon the will of the people.

Honestly you guys got far closer to your goal than I would have anticipated. The bipartison support was almost unprecedented in recent years.

From a practical matter, even if the House bill passed it was dead on arrival in the Senate. But nevertheless it is a significant symbolic blow to blank surveillance against American citizens.

All I've tried to communicate, perhaps with less than appropriate tact, is that this is going to be a long slog.

If you're going to reign in the surveillance state, you'll need to start thinking like Washington insiders. Pick one incumbent that vocally supported these programs, and take him or her down. That will instantly catapult this issue to the top of the concerns in DC.

It only costs a few million to get that done. Considering the wealth of the tech industry, and the threat this poses to overseas expansion of the US internet services, donations shouldn't be overly difficult to drum up. We could really make a large dent in getting the legislature to help roll back these programs to sane levels. Add to that an anit-SOPA style social media campaign, and you could accomplish real and lasting change.

llamataboot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am wondering why we didn't see a /single/ large tech company release something in support of this. Even something as simple as a press release...
altero 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think this is the end of the cloud. For me (as european) it is now unacceptable to use american webservices and remote apps. We had a good run.
livestyle 2 days ago 3 replies      
Would be interested in a consolidated list names of those who voted in favor and against this bill.
tzs 1 day ago 0 replies      
The votes from members of the Permanent House Select Committee on Intelligence were 2 yes, 21 no.

By party, that was among Democrats 2 yes, 8 no, and among Republicans 0 yes, 13 no.

marcamillion 2 days ago 1 reply      
Even though I don't have the time to do it, I have a feeling that if you drilled down into the votes some more, you would likely see a pattern/relationship re: authority.

i.e. those in higher authority would have voted it down (Boehner, Pelosi, etc.) and those with less authority supported it. So the powerful preserving their power, with the less powerful challenging it.

That alone can speak volumes about the potential for their power crumbling. Boehner has been on the ropes recently with his caucus warning him to tread carefully.

If that turns out to be the case, then the leadership has big problems. Both in the House and the Whitehouse.

That could be good for the issue over the long-term....which is encouraging to me as a "foreigner".

D9u 2 days ago 0 replies      
The bit about "...not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process" illustrates the hypocrisy inherent to the ruling class.

They rarely hold themselves to the same standards which they set forth for the proletariat.

coldcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
The tool who represents my district actually voted AYE. Maybe there is hope for this body of morons.
BashiBazouk 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this is to be fought the time is close at hand. First off if this is played as a left vs right issue it will lose. Second this needs to be won at the primary level. If both the democrat and the republican in a district/state are against it, then it doesn't really matter who wins as far as this issue is concerned. Bonus points if when the debates start, instead of opposite sides of the issue, they try to one up each other on how they will dismantle the surveillance state. I think asking your Representative their stand on this issue as well as any one else who enters the race is a good start but also try to get some sort of pledge that they will work across the isle with the other party to get this done.

This will need at least two election cycles to be successful. Everyone in the house is up for re-election every two years but the senate requires six for everyone to go through the re-election process. I think with some luck, the third senate election cycle might not be needed if enough momentum can be attained. But I think to really succeed it will have to survive a filibuster and possibly a presidential veto.

We can do this if we are willing to put aside our political differences, work together and think long term.

darkmethod 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is this the will of the people?
clarky07 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really interesting thing here is that 12 people didn't vote, exactly the margin of defeat. I wonder how many of them were leaning towards voting for it, and how many of them were strong advised (coerced) to abstain.
rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's really interesting looking at the people who voted against this -- Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Bachmann?
evolve2k 1 day ago 1 reply      
Which way did Obama himself vote?
pteredactyl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe its a Spectacle for hegelDialectic/divideConquer #pov
tlongren 1 day ago 1 reply      
I read the title as "Amish's Amendment". Wondering what the Amish did to illicit such attention from the NSA.
pawrvx 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now you know who runs America.
Apple Developer Website Update
275 points by danielsiders  5 days ago   210 comments top 51
Lightbody 4 days ago 3 replies      
Here's my semi-educated guess for how the attack started: from casual observation (view source, URLs ending with .action, etc) a good chunk of the ADC is written in Java and uses WebWork/Struts2, a framework I helped create years ago.

Late last week a security advisory came out that allows for executing malicious code[1]. Atlassian, which uses similar technology, also issued announcements around the same time[2]. My wild speculation is this was the attack vector.

Sadly, I feel some responsibility for this pretty major security hole. There have been a few like this and they are all rooted in the fact that almost 9 years ago I made the (bad) decision to use OGNL as WebWork's expression language. I did so because it was "powerful" but it opened up all sorts of extra binding trickery I never intended. I haven't been contributing to the project in 5+ years, but this is a good reminder how technology choices tend to stick around a lot longer than you ever imagine :)

[1] http://struts.apache.org/release/2.3.x/docs/s2-016.html[2] https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/BAMBOO/Bamboo+Secur...

jpdoctor 5 days ago 6 replies      
> Sensitive personal information was encrypted and cannot be accessed, however, we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed.

So they can't rule out the possibility that sensitive personal information, which cannot be accessed, has been accessed. Got it.

Apparently our intelligence, which cannot be insulted, has been insulted.

tcas 5 days ago 1 reply      
I downloaded the CRL for developer certificates [1] and quickly looked at it using grep:

  grep -E "Revocation Date: Jul 17 .{8} 2013" wwdrccrl.txt | wc -l      3065  grep -E "Revocation Date: Jul 18 .{8} 2013" wwdrccrl.txt | wc -l      2289  grep -E "Revocation Date: Jul 19 .{8} 2013" wwdrccrl.txt | wc -l         2  grep -E "Revocation Date: Jul 20 .{8} 2013" wwdrccrl.txt | wc -l         0  grep -E "Revocation Date: Jul 21 .{8} 2013" wwdrccrl.txt | wc -l         0
These are the two certificates that were revoked on the 19th

  grep -A 3 -B 1 -E "Revocation Date: Jul 19 .{8} 2013" wwdrccrl.txt      Serial Number: 2628C7F90970D227          Revocation Date: Jul 19 03:14:04 2013 GMT          CRL entry extensions:              X509v3 CRL Reason Code:                   Key Compromise  --      Serial Number: 1A51ABFA4844BD45          Revocation Date: Jul 19 03:24:03 2013 GMT          CRL entry extensions:              X509v3 CRL Reason Code:                   Key Compromise
To generate the wwdrccrl.txt file I used:

  openssl crl -inform DER -text -noout -in wwdrca.crl > wwdrccrl.txt
Just to be clear -- every entry there I see lists the reason as Key Compromise, just interesting that they usually seem to revoke at least 2000 certificates a day but suddenly stopped on the 19th with just revoking 2.


dakrisht 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database."

That does not sound like an intruder "attempt" by any means.

They got hacked, and they got hacked bad if they're rebuilding databases and overhauling entire enterprise-class systems over there.

Transparent my ass. They're deep in the gutter, 3-days and counting no fix, engineers are probably working 24 hours a day and the entire site is still down. This isn't a small time breach folks. They had to go public considering it will probably be down for a few more days...

kyro 5 days ago 2 replies      
No reason to be up in arms, folks. They've got the marketing team working on this too.
tsm 5 days ago 3 replies      
These details are befuddling. "Personal information was encrypted and cannot be accessed". It can't be accessed because it's somehow stored elsewhere, or it can't be accessed because of the encryption? That is, does the intruder currently own my encrypted data?

I'm also disappointed that it took them 72 hours to tell us anything, and that the update doesn't even have a timeline for when the site may be back. "Soon" is meaningless.

johansch 4 days ago 1 reply      
There is an interesting comment at techcrunch:


"[...] One of those bugs have provided me access to users details etc. I immediately reported this to Apple. I have taken 73 users details (all apple inc workers only) and prove them as an example.

4 hours later from my final report Apple developer portal gas closed down and you know it still is. I have emailed and asked if I am putting them in any difficulty so that I can give a break to my research. I have not gotten any respond to this.. [...] "

peterkelly 5 days ago 0 replies      
I understand everyone's frustrations with this, and the fact that Apple haven't been immediately clear on exactly what happened. As a developer, I too am alarmed by what has happened.

But these things are complex, and it takes time (i.e. a few days) to fully and properly evaluate what has happened and what information leaks/security breaches have occurred.

Let's give this a reasonable amount of time, and only then pass judgement on their handling of the case.

I don't want to appear like an Apple apologist - and maybe it is a serious fault on their side. But in fairness I do think it's reasonable we give them time to evaluate & respond appropriately.

pdknsk 5 days ago 3 replies      
Hmm so it only takes a few days to "completely overhaul" their developer systems? Not sure I believe this is what they're actually doing. And why haven't they updated their server software before? I know mistakes can never be completely avoided, but this seems slightly amateurish for a company with so much cash.
peterkelly 5 days ago 3 replies      
Good to see some transparency on Apple's part here.

I understand this must be a very challenging situation for them to deal with, and I appreciate the notification. As I'm sure many developers feel, I'd like to know more details, but I'm sure these will come in due course.

sarreph 5 days ago 0 replies      
A little more info from TC:http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/21/apple-confirms-that-the-dev...

Update Just got off the phone with an Apple rep, who confirmed a bit more:

- The hack only affected developer accounts; standard iTunes accounts were not compromised

- Credit card data was not compromised

- They waited three days to alert developers because they were trying to figure out exactly what data was exposed

- There is no time table yet for when the Dev Center will return

ChuckMcM 5 days ago 0 replies      
I got this email about an hour ago. I feel sorry for the folks who are "updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database". Songs will be sung in the opsen bars about about this battle.

From the sound of the email it suggests they have records of some data (perhaps not sensitive data :-) being compromised but no root cause on how it was compromised, so they are re-building systems from the ground up validating, configuring, and then moving to the next step.There are times where this is faster than spending time trying to root cause the exploit.

That said, this is where privacy and security collide. Since logs going back months of what everyone has done on every system really helps reconstruct things, but of course if you have those logs it means that someone else can abuse them.

nwh 5 days ago 2 replies      
Uh, how does this "encryption" work?

For the website to show these details (and it does, in part, use these details in the interface) it must be able to decrypt these on the web applications side. Ergo the keys for decryption must also be on the server or derived from the users passwords, both of which make the use of encryption a fairly worthless venture.

ED: As another commenter mentioned in an earlier thread, lots of other AppleID facing applications are gone as well ( https://ecommerce.apple.com/ ), so it would be interesting to find out how far this all goes. The websites don't seem that far disconnected from the information in iCloud.

jchimney 5 days ago 0 replies      
I read the comments dismissing apples handling of this. What would you have expected them to do? There is a LOT of forensics going on probably even now trying to get a handle on this. A massive corp isn't going to make an announcement until they have some idea what they're talking about. In my books 4 days is a very quick first announcement from a company of this size.
kalleboo 5 days ago 1 reply      
Any idea what "rebuilding our database" means? Reticulating the splines? I hear those go out of alignment sometimes.
yapcguy 5 days ago 1 reply      
> "In the spirit of transparency, we want to inform you of the issue."

Ha, what a joke, I can't help laughing at that.

With so many third-party Apple developers drinking the kool-aid, and dreaming of becoming rich, I'm not surprised Apple treat them like fools.

Just yesterday on Twitter, some developers were speculating that the site was taken down to be updated with new SDKs for exciting new features and product lines.

jhspaybar 4 days ago 1 reply      
For what it's worth, Wednesday morning at 4am I had an email account associated with my developer account compromised(they both stupidly used the same password). This account was used for almost nothing but accessing my developer accounts at Apple. At the time, I thought my Apple accounts might be in trouble and I immediately changed all my Apple related passwords as well as regained control of my email account. I'm now wondering if the breach might have gone the other direction...
blinkingled 4 days ago 0 replies      
> In order to prevent a security threat like this from happening again, were completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database.

I am wondering what was the thought process behind this gem. I think this looks like a knee jerk reaction and it's particularly lacking polish coming from Apple. I mean clearly Apple knows that "overhauling" systems and updating software is no guarantee for future security. It's not a one time fix - it's an ongoing process. And rebuilding entire database - that's just crazy talk! This is especially inexcusable because the target of this update are developers!

Security is hard - you've got legacy crap, 3rd party/unsupported code, you've got open source code and then you have your own code that has evolved to be a Frankenstein. I don't have a problem with Apple getting it wrong once - but the statement does nothing to make developers confident that Apple will finally get web services right.

thepumpkin1979 5 days ago 1 reply      
`rebuilding our entire database`. So the database was... destroyed...?
coldcode 5 days ago 1 reply      
Jeez people, a company identifies a hack attempt, stops it, and makes sure it never happens again. How often do you hear that one? Most companies don't even tell you anything happened and if they are forced to, they don't even admit anything bad happened (we only exposed 80,000,000 credit cards, no biggie).

If my employer suffered this I doubt they'd even tell the employees.

What do all of us do when we find a security issue?

tlongren 5 days ago 1 reply      
"In the spirit of transparency". Right, Apple.
tater 4 days ago 1 reply      
Theres a security researcher commenting on techcrunch claiming he's responsible for the breach here http://fyre.it/tjlVmC.4

His proof uploaded to youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q000_EOWy80

0x0 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if the hackers managed to get code signing keys out? Ultimate jailbreak?
sampk 5 days ago 1 reply      
> intruder attempted to secure personal information

haha "secure". Am so using that word next time my site gets hacked.

GR8K 5 days ago 0 replies      
jamesjyu 5 days ago 1 reply      
Yep, I can confirm I just got this as well.
yulaow 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can it be related to the similar attack on the ubuntu forum? Maybe it was a single group of hackers targeting the servers in which they know a lot of developers have an account
0x0 5 days ago 1 reply      
Imagine what you could do here:- break into facebook or twitter or any other high profile dev account- reissue new code signing keys- crack the latest public app and patch in a backdoor- code sign with new keys and submit as an app update
plasma 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is the encryption not good enough (and I mean in general when sites get bcrypt'd passwords stolen, etc) when owners are worried the encrypted data is in the hands of intruders?

As a developer I'd still be concerned if I lost such data when encrypted - so I understand - but what measures can be put in place so that as a developer/site owner you're without uncertainty that the encrypted data will never be encrypted by the attacker (eg, would take trillions of years).

0x0 5 days ago 1 reply      
Well at least it was "only" the dev center, and not iCloud and iMessage!
djvu9 4 days ago 0 replies      
Could it be related to CVE-2013-2251 which was released on 07/20? The URL developer.apple.com/devcenter/ios/index.action seems struts alike..
michaelxia 5 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks Apple! This email was super helpful, now I know exactly whats going on.
general_failure 5 days ago 1 reply      
If anyone thinks this is the complete truth, well be prepared to be fooled many times more. I mean the thing is down for 3 days now. This must be a huge breach.
dphase 5 days ago 1 reply      
This may explain some strange occurrences I had yesterday.

Starting at 7am, I received an Apple ID password reset request every 4 hours and 19 minutes, ending last night at midnight.

This Apple ID is also the login for my personal developer account (several years old). My developers IDs used for work never received a password reset request.

rimantas 4 days ago 0 replies      
I got a feeling that the most outraged never used Apple developer portal in their life.
GR8K 5 days ago 1 reply      
Manage your Apple ID/password/security questions here: https://appleid.apple.com
tszming 5 days ago 0 replies      
>> and rebuilding our entire database.

maybe someone dropped or polluted the database after hacking it, so they need to rebuild the entire database from other sources?

tater 5 days ago 0 replies      
I bet Forstall did it.
diminoten 5 days ago 4 replies      
Is there any other source that this actually happened besides from a guy posting some text on HN?
rogerchucker 5 days ago 0 replies      
How is a developer's mailing address not a sensitive information for that developer? How does a tech company get away making a blanket assumption like that?
stephen_gareth 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm more interested in the identity of the intruder for some reason. Who/what are they? Presumably there are easier targets to steal credit card numbers from, for example.
noja 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Sensitive personal information was encrypted

sigh Tell us exactly what was and what wasn't encrypted.

zztop 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't feel too bad for Apple. They use WW/Struts but when was the last time they contributed to the project? They never have. Open source volunteers do their best but unless big corporations want to spend their own money, and do their own security assessments, and contribute back anything they find, what do you expect? It's great when you get things for free, but when you're sitting on billions, send some back to the community you're using code from.
rogerchucker 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a database of intrusion attempts (and successful ones too) made at tech companies?
vmarsy 5 days ago 2 replies      
If the intruder is a patent troll-er, getting developers names and mailing addresses can be pretty harmful.
jamin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks Apple. Now what really happened?
soheil 5 days ago 0 replies      
wow if they're "overhauling" everything that means Apple knows that hackers got some or all developers' info so it's not just that they can't "rule it out" they just don't want to publicly announce it.
jlebrech 4 days ago 0 replies      
glad that i use a password manager and disable no-paste from firebug in order to login.
foobarme 5 days ago 0 replies      
Apple jargon for "oh "
smallsharptools 5 days ago 5 replies      
Until I see an email from Apple myself I will not see this info as credible.
dano414 5 days ago 0 replies      
I got kicked out of an Apple store. I questioned a Managersmanagatorial expertise. I took his angry picture at the door(Eric in Corte Madera). I am tempted to post it on youtube, but feel punishment enough is working there?Oh yea, the reason he was furious at me, is because I didn't like the way he was treating my salesman. I've never understood people who let a title go to their head?Off topic, just venting.
How Emacs changed my life slideshare.net
273 points by afshinmeh  2 days ago   88 comments top 17
D9u 2 days ago 4 replies      
75 slides to convey an impression which could have been spelled out in a paragraph or two...

Anyone with a slow connection knows what I'm upset about.

Needless to say, I quit when I was about 24 slides into the presentation.

lispm 2 days ago 2 replies      
As a Lisp implementation Emacs Lisp was pretty primitive then:

    * primitive GC    * only dynamic binding (Stallman sold that as a feature)    * no nested functions    * no threads    * no object system    * no namespaces for symbols    * implementation not independent from the editor    * no TCO    * slow
On the positive side it already had a simple byte code interpreter with a compiler for it and it was fast enough for some editing. Also, dedicated Emacs Lisp users managed to write some amazing code - given the restrictions.

The 'eight megabytes and constantly swapping' thing now is also of less importance. ;-)

blacktulip 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone told me this is called "Takahashi method"[1]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takahashi_method

optimusclimb 2 days ago 3 replies      
What's awesome is how all of us can probably attribute similar life changes to various software discoveries.

Though it's much weaker than saying "emacs influenced the massively adopted programming language I went on to write"...in many ways, having a computer that, as is - was unable to run Doom - led me to understand good old autoexec.bat and config.sys, what extended memory and himem.sys were, mouse drivers, etc, etc.

On the emacs front - emacs lead me to realize how useless the capslock key was, rebind it to Ctrl on all of my computers, and forever make numerous typing mistakes whenever I use someone else's keyboard :) Worth it.

Good little read.

jff 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ah, that explains Ruby's concurrency situation.

(It's a joke, I understand the difficulty involved with concurrency in interpreted languages. But given that both Elisp and Ruby are well-known for having trouble with threading, well, too hard to pass up!)

systems 2 days ago 0 replies      
i think people are being too harsh on this presentation, and focused too much on the form factor and number of slides , instead of the actual content and message

i like the human factor in it, like how random and incidental stuff like being able to complete ruby-mode.el had such a high impact on ruby's syntax

and how learning a text editor inside out, eventually led to ruby, which let to RoR , most people would consider learning so much about emacs as a waste of time, for matz it helped him made ruby

this presentation is more about our human nature , this is i believe a great exmaple of when doing what you love is more important that doing whats important or what you think is right, i like it

tel 2 days ago 0 replies      
The fact the Ruby syntax was mostly derived by what could be made to have auto-indentation in regex in a week in emacslisp is interesting. More than that, it's interesting that Matz seems to ascribe a lot of Ruby's success to it.

    If I couldn't make ruby-mode to work the syntax of     Ruby would have changed to more C-like one too     similar to other scripting languages as a result,     Ruby would not have gained current popularity
I've heard that Ruby's parsing code is especially difficult to replicate.

davexunit 2 days ago 1 reply      
Matz gave this presentation at LibrePlanet 2012 in Boston. This talk was the reaason that I decided to give Emacs a shot after being a Vim user for a couple of years. I have used Emacs every day since.

I talked briefly with Matz afterwards and he was very friendly and pleasant to chat with.

There should be audio of this presentation to go along with the slides somewhere, but I couldn't quickly locate it.

mathattack 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's hard to go bad on this article given the source, no?

I find it more interesting for insight into Matz than anything about emacs. The idea that his text editor got him excited about programming is pretty powerful. Yes it could have been written in a 1 page memo, but who cares?

davecyen 2 days ago 8 replies      
Self admittedly, I'm a newb at coding but I've tried emacs and am not a fan. I get the benefits of being able to debug and execute code immediately in the REPL, but I would much rather write code in sublime text or any other text editor. The last thing I want to do when I'm writing code is try to remember some obscure combination of keys in order to perform a simple backspace or copy and paste a line of code. Have not been convinced otherwise yet, maybe someone here can better enlighten me
samwilliams 2 days ago 0 replies      
While it is almost always nicer to have videos attached to slideshows, I am quite sure we would miss out on plenty of excellent content if this idea was implemented. After all, you only see so many videoless slideshows here because your peers have found, enjoyed, submitted and up voted them...
oskarkv 2 days ago 0 replies      
He says he understood the power of Lisp, yet he made a non-Lisp language. :P I don't get people who make non-Lisp languages.
gneis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if the Emacs source code still is a "good read"? or has it grown too much
gkya 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a video of this presentation somewhere? Would love to see it.
Lapsa 2 days ago 1 reply      
vim is amazing indeed. changed my life too.
mirsadm 2 days ago 8 replies      
That was really really annoying and pointless. Why has this been up voted?
jfinub 2 days ago 3 replies      
'then i started using ruby' subconsciously presses >> 'thank you.'
NASDAQ is owned. Five men charged in largest financial hack ever arstechnica.com
271 points by shawndumas  1 day ago   130 comments top 24
kevinalexbrown 1 day ago 6 replies      
Is anyone aware of a) whether other security auditors or services could have identified these vulnerabilities and b) what it takes to sell to these exploited firms?

My understanding of security is fairly small, but it seems to me that there's a market to be had here ... If the expertise exists to dramatically reduce exposure, it's a question of sales or ease of use. If the expertise doesn't exist yet, someone smart might make a lot of money.

austenallred 1 day ago 12 replies      
I honestly believe eastern Europe and possibly Israel are years ahead of the United States when it comes to the Internet - not with regard to adaptivity, but with regard to raw hacking ability.

I have yet to understand why and I only have anecdotal evidence (including living in Ukraine), but there's something to those places that make them breed hackers.

minimax 1 day ago 3 replies      
I've seen this story (NASDAQ being hacked) reported in a couple of places, but it isn't clear to me what damage was done. It's not really possible for them to have messed with the actual trading without anyone noticing. Everyone connecting to an exchange is reconciling the orders they send in against the trade confirmations they receive. You basically design your technology assuming the exchange is going to fuck something up eventually. I'd really like to hear more details about what was going on here.
driverdan 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Court documents allege that as a result of the scheme, financial institutions, credit card companies and consumers suffered hundreds of millions in losses, including more than $300 million in losses ...

BULLSHIT. I want to see hard evidence that there were real losses totaling more than $300 million. The justice dept loves inflating loss figures based on sentencing guidelines which mandates minimum losses for stolen info even if they were never used to commit a crime.

gnufied 1 day ago 0 replies      
An interesting trivia is - one of the guys being charged is "Dmitry Smilianets", CEO of Moscow 5. A rather very prestigious esports organization that has/had good teams in League, Dota2 and Counter strike.

The arrest itself happened an year ago and was widely reported on gaming websites (http://www.joindota.com/en/news/3537-moscow-5-ceo-arrested-i...).

screwt 1 day ago 1 reply      

    Sites are susceptible when user input is ... incorrectly filtered for characters used in database commands ...   
If you're trying to protect yourself from SQLi by filtering & then running user input, you're doing it wrong. If a supposedly tech-literate site like Ars can't get that right, what hope do we have? (Let alone the banks themselves...)

peterwwillis 1 day ago 1 reply      
"According to one indictment, European credit card numbers sold for as much as $50, while US ones fetched about $10."

Where are they getting their numbers from? Last I heard (a year or two ago), carders charged about 10 cent for foreign cards and a dollar per US card. Any actual carding researchers care to weigh in?

k_bx 1 day ago 2 replies      
> SQL-injection


startupfounder 1 day ago 1 reply      
You would think that a way to stop these kinds of attacks for pennies on the dollar would be to have the security companies, banks, retail stores and others involved on the receiving side of these attacks fund hackathons or startup accelerators in every country, like a startup weekend, to give these "kids" a chance at legal startups and to get paid for finding bugs.
trotsky 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, the US Attorney is really going out of his way to fill this one up with bullshit. I knew something was very wrong when goodin claims hundreds of millions in losses on a carding ring and it didn't take long to find it. The only people that would pay $50 for anything having anything to do with credit cards would be fbi investigators. Hell they're the only ones that would pay one tenth that.
alexjeffrey 1 day ago 2 replies      
the idea that NASDAQ might've been hacked using an SQL injection is pretty scary, as it's a pretty trivial attack to protect against in most cases (mysql_real_escape_string?) - is security in stock exchanges really so lax?
AsymetricCom 1 day ago 2 replies      
Doesn't NASDAQ have some responsibility for this hack? Doesn't NASDAQ have serious security reputation issues now?
dclowd9901 1 day ago 4 replies      
> According to one indictment, European credit card numbers sold for as much as $50, while US ones fetched about $10.

This is truly dumbfounding to me. They had normalized, searchable access to millions of credit cards. They presumably had systematic ways of siphoning off money on high balance cards in a way that no one would've ever noticed. And yet, their grand scheme was to hock the numbers piecemeal for 50 a pop?

How are such smart people so bad at business.

readysetgo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Stealing money from global financial institutions is only allowed when you are a banker.
coldcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
Amazing people are still ignorant of how to properly code a web application. Not to mention all the companies that likely still store passwords using a reversible algorithm and fail to separate and encrypt credit card information. What is this, 1994?
thomasbk 1 day ago 0 replies      
The actual indictment is here, it's a fairly interesting read:http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/5182013725111217608...
txutxu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Upvoted, did make me enjoy the read.

6 months since the first SQLi to the "Nasqad is owned".

6 months...

Sometimes I've play Neo from a pub connection with recycled hardware (not buy with my card number) but at most one week to the same target.

I wish I could have the skills of those people. Not that I want to make money stoled from unknown people... I just would like to have their skills.

jingo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll get downvoted for this, but I think SQL admins should in some way be held accountable for successful injection attacks. Falling victim to this type of exploit which is as old as the hills should be inexcusable. How difficult is it to learn how a UNIX shell works, inside and out? For what these guys get paid and what they are tasked with securing, they should be experts on escaping and quoting and every possible thing one can do with the shell. All the boring stuff. Because that's probably the knowledge these "hackers" leveraged.

If I'm wrong here, if there's more to it, feel free to correct me. I want to be empathetic with the people who set up these SQL databases, but I really cannot understand why anyone can still in 20xx get a shell via SQL statements, at a financial institution no less, after so many years of seeing others fall victim.

KumarAseem 1 day ago 1 reply      
Their actions might have been illegal but they for sure are good at breaking things and their skills should be used instead of throwing them in jail for 20 years. Counsel them and give them a change to reform themselves.
lifeisstillgood 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a summary of the techniques used, the escalations take ? Does it compare to OWASP ?
itsallbs 1 day ago 0 replies      
'SQL-injection vulnerabilities in the victim companies' websites'


ereckers 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just think its funny that a hacksaw is now the international symbol for hacking.
kevin818 1 day ago 2 replies      
How would one even go about doing this? Do you just keep trying difference ssh key values?

I never understood how people can just magically "gain access" to servers.

sarreph 1 day ago 1 reply      
Was most of this done by SQL injection?
       cached 27 July 2013 02:11:01 GMT